Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bananas for Banana

Terrill and I took Hannah to the used book store last week to browse around. After all the snow I've been looking for reasons to leave the house, and ideally the neighborhood, and since I had a $35 credit at the store (I sold him some books a few months ago), I figured this was a better outing than say....Target where I would inevitably find a use for a super cool cheese slicer and then kick my butt later when that cheese slicer showed up on the credit card statement and I struggled with where in the budget I could justify a $3 cheese slicer that slices too thick to be useful.  See, I think I know why stay-at-home moms shop: there is nothing else to do. That sounds bad...I assure you I am not spending the rest of my time watching General Hospital in my housecoat while popping bonbons.  No, I take Hannah's development seriously and only turn the TV on when I need to cut her fingernails.  I read books on baby development and I try very hard to make sure her playtimes are varied.  But I also consider outings a playtime of sorts.  I think it's good to get her out of the house and looking at stuff other than what hangs on the four walls that constantly surround us.  So Target it is.  

Before I continue, I want to remind you that in general, I hate shopping.  I mean, I like grocery shopping, and I'm not gonna lie, I can get pretty sucked in to the magnificence that is Target, but for the most part, shopping is annoying to me, so much so, that Christmas is my least favorite holiday because it comes with heavy consumer strings attached.  For me, shopping with a purpose is just stressful and boring unless I'm with someone who knows how to make it fun (or if I'm putzing around the mall with my mom as a way to spend QT not because we're actually looking for stuff--pre-Hannah that was how we spent our QT). But when I'm looking for something, I get stressed trying to find what I need for a price I think is fair. I'm not the kind of person who is willing to root through a sale rack looking for a great deal and I'm not the kind of person who is willing to pay the sticker price on the majority of things I pick up.  That leaves me as the kind of person who buys nothing in favor of wearing the same ol' holey sweatpants day in and day out.  I'm so bad that Eric actually congratulates me when I buy something for myself. It's pretty funny really.  I bought a pair of Birkenstocks over the summer because walking around on flip flops and ballet flats with 30 extra pounds attached to my navel was killing my feet.  Of course, I didn't buy them until the last month so they didn't save me any soreness, but it took me that long to realize they were necessary. So yeah, they showed up at the house, and Eric patted me on the back.  And of course they ended up being too big and looking silly and I wore them anyway so I can't return them now so I'm kicking myself in the butt for spending all that money on a pair of shoes that are of a quality where I should be able to wear them for eons but since I got the wrong size....I have no idea where I was going with that rant, but the point is that being a stay-at-home mom can get kind of boring so I find myself trying to find outings and since it's cold out, I need indoor outings and I don't know what to do that is indoors (but if anyone has any ideas that do not include walking around Target, please share). 

Oh yeah, the book store. I love used book stores. I'm bummed that this one moved from Hampden because I can't just stroll down there randomly anymore like I used to, but at least now it's an excuse for an actual outing and that's fun.  I went straight for the parenting section and found a couple of mommy memoir type books that I greedily scooped up--this is my new favorite genre.  Creative nonfiction/memoirs have been my favorite genre since reading Go Ask Alice in middle school (though I didn't realize it was an actual genre until I took a class on it).  I started one of the books the other night.  It's called Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lammott and I LOVE it!  Lammott is totally real with the kind of self-deprecating humor that I never get tired of.  I love reading her and thinking, "oh, yep, been there" or "I know how you feel...." It's nice to find writers who have found the words for feelings I've been struggling to put down on paper.  And it's nice to know that as mommies go, I'm pretty normal.  Lammott even trimmed her son's skin once while clipping his nails.  I was trying to find one passage I really liked about how when her son, who was super colicky, would cry for hours, she'd be fine up to a certain point and would then feel herself falling over the precipice of sanity and need to leave the room to breathe and unclench her fists.  That's how I used to feel--like I was totally fine and nurturing for X amount of hours and then a switch flipped and I had to walk away to keep from having a mental breakdown myself.  It's nice to know that mothers everywhere have been feeling that way for a while.  So I can't find that specific part of the book, but I did find the another passage that I really like:

" of the worst things about being a parent, for me, is the self-discovery, the being face to face with one's secret insanity and brokenness and rage.  Someone without children, who thinks of me as deeply spiritual, said the other day that motherhood gave me the opportunity to dance with my feelings of inadequacy and anger, and my automatic response was think, Oh, go f*** yourself, you New-Age Cosmica Rama dingdong head--go dance with that one."

