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mom

life is like an apartment full of various purses.

at least we remembered the sun hat.

some thoughts:

1. my life can be summed up by the metaphor of purses.

i was trying to explain to krispin how i felt so exhausted the other day trying to find my lip balm. the thing is, my lip balm could be in any of the various bags and purses strewn throughout the apartment, and i just didn’t have the energy to go rummaging through them all.

i have the diaper bag, of course, which is my purse most days but is also the walking fun-bag for the ramona baby (and i mean that in 2 ways, both toy and formula related). we could live out of that bag for a week in the wilderness. we are just that prepared.

i have my school backpack (yes i am the teacher now and i still lug a backpack around. i am really trying to upgrade this one but have yet to find anything functional yet) which is crammed with so many dry erase markers and random short-vowel sound flash cards it makes my head hurt

i have my community english class tote, which is filled with crumpled pages, random esl books, and several very slobbered upon toys. also keys.

and then, for the precious times when i go out sans baby/class to teach i carry a . . . . nothing. i just stick a couple of things (debit card, id, cash [yeah right, who carries cash anymore] cell phone) in the pocket of whatever pants/sweatshirt/jacket i happen to be wearing. i should probably get some sort of small purse for these occasions, but i love the illusion of being unencumbered.

so, when i need my lip gloss (or keys or phone or driver’s license or or or) i have to run through a checklist of what i did last and where i am going next and this just reminds me of the one hundred other checklists that all need to be completed at some point before the next thing happens (diapers? wipes? lesson plan? worksheets printed? breath mints? water bottle? sun hat? dark chocolate? current episodes of Fresh Air on my ipod?). which part of my life am i living right now? which bag do i need.

see, it’s all a metaphor. but also, i really do have a bunch of different bags with a bunch of different crap in them. and it makes me feel tired sometimes.

2. i HATE developmental surveys.

the drs. office called yesterday and said we needed to fill out a 10 month questionnaire before ramona’s appointment today. i could feel my heart sinking as i read over the questions and mentally checked 90% of the boxes as “not yet” (they should have been marked NO, NO MY BABY DOES NOT DO THAT–insert normal behavior here–SO SOMETHING IS REALLY WRONG, RIGHT? that was what i was getting).

and again, i know that she is not THAT behind, but it still is aggravating to be rudely poked out of the bubble that we have built for ourselves. that there is some catching up to do.

3. there is nothing that makes my feel more accomplished than multi-tasking. because usually i am crap at it (just try asking anyone who has tried to have a conversation with me while i am reading).

me and krispin have been trying to get more in shape for the past several months, and i was always slightly resentful to spend precious nap-time minutes on sweating it up.

so, i stole my mom’s jogging stroller and ramona and i have been hitting the town! i am extremely excited to

a. get out in the sunshine (which is a double yay, since there has actually been some to be out in recently!)

b. keep the ramona baby somewhat happy during waking hours

c. PHYSICAL FITNESS!

so, we pretty much feel awesome.

and there are my random thoughts for the week. now, we are off to the drs. to hopefully not get traumatized but rather encouraged. and then multnomah falls! let’s bring on the summer.


babies.

For Mother’s Day last year, Krispin and I took my mom out to see the movie Babies. It was poignant, see, because I was 4 months preggo at the time.

Crazy to think that this mother’s day I have an 8 month old baby.

For this Mother’s Day we decided to incorporate last year’s gift into this years.

And, viola! (did I spell that right?):


i just want to add that there is no video footage of her in the hospital (we were too tired and traumatized) and no footage of the period between 3-6 months due to the months the locusts ate colic.

happy early mother’s day, ya’ll.


peeps.

easter. a magical time of marshmallows and chocolate and pastels and candy and eggs and plastic and . . . .

ug. easter is kind of gross when you take all the spiritual imagery out of it. this year krispin and i discussed what we can do for ramona to help her know what an important day of celebration it is for christians. and as much nostalgia as we have for our own childhoods full of easter baskets and egg hunts, we all realize that it makes for a certain sense of confusion when we try to cram a bunch of holy rituals into a sugar-coma crazed day.

