Saturday, December 27, 2008

I. Hate. Packing.

We are leaving tomorrow to visit my husband's family. Because we are insane. Honestly who plans a family trip AFTER Christmas? You're supposed to be going HOME after Christmas. It's all my fault though. I insist that the Little One be able to have Christmas morning in her own home, so she won't have to worry about Santa finding her. (Plus it's much easier to create the magic on your own turf.) So if it's our turn to travel, we must do so after Xmas. And that, my friends, is why I'm spending the day doing laundry, dishes, and worst of all... PACKING.

I'm an excellent unpacker. I love nothing more than getting home and putting everything away. But preparing for a trip? It makes me shake with anxiety. I'm not entirely certain why. It isn't about forgetting something. I'm a compulsive listmaker, so that's easily handled. I think it's the overwhelming nature of the task. Figure out what you cannot live without for six days and get it all stuffed into a suitcase. This means I need to plan outfits ahead of time... ack!

I was already bad at packing before the Little One was born. And then I became a mother, and had to think of everything for another little human being as well. I came to dread packing even more. Because I am the woman who always forgets something essential for the baby. Even on the briefest outings. I remember marveling at the level of preparedness my fellow mamas in our playgroup displayed consistently. They never seemed to forget anything. Not me. I would forget extra diapers, or formula, or snacks, or a bib, or a change of clothes. I had the worst case of mommy brain never recorded. So you can imagine what packing for an ENTIRE trip did to me.

It's much easier now. In fact, I am dancing a little jig today because I realized that this will be the first trip ever for which I will not have to pack any special cups, utensils, bibs, or foods. My almost-4-year-old is a little girl now, who can drink out of a normal cup and eat a variety of normal foods and keep her clothes relatively clean and use the bathroom reliably. The ONLY remnant of her toddler days is the continuing need for a nighttime Pull-Up training pant, and those can just be popped into her suitcase. (And are easily replaced when I inevitably forget to pack them!)

Well, now you know what gets me back to blogging... procrastination! All semester I was too busy to procrastinate (that sounds impossible, but when you're just putting out fires left and right, so to speak, you have no time to avoid your work!), so now that I have a moment to breathe, I'm avoiding the dreaded packing job by blogging instead. But it's time now to change the laundry, so I guess I'll get on with it. Whatever you're each up to today, I hope it's not packing!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry, Merry!

It is Christmas Eve, my favorite holiday. I've always loved it best, even as a child. The Little One is VERY excited, but amazingly calm as well. She has cleaned her room in anticipation of the new toys Santa will bring, and is now watching "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Santa's biggest elf in this house is off to get a few more things. He does this every year so far: gets irritated with me for buying too much but then decides at the last minute that we don't have enough and goes out to buy more!

We're going out to dinner tonight to make things easy (woo-hoo!), and then we'll get the Little One off to bed and the work begins. I don't think we'll be up too late tonight. Not too much to do. At least I hope not! I wonder if we'll be up before dawn again this year, or if we'll be able to stall her until it's light out. Though last year I think it was our excitement that led to such an early start!

It's just the three of us, which is nice in many ways, but this year I'm missing family more than usual. I'm glad that she can be the center of it all, but I do wish that at least one set of the grandparents could be here to join in on the fun. We'll be visiting one side of the family next week and having a second celebration, so that will have to suffice. The other side is scattered across the country, no one traveling this year.

I feel like I should be baking or something. Except that I really, really, really don't want to. So I'm not going to. ;)

Whatever you're doing this holiday season, I hope you are warm, healthy, and enjoying good food and drink with the people you love most in the world.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm an Ingrid

Thanks to Shanna of Smiles, Miles, & Trials for the idea to take this quiz! (She's a Grace, as in Kelly.) This seems to really capture much of the essence of me, oddly enough.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are an Ingrid!


You are an Ingrid -- "I am unique"


Ingrids have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.


How to Get Along with Me

  • * Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.

  • * Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.

  • * Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.

  • * Though I don't always want to be cheered up when I'm feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.

  • * Don't tell me I'm too sensitive or that I'm overreacting!

What I Like About Being an Ingrid

  • * my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level

  • * my ability to establish warm connections with people

  • * admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life

  • * my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor

  • * being unique and being seen as unique by others

  • * having aesthetic sensibilities

  • * being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me

What's Hard About Being an Ingrid

  • * experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair

  • * feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don't deserve to be loved

  • * feeling guilty when I disappoint people

  • * feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me

  • * expecting too much from myself and life

  • * fearing being abandoned

  • * obsessing over resentments

  • * longing for what I don't have

Ingrids as Children Often

  • * have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games

  • * are very sensitive

  • * feel that they don't fit in

  • * believe they are missing something that other people have

  • * attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.

  • * become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood

  • * feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents' divorce)

Ingrids as Parents

  • * help their children become who they really are

  • * support their children's creativity and originality

  • * are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings

  • * are sometimes overly critical or overly protective

  • * are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

So who are you?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

'Tis the Season... for Grading Exams & Papers. Bleh.

The good news: teaching is over for another semester!!! The bad news: in just a few days I'll be buried in piles of exams and papers to grade. I've got a few other deadlines as well, so I don't think I'll be in the blogosphere much for the next week or two. Or maybe I'll compulsively blog to avoid the work. Either way, I'll probably be on Twitter to vent my frustration and share some of the more entertaining spelling and grammar errors, so come join the fun over there if you don't find me here!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Tale of Thanksgiving Morning: Showers to Take, Eggs to Make, Pie to Bake

I thought I wanted to stay home for Thanksgiving, so when we were invited to share the meal with friends I felt ambivalent. We accepted the invitation, and now we are glad we did! We can enjoy the morning with no cooking, no pressure, and then make the couple of things we're taking with us, get ourselves ready, and go! And best of all: NO CLEANUP!

It feels like a real Thanksgiving this year, even though the house doesn't smell like turkey and we're not hosting a dinner or traveling to see family. What makes it finally "real" is that the Little One is old enough now to understand the holiday and be excited about it. Last year she sort of got it, but largely ignored the parade on t.v. in the morning and whined through the dinner we made for our little family of three. We ended up rushing through the meal just to get it over with and get her to bed.

What a difference a year makes! She woke up excited about the day, and is soaking up the parade, enjoying each song and squealing with delight at every float and balloon (right now the Sesame Street gang is doing a song and she is yelling out each character sighting: "Telly, I just saw Telly!"). We had pastries and cocoa (coffee for us) earlier, so the day is a big hit already. And she's far more excited about going to our friends' house (where she'll get to play with her friend) than she would have been about staying here, so we definitely made the right decision.

From our home to yours, best wishes for a truly happy Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for in our lives, but I want to say that I am personally thankful for the bloggy friends I've made through this medium!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Marvelous Work-at-Home Day

I wanted to take the day off completely, but in the end this would have created more stress, so I decided to just work from home. The hubster has meetings all day and then a work dinner, so to save him some time and hassle I also decided to keep the Little One home with me. It's an ill-advised plan for accomplishing much, but she's always so excited to get to stay home with mama that I can never resist the opportunity to surprise her with a spontaneous day off. My announcement was met with the expected reaction last night, when I decided to tell her the news. I had just told her to go choose her jammies for the night when she fell down on the ground in protest, wanting yet more playtime. When I said "You can play more tomorrow" she kicked the floor and wailed "But tomorrow is a schooool daaay!" So I told her I was keeping her home with me and she leapt up to cheer and hug me.

Our day is going smashingly well. We spent the morning busied with our respective work. Hers: making dozens of drawings for me to display in my office. Mine: planning next semester's syllabi. She played outside in the leaves and looked for frogs and snails in the garden. We had lunch. Now she's deeply engrossed in more "work" (something involving a pattern of socks on the floor of my bedroom) and I'm taking a moment to blog before returning to work. It's a beautiful day outside, sunshine lighting up the leaves which remain on the trees, wind blowing more into the air, but it's quite cold so I'm content to watch it all from the kitchen table. I'm starting to finally recover and feel human again, so I don't mind working instead of relaxing. In fact, I'm actually enjoying it.

It's never easy to be on your own all day with a preschooler though, especially when you're working. She knows I have to work and is being very good about letting me do it, but there are many interruptions nonetheless. I'm managing to remain uncharacteristically zen about it so far, and thus haven't really felt much frustration, but I know it won't last. I'll get tired, and so will she, and as her demands increase my patience will decrease, and my envy of my husband's evening at a nice restaurant with grownups will grow to epic proportions. But then I will stop and smile as I remember the added bonus of keeping her home with me today: NO NAP. And that means EARLY BEDTIME. And that leads to HAPPY MOMMY. (A happy mommy drinking a nice glass of wine and catching up on Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sick of Being Sick

I don't think I've been sick this much since I was a kid. After fighting off two colds in October, I came down with some flu-like thing on election night (that's right, I spent the glorious night of Obama's victory wavering in and out of fevered consciousness, so it was rather surreal) and was down & out for over a week. Then at the end of last week, just as I was emerging from the aftermath of that, I managed to come down with the Little One's latest cold. I'm not feeling too badly, but my chest and sinuses have been congested for about a month solid now. My cough was nearly gone on Friday, but today the new cold headed down there and I'm coughing literally every other minute. It's exhausting.

