And for once I was SuperMom

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Girl Power

Last night I took a bath. I laid there in the water and instead of lumbering up onto my elbows and grabbing the book that I had rested on the edge of the bath I just sat there and thought. This happens a lot to me in baths, I take a book with good intentions and then just plunge into the recesses of my brain.

I recently read a blog where a fellow writer was asking women about women and power. She stated that feminine power looks differently than male power. In America we have been asked to behave like men to get ‘ahead’ in life, acting aggressively and often getting us labeled as ‘bitches’ rather than just strong.

As I lay there on my back looking at the rise of my monstrous belly I saw the thump and divot of the kick of my unborn daughter and thought,
‘Um, that’s kind of powerful.’

Why is it so powerful?

It’s the one thing we can do that men cannot. I have had a quite a few men get angry at me when I have told them that they cannot relate to pregnancy and childbirth. I have sincerely thought about pregnancy and tried to relate it to other processes my body has gone through, and really there is no equivalent. I have wanted to rail at those men and yell,
‘Get Out!’ This is our domain. In a world where men make higher salaries, make decisions, and seem to still rule over women pregnancy and childbirth is ours.

(Yes, I think husbands and fathers should be present at the birth…I have my misgivings about male OBGYN’s, though.)

I have had friends tell me of the power they have felt when breaking their own membranes during birth. Other friends who have never felt stronger when they let loose a guttural roar and pushed their child out into the world.
Think about how many royal family dynasties have been lost because of the inability to produce an heir.
Think about marriages that have been ripped apart because of infertility to different desires in creating a family.
Think about friends you have known who have been devastated when they couldn’t have children.
Think about friends you know who have been elated after years of trying to get pregnant and finally did.

This is indeed powerful. The world could not go on if we ceased to have children. We hold that key. We are the ones with wombs.

Soaking in the tub allowing the warm water to cradle my heavy body and soothe my aching back I thought that maybe just maybe when I’m at the time in my life when I feel the weakest and the most compromised that is when I am at my most powerful.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Little Too Much?

My mom mailed Emma's Christmas gifts to our in laws house in Colorado, where we spent the actual day of Christmas.
Sorry Mom, we opened them up early.
We did it to spread out the Christmas presents. We did this with her birthday presents. Every day we opened a new gift from a family member or us. That seemed to work better than a barrage of toys, books, and clothes. I ended up being happy that I did pre-open my mom's gift for Emma because she included a few classic christmas books and we read them to her in the days leading up to Christmas.
We thought that maybe giving her all her presents would be too much Christmas joy all at once. I think the oft heard parental phrase is,
"Too much stimulation."
Then I got to thinking that maybe it's too much stimulation for us.
Think about it.
I mean so much of child behavior is just human behavior displayed more adamantly. Really, we don't change much over the years.

Chrstmas morning after we took turns opening gifts from each family, my husband is the youngest of five, so with spouses and children there are a lot of people. Thankfully there seems to have been a precedent set a few years ago to dial it down. For the past few years we have collected small gifts throughout our year that signify where we have been and what we have done. Since the past few years have been full of travel and transition each Christmas package has been pretty unique. I am wondering how we will fill a box of interesting goodies from just living a normal year in the US. (I probably shouldn't pre-empt myself, international travel has a way of falling in my husband's lap.) I was happy to see that everyone had gathered thoughtful and inexpensive gifts. Little, 'I'm thinking of you's.' Even though it took us a few hours and at the end we were tired and maybe a little over stimulated.

In the evening we gathered around scrapbooks another sister had made and talked. One sister stated that she would be glad if we didn't do presents. Internally I balked at this. I don't know why. Isn't this what I wanted? An admission that we don't need anything of this? A proclamation that we love each other anyway but don't need to spend money on each other?

In Kenya we heard from many of our friends that they don't exchange gifts on Christmas day. As children they would all get new outfits and then spend the rest of the day visiting family, and eating. I thought this was lovely. Simple, family oriented, low cost, and low stress.

So why didn't I readily agree to no more presents?
Because what is Christmas without presents?
How is it that we have turned Christmas into a morning of giving gifts, that we mostly don't need, to each other. If we take away the presents what do we have? What would it look like to gather in the morning what?
I know, I'm stumped too.
I love taking a stand and doing alternative celebrations and really questioning why we do what we do. Why do I get tripped up at Christmas? Cutting out presents would eliminate a huge amount of stress from life, save money, and cut so much excess from this time of year that is so prone to excess.

