Month: February 2007 (page 1 of 3)

Heaven Isn’t Too Far Away

It’s actually right in my bathroom.

By bathroom paradise

It’s my tub.

And that’s not just any old tub. Well, actually it’s a really old tub. A 99 year old tub. And it just happens to be the exquisite vehicle through which I was transported to what some call nirvana, last night.

It was around 1:30 a.m. I’d been working furiously on my monthly site updates for My Mommy’s Place, having left the bulk of the work to the last minute, as usual. (You see, I’ve gotten into this habit where I work round the clock for about 48 hours to have my updates ready for my self-imposed first of the month deadline, after which I collapse into slack mode for roughly the rest of the month until I have to do it all again.) My back and neck were sore, my muscles were quivering from a mixture of caffeine and fatigue, my eyes were burning and I still had to read those last two chapters of a book I’d promised to review by today. I needed a refresher and it seemed like as good a time as any to try out the tub in our downstairs bathroom.

I grabbed a cup of chamomile tea, a spoon and the container of leftover icing from the cake I’d made the day before and slipped into the warm bubble bath. I cannot believe it took me five months of living here to get in that tub. There aren’t enough words to describe the pleasure of being in it. It is otherworldly. Even the water seems different in there. Perhaps it draws upon the Fountain of Youth because I found the energy to push on working through the night.

And now, as my workload is beginning to lighten, all I can think of is getting back in that tub. If you don’t hear from me, that’s where I’ll be.

A Few Moments In A Day In The Life Of Julia’s Mommy

8:23 a.m. I am woken up by a finger poking the end of my nose and a tiny voice saying, “Mom, you got a zip. It’s kinda big. Are you gonna pop that zip?”

Sometime around 9:00 a.m. Julia is in the bath tub. She says she has a present for me. She pretends to pull something out of her belly button, hands me the imaginary item and says, “Open it.”

I feign unwrapping the invisible gift and ask, “What is it?”

“It’s a cookie. Eat it.”

10:35 a.m. We’re in the van heading to Story Time. Julia demands the “Noodle Song,” which is the name she uses for any song she likes. After eight incorrect guesses, I finally skip to her choice: “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. We sing all the way to the library, loudly.

11:17 a.m. Story Time is in full swing. I’m sitting in a window seat watching Julia from afar, having made the decision to let her sit with the big kids on her own. Suddenly, she jumps up from her chair, runs over to me and whispers, “I love you,” and rejoins the rest of the group.

12:45 p.m. We’re in the van heading home. Julia hears “I Need You Tonight” by INXS for the first time. She likes it very much. After the lyric “There’s something about you girl..” she shouts, “That’s me!” Everytime. She tells me the song is about her. Once we arrive home and hop out of the vehicle, she greets Monet by singing, “I’m lonle-hey-hey!”

Sometime around 2:00 p.m. We’re having a tickle fight on the couch. Julia slams her head into my nose and I see stars. She kisses me and says, “Oh, Mommy! I am so sorry to you.” After she is certain I’m okay she says, “I’m hungry to bananas.”

3:56 p.m. We’re shopping at the IGA. Julia tells me she’d like some “chicken bunnies.” I know immediately that she is talking about Marshmallow Peeps.

6:30 p.m. Julia serenades her grandparents with the song we made up to help her learn to spell her name and actually lets me catch it on video.

8:24 p.m. Julia begins wedging her stuffed bear, Holly Bear, in various locations and calling upon me to assist in the search and rescue missions.

9:40 p.m. I read Julia The Monster At The End Of This Book, The Runaway Bunny, Corduroy, Green Eggs and Ham and All By Myself. She gets very upset when I forget to say, “by Mercer Mayer,” after reading the title of the last book on the list and closes the book and makes me begin again. Then, she tells me a story about a princess, a puppy and swimming.

10:50 p.m. As we are settling into bed, Julia asks me, “Mom, can I be a grown-up tomorrow? Please?”

Slow down, little girl. You’ll be a grown-up soon enough.

It’s A Jinxy Voodoo Kind Of Thing

Have you ever had moments when you feel like life is trying to tell you something?

I’ve had experiences like that. Like the time I followed a real estate agent over smooth, gray slate to a stately, white house, and something about the delicate, pink flowers at my feet, the curve of the path and the kiss of the breeze on my cheek aroused a feeling of familiarity and comfort that told me I was home. I didn’t need to look inside to see what was there, I already knew it. I felt it. The feeling was so strong; I wasn’t seeing this place for the first time, I was returning. I’d been here before. I’m not sure when, it could have been a dream. Regardless of where the feeling came from, it was a sign that I’d found the place where I belonged. It is the place we now own.

