Thursday, June 24, 2010

So today was a little better, but I'm looking forward to the day when things are a lot better. My sanity is still a little precarious. Tomorrow we're going to Fernbank with some friends to see the gecko exhibit, so that's fun. Even when I'm feeling frustrated with Nora, there are things that she says and does that are so sweet, so precious. That helps, a lot. Even when she's woken the baby for the third time.

Yesterday something happened and I'm pretty sure I've never related to my own mother so much. She was always complaining about how we would follow her into the bathroom. I never saw what the big deal was--I mean, what's a little togetherness between a girl and her mom?--until I became a mother myself. Nora followed me into the bathroom.

"Can I have a little privacy?" I asked.

"Sure," she said enthusiastically. "I'll just go right over here." Right over here being, you know, 6 inches away from me with her standing in the tub, hiding behind the shower curtain. So private! Then she wanted me to play a game where I guess "for a long time!" (meaning I wasn't supposed to guess it was her right away) who was hiding behind the shower curtain. How many moms get behind-the-shower-curtain trivia while trying to use the restroom? I'm a lucky lady.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Everything on this blog is usually all nicey nice. Why? Because the original point of the blog was to update people on the general goings-on of our lives. Now, even though I have given the link to members of both families, I don't think anyone reads it, but if you do, give me a shout out. :)

The other reason everything is pretty nice here is that I don't have a lot to complain about. Do I have angst sometimes? Sure. But I've had a angsty blog before, and after a while I started to feel like I was spinning my wheels. My angst is about pretty mundane things. I worry about my weight, about money, real estate, the occasional spat with my husband, and sometimes I have an "I've had it up to here!" moment with my three year old. But it's usually not interesting enough to write about.

I don't want people to think I'm giving an overly rosy point of view, though. I have hard days. I've had a lot of them recently.

The first four months of having two kids have been pretty smooth sailing. It's weird--a lot of the things I worried about have not come to pass, and some things are even better than expected. Nora has dealt pretty well with having to occasionally wait her turn for things. Anneliese is a pretty easygoing baby. The house may be something of a wreck for now, but the walls aren't falling down around our ears. Nora really loves Anneliese and wants to play with her a lot. They'll pass a good amount of time giggling and cooing at each other on Anneliese's playmat or on my bed. Sometimes, when Anneliese crying, I can even get Nora to amuse her while I quickly do a needed task like change the laundry over, although I do remember a recent afternoon when I tried desperately to cram a salad down my throat imploring Nora, "Play with her. Talk to her. Come on, please! Just let me have these three more bites!" as the baby's cries escalated (and I finally had to give up my salad).

Recently, though, Nora has stopped napping. I'm not sure what to make of that. She's almost four and I know friends whose kids have stopped napping at much earlier ages. I have even thought a few times Nora was going to give up napping. She seems to demonstrate that she really needs a nap, though. She has been acting out more. If we stay home, we fight--which I hate. I'm having to get more creative with discipline and I'm never sure if I am doing the right thing, although honest to goodness I know I am doing the best I can and I feel really good about that. Most of the time. We have been getting out a fair amount, possibly not enough, but I don't feel very motivated to take out a child who won't behave, and thus the cycle continues. Must find balance. In the past, I've let her play quietly in her room as a good alternative to actual sleeping, but lately that hasn't been working. Lately, there has been a lot of screaming. Hers, not mine. If it's not waking the baby (which it does sometimes), at the very least it has me figuratively digging my nails into my palm and banging my head against the wall. There comes a time when the baby gets up for good and Nora comes out of her room from the psuedo-nap and I fantasize about digging a hole to China. By the time Jason gets home, I am usually trembling with anticipation. Not figuratively.

This has been going on for about a week. Typing it out feels good. It reminds me of other times in my motherhood when I've been frustrated with Nora's behavior, my parenting, or a combination of the two. I just had a memory of when Nora herself was four months old, Anneliese's age. Those were some tough days, too, which is funny to think about because sometimes I think that Anneliese on her own would be so easy to take care of. Nora needed a lot of holding, a lot of attention at that age. I knew that giving her that love and attention was the right thing to do, but it was an adjustment. There were days I felt like she sucked the energy, the spirit right out of me. I am not sure if I will ever be one hundred percent used to having people who need me as much as small children need their mothers. But there have been so many more days that she has lifted me up and I have gotten the biggest high, the most pleasure just from being around her. Most of the time I don't think of Nora as a difficult child (I hate that term, anyway), but she has definitely challenged me a lot over the years. In the big picture sense, I like the challenge. I think it has helped me grow in a lot of ways and do things that I never thought I could do. Still, though. Sometimes there are days, or weeks. Weeks like this last one. Whew.

