Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bittersweet Nostalgia

Being a mother has brought some strange moments of sentimentality for me. I have long thought it was ridiculous and unwise that parents 'baby' their baby. You know the type--the youngest child is indulged and turns into a whiny, needy, demanding kid that other people shake their heads about as the family walks away. I've always wondered why or how this happens. I mean, that kid is the same as as other, so why not treat them that way? Mmmhmm. That's what self-righteous judging gets ya', a big ol' smack in the face. Damn karma. Not that I'm planning on letting Brook-Brook rule the roost or be a whiny kid, but I'm just saying My strange attack of sentimentality? Moving B-B from the cradle next to my bed to her own crib. For reals. I know rationally that it's ridiculous, but does that change things? Heck no. I'm still all sad and mushy inside because the fact is that she's my last tiny person that belongs to me and this year is passing Too fast. Cliche, but true. The first year is so precious, so vast in the changes achieved, and while burdensome to be the sole support, a tiny baby needing nothing but mommy is one of those things that fulfills all holes in my heart. All of that fulfillment while I still yearn for the day that my body is my own again and I don't have to plan when I can have a cocktail based on feeding schedules. Should you wonder if I feel the same about my 2 year old, I do. I can hardly contemplate that he'll be three in less than 6 months because I feel like his sweet, innocent, mommy-loving stage is slipping away. I know that new, exciting developments lie around the bend for both of my chitlins and that I'll love the next stages as much as these moments, but my sappy, sentimental mommy-heart is still full of nostalgia and bittersweet feelings.

Sneak Attack

Toddlers are stealthy. I know, I know, no one describes them this way. More often they are described as loud, clumsy, curious beings. But turns out that in the wee hours? Stealthy. At approximately 5:37am this morning, I heard a wee voice emerging from the dark. "Mommy, I wanna eat."

No warning swish of the diaper, no padding feet, just the stealth of a tired toddler (can I still legitimately call him that at 2 1/2+?). Sheesh kid! I'm not good with surprise wake-ups. . . I mean, I wake-up when your sister wants to eat, but that requires very little thought besides throwing the appropriate body part out there. This response? This took thought.

In a voice heavy with sleep, I managed to stumble through saying that it was still dark outside and when it's dark it's time for sleeping. I even went so far as to offer acceptable choice options: getting in my bed and going back to sleep or returning to the BBB and going back to sleep. (Impressive, aren't I?)

Guess which one he chose? No really, guess.

The BBB. Amen and amen because that boy has some seriously dangerous moves in his sleep. Like he's training to be a ninja. . . which could also account for the stealthiness.

That's it. It all makes sense now. I'm raising a ninja. Hrm.

Monday, August 29, 2011

How the what?

I need to work-out. NEED. I'm not a tiny person and I had just started getting into a groove when I got preggers (gasp!) a year ago. I am determined--DETERMINED--to not fall more deeply into mushville. I even kinda want to work-out for the first time since ever. Alas, however, I cannot figure out how the furk I will have the time or energy until baby girl sleeps through the night. Here's the skinny:

*Chris leaves for work between 4 and 5 am.
*I get up about 6:30 to get Ell & Brooklyn and me out the door. Lots of crazy rushing around ensues.
*Work, work, work.
*Arrive home between 5:30 and 6:00pm.
*Make dinner, give baths, feed Brooklyn and rush around like crazy trying to observe bedtime.
*Clean up the kitchen and such.
*Lay out clothes and such for the next day.

***I suppose I could work-out/run at this point, which is around 8:00-8:30pm. The thing is, I still have to shower and I am so. damn. tired. at this point. I just want to sit on the couch and stare blankly at the tv or computer.

*Go to bed at roughly 10:00pm
*Wake up roughly 2 different occasions to feed Brook-Brook. This cuts roughly 2 hours out of my beauty sleep time. I NEED my beauty sleep, people.
*Rinse and repeat for another day.

Le sigh. The good thing is that I know that this stage won't last forever. And that is good. Then I can get back to working out in the evenings. So maybe this post backfired and convinced me to work-out once my baby sleeps all night. Oops.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Redeeming Myself. . .

I need to redeem myself a bit. Turns out that when you link a blog post on Facebook your husband who never reads your blog will then read the post. Then your husband might feel you've said that he's inept. Le sigh. I'm not saying this happened at my house, per se, but just in case. . . Let me list some things that are obvious about my husband:

1. My husband cooks. A lot. And it's even good stuff.

2. If I wake him up, he willingly changes a diaper and rocks the baby girl.

3. On mornings we are both home, he always lets me sleep. Not sure if this is self-preservation or just kindness.

4. He makes me cocktails. Anytime I ask.

5. When I ask, "Honey, would you . . .?" The answer is almost always yes, even if a sigh accompanies it.

6. I'm controlling. He still loves me.

7. I'm bossy. He still loves me.

8. I'm lazy. He still loves me.

9. Two words: grocery shopping.

10. No complaints about girl's night. I need way more away-time than he does, but he gets it and let's me do my thing. He's also never complained about the passel of girlfriends that came with our marriage. He even genuinely likes them an appreciates their relationships with me and how they love our children.