but besides that pressing theological question, we had a lovely and relaxing easter with the whole family.

here is a picture of ramona in her easter dress (she had three–this is the one grammi bought her and the one i was forced chose to dress her in on the big day):

what a cute baby.

you would never guess that this happy creature could have slept 12 hours last night and is now screaming bloody murder all through her afternoon nap. sigh. babies are anything if not consistent.

here is a more up-to-the minute pic:

ah well. at least now you can see a hint of my new “mom hair”.


morning star

i have been rather scattered, and hence–no blogging.

i am starting to realize that working “one day a week” really diminishes the amount of hours i spend planning curriculum, grading, and otherwise preparing for my classes (case in point: for my upcoming summer course i am required to observe at least 2-3 classes and meet with a mentor several times and take a course on the specific computer system . . . etcetera!). this cloud of i-should-be-doings follows me around like a low-grade fever. i am a little bit irritable as a result.

so, i need to be more honest about that. i need more time to work on my work.

for the past couple of months i have let housework slide, as it seemed like the least pressing concern. however, i have been spending a lot of time inside my apartment lately (thanks to a baby and a rainy pacific northwest spring–seriously, it was not sunny 31 out of 31 days in March) and i have taken to describing the place as a grubby hellhole. so i have been doing some cleaning.

i had a stereotypical breakdown the other day, letting all my frustrations get the best of me. krispin was home and the baby was napping and i flew out the door in a huff (in sweatpants, natch), keys in hand, nowhere as a destination. i cried in the car, pounding my fists on the steering wheel and singing along to the innocence mission and i went to home depot and let myself get talked into buying the expensive kind of paint (and a nice paintbrush–they [the men who worked at home depot who seemed slightly traumatized by my red-and-blotchy cry face] assured me it would last 7 years and i am at a point in my life where i need to get over my reliance on cheap and disposable) and then i went home and painted an old dresser and a bookshelf a lovely shade of light teal and rearranged some furniture.

as a game, read back over that paragraph and see how many stereotypes about moms you can spot!

yeah, i know. news flash:  i am emotional and frumpy and i took some pride in making my “space” more welcoming.

in other news, ramona is almost 8 months, and can be very charming when she wants to be. she still has no interest in sitting up, but she thinks spastic dogs and sneezes and yams and oatmeal are the best things in life (oh, and reading books. and pulling off her socks and chewing on them). and then there are days like today: lots of screaming, little sleeping. well, she can’t always be perfect.

coming up: a guest post by the baby daddy! seriously, krispin made some remarks about wanting to write about what kind of mom i was behind the scenes–you know, the kind of mom who, when the baby throws a toy on the floor picks it up and puts it in the diaper bag only to fish it out 5 minutes later and stick it back in the baby’s hands. 5 minutes in a diaper bag=germ disinfectant, right? actually, krispin, i just wait until whoever saw the toy land on the floor is a good distance away and then i pull it out again. yeah, i just stole your bad-mom-story thunder!!!!!!!!


teenage politics.

The Ramona baby and I had an adventure this weekend.

We went to Seattle! By ourselves! (well, sans dad. Grammi and Auntie Lindsay went with us, and were fabulous).

Here are the highlights:

Ramona finally starting to show her teeth when she smiles.

Ramona crying when shown this video.

Ramona being back to her shrieking, babbling self.

Ramona kicking her legs for joy at the wonders of Pike Place Market (she especially liked the flowers).

Ramona getting to hang out with various second cousins and great aunts and uncles and being adored.

The lowlights (is that a word?):

Ramona having the poop blowout of the century not 30 minutes into our journey (on her clothes, the carseat–everywhere!).

Ramona being awake and ready to play from 12-2am. and at 5am. and at 7am.

And that’s it, really. So the trip really did skew to the good. In non-baby related news me and Lindsay got to go see a reunion show by MxPx, which was a surreal trip down memory lane. I was expecting a bunch of aging hipsters in carefully disgruntled American Apparel attire reliving their punk youths, but instead everyone pretty much looked like I did when I was 16–lot’s of band t-shirts, terrible tattoos, pseudo rockabilly hairstyles.

