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kingdom of god

shut it down

kudos to all of you who get the above liz lemon reference.

 

so, i feel kinda weird having 2 blogs, when i only have 1 life. i assumed i would just write on here about all things baby, and people who were interested in that kinda stuff could read it here. and i would write about everything else at the Little Somalia blog.

but life isn’t compartmentalized, and it is all the same 3 people reading anyways.

plus, i have been getting really weird spam on this site, which creeps me out.

and so–shut it down.

or just re-direct, more like.

i will continue to blog about ramona, the kingdom of god, and the evils of nestle here.

ps, on a side note, for all those who wonder:

is blogging about my baby exploitive? here is my answer in a nutshell:

a little. and as ramona gets older i will definitely try to stay in the realm of we only tell cute little anecdotes. but honestly, i blog about babies because i think there needs to be a lot more transparency and honesty in the world of mothers (and fathers). everybody is always walking around like they got it all perfect, and i just want to be someone who says, occasionally, hey–this is pretty much the roughest thing ever. and it is worth it.

and, of course, i always want to remind people that the kingdom of god comes through babies.

see you in little somalia!


Baby Dedication

Ramona got dedicated at church last Sunday.

For months I had dreamed of this moment: sharing with the church how much we had appreciated their prayers in our hour of need, the grace that was given to us, the solid little squaker who is now 5x her birth weight.

But Krispin, in the heat of the moment, said what he had to say (which was good, I will grant him that) and passed the microphone back to the pastor, who said : “let us pray”.

And that was that. The mother does not get a say.

So. Here is what I would have said, had been thinking about saying for the past 9 months:

When Ramona was born so tiny, we were afraid. But God has promised to bring big things from such a tiny package.

The kingdom of God comes through babies.

It comes in a myriad of ways. PArtly, it comes by refining us, the parents. Nine months in and we are already more patient, less selfish people. We have been faced with our grumpy, sleep-deprived selves every morning and come to grips what it is like to experience trauma and small tragedies. We have more faith in a plan that is much bigger than us and much, much, much more respect for all the other mothers (and fathers).

The kingdom is also going to come through Ramona. We don’t know how yet, but she is part of God’s plan.

And to all the parent’s out there, in the throes of chaos:

You are bringing the kingdom as well.

And that’s what I would have said.

I already murdered Krispin several times in my head (and then repented–OK?) and he feels really bad about his flustered mistake.

And I already pointed out that Krispin himself (on this very blog!) said that he wanted to use this baby dedication as a way to empower women.

Ha!

In other news, Ramona went on her first hike to Multnomah falls.

glowing.

And check out this shot of the falls:

The K Mayfields are moving to Phoenix this week. Ramona is going to miss her Nai Nai, Grandpa, and two lovely aunties. But we will enjoy visiting in the dead of winter!


tuppence a bag

yes, today we are going to talk about feeding babies. not birds. excuse the title, i have just had that song stuck in my head all morning.

ramona is halfway into her six month, and we are eating real people food around here! well, not really. rice cereal doesn’t seem like anything i have ever eaten. and that one day with the mashed up yams was met with mixed results. but we are trying!

i put off feeding ramona for a long time. firstly, because she is still behind developmentally (still has a wobbly neck and all that) and secondly because it seemed so overwhelming. in the exhausting haze of new motherhood i read everything i could get my hands on about newborns (i was supposed to read about babies during the last 2 months of my pregnancy. oops. learn from me all you preggos: don’t wait to prepare!). and now i am just starting to realize ramona ain’t going to be a newborn all her life. now what? i guess i have to re-check out all of those books from the library.

anyways, the food thing seems overwhelming. because you know what? the food system in america is overwhelming. i have watched all of those movies talking about production, sourcing, agriculture, corn syrup, gmo’s, rice farmers in india, etc etc and it makes my brain hurt. and for many, many years i was content to put whatever was cheap and delicious in my mouth.

now, i am a rather haphazard eater. we made a commitment to go organic on the meat and dairy products last year, but we have slipped a few times. we go for the free range eggs, and organic fruits and veggies if they are on sale. but it all changes when you have a baby, right?

or does it?

we are on WIC (Women, Infant, Children) which is a program that provides low-income families with vouchers for certain foods–milk, eggs, juice, some fruits and veggies, formula–and up until now i have been more grateful than anything for what WIC provides (the formula vouchers alone save us $150 a month). but now that we are starting ramona on solid foods, WIC only gives us 3 options for baby food, none of which are organic.

i honestly didn’t think it would be that big a deal for me–hey, practically a whole generation was raised on gerber–but it is starting to become an issue.

for starters, it really isn’t that hard for me to find some organic veggies to cook and mash. and it isn’t that expensive, either. but there is the other part of me, the cheap part of me (i have always considered myself cheap instead of frugal, which can get me into trouble) that has these vouchers from WIC wasting away on my dresser. I need to get 17 jars of baby food, darn it!

which leads me to an interesting dilemma. in my mind, here are my choices:

1. use the vouchers and feed my baby the WIC food.

