My Latest Snag: The Patagonia Retro Pile Fleece.
I had to have this brand-new, darling Patagonia fleece for mini (psssst 15% off if you sign up for emails!) in the opal pink, though I debated purchasing it in the neutral/silver hue instead. I try not to overbuy in the pale pink category but it’s so hard to do with a little girl! I tend to force myself to consider reds, navies, etc — not everything needs to be pink! However, this one did 🙂 I also love this slightly chunkier style, which would have coordinated with this vest for me (in the ash color). For her dressier fall coat, I went with a red Mayoral toggle style, which will look darling with cableknit tights and her new L’Amour shoes — and maybe a plaid dress like this.
You’re Sooooo Popular: My Favorite Summer Dress.
The most popular items on Le Blog this week:
+An elegant baby gate. (Never thought I’d use those words together.)
+Mini’s favorite water bottle at the moment. (We recently added the pink tiger print to our collection! So Gucci extra!)
#Turbothot: Is Parenthood Easier or Harder Than You Expected?
Someone recently posed this question in a blog post and I had to think about it for a full afternoon before deciding that the answer is: both and neither. I say neither because I don’t feel I have struggled in making parenting decisions. I have made mistakes, of course, and have lamented them with an agony I’d never before felt (I once told her, “bad girl!” after she had, out of typical toddler frustration, hit me in the face, and then I cried quietly in the other room — how could I have talked to her like that? Like she was a dog?! Ahhh!). But for the most part, I feel that I have stayed true to myself and to my aspirations to listen and observe and react rather than impose or direct or assume. Parenting my daughter feels natural to me, neither harder nor easier than I expected — it just is. It has been an exertion, but an instinctual one.
At the same time, I say parenting has been easier than expected because the things I thought would be hard — little sleep and lots of poop — have not given me much trouble, possibly because I had heard so much about them while pregnant and had calibrated my expectations appropriately. Yes, we lost a lot of sleep during those early months (actually, we lost a lot of sleep for twelve months because mini did not sleep through the night until a year), but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. You get into a rhythm and you just do it. There aren’t any alternatives, I figured, so I might as well accept it and understand that it’s just a season of life. And the poop/pee/spit-up never phased me either — with the exception of one horrific blowout at a restaurant that involved poop up to mini’s NECK. To this day, I have no words to explain my confusion and horror at the vision of us in that well-heeled restaurant. (How was it even physically possible?) Finally, I have learned over time that things I have dreaded — changing nap routines, transitioning out of the swaddle, taking away her bottle at bedtime — have gone much more smoothly than anticipated. And so I have learned that sometimes I hype things up in my mind only to find myself pleasantly surprised by mini’s adaptability.
But I say parenting has been harder for two reasons. First: I truly did not understand how all-consuming a child is and how intense and abrupt it would feel to go from only worrying about myself and Mr. Magpie to being entirely tethered to a child. When mini was really little and feeding every two hours or so, it felt impossible to do anything outside of the house. Even trips to the grocery had to be carefully orchestrated. I’d have to be dressed and ready to leave, and have mini dressed and her bag packed, just so that I could feed her and then immediately scoot out the door to have 30 minutes of frenzied time at the grocery before rushing back to unpack and then get ready for her next feed. (This was exacerbated by the fact that I had to supplement ever feed with a bottle, so feeding her took close to forty five minutes! I also never got into a routine with pumping, which I think would have freed me up a bit more. At the time, I felt that since I had an undersupply, I needed to breastfeed her every single time I could because I knew the bottle was inevitably coming after, and I longed for that connection to her. But you live and learn. I think I might do things differently if I had the advantage of hindsight.) Now, too, it often feels like I’m racing against the clock, frenetically trying to accomplish as much as I can while she naps or while I have one hour of time to run errands on my own. Everything is time-boxed. There’s little room for spontaneity or last-minute plans or oops-I’m-running-lates. Honestly, it was a startling awakening, one that still occasionally catches me off-guard, a year and a half in. I have of course come to accept it; after all, I had thirty-three years to attend to myself and my own desires and plans. Still, it is life-changing in a deep and profound way that I hadn’t intuited. In fact, before mini was born, I had the misperception that staying at home with mini would involve playing games, reading books, feeding, bathing, etc — but would also entail loads of downtime to blog, catch up on TV, read. I anticipated ample free time to get things done and to tend to myself while she was asleep or playing happily by herself. I thought: “Even if she’s awake, can’t I be simultaneously on the phone? Or blogging? Or reading?” It simply does not work that way. With time, I have figured out how to get household chores done with her in tow — making the bed, for example, has become a game where I throw all the pillows on the ground and she flops into them, giggling, while I quickly tuck in the sheets and fold the duvet; washing my face and applying my makeup is only doable because she can then play with her bath toys for ten minutes at my feet — which she otherwise does not see until bath-time; folding laundry involves preoccupying her with all of my clean underwear, which she inexplicably enjoys placing around her neck like necklaces; emptying the dishwasher requires ferreting out a couple of bowls and spatulas for to enjoy while fenced inside the kitchen with me behind the dog gate. Why are all of these diversions necessary, you might wonder? Because otherwise I am prone to walk out to my child standing on top of the arm of a couch, or shaking a box of matches, or playing with the cord of a lamp. (These things have all happened.) If she is out of my sight for more than a few seconds and things are silent, I have to drop everything to check on her. In short, accomplishing even perfunctory household tasks requires thoughtfulness, craftiness, supervision, and planning. So forget about trying to write or read–sometimes even dashing into the bathroom to pee can be a dicy proposition! Of course, much of my day is fun and I cherish her companionship. I love chatting with her, reading to her, singing to her, taking her on various errands and excursions, watching her toddle around with her dollbabies. Sometimes I am observing her in a ballet class or marveling at her running — she can run! — around the fountain at Lincoln Center and I have to pinch myself: I am so lucky to have the opportunity to spend half of my week with her by myself. But make no mistake about it: it is exhausting, physically-demanding, and all-consuming. My time is never my own.
And the second reason why I say it is much harder than expected: the depth of emotion! The tenderness! I can scarcely talk about her without a lump in my throat. She is my everything — the best part of me, the best part of my day. When she is sick, I am beside myself with worry. (Oh, her first fever!) When she is screaming and wrapping her arms around my legs because she doesn’t want me to leave, I wonder if I should just cancel my plans. When she is wailing from her crib and we have made up our minds to let her cry it out, it drives me insane: I want to go to her, pick her up, soothe her. It is shockingly painful. The ferocity and intensity of emotion are unlike anything I’ve ever felt before in my life — and that makes parenthood an emotional minefield.
What about for you?
#Shopaholic: The Sandro Sale.
+Never too early to snag your New Year’s Eve dress. (Flapper perfection!)
+I have such a big crush on this oversized pastel blue coat…
+I don’t know why, but one of my favorite pairs of LR boots EVER (I own them in two colors and still wear them like six or seven seasons after I purchased them) are on sale for as low as $82 (regularly $695) in select colors and sizes here…
+Loving the new lilac colorway! One of my favorite colors. And, of course, the source of some serious soul-searching..
+These loopy bow earrings are so much fun. I’d wear them around the holidays!
+Love this striped blouse — forgiving and fashion-forward.
+I like the dimensions of this romper for a bachelorette. The shorts are a little longer than you might expect and that affords the entire look a bit more elegance!