Wednesday, March 30, 2005
It's a good thing...
... that there are no 24-hour baby markets in town, because lately between about 1-2 a.m. I would have impulsively sold Jacob at the first opportunity. I would have regretted it the next morning, but I'm not at my best in the middle of the night with his latest antics. I don't think I'm at *anybody's* best at that time...

It's not the amount of sleep that's a problem - he goes to sleep about 7:30 or 8, sleeps till 1 or 2, and then once we get him back to sleep he's usually down until 7 or so, so that's not bad. What's bad is the fact that when he wakes up at 1, he is WIDE AWAKE and wants to play - and if we don't want to play, he screams.

And screams. And screams. And screams.

I would be perfectly willing to let him cry it out. He just has far more tolerance than I do... in this particular little battle of wills, he can way outlast me. So we keep going in and checking on him, snuggling him until he's calm (which, once we pick him up, takes about 4.3 seconds) and laying him back down again. He screams on the way back down to the crib and continues to scream the whole time until my husband or I go back in again a few minutes later. I'll nurse him, that makes him happy in the moment, then he screams again as soon as he's done. I don't think he's in pain, though he is teething - I don't know what it is.

It's been about 2 weeks of this. On top of my gastroenteritis last week, which I am just now starting to recover from, and the fact that both of my sisters are here visiting and they both have it now so I've been constantly caretaking for *someone* at all times over the past week, and my PPD, and the regular chaos which is my life, it's just starting to push me to the breaking point. Last night my husband and I got into a sniping match at 2:30, after an hour's worth of screaming by Jacob, and then when he finally fell asleep right after that my husband decided he wanted to stay awake and talk out all our problems then and there... which, in the long run, I'm sure is a good idea, we needed to talk some things out and I think that, despite the oddness of the house, we really had each other's attention and heard each other's side, but man oh man, I'm operating on a grand total, broken up, of 4 hours of sleep.

Sure hope no door-to-door baby buyers show up today...
Friday, March 18, 2005
What is IN that boy's milk?
Jacob has a new trick. It is amazing, astounding, mind-boggling. We're considering getting him an agent to properly showcase this talent. Wanna know what it is? He holds his hand in front of his face, opens it wide, then makes a fist, repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat. Not fast like waving - more like he's stoned out of his gourd and can't figure out whose hand that is, but it sure is neat. If you do the same thing to him, he'll laugh out loud. This whole motor control thing is apparently high-concept humor in babyland. Such a silly creature.

He is also blown away by running water of any sort. If I set him up in the tub with the faucet running, full-blast or bladder-clenching trickle, he's happy for hours. We went to a park yesterday with a little waterfall, he nearly gave himself whiplash trying to keep an eye on that sucker.

In other matters, we are still on the Do Not Call list, as far as my mother-in-law is concerned. I'm sure she thinks she's punishing us, but it actually has been a really nice, quiet couple of months. She did call the other night, to remind my husband that he should call his brother on his birthday (it is going to be such a SHOCK to this woman when she realizes that her kids aren't 4 anymore... they're 29 and 27, and she still buys gifts for them and signs their brother's name to it - like that's going to be the magical solution that suddenly makes the family get along). During her phone call, she whined for a while about how tired she is of the nice weather in Florida, how bored she's getting just going to the beach and swimming and riding her horse every day, and how she thinks she might decide to go back to work one day a week after her 4-month vacation is over so that she'll have some more human companionship. First of all, I think I deserve a pat on the back for not inviting her to BITE ME. ANd secondly, she works as a recovery room nurse, so most of her patients are unconscious or drugged to the gills... not exactly stimulating conversationalists. I know, I've been a patient in a recovery room, when I'm on that stretcher the LAST thing I care about is whether I'm fulfilling my nurse's social needs. And, I know too that she has coworkers, but I'm not trying to be fair here, okay?

I think it's inevitable that she'll come out for Emily's birthday party next month. Fine. It's time for me to rack up a few new horror stories, anyway.

There goes Jacob, my fat, kissable little alarm clock. Must go wave slowly at him...
Monday, March 14, 2005
I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.
I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.
So it snowed this weekend.


A lot.

Know how I know? Because we left our house here at 8:00 a.m. Saturday to make the 90-ish mile drive to start our house search. And three hours later, we made it. It snowed the whole way, and we've had enough heavy snowstorms this season that we have exhausted the snowplow and salt budget. Yes, seriously. My thinking would be, let's pay for some extra plowing and maybe forego an extra fireworks display or something, but apparently that's just madness - fireworks are IMPORTANT, after all. So we skidded, and slipped, and slid, and generally had a long, sphincter-clenching drive - but made it in one piece.

