Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Best Accessory

Dear Delilah,

I happen to think your daddy looks good in everything he wears, but he never looks better than when he's wearing you:

You were quite a hit helping him out at work! "Family Friendly" is a hot buzzword when it comes to employers, but the music store that Daddy works for truly lives up to its "Family Friendly" promise! All parents should be so lucky to work for locally owned family businesses who are as flexible and who genuinely embrace their employees' entire families the way they do!



If you like this blog, and haven't already done so, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs. Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thank Goodness for Coffee and Prunes

Dear Delilah,

Between the holiday celebrations last weekend and your Aunt Nay-Nay's wedding this weekend, we are in the midst of what is by far the busiest 10 days we've had in your life. Overall, you've been handling it flawlessly. Your routine has been re-arranged and interrupted on a near daily basis. We've needed to get ready for a church service, keep you up way past your bed time opening gifts at Grandma Bev & Grandpa Rudy's, travel to Grandma Laurel & Grandpa Bruce's, travel back home again, and decorate a reception hall. Today you'll go visit Daddy at work for an hour while I get my split-ends and eyebrows tamed. (Should I admit that I have a mustache on the wide open Internet? I guess I just did, huh?) Tomorrow there will be a rehearsal and another "up past your bedtime" night at Grandma Bev's.

Then Friday, which stands to be the busiest of them all, I am certain you will be the most precious and adorable little flower girl who was ever pulled down an aisle. If we can get you to keep your headband on. And not throw your pretty little flower girl ring I made for you. And keep you in the wagon while you make your way down the aisle. Thankfully, you quite like your wagon:

I couldn't be prouder or more impressed with how you've handled all the chaos so far. You've napped earlier and later than usual with little fuss. You've willingly gone into the arms of virtual strangers so I could free up my hands for things needing done. You've smiled and babbled and kissed and hugged and remained calm and pleasant through it all.

Honestly, you're handling it all better than your mama! I've succumbed a bit to the stress. I've lost some patience. I've lost some sleep, despite the fact that you've been sleeping better than ever. I've been sucking down coffee like it's going out of style. As I write this, you're taking a (far earlier than normal, since I have that mustache to take care of) nap while I sip a cup of the chocolate raspberry coffee that your Grandma Laurel sent with us. Thank goodness I heard her offer it, because your father's reaction to chocolate raspberry coffee was "Ewwww, GROSS".

Your slightly shorter fuse these days is noticeable only to me and your father. Your tiny bit of extra clinginess is mistaken for extra snuggles and warmly welcomed. The only real problem, and yes, I'm going there, is that you've been a bit backed up. I think I've managed to avoid discussing your poop until just now. I think that makes this officially a "mommy blog" as of this moment. I won't go into much detail, except to say that you've had a rough go of it (HA HA HA!). I came home from the store yesterday armed with apple juice, prune juice, apricots, pears, and pureed prunes. You want nothing to do with any of it. You want your bananas and cheese, darn it!

Dear girl, if we're going to keep up your pleasant demeanor over the course of the next few chaotic days, we need to get things moving smoothly (HA HA HA!). Eat the prunes, sweetie. Eat the prunes. You'll be glad you did.



If you like this blog, and haven't already done so, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs. Thanks for your support!

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year's Resolutions from Outside the Box

Dear Delilah,

Each year, as the calendar turns from December to January, greeting a new year and leaving one behind, millions of people make "New Year's Resolutions". Typically, they resolve to improve themselves or their lives in some fashion. Popular themes for resolutions include health (losing weight, exercising more, drinking less, quitting smoking), finances (spending less, saving more, developing and/or sticking to a budget, changing careers), and organization (better time management, minimizing clutter, devising a filing system).

These are all worthy endeavors, and I could stand to commit to a few of them myself. Some of my own goals include losing the rest of what I can hardly continue to refer to as "baby weight" now that you are looking more and more like a toddler with each passing day, improving my horrible posture, and wasting less time on the Internet. (Note to self: Exercising more has the potential to contribute to achieving success in all three, while appeasing the multi-tasker in me!)

I got to thinking about how every January, I make a resolution or two, and how by every February, I've forgotten what exactly it was I set out to accomplish or why. I got to thinking about how my resolutions are almost always selfish, benefiting only me and doing little for the world around me. I got to thinking that I should do something about that, and wondered if I might be able to encourage others to due the same.

I'm still going to work on getting to a healthier weight, standing up straighter, and frittering away fewer hours on facebook. I can do more. And if you're reading this, so can you. Will you?

Go ahead and quit smoking, count calories, save your pennies, do whatever you feel compelled to do to become a better version of yourself. But don't stop there. Can you resolve to do one thing, even a small thing, to benefit the world around you? Something that helps the environment, or your community, or a group of people, or an important cause?

Readers, can you join me in spreading this challenge, and talking about it, and making it a topic of conversation in your little corner of the Internet? Let's do this together. Do you smell a blogshare?

Here's how it works:

  1. Spread the word. Point your friends, fans, and followers to this post, and let them know that you plan on participating. Encourage them to join you. The more, the merrier!
  2. Write a Blog Post between now and Sunday January 2, 2011 about a resolution you plan to make that makes the world (even just a small part of it!) a better place. The point is to "think outside the box". Maybe you'll resolve to compost, mentor an at-risk teen, adopt a pet from a rescue, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or organize a protest. The sky is the limit!
  3. Publish (or schedule to be published) your post on Sunday January 2, 2011. Please include a link to this post.
  4. Return to this post and comment with a link to your...let's call it..."The Better World Resolution Blogshare" post.
  5. On Monday January 3, 2011, I will share my own "Better World Resolution" post. I will also share the links to all of the blogshare posts you comment with here. The post that moves me the most will be featured, and I will donate $10 to the charity or cause of the writer's choice. I will contribute an additional $10 to the charity or cause of a randomly selected (from links posted in comments to this blog entry) writer's choice.
Have fun, make a difference, and make 2011 a year for both a better you and a better world!

Now back to you, dear daughter of mine. One important aspect of my parenting philosophy is to lead by example. I will not be a "Do I say, not as I do" parent. Since before you were born, I have made it my mission to be someone you could be proud of. That is one resolution that will not fall by the wayside. I hope that this small act on my part is a step along the path of being the mother you deserve.



If you like this blog, and haven't already done so, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs. Thanks for your support!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Honest Scrap Award-Passing it On!

The Crafting Hobbit has graciously honored me with the "Honest Scrap" blogger award! (Check out her blog for tons of great crafting ideas!)

The tradition of accepting this award is to share 5 random facts about myself and then pass the award on to 5 other bloggers.

First, here are 5 things you might not want to know about me:

1. I used to front a band. We mostly did covers of  '70s and '80s songs, but also wrote some original music together. I was the lead singer, played acoustic rhythm guitar on a few songs, and played auxiliary percussion (tambourine, shakers, etc.) when I wasn't wielding my guitar. While it was a wild lifestyle that wouldn't work well with my parenting style, I had a lot of fun and have fond memories of it! (Ha! Whadya know? Our Myspace Page is still up and running! You can listen to our original songs there, if you're so inclined.)