2. use the vouchers but only use a couple to feed my baby. donate the rest to a shelter.

3. don’t use the vouchers.

ok. here are the arguments that my brain makes:

1. of the three choices available to me, all are owned by evil corporations. gerber=nestle (see my post here for more on my feelings about nestle). beech nut=some swiss company. and i can’t find any information about the other company. i am sure they are evil too. what i do know is that i can’t trust people who can’t even tell me where or how the veggies/fruits/meat are grown. gross.

2. i could always use the evil corporate food for emergencies, or traveling, or when i am too sick/busy to make my own food. and then i could donate the rest to help out other people. but here is the rub: if i don’t think that this food is good for my baby, why would i want to give it to another? that brings up all sorts of icky ideas regarding who should get good food and whatnot, and makes me rather mad at WIC in general. would it kill the government to spend an extra couple of quarters so poor people could give their babies organic, local food?

3. i could be really principled and not cash in the government’s money for something i see as not only sub par, but part of a larger, more corrupt, system. the activist in my likes this one, but then my brain is all like: the government doesn’t care. which is true.

so anyways, what would you do? what have you done? i am not one of those moms who is super self-assured and knows what is going on all the time. we let ramona watch an episode of House M.D. the other day and she only owns about 2 organic shirts. so.

let’s end this on a high note, shall we? pictures of the Great Yam Experience, 2011.

god told me he didn't care if i never cleaned my apartment

so excited about yams.

 

meh.

i would post more pictures but my computer is being stupid. which kind of describes how i look in the first picture. also, god told me it was ok not to clean my apartment. so don’t be judgin’.


I’ve been rapping for about 17 years

ok, this post isn’t about rapping at all. more about raising a baby. for about 6 months exactly. crazy!

on this momentous occasion, i thought it would be interesting to look back at the events leading up to ramona’s birth.

also, to prove that i don’t have a shred of vanity, i am going to post The Worst Ever Picture Of Me, taken exactly 6 months ago:

 

now that's what i call retaining water

plumpy

i hope you all enjoy that. i know krispin did (he thought it was funny when i texted it to him. he didn’t think it was so funny when he got a call from the hospital several hours later). i woke up one morning 6 months ago and could hardly open my eyes, they were so swollen. and i couldn’t smile. everyone had been repeatedly assuring me that a little swelling was normal, that everything was fine, but this was just so ridiculous.

in retrospect, everybody really did think i looked terrible. my good friend jenni, who was due one day before me, literally saw me balloon in front of her eyes as we led a somali basketball camp together. in three weeks i went from hardly showing to looking like danielle the cautionary whale. i guess i was friends with people who were too nice to say, “wow, your face looks really fat”. except for, of course, my darling friends from other cultures. the bhutanese refugees i hang out with looked panicked whenever i lumbered near them, forcing me to sit down and having hushed and urgent conversations that centered around the momentous size of my ankles.

anyways, krispin shouldn’t have laughed. my mom didn’t when she came to pick me up to go garage saling, but she didn’t think it was urgent enough to hit up at least one sale on the way to the hospital for a pre-emptive blood pressure check.

the blood pressure check was high, so they kept me for an hour. then it got higher, so they had me stay for 3. then it got higher still, and they told me i probably would need to stay overnight for observation. i hadn’t packed anything, and didn’t think i would be staying long. i never changed into scrubs but stayed in my tank top and shorts. pretty soon i had an i.v. in and was being pumped full of anti-seizure meds that made me feel like death and my blood was being drawn every 3 hours, my blood pressure taken every 20 min. krispin finally showed up.

and i know i have written about this before. the rest kindof blurs out, the next day spent waiting without hope that i would get better. the triple whammy of realizing i was very, very ill, that we were going to have a baby (!) much sooner than we thought, and that said baby was going to be 7 weeks premature and need care that the hospital we were at could possibly not provide. by the time we realized this i was too sick to transport.