Feeling better has come incrementally. When Jason got home, I handed Anneliese to him and I retreated to my bedroom for about thirty minutes to catch up with my internets and flip through Atlanta Magazine. Then it was time to get dinner ready, and everything got really crazy and chaotic for... several hours... and that was tough. I stole 10 minutes to wrap up some packages in private and came back feeling more sedate. Finally, I let Jason put Nora to bed (God bless him) and I went to the post office and to Starbucks. I hit the Starbucks in Toco Hills about 3 minutes before they closed. As I handed the cashier my credit card the employee said, "Taking a break from baby duty?" I laughed and said, "How did you know? I must just have that look." It was either my unbrushed hair, my decade-old sweatpants, or the two carseats in the back of the car. Probably a combination of the three.

Typing this helped me feel better. Now, the kitchen awaits. It is 1:47 am.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Best Friends Forever Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I usually find Weiner's books to be well-written, if light reading. I was disappointed with this book. I thought the characterization was weak and it involved some major suspension of disbelief with no pay-off in the end. If this book had been written with more realism and less comedy I may have enjoyed it more depending on the execution.

View all my reviews >>

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Today we picked our first ripe cherry tomato. And another that wasn't quite ripe, but nevermind that.


That one on the left, we cut it up with a knife and each of us had a bite. Yes, it's a cherry, so the bites were small. But yum. Is it because of our gardening prowess (ha HA) or our gardening pride that it tasted sooooo good?

I tried Anneliese out in a back carry with my wrap.


It was kind of wrong; there was a part that was supposed to be tied under my arms and it was over. But whatever; it was secure enough for the few minutes I wore her that way (just out to putter in the garden a little bit). As a seasoned "babywearer" it's probably a faux pas to admit that I SUCK at back carries and will probably never be able to wrap her on my back all by myself. Maybe when she gets to be a toddler. We'll see. I understand how it works and the technique, but the fact is that I'm not very flexible, so it's very difficult for me to secure the baby and do the motions I need to do to wrap her correctly. I hope I'm wrong because I'm really digging the wraps this time around, but if I can't get it down I can always wear her on my back in an Ergo or bEco.

I guess I haven't mentioned this, but Nora is learning to read. This is something that we're working on together and we started about three weeks ago. She's known the sounds of letters for about a year now and has been trying to sound out/spell words with some success. I decided to try a learn-at-home program with her just to see if she was interested. I have a short attention span, myself, and knew I couldn't stick with it if she wasn't really into it. But is she into it? She is very into it. I'd thought for a while that she was on the cusp and with a little help she could make a leap and be reading. We're using a book and each lesson is about ten minutes long. She asks to do the lessons and lately has been wanting to do two a night, she's so eager. We do the little exercises and she stops in between and exclaims, "I'm learning to read, Mommy! I'm learning to read!"

Tonight she read two sentences, "Sam is mad at me" and "That rat is sad." I am so excited for her. Watching my little girl learn how to read is something I've dreamed of my whole life, because reading is so important to me. I don't read as much as I used to (well, I read a lot on the internet, which is more of a "junk food" form of reading it seems), but learning to read was definitely a huge, life-changing event for me. I was the girl who read the back of the cereal box, the local paper, and all my grandmama's women's magazines, cover to cover. I lived for the days the teacher got the Scholastic or Troll books delivery. I enjoyed the light reading of the day--Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, the Baby-Sitters's Club (The Truth About Stacey ... is that she has diabetes!) and I also loved some classic children's lit, like The Secret Garden, Little Women, Charlotte's Web (oh, my beloved E. B. White!). I just realized that soon Nora will be ready for the Carolyn Haywood books and I practically squeed. Reading has been more than a way for me to pass my time and expand my mind. Reading has been a great friend to me. Books were there for me in school, on the bus or at lunchtime when I didn't have somebody to sit with. They provided an escape from family conflict and a way to quiet my mind when I was scared or bored or just overwhelmed with my own thoughts.

So this is a great time for both of us. Nora is so excited, and I am, too. Mostly though, I just love Nora. I love the person she is. I love her cleverness, her kindness, and her loving spirit. I love her fearlessness. I love that we have shared interests, like literature. It's great to see that she's like me in some ways, but I also appreciate all the ways we're different, like her beautiful confidence and her outgoing nature.

Love. My. Life.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sweet Anneliese Joy

Anneliese is so sweet these days. She's happy, smiling, and really into grabbing her feet. She wakes up after I release her from her swaddle (if she hasn't released herself--the only one she can't bust out of is the Woombie), lies in bed giggling for a while. She kicks so vigorously sometimes I'll come back and find her in a position 45 or 90 degrees different from where I left her.


In some ways I'm in such a hurry for her to get older so I can talk to her, see what makes her tick, develop that side of the mother-daughter relationship that I love so much. But I have to remind myself--what's the rush? She'll get there eventually, but the joy of having an almost 4 month old is short-lived. She changes every single day! How is it possible? One of my favorite moments with her is when she falls asleep nursing and I get up to put her in bed. Her soft little body curls against my arm, her neck snuggling my elbow. She is still so light in my arms.

Was gonna tell you some Nora stuff, but I'm still in that phase of motherhood where good hygiene is a "luxury," so I need to grab a shower.