Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mommy to a Spider Monkey on Crack

I love Aidric so much. I am so proud of him. He is smart, funny, sweet, and loving. But lately he is also like a spider monkey on crack. That's right. Imagine a strong and wild little beast. Now imagine that beast on crack, or speed, or meth. (I have never taken these drugs or even seen anyone in person who was on these drugs. I am going by stereotypes from TV.) I wanted to write about it because I'm not sure that many of you know what it's like.
Aidric wakes up every morning at 6:15 and hits the ground running. Literally. He cannot wait to get going, to turn something over, to climb something, to go through the drawers, to pour something out, to pull everything out of the closet, to flush the toilet a million times, to pull at my pants while I'm trying to go to the bathroom, to climb onto the back of the toilet so that he can turn on the faucet, to open and close the doors a million times, to bang on the walls and furniture with my shoe, the remote, a spoon, etc, to squish the cat, to try to stand on Daddy's head, to pull the keys off my keyboard, to get up onto the stove, and to throw the ball at the TV. This all happens at a running speed and in about 15 minutes. I am not exaggerating. He keeps this pace throughout the day.
I know some people who have what I call 'easy babies'. I am not implying that parenting is easy for anyone. I am saying that parents of these easy babies have completely different lives than mine. They can take a shower while easy baby plays with a toy next to the tub. They can eat or drink something in peace or even while sitting down. They can go shopping while easy baby laughs and coos in the stroller or cart. They can make dinner. They can go out to eat with easy baby. They can have conversations with other adults. They can go to the park or beach and relax while easy baby quietly plays. They can live without the constant responsibility of stopping disasters.
I do not feel badly in any way. I think Aidric is extraordinary, brilliant, physically advanced, and healthy. I would never want him to be anything other than who he is.
I do, however, wonder what it might be like to have one of those easy babies and would welcome some validation.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


What a boring title. Oh, well.

It amazes me how the major part of being a parent is the constant pulling of different forces. You can be drawn up to an ecstatic heavenly place while feeling heartbroken at the same time.

Even the simplest of things like when Aidric waves at someone. He almost always finally waves when the lucky recipient has moved their attention elsewhere, and he gets this confused and disappointed look on his face like, " Hey! I waved! Why are you ignoring me. Hello...." And my heart breaks for him while I am also feeling so proud of his new skill.

Speaking of which, the heartache! Oh, the sympathy. When he gets an boo-boo or he gets terrified of a loud sound, I look at him and I just feel it. I feel it like it's my own injury or trauma.

Or when I wait and wish for the day that he can entertain himself so I can get something done, and when that day comes, I wonder if he feels neglected.

I am guessing that I had better get used to this duality. Pride will always be mixed with worry. Love will always be hand in hand with fear.

I remember reading in a Steven King story once that we always imagine the worst horrors happening to those we love the most. Love and fear. It's true.

It has been such a journey this past year. I felt that I have been reborn. I naively said to myself when I was pregnant that life will be the same, but better. Sure, I'll have more responsibility, but I want that. I realize now that there is no way to imagine how it will be. It would be like imagining a new set of colors or sounds. Another contradiction, it seems, that I am the same person, but I'm not. My perceptions are permanently filtered through his eyes. And he holds the biggest mirror up to me. I see how I look to him, and I want to be the best person I can be for him. It's an instant attitude changer. Free therapy.

I'm sorry if it sounds just too sappy, but I feel like having Aidric is the hugest, most wonderful thing the world could ever know! "We made a baby! A human! He's awesome!" But there are millions of babies in the world. It happens every day. Calm the heck down.
Therein is the biggest duality.

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Aidric 13 1/2 Months

Dear Aidric,

Well, it has been a long time since my last update. I have just been too busy loving you to pieces to write about it.

A WHOLE LOT has happened. We moved. We went to Maine and Connecticut. You started walking. But you are still as fun and beautiful and loving as always.

It has finally happened. I look at 4 month old babies, and I miss when you were that age. Which is funny because I LOVE you where you are now the most, but I say that every month. Will I always love you more each month? Will there ever be a time when I say,"Jeesh, this is just not the best stage right now"? Probably when you are 2 1/2. I hear that's a tough time.

Please stop growing so fast, okay? I think the combination of this time warp that is parenthood, the confusion of the first time, and the looking back at all the time I wasted reading books and worrying, makes me want to do it over. I want to relive the pregnancy, the birth, the newborn stage, and the time when you were a non mobile, wiggly cuddle-lump. But then I remember the nausea, the sore bits, and all those no shower days.

