Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grouchy McGroucherson

You know what happens when you only write once a week? You turn out bloated entries that take a year to read. That's what happens. I think I fell asleep before I finally got through the last one.

The Child, she is CRABBY. I'm so over this teething thing. One day (like yesterday), she's a constant ray of sunshine, grinning and giggling and gabbling nonstop, even when I put her down to sleep. The next day (like today! lucky me!), she's a black abyss, whining and crying and sobbing at the drop of a hat. I'm giving her half a dose of Tylenol once a day, but I have to use it judiciously. I know Tylenol is safe when it's used as directed, but I'm still uneasy about using it all the time. I don't want her liver to fall out when she's twelve because Mommy couldn't handle a day or two with a few tears.

We are going to see Star Trek next week. We are going to be out PAST THE CHILD'S BEDTIME. People, you have no idea how excited I am.

And this Friday James is going to watch The Child for the evening so I can go out with some friends. Not quite as exciting as both of us being gone for the evening, but still! I'm starting to feel like a normal human being again!

And yet I still want a baby again.

There is so much work to do around here. My floors are a biohazard, especially in the kitchen. I'm a very messy cook, and since chicken is about the only meat we can afford regularly, a lot of it gets flung on the floor. If the world dies from an outbreak of salmonella, it probably originated on my kitchen floor.

Many things I'm willing to let The Child get into; I think a sterile environment does more harm than good. But I'm not so keen on questionable paint chips from our front porch and chicken juice. Since she can now roll anywhere she wants to go (oh, I so wish I were kidding), I need to start cleaning up those things.

James is going to be going to South Africa (I know!) sometime this year. We don't know when, yet, which sucks because we can't make any longterm plans. Anyway, when that happens, I'd like to take a drive to visit with his side of the family in Indiana. It's about 5.5 hours with no stopping, so I don't know if it's feasible to do it by myself The Child in tow (which is half the point of going down there in the first place).

Unfortunately, gone are the days when I could just grab a friend and say, "Hey, let's drive to Indiana for the week!" Everyone has jobs or kids or responsibilities. Jerks. I would like for you people to tell me if it is possible to make such a trip without losing my mind. I have friends in the Chicago area, and if I asked nicely, one of them might let us camp out for the night. That would at least break the trip in two, even if the first leg is much shorter than the second.

Grace (when not teething) is a freakishly happy baby these days, but she also gets lonely easily; she's very, very social. I bought a mirror to install in the backseat so she can at least flirt with herself if she gets sad and peek at me in the rearview mirror, but we may need to stop every couple hours so she can get some real cuddling. I think I can make it work, but I'm not sure. And it's not exactly the sort of thing I can decide not to do if it doesn't seem to be working out.

Awesome Friend and her husband are overseas getting their son right now. They got to meet the birth mother, and I guess it was a very emotional visit. I feel so sorry for that woman. She faces execution if she shows up with an illegitimate child, so there's not much choice. Her son is Grace's age. I cannot imagine giving her up. Might as well dig out my chest cavity with a shovel. It'd be hard enough at birth, but she had him for months before she gave him to the orphanage. I think she wanted to keep him (she was hiding out in the house of a lady she did housekeeping for), but finally realized it wasn't feasible.

Anyway, I can't wait to meet him. I've seen grainy pictures of him, and he's adorable in those, so I'm sure he's just beautiful in person.

Time to wake up The Grouch. Now that she has teeth, I'm afraid she will bite my hand off one of these days. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Can't wait for peeling skin!

Wow, it's been a while! I am so good at this writing business. This week, though, I had good reasons besides just, "My TV remote needed some loving care."

One: Teeth. Yes, teeth. Plural. Two going on four I so wish I were kidding. James was gone at the beginning of last week, and The Child whined and fussed more than average. For her, that's still hardly any fussing, but since I've been spoiled by her for the last month, I didn't know what to do. What, you want to be carried? placated? loved? What's wrong with you? I was dismayed. I also thought it was a little sweet, maybe she missed Daddy.

Then Daddy got home, and her demeanor didn't improve. I think it got worse, actually.

