Here Comes The Fall

Maybe it’s our northern latitude, but by the time the end of summer nears, the sun has a different quality to it. The light is a little more blue, and it’s touch is cool even at midday, instead of scorching. Without fail, by September 1st it’s noticeable even when there are a few official weeks of summer left. The seasons have turned.

I can’t believe time has passed so quickly. It’s felt both excruciatingly slow, but when I look back it’s like I blinked. Suddenly I have a really squirmy 7 month old on my hands, who thinks she can walk, so she lets go (but she can’t). I’ve been trying to teach her how to fall without hurting herself, because she will fall. Luckily, she’s a smart little bean and is getting a hang of it fast. Now I watch her bend her legs, and fall onto her butt instead of toppling over, so she doesn’t hit her head.

We could wax philosophical about the life metaphors there, but I know you get it. Learning how to get back up is almost as important as learning how to walk.

I’ve got things to get back to too. It’s easier now that the little bean’s sleeping better. There’s a deep well of creativity that needs filling up, and I’ve got a stack of books, tv shows, and movies to get to. I’m very, very, thirsty.

I hope you had a good summer, but I’ve been looking forward to the cooler days of fall.

The Other Side of the Mirror

The other day I went shopping for the first time since the baby was born. I had no idea what size I was any more. I picked up a couple shirts unsure if they would fit, and when I looked in the mirror half-dressed, I saw my mothers body reflected back at me. The familiarity was startling and uncanny.

Some things sag and squish (and will never be the same again). There are dark stretch marks below the round of my belly (I know these will fade to fine silvery lines one day). Nothing is what it used to be, but it’s not a bad thing, just different. How could it not be?

I used to hate photos of myself, because I would undoubtedly have a silly expression on my face. Now I don’t mind as long as baby is smiling with me. I used to worry about some fat here and there (girls are taught to worry about these things), the freckles on my face and all kinds of minor imperfections. Now they don’t bother me, because I know how much this body is capable of. I used to stress about every little thing, fill up every moment with work for the sake of work. Now, nothing matters as long as the baby is okay. It doesn’t feel like me, but as if I’ve been thrown into a body I need to get used to inhabiting.

There are echoes of my mother, that I’m just starting to recognize. How much of who we become is because of our parents? Where do they end and I begin? Would I recognize my grandmother’s, grandmother’s, grandmother? Their DNA is left in pieces, in ways I don’t recognize, and in my daughter now too.

I am not the same, but I have always been this person too. Funny how that works.

Dispatch 3 via the New Parent Underground 

Life now follows a particular logic, alien to the pre-baby mindset. I have enumerated the new equations below.

Baby Math:

  • Eating + baby = chew x 5 speed
  • Nap time x baby = random success rate
  • Hot days + baby = buy an air conditioner or everyone suffers
  • Tired baby = hyperactive baby
  • Clothes + baby = spit stained + yogurt scented
  • Cooking + baby = crying + smoke alarm ringing + questionable meals 
  • Sleep + baby = unsolvable 

Dispatch 2 via the New Parent Underground

Still alive! The baby overlord continues to be demanding.

Days and nights blur together but somehow we parental units survive. (If you look very closely you may notice twitching of the eyes, a glimmer of madness, spit stained clothing and unwashed hair).

Every day we face a different challenge. Perhaps it’s not easier but we’ve grown more accustomed to the baby’s demands. Consequently, a new weapon has been deployed to keep us from rebellion: the gummy smile.

It is perhaps the most effective tool the baby has used yet. It also serves as non-financial compensation (or as distraction from the lack thereof). I do not understand how the baby manages such a feat. Every smile is as effective as a drug, causing an immediate reaction in the heart region.

Still in need of sleep. Can that be bottled?

Signing off one handed. The overlord has claimed the other.

Dispatch 1 via The New Parent Undergound

Must compose hasty missive. The baby overlord is finally asleep but I may have only minutes to type.

Observations from the field:

Babies appear harmless at first glance. Their heads are floppy and they start out unable to fend for themselves.

Due to this condition, parental units are assigned under the guise of voluntary service. However, few parentals (even those who have previously served under other baby overlords) judge correctly the amount of work involved. I suspect the perpetual sleep deprivation makes it hard for second timers to remember the previous experience.

