March 30, 2011

Truth on a Wednesday Morning

I read this most excellent post on parenting this morning and found myself nodding my head emphatically. And then I posted something in the comments (which disappeared, and I'm not sure why) that said: "I formula fed my first son, and the reason why I did that is because I did not get the support I needed at a critical time."

And that's the truth of what happened. No more, no less, really. I mean, I guess I could say more, but I've already done that.

It feels good to finally not feel like I am so much to blame. It's sad that so many of our parenting choices are called into question day after day after day - by other mothers, no less. Parenting has become such a three-ring circus of a pissing contest - in some circles. It's ridiculous. Yes, I'd love to feed my kids all organic/local, never have a chemical touch my kids' soft skin, and never, ever get upset with them. But some days just suck and we're all lucky just to have made it to bedtime without a major nervous breakdown.

I hope that I will never, ever, EVER again let someone make me feel so terrible for what was a necessary choice at the time.

On another note, my friend and I took our kids to McDonald's yesterday, and I nursed in public without a cover. I have nursed in public without a cover before, but really only when I was in a quiet area. This wasn't a quiet area. So color me surprised that 1) I'm one of those people who nurses in public, and 2) I actually stepped foot in a McDonald's.

Ahhh, motherhood. It's just full of the unexpected.

March 25, 2011

this moment

(Charlie in the bathtub, rockin' the 104 fever)

It seems like I have really good weeks, followed by ones that are so bad, they're stupid. This was a stupid week.

(More) sickness! (Extended) family drama! (Old) friend drama! All in all, pretty depressing.

On a happier note, we did have our house cleaned. By a professional. A professional who changed our sheets, emptied our cat box, cleaned our trash cans, and made our house genuinely sparkle. Having someone come clean the house is a gift from my mom, and I love her for it.

But let's talk about the bad stuff, because I just feel like complaining and because I like documenting this stuff. (I won't be discussing the drama for obvious reasons.) My back was bothering me big time at the beginning of the week. (Probably from toting around a 19 lb baby and 30 lb toddler.) We were so sleep deprived because Simon is in the middle of the dreaded four month wakeful period, up at least 4 or 5 times a night. By the time Tuesday rolled around, I was feeling awful, but I truly thought it was just sleep deprivation and muscle tension. (Just!)

Charlie was very reserved on Tuesday, up until the afternoon when he was melting down every five minutes or so for no reason at all. At one point I was holding him and noticed how hot he was. Turns out he had a fever of 104! I have to admit that for one second, I quietly panicked. Just for one second. He's never had a fever that high. My first thought was "let's take him to the ER" but then I called the on-call doc, who reassured us that really young children can actually handle higher fevers much better than adults can. We gave him dinner, a lukewarm bath, and some Tylenol, and by the time bedtime rolled around, his fever was down to 100.9.

That was a long night, with Charlie and Simon both waking up multiple times - Simon had developed a fever as well. In the wee hours of the morning, I began to feel feverish, took my temperature and it was 99.5. The muscle tension had made its way into my ribs at that point - it felt very much like the back and rib pain I had when I was pregnant with Charlie. I was pretty much hurting all over, but at that point I knew I was getting sick and that some of it had to be the dreaded body aches. I did see my chiropractor that morning - my mother-in-law, saint that she is, had to drive me because I was in that much pain.

When I got home I crawled into bed. And only really emerged to help Roy take the boys to the doctor. It was a heartbreaking visit. I am not one of those moms who cries when her kids get shots or things like that. They recover so quickly and never make a big deal about it, so that's probably why. Either that, or I am a soulless demon. But Charlie was oh so traumatized from the beginning, starting with the nurse trying to take his temperature. She couldn't get a good reading because he kept thrashing around and screaming. At one point, he shrieked, "A bear? A bear?", wanting to hold his polar bear BFF. Oh man, it was just so sad. I ended up taking his temperature myself, which went much better. Then, when it came time to weigh him, he was inconsolable. I almost lost it myself and had to make an active effort not to cry. Poor Chuckles.

