Attachment Parenting, Baby Fever, Babywearing, Balance, Birth

This Introvert Birthed an Extrovert. Go Figure.

E throwing herself in the middle of the action at another Java Mama meet-up this past week.
E throwing herself in the middle of the action at another Java Mama meet-up this week.

E is passed out in our big bed. We just got home from a baby “class” that was equal parts her favorite thing ever and my worst nightmare. Of course, I exaggerate. I loved watching her happy, even if I dreaded having to sing another song while doing sign language with a huge smile on my face. That just isn’t the part of mommy-ing where I excel.

There is actually a pretty cool coffee place down the street from us, called Java Mama. It has supervised play areas for the little people and grown-up treats for the caregivers. Somehow, in the course of the last week, I have been there four times. It is suddenly everyone’s favorite place to meet with a baby.

That is how I discovered their weekly baby classes. While they aren’t cheap, I figured they were worth a shot because E is mesmerized by other kids. Sure enough, no sooner had we removed our shoes than she had crawled up on another mom’s lap and was listening side-by-side with her baby to a story, (might have been one of E’s cutest moments yet).

And, so it begins. E is already pushing me out of my comfort zone. I knew it was bound to happen, I just did not expect her to be so outgoing so quickly. I, on the other hand, cringe at having to put on a show and meet new people, (even if I enjoy social interaction once I get over the stranger anxiety). Yep, this introvert has birthed an extrovert.

E exchanged kisses with babies, excitedly drew circles in the air when invited to do baby sign language, and, well, threw herself in the middle of everything with her characteristic beast scream of excitement. She. Was. In. Heaven.

As for me, well, I made it through. Thank goodness those classes are designed for short attention spans. My brain doesn’t catch on quickly to coordinated hand motions/new lyrics/etc., (I am still traumatized by high school aerobics). Mix in suburban moms, and, well, I felt a little like a fish out of water. To the credit of the other moms, however, they were all perfectly nice and I even made a new mom connection who seemed pretty cool. It was just a different scene from the babywearers at the park, (even if they ironically met up at Java Mama last week too).

I have heard many times that our children are our greatest teachers. They push us in exactly the ways we need to be pushed. Today, I am grateful to E for exposing me to a new slice of life, one I would have avoided at all costs if it were not for her huge smile and beastly screams… No promises on getting better at those silly songs, though.

Balance, Health, Work

Month Five: The Leap

Month 6 and year 31 may be the most exciting yet.
My beautiful, present reality.

31 tomorrow. You don’t need to wish me a happy birthday. I am happy enough.

This week I wrote my letter of resignation with tears in my eyes. A blessing to choose between two good things, but hard to let go. My school has become part of my identity. Those kids changed me. My coworkers are friends. It took forever to type. I wrote, deleted, wrote, deleted. I could not find the right words to express the difficulty of my decision. It is strange how much our jobs become entangled in our identities.

Still, my life has changed. I am not ready to leave my sweet girl for six hours a day. Maybe fewer would have worked, but I am grateful life chose for me. The words of advice that stuck with me most were about time. Jobs will be there when she is bigger and more independent. She will only be a baby once. My heart feels for every woman who has had to decide or wished she could.

Now our life changes. We no longer need to live five minutes from my work. We will move. Our house is already for sale. I am tired of living minutes from a bowling alley where gang members have killed each other and down the road from a motel closed because of prostitution. I feel for the homeless faces around the corner but it would also be nice to live in a bubble for a little while. It feels terrible to type that, but some days it is too much for my bleeding heart.

The funny thing about our neighborhood is, just like my work, I also love it. We have kind neighbors and many friends with little ones nearby. I laugh to think there is also a golf course, racquet club and Whole Foods in such close proximity, grand old houses tucked just beyond the chaos. Those same homeless faces remind me to take nothing for granted. Some days the ugly strip mall where they congregate is somehow beautiful set against the polluted sunset. Reality is crisp here.

Still, we are ready for change.

We might live with family for a few months as we regain our bearings. An untraditional approach but we are untraditional. Rick Steves once told a young family in Northern Europe they were unusual by American standards because they lived in an attic above their parents. They laughed. I guess we are unusual too, because a piece of me is called to go home, regroup, be part of a community again. We don’t have to, we want to, and that makes me smile.

I miss my village.
I come from a big family and more than anything, this drives me back.


I could use a village right now instead of just me. The Huffington Post article about missing the village hits home. It excites me to live with other women, share in the household duties, have someone else hold the baby for a bit, not be alone all day but still have the space to write and spend time with my daughter. Families all over the world exist this way, we can too, or if nothing else, it is a worthy experiment. After it is over we can return to our solo lives in a new neighborhood we have picked a bit more carefully this time.

On Sunday, Eloise will be five months old. Month five of her life has been about change. I have stood on the edge of a decision for so long and now it is in place. Yesterday, after the tears had dried and I impulsively pressed send on that letter of resignation, I lay in bed next to my daughter and smiled. There is no looming date of return to the real world. She is my real world for now.

I also get to write. Scary to think I have no excuses beyond the obvious need to care for a baby and keep a house in order and… Okay, there will always be excuses, but I am determined to make it work. I laughed last night as the words “living the dream” repeated a bit sarcastically in my mind. I am living my own dream, but it is different and more complicated than I ever imagined. The trick is feeling worthy enough to embrace it.