So, Friday, I had my finger in her mouth for some reason. I don't know why. There are many possibilities. She may have been eating a fly, and I was trying to dig it out. I may have forgotten her pacifier, and she momentarily forgot what her thumb was for. Not sure. Anyway. Finger in mouth, and oh, HAI THAR TEETHZ. Two on the bottom have just broken through, and the two on the top are all bulgy and threatening-looking. Supposedly those don't usually come in until 8-10 months, but I don't buy it. I think I might prefer to get so many out of the way at once. Then I get my sweet, happy baby back for longer.

Two: Four trips to Madison in four days. Thursday, to help some people in the church move. The Child was oddly cheerful, despite the strange things happening in her mouth. She sat on the floor (unsupported!) and played with a toy phone for 45 minutes straight. And yelled at it. A lot. She likes to hold her toys out at arm's length and monologue at them. It's pretty hilarious. I'd get video, but the second the camera comes out, she stops everything she's doing and stares blankly at The Eye, OH THE EYE of the camera.

So I was actually useful in helping with the move, instead of bouncing a cranky baby for three hours straight.

Friday was the zoo and then an afternoon on the Memorial Union terrace with some friends. The zoo was fun. I went with my pastor's wife and their two kids. Internally, I was completely dorking out the whole entire time because a friend! I think I have a friend! And she has pretty hair! Outwardly, I probably go too far in the other direction. I'm so desperate not to look desperate that I probably seem completely uninterested. My superpower is social awkwardness.

Then I met up with Hebrew Friend and Other Hebrew Friend and then One More Hebrew Friend (who finally returned my first season of The X-Files to me after a year and a half), and then Some Girl Who Joined Hebrew after I Left. I sat outside in the sun for half an hour, and guess what! My shoulders burned! I know! Surprise! Nothing else even tanned, but did I get a mother of a sunburn on my shoulders. From a distance, I look like a person-shaped strawberry wearing a white tank top. We were out there for more than half an hour, but I fashionably draped a baby blanket across my shoulders. By then it was, of course, too late.

The Child did very well on Friday. She got almost no naps, and she was away from home all day, and there was absolutely no routine, but she was so, so good. Fussy, but definitely happier than most other babies her age on a good day. I tremble to think what our next baby will be like. It seems like, the better the first one is, the worse the second.

Saturday I went to a baby shower. A coed baby shower. I had no idea it was coed, or I probably would not have included that tube of NIPPLE CREAM in my gift. Yeah. Everyone laughed at my gift, and even though I though it was pretty funny, too, I was also a little hurt. I mean, she's planning to breastfeed, and I know she'll be able to use it, and if she's anything like me she'll use it fast. But it still hurt. I felt like such an idiot. I'm sensitive about the weirdest things.

Then, of course, Sunday was church. We spent the day at James's mom's house afterwards. It was a good day, and Grace had something like a real routine for the first time in days. I thought we were all good.

Dun dun dun.

Three: The Changeling. Around 2:30 this afternoon my sweet girl child became the spawn of Satan. I don't know what happened. Maybe she bumped her head while I wasn't looking (doubtful). Maybe she chewed on a hard toy too much, and it hurt her teeth (likely). Maybe she got overtired without me noticing (possible). Whatever it was, she abruptly went from cooing, gabbling, and shrieking (with joy) to shrieking (with anguish). There was nothing I could do to calm her.

The rest of the day was pretty miserable. Lousy napping, lots of sadness. James got home, and I told him, "I know Jim is coming over, but I cannot handle Grace by myself for two hours tonight." Of COURSE she was all sweetness and light when she woke up. Silly baby.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I am mother watch me judge

I was flipping through channels today. It's a good thing cable comes with phone service because there's nothing on during the day, and The Child is awake and needing attention when all the good shows are on. I do not particularly care to become involved in a poorly-acted, dimly lit, neverending romance/thriller/murder mystery/Danielle Steele novel--also known as a "soap opera". I cannot understand the appeal. The rest is infomercials, QVC and HSN. Yay.

I got sidetracked. It's another beer night, and I tend to ramble.

I was flipping through channels, and I ran across America's Funniest Home Videos, which I rarely find all that funny. The brief part I saw was of a young boy opening a Christmas present. Whatever was in it scared the living daylights out of him because totally freaked out and screamed and jumped up and away from the box. And while he's running around screaming, they continue to film and laugh at him, and he's yelling, "It's not funny! It's not funny!" and he's almost in tears. There is invariably a video like this on AFHM, which is much of the reason I really don't like it.

