Birdie discovering her tongue and sticking out everywhere, all the time, at anyone. Completely innocent and hilarious.
Making lists and lists and lists. Making lists is often a reminder to me of how lucky I am, how much choice I have, what a peaceful life this is in comparison to a good half of the rest of the world.
Pea having a swimming lesson from her Auntie and hearing how game she was for (almost) all of it. She couldn't handle the entire-face-in-water part (anyone who's heard her during bath time will get this) but kicked, jumped, floated, and blew bubbles like a pro.
Birdie's eyes, the minute I open her door each morning--the way their dark grey-blue with yellow sunbursts suddenly sparkle. She calls my name, husky and almost mischievous, and then, once she's in my arms and cuddling her face into my chest (her little finger-claws squeezing every inch of exposed flesh on me--hard) she starts whimpering for "Nanana!" Banana. She eats 2-3 every day. It's a miracle she poops at all.
Not having to cook dinner tonight. Dinner with friends at their house. I'm going to leave this house a complete mess and be ever so grateful.
3 years of blogging as of today. When I started I was tentative, scared, and a newly-mother. Now I hear "Mama, MaMA!!!" all day long and am much more decisive. Still a little scared. (Working on that.)
Meeting with dear, wise friends who know a few things about marriage and relationship. Hearing truth and hearing love. They didn't hold themselves up as the standard but they offered what they had and it went deep into our hearts.
Being told last night that the key to Jeffrey and me moving beyond this difficult season of marriage is dreaming together again. More dreaming, more planning, and that the feelings that used to be there will follow. 24 hours later we are already feeling different--better than we have in months--and there is already much on paper.
Penelope standing 3 feet, 5 inches tall and wearing a size 10 shoe. Holy tallness, Batman, exactly how tree-like are these children going to be? Right now they are Monkey Puzzle trees, it's true: prickly, great big spaces, strong, ready to take over the world but still in need of protection.
Planning for the coming week: sunshine, swimming, shopping, playing, seeing friends, reading, reading, reading, more on-paper dreaming with J as we plan the next 6-10 years.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:53 AM
Birdie turning 11 months. Today. And as of yesterday she calls me Mammamma (and grins).
Dinner simmering in the slow-cooker all day long. So after park and water fountain times with friends we came home to not much to do except nap and eat. Today was an especially good day for that as Pea and I were both extremely cranky off and on.
Pea's new love of "neck-a-laces and brace-a-lets". We made new ones together, too. She always wears her bracelets this way, around her bicep like an Egyptian queen. She says that it doesn't get in her way, this way, and that she can play AND look pretty. She's brilliant.
The self-portraits Pea takes. Constantly. Sometimes I hide the camera. But SO funny.
Warm sunshine and hours out of doors after weeks of grey and rain and gloominess. I'm grateful that we haven't yet had a 100-degree heat wave and we've had little reason to use the a/c but seriously, people, the April in June thing was getting a little old...
Posted by Annagrace at 10:08 PM
I love that every day I'm now on the lookout for the upside...
Dinner. Pasta tossed with crisp-steamed asparagus, olive oil, lemon zest, black pepper, Parmesan (aka What Was in the Fridge). Topped with with a little fresh mint. Maybe the best thing I've eaten in months.
The way Penelope repeats back to us things we've said to her. "If you need me," She says as she runs to the bathroom, "I'll be right here, ok?"
The way Adeleine can say Daddoo (dadadadada), all done (ah duh!), down (points, grunts), boo (bbbbbbb), and hi (haaah), but NOT Mama. Considering just how attached she's been to me from the first minute of her life, I find this endlessly funny.
The first bread I've made in, oh, say, 14 years? Penelope helped and it was an easy recipe for her attention span and my patience level.
Neighbors looking out for each other, getting to know one another, and taking care when illness strikes. I may live deeper in suburbia than was the original plan, but I think we hit a good-neighbor jackpot when we bought this house.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:46 PM
Sweet, flushy, peach-pink roses from a friend's neighbor's garden. They don't smell like Granny--they smell like candy. (For the record, I LOVE fresh lavender and most fresh roses but LOATHE any of the bottled attempts at replication.)
Celebrating one of our favorite little one's birthdays today. He's two, and there were water balloons and balls and cupcakes and a playground and as we left Pea took my hand and declared, "I had a really great time, Mama!" We all did.
The week's shopping done all by myself. Without children. Which was especially good considering how tired I am and how much patience I am LACKING.
Fun plans for the week that include so many different friends and shared meals. For once brief moment of time we will be party people.
A rather short to-do list for the week. Which probably means I should tackle the fridge or oven but... maybe I don't care that much.
