Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yes, I am fully aware that there are a million worse things that could have followed the phrase, "Are you sitting down?" when I answered the phone call from Elle's daycare director. But at the time, in my emotionally fragile 1 week postpartum state, being told that she cut ALL her hair off during naptime was right up there with "school has been taken over by radioactive aliens and your child now has a neon pink tail". 

I couldn't focus on the logistics of how my 3-year-old had access to scissors of the hair-cutting strength (whatever  happened to the "safety" variety?!) during naptime, why she wasn't (doesn't ever) napping, and why no one saw the incident in progress. Or at least before she hacked off both sides with amazing symmetry. Yes, symmetrically hacked nearly to her scalp-- somehow feathered a la Farah Fawcett, but with a laughable-if-someone-else's-kid rattail in the back. A proper mullet. A beautician she will not be. All I could say over and over, in traumatized victim fashion, was "her beautiful long blonde hair..."

I resisted the urge to post a musical montage of beautiful long blonde hair photos set to some nostalgic 80's ballad, although I'd be lying if I said there hasn't been one running through my head ever since.

Double sigh.

 I couldn't really get mad at her, as it occurred to me that I've never actually explained to her that she shouldn't cut her own hair. This realization led to panic about a million other things that seem common sense to me, but haven't been explicitly stated to my daughter. Don't get a tattoo. Don't put anything you find on the gas station bathroom floor into your mouth. Or your sister's mouth. Don't skydive. Don't lick a battery...

I also discovered how selfish I am, when another parent in E's class made the statement, "Look on the bright side... at least she didn't cut someone else's hair!" Are you kidding? I would so much rather her have cut someone else's hair! Of course I would have apologized profusely, felt really really bad, disciplined Elle appropriately, and offered some Baked Goods of Repentance. But still, I would have much rather her cut someone else's hair. 

Off we went to Great Clips, where I requested the mullet to be coiffed into something as presentable as possible. Is it the most flattering look for her sweet little round face? No. Does she look a bit like a boy? Ummm, maybe. Do I sometimes think she looks like a little Hillary Clinton? No comment. Is she still my beautiful sweet little girl? Absolutely. Just stay away from the scissors, kiddo.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Moment

I am absolutely miserably unfathomably terrible at living in the moment. I recently read a wonderfully well said blog post on the implausability of constantly living in the moment, especially on this journey of SCR (small child raising). But I think there are extremes on either end, and while constantly berating yourself for not embracing Carpe Diem isn't ideal, neither are my incessant forward-thinking, future-planning, next-big-thing-anticipating tendencies. I blame this character flaw at least partially on the nature of medical training-- the past 26 (nearly 27, egad!) years of my life have been compartmentalized educationally into finite blocks of time, each with an identifiable endpoint and expectations of the next big thing. Graduate high school --> Get into college of choice --> Get into medical school of choice --> Start residency of choice --> Start fellowship of choice, etc. Success career-wise has to some degree been dependent on focusing on the goal one step ahead. But somehow along the way, I lost the ability to sit through a 2 hour movie without constant racing thoughts about what I can make for dinner that night or how to protocol the next day's fetal MRI or what we need from Costco. 
That being said, there are a few moments in life that are decidedly and unmistakably memorable. Even for the world's worst of moment liver-inners. 6:55pm on 12/29/2011 was one of those for me, and because I'm sure she'll ask at least once in her life, here is a concise version of the birth story of Elise Cabot Golding. Concise, of course, because I need to work on tomorrow's to-do list...

The day started routinely at work, I read out the ED films from the night before, read some ultrasounds, even started writing a Christmas blog post. Left work at lunch for a scheduled OB appointment with the  infamous last words, "Be right back!" Which of course, for any student of foreshadowing, means those were the last gravid words I'd speak to my co-workers. At the OB office, I offhandedly mentioned that I'd been having a few more contractions lately, but they weren't painful and didn't seem to be increasing in intensity or frequency. She checked me, declared 5cm and 100% effaced and suggested we hook me up to the monitor to see just what the contractions were doing. I have to admit, when actually lying still for 30 minutes, I did notice the regularity and frequency of the contractions. I guess I hadn't stopped checking things off the to-do list long enough to be aware (see the recurring theme?). The conversation went like this:
OB: You're contracting every 4-and-a-half minutes, dilated 5cm and fully effaced. You need to go to the hospital and have a baby.
Me: No, I need to go back to work and finish the day. We're short staffed for the holiday, you see. 
OB: Unless you'd like to deliver on Hawthorne avenue on your way back, or in the elevator, I think you should go on to the hospital.
So I went.

