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Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Hallucinations

The calm of early morning.  The sun isn’t up yet with it’s bright, loud rays.  Both babies are sleeping.  

Suddenly the sound of tooting fills the air.  There’s nothing like the beautiful sounds of a baby pooping noisily in his diaper to make you want to jump up and dive into the day.  Like the sounds of some strange morning bird welcoming you into the morning.

So that was my entry into today.  Not so bad as far as wake-up’s go.  A gentle reminder that I’m needed…if only to facilitate clean bums.  I should put that on my resume.  Clean Bum Facilitator.  2012-2018.  Also, Hourly Nose Wiper.  2012-???  Some humor required.

In any case it’s almost Christmas!  My favorite time of year!  I am sitting here clacking away at the keyboard under the glow of Christmas lights.  They make everything shinier don’t they?  Sometimes I keep them up all year and just start calling them ‘party lights’.  

The lights are about the only Christmas-y thing I’ve done this year.  I just got my cards sealed.  Not mailed, mind you.  But sealed.  And waiting for their stamps.  

The tree is up and the presents are bought and mostly wrapped.  There have been mentions of Santa to Ellie who is only now beginning to grasp the total-awesomeness that is Christmas.  I’ve been playing Christmas music and watching old Christmas movies.  Poor kid is going to be so stuffed full of Christmas she’s going to burst into tiny candy-canes and glitter.  She’s either going to love it like me or want to throw up at the first mention of Jingle Bells.

Ben is 5 weeks old this Christmas.  Bill and I both bought those little hand imprint things you can hang on the tree.  Five years of marriage and we’re still working on…talking to each other.  I’m not a psychic but I suspect even in another 25 we’ll still be working on that.

Anyhoo so Ben is 5 weeks old this Christmas.  Needless to say I didn’t break the bank getting presents for him.  I mean, I didn’t ask Santa for too much on his behalf this year, seeing as he’s still working on figuring out those weird arm things and how they move.

Have I mentioned how much I love Christmas?  Having young kids at Christmas time makes it that much more fun.  Now if only I can figure out how to make it snow here in Texas I’ll be all set.  I can’t wait until Ellie is old enough to rush into the room on Christmas morning and wake me up at 5am to go open presents and then whine for two hours until the rest of the house is up.  I’m looking forward to my payback…although as I got older it was always mom and I up early waiting for dad and Tony to finally drag their butts out of bed.  (How can you SLEEP on Christmas MORNING!?)

I fully intend on never growing out of that phase.  If I do, put a stake in my cold, cold heart because it’s too late for me already.  Not that it’s too late for dad and Tony.  Well, maybe not for dad.

ANYHOO.  Merry Christmas everyone!  Forget the to-do and the have-to, and if you have snow where you are, do me a favor and cuddle up in a chair by the window with a steaming up of hot chocolate and enjoy the view for me.  In the meantime - from my family to yours I send much love and wish you all light and joy and lots and lots of Christmas cookies.  If you can’t find love or light or joy, try eating some snowman cookies until you start hallucinating.  Either way, I hope you have fun this week!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

SUPERSTAR MOM

“In raising my children I have lost my mind and found my soul.”  Lisa T. Shepherd

My first week alone with Ellie, my two and a half year old and Ben, my month old newborn can be summed up as…learning to surrender.  

Surrender to the fact that I will be a sleep-deprived, overweight zombie.  I will not be in my best form.  Ellie will not be having loads of happy memories…(Sitting on the couch watching TV while I feed Ben and try to wipe her runny nose with my free hand.)  I will lose my temper from time to time.  I will be racked with remorse.  Which will contribute to another loss of temper.  

It’s funny when I finally accept this I feel instantly lighter, more free, more myself again.  More patient with her (and him) because I’m being more patient and kind to me.

My arms will ache from holding and rocking Ben all day.  My heart will ache when Ellie wants me to play with her and I can’t because Ben just spit up gobs of milk down my neck and while it pools in my bra he proceeds to leak yellow runny poo from the other end totally overwhelming the tiny diaper and leaking onto my shirt.  

This actually happened and that’s not the worst part… 

I’m so sleep deprived it wasn't until hours later (Hours!) I realized I had forgotten to change…by the time he was clean Ellie was screaming for lunch.  Literally screaming... 