So, then, being idiots, we decided to stick with the original schedule, and we viewed 10 different houses through the day. By the end of that, I could barely make both of my eyes point in the same direction, much less form a coherent opinion about my potential home. We were at least smart enough not to impulsively buy something - we have 3 months, lots of time to (hopefully) make a reasonably intelligent decision. Or, as was the case in our current house, stumble upon a place by sheer dumb luck. Whatever.

Emily stayed with friends for the day. I am so, so glad she did. I love her to itty bitty pieces, and I would feel so bad if I had had to leave her in some stranger's house somewhere along the way. She's a good kid, but I would guess that her house-visiting limit falls somewhat lower than 10 in a day, and I shudder to think of the meltdowns we avoided. She would have fallen in love with the house that had the freakishly large fluorescent plastic butterflies affixed to every available wall and window, and would not have cared that (1) the current owners would probably take the butterflies with them, (2) if they didn't, I would take them down and burn them and consider that my gift to humanity, and (3) that house had apparently not been cleaned in, conservatively, 25 years.

And Jacob was such a good little trouper, he only had one crying episode when we were in the car and couldn't stop, and other than that he coped very well with the truly bizarre ritual of: get strapped in the carseat, drive for 10 minutes, get excited because here comes Mama!, snuggle with Mama, go into some stranger's house, walk around and look at weird rooms but don't play with any of the toys, get passed off between Mama and Dada while they take turns checking out basements and attics, blow raspberries at strangers' pets, go back out into the snowstorm, get strapped back into the carseat, repeat process.

There are a lot of things that must seem just so odd to babies. Getting the mail, for instance - ours is delivered to the front door, so once a day we wander to the door, open it, close it, and go on with our day. Or going to the bathroom. Every so often we get up off the couch or living room floor, wander into this other room with the echoes, sit there while Mama sits on the big white thing, and then we go on with our day.

So anyway, we made it through our day, and after the 3-hour drive home, it took me another half hour to make it the 5 miles to our friends' house to pick up Emily. She babbled a million miles an hour on the way home - partly out of sheer excitement and fun, and partly because if she stopped talking she would have fallen instantly asleep. We got her home and gently lobbed her in the general direction of her room, and she passed out mid-sentence. We collapsed soon after.

At 3:02, I heard a whimper from Emily's room, followed by, "Mommy? I think I just threw up." Now, think about it. Have you ever in your life been uncertain about that? Kids are so weird. But lo and behold, her suspicions were correct, so we got to go through the middle-of-the-night shower and new sheets routine. I got to make several trips between her room and the kitchen garbage can with little bags o' joy - I would line her bedroom garbage pail with a plastic bag, she would immediately fill it, lather, rinse, repeat.

She's all better now - was fine by noon on Sunday - and I'm pretty well recovered from the weekend as well. It's not supposed to snow again this week... but just in case, anybody got a guest room for me and Jacob? I swear I'll be driving straight south with a maniacal grin at the first sign of snow. I'll even get Jacob to blow raspberries at your dog.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
R-r-r-r-ico... G-r-r-r-r-ande...
R-r-r-rico.... Grande...
Anybody else remember that terrible 90's song, "Rico Suave," or is that a little bit of cheesiness unique to my brain? Seriously, seriously cheesy song - so bad that if you're lactose intolerant you can't listen to it... and yet I would still blast it if it came on the radio today! Anyway...

I have a few moments, since Jacob is asleep but expected awake soon, and Emily is watching "Pinocchio." Which is, conservatively, 7 hours long. I don't remember it being that long when I was a child, but there ya go. I guess it's the inverse of the way summer vacations used to seem endless and now they're only about 20 minutes long. So I thought I'd stop in and babble for a bit.

The title is in reference to the fact that Jacob has apparently tapped into an unexpected Latino vein of his heritage, as his new favorite trick is to roll his tongue constantly. It's not gargling, either - it's a really good rendition of a Spanish "R" sound. I can't make it, myself, and neither can Emily, but Willem and Jacob can. Maybe it's one of those rare Y-chromosome traits. In any case, it's pretty cute.