On several ocassions, I’ve had a feeling or an experience that seemed to push me in a given direction. There have been times when everything added up to a thought, an idea, or an understanding that prepared me for something that was to come. This weekend, I’ve felt like I might be having one of those times. There have been so many little things that have taken me back to a specific time in my life. It started with flipping on the television just in time to watch Hope Floats and later Moonlight and Valentino, from beginning to end – two movies that resonated so deep within me during the space between the death of my first love and marriage and the birth of my relationship with Dave. I lived with the characters from those films day after day, hurting with them and crying with them. They weren’t exhausted by my pain or annoyed with my sadness. Somehow watching those movies again and again helped me through my grief. I found it strange that both movies were on and I had the opportunity to actually sit down and watch them, in their entirety, uninterrupted – that in and of itself is a miracle and it got my attention. After countless other flashback-inducing encounters, I read Gunfighter’s post “Life In The Bubble” about people who are living in their own world, unaware of the things happening outside of their bubble, people who are disconnected, looking inward – people who very much resembled me during that particular time.

Now, I can’t help but wonder what it is I should remember or learn about that time of my life. Am I making too much of this? I did see The Number 23 on Saturday. Am I freaking out? Maybe it’s just a reminder that I’ve got things pretty good now. I’m not sure. It seems when I have moments like this that something monumental is about to occur, that things are going to change in a big way. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Deja vu. Intuition. Premonitions. Have you ever experienced anything like that?

What’s the question?

Let’s play a little Jeopardy. Here are the answers:

1. He published a blog post about my stinkers.

2. He cracked a rude joke while I clutched my pillow, with tears spilling down my cheeks as a character died on-screen in one of my favorite movies.

3. He kept me waiting for an hour and twenty minutes in bed after he said he was going downstairs to turn out the lights, but played Madden 2007 instead.

4. He threw down his controller and stomped off when I started beating him at the song Sweet Child O’ Mine on Guitar Hero II.

What’s the question?

Soft

Photo Hunt

Soft

Sing, Sing A Song

I’ve entered the Mom Idol Singing Contest with the song you, or at least 80% of you, voted for – Heaven Is A Place On Earth by Belinda Carlisle. You can listen to it here. Be sure to check out Julia’s version of The Alphabet Song while you’re there, too. She was really excited to record it. Every person in the house had to come and listen to it. After each human being in our family had heard it, she started bringing toys.

“Mom, ball wants to hear my song,” she said holding her pink Gertie ball. So we played it for the ball. And her stuffed poodle. And her rabbit. And her boots.

A little later, she let me record her singing a little bit of her new favorite song. Here’s the real version:


Surrender
By Cheap Trick
BestAudioCodes.com

And here’s Julia’s version:

I absolutely love that child.

I’d Like To Ask The Audience

My husband and I are deadlocked in a battle over the color of our cat, Katie.

Will you please go here and weigh in?

It’s either ask you all or dye her purple.

Where’s The Snooze Button For This Clock?

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Pennsylvania, having traveled here to support a dearly loved family member that was having a major surgery today. Julia and my mother are sleeping nearby and I am missing my husband, who is probably arriving at work right about now. Even though he wouldn’t be there if I were home, there’s something about being this far away that makes sleeping without him nearly impossible.

And then there’s the fact that couples throughout the hotel are having hotel sex right now – you know, the kind of sex you dare not have at home because it’s so wild and uninhibited, you couldn’t live there afterward. Although these days, wild and uninhibited for Dave and me means sex with sound. Since becoming parents, we’ve discovered that noise is the number one thing that tips off the sex police (i.e. Julia and the cats). So we’re silent lovers who rely on a complex series of gestures for communication. Imagine a baseball coach gesturing to the batter to tell him how to swing and you’ve gotten a glimpse of our foreplay.

I know this talk may seem indecent, but I can’t help but have sex on my mind. The alarm on my biological clock went off this afternoon when we arrived at the hospital to visit our recovering patient after a successful surgery. We exited the elevator along with my pregnant cousin on the second floor to the soft sound of chimes ringing a lullaby and the announcement that a baby had just been born in the maternity ward. My uterus started doing back-flips while my ovaries chanted, “B-A-B-Y, Baby! Baby!” over and over again. For the first time, after a few months of really trying and over a year of hoping for a surprise, I began to feel disappointment that I am not yet pregnant.

Now, after a long and exhausting day, I’m going to crawl into a strange, lonely bed and dream of wild and uninhibited sex with sound for the purpose of procreation.

Sweet Seduction

Have you seen this?

Edy's American Idol Ice Cream

I spotted it in the grocery store on Sunday and was overwhelmed with lust. I abandoned my usual penny-pinching, bargain hunting ways and without even looking at my coupons or the price tag, I reached into the freezer to make this mine. Even at the check out, when they informed me that I may need to mortgage my house to afford it, I didn’t hesitate. I had to have it. I’m not sure what that says about me.

I sped home and burst through the door, holding the treasure high shouting, “Dave! Dave! Come and see what I’ve got!”

My enthusiasm piqued his interest enough to pull him away from the voodoo spell of Madden 2007 and into the kitchen where I was bouncing and holding out the carton. He looked at the carton, then at me, then at the carton and said, “What?”

I moved closer and shook it vigorously.

“It’s ice cream,” he said flatly.

“It’s American Idol Ice Cream.”

“Cool.” He was unimpressed.

