Sunday, August 30, 2015

You Are: Capable and Dependable, Fun and Calm! We Are: In Flux, In Flux, In Flux

not my baby
I have been reading about separation anxiety. It makes me anxious. Currently, Dumpling is happily indiscriminate: barring diapering and nursing needs, if you get in her face and smile at her, she will eventually laugh silently or beam up at you. Programmed to delight and be delighted. Heh-heh-heh laughs aren't reliable, but are on the upswing; often, she will become utterly blown away by something unremarkable to the rest of us, her eyes grown huge, her mouth a tiny oh, or a dropped open laundry chute. She freezes in anticipation of the next puzzle piece. And she thinks you hold it in your possession. You may give it to her, or you may simply distract her from the current mystery, with a tickle bout or a pendulum swing through the air. Interpersonal connection goes hand in hand with navigating this mystifying life.

But soon, I am led to believe, the baby's sociability will narrow down to only mother or father -- perhaps a few more -- in terms of acceptable friendlies. While I find Baby's spider monkey tendencies endearing in limited form (i.e. removing her from a cloth baby carrier is tricky, as moments after you unpeel her tiny fingers from one rung of side ties, they wrap themselves around the next rung of ties), I cringe at the idea of our future leave-takings heralded by wails of outrage or desparation. And more specifically, what about when this scenario occurs when I am still in the house, with a trusted someone watching the baby, so I can carve or sketch or write? How can I wall it away and pretend my endeavors are weightier than her (fleeting or extended) fear/anger/upset? Where does one purchase a guilt deflection cape? I have been told that as a mother, I will always feel: guilty, inadequate, behind/overwhelmed, with a tinnitus-like background noise of incessant worry. Well luckily, I say, none of those feelings are new. Yes, they say, but this is *different*. Well. Hmm. 

In any case, the key to partially outwitting the separation anxiety (stranger danger!) is to get loved ones and caregivers solidly into the inner circle before the gates shut. Cue the conversation wherein our primary helper tells me about a second interview for a desired full time position closer to her home; which would nix our late afternoon hours. The nerve of people moving around, after one has acclimated to them! Back to the drawing board. Since then, another very fine candidate (gushing recommendation from a daycare owner : "...And it's not just that SHE is excellent, her ENTIRE family knows babies. I would clone her if I could ~~") calls to apologize -- she has also secured a great new full time job and will be moving to Troy, MI, next week. Another seems enthusiastic and sensible during the initial phone call, only to fall silent afterward. Another interviewee seems...mostly? okay...and is quite persistent, but her references never call me back, which seems disquieting. Still, there are good possibilities, but too much seems in this process, just like the hateful online dating. I can no longer discount that, as it brought me Javier. Eh, eh, eh. So um, I hereby summon synchronicity!...That's not quite it, is it? That almost magical coming together of things that fit...Synergy? No. Serendipity, Javier offers. Yesssssss. Again with the seeming: is it a bad sign that I couldn't remember the word on my own? But perhaps it will come together. A new person to help, the magical time to think and create, preserved; Baby kept happy and healthy; all three of us, sane and grateful for it all.

So far, Baby has held true to her current, amiable form. Javier has started taking her to his office once a week, which has been good for growing her fan club members (up with morale, down with productivity!). On those days, when Javier and I eventually speak, Baby is usually gurgling in the background; smiling at everyone and salivating over (/under) the dangling teddy bears of the away-team pack n' play. So far, we seem to be in some early parenthood fairytale land. Not sure how we arrived exactly here; or who holds the crucial puzzle pieces....Or no. We *must* have the puzzle pieces, though some are likely lost, hiding in Javier's car, buried under a winter scarf avalanche... I predict we'll need to break out the jigsaw blades to jerry rig pieces that just.won'

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Happy Moments Plentiful, Happy Hours Rare

Marissa didn't lie about the Kunde Zinfandel. Lov-er-ly.
Weheeeeelll, so I was going to post a flurry of photos, but I am on Vinology's dodgy internet connection, and was, perhaps, overambitious, and clogged it. So I'll start without visual aids... As of yesterday, we are ONE WEEK shy of Baby being 5 months old, which brings us close to almost half a year of Dumpling's existence, which is hard for me to fathom. Today is Baby's day at the office, which meant I woke her up a teensy bit early for her for a good nursing session and then waited for Javier to get his things together and be off. He couldn't help it -- at whatever stage, he kept wandering over. Him, in his bath towel, leaning in, "DADDY" pointing inward,"loves BABY" pointing to her. She gasped and gazed upward, starstruck, pistoned her legs. Her body struggled to convey how utterly exciting he was. "Come ON," I said, "Let's go~~" He harrumphed and eventually got himself and the baby gear good to go, and was off in time for Fresh Air.

Which left me a little time to finish up a new batch of cards before meeting a new artist friend for afternoon tea. Not bad! The past couple days have been a visit to my old existence: yesterday -- > hair cut, followed by a leisurely browse about Salvation Army (with new tweaks of looking for dresses that would A.) make me feel like a properly dressed person while also B.) easily allowing me to whip out my breasts at Baby's whim; plus a fabulous "update" text from babysitter letting me know they had a nice walk, looking at leaves and shadows, and such). Today, extended cafe socializing as if one didn't have many time constraints, followed by Hallelujah! a Happy Hour glass of wine and Thai chicken flatbread outside, because the almost-Fall weather was too beautiful to defy by going back to the house, and down into the basement for carving...

So heartening to be making new connections now in the midst of some new-Motherhood isolation, especially with fellow creative folk (new friend referred to us collectively as Makers, a term I have certainly heard before, but had not applied to myself. I guess I associated this with more technology/cool geekery/rebellious creativity. But I much prefer it to "Artist," which I sometimes cringe from, for my own neurotic reasons; and which reaction has brought flak. But do I, we, make things? Most definitely! And it also carries with it the practicality, too, doesn't it? It conveys a sense of proactive being in the world, which I most definitely appreciate. Ahem.)

***Back at the house. With count-down to Dumpling arrival, behold some card designs:
Favorite color schemes right now

Toss up between which decorative paper is better. Table rim a big change in feel
Hopeful and happy to me

My ever-apprehensive woman, from the online dating print

A side design for the Cakeasaurus Picture book, guest appearance as card
Bonus shot, with Fisher Price Chime Ball

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"You Told Me to Come Heavy..."

"...So I did, but I don't want to use it" -- Tony Soprano, to Junior.

Revisiting The Sopranos, season one, to focus myself during carving this time.

 Tony is trying to manage both his mother and Junior.
In one of my favorite episodes-I-had-forgotten-about, Tony is taking Meadow around on a college tour when he sees a potential informer enrolled in the witness program -- which needs to be addressed -- Meadow is astounded by her Dad's outrage over her confessed drug use, which she somehow though he'd take calmly, since he (kinda) admitted to being in the mob; meanwhile, Carmela is snuggling up to her weaselly father (religious, not familial) as they drink wine and watch movies together. Woohoo, bring on the moral relativism! When Javier and I were addicted to Breaking Bad, this was always what we returned to -- how adeptly the series explored increasingly fraught moral ambiguities. Based on the best TV out there, there seems to be no getting away from it. It would seem that this lay at the heart of almost all great, compelling Art.

And of human identity? Surely even the most lily white among us departs from the written rules, at some point? Bahhh, easy to delve into, easy to set aside, as one is carving in the basement, on a Sunday evening. This two-page spread marks our initial view of our young protagonist, Quimby.

Ready for a test print!
Seemed fitting to break out a meat tenderizer, with Soprano viewing
Here be dragons!...of a sort.