Wednesday, March 28, 2012


When Andrea finished her oatmeal this morning I asked her if she was ready to get down.  "No," she said shaking her head.  "Nana!"  She pointed to the slice of counter where the bananas typically perch.
"They're all gone."  I told her.
"All gone nana?"  She looked up at me desperately then sighed.  "Dit down."

I love hearing her express herself through words.  But it's taught me something.  I ask too many rhetorical questions, and now that her favorite word is "no" I'm in trouble.  A day in the life of me is:

ME: Should we wipe your face?
A: No!

Should we change your diaper?

Do you want to go inside?

Should we turn off the music?

Can I have my phone back?

Do you want me to help you up the stairs?

Ready to get out of the bath?

Of course, when she says "no" I do whatever I originally intended regardless of her answer, and she throws a little fit.  I don't think she understands the meaning of rhetorical yet.  I'm currently trying to break this habit of asking questions when I mean to give direction.  Hopefully, it will lead to less battles.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The cost of a bubble bath

Once upon a time, in a land 1,500 miles away, lived two young sisters who loved to bathe together. Their red-headed mother would fill a large basin with comfortably warm water and bubbles, sparkly and white. The two sisters would slip into the foamy broth and smile sweetly as their mother left the room. Once she was well out of sight, the younger of the girls would take a large bar of soap, cradle it in her fleshy fingers and then purposely drop it beneath the sudsy film.

Then the real game began as each sister grabbed, snatched, and wrestled to retrieve the slimy block. It would squirt from one end of the tub to the other, weaving in and out of their grasps, narrowly avoiding toes and legs and bums. The sisters would slow their movements to complete stillness as if to not scare the illusive bar until the suspense became unbearable for anyone in the single digit years. Then the splashing, reaching, and laughing would resume. But the once full bar of soap was shrinking, rather dissolving, beneath the murky waves.

The sisters, undeterred, continued the game, and as the bubbles thinned the milky water became exposed. Still obscuring their vision, this fueled their excitement, and the shrinking soap grew harder to find and grasp. Soon, it disappeared altogether, and when neither sister could identify the whereabouts of the bar in the completely opaque water, they called a truce and drained the tub.

One must wonder if that red-headed mother knew the cost of a bubble bath included an entire bar of soap.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Some one told me I was cute today.

She also thought I was fifteen.

I didn't correct her on either accounts.

Proof I'm growing up a little.

But I have to say, it was a strange feeling being called cute.  It hasn't happened in such a looooooong time.  I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that for the last fifteen months I looked (and felt) like this most of the time:

This was taken just a few hours of being home from the hospital.  I was unshowered, unrested, and completely unraveled.  (I can not accurately describe my horror when my aunt posted this picture on our family website too.  Keeps me humble, I guess.)  Yet, I proceeded to recreate this look daily for almost a year.  When Andrea's favorite games were "grab mommy's eyeballs" and "pull mommy's hair" I got to a point that getting ready was just wasted effort.

Don't judge me; I'm doing better now.

Anyway, my looks aside, another reason that I was taken aback at being called cute was probably because I've become so accustomed to being only seen as the vessel used to transport this little cutie:

And I don't mind because those big blue eyes melt me into puddles all the time.  Those little hands tapping on my legs and her tiny feet pittering across the kitchen floor make my day sunny.  The efforts I take to bathe, brush, wipe, feed, console, surprise, amuse, feed, distract, calm, feed, and feed some more are my work and my joy,  Her happy spirit and shy sweetness are the manifestations my daily endeavor to keep her alive and well, so when people compliment her, which they do almost every time we leave the house, they are indirectly complimenting me.  So I don't mind one bit that she steals the show at every public appearance.

Perhaps this, of all reasons, is what made the compliment of today so strange, because it was a reminder that before there was her, there was just me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The calm before the storm

I seems that the last few months have been full of worries.  From what I've observed, worries are like dirty clothes.  If not taken care of they pile up.  But almost all of my current worries seem quite out of my control.

And it's no secret I have control issues.

So I have tried a few different things to help me handle these worries.  The first was journaling.  My poor journal, pink and Asian, had been withering underneath my bed for almost three years holding only a couple entries documenting my married life.  Oi.  In high school I was an avid journalist who regurgitated my ridiculous teenage thoughts and upsets onto the pages of some unfortunate paper.  After Paul and I started dating I just got out of the habit

A month ago, as I felt tension building around me, I retreated to staring at pictures of furniture and wallowing in ingratitude.  When I realized the harm it was causing my spirit I dusted off my journal where I began writing down the blessings that surrounded me.  The power of prayer, the opportunity I have to be with my daughter every day, a hard working man who loves me, no shinsplints after a long walk, clean water to drink, a dishwasher, beautiful music, my imperfect body. . . but as thankful as my days ended, they often began with feelings of fear and worry.

And because I didn't properly cleanse myself of job-after-graduation worries, my-father's-health worries, my-mother's-health worries, my-mother-in-law's-health worries, family-job-situation worries, calling worries, Andrea worries, and Paul worries piled up, filled their figurative laundry baskets, and overflowed onto the floor.

