The Only Thing You’ll Ever Need on Your Baby Registry

Today we celebrate a very important piece of equipment that every person should also know the location of, yet it is something I rarely see on baby shower registries.  This baffles me as this particular is so useful.  It cleans.  It comforts.  It entertains.  It has a million and one uses.

So I ask Mothers everywhere this very important question….

Towels, one of the singular most important items you can ask for on a baby registry.

Baby just made a huge mess out of one of it’s ends?  Always know where your towel is.

All the blankets in the wash?  Always know where your towel is.

Have an immediate need to make mountains or other landscape-esque features for someones toy car collection?  Always know where your towel is.

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble‐sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand‐to‐hand‐combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindbogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
(That all sounds like a regular day with a toddler to me)

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might have accidentally “lost.”. What the strag will think is that any man that can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still know where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.” – Douglas Adams, A Hitchhikers Guide to the Glaxay
  (Surviving a Playdate 101)

I’m not kidding when I say that after 3 whopping years of motherhood I always throw in a towel or two (or at least a stack of washcloths) to any new baby gift I give.  To paraphrase Mr. Adams,

“Any woman who can deal with a baby through the length and breadth of Parenthood, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still know where her towel is, is clearly a woman to be reckoned with.”

Now if only motherhood came printed with the words “Don’t Panic” written in large friendly letters on its cover.

Mos Def has your back.

Happy Towel Day everyone.  =D

Just Hoping…

Over the last few months there have been some excellent posts challenging readers to rethink the phrase so many of us throw out in regards to our new babies, “As long as it’s healthy.”  I love Kendra’s and Sarah’s posts – they’re challenge notions about life, health and worthiness of it all.  These are messages that need to be heard and the stories are, while full of their own struggles and sometimes heartache, beautiful.  The children they share about, like so many, are so amazing and happy even though many in this world would pigeonhole them into preconceived notions relating “health” and happiness.

I struggle with this though.  As my friends here know we’re experienced two miscarriages in the last year.  Around this time last year I had a gut feeling that something was wrong with my second pregnancy.  I spent the night before my first ultrasound worrying about things like spina bifida and a whole host of problems I could and couldn’t control.  I knew, deep in my soul, that something was wrong, but I wasn’t prepared for the big black hole I saw on the ultrasound screen the next day.

Those things that kept me up that night last May no longer worry me as much, yet I still find myself saying “As long as it’s healthy” when I think of the next time I might see a positive pregnancy test. 

When I say this I’m not really talking about health.  I think “health” is relative and that you can a have “healthy” baby who happens to have chromosomal, genetic or any other type of health related issue.  I don’t mean that I’ll only love and accept a baby who can walk, talk and grow along the most normal of charts.  I don’t mean that I’ll only love a child who is statistically more likely to give me grandchildren, live to at least seventy-two years of age or run regular ultra-marathons.  I know that the way others perceive my children’s health does not affect my knowledge of their inherent value and dignity just for being the person they are.  But, at this point in my life when I say “healthy” I really mean “living”.

There’s no good way to really say “As long as it’s living” to someone who doesn’t know your history, or to whom you don’t want to spill every painful, bloody and emotional detail of your experience.  We once tried to joke with a receptionist that we were “Just hoping for human” when asked “What are you hoping for?” and I still believe that women thinks we were cult members.  I can’t imagine her reaction to the answer in my heart now “Just hoping for living” or “Just hoping this one is big enough for a physical body so I’ll have at least one picture” or “Just hoping to hold him, just once”.  

That’s where I am right now.  I can’t figure out a way to answer those questions the way I want.  I wish I knew what else to say that could be honest, but not completely vulnerable.  I’m not ready to say something altruistic like “He already exists so we’re happy”, not right now.  So friends, for now,  I’ll stick with “Just hoping for healthy” and  I know you’ll understand what I mean.

The Vegetable Season

Potatoes making their apperance

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Swiss Chard adding a pop of color.

Raspberry Canes making a comeback this year, with lots of little shoots for next year.  Yes, I need to weed…. again.

The onion experiment (bulbs and bundles) both doing well.

These are growing along the white fence by the raspberries, never seen them before.  Bleeding Hearts?

