Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Some Days...

We are waist deep in tantrum territory these days. Tantrums when it's time to eat. Tantrums when it's time to go to bed. Tantrums when it's time to take a bath. Tantrums when it's time to change her diaper. Tantrums when I won't pick her up. Tantrums when I won't put her down. Tantrums when we attempt to go out to eat. Tantrums when I dare to make her leave the park. Tantrums when I strap her into her car seat/high chair/booster seat. Tantrums when I won't give her ___. Tantrums when the wind blows.

I am not loving this stage of her life. I don't know how to deal with it. She is too young for time out. Beating her just makes her cry louder.* And there is no rationalizing with her. So I pretty much just ignore her. This feels so wrong, but I don't know what else to do.

Neil keeps talking about getting pregnant again, but the idea of having another child right now is right up there with having my finger nails removed with flaming barbed tweezers. There is no more effective birth control than a screaming toddler.

*KIDDING. I DON'T beat her!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Monday Musings

- The party this weekend was a success. We had a good crowd and I think everyone had a nice time. I can say with certainty that the kids did, adults are harder to read. My husband had a REALLY good time. So good he fell down the stairs coming out of the garage. Not to worry, he wasn't seriously injured and he only spilled a little bit of his beer.

- We have so much food left over from the party that we will be eating hot dogs, pasta salad, cookies and sheet cake for days. Not to mention all of the leftover beer and soda. I'm mortified. And excited. (giggle)

- I didn't take a single picture at the party. Not one. But here is one I took the day before of Sophie in the absolutely adorable hat that Heather sent her as part of a fabulous giveaway that I won. I'll talk more about that later, though.

- We had another code brown tonight. Blech. Of course, our tub is draining really slow right now because Sophie put some mardi gras beads down the drain and I haven't gotten our plumber out yet, which means that cleaning out the nasty, disgusting, gag-inducing, poopy bathtub was a major pain in the doofenschmirtz. That was only the second time that's happened, lets hope it's the last.

- My boobehs have FINALLY returned mostly to normal. Which means that it's really over. I'm totally sad.

- I've been so busy this last week that my Google Reader is insanely full. I don't want to miss a single word that my bloggy buddies write, but having 580 posts(!) stacked up makes me a little panicky.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Little Shoe Addict

Just in the last couple of weeks, Sophie has developed a love affair with her shoes. Where before it was pulling teeth to get her to keep them on, now she won't be without them. She carries them around. She puts them on, takes them off and puts them on again. She delights in stomping around in them. I think it's safe to say it veers into the range of obsession. (She is her mother's daughter.)

This affection extends to a pair of her slippers. She discovered these the other day among the piles of shoes and wears them all the time. Even to sleep. On the floor.

What kind of mother would I be if I didn't take a picture of that cuteness?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dirty Feet and Numb Fingers

I'm in the throes of preparation for Neil's graduation party on Saturday. He finally completed his master's degree, so celebration is in order. He actually finished classes last month, but he didn't walk the stage and summer schedules being what they are, this was the soonest we could do it.

It's an afternoon barbecue affair, so it's a kid-friendly event. We've got a kiddie bounce house, kiddie pools, slip and slide and toys galore. But it's also a celebration for the adults so there will be copious quantities of adult beverages, which also helps to tolerate the kids running around like lunatics.

Most of this week has been dedicated to getting a bunch of little projects done. Stuff that we've been living with for a while, but kept putting off doing. Stuff I don't want 50 of our closest friends to see because I know I'd be like, dude, did you see the lattice on their porch? Falling apart. Yep. Traaa-shy.* I spent three hours yesterday power washing and spray painting our patio furniture because I left it uncovered for two winters and it was a little lot worse for the wear. Of course, now the tip of my pointer finger is completely numb because like a doofenschmirtz I didn't get one of those spray paint guns. To avert the gangrene I am sure is imminent, I went out and bought one last night, so I can finish the job today without losing a digit.

