Monday, August 30, 2010

Calm down, friends

I seem to have alarmed a few of you. NOT PREGNANT. Just extraordinarily paranoid. And since my paranoia has been proven right once already, it's a thousand times worse than it was last time. That's ALL I was saying in the last entry.

Clear? Ok.

I am trying to whip the house into shape. We both really want to move, we want to know more about a few things before we commit. I won't go into detail. It will bore you. If we had to move now, we could, but money would be really, really tight for a while if a few extras didn't fall into our laps. There's a good chance they will, but we don't know yet. Most of it is up to Jeremy's employers.

The house needs whipped into shape anyway. We bought it intending to fix it up, and then a baby came, and I was juuust getting a few little projects done around the place when we found out about the second one. I turned into an apathetic *blog for almost the entirety of my pregnancy, and now I need to start doing stuff again. Extra stuff. Like touching up paint. And vacuuming (I hate cleaning floors; it's one of a couple of household tasks that get shamefully neglected around here, but our carpet hides it, so I get away with it, mostly).

(*I meant to write "blob," but I liked my typo too much to remove it. And I had to retype this note three times before I could write "blob" instead of "blog.")

This is difficult when I have to do two loads of laundry and three loads of dishes (no dishwasher) every day just to keep up. I do keep the house clean and picked up. Most days, if someone showed up on my front doorstep, I wouldn't be embarrassed by the state of the inside (unless it's a Monday; Mondays are the worst). But it just stays good enough.

It's still cluttered and disorganized. I am the worst organizer in the world. I start out well, and then get overwhelmed and start shoving things in random corners and drawers when I'm picking up, and that's how Very Logical Places are born. I think, "Oh, I need to put this in a Very Special Place! A place that I will remember later! A place that is... logical." And whoomp! There it goes, into the black hole.

I remember in middle school the teachers or administrators or whoever concocted this bizarre method of getting students to get homework turned in. They had this very specific system with a folder and a notebook for each class (or was it one giant binder? I think it was one giant binder). There were more details that I don't remember, but it was pretty elaborate. And a complete waste of time. Forcing someone else's organization system (YOU MUST HAVE RED FOLDERS FOR HISTORY! RED!) on a flake is like forcing a caveman to dance the Nutcracker around his bonfire. It's not going to be pretty, and someone will probably get hurt. I always did much better just cramming everything into one folder. It took me forever to find assignments, and I still lost a lot or forgot to do them, but The Binder of Doom was not the answer.

So, obvious answer: box up everything we possibly can and store it in the basement. I'm also getting rid of a bookshelf. But how do I keep the house ready for showing with Emmy drooling through the house and Grace leaving a trail of books and crayons everywhere she goes? Help?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You do know how that happens, right?

You folks may remember from last time I had a surprise baby that I always think I'm pregnant. A little more thirsty than usual? I'm pregnant. I dropped something 46 times today instead of 45? Pregnant. Suddenly not a big fan of chicken? KNOCKED. UP. You hussy. Don't you know how that happens?

But I got over it, because, hey, protection and nursing and all that. But then? Then I found out I was RIGHT to be paranoid. Do you know what that does to a person's head?

People, I love babies. But a third right now would probably kill me. Don't misunderstand; I would grow to love that baby, but it would take... a while.

I have been convinced I was pregnant at least fifteen times since I had Emmy. This last time, I was so sure of it that I took three pregnancy tests in four days. That was a few days ago. When people jokingly say things like, "Maybe you're pregnant!" I don't say, "Hahahah." I say, "WHAT? WHY DO YOU SAY THAT? DO YOU KNOW SOMETHING I DON'T?" And then I go cry. Or punch the person. Or throw up.

It's not paranoia if you're right, right? And if it's happened once, not only CAN it happen again, but it probably WILL. Which is why I'm joining a nunnery.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mice?? Seriously??


I just found what look like mouse droppings in my tupperware cupboard.

I'm not afraid of mice themselves (I think they're cute), but their habits disgust me. Like leaving droppings in my clean cupboard.