Peonies ready to pop.  We sacrificed a bunch of them for the big garden bed last fall, but we’ll still have plenty to pretty things up.
Succulents to add a little color to the front of the house.
An early anniversary gift.  A Hydrangea (our wedding flower) bush for the front of the house.  I’m excited to treat it so I will have blue Hydrangea flowers every year for my anniversary.

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone a little this year and starting to add non-edible plants to my digging lists this year.  It’s time to start focusing on making this place a little more easy on the eyes, but it’s a challenge because I have a strong practical streak and the idea of spending lots of time just on flowers is a bit baffling.  Hence the perennial bushes and succulents which make promises not to need much of my time.

I feel like that comes through in my day to day life, too.  It’s the vegetable season of my life – one where I need to focus on the practical more than the pretty.  It’s the time to worry about getting things clean, but not to worry if they match.  To get things done without worrying if the final result is aesthetically pleasing.  I think it comes with the territory of having young kids – it’s the time for cultivating these little minds and bodies.  The decoration stage comes later, a finishing touch once the deep digging and hard work is over.  Of course, I’m not sure it’s ever over.

One is Silver and the Other is Gold

 “Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.”

Did anyone else sing that song about friends in Girl Scouts or other activities growing up?  I always loved that little rhyme.  Making friends was not my strong suit growing up – what friends I had were always very special too me, often hard own and hard kept.  I wish I could say that has changed in adulthood, but some idiosyncrasies stay with us for a long time.

Recently there has been a lot of chatter about online friends and social media.  Many people are quick to proclaim that these relationships are shallow or self serving, perhaps even that there’s no way an online friendship can really be genuine.

Now I’m often one of the first decrying our time spent staring at screens instead of engaging with each other.  Just the other night my husband and I were at our favorite sushi place which is notorious for having a table of 4+, early 20 somethings sitting around eating while solely engaged in their smartphones or tablets.  In fact, as much as we’d like the technology ourselves we currently elect to keep those gadgets out of our lives in fear of turning into screen zombies.

But then there are our online communities.  My husband has his regular RPG gaming sessions with friends both known in real life and not.  Many of his friends do not live nearby and this gives them a chance to continue playing the games they enjoy with each other (often with more than one little kid or wife talking in the background).  I have my “blog friends” who I communicate with via this blog, email, top secret (wink, wink) Facebook groups and even the occasional webcam chat.  I have groups via Facebook that allow me to connect with Moms in town and stay in touch with friends across the country.

I can’t tell you which is better – those hard won “real life” friends or the selective group of women who make up my Facebook inner sanctum.  As the rhyme tells me – one is silver and the other is gold.  I love my long time “real life” friends who remember the days together as awkward teenagers, or the ones who can fill in those hazy college memories.  I love when Facebook allows me to connect with an acquaintance as we grow into motherhood forming a lovely and stronger relationship than we had in college as we mature and grow.  I love that I can find moms in town to break the monotony of our days and have playground dates, but not have to stress over hoping that we’ll really connect over every little thing.  I love that can be selective in my online friends – finding a small group of women across the continent who are just what I need at this point in my life.

I love that I don’t have to bore my childless friends with stories they really aren’t interested in, but we can still talk about what we still have in common.  That I can ask that mom with a few more years (or kids) worth of experience a tricky questions.  It’s okay that not everyone might share my taste in books or my love of Doctor Who.  I can enjoy my time with my childfree friends that much more knowing that there’s someone else, “real” or “online” who will ooh and ahh over the toddler picture or really know what to say over the parenting woe.  That I can pick and choose who hears my joys or concerns and I can be selective and focus on sharing what only makes that particular friendship stronger.

It’s not about picking one over the other – it’s about using it all wisely. It’s about picking people in your life who support you and build you up as a person, whether they live down the road or across the country.  So moms, don’t worry if you secretly love Facebook, we do too.

Linking up with the blog carnival over at Carrots for Michaelmas.

Sister Knits

I’ve been sitting on these pictures for a couple week now.  Had to make sure they had arrived at their final destination before sharing them.  I made these two sweaters for Elizabeth’s little girls.  Now don’t be too jealous, I started them last year and had about 5 finish-by dates come and go in the meantime.  They were a lot of fun to do though.

The light purple is the Lila{c}loud pattern.

The dark purple is the Little Ancolie pattern.