So.  I feel pretty sexy right now, needless to say.

There’s nothing like wiping two layers of dried snot and strawberry juice from a toddler’s face while covered in baby milk throw-up and poop to make you feel like a superstar.  SUPERSTAR!

Ellie and I did manage to decorate the tree this morning - the first time she’s been old enough to participate.  We listened to Christmas music on my iPhone while she hung everything I gave her on the same two branches.  Christmas memories, right here.

Anyway, I managed to feed the dog AND myself most meals most days so I consider this week a resounding success.  The bar seems to be getting lower as I go.


I’ll probably never win ‘Mom of the Year’ - if they don’t have that award they really should - but if everyone is fed and feels loved at the end of the day, that’s reward enough for me.

I may not be a superstar mom but I'm here.  And I'm trying, REALLY trying to not totally screw them both up.  That oughtta count for something!  And hey, when I start getting sleep again, think how much more awesome I'll be!  Or, human again, at least.

Cheers to real moms who try to be a good one even when you barely feel like you're being a good 'you' let alone a good mom.  I salute you.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Moments of Stillness

I have a small moment of stillness.  Right now.  Dad has Ellie out to the store to get blueberries and strawberries.  Ben is sleeping.  I should be napping too but instead I want to enjoy some quiet time while I’m not comatose and oblivious to the peace.

Moments like these are precious.  I have relaxing spa music playing and I’m eating a Hershey Bar.  Ahhhhhhh.

Mom flew home yesterday and Bill goes back to work on Monday so…this precious moment is to be savored.  I may not get many more for the next five days.  I saw a mom at the pediatricians that had three boys and a newborn swaddled to her chest.  It was a boy too and I looked at her and thought….you either don’t believe in birth control, you REALLY wanted a girl or…you’re a different beast altogether than I am.  

Motherhood has impressed upon me two distinct lessons about myself.  1) I’d do anything to protect my kids.  The wildest Mamma bear in the farthest reaches of the most remote and volatile forest has nothing on me.  The past 36 years of civilization falls away in the face of the fierce and iron will used to protect my cubs, I mean, babies.  2) I’m also really, really selfish. 

I’d step in front of a speeding bus to scoop Ellie to safety and stand in front of a firing squad to give Ben five more minutes of life but I really, really, really, really just want to sleep for like, three hours straight tonight.  And to leave the house without having to figure out where I’m going to duck in to nurse or if I can make it home in the two hours between feedings.

I knew the first few months would be difficult for me.  I am selfish, I love my independence and my freedom.  I love doing what I want when I want.  Nursing a new born does not lend itself well to a wild and care-free lifestyle.  I know this.

I’m reminded of when we were trying to get pregnant with Ellie in Virginia.  I couldn’t wait to be a mom.  I couldn’t work as I hadn’t gotten my social security number yet and so the days dragged on.  I was impatient and bored and lonely.

I spent the days going to yoga classes and shopping.  (Terrible right?)  One of the teachers, Masuda, had a class on enjoying the present moment and of recognizing that we will never be here, now, ever again.  

This moment is an island we are visiting that we can never visit again.  We can go back to the same places and see the same people but it will never be as it is here, now,

I took her advice to heart.  I began to focus on the details around me.  The sun streaming in the windows and falling around us like melted butter.  The white ceiling fans circling lazily overhead.  

You could just see the tips of the oak trees from the windows in the second floor of the class and I used to watch the sun shine through the green leaves while we did our poses, or meditated.  There was such peace.  I let go of my monkey-thoughts bouncing all over about the future and the past and just sank into the moment like you would a hot bath. 

We all go through cycles in our lives, of blooming and budding and resting and strengthening our roots. 

Right now, a little house-bound, recovering from the C-section, nursing around the clock and unable to take Ben out with too many people until he gets his shots, it feels a little like root-strengthening time.  

It certainly isn't fun-blooming-flower-bursting time…

So I will focus on the details.  The jaunty way Ben’s hair sticks up in the back.  The way he smells, the way his cute little face bunches up when he’s getting ready to cry.  The way Ellie has taken to her big sister role, dolling out kisses and always wanting to hold him.  She sings when he’s upset, and reminds us to be quiet while he’s sleeping.

