Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Maybe it's another mouse.

I am in that unpleasant early stage of a cold. Something small and furry has crawled into my face and died, but it hasn't gotten really gross yet.

The poor children have been sorely neglected the last two days. Yesterday was OHMYGOSH HOUSE SHOWING MUST CLEAN! day. I trudged around like a crazy person (a really tired crazy person), getting the house all pretty, and the children were left to fend for themselves. Which is probably why they turned feral today.

No, they weren't that bad. This morning was pretty good. Emmy actually took a morning nap for the first time in days, and Grace was sweetness and light.

Post-afternoon nap was like the apocalypse.

I was too tired and nnnngh-feeling to be much of a mother. Grace had many face-melting outbursts, and Emmy cruised around the house, chewing desperately on one finger while yet another tooth evilly began poking its way through. This child sprouts teeth like dandelions. And she doesn't take it very well. How is it that the child who is fearful of everything is neither afraid of loud noises nor bothered by teething (the early ones, at least), but the child whose head is made of granite is terrified of anything louder than 10 dB and can't handle a couple of little teeth? The way she carries on, you'd think she were growing shrapnel in there.

I need to stock up on booze before the really nasty ones start coming in.

No feedback from the realtor on the showing yesterday. I didn't expect them to be impressed. Our house is nowhere near ready to sell, but we wanted to get it on the market quickly.

I cruised by the house while they were there. They were out in the front yard, looking decidedly unhappy, but that may have just been the insane wind whipping gashes into their flesh with their hair.

Speaking of wind, it has been blowing away since Monday night. I'm surprised our house is still standing. The tar paper on our half-finished back entrance is coming off. Super. That's okay; I don't think it costs much.

I ought to go to bed. I've had lousy sleep the last few nights, and I'd like my kids to still love me tomorrow evening.

Remember I have a new blog. It's definitely less fun than this one, but I could use some ideas.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I started another blog.

I started another blog. I'm trying to learn to be more frugal. It's not something I'm good at because I lack any sense of personal drive. So maybe if I tell people about it, my pride will edge me in the right direction.

Behold, Tightwad in Training!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Soon-to-be deadly partners in crime

I broke out the pack 'n' play and the high chair this week. Together, they keep 2.0 restrained. Has anyone ever seen Lilo and Stitch. I gave birth to Stitch.

Dinnertime has been transformed. The last few months, Jeremy and I have taken turns holding little Stitch in a deathgrip while the other attempted to feed The Child (she can kind of feed herself, but still needs help). We sneaked bites from our own ever-colder plates while Stitch made swipes at the placemat and dishes and Grace's tray, every muscle in her body focused on one thing: HAVOC.

Now we just pop her in the high chair with some Cheerios and enjoy the fun. It's like watching a drunk try to embroider with his toes.

If Emmy is Stitch, Grace is The Shy Little Kitten.

The Child had her two-year checkup yesterday. I came armed with her favorite blanket, her kitty, and many suckers. I told her all about it three times that morning: when I woke her up, when I was feeding her breakfast, and then in the car on the way there. I even gave her thigh a little pinch to show her what the shot would feel like.

I had bottles of booze waiting for me in the fridge, and plans to flee the premises the moment Jeremy got home.

No, the last checkup did not go so well. The Child is afraid of everything. Grass, wind, sun in her face. People, dogs. Do not even think about touching her. She cries if she gets dirt on her hand. She cries if someone gets too close to her.

As usual, she surprised me. She did not fuss when she had to be weighed. She did not fuss when she had to be measured. She did not fuss when the nurse had to touch her. While the nurse asked me all the developmental questions, Grace sat on the floor in just a diaper, fiddling with a toy and repeating the last two words of each question. The last question was, "Can your child say two or more words at a time?" The nurse and I both got a chuckle out of that.

She did not fuss when Dr. Orange shined lights in her eyes and looked in her ears. She did not fuss when Dr. Orange listened to her heart and stomach. She didn't even fuss when she checked her hips and reflexes.

The real test came at shot time. I cringed for the happy, chattering little girl. I knew what was coming. I hated to ruin it. She was so very happy. The needle went in, The Child kept chattering, the needle came out, and she was still chattering. She smiled at the nurse.

As each person left, she said, "Tatchyou! Bye bye, lady."

I don't even know who this kid is sometimes. I don't think I'll ever figure her out. She has changed so much in just the last week. Strange people have been cycling in and out of the house for various reasons since last Saturday.

Our friends have been over helping us rebuild our back entryway. The wife is one of the least scary people I know, yet Grace was terrified of her. While I made supper Sunday night, Grace used me as a human shield the entire time. Do you know how hard that makes it to cook?

After about an hour of this, she very suddenly decided that Erin was okay. She wanted Erin to play with blocks, she wanted Erin to read to her; Erin tickled her feet, and Grace shrieked happily.

On Monday, when the realtor came over to do a few things (Grace had never met her before), Grace made a beeline for her. I actually had to restrain her from climbing all over her.

It's like she just gets fed up with being scared of everything and suddenly decides, "Okay, this is stupid. I'm just going to suck it up and enjoy myself if they insist on bringing people over." At two. I'm so proud of her.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On the other hand...

Our house went on the market on Monday.

Every time I come down the stairs in the morning and see the sign in the front yard, my heart and stomach give me a little jolt. It's really happening!

I have no illusions that we'll sell our house in anything like good time. I also know that we're moving by February or March whether we sell the house or not. For some reason, though, the for sale sign in the yard makes it so real.

And, of course, now that plans are in motion, I'm having little moments of regret here and there.

My girls won't be near any relatives. I loved the idea of them growing up knowing my parents and two of my siblings and their families. Some of my best memories are of my grandparents. I wanted that for them.

(The good news is that will be much closer to my sister--not close, but close enough that seeing each other more than once every three years is possible)

And our house! I like our house! Since the possibility of moving first came up, all my discontent has started to bubble up and over. Once moving became real, and not just a possibility, I started falling in love with our house all over again. Of course. Because that is the way I operate.

(I still hate this town, though, and that's not likely to change.)

One of the librarians here in town is about my age. She has three kids, one of whom is the same age as Emmy. She seems super cool. We've gotten to chatting each of the last few times we've seen each other at the library. Why could I not have met this person, oh, TWO YEARS AGO?

Next time I see her, I'm still going to ask her to be my friend: "Do you like me? Check one: _yes _no _maybe"

(But she's one of only about three people I've met here who seem like friend material, and none of the others have been remotely responsive to hospitality or other overtures.)

I have good friends. Friends who are becoming better friends. Acquaintances who are kind of awesome, and who would be friends someday, I'm sure.

(But they're all 45 minutes or more away. And some of the cooler people from Jeremy's work are moving to Salt Lake, too. People who like kids. People who like to babysit...)

Our house is our own. That's probably the biggest one, next to family. I like having something that is MINE.

(But these are the kinds of apartments we're looking at. Provided they're close enough to Jeremy's work that we can sell the car, we're still looking at a lower cost of living than we have here. And that's before we factor his raise, which, after taxes, won't be gobs of cash or anything, but it will help.)


I think I'm still pretty okay with this decision.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Busy busy

I have been a whirlwind of productivity this past week. Well, for me, at least. Packed away many boxes for storage, packed away many more for donation or selling, and tossed out a bunch of stuff that we don't need and can't be donated. Removing one small bookshelf from out living room has made it look about twice as big.

Now that we're fixing the house up at a much faster rate, I'm starting to love it all over again. Funny how that works. We put up sheer curtains in the downstairs, and all the light down there is amazing. It's half the reason we liked the house in the first place.

There's still so much to do, but now that a few things are out of the way, I'm less anxious.

I nursed Emmy for the last time the other night. It was sad, I may have teared up a little bit, but it's also a bit of a relief. I love nursing, but when each feeding becomes a battle, it ceases to be a sweet bonding experience. I mostly blame the Unisom for the sudden demise of my supply. We were getting three feedings a day before I started taking it, and the morning after I took it the first time, I could only manage two. Still, being able to sleep and feel human and enjoy my children far outweighs the negatives.

I also blame her insatiable curiosity. Even before my supply started going downhill, getting her to eat in less than an hour was becoming a struggle. If there's anything even remotely interesting going on in the room, she whips her head around every three seconds to see what it is. Bottles don't have nerve endings or a need to wait a bit for letdown.

So, it's not all bad, but I'm still sad.

Speaking of sleep, I've gotten a solid 8-9 hours every night for the last week and a half. It's amazing. No more waking up three times a night and waiting to go back to sleep (seriously, it was like having a newborn again--except without all the happy hormones). I sometimes even wake up on my own before Emmy even starts to cry.

I haven't written because things are just crazy between the house and two very mobile children. Emmy's increasing mobility (she's cruising already, folks) doesn't just mean having to look after another kid. It also means a lot more intervention between her and Grace. Admittedly, there's not as much of that as there could be. Grace knows that she must not hurt Emmy.

It's pathetically hilarious. Several times a day, I come into the room after hearing Grace scream, and I find her backing into a corner, The Dreaded Emmy intent on chewing her toes or stealing her toy. Grace won't hit her or push her to keep her away, so she just stands there and cries, poor thing. Imagine being bullied by an eight-month-old. If anyone has any solutions for me, I'd be glad to hear them. I don't know how to teach a toddler that there are appropriate ways of defending yourself against smaller siblings. She can't really climb onto chairs well, so getting to higher ground isn't an option. I don't want her to think that she can only ever run from Emmy, either.

It's going to be a long day today, and I need to get moving. Jeremy's going to be working outside all day, so I should probably get my carcass in gear.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sleep is for people who like to be happy

I! Have! Been! Sleeping! A! Lot!

The night of my birthday, I popped a Unisom and went to bed around ten or eleven. Wonderful little Emmy woke up an hour early, or I would have gotten nine or ten hours of sleep.

She finally figured out how to get herself unstuck from a standing position. So she has been sleeping and napping like a decent, civilized baby the last two days. And not a moment too soon. I was thisclose to selling her (now she just needs to stop teething for five seconds, and she may survive to adulthood).

Sweet baby. I can't wait until you're old enough for hill people milk.

Anyway, oops! I forgot that a whole Unisom makes me utterly useless for the next fourteen or fifteen hours. I spent the morning after my birthday lolling about on the floor, couch, bed, using my body as a barrier across the more dangerous parts of the house and hoping that day wasn't the day Emmy learned to jump. Or fly.

Since then, I've taken half of one every single night around 8. I've gotten seven or more hours of sleep each night for the last week, and I feel FABULOUS. Like, this afternoon, I have so much energy that all I could do for the last hour was lie on the bed and wait for the twitching to stop. That might have been the third cup of coffee, though. I keep forgetting I don't need this much to function anymore.

House stuff is... coming along. Kind of. Ish.

We hauled a bunch of boxes over to our storage unit. Next step is getting rid of any furniture or items we can bear to part with. We have a toaster oven, a table, a bunch of chairs, and a microwave cart/cupboard that are much loved but no longer needed. The house already feels about half a room bigger, and I'm just getting started.

(Did I tell you about the Amish-made oak dining set my MIL passed on to us when she moved? It's the nicest thing I've ever owned, except for maybe my piano. I'm a little afraid of it. It's too nice for people like us.)

Still working on the peeling paint in the dining room. The trouble with this stuff is that it's hard to tell what paint is loose and what should just be left alone. Yes, we could just make a quick job of it, slap some paint on where it's peeling, and it would be good for a few months. But that seems so dishonest. With our accidentally pink walls, I'm sure any new owners would want to repaint.

Do you know how maddening it is to paint an entire room and then find out the people who painted before you did an awful job? No? Well, we do! And it's crazymaking. Especially when your baby is due in three weeks, and half the paint in the nursery has decided to strip itself off all the way down to the bare plaster.

Speaking of which, I should go work on that some more. If I do a little bit every day, I suppose it will eventually get done. When working on huge projects that are made up of many smaller projects, it helps me to develop tunnel vision. I have to trick myself. Telling myself I'm doing it for people I love doesn't work. Tell myself how happy I'll be once it's done doesn't work. No, the only think that really works is constantly lying to myself and pretending I only have three total minutes of work that needs to be done. It's like getting a toddler to pick up ALL the toys. For pretty much every household duty I ever do. My internal monologue for cleaning the messy kitchen after I've cooked dinner.

Okay, Naomi. Let's empty the drainboard! Okay? Now remember, you can quit anytime you want to! Just put a couple dishes away for now. Okay, goooood! Good girl! Yes, keep going! Gooood! Okay, now, fill up the sink with some hot water and put some soap in. All right, put some dishes in to soak. If you don't feel like washing them, we can just come back later, okay? All right. Now, while they're soaking, let's wipe up the counters. Good! Oh, look! The floor could use some sweeping. Let's just do that real quick. Excellent work! High five! Good! Oh, I bet those dishes have just about soaked themselves clean. Okay, great. Let's just wipe off the plates. Yes, anytime. You can quit anytime. You don't have to wash the dishes. Just walk away if you feel like it. Oh! Hey! The plates are done! And so are the bowls. Good. Now the silverware, and we're all done. How 'bout that? Yaaay! Good girl!

I so wish I were joking.