Hi Ho Hi Ho

30 11 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I wish I could say that it’s because I’ve been busy celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday and being thankful for everything in my life.  But that’s not true, unfortunately. I mean I have been thankful and thought a lot about what I am thankful for. And, I do plan on finishing the declarations of thanks I started last week. However, the point is that I spent the entire weekend working, with a little family time thrown in here and there, and I’m really unhappy about it. That is, with the working, not the family time.

In the current economy, I am certainly grateful to have a job that pays me a paycheck that pays my bills and allows me to buy my daughter some nice things here and there. Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful, and I am not whining. But allow me to whine just a little. I actually like what I do. For a long time, my career was the most important thing to me. In fact, my career was the most important thing to me next to my brand-spanking new marriage about 6 years ago when I first started my job at Blackboard. So, it shouldn’t surprise me that since my current boss was also my boss at Blackboard, he might expect the same undying devotion to my job.

Well, I can tell you that devotion no longer exists. I still love what I do, but I love Azita more. And, when I spend a four-day weekend that is supposed to be about thankfulness and family and friends working until 2am while my daughter cries for my attention, I start to get pretty damn annoyed with what I do. Heck, I start to get pretty angry. I’m angry that my boss expects me to ignore my daughter and work nearly 24 hours a day just to make a minute dent in my workload. I’m mostly angry that I just did it. I should have explained it wouldn’t be possible and that my family comes first.

But I didn’t. I didn’t because I’m afraid that I’ll lose my job if I don’t lose myself to it. It’s an irrational fear at first glance, but it really isn’t if you live in the D.C. area where nearly everyone is married to their jobs. It’s easy to look at the employment landscape and to fear that unless you also give your job everything you have, including a relationship with your daughter, that you won’t be able to continue earning.

I have to say that this is one reason it is becoming more and more tempting for me to get up and move somewhere where life is a little slower and family is a little more important. For now, I’m off to the mines every weekday morning, but I need a change. Azita needs me to change, and I’ve decided that I need to start taking the steps I need to take to make that change happen.

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Crossing my Fingers and Knocking on Wood

19 11 2009

I believe in science and mathematics. If I have a question about why something is the way it is, I know science holds the answer. I’ll admit that I have a problem with faith in that I need a scientific explanation for everything, and I’ve just never been able to reconcile faith and science.  I’m definitely not the superstitious type.

So explain to me why motherhood has completely knocked the pragmatism out of me? Explain to me why I actually really believe that if Azita eats breakfast one morning when I happen to be wearing my blue pajamas with the red apples on them and I’m holding a squeaky toy with my left hand, then the way to get her to eat breakfast the next day is to wear the same pajamas and hold the same squeaky toy. With my left hand. At the same exact time as the day before.

Why has parenthood made me so superstitious? I really think it’s the desperation of being so utterly out of control over just about everything in your life just about every day of your life. Especially when it comes to getting Azita to eat or sleep or do any of the other things that, you know, keep humans, specifically my little human, alive.  It’s not that I really believe that any of these superstitious rituals will work. It’s just that it’s 11:30 on a Monday night, and I really, really need Azita to fall asleep so I can go to bed because I have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning tomorrow damn it. Or maybe Azita has refused to eat anything for 3 days, and I just know that next time she goes to the doctor they’ll tell me she actually lost weight and somehow grew shorter. Or Azita will not let me buckle her in to her car seat and I’m late for work but I obviously can’t drive her to daycare until she is safely protected against all the crazy drivers out there. Or she’s doing any of the fifty other things she does that I fear will damage her for life, and there is nothing I can do to make her stop.

I read the books. Books based on science. I know all of these things are completely normal. I know how to handle most of them, and I know that sometimes just riding these situations out is the only way to handle them. Still, what I wouldn’t give for some kind of ritual that would actually get Azita to eat or sleep.





Golden Slumbers

22 10 2009

I seriously could watch Azita sleep all night.  Her eyelashes seem impossibly long, creating a feathery shadow on her cheek. Her eyebrows furrow a little as if she is concentrating deeply. Her mouth opens ever so slightly in a dainty pout, which also puffs her cheeks out just enough to create the most beautiful curves and shadows on her face.  I haven’t seen many things that I find more beautiful. Don’t believe me?

I present Exhibit A:

9Months 047

I mean, look at that mouth:

9Months 051

And if you think her head is spectacular, check out her feet:

9Months 034

Yup. I love her from her head to her toes.





Iron and Oil

15 10 2009

Azita had her 9-month well baby visit on Monday. I went in to this appointment fully expecting the doctor to say she’s growing really well and oh look, she’s crawling and cruising and doing all sorts of other things a little ahead of schedule. Great!

Well, things didn’t turn out so great. I mean, true, Azita is hitting all her milestones ahead of schedule. But, I’ll admit that it took me by surprise when I found out that Azita had gained just under a pound total in the past three months and has suddenly dropped from the 50th percentile in weight to the 10-25th percentile in weight within such a short time. Honestly, I’m still reeling a little from all of this. What did I do wrong?

I know Azita has been a bit finicky lately. She usually refuses food and sometimes refuses a bottle. I just didn’t know she wasn’t gaining weight. But now that I think about it, it should have struck me as a little weird that the newest member of her daycare — a 4 month old — is bigger than her.  And that’s where the guilt is really coming from.  How could I not notice this?

