Monday, October 16, 2017

Someone in your life needs to hear this

4:16am. Our seven-week old daughter, Waverly, woke me up crying. Sleepily, I carried from her bassinet next to our bed, into her room to change her, feed her, cuddle her back to sleep. However, she had other plans. She howled through the changing (even with the heated wipes), and through the very messy bottle (turns out when you cry and suck on a bottle, it gets all over your PJ's) and even through the attempted cuddle, she cried.  And cried. She was inconsolable.

In one of the parenting classes we took, we were told that the nighttime changes weren't supposed to be fun. Keep the lights low, try not to talk too much. Get to business and get the baby back in bed so she doesn't expect the nighty intermissions to resemble a party. That is what we try to do. So, last night, I tried to soothe her and put her back to bed but she refused to lay down. I checked her diaper. Dry. I inspected her fingers and toes (we were told that when a mom has long hair, a hair can wrap around a baby's finger or toe and cut off circulation). Her digits were fine. I patted her back. I paced down the hallway. I tried another bottle. The wailing continued. She was at this point sweaty from crying so hard. I took off her onesie and wrapped her in a light muslin blanket. She cried harder.  She held her breath. She was exhausted and cranky.

I was exhausted and cranky too. I collapsed in her rocking chair. I unwrapped her blanket and unwrapped my robe. I laid her against my chest and wrapped the robe around us.  We were both in tears. As I rocked, I held her and whispered "I love you. You're OK. I got you." In the quiet of her room, we rocked as I said over and over like a mantra, "I love you. You're OK. I got you. I love you. You're OK. I got you. Iloveyoureokigotyou. I loveyouyoureokigotyou. . ." It became one word, a sound that seemed to soothe something in her. She became quiet, her breathing steady. I thought she was asleep so I stopped speaking. She started to cry. OK, I whispered "Oh, Wave, I love you. You're OK. I got you" over and over. She fell asleep. We stayed like that, just the little one and I, as I listened to her breathing, peaceful, happy.

She stayed asleep as I put a new onesie on her and carried her back to our room. I placed her in her bassinet, climbed in bed and pulled her bassinet close to me. I laid there listening to my daughter breathing, with her knowing that I loved her, she was OK and I had her.

As I was falling asleep, I was grateful that I was able to figure out what she needed. I had such a fear when I became a mother, that I wouldn't know what my daughter needed. I don't know if she understood what I was saying. Perhaps the syllables were melodic. Perhaps the softness in my voice made her feel loved and safe. Perhaps something in her understood what I was saying to her "Little one, you are so loved and you are OK and we will always have your back and protect you."

After our mini-battle against sleep / bad dreams / tummy upset was conquered by a hug and the comfort of knowing someone understood her,  this morning, I  realized that this is something that can work with friends and others as well. How many other people need to hear that they are loved and that it will be OK?  Sometimes it's uncomfortable to see someone's emotional side, especially if they are typically unemotional. The truth is, people are very good at hiding pain, especially the emotional kind. My grandmother once told me that everyone is fighting battles. Some you can't see. Some people want to go to battle alone but most people do best when they have someone by their side.

A friend of mine (a guy) is about as unemotional as you can be. He doesn't share his soft, vulnerable side. Ever. I wondered if he had one. Then something awful happened in his life and he tried to keep it together. I didn't want to hurt his feelings by letting him know that I could see his was falling apart so I didn't say anything. We both ignored the elephant in the room. I regret not saying something. What I should have said when he was going through that terrible time was "I love you. You're OK. I got you." I wonder if I had said that to him, would it have helped? Would he have taken comfort knowing he could let his guard down and let someone take care of his hurt heart for just a moment, giving him a moment, until he was his strong self again? I wish I had tried.

After last night's experience, I realized that one time or another in life, every single one of us needs to    know that if we need to melt down / take a step away from a situation / cry, that someone is there to love them and that if it's not OK, it will be. It will.

video: A-Ha's Acoustic Version of "Take on Me"

While I love the classic, poppy, head-nodding version of a-ha's highly stylized hit "Take on Me," this morning I stumbled across this acoustic version. It's hauntingly beautiful in its simple quiet arrangement that lets Morten Harket's vocals and lyrics become the focus. When you listen to the original version, it's impossible not to think of the memorable animated/live-action video that swept award after award for its innovative rotoscoped video at the MTV Video Awards in 1986.  This one is different.

