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Archive for April, 2010

The Hunt

The hunt is on once again.  It’s time to move.  Not because we’ve outgrown our house or dislike what we’ve done with the place.  Quite the contrary, our house has never looked better.  Everything we wanted to do with the place is done.  Our backyard is our own little city oasis.  The kitchen is modern and fresh looking.  Our made-over living room wows every visitor we have.  But it’s not enough.

I want a home, not just a house and this house will never be my forever home.

Maybe you don’t know what I mean by forever home.  It’s the place when you close your eyes that you see yourself pulling up to at night and as the light spills out of the window, contentment spills into your heart.  In fact, the mere thought of it makes your heart lift on the heaviest days.  It’s the place where you envision the babe in your arms growing into an adult; where when you close your eyes you see them riding their first bike in the driveway, where they learn to throw a baseball on the front lawn, where they stand on the front porch looking like they’re playing dress up in the fancy clothes for the first high school dance, and where years later, it’s not longer pretend and suddenly they are men and women instead of boys and girls.

I can see it in my mind’s eye.  Thinking about this home, brings a lump to my throat and my heart gives an extra thump.  I can almost see the purple light of early mornings glinting off the counters in the kitchen.  I can almost feel the breeze in the backyard furl my hair around my face when I close my eyes to the dusk.  I know this home is out there, I can feel it.

Where we live now is lovely and more than big enough.  It’s the place I spent my first nights as a newlywed and where I brought my baby boy home to.  But it lacks the soul of a home.  It lacks family.

Being far from everyone we’re related to, even those friends who could fill the role of family, deprives our house of the true ability to be a home.  There are days, though few, that my house fills with conversation, friends, laughter, and family.  For a few hours I relish in the noise, the togetherness.  We move about the house with ease, as if it was my forever home, lounging here and there, traipsing up and down the stairs, causing the house to echo with joy.  But then the conversation and the laughter fades as the light dims and soon my house is empty of all but my son and myself, as my husband is all too often absent. And while I love my pups, they can’t communicate with me in any meaningful way, though they love me so (and I them).

And so, since I can’t have my husband home as often as I’d like, I’ve decided it’s time to move.  It’s time to make our forever home nearer those that love us.  For though, they may go home at the end of the day, the nearby family provides more comfort than I can express.   It’s time to move.  It’s time to go find not just another house, but my home.

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The title is borrowed from The Amazing Mumford seen here:

The Amazing MumfordThe Amazing Mumford using magic to demonstrate the wonders of addition and subtraction.  The magic of math is truly astounding (I wish I’d paid closer attention as a child and maybe I would struggle with math so much)!

So why am I bringing this up, other than my apparent obsession with all things Sesame Street?  Well, Baby C has taken to carrying things around with him as he walks; typically long stick like objects: foam baseball bats, tv remotes, wrapping paper cylinders, drum sticks.

The last, in particular, is somewhat worrisome as the drum sticks are pretty dangerous.  C’s toy drumsticks are hard colored plastic styled to look like caterpillars:

Drumstick or weapon? You decide.

While they are cute, clever toys, these drumsticks also scare the crap out of the dogs as C wildly waves it around as he walks by them.  And given C’s propensity to “hug” the dogs several times a day (which is actually him just running into them with his arms out), these drumsticks often function as weapons more often than they are actually hit on a drum.

I’m sure C doesn’t mean to cause harm, but when the dogs flee from him as he waves his drumstick in the air, C thinks it’s a game and squeals in delight, chasing after them, swinging his toy with even greater ferocity.  I usually intercede before drumstick meets fur, but I can’t help laughing as all my “children” engage in a game of chase.

When not chasing the dogs or hitting the walls with his drumstick, C waves it around as he walks, looking like a miniature wizard more than anything.  I, for one, have been trying to get him to say “A La Peanut Butter Sandwiches” when he does this (an unreasonable request, but it would be funny none the less). However, certain members of my family have different ideas as to what the little wizard should say.

Apparently my sister’s boyfriend, AVP, would like Baby C to be an evil wizard.  The first “spell” AVP tried to get C to say was “Avada Kedavra”, which (if you know your Harry Potter) is the killing curse.  What made this even funnier is the evil, husky voice AVP adopted when saying “Avada Kedavra” to C.

My sister was mortified!

You’re teaching him the killing curse??!?!? Why don’t you teach him something different? EG said, outraged.

