She Brings Me Wildflowers

http://www.dennisflood.com/photos/get/2777/irish_wildflowers

About a month ago, Amira started doing the most curious – and beautiful – thing.  She started bringing me flowers.

Often, she and Stu will go out for a quick jaunt around the neighbourhood in the morning.  One morning, I took a call while they were gone.  I was up in the office with the door closed, and I heard them come in, and Amira saying over and over again, “Mummy!  Mummy!”

Stu told me later that this is what happened:

Continue reading

Advertisements

I’m worth it

A couple of days ago, our little family was on our way out for a walk when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and had to stop to take in what I was seeing.  I was wearing a sweater, jeans, and running shoes.  That’s right, running shoes.  And not the cool, Skechers kind of running shoes, but actual, white, running shoes. Like, for running.

Continue reading

Her word is Feisty.

A few weeks ago, I had a friend over for lunch.  She came with her beautiful baby girl, Lucy.  Though Lucy and Amira are exactly the same age, they couldn’t be more different.

Lucy’s mom said to me, “Her word is ‘Placid’.  As long as she is fed, she is perfectly content to just sit there and be happy.”  And it was true.  Lucy wasn’t up for crawling or rolling around or getting to things.  She was beautiful and happy, just sitting in one spot, laughing and playing with whatever was rolled her way.

We pondered over a word for Amira.  We threw around spunky, spirited and vivacious, but none of those really felt right to me.

Continue reading

We still have a million amazing moments every day.

Image

Remember back in September when all I had all that breastfeeding drama?  Well, it didn’t end there.  I took the herbal supplements, I took the prescription drugs, I pumped, I gave Amira my stockpile till it was gone, and I never made enough breast milk to keep up with her demands.  The drama went on and on, and I persisted in giving her breast milk any way I could for as long as I could, but I couldn’t do it as long as I wanted.  So after 8 months of martyring myself to give her all that I could, it’s done.

Continue reading

My Wandering Heart

As this year comes to a close, my heart is so full.  Full of love for Stu and Amira and the little family we’re growing.  Full of love for our extended family and friends, who have come together in a beautiful village where Amira will be raised with love and laughter and celebration.  And full of sorrow for those 20 families in Connecticut – 20 families – whose lives were changed forever a few weeks ago.

Continue reading

Oh, the places you’ll go

Being on maternity leave is great.  Being home with the baby, having all this time with her, bonding with her, blah blah.  All good.

You know what’s not good?  The four walls of my house suffocating me all day.

Stu works from home, and he talks often about how he needs to just get out of the house because he he needs to just get out of the house.  And while Stu works alone at home, he’s often on the phone or online with other people, having adult conversations, and making stuff happen.

I’m just doing everything I can to get her to sit up.  I need to get out.

And so, Amira and I don’t stay home.  We go out. We go anywhere.  And over the months, I’ve compiled a list of the 6 best places to go with babe in stroller.  Since I’ve done the legwork, allow me to share.

Continue reading

Envy

Before Amira was born, I didn’t look twice at baby stuff.  I wasn’t one of those women who was interested in such things for interest’s sake, or because I wondered what my own child may have one day.

Even when I was pregnant, I did zero research on…well, just about everything.  I didn’t look up strollers or cribs or carriers or clothes or anything.  I figured either someone would just tell is what we needed to know, or we’d just figure it out.  I mean, she’s a baby.  She doesn’t need fancy this and expensive that and the high-end fanciest whatnot.  Whatever it is, she’ll grow out of it before she gets any real use out of it anyway.

And for awhile, I was all good. Amira slept in her hand-me-down bassinet, and now in her Ikea crib, wearing her inexpensive onesies, and I was all good.  I know other mothers with designer diaper bags, babies with designer wardrobes and cribs that cost more than all my bedroom furniture combined.  And that’s wonderful for them.  But none of it interested me.

But then it crept up on me…stroller envy. Damn damn stroller envy.

I didn’t give the stroller much thought before Amira was born.  It had to be functional and come with a recommendation.  Well, we got both in the stroller we chose for Amira.  I asked my bestie, she told me what she had used for her kids, and if it was good enough for them, it was certainly good enough for Amira.  So we got the stroller, and it was all good for a while. A short while.  Like, till we went to the mall the first time and saw ALL THE OTHER STROLLERS.

There are a million different strollers out there, and I gotta admit, I feel myself eyeing some of the other strollers at the mall with a green eye.  None of the ones that are too spaceshipy looking like this one:

Image

Now this is a pretty swank stroller, from what I understand.  But I just don’t dig it.  It looks…weird.

But there are others that have started to pull my longing gaze, like this one:

Image

Oh, Uppababy Vista.  You have turned me into the mother I never wanted to be.  The mother who wants all that unnecessary damn expensive crap for her baby.