There are moments, I’m feeding Ben and he’s happily eating, I can see Bill outside playing with Ellie on her slide, and I think…this is the good life.  I’ll focus on those moments, on enjoying this sort of lonely, kind of isolated, certainly a little boring, time at home root-lengthening.

There is a joy in the exhaustion and every little fat roll appearing on his arms and legs are evidence of a job well done.

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
Albert Camus

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Burning Couches, Oversharing and Goals for the Month

I’d like to burn this couch when the nursing calms down.  Then all of my maternity clothes once my stomach shrinks to a Jabba-the-hut-junior size instead of the full ’Return of the Jedi’ size it is right now.

I keep pressing down on my stomach and frowning hoping everything will compress back to size but I still look like I’m 5 months pregnant.  And FYI pushing on your belly does NOT make it smaller.  It was worth a try,

I guess I’m being impatient, it’s only been three weeks.  I don’t do ‘house-bound’ well and ‘couch-bound’ even less so.  Ben is still feeding every hour to two hours round the clock and poor Ellie had to tuck ME in last night because I went to bed at 6:30pm.  If you had asked me what was more exciting, suddenly winning a million dollars OR getting into bed and resting, I would have chosen ‘bed’ a thousand times over.  Really, really.

Keep your money - I just need to sleep.

Am I over sharing when I say I forgot how torturous nursing is for the first month or so?  Can I talk about how my T-shirt feels like sandpaper on my nipples?  And how I’m leaking everywhere and the stupid boob pads have two tiny pieces of tape that do NOT hold it in place and after I nurse and put the flaps back on the bra it always twists and that TINY piece of tape gets stuck on my boob and THAT HURTS SO BAD!  Or that I’m still wearing sanitary pads three weeks later IS THERE NO END TO MY UTERUS LINING!?

Maybe not - that could be crossing the line between funny and Ewwwww.  It’s a fine line.

So.  My objectives for this month are:

Staying sane
Get baby as fat as possible
Sleep when I can
Eat when I can - bonus if anything is still hot when I do
Find cashmere nursing bras and soft fur-lined nursing tank tops
Clone myself
Clone myself again

Survive.  Survive.  Survive.

Part of survival is catching sleep when I can (I haven't washed a dish since before Ben was born) accepting help when it's offered (Thank you to everyone who brought/is still bringing me food!), focusing on the present moment and being grateful.

I am trying to find the ease and joy in each moment no matter how exhausted and short tempered I am.  And then focusing on forgiving myself when I can't find it, when the only thing I CAN find is the overwhelming urge to eat tubs of ice cream and rip someone's face off, not necessarily in that order.

It helps to remind myself to be grateful for all my blessings, of which there are way too many to name here but mainly all the help I've been given (thank you mom!) our good health, our warm home, and, of course, ice cream.

“(Motherhood is) the biggest gamble in the world.  It is the glorious life force.  It’s huge and scary - it’s an act of infinite optimism.”  Gilda Radner.




Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nursing, After Hours Clinics and The Perfect Carrot.

Happy Thanksgiving my American friends!

I’ve spent the last two weeks feeding a newborn (cluster feeding every hour at times) and the last week trying to keep my sick two year old from sneezing or coughing anywhere near us.  I’m reminded of the Borg tagline…Resistance is Futile.

Not for the first time I’ve been grateful I’m not a single mom.   I am a lot calmer this time around and it is easier in a lot of ways.  Bill’s already broken in for babies.  He’s there to spend time with Ellie to make her feel special (and to wipe her runny nose) but he goes to work next week.  It will just be me and mom.  And then she goes home and then…it’s all me.  

We’ll see how Zen I am when I’ve got a month old to feed and a two year old who’s climbing the wobbly stools at the same time.  Or has to go potty…RIGHT NOW MOMMY, RIGHT NOW!!!

Well I’m not going to imagine all the stuff that will probably drive me nuts, that will only make me feel stressed now and totally crazy later.

Bill just got back from the after hours clinic (3 and a half hours…) for the doctor to tell us she's fine and she just needs some cough syrup at night.  Well, better safe than sorry.  She started coughing pretty bad last night and I wanted to keep on top of things.  It’s clear we haven’t found the right after hours clinic yet.

