Thursday, June 28, 2007

Where the Armadillo Roam Free

I know, I know, I know. I'm late in posting. It's Grayson's three-month-birthday and the least I could do was write my letter to him, but we've been on vacation in San Angelo visiting R.'s family and its downright anti-social to hide one's nose in a computer when kinfolk are admiring your babies, and your brother-in-law is refilling your glass with Johnny Walker Red.

So, posts will come. I promise. I lie in bed at night awaiting the screech of a newborn insisting I feed him and write post after post in my head. But alas, my trusty laptop is at home, awaiting my return.

Big news tonight, though. We chased down an armadillo and heard his click-click-clicking feet on the driveway. Armadillos, in my opinion, are proof that God has a sense of humor.

More soon. I promise.

And remember, don't mess with Texas.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Things I Learned This Week

So, I've been back at work for two whole weeks now. The first week was infinitely worse than the second, but I'm getting more accustomed to kissing my baby boy goodbye in the morning and I love, love, love watching the relationship which is developing with the G. man and his daddy, who acts as primary caregiver right now.

This week, though, was one of those weeks where one's learning curve seems to expand exponentially.

Examples? Why sure...

When a nudist dies, it is entirely appropriate to ask the funeral home to dress him in his finest, which is, um, nothing. Furthermore, they will talk with you seriously about this and no one will smile or laugh because you both are professionals. And this is as it should be, but it does add new meaning to the term "blue balls." I'm just sayin'... And I'm not saying how I know this. Just that I do.

That one can walk through the office for an entire day with spit-up stains on their shoulder and one will say nary a word. Whether this is because one's officemates are not highly observant, or because they feel sorry for a ten-pounds overweight post-partum woman in tight clothes, is still open for discussion.

That taking a dump can elicit more positive responses from a patient than a pastoral care visit anyday. I asked one of my patients with dementia yesterday, "How are your spirits today?" And Martha paused, in deep and faraway thought as if she was communing with her Creator and finally said, "It is well. I finally went. It made all the difference. It was probably two inches long. Bowel movements help a lot." And how do I respond? In the only way I could think of in the moment, "Amen, and amen." To which she added, "Hallelujah."

That seeing one's blue-eyed boy at the end of the day smiling and cooing happily when he drifts into his mama's arms is a reminder of why I value life and why I believe in what I do, which is helping people live to the fullest. And to that I add, a hearty "Amen and Amen."

Monday, June 18, 2007

One Hand

I'm holding a baby boy. I'm typing one-handed. It's a fussy kind of night. The spirit is willing for blogging. The flesh is preoccupied. A baby who must have tired himself doing important Amnesty International work (see impressive onesie, thank you Susan) wiggles in my arms and sends his own baby love out into the blogosphere.

Will a baby picture do until I have two hands?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I've been back at work for three days now. I had always heard women who had babies talk about how hard it was to return to their professions and I confess that I thought, "What?!? I love my job. I am called to my job. What?!?" And then, I kissed my 2 month old baby boy goodbye on the forehead this morning and cried on the way to a job that, for the most part, I love.

It isn't as hard now. R. is home with the G. boy throughout the summer and I love, love, love watching the relationship that they continue to develop. I love watching Grayson coo and ahh at his daddy. I love that he coos and ahhs when I get home too. I love that R. brings Grayson for Tuesday lunches with his mommy at Hospice. And the staff love that they get their Tuesday baby fix. I love that on Wednesdays he hangs with Grandma K. and I can call her at a moment's notice and she'll give me the intimate details of every moment in our baby's existence.

But, autumn will be hard. Because I know that I will wonder in those two days a week when he's with a caregiver, "Who can care for him as well as his family can?"

I worked in daycare while I was in college. I was the woman,the college senior, you left your precious baby with as you went for work each day. I lied to you when your baby walked at daycare, because I didn't want you to have to accept that you missed her first steps. I was ashamed when your child reached for me in the morning, rather than preferring to stay with his parents. I worried about you when you wanted to take more sick leave time when she had a fever, but knew you had to be at work. I wondered what life was like for him when you worked twelve hours a day for five days a week because you had to show your boss you were a "team player." I loved your child. I cradled your child. I still feel partially responsible for your child. And we haven't met for nearly ten years. And now I understand you.

I've been on both sides. I believe children grow when they have relationships with adults other than their parents. Studies show that children who attend daycare are just as emotionally healthy as their "home-grown" peers. I know this. And yet, I miss my baby when I say goodbye in the morning.

Perhaps this will change when toddlerhood and the watching of Pinky-Winky are paramount in his mind.

We'll see...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bad Day

Sometimes there are bad days.

Today was one of those.

It was hot. Hot as hell. And dry, too, which meant there were lots of cottony things swishing through the air and making this allergy-sufferer sneeze and wheeze and snort and have watery eyes.

