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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: mom

When a Baby Becomes a Person

Sometime between my world being rocked and right now, something shifted. I think it happened between weeks seven and nine of Mars’ life. He grew and grew and grew, and all of a sudden, he seems to enjoy his own existence. He’s not just turning milk into poop and vigorously dividing cells. He’s discovering. He’s emoting. He’s watching and listening and experimenting.

(For now) we aren’t making mindless bounce-laps around the kitchen table. We’re chatting with each other, we’re relaxing together, and we’re discovering what the world looks like when it’s never been seen before. When Mars kicks and swings and I ask him excitedly (like, really excitedly) if moving around is so much fun, he locks eyes with me and wiggles with even more gusto – as if to tell me that not only is it fun, he’s going to wiggle like a maniac if he thinks I’m into it, too.

Mars is a pretty careful observer. He takes in the world intently and doesn’t get distracted by the antics I try in order to tease out a smile. And as much as I love his smiles, I love his focus even more. He’s letting me get to know him and it’s had a profound effect on both of us. And now that I can see him as his own person, parts of me are returning as well. I went to a yoga class. I read a book. (Okay, fine – part of a book.) I finished crocheting the toy octopus I’ve been obsessing over since November.

For a year, Mars has been an ever-present part of my body – the ten months on the inside and two on the outside punctuated by delivery but eerily similar in their physical and emotional effort. But now, Mars is becoming his own body. Body with a capital B. As in, he has his own mind and spirit in addition to his own arms and legs.

My tears used to be spurred by exhaustion and confusion. Now, I cry because I want him to know how loved he is and how passionately his dad and I will always care for him. And in three weeks, I go back to work. My brain is getting ready for the challenges of my job but part me is aching to stay home and keep discovering things with this fascinating little kid.

So this is why moms get mom-nesia.

I know we’ll still have some major ups and downs and that plenty more sleepless nights are on their way. But I think I get it now.


Mars, telling me all about his day.


Day 204: He’ll Make it if it Starts with “P”

As part of my job, I occasionally blog for ShopPerk, an app created to help people shop smarter and live better. While the app is in development, the food blog is in full swing.

Earlier this week, I wrote an ode to my Dad and “P” foods. In honor of Father’s Day, it’s reposted below.

(And Dad, thank you for being such a good sport about seeing your private email conversation posted on a public blog. I learned my good-sportedness from you).

He’ll Make it if it Starts With “P”

My dad is really good at making pancakes. Pancakes with bananas, pancakes with blueberries, pancakes with chocolate chips—you get the picture.


Actual picture from Betty Crocker.

On the occasions when my mom was out of town, he would expand his repertoire and make my sisters and me other foods starting with “P.” We’d have pizza (pepperoni with green peppers for good measure) peas (of the frozen variety), popcorn (unbuttered but lightly salted) and pancakes for dinner instead of breakfast. Apart from the peas, we loved dad’s cooking.

In preparation for this blog, I emailed him and asked him to remind me what other “P” foods he made us.

Here’s how the exchange went:

Me (10:43 a.m.): Hey Dad, I’m writing a blog for ShopPerk about the different “P” foods you’d make for us when we were kids. Pancakes, pizza, popcorn… what am I missing?

Dad (11:09 a.m.): Hi Ash. Pasta – as in macaroni and cheese (made in hot dog water). Later, I added Panera to my list. I will probably think of some others and will let you know. Have a great day!

Dad (11:20 a.m.): Be sure to add peanut butter (and jelly). Occasionally a pop-tart made the menu as well.

Me (12:19 p.m.): Thank you! Keep it coming.

Dad (2:04 p.m.): Pastry.

Dad (2:06 p.m.): Polish sausage.

Me (2:37 p.m.): I don’t recall you ever making a pastry.

Dad (5:27 p.m.): Didn’t I buy you a doughnut?

Me (8:05 p.m.): Good point. Thanks!

And that, my friends, is a good dad.

To all you other dads out there, may you get really good at making foods that all start with the same letter. And may your kids love you even more for it.

Happy nearly Father’s Day!

– Ashleigh

Day 176: When a Mom Gets Sick

When a mom gets sick, it’s a very confusing time. Because moms don’t get sick. They’re basically superhuman. Dads don’t get sick either, for that matter.

My mom is sick. It’s not life-threatening, but it is uncomfortable. She’s in the hospital and having surgery on Tuesday, 2,000 miles away from where I live.

Discombobulated, I’ve now asked three of my relatives whether or not I should fly out there even though she told me not to. I finally stopped asking when my dad admitted that since they just moved in to their new place, I would be more stressful than helpful. (Although I do feel like I’d be an excellent drug runner… in the sense that I’m really good at picking up legal prescriptions from the pharmacy.)

When I had minor surgery a couple of years ago, my mom was my hero. She stayed with me, she propped me up on the couch and brushed my hair, she lined up a slew of trashy TV shows for me to watch (I think that’s when I got hooked on The Millionaire Matchmaker), and she made me delicious and healthy meals. If memory serves me, she also put together a really complicated table from Ikea for me. It was during the height of my drug-induced “look at all the pretty colors” phase, so I’m a little foggy on that part.

I’d like to assure my mom that her codeine hallucinations aren’t real while I put together her furniture, but instead I’m stuck here. Blogging. And it’s not that I don’t trust my family—I know my dad, grandparents, and aunts and uncles are all excellent TV show-pickers—but I’m finally old enough to recognize all the amazing care-taking my mom has done for me, and I want to pay her back.

So, mom, I’m sorry I’m not there. Don’t worry about putting anyone out or asking for too much. Tell our family what you need and they’ll get it for you. Call me when you’re bored in the hospital and I’ll tell you all about my latest OkCupid date. And Taylor and Paige and I will make you a list of good Netflix movies that don’t require constant concentration.

Also, don’t worry about all the unpacked boxes in your new home. Dad will put everything away in mysterious places and you’ll spend the next five years trying to decipher his unpacking logic. It’ll be fun.