I've had to work through most of this, and the Little One has had milder versions of all of this, so I've had absolutely no time for any sort of blogging or commenting or twittering. So sad. I miss you all though, and wanted you to know I'm still here, just buried under work and cough syrup and tissues. I know better than to think I'll catch up, so let's just say I'll jump back in as I am able over the next few weeks.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Go OBAMA!!!!!

Dear Republikins,

We can haz Uhmarika bak?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Of Sick Days and Sudafed

Wait, Kaza is blogging during the work week??? WHAT??? I know, I know, it's highly unusual these days. But I'm working from home because I have the head cold of the century. Actually it's not that bad really but I do feel pretty miserable and didn't have to be in the office so decided to work from home. AND keep the 3 1/2 year-old home with me. Which must mean that this virus has traveled to the brain and is causing mucho damage, because why on earth would I turn down my husband's offer to not only take her to school but leave her in after care until 5:00 because he has an afternoon meeting? I could have had nine hours alone at home. NINE HOURS. I'm sick, I have a mountain of work to do, and I could have had a glorious nine hours in which to work (okay, and blog and watch t.v. too). But I said no, let me keep her home with me. I think that makes me certifiable.

But seriously, she was so sweet nodding her head in reluctant agreement as her daddy told her that mommy needed to stay home and so he would take her to school and she would "get" to stay late to play. So when she then turned her head up at me after he walked out of the room and then begged to stay home with me, I melted. Had she thrown a tantrum instead, she would be at school right now. But she was in my arms, willing to go if I said she had to go but hoping that just maybe she could stay home with me. I confirmed that she was certain, reminding her that if she went to school she would get to play on the playground but if she stayed home with me she would be indoors all day because I needed to work and didn't feel well enough to take her out. She was sure. She wanted to stay home to take care of me and keep me company. And I couldn't stand the thought of her having a late day unnecessarily.

So here we are, two girls at home, doing our "work" and having a slow day in the middle of the week. And I feel much better now that I have my beloved Sudafed on board to relieve the awful congestion and sinus headache. I had to go to the pharmacy to buy it yesterday. I hate buying it, because the rigamarole makes you feel like a criminal, and the pharmacy staff always looks so serious during the whole transaction. I mean, do the drug addicts manage to realistically fake a head cold when they go to buy the stuff? I could not have looked more miserable: Kaza the red-nosed Mama, snuffling away, clutching multiple tissues to dab at my nose and eyes, croaking out my request for the only medicine that brings the relief I clearly needed.

It doesn't help that I'm one of those people who gets all nervous in such circumstances. I'm the one who freaks out when driving in front of a police or highway patrol car, hands firmly at 10 and 2, eyes darting between the road, the rearview mirror, and my speedometer, trying too hard to appear normal. So when I buy my decongestant, I feel this irrational need to explain myself. Which is crazy, because it is not illegal to buy pseudoephedrine for relief from cold symptoms. But I chatter away like a magpie, explaining that the new formulation does nothing for me (which is completely true, the stuff is shite and simply does not work), blah, blah, blah, while they fill out the paperwork and ask for my license and enter me into "the system." I only have to go through this two or three times a year during the cold season, but I dread it. The goddamn drug addicts have ruined it for the rest of us. A once-simple errand to grab some cold medicine has turned into a humiliating exercise in government surveillance. Truth be told, it pisses me off. So I should rant at the pharmacy techs instead. Except that I'm not so good at the public ranting. I'm more of the play-nice-to-get-what-I-need-and-then-rant-on-my-blog sort. Clearly.

In any case, I got it and slept peacefully last night and am now clear-nosed and clear-headed and can get some work done. The Little One is coloring and watching the Heffalump movie, so I had best stop blogging and get to it.

I owe two memes from so long ago that my taggers have no doubt lost all hope, and I was given a sweet award by my dear friend Sassy Irish Lassie (on whose blog I will be guest posting in a few days, my first time ever!), which I need to pass on to some bloggy friends, but it may be a few days yet before I can organize myself well enough to catch up on everything. I hope you all are having a good (and healthy!) week.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Deep-Fried Manners, or Why I Hate the Phrase, "Yes Ma'am"

My child's Southern socialization has begun. Tonight after I asked her to do something she looked right at me, nodded, and uttered the words I have been dreading since we moved to the South: "Yes ma'am." That's right, I have been DREADING the moment that I would hear those words come out of her mouth. The very words that must make Southern mamas' hearts swell with pride set make MY heart sink and set my teeth on edge.

You see, where I come from, "Yes Ma'am" is something you say only if you're trying to be a smartass. And though I've lived here for over two years now and have heard this response from countless individuals in multiple everyday settings, I am still not used to it and I never hear it as it is meant. It always stops me in my tracks and I have to mentally remind myself that the person saying this to me is actually being polite, showing proper respect, behaving like a well-raised Southern person.

And I knew it was coming. I knew my child's teachers would eventually make her say it. I even expected it last year, but fortunately her teacher either wasn't a stickler for it or didn't think that two-year-olds should be forced to say it just yet. I figured that this year I would not be so lucky, and even asked her just a few weeks ago if anyone had told her to say it. No one had. Until today.

When she said it, I couldn't help myself. Instead of praising her, I corrected her: "Yes Mama, please. Mama doesn't like Ma'am." I then asked her who taught her to say it. Her teacher, of course. I told her it was okay to say it to her teacher, but not to me. We talked about minding her teacher and doing as she is told at school, but that mama and daddy have different rules sometimes at home, and this is one of them.

If you were raised in the South, you may find this puzzling. Incomprehensible, even. I mean, what's the big deal? It's just good manners, right? Except that manners are a matter of culture: they are what a people agree they are in a certain place and time. And in the U.S., though we share a common American culture in many ways, there are many subcultures, including regional cultures, and I am still in "culture shock" because this place is so very different from my home state. It may seem silly to the locals, but little things like this are an important part of preserving my identity and sharing that identity with my child (who is, after all, a California native too).

So dude, like, don't freak out when we don't say "Yes ma'am," or "No sir." Chill out dude. It's all good. Peace OUT.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Mama Training" Successful!

First of all, thank you to those of you who posted or emailed your support over this whole sleep training thing. It was quite a week, and not just because of the new bedtime routine, so I really needed the encouragement. As usual, the Little One got sick IMMEDIATELY after commencing the new regime. This has happened each time before, and always resulted in abandoning the whole thing and putting it off yet again. But this time? I. Was. Determined. She had just a bad cold, so I decided to stick to the plan and forge ahead. And? It worked! She only cried and begged on the first couple of nights (and it was awful for me, but I remained strong). On the third night she announced that she wasn't going to fuss, and in fact did not. The resistance isn't entirely over yet though. Last night she protested that this is "weird" and she took a very long time to settle down and fall asleep, but in the end she did it without me in the room (though I think I had to check on her about 7 times, the most yet). But I do think the worst is over and soon it will be a familiar routine.

We still bring her in with us when we go to bed, and probably will until we move to a house with a different floor plan. I just don't feel comfortable with her room being so far from ours, and on bad nights when she wakes often I can't take the up-and-down routine. I get more rest this way, so for now we're keeping our hybrid sleep practices. Because this works for our family right now, and that's all that matters.

Other than that, it was a nutty week all-around, and now I'm coming down with the Little One's cold and feeling more dreadful by the hour. I think I'm off for a nap now, in fact.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sleep "Training" AGAIN

Sleep. It's probably the topic we think and talk about the most when parenting babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. I've been reading recent posts by bloggers with newborns, and remembering my own struggles in those first weeks. Apparently it's no different with a second baby, if the recent experiences of Her Bad Mother and Mrs. Chicken are any indication. This is one of several reasons that I remain deeply ambivalent about our efforts to add to our little family of three.

I've written about our sleep situation several times before. Late last spring, I thought we had it licked. I had finally bitten the bullet and did some "sleep training" again, and the Little One was falling asleep all on her own for a very brief period before that terrible night when she woke up with that horrible ear infection. I am a total wuss to begin with on this issue to begin with, but then the guilt from that night really did me in and I put it on the back burner yet again.

It wasn't so bad in the summer, because she won't nap at home and is an early riser, so she was tired by 6:00 and asleep by 6:30 or even earlier on most nights. I didn't mind sitting there for the 15 or 20 minutes it took for her to fall asleep. But the enforced "rest time" at school is of course just long enough for her to get bored enough to nap on most days, so she is full of energy in the evening. That of course means a later bedtime. Which is fine. We've adjusted to that. We seem to be starting the bath/bedtime routine at the right point, and she always admits to feeling tired. But no matter how we adjust the timing, she takes about an hour after lights out to go to sleep, and sometimes longer. It was getting to be like this in the spring when I snapped and trained her then. But now it's even worse, and I'm even more overwhelmed with work, and when she keeps popping up to ask questions or tell me "one more thing" or ask for "one more hug" (after we've had MANY already), I become increasingly cranky and then I LOSE IT.