“But, Dave. It’s ice cream with American Idol on it. And it sounds good, too. Listen to this: ‘yellow cake flavored light ice cream with blue frosting swirl and multicolored sprinkles.’ Yummy.”

“Yeah. Sounds good,” he said walking away.

“And with only half the fat!” I yelled after him, but he was gone.

Later, Dave returned from his football binge to find me snuggling up on the couch with a heaping bowl of gimmickry. He looked at me and said, “Leslie, American Idol isn’t even on. You should eat it while you watch the show.”

But it was too late. I couldn’t hear him over the sound of endorphins rushing into my blood stream, laughing and cheering as they rode the pleasure wave to my brain.

American Idol or no, this is some good stuff. You may want to buy some. There are other flavors, but this one “Takes The Cake.” (Hee hee.) You can also vote for your favorite flavor for a chance to win tickets to the American Idol finale.

Speaking of singing contests…have you entered the Mom Idol Online Singing Contest? Don’t forget to vote for the song I should sing to enter, too!

So There!

Since Julia was born, I have received criticism for how Dave and I have chosen to parent her. Something about being a parent, especially a first-time parent, seems to invite advice and judgement upon you. From the moment my baby bump showed, it started.

“You shouldn’t be carrying all those groceries. Think about your baby,” a woman at the grocery store told me.

Yet another insisted, “Do not raise your arms over your head. The umbilical cord will get tangled around your baby’s neck.”

After Julia arrived, it continued. And increased.

I’ve been given some very useful advice along the way, and there are have been some judgements I’ve heard that have made me think about my choices – and thoughtfulness in parenting is not a bad thing. I can respect someone who imparts what they feel is widsom to me because of a genuine desire to be caring and helpful. It is when opinions are barked from a high horse that’s hard for me to take.

Much of the disapproval Dave and I have heard has been about cosleeping and extended breastfeeding, two things we thoughtfully elected to offer our daughter. Time and again, we’ve been asked to justify our reasoning for those choices, particularly from our former family doctor.

You see, that family doctor insisted that because I had chosen cosleeping and extended breastfeeding for my daughter that she would be crippled by the social ineptitude that comes from that kind of cockamamie hoo-ha parenting. I was told that I’d be lucky if she would be able to talk to others or go to school because of the debilitating separation anxiety my selfish actions would cause (because you know I was forcing her to sleep with me and breastfeed to fulfill my own needs). Nevermind that my then 20 month old child, who had been moved to the 3-4 year old group in her Montessori class because she fit in better there, would wave and tell me bye-bye and skip off happily to join her class while the door shut before my tear-filled eyes. I thought this was a sign that she didn’t have separation anxiety and could go to school and talk to others, but clearly I was blinded by my ignorance and selfishness. A 20 month old is too young to know what is going on. As soon as she does, she’d have separation anxiety I was told. My substandard parenting practices guaranteed it. “You won’t be able to tear her away from you,” the doctor said, “And you’re never going to get her out of your bed.”

But here were are. Julia is now 2 years, 7 months and 26 days old and three days this past week, she put herself to bed.

On three separate occasions, as bedtime neared she approached me and said, “Mom, I’m tired. I’m going to bed,” and proceeded to go get herself ready for bed, lay down and go to sleep. For the night. On her own. All by herself.

The first night, I was surprised. I shook my head and laughed at the ways she can amaze me. The second night, I was equally stunned and began to think there might be something to this. The third night, I was ready to call that old family doctor to laugh and shout, “I told you!”

Not to say, “I told you that cosleeping and extended breastfeeding are the best,” but to say, “I told you I wasn’t clueless.”

There are many ways to parent a child – not just a right way and a wrong way. There isn’t a one size fits all method for raising children. Every family has a unique set of challenges and advantages, a special blend of talents and personalities, so it makes sense for parents to fulfill the needs of their child in a way that fits their situation.

I used to get a lot of advice from a wonderful Kindermusik teacher who was also the mother of six children. I always listened carefully to the information she passed along, because I figured the parent of six children has to know quite a bit more about parenting than me. I felt I could learn a lot from her and I did. But, I made the mistake of believing that she was a better, smarter, more capable parent until she gave me a piece of advice that just didn’t jive with me. I thought about it for a long time before I came to an important conclusion: she knows a lot about parenting, but no one knows more about parenting my child than me.

Confidence in parenting can be a hard thing to achieve. There is always someone out there to tell you what you’re doing wrong or someone that appears to be doing it better. I often have to remind myself that there is no one better equipped to parent my child than me. I know her best. I live with her. I’ve got the genes. No one cares about her well-being like me. And when it is all said and done, what matters is that my daughter feels loved and knows her worth. I think I am achieving that.

Tonight, Julia may decide she wants to sleep with Mommy and Daddy and that’s fine. But for three nights this past week, she went to sleep on her own, in her own bed.

“You’ll never get her out of your bed?”

I’m pleased to say that you were wrong, dear doctor. And for the first time in a year, your disapproving words have gone silent and I know I am a good mother. I have been all along.

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