Once I got checked in and settled in my posh Labor and Delivery room, it was around 3pm. Thankfully your Dad was off that week so I called him and he made his way to the hospital. In keeping with tradition, we jammed to the Beastie Boys on his iPhone while anticipating your arrival. A couple hours later, the nurse decided to check again to see how far the OB could venture away before your arrival. 
At the risk of being too graphic for you (Mom embarrassing you already, go figure), upon feeling for my cervix she instead felt your head. 
"Don't. Push."
Doctor summoned, push, push, and there you were. 7lbs 12 oz, 20.5 inches long. I don't dare advertise your delivery story to many other moms, and looking back as I write this a few weeks later I wonder if the ease of labor was purely to mitigate the sheer and utter exhaustion your nighttime habits have brought to my once quasi-functioning self (debatable, I know). 

But regardless of how you made your entrance into this world, that very moment will forever be engrained into my mind-- every detail from the sweet sound of your first cry to the touch of your soft skin. For your dad, big sister, and me- life just became more complete. And in the one single moment, I became what God created me to be. 

Your Mama.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas 2011, in pictures. 

(Sounds photojournalistic, but really I'm just too sleep deprived to concoct a clever narrative)

The last gravid photo of me...
Merry Christmas from our very temporarily family of Three.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas, interrupted

I have been woefully delinquent on Christmas posts, among other tasks of varied importance lately. Nursery preparation? Eh, we still have 10 days left! Laundry? Reprieve thanks to new Christmas clothes. Grocery shopping? Approaching mandatory when all I could find to offer Elle for dinner last night was a single pink Pez. So here's to capturing the whirlwind of a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, unabashed capitalism, and above all celebrating a baby born in a manger. Which I guess puts Mary one step ahead of me, as the bassinet is only partially assembled...

We trimmed the "fancy" tree with care... I'm not sure if it was therapeutic or ulcerogenic for someone with my obsessive compulsive tree decorating tendencies to accept help from a 3-year-old. When she wasn't looking, I regained sanity by evenly distributing her lovingly placed ornaments, making sure everything had appropriate dangle room, and ensuring proper red/gold color symmetry. Yes, I have a problem.

We were amused by our Elf's snowball fighting, snow-angel making antics. Elle seemed to think the quantity of her presents was directly related to how many meals/snacks she could provide for the Elf. Apparently he loves tangerines. And pancakes.

We braved the crowds for last-minute shopping, armed with apple smiles to derail any potential stress.

Some of us were jailed for questionable behavior. That, or we took time to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.

And ebulliently celebrated the more festive wintry temperatures.

For reasons unfathomable to me, the gingerbread cookies were a big fail this year. Probably getting my due for overzealous pride in last year's success. Maybe I rolled these too thin? Maybe the dough was too wet? Whatever the baking faux pas, the combination of melted buttons/necklaces and dismemebered appendages makes it look like these guys were the victims of some sort of Gingerbread sniper attack. And clearly the bloodbath didn't spare the "reindeer", who look more like rabbits status post ear amputation. I abandoned any further decoration and we ate the evidence that these unsightly creatures ever existed. The photgraph was purely for the purposes of showing Santa how desperately I need new baking pans.

We lit the advent candle at church, and although I was skeptical that Elle would say the part I taught her in the car on the ride over, she proclaimed loudly into the microphone in front of a church packed full of people, "Don't be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy for all people". Pregnancy hormones + proud Mommy meant I finished the rest of the reading with chin quivering and voice wavering.

We went to see Santa, and dressed the part. E was offended that he thought she was dressed as an elf and not as the big guy himself. Can't he tell I'm a Girl Santa?! Never fear, the candy cane he gave her quickly assuaged her discontent. Then she told him we'd be sure to leave him some gingerbread carnage cookies.

Amidst all the Christmas preparation, we tried to stay focused on the reason behind it all. And according to Elle, baby Jesus has moved up in the world. I walked into the playroom to see this rearrangment of the manger scene. She then looked up at me and said, "Baby Jesus needs a nightlight!"

Guess I better go finish that bassinette...

*Speaking of which, this post will be continued at a later date, as it's writing was interrupted by having a baby...