Thursday, September 30, 2004
Welcome to the Shower
Let me preface this with the fact that for the first several weeks of Jacob's life, passers-by might have believed that we were partaking in ritualistic torture two or three times a week. Were we dipping our child in bioling oil or poking him with pins? No, no, this was far worse - we were giving him a nice, warm, bubbly bath. Can you IMAGINE the indignity? Oh, that boy would scream and scream, he'd get all red in the face and would breathe in that pathetic hitched-gaspy sort of way for hours afterward. It got to the point where we just gave him baths on the evenings when he was fussy anyway - why have two crying spells when one will do? (And he was usually so relieved to have the bath finished that he'd stop fussing about whatever else had been bothering him!)

So today I was home alone with both kids, and Jacob had one of those poop incidents that non-parents think we're making up if we try and describe them. All up the back, down both legs, THROUGH the diaper in spots, entirely destroyed his outfit and the pad for his bouncy seat is currently drying out on the deck. My daughter was happily immersed in the fascinating world of Blue's Clues for the moment, so at least she didn't get involved in this little drama.

I get Jacob up on the changing table and strip him down - that is, I peeeeeeeeled his outfit off him and threw it directly in the garbage, there is no amount of soap gonna save that sucker. And I'm standing there looking at this poor child covered in poop, and I just didn't have the heart to rub him down with cold baby wipes. (It's not like we keep them in the fridge here, but we're not a wipes-warmer household either.) And an odd thing about my son, something about being naked triggers that panicked, I-think-I'm-going-to-fall reflex that causes all 4 limbs to fly out and makes him screech. He starts to do this, and immediately starts to cry. So I stripped myself down, grabbed a baby towel and washcloth, and lugged us all into the bathroom for a quick shower. I figured it would let me snuggle him past the fright he'd given himself, and maybe I'd be able to at least rinse myself off in the process.

Well, what a success! (What a terrible post this would be if it wasn't a success! All that babbling needs a happy ending!) He quieted right down and just stared at me the whole time, even gave me some sweet baby grins. I was able to completely soap him down, even got his hair washed, and then one-handedly did my own hair, and there was no crying from either of us the whole time!

Big sigh. That's one less fear I can check off my list - he hated baths sooo much I was starting to envision the character Pigpen from Peanuts, and I was really allowing his little thigh creases and fat rolls to get quite linty before I'd subject him to cleanliness.

Plus it was fun!
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Not a total disaster
So it's not something I would recommend to anyone else, but it turns out that spending 16 hours in the car with a 4-year-old and a 7-week-old is not unbearable. Both kids slept a lot, and we planned on having to stop a lot so it wasn't a surprise or a frustration when it happened. And both kids were good while we were there, a few Grandma-induced tantrums by Emily but the poor kid can't help it... she gets so many mixed messages between me having some semblance of discipline and my mother-in-law feeding her lollipops for breakfast.

My in-laws are their typical nightmarish selves. Father-in-law called us fat again - I swear I'm going to pull one of his ears off the next time he asks whether I'm SURE a double bed will be big enough for DH and me. And mother-in-law got on my case for breastfeeding - "You know, it IS kind of selfish... the rest of us could have more time with the baby if you would let him take a bottle." Bite me. And he DOES take a bottle - we brought a bottle of milk with us so that I could go out to breakfast with a friend, but my husband got stupid and gave it to Jacob before I ever left the house, which shortened my time out and let me come home to a screaming baby and an attitudinal mother-in-law. Yay.

But my husband’s grandfather was so happy we came, he cried at one point - and this was for a Navy reunion, so not exactly a tear-friendly kind of gathering! - and that was the whole point. And now I have a 3-week break, then we have to go to Maine to scatter father-in-law's mother's ashes (it took until this weekend for them to arrive from Holland). And I bet that will just be a barrel of monkeys, taking this already messed up family and adding in grieving and ceremony.

Bring on the monkeys!
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Back to School
Yesterday was my first day back in classes... and here we are the next day, still a family of four! We moved here after I got accepted into grad school, so we grabbed a house that's a mile from my school - so I was able to stop back home between classes. My program is unusual in that I only attend classes on Mondays - for 2 1/2 hours a class, three classes on that day. Makes for a very long day but then I have the rest of the week free.

For the first several weeks of this school year, my husband is taking Mondays off to stay home with Jacob - then we're hiring this wonderful, grandmotherly-type woman to come here after that. So yesterday was the first day that Willem was home alone with Jacob for 3 hours, and then with both kids the rest of the day. And I'm sure there were stressful moments, but whenever I came home everyone seemed calm and un-traumatized! (You know you can tell if the baby's been screaming all day, because both baby and husband greet you at the door with looks on their faces like, "I can't believe you made me spend the day with that person!")

Such a relief, I was really worried that this would be an extra source of stress for us all rather than a positive thing. Who knows, it might even help my husband realize that I don't just sit on the couch eating bonbons all day.

Now everyone cross their fingers, toes, legs, and anything else you can cross for me... we're going to my in-laws for the weekend, which has the potential to be an incredibly difficult, trying experience. My mother-in-law is textbook passive-aggressive, and my father-in-law is just a plain old jerk. (The other day, we were talking about staying in hotels, and I said that we typically get rooms with 2 double beds, one for us and one for Emily - and his response was, "Wow, can you and Willem both fit on a double bed?" Now I know that neither of us is petite, but we're not THAT big!!! Putz.)

My goal is to get through the weekend without any permanent scars for myself or my kids. The in-laws, I'm not as concerned about.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
I don't like the big long list of Personal Favorites over there on the sidebar, but I do want to keep all of my posts that I still like now, months later, in one spot. Occurs to me that I can just put 'em all in one post, update that when necessary, and shrink the sidebar considerably. Allowing me to open a Flickr account and have the cool sliding-thingy that I like so much on other blogs, and to list some of those other blogs that I visit.

Thereby opening me to the wrath of friends whose blogs I forget to list, or don't visit, or people who don't like the blogs I like... ahh, I can cope. At least they'll be mad at me for a good reason.


Personal Favorites