so we had a baby, not the old-fashioned way. a surgical procedure, and then miles of i.v.’s and tape and lights and beeping monitors coming from all angles, and the nicest nurses in the world helping me and my baby get better at the same time. we were there for 2 weeks, but it felt like years.

we were eased into the baby thing by a preemie who looked like a gnome and who slept all the time, who barely paid any attention to us except to furrow her brow in consternation. and then she turned into the colicky whirling dervish of a baby, one that had us tethered to our apartment (although her shaky immune system had done that to us already), fervently shushing and rocking and jiggling and swaddling 3 months away.

and then the dawn broke, and she became a baby. still not like a sitcom baby, the one who is just there for the little jokes and smiles and coos (i am thinking of you, lily-the-cute-asian-baby-wh0-never-cries from Modern Family). but like a real baby that i had prepared myself for: one that laughs when you do stupid stuff, a baby that i can sing my painfully earnest renditions of “peace train” and “hakuna matata” too, a baby that grabs at my hair and shrieks in delight.

ramona’s arrival stopped our life right in its tracks. and i feel like it has taken a good 6 months for it all to start feeling even semi-normal.

but here we are, living life together. today i taught an esl class with six students (!) and the ramona baby front and center. it is becoming so much more fun, and so much more rewarding.

i told you my face wasn't normally that fat

and now here is the requisite so-cute-it-makes-your-head-explode pic:

kaboom!

ah, here’s to never being a newborn again. i mean, here’s to getting older and discovering things like cupcakes (only for special occasions, ok?) and legos and disneyland (but not the princess thing) and all the wonderful plans that god has for you, my little ramona baby.


the children are the first in line, their thoughts are always welcome

so, krispin and i went away for the night.

yeah, no big deal. except a couple of days before we were supposed to leave ramona developed the unsettling habit of screaming bloody murder every time we tried to feed her at night. and our (supposedly reliable) car broke down. and then broke down again.and i started to be all super spiritual and think that maybe this was a sign from god that we weren’t supposed to go.

but we went anyways.

and, as anybody with small kids will tell you–it was great. and awful. and freeing. and miserable. and and and.

i totally thought i wasn’t going to be one of those moms who misses their kids because hey–i really like my husband, and he is much wittier than ramona. but honestly it is not like an either/or situation. it was fun to feel like a couple again, but we couldn’t shake the feeling that we were leaving something behind.

like, maybe, almost-13lbs-of-cuteness?

my mom and dad watched ramona and they did such a fabulous job except my mom told me she would put some videos and stuff on facebook for us to look at (i know, i know, we were only gone for 24 hours, but we like to stay connected) and this is what she posted (please notice the caption, which is verbatim):

 

i miss my mommy and daddy

 

 

which was so, so mean.

anyways, i am rather glad the getaway is over because i was more nervous than anything. and as lovely as it was to be on the coast and reminisce about our honeymoon 3 years ago (also on the coast), it is just as pleasant to look towards the future. and to remember that god uses babies to bring the kingdom of god. the title of this post comes from one of my favorite songs by danielson, and i want to remember it always.

whilst at the coast, krispin and i ate at our favorite dive called lil’ sambos (lots of tiger paraphernalia) and clinked our tiny water glasses together. and we both agreed that if we hadn’t been married to each other, these past three years would have been some of the worst of our lives.

but because i married the dude i did, it turned out to be three of the best.

and here’s to 3 x infinity more years.

 


so this is the new year

so . . . . christmas with a baby. magical, of course, but also filled with lots and lots of screaming. like, lots.

and lots of parenting done with tons of people watching–and even though they were all lovely, non-judgmental people, it was still rather exhausting. sometimes i feel like my life revolves around naps, or the lack thereof. and the only reason it is kindofabigdeal for little babies to take naps is that they get incredibly cranky when they don’t sleep (just like me).

anyways, that is done and over with and i am so glad. here is a picture of one of my favorite presents i got, from my lovely sister:

 

le calmar magnifique

 

pretty sweet, huh?

while christmas was full of the squalor of presents and newborns, i always get pretty excited for new years eve. and not for the reasons you would think, since i pretty consistently never make it up to see the ball drop (and certainly won’t break tradition this year) but rather because it is a time of reflection and preparing for a new year. much more spiritual for me than christmas day (although christmas eve–with its candlelight services and emphasis on jesus coming to break oppression and bring his kingdom–is also pretty fantastic).

