Not sure if anyone has noticed (besides you, mom), but a few months ago I quietly stopped publishing posts. I didn’t want to be dramatic about it, but I’ve been unsatisfied with the way this blog has been rolling for many months now.
I want to keep writing. That part was clear to me. I wrote consistently for an entire year before I had a single “follower”. Actually, it was gaining followers that made things suddenly strange. I knew that might happen, random strangers finding my blog. I thought I was prepared for it and that I would adapt, but I don’t think I ever got used to “the audience”.
The thing is, I don’t think I ever truly wanted the audience at all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been plenty of fun interacting with strangers on here and quite humbling to hear how (modestly) widely read this blog had become. I have had a few letters that gave me pause to realize how my words had had a sincere effect upon other mothers (especially those struggling with breastfeeding). I appreciated those sentiments so very much.
But I’m a shy person, a little emotionally vulnerable at times. I remember the first challenging comment I received, the first private message questioning something I had written. I wanted to shut everything down after those words. It’s not that I don’t like constructive criticism or even being confronted for my choices. It’s that I dislike feeling judged for opinions and experiences that I hadn’t intended to be publicly scrutinized. The irony of publicly blogging, huh?
I can put myself out there like an open book and write about intensely personal topics without any hesitation (I’m a shy person, but not a private one), but I rarely do so for the purpose of public discussion. Likewise, I can publish a dozen mindless picture posts or hastily jotted notes about the week and never crave any validation for doing so. (I’m just as terrible on all other social media sites. Sometimes I wish we still just communicated by pencil and paper.)
I started this blog as a way to capture my personal life, in all it’s mundane, unspectacular nuances. My voice as a writer is a shaky one, underdeveloped and unconfident. But this need for documentation is just a part of who I have always been. I was a scrapbooker before this. An archivist of photographs. A journal scribbler. A diary keeper. Nostalgic. Sentimental.
I actually never stopped writing, but I stopped immediately publishing to timeline (aka I publish privately then unlock weeks later). It settles both my urge to write and my desire to remain (relatively) private. Sorry if that is weird to you, that’s kind of my modus operandi.
Here’s a picture.
And so and so on, for a few dozen pictures.
We thought we had it all figured out to create the perfect passport photo of a nearly 12 month old, still and expressionless, mouth closed, looking into the camera. Our plan was to strap her into her portable highchair, load up a Youtube video on our phone, position it right net to the camera lens, and click click. Done!
She at least got the still part right. People, this is why we don’t let our baby watch any tv. That first picture alone explains it all!
We even tried giving her a bit of food to wake her up from the Youtube trance, but as you can see, even her favorite thing was no match for the power of the screen.
I guess that was our best shot ^. She’s actually not even looking straight at the camera, but we got away with it.
And, seriously, is there anything cuter than a baby passport?
I’m officially over this month, as is the rest of this country, I’m sure. I actually made it to 30 days before cursing all of January.
The snowstorms were a novelty at first, beautiful and white and pure. Then the cold winds came in a snarly bite. Then more snow, to hide the ice left behind by the cold front. Then it warmed up a few degrees, to a practically balmy 28*F, but only so the sky could drop another unwelcome load of snow. Then something particularly barbarous was introduced; called a polar vortex, it shut down the city on account of “too offing cold to be outside”. Then more snow, and more wind, which snaps tree branches and human spirits alike (we need to call in to get some trees off our power lines). A couple of days ago the high for the day was 1*F. One.
Nothing is white and pure anymore. It is grey and foggy and dirty and icy. Jeremy has gotten to work from home a few days and taken a couple vacation days as well. But he’s also had days where he waited at the bus stop in the -12* darkness for a half hour, only to realize the bus was not going to arrive. Days that it took him nearly 75 minutes to get home, on a 20 minute commute. Not being able to ride his bike because the roads are so choppy and icy and snow covered is breaking him.
Camila doesn’t seem to notice. We keep the house warm, so there’s no need for winter wear inside. She’s really been great this month, healthy and happy. She was able to walk with us to a baby’s first birthday party in our neighborhood with us and on a couple walks with Jeremy. But otherwise she’s only had two playdates, no baby/toddler group, and only a couple trips to the Chidlren’s Museum, but we’ll make up for that in spring. I think it helps that Christmas has left us with a house full of new, exciting toys. And there’s literally a playset in our dining room.
It also left me with new pajama pants, which are being put to very good use! Seriously, in last week’s laundry, I put away seven pairs of sweats and yoga pants. Mama needs to get out…
Spoiler: I slept through it all.
My sister, Rose, is a kindergarten teacher and lives within walking distance, if you didn’t already know. She also adores Mila, but that’s a given. So far this year, Rose has had EIGHT snow days, which is incredible because we’re only five weeks into the year and there’s only been like 20 days of school anyway.
She suggested something one night that literally made me wiggle my fingers and squeal like a kid at Christmas- she wanted to come over the next morning on her snow day and play with Camila. I took that as a offer to let me sleep in, whether or not she meant it that way.
I know, I know, I am the parent who struck gold with a darling child who sleeps in til 9:30 every day and an incredible husband who takes the morning shifts every weekend. I don’t deserve it all, and yet, I’m still not the best parent around. Judge me all you want.
If I were ridiculously rich and didn’t care what society thought of me as a stay-at-home mom, I think hiring a nanny the first hour of the day would be amazing- I’m very slow to wake, hate hate HATE mornings, and am never my best self the first hour. Camila deserves better, every day. I think it’s healthy and essential to have a host of people in a child’s life who she or he loves and who love the child in return. So, yes, having someone else, with boundless energy and fresh ideas, entertain Mila for a little bit is a win-win for both the baby and myself.
Anyway, I didn’t wake up until 11am that morning, and when I did, I awoke with a huge smile because I could hear Rose and Camila playing and laughing together. I went out to the kitchen, greeted them, and immediately got to cleaning up a bit (that is, the cleaning my sister didn’t already do for me!). Not because I felt I had to, but because my spirits were high and my energy was there. It felt great. And when Jeremy came home, Camila was worn out but well fed, dressed, napped, and happy, the house was clean and tidy, I was showered, dressed, and happy, and dinner was made. Wins all around!
I actually was the one who got to introduce Camila to the play dough, but only after my sister made it for us using this well-known jello recipe. It smells great, stay fresh and pliable, and has enough salt to deter kids from ever eating it. Perfect indoor snow activity!
HUGE thank you to Auntie Rose!!!