2. I used to be terrified of spiders. It was a strange fear, because I loved snakes and other creepy crawly things, but spiders creeped me right out. It changed very suddenly when I became a vegetarian and developed a profound respect and appreciation for all forms of life. These days, if I find a spider in my house, I don't freak out and start shrieking until someone else takes care of it. I take care of it myself by taking it outside and wishing it well!

3. I have a severe aversion to mayonnaise. This includes substitutes like Miracle Whip. It's not in my head. I vomit if mayonnaise goes into my mouth.

4. The big toe on my right foot is a full inch longer than the big toe on my left foot. It's enough of a difference that my left foot is a half shoe-size smaller than my right foot. As a teenager, I found out the hard way that you aren't allowed to mix and match sizes on pairs of shoes. They check for that.

5. I credit my dislike of skiing to an experience in which I "fell off" the chair lift. I'll tell you a little secret. I didn't fall off. I was too scared to get off at the top of the hill. When it went around and started heading back down the hill, I panicked. I didn't fall off the chair lift. I jumped.

And now, to pass it on! The blogs I've chosen to share this award with are:

1. A Perfect Lily. Another blog written in the form of letters from mother to daughter, A Perfect Lily is written by a mother of 10 to her youngest daughter, Lily. Her beautiful and passionate letters document the ups and downs of raising a daughter with Down's Syndrome.

2. Mountain Mum. This blog is as lovely to look at as it is to read! Kristina writes about her life raising her precious little girl in beautiful Lake Tahoe.

3. Teaching Ain't For Heroes is written by a public school teacher in Kentucky. If you have children who are (or someday will be) attending public school, this blog is an absolute must-read!

4. Witkowski Family Happenings. Chrissi writes about her family life in a touching and personal way. As she says herself, it is "a blog about an ordinary family in an ordinary an extra-ordinary life!"

5. Becoming SuperMommy. Join this mother of twins on her quest to become "a modern day Bohemian Donna Reed"!

Thanks again to The Crafting Hobbit for your kind words about my lil' ol' mama blog! :)

If you like this blog, and haven't already done so, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs. Thanks for your support!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Greatest Gift

Dear Delilah,

Last Christmas, I was exhausted. I was adjusting to life with a newborn and getting over the last hump of recovering from your birth. I was operating on very little sleep, although on Christmas Eve, you granted us a glorious 7 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep! Of course, that meant that I woke up in a puddle of milk, but still, I was grateful for the rest.

You had started smiling "real smiles" a couple weeks before Christmas, but only at your daddy. As a new mother, I was so full of uncertainty and insecurity about my abilities as a parent (not to mention that I was full of all those lovely post-partum hormones coursing through me), I was sure that the fact you hadn't smiled at me yet meant that you hated me. I thought I must be failing you somehow. I thought that you saw me as merely your food source, and saw your daddy as your fun source. I'll admit, I was a little bit bitter and sad.

Then it happened. It was Christmas morning. We were sitting on the couch; you were eagerly nursing after your long night of sleep, and it happened. You looked up at me, right into my eyes, and you smiled. It was the most beautiful sight I'd ever seen. I shouted "She smiled at me!" with such glee that I'm sure the neigbors heard. Your father beamed. I cried tears of joy, and was overcome with so many emotions. With that tiny, beautiful smile, I knew that you loved me. The confidence in my role as a mother that I gained from that simple little smile was immeasurable.

I've been enjoying those smiles for a year now, and every day, they melt my heart. Your smile was and is the greatest gift I've ever been given. (Though those nice shiny 7 hour stretches of sleep are always welcome as well!)

Today, we wish a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it. To those who don't, we wish a Happy Saturday. To everyone, everywhere, I wish a smile as sunny as yours to warm their heart and brighten their day.

Merry Christmas, little girl.



If you like this blog, and haven't already done so, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs. Thanks for your support!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime

Dear Delilah,

Tonight we will celebrate the holidays with Grandma Bev, Grandpa Rudy, and your aunts and uncles on my side of the family. Tomorrow morning, we will set off to celebrate with Grandma Laurel and Grandpa Bruce on your daddy's side. With all that celebrating on the agenda, we decided to have our own little family celebration this morning. Daddy made us a nice warm and hearty breakfast (scrambled eggs, vegetarian sausage, and cheesy grits) and then you opened up your gifts.

Here's a short video of you enjoying some of your gifts:

Delilah and her Daddy are playing with percussion toys from the Parum Pum Pum Drum.

The song playing in the background is a coincidence (Thanks Pandora!) but it couldn't be more appropriate. We are indeed simply having a wonderful Christmas time.



P.S. For those of you have been on pins on needles waiting for the resolution to The Great Santa Debate, we aren't doing Santa this year since she's too young to get it, but there will be a toned-down "spirit of the season" Santa next year. Probably just the stocking or one gift will be from Santa. We won't be putting a lot of emphasis on Santa, but will follow her lead. Thanks for all of the feedback on that issue! :)

If you're in the giving mood, I'd love to see my stocking stuffed with votes for 'Dear Delilah Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs if you enjoy this blog and haven't voted already. Thanks for your support!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Your Animal Kingdom

Dear Delilah,

Up until shortly before you were born, our tiny little house was a zoo. The humans, your father and I, were far outnumbered by the critters. We had our two big dogs; Sadie and Anka, and our 4 cats; Nala, Rowdy, Cana, and Doxy. It was a mad house. There was always someone needing to be fed, or go outside, or scratching the furniture, or coughing up a hairball, or getting into the garbage can, or getting on top of the fridge and into the goodies stored up there, or otherwise being a pain in the rear.

When we found out that you were on your way into the world, we fretted about what to do. Sadly, fate made part of that decision for us, and we lost Anka just the week before you were born. More happily, we found a wonderful new home for Cana and Doxy, and their new owners regularly update us on how great they are doing and how well they have adjusted to their new surroundings. Cana and Doxy were born of Nala and Rowdy's union, by the way. Remind me to tell you that story. It's a doozy!

When you arrived home, the human to critter ratio was more balanced, and the house was decidedly less chaotic. We weren't sure how our pets would take to having a brand new tiny little human running things, but they all adjusted remarkably well.

In those early days, Rowdy used to love to cuddly up near you like this:

Delilah (8 Weeks Old) and Rowdy 
Now that you're mobile, he mostly stays out of your way. He's got lots of long hair that's fun for your little fingers to grab, so he generally avoids getting within arm's reach of you. Every now and again, he still seeks you out for a quick snuggle or head butt, and one of his favorite places to sleep is on the pile of blankets in your closet.

As soon as we started putting you down on the floor, Sadie started guarding you. If you were having tummy time, or just laying on a blanket on a floor, she'd be right near by keeping watch, like this:

Delilah (6 Months Old) with Sadie
Any time someone would come to the house, Sadie would plant herself between you and the guest. Anyone who wanted to get to you had to go through her first, proving their intentions by showering her with pats on the head and scratches behind the ears. When she was sufficiently convinced that they didn't mean any harm to her baby, she'd let them at you, but maintained a watchful eye.

