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Archive for June, 2010

Like many mothers out there, nap time is a daily challenge.

We’ve been attempting to switch from one nap a day to two.  Today, however, Little C opted for ZERO naps.

Oh what a delightful twist to the day!

Technically, C fell asleep for 15 minutes on the way home from swim class, but that hardly qualifies as a nap.  I did try to transition it into a nap, though.  A very stinky diaper disrupted that plan.

Also, for some reason, I felt compelled to change C’s usual napping spot from the big bed to his crib.  C needs to spend more time in his crib and less time in my bed, end of story!  It’s a point that needs to be made.

Did I need to choose this particular afternoon to make that point?

(the answer is no)

I do, honestly, need my son to sleep in his crib more so I can have a little more time to myself for things like taking showers and eating dinner, not to mention doing chores. But let’s focus on the shower thing.

I need to shower.  In fact, I would like to shower daily.  I’m spending quite a bit of time every day in a heavily chlorinated pool. And I’m a blond.  I would prefer not to look like Oscar the Grouch as my hair turns green from the chlorine.  I may not have much of a life, but I would really like to have non-green hair for the few events I go to.

Part of maintaining my blond hair means showering and shampooing every day.  I know, sounds simple, right?

Not so much.

When C was taking two naps a day, showering was easy-peasy.  I had two solid blocks of time in which to get things done.  A shower easily fit into one of these two blocks.

However, with one less nap a day and the same amount of chores to be done, my hair care seems to be the first thing to be ignored. An additional part of the problem is that as C sleeps on the big bed I need to keep an eye on him, lest he roll off while I’m showering, cleaning, etc.

If he would only sleep in his crib…so many things would be better….hair care is only one of them.

So back to the nap that wasn’t.

It failed to start at 2:30pm (since we’re just doing one nap I’m trying to get it in before 4pm; this doesn’t always work, but I try).

From 2:30 to 4:30 I struggled with C, sometimes physically, always with my emotions.

Every time I felt close to losing it, I would say “naptime” as if it was some kind of release valve.  It usually sent C into another round of crying/screaming/whining, as I attempted to get him to lay down in his crib.  I was literally holding his shoulder down on the pillow!

This may sound mean, but I promise I didn’t hurt him.  It was just as soon as he sat up he would start acting in a manner very contrary to napping! C would start talking to his teddy bear or the lullaby lamby that hangs on his crib.  He would start touching every single bump in his mattress over and over again, pushing each lump as if it was a button.  Or maybe he would stand up and start dragging his pacificer back and forth across the wall.

And as soon as I peeked my head in to see what he was doing, C would stop, look up and smile.

Lovely.

Once 4:30 rolled around and C wasn’t even acting tired any more, I decided he would just have to take a shower with me.

So I striped him down and took him in the shower with me.  And let me tell you there is nothing more pitiful than a wet, naked, crying baby.

For the first 10 minutes of the shower, C just stood there crying.  Well, actually, alternating between screaming and crying.  If I tried to wash his hair or his face or anything, he quickly accelerated to screaming.  If the shampoo bottle he was gripping as if it was the key to escape, if that fell to the ground, more screaming.  If as he came towards me for comfort, a stream of water jetted off my body into his face, more screaming.

Finally, C settled down, once he discovered the amazing drain!  I knew this would eventually happen, since he loves the bathtub drain and likes to watch every last drop of water go out.  I knew the shower drain would be all the more fascinating for its constant draining.  At last, C sat in the middle of the shower and watched suds and water quickly disappear.

Yay! It was fun! So much fun that C spent 5 minutes playing with the drain after I turned off the shower.  It allowed me to dry off, dress, comb my hair.

When I finally gathered my boy in a large towel and swept him off to his room to be changed, suddenly C was very tired.

As soon as he was dressed he ran down the hallway, pulled himself up on the big bed, and jumped on the pillows, ready for a nap.

ARGH!

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Whirlwind

Well, in less than a week we sold our house, bought another, and opened escrow on both properties the same day.  Either this is going to be the best thing that ever happened to us, or the worst.

Now that escrow is open I’m starting to worry a bit about all the ducks we have to get in a row. The inspections, the paperwork, the money (always the money!); everything has to be taken care of at once.  It’s enough to make your head spin.

At the same time I can’t help but wonder if this all worked out for a reason.  I’m a big believer in the idea that whenever you make a correct decision in life God/the Universe sends you a message, assuring you that you’re on the right track.  I call this phenomenon the “invisible hands”.  Basically, what I mean is that when you’re on the right track, suddenly everything falls into place.  Doors are opened, paths cleared.  It’s as if invisible hands are working to remove all the obstacles from your life.

It’s an amazing feeling.

Some people (who shall remain nameless “husband”) think that in these situations, something is definitely too good to be true.

I, on the other hand, want to keep the positive energy flowing.  So, if you’ll do me a favor and think good thoughts for our family, maybe we’ll survive the next 45 days in tact.

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This past week, C and I began a “Parent and Me” (so as not to offend the daddies in the class) swim class at Goldenwest College in Huntington Beach.