Sooo, I should be getting back to my work. I bought a bunch of plants and stuff last night (During a marathon, child-free Lowe's visit. It. was. heaven.) and I need to pot them so people think I have a green (not numb) thumb. Keep your fingers crossed the weather holds out for us.

*Just kidding, I'm not that bad.**

**Yes, I am.***

***No one is ever going to invite me over again, are they?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


You don't have anything interesting to write about so you're posting a picture of me. Seriously? Did it have to be this one? Couldn't you find one where I'm not in my bedclothes and my hair is combed? And what is up with my expression? And the lighting? This picture looks like it was taken in 1978.

Ahhhh. Much better. How frickin' cute am I? I know, I know. Language. Sheesh.

Monday, June 22, 2009

File This Under: $55!!! You're Outta Your Damn Mind

My husband, sensitive soul that he is, has been on the lookout for ways to make me more comfortable during this unpleasant time. I suspect it has a lot to do with getting me to shut up already about my poor, lumpy, achy mammaries. Something I am sure most of you have in common with him at this point. Anyboobie, he found this delightful product to help ease some of the stress on my girls. Both now and once things are back to normal. Cause he's thoughtful like that.

(Brace yourself. This video is not for the kids.)

This is real, folks. I'll confess it's not the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen, but it ranks up there.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The One Where I Talk About My Boobs and Make All The Men In My Life Uncomfortable

As usual, I thought I was doing things the right way. And also as usual, I was wrong.

I nursed Sophie for the last time on Monday night. (sob) I had been nursing her just one time a day for the previous week leading up to this. I thought for sure my body was ready to give up the ghost. Wrong-o buckwheat.

Tuesday I was mostly okay, but by Wednesday morning the girls were in bad shape. Engorgement city. I pumped a little, just to take the edge off, but that's like putting a band-aid on a broken leg. They say if you pump too much, that it will make your body think you need to keep producing, so I have to keep it to a minimum.

Since my daughter's goal in life seems to be to kick, punch, knee, body slam and head butt my unbelievably tender boosies whenever she gets anywhere close to me, I needed to find some way to help me get through this time. I had heard before about cabbage but I hadn't really given it much thought. When my discomfort hit OHMYGOD level, I knew something had to change, so I did some research and decided to give it a go. I called up Neil and asked him to pick up a head on his way home. If the grocery clerks knew what he was getting it for, he would never have done it, as he is one of those no-feminine-products-purchasing kind of husbands, but who's going to think anything about a head of cabbage?

When he got it home, I immediately ripped off a couple of leaves and stuck them down my bra. For one thing, the leaves are the perfect shape. It's as though mother nature had this very purpose in mind when she created these beauties. Also, the leaves retain their coolness for an astonishingly long time. Like an hour, truly. Finally, you'd think that after a bit I would smell just a tad of slaw, or worse, sauerkraut, but no. No smell at all.

I'm not sure if it's the coolness or if there is some chemical in the leaves, whatever the case, it helps. It really does. So while I feel like a complete doofus walking around with vegetables in my bra, I'm not stopping until I'm through this nasty phase.

I'm considering creating a line of nursing bras with inserts for cabbage. I think it could be the next big thing. I'm working on a preliminary design. What do you think? There will, of course, also be a red cabbage version.

What? I couldn't very well post an actual picture of me with cabbage in my bra.

PS - Neil woke me up this morning to tell me he'd had a dream that there were rabbits in our bed coming after the cabbage. Let's keep our fingers crossed that doesn't happen.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Drama For This Mama

Our little Gomez is a very affectionate kitty. He is also one feisty little thing. It's no coincidence that one of the first words Sophie said was "kitty" and one of the next words was "GET." As in, GET DOWN, GET OFF, and just plain GIT!

Pretty much whenever either of us comes home, he is at the door to greet us. And while he, like most cats, spends a good portion of his day sleeping, he can usually be found wherever we are.

