Archive | February, 2012

The Red Thread

21 Feb

An old Chinese Proverb states that “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The red thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”

I came across this while reading an article in Good Housekeeping Magazine (yes… ok?? I read Good Housekeeping, and I can tell you how to get super glue off your ring or that yellow stain out of your polyester jacket).

There is a book by Ann Hood that was published last year called “The Red Thread.” Its a novel based on her experiences with adopting a Chinese girl into her family.

Now, according to my extensive Wikipedia Search research, this proverb is actually meant to apply to two lovers, much as we Westerners would apply the term “soul mate.”  I don’t know if I believe in one particular soul mate, but I suppose it’s a convenient theory.  Maybe a blog for another day?

Anyway,  I really want to read this book now.   The author has taken the idea of the ‘soul mate’ and extended it to parents and children. This concept resonates with me so much deeper than the idea of a lover/husband/ partner.  “No matter how tangled or frayed the thread becomes, our child is waiting for us at the other end.”  As a mother, I love this notion.  As someone who struggled with infertility, I have to acknowledge others that are doing so at this very moment, and tell them to hang onto this doctrine… even if by a thread.  😉  As the wife of someone who was adopted, I live this truth every day of my life.

I remember when we were thinking of what to name Bea, we tossed around several names.  I liked Ruby, Ramona and Amelia, just to name a few.  I didn’t want my child to be one of five, ten or however many in her class (In the 70’s, Carrie and its many versions was a common name, and I had two other girls on my very BLOCK of the same name and spelling).  Granted, Carrie was no Jennifer, but I always knew I’d lean towards an older and unique name.

We obviously settled on Beatrice.  Baby Bea we called her.  And now I look at her and she simply can’t be anyone else.  She’s always been Bea.  Since I was a child, she was waiting for me on the other end.  I look at the relationship she has with my mother and could conceivably take that thread back even farther to before I was born.  She was waiting for my mom at the end of their thread too.

When you look at your child, don’t you just say “ah, THERE you are?”  I didn’t feel that the minute I laid eyes on her… I’ll be honest.  That sentiment was clouded by stitches, epidurals, hunger, thirst, pain and exhaustion.  But I do now.  This is how someone once described the feeling of having a second child to me.  She said, “You wonder after your first how you can possibly find room in your heart to love another as much, and then when they are born, your heart opens up and you say ‘oh, so THAT’s how it feels.'”  And PS no I am not pregnant.  Just stream of consciousness blogging and a tasty microbrew on this fine evening.

Does this concept ring true to you too?

My sister-in-law, Christy, gave birth to her baby boy yesterday.  When we say “welcome to the club,” this is what we mean.  Now she understands that he has been there all along.  “The parent club,” isn’t just about diapers, poop and sleepless nights, but gosh sharing those fun times with others does make it a bit easier.   No, the ‘club,’ is about realizing how interconnected the universe is, and how our world is just a tiny little piece of something so much bigger that we’ll never even be able to understand a fraction of.    I described it once as walking through a glass door.  On one side of the door, you look through, and you see a part of what’s going on.  But it’s not until you are on the other side–the parent side– that you understand what it truly is like.  And once you are through that door, you can’t go back.  You can still peek back into that other room, the one where you didn’t have any kids.  Your friends that don’t have kids are still there.  And the world looks so much different to them than the way you see it.  And you remember those days.  You sometimes even remember them fondly, and wish you could have them back (especially when your kid is 18 months-4 years… or so I’m told…haha).  But you are a part of something bigger now.

This blog started out as a blog on fertility, and I do still want to tell that story.  But that’s one part of the bigger story, and that is the story of being a parent. Because I’m learning and realizing that parents and children come in all shapes and sizes.  Its not the way the thread is weaved, its who is on the other end that counts.   A parent is a parent.  Love is love.  So congrats to Christy on finding Jesse this week.   He has been waiting a lifetime to meet her.  🙂


Bob on Small Appliances

17 Feb

One morning as Bob was cracking eggs to be scrambled, he started tossing them into the trash can.

Me: Why don’t you just throw them in the disposal?
Bob: {Absolutely incredulous look on his face}. What??? Noooo.  You can’t do that…can you?
Me: Yes, that’s what the disposal is for.
Bob: Eggshells don’t go in the garbage disposal. That doesn’t sound right to me.
Me: No, they do. Trust me {I start tossing them into the sink}
Bob: Wait…. that’s all you do? They go in whole like that?
Me: Yep.
Bob: Even the brown ones?
Me: Yes.
Bob: And why do we do this again?
Me: So the trash doesn’t stink like rotten eggs.

