Friday, May 28, 2010

the birthday girl

I've realized like never before that the first birthday is for the parents more so than for the birthday child. It's kind of like a rite of passage as a parent, a public affirmation that yes, I somehow survived the newborn circus. I've made peace with 3 a.m. I've now experienced some pretty incredible pain when the little one discovered how to bite. I've not divorced my husband or hired someone to knock him off. I've gotten over my phobia of bodily fluids (which really kind of bothers much filth have I wallowed in that it doesn't bother me to transfer MANY dirty cloth diapers out of the diaper pail into the washing machine with my bare hands? Dare I say that I have found my super power?) I've developed two wardrobes: my spit-up stained, 100% cotton, slumming around the house wardrobe and the 2 other shirts that I coddle in order to maintain some semblance of public decency. I've mastered the art of packing a diaper bag in less than 1 minute. See, the first year is all

All of this pales in comparison with the extraordinariness that is Abby. My sweet pea celebrated her big day with ease - loving the whipped cream and strawberries, dismissing the mini cupcake (further proof that I'm not the "norm," I was soooo happy that she didn't smush cupcake everywhere!), dismantling a handful of presents with little provocation. All of these weeks of practicing her unpacking skills has served her well if for no other purpose than this occasion.

I, however, was a riot of bittersweet emotions. The best thing that I can liken it to is the crazy, inexplicable onslaught of emotions that come directly after your baby is born - you know he/she is coming, you know roughly what he/she will look like, yet all of sudden, here he/she is, and you're now suddenly responsible for this incredibly fragile looking yet surprisingly resilient little package of baby love and oh my goodness you love him/her with an incredible amount of passion but still, it's just so surreal. This may not be true for everyone but totally true for me.

And here's my sweetness, my little bean, in all of her birthday happiness.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stereotypes & Milestones


Someone made a comment to Abby recently that made me inwardly cringe, but maybe it's just me. Abby was playing happily, toodling around doing her little thing, hugging or petting one of her little toys, a doll, I think. This person said something to the effect of "Yes, you should take care of your baby. That's what little girls do." Cringe! Does anyone else agree with me? I know that we (the proverbial "we" that really means the generalized "society") begin gender training from the moment of birth (what hospital and/or new parent doesn't automatically plaster pink or blue over everything when the little one is born?), and I know that our conversation is heavily gendered, but such overt and old-fashioned statements make me wince. I've never ever heard someone say the same thing to a little boy. Yes, we should take good care of your little (insert toy here). That's what little boys do. It's really hard to nurture a toy hammer or dump truck.

I also know that there are parents out there who are determined to raise their child in a gender-neutral environment: dolls, Spiderman, high heels, and light sabers for all boys and girls. I also know that I'm not one of those. I'm fairly comfortable raising Abby in a pink bubble insofar as appearances go, but I refuse to use such gendered language with her. I refuse to insinuate that as a female, she is best suited only for nurturing roles.

On a lighter note, Abby's abilities are exploding! We're going through a stretch where she seems to be doing something different or really showing new levels of expertise every day. And it's so exciting for us to watch, as I'm sure it is for all new parents! It's amazing!! A lot of what she's learning is largely based on intuition, and it's so incredible to have primary access to watching this develop.

She's beyond walking, practically running now. And, she's so far (keeping fingers crossed on this one) taking after Ben in her build. As much as I generally dislike listening to people talk about running (snooze), we would both love it if she were a runner. It's SO nice to be able to set her down and a) know that she's steady on her feet and b) can follow me or come to me if I need her to.

She only has about 2 weeks of formula left. Yay!

She's eating bigger chunks of a greater variety of yumminess.

She's working on learning how to use a spoon. Quite humorous!

Her flinging reflex is hilarious. If only this could be part of a sport...

Abby can say "baby," which generally stands for her name and our cat Toby's name (her favorite toy). She's also rockin' the "daddy" and has been throwing "mama" out with greater regularity and focus lately.

My absolute favorite new skill that we learned this weekend: we were talking about ducks during her bath the other night, whereupon I quacked a few times. And then she quacked back!! AND, she'll now quack if you ask her what a duck says. I love it. I guess that there's a reason I call her my little duck.