I just went through my entire kitchen and found only one other piece of evidence: a bag of egg noodles. It's clamped shut with a binder clip. This must be one lazy and/or stupid mouse because there's chewing all along the top part of the bag, above the clip. What a lame attempt at thieving.

I'm obsessive about ants and mice. It may even be a disorder. Almost everything goes into canisters. There are a couple boxes of pasta (the opened ones got thrown out), and that's it. Even rice goes in the freezer. Dishes aren't always washed right away, but they are always rinsed clean of food immediately.

Does this mean he's made his attempt and is now moving on, having decided this house bears little fruit? Or was he just chewing up plastic to make his nest?

How do I clean the cabinet? Hot soapy water and a cloth? Boiling water and bleach? Gasoline and a blow torch?


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I love my dentist. Two crowns and a bridge, and you'd never even know they're there. They look like real teeth. And my mouth feels much better. Still a bit tender, but nothing like it was.

So that thing I wasn't supposed to talk about a few weeks ago, the thing that's been constantly on my mind and keeping me from writing (at least, writing anything that's actually amusing)?

We may be moving. Jeremy's job wants us to move out to Salt Lake City. The offer is very attractive, though we don't have all the details yet. We've kept it on the down-low, but I don't think anyone from his work is reading this blog, and if they are, they've probably put the pieces together already.

Two things stand in the way: selling the house, which we will almost certainly have to take a loss on, and leaving our friends and family.

Our house is still in fixer-upper condition. We've cleaned it and painted, but none of the major projects have been done. It was something we were going to spread out of the course of the next several years. It's a cute little house, and I've been happy with it the last two years. But now that the possibility of getting out of it is here, all the little things about it that annoy me have been magnified tenfold.

But there's so much to DO. Clean and paint the porch. Clean the siding. Reinforce the back deck and restain it. Trim the bushes (and I just can't bring myself to do the outdoor work because of spiders, so all this is on Jeremy). Patch the paint in the dining room that we didn't do properly the first time. Reclean the carpets and replace those that aren't cleanable (poor Grace--her room is the stinky room, the one that has a faint odor no matter how much we scrub and how much we leave the window open). Recaulk the tub upstairs or, possibly, replace the floor and tub upstairs (oh joy). Make the kitchen cupboards look something better than horrible (they're this awful forest green, and one of them has fallen off--Klassy!).

This is all much less exciting when it's a house you're not going to be staying in.

I am *just* starting to make friends. This is not something that I am good at, not when I don't have classes or a job to conveniently put new friends right there in front of me. I'm outgoing when I have a good reason to talk to people, but I'm too timid to walk up and strike up a conversation with someone who looks interesting.

We love our church. There are several churches of our same denomination in the area, but the people in ours are not replaceable. It's taken a while; we live a good distance away from the core of our church, and, as I said, we make friends slowly. But these people are starting to feel like family, and it will break my heart to leave. There are a few families in particular that I wish I could pack up and take with us.

And the grandparents and cousins. I was looking forward to the girls growing up close to their grandparents. I was very close to my mom's parents, and some of my best childhood memories are from staying at their house.

My most absurd worry is over finding new doctors. I'm afraid I'll never find OBs as good as the ones I have now. Our dentist is one of a kind, and the girls' pediatrician is fabulous, competent, and hilarious. She's the trifecta of awesome.

Even after all that, the offer is pretty sweet. I've never liked Wisconsin. The last twenty years of my life have not been a misery, but it hasn't ever felt like home, either. When we went out to visit SLC, This is home, kept popping into my head. Something clicked. I was thinking it before we even got to the hotel. Which is saying a lot, since the trip from the airport to the hotel was miserable. I've only ever felt this way about South Dakota, which is where I'm from, and Denver.

The idea of picking up and starting fresh is exhilarating. I've never done anything adventurous in my life. And I do think that if I were completely cut off from all my friends, I would learn to get out there and just do it. I'm lazy and timid and shy, but I can also rise to challenges. Since I've always had friends near enough, I've never had the motivation to just get over my hangups and make some new friends here in our town.

