Thursday, June 30, 2011

She's a GIRL!

I have finally taken a step toward the prevention of people calling my daughter a boy: hair bows.
People have been assuming that Jane is a boy since she was tiny. At first, I think our navy blue carseat contributed to the problem. They saw blue, and thought "boy." Of course, I personally think navy blue is neutral and perfectly unisex. Plus, the carseat was free and for that price, I'm willing to deflect a few awkward: "What's his name?" "Jane." conversations. Apparently people were unable to see past the blue carseat to the pink-clad little girl in the seat.
Normally I'm not really the type of person to care about these things, and if I've dressed my daughter in an ambiguous outfit, it's my own fault if people are confused. But eventually I started to tire of my little girl constantly getting referred to as a boy. One day we were at a grand opening for a Menard's store and all the children were being offered free balloons. One of the employees asked which color "he" would like. I replied that "she" would like the pink one, even though I kind of wanted orange or yellow, personally.
The comments died down somewhat after Jane got into her big-girl carseat. Recently, however, they've picked up again. One on of the occasions I was particularly baffled, since my daughter was wearing a yellow and pink DRESS at the time. Another time, she was wearing a bright-pink jacket. Really, people?
I don't know what it is about my daughter that sends off "boy" vibes. I don't think she looks particularly masculine. Are girls supposed to have long hair or something, even when they are babies? Unfortunately she can't help that!
My husband and I aren't really the type of people who always put headbands and bows in our child's hair. But yesterday, I did it. I bought two packs of clip-in bows for Jane. That day she was wearing a purplish-blue dress and I could just sense that everyone thought she was a boy.
After our shopping, we went out for dinner. In the car, I took one of the bows and clipped it in her hair. Voila, instant girl!
There was something about that bow. People at the restaurant oohed and aahed over her. "Oh, she's so cute!" they exclaimed.
That's one small bow for Janie, one GIANT victory for mama.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Big girl!

Still no crawling, but I am beginning to think we may move directly from scooting to walking. Standing up is suddenly very fun! It's hilarious because Jane is so tall that when she pulls herself up onto something like the edge of her crib, she has to bend slightly to rest her hands on top. She is going to look extremely funny when she starts to walk.
This summer is turning out to be a huge disappointment. The weather is so consistently nasty that we are able to spend very little time outdoors. This is not at all what I had envisioned. I should be dressing my daughter in rompers and taking her outside every day after work, not dressing her in long sleeves and being cooped up indoors! I am really hoping it starts to warm up soon. We are hoping to go to the cabin for a few days next month. I can't wait to take Jane to the place where I spent so many summer days growing up. Speaking of summer, I've been reminiscing this week about summers past.

I know I’ll never have those lazy childhood summers back again, but once in a while something—a smell or a sound or a song—can carry me back there for a split second. Usually it is smells that trigger memories for me the most. I don’t know why that is or if it is true for others as well.

There was always excitement in the air on the last days of school. We’d often have a water fight on the last day. Already the school building felt different as we turned in our books and said goodbye to our teacher and classroom.

One memory that always springs to mind when I think about summer is rhubarb sauce. My mom would made a huge batch of it and I’d eat a ton. I believe I even ate it for breakfast. I don’t know if I was supposed to or not, so don’t tell my mom.

Other summer foods were corn on the cob and, of course, watermelon. I remember waiting for the corn to be ready and that first delicious bite. Every year we’d freeze corn and it was quite a project. We always made sun tea, too, and would make giant glasses of it. I like it without sugar now, but back then I’d load it with sugar. It makes me shudder a little at the thought.

I was a farm kid but I did get to spend time in town, playing summer recreation softball and hanging out with friends. Sometimes I’d bring my bike in to town and leave it at my grandparents’ house. I’d ride it at home, too, but gravel roads and 10-speeds aren’t the best combination and my knees sometimes paid the price.

Another vivid summer memory is of swimming lessons. I didn’t really enjoy swimming lessons, I must admit. I was fine until we got to the part where they made us dive. Eventually I just quit because I hated diving so much.

There were good memories, too. I attended swimming lessons at the college in Marshall. The bus rides were fun and afterward we’d stop by the vending machines and get a treat. Every once in a while when I was attending college at SMSU I’d get a whiff of chlorine when I was walking outside and it would bring me rushing back to those summer days.

Going to the cabin was—and still is—a favorite summer activity of mine. When I was little I’d spend hours playing in the sand or floating on inner tubes with my cousins. There was nothing quite like the feeling of spending an entire day on the lake and then coming in, getting dressed, and crawling into bed. You could almost still feel yourself floating on the water. I remember the elaborate sand castles we’d build, creating moats around them.

What I wouldn’t give now to spend a week in one of those childhood summers. Even just one lazy, get-up-when-you-want day with not a care in the world would feel luxurious.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Eight months

Miss Jane turned eight months old yesterday! I watched a video last night of her in the hospital right after she was born. It's amazing how much she has grown and changed! Her current favorite pastime is doing the army crawl. She's really perfected it and can move really quickly. She's now trying to pull herself up. It's such an exciting time!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Me time? Who am I anyway?

When I sit down to write, I find it difficult to write about something besides parenting. I’ve never done something in my life that has been as all-encompassing as parenting.

I’ve been so wrapped up in my daughter over the past almost-eight months that I often find it hard to think about anything else. I’m sure it’s a natural response to having a baby. It’s how our bodies are set up, to ensure that we properly care for our infants.

Nevertheless, I have not felt quite like myself over the past eight months. Work definitely helps, because it forces me to think about something other than Jane for at least a few hours a day. Other interests have fallen by the wayside.

I can hardly stand to watch television anymore. We haven’t watched a television show during its actual time slot since Jane was born, I don’t think. Thanks to DVR, we do still get to watch our favorites, but we are weeks behind on most of them.

Most of the time the TV doesn’t even get turned on anymore. It’s a combination of lack of interest, my annoyance, and my paranoia that my child is going to watch too much television.

We do manage to watch a movie once in a while, but we are no longer the movie-watchers we once were. We used to watch nearly every new movie that came out (at home, though we did go to the theater once a month or so).

Another favorite pastime of mine that has fallen by the wayside is reading. I really hate to even admit this, but I am going to anyway. Until just recently, I’d been reading the same book I started right after Jane was born. (Well, something other than “Baby Animals” or “Peekaboo, I See You.”) This is terribly embarrassing for me—the Lit major, the one who’s always reading something. I’m not trying to brag, but last year I read “The Count of Monte Cristo,” all 1,200 or so pages. Yet between October and May I had finished not one book.

I have now remedied that. I put aside the book I’ve been struggling to finish and started something new. I joined an online book club and read our first selection—“Half-Baked” by Alexa Stevenson (a Minnesota author)—in about a week and a half. It helped that the book we read was about pregnancy/babies, I think.

It turned out this was just the kick in the pants I needed to start reading again. After I finished “Half-Baked,” which is about a baby born at 26 weeks gestation, I started another book. This one has nothing to do with babies, yet I’m over halfway through it already. I think we’re making progress!

Suddenly I’m excited about doing something for me again. It’s hard when you’re a new mom, especially when you’re dealing with guilt over sending your child to daycare every day and feel the need to make every second count. Yet I’ve come to realize that I need some time for me, too.