So it's just not working for anyone anymore. I'm feeling now like I'm a hostage to her fears of falling asleep alone rather than a parent giving my child a gift of security (which is how I saw it when she was smaller). And I would like to find a way to teach her this skill. I've written before about my sleep troubles as a child. I know this is mostly my issue, not hers. And I'm thinking that maybe there's a middle ground, a way to help her to find security without my physical presence in the room. I may have wanted my mother in the room with me when I was a child, but that doesn't mean it was a reasonable expectation or the solution to the problem.

The bottom line is that it's no longer working for me or our family, and I have to finally be consistent and stick with it. I'm going to have faith that she will be able to make it through this transition just as well as she's made it through giving up her paci (which I thought would never happen) and potty training (which felt so difficult and endless at the time but now seems like nothing in retrospect). And I think I've also figured out the truth of the matter when it comes to the Little One: once again, the one being "trained" here is really ME.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

No, I Have Not Fallen off the Face of the Earth

It just feels (and seems to all of you!) that way. I'm getting tired of whining about work, but SRSLY people, it's insane. I've had it pretty good for a very long time (a decade of grad school, heh-heh!), so this is my first experience with understanding the phrase, "just not enough hours in the day." Because there AREN'T. If I could forgo sleep, I would, but I'm not built that way (especially at 41!).

I had to take this contract, which includes four distinct courses, two of which I've never taught before (known to us in the university world as "new preps"), and for career-advancement reasons I had to take another gig on top of that, so I'm overbooked. And I'm pumping out job apps for the new round of tenure-track jobs (my gig is temporary right now so I need to land a permanent job), and trying to get some papers published, all of which I have to do on my own time. If I were single and childless this would all work out fine, because I would work long hours and all weekend and get through it that way. But I'm not, and try as I might, there is only so much work that can be done after-hours.

BUT. I love my work, I really really do. And I'm grateful to have a job and hope my current contract won't be pulled out from underneath me. It's a crazy time in this country, the kind of time I never thought I'd see.

And we are PUMPED for the debate in this house tonight.... HOLLA!!! You all know I'm an Obama Mama, and I'm no fan of The Palin, so I cannot wait to see this. The Katie Couric interviews this week have told the real story, so now we'll see whether Palin's "cram sessions" will produce a good performance on the biggest test of her nascent political life.

At the moment I am sitting on my daughter's floor, waiting for her to fall asleep, wishing I had gone through with the latest round of sleep training last weekend instead of wimping out yet again, because I could be in the living room ready for the first minute of the debate but NOOOOO, I'm sitting here on the floor listening to her toss & turn and getting more irritated by the moment. Ahem.

Which reminds me: why is it so easy to watch Supernanny or Nanny 911 when they teach parents how to get kids to fall asleep by themselves and stay asleep in their rooms, but when it comes to my own kid I'm a marshmallow? All she has to do is tell me she's scared and that's it, I'm there. I remember my own childhood fears all too vividly. But eventually I've got to bite the bullet.

I should work all weekend to get myself caught up, but I think I need some time off even more. So don't be surprised if I manage to stop by to read and comment in the next few days. I've missed all of you and can't wait to read what you've been doing and thinking.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Little One, Version 3.5

WARNING: Huge rant post. If you're not in the mood for a LOT of bitching and complaining, then move along!

A few weeks ago I thought the worm had turned. The Little One began behaving in a downright civilized manner and I thought we were over the worst of the threes. I WAS WRONG. Three as a whole seems to be designed to torture parents. There are moments when it tests your will to live. I didn't think anything could be closer to torture than the sleep deprivation of newborn days. And those were truly miserable months of my life, so perhaps I was right. But this is pushing the bounds of my patience in ways that a good night's sleep just cannot fix.

First, the nonstop talking. From the very second she arises until the second she surrenders to sleep it is a nonstop barrage of chatter and requests and questions. AND THE VOLUME! THE INABILITY TO REMEMBER TO "USE OUR INDOOR VOICES!!" This is not entirely new. What is new is the following: nonsense chatter and questions using made up words, asking permission to do every little thing even when permission is not at all required, and asking "where did we get?" each and every thing in the immediate environment. My child wants to carry on a constant verbal interaction, and I'm just not equipped to handle this much verbosity. I'm seriously considering earplugs. (Hey, it beats a sharp stick in the ear.)

Second, the selective listening. My child used to be a good listener. I'm not sure what happened, but it is as if a switch has been flipped. I didn't think this problem started so early, but apparently it does. I would say she isn't listening at all, but she can somehow hear a chip bag opened from across the house, and any mention of anything that sounds remotely like cookie, cake, ice cream, or the park brings her running to us. If we actually did say any of those things, as in, "we'll get some cookies tomorrow," she then becomes unable to hear anything else, and the nonstop chatter becomes centered completely on the cookies.

Third, the fidgeting. Good lord, the nonstop movement. This is a 24/7 issue, because she is also a restless sleeper. She was born moving those legs and thrashing about, and she has never stopped being the on-the-go girl. She will sit still for a particularly compelling video, but only for about 20 minutes at the most and then she's up and running again. And yes, she gets plenty of time to run off energy. She's just bursting with it all of the time. And there's nothing wrong with it except that we're constantly having to remind her not to run in the house, and to stop climbing all over everything (including us), and to settle down before she hurts herself. What is more difficult to take is the thrashing about in her sleep. She ends up in our bed every night, and I've got the bruises to prove it. I fully expect to wake up with a black eye one of these mornings.


Though this makes for a great deal of frustration on a daily basis, there are moments that I'd like to preserve in amber for all eternity. Like the way my heart fills when she starts singing "Sing a Song of Sixpence" softly in the backseat on the way to or from preschool. Or how time slows for a few amazing minutes when she and I sing her lullabies together while I rock her in my arms (at her request) at bedtime. Or the way she wakes me up with a kiss on the cheek in the morning, and then wants a hug. Or my feeling of pride and delight in seeing her catch the ball in the backyard after teaching her how to watch it instead of me when I throw to her, and the way she yells "woo-hoo" in her high-pitched squeal of victory. Or how sweet she looks in her hats and princess dresses.

I know the frustrations will fade in my memory, but these other moments will linger, and make me miss her preschool self desperately. No one needs to counsel me to treasure this time. In fact, any parent of an older child who wants to dole out such unsolicited advice should rather bite her tongue and hold her peace or I'll make her come over and babysit for me. There's nothing like a long day with a preschooler to remind the parent of an older child to count her own damn blessings and mind her own business.

Can you tell it's been a long day? I'm off to do a bit more work before bed. But soon I'll be drawing the Little One into bed with us (yes, on purpose, in spite of the beating I'll endure if it's a particularly restless night for her), and doing it all again tomorrow. I think I hear her waking up now, so I guess we're off to sleep. And you know what? I can't wait to see her in the morning.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Too Much to Say

I sat down to write a post but couldn't begin. It isn't blogger's block, though I did have that difficulty not long ago. No, it's rather that there's too much going on. I spend my days juggling multiple priorities (as we all do), and I'm finding that it's difficult to get myself to focus long enough to craft a post on a single topic. I tend to use Twitter instead to post thoughts here and there. But I miss writing full posts, so I'm trying to get back in the game. I thought I'd do a bullet post, but even that felt like too much like work. It's back to basics then, just me talking nonsense about whatever.

The Little One is loving preschool. I felt like a pro this year, as our transition back to school was seamless after two years of nursery school. I'm so used to her going to school now, unlike the emotional parents who were saying goodbyes to their 3-year-olds for the first time. We sailed through the first week. Then came week two. And along with it, the clinging and crying. Sigh. BUT, after some talking it over with her last week, she decided she wanted to be a big girl and give me a nice goodbye every day, and she's been great about it since then. She's begun to make some friends, and that seems to have made the difference. Yesterday she was even bored by afternoon and eager to get back to school this morning.

Work is crazy. Teaching four university courses is just nuts. For those of you who don't know how it works, a standard teaching load for academics who also do research is two courses per semester. This allows you the time to do your research and writing. Four courses does not. Even three is a stretch for getting any serious scholarly work accomplished. If you happen to be childless and single, you can make it work by spending more of your free time on your own work. For me, this isn't an option. Instead, I must cut corners where I can on the teaching work (which is very unsatisfying to do when you're developing your courses for the first time) and preserve one 5 hour day each week (the actual working time left between preschool drop-off and pick-up) in which to do my research and writing. I steal bits of time on evenings and weekends as well, but for this kind of work you really need long stretches of uninterrupted time.

It's better than last year, when I was adjuncting, since this year I'm full-time at one university (albeit just for this year), but there still aren't enough hours in any given day to do what I need to do, even when I try to keep things simple. And the grading hasn't even begun yet! So that's why I've been M.I.A. around here.

However, I refuse to let this year slip by in a flurry of working. I'm steadily finding ways to work smarter, if not harder (I don't know who came up with that pithy little idea, but I have to say I love it), and I'm carving out time for myself where I can as well (something we mamas just must do, whether we think we can or not).

My commitment to blog reading and writing is a part of that. Though I've had to be more judicious with that as well. I'm paring down my reader subscriptions a bit, making sure I only subscribe to as many blogs as I can reasonably visit in the course of a week or two. That means I've had to unsubscribe to some (for now anyway), but it also means that I'll be able to comment more on those that remain. I felt a little guilty at first, but then thought, screw that! The fact is, certain blogs speak to you at a certain time, while others don't, and that's okay. I'm hearing many people bemoan the fact that they can't keep up with their reader subscriptions, so I know this is a problem many of us have faced. And some of my blog friends have seen a major increase in their readership and can't visit everyone who comments on their blog (not to mention those in their overloaded readers!). I'm sure it is difficult when you want to give back but just can't keep up.

