I know that everyone in mama-blog land and current-events-blog land and everywhere else is probably linking to this and much sooner--but I need to do it here as well, because it's very well said and very appropriate, I think. It's Craig Ferguson's thoughts on the current Britney Spears business.
Go ahead--give it a listen. You know you want to.
And I know almost everyone in the whole world reads Dooce already, but her thoughts on this are also worth reading and taking to heart.
Posted by Annagrace at 7:31 PM
Oh, and Jeffrey came home today with my wedding rings, which I haven't been able to wear since 7 months pregnant when my fingers and joints and wrists and everything just changed. It's been an interesting walk in the shoes of single mothers everywhere as almost every checker at every "mainline" (aka "little to no alternative lifestyles of any kind represented here") grocery store gave me compassionate looks and told me slowly and deliberately to, "take good care of that baby and kiss her a lot, you hear?" Um, ok, but....those are some BIG assumptions you're making, least of all regarding my general mental health. Of course if they read that last post they'd feel perfectly justified, I'm sure.
I feel married again. I feel like ME. Jeffrey had me close my eyes and he put them on me, just like the first time. It's an interesting time, too, as we head into this next big scary and exciting chapter of our life together. And it's the best feeling in the world to know that there's no one I'd rather spend it with. I'd marry him all over again, and not just because babies that look like him are absolutely beautiful.
(A baby that looks like him)
Posted by Annagrace at 9:47 PM
Catching up on some blogs I haven't looked at in a while cause, I don't know, I'm just a tad bit busy these days and can barely find time to write. Time that's not already needed somewhere else, like the bathroom sinks and toilets (there are 3, people, three of each!) or all the things we've started hauling out and sorting in our fervent hope that we'll be moving soon. But I found this and it made me laugh so hard and you have absolutely no idea just how much I needed to laugh today.
Today was a hard day. In almost every sense. It started out with a screaming baby and me so tired and worn out from too little sleep (again!) because of my bad cold/sinus thing (AGAIN!) that the best I could do was huddle under the covers with my fingers in my ears, hoarsely yelling, "Pea, Mama needs 5 more minutes of quiet or she's taking your daddy's lunch bag and getting the hell out of here!" Well, that's not quite what I said--I wasn't quite that calm. Then there was a hard conversation I needed to have, emotional and honest and I'm not good at being either in my best frame of mind. Jeffrey walked into the bedroom as I was throwing my phone at the wall. Thank goodness it hit a pillow, it's only 3 months old. It took me 6 months to break something on the last one, but that was cause I dropped it in a parking lot. I'm not always so angry. I just feel like in every area of my life right now I'm backed up into a corner and or having to be terribly brave and though I like being challenged, I also HATE how it feels.
So now we're at 9 am and Pea is starving and I feel terrible because I know this, and her breakfast time is pretty regular and I'm crying too because I hate starting the day this way and I hate how I feel and I hate that I have more hard things to do today, hard emotional things that I would rather go into calm and collected and serene. Mmmm-hmm.
The bright spot in the middle was meeting my mom for her birthday lunch with my brother and Pea. That was a nice calm patch, even though I was half an hour late because Pea went down late for her nap (which almost never happens) and she had been down for 10 minutes when it was time to leave....Anyway, once we arrived it was really fun and I know it meant a lot to my mom to see her little Peapod on her birthday and get to show her off to her friends at work.
Then Pea and I were back in the car and off to the grocery store, which thank god had lots of samples of fresh baked 7-grain bread as I had forgotten to pack a snack for Pea and god forbid I walk 2 feet away from the cart, even to reach for something, even while smiling and chattering at her the whole time. She pulled out all the stops at the meat counter, though, and even gave the butcher a very grown-up wave and a smile. This particular guy is always very kind to me so it felt good to be able to do something back, even if it was by way of my baby. Oh, did I mention? The tired and sick baby (this time she got my cold, damn it), who yesterday napped for 2.5 hours each time because she's so out of it, and who only got to sleep for 20 minutes this morning before I had to throw her in the car, this baby did not sleep. At all. Throughout all the many miles we drove today.
