Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!

Jane had a pretty good first Easter. She spent a lot of time with family and even got to play outside! She wasn't feeling terribly well over the weekend. I don't know if it was her teeth or her tummy or both, but she was a very good girl despite all of that. On Saturday we went to the Easter egg hunt and then back to Grandma Janet's for lunch. Then we went back home for a little while and Grandpa Keith and Dianne came to visit. After that we went to Grandpa Steve and Grandma Ruth's! It was a busy day, needless to say, and Jane handled it very well even though she was short on naps. She was exhausted when we got home and went straight to bed.
Sunday was a bit more relaxed. We got to spend the morning at home and I even got Jane to nap in her crib. It was an Easter miracle! We went to Grandma Janet's for dinner and in the afternoon played outside. Jane took a nice nap while the others were playing softball. She liked watching the kids run around and flying kites. Next year she will be able to fly one, too! She was exhausted again when we got home and slept really well. She was such a good girl and we were very proud of her! And of course she looked adorable as well.
To top off our busy weekend, Tim put in new linoleum in our kitchen. Last weekend he tore out the old floor tiles. We have been without our stove and dishwasher for a week! Thank goodness for the grill and the toaster/convection oven! The new floor looks amazing and I am so excited for the trim to be in place so we can put all the appliances back. We are also thinking of painting as well. I can't wait to share the finished product!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Perfect Woman

You know they're out there. Those women you love to hate. I'm sure each of us has a different definition of "The Perfect Woman." I know I do. I see them every once in a while and they always inspire envy in me. The problem with a lot of perfect women is that they're often genuinely nice as well, which makes it impossible to truly hate them.
So what's your definition of "The Perfect Woman"? Here are some qualities that usually make me jealous.
• She's always perfectly dressed, but effortlessly so. She doesn't wear a ton of makeup because she doesn't need to, and she doesn't douse herself in perfume but always smells good.
• She's great at cooking and other domestic pursuits.
• She can sing really well or has some other artistic talent.
• Her children are adorable, well-behaved, smart, and talented.
• She's got a great body and one of those flat tummies so she can tuck in a shirt and her jeans lay nicely over top. No muffin tops for this mama!
• She's probably a runner. I hate runners.
• She has a very successful career and manages it and her family perfectly. Alternately, she's a stay-at-home mom who picks up her kids from school looking adorable in a denim skirt and blouse every day.
• She's really good at "guy stuff." She hunts and fishes. She takes her own fish off the line and cleans the whole day's catch. She can field dress a deer. She shoots pool like a master and can guzzle drinks all night without getting hung over.
• She eats only healthy foods. She's probably a vegetarian. Alternately, she eats absolutely EVERYTHING. Big, juicy burgers and fries. Huge slices of pie. But you'd never know it because her body is perfect. It's probably because she's a damn runner.
• She's always bettering herself. She probably doesn't even watch television. She reads, she takes classes on how to make pottery, and she attends spinning or zumba classes 17 times a week. Or goes for 10-mile nightly runs. She's never really lazy.
• She's funny. And sweet. And thoughtful. She's always doing something for someone else. She volunteers her time at her children's school, teaches Sunday school, and organizes bake sales.
• She can do all of this on four hours of sleep every night. She's never crabby as a bear when she doesn't get enough sleep. She's up at 4 a.m. every day because she's Martha fricking Stewart.
And those, my friends, are some of the qualities I've seen in "The Perfect Women" who I've encountered in my life. I know I'm never going to be them. I'm far too lazy. I have no idea how I got to be that way, but it's how I am. I'll readily admit that I've half-assed most things in my life, from high school to college to work. I do what I have to do to squeak by most of the time, and that's it.
But there's one thing in my life I'm trying not to half-ass, and that's raising my daughter. I'm trying to make the most of every second and cherish the time I have when her when she's little because I know that, before I know it, she'll be 30 years old and I'll never be able to get this time back.
So while I'll never be the perfect woman or the perfect mother, I'll be the best mom I can be, because I'm the only one she's got. I've never done anything perfectly, but I did have her and she is perfect. That has to count for something.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Half a year

