Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Block

"If at first you don't succeed, Dust yourself off and try again, You can dust it off and try again..." 


When we dream of having babies, creating a family together, the picture in our heads of what that will look like is very different from reality. We envision (or at least I did) the relationship dynamics, the sex life, the carefree and cool attitudes we had, staying the same more or less, just pop a kid into the happy picture. Actually, we envision that same dynamic, but more intense. After all, how could it not be when your love has created a new little person, right? Well, let me tell you...it ALL changes, every tiny aspect and detail that you never envisioned changing, vowing to never be one of those people. You see, you just added a third little person to the mix, who apparently didn’t get the memo. 

In the early days with N, we were so sleep deprived. Compounding this was figuring out how to maneuver feedings, changing, car rides, outings, naps, how to and not to do everything as well as a slew of other things I’m certain my mind has blocked out. We bickered...A LOT. We are opposites by nature. I am constantly thinking ahead, constantly thinking for that matter ;), researching and weighing options. I also have this creative side that needs to be filled in one way or another. I am the kind of person who enjoys connecting with other people and will often go out of my way to make that happen. My husband on the other hand, can be impulsive, researches nothing that doesn’t deal with his work, lives entirely in the moment. His mind revolves around work, sports, and his favorite tv shows and though he enjoys hanging out with people, he can be so deterred by the getting to know them part or even making plans that he is entirely content to be solitary as well. If I have a concern that I bring to him (usually about the baby), it’s always, “it’s fiiiiiine!” So, in the early days, those opposite magnetic poles that first drew you to one another become severely vexing! 

Once things begin to get back on track (as they will...it’s just a period of adjustment), and you feel like getting frisky, the baby will keep you from doing so. It’s as though she has a built in honing device that picks up on the kind of spontaneity that has the slightest risk of producing another child. The alarm goes off with ferocious accuracy. 

A saturday afternoon nap for the baby and quiet chat between mom and dad ten feet away, two doors closed, noise machine on goes unnoticed and remains peaceful. But that instant that the conversation turns playful, sexual, enticing....that is the moment that the baby wakes with gusto. Mom can’t focus, dad is pissed, and the return to new life commences. Daddy being pissed is in the early days...he adjusts once he is onto baby’s game. It becomes humorous as time goes on, as you realize how perfectly timed  this interruption is. Always the same (in our house anyway) as baby is asleep. No noise needs to be made. While sitting on the couch or making a meal together in the kitchen, daddy tries to reach for third base while baby sleeps in her room and at the slightest turn on, baby is awake. A long drive home, baby has been asleep for the last 45 minutes solid with the radio playing your favorite 80’s rock tunes, occasionally with you both singing along. But...that moment you share a knowing glance about special and exciting things to come, maybe even let your hand wander in one direction or another...that is the exact moment when the baby will wake and let out her cry of indignation. It’s a mystery that cannot be explained, just as the Statues of Easter Island still cannot after all these years. All we can do is laugh at the irony of the situation and secretly (without baby’s knowledge) plan for her to have a sleepover with Grandma that will likely harbor a perfect environment for mom and dad to be wrapped up in each other once again and possibly even produce baby #2 (as it did for us). The plot thickens and the madness ensues!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Baked Us Some Bread

"Life is messy. Wonderfully messy. Relish it."  

~Frederic Fekkai

Today was a first of a very hopeful long line of shared culinary experiences for my sweet girl and I. Many would think she’s too young to “help” in such endeavors. Define help. 

help [help]
verb [trans.]
1 make it easier for (someone) to do something by offering ones services or financial or material aid

When your counter tops become covered in flour and your floors in baking soda, when your bowls and utensils used fills your sink that was previously empty, and when in the end, you’re doubting there’s maybe the right amount of ingredients in the mixture....then no, by this definition, it was not help. Or by any definition really. But, I believe when you have a curious child who sees everything this world has to offer, down to the simplest of activities with wonder and excitement....by all means, Carpe Diem...seize the day! 

This terrible mess was well worth the clean up (that has only partially happened as I write this) :) and I’d do it all again (maybe not today)! You see, I watched as my daughter saw her mama put on her apron that hung on the hook next to the pantry. As I tied it, she tugged on the one next to it, begging to mimic her mama. As I removed that apron, and got near to slipping it over her head, her smile beamed brightly. She stood as still as I’ve ever seen her (she is in constant motion...constantly), and stayed that way as I tied the strings closer than it allows for, and made this gigantic bow in the back. She was a sight, standing there, looking like such a grown little person, smile plastered on her cheeky face. Looking as though she’d trip on the fabric of her apron if she dared walk, I decided picking her up would be the best option. After scooting a chair to the counter and setting her on it, everything above her chest taller than the counter top, she again smiled and giggled. Every step of the way, putting the bowls in front of her, adding the ingredients one by one and allowing her to “dump” them in, watching closely as it all got mixed, her focus and expressions were priceless to this mama. The little spot of flour that magically appeared on her forehead in the end, making her look as though she’d slaved over this whole project, brought back my own memories of cooking and baking beside my own mother. 

A vague memory of a commercial that aired in the late 1980’s or early 90’s, promoting a product that was so easy to bake with or use that “it will look like you slaved all day” as the shot pans to the female actress with the back of her hand on her forehead, leaving behind flour suddenly pops in my head. I giggle inwardly as I suddenly remember a period of time that we slapped flour on our foreheads, our noses, our cheeks, whatever skin was available whenever we were invited to bake in my mothers kitchen. She must have rolled her eyes a thousand times over as undoubtedly it’s cuteness wore off while the mess constantly ensued. I don’t remember how old I was when my mother first let me “help” her bake or cook or do the dishes. I do know she always let us be involved to the level of our own abilities, using everyday life as our classroom to grow our imaginations, our skills and develop our capabilities one task at a time. It’s because of the legacy she began with her own children, that I teach my daughter in the same way and watch with my heart delighted as she gets it little by little. 

Enjoying the fruit of our labor...Banana bread!