Scenes From My Week 07.30.13

As a birthday present, my family treated me to a massage at my favorite spa in town._1070212

It’s a great place for R&R, they do a wonderful job, and part of what I love are all the little details, like orchids on the pillows, candle lanterns to light your room…_1070214

…and pretty cups of tea to soothe you before and after._1070216

Little details go such a long way!

Little by Little



More Beautiful

newborn

More Beautiful

There’s a scar, an itchy little gray line from where he came
Flab, a touch of saggy loose flesh that won’t shrink
Hair loss
Tired eyes
And breasts that have fallen from grace.

And still I feel more beautiful than I’ve ever been.

When little fingers intertwine in my hair
and examine the contours of my lips, I feel beautiful.

When I hold him close and hum

When I slow dance him down to sleep

When we snuggle to read a story

When he smiles at the sight of my face
I am the star that kisses the crescent moon at dusk
The sparkle of evening sun on the rim of a glass.

When his head nestles against my chest and I kiss the top of his hair,
I’m the cover of Vogue, the Leibovitz, the image on the gallery wall.

When he crawls in my lap
to blow raspberries on my breast
and tries to eat my nose

I am more beautiful than I have ever been.

Beautiful is measured not in body shape or fashionable jewels
but in glittering moments
Gauged not by what looks back at me from the mirror,
but in the totality of who I am because of him.

I carry myself like the world is mine
Because I am his.

It doesn’t matter what I look like
I feel the most beautiful I’ve ever been.

I am more beautiful than I’ve ever been.

I am more beautiful than I have ever been
because I became his mother.

samui

I wrote this piece several months ago for a project between several collaborators that was supposed to come together in time for Mother’s Day. I haven’t heard anything since, so I think that project probably died on the vine, so I decided to go ahead and post this anyway.

Momma Chat: On Traveling With a Baby

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIn the span of one month, we have been on nine flights with Cy, if you’re counting layovers at least–and when you’re traveling with a 9-month old baby, you’re definitely counting layovers. That’s nine times we had to get him through take-off, keep him quiet and entertained while other passengers ate, watched movies, read, and slept around us, and then get through landing, security, transfers, and baggage claim. Seven of those nine flights went really well. One was kind of touch-and-go. One involved nearly 5 hours of crying. We got the gamut of reactions from fellow passengers: glares for daring to bring a child aboard, looks of sympathy or hatred when he was crying, and compliments for what a well-behaved child we had. There’s no anonymity when you’re traveling with a baby. Even the flights that go well are stressful because you’re hyper aware of how quickly it can descend into mayhem.

Cy did amazingly well with adjusting to cabin pressure. Truthfully, the only times he gave us trouble was when he was really tired and couldn’t go to sleep (The one really bad flight happened to be his third flight in the same day…can ya’ really blame a fellow for that? I don’t.)

Still, the hardest part of traveling with an infant wasn’t the flying. It was the adjustment period after. Jet lag affected Cy for at least a week after each haul across time zones, and just as soon as he got adjusted it seemed, we would whisk him away again, from Thailand to California, from California to South Carolina, and back. Each time, his little body clock would take forever to adjust, which meant many nights we were up with him until 3, 4, or even 5 a.m. because he’d be wide awake. As exhausted as we were from the travel, regardless of our own needs, our priority was to help him through it.

All the newness was bewildering to him too. We live a quiet life at home. In the States, suddenly there were so many more people! And noises! And laughter, and attention, and sweets everyone wanted to feed him. He was curious and interested and fascinated by it all, but he was also uncertain and nervous, which made him clingy. For much of the time, he held onto me for dear life, refusing to be held by anyone else, playing for only short spurts before he’d need me to pick him up and carry him around. Let me remind you: this boy weighs 20 pounds. I deserve an award or at least a lot of chocolate for all that heavy lifting.

We learned a lot of tricks for traveling with Cy. For instance, book an aisle and middle seat on one of the sides of the plane rather than taking up the offer for the bassinet. We never used the bassinet, and the flight attendants were all too eager to offer the person sharing the row with us a different seat whenever possible so we often ended up with an extra seat for free. Bringing a pillow for added comfort is key. And plenty of food: cereal, puffed rice, baby food pouches, water bottles…all became key distractors. And major points for baby wearing. The Ergo saved us in the airports (no heavy strollers to lug around), and it saved us many a night when Cy couldn’t sleep and could only be calmed by going on a walk. There were a lot of midnight walks through the neighborhood.

It might sound crazy, but for all that hardship, the trip was totally worth it. Of course, it was worth it for us to see our friends and family again, and for them to get a chance to meet Cy. But I think, more than that, traveling for babies is valuable for the same reasons traveling as adults is worthwhile. Being in a new environment teaches so many things, including about yourself–and in this case, it taught me a lot about Cy too.

