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January 20, 2017 / Mettā Reiki Center

The Life of Ali


She’s had an exciting past few months! This is an adorable little photo video my husband put together – from Thanksgiving until now, it’s been a fun ride for her!
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January 19, 2017 / Mettā Reiki Center

Potty Humor

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I know it’s been a while (ok more like ages ago) since I posted a blog. And this should probably be a warm fuzzy about how the past few years have gone.  Perhaps this will be enough of a synopsis of how things are going right now to give you a good idea…

Several months ago, Ali went perusing through my bathroom while I had my back turned. As most moms know, it only takes a few seconds for this to not end well. She trotted out of the bathroom with one of my maxi pads.  “Mommy what’s this?”

Oh boy.

“Well, sweetheart, they’re…well…kind of special diapers.”

Five minutes later she came barreling in the living room with her stuffed “Shaun the Sheep”, the “special diaper” placed perfectly between its legs. I probably should have had a fit about wasting an expensive “special diaper” but all I could do was howl laughing. From that point forward, Ali called those special diapers “BaaaHaaa diapers” because of COURSE they were made for Shaun the Sheep.

Fast forward to present day.

We start the day at Target to pick up manuscript books to help with her printing letters.  “Do you have to go potty?”  “No, mommy, I’m good.” Okay. On to lunch.

Then we are at a little Greek place.  We have a nice lunch, and my plan was to take her potty after we paid our check when a lady walked in with…well, an interesting hairstyle.  Ali proclaimed in a very loud voice, “MOMMY!!! Her hair is made of funny strings!”

I forgot completely about the potty plans – we got the hell out of there.

Next stop: Publix.  She’s going to go to the potty, dammit. We find the restroom and thankfully out of two stalls, one was open.

Ali: “I don’t have to go potty.”

Me: “I don’t care. You’re going to try.”

Ali: “Well then you go first, Mommy.”

That was fine with me, because I had to pee like a racehorse.

I am about 2 seconds from finally getting to sit on the loo, when she proclaims, “I have to potty!!!”  Me:  “You’ve got to be kidding me.”  Ali: “No mommy, I have to go BAD.”

Zip up the jeans, put the kid on the can.  She does her business.  She says she’s done. FINALLY it’s my turn.

“Oh, wait, Mommy. I have to poop.”  GREAT. By this time I have my legs crossed.  Hurry up, kid.  I hear a quiet snickering from the stall next to us.  Yeah, really funny lady.  YOU come in here and deal with this if you think it’s so funny…

Ali literally squeezes her eyes shut and grunts. What. The. Hell. Where she learned that, I have no idea, but when I find out, they are in big trouble. More giggles from the next stall. When she finally stands up, there’s a little bit of nothing in the commode.  “Seriously, Ali?  All that drama for one little turd?”  (Clearly Ali wasn’t the only one that momentarily forgot we weren’t alone in the bathroom.) “But you said if I need to poop, even if it’s a little to go ahead and poop.”  Why do these kids have such good memories about THOSE things but can’t remember to include the number 15 when counting from 1 to 20, when you’ve told them about a thousand times?

FINALLY, I get to pee. 20 seconds without an inquisition?  Nope.

“Mommy, what’s those little trash cans for?”

How the hell am I going to artfully dodge this one?

“They’re just special trash cans, honey. Don’t worry about it.”

Ali’s face lights up with a sudden realization. “OOOOOOHH!  They’re for BaaaHaaa diapers!”

The woman in the next stall forgets all about stifling her giggles and starts laughing out loud.

We’re out of there.

“Mommy!  We need to wash our hands!”

“Forget it, we’re using the Purell in Mommy’s purse. Move it.”

The bathroom door shuts the sound of uncontrolled howling laughter in the bathroom.

This is why mothers drink.

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November 28, 2014 / Mettā Reiki Center

Where Our Hearts Are

I’ve had a thought in my mind most of the day today that I have struggled to put into words. This is the best I can do:

I saw people today that couldn’t be home for Thanksgiving because they are very, very sick. Later, I saw a man with a sign as I was driving between hospitals who had no home, and gave him a crocheted scarf because it’s crazy cold outside (non-sequitur – time to make more, it was my last one).

