Friday, December 31, 2010

Echoing love

The big news in our house is that Colin has moved into the boys' room and is sleeping in the crib. For the most part. He has been napping in his crib and spending the first part of the night there. But I have to admit, when he woke up at whatever time in the middle of the night last night, I just brought him back to bed.

I'm too spoiled now to sit in the rocking chair half asleep and try to get him back down.

Tonight, both boys were way wound up before bedtime. We had a very exciting day with a New Year's Eve party where we counted down to noon instead of midnight. And then we played Xbox and Wii together - it was a fun day that they obviously didn't want to end.

Christopher was in his bed, being pretty quiet, but not still. I was rocking and nursing Colin, but he kept biting me. Hard. He just didn't want to go to sleep and was having no part in my soothing songs and nuh-nuhs.

After a particularly painful chomp down and refusal to let go, I had to put him down and get up to take a break. I placed him in his crib and went to lay down next to Christopher.

Now, Christopher repeats a lot of what I say, and most of the time, I'm not proud of it. Lately, he's been saying, "Stop talking to me. I'm mad." Which, I don't mind the telling me that he is mad. It's the harshness of the "Stop talking to me," that bothers me - because I hate that I must sound like that to him.

But tonight, when I climbed into bed with him, he reached over and touched my face.

He said, "Don't be mad, Mama. He's just a baby. He didn't mean to hurt you."

Then, if he hadn't squeezed my heart hard enough, he says, "It's okay, sweetheart," and leans over to kiss my cheek.

And in that moment, I heard myself again, but in a much different light. I heard him echoing the love.

In a year that I have often felt like a failure as a mama - having little to no patience - yelling when I should be listening - jumping to anger when I should be looking for a way to teach - in the very end of this year -

My son echoed the love I show him.

Suddenly, I have high hopes for 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


"The depth of your grief is a measure of the love you have for your child. If there was no love, there would be nothing to grieve." 
~Louis Gamino on miscarriage

No one noticed what yesterday was. An anniversary for which there are no cards. A day that isn't for celebrating.

Four years ago, I lost my first baby. Suffered (and I mean suffered in the true sense of the word) a miscarriage.

And I survived. I survived that one and then two more before Colin was born.

I didn't know what kind of mama I would be back then. If you had asked me, I probably would have assumed that I would always keep working, my baby would sleep in his crib where he belonged, and cloth diapers would only be good for burp cloths. I would never have guessed that tonight, just a few weeks shy of his first birthday, would be Colin's very first night of sleeping in his own crib.

I didn't know I would be so attached.

Tonight, I sit thinking about that emptiness from four years ago. And I know that I'm blessed with two beautiful sons to whom I am very attached indeed.

Tonight, my heart aches not for the loss, but in the memory of how broken I felt. How devastating the loss was. How no one knew what to say to me or what to do for me. How I didn't know what to do for myself, except to pour my sorrow out here, on this blog.

In the ache though, I finally feel gratitude. Gratitude to my first baby who made me stronger. Taught me how to love blindly and completely. Helped my mama wings to sprout.

"The depth of your grief is a measure of the love you have for your child. If there was no love, there would be nothing to grieve."

One in four. That's an awful lot of us, you know. It's time it became alright to talk freely about it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Songs from Christmas present

Somebody in our house was always making music this holiday season. It wasn't me or Kevin.

It was Christopher. And it was beautiful.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Songs from Christmas past

I'm not going to lie. 2010 has been a tough year.

Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough head out of the fog for me.

Kevin and I should have had a Christmas tune or eight to share with you. Our plan has always been to record together at night after the kids go to sleep.

It will happen. 2011 will be the year that it finally happens.

Until then, I'll link you to some posts from 2007. Old Christmas recordings from days gone by. Be forewarned, they are autostarting if you are using Chrome, and maybe other browsers. They didn't use to do that, but I'm not really in the mood to go back and figure out what has changed in the html code. If you don't want to hear, just don't clicky on the linky.

It's December, isn't it? There should be pictures of my trees up. I should be posting recipes. There should have been so much more going on here. Instead, I'm just funky. Just in a funk. So not like me for Christmas. It's the year we usually go see my family in Tennessee, and we aren't doing that (see above: not enough blah blah blah). I'm bummed.

But it will all be alright. Christmas is coming whether I'm in the mood for it or not. And it will be wonderful. Christopher has enough Christmas spirit for the entire city of Raleigh. I'm sure some of it will be rubbing off on me soon.

