12. looking for my peace

well, my husband, flash, arrived down here yesterday. the bean was so excited to see him they just played and played. the chickpea did really well with him laughing and trying to eat his nose. joy. then darkness fell and nighttime parenting began. the plan was for dad to join the bean and sleep in there...something that was fairly normal when we were home. around 11:30 bean woke up and called for me so went in and got him back to sleep. flash stayed in bean's bed through all this. at midnight he was up again, this time the pea was up too so i picked her up and we went in. flash retired to the other bed. i spent the next three hours trying to convince the bean to sleep, not to kick me, to let me sleep, not to wake the pea, and so on. it was maddening and exhausting and there were so many times when i just wanted to scream at him, or shake him, or something. i was irate. i finally told him i was leaving him alone in his room so i could go sleep and i went to join flash, bringing the pea with me. within ten minutes he was crying for me and i went in and he rolled into me and fell asleep.

today is our last day down here and i wanted it to be so fun. i wanted to go out to dinner at the indian place and lunch at the cuban place and be all smiles and laughs. instead i am spending my time trying not to blow up at my crabby son and trying not to cry just because things are not going my way.

the bean hasn't napped in about two months but i thought he needed one so i took him for a drive. he fell asleep but when i got him out of the car and into his bed he woke up and refused to go back to sleep. he is so tired. why oh why oh why does he hate to sleep? and why does it make me so mad?

ok sit still for a minute and think. why am i mad? what can i let go of so i can feel better? what is making this so terrible. scott noelle is always talking about resistance creating anger in his daily groove emails. maybe i need to stop resisting. what am i fighting against. i am fighting against the day not going how i wanted it to or how i had imagined it would be. what if i could let go and trust that the universe just had other plans for this day? i would feel better. i might still struggle but there feels like less tension. ok, fine, universe, bring on your day.

i was driving the other day past a church down here and there was a sign out front that said "your plans not working out? try god's." it made me laugh at the time (and i still do get a chuckle out of the wording) but it also is starting to make more and more sense to me. if my plans are not going my way it really bugs me. but if i could step away from that, do my best, and trust that the divine is working her magic and things are as they should be i would feel better. i might still get mad but it feels less mad. like, this is just unpleasant. not with the added pressure of "what am i doing wrong it feels like i am failing." oh yes, i hate failing at things. so i hate failing at getting my child to sleep. and failing to keep everyone happy and well rested. and feeling like i am failing at the one thing i am trying to do -- parent.

i think i might take a deep breath. except i know from my relaxation response training that i need to take at last ten for it to be at all worthwhile so hold please. or breath with me. we can all feel a little better.

one. inhale and exhale.
two. inhale and exhale.
these are deep belly breaths. fill that belly up with air.
three. in out.
four. in with peace out with tension.
five. in with relaxation out with anger.
wow, feeling better already. but i think i will see this through to ten.
six. in out.
my shoulders are about ten inches lower.
seven in and out.
eight inhale white light. out with tension.
nine. in and out. i think the baby is more soundly asleep.
ten. big long deep inhale. slow exhale.

oh. ok. here i am. in the present. funny, the bean just got off the couch and started walking towards me. and flash got home from his trip to go pick me up food. thank you universe. thank you self.


11. almost missed

i forgot about my blog today! my husband is here and i am so excited i just got distracted. yay for happy reunions. yay for the bean being so happy to see his dada. yay for being together again. yay for listening to happy games. yay for boys playing together. yippee yippee hooray.


10. ok so i was right

i always think that one of the reasons i was drawn to a certain style of parenting is because of the nature of my first born. the bean is a special one. from the start he has been very sensitive and easily upset. this meant holding and wearing him a lot when he was a baby as well as seeing the benefits of extended nursing and cosleeping and all that fun. as he gets a bit older it has also meant finding the right style of discipline. i hesitate to even use that word because i think discipline in our culture often is synonymous with punishment and that doesn't work around here. what i mean is finding a consistent, fair, and respectful way to teach him about limits, boundaries, safety, and the world out there.