I wish I had kept better notes on all the cute things you do. Like the 'I don't know' gesture and the 'squishy face'.

I have pictures of those, though. Here is the long list of all the things I don't want to forget. You do this fake sneeze(you started this all on your own). You like to throw your animals out of the crib and wait for me to throw them back in. You love to shove as much food as possible into your mouth. You love to oh-so-sneakily grab something, turn, and run. You like to put things into and out of other things. You absolutely LOVE music and complain when I forget to put some on. Your favorites are Cure, Masters of Reality, Lisa Gerrard, and old 80's. You love wind chimes, wheels of any kind, birds, airplanes, helicopters, animals, and shoes.

You love to 'cruuusshhh' things.

You still squish Clouseau every day, and Clouseau still lets you. You love to play peek-a-boo. You point to your belly, knees, toes, eyelashes, arm, and sometimes your ear when I ask you where they are. You love books. You notice everything around you all the time. If you could talk I know it would be an endless stream of 'What's that? What's that? OOOH, what's THAT?!? Now that you are walking you love to carry things around with you. How cool that must feel to be gaining control over your environment. You love to take baby rides on box tops or in the hamper.

You took your first steps on your own. We were lucky we saw it. After a month of us urging you to "walk to Mama" or "walk to Dad-dad" you decided that you wanted to be in the other room, thank you very much. Then it was just a matter of days before you were taking more and more steps in a row, and a couple of weeks to pretty much be walking all over the place. Now you want to walk in your crib, on our bed, and in the bathtub. Gah. You love to haul around the empty 5 gallon water jug (which is as big as you).

You were learning all this walking when you were on Monhegan and in Connecticut. After flight cancellations, cutting your eye teeth with a fever during an 11 hour travel day, extreme separation anxiety, a hurricane, and a vomitous rocky boat ride, we made it to the Island. Ahhhhhh....

You loved it there. You have never napped so well.

Then we saw ALL your grandparents in Connecticut. That was very special and a bit exhausting. I realized how much I miss New England and my family. I just try not to think about that too much.
Mercifully, the travel back was super smooth and quick. Even the 5 hour drive from ME to CT went nicely. Thanks to plastic beepy toys.

You really are so much fun right now. I look forward to every day and wait for you to amaze me with a new game you make up or a new sound or word. Thanks again for making my life so full and intense.



(I want to write about some more insightful thoughts, but I really want to publish this now. You will have to wait for the deep thoughts.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bitch-Fest: The Sun is Finally Out of Cancer, But I'm still Complaining

We're moving! Finally! And I can hear the sigh of relief from all that have endured my complaining and complaining about our current place. (Thanks for listening, by the way.)
So here is the BIG LIST of all the things I will definitely not miss about this place.

1. Landlord.
2. The old dinky wall heater in the living room that is only good for warming up the person sitting on the end of the couch.
3. Street Parking: When you have a baby and groceries and have to park wayyyyyyy down the street because everyone has parked on the street for all the restaurants: Not happy. Street sweeping on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8am. So Monday night and Tuesday night you can't go out after 5pm because you won't get a parking spot on the right side of the street, and if you go out in the morning, there are still no spots, so you park in the alley, but then the husband has to be late for work because the baby is sleeping and he needs to move the car for the dumpster trucks that come all day long. Repeat every week. Which brings us to...
4. Dumpster trucks, service trucks, repair trucks constantly banging and beeping right behind the building. We are right next to Warner Brothers Marketing building, so many dumpsters.
5. Landlord
6. Cruise night at Bob's Big Boy down the street. Every hot rod and stupid-loud motorcycle blasts down the street. You can't hear what Steve Colbert is saying!!!
7. Construction that has been going on for THREE YEARS on the highway. Getting on the highway is a major pain, and they detour traffic down our street.
8. Building is stucco and plaster and retains the 100 degree heat all night long.
9. One outlet per room.
10. Every day I can wipe away black tar-like smog grit off floors and surfaces.
11. No laundry
12. No dishwasher
13. Old crank windows, half of which don't work or latch closed, and into which air conditioners do not fit.
14. Landlord.
15. 5'X 5' kitchen.
16. Floors that creak so loudly they have woken Aidric up out of sound sleep.
17. Doors that have been painted so many times with cheap dirt colored paint that they don't close, or POP every time you open them, waking up baby again.
18. Mold in the caulking.
19. Beautiful hexagonal counter tiles whose grout has long since disintegrated and been replaced with 50 years of crusted in dirt.
20. Landlord.

