Monday, September 27, 2010

Journal Entry, September 27

I woke up this morning and it was still a bit dark. My belly was rumbling a bit, but I couldn't decide if it was worth it to wake up. So I stretched, and rolled and tried to get comfortable again. Around this time, the door opens and in comes mommy. I rub my eyes and stretch again. She picks me up, and lays me right back down somewhere else! This is not a good thing... and I'm going to let her know it. But before I know it, I'm dry and being snuggled and carried away. Next thing I know, I'm on my back again. As I open my mouth to protest... ah, milk! I start to think of all the great things I'm going to do today: grab the kitty, tackle the puppy, fuss a bit... um... hard to think... hard to stay. awake.

I wake up again and see my friends above my head. Polar bear, lion, whale, monkey, turtle... They aren't singing to me this time, but I'm happy to see them nonetheless. I'm not terribly hungry, but I could use a snack. I think my toes will tide me over. I grab them and nibble, rolling over in the process. I practice crawling a bit, roll over a few times, talk to my feet and my hands. Mommy comes in and says what she does every morning with a big smile. I don't understand it, but it sounds like "wakey wakey eggs and bakey." I get changed into different clothes, which I don't mind except for putting my right arm in my sleeve. For some reason this makes me mad every single morning. I hear birdies behind me and when I twist around to see them, mommy makes me lay flat again. I don't get to do ANYTHING fun.

It's later in the day and I'm standing up in my blue room. The one that has fishes on it, toys in it, and walls short enough for me to hold onto when I stand. I'm getting good at moving my hands around the edges and scooting my feet so I can follow the kitty or the puppy when they walk through the big room. Just when things are comfortable, I see that mommy is walking away from me. HOW DARE SHE! COME BACK! COOOOME BAAAACK! Fine, we'll get really really loud. GET BACK HERE WOMAN!!! I'm two feet tall and stuck in a stretchy blue box and she thinks she can leave me and walk a few feet away??!! I'M SO ANGRY!! I'M SO... uh oh, losing my grip... one hand down... can't... hold... on... aaaahhhhh! NOW I'M REALLY REALLY MAD! I'M ON MY BACK! Okay, so I'm not hurt, but I'm VERY VERY ANGRY! When she comes in and picks me up, I do realize that not much time has passed, but when it was happening, it seemed like hours and hours. Now that I got what I wanted and she's holding me, I realize I can't let her off the hook so easily... so I fuss a bit more. Then I calm down and just when she thinks all is well with the world, I slowly reach up and grab the back of her hair and pull as hard as I possibly can. I loooove the funny faces she makes when I do this!

Later in the day, its time to take a drive through the neighborhood. Mom has to walk, but I have the best seat in the house. I get to roll along in front, I can still reach my feet, and if anyone passes by they always pay lots of attention to me. I look at the trees, the bugs, the birds, and sometimes I get to see the water. When we get back home, if the puppy hasn't gone with us, he is so happy to see me! I talk to him through the glass door and tell him that I missed him too, that I think its funny when he bounces around like that, and that I'd really like to chew on his tail if he wouldn't mind. Mom won't let me though.

Towards the end of the day, I get to play on the big spare bed. I've got a bunch of toys there, and it's fun to practice my crawling. When my hands and knees betray me it doesn't hurt my belly to fall. So I try over and over again. Mom hangs out with me, and when I'm done practicing she lets me crawl on her and pull myself up. Then we make faces at each other in the mirror and if I'm in a good mood, she tickles me and growls at me and chews on my belly and I giggle and giggle and giggle. When I laugh, she laughs too which makes me laugh even more.

Finally I'm getting sleepy, so mommy uses the nice smelling lotion and puts me in my jammies. I act like I don't like this... I push her hands away while she tries to snap me up, but I think my feet taste better when they look like puppies or monkeys or bears. We play on the floor with daddy (who is the BEST!) until I get sleepy. Then I get to eat a gigantic bottle and snuggle with mommy in the rocker until I fall asleep. I love this time of day most times. Mommy takes me and puts me in my bed so I can have another adventure tomorrow.

Maybe then the puppy will finally let me chew on his tail.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Give and Take

Today is Alex's 6 month birthday. It's been an interesting journey on the other side of "you don't really get it 'til you've been there." Well, I'm here. It's amazing the little things that you notice suddenly when you have a baby. There's an entire microcosm that only a parent understands. These little bits that come and go in the blink of an eye.

Because of all the parents that have told me that the first year goes remarkably quick, I've truly tried not to take anything for granted. I make a very conscious effort not to wish a moment away just because it is difficult. That in and of itself is a difficult thing. Your mind cannot help but go straight to "when we get past 'this' phase or 'that' one" when you hit the difficult spots in the road. To those readers who are not parents and don't understand the heart wrenching work of parenting, this will be a very abstract statement. To those who have been there, or are going through it as I write, you will nod your head with the knowledge that it's so so easy to wish away the rough spots. But you always have to remember that with every bad moment you wish would rush past, there is a beautiful simple one that goes with it.