right now the chickpea is going through another phase where she will only nap if i hold her or wear her and i have gotten into the habit of turning on some music and putting her in the wrap and staying out in the main living area with the bean while she sleeps. but sometimes he decides he wants to be loud (probably because i ask him not to be) or that he wants to wake her up and play with her and things don't go the way i would like them to. today he was pulling some serious 2.9 year old antics when i was trying to have her nap. he has this tricycle he rides around the house down here and somehow he decided to fall off it and fake cry repeatedly, louder and louder, until i asked him to shhhhh, and then he did a few more times louder for good measure until chickpea woke up.

to be brutally honest i was annoyed. we were having a good day up until this moment and i sort of felt like what he was doing was unfair. i took the chickpea off and put her in a safe spot with some toys and asked him to come talk to me in his room. once in there things went kind of like this:

me: i need you to be quiet when chickpea is napping on me ok?
b: no.
me: i know it is hard but if she does not sleep she is cranky. she needs her sleep. i am mad because you woke her up. do you understand?
b: no no no. i want her to wake up.
me: i don't want her to wake up . i want her to sleep. when you wake her up it makes me mad.
b: no i want her to wake up so i can play with her.
me: next time she is sleeping can you please be quiet. if you don't think you can be quiet then i guess that i will take chickpea to another room so she can sleep and you can be alone.
b: no.
me: you understand that waking her up makes me mad?
b is now rolling around on the bed giggling.
me: i love you even when i am mad at you.
more giggling
me: everything is gong to be ok. but i would really like it if you could be quiet.

we went back out to the main living area and within five minutes something had set him off and was in a full on crying melt down. i tried to be calm and patient. a lot of i love you's. a lot of "this is hard. i am sorry this is hard. you are doing your best. being mad is ok. crying is ok. i love you." and so on. he carried on and on. eventually i took him to his room so he could cry in there. i asked if he wanted to play? nonononononono. i told him i was ready to play with him or have a snack and juice with him when he was ready so come find me. he said ok. awhile later i went and got him. we had a snack and were getting ready to go outside. i told him i had to use the bathroom before we went out. he said, "i will come with you." ok.

"i will come with you or else you will be mad and you will be all alone."

ouch. i know my bean and i know he was telling me what he heard me say earlier was that i was mad at him and i was going to make him be all alone.

and really it is not fair of me to ask him to be quiet enough not to wake her up. that is an unrealistic expectation for his age. and then to tell him i am mad and make him feel like i will make him be all alone because of it. when all he wanted was some attention.

so in the bathroom was like this:

b: i will come with you or else you will be mad and you will be all alone.
me: oh beanie, i love you. i messed up. i am sorry. i am not mad at you. i love you.

the tiniest nuances matter with this kid of mine. and i will keep trying to remember that he was born to me for a reason. and that i don't need to parent him how other people parent other kids. and that respecting his emotions and limitations is not the same as being permissive. so we went outside and played. and now i am holding z on the bed while she sleeps and he is in the next room over watching a show and for today this is ok.

9. chocolicious

thanks to my friend christine (the amazing woman behind boston mamas , posh peacock and more) for sharing this tasty and simple chocolate pudding recipe. she served it one day when our families were hanging out and i never forgot how good it was. last night my mom and i indulged and it did not disappoint. the only difficulty we had was not helping ourselves to seconds. we had it on top of strawberries and blueberries and ate it warm after the kids were both sound asleep. what a way to celebrate the chickpea's six month "birthday."


8. a ride and a shower?

there is not a lot of me time in my life. today i owe my mom huge props for providing me with back to back me activities, a ride and a shower! wow! the horse in the background of this photo is "my horse" lucky. i put that in quotes because i have barely ridden or cared for him at all since the bean was born. thanks again to my mom who has treated him like her own, cleaned his stall, fed him, ridden him, and footed his bills. since i have been down here in SC for the month i have ridden a handful of times which is more then i had in years. in some ways it comes right back and in others i am totally lost up there. but, the joy is ceaseless. and the weight is lifted from me. i am not stressed, angry, tired, or frustrated. i am just being. that has always been the magic for me. that and the relationship with my horse. but he brings me into the present in the simplest ways.

after i ride i can come back into the house where the bean is no different and the chickpea is still loud as all get out and i don't want to hide from them anymore. instead i can laugh at the things that were making me cringe.

and a shower! alone! with time to shave my legs! you have to be a mom to appreciate the insanity of this day. a ride and a shower. holy divine one has shined her grace down on me today. i promise to be worthy of it even through the witching hour.


