We stepped out into the 50 degree weather, and our daughter, snug in her car seat, lifted her chin to sniff the air and blinked against the bright sky. She's been out during the 20 degree weather, swaddled, canopied, and protected from the elements. Today was the first day that she could feel the breeze on her face, hear the birds chirping (albeit because she was awake and alert), and begin to understand the wonders of our world.
As we headed around the neighborhood, my husband and I listened to the signs of spring and attempted to avoid puddles on the sidewalk. All the while, our daughter stared wide-eyed around her. I don't know what she was looking at, the trees, the sky, the handle of the carrier... Whatever she saw, I appreciated her acknowledgement of the different environment.
Even though she didn't have a hat on, and I was slightly concerned, we decided to take our normal route because it was darn nice out! Snow piles were melting, trees were budding, and our daughter was silently contemplating the beauty of life (or so I imagined). We wanted to savor the moment.
Today we took our daughter to her first ice hockey game. She's nearly six weeks old, and we've tried to get her out and about even though she was born during a particularly cold and snowy winter. Most of the time we take her out to eat, and she sleeps through the meal. She seems to like the ambient noise of restaurants. The hockey game was the next step in increasing her comfort outside of the house.
Because she had several decent naps today, I feared allowing her to sleep through the whole game. That much sleep might prevent her from actually sleeping well at night. So we woke her up before the game, and I fed her, then we headed in. The lights, the band, the fans...all were new and fascinating to our daughter. As I held her in my arms, she looked around with an alertness that has been building each day. It was difficult for me to watch the players because I enjoyed watching her ponder the world around her.
Of course, it was fun to go to the game, but even more, I liked having our daughter with us, absorbing all that she could. I'm sure we will take her to many more events that she will find entertaining. But I can't help but thinking that her adventures will be much more fabulous for her father and me.
Pinterest, you are the most useful of sources.
It is with great joy that I peruse your boards,
searching far and wide
to satiate my family's hunger,
to show how-to,
to purchase and to give,
to illustrate the world past and present,
to remain fit.
Pinterest, you are the most wonderful of sources.
It is because of you that I encounter the Internet,
growing mentally and physically
for my husband
to show my love,
for my daughter
to raise her well,
for my parents
to give appreciation,
for my friends
to share a laugh,
for my students
to be a better person.
There are times when I encounter products or ideas that I wish I had created. This summer, I found children books by Jennifer Adams that are based on classic literature. What a great idea! I purchased one based on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (because I teach the novel in my class), and I just loved it. The book actually includes quotations from the book while being suitable for a baby. It offers"camping" terms like raft and river that help youngsters learn new terminology. More importantly, it introduces a classic American novel. To me, this is invaluable. We went to the bookstore today and purchased two new literature-based books, one based on Romeo and Juliet and another based on The Wizard of Oz. I'm so excited to read them to my daughter!
When I was young, I played a card game called "Authors" that used various classic authors from Europe and America. When I read literature, I often recall the time I spent playing the game with my parents. I want my daughter to encounter the names of authors and titles that epitomize great literature, and Adams's books help to do this. Right now she is weeks old, so I know she isn't absorbing much that I read to her, but I know that she will eventually learn to love the books like I loved the card game. Even more importantly, I hope that when she is older, she will love the time we spent together reading the books.
I had a dream about you today. Though the plot was pretty nonsensical, so many details were from my memories of our time together. I enjoyed the dream because of those details.
Because we haven't spoken in a long time, you probably don't know that I am married to a wonderful man. He is smart and funny and kind. It took me a long time, but I finally found someone who completes my life.
We recently had a daughter. She is a healthy, precious infant, yet I'm totally freaked out about motherhood. There are so many things that could go wrong! I want everything to be perfect even though I know that is ridiculous. Nothing can be perfect, and I try to tell myself that, but still...
I want you to know that I truly cherished our friendship. Not only did I have fun with you, but I also learned from you. I don't think I ever shared with you how much of an impact you had on me. I will always appreciate the times we shared.
