Thursday, December 15, 2011

Last Songs, a.k.a the recurrent morbid thought that pops in to my brain ALL the TIME

Many years ago, back when I was trying to make this East Coast Girl into a L.A. Lady, I heard Brian Eno's "An Ending (Ascent)" and the first thought that popped into my mind was "Aha! Now THAT's the song I want to be played at my funeral!"
Wait... what?
Why do I do this? Why, when I hear beautiful yet somewhat mournful songs, does my head automatically go to that weird place where I start envisioning people gathered around my casket, whispering to each other in hushed tones? Why do I feel the need to come up with a playlist for my funeral, as if that is what everyone is going to be talking about afterwards, as in "Man, that was a really moving service, but the music?! Blew.. my... mind... That was the best funeral music EVER!"
It may have something to do with my more-than-the-average-bear fear of dying, which surfaced somewhere around my third birthday and hasn't left me since. Obviously, I have some weird kind of control issue and fear of the "unknown", so I placate myself by planning the soundtrack for my death party. How fun am I?
Humor me. Here are the four ABSOLUTELY MUST BE INCLUDED songs for my funel d.j.'s playlist:

1) The aforementioned "An Ending (Ascent)" by Brian Eno
2) "Rise" by Eddie Vedder (from the Into the Wild soundtrack)
3) "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys
4) "Fireflies" by Owl City

I am sure I will come up with more to add to this list, but am open to suggestions from any similarly morbidly-minded folks...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dance, Emmy, Dance!

Yes, I am completely biased, but I believe my 14 month old girl DOES have a chance of becoming the 2029 winner of "So You Think You Can Dance". She's got some moves, yo!
Don't worry. I am not about to post a video of her moving her little body in rhythm to "Moves Like Jagger" on Facebook (as much as I would REALLY like to). Though I am thoroughly amused by her waving her arms and turning in circles, I get creeped out by the thought of "strangers with issues" looping the video.
I do, however, want to foster Em's love of dancing. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a big fan of the dance floor. And if there is no dance floor available, I am a big fan of other floors, as long as I can DANCE on them! My mom also LOVED to dance and embarass me to no end with her crazy moves, and I am sure my own dancing will be a source of grave embarassment to Emmy in the near future, but it is comforting to know that I've handed the "wacky dance love" gene (or genetic mutation) down to Emmy.
To encourage her creative dance expression, we've started to incorporate "Family Dance Party" into our daily routine. It started off as a Sunday morning thing, because that's when we are all together, and when we can kind of laze around the house in our pajamas for a while without any sense of obligation. Sunday mornings quickly became pretty much EVERY morning due to the popularity of the ritual. We turn on "Toddler Tunes" on ye olde cable television, and start hopping, stomping, skipping, and shaking what our mamas gave us all over our living room. "Dada" sometimes dances in his underwear, which adds to the humor and delight of the event. Emmy likes to be held and "swooped" this way and that way through many songs, but recently she has enjoyed being on her own two feet, kicking and clapping, walking backwards, flailing her arms, and making little circles with her whole body.
To take this to the next level, I am hoping we can join a local music class aimed primarily at toddlers and their enthusiastic parents. I am searching around, and have found a few options offering "trial classes". I have signed us up for one and will see how that goes before committing us to an entire 8 week session. I am imagining the classes are either incredibly awkward or incredibly entertaining, based on who teaches and who participates.
I am highly doubtful that ANY class will let my husband show up in just his underwear, though... huge bummer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lunch with new friend (?)