I have many friends with enormous, beautiful brick and marble homes who are able to see and appreciate the beauty of the home I live in, even though it is much smaller and more humble than where they live. They appreciate the love and care we’ve put into it so that it may be a safe and loving place for our daughter to grow. These people know we may not be fancy, but we work hard and love deeply. The people that recognize and respect the beauty and love of our home – despite it’s imperfections – are the ones I consider our true friends, and we see the same beauty and love in their homes that they see in ours, regardless of how big or small or how tidy it may or may not be.

At my job, we know that when we enter a patient’s house, it’s their home – rich or poor, whether their dishes are Lenox or Goodwill, whether they have beans or caviar for dinner – it is where their families and hearts reside, the roof that they work tirelessly to keep shelter over their beloved families. There is incredible beauty under those roofs, whether large or small, concrete or tin, or anything in between. We just have to open our eyes to see it.

Today I am thankful for home.

“One’s home is like a delicious piece of pie you order in a restaurant on a country road one cozy evening — the best piece of pie you have ever eaten in your life — and can never find again. After you leave home, you may find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a more efficient dishwasher than the home in which you grew up.” ~Lemony Snicket

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August 27, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

Family Feud

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We have a nightly ritual of watching Family Feud. Makes us feel smart, I guess. I just love Steve Harvey – he makes me smile.

Tonight there were two very proper families that apparently never had a naughty thought in their lives. Not the best families to have on Family Feud…

Tonight, Steve asks, “Name something that you like better warm.”

The families were answering with, “the car”. “A shower.” “A towel.” My husband was aghast that no one guessed his answer. I asked him what his answer was, figuring as with most nights we would have the same answer.

He said, “Your lover, of course.”

Me: (pause) “Oh.”

Husband: “What? What was your answer?”

“A brownie.”

Honeymoon’s over.

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August 5, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

Green Thumbs

I do not have a green thumb.

Seriously, I can kill SILK plants.

I’ve never been much of a gardener – I love flowers, but I’m not good at caring for them. Every time I’ve tried, I’ve ended up with a pathetic weed-ridden patch of dead stems.

Lately, though, that has changed.

Ameleigh is fascinated with flowers. Any kind. Even weeds. She pets them, talks to them, picks them and puts them in her hair. Before our little girl came along, I would notice flowers from time to time, but now we stop and sniff/look/touch every flower in our path – our daughter demands it.

And all of a sudden, flowers have started growing.

I planted rosemary and lavender about three months ago for her to enjoy the nice scent. They’re struggling in the searing heat, granted, but they are still alive.

A butterfly garden has quite literally exploded on the side of our yard with a rainbow of blooms – daisies, black eyes susans, Queen Anne’s Lace, you name it. Much to Ali’s delight, butterflies swarm this garden every afternoon and evening for a snack.

And this morning, I discovered a surprise under the bird feeder. It looks as if the birds (that Ali adores) have gifted her with a sunflower from their birdhouse stash. It stood out this morning, bright and proud, as I looked outside to catch the sunrise.

I can’t help but wonder if the flowers bloom a little brighter, a little stronger, and a few extra butterflies show up to rendezvous on them because they know the wonder they will bring to the eyes of a child?

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July 30, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

What I Will Miss

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A few days ago, I had a conversation with someone about their kids, and she said, “I miss when they were little babies, when you could just hold them and snuggle them, and there weren’t the messes and the tantrums…don’t you miss that?”

I was at a complete loss for words. What a bonehead question.

Or was it?

Should I miss it?

Because quite honestly, the answer was a resounding NO, I did not miss it, I DO not miss it, and I don’t see myself getting to any point in my life where I will miss it.

I knew her experience was different from mine. I knew that when her child was little and snuggly, she didn’t have to wrestle with wires, lines, breathing tubes and monitors. When she gave her baby a bath it wasn’t a mad rush under a warming device to make sure her baby did not get hypothermic. Nights were spent rocking her content, chubby little one to sleep where ours were long, nightly ordeals with a baby struggling with reflux and just figuring out how to suck on a bottle, swallow, and breathe without strangling herself. Not to mention the frightening transition to pureed foods and solids, that is usually an exciting and fun time in a mom’s life.

I could go through a slew of comparisons of differences in our experiences, but the long and short of it was that I walked away from that conversation reeling with guilt. A good mother should cherish every moment, right? A good mother would never look back on any period of their child’s life and not miss it…would they? Surely there was enough good in those months where I could find a way to miss it, right?