The band itself was great, and they played the album “Life in General” in its entirety, and the sister and I sang along to every word.

It really was like no time had changed at all . . . except that it had. There was a delicious baby waiting at home for me. I didn’t have a desperate crush on the bass player. I didn’t find solidarity be screaming along to lyrics about time being the enemy.

Instead, I just felt a wave of relief that I wasn’t 16 anymore. That the years of Big Emotions (it seems to happen around ages 2-3 and again at 13-16) are over, that I did grow up and have already experienced a wide range of people and places and have a lot more to do.

I am glad I am a grown up.


workin girl

the other day, my brother-in-law looked at me and said something to the effect of “wow, here you are–a master’s educated woman–and yet you spend the majority of your time doing stupid stuff to make your baby laugh”.

yeah, pretty much.

i mean, wouldn’t you?

but seriously, having a baby does open up a whole can of worms when it comes to being an educated female. and as much as i loathe certain aspects of feminism, i do believe that men and women are both created equal in the image of God. and i believe the church has erred more often than not on stressing parts of scripture that focus on “headship” and “leadership” which has led to many abuses, both big and small, of women.

that is a different rant for a different day, however.

what i want to think about today is the whole stay-at-home mom vs. the working mom debate. i find myself in a strange and wonderful place: the middle. i only work one day a week (for now, i would love to get maybe one more 6 hour a week class), which makes me feel validated for the thousands and thousands of dollars i shelled out (not to mention all the homework, boring classes, teaching internships, insufferable group projects and the like that i suffered through), and it also confirms that i have skills and assets to offer the wider world.

but one day a week is enough to make me miss the ramona baby and all the busy monotony of being the mom of an infant. and so for the rest of the six days a week i feel grateful for the chance to stay home.

i don’t know too many other people in this situation, and right now especially i seem to be surrounded by a sea of people who seem content to be stay-at-home moms. and to them i say wholeheartedly: good for you. to be a SAHM (going for the abbreviation here) takes a certain amount of financial budgeting and do-without-ness that i think is admirable and a great foundation for boycotting the general ideology of the american dream.

but i also respect women (although i don’t seem to know as many) who choose to go back to work because they know they are valuable and have skills that can help change the world. i think this scenario has benefits for allowing the husband to become a more involved parent, and speaks to a more cross-cultural ideology that it truly takes a village (or lots of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors) to raise a baby. the current demands on a SAHM are ludicrous (keep a perfect house, cook amazing organic meals, do all the errands, please your husband, and raise a smart and polite kid), and underneath it all is the notion that a SAHM doesn’t need any help. what an isolating, frustrating assumption.

i was listening to fresh air the other day and it was talking about the cultural implications of The Feminine Mystique and i thought it was fascinating. i myself haven’t read the book, but i appreciated listening to the thoughts of women who read it in the 1960s and were profoundly changed by the message. many, many women resonated with the ideas in the books regarding their own sense of unfulfilment. these women had bought into the idea that marriage, a large house in the suburbs, and healthy kids is a guarantee of happiness. in reality, these first desperate housewives (most of them women who through marriage and the aftermath of WWII found themselves in the middle class for the first time) found themselves deeply unhappy. For many, this unhappiness seemed to be a result of not being a member of the productive working class. This eventually led to a boom in women returning to the workforce and led to many breakthroughs, including women asking to receive equal rights and pay.

i also thought the critiques of the book were interesting. many people have pointed out that Friedan (the author) only focused on the troubles of wealthy white women. Fresh Air pointed out that many African-American and immigrant women have a proud history of working and raising a family at the same time. it is only in recent history that many women have even had a choice of whether they could be a SAHM or not.

i know this is a rambly post, and i don’t have a real conclusion. it does help me to know that when i am fresh out of silly songs or weird facial expression to please the ramona baby, that i have fridays to look forward to (although, in reality, i teach literacy for ESOL students, which does involve a lot of pantomiming, singing the ABC song, and making weird facial gestures to help letter-sound awareness and pronunciation).

this is the balance i have right now, and i am loving it.

what about you?


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.