Meanwhile in the search for the perfect way to cook carrots Bill has shown me an episode of America’s Test Kitchen that tells me I need to steep them first, then boil them on low for twenty minutes with a piece of parchment paper on top and then turn to medium high to simmer, then down to medium low for the next 45 minutes.  I could not make this up.

They’re not done the ‘perfect carrot’ instructions yet but I’m done listening to how to make my life harder than it already is.

Perfect carrot be damned.

Now, if it was the recipe for a perfect APPLE PIE, than I’m all ears.  Just stick the carrots in the microwave already.

Anyway I’ve got lots more to gripe and be grateful about but Ben needs his two hour meal and Ellie needs to go to bed.  

And then I need some apple pie…

Life doesn't get any more real than when you have a newborn at home.
Eric Church






Sunday, November 20, 2016

Babies Make Me Mushy

B-day.  Nov 15th.  10am.  30 minutes to leave to the hospital.

Took a shower with antibacterial soap as per nurses request.  Hospital called me yesterday at 4:30pm saying I was supposed to be in for bloodwork.  I was surprised as no one had told me to do that…her response?  

“Well, I called this morning…”

I laughed.  That’s just silly.  Like i have nothing to do the day before a major surgery and life-event but hang out in my jammies and wait by the phone.  This girl had things to do.  Ellie had school.  We had errands to run, groceries to get, Chipotle to eat, a movie to see with Bill.  (The Accountant.  Eh, it was ok.  I liked it but won’t need to buy the movie to watch it again.)

Anyway, everything important packed.  Phone charger.  Pillow from home.  Toblerone Bar.  Kit Kat back-up bar packed.  

I haven’t had anything to eat or drink since midnight last night.  I stayed up to eat.  Yes, yes I did.  I had my ‘last meal’ at 11:00pm.  Cornflakes if you must know.

Ellie is a little fussy today.  She knows it’s a special day and the baby is coming.  For the first time this morning she teared up and said she didn’t want the baby…things ‘r gettin’ real.

We’re having a cuddle on the couch while she eats a banana and we watch Frozen for the 1,034th time with Nana.  Wouldn’t want to spend my last few minutes at home any other way.

Sunday Nov 20  Five days past B-day.  12:30pm.

Baby Benjamin Nelson-Allan Yeh is now 5 days old.  He was 20 inches and 7 pounds, 5 ounces.    

His lungs work just fine.  

He’s already smarter than the average baby - he holds his head up on his own.  About 45 minutes after he was born he was already latching and nursing like a six month old.  Einstein.  An Asian Einstein.  

FYI - C-sections are not fun.  Nope.  Neither are hospitals.  Babies are ok though.  Bill had a long nap yesterday afternoon so last night Bill took care of the baby while I got TWO HOURS SLEEP!  TOGETHER!  All at once!  It was glorious.  He also did all night-time diaper changes but one.  And there were several.  Poop too, if you want to know.  Not the easy number 1 stuff.

Then this morning Nana got up with Ellie (at 5:45am) and stayed with her while Bill and I slept in with baby Ben.  Until 7am.  It.  Was.  Awesome.  

Maybe it’s the glow of new motherhood.  The relief of not being pregnant anymore.  Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation.  Or the pain killers.  But there is something downright magical about cuddling with a new baby until 8am after being up most of the night nursing.  

Just about five times a day I catch myself wishing the current moment I’m in has passed.  He’s crying at night so I’m wishing it was day time.  I’m bored resting and wish the next couple weeks go by fast.  I wish Bill would get back from Costco so I can eat the giant tub of ice cream he’s getting…

And then I remember to stop.  Look around.  See the beauty in the moment.  Because there is always something beautiful to appreciate in every moment because every moment we’re alive is precious.  

I’m not wasting it by wishing I were somewhere else, at some other point in my life, even those most painful moments lying in the hospital bed recovering held a gem of beauty.  A husband who stayed with me the whole time, who refused to leave my side even at night, preferring to ‘sleep’ on the ‘couch’ next to me and Ben.

