motherhood

Seeking the Bigness in the Everyday

I find comfort in the cyclical nature of life. I enjoy the changing of the seasons and the familiar promises they bring, the rhythm that accompanies the turning of the calendar page, the knowing that with the unknowing future there will always be some sameness—weather, holidays, birthdays, school seasons, work seasons, sports seasons, the coming and going of birds.

But it’s the cyclical nature of the everyday that I find myself struggling with during these so-quick-to-become-dark winter months. I recently came across a passage from Voices by Ursula K. Le Guin:

“I always wondered why the makers leave housekeeping and cooking out of their tales. Isn’t it what all the great wars and battles are fought for—so that at day’s end a family may eat together in a peaceful house? The tale tells how the Lords of Manva hunted and gathered roots and cooked their suppers while they were camped in exile in the foothills of Sul, but it doesn’t say what their wives and children were living on in their city left ruined and desolate by the enemy. They were finding food too, somehow, cleaning house and honoring the gods, the way we did in the siege and under the tyranny of the Alds. When the heroes came back from the mountain, they were welcomed with a feast. I’d like to know what the food was and how the women managed it.”

There is nothing exciting about washing the morning’s skillet or feeding the dog. It is completely foolish to expect someone to say “good job” when folding the tenth T-shirt or cleaning up the spilled applesauce. Housekeeping and cooking are background actions, set decorations for all the big moments and big conversations in all the big movies, big books and big plays. And often, it’s not even shown. It’s just expected, just there, as it has been throughout time. It’s a given that sheets will be changed and the almost-empty-toothpaste tube will be replaced and the apples will be sliced and that someone will wash the cups over and over and over again to quench the thirsty characters.

People talk about housekeeping but so often in the form of funny memes, a woman dressed in Victorian garb slumped in a chair, one hand across her forehead and the other holding a glass of wine. Or they say, “a clean house is the sign of a misspent life.” Perhaps to an extreme. But realistically, away from the fantasy world that exists online, you have to wash the cups. You have to clean up the spilled applesauce. You have to do the laundry so that your family may have clothes to wear.

I have long lived a life of always wanting more. There are flaws with this philosophy. While this want pushes me to keep sending out submissions (for example) it also makes mopping the floor, at times, so damn hard. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. And yet, I truly believe it is the men and women who do this quiet work without acknowledgement or praise, and, more importantly, without needing acknowledgement or praise, that keeps everything in motion. In kitchens and over fires and in restaurants around this world people are chopping vegetables and cooking rice and baking bread to feed the mouths of our thinkers and doers and better-makers, and without those choppers and cookers and bakers our thinkers and doers and better-makers would be busy prepping food to nourish themselves versus doing the big work. And so, thinking about it in that way, perhaps we are all doing big work, even when that work is simply mopping the floor.

So I find myself searching for contentment in this stage, this cycle of my life. Yes, there will always be laundry to do and meals to prepare but with three little ones, it’s so much more. It’s more time-consuming, more things to do every day, more trying when accomplishing small tasks against the background noise of other needs—to play, to get some milk, to fasten a Batman cape, to find a lost glue stick.

And, in a frustrating-yet-funny way, I know I will miss this, too. When Owen and James were babies I would spend at least a half hour every night washing bottles. It was exhausting, all that washing when I was so exhausted from lack of sleep. Just the other day, while washing cups, I remembered the feel of the bottles’ squishy nipples in the soapy water, and I remembered the small joy I got from lining everything up just so as they dried. The entire house may have been a mess but there were my bottles and breastpump parts, lined up by shape and size, drying, waiting for the long night ahead. And those rows, in that moment, gave me more peace than a poem, science, an idea, an article, a big thought.

Owen loves to help me with laundry. It takes longer, but I don’t mind. He talks to me about school and classmates and TV shows and asks me big questions about life as he hands me shirts and pants, and takes it upon himself to put all the socks in a separate basket.

All three children love to help me cook. They ask so many questions and argue over whose turn it is to pour and they inhale the scent of vanilla and cinnamon as if nothing in this world smells better. And when cooking alone I often, lately, find joy in that, too. The sound of my knife slicing through the shallot on the wooden cutting board. The smell of garlic browning in olive oil. The contentment that comes when lighting the candles for a dinner I’m so lucky to share with those I love.