She's wearing mostly 12-mo. size clothes now. And as always, I get a little sad when I have to put away another little outfit that she's outgrown. But this is a good melancholy.

She's a champ about putting things away.

Abby is a cuddler; the absolute best part of my day is snuggling with her on the floor after supper and before bath when she's at her lovey-est.

She loves looking at books, even by herself, for good stretches of time. Does this mean that she'll be a reader?!?! As an English teacher, meaning as one who understands the incredible importance of reading, I so desperately want her to not despise reading.

Abby looooooves being outdoors, which we try to carve out some time for this every day since this spring has been stupendous weather overall. She loves the wind in her face. She loves loading up in the stroller for long walks, which she frequently narrates. And, she's learned to pull weeds. However, she hasn't yet distinguished between weeds and my fledgling pepper plants. (I started at down to six between her and the cat. Natural selection? Survival of the fittest?)

Abby's first birthday is in 2 weeks. When I think about where she is at today versus where she was out exactly one year ago, I'm amazed. It truly truly boggles my mind. What an incredible journey of growth in such a short amount of time. What a fantastic year!

"We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves."
--Lynn Hall

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oh, you doctors

When we first got married and moved down to Kokomo, I dutifully brought along all of my medical information and then just globbed on to all of Ben's everything--doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc. But, because I'm just this way, I kept my allergist and Ob/Gyn in Ft. Wayne and used these check-ups as excuses to take a day off of work and visit the fam back in Harlan...inconvenient, but okay by me. Part of this was necessitated by the basic and apparent lack of anything allergist in Kokomo. Seriously!! Could not find an allergist by word of mouth or word of doctor's mouth in this little burg closer than Carmel/Fishers--45 minutes away. But more on this later.

Ben's doctor, whom he literally has seen TWICE since we've been married (nearly 5 years now), is located in this (in my opinion) massive complex of medical-ness that is just plain confusing. I had a check-up wit this doctor once just so they could administer my allergy shots. Once was enough! Nice enough doctor but whoa...confusion. I grew up in a one-doctor town, and he had one nurse who used to be my softball coach and taught me how to inject my own allergy shots if I ever so desired to do so. Basically, my type of place. NO confusion! Now, I'm supposed to find my way around this multi-suited complex with something like 6 doctors/suite. Oy! And you don't pay/sign out where you make your appointments. And the walk-in clinic is not where the doctors are. And there are multiple hallways and signs seemingly pointing everywhere. I'm not a good navigator (this is why I drive when we go through Chicago).

I tried to get my shots at this place. But after about 2 months, I couldn't take this place anymore every 2-3 weeks. I *hated* it, if not only for the impersonal-ness that it exuded. So I ditched Ben's doctor and struck out on my own. I had someone tell me once when I was engaged, "You don't have to use the same toothpaste as your husband." I realized that I don't have to use the same doctor either! I settled upon a one-doctor office again, though the doctor himself gave me the heebie-jeebies. His biggest saving grace was that his nurse was fantastic, and she was the one that gave me my shots, so I didn't really have to come across him too much. (Really, the first time I'm there and waiting, he sees me reading Crime and Punishment, leaves me for a minute, and comes back with a proselytizing booklet about bringing Christ to prisoners, with the implication that I needed, what, to be saved?) After 2 years, I quit with the allergy shots, and since I can't even remember the last time that I had to go to the doctor because of actually being sick, I just never changed doctors. If I wasn't going to get allergy shots anymore, however, I didn't want to go to him anymore, but why change if I didn't need to?

And then Abby came along. I used her as an excuse to get in with a different family doctor who could see us both. But the one that Ben and I chose from the two that were recommended the aforementioned and hated medical complex. Sigh. And now, one year later, I'm ready to take off again and go somewhere else.

Calling in to ask a basic question is basically horrible. There's a huge phone menu which inevitably leads me to some department that I'm not even sure what it is...I get transferred A LOT. And then I get transferred to various nurses voice mail EVEN MORE, which is terrible. I never get a call back even with my most basic questions with any speed...2 days later, 3 days later isn't uncommon. Yes, I understand that it's a doctor's office conglomerate and it's a busy place, but still! Can I just talk with someone who can possibly help!?!