We got home and she was tired and mad and it took her a really long time to calm down enough for her afternoon nap. Which was an hour late. And while she napped I couldn't also nap (of course) because I had to work on a project I'm doing. Jeffrey got home early, which was a really nice surprise as it's rare that he can, I cooked and we had dinner, and then attempted to have some conversation around and along with Little Miss Out of Sorts.
Then it was Pea's bath, while I multi-tasked and talked to my beautiful friend Ladybird, who I love so much and who is probably the longest friend I've ever had, except for my sister (who I also love dearly). This was hard too, though, because Jeffrey and I have a lot of things going on in our lives and I had to bring her up to speed--she and I have had such full schedules lately and I hate having deep conversations over the phone. I'm all about face-to-face. Feels saner and healthier and more friend-like. I cried again, because she's so important to me and I wanted her to know and I'm so emotional about everything today. And no, silly, I'm NOT pregnant and I'm NOT riding the crimson tide, and those aren't the ONLY reasons in the world it makes sense to be emotional, you know.
Now it's 9:30 and I still have an important project to finish, the other very hard thing to attend to (something I really hate because the outcome is largely out of my hands and so part of me feels like it's pointless, you know?), and hopefully a few minutes to chat with Jeffrey before I fall heavily into my bed. That sits smack dab in the center of my messy room. Because I got almost all the laundry done yesterday except for some things of mine that need to be put away and which are now strewn across the once neat piles of paper which are headed for the shredder and the filing cabinet except Pea crawled through them earlier and now who the hell knows?
So anyway, I needed a laugh today and if your day was anything close to mine I hope it does the trick.
Posted by Annagrace at 8:13 PM
What a week it's been, Peanut, and here it is only Thursday. But for you it's been Grade-A Extra Wonderful Times. Here's my current list of Favorite Things About Pea.
You found your nose recently, or rather your nostrils. I cannot even tell you how funny it is to me when you slowly and carefully select a finger and then bring it up, up, up to your face, your eyes focused straight ahead, your breath caught in your throat. Then bing, in it goes, into your nostril as your eyes widen but never waver. Up, up, up into your nose and then your eyes start to water but still you cram that little finger in, looking suddenly over at me as if I'm the one causing you discomfort. Then it's suddenly out, you look up in anticipation of praise, and then start all over. It's even funnier when we're in public. It's funny that even though you're only 9.5 months old some people are completely grossed out by this. They are obviously the kind that have never had to change a diaper or comfort someone with the flu. I wish them much happiness in their sanitary little lives.
You dance and I mean dance! to music that you love. I know I've already mentioned this but it is just so amazing and wonderful and funny. I knew when I was carrying you that you would be funny (and I know that's an odd thing to know but it's true) but I had no idea how hilarious and original you would be. When we go downstairs in the morning you will crawl over to the stereo, sit in front of the speaker and bounce up and down on your knees and crow until I go over and switch it on. Then you will dance--up and down on your knees, standing next to the sofa while doing deep squats and shaking each leg out in turn, moving your feet all around and up and down, shaking your little non-existent booty, then down onto your hands and knees with your butt high in the air. You haven't even seen anyone dance--you just do it because it's in you and you are completely confident in your ability. It's amazing.
You just learned how to snap your fingers. You can't get any noise out of them but whenever you're happy or excited or I'm swinging you around the room or you hear music you start doing it, thumb against middle finger just like a big, grown-up person. And then you're so excited about what you're doing that you start clapping!
Seeing you so happy and loving and aware is soothing, somehow, to the emotional upheaval inside me. I don't mean for a minute that you are taking care of me or that I'm putting an emotional load on you. I'm trying to walk that fine line between living every moment with all the honesty I can muster and keeping you as innocent as you should be at your age. You are never, ever responsible for my emotions, Peanut, and you are never responsible for my happiness. But I'm also trying to stay on the healthy outside of that protective shell of isolation I love so very much. It's been hard, but having you in my life is also forcing me to finally deal with these things and it's very hard but very necessary work.
