Thursday, June 19, 2008

My sweetest day.

Claire told me "I love u" for the first time today. (or for the first time to any human for that matter. oh yes, she already said it to my father's dog who she knew for a whole ten minutes before the coveted words came forth.)

And I cried. Being a mom is hella hard, but man...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Plane rides and Jack Daniels-- Part Deux

With my daughter Lily screaming in the background I truly feel as though I'm writing in the necessary atmosphere to re-create part two of our story. (She's in her crib. Trying to fall asleep. I don't just let them scream for my writing purposes. Usually.)

4 pm-- At the gate and waiting for permission to board. Other passengers are eyeing us suspiciously.

425 pm-- I approach the check-in counter to see if there are any open seats on the plane so that we might bring aboard one or two carseats for the little littles. There is one. But it's because the stewardess who shall not be named moved my husband from his original seat next to me to across the aisle. Something about oxygen masks and two lap kids in the same row. I don't know. What I do know is that they moved my husband across the aisle from us and plunked him down in a MIDDLE seat with an almost two year old. And then the passengers next to him started eyeing him suspiciously. (Rightfully so good friends, rightfully so!)

430 pm-- Our seating arrangement is as follows

Window (Claudia) Middle (Baby seat and Lily) Aisle (Me) -------- Aisle (Poor man who got what he had coming) Middle (Joseph and Claire) Window (Man who is still in therapy)

Joseph and I kept looking at the man who got what he had coming with doe eyes in effort to get him to switch seats, but to no avail. And so... he got what he had coming. He has no one to blame for what transpired but himself. And my child. And maybe the stewardess who shall not be named.

432 pm-- We have already pulled out most of the toys from the bag and Claire is bored with all of them. She wants to run up and down the aisles.

445 pm-- We pull out the dvd player and put on one of her favorite Sesame Street episodes.

446 pm-- Claire apparently hates earphones. Man who got what he had coming hates Claire.

450 pm-- Man who got what he had coming starts ordering JACK DANIEL shots each time the drink cart passes by.

5 pm-- Claire throws a full on fit because Joseph won't let her close the book of the man who is still in therapy.

The next couple of hours are still a bit hazy as I have blocked them from my memory until my mind is in a safe enough place to handle it. Which roughly translated means I probably never will. I do know that Claudia got some type of food poisoning from the chicken/spongy thing she ordered off the "gourmet" menu and that I kept running back to the forbidden land of stewardesses to get more ginger ale, ice, and lemons. (their suggestion. apparently this has happened before.) The people behind me watched bouncing baby head for about two hours and Joseph and Claire well... let's just say the man formerly known as he who got what he had coming changed his name to drunk as a skunk and after four hours we all exited the plane glassy eyed and ten years closer to meeting our maker.

On the way home there were TWO empty seats by us and the girls both rode in their carseats happily for the majority of the ride. Aaaaaah. How about you? Do your littles (or bigs. whatever.) travel better when strapped down? Or do you rely on some other magic ploy?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Planes rides and Jack Daniels--Part I

Just got back from "vacation" ala "the baby tour" and have 234 posts in my google reader. In part this is because I've been gone but mostly it's because my computer has had a VIRUS for two weeks. It's on antibiotics now and is doing much better thank you.

ANYWAY, so I could really talk about fourteen bajillion things for this post. Fun with pack 'n plays, so your toddler's in love with a dog, sleep training--get some!, another anniversary comes and goes, funnest (yes a word. back off) friend in the world--a. this one's for you, or journey into the seventh dimension of hell--four hours on a plane with a toddler and a baby, two seats. DAMN! AND I THINK WE HAVE A WINNER!

Son of a bitch! Now I'd heard from friends (ala read on other blogs) that though you need not buy a seat for humans under two it's recommended that you do so for your sanity and for the sake of the other 459 passengers on the plane. BAH! I said. We'll save $900 dollars if we just hold em on our laps! And so our descent begins. Good Lord.

3 pm-- Arrive at airport with babies and 965 pieces of luggage in tow. Back off Delta man eyeing me suspiciously, we're only checking one per person, the rest are carry-ons.

315 pm-- Approach nuclear x-ray machine with 963 remaining pieces of luggage. Security man eyes me suspiciously.