And Grayson had gas. Bad gas. Which meant that he was alternately crying or farting. And I'm not sure which was worse. Except in the moments when it happened simultaneously, which sort of made him pause and look perplexingly around as if to say, "What, mother, was that strange noise?" And this, sort of made me laugh, which just pissed him off more.

And I have a rash. A bad rash. Which spreads over both of my legs and which the doctor called today "unspecified," which means we don't know what caused it, just that it itches. It itches badly. And after she prescribed the cortisone cream she said, "But, we should probably determine what the cause is, or it might come back." And I have wracked my brain and I simply don't know. I don't know at all. And the detective in me, the former president of the Garfield Spy Club, hates not knowing.

And I got some bad news. And it irritated me. And made me sad. And there it is. And it may have been caused by this here blog. And so be it. a not at all Pollyanna-ish way, I also am thankful for the poignant blessings of the day--family who love me, who love me enough to take me out for a Mexican fiesta supper (and then to a Babies R Us rendezvous to buy more waterproof crib pads--Ole!), family who send me consoling emails, family who stomp their feet in righteous indignation when I am hurt, a baby who smiles and coos and brightens when I am in his eyesight and friends who console and heal and hold out olive branches when they aren't even necessary.

And so, on this bad day, on this June 7th. I pout and protest and then I pour myself a glass of chardonay wine and think about what's next.

And I know that because God created peanut M&M's thereby prooving Her love for us, it will all be okay.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

And Your Mama Dresses You Funny Too

Dear Grayson,

When you are eleven years old and everyone at school is making fun of the fact that part of the back of your head is flat, don't come crying to me. For it should be duly noted that I have consistently rearranged your sleeping arrangements to accomodate for this flat spot. Whenever I see you asleep, I move your head to the other side. I have added to the opposite side of the crib an amazing black and white images of dogs which seem to hypnotize you and send you into a rhapsody of joy cooing and kicking the likes of which you never do for us. This hypnotizing and rhapsodizing has come, however, only when the picture has been viwed by you while lying on the flat head side...when I, in an amazing feat of parental genius switch it so you'll be lying on your perfectly rounded side, you get pissed as hell and tell me about it. Loudly. 'And with a scrunched face and occasional shrieks for emphasis. I can only take it for so long...and thus, you can explain the flat-headedness to your peers. For the record, it is not my fault. Your pediatrician, and your father, seem relatively I assume I'm simply being a neurotic mommy, for the 239,483th time.

However, the fact that you are dressed in outfits that disguise you as various Caribbean fruit and barnyard animals can be blamed on me, and might be something worth discussing with your therapist someday.

With abiding love and concern and absolutely no blame whatsoever,
Your Adoring Mother

Friday, June 01, 2007

Holy Mary Mother of God--Three (Albeit Skimpy) Posts in One Day

Dear Nasal Aspirator,

I simply felt the need to thank you for the amazing work you do on my newborn's nose. Since he contracted this nasty head cold from his sister, he spends a lot of time sniffling and snorting and hacking and grunting. You, my dear man, have been a God-send.

I apologize for calling you so many names--"Booger Burglar," "Nose Picker," "Nasal Negotiator," "Ass of an Aspirator," "Snot Sucker," among a few of them. You deserve a title, perhaps I should start calling you "Sir Nasal Aspirator," or "King Lord God Aspirator." Does that help?

I never knew before having an infant that you existed, and confess that when I saw you whilst in the hospital lying ever so innocently in the bassinet next to my son that I perceived you as some foreign invader and vowed that I would dominate you at all costs, and avoid your evil thief-like ways because, of course, my child would never be exposed to the evil germs that you were meant to dispel, for I would be the perfect mother.

But now, my friend, now I know better.

Please forgive me for boiling you in hot water today to sanitize you. I'm sure it wasn't a pleasant sensation. However, I'm sure you recognize it was for a greater good and were willing to sacrifice your rubber goodness for us.

Thank you, and Godspeed.

Your servant,
The Contemplative Chaplain

Mother and Son Conversation

Grayson: Gee, thanks Mom, for dressing me in this jaunty gingham onesie. I hear all the boys are wearing them this season.
Mommy: Oh sweetie, just wait until winter when you can wear the red velvet Santa suit I have stashed in the closet.
Grayson: I would prefer it if you allowed my father or sisters to dress me.
Mommy: Look, it was either you or the cat, and Cooper wouldn't have room for his tail in the Santa suit.
Grayson: Bloody hell. It's going to be a long couple years until I can undress myself without help.
Mommy: You gotcha, sweet cheeks. I'm counting on it.

Further Signs that I Have Become a Mother

Today I accidentally pulled a plastic container full of sliced watermelon soaking in sticky watermelon juice out of the refrigerator and dropped it on the floor where it splattered onto recently washed tile. This wasn't the sign of motherhood.

A split second after it hit the ground I yelled, "Oh Fudge!"

Those of you who know me well realize that this would not have been my F-word of choice just a few short weeks ago.

This concerns me.