7. bean thoughts

he is growing up. maybe he doesn't sleep through the night much. he likes to be held still. he would often prefer that i feed him. but he is growing up. it is undeniable. in my weaker moments i want them both to hurry up and be older. i dream of life being easier. i want a break from being constantly needed by everyone. i want him to be more like other kids his age who need less. in my weaker moments i have wishes that the time will pass more quickly.

in clearer moments when i can really see him how he is now i am shocked and amazed. touched and feeling slippery sad emotions. he is not my baby anymore. he hasn't nursed since the day the chickpea was born. he says things like "i found the perfect shoes." he plays quietly with tape and paper for ten minutes or more. his face has changed to that of a little boy. when we get home from SC he will be starting preschool two mornings a week. he can use a fork and the pepper grinder. he runs "super fast" without falling so much, he kicks a bigger ball "so far." he laughs at his own jokes, just like his mama does.

i had no idea he was going to be such a consistently kind and caring older brother. the first thing he says to me many mornings is, "chickpea is up? can i give her hugs and kisses? put her here next to me so i can snuggle her." i can get in the shower and leave them alone together without worrying what he will do. he says, "i luf chickpea and she lufs me."

i can't imagine not spending every minute with him. when the pea was born and i mostly stopped sleeping with the bean i missed him so much. and i was still spending all day with him. but i missed snuggling his tiny body (huge and lanky now compared to a newborn) all night long. i missed smelling him before i even opened my eyes in the morning.

it is true that i have a lot moments where i lose my temper, i am annoyed by his antics and button pushing and typical two year old behaviors. but under that i love him with something bigger then words. like his laugh is anchored right in the core of my heart. even his fake laugh. and as much as i want him to hurry up and get easier i want him to stop growing. each time he grows up he moves a little bit further away from me and this same freedom i yearn for makes my eyes tear up. his world is getting so much bigger then his mama. and i love him i love him i love him.


6. home is safe

everything takes longer with two. if i am trying to leave the house with them in the morning i have to start getting ready at least 45 minutes before i have to leave. 45 minutes! how insane does that sound. well, everyone needs a clean diaper (shout out for two in cloth mama's), shoes, coats, the chickpea needs to nurse, the bean needs a snack and rice milk packed, i need shoes and a coat. i have to pack the diaper bag with ten trillion things. and then there is the last minute decision by the bean, "i don't want to go. i want to stay home."

oh, ok, sure. fantastic.

there are a lot things i used to do or want to do that i just don't do because getting them both out of the house is such a bother. is that sad?

and then once we get out the door there is the managing. miss chickpea hates the car so we all have to listen to her holler and scream for however long we are in it. which means i try to keep us pretty close to home. so maybe we go to the bagel store. we get there and i get them out of the car and into the shop and get off everyone's coats and get chickpea wrapped on and find the beans car toy and his juice and sit him at the table and start to head up to the counter to order. but he wants to be held too. so i heft him onto a hip. and i wobble over to the counter pretending not to notice that everyone is looking at me holding both of my kids. then when it is time to leave and the bean throws a tantrum cause he doesn't want to go home and he wants to be carried to the car and on the way out i am carrying so much stuff i knock over a chair which draws even more attention to us i am thinking, "why did i leave home?"

staying home is safe. yes, maybe they watch too much tv and i feel completely cut off from the world and i spend too much time on my computer looking at pictures on facebook of people who actually do something besides parent. that may all be true. but i am hiding and it feels safe.

wait, why am i hiding? because i am afraid of struggling with my kids in public. i think people might not like the way i parent. i think i might get upset and people will see i am not so great at this after all. i might be too patient with them, or not patient enough, or too loud or not loud enough. people might think i am permissive. or mean.

so home is safe because no one is judging me. ah ha. well maybe safety isn't all it is cracked up to be. maybe i should just embrace myself and my kids and be willing to go out. even if i will only go places that are a 10 minute drive or less. because really, i cannot stand the screaming.


