Monthly Archives: June 2010

You Shouldn’t Procreate.

Because my kids will out-awesome yours.

Granted, I have a bit of a skewed opinion. And, okay, you can procreate (um, I give you permission?), because who will my kids marry and, in turn, create even more awesome offspring?

I just had to document the following tidbit as further proof that my son a). adores his baby sister – I will use it to blackmail him later on in life, and b). is ah-maz-ing.

So today, after he got back from summer camp, I was giving him a bath, and Bean was hanging out in her bouncy seat in the bathroom, chillin’. And, well, mostly sleeping. At one point, Bug looked at her over the rim of the tub and said, “she’s so cute.”

“Yep,” I replied absentmindedly, because the kid needed a good scrubbing.

Then he said, in mid-scrub, “Bean makes the whole world shine.”

I’m not gonna lie, I got a lump in my throat. Then I made him repeat it, because I wasn’t sure I had heard him correctly, and it was pure poetry. I freaking love that kid.

I am amazed by my little boy. I don’t think I liked my siblings until I was old enough to know better. (Like, last year.) (Just kidding.) Much less unabashedly adored them the way Bug adores Bean. He is truly tremendous, and I want to be just like him when I grow up.

Bean is beautiful, yes, and she smiles half a second before she blows out her diaper, and her chin trembles when she cries, and she’ll stare at you like you’re holding the moon. But she’s still new, and her personality is still an evolving mystery, and she doesn’t do much between eating and sleeping, so it’s like a strange mixture of miracle and magic that we can all be so head-over-heels for her.

I’m holding her now, as she sleeps (with the two extra arms that come with labor and delivery), and even though she can’t say “I love you” back, or can’t laugh when I tickle her, or stay awake for more than an hour or so at a time, I am obsessed with this tiny twenty-five-day-old being.

I love listening to her breathe. I love the way her forehead wrinkles when she’s staring at you. I love the way her mouth is shaped like an archer’s bow, and how red she gets when she cries. I love watching her get drowsy as she nurses, her eyes drooping in perfect correspondence to how full her belly gets. I love how her little hands clutch my shirt in her sleep, like she won’t let go, even unconsciously.

I love that holding her is pure bliss.

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My Tiny Mama Packs a Punch

The Reasons I'm Still Sane

Tomorrow my dad reclaims his bride.

For the past three weeks, since Bean was born, my mom has been staying with us, keeping us well-fed, keeping the house in immaculate order, keeping Bug from going crazy with boredom and neglect, and keeping me relatively sane.

I’m still reeling from amazement that my mother can help with a newborn, make five-star quality meals, keep the house and Bug clean, and tend to her farm on Farmville. Or Tiki Resort, or whichever game she’s currently playing on Facebook. It’s true – my tiny mama packs a punch.

There is zero percent chance I would have been able to do this on my own. And by “this,” I mean adjust our busy Buttram lives to incorporate said newborn. Okay, okay, so maybe if I had to do this without her, we’d all still be alive by now (people can survive on peanut butter sandwiches alone, right?), but things wouldn’t look as pretty (the house might even have burned down), nor would it have been nearly as much fun.

My parents are the reason I have any modicum of confidence in my own ability to parent two children, and get everyone where they need to be on time, and with clean underwear on to boot. They are the prime example of family life, and with two role models like them, it’s a given that things should go smoothly, right?

Right?


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“Panties is a Vile Word.”

So I’ve read a few books lately and have wanted to review them, but kind of felt like it was out of place. Then decided, oh, well.

First up, Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. I actually had a bunch of girlfriends tell me about this book and urge me to read it, and I finally got around to it. I was a little wary of Christian fiction – nothing against the genre, but sometimes it gets a little…hokey for me (that’s the best I can describe it) – but I decided to take a chance, and purchased this one via my Kindle and got a-crackin’.

I’m in love with Michael Hosea. That is all.

Okay, no it’s not.

Rivers basically retold the book of Hosea, if it took place in California during the gold rush. In the Bible, God tells one of His faithful, Hosea, to marry a prostitute, Gomer (that was just the beginning of this lady’s problems). So he marries her, offers her a better life, and she runs off to nurse her errant ways. Over and over again. Hosea continues to draw her back into a faithful, clean life, a beautiful allegory of the constantly redemptive love of God.

It was sweet without being gooby, unabashedly biblical without being preachy, and a quick but satisfying read.

Then, I read Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon basically because it was a free download on my Kindle. Can’t beat that. You could consider it historical fiction, if history included dragons and their aviators (soldiers who fly them) as another branch of military during the Napoleonic wars. I loved it, and was more than a little pleased to see that this one is just the first of a whole series. I originally thought it was written some few decades ago, because of the style of writing, but found it published in 2007, and the latest one is currently available to pre-order. (But not for free. Bah.)

