Friday, May 30, 2008
I stole this from Domesticali. Here's how you play:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs (right click on the image, choose properties, then the image URL) for the images into Mosaic Maker.
Here are the questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favorite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. What is one word to describe you.
12. What is your flickr name? (If you don't have one, use whatever you usually use for a user name)
Reminds me of all those get-to-know-you emails with all the super random questions, only with a pretty picture at the end. Mine is above; the Husband's is below.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Guess who has a sh!tload of it in their house.
We hired an electrician before buying this house for the exact purpose of ensuring that there was none of this wiring left in the house. At least none that was live.
He lied. Or was very bad at his job. Or both.
There's no ceiling light in the living room. We've had floor lamps in there, but now that the Papoosekin is mobile she's trying to pull herself up on them and both breaking them and attempting to break herself in the process. So they have to go.
The Husband set out to install a ceiling fan/light fixture. Should have been easy enough. Until he uncovered the web of fire-waiting-to-happen that is the wiring supplying electricity to about half the house, apparently.
Recall that this house was also sold to us with no smoke detectors. No, we have not made progress on that yet. We cannot keep up with our lives.
So, this has to come out immediately, which the Husband, luckily, knows how to do. He's off now to cajole Mr. Ouiser into watching the Papoosekin for me so I can continue to copy edit and he can turn our house into less of a deathtrap.
I may have to sleep on the floor outside the Papoosekin's room tonight, just for peace of mind.
In completely unrelated stressful happenings: My car registration expires on the 31st. I need a passport or birth certificate to get a TN license so I can get a TN registration. My passport has expired. My birth certificate is in NY with my parents. I'm so screwed.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
We went in to check on her one night because she went down for a nap at 5:00 and apparently seemed to think she was down for the night. This is how we found her, I swear. We did move her because we knew that if we didn't do it then, at 8:00, we'd be doing it later, likely at 3:00 am when she would wake up in a fit. Of course, she woke up after being moved. But better up for two hours then than in the middle of the night.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I know that was a longish hiatus, and there are more to come in the near future. I’m swamped with copy editing again: three issues dumped on me at once, and one is a huge, special issue, meaning lots of extra pages, so I don’t know how I’m going to get it all done, but it will be. Done. In about four weeks. So be patient with me, please!
Mother’s Day was kind of a train wreck around here. The Papoosekin was sick in the days preceding. Sick like projectile-vomiting-sick. And 102-degree favor. Poor bebe. She was sooooo not herself. When she was awake, she was crying, and felt like she was on fire. But mostly she slept, which was just as well. And when she had nothing left in her little stomach to come up, she dry heaved. It was a little bit heartbreaking.
Then, just as she started to look better, I got sick. Chills, which I don’t remember ever experiencing before, and my own 102-degree fever. And achy all over. And a wicked headache. But that was gone after a couple days.
And then we discovered the baby girl had a tooth in addition to being sick. She had her six-month pediatrician appointment when I was sick, so the Husband took her and the doc said that while some upset tummy issues can be caused by teething, not to the degree she had them. So she had a virus and was teething at the same time. And now she has a little bitty incisor to prove it. You can hardly see the very tip of it, but you can feel it. One little bottom right incisor. I will miss that gummy smile. But it’s not really gone yet.
Not to be an overachiever or anything, but she also decided that this was a good time to start crawling. At six months.
And, not easily satisfied, she seems to have decided that this is not quite enough achievement for one month and so she should start pulling herself up to standing now, too. She’s only done it a few times, but this morning I left her in what I thought was a baby-proofed living room, except for my laptop on the chair, which I knew she couldn’t get to. How many baby stories start with what the parents thought they knew? Anyway, in the time it took me to get my cup of coffee from the kitchen, she had crawled over to the chair, gotten her hands up on the edge of the seat, pulled up to kneeling, and was kind of hanging with her knees off the ground, but not quite standing. Trying to get to the laptop. I came over and gave her just the smallest bit of support and she pulled herself up the rest of the way.
Did you all know that Scarlet Lily started walking at seven months? It’s true. Her mother told me so. According to my mother, I started around nine months. Both seem ridiculously early. Anyway, my little girl seems bound and determined to be as mobile as possible as soon as possible, so we may be in trouble soon. Another round of babyproofing at a higher height may be in order.
