Of Memorial Day, Half-Birthday, and Big Brother of New Nephew (aka a random summary of yesterday)

May 30, 2006

Yesterday was a picture-perfect day in Southern California. The sky was blue and cloudless, the temperature was splendid, and the agenda included family. We set out early to make the most of our day in San Diego, and we were fortunate to have good traffic in both directions; Paul really is clever with traffic. He’s been at this long enough that he’s got leaving San Diego at the end of a holiday and not having traffic down to an art. He’s really a genius.

Yesterday was Little Red’s half birthday and it was very nice of the United States of America to celebrate with a national holiday (–Memorial Day? Just a coincidence, I’m sure.) He’s getting so grown up. It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years ago I was pregnant and teaching in Virginia. We’re transitioning him into nursery, which is fun, and he does really well as long as I’m in the room. He’ll separate when he’s ready, in the meantime, I’m happy to sit in the corner and watch him grow up. Our nursery leader is very accomodating and supportive of us easing him into this new world.

We had a lot of fun visiting my husband’s brother and family. We took Big Brother and Nona to the park to give his parents some rest time, and we had a great time. Balboa Park is a manageable walk from the apartment and has endless adventure. The boys wore themselves out and slept the whole way home, while my husband and I chatted with his mother. Once back at the apartment we had a great time visiting with New Nephew. He’s a right cutie, and I think he looks a fair bit like his brother. His poor parents are still working out the name, one day they’ll feel good about one name, the next morning it just doesn’t seem right. I personally think that if they’re feeling so much ambivalence about the chosen names it means none of them are right and they should scrap them (for this baby, at least, because they’re cute names and may be good for subsequent children) and start fresh. But then, it was easy for us, all we had to do was ask our baby on the day he was born.

Little Red didn’t sleep well last night. I think he was overtired and overstimulated from the day, and I know he’s working on his last few teeth. No matter, he seems himself now and we’re going to the park with the water fountain, today. (It has a name, but if I said “Mayor’s Discovery Park” in La CaƱada, would anyone know how cool it was?)

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Weekly Anamnesis #25

May 30, 2006

Calm

It wasn’t the first time I’d been asked, but it was the only time that mattered. There was no drama, no anguish, no panic attacks this time, only him … and me, of course. I was calm, despite my excitement and pleasure, I was calm because I felt good about this.

The calm I felt right then carried me through the tumult of the preparations, of living a world away, of facing fierce opposition. I knew — I knew this was good, and true, and right. The decision was easy. The follow-through was easy. And our life, though not always easy, has been blessed. As I knew it would be, because I felt so calm.


New and Notable

May 26, 2006

Yesterday our new nephew was born. He is yet unnamed, but will be called Grandpa Darth Vader if his brother has anything to say about it.
Welcome, little one!


The Gift of Womanhood

May 25, 2006

My friend just delivered Princess #3. That one act not only gave life to this little girl, but also gave birth to the developing womanhood of Princesses 1 and 2.

Princess 1 was born in the standard way: at the hospital with little childbirth prep. She had assumed, as most women do, that the doctors and nurses would act in her best interest and turned her special time to them. She got a healthy baby girl, but felt a severe disconnect and struggled with many issues postpartum.

Desperate for solutions she took her second pregnancy into her own hands. She found a doctor who was more supportive of her philosophies. While searching for a birth center she came across the Birth Connection, which, while not a birth center, provided her with the resources for HypBirth which was exactly what she needed. The positive affirmations worked to re-wire what she had believed to be the curse of women. The process was empowering and she learned to be proud of womanhood and to look forward to birth as a gift.

When her labour began with Princess 2 she and her husband took Princess 1 to the sitter and went to the theatre to watch the Lord of the Rings. She laboured through the movie, then after checking in with her doula she went to the hospital. She delivered quickly and smoothly. The hospital wasn’t pleased that they weren’t able to follow their normal routine with labour and delivery, but she was happy to have been present and in control of the birth and had a much more positive birth experience than with Princess 1.

