Thursday, October 25, 2012

Five Things I Didn't Expect About Being A Mom

Being a mom (or dad), there are a lot of things you think about as the birth of your child comes closer.  You worry about whether they'll be born healthy, what they'll look like (I really wanted my baby to be born with hair).  You think about what the nursery will be like and how soon before they'll sleep through the night.  I was one of those people that read a lot--internet articles, books on baby's first year, parenting guidebooks.   But there are some things all the reading and preparation and decisions about nursery themes and diapers and feedings just can't prepare you for.  I'm sure this list is very different for every parent, but here's mine.

1.  I am obsessed with my baby's sleep. Other mom's are obsessed with how many ounces their baby eats at each feeding, or how many dirty and wet diapers they make.  Me, I want my baby to sleep.  My husband and I both have crappy sleep habits (watching TV in bed, staying up too late, hitting the snooze twenty times in the morning) and I am determined not to instill that on my kid.  I carefully note each little block of sleep and how she got there both on my smartphone and on a chart.  I'm like a scientist watching over an experiment.  Or maybe I just want to brag about how my baby sleeps 11 to 12 hours at night.  And complain about how short her naps are....

2. Her cute little feet. I am not a foot person.  I will massage any part of my husband's body before I touch his feet, whether his feet are aching or fresh from a shower.  But Amelia?  I probably kiss the soles of her feet ten times a day.   More if it's making her smile at that particular moment. This is not even stopped by the fact she always tries to put those adorable feet in her poop whenever I change her diaper. (Don't worry! I clean them before I kiss them)!

See how cute they are?
3.  The habits of a crazy person are suddenly the most precious thing in the world if your child is doing them.   If you saw a man standing on a corner, trying to put a spoon in his mouth and missing over and over again, you'd probably back away slowly, right?  Well, yesterday, I watched my daughter try to put her pacifier in her mouth for five minutes straight, half the time not getting it near her mouth, the other half smashing it against her lips the wrong way.  It was hilarious.  I eventually went over and put it in for her when she started to cry.  

4.  I don't mind getting poop on me, nor do I honestly notice half the time.  The first week Amelia was home, she pooped explosively (yes, babies really do this) as I was changing her diaper, shooting it outward so it landed on my feet, arm and the bed.  I laughed and kept changing her.  I can't even count the number of times I've realized I have a poop smear on my hand when I haven't changed a diaper in at least an hour.  This may have something to do with being an artist and always having ink or paints on my hands and under my nails.  That said, I have become much more thorough about sanitizing my hands before cooking or eating. 

5.  I didn't know it until I had a kid, but I have ninja-mom-bat ears.  My husband and I can be sitting on the couch, in the living room, watching TV and eating dinner and if Amelia makes the slightest peep, we immediately have this conversation:
                               Me: What was that?
                               Him:  What was what?
                               Me: I thought I heard the baby. 
                               Him:  I didn't hear anything.
                               Baby:  Waaaaah!
                               Him:  Oh. 

I could list a few more things I didn't expect about being a mom, but I figure one thing on the list with poop is enough.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Naptime Worktime

The baby suddenly started taking normal naps again yesterday.  And, by normal, I mean more than fifteen to thirty minutes long.

A thirty minute nap is one of two things.   One, it's annoying in the sense that it takes almost as long to get the baby to go to sleep as she actually stays asleep.  Two, the baby stays asleep just long enough to get me really into whatever I'm doing before she starts stirring.

I'm one of those slow-build kind of people, so when the little bean falls asleep, I make a cup of coffee, have a snack, start doing dishes...then I get into the cleaning and I start doing laundry, and then I've got the vacuum out and the mop... then WHAM! She's awake and the floor is half mopped or the laundry is in a pile.  If I was working on my shop, maybe a listing is half-edited, or I was in the middle of a batch of photographs that needed to be tweaked.  Then, I hear that gurgling sound that means she's up and I think two things. One is too profane to post here and one is just too gushy.

Needless to say, I am very glad she is sleeping for one to two hours at a time.  But it now presents a new problem:  I have so much to do, that I haven't done in so long, I don't know what to do with myself or how to do it.  This morning, I finally photographed some new items for my shop which were designed and made mid-way through my pregnancy.  But I hadn't used my camera in so long, I couldn't remember the best settings and most of the photos turned out meh, so that's going to take a few tries to get right.

