Friday, March 30, 2007

Like the desert flower
I too
can blossom
under harsh conditions

Monday, March 26, 2007


Savanna, Savanna, Savanna....the lyrics to my inner song.

Today marks 30 weeks of pregnancy for me. At my 2:15 appointment, my midwife told me baby is "definitely" head-down, something my aching hips could have told you a week ago. I even put my hand on my belly to examine the pressure that was created when Savanna turned her head slowly from side to side. Side to side...side to side...what I can only guess as the shape of her nose was grazing my hand each time. I always speculate as to the motives of their movement. Was she getting comfortable, or was she trying to feel what my hand was, using the tip of her nose as a measure?

I'm growing increasingly anxious to hold this girl in my arms, and not in my complaining pelvis. I want to exercise and see results. I want to wear normal clothes--size 12 or size 6, who cares? Normal clothes that don't need to be arranged to "fit". I want to sleep without having to pee five times throughout the night. Upon pregnancy with your first, everyone tells you, "Oh, prepare to have no sleep!" But I will tell you--this third time around, I CRAVE that time afterwards....because those little stolen hours of sleep in between feedings are, for me, more solid and satisfying than even a twelve-hour pregnant sleep. I just want two hours. Two hours, please? Two hours of sleep when I don't have to pee and I don't have to blow my nose and I don't have to change position? Two hours of sleep on my stomach....I'm definitely overwhelmed at the thought of having a third child to care for, but that feeling is rapidly being chased away by my need to be comfortable once again.

Did you know that allergy medications simply do not come without "non-drowsy" stamped on the box? Except for Benadryl, which in my case should be marked "sedative which may or may not render muscles and brain useless for eight to twelve hours."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Question for the Day

A question:
Having children changes us. But how so? Does it make us become even more ourselves, or do we grow further away from our innermost starting point? And in striving to become more selfless, do we become more ourselves? Do you still recognize your Self after having children?

I know my own answer to this--if anything, I'm more myself since having children. But in some ways, some days feel it's an out-of-body experience where I watch myself and think, "Who is she? What is she doing?" I feel like a more capable, efficient, and somehow also more neurotic, emotional version of myself. And with how complex the Self is, I think some facets of ourselves that existed since we were born come into the light only when outer circumstances (or strong internal desire) prompt revealing. I know that some of the changes I've made in myself are purely out of a desire to reshape myself. Not that I feel I'm the wrong shape. :) But I have started to notice those more destructive thoughts or behaviors. And I think it's becoming more important to me to defeat those. So perhaps that's why I sometimes don't recognize myself. I think that the absolute truth is that I'm just getting to know myself. Maybe our actual selves never change, but our perception of ourselves is the thing that changes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

dollar story

Today as I was buying one-dollar sunglasses for the boys at Family Dollar, the next woman in line, with a little baby on her hip, said to the cashier, "I just left my husband a week ago, and I piled everything I have into the car. So I found a place to live, but I forgot socks and towels." She said it with a shaky smile on her face, although her eyes were big like she could cry. She was trying to laugh it off, but all I could do was gaze at her in disbelief with big stupid tears in my eyes and try to comfort her with my own fake smile. Then she asked the cashier, "Do you guys have bottle brushes here?" And was thrilled to find that yes, they were over there on the back wall....anyway, I haven't been able to stop wondering about her today. Did she have to make a fast exit, thereby forgetting socks and towels in her speed? Or was she simply unable to make proper inventory in her emotional state? Something in her voice made me want to say, "I have extra towels! I have socks! You can have some!" It was that you could feel her desperation, and I found that for a moment my own desperation matched hers. Desperation to help her, to provide some sort of soft place for her unbelievably weighty words to fall. I suppose it's strange to divulge such things in a dollar store, but I think it takes bravery to be overtly vulnerable.

Tonight, we went to the seventh birthday party of my friend's little girl. While the kids were outside, one man said to me in a voice that made everyone turn and look: "Want to see my party icebreaker?" I said, "Sure!" And he showed me his left pinky finger, which was missing the top part right under the first knuckle. He continued to tell us the story of how it happened--only a month ago--complete with two gory cellphone pictures. He was not only cheerful, but completely matter-of-fact about it. (Which also made him fascinating to listen to, thereby establishing his "party icebreaker" as the most unusual and captivating I've ever experienced.) "At least I get $2,000 out of it, since it happened at work! Not bad for a pinky tip."

Monday, March 12, 2007

Am I rude?

