April 18: Pointed float

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She teaches herself,

toes pointing, legs buoyant: lift!

She learns water’s grace.

A to Z Challenge: This month, I will be writing a haiku (sometimes a senryu – same syllables, not marveling at nature) each day save Sundays for the 26 letters of the alphabet as part of the blogosphere’s A to Z Challenge.

April 17: Only

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Only eighteen days

more, ever being pregnant:

Slow down; remember.

 

A to Z Challenge: This month, I will be writing a haiku (sometimes a senryu – same syllables, not marveling at nature) each day save Sundays for the 26 letters of the alphabet as part of the blogosphere’s A to Z Challenge.

April 6: Elongating

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Between baby hands

And child-like fingers: Maya.

Where has the time gone?

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A to Z Challenge: This month, I will be writing a haiku (sometimes a senryu – same syllables, not marveling at nature) each day save Sundays for the 26 letters of the alphabet as part of the blogosphere’s A to Z Challenge.

 

April 4: Discovery and Delight

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She runs tree to tree:

Rainbow eggs filled with sweetness;

Spring peeks out at her

Maya Easter

A to Z Challenge: This month, I will be writing a haiku (sometimes a senryu – same syllables, not marveling at nature) each day save Sundays for the 26 letters of the alphabet as part of the blogosphere’s A to Z Challenge.

April 3: Clean

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She calls to the sea:

“These waves are making us clean!”

In all ways, yes, love.

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A to Z Challenge: This month, I will be writing a haiku (sometimes a senryu – same syllables, not marveling at nature) each day save Sundays for the 26 letters of the alphabet as part of the blogosphere’s A to Z Challenge.

April 1: Almost new baby time

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April showers bring

May flowers. And May brings you,

Bambino Dingo.

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A to Z Challenge: This month, I will be writing a haiku (sometimes a senryu – same syllables, not marveling at nature) each day save Sundays for the 26 letters of the alphabet as part of the blogosphere’s A to Z Challenge.

 

 

Celestial Lights

When you have a child, you begin to do everything one handed. Best practice or no, everything is a multi-task, like juggling with one hand while doing dishes with the other. I can’t count how many times I have lamented my ignorance about appreciating free time before I had kids. It’s not that I want that back, I just wish I knew what I had when I had it. Now, everything, from switching the laundry to reading a book, only comes into being after negotiating with, or trickily dodging, a toddler.

Now, pregnant with my second baby, the pregnancy itself is taking a backseat to that negotiation. When I was pregnant with Maya, everything about the experience was in sharp, closely examined focus. It was magical; it was scary; it was uncomfortable; it was beautiful. But everything that it was was clearly in front of me at all times. It was the sun that everything else spun around; it colored my days with its new take on how to live, move, breathe, and be.

We have only remembered to take a picture of this pregnancy twice. Once at 17 weeks, then again at 32 weeks!
We have only remembered to take a picture of this pregnancy twice. Once at 17 weeks, then again at 32 weeks!

Now, sometimes, I forget that I am pregnant. And I am pretty far along at seven months. It is another thing that does not get my full attention, just like work, writing, household matters, husband. I do not mean to sound like I am complaining about life with Maya – it is neither unpleasant nor difficult – she is a happy, relatively easy kid who has a good routine and is cooperative, most of the time. But she does need me and her dad and her nana and her gigi, and that’s cool. She is helpful in the way that a windstorm is helpful when folding laundry or sweeping the floor, but the fun, learning, and building of good habits makes it better and not tedious or frustrating (usually).

This morning, I managed to squeeze in some pre-natal yoga before Maya woke up, and the directives of “place one hand on your baby” and “breathe into your baby” snapped me into awareness of how often I am not doing this with this second pregnancy. I am aware of this new life, and I really enjoy that we have reached the stage of big, obvious movements that catch and hold my attention, but being pregnant has become part of our routine and has been swept along in the nuts and bolts of our day. The pregnancy is not a new experience to be marveled, or the sun around which everything else spins. It is more like one of the planets – part of the team, but just another thing in line with everything else in our solar system.

We are not finding out the gender of baby number two, and I think this has contributed to “it” (I hate that) not being a real person yet. But we did, recently, decide on a name for each possibility, and that has made a difference in my perspective. It is evolving from a routine pregnancy, at which I am old hat, to an identifiable baby – my little May baby girl or boy.

I will begin to carve out some time to talk directly to him/her and not just have him/her listening in on the conversations I have with Maya. I realize that very soon, he/she will be here and be swept into our routine. But he/she will also make some big changes, and Maya, the sun, will have to take a backseat and help to warm the new babe. Maya will grow a little and learn to share being the center of the universe, which can only be good for both celestial lights.

