shake off the dust once again.

Well, seeing as how I had a pile of draft posts that never got published in a timely manner – let’s start again, shall we?

Why not.

It’s May.  Spring is here and the weather is bouncing from boiling hot to pouring rain.  Thunderstorms aplenty.  Flooded streets.  Baby after baby after baby has been born in our city, and there are still more to come.  I’ve been running around helping those who’ve called, needing breastfeeding support, and leading a series of evening LLL meetings.  As always, I’m busy and not busy enough.

Norah is 3 1/2 now.  I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but I blinked and she was vastly more sophisticated and thinking and communicating deeper than I was prepared for, and with more clarity.  Basically, the little brat is growing up and I find it massively unfair.  Stay little, bean.  Stay little.

Sometimes, I think I’m on a countdown clock heading to the day when she grows into the inevitable mother-daughter resentment.  Is it inevitable?  I don’t know.  I always assumed it was.  I know there will be struggles, there are already struggles.  I have never felt more like my own mother than recently, and I just cannot seem to stop.

For now, she still sits in my lap and tells me she loves me fifty times a day, and I wish I could stop the world and keep it that way forever.

We are officially two years into our four year Central WA stay.  Mer got his placement for his fourth year, and it’s for our current area, so we’ll be staying for sure two more years.  Halfway done.  It feels like both a light at the end of the tunnel and also massively far away.  These two past years have gone so fast, and yet – I don’t want to think about a Norah who is 5 1/2.  I’m having enough trouble dealing with 3 1/2.

Of course, the solution to these feelings would be a very simple one for plenty of folks – time to have another.  Right?

The answer is and has always been in this house… maybe.  Maybe.  Probably not.  But maybe.  We literally sat down the other day and decided not to decide.  Either child #2 happens or it doesn’t, but we are no longer setting our minds to one way or another.  I recently read a book called Moods of Motherhood by Lucy Pearce, and she described the two mother archetypes SO perfectly – the Nurturing Earth Mother, and the Creative Rainbow Mother.  I have always desperately wanted to be the former.  I have tried so, so hard to be.  I think in some ways I am – I am a doula, I nurture, I care for other mothers.  But in my own parenthood, I think there is a stage wherein I have to embrace the Creative Rainbow Mother in myself and admit that I have many limits in my ability to nurture my own child and my family.  Rather than abuse myself about it, isn’t it better to “quit while we’re ahead”, as my husband likes to say?  My life, our life is so full with Norah.  That doesn’t mean another child doesn’t appeal, another baby to grow and nurse and hold.  But is that enough?

The rest of this year, I think, will be a year of healing.  Quiet healing.  Maybe it’s because I’m at the tail end of a cold and so I’m just dripping with fatigue and cottonheadedness, but I’m ready for some quiet healing.  My career path is beautiful and is coming together wonderfully, and I’m ready to focus inward and sort some things out.

This is Brigid’s Year.  I will give it to her.  May it give me strength, heal me, and help me heal and guide other women.

  • M

at this point, it’s an insult to dumpster fires.

I’m sure I don’t have to say anything at this point about 2016 and what it’s meant for all of us.  I mean.  Really.  The loss after loss of beloved people.  The fear around every corner of what’s happened to the world and what can happen when a megalomaniac is given a microphone and pointed at millions of poor, gullible people.  Yes.  It is all bullshit.  Yes.

Sure, the click from 2016 to 2017 is nothing.  It’s a calendar, it’s a human invention, doesn’t mean much – the Earth spins just as it always did and we go on just as we always have.  But the symbolic nature of a new year shouldn’t be overlooked at this point.  Rather than being the type of fresh start where you go buy some workout pants you swear you’ll use and throw out the junk food, honestly, 2017 has the potential to be a real moment for the Western world where we take a collective breath and go, okay.  What’s important now?  What can we do as individuals and as a society?

Politically, lots.  There’s still lots to do.  When the losing candidate gets almost 3 million more votes than the winner, you can bet your ass there are enough people out there to make a difference.  So that’s not to be overlooked by any means.

But for the individual, for my family, for our small circle.  What to focus on?  I’ve been thinking about this all December.  What will it be for me?

Health.  Not just eating a salad sometimes, but real health.  Mental health – getting my anxiety dealt with for the first time in my life.  I was kidding myself with the notion I had it under control, but 2016 sure as shit proved me wrong.  That’s a priority on my list.  Also yeah, eating better.  We can all stand to eat a little better, right?  Mine manifests with the idea of cooking more.  I want to cook more, much more.  I like cooking, my family likes my cooking, and there’s no reason for me not to do it.

Time & Routine.  The amount of shit going on in this family this year is staggering, and it’s only going to increase as I take on more unpaid shit (it’s inevitable, really).  I have some really detailed scheduling in place to try.  We’ll see if it works.

Love and Kindness.  I’m working hard on being a gentler parent.  I know my kiddo loves me and knows I love her, but I could be so much better, and I will be.  Three years old is a rough time, although my kid is as awesome as could be.  This is one I know for sure will work, but it’s a personal goal for myself to do it.

