Heavenly Peace

I love to watch the baby when she's sleeping.

Ever since she started walking, Cupcake has been go-go-go! all the time, running in high gear, over and under, around and through, in the full-tilt boogie of toddlerhood. She is into everything, trying everything, observing and mimicking and doing everything, and she's still so naïve and unafraid that there is no stopping her, and definitely no keeping up. We're exhausted, with all the good and bad that comes with that.

She is growing so fast, too, and that's the part that really wears us down. Every day she is taller, stronger, smarter, faster, more confident, more independent, more self-reliant, more grown-up. She discovers the environment, tests her limits, pushes our buttons, conquers the universe. We can hear the cogs moving in her brain at the same time we can hear her feet clomping across the hardwood floor in those orthopaedic-looking little Stride Rites.

But twice a day, at naptime and bedtime, she is not so much "Cupcake" as she is "Munchkin," this wee little girl who needs help getting into her jammies and into her bed. She kisses us goodnight and dives for her monkey and snuggles under her afghan and for a minute, she is our baby again, just for a little while. So small. Her little breaths are tiny, her sighs sometimes virtually inaudible, but always sublime.

Sometimes she catches me watching her -- I will stand just inside the doorway from our bedroom into hers, or I will sit on the rug in front of her crib, just staring at her, listening to the sounds of her breathing, watching her long eyelashes fluttering when she moves just so, smiling as she hugs my old Care Bear against herself. Even though I try not to make a sound, she can sense me, and she will open her eyes and look up at me just so, wink with her mouth with just the littlest bit of grin, and then she will close her eyes again, giving me that little indulgence.

And I know then, when my heart stops beating and my breath catches in my chest and we are sharing a private, powerful moment together, my daughter and I, that I am hers as much as she is mine, and until the next tantrum, anyway, all is right with the world.


Let's Stay Together

On this date nine years ago, on a day very much like today, I became the luckiest woman in the world.

But that is not the cliché it sounds like. I am not lucky because I married my best friend, or my soul mate, or my super-secret special someone for whom I had been waiting my whole life. Those things all happened, of course; I wouldn't have married him otherwise.

I am also not particularly lucky because I "married my father," a man who makes the exact same faces and the exact same noises and the exact same silly jokes as dear old Dad, a man who lives and dies by his sports teams just like Daddy, a man who loves his family more than anything in the world, even when he wants nothing so much as to murder them in their sleep, just like Daddy.

My luck is not from being wedded to a man who loves my housekeeping skills, if you define "housekeeping skills" as "above-average-to-excellent cooking and the ability to find a pair of clean underwear, most of the time, plus taking the occasional swipe at the toilet with one of those cleaning wand thingies." I don't do ironing or windows or dishes, except for the stuff that the baby needs.

I do not consider myself fortuitously gifted because my husband doesn't care that I sometimes curse too much or weigh too much or drink too much or meddle to much. He doesn't care that, maybe 5 days out of every month, I am the emo-iest emo kid who ever lived, and then on top of that, sometimes I have wicked PMS. I don't care that sometimes he spends more time in a week alone with World of Warcraft than he does alone with me.

None of this explains why I am the luckiest woman in the world. Why do I feel so lucky? Because, once, a long time ago, before we ever got married, before we ever even talked about getting married, I told him about something I saw once in a card. It was from my father, for my mother, and it was signed "I love you always and all ways."

And today I got a card that was signed the same way. "Always and all ways." I am lucky because he remembers the things that are important to me, no matter how small.

However far away, I will always love you
However long I stay, I will always love you
Whatever words I say, I will always love you
I will always love you.
-- The Cure


A Totally Useless Poll ...

Which of these articles of clothing is cuter: this one? Or this one? And does it really matter, since Cupcake is going to look adorable in both of them anyway?


No News Is Good News

Um, so ... yeah. It's been more than a week since I posted anything, and I'm sorry. I wish I had a good explanation for the dearth of information on these pages, but -- wait, what are you, a crackhead? This is me we're talking about. I've never had a good explanation for anything, ever, in my entire life. Except for that one time when I fell out of the camper, and that was my parents' fault anyway.

Stuff has been going on*, and there is photographic evidence of it, but I can't find the cord to offload the pictures from the camera and anyway, I don't want to. Every time I download photos I end up spending hours making cute little slide shows and movies and stuff and before I know it, it's 2:00 in the morning and I need to be waking up for work in 2½ hours and so what's the point of going of going to sleep now? This is why my Gnome Mage is a Level 50, instead of 30-something, which is probably what it would be if I were actually a normal mother and not, you know, me.

