Thursday, October 29, 2009

Catching up! Row the boats!

After all that whining, Mister ended up working from home for the past few days because he's not feeling well and doesn't want to spread his germy germs around his office. So considerate. That extra pair of hands to just help me hold the baby during the day make SUCH a difference! I am almost caught up! Go me!

To celebrate, I edited some pictures I've been holding on to since June.

On our way home from the Florida trip, the kids and I drove by the park along the Chattahoochee River. It was approaching dusk and a thick layer of fog was collecting in along the river. The geese were in their geese mode, honking and begging for food. A random Mallard was with them, like an stepchild to the gaggle. Out in the river we could hear the callers telling their teams to "Row! Row! Row!" their boats, even though we could barely see them through the mist. It was one of those times that really felt like magic.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm behind.

I'm behind. Please forgive me if I am still working on your pictures, I know you are anxiously waiting so see what I've come up with from your session. You are wanting to see your precious angels' adorable faces as seen from a different angle, in a different way, and I am enjoying creating these images for you.... but I am most definitely behind.

I could tell you that I am behind because I am still sore from that airplane incident, or that most of the family is fighting off severe head colds or that that leaky roof is actually from hail damage, not just the torrential rains we've had lately, and I have to arrange for the insurance inspector and the roofer to get here at the same time, or that my lovely G tripped while carrying an easel back downstairs and although she managed to escape unscathed, the wall and light switch at the bottom of the stairs did not, leaving me to navigate and work in the glow of a singe overhead desk lamp that dates to the mid seventies and whose brilliance can only be equated with a certain number of candles instead of actual watts until Ican find an electrician to come and rewire the place. Or I could tell you that I am just unable to stay awake past 11 pm anymore to get work done, so tired that when I finally do crawl into bed my bones ache and I fall asleep still straining to get my daily news update from Jon Stewart but somehow rarely make it past the part where he says "Welcome to the Daily Show..."

I suppose I could alleviate some of the tiredness by putting Little L in her own room in her own crib, to get myself a good night's sleep. Or I could just bite the bullet and register Little Guy in a morning nursery school and get him out of my hair so I could really focus on getting some stuff done. I suppose I could go to the store and buy G an Alice in Wonderland costume for Halloween instead of trying to make it myself out of tulle, and I'm pretty certain I should most definitely not have learned how to sew because now all I want to do is run over to the herbalist's sewing room and make things for the babies (hers and mine) out of scrap fabric and ribbon.

But I don't want to. If I did, I wouldn't have the pleasure of waking up with Little L cuddled to my side, her soft silky hair ticking my nose and her fat little hand rubbing my arm. Or, on some rare mornings, waking to find her sleeping on top of my face, cheek to cheek, her body splayed out across my shoulders. I wouldn't see Little man starting to use reasoning and logic to solve his own problems or learning to write his letters and draw dinosaurs and treasure maps and trains. I wouldn't be able to randomly take him on secret excursions to the aquarium, just the three of us, a quick drive down to marvel at the massive hulks that are the whale sharks or to stare at the starfish and anemones in the touch pool, too timid to reach out and feel them, but brave enough to think about it anyway.

What am I doing while I should be working? Holding the baby mostly, and watching the boy. Doing the dishes and the laundry and the shopping and cleaning up all the hair that that infernal dog leaves about the house. Reorganizing those clothing bins and donating unused things to people who can use them. Watching the littlest one learn to stand on her own and worrying for a friend who just had a cancer diagnosis handed down. Waiting for the school bus. Planning baby showers and birthday parties and room redecorations. Sending out prayers for another mother recovering from surgery. Thinking. Writing. Seeing. Watching. Documenting. I am trying to really pay attention this time around. I am trying to really be here with them, instead of half here while they play at my feet under the desk. I know that the littlest things are the ones I will miss the most when they are older, and I don't want to forget again.

So forgive me for the delays. I am working as hard as I can... for you, for them and for myself.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Swipe the chin.