So tonight, when Neil got home from work and Gomez didn't come running, it raised alarm bells. I had been out most of the day, and in the short time I was home before Neil got home, I hadn't seen the cat. We realized that neither of us had seen him since the night before.

We began a search of the house. It's not unknown for him to find little hidey-holes for his naps. On more than one occasion, we have searched the house for our "lost" kitty only to find him tucked into some little nook. Both of us fully expected that to be the case today.

Except he wasn't anywhere to be found.

Not in any of the closets.

Not behind or under the dressers.

Not under the bed.

Not in the ceiling in the basement.

Not on top of the cabinets in the kitchen.


So we took to the streets. We drove up and down. Back and forth. Slowly. Looking under every bush and tree and porch. It doesn't help that we finally got the rain they've been forecasting the last three days.

We were so upset, I couldn't cook and we had to go to Chick-Fil-A.

Dinner was a pretty solemn affair. Both of us worried about our little missing Gomez. Neil was especially upset. Gomez is his boy. He sleeps curled up next to him every night. We both spent the whole time wondering what could have happened to him. Had he found a way into the walls and met with misadventure? Had he slipped outside? He's an indoor cat, how could he stand up to the nasty toms that cruise the neighborhood. He's such a little thing, and with the soft claws on, he's not going to be much in a fight. Or god forbid, what if he tried to cross the street.

Every few minutes, one of us went to either the front or back door and shouted out for him. But there was no response. I hate to say it, but I was starting to lose hope.

Meanwhile, our other cat, Potter, was running around like a kitten. It would be an understatement to say that she is less than fond of Gomez. She was purring and rubbing up against us. Whenever we'd say, "Potter, where's Gomez?" She wouldn't say a thing, but I swear she was grinning from ear to ear.

Around 8 o'clock, I went upstairs to start the bath for Sophie. Neil began to follow me up, carrying Sophie, but as he hit the stairs, he turned around and said he was going to go out and check for Gomez. One last time. We both laughed knowing that we would keep going out all night.

I was hunched over the tub when Neil yelled out to me. I ran out and looked down the stairs and there stood Neil, Sophie under one arm and Gomez under the other. He was hissing and pissing (quite literally), but he was alive and unharmed.

Evidently, when Neil went outside, Gomez came running up to the door. Neil said he was under the porch, but as many times as we were out there hollering, I can't imagine that he had been there all along.

Whatever the case, we're so happy to have our little guy back that we didn't even really yell at him when he jumped up on the table and started knocking things off. Tomorrow, though? The gloves are off.

PS - I saw the parking lot guy again today at the gym. I'm pretty sure he recognized me. I may have to change gyms.

PPS - My boobelas are killing me. I haven't suffered through engorgement in so long, I forgot how much it sucks. Please tell me that cabbage actually works, because I've got vegetables in my bra and I'm waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and tell me I'm being punk'd.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More of My Crazy

While on the way to the gym today, I followed a minivan into the parking lot. As we turned into the lane in front of the building, I noticed two spots directly across from each other. Obviously the minivan saw them, too, because he turned to park in one of them. Behind him, I waited for him to pull in so that I could park. As I waited patiently, he, ever so slowly, maneuvered his car into the spot on our right. Just as I was about to move, he started backing up. So. Slowly. Then he stopped.

He was far enough out, and I was uncertain enough about what he was doing that I stayed where I was, watching. After a few more seconds, he started moving again and backed into the spot across the aisle. All in all, it took about 45-60 seconds, and was in no way a major crime, but I was irritated enough that I honked at him and gestured to his first spot. I might have said something along the lines of "jackass" as I did so, which would have been quite clear to him as we were not far apart and at this point our faces were visible to each other.

The irony here is that I am not a honker. I couldn't tell you the last time I honked at someone. I'll admit to occasionally (alright, often) venting a teensy bit* when someone does something stupid, but I do it within the closed window confines of my car. I very rarely go so far as to actually let them in on my displeasure.

