Wednesday, November 7, 2012

You Know You Are a Mama When...


You wake up in the morning and discover a glittery foamy sticker on your belly button.

Sitting at your desk, you discover yourself softly humming the opening number from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse tv show.

The word “stiletto” is no longer in your vocabulary.

Your idea of a fancy dinner is one where you actually get to chew your food.

You start thinking “I gotta go potty” instead of “I have to use the ladies’ room.”

Your current hairstyle is “3 day old ponytail.”

You start wondering if there really ARE monsters hiding in the closet.

Your breakfast consists of the half-bitten pieces of muffin your child would not consume.

Your co-workers have sweetly nicknamed you “germfest.”

You spend much of your time daydreaming about creative ways to stain-guard your entire wardrobe.
Your grocery list is written in sky blue crayon, on yellow construction paper.

You current style icon is Fluttershy from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

You have justified the marker lines on your living room walls as “post-modern art.”

You have more “toy food” in your house than real food.

You use the word “nirvana” and “naptime” interchangeably.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night

Off to vote!
Wishing I was more educated on issues, big and small.
Grateful for what I DO know about the issues at hand.
Appreciating my right and ability to help make an important decision.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lovin’ the Library

This past week, I took the day off from work on Friday to watch Emmy while her usual caretaker, Baba (grandma), was out of town. I think I can count the number of weekdays Em and I have spent alone together on one hand. Our relationship is very close and strong, but is based mainly on time spent together on weekends and during the evenings. To have a full extra WEEKDAY together was a real opportunity.

In the morning, Em accompanied me to the DMV to take care of some not-so-thrilling car business. I felt guilty spending the first few hours of our special day waiting on line under cold fluorescent lights, surrounded by disgruntled employees, but Em really made the most of it. She swung around and sang songs to the people on line behind us, and she hopped up to the counter and curiously looked at the various machines behind the desk. She made the visit to the DMV more than tolerable, and almost… dare I say… fun?

Right after that, Em and I visited one of the local libraries for a toddler-focused “Romp N’ Read” program. When I read about the program on the library’s website, I pictured a handful of parents and their kids sitting around in a circle, with the adults quietly making small talk while the kids parallel played with their toys and chewed on their board books. I was actually relieved to see a few other moms and children entering the library building at the same time as we were, knowing that this meant we weren’t the ONLY ones showing up for the program.

Little did I know.

The “Romp N’ Read” took place in a ginormous room, and there must have been at least a gazillion kids and parents there. Honestly. A gazillion.

I was shocked.

Luckily, there were also tons of toys to be shared. It was a kind of free-for-all, grab-what-you-can-get, post-apocalyptic playtime that was definitely constantly teetering on the edge of total chaos.  

As Em and I found a small spot where we could plant our bodies, I looked around at the sea of other moms and dads. Of course, lots of parents seemed to be quite familiar with the crazy atmosphere and with one another. There were also a few newbies like me. I could tell who they were from the dumbstruck look they had on their faces when they entered the room, and from how grateful they were when other parents engaged them in a little small talk.

Em was thrilled to pieces, of course. She looked at me like I had surprised her with a trip to Disney World. She eagerly explored new, unfamiliar toys, and interacted in a limited way with the kids that surrounded her (and stepped on her, and tripped over her little body).  I observed my daughter lovingly, taking the time to really notice how much she has recently grown and developed.

Side note: at one point during this very loosely-structured playtime, I mistakenly sat down in a mysterious wet spot on the carpet. Part of me wanted to scoop Emmy off the ground and run home screaming, so I could change my clothes as quickly as possible and call my doctor to schedule a Hepatitis vaccine. The other part of me worked very hard at rationalizing the non-disgusting possibilities of what I might have sat in (lemonade?), so that I would not disturb Em’s fabulous time. Yes, I’m a good mama. And yes, I am also an idiot.

After about a half hour of free play, the “clean up” song was played and all the parents and kids diligently created order out of chaos. Then an amazingly gifted librarian corralled the children into singing and dancing a few familiar songs, and listening to some stories. I don’t know how she did it (I am quite certain magic was involved), but she somehow kept the attention of 8 billion toddlers for a full twenty minutes.

After the singing and dancing and storybook reading, the same librarian offered to stamp the children’s hands with a little picture of a turkey. Emmy was just over-the-moon about her temporary turkey tattoo.

I seriously thought about asking the librarian if I could adopt her.

After the program, Em and I spent some time in the children’s library, playing with the many toys they had on hand (I wish the library located closer to our home was as well-equipped), and reading a few books. I was surprised when I checked the time and realized we had spent over two hours in the library, and we would have to make our way home if I had any hopes of Em taking an afternoon nap.

Em didn’t want to leave. She said “This fun, mama. I want come back this again.”

And then she cried as I got her in her car seat.

“I want stay library and play little bit, mama.”

I told Em we would come back to the library and play again. And as we drove home, I had visions of Emmy and I sharing lots of library playtime together, maybe in the not-so-distant future.

Friday, November 2, 2012

If I Could Live Anywhere...

If I could live anywhere, where would I live?

This is one of those questions that, even ten years ago, would have been pretty easy for me to answer. Back then, I probably would have said something about traveling and not staying in one place for very long, about wanting to see many different cultures and lifestyles, about wanting to know what all my options were before settling down to buy a home and become part of a particular community.

That is a pre-mamahood answer, for sure. Now, even though I still have the occasional travel bug and desire to explore distant lands, the greatest factor in my desired location is the proximity it provides to family.

I spent the majority of my twenties consciously and unconsciously putting a distance between myself and my family. I suppose it was part of what I needed to do, to figure out my own direction and feel like I was making my own decisions.

Then, in my very early thirties, I returned home, at first more out of need than out of want. Since that time, and especially since becoming a mother, I've re-realized the incredible value of family, and the value of being physically close to our family. Seeing Emmy build relationships with our extended family members, through frequent visits and communication, has been one of the best parts of parenting, and one I wouldn't trade, even for an exciting trip around the world.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Jumping on the NaBloPoMo Bandwagon

Seems like every third tweet I’ve read today was from one of my friends, announcing that they would be participating in the Blogher NaBloPoMo for November.

As nervous as I am about committing to a full, non-stop month of writing (never done this before – I’m a NaBloPoMo virgin), I figure I might as well TRY it out.

Nothing to fear but fear itself, right?

Which, by the way, is NOT my favorite quote. Today’s writing prompt is to write about a favorite quote.

And while I love the idea of fearing nothing, it simply isn’t plausible. There are actually plenty of things to fear in life, and I think fear, within reason, can be motivating.

But one favorite quote of mine, which I stumbled upon just a little while ago:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
W.B. Yeats

Because even though I am 37 years old, I like to think of the world as a wonderful, wonder-filled place. I like to think that as much as we discover – about ourselves, about the universe, about teeny weeny microcosms and huge, vast macrocosms, there will still be a mystery to life that escapes our grasp and our ability to explain.

As a mother, I hope I can help open my children up to the wonder and magic of the world. I hope that as a family, we don’t get so caught up in everyday moments, that we fail to let our senses key in to the extraordinary.

And at the risk of sounding super hippie-dippie, I DO think that as humans we need to open ourselves up to our own ability to wonder, to allow ourselves to daydream a little more, to think a little less, and to just BE, with all our senses tuned in to the magic around us. It’s certainly not easy to do these days, but it is something to aspire to.