23 May 2007

in the meme time

i got tagged by the other mother to do a post that lists 7 things about me that you might not know. ok, i'll bite:

1. i have moved 28 times in my life. no, i am not an army brat. only 8 of those were during childhood.

2. i like to put semi-sweet chocolate chips in my cheerios. with the milk, the texture contrast is fantastic.

3. in my early twenties, i lived on a women-only land trust for 2.5 years. we had no electricity, and only a trickle of running water. i learned how to chop wood, grow vegetables, identify wild plants, preserve food, read by candlelight and many other things. i learned how difficult it can be to live by consensus decision making.

4. i worked as a plumber's helper for a few years, mostly on large scale, industrial construction sites. during the summer, the hours were 6am to 3pm.

5. i once got hired 10 different times in one year. i never got fired.

6. if i were stranded on a desert island and allowed to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, i would choose avocado sushi cut rolls-- complete with soy sauce, pickled ginger and lots of wasabi. i am certain i could live on that. happily.

7. though i live with my share of clutter, i am a fiend for organizing. i love to sort things into containers, i love containers. i collect old suitcases and store things in them like photos, letters, videos, maps. my art supplies are logically divided and stored in labeled bins on a shelf in cosmo's room. it helps me to manage my pack-ratism.

ok. there you have it. that's my 7. now i tag chuck, magreen and greendaddy.

16 May 2007

whistle while you work

most parents i know bemoan the fact that stupid, repetitive children's jingles get stuck in their heads, haunting them throughout the day and into the night. my friend sarah calls them earworms. i have experienced this, and yes, it can be annoying. however, lately i have been finding it quite comforting. it gives a rhythm and an upbeat mood to my thoughts. the lyrics, or rhymes are usually quite simple, so they don't really interfere with my thinking, but the steady cadence of, say, "the wheels on the bus go round and round" is kind of meditative, and keeps me moving. carl's brother recently sent us a tape of some american folk songs from a record they had as kids. it includes a bunch of railroad songs, a version of "yankee doodle dandy," and "the bluetail fly." we find ourselves listening to it even after cosmo has gone to sleep.

08 May 2007

sleepy bear

it happened quickly, overnight you might say. i'd been fearing and dreading the time when i would finally find the courage to try night-weaning cosmo. you see, he's been nursing throughout the night for many months now. it hasn't been a real hardship on me. i always felt like i got plenty of sleep. but i knew, for his sake, that he needed to begin to learn the skill of getting himself back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night. i also suspected that if he learned this skill, he would probably wake up a lot less. i meant to start this process a couple of months ago, but i got the feeling he wasn't quite ready (or maybe it was me who wasn't ready?) and decided to wait. one of my friends was having great success with her daughter at the time, and she's a few months older than cosmo. it made sense to me that if i could explain to him what was going on, it might be easier...he might not feel so confused and betrayed. i wanted to wait until he would be able to understand my words more fully.

so, i guess it was over week ago now, one night he woke up and was nursing, but he wasn't falling back to sleep. he was in fact, thrashing about, climbing all over me, switching breasts etc. it was keeping me up, and it wasn't working as the quick sleep aide that it used to be. so, i stopped the nursing and told him to lie down and go to sleep. he fussed for a bit, then did exactly that. he fell asleep. i was astonished. from that point on, there was no turning back. i still put him to sleep at night by nursing him, but when he wakes up, i go to him, and tell him to lie back down and go to sleep. sometimes i pat his back. a few times he cried and made the sign for nursing, once he even made the sign for "hurt" which just about broke my heart, but i felt so certain that i was doing the right thing for him. each time he cried, it was for less than a minute (often more like 10 seconds), and i just stayed with him and tried to soothe him, and he fell asleep so fast i couldn't really believe it--MUCH faster than if he had been nursing. then, after a few nights of this. he stopped waking in the night. he sleeps for 8-9 hour stretches now, undisturbed! once in a while he will cry out, but when i go to him, he is already sound asleep. i no longer need to assist him in getting back to sleep. he knows how to do it, and does it. once morning comes (any time after 6:30am) i'll nurse him when he wakes up, but night nursing is now officially in the past.

it is tempting to think that i should have tried this much sooner, but i honestly believe that the timing was just right. i don't think it would have gone so smoothly with cosmo had i tried any sooner. i knew i couldn't handle a "cry it out" approach, and i actually have done a lot of research on this topic. i know i had some fear which was preventing me from trying it, but i was also listening to my intuition, and i listened to cosmo. he changed. the previous methods weren't working anymore, so we moved on to something else.

in any case, i am so proud of him, and proud of us.

05 May 2007

others people's lives (and mine)

today i found myself searching google maps for satellite views of places i lived growing up. it was a strange and surreal experience to see photographs from the sky of backyards we built forts in, and the empty fields where we played now covered in housing developments. this search eventually led me to pursue names of people i've known from the distant past. i finally landed on a blog hosted by a couple i knew long ago, who i am no longer in touch with. their lives are vastly different from mine, and different from when i knew them, yet there was some kind of common thread. i am really enjoying reading it, sifting through the archives. i've focussed on the posts by the woman i knew the most, and what strikes me is how happy she is about her life. she has lots of love around her, and she feels like she is right where she needs to be.

it occurred to me that this is how i feel about my own life. how lucky. tonight, the stifling heat has lifted. there is a cool breeze blowing, and the sky is a peachy pink, dotted with shades of amethyst. i feel good. i love my life, and i love the beautiful people in it.

in other news, last friday i took myself out on a date. carl was finished with classes and had some time to spend with cosmo during the day, so i walked up to the river oaks theater and saw the lives of others it was the perfect title for what i needed right then. i wanted to be alone, but i didn't want to be at home, where i would inevitably feel compelled to sweep the floors. i also didn't feel like sitting in a cafe and thinking about the cover letters that need to be written, or why i didn't spend my summers during grad school interning at sexy architecture firms (presumably, if i had, i would now have a flourishing career?). i just wanted to get away. simple escape into someone else's story. what better way to accomplish this than sitting alone in an aging movie theater, with a huge screen in front of my face playing a heart wrenching film set in east germany-just before the wall came down? it was perfect. afterwards i shopped at an upscale consignment shop next door, and found some summer pants (which i tried on, at my leisure, no impatient toddler rushing me to get out of the store). they were half off, which is still considerably more than i'm used to paying for used clothes, but still, a bargain. i walked home thoroughly rejuvenated. when i arrived, cosmo and carl were still out. i was at a loss.

so, i swept the floors.