Friday, March 30, 2012

8 Months

Luciana is 8 months today. Or yesterday. I'm writing this on Thursday but it'll post on Friday so....ok. She's 8 months or 8 months and a day. I've been really emotional this week and though it doesn't feel specifically about her having a mini-birthday, I think in some ways it is. I already feel her babyhood passing by quickly which leads me to see in some nonlinear part of my brain her whole childhood passing by quickly. How swiftly our lives together pass. It's this pulling on my heart that is so rich and full it's almost heavy; it's a sweet kind of heartbreak for all these moments she's not going to live again and I won't get to live again with her. I understand in those moments women who have baby after baby after baby: the never wanting to give up the completely new.

I've had some garden-variety mama struggles in myself recently: food, sleep, and what's my role in facilitating both. I was walking with Luciana earlier this week after a morning of beating myself up for basically not being able to control my daughter: she doesn't eat as much as I think she "should" eat. She'd had a hard night of sleep and I was blaming myself. And it hit me with the grace of the sunshine we were walking in: I can't control or manage my daughter's wellbeing. I can't make her eat. I can't make her sleep. I won't be able to make her have this friend and not that one or play this way or that way. My daughter is who she is, and I am here to be a guide and a teacher where she'll let me in, but I cannot have an agenda with her. An agenda? Of course I don't have an agenda. I'm not planning where she should go to college or anything. But every time we sit down at the table and I think she should eat a certain amount, that's an agenda. And she eats on certain days and she doesn't on others. I've stressed over that, especially because she's a lean girl, and I really got this week that stressing over it is not my job. And it's not nice for either her or me. My job is to offer and make is pleasant. And to completely respect her choice in the moment.

I read a great piece about appreciating what your kids can do. Rather than focusing on She's not crawling yet! He hasn't said Mama yet! the article encouraged me to just watch the magical way in which Luciana moves even though, no, she hasn't crawled. She's poised to: she gets up into position and plays with moving an arm forward. She's studied and a little cautious as she lifts her hand up. She hangs there, suspended, and then, as though abandoning her own game completely in an act of rebellion against herself, drops onto her belly and happily and gracefully rolls where she wants to go. And I remember wondering if she would ever roll.....Just to witness her collecting and testing her data is so joyful and so phenomenal. This is the girl who came out of my belly 8 months ago, and now she invites me to play, has her favorite games, converses with me in her big sounds, is strongly opinionated about likes and dislikes. 8 months from now she'll be.....I can't even imagine. I value more than just about anything these times on the floor where she just is: being and doing what she wants and I get to revel in it.

So as for struggling with wanting to control food and sleep: I thought, should I go get her weighed? Nah. She eats when she wants to eat. She's happy and full of energy. She keeps growing more hair and I swear her eyes get bluer every day: clearly her body is working. If I'd never heard of percentiles would I be worried? The answer was No. So we skipped the scale, I continue to offer food a few times a day, she drinks a lot of breastmilk, and here we are. As for sleep, we actually started doing a more structured plan with her in terms of night feedings and me not going to her every time she squeaked, and it's been working beautifully (knock wood). I'm starting to get sleep for the first time since she was born.

I guess if there's one challenge I'm posing to myself for the next month of my hummingbird's life it's What if I Choose Not to Worry About her At All Today? Of course this excludes illness, getting hurt, making sure we're babyproofed. I'm talking about the worry clutter that clouds the purity of being with her. I'm willing to drop that for the next 31 days.

I was reminded this week thanks to my mom of Kahlil Gibran's words on children:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you
And though they are with you they belong not to you.

Happy happy happy 8 months my precious exquisite remarkable girl.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We Love Now....

