Sunday, January 29, 2012

A good and simple one

Nothing crazy awesome rad woah sauce happened or anything, but we had a good weekend in the hobbit house. It's Sunday night and I feel ready for the week ahead and my house is lookin' pretty good and I'm pretty well-rested and cc and I are tiredpunchy at the dining room table together.

Case in point?




Anywho.

Harps was in a really good mood and slept well, cc took the early morning shift on Saturday and I lazed under the covers, we had lots of good food in the cupboards, Jones and dada went swimming and gave me some solo time, and we got a bunch of stuff done -- pesky errands (oh, like a birth certificate application for her TWO YEARS LATER I'M AN AWESOME MOM WOOT) and chores around the house.

Harps is still a solid independent player (will read her books, wander around playing with our shoes and bags, piddle in her kitchen, draw for long stretches), but she definitely needs more planned activities these days. Like right now, she is completely obsessed with having a "Tea party please!" and so I heat up the water and make her a brew (in her own little blue pot) with decaf and agave and milk. She chugs it so happily.




And then we took out the pack 'n play (reinstated when we moved into this house while we got everything super toddler proofed and worked thru the sleep issues...) and got her bed situation all cozy. She was thrilled. And I felt guilty for keeping her away from the place she can hoard every single one of her stuffed animals at once.




cc and I used naptimes and nighttimes to have a bit of a Law and Order: Criminal Intent binge. What was life like before Netflix streaming? Sad, if I remember correctly.




And tonight felt just like cozy Sunday evenings of my childhood. (Before I dreaded Mondays starting at age, oh, 11.) Think it was the smell of spaghetti and veggies cooking downstairs (thanks for slingin' the pots and pans, cc!) while Harps and I worked upstairs on making up our bed with fresh sheets and smooth blankies (Hudson Bay, marry me), grooving to The Mamas and Papas and Petula Clark, and smoochin'.

And now, and now... said bed awaits us. Ni' ni!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

A few miscellaneous thoughts on motherhood


1) This is what I look like after a 14 hour toddler day during H's bath. I'm not sad, I'm not particularly overjoyed, I'm just...tired. cc will catch me in this mode and say "What's wrong?" and I can only answer... "Nothing. I'm just tired." To the bone, yo.



2) I've really embraced Middle Way/mix-and-match parenting as I approach the 2 year mark. Meaning? I used to be super... pure when it came to things like breastfeeding and cloth diapers. As in, all or nothing. If I used a disposable, I felt actual guilt and felt the need to justify it. And formula? No. The 10 months she let me nurse her, she never tasted it. Once again, I felt like I'd be cheating at...something.

So even tho at 5 months in, my soul was crying out for a break (nips all busted up, hadn't slept more than an hour in months), I wouldn't let myself even entertain the thought of bottles and powder. Even tho the thought of it sounded so utterly restful. Of course it's complicated, because ultimately I'm glad I stuck with it and did grow to love it -- but there was no reason I couldn't have taken a break here and there with some Similac. (Which, by the by, Harper adored once she pushed my boobs out of the picture for good. Like, she thought it was candy.)

But then a bunch of shit happened in our lives. And I realized all these little details -- diapers and milk and pacifiers -- don't really matter all that much in the big scheme. All these tiny people will grow up to be big people who eat grilled cheese and drink beer and won't be walking around "Oh hey! My mom was an Attachment Parent and never let me cry it out and I don't know who Elmo is. Wanna go out sometime?" Oof.

No one that matters will care how you handle the details, as long as your baby is healthy and happy and well cared for. And many, many different routes can accomplish that. Obvious maybe, but I just didn't see it that way a year ago. I beat myself up when I had to give up cloth for long stretches. I had so much other stuff to do suddenly, but felt like a failure because I was having to use disposables. When I let Harper start watching a little TV here and there, I could barely swallow for all the guilt. If non-organic food slipped past her lips, I felt a pang of worry about the future of her intestinal tract. It was exhausting.

So then I got some no joke perspective. And I started to loosen up a little, sometimes a lot. I adopted more of a 85/15 policy with my food stuff and my TV stuff and, really, all the stuff. Life is nutty and hard and weird enough without random rules thrown at me by, uh, me. Of course everyone's version of 85/15 is different, which is why the world is fun.

