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I got a new sink yesterday. It was sort of by accident. I tried to wash a bib in my bathroom sink, but the bib was covered with banana bits, which clogged the sink. I used drano to clear the clog. Then, the sink just broke. I’d show you a photo, but it was all really gross. The handyman actually found pebbles in the drain when he came to fix it. How pebbles ended up in my drain, I’ll never know.

But I ended up with this snazzy new sink:

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Just be glad it’s not a picture of my baby.

The new sink inspired me to deep clean the whole bathroom. And then I started cleaning the rest of the apartment. But I didn’t finish, because I never finish.

It’s a constant struggle for me: to clean or not to clean. Don’t get me wrong, I like living in a clean space. A cluttered home is a cluttered mind; kinda – you can always just leave the house and find a better place to focus. My problem is that I could die tomorrow, and I don’t want to have spent the last day of my life cleaning.

There are just so many better things I can do.

This guy gets me. As someone who works from home twice a week, I find myself feeling guilty at the end of those days when my apartment is still a mess.

When I take breaks, I read to my kid. I sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” to him because that’s his latest favorite. I pick him up and play “Superbaby” with him. I tickle him and pretend to eat him.

I don’t do the dishes, even though I know I really should. I just don’t care enough.

Even before I had Max, it always made sense to me to do everything but clean. I definitely got some complaints from my college roommates about it. I took classes, worked three jobs, and I’d say “I don’t have time to clean.” But I found time to party and volunteer. I found time to take trips to New York and Sacramento. I found time to play Scrabble, get drunk, talk on the phone, throw Alice in Wonderland-themed parties, go on hikes, meet new people, read fiction, hang out at Starbucks, sing karaoke, watch hours of Law and Order, write letters to the editor, attend concerts, meet celebrities, and make scrapbooks.

I just didn’t have time to clean.

I think I’m finding more balance lately. Sometimes, when Max naps, I throw out the trash and stuff. But usually, I use that time to dance around my apartment.

I’ve also found myself avoiding the news lately. So many terrible things seem to be happening in the world, and it makes me feel so helpless. With planes being shot down and executions being dragged out and everything else happening, I just want to retreat into a place where the biggest challenge is whether or not you should give a mouse a cookie.

I’m going to resist the urge to close this post out with totally adorable photos of my son covered in banana (your loss) and instead close out with the non-baby-related highlight of my week:

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That one really got me in the feels. (The fundraiser feels; I keep them separate from my other feels.)

#Superbaby drinks from cups.

All kinds of cups.

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Baby cups? Not even a big deal.

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Glass cups? I gotchu.

Sorry, y’all – I get so excited when my baby does things that people do, like drinking from cups and stuff. It just blows my mind because I hear/read all of these stories about how hard it is to get babies to accept the bottle and then transition to the cup — and even how hard it is to get babies to sleep at night and how fussy they become when they’re teething — and it’s like I was just blessed with the world’s most perfect baby who sleeps perfectly, easily accepts every new thing I introduce, and just makes this “mmmmmmm” sound when he’s in pain from teeth literally breaking through his gums.

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World’s happiest teether

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no srsly, it’s party time, y’all.

ok. I’m done. #superbabyftw

Adventures in solid food

Today was day four of Max eating solids. I’ve only given him a little bit of avocado each day, but he seems to keep forgetting how much he likes it.

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“What do you think you’re going to do with that?”

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“Ugh, this is terri–”

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“Actually, that was delicious. Thanks, mom!”

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“Uh oh. What now?”

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“I want it all.”

    IMG_3832He expressed the same wide array of emotions on day one.

My plan is to continue with avocado until Sunday and then on Monday, I’m going to have him try banana. You’re supposed to stick to a single food each week to make it easier to identify any allergies early on. I had originally planned to wait right up until the 6-month mark (or even later!) to start feeding him solids for a few reasons. First of all, babies really don’t need solid foods in the first six months and, for the first year, his milk is most important. Introducing solids early might cause allergies and could also interfere with his milk intake. But there are a few signs to help you know that your baby is ready for solids:

  • He’s got head and neck control.
  • He’s sitting up on his own.
  • He starts hungrily watching you eat and grabbing the food on your plate.

Max had been reaching for things on the table for the past month, so I knew this day was coming soon.

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Obviously my child.

By the 5 1/2-month mark, it was clear that Max was ready. I brought him to Johnny Rockets last Sunday, and the little guy just watched every single fry leave my plate and followed it to my mouth, repeatedly reaching for everything on the table that seemed edible. It was definitely time.

