Category Archives: Pregnancy

Bikini Body?

Ordering a bathing suit online is a ridiculous idea.  But when the company that makes the running shorts that make me feel hot, not just athletic, had a sale – I took the bait.

It is the time of the year that I have the Great Bikini Debate.  Last summer I tried to embrace the stretch marks. I gave it a solid effort.  I even tried to tan those mofos.  If I am 100% honest – the red bikini took a backseat to the trusty one piece the great majority of the time. And now here I am again, another year older, another year closer to the Year I Should Really Stop Wearing A Two Piece.  (I am not sure when that is, exactly, but I am certain it exists.)

Standing in my bathroom in the new two piece I could acknowledge that this summer’s bikini body is slightly more toned than last year’s.  I have run my ass off this year and it is starting to show.  Deep breath in.  Deep breath out.  Bend over.  Sit down.  Eh.  It is what it is but it is unlikely that it is gonna get better than it is right now, right? The fit is ok.  But the color?

Brown. The brown bikini was the only sale suit in my size.  I just don’t know about brown.

I called to Emily.  “Come here.  What do you think?”

She just stood there with her hand on her tiny little hip.   “Hmmm.  That’s a tricky question. I’m trying to decide what you want me to say.” Damn kid.

“The truth,” I answer.

“Well, you have really big boobs and that top is really big like a lot of fabric but weirdly it makes your boobs look not as noticeable. And I think it’s ok that your stomach is like, well, you know like that because you had two babies and you’re a great mom and you look pretty.” She paused to take a breath.  “Do you like it?”

I love her. I do.  I should have been more clear, I suppose.  “Do you like this color brown?” Sigh.

Back tattoo teapot

If the bikini makes its presence known this summer than the excitement will be two-fold.  My stomach and the stretch marks there really get all the press.  But it is high time that the wreckage on my hips and lower back get a little face time.  The 2014 new ink highlights them nicely.  Last summer’s motto seemed to be “if you can’t tone it, tan it.” This summer it is looking like I am embracing the “if you can’t tone it, tattoo it” philosophy.  Someday perhaps I will get to that level of peace where I don’t even have this conversation with myself. Maybe next spring when I am trying on bathing suits for my 39th summer I will only ask myself the question that my sweet Emily June asked me –  “Do I like it?” Maybe.  Someday.

Dear Lucy on your 2nd Birthday

Dear Lucy,

Happy Birthday, kiddo!  Two!!  I think you had a bang up birthday.  Daddy, Emily, Papa and Gram set up a Yo Gabba Gabba explosion in the kitchen while you took a nap and you were so tickled when you woke up.  It was like you couldn’t believe that all of your buddies from Gabba Land were here for a party.  It is impossible sometimes to tell if you are saying “potty” or “party” so the day was exciting.  You ran through the house yelling “party” while I trailed after you saying “Do you have to go potty, Lu?”

20140120-083023.jpgYou’re such a happy little lady. You’re always smiling.  You are such a menace.  Somedays I think you spend all day developing your crackpot plans for destruction but you mean well.  The delight in your face as someone yells “Oh, Lucy!!!” makes cleaning it all up worthwhile for the time being. Don’t feel like you need to stay in this phase for too awful long.  I will suffer through the momentary sadness when I mention to one of your many doting grandparents “I noticed today it has been weeks since Lucy mindlessly dumped out an entire drawer full of stuff.”

You love your babies with your whole entire little self.  You are frequently walking around the house bouncing a baby on your shoulder saying “Shhh, shh, shh.”  Your babies are busy, too.  They are always napping or crying according to you.  I ask you what they are doing all of the time. I think I ask you what you are doing a lot, too, because in the last month you have taken to constantly asking us “What are you DOING?” in this tone that suggests that whatever we doing is inane.

You are not the most graceful little person.  You have a tendency to crash and burn but nothing slows you down.  If I have to be honest with you, Lucy, your head circumference is off the charts, it’s no wonder you tumble from time to time.  But you never make a peep.  You are back on your feet, onward and upward, in no time.  I hope this “nothing keeps a good woman down” attitude serves you well in your life.