11. He always tells me I'm pretty, even when it's clearly a lie.

12. He once told me my gray hair looked like "blond highlights" to him. He was serious. . . at least I think so.

13. Did I mention I'm bossy and controlling? Yeah, those are pretty big things.

14. He's been known to bring me flowers 'just because.'

15. He's a loving, hands-on, thoughtful, consistent father to our chitlins.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Things That are Obvious, Vol. 2

If you missed volume 1, you can find it here. Turns out that some things that I think are incredibly obvious aren't to other people. Feel free to add to the list.

1. When an item, say a baby bottle, has a "fill line" it's there for a reason.

2. After 2 glasses of water, lunch, a snack and a nap, a toddler will likely need a diaper change, even if no poop is present.

3. When cleaning the kitchen, part of the task is also cleaning the counter tops. (seriously, they were filthy)

4. If a baby spits up on a rug, wiping it up is just what you do, even if the rug will have to be washed later. Leaving full on spit-up present is just gross.

5. Reporting to your wife that you are just as tired as she is because even though you don't get out of bed when the baby is crying, it doesn't mean you are sleeping is likely to lead to domestic violence.

*Disclaimer: I love my husband--he is an amazing father and does far more hands-on parenting than most. AND he is a good sport and doesn't read my blog. ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How I Know He's Mine

Tonight after we (finally) got home, Elliott decided to run around in socks, tennis shoes and. . . a diaper. Yep. Hawt. Upon hearing he could have some lime jello, he jumped from the table, promptly tripped over his own feet. He landed on his side with his face mushed against the tile floor. Tears? No. He spoke to himself, "I okay. I okay. I okay."

Not sure what it says about my mothering that I had to turn the other way in order for him not to see my church giggles.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I hope my baby likes caffeine. . .

Things that are getting me through the workday, in no particular order:

*Purchased on my way to work, even though I was running a tad late, thanks to needing to watch "New Olivia" and a cranky 3-month old.

*Kept in the fridge in my office, sanity comes in small, bite-sized pieces.

*My savior nemesis. My friend, Deana, has been known to say that "Diet Coke is harder to quit than crack." Rest assured this is through no personal experience for her with crack, she just means that if she smoked crack and had to pick which one to chose, it would probably be the crack because it might be easier. Got it?

Monday, August 22, 2011

And on it goes. . .

Today was pretty craptastic, following in a long line of craptastic days. I'm over it. Tired of writing about it. Tired of thinking about it. Can September be here soon enough? Not for this family. Sum of the day: Brook-Brook has a UTI, discovered after failed catheter attempt, we were at the doctor's office for 3 hours and, lucky me, my husband is sick. Man-sick. I'll let you guess which one is more drama and which one is actually more worrying.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My House of Cards

In the world of social networking and constant sharing, it's easy to believe everyone has 'it' all together. Well, I have to put it out there that is is a falsehood perpetuated through pictures. I'm pretty sure no one has it completely together (right?). Case in point: my mom came over today to help me fold 5 laundry baskets full of clean clothes. We stashed some in our ginormous closet when Chris' parents came to visit 3 weeks ago, had another mountain of clean in the hallway and had to punt by piling them in Brooklyn's room in order that our hallway could be swept.. . by our cleaning agency, because let's face it--two parents who work full-time can't keep a house in any kind of working order. Especially when one of them NEEDS to sit and have some recoup time in the evenings (that's me). I mean really, at 8:30 in the evening, who is folding clothes? Not this guy. That is how I had 5 (count 'em, 5) receptacles of clean clothes, plus an ever-growing mountain on the floor. House of Cards=fallen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stick a Fork in Me

Yep. I'm done. Done with bad news and sad events. I went to the second memorial service in one week today for a young lady who did far too soon. Every parents' worst nightmare happened to two people I love dearly, one of whom shaped who I am in very significant ways, not because of telling me what he thought, but because of asking the right questions. To see him break, to be shattered at the loss of a daughter who was a friend as well as daughter, was heart-breaking to me. Showing how well he knew and loved his daughter, there was no traditional dress-up and be miserable and have stupid music and speak in hushed tones funeral. Nope. This amazing lady was celebrated with ice chests full of beer, a memorial book to sign, barbeque, queso and cookies. And friends. Oh the friends! Friends of all ages--elderly family friends, college professors, co-workers, drinking buddies, dates, and dearest girlfriends came to celebrate this life. Perhaps the saddest was the dog she had raised from 4 weeks old that wandered around looking for food and his beloved owner. A memorial that combined toasts from the heart--THAT is how a life should be celebrated and ushered out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Return to Work.

