Jan 232014
 

 

I’m exhausted. What day is it? Did I shower? Did I eat? Oh, yeah I had four cheerios, a handful of goldfish, three apple slices and coffee. I’m not sure if that was today or yesterday or a combination. Thank the heavens for coffee. What would I do without coffee?

Did someone say “nap time” ?! Baby down, toddler down. Here is my break, my long hour break to do laundry, clean the kitchen. Oh wait what was I thinking? My proposal is due in three days. Laundry, proposal, laundry, proposal, laundry….. Ok – I can do laundry tonight, fold in the morning after breakfast. Ha! fold? We can fish from the bin.

If I could only find my keyboard under this pile of bills. Ugh, bills. I’ll organize them tonight, after I do the laundry. They should sleep tonight. Fingers crossed. Focus, focus. Check email….should not have checked email. So tired. When did yoga pants become my wardrobe staple? How did this happen? Oh, yeah – now I remember, (smirk). “I’m so tired”. Maybe I’m pregnant? When did I start collecting yoga pants? Dinner! It’s going to have to be breakfast for dinner. Why do I always have to plan dinner? I’m not the only one that eats. Tonight I will not make my toddler a different meal. I will not! He eats what we eat. Oh but he hates eggs – maybe I have some turkey. Grocery store tomorrow. Start grocery list… turkey, apples, eggs, milk…

Baby is up, toddler, not up…who decorated the wall blue? Was that there this morning? Get diapers, wipes. Ugh, defective diaper. Looks like laundry just moved up on the list. Strip the baby, clean the baby, change the baby. She’s such a happy girl. Slightly jealous of the baby….

I wish someone would wash and feed me too, and nap time! I want nap time… So tired.

Toddler is up. No please don’t take your clothes off. Okay two naked kiddies. Wish I could go commando whenever I wanted. They get all the fun. Not the markers! Where did he find those, I hid them…. Thank you Aunt Sally for the markers. At least they are washable.. what they heck.

 

Who wants a washable tattoo? Looks like it’s a bath night… Wait, what day is it?

 

To learn more about Ana, please read our introductory post about her.

Dec 032013
 

strrANA BEGINS…..Toddler Story

I still remember rocking my baby to sleep, watching her facial expressions as she lay in peaceful slumber.  At that moment I ceased to imagine this precious, beautiful, peaceful little angel ever giving me grief.  I naively assumed any un-pleasantries would create cute memories.  One year, ten months, four days, six hours, twenty minutes and five seconds later I’m standing in front of a lovely jewelry shop. It was a sunny Friday morning in downtown’s busy shopping district. In the middle of the street is me, tangled in a fallen stroller, shopping bags, and a blue balloon trying to wrangle my escaped tiny terror, aka Monstrito.  She made it about three steps from the stroller and threw a beastly tantrum, center stage. The homeless man standing at the corner grabbed his change box, sign and mutt and high-tailed it across the street.  People parted around my Monstrito as if she could pull a Medusa with just one look.  Attempting to calm her, before she sat on the ground and rubbed her face on the germy concrete, I abandoned the useless stroller and was awkwardly dodging flailing arms and feet in an attempt to secure the wild little beast from the dwindling pedestrians left on our side of the sidewalk.  The facial expressions of strangers pierced my suffering motherly competence as my anxiety grew, frustration multiplied and tears welled in my eyes. I knew I had to get my child under control, lest she decide to dart to the street.  I settled for steering the ball of fury to the storefront side of the sidewalk. Any alert thief would see they could swipe my bags, purse and stroller with ease and get a nice blue balloon as a souvenir.  They could take what they wanted for now my child was rubbing her snot and tear stained face across the jeweler’s window while turning her shrills up one notch in case no one could hear her.  The stares by total strangers mounted in heaps of judgment crushing the little control I retained. I decided I had no pride left and I would just sit, coral her in safety and let Monstrito wear herself out.  Just then a tall, stylish, sophisticated woman emerged from the jeweler.  “Great” I thought. “Just what I need, a scolding about the wretched child and the inability to control her”.  The woman walked toward my daughter, knelt down, put her hands out and asked my daughter, in a soothing voice, if she would like to see some shiny rocks.  Like magic, Monstrito stopped.  I was too relieved to be embarrassed.  She led us into the store, showed my baby daughter the shiny “rocks” and handed me a tissue box.  As I wiped my baby’s tears and nose she shared she was also a mother.  While her daughter was now grown, she assured me this too would pass.  Kindly she asked me if I had packed a snack, as that was probably the culprit of my mid-morning circus.  We had such a rushed morning I had not realized it was almost time for lunch.  Mommy fail  #27865.  FINALLY, my child was calm, my tears hidden and my bruised ego healing.  I buckled my daughter into the stroller, balloon in-tact, and thanked the woman over a hundred times (all while promising to come back in a hundred years to purchase their most expensive piece). We headed for the cafe to get that much needed snack, and as I pushed the stroller through the door the balloon POPPED.  Sigh.