Dennis and I recently realized that it was time for Alex to go from his bassinet to his crib. It was incredibly bittersweet for this step to take place. On the one hand, I needed to sleep better. With Alex in his bassinet next to the bed, I would wake up with every little movement. But on the other hand, this was a milestone that was kind of hard to swallow. My baby was going to sleep in his own room. He didn't need me to be right next to him at all times. It was a subtle reminder that time does in fact speed by.

As of a week or so ago, he also learned to sit up by himself. He's becoming more independent by tiny (baby) steps. He'll be ready to crawl very very soon. Along with this is a fiercely pushy baby. Suddenly, there's a little ego-centric temper to deal with. If he doesn't want to be held a certain way, he arches his back so hard it's tough to keep him from flipping out of my arms. If he doesn't want to fall asleep, despite all the signs of a very tired baby, he'll grab any piece of skin on my body he can reach and dig his nails in. He pulls hair, slaps my arms, scratches and gnaws. He doesn't understand boundaries or "ouch!" He gets bored very very easily. Yet I would not wish any of this away. For every difficult trait, he has an endearing one, or is learning something completely invaluable. Not just sitting up or sleeping solo, he is starting to connect words with objects. He knows his name, he knows the kitties and Roscoe by word. He's starting to look at the toys he has when I call them by name. He giggles with absolute abandon at being tickled, surprised or when his daddy plays peek a boo over the back of the couch with him.

Soon he will be crawling away from me. He'll have teeth and opinions and even more personality than he does now. I look forward to all of these things, but I don't wish the future here any more than I want the past back. For every little thing you wish away, you give away something precious.

From the beginning to now:

Friday, September 3, 2010

(clothes)Line of Credit

Being the savvy financier that I am (read: cheeeeeap) I'm a fan of finding ways to cut back costs. A recent electric bill caused both my husband and I to consider keeping defibrillator paddles near the desk where we open our bills. It was outrageous! I immediately started to rack my brain for ways to save some dough on our electricity. We're pretty good about turning lights off and have started to convert high usage lights to high efficiency bulbs. That being said, drastic measures were in order. I realized that while this summer has been pretty brutal, my pansy ass had gotten way to comfortable using the AC while living in Florida. Growing up, we had a nice house with lots of windows, and no air conditioning. Where there nights that were sweaty and somewhat uncomfortable? Sure. But it was nothing that a fan and liberal application of cornstarch before bed couldn't cure. So I resolved myself to not use the AC anymore unless the temperature was going to be higher than 95 for at least 4 days in a row according to the forecast. And this was more for Alex's sake, as he gets pretty cranky in high heat. Anything less than 4 days and we could either sweat it out or go to locations that have the AC on. The trade off is that all the fans stay on most of the time to keep the air circulating. I have this crazy feeling that the energy used on fans may be a bit smaller that running AC to cool an entire house with an attic and basement crawl space. Luckily, the two rooms we use the most; the living room and the master bedroom, have nice new Hunter Douglas fans. They run quiet and spin fast enough to lift a helicopter off the pad.

The other rooms have fans as well, but those two are the Cadillac fans of the house.

Another way to save money and cool off is to take a dip in our fancy new 6' pool. That would be 6' across, not deep. It folds up very nicely and you don't have to fill it with air, so it's a winner. It's just deep enough for Alex to stand up in to his belly, so I get pretty cool when I sit in it with him. For days when we don't get a chance to go to my mom's pool, it's a nice treat. You just have to remember to fill it up with the hose in the morning so its not absolutely frigid by the time we get in.

Alex loves to get in and splash his hands on the surface of the water or lean back on mom and kick his legs. His favorite is to be held up in the standing position so he can jump up and down.

Another dramatic cut into the electric bill cost less than $10 to get set up. The last time we went to the grocery store I purchased fresh line and 100 wooden clothes pins. Don't get me wrong, I love my new washer and dryer. They are energy star appliances but with as much laundry as I do, it just made sense to hang the laundry out for free on those hot uncomfortable days. I strung the new line, converted a pillowcase into a pin bag and headed out with my basket full of water heavy clothes. I used 2 pins on each item and hung one line at a time the first time, but then I started to remember watching my old babysitter, Charmaine David hanging clothes. With economy of motion, she would grab a handful of pins and used 3 pins to every 2 pieces and daisy chain a third of the way down the back line. Then the middle line, and the front. There is something cathartic about hanging clothes out to dry and being good at it. It's a basic basic thing that just feels good. My clothes smelled great, my towels and sheets were a bit "summer line dried" crunchy and Alex's cloth diapers got a little sunbleaching action. I'm getting good at pulling the items back off and bagging the pins quickly. My bed smells like summer. So what started as a means to save some money has put a silly little spring in my step by repeating the basic natural process of many many laundresses before me.