Monday, April 1, 2019

Elijah

Elijah at eight months old. 

Before I can write about much of anything else around here, I have to tell you about our newest family member: Elijah.

He's somehow already eight months old, and planted solidly at the heart of our family. We absolutely adore this happy, wild little kid with his easy smile and goodnatured little ways. Espen half-jokingly calls him "The King", which, considering the way we schedule our days around his needs, sneak around quietly while he's napping and let him eat from our plates, is really not too far from the truth. Fortunately, Elijah adores us right back, and is never happier than when his siblings include him in their games and make him one of the gang. He loves singing, tickling, roughhousing, walks in the stroller, taking a bath and going to bed. Above all, Elijah loves food and eating and all activities that include those two things.

In other words, Elijah is a pretty standard baby. But what feels completely non-standard (although, of course, most of us feel this way about our own kids) is how much sheer joy and happiness this little person has brought into our lives. I rejoice in being his mama each and every day.

And that is something that has felt different this time around: now that we're not completely overwhelmed by the terrifying newness of parenthood, or utterly exhausted by having two tiny people under three to chase after, having a baby is actually a genuinely delightful thing. Okay, at this juncture I feel like I need to clarify that all of our babies have been delightful little sources of enormous joy, and being their mom has been my absolute favorite thing in life. But this feels like the first time in my journey in motherhood where I a) am not utterly overwhelmed by other little people that need constant care and supervision, and b) I just feel comfortable and confident in my own abilities as a mom. I know what I'm doing! I've got this! And I think that a happy and comfortable mom makes for a happy and comfortable baby, so we have just fallen into a routine that is, well... happy and comfortable.

Of course it's not all sunshine and rainbows: Elijah' nap schedule is constantly getting messed with because I have to wake him to pick Gwen up from school or to take kids to their after school activities. Sometimes he wakes up at 4 in the morning for no discernible reason and decides to squawk in his bed for the next 90 minutes. Sometimes I don't get a shower because I have to hold my teething, and therefor, screaming baby all day long. But, I know how to do those things. Even when it's hard, it's never actually impossible. Sometimes I do have to call in the cavalry (which usually means Nick) because I just can't be multiple people in multiple places at once, but nine out of ten times, I find a way.

It has to be said that Elijah gets a lot of the credit for all this happiness and contentment around these parts. He is just an unusually happy, chill and easy baby. He gets fussy when he's hungry or tired, but other than that, he's really just a remarkably "good" baby: he's friendly and loves people, he loves to eat, he's happy to play on his own, he's been sleeping through the night since he was about 4 months old, he actually gets excited when we put him in his carseat, and the list goes on. 90% of the time, Elijah is just a joyful little soul, and the other 10% is generally when we've kept him awake for too long, or he's hungry*. You know, user errors.

So, that is our Elijah. At a stage in our life when so many of our peers are raising teenagers and squaring up to the possibility of becoming grandparents in a few short years, we feel so happy and lucky to back in the world of nap time and diapers. Being a parent has been such a huge blessing in my life, and I absolutely love that we get a few more years in that priceless "little kid" phase before they all grow up on us. Elijah is our grand finale, and we couldn't be happier he's here.



*Also, when I don't let him play with my earrings. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Pottery Analogies and The Enemy of Good.

Okay, gang: I am just going to sit down and write something, just so that I have written something. I've thought about writing a new post pretty much daily since my last post six-ish weeks ago. I have this problem, you see, that I want the things I write to be good and beautiful and engaging and funny and wise, and when I am a mere mortal who is woefully out of practice with this whole writing/blogging thing, that can be a tall order.

Honestly, this is a common theme in my life: I don't like to do things if I can't do them well, so I don't do them at all, and guess what that means? I don't actually do any of the things I want to. Which is kind of a rubbish way to live.

Someone once said that "perfection is the enemy of good", and someone else said that "perfection is the enemy of done", and I have been thinking a lot about the truth of both of those statements. Because what good is always striving for perfection, if it means that your lofty goals are so paralyzing that you don't actually accomplish them, or even anything like them? What good does it do me to aspire to be a person who writes, if I don't actually write anything longer than my own signature?

There are ways to deal with this, I think. I've been taking a pottery class for the past 18 months or so, and I can promise you that exactly nothing I produce is like the flawless ideal I have in my head. I'm getting better as I go, but there is a definite wonk to just about all of my pieces. Sometimes that's difficult for someone like me who struggles with being bad at things, but I enjoy pottery so much that I'm willing to not be good at it, just so I can keep learning. There is so much value in being good at being bad at something, and it's a skill I really want to learn.

Here's the kicker, though: I'm actually not a bad writer. If I may be ever so humble, I would even go as fas as to say that writing might be one of my few natural gifts. I started writing for my own enjoyment more or less as soon as I could write, and I really haven't stopped until just a few years ago, when life knocked my feet out from under me to the point that it has taken me years to find them again. But I am so out of practice now, that it feels like writing is something I'm no longer good at. I suspect that those same principles I'm learning at my pottery class apply to writing as well: just like the wonky pots I produce at the pottery wheel, there are going to be some wonky posts while I relearn how to do this thing.

Hopefully this means that at some point I'll write an actual post, instead of just a series of posts about how I'm going to write a real post "sometime real soon, guys!" I feel as self-conscious about putting this out into the world as I do about showing anyone my pottery (which probably explains why I have given away exactly one bowl to a friend who is as loving and supportive as they come), but I think it has to be done. So consider this post my somewhat wonky offering to you, my loving and supportive friend.



Friday, January 18, 2019

Writing Again

Still here, still posting makeup-less selfies. 

I have a quiet house to myself on a January afternoon, which seems like as good a time as any to shyly and slyly mark my return to writing and blogging after an absence so long that we have had time to add a whole other human to our family (the run on sentences are still here, though, don't you worry). More about him soon - he is pretty great.

I haven't been writing because I haven't known quite what to say. I've been in doubt as to whether or not I actually have anything worthwhile or constructive to contribute to the never-ending conversation that is the internet. I have certainly left behind any aspirations I ever had to be a lifestyle blogger (you know, like an influencer, only five years ago) and guide you all with my sage opinions about succulents and how to style a bookshelf.

But here I am, after everything that has happened and all the time that has passed since this blog was a pretty substantial part of my everyday, tentatively brushing away the metaphorical cobwebs and wondering if now might possibly be the time?

I never stopped writing in my head. I thought about sitting down and typing words into this computer  for weeks and months and probably even a couple of years. The words kept on forming and chaining themselves together in my mind, even when I just allowed them to leave as simply as they came.

I want to start keeping some of them now. I want to catch hold of some of those words before they drift away and see if I can turn them into something worthwhile. I don't know what that's going to look like. I feel out of practice, like the words are all stiff and not quite my own yet. But I want to try. I might write three blog posts and let this whole thing drift into hibernation again. I might start an internet revolution with my prolific and inspirational wordsmithery. I might write a book. I might fail a lot, but I'm going to try even more.

Whatever this becomes, this is where it begins.