I don't have this problem (though I'll be honest, I wouldn't mind facing it eventually!). My readership has grown nicely in the last couple of months (yay!), but not so much that I can't keep up with it. I love my commenters and try to visit every one of you (though sometimes it takes me awhile!). I usually don't comment back in my own comments, preferring to instead comment on your blogs to give back that way.

So how do you manage your blog life? Do you post every day or less often? How many blogs do you read in a day? In a week? Do you use a reader or visit from your blogroll? Do you tend to comment often or mostly just read? How do you give back to your commenters (responding to comments within your blog or visiting their sites)? Do you use Twitter? Let's compare notes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What, I Have a Blog?

I'm beginning to understand why I had such a long hiatus between starting the blog and then finally getting into it. The academic teaching year intervenes, and my blog life suffers. BUT... this time I am determined to find a way to keep up with blog reading and posting in spite of an overbooked work life. From what I'm seeing out there, everyone is overwhelmed, so I doubt if anyone minds if I'm posting a bit less regularly. I know my own reader is about to explode with unread posts (and I had already purged it completely about a month ago to start over!), so I'm sure you guys are having the same issues with keeping up.

It's funny how stunned I am again at the amount of work I have to do, and that I am surprised once more by the impossibility of the work-family-house juggling act. The academic year ended in May, and the summer ahead looked so long and full of promise. In June, I exhaled for the first time in over three years and let myself just be for awhile. (I got a LOT of blogging done then!) My summer ended prematurely in July, when my summer teaching took far more time than I had anticipated, and as soon as it was over I had to prep for fall. We're two weeks into the fall semester, and with my teaching load of four classes and multiple other commitments, I'm already overwhelmed. How did I forget that this is just how it is during the teaching year?

But at the same time, I see progress. I don't feel quite like I'm drowning in the work this fall, and the Hubster and I are sharing the household and parenting duties better than ever before so there's no resentment. I think we're growing up. It isn't perfect, but what family actually achieves perfection? We're just getting better at managing the chaos (some days better than others of course), and working hard at being gentler with one another.

The Little One is doing well in preschool, though she usually hates our departure at drop-off each morning and sometimes breaks my heart when she relates how much she missed me during the day and that she "waited, waited, waited" for me to pick her up. But our evenings and weekends are much better now, more relaxed and fun for all of us now that we're back to our normal routine. And I always look forward to hearing her tell us about her day, relating what she learned or who is her latest "best friend."

I don't know how much posting I'll be able to do in the coming weeks and months, but please don't give up on me or my blog! I love blogging and my bloggy friends are very important to me. If I don't comment or post for awhile, just know that work has me jumping right now but I WILL be back! I'm doing a lot of rushed reading of your blogs, but I will get back to more commenting (and posting here) as soon as I figure out a better balance. I owe a couple of memes, but it could take awhile for me to get to them (recall my "deer in the headlights" problem -- memes aren't always an easy post for me!). If you miss me, follow me on Twitter. It's not the same as blogging, but it's much easier to fit into a crazy schedule!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Normal Life Restored

Clearly the week kicked my ass, hence no posting (and even worse, hardly any blog reading or Twitter tweeting). The Little One started school Monday morning, and it went smashingly well. I suppose it should have, given that she's been in a program since she was a toddler, and after a long boring summer at home she was hungry for playmates (her one friend down the street moved away, and most people we know traveled a lot so we didn't have many playdates or other social gatherings). She sat right down to playing and hardly even looked up as we each bent down to say goodbye.

We both admitted it felt a little weird to drive away without her, after the last month of her being with us constantly. But it was a great relief to realize that I don't have to feel as guilty now that she's of proper preschool age. Of course not all guilt is gone, as she's in after-care too. I hear that the mama guilt never really goes away no matter what you do. And once I arrived at my office, and soaked up the hours stretched before me of nothing to do but finally, FINALLY get some work done, I felt more than fine.

The week was crazybusy, but I didn't mind a bit, I was so happy to be back to our normal routine. The Little One adjusted well to her new class and school, loves her new teacher, and declares a new "best friend" every day. Our late days were a little harder on us, when she stays until 5 instead of the usual 3, but I know we'll soon get used to it and we really need a few days of longer working hours to get everything done. But she actually loved the "extra playtime" after naptime and even protested leaving at all when we picked her up on the first late day, much to our surprise.

We are now off to a celebratory end-of-the-week dinner out, where I intend to consume a large adult beverage or two and truly unwind for the first time in five days. I'm hoping to catch up on some blog reading over the weekend, so if I haven't visited yours in awhile please know I'll be coming by soon!

What about you? How did everyone's back-to-school week go?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Back-to-School A-Go-Go

Yo peeps! I'm sorry I've been such a bad blogger lately, hardly posting at all. Work was to blame, but now my summer class is OVAH! Actually it was over last weekend, but we spent the week running back-to-school errands. I managed to sneak in some blog reading and twittering here and there, but that was about it.

I don't think I can convey to you the degree of my excitement, or rather GLEE about the Little One going back to school on Monday. This family just functions better with the normal routine where school and work schedules set the rhythm of the week. Neither the hubster nor I are well-suited to the work-at-home thing, and fortunately the Little One has loved school since starting at 18 months in toddler care. This will be the first year in true preschool with a proper curriculum, and we can't wait to watch her grow and blossom as she learns and makes new friends.

I'm a bit of a sap when it comes to back-to-school. I was one of those odd children who LOVED going back to school. I actually enjoyed selecting school supplies, and my favorite day of the year was not the last day of school but the first. I almost never slept the night before, too wound up with excitement, counting the minutes until I could go see my new room, explore my new desk, meet my new teacher. Yeah, looking back, I guess I was quite a little nerdlet about it all.

So I don't have to tell you then how much FUN I had this week taking the Little One out to choose new school things. I was even disappointed to find out that the supply fee covers everything so we had no supply shopping to do, not even for a box of crayons or a pair of safety scissors. (Not that we couldn't buy them for our home stash, but it's not quite the same thing if it's not headed for the backpack, you know.)

This weekend it's all about trying to get this mess of a home in order for the new year. I realize I'm destined to fail, but a mama's gotta have dreams. We did buy a dry-erase board for the fridge so I can stop making (and losing) multiple lists on paper, so we might start slightly more organized. I've mostly scaled the laundry mountain, so it's almost all clean. But will it all get put away before Monday? The kiddo is helping to get all of her toys at least in the various toy receptacles, though my plan to do a major toy purge and organize the remainder is probably never going to come to fruition. As for the mess of papers, files, articles, and books currently jammed into the office closet? I'm guessing I'll be putting off that organizational nightmare for yet another semester. It's almost an end-of-break tradition now, staring into that closet, shaking my head, and closing the door on it for another few months. It's time to settle back into the barely-controlled chaos that is "normal life" at Casa de Kaza. And I can't wait.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kickin' Ass and Namin' Names

Kick Ass Blogger Award

That's right peeps, Kaza kicks some ass. Followthatdog of From Stage Dives to Station Wagons says so, and that means it must be so!

I am deeply honored to be recognized for kicking ass, especially by such a dear bloggy friend. It was difficult to choose from my loooong blogroll list, but according to the rules I need to share the love, so I now pass the torch to the following bloggers:

1. Catnip (aka @AnnetteK), of Catnip & Coffee, my "fairy blogmother," who is such a generous soul and is kicking ass on so many levels.

2. Heather of Mindless Junque, who not only kicks ass as a blog friend but has the most kick ass hair of any blogger out there, holla!

3. Tiffany of The R Family Diaries, who writes her heart and mind and is my California soul sister, yo.

4. IrishKat of Sassy Irish Lassie, a kick ass chick and awesome bloggy friend whose take on life always makes me laugh.

5. Megan of Velveteen Mind, a kick ass mama whom I admire for her raw honesty and take-no-prisoners, call-it-like-I-see-it authenticity, which is coupled with a passion for encouraging newcomers and welcoming us all to the blogosphere.

To see the full list of kick ass blogs and tag your own favorites, hop on over to MammaDawg's award page. (And go visit MammaDawg's blog while you're at it!) Share the love people!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary Baby, Got You on My Miiiiinnnnd....

This one is just for the hubster, folks:

On this day, baby, I have just one thing to say to you:

Nunc scio quit sit amor.

Even more today than on the day several years ago that we started this adventure. I love you. Now let's go celebrate. (And then later we can work on that sib for the Little One! Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more!)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

An Unusually Productive Sunday

I realize I haven't posted much lately. I want to blame it on my summer teaching gig (which, I am delighted to say, will be over after I grade the finals next weekend), but I'm actually just a bit blocked lately. It seems many others are going through the same thing, and that the consensus is to blog through it, so I'm going to do exactly that.

I've had an oddly productive Sunday here. I usually spend the day relaxing before the week, but today I had a burst of energy and not only picked up the mess around the house but also planned out all of the back-to-school organizing we need to do in the next two weeks. It was a relief to finally capture all of those thoughts that have been buzzing around in my head and not only write them on lists but then type those lists neatly and tack them up on the fridge so the hubster and I can work on a game plan together.