Still, often it’s difficult to embrace and appreciate and do what’s necessary for this small and short life of ours to keep cycling while also leaving plenty of time for the bigness of everything else that’s life. But it helps me to think that even the small tasks may really be the big things, the sturdy framework for the finished product, the clean canvas for the masterpiece, the organized outline for the great novel. These thoughts, I hold dear while dumping the dirty water down the drain.

“You’ll come to learn a great deal if you study the Insignificant in depth.” —Odysseus Elytis

Body Love

Children change your body. Time changes your body. Illness can change your body, too. Recently I’ve been struggling with these changes. Some I’ve been battling for a couple years. (When stressed, I eat. I have twin 3 year olds.) Some are more subtle. (I find myself buying boxes of hair dye more frequently.) And others come as a surprise. (Did you know that strep can lead to guttate psoriasis, requiring two to three UV light treatments a week for two to three months to resolve? Yeah …)

Last night I was sitting in bed, trying hard not to scratch my itchy arms and legs, silently criticizing the puffiness of my face in a picture posted on Facebook when Sophie wandered in, notebook and pencil in hand.

She climbed up into a big leather chair, draping her back and legs over the two arm rests while letting the rest of her body sink in the middle. She tapped her pencil on her notebook.

“I’m going to interview you,” she said.

She had already interviewed James and Andy—it was my turn.

Her questions were typical: favorite color, favorite shape, best friend, favorite number.

But it was her second question that gave me pause.

“What part of your body do you like the best?” she asked.

Having now spent years trying to even (my skin tone), straighten (my back), sculpt (my arms), grow (a baby), make (milk), shrink (after babies), forever tame (my hair), I realized I’ve given very little thought to the part (or parts) of my body I like best. And I had no idea how to answer my daughter, who (I joyfully realized) viewed one’s body as something to be loved, rather than something to be improved.

I itched my soft stomach.

Although I questioned it in my head, I said, “my hair,” out loud, with confidence. (For as much as I talk about taming it, I’ve actually learned to love its curliness and bigness—it’s one thing people stop me to comment on, regularly.)

She smiled, wrote and moved on.

And silently I hoped that her body love—of her own and of others—remains sound and strong always, despite time, despite someday-maybe children, despite others, despite illness, despite societal standards.

“… this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now … with its aches and its pleasures … is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” —Pema Chodron

My “Closet”

When we moved into our old house the previous owners left behind an old (antique?) armoire in one of the two bedrooms. I loved it. And I thought it was so kind of them to leave it for us—until we realized, while moving into our current house, that the reason they didn’t take it with them wasn’t, most likely, to be kind but because it was almost impossible to get it down the very steep and narrow staircase.

I was at my parents’ house, with our 3-month-old boys and Sophie, while Andy, Andy’s mom and my dad were with the movers at our old house. Andy called me, asking if I really wanted the armoire. It was easy to say yes, in the comfort of my parents’ home. It ended up in our new house, lifted with curse words, strained muscles and scrapes to the paint on the wall.

It didn’t fit in our bedroom so we put it in the boys’ bedroom. Given that their changing table was also a dresser with drawers, the armoire was not needed. And given that my closet has no place to hang dresses, I used the armoire for my longer-length clothes.

And then, we moved the boys to twin beds. We took the changing table out but kept the armoire—Andy refuses to move it again. With no other place to put the boys’ clothes, I had to move my dresses.

There was only one option. A U-Haul box, in the attic:

This should, honestly, frustrate me more than it does. But mostly, I find it humorous. We moved the boys into their beds about a month ago. I have been up to the attic zero times to retrieve a dress. I’m not in a dress-wearing stage of life right now. This was painfully obvious to me today, when the children and I met Andy for lunch. I picked him up on the side of the road, outside his office building. We went to one of the downtown Skyline restaurants. The place was filled with suits, dress shirts, heels and scarves. Our kids were the only children in the restaurant the entire time we were there. I had gone to a yoga class. I had to pick Sophie up from preschool and I didn’t have time to change. I was wearing yoga pants, a T-shirt and sweatshirt, my hair up in a messy ponytail, and I was surrounded by women who clearly blowed out their hair that morning, applied lipstick, were rocking beautiful suede boots.

It’s a life I once knew. And although I’m happy, sometimes I wish mothering and heels went more hand in hand.

