Musings of a Mum: 10 months old

April 30, 2013 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Baby Bowie,
What is happening behind those bright eyes of yours? What synapses are connecting and rearranging and organizing thoughts in your baby brain?  Though remarkable change has occurred over the last ten months, I feel that the most noticeable changes happened in the last eight weeks. I find myself stopping in the middle of a chore or book or bite of hastily eaten food just to stare at you as you take in your new world, a world that is about to explode right before you...your very own big bang!  The world of movement is at hand!

Weekend mornings are bliss. Daddy and I will each take a morning to let the other get a bit more sleep, and when the other does wake to join us, we will often sit in the sun room all together but independently playing.  Dad is staring out the window with his cup of Assam.  I am tucked up tightly in my bathrobe, sipping coffee as I leaf through a book. You will play quietly on the floor with your books or sock monkey.  This bliss may last only a few minutes, but once in awhile  the moment freezes in my mind and I will look at your Dad and then look back at you and then look back at the words on my page, suddenly unable to see them through my blinding happiness.

When I imagined myself as a mother, I never imagined this. I saw the difficulty; I saw the frustration, the confusion, the inevitable ways I would seriously mess you up and make you incapable of loving yourself and of receiving love.  I saw myself angry and manipulative and always internally struggling to love you more than I love myself. I saw myself as lonely, frustrated, and always lacking in emotional resilience.  I saw that I had a lot of things to fix about myself before I became a mother.

But now, I worry that you will know very little of true struggle.  Though I had it less than ideal, I wouldn't change it for anything. I like how being raised by a single-parent toughened me up, made me independent and hearty.  I like that the lack of fathering made me learn to see men clearly - and I could spot the good and bad ones a mile away.  I like that the emptiness I was born into forced me to find my own means of filling it, never expecting anyone else to own the responsibility of my personal happiness.

You, my first-born, you have such a lovely life.  All of our resources are bestowed upon your worthy soul. Our keen sight of you, our quiet pace, our educated awareness, our incessant quest to be more and better...all of these things I had to find on my own.  But you, you will receive them in full.

This is not to say that we won't make serious mistakes and have to apologize over and over for hurting your little spirit as it grows.  But I continually mark the stark contrast between your childhood and mine, and I wonder how to help you learn the lessons I learned - but learn them through love instead of abandonment.

I catch myself in spaces of utterly uncontainable happiness these days.  It makes me want to bury myself in a hole underground for the shame of it - for the knowing well of other humans' misery and oppression, for the arbitrary dumb-luckness of it, for the fear of judgement and invalidation, and for the loss of my hard-won identity as a sad woman, made beautiful with suffering.  But more than anything, chicken...more than any of those prideful reasons, I want to hide from my unhappiness because I don't want the universe to see me shouting it from the highest peak of my soul and decide to smite me from above because of my bragging. So for now, let it suffice to say that you - YOU - you have made Joel and I happier than we ever imagined humans could be walking the surface of this magnificent blue planet.

Yes, we are learning to co-exist quite nicely.

Dear me, dear me.  I am sensing your will coming forth, though I cannot yet tell if it is a strong will or just a normal-person will - specifically if you are more Whitney or more Morris. I am strong-willed.  So here's the thing about it...when someone comes up against my will, logical or not, I fight back.  I will have to struggle hard to maintain a perspective concerning you - if the battle houses a lesson imperative for you or if I am just battling one will against another.  

You are funny with a keen understanding of comedic timing and subtle facial expressions.  You love to laugh and do it heartily and boisterously - it makes the room laugh. Nothing makes you laugh quite like your dog and cat. You love to be tickled, laughing at the anticipation. You love songs and conversation and pieces of paper.  You are making sounds that imitate natural inflection, though the words themselves are babble.  You have a lot more consonants, B, Y, M, N, W, D, P, H. You love to study objects with concentration and then love to bash them around. 

Your favorite songs are Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Patty-Cake, and Bramberry Cross.  Your face lights up when Daddy comes home from work and whenever you see Grandpa. You like to play Peek-A-Boo.  You still love the bath and cry when I take you out.

