Stuff, stuff and more stuff.

No denying that with new babies come new needs, and new stuff. Especially when it’s the first baby in the family.
Cribs, changing tables, clothes, scrubs, wipes, car seats, strollers to just name a few.

I haven’t been around babies much and I really don’t have a great idea of what is necessary, needed or just nice to have. I go from being scared that I’m accumulating way to much stuff, to fearing that I won’t have bare necessities to keep an infant alive.  Also, before you tell me that “it’s all going to be fine”, you best remember that I’m about as full of pregnancy hormones as I can be, so I don’t have to make sense, be logical or any of that.

When I read this most excellent post by Joshua Becker of becoming minimalist over the weekend, it hit home. It was a really nice and subtle reminder that my own brand of minimalism is still an important ideal to me. With all the endless fucking cuteness readily available in baby-land, it is hard to not want one of everything. Ordinary items that are easy to pass up become irresistible once they’ve been embroidered with tiny ducks, frogs and monkeys.  Them marketeers certainly know how to make ovaries rip out a wallet and make a purchase.

But, for now I’m less critical of my stuff accumulation. I’m taking it easy on myself and allowing this once-in-a-lifetime experience to wash over me. I’m practicing ahimsa (non-harming) by being kind to my bloated self – and always continuing Svadhyaya (self-study).

And on the self-study front, I’ve had some unexpected breakthroughs.

  • I still think most all doctors are idiots, but I’m now allowing for the idea that they actually got into medicine for other reasons than to fuck me over – that simply comes as a convenient byproduct.
  • I’ve also accepted that hospitals need to cling to their stupid procedures because in the current system and political climate that is the only way they can operate without getting sued out of existence, and there are some nice people who work there. Again, fucking me over not the primary goal, just a happy coincidence.
  • I have also accepted that thanks to my FVL blood clotting stuff, old age and the preferences of a husband that loves me dearly, that giving birth in a hospital attended by an OB is the way to go. To minimize the “fuck me over” factor, we will have a lovely doula and a couple of select friends with us at the hospital.

And last big observation – it’s really not just me and the husband having a kid.  Granted, we get to be the stars of the show as mom and dad, but the participation of our families, close friends and really all the people in our lives have only added to the whole experience.  I resisted at first, but a couple of good friends knocked some sense into my head and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. This kid is going to grow up around some awesome people and personalities.

I’ve also knocked my head against some mild annoyance. Unsolicited, ridiculous advice tops the list, and then it’s always a matter of ideals or lifestyle that are so far from matching up with my own way of thinking that tend to trip me. Funny enough, most of the child rearing advice I get is from people who either have no kids or raised them 40 years ago. Relatively recent moms & and dads just pat me on the back and say “you’ll figure it out, we all do” and smile reassuringly.

I am now 6 weeks out from full term (of 40 weeks). Doctor initially wanted to schedule induction beginning week 39, but we hope to allow labor to start naturally, when the time is right. Come week 35, I’ll be switching from Lovenox (blood thinner) to Heparin, which has a shorter half-life in the body, in case labor starts early. Not really looking forward to stabbing myself twice a day, but oh well, for a most excellent cause. I feel so close in some ways, but I know the home stretch will be the hardest. Like any good endurance race, you’ll end up leaving it all out on the course and probably puke as you cross the finish line. Fine with me. I’m getting to be ready to meet the little monkey :)

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Forced thankfulness and the real deal

Born and raised in Iceland, the turkey holiday was something I was only vaguely aware of until moving here. Then, spending my first few Thanksgivings at a dropzone surrounded by other foreign skydivers for the most part, I probably got a little distorted view of the whole event. It was kind of given that we were thankful and happy – we were out doing what we loved the most, jumping out of airplanes with friends in sunny Florida.

Nobody counted down the days on Facebook with “I’m blessed for this or thankful for that” status updates, because there was no Facebook or Twitter.  Imagine that.  I can’t put a finger on why those updates annoy me a little. Maybe because they feel obligatory and fake, rather than true thankfulness. Thing is, I have a lot to be grateful for – and I am.  Rather than a 20 second status update or tweet, it’s a feeling that I try to carry with me. It’s that feeling or reservoir that I draw from when I get bumped with a shopping cart at the supermarket and the wench doesn’t say I’m sorry.  Or when some jackass steals the parking spot I’d been so patiently waiting for. Or when one of the million little other things that are a part of this life come my way and try to rattle me. Or when people are being assholes. Or when I’m being one (yeah, that happens).  It’s then that I go within and see my happy jar overflowing with all kinds of blessings, big and small, and it reminds me that in the big scheme of things, it’s not worth getting upset about, and that I should make haste in getting my ass back to balance.

I guess it goes back to the yamas and niyamas, as most everything does. Ahimsa (non-violence), Santosa (contentment) and of course Svadhyaya (self-study) are the tools that year around keep me calm and composed in the midst of the fray, well, for the most part at least.

Namaste to all of you out there. Stay warm and fuzzy on the inside and outside. I hope you all spend the day with someone you cherish. My thoughts today will be with a friend just getting ready to welcome her son into this world. I’m really grateful that she has let me be a part of her journey and hope everything goes amazingly for her and the little one.

On personal responsibility

As I step deeper into the world of yoga and start to explore the instructional side, the area of “taking personal responsibility for yourself and your actions” is one area that keeps cropping up.
My teachers are big on this – over and over they remind us that at the end of the day YOU are the one responsible for yourself and your actions. You must be responsible for understanding your limits and when it comes to yoga, apply that understanding to practice. You are to know when you are just being lazy and can give more and you are to know when you need to show yourself some kindness and back off.

Turns out that advice applies off that mat too

One of my favorite bloggers, Erika from Redhead Writing, just touched on similar topic, approaching it from parental/child rearing standpoint. Her post was prompted by 10 minute long video posted about Karen H. Klein, a 68-year-old school bus monitor in Greece, NY being bullied by 4 of the kids on the bus. One of the bullies posted the video to Facebook, from where it hit YouTube and went viral wildfire style.
School authorities, parental units and the rest of the internet connected world are  in on this, and the world is pitching in to send Karen on a vacation of a lifetime. Click here to be a part of that action. The kids, assuming their parents are worth their salt, will likely eat enough humble pie to last a lifetime. I’m sure they knew they were being little shits, but they thought they would get away with it. The little bullies just got themselves a great lesson in what-goes-around-comes-around.

But back personal responsibility. In her post, Erika mentions a few things that struck her as she watched the video and read the surrounding news stories. What really resonated with me were these two points from her post:

  • If you’re a parent, schools aren’t foster parents or daycare centers. Start raising your fucking kids. Stop being their FRIEND and start setting limits.
  • If you’re a school administrator or teacher, bus driver, teacher’s aide…stop taking shit from kids. Stop it. Just fucking stop it. You’re not responsible for raising these kids, but you can demand the respect you deserve for doing one of the most admirable jobs in the world.

Now I’m not a parent, but this really is a good notion for those out there that are.
My parents are not my friends – they are my parents!  I respect the hell out of both of them, and I love them to pieces and I’ll always want to spend more time with them than I get to.  Friend – no – a parent is so much more. Ask anyone who has lost one. You can get new friends, but a great parent – you can’t replace really replace one of those.
Have respect for others, have respect for yourself.  Do not trample on others, do not tolerate being trampled on.

Simple really. So lets all pitch in to make this world a better place.
Let’s get kind, but firm that kindness up with a strong character that shows and asks for respect, on and off the mat.
Namaste.