It's been a blast watching Jacob get more interactive and less lumplike. He will happily play by himself on the floor for upwards of half an hour, which is a godsend given how clean I need to keep the house now that it's on the market. And we've stumbled upon a few little tricks that make him happy. For instance, he LOVES being walked toward the stairs. Stumped me for several days - did he just like the impending change in altitude? liked the hanging-over-a-precipice feeling? is a fiend for laundry? And then I realized that we have several 8x10's of Emily along the stairs, with the bottom one being the most recent - and as we walk towards that, Jacob gets very excited, with the flailing and the squealing and the wiggling and the kicking. He just adores his big sister, serious worship happening already. It'll be so weird when they start irritating each other, since they get along so sweetly right now.

Another Jacob-soothing method is - not kidding - trimming his fingernails. I don't know if I have a very short metrosexual on my hands, or if the possibility that the end of his finger could get pinched is sort of a daring thrill for him, but he sits right back and holds his fat little hands out for me as soon as I get the clippers out.
He's gotten very into socks just lately, as well. Specifically, pulling them off his pudgy feet. He'll tug and tug and tug - we have a bunch of white-and-gray crew socks which fit him pretty snugly, so it's a challenge to wrench them off - and then they'll fly off with a *pop*. And he'll giggle like a fiend. This is high-concept humor we're talking about here.

Still no crawling or trying to crawl or, as far as I can tell, any awareness that it would be remotely possible for him to move his own body anywhere. He's not lazy, he loves to stand and bounce and bounce and bounce and bounce. But no recognition that he is the one in charge of those legs down there past the diaper. Which is fine by me, we're moving in another 3-4 months, I don't mind not babyproofing this house!

Okay, onto the next pile of laundry. It's a lot of work keeping a house show-ready, I never realized that we lived like frat boys before. Can't wait to sell the place so I can go back to relative slovenliness.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Chaos, chaos everywhere
Chaos, chaos everywhere
Profuse apologies for my absence. It has been sooooooo busy around here lately. (All together now: "How busy was it??") Well, I'll tell ya. Whatcha got here is your basic multi-layer chaos.

At the first layer is the normal, run-of-the-mill, everyday chaos. The stuff that I take for granted will always be here - and, in fact, I hope it will! I forget how to breathe if I'm not running on a certain baseline of stress. So there's the normal household stuff, dishes and laundry and nutrition and personal hygiene. Okay, to be more accurate, it's buying and throwing out paper plates, allowing my 4-year-old to stay in her jammies all day (less laundry AND I look like a Fun Mommy, hooray for appearances!), choosing between mac-and-cheese and pb&fluff, and thinking I should shower more often. Occasionally my husband and I are in the same room at the same time, and sometimes we're even both awake when that happens. Schoolwork is still demanding, although let me tell you, after 11 straight years in college, I have the wickedest case of senioritis EVER.

At the next level is the chaos that is unique to this particular semester. I'm working three part-time jobs. Teaching/TA'ing two classes, supervising an assessment program, and generally feeling way overextended. My husband is teaching 6 classes - 4 at the high school and 2 at the college. Tuesdays and Thursdays he's out of the house from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. So I'm doing a lot more by myself than I'm used to - the kids have been great, but it takes some getting used to. We've had to create a new rule in our house: Only One Person Can Whine At A Time. That includes me and Willem. He's having a hard time adhering to it, but so far the kids are doing great with it. ;)

Then there's the stuff that (KNOCK ON WOOD UNTIL MY KNUCKLES BLEED) will only happen once every few years, or only maybe once at all. Like, yesterday we listed our house for sale, and I've spent every "spare" moment in the past few weeks working various body parts right off trying to get it clean enough to show to strangers without mortal embarrassment. We'll start house-shopping next weekend. I'm still swimming through a really unpleasant case of PPD (are there pleasant cases?). I’m constantly struggling with whether to get on meds (and stop breastfeeding) or stick out the year I had wanted to breastfeed because I think that this is heavily hormonal and once I stop nursing I'll start to feel better - and I also think it's stress and once I get to the summer a lot of my other stuff will be done and I'll feel better - and I also think it's loneliness and this summer my husband will be around a LOT more and I'll feel better... is it obvious what my choice is for now? And my parents are divorcing - acrimoniously - after 29 years of marriage. And we'll be losing health insurance in 5 months. And so on...

So, mostly, I'm okay. But very frazzled and very busy. I wish I could stop in and at least lurk if not participate more, but I haven't even logged onto the board in a few days. I'm hoping things ease up a bit this month... where I take classes and where I teach both have spring break this month, that should help.