Simon was much more agreeable, and after ruling out meningitis, the doctor said they probably had the flu. He gave us a prescription for Tamiflu, which we did not get filled. But by the time we got home, the boys had no more fever. Charlie slept pretty well during the night, while Simon woke up a gazillion times. I had my fever off and on all through the night, but by Thursday morning it was gone. As the day went on, my body stopped hurting so much, but my sore throat, which had been mild up until that point, got much, much worse. Charlie was pretty much a mess for most of the day, and I can only assume that he was dealing with a sore throat as well.

I took some Advil before bed last night for my throat, which helped, but I woke up multiple times in the night (thanks, Simon!) absolutely soaked in sweat. It was pretty bizarre. I am not a person who sweats much, certainly not while sleeping. I also had a very strange dream, which is nothing unusual. I dreamt that one of my favorite bloggers wrote a pretty interesting new post. Then I was going down some giant water slide on an air mattress somewhere in Central America. But then I had to go back to my friend's house for some other reason that I can't remember, and then I left again. I got involved with a bunch of people who decided to steal pizza, and we got totally busted by the cops just as we were about to leave in our giant tour jeep. Oh, and I lost my camera. I was seeing all these cool things in Central America and had no way of documenting them. When we got back from our tour, I went to lost and found to see if anyone had turned in my camera, but no luck. My keys were there, though. That's pretty much all I remember of that dream. I woke up thinking about Malibu and how much I would love to take the boys camping there sometime soon. Maybe we'll do that. We deserve something supremely fun after all this sickness crap.

Being sick is depressing. We've had about five bouts of sickness in our home since Simon was born, and I'm really kind of burned out on it. I've never had to deal with this much sickness in such a short amount of time; I can only assume that it's because of the boys, which is fine - being sick is good for their immune system, but blah. It really is not fun at all. I spent several hours on Thursday reading the archives of this blog, which I hadn't read in several years, and was reminded how lucky we are not to be dealing with chronic illness. The boys are healthy; Roy and I are healthy. That is everything.

(PS, This week Simon gave up the swaddle and the swing. He's been sleeping on the floor, in our bed, or in the bouncy chair.)

March 18, 2011

these moments

Last night I left the boys with Roy and went to go get my hair done. On the way, I listened to Pearl Jam's Binaural album (meh) and while I was there, I read two tattered copies of Poets & Writers magazine (awesome). One of my graduate school professors was profiled in January's issue for getting her book published, and I was grinning while reading about it. She was one of my favorite professors - I interned with her, actually.

Right before Christmas, my mom treated me to a trip to the salon. I hadn't had anything done to my hair since I dyed it pink, and I was in desperate need of something. My hair has gotten lighter and lighter over the years, thanks to various stylists I've seen, and so I wanted to try to get back to my natural color (which is a kind of icky mousy color) so there would be less maintenance. So I got some lowlights. I really did like it at first but after awhile I started to feel really blah about it. So this time I decided to go for some more highlights, plus some red. My stylist also taught me how to make my hair look "beachy" by styling my natural waves. I was surprised at how cute I looked - most of the time I feel like a smelly old hag who is covered in mashed up food and spit up.

I came home a happy girl and was greeted by Roy, who was holding a sleeping Simon. Apparently Simon was not happy that I wasn't there to put him to bed and finally conked out in Roy's arms after screaming a whole lot. Poor little guy. We got Simon off to bed and Roy gave me his anniversary gift to me: a Daytrotter T-shirt! I was stoked. I have downloaded so much free music from that site so I'm super happy that I got a T-shirt to show my support. Bonus: the T-shirt was made in L.A., so we essentially bought local. Big fat yay.