5. for chs

for some reason my sister-in-law thinks it would be a good idea for me to write about all the things i have started and not finished. clearly she is dellusional because if i do that then i will develop such a strong sense of shame and self loathing that i will have to go start digging a hole and then hide in it when it is just big enough that i fit (not actually finished being dug) and then who will parent my kids to sleep all night! i might be able to give you an idea of a few things i have started lately and not finished. just a smattering, not the whole shebang, just so you can see that this is a pattern in my life. but please, do not tell my husband, i am pretty sure he hasn't noticed yet and if he does then he might not like me as much anymore or be nearly as patient with me and my dallying.

when i was pregnant with the bean i got really into knitting and i bought a ton of yarn and different needles and i made like two scarfs. then i started a third one and i never finished it. a few years later i was packing up the house so we could move and i found a bag of yarns i bought in college and a hat i started and never finished. i guess the knitting thing is a repeating pattern for me.

while we are on crafts, when the bean was about 9 months old and i was falling hardcore for babywearing i decided to use a pattern online to make my own mei tai. i got the fabric, printed out the pattern, cut it all and sewed two straps. i think the fabric and pattern got packed in the box with my yarn and needles for the move.

but then when i was due with the chickpea i found this tutorial online for making your own dryer balls with yarn scraps. perfect, i have lots of yarn! so i followed the instructions to the point where they were ready to be felted, i didn't have the knee high it called for so i tried a sock but it didn't work. the balls didn't felt. i could have gotten a knee high and tried again but instead i must have just decided i should start digging my hole.

i love starting the laundry. it really feels like i am going to get things done. but don't be surprised when you come over and there are three baskets full of clean, unfolded, getting wrinkled beyond recognition laundry in the playroom where i leave them so i can try to blame it on the kids. like it is their job (at 2.5 and 6 mos) to fold it.

ok, here is the kicker. i have started and not finished my masters degree. it was going really well at first and i went to school pretty much full time for two years so i only had one year left and i would have a great degree - but i had my first baby instead. i thought i was going to go back but then i didn't want to. i wanted to stay home. so i did some research and found a way i could down grade my goals and get a somewhat less impressive masters degree and only need to take two more classes instead of eight. fantastic. i have taken one of those classes in the last two and half years. so, yes, i have started a very expensive and time intensive masters program and i haven't finished it. oh, there is paperwork i needed to complete to keep records of my internship which i did two and half years ago and i have not finished that either. so there is no record. so i might just have to say poop on a rock again.

the thing about moving houses is that it has given me a lot of boxes to start unpacking. of course, i don't finish, so my husband has taken to shoving them - partially unpacked - into my closet. luckily i haven't found most of my clothes so there is a lot of room for half filled boxes in my closet.


you know what the great thing is? i didn't have time to finish this post yesterday. in honor of all things left unfinished i am posting it as it, unedited and unfinished. perhaps i can return to it another day.

note: the photo was taken several years ago for an advertisement i was going to place in a horse show book but i never finished making it...

4. i like food

while in SC with my mom for the month i have been doing a lot of the cooking. which is good with me because i love to cook. the bonus is that she usually cleans up while i am putting the kidlets to sleep. last night i made these black bean tacos that i found in this month's bon appetit. they were easy to make and tasty but next time i will make a few changes. my plan is to add some fresh garlic to the slaw, cilantro, lime mixture and maybe mix a little more flavor into the beans, perhaps some hot sauce in there. if you like a simple vegetarian recipe give this one a try.


3. seven-thirty pm

yesterday evening dinner alone with a glass of wine and two monitors.