A couple of things I am really enjoying with Miss Thing over here:

First, the Kissy Kissy long-sleeve onesie. Someone gave me one of these before Luciana was born (I think that person was hedging a bet I was having a girl---the onesie had lace trim and everything) and after one wear I immediately went out and bought more in the 0-3 size, then went to 3-6 mos, now in 6-9 months size. I started with white, now have added pink, and should probably get online and see what other lovely soft colors I can find. I seriously put Luciana in these 4 days a week: they are the perfect layer under a short-sleeved tee or a dress and they're great on their own with a cardigan on top. I feel like an ad saleswoman right now, but they are SO soft and SO lightweight and just so sweet under everything.

This photo was when she was a YOUNG baby. She's such a seasoned one now....

If you don't know about these books, you need to. Like their name implies, they are indestructible. Luciana is a fan of eating paper these days, which means books with paper pages are pretty much out. And while we love board books, they can't be played with in quite the same way--as in bent, folded, flapped, crumpled. Another thing I like about them is that they don't have words--at least the 2 we have don't. So we get to make up our own stories or talk about the colors or read it backwards if we want to. I highly highly recommend and they travel brilliantly as well.

As for mama, I'm pretty much living in the soft long sleeve tees I got from Target recently layered over their stripey tank tops. I felt pretty good about myself when I had three people ask me in a day where I'd gotten my shirt. When Target is good, it's so good. I dream of updating my wardrobe---it's been a long time, my friends, but that would require taking time to go shopping. Which I haven't figured out yet.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Weekend for Three

As I said we were, we went away last weekend.

It lovely.

Sky and I had amazing time with Luciana together---that was most of the weekend and that was wonderful. She looked back and forth to us with what seemed like big delight and a bit of fascination---we were really light on the family playtime the last couple of months. But we also each had great one-on-one time with her--I get lots of that but Sky doesn't and man, does that girl love her daddy. And he and I had a little time with each other. That's the beauty of the travel crib: baby goes to sleep in the bathroom, where it's really quiet and really dark. Never mind that Mom and Dad had to go outside to the patio and pee in the bushes. No joke.

There was some amazingly warm weather and Luciana got to put her feet in the ocean for the first time.

She spent lots of time playing in the grass.

And oh yes--where we stayed! I didn't get many photos but suffice to say the Four Seasons in Montecito is as good as we hoped it would be. I have wanted to stay there for years, and at low season with a stay 2 nights, get the 3rd free promotion plus "Incidentals" credit, it was manageable. A splurge, but a manageable splurge, especially given that a nursing mama can't drink many of their delicious cocktails. When you stay there you have access to the Coral Casino, a swanky beach club across the street with a crazy good swimming pool. I do want to return there in July with a big sun hat and a copy of The Great Gatsby. But then it will be high season, so I think I'll have to wait.

And that's OK, because as wonderful as they are, life is not about hotels. It's about having time to kiss your beloveds on the nose. Sometimes nice hotels are facilitators for that since there are no kitchens to clean. But the point is to find time for this stuff daily. I'm happy to say that we have.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Off We Go

We're going away this weekend. Just the 2 of you, everyone asks? Mais non. I just got my fulltime mom life back--I'm not giving my baby up for a night. However, while this is a family trip, Sky and I are super excited about this weekend for us as a couple. Can we talk for a few about marriage, relationship, baby, work, how to make it all fit into a life?

Everyone said, and we prepared ourselves for it, that having a babe is intense on a relationship. And sure, that's true. We have been rightly obsessed with our child. As much as we promise not to talk about schedules and feeding and what's next in her development on those few dates that we have, we of course end up talking about how much we love her which leads to talking about schedules and sleep and childcare and all of it. And Luciana doesn't sleep through the night yet (the sleep topic is a separate post and one I can't wait to talk about) and when I was working she ended up in our bed most nights because 1)she went to sleep so much faster and mama needed every wink she could get and 2) we love it. WE LOVE IT. There is nothing sweeter than waking up next to her little face. And we know this isn't something we want to do forever, and in fact the time is coming really soon where it won't be happening much at all, and yes, some could argue we're putting hard-to-break habits in place, but I'll say it again: we love it and she loves it and it's just what we've chosen to do during this time. All that to say that our time as a couple has been extremely extremely limited--even our time as co-parents. We had one day off together in January and February.