(The picture above is me in my new hair and Daytrotter shirt. I am so happy in this picture because I feel so pretty. Honestly, I feel guilty sometimes for wanting to change my appearance through different hair color, etc. I feel like I should just accept myself as is and that by manipulating my appearance I am just giving into what women are expected to want while also not setting a good example for my kids. I have a lot of Very Serious Conversations with myself about how I should not want to get my eyebrows waxed, but there is no denying that when I look in the mirror, I am horrified by the giant bearskin rugs hanging out above my eyes. I just feel better when my hair is lighter and my eyebrows thinner. I enjoy wearing makeup because it makes me feel pretty. I like having flattering clothes. I can't help these things; maybe I should stop feeling bad about wanting to feel beautiful. I mean, as long as I recognize that true beauty comes from within, it's all good, right? I don't know. I struggle with this - a lot.)

I ate two special St. Patrick's Day cupcakes our neighbor gave us and went to bed. The remainder of the night sucked. Simon was up a lot during the night, and it was a definite flashback to more challenging times. We've had a couple of other difficult nights this week, which is strange because Simon has always done remarkably well at this sleeping thing. Oh well. There's not much I can do about it except hope that this passes quickly. Perhaps we will try some new things if this continues. In the meantime, zzzzzzzzzz.

But then.....

This morning Becki and I hit up the Savvy Chic Kids presale. The sale opens to the public on Sunday, but because I'm a consignor, I got to shop early and bring a friend along. Roy was a saint and stayed home with the kids (plus Becki's son Luke) while we went and dropped entirely too much cash at this most awesome of sales.

Here's what I got (see picture above - cute kid not included with purchase of these items):

an inflatable baby pool
10 summer outfits (mostly for Simon, some new with tags)
6 pairs of shoes
a big ol' bag of Mega Blocks
4 pairs of BabyLegs
4 cloth diapers
1 wool diaper cover
a wooden ride-on toy
a little Ikea chair (My friend, who was a volunteer for the sale, got to shop earlier than me and bought this for me because she knew I wanted it. Yes, I have awesome friends.)
a space-saver high chair/booster seat for Simon
a sun hat for Simon

I didn't deviate too much from my list. I got some amazing deals and I know everything will get used. However, I still feel guilty because I went over budget and I did some impulse buying. It is funny the space I get in sometimes, when I just become a rabid consumer. I try so hard not to be in my day-to-day life and then I go to something like this and lose sight of everything we're working for.

I know that I should not be so hard on myself. After all, buying used is a wonderful thing to do. I think it's that loss-of-control feeling that got to me, but at the same time, I felt absolutely elated to have scored such great deals. I mean, Stride Rite shoes for $5? A wool diaper cover for $8? You can't beat that with a big fat stick.

I'm choosing to focus on the positive. I got my kids some nice previously owned things, most of which they'll both be able to use. Emphasis on the previously owned - the green factor is huge, and that makes me happy. And in order to shop early, I got rid of some stuff we weren't using, and even if it doesn't sell, it'll be donated. It'll never be in my house again.

Happy weekend, everyone.

March 14, 2011


It was six years ago this day that Roy took me out on our first date. That was then:

This is now:

After six years, four job changes (two for Roy, two for me), three moves, a wedding, two pregnancies, two kids, and countless priceless memories, I can honestly say that he's still my best friend and the love of my life. (Happy dateiversary, behbehs. You still make me incredibly happy. Let's play footsies.)

Today is another anniversary of mine: the four year anniversary of the day I quit smoking. When I think that it's been four years, I can scarcely believe it. I was a habitual smoker for over ten years and I could never imagine my life without cigarettes. I'm glad I took the steps to make that change, though, because it is hugely inspiring for me to know that I did it. I made a change I never thought I was going to ever be able to make, and I stuck with it. I am a triumphant non-smoker!

My first post of the new year was a laundry list of things I want to accomplish and changes I want to make in 2011. It's overwhelming, when I really think about it, to consider all the changes I would like to make in my life - that post doesn't really touch on everything. I'd love to grow a garden, eat healthy foods for every single meal and snack, give up caffeine, do yoga every morning, floss every night, stop using the computer around my kids, wake up early each morning to write, and on and on and on it goes.