And that is the last time you will have to listen to me whine and moan about it!

Having the most wonderful neighbors in the world has been the saving grace and has softened all our suffering. We will miss them terribly!

New apartment pics coming soon.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Aidric 10 1/2 Months

I always think of these deep and poignant things to write about when I am trying to fall asleep or sitting at the playground. When I am here actually writing, it's all gone. But I do recall musings on how everything is different now. Better and very different.
For instance, I have a different brain. Not like someone else's brain. It's my brain, but it just no longer works the same. The stuff that makes me ME is still there, but my thinking is now Aidric-centric. I can no longer have a long, quiet conversation with someone. Mostly because the person with whom I am talking is also afflicted with the same brain change. This new brain causes me to forget just about everything. Like things about which I wanted to write.

One thought I do recall is this: If every Mom out there loves their babies with the same intensity that I love Aidric, how can there be so much bad stuff in the world? I feel that my love alone could wipe all the hatred out of the Middle East. Pre-Aidric, I would have never thought it possible to have this intensity of emotion. Falling in love with Mark is close but so very different too.

I still think about the miracle of it all. How this person formed from an almost nothingness inside of my body. I will know him as a infinitely small speck of potentiality, a squirmy newborn, a crawling squealing blur, and hopefully as a precocious toddler, an awkward and loving adolescent, a happy grown up, and maybe even a precocious old man.

It took ten months for it to happen, but I finally feel totally at peace with leaving Aidric with Mark so I can go shopping or get a pedicure. A good combination of lessened separation anxiety, less nursing requirement, and less guilt from me. I have been to two yoga classes. When I am practicing yoga there is no room in my head for anything else, and when it's over I realize that I thought of nobody else but me. That's a good thing sometimes.

Dear Aidric,

You are now 10 1/2 months old. You are now clapping! It's the cutest thing. Almost as cute as when you hold your foot up with your hand when you sit, or when you grab your feet and clap them during your diaper change, or when you sit on the floor and scoot around 360 degrees. You wave to people, but usually way after you first meet them and they are not looking. You are very interested in other people, craning your head around to see them, or just staring and staring. Then you look away coyly when they talk to you. You little charmer.
You are fascinated with wheels, buttons, and all things electrical(outlets, cords, vacuum, remotes, phones, DVD player, etc.) Trying to keep you alive and uninjured takes up most of the day. You seem fearless and try to even climb things that are not climbable at all. You shock and awe everyone on the playground and at Gymboree with your climbing abilities.

You are doing some amazing things now. Instead of just knocking down the tower of blocks, you gently nudge them, crawl around it to look at it from different angles, pick the top block off, and then smash it. You have started to give me things- handing me some of your food or offering me the chance to chew on your toy(um, thanks). But, oh, I just melt. I see the beginnings of your using objects - like when you hold your block and put it up against your music table, or when you try to put something back into it's place. Seeing this kind of learning growth thrills me so.

You are cruising, walking your car back and forth, and even standing on your own for many seconds until you slowly sit down. Watching you little bow legs and your little diaper-tooshie walking away is the cutest thing in the world.

You are babbling and squealing away from the moment you wake up to the moment you finally pass out. The only exception being when you are concentrating on something or managed to grab the remote and the thrill of this forbidden object in your hands renders you speechless. You hold it with both hands in front of your face in disbelief, and then look to Daddy or me to see our reaction. We say, "No-no!", and then you laugh at us.

I have improved your diet to include more veggies. You like peas the most. I can put down a mix of green beans, carrots, and peas to find that you cleverly pick out only the peas. If you are feeling frisky, the beans and carrots go overboard.

You now enjoy the stroller, which makes me happy too because I can see a jogging stroller in our future. We take you for a walk almost every day in the stroller, but you still love to take an early morning walk with me in your carrier. We see squirrels, dogs, bikers, cats, flowers, trees, and sometimes other babies. We bounce and sing and touch flower petals. Towards the end of the walk, you are getting sleepy and you rest your head on my shoulder and look up at me. Your eyelids get heavy and your little body gets soft and still. I can't fully describe how this sweet moment just fills me up with bliss.