I survived. Without tears. I am too stinkin' tired to say anything else. Tomorrow. Maybe I'll have more energy tomorrow? Yeah. If tomorrow=December, when my baby might sleep through the night.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reformed Rebel--a memorial

Remember when I said here that one of my fears is losing someone I love? Well, it happened. My Uncle Paul died in his sleep on Sunday night/Monday morning. I don't know what to do with this. Don't know how to assimilate it into my everyday. He had been in ailing health for years, the last 5ish on dialysis, the result of kidney failure due to repeated heart cath procedures with dyes that are lethal to kidneys. On top of this, his wife is severely debilitated due to MS. This sequence of craptastic health combinations led to him having little quality of life in recent years. So it is selfish of me to wish him still here. I ache for my mom, as this was her oldest brother and while expected, is death ever really expected? We expect to lose our parents to death at some point, but losing a sibling is another thing entirely.

My uncle was a walking conundrum, shaped by my well-meaning, but hard grandfather. This left him like him, but not. Like him in stubborness and looks and different in his love for the bizarre. My uncle was a rebel at heart. He was a Marine. Rode in the rodeo, played rugby, rode a Harley, drove a Corvette too fast and generally gave convention the middle finger. Surprisingly conservative in his politics. He had art in his soul, as his photographs are truly, simply fantastic and awe-inspiring. Fantastic even in the age of film--long before Photoshop. He even went so far as to build a dark room (do people in their 20s or younger even know what this is?) in his garage. He loved dogs. LOVED. His dogs were among the most spoiled in the world and often sported their own liberal dusting of his beloved expensive men's cologne.

In my childhood, I was convinced he was living a jet-set life. I remember visiting him in Denver and playing in the snow. Snow! For a Texas-girl, that was high times. He met and married his second wife and they honeymooned in Hawaii. Hawaii! He had traveled abroad. Abroad! He had a pool in his backyard. A pool! He often worked in different states, as he was contracted with Boeing doing. . . something? He loved having my sister, my cousins and me visit his house and swim (at least I think he did). For quite a while, he and my aunt would take my sister and I to dinner once per year and let us order whatever we wanted. Dessert! Appetizers! Luxury. I knew him to be eccentric, but I was ego-centric enough to not even pay attention to his role as a father or grandfather.

This is where the conundrum comes in. . . he was a rebel-rousing soul that was often less-than considerate to his first wife in their adventure as a family(I was too young to realize this). He was away more than he was present for his daughters. His grandchildren saw him once per year, if they were lucky. He left the hospital after a failed kidney transplant against medical advice. Up into his 50s, it seems responsibility was his foe. However, living with someone with a degenerative, debilitating disease will transform. Crippled by his own health as much as my aunt's, he never wavered. Someone who had run from responsibility his entire life was now chained to responsibility and I didn't hear him complain. He may have, probably did, but I didn't see him act resentful. Others questioned his determination to take on my aunt's care by lifting, changing, cooking, feeding, bathing, etc. Why not put her in a nursing home? It would be easier for him, right? Examining his younger life, one would assume this is exactly what he would do. But no, "for better or worse" held a higher meaning for him.

One of a kind. I hope that Friday's memorial service will help me to believe this presence is gone. Until then, my mom's announcement of "your Uncle Paul died" is ringing in my ears.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What's in a week?

Le sigh. I am distraught. Hand to the forehead, gut-wrenching sobs kind of distraught because I have to return to work in one week. One week. I have no idea how I'm going to leave my baby girl everyday, even in the capable hands of our sitter. Yes, I have done this before, so I should feel more confident. Thing is, Elliott stayed with Chris for a month after I went back to work and then he stayed with Glammy for June and July. That made him 6 months old when I had to leave him with someone other than family. How, how, how am I going to leave that tiny bit of humanity and love 5 days a week? I'm not sure, but alas, my plan of giving up cable just isn't going to make up enough difference for me to stay home.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Gift of Sweat

Much has been made of the excruciatingly high temperatures of the past week. And it has been hot. Super-duper, painfully hot. The kind of hot that swimming isn't enough to relieve. The kind of hot that my two and a half year old cannot understand. He asks repeatedly, typically in the late afternoon (the hottest part of the day), to go outside. It's seriously difficult to explain that just isn't wise.