I have to admit that I was amazed at how taken with you Nala was. At 13 years old, she's the oldest of our pets and the most set in her ways. She is the Queen of the castle around here. Even Sadie submits to her. When she started coming close to you, I supervised intensely, not sure how she'd react to this newcomer on her turf. She was as smitten with you as you were with her. 

Delilah (8 Months Old) with Nala
In the mornings while you and I would lay in bed together for your breast milk breakfast in bed, she would snuggle up on the other side of you. You two have been snuggle buddies almost from the beginning. She has shown endless patience while you learned the meaning of "nice touch", explored her ears, and taste-tested her tail. You have spent so much time snuggling and playing with her that you seem to be convinced that "Nala" means cat, and call Rowdy and any cat that appears in a book "Nala", too.

There is no question that you'll grow up surrounded by pets. You will learn to treat animals properly and with respect. You will learn to always ask first before approaching other animals. It is my hope that you'll come to agree with me that animals are friends, not food. The older you get, the more responsibility you'll take on in helping with the care of our pets.

Delilah (1 Year Old) with Sadie
For now, we're working on the concept that Sadie's bed is her "quiet spot" where she goes "nigh-nigh" and is not to be disturbed. As much as she loves you, just like your daddy and I, she needs a break from you now and again!



If you like this blog, and haven't already done so, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winner: Dragonfly Ornament Give-away

The winning comment in the Dragonfly Ornament Give-away from Merritt Hyde, selected randomly via, is Comment 24. Congratulations, Erin G! Check your e-mail to claim your prize!

Thank you to everyone who participated in my first-ever Give-away! Stay tuned for another give-away after the first of the year!

If you like this blog, and haven't already done so, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs. Thanks for your support!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa Baby: The Great (Santa) Debate

Dear Delilah,

As Christmas draws near, I'm reminded of the one parenting topic that your father and I don't quite see eye-to-eye on. Santa Claus. I know I run the risk of being labeled a scrooge here, but I'm not totally sold on 'doing the Santa thing' with you. You sure do look cute in a Santa hat, though.

There are number of reasons that Jolly Old St. Nick gives me pause.

First of all, the value of honesty is of utmost importance to me. I don't want to lie to you. I don't want to tell you that there is a magical man who brings presents to boys and girls all over the world, only to have to one day admit to you that those presents actually came from me and your daddy. I worry that the discovery that your parents lied to you about Santa for all those years might somehow damage your faith in us. I worry that it's hypocritical to instill the importance of honesty in you, while maintaining that reindeer really know how to fly. Bah Humbug. I know.

Your daddy sees Santa more as a fairy tale. A story. A representation of the spirit of the season. I get that, I do, but...

The second thing is, what does Santa represent? What is the spirit of the season? Just about anyone you ask will say that Santa is about giving, about generosity, about hope and love, and about good tidings to all. The problem is, when I look around me, that's not usually how I see Santa represented.

Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places. I've all too often heard Santa used as a threat against children. "You better knock it off, or Santa won't come!" "If you don't clean your room right this instant, I'm telling Santa!" Is that the spirit of the season? That if you don't get anything from Santa, it means you weren't good enough? That you didn't deserve it? So, those kids whose parents can't afford to buy gifts from themselves, let alone from Santa, they must have just been too naughty?

What does Santa teach us to value? In theory, Santa teaches us to value those concepts previously mentioned. Giving. Generosity. Hope. Love. Good tidings to all. In practice, and if you watch the flood of commercials on TV this time of year, Santa is teaching us to value materialism. Consumerism. Plastic. Disposability. Big Box Retailers. Greed.

Bah Humbug.

So which is it? What is Santa about? What does he teach us? I've been stuck in a rut, surrounded by the circus of consumerism that the holiday season has turned into. Behave children, or the all-powerful white man will not you bring loads of gender-role instilling crap from the shelves of Wal-mart, made from toxic materials and wrapped in excessive packaging, only to be tossed aside when the next "must-have" toy makes its debut.

Bah Humbug.

Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places. So I opened my eyes a little more. Searching for that spirit. Searching for that generosity, that hope, that love. Amidst the materialistic spectacle this time of year, that spirit is there. It's found in the people who volunteer their time gathering donations for local foodbanks, homeless shelters, and women and children's centers. It's found in the people who fill the 'Toys for Tots' bins. It's found in neighbors helping each other dig their cars out after big blizzards. It's found in strangers smiling at one another.

My friend Alison said it better than I could:

"Santa isn't a magical man who comes down the chimney and leaves you toys. Santa is a spirit that we keep alive if we want it to be there; it compels us to give to those we love, and those who are less fortunate. It gives us hope that there is still kindness and joy and love in this world. I very firmly believe that Santa is real and anyone who wants to try and tell me otherwise can go pound sand."

I'm still on the fence about how we'll handle "the Santa thing" with you. Fortunately, you're too young to care this year, so we've got some time to work it out. Honestly, if the biggest parenting debate we face is whether and how to do Santa, I think your father and I are doing pretty well.



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Thanks for your support!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How old is too old? I'll let YOU decide.

Dear Delilah,

Your father and I are selective about which vaccinations you get and when you get them. This means that you end up going to the doctor's office more often than most babies for vaccination-only appointments to make sure that you don't get what we consider too many shots at one time. Yesterday, I took you in for one of these vaccination-only appointments. You were a delight to the other patients in the waiting room, by the way, "reading" your book, smiling and waving at everyone, and "talking" to the fish in the fish tank. One of the receptionists remarked how much you look like your daddy. We go to a wonderful Family Practice clinic, and the staff there, from receptionists to doctors, have been nothing but helpful, kind, and personable. That might be in part because your mama used to work there, but I like to think that all patients get such treatment!

When it was time to go back for your shot, we went with a nurse that we haven't seen before. Since we were new to her, I let her know "the drill", that I hold you on my lap during the vaccination so that you have easy access to nurse for comfort immediately afterward. With a slight raise of an eyebrow, she asked "Oh, you're still nursing?" It was at that moment that I realized that we've gotten to the point where for some people, our nursing relationship will be "a thing". Her reaction wasn't one of negativity or judgment, just surprise. I answered with a simple and firm "Yes", and we went on about our business.

After the shot, you calmed down immediately upon receiving the comfort that nursing brings you. The nurse looked over and smiled, and then said "I give you credit for still nursing." I couldn't identify why at the time, but her comment made me uncomfortable. She went on to defend the reasons why she hadn't nursed her own children very long, as though the very act of my nursing you implied some judgment toward mothers who didn't nurse, or who didn't nurse for as long as I am. The cycle continued as my reaction was to counter her defense with a sort of defense of my own "Well, I work part-time and go to school part-time, so I'm never away from her for more than a few hours at a time. That's made it easier to maintain breastfeeding."

I've figured out that the reason her comment gave me such discomfort is that I don't feel that the act of nursing you is something worthy of applause, nor is it deserving of revile. I don't sit around and pat myself on the back, thinking I must be mother of the year because I'm "still" nursing you. It's just what works for us. I'm doing two things that I assume most other mothers do: 1. The best I can. 2. What works for us.

