Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fair Daze

There is something so magical about the memories of a childhood fair. For me it was the Franklin County Fair in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Every September around the first day of school the fair would roll into town with its twinkly carnival lights and fried smells wafting into the air. We lived on the parade route so the first beat of the drum from the high school marching band let us know fun was about to begin.

This year I went back to the fair with my own kids in tow. Rows of baby animals in the barnyard, scary rides swooping kids up over our heads as they screamed in delight, fried dough dripping with maple cream and powdered sugar. What's not to love?

As an adult I was more keen to the creepier aspects of things in carney-land. The ride operators were particularly sketchy this year, seemingly more toothless (if possible) and with almost no vocabulary whatsoever, just a low grunt and nod in the direction of the ride with a cigarette dangling from moss colored lips. The game operators must work on commission, luring the kids into the games like pedophiles offering candy out of a car window. Yikes.

Depite all this, the kids of course loved it, making it fun for all. I managed to spend all of my money and then some, but gained it all back in flab on my ass by eating my weight in french fries and fried dough. Nathan loved the fun house and Sofie rode a pony. Woo wee, see you next year.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Rise of the Half-Mullet

Oh crap, Sof has discovered scissors.

This past week she found a pair in my car and snipped out a nice handful of hair from the left side of her head. Fortunately her hair was long enough that I could sort of comb it over and hide the bald spots. Not so after today, when she came across another pair of scissors at my friend's house and quickly hacked off the whole left side, leaving just the long rat-tailesque back partying all the way down.

So I waltzed her over to our local hairdresser and she insisted on having the full wash and cut experience (and who could blame her really?) The hairdresser Tracy did her best to even out the do, but in an effort to keep her hair long in the back she seems to have created a mullet monster, and now she just looks like a boy from the early nineties. NKOTB anyone?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Ache of a Summer Off

This week Nathan went back to school and I went back to the gym. Ouch.

I always feel somewhat sheepish slinking back into my morning aerobics class when I haven't been in a long time. Surrounded by the Lycra-clad muscular women bouncing onto their steps and leaping through the air with the grace of ballerinas, most of whom are ten years my senior, I keep to the back of the room as I huff and puff through the first few songs. Eventually I can barely make it up onto the step at all, and resign myself to a slow march in time with the music while I try unsuccessfully to catch my breath.

Good times. Yet I repeat this process time and again because aerobics is the only thing that will shame me into sweating for a solid hour. I cannot bear the embarrassment of crawling out of the room before the class ends so I finish it out, and am always happy I did.

Man ,do my quads hurt right now.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Reconnecting with Birth

I love books that keep me thinking well after I am finished with them. I guess most people do. I recently was given a copy of a memoir by Carol Leonard, Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart: A Midwife's Saga. It is the story of a midwife from rural New Hampshire who got her start birthing babies in the '70's and '80's, and includes many birth stories, along with her own life's trials and tragedies. For someone working as close to birth as I am this was, indeed, a very powerful read.
Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart: A Midwife's Saga

After finishing this book I came to work last night with a renewed sense of trust in birth and the body. For the most part the nurses on my labor and delivery unit share my feelings of birth as a natural part of life, one that works best if we don't get in the way. Occasionally I find that we all run through times of doubt in the process, often after a series of complications, inductions, labor interventions, or cesearean sections. We start to forget that birth works, if you let it.

My patient last night was a young woman having her first child. She labored easily and efficiently, with love and support from her family. As I went about my work I watched her follow her body as it guided her through the dance of labor and birth. I remembered the words of Carol Leonard and felt an overall sense of reassurance, even when slight complications arose. Just trust the process, birth works. I reminded myself and the midwife on call that this patient had all she needed to bring her baby into the world. I also reminded the patient of this, as she had planned for a medicated birth, and she decided in the end to birth naturally. She was a proud, strong mama as her baby came into her arms, and I am happy we did not get in her way.