Thursday, October 23, 2014

What we talk about

Kids make good social currency. Anywhere you find yourself, if you are among people who have kids, you have plenty to talk about.  How does she sleep?  When did he walk? What schools are you looking at?

I fell into this pattern today with my friend at the gym.  We had 45 minutes of good treadmill time to chat and I bet half of it was babyish, until she said "What have you been doing for yourself?"

What have I been doing for myself?  I do make an effort to punctuate my days with things that are just for me -- reading, tv, writing, exercise. Naps. I always had this idea when Nick and I had kids, we would just fold them into an already rich and interesting life. Man, I hope that's what's happening.  I don't even have enough perspective at the moment to tell!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Year of Mamie

I am in my office writing this post, while Mamie is in her room with her first ever non-family babysitter.  Like her first birthday, this is a milestone for us, an indication that I am maturing and that she is adaptable. I thought it would be a good time to write about her first year with us.

Did I ever tell you the story of when you were born?


The week before Mamie was born, I became increasingly uncomfortable. I'm sure any pregnant woman would say the same, but it was a whole month until her due date, and still I was at the point where walking more than a few yards was too much.  That Friday, I spent all day lying on the sofa while maids cleaned the house to prepare for her arrival in a few weeks, so I thought. Not knowing it would be our last meal before parenthood, Nick and I had a quick dinner at the Greek restaurant nearby.

Early Saturday morning, it was time to go to the hospital.  The next 30 hours were an agonizing mess of thirst, pain, decisions, waiting. Finally, we all agreed it was time for a C-section. And Mamie was born Sunday, September 22, 2013, at 12:46 p.m. Before I even saw her, I heard her squawking. I said, "That can't be real!" and I threw up all over the floor. (I never vomited once while I was pregnant, by the way, but motherhood turned me inside out.)

The next few days were ecstatic; the few after that were terrifying.

I had no idea what I was doing


The depth of my naiveté in those first weeks defies description. If my mom and sister-in-law had not shown up the first week, I might still not own any baby bottles or diaper cream. 

And it was all so intensely emotional I cried when she was taken to a different room, I sobbed when my mom left, I wailed when I thought I heard her wailing, but she was really totally asleep and I was hallucinating. I yelled at Nick for just about everything, and I survived on fig newtons while tethered to a breast pump for weeks.

Meanwhile, Mamie grew and changed and took it all in with curiosity, just as she has continued to do all year.

What shall we do today?



Once Nick went back to work, the holidays passed, the grandparents came and went, Mamie and I settled into a routine that was mostly house-bound. I was washing dishes and laundry four times a day, everyday. It became an obsession, the only way I could gauge how productive I was. That was my comfort zone, but Mamie has a totally different personality, if you can imagine.  I like to be home alone, she wants to be outdoors, surrounded by people and noise. And guess who is in charge?

Let me tell you about the most profound change in my life since Mamie was born.

She has turned me into a chronic exerciser


When this baby made it known she would need daily walks, I didn't know how far I could go.  The library was three blocks -- not too tough -- we went almost every day.  A little further each time until 2.5 miles was no big deal.  Now we have run three times this week and it was, ahem, pretty easy. I am genuinely excited to push Mamie in her first 5k in November.

Mamie was four months old when she and Nick granted me permission to sign up for a yoga class.  It was a gift I silently thanked them for at the end of every class, and I found myself able to do more and more impossible things each week.

Who's my best girl?



Every day I sing to Mamie, "Who's my best girl, the best girl in the world?" Today, she answered, "Dada." My kid has been funny since she woke up from her newborn stupor. She fake sneezes for attention, she talks out of the side of her mouth like a gangster, she mimics everything.  

She is happy. I say that with my fingers crossed because she had a sure-nuff tantrum yesterday, and I hope the tide isn't turning.

She loves books, cats, seals, and peekaboo. The new babysitter is great, but she wants Mama now.