Listen to this acoustic version. I close my eyes and I imagine tucking in on a snowy winter's night in front of a fire, smiling as I sing along softly to the lyrics "You're all the things I've got to remember. . ."

I hope you're having a happy Tuesday!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Disney News: Vacation at WDW With Your Dog!

Sometimes when I'm at Walt Disney World, I think, "There is no way this could possibly be better." Usually, I have this thought when I'm watching the fireworks on Main Street USA or I'm on the dusk Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom. I'm just so happy there. Now, there is something that can make a Disney vacation even better- you can now bring your dog to stay with you when you book your vacation at one of the select Disney Resort properties.*

Starting, Sunday, October 15th, four Walt Disney World Resort Resorts - Disney's Yacht Club, Disney Port Orleans Resort-Riverside, Disney's Art of Animation Resort and the cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground will welcome guests along with their furry companions.

As part of the new program, two dogs are allowed per guest room. Upon check-in, guests with pets will receive Pluto's Welcome Kit which includes a mat, bowls, a pet ID tag, courtesy plastic disposable bags, puppy pads and dog walking maps. Concerned about housekeeping interrupting your pet's snooze? Disney has that covered. You'll receive a Pluto 'Do Not Disturb" door hanger, alerting staff that your furry family member is in the room.

If you plan on being in the parks all day, day care and per services are offered at Best Friends, an on-property full-service pet care facility. (fees apply)

In addition to your resort room fees and tax, the per night/per room pet-cleaning fees are:

Disney's Art of Animation Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort and Cabins at Disney's Ft. Wilderness Resort: $50/night
Disney's Yacht Club Resort: $75/night

If you do plan on bringing that best friend of yours to stay with you at your resort, your dog should be well behaved, leashed in resort public areas and properly vaccinated. For more information on this new trial-program, contact  407-W-DISNEY or visit If you are a DVC Member, contact Member Services at 800-800-9800.

*No, you can't take Maggie, Lucy or Rocket on the attractions with you. You can, however, reenact your favorite part of your day when you reunite with your buddy when you return to your resort room.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Why you should love Mondays

I love Mondays. I do. To me, Mondays feel like January 1st. Regardless of how off the charts bad the week before was, on Monday mornings I feel like "OK, last week you went off the rails with your clean eating program, this is a new day, a new week. A fresh start. You've got this."

Since welcoming my daughter, Waverly, into my life six weeks ago, I made the choice to be altogether healthier, to be a good role model for her. I want her to look at food as sustenance, not a reward, not a distraction, not something to fill a void. That is how I was raised, that was my coping mechanism for when I was angry or depressed or annoyed. . . Actually, any emotion gave me cause to eat. I want Waverly to be brought up in a home that isn't focused on food or on weight. It's about being healthy. So, for the past six weeks, I have tried to be as healthy as I can be, to look at food as something that provides nutrients to grow healthy and strong. Yet, as strong as my will is, I can be at Starbucks and while my mind says "Order the black coffee with cream only," my heart says "Oh! It's pumpkin spice latte time! IT'S PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE TIME! AND PUMPKIN BREAD!' Sometimes, I get the coffee with cream but I am embarrassed to say, despite my good intentions, despite knowing what is the healthiest thing for me, I still go for the sweet pumpkin flavors and the 1200 empty calories. Then I feel terrible, then I make more poor choices.

Today is Monday. There are 604,800 seconds in a week. That many opportunities to make the right choice, to make myself proud of the choices I have made, to show Waverly how to have a healthy relationship with food and with her own body. To show her that the right choices can make you feel confident and happy.

Whatever you are struggling with - working in a job that gives you anxiety the moment you wake up, or working out every day or  staying away from people who don't make you feel good about yourself or achieving your goals in school, this is a new week, your new chance to make the right choices. I think of future me at the end of this week and I hope that I have made the right choices which makes me feel proud. When I feel weak, when I want to dive into a tuna melt or pumpkin flavored treats, I try to remind myself that this one moment of indulgence will be over in a couple of minutes but the guilt associated will haunt me all day. Staying strong through a moment of weakness, makes future choices easier. You know you can do it because you've done it.

So, here's to a new week and to making the right choices. You are strong. The only thing you have to think about is this moment right now. When this moment passes, will you be proud of yourself?

Need someone to be accountable to? Email me. I'll be your cheerleader. You don't know it but I already am. Have a wonderful, happy week!
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