Right now, I use a pretty even mix of cloth and disposables. Right now, I feed Harps organic stuff at home, but don't give it a second thought when we're eating out or at a friend's house or on a long car ride. Right now, I let her watch TV:



Because I know there is always hours and hours and hours of this:




And, hey, I still think it's cool to hold onto pure for the things you really care about. Even if it's a little crazy to the outside world. Like, I don't put my own TV shows on during the day. And she only watches Netflix stuff, so no commercials for her eyes. Or I keep her seat facing backward. Also, I'm a little bit nutty about parabens. But I just can't sweat all all all the crazy stuff anymore; I'm happier this way.

3) I was chatting with a mom at the library today, and ohmygod she totally cracked the code on something for me. She's got three kids and in her words: "Once I had my second, I realized I never have to sit in a godd*mn circle ever again." Meaning, she suddenly had no time for all the millions of classes we haul our first borns around to and she just as suddenly realized she was relieved.

Both Harps and I need our ka-tivities (music class, Friends school, pool, library, etc.) because she's hungry for it and I've gotta meet some moms. But it's not my ideal scenario. I'm quite looking forward to the future: playdates with friends in homes or at parks and then Harps getting some independent time at preschool. Because I'm much too salty for the saccharin teachers and corny songs and the whole schtick. I've been doing it for 2 years and I'm just d-u-n done.

I'm always looking around for an eye to catch and then roll together with, but no one bites! Everyone seems to be so sincere and earnest (or alternately, and this is also a no-go for me, completely checked out and bored -- come on, we all gotta sing the songs even if they suck) that I just end up feeling weird and alone.

It's like I'm already a mom of more-than-one-kid without doing the work. Le sigh.

4) Harps and I are doing a ton (this is a relative term) of housework together lately. I've let her "help" for a while now, but she can do some real tasks now and I'm finding it's a great way to keep her busy and get some stuff done at the same time. When she's whining or bored, and I can't handle all the steps of another art project, I pause and think of what actually needs to get done. Then we go do it.

Major kitchen clean-ups, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, and -- this is my favorite -- she's an amazing kale shredder. It's been making the long winter hours while away a little bit faster, gets my house cleaner, and tires her out for the sleeping hours. Wee! Child labor!

5) Can you believe my baby's almost 2?!

That's all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Shrimp" cocktail



Got the latest Bon Appetit last week and couldn't wait to try this recipe. Most of the issue was dedicated to heavy duty southern cooking (lots of fried chicken and bacon-infused collards) and while it all made my mouth water... not how we roll these days. (Tho I'm now obsessed with the idea of sorghum syrup and want a jug. Birthday coming soon. Just sayin'.)

So! Was happy to see a recipe posted for the most magical sounding dish. "Shrimp" cocktail made with...cauliflower. Insane and awesome.

Bought up the ingredients and got to cooking. Basically, you make a spicy pot of water (with crab boil spices and lemons and onions and garlic) and dunk the cauli in for 5-10 minutes. Cool it completely and pair with cocktail sauce. The mild taste of the cauliflower picks up all the shrimpy spices and the texture is weirdly...shrimp-like.




I loved it. And tho cc looked a little bit...perplexed by my efforts, he liked it, too. Did you know cauli, tho not colorful or otherwise thrilling in appearance, is one of the healthiest veggies? It's true, it's true.

Think I'll pull this one out as a party trick now and again. Just maybe not for my Texan in-laws.

Num num, eats up!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday

The ankles crossed is just too much for me sometimes.

While I sit here under a bulky quilt, sweatshirt hood up over my ears (the oil bill was a lee-ttle intense for me this month, so I'm trying to keep it chillier when I can stand it; just two more months till spring...), cc is zipping down the street to Stew Leonard's to buy us cold treats at their ice cream stand. I realize this makes no sense -- but that's what New Englanders do, friends. Eat ice cream from ice cream stands year round. It's our therapy.

We had a good weekend. Pretty quiet (very snowy) with a trip to the Children's Museum and some dada/daughter swimming (love the Y!) and watching the birds eat at their feeder (huge evidence of my impending elderly status = my newfound love of birds) and the deer trample through the yard and also quite a bit of... SLEEP. That most precious commodity, absent from my life for a couple weeks.

And so yes! A combination of things has gotten us back on track and I couldn't be more overjoyed. I broke out mah Dr. Ferber book (which I highly recommend for any/all sleep issues -- but you gots to read the book, yo. Please don't Google and read psycho hippie forums who claim they get it! Dude is director of The Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children's Hospital Boston...not a boob off the street. Sigh. Off soapbox) and followed it to the letter. It was much much much easier than our first go around a year ago and did the trick after a couple nights. 