So now, a few days later, in the aftermath of it all what stands out?
For me I think of all the fun I had watching my relatives play with my daughter. The hikes that we got to enjoy with each other. The conversations that I had with the other adults. The cookies that I baked with my niece. Our family Christmas Eve Service.
But still the question remains, what do you do with Christmas morning? What do you think?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

If You're Pregnant & You Know It

After going through the arduous process of childbearing I remember driving through the streets of Nairobi and looking at other women and wondering if they had ever given birth. And thinking,
‘You don’t even know what your body is capable of.’

I feel like a traitor to my sex, for many reasons other than just hating math and wearing makeup regularly. Right now the reason that bothers me the most is that I do not like being pregnant. Oh sure I love the end result, but I find the process to be difficult. I know some women love it and I am so happy for them. Truly, good for you. I know these women, I’ve seen them with four or five kids in tow. They smile and say they were never sick at all, they felt energized, and sexy. Am I jealous? Actually not really. But I might be tapping out at two biological children.

Unfortunately I do feel sick. Even now at twenty weeks I get sick after every time I eat. It disappears in twenty minutes or so, but it wears on you.
Unfortunately I do not feel energized, I feel exhausted, taxed and compromised in any physical activity that I try to do.

Unfortunately I don’t feel sexy. I feel heavy, cumbersome, and large. Last pregnancy my libido left the building, like it stood up brushed it’s hands off and said, ‘looks like my work here is done, I’ll see you two in about a year.’ This time around let’s just say the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. (Funny that I had to have to sex to get this way and yet I don’t feel sexy.)

Unfortunately I find myself doing so many things that just aren’t characteristic of me. The way I eat completely changes. I just polished off half a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips. A food I have always considered ‘one of those weird foods that my dad likes.’ Right now? Tasty, salty, and gone. Normally I tap the line at vegetarian. Right now? All I want is meat, carbs, and dairy. Normally if you give me the option of cross country skiing all day long or sitting in front of the fire, and knitting all day, I would choose skiing. Right now? Knitting sounds just great.

Unfortunately I don’t do this gracefully.

Something that I have learned from talking to countless women about their pregnancies is that we are all completely different. In pregnancy there is no judgment. Or there shouldn’t be. Some women aren’t sick at all, others are sick the whole way through. Some barely gain weight while others pack on fifty pounds.
I guess it’s good to take a rest, and let my knees and joints take a breather from all the challenges that I give them. It’s good to sit and cuddle with my kid and take some last moments with just her, all by herself. It’s good to just knit and put all the million other projects I have going on away for awhile.
I guess I need help with this, I struggle with finding the process beautiful and wonderful. I know it’s amazing and doing it once was totally worth it. I guess I want to hear from you (please do not send me faux encouragement or advice) what were moments when you felt amazing while pregnant? Where you felt like, ‘this is the most awesome and special thing I can do.’

Even better than cross country skiing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meanwhile Back in BV

Last Thursday we flew from Boston to Chicago, Chicago to Denver, and then drove about three hours up into the mountains to Scott's parent's large log home.
Some of you know this and some of you don't: we lived here with them for about two years, the year before we went to Kenya and the year after we came back.
Coming in on Thursday night was more familiar to me than the place I call home now. We always seem to arrive in the dark when we come here. The smells were the same, the views were the same, and most of the furniture was still in the same place.

Coming back to places I've lived before always seemes surreal. I can slip back into the same patterns, and I can't all at the same time. Running into old friends has a glaze of awkwardness of it, until you can spend a moment catching up. I always want to go say hello to all my old haunts, here it's all the trails we've hiked. Crunching up into the snow, in the quiet woods near our parent's home made me ache a bit, I love our new home but solitude and untouched woods are hard to come by on the North Shore. We've been able 'to go exploring in the forest' a few times, Emma in a backpack that she has outgrown, Scott treading lightly about, and me lumbering along. I seem to last about an hour and half, which is about as much hiking in the cold as a two year old can handle.

