The animated version of Alice in Wonderland is playing in the background…on DVD…how archaic of me. That is my world now. Animated films and breaking from work every two and a half to three hours (if I’m lucky) to change, feed, burp and snuggle with my tiny man. It has definitely been a challenge to prepare for my first large art festival with a newborn baby. My pregnancy was pretty challenging and working a full-time job already had me decently exhausted with swollen feet and an aching back. Despite my love for creating; especially for painting, I could hardly find the energy to prepare dinner much less design and execute an entire painting. Ollie, being his father’s son, decided waiting until his due date was far too conventional for his taste and surprised us all by making a hasty exit at 7:20 in the morning about six and a half weeks early. All was well and we had a very healthy, absolutely beautiful baby boy who had no idea how to eat. Babies apparently learn that during the last few weeks of gestation and Ollie had come before he had the change to develop that necessary suck reflex…so…it was my job (along with a team of professionals that I will be paying the bills for until I die) to teach him to eat. We spent nearly four weeks in the NICU where my husband and I would sit and watch a baby sleep until it was time to eat. Then, we would beg a baby to eat. UPDATE: we have ZERO trouble eating now…now we need to learn to stop. Bringing Ollie home presented a new set of challenges. While I used to put on the headphones and crank up the painting playlist on the iPod (yes, I still have an iPod to go right along with my DVD player), now I need to make sure I can hear and see the little while I work. So New Order’s greatest hits have been replaced by cartoons and occasionally, just the sound of the fan. Being a mother motivates me to produce more and better work and to be a better advocate for my work but coming by those extra bits of energy I once had when I was a single, childless youngster is not so easy- those moments of clarity and go-get-um are oh so fleeting and generally end in being barfed on or in conversations about poop. Being a professional artist is not as glamorous as folks imagine it to be but a mother is even less so. I would not give up either one for anything. I will create and be creative to produce a rich, colorful and exciting life for my son. I refuse to give up; I refuse to have that regret to pass on to my son or to dump off on my husband. I feel that I need to soldier on and continue on the path I chose nearly eight years ago because my success will not only be mine, it will be the gift I share with my family.