We had a visit from your Grandma Marion and your Aunt Holly. It was a busy, fun week, and I think the highlight was going to the Huntington. Outrageously beautiful place. You saw some wonderful paintings (including one of my favorites), a waterfall, roses, and a Japanese garden. You especially loved the art museum. You babbled so loudly the whole time.

This past month Dad-Dad has been home from work. He goes back to work on Monday. I wonder how you will react. This past month has been great for you two and a great gift for me. I think I would be very happy as a Kalahari Bushmen where we could all forage and work together in our huts. At least we would all be together.

I wonder if all this intensity ever fades. Will I always get this screaming adrenaline rush when you first cry out for me? Will you always move me to hug you so tightly, cover you with kisses, and repeat 'I love you' every 10 minutes? Will you always be the first thought in my head and the last? Will my heart break every time you fall, when another kid is mean to you, or when you wave so sweetly, but the person doesn't even see you?
I know I will always feel so proud of all your accomplishments and cheer you on no matter what. Watching you walk away while you push your car, I know you have that excited look on your face. I clap and cheer even though I know it means one more small step towards your independence. But I will always be right behind you to grab you, kiss you and repeat 'I love you' over and over.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Aidric 9 1/2 Months


In the past month you have started to develop quite a little personality. You have big grinny, squinty-eyed smiles for Mommy and Daddy, beguiling ones for strangers, and a combination shy-turn-away with bug gummy smile chaser for special occasions.

You love to slap and drum any surface in your path. High chair tray - SLAP. Table top - SLAP. Mammy's belly - SLAP SLAP SLAP.

You are now cruising along everything and even transferring from couch to coffee table. Yesterday you let go of the chair, balanced standing up for 4 seconds, and then sat slowly down. I was so proud of you.

You are getting very good at feeding yourself and having a grand time with that. Then you realize that you have been sitting for 15 whole minutes, and it's time to get moving again, for the love of Pete! Your diet now is pretty diverse. You are eating carrots, polenta, peaches, pears, tofu, Ezekial bread with sunflower seed butter, whole grain waffles with flaxseed oil, blueberries, apricots, cheerios, Crispix, buttered raisin bread toast, kiwi, and yogurt in addition to your staples of sweet potato, banana, cereals, and avocado. Yes, I know, there is very little green veggies in that list.

You are doing all kinds of cute little arm gestures too. Hands up! Then arm out like you are Price Is Right model. Then you wave your hand up in the air! "Hi ceiling fan!"

You are saying, "bubble", "Dad-Dad", "Ma-Ma", and "bob-bob". I think "bob-bob" means Grandma because that's what you said nonstop when you saw her.

You have now tooth #2 coming in! Two razor teeth! The first one appeared about two weeks ago. Now I only nurse you when you are really hungry, so you don't practice your new chomping abilities on me. Ouch.

I haven't talked of this much, but you really don't like the car. If you are napped and fed, and it's not too late in the day, and it's not too hot, and there is no sun hitting you, and Mercury is NOT in retrograde, you will TOLERATE being in the car for maybe 15 minutes. After that, it's inconsolable screaming with so many tears and sweating and hyperventilating, and then my head explodes and collapses in on itself like a neutron star. We don't go too far.

But we go to the playground pretty much every day. You love it now. There are things to climb! And sand to eat! And other babies to watch! Oh, you talk to other babies now and smile at them. I just melt. Thank God the playground is a 5 minute drive!

We had a visit from Christy, Dave, and Hadley and a visit from Grandma. I had my best friend and Mom here for Mother's Day! It was wonderful and also total chaos. Trying to sight see in LA traffic, connect with them, eat, and have fun while coordinating around two different baby schedules, and all in 2 1/2 days. We all survived. I was so moved that Christy, in the midst of rearranging her life to prepare for a new job, decided to spend some of her last days of freedom by coming to visit! Thank you, Christy. That meant so much to me.

And your grandma, my Mom, also came to visit. It was wonderful to see how sweetly you bonded to her. I never heard you babble so loudly like you did with her! We went to the playground, did some shopping, and played with your toys. It was so nice to have someone to talk to and help out a little. Even to have just one relative living here would be wonderful beyond words. But we all have each other and that is the most important thing.

We had another earthquake the other night. We were eating dinner, and you were in your crib sleeping. We ran to you. I had to hold back tears. It wasn't a bad earthquake; Nothing even fell down, but I was terrified for a few minutes waiting to see if there would be more tremors. I held you and didn't let go for an hour. Daddy and I just held hands and looked at each other with renewed thankfulness for what we have.