I'm your biggest fan, Little Pea
Posted by Annagrace at 3:58 PM
....and though you have just dumped the entire contents of a Ziploc half-gallon bag filled with Cheerios onto the living room carpet, I am not feeling the spirit move me to drag the vacuum cleaner all the way downstairs to get rid of the crunchy, prickly mess. Best to wait till later in the day, when the chance of you repeating this performance is much smaller. And the laundry--well, it's positively EVERYWHERE and we are out of eggs which means unless we hit the market you will have to eat oatmeal for tomorrow's breakfast, like you did for all of November and December, but which you now don't eat in the morning because you've experienced the incredible, edible egg and it is far superior. You would know--you eat 2-3 eggs at a time, if I let you. So we need to go out anyway. Let's get your shoes, and track down a matching sock to the pink one on your right foot, get your little red fleece zip-up, find Mama a pair of pants to wear that aren't in those damn laundry piles, find Mama's clogs, find the important things (wallet, stereo, phone, lipgloss) in Mama's handbag and move them to the diaper bag, make sure there is another snack packed for you (since the Cheerios were apparently not to your liking), fill Mama's water bottle, and out, out, into the rain and dreary mess let's GO. Out to the mall with the play area. I can get coffee and you can toddle around, insisting that I hold your hand while you walk everywhere and try to hug every other child that comes within 5 feet of you. One child is strange and almost creepy in his intense desire to kiss you on your lips and neck (he's 4, at least) and crouches in front of you and won't move and his mother is thin and angry and doesn't see but Mama is here and off of your person come his little hands and I firmly demand that he give you space to move and breathe and he won't and so I get down on his level and tell him that he has to listen to me and give you some space and he needs to take his hands off of you. I am firm and quiet and he literally slinks away. And I pick you up and you are completely unaware of anything weird and that is exactly how it should be. You are safe with me, always, baby. And I drink my coffee and watch you, only 9 months and 14 days and yet you are sure that you are 3. Or 5. Some grown-up age with talking and running and pony-tails and secrets. You are desperate to be one of the older girls you see and they are kind to you and hug you back and let you chase them all around the climb-on toys. And then we are back out in the cold and the rain, packing both of us into the damp-smelling car, and you are happy and content and chattering softly in the back seat. When we get home, to the messy house full of things in transitory states you will point at your bedroom door as we walk upstairs and I will take off your little red coat and hold you and nurse you and sing you the songs that make you sleepy and then your eyes will close and into your bed you'll go, with your favorite pink blanket and the radio playing something romantic and old and beautiful....I had fun with you today, Peanut Baby. We forgot to get eggs.
Posted by Annagrace at 3:53 PM
The first time we ever spoke, randomly falling in step with each other at a birthday lunch for a mutual friend, I knew that there was something oddly important about it. The second time, three months later at a housewarming for the same friend, I knew I wanted to spend my life with him. I didn't have any reasons yet, just knew. We had actually officially met each other six months before that lunch and I had already noticed his face and eyes, so handsome and kind. He also looked sort of sad. I found out later that he had recently ended the relationship that he thought would be his last (in a good sense), with the woman he had thought for so long that he would marry. I am awfully lucky that he made that choice.
He is my partner, my best friend, my advocate, my defense, and he always believes in me and my abilities. He is patient and kind and funny and strong. He is extremely intelligent and can find the tiniest of holes in even the most passionate argument (which I find more seductive than you'll ever know....) Some days his support and trust in me are the only reasons I feel I can get up another day and continue this stay-at-home mama thing. He has never, ever required it of me (and, in fact, has always encouraged whatever further education or work I dream about) and yet is so encouraging of my blundering attempts at emotional stability and health that I find myself doubting myself less, mistrusting my gut instincts less.
I tell Penelope every day that she has the best daddy I could ever find for her.
Which brings me to this, the other piece of my heart.
I was so nervous about having a girl, all the emotions and drama and especially the mother issues, as I am the daughter of someone who was emotionally detached and depressed. My earliest memories are of being lonely and alone and I was thus set up for still more feelings of isolation, fear, and fear of who I was--who I am--as a woman. And it's already been an interesting ride, that's for sure. Though I am confident in our bond, in our mutual attachment and in her knowledge of my love, there are days when I feel like god is somewhere laughing uproariously into his sleeve. Who in their right mind would give me the gift of a baby girl? And why would that be at all fair to her?
