Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Being the overly introspective type, nonetheless, this landmark birthday does give me pause. What does it mean to turn 40? What does it mean to move into this new decade? I didn’t want to let this one go by without a good ponder. And my dear friend Tina feels like I am some sort of trailblazer as I am a year older than her to the week, and one year older as a momma. She called me last night to remind me that I had not yet shared my musings. I was so honored that she even wanted to hear them that I am trying to oblige her now.
I asked a few of my personal trailblazers: how was or is the 40th decade? And what was your favorite decade? I received the expected mix of answers, but almost all of them asserted that the 40s are a good decade, a year of coming into to your power as a woman, especially. I like that. By 40, you finally feel confident enough of yourself to be yourself. And to like yourself. And to know what you need and when you need it and then go and get it. I like all of this. I can see why it would be true.
I am a little sorry to leave my 30s behind though. The first 5 years of 30 were pretty good. I had an extremely fulfilling run as “Urban Artistic Single Woman” who was all hip and had all kinds of adventures and had freedom and a large community of friends and activities.. I miss my very sweet apartment, the 3rd floor of a triple decker in Somerville, filled with sunshine and my artwork and my cat and my books. My time was my own – a concept I suppose you never appreciate until it’s gone. Then I met Mr. Right and oh my goodness, it has been a whirlwind ever since. I won’t bother tracking all the changes (most of which have been tracked in this blog), but let’s just say I’ve gone from “Urban Artistic Single Woman” to “Suburban Exhausted Working Mom Who Can Barely See Straight.” In some ways, all my childhood dreams have come true. And in some ways, the transition has been one of the two toughest times of my life. My world is definitely much smaller and much more chaotic. I also think becoming a new mom later in life has its advantages (maturity, gratitude, stability, lots of friends with help and advice) and some disadvantages (less stamina is a big one). So my age does have an impact on my parenting.
I’ve always envisioned my 45 year old self as this wise person who looks back in time at me and smiles, both a little ruefully at all the flailing about I do, but also with encouragement. That it will turn out OK, that I’m doing fine, that it will be fine in 10 years … now 5 years. She looks calm and has found the place where I need to be. So now I’m that much closer to finding her, even if I feel like I’m a bit frayed around the edges these days. So yes, 40 is just fine with me.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
- Go to an ice cream stand and eat the ice cream outside and having it drip down my arm
- At least 2 beach days where we have time to swim, walk, read, snooze and build sand castles (ie just a walk doesn’t cut it)
- Cooking things on an outdoor fire, most importantly, smores (will do this on vacation)
- Going to the local pool
- Take Peanut to local baby pool
- Playing in the backyard pool from grocery store (already did this, yay!)
- Eating popsicles in the backyard (already did this, yay!)
- Making ice cream with the kids (have them create a crazy flavor)
- Lobster on the backyard porch at mom and dad’s (coming up, yay!)
- Fireworks! (could we do this on vacation or in New Hampshire on a weekend?)
- Walden Pond at least one time where I can swim!
- Go out to eat at a restaurant where we sit outside and have drinks
- Go for a boat/kayak ride (we can plan to do this on vacation, but maybe also in our town)
- Eat watermelon outside
- Eat cherries outside
- Water balloon fight/squirt gun fight
- Go pick fruit somewhere
- Trip to secret New Hampshire swimming hole? (this one is as little more ambitious as it is a weekend away)
- See some fireflies (probably on vacation)
Sunday, June 12, 2011
We had quite a day. We crossed our fingers that the rain would hold off so we could play in the backyard, but it was not to be. We moved everything inside and managed to squish far too many people in our house. The Peanut played with all the kids and we all enjoyed her new toys and books. We were celebrating her birthday but also our survival of our first year as new parent and whew, what a year it was. I'll try and post the happy birthday video later but for now we thought you'd like to see a few pictures of the birthday girl.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Size and Shape: Definitely can't fit into the 6 months anymore and sometimes even 12 month sizes are a bit small. 17 1/2 pounds. She is definitely getting more hair and occasionally has bedhead which is endlessly amusing to me.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Dear friends and family,
Here is where I attempt to summarize an entire year in the life … and this was one was a doozey. But let’s start back in January.