There is nothing wrong with wanting these things. But I often am doomed to fail before I even begin because I want all these changes to happen at once. I want to snap my fingers and have it be done. I'm such an American. No patience and no tolerance for the process of change. In order for my life to change, I have to change.

I did not come to this conclusion on my own. I read The Spiral of Successful Habits, an amazing post on Zen Habits, and it was like I got hit with a case of the DUHs. That's when I decided that I was going to change my life, but I was going to do it one little thing at a time, give each change an adequate amount of time to set in, and just go slowly. And so I have begun.

The first change I chose to make was showering every night before bed. It had become too difficult to get a shower each day. I was mostly successful but each shower was rushed, for obvious reasons. I wasn't always able to wash my hair either, and I have hair that needs to be washed every day. Sometimes my showers were downright stressful, especially if Charlie decided to hold the shower curtain open the entire time, letting water run everywhere.

This sounds like a simple change, something that would be pretty easy, but it's not always like that. I've almost managed to talk myself out of showering at night a few times, just because I was tired and wanted to go straight to bed. The only time I didn't make myself keep up with the nighttime showers was when I was sick recently, as I didn't want to go to bed with wet hair. But once I was better, I jumped right back to it.

When I am trying to talk myself out of taking a pre-bedtime shower, I remind myself how much I love having time to really get nice and clean, shave my legs, and enjoy the warm water. Since the boys are asleep and Roy is home, I can spend as much time as I want in the shower - this is a luxury I do not have in the mornings. I am super relaxed afterwards and fall asleep so easily. I just love lying in bed with wet hair. And in the morning I am nice and fresh, and it's much easier for me to get ready for the day.

So that was change #1. It's been going very well. My hair the next day is hit or miss, but let's face it - it always has been. At least I'm clean.

Change #2: a walk every morning by myself. I started this one right on the heels of change #1. Basically I make it a point to take a walk around the block each morning alone. I try to get out of bed, throw on some clothes, and leave the house, but sometimes I have to stop and change a diaper or feed Simon first. I absolutely love doing this little thing for myself each morning. Mornings in my neighborhood are nothing short of glorious, and I get five minutes alone in the world to collect my thoughts before the chaos begins. Much like my nighttime showers, this is a gift to myself - it is for me only. I spend countless hours a day tending to the needs of my guys (I'm not complaining, just saying), and I've earned this. Someday I would like the walks to be longer, but that will come with time and with other changes made. For now, I'm good with five minutes of solitude.

Oh yeah, sometimes my camera comes along for the ride; here are some photos from my walks.

(This is our grapefruit tree. Funny story, I had no idea this was a grapefruit tree until my brother-in-law told me it was. I thought it was an orange tree. That was a sign to me that we should actually, you know, eat the free fruit growing on our property.)

These photos are unedited. It's a fucking beautiful world out there.

So I'm into change #3 now, which is probably the most difficult one yet: brush my teeth a full two minutes each time. I use a Sonicare toothbrush, which is all fancy and actually shuts itself off once I've reached the two minute mark. I used to take my sweet time brushing my teeth. And then Charlie was born. And then Simon was born. I've been rushing through it. It's funny the things that we let go without even thinking about it. But this is something that I really need to take the time to do. So I'm about a week in and doing okay. I find myself getting bored before the two minutes are up. I find myself getting pulled away because of toddler drama. I must stop all that and exist only in my tooth-brushing world for those two minutes.

These are little things. But in my time on this earth, I have come to realize that it's often the little things in life that add up to make the biggest difference. Roy put our new tomato plant on our kitchen window sill this weekend, and that was enough to put a big stupid smile on my face each time I looked at it.

We should probably put it outside, though.

And speaking of changes, I love this time change! I thought it would really mess with the boys' sleep schedules around here, but things are going surprisingly well. And spring is on its way. My flash has been living on my camera since the fall, and it’s really nice to have lots of natural light pouring into the house.