You’re not really a baby anymore.  I mean, you got a bike for your birthday, man. Babies don’t ride bikes.  But I have news for you, Lu, you will always be the baby.  It’s going to drive you totally crazy someday when I hold you extra tight or kiss you in front of your middle school.  But I promise that being the baby will pay off.  You will probably also be able to stay out ten minutes past your curfew someday because everyone knows that the youngest kid in the family has slacker rules as a teenager. And we won’t even talk about the inappropriate movies you will probably get to watch because by the time you are your sister’s age I will have been watching heart-felt animal movies for almost fifteen years and sometimes a girl just needs a break.

Lucy, I love you like crazy.  You haven’t slept through the night a single time in your two years and you still won’t take a nap without a solid twenty minutes of snuggling with your mama in the middle but you know what – I wouldn’t change a thing.  Two years later and I still bend my face down to the top of your head and inhale and think about how these days will pass faster than I can even imagine.

Happy Birthday, Lucy Quinn.  I tell you all of the time, but don’t you forget – you’re a really good baby. And try not to think too much about how I sometimes say it in the same tone of voice that I say “You’re such a good dog” to Fisher.  You two spend a lot of time together but it isn’t like I can’t tell you apart.



Lucy Quinn - Blowing your dad's mind since 2012

Lucy Quinn – Blowing your dad’s mind since January 20, 2012




Autumnal Adornment

There are a million things wrong with shopping at big-box stores.  They are local economy killers.  They are filled with processed food and cheaply made products and hate and vitriol and bad lighting.

I know this. But sometimes time is of the essence and a dollar only stretches so far in a single income household and I’m not making any more excuses.

I am about to tell you what the real problem is with big-box grocery stores.  One minute you are checking and double checking your grocery list.  How many pounds of butter do you need for Thanksgiving? Can you have too much?

And the next minute you have fallen in to a weird, dark place and you are grabbing a straw wreath form and some burlap ribbon.

Yesterday I wanted to make a baby.  Today I had a burning desire (no, NEED) to make a wreath.  I NEEDED AN AUTUMNAL WREATH and I needed it NOW.

I put away the perishable items quickly.  With bags of groceries still on the floor around my feet I made a wreath because I could not bear to be wreathless for one moment longer.

I picked those leaves up from my yard, y’all.  Whew.  Now I can finally breathe deeply again.  My front door is properly and seasonally adorned.  And eventually I got my groceries put away.

I will not make a baby.  But I am gonna make the shit out of some crafts.  Be warned.


The Secret Under My Sensible One Piece

It wouldn’t be easy to choose one word to define myself.  I like to think of myself as pretty multi-dimensional.  I am a lot of things.  Perhaps first and foremost I am your classic over-achieving liberal arts major, jack of all trades and master of none.  So, to choose one word, that is almost impossible.

But if I had to pick one  – I am a mother.

I am grateful that my journey to motherhood was easy.  It was not without tears and pain but I consider myself lucky. I grew two healthy, beautiful little girls.  I grew them.  Inside of me.  And I brought them in to the world.  And thus far I have lived to tell the tale.

I am a mother.

And I am beyond proud. And yet I keep this secret underneath my clothes.  It’s not really an issue nine months of the year, but the summer comes and I feel it.  Shame.

I have two girls.  I tell them both that they should be proud just exactly as they are.  But I don’t feel that way about myself.

I feel strong.  I am stronger than I have been in my lifetime.  I feel capable. Even with some sore muscles from overuse I am proud of the work I have done recently.  I am becoming an athlete.  My clothes feel good.  I stand up straight.  I am proud of this body that grew these two babies and continues to help me grow every day.  But I can’t seem to feel proud of my stretch marks.

Not long after Lucy was born I made peace with them, the tiger stripes I earned in my last pregnancy.  But peace making is a far cry from pride.

In the last month I have done this silly little song and dance.  Get the girls ready to go to the pool.   Put on the two piece.  Look in the mirror.  Take off the two piece and put the one piece on.  Go to the pool.  The other day Em walked in my bathroom while I had on a bikini. “Oh, I like that one, Mom.  You got that for your honeymoon. ”

That was all she said.  She left my bathroom and I stood there, stomach glowing white against the rest of my month long summer tan.  I tried to imagine what I would say when I came out in  my signature black one-piece and not the red bikini  she had just seen me wearing.  I came up empty.  There really wasn’t any good reason to change.  None at all.  Except the niggling shame surrounding my smushy stomach and aging stretchmarks.  And that just wasn’t a good enough reason.