So, blame all this mushiness on the Tylenol 3, or the sleep deprivation, or a combination but in any case, I am feeling grateful and blessed.  And a little tired.  Maybe a little gassy too.

“A new baby is like the beginning of all things—wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.”  

Eda J Leshan.







Friday, November 11, 2016

So. Cranky.

I.  Am.  So.  Cranky.  A cranky, cranky Canadian.  

I don’t want to talk about what happened Tuesday.  I’m busy immersing myself in my fantasy worlds of books about Angels and Vampires and TV shows like Super Girl and lots of chocolate and ice cream.  I'm rocking back and forth with my ears plugged and my eyes busy in fantasy-worlds and I'm not looking around me again until I'm back home in Canada.

Suffice to say I’ve had enough of American politics.  I am Canadian, after all, and therefore firmly believe it will all be alright, eventually.  Especially if I convince Bill to switch departments and move us to Calgary.  Fingers crossed mom and dad, fingers crossed.

So anyway, also I’m due to have the baby next week so there’s that.  I’m as ready as one could ever be to have their whole life and family changed forever.  

I am more than ready to get this little joy outta me and into the world already. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - some women love being pregnant.  

Them ladies be crazy…although I am grateful and certainly blessed I am done with having my body morphed and pushed and pulled around by biology.  I spend my nights limping around on swollen and sore feet to the bathroom and back, muttering to myself and popping Tums.  I feel like my dearly departed Grammie Orser.  

Tendons in my feet are making funny twanging sensations when I walk.  My knees are giving out from time to time probably due to the extra weight and strain.  I woke up last night choking, thanks to acid reflux.  Thanks to a tummy that’s been squished to the size of a lemon.  When all that isn’t happening I’m lying awake trying to find a position where my bones and joints don’t ache.

Almost.  Done.

But I don’t like to complain.  (Yes I do.)

Well I’d blather on more but my back hurts and my eyes are tired and baby is kicking me in the appendix.  

Wish me luck next week all - if it’s a boy it’s Benjamin and if it’s a girl…they’ll be fisticuffs in the delivery room.  And then black-eyed Bill will concede.  It will be Emma.  Or Elizabeth.  Or Willow.  

And if the unthinkable happens and this is my last blog...well that sucks because all I did was complain.  Let's hope I get another chance to redeem myself.

Really lastly...I.  Am.   So.  Cranky.


Thursday, November 03, 2016

Mom's - We Take Care of Stuff and #ImwithTur

Well, it’s official.  My belly is now too big for me to sit on the couch with my laptop and write.  It’s also too big for me to push in my chair at the kitchen table to get to the appropriate ‘safe food’ zone.  You know, close enough so when something drops from the fork the plate catches it?  Now, my belly catches it.  Or rather, it bounces off my belly like a hitting a bowl full of jello and then bounces somewhere under the table.  
I digress.
Election will be over next week!  Get out there and vote people - it’s looking like a close one.  Whoever you are voting for, every vote counts.  
For the record, I have to say…I don’t want a thin-skinned-woman-assulting-bully in the white house.  I want a woman, darn it!  I want a mom!  Dad’s you’ve had a good go, like 250 years or so and you’ve done alright but let’s let a mom in there.  Mom’s, we take care of stuff.  That should have been her tag line.  

And not for nothing but #ImwithTur,  Katy Tur.  She’s a female reporter Trump has been taunting in his speeches and Wednesday in Florida he called her out by name at a rally.  I can’t imagine with the language he uses against the press to BE THERE, as a press member, and be called out by name in front of all those people who totally believe you are the enemy.  She’s courageous and I, for one, am with her.  Keep reporting Katy - even if the Trumpster thinks he needs to threaten you.
I digress.

So far this week I almost ran over a scared goat (yep a goat), got scared myself in a Target by a crazy lady telling me not to tell people when I’m due because they might kidnap me and take my baby (Can’t make this up people).  Got locked out of my truck and miraculously it unlocked moments later on it’s own.  (Delayed remote unlock working or guardian angel?  Since the remote didn’t work again after that I’m leaning toward angel…)

Also, I just had a momentous self realization.  The last few weeks of pregnancy is NO FUN AT ALL.
I’m like a cranky walrus waddling around complaining about swollen feet and no sleep and random aches and pains and heartburn and I’m just grateful I can still poop regularly.  

