Friday, January 29, 2010

another week



One of my student's dad's asked me how my energy was today. He saw me racing up the stairs, juggling a pile of papers, a bag of books and a line of children.
Great!
I smiled. Well, except for those times I feel like I've been run over by a train.
We laughed and I kept on bustling. And that's just the way things seem to be rolling right now.

The intense swings of energy do amaze me. There are days when I pick up Els after a full work day only to pass her along to Jeff to head to the studio to teach class. And it feels totally fine. I bust through asanas and energize my students, all the while marveling at my ginormousness in the mirror, the muscles that still seem to work beneath those special new layers of padding. I come home and the two of them are caught up in some sweet game and the house is warm and happily chaotic.

And there are nights like tonight where I feel like I could have gone to bed at 5:30. Thankfully one of Eliana's new favorite games involves getting into my bed and playing nighttime, except she's the mommy and I'm the baby. The minute we close our eyes she whispers, cry, mama, cry! So I feign wail and she comes over and rubs my back and sings me songs. A lot of the game also involves numerous trips on her part from my bed to her room to retrieve an extensive number of babies who will help cheer me up. Thankfully for me, it involves hanging horizontal on my fabulous prego pillow, waiting for another goofy command from my little boss.

I had this realization the other day about this pregnancy. The first time through, it felt like such an insular experience. It was mine and it was Jeff's, but it really wasn't anyone elses. We hadn't become a family like that yet. There was still so much I didn't understand about that word.

This time it seems everyone who loves me, who loves us, is a part of this pregnancy. Of course Jeff. Of course Eliana. But there are the kids at school who incessantly ask me if I've picked a name yet (the other day they were so excited because they had proudly picked Mufasa for him). And the beautiful ladies who still come to yoga each week, still let me lead them through the flow of one breath to the next. My colleagues and the parents of my students who make kind, thoughtful, humorous comments bringing light and comfort to the whole gig.

So when I'm feeling guilty because I don't write to him in my journal every night like I did with Eliana, when I can't believe that I haven't attended a pre-natal anything class, that I've hardly cracked a prego book, I have to remember that this time is so very different.

Different and deep in a different way. Last weekend I left town with my girlfriends to celebrate Casey's numero dos. There was such depth, such wisdom in that group, a major part of it stemming from our collective roles as mothers. My friendships have altered so much since Eliana's been born. They are so real, so raw, so candid, so necessary. I love those women with my whole heart and feel totally myself in their presence. So little guy gets that. That strength and security. That nest.

How do I feel? This week I've felt tight. Like my skin has expanded and stretched to a new, uncomfortable dimension. My belly button is like a wild little alien, so stuck out, just begging to be commented upon. I remember reading something the first time around about women who put band-aids on their popped bellies. I remember having this very feminist, very how-dare-you-not-show-the-natural-beauty-of-it-all reaction to that notion. This time I kinda get it. Because sometimes you just want to go about your business and feel normal and be able to look in a mirror without your eyes instantly being drawn to that funny little nug smiling at you, reminding you how very different it all is.

Eliana and I are having a harder time fitting in the tub. But I'm holding firm to our evening rituals. I might not get as much of her as I want during the day, but the evenings are ours to cherish. Our baths are getting longer and longer, our games more elaborate. Eliana has this fascination with going to the doctor. My sister recently sent a big box of my nephew's old books and Eliana is holding strong to Mr. Rogers Goes to the Doctor and Bernstein Bear's, At the Doctor. Between the two titles (at multiple times each a day), we are pretty well-schooled in the doctors office scenario.

Tonight she was the doctor and Froggy, the sponge puppet, was the patient. She told him that she was going to use her otoscope to look at his eyes and nose. No joke. Then she told him that she had placed a clean white paper on the changing table. Froggy said, Don't you mean the examination table? And she said, Oh yeah, essamination. Essamination table with a clean white paper just for you, Froggy!

She is so full of pure love, pure life. Her Nana and PopPop arrived back in Missoula this week. Watching the three of them together is so beautiful. The love she has for them. The pure love they radiate for her. The extreme volume they are capable of producing together.