I also took his advice and started leaving her door open, with the hallway light on. (I've always closed it up tight, which was fine before...not now.) And I think we've finally nailed the temperature in her room. And she's not sick anymore. And... it was probably just time for a new phase. I have no doubts this one will end, too! But I'm enjoying it. Oh yes, I am.

Oh and hey, look! A pretty picture of our backyard in the snow. Want to come over?


Friday, January 20, 2012

Just a lil bit sleepy.

She completed most of her playing this morning in a prone/supine/DGAF position. Kind of impressive, really.

Here's to more sleep tonight! (One of these days when I say it, it'll come true! I... just know it!)


Watercolors. Does her best work reclined.
Like a kitty.
Finally figured out this toy. Just have to come at it differently, duh.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not fully accepting this yet, but

Poncho.


I think Harper needs to stop napping.

*hangs head*

*dies a slow death*

*realizes she can't watch British-TV-on-Netflix during the day* and *dies again*

It's not that she won't nap. Oh, no. She'll nap. Usually 2-2.5 hours. It's glorious! However. What's quickly being revealed to me, the main benefactor of such slumber, is her nighttime sleep is gravely affected. Graaaaaaaaaavely. Also? While definitely sleepy and a little... brittle without a nap, she's overall in a better mood, too. Say what?

I hate this. Hate! Naptime is my time to shine shine shiiiiine. (That's a song, right? I'm too tired. Is it Paul Simon? Help!) I only have genetics to blame, tho. My mom stopped napping at 2 and so did I. (But she's not even 2 yet?!) WHAT IS WRONG WITH US.

This isn't to say she'll never nap again. With weird travel stuff and long car rides and sickness and all that, of course. But the regular, drop-her-like-a-hot-biscuit nap thing? Think I'mma have to man up and pull the plug.

Should I start drinking?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Twosday

A little sunny studying.

Chips ahoy!

Sure, I'm writing this before 6, but! I definitely had a real rest this past week, what with my mom staying for a solid 5 days and then the extra holiday day before cc has to travel for a bit. I could go back to sleep, work on unfurling my bedroom, drink my milky tea and... inhale the first two Hunger Games books in between starting season 1 of Downton Abbey. I'm getting caught up on the last two years, people! Or trying, sort of.

(Quite a bit to say on both series, but for now -- Hunger Games, to me, is pretty thrilling but also pretty much a total mishmash of A Wrinkle in Time + The Wizard of Oz + The Giver + Something else on the tip of my tongue... I can't tell if that hurts or helps it for me.)

 All these little treats and extra sleeps were much needed, as HJ has decided her new wake time is between 4:30 and 5. (I'm hoping this is a holdover from Sleep Hell and not really her new wake hour. But if it is, I'm adjusting my bedtime to, like, 7:00.)


Sleepy.

I also got a couple walk/runs in on the treadmill, as I'm feeling especially cabin feverish lately and moving my appendages actually sounded good. The best part tho, by far, has been discovering I can re-download music (through the magic magicness of iCloud, which has taken me months to grasp) from the early years and groove out/wax nostalgic as I jog.

I've made many strange music purchases through the years, so I don't really know where to start with my journey through them... but I can say this weekend's favorite find was mos def Missy Elliot's "Work It." Oh yes it was. Brought me right back to junior year of college -- watching the Osbournes in Matt's bed, wearing ripped-up jeans from Delia's, drinking Boba tea like it was my job, and (I talked about this once on here, I think) standing around, all of us, in our underwear, all the time. Because it was sodamnhot from our roommate and her need to spent 5 million pennies on oil each winter. (The thermostat was in her room and no matter how many times we snuck in to change it...she won.)

I guess we were all young and fit and thought this was no big deal? Huh? Even when my b'fry came from across the river to hang out, we'd stay that way -- and he'd join! So it'd be 3-4 ladies and 2-3 guys standing around in undies and boxers, getting milk from the fridge or watching Felicity on the papasan chair or reading a play at the kitchen table. Oh, life.

I'm glad this is more the direction clothes-free living has taken these days:


Bath back.
Plenty of bubbles, please.

And Thomas is now wrapping up and m'lady calls. Happy short week, pals.




Then kick back with Corduroy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy weekend!

My week in hipped-out way-processed photos. (We've been having a good week, hanging with my mom and getting our sleep back on sched. Smooches.)

