Posts tagged ‘moving’

the unimaginable

Empty rooms.

I really thought it might never happen. But it did.

And we moved the cats in with us tonight. I am so so so tired but now I’m worried the  MROW?… MROW?… MROW? might keep us up a bit.

Ah well, there is always something.


March 14, 2010 at 10:15 pm 1 comment

not enough arms

You know what’s difficult to do while parenting in an attachment style?  Moving.  Moving literally requires that you hold things in your arms and carry them somewhere else. And those things? Well if they are your children, then moving doesn’t actually happen. No, those things have to be other things.

Echo likes to be held. She likes to be nursed often. This is on an ordinary day, but lately she has been battling a beast of a cough and wanting to be nursed and held even more. If she had it her way a perfect day would be: nurse, read books, nurse some more, be carried in my arms while I do something, then nurse, then read… you get the idea. So you can tell just how much mama moving things instead really doesn’t work for her. (And just so that nobody thinks I didn’t think of using a backpack, I did. It seems that for this sick girl, riding on mom’s back just isn’t going to cut it.)

I was attachment parenting before I realized that was what it was called. It seemed like a no brainer to sleep with our kids, to carry them in slings and backpacks, and to be physically close to them as much as possible. Hello, who doesn’t want to snuggle a baby?But the thing about attachment parenting that I hadn’t thought about was the fact that it doesn’t end after the baby stage. A kid that is attached to her mama as a babe will still be attached to her mama as a three-year old.

You know what else is difficult to do while parenting in an attachment style?  Anything with a deadline.  We have the notion that we need to be completely moved out of the house by the end of this weekend so that the construction crew can rip the roof off and continue the remodel in earnest. That means that when Echo wants to nurse for the fifteenth time I don’t want to. I don’t want to stop clearing things out and sit. I want to be done and every nursing session prolongs the, what is beginning to feel like, agony.

I figured out this no deadline thing in other areas of our life pretty quickly. I know that parenting with empathy and connection are only possible if the list of things I absolutely have to do is kept really short. Really short. If we have people over for dinner I make sure that I only invite folks that wouldn’t be bothered by a loose structure, that wouldn’t be upset if, due to a clingy sick child, the meal didn’t make it to the table right at six. Or wouldn’t be mad at me if the expected home cooked meal was bagged completely in favor of burritos from the taqueria down the street. And/or I make things ahead of time, staying up late instead of turning down Echo’s request to be held.

In fact when parents say: Sorry honey this HAS to be done right now. What they really mean is: Darn honey. I don’t want to hold you right now. I really want to get this done. I am very attached to completing this project. If you get super technical about it, no one absolutely has to do anything. I find that simply exchanging have to, for, prefer to, loosens me up sufficiently to at least have a genuine interaction.

But alas, today I didn’t do that. At one point, so exasperated by Echo’s seeming inability to be self-sufficient for even a minute, and by the seemingly seven hundredth request to nurse, after the seemingly twentieth nursing episode, I actually said: I know you want to nurse, but THAT”S JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Arg.

It’s too bad because really, if we still have a few odds and ends at the house come Monday, the sky is not going to fall. But I didn’t remember that. My preference was so strong that I convinced myself it was imperative. And Echo was sad. And even if I make the case that I had nursed her so much already and had been holding her the entire day thus far, which is all true, what does that have to do with anything? Just because I am justified in turning her down doesn’t mean it felt good, to her or to me.

I redeemed myself a little while later. I actually sat down, nursed, and read Frog and Toad. I don’t think she was scarred by my earlier response, but at the end of each day when I look back, I can be so critical, wanting to only see responses that are text-book empathy and connection based. When I see something else, I get a little dull almond sized feeling of regret in my belly. I’m never sure what to do with that almond.

In any case, despite the aforementioned struggles, I think tomorrow might actually be the last moving day. And then I promise I will post about something else.

March 14, 2010 at 11:25 am 1 comment

out of context

It’s so funny what new surroundings can do for you. For example, last night watching a movie, it didn’t even occur to me to eat chocolate. I always think about chocolate when watching a movie. This makes me curious about all of the invisible cues that cause me to do anything. Do I wake up when I hear the neighbor’s gate click closed? Maybe I get ready to walk the dog when I see the garbage truck rumble by. Maybe I start thinking about cooking dinner when I hear the “Pea Green Boat” come on the radio. Maybe I feel sleepy when I hear the heat click off at night.

I’m sure there are hundreds of cues each day that I unwittingly follow. It’s kind of creepy.

On the other hand, without those familiar sounds and changes of light, I am a bit adrift. I have no idea what time it is. Henry, the dog, whined at the door to be let out during the night, and without thinking further I found myself naked in the backyard (there isn’t a gate yet so if left unattended he will follow his nose too far), waiting for him to do his business, not having any idea if neighbors were about to pop out of their homes on their way to work. I couldn’t tell if it was one a.m, or six.

In this new environment basic needs like water and food, are left unmet. I had no thoughts of dinner until nine forty-five. I forgot to drink water because the glass jar I use, my constant companion, is sitting in our not yet empty house down the street. Did I even brush my teeth?

I’m sure some bad outfits are coming next. Where are the shoes I normally wear? What pants do I wear with this shirt? Where are the shirts?