However, a group of the most dedicated people I know have spent the week being outside 24 hours per day. Even their inside is outside, and this blistering heat is one of the only reasons I am glad not to be with them (the other main reasons are my sweet children, but that is a given). Camp El Tesoro is in my soul. It's a living, breathing part of me. I spent the majority of my free time inhabiting this place the entirety of my college career. This one week, often the hottest of the year, taught me more about strength and compassion than any other experiences to date. The camp is full of grieving children. Children filled with more pain and dealt more bad luck than any one heart should ever know. You see, they have all had someone they love die. Death from a variety of causes--murder, car accidents, cancer, heart attack, drowning, suicide. You name the heinous act and a child has experienced it's pain. Being present in the face of this pain is humbling and transforming, for how can ones so young provide such hope and such an example of how cruel life can be all at the same moment? I don't know the answer, but I do know that for this week, and often many more moments during the summer, I think: "oh, it's time for group," or "free swim time," or "I bet they are headed to the chapel right now."

A mark that deep on your soul is forever alive, burning in memories. I don't know when, or if, volunteering at Camp El Tesoro de la Vida is in my future, but the 10 summers I spent sweating in out are part of my essence, connecting me to the thing I fear more than anything--carrying on without someone I love. This is for my dear, dear friends who choose to spend vacation in 100+ degree temps, confronting the demons of children because they WANT to be there. I'm not there, but I travel there in my dreams.

Trying to be a Big Boy

Mainly Mommy is the one trying. . . sad, but true. Yesterday we (I) tried to start potty training. I'm generally of the opinion that he'll do it when he's ready, but I wanted to give Ell some motivation. The source of motivation? Jellybeans. Every 30 minutes a timer went off and he would sit for 3 minutes and get a jellybean or two. Brilliant, eh? I thought so. Turns out, not so much. Elliott was amenable, but nary a drop of urine hit the potty chair. Today I tried to repeat my brilliant idea, asking, "Elliott would you like to sit on the potty chair and get some jellybeans?"

"No. I don't."

And thus goes my brilliant plan.

Coming up? Moving to a Big Boy Bed (BBB). We have the prerequisite book, purchased the linens--Ell picked the pattern--and now to get the bed put together and try it out. I mean, I would be fine with him sleeping in a crib for the next 4 years or so, but I'm figuring that's not appropriate? I'm hoping to employ a form of bribery motivation a bit more effective than the jellybean-potty training plan. What do you think the time span for BBB success will be? I mean it has to happen at some point. Right?

Monday, August 1, 2011

When Family Comes A'Visitin'

Chris' family was in town this weekend and we lived it up. So much so that there are only a handful of pictures and none of us all together. None even of the kiddies on my camera with their aunt & uncle and grandparents. I'm hoping for some from Aunt Trisha, who was far more diligent in the photo-snapping department. We sat down to dinner each night they were here, which was great. We also made it to the new Sea Life Aquarium in Grapevine and that's where my couple of pictures come from:

Blurry, but shows the cool room where you could see rays and sharks through the floor. Ell really enjoyed this part.

And a peek at the light fixtures in the jellyfish room:

All in all, it was a good adventure, but crowded and muggy. I'm not sure that I would pay the $20 again on a weekend. But it was fun while it lasted. . . or until Elliott started screeching because he was hungry.

Spit It Out

I love Facebook. It satisfies my need to peek in on people I care about, but rarely see. It's been especially useful while on maternity leave--I feel like I actually have an inkling of what's happening in the world while I try to keep my head above water with a toddler and newborn.

Turns out, though, that the people who irritate me in real life irritate me just the same on the interwebs. Typically, the two types of comments that cause irritation are housed in one person. They leave me feeling awkward and like a gossip-monger. These irritating behaviors? (Statuses below are actual updates from my friend list)

1. Vaguebooking--The hidden message status updates such as:
*"Feeling really down :("
*"Feeling kinda broken today. . . "
*"In a bad mood"
*"Sad. But needed to get this day over with."
*"Having a b-day party for my July boys!! This day is filled with many emotions... I'm so proud of these children... And wish I could always take away the sadness in their lives... But sometimes even a mom can't make bad things go away... "

How am I to respond to these comments? I want to ask what the heck happened, but that seems so invasive and rude. However I do think if they leave that loaded status out there for all to see, perhaps they want me/others to ask? I won't, though, and end up just scouring their FB page for a hint of what's happening.

2. Continual negative or sad status updates. All from one page:
--Oh man. People will never cease to amaze or disappoint me. Glad I'm better than that! :)
--Quite literally the worst night of my entire existence.
--‎"I guess there's got to be a break in the monotony, but Jesus when it rains, how it pours"
--Giving up.

Sheesh. That kind of negativity must be exhausting.

3. The chronic over-poster. You know? The ones that 'check in' every step of the day: at home!, in bed, at the baseball game, at Wal-Marts (for real). I would like to focus on the witty, interesting parts of people's lives. . . not their every waking moment. The Over-Poster feels a bit like bragging, don't you think?

That's it. I don't know if it makes me pathetic for writing a whole post on what posts bug me, but there you have it. What FB faux pas bug you?