"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes-and ships-and sealing-wax-
Of cabbages-and kings-
And why the sea is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings."

- The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carrol
(From Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


"Lost time is never found again."
- Benjamin Franklin

It seems to me that a mother's greatest joy is also simultaneously met with heartache as they watch their baby grow. It happens so fast. I am now convinced that time is not a fixed measurement because there is no way that my baby is over eight months old. But alas, it's true.

I feel like I'm struggling with some of the latest transitions more than previously. The milestones we're seeing lately seem so...momentous. And there's a lot of change in the air. And sometimes I just long to freeze a moment - like in a Kung Foo movie - and just take a step back and look at it from every possible angle and enjoy it to the utmost capacity that my heart will allow. Because, damn it, it all goes by so fast. It's all so wonderfully bitter sweet.

Here's what's going on.

After a lot of thinking, some number crunching, and a lot of hand-wringing (and heartache) we've decided to enroll Abbey in daycare. As I've mentioned before, we love our nanny, so this has nothing to do with her, or her performance. We wish that we could keep her on. But with my new job gearing up into overtime, it's become quite clear that multi-tasking and trying to be a super Mom and stellar employee and meet all the demands on both sides, well, just not realistic. I need full-time support in the form of childcare, and financially, the nanny arrangement just doesn't make sense for us anymore. Luckily, we found a great daycare just a few blocks away from my workplace, and snagged Abbey a slot beginning next week. NEXT WEEK! I have a lot of experience firing people. It's never something that anyone enjoys doing. But this was by far one of the hardest conversations I've ever had to have. Letting our nanny go - ugh. So hard. She's like a part of our family. And though we'll continue to use her as a babysitter, I know that things won't be the same. Time marches on. And so must we.

The next transition is boob related. Please feel free to skip this part if that weirds you out. No offense taken.

Still here?


Abbey's starting to ween. [Insert sobs here.] Good golly I was NOT prepared for how emotional this would be. Okay, so part of it is her weening and eating more solid foods, and part of it is me not being able to find time to pump at work, not really WANTING to pump at work anymore (let's be honest, who does?!?) and thus, my plentiful supply is shrinking. I wax and wane between being happy over a little bit of new-found independence and reclaiming my body a bit, and overwhelming sadness and guilt. Because I've come this far - I wish I could make it all the way to a year. And I so cherish that bond that we've created. And there's something freaking amazing about being able to create - with your own body - the most important nutrients that your child needs. What I've come to believe is that breastfeeding is truly a selfless act of love. I am so glad that I was able to nurse Abbey exclusively for six months, and that I continue to nurse her as my supply allows. At this point, I'm hoping I can continue a 50/50 combo of nursing and formula to her first birthday. I also have to admit, it's kind of nice to not schlep Mr. Thirsty, the breastpump, to work every day. It's nice to not have to quietly excuse myself or block off time in my calendar to take a pump break. It's nice to have a little bit of that time back. But I'll tell you, I think about what that last time will be like - the last time I nurse my first-born child. Oh, dear. That's just a tough one. I can't even get my head around it yet. Oy. But time keeps trudging forward at a steady clip. And so must I. And my boobs.

Finally, I have to say that all of the changes - physically and developmentally - in Abbey are incredible. Today, for the first time, she started waving to us. She's starting to catch on to some baby sign language. She understands. She observes. She absorbs. She's a person. Like a real individual, with her very own personality. She is goofy as hell. I think she has both my sense of humor and Scott's to the third power. The kid is funny. And adorable. And I swear, every morning when I pick her up from her crib, it feels like she's grown. I feel it in my arms. In my soul. Recently, I looked back at some of those early photos of Abbey and it's just so incredible how much change happens in such a short amount of time. So many people told me to "enjoy every second of it." It sounds like such a cliche when someone says that, right? I wish I had paid more attention. They were so right. Time flies.