I don't know what the difference is between that and me making fun of The Child, but something about it made me so sad. Maybe it's that he's terrified, and they're laughing at him. Maybe it's that his humiliation is being used as a bid for prize money. I don't know. But it bugs me. There's a line between laughing at your kids and ridiculing them, I think.

Grace is funny and sometimes absurd because she does the things that all babies do, that babies are supposed to do. She bonks herself in the head with her rattle, and that's funny. She has tights on her head, that's funny. Even when she falls over from a sitting position and bonks her head, it's a little funny (once the tears are all gone). But when she's scared or sad or really hurting, I do not find that funny, no matter how silly the reasons seem to my adult eyes. Even if I could laugh about it later, I can't imagine filming her (and not comforting her) and broadcasting her terror on national television on the off chance that I'd win a prize.

But maybe I'm being too judgy and by my fourth kid I'll be rolling my eyes at this.

James is gone today through Wednesday. I'M DRINKING ALONE. Just one beer. No worries.

But this place is spooky enough at night when he is here. Thus the one beer. I can relax just a little. But not so much that I couldn't kick some butt if I had enough adrenaline. I like to think that I've learned a thing or two from Special Agent Dana Scully and Agent Sidney Bristow. My hair isn't fabulous, so I'm hoping it's the combat skills.

I had another moment today. I was feeding Grace, and she was being kind of lazy about it--eating for thirty seconds, stopping to look up at my face and stare at me for another thirty, and back and forth. My heart stops completely when she looks at me like that. Like I'm the absolute center of her universe, and there is nothing she wants more in this world than me and my arms and my warmth. It won't be like this for much longer. It makes me very sad sometimes. We'll have more babies, I hope, but I don't think it will ever be the same as it is with the first. She's special.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Grace fhtagn!

Fellow dorks, I present: LOLTHULHU.

I want to hurl my piano through the window. I'm trying to learn this idiot hymn, and now that I have all the difficult parts down, I'm making mistakes that I didn't even make when I first sat down to learn it. This happens to me all the time. I'd say I'd overpracticed, but I haven't.

Before last week, I'd always been able to practice during church with the sound off because I was at the back of the room. I know that sounds awful, but doing something with my hands really helps me focus (remember that article I posted from a while back?). This way everyone wins: I play better, work out my nerves, and I pay attention better.

Well. We got a new sound system, and we had to move the piano up to the front. I almost died last week when I walked in and saw the piano up there. Well, just cold, sweaty hands and armpits. No death. But I wanted death. Wanted it very much. It didn't come. Stupid death.

(Also, why do our hands sweat when we're scared? That makes no sense. When one is scared of something, whether it be playing the piano or maniacs with axes, wouldn't drier hands be more helpful? I love it when my fingers slip all over the keys. Really boosts the old confidence.)

I just ran through that hymn again. Twice. Perfectly. Seems I was just overpracticing. It's hard to know when I've done that or when I just suck.

The weather has been fabulous the last two days. In the 70s, sunny. I dragged James on a walk today. He loves it when I do that. We were out for over two hours. My shoulders burned like crazy. They always burn like crazy. Every spring. And then I'm all surprised when it happens. Again. Every spring. I don't know why it's just my shoulders. But, this means they'll peel. I like it when they peel. Boo to skin cancer, though.

This town is just packed to the gills with tacky lawn ornaments. Fake deer, mostly. One town over there is a really creepy set of lawn ornaments in someone's front lawn. They're wooden silhouettes of a man and a kid waving to passersby. They have painted-on clothes and caps. And no faces. Just blank, beigey-pink, spaces. Brrr.

The Child can now push herself into a standing position by herself if she has something to balance against. I think she might be an early walker. This worries me.

Most nights I go in to peek at her before I go to bed. The night before last, I went in, and she was lying on her back, in a corner, the side of her head parallel to the headboard and the rest of her body parallel to the sides. I don't really know how that's possible. She has non-Euclidean geometry. Maybe she's Cthulhu.