Cy blossomed in that month. Aside from discovering the awesomeness of Cheerios and fresh berries, he learned so much about being around other people. Normally, he’s home with just me and Toby and our dog Dot. Visitors come once in a while, for an hour or two. He sees his grandparents about twice a week (but they had been gone for the two months prior), and the rest of the people he meets are just random strangers who say hi for a few minutes and then are never seen again. In the U.S., he was surrounded all day by cousins, aunts, and uncles, friends, and his grandmom, and he soaked it up. He watched the interactions with avid curiosity, and you could see the little wheels whirring away in his head as he tried to make sense of it all, watching others play and talk together. As long as I remained close, a safe harbor for him to venture from, he was delighted to play with the various kids, adults, and dogs in his midst.

It was this way that I learned he just doesn’t like to be held by people he doesn’t really know, but otherwise he really is quite social. As long as people don’t insist on pushing themselves on him, he’ll happily play with them. It was so good and so healthy for him to have so many other people around, of so many different ages. I’m sure if we were there for longer, he would have only opened up more.

As hard as travel is, you learn to cope too, and you get stronger as a parent. It’s the middle of the night, you’re exhausted, and your child is keeping up the whole house (and possibly the neighborhood). You proclaim loudly that you cannot and will not carry your child all damn night. And then you do anyway. You learn your limits. And then you learn how to push past them because you don’t have any other choice. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Either that, or you find yourself doing things like feeding your child a spoonful of cheesecake at 9 in the morning so you can have 5 blessed minutes to drink your coffee so you can survive the day. (That may or may not have actually happened.)

It’s hard, but like most of the best challenges in life, rewarding in ways you never anticipated.

That said, I’m in no hurry to get on a plane again.

Thing I Love About Cy Today: He has started making funny faces, scrunching up his face and, when he’s really excited (like at bath time), squawking. Did you know there’s actually a term for baby pterodactyls? They’re called flaplings. Cy, bless him, is a flapling.

Scenes From My Week 07.23.14

Life is slowly settling back down to normal again, and we were able to even spend some time this weekend getting out into the city a bit. Sometimes, it’s too easy to get holed up in the house taking care of the basic necessities._1070193 _1070194

And then sometimes getting out into the world for a bit, and shoving the to-do list aside is one of those basic necessities. Fresh air for the soul._1070195 _1070197

In other news, we’ve just had our floors redone. We used to have dark slate tile floors, but whatever kind of sealant they had on there was coming up in sticky pieces that adhered themselves to everything they touched, including Cy’s skin. It would get stuck to his hands while he crawled, getting them covered in sealant and pieces of slate that he would then stick in his mouth. I assumed this was unhealthy. I called our landlord about it, and miraculously, graciously, she put in new floors for us.

_1070180

It’s laminate, and it doesn’t match any of the other wood in the house, but I think it’s actually quite pretty. It’s much lighter so it brightens up the house. Plus the laminate is super smooth and soft, making it so much easier to clean, and better for Cy to crawl and tumble around on. So all in all, I call it a win._1070181

I was going to end the post there, but now I want to say there’s actually quite a bit going on over here and I want to tell you all about it, but it won’t all fit in one post. I’ll need to tackle it one piece at a time, in whatever spare moments I can snag when Toby can watch Cy for me: a bit on where I am in the grand scheme of things, on homesickness, the trip home and coming back again and how that’s affected me; a bit of news, and a leap of courage I’m about to make; and thoughts on traveling with a baby, to name a few.

I don’t mean to torture you with such annoyingly oblique details! I just want to say there’s a lot on my mind, and I’m sorry if this space has been spare lately, but lots of new stuff is coming real soon. So please stay tuned!

Little by Little



Getting Back Into The Groove

_1070118I think this is the longest hiatus I’ve taken from this space since I first started it in…2008, I think? Our trip to the U.S. was so good and so worth it, but so exhausting. And when we came back, we were all sick to boot. It took two weeks to kick that cold.

We’re recovering, by degrees, though routine and normalcy are still only vague notions on a shelf we just can’t quite reach. I’m the kind of tired where I make some decisions, as a parent, that I wouldn’t make if I could just have one day off. But I can’t have a day off. Parenthood is for life, so I do the best I can and try to do better next time.

But that’s just to explain why I haven’t managed to get to the computer lately. There are lots of fun things to share, and I hope to snag little moments in which to share them with you too.

Little things like:

- celebrating Germany winning the world cup
_1070136Toby played hookey from work yesterday to bask in the glow of Deutschland’s win. (I didn’t follow much, but I did follow enough to see Brazil’s total humiliation. Wow, that was heartbreaking to see, wasn’t it?)

- eating treats

_1070155 _1070157We found a new place to hang out, poke around shops, people watch…and it involves sweet ice treats and fresh mango? Who could complain about life when there’s such simple bliss to be had? Not this girl.

So tired.

So tired.

Oh the tired.

Oh the tired.

- making friends

_1070164 _1070166Cy attracts the ladies wherever we go.

- reaching milestones

_1070142

Hmmm...he might need another haircut.

Hmmm…he might need another haircut.