Meanwhile, the guy then pulls back out and parks in his original spot. (To recap: that was parked in the right, backed out into the one on the left, and then pulled back into the one on the right.) Truly, my honk was not so much, "I want that particular spot" as it was to say, "what the hell, dude, pick one and get on with it." So after all of this, I pull into the spot on the left that he has just vacated. Of course, when we're getting out of our respective cars, he is right across from me. He yells out, Good Morning, to which I grumble back, good morning. Because now I feel like an idiot. I'm not your confrontational type and certainly not when I have totally overreacted over something so trivial. But neither do I like admitting I'm wrong. Just ask Neil.

Once in the gym, I dance around him. I am acutely aware of where he is and make every effort to not come into contact with him. On the inside I want to say, "I am sorry for honking, not sure what I was thinking." But I just can't bring myself to go up to him and say it.

The worst part is that I know this nothing incident will haunt me. I know that weeks, months, years from now, I will still feel bad about it. There are a thousand of these events in my past. From the time when a girlfriend asked me if her newly platinum blond hair looked natural and I blurted out something along the lines of "no one with eyebrows that dark has hair that light" to the time I heartlessly told a friend about the really nasty symptoms of a condition she was concerned she might have, likely scaring her worse than she already was. All the times I have said or done something rash or careless, causing real or imagined hurt, that will randomly pop into my head, raising the Goliath that is my overactive conscience.

Why do I keep doing this? Why can't I either a) think before I speak/act or b) get over myself and apologize where appropriate or c) realize there is nothing to be done now and let. it. go.

I'll tell you, sometimes I think I am one hot mess.**

*Screaming obscenities while I gesticulate wildly. Meanwhile, my impressionable daughter sits in the back seat with her ears on fire taking in the horrors spewing forth from her mothers mouth, just waiting for the day when she can echo them back in the LEAST appropriate setting possible.

**Neil is no doubt reading this right now thinking "stand back lads, she's ALL mine."

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Time Has Come

Breastfeeding did not begin as a wonderful experience for me. I completely understand why so many women quit early on. It can be painful and frustrating. No one tells you that part before. So while your hormones are going crazy, you're dealing with no sleep, painful lady parts AND you have to stick a baby on your boob a dozen times a day for, in my case, mind numbingly painful breastfeeding sessions. But I got help from a lactation consultant and with time, we found our groove.

I have given my body to my daughter for the last 20 months, not counting pregnancy. I have not drank, I have minimized my caffeine, I have not worn bras with underwire. But those days are numbered. In the single digits. Because I am now officially and absolutely weaning her.

I had painful engorgement for the entire first six months of Sophie's life. Every penny I saved in tampons and pads from not having my period until she was eight months old were more than spent in the mountain of nursing pads I had to use. Not to mention a very unpleasant case of mastitis somewhere in the middle there. So I am doing it right. Over the course of several weeks, I have cut from four to three to two and now one session a day. Only at night before I put her to bed.

Each of the last three nights, I have said to myself that this could be the last time. Psychologically preparing myself for the end. I am a stereotypical first child, resistant to change. However, as many times as I have said that I am ready to have my body back, the truth is that I am equally as sad to be losing my baby.

I have nursed longer than anyone I know in real life. Every single one of my friends say how wonderful they think it is that I've gone so long but I can't help but wonder if deep down they think it is weird. I must confess that a tiny part of me does. I always said that I didn't want to still be doing it when she was big enough to walk up and ask for it, but I am pretty much there. Truth be told, I probably wouldn't even be stopping now if it weren't for one thing: Blogher. In a little over a month I am leaving my child at home with her father while I go to Chicago for a long weekend and I refuse to be tied to a pump for my first solo vacation in two years.

Providing my daughter with sustenance from my own body has given me such a sense of purpose. For the only time in my life, other than when I was pregnant, my body is doing what it was meant to do. Once I wean her, I'll just go back to being plain ole me. I won't have that something special that only I can give. My husband and I will be interchangeable. And while on some levels this makes me happy, on others it makes me deeply sad. I want to be special.

