I've never been a fan of winter. The cold. Grey skies. Snow. Almost makes me want to crawl into a cave and wait for Spring. I don't ski, snowboard or skate. I'm not a fan of icicles forming inside my nostrils (which actually happened a few times on really cold days just walking to my car in the parking lot at work). Of course when Michelle is older she'll probably love the snow, as kids do and I did as a kid as well. It's magical when you're a child. For her, I will brave the cold and snow. When she's old enough to enjoy it in a year or two, I will go out with her and build snowmen, make snow angels and go tobogganing with her. But until then, I'm not venturing out in it any more than necessary.
We had our first snowfall the other night. I heard the wind howling and took a peek outside to see white flakes flying and some actually staying on the ground. As much as I dislike snow, I have to admit it is pretty in the moonlight. The fresh white snow glistening on the ground like diamonds. But the dark side of snow -- shovelling it, driving in it, the sleet and slush and ice, is not pretty at all. That's the part of winter that I dread. I was always nervous driving in snow. I never have snow tires and I can't stand the sensation of sliding. Now that I have Michelle I would be more cautious than ever. I won't be driving in snow at all if I can avoid it.
Michelle and I had a really good sleep the other day. We slept a good part of the day. After getting up for a while in the early morning we headed back to bed for her feeding and we both fell back to sleep until after noon. It was amazing. We were both exhausted from the night before (where Michelle had been up until after midnight) and needed to catch up. I thought for sure with her sleeping so much during the day that she would never sleep that night, but surprisingly she slept better than ever. Maybe being sick had knocked the wind out of her. (Though it was only really bad for a few days, Michelle and I still have a touch of the sniffles and a cough.) Maybe all the exercise she got in her Jolly Jumper and Jumperoo had worn her out. (I know that when I used to work out it left me exhausted and better able to sleep at night.) Or maybe, like me, she's sensitive to the seasons and senses it's Winter, time to hibernate.
A former shopoholic, I've had no desire to go out shopping lately. My Mom called to tell me about all the great Black Friday sales on the weekend. "But it doesn't even make sense. That's an American thing. It has nothing to do with Canada. Our Thanksgiving is in October!" I said. Apparently retailers were eager to cash in on the success of the American phenomenon and were hoping to keep people from crossing the border to get in on the sales. Everywhere I turned (in the paper and on TV) there seemed to be ads for Black Friday. And the sales lasted all weekend. Old Navy was calling their sale "Cheermageddon" which I found hilarious. I've never heard anyone try to make Armageddon cheerful before! I'm not sure whether Old Navy is confident the world is not ending on December 21st 2012 and so is comfortable making light of it or whether they figure if the Apocalypse is coming, you might as well be cheerful and enjoy the next month wearing cute outfits at low prices. As the song goes "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think!" There are doomsayers who are sure the end is coming. They point to the Mayan calendar as proof. I think they're just misinterpreting it. I wonder what they'll do when the 21st comes and goes uneventfully. I remember when everyone was panicking about Y2K and then it was so anticlimactic when absolutely nothing happened. All those months of people worrying, scrambling and spending God only knows how many hours and how much money preparing for it, all for nothing. Apparently the year 2000 was supposed to "confuse" all of the world's computers (which were used to the year having only 2 digits and now it would have 4. Ooooo scary!) and they were going to blow up or something. What a farce that was. The truth is they're always saying the world is going to end. They were building bomb shelters in the 1950s and going on about the Apocalypse. They've been making movies about it since the 70s. Nuclear war. Asteroid. Aliens. You name it. And yet here we still are. Of course if the world really were ending I might be tempted to go out and max all my credit cards. Why not if you'd never have to pay them off? But I'm pretty sure the world will continue as always. As tempting as some of the sales were, I opted NOT to go shopping on Black Friday weekend. The fact is that money is tight and I'm trying to avoid stores as much as possible except for necessitites. I can't believe there is only a month until Christmas. My family is trying to cut back this year, mostly just buying for the kids. My Mom used to go overboard but she can't do it anymore. Since my Dad retired things are tight for them as well and since they no longer drive there isn't much opportunity to get out shopping anyway. Of course for me, even if money were no object, Michelle isn't a fan of shopping anyway (she basically screams EVERY time I go out. Even if she makes it through the store, she cries at the checkout and it's just not worth the aggravation) and she calls the shots!
