Saturday, May 07, 2005

Baby Yogini

Today at the playground there were two girls about eight years old who were mesmerized by Genny. They sat next to us on the blacktop and smiled and waved at Gen, who was clucking and honking like a goose; she just loved all the attention.

Back at home, Genny showed off one of her new skills—putting toys into boxes as opposed to only scooping toys out and tossing them aside. She seems to be learning all these similar concepts at once: in and out, open and close and on and off. Her bedroom door gets pushed and pulled and inspected. Genny even learned how to put her baby doll in the wooden cradle and cover her with a sheet.

Now that Genny is becoming more conscious of the world and how things work, I am finding more enjoyment in playing with her. Watching her repeat an action over and over, improving in great bounds with each try is really awe-inspiring.

I have a great desire to be able to go back in time and experience this feeling for myself. Perhaps I should take up a brand new hobby, something that I have no knowledge of at all, so that I can remember what that discovery rush is like.

It’s hard to imagine what it must be like to go through an entire day with that experience of everything being new everywhere you turn. To be mesmerized by each odd person sauntering by. To be thrilled when a stranger returns your wave hello. To be astonished when by sliding your hands and feet back and forth you are able to move from one room to the next.

Genny lives so fully in each moment. No thought for the past or the future. She is a true yogini.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Sheila Who?

Making time for reading every night has helped my brain feel more active. For quite awhile there, I was barely reading any books that didn’t have pictures.

I’m reading the memoir “Slow Motion” by Dani Shapiro right now. I’m finding many parallels between her chaotic young life and my own. As I read about her affair with Lenny Klein, I am reminded of a few of my ex-boyfriends. I find my mind writhing in discomfort as I recognize my own youthful experiences of romantic relationships.

It’s releasing to close my eyes and think of Nick. We are rapidly approaching our wedding date. Never before have I felt so confident in a relationship and its ability to stand through our lives. I experience a deep sense of stillness and quiet when I contemplate our future together.

I do need to decide about my name. Will I change it to Nick’s name or hold on to my own? Or make some kind of combination? I would like to have the same last name as my husband and my daughter, but at the same time I do not want to give up my identity that I associate so closely to my own surname.

Genevieve is crying now. I am not sure whether I will nurse her or not. I think I will just try cradling her. Slowly rocking her in my arms. My back is hurting though. And I am so tired once again.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

More Than Mom

It is time for me to start my own life up again. I am ready to do this. I know that it isn’t going to be easy and that I am not going to be able to be perfect in everything I do, but I am going to get started.

I do not want to be or have to be the perfect mother, teacher and writer. I am a good mother, teacher and writer. This will be enough for me. I accept that I cannot perform perfectly at all times in all roles.

I will cut myself some slack. Just because I have always felt the need to be perfect at everything I do does not mean I cannot change my mind today. Perhaps the key to my long-term depression is that deep down I am always expecting perfection of myself, but never attaining it. I will work to quiet this conflict within me.

I will still be a mom even if I work outside the home more than I do now. I am not doing anything wrong by needing more in my life besides raising Genevieve. By taking care of my own creative needs I will be modeling how to be a strong and loving woman and mother.

So, there it is. Let me be more than just a mom.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


I tried to do too much today and it fizzled out my brain.

Genevieve ate five small meals. We took a trip into the city on the subway. I did laundry. I washed dishes and the floor surrounding Genny’s highchair five times. I went grocery shopping. I made lunch and dinner. I watched “American Idol”.

I sit back on the futon, my eyes barely fluttering open and I realize I have nothing creative to show for this exhausting day. Nick pointed out how important it is taking care of Genny. I know this; I do, but childrearing just doesn’t feel very satisfying.

There was an article on the other day about how much salary moms would make if it was a paid position—it was over $100k. Seeing this doesn’t make me feel any better about my role.

I’ve got to shake out of this funk and get inspired and working again, but without burning myself out. There’s got to be a way to balance it all.

Sure, Sheila, billions of women before you have tried balancing all the roles and not succeeded, but somehow you think you’ll be able to do it?

I need to come to terms with my current life situation and accept it. Acceptance must be the key I am missing, or at least it’s a possibility.

Tomorrow, I work on acceptance. Tonight, I sleep.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Cookie Monster

When there are cookies in the cupboard I have a hard time not eating them all at once. I know they are there and it would be so easy to stroll over to them and place them in my mouth.

I found myself sneaking a cookie behind Genny’s back today. We are holding her off of sweets for as long as possible. I do feel slightly guilty eating something that I don’t want her to have. Of course, I don’t want her to drink coffee, but yet I still drink that.

And now I am thinking of the cookies again.

I am lucky enough to not have gained weight after my pregnancy. In fact, I had to dig through my old clothes to find smaller jeans because I have actually lost a bit of weight. I wonder how many cookies I would need to eat to fit in my bigger jeans.

This all seems like a bunch of hooey tonight. I feel like I’m avoiding important things. I feel too exhausted tonight to deal with real issues, hence the cookie talk.

I guess I’m feeling a bit dragged-down depressed, but I am trying very hard to ignore it and hope it goes away. I think I need a good night’s sleep and I will feel more rational in the morning.

And at least I didn’t eat all the cookies; there are still two left.

Monday, May 02, 2005


Walking home in the rain with my friend tonight, I realized that the trees budded the same week that Genny learned to crawl. Julie and I had paused outside my apartment building; I looked up at the baby green maple leaves glistening in the streetlight and noticed their startling growth.

Genevieve’s crawling skill has grown just as rapidly. She went from the smallest tentative crawls to choo-chooing down the entire hallway. I wonder if I have the patience to sit and watch a leaf grow; I wonder if I have the patience to sit and watch Genny improve her crawling technique.

I imagine when the leaves are fully-grown that Genny will be walking.

What will she be doing when the leaves' colors are fading?

And when the leaves are falling, which new skills will Genny be rising to?

If I were to link my own growth to the seasons, where would I be right now? What aspect of myself is budding right now? Perhaps my commitment to writing this blog mirrors the season. I have begun anew from where I stand. I so often hold off on starting things until the time is right, but then, of course, the time never ripens. I didn’t wait when I felt the drive this time. I allowed myself to spring forth and not hold back.

And now the summer hovers warmly just around the block.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Hum

Genevieve visited her grandpa in New Jersey today. It’s such a joy to spend time with Genny and other family members. I am released of the entire responsibility of keeping her stimulated and enjoying her day.

Nick, Genny and I strolled along the country road picking forsythia and big, bushy pink flowers. Nick pointed out where there used to be cornfields, but now there are big, modern homes with three-car garages.

Genevieve tried pork chops and hummed the whole time. She touched prickly shells. She warmed up to Grandpa, as she always does with people she only sees once in a while, as the day wore on.

I imagine Grandparents were a more important part of raising children when families lived closer together. Moms were freed up to pursue other goals besides motherhood.

I would love to live near our families—be able to just hop in the minivan and see my mom and dad in five minutes. If we actually did live in the country though, I am sure I would miss the city: the playgrounds filled with playmates for Genny, Starbucks on every corner, a diverse population and museums.

Yes, Starbucks did get mentioned before museums, but expensive decaf coffee isn’t such a bad addiction. Now, if they’d only open a Starbucks in Jackson Heights, there would be happy mommies humming all along the streets.