Thursday, July 31, 2008

my kid is freakin' cool

So, today was one of those truly special days at daycare when Jane only takes one nap. If by "special" I mean "horrible," because that means the countdown to bedtime will be slow, tear-soaked and drama-filled. Indeed, that's how this evening was progressing. I tried to entertain Jane with her toys and books, but she wasn't having it. So I took her on a long walk, during which she fell asleep. Imagine her delight (and mine) when I took her out of her stroller with a half hour to go until bedtime. Sadness! Misery! Wailing! Until....

I have a magic trick. When the shit really hits the fan, I go to my special saved DVR recording that is guaranteed to work. I was afraid that tonight it would fail, because, o, woe was her. But I had to give it a shot. She was crying and generally lamenting her very existence until she heard this blog's favorite Lin-Manuel Miranda kick off In the Heights' Tony performance with "Lights up on Washington Heights up at the break of day...."

She turns and looks at me like, "Holy crap, Mom! Look who's here!" She whips her head back to the TV just to make sure, then looks back at me with a gigantic smile, her legs wiggling, her body bouncing. She's been happy ever since.

Everyone who meets Jane comments how she looks nothing like me, and everything like Greg. And it's true. But she's got some me in her. She's a theater dork in the making.

Friday, July 25, 2008

wipe those tears away

OK, OK, I've been told to stop making everyone cry with my sappy baby posts. There has been a request for dog pics. You want 'em, you got 'em!

My show opens tonight. The last two weeks have been particularly grueling with many nights of rehearsals, stomach bug in the house, shitty vacation, busy at work, blah diddy blah blah blah. The good news is - the show is ready. The BEST news is - Jane's mole was benign. THANK GOD!!
When I have more time, remind me to tell you about the bat that invaded rehearsal on Wednesday night. To recap: July 23, 2007 at 7:27 p.m. I was having Jane. July 23, 2008 at 7:27 p.m. I was ducking from a crazy, swooping bat! Oh, what a year it's been.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

If you're looking for my usual snarky posts, please skip this.

When you start thinking to yourself, "hey, I'm in my 30s, maybe it's time to think about having a baby," and you're also a person like me, you do a lot of research. You ask a lot of questions. You read that you won't feel well for a few months, that you'll be tired, that you'll be excited when you see the first ultrasound, that you'll go through a lot of testing, and, oh, hey, it hurts when you go through labor and delivery.
Of course, nothing ACTUALLY prepares you for all of that until you're going through it. You can read "you will experience nausea for approximately 12 weeks, sometimes longer," but you really don't know what that feels like until you're chronically dry-heaving for five months. You don't know how scary it will be when the results of a genetic test aren't what you had hoped for. You don't realize what it feels like to finally exhale when you've seen the little 11-week bean jumping around on a small, fuzzy screen after you think you might have lost her. And, sure, you really can't comprehend what labor pains feel like until your stomach feels like it's being twisted by King Kong. Or Godzilla. Or some other large, and very painful, creature. I still can't comprehend it, because my brain blocked it out for me.

Motherhood is similiar. People often told me, "get your sleep now, because once the baby comes, you never sleep," and I nodded, and smiled, but until last summer, didn't truly know how physically, and more importantly, mentally painful it is to go several months with only a couple (nervous) hours of sleep a night. And to have many, many of those waking hours being spent by holding a shrieking, screaming infant.

I had a co-worker who showed up at work the day her maternity leave ended in tears, because she had left her daughter at daycare for the first time. I felt badly for her, but I thought, "what's the big deal?." Our plan was to do the same - once my 13 weeks of leave were up, Jane was going to daycare. But as the weeks creeped along, I realized that I would have to leave my new appendage with strangers all day. I wanted to be with her. Why did they get to spend the day with her and not me? I would stare at her in her crib, play her mobile music, and cry. The first day we dropped her off was absolutely one of the worst, and gut-wrenching, of my life.

People will tell you you'll worry about your child. I have been worried about my child since she was just a few cells, but it's a whole different ballgame when they're on the "outside." Things that I never noticed before, like people speeding in their cars and fireworks going off at night, became my enemies. Every surface that I looked at I regarded as party central for germs. Every runny nose was sure to turn into pneumonia. Every cry signified something worse than hunger, sleepiness, or teething.

Then there are the more abstract things. Will she have friends when she's in school? Will people make fun of her? How will she handle that? How will I handle that? Will girls basically be dressing like hookers in second grade? Will they be having sex in third? What will she want to do with her life? Will we be friends as adults? Will she move far away?

I was told how busy I would be. How I would not have time for all of the hobbies that ate up so much of my time pre-baby. By the sheer force of my stubborness and with the understanding by Greg that he is also her parent and therefore responsible for some nighttime care, I have been able to prove this one untrue. I do, in fact, still read books. It may take me longer, but I still do it. This week I am finishing up my first show that I've done since she was born. This truly was a difficult task, both scheduling and being away so much, but I did it. Because when Jane does grow up, I want to have some "me" left.

I heard and read many times that the love you have for a child is unmatched. That you will not be able to remember your life before you had a child. It all sounded like a bunch of cliched crap made up by parents who thought they were better than everybody else. Frankly, I really didn't like many other kids. I was worried that I had no maternal instincts inside of me. Besides, who would want to kiss a baby when dogs are so much furrier?

But it's real. (Not the part about being better than everybody, of course.) I would take a bullet for Jane. I would lift a car for Jane. I would drop anything if I thought there was something wrong with Jane. I would absorb her every pain, hurt, and heartbreak if I could. There are things in my life that seemed so monumentally important to me before, and sometimes they still are, but the most important thing, always, is the well-being of Jane. I feel like she's an extension of me - I suppose she is an extension of me - and while I guess I can remember my life before her, I don't want to.