I can give you the short version, though: Started pre-school. Cupcake LOVES it. Mommy and Daddy love it too because "happy at school" = "excellent naps." What we don't love? Is our new goofy schedule, which requires one of us to be up at 4:30 in the morning and the other of us to be at work until 6:30 PM (although sometimes that "one of us" is the same person -- funny how that happens, no?). But the weather's been nice, so it's hard to even bitch about that too much. Not that I won't try, mind you.

Weather permitting, we're planning to take the baby to the Lehigh Valley Zoo this weekend, which used to be the Trexler Game Preserver but isn't anymore, but anyway -- "baby" + "wild animals" = PHOTO OPS, hello! So when I finally do get the pictures off the camera, there will be approximately eleventy billion of them, oh my lands.

Careful what you wish for, people.

(* = Haha, I added the star when I first wrote this and I forgot to go back and add the footnote. See? I've gone retarded. What was supposed to go here was this: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." -- John Lennon)



So, I don't really have much to say here, except: Now, our previews, a short slideshow for your viewing pleasure.

And of course our feature presentation: Happy Birthday -- The Movie! (Please note that I hate this movie, because I'm in it, but oh well, I guess.)

Shae's Birthday Party - 04/05/08 from rockle on Vimeo.


In Sickness and In Health

So, here is the part of parenting that I most dreaded all along, even before I had kids of my own: the part where I have to take my child into the pediatrician for a well-baby visit, and I try to study up to determine if hypochondria is a learned behavior, or an instinctual one, or just annoying.

As you know, I am a lunatic crazy person who suffers from hypochondria and, therefore, every dread disease known to man except AIDS at this point. I have migraines, PCOS, "severe recurring depression without psychotic episodes," a fatty liver, and recent possible brain damage from being whapped about the head and shoulders over the last month by heavy, noisy, possibly-lead-filled infant toys.

And when it was just me, I knew I had this weirdness, and I just dealt with it, you know? Like, when I had sinus congestion, it always swirled around the back of my mind that there could be any number of things wrong with me -- brain tumor, ricin poisoning, whooping cough, nasal polyps. But usually, I just took some Sudafed, Claritin, and some combination of Tylenol and/or Advil and/or Aleve and/or vodka and called it a day.

But now, there is this wee little creature* involved, and everything changes. When something happens to her, I can't panic, because if I get upset then she'll get upset, and then we'll get stuck in a vortex of wailing and sobbing that is going to end with both of us on the floor in the fetal position, blubbering and runny-nosed and begging for a bottle. And we already have enough of that when we don't get our naps.

So I had to take her in for her 12-month well-baby visit today, and I did what is maybe the smartest parenting-related thing I could have done: I stayed the bloody hell away from the internet. I know how dangerous the internet can be for a hypochondriac, and I knew what road I might have been heading down, especially because I knew in advance that this particular visit was going to involve ... dun-dun-DUUUUN ... vaccinations.

DISCLAIMER: I am not fucking going there, OK? Kids need shots, and the state requires that my kid gets these shots, and there was not going to be an argument from me. I don't know shit about shit, but I do know that even though I've only met this doctor one time, I trust him implicitly, because his primary concern is for my daughter. So I did what he said.

What I didn't know about? Was the blood work. Pennsylvania now requires screening for lead exposure for all children under age 5. (Wonder why they didn't do this when I was a kid, and gnawed on lead paint chips for a hobby? Would have been useful, I think.) Poor kid had to be poked in the arm four times today** -- so needless to say, I am not her best friend right now. But a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

The upsides -- and yes, there are some: The pediatrician said she is doing is really well. Her weight and height gains are right on target, as are all her other developmental indicators. She was cheerful and verbal and appropriately curious. We talked about her feeding, and he said we are doing the right things so far, and can start switching her from formula and baby foods to whole milk and table foods.

He also said that we, G and I, seem to be doing a good job, because she was all lovey-dovey with me, blowing kisses and saying some words and just generally being a great little well adjusted toddler. Which was maybe the most wonderful thing I've ever heard. Because maybe it's OK to be a little crazy, if you are doing it for the right reasons.

* Not so little, any more. 26 pounds and 31 inches. Half my height already!
** Snoopy Band-Aids!! How freaking cute is that?


Happy Birthday, Silly Girl!

Love you! XOXO Mommy & Daddy.