I used to be this organized all of the time. I'm not good with cleaning, but I've always been great at organizing, and have always enjoyed it. And while I can (and will) ignore dust and soap scum for an embarrassingly long time, I hate the chaos of messy stacks of papers and books everywhere and feel mentally agitated every time I walk by yet another pile waiting for my attention. I used to have time to stay on top of organizing, and lived by my lists. But after becoming a mother, that all went out the window. Now, if I even have time to make a list, I can't even find it. Today I must have come across four different lists I had made sometime in the last six months, each one just adding to one of several piles of paper.

I can't blame it all on motherhood though. There is actually some truth to the image of the absentminded professor with an office full of papers and books in a state of disarray. By the time I acquired my Ph.D. I was already far less organized than I had been before, and juggling a heavy teaching load last year only added to the problem. I'm not sure what it's about, but I do know that life is far more complicated than ever before and I have a hard time staying on top of everything these days.

I am determined, however, to at least start this academic year with a tidy home, an organized office, and a plan in place for a more balanced life for each of us in this little family. Wish me luck. I'm going to need it!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Six Random Things about Kaza

I owe Followthatdog (of From Stage Dives to Station Wagons) this meme, which I may have done wrong if the answers were supposed to be brief. They aren’t, so get comfortable people!

Six Random Things about Kaza:

1. Though I love to be tagged, I am like a deer in the headlights when I sit down to actually do a meme. My thoughts go something like this: “Six random things about me? … Uh… um… okay… thinkthinkthinkthink… uh, well… (mind completely blank, unable to come up with even one single random thing)… uuhhhhh...(I’m not kidding. Nothing. Nada. No ideas.)… um… come on Kaz, it’s not THAT hard... 6 measly things about yourself, you, the person you know best in the world… crap, maybe I should do this later… No! You need to do this now… Think, woman, think! Aaagh!” And so it goes. The same exact thing happens when anyone asks me my favorite anything, or my most embarrassing moment or whatever. Total blank. This even happens with simple things, like when my husband asks me EVERY NIGHT what I want for dinner. All food leaves my head right then and I can’t come up with a single idea.

2. In order to get the ideas flowing, all I have to do is walk away from the task and go do something mundane: pee, take a shower, do the dishes, something like that. Usually it only takes a few seconds for my mind to kick into gear and work on the problem. But it won’t work with just anything. The task has to be truly mindless, requiring no thought whatsoever, and I have to get through it uninterrupted (a difficult requirement to fulfill with a 3-year-old around). For instance, the idea to use my difficulty AS the first random thing? Came to me when I took a break to pee and was (miraculously) for once not interrupted by the Little One in the process.

3. I hate talking on the phone. I’m very chatty in person and in writing (hence the very existence of this blog!), but I just HATE communicating via phone. I avoid answering phone calls, and always check the caller ID before deciding whether or not to answer (I happen to believe that you have the right to decide when to be interrupted, even by family, and therefore should not feel obligated to answer if you are busy or just not in the mood to talk right then). I prefer email and getting together in person (preferably arranged via email rather than by phone). Because let’s face it, there are three types of people you talk to on the phone socially: those with whom you love to talk and could go on forever (so why not just get together?), those with whom you have little to talk about and thus the conversation is either going to devolve into meaningless small talk or drift off into horridly uncomfortable silences (so why not just email to keep in touch, if you must?), or those who chatteronandonandwon’tletyougetawordinedgewise
(so you avoid their calls altogether because you get enough of that form of torture already from your preschooler, thankyouverymuch). I’ve tried emailing those in my life who fall into this latter category, but find they are just as bad about the back-and-forth nature of emailing as they are with the concept of the social exchange known as a “conversation.”

4. Though I am a voracious reader and love reading more than any other activity, for some reason I can’t read in the morning. My eyes won’t focus, my mind won’t settle, and if I try to do it I end up just wanting to go back to sleep instead. But around 3:00 or so, all I want to do is curl up with a book and keep reading until I’m too hungry to go on. This never happens now that I’m a mama, but was my favorite way to spend the afternoon and early evening in my pre-mama days (and I liked to follow it up with another session of reading in bed after dinner, during commercials while watching something on t.v.).

5. (Uh-oh. I was on a roll there but I’m going blank again. But I don’t have to pee and already took a shower today, so I guess I’d better go wash a dish. But. I. Don’t. Want.To. Okay, I thought of one. Phew. Narrow escape from housework there.) I cannot truly enjoy drinking wine out of anything but a real wine glass. Don’t get me wrong, I WILL drink it out of a different receptacle, but there is a distinct diminishment in the experience if I have to sip it from an ordinary glass, and I am downright dissatisfied if I must drink out of plastic or (God forbid!) styrofoam. Call me a snob if you will, but trust me, even two-buck-chuck tastes better if served in the proper stemware.

6. I have a wicked sense of humor and a potty mouth, but people generally never suspect I have either of these qualities when they first meet me. Apparently I look like someone full of sugar and spice and everything nice, but I’m actually a sarcastic martini mom to the core.

There! I did it! Deer in the headlights no more. (Until my husband asks me what I want for dinner, which should happen any minute now so I really should start thinking about food. Food... umm... what would be good? Um.... Nothing. Nada. Aaagh! Deer in the headlights again!)

Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Write six random things about yourself.
Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
Let your tagger know when your blog entry is up.

I am tagging the following, but I’m not sure if this meme has been around for awhile, so if you’ve done it before, no pressure to do it again (but feel free to put the link to your previous meme post in the comments).

Catnip (of course!)
Sassy Irish Lassie
Flea D’Lure
Jen of Cheaper Than Therapy
The McMommy Chronicles

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Who IS that?

So I was in my bedroom, and glanced up on my dresser, where I saw a photograph from a few years ago. The Little One was about 4 months old, so I was a new mama. It was one of our first photos as a new family, taken by my sister-in-law. It's an awesome photo. But. As I gazed at it tonight, my reaction was: who IS this woman? Because: I. did. not. recognize. myself.

No one can explain to you how becoming a mother will transform your very being. In my case, I truly became a different person. That's always true of us, as we age and acquire experience and (hopefully) wisdom. But there's something about the transformation of motherhood that is particularly profound, and it's something I'm still trying to comprehend. Because that photograph of me is so poignant and almost heartbreaking. I looked so YOUNG. I had endured those months of mothering a newborn, with all of the sleep deprivation and (in my case) postpartum crazy. But the experience hadn't altered me enough yet. It didn't show in the photograph. The only evidence of my transformation was the baby in my arms.

It happened to my husband too, for I hardly recognize him. He looks fresh and youthful in a way he hasn't in quite awhile (sorry hon!). I'm beginning to understand why it was so jarring to find photographs of my parents when they were first married and when my brother and I were first born. It was because we didn't quite recognize them. But we didn't understand why.

I've thought of changing the photograph in the frame on my dresser, as it doesn't represent who we are now, and I like to move forward rather than dwelling on the past. But I can't quite bring myself to do it. I'm not ready to let go of her yet. Not the baby that my daughter was, for there are far cuter photos of her from that period, and beyond. The person I'm not ready to put away just yet is the new mother that I was then. She was a person born out of the crucible of my experience of childbirth and the weeks that followed, which were sacred in their pain, terror, wonder, and discovery. She was someone I would very much like to go back to hug and reassure that it would all turn out alright. She is someone gone forever, yet still deep inside of me. And I don't want to forget.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Impossibility of Her Seemingly Simple Request

This morning the Little One woke me with a very clear request: she wanted a big brother, please. This one took me by surprise. Up until this point she had been asking for a brother AND a sister, but understood that she would be the big sister and was excited about teaching them everything. So I figured our biggest worry would be how she would react when she discovered that she would be getting one or the other and not both (unless, that is, we hit the twin jackpot as requested, a thought both frightening and delightful at this point in my life). But the older sibling request was a new one.

I remember desperately wanting an older sib myself, so it shouldn't have been such a surprise. I was not only the oldest in my immediate family but also the oldest of all the cousins, so I had no one to dote on me or protect me. My little brother (who often wished to be the older one) and I would sometimes play at being the "other" sibling, trying to fulfill each other's wish. But it wasn't the same thing. Especially because I really wanted a big sister. I imagined just how she would be: tall, athletic, with long blonde hair, a sparkling laugh, and a special wink just for me, her adored baby sister.

When the Little One made her request this morning, I took a deep breath and then explained that it was impossible. She was crushed. She asked again, begging. I had to tell her again that it just doesn't work that way. I offered what I knew would be slim consolation: the fact that she has older cousins who could act like older sibs to her. She wasn't buying it. I completely and totally understood.

It turns out that her request was inspired by a segment on this morning's Sesame Street, in which a big brother was taking loving care of his little sister, including (from what I could piece together from the Little One's description) helping her to do a handstand. (Or perhaps holding her feet up so she could play "wheelbarrow? It was one or the other. Her description and miming of the scene was a bit difficult to interpret.) It broke my heart a little to think of her watching this and the desire forming in her heart for a big brother of her own. Sigh.