I am also reminded of the things I didn't like about living here, the dry air that seems to suck the moisture right out of your body, the three hour car ride from the airport, and the quiet. Right now the quiet is welcome, soothing to sink into it and let it wash over us. Back then I remember days where it was deafening and isolating.
Now the landscape covered in bright snow is a relaing welcome to my eyes, but I do remember days where I cursed the snow and wished for anything but.
I could see how there would be times in my life that this place would be exactly what I needed. I think it served as a good bridge for in and out of the developing world. I think I was retired I would love it.

I am thankful for our days here in Colorado, I remember that our first year here I loved it and I remember the second year I struggled because there wasn't much I could do with my one year old daughter. I am thankful that I built relationships with Scott's parents that I couldn't have had we not lived with them. I am thankful that I began to show my art here, Colorado's art scene is a bit friendlier than some parts of the country. I learned a lot while hiking here; about altitude, what elk sign looks like, what rabbit tracks look like in the snow, and what conquering a fourteen thousand foot mountain feels like.
Good, just so you know, it feels good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Just Don't Do It

Last week I somehow found myself leading the women's bible study. All the women. In a big circle staring at me.
Part of me was okay with this, because I am a teacher. I am not a stay up all night plan ahead teacher, I am look over my notes five minutes before and shoot from the hip teacher. As we watched a video, I hatched my plan. I came up with a few questions and an agenda. A week or two before we had heard from a missionary who asked about hardships that we experience, many talked about the pressure to be perfect. The holidays are a time when this comes to a head. Decorations, presents, time with family, all of this we are supposed to execute, while looking lovely, oh and it would be good if you can hand make all of it. I thought I would throw out to the women how do we handle ourselves in the middle of all this madness. How do we focus on the true meaning of Christmas? How do we spend time with family, and give to our children without turning the holiday into this crazy Black Friday madness that our culture hands us?
There were some amazing things that the women said. One said that they don't 'do' Santa because that places the focus on the presents and not Jesus. One said that she checks her motives, is she giving a gift to her mailman because of outside pressure or out of love?
Not one of them, not one of them, said, 'Just don't do it. It might not be worth it.'
My husband says it to me all the time.

I baked a hundred cookies for a tea. I don't mind doing this, I like baking and I like feeding people. Two of the batches came out overdone, taking them from delectable, melt in your mouth,to just kinda dry. I almost re-did them. I stopped myself I had been standing all afternoon, my back felt like I had worked a 48 hour shift waitressing, and I had already used six sticks of butter. I looked up at Scott who was sitting on the couch watching football.
"I shouldn't bake more, right?" He just shook his head. I sat down. I didn't even apologize to the host of the tea, and I'm sure no one cared or noticed that some of my cookies were 'too brown.' In fact there were very few cookies left.
I didn't do it, the only reason I would have re-done them is to appear perfect.

Yesterday I sat hunched over a bunch of hand made postcards for our family. I spend all afternoon making them. I did this because I am bad at fulfilling the North American female duty of providing photographs of my family for all my relatives. Every Christmas someone makes a comment. I hate it. So this fall we went out to walk in the fall foliage and get a photo of the three of us. The weather was colder than expected and Emma was dressed to look cute rather than for warmth, she wouldn't extricate herself from either of us without crying. We went home without a shot of the three of us. I am going to take a moment to point out here that we didn't do this because I wanted to or thought it would be fun or good to do (I am pregnant the last thing I want to do is get in front of a camera), we did it because I wanted to avoid comments from my relatives. So I took the only photo that I have where it doesn't matter if Emma is crying or my neck has disapeared: our new daughter's ultrasound picture and made it into ten postcards for our family.
Normally I would enjoy this task. Yesterday I was stressed and this only added to my stress. But I did it to myself. I could've just printed out ten photos and been done with it, but I didn't.

So I think I am going to come up with some kind of litmus test for keeping the holiday madness in check:
1. Why am I doing this? To display love and appreciation, or because I think I have to, or to appear that I 'have it all together.'
2. Am I enjoying this? No one wants a gift that caused you frustration and anxiety.
3. Who am I doing this for? Me? Another woman? Because, let's face it, men don't care, we do it for each other.
4. What is going to happen to this once I am done with it? Is this card going to end up in the trash? Is this present going to become a teasured part of their life?