Work.  I have a real goal in place for something in 2019, although I feel a little pulled in various directions right now.  I’m hoping to tweak that into something more doable.  In the meantime, I have told myself that I’ll be sitting the IBCLC exam in the fall of 2019, and there’s quite a bit to do to prepare for that.  But I’m well motivated.  By the time M graduates in the early summer of 2019, I’ll be ready to rent an office and set up private practice wherever we go, which is so exciting it hurts.

Badass Womanitude.  Something every month to further the badassitude of my kid.  My strong, confident, perfect girl who will be a force of nature as a woman.  I’m calling this the Leia Project.  For obvious reasons.

I’m going to do a monthly check-in about these goals, cause accountability, man – it matters.

Okay, 2017 – ready for you.

– M

 

preschool, socks, and blogs

2016-08-28 17.38.07And like that, the first week of preschool is over.  (It was a 2 day long week seeing as how school started on Thursday, but let’s not get bogged down in the details.)  I didn’t have an explosion of Getting Things Done like I had hoped, but much like we have been patient with Norah in her transition, I’ve been patient with myself.

On her first day, I picked her up and was told she was a “live wire” by the teacher.  Um.  She said she thought she would do great, and I was like… Okay.  We’ve got time, she’ll learn things (maybe) and figure out how to listen better (hopefully).  Because I suspected live wire meant just that, a pure inability to sit the hell still.

Day Two pickup and there was nothing but happy raving from her teacher and teacher’s aide.  It took apparently a whopping one day for her to pick up almost all the routines and rules and learn her sitting spots, her coat cubby, and all that fun stuff.  I even fished a little with the aide to see if she was going to reveal any hiccups, and nope.  Nothing but praise.

I know that there will be good days and bad days.  I know that over the years, there will be calm times and crazy times, and that sometimes Norah will cry, sometimes she will laugh, and there’s very little to do about that from my end – she is a human child after all, growing at an alarming rate and soaking things up like the driest of sponges.  But it does my heart good to hear that yes, preschool is where she is meant to be.  And particularly Montessori preschool.  (The teacher described her as a true Montessorian, wanting to do EVERYTHING herself.  I replied, she sure is, and I’m sorry in advance.)

That is essentially all that is fun and exciting around these parts currently.  I’ve got a sock going as you can see to test the fit on a forethought heel, because I suspect those are going to be my preferred heels.  I’m not entirely sure if I will manage to make a pair – I was dumb enough to just do plain stockinette on these and I’m pretty much bored to tears.  Knit knit knit forever and ever.  I have a nice Knit Picks order on the way with wool for hats and a new set of short tipped circulars that I bought myself for my birthday, so there will be even more knitting come tomorrow when that arrives.

The blog continues to soldier on – there is a new computer in the house, which is a joy to type on and doesn’t make the concerning grinding noises that my laptop did.  Hooray!

And now it’s imperative that I eat this ice cream sandwich.

homeschool dreams = montessori reality

I had it ALL figured out by the time she was 1.  Big plans had been made.  BIG plans.

I was gonna homeschool.  I was going to start a slow, simple Waldorf style homeschool routine when my daughter turned 3, one hour a day and building up as she got older.  We were going to be that family that had school in our pajamas and learned from nature and did all that amazing stuff.  My husband was homeschooled.  I have an undergraduate degree in elementary education.  No reason this kid couldn’t be homeschooled.

Well, a couple reasons showed up.  First reason, one way or the other, if I wanted to run a business, I was going to need time to actually do it.  I needed time during the week for prenatal meetings, to teach classes, and to do all those things that a doula has to do short of going to births.

Second reason was simply that at some point I realized I had given birth not to a solitary wood sprite, but a social butterfly.  Nono yearns for other kids like they’re food or water – she needs them.  All of them.  We are a one child family by choice, so no ready made playmates will be making their arrivals.  I can’t go on playdates 5 days a week, especially if I’m working as much as I should be.

So, I did the math.  I needed time.  She needed other kids.  Not a difficult problem to solve.

Preschool was happening.  I was not only not going to be a homeschooler, I was going to be someone who sent her baby away to preschool at the tender age of *gasp* THREE.  Not even three!  I had to find somewhere that would take her a month short of turning three, being born in October like she was.  Naturally, being a proper mother and woman in a society that has conditioned us to sacrifice till we drop, I felt horribly guilty.  Waaaaves of guilt.

Until I took her to tour a Montessori preschool in Yakima.  The director commented, “Most children are holding their mother’s legs during the tour – but yours dove right in!”  Boy, did she.  In that half an hour visit, she played, she drew, she fit in, and she cried when it was time to leave.  Okay… guilt lessening slightly.  Maybe it wouldn’t be horrible.  But would she really let me leave her without tears?  Is that possible?

We tested the waters last week with an outdoor camp preschool through KEEN and the Washington Outdoor School.  It was just half days for a week, but I was fully prepared for a meltdown when I left the first day.  This is literally the FIRST time this kid has been away from me and not with a relative.  I girded my loins.  And… nothing.  Kissed her goodbye, said, “Mama will be back later to pick you up,” she replied, “Okay!” and that was it.  Five days straight.

(Every day at pickup she ran into my arms yelling, “Mama, I missed you!” so at least I still felt slightly relevant.  Slightly. Lol.)

By Wednesday of that week we were at the Montessori signing her up for the long haul.

And like that, come September, my baby will be at school doing just fine without me.  Maybe I’ll borrow someone else’s kid to homeschool.