Last night when I was catching up on some blogs that I read, a post on  Modern Mamaz entitled Breastfeeding: How Old is Too Old? caught my eye. She speaks of cringing when she sees a mother with a toddler at her breast, and goes on to say that while she mostly doesn't agree, she does "believe that, in some instances, there is some truth to those theories" that mothers who breastfeed "walking, talking" children are "perverted" or "disturbed". She goes on to ask readers how long they breastfeed their children, and what they think the age limit should be on nursing.

At 13 months old, you still nurse throughout the day. You still awake at night, seeking the comfort of my breast. That might make some people cringe, but we're doing the best we can. It's what works for us. Some mothers stop breastfeeding at a year, or long before it. They're doing the best they can. It's what works for them. Some mothers breastfeed their children until they're 4 or older. They're doing the best they can. It's what works for them. Still other mothers never breastfeed at all. While I have a harder time understanding the mentality of not at least giving breastfeeding a try, I have to believe that they're doing the best they can. It's what works for them.

To answer the question posed at Modern Mamaz, how old is too old? A breastfeeding relationship has gone on for too long when it is no longer mutually desired by both mother and child. I don't know how old you'll be when you stop breastfeeding, but it certainly won't be "too old", because we're doing the best we can. It's what works for us.



 If you like this blog, and haven't already done so, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs. Thanks for your support!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dragonfly Ornament Giveaway from Merritt Hyde!

Giveaway is now closed! Thanks for participating!

I love Merritt Hyde's Etsy Shop and was just thrilled when she agreed to provide an ornament just like the one I got for Delilah's collection this year to give away to one of my readers!

Please take a look at her Etsy Shop for a better representation of her work.
I'm no photographer, and my photo really doesn't do it justice!

Description from Merritt's Etsy Page:

Hang this dragonfly ornament on your Christmas tree, a wall or use a package topper. Also would be really pretty added to a floral arrangement or wreath.

Made from reclaimed barn tin, this ornament has a rustic cottage appeal with a sweet wire curl at the top.

Approx Size of dragonfly with wire hook: 4.5" x 4"
Size of Dragonfly: 2.75" x 4"
Materials: Recycled Barn (roofing) Rusted Tin, Paint, wire and hard cut flooring nail (rusted)

Since these are handmade, each dragonfly and wire hook varies (color/weathering) giving them a one-of-a-kind appearance.

These ornaments are very versatile and would compliment a variety of styles of decor. They aren't just for Christmas trees!

Enter to win:

1. Leave a comment sharing how you would use this ornament or display it in your home.

2. Become a fan! "Follow" me here on Blogger, "Like" my Facebook Page, or "Follow" me on Twitter.

Already a fan? Don't fret! You can still win!

3. Spread the word! Share this post on facebook, tweet it, or link to it in your blog.


1. United States and Canadian residents only.

2. Up to 5 entries (using a combination of the entry options above) per person. For example, you could comment with how you'd use the ornament, fan the facebook page, follow me on twitter, link to this entry in your blog, and share this entry on facebook.

3. Leave a separate comment for each entry! For twitter/facebook/blog-link entries, please comment with a link.

***Be sure each entry is a separate comment; each comment=1 contest entry.***

4. The contest will end at Noon CST on Tuesday, December 21st. Winner will be selected by

Be sure to check out Merritt Hyde's Etsy Shop! If you'd like more information on the artist, check out this recent interview.

It won't make a difference in the contest, but if you like this blog, and haven't already done so, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs. Staying in the Top 50 would be the best gift I could ask for this year! Thanks for your support!

For more great giveaways, visit!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Little Dragonfly

Dear Delilah,

I'm not quite sure why, but since long before you were born, I've associated you with dragonflies. Before we knew your sex, we picked out bedding for you in shades of orange and green, adorned with dragonflies. Daddy found a great set of wire sculptures to hang on your wall, one a butterfly, the other a dragonfly. Your Grandma Laurel got you a dragonfly mobile that hung above your crib, and more dragonflies hang from hooks on your wall.

Last year, when I had the idea to start an ornament collection for you by finding a new ornament every holiday season, it was easy for me to settle on a theme: dragonflies! In my search for the perfect dragonfly ornament for your first Solstice, which is the day I chose for giving this particular gift, I stumbled upon Merritt Hyde's etsy shop, and selected one of her beautiful hand-made dragonfly ornaments, like this one, which incorporated recycled and reclaimed materials like barn roofing and flooring nails. Her medium is the perfect complement to our "reduce, reuse, recycle" values, and for our desire to support small businesses and unique artists. The ornament I gave you last year can be seen right in the center of your tree, pictured in this letter on holiday traditions.

When I went on the hunt for your dragonfly ornament this year, Merritt's shop once again turned up in my search. I was delighted to find that she is still making these ornaments, and chose a red one for you. It arrived today, but you don't get to see it until Solstice on Tuesday!

I hope that Merritt keeps making these ornaments for years to come, so that we can build you a rainbow collection of dragonflies. These ornaments aren't the only reason I have love for Merritt; as it turns out she is also very generous, and has donated an ornament just like yours to be given away to one of our readers! (Readers, the giveaway will go live tomorrow, so stay tuned!)

One day, when you have a home of your very own to decorate, I'll hope you'll love these ornaments just as much as I do.



 If you like this blog, and haven't already done so, please vote for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's" Top 50 Mom Blogs. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Some Bones to Pick

Dear Delilah,

For the most part, my letters to you are full of rainbows and sunshine, dripping with my special brand of sentimentality. This is not one of those letters.

It goes without saying that you bring joy into my life each and every day, but there are some things that need addressing, young lady.

1. Hands off Daddy's earrings. You stuck your little fingers in those shiny little hoops and tugged one too many times, and now he's taken them out. The thing is, Mama likes Daddy's earrings. They make her want to do things that might someday provide you with a little brother or sister. Things that would have the teenaged you reading this saying "Groooooooooss Mooooooooom!" I am referring to things like holding his hand and kissing his cheek, of course. No, really. Just, promise to leave his earrings alone if he puts them back in, okay?

2. Lay off the love pats. The way you pat my chest or arm while you nurse is very sweet and endearing...for about 30 seconds. After that, your tiny little hand, with that tiny little tap, in the same exact spot, over and over and over and over again, is enough to drive me insane. I never understood how dripping water onto someone's forehead repeatedly would constitute torture, but now, I totally get it.

3. The spoon stays on your high chair tray. Stop throwing it on the floor after you've slurped the last bit of food off of it. Set it on your tray, or on the table, or hand it back to me. I'm sure it's a powerful feeling for you, seeing me unsuccessfully try to catch it, pick it up, walk over to the sink, wash it, load it up with delicious food, and hand it back to you, so you can suck every morsel from it and start the game all over again. That wasn't even cute the first time. If you don't stop, I'll be forced to make you eat everything with your hands. Yes, even yogurt. Hmmm....this strategy might need further consideration.

