Monday, May 31, 2010

Dear Miles,

Dear Miles,

My darling boy, I am running out of ways to start these letters to you. Every month, I begin by commenting on how big you are, and every month, I look back and realize how tiny you were before. This month is no different. So, please forgive the broken record, but you really are getting bigger every day. And smarter. And more mobile.

Over the course of this past month, you have indeed mastered the art of crawling. No longer is it a tentative attempt at movement from the couch to the table. Now, you crawl from one end of the apartment to the other, all day long. When we go to the office, I have to come and catch you before you crawl out of sight. And I have to be extra careful with that, because you move fast. More than once, I have put you down to fix a bottle, only to turn around and find you across the room from where I left you. In a matter of seconds.

The good news here is that you are so much happier now that you are mobile. You've always been a happy baby, but you used to become so frustrated when we walked away from you, even for a moment. Now, you simply go where you want to, and you are loving the freedom. You are laughing more readily, and more often. You love dashing after Daddy when he leaves the room. And when you catch him, you grab him and smile, as if to say, "Gotcha!"

And from the sound of it, it won't be long before you actually say such things. You've long made noises that sound like "Mama" and "Dada", and even use them in the correct context more often than not. In the past week, you've added the word "Hi!" which you use often to greet your favorite people, or simply to announce your presence. It won't be long before you're talking. And if I know you, you'll be walking soon, too.

I look back now at pictures of you as a newborn, and I can hardly believe that was you. You were so tiny, so helpless. You relied on us for everything. Already, you are beginning to find independence in little things. You now go where you want to go. You pull out the toys you want to play with. You crawl to us when you want comfort. You sign to us when you want "milk" (or sometimes "more milk") or when you need changed. In eight short months, you have grown so much, learned so much. And I know that you will continue to learn and grow just as fast in the next few months.

I love you, my little Miles-Monster. With all of my heart. I hope I show you that every single day.

I am so blessed, and so lucky, to be your mother.


Friday, May 28, 2010


So I was wrong.* Apparently, I have one photo of Miles from the day of his Baptism. In his adorable little suit.

He is SO stinkin' cute that I almost want to dress him in suits everyday. If it weren't so warm, I probably would.

Oh, and if I could count on the fact that he wouldn't ruin it.

Also, might I point out that his hair is finally showing up in photographs. And that it now appears to have a slightly reddish tint in photographs. I'm honestly a little excited to find out what color it will be when he has a full head of hair. Until then, though, I will continue to speculate that it might be red. Ish.

So, I feel it's time for a random topic change. Because, ya' know, that's just how I am. And besides, I haven't quite had enough coffee to be coherent, yet.

Anyhow, speaking of warm weather,** I'm very excited about taking my boy swimming for the first time. Now, if only I could get the stars to align just right, I might be able to have everything in one place at one time on a warm enough day that I could take him swimming. And if I'm even luckier, he may even be in a good enough mood to go.

Seriously, I had forgotten what an undertaking it is to go swimming. I mean, you have to locate your towel and suit (and hope the suit still fits right, and didn't mysteriously shrink over the winter). You have to slather on the SPF 45 at least thirty minutes before going out. You have to have eaten at approximately the same time as you are putting on sunscreen, so as not to get those infamous Old-Wives-Tale cramps.*** And that's all before you leave the house.

And with a baby, it's even harder. First, you have to find the baby-sized swim suit. I thought this would be easier, given that I have a little boy, but apparently, swim shirts aren't just for girls anymore. And with a baby whose skin is fairer than mine, if that's possible, covering him up is just a wise decision.**** Then, you have to find the sunscreen. Only, with a tiny bit of research, I found that I really should be buying a specific type of sunblock. Reasons abound, but I get confused, and simply remember brand names that are supposed to be better for babies. But now that means that I have to go buy special sunblock for my baby. And swim diapers. Which, somehow, do not exist on the shelves of three different stores that I've been to this week. Once I have the baby dressed, diapered, and sunblocked (which, hopefully, will happen someday), I have to feed him. And get myself ready. And most importantly, I have to get him to the pool. Before he falls asleep from the exhaustion of getting ready to go swimming.

Excuse me, please. I'm about to have a Highly Dramatic Moment. You don't have to watch if you don't want to. Here goes. . .

Why?!? Why does it have to be so hard?!? I just want to take my baby swimming! I think he'll LOVE it, if we can ever make it. Ugh. Life sucks sometimes. :P

Okay. Moment over. You can look again. Sorry. I apparently have spent too much time around Maestro. I now have Angst.

