Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nothing Like It

It is exhausting to be needed so much. Kian is in a phase right now where he wants me and only me (or Daddy, but no one other than us) all the time. He wants me to hold him, to play with him, to nurse him outside of our regular schedule, to neverleavehimforevenasecondeventopee I've read and heard all about separation anxiety, but until now he hasn't experienced it. It is intense to say the least. I hope it is short-lived. I love him more than anything in the world, no lie, but I'm still a very independent person, and it's overwhelming to be needed so much. On the other hand, though, he's changing so much and so quickly these days that if he wasn't so clingy I'd miss a lot of it!

He's really becoming much more aware of his environment. Loud, sudden noises startle him now, whereas before he'd hardly flinch at the sound of the dryer's all-done-buzz. Now his little eyes shoot wide open, his body jumps, and he works his short little legs and arms as fast as he can to get to me, anxiously grunting the whole way. I pick him up and soothe him. I show him what made the noise. I explain it as simply as I can, imitating the noise so he knows it is okay.

His pure, unadulterated fear and ignorance make my heart feel as though it's shattered and sprayed all over  the floor at his feet.

There is nothing like this love.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Animals, both Duck and Human

Travis, Kian and myself go for (pretty much) daily walks around our apartment complex. This morning on our walk we saw two of the Muscovy ducks (the ones with the bubbly red face masks) in a fierce fight for a female. I mean, this was epic. I've lived off and on in Florida for the majority of my life, and I've never seen a battle of this intensity before. We could hear the pounding of their thick, feathered bodies as they rammed into each other. At one point their necks were wrapped around each other in a violent embrace. I was pretty sure one of them was going to die until a man came and broke them up with a broom. This was all over a female duck, of course--mating rights, and all.       

(Not my picture; UF IFAS Extension)
Anyway, it was pretty amazing, and it was good timing, too. I have been thinking a lot about my  animality (I think I just made up a word!). Not metaphorically, but literally. Humans belong to the Kingdom Animalia. 

We are animals.

I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with this fact and so choose to ignore it, but I find it comforting; I embrace it. What I struggle with, though, is the fact that the entire culture of my upbringing and present residency does everything it can to rip me away from this truth. I often daydream about moving to the country or living in the woods. Sometimes, when I am feeling particularly cynical, grim, depressed, or otherwise trying to extrapolate the effects of our cultural paradigm into the future, I think about the end of the world. That might sound extreme, then again, it might sound completely reasonable. The way I see it (and I know I'm not alone) is that our collective forgetting of this one simple truth has created an entire set of beliefs, which in turn has lead to a habit of living that is incredibly destructive and sick. You all know what I'm talking about here, I don't think I have to name these habits.    

There are some really wonderful books out there for people who are interested in reading more about this/these subject(s), and related ones. Here's a list of favorites:

Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn (or really anything by him, but I strongly suggest starting with this book)
The Origin of Humankind, by Richard Leakey
Becoming Animal, by David Abram
Annals of the Former World, by John McPhee (for a taste of how massive and powerful Earth is)
The Lorax, by Dr.Seuss

I could keep going, but I think that is a good start. Try the local library, or, if you are in the buying mood, might I suggest a local bookstore rather than (not that I haven't spent my fair share of money at Amazon...)? 

Back to my thoughts this morning, though. I realized that I shouldn't be wasting too much energy on these daydreams, because they get me nowhere. Thinking about how wonderful it would be to live in the mountains does nothing to help me establish habits that are aligned with my inner values now. I struggle with finding ways to live the way I want to in such a densely populated, urban environment as Pinellas County, Florida. According to the Pinellas County website there are 3,274 people per square mile here. That's insane if you ask me, and it makes certain things quite difficult. Most recently I've been thinking about adding foraged food to our diets, but there's not a lot of good, relatively clean, undeveloped land here to look for edibles, and the places that I would trust to not be sprayed with pesticides aren't close enough to walk to in a reasonable amount of time. That doesn't mean there aren't other ways to align my outer actions with my inner beliefs though, it just might take a bit more ingenuity here than in other places.