Monday, January 09, 2012

For now

Kites!

Meh. Wasn't as cool as originally projected.

Oh, b. What a hellacious week's end and weekend. Harps got real time, puke pants sick, and I had all sorts of fun health things a'happening. We felt so terrible and watched so much Blue's Clues and felt terrible again. Also, I feel like I have a lot of thoughts re: Blue and Steve, but no one to talk it over with since this all happened 15 years ago?

I could not shake this dark cloud of unrest all weekend (even after cc brought me back a coffee shake from Shake Shack and french toast bagels from Stew's and spent tons of time keeping Harps out of my hair -- tho all the above certainly helped... ), mostly worried we would never return to a state of normal/happy/us-ness. Reminded me (sorry to bust you, momz) of when my mom gets strep or a nasty bug and is convinced, truly convinced, she'll never feel well again. My brother and I have to talk her out of it each time and each time I'm not sure she entirely buys it.

So that was me. Moody and grumpy and just worried. Quite sure Harper would never feel well, I'd never feel well, cc would never feel well, none of us would sleep normal again, I'd never get alone time again, she'd never want to quietly play by herself again instead of curling up on me shirtless, and on and on, you catch my drift.

(To be noted: Even in the midst of my gloom, we had a really nice visit to the beachside playground here in town. Pics above from our late afternoon jaunt where it was a ridiculously balmy 60 degrees. Global warming, you terrify me!)

How and why is it so easy to forget from all the (many other) ups and downs and ups and downs and arounds...that this too shall pass? ("Oprah said that!" someone tweeted once and then I died.) If it's super good, it'll change. Super bad, it'll change. Why can't I remember to just surf through it and trust we'll find the other side of the wave?

Today we started getting back on track... a little playgroup, a little library, some park, some milkshakes and fries in a cozy booth. We kept busy and I made sure to give her lots and lots of extra loving all along the way ... and I noticed she did the same back. I'm getting my groove back, I think, just in time for the aforementioned mom unit to drop in for a visit tomorrow. Can you say haircut/eye appointment/yoga/naps?!

To awkwardly wrap up this sort of sappy leaning post, I have to include the following song from Avenue Q, the fab-el-uss musical cc and I saw last winter. This tune acts as the finale and I got so choked up in my seat, because I needed so much to hear this message. I played it over and over and over and over in the coming months, while I made dinner and changed diapers and visited hospitals and took care of my babes. It's a good one.




Friday, January 06, 2012

Full on sick Friday.

Here's hoping for a less puketastic weekend!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Things are better.


She looks...homeless?

Guys! All your thoughtful and thought-out comments meant so much to me. I was (and still kinda am) having some dark days up in here and it truly helped to get a little ping in my inbox with words of support. So thank you! I took all the tips and ideas into consideration and we pulled together a plan that, as you can see, eventually worked. And as it's now today (not last night) and she's actually napping in her room, in her pack 'n play, I think we're en route to success!

Last night, we gave her some Benadryl (Judge me! But it has mild anti-anxiety properties and can help ease along a rough sleep situation) and a long bath and lots of cuddles and chats and books. Then we snuggled her into her pack 'n play, positioned back in her room. We left a light on and we put on some Mozart. (Specifically, "Chilling with Mozart" which, just...oh my.) And then we each took up position in different corners of the room and stayed until she snoozed. It took about an hour and she wasn't happy, but she also wasn't beside herself or scared. She only mentioned "noises" once or twice and it was more in passing, looking to engage us, not like in the days before.

We tried to mostly read our books and stay neutral, but if she started to ramp up, we'd go over and hug/kiss/comfort -- we just didn't take her out. Eventually, she konked out -- totally sitting up. It was a little heartbreaking, but we're first and foremost paparazzi and had to capture the moment. Then we gleefully (but quietly) exited the premises and plunked down in our beloved chairs. The downstairs! At night! Forgot it existed.

A half hour later, tho, we heard her coughing/crying and ran back upstairs to find she'd...thrown up. I quickly picked her up and she threw up again, all over me and my grandma sweater. After a quick clean-up and jammies change and some dada singing, she happily snuggled back into her bed, then slept till 6 without incident. My own bed, without a little warm nugget nudging me out, felt so insanely luxurious.