Ok. C say “Crucio”. –AVP

That’s not better! You’re teaching him to torture someone.  How about something nice, like “Lumos”? –EG

I only remember the bad ones.  C say “Septum Spectra”. –AVP

NO! What is wrong with you?!?!?  He doesn’t need to know the bad spells.  Stop teaching him those. –EG

Snicker, snicker. –AVP

I was likewise outraged that AVP would think to teach my son the evil, torturous, murderous curses before teaching him the nice ones.  My initial reaction was one of shock!  I’m serious! I was shocked when AVP said “Avada Kedavra” to C!  That’s the killing curse!  He shouldn’t know that!

Once the initial shock wore off I began to realize we were all having a conversation about fictional spells and curses as if they were real!  Why should I be shocked if C knows the make-believe words used in an alternate reality to kill someone?  I don’t know why, but I was.  I understand rationally that there is no such person as Harry Potter, Hogwarts does not exist, and magic, if real, is utterly lost to most of humanity.  Still, that I (and my sister) would react so violently to those two words really says something about us and our imaginations (or maybe our tenuous grip on reality).

I’m still going to try to teach C to say “A La Peanut Butter Sandwiches” because it’s a heck of a lot nicer, even if magic doesn’t exist.  Call me crazy, but I don’t want to hear those evil curses come out of my son’s mouth.  It’s just not right.

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Because drinking water regularly is a necessity for healthy pets, our house has two water bowls: one upstairs in the master bath on the floor and one downstairs in the kitchen on a stand.  Baby C believes both of these have been strategically placed for his personal amusement.

C has never been shy around water, languishing in the bath long after the water has lost its warmth.  In fact, early on he started showing interest in all types of water, whether it was to be found in my water bottle (which he likes to carry around with him) or running from the faucet (which he likes to run his fingers under).  Anywhere water is to be found, you can probably find C nearby.

Thus the problem of the water bowl.  I don’t mind him carrying my water bottle around like his own personal canteen, but I definitely have a problem with C using the dogs’ water bowls as his own personal wading pool.  Or should I say, splash pool?

C not only enjoys placing his little hands in the water, pushing around the bottom of the bowl, he recently discovered the joys of splashing.  He slaps a chubby palm on to the top of the water and receives a satisfying “SPLAT” and a squirt of water in return.  It’s the perfect entertainment….for him….The dogs are less than thrilled with the situation.

The main problem, aside from the fact that C is putting his dirty hands into the dogs’ clean drinking water (or should I be worried that the dogs’ bowl is dirtying his hands?  I’m not sure which is worse, so I’m upset at both options), is that C is particularly drawn to the bowls when the dogs happen to be drinking out of them.

Poor Penny and Dodger will be bending over to take a peaceful drink of cool clean water, unsuspecting of any small boys lurking behind them, when WHAM! C slams a hand into the water and the dog gets a face full.  The pitifully wet dog starts backward, shocked at this event (despite the fact it’s a regular occurence).  C happily plops down next to the bowl, splishing and splashing.

If the affronted dog dares to come back for a drink after C has commandeered the bowl, C has no problem physically pushing their face away from the water’s surface.  The dogs then look at me in what I interpret to be disbelief, as if to say “Mooooom! He won’t let us drink out of OUR bowl.  What are you going to do about it?” (imagine that in the whiny voice of a put-upon older sibling).

So why don’t I stop C from doing this?  Surely it’s not hygienic?!?

It probably isn’t and I do try to stop him.  C has learned I mean no when I tell him not to play with Daddy’s electronics or not to eat dirt, but for whatever reason, no matter how many times I say “No. No, C. No!  Stop!! C!!! NO!!!!” it makes no difference.  And as he’s too young for time-outs and I’m not going to spank, I’m at a loss as to what to do.  Generally each episode ends with me physically lifting him away from the dog bowl, shaking his wet arms like the dog he longs to be.  I think patience is my only recourse.  Now if only I could teach the dogs patience, or maybe how to splash C back!

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One is now fully dialated, while the other remains normal. I’m so disoriented that this will be my only post for the day. My tales and trials will have to wait for another day.

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Or at least that’s what I’m going to call my eye infection since it causes me to wink at random intervals.  Or maybe I should call it “Weeping Eye”, which sounds sort of romantic, due to the fact that my left is constantly filled with tears, which run down my face when the doctor touches my eyelid or I blink or I look at light, any light.

What I have is actually called a corneal infection, or corneal ulcer.  Basically my cornea is infected due to either my allergy attack last week or my contact lens/contact lens case having some kind of bacteria in it.  Most likely, anyways.  It seems unlikely I have tiny tears on my cornea and didn’t notice being hit in the face.

Although I do feel like I’ve been hit in the face.  Despite never having been punched in the eye, I imagine the current pain in my left eye is similar to that feeling.  Apparently the ulcer causes a bruised feeling all around the eye.  It’s an awful feeling, let me tell you.

