I’m one of those strange hybrid creatures you read about in Buzzfeed articles: the introverted extrovert, or extroverted introvert, or whatever label we’re using these days for someone who likes to be social but tends to become totally exhausted when my calendar isn’t empty. I can also get extremely socially anxious—every so often, I feel like I’m floating outside my body and am sure that everyone can see what a phony I am as I make sure to laugh in the right places and stand in a way that I don’t look as awkward as I feel. (Overshare!) But this weekend I got over all that when I made myself just say yes—to a full three days’ worth of unforgettable experiences.
If you’ve read this blog often enough, you’ve seen my posts about how hard motherhood can be—like the time one kid trailed poop after her all over the house, or the long length of time breastfeeding was insanely hard, or the roughly 12 months I didn’t sleep more than 3 hours in a row. But sometimes motherhood is awesome.
Take, for instance, the other day. Peeper and I made cookies for absolutely no reason other than the fact that sugar and chocolate chips are delicious. When they were done, the heavenly smell of perfectly browned cookies filled the house.
Shockingly, Kiwi was still asleep—couldn’t she smell the chocolate chip cookies?—so Peeper and I got some more one-on-one time.
I decided to teach her a vital life lesson.
Dunking cookies and bonding
Some life lessons are hard to teach—like that friends aren’t always nice to you, or that there are people in the world who value girls less than boys. This was not one of them.
I poured two cups of milk. I placed two chocolate chip cookies on plates. I sat Peeper down at the table.
And I taught her how to dunk a cookie in milk.
Peeper had never dunked a cookie, but the practice combines two of her favorite things—dessert and milk.
She and I ate our milk-softened cookies, still warm from the oven, and giggled. It felt as if we were sharing a beautiful secret. The feeling of doing something special just for us filled the room like the scent of baking chocolate.
Cookies and milk and motherhood
Kiwi woke up a few minutes later. I still try to limit her sugar as much as I can, so before I got her from the crib I cleaned up the evidence of cookies and milk.
When Kiwi and I rejoined Peeper in the living room, Peeper looked up at me and smiled. She had a smear of chocolate on one cheek. As I smiled back at her I thought, Motherhood is awesome.
Just like I realized one day that I no longer have a baby—holy shit, she is a toddler—I recently realized my linea nigra is gone.
That dark line that snaked from my belly button on down disappeared in an equal but opposite proportion to the growth of my baby. In almost imperceptible ways, Kiwi got bigger day by day. She rolled over. She sat up. She crawled. And now, somehow, she grins and peeks around the kitchen island at me, itching for me to chase her down the hall.
Likewise, my linea nigra faded bit by bit, and I didn’t notice until it was gone. I was busy with other things, I guess—things like, you know, doing my damnedest to keep my new family of four alive. More recently, being a mother of two has felt easier, or at least less heartbreakingly hard. So it makes sense that I only now registered its absence.
As I tap this one-handed on my phone, I’m nap trapped. My toddler has fallen asleep breastfeeding, leaving me unable to put away all the kids’ new toys, go through unopened mail, unpack our suitcases or do any of the other things on my list. But I am not complaining. Today, I’m happy for this boob nap.
Kiwi rarely falls asleep on me these days. And on the occasions she does, I can’t let her snooze on me. I don’t have that flexibility; I have a preschooler.
But Peeper went down to Eugene with her dad to pick up our dog, so for today I am mom of only one kid. And that “only child” has a doozy of a cold. So it’s really not that shocking she fell asleep at the breast—and why I let her keep sleeping on me, boob nap style.
At the beginning of this year, I wrote a gratitude list of 50 things I’m grateful for. I remembered that post recently when I thought ahead to the New Year. I feel a lot of fear when I think about what is to come next year and beyond, but fear doesn’t do a lot of good unless it motivates some sort of positive action. I have been working to incorporate doing good every day (more on that later), but positive action can also include acknowledging all the things that are right with the world. After all, a perfect antidote to anxiety and uncertainty is reflecting on the many reasons to be thankful.
If you’re like me and you’re feeling anxious—whether that’s from the incoming president or post-Christmas bills—I invite you to make a gratitude list, too. It may just help you feel better about the end of 2016 and look forward to the New Year.
The other day, my daughter made me cry.
It wasn’t because Peeper punched me in the eye (on accident!) while we were playing. And it wasn’t because she drew this picture of me.
(Yes, I’m so #momglam with my unibrow and lopsided boobs.)
No, it was because she said the words I didn’t even know I’d been waiting to hear.
“Hey, what’s that noise?” I asked. Peeper looked up, her eyes wide. She turned to look out the window. “Let’s go see!” I said. I figured we had to do this one thing before we said goodbye summer.
As quickly as I could, I got our shoes on, picked up Kiwi and dashed outside. The metallic tinkling tune was fading as its source moved farther away. Undeterred, I hurried us along the quiet street.
Then, to my relief, the cheerful song got louder. And then we saw it: the ice cream truck.
A few times this summer, the ice cream truck has stopped in our neighborhood. The driver must have known about the groups of kids who rove through our block. They play chase, ride scooters, flirt and let the summer afternoons drift by as if time did not exist.
Yet I hadn’t taken my girls out to have their first ice cream truck experience. The truck always seemed to come right before nap time. Or, more honestly, I just didn’t want to deal with the sugar buzz, no matter the time of day.
But summer is coming to a close. Before we said goodbye summer, I wanted the girls to say hello, cream truck! Read more