This week I did something that made me uncomfortable. I wore that damn bikini all week.  And I chased my little Lucy back and forth.  And I sat in the baby pool.  And I ate an ice cream cone.  And I dove for plastic rings with the big kids.  In my bikini.  And you know what?  My stretch marks didn’t actually have anything to do with any of it.

I can’t quite say that I am proud of them yet.  But I am not ashamed.  And that is a step in the right direction.



I was worried.  About vaginas?  Well, no, actually.  I haven’t worried about vaginas in ages.  Not since Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues told me in the late 90’s that they come in every shape and size and color.  Participating in V-Day for years has helped me to believe that someday we will live in a world that is not so rife with violence against women and girls.  So, I wasn’t really worried, not about vaginas.  Not yesterday.

I had plans to see UNC’s production of The Vagina Monologues with some friends.  It was Natalie’s birthday.  She had sent out an email to a bunch of girls “Let’s go see The Vagina Monologues for my birthday!”  I cautiously suggested we see the matinee.  Groups of girls don’t go out for drinks and birthday shenanigans at 2:30.  But… I have this baby, see?  I know, I know, she is more than 13 months old.  But… bedtime. I can’t, I won’t be out at bedtime.  I just… can’t.  And they said “Sure.”

I had more than a month to think about it.  I was excited.

The Vagina Monologues changed me.  My first year in the OBX production I wore a black pants suit and a bra, no shirt, I was the Woman Who Liked to Make Vaginas Happy, the Moaner.  I drank wine after the show and laughed with my new girlfriends. I hadn’t ever been a part of a big group of women.  I have been lucky in life to have always had a best friend, a sidekick, a confidante.  But a tribe of women?  I’d never felt that way before. And it was fabulous.

In the years to come I would have different parts, I would wear pigtails and slouchy gaucho pants to mask my newly postpartum body.  I would sport electric blue hair to distract you from my sunken eyes from lack of sleep.  I would skip out on the wine because I feared the things I might say.  I would mumble to no one really in the middle of a rehearsal “I don’t think I want to be married anymore.”

The Vagina Monologues, these stories of women, they inspired me.  They moved me. They taught me that women are all the same.  I had always felt like an odd duck.  I was “one of the boys.” Standing on stage with a group of women I’d only known a short while I was one of a group.  I was part of a tribe.

And then I had a baby.  And I got stronger every day. A little over a year after Em was born I was in a rehearsal for The Vagina Monologues when I said out loud for the first time that I would be leaving my husband because it wasn’t working.  No one pitied me.  No one made the “I’m so sorry” face.  One woman said “Good for you.  There’s happiness out there for you” and I believed her.  It was ten months before I moved out but I started getting ready to go that day. 

20130302-193232.jpgShe was right.  Happiness.  It was out there.  I am Happy.  Most of the time.  Unless I am trying to get dressed.  Unless I am leaving the house all alone without my kids for three hours.  And then those old feelings of being the odd duck creep back in. And I am in tears in my closet, surrounded by clothes that don’t fit right.  I was planning to meet my girlfriends to celebrate being a woman and I was sobbing because I am thirteen months post-partum and I still feel like I live in someone else’s body.  We would be heading to UNC’s campus to surround ourselves with 20-somethings spreading a positive message and I was crying because my jeans are still too tight.  I could see the irony.  I just didn’t find it all that amusing.

I changed my jeans.  I swore.  I put on make-up and then washed it all off.  I picked a zit, I picked a fight.  I cried some more.  I said I wasn’t going.  I said I had to leave right now.  And then I got in the car and I went.  It was important.

I would paste my Pretty Kelly smile on my face and I would say “Happy Birthday, Natalie” and it would be fine.  I would introduce myself to someone I didn’t know and I would try not to talk about my kids at all.  I would just be me.

I opened Nat’s front door and steeled myself.  Game face.  I don’t know who I was expecting to see.  But I know I wasn’t expecting to only see people that I knew.  I made it exactly four steps in the front door before I burst in to tears. “I was afraid one of you would ask me why I was crying and I would have to be that crazy woman in front of someone I just met and say ‘Oh, because I get mad anxiety every time I leave my THIRTEEN MONTH old baby and I can’t get dressed and…'”

There they were.  Four women. A friend I have known since high school, a friend with two small children, a friend who has seen me at my lowest and a newer friend that understands more than her fair share about body image bullshit.  I spilled my big, bad ugly “I have my period and everyone hates me” guts and in moments it was over.  We laughed about how I was afraid to be “that crazy woman” in front of strangers, you know, strangers not on the Internet.