I feel like I'm waking up after a long dark winter. Our winter was pretty mild, but I've spent a lot of it in the house, a little nervous about taking such a young baby out too much. But no more! I feel the call of sunshine in my bones.

March 11, 2011

this moment

This is a blurry cell phone picture of an ice cream sandwich. And if it were anyone else, they'd say, "This is an ice cream sandwich that I ate this week. It was EPIC. The end." But that's not how I roll around here. I say things the long way.

But yes, that ice cream sandwich was epic. Mint chocolate chip ice cream smashed between two homemade chocolate cookies. I wanted to marry that ice cream sandwich. But I didn't. I was too busy chasing my toddler around.

Let me start over.

Roy and I took the boys to the zoo on Sunday. Our hopes that they would nap in the stroller while we were there were dashed. They both just screamed instead. We left the zoo in hopes that they would fall asleep in the car. Charlie did; Simon kept on screaming. We had to pull over into some random LA parking lot so that I could nurse Simon. There was something that looked like a dried turd on the ground near our car. (That is unrelated to this story. It was just something I noticed and that made me want to vomit. Plus I was pulling a Britney because I was barefoot, and who wants dried turd on their foot? I had taken off my shoes and socks, because I don't really like wearing them. I'm country, you know, because I grew up in Texas on four acres of land. But I have never driven with my baby on my lap.)

Back to the story. Simon was very happy to be held and nursed. I think he was just lonely. Since the car wasn't moving anymore (good grief, these boys are particular!), Charlie woke up and was not a happy camper. Once I got Simon all snuggled back in his car seat again, he wasn't a happy camper either. We drove for awhile, listening to their protests, and then decided we all needed to get out of the car for awhile. We stopped in one of my favorite little towns. Charlie needed a diaper change, and Simon needed to be fed (again). I sat in the driver's seat nursing Simon while Roy sat in the passenger seat and changed Charlie. People walked by and were staring at us. My boob was hanging out and Charlie was crawling all over the place, pressing random buttons, without pants on. Roy and I couldn't stop laughing.

Finally we got Charlie back into his pants and Simon into the Ergo. Charlie immediately took off down the sidewalk, Roy chasing after him. I was trying to find my shoes and after rooting around in the car for awhile, discovered that I couldn't reach them because it would be too difficult to perform those kinds of gymnastics while wearing Simon. Roy came to my rescue, handing Charlie off to me. Charlie was very absorbed in a leaf he picked up off the ground but then all of a sudden went tearing down the sidewalk. I chased him down the street in my bare feet, Simon bouncing along in the Ergo. I must have been quite a sight. All I could think was, "Five years ago I bet you never would have guessed your life would be like this."

Charlie was retrieved, my flip flops made it safely onto my feet, and we hit up the little ice cream shop for a snack. That's when I got the epic ice cream sandwich, which I immediately began eating as soon as we went back outside. It was awesome. Pretty squishy. I was having a hard time eating it because Simon was crying and I was trying to comfort him at the same time. I pretty much shoved it into my face as fast as I could. Then I had to chase Charlie down an alley. I was holding my hands in front of my face because I know I had ice cream and chocolate all over it.

That wasn't the end of our Claremont adventure. I decided I wanted to go into the awesome music store. I really really really wanted to browse. That's what music stores are for! However, I had to settle for a 10 minute visit during which Charlie ran out the door repeatedly. Only to be brought back inside by Roy, screaming. (Charlie was screaming, not Roy.) I was holding Simon, who was drooling everywhere, no doubt. I asked Roy if he wanted me to handle Charlie for awhile, and he said, "Sure." I took another look at my screaming child and said, "Eh, nah. Let's get out of here."

And so we did. And again, we couldn't stop laughing. Later on, Roy said, "I think it's awesome that we're those parents who are laughing while their kid is screaming."