I have never considered myself to be standoffish, or a hermit, or unsociable. But there's something that bugs me to no end, and it makes me wonder if I am just a little bit rude. Sometimes when Reed is playing outside, I come outside and sit on the patio and read. I figure that that's a clear signal that I'm reading--not up for talking, unless I initiate conversation, or if it's a short greeting. But there is that same person who doesn't seem to notice that I'm happily engrossed in my book, and that person always comes and tries to make conversation. I'm usually polite, responding with at least a chuckle or a "yeah". I simply sit in strained impatience until she leaves--fifteen minutes later. Perhaps she's lonely, but it happens every time I'm outside, even if there's someone else with whom she could talk. Which brings me to my two questions: Am I rude? Or do I need to be a little bit rude, just to establish that I don't prefer to talk when I'm reading? And that brings another question to mind: Is it bad that I sometimes go out on the patio with no intention to be social? I don't think going outside should come with a prerequisite of likability and enthralling conversation....but maybe I'm just being a little bristly? This little concern of mine extends beyond my little patio; small as this may seem, it makes me wonder if I sometimes go out into the world with the intention of being slightly repellent as a way of defense. I don't usually think of it that way, but sometimes I just don't feel that sociable, and don't want to pretend I am. Isn't it worse for me to pretend, rather than to just represent myself as I am? Definitely I'm overthinking this....

Saturday, March 10, 2007


What some women affectionately refer to as "nesting" has, for me, turned into a preoccupation of epic proportions. I could say I've been "organizing" every area of my house, but "attacking" would be a more appropriate word.

The hall closet was the first to experience my wrath. Out came an entire trash bag of forgotten odds and ends, expired medicines, lotions and potions with only half an inch left. In went lovely white bins, filled just to capacity, complete with labels on all visible sides. And what did The Nesting Monster do when she viewed her work? Commend herself for a job well done, an area set right and made accessible? No. The Nesting Monster fell asleep (at 1a.m.) thinking of which area she would attack tomorrow.

In about ten minutes, the file cabinet gets it. If paper could cry for help, my walls would vibrate with the sound.

Does this indicate a need for professional help, or is it simply evidence of the power of hormones? Or more specifically, the power of a tiny little being inside another, prompting the host to make way for something for which it's impossible to be fully prepared? A newborn only takes up about 20 inches of space, crown to toes. Why am I driven to move heaven and earth for her arrival? My, how we love our them fiercely, even before we've had the chance to touch their soft skin and feel their warm bodies in our arms.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


As I sat on the couch this morning, Reed and Jaxon stood behind me and ran their hands through my hair. Reed said he was "styling" my hair, and Jaxon just squealed--amazingly, he refrained from actually pulling my hair.

I used to pretend to wash my dad's hair. And I pretended to cut it. He was patient enough to let me do it for about ten minutes at a time, and he usually ended up with a "style" that looked like he'd had a really bad haircut where none of the pieces would lie down.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


We were in Ajo, Arizona, recently. It's close to Mexico, and pure desert. The air is clear and the sky is clear. The Joshua trees grow anywhere and everywhere, twisting and curling their rough arms into shapes that make beautiful contrast against a pink sunset night. The wind smells clean. And the little boys are brave. They're at home in their harsh surrounds, eager to pick up a tiny scorpion for my macro lens. But they're not unaware of the risks. They know all about them. "Rachel, this is a cholla cactus. Their needles are curved at the tips so that they stick in you better." (This from a ten-year-old boy.)
And Reed: "Mom, I saw a turantula! And it was WHITE! [Then, dreamily] I love Arizona. I can throw rocks at nothing when Dad says it's okay."

Obvious or subtle?

I'm wondering whether I will write myself better by fashioning my words in an obvious way, or leading one to conclusions through subtle weaving sentences. Do I write prettily, or do I sit down and simply stop when I've said It like It is? A mix of both would be suitable, I suppose.

I used to fill Mead notebooks with any thought that begged expression. Some entries were plain and simple, some were evocative and well-crafted. But each entry was honest, whether tactful or not. So maybe my concern shouldn't be how well I write, but how truthfully I write.

I haven't written this way--my filling-up-a-Mead-notebook way--for a long time. It's been necessary for a long time, though. So, whenever I feel like writing, whenever you feel like reading: See the wheels at work.

apple beads

While I sliced an apple, Reed closely observed the seeds falling out.
"Mom, why do apples have beads?"
-"They're not beads, sweetie. They're seeds."
"What kind of seeds? Lemon seeds?"