This book is written journal style and the above entry is from when her son was only a couple weeks old.  With 6 months behind me, I'm less manic these days and moving back toward my old positive self so I read that passage last night and recalled a conversation I'd had with Laura a while back (and one I also had with Jess over breakfast on Saturday) about how one of my favorite aspects of motherhood was the constant challenge to grow and evolve into a better person. I don't know if everyone births a baby that just intuitively knows its mama's weakness and then plays on it like a cat torturing a baby mole, or if it's just that all babies require exorbitant amounts of patience so those of us who run low on that are bound to improve or die trying, but either way, in my case, I feel like motherhood has plucked me from my comfort zone and tossed me into a UFC cage with my least favorite traits (lack of patience being the only one I'm willing to admit to publicly....) and those traits are on steroids and they're angry and they're determined to win the belt...I have two choices: either put "lack of patience" in a scissor hold until it screams "uncle" and agrees to never again make me curse the moron driver who slows down for green lights and tries to turn left from the right lane without a blinker, or I yell uncle and agree to a lifetime of high blood pressure, a foul mouth, and a sore jaw from constant clenching.  While the latter is tempting, I thrive under a good challenge and have enjoyed my journey toward being a better me, thereby becoming a better mother in the process. I had visions of myself being the most kickass mama around and I don't intend to let those visions be merely visions. When I say I'm gonna do something, I do it to the fullest extent.  Just as Eric. My M.O. is totally "anything worth doing is worth doing kickass."   

I have no idea what I've been rambling about for the past hour because in between sentences I was gmail chatting with both Terrill and my mom. All I really wanted to write is that I'm reading a great new book and that I have a new video to post of Hannah feeding herself for the first time ever. Watching her maneuver her hands to pick up the banana I gave her is pretty cool. Human development is amazing. Every day is like a science experiment...Hope the rant isn't too outlandish or full of grammatical errors because I am way to tired now to proof it before posting....

Oh, and that's the Latin channel playing in the background.  I wanted something Hannah and I could dance to so I turned that music channel on and attempted to salsa her around the house and then forgot to turn it off.  


  1. I am really worried about how you know the UFC lingo so well.

  2. haha! I don't know the lingo at all actually--I've never seen one of those. That kind of stuff makes me cry. Literally. Even the slightest bit of violence makes me burst into tears. I'm a baby like that. It's weird that I managed to sound authentic....but how would you know???? You don't watch it either, do you??

    I meant to take some pics yesterday Patsy but missed the sunlight. It's on my to do list! I'll get some sometime this week, if not before, then def on Saturday when she has her first swim class!

  3. I think bananas were made for especially for babies... oh and monkeys... which i guess when you think about it, what are babies but hairless monkeys...

    that said, i'm with you on the mama-hood making you a better person. but i'm not so sure i am enjoying the ride as much. I get seriously tweaked out and then don't enjoy being a mama as much as i should. perhaps it's more of a retrospective thing.

    also, we need a play date. what're you doing tomorrow at 10:15am - 1:15am?

  4. i'm trying to figure out if i should be laughing at the time frame you gave me because it's a joke or if you just meant 1:15 p.m. hahah! anyway, we are free in the morning.

    also, the part about enjoying motherhood....i would enjoy it a lot more if i weren't working during her naps. you prob would too--trying to do everything and be everything is exhausting and makes it hard to enjoy anything on a regular basis.


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