Friday, October 28, 2011

Mundane post #2

Nothing emotionally and physically exhausts me more than hearing my baby cry. Days like this come so rarely and I count the minutes till Matt gets home...and I can't imagine what it's like to be a single parent, or have a kid with issues that make them scream all day.

I think the combination of him teething and getting a new cold now just push him over the edge. Germs come in without knocking, I've noticed. They brazenly enter unannounced with their muddy shoes on and expect me to clean up after them. We wash our hands meticulously, he's getting breastmilk, we don't go out-out that much, he's not in daycare, and has hardly been in the church nursery in the past few weeks. I never wanted to be that mom with the kid who has a glazed donut for an upper lip, and here I am. Chasing after a toddler with a piece of Kleenex.

And over and over to myself I say, This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

There are days that I want to be doing something really spectacular. Thinking smart thoughts about smart things among smart people. Make no mistake, chasing a giddy baby around the house with a string-pulled tooty train (thank you so much Kelly!!!!) is where I'd rather be than anywhere else...but it's easy for discouragement to creep in. I know what I'm doing serves such a great purpose - just providing Levi with consistency and routine and security and comfort is exactly what he needs to grow and thrive. I know I'm sowing little seeds of purpose and Truth into his little heart.

But when he's cutting six teeth at once and has a runny nose and a raw bottom and is sobbing in his crib...I kinda want to join him.

The other day I went to a friend's house for tea with another friend. We've been planning this day for the past couple of months, just a chance to see each other since I never see them at work anymore. These friends aren't old enough to be my mom (well, technically they could be; they would have been teenagers, and that's not so unusual anymore, let me tell you), so I guess I'll say that they're like my big sisters. So we planned to have tea, and I have to leave them unnamed and the pictures to myself because one of them is quite interested in protecting her professional image (guffaw). Why, you ask? Because one of them (the professional one, mind you - I know you're reading this, friend) calls me like five minutes before I leave the house to pick her up to tell me I needed to come RIGHT NOW because she had an idea. So I throw Levi in his car seat and leave without even putting on my shoes. Upon my arrival at her house, my professional friend greets me at the door dressed in what I can only describe as a dress that once was a flamingo. She pulls me up the stairs, grabs my bewildered baby, and shows me MY dress: a sparkly blue number with a tiered ruffled black skirt. Had I been able to pull my hair in a side ponytail, I would've been a spittin' image of Deb from Napolean Dynamite. With hot pink knee-high tights (why did she have these in her drawer?). Alarmingly, the dress fit.

And that is how we showed up at tea. Not to be outdone, my other friend ran upstairs to put on a leopard-print dress over her running tights. We had a dance party to Toby Mac (my poor bewildered Levi clutched his stuffed giraffe) before dining on donuts, cookies, Cheetos...and, of course, tea.

Our lovely tea party spread

I would love to show you the picture I have of the three of us, but sure don't want to wreck our very, very professional image. ;) I'll just let you wonder exactly who it is that is so much fun.

But it's good to have big sisters like that.

I guess things aren't so mundane after all. :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mundane post #1

I know he's barely one year old, but he can totally level me.

It's been gray this week. Rainy. And we've been....icky sick. He's been cutting what I thought were four upper teeth, but upon closer inspection it almost looks more like maybe six. I think he's in a growth spurt. And he's trying to learn how to walk.

That's a lot for one 20lb person and a tired, stir-crazy mama.

This morning he came undone. He took a sad little one-hour nap and I barely had a chance to get in some quiet time and start something in the crock pot for the weekend (working! shuttle launch!). And I mean, barely start cutting the stuff up to put in the crock pot. He's been clingy this week, and not that I really blame him. So of course he was in no mood to play by himself while I put together a meal. I set him up in his high chair with a snack and his sippy. He took two bites and started to yell at me again. A little blond 20lb dictator. He spilled his milk down his shirt. The milk I struggle to produce anymore. Still yelling, spitting out his food. Oh my word. In my mind I'm yelling SHUUUUTTTT UPPPPP!!!!! But I sing hymns instead because that seems a little kinder. But I still feel like a louse because I really want to tell my poor baby to, well, shut up.

I really wanted to call my friend. She beat me to it. Her morning was even more award-winning (zero thanks to the GI bug we shared with her kid). Misery really does love company, because I admit my spirits lifted. She also reminded me that Levi's teething. Oh yeah. I hold him, the phone, and draw up some ibuprofen and squirt it in his mouth with one hand, and he happily receives it. Thirty minutes later he's a new kid.

Usually naps are fairly smooth around her, but not so much today. He sobbed - deep, gulping sobs - like I had locked him in a dungeon (with four pacifiers, his giraffe and three beanie babies) and thrown away the key. Thrice I pulled him out to comfort him and thrice I returned him, and thrice he came unglued.