One of my favorite feelings is a really good laugh. The kind of laugh that makes my cheeks sore and my eyes flood with tears. This kind of laugh is rare; it happens maybe once every couple of months if I'm lucky. But, oh, when it happens, the sensation of joy is overwhelming. It's as if my mind has been tickled.
Today, my husband and I had one of these laughs. We were leaving our favorite Mexican restaurant, and he made a comment that was hilarious in a variety of ways. We stood there crumbling with laughter as the other patrons of the establishment glanced sidelong at us.
In the blissful moments after our laugh, I silently appreciated the good belly laugh and the man who can make one happen.
I like to be in control. I don't mean in control of other people though my profession certainly affords many opportunities to be in control of others. I mean that I like to know what I'm doing and to do it well. I like to be in control of the situation. Of course, this only comes with practice and hard work. And I cannot always be in control. I cannot be perfect all the time. I know this, but I still find myself frustrated when I don't have control.
It is only logical that one might struggle in a new situation; I get that. Yet here I am, a new mother, discomforted by my lack of control dealing with my infant daughter. Everything I do not know makes me anxious and afraid. The diaper rash, the umbilical hernia, the spit up, the pacifier, the furrowed brow, the grumbly noises, the list is endless. Am I holding her enough? Am I holding her too much? Should I talk to her more? Is she content? How can I know? What should I do? The questions keep accumulating, and my feelings of control keep diminishing.
Logic reminds me that I'm a novice, unpracticed and ignorant. But my heart yearns to know for certain, to be the best, to control the situation.
On Tara Reed's blog, she wrote about the uncertainty of taking part in the Slice of Life challenge. She explained that she felt bombarded with doubt about blogging as it is a new endeavor for her. As I read her post, I thought about the doubt and uncertainty I am feeling about my newest challenge...motherhood. There have been numerous occasions when I have felt the discomfort of the unknown, and motherhood may perhaps be my biggest challenge I have encountered. To remind myself that I should take on challenges instead of avoid them, below I recall a moment when my confidence faltered.
Though I'm sure there are many other moments previous to this, one experience that stands out in my mind as a time when I was challenged was when I was a cheerleader in high school. Cheerleading, at that time, was beginning to revolve around tumbling, but it wasn't quite as imperative to have gymnastic ability as it is now. My cheerleading coach wanted me to be able to do a back handspring without a spot, and, to be honest, I was perfectly capable of doing the back handspring. However, my mind was full of doubt and uncertainty. Even though I was strong and healthy and able to do the back handspring with her standing beside me while her hand was merely touching my back, I could not convince myself to do the skill alone. I can vividly recall standing on the mat with my coach standing near saying that no one could leave practice until I did five back handsprings by myself. I don't recall the outcome of that threat, but I'm pretty sure I could have stood there all night.
I never did do the back handspring by myself; I was too riddled with self-doubt. I couldn't conquer my fear. Because of this, I didn't make the "best" cheerleading squad the next year, but instead I had to settle for second-best, cheering for our 0-6 football team. My experience was still fun, but it was nothing compared to cheering for the fast-paced (winning) basketball team. Even now, I occasionally have dreams about back handsprings, making the cheerleading squad, or not, and the feelings that I felt as a sophomore in high school.
What did I learn from my experience? My mind is a powerful motivator. If I want to do something, I have to convince myself that it is worthwhile. The advantages of doing the back handspring were not enough to persuade me to flip backward.
Fortunately, my challenges after high school were far less physically dangerous. As a teacher, I take on challenges all the time. I pursue innovative activities so that my students will enjoy and learn in my classroom. I'm aware that my lessons may fail, but trying new strategies in the classroom is the only way to improve.
With this realization, my fears about motherhood should be squelched. Being a mom is completely new to me. I'm uncertain about nearly everything that revolves around my child. But, if I apply what I've learned in the past, taking on such a large challenge can only bring improvements to my life.