I think about when this house was built. I think about the women, mothers, who lived in it. I think about where they stored their clothes—several items, I’m sure, compared to the on-clearance-having-a-bad-day-special-occasion-oh-but-it’s-so-cute gluttony of clothes currently in my closet. I think about the decades, and styles, that have passed. Where did the women store their hats? Their gloves? Their boots? And purses! Where, in this tiny closet of mine in this “master” bedroom did they store their purses?

Sophie asked why I was putting “all my pretty clothes” in the attic.

“To make room,” I said.

For Owen and James.

For the “creakings, rustlings and sighings” of this old house.

For this beautiful, exasperating life of mine.

“She lay for a long time listening to the mysterious sounds given forth by old houses at night, the undefinable creakings, rustlings, and sighings, which would have frightened Virginia had she remained awake, but which sounded to Nan like the long murmur of the past breaking on the shores of a sleeping world.” —Edith Wharton

Motherhood, In the Eyes of a Childless Craigslist Buyer

As mentioned here, after months of searching, I finally found a decent patio set on Craigslist—for $50. Most patio sets are well worn, which is why the seller is selling it. But this family was moving, had no time or desire for negotiation, and just wanted it gone. I happened to be the first to contact the seller—he said I could pick it up at his moving sale Saturday morning at 10am. He lived about 55 minutes north of me, so early Saturday morning I woke up Andy.

“You have to take all the seats out of the van,” I said.

“What?” he asked.

“Seriously, you have to get up. You have to take all the seats out of the van so I can pick up a new patio set. You know, the one I found on Craigslist,” I said.

“No,” he said.

“Yes!” I said. “It’s only $50! There is no way I’m going to find anything else this nice for this little money. And I don’t want someone to buy it from under me! Plus, you have fantasy baseball drafts today and tomorrow—I totally deserve two hours of driving alone. Unless you want to pick it up for me?” I asked.

“I’m not picking it up for you,” he said.

“Fine. I’ll take the seats out,” I said.

He took them out.

I got to the seller’s house a minute after 10am. The table fit in the van perfectly. It was nicer than I imagined.

“It comes with chair cushions, too, if you want them,” he said.

I noticed the tags on the cushions said Pottery Barn. Outdoor cushions aren’t cheap, especially from Pottery Barn.

“Yes!” I said.

I offered him more money. (I know. I should never be allowed to run a business.) He refused.

When I got home, Andy was trying to watch all three kids while also prepare for his draft.

“Can you help me unload the table and chairs and put the seats back in the van?” I asked.

“Can’t we do it when I get back?” he asked.’

“No!” I said. “Your draft is, like, eight hours long. What if I have to go somewhere while you’re gone?”

So, he put everything back—all the van seats, all three car seats. It took about 30 minutes.

Cut to mid-afternoon. While the boys napped, I posted our old patio set on Craigslist for $50. Immediately, the e-mails started coming in. I replied to the first person who responded. She was young, a recent University of Cincinnati law school grad and had just purchased her first house—and was in need of a patio set for her deck. She loved our set (which surprised me as there was a lot of rust) and loved our price. She could fit two chairs in her car, but nothing more. She seemed nice (via e-mail). She brought back memories of when I first used our old patio set. It previously belonged to my roommate’s boyfriend’s parents. My roommate, Jenna, and I spent many afternoons sitting at that set. When Andy and I married, she insisted we keep it. And we did. For seven years. I called Jenna on my way home from buying the new set, asking her what I should do with the old set. She agreed with selling it. I promised her the money. She insisted we all go out to dinner with it, instead.

Cut to late afternoon. Recent UC law school grad arrived in a tiny car, while the kids and I were playing outside. She was a beautiful 20something in tight black yoga pants, a law school T-shirt and perfect ponytailed hair. I felt, I don’t know. Mom-ish.

The 20something, kids and I walked to the backyard, where Tucker was playing. I opened the gate and Tucker was ecstatic at the site of this new visitor. He bounded toward the gate, sniffed her shoe and then sensed an opportunity. Two seconds later he pushed past all five of us and was bolting down the street.

“Noooo!” I screamed.

We all ran to the front yard where I swear Tucker was yelling “I’m free! I’m free!” He was running and sniffing and peeing on everything.The kids were crying. They weren’t quite sure what was happening but they sensed I was frazzled and they knew Tucker was supposed to be in our yard, not a yard three houses down from ours.

“What can I do to help?” the 20something graciously asked.

I thought. I needed a collar. The front door was locked.

“Make sure my kids don’t run into the street,” I said.