So herein lies my latest saga. I'm finally switching allergists to someone down here because a) my Ft. Wayne allergist retired 2 years ago and b) I found one listed in the phone book in a roundabout sort of way. Sounds like a winner, except 4 days and 4 phone calls later, I'm still no where. I need to get a prescription refilled and the dang allergist is forcing me to come in and get a check-up after I've ignored their "please call us because you're overdue" postcards for about 3 years now. BUT! I have to have a referral from my primary care doctor to get in with the allergist that I found in the phonebook (because they wouldn't accept a referral from my previous allergist who obviously does know about whether or not I need to be referred, right?). But I've never seen this guy about allergies because I've had it all taken care of well before I ever moved to Kokomo. AND, I just called in four days ago to try to postpone Abby's 1-year check-up a few days so that it wasn't going to be directly on her birthday and was promptly told that this doctor doesn't have any openings until AUGUST!!!!?!???! What?! I'm available to come in any day any time since it's going to be summer vacation. Nothing?!?! Herein lies my frustration with this doctor and his office. He swears to me any time I see him that he's always available to babies and will always fit them into his schedule. I've called his office twice when Abby has had a cold or whatever and have been put off each time. Where is the disconnect? Are you there for my kid anytime like you tell me? If so, then why don't the appointment makers recognize this? So I know that it would be a nightmare if I needed to get in with this doctor to get a stupid check-up so that I can be referred to an allergist. I just want my nose spray!

Seemingly with good news and fairly quick response, a voice mail on my phone after school today. The doctor's nurse returning my call about the referral for the allergist, we set up an appointment for you on X date at X time (why can't I set up my own appointment???) with X doctor. Great. This is not the doctor that I asked to be referred to. In fact, the allergist that I wanted is at a place that has 2 doctors, neither of whom are this guy that you are sending me to. I have issues with this.

What's up with doctors' offices!!?? You're on notice that we're at odds. Our time together may be brief.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

a post about nothing

I have nothing to say of any consequence. Really, I'm just wasting a bit of time because a) grad school is done for the semester so I have a luxurious wealth of free time and b) I'm waiting on Abby to wake up from her nap, any moment now, and I don't want to do anything. So, I shall blog about nothing. Here are my random nothing thoughts.

Toby just curled up on my lap. She is soft and cuddly.

Today is, dare I jinx it?, perfect weather. No clouds. High around 70. Little humidity. The slightest of breezes. Perfect. I took my 6th period class outside today and we did not much of anything outside rather not much of anything inside. Sometimes you just have those days. There was a reason for it; I'm not just unprepared.

Today was a friend and colleague's birthday, and another friend & colleague brought in super de-lish cake. If you used to work at Taylor and no longer do, you missed out. One of the best things about my job is the fantastic dynamic duo who used to own a chocolate shop in town but gave that up and now bless us for free with their fantastic confections. The whippped cream frosting on their cakes is heaven on a cake.

Abby is walking NON STOP now. I didn't realize that once they figured out how to walk that that's all that they do. But it's so much fun, maybe my favorite stage yet???, and she's even obeying pretty well when we ask her to stop. She turns one year old in 19 days. How did that happen? What a blessing she is. I saw a question on Facebook posted by Earth's Best about mothers for Mother's Day asking What is your favorite thing about being a mother? Where to begin!? The perfect little smiley baby who is all yours? The way she comes up and hugs my leg? The look of pure joy she gets on her face when we go outside? The way she talks, loudly, when she's in her stroller? The way she nestles her head on my shoulder when she's tired? The unconditional love?

A new book by my favorite author has just been released, which is coincidentally right when I'm finding myself with copious amounts of time that I don't know what to do with anymore with no homework to work on. There's supposedly a copy of it available at my wait! I see this as a divine sign from the goddess of literature.

I'm a happy person when there is half a pan of fudgy, nutty brownies sitting in my kitchen and I'm not inclined to devour them. I'm definitely one of those types that devours a centimeter at a time...death by a thousand paper cuts so to speak. I have maybe been known to pick away at the brownies bit by bit because something in me isn't satisfied to leave them alone until the edges of the portion that is left are all straight lines. Justification for excess?

Okay, now I just realized that I do want just one bite. This was a post of nothingness anyway. It's time to stop.

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." Mahatma Gandhi