Archive for October, 2010

October 29, 2010

What’s a Mama to Watch?

Some of you have told me that you do indeed read this little gathering of words I put together from time to time, and today I’m calling on you for some help (this means you, Heinze).

 

Since the birth of the little dude, our weekly date nights have turned into dinner out and a movie in, on the couch.  We’ve been making good use of our Netflix account in the past few weeks, but we’re starting to run out of ideas.

 

This is where you come in.  Might you have some suggestions for good action, romance, sports, or any other genre of movie for us so we can create a sweet queue that is not dominated by the first season of Felicity, which John really has no interest in at all. . . .

 

For reference, the last few movies we watched were It Could Happen to You, How to Train Your Dragon, and Babies.  All good, all four stars, I’d say, although John would probably give Dragon five.

 

Thanks in advance, friends!

October 28, 2010

The First Month’s Soundtrack

In preparing “the hospital bag” during the last months of pregnancy, a lot of women put together a music mix to play during labor and delivery. As much as I enjoy creating that kind of thing, I didn’t do it this time, for a couple of reasons.

 

First, I concentrate better in quieter environments, and I was going to need to concentrate harder than I ever have before.  Second, recorded music is often a distraction for me; I like to sing along so much that I can’t usually get much else done with music on (besides cleaning!).  And third, I always seem to have a song of some sort stuck in my head anyway.  It’s like my own interior jukebox. . . . except that I don’t have control over it.  Usually the tune is something I heard a snippet of here or there, or a song that popped into my head after a word in conversation brought the lyrics to mind.

 

Whenever I need it most, the song becomes a kind of prayer.  In this sense, the selection is sometimes intentional: I often use psalms and hymns as my prayer when I can’t figure out just what to say.  Other times, though, certain hymns show up in my head not as a result of my choosing or even something I overheard.  Instead, I believe it’s the work of my guardian angel.  It’s been said that singing is praying twice, and in some of the highest and lowest points over the past few weeks, I’ve experienced that in an especially pure way.

 

The day of Jacob’s birth, as one might expect, there were times that were physically and emotionally trying.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the night following delivery was in some ways even more difficult because I felt alone.

 

Some time during that night, however, I realized I’d been repeating the lyrics of “The Cry of the Poor” for the past couple of hours. It was these words that made me feel strength in my weakness and hope that I was going to get through this experience:

 

The Lord hears the cry of the poor
Blessed be the Lord.

I will praise the Lord at all times.
His praise always on my lips.
My soul glories in the Lord,
For He hears the cry of the poor.

 

Okay, so I didn’t recall the lyrics exactly, but you get the point.  The song was essentially on loop for that first week with the little man.  Any time I felt overwhelmed, tired, scared, uncertain, the voice singing it got a bit louder.  And that was a huge help in my making it through that week in one piece.

 

A few weeks later, when things felt more stable and I was comfortably enjoying a weekend at home with John and the baby, I realized the track had changed.  Now I was looping the theme song from That 70s Show.

 

Hangin’ out down the street
The same old thing we did last week
Not a thing to do, but talk to you

We’re all alright
We’re all alright

 

I suppose this was a kind of prayer, too.  Not of petition, but of gratitude for the two amazing guys in my life and for the family that I’ve somehow found myself in the middle of.  With that kind of mix playing in my life, who needs an iPod?

 

 

 

(Okay, so if you know the whole theme song, you’re probably wondering how the last line fits in: “Hello, Wisconsin!” Hmm . . . well, I love Midwestern accents; does that count?)

October 25, 2010

On Life with a Newborn

These past couple of weeks I’ve had a bunch of opportunities to see folks from all aspects of my life and to introduce them to Jacob.  Most people—men and women alike—will take a few moments to peer into the little guy’s face or to hold him and then ask how I’m doing.  The answer is always, “very well, thank you,” as I’m sleeping well enough, have fit myself into a real pair of jeans, and have been out and about nearly every day.

 

But as with anything involving a newborn, there have been at least a couple of surprises.

 

Now first of all, thank goodness that we have been blessed with a baby who is relatively easy to care for.  Jacob is peaceful, strong, intentional in his crying, and open to just about anyone snuggling with him.  As long as I’m not exhausted from staying up too late or getting up too early, caring for this little man is easier than I expected (so far).

 

Yet with a baby who seems to be this low-maintenance, I am often fooled into believing that I have it more together than I really do. Take simple hygiene, for instance.  Especially in his earlier weeks, I managed to take a shower almost every day, and without too much of a protest on his end (sleeping babies protest very little).  As any mother or anyone recovering from a physical trial of some sort knows, keeping yourself clean and getting dressed go a long way in helping you to feel “human” when your body isn’t one-hundred percent back to normal.  Managing to get a shower in those first weeks made me feel triumphant, like I’d somehow beaten the system.

 

Over a couple of days, however, I started to notice that while my hair was clean and I was wearing fresh clothes each day (at least for the brief moments between getting dressed and scooping up the Peanut), something else was seriously lacking: namely, dental hygiene.  Proud of never having a cavity, I am a strong proponent of brushing and flossing one’s teeth.  So when I realized I simply wasn’t brushing my own teeth in the morning, I was appalled.

 

The problem is that I get up at a couple of times that could be considered “morning” (and sometimes stay in my pajamas until the early afternoon, waiting for the right moment to take the aforementioned shower) so there isn’t a clear choice as to when to go through what used to be my morning routine.  The before-bed things—getting changed, brushing my teeth, and taking out my contacts if they’d ever found their way in—are much easier because John does the same things about the same time.  But in the morning, I’m on my own.

 

So now my measure of a productive day is whether or not I brushed my teeth.  And as long as we start keeping score after one pm, today was a win.

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