Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baby, Mine

**While I am at liberty to dress him up as a little chap, you better believe I will.**

Even though I don't have any kids in the 'newborn phase' at present, I do not take sleep for granted. Because the number of things that can go wrong in the sleeping machine are too numerous to count.

Generally, my kids are good sleepers. But right now, we've got nightmare and molar interruptions popping up like whack-a-moles. Once we think we've conquered the problem, 'WHAAAAAAA!!!!'

Last night was a doozy. Tiny woke up sometime in the early morning with a nightmare. Rockstar dutifully put her back in the bed and turned her lullabies back on. If there's one thing I've learned recently, though, it's that once she has a bad dream, she'll be in and out of our room the rest of the night until we let her stay. Since we still reside in a Queen bed (are you reading this, dear???), there isn't a whole lot of room for a third little body. I sleep fine with Tiny squished between us, but Rockstar objects to her foot in his rib.

After Rockstar and Tiny had done the back and forth several times (separated by stretches of time I'm not sure how to quantify except in increasingly drowsy exasperation), I said, "Let's just let her sleep on the floor next to us in her sleeping bag." She was thrilled and stayed quiet as a mouse the rest of the night.

**Do I look like I could cause trouble??**

Except, hello, Drummer did not get the message that his parents were done with this game! Just before 6, I awoke from a dream wherein I had been super annoyed that some baby had been crying for a very long time. And upon waking and realizing that my baby sounded like he had been crying for a very long time, I felt pretty guilty. I glanced at my comatose husband who was definitely not aware of the crying baby. He'd done more than his fair share (read: all) of the nighttime shenanigans thus far, so I dragged myself out of bed with a sigh.

Drummer was in that wide awake state where I knew he wouldn't go back to sleep if left to his own devices, but definitely needed more sleep. So I pulled him out of bed. "I am so not ready for this day to begin," I thought. And yet, I knew my alarm was going off in a mere 30 minutes. I pulled him close to me and sat in his rocking chair, hoping at the very least for a few minutes of stillness with him.

One minute led to two and then three and then, holy cow! This baby was sleeping on my chest! I was delighted. It had been a long time since I'd gotten to rock my sleeping boy.

As lovely as it was, my body felt desperate to lay down, if only for five minutes before I had to get ready for work. Drummer woke every time I tried to lay him down in his crib, so I'd abandoned that idea. Then I realized, 'Hey--I know where there's a vacancy in this house!'

Cradling him, I crept into Tiny's room, and maneuvered us into her empty bed without waking him. His steady breathing coaxed me into dreamland and there we lay--a mother and her son.

Rockstar crept in a little later to let me know that my alarm had gone off. I couldn't be moved. 'Come get me in ten minutes,' I said. 'I'll get ready fast.' I drifted off for awhile until I heard my husband's voice.

"You'll be late, babe."

"Okay," I said, but I hated to wake my little man.

Just then, as if on cue, his blue eyes fluttered open. He turned his face towards me and our eyes locked.

**Straight to the heart.**

In that moment, I knew that while my body was full of exhaustion and frustration, it was held together by one beautiful, golden word:


Sunday, January 8, 2012

A New Year

**There's nothing like seeing Christmas through the eyes of little ones.**

I have friends who take issue with the whole idea of New Years Resolutions. Their general beef, as I understand it, is why wait for January to make resolutions? I get that. On the other hand, I am not averse to a built in reminder to stop and reflect. My life gets so busy that it's easy to just keep on moving without setting new goals or taking a step back to survey where we've been and where we're going.

When I graduated from residency, one of the strangest things for me was the fact that I no longer had an academic or training schedule to mark time by. Life just stretched out in front of me as one great expanse. I think the whole New Years phenomenon fights against that in a good way. It breaks down time into pieces that we can measure and make sense of. As I’ve read blog posts recently, I've seen a lot of, '2010 was a struggle, but 2011 was restorative.' Or, "2011 brought change" etc., I think it's nice to have these discreet time frames that we can assess, learn from, and then move on from. It's like September for those of us no longer in school. A fresh slate. Or, to modify an Anne of Green Gables quote, 'A new year with no mistakes in it'. (uh, was eight days ago.)

**Taking her new bitty twin on a ride on Drummer's new radio flyer.**

So what are my resolutions? Well, they look an awful lot like last years. So many of the most important goals are lifelong journeys.

But there is one overarching thing I want to keep in my mind this year. As I lay in bed last weekend, contemplating the new year and letting my mind consider what I would want to pay more attention to in the new year, one word came to me: Teach.

And then as I thought about my children, where I feel the most urgency to apply that word, two more came in quick succession: by example.

Yes, I want to seize the moments I have to teach them directly about the world, about how to be a good person, about what is important and right.

**She's all about teaching her doll children the way the world works. Finally, she's the boss!**

But I also want to remember that everyday they are watching me, soaking up my example.

Recently while we were driving, a car cut us off, causing us to get stuck at a light. Tiny said, "Oh! Why is that car being so annoying!?" I laughed in the way you do when you hear your own words parroted back to you. And I made a mental note to keep my trapper closed on the road.

But it also underscored what a powerful opportunity we parents have to put out into their world the things we really want them to be infused with.

Last week while the kids were playing in the basement, I sat on Rockstar's lap, and He and I laughed as we talked about the day. Eva looked over at us and a huge smile appeared on her face. "You guys are silly," she said. It occurred to me that a lifetime of witnessing moments like that will do more to inform her opinion of how to have a loving marriage than anything I could sit down and tell her.

How I handle my mistakes and persist in hard things will likely be as pivotal for my kids as any pep talks I could give them about 'not giving up'.

How I look out for those around me will naturally teach them how we treat our fellow man.

So, this year, I do want to accomplish lots of little concrete goals that I've jotted down in my iphone. I do want to think about who I want to be. But more importantly? I want to think about who I want my children to witness me being.

Happy 2012, everyone.