He only eats a few bites each day because right now it’s more important to explore and enjoy new tastes so that he develops healthy eating habits, but I’m sure he’ll be eating a lot more over the next few weeks.

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We’re also getting him started on the sippy cup!

Oh, and his sister has also shown interest in solids:

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“Where’s my dinner, mom?”

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.

- Anne Lamott

Fearless.

Most people I know have never seen me unhappy.

They’ve never seen me cry.
They’ve never seen me hurt.

When I lost Kerry, it was easier for me to stop answering phone calls than it was to let people know how broken I felt. It was easier for me to go on drinking sprees. It was easier for me to stop feeling.

It wasn’t easy for me to say that I had lost a part of myself. I was torn because I didn’t want people to think that it didn’t matter, but I also didn’t want anyone to know that I was upset. I was so afraid to be vulnerable.

I stopped feeling for months. I just went completely numb, and I masked it as joy. There was a man I spent most nights with last spring, and I didn’t even really know him. I didn’t care to know him; he was just a part of my facade. I just lived my life – I worked, I drank – and then I’d spend the nights at his place and start over again.

For many years, I used alcohol and sex to fill a void. I only ever opened up to men who were in love with me. I’d pour my heart out to them – to Mike, to Richard, to John – and they’d carry my burden for me. And then I’d leave them, and it was always easy to leave because I associated them with my sadness. I’d tell everyone that I was leaving because I was so unhappy when I was with them, and I believed it because, on some level, it was true. They were the keepers of my secret sadness.

Because most people I know have never seen me sad; but all the men who have ever loved me have seen me stuck in bed, hopeless, helpless, empty and broken. They’d all seen me lie in bed for days, completely unable to get out and face the world. They’d seen me cancel plans because I couldn’t bear the thought of getting up. They’d seen me fail exams because I didn’t have the strength to lift a flashcard. It was as though I’d store all of my sadness away and then let it out all at once. And then I’d leave them, and I was happy again until I found someone else who loved me enough to endure it.

With everyone else, I just wanted to fit in. I spent a lot of time pretending to have the same family problems that everyone else did because it was easier than explaining that I’d been shuffled through abusive homes and foster care. It was easier for me to maintain toxic relationships because, well, everyone else had a mother; how could I say that I didn’t? And how could I explain why?

I didn’t want to be an outcast. I didn’t want to be depressed and broken. I just wanted to be normal. So I hid behind Faith Skye and every other alias, pretending that everything was always perfect and wonderful, and nothing could ever go wrong.

It was sort of draining.

Over the last year, I’ve become more honest. I’m not so afraid to be sad, and I’m not so ashamed of my past. Starting my own family has helped me find an inner peace and a sense of completeness that I couldn’t have achieved with the way that I lived my life before. Becoming pregnant – and having my son – made me open to receiving help in a way that I never had. When I was physically incapable of lifting heavy objects or standing on my feet for too long, I asked for help, because I had to. Then, when Max was first born and I was still adjusting to motherhood, the best advice I ever received was to accept every offer of help.

I had always felt so completely alone, and suddenly people were bringing us food and things that we needed like diapers and clothing and even toys. The experience has been so liberating for me. I don’t feel like I have to be so strong anymore. I don’t feel like I have to do everything on my own. I don’t feel like I have to hide when I’m upset.

All my life, I’ve cried in private. I’d flip through the contacts in my phone, feeling like I needed someone to listen, and then I’d toss my phone aside, deciding that no one could possibly ever understand how I felt, and it’d add to my feelings of loneliness and sadness.

About a week ago, I called a friend up in tears, and I vented, and she talked me through it, and she helped me. And I felt better afterwards.

Something as simple as that was so hard for me even just a year ago.

But I’m not afraid to be sad anymore. I’m not afraid to cut off toxic relationships. And asking for help makes me feel stronger than I did when I tried to handle everything on my own.

Solitude is the human condition. But also, cosleeping.

I hate the label “single mom.” Then again, I hate most labels.

I’ve expressed these opinions before. I hate when people say “the homeless” because I think it’s dehumanizing and makes it seem as though homelessness is a personality trait rather than a living situation. I hate putting labels on relationships. Once I’m your “girlfriend,” a whole new set of obligations are automatically placed on me; suddenly, we’re not just happy to spend time together — we expect it.

I love motherhood, and I’ll embrace that title any day. But I guess I mind it less when the label describes something I do or if it’s a way I self-identify. I’m a blogger. I’m an activist. I’m the communications lady at a poverty relief org. I’m a mother.

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I’m just a mom.

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…to a baby who recently became aware of his tongue.

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No, srsly, every photo looks like this now.

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All of them.