I have never painted a rosy, glowy picture of motherhood. It's hard as hell, doubly harder if you're a working mom. I constantly feel guilty, I always second-guess myself, but one thing I can say is I've always tried to make the right choices for Jane. I may not have always been correct, but I've always tried. I will never (or at least, TRY to never) be one of those parents who try to suck everyone in to the sphere of children. If you choose not to have children, I applaud it. You have to really want it, because your life changes so drastically, and much of it is not fun at all.

I have been a mother for one year today. As I write this, a year ago I was heading to the hospital for an NST that ultimately landed me in a delivery room a few hours later. Tonight, at 7:27 p.m., I will be in a high school auditorium, rehearsing a show. Jane will be in bed, asleep (God willing). Maybe she will be dreaming of the crackers she now feeds herself, and the milk she's now drinking, or all of the new "real people" food she's trying, or how she crawls all over the place. Maybe she'll be dreaming about how she pulls herself up, and how she's probably only a few weeks away from standing and walking. Maybe she'll be dreaming of all of her new friends, and of all of her parents' friends who have been so wonderful with her, and generous to her. Maybe she'll be dreaming about all of the walks we've taken, all the songs we've sung and conversations we've had, all the toys we've played with, of all the plans we've made, of all the little moments in her life that have been so monumental to me.

Happy Birthday, Jane. You are my reason.

ETA: Love the special birthday banner, Lisa! Thank you so much! Jane approves.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

another opening, another show

Remember way back when I was posting about happy things and I posted that awesome video that [tos] made for In the Heights for their opening night? WELL, of course In the Heights reciprocated for [tos] opening night last night! WATCH IT! AND GO!

Monday, July 14, 2008

wish you were here!

Well...not really. Because if you were here, you'd have to listen to me complain about how I was completely laid out for the past three days with a wicked stomach bug. I should have known something was wrong when I went out for lunch in the park on Friday and fell asleep on a bench. After deciding I didn't want to eat anything. Yeah, those should have been two very strong signals that something was up.

So, welcome to my vacation! I'm doing it up in true Amanda style by being sick and complaining! I'm still not completely recovered yet and haven't eaten anything that isn't strictly a bread-style product since Thursday. And I've lost five pounds! No lie. FIVE! Shane, you know what that means - ONE POUND TO GO!(Until I gain it all back.)

I was supposed to get all sorts of stuff done this weekend. Friday night, I was supposed to go out to dinner with Todd and then go see Alan in STAR TREK: THE KLINGTASTIC MUSICAL, but instead I was in bed by 8. (Oh yeah, did I mention that Jane was sent home from daycare on Friday with a fever? Yeah.) Saturday I was supposed to go out and buy Jane an outfit for her big one-year photo session on Tuesday, and buy birthday presents for Heather's kids who were having a party on Sunday, and a bunch of other stuff...but I didn't do any of that. I will be polite and not tell you what I did do. Yesterday I managed to leave the house to go to Target and buy the birthday presents, and I did haul myself over to the party for a while before going to rehearsal (yes, I am STUPID, but the show is in less than two weeks, people!). But it was a pretty craptacular weekend overall.

And now it's Monday. Today I did go to the mall and get Jane a dress for tomorrow's big shoot (it is AMAZING how hard it is to find a cute, simple white dress this time of year. If I were looking for her winter clothes now, I'd be all set. But summer is SO OVAH, according to every baby clothing store in the region.) Tonight I have rehearsal. I have rehearsal every night this week, as well as next week. In two weeks, the whole show will be a distant memory. It is frightening how much has to be done between now and then. Can't believe how fast this summer is flying by.

Or maybe it just seems to be flying by because I'm in a cold medicine/stomach bug/sleep-deprived haze all the time.

I pray that any further vacation updates are far more, well, vacation-y than this one.

PS Thanks for Lisa for pulling me out of my pity party with that awesome new banner!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

her other mom

Jane's home away from home is the Chickadee room at her daycare. This room is split in half; one side is for babies 6 weeks to 1 year, the other side is for babies and toddlers ages 1 to 2 years. As you know, Jane started daycare when she was 13 weeks old, and just recently moved over to the more grown-up side of the Chickadee room, where I can only imagine they debate politics and the economy all day.

A woman, who I will call ML, is the head teacher of this room. She is probably in her late 40s, and has been working in the daycare biz for a long time. In fact, she and her second in command, who I will call A, have been working together for eight years. A is younger, in her mid-20s. Anyway, ML has been a really great resource to us in this stumbling, bumbling first year of parenthood, and while she surely says this to all of the parents, she claims to us that Jane is her favorite. And I eat it right up. ML has been Jane's main influence, aside from me and Greg, in her 11.5 months of life.

And now she's leaving. As I was dropping Jane off this morning, ML let me know that her last week is next week. And as much as I complain about daycare, having to bring Jane there, how much I wish I was a millionaire so I could stay home all day with her, how she's sick all the time, the hassle, the bills - I got all choked up. My eyes filled with tears and I got a big lump in my throat the second she told me the news. I could tell she was very upset too - she is leaving to take care of some family issues, and she told me how much she was going to miss Jane.

Jane loves ML. Every time I drop her off, she gets a big grin on her face as soon as she sees ML. This morning she was practically lurching out of my arms to go to ML. And sure, she's not old enough to ponder what happened to the nice lady who took care of her every day, but her daily reaction to ML makes me so grateful that ML has so obviously done such a wonderful job taking care of my daughter.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy with all of the primary teachers in Jane's room, and the rumor is that A will take over ML's position, which makes me happy for her. But I guess today I realized how much I depend on knowing that Jane is with people who genuinely care about her well-being. And ML is most definitely one of those people.