That's what I keep tell myself, at least. Feh.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Good day

We spent the day at my mother-in-law's house today. It was a really nice visit. Grace warms up to her more quickly than almost anyone else (she's always shy initially, even with people she sees pretty frequently). Sometimes I think kids can sense warmth and kindness in other people. That sounds so hokey, but I think it's true. I'm not unkind (mostly), but I'm also not very comfortable around small kids. Even the ones I know and like. Which is probably why they always look at me like I'm nuts when I try to play with them.

My mother-in-law has this gorgeous blue and red parrot named Chloe. Grace has spasms every time she sees it. "BEAK! BEAK! Nose. *snort* BEAK! Mouth. BIRD!" I've explained to her that a beak is a nose and a mouth ALL IN ONE, and that concept just blows her mind. Also, she loves the word "beak." I don't know why.

(The snort is to demonstrate how the nose functions; she started doing this a few days ago. It would be cute if it weren't also gross.)

We watched Avatar. Everything I'd heard about it completely turned me off. I hate movies with A Very Important Message, even if it's one I agree with. You know, the movies that take an idea and smack you over the head with it repeatedly, then slap a lame storyline over the top of it and call it a "film." *cough* Happy Feet *cough*

(It should not even be possible to make a movie about little penguins unenjoyable, but somehow they managed.)

But I really liked Avatar. Good movie. The message was pretty obvious, but it didn't annoy me as much as it could have. When it was over, I found myself wishing I could go visit that world.

We ate steak (oooh, steak), sat around and talked, played with the babies, who were both happy for most of the day. It was nice. I always feel so cozy and relaxed there. We need to visit more often. I just hate schlepping two pack 'n' plays and 800 diapers around.

Speaking of which, I SUCK at keeping in touch with people. People who aren't even that far away. I hate this about myself. I've let a few good friendships nearly die because of this stupid guilt-shame-procrastination spiral: lose touch, feel guilty, put off picking up the phone because I'm embarrassed, feel more guilty, put it off even more, and so on. Part of it is this weird telephone phobia I've developed in the last several years, but I can't blame it on that. The Internet took that excuse away.

How do you people with multiple long-distance friendships do it?

Dentist appointment tomorrow. Thank goodness. I forgot about my stupid teeth earlier today and downed the last of Grace's cold milk after supper. My jaw exploded in pins and needles. I could feel my pulse in my teeth for the next hour. Nnngh.

Emmy is crawling. Oh my gosh. It just... happened today. She JUST started getting up on her hands and knees and rocking. She's no good at crawling. It's a very awkward process: get up on all fours, put every ounce of effort into keeping balance while scooting one knee forward, then one hand forward, then flop on face. But she knows what she's doing.

The kid can't even SIT yet, people. I don't even know.

I do know one thing: we need more booze in this house.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The kids

Vicodin makes me REALLY happy. Don't worry; I've only take one a day since the temporary crowns went on. But I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts, that's for sure.

I think my gums may hurt more than they're supposed to. I finally got up the courage to floss back there today after not doing it for two days. YEOW. If they still hurt like this tomorrow, I'll call the dentist.

It's a good thing I love my dentist so much (I floss now! Every day! And I don't hate it! This is how good this guy is!) because I hate everything else tooth-related.

Man, I have so many things to write about, but the funny just is not coming. So I'm giving up on this section now. Maybe once my tooth feels better.

The rest of this is just updates on the kids. Haven't talked about them much lately. I know some of you probably aren't that interested in that, so I figured I'd warn you before you waded through a page of KIDS! KIDS! KIDS!

The Child is entering the terrible twos. Her new favorite things is to test my resolve. Disciplining her is not my most favorite thing in the world, but it has to be done. On days when I get lazy and let her get away with things, her overall demeanor is whiny and unhappy the entire day. On days when I'm firm and consistent from the start, she's a ball of sunshine (aside from one or two "tests" in the morning).

