Thursday, January 31, 2008

in praise of telling too soon

i just read this article on the mothering magazine website, and it made me feel really good. which is weird, maybe, considering the article is about miscarriage. but its title, "in praise of telling too soon," speaks to the author's positive experience sharing her life with her community. she miscarried at 20 weeks, and had to "untell" everyone she had told about her expected baby. she says:

"The thing about miscarriage that I most feared was that it seemed so invisible. I hadn't really looked pregnant yet; the baby was just a tiny thing (the size of a raspberry, the books said). With the code of secrecy surrounding the "don't tell too early" story, there did seem to be a residual sense of shame about what was happening; as though it should be kept in the realm of women's maladies that happen "down there," in the dark, that we're not allowed to talk about. But I knew that something real had happened to me; it was not invisible.

If I had kept my pregnancy and miscarriage a secret, if I had bought the shame story, then I would not have been real. I can't even imagine having to fake it with the most important people in my life: to pretend that nothing was wrong, during one of the most heartbreaking experiences of my life. That, to me, seems much more traumatic than having to "untell" and then tell the people who love you that you could use a little love and support. And then let them give it."

i really like this perspective. for me, sharing my joy--and my pain--with my community of family and friends (YOU!) makes my life meaningful. i don't want to hide things, the hard parts, out of fear.

a friend of mine said she sometimes had a hard time reading this blog because it made her feel inadequate--that the life i presented to the public seemed too perfect. noah appears angelic, i seem to adore mothering, aaron comes off as the ideal husband, we seem to have wonderful friendships and great adventures... and as i look back over the years i see that i have been very choosy with what i share here. i definitely tend to post the picturesque. i skip right over the pictures of noah with snot running down his face; i do not mention how aaron and i argue; i choose not to share my struggles with depression or lack of motivation, or my impatience with noah or his un-angelic behavior. but why not? i guess the ugly parts don't make for as nice a story. but they are just as true as the pretty parts, and without them the story of our lives isn't whole.

so i guess i want to say thank you to those of you who are willing to read the whole story (and who encourage me to tell it). thanks for rejoicing with us in our joys, and for mourning with us in our sadness. and for respecting the myriad of ideas that we spew forth daily as healthy parts of the process of finding our place. please stay with us on this crazy journey.

Monday, January 28, 2008

there and back again

we have been home now for a month. it seems longer--it's hard already to remember the feel of daily life in new england. this month has been full of ideas: for life with this new baby; on place and where we belong; on parenting noah, and how to help him grow and learn; on vocation and what we might both like to do; on study, and where and what might be good fits for aaron; on how to stay connected to friends and family when we feel so scattered and far; on childbirth, health and healing. we haven't done much in this month, but we certainly have thought much.

we've also reflected on our few months away, which were a real blessing for me in particular. i remembered how important it is for me to be part of a close community of friends, and i learned that it is also important for noah too. he had such a wonderful time with benny, eli, jude, asher, henry, jasper and avry, and he seemed lost all alone in this house when we came home. he needs more than i can give him, and i need more than he can give me. and that's not unnatural, is it? now we just need to figure out how to accomplish a more communal life that also retains healthy spacial and emotional boundaries. any ideas?

(we have set in motion a weekly dinner with maryka, kevin and their housemates dorothy and lilly. this has been lovely. tonight involved mexican lasagne, banana "love" and impromptu banjo strumming. noah loved it.)


i've been referring to this teeny tiny baby in my belly as "chickpea," which seemed to me a similar size item. but i just read that at eleven weeks, this baby is almost two inches long and weighs 1/4 of an ounce. so i guess we need a bigger reference object. maybe an avocado pit? not nearly as cute.

and look at its feet! tiny beautiful perfect feet. already there inside me. just waiting to grow and strengthen and run after noah.

it's hard to remember i'm pregnant, sometimes. i don't feel it much yet except for the nausea. and i'm so distracted by noah... which is great, because he is unbelievably fun right now. but i remember when noah was on the inside, i spent a lot of energy and thought connecting with him as he grew and moved inside me. i guess that intense connection is the lot of the firstborn baby, and i know that christina would say all that attention is both a blessing and a curse. i would like to learn how to be moderate with both these children, but also to lavish them with love.


noah is a busy little guy. aaron and i were just saying that we think his age right now is the funnest it's been so far. in particular i'm really enjoying his newfound attention span for reading. the other day we read a "madeline" book the whole way through! and he likes to help in the kitchen and with the laundry, which is fun. sometimes his "organizational methods," however, aren't very similar to mine. (like taking the magazines out of the rack and spreading them around the floor.)