It is not exactly close, or convenient since I have to schlep my dogs down too so my real estate agents can show the house while I’m gone, but it is roughly halfway between me and my cousins in South Orange County.  Yes, that’s right, I’m forcing my cousin to bring her beautiful baby girl all the way up from Ladera Ranch to Huntington Beach four days a week so the little cousins can swim together.  I know, I’m really too thoughtful (especially since C spends all their time together just trying to hold her hand and she would prefer if he didn’t touch her)!

On the plus side, the class at Goldenwest is only $50 a session, which, compared to private pools (like the one by my house which charges that much a week for only one class!), it’s a steal! I’m hoping that all the money I’m spending on gas doesn’t negate my savings.  I think that my math is correct in saying I’m still on the winning side of this money equation, but I’m really not great with math any more, so here’s hoping!

The class is 30 minutes long and aimed at getting your baby comfortable in the water, as well as teaching basic skills like floating, kicking, and blowing bubbles.

At this point, we’re pretty much still at level zero on the basic skills, but C’s comfort level has improved.  We went from both C and his cousin L crying for roughly half of the class on the first two days to not crying at all on the fourth day.  Hurrah! I call that a victory.

Ok, maybe C whined a little, but he did not have a meltdown, so it totally counts! It DOES!

It’s been an unexpected work out for me, too, though I’m a little embarrassed to say so out loud.  Apparently I haven’t been working my quads enough at home.  My first evening at home after our first class I was surprised to find my thighs were a little sore.  I didn’t think about it too much until the next morning when I got back into the pool and found my thighs protesting as I squatted in the water for half an hour.

I was shocked! Ok, not really shocked, but I honestly didn’t think about how the swim class would affect my personal fitness. An unexpected bonus or a nasty wake-up call?  I’m undecided.

Another point I’m proud of is that I managed to keep my lily white, precious, soft skinned baby just the same as he was before we started swim class.  No burns, no redness, no sun damage at all! It was the same for me until I sat outside in my bathing suit for two hours after the last lesson without reapplying sunscreen.  Smart, that’s what I am.  I did keep my baby boy covered up and burn free, so I’m choosing to ignore my sunburn and count the week as a win for skin care.

Overall, week one showed promise. I’m excited to get back in the water on monday.  I’ve signed C up for the whole summer, so we’ll be out there, 4 days a week, until August 21st.  Somebody is going to benefit from a summer of swimming.  Whether C develops some basic swimming skills or my quads become rock hard, we’ll really both be winners.

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What? It’s been a while since I posted? Never mind that.  Look over here! It’s a shiny, cute baby story to read about.

Little C is an affectionate little boy.  Though he loves to run and play and explore and pretty much cause trouble all day, he is a hugging, cuddly, not-so-little baby.  He laughs when he’s squeezed in a tight hug.  He asks to be picked up, if only for a second, so he can pat you on the arm, which is his version of a hug.  C also gives big sloppy kisses, smushing my face between his tiny, little hands and pulling me towards him to lay one on me.  It’s wonderful and wet!

Lately C has been exploring a more primal source of affection: the head nuzzle. C prefers the nuzzling that involves bringing our two heads together.  I love it.  It’s maybe my favorite form of affection.

Though I enjoy the feeling of C’s little arms wrapped around me or the strange way he rubs my forearm as he’s falling asleep.  When C rests his head on my shoulder, there are times I think I may melt into a puddle of love and happiness.  But there is something about bringing our heads together into a nuzzle or a bump that answer a call deep in my heart.  There is something very instinctive about it, something that defines it as soothing to the soul.

It can be seen everywhere from wild animals on the savannah to the traditional greeting of the Maori (called Hongi) to happy parents and children everywhere.

In my opinion, the Hongi, which requires the participants to touch noses together, best captures the wonder of this gesture in that it is specifically meant to share “the breath of life.”  As the participants press their heads and noses together their breath is intermingled, mixing the essence of each together until they are inseparable.  I think this must be why it is such a universal, and such a universally enjoyable, expression of affection as we all long to express our unity with those we love.

Cheetahs nuzzle, but they're too fast to catch in the act of the head bump!

Lions in love

Children saying hello, though one looks more satisfied than the other.

Generational greeting

Mama and Baby Nuzzling

So why bring this up, other than the fact that it’s adorable?  Because for the last week or so, C has really amped up his nuzzling.  It has gone from the occasional Hongi to a full-fledged rubbing of his head and face all over mine.  It’s laughable and adorable all at once.

Take today, for example.  As I was attempting to talk to my real estate agent about showings for the week, my shy boy spent the entire conversation rubbing the top of his head all over my face, under my chin, and into my collar-bone.  C didn’t want to interact with the real estate agent, nor did he, apparently, want me to.  And though I really did want to have an important conversation with my agent, I swept into the moment of this overwhelming display of affection that I simply lost track of what she was saying.

Rather than try to pick it up again, I bent my forehead to meet my son’s.  I closed my eyes and took one very long, deep breath in and out, savoring the moment, drinking in his sweet breath.

