Off We Go!

Jack and I are heading to a wedding in Fairfield tomorrow. About a month ago I was asked to be a bridesmaid in my dear friends wedding. She is an amazing impetuous, creative person who has managed to throw a wedding for 260 in a month! She is getting married on our farm and I am beyond excited to celebrate with her.

I am a little concerned about traveling with Jack on my own. He is a great traveler but he needs a lot of entertainment to stay settled, so I am ready to sing, read books, offer snacks, nurse and play, in short, I am ready to be a one woman vaudeville act.

I am also a little concerned about the logistics of being in the wedding and caring for Jack (really wish Lynch could come.) The wedding is fairly casual, and Jacks Godfather will be wrangling him as well as his own toddler,  since his wife is also a bridesmaid. I got Jack a little blue suit, that matches my dress just in case I need to hold him at any point during the ceremony  (as if I really need an excuse to buy my boy a dapper little suit!)

There is so much that I want to say about Jack turning one, and I have some adorable pictures from baby burning man, but it will all have to wait until we return. Wish us luck with traveling and being bridal party appropriate on our own!

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Birthday

Jack was still a little under the weather on his birthday, so I scrapped my plans to take him to the zoo and we played at home instead, activities including; lots of cuddles, nursing, blueberry pan cakes and playing in his new teepee. It was such a sweet day, although honestly not that different from most of our days, which made me feel so thankful that I get to spend my time with my sweet, silly, fiery boy.

Oh and in case you were curious, yes, Axle can in fact open gifts.



ONE!

Today my little Home Slice turns ONE!

There is too much to say, I am overwhelmed with the ferocity of my feelings.

In lieu of my jumbled thoughts I would like to share this beautiful video.

This filming was a combined effort between my husband, myself, and our friends over the past year.

It was edited together by the talented Jennifer Emerling.

Happy Birthday Jack. We love you so!

Thank you to the rest of the Shark Pig team for your help in capturing these moments.

Sick Again!

Poor Home Slice is sick again! This time with a nasty head cold/virus. Between the stomach flu two weeks ago, teething and now this cold he has been pretty miserable for the better part of the last month. Hopefully he will feel better by this weekend in time for his party! We have some dear friends (Mamas and babies) coming in to town to spend the weekend with us, I am beyond excited to see them.

P.S. These wings are part of his burning man costume!

Baby Burning Man

Our pals at Burning Man 2011-photo by Ethan Killian

For the past few months we have been living in a state of constant uncertainty, as there was a strong chance that we would be packing up and heading to Illinois for a 3 months to be on location with Lynch, durning the making of a film he is producing. Unfortunately the project has pushed to the spring, but the silver lining is that we will be staying in town for Jacks birthday and can have his party here in L.A.  At long last I have picked a theme and have started planning it (if somewhat frantically.)

Last year our dear friend Brian celebrated his 30th birthday at the Burning Man event, it was an epic celebration, even his Mom attended. We were not able to attend as I was “with child,” and about to deliver any moment. We have been flirting with different themes, but decided on Burning Man when we realized that Jacks birthday gifts of a teepee and a drum were very appropriate for the event. And imagine how adorable the babies will look in burning man outfits.

I still have a lot of planning to do but am keen on orange ombre balloons, and an orange ombre cake if I get really industrious. I am working on gift bags, but so far have included maracas and temporary tattoos. As far as Jacks outfit, I am thinking angle wings, some snappy shorts and maybe some goggles. And as my friend Elizabeth said about her little boy, he can always go naked and would  be perfectly in style for burning man.

Lynch had the idea to construct a popsicle stick man that we will burn at the end of the party (they do this with an enormous wooden man sculpture during the last night of real Burning Man.)  The concepts are still coming together for me, but I giggle every time I think about it, and that makes planning a birthday party in two weeks much more fun.

Dog Days

This last week has been a gnarly trifecta of flu, teething and a heat wave, poor Home Slice! Despite all this, Jack has been his charming, funny, loving self, with just a few temper tantrums, to remind us that he is cutting 4 teeth right now and it is 100 degrees out. We have been spending lots of time in water and eating cold things.  He is turning in to such a little GUY. I have so many things to post, now that Jack is on the mend I will be able to. Thanks for checking in on us, even though we have been a little withholding the last week.

The Flu

Jack is sick and the world stops. All the things that seemed vital yesterday; finishing his nursery, planning his birthday party, finding a bridesmaids dress for a wedding that I’m in, reorganizing our closets, writing, all seem trite and small in the shadow of my sick boy. All of our plans for the day halt and are replaced with cuddles, books, nursing and anything else that can sooth his fever and aching stomach.

