Monday, July 26, 2010

How Thoughtful

When a long and tiring day hits 8:30pm and my little chicken is all tucked away in her crib, I sit back on the couch and inhale. I take in the day, whether good or bad, thinking about what I have done, what I avoided doing, and what I can do tomorrow. I quickly fold the negative thoughts up and put them in my mental box marked "Do Not Open". It is always on long, exhausting days that I come across little reminders of the girl who loves me so much.

Yesterday after settling Lola in her crib for the night I decided to retreat to the couch and Pieter was going to work on some writing. He avoided the usual spot and relocated to the kitchen table. It was then that I notice one of Lola's little friends.

Her strategically placed forget-me-nots, whether being Velcro finger puppets or small animal crackers, make even the hardest of days seem easy. I love my little Lolita.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Body Art

Every once and a while, Lola and get restless with the heat and the humidity. On exceptionally hot days, like the ones we had a couple weeks ago, the only thing I can do to get some of my little chickens energy out is to strip her down to her dipe and let her get crazy with some paint. I've only managed to do it once before with her, while she was fully clothed, and I learned my lesson. Even though the paint is washable, it's one more thing that I would have to wash. So there we sat in the air-conditioned living room, on my old full-sized fitted sheet, with two big pieces of paper, six different paint colors, and a couple of brushes. Did she use the brush? Barely. This is an activity that keeps Lola busy for about an hour, depending on how much paint is staying on the paper and mysteriously getting on her body and staying off the carpet.
Though it had its stressful moments, it ended up being a great afternoon activity.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Canciones De Mi Padre

Feeling unfamiliar with the newest addition of me has been an ongoing and very familiar feeling. I feel as though I've been searching for something to ignite my soul and direct me back to the things that define me. I have been thirsting for a moment that gets me lost in a whirlwind of emotions. Something that takes me back to a time, a place - my happy place - not knowing then, and clearly seeing now, that it is embedded in me. Acknowledging now that those very moments are in my soul and held deep in my heart for safe keeping, and seeing now that I have them in me. I can go back to them when I feel lost, when I feel low, or when I feel really unsure of myself as an individual, a woman, or a mother.

I had a moment, yesterday, while out running errands, when I overheard a song that took my breath away. I didn't understand, at first, how I could possibly know this song, seeing as it was in Spanish, but then I realized that it was the keeper of some very special memories. So sure enough today, while being sidetracked by everything, I ended up on Amazon and found this...
I went through the entire CD, listening to every sample they had, and sure enough they were the long-lost songs from my summers with my Grandma in Mexico. I continued to go through every song, every word rolling off the tongue and remembered as if I never stopped listening to it. I felt as if her voice was igniting something in me. I remember why I loved listening to her as a child. Her voice was just as powerful to me then as it was today, if not more. There is something about a woman's voice when the words are sung in Spanish. It's like she belts notes of pain and suffering and passion and joy so effortlessly, like the song she sings are more than words, they are part of who she is. It's beautiful.

Listening to those little bits of song brought back so many wonderful memories of pistachio colored houses and salmon colored walls. It brought back memories of my Great-Grandmother Carmen's house with secret doors and the scent of hot chocolate. I remember the smell of the early morning streets and drinking milk out of glass jars. I remember delivering homemade tortillas door to door with a little girl who's family owned the corner tortilleria. I remember buying pan dulce and bottled Coke with pesos my uncles had given me. I remember speaking fluently and being able to carry on conversations. I remember long bus rides and cheap plastic toys that I played with for hours. I remember indulging in cajeta and dulce de guava, spending days in my bathing suit. I loved wearing my Grandmothers long, flowing skirts and twirling round and round as if I were a Mexican folk dancer. I admired how elegantly feminine and timeless they looked with their long, brightly colored skirts and how they mimicked ocean waves when they spun. I loved their long, ribboned and braided hair that had that Frida Kahlo feel. I couldn't wait to be old enough to wear that crimson red lipstick longer than the usual "dress up" hours. It, unknowingly, became part of me. I feel like that strong, romantic, and loyal woman lives inside of me.

 I called my Grandma Luz today and we recollected on our wonderful summers in Mexico. I mentioned the songs of our past times. I really enjoy speaking with her about the "good 'ol days". I feel like it takes us both to a place of joy. I was only a little girl then, no more than four years old, but I still value the closeness we have. I am so thankful for the time that I was able to spend with her then, and the conversations we have about it now. I have my Grandma Luz to thank for my love of all things Mexican. I love the folk art, the dancers, the mariachis, the food (and those of you who know me know I'm very picky about Mexican food), the dresses, the bright vibrant colors, and the way I'm feeling now! I realize now that when I'm feeling lost and unsure,I can go back to my place. I haven't felt this kind of peace for a long time, and it feels wonderful to remember who I am and where I come from.

éstos son las canciones de mi niñez.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chalk It Up, Little One, Chalk It Up!!!!

I can, excitedly, cross yet another item off my Summer Todo List.

