Sunday, August 23, 2009

Maxima enim...patientia virtus. Patience is the greatest Virtue.

William Langland!!! You and your poem!

My mother's words still ring in my head (and, admittedly, find their sneaky way out of my mouth): "Patience is a Virtue." "Jennifer...Patience is a virtue." "Patience is a a virtue...a virtue...virtue..." [yes...that is a literary echo. In my mother's voice.]

Well what if I'm feeling slightly less than...virtuesque? What if I'm fairly certain if I went for a walk I'd stumble upon Sri Lanka prior to locating my patience?

I suppose that's why the phrase exists, a much-needed reminder one should hold in the back of their mind, for retrieval when necessary. As it is something which isn't completely natural, something that doesn't come easy, something one can only aspire towards attaining.

So today I aspire.

God grant me patience.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Practice makes Perfect.

My Layla is a perfectionist. There is a rumor floating around that "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree", so I can't say I'm surprised.

Babble, she will not. Prattle on, no sir. She picks one word. She then must practice and perfect, practice and perfect. Once practiced and perfected, she continues onto the next one word. Practicing and perfecting.

Since I am, assumably, her favorite, it was fitting she would elect to speak "mama" first. Great jubilee!!!! (!!!!) Elated, I bragged to Matt at every opportunity and then would turn to Layla and instruct: "SAY mama." I executed this in the singsong manner which we all know "SAY mama" requires, and I made sure to do it an obnoxious number of times a day.

Well, let me tell you. Layla the perfectionist a/k/a Stella the tease. After practicing and perfecting, she then set her sights on: "Boo-Boo" (her pacifier), "Ba-Ba" (bottle), "Not Applicatory" (although advanced, she must have picked up on it because of the frequency by which it is used in the Jentz household), and since then, trolled her way along the banks of all other potential acquisitions, and has settled [*no the connotation this word holds has not escaped me*] on "Dada".

The first time I heard her say it, we were playing on the floor (serious fun to be had for all), waiting for Matt to come home. At that moment, she made her request known. "Dada??" It genuinely melted my heart, as I knew how much it would mean to Matt that she had finally said it. I couldn't wait for him to get home so, together, we could pay homage to the phenomenon which is our daughter. [Yes, I realize this isn't entirely evidentiary of groundbreaking genius. However, when you have children, or if you already have children, you realize that everything they do is the most.amazing.thing.ever. Even their poop faces are precious and "awwwwww"-invoking in their own way!] While I am not [altogether] selfish, since that fateful day, I can't deny it conjurs a lemon-juice-on-my-papercut-sting that she has continued to master, moreover master with exclusivity, Dada.

Blessed with the gift of insight, she knows what I desperately am waiting to hear. "SAY Mama," I instruct. Her smirk breaks into a squeal of glee and she proudly responds: "Dada." Now, I am a patient person by nature, as many of you know, so I breath in and smile BIG at her so she can be confident I love her to the moon and back, despite the fact that she chooses to torment me. "SAY Mama." Laughter, followed with: "Dada."

Oh Stella, you know exactly what you are doing. I hereby make the following proclamation: Although you have managed to to beat me in the battle of wills today, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again". And, in the meantime, I must admit I slightly enjoy our game [me providing you endless hours of amusement at my own expense] because you are just so stinken' adorable when your nose crinkles up and your right dimple appears [as you taunt me].

I am not worried. I'll find a way to outsmart you, yet. See, the thing is, my skilled little protégé, as far as the outsmarting goes, I am ahead of you in both areas of practice and perfection, by...oh...26 years, 5 months.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

For any of you who have a cranky 10 month old, I am about to share a secret with you.

When playing on the floor with even her favoritest of favorite toys has grown old, and bouncing in her exersaucer has lost is charm, and she looks at you with frustration instead of ecstatic anticipation as you throw her into the air over and over and over again. When her squawks turn to screeches which border on screams of perpetual irritation, there *is* one last option.

Now, don't let its title fool you. Trust me on this.

