Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post Christmas...

How is it that a few days ago we were all saying "I can't believe it is Christmas in however many days" and now we are saying "I can't believe it is over"? In a way, Christmas is sort of like a wedding but one that comes and goes each and every year complete with plenty of planning, build-up, momentum and then you blink....and it is over. The gifts that were only a mere few days ago wrapped so beautifully under the tree are now unwrapped and either being used or stored in places to be used at a later date or time. The big meal of the day has been shopped for and consumed and all of the wishes and hopes that children had for Santa have come and gone...until next year.

This year though, something different happened for me. I celebrated my 33rd Christmas but on some level, I feel like I celebrated my 1st or at least the first where I really "got it". I know that last year and in some years past, the actual meaning of Christmas and the magic that it brings with it has been overshadowed by the comercialisim brought on by the retailers of the world and I have got caught up in the hubub of things which in turn made me feel almost "relieved" when 12/25 had come and gone as although I have always loved Christmas, it was almost nice to wake up and have the preassure be off.

Yesterday though, I woke up on 12/26 and wished that we were able to re-live the day before again. What happened that was different this year was a I got to see Christmas for the first time, through the eyes of my beautiful daughter and although she didn't understand what was going on and will not remember the day apart from photos and video tape that will be shown to her in years to come, I will remember it for her.

I always knew that Christmas was not about what one got or didn't get under the tree and that it was about spending time with those that we love and care for but to experience someone's Christmas with them for the first time and to know that you are a major part in making that a beautiful day is truly amazing. Even though our daughter got lots of gifts and I have since learned that one almost needs an engineering degree to wrap children's toys...we started family traditions that we hope to continue in years to come and this year, all seemed to take more time with what we did.

We opened presents slowly and spent more time actually looking at what each other got rather than just "oh, wow thanks" and then moving on to the next one. We spent longer eating our meal in part due to the baby needing her "beef and vegetables" mid-way through which gave us more time to talk and share what is going on in our lives with each other. We didn't spend the morning sleeping in as we have in years past (pre-baby) and then rushing around to get ready at the last minute and head out the door but my husband and I were up at 7:00 in the morning, showered and spending time with our little one who sat in the middle of our bed in her Christmas p.j.'s as we told her that "Santa came last night and what did her bring you" as she babbled back at us "nigh, nigh, nigh, nigh, nigh" and beamed from ear to ear. Not because it was Christmas or because there were gifts waiting downstairs but because she was just happy to be with her Mommy and Daddy in the morning and didn't really care what we did.

In other words...we relished every single moment. Was it all peace and tranquility and Norman Rockwell like??? Um...nope. On the 23rd I realized I had to go to Costco and get wipes and formula for the kiddo ( we were almost completely out) and did have my patience tested there when I realized that the reason I was stuck behind a wall of people in the freezer section wasn't because it was really that busy but because I had gone at "food tasting time" and they were waiting in line for a 2x2 inch piece of a crescent roll (!!!) but, I got through it. I had to organize the babies things the afternoon before that were being taken with us and left a note by the back door of "things not to forget" which was about 7 points long and the fact that I didn't write "baby" on there is actually quite funny but in the end though...none of that mattered.

What mattered is that I will never forget the 3 of us sitting on the sofa on the afternoon of Christmas Eve reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and I will never forget the first time we played Santa for someone other than ourselves. I will never forget the gleam in my 6 month olds eyes as she got her first baby doll and swiflty proceeded to put the toes in her mouth or how she somehow knew just how to tear the wrapping paper off of her multitude of gifts. I will also never forget the way she looked sitting on my parents living room floor all dressed up in her sparkly dress and tights as I know it won't always be that easy and there will be years to come where getting her in a Christmas dress will be more a battle than a joy - even though this year the zipper did get stuck and it took 4 of us to finally get the thing on her.

It was that and the realization that this time last year, our little one was just that...a very little one and my husband and I stood by our tree then saying "this time next year" and only able to imagine what Christmas 2009 would bring. I thought that I could imagine the joy and wonder but I couldn' is like when she was born and I held her for the first time, I still can't describe it...the english language doesn't posess the words and any parent understands this. It is more than love, it is more than is the realization that there is something out there greater than any one of us and in the end...isn't that what Christmas is really all about? Family, friends, children and their first time joys giving us who have experienced this so many times before the opportunity to truly understand and appreciate it again all because of the magic that is brought on by someone or something that has a greater presence than any of us and which continues to shine through even through the smallest of wonders.....even those of a 6 month old.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Noon...why am I just having breakfast?

Anyone who thinks that being a stay at home Mom means that you don't have anyone to answer to i.e. a boss is completely, utterly 100% wrong. You do...

This boss though, isn't sending emails, peering around your cubicle wall, dropping piles of work on your desk or (as I experienced on more than one occasion) calling you on your personal cell phone or home number over the weekend to discuss something "earth shattering"....this boss is far more demanding than any office boss I ever had. My new boss is currently 17lbs and 26 inches long. She has big blue eyes that sometimes look green or brown and has a giggle that can make me smile at any time of the day. While she is an angel most of the time, there are times (like today) where she insists that everything be done on her schedule and this includes when I am allowed to eat.