I ran to the back of the house, ran up the deck steps, went through the back door, grabbed Tucker’s collar and unlocked the front door. It was clear this 20something had limited experience with children. Two of my children were sitting on the sidewalk, crying, after being told to “stop.” Sophie was screaming “Tucker!” I grabbed all three kids and shoved them inside.

“Please make sure they stay there,” I told the 20something.

I then chased after Tucker. Finally, I caught him, peeing in yet another yard. I drug him back to the house, shoved him in the front door with the kids (who were still crying/screaming) and promised them all that I would be back in one minute.

“Stay right here,” I said.

The 20something and I walked to the backyard and I (finally) showed her the old patio set.

“Mommy!” I heard. I looked.

This time, it wasn’t Tucker who escaped. Rather, it was my children. Sophie managed to open the front door, get both boys out and walk them to the backyard. Our house sits close to our street. Which is close to another, busy street. Which is close to a gas station. They’ve never walked outside on their own. I was exasperated.

“We just wanted to see you,” Sophie said.

Owen started crying again. I started telling Sophie how dangerous it was to go outside without me.

And then, as if on cue, the 20something, wide-eyed, looked at me and asked, “Is this what motherhood is like?”

I thought for a moment. I thought about lying, but she had already seen too much. So I told her the truth.

“Not all the time,” I said.

She loaded up two of the chairs and paid me $30. I told her she could keep the remaining $20 until after I delivered the table and remaining two chairs.

Cut to the evening.

Andy came home from the draft.

“I sold our old patio set!” I said.

“Really?” Andy asked.

“Yes, but I have to deliver the rest of it.” And then, tentatively, “Can you take all the chairs out of the van again?”

“What?!? No. That’s not how Craigslist works. They pick up. You don’t deliver,” he said.

“But it’s a done deal!” I said. “She’s already picked up two of the chairs and she’s super-nice, just graduated, just bought her first place—we can help her out, can’t we? This is what good people do. Plus, she sort of watched our kids for me while I rescued Tucker,” I said.

“What?” he asked.

I told him the story. We put the kids to bed. Both boys snuggled with me on a big cushy chair while I read “Goodnight Moon.” I wished the 20something could have witnessed this. Andy began the (long) process of taking out the van seats (again).

“Please tell me you went somewhere today,” Andy said, hoping his earlier seat re-installment wasn’t for nothing.

I was silent.

“Lie to me,” he said.

“We went somewhere,” I said.

He grunted some indecipherable response.

I drove the rest of the old set to Madisonville and helped the 20something put it on her new deck. I told her about the boys snuggling, about “Goodnight Moon.” I told her motherhood wasn’t all completely and totally crazy. At least, not every moment of it.

She gave me the remaining $20. I drove the van home. Andy reinstalled the van seats and car seats, for the second time that day. And threatened to use his web developer skills to ban the Craigslist website from our house. Again.

The next evening I set up the umbrella, put all the cushions on the patio chair seats and sipped a glass of red wine while watching our cardinal swoop around our yard. And wished the 20something could have witnessed that, too.

“Mothers are all slightly insane.” —J.D. Salinger

On Guilt

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The picture above is of a game, a lovely little game that Sophie loves to play called First Orchard (made by Haba). It was a day of no’s for her, an in-a-minute day, a I-just-have-to-feed/change/rock/take-care-of-Owen/James day. She set the game up, by herself, on our dining room window seat while I was feeding the boys. She set it up perfectly. Without my help. The correct fruits were on the correct trees, the stone path that led to the orchard was perfectly lined up, with the fruit-eating-raven (her favorite part) at the bottom. And she waited. And waited. She picked up the raven, danced it around the window seat and said, “Caw, caw, caw!” And then she waited some more. So patiently. She just sat there, cross-legged, waiting for me—for someone—to play with her. “Now?” she finally asked. But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. The boys were eating tremendously slowly. I hadn’t even burped them yet. Finally, rightfully, she got upset. All day she had heard no. All day.

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Andy came home from work before I could finish with the boys. “Play with her,” I pleaded. And he did. Without even changing out of his work clothes first. “Thank you,” I mouthed.

I knew, going into this twins-with-toddler experience, I’d feel a lot of guilt. Kids aside, I’ve always had guilt issues. I’m really, really good at it. I think my therapist pointed it out 10 minutes in my first conversation with her (if I remember correctly I was going on and on about feeling guilty that I drove to the appointment instead of walking, given that her office was so close to my house).