It's catchy. It's Polish. And it helps Stella chill.the.heck.out [and she is ri--ley]. I mean, really. What more could a mom ask? It has taken me 10 months of Layla's life to locate this treasure. All of the legwork has been done. I now fast-pass you to just about 3 minutes of unadulterated contentment. And the best part? The fun never has to end when there's a "Replay" button.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pacifier Patrol!

{Stella} luuuurrrrrrvvvvveeeessssssss her pacifier. In our house we refer to it as a boo-boo. When upset, she will cry: "huh-buh-buhhhhhhh...huh-buh-buhhhhhh!!!!" incessantly as we scour every nook n' cranny for the only thing which can aid the heartbroken sobs of our second-born. No, we at the Jentz home, are not on the cutting edge of the latest in nuk lingo. (Shocking, we know!) But, when Madison was a toddler she did as all over-confident toddlers do and frequently fell, banged into things, and suffered many a minor physical injury and *many* a major emotional injury. My mother, God bless her, would say, "Did you get a boo-boo?" and hand her the pacifier. You can see how a child of the tender age of 1, with little knowledge of the English language, could become confused. When we gave Layla the pacifier (or the nurses at the hospital did. Yeah, that one.) we were determined to call it something, anything, which wouldn't raise the question of WHY everywhere we went. Alas, old habits die hard, and we resigned ourselves to the comfort of: "Boo-Boo".

After a long weekend, I was looking forward to decent night of sleep before heading back to the daily grind. For some inexplicable reason (other than she must have sensed my underlying desire for some shut-eye), {Stella} was especially "boo-boo aware" last night. Usually we know immediately when that moment of *victory* occurs. You know, the one where you can be sure your baby is actually out-out (for Madison it was when one of her arms or legs would spastically jerk) and you can dance around the living room in celebration, or, as parents of new"ish" babies often do: throw yourself onto the couch in contentment and hope to make it through the first 20 minutes of the news. We always know with Layla when the Victory Moment occurs because her "huh-buh-buhhhhhh" plops out of her perfectly pink pouting lips and there it rests for the remainder of the evening. Well, last night was the exception to the rule. Our little angel was not content to sleep sans soothing-device, oh no! She was, however, happy to wake us up with her rantings of the the loss of her beloved boo-boo a half-dozen times throughout the course of the night.

Why a story about a pacifier (which is mediocre, at best) on this beautiful Monday morn, you ask? Because I have Pacifier Patrol Mush Brain, that's why! And I'm feeling tired and cranky. Not to mention, cranky and tired. So this is sincerely the best I can come up with.

To those still reading: Donations of sympathy are being accepted at this time.

To my dear husband, Matt: I hereby bequeath the Pacifier Patrol badge for it's probable usage later this evening.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Love is Blind.

I helped a blind man in the skyway today. I was in the middle of my morning ritual, we’ll call it the 5-7 minute Patience Builder (or, as it also could be referred to: the “ridiculously-long-elevators-which-have-been-under-maintenance-for-the-entire-6-years-we’ve-been-privileged-tenants”, wait), when I hear the click-clicking of his walking stick. I turn to look and when he comes into my sight I watch him realize he is at a fork in the road, and then pause and tap his walking stick. He fumbles about, ultimately going straight when he should be turning left. I hesitate. Surely someone else who is closer will help him? How do you “lead” a blind person anyway? Do you take their arm? Do you offer yours? I certainly don’t know these things. A good 20 seconds after I realize he is going to miss the turn for the skyway and walk himself into the corner, my better judgment kicks in and I hustle over to help him on his way. It’s uncomfortable and clumsy because I'm trying to decide whether to grab his arm or offer mine and I make the quick decision that I should offer him my arm but then he can't see me so then I decide to grab his arm and that feels just plain wrong too. Awk--ward. But, we get the job done and needless to say, he gets where he needs to go.