The longer I stay at home the harder it is for me to go out.  What will I say? Where will I park? What will I wear? What if someone asks me what I do? What if I start crying? Or I have a glass and a half of wine and am plastered because that’s all it takes?

I feel like if you prick me with a pin I will explode.  20130302-193239.jpg

Eve Ensler taught me that there are 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris.  Sadly, it isn’t any of those that are making me weep with confusion and joy and fear and excitement lately.  I am not sure where exactly the nerve endings are that make you lose your shit in your closet while you get dressed.  Or panic because you don’t know where you are supposed to park when you get where you are going. But I think I have at least 8,000 of those, too.

I will keep going, out of my house, away from my kids. I will go even when and especially when I don’t want to and think that I will not possibly survive the torture.  Every time I leave the house there’s a good chance I will stand in front of a woman that has felt exactly like me, at least once.  Because we are all the same, all of us, at least sometimes.


Hey you guys!!!

It’s not my best look. I call it “just rolled out of bed not even wearing my cute glasses wearing my favorite sweater and only two sips in to a cup of coffee” chic.

Photo on 1-26-13 at 8.09 AM #2

I just wanted to sit down this morning and say Hey you guys! Yesterday afternoon yours truly was Freshly Pressed and with that comes scads (gobs? hordes? what shall I call you?)  of new readers that deserve a little shout out.

It didn’t seem right to get all fancied up and try and be something I am not and dazzle you.  So. Here I am.  This is where I usually am.  In my chair with the kiddo on the boob.  This morning is cold so I am enjoying one of the four (four!) cowl neck scarves I have recently crocheted.  Yeah.  I am a woman that crochets, guys.  I don’t know how it happened.  Sometime this winter when I realized I had watched everything on my DVR and every single series on Hulu I decided I needed to find something else to do while Lucy slept in my lap.  So, yeah, I crochet.  And I am impatient.  Cowl neck scarf – the four hour project – we are pals.  Stick around and maybe I will send you one if your neck looks particularly cold.

I wish I had more time this morning but I am trying to get out the door.

You know when you do something that you kind of think is awesome but you aren’t sure if it is totally absurd.  You’re not embarrassed exactly, but you’re not sure if people that know you would think “Oh, that is strange.  You don’t really do that, do you?”  When I was fourteen I bought a hot pink swing dress and purple polka-dotted tights to wear to my boyfriend’s graduation.  (It was 1991, it was a hot look.) Previously I had been seen in my overalls.  Pretty much every day.  I thought the dress was cute.  I thought it was kind of adorably Molly Ringwald-ish, actually. But I wondered if it was “me.”

I don’t work hard to stay in my “me” box.  But I think we all have a type.  Not long ago I was horrified when I realized I had Mom-hair but I owned it.  In fact, I declared myself to be the Samue L. Jackson of Motherhood and decided that in spite of my hair I was a bad motherfucker.

So, I am yammering on because I am not sure I can admit this.  I like to work out.  It keeps me from being totally mental.  I run.  I actually love p90x.  I am not afraid of the weight room and I don’t really wear “cute outfits” to the gym.  I like to get sweaty.  But this morning I am going to do something I have been talking about doing forever.  And I might get hysterical and get kicked out but I am going for it.  I am going to Zumba, guys.   Zumba bills itself as a sexy Jazzercise.  Take a minute to chew on that.  Sexy.  Jazzercise.  I hope they serve margaritas.  I am going to need one.  Or four.

So, a big fat “hello” and “happy to meet you” and “what took you so long let’s be best friends!” to the new readers.  I gotta jet.  Get my sweat on.  Oh, and shake my moneymaker. Because apparently when I am not busy being a bad motherfucker or crocheting I go to Zumba.  Sigh.  The latter half of my third decade is going to be weird.  I can feel it.

The Ongoing Saga of My Innards or Five Fun Facts about My New IUD

You havent heard enough about my innards, have you?  When I showed you a picture of my IUD moments after it was removed, that wasn’t enough.  When I took a picture of the view from my colposcopy I know I really left you wanting more.  And I know that when I gave you the play by play of Lucy’s birth I left out a lot of details.