Bill’s taken over bath time for Ellie because…I literally can’t get to her little toes over the lip of the tub.

I’ve finally stopped picking Ellie up and she is not pleased about the change.  Unfortunately it will be another 6 weeks after the birth of the baby before I can pick her up again.  I’m not loving the change either.  She’s my baby!  
We’re both going to have to adjust to having a new little life in the family but thankfully momsie is coming to help out.  Who takes care of things better than mom’s?  No one!  

Thanks in advance mom - what would we do without you?  (Oh dad I love you too you know!  Ellie and I are looking forward to seeing Papa after Christmas)
 Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.   Linda Wooten


We've come a long way mom - it's nice to be 'mom'd' back to health from a happy surgery.
xo





Friday, October 28, 2016

New Baby Prep and the Threat Level of a Gerbil-Zombie Apocalypse

Like a busy, hugely pregnant beaver I have stocked up on soups, quick home-made frozen meals, ketchup, vitamin water and apple juice.  And french fries.  And teeny, tiny Halloween candy.  (Five bags…)  Also, Costco-bought toilet paper, paper towel, and Kleenex.  And Chicken Pot Pie. 

What else does a new mom need?  We’ll be ready for this baby, or the zombie apocalypse, whichever comes first.  Just a quick question that will be explained later - does anyone think a GERBIL zombie apocalypse would be scary?

It’s an exciting next few weeks.  Halloween (the first one Ellie will be cognizant enough to enjoy…or hate.)  She does love candy.  She’s not exactly a fan of strangers and since the whole point is to go door to door talking to strangers for candy…well I guess we’ll find out which is greater - her love of candy or her fear of strangers.

Then there’s tha ‘lection.  I think by this point it’s clear Hillary will win and I predict, by a landslide.  I can’t imagine anyone who is a woman, loves a woman, or has a daughter who would vote for that guy.  Hillary may have trust issues but I trust my daughter is safe if they happen to ever be in the same room together.  I do feel bad for Republicans - I’m sure they’re all scratching their heads wondering how that guy ever got to be the nominee in the first place.  

If Paul Ryan had stayed in, or..there were a couple other Republican candidates that were decent.  Rubio, I liked him.

Anyway since I'm Canadian and can’t vote…all this is a moot point.  They won’t let me vote in the Canadian elections anymore either since I’ve been here in America so long.  It’s really starting to drive me nuts.  I think it’s probably time I at least LOOKED into getting dual citizenship.  First things first.  The newest American citizen is about to be born.

I’ve washed and rewashed the blankets and sheets and gender neutral new-born onsies we had from when Ellie was born.

I’ve spent every afternoon quietly noshing on chocolate and cookies while Ellie naps.  In preparation for…the rigors of birth shall we say?

I think though, that I’m done.  I can’t think of anything else we need in bulk or can do to make the new-baby house less stressful.  I even finished Ellie and Bill’s Christmas shopping.  I figured it’s a lot easier now than it will be with a 2.5 year old AND a new-born.

Now I think I can rest.  No more baking and cooking and cleaning every weekend.  Except maybe making some macaroons this weekend.  Yum….I even made and froze some pancakes.  I may have gone a leeeetle overboard.  (I did get maple syrup at Costco - that’s just good spending.)  

And now I’m going to just rest, and wait.  Probably could put away the 500 piece Halloween puzzle I ambitiously dumped all over the dining room table a month ago.  I got about 20 pieces together.  Probably could put that puzzle away for a few YEARS, until the kids are old enough not to want to eat/carry off the pieces and give them to the dog to eat.

Last thing to do is finish the short story contest I started.  It’s supposed to be a horror with an addiction theme.  I wrote about 10,000 words and then realized there was no horror in it at all.  

Zip.  Zero.

Two cute boys and some straight-talking, really interesting girls but…nothing scary.  So, I added Zombie Gerbils at the end.  Probably not a contest I should have tried to enter.  

Cutsy-cozy mystery about a sweet girl who fell for the wrong boy?  Got that covered.  Serious horror - ew.

And I wonder why my writing career hasn’t taken off yet….