We threw (ha) around the idea that maybe the sickies came from the funky sitting up position she fell asleep in, but now I'm just realizing she's been sick for a couple days. Which, duh, is part of why something that would normally be a blip on the screen became a bit more. Anxiety and nausea have a complex relationship (in that they can each cause the other) and I think she was dealing with some of that. Add to the fact she's at the my-imagination-is-really-churning age -- and also those noises were incredibly loud and extremely close -- and we had a perfect cocktail for disaster. A delicious cocktail of near lunacy!

Nap took a while to achieve today (I sat in there with her again), but she bought it and this time we rolled drug, tho not hug, free. Whew. Thank you again for the reassurance and encouragement and lovin'! Hopefully we're on our way outta sleep hellz.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Four eyes

Bedtime antics in...our bed.

So. But an hour after I felt all triumphant with our sleep transfer, I shifted in my chaise lounge monster chair a little bit funky...and it bumped the radiator and made a huge hollow BOOM and...

Chenny McCowan was up and at 'em.

Basically re-traumatized her even deeper because wait what? Even with the special set-up, after you promise the noise went away, it finds me?! Not good.

Of course, she now happily sleeps in bed with us -- nothing she ever wanted before, not even for a quick nap. We say it's bedtime and she cheers, snuggles in between us, and is out like a nightlight for 11 hours. And while it's not a living hell or anything (for little moments, when I have more than a square inch to myself, it's even a little cozy)... we've gotta move on from here. Not just because I'm a little uncomfortable while we snooze, but because she's clearly very anxious still. Talking about it (sometimes nonstop, sometimes so we can't even think thoughts) and worrying about it even during the day. Makes cc and me real sad.

My mom and I talked a lot yesterday about how a fear of loud, booming noises (especially in the night) is a primal fear, part of our animal brain going hey! Protect me, yo! Same thing with a fear of dogs or snakes or spiders or heights. You can't really label them irrational because they're just not! We've got it ingrained in us on a cellular level that they might take us down to Chinatown and so...wham bam Harper horror!

So. I'm pulling out all those sleep books and kid books and stuff I haven't looked at in almost a year. And happily accepting any tales from you all on toddler/preschooler fears and how you hopefully conquered them in time for her first night at college.

As Murray says... Peace!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy new yearz!

First off. Happy new year, people friends! Muah.

But secondly: Oh, b! I'm tired. Some restaurant down the street thought it wise to put on a huge a%s firework display last night and it scared the bloody hell out of my baby. She woke from a dead sleep, shaking, convinced...we were being bombed? I don't know. But she was not okay. Many many many many hours later, she collapsed in bed with us for a few fitful hours, leaving me roughly 2 square inches to sleep. (Why does she snuggle cc, but kick me and shove me and all but ask me to take the couch? Unfairness squared.)

However! We're always a little sad she won't sleep in bed with us ever and there was something sweet about being tangled up together in there, ringing in the new year as a family.

But then... No nap from her today (wouldn't let us leave the room for 5 seconds) left me dee-pressed. I NEED THAT TIME, PEOPLE. So tonight -- after wise counsel from my mom via Skype and some group brainstorming -- we: Gave her a super long/hot bath, put her pack 'n play in our room, added some Mozart, let her read till she was beyond exhausted, and made it all seem over-the-top cozy and special. By the time 8:30 rolled around, she was so spent she could only manage a feeble "okay..." when I said it was time for sleeps. Much improvement over last night's manic and incomprehensible: "NO NONONONONON NO NO ah! LOUD NOISE no no nono MAMA DADA HERE?! NOISE AWAY noise all gone NOISE BYE BYE?? no WAY!! HEY!! oh b!! BABY OKay?!?!"

And then she went immediately and quickly and silently to sleep hurrah! She didn't even need/want me there; I walked quickly out the door and...shhhhhhh. But woh. She only bought it because of the pomp and circumstance we gave to the whole thing.

So yeah. Toddler fears/terrors/horror. They're a thing! But as cc just said to me, gleefully, "I'm sort of glad she's in our room! I like it!" Oh, you.

(This is only for a night or two, then we'll slowly move her back into her room. Lest you were worried about my sanity.) 

Here are a few pics from our weekend at home, ringing in 2012. I'm a little too tired for comments-on-2011...I might work on those for later or I might not? I might make resolutions and...I might not?  Lalala!

Tea party, al fresco.
Headbands, like I'm still working at Johnson's Drive-in circa 2001.
NYE smooching.
While I made lunch, she unwrapped/licked an entire pack of Juicy Fruit.
Very serious mural painting.
These still exist?! Albeit, with a weird/bad chocolate cookie part.