Friday, October 21, 2011

Little Bit

I end the day as I began it: by padding into Betsy’s room to retrieve her sleep-warmed self for a feeding. I hold her head against my cheek as I pad back to my bed. I put her in the warm spot and curl around her, tucking her body against mine, belly to belly. Her sweetness wafts up like steam off a cinnamon roll.

I’ve had my fair share of babies, and yet it feels like it’s all whooshed by leaving hardly a trace. My memories are so few. I know the drill—I’ve said it myself to other mothers—you’ve got to enjoy each day, they go by so fast. And I do! Every day there are moments when I’m bowled over by the sweetness and light of holding a baby. I’ve gazed into Betsy’s mystic blue eyes for hours. I carry her to my bedroom mirror; I want to remember not just her, but me with her. But still, it’s not working. Each day, yesterday’s Betsy has disappeared and already the memories are melting into goop.
This week someone sent me this article by a mother whose child has a rare disorder. Instead of growing and progressing each day, her baby regresses. He’ll eventually reach a “vegetative state” and doctors expect he’ll die before he turns three. Of course I can’t imagine the heartache of mothering a child who has no future. But this mother’s essay highlights a truth every mother faces. The truth is, every mother’s child is disappearing day by day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Deep, Dark Confession

The year after Jesse was born, I seemed to go into a frenzy of scheming. I launched my business, put together a gift book, and developed a few product ideas that I still believe would make us millions if someone with a little business know-how ran with them. Oh, and started this blog. Now, even though I still have a baby who nurses frequently and sleeps irregularly, I’m again jonesing for new projects. I guess once the baby-cooking is over, I’m on the lookout for other ways to be creative.

I pretend to be a person who, given the opportunity, would keep a perfectly clean house and peaceful, orderly life. But the truth is that whenever the pressure lets up a bit I get antsy and go in search of something more. Foster kids or new jobs or, if all else fails, new slipcovers. Home and family remain my main gig--an engrossing, demanding, fulfilling one. And  I'm a bit suspicious of women who constantly justify self-indulgences in the name of feeding their inner fire. But sometimes I feel the need to stretch my view beyond the front door.

So a few weeks ago I sent out a plea for friends to form a writer's group with me. And two smart, creative, empowered friends took the bait. Last night we met to describe the writing projects we'd each like to work on. We agreed to post progress updates on a google doc once a week and meet once a month to report and offer advice.

I’m really, really, really excited about this. I drove home last night whooping for joy. Saying that I want to be a writer feels lame, narcissitic, and immature on the level of saying I want to be a movie star. But I do want to be a writer. So this year, with the help of my writer’s group friends, I’m gonna do it. So there.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Inspired, I think, by pinterest, my new online addiction, I'm in a little frenzy of home design projects. I'm about to freehand paint vines all over my laundry room walls--I think. And last week I sewed a slipcover for a chair that I found on the side of the road and then let sit in my garage for...possibly years.
Before: chair as barricade to keep Betsy from squirming through the middle of Levi and Haley's game of Sorry! It doesn't look that bad from a distance, but upon closer inspection... 

I decided that even though my work wouldn't be perfect it would be good enough and I'd enjoy the pretty chair even if it had crooked seams or whatever. I totally scored on fabric in just the right colors and a sort of vintage throwback design for only $12/yard--a steal for good-quality decorator fabric.

With Betsy's help, I started draping and pinning the fabric into place, too lazy and/or unskilled to think through the whole pattern from start to finish.

Then I used a technique I learned on pinterest--to baste the pieces right sides together using black thread. Then I could remove the slipcover and machine sew along the basting.

A couple naptimes, an evening, lots of trips up and down the stairs, some emergency inserts from where I misjudged the curves and cut my pieces too small, and voila.
Levi volunteered to model the new chair.
It's not at all perfect, but the whole thing cost $15 and I like to see it each time I walk by.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In a Nutshell

This morning I growled at my perennially tardy children on their way out the door to school. Thus sending my precious ones into the world with their mother's exasperation ringing in their ears.

Despite being strapped to my chest all morning like some kind of Tibetan princess whose dimpled feet must never touch the ground, the ever-lovely Betsy is screaming and squirming. And has opted out of her afternoon nap for the last two days.

One of my children has devoted an extraordinary amount of work, dedication, energy, and time to an extracurricular activity. And the coach who should be a dedicated mentor in not. He's made it clear that he can't be bothered to think twice about this child.

To quote Despicable Me, "In terms of money...we have no money."

Yes, I still wear retainers. I keep them on a high shelf in the medicine cabinet. They have disappeared. Mark says he has a vague memory of some hooligan toting them around the house.