It's funny because before I was pregnant I used to go stir crazy if I was home too much. I always wanted to get out and do things, especially on the weekends. Now I've become a homebody. I'm content to stay in with Michelle. I never get bored or lonely. There isn't time! Most of my day is spent entertaining and looking after the baby and the few moments to myself are spent getting caught up on things. This blog means a lot to me and I always manage to carve out some time to write something. I need to have some form of creative expression. It's something I've always done and I don't want to give it up. I think when you're a Mom it's important to have something that you do for yourself even if it's just a few minutes here and there. For your own sanity. It's good for the soul. You spend all your time taking care of your child, you need to take care of you sometimes too. I was craving a candlelit bubble bath. It had been a while since I'd had one. I've had a few since the baby. It feels like such a luxury now. I sink into the hot bubbly water and say a prayer that she stays asleep long enough for me to enjoy it. Thankfully she usually complies. There was only one time that I had to get out of the bath after just five minutes. I'm always so paranoid about her waking up and crying when I try to do something that I sometimes imagine I hear her. Especially when I'm in the shower. I'll swear I hear her but then I turn off the water and listen and when I hear the silence it's like winning the lottery.
I used to go out dancing on the weekends. Those days are gone for quite a while anyway but I still dance at home. Sometimes I'll crank the tunes and boogie around with Michelle in my arms. Now that I have the Jolly Jumper in the nursery, I can dance in the hallway and let Michelle "dance" or jump along with me. She seemed to get a kick out of it. I decided to be really silly and do a baby video of her jumping along to PSY's hit "Gangnam Style." I love the song (even though I have no idea what he's saying!) Michelle seems to like it too. I put her little shades on her to get into the PSY spirit (he wears sunglasses throughout the video -- I love his video too. It's hilarious.) At least that way we both get some exercise. I need it. I have yet to begin my 30 Day Shred. I keep putting it off. My excuses are very convincing (it's hard to find the space and the time and I'm afraid of waking Michelle. I also worry that such strenuous exercise could interfere with breastfeeding. I'm also scared I won't be able to handle it anymore so I am avoiding it!)
During winters past I often seemed to fall into a funk. I probably had a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The lack of sunlight would get to me. Months of cold, grey days would drag me down. I had no energy. I felt depleted and sad. Before I went to the Dominican (in the winter, a couple of years ago) I had gone to a tanning salon for the first time. I thought I'd better get a bit of a base to prepare my skin for the hot Caribbean sun. Being a redhead I wasn't even sure that I could tan. The girl working at the salon, a redhead herself, assured me that we could. We just have to be more careful. So I started out with just 5 minute sessions (which works out to being the equivalent of two hours in the sun.) It worked out well because I did get a bit of a tan and I didn't burn while in Samana, even spending the entire day in the sun (mind you I was careful to wear sunscreen all the time.) One unexpected side effect of the tanning salon was a huge mood boost. I found that those few minutes under the bright lights gave me a feeling like I actually had been in the sun and it made me feel energized and happy. I felt alive again. I would put my sweater and jeans and winter coat on over my bikini and head back out into the blustery weather and I felt great. It was like a mini-vacation from the bleakness outside.
This year is different. Having Michelle in my life keeps me from getting down. She is my sunshine. Though I still have occasional blue days now and then, most of the time I am happier than ever. Every day she makes me smile and laugh. Every day she surprises me with something new. She lifts her arms up now for me to pick her up. She nuzzles into me when I'm holding her. She holds herself up so well during tummy time that it always looks like she's just about to take off crawling. She constantly comes up with new little sounds -- squeals of delight, attempts at conversation. She had her first laugh out loud, an adorable little giggle. Hopefully the first of many. Up to now her laughter has always been silent, just a huge open-mouthed smile. Michelle is an adventure. She is the sweetest companion I could ever hope to have. I love snuggling with my little teddy bear. When it's cold and snowy outside, I'm more than happy to stay in and cuddle with her, reading stories, singing songs, dancing, laughing, or curling up and having a long teddy bear nap.