I'm hoping that the joys of being a big sister will be just the balm she needs for the wound sustained this morning when we told her she would never have an older sib. And I dearly hope we will get the opportunity to give her that gift. I'll be 41 next month, so the clock is not just ticking, it's now tocking, loudly. Time to get busy! (Pun FULLY intended.) ;)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mama, Will You Play with Me?

If you have a child over the age of 3, you hear this plaintive inquiry at least once a day, often accompanied by sad puppy-dog eyes and usually followed with "Pleeeaaase?" The first time the little one asked me directly to play with her, it took me aback. It made her seem so much more grown up suddenly, to be asking for interaction rather than demanding it. It also made it harder to keep doing my grown-up activities in the face of such a simple and heartfelt request.

During these weeks of teaching a summer intensive class, our routine goes something like this: we wake up and get going (this involves COFFEE and bleary-eyed viewing of morning shows before all else). Then I must prep for teaching. I'm home, so we're all together (the hubster is home too, teaching his own summer course online, the lucky bastard), but the Little One must entertain herself. She does so willingly most mornings. Soon it's time for me to get dressed and go. I'm gone for about four hours. Then when I get home, she leaps on me and won't leave my side until bedtime. When this happened on the first day I decided to roll with it, and told her that when I got home each day we'd have "our special time together," and she beamed. After changing out of work clothes, I tell her "I'm ALL yours," and she whoops with delight. And then we play.

Sounds perfect, right? Here's the problem: I may be home from teaching, but I'm most definitely NOT finished with work. And then there are the household demands as well. I give my time to her first, having remembered a piece of advice in a book that promised you the ability to get other things done if you focused completely on your child(ren) for at least that first 30 minutes after you get home. But that hour of playtime isn't always enough for her. Just this afternoon she melted down completely when I tried to gently pull away from playing to do something else. I wasn't going to leave the room, I told her we could sit together and I would watch her draw, but it wasn't enough unless I continued to play with her.

I know some of what I'm feeling is classic working mother guilt. After more than a month of being home with her this summer, we had fallen into a routine. I was with her constantly, so it was easy to play for a half hour here and there. She didn't miss me, I was never away, so there was no guilt. And I feel guilty as well because... um, well... (shh... it's a secret!)... I don't like playing very much. I can do it for awhile, but I begin to lose my nut if forced to play for very long. (Please, please tell me you all hate it too, or else I'll feel like the worst mother in the world... again!) But those things aside, truly, there are things to be done when I get home and not enough hours in the day to do them all.

So how do you negotiate this? What strategies have you developed for balancing the attention your kids need with the things you must do?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Toon Tuesday: WHAT?!

So here's the doodle of the week. The Hubster told me it was inspired by my recent efforts to work at home with the Little One underfoot. I guess he's been noticing my frustration with the constant interruptions! I'm sure you all can relate.

In other news, a few bloggy friends grabbed yesterday's post for a meme. Check out the foodie facts of The Mom at Cheaper Than Therapy, Does Anybody Hear Me at Don't Get Married, You Won't Like It, and Adriane at Flea D'Lure. Gals, consider yourself tagged in arrears (no pun intended), and I'm adding tags for Catnip (I owed you one!) and Ninja Poodles (who I know is thinking about food a lot this summer and who I think could use some distraction this week if she's feeling up to it).

And I won a giveaway over at Trenches of Mommyhood's review blog! Our CO2 alarm broke recently, so it's a very timely win. It's my first ever (I never win anything), so I'm really excited.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Five Facts about my Foodie Self

I've got too many exams to grade, so I'm pulling out a list I've been working on. It was meant to be much longer, a foodie version of a things-about-me list, but this is as far as I got before forgetting about it in my post idea file (what, like you don't have one?). So here you go. These are the first five things to know about me when it comes to food and drink.

1. I love salt. I once salted ham at Easter dinner. I’m not kidding. This story is legendary in my family. And whoever introduced my husband and I to kosher salt should really be in our will. We can’t afford good sea salt right now, so kosher salt is da bomb!

2. I also love lemon. I put it on almost everything. Just ask my husband. (It is a source of great consternation to him, but I feel vindicated when, time and time again, I see a famous chef on t.v. saying, “And for acidity, we need to add some lemon juice…” Because it’s just so awesome, what lemon does for food.) And in my opinion, there are very few foods that cannot be improved with a bit of lemon juice for that perfect, bright acidity.

3. I am the condiment queen. Seriously. I love condiments. I think I have a minimum of at least three or four that I must have for every meal. As I eat my food I am continually evaluating my condiment need, and at home I usually get up at least once to procure an additional condiment. Yes, I annoy my husband with this habit but no, I don’t care. I needs my condiments, people!

4. I LOVE wine. I also love a good martini and the occasional smooth scotch whiskey. But wine is my poison. My favorite? The terribly unfashionable malolactic Chardonnay: big, bold, full-bodied, really heavy and butterscotchy. The experts will often tell you that this wine is awful, that it doesn’t go with anything, but I say drink what you like. I also love really spicy Zinfandels, but I can’t afford them at the moment.

5. In the morning, I love a proper cappuccino, preferably prepared by a real barista at a proper bar in Italy, the kind that serves perfect cappuccine in the morning (which you drink standing at the bar while munching on a delicious brioche) and then transformes into a drinking bar in the late afternoon (so you return in the evening for a nice glass of Prosecco and the Italian version of bar snacks). I haven’t yet found a place here that does a cappuccino properly in the Italian way, though there are two local joints that do them quite well.

What about you, my bloggy friends? What are the five most important facts about you when it comes to your food and drink?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Where I've Been This Week

Work stole my week from me somehow. As I've blogged about before, most university professors and instructors work a 9-month contract and then become essentially self-employed in the summer, working on career advancement tasks such as preparing articles for publication and developing new courses. But some of us also teach a summer class or two at some point. Because I was an adjunct last year and therefore making next to nothing, I leapt at the opportunity to accept a summer class, not knowing whether I would have work for the next year or not. As it turns out, I've got a one-year contract for next year, but the summer class was a done deal by the time that came about. SO, to make a short story much too long, this means I'm now teaching a 5 week intensive course two hours a day, five days a week.

But it's just two hours a day Kaza! Why is a two hour course kicking your ass? Because it's two hours in the classroom, but many more spent prepping, answering emails, copying handouts and quizzes and exams, and, above all, GRADING. It's teaching three weeks of material each week. It's SO much more work than I thought it would be. And it's even worse because the class is smack-dab in the middle of the day, which means prepping at home in the morning with the Little One underfoot (the hubster is home but trying to do his own work before I leave), then commuting, then stopping into the office briefly to make copies and talk to my chair (that's academic-speak for head of the department, I'm not talking to the chair I sit in... I am definitely a bit crazy right now but not holding discussions with the furniture...yet), then running into class and boring them silly for two hours straight, then answering a bazillion questions (okay, more like five or six), then commuting back, then spending some time playing with the Little One who sticks to me like glue after I return, then the whole dinner/bath/bed/etc routine. So somehow one two hour-a-day class is turning into more than I expected, and I still have all of that career-advancement (and in my case, job search) stuff to do.

This is all my way of helping you to understand why I ended up on the bed in our home office on Thursday night, curled up in the fetal position whimpering. The hubster looked at me and asked what was wrong. I told him it was nothing really, just that I was spending nearly every moment of every day answering questions and needs and right now I don't have any time in the day when I can finish a task or even a thought uninterrupted (even while driving I'm interrupted by the abysmal driving in this town).

But today is Saturday!!! I haven't looked forward to the weekend this much in two months. I'm off to play.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cocktail Hour!

I somehow missed doing Toon Tuesday yesterday, so here's a doodle today, in honor of the favorite time of day in my house. It's a bit embarrassing that my 3-year-old knows the word "cocktail" and says "Yay!" whenever we announce the hour, but to her it means that Mama and Daddy will stop working immediately and that we will often put music on and dance with her. And there are always snacks, so who wouldn't love that?

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Would Have Had a New Post Up Sooner, but I Broke My Eyes

Okay, so I didn't actually break my eyes. It only felt that way. A week ago I spent the entire day reading blogs. As in at least 8 hours at the computer with very few breaks. And then I followed that up with two or three hours of reading in bed by my dim bedside light (it was the hubster's poker night so I was able to indulge my inner bookworm more completely than usual). Once upon a time this would not have been a problem, but my friends, I am almost 41 years old, and my eyes aren't working like they once did. So I ended up with the worst case of eye strain I've ever had, and couldn't use the computer for more than a brief 20 minutes in the morning without my eyes going completely wonky. This lasted pretty much all week, especially after I tempted fate on the one morning when they felt better by blogging and reading blogs for three or four hours in a row (can you say "addict"?). I was beginning to worry that I actually had "broken" my eyes. OR that this was actually a sign of a brain tumor or a terrible neurological condition. Because that's how we roll here at Casa de Kaza (otherwise known as Health Anxieties R Us).

I soon began to imagine my life without reading, which is not only a significant part of my professional life but is also my personal passion. Life without reading? Incomprehensible. I became irritable and despondent just imagining it.