I can't believe that our darling girl is half a year old already. It still seems like just yesterday that we were anxiously awaiting her arrival. Some days I have to practically pinch myself multiple times. We have a daughter!
Jane is truly a delightful child. She is happy, expressive, curious, spirited, and oh, so sweet. Her face lights up when her parents walk into the room. She loves her toys and books and gets excited when she sees certain favorites. She adores her jumper. Sometimes I think she is going to jump right out of it! We recently started giving her some solid foods to try but so far she has not been impressed. Rice cereal is somewhat acceptable but everything else is disgusting! I'm sure someday she will change her mind. She can roll both ways and prefers to sleep on her tummy now. She can't sit up unassisted quite yet but is working on it and getting stronger every day. She can't crawl, either, but has figured out how to scoot or roll her way to something she really wants. The other day she managed to pull herself over to her toy bin, where she could see one of her favorite toys—her ribbit—inside. She was pretty disappointed by the fact that, although she could see him in there and had gotten to him, she could not get him out. Mama helped with that.
Jane has been a very vocal child from day one and I'm sure she will be quite the talker. She is already content to squeal and babble for long periods. She has lots of interesting things to say. She is still long and slender. Her long legs go and go all day long. I've had people remark to me that she is going to be a super model someday! She has almost grown out of her infant car seat and yesterday I ordered two new ones for her. I'm excited for her to try them out next week.
Jane's 6-month appointment is on Tuesday so we'll know then how much she weighs and how tall she is. We did measure her the other day when we were trying to see if she needed a new car seat yet and she was about 28 inches long. I'm guessing she weighs 17-17.5 pounds.
I'm looking forward to the summer days ahead when we can introduce more of the world to her. Trees, grass, water, and sunshine all await. I feel like she's the perfect age at the perfect time. Just when she's starting to get more interested in what is around her is the time we can help her learn to enjoy it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

This one's for Jess

This is the column I wrote for this week's paper. I'd like to share it here as well.

My column this week is going to make some of you feel uncomfortable. I would be lying if I said that wasn’t what I was trying to do. I firmly believe that sometimes, in order to incite change, we have to force ourselves to do what feels uncomfortable for us.

So this week I am going to write about breastfeeding. Now, before you run screaming from the room, hear me out. I have a story to tell you.

Last week a friend of mine, whose husband is serving overseas in Afghanistan, was asked to stop breastfeeding her 8-month-old daughter, Zoey, during a visit to Bragg Picerne Military Housing. The girl was covered and they were in a private office, but the woman helping them asked her to stop and refused to continue with her paperwork until she did. The reasoning was that they needed to maintain a “business atmosphere.” She was asked to feed Zoey in a bathroom.

The fact that this happens to moms like Jess every day is extremely disheartening. Why is it that our society has such little tolerance for this natural act? Why are breastfeeding women asked to feed their infants in bathrooms? Do you want to eat in a bathroom? Would you want your toddler or your older child to eat in there?

I think the reason this feels so unnatural to us now is because for so many years, formula was touted as the better option and so those who could afford it, used it. Now, I have nothing against formula or those who use it. I’m very glad that this option is available to families and I am sure it has saved many babies’ lives. But because formula was pushed on mothers for so long, it became the new normal. I think it is time to change that.

We all know now that breast milk is the best food for babies. The World Health Organization recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. After 6 months of age, it is recommended that breastfeeding continue until up to 2 years of age with the introduction of appropriate complementary foods.

So why should a woman, who is giving her baby the best source of nutrition as recommended, be made to feel as though she is doing something wrong?

I know there are some who will say that they don’t want their children, particularly their sons, to see a woman breastfeeding her child. I challenge those people to ask themselves why. Is it because it is unnatural? Or is it because our society has placed a taboo where it doesn’t belong? Why is explaining it to your child necessarily a bad thing, when the explanation is that a child is being fed? Who is really the one who feels uncomfortable here, you, or your child?

Somehow, in some way, we need to get back to viewing breastfeeding as a natural act, and not as something dirty to be done in a bathroom. People like Jess are working to make sure that happens. I am proud of her for that.

Jess’s story was carried on her local news late last week. I promised I’d do my part to help spread awareness as well. I can’t say the idea didn’t make me feel a little bit uncomfortable. But that brings us back to the root of the issue, doesn’t it? If we can’t force ourselves to do what makes us feel uncomfortable every now and then, how can we ever expect there to be change?