Amira’s pretty brown polka dot Graco Stylus is fine for her. I mean, look at this.  Doesn’t it look cozy?

Image

And it is.  I mean, it must be.  She can sleep in that thing like a champ.  The bumps in the sidewalk bother me way more than they bother her.  So why the green-eyed monster directed at all those other strollers?

Before Amira was born, I was all, “ah, she’ll just use what she gets and she’ll like it!”  But now that she’s here, all that stuff that I demanded be good enough for her isn’t good enough for me.  And really, I’m not all fancy-pants like that!  I don’t wear designer clothes or designer shoes or carry designer bags.  It’s just not who I am.  And it’s not that I need for Amira to have designer things.  But I just want her to have the best.  I mean, she didn’t ask to be born.  So why shouldn’t she have the comfiest stroller, and the nicest carrier, and the softest cotton for her clothes?

I know, I know, I KNOW.  We love her.  Adore her.  Take care of her.  She really wants for nothing, and it might not hurt her to cry it out a bit more.  I really couldn’t tell you where all of this is coming from, except a desire for her to have everything and want for nothing.  I know it’s not a healthy condition when one wants for nothing – I mean, a little effort, a little desire, a goal or two – those are good things to have. But I don’t want her to.

But I won’t tell her that.  I won’t get her everything she wants.  I won’t get her top-of-the-line this and designer that. She will earn money as soon as she can, learn how to manage it, how to value it and how to share it.  She’ll learn that it’s okay to want things, and that you don’t always have to have everything you want.  She’ll learn that happiness isn’t found in things, but in experiences and in connections and sometimes in something as simple as a sunset.

But still…that’s a damn fine stroller.

But the book says….!!!!

I didn’t read many…well, any…baby or parenting books when I was pregnant.  People offered up all kinds of literature which I gratefully accepted, and then left sitting on the shelf to collect dust for nine months.  I. Just. Couldn’t.  I figured that women all over the world have babies every day without reading any books, and besides, The Hunger Games was way more interesting.  I had a very easy pregnancy, and I’d get an email once a month from some online everything-about-babies source, and those two paragraphs every month were enough for me.

Of course, then Amira was born and all of that changed.  How much should she be eating every day?  How much should she be pooping every day?  When is she supposed to sleep? In what position?  For how long?  Should she be sitting up by now?  Will flat-head ruin her for life?  All these questions, and now that she was here in the world and not just something allegedly growing in my belly, I needed answers.

So I turned to THE BOOK.  All new moms (and I’m sure new dads, too) know THE BOOK.  What To Expect The First Year.  A handy follow-up to What To Expect When You’re Expecting, which, of course, I didn’t read.  So I have this kid and I’m going in blind and I need this book to tell me what to do and when and how and really, is it okay if let her cry so I can just have a minute to go to the bathroom already?

And I will admit – for answering questions like that, the book has been great.  Yes, it’s okay if she cries for a minute while I go to the bathroom.  No, you’re not a bad mother for needing a break.  Three simple things you can do to prevent baby flathead.  I love the book.

But I also kind of hate the book.  At the beginning of every section, there are these lists. By now, your baby should be able to, may be able to, might be able to, may even be able to…  all these things that I have to check every month to see if Amira is on track to I don’t even know what.  And she hasn’t always done what the book said she would do, when it said she would do it.  She hated being on her stomach for months, so she didn’t hold her head up at 90 degrees when the book said.  She didn’t roll over when the book said.  She didn’t grab my nose or grab her toes or read or write or do complicated calculus when the book said.  And Stu’s all, “Don’t worry.  She’s FINE!”  and I’m all, “But the book says…!!!”

So now I’m this new mom with no clue what to do, and this book that is only making my anxiety worse and I can’t take Xanax because Amira’s still drinking breast milk, and in all the pages of this rather thick book, I think the first chapter should be HOW TO GET THE KID TO SLEEP – AND STAY ASLEEP.  That chapter isn’t even IN the book!

So I’ve just decided to put the book down, pick up my kid, and go for a walk.  She doesn’t need to measure up to any other kid, and she certainly doesn’t need to measure up to the book.  She laughs, she coos, she holds my finger, and she’s happy.  I think we’re doing okay, no matter what the book says.

Can’t lose me

 

Dear Amira,

You’re only 4 months and 2 weeks old, and I’ve already written you a hundred letters in my head.  You’ll learn that about me as we get to know each other over the years.  I write.  Always in my head.  Sometimes even on paper.  I promise, I’ll try to write to you more, because there are things I want you to know, and I often write better than I talk.  When I talk, I can get loud and screechy when making a point, and then the point gets lost in the screech.  You’ll see.

But today I read this letter, and it made me cry.  And I knew I couldn’t keep this one inside.

This poor girl, who did nothing wrong, doesn’t have her mom and dad in her life anymore because she is who she is and they can’t accept that.