It’s kind of fun. Outfits, eating habits, routines, these are all passing phases anyway, they don’t actually describe a human being. Supposedly who we are isn’t any of this. There is a nugget below all these ideas of who we are that is actually who we are. So if I don’t drink tea until after I’ve been awake a few hours instead of first thing, and if I walk the dog at daybreak instead of eleven, I will still be me. That’s a comforting thought. My me-ness won’t slip away with a change of address.

I also am no fool. I can see that if I had any inkling to start a strange new routine, then this would be the time. If I wanted to train to be a ballerina, or change my handwriting, or start going to karaoke, the time is ripe.

While I’m pondering the options of change, I probably will soak in the sounds and smells of this new place, build a dictionary of cues that help me find a secure footing. Before you know it I’ll start waking up when I hear the new neighbor fill his bird feeder or slip into his hot tub. I’ll start to fix dinner when the sun slants through the kitchen window. Soon, even if I try to remain unaware, I’ll know what each creak and bump in the night indicate.

(And whether or not it’s appropriate to take the dog out for a pee while nude).

March 12, 2010 at 10:42 pm 1 comment

a new view

We are gently easing our grip on our house. We’ve been emptying out the rooms slowly but surely. Two days ago we were at the tipping point, where more of the things we needed were here, at our new temporary digs, than there, so we had to make the leap. Thus, tonight is our second night sleeping under a new roof.

It is scary to step across that divide into the relatively unknown. I’ve lived in our house, lovingly christened Gus by a then four-year old Bella, longer than any other home besides the one of my childhood. It wasn’t until we were stepping away from it, never to sleep under that same roof again, that I realized just how attached I have become. Home is important to me. And although I have complained about the tight quarters, the dog hair, and the awkward floor plan, I still love it.

The incredible beauty of the new spot sure helps though. High vaulted ceilings, rich and brave color schemes. Perched among the clouds. It feels european. All five of us are tucked into one bedroom, which the girls that don’t share our bed sure seem to enjoy, and we spend the day in one open room, cooking, eating, and playing. Pretty great.

Our sweet friends, out of the immense generosity in their souls, offered this little haven above their garage to us while our house gets torn apart and bigger-ed. So we have the added bonus of being able to walk across a stretch of grass into the warm world of their house to see them.

So, we’ve pretty much got it made.

Except for the fact that there is still stuff to clear out over at Gus. All that not-so-fun stuff, like extra dishes that won’t fit into the cupboards here, and a couch.

And except for our tired moving muscles.

And except for the trauma of leaving our nest.

Other than that, we’re stoked.

March 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm 1 comment


Foundation. A bigger house is officially on it’s way.

Watching these men that made their way from their warm homes, through the icy streets, to our backyard, I began to muse… (I hope you don’t mind the construction metaphors. I really can only write about what is currently happening, so construction might be the inspiration for a few posts. ) … where did these men come from? Who “ordered” them? I mean this in the metaphorical sense, I know very well that our contractor called a foreman, and the foreman let these guys know where the next job site was. And I don’t mean who paid these guys to come pour cement into our back yard either, I am well aware of our very good fortune and the amazing help we get from our family. But how did this whole thing get started?

Well let me tell you. This house began as a shrinky dink.

At 24 I was adrift. I had been living in Cuba and was back in the U.S. looking for somewhere to land. I wasn’t ready to live in my hometown and I didn’t feel connected to any other town either. I craved a home feeling and didn’t know how to get that. So I drew a tiny house on a tiny piece of shrinking paper and cooked it in the oven. Then I strung that on a beaded string to make a pendant. My idea was that as I couch surfed I could hang this little pendant as a symbol of home and thus be comforted.

Eventually I moved to Missoula, the pendant was not foremost on my mind but moved with me as did all my little trinkets. A year later, with the encouragement of my realtor grandmother, I was able to buy a house. It wasn’t until I unpacked that little pendant from it’s storage box that I realized: I HAD BOUGHT THE EXACT HOUSE I HAD DRAWN ON THE SHRINKY DINK. Same shape, same size, same house.

Then I fell in love with a man with two kids, then we got another cat, then we had a child together, and then our little house felt even littler. So what to do? Revise the shrinky dink of course.

The pendant went back up in the kitchen window and life continued on. But fast forward  two years, add generous parents, and voila! We now have in hand a set of plans that LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THE REVISED SHRINKY DINK. And today men arrived in our  backyard to pour the foundation.

So back to construction metaphors. If thoughts and feelings can lead to shrinky dinks, which then lead to actual real life  phenomena, then what are we creating with the thoughts and feelings we are having today? And if we know we are going to receive what we think, then what do we want to think?

What foundation are you laying?

January 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm 1 comment

life with kids – rule #1: make no plans

Today I thought I could start to gather some of the trinket thingies around the house. We have ceramic birds, a swan, a hippo, two mice, two pigs, little sweet things that hide here and there, and I thought gently wrapping these up might feel like an accomplishment, like I am making a dent in all that needs to be done these days. As soon as my mind formulated this plan, you know where this is going, oh the folly of plans!, this is what I found in our living room.

And… what is she standing in while playing? That’s right, the box.

Oh well. Time for plan B.

December 9, 2009 at 1:04 am 1 comment

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