We had an especially long back-and-forth this morning. It usually happens when I tell her or ask her to do something, and she refuses out of the blue. Usually it's something she ordinarily does with glee. Fifteen minutes later, she finally gave up and let me hold her for the next ten. She's so BUSY these days that I cherish those times when she does want to cuddle. Even if they're preceded by fifteen minutes of crying and swattings, and both of us are sobbing messes.

It's amazing to me that the child who inherited my people pleasing gene has such a stubborn streak. It's exhausting sometimes, but I really see the difference on the days I do my job.

The good? Well, she's talking up a storm. A few weeks ago, her behavior turned HORRIBLE for a few days. That week at church was kind of a nightmare. She took a very long nap that Sunday, and then slept like a rock that night. When she woke up, she was using sentences. Not, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog," but, "I see you." Creepy! And, "Want -----," and, "This is -----," and a few others.

She doesn't talk much when we're around other people (sometimes her shyness worries me; maybe I should make her get a waitressing gig), but at home she never shuts up. And I could listen to it all day (MUST record some of this so she can listen when she's older). She'll sit down on the couch with a book and read to herself for half an hour at a time. "Baby? Man. Boy. Babyman. Emmy? Want bread? Baby bird. MAMA BIRD! Ooooh, Gwace!" with a bunch of nonsense mixed in.

The kid is an outstanding mimic. She's not mastered all the sounds of the English language, but she has inflections and intonations down perfectly. Whenever she surprises me with some disaster (cat food dumped out, crayon all over one of her books, water knocked off the coffee table), the first thing I almost always say is, "Ooooh, Grace!" with much annoyance. She started shouting that at random a few weeks ago. She sounds just like me.

I don't think I'll be getting away with anything anytime soon, either. It's like having a brutally honest mirror held up to my face at all times.

She's still painfully shy. She's gotten better about dealing with it, but I still worry sometimes. I don't know what to do about it. Emmy still needs to be carried much of the time, so going places with her and Grace is hard. She's too large to go comfortably in the wrap (the holds that work for a baby her age mean my teeth and or chin will quickly become embedded the back of her head), and she hates the sling more than anything on Earth.

I can't focus on more than one thing at a time. They always said I'd learn once I had kids, but those were the same people who told me I'd become a morning person. If I'm holding Emmy, and Grace is screaming, and someone is trying to talk to me, my brain shorts out. I love my friends, but hanging out with them while I have the kids is completely exhausting. So I avoid it. And, of course, that just digs the hole deeper. Feh.

Other than that, though, Grace is a delight. I look forward to waking her up in the morning. It wasn't so long ago that I couldn't say that.

I'm going to admit to something that's going to sound strange, and maybe kind of awful here. Grace stopped sleeping for several months while I was pregnant with Emmy. I have never been so exhausted in my life. And it went on for so long. And it wasn't just that I was sleep deprived and pregnant. Grace's behavior was pretty bad much of the time, too, because she was sleep-deprived.

I stopped liking her for a long time. I loved her, but I didn't like her. I didn't enjoy her most of the time.

I didn't realize how miserable I was until we were past it. The resentment (that word is a little strong for what I'm trying to say) didn't start going away until Emmy was a couple months old. How awful is that? I'm not blaming Grace. She was a baby, for Pete's sake. But that's just how it was. It's such a relief not to feel that way anymore. I'm so thankful.

Emmy is rolling all over town now. No more leaving her on the living room floor to gape at the ceiling fan while I tend to Grace for the duration of lunch. If I'm going to be out of the room for more than ten, I need to strap her down. Diaper changing has become an Olympic sport. It's like trying to tie down a cloud of gnats.

She can't sit up yet. I blame it on her ridiculously long torso and bowling ball head. That and her intense desire to eat her toes, even if it means diving head-first onto the floor or ramming her face into the front of the Bumbo. But she IS getting up on her hands and knees and rocking already. She face-plants immediately, which is hilarious, but she can get up there.

The two of them are night and day. I think Grace was just mastering rolling at this point, but she could sit.