I think that this 9 month mark has meant a big change in your emotional/mental development. I really see a little boy emerging. You want to investigate and explore your surroundings. MOVE MOVE MOVE. All day long. You are pretty good at entertaining yourself. I am so happy that I had that bliss of holding you all the time before you were crawling. I still treasure our cuddles, nursing time, and our walks. I would miss the early closeness if it wasn't such a blast to see you climb, cruise, and discover all this fun stuff! Like WHEELS! And DOORS! And BUTTONS!

You wake me up at 5:45 with a big old whine. Once I can finally pry my eyes open, I love to see your sleepy, hungry, crinkled up face. Your eyes are pleading for me. I pick you up, bring you back to my bedside to nurse you. We are both warm and drowsy and still. I sit there, just relishing the quiet and feeling your soft weight on my legs and belly. This bliss, too, is temporary.

I love you,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Level 1 Mom

I spoke about feeling depressed in my last post, and I have been warmed and so encouraged by many understanding and supportive responses. I think that depression is a tricky demon because I couldn't see what was happening while I was in it. I feel much better now. I want to go out and do things. I want to visit my friends. That haze of melancholia is gone most days. On the days I feel a bit sad I at least know that it's just hormones and it will go away. The thing that really bothers me about how I was feeling is that I don't remember much. I know there were so many smiles, giggles, milestones, and just the day-to-day things that are gone forever. Those first weeks of sleeping next to Aidric in bed, holding him close constantly, and gazing at each other's faces are so blurry and blend into one image now. Thank goodness we have 100 gigs of pictures and video.

It is such tragedy that the early time with your baby that is expected to be so sacred and joyous can be such a dark and confusing time. Is it just hormones? A chemical cocktail of sleep deprivation levels of melatonin, stress hormones, and all those lovely female hormones making it so hard to climb out from under those feelings?

Or is it that I just don't have the mental and emotional fortitude to handle the difficulties?

You see, I feel that I have spent most of my life just floating along. Too frightened and insecure to take chances and sabotaging them when they came along. I learned to just get by. I would take the easy job with minimum wage, stick to a guy that would have me so I could stop burdening my Mom, and just let the years go by. My friends from high school moved away, found good husbands, made babies and started careers while I painted, traveled, and thought nothing about the future. I shopped at Salvation Army, stole bagels from work, went out dancing, and stayed way too long with guys in co-dependent ignorance.

But eventually women close to me started having babies, and I saw for the very first time how happy that made them. I started to see children as something other that the screeching demons I would notice in CVS. They were amazing and sweet. I saw that look on my friends' faces when they looked at their babies. That look. You know what I mean. I knew I had to experience that. But I wasn't in the right place. I looked at myself. Great. A part time teacher, part time plein air painter, no man, no plan. Oh, well. I guess I will survive without knowing what it's like to be a Mom.

But then I met Mark, and I wanted it all: the house, yard, and baby. Wanted it real real bad. I wanted to live up to the responsibility for once. I wanted Mark to be proud of his wife.

I wanted to be truly challenged. I wanted to be important for something. I wanted to love someone like the way I saw my friends do. And I am, and I do. I only just realized this. I finally feel like I am really living. Sure, I still feel too overwhelmed some days, but I am fighting and trying to be a better person every day. For Aidric. For Mark. For me.

The next big challenge is to balance the things I need to do with being a Mom. I need to paint and practice yoga to be the balanced and calm person I want to be, and to be the role model I want Aidric to see. I just need to figure out how to make that happen when I usually don't have the time to cut my toenails.

We all have challenges in life. Some are environmental, and some are self-inflicted. Would I have had a better experience if we weren't in this awful apartment? What if I had had someone here to help out? I will never know. I can get mad that we have no dishwasher, no laundry, and no central air in the 100 + summers. I can let our crummy landlord get to me. I can curse every motorcycle, fire truck, and helicopter disrupting Aidric's nap. But what good does that do? I know that there are so many people who handle much much worse. And for those of you who have houses with yards, modern conveniences, good jobs, and quiet neighborhoods, I hope you appreciate the kingly affluence you have!

As for me, I feel truly alive, challenged, and adapting. I am focusing on the things that I have that make me happy, rather than the things I would like to have. And I am so blessed to have such good caring friends who have been so understanding. I feel like I am starting out, a level 1 Mom, on a new adventure.