317 pm-- And so the undressing/disassembling begins. For EVERYONE. Really? Really?! My toddler looks to the be the type hiding bombs in her keds? My ten month old too? Bet that's been a real problem for you in the past. And IT'S FORMULA. You can swipe your bomb swabs over it again and again but it's not going to change the fact that it's not going to explode! Nevermind though, you just keep trying.

345 pm the next day-- Complete metal detector fun.

346 pm-- Notice husband has been detained and guards are searching one of his carry-ons.

346.5 pm-- I approach and explain that I packed all the bags. His included. If there's anything suspicious involved it's my fault. (How dumb am I? When in doubt blame the au pair! Just kidding Claudia. We love you. We'd never let them haul you away for packing those fingernail clippers.)

347 pm-- Man asks me if there's anything sharp in the bag.

347.5 pm-- I'm peeved that we've been here for twenty minutes already and sarcastically joke about the Dr. Seuss books inside and how they could be considered a hazard.

348 pm-- Man pulls out GIGANTIC SHARPENED SHANK from bag. WHAT THE HOLY HELL?

348.2 PM-- I pee myself.

348.7 pm-- Man is embarrassed for me and thinking what detaining room would best suit me and my "carry-ons".

348 pm-- Seriously. This thing was a foot and a half long, looked to be some kind of letter opener slash machete and had ornate carvings all over it. AND I'D NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE IN MY LIFE. Someone slipped a freaking WEAPON (letter opener/machete) into one of our carry-on bags.

349 pm- Frantic non-sensical explanations and profuse sweating ensue.

350 pm-- Security guard eyes me suspiciously AGAIN and then HANDS ME BACK THE WEAPON. Because he didn't think that it could do any "serious damage."

351 pm-- Mouth agape and shoeless I am left speechless at this turn of events. Does guard want me to hijack a plane? Is this some kind of test? Am I being punked?

352 pm-- I Bewilderingly look around for hidden cameras and/or swat team.

353pm-- Take shank and put back into carry-on.

354 pm-- My hand sanitizer was confiscated.

To be continued . . .

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'll take "Are you Insane?!" for 800 Alex

She's crazy. Oh she's still sweet, and fun, and lovable in a million different ways. But crazy. We've entered full blown tantrum mode this past week, which I know is perfectly normal for things her age. But MY WORD. I don't even think SHE knows what she wants but hooboy is she ever willing to hurt herself over it.

When we have "hurts" with the littles they're called "bonks." So if Claire trips and bumps her knee she cries over the "bonk" gets hugged and kissed and we move on. Lately, it seems she's become a little too attached to this process though because there's been a suspicious rise of bonks around the house. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all about luvs and attention whenever I can get it (except at night when I'm tired please don't touch me) but even I realize that there are rules.

Before when Claire went Hiroshima she’d fling her body back full force and bang her head into the ground. Carpet, tile, wood floor, whatever. Now I know that these things aren't the smartest at this age but damn. Time and time again she'd knowingly bash herself about in mad attempt to demonstrate just how deep the rage lied. And then despairingly cry, "BONK!" Right... But you still can't play with the toilet plunger or have the cookies for breakfast. They're mine.

Then she upped the ante. Now when facing dejection she looks me straight in the eye with her tear filled blues and accusingly yells "BONK!" before launching her cranium into the floor. All with the face of "THIS IS GOING TO HURT ME A LOT MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU!" Yes indeedy and WTF?

Now I can't judge her too harshly for this crazy ass behavior because I did much the same thing during my single years in college. In fact head banging might have even been the better solution. But alas. Why?! And how do I make it stop?!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Because love is heroic

After several days of resisting formula Lily worked herself into quite the predicament. And it was painful for her. Twisting and turning, she cried helplessly as her body struggled to rid itself of toxins. We ran out of prune juice last week and running to the store takes time. I stripped her down, placed a diaper and a towel underneath her and gently cycled her legs while tears ran down her face. Then I held her feet up by her head with one hand and massaged her little bottom with the other. Finally I took a baby wipe and cleaned her bottom area hoping that perhaps the stimulation would motivate some movement. It did. After the mess was cleaned I bathed her and put her in some comfies. She laughed and smiled and went back to playing with her toys.