Me, too.

This week I realized that I have come into my own as a mother of two. Up until now, I've kept the outings to a minimum because I was too scared to handle two kids in public by myself. But this week alone, I took both of them grocery shopping, to campus, to two friends' houses, and to the music store. This is huge for me. And it feels good to not stress so much over the logistics of it all.

But it's not just about the outings. It's so much more than that. It's this feeling I have when I go to bed at the end of the day. I know I give them my best every single day. I may not be the best mother in the world, but I am exactly the mother they need me to be. I don't care if they scream in public (well, obviously it would be nice to avoid it), but if they do, I don't believe it's a reflection of my parenting. I faced a lot of disapproving stares this week, particularly at the grocery store when Simon started crying hard because he was hungry. But babies cry, you know? It's what they do. It's how they communicate. And it's not fun to hear, ever. But it happens. All the judgy looks in the world aren't going to change that.

We took Simon to the doctor for his well check about a month ago, and one of the questions I asked was about how much he spits up. Simon spits up a lot because he nurses for comfort quite a bit. He's ingesting all this extra milk and as a result I get to change my shirt five times a day. He won't take a pacifier so when he is fussy and can't be distracted or comforted any other way, the only option really is to stick him on my boob. Problem solved. Anyway, I asked the doctor about the spitting up, just to make sure that it wouldn't cause any problems, and we got into a stupidly familiar conversation about how Simon is eating too much and that is why he weighs so much. (If you click on the link, you'll see that he told us the exact same thing about Charlie, only Charlie wasn't spitting up a lot.) I asked the doctor what to do and he told me that we needed to let Simon cry instead of letting him nurse for comfort.

That pretty much goes against all my parenting philosophies. I mean, really?! I'm supposed to let my three-month old baby cry it out because he wants to be comforted? It's pretty much the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard and I have not taken his advice. I still don't have a solution for the spitting up, but I know it isn't letting him cry. I know that because I am his mother, because he has a brother who also was (is) big for his age, and besides Roy was a big chunker of a baby, too.

That's quite the tangent, but hopefully you'll get what I mean. This whole thing with Simon? I could so easily have taken it as an attack on my parenting. But it's not like that. I mean, maybe the doctor meant it like that, but if he did, I think he's dead wrong. I think letting babies cry instead of meeting their needs is mean and I refuse to do it. (Although we did sleep train Charlie, but to me that was not mean at all.) I don't care what the damn doctor says. Well, I do care, when he gives me good information instead of crap. Ahhh, I should change the subject because I'm getting mad over this.

Another realization I came to this week? It's about this blog. I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed writing these posts every Friday. Committing to posting just once a week has given me a lot of space to think about why I blog and what I want from this.

It seems pretty common to get sucked into caring about how many followers you have, who's reading, blog stats, gaining popularity in the blog world. I'll admit that I've thought about it. I'll admit that over the past year, the amount of comments I get has gone way down, and there have been times when that has bothered me. I took it personally, like I am somehow boring or whiny or too wordy. That is why I really, really, really came close to ending this blog last summer. It's hard, you know? To offer yourself so fully and not hear back the way you imagined you would.

But that wasn't the reason I started this blog. I started it because I was moving away from journaling and still wanted to talk about my life. I love the blogging medium, that you can share pictures and video and songs along with words. It's such a rich experience, to read a blog, if you really think about it. I've put so much time and energy into my blog, and so much of myself. As I've written these snippets of my life since the beginning of the year, I've come to realize that I have stories to tell that are worth sharing, and if I get zero comments or 1000 comments, that simple fact is not going to change. Because I didn't start sharing them for other people; I started my "moment" project for me. And because of it, I have gained clarity and purpose. I feel a renewed passion for this blog. I am not sure if I will blog more often, because gah, seriously, where is all the time I used to have? But I am happy and excited to be here again. If this continues, then I have an awesome idea for blogging in 2012.

