Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Grandma Love

Dear Iz,

This week has been yet another example on why you are one of the most loved (and blessed) girls in the world. Your Grandma was in town recovering from her most recent surgery and you and her were like peas and carrots. You slept with her (as you usually do), you both ate popcorn in bed while watching TV, you played, you shopped, you cuddled - you did all the things that I did with my Grandma growing up. You need to know Izzy - this kind of love and attention is uncommon. That does not mean it is undeserved. You deserve every second of it. But it is uncommon. And I hope as you grow older you are able to appreciate it. That you take it in and let it build you up. That you learn to love as well as you were loved. Because if that becomes the case, you will have much love to share with this world.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Izzy-ism #2

You have recently been fascinated by the idea of clouds and rain. At one point I explained that clouds were formed by the water in the ocean in a process called evaporation (who knows if that is the technical term, but you're 3 and can ask your weather-geek father for a more precise explanation). I explained that the sun heats up the water, the water evaporates and forms a cloud. Once the cloud becomes full of water, it releases the water in the form of rain.

In a separate, yet eventually related discussion we talked about God. I explained that God was in Heaven. When you asked where Heaven was, I explained that it was in the sky above the clouds (I realize that I will soon have to amend that explanation, but again, you're 3).

Today after arriving home from a funeral the talk turned to God. Suddenly you jumped up in your chair and said "Oh, I know about God! He was born in the ocean and then evapted into Heaven!" We all looked at you in question as you repeated yourself. I then realized that you had adapted science and religion to fit your understanding of things. And it was yet another example of your already blossoming genius. =)

Izzy-ism #1

As we were driving down the road you saw a bulldozer and asked what it was. When I told you, you thought for a second and then said "Mom, why does it doze the bulls? What did they do to make it mad? And is there a horsedozer too?"

Monday, July 26, 2010

planning your life one email at a time

Oh Izz - Bless your heart, you have no idea yet what a planner your Mama is. I apologize in advance. You should know now, Sunday's are the worst. Once I've planned the week, I move on to planning the month and tonight I took on your life. Will you be a dancer? A gymnast? An artist, a writer? And that's just taking on the Arts. For your amusement, I submit to you an email I sent your Grandma tonight which is a perfect example of my ticking*:

So in addition to the stressful task of choosing schools for Izzy, we must also decide on her after school activities. She's been especially interested in ballet lately so I was considering enrolling her in dance classes as opposed to gymnastics. Already I have decided that one of the hardest things about being a mother is going to be that I cannot afford her the "very best", which is why I am excited to have finally picked a career path in the event she excels at something particularly expensive (as it appears dance might be). Anyway, here are the options. Look them over and let's discuss...

Ballet Austin. This is the best of the best. It's in a fancy building and they train professional dancers. They are also the troop that puts on The Nutcracker every year. Of course, upon finding this out I immediately had visions of Izzy one day being the Sugar Plum Fairy and the soccer mom in me started rising up (ie: "We MUST get her in these classes right away! We shall spare no expense!") However, like all things that create visions of grandeur, it ain't cheap. So maybe we can save this place for when she decides (at the ripe age of 6, of course) that she MUST be a "dancer". Regardless, here's the link (be sure and check out their upcoming performances):

Alisa's Dance Studio. This one is a little more affordable, yet still in West Lake (at least I'm not driving a Ford Focus anymore). It has good reviews and may be a good beginning.

The YMCA. Providing the lower-middle class an opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities since 1844 (true story!) For what we'd send Izzy to at the fancy places, we could afford a monthly family membership at the YMCA. However, they don't offer dance classes down South, we'd need to drive to the East Side. But then again, for Ballet Austin we'd be driving downtown and for Alisa's we'd be driving to West Lake. Luckily for all of us I'm an East Side kinda gal. On the upside, Chris and I could start working out ensuring that we will live long enough to pay off the debts incurred by Izzy's extracurricular activities.

Look over all the options and let me know what you think. And then of course there is the Wilderness Group, Krav Maga, Karate, Theatre Arts, Swimming, Softball, Soccer - how in the world are we going to have enough time (and money!!) to expose her to everything to make absolutely certain that she is well-rounded AND able to choose a career path by the time she is 13? Parenting involves so much PRESSURE! (I say all of this only half joking.)

Love you (and glad you only committed me to dance),
your over-planner of a daughter

* Ticking: A term I borrowed when I start obsessing about something in particular. It could be cleaning (to take that further I could start "ticking" about cleaning a closet, the garage or the chimney), or most especially planning. I like to plan. My life, your Dad's life, complete stranger's lives - I am a planner.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

on becoming your mom

Hey Izz,

I've always been pretty open with friends and family about my "bad" mothering. It goes in line with my regular formula of self-deprecation, humor and honesty, but I do feel the need to elaborate a little to you in the event things get nuts as you grow older and I suddenly lose my fantastic ability to communicate. So here I go, for the record:

I wanted you from the moment of conception. In fact, I wanted you long before that. I grew up wanting to be a mother. I never had many dreams of careers, success or money - but I did always dream about being a mom. From the moment your father and I met I was clear that I wanted kids. In fact, I wanted them right away. He wasn't ready and it took him about 7 years to get there. But eventually he got on board and we decided to try for you. As I would later learn about you - you took awhile. In fact, after several months of trying to conceive I gave up on the idea and decided to go to Europe. The following month I found out I was pregnant with you.