Really, I could talk and talk and talk (or, more accurately, type and type and type) about this subject, but alas, non-blogging life awaits. 

Until next time.

This was at Eagle Lake Park

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tarot, and Other News

So, lately I've been re-familiarizing myself with my tarot cards. I greatly enjoy the tarot; it is such a unique and special tool for personal growth when used with intention and critical thinking. I'm still a novice by far, partly because I spent several years ignoring my cards because they told me something about myself that I didn't really want to know, and this experience led to some very painful choices. I'm also a novice because the more I've been working with them, the more I realize how much potential is there, and the more I see that I've only barely begun to scratch the surface. I originally bought this deck about seven years ago, excited by the prospect of predicting the future. Well, I've found that I'm no psychic; I can't tell the future. What I can tell, with a little direction and a clear head, is what sort of patterns and archetypes are currently populating my life. (It's almost like a version of the 4th or 10th Step, for those of you in recovery who may be reading.) The imagery and the meanings found in various books, added to my own intuition and interpretations of the cards tell me a great deal about myself and the situations I find myself in. It also helps me figure out the most fruitful and productive ways of dealing with things. And (just like recovery) I don't have to, nor do I always, take the road the cards would have me take. I usually regret it. I've also been practicing readings for other people, so if anyone is itching for a reading, just let me know!

My deck in its little bag, along with a couple of books and my  Tarot journal

On another note, last night was night number two of night weaning, and Kian (my son, for those of you who may not know) only woke up twice! I got more sleep last night than I have in a very long time. This morning I feel bouncy and refreshed. I'm glad we made the decision to do this now, and not put it off any longer. I know lots of parents probably think we are crazy for waiting this long (he will be a year old in less than a month), but I'm okay with it.

Here's one reason I'm very glad that I decided to exclusively breast feed, and still breast feed my son (and I'm oh so grateful for Travis' unfailing support in this area):

Love to you, friends.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

First, let me say this: I love my life. I really do. I love all of it, the good, the awe-inspiring, the horrible and the gruesome. Every moment has served to shape me into who I am today. And, if I'm lucky, the rest of my life from the sublime to the wretched will continue to define and refine who I am. This is a beautiful process.

But there are days, weeks, even months or years where I don't remember this. The last couple of weeks have been some of those forgetful weeks. I gave birth to my son March 10, 2011, and, as every new mother or involved parent knows, I haven't slept decently since. In fact, I haven't slept more than a three hour stretch at a time since midway through my pregnancy. That makes 16 months easy, that I haven't had a good night's sleep. Then, as if that isn't enough stress, I have also been in the process of completing my Associates degree (some would say I'm an academic late bloomer, I would say any earlier and I would've blown it), and headed towards my BA (and someday my Ph.D!). I haven't taken one semester off all through my pregnancy, giving birth, and raising a tiny infant into a healthy, curious 11 month old. And on top of that, I've made only 3 B's that whole time! I'm a damn hard worker. Of course there are aspects of my life that have suffered; I'm not a machine.

Well, my poor brain has decided to revolt. And my emotions. I've come unhinged internally and have spent the last three weeks attempting to keep myself from being completely destroyed by extreme alienation, violent depression, and uncontrollable anger. It has been terrible for not only me, but my partner as well. Luckily I've been able to shield my son from the majority of it, and this morning it doesn't seem so threatening, but I know that the only way to keep from imploding is to find some solutions, and quickly!

The biggest component of the larger solution is sleep. Blissful, drool-laden, uninterrupted SLEEP. This means night-weaning. And if night weaning doesn't help, it means, sadly, going from a family bed to my son sleeping in a crib in our room. I don't want to take him out of the bed, but an unstable Mommy isn't an involved, caring, supportive Mommy. So as of this Wednesday night, I will be sleeping on the couch, and baby will be lovingly comforted back to sleep during normal nursing times by Daddy. Wish us luck!