And randomivity. I think it's time to go get more coffee.

Have an awesomely wonderful weekend!

*Yes, it happens on occasion. But I will deny it if you ask me later. :)

**I did - up there where I said it was "too warm" for him to wear suits everyday. :)

***Sure, we all know it's an old wives' tale, but who wants to risk it?

****Can you imagine an 8-month-old with sunburn? NO fun. :(

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Welcome to the Church, Miles

So, I've run away and joined the circus.

Not really, but that's a far more interesting reason for not posting since Saturday than the truth, which is that I just haven't had a spare moment.

On second thought, I really have run away and joined the circus. It's called the Renaissance Festival. But that's beside the point entirely.

Because the point is: My baby is baptized!!!

Sunday morning, after Mass, in front of 31 (seriously) of our closest friends and family, our Priest poured water over the head of my precious little boy. He anointed him with the oils. He blessed him. Miles' godmother, Stacey, held his baptism candle, lit from the Easter candle on Pentecost. His godfather, Chris, put the white tabbard over his head. And dozens of pictures were taken.*

And the entire time, Miles was calm. Serene. Happy.

My little angel baby has now been welcomed into our Church, and has received the gift of the Holy Spirit. On the day the Church celebrates the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The day could not have been more perfect.**

*I don't have a single one, by the way. My camera died, and no one has sent me their copies, yet. (Hint, hint)

**Except, of course, if I had pictures of it. (HINT, HINT) :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bad Mommy

So, apparently, I am a Bad Mommy. But, then, that has been established by my kid's lack of socks.
This time, though, it's much worse than going without socks. This time, it's over something that could affect my child 'for a lifetime.' I don't know if I can even type the words, but here goes. . .

I rock my baby to sleep.

I know, I know. I'm setting him up to be an insomniac for the rest of his life, unable to fall asleep unless I'm holding him in my lap.* I mean, no mother in the history of the world has ever rocked her child to sleep. And the few stupid ones (like me) who did had children who turned into serial killers and prostitutes because of their insomnia issues caused by too much rocking.**

I may be exaggerating slightly, but I was called out yesterday on one of the Mommy Forums for rocking my baby to sleep. I was told that if I didn't let him cry it out, he'd "never learn to fall asleep on his own!" Never mind the fact that letting my child cry for even a few minutes only pisses him off beyond belief. In our house, there's no such thing as "crying it out."*** Too bad, say these Judgy Gertrudes of the Interwebz. Let him puke. It will teach him to self-soothe.


My child falls asleep every night, content in the knowledge that Mommy (or Daddy) is right there, keeping him safe and warm. And I get a precious few moments to cuddle my little boy, who is growing too fast as it is. Gone already are the days when he would cuddle in my lap for hours on end. Now, he is far too busy crawling around, pulling toys all over the living room, pulling up on the couch, chasing the dog, and trying desperately to figure out how to walk. The only time he will sit still long enough to cuddle is if he's sick. Or very sleepy.

So, I rock him to sleep, drinking in the sweet, relaxed moments with my boy before they disappear forever. Breathing in the scent of his hair, feeling the warmth of his little body curled against mine, listening to his steady, even breathing, and watching his eyelashes flutter until they close for the night. I know these moments will be gone too soon, leaving me only with the memories of the scent of his hair, the warmth of his little body, and the flutter of his tiny eyelashes. Maybe I am selfish to keep rocking him, but I am not going to stop any time soon.

And if that makes me a Bad Mommy, I am entirely okay with that.

*Which will get awkward when he's taller than me. . . or perhaps before then? :)

** I mean, what else can you do if you're up all night? I guess your options are limited to murder or selling your body for money. Or working at Denny's. :)

***There is however "screaming your fool head off until you barf," which is what usually happens in these situations.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Photos

Time to start the weekend right with some pictures of our Boy!

Using a bottle lid to bang on a pot.

Knight in training.

Watching the bubbles.

Discovering already the magic of an empty cardboard box.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Great Divide: Part 2 - Choosing Sides

On Monday, I talked about this problem I called "The Great Divide". The distance between Working Moms and Stay-at-Home Moms. Now, let me explain why I care so much about this issue.

The Great Divide widens every day. And I find myself caught between the two worlds. I am a working mom - I work outside of the home, and (at least for part of the year) I contribute financially to our income.* I leave the house most mornings and go to an office, where I spend my day at a computer, just like so many other working moms out there. But, I am also a stay-at-home mom - I am the primary caregiver for my son. I spend my time balancing housework with interacting with my son.