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He can stick his tongue out while standing up, too. #superbaby

I’m a lot of things, but being labeled a “single mom” makes it sound like my singlehood is something unusual. It makes it sound like I’m incomplete, like there’s something missing from my life. We don’t refer to married moms as such, so why use my relationship status to qualify my motherhood?

I’m just a mom. I feel fulfilled in a way that I’ve never felt before, and I’m happy. As someone who has always been independent and thrives most when I’m unencumbered by the expectations and obligations that come with committed relationships, solitude works best for me.

I always think of a line that affected me deeply from one of my favorite novels, White Oleander (which I’m reading now for maybe the hundredth time):

Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find someone who will understand you, someone to fill that space… [U]nderstand yourself, know what it is that you want.

Although, I will say, I remember the quote a little bit differently from what I just reread. What I remembered (and what I’ve always quoted Janet Fitch as saying, probably forgetting context…) was: Solitude is the human condition. We were born alone, and we’ll die alone. Nothing can change that, and there’s nothing wrong with it. We can only fill our lives with people and things that make each day matter. Those people and those things might change as we grow and change, and we can only accept, enjoy, and appreciate those changes as they come.

I think that’s what she would’ve written if the book weren’t about a narcissistic, homicidal maniac.

On an unrelated note: Cosleeping!

As per Max’s doctor’s suggestion, I tried to transition him into his crib over the weekend. It was a nightmare for everyone involved. He hung out in the crib for awhile — playing with his feet and turning himself around, and once he was done, he let me know. He didn’t cry, but he waved his arms and said “Eh, eh.” He signaled to me that he was ready to get up. I went over to him, stroked his arm and talked to him a little bit as he smiled back up at me, and then I let him know that it was time for bed. I walked away, and he called to me again: “Eh, eh” — a little more frustrated now. We went through this a few times — and I also tried comforting him by talking to him from across the room rather than directly over him. In the end, he was howling. I brought him to bed with me, and he was particularly sensitive throughout the night and for the next few days. Almost every time I put him down on Sunday and Monday, he skipped the signals, skipped crying, and went straight to screaming as though he were in pain. It was as though project crib-sleeping made him feel like I was going to abandon him the second I got the chance.

That’s how I came to this conclusion: Cosleeping is the fucking bomb. I love cosleeping. I’m happy, and my baby is happy. The risks are sort of silly — but very real. As long as you follow the rules (i.e. don’t drink and cosleep), cosleeping is very safe. Moms and babies are naturally aware of each other, so there’s not much of a risk of rolling over onto him (as long as you’re not drunk or something!).

I’m happy with our sleep situation, and I liked the crib better when it was decorated with the cute bumpers, so I can put them back now that we’ve gone back to not using the crib except as a changing table, dresser, and pretty thing decorated in the theme of the nursery.

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The way I see it? If you’re doing something that works for you and works for your baby then there’s no reason to change it. Max is thriving. He’s the happiest baby. Most importantly, my son is only going to be a baby once. One day, he’s going to be a preteen with no interest in cuddling or sleeping in his mama’s bed. So, I’m just going to enjoy it while it lasts and keep doing what I’m doing.

Finally, I have a lot of…feelings about the new Robin Thicke video — about the way that it demonstrates the dynamics of an abusive relationship and the way that the text messages and lyrics sound almost exactly like conversations between me and my abusive ex. Instead, I’ll acknowledge the silver lining: it has sparked a conversation about abusive relationships. So, that’s great. However, it’s still so unfortunate that abuse is just accepted as the norm in our society.

On a related note, it turns out my ex decided to represent himself in his case re: the recent assault charges (oh yeah: did I tell you my ex was recently arrested for assault?). Fairly successfully, too. It sounds like he ended up with no jail time and six months of community service. For punching a cab driver in the face, repeatedly, without provocation, in front of the police.

If he’s only ever arrested when the police happen to be passing by then, well, that’s not much of a deterrent. Let’s just hope they pass by again sometime in the next six months when he (inevitably) hurts someone else.

changes.

I told you that I loved you;
I swear I never lied.
I know that I once loved you,
maybe even twice.

I must’ve loved you sometimes;
I can’t remember when that changed.
something must’ve been there at some time,
but somehow it went away.

and now you’re asking me to stay.

you say, “yesterday’s the past,
tomorrow isn’t promised.”
you say, “time to let go, move on,
forget what I did wrong.”

I say, “if tomorrow comes,
then yesterday will be today.”
I say, “if tomorrow comes,
then, chances are, I’ll still feel the pain.”
I say, “if tomorrow comes,
and you still haven’t changed,
then tomorrow and today
will be just the same.”