I turn around to return to my never-ending deferment and am faced with a co-worker holding the elevator doors open (ummm…is that impatience on her face? Annoyance even?) and an elevator-full of eyes on me. As it dawns on me that not only had they been watching me, they also had been waiting for a good minute [a fact apparent to anyone renting in the building because, after an allotted period of time, the elevator doors become aggressive and one has no choice but to use the weight of their body to hold the doors open], I turn an incredible shade of red. To turn this shade of red takes serious skill, let me tell you. Since I feel like having a blog requires a certain degree of transparency, I’ll admit I’m embarrassed to admit, I was embarrassed. “Well that was nice,” says a mouth below 2 of the 16 eyes which are currently glued to me (probably assessing the seriously red situation). She says this to me as one would tell a young child who willing chose to share her prized possessions with her sibling. I’m pretty sure that I mutter something utterly insightful and profound: “oh…” and with that, the elevator doors shut. Longest elevator ride of my life ensues.

Once I reach the safety and privacy of my office, I’m able to sit behind 4 walls which protect me from staring people and gather my thoughts. My skin returns to its normal shade of fake’n’bake and I attempt to gain footing on some of the nagging questions in the back of my mind. Since when is helping a blind person considered “nice”? (I know, it certainly can't be considered "mean", but you know what I mean!) And WHY on earth did it feel like stepping out of my comfort zone to leave my post (albeit trading my opportunity to ride the long-awaited elevator with the chance to wait for another 5 minutes) but simultaneously helping someone in need? What is wrong with me? What is wrong with us? Shouldn’t it have been natural? Expected? Easy? Shouldn’t I have been competing with at least a handful of other people who also saw this man and his need?

I mean, this may seem elementary, but let’s get back to basics. Put spiritual dictum to the side, even. What about moral obligation? Mortal obligation? I mean…we’re all fellow human beings here, needing help, right? We all need someone to offer us an arm, however clumsily, when we’re fumbling about and going in the wrong direction. So why is it a challenge to make that decision, to reach out, to help when it's so apparently needed?

I don’t want to get all preachy on a Friday, but I just needed to chew on this a little. I guess the smallest areas can sometimes be the hardest areas to step-out. It may be easy to make the “right” decision when it’s something big and obvious blaring you in the face. But what about the little things? The details? What about the million choices in a day that make up the bigger picture? What about the PEOPLE around us? What about showing love?

So, even though it may be Fun-Friday, I'm going to spend some time pondering these questions. Who am I impacting? And for what purpose? Who am allowing to make an impact on me? Maybe if you, too, have found yourself feeling introspective on Fun-Friday you can take a walk with me, and ponder these questions, as well. Because, let's face it: soul-searching, it’s good for the…(er?)…soul.

On a similar note, I also must mention I believe it's true that you reap what you sow. Later, the evidence of this is found on my desk in the form of a fresh from the oven [600 calorie] blueberry scone. The attorney who held the elevator doors for me, you suggest? Nahhhh...I'm sure she had met her quota for the day at fighting with the elevator doors. The highly caloric [read: divine and delicious] treat was probably from someone else. Although I suppose it's possible she is trying to make me fat.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You Can't Put a Price on Symmetry.

After an extensive pawing of Layla’s head at her 9 month check-up, our Pediatrician informed us that we would be paying a visit to a Craniologist for further testing as our precious, perfect, Layla had a precious, perfect, flat spot. This, along with a slight Plagiocephaly, which came from her preference of leaning her head to one side during sleep and play, would have to be scanned, graphed, and possibly fitted for a *gasp* $3,000 helmet. Yeah. You heard me. I said helmet.

We were assured not to worry, because nowadays said helmet comes in all sorts of pretty colors and, even more importantly, they are easily painted and decorated!! You can imagine my immediate relief! As many of you know, the mere fact that helmets are “the new black” is all it should take to alleviate any fashion-forward mother’s concerns.