Like all new mothers, I look for ideas, support, and understanding from others who are experiencing the same things as me. But, it's harder than it should be. Because I don't feel like a working mom - I'm with my kid all day long. And I don't feel like a stay-at-home mom - I'm rarely at home, truth be told. Which is why I describe myself as a "full-time mom". But there are no forum boards, no blogs, no support network that I can find for "full-time moms".

That said, I have been lucky enough to be a part of a forum board for stay-at-home moms who have been kind enough to overlook the fact that I am also a working mom. I find a lot of advice and support on this board, but I still feel like the outsider in the group. Like I don't really fit in.

Unfortunately, if that's the case, I don't really "fit in" anywhere. I am an anomaly. A very lucky anomaly. Few have the opportunity to walk with a foot in each world, wearing both the working mom and the stay-at-home mom hats at the same time.**

I just wish that The Great Divide didn't exist. After all, we're all moms. We all deal with some of the same issues: colic, teething, illnesses, potty training, raising our children to be the best people they can be. We all struggle. We all have bad days. And we all love our children more than we ever knew was possible. Why, then, can't we support one another, regardless of where we spend our days?

Wouldn't that be a lesson worth teaching our children?

*Granted, I also help spend a lot of that on Festival, but that's beside the point. :)

**And I'm sure that, like anyone wearing two hats at the same time, I probably look a little like a goober sometimes. But that's not really the point. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Great Divide: Part 1

Since Miles was born, and more specifically since I began reading parenting blogs and participating in parenting forums, I have come to discover The Great Divide. No, I'm not talking about a piece of geography you probably don't remember from middle school social studies. I'm referring to the divide between Working Moms and Stay-at-Home Moms.

I've seen this referred to regularly as the "Mommy Wars". Moms who work contend that they are "actually contributing" to their household income. Moms who stay at home will often counter by saying that they contribute by making the household run more smoothly. Working moms accuse those who stay at home of being lazy, watching television all day while their kids run amok. Stay at home moms accuse working moms of "paying someone to raise their children for them." And the argument devolves from there in a hurry.

Here's the thing: they're all wrong. And, by the same token, they're all absolutely right.

Working moms do provide for their family financially, as well as in all the other ways that moms provide for their families. And moms who choose to stay at home often do keep the household running like a well-oiled machine. But, I know working moms whose homes run incredibly smoothly. And I know stay at home moms who manage to pull in money after the kids are in bed. On the flip side, I've seen stay at home moms who are the definition of lazy - their children running in and out of the house, flinging food and toys in their wake, while the mom watches the television. And I've worked in daycare enough to have seen working moms who only see their children for an hour a night before bed. Regardless of whether a mom works or not, some are wonderful, and some could definitely use some improvement. But regardless, all moms love their children. And I truly believe that most moms are doing the best they can, given their situation.

Why, then, do we attack each other? Why do we judge one another? Why do we insist on making our fellow mothers feel guilty about their parenting choices? None of us has all the answers. And until we start coming together, accepting one another's choices even when we disagree, the Mommy Wars will continue.

And that, to me, is incredibly sad.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Long Week . . .

I tried to write a sunshine and rainbows post. I really did. Because I am blessed in so many ways.

But, even so, this week sucked. A lot.

Start with the fact that Patrick was out of town all week.* Mix in a healthy helping of Festival drama. Add a pinch of hysterics over the Frankie and Johnny show. Plus all of the normal demands of working and keeping up with a very active little boy.

By Friday, I was literally in tears - tears of frustration and pure disappointment at how things were going. As I said to Maestro several times: everything this week just felt harder than it should have been. Meetings that should have taken fifteen or twenty minutes turned into hours-long marathons of arguing points that had already been decided. Frankie and Johnny had to be entirely re-blocked to be performed inside instead of outside, three days before it was to be performed. Helping a friend with living arrangements that should have been easily dealt has taken all week, with nothing entirely decided yet. Even Miles decided that he had to fight sleep at every opportunity.

Meanwhile, Patrick was dealing with his own situation that turned out to be harder than it should have been. Originally, his trip was supposed to last two days. By Wednesday, it was obvious that they wouldn't be finished in time, so their stay was extended to Thursday evening. Then late Thursday night. Then Friday afternoon. Patrick finally returned to town at 6:30 pm on Friday - a half an hour after my dress rehearsal began. I would never have gotten to see him, except for the fact that he's amazing and brought me dinner.**

Today was the exception to the rule. I woke up early and went garage sale-ing with some amazingly beautiful women, had lunch with some wonderful friends, and spent a wonderful evening entertaining a house full of people. I have to say, being a (too) pious church woman can be a lot of fun, if you know how to play with it. :)

I am merely hoping that today is the beginning of a new trend - one in which things do not turn out to be twice as difficult as they should be. And if not, I'm afraid you'll know me when you see me: I'll be the woman who is missing patches of hair, because I pulled it all out. :)

*Yes, again. Third time in a month. Ugh.