Lastly, Bug and I took a trip to the library the other day to replenish his (my) reading supply, and I picked up Lauren Weisberger’s Chasing Harry Winston. Hey, they can’t all be works of literary genius! As much as I love Picoult, Vonnegut, Kingsolver, and others who author books with meat on them, nothing says Summer Reading like chick lit.

It was exactly the kind of vacancy I needed to get lost in, what with the sleep deprivation, unbecoming hours, squeezing in a five-minute shower when I can sneak away or Bean is sleeping in Grams’ arms, and basically being stuck in an armchair with a newborn at my chest every 2-4 hours 8 times a day. And I should mention the chapter titles are a kick (hence, the borrowed title above).

Don’t worry, I will redeem myself with the other two I borrowed from the library, aforementioned Picoult’s Handle with Care and Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer. Happy reading!

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Deprivation Revisited

I have to keep reminding myself that sleep is a luxury I will be able to afford in just a few months, and that this too shall pass, and that one day much (much) too soon I am going to beg for these days to come back if only because my babies are all grown up and time flies when you’re having fun (and when the days of sleeplessness blur together).

This is my mantra. In between yawns.

Whew…

In other news, Bug has started Summer Camp, and when I picked him up yesterday and asked him how his first day went, he said, “I feel like I was in Heaven!” Parents of Bored Kids Who Want Nothing To Do With the Lazy Days of Summer – I have the cure. The only problem, he says, is that he misses baby sister during the day.

It’s a given – my son is freaking fantastic.

My Heart Externalized

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Uninspired

Actually, I should title this blog “Overinspired.”

I’ve been trying for the past week now to properly blog about the catalyst that happened on June 5. I tried writing down the logistics of it, the birth story, how I went from being Bug’s mom to Bug and Bean’s mom in just two short pushes. I tried to synopsize the start-to-finish, tried to compare it to Bug’s birth, tried to keep it plain and simple. I tried to describe what I felt physically, the witty banter between my very shocked OB and me (in between contractions, of course), and the champion my husband was when I repeated over and over, “I can’t do this. This is harder than the last time. Is it over yet?”

But I deleted that one, because, honestly, who really cares? Those who do were either there, or I’ve already told them that story, or will tell them the next time we sit down for lunch. So I Moved to Trash.

I tried to put into words what I feel and know every time I look at Bean, or watch the way my husband looks at Bean, or watch the way my son looks at Bean. I’ve tried for the past week now to say what I could, eloquently and succinctly, but every time I look at her sleeping face, I lose whatever precious little I had managed to wrap my mind around.

I am overwhelmed by her.

I am overwhelmed by my tiny daughter, and how she has managed to overtake everyone around her in just a few short days: her daddy, her brother, her mama.

I am overwhelmed with the knowledge that she is mine, she is perfect, and I cannot screw this up.

I am overwhelmed and over-inspired by my family, by my thoroughly smitten husband, by my patient and understanding and wise five-year-old who has willingly lent me to a very needy newborn, by my gracious mother who has made the first couple of weeks easier than it should ever be, by my generous father for sharing her for the entire month, until the confidence to juggle two children comes (if it ever does).

I am just an awestruck player in all of this, and praying time doesn’t go too fast.

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The Business of Being Born

Bean

World, meet the ravishing Bean. Beanie, meet the World.

It’s a sometimes scary place, full of noise and dust and bright lights, but you’ve just made it a great deal sweeter.

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Lear, Lincoln, and Liberties

I finished two books this past week: Christopher Moore’s Fool, and Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

First off, Christopher Moore can do no wrong. So whatever he writes, I read. And enjoy.

Smith’s book is written in a manner of fictional truth. He writes it from his own point of view, where he, a struggling writer, stumbled upon this secret journal of Honest Abe (thanks to the helping hand of a vampire who knew Abe a couple of hundred years ago) – it’s so funny. But when I tried to describe it to my (history buff) husband, he just scoffed and refused to read it. It really is clever, and fun to read. I wish I were more educated in history, so I could see just how far Smith takes liberties with American history (much less, one of America’s greatest historical figures), but that didn’t stop me from wikipedia-ing everything I could about Abraham Lincoln.

Both were light, fun reads, nothing too intense or thought-provoking. Probably best, considering the state I’m in. And to commemorate my incurable lust for literature, I brought Bug to the public library to sign up for…his very own library card! (My library card was one of my favorite possessions as a kid. Bug is doomed.)

The Next Generation Bookworm

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See More Butts?

Get it? See more Butt(ram)s? I want to, that is. Particularly the one curled against my bladder. Go ahead and marvel at my cleverness.

So on my side, we  women tend to do things our own way (read: the RIGHT way…)(just joking)(slightly), and I think it’s fair to say that Bean is doomed.

And by that, I clearly mean I am the doomed one.

Doomed to watch today (her due date) come and go quietly and uneventfully. Sigh.