Dec 032013
 

 

 

Ana Begins Header

Ana Begins - BabyANA BEGINS…BIRTH

I remember hearing the poem “I’ll Lend you a Child” by Edgar Guest.  The words of the poem lingered in my subconscious.  The day my daughter was born I recalled being overwhelmed with emotion as I laid eyes on her perfect pink little face.  Once the medications wore down from the unexpected cesarean and she was finally in our room, I was able to hold her.  As I watched her resting in my arms and listening to the sweet coos coming from her tiny body I realized I didn’t know her. Our journey to get to know each other was just beginning. In that instant I knew she was not my extension.  This new soul was not mine to possess.  She was not mine to control.  I was not given a fairy wand to create her off of a checklist I may have envisioned. My child, my daughter was created and I accepted the enormous gift to guide her, respect her for who she already was. As the years progress I shall discover the pieces that encompass her whole self. This opportunity filled with love and uncertainty is not to be taken lightly, as each step will impact her every breath. Realizing the great gift before me is daunting, overwhelming, chaotic…..awesome.

LOVE,

ANA

Dec 032013
 

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ANA BEGINS…..Toddler Story

I really could not tell you in what order my daughter’s first words came.  But you can almost guess that my favorite word she uttered early on was “Mama”.  Her sweet excited little voice would repeatedly sputter the word.  Her chubby cheeks would bubble and mouth bobble like a fishy, “Mamamamamamama”.  When she was happy, excited, needy, scared, tired, hungry, “Mamamamama”. It was her go-to word.   As she grew the syllables shortened and “Mama” came with different tones and a few demanding obligations.

Walking through the door after short trips to the grocery store I would be greeted with a big “Mama”! followed by big hugs and wet kisses.  It was the word I waited for all day sitting at my desk, itching to pick her up from school.  With “Mama”! came the most beautiful smile that made time stand still.

I treasured each and every moment I heard her call me.  Every morning as we got ready for the day I could count on hearing “Mama” at least five or six times.  One morning last October as I prepared breakfast I could hear her rummaging through her drawers trying to piece together a new “rock star girl” ensemble.  Knowing half her clothes were in the dryer, I headed toward her bedroom to let her know.  As I walked through the door she turned her head and said “Mom, I can’t find my purple ruffle skirt”.  My world stopped. She called me “Mom”.

Dec 032013
 

prgAna Begins - Baby

 

 

 

ANA BEGINS…..Reflections

The ability to reflect on the grace, beauty and love the journey as a mother has provided has been a gift.  Up until now I have shared beautiful reflections from my entrance into motherhood.  The story, however, cannot be complete without the realities of my journey, some devastating and painful.  They say time heals all wounds.  I truly believe it does not only heal, but it captures the blessings we are unable to see in the present, wraps them in security and reveals them when the mind is able to embrace those blessings with gratitude and purpose.

I was not prepared for a Cesarean. If it was not for the Epidural and the fact that I was experiencing something new I would have gone into shock. By the 23rd hour of my water breaking I had to be wheeled into surgery. I remember watching the ceiling tiles whizz by as if I was watching a rerun of Grey’s Anatomy.  At this point I began to cry hysterically. I could not breathe as the congestion clouded every part of my face.  When my daughter arrived I was unable to hold her as she was rushed to the ICU.  The remaining 24 hours were a blur of drugs, visitors and infant care instructions that I could barely recognize, let alone remember.  I focused the small amount of energy I had into my new baby.  Breastfeeding was awkward and painful and would soon become the most devastating disappointment as a mother of an infant.

For the first three weeks I felt a lot of physical pain. The healing incision coupled with breastfeeding and mental anguish had me in a zombie like state.  How was it possible, I kept thinking, that this world had a population of over 1 billion human beings?  How did women go through this multiple times?  The pain I felt, emotional and physical expanded my already growing doubt that I was doing this ALL WRONG.

A few days after her arrival I called the lactation consultant. After ten minutes I felt three things 1) If I gave my baby formula she would die 2) I was purposefully compromising my ability to produce milk 3) the pain would never end. I could not feed my child.  I never made enough milk, and the small amount I could produce over six weeks was wreaking havoc in my baby’s body.  No matter the change of diet the acidity from my milk was tearing up her stomach, causing her tiny body painful reflux and burning the skin on her bottom enough to send us to the ER.  Every feeding I cried.  Every diaper change I was plagued with guilt knowing I caused her pain.

I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I was slowly crumbling from the exhaustion and mental anguish created from my doubts. I wanted at times to walk to a window and jump, but I was too exhausted to get there.  I was in a puddle of over looked post-partum and overwhelming responsibility.  I felt alone. I felt shame. What was wrong with me?  Why didn’t I know how to do this? Why did my body not work the way it was supposed to?  I felt trapped, alone.

Slowly I have healed, but I vowed never to forget the pain, guilt and loneliness of those first three months. I have carefully stored these reflections in hopes that my honesty will help a new mother, and she will help another and then, another.  It gets better. There’s a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel. If you feel alone, know there is at least one mother who understands your pain. You will heal. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t break you, makes you stronger”.

Love,

Ana