Overview: Someone asked me recently to describe motherhood. I don't remember the answer I gave in the moment (something along the lines of, "It's extremely challenging, but also one of the best seasons so far!"), but I started thinking through a better description. What if I only had one word? The word that came to mind over and over for me was normal. It's a season that feels natural, normal, and right.
I have always wanted to be a mother. When I was around thirteen, my cousin had a baby girl. I couldn't get enough of her. I read somewhere that parenting is one of the most difficult jobs and that people have the least training for it. So I wanted to prepare. I worked in the church nursery and spent much of my free time babysitting (right up until we got married and moved). I loved propping my feet up after putting children to bed and reading stacks of parenting magazines. I had a list of ideas for my future family.
Nothing can fully prepare you for becoming a parent. All the cliches suddenly ring true--the baby growing up is bittersweet, the late nights are so so difficult, and you realize you would do anything to protect that sweet little life. There's also the frustration, the tears, and the lack of sleep.
There are rough days. My mom keeps him so I can nap some days (I don't know how I would survive without her!). The laundry piles up, and the floors don't stay clean for more than a day. There is the guilt--the constant "Am I doing this right? What will happen down the road if I keep doing/not doing x?"
But I love being a mother to Liam. There's nothing else I would rather be doing right now. I try to focus on the good things--the moments I know will be fleeting--and I try to see the big picture (he won't wake up every four hours forever, right?).
Liam: love how fascinated he is by his little starfish hands. He is quite competent now at picking things up. He loves to watch his fists open and close over something. He has distinct preferences for certain books (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and We're Going on a Bear Hunt are two definite winners). He loves it when I sing certain songs to him (especially those I make up with his name in it). He has become a little shy with new people, but from a distance, he is a total charmer. He can put on the sweetest smiles even if he has been fussing seconds before. He wakes up so happy (and when he doesn't, I sing to him and he perks right up). How can such a young baby have such a personality?!
Young he may be. But tiny he is not. He takes after his dad in size and is off the growth charts. He already weighs 24 pounds and is quite a chunk to carry around. He babbles a lot, especially at home. He laughs all the time now and gets super excited to see his dad.
Reading: I am not a fully sane person without books. In the past month or so, I've read: The Joyful Child and Montessori from the Start (which I mention here, here and here). I've also read The Paris Wife, which was a great story that filled in some gaps from what I know already about Hemingway. I'm hoping to get my hands on A Moveable Feast soon. I read Life without Ed and part of Eating in the Light of the Moon to better understand eating disorders. I then read The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times, which I loved because of how much we enjoyed the PBS series with the same name. I will warn you that it is fairly explicit as far as birth goes, but I learned so much from this book. The engaging style and story setup is excellent. I was in the middle of The Tender Bar before I had to return it to the library. I will definitely pick it up again. Right now I'm reading Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. You can get the ebook on Amazon for 2.99 right now. I'm thoroughly enjoying it and trying to savor it and let it sink in. I bought The Greatest Gift as my personal advent devotional, but we have actually been reading it together and placing ornaments on our little Jesse tree.
Update: It looks like The Tender Bar Kindle book is 2.99 right now on Amazon, as well!
Cooking: I made my first pot roast and my first mashed potatoes (no, I have no excuse for waiting so long) recently using The Pioneer Woman's recipes. Even the leftovers were amazing! We made this delicious Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup for dinner the other night. I love soups like this because they function as a meal in themselves (we had toast and crackers with it). I recently made a whole crock pot chicken, which is my new favorite way to cook chicken. I used this recipe to make broth afterwards.
Anticipating: Christmas! My sister's visit! I can't wait to have all my gifts wrapped and under the tree, but I have a few more to get. I did better this year with ordering on time, but I won't feel ready until they are
neatly decently wrapped and under the tree. We ordered books for Liam because he loves reading so much (and I'm sure he'll get enough toys from family members). So far, books have been more long-term than any of his toys. I'll do a post soon with his favorites.
Also: We're loving the slightly colder climate this year. There's something about cold, bright December walks that cheers my spirits. We have had several fires, and I am re-learning how enchanting a fire is on a cold night.
Different seasons of life evoke different feelings. The summer before I got married, I read a phrase in a book about a woman who felt like there was a constant electric pulse of energy going through her. That's how I felt-- so alert, so awake, perched on the edge of some grand adventure. I remember the summer after my first year of teaching. I felt depressed, drained, and weary. It took a lot of healing and a lot of learning to get through that season. Right now I feel settled. Though I'm tired, I feel a strong sense of belonging and purpose. But how is Christmas coming in a less than a week?!