To say I was overjoyed doesn't begin to describe it. I was excited, nervous and scared - but most of all excited. Finally you were coming. We had a few scares along the way, but after 9 months of anticipation you were finally born. And then the dream became a reality. Once you were born I had no idea what to do with you. I was terrified and awkward. I'd always wondered what kind of father your dad would be - but suddenly he was the natural and I was... not.

The first night in the hospital it was just me and you. You cried most of the night, I cried, I wondered if I could give you back, I realized I had made a terrible mistake and I was going to be a terrible mother. Those feelings continued for the next 9 months. I later realized much of that was post-partum depression. Also, like any dream becoming a reality, it wasn't quite as blissful as I pictured. After about 9 months I started to be able to breathe. The anxiety started to abate and I started to get the hang of mothering. Yet still I felt disconnected from you and it scared me beyond explanation. I absolutely loved you, with that there was no doubt, but I didn't feel the connection I had always heard about. As I tell it to my friends, the skies didn't open and the angels didn't sing.

As you started to grow and your personality started to shine I felt more and more connected. The day you took your first steps (Super Tuesday!) was one of the happiest moments of our lives. The day you first ate spaghetti and smeared it all over your face while laughing was wonderful. And day by day I felt closer to you and more in love. One day, when you were about 15 months old we laid down together for a nap (as we usually did as it would ensure you would actually fall asleep). I remember you turning to me and smiling, and at that moment I felt the love, connection and adoration I had been expecting. At that moment the skies opened and the angels sang. My heart was filled with more love than I had ever experienced.

But as always happens, reality once again returned. There have been moments in motherhood that I should be embarrassed to admit (if I were ever embarrassed by things). There have been moments when I have yelled at you much louder and meaner than is right by a mother. There have been moments when I have grabbed you by the arm and later prayed there were no bruises. There have been moments when I have lost my temper to a point that I swore as a small child I NEVER would. There have been moments when I have had to walk away to prevent myself from hurting you. And every single one of those moments terrified me and broke my heart because it is not the kind of mother I want to be to you. I want to be the absolute best of my ability because you deserve absolutely nothing less.

But it takes work. It takes going to bed and swearing that I will be better. It takes praying to God that I become calmer, more patient, more understanding and more gentle. It takes waking up in the morning and being determined to smile at 7am and chat as much as you like. And slowly, I have improved as a mother. Nothing brings me more enjoyment than lying in bed with you before naptime/bedtime and softly chatting with you. My heart sings when you come sit in my lap and ask question after question trying to figure out a concept. I swell with pride when you learn a new task or show off one of your many charming skills. I am not, nor will I ever be, perfect. But I need you to know that I will always try to be better. I will always work to be the best mother in the world to you. I will always be open to your criticisms and try to adjust to your needs. And while it took a while to come - I love you (and will ALWAYS love you) more than anything or anyone else in this world.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Catching up

Dear Iz,

It's been too long since I've written. Things have been fantastically busy. Your Dad and I have been catching up on years worth of vacations, San Francisco namely, with a river and camping trip thrown in there as well. You've had lots of time with Grandma with makes both of you happy. However, the other day you informed me that I "had gone on vacation enough and that you missed me" - and thankfully we have nothing scheduled from here. I hope to find a job soon and get you finally enrolled in pre-school. We all agree that time has come as you are like a little sponge. You honestly cannot learn enough fast enough. Just a few days ago you became fascinated by the water process. Where does it come from? Where does it go? I explained faucets and pipes and water treatment plants. You had even more questions (you were confused about where the water treatment plant actually was, convinced it was in the walls or in the garage), so I pulled up diagrams, flowcharts and videos. That made you very happy, but then you asked to go to a water treatment plant. I'm still working on that. But it made me realize that you are beyond ready for a formal education, and I am probably not prepared to provide you with the structure and information that you are ready for. So off to work for me and off to school for you!

In other news, you are wrapping up your first gymnastics class. Your Gym Show is next weekend and we are all excited about it. I put down some pink duct tape on the floor in the place of a balance beam and you practice several times a day. We decided to skip gymnastics this summer in lieu of swim lessons and you are pretty excited about it, but we have every intention of re-enrolling you again in the Fall. Let thisserve as a reminder to me to post pics of your Gym Show next week.

For now I will leave you with my most recent favorite picture of you. I somehow managed to catch your "question face" and it was perfect:

I promise I'll try to do much better at updating!

I love you more than cake,

Friday, February 26, 2010

The "Groundhog El Nino Christmas Miracle" **

Dear Iz,

After missing out on snow most of the winter, and your Aunt Jess buying you a snowglobe for Christmas you finally got your chance to experience real snow! I was all but convinced you'd lost your opportunity this year - so much so that I didn't bother to tell you there was a chance for it. And even when our friends were reporting snow on Facebook, I still didn't have much hope. So I was overjoyed when I turned to look out the window to see huge snowflakes falling from the sky. The excitement was beyond containing when I suggested you go look out the window yourself. It took a moment to register, and then you began yelling "IT'S SNOWING, IT'S SNOWING!!!" You ran to your room to put on your "snow dress", some tights and boots and then ran to the back door to go outside. The rest is history!

** The title of this blog comes from my friend Heather - who wittingly said this when finding out you FINALLY received some snow...