A Short Poem Written in the Middle of the Night… and Then Some

They tell me the time will fly and to cherish every moment.  They tell me she’ll grow up fast.

But on this night all I know is I’m tired and I’m convinced this phase will last.

Maisy and I have been apart from Josh for two weeks today.  There comes a point in the separation when certain things start happening, it’s at about the 10 day marker.

  1. I start envisioning him everywhere.  Yesterday I saw a man that vaguely resembled Josh from behind.  I stared after him for a while thinking two things at the same time:  wow that’s Josh, when did he get to town; no that can’t be Josh and why would I see him wandering around town before seeing him at home?  Yes, this means I do start to go a version of crazy… seeing Josh everywhere.
  2. Night time with Maisy becomes an event.  Two nights ago, she awoke at midnight.  I hear her over the monitor and proceed to sleep walk my way to her room to bring her into my bed, as per usual, for the rest of the night.  That’s where the normalities ceased.  In my not even half awake brain I was fully committed to not breastfeeding her to sleep at the time.  I admit, I had a rare moment of being touched out and I was committed to giving my private space some privacy for a change. Well she had something to scream about at that.  But since I was still unconscious I deliriously assumed she was crying her head off in frustration about not knowing what door knobs to pick out for the house, not breastfeeding whoas.  After mildly coming out of my dreams I started mumbling “shhh” and “no milk right now” and “it’s time to go to sleep” in her direction.  She proceeded to wind down on the crying and started to fumble about in the dark for a comfortable position to snuggle.  We tried it all and tried and tried again.  After an hour of this I was awake enough to have to obey my growling belly.  So we went downstairs and I swallowed a bowl cereal while Maisy sat by my feet (my now mini zombie).  Back upstairs we went for another hour of her peaceably attempting to snuggle in.  And then I gave up completely and we wobbled down the stairs to get some wedding photography edited.  Another hour later and Maisy was melting into a puddle of tears and we headed back upstairs. I snuggled in to spoon her and we were out like a couple lights.  This morning I awake feeling cruel about the whole experience and so stupid for not even thinking to rock her to sleep.  Duh.  Apparently so many unaided sleepless nights in a row makes for a brain dead midnight mommy.

When She’s Not So Little Anymore

If you ask me how Maisy is I without fail will tell you something like, “She’s so much fun!  And she’s so sweet and smart.”  If you ask me how we’re doing I’ll likely tell you, “Sleep is challenging but she’s so stinking sweet and fun.”

I just finished nursing that girl to sleep.  As I watched her fade at the breast I got tears in my eyes.  She is so incredible.  So lovable, and loving, and kind, and sharing, and giving, and snuggly, and sweet.  Sweet is the best way to overall describe this little girl.

(Besides, someone who goes as nutty for candy, ice cream, and anything sugary as this girl does have to be inherently sweet herself right?)

When she plays with me, other kids, and our dogs she’s always handing others her toys until next thing I know she has nothing left to play with herself.  If another kid physically wounds her she simply stares perplexedly back at them, not lashing back, and then may turn to me to cry a little if it was a significant blow. But if another kid says something hurtful to her you can bet she’ll turn to me and cry a little.

At church I love watching other kids follow her around to and fro.  How a baby could be entertaining to older kids I have no idea but they eat her up anyways!

Most of our days are spent finding the next way to snuggle.  We snuggle at my desk while I’m working.  She snuggles my leg while I cook or I hold her while I attempt some one-handed cooking.  While I’m gardening she’s clinging to my back or my bent knees.  At sleep times we snuggle as we read, nurse, and rock.  She’s really perfectly content provided she has someone who loves her to touch at all times.

I distinctly remember one doctor’s visit when Maisy was still enwombed (made up word, I like it) when my doctor said something like, “are you ready to meet your new best friend.”  Honestly, at the time, I distinctly thought, “yeah right.”  You’d think a girl who’s best friends with her mom would likely expect the same right?  Not this one.  I’m logical and it seemed to me the odds were stacked against me.  I felt like I heard kids complain and gripe about their parents much more frequently than they praised them and indicated that they even liked them.  So I was preparing myself for children that would likely hate me.  But my doctor was right.  At least right now, Maisy and I are best buds.  I mean, we do everything together!  We go to church together, we go for walks together, we go shopping together, we eat all our meals together, we sleep together, we play together, we work together, and we laugh a lot together.

My baby isn’t much of a baby anymore.  She’s not helpless.  She’s not oblivious.  My little girl can go up and down stairs by herself.  She can obey.  She can say some words.  She can sign.  I am completely in love with her and can’t imagine loving her more.  And yet, every day I do.  I love her more.