Is this when you get the baby urge? Because I am SO not ready for another baby, but I can totally see how once they stop needing you so entirely, you crave it.

So here's my question to all my mom peeps: How do you navigate this transition without sinking into a funk or getting yourself knocked up? Is wine the answer? And if so, what do you recommend because I'm a little out of practice?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Before I was a mom...

I made fun of parents who couldn't spend a night or weekend away from their infants/toddlers.

I thought that little hands and feet were just that, not the embodiment of hopes and dreams.

I was afraid that I was too selfish to love a child.

I didn't appreciate a good night's sleep.

I looked down on moms who didn't wipe their child's nose the second a drop of snot emerged.

I didn't care what I did to my body, it only had to last for me.

I was critical of families who had toys all over their yards.

I went away for the weekend with no more planning than I put into a trip to the grocery store now.

I never thought that I would be so brokenhearted about weaning my child at 20 MONTHS.

I didn't think I could love my husband any more than I already did.

I never thought I would be needing, and taking, parenting advice from my baby sister.

I didn't know just how sweet and patient my own parents were.

I had no idea just how beautiful a child could be.

What a strange and wonderful trip parenting is.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hometown Swap!

Some weeks back, I signed up for my very first swap with Shannon over at Welcome to the Nuthouse. The theme was Hometown Swap and gals (and I suppose guys) from all over the country were exchanging goodies that represent their area. I requested the Pacific Northwest and lucky for me, I got matched up with Eve of Tranquility and Turmoil, from the great state of Washington.

According to Eve, Washington is the state of cherries, berries and rodeo. Who knew that the rodeo was so big there? Not me. My fabulous package included a variety of local sweet treats, three postcards (including one featuring The Gorge amphitheater which looks absolutely amazing!), a map and guide book for Grant County (Grant County was founded on my birthday, February 24 in 1909, is that fate or what?) and a fun HOWDY! sign.

First off, I LOVE cherries. They are my all time favorite fruit. As a kid, I only ever ate cherry pie. If you even think about forgetting the cherry on top of my sundae, there might be bloodshed. A well mixed Shirley Temple? Yes, please! And don't even get me started on my summertime bing cherry habit. So when I opened up my package and saw not one but two cherry treats, I was over the moon.

I am a confirmed dried cherry addict. There is almost always a bag of the goodies in my pantry, so I was super excited to sample some of Washington's finest. There was also a bag of cherry taffy. It took me all of about four seconds to rip that bag open and start chowing down. It is so very tasty.

She also included a local treat, Aplets and Cotlets, a fruit confection made with apples or apricots and walnuts. I haven't dug into them yet, but they look delish!

Another treat was a huckleberry chocolate bar. Remember that line from Tombstone? "I'm your huckleberry." Well, it seems that the term huckleberry in olden slang meant the right guy for the job. Interestingly, huckleberries grow primarily in the Northwest. I haven't ever had one, so I am very interested to see how they are in a chocolate bar. I have to pace myself on the sweets, though. Don't want to undo all my hard work.

Thanks Eve for all of the wonderful goodies and thanks Shannon for getting this swap together!

To see what I sent to my partner, go here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I've Got The Boredies

I am not a big fan of word verification. I mean, I appreciate its purpose, but it annoys the hell out of me. At least half the time, I type the "word" in wrong and have to do it again. Sometimes, though, the electronic brain that comes up with these little tests throws me some fun ones. These are actual words that I have gotten during my adventures in blogland:

Shated - The past tense of shit. Works best when said with a charming cockney accent.

Warshie - I wish my husband would warshie my car.

Impulsit - I think this might be a setting on my blender.

Mershin - An old Jewish man?

Menyo - As in: menyo fences.

Disista -I am disista of Briana.

Mintate - Gay guy with a lisp: Mintate kinda thalty.