A few quick items of non-baby news:
I had my last physical therapy appointment. Yay! I think I just may be one of those people who actually has to exercise, just to ward off pain and injury. Good motivation, I guess.
The Husband’s cousin graduated from college last weekend! So a shout-out to him. We wanted to be there so bad and tried for weeks to get plane tickets, but just couldn’t make it work. The Husband will be flying to
No progress on house stuff recently. And none in the near future with all the copy editing I have to get done. Next on our list is getting the kitchen floor ripped up, getting the asbestos down, and laying new tile. We did choose new tile (thanks for the advice TT!), so I guess that’s some progress. Then I think that utility room will remain on hold a little longer because remodeling the bathroom just became a bigger priority.
There’s no vent in our first floor bathroom, which is the only one with a shower. And there’s a window in the shower. And it’s not one of those glass cube windows or anything; it’s just a regular window. At first we thought that if we opened the window and/or the door during showers, that would be enough to vent the steam out. But the window still gets soaked, and we’ve discovered evidence that water is likely leaking through to the outside of the house. Upon further research, we learned that it’s likely that the wall is so damaged it may have to be torn down and replaced. Basically, we need to get the window out, assess the damage, and go from there. But in the meantime, no showers. So we are looking at weeks of baths. Sigh. I had to take baths my whole life growing up because my parents live in an old farmhouse that didn’t have a shower installed, just a tub. They were fine with that. I always found it terribly inconvenient. An inconvenience I seem unable to escape. Ironic.
On the bright side, our TiVo is working again, though we’re having bizarre time zone issues that caused me to miss the season finale of Gossip Girl last night, so I’m off to watch that before the Papoosekin awakens. Have I mentioned that she’s taking two 90-minute naps per day now? And usually a third little catnap. Life is getting good.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
But I don't share this with you for the depressing dose of reality. I share her blog with you because she is refreshingly honest about all that she goes through, but in a very positive and reflective way. She's matter-of-fact about what she and her family goes through, and it's an interesting perspective. It's different from how I imagine I would deal with such tragedy, were that my lot in life to bear, but it's a strength I hope I would be able to dig down and find.
Anyway, she just posed this question to her readers and I thought it was a really interesting and thought-provoking one. Read her post to get the full context, but for those pressed for time, the gist of it is: "If you could shake off the chains of societal expectations and the ideas of monetary wealth and do whatever the hell you wanted to, what would it be? Would you choose an alternative lifestyle?
Don't limit yourself - would you be willing to cash in the equity on your home to live extremely frugally in a yurt out on some land? And don't limit yourself to the U.S. I think this, as a mental exercise, is good practice for helping you get used to dealing with change....What do you actually, really need to live happily?"
And I think this is a different vein of the question Scarlet Lily asked us several weeks ago. This is taking an idea akin to hers to a much deeper level. Because it's not "what would your occupation be?" This doesn't even necessarily assume an occupation. And it does assume a more realistic thought process. Don't think of an imaginary lifestyle. Think of something you could actually, logistically do, but think outside the constraints of what we are culturally conditioned to think is possible. It's scary because there's a lot we're taught we can't do that really, we could, because plenty of other cultures do, and plenty of generations before us have.
If you go to Crunchy's post and you read the comments from readers who have responded, you'll note that many people talk about living off the grid somewhere in the middle of nowhere with lots of land to grow their own produce and meat, etc. Not a big surprise dream from readers of green blog. And it's a dream I harbor in dusty corners of my mind, too, that I don't really take seriously because I don't think I'm brave enough to ever try it. But it's nice to think about.
And if you read through those comments, you may come across mine, where I wondered, if someone was to follow through on that dream, living off-grid with sustainable farming, built their own log cabin, etc., and if that someone has kids, and if you want those kids to have the choice and opportunity of going to college when that time comes, what do you do about education? Obviously, you would home school, if you were really that removed from society. Or am I assuming too much isolation in that scenario? Do you think people could/would live in such a way and still arrange transportation to and from the nearest school for their kid? What would the social implications be for the kid? I guess there are plenty of more rural communities in this country where you could have enough land to do all that for yourself, but still not be too many miles from the nearest school.