BUT fortunately the hubster talked me down off the ledge and convinced me it was just eye strain, and, after a few days of eye rest, and reading only while using my two pairs of magnification glasses (one for reading and one for computer work, both of which are cheap, uncomfortable, and exceedingly outdated but even so somewhat functional), AND severely limiting my reading time, both on and off the computer (the horror!), my eyes seem to have recovered.

It's time to face facts: I am officially middle-aged, and I therefore need bifocals and a new pair of computer glasses. But at least my eyes aren't broken. (Phew!)

P.S. Thanks to all of you who gave me so much comment love on my last post! I was geeking out with excitement, I know, but I really appreciate the warm congratulations. I am so loving the blogosphere and all of my new bloggy friends.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's Official... I'm Saucy!!!

Hey, psst... have you heard the news? I've just made the "Saucy Blogs" list over at The Secret is in the Sauce! If you're a SITsta already and you're here to check me out, welcome! Come in and stay awhile. If you're not a part of the SITS revolution, what are you waiting for? Clicky clicky the linky linky up there or over on my sidebar button, and join up! It's free, it's easy, and it's just about the best way I've found to meet awesome bloggers. All you have to do is add your comment to the roll call every day and then go give some comment love to the featured blogger. Heather and Tiffany even help by pointing you to a few of their fave posts by the SITsta of the day. I also encourage you to visit their blogs IMMEDIATELY, as they are both amazing mamas with a lot of very funny things to say. I've hyperlinked it all up for you, so go get in on the fun. (And if you love to cook, or just read about food, they've just launched the Saucy Eats recipe site as well!)

As for me, I'm going to go revel in my sauciness now. Watch this space for lots more Kazatude in the days to come. (And for my regulars, I know I missed Toon Tuesday this week, but never fear, the hubster has some new doodles so look for a new one next week.) Enjoy the holiday everyone.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Ups and Downs of Preschooler Utterances

Things I'm tired of hearing:

1. “Mama, I went poo-poo!” (Called out in a singsong voice, and repeated with increasing volume until I respond.)

After all of the work to potty train her, you’d think I’d be delighted to hear these words. She goes #2 only once or twice a day (sometimes three or four, but that’s rare), can get herself on the potty, and has not yet had a poop accident (knock wood!). Yet every time she summons me to wipe her butt after a poop I grit my teeth (especially on those three-poops-in-a-row days!). I have to take a moment before going, to breathe deeply and calm myself so that she will not see my irritation. Everyone tells you that potty training will be difficult, but no one tells you how annoying the endless wiping will be. And I don’t know why. I got used to changing diapers and was never annoyed by the wiping then. Why am I so annoyed now?

2. “Mama, I’m hungry.” (Repeated dozens of times a day, at about half-hour intervals, and sometimes more frequently.)

The constant interruptions are the problem here, as well as the whiny voice. Every parent deals with this (whoever is home, or whoever is on food duty for the week… though I seem to be the default parent for all needs, and have to remind my daughter when “daddy is on food this week”). But the additional irritation with this one is that my kid eats like, oh, maybe five things? And often doesn’t want any of those five when she’s hungry but rather waits for some mystery suggestion to come out of my mouth. We’re trying two new things this summer: 1) A definitive schedule of breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, with no exceptions. At three, she can learn to wait. 2) For snacks and lunch, she now must ask for a specific food instead of just declaring her hunger (we choose dinner). Ha! Now SHE has to come up with a food she actually wants and will eat (other than a sugary treat, which she is not allowed to request). And if she changes her mind after a bite? Oh well, better pick something else next time. That’s what you chose for this snack, and if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it. We are not running a short order kitchen here, kiddo.

Things I will never get tired of hearing:

1. “I love you mama!”
(Declared often, out of the blue, with eyes shining and cheeks glowing and the biggest smile ever on her face.)

2. “You’re my best friend.”
(Also declared often, sometimes with no apparent reason but other times because I'm playing with her or reading to her or have given her a treat.)

3. “You’re the best mama in the world!”
(If I'm lucky, I hear this one a few times each week. Often declared after I have returned from the store or a meeting. Absence does make the preschooler's heart grow fonder, if that's even possible, given that I'm lucky to be the object of her amazing affections most of the time anyway.)

4. “One more hug and kiss.”
(Usually demanded from her bed two or three times before she'll finally settle in to go to sleep. Of course this is a popular sleep-stalling tactic of all children, but thus far it has been a guileless request.)

5. “I can give you a treapmin to make you all better.”
(Confidently stated upon hearing that I am experiencing any sort of physical discomfort, and followed by marching off to her room to obtain her supplies.)

6. “Mama, I picked some flowers for you!”
(Proudly announced every morning from the backyard as I sit at the window working and watching over her, immediately followed by presenting me with her bouquet of handpicked wildflowers at the back door.)

7. “Mama, you are the star of the life! And you are my sunshine.”
(Okay, she only said this once, but I’d love to hear it again and again!)

What about at your house? What makes you want to pull your hair out if you hear it one more time, and what melts your heart every time you hear it?

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I must confess something to you all. I am in maternity clothes again. The problem? I am NOT pregnant. And the sadder thing? I was not able to wear these clothes even a week after having the little one, because I was too thin for them. I know you are not sad for me, because you of course must hate anyone who does not need their maternity clothes so soon after birth. I understand. But I am redeeming myself now, three and a half years later, because I have to wear them now.

I keep telling myself that I should not bother losing the weight, because we’re going to try to get pregnant again quite soon, and if my first trimester is anything like the one I had with the little one, then I will need these extra pounds to lose, because I couldn’t really eat much for those first months. I never threw up, mind you (that was the lucky part), but I couldn’t stand the sight, smell, or even thought of most foods. So I lost weight in the first trimester, which gave the OB a false sense of my pre-pregnancy weight, because I was in fact thinner at that first visit, around 12 weeks or so, than I was before becoming pregnant (I was with one of those annoying clinics that won’t see you until the first trimester is pretty much over, just in case... how positive and cheery is that? And this was AFTER the first miscarriage, and I was 36, so you’d think they’d offer more monitoring, as my current OB does, but no.) I remember when I saw her on one of my postpartum visits (when I was still distinctly crazy), and she looked at my weight and said something like, “Oh, you’re doing well, only about 10 pounds to go before you’re at your pre-pregnancy weight.” And I’m all like, “No, bitch, I actually LOST weight in the first trimester, not that you’d KNOW that or anything because you assholes won’t even see someone when they’re first pregnant because you’re so BUSY and all, but anyway…” Okay, so I didn’t really say it quite like that, but I did correct her and try to explain, which fell on deaf ears.

But I’m losing my point here, which is to say that I cannot fit into any of my jeans anymore, and I have two really great suits that I can’t wear at all, and I’ve been borrowing my friends’ old fat clothes, which is SUCH an ego booster, let me tell you. I’m not going to talk numbers or sizes here, because that’s all relative. I’m short and small-boned, so if I talk weight or clothing size half of you will roll your eyes and snort in derision and tell me I have no talking room. Numbers don’t help. The relative measure that does help here is that I’M WEARING MY MATERNITY CLOTHES AGAIN AND I’M NOT PREGNANT. Need I say more?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oots! I Forgot Toon Tuesday!

Sorry, doodle fans. I forgot to post another of the Hubster's doodles yesterday. So it seemed the perfect occasion to introduce our friend "Oots." This one was inspired by (of course) the little one's pronunciation of "oops" when she was a toddler. I miss her saying it that way (sniff, sniff!). But little Oots here will help us to always remember.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sleep Issues: An Ongoing Saga in Casa de Kaza

So the truth of it is that those stages I wrote about last time aren’t really distinct, are they? As Heather pointed out, we vacillate, moving in and out of them (sometimes all in one day, and on our worst days, in one hour!). And I have learned that the key is to surrender to acceptance. Things always go better when I am able to remember that and then actually do it. But it just isn’t that easy. Right now I’m working on accepting the little one’s sleep troubles.

She had transitioned well into her own room a few months ago, and even had quite a few nights of staying there all night long, which was strange to get used to but also quite nice. And after over three years of doing whatever was necessary to help her go to sleep (which now involves merely staying in the room until she drops off), I snapped one night when it was once again just taking far too long (over an hour and a half!) and I had too much to do. It took only two nights to teach her how to fall asleep on her own, with us just checking on her every 10 minutes or so. That little milestone changed my life: no more sitting in her room for an hour waiting for her to fall asleep (or so I thought). But then she got a bad virus and needed a lot of help to get to sleep, and that went on for two weeks or so, and ever since then she begins to panic if I even mention her falling asleep on her own again. I know I need to help her re-learn the skill, but I’ve been lazy about doing it again (and my new blog obsession has given me something enjoyable to do while she falls asleep, so I haven’t minded as much!). 

The other thing is that she can’t seem to sleep for very long without waking from a nightmare or with some sort of complaint. After a year or more of having the evening hours to ourselves while she peacefully slept, we’re back to interrupted dinners once again. And as for getting to finally read in bed in the hour before I go to sleep (which was my favorite part of the day in my pre-mama days and thought I would finally get to do again now that she’s in her own room)? Forget it. By the time we’re ready to crawl into bed, I’ve tired of resettling her and just pull her into bed with us for the night (at just 9:45 last night, for instance). But the sleep troubles don’t end there. She continues to wake from nightmares on many nights, and thrashes around in her sleep. She’s long-limbed already, so we’ve both taken quite a beating on many a night now. Sigh.