Mostly, though, I just sort of wander aimlessly from one chore or spot of work to the next (the same way I'm kind of rambling through this post).  The way my brain works now is this:  I see the bouncer needs to be moved back into the kitchen, so I do it and as I'm doing it, I see the dog bowl, so I feed the dog.  While I'm getting food, I see dirty dishes, so I go to do those, but I realize my brayer for rolling ink is drying in the rack, so I take it to my desk.  I see on my desk a half-finished design, so I sketch a few lines, look up and see a dirty get the point.  I get a little of everything done, but nothing really gets completed.

Maybe it's going to take a few naps to figure out the settings on my camera again and a few more to get that print design finished, but there is one bright spot:  that smile I get every time she wakes up.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Nursery

So the one artsy thing I managed to do while I was pregnant was decorate the nursery.   It was already painted green from when it was my studio (I like being surrounded by color).  I went with a forest/bird theme, and put everything together myself, from the birch tree decals on the walls to the goldfinch shadowboxes.  Have a look:
Wide view of the birch decals.

Opposite corner of the room.

Goldfinch shadowboxes I made. These were the inspiration for the room.

I got cheap art by cutting prints out of an old Audubon book I picked up for $2. 

Birdhouse mobile I made for less than 10$.

I still feel it isn't quite complete.  I plan to add some brightly colored birds among the birch trees to match the colors on the mobile.  Soon, if I have time, I'll do a tutorial on how I did the birch tree decals (which also cost less than ten dollars to do)!

Monday, October 1, 2012

WAHM, SAHM, Thank you Ma'am

There are acronyms for everything on the internet these days, even for moms.  If you've spent any time whatsoever on any kind of baby or child forum, you're probably already familiar with the two or three most common: WAHM (work-at-home mom), SAHM (stay-at-home mom) and FTM (first-time mom).

Well, today, I'm making a new one.  I am redefining myself as a CAHM.  Create-at-home mom.  I really don't think WAHM fits, because creativity is an elusive enough beast when you aren't distracted by a very small person.  It doesn't schedule itself.  I can't get my husband to watch the baby and hope my muse shows up then.  I just have to cross my fingers and hope I can remember that idea long enough to write it down when Amelia is playing or sketch out that new design while she naps.

This has nothing to do with the post, but I think baby hands are cute.

I mean, I don't know if you've noticed, but I have not added an entirely new design to my Etsy shop in nearly a year.  Not a print, painting or card.  I did do some creative things while pregnant (I'll have to do a post on the nursery soon!), but nearly all of them were for the baby.  The simple truth is, pregnancy fries your brain (at least temporarily, though I admit to still feeling like a dunce most days).  So it was hard enough to come up with ideas then, let alone carry through with them.  Thankfully, I feel like I'm back on track these days.  I don't know when my muse is going to pop in, but I'm scattering a bunch of drawing pens around the house just in case.  I also think I might have a new one, hidden in a tiny, chubby face.

So, yes, I feel being an artist and a mom deserves it's own acronym.  When you're trying to sketch out an idea with one hand while jiggling a cranky baby with the other, you totally get to make up your own title.

And am I writing this while the baby sleeps, three days in advance of posting? Hell yes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Long Absence might have noticed it's been, oh, eleven months or thereabouts since my last post. "What have you been doing?" you may ask. "Where have you been for so long? I missed your treasury posts and tutorials and seeing what you were working on!" Or maybe you didn't. Sorry I disappeared for ever so long. I was working on my largest and most important project yet:

Her name is Amelia and she is now two months old.  I hope, now, that you understand my absence.   If that is not a good enough reason for you ("Why didn't you post during pregnancy?" you ask, indignant).   Well, I had morning sickness worse than you can ever imagine.  By the time that was over, there was a baby to prepare for, and by the time preparing for the baby was over, there was, well, a baby.  

So what does this mean for my blog? My art? My life?  No worries.  While little A has become the center of my world, I refuse to become one of those moms where she is the only thing in my world.  It does mean the scope of my art will probably change, and certainly how much time to create it (I've already experienced the thrill of speed-printing while rocking a whimpering baby with my foot).  And certainly this blog is going to change.  After all, I find it hard enough to schedule a shower these days, let alone blog posts.  

From here on out, things are going to be a lot more freeform around here.  No more Treasury Tuesdays and Feature Fridays, or whatever I had going before. Besides, did you really enjoy all those Treasury Tuesdays?  It got a little tedious, didn't it?  Yes, yes.  I thought so.  

So, now, I'll write when I write and I plan to actually write.  It will still be about art and craft, but now it's going to be about art and craft while trying to juggle being a mom.  Also, I've been nagging my wiz of a graphic designer husband and hopefully we'll have a new look (and new location) coming soon.  

Big changes are coming, friends.  And some are already here.