Inevitably gifts will end up in the trash or at a thrift store. Food gets eaten. Cards get thrown away. Yes, it is nice to do all this stuff for each other, but in a country of excess something 'nice' has almost become menacing.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's Proof She Loves Me, Right?

I remember when I was a young woman, babysitting other people's children, I remember when the parent would come pick up the charming and wonderful child who I had been charming watching for a WHOLE HOUR AND A HALF would melt and throw a temper tantrum the second the parent would tell the child to put away toys and leave. I remember thinking smugly that I had taken better care of the child than they parent had.
What a smug a**hole I was.

My sweet precious daughter has begun displaying some classic toddler behavior. About every other request or direction is met with some dramatic display of protest. These are some of my favorites:
1. The Flop: When she is being held she throws the top half of her body backwards in attempt to throw herself out of my grip. Luckily I am still stronger than her. For now.
2. The Jello Shoulder: Where when she is being lifted off the floor either by her arms or torso she throws both arms up in the air and when you grab those arms she somehow dislocates her shoulders and oozes out of your grasp.
3. The Boneless: Most parent are familiar with this one it's a bit what I imagine trying to pick up a gigantic sea cucumber is like.
4. The Wilt: Her best imitation of a wilting flower in time lapse photography, usually done after some directive like, 'It's nap time, go walk to your crib.' The Wilt starts with a drop to the knees and follows up the rest of her body, ending with her lying prone on the ground. This is usually followed by The Boneless.

I also remember when I was that young babysitter complimenting a parent on the exceptional behavior of their child, and the parent making some dismissive comment like,
"She's not like that all the time," I remember being so incensed at those kinds of comments. How could the parents be so negative? If you predict negative behvior out of your child you will get it, why would do that?
What a sumg a**hole I was.

I just read an article in Parent's Magazine about how children save their worst behavior for their primary care giver, which right now would be me. This morning Emma threw a fit when Scott put her jacket on her, ending with her actually trying to rip the jacket off her body. I felt vindication, starting at the tips of my toes and reverberating out to the ends of each hair on my head,
The other morning Emma started to wander into that dark and dirty corner in every bathroom where the plunger and toilet brush lives, while brandishing her toothbrush. She got ahold of the sponge that lives among that mess and began to wipe her toothbrush across it. As you can imagine I picked her up and whipped eveything out of her hands in lightening fast mom speed, you know what I am talking about, it's on par with crazy mom strength, where we left semi trucks off of our children. This was followed by a four alarm temper tantrum. Of course in her mind all she knows is that, 'Mom just picked me up and took all my toys away.' Sorry kid, when it gets that frighteningly gross all those nice warnings go away. While she proceeded to throw herself on the ground and weep at the injustice I went into our bedroom and leaned against the bed, rubbed my forehead and said,
"This is just a phase right?"
"Yes, when she's twenty she won't be doing this," Scott assured me. A slow shuddering lightbulb lit itself above my head,
"Of course, when she is twenty she won't be rubbing her toothbrush on a plunger."

Now when people tell me how wonderfully she behaved she is in the nursery I just smile and nod.

Friday, December 9, 2011

What am I Saying?

A friend of mine just sent me an article from the Huffington Post written by Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women Who Want to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World; it's called How To Talk to Little Girls.

I appreciated this article. The author goes over how when she met a friend's little girl her first impluse was to tell the girl how pretty she looked, she choked it and then started talking to her about books. They read a book together and had a good conversation about reading.

I think most of the times I talk to children I talk about school. Mostly because it's kind of big deal in kid's lives. I think after this I'll start watching my first impulse when I talk to little girls, just to see what it is.

As a parent I always get a chill down my spine whenever I read an article like this. My mind starts racing how many times have I told my daughter that she is beautiful, what does that to her focus on beauty, am I telling her that beauty is the most important thing in her life...and the second guessings go on. Then I check myself. I do call my daughter, 'beautiful,' and, 'pretty girl,' and 'beautamous.' (The last one is my favorite.) Are these nicknames harming her?
Probably not.

I do want to point out that this was one woman's interaction with one child on one occasion, I do wonder if she has children.
As a parent raising a little girl I think it would be detrimental to her not to tell her that's she beautiful. Well, because she is. Having talked to many women that weren't affirmed in their appearance by their parents, and in specific, their father, and having heard from them how this hurt them and made them feel insecure I think it's important we tell our daughters that they are beautiful.