Stinky, piling-up worry.

Yesterday I laid down for a nap, because I had exhausted myself crying, but before I shut my eyes I was enveloped by the darkness that I was nurturing in my soul.  Then I remembered a scripture.  "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

If I had power and a sound mind as I'd been promised, than I had the ability to push away this worry.  I closed my eyes and repeated the scripture to myself until I fell asleep.

Today I feel peace.  Real peace.  Nothing has changed.  People I love are still sick.  Future jobs and stability are still just dreamed about.  But I feel calmer, relaxed, and happy.  I want to keep these feelings for a long time, so I'm ignoring that worried little voice asking if this is just the calm before the storm.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Tuesday was Enrichment Night.  I was part of the program playing a former Relief Society president from the 1920's.  I spent the morning doing laundry and then, child in tow, schlepped my entourage of bags to my parents house to have Tessa give me a stylish bun.  Andrea was particularly cranky and after a hour and a half of Yo Gabba Gabba (it was the only thing I suggested that didn't make her wail) I put her down for a nap early.  She slept for a long time and then awoke screaming.  I ran to retrieve her and could not console her.  I took her down to snuggle and watch more Yo Gabba Gabba. (it worked before, so why not?)  I could tell she was feverish and weak, so while she wouldn't sit on my lap, I sat behind her and let her lean against my hand.  But even large foam characters couldn't not comfort her this time, and her head turned to look at me as her body shook and another bloodcurdling scream erupted from her tiny body.

I picked her up and carried her upstairs as she sobbed and choked and sputtered.  I gave her bear, binky, hugs, kisses.  Nothing consoled her, and as her cries left a nervous air in the house I wondered how she still had the strength to keep crying.  I pulled her body against me, her face pressed against the skin just under my collar bone, and she finally gave in and relaxed, shivering with feverish chills.  The moment she laid her head on my chest I felt a wave of her emotional trauma hit me like a bucket of ice water.  Pain.  Sadness.  Fear.  Before I understood what exactly had transpired I was also in tears.

I called my neighbor and told her I wouldn't be making it to Enrichment Night after all.  With my 1920's hair, I took my sick toddler home.  I stopped in the bathroom to relieve my aching bladder, and Andrea collapsed on the linoleum in a sobbing heap.  It was probably the most helpless I've ever felt in my life thus far, watching her and not being able to hold her for that moment.  After a solid hand washing, I gathered her in my arms and poured her a bottle of milk.  Once the bottle was devoured all was quite, and she drifted off into a deep sleep.  I held her tightly and said a prayer for her.

I don't love that she's sick, but I love that I got to hold her while she slept.  I love that she allowed me to be her comfort.  I love her.  More than I can describe, so I won't even try.


This evening her fever broke.  She had a bath, smiled, and is soundly asleep.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring woes

Don't these look yummy?

Well, they weren't.  It's the second time I've made veggie spring rolls and although the filling of tonight's attempt was slightly more tasty that the first, the result was equally grotesque.

While I was working at a local health food store, a certain vendor came each week to stock the fridge with beautiful, raw spring rolls.  Customers would rave about their deliciousness and request them when the shelf was bare.  They tempted me too, and had the price not required a pound of flesh I might have bought them.  Two and a half years ago, on a hot summer day when the cravings for fresh and light seem the most prevalent, I decided I could make my own for far less money.  I purchased a lovely assortment of vegetables and a package of rice paper.

After batch number one was complete, it was obvious to me that a) I'd done something horribly wrong, or b) the spring roll enthusiasts were lying to me, because surrounding my tasty filling was a translucent gummy wrap.  Paul and I tried to eat them, but once the filling was properly chewed and swallowed, a large slimy mixture remained smacking between our molars.  I put away my rice paper until I could properly identify my error.

Tonight, years after the first tragedy, I decided to try again.  I concocted a new filling and, hoping to change the texture of the rice paper, decided to shorten the time which it soaked in water.  I had filled and folded a few rolls when Paul came into the room with sheer disappointment on his face.

"You know," he said.  "I've never cared for raw spring rolls."  I didn't respond because, well, I honestly didn't know what to say.  I had yet to taste one that I found pleasurable myself.  Yet, there I was, preparing them for my family.

When they were complete I picked one up and took a bite.  I chewed. . . and chewed, switching the position of the masticating food from right to left in my mouth.  Soon the rice paper broke away from the sprouts and cabbage and began prematurely slipping down my throat.  I'm completely mortified to say it triggered my gag reflex, and after suffering through two rolls, I exiled the third to the garbage.

Paul ate five and didn't speak a word of complaint.  But I knew he hated them.  After dinner he tried to crack a joke, and I broke down in a fit of complaining and woe-is-me's, disappointed that I'd served something so completely unappetizing.  He just smiled and told me I could experiment with spring rolls as often as I wanted, provided I make them precisely as I made them tonight.  Well, since they were gross, I'm going to say I'm never making them again, which is probably the outcome he was hoping for.

Now I owe him garlic bread sticks.  That's all he wanted for dinner anyway.