In the end it’s not really that big of a deal. I’m adding some formula powder and a little bit of oil to all of Azita’s food, and I’m taking the 45 minutes it takes for every meal to make sure she actually eats something. Really, it does take that long. She is a master of elusion, this one. So, I know she will be ok, and I’ll pay a little more attention to her growth from now on.

But then last night I come home to a message from her doctor. It turns out Azita’s CBC on Monday wasn’t normal either. My baby is anemic. Seriously. What happened to the doctor’s appointments where she got her vaccines and the doctor checked off all the good boxes? I know that anemia can be serious, but I also know that it isn’t really a huge deal if you treat it. After all, I was also anemic as a baby, and I grew up to be perfectly healthy.

It’s just that now I have to spend my days trying to get my baby girl to ingest iron and oil. Not exactly what I thought I’d be doing at this stage of her life. Boo hoo. Woe is me.

But enough whining already.  She’ll be all right, and it’s worth it. I mean, I get to come home to this every day:

Azita_playpen





Elizabeth Mitchell Saves Our World

13 10 2009

This past weekend I had one of those moments where I felt like there would never be a time in my life where I wasn’t suffering a setback.  I’ve had a lot of good times in my life, but like just about everyone else I’ve had a lot of bad times too.  Lately I’ve been thinking that things are so great. Then last Saturday morning happens, and it was clear that Roger and I had another major setback in our journey towards our goals. It sucked. It really really sucked all kinds of unsavory things, and I’ll admit that I cried.

And I felt really down and sorry for myself. Down enough so that we canceled all our plans for Saturday, and instead we did the one thing that usually makes us feel better when life isn’t going our way — worked really hard. We cleared out our storage unit. We did loads and loads of laundry. We cooked. We cleaned. We rolled our sleeves up and exhausted ourselves, but I still stayed up all night worrying myself awake.

Then Sunday rolled around. We had tickets to take Azita to her first show — Elizabeth Mitchell live at Jammin Java. Azita loves Elizabeth Mitchell. While she can’t really voice her musical preferences yet, I assume she loves her because whenever she’s crying we just need to pop in some Elizabeth Mitchell and she’s suddenly smiling and cooing. The sudden turnaround is really miraculous actually. Turns out that a little Elizabeth Mitchell is good for Azita’s parents also.

As we sat there at Jammin Java worrying about life as we waited for the show to start, kids were running up and down the aisles. They were laughing and screaming and crying and singing, and Azita stared in wonder. Her head flipped back and forth trying to take it all in. Her eyes were giant saucers. Her mouth was fixed in a big grin. She giggled. She cooed. She shrieked with delight. And then  Elizabeth Mitchell got on stage and started singing.

And Azita began to wave her hands and smack them on her leg to the beat of the music. It was then that I knew it would all be ok. There really are few things that can be a setback now. Azita is in my life, and that means that I will always be exactly where I want to be.





Sick daze

6 10 2009

I’m horrible at being sick. I’m like an old smelly dog. I walk slowly, I growl a lot at anyone who comes close, I like to be in the corner alone and far away from people — even those who only want to take care of me.
This worked out perfectly for me in my darker days — also known as bachelorhood. No one was around. No one tried to “comfort” me or “help” me or “bring” me food, and that was OK by me. No one got growled at and no one got bitten.

Then I met Zahra and the whole thing went to hell. She wanted to take care of me and for some strange-to-me reason, I didn’t mind it so much. I occasionally growled at her. I certainly barked at her enough to warrant many a punch in the face. But I let down some of my guard and allowed her to, dare I say it, care for me.

Flash forward seven or so years and I look at my daughter. She’s sick today. She has been for almost three days now. I know she’s in pain. But she’s a fighter. I know because she laughs before it hurts and then she cries a little before laughing again. But the cries break your heart. I find myself holding her close and crying a little to see if my tears won’t take some of her pain away.

Then I wonder if she will let me take care of her when she is sick — and is old enough to bark at me.





My Poor Baby

6 10 2009

What started off as a beyond pleasant Saturday turned into a heartbreaking couple days this past weekend. Azita was refusing to eat on Saturday, and I just chalked it up to her usual finickiness with food (a regular occurrence as of late). But then the moaning started. It was the most pitiful sound. Imagine dying soldier on the battlefield in a Civil War movie, but coming out of a little baby with a pacifier in her mouth. That’s when I noticed that she was really hot and flushed. Sure enough, she had a fever, one that has steadily hovered at around 103-103.5 for the past few days. A trip to the doctor turned up nothing. She was given the catch-all diagnosis — a virus — and the usual prognosis — it’ll go away on its own. But, there’s no denying it, she’s still sick. And, the moaning. It’s still there, and it’s killing me.

Leaving her at daycare this morning was so heart-wrenching. It felt like a slightly less intense version of her first day at daycare. I won’t deny that I was on the verge of tears for much of the drive into work. I feel pretty sure that my heart may rend into two if she doesn’t start feeling better soon. When it comes down to it, though, it’s really not so bad. She has a fever, and she’ll get through this. I can’t help thinking of all those parents out there with really ill children who won’t get through it or will at least have a much tougher time doing so. Babies with illnesses serious enough to warrant hospitalization. I can’t imagine what they are going through, what they have to see their babies go through, the moaning they have to hear. It’s enough to break me out of my funk and make me thankful.