Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Secrets, I Have a Few

I came here to write tonight and felt like a stranger. That's not what I'm supposed to feel like here. This place, this blank page, is my freedom. My semi-secret. Feels like my cover has been blown but really, I'm just me...same as always. No secret revealed and no branch turned.

I have been inspired, recently, to lay out the facts...tell my stories more freely, but I feel even more stifled by the encouragement.

My cat is staring at me and I can't even please her.

Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Grace in Small Things, tWo

1. Having my two year old tell me that her baby sister is her best friend.

2. Watching her boss around lady bugs.

3. Her favorite meal: hot gogs, sting cheese and a ginkawadder.

4. Letting her wear princess jammies all day, every day.

5. Hearing her say "I yuv you too, punkin." when she hugs me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grace in Small Things

Today is the first day of my participation in Grace in Small Things. It is a daily challenge to list five positive things. I encourage anyone reading this to check out the site here . Here are my first five.

1. Nursing my baby

2. Not nursing my baby

3. Sleep uninterrupted

4. Folding size 2T underpants

5. Still drinking coffee after noon

Mother Sucker

I love breastfeeding my children. I excel at it. Within minutes of first holding each of my daughters I have had them lulled and latched, bonding at it's best. Each of my children has etched her own path through nursing and eating...they all vary greatly.

My oldest weaned herself around seven months when she realized that she had to share a food supply with her sister-in-utero. Bananas and cheerios were a better option. When #2 came along, she too nursed happily through eight months or so and then naturally drifted into a healthy diet of anything she could get her hands on. She maintains that diet to this day. By the time my third daughter came along I had researched and read about nursing and feeding and was determined to feed her as naturally as possible. She nursed enthusiastically until, around five months, I learned that number four was on her way and weaning happened due to unforeseen medical circumstances. I reluctantly but easily weaned her and she flourished on formula. I pureed my own baby food and molded her into a great eater of a variety of foods. She now prefers cheese.

I knew that Sage would be my last baby. I intended, as with the other three, to nurse for a year or so but assumed she would stop earlier. I assumed wrong. I started to introduce solids around 8 months I think. She was only mildly interested. She did not like spoons. She did not like cereal. She disliked pureed apples and squash and green beans and sweet potatoes and pears and basically everything. I continued to nurse. The demands of my other children required that I try a bottle of breastmilk now and then. She did not like bottles. I tried different bottles. She did not like them either. This was all okay. As a stay-at-home mom I could deal with the still constant nursing schedule. She nursed every three to four hours, nights included. Sometimes she would throw an extra feeding in there just for fun.

Nearing her first birthday, I began to prepare to wean. Despite the emotional drawbacks of weaning my last baby (which is a whole different post), I was determined to move on for the benefit of the entire household. I tried to feed her anything she would eat. Anything that would distract her from the breast. She still had little interest in food but it felt as if I had begun to pull back from nursing a little. She turned one and continued to nurse enthusiastically.

She is now nearly sixteen months old. She is still nursing with the hunger of a newborn and is becoming more and more insistant about when and where she wants to do it. She plays with her food but never eats much, sucks on sippy cups but doesn't drink much. Still refuses a bottle. SHE WAKES UP MULTIPLE TIMES THROUGH THE NIGHT. I am tired. I have tried everything I can think of to lessen her needing/wanting of me as a food source. I have mixed feelings about the end of my role as a nursing mother but I think I am reluctantly ready. She is not even close. It seems now we have become so completely co-dependant that I cannot leave the room without a distraction to keep her occupied...I cannot sit on the couch and sew or read or knit. I can't sit with my other children. I can't clean the house or work on projects that desperately need my attention. I cannot sleep in my bed alone with my husband. I am tired and although I know that I have allowed for this to happen, that my sadness at seeing my babies grow has made it hard for me to be firm, I yearn to sleep. I dream of quiet, empty lapped nothingness. But I continue to sit here and nourish her, comfort her and shrivel away.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Love Letter

I met my husband when I was just small. I don't really remember this. What I remember is my brother-in-law. He was my Montessori classmate, fourth grade competition, high school football player, and later, toted me to college parties and bedded my closest friend.

I remember meeting my husband somewhere in the middle.

I recall meeting his Girlfriend at 14, maybe 15. She was older than me and flooded me with light that made me feel important. She wrote me a note once that I referred to often..."I'll think of you whenever the sun shines." I thought she really meant it.

A year or two later my future husband sent me a letter, a crudely folded lump of notebook paper, through a mutual friend. A friend who would be part of my future for years to come.
The letter was about squirrels.