Posted by Annagrace at 7:45 PM
Woke up this morning realizing that in my emotion I forgot some rather key points and clarifications in that last post. And my friend (and one of the funniest and best writers I know) left me a beautifully honest comment on that first post that helped me figure out where to begin (thanks, Manda!)
#1) For 25 years I had a seriously dysfunctional relationship with my mother and we're still putting things back together. For years I was absolutely terrified of being a mother and mostly terrified of becoming her. It still freaks me out sometimes that I'm a stay-at-home mother primarily because the way I saw this done, all those long years, was not a way that I ever want to do things. I am still easily frightened of totally fucking up my girl-children and for this reason cannot watch another Oprah about A)eating disorders, B)teenage mothers, C)runaways/cutters/kids with severe depression.
#2) In the odd moments where I DID feel the mother urge (and obviously there WAS one there, hiding behind all my anxieties) I was convinced I would have boys. Jeffrey wanted girls, originally, but I REALLY wanted boys. And I still love baby boys and all of our amazing and hilarious little man-friends. I meant no disrespect by them whatsoever and if, after a moment of crazy passion somewhere in the next 6 or 7 years, suddenly find myself pushing a tiny little BOY out of my body, I will be JUST as in love and JUST as freakishly protective of his psyche and future.
#3) The brunt of my fury was aimed primarily at the particular church culture I grew up in and the theology I was drilled in that always, at every single possible instance, placed man as the "head", "covering", "authority", or "ruler" over women. (And especially the people that tried to make me feel special by ALLOWING me the honor of wife/mother ONLY, while considering any theological position that in any way gives equal standing to women as goddess-worship, sinful, un-Christian, blah, blah, blah.)
This raising of girls to be strong, feisty, smart, secure, nurturing, intelligent, happy women is HARD SHIT. I am no expert. You will realize this if you've ever seen me attempt to get through a day on no sleep and no coffee and serious back-of-the-brain processing going on re: the current state of my marriage. I am positively RICH, however, in friends who are not afraid to spill their guts and fears and failures in this. And so my underlying belief is that our daughters WILL make it. And will go farther than we ever will. And that the dark mother legacies many of us have carried in our bones will soon break wide open as the women borne by our bodies go on to live fearlessly and completely confident in their person-hood.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:23 AM
Beautiful rainbow chard from my mom and sis's garden, in a salad with my favorite simple dressing (fresh garlic, olive oil, seasoned rice wine vinegar).
Pea telling me that the broken fridge magnet "is has-ing some troubles".
Deciding that the slow collection of drunken and bloated garden slugs is actually NOT my favorite way to spend the summer weeks and springing for the least-poisonous poison I could find. (whew!)
Birdie's new Buddha belly. Balanced on still-tiny legs. And the way being naked makes her laugh so hard she topples over.
Peace starting to invade my home again. Feeling better every day about Jeffrey and me, about our future, about the work ahead. Feeling heard and less and less alone in the fight.
Posted by Annagrace at 9:43 AM
Just a couple of things that piss me off. And then we can go back to all that grace stuff.
I've recently realized that I HATE, with all the blunt, traumatic force of that word, HATE it when fellow females say anything like the following:
"I'm soooo glad I never had girls because they're sooooo much harder (or) so much more emoooootional than boys"
"Wow, you have two girls? TWO? Wow...must be really exciting at your place, sometimes...*chuckles, slaps knee, winks at Jeffrey*"
Um...I'm sorry. I never hear anyone say, "Wow, you have two boys? TWO? Wow...raw deal. Sorry."
I have two things to say about this:
1) Why don't you just come out and say it to my round freckled face: "Boys are more valuable, STILL, to my part of society, and this fact is handily proven by my personal theology which is (handily) based in large part on the writings of a man who A)was totally fine with the owning and using of SLAVES; and B)was never married, certainly never the father of a girl-child, and still carried inside him a rather tribal and angry image of god." I happen to (audaciously, perhaps) believe that I was just as equally made in the likeness of god and so were my girls. When you put down girls this way you're engaging in behaviour that is only STEPS away from the following: believing that girls don't need to be (as) educated, believing that a woman's place is ONLY in the home, believing that women are valuable only or mostly as sexual objects (thank you porn industry, the plastic surgery industry, and all the American businessmen who make child sex trafficking a real moneymaker), and (my personal fave) believing that being raped is the rape victim's fault.
On a side note- It's my experience that women who are most fearful of having girls have yet to resolve their own value, having been brought up to believe that boys/men are naturally: smarter, stronger, or better at whatever it is she always wanted to do/be or has a serious disconnect with her own (usually intellectually as well as emotionally) disconnected mother.