4. Leave the dog's dishes alone. First of all, that water is there for her to drink, not for you to flood the kitchen floor with and soak the adorable (and clean) outfit I JUST put you in. Second of all, you are a vegetarian, and she is not, so the dog food crumbs that you so enjoy licking from her food dish are simply not an appropriate dietary choice for you.

5. Be patient with my story-telling. I'm glad that you love books so much, and that turning pages is such a delightful activity for you. However, if you want me to read you a book, you have to give me time to see the words before you go flipping to the next page. That's how reading works. There are words involved. I haven't memorized them all yet.

Other than these few minor faults, which I expect you'll immediately set to correcting now that I've addressed them, carry on with your charming ways!



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Monday, December 13, 2010

Better Late than Never!

Dear Delilah,

Has it really been a month since your birthday party already? Unbelievable! I didn't want my school work to feel bad, so I procrastinated writing this up so my research papers and essay tests would be in good company. In case you're wondering, I should probably be working on said essay tests right now, but this serves as my break from that. ;)

After I talked your father out of having it at Chuck E. Cheese, planning your birthday party was much less of a production than I was expecting. The hardest part was trying to decide in advance what time of day would work best, since we are slaves to your ever-changing nap schedule. We picked 2:00 and hoped for the best! The invitations were postcards with a photo of you on one side and the party information on the other. We saved one for you in your memory box along with all of the cards you received. As usual, I worried that there wouldn't be enough food, and as usual, there was way too much food.

The weather was pretty crummy on the day of your party. Early that morning, I started getting calls and e-mails from people who couldn't make it, due to either the weather or illness (or in the case of your Grandma Laurel and Grandpa Bruce, both!). As usual, I started worrying that no one would show up, and as usual, plenty of people did. In fact, if there had been a bigger turnout, things might have been a bit chaotic! As it was, I think it was the perfect number of people for your first birthday party.

When we got to Grandma Bev's for the party, you were scooped out of my arms immediately and given all of the attention and adoration a birthday girl deserves. You handled it like a pro, hour after hour, despite having only one nap (and an early and short one at that). Daddy and I helped you open your presents, since you didn't quite grasp the concept yet. You were much more interested in playing with the cards than tearing through the wrapping paper or dumping out the gift bags.

Another concept that was pretty much lost on you was that of the "smash cake". Maybe it's because you've been feeding yourself from the moment you started solid foods, but this was about as messy as it got:

As you daintily dipped your finger into the frosting over and over again, you kept looking at the eager and expectant faces around you as if to ask "What are we waiting for? Is something exciting about to happen?" I was secretly pretty pleased that you were so gentle with your cake. It was my first-ever layer cake, made on a whim since there was still batter left-over after making 48 cupcakes. I'm still pretty proud of that cute little cake!

After the cake, the party started winding down and guests started filtering out. You never showed any signs of getting cranky or tired through what had to have been the most over-stimulating experience of your life thus far. After some more snuggles with your nearest and dearest, we headed home, gave you a bath, and let you play with some of your new toys and books for a bit before putting you down for some well-deserved rest.

If Daddy gets his way, your birthday party next year will be held at Chuck E. Cheese. I think that we should just have his party there if he wants to go there so badly!



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Friday, December 10, 2010

I Can't Put My Arms Down!

Dear Delilah,

When I was pregnant with you, my Grandma, knowing how treacherous our winters can be, sent us a snowsuit for you. When we unwrapped it, we stared at it for a moment, speechless, in disbelief that we'd ever have a baby big enough to fit into it. We packed it away to save it for "someday", certain that it would be years before you'd fit into it.

Last weekend, we had the first snowfall of the year. Daddy pulled out your snowsuit to see just how big on you it would be, and seeing you in that puffy pink cocoon reminded me of a great scene from 'A Christmas Story', my favorite holiday movie, in which Randy is so bundled up that he can hardly move.

When we took you outside and sat you down in the snow, you were unable to remain upright, and I couldn't control my laughter, thinking of Randy rolling around in the snow whining "I can't get up!".

By next year, your snowsuit will probably fit properly, and you'll be able to maneuver in it enough to actually enjoy playing in the snow. Based on your reaction this year, your attitude toward snow comes right from your mama: pretty to look at, but keep it off me.



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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Traditions of our Very Own

Dear Delilah,

As the holiday season drew near this year, thoughts of creating lasting holiday traditions started swirling around in my mind. I envisioned beginning a ritual around the tree. In my vision, we'd head out to a local tree farm on the day after Thanksgiving to cut our own tree with Christmas carols playing on the radio on the drive there and back. That night, we'd decide amongst the piles and piles of ornaments we've accumulated over the years on this year's "theme" for the tree, and get them all organized and ready to go. We'd decorate it the following day, Saturday, singing along to more carols, sipping hot cocoa (well, you're a bit young for that yet, obviously), maybe a silly holiday movie on in the background. When the last ornament had been hung, Daddy would hoist you up to place the star all cattywampus atop the tree.

It didn't happen that way, and I couldn't help but be a little bit disappointed. Your daddy had to work the whole weekend after Thanksgiving, so we didn't get our tree until the week after that. It was so bitterly cold that Daddy ended up going by himself and getting a pre-cut tree from the vendor in a nearby parking lot. Daddy put the lights on while I was grocery shopping, and I have to admit, my heart broke a little when I saw that he'd already put the star on top, too. When we decided to go with black and silver for trimming the tree, we quickly put the ornaments on while you played nearby. There was no cocoa, no singing, no stopping to appreciate the moment at all, really.

You were, of course, oblivious. You're still too young to understand the concept of holidays, the spirit of Christmas, or why on earth we brought a tree into the house. You won't remember this holiday season or the fact that we didn't start a tree-trimming-tradition this year. There was really no reason for me to feel bad that my vision of a holiday ritual would have to wait for another year...or would it?

After we finished decorating the tree, I was a little sad that none of your ornaments were on it, since they didn't fit with the black and silver theme, and I'm "like that" when it comes to that sort of thing. So, Daddy went and got a branch that he'd cut off the bottom of the tree, and I put in a vase in your room, and decorated it with your ornaments (except the one you got for your birthday from your Great Aunt Roxanne, which is still mixed in with a jumble of gift bags and cards from your birthday party!). Voila. Your very own "tree"! How's that for starting a new tradition?

Like I said before, you won't remember our tree this year, or how it came to be decorated. When it comes to creating lasting holiday memories, elaborate rituals are not required. It's the little, simple things that you're likely to remember. When you get old enough to help more in the kitchen, maybe you'll remember us baking cookies together while Daddy sneaks spoonfuls of dough. Maybe you'll remember choosing and cutting down our own tree as family, which we WILL do...maybe next year? And you'll remember that you always got to have your very own "tree" to decorate however you liked. You'll remember that you got to have a variety of celebrations; celebrating the Winter Solstice at home, and celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with grandparents galore.