This week is an extra full one. My dad and Mary arrive tomorrow and then Hilary and all nine of her dancing ladies arrive for a performance later in the week. Just typing that out makes me take a deep breath. Because breaths really are key. My body isn't tolerating a lapse in breath. The Braxton-Hicks are kicking in and let me know when I haven't sat down, when I haven't had enough water. An awful leg cramp the other day reminded me that I hadn't had enough calcium. An urge to build myself a giant spinach salad at the Good Food Store reminded me that the greens hadn't been coming in the way they should. Pregnancy is so cool like that. I am infinitely appreciative of my body's ability to keep me in check.

I'm also appreciative of this time, alone, quiet, on a Friday night. While each day feels pretty monumental, there does feel like there's sufficient time to re-charge. Eliana loves her time at home with her parents, but also thrives on outings with her Grandparents, at the museum today with her little buddy and Kelly their babysitter. She doesn't seem to be suffering. And I guess the little man is doing pretty well too. So even in the thick of it all, they continue to grow and thrive and learn. Know they are loved, even if we have to take time apart.

Sooner than I know it this snow will melt. The irises and daffodils will shout, watch out! He's almost here. And I'll anticipate turning inward, bringing my attention wholly to this little family. To long, sweet, moment to moment days with one chatty little girl and her sweet, tiny little bruddah.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

happy sad's rep

Perhaps Happy Sad's greatest artistic talent is her singing. Her repertoire. Daddy was lucky enough to catch some of Happy's hit parade this weekend. She's pretty tremendous.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

mommy-daughter dates

I am trying to be a little bit more conscientious about having special date times with Eliana. Today while daddy and his buddies enjoyed Snowbowl, Els and I hit the town. She requested the Children's Museum and for whatever reason, we were the only two there for most of the time. It was like our own giant adventure land (and, the best part is, I didn't have to clean anything up!) Thanks to a membership gift from her Nana and PopPop, the Children's Museum has become one of Eliana's favorite haunts, especially on chilly, gray days like today. She moves from one activity to the next with confidence and ease and I happily follow her lead. Here she is watching herself on the weather station, exploring the water table and digging for dinosaur bones.


Most of our excursions are usually followed by a treat at Bernice's Bakery, her favorite townie spot. Today we shared an herb cream cheese croissant with a side of raspberry jam. That sweet and savory combination was a perfect metaphor for our perfect morning.
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Friday, January 15, 2010

happy sad

So Eliana has created a number of hilarious alter-egos for herself, but the most prevalent right now is Happy Sad. Happy Sad expresses her emotions outright, often vacillating fairly quickly from - you guessed it - happy to sad, joyously declaring I'm Happy! when things are swell or, I'm just a little sad, when things are dicey. Happy Sad is a mama figure. She sings Baby Beluga relentlessly to all the babies in the house and tells us to Shhh! Stop talking, I'm rocking my babies. She constructs slings out of my bras an bikini tops so she can easily manipulate her brood. Sometimes, Happy Sad even nurses.

Today I picked Happy Sad up from her babysitter. We decided to stop for a cookie and milk on the way home. After we were situated at the table, HS inquired, So? How was my day?

I adore Happy Sad. I adore her sense of humor and her ability to create the most magnificent worlds. I adore her little elfin face and insane memory. As wildly busy as our January has become, the vibrant presence of little Happy Sad makes every day absolutely shine.

Which brings me to the act of being wildly busy while simultaneously growing a little man. I feel like I need to write more about being pregnant. I keep waiting for it to be more declarative on my radar. But something about Happy Sad takes some of the self-centered sheen out of this pregnancy.

Last week a friend brought me some of her old prego books that were on the way to the Goodwill. I had already given all my reading material away. I who read every single book out there the first time, waited with baited breath for each new update from Babycenter.com, lived for pre-natal yoga. After reading up on my second trimester, I kinda freaked out. I feel like I've been such a prego-slacker this time around! I quickly made a massage appointment for myself and emailed a fellow prego amiga for a hiking date.

It's just so different now. This little guy is coming into a family. A real, live, been at it for a couple of years, too legit to quit, family. Jeff and I are stronger than ever. I have proven to be pretty darn capable. My child is tremendous. The love in this house pulses and glows, even with the ice slicked sidewalks, the long, harried days and messy counters.