You are rocking back and forth on all fours and can pull yourself up on things occasionally.  I've begun to remove our breakables from your precious chubby grasp. Twice now I have seen you go from all fours back to sitting, and I know the full cruising is just around the bend.  For now, you steam-roll around the room happily, but screaming in frustration if you get stuck or bored.  

And such a lovely scream it is. Not so much a soft complaint of "Mummy dear, I seem to be in a jam. When you find a moment, could you please assist me?"  No, it's more of a WWF wrestler bellowing, "AHHHHHH! EFFING HELP ME NOW LADY BEFORE I DIE A SLOW DEATH OF IMMOBILITY."

I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate you on saving the apperances of all six of your first teeth for one month.  What fortitude! What pain tolerance! What drooooooool.  Now you are in the habit of grinding them together, and I never imagined anything sounding so horrible.

Which brings me to the word NO.  You are certainly getting accustomed to hearing it.  When you initially saw my serious face married to an equally serious word, you laughed at me. Which would of course made me laugh and there you have it, Mommy is a joke. Nonetheless, we will continue to work on your boundaries - though I do suspect you will benefit more from validation and redirection than from rigidity...if I've learned anything about caged birds, it's not to restrict them...or at least to make their bars invisible.  

You are a good, good eater.  I've still not encountered something you won't eat. This month I added yogurt and grains and meat to your diet, which you love. For lack of time and creativity, I've given up on making a lot of the food and have been buying baby food, which I feel good about too.

I began to wean you from breastfeeding a few weeks ago, and you've take quite nicely to it.  Your last nursing was five days ago, and you don't seem to know the difference.  I made a deal with myself that I would go 6 months with breastfeeding, so these last 4 have been a bonus.  I draw the line at teeth and awareness.  But I loved it, and would do it again if I had the opportunity. 

You are still sleeping really well despite those aforementioned six teeth as well as your body's desire to practice crawling at all times of day.  If you wake up, it's usually because you have turned onto your stomach and can't turn over.  I'll go in, readjust you, tuck you in tight, then you'll put yourself right back to sleep with that trusty old thumb of yours.  There have been a few harder nights now that you aren't nursing (which means I stick to the plan more of not feeding you during sleep hours, since it's SO inconvenient to make a bottle), but you still get a consistent 10-12 hours of sleep/night.  Glory, glory, glory BE.

Additionally, your naps have become more predictable  Most commonly, you will sleep for 1.5 hours twice per day.  

  • Met baby Anders and saw Ruby and Courtney again.
  • Had special one-on-one play time with Aunt Jenae, Aunt Erin, and Aunt Jess.  
  • Attended Mommy and Me yoga classes, and loved it!
  • Met up with Cousin Amy and Kenya for a baby sing-a-long.  
  • Enjoyed a sleep-over at Gma's so Momma could get away for a weekend.
I've been trying to let us lay low on Fridays, but to get out of the house to go to a public place for 4 days of the week, including another outing of a walk around the neighborhood.  You have been doing so well in the Ergo and really do love the distraction of being out and about, despite being somewhat cautious at first.  I love this about you!

For this and many more reasons, I adore you, my babushka. 


playing favorites

April 10, 2013 Candace Morris 1 Comments

Every Spring, I puzzle one of life's most pleasurable of dilemmas. With every so many beautiful blooms, how is a girl to chose her favorite?!!

Maybe, just maybe, my heart belongs most to the blooms in my own backyard from that gorgeous, old, dying pear tree that won't give up its life.


Writing about writing: Analysing the metadata

April 05, 2013 Candace Morris 1 Comments

I wiggle under the discomfort of an anxious gut.  My ass hurts in this chair (well, more precicely, the tailbone I think I broke during labor hurts in this chair).  Shit. This is really hard...this writing nonsense. It's not hard in the romantic way, the way where you see yourself holding a glass of red wine, wearing red lipstick, looking impossibly beautiful, scribbling forever-words on your expensive stationary, and being completely consumed by it all.  The lifestyle is so romantic, but the doing sucks balls.  That is to say, it's hard. Ugh.  Moving on.