Later Claire and I went to the park while Lily napped at home under Claudia's supervision. It was the first sunny, warm day of the year and both of us were anxious to be out of the house. We arrived at the playground and the ground was a bit damp from the previous night's thundershowers. The slide was dry but for one large puddle that had pooled on the plastic at the bottom. It had been so long since we'd been able to play outside and my toddler was so excited to "side and sween sween". I hadn't brought anything with me besides one of my favorite jackets so we made due. We'll wash it later. We laughed and played for well over an hour.

Our days are filled with the mundane. Sometimes the repetition stifles and feels as though it will never end. The sacrifices we make for those we care for are uncomfortable, frustrating, and constant. With deep breaths and closed eyes we endure moments (days. weeks.) of mind-numbing tedium and irritation. We wipe spaghetti from the walls, sleep when we can, try to rationalize with the unreasonable, stimulate "business", and sometimes cry in the laundry room.

My husband eats lunch with senators and ambassadors on a daily basis. He helps to influence legislation that affects millions of people around the globe. He's an educated man who uses his intelligence to solve problems on a grand scale.

I clean peanut butter out of the VCR and kiss fingers that have been shut in cupboard doors. It's what I do that matters. I make the difference. I am needed and I am loved. It's the love we give that's heroic.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Some things that I just don't understand

As the mother of a toddler and a nine month old (not an infant. not a toddler. what then?) I find myself confused most of the day (hell let’s throw nights in there too just for good measure). And I’ve found that three words pretty much sum up the whole of my day lately. I. Don’t. Understand.

Claire loves juice as I’m sure most toddlers do. Past the point of reason in my opinion but that’s another entry for another day. (Oh My. You know you need to get out when you could write an entire post on the all-consuming passionate love your toddler holds for her juice filled sippy. But alas that too is a post for another day.) But as much as she loves drinking the juice from her sippy she loves jamming the spout of the cup into the carpet more. WHY? It makes a huge mess. (You: that’s why) Every day we have this battle. And everyday we both lose. I don’t understand.

Lily. Lily HATES to do her business. After yesterday’s (You; HAH! Yesterday!) Right. And after last week’s post I’m going to go ahead and tone down the nasty talk. NO we’re not going to stop talking about it crazies. “Business” is a most repeated task her in the nasty house and as such I MUST DISCUSS. Anyway, so she hates it. And is surprisingly savy in her knowledge on the subject. She’s figured out that when she’s a little backed up a big ol bottle of formula usually does the trick. And so… drinking formula must be avoided at ALL costs. She’d rather starve. Starve and let us all know just how hungry she is, but won’t eat because it causes the YOU KNOW. I don’t understand. We’ve tried a couple different techniques, none of which are going to land us in Parenting magazine I’m pretty sure, but the most effective is prune juice in the applesauce. (Thank you dear Swistle for the juice idea. You are wise beyond your years.) And… once her business is complete she’ll take the bottle again. The fun with this game really is manifold. If it’s the middle of the night and she senses a business coming, It’s a big hell no for the 3am bottle. If we’re out somewhere and I didn’t think to pack solids… ahhh the fun continues. She’s done this since she was a wee little little and I thought she’d grow out of it. She hasn’t.

Okay, so I guess I can understand avoiding something that you HATE to do even though it’s good for you a little bit. But dang it POOP! You’ll feel better! We all will.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Le Sigh. And better.

Riight. So hello again. Where to even begin.

Things are better here. And when I say better I mean I haven't curled up in a ball and slept in the corner of the spare bedroom for months. Baby steps people. I cannot believe the force with which post-partum has absolutely turned my life upside down. I mean really. I always kind of figured that I'd struggle with it as I've battled depression/anxiety for most of my life but you know there are drugs and doctors and diet coke and chocolate therapy available now, so I didn't think it would be all THAT traumatic. I am a dumbass.

We're nine months out now and things are finally looking up. The meds I'm on work reasonably well and we'll keep tweaking them I'm sure for months, but I can now handle being in the same room with my toddler without bringing on a full-blown panic attack. And I'm even able to play with her. And like it. I know, rockstar.

But for months I have to say that wasn't possible and just the fact that I can look at my children without fear wrapping itself around my heart is a big step. I do wonder from time to time