I feel like I need to make some very self-centered, very focused plans for myself for these next few months. I booked a ticket to go to LA for my girlfriend's wedding without Eliana thinking it would be such a blast to have that sort of freedom. To be able to read trashy magazines in the airport again and travel without someone climbing all over me and playing incessantly with the drink tray. I thought about going with my girlfriend and sister to get cheap pedicures, being able to actually enjoy a long, leisurely meal with my mom. And I am psyched to be going. But it feels so hard to leave Happy right now. I feel like our time as a threesome is so precious and so fleeting. All I want to do on the weekends is hold her, play tea party with tutus on our heads, read books and make pancakes. It's like I re-gained my sense of self around the time she stopped nursing and now, a year or so later, I want us to be completely intertwined again.

But homegirl's moving on. As much as she loves being with me, she also loves being at daycare, being with her buddies, being independent. She is full of joy and wonder and the world is just one giant exploration for silly Happy Sad.

I keep trying to be mindful of taking in the moments. Today at our tutu tea party she was so insanely hysterical, so beautiful with that yellow halo flying from her head. I didn't want to stop the moment to find my camera so I took a mental snapshot. I vowed to start writing more, even if I don't have pictures, even if there isn't much of a through-line.

We can't stop time. I'm reminded each week when I teach yoga and see myself in that huge mirror again, the side angle from Warrior II showing an even larger belly, almost laughable as I try to inspire people to flow through their poses. I'm reminded when Els walks through the hallways at school, completely content in that environment, so ready to be a little pupil. I'm reminded when I think about Happy Sad, that funny little person who is such a part of our day today, but who will be replaced by many other, equally creative and sincere manifestations of one very strong self as the days move on.
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

party's over

Today concludes what was a beautiful three weeks of together time for our family. And, perhaps she really does listen well, because I have explained to Eliana that tomorrow mama goes back to work and she'll be going back to Caroline's and now she is howling from her crib like an insane person. She doesn't do this often and when she does it just wrecks me. Plus she's smart enough now to know how to put it on. What began as fake-ish whines has turned in to all out, gut-wrenching heaves, sobs and hyperventilating. "Mama! Mama! Mama! I want Mama! I NEED Mama!"

Jeff's in there now helping her take deep breaths and I'm so thankful to have this computer taking up a bit of my attention. She's going down fast and her breathless little sobs are pulling at my heart strings the way she pulls at her little violin ("just a pretend one").

But another minute has gone by and my beautiful husband and she are actually conversing. The crying has stopped. I am so thankful for that man. He and she have such a beautiful thing going. I am such a sap, such a pushover and thank goodness I have a man with such a distinguished backbone.

The post holiday haze found us at the hot springs yesterday. What a perfect way to spend the day. The drive out to Quinn is sort of Montana surreal. The icy Flathead River snaking it's way on our left, brown rolling, desolate hills on our right, the craggy Missions a ways in the distance. The different options of water temperature proved perfect for prego and toddler too. We floated and laughed and soaked til our fingers looked like little pasitas. She looked more beautiful to me in that water than she has ever before. Her cheeks so rosy, curls wound and humidified. She was so calm, so perfectly at peace in that soft mineral water with her mom and dad.

That's the kind of holiday we've had. Days where she's stayed in her jammies all day. Daddy painting her nails orange while I hike Lucy on Waterworks. Dad on a ski adventure while we go to the bookstore, visit friends, go around town. The three of us on the bunny hill, Eliana making a grand debut on the downhill terrain (though she mainly stayed in her papa's arms). The way we always come together again for meals and baths and books. For picnics on "pillow hill." For dancing in the living room.

It's bittersweet, but the way it has to go. Vacation wouldn't be so special if we didn't work as hard as we do.

Jeff has shut the door and the sobs have begun again. I don't know what to do. She knows how to make herself puke. That could really set us back. I was so proud of how early I put her to bed, knowing what a full day we have tomorrow. Now it's an hour later and she's still awake, still howling. The screams are getting louder. The baby is rolling, making jerky waves in my belly. I know this is one of those moments. One that I will have many more of.

Jeff's returned to valiantly sing Baby Beluga. Again, how I love that man.

I don't know how this night will end. But I'll look beyond it. I predict a wild, full winter followed by a sweet, spring arrival. And that's the only chunk of time I can hold on to. Beyond that is the this timeless, sunny, howling unknown.