Lately, though, some things have happened that I feel really guilty about. And so here I’d like to get these few things off my chest.

1. (The worst.) Sophie had just finished painting and needed/wanted to wash her hands. I needed to feed the boys, who were in panic-mode crying at this point. So I got her set up (on the stool, water on, towel and soap in reach). Then I started feeding the boys. Sophie washed. And washed. And washed. Sensing that she was more playing than cleaning at this point, I asked her to turn off the water. She ignored me (so I thought). I asked again. And again and again and again. Finally, I yelled. “Sophie Olivia Uhl, turn off the water NOW!” She started sobbing, uncontrollably sobbing. Frustrated, I stopped feeding both boys (meaning both boys were manically screaming now) and marched to the bathroom. And discovered this: She couldn’t reach the faucet handles to turn the water off. There she was, trying and trying and trying to do as I asked, and she simply couldn’t reach. I felt terrible. I scooped her up and apologized a million times over. And while I know she won’t remember this, I always will.

2. When Sophie was a newborn, I remember holding her, all the time. And not just when she needed/wanted to be held, but also when she was sleeping. I’d hold her for entire naps. I’d sit, on the couch, holding her, listening to music, reading, watching TV or dozing myself. Now I find it a treat to hold Owen or James. Too often it’s, ‘Oh, thank God you’re sleeping, into the swing you go.’ So lately I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to just hold them. But still, I do it far less than I did with Sophie. One, there are two of them. Two, when they do nap, Sophie wants/needs my attention. Three, eventually I need to wash the diapers. But still, I miss that. I want that. And they need that. Guilt.

3. Last week I ventured out to a small park past the cemetery by our house, with all three kids on my own. Sophie was thrilled with this venture. All morning she talked about it. She practically ran the entire way there. And once there, she was, easily, the happiest kid there. And I bet she said, oh, 50 times, “This is so much fun, Mommy. This is really, really fun.” Clearly, I need to be taking her to the park more often.

4. I used to be so strict about Sophie’s TV/computer time. I grew up with 30 minutes of TV/day. But lately, when I’m feeding the boys or pumping, and I’ve told Sophie to color, read books, play with her dolls, build a train, build a tower, do crafts, bounce a ball, dance, sing, play with her musical instruments, run around in circles, chase Tucker, put on my bracelets, play her First Orchard game, line up my nail polish, etc., etc., and her response is always no, no, no, I cave. I turn on PBS. I find Dora and Diego and Wubbzy and Wonder Pets and Yo Gabba Gabba and The Backyardigans and The Fresh Beat Band online. And she watches. And she sings. And she dances. And she’s quiet and not whining and not upset and happy and the boys are happy but ohmygoodness is it way too much TV. Guilt, guilt, guilt. This, Andy and I are both working on. The now-occasional tantrum over us simply saying no to her asking if she can watch the computer is too much to handle.

5. I’m big on thank-you notes. Andy’s theory is, if you thank them in person, a thank-you note isn’t necessary. But I disagree. Last night I opened up my Google doc list of thank-you notes to write and, while once again noting how incredibly lucky we’ve been to have had so many gifts given to us, to the boys and Sophie, was appalled at the number of thank-you notes I still had to write—some for gifts given to us when the boys were born (that’s almost four months ago now). I admit it. When I give a gift, and don’t receive a thank-you note, I wonder. Did they receive it? Did they not like it? Should we have spent more? Do they care? That’s terrible, I know, but I do. So last night Andy and I wrote out 10 more. And each one began with an apology. Well, mine did. Andy’s … his went something like this: “Apparently twins need a lot of crap. So thank you for the Babies R Us gift card. Go Bucks!” At this point, I didn’t care. I just wanted them sent. (Guilt.)

I could write forever on this topic. I know I need to release myself from much of this guilt but some is deserved. And some, I believe, is part of good parenting. Still, I will never forget the image of Sophie sitting cross-legged on the window seat, waiting. Or the feel of her hot, teary cheek against mine in our downstairs half bath. Or how I felt simply holding Owen, and James, and noting how little I have done that. I imagine guilt is something I’ll always battle. I just hope I can, someday, turn it into small skirmish instead.

“It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.” —Oscar Wilde

First Outing With All Three Alone

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Several weeks ago I decided I really, really, really wanted a cookie-dough Blast from Bruster’s. And, I thought, Sophie deserved a scoop of chocolate ice cream. But I was by myself, in the mini van, with all three kids, returning from a trip up north to visit family.

