Friday, March 16, 2012

Growing up is Hard to do, or How I Came to Fold Laundry at 10 p.m.

I was standing over the changing table last night, putting away prefolds and diaper inserts, and folding cloth wipes, when it hit me:

I am a fucking grown up.

I have a mortgage, I have a car payment, I have a lawn mower. And I have a son, who is peacefully sleeping while I'm up at 10 p.m., putting the diapers and wipes away because I sure as hell don't want to do it in the morning. And oh my fucking god, we're out of coffee? SERIOUSLY? How does this happen?

Part of me still feels like I'm still figuring it out, like I'm still the girl that moved here all by herself at 22. But this year I'll turn 30.

And I have a son. Did I mention that?

Oh, and we're out of French Roast.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Jane


When my husband and I started keeping chickens about five years ago, we never thought we'd grow so attached to the birds. My mother still thinks I'm crazy to give them names and keep them long after they've stopped laying. For her, as a woman who grew up in a very rural area in Texas, chickens are for eggs and meat, not pets.

Obviously, I am not my mother. When we brought our first few chicks home from a feed store in Pleasant Grove, I fell in love with the fuzzy little creatures. We had to part ways with two of the original three, which turned out to be roosters, but we still had little Jane Gallagher who was sweet as pie and laid the most amazing, beautiful blue eggs.

She was timid by nature, so she was constantly being picked on by the other gals. We made sure she got plenty of treats regardless of Audrey or Elaine's moods. And when Scout passed away from the heat last summer, I though she would surely be sad to lose one of her close buddies. But she showed how incredible and resilient she was and found her new spot among our flock with ease.

It's crazy that I don't have a single bad memory of Jane. She was always a good-natured bird, if a bit skittish at first. She was quick to scurry across the yard if she saw one of us bringing out lettuce or an apple. We joked that she was famous because she was the only chicken we knew that had her picture in the paper.

Yesterday, though, the poor girl was going downhill fast. She was hit with some crazy infection and wouldn't eat. She was so weak that she couldn't lift her head. She was telling me that it was time. She was telling me that I needed to let her go. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

I have to give a lot of credit to Dr. Lavender and the thoughtful staff at Metro Paws Animal Hospital in Lakewood. They were amazing, and didn't treat me as the crazy lady with the chicken. They were compassionate, and they gave Jane the dignified death that a good chicken deserves.

It was hard, holding her as she passed away, but I kept thinking about all the amazing memories we'd made, about how glad I was that Cooper got to meet her and give her some treats, and about how fast five years with a great little bird goes.

We'll miss you, Jane Gallagher.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Trying Every Day to be The Mother I Want to be

So, I think I've said this already, but this motherhood gig is pretty hard. That's not to diminish my husband's role (it is primarily of the "go fetch this I'm doing _______ with the baby" variety).

I think the major difference is the guilt. I'm not going out on a limb here when I say that fathers don't feel the kind of deep, panging guilt that mothers feel. Every day I get up and have to recommit myself to giving Cooper the best life I can. Usually it's after a crappy night's sleep, especially now that he's teething like crazy.

But there are a couple of ways that I've let him down, and myself down, too.

I mentioned previously that breastfeeding has been a major disappointment for me. I had a great commitment to exclusively breastfeeding Cooper for the first six months, but I let a moment of weakness sideline my plans. And after that, it was all downhill.

I can't go into detail, but let me just say that there was a member of my extended family who voiced their concern at a time I was sleep deprived and emotional. I really can't think about that time without getting my dander up, but in effect, she said that I was being a poor parent for not giving my son formula.

That's when I started to second-guess my instincts. Shortly after that, I had to have emergency gall-bladder surgery. From there, my milk supply was never the same.

Cooper is now mostly formula fed. He's getting close to 8 months old, and it makes me so sad that the start I had planned for him is nothing like what he's experienced.

If you are a mother, I'm sure you know what this guilt feels like. It weighs on your shoulders at night, and is still the same heavy burden in the morning.

Of course, he really doesn't care. He still smiles at me when I look into his eyes. He still babbles on and on just to hear the new noises his little voice makes. He still rolls over with glee as I try my hardest to get a diaper on him.

He's still my sweet baby. And I love him more than anything in the world.