When I think back to my childhood, I don't remember what theme the tree had, or on what day we decorated it. I remember my mom's peanut butter kiss cookies. (Hey mom, if you're reading this, remind me to get that recipe from you!) I remember waking up each morning with your Aunt Janelle and racing to the kitchen to open up the little doors on our advent calendars to eat that day's piece of chocolate. I remember the scratchy fiberglass "snow" from the Nativity Scene that your Grandma Bev put out every year. I remember running around the tree farm looking at all the trees; trees that were painted blue, trees that were left their natural color, even trees that sparkled! I remember wrestling around in the snow with Aunt Janelle while your Grandpa Rudy set to work cutting down the tree we chose.

As I grow nostalgic, pondering these holiday memories, I realize that the most important and significant traditions are those that just sort of happen. You can't plan them, and you certainly can't force them into existence. The look of joy on your face every morning when I lift you out of your crib and you catch a glimpse of your own little tree and reach for one of the shiny little balls on it tells me that when it comes to creating happy holiday memories, we're doing just fine.



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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Dear Delilah,

Today is Thanksgiving, a day that features family, food, and gratitude. As the days have gone by since your birthday, I can't help but to remember what life was like at this time last year. Last Thanksgiving, I was exhausted. I was recovering from your birth, adjusting to motherhood, and operating on very little sleep. Your Thanksgiving feast consisted only of my milk, and since I was not yet confident in nursing you, it was one of the only times you ate not only in a separate room from all of the action, but under a cover. I remember I hemmed and hawed about leaving the house without my little notebook, where I was recording what time you ate, which side you ate from, and how long you ate for.

Your feast this year had much more variety!

You had vegetarian "turk'y" roast, mama's cheesy garlic mashed potatos and green bean casserole, Grandma Laurel's seven-layer salad, Aunt Linda's grape salad, part of a dinner role, and even a little bit of Grandma Bev's birthday cake!

You are remarkably independent. So much so that I didn't think twice about setting you free with your adoring relatives to get busy in Grandma Bev's kitchen with Aunt Janelle and Uncle Jamie, preparing what was not only our Thanksgiving Feast, but Grandma Bev's birthday meal. A far cry from last year when I wouldn't let you out of my sight!

This Thanksgiving, I am just as thankful as I was last year for you, for your father, for your grandparents, aunts, and uncles. I am just as thankful for our health and happiness. I am just as thankful that we can all be together to celebrate the holidays, that we are blessed with bountiful food to nourish ourselves with, and that we have a warm and comfortable home to return to when the celebration comes to an end.

This Thanksgiving, however, I have something new to be thankful for. I am thankful that I have grown into my role as your mother, that I have gained confidence in my ability to keep you in one piece, and that I am secure enough to let you out of my sight to enjoy time to bond with your family members who don't get to spend as much time with you. We are all so blessed to have you in our lives, and are forever grateful for your existence!



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Friday, November 19, 2010

Lactation and Luck

Dear Delilah,

Recently, the act of sharing nursing photos on social-networking sites like Facebook (I wonder if there will even BE a Facebook by the time you read this?) has received a lot of attention. Some mothers have had problems with their photos being censored due to "obscenity". Bloggers like me from all walks of life have been discussing this, and you and I were even featured in one on Tales of an Unlikely Mother! Those bloggers (especially that one!) have said everything I could say, and probably said it better.

All that to say that this letter isn't about that. It's not about our photos being censored, it's not about being harassed when we nurse in public, and it's not about a lack of support. Instead, I'm writing to make sure you know just how much support we have had in our nursing relationship.

Photo by Nicole Aarstad

Many women struggle through nursing their children in the face of partners, parents, friends, doctors, and even strangers who oppose them. They are told that they are selfish, or that the are somehow doing harm to their children. They are pressured to supplement with formula. They are urged to wean before they are ready.

You and I have faced no such challenges. When I was pregnant with you, your father never questioned that you would be breastfed. He whole-heartedly supported my desire to breastfeed. When I tentatively told him the things I was learning about allowing babies to self-wean in their own time, and that doing so sounded to me like the best thing to do, he didn't raise an eyebrow.

Despite your petite size, no one, medically trained or otherwise, has suggested that you needed anything other than my milk to thrive. I have nursed you in public, and if anyone has given us a dirty or questioning look, I haven't noticed it, probably because I was too busy noticing the people smiling at us instead.

I remember the only time I got nervous that someone was going to say something negative to us. We were at Daddy's friend's wedding, and it was a stifling hot day in July. The wedding was outdoors, but there was an air-conditioned building nearby. When you got fussy in the midst of the wedding ceremony, I excused myself to nurse you in the cool building. As we sat together on a bench while you quenched your thirst, I noticed a woman approaching us with a young girl. She was making her way toward us quickly, purposefully, and I braced myself for what I was anticipating to be the first negative reaction to my breastfeeding you.

It is because of all of the horror stories I have heard that I expected to be admonished by that woman, told that I should cover up, or go "do that" in the bathroom, or that I should have brought a bottle. She said none of those things. What she did was ask if I minded if her daughter watched me feed you (I didn't mind a bit), and went on to tell me how lucky I was to be breastfeeding you, how her daughter wasn't able to latch well, and how she exclusively pumped for 6 months to provide her daughter with the breast milk she so desperately wanted her to have. I will never forget that woman, and I made sure to tell her that her daughter was lucky too, to have a mother so dedicated to giving her breast milk that she took on the commitment and effort required to pump milk around the clock.

That was not the first time I've been told that I'm "lucky" in regards to breastfeeding. I'm told that I'm lucky that your daddy is so supportive, lucky that our doctor agrees with our choices, lucky that I've never been harassed for nursing in public.

Now, this is meant to be happy letter, but there's something in this that saddens me a little. The experience of a normal, healthy nursing relationship, free of the unnecessary obstacles that come with a lack of support, should not be based on luck. It should be normal. I guess we're fortunate that it's our normal, but it should not be so unusual that I'm told over and over again how lucky I am and how good I have it.

I will continue to nurse you until you're ready to stop. I'll continue to do my part in normalizing breastfeeding by doing it in public, by talking about it, and yes, by sharing photographs of it. I'll participate in nurse-ins, virtual or otherwise. I'll do as many of these things as I can even long after you've weaned. I don't do these things in order to receive the sort of "congratulations" our doctor gave me this morning, or to raise a fuss, or to scream "Look at me!". I do these things for nursing mothers everywhere, but most of all, I do them for you. I do them in hopes that one day, should you become a mother, and should you decide to breastfeed your children, you will not have to count on "luck" in order to enjoy a breastfeeding experience that is not merely tolerated, that is not just supported, but that is celebrated.



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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crunch Time!

Dear Delilah,

My letters to you are likely to be fewer and further between over the next couple of weeks. By the time you're old enough to read this, you might not remember that when you were a baby I was going to school, working on completing my Bachelor's Degree. You might have a clearer memory of me working on my Master's, since you'll be a little older by then, and if I ever get around to a PhD, you're likely to be an adult yourself!

Anyway, being in school means that this is a busy time of year for more than the usual reasons. In addition to your birthday and the holidays, this time of year means finals are fast approaching, and that I have lots of research to do, papers to write, projects to complete, and tests to study for. This year, your Auntie's wedding is also on the horizon, and preparing for that joyous event adds to the "busy"! With so much to do, I'd rather spend my free time playing and being with you, rather than writing about you, so here we are.

