Motherhood · My daughter's playlists

My daughter’s playlist

My daughter is two. She has very eclectic musical tastes.

You may think I am exaggerating.

The other day while scrolling through Spotify, she points to an album and demands, “Hey, Mom. Let’s listen to Sam Cooke.

The next day. “What’s your favorite song, M?”

“Dreams. by Brandi Carlile”

Today. “Hey Mom. Can we listen to that Gloria song?” What Gloria song? Oh that obscure one by Laura Branigan that I sing around the house sometimes. SURE.

She also just finished a two month Mama Cass phase. (with a little John Denver, remember to vote, bonus)

What song brings you back to a treasured childhood memory?

Mine is Saturday’s Child by The Monkees.

This brings me back to watching old Monkees tapes in my aunt and uncles house. Playing my dads old records in the basement. My first concert, a monkees reunion, tickets my dad and I won off the radio.

I absolutely love music. Growing up, it was one of the ways we connected best as a family. And I’m so excited that M will have that connection to all of us as well. She seems to bring music wherever she goes.

 

 

 

Hard Things · Life · Motherhood · Sewing

Quilts

Lately I’ve taken to sleeping with a quilt under my striped comforter. It’s the quilt that Grandma made for me and my husband for our wedding. I’m not sure when I started doing it, it’s been at least a month.
It may have been around the time when my parents went crazy. Or when they came down to visit and mom cried about Grandma and my aunt dying.
She told this sad story about how she was going through her things in her kitchen, as she packed everything up before they sold the house. And she found her ceramic spoon rest, hand painted white and brown, labeled:
Martha’s Kitchen
Painted while my Mom worked in my Grandma and Aunt’s ceramic shop 25 years ago. And she found it there, hidden among old pots and pans and it hit her. Like a ton of bricks. My Mom and sister are dead. And she cried then. And she burst into tears as she told us at my kitchen table.
“Did you keep it?” I asked
“No.”
I really don’t understand my mom these days.
And I know she’s never been as sentimental as I have when it comes to objects or memorabilia or pictures. And maybe she just didn’t want the reminder of them being gone.
So I have this quilt over top of me right now. And it’s comfort. And sadness. Hard work. Love. Everything that we live and breath every day. And even though Grandma is gone, she still hugs me at night and a piece of her is in this blanket. She tied the ties that keep it together and stitched and pieced the squares. She made it blue because I love blue. With all the chaos that is my family and is my brain this year, there are some things that are constant and comfort. Something magically transforming and grounding like a quilt. Basic yet complex, beautiful, thoughtful, patterned and planned. Lately I’ve just soaked it in. It is constant. In my sea of inconsistency.
The other day I had folded it and left it on top of the comforter. My daughter and I were laying on the bed, reading or listening to music or something. And m climbs into the folded rectangle and she says “I’m on a boat”.
Yes, you are. You are on a boat. Way to use your imagination. I said.
And I laid back and watched her play boat on my quilt. Then she opened it and climbed in. “I’m sleeping. Tuck me in.”
Yes sweet girl.
It feels fitting that I made Grandma a quilt before she died. That I got to bring it to her and put it over her lap. Kiss her cheek and stroke her hair. Something comforting in a quilt being shared, made for someone you love. To communicate something that you can’t always say or always be around to repeat.
I love you.
I’m not sure where my quilt ended up after she died. Maybe Grandpa has it. Maybe one of the aunts.
But I have the one she made for me and here it will stay, on my bed, for a while. Until it is time to display it, or hang it, or pack it up for a season. And then one day I will pull it out again and remember.
Motherhood

Insomnia and Insanity

Let me tell you how I feel about sleep.

I love it. It makes me a nicer person. Please give me 8 hours + a night and I will be a better person for it. I think I have pulled two all nighters (not including labor – lets be honest – those are different kind of all nighters) my entire life, and I felt wretched for days as I recovered from the lack of sleep. Naps are also a glorious thing. Period. Sleep is wonderful.

In year two of my daughter’s life, I was anticipating more and better sleep than I had the previous two years. Although pregnancy lends itself to exhaustion (creating a small human and all) – feeling good, not peeing every two hours and finding a comfortable position to sleep in, can be a challenge. Everyone knows that year one is a haze, even if you have a miracle baby that sleeps through the night at month 2. So yes, I was excited as baby girl got older and began sleeping in larger chunks.

Tangent: Year 1 for baby girl was actually pretty good for sleep (please don’t hate me). We breastfed and did the every two hour feed thing for a while. We did a stint with a co-sleeper side car. And then at month four sleep regression, we moved her out to her own room, discovered a fantastic contraption called a zipadeezip and my partner and I eventually slept in the same bed together at month 6. I think that all of this didn’t seem so bad because we went 6 days or so without sleep while laboring and in the hospital after a c-section. So when I finally got in our own bed, not pregnant, sans IV, without wonderful (though persistent, and if we can be honest, a little annoying) nurses checking in on me – any sleep seemed glorious. My partner was also amazing – after paternity leave, he still insisted on changing her diaper multiple times at night and handing her over to be nursed.

All this being said – I love to sleep. It is a glorious and very important thing.

Tangent 2: I recently saw a friend (who just had a baby) post this article from themotherish.com – We are torturing new mothers and then wondering why they get mentally ill. – a fascinating read on how sleep deprivation is used as a torturing tool and we need to find better ways as a culture to support new moms. YES. I have lots of thoughts on getting lost in year 1 and how we need community and support and change for mums. To be continued.

So a month or two ago, baby girl decided she was done and weaned completely. I knew it was coming. I was ok with it. For the most part… But now we’ve entered back into “the cycle” and the hormones are unlevel again, and its all weird and mixed up in there. Pregnancy, birth, nursing and mothering – its a wild ride y’all. This, coupled with the anxiety and nerves of traveling with an infant and Christmas, and the night before our trip – I just laid there. I thought – SLEEP. SLEEP. I counted. I tried to relax all parts of my body starting with my small toe. I took a shower. At 4:30, I got up and watched old Doctor Who episodes because I thought I was going to lose my mind. At 6, I woke up my daughter and tried to mentally prepare myself to travel across the country without any sleep.

I did it. And I was a fairly decent person. I was also not alone – my partner was there and he had slept and he was great. We get there. That night I lay down. And I think – SLEEP. SLEEP. At 4:00 I go downstairs at my MIL’s house and fall asleep (THANK GOD) on the couch for 4 hours.

And since then it has been touch and go with this sleep thing. It’s a strange beast. I have never struggled with sleep – I’ve always been one of those – lay in bed, think about my day, go make sure the door’s locked, lay back down and pass out kind of people (15 minutes tops). And now, every couple of days I have these bouts of insomnia and I feel a little off kilter for a few days as I pull myself out of the hole that is exhaustion (+anxiety +depression +hormones). Side note: feeling great today. Two nights of actual decent night sleep and I feel like a new person.

So I’m not pushing it, y’all. I’m asking for help, I’m giving myself grace, and I fortunately have an encouraging partner, a few good friends and time to take a nap here and there and grab a coffee to tie me over.

All this to say 3 or 4 things.

  • Being a parent is hard.
  • Go reach out to a new or not so new mom. They could use a coffee. Or a pizza. Or a hug.
  • I’m so sorry if you suffer from chronic insomnia. Yowza. Ask for help, loves.
  • Give yourself some grace.

I think thats a big part of where I’m at right now. Learning what to let slide and what to focus in on. Giving myself grace on accomplishing all of the “things” and learning how to take care of myself so that I can take care of others. Not a common mantra for women unfortunately. And it feels a little weird saying it out loud. It reminds me of this mural I pass every week –

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 3.15.42 PM

So on this beautiful Saturday, I encourage you – Take care of yourself, then help others.

Peace –