Ampagual - A drag queen in South America.

Barclar - Where you go after a couple of drinks in your private train cabin.

Boredies - I am full of ennui, but saying it is pretentious, so from now on, it's full of boredies.

Snerick - Alas, poor Snerick, I knew him well.

Crone - I most certainly am NOT. Stupid word verification.

Puncest - Inappropriate acts between related words.

And on that note, I'm out.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Splish Splash

It's been sitting in it's box on the dining table for over a week now. The weather and our poor little darling's health conspired to keep us from it, but finally I was able to break it out of it's cardboard prison. The instructions were anything but helpful, not much in the way of how-to. After a couple of minutes, smart cookie that I am, I finally figured it out (Step 1: attach hose. Step 2: use pool. Yep, I'm a Mensa candidate.) and we were ready for an afternoon of splishing and splashing in the Sprinkle Pool.

She loved it and I loved watching her enjoy herself. Win-win.

PS - Since I thought I might be getting wet, too, I put on a swimsuit for our water play. It was the first time this year. You know how I mentioned that I had lost about 10 pounds but most of my clothes were still fitting pretty much the same? Well, I figured out where I lost the weight. My swimsuit was snug on bottom and gappy on top. Exactly the look that hot moms everywhere are going for: weeble wobble.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Grits, Grits, Grits - The More Times I Say The Word, The Weirder It Sounds

A while back, further back than I want to say, I won a fabulous prize from the fabulous Lula. The package of goodies included fun springy dishtowels, piggy paint (that's toenail polish), a Hello Kitty clip board, adorable ribbon hair clips for Sophie, yummy peanut M & M's AND a $25 gift card for Target! How freaking awesome is all that?

But wait, there's more! The best part was a Paula Deen Cookbook! I must confess a love for Miss Paula. I love her accent (which, btw, is how I imagine Lula sounds), I love that she cooks in full bling (the woman never wears less than 10 carats) and she never met a stick of butter she didn't like (a woman after my own butter-lovin' heart). So when I got the cookbook, I was very excited to delve into all of the tasty goodness.

One of the things I really like about Paula's recipes is that they are very accessible. I typically have most of the ingredients on hand, but if I don't they're not unusual stuff, so it's not the kind of thing where I have to buy a whole bunch, bottle or whatever only to use a pinch and the rest either goes bad or languishes in my spice cabinet never to be used again. I have made a number of recipes from the book and each time we have really enjoyed it. There was one recipe that I kept stopping on and then passing by, though, because I felt some trepidation at attempting.

Because I have a confession.

I have never made grits before. Now, I was born in Georgia, yes that's right folks, I'm a peach, but we left when I was four, so I wasn't raised on the stuff. In Kansas, where I grew up, you can get it, but it's not a staple. I guess that's probably true of Maryland, where I currently live, as well. Neil had never even tried them. I know, GASP!

So after months of looking at the tantalizing picture, temptation finally won out over fear and tonight, for the first time, I made grits. More specifically, I made Shrimp and Cheese Grits*. (Her website does not have this recipe listed, so I've linked to another site that shows it.)

Simple ingredients:
Cheddar Cheese
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper

Basically, you cook the grits (why was I so afraid of this, it was easy!) and then mix in the cheese and butter. Meanwhile, you fry up the bacon, remove it, and cook the shrimp in the bacon grease (um, YUM!). Throw the lemon juice, garlic and parsley into the shrimp. Scoop shrimp mixture over grits and garnish with crumbled bacon. Easy peasy, y'all.

And let me tell you: it. was. so. good. At first, Neil said, "hmm, it's different." But after a couple of bites, he was won over by it's bacony, cheesy, buttery deliciousness. As he was wiping his plate clean, he said, "I would eat that again. And again! And again!"

So a big, giant (and much belated) thank you to Lula for all of the wonderful stuff. A whole new, grits-making world has been opened up to me.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

*Thanks to this one dish, I will be spending the next three days on the elliptical. It is not for the faint at heart.