2) When you make sexist statements like this you are JUST as demeaning to boys/men as you are to girls/women. Boys have hormones. Men have emotions. Boys can be difficult. Men can be hard to deal with. Those old-timey charts of "boys are strong, hairy and cannot be civilized" and "girls have delicate constitutions and were made for the shade and smelling salts" are just plain dumb. And you know it. Women regularly and since the dawn of time have been pushing living human beings out of their vaginas, and some of the biggest, most intense-looking men I know are stellar fathers and partners and teachers and caretakers and nurses and husbands. All by choice.
I LOVE being a girl. I LOVE being a wife and mother. I love being a woman. I happen to LOVE having girls. Two of them. One of them already shows incredible athletic ability and strength of will. I see no reason to re-direct this behaviour into more "feminine roles". She is feminine by plain virtue of being female. She bears the image of her creator--a creator who happily wears the disguise of both father and mother as the need or occasion requires.
In a nutshell?
Stop it. And PLEASE stop saying these things around my daughters.
Posted by Annagrace at 9:53 PM
So this is more like what I was imagining. When have I ever been able to manage daily blogging? Feels really hard to come up with these after the last few days I've had. But here goes.
Waking to a feeling-much-better kind of a Peanut Girl. To the point of hyper--bouncing off the walls and jumping from every chair in sight. But at least she's no longer sick.
All the napping and snuggling and stories and shared PBS Kids of the past couple days. I would wake up sometimes to her half-asleep kisses.
Birdie walking all over the place...around corners and tables and beds and down halls and across the room. Her legs are wide like she's straddling a horse and she holds her hands up and out and it's so funny and different from her sister.
Time to read, even if it WAS while being sick.
Remembering that I'm not alone, even though it feels really dark right now and the details of everything that's happening feel completely and utterly overwhelming. There have been miracles before. I'm hoping we haven't used them all up yet.
Posted by Annagrace at 7:45 PM
Angie here for coffee and lunch. Last-minute phone calls that work out are my favorite.
Both babies in bed and asleep by 8:30. Who knows what will happen later but I have learned to be grateful for every single moment of peace.
A sudden storm--high wind, rain, gravel-colored clouds, and lightening. I LOVE thunderstorms. As long as the power stays on. Oh, and as long as there are no tornadoes. Other than that, I LOVE summer thunderstorms.
The smell of wet grass, wet asphalt, wet trees. The windows are all thrown wide open to this sudden cooling...lovely.
Chocolate and three new library books. Reading is a great diversion for the stress I'm trying not to carry at present. I know everything's going to be fine, eventually. I just wish eventually would come sooner.
Posted by Annagrace at 8:47 PM
The way Birdie walks, listing hard to the left and waving her right hand like a bad oarsman, trying desperately to move in a straight line.
Zyrtec. After several days of my eyes swelling almost completely shut and itching like THE DICKENS. So yeah, I may have to wean Birdie a bit early or...maybe I won't. Depends.
Knowing how to handle my anxiety a bit better this time. I'm still super anxious but I'm still letting people in. This is BIG progress.
Seeing my body reshape itself (finally) after months of work. Off-and-on work, at times, due to sick children and still-loopy hormones but I'm STILL IN IT. And I'm starting to like it, even.
Pea asking for a pen and paper so she could "write down da rest of dis song I'm writing. Like uncle does."
Posted by Annagrace at 9:29 PM
Coffee. Lots of it. Inky dark and just a bit sweet.
3 beautiful fresh eggs, straight from the backyard of friends.
Thoughts of the soon-to-be vacation by the sea...
Items finally checked off on a goal list that's been around for 6 years.
Not being pregnant this summer.
Posted by Annagrace at 3:55 PM
(Uh, yes. That's right, #2. I'm apparently on a roll, but don't ask too many questions because it could end--suddenly--at any time.)
Tomato plants that continue to thrive despite the constant wolves at the door, slugs, cutworms, and beetles.
Bright yellow American goldfinches and russet-winged House finches at the feeder all day long, squabbling over placement and always bravely defending their mate's honor and feeding rights.
Birdie hearing Jeffrey coming in the door the other night and her sister running and suddenly throwing herself over the side of her highchair with the cry of, "Dadadadada! Dadadadadadada!" Do you hear Daddoo, I asked, amazed (the kid refuses on principle to say anything remotely resembling Mama). She nodded vigorously (she has been nodding vigorously for a couple of months now) and so I hoisted her tiny self up and ran her over to Jeffrey where she proceeded to plant her face in his shoulder, babble his name in her husky and sweet talking voice, and babble, "Dadadadadadada lulloo, lulloo."
Gleaming metal cans of candy pink paint for Birdie's room.
Friends who really see and really listen.
Posted by Annagrace at 11:10 PM