The other day I was feeding Little L some yogurt and also making a cup of tea, feeding the dog, cooking the older kid's lunch and talking on the phone. G saw that I was struggling to do everything at the same time and gamely offered to feed Little L for me... this wasn't so much for my benefit really, more for her own entertainment, but I never turn down the offer of help. Just ask my sister in law who once politely asked what she could do to help while I was prepping dinner - as a courtesy of course, no one really expects any response other than "oh just pour some wine and relax" - and was hit with a laundry list of chores... including laundry.

So I handed G the yogurt bowl and baby spoon and she started airplaning bites to Little L. I reminded her to give little bites, but for some reason yogurt was still getting everywhere. I watched a little more closely and then remembered...

When G was a baby she went to Miss Lynn's while I worked. I had started her on solids when she was 4 months old; at the time this was the age at which you introduced rice cereal mixed with a good amount of breastmilk to make it nice and watery. Being first time parents and wanting to do everything correctly, we followed our pediatrician's advice and made the concoction, then spoon fed it to our wee 4 month old who wasn't even sitting up unsupported yet. After three days of this, we gave up. It was too much work, too much breastmilk to waste and too much mess. Plus, it seemed silly to force a spoon into G's tiny little mouth when she wasn't even able to sit up yet. When we revisited solids a few months later we went straight to stage 2 jarred food.

Grace was already at Miss Lynn's house by this time, and I noticed that when I picked her up in the afternoons, she was always fairly clean. There were never any sweet potato stains lingering on her onesie from where they had evaded the bib at lunchtime, and she never had the remains of yogurt crusted in her hair. I marveled at Miss Lynn's baby feeding expertise, and one day I finally asked her how she did it.

"Small bites. Swipe the chin." was her answer.

Swipe the chin!! Collect all the left over food that didn't quite make it in the first time with the spoon and pop it back in the baby's mouth before she had a chance to smear it all over the place.

Swipe the chin. It is one of those things that you just pick up from being around other parents and their babies, like burping the baby on your lap while rocking her back and forth, or putting the diapers on backwards when they learn to take them off themselves during naptime. It's so simple, so obvious, yet so not. And here I'd been dabbing at her face with the bib after every bite.

So, as I watched G making a mess with Little L and the yogurt, I almost told her to swipe the chin. Then I pictured what would happen when G tried that maneuver ("Sit still baby, I need to get your chin!" as Little L twists and cries because her entire face is getting poked with the spoon) and decided I'd make sure to tell her later... like when she has better fine motor skills and her own baby to wrangle.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kiss My Grits

I love corn. I will eat it in any incarnation - popped, creamed, steamed, grilled, boiled, mashed, baked, ground - you name it. My kids love corn, too... except when presented in the form of grits.

What southern-born, Georgia-bred, great-grandchild of a Rocky Top moonshiner doesn't like grits?!? It is just plain unnatural I tell you.

Grits can be deceiving, though. Once, at J.Christopher's, I ordered a side of grits for G. She was about 7 months old and was really good about trying new foods. I temperature tested the top of the grits with my finger... nice and lukewarm. I gave her a bite and oh my - how she did WAIL! Her sweet little face just crumpled in to sobs and real tears came streaming out of her little accusatory eyes. Turns out grits are really good at keeping the heat on the inside... they were searing hot underneath that lukewarm crust. What an insulator, though - I wonder if the early settlers thought to use the leftover grits to seal up the holes in their cabins... the stuff hardens like bricks when it cools.

Today I introduced grits to Little L and got the same unimpressed review. She happily took a few bites (I made sure it wasn't secretly scalding this time), then proceeded to stick her thumb in her mouth an fwap away the spoon any time I tried to ease some more grits into that perfect Cupid's bow mouth. Strike three.

Now OATMEAL they can't seem to get enough of. Must be the Pennsylvania Dutch eeking through from my side of the family.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I know Where the Wild Things Are...

Do you?

And did you know they eat rocks and leaves for dinner?

Hat courtesy of angrybaby on