Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Loves her Dog... Still

A few months ago, I wrote this post about how much I love my dog. I was eight months pregnant at the time, and more than a little emotional. Why, you ask? Because what I neglected to say in that post was that many people-- many people-- had told me that they, too, had loved their dogs.

Before children.

'Just wait,' people would say. 'Soon Daniel will be relegated to second class citizen.'

'We gave our dog away when we had kids,' one neighbor said. 'We just didn't have time for him anymore.'

I never worried that we would give Dan away-- that was unthinkable. But I did worry about what he would think of the new baby, whether or not he would chew her toys, if he would bark at her while she slept... but mostly about poop. We don't have a fenced in yard here in Pleasantville, and the last year and a half has been spent walking Daniel-- sometimes four times a day-- to do his business. Walking Daniel at 5am was nothing short of a spiritual experience for me in the last year and a half (even in sub zero temps). Walking Daniel at 5am with a newborn... not so much. Especially in this weather:

Now that L is back on his crazy traveling schedule, we needed to figure out something for Dan. Fast. Getting a fenced in yard is both expensive and time consuming, not to mention complicated in our neighborhood. Taking Dan to daycare every day that L is gone was considered, but the cost of doing that over the years would add up to a small fortune and would involve me getting Anna up every morning and taking her with me to drop him off and pick him up. Hardly optimal.

We have an itty-bitty-teeny backyard, but L got inventive in December. He dug out a small area and took Dan out there to do his business twice a day. At first, Dan was confused. Then, slowly, he began to pee out there on his own. But #2 was a little trickier. He just wouldn't go.

After weeks of trying, lots of treats, and lots of belly rubs, I'm pleased to report Dan has figured it out:



And then he comes inside, tail wagging (notice blurry tail wagging), ready for a treat:...which I give him happily.

And while my dog's bowel movements are clearly cause for celebration, so is his relationship with Anna. He loves her, sniffs her and licks her, and hasn't taken a single one of her blankets or toys as his own. I have lots of pictures of them together, but this one is my favorite:

Anna, you lucky girl. Dan's got your back.

It took more than thirty years for me to understand that a pet is truly a part of a person's family, but I get it now more than ever. So Daniel, for pooping in the backyard, for licking your sister's fingers when she cries, for barking at the mailman every day just in case he forgets that this house is yours... thank you.

From the bottom of all three of our hearts.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties is Lucky

This post is dedicated to K and H. Don't worry. You're VIP.

K and H came to visit this weekend and meet Anna. No, that's not true. They came to meet Anna, cook and clean for us, hold the baby while I showered and shoveled the driveway, help me figure out how to use my breast pump, pack and play, and Moby, listen to me complain about my sore nipples and sore throat, help me find a pair of jeans that actually fit, play with and walk Dan, take professional-looking photographs of my baby because I've been too lazy to hire a photographer, hold my purse and diaper bag while I carted around Anna's carseat, and convince me that I'm a natural at this whole Mom business.

So.. it was a busy weekend. And the best one I've had in a long time. Here is a photo montage:

(This is what happens when Auntie Heidi comes to visit. Anna had a horrible time playing dress up, as you can tell.)

(Kim making her famous pesto... while Heidi made her famous pasta sauce... all to be frozen to make my life easier)

(Giggling after an extra-strong margarita)

(They really should have charged a sitting fee.)

I have already blathered on about how I love my girls, so I'm having a hard time figuring out how to end this post. Maybe it's because I can't figure out why they love me so much. I'm terrible on the phone, notorious for forgetting birthdays, and keep moving all around the globe. And yet they're still there, in every way they can be, and even in ways that other people wouldn't be.

A woman in her thirties knows that wonderful friends are a blessing, and not a given. K and H-- thank you for leaving your great weather to come to the arctic in January. You're crazy, but that's why I love you. And why I'm so, so lucky.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Changes Perspective

In an effort to mix up the whole letter-to-child thing, I've decided to write this month's letter from Anna's point of view. She sounds more like a sarcastic woman in her thirties every day.

Dear Mom,

Today is my eight week birthday. I know you're getting all bent out of shape because the time is going by so quickly, but I'm here to tell you to relax. We've got awhile before I'm begging you for an American Girl doll or drooling over Justin Bieber. Right now, it's all about being with you. Well, not you, necessarily. Your boobs.

Anyway, things have been going pretty well. I learned how to sleep in my crib, which made you very happy (you're welcome). One night I actually slept four consecutive hours in there, which was a record (you're welcome again). I'm still struggling with this whole 'napping during the day' nonsense, which I will only do in my swing. I wish you'd stop stressing over it-- I just want to be downstairs where the action is.

I figured out how to smile in the last couple of weeks, and I like how happy it makes you every time I do it.

Mornings are prime time:

Evenings, not so much.

Here's the thing, Mom. I've been thinking a lot lately and I really wish you would enjoy this time with me. A woman in her thirties enjoys the moment, right? You've done some of that, but really you spend most of your time worrying that I'm not eating enough, not pooping enough, eating too much, pooping too much, and all the other things that occupy your brain. Stop doing that. I'm only going to be this adorable for so long, so you'd better make the most of it.

Oh, and in case I forget all about my first eight weeks, I should tell you something: The reason I cry sometimes isn't because I'm hungry or gassy, but because I just want to be near you. I'm safest when I'm closest to you, and that's pretty much all I know in my life right now. You've spent every moment away from me worried about how I'm doing, and I know it's because, even though you're a woman in your thirties, that's pretty much all you know in your life right now, too-- that you're safest when you're closest to me. I'm too young to know all the complexities of human emotion, but if that's not love I don't know what is.

Thank you for loving me.

-A. Banana

P.S. I really like that 'Anna's here today' song you sing in the morning. Your voice is God-awful, but for some reason I can't get enough of it. Go figure.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Brings her Own Baby

This week marked my first 'real life' week since Anna was born. And by 'real life', I mean I wasn't going to have my Mom, L, L's Mom, L's sister, or anyone else at my beck and call anymore. Stay-at-home mommyhood officially began.

Which explains the state of my hair... but that's another story.

I've learned a little something about myself in thirty-two years, and it's this: I don't like sitting around. I'm not good at it. TV is only fun in small, commercial-free snippets. I am a terrible napper, even when I'm sleep deprived. I can't even read for long periods at a time. I need to get up and move around. But that's hard with this little one constantly either on my boob, or searching for it:

This week, my first adventure with Anna was to go to yoga. No, not the yoga I'd grown to love during pregnancy. It was BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby) yoga. It was supposed to be a chance to catch up with all the girls I'd been breathing and squatting with over the last few months and admire each other's babies, not to mention get a workout in myself.

Sounds great, right? It is great. Except when you factor in the following:

1. Sometimes Anna cries and I have no idea how to make her happy
2. I am terrible at breastfeeding in public (meaning I can't figure out the Bebe Au Lait thingy without flashing everyone around me)
3. Pee, Poop, et al

But I did it, because a woman in her thirties tries new things, even if they're scary.

Here's a picture of us on our way (it's cold outside, people!):

And here's a picture of Anna on her mat in front of me (a little difficult to get some action shots of the yoga itself, as it consisted of me swinging her through my legs and lifting her multiple times above my head-- maybe next time):

BYOB yoga hardly resulted in getting back into my pre-pregnancy jeans (um, Moms? When exactly is that going to happen?), but it was more than that for me. It was watching other Moms nurse in public without being embarrassed. It was sharing spit-up stories and frustrations with the cleaning of pump supplies. It was watching other women in their thirties with their babies and realizing they're figuring things out as they go, just like me.