We were settling into our new home in Melrose. This was the first time we’d set up a home together so it was a lot of work! We started sharing the news about my pregnancy right after the holidays. I was almost four months at that time, so I couldn’t hide it much longer anyhow. The first question most people ask is if that baby is a boy or a girl. I would have loved to have known but Baby wasn’t cooperating and kept its legs crossed, so my doctor told me we’d just find out in June. I had no idea that one possible answer was: “we wanted to know but couldn’t figure it out.” I was completely flummoxed by this. Let's just say that was the first of many flummoxes this year.
The estimated date of arrival of the Peanut was June 29. We planned a few small trips in the meantime knowing we wouldn’t get around much after that date. In February, Mr. Right and I did a house swap with a family in Montpelier, Vermont. Rob went to school in Castleton VT, so about once a year, he starts yearning for the green mountains. We had a great weekend exploring the town and cross country skiing on a maple sugaring farm.
Mr. Right travels a lot for work and this is cause for both pity and envy, depending on the trip and how hellacious his travel schedule is. When he said he had to go meet people in Santa Barbara, I said there was no way he was going without me. I cashed in some miles and joined him out to the West Coast and hit all my favorite haunts on the weekend before he actually had to do work. Our favorite part of the trip was taking him to Cold Spring Tavern, an old stagecoach stop in the Santa Barbara foothills, reached after a windy drive through the mountains with amazing ocean views. We also made it down to LA to see my dear friends Lia and Angela for a quick dinner before I flew back east.
After that trip, I was better able to settle in for the remainder of my pregnancy. I worked up until the end. On Thursday, June 10 I led an offsite event for work and went home feeling tired but otherwise normal. I went to bed and woke up with a shock at 1:00 am. My water had broken! 2.5 weeks early! The conversation that evening continued in this vein for a while longer. What! But! Ok! We can do this! But we have no diapers! Or car seat installed! It's Ok! Call the hospital! No, call the midwife! Ack! Finally we managed to pull our gear together and get into the car.
At 5 am on June 11, The Peanut was born. It took me a week or two just to believe she had really arrived. She was so little at 6 lbs and 11 oz and 19 inches. We both were expecting a large baby since we both are relatively tall people, but nope, she remains a petite little girl. I never knew having a baby could generate the mountains of pink clothing that have descended upon us.
As advertised, our life will never be the same again. All of the clichés, both positive and negative, are all true. You just can’t prepare yourself for it – you just have to live through it. The peanut is a happy baby and for the most part, a pretty easy one. She still isn’t really big on sleeping for long stretches, but everything else about her is pretty much perfect. Adjusting to new mom-hood has also been a stretch for me; let’s just say it feels like your entire brain gets rewired. Maternity leave was less fun than I expected: I had visions of a lovely summer off, spent going to the beach or other outdoor adventures with my sweet baby. Instead, it was HOT and this baby did NOT like her car seat. We spent a fair amount of time on the couch at home, huddling in the air-conditioned rooms. But that was easy peasy compared to returning to work.
There are just not enough hours in the day or enough sleep to go around. The life of after work activities and projects no longer exists. Now I scramble to get ready while holding her as much as I can in the morning, rush off to work, rush home from work to connect with Mr. Right and the Peanut until bedtime while simultaneously trying to prepare, eat and clean up from dinner and get ready for the next day. Then I try and get as much sleep as I can between feedings. Talking on the phone? Reading a book? Watching a tv show? Visiting with friends? Cooking/cleaning/other projects? No longer on the schedule. I now understand and sympathize so much more with any new mom who has ever existed and said they were tired and unable to go anywhere/do anything/drink a full glass of water. Yup.
My three saving graces in all of this chaos: 1. loving friends and family 2. The Baby Café, a nursing moms group that meets just down the street and 3. the internet, where I can google anything and read way more advice about anything I could possibly want to know. What amazes me is how every single dimension of babyhood requires dissertations worth of research and preparation. Like, feeding Grace baby food. Who could ever master the ginormous array of options and opinions? The most valuable to me of all the advice I've been given so far was from a very elderly woman at the drug store who stopped to admire the Peanut. "Just enjoy every moment. It goes so fast." Her wistful smile still catches at my heart; that will be me if I'm lucky in 40 years when the Peanut is grown and has her own peanuts to raise.
Ultimately, I’ve learned that most important lesson: just give up trying to master it and blunder through. Oh and, “Let it go. This too shall pass.” Grateful, amazed, and freaked out pretty much is my continual state. So, happy new year indeed. If I don't return your phone call, hang in there. I'll call you back in 2012.