Saturday, April 23, 2011

Vintage

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

- Mark Twain

And oh boy, does Baby Girl have some clothes. Yesterday afternoon was like Christmas! Below isn't a quarter of what Mom brought from her stash in her cedar closet. All of it hand-made, smocked, knitted, appliqu├ęd, and embroidered. There are a few Feltmans thrown into the mix, but that was usually because my grandmother liked it and wanted to purchase it so she could derive a pattern from the dress itself. Then she could turn around and make dozens for me. And every dress has matching bloomers! I remember wearing some pieces: you can tell my favorites because of the wear and tear on them.
My maternal grandmother, Cha-Cha's, first degree from Auburn University in 1942 was in Home Economics with a minor in textiles, and my mother's first degree from Auburn was in fashion merchandising. I come from a long line of seamstress wizards.

It's a pity too because the streak is ending with Mom. My talent is in the kitchen: sewing, crocheting, knitting, tatting, all that stuff makes me crazy. I was fussing with Cha-Cha all day long yesterday: I'm beating myself up at not having learned at least a little bit of this important trade, but I can hear her right now: "You can make fudge and divinity better than anyone in the family. That's where your talent lies, Honey."

Either way, Little Bit likes her hand-me-downs from her mama.

This pink dress is particularly important: the lace was made by my great-grandmother Leila, for whose son and favorite brother Avery is named. We have more pieces with lace made by Avery's great-great grandmother; they're still safely tucked away. Mom made the dress, and her mom smocked it and stitched in the seed pearls. It's a family affair - I suppose my contribution will be the little girl who will wear it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Unintentional Routine

New moms can stress about everything, and to some extent I am no exception. I try diligently to dumb this down - not make it so complicated - but Mike says sometimes it's like I always have my foot on the gas pedal and can't slow up. I'm trying desperately to keep up with everything I used to do before Avery came along, and I'm slowly but surely realizing that's not really an option.


One of my big stresses was ROUTINE. Everybody and everything I read stressed routine, routine, ROUTINE!!! BABIES LIKE ROUTINE. They thrive on it. They have to have it. If you don't put your baby on a routine from day 1, you're screwed for life and your baby will grow up listless and unsuccessful and eventually live in a van down by the river.

ROUTINE.

But how can I establish a routine when I'm not even sure what we're going to be doing from one day to the next? From visitors to visiting, to the grocery store, to church, Monday is never like Tuesday or any other day for that matter. So after a few days of attempting to force it, I stopped beating myself up and decided to go with the flow. Live on the edge, one day at a time, sometimes one hour - one minute - at a time, and make sure the kiddo is pink and breathing every morning.
Lazy bums. This was taken about a month ago. Mike and I were both up and moving, but Avery and Dante had other plans.
She's usually happiest in the mornings, which is kind of a downer because during the week, her daddy only sees her when she's a cranky little kid. But Saturday and Sunday mornings are the best.
Snarky.
I decided to slow down and enjoy this little person while she's still this young and little. Once up, she eats and plays for a while, then goes down for a nap. Then she wakes up, eats again, plays, and down for a nap again. Once more around the bend, and it's usually bedtime. Repetitive, I know, but .... wait.... what's that? I think it is... We managed to fall into a routine!

Holy cow.

It's like the story of the little girl who desperately wanted to catch a butterfly. She spent all morning out in the fields stalking and chasing butterflies, but couldn't catch one. Frustrated and tired, she laid down in a meadow and dozed off to sleep. Once she woke up, she was covered in butterflies. That's what happened here: Avery and I relaxed with each other and naturally fell into our own rhythm.

If I want to run errands, I usually time them around her nap and just let her sleep in her carseat. Or if we have to be somewhere at a specific time, I'll try to feed her right before we leave.

Now thanks to the wave sound app on my phone, baby girl can sleep anywhere.
As for bedtime, we don't do the elaborate bathtime, swaddle, story book, song, rock, rigmarole that we were told to follow. Mike usually gives her a bottle for her last feeding - anywhere from 7-9 - and she conks out for the night. Sometimes it takes some rocking and shhhing or the wave noise machine and patting, but she's usually out until 1 AM. Then I feed her, and she's sometimes good again until Mike wakes up around 4:30. We're a work in progress, and it's an awful lot of fun.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Three Months Later.......

A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.

- Mark Twain

Well, I don't even know where to begin. You have been missed, dear readers, and I hope to have more time to write to you. Our little monster and her daddy are sleeping in, and I'm enjoying my morning coffee and catching up. We can't believe it's been three months already - where does the time go? Oh, that's right: it's now spent swaddling and rocking, washing and scrubbing, feeding and burping, singing and giggling. We're having a blast.

You haven't missed any new recipes because I don't really have any. I cooked twice as much before she was born and froze the rest, and we were so blessed with friends bringing food that we still have casseroles in the freezer, for which we are eternally grateful. Both the nourishment and extra time that we can spend with this miss mean the world to us.


Afternoons and evenings are challenging with Avery's colic/acid reflux/bitchy baby syndrome. I really think she's still somewhat hacked off at us for evicting her from my lovely warm body to face the world on her own. But she's learning that we are here for her and will raise her, despite her love of drama. Baby girl works hard and plays hard: when she's happy, she's the happiest kid on the planet. When she's mad about something, people know it in the next county. And when she's asleep, we all heave a big sigh of relief.


We're a team, she and I, and we spend all day together. She's great company, if not the best conversationalist. But that's getting better: we sing to each other. Really, we sing. I'll start, and then she starts cooing, and I mimic her, and she mimics me mimicking her, and it's just a lot of goofiness. She goes with me to work at my church, to the grocery store, and any other errands we have to accomplish. I'm developing great upper body strength carrying her around. Sure, it's tough, but we're making it and haven't yet been "that mom" in the Target with the screaming baby - knock on wood.

I took her to her first DAR meeting this past week, and though she seemed to enjoy it, I was rather frazzled by the end. I'm quickly learning that when somebody tells the baby, "You're so good!" They're really telling the mom, "You're doing great with this kid. Thanks for not letting her cry through the whole meeting." They want her to come back with me so they can keep up with her. Not sure how I'll manage that when I've just been elected treasurer for next year, but as with everything else, we'll figure it out.

Big Daddy Mike is phenomenal with her. Sometimes when I put her in his strong arms, I briefly feel their strength and think, "No wonder she calms down with him. I calm down too when I'm in those arms." Sure, she's tried both our patience, but we're a better team, more in love, and stronger than ever because of it. I can't tell you how blessed I am with this man.

We're still working on a schedule, but I'm not committed to anything really set in stone. I follow my grandfather Papa Doc's recommendation for dogs: if they're eating and drinking, pooping and tinkling, they're OK, and if they're wagging their tails, that's even better. This baby girl smiles all the time, so I'm not too worried.


 

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