Baby overlord’s disciplinary tool of choice is a cry biologically designed to be the most irritating sound in existence. Parental units are most vulnerable to this frequency.

The first weeks of service are most demanding. The baby overlord may request food or attention at any hour of day or night. Parental units may have to choose between eating, sleeping or personal hygiene practices during the brief moments between feedings.

Because the species are so different, misunderstandings are bound to occur. Misunderstandings result in further use of the disciplinary tool mentioned above.

Strongly suspect their species would not survive if they were not so cute.

Baby is stirring. Must end missive. Enclosed is a photo of our baby overlord. Looks harmless, but looks can be deceiving. Please send cookies.


Keeping it Simple

Vasilopita: Greek new year’s bread with a coin hidden in it. Whoever gets the slice with the coin will be lucky for the year (my dad ended up with it!). 

Can you believe it’s 2015 already? It’s going to take me a while to get used to the new date. It also means that things are going to change SOON. With less than 30 days left till baby, I’m excited, terrified, and impatient. I’ve always been a goal setter, but this year things will have to stay flexible. Here are my goals for the year:

Reserve a little time to take care of myself daily: making sure to eat right, exercise, just bathe regularly (I’ve heard the baby stories), or just take a time out.

Be more forgiving of myself and others: because E and I will have to figure this out as we go, and so will the grandparents. Also, not to feel too guilty if I have no time for anything (including writing) for a while.

Lastly, to just to take it all one day at a time.

Here’s to less stress, and more joy in 2015! Happy new year :)

Looking Back at 2014

Nesting Season
[ photo: Nesting Season by Pat Gaines CC ]
It’s been a busy year over here, but writing wise, things have been a little slower than normal. It was back to book research and editing for the first 6 months. I finished another two drafts of the historical novel I wrote a couple years ago, and sent it off to beta readers. I haven’t had the chance to do the last round of revisions it needs quite yet.

In the meantime we started looking for a house, and that ate up most of our weekends until we finally moved into a new place in the summer. That also meant renovations, and shopping for furniture.

As soon as we moved in, I also found out I was pregnant. It was rough for the first 5 months, and included a brief stint in the hospital, and complications from medication. It’s really hard to find motivation to write when even water makes you throw up (morning sickness is a misnomer – it should really be called all day sickness).

But life never stops, does it? A short story of mine came out this year, and I was a panelist at my first SFF con.

I’m feeling a lot better these days, with only the normal complaints of pregnancy (which are surprising and numerous), so I’m happy! I’m taking it a lot easier than I usually do that is a strange adjustment to make, but my body is thankful for it. Right now, nesting instinct has totally taken over, and I keep wanting to clean the house. LOL

Next year, I expect I’ll have to play it by ear. I’m not sure how things will go or if I’ll have time to write at all. It will be different, that’s for sure, both exciting and scary too.

What were some of the highlights of your 2014?

And before I forget… Happy Holidays! May you have a holiday season blessed with good food and good company. See you back here in the new year :)

Things Change (in the blogosphere)

I’ve been blogging for about 8 years now (though this one hasn’t existed that long) and I’ve noticed how advice around blogging has changed over the years, and so has the medium. It’s probably a result of maturity, people figuring out how to leverage their blogs the best way, and the proliferation of new types of social media.

Here’s a random list of things that I’ve observed:

  • Fewer personal blogs, and diaries/journals. Maybe this is a result of people losing interest, or that people are more cautious these days? They might also just not attract as much attention as more instant forms of communication like Twitter.
  • (Outside of the fiction writing world) Many blogs have high production quality, professional photos, commercial polish. Popular ones have gotten non-fiction book deals, advertising sponsorship, or are built in conjunction with an existing/new business. Blogging is full time work for many of those folk.
  • Many agents no longer advocate that you must blog regularly, but only to blog if you enjoy it. I think this is likely because audiences are dwindling. If everyone has a blog, how do you have time to read them all? On the other hand, it’s still a good idea to have at least a website where people can find links to all your work, or find out more about you.

Times are a-changin, but that’s always been true. Maybe it just seems faster now that technology changes so rapidly, and there’s always the next big thing around the corner.

I’ll still keep blogging, because I enjoy it, but probably not so frequently with the baby coming and all. Honestly, the best thing about the blogging is you guys :)

What’s changed for you lately?