It took a long conversation with my husband and being able to spend some time with a dear friend today to bring me back into the reality that is being a (real and true) mom. Maybe in some mommy circles I should miss every moment – and those mommies probably think I’m the crappiest parent to walk the face of the earth to feel otherwise. But after a period of time, one gets tired of smiling and nodding even when everything inside is saying “no”. After a period of time, you have to be honest, if for no other reason than being true to yourself.

I don’t miss it. And I’m okay with that.

The first year after Ali was born was a long year. I remember being terrified – a lot. And uncertain. Waking up every morning to rush to her crib and make sure she is breathing. Feeling my heart stop everytime the apnea monitor alarmed – and worrying when too much time went by and it didn’t alarm. Worrying when she slept too much or too little. Worrying over every doctor’s appointment and the dreaded three words, “Failure To Thrive”.

And feeling overall like God was completely out of His gourd for thinking I was fit to be a parent.

But then things changed…about 6 months ago, Ali changed, and I changed. I can’t put my finger on a specific date or time. But Ali gained an incredible amount of strength, and along with that, her eyes brightened, became clearer and began to drink in the world around her. Her legs strengthened and brought her body up to standing – first to stumble, then to walk, then to run. Her hands went from clumsy mittens to grasping fingers that can hold a crayon, sign the word “silly”, and pick flowers.

And as she gained strength, I was able to let go of at least some of the fear, some of the worry. Finally, rather than fearing the worst happening every day, days have become full of exciting, new, messy and beautiful opportunities for us. As she started breathing better…

…so did I.

Where the first year felt like an eternity, something has happened to time now. It has sped to a whirlwind pace and the days are flying. One day she is able to take a bite of a banana. The next day she can feed herself with a fork. One day she can take a small sip from a cup being held for her; the next day she is drinking from a straw. I think that these are the days I will painfully miss. These are the days where I am doing everything I possibly can to take advantage of every opportunity to show her the world – the sights, the sounds, the smells, everything that you get to see again for the first time through the eyes of a child.

So what about those tantrums and messes?

The tantrums…ahhh, the tantrums. The fits of emotion when Ali gets overwhelmed by the world around her…and the messes, oh, the messes! Smeared fingerpaints, spilled cereal, thrown food, the occasional spitup, the perpetual drool…

In a roundabout way, those tantrums say to me that Ali is starting to understand things around her – understand enough to become overwhelmed at times. She is beginning to feel emotion. Her whole perception of the world around her is deepening – she is growing, she is learning.

The messes say to me that she is experiencing life – she is jumping in to everything around her to see what it’s like. That is awesome to me.

Honestly? No, I won’t miss that first year. And I guess I’m writing this just in case another mom (preemie mom or not – you don’t have to have a premature baby to have a difficult first year) faces the same questions. I think it’s fine to be true to yourself – and if someone doesn’t feel like your truth is “the way a good mommy should feel”, then that’s not a person you need in your support system.

To the mommies who struggled those first months…you’re not alone. But there are amazing things around the bend…things like tantrums. And messes. And all of the other wonders that come along with them.

March 6, 2013 / Mettā Reiki Center

Ali’s Legwarmers

When Ali started crawling, a friend recommended trying “BabyLegs” to keep her knees from getting raw on the carpet – I had seen them on some of the other babies in the NICU and thought the idea was pure genius. Being able to keep your baby in a onesie, and not having to fuss with pants during diaper changes while still keeping baby’s legs warm? Where do I sign?!?

A NICU mom gave me the website:

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They have an adorable selection…but at $9-12/pair, they were a little pricey for my budget. So off to Pinterest I went.

I found an idea there that used knee high socks, so I gave it a try. They suggested kid size knee high socks for newborns, and adult sized for toddlers.

Target clearance rack, here I come!

There was some sewing in the instructions as well, so I grabbed a sewing kit.

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The first step was to cut the feet out of the socks as evenly as possible.

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Then, turn your leg-warmer-to-be inside out and fold the cut end over slightly to sew the edge. That way it looks all neat when you’re done.

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I learned 3 things here:

1. Hand sewing is a pain in the ass.

2. Babies don’t care if the ends are neat- they wash the same, and regular socks don’t fray in the wash.

Last, but not least:

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So I decided to try just cutting out the feet, laundering them, and trying them on baby. Guess what? It worked. So I was able to protect her knees on the cheap, and get some pretty darn cute outfits from the deal.

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