2. by a thread

last night was not an easy one. i think at some point i got about an hour uninterrupted but most of the night it felt like one kid or another was up, wanting me to hold them, wanting to snuggle, needing a drink, needing milkies. the bean decided 5:50 was a good time to be up for the day. i spent a fair amount of time sleeping with both of them - crammed in between them sweaty and uncomfortable - and about the same amount of time walking between the two rooms trying to have them in different beds. i am tired, which is ok, and i am crabby, which i hate. i especially hate when i am crabby and i direct my crabbiness at them. like they chose to wake up, like they decided what style of nighttime parenting i would use, like it is someone's "fault" that my kids don't sleep. i really want to find someone to blame. wouldn't that be nice?

in this state i don't know what to do so i guess it makes the most sense to turn to some more grounded and loving guides.

dear grandmother, what can i do to feel better? is there a lesson here? am i on the right path?

hello my daughter. sit with me and let my energy hold you. you have spent a lot of yourself caring for your children in the last few weeks. reach out to the universe and ask to be filled back up. the crabbiness you feel is like a depletion. yes, perhaps you can look for ways to support your body through sleepless nights but all around you is what you need. free floating energy, happy to help you be stronger if you can take a moment of peace to ask for it, to invite help in. you told your mother, and then your friend, to be nice to themselves. be nice to yourself. seek out your own healing. love yourself. trust that you are doing well and right and that everything is truly and deeply ok. remember that love is energy pure, white, and strong. do you lack love?

not at all.

let yourself feel how that love fills you and creates joy.

don't get caught up in why me. why me leads you nowhere. self pity sticks you in the mud. transform those thoughts and you will be learning more from parenting. you often come to me and ask "am i doing this right?" and i always tell you that you are. and so i will continue to tell you. walk your path and be proud and true and feel how love sustains you. don't be in a hurry. don't rush to hear answers. sit and breath. pray. breath. pray. breath. pray.



is there more i should be thinking about today or now?

transformation. transforming energy. you can feel anger, crabbiness, frustration. these things arise. say hello. honor their presence in your experience of reality for a moment or two. sit with them fully. then ask that they be transformed. ask for love to transform them, ask for me to transform them, ask for the divine to transform them. feel them change and morph into something that helps to heal yourself and the world. let your children in on the process.

and eat chocolate?

humor is fine.

thank you. thank you. good bye.

well the weight is lifted some. and although it is still raining outside i can imagine wanting to go outside where the bean is doing barn chores with gran gran. it feels like i might be done hiding and trying to escape. that is always a step in the right direction for me. and maybe i can have a cookie before i go...while no one is looking.


1. ready to go

i am a failed blogger. i love to start things but i don't ever seem to follow through. not that anyone in the world is upset that i stopped short. but, i am disappointed in myself. so it is with fearful trepidation that i start yet again. and tell myself i will, i must, i can, i shall, put something on the blog everyday for a year. a year! a year? i think i might delete that part but for now i will keep typing and see what happens. committing to a year of posting everyday sounds like i am setting myself up to fail. of course, if i believe i will fail then i will fail. if i ask my friends and family to support me in my endeavor they will say - why blog everyday?

about a million years ago when i was young and single and not a mama at all my brother gave me anne lamott's book bird by bird. i had aspirations when i was in high school of being an author (what ever was i thinking?) and he had discovered anne and thought i would appreciate her teachings. what i remember right now is that she said you have to write everyday. and also that she talked about taking a long time to set herself up to write, tea just so, a snack, the right light, comfy clothes, and then when she was all ready and everything was perfect she sat down in her writing room to stare at the blank screen and fret that she could not think of anything to say. maybe i am making this all up and someone else told that story. it has been probably ten years since i read the book and for three of them i have not had more then a few straight hours of sleep.

who ever said all that certainly didn't think that rambling around on blogger was writing everyday but i have to start somewhere. start and continue. so i am not going to delete it then. poop. (or poop on a rock as we say in my family.) i would already like to stop and let myself off the hook and be able to quit at any time and fall back into my current habit of being nothing but a mama.

my oldest, the bean, is two years and nine months old and i am really just realizing how i disappeared into the role and lost my sense of self. it is ok though. i have been a good mama to him, and now also to the chickpea who is almost six months old. but i think it would be nice if they could meet me as well as having all their needs met by their mama. if that makes a lick of sense.

for now i will let coffee and fig newmans sustain me and plan on checking in again tomorrow.