So, that is why I feel compelled to give you some more deets about Lady Town.

Five Fun Facts About My Choice to Have My Paragard Replaced With a Mirena 

1.  Fact:  I love my kids. I was blessed to fall in love with each of them the moment they were born.  Moments after Emily was born I knew I would do it again.  And the moment after Lucy was born and Emily said “It’s a sister” I knew that I was done. These were my children.  We were complete.

2.  Fact: I have good intentions.  And grand plans.  Eat a healthy snack every day becomes eat peanut M&Ms on occasion.  Stop wearing yoga pants unless I am exercising becomes wear yoga pants when you are planning on staying home for the day.  Make sure I have planned our dinners in such a way that I do not have to throw away a single leftover easily turns in to I totally I forgot I bought this cilantro but we ate everything else! Go, me!

Small things.  A single bag of M&Ms, cozy yoga pants when it is cold outside and a $2 bag of fresh cilantro won’t change  the course of history.  But take this pill every single day at the same time or you might get pregnant. Another baby? A baby changes you.  Forever.

It took me 36 years to like me just fine.  This Life, the one where I forgive myself for a bag of M&Ms or some wasted cilantro, I want this Life.  And the “Yes, actually I was on birth control pills but aren’t we Blessed to have this baby” baby just doesn’t fit in this Life.

3.  Fact: Nursing my babies is important to me.  It might even be more than important.  It goes well beyond nutrition and it is the cornerstone to my parenting philosophy.  Many of the decisions that I have made about how to be the best mother that I can be center around continuing the mother-baby nursing relationship for as long as it is mutually desired.

I am not denying that other women can be wonderful mothers and not breastfeed. (Nor am I telling you that daily M&Ms, a wardrobe made up solely of yoga pants and regular take-out because you forgot to pull chicken breasts out to thaw signals the imminent failure of your family foundation.  But it doesn’t add up to the Life that I want.  For me.)

So, I breastfeed.  And I avoid things that can have a negative impact on that relationship, things like hormonal birth control.

I shared here about how I had Big Plans for getting back in the marital saddle as soon as I got my IUD last February. I had a copper IUD after Emily was born and it worked well for me for years. There is an adjustment period, pardon the pun.  But it is worth it.

4.  Fact: I am not a squeamish gal when it comes to my own body.  I sing the praises of the menstrual cup loud and proud.  Who wants to think about their period all of the time? Not me.  Twice a day you can empty a menstrual cup and chances are your periods will be shorter in length!  The Diva Cup is awesome.  The other day a friend asked me if she could talk to me about it.  I laughed.  I sat in my living room and showed her how it works, folded it, talked about the magical twist and release that creates a perfect seal.  Ordinarily someone has to ask me to not talk about my menstrual cup.  I am what one might call a huge fan.

But that doesn’t mean I want to wear it every day.  The Diva Cup is not intended to be an everyday accessory.  You see where I am going with this, right? This is when I try to find a clever way to explain that I have had my period on average for 14 days out of every 21 since I got it back (at three months post-partum!!) Umm.  I don’t need a separate paragraph to include the Fact that that is some bullshit right there.

5.  Fact: Every women is different.  Every body is different.  And evidently every woman’s body isn’t even the same year after year.  My beloved hormone-free Paragard isn’t working for me this time.  After much research and soul searching I am having it removed and replaced with the levonorgestrel-releasing Mirena. Many women have had a Mirena with no impact on their milk supply at all.

But I am afraid.

The rest of the ill side-effects that are possible: hellacious acne, migraines and depression, I won’t be able to ignore them. It won’t sneak up on me.  I will never sit down at the end of the day and say “Damn, I have had a debilitating headache all day, I didn’t even realize it.”

But I don’t know what low milk supply feels like.  I don’t know how to know that it is happening.  I know I do not want my baby (and yes, she turned one last week, but she is a baby) to wean.  I don’t even know what weaning a baby looks like.  And more than that – I do not know how to mother a toddler without nursing.

I am, as I always am, nursing Lucy while I type.  And I am, as I sometimes am, crying.  If the Mirena works for us I will be happy.  And if it doesn’t, if my mik supply dips and I can’t get it back up quickly, I will be having it removed “even though” my baby is over a year old.