Doing Laundry with Maisy

We were clean out of clean diapers and clean clothes this morning so today became laundry day.  We just came in from taking down the now sun dried diapers and hanging the batch of now clean and soggy clothes out on the line.  Maisy persistantly dug into the hamper of damp clothes despite my moving the basket several times.  As she reached in for the dozenth time I paused my impulse to scold her and cocked my head at her for a minute. She proceeded to pick out an item and hold it out to me saying “da” with the inflection used in question asking.  I took the item and said, “thank you.”  She smiled and grabbed the next piece of clothing.  I smiled.

Occasionally she or I would drop an item.  Before I could bend down to grab it her half pint body was all fours in seconds.  She picked it up and put it back in the hamper.  I smiled wider and wider until suddenly the hamper was empty and my back was not worse for wear thanks to my helpful daughter saving me all the bending over stereotypical of doing this chore.

I reflected with excitement that today is my writing day and that I now had a tale to share.  In this moment I am thankful for the impulse to pause and reflect on my daughter’s behavior before blundering ahead with assumptions.  Instead of scolding her all the way through my chore, I gained the most devoted and cheerful helper.

Maisy’s Surf and Turf First Birthday Party!

For Maisy’s first birthday we threw a Surf and Turf Birthday Party complete with lawn games, a kiddie pool, sidewalk chalk creations, and dirt cups for dessert!  The only thing that threatened to spoil our fun was the weather.  Turned out to be a little chilly and dreary for so much outdoor fun but that wasn’t going to stop us from having loads of fun!

My family has a history, largely due to my over achieving, super gift giving of a mom, of extravagant birthday parties.  Our most memorable birthday parties included a visit from Belle, a backyard circus complete with face painting and a miniature pony, a visit from Darth Vadar, and a backyard treasure hunt. Since Maisy is just turning 1 I have some time to build my way up and get used to little steps of party planning along the way.  But I did manage a themed dessert, dirt cake, on top of all the minor details like invitations, themed party activities, making sure there were ready drinks and a trash out for everyone, and just enough food to go around but not so much that I would have to eat it for several weeks following.  To me, that equals “party success!”

Thanks to everyone who came out and showered Maisy with gifts and love on her very first special day!  Although it did occur to me that perhaps the mom should be rewarded for birthing the child on that day instead of rewarding the kid for just showing up 😉

Lastly, after everyone (except our lovely photographer friend Ian Simkins) disappeared we took some family photos – my mother’s day gift this year to my mom.  We started outside and relished in the joy of watching Maisy go giddy for the falling droplets then moved indoors to finish it off.

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Maisy’s First Trip to the ER

A few long days ago we discovered a squishy lump on Maisy’s head.  It was gigantic, the size of an orange if you cut it unevenly in half and stuck the smaller half on her head.  It made my insides squirm.  Waking up at 5:30 in the morning with a bumped-up and worrisome baby when a doctor’s office doesn’t open until 8:00 am makes for a long morning.  Calling said doctor and scheduling an appointment for 3:00 pm, their earliest available, makes for a long afternoon.  Going to the doctor and hearing the words, “you will need to take your daughter to the ER for a CAT scan” and time moves into slow motion.

The drive to the ER felt like an eternity – I suppose it doesn’t help that 1 hour of down time now-a-days feels like an eternity due do my clingy anti-sleep baby, with or without a looming doom hanging over my head.  My heart was wallowing in the pit of my stomach and my throat was caught on a lump. We didn’t speak, I barely breathed.  My mind was numb – when I tried to think of worst-case or best-case scenarios I came back blank.

When we did finally get to the ER I was struck by how kind and gentle everyone was.  Much different than your average “customer service.”  Then it occurred to me that these people deal with life threatening scenarios on a daily basis and are likely trained in being the world’s most sweet, caring, sensitive, and gentle people on the planet.  It was very soothing and reassuring.

They were incredibly efficient. Maisy took it all like a champ, until she was strapped into a straightjacket and unable to see mommy, let alone be held by me, to go through her CAT scan.  They had to run her through twice because she was so consumed by rib-racking and chin jerking sobbing the whole time.  The minute I picked her back up the waterworks turned off promptly and we walked back to our room.  Then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Mom and Dad Calhoun brought dinner.  And we waited.  The next 2 hours felt like 5 days.  In fact, as Josh and I attempted to pass the time with brainless babble about life we kept finding that various events we chatted about weren’t a few days away but that the event in question had actually only been just that afternoon.

Finally the doctor came back and told us all was well. Maisy’s brain what fluid free, there were no fractures on her skull, and the mass we felt on the outside was something akin to an oversized blood blister and it would reabsorb into the body, no treatment of any sort necessary – just the result of a fairly hard bang to the head earlier in the week.

We walked out of the hospital at the same time a friend walked out with her newborn baby girl.  God is full of blessings and happy endings!