Category “Life with an Infant”

Happy Birthday, Baby

Dear Baby,

Has it really been a year?

Has it only been a year?

It’s funny to me now, how worried I was about your arrival.  Little did I know that the first year of your life would be the very best of mine.  I have a feeling, sweet girl, that it’s only going to get better from here.

Happy Birthday, Baby.

Love,

Mom

P.S. – in honor of Lil Mil’s first birthday (and the fact that, in the year since her birth, I wrote a novel and sold my first TV show!), starting tomorrow, I’m going to re-post some of my Embrace the Detour favorites.  If a particular post stuck with you and you’d like to see it again, let me know.

Living a Laugh-Cry

It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving and we were both in the kitchen.  I was on the phone with Mom and she was playing with the toys in her drawer.  A few weeks ago, in an attempt to keep her out of our pots and pans (and because I have so far been to lazy to do any official, plastic-latch-on-the-cabinent-that-even-adults-can’t-figure-out childproofing), I emptied out one of our bottom kitchen drawers and filled it with Lil Mil’s toys. Now, when I’m in the kitchen cooking (or, in this case, sitting in the kitchen floor talking on the phone), Lil Mil has something to do. She seems to know that this particular drawer is her drawer, and she seems not to care that the toys inside it are the same ones she’s been playing with since she was old enough to play.

On Sunday, she was standing at the end of the drawer, removing its contents one by one. Mom was asking about her granddaughter, so my eyes were on Lil Mil as I described the delight with which my daughter had devoured her Thanksgiving meal (the girl loves her some cornbread). Happy to have my attention, Lil Mil let go of the drawer and walked towards me.

Walked. Towards me.

I immediately screamed “she’s walking!,” and Mom and Dad cheered. Lil Mil just plopped down on her butt and laughed, totally clueless that she’d just participated in a momentous moment, and not the least bit interested in demonstrating her new skill again.

I could not accept this. I had to see it at least one more time to confirm that it had actually happened. So I stood her back up, placed her little hands on the edge of the drawer for balance, then scooted back three feet and beckoned for her to come towards me. It took a little coaxing (okay, a lot), but eventually she did it.

This time, she knew she’d done something new and possibly important (perhaps it was all the wild shrieking her mom was doing). Beside herself with excitement, she collapsed into me and dissolved into uncontrollable giggles.

“Let’s do it again!” I said, standing her back up. She looked at me and kept laughing. Or was she crying? I studied her and couldn’t tell.

Slightly concerned but determined to confirm that I hadn’t imagined what just happened, I got her all set up and scooted away.

She stayed standing, clearly up for the challenge of Round Two, but that laugh was really throwing me.  It had this slightly maniacal quality, which matched the slightly maniacal look in her eyes. She was literally beside herself with emotion. As she let go of the drawer and wobbled toward me, the laugh morphed into a full fledged cry. But she didn’t fall or sit down. She kept walking.  And then, just like that, she was laughing again.

Joy.  Excitement.  Pride.  Bewilderment.  Uncertainty.  Panic.  Anxiety.  Fear.  I could see it in her eyes, she was experiencing all of these things at once, which is why a mere laugh wasn’t sufficient. But a pure cry wasn’t right, either.  She needed to do both.  She needed to laugh-cry.

And realizing that, I understood for the first time why this was a such a momentous occasion.  My daughter was – right now, right before my eyes – exceeding her own expectations.  It was freaking her out a little, but she wasn’t letting that deter her.  She was seizing this moment and walking the hell out of it.

Joyous.  Excited.  Proud.  Bewildered.  Uncertain.  Panicked.  Anxious.  Afraid.  Watching her, I was all of these things.  As she stumbled towards me and into my open arms, I was laugh-crying, too.

At The End Of The Day

I told myself I’d find balance. Demand it if I had to. I believed that there were enough hours in the day to do all the things I love despite my new go-to-work status. Turns out there are.

If I give up sleep.

So here I am, a week into my new old job, and I haven’t written a single blog post since the day I started or a spent any significant time editing my novel. Two of the five nights this week, Lil Mil was already asleep when I got home from work. I haven’t cooked a single meal, read a single page of the book I’m reading or spent a single minute working out.

I have, however, spent roughly 2500 minutes working.

Oh balance, where art thou?

I could lament the state of things. I started to, when I left work yesterday evening and looked up at the building that stole my week. But as I gazed up at the steel and glass and the bright blue behind it, I realized something.

I had a good week. Unbalanced, and certainly not perfect, but overall, pretty enjoyable. Surprisingly fulfilling.

And best of all? The weekend had arrived.

…And We’re Back

I’ve been putting off writing this post. I’ve been putting it off because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say.  I’m still not.  But now the day has arrived and if I don’t say something today, it will have come and gone without my saying anything.

I went back to work today.

After exactly seven months as a work-at-home writer, I am once again a go-to-work lawyer.

Yesterday, I sat cross-legged on my couch in tattered jeans and my favorite t-shirt, nursing an increasingly squirmy little girl while balancing a laptop on my knee.  Today, I am sitting at an actual desk, wearing clothes that are refreshingly (and yet, heartbreakingly) free from drool, poop and vomit.  I am wearing heels.  I smell nice.  I smell like me.  In the past eight hours, I have used a myriad of multisyllabic words to people who have used them back.

I miss my baby.

I miss her less than I thought I would.  I miss her in ways I didn’t expect.

This wasn’t part of the plan.  Detours never are.

Ain’t No Such Thing…

…as a Sick Day.

Have I written this post before?  I’m too sick to remember.

Thanks to a persistent fever and a painfully clogged milk duct, I’ve spent the bulk of this week on my couch.  As I was lying there on Wednesday, holding Lil Mil hostage between my thighs (and listening to her laugh hysterically as she leaned back against one leg and banged wildly on the other), I discovered yet another way that writing and mothering are similar.  In neither case does a fever of 101.9 give you the freedom to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head.

Sure you can, but your baby – whether human or literary – will be neglected for as long as you’re under there.  Back when I went to an office every day, sick days had some silver lining:  yes, my body had to do battle with whatever was ailing me, but my mind got a break.  A brief reprieve from the incessant inner monologue of tasks not-yet-complete.  I was sick.  If there was something that had to get done that day, someone else would have to do it.

Mommies and writers don’t get to turn their brains off.  Even if someone else is watching your baby while you’re sick (a luxury I didn’t have), you’re still the mommy.  There is still a little person that needs your attention.  Or your boob.  And as for your literary baby, well, its cries aren’t muffled by a closed door or a thick comforter.  In fact, they only get louder as the room gets quieter and darker.

So, farewell sick day.  You were fun while you lasted.