I struggled with this decision.  Above all else I struggled with admitting that I was making choices about my birth control largely based on my ability to breastfeed my twelve month old.  And I shouldn’t have to struggle to admit that.  It’s how I choose to parent.  And it works for me.  And for my kids.  And when I put it like that it doesn’t sound so complicated.

If you find this because you are struggling with your own decision, feel free to contact me.  If you want to share your experience because it will be helpful to you, please do.  If you want to tell me about your sister-in-law with a Mirena that breastfed her entire neighborhood until they graduated from high school or warn me that my insides will likely turn inside out I can assure that I have weighed both the risks and the benefits and made a choice.

In the coming weeks I can promise to keep y’all posted about my milk supply.  More boobs, less uterus! Now that’s a campaign platform if ever there was one.

Update: What did my seven-year-old think of watching me get my IUD? Find out!

It is understandably difficult to comprehend why I do not want any more of these.  It is even hard for me to wrap my mind around.

It is understandably difficult to comprehend why I do not want any more of these. It is even hard for me to wrap my mind around.

An Attitude of Gratitude

I learned my life lessons from 80’s television.  If you tapped a cane on the floor right now I would stand up straight.  I would grab the back of a chair and lift my chin.  In my mind I would hear Debbie Allen saying  “You want fame? … Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying. With sweat.”

Some time in the early 1990s I decided that sweatshirts with the neck cut out were maybe not the very best look for me.  And I abandoned my dreams for Fame.  I hung up my legwarmers and decided Fame wasn’t for me.

A couple of days ago I contributed a picture to The Feminist Breeder’s Normalize Breastfeeding Campaign on Facebook.  I chose to send a picture of myself sitting down after an excellent day. Lucy was nursing and I was having a glass of wine.  It was the perfect image to reject the idea that nursing mothers have to spend their lives cooped up in a nursery, missing out.  Gina’s “offensive” picture featured a piece of bacon and a nursing baby.  I thought it was amusing to feature a glass of wine and a nursing baby because Facebook is clearly pro-pictures of people with a drink in their hand.

I have been blogging in my little corner of the Internet for almost three years. It has been a great way for me to hash out my feelings as my life progressed from single parent to a married mother of two.  It served as a record of my pregnancy and Emily growing from a teeny little thing to the 7 year old going on 17 that she is today.  I have been honest.  I have talked openly about my insecurities and my struggles with being a woman and received a lot of “Good for you!” and “Thanks for sharing” and pats on the back.

And then yesterday the picture posted of me having a glass of wine while nursing my baby and within an hour I had that icky “what have I done?” feeling.  Comments racked up and the great majority were negative it seemed.  These weren’t people that read here and support me.  These were strangers sharing misinformation (that breastfeeding and a glass of wine don’t mix) and saying that I was a lousy mother.  (My favorite being the woman that pointed out that I was ignoring my baby when I looked at the camera!)

Every day I aim to choose happiness.  I choose to see the good and the joy in the smallest moments.  It is part of who I am.  Yesterday was a test.  I kept waiting to feel my stomach flip flop and a tear escape my eyes as I read another comment from a stranger about how I was classless.  But it didn’t happen.  Because I didn’t need to look very hard to see that there were really only a handful of people shaming me.  And they were doing so from a place of lack of knowledge.  They really believed that you can’t nurse a baby and have a glass of wine.  Shame on them for judging me? Maybe.  But don’t we all just do the best we can with the information we’ve got?  And for every criticism there were more than a dozen women that said “this picture is great!” or that I looked so relaxed and happy.  Or that I had great eyeglasses.  (Special thanks to them because amidst a persecution of your character it is important to remind yourself that you are fashionable!)

This morning I am taking the opportunity not to speak to the judgement and the misinformation (largely because the inimitable Amy West has already done so.)  Instead I choose to thank my friends and the many strangers that responded on the Facebook thread or on Twitter.  So many of you spoke up to say “Hey, you are doing a great job, keep on keeping on.” And really? If I am honest – thank you to the folks that said you can’t have an alcoholic beverage and nurse a baby because it was an excellent platform for dispelling that widely believed myth.

My last thank you goes out to the women and men that spewed the kind of garbage that can only be done from behind the protection of your computer screen.  You probably didn’t mean to.  But you made this girl with her tiny little blog feel famous!  Because you aren’t Internet Famous unless somebody hates you.  I am going to have to wear a clean velour sweatsuit every time I leave the house if y’all keep this up.  I might even need to bust out that sweatshirt with the neck cut out and some legwarmers.  Rumor has it – Fame costs, but I can take it.