I do want to write to you about your first birthday and birthday party, and some memories from your newborn days that are being brought to mind by the cooler weather we're having. I'll try to make time over the next few days for that, but for now, since you're sleeping, I need to finish up some reading in preparation for class tomorrow. Just remember, more time between letters means more time spent enjoying you!



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Friday, November 12, 2010

Baby's First Fright

Dear Delilah,

The further you progress in your development, the greater the range of emotions you display. I’m spoiled in that the feelings you let on to the most often are those of joy, amusement, curiosity, accomplishment, and utter delight. Every now and again, you express frustration or a flash of anger. Up until the other night, one thing I’d never seen from you was sheer, unbridled fear.

The object of your terror?

That’s right. A bright and shiny butterfly balloon, a birthday gift from Jesse, who you go to for daycare sometimes when Grandma Bev can’t watch you. When I picked you up, she mentioned that when she showed it to you, you seemed a little scared of it, so she took it away. I thought the balloon was awesome, so I was excited for us to play together with it!

When Daddy got home from work, I went out to the van to get the balloon and bring it inside. As I brought it near you, a look of concern crossed your face. I brought it closer, and your face grew more alarmed until it clearly communicated the panic you were feeling, complete with a little cry of fear as you started shaking uncontrollably.

I felt horrible. I moved the balloon away and picked you up to hold you and comfort you. Your dread subsided quickly, and we went on with our evening. You had chili for the first time for dinner (you loved it!). After dinner, daddy cleaned you up and changed you into your pajamas and then took you back out to the living room to play while I washed up the dishes. Apparently, moving the balloon away from your play area wasn’t enough; you didn’t even want it in the same room as you! Daddy brought it into the kitchen, saying you kept looking at it with that scared little face. When I carried you through the kitchen to put you to bed, you wouldn’t take your eyes off of it.

I don’t know what it is about that pretty balloon that scared you so much. Maybe it’s the size, or the way it reflects the light, or the way it floats around. This was your first experience with a balloon, and it might have been helpful to know that you were scared of them before your Uncle Rudy and I picked out the balloon bouquet for your birthday party tomorrow. I’ve been using my knowledge of exposure therapy to get you more comfortable with the butterfly balloon, but if those balloons strike fear you in the way the butterfly balloon did, don’t fear, sweet girl. Mama will protect you from the mean, scary balloons!



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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday!

Dear Delilah,

Happy Birthday! I can hardly believe this day has arrived. Today is not only a big day for you, it’s the anniversary of a big day for me. The day you were born was the most anticipated, most important, most exciting, most scary, most emotional, and most joyful day of my life. I am certainly celebrating the birth of you, but am also celebrating the birth of myself as a mother. I’m celebrating that your father and I got you through your first year with no major injuries or illnesses. I’m celebrating that we made it through the newborn days, when I was afraid I might never sleep again.

I’ll admit that I have mixed emotions today. It’s a day to honor the beginning of your life, but it is also indicative of an ending on the horizon. Your infancy is drawing to a close, and your toddler days are fast approaching. You are already growing up so fast, and I constantly have to remind myself to treasure every moment.

Delilah, I love you more than I knew I could love anyone. I now know what it means to love unconditionally. I know that my patience extends far beyond I ever thought it could. Your existence makes me a better person. I strive to be the absolute best version of myself that I can, so that you will grow up with a mother you can be proud of.

Every smile that has brightened your face has made my heart dance. Every giggle that has passed your lips has filled my soul with joy. The day of your birth began a new chapter in my life, one that will last for the rest of my days. For as long as I live, I will be your mother, and you will be my precious, beloved child. Happy Birthday Baby.




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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Tiny Little Teacher

Dear Delilah,

This is one of my favorite photos of myself of all time:

The day that photo was taken one year ago, I was in the very early stages of labor with you. I had contractions on and off throughout the day. Daddy and I went to what ended up being our last doctor appointment of our pregnancy with you. I went to class that evening, and the classmate who sat to my left touched my belly a few times, awed at how firm it got when a contraction washed over it. Several other classmates followed her lead and asked to touch my belly too, saying they had been wanting to for a while. It’s a good thing they asked that night; it turned out to be their last chance!

Just about 12 hours after your dad took that picture of me in the backyard, I woke up with painful contractions. After having 5 within half an hour, I woke your father up and we started preparing to head to the hospital. Less than 24 hours after that photo was taken, I was holding you in my arms.

Other than the day I married your father, on which you helped contribute to my happy glow, that was the most beautiful I’ve ever felt. I was huge. I was beautiful. I was uncomfortable. I was beautiful. I waddled. I was beautiful. I could hardly get up off the couch without assistance. I was beautiful.

There are a lot of old wives tales about how to tell if you’re having a boy or girl. One of them says that boys give you beauty, and girls take it way. I disagree. You made me more beautiful than I’ve ever been. Carrying you inside of me taught me the true meaning of beauty. You’ll teach me many more lessons, not just about beauty, but about life, as the years pass by. I will try to learn every lesson you have to teach me with patience, grace, and the due diligence it deserves. Thank you for coming into my life, Dear Delilah. Thank you for choosing me, not only for your mother, but for your humble and eager student.




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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day Light Might be Saved; Night Time is NOT

Dear Delilah,

Unlike most parents I talk to, I was looking forward to "falling back" for Day Light Savings time this year. Many parents anticipated the time change in fear of their kids waking up an hour too early, frustrated at having to work to gradually adjust bed time and waking time to the clock.

Not I! For reasons unbeknownst to me, but likely having to do with all the teeth fighting their way through your gums, you had started going to bed (and waking up) later and later in the weeks preceding the time change. I couldn't wait to move the clocks back an hour; I was certain it would mean that your bedtime would get back to a respectable 8:00, and your waking time a manageable 7:00. Bring on the time change!

Except, it didn't quite happen that way. Somehow, you are still staying up until past 9:00 (which would have been 10:00 a week ago!), and yet you are up and ready to face the day at 6:00. Thankfully, if I bring you into bed with me and leave you with ready access to my milk, you're content to let me sleep for another hour so, nursing at will, playing quietly in bed, and petting the cats.

My dreams of returning to a consistent sleep routine have been dashed. This morning, you ended up falling back to sleep along with me, and we slept in until 9:30. You didn't start your nap until 2:30, and you're still napping almost two hours later. If I don't wake you up soon, it's bound to be another late night with you. Will we ever get this mystical and elusive "sleep routine" down?

This morning, I noticed that we neglected to change the clock in your bedroom back an hour like we should have. The only explanation for why DST didn't magically solve your ever-later bed time is that you are the genius I assume you to be, and you've up and learned to tell time on me! Time to wake you up now, sleeping beauty.



Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Stand Corrected

Dear Delilah,

I wrote to you the other day about how Daddy got sick with Swine Flu just before you were born. Something in that letter made him very, very upset. He was appalled that I mistakenly wrote that the moment his fever broke had something to do with Brett Favre. It had nothing to do with Brett Favre!