So, fine, I've talked myself through that problem. But what if you choose to home school your child. Again, the social implications are even more innumerable, but put that aside for a minute. Do you think that you could home school a child as aggressively as would be necessary to make them college ready, while at the same time growing all your own fruits and veggies, raising your own meat, etc.? When I think of all the agrarian cultures that have certainly produced very intelligent and well-educated children, I don't think those were the same families that were grooming the kids for Harvard. Not in this modern educational system anyway. Modern schools are infamous in this country for not recognizing different brands of intelligence. It's the SAT-way or the highway. Could you teach the specific curriculum that American academia demands to your children while running a fully self-sustaining farm?
I tend to feel that accomplishing both those realities would be impossible, in which case, would it be wrong to consciously make that decision for your family knowing the limits it would place on your child's future? Let me know your thoughts!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Who knew there was so much to say about a water bottle?
If I haven't lost you to more interesting reads, in other news around here, we have seen the first of the Papoosekin's first tooth (Ouiser, do you have to filch all my blog fodder? LOL)! Thursday afternoon, out of nowhere, she projectile vomited all over me, herself, and the highchair (The Papoosekin did. Not Ouiser.). She didn't act like she was feeling bad, except for all that gagging and turning red during the vomiting. I took her temperature: 102. Stripped her naked, turned on the AC. When the Husband got home, we called the doc. To make a long story short, she was much worse the next morning. If she wasn't asleep, she was crying, and she is generally such a happy baby, I felt soooo bad for her. I held her all day long because she screamed bloody murder the second I tried to put her down. No interest in playing. No interest in crawling, sitting, standing (all the current favorite pastimes). She just so wasn't herself. In addition to burning up and vomiting.
The doctor wanted us to come in this morning, but she woke up with no fever and we discovered the tooth. I knew that teething could cause GI problems at the other end, but I didn't know about the vomiting. So it's a pretty classic, cliched story of new parents getting all worried about their child's illness only to find out that it was just a tooth. But in our defense, I know babies who show no symptoms of teething, just wake up one morning with a tooth. So I think our little one is just pretty far on the other end of that spectrum. At any rate, she's doing better today, though not all better yet. Send her happy thoughts to distract her from the pain.
The Husband and I are off this afternoon to look for new tile for the kitchen. Remember that tiny earthquake in the Midwest a few weeks ago? We barely felt it here. In fact, it was the Husband's first earthquake ever (except for a small one at my parent's house a couple years ago, but he slept through that), which he was very excited about, but I was not. It woke us up in the middle of the night, and I knew he was going to make a big deal about it and all I wanted was to go back to bed, so I tried to convince him that it was just the cat. Shaking the whole bed. Yeah, he didn't buy it either. Hey, it was the best I could come up with at 4:30 in the morning!
Anyway, that earthquake pushed up one of the tiles in our kitchen. Enough that it needs to be replaced. But we have asbestos linoleum under the tiles. And we have a six-month-old. And we're a little uncomfortable with that situation. There was a little patch of asbestos that we were already going to remove from where we made the new door into the utility room. The Husband was going to do that himself because it was so small. But now we're talking about the whole kitchen, so we're calling in the professionals. And frankly, it's not just a matter of safety at this point, but time. We need people who know what they're doing to come in, get 'er done, and get out. This is the kitchen we're talking about. Kind of an important room.
So the gist of all that is, we need to go pick out new tile. This will be the same tile that will eventually extend into the utility room, so once that's purchased at least I can pretend we're making a little headway in that area, too! Any tile choosing tips? Anyone out there with experience in this?
Have I mentioned there are no smoke detectors in this house? How do you buy a house in 2008 with no smoke detectors? Especially when the previous owners had three small children? Maybe they took them with them? Not so hard to believe if you knew some of the other details about the condition in which they left this house...
Anyway, we're out...
Friday, May 09, 2008
For All My Favorite Moms by Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author
All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.
Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome.
To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.
Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the "Remember-When-Mom-Did" Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?" (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?
But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top.
And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts.
It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.
Monday, May 05, 2008
(Well it's alright)
Ridin' around in the breeze.
If you live the life you please.
Doing the best you can.
As long as you lend a hand.