Even as a child I knew I had to suffer for my art!

The Time Machine

There is an exhibit, an installation, a magic space machine at the Museum of Life & Science in Durham.  It is upstairs  as soon as you get off the elevator.  If there were 20somethings in wrinkled tuxedo shirts offering  plastic glasses of cheap wine I would feel like I had been transported back in time to an art opening at the Muscarelle Museum on campus.   Only I would be wearing black thigh highs and combat boots and chasing boys.

Instead I am wearing a baby.  And chasing six year olds.  This afternoon I watched the “sand” made by shadows in the projected light pile up on my body.  I watched for longer than I have ever watched before.  I have stood in the path of these lights at least a dozen times and never did I see myself like I did today .


My hand on her head.  Her body jutting out from my lower abdomen.  I stood like this for months before I ever got to hold her.  She is asleep.  I can hear her breathing.  We are exactly the same temperature.  She can smell me.

Almost a year ago now I took this picture below.  I wish I’d had the sense to include the rest of me.  I remember snapping more than a few, I couldn’t seem to get an angle that didn’t make me look like the back end of a truck.  Funny the things I worried about.

My pregnancy, Lucy’s beginnings are more than documented, both here and privately.  I imagine I could make a flipbook if I lined up every bathroom belly shot I took.  But it is not enough to just look at these old pictures.  I won’t ever have her back so close again.
My big girl will be in the first grade in three days.  After dinner tonight she climbed in my lap and I pressed my face in to the nape of her neck.  Her fresh, back to school hair cut gives me free access.  I inhaled her.  She is still there.  My first baby.

My little one, I can still hold her close.  I can still breathe her in while she sleeps.  Today as I watched the “sand” pile up on her as she slept against my chest I knew that I would come back again to this exact same spot.  I would take another picture.  First I will see the shadows pile on her back  as she crawls.  Then I will see the shadows pile on her head and her feet as she walks.

And one day we will get off the elevator and I will walk towards the light and she will not follow me.  Instead she will head towards another exhibit, hot on the heels of the big kids.  And I will chase her.  And I will pick her up and smell her and she will be my baby again for a moment.



Missing it

There is  hard stuff. The conversations that sneak in between the giggling in bed at night.

He rose up on his forearm and said “I’d have one more if you wanted.” He was watching her sleep, her teeny body taking up half of our king size bed.

My throat got itchy and my nose started tingling. I needed to not cry. I’ve thought this through not just with my heart and my hormones but with my head.

I don’t want to struggle. We are making it now. MQD and me and the girls. And I’m home. Where I know I belong. I don’t want to push Lucy to grow up faster. I want her to have what Emily had, her mom all to herself for years to come.

“I know.” And he kept watching her. “She’s just growing so fast.”

I took his hand in mine. “Another baby would grow up, too. And we can’t just keep having more.”

And he smiled. Looked at me. Took his eyes off of her for a moment. “Sure we could.”

This morning as he left for work I walked to the door and kissed him. Like I did when he would leave my apartment years ago. “Thank you for talking to me. Just because I don’t want more babies doesn’t mean I don’t cry several times a day over how fast this one is growing. There is absolutely nothing like loving a baby. I just want to be present for the one that we have.”

He kissed me back.

She is sleeping in my lap and I have my hand curled around the back of her head. Her bald little head. And I let the tears roll down my face. She has five long hairs right now. In just a couple of years she will get a hair cut and those sweet wispy baby hairs will be gone. Those hairs I soaked in tears, the hair she smeared with avocado.

I let myself cry for a few and then I stopped and took a breath. Emily always says “I wish Lucy could talk to us” or “I wish Lucy could walk” and I tell her “I don’t! I’m not wishing away our baby!! We won’t get it back!”

I think and talk a lot about how much it means to me to be present. To be here so I don’t miss it. But it’s not just wishing it away I need to be wary of. I can’t let myself get consumed with how fast they’re growing up. While I am weeping over the haircut my six month old will have in two years? I’m missing right now.

It’s so hard. To feel every second. In order to be fully present I like to hold on. But if I hold on too tight before I realize it I’m holding on to the past. And these damn kids, their present turns in to ancient history in seconds.