**Besides, he needed the van keys - which I had at rehearsal. Oops.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Independent Play

The best thing about Miles learning to crawl? He's suddenly discovered that whole "independent play" idea.

Now that he's mobile and can pull up on any piece of furniture that's the right height, he zooms around the apartment, stopping here and there to play with a toy, or pull on the curtains. Or cruise furniture at a rapid speed.

He still likes playing with Mommy (and Daddy), but he's totally content to play all by himself for up to a half hour at a time, squealing with delight at each new discovery.

I thought this newfound freedom would allow me to get more done around the house. I mean, if he's playing, I can go do the dishes or a load of laundry, right?


Because leaving the room for even a second is like handing him an invitation to find the one thing he's not supposed to have and eat it. Or throw it on the floor and stomp on it. Or crush it between his little fingers. Destruction follows this kid like a shadow,* only closer.

The other day, I was picking his toys up off of the floor and looked up. He had pulled himself up on a table and was busily pulling all of his baptism announcements off onto the floor. Where he was delighting in stepping all over them, repeatedly.** I quickly abandoned the riot of toys on the floor, and ran over to pick up the announcements before they were completely destroyed. I got them all picked up and smoothed out and put out of reach, only to turn around to see him holding half of a coupon. Upon closer inspection, he was busily chewing on the other half. So I scooped it out of his mouth and ran it to the trash can. I came back to see him flinging all of the toys I had just put away all over the floor.


I guess the reality is, I am getting a lot more done in a day. But Miles is creating most of the work. :)

*I guess everyone needs a hobby. :)

**Yes, those are coming. I promise.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Views on Mother's Day

"Happy Mother's Day" has an entirely new meaning this year. For the first time, ever, this is my day, too. And I feel so blessed. I would love to be able to do an entire post on how amazing it is to be a mother. Because it is. It is the best thing I've ever done. I could cure cancer, win an Olympic gold medal, and eliminate world hunger, and I would still look at my son as my greatest accomplishment. Because he is. He is a miracle that I prayed for, and a blessing that I thank God for every night.

Yes, being a mother is the greatest thing in the world. Which is why I have to rant, just a little, about the day designated to honor us Mothers.

Every year around this time, I hear moms asking each other "What do you want for Mother's Day?" The responses vary. One wants those diamond earrings she's had her eye on. Another wants a massage. Another is hoping for a fancy dinner at a high-dollar restaurant.

But the response I hear most often is: "A day without my kids."

Let's examine that statement. You are a mother because you have kids. So you want to spend the day celebrating your status as a woman who has kids by getting away from them? That's ridiculous.

To me, Mother's Day, if you're going to celebrate it at all, should be a day where you celebrate all it means to be a mother. Yes, I think that Dad should help Mom out a little more - do the dishes for her, allow her to sleep in or take a nap, that sort of thing. But why not spend the day with your children? Those adorable little people that chose you to be their mother. Do something fun with them. It should be something you enjoy, but take them with you.

Perhaps I'm a little biased, though. See, I have this amazing mom, who loved spending time with her kids. I remember spending almost every Mother's Day at the Riverfest, just hanging out with Mom. Because that's what Mom wanted to do - spend time with us. And we loved her for it. I'm sure we got her gifts and cards,* but that's not what I remember. I remember spending the entire day with her, having fun. And I know that's what she remembers, too.

I get that moms are stressed. And tired. And need a break. I am all of those things, all the time. And I know my mother was all of those things, too. But I will never understand how spending a day without your children is a celebration of Mother's Day. Take your break one of the other 364 days of the year.

As for me, I will be spending the day with my husband and my son at the zoo, creating memories.

*At least, I hope we did?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Self-Inflicted Panic Attacks

Oh, noes. I think I may have a panic attack.

I have to leave my baby. Overnight. For the first time, ever.

It really shouldn't be that big of a deal. After all, I'm leaving him with his father, and it will be for less than 24 hours.* But that's about 12 hours longer than I've ever been away from him in his life. And I'm freaking out, wondering how I got myself into this in the first place. I have actually wondered (briefly, I promise) what would happen if I cancelled at the last minute and didn't go, so I could spend time with my son and my husband.