This would explain the incomprehensible babbling she does It's not gibberish; it's an extra-planar language from beyond the brink of madness. I'm probably going to wake up at four o'clock with The Child giving me the Soul Stare (if you know any babies or cats, you know what I'm talking about), and her eyes will be glowing yellow, and creatures from a 42-dimensional universe will be swarming about the bedroom, chittering.

If I suddenly disappear, you can pretty much assume that's what happened.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I win at grammar, too!

So. I'm out of my special lactation tea, so I've been drinking beer. And sitting on the couch all day. In boxers and a white tank, throwing cans at The Child while she rolls around on the floor. Kidding! Though I do sit on the couch a lot. And throw things at The Child.

Anyway. Beer. I'm halfway through my beer, right? And I'm already tipsy. Not drunk by any means, but I am feeling mirthful. The mirth, it is upon me. And I keep giggling over, "so I've been drinking beer." This is what almost a year of near-complete abstinence will do to you. Used to take me five beers to get to this point.

Also, my "g" key has consumption and is quickly fading. It is hard to remember to really pound on it when I have beer in the head. So if you see any very odd words in here, just add in a "g" somewhere and it will probably make sense. Actually, it probably won't, but keep trying anyway.

The Child has been SO MUCH FUN the last few days, which is why I've hardly written. I write more when I need something to do, something to get my mind away from. For six months, that's been The Child. That sounds awful. I just mean that until very recently, she was a major source of stress in my life (which, still not much stress at all, but even a small amount is a lot for me, who doesn't stress about almost anything), but lately she's been nothing short of delightful. Today I sat her on the floor (she sits! by herself! for whole minutes at a time! a half hour, even!) while I folded laundry. She had a duck that her great-grandma sent her for Easter. Out of nowhere, in a very Olga Queen of Scandinavia voice, she went, "GRAAAAGHALABADAAAAABAMALGABAAAAAAAAARFALAGAMAAAAAAAABAMAAAAAALADAAAAABFFFFPBBBT!" For five minutes straight. While hoisting the duck up into the air and pounding him back in the floor with all her might. I do not think I have ever laughed so hard in my life.

Mother of the Year So Far Award (Today) goes to me for having the baby monitor receivers on the wrong freaking channel for what is probably weeks now. And here I thought she was just totally awesome at never having nightmares anymore. I win again! At motherhood!

Also, on Saturday, she (1) bashed her head on the wall when James almost fell down the stairs with her in his arms (don't worry we checked her eye dilation and made sure she wasn't acting weird), (2) smacked her head on the ceiling of the car when I was getting out with her in my arms and (3) got my pointy tooth in the side of her head not ten seconds later. Also, on Friday, I had nicked a chunk of flesh out of her forehead with my pinky nail. My pinky nail that doesn't even exist. I list (1) and (2) like they were her fault. It makes me feel better about negligent parenting.

You know, I make these jokes because I know I love her and would cut off my own arm and eat it with a spoon for her, but I sometimes wonder if some crazy uptight weirdo would ever call the cops on me. When I waited tables, some lady called the cops on a mother who smacked the wrist of her unruly toddler. I didn't witness the incident, so I know wrist-smacking could definitely be done in a not good way, but I somehow doubt that was the case here.

I painted things today. And Saturday. And Friday. I stupidly wore my favorite most comfortable awesome black pants on Friday and smeared them with off-white paint. They are maternity yoga pants, so it's probably time I retired them anyhow, but oh how wonderful they are. And they're so soft and gentle on my still-itchy incision site.

Despite my sadness, I soldiered on. The trim for the dining room is FINALLY done. It just needs to be nailed up now. And the window over the kitchen sink is painted. There was permanent dirt in the corners of that window, and no amount of scrubbing would ever get it off. It just looked blech and ew. So I painted it, and what a difference that made.

I still can't figure out how to get the inner pane of glass out to clean it and get to the inside of the outer pane, but it still looks a thousand times better. It's the kind of window with a hand crank. I can get the screen out, and I could get to the outside with a long-handled sponge. There's an inner pane that appears to be detachable, but when I pull out the tabs, it just won't budge. Aggravating in the extreme.

Speaking of which, is that normal? Six months postpartum, and my scar still itches like a mother. Lotion, Vitamin E, nothing helps. Except scratching. Maybe I just need to bathe more.