I went out to lunch with a new mommy-friend today. G works downstairs in the accounting department, and I met her on one of the first days here at my new job. It was one of those insta-connection things: we're both mommies of young children, both relatively outgoing, we both wear glasses, and in a weird way she kind of reminds me a little of other best friends I have had in my life... I've been wanting to ask her out to lunch for quite a while now, but have been too afraid of rejection (and too busy trying to spend my lunch hours walking on the treadmill at the gym rather than socializing over delicious sandwiches) to ask.
At the company holiday party two weekends ago, I had a bit too much wine to drink. It was my first time getting dolled up and all glimmery in a REALLY long time, so I had to celebrate. Forgive. So I got all nervy and crazy in that self-assured-drunk-girl way and started dancing like a maniac on the floor with G. and a couple of other HR girls. Before I knew it, words were coming out of my mouth, and I was asking G. out on a mommy date, and maybe also telling her how much I wanted to be her new best friend. *blush*
I was a little nervous about seeing G. at work the next week, but when I did, she said "so are we on for lunch, or do you not even remember asking me out?" After I assured her that I had not just asked her out just because I had kicked back one too many, we set a lunch date for this very day.
As a new mommy, you have to understand that my social calendar consists of Sunday morning dance parties with my baby girl and husband (truly, SO MUCH FUN. not even joking), and saying hello to the checkout lady at the grocery store. So, yes, I was very excited about a mommy date, even if it was only for an hour at Panera's.
I think everything went okay, but it is SO HARD TO TELL on a first date..Did she think I asked too many questions about her family? Did I get too personal or share too much info about myself and my baby girl (our sleep schedule, our breastfeeding schedule, the number of times we hug every day)? Did she think I was being presumptuous when I said "ME TOO!" after everything she said? I do feel I may have been a little heavy-handed in the oh-my-god-our-lives-are-so-similar department... but.. oh-my-god-our-lives-are-so-similar!!
I do think it's a good sign that when I dropped G. off on her office doorstep and suggested we try this again after the holidays, she agreed and said it would be a great idea. I plan to casually bring up our second date around January 2nd... stay tuned..

To have a second child, or not to have a second child? That is the question.

I recently learned some health-related news that requires us to make some important decisions regarding whether we want to try to expand our family to four, or keep our cozy threesome, as is. In talking to C, we came up with a semi-sort-of-quasi plan, which would be to aim to get pregnant by the end of 2012. We both agree that it would be amazing for Emmy to have a lifetime companion and playmate in a sibling. In watching her play, hold dolls, and interact with other children, it is clear she has a nurturing soul that would make her a great older sister, and that she would also really enjoy having someone else to share life's experiences with.
Of course, saying it is one thing, and making pregnancy happen is a whole other ball o' wax. We have at least A FEW challenges to overcome on our path to carrying a second child:
1) Emmy is still breast-feeding. She is now fourteen months and doesn't show many (read: ANY) signs of giving up on feedings. She still night feeds at least three or four times a night, and requests (read: DEMANDS) a morning feeding, an after-work feeding, and a pre-bedtime feeding. I can't put the blame on her, entirely, though. I see our feeding sessions as true mommy-daughter bonding moments, and am also somewhat reluctant to let go of them. I WOULD like to night-wean her a bit, and we will be focusing on cutting back those feedings over the upcoming months, but if I am completely honest, I need those after-work feedings just as much as she does.
I did read online that once a mother stops round-the-clock breastfeeding, it becomes quite a bit easier to get pregnant, so I am hoping that our slightly dwindling feeding schedule will give my reproductive system a little boost. The hope is to have Emmy weaned almost entirely by this June/July, which would give C and me a good six months of breastfeeding-free time to "get our groove on".
2) Speaking of getting our groove on, WHEN??? Emmy is still in bed with us for most of the night (another pattern we have to modify), and is a light sleeper. This definitely makes us a little hesitant to start the "bowm chick a bowm bowm", even if she is asleep in her crib. We do make a point of going out on a "date night" at least once a month, but.. I mean, ONCE A MONTH. From what I hear, that frequency of our one-on-one time does NOT work in our favor.
We have to get out more. And by getting out more, I really mean staying in more, but without Emmy anywhere nearby :).
I think I should also invest in one of those basal body temperature doohickys, so that I can gauge my fertile cycle more easily, and make sure mom is available for sitting on my "ripe for picking" nights. I keep on meaning to make a trip to CVS.
3) I have a weirdo uterus. I had to have an unplanned C-section to get Emmy out, because apparently my uterus in heart-shaped (septed), which means it is basically divided in two sections. This made it very challenging for Emmy to get into position for a natural birth (I tell Emmy that my body just didn't want to let go of her). Apparently, my weirdo uterus also makes it more challenging for a pregnancy to survive, which I am none too thrilled about. On a positive note, this makes Emmy's birth even that much more special. But on the downside, it means that the prospect of having another child is not as great as if I had, say, a non-weirdo uterus.
I can get an operation to have my uterus un-septed. Not sure if my health insurance would cover the procedure though, and I am not financially equipped to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for an operation. Must look into this more thoroughly.
4) I am no spring chicken. But there are lots of older chickens out there having babies, so although my age automatically puts me in the "high risk pregnancy zone", I am going to ignore those terms and think of myself in peak form for being preggers.