We started today, as all others with a bottle for her at 6:30 AM. I am not a morning person in the first place so getting up this early has posed an additional challenge for me personally and trying to measure out formula half bleary eyed into a bottle one handed while balancing the baby who is pulling on my hair and whining for her first "meal" of the day is always fun. Today it was even more entertaining as it wasn't until I was downstairs that I realized I had left my slippers upstairs and since our house is on a slab and it was about 19 degrees outside, our hard wood floors were cold and all I could think about was my nice warm bed upstairs so I tried to rush things and in the process knocked the bottle off the counter and all over the floor.

As we all know...formula is not cheap in fact it can be pretty damn expensive (thank God for Costco) but my first thought was "wet floor, baby, high chair on other side of room" and knew that I had to somehow get from A to B without slipping and dropping the kiddo since I was obviously not very coordinated this morning. I managed to get the baby to the highchair and scrambled on the floor for some toys to entertain her with which she swiftly proceeded to bang around a few times on her tray, drop on the floor again and then start howling for her bottle. After going through about 1/2 a roll of paper towel (how come none of them absorb like they do on the commercials?), I finally managed to get that bottle made but my feet were now thoroughly frozen from being on the cold floor for so long and wadding through the puddle sure didn't help matters.

It was then that I stopped, took a deep breath and realized that today was going to be "one of those days" and thought of how I would have handled this when I was working. Sure the situation wasn't the same but I know that I would have taken on one thing at a time and just tried to do my best. I have learned that when my daughter does have a melt down (which isn't too often) that I need to handle it in the way that I would have any of my old managers....while it might not seem earth shattering to me personally, it obviously was to them or to her and therefore it is important. On days like this, I am thankful that I know how to multi-task as there is no other job like motherhood that will impart this skill which all women seem to have ingrained in them..whether we know it or not.

So, after the bottle disaster, feeding the baby her oatmeal, having play-time and story-time on the floor and 2 or 3 diaper changes along with an outfit change for her it is now noon and I am finally having breakfast. Granted, I did manage to squeeze in a shower somewhere and threw on a mostly clean pair of sweat pants and sweat shirt (notice I didn't say they matched) and inhaled a handful of apricots at about 8:30 AM...I am now sitting down for a bran muffin and cup of coffee from Mexico which makes me think of me and my husband's last vacation (pre-baby) to Puerto Vallarta. If I close my eyes I can almost see myself there, smell the salt air and feel the sand between my toes which is great but when I open them I see the toys on the floor, the Christmas Tree lit in the corner, hear my daughter breathing through the monitor and find that the reality is far better than the trip down memory lane.

As I sip the remaining few drops of my coffee, I think about what the afternoon will bring and look forward to seeing my daughters smiling face again once she awakens but for now I will enjoy this time that I have to the snow outside, listen to the new Andrea Bocelli Christmas c.d. and be happy that this time I remembered my slippers! :-)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Here goes nothing...

I thought about starting a blog a couple of years ago but was working over 40 hours a week and felt that there wasn't enough time. Then I was going to do this seven and a half months ago when I was at home and eight months pregnant but found that I was too tired to even contemplate this thought. The next time I considered this was just after my daughter was born in June of this year but let's face it..between being a first time Mom, sleep deprivation and recovering from a c-section it wasn't going to happen then either! So, it is 12/21/2009 and when do I finally decide to get my act in gear and do this...4 days before Christmas!
(some might say that is "crazy" but I would tell you that I have 2 hours of free time on my hands and I am squeezing this in between dinner, bed-time and making mince pies...still to be done)

December has always been an insane time of year between shopping, baking and writing Christmas cards but this year, my husband and I found ourselves also taking professional family photos (at the mall..on Black Friday - not sure what I was thinking) as we had to have the first photo Christmas card sent out, attempting to start Christmas traditions, shopping at Toys R Us and trying to keep the "magic of Christmas" magical for our little ones first Christmas so it only makes complete sense that I decide to start this now. Yeah..right. :-)

Any woman who stays home with her child all day will tell you that being a stay at home Mom isn't luxurious and that if you keep putting things off...they will never happen so it is just best to go ahead and do them. They will also tell you that you will work harder, be more exhausted and potentially more forgetful (at least initially) during the first few months of being home with your new bundle of joy and that there will be times that you will wonder just exactly where the "joy" portion of this statement is supposed to be found. What you get to find out though is that with all of this comes something incredible which is that you are taking care of someone that you created and experiencing new and amazing things everyday that you otherwise would not be able to.

My attempt with this blog is to post my thoughts and experiences as someone who worked in corporate America for many years before having her first child and who now finds herself at home on a full-time basis. I no longer run to meetings or take conference calls, meet deadlines or land big accounts instead....I fill bottles, change diapers, visit Costco on a regular basis and find myself playing "peek-a-boo" more often than I realize. My life is very, very different than it was this time last year when I was just 4 months pregnant and waiting for our little one to arrive all the while day dreaming about what our first Christmas as a family would be like.

We still have 4 days to go before that actually happens and while some of the things that I wanted to ensure that we did, will get done...most probably won't and will have to be included in Christmas's to come (or perhaps next year!). With all of the joy though, there are some days where I do stop...take a look at my new reality and ache for my days in corporate America...which I now know is somewhat normal.

So, to all of you other new Mom's out there (or soon to be Mom's) I look forward to sharing some of what I hope are humorous stories with you of my experiences since being home, along with adventures yet to come. On that note, I hear someone calling for me over the monitor and better go....