In the interest of accuracy, I owe it your father to correct myself. His fever broke when the Buccaneers beat the Packers. The Final score was 38-28.

When he and I first started dating, I was under the impression that your father was a Packer fan. As it turns out, he's actually a Brett Favre fan. He has faithfully followed him from team to team, and has Favre Jerseys in every flavor: Packers, Jets, and now Vikings. He'll have to be the one to explain exactly why he was happy that the Buccaneers won that game, because quite frankly, I don't get it. It remains to be seen which team he'll be cheering for next year, assuming that Brett Favre finally retires for real.

Don't worry, I'm raising you to be a Bears fan.



Thursday, November 4, 2010

This Little Piggy

Dear Delilah,

With the exception of your turning a deaf ear to my requests to maneuver out of your breech position, you were a surprisingly good listener while in utero. On the way to our appointment for the anatomy scan ultrasound, your father and I told you not to by shy, and that it's okay to show your private parts to mommy, daddy, and medical personnel, so go ahead and show your bits to the nice sonographer. You listened so well that it was a challenge for the sonographer to get any other views; you kept flipping to display your girly bits for the camera!

Most pregnant women become anxious for the "full term" milestone, which means that it's considered safe for the baby to come any time. While I breathed a sigh of relief when the time came that you'd no longer be considered premature, I still wasn't in a huge hurry for you to be born. First, that was because I was still hoping to get you flipped, as you well know by now. When Anka first got sick and we weren't aware of the severity of her illness, I gently requested to you that you wait to make your appearance until we made our final decisions about her, and you complied. And then...

The year you were born, 2009, was the year of the "Swine Flu" pandemic. Pregnant women were considered to be one of the highest risk groups for complications from this flu, and it was spreading like wildfire. I'm not the flu shot kind of gal, and I believe in the power of positive thinking. I knew that I would be well. I'd stay healthy. I'd be fine. Your father was thinking positively too...positive that he'd get sick.

Daddy's job involves going to schools and talking to teachers, and schools were one of the places where swine flu was spreading the fastest. Daddy got swine flu. His symptoms started 9 days before your estimated due date. Our family doctor put us both on anti-viral medication-for him to help lessen the severity and shorten the duration of symptoms, and for me to prevent getting sick. Friends and family started insisting that I get out of the house and stay away from him. I knew I'd be fine, and I was not about to leave my husband, sicker than he'd ever been, to fend for himself.

I stayed. I took care of him. I put blankets on him when he got the chills and cold washcloths on his forehead when he got the sweats. I pumped him full of liquids and vitamins. People started asking me about a flu shot, but it was too late for that. I'd been exposed, and if I was going to get sick, I was going to get sick. But I wasn't going to get sick.

All the while people were pleading with me to get a flu shot, to get away from the house, to get out, get out, get out, I was pleading with YOU to stay put. I begged you to stay comfortably inside of me until Daddy felt better. If you came before he was better, he couldn't be there for your birth. The hospital implemented such strict visiting restrictions during the flu epidemic that if your daddy couldn't have been there, no one else could have been there either. (That's why you don't have photos of numerous grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and friends holding you in our hospital room. They weren't allowed!)

You listened. You stayed put. Daddy's fever broke on Sunday. I think he remembers the exact moment because it had something to do with Brett Favre, and...a touch down pass? You'll have to ask him. He knows. He still wasn't quite tip-top, so he planned to wait a couple of days to go back to work. Wednesday was to be his first day back at work. Wednesday was the day I woke up at 2 am with contractions about 6 minutes apart. Wednesday was the day you were born.

I thanked you then, and I'll thank you again now. Thank you for waiting to make your appearance until your Daddy could be there for your debut. I won't say that I couldn't have done it without him, but I certainly wouldn't have wanted to. Remember, as you grow, when I ask something of you, to listen like you did then. Mommy really does know best!



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Your Guardian Angel

Dear Delilah,

I’ve mentioned the roller coaster that was the few weeks leading up to your birth. Today is the anniversary of one of the lowest points of that ride. One year ago today, we lost our beloved yellow lab Anka.

Anka was a great dog. She was sweet, affectionate, and beautiful. She loved running laps and wasn’t picky about whether those laps were around the maple tree in our backyard or around the coffee table in the living room. She was a master retriever and would play fetch for hours. Poor Sadie couldn’t keep up! Sadie could never get to a thrown object before Anka could, so she gave up trying and learned how to play defense instead! Anka was very non-confrontational, so she never tried to steal her ball or Frisbee back from Sadie, she’d let her have it, find something else that could be thrown, and prance over to us to throw the new item instead.

Anka got very sick from Lyme disease last fall. The day after Halloween, she was at her sickest yet, and when we took her in to the vet, we found out that her kidneys were failing and that she was in a lot of pain and wouldn’t get better. The decision to have her put to sleep was painful and difficult. We loved her so much, and she was so young. We wanted her to meet you. We knew she would love you. Seeing you with our other pets now, we know that you’d love her too, although chances are you’d get tired of getting knocked over by her wild tail that never stopped wagging.

She was put to sleep peacefully in our home by her favorite veterinarian. It was a time of mixed emotions. It’s hard to figure out how to grieve the loss of a dog who was not merely a pet, but a member of our family, while at the same time being so excited about the birth of you, our baby girl. One of our greatest sources of comfort was knowing that Anka was still with us in spirit and that she would watch over and protect you. Her energy still fills our home to this day, and you are a lucky little girl to have the best guardian angel dog anyone could ask for.



Monday, November 1, 2010

The Something I Can Do

Dear Delilah,

Tomorrow, when we embark on our morning walk, we will set out on one of our familiar routes. We’ll need to make a break in the routine though, a stop at the school a few blocks from home. Why? Because that is our polling place and tomorrow is Election Day, so we’ll be stopping there so I can cast my vote.

I try to be aware of and informed about the political issues that are relevant in any given election, and pay close attention to the ones that are the most important to me. Since becoming your mother, I also put my focus on the issues that I think will be most important to you as you grow up in this country. I don’t have allegiance to any particular political party, so you won’t hear me espousing the values of this party or that one. Rather, I consider each candidate as an individual, and choose the one whose values most align with my own, who appears to be the most trustworthy, and who seems to have the best interests of people like us, “common folk”, you might say, at heart.

While I hope to raise you as a free thinker with a mind of your own, chances are that you will be aware of my biases, my personal values, and my opinions on political issues, since I’m not very good at keeping them to myself. I will do my best to answer your questions about the issues and why I vote the way I do in as matter-of-fact a way as possible. Don’t be afraid to disagree with me. You might disagree with me on some issues, and that’s okay. You might even disagree with me on nearly all of them, like I do with my own mother!

Regardless of where you end up in terms of your political leanings, I do hope that you’ll be aware of and involved in the process. It’s important to pay attention to what is happening with the government and how it impacts not just you, but the world around you. Ignorance is NOT bliss. Your vote is your voice, and yes, even though you are just one person, you DO make a difference.

I’ll sign off today with one of my favorite quotes from Hellen Keller:

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Tomorrow, you’ll join me while I do one of many ‘somethings’ I can do.


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