So for now, as the weeks wind down, I will place one hand on my belly and breathe into the baby, practice saying each name out loud, and try to appreciate how easy it has been to do everything with only one kid.

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Snowday = Pinterest

Our snowy front yard
Our snowy front yard

This morning, around 6:30am, I groggily woke up, put on my glasses, reached for my phone to check the time, and noticed that it was snowing. Not a lot, but it was.

“It’s snowing” I said to Sean as he began to stir. The snow was light and unobtrusive, and I really did not think that it would continue for more than a few minutes.

Maybe Maya will get to see it when she first wakes up, I thought to myself.

I got out of the shower.

“It’s really coming down now,” Sean said as I came back in to the bedroom.

“Well, it must not really be a thing, because I haven’t heard from school.”

I went about my morning routine; Maya woke around 7:30am and she and Sean spent some time chatting about the falling snow while I made coffee and smoothies. I asked him to get her dressed because we needed to leave by 8.

7:40am: We get the call – two hour delay. I go back upstairs and change from my maternity “work slacks” into jeans. Maya stayed in jammies.

By 9am, school was cancelled and the snow was still steadily coming down, lovely to look at.

Maya is pulling her "dog sled" - she's the sled dog.
Maya is pulling her “dog sled” – she’s the sled dog.

But after having THE WHOLE WEEK off last week due to a little snow and a lot of cold, I was staring down the barrel of another day stuck inside with a twonager and trying to avoid a Caillou marathon.

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Well, I had pinned a number of “things to try” for a day stuck inside with a kiddo, so I supposed we would go ahead and try some of those things.

First, we made what I am calling “magic sand” but was really just a bowl of baking soda, some little bowls of white vinegar with food coloring in them, and two spoons. When you put vinegar on baking soda, it fizzes. This has been A) a revolution for me in cleaning the house – thanks to Pinterest and the 9,864,3993.78 pins dedicated to the hidden uses for these two common household items and B) cool to me that it fizzes, so it was sure to entertain Maya also. Plus throw in some food coloring (I kept it limited to two because it was getting messy already) and voila – entertained kid for about 20 minutes.

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I count it as a Pinterest success.

Next, as I tried to gear her up for nap-time with a soothing warm bath, we microwaved a bar of Ivory soap. Again, science is weird and cool. It did not break my plate, as one commenter on the original site had said, but it did get way too big, so I had to keep stopping the microwave and letting it deflate a little before continuing.

Then, it broke up pretty quickly and anti-climatically in the bath tub, but I think it was worth it to A) get Maya in the bath mid-day and B) watch it grow in the microwave for two minutes.

Before it became a million little "clouds"
Before it became a million little “clouds”

I don’t need to worry about letting her stand with her face inches away from the microwave for that short amount of time, right? I didn’t ruin her pure-self for good with micro-waves?

She napped, I read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I should have been cleaning out the fridge or filing papers, but you know, snow day. (Review: I’m really enjoying it. I have enjoyed everything I have read by her.)

Sean had since braved the arctic to go to the store. He said our neighborhood and side road were bad, but the main roads were fine.

I’m glad he went, because I needed Cream of Tartar (I have no idea what this is actually used for) for our post-nap Pinterest experiment: homemade Play Dough. And yep, I was drawn to the smell-good essential oils recipe.

Once again, I kept the options down to two – I only had two essential oils on hand: lavender and jasmine, so Maya picked her two colors: purple and green.

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BIG THUMBS UP for this one. It feels so much better than store-bought play dough (at least than the off-brands we have gotten so far) and the good smells were a pleasant bonus.

Maya made a snowman out of the dough that was much more successful than our tiny-snowman-made-of-ice from our back deck a few days ago.

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This kept her busy for a good half hour or so, and we can pull it out again because it’s storing nicely in an old tupperware.

All in all, not a bad day for the Pinterest solutions to cabin fever, though the prep and set up and clean up all amount to about as much time as the actual playtime – but that’s something to kill the time too, so win.

We have a two-hour delay tomorrow morning now, so maybe Maya will be just as thrilled with helping me clean out the fridge? Though I hope we don’t encounter as much science in there…

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Chronicling: Please, let it go already!

One day, maybe a year ago, I wondered about this movie that I saw people talking about:

I saw John Travolta botch saying Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscars and didn’t think much of that song at the time.

Then I read on Girls Gone Child about Frozen and Feminism.

So I watched a YouTube video of “Let it Go” and let my daughter, then almost two, watch it with me.

