Friday, May 10, 2013


First off, thank you to everyone who is commenting here, sending us messages in various formats, visiting, and generally holding us up.  I am at a loss for words to convey my appreciation.  Specifically, thank you to the anonymous benefactor who sent us a Cat in the Hat game for Stella, the George & Martha treasury, and Cards Against Humanity for entertainment during hospital visits.  Super cool!  

Now, on to the subject of my latest musings... our daughters.

In the past week and change, by virtue of necessity, I have been essentially attachment parenting Lydia. I and the Ergo are one. (Take that as a product endorsement. I'd be lost without it. Seriously.)

I definitely cuddled and held Stella a lot as a baby while I was on maternity leave, but, in retrospect, I had all this time to do tummy time with her, go to mom's groups, go on walks, and so forth.  I was focused on my "to do" list, and now, that has been pretty much chucked out the window.

So, by contrast, Lydia is just hanging out with me. She gets tummy time sporadically and instead of taking detailed notes of every feeding and every nap, she and I just roll with the punches.

Some of these differences in parenting come from the drama and challenges we are facing, to be sure. But I'm also struck by just how differently I am approaching parenthood the second time around. This time I am far less anxious. And this time my baby is far more calm and even-tempered.

It's a classic chicken or the egg question. Is Lydia cool as a cucumber because I am more relaxed? Or am I more relaxed because she is so chill (for an infant)?  [Side note:  knock on wood that I am not jinxing her good behavior by commenting on it here...] 'm sure it's a little from column A and a little from column B, but boy am I thankful for this little delightful creature.

I also wonder how, assuming some of this pattern is typical for parenting the first time vs. subsequent time(s) around, how much these differences in nurture account for classic differences in siblings depending on birth order.  Hmm.

In other ways too, Lydia (and Stella) are keeping me grounded. Bedtime has been a battle with Stella lately, so that sucks, but, she is also so fun and funny even in tough times. And Lydia is still nursing all the time so that rhythm keeps me focused on very tangible needs and in the present moment.

A lot of people have sent me great encouragement to "stay in the moment" and, surprisingly, these sometimes stressful chicas are my best reminders of that.

I will close with a quote my friend Mary (who also kicked cancer's butt!) sent me. I think it's pertinent for all of us, all the time.
How we approach our not knowing what comes next is what gives meaning to our life. When we wholeheartedly surrender into our not knowing with what is referred to as “don’t know mind” an openness and vulnerability to deeper and deeper truth rises from our inborn unknown wisdom. What is exposed seems somehow already so deeply known yet the surprise of its diamond clarity overwhelms one with humility and gratitude.  In that stillness, in that space between breaths, between thoughts, between lives, something is suddenly remembered. Something it seems impossible to ever have forgotten . And in every fiber of our Being we know that love is the only rational act of a lifetime.  – Stephen Levine


Hayley said...

A) Cards against humanity is the most awesomest game ever.

B) thank you for sharing your thoughts, I love the quote.

Karen Stambaugh said...

Nice post, Katina. So true - nothing keeps you grounded like your kids. In bad times, they keep you from falling apart, because you're too busy tending to their needs. You don't have a lot of choice but to get up in the morning, and you can't help but laugh when they're goofy.

dirteens said...

Wise words Mama Karen. Very true.

Hayley - let's play CAH soon!