Libris 52

It started with an Amazon gift certificate.

It was a generous gift card. You can do a lot with the amount I received and so I went to my wish list to see what was there. Hmm…nothing. Christmas was pretty darn good to me. Then I thought “What do the girls need?”

The realization was not long in coming: this wasn’t their gift card. I didn’t need to spend a dime on them. Truthfully, they’re both well-stocked with books and toys (not to mention incredibly well-clothed); even if they weren’t, this was still meant to be for me. Just me. So what did I want?

I couldn’t think of anything…and that depressed me. Wait! Travel clothes! I always need those. Shoes and some lightweight dresses! A good start, but what else? And I remembered this: Santa (in the form of Tom) got me a Kindle Touch. I have no need for a Kindle Fire; just a simple black-and-white e-reader would suffice for me. Besides, with no graphics or fancy games, Maggie wouldn’t be trying to steal it from me. Great–let’s fill the Kindle.

When I was younger I used to read all the time. A paperback was constantly within my reach; I kept a few in my car and in my backpack. In Hawaii I tried to read like before, but with a little kid around sleep was more of a priority. For comfort and ease I re-read old favorites again and again. This was less like reading and more like eating mental potato chips–something mindless I could do in the tub to relax. I started to feel stale and out of touch. I didn’t need to read all the contemporary hits, but I needed something more than crafting blogs. My mind was slowly stagnating.

In an effort to expand my horizons and shake off the swamp water accumulating in the ever-smoothing wrinkles in my brain, I made a resolution: read 52 new books in 2012, shooting for one per week.

Here’s my progress so far:

  1. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
  2. Tim Gunn: A Guide To Taste, Quality, and Style by Tim Gunn
  3. The Misanthrope’s Guide to Life by Meg Rowland and Chris Turner-Neal
  4. Lies I Told My Children by Karen McQuestion
  5. Arrested Development and Philosophy: They’ve Made A Huge Mistake edited by Kristopher Phillips

In an effort to not spend any money I’m jumping into the public domain with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and starting on my Christmas gifts with Parenting Beyond Belief. I’m posting here to keep me honest; a project like this needs supporters (and recommendations!). Once I finish with the books I received for Christmas it’s my goal to not read anything else that relates to parenting, educational theory as it pertains to homeschooling, or life/home management guides until at LEAST June. I get enough of that from my blogs and I think it’s high time I reintroduce some juicy fiction in my life. I’m also not opposed to reading a few easy YA novels or some bodice-ripping romances in order to stockpile for a 4-5 week period in which I take on Infinite Jest. We shall see.

Cheer me on, y’all. It’s time to start cultivating some of those mind grapes (and speaking of “30 Rock,” I’ve already read Bossypants. SO AMAZING).


Little Wonder

let it slide, let your troubles fall behind you

Dear Moira. My last baby. Your first eight weeks of life have been some of the most remarkable weeks of mine. Parenting the second time around is so much easier; we aren’t convinced that every squeak means an ailment or that every false move is going to scar you for life. You seem to sense that confidence and respond with an easy, sweet manner that everyone can feel. Everyone who holds you agrees: you exude such calm that it can’t help but soothe anyone who cradles you.

I told people when your sister was born that Maggie was an easy baby; in a lot of ways she was. But she didn’t sleep well–didn’t nap easily, woke up three and four times a night until she was old enough to walk. But you? You sleep, and you sleep fantastically well. Getting you soothed enough to nap is usually just a matter of snuggling you close in the wrap. You fall asleep after a ten-minute meal at 4:30 in the morning–usually your only wakeup–and stay asleep until dawn starts to cast light over our room. It’s magical. So are you.

let it shine until you feel it all around you

You’re my little heat-seeking missile. For the first three weeks you slept wedged into my armpit; I didn’t sleep so well for fear I’d suffocate you, but there was no problem. We eventually eased you into your bed for most of the night but you generally sleep best wrapped in someone’s arms. We cuddle…and cuddle…and cuddle…and it’s wondrous.

and i don’t mind; if it’s me you need to turn to we’ll get by

It’s something of a relief that you sleep and cuddle so reliably. We’re able to go on outings without having to stop every half-hour to figure out a way to nurse. And you are a champion nurser–thirteen pounds already and filling out six-month clothes. Nursing isn’t quite like riding a bike; it’s more like doing a familiar dance with a new partner. There are idiosyncrasies to contend with and difficulties with second babies aren’t unheard of. Not you. When we put you to the breast it was more like “Stand back, Mom. I got this.” You latched like a champion the very first time and never looked back. Feeding you has been easy. It’s been a pleasure. We are so lucky, you and I. We’ll do this a long time.

it’s the heart that really matters in the end

I love that photo. All our hats for babies your age look delightfully goofy. I just put you in Maggie’s hats and call it good.

our lives are made in these small hours

these little wonders, these twists & turns of fate

Moira, I wrote before that I didn’t know how good life with a baby could be and I didn’t. It’s unfair to compare you to your sister; I brought my own neuroses and stressors into my early relationship with your sister and while I was a good mother to her, I was terrified. I’m not anymore. Now there’s only joy. You made me a better mother than I was; you made me better for you and for Maggie.

time falls away, but these small hours

My love, my little wonder. You make me laugh. You fill my arms with solid, perfect warmth. Your love smells like milky breath and looks like a cheek pressed against my arm and I ache when I have to give your father his turn. When I think I can’t love your sister any more, she looks at you and rushes to give you kisses and tuck you in with her special blanket so you’ll stay warm, and I think I’ll explode from the force of loving you both.

Most of all, sweet girl, you healed my heart. You fixed something in me that I didn’t know was broken. You gave me the confidence to keep moving forward and the knowledge that while it goes fast (it does, it goes by so fast) this time is still mine to enjoy. I can’t wait to see what comes next, my sweet love.

these small hours still remain

(italicized lines are lyrics from Rob Thomas’ “Little Wonders”)