It's hard in the confusing, doubting, I have nothing to say kind of way.  The essay is total shit, I am an idiot and pretender, and no one will ever want to read it. Plus, it's uninteresting, anything but poignant, and sickeningly self-important.

Writing is so solitary. "How was your day, Honey?!" is unanswerable other than to explain how I may have felt about a particular day of writing.  Oh, it was frustrating, or I am really on a roll, or I am wasting my entire life on this. Whereas Joel can tell many colorful anecdotes about his day at the office or his lunchtime outings or his bus commute home.

I want to cry. I want to do the dishes.  I want to stare out the window.  I even want to exercise! I want to do anything else but work on this essay.  It's pushing me away with locked arms like Bowie does when I try to change her beet-stained shirt.  Or maybe that's me doing the pushing.

Big. Cleansing. Sigh.

But then, a few new thoughts. New thoughts wash over me, and I try to stop thinking so much.

I saw Cheryl Strayed speak this week.  It was inspiring to say the least.  She made me tear up several times from the compassion, vulnerability  and truth of her words.  That day, I had begun to work on a few writing goals - like big time, life-reaching goals.  I therefore perked up when Strayed began to explain how she uncovered her own writing goals.

As she said, the goal cannot be to be a famous author, it cannot be to make the bestseller list, and it cannot even be to publish.  The goal, the only goal is to write.

My goal: TO WRITE.

Nothing else.  No holding back, no writing for my audience instead of for me, no judging it before it's finished.  We are the worst judges of our own work, not that we always think it's horrible, but that we are the last person on earth who should or even can critique its merit. I am trying my very best to remove my consciousness, my omnipresent self-analysis from the process, attempting to keep it hovering above me and keep me true, but to remind it that for these few moments that I actually get to write, my creative mind is in control.

In a truly creative space, I am not sure there can BE any analysis or self-editing.  That comes later.  It's like Hemingway said "Write drunk, Edit sober."  Oh, maybe I should try that.

The truth is, dear friends, that buried underneath this mountain of anxiety lies a wellspring of good-ol' pride.  I expect that my thoughts will flow out of my brain onto the paper and they will be poignant, as good or better than anything I've read, talented, and precise.  I am awfully impulsive, addicted to the blog's 'publish' button where I don't actually have to go back over and over and over again to rewrite everything.

Nothing you write is that precious.
-Natalie Goldberg

I could spend my entire writing life reading about writer's processes, taking classes, filling journals, blogging my thoughts, and dabble with a few serious pieces here and there.  I could allow the writing life culture to swallow me up.  I could stay here, no one would know the difference...only me.  But how long can one lie to oneself before she begins to unravel?

It's like I am training for a marathon, but am keeping myself in the gym on the treadmill forever, never actually entering or running the race.

It's time to stop the tredmill, gather up my dirty ol' gym bag, register for the marathon, pin my number to my shirt, and line up at the start.  I think I am there, truly...or at least no longer resisting it.  However, one question remains.

Who will fire the starting pistol?


Or, all of this is complete nonsense and my agitation comes from this huge cup of coffee I keep reheating. Well, back to it.  I have a rough draft due for a writing workshop tomorrow, and it needs so much work, I could just cry.  I feel like erasing it all and starting over, and this is just because I hate editing my own words; I'm addicted to first contact.  Must.Wean.Myself.


Easter Cute Overload

April 01, 2013 Candace Morris 2 Comments

Easter was ever so idyllic this year.  We spent the night and woke up to a gorgeous sun rising over the property.  After a quiet morning while the parents went to church, Joel's Grandpa Rosenquist arrived and we all snacked on an epic antipasti platter before taking Bowie outside for a few photos. Mom and Dad bought chicks just in time for Easter!  We took advantage of the uncharacteristically warm March day and let Bowie and the chicks meet each other out on the grass.  Please prepare yourself for too much may kill you.  After a very long nap (thanks Grandma!) we lingered over a delicious meal and relaxed as Bowie played with her plastic Easter eggs.  I hope you are still warm and fuzzy from your own celebrations.