If I had another 5 years (or even 3!) to overcome all these obstacles and get pregnant, I think I would be a lot more optimistic. I don't think we will be terribly crushed if we are not "with child" by the end of 2012, but we sure would be THRILLED if we were.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Strangers with the coolest names...

I still remember standing on line at a random pharmacy on one of my trips to New York City, noticing that my cashier's name was "Madly". MADLY! What a fantastic name. Nevermind that it has several negative conotations - I still think it is so freakin' cool! I vowed to myself that day that when I had a daughter, I would name her Madly.
That didn't happen, mostly because when I was pregnant and thinking of names for a girl, Madly simply didn't surface in my brain. I am also pretty confident that if I had asked my sane husband to consider Madly as an option for our to-be-born daughter, he would have thought I was joking, and said "ha ha HAAAAAAH!" End of subject.
Today I called the accounting department of a White Plains hotel on some work-related issue, and the woman in the accounting department is named "Monet". MONET! What a fantastic name. Ok, so people would automatically assume that Monet is one of our favorite artists (not so true), or that my husband and I met in Monet's Gardens (very not true). Some people might mistake "Monet" for "Money", and sing "Money Money" to Monet all the time. I still think it is an awesome name. It kind of makes me want to have a second child.

Our trip to the Albany Institute of History and Art

So, ever since Emmy was born, I have been promising myself that I would do my best to be one of those moms that would constantly engage my daughter in a vast array of interesting activities, i.e., day-long hikes through wooded mountains, trips to neon-lit metropolitan cities, journeys to discover what IS actually at the end of a rainbow, and of course LOTS of visits to local and not-so-local museums. I like to dream BIG. But then reality set in and I realized that ANY activity we play needs to work within the parameters of trying to establish a consistent nap schedule for our daughter, which basically means that we cannot do anything that lasts longer than 2 - 3 hours.
With New Year's looming and my resolution-mindset beginning to peak, I've decided to curtail my ambitions and find as many incredible mommy-daughter activities as I can that still allow Emmy to take her afternoon naps. Since her daddy now works on Saturdays, we have the whole day to ourselves, and ample time to try and find some fantastic kid-friendly fun in the area.
This past weekend, we went to the Albany Institute of History and Art. I had seen an advertisement for their temporary exhibition showcasing toys from the past, and was thrilled that it was labeled "hands on". I timed it so that Emmy and I would arrive just as the museum was opening, thus avoiding what I thought might be droves of like-minded parents and children itching to explore the museum on a late Saturday morning. Little did I know we had nothing to fear. We constituted two of the three people who were in the museum during the entire length of our visit. This definitely worked in our favor, as Emmy was able to be as "hands on" as she wanted to be, without having to share or wait on any lines (she's kind of weak in the "sharing" and "patience" departments). She was also able to talk loudly without me fearing she would be upsetting other museum-goers, and was able to roam the exhibition without me fearing her getting lost or abducted.
Emmy seemed to really enjoy the exhibition! She especially loved the Mr. Potato Head magnetic wall, which allowed her to put as many magnetic-sticker eyes, noses, teeth, etc. on the plain potatoes, celery, and carrots. I was pleased to see my daughter enjoys performing "make-overs" on vegetables, and her imaginative use of hats as chin-coverings.
She also enjoyed sending little match box cars down their race tracks, pushing buttons to make a ferris wheel turn, making a train go "choo choo", and lots of the other activities.
It was a really great day, and I felt like a good mommy for taking her to the museum. I left wishing the exhibit were permanent, so that I could return with Emmy as she develops over the coming years, to see how she engages in toys both old and new, and what peaks her interest most at different ages.
Thank you Albany Institute of History and Art!
P.S. We followed up the museum visit with a stop at TCBY yogurt, which is not a particularly culturally stimulating environment, but man does Emmy love their yogurt. :)
P.P.S Next stop - Albany's First Friday? Doubtful...