Days like today are especially hard. I would rather not leave the warm, downy comforts of my bed. The rain outside, pouring steadily down from the sky, is exactly how my heart feels at this moment. I feel tired and sad. Tired of every day, every single goddamn day, trying to keep my heart open and alive. Tired of being needed all the time by someone who is largely unreasonable and doesn't like it if I go the bathroom without her. Tired of fighting the voice in my head telling me that I'm still not doing enough, that my irritated tone of voice this morning and my impatient words to her father are enough to destroy the foundation I've been so carefully building. I'm just so damn tired.
Posted by Annagrace at 3:11 PM
I know this went around the blog world a few years back but you see, I am still new. I found its results, however, so startlingly spot-on that I've decided to post it here, even though it's huge and not the prettiest thing I've ever seen.
You're David Copperfield!
by Charles Dickens
Coming up from a childhood that felt abusive, you have risen through
hard work to gain a place of stature in your life. You've spent altogether too much time
in factories and end up misspelling a fair number of words. But in general you are seen
as a beacon of hope for others who might not be as fortunate. Lots of people keep
mistaking you for a magician and are waiting for you to disappear.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Jeffrey just took the quiz and his result was also right on the money.
Posted by Annagrace at 9:30 PM
tater tot casserole
green bean casserole
Things I don't really like at all:
having to wear socks
cookies that taste like urinal cakes (any flavor)
Things I do get hungry for, and often:
really good pho
my special recipe pot roast with honey-roasted veggies
Jeffrey's chicken and mushrooms
a nice steak, medium-rare
any sort of curry, Thai or Indian
Rose's lime marmalade
fluffy biscuits with lots of butter
fresh tomatoes, straight off the vine
Kettle brand salt and pepper potato chips
Things I love so very much:
Pea's new smile--she scrunches up her nose, screws up her eyes and grins, showing all her teeth
the way Jeffrey looks at me
Pea in the baby swing at the park today, laughing so hard she started hiccuping
girl's night this past Tuesday at Amie's house and everything that was discussed
cooking dinner for anyone who is at all appreciative
knowing that everything I do or don't do as a mother is significant
finally starting to catch up on all the reading I've been meaning to do
that we are getting very close to buying a house, our very first house
Posted by Annagrace at 8:08 PM
I'm not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I do try (most of the time) to watch how much refined sugar I eat. Also, I'm not a fan of hydrogenated oils. Hydrogen blown into the oil to make it a solid and able to sit on a shelf for 30 years or so? Sick. Whatever happened to good old butter? I am convinced that there is nothing wrong with eating butter. At least our bodies can recognize it and process it.
Anyway, I say all that to say that I love this cookie. I love it so much that I've never really bothered to try anything else in this line. And, as I'm not vegan, there hasn't been, shall we say, the need. Today I was at the store picking up some things for a salad to take to our friends' house for dinner and I swung by the cookie aisle and picked up this one. For a change. I got the groceries loaded into the car, got Pea snapped into her seat, and got myself, and my coffee and purse, all nicely inside, opened the package and took a bite. It was like biting into an orange-flavored urinal cake. With flavorless red things. Sorry, but that's the best I can do. It was so not good at ALL.
Posted by Annagrace at 3:26 PM
Penelope's 9 month check up was yesterday, on her 9 month birthday. After learning where she is at with language and movement, her new pediatrician (who, lawd willing we should like MUCH more than her last one) called her precocious. That's a good thing, right? She's only in the 25th percentile for weight (17 lbs, 8oz) but in the 90th percentile for height (29 inches). She's grown 3 inches in the past 3 months. "Long and Lean" we call her.
Here she is after the appointment, after recovering from having a needle stuck into her leg and foot.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:47 AM
Mostly, I'm saying this to remind myself that it's all going to be okay. I would, at my core, like to get every single thing done every day, on time. It's hard to stop holding myself to standards that existed when I was working outside my home.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:27 AM