For now, I'll listen back to the days before children, when I had time to sit around and record Christmas songs just for fun. And put eight million vocals lines on them. Nothing like a big choir of me. Mwahahaha.

We Three Kings
What Child Is This

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I love you, but I hate your dog

All in all, we are pretty fortunate. We have some fabulous neighbors.

There is the couple across the street who take care of our dogs when we go out of town. They save us hundreds of dollars and allow us to visit family when we might not be able to afford it otherwise.

There is the family across the street who ushered us into the social circle of young families in the neighborhood. They have been supportive and fun, sharing birthdays and holidays and lots of laughs with us.

Then there is the family next door to us. We love them too. The wife is from the Ukraine and the husband is from Mexico. They met in an English as a second language class, which I think is really cool. They have a beautiful teenage daughter whose best friend is their German Shepherd, Dutch.

When we moved in, there was a little chatter about Dutch and what an annoyance he was. But we are dog people, and appreciate a little understanding when our dogs are annoying, so we afforded the same tolerance towards Dutch.

He barks when someone walks past.

He barks when you pull in the driveway.

He barks when the mailman comes.

He barks when our dogs go outside.

He barks when a leaf falls off the tree.

Occasionally it has bothered me. In years past, it was just a "HEY! Look at me! I'm a dog! HEY HEY HEY!" bark. I can totally tune that out unless I'm doing something in the driveway, in which case, after about a half hour, it's really annoying, and I'll yell at him until someone comes to bring him inside.

Lately though, the barking has been more of a, "HEY! I hate you and your children! I'm going to take your fingers off if you stick them through that fence! HEY HEY HEY!" bark.

I don't like it at all.

Worse than the aggression though, is the timing of the barking.

Ever since we moved Christopher into his new room down the hall from us, he has been waking up around 5:00 in the morning. It's killing us. He used to sleep until about 8:00, and losing three hours of sleep seems to have turned him into Mr. Crankypants from hell.

He needs more sleep.

We've tried longer naps. We've tried putting him down earlier. It's not working.

Unfortunately, what we need is for Dutch to not be in our neighbor's backyard BARKING INCESSANTLY AT 5:00 FREAKING A.M.

I really like our neighbors. I do. But the dog is turning my child into a sleepless monster.

The neighbor behind us just calls the police to report the dog as a nuisance. I think that's a little over the top and incredibly passive aggressive. However, I'm not relishing the idea of having to go talk to them about it. I know they are sensitive to the issue (having had the cops called and all), and we've tried to be very understanding of it.

Maybe I should just start sending Christopher over to their house at 5:00 A.M. when Dutch starts in. Or better yet, I could send him at 8:00 when he turns into the most evil, sleepy two year old on the planet.

What would you do?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Co-sleeping in a too small bed

Our bed is getting smaller.

Colin takes up almost an equal third of our queen size bed, leaving Kevin retreating down the hall to sleep with Christopher or in Mallory's room when she is at her mom's house.

That's not my idea of a family bed. Not how I want co-sleeping to be.

However, we won't be buying a bigger bed. Soon, it will be Colin moving down the hall to sleep in Christopher's room. The crib has been moved, and Christopher is anxiously awaiting his new roommate.

But my heart. I go to bed and lay down next to my baby. He looks up at me through sleep glazed eyes and smiles. A little baby arm is tossed up onto my breast, and he closes his eyes again while sighing back to sleep.

I'm having a hard time letting go of that.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Fighting and living. Elizabeth Edwards

Yesterday, Elizabeth Edwards announced that she would not be treating her cancer any longer. I thought that she had reached a point of quality versus quantity, and while I was sad, I was hopeful that she would have a comfortable, albeit probably last, Christmas with her children.

Then, today, she died.

I know why the news in all seriousness took my breath away when I read it.

I personalized it way more than it should have been.

It was hard not to.

It is hard not to when you know that the days are coming when people you love are going to choose quality over quantity. When talk of not being here "when" works itself easily into a conversation, it's just hard not to be hit in the gut by what felt like a sudden passing of Elizabeth Edwards.

She fought for six years.

What I hate is that it seems like just yesterday that she received her diagnosis. I hate that.

She lived for six years.

When you say she "fought," it sounds like a long time. But when you say she "lived," it sounds like just a moment.

There is never enough time. It's always too soon.

My heart goes out to her children.