He wore my earrings in gym class. There were rumors he still had the Girlfriend...but he kept writing me and hinted to my Homecoming date that I might be taken...

We played badminton and I met his tattooed friends. We traded shirts and went to parties.

He went to college.

I continued to live. I had adventures that both involved him and did not. I drove to visit him and got lost with his brother. I imagined he would someday be an artist of some sort, unmarried and wandering.

I went to college...at the same university. Our relationship moved quickly beyond squirrels...and then ended quickly, the results of which rendered me fairly useless for quite a while.

I moved on, as did he. We both envisioned our lives with other people. Other places. I got greek. I learned that I was an outcast sorority girl. I abandon them for greener (or blacker) pastures. There was a fabulous man in my life for many years but we couldn't quite make it work.

Here is where it gets interesting...

Friday, January 9, 2009


This is not a New Year's Resolution. This is me noticing a change in myself that scares me. This is me finding my days both rushing by and crawling so slowly I can feel each minute drag across my toes. This is me making certain my past won't repeat itself because I can't afford the luxury of a nervous breakdown.

I live each day as if it barely exists. I hug my children and smile and cook meals and feed the babe and straighten the house and pick up and drop off and waste a little time here in space...and then I sit and struggle with the thought of another day where there is not enough of me to go around. I sometimes sleep and sometimes wake up and then I do it all again. I barely see what's in front of me. I am nearly blind to my surroundings. I just get through the day and I know this is because I am overwhelmed. I know because I have been here before but this time has to be different. This time I have to wake up in the morning and feed my children and dress them warmly and kiss them sweetly and spend my days making certain they will be dressed and fed the next day. I am on call for the nursing babe and on alert for the tireless toddler. I am expected to drive and shop and pay bills and remember appointments and somehow clean up every one's messes. I want to shut down. I want to sleep and ignore.

What I am giving is not enough. My children need more of me but sometimes it seems impossible to give any more of myself after giving my self wholly to two under two all day. I used to make time for sex (as is evident by the overflow of children) but now after nursing a baby for 8 months, I don't even make it to bed many nights. My house is clean for company only and even I have stopped noticing the piles. I know that perfection is not attainable with four young children, not for me anyway. I don't expect to be able to keep up with everything without putting forth my mind, my time, my heart, my soul... the problem is I am exhausted from grasping at passable and that is not enough. It's not enough for my family and it is not enough for me.

So...I'm going to give the babe a bottle now and then...I'm going to talk to my doctor about switching anti-depressants...I'm going to sleep in my bed...I'm going to read to the kids and teach them to knit...I'm going to study their little faces and listen to every word they say because they say some incredible things. I'm going to do all this and more because I have to. I need to. I want to. I'm going to stop it now before it gets the best of me because they mean the world to me and they don't deserve any lesser version of their mother and I don't want to waste one more second.

(I am also going to post this fully aware that is is not great writing and sort of a giant run on sentence because I just need to get it out there...)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

When It Began

Pregnant with my first child seven years ago, I waited anxiously to become a mama. I sent silent messages to my unborn daughter through my thoughts, positive that they rushed through my veins and somehow she heard me whispering to her. Even after she was born I felt connected, like I didn't have to speak. She broke my heart. I held her every minute and soaked in her needs and mourned the passing of each day that I could only live once with her tiny self growing and becoming a girl.

When my second daughter was born 13 and a half months later, I worried that we would miss the connection. She fought hard and nestled into her own perfect spot, beautiful and silent with her older sister guarding her every step. She was different than her independent sibling and clung to me as I snuggled her insecurities away.

Then there were two. And then we lost two. Two tiny people who came into our lives and never quite made it into the world although they were loved and dreamt about and the loss of each devastated and destroyed me for months and I mourned them both fully.

When finally our third daughter came she was welcomed with relief and joy. The five years past when I first became some one's mama had changed me and I saw her in a new light. Every movement and sound captured my attention in a new way and "Such a beautiful baby" everyone said. She was easy to love and wooed everyone around her.

Six weeks ago a lovely new girl entered our lives. A fourth and final sister 13 and a half months after the last. History repeated and welcomed yet when she arrived we looked at one another and there was, simply, need. I have struggled to feel the attachment that I felt with the others. I have nourished and cared for her and searched for something in her eyes, an indication that she recognized me and knew our secrets...and then today...she looked at me and smiled. She came to life in that moment and I can't wait to share her with everyone and everything. My perfect number four. Sharing a secret with me, finally.