Dispatch from Vermont #7: Cheeks.

Dear Z,

If the number of bites on your face are any indication, the mosquitoes and I are in complete agreement: your cheeks are the most scrumptious snack around.

love, Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama

PS. I take full credit or blame for the outfit. What can I say? I love stripes.


Dispatch from Vermont #6: Touching base.

Dear Z,

My mom called yesterday. For the last four weeks, she and my dad have been unreachable, on safari in the most remote corners of Zambia. We are very close, and this was the longest time I've ever gone without speaking to her. I think a large part of my self-pitying post of a few weeks ago was an unnamed sense of loneliness. Clearly, I was missing my mommy.

As soon as you started walking, you've been very independent. You walk away from me without looking back, intent on finding the most dangerous thing in the room on which to chew, impale yourself or feed to the dog. But there are always regular returns to home base. You'll get freaked out by something and run back to me with your mouth wide open in a giggle or a shriek and you'll close your eyes and thrust your arms forward, lunging for me. We'll hold each other for a sweet, fleeting, heart-exploding-into-flowers-and-puppies second and then you're off again. Just want to know that the comfort and support of my mom is right here when I need it. Just touching base.

Tomorrow, when I pick my parents up at the airport, I will mostly likely be recreating this scenario. Only this time I'm the daughter.

Love, Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


Dispatch from Vermont #5: Today's tip

Dear Z,

When cramming your mouth full of strawberries, remember there's always room for storage on the table, your lap or, you know, THE BOWL.

Love, Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


Dispatch from Vermont #4: Family.

Dear Z,

Some family we are born into. Sorry to say that you have no choice in this department. We're your parents for better or worse.

Other family you can choose. This is your "Aunt" K. She loves you and if this past week was any indication, you love her too.

She knows me very, very well. She and your "Uncle" P gave us so many gifts last week- their time and energy being the highest on a long list. I hope that you will know and love them for a very long time.

Now if we could just smush the two coasts of this country together.....

Love, Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


Dispatch from Vermont #3: Doll stroller as toddler smack.

Dear Z,

I was under the impression that this doll stroller ("every girl's dream!" says the package) would be a great addition to our time here in Vermont. You love to push things and we're totally out of great creative ideas for what to play with around here.

Little did I know that it would turn you into a crazed, growling, whining psycho-baby. You must have it. But when you have it, it makes you crazy. You must push it. But when you push it, it gets stuck! Or falls down! Or runs into things! Oh the horror! Oh the injustice! Let's whine and cry when we have it and then SCREAM when it is taken away. Why? Why not!

Seriously. Do they make a Stroller's Anonymous? 'Cause girl, you are ADDICTED.


Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


Glass half full.

After a day of wallowing in self-pity, the influx of extremely helpful, loving, understanding friends, some sunshine and TIME OFF from Z, I'm happy to say that the glass is seeming half full these days. Maybe even full. These pics are from our time on the Cape last weekend. In the first, Z was digging in the sand with great seriousness. In the second, she's laughing her butt off as she ran around a park in Martha's Vineyard.

It WAS a great weekend. I AM insanely lucky and happy to have this girl as my daughter. I DO have what it takes to be a great mother.

And I'll never drive solo with her for 6 hours again, lest I forget these truths.


Where's my merit badge? Where's my parade?

I just returned from 2 days in Cape Cod with Chic Geek (and Z, of course). Our lovely weekend included lots of time at a very baby-friendly beach, a dinner date for our anniversary (while CG's boss and his wife watched their two kids plus Z. Those people are saints, I tell you.), a day trip to Martha's Vineyard and the ingestion of several obligatory, scrumptious lobster-roll sandwiches.

Unfortunately, the weekend wasn't all lobster rolls and sunshine. The drive there and the drive back just about did me in. I left early so that I would have plenty of time and wouldn't get anxious. I printed out Mapquest directions. I stopped countless times to give Z a new toy, feed her something and find her pacifier. And yet I somehow found myself lost, singing the 1,000th round of "And Bingo was his name-o" while grasping the steering wheel with one hand and blindly launching handfuls of Cheerios in Z's general direction with the other hand. It was a sad, graceless, messy display. I hope to never drive solo for 6 hours with a 14 month old ever again. Never. Ever.

When I came back to the lake house, I found that the house is mess of dog hair tumbleweeds and dirty towels and the cleaner can't come till Wednesday, the day after my next batch of friends arrive. The dogs keep eating Z's pacifiers, barking when she's napping, knocking her over when we're outside, and pooping on every stretch of grass on which Z might be able to run around. Z is not her normal self. She's fussy, throwing food, barely eating (it IS hard to eat something if it is always airborne or smeared on the wall), waking up at 5 am, resisting naps and bedtime (the girl is a CHAMPION sleeper these days so this is seriously alarming), and static-clinging to me only to push me away when I try to actually sit down and play with her.

Without a break from her, without CG around, I am getting my butt kicked and I'm feeling sorry for myself. On the drive back, I kept fantasizing about leaving my husband alone with her for a week just so he will understand how hard it is. I've called several friends to bitch and moan. I thought I was capable of the selflessness that motherhood requires. I'm not sure I am. I seem to at least need an audience to hear about my suffering.

I'm finding myself so lonely here without my mom friends. I need to talk to people who truly get how hard this is. People who will affirm that I deserve some sympathy, a merit badge, a damn parade. I can't believe how hard this all is and I am starting out so blessed. I cannot imagine being a single parent, without support (or a lake house or a cleaner for the lake house, or... or.... or... ). Doing it for two weeks is hard enough. I hope I never have to do this again ever either. Never. Ever.

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