Then I start to wonder how am I telling her that other aspects of her personhood are important? As a mom I think it's important to remember that a daughter will get her idea of femininity from you, that you are her first line of defense against the messages of culture. What am I telling her about being a woman? How much time do I spend on my appearance? How much time do I spend shopping? How much money do I spend on clothes and makeup? How do I spend my time with her? How much do I fuss over her appearance?
I do think appearance is important. I think taking care of yourself and presenting yourself well shows that you like yourself and you're worth being respected. I do want my daughter to look beautiful and presentable. I also don't want her to think she needs to wear a full face of makeup to go on a hike (I have seen that woman in the woods, it grieves my heart every time).

Sometimes with parenting I feel the need to rest on my laurels. To relax and know that my daughter is well loved and as person I think I present an approach to beauty that is balanced. Of course I think it's important to check myself and try to change my habits if I feel that I am spending too much money or time on appearance, but I am the type of person who timed myself while putting on makeup because I wondered how much of my life was being taken by putting on mascara.
Doesn't that count for something?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I did my prenatal yoga DVD, for the third time this pregnancy, this afternoon.
I am not a very flexible person. Usually when I practice yoga I feel like if it's good yoga at some point I should embarrass myself. Or those who happen to see what I am doing to myself out of the corner of their eye should think,
'Oh dear, is she hurting herself?'
'Oh, honey, I just don't think this is your sport.'
That is why I persist at practicing yoga, because it's good for me and I am inflexible. And if I do it right I feel like I got a full body massage.
This particular DVD is very modified; there are three women performing the exercises one in each trimester of pregnancy (all of them wearing full body unitards, I didn't even know they made maternity unitards). The first time I did the DVD I was early in my second trimester (my first trimester was spent largely lying down) and could follow along with the woman in her first trimester. I thought,
'Hey, this is great! I can do this!'
This time, at 18 weeks, things were a little different, I heard things popping, some muscles were sore, my knees felt loose, my belly was definitely squashed during the squats, and my feet felt more like a distant acquaintance. You sure would like to get in touch with them, but, gosh, it's just been so long.

I must say this pregnancy has been a lot different from my first one, where I cared about things like my pelvic floor, kegels, and caffeine intake...I mean really almost anything would send me to my copy 'What to Expect When Expecting,' flipping like a mad woman lest I hurt my unborn child. I ran up until fifteen weeks, then it just felt wrong and I was pretty sure that all those loosened joints, extra weight, and high impact movement would lead to a knee injury. Then I walked four to five times a week and actually lifted weights up until my third trimester. This baby is lucky if she gets one long walk a week. Did you pick up on the fact that I have only done that DVD three times in 18 weeks?
Funny how the ever present reminder of a healthy child relaxes you a bit during pregnancy. Like, look it worked out okay. Also funny how that ever present sucks up all your energy and time to exercise. I pretty much set my sights on my due date and decided that I would just be sluggish and miserable until this was all over. Fatalistic? Yes. Truthful? Yes. This pregnancy has hit me like a truck. Eight weeks of morning sickness, scratch that, anytime sickness, and bone crushing exhaustion has left little room for my 'get up and go' to take over.
Did I also mention that we have a very comfortable couch and cable? That certainly doesn't help.

There's also something about having that aforementioned ever present little one that sure doesn't allow you to rest. After an hour of 'playing' with Emma, in where she grabbed my finger looked up at me said,
“Pom, Mommy, pom,” that's 'come,' by the way. I followed her into her room, held her baby while she gave it milk, then she put the baby in it's cradle and repeated the process in all the rooms of our home. Which involved me standing up, walking, and sitting down repeatedly. I thought to myself,
'Who needs squats?' I'm a fan of natural exercise and parenting a toddler provides ample opportunities for such.
Anyway, I will do what I can with what I have and know that in the end no matter how out of shape I am I will find some way of fixing it. Hopefully....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Emma has two freckles.
The first popped up on the back of her shoulder, a light tiny butterscotch dot. It showed about a month ago. The next one is on the outside of her right wrist, a perfect round circle in a deeper camel color. I noticed last night while we were watching TV.
“Oh you have another freckle,” I said, as I turned her arm to get a better look. She saw it, I’m sure for the first time. I knew that she was going to try to rub it off or scratch. So as her little fingers and nails began to explore the little spot I hoped she hadn’t heard the disappointment in my voice.
Reframe! Reframe!
“Oh honey, don’t scratch it. See, it’s part of you and it’s special. It makes you unique,” maybe I recovered that fumble.
I pointed it out to Scott tonight.
“My eckle, ouchie!” she said.
“It’s not ouchie,” Scott said.
“It’s not ouchie, it makes you special!” Mommy might be trying too hard.

