Sunday, February 22, 2015

six months

I'm starting this post two days before Penelope actually turns 6 months in the feeble hope that I might finish sometime before she turns 7 months. Right now I'm standing bouncing in my kitchen, wearing her in the Ergo, nap hood up... listening to her make little wake up noises. Oh she's up.


oh hey! were you doing something?
On her six week 'birthday' I wrote that I knew 'some stuff'. Now at six months, I know a little bit more. About Penelope. Not babies in general. It dawned on me during my run the other day that she's not me or Owen or anyone I know, she's a tiny stranger. And we have this opportunity to get to know her. Every day she shows us a little bit more of her personality and I fall in love with every little clue.

She's been super expressive since day one, and it's only getting better. She makes the best faces. Sometimes she does the slow turn to look at you and with this sassy "...the hell?" expression. The best. She can also drop an eyebrow and lift the other. But her face 80% of the time is in a giant mouth open smile.
Avocados are the best!
If she's excited (and it doesn't take much) her entire body shakes and her mouth opens as wide as it will go. She emits no sound, just silent scream/shakes. Like when you laugh so hard no sound comes out anymore, just tears. Her real laugh appeared one day when I tried to get her to jump. I'd jump and yell jump. She thought that was hilarious.  But she'll rarely laugh at the same thing twice, you have to impress her with new material.

She is not a great sleeper. Her mind is busy and she needs to make sure I'm still out there. Last night she was inconsolable from 9pm - midnight unless she had her face nuzzled in neck. I finally tucked her in our bed, she feel asleep with both hands on my face. You can guess how well I slept. But darn if she isn't the cutest.

My training is finally rolling. Nothing like my previous training before Penelope, but I'm learning to appreciate it for what it is. And I wouldn't be running if it weren't for Stephanie Bruce. When she came out to Seattle in December she was like, what's your excuse? (In so many words). And she handed me a schedule, but it felt like so much more. It's like she gave me the permission I didn't know I was waiting for. To run long. To run fast. She reminded me that I could be accountable. That I could commit to a schedule, but also remain flexible. That I could decide, obstacle or excuse?
second 10 miler, hip cape courtesy of my friend dave
During my run yesterday I had a realization... I still don't fully trust my body. After my birth plan evaporated in front of my eyes and instead of a spiritual, warrior goddess birthing experience I had a long, detached, medicated march to an unplanned c-section I lost faith in my capabilities. But more than just losing faith in my ability to give birth, I lost faith in myself in general. In my physical and mental strength.

I didn't realize I was still fighting the words "failure" and "inadequate". I had always believed myself to be strong and powerful and after those days trying to have my baby and "failing", I didn't believe that anymore.  I was timid and began to talk down about my body. I questioned what I could do.

This was clear after the Love 'Em or Leave 'Em 5k. We stood on the starting line and as they counted down 10-9-8-... I remembered what it was like to believe. I felt the darkness lift from my mind and let my feet and legs and body run. I believed in my body. I breathed out the word calm. I made targets and chased them. I reminded myself to keep strong form. I raced like I used to. It felt so foreign that I kept returning to the race in my mind, and although it wasn't a PR by any means (and nearly 2 minutes slower than I'd raced the course) it was a turning point. I felt proud and secure in my body for the first time in a long time.

I've been training with Stephanie for seven weeks and I'm so grateful she took me under her wing. She's an amazing coach and mentor. Watching her shows me what's possible. Watching Lauren Fleshman shows me what's possible. Watching Erica Sara shows me what's possible. Watching Sally and Lesko and my SIL's Jane and Anna and my mother.

Life is the best it's ever been and the hardest it's ever been. I wake up spinning after a night where I soothed Penelope down 3, 4, 5, 6 times. I still haven't slept more than 4 hours in a chunk in six months, most nights it's 2 hours at a time. There are days I wonder if I can do it. And then I do. Because I know it's possible because I have women who show me. 

___ 

For the record this blog post took me 7 days to write. Currently I can hear her chanting 'mam-mama-mam..." instead of napping in her crib.