Here’s the thing: I know I could do some serious sleep training a la Supernanny and get her to not only fall asleep on her own, but I just can’t bring myself to do it, given that she clearly has sleep issues. You see, when I was little I suffered from terrible fears, which caused insomnia. And I didn’t feel I could wake my parents to ask for help, so I’m guessing I had been sleep trained myself when I was a baby. Whatever they did, I got the message that I was on my own at night. And so I just can’t do that to the little one. I cannot stand the thought of her alone in her room, scared, thinking she can’t call for me or that she’ll be marched back to bed if she gets up and comes to me. So I’m trying to achieve acceptance of the situation, because this is an important gift I can give to her. 

What about you? Do you do something as a parent that stems from issues in your own upbringing? (And does anyone have tips for surviving the intensity of these sleep issues? And does it ever end?)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The 5 Stages for New Parents

Denial: This stage begins before the baby is born, when you have visions of your life continuing on exactly as before, only with a baby playing happily on a blanket on the floor (I’m not kidding you, this is precisely the image I had in my mind when I thought about how life would be after the baby was born. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. That’s my hysterical laughter at the memory of my na├»ve former self). The denial stage continues after the shock of birth, as you convince yourself that you are simply in an “adjustment period,” that your vision will come to life after you all get used to each other. (HA!)

Anger: A few months later, when your life has been completely taken over by the little tyrant your precious baby, you enter the anger stage. In this stage you might find yourself thinking things like, “Will this little f***** EVER sleep through the night?” and snapping at all of the irritating well-meaning friends and family who dole out conflicting pieces of advice, none of which seem to work on your demon spawn little angel. 

Bargaining: Anger got you nowhere, so in desperation you start to cut deals, both with the baby and with a higher power. You may find yourself uttering pleas to the sky such as “Please, please, please just let her/him stay asleep long enough for me to finish my dinner, just this once, and I promise I will be more patient when she wakes up every ten minutes tonight needing her damn paci put back in her mouth so she can go back to sleep. Just let me EAT. OKAY?” 

Depression: The bargaining didn’t work, so now you know you’re supposed to accept that this is life now, but you can’t. You love your baby (who by now is actually smiling at you and maybe even sleeping several hours in a row at night), but you and your life are unrecognizable. You spend most days in your pajamas and rarely brush your hair. You can’t imagine life without your little angel, and this is wonderful but scary too, because you don’t really know who you are anymore or how to figure that out (or even if you want to). 

Acceptance: You only get here by opening up and talking to fellow mothers, and reading their stories in books and magazines and blogs. It is through honesty with each other that we find our way to acceptance of our new lives and new selves and learn how to find the parts of our former lives and selves that we can recover out of the ruins and incorporate into mama life. But you’re not through with these stages. I have yet to spend more than a few months in this last stage before starting them all over again when the next unbearable “challenging” phase begins. (Only now I tend to skip over denial and instead begin with a new stage, Panic, in which I am convinced that life will ALWAYS be like this and I will never, ever get control over my life again. And once again, it is my fellow mamas who rescue me. Every time.)

I did a quick search before posting to see if anyone else had done versions of this list, and found a great cartoon version from last year over at The Mom Bomb

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Toon Tuesday: Meet Moldy

If it's Tuesday, it must be time to share another doodle. This one was inspired by one of the challenges of living in the humid South: mold. It grows everywhere, fast, so you have to be vigilant. Eeeeew. But this little guy is almost cute. Almost.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's a Great Day in California

I have never felt prouder of my state than I did when I heard the State Supreme Court decision to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage. And watching the piece on the CBS Sunday Morning show yesterday, which you can read here, I felt the emotion welling up in my heart. I am celebrating in spirit alongside all of the couples who will finally be able to marry as of today in California. Congratulations and best wishes to you all. It's about damn time. 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To the Hubster

Happy Father's Day, you big lug. The night that our daughter was born, when I saw her tiny little swaddled form in your arms (our little burrito!), I fell in love with you all over again, but deeper than ever before. Watching you with our baby was nothing short of completely amazing. You are a fantastic daddy to our little one, and it still warms my heart today to watch you with her. I know it can be rough when she pushes you away, as she's still a mama's girl, but the daddy's girl days are more frequent now, and she misses you so when you're away at work.

I hope you enjoyed your day today. We love you more than either of us can ever find the words to say. 


Kaza & The Little One

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Birth Story, Part 2 of 2

Now, where were we in this story? Oh yes, I was in excruciating pain yet had just discovered that I was NOT in fact in “real” labor. They decided to induce said labor to help things along. If you’ve been through an induction, you know what’s coming. The already-unbearable contractions only got worse, and the camel-back pattern continued so that I pretty much had no rest in between. I was in such misery that my nurse offered to call in the anesthesiologist soon thereafter, though I was only about 2 cm dilated. I immediately agreed. All of my ideals had long since left me. I needed relief. 

After the epidural was placed I had the usual reaction: I had an immediate crush on my anesthesiologist. Those guys have the GOODS, man. The universe of my life calmed for the first time in many hours, and I thought I would finally have some rest while my body got ready for the big moment. I had seen such scenarios numerous times in the shows I had obsessively watched throughout pregnancy: the relief of the epidural, the mama-to-be finally resting, sleeping off and on as her body gets ready for the work ahead. My nurse turned the lights down and left us to rest. But that was not to be.

Why not? Three problems:
1. The shaking. My body was not doing so well with the drugs, and I began to shake uncontrollably.
2. Back labor. It took awhile to figure this one out. The first clue was that I wasn’t getting enough pain relief from the epidural. To be blunt, it felt like my baby girl was trying to push herself out of my ass. The constant pressure was god-awful. 
3. Decels. Baby girl wasn’t digging this whole thing either. So they put me on oxygen and turned me from one side to the other to try to achieve better blood flow, and we nervously watched the monitor. (Watched, no listened to, because we had already begged them to turn the sound off. The ever-changing pattern of beeps was making us crazy.)

So there was no restful period while waiting to push. Just hours of discomfort, worry, and fear. Twenty hours after this whole drama began, I was worn out, the decels weren’t getting any better, and the neonatologist recommended we head to the OR for an emergency c-section. Neither of us hesitated. We were wrung out, and needed to get our baby girl out of danger. (A note here: as an academic and feminist I am well aware of the critique of this kind of birth situation. Was she really in danger? How much of this was caused by the medical interventions? I’m not going to take these questions on here. I’m just telling how I felt as it all happened. Pain and fear overrode all critique.)

As relieved as I was that the ordeal was just about over, I was out of my mind with anxiety as they rolled me down to the OR. They hooked me up to the machines and I heard someone ask, “Is that mom or the baby?” They were asking whose heartbeat was out of control fast. It was MINE. My crush anesthesiologist mainlined some ativan into my IV to help me out, and though it did take the edge off I was still on edge. My first worry was feeling the knife. As he tested my level of anesthesia I second-guessed myself. “Can you feel this?” “Um, I’m not sure.” (Turns up the meds.) “How about now?” “I don’t think so.” (Turns it up again.) “Uh, I’m feeling this weird tingling in my arms, is that normal?” 

I don’t remember a whole lot after that. I remember feeling terrified. I remember the music: “My Girl,” and someone commenting that it was appropriate. I remember my hubby holding my hand and talking me through it. I remember hearing my baby girl cry for the first time (the memory makes me choke up even still). I remember someone saying she was 5 pounds. I remember them showing her to me. I remember kissing her. I remember urging my husband to go with her, reassuring him that I would be okay. 

I remember even less of the time they spent finishing the surgery, so I must have dozed off through some of it. Apparently it took a long time, because the hubby later told me he had begun to worry. I have a vague memory of someone commenting that the cord was short, or thin, or something like that. (The next day the pediatrician on call told me that the condition of the cord, as well as baby girl’s low birth weight, suggested that her placenta may have stopped working properly in the last weeks. This made sense, as her estimated weight at 37 weeks, when we had the version procedure, had been 6 pounds. To me, this meant that I hadn’t been crazy to feel that she was supposed to be born soon therafter. Perhaps I had some sort of maternal instinct that all was not well in there.)

My memory is clearer of the recovery room. I was shaking from the anesthesia, but didn’t want the demerol because I had read so many stories of terrible nausea. It’s funny to me now. After all I had been through, I was afraid of some nausea? What the hell? I finally let them give me a half dose, which calmed the shaking for only a short while before it returned with a vengeance. 

They finally rolled me down to my room, where I saw the most wonderful sight of my husband holding our baby girl swaddled in the standard issue pink and blue blankets. After a precarious transfer into my hospital bed (during which I was convinced they were going to roll me off onto the floor), I finally got to hold my little miracle. It had been a wild ride, but my baby girl, now known here as The Little One, had finally been born. It hadn’t gone at all as I had planned or expected. But none of that mattered as I held her and kissed her soft cheeks and sang to her for the first time. 

So that’s the end of my (or rather, the little one’s) birth story. There’s much more to tell, a whole postpartum drama to relate, but I’m not quite ready to revisit it just yet. Let’s just say that it involved a whole lotta crazy.