As we roll into the final months of Abbey's first year of life, I am just so proud of our little family - of our little girl. My life has been enriched in a way that I never thought possible. While there are definitely moments when I wish I could freeze time and just live in this place for a while longer, I also can't quite contain the excitement I feel for the new changes and discoveries and growth. In Abbey. In me. In my marriage. In my family. As for time? Yes, it marches on. It flies by. It's like sands through the hourglass. But time is my friend and not a foe, I do realize. On this concept, I'm reminded of a favorite quote from my 10th grade American Lit class, "This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with." (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

Use your time well. Enjoy every second of it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ready Reader

Abigail loves books. This makes me proud. I, too, love books. But my little secret is that I wasn't such a fan of reading when I was a little girl. Well, I was and then I wasn't. I remember some books fondly - I used to beg my Dad to read to me from Uncle Wiggily's Adventures by Howard Garis. Who doesn't like stories of mischievous woodland creatures and a wise rabbit? But somewhere between pre-school and first grade I decided reading wasn't a fun past-time. I remember pretty clearly the incident that caused it, too.

I remember coming home from Kindergarten - I was in the morning class - and was super excited to share what I had learned that day. "I can read!" I exclaimed! That morning, my class had learned to read some very simple sentences, specifically, "Go, fish, go." But we learned it - I learned it - in fact, I remember being called on to "read" the sentence all by myself in front of everyone. And I got it right. Huzzah! I was so proud of myself. Of course I had to share the news when I got home.

That day, my older brother had some friends over from school in the afternoon. I can't remember really who they were, but while my brother was inside the house getting them all a snack, I (always his shadow) was hanging out with them on the front porch. Wanting - longing - to be a big kid, too, I remember telling one of them that I could read.

He laughed.

"No you can't."

"Yes I can."

"No you can't."

"Uh huh."

"Prove it."

He took out a book from his backpack - a textbook. A thick textbook that belonged to a thirteen-year-old boy. He cracked it open, pointed to some words that I did not recognize, and said, "read, then."

I sat there and stared at the book and said nothing. I looked at him, with what I'm sure was a devastated face of a five-year-old girl, and said, "I can read, 'go, fish, go.'"

He laughed, closed the book shut with a thud, and walked away saying, "Told ya."

And that was that. I blinked back tears, went inside, and felt silly and ashamed.

It's remarkable - truly remarkable - how that one incident impacted me. I went from an excited student, anxious to learn more, to just anxious about the subject in a bad way. From that point through about the age 13, I shied away from ever wanting to read aloud in class. I always hoped with my fingers crossed that I wouldn't be called on to read in front of my peers. When I did have to read in front of others, I could feel heat rise from my belly up to my neck as I stumbled on a word here or there. The thing is, I was a great reader - I could read just fine - I just didn't want anyone to know about it and I sure as hell didn't want to DO it in front of anyone because heaven forbid what if I made a fool out of myself!?

It wasn't until junior high when I had to make the fateful choice in my elective course between woodshop and choir that I finally broke out of that shell. I'd always been musical (I started piano lessons at four years old). But it was getting up and performing - getting to pretend I was someone else - that made it all okay. When I discovered acting and the theatre, well, that was pretty much the end of any public shyness in my life.

But I still remember that day on the porch when an obnoxious little boy made me doubt myself. Twenty-seven years later, and I still remember the bench we sat on, the cool air, and the book I couldn't read - it's orange, yellow and blue cover. The way he snapped it closed. The way he said, "told ya" over his shoulder as he walked away from me.

This memory came back to me recently after reading an article that a friend had shared about "How to Talk to Little Girls." Instead of always complimenting the way a little girl looks - what if we complimented their smarts? Their wits? What if we started our conversations with them with the simple question, "what are you reading?"

Of course this all has me thinking about my own daughter. The kid has no idea, really, what the words she looking at on a page mean or represent, but my God does her face light up when you open a book! Her favorites seem to be the Sandra Boynton cardboard books. She's a fan of Olivia the piglet. I love reading Goodnight Moon before every nap. We read together at a minimum four times a day. It is one of my great hopes to instill in her a love for reading that I started out with, but lost, and then found again. I'm revisiting my childhood, it seems, every time I read a book with her. And I pray that when she comes home from school, proud and excited, and proclaims that she can read, let it be me or her father who she tells so we can celebrate over cookies and stoke that fire.