What happened to my easy baby??? I know this is nothing compared to some people's normal day, but Levi is not this...this...clingy, fussy, or any other form of -y.

He slept thirty minutes and it all started again.

I fed him his bottle. He gulped it like it was going to grow legs and walk away.

And then, for the first time since he was about four months old, he turned to me and plopped his head on my chest and laid there, eyes wide open and quiet, for about fifteen minutes. I rocked my baby - no, my little boy, now - in the quiet of (another) gray day. Did you hear that? It was the world righting itself again. All he needed was something for pain, something in his tummy, and his mama to rock him for a few minutes.

Then he pulled himself up, looked me square in the face, grinned, and slid off my lap. And that was that.

He's been more himself than he has in the past week ever since. He chowed down three quarters of a banana (yes, on the heels of an enormo bottle) while I ate my (very late) lunch, and then we walked around the neighborhood and waved at cars.

And now he's back down for a nap. No fanfare, no drama, no to-do.

The stew's in the crock pot. The diapers are washed and folded. Levi's veggies are steamed.

The preparations are almost complete for takeoff.

I don't know what just happened, but apparently Levi feels better and that's all I care about. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Profound? Or profundly mundane?

I have no idea what I'm going to write. But I'm sitting alone in a busy coffee shop and it's way too cliche...I absolutely *need* to write something.

I don't blog very often in part because I feel like I should have something terribly profound to say. And lately...well...right now I can rattle off forward and backwards the order of the animals in "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" Unless you're in the learning-colors-and-animals set, substance is lacking. Anyway, I really enjoy reading the "mundane" things that other people write on their blogs. I just like knowing the little day-to-day things. So maybe you do too?

So I made the mildly catastrophic mistake of blinking, evidently. About two days ago I was holding a newborn and singing him Christmas carols late into the night. He's not walking yet but he just this evening started walking while holding onto one of our hands. Not both hands, but one hand. Side-by-side. I followed him and Matt on this new venture tonight while they were heading into his room to get ready for bath time. Daddy and little boy hand-in-hand, side-by-side.

A few months after he was born I was commonly asked what surprised me most about being a new mom. My first answer? Guilt. Not sleepless nights, not how much they cost, not how fast they grow. Guilt. How on earth is it that from the moment we see the two lines on the pregnancy test, we feel that we can be personally held responsible for just about everything that could potentially go wrong?

Second answer: judgment. I'm profoundly astounded at the judgment that moms pass on one another. I'm right in the throng with them, so let me be clear that no matter how hard I try to convince myself I'm not nearly as judgmental as the rest, I am. Perhaps moms have always been judgmental of how others' parenting styles are somehow inferior to their own, but with the buzzing and ongoing conversation of Facebook, Twitter, and blogs (mommy blogs, oh my), it seems a little more in-your-face than I imagine it was in previous years. People can now loudly state their opinion in the form of "shared" articles and posts about sleep methods, feeding, immunizations, discipline, and whatever else can possibly come up in the world of parenting. And I think, yikes man. Please don't tell anyone that our baby sleeps in his own crib, in his own room (heck, downstairs from our room), I've pumped for nearly a year now but only given him breastmilk in a bottle, sometimes we let him cry it out (within reason, I feel I should clarify), and he gets his shots. All of them. On a traditional schedule. We've never worn him or co-bedded with him, and I'm probably not the gentlest mom on the block. (I'm not here to dog those things, I'm just saying that's not what we choose to do.)

But we seek to be a student of his heart every day. And I beg God to fill in the spots where I lack. And to help us pour Truth into him.

Anyway, moving on. We were sick this week. For Levi, I tried to pass several things off as teething. When I started having the same symptoms, I was pretty certain I was not teething as well. Matt left on Tuesday morning with my assurance that Levi and I would lie as low as possible for the day, but he need not worry about us. Fast forward, oh, five minutes, and Levi's looking at me with mild alarm while I grip the counter with nausea (stop thinking what I know you're thinking, because that's unquestionably NOT what it was!). And then his banana made an encore appearance. Yeah no, this was not going to go well today. A couple of episodes later, Matt texted, "Are you sure you don't want me to come home?" He was in the parking garage in Grand Rapids. I caved. He came home. My hero!! Later, he said, "Man, it's scary when you get sick." I get it. The universe pretty much tips on its axis when Mama is sick.

But we're better now and the Gouveia universe is back in order - and it's well sanitized.

We had a birthday party for Levi a couple weeks ago (though his birthday isn't till next week). He slept through half of it. I'll post pics soon!!

Well, there's the semi-mundane for you!! I have now slurped the last few drops of my latte smoothie, pretending to blend in with the college students and not look too 30-something-married-mom-ish, but probably my hundred-year-old refurb laptop is the first dead giveaway. I'll try to be more consistent with blogging the profound AND the mundane. Because even mundane life is profound. Or profoundly mundane? Whatever the case may be, it's life and I should share it more. :)