Our Pediatrician stares at us. We stare at our Pediatrician. [crickets creak] On her face it is apparent that there is no consideration, the answer is obvious. And looking back at her, we hope that she sees on our faces that get it. We do! Not the fact that we haven’t heard anything since she casually threw out $3,000 and a bigger, more practical part of our brains is already weighing the odds that our Layla will want to wear hats and other miscellaneous head coverings for the remainder of her days. Of COURSE we want her to have a round head. Of COURSE we want her to fit in with all the other babies on the block. Of COURSE we don't want her to fall victim to the insatiable appetites of the bullies in her grade. Que obnoxious automated session with my insurance provider. Finally, a live person! I am able to confirm that, thankfully, the majority of the bully-prevention-tool is covered and it will only cost us $600 to be certain that Layla has the roundest head possible. This is important stuff, folks. We make our appointment with the Craniologist and jump down the rabbit hole.

For any of you who may be required to submit your children to such tortures, I offer a detailed accounting of the events which followed. After baby is stripped down to nothing but a diaper (mortifying!), she is required to don a dew-rag-ish stocking. We then place her (and “place” translated as derived from the Latin platea means: hold down red screaming baby) in what can only be described as a horrendously overpriced, gratified copy machine while the Dr. tries and tries again to obtain a decent scan of the object in question and poor dear husband makes a sweet and frantic attempt to distract baby from the fact that she is being pressed, against her will, onto a cold glass slab in a fashion faux pas of a corner-store-raiding-pantyhose-cap, no less.

Thankfully, the Doctor is well-practiced at photographing tantruming baby with his copy machine contraption and Layla finds dear sweet husband’s dancing with Mickey Mouse spinning, light-up, wand thingy, inspired. In the allotted time frame, only 3 huge alligator tears have managed to make their way down unforgiving pudgy cheeks. I counted.

The verdict is it looks like a nice round head courtesy of pink, butterfly covered helmet, isn’t in our precious, perfect, flat-headed, Layla’s future. While the plates in her head should do as all smart skull plates do and round out, she’ll have to charm potential courters not with her freakishly round noggin, but with her gentle demeanor, patience and soft-spoken personality.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In the words of Imogen Heap, Say Goodnight & Go.

Redbox. You have lured me in for the last time with promises of your $1 rentals and oh-so-shiny red vending stations. In the past I have fallen prey to your 24hr accessibility and even more alluring, OrderOnlineAheadOfThe6pmFridayMovieScramble which had previously kept me coming back for more. From here on out, your craftily-manufactured, invisible cases will be lost in some other suckers couch cushions, only to be found at a time when their precious children (reminiscent of none-other-than Sherlock Holmes) go fishing for lost change and Barbie shoes. I, now a step ahead of those poor fellows, know insult will be added to injury when they later open their credit card statement to the shocking & exorbitant charges which, clearly, only an offense as great as misplacing something the size of a dessert plate for a couple weeks could warrant.

Please consider this my Dear John Letter. We’re through.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I *do* have something to say.

I'll admit, I used to view blogging as narcissistic. Okay. I still view blogging as narcissistic.

Don't worry, friends, this doesn't mean you.

I read many of your blogs and thoroughly enjoy getting the the opinions, details, and glimpses of your life that I may not get otherwise. I suppose I have read them with a "Caution: Don't Try This At Home" disclaimer. Or perhaps I know this, too, is destined to later be boxed-up with my scrap-booking supplies, knitting needles, or any of the endless forgotten hobbies which abound. But, still, here I sit. Typing, and deleting, typing and deleting. Careful crafting the first paragraphs of this blog that someone will read. Or no one will read. Both options equally assuring, and yet. Not.

Mostly, upon further contemplation, I think this blog could quite possible be for me and for me alone. A snapshot of my journey [be it spiritual, emotional, physical or as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, working woman, etc. etc. so on and so forth] to later look back on. One that can only be taken in a fashion of this sort. And that, I truly don't believe for a second, is narcissistic.

So I offer a mixed-bag of noteworthys, non-noteworthys, miscellaneous observations, reflections, experiences, challenges, and many joys, with a promised sprinkling of [nice, candy-coated] opinion. Here I am, here it is, here we go.