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After much debate, a lot of nail-biting, some snarky comments, and finally an agreement, we’ve decided to sell our house.  Hurrah…?

This was a seriously agonizing decision.  We went back and forth.  Should we? Shouldn’t we?  How much of our original down payment will we lose?  How much house will we gain by buying at a down swing price?  How much better will our lives be closer to friends and family? How much less will we see each other now that BA has to drive an hour each way to work? How much money will we have left over after all of this?

Ugh! Money!  Money money money! I am so sick and tired of talking, worrying, thinking about money!

I just want to be Ms Rumphius (plus a husband, a baby, and a couple of dogs).  She gets to travel, be a librarian, and live by the sea!! She has my dream life!

This could be me (but replace the cat with a dog and maybe a child)

No one ever talks about money in her book.  They talk about how nice she is to little children who like stories and the beautiful flowers she plants all over her seaside town, making the world a more beautiful place.

I want to talk about those things instead of mortgages, down payments, APRs!

Unfortunately for me  (and because I need to get out of LA and my isolation before I lose my mind so I can’t wait for BA’s project to end) I’m going to be doing the majority of the legwork on this whole “sell the house and move” situation.  So I’m going to be thinking, dreaming, speaking about money for the next few months.

But here is how I’ll console myself: I’m going to look for a house by the ocean.  Maybe it won’t have ocean views, maybe not even sunset views, but I’m going to be able to feel the cool sea breeze at dusk when I step outside.  I’m going to find a house where I can smell the ocean from my kitchen window.  It may not be the same as greeting the dazzling blue of the water every morning, but it’s one step closer to being Miss Rumphius. And that’s good enough for now.

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When of the horrible upsides of my recent aggravation is weight loss.  I’m not yet to my weight goal, but I’m inching ever closer, in part thanks to my anxiety and psuedo-single parenthood (it’s hard to eat a whole meal when your baby is a fast eater and immediately wants to get down as soon as he finishes).  I have about 12 lbs of my final 15 to go.

Many mornings I curse the scale as it stubbornly insists on showing me yesterday’s weight, or last week’s weight.  Argh!  Why won’t you show the numbers going down?  Why do you hate me?  Sometimes you taunt me by going down to the smaller number and then going back up with a final flicker.  That is just cruel!!

So today, as I stood on the scale and read Tuesday’s weight (boo) I said a few choice words under my breath and then chased my son away from the dog’s water bowl.  It slipped my mind that I wasn’t actually sporting my lower weight as I later got dressed and in searching for something to wear to the aquarium, I unhesitatingly pulled out a skirt from the back of my closet.  It was perfect for the aquarium in a very kitschy kind of way: a bright orange knee-length skirt with a school of white fish swimming across it.  Yay! What else would I wear to an aquarium?  (I also made C wear a shirt with Dr. Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish on it because, yes, I am that cool.)

Before I put it on I didn’t even think about its size or the last time I wore it.  I was just too excited to exhibit my nerdiness in a very bright orange skirt.  Just as I zipped it up I realized that I hadn’t worn the skirt in roughly four years! FOUR YEARS!!!!

I’ll admit it, I did a little happy dance in the closet.

Hurrah!!  The scale may not show it, but at least my clothes are.  And just like that, I felt a little better.

Sometimes it’s the little things, you know?

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I am keenly aware that I have only been writing sporadically these last few weeks.  And while some of it has been due to time constraints, busy schedules, sick dogs and babies, some of it has been a conscious decision not to write.

I’ve been having a rough go of it lately and I hated the thought of turning this blog into a complaining, whining mess.

Honestly, I also think that I didn’t want to go airing my dirty laundry in front of the whole internet.  It’s funny to complain about the trials and tribulations of motherhood, but when those trials stray into grown-up relationships, suddenly the room gets quite and everyone is uncomfortable.

I didn’t want to do that to you, dear reader, nor did I want to elicit any type of pity from you.  The last thing I wanted to hear was “oh, poor Erin”.  That, frankly, sucks.  So I chose to keep quiet instead.

Maybe this was a good decision, maybe not.

Part of my problem, right now, is how isolated I am, not merely because of the nature of stay-at-home-motherhood, but because my husband is very literally not home 90% of the time.  And no, I can’t get a hold of him at work.  And no, he doesn’t have time for emails or text messages.  And when he happens to be home that 10% of the time, he is sleeping (as he should having just worked an average 18 hour day).

Perhaps I should have spoken up.  Perhaps one of you would have some practical, helpful advice on living with a ghost of a husband.

When month after month of this type of absence and neglect begins to weigh down on me, it’s hard to remain chipper.  My stories become tainted by bitterness, by loneliness.  Not something I wanted for my blog.

So I’ve chosen the path of sporadic posting and, mostly, silence.

You’ll have to bear with me a bit, dear reader, until I can find my voice again.  I’ll stock away anything I find as funny, amusing, related to parenthood, but until this dark cloud lifts I’m not in a place to be entertaining.

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