he's still communicating really well with signs, but has recently also added some words into the mix. he now says: mama, daddy, mailman, barbara (our landlady), nina (our landlady's cat), grandma, tractor, bus, dump-it (dump truck), hot, ball, yummy, etc. he also pats and kisses the baby in my belly. his little voice is so cute and enthusiastic. he was so excited today to go outside and point at barbara's car and say "barbara" and then point at our car and say "mama." what a genius.

other current noah favorite things include: pistachios, shoes, closing doors, cozy blankets, ice cream (and all treat-type items), trains, mailmen, pacifiers, books, baths, snow, wagon rides, throwing things, cucumbers, hanging out with grandma and grandpa, syrup, scratching me and aaron so we laugh, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, looking out windows, eating at his little table, dancing, chasing and being chased, and driving around in aaron's truck. current non-favorites include: diaper changes, clothing changes, face and hand wipes, hair washes, haircuts, bike helmets, oatmeal, mama trying to do anything business-like, rides you pay 25 cents for at the supermarket, and daddy leaving for work. he's a pretty straightforward little kid.


aaron's main journey right now is an attempt to narrow down his interests and options into the best path for his (and our family's) future. he was also inspired by our east coast journey, in particular through conversation, one of his favorite things. he loves talking about possibilities, and if you know him you know that often those ethereal conversations lead to real-life ideas. he's got lots. now his job is to whittle them down to the best and pursue those. he's considering graduate programs in Public History, Preservation Studies and/or Architecture. he is good at so many things and interested in nearly everything... so finding the right path for himself is hard work.

until the next step is clear, he's enjoying life at the boatyard, where he's still doing fancy things i don't understand. he's also bossing people around a bit (a new year's promotion), which he doesn't like but i think is good for him. he's determined to sneak more power on choosing our netflix dvds (think more warner herzog, less gilmore girls), but he'll have to crack my codes to get into our account. he's also teaching noah some unsavory tricks, like blowing rice through a straw and hammering things. sketchy. he's into ken burns' new documentary "the war" and he's reading kiran desai's "the inheritance of loss." he's also been listening to the black eyed peas' song "where is the love" on a daily basis. don't tell him i told you.


i've been enjoying the results of my new year's resolution to call people more. i've realized laughing with people on the phone can be really therapeutic. so give me a call, you long lost friends and family! if you're lucky, i'll put noah on to tell you that a lion says "baaa."

i'm also working on my application for the doula training class at the seattle midwifery school. i know i've been talking about this for a long time, but i'm really going to do it this spring. it feels great to have this to look forward to and work toward. right now i'm feeling more excited about the postpartum doula training than the labor support training, which may be because i really enjoyed being with jennye and andrew in the days following esme's birth. i just ordered the book "nurturing the family: the guide for postpartum doulas" and i'm excited to read it. right now i've been enjoying "making babies: the science of pregnancy."

i just went with some friends to a showing of the movie, "the business of being born," a documentary about the hospital childbirth industry in the US. it was really eye-opening. there was also lots of beautiful homebirth footage. of course i couldn't keep my eyes dry. it was inspiring, though, and gave me hope that this next baby can come into the world more naturally. more on that later.

i've also been working on a mix cd called the happy new year mix, with a real focus on the happy. i want to be surrounded by hope and good cheer. we have been rocking out to it in the car, and it's definitely doing something good. (of course "where is the love" features prominantly.) let me know if you want a copy!


so this is us, for now. what about you? let's be in touch.

snow fun

noah has fun with dad at mount baker

snow thrower

noah has more fun out of the cross-country ski trailer than in it, last weekend at mount baker.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

tiny noah 2

more tiny noah.  (bad video quality, sorry!)

Monday, January 21, 2008

tiny noah 1

i just unearthed these old movies from when noah was teeny.  sort of boring but cute.

diaper touchdown (a movie)

wherein aaron scores a touchdown with noah's poopy diaper in the dumpster outside jess and andrew's apartment building. (let it be known that andrew also scored a touchdown with a rotten lemon.)

couch fun with jessa (a movie)

noah and jessa do some jumping on the couch, and jessa tackles noah.

piano players at nelson's cafe (a movie)

noah and jessa provide some entertainment while sarah, cassin, maryka and i finish our breakfasts.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

pinecone hilarity

noah and kate go crazy with pinecones at bandstra christmasfest 2007

grandpa's turn

jeremy's sidways snowboard

jeremy bust a move on the wassell boys' sled at the dartmouth cabin in new hampshire.  sorry for the sideways view again!

snowy noah