It's like I've been cracked open and am a brand new baby chicken or something. Finally, a step backward to what feels real.

And here is where I say thank you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for being a support system for me. Thank you for giving me a space to be honest about my life. I have been a part of this world for four years now and I have learned so much. I am continually awestruck and inspired by what's out there. We live in an amazing moment in time and I love being a part of it. (And yet I often long to escape it. But that's a subject for another undoubtedly long post, and hey, I actually already have written about this.)

Happy weekend! Thanks for letting me ramble.

March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday



Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.


Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to satiety
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled
Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
Under a tree in the cool of the day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.


At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was dark,
Damp, jagged, like an old man's mouth drivelling, beyond repair,
Or the toothed gullet of an aged shark.

At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene
The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.

Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy
but speak the word only.


Who walked between the violet and the violet
Who walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour,
Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing

White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

And after this our exile


If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season, time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.

O my people.


Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

'Ash-Wednesday', from Collected Poems 1909-1962 by T S Eliot, © T S Eliot 1963, Faber & Faber Limited

March 7, 2011

Roll Over, Beethoven

Simon rolled over for the first time on Friday! He was very sneaky about it so I didn't get it on video until today.

(If you watch the video below, you will get a bonus: hearing Charlie say "Simon," which is the cutest thing ever.)

The milestones are just as cool the second time around. There's nothing like watching a little blob of a baby gradually change into a mobile crazy kid. I find it interesting to compare Charlie and Simon, because it drives home the point that every baby is different.

Charlie rolled from back to belly for the first time when he was close to 5 months old. Simon did the same at 3.5 months. Typically, babies roll from belly to back first, but not my boys.

Charlie slept through the night for the first time at 8 months old. Simon has already done it three times. (By sleeping through the night, I mean Simon can sleep an eight to ten hour stretch without waking for a feeding. He has yet to go the entire night without a feeding, which is fine by me.)

Charlie laughed for the first time at 3 months old, and it was just a little giggle. Simon has been full-on belly laughing since he was 7 weeks old.

Charlie has cried every single time he has been vaccinated (which, of course, is what I expect. Needles aren't fun!). Simon surprised the hell out of me by not even whimpering when he got a shot at his last well check.

.Ahhhh, I just love watching them grow up.

March 4, 2011

this moment

This week has been pretty stupid.

I've been sick for most of it. As of this writing, I have no voice. By the time I went to bed on Tuesday night, it was almost all gone. I'd had a sore throat for days that had turned into nothing and figured my throat needed an overnight break. Turns out it needed more than that. This is day 3 of no voice. And let me tell you, it's really difficult to read your kid a story without one.

Roy's been awesome. He stayed home on Wednesday and Thursday because no way could I handle two kids while feeling like utter crap. (Well, I'm sure I could if I really needed to, but it made more sense to try to get well. Plus I am a wimp. It's true. I am.) I feel really lucky to have that option. I know a lot of parents don't.

So I've been spending a lot of time in bed. I happened to overhear a bunch of giggles coming from Charlie's room on Wednesday afternoon so I had to get out of bed and check it out. Roy was lying on his back on the floor, and Charlie and Simon were both sitting on him. Charlie was "holding" Simon. It was the cutest thing I think I've ever seen, and definitely the brightest moment of this cough-drop filled week.

I just love how much Charlie loves Simon, how he's always giving him kisses and yelling out "Shao may!" when he sees him. Simon is a big time gigglebox, and those two really set each other off. I really love that they have each other.

On a semi-related note, March 2 marked the one-year anniversary of finding out we were expecting Simon. And now we've got this chunky little red-headed guy in our lives. It's pretty damn awesome. Life is good, even when you've got a constant tickle in your throat and have to whisper all the time. But one thing being sick has taught me this time around? Chamomile tea with honey in it works wonders to get rid of that annoying throat tickle. I've been leaving tea bags all over the kitchen like Harry in Sex and the City. I've done the world a favor, though, and kept all my clothes on.