_1070163This little imp is getting really good at standing up all by himself. He’s also figured out how to stack blocks, not just knock them down. He seems to say “Mama” and “Papa” a little more purposefully now, and once, when we tried to get him to say “Dot” he said “Da.” And, while he has always loved when I read to him, he has reached this new stage where he starts crying when I get to the end of the book. If I read it over again, he’ll stop crying…until I get to the end again, whereupon the world ends again and out come the tears. It’s like he’s distraught that the story is over…which, okay, frankly, I can sympathize with. But it does make it so I’m reticent to read to him, when it’s going to just induce tears every time!

Anyway, that’s just a little snippet of what’s going on over here. Tell me what have I missed in your corner of the world? Were you following the World Cup? Have you been out and about, enjoying the summer? I’d love to hear!

Thing I Love About Cy Today: When he eats something tasty, he sometimes says, “Mmmm!”

Little by Little



Scenes From My Week 06.11.2014

Baby jet lag is no joke. But bit by bit, we’re acclimating. Going for walks in the California sun, eating ginger cookies from Trader Joe’s, munching on Cheerios. Upon arrival to the U.S, I also promptly introduced Cy to my piano:

_1060979

The toes!

The toes!

The maestro at work

The maestro at work

And his cousins._1060986

_1060987

_1060995

I’d say he’s hanging in just fine!_1060963How’s your week?

Little by Little



Cy in the Ball Pit

_1060949

There’s a little hidden playground in the mall where I like to take Cy to play. _1060951

It’s full of soft cushions and mats, and full colorful balls for him to play with. The department store keeps the area super clean and safe, and the best part is that it’s free! _1060952

It’s a great way to get out and do something a little different.

_1060953

Anyway, we are now in the U.S. after a very loooooonng flight, and slowly getting adjusted after the jet lag. Our schedule is jam packed with things to do, but we’re having a blast introducing Cy to the rest of his clan.

I won’t be hanging around the blog as much this month, so if you want to follow along with our adventures, check in with my blog’s Facebook page or follow me on Instagram.

Happy June!

Little by Little



Little Things Thursday 05.29.14

Cy's first haircut

Cy’s first haircut

In just 4 days, we’ll be headed back for a month long visit to America! It’s been almost two years since we’ve been home, and I’m so excited to see friends and family, and my friends’ families as some of my closest friends have also recently had babies.

I am, however, not excited for 20+ hours of sitting on a plane with an 8 month old. I don’t even know how rough this is going to be. I’m sitting in ignorance, and preparing with lots of toys, songs, iPhone distractions, prescription meds, and possibly booze. Some of that will even be for me.

While we’re gone, our landlord is going to be replacing all the tile downstairs because our current tile floors are coming up in tiny microscopic pieces of sealant and slate, sticking to Cy and all his toys, and thus are being consumed along with whatever he puts in his mouth (which is basically everything not nailed down). This means that, on top of packing, we have to move all the furniture and belongings we have downstairs and bring them upstairs. So it’s kind of like we’re moving again, except not. But hey, new floors. So that’s cool.

In the meantime, I got a haircut, my first in almost a year. I had waited so long to hack off the rat’s nest that was my hair because I had lost so much after Cy was born, and I really didn’t want to hear about it from the Thai hair stylists who are unfailingly blunt in their honesty. They always comment on how thin my hair is even without the postpartum hair loss. But I had finally reached the tipping point between bearably bad and insufferably obnoxious, and went in to get the whole mess cleaned up. Sure enough, the stylist commented that I must have had a baby recently, given the state of my hair. When I admitted it was so, he said, “Don’t worry. You will be beautiful again soon.”

Thanks?

_1060892

Since we’ll be on the move a lot during this trip, I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to blog through the month of June. I’ll definitely keep up with at least one post a week, but it’s unlikely I’ll have the luxury of an hour to write up my Momma Chats–at least, not here on the blog. BUT I do have an idea: If you want to keep up with our travels and exploits, be sure to LIKE my Tasting Grace page on Facebook! From there, I’ll be posting regular “micro posts” sharing what we’re up to and (of course) Cy’s shenanigans, so please join me there if you’d like to follow along. You can also keep up with pictures on Instagram.

Thing I Love About Cy Today: Whenever he’s upset, we point him in the direction of Dot (our dog), and say, “Hey look! There’s Miss Dot! Isn’t she a funny little thing?” and it almost always gets him to smile and laugh.

Little by Little

Scenes From My Week 05.28.14

I’ve been cleaning out my pantry in preparation for our trip to the U.S., taking scraps of leftovers and turning them into whatever I could so they wouldn’t go to waste in our absence.

So what do you do when you have an excess of dried cranberries? Make spiced white chocolate cranberry cookies, of course!_1060907

I just took a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe, substituted in the white chocolate and cranberries, then added a pinch or two of nutmeg because, to my mind, white chocolate needs nutmeg. Et voila!_1060911

Also, did I mention white chocolate?_1060913

I also had a whole bag of sesame seeds leftover…so I made homemade tahini to use on tahini toast. I thought it sounded so intriguing, and it tasted even better than I imagined! I wish I had heard of this stuff sooner. It’s such a lovely alternative to peanut butter.

Have you ever made your own tahini?



Related Posts with Thumbnails