You can sit around and wait
for the phone to ring.
Waiting for someone to tell you everything.
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring.
Maybe a diamond ring.
(Well it's alright)
Even if they say you're wrong.
Sometimes you've gotta be strong.
As long as you've got somewhere to lay.
Every day is just one day.
Maybe somewhere down the road a ways.
You'll think of me and wonder
where I am these days.
Maybe somewhere down the road
when someone plays,
(Well it's alright)
Even when push comes to shove.
If you got someone to love.
Everything will work out fine.
We're going to the end of the line.
Don't have to be ashamed of the
kind of car I drive.
I'm just glad to be here, happy to be alive.
It don't matter if you're by my
side. I'm satisfied.
(Well it's alright)
Even if you're old and grey.
You still got something to say.
Remember to live and let live.
The best you can do is forgive.
Ridin' around in the breeze.
If you live the life you please.
Even if the sun don't shine.
We're going to the end of the line!
Hope that brightens someone's day like it did mine.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Anyway, she's already making a transition toward longer naps. We've had one as long as two hours, which contrasts nicely with the three half-hour naps per day we've been living with. She celebrated her six-month birthday yesterday by dropping the third nap after one hour nap and one hour-and-a-half nap. This seems to have proved to be a thoroughly exhausting endeavor that set her right back on three mini-naps today, with possibly a fourth one to come, but hey, it's a process.
There's a part of me that wants to completely let go in a post about how hard things have been around here. How I'm not, apparently, one of those moms, like Ouiser, who was born to do this. You hear about all those moms for whom, yeah, it's hard, and they certainly have their bad days, but the whole baby-raising thing turns out to be this amazing period of growth and burgeoning strength and finding reserves of patience and nurturing and blah, blah, blah. That hasn't been the way it is for me.
I treasure every day that I get to spend taking care of the Liliputian. I do a pretty good job of living in the moment while I care for her. But then the Husband comes home, reality comes crashing in, and the to-dos pile upon me until I feel like I'm suffocating. I feel like an inadequate, suffocating, incompetent, ten-pounds-overweight blob. Then she smiles at me and I forget everything. Then dinner burns and I burst into tears.
A touch of post-partum depression? Could be. I plan to explore the possibility with my doctor. Normal hormonal fluctuations of a nursing mother? Very likely, and unfortunately nothing with an end in sight for another six months. Simple sleep deprivation? Oh, almost definitely. I need to take better care of myself, I know. And I need to get to the gym. And eat better. Cut back on sugar. I need, I need, I need...
Then I have weekends like this one, where we spent Saturday morning at the local parade (Old Timer's Festival, see Ouiser's blog here), and I had the best time ever. Outside, under the beautiful blue sky, 70-degree weather, total sense of community, sitting with Ouiser's family, including her aunt, cousin, father-in-law, husband, and daughter, watching the Miss Old Timer float, the high school marching bands, the float of the family of the woman with 41 great-grandchildren, eating authentic southern sausage and biscuits for a dollar, the smell of barbecued chicken in the air (again, see Ouiser's post on that one!).
My baby is sooooo agonizingly close to crawling. In fact, Mr. Ouiser swears up and down he saw her do so last night, but the Husband and I haven't seen it yet. She's basically sitting up with some minimal balance support every minute or so. She's babbling! Lots of "ba" and "da" and "bva."
So I have a pretty great life. And I'd love to explain in great depth about how and why I lose sight of that, but, frankly, I don't have the time. And that's a shame. Because I think about other mothers who may feel the same way, friends who aren't mothers yet but may experience similar feelings when they are and need to know it's okay, and friends who may not even see motherhood anywhere on their horizons but wonder why I don't write or call more... I want you all to understand, but don't have it in me to make you. Maybe someday. In the meantime, let's all have a look at my beautiful daughter...
...who can hold her own bottle now (kind of)...
...who smiles a bazillion times a day at the mere sight of me...
...who was more interested in the people standing behind us than in the parade itself...
...and who lives for weekends and the hour from six to seven every evening when she gets to see her papa.
Six months. I never thought we'd make it. It's been such a major time of reflection for me. I hope I can get a chance to share it with y'all soon (like how I slipped that bit of southern influence in there? I'm blending.)