I decided there was no way I could handle two carriers, Sophie and ice cream (I didn’t have the double stroller with me), so I drove through Bruster’s drive-thru and ordered the two ice-cream treats. Then I parked. I took both boys out of the van, but left them in their car seats, and set the carriers on top of one of Bruster’s outdoor tables. And then Sophie and I sat on the benches, and ate.

I felt so bold. So brave. So free. It seems so minor—ice cream. But the incident-free event made me think I could take all three children to the park, out to lunch, to the library—maybe even the zoo.

I remember feeling this way the first time I took Sophie somewhere, by myself. It was similar to the first time I drove somewhere by myself. The first time I rode a school bus by myself. The first time I spent the night at a friend’s house by myself.

The I-can-do-this, or, perhaps, more accurately, the I-did-this feeling is one of life’s best. Age never diminishes it and I never tire of it.

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“I had always thought that once you grew up you could do anything you wanted—stay up all night or eat ice-cream straight out of the container.” —Bill Bryson

Finding Time for Me, Specifically, My Hair

I’m still terribly behind updating my blog but, to be fair, I’m terribly behind on everything right now, including laundry, thank-you notes (they’re coming, I swear) and, well, my hair. Up until yesterday, I had not had a haircut since early March—before we moved, before the boys were born, before I was put on bed rest. For some women, four months between haircuts isn’t uncommon. But I have big hair. And when I don’t get it cut, I have really big hair. So yesterday I took advantage of the fact that Andy had had some child-free time the night before with friends to have some of my own child-free time and I headed out to Pump Salon for a much-needed cut and color.

Never before have I had a more embarrassing haircut.

Thankfully, Nicholena, who cuts my hair, recently had a second child of her own and was more than understanding.

Here’s what happened:

1. As Nicholena applied color to my hair she found not one, not two, but three (three!) I-kid-you-not dreadlocks in my hair.

Now, to be fair, you should know that I have curly hair. I can’t brush it. If I were to brush it, it would be huge. Instead I wash, condition and run my fingers through it. Styling involves several handfuls of mousse and a ridiculous amount of Frizz-Ease hairspray. I never blow dry. So the fact that I had three small sections of terribly tangled hair isn’t all that unreasonable. But still, I was mortified.

Lately, showers have been hard to come by. And when I do shower, I throw on clothes and then tend to whomever needs tended to while my hair starts frizzing and getting bigger and bigger, drying without product. Not wanting to live with a huge head of hair all day I usually find time to take a 30-second break to apply mousse and hairspray. Throughout the next few days I haphazardly place bobby pins to hold curls that pop loose. And then, eventually, I find 10 minutes to shower again.

Nicholena was awesome. She acted like she finds dreadlocks in curly hair all the time (I’m sure she doesn’t). And she painstakingly combed each one out. I’m thankful she didn’t have to cut them out.

2. Once the color was applied I got to sit on a comfy chair with my feet propped up on an ottoman. I flipped through Glamour, Cincinnati Magazine and Allure. And then I fell asleep. Minutes (seconds?) later I woke up to find the back of my right hand covered in hair dye. Apparently I was propping my head on my hand and my head, in my sleep-deprived-nap state, slipped. I’m looking at the stain on my hand as I type this. Yes, it probably would come out if I showered but remember, I don’t have time to shower.

3. As Nicholena washed the dye out of my hair I felt her pulling. And pulling. And pulling. Pulling ridiculous amounts of hair. Out. Of. My. Head. Apparently postpartum hair loss is normal. And thankfully, I have a lot of hair so losing a lot doesn’t do much. Yet it’s still quite embarrassing to see your hairdresser clutching fistfuls of your hair. Nicholena reminded me over and over that it’s normal but did admit she was amazed. Sorry, Andy. I’m sure there’s going to be some shower drain unclogging in your future.

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I love the cut and color. As well as the expensive deep-conditioning shampoo and conditioner I bought in an attempt to keep the whole dreadlock thing from ever happening again. And I have to believe (or at least hope) I’m not the first new mom any of this has happened to. And, I suppose, in a not so pleasant way the experience did remind me that even though things are crazy busy for me right now it’s OK and good and necessary to take time for me or else, I expect, more than my hair will end up in tangles.

“Hair brings one’s self-image into focus; it is vanity’s proving ground. Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices.” —Shana Alexander