But then, I would be letting down nine wonderful children. See, I'm directing this children's gypsy group, and we are joining the adult gypsy group at their training camp thingy that they do every year. For the adults, it's like boot camp and drama camp all mashed into one crazy four-day weekend. For the kids, it's an overnight stay so they can get to know one another, create their characters, and participate in a bonfire and a church service.

Cue panic attack number two: I am going to be in charge of nine children, ranging in age from seven to fourteen, for nineteen whole hours. I am insane.

Someone bring me a paper bag. Or some valium. :)

*19 hours, actually. I hate to seem like one of those dramatic people who actually counted the hours, but well, I did. :(

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Friday Photos

A few pictures of our favorite boy to start your weekend off well. :)

Since I didn't manage to get this into the 7 month post
last week.

Helping Mommy with the laundry.

Playing and showing off those standing skillz. :)

And finally, playing with the best toy ever:
a cardboard box. :)

Have an awesome weekend!

Quick Update

Sorry, guys. It's been quite a week.

Preparing for Boot Camp - done.
Contracts for Festival - sent out.
Apartment cleaning - done.

Keeping a very mobile Miles out of everything - impossible.

I promise more updates, soon. And some pictures. Just as soon as I have five minutes that aren't already taken up by Festival, chasing Miles, or sleep.

It may be 2018 before you get another update. . . ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dinosaur Blues

Did I mention I have awesome in-laws? I do.

My sister-in-law, Katie, has been buying books for Miles since he was born. Actually, I think she started even before that. But, it's really no surprise, considering she's a librarian. The great thing is, she has great taste in literature.

For months, we have been receiving board books by an author named Sandra Boynton. I'd seen her stuff once or twice, but I never realized how much I loved her until we had our own collection to read to Miles. And now, I love her even more. Why?

Because she wrote "Philadelphia Chickens".

Last weekend, Katie brought us several books for Miles, all by Sandra Boynton. All of them are books of silly songs, complete with CD's of the music - all of which are jazzy, bluesy sort of tunes. I LOVE them! In fact, I love them so much that we've listened to them all week long. Thank goodness Miles loves them, too - he likes to shake his head to the music. :)

And here's the weird part: I used to listen to the "Philadelphia Chickens" CD with a little boy that I nannied for. I had no idea that there was a book. I had no idea that Sandra Boynton was in any way related to it. I loved the CD and the author separately, never realizing that they were connected. I looked and looked for that CD for years, at every used book store I could find. But given that the only thing I could remember about it was that it had a bunch of silly, jazzy songs on it, and that one of them talked about "Remarkable Cows" and another was about "Dinosaur Blues", I could never find it.*

And then, years later, when I have a child of my own, this book and CD make their way back to me. I'm not sure what kind of Fate helps you find good children's music, but whatever it is, I like it.

Now, could you help me remember the title of that book with the Daddy cuddling a little baby on the cover?

*For whatever reason, it never occurred to me to just Google it. I'm smart sometimes. :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Heeerrre's Johnny (3)!

So, you know Patrick and me. You've heard me talk about Lilo. You're probably aware of the fact that we have a cat named Nikko. And of course you know all about Miles. Let me introduce you to one family member you probably haven't met, yet.

World, meet Johnny 3.

Johnny was an impulse purchase at a sale night at Bed, Bath, and Beyond a year and a half ago. He was just so cute. And smart. He can roam around on his own and not run into things!* So, we bought him, and brought him home. We loved him and played with him, and named him after the coolest 80's nerd movie robot ever. But, since there can only be one Johnny 5, and our boy only has 3 wheels, we decided on Johnny 3.

We had no end of fun chasing the dog around the apartment with it. We loved to watch him roam free. Patrick dreamed up various ways he could 'improve' our new addition.

And then, we put him on a shelf and ignored him. For a long time. He seemed doomed to the life of a toy who has no one to play with. The worst fate a toy can receive.

And then, a little blonde** miracle came along. At first, he had no interest in Johnny. But as he grew, he became more and more intrigued by the red robot who had taken up residence on top of the TV.

One day, the little Miracle's daddy took down the robot and put him on the floor. And a friendship was born.

Now, Miles and Johnny play on the floor happily together, with help from Mommy or Daddy controlling the remote.

And now, all is well in the world for a little red robot named Johnny 3 and his boy, Miles.

*Yes, that was the primary selling point.

**Possibly strawberry-blonde.