Halfway through her pregnancy with Princess 3, and still pleased with her doctor, she could no longer quiet the voices in her mind that repeated the concerns she had had with the second hospital. With the support of her doctor she investigated every hospital in Los Angeles trying to find the right fit, but nothing provided effectively for her emotional needs and desire for a natural birth. Finally, two weeks before she was about to deliver she hired a midwife for a homebirth, and finally she felt calm.

This time she laboured through the night while her daughters slept, and the girls only awoke for the final stages of labour. Sleepy-eyed, they entered their parents room as their father explained that Mommy was having the baby today.

“Why does Mommy’s face look like that?” P1 asked.
“Well, she’s working really hard right now to push out the baby.”
“Oh.” She replied, understanding.

The two girls watched the birth, exclaimed joy at greeting their little sister, then said, “Come, Grandma, let’s go play.”

Childbirth was not a drama-laden, torture-fest, to them it was a natural, organic part of families. At the tender ages of four and two, these girls are more stable that most grown women, calm in knowledge without fear.

I know. I saw birth in my youth, too. Everyone said to me afterwards, “oh! I bet that makes you never want to have children!” On the contrary, I saw that it was possible and worth the work.

Of course a homebirth is not a viable option for everyone, but it was for my friend, and provided for her the needed link for her family. And in addition to providing life to Princess 3, she provided security and stability to 1 and 2, a gift almost as great as life itself. Those girls are so blessed.


Weekly Anamnesis #24

May 24, 2006

Stagnant

(note: I am not the I in the story I am about to relate.)

It all started when he met that girl. They fell in love, they claimed, and wanted to marry. But they were young, and they were both still in school. They didn’t listen to us, but married anyway. He’s been stagnant ever since.

He postponed his schooling for her, for some lame reasons we never understood. He went to school, but flaked out and wasn’t done by the time they got pregnant.

I thought maybe they announced their pregnancy for attention, but it was a real pregnancy and I was so sad to see them bring a life into the world that they couldn’t support.

Without finishing school he went to work because she refused. He’s been at the same dead-end job with no prospects ever since. I wonder how many more times they’ll need to be bailed out. I wonder if things will ever change and if they’ll ever grow up.

It all started when he met that girl. I don’t want to break up their family; I’ve grown to like her as a person, and I like their progeny, but every day I pray that they’ll get their acts together.


I Need Your Help

May 22, 2006

I totally understand the importance of supervising young children. I make an effort to spend a lot of time watching Little Red. Sometimes I do so at a distance, to allow him greater independence, and sometimes I follow behind him. The older and more clever he gets the more creative he is finding mischief.

That’s why I keep the gate up at the bottom of the stairs. That’s why I now keep the deadbolt locked on the front door.

What about when I can’t supervise him?
I can’t very well strap him down to a chair while I go to the bathroom, can I?
Can I??

To be fair, he wasn’t painting, he was clearly cooking.

It was a most fitting end to a mischief-filled day that nearly began with an emergency visit to an eyeglass repair shop.


Scent Stories

May 22, 2006

It was my first real job, not my first job. I wasn’t employed by a family member, like my first job working at the laundromat and dry cleaners, and the wage was the same but the hours more plentiful than my summer job of the previous years as a lobby pianist. I considered myself, for the first time, a working woman.

I was ready to work hard and do my best; I wanted to prove myself a good worker and I wanted to please my employers. If the store was empty of customers I still wanted to keep busy, so Windex in hand I set to clean every frame, every cabinet, ever counter, and even every phone and computer.

This morning as I was wiping down my kitchen sink (but not shining, never shining) the smell brought me back ten years.

The time I worked there was very pivotal for me and some of my fondest and strongest memories are hinged on that period. There was Cinderella, college, boyfriends coming and going. I attracted the attention of 14 year old boys (who didn’t realize how much older than them I was) and conversed with visitors from France, Germany and Russia in their native tongues, though I did so poorly. And there were flowers, my last summer there, delivered by the florist next door, from the man who would later be my husband. It all smells of Windex, figuratively.

I changed, I grew, while working there, I matured.

There’s so much life in Windex.
I think I should buy stock.