When do children first start to develop a sense of humor? Emmy has taken to pressing her face up against the nearest smooth surface, blowing a raspberry, and then looking around for a reaction. If you giggle, she rewards you with a face-splitting grin. I swear this is the baby version of making jokes. I also know I'm biased.

Music stops her dead. Grace likes music, but I don't think she really responded to it until she was much older. Emmy was just a couple of months old when I discovered that playing the flute would make her stop whatever she was doing (screaming, most likely) and stare in wonder. I was practicing piano for church the other night, and I turned around to see her across the living room, staring at the piano like a herd of sparkly unicorns had just burst from the top.

Oh my. It's 1:30. I may want to go to sleep, yes?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Class dork

So, I had a class reunion on Saturday.

Let me explain something before I tell you about this. From second through sixth grade I was the class dork. I didn't have a single real friend until the summer after fifth grade, when one of the girls sent me a note out of the blue, apologizing for the way she'd treated me and asking if we could still be friends.

Sixth grade was a lot easier, but everyone else still bullied me. Mostly it was a good thing. I'm a much kinder person than I would have otherwise been. I have a mean girl streak (just about anything will pop out of my mouth so long as I think it might make someone laugh), and this certainly put a damper on that.

But I'm still very insecure about what people think of me. I never think people like me. I know better, of course, so I don't make a habit of going psycho on friends for every perceived slight, but the thought is always in the back of my head. It doesn't help that I'm a people pleaser. There's a little part of me that wants to run after every person I meet, screaming, "LIKE ME! LIKE ME! PLEASE!" So pathetic.

Seventh grade was better. New school. I was still a dork, but at least I had a few friends. Every year after that was better, in fact. I'm still a dork to the core, but I'm usually pretty secure in it. Dorkdom has its perks. Especially if you're married to one.

But then this high school reunion, and hi, I'm ten again and have no friends, and all my clothes are too loose and too short, and my ears stick out, and my teeth are too big, and my otherwise stick-straight hair floofs out in giant clouds of fuzzy curls around my temples. It'd be cute if I were five again.

I can look in the mirror and think, "Whoah. You look really good today," and then walk away and five seconds later feel like the most unattractive girl in the room. I know better, but my stupid feelings don't. I could be the next Gisele and still feel like that awkward little girl.

So, I went mostly out of curiosity. There were a few people I was looking forward to catching up with, but mostly it was curiosity. I was hoping a few of the jerks would show up looking all bloated and ugly (because I'm juvenile). Maybe with a few teeth missing.

No such luck. Sadly, everyone there was still really good looking (curse you!).

But! It was so much fun. None of the real jerks were there. I was expecting it to be a lot more like high school, but it wasn't. People mingled. People remembered my name. People expressed interest in what I'd been doing with my life.

(Rather than act embarrassed, even though I kind of am, I find it's better to poke fun at myself: "I went to college for eight years, went through three majors, and got myself knocked up a year before graduation. You?" I find this is a very awkward start to conversation, but I like to just lay all the potential let's-make-fun-of-Naomi topics right out there before someone else has a chance to get a hold of them. If the person is still standing there when I'm done, I know I have a keeper. Or that he or she has had too much to drink.)

Even the guy who dumped me two days before homecoming and then ignored me through most of the dance and after party was nice. Sadly, he was not bloated, ugly, or missing any teeth, but I rescind my long-held assessment of him. He seems to have turned into an okay person. He came up and talked to me for a few minutes even though he didn't have to, since I never even saw him. I found out later he bought the beer for the reunion.

People grow up. People get nicer. People don't stay 18 for the rest of their lives. They turn into people I wouldn't mind being friends with. It's mind-blowing, I tell you. The people who were nice got nicer, and the people who weren't so nice turned decent.

I stayed until after two in the morning. I'd been planning to go home by ten. But I got to talking with people from my junior high class, and we sat on the back deck of the restaurant for several hours.

(And, of course, despite there being no reason to think this, there's still that voice in the back of my head saying they all made fun of me behind my back once I left. Stupidstupidstupid.)


