Monday, October 22, 2012

A Tale of Two Babies

My best friend and I have been good friends since elementary school. We graduated high school as co-valedictorians, stood up at each other's weddings, compared notes through medical training (me as a nurse, her as a doctor), and generally did everything together. Through all this, I was the calm one. She was the one on Ritalin. She would want to run around in circles and I would be the one holding the video camera. She would study by talking and obsessively cramming between study breaks; I would read my books in my room and the quiz myself in my head.

Somehow, by the grace of God, we also became moms at basically the same time, and we both had girls! So, whenever we can, we get the girls together. I knew something was funny when I visited her for a week after her daughter was born, and little baby B actually slept for more than 45 minutes at a time, and "cried" by saying "meh" (and only when she was hungry). The irony became much more obvious the last time they saw each other. I could describe it, but you can see it best in picture form... guess who got the calm child and who got the hyperactive one?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Current Favorite Game

What you are witnessing is the game in which Hannah crawls to a certain spot on the bed, then waits to be dragged away and tickled. Rinse and repeat. Giggle often.

Musings on my Most out of Place Wedding Gift

I was going through old keepsake boxes the other day, and came across this card from my best friend and bridesmaid:

Yeah, it was funny at the time. As was the fact that somebody I didn't know had accidentally been invited to my out-of-state bridal shower, AND had accidentally gotten confused about what kind of shower it was, AND had missed the shower anyway, but sent the gift with my friend to my wedding, knowing full well by then that it had been a bridal shower. It was, of course, a baby quilt, with a matching pillow, hand-made, and the words "Children are a gift from the Lord, may your quiver be full of them" embroidered across the front. You know, one of those things a pushy Grandma-want-to-be-Great Grandma gives you for your wedding, only not by accident.

2 years, 1 miscarriage, and an infertility lifetime later, it wasn't so funny anymore. The card was thankfully forgotten in the bottom of a stack of memorabilia, but the blanket was in my closet, taunting me like a sick cosmic joke. I couldn't decide if it was something of a promise that we would eventually have children, a representation of an idolatrous desire of mine that I needed to get rid of, or simply a benign coincidence that just happened to strike the wrong bride. Whatever it was, I couldn't get rid of it, even when the thought of it sitting there collecting dust reminded me that I hadn't cried enough yet that month. I'm not one to look for signs, but I couldn't help thinking that God's hand was in this one, if only I had enough optimism to truly believe that receiving that painful gift was really meant to bring the comfort of believing that we would surely have a baby to sleep in its warm embrace someday. 

The truth is though that I never really believed that the blanket was a sign. I wanted to believe it, but I always knew that God could choose otherwise, blanket or no blanket. I mean, come on... God's not bound to arrange our lives according our interpretation of accidental gifts. Except that nothing is an accident to Him... which lead me back to wondering if it was supposed to mean something... and that endless cycle reminded me of a man... with power...

Carey Grant clip for the uninitiated:

Of course, eventually, I got pregnant with Hannah. The first time I felt her kick, I thought of the blanket, and the anonymous not-a-friend who had given it to me. I wanted to thank her, to tell her that her gift was finally going to be used, and that while I was angry at it for a long time, it had also given me hope, and now it was bringing me joy. It was the first thing I got out and put in the unfinished nursery. I planned the colors I wanted around the colors of that blanket (green and white). I still cried when I read the Psalm passage on the front, but this time they were happy tears. 

I tried to get the full name and address, but the friend who had thought that we knew each other and brought me the gift was no longer in contact with her. I wrote out a long thank-you note that never got mailed. I think, just maybe, that God wants all the credit for this one, and I hope that He gives my anonymous quilter a great big reward in Heaven. I am so grateful, and her gift has meant more to me through the years than I could ever tell her, even if I had an address to mail that thank-you card to.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bedrooms and Babblings

Oh look! A real post!

We had a wonderful time with family on the cruise. Hannah is shaping up to be a perfectly predictable extrovert, and behaved like an angel the entire week, just soaking in the attention. Her cousin is SO much bigger than she is, there was no exaggeration! Mr. Myth's brother is quite tall, and his wife is above average as well, so it's no surprise that "little" Zach is the linebacker of the baby lineup. It's always fun for me to watch different babies of the same age so clearly express their own personalities and preferences. Hannah likes to mug for people and concentrate on picking up small items. Zach likes to climb and throw himself at anyone he happens to stumble across. I wouldn't say that they got the hang of playing "together," but it was a real pleasure to have them both around.

One of the fun things that I did while I had no internet was sew Hannah a few little dresses. Of course, one must share, and here is the fashion show:

The Pretty-pretty dress

The fun-fun dress
Enough of the babblings, on to the bedroom. I had a pretty difficult time doing a nursery while I was pregnant. Firstly because I was thinking that Hannah would sleep in our bedroom anyway, and secondly because, without being superstitious, it was kind of hard for me emotionally to do any kind of preparation/ planning that wasn't absolutely necessary while I was pregnant. It's hard to explain, but I think I was holding my breath waiting for something to go wrong, and it was hard for me to let loose and simply enjoy being a mom for a good while even after she was born. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe that I failed to thoroughly savor each moment, it's just that it was hard for me to imagine that the next moment as really going to come. 

So, although we had a room ready to be a nursery, it only got painted at the insistence of some wonderful volunteers at the ministry who basically forced their way into my house and made me pick out colors, then did the job for me. Cue subsequent guilt for not doing anything with it even after it was painted, other than put the changing table against one of the walls and hang her clothes in the closet.

That finally changed when I got introduced to the concept of Montessori bedrooms for infants when Hannah was 6 months old. I, uh, didn't do much research beyond looking at pictures of rooms with floor beds, so I can't say that I'm a "Montessori Mom" or anything like that, but I was inspired! I loved the idea of her being able to have a whole room where she could explore anything, sleep if she wanted, not sleep if she didn't want to, and not have to be told "no." Plus, I had the perfect floor bed already available, in the form of an heirloom cradle that was able to be taken off of its base and put flat on the floor with the side folded down for easy baby access. It was ready, minus the curtains (which are now made and hung), the day she turned 7 months old, which turned out to be a great time to transition her to sleeping on the floor bed for naps and her first stretch of night sleep.

So here it is, the full tour of my Beatrix Potter dream-come-true nursery:


It has been tested and thoroughly Hannah approved.

She's taken some time to get used to the idea, but now she'll get out of the bed if she doesn't really want to be there. I love that, because sometimes she'll just play and not need attention for a few minutes, but even when she crawls over to the gate and cries, it makes it easy for me to tell that she needs me, instead of wondering if she's just crying for a few moments before she falls asleep.