“It ain’t watch write, it’s the way atcha write it.”  Jack Kerouac.







Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tantrums. So...my 2 year old and the current presidential nominees


            I’ve got three and a half weeks left until this squirmy, kicky, bladder head-butting little guy makes his appearance. 

            I’m not sleeping much at night but I am starting to feel better about it, I’m in the home stretch!  I’m really trying to enjoy the time with Ellie, how easy it is now for us to get around town and run errands, how our routine allows me to read, and write, and nap if I need to.  I’m savoring every cuddle, every snooze, every big-girl independence she so stubbornly holds out for. 

She still has random tantrums from time to time.  She cried because she wanted me to play the Frozen CD and when I put it on she cried because she didn’t want to listen to it.  So I took it out, then she cried because she wanted to listen to it…etc into completely irrational melt-down city. 

What’s a mom to do?  I sympathized, I empathized, I distracted.  The tears stopped when I gave up on figuring out what she wanted and put my ‘Spa’ music on.  I calmed down and, weirdly, she calmed down.  I guess I’ll have to adjust to the fact that as a mom, I’m not always going to know what to do.  You'd think I would have adjusted to that already...

I always thought being a parent was just about loving them but I suspect you also need to be able to stay emotionally centered to be a good parent.  I find if I constantly ‘mom’ myself, being aware of when I’M feeling tantrumy or tired or stressed and take steps to alleviate it then Ellie and I have easier days.  It’s not that her behavior changes so much that when I’ve got patience and a calm center, I’m able to keep from overreacting or over-personalizing.

            For example she didn’t ON PURPOSE spill yogurt all over her shirt when I am rushing to get us out the door for an appointment.  She didn’t begin to walk more slowly and stop to pick up a leaf from the floor because she KNEW we were already late and she wanted to make me PULL MY HAIR OUT.

            No, she’s just being a kid.  And it’s my job to stop, take a deep breath, and keep things in perspective already.

            Speaking of keeping things in perspective – I have to, HAVE to talk about the elections and the third and last presidential debate.

            First, I have to say I’m disappointed they didn’t shake hands again at the beginning.  Second, Trump seemed to do better there for awhile; he was subdued for the first 30 minutes or so. 

            Third, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but no matter who wins, this election has done more for the current democratic system than probably any other election before it.  I think this election has more people talking about real issues (like abortion, women’s rights, access to healthcare and higher education not to mention immigration, gun laws) than any other election before it. 

            These issues are hot button issues – people often feel passionately one way or the other.
 
            I think debate is very good for us as people, and for us as a country no matter which side of the issues you fall on.  If you’re sitting in a room and everyone there agrees with you…you’re not learning anything new. 

In fact the discussions tend to devolve into conspiracy theories and crazy ‘facts’.  You stop thinking critically when you’re in a room with like-minded people and untruths get accepted without the proper research.  Worst of all, you come away thinking you’ve got a fully developed and researched opinion when…well…when you don’t.

If we can disagree with one another, debate the issues and feel out exactly WHY we believe the way we do, well, we may walk away with our convictions all the stronger because of it.  We’ll certainly walk away with a better understanding of ‘the other side’ and maybe realize there IS no divisive US vs THEM, there’s just US. 

People. 

Regular people who work hard and cherish their children, who only want the best for the people they love.  Friends who, no matter how unbelievable their opinions seem to me, would be there for me in an instant if I needed them.

That’s the kind of friendships I want to have.  I want to be friends with people who make me think, who push me, who stand up for what they believe, even if I think they’re wrong.  (And vice versa)

That’s the only way to the truth as I see it.  It’s certainly the only way to a robust, educated opinion.  If I may be so bold, it’s the only way to a robust, educated society.  We teach each other or we separate into different camps and grow slowly more and more entrenched and invested in half-opinions and fearful stories.  Nothing good can come of that.

Well, as usual that’s just my two cents.  At least the presidential tantrums will be over soon...and maybe the first female president.  Whether or not you like her or agree with her, that's AMAZING.  She may be doing it for the first time for all of us women.  For our little girls.

“An educated, enlightened and informed population is one of the surest ways of promoting the health of a democracy.”  Nelson Mendela.