Also, did you know that men can breastfeed? I found this while looking up info on lactation fun, and at first I was extremely creeped out. I'm still pretty creeped out, but the idea is growing on me. All the liberating benefits of formula, none of the expense. Jackpot! Maybe, with our next kid, I can get James on board with this. I'll never look at him the same way again, but I'll get to have a social life again.

I thought today was Wednesday. So when my fellow JJ Abrams-obsessed Hebrew Friend texted me at 8:15 with, "I hope the monster turns out to be Cloverfield!" I nearly had hernias in my scramble to the remote. MISSING LOST OH NO CANNOT HAPPEN MISSING LOST OH NO! Turns out today is Tuesday, and I was missing Fringe. Moderate sigh of relief. It's not Lost, but it's next in line for Favorite Show of the Moment, so we nearly had a crisis anyhow. The monster turned out not to be Cloverfield, but that would have been awesome. Though a monster the size of Cloverfield would not be the sort of thing the authorities would need to track down in Boston. He'd be on Boston, eating everything in sight.

I need to go to bed. Beer is kicking in more.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Send in the Pods

I swear we have body snatchers up in here (I TOLD you there was something weird about this place).

The Child has not fussed without reason in two weeks. TWO. WEEKS. I think, actually, that no-nap day a while ago was the last day of irrational fussing. And she laughs! And likes tummy time! In fact, usually when I go to get her in the morning, she's already awake and happy, one hand in her mouth, the other playing with her toes, which are in the air. And today when I went in, she was still sound asleep and--holy crap--on her stomach.

Who is this little person who is suddenly so sunny and so full of personality? Where did she come from?

I remember a few years ago, there was this big old stink about Angelina Jolie referring to Shiloh as just this blob in comparison to her other kids. Everyone was all, "BABY HATEEEEER! YOU ONLY LIKE BABIES THAT AREN'T YOURS!" Which was ridiculous. Anyhow, now that Grace is out of the blob stage, I totally get it. Not that I didn't love Grace as a newborn. I did. But I loved her because she was my daughter, because she was cute and fat. Now I love her because of her. Make sense?

I'm trying to get my arms and abs back in shape. Yesterday after I did my (girlie, cheater) push-ups, my arms shook for an hour. And now my armpits feel like they're made of knives.

Fringe is back on. Yesterday's episode had a creepy kid in it that turned out not to be Evil. I was disappointed. When it comes to science fiction shows, ALL children are suspect. I'm so glad this show is back. It's not as good as Lost, but it's weird. Really weird. And I love weird shows. As long as they're done well.

I was going to write more, but I'm starving.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I kind of don't hate Kate anymore

was baby wrangling while I watched this, so I probably missed a lot. I should watch again.

The white-hot fire of my hatred for Kate dimmed this episode. I was just as shocked as you are. Kate actually did something for completely for someone else. Not that she's never done anything for anyone else, but it's always had the added benefit of helping her. I'm not going to say I like her, but she did redeem herself ever so slightly this episode.

Jack, on the other hand was just as--excuse me--douchey as he's always been, maybe moreso. Why is it that I'm cool with Sayid shooting Ben, but Jack refusing to do surgery on him made me livid? I think it's because, first off, Sayid is awesome. He could bite the head off a puppy, and I'd still love him. But I also think it's because Sayid probably didn't just try to kill Ben for himself, but also to save a whole bunch of people. I'm not saying it's okay, but every time he's killed (that I can think of), it's always been for someone else. Even as a boy. He's a killer, but only in a defensive capacity--even if it's a preemptive defensive capacity.

Jack? Is just a smug, self-satisfied jerk. I liked him for the first few episodes of the series. I liked him a lot. But his character just went downhill almost from the start. I know I ask this all the time, but are we supposed to hate him? If I knew I was supposed to hate him, his character wouldn't bother me so much. Every show needs a jerk. What I hate is not knowing if the writers are screwing him up, or if they're writing him exactly as he's supposed to be.

This brings me to my next point. I'm going to take a leap and say that I have faith in this show and its writers. Minor errors I can expect, but slaughtering a character in this way by accident would be poor writing. And given the history of the show and J. J. Abrams's other work, I'm going to have faith that I'm supposed to dislike Jack.