I just took a Vicodin an hour ago or so. I may seem a little loopy. But not really fun loopy. I should have taken one more so I could at least be funny.

Don't worry. Nothing bad happened. I'm finally getting a permanent bridge in where that freak tooth got pulled, and they started by putting temporary crowns on the teeth on either side (they're going to solder the implant to the permanent crowns on either side, and I can't even begin to tell you how freaked out I am by the idea of having a soldering iron waved around in my face. This means grinding down the teeth, first, which means, inevitably, grinding the gums a little bit.

Just writing that made me want to throw up a little. Not the pain so much as the sounds. The only thing worse than the sound of a tooth grinding down is the sound of a tooth being pulled. I can now check those two things off my bucket list.

I didn't hurt much at all until a little bit ago. And then it started hurting like a mother. No idea why, but nothing seems amiss, so I might just be a sissy. That's very possible.

So. Our trip.

Was awesome.

Except for the getting to and from.

Emmy refused to nurse for takeoff. So that was fun. She screamed instead. Grace was okay. We discovered about halfway through the flight that if we just kept putting food in front of her, she'd stay quiet. And yes, we did drug her. I have no compunctions about that. Except that it didn't work. I didn't make her hyper or sleepy. It had zero effect. Okay, maybe it made her a tiny bit more mellow, but that might just be in my head. Normally we don't bribe her with food or treats, but on a plane full of other passengers, I'm willing to do just about anything to keep them as quiet as possible.

Even when they were fussing, you couldn't hear it more than two rows away. And the people around us were so nice. No dirty looks or dramatic sighs. Mostly just sympathetic looks. The old guy behind us was besotted with Emmy. He kept making faces at her and making her smile. Few things charm me more than people who think my kids are cute.

We couldn't find the hotel. The worthless GPS we rented for some ridiculous amount of money per day wasn't updated, so the hotel wasn't even in it. Oh, and it was also broken. So it kept drooping down to face the dashboard, like the dashboard could do anything with it. Maybe it had a crush.

We got to the hotel, only to find the promised cribs were not there. They arrived half an hour later. No bumpers. OK for Grace, but Emmy is still in the when-I'm-upset-I'm-going-to-smash-my-face-repeatedly-into-metal-bars phase. Jeremy went out to look for bumpers while I fed Emmy. An HOUR later he still wasn't back. Great. Stupid GPS.

No. The problem was that crib bumpers do not exist in Salt Lake City. He ended up spending $50 on a crib set just to get at the bumpers. Lame (but it is a cute set).

Other than those first few hiccups, the visit was so much fun.

The only place I've ever visited that is awesomer is Denver. We spent most of the two days just looking around the city. The zoo is all kinds of fun. Grace almost had brain aneurysms. She got to see two tigers play fighting. And MONKEYS. APESSSS. And BEAKS (she's strangely obsessed with any word that ends with an "-eek" sound; she repeats it over and over again with extra emphasis on the "k").

Our vacation was exactly the right length. Both girls slept perfectly the entire time we were there, even though Emmy's room was a corner of the main room (two-bedroom suite, with the entry in the kitchen/living area) behind a chair and under a blanket. I think one more day away from home would have been too much, but two days was exactly right.

The plane ride home went much better. Emmy was crabby, but I was much more at ease and handled it a lot better. We also all got to sit next to one another, Grace in the middle. And I had a window seat that time. Kidless, I could do that every single day.

Even part of the drive home went well. About an hour and a half from home, though, Grace dissolved into snot, screams, and tears, then passed out for fifteen whole minutes. Then she woke up and did it again. I missed two turns because I was so distracted by her. I think it only added about fifteen minutes to the drive, but it felt like centuries.

She was, of course, sunshine and lollipops the moment she came out of the car seat.

I think there were more interesting things that happened, but I'm having trouble recalling them. I'd like to go to bed, but I'm the SUPER AWAKE! kind of loopy. The kind where you lie in bed and count the bumps on your ceiling while your eyes bulge from their sockets.

Tomorrow is going to be so much fun. I can just feel it.