I’ve run into some people lately whom I haven’t seen in a few weeks – parents of Bug’s classmates, people at work…and it’s like I can read their immediate thought as if it were stamped on their collective foreheads when they see me. “She’s STILL pregnant?!”

Every time I wake up between eleven o’clock at night and seven the next morning (about fourteen times to use the bathroom), I take mental inventory of my body – is she moving? Am I in any sort of labor pain? Do my stomach muscles feel unusually tight? Did my water break? Wait, was that…was that a contraction? (Turns out it’s usually gas.)(Just so you know, pregnancy = automatic loss of any semblance of modesty.)

I know (in my head) how lucky I am – for the most part, the months flew by, without complications, without any of the necessary evils of being pregnant aside from the obvious side effect called “baby weight.” (Later to be called “toddler weight” when it refuses to go away.)

Even nine months pregnant, I’m not overly exhausted, or bed-ridden. Only the physical chores have gone neglected (while the kitchen floors are begging for a good, sound mopping, dirty laundry and dishes currently don’t exist in my house), and I still wake up relatively rested (though actually getting out of bed is a slow and slightly acrobatic feat).

And I try to keep reminding myself that this time next week, if still Bean-less, we’ll be preparing for an overnight stay at the hospital to start induction first thing on the 11th. And that the first couple of weeks after she’s born will probably prove more uncomfortable and exhausting than the entire past nine months have been. And that the fourteen three-minute wake-up calls in the middle of the night (hello, potty) will turn into thirty-minute feedings every two hours or so (morning, baby). And that a quick run to the grocery store won’t be so quick anymore.

But patience has never been my bag.

I want to cuddle her and smell her head and watch her sleep and kiss her toes and introduce her to literally everyone on the east coast. I want to see the product of our lifelines merged in that one little face, I want to witness, in the flesh, the obsession we’ve all had with her since September.

I want to hold my daughter.

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Faith Like a Child

Hubs reminded me of a funny story when Bug was just a baby – maybe a year old, tops.

We were giving him a bath, and as we were finishing up, I was trying to hustle Bug out of the tub and into the warm, dry towel I was (impatiently) holding up (and, more importantly, into bed so we could have grown-up time). But of course, the bath toys and bubbles and twister of water gurgling down the drain proved far too enticing, so his little prune-y bottom stayed planted.

In stepped Father of the Year.

“Bug,” Hubs had said seriously. “If you don’t get out of the tub, you’ll go down the drain with the water.”

Despite all logic, even baby logic (no, you can’t force the square block into the circular hole, no matter how hard you try), Bug shot out of the tub like his butt was on fire, his expression priceless. And it took him a few good months to finally understand that he will not go down the drain just because Dad said so.

To my brilliant, skeptical, adult mind, as we were recounting this hilarious (at the time, anyway) story, I just shook my head and wondered, how in the world could Bug swallow something like that whole?

Not because he wasn’t smart enough.

Not because he was naive in all his childlike innocence.

Not because he hadn’t yet learned the art of sarcasm.

But because his father, his dad, told him so. The man Bug inherently trusted, from the first sound of his voice through the thin skin of my belly, to the warm embraces and tickle fights and wrestling matches and words of wisdom – this man told him so. (Despite what it looks like, this blog is not intended to make Hubs feel like grub for telling his firstborn an obvious lie just to get him out of the bathtub in a timely manner…)

My husband, in all his glorious misguidance and overall flawed human nature, is the man my son trusts intimately and unquestionably (even though his five-year-old wit is sharpening that skepticism…), which allows us to teach him, train him, and grow him in a way that we think is right and pleasing to the Lord.

Bug faithfully and purposefully accepts his father’s words and deeds and instruction. (Whether or not he actually heeds said words and deeds and instruction is subject to change on an hourly basis.) And despite my husband’s flaws and inevitable downfalls (he is human, after all), Bug knows, without a doubt, that his father’s guidance is rooted in profound love, wavering wisdom, imperfect expectations, and an overall desire to see Bug reach new heights, achieve grand goals, and live a life worthy of the cross.

My husband – one of the best men I know and yet still, while on this side of Heaven, stained with the consequence of sin and human nature – is able to cultivate and nurture a relationship with his son that is founded on that knowledge, that faith, that Bug knows, however subconsciously, his father will not steer him wrong.

I have been able to witness the dynamics of a father-son relationship (more importantly, parent-child relationship) that, despite its imperfections, is a glimpse of the relationship God, our Father, is yearning for from us, His children.

Our God is perfect, His plans are grander, His love is deeper, His heartbreak more tragic, His ability more solid, His presence more permanent…if my five-year-old can faithfully trust the word of a man I’ve seen to be inconsistent and temperamental, why is it so difficult for me to faithfully trust the Word of a God I know to be absolutely consistent in His glorious and creative perfection?

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