So everyone said this would happen, and we were onboard til I'd say the end of February when it just started to hurt both of us how little we were seeing each other. This is more a function of both of us working really hard for those two months than anything. I see now that if I was working full time all the time and wanting to be with our daughter as much as I do, it would take some serious discipline and scheduling to find time for each other. We didn't do much of that because we knew it was finite: my work had a definitive end date and Luciana's wellbeing came first, so it was 1)Luciana 2)our jobs 3)ourselves 4)time for each other. Would gurus tell us to put ourselves first, relationship second, baby third and job fourth? Probably. And I am here to tell you that all the knowledge of what you SHOULD do is lovely; then the moment comes and you make your decisions. I am so proud of us as a family over the last bit of time. And the only way we could have done it is, again, that we knew it was temporary (til Mama does another play).

But I miss Sky. A lot. And he misses me. A whole lot. What I've noticed about myself, too, is that when suddenly we're fending for ourselves, it's easy to fall into patterns that maybe aren't so great. For me, when I'm busy and have a lot going on I can get distant. And a little critical. And hung up on the little things. I've always been that way. It gets harder and harder for me to open up---I get used to being on my own, or in this case on my own or with Luciana, but where I haven't been is intimately talking with and connecting with my husband. So in that first moment that we have to be quiet together, I don't jump with readiness; it takes me a bit to come out of my shell. That resistance to intimacy is something I've worked on a lot, but that doesn't mean it's gone entirely. Sky and I know that for both of us it's so important that we don't go long stretches without connecting because it's not always fun clawing our way back to togetherness. We went a really long stretch. And I've been a little withdrawn. We both know it and it's OK but it's not where we're our best. Obviously.

Sky and I are not alone or unusual in that getting away makes getting back in sync with each other a lot simpler. He's not sucked into work and I'm not sucked into laundry and cleaning the garage. But I can't just show up in Santa Barbara and assume that's the only missing piece. There's that commitment to connecting that I know is vital. It is my full and 100% intention this weekend to be present and open to my husband and our relationship, and also to the experience of parenting together. Maybe we can talk more about our hearts and less about how much Luciana is eating. Maybe we can daydream instead of remind ourselves we need to hire a CPA. Maybe, in the midst of being more grown-up than we've ever been with our travel crib and baby spoons and nap schedule and super-moderate alcohol intake, we can have a few days where we play like kids and channel the carefree versions of ourselves. We have this gorgeous ball of light called our daughter to remind us how life is not about the logistics, though wow, do we act like it is sometimes.

us, figuratively anyway
from here

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Post I Forgot to Title

I meant it when I said I have 14 posts in my head. Now that I'm sitting here it's boggling trying to decide what to write. The past 2 months were really big--wonderful and so challenging and all new. The short version is I never felt I made the wrong decision in deciding to work for a couple of months, and the play went BEAUTIFULLY and Luciana is incredible. Right alongside that I'll say there were days I just didn't know how I was going to get through.

Some of what I learned is this:

I really can trust how much my baby loves me. It's not to be underestimated, the potential of those little hearts to hold huge love.

It doesn't matter how tired I am if I can get present: when I get present there is enough energy, whether that's to do a show or play with my girl or soothe her in the middle of the night. It's when I start worrying that I won't have enough energy that I'm screwed.

It really helps to remember what I have no power over: her mood, traffic, my own feelings to name a few. When I accept what is I can do my best to find a response that makes me proud.

I still suck at napping and building rest into my days. Pretending I'm Superwoman seems to be a favorite pasttime.

Ok my internet just went down for a good while during which I made some killer chocolate chip cookies for a shower on Saturday. Now it's bedtime which I need to keep because Luciana is teething and has a little virus and is up about every half hour--that's a record in this household. We may be in for a long night so this mama is getting into bed. See you soon.

Hello, crown chakra:)