Desitin is not poison, catfood is delicious and books are overrated

10 Feb

Before I had Beatrice, I used to think Playgroups and Mommy groups were just things that bored, rich housewives did.  After I had Bea, of course, I learned differently.  Finding a set of people who are wading through the same poopy muddy waters as you can be a mental lifesaver.  I actually found these fine ladies through a program that was hosted at a local church every week, and led by a Nurse/ lactation consultant.   AND, this wasn’t the first one I went to.  I tried one out when Bea was just two weeks old. My in-laws drove me because I wasn’t even cleared to drive yet (does that tell you how badly I wanted to leave the house?)  I left there feeling worse than when I came in, namely because I felt the woman running it was judging me for supplementing Beatrice with formula.

But anyway, I found the second one right here in Canton and met some great new friends, including the family that we now nanny share with.  We started going when Bea was just 3 weeks old. Many of us splintered off into our own Friday playgroup for babies born in summer/fall 2010. When I was hired at my new job over the winter, they asked what days I wanted to work.  I HAD to have Fridays off so I could continue to come to playgroup!  As a new mom, I can’t tell you what an uplift it is to have a cup of coffee, some lunch that you didn’t have to prepare and adult conversation for a few hours.

Because the group was initially very large (lots of moms on maternity leave), we set up a Yahoo Group so we could email the whole group at once.  So now, from time to time, when someone has a milestone, feeding, behavioral question, or just something funny to say, we can email the whole group easily (and as one particularly lively southern gal has done from time to time, announce a craving for “chikin,” and invite anyone who’s free to join her for a Chick Fil-A run).

A few months back, someone started this email chain.  I found it again and had to repost.  Maybe it’s not quite as funny to you reading it, because you don’t know the moms and the babies, but it’s one of those instances as a parent when you think you’re being a bad mom, only to realize everyone else does the same things, and all the other babies are going through the same stages!  So, I think we all gained a little perspective on this particular email.  These emails are copied verbatim… no creative license taken. Enjoy*.

Bree: Hello again ladies,

So here’s something we’ve been struggling with the past few nights- tell me if you have seen this in your kids too and what you did. For at least the last 10 months, every night at bedtime we dress C in her jammies, lay her down with us on the guest bed in her room and read her “Goodnight Moon” and “How do I love you?”

We then pick her up, kiss her and snuggle a minute and place her calmly in her crib where she promptly falls asleep. Sounds like a dream kid, right?

Not so much. The past few nights she has wrestled us through the jammies process, squirming and wiggling her way out of whatever we’re trying to put on. Fine. But then, it gets personal when she won’t lay down and listen to the books. We’re good book readers and we share the responsibility by alternating the pages each of us reads. We’re great at bed-time We’ve tried
everything from giving her  own book to letting her hold the book we’re reading to holding her down (gently) on the bed to get her to listen. Then she makes a beeline for the crib and won’t accept kisses or snuggles and promptly falls asleep.

Is this a phase? When will she get over it? Should we just  skip trying to do books and put her right in her crib? I mean, that sounds  barbaric!  Tell me what to do! Please!

Thanks and good night,

Bree and Ms. Bed Time Ruiner, C

Gwen: I mean this in the nicest way, but will you trade  C for H for a few nights?? I could use just skipping his story 🙂

Petra: So…she wants to skip all the reading/snuggling  stuff and go straight to sleep? Still falls asleep no problem? And this is bad because? 🙂

Layla: Ha ha ha!  If  you could only see bedtime with S!  I chase her and wrestle her for diapers and jammies.  I can’t believe you’ve had it so easy.  This is killing me.  But I’ll try to be helpful.  When S “hide-y” from me,  I chase her and tickle her and then quickly  put something fascinating and unexpected in her hands to get a diaper on.  The whole dressing process takes ten minutes  or so.  Some nights, if she is really wild  or uncooperative, I just put a leg over her chest to keep her in place.  Singing silly songs about the clothing or  asking her to do it herself and then helping also helps. She also is more  engaged if I first put her diaper and clothes on baby and then on her so she knows what is coming, and she likes looking at the animals on her jammies.  I let her wander during books and then just plop her in the crib all the same.  It’s not worth a battle to have it my way. Most nights she cuddles, but some nights just runs around and digs through toys and throws books from her shelves. Seriously, you have it good. I think C is just expressing her independence.

Me: Ha, Layla, I can’t tell you how fascinating a tube of Desitin  or aveeno body lotion is for 30 seconds… just long enough to wrestle some fat legs into pajama bottoms!

So I’m not the only one who has a less than relaxing bed time routine?  I thought we were supposed to have ‘wind down’ time but for us, it’s more like squirmy time. Don’t even get me started on brushing teeth.

Layla: Omg, carrie, I had to call the Dr last week because S  ate the Destin.  FYI, it says seek immediate medical attention; Dr wasn’t the least bit concerned.

Me: Bea almost drank hand sanitizer. Ooh this is great fodder for my blog!