I think Jack-as-hero is a misdirection. I don't think he ever was the hero of the show. In fact, in the end, I think he might be on the Devil's side. Hebrew Friend pointed out to me a couple weeks ago that Christian might not be a manifestation of Jacob, but that he might be opposed to Jacob. Jack is Christian's son. Is it significant that Jacob was one of the fathers of the Jews and Christian's name is Christian? Are they supposed to be opposed to each other, or is Christian the start of a new order that builds off the old order?

Who is the hero? Sawyer? Hurley (don't laugh; I think it's possible)?

Hebrew Friend and I were also talking about what, exactly, Richard Alpert is. If he's one of the good guys, I think he's analogous to the prophets of the Old Testament, like Nathaniel or Samuel. He speaks the word of "God" (The Island? Jacob?) to the king (Ben, Locke, etc...), and has power to anoint the king, but he himself does not rule. I say this because while doesn't seem to follow Ben's or anybody's authority, he also doesn't seem to have much direct authority of his own.

That's all I've got for now. I love how this show still has me guessing as to who's good and bad.

Some things about nice weather suck

Do you ever have days where you just wake up insanely happy? Today is one of those days. I don't know what the deal is. I woke up an hour early after just five and a half hours of sleep, and I still feel like I could conquer the world. Maybe I will.

James's work has its wellness program today. They leave by noon, which means Grace and I have to get there midway through her morning nap. Awesome! Hopefully she's not a crankypants all day. Aside from needing to be held all.the.time, she's been incredibly good-natured for the past week or so. I hope this is permanent. Well, except for the needing to be held. I wouldn't mind it so much if she weren't so danged squirmy all the time. It's like carting around a live bowling ball.

This makes diaper changes a whole lot of fun, let me tell you. She really likes the bars on her changing table and constantly twists herself around to grab at them and try to chew them (the chewing, oh my goodness, the chewing). Half the time she ends up face down on the table with me struggling to put her diaper on before she can pee all over everything. Once again, coked-up octopus.

At her last checkup a week ago, she was 82nd percentile for weight and 99th and 98th for height and head circumference. The doctor assured us this was normal for breastfed babies, and she still looks pretty fat to me, so I'm not worried. If this keeps up, she'll be 6'4" and skinny as a rail just like her father. James is pretty sedentary, and yet he still disappears if he turns sideways. Stupid jerk.

We had a city-mandated appraisal yesterday. I was all het up about it because he came during The Child's nap. I was sure he was going to insist on seeing that one room, but he didn't. If I'd known that, I wouldn't have gone to all that trouble hiding the marijuana plants.

The guy had no sense of humor. When he went into the basement, and I yelled, "Be careful! I call it the Pit of Despair!" he didn't even laugh. I'm pretty sure he thought I was crazy anyway. When he first arrived, he had to ask me a few questions about the house. While he was doing that, I saw a spider on the doorway between the living room and dining room. I completely zoned out while he was talking and started stammering and doing what looked like the potty dance. "Spider. There. A spider. There's a spider. I'm sorry. I have to kill it. I'm not crazy. Just really phobic. Spider. There. On the doorway. Spider. Just give me a second." So I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the fly swatter.

Then I came to my senses and realized that if I tried to swat the thing with the fly swatter, I would probably miss, and then it would crawl down the handle into my nose and eat my brain. So I left it on the doorway and started shifting from foot to foot and wringing my hands. I could feel my face flushing and my hands sweating. "I'll just wait 'til my husband comes home. He'll get it. He better get it. I'm not a lunatic. Really. Just... spiders. Spider. Spider." I was a little pissed because he wouldn't kill it for me. It clearly did not make him nervous, so why couldn't he kill a dang spider for a poor, defenseless woman? What was wrong with him? He didn't laugh at my joke OR kill the spider. I have decided that, despite his being a very nice individual, he was the biggest jerkhead to ever live.

Spiders have been popping up everywhere since the weather started turning. And I do mean EVERYWHERE. One popped out of Grace's diaper bag the other day, and I nearly died. James would have come home hours later to find me, dead on the dining room floor and The Child screaming to be let out of her Bumbo. Welcome home, honey!