And I had to tell you – I have to tell you – that there is nothing nothing NOTHING you could do that would make me turn my back on you.  There is nothing you could be that would make me not accept you for who you are.  NOTHING.

Baby, I don’t care if you’re gay or straight.  I don’t care if you’re tall or short.  I don’t care if you like to read or do complicated calculus equations or draw pictures or ride horses.  I don’t care if your favourite colour is pink or yellow or if you love vanilla or hate strawberry.  I just don’t care.

What I care about is that you know that you’re loved.  And you are, baby girl.  More than you will ever know.  I want you to know that we will support you, and be there for you, right behind you, as you make your way through the maze of your life.  I promise that every time you fall – and you will fall, and sometimes it will hurt – it will be made softer by your dad and me.

There is nothing that you can’t tell us.  I know there are things you won’t tell us – like the first time you try a cigarette (don’t you DARE), or the first time you have a beer, or if you cheat on a test in the 10th grade. But you know what baby girl?  You CAN tell us.  Yes, sometimes we will be upset, but we will never be upset with you because of who you are.  The only thing that would really upset me is if you’re NOT being who you are.

Because you are kind and beautiful and important and loving and good.  Even after only 4 months, I know all this about you.  And when you’re not being these things – when you’re not being yourself – it will make me sad.  I’ll be sad because I know that when you’re not yourself, you can feel stuck and unsure and out of sorts.  I don’t want you to feel those things, but I suppose we all go through those moments.  But in those moments, you can always tell me what’s going on.  You never have to be scared or unsure or worried about how I will react.  It won’t make me turn away from you.  It won’t diminish my love for you.  It will just make me love you harder, as though my love were a looking glass, and the harder I love you, the clearer the reflection, so you can see for yourself just how amazing you are, and you can live that amazing every day.

You’ll always have your dad, and you’ll always have me.  Right behind you, adoring you.  No matter what.

Love,

Mummy

It’s not a titty show

As a woman who is breastfeeding, the question of breastfeeding in public has come up more than once.  People ask me if I do it, if I would do it, if I will do it, and if I’m okay doing it.  The answers are yes, yes, yes and yes.  I’ve fed my baby in other people’s homes, on park benches, in restaurants and at the mall.  I never thought twice about it.

But as I was writing my last post and trashing Giselle Bundchen, I came across this richness from Kim Kardashian.

Apparently, Kimmy K thinks it’s gross for a woman to breastfeed her child in public without covering her breasts.

Really, Kim?  REALLY???

Apparently, feeding a child from your breast – that is, using your breasts to complete the task for which they were intended – is gross.  Heaven forbid anyone should see your breasts!  What will people think?  “Look at that woman FEEDING HER CHILD.  Nasty!”

But of course, flashing your breasts here, there and everywhere to make a buck – as Kim K does every single day in magazines, on the red carpet, and on her television show, is perfectly acceptable.

Seriously, Kim.  Shove a tube of lube in it.

But this got me thinking about breastfeeding in a larger context.  Because though Kimmy K was a total boob for making this statement (oh yes I did!), we all know she’s not the only one who feels that way.  The world is full of people – my own father included – who think that while there’s no problem with a woman breastfeeding her child, there is a problem with her doing it in public, uncovered, breasts exposed for all to see.

When it came to my attention that there were those close to me who were uncomfortable with me breastfeeding in public, I had a conversation with Stu about it.  And he summed it up quite nicely: “What’s the big deal?  It’s not a titty show!  You’re feeding your child!”

But off course, there are people who can only see it as a titty show.  Because we live in a culture where breasts have been so heavily sexualized (KIMMY) that there is no other way to see them except as sexual extensions to a woman’s body.  We never consider the real reason women have breasts – that is, to feed children.  We live in a world where breasts are used to titillate, tantalize, arouse, excite, entertain, tease and thrill.  Where breasts are lifted, tucked, enlarged and adorned to entertain men – and women – and of course, to make a buck.  We don’t think twice about breasts displayed on the covers of magazines, in videos perused online, hanging out of dresses at banquets, galas and weddings, or splashed up – enlarged and in charge, on billboards like these:

What do you really think this ad is trying to sell?

So now we’ve come to this: A woman feeds a child from her breast, and the woman who makes money flashing her breasts for all the world to see complains about it.

I won’t lie – I’ll dress the girls up for a night on the town.  I’ll push the girls up and bring my neckline down and enjoy being a woman.  But enjoying them doesn’t mean dismissing the reason for their existence in the first place.  Enjoying them doesn’t mean harshing on someone else for dressing them down, and using them functionally.  AND, KIMMY K, USING YOURS TO MAKE MONEY ELIMINATES YOUR RIGHT TO TRASH ON SOMEONE FOR FEEDING HER CHILD.  If you don’t like it, look away.  But keep your trap shut.