I've tried introducing chalk to Lola once before, about a month ago. She didn't do as well as I had hoped she would- it ended up in her mouth. Just last week we took an unexpected trip to the park in the middle of the afternoon. I was tired and Lola was not. It was a bad cocktail of a day, so my plan was to take her out earlier than usual to tire her out sooner than later. In the heat of the afternoon we were greeted by the cutest group of scene kids and there little summer babes, all huddled underneath the shade tree. But of course, Lola would pay no attention to them. She had the energy of a puppy, happy to see her master after a long day of being alone. I hung around in the shade until she made her way over to the swings, looking back at me with hands outstretched as if she were asking me a question. Her face had the, "well aren't you gonna push me, mom?", look written all over it. Unfortunately, my super-secret-excuse-for-park-time wasn't turning out as peaceful as I had hope it would. After she baked in the swing for a couple of minutes, I got her out and she walked around, her hands full of wood-chips, her mouth belting out the usual squeaky, guinea pig-like noises for everyone to hear. She finally retreated to the shade at the far end of the playground near a group of mothers and daughters doodling with sidewalk chalk. My first reaction was to try to avoid them at all cost. I knew that there was a really good chance that Lola would all of a sudden develop an appetite for something chalky and dry. To my surprise she played nice and doodled even nicer.

Though I had certain intentions for talking Lola to the park, I feel like I was the one who really benefited from it. It was wonderful to get out of the house and be distracted from my daily motherly chores. It was great being surrounded by new moms and their beautiful little ones. It was very calming for me to be outdoors, in the shade, enjoying the summer breeze. It was an opportunity for me to fall in love with my little chicken all over again. 

We eventually went home- me, with peace of mind and a calm spirit and Lola, tuckered out and all covered in chalk!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Age of Exploration

To Leash, Or Not To Leash?
That is the (very debatable) question.

After getting off work, we gathered in the Volks and headed out to run some errands. We would eventually end up at Sports Authority for Pieter to check out some new running shoes. Yes, that's right, I said running shoes! Now normally we would put Lola in a cart and wheel her around the store, but something possessed me, and convinced me otherwise. I decided I would let her show me the way around the store, and show me the way she did. She walked and walked around the store like she owned the place. I then realized that we had reached that dreaded fork in the road when a parent must decide whether or not they would jump on board and get their (very much independent) babe a harness. I must admit that I was 100% against them during my pregnancy. I considered them unfair and degrading to the child. I hated the idea of it, having your child at the end of a line. I felt like I wouldn't need to resort to that kind of restraint because I would, in fact, be an exceptional parent. It isn't the fact that I am lacking in the parental supervision department, but I feel, at times, that Lola is a little too curious and strong-willed all at the wrong times! I don't want to restrict her from exploring her surroundings by keeping her locked up in her stroller, and these days, it is pretty normal for her to fuss and try to break out when she wants to be on her own two feet. So I was wondering, do you think all the negative thoughts about using a harness or leashing your child is because most out there do, in fact, look like something you would put on your beloved pet? And if that were the case, would you be more inclined, and confident, to use one if it had an entirely different look to it? After really thinking about it and talking with friends and family members, and Pieter of course, I think I've made my decision and may try this one out. Pieter isn't 100% on board with it, but I'm hoping I can change his mind.

I feel that I should make perfectly clear that I don't, in any way, want to take from Lola's independence or restrict her from exploring her world. I think it's important for her to be able to be part of the outside world. I want her to be able to take in everything she can from plucking every blade of grass or picking up every rock or flower she finds along our walks. That kind of stuff really matters to me. But I also want her to be safe, and I want to be completely confident that in this new stage of wonder and exploration, Lola can do that, and I can worry a little less.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Summer Watermelon Is Oh...So...Good!

We are fortunate enough to have a little one with a highly developed palate...or something like that. When I was pregnant, I tried to eat anything and everything I could in hopes that Lola would get an aquired taste for things most kids can't stand. I'm happy to report that I think it really worked. Among the normal things kids enjoy are the not so normal things that she loves. Her new interests are cabbage and cauliflower. WONDERFUL, I KNOW!!!!

This entry is not, at all, about the new (and rather gaseous) veggies that she is enjoying. It is simply about watermelon and enjoying it in the messiest and silliest fashion around! I origionally wanted to write about the enjoyment I had feeding her piece after piece, but I think it would be better to just put the pictures out there and let you see the joy that I was able to see! ENJOY!!!

Dandions and First Love

 I know this may sound a little bias, but I'm pretty sure I have the greatest daughter in the world! She is wonderful! I can't seem to get enough of my little chicken. She is at such an amazing, and exhausting, age right now. She literally wears herself out by the end of the day...and I don't mind that one bit! Ive been in the habit of taking her to the park in the evening, after the sun has exhausted itself from blasting the playground with its heat. I love when the sun retreats, allowing the cool shade and breeze to be great contenders. I take Lola about an hour before Pieter arrives home, then he meets us, and tries to sneak up on Lola so she can be really excited to see him.

Yesterday was no different except that there were three other children around Lola's age. We have kind of lost our "connections" with all the other toddler babes since we switched our park time visits, so this was a wonderful treat for Lola. There was one boy in particular, Justin, who was drawn to Lola. He wasn't quite walking yet so Lola wasn't too interested in him- naturally, "Who wants a guy who can't even walk?!?!", was probably what she thought to herself. So, being the incredible,-wobbly-wandering and independent type, she kept to herself the majority of the time and made the occasional "drop-ins" to show her affection, literally, and play hard-to-get. I've never seen Lola so affectionate towards another little one. She shared her wood chips with Justin and even gave him the sweetest, most innocent hugs a mom could dream of seeing. She is so caring towards other little ones; it's like she really cares for them!

A couple months ago I tried to show her how to blow on a dandilion. Of course, she seemed highly uninterrested and wanted nothing more than to eat the dang thing. SHOCKER, my child sticks everthing in her mouth. Yesterday she caught me by surprise when she plucked a fully loaded dandilion from the playground grass and tried blowing on it. Sure enough she ended up inhaling hard enough or secretly managed to get her lips around it because there were dandelion bits all in her mouth.