Of course it makes me sad to see the landscape of her perfectly unblemished skin start to gain spots. They make me wonder if I haven’t been good enough with the sun screen. They make me sad about the marching of time that my daughter is getting older and changing in ways that I can’t control. I guess this is part of watching and waiting and seeing what she will become. I can’t really control who she turns out to be, I hope that I can hold her in the palm of my hand and allow her to grow.
I remember liking my freckles when I was a kid. I would read books where protagonists would bemoan the smattering of spots across their nose and cheeks. I think I internally stomped my foot and claimed that I would like mine, because I would be darned if someone else was going to dictate how I felt about my freckles. Besides I can’t change them might as well like them, right?
I remember not thinking that my skin looked that old until I had her. Then when I held her little body in my hands and saw the contrast of my scarred and freckled skin next to her untouched skin I was surprised at how many spots I had. I must have started out like that, right? Time not only marches on but it marches all over our bodies leaving it’s footprints in the shape of scar tissue, moles, and freckles.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It Takes Two

My daughter has turned two. The week, the very week that her little internal age clock clicked over to two years her behavior nosedived. Suddenly the routines that we have been doing for months are negotiable.
"That was the last story, it's naptime. Walk over to your crib."
"I don't want naptime," and she flops down on the ground, whining.
I know these are little stabs at controlling her own world, when she still has so little control of what happens to her or really understanding of what happens.

This afternoon we got out of the car and Scott started unloading easels, boxes, and paintings that I had taken to a craft fair the night before. I pick up a box or two and try to guide Emma over to the staircase that leads up to our apartment. She has begun to attempt to pick up one of my easels; a wooden box that is larger and weighs more than she does. In my attempts to gently guide her away she kept running away from me, screaming like I had threatened to sell her to the gypsies, and our usual walk up the stairs turned into boneless mess. I picked her up and walked up the three flights of stairs, hefting my pregnant weight, two boxes of art supplies, and a twenty pound child who was doing her best imitation of a dying manatee.
At the top of stairs she melted into a wailing puddle. We were heading out to go for a walk and her diaper needed to be changed, so the wailing puddle got her diaper changed. These are the moments that are the hardest for me as a parent. I know that I am making the best choice for my child but she is making it completely difficult for me. These are the moments when I go into what I think of as 'nurse mode.' The place where you set your jaw and plow through and do what you need to do. It's not pretty.
So in this moment Scott comes in kneels on the floor beside her distraught little face and eventually gets her to laugh and giggle.
This is usually another bad parenting moment for me, where I compare myself to my husband. That I think that he is a better parent than me, for being more patient, more fun, or just more anything.

We got back down the stairs and were on our way to the park; Scott had enticed Emma to walk, instead of just being pushed in the stroller. I walked ahead of them and occasionally turned back to see my daughter holding hands with her daddy, as they walked and marveled at leaves and other suburban wonders. I could feel the low thoughts of comparing myself to my husband rise in the back of my head just like bile rising in the back of my throat. I don't get her to walk like that, after a few feet she just usually asks to be carried. Which has led to moments of ridiculousness where I am carrying her in one arm and pushing the stroller with the other hand.

As I looked back at the grin on her face I let it go. I think I compare myself to him and always make myself lose because I am so afraid that he might be judging me and thinking that I am not making good decisions with Emma. After all she is his daughter too. I think that I have to realise that he trusts me too, just like I trust him. In those few moments I decided to enjoy my husband for the way that he parents. His ability to be patient when I am not. His ability to find fun in every day activities. His ability to allow her to do challenging things when I am scared.

I try not to nag at him or fuss at him when he parents differently from me. I am not always successful. The balance between being a united front and allowing the other person to care for your child as who they are is one we are still finding as a couple. We will never get it perfect. Hopefully at the end of the day Emma will still know that we love her.