This is one of the amazing things about being a Mother; in a moment all of your plans are waylaid, sleep sacrificed and personal desire put aside, to tend to a raging case of the stomach flu, without thought or bitterness. This is a small-scale example of the enormous devotion of motherhood, it is such a beautiful feeling to experience, even if it comes with a side of  vomiting and diarrhea.

Gin and Chickens

Yesterday Jack and I had the most lovely late afternoon outing. We were invited to a friend’s house, along with our baby pals, to play with their chickens, and enjoy the garden. The Mamas cooled off with a gin and tonic and the babes got dirty and rowdy, everyone had a gay old time. Jack was picking tomatoes off the vine, and gobbling them up as fast as he could. As an Iowa girl, relaxing outside with livestock and a cocktail is nostalgic and just about perfect in my book (clearly I’m very posh!)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Birth Guilt

As the date crawls closer to Jacks 1st birthday I have been thinking about the fact that I have yet to chronicle my birth story, this is unusual for me as I have always written about the important moments in my life, long before I began sharing them on Home Slice.

The main impetus behind my procrastination is that I have a lot of unresolved feelings about Jacks birth, they are fading as time passes, but they still linger a bit. I was in active labor for 50 hours and in the end had to deliver via c-section, not due to any fetal distress, but due to the size of the baby versus the size of my pelvis. Like so many women, I was very keen on having a natural birth, and have felt that not being able to deliver him naturally was a failure on my part. I felt guilty in the first days after his birth, and was worried that I was not going to bond with him properly due to his surgical beginning.

I did not feel, what I perceived other mothers felt; an intense and euphoric love at first sight, greater than any love they had ever felt. I felt love and extreme protectiveness towards him, but I also felt exhaustion and trauma from the physical distress of 50 hours of labor followed by major surgery, as well as a lingering darkness that took a while to fade. The intense, heart transcending love did come, as I got to know him. It has grown steadily, blooming in to all of the things I thought “I was supposed to be feeling,” but it was gradual. This may be due to the birth, or the fact that we had some negative postpartum experiences, or it could have been postpartum depression that took me a while to identify, or simply my personality, what ever the cause, my lack of “correct” emotion was another thing that I felt guilty about.

I hate that I took all the knowledge I had gained and my desires about birth, and used them as yet another way that to judge and measure myself, another opportunity to feel I had fallen short. I doubt that my Grandmother who bore 7 children was wracked with guilt and disappointment after her births, because they did not transpire according to her birth plan. She was probably just grateful to have a healthy child, and never even thought to analyze her birth in the same way that we modern Mamas do.

I think all of the birthing options that we have these days are important, and I am proud to be part of a generation of women who are educating themselves and taking control of their labors and their bodies, by making informed choices. However I don’t like the culture of judgement and guilt that seems to coincide with it. In choosing one path as right for ourselves and our families, we should not feel the need to condemn the other paths, and people who chose them.  And if we are unable to control the situation (hello, labor) we should not waste time and energy condemning ourselves and feeling guilty for things that we could not help. I know this in theory, but it’s hard not to feel badly, it’s hard not to review all of the steps and wonder what I could have done differently. I sat teary eyed in my 2 month post-natal appointment wishing for an answer as to why my labor ended in a c-section, to which the midwives response was that he was simply to large for me. It is hard not to get a twinge of jealousy over births that went the way I wanted mine to, hard not to feel fear and confusion in thinking about the future and what a second birth would be like for me, what choices would I have the second time around?

Almost a year of motherhood has tempered my feelings of inadequacy, and guilt primarily because I don’t have as much time as I used to, to obsess over everything. Motherhood is a fantastic antidote to vanity. But also because I love my Son more than life, and now I know, that his birth did not, or could not have affected that in any way. I want to write down my story, because good or bad, perfect or not, it’s mine. I hope that in doing so I can release the lingering guilt and doubt that still creeps in. I hope I, along with any of you that have been judging your own births as inadequate can be gentler on ourselves, and stop being so strident in our decisions, especially ones that are beyond control.

A Baby’s Laugh-In Pictures

You know how on “Inside The Actors Studio” they ask people what the best sound is? I have heard it answer, by more than one actress as “a baby’s laugh.” Totally pretentious, but also totally correct. Jacks laugh is the BEST! It rocks his whole body, even his little tongue trembles with delight. Now I will have to revise my answer if I ever run in to James Lipton and he starts questioning me.