**I am so irritated that I didn't notice the butter was upside down when I was staging that picture. Now, it's ALL I can see.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Road To Recovery

It looks like this round of antibiotics is working. We're not all the way there yet, but she only got up twice last night and her general demeanor has been much better. Which is a darn good thing because after a week of whining, crying, clinging baby, I was just about ready to commit ritualistic suicide. All I can say is that it is a bloggammed good thing I didn't have a colicky baby because I don't think we would have survived that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bring On The Big Guns

I took Sophie back to the doctor yesterday. She just didn't seem to be making the kind of improvement that you would expect after four days of antibiotics. Good thing, too. Turns out the ear infection that had been afflicting her right ear has now spread to her other ear as well. Guess that explains all of that crying. And here I thought she was doing it just to annoy me.

We decided to put her on the atomic bomb of antibiotics since the infection seems resistant to whatever girly-man antibiotics we were using before.

After a week of being cooped up in the house, I am sure she has cabin fever. I know I do. I've been trying to get her outdoors for at least a couple of minutes every day. I'm working on the theory that a little sunshine and fresh air can only be good for her. We've had some absolutely gorgeous weather around here lately, it's a shame to miss out on it altogether.

Now, if she could just get well so we can break out the cool sprinkler pool we got for her.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Funny How Things Go

We stood on the front porch of our house, the morning summer sun shining in our eyes. My grandmother was there to mark the occasion. It was my first day of kindergarten. The camera came out and pictures were taken to remember the "big girl's" first day of school. I was the happiest, proudest kid around.

I didn't know it then, but we were standing on a precipice.

In a matter of weeks, my parents would separate. My sister and I would leave with our mother for a new life in another town. I can't say that those days were easy for any of us. The transition to divorced is rarely smooth. Even the word is ugly in my mouth. It is bitter and grisly.

There is a long, unpleasant story that follows all of that. Fights and tears. Relationships that will never be what they might have been. There are wounds that will never heal. But much of that story is not mine to tell and I have no desire to draw blood in this way.

For a long time, it was just the three of us. My mom christened us The Butts Sisters, in part because of a familial tendency towards prominent posteriors, as yet unfulfilled in the younger members of the group,* and part because at night the three of us would snuggle into bed together, rubbing our little butts together.

Mostly, my sister and I would take turns sleeping with our mom. She didn't have a big bed and one young girl sleeping with her was likely as much as could be tolerated. But it was not unusual that the girl whose night it was to sleep alone somehow found her way into the big bed. Snuggling up with my sister and mother brought me a comfort and belonging that I can't describe.

When she was a newborn, Sophie slept in a co-sleeper bassinet attached to our bed. Occasionally I would bring her in to our bed next to me, but I was generally too afraid of rolling onto her or smothering her, so she spent most nights in her own little space. We have tried a few times since those early days to have her sleep with us, but every time was a failure. She wriggled around like a fish out of water, all arms and legs in tender spots.

However, while she has been sick this past week, I have brought Sophie in to sleep with me almost every night. At first, it was awkward, we didn't know how to sleep around each other. She couldn't find just the right nook to curl into and I couldn't figure out how to cuddle her without putting at least one limb painfully to sleep. But after a few nights, a rhythm was established. She found her spot and I discovered an addiction to laying next to my sleeping daughter.

All these years, I thought my mom had allowed us to sleep with her. That she was just doing the motherly duty and comforting us when we were scared or lonely. It didn't really occur to me that there was happiness to be found on the other end. The tunnel vision of children, even grown ones, I suppose.

It's funny how your perceptions change when you become a parent. How the things that seemed one way were, in fact, very different. While these past days with my sick child have been rough, let there be no confusion on one fact. I get every bit as much out of our snuggle times as my daughter, maybe more.

*Don't worry, time would prove the nickname very appropriate in my case, far less so in my skinny sister.