krispin and i were trying to sum up 2010 in one word, and while i picked “drama”, krispin came up with the much more dignified “transition”. and i like it. so much happened: i got my masters, almost died, had a baby, and lived through various other dramas (both big and small). and everything has changed.

so 2011? bring it on. i have a baby to watch as she wakes up to the big wide world. i have classes to teach and students to be fascinated by. i have friends that i need to pursue (and make, really). i have lots of stuff i want to do. but more than that, i want this next year not to be about all that.

i am making room for the spirit, ya’ll. and if you don’t know what that means, it really means i believe that there is room for the miraculous in my life and i am going to make the space for it.

also, on a much less spiritual note, i am doing a cleanse. not the terrible i-want-to-be-a-kardashian master’s cleanse or anything like that (you would not want to meet a danielle that subsisted on maple syrup and lemon juice) but a let’s-get-real-with-our-digestive-systems cleanse. so: no dairy, no gluten, no peanuts, no soy, no corn, no alchohol, no caffeine, as little sugar as i can stand.

i have never been one for restrictive diets, but i am excited about this one. i will go for a week like this and then slowly add the various elements (gluten, dairy) back in and assess how they make me feel.

also, i am going on a media fast for a week. no facebook! or mom blogs! hopefully i can read my real and thought-provoking books instead (the bible. radical. the spirit catches you and you fall down. o magazine).

so, see you on the other side people! hopefully i will be better read and 20lbs lighter when i post again. jk. sorta.

 


mom wars.

you know what is worse than listening to/reading about/watching hardcore democrats vs. republicans? experiencing arguments on either side of the mom spectrum.

especially this whole attachment parenting/breastfeeding/cloth diapering camp vs. the (presumable) bad moms.

it exhausts me just reading about the conflict. do i have to get involved?

unfortunately, yes.

nobody can raise a baby in a vacuum, especially not in the land of portland, or at a church like mine where there must be something in the water (or a lot of people doing the hanky-panky) because it is seriously crawling with babies. so there are lots of people there to observe your every triumph and mishap.

in doing some reading, i have inadvertently stumbled upon both sides of the debate. i was surprised to find i do identify my daily routine with AP (attachment parenting), due more to a cranky baby than anything else. my baby hates being alone, had a rough entry into this world, is a classic colic, and only stops crying when she is being held. so yeah, i am going to hold her a lot, wear her around the house as i do my errands, let her sleep in my bed when she is inconsolable or frustrated or sad, and give up some adult activities in order to hang out and interact with her. as much as i adore the ramona baby, i do this type of “hands on” parenting because i personally do not like the sound of her shrieking.

but the more i try to buddy up to the AP camp, the more turned off I get by the sanctimonious rhetoric of it all. and, as it turns out, i don’t think they would want me. there are several reasons for this:

a). we can’t breastfeed.

it’s not that i don’t want to–it was heartbreaking to see this dream vanish. in fact, i never knew i wanted to breastfeed so much until it was taken away from me. i know i can’t be the only one out there who medically is incapable of breastfeeding, and i know there are scores more for whom it was absolute misery. so why make us feel all the more worse with such strong language about our babies being sub-par? if you don’t believe me, read articles like this. total bummer time.

b). we don’t do cloth diapers

nope, we don’t. we must hate the earth or something. in reality, we share a 3 washers and dryers with about 30-40 people, which costs a lot of money and is not set up for the type of laundering that cloth diapers require. and the laundering services are waaaay too expensive for us poor folk. not to mention the fact that i don’t think our neighbors would be thrilled to find out what we were doing if we went the eco-friendly route. in the future, if there are more babies and we own our own machines, i would seriously consider this. but for now, it is a huge relief to not worry so much about it and go on with our day.

i know, we are terrible people. right? actually, no. we are doing the best we can with what we have. just like i have gradually grown more and more disinterested in politics as it has become ever more polarized, so too do i want to quietly bow out of the “how to be a good mommy” discourse. i want to be somewhere in between the hippies and the feminists (the latter of which call AP akin to modern slavery for women).

ah, in between positions. living in the tension, as my old Bible college professors liked to say.

Jesus really liked living in tension, in shifting categories and priorities and making it more about caring for people than having right doctrine. don’t get me wrong–i truly believe doctrine and parenting philosophies are grand and need to be pursued with all the strength and thoughtfulness that we can muster.

i just want to do it in a grace-filled way. which means being ok with living in between two parties, two camps, two discussions about the best way to be.