Gwen: Ha ha ha!!! That’s awesome S!!! H continues to stand in his crib screaming all night. He fell asleep standing up again yesterday. I could not let him cry it out in the hotel this week so now that we are home mean mommy is in town! Pray this won’t last more than a few nights… Oh, and he ate more cat food today. Probably a bit drier  than balmex but may have been tastier.

Petra:  Carrie–You brush Bea’s teeth?! Please tell me Carrie is the only one (or that Bea has a whole mouthful of teeth). Hmmm, I think I was late brushing E’s teeth too, though she just had her first check-up and everything was fine…

Yep, I think Bree’s in the minority. It’s usually a wrestling match with P and I don’t even try reading to her (she still
nurses before bed but never to sleep–I leave her standing up in her crib). Tonight P kept trying to claw out of the tub while I washed E’s hair,  twisted and screamed bloody murder while I put her diaper/jammies on, and  repeatedly harassed the dog (who has bit her in the past) and tried to stick  her fingers in an electrical outlet while I was brushing E’s hair. Before I
shut the door, she made a beeline for the stairs (she seems to think that since she can go up them she can also go down them–head first). I think I may have swore at both of them at one point (E was not much better than P but she responds to threats)!

Whew. Hubby is out of town. Can you tell?

Kristy: Also, I am super impressed/jealous that you both get  to do bedtime together each night. If Hubby happens to be home for bedtime I  hand over the reins immediately. That junk is exhausting. Br is a pretty good book reader, although he does go bonkers and start kicking and thrashing on the last page of ANY book unless you have already started saying  onemorebook?!
onemorebook?! onemorebook?!” as fast as you can before you close it. And he used to snuggle for a nanosecond when I sang a song and handed him his  stuffed monkey right as I leaned over his crib, but now he has started slapping  me and cackling.

PJs aren’t much of an issue here, but diapers have become a  GIGANTIC war. Between his “I think it’s so funny to pull my knees to my  chest and lock them there with inhuman strength so you can’t undiaper or  rediaper me” to his “I found something interesting between my legs  that I want to pull on” to his “oh, look what else, there is poop  here I can touch” to his “hahahahahahah KICK MOM IN THE FACE” I  just don’t have enough sets of arms.

Oh and I have brushed Br’s teeth all of one time… really  it’s the least of my concern these days. Side note on teeth- anyone else  cutting the pointy ones? Because he’s getting his second or third starting  yesterday and he is a JERK. I am not a fan.

After depositing him in the crib I wanted to sit on the  steps and drink wine until Dylan came home but we have no wine so I settled for a Coke and watched the neighborhood show.

Carrie: I think I need an update on poor H. When did  this vertical sleeping start?

Lee: Bree, I’m so jealous!!  Getting pjs on T has become an Olympic event.  Also, where I used to nurse him to sleep and it was easy to just put him in his crib, now he immediately sits up in his crib  and looks wide awake.  Bedtimes have been at 10 and 11pm recently and its driving me insane!!!

Gwen, the vertical sleeping thing is really funny.

Layla: Petra, I brush all 6.5 of S’s teeth.  But it’s a bit of a joke as she insists on  holding the brush and basically just sucks the toothpastes off and chews the  brush and then screams when I take the brush back.

Toni: Hubby has decided that “we” need to start  brushing El’s teeth.  I am letting him  take the lead in that “we”.  Our doctor said it will get harder to read for a while since they are so  excited about moving on their own.  She suggested to keep reading like she was still sitting there because it was more  about your tone and voice than the actual book.

El has also started getting impatient to be put in her  bed.  She points and lunges toward the  crib and doesn’t want her lullaby.  I am  pretending that it is because she is tired and not because of my awesome  singing.

Steph: Toni- S is starting to reject lullaby  too……… and we harmonize!!!!!!!! He sees his crib and wants IN ASAP. I hope it’s just a phase because we love singing……and we are tooth brushers  but it’s primarily because my husband comes from a serious dental family.

*Names have been (poorly) changed to protect the innocent.

To the Mother with only One Child…

4 Feb

One of my playgroup friends (with two children) sent this link around last week.  It really resonated with me.  This blogger is a mom of NINE.  Yes, nine.   How many times have you marveled at what must be super-human patience, the ability to go on 5 hours sleep, and cook a meal for a family larger than four?  I do it constantly.  I only work part time, and I think to myself, “How do full time working moms do it?  How does anyone do it with more than one?”

I am constantly saying “Oomph, Bea, you are so heavy.” In my defense, 28 pounds…

But oh how she is light. This article made me think that maybe I’m doing a better job than I think.  And maybe I could handle one more?  We’ll see.  And NO I’m not pregnant.  LOL.

To the Mother With Only One Child

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