Again, I didn’t think anything of it. But some seed was planted. Maya requested the video again. And again. Then we checked out a few other songs. But again, I didn’t think anything of it.

A few months ago, my cousin had us over for dinner, and thinking ahead, she rented Frozen so Maya could watch the whole movie. Maya had never seen a whole movie before (she has always gotten distracted and wandered away), so I was shocked at how fixated and focused she was.

She watched the WHOLE THING – as did all of the adults, despite the movie being rented to distract the kid so we could enjoy adult conversation.

Since then, she has become obsessed. She is no longer Maya, she IS Anna. And I am no longer Mommy, I am Elsa. Daddy is Kristoff, and one of our three dogs (whichever is most near) is Sven. A Christmas cookie tin is Olaf (yes, it’s shaped like a snowman). A now ever-present light blue sheet draped over chairs in our living room is the ice castle.

Maya wearing her "Anna gloves" (yes, I know Elsa was the one that needed gloves)
Maya wearing her “Anna gloves” (yes, I know Elsa was the one that needed gloves)

There are some moments where I am SO impressed with her imagination and brain-ability. She has only seen the movie three times (in as many months), but she has already memorized lines from scenes and makes me act them out over and over. Granted, she only knows a line or two, and I am totally improvising, but she still wants to create the scene:

For example, she will make me sit on one side of the closed door and she will sit against the door on the other side and she will want to build a snowman, and I have to tell her to “go away, Anna…”

OR

It will be the early scene where Anna wakes Elsa up by pulling on her eyelid. Maya makes me lie down and pretend to be asleep, then she pulls on my and says, “The sun is up, so I am up. Let’s play!”

OR

It’s the scene where Anna goes to the ice palace to try and talk Elsa into coming back. She says, “Elsa? It’s me, Anna.” I say, “Go away, Anna” (because I do not know my lines verbatim) and she says “But I just got here…” and tells me I look different.

Also amazingly, she can sing chunks of a couple of the songs. I am in awe of this tiny baby brain (am I in denial about her growing up?) being able to memorize and sing swaths of “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman”.

This is probably not making for very interesting blog reading, but I am just so amazed that I had to note it down for my own memory.

Truth be told, I am totally sick of being Elsa. She literally calls out for Elsa when she wakes up – middle of the night or first thing in the morning. I miss being Mommy. I have started to tell her that, “You know, Maya is just as cool and brave as Anna, and Mommy is just as cool as Elsa, even without ice hands.” But I have to admire that her little, developing mind is creating this fantasy world and play-acting.

I remember now that when my little sister was two or three, she WAS Dorothy Gail from The Wizard of Oz. She wore red “ruby slippers” everywhere and her blue and white gingham dress (or was it a long tee shirt that she pretended was the dress?) She would not wear anything else. I was only ten at the time, so I may not have been marveling at my annoying little sister’s creative imagination, but I do remember this being a very solid and lasting phase.

So this post is to add my little babe to the billions of kids who have gotten Frozen Fever (an oxymoron?) and to remind myself of this solid and lasting phase of creative imagination in my little Anna, I mean Maya.

I do, however, look forward to the day that I wake up in the morning with ANYTHING OTHER THAN A FROZEN SONG  in my head.

Even at Nana's house...
Even at Nana’s house…

P.S. I am glad that Maya is identifying with Anna; I think she’s the real star of the movie and the good role model. I also really enjoy Olaf and am happy to sing about snowmen in summer anytime you want me to.

Mountains

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I just read a blog post called “Climbing Mountains” on infertility which spoke to me. Even as I sit here, growing larger with my second bun in the oven, it was written in a way that A) helped me to find empathy on a deeper level than I had before B) felt so universal, and C) opened my eyes to new gratitude.

The writer is Suzy Krause of Suzy Krause and the Skyscrapers and Coffee + Crumbs.

Some of the piece hit a very personal note with me – seemingly articulating my own challenges, though of a very different variety:

If I could tell myself one thing…[i]t would be that no matter how this all turns out, this time of wanting and waiting and hoping is so valuable. That’s all. It’s a life lesson for all stages, no matter if what you’re waiting for is a baby or a partner, or a job, or a train. This is an opportunity to grow, to learn, to experience joy that’s not dependent on life’s circumstances…

I hadn’t known when I started this climb how long it would take, or how hard it would be. Or I how much I would learn and grow and stretch and be changed. Or how beautiful the view would be from up here. But as I sat there, I decided this moment was well worth the journey. That’s the thing about mountains, I guess. People wouldn’t go through all the work to climb them if there wasn’t something amazing at the end.