(If you can, avoid being punched in the face.  It hurts.  Just an FYI from someone who has never been punched in the face.)

Other lovely symptoms include the constant crying, the demon-eye redness, swelling, some vision disturbance.

That last symptom is the worst.  Part of how I maintain my sanity on a daily basis is by reading.  I read the paper in the morning.  I read the online news at night.  And in between I read everything from email to tweets, from Facebook updates to paperback mysteries.  Stay-at-home motherhood can be very isolating, so much so that I rely on these various media outlets to maintain contact and awareness with the outside world. Having my reading ability constructed is torture!

To make up for it, and to cheer myself up, I’ll have to indulge in a little more tv watching.  I don’t have a ton of shows I watch regularly, so I may join the rest of America in watching shows like Idol or Dancing with the Stars, though I am loath to do it.  There must be some reason those programs are so popular.  Perhaps I’ll learn to love them.  Or maybe I’ll catch up on Gossip Girl, I’ve heard it’s the guiltiest pleasure of all!

So for now, I’ll keep winking and weeping.  I’ll put my drops in every hour (yes, you read that right. Every HOUR!).  I’ll watch bad tv.  I’ll wear my glasses and sport these killer shades.

Only the truly confident ever look this good.

I may just have to give up my diet, part 2, to engage in a truly gross, self-indulgent week.

On a side note, at least the chance of my little one catching this infection is miniscule.  I’ll try to resist giving him butterfly kisses in the meantime.

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It’s been a crazy couple days, all beginning with an allergy attack, then a huge fight with my husband, house hunting, a book fair and an eye infection, though not in that precise order. I promise to write all about it and make up for several days absence. But I need to wait until after my doctor’s appointment today because reading for any prolonged period of time is quite painful (and my worst nightmare, you can imagine). So I’ll catch you all up later, hopefully without an eye patch.

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Sick days with a one year old are a strange combination of frustration and ease.  However, you can only get to the “ease” part of the day if you’re willing to either ignore or let go of the frustration.
I don’t know how all sick babies operate, but my Baby C has a specific set of behaviors.  First and foremost, C is incredibly clingy.  He wants his mommy and no one else will do, not even daddy or his favorite person in the world (our house keeper Anna).  Although this can be difficult if I need to do anything, like laundry or grocery shopping, it doesn’t reach frustration level until C starts throwing a tantrum every time I put him down to do mundane necessary things like get dressed or use the bathroom.  And for whatever reason, C’s tantrum usually hits its apex (with tears streaming down his face, clinging to my legs, wailing) when I am either pants-less or have the even more awkward one leg in my pants.

To use the bathroom I’ve taken to letting C have things he usually isn’t supposed to play with: mom’s iPhone, the lotion under the sink, even unrolling the toilet paper (if I’m desperate).  Our favorite app is animal flashcards that flip from cartoon renderings to various pictures of the actual animals accompanied by each animal’s sound.  It entertains C to no end.  Best $0.99 ever!!  If that doesn’t work, he’ll start pulling out all the lotions from the cabinet under the sink.  He’s particularly keen on my anti-cellulite lotion, which he carries around then offers to me at random intervals throughout the day.  I’m trying very hard not take it personally.

So where does the easy part come in?  Well let me tell you.  The second characteristic of my sick baby is his fatigue.  So if you can just let go off all the chores you have to do or all the things you wanted to do, all the expectations you have for the day, it can actually be a pretty easy day.

C is happy to lay around reading books in my comfy armchair.  Or watching the same five songs on the Sesame Street website.  And of course we know he’s always happy to watch Kung Fu Panda.  So if you can get over your to do list, you can have an easy day relaxing doing the things your baby enjoys.

Yes, it may not be the most exciting or productive day on record, but you have the potential to turn an otherwise wretched day into a relaxing one.  If you don’t want to watch the same cussing Elmo songs 20 times, do what I do, pull up an extra window on the screen and write on your blog or check your email or shop for videos to replace those cussing songs.  If you can’t possibly stand watching Kung Fu Panda one more time, read your book or check Facebook from your phone.  The baby does not need you to be as equally engrossed in the movie as he is.

If you’re sick too (like I am), for goodness sake, take some medicine, eat some chocolate, have a cup of tea, do whatever you need to do to get comfy and relax with your little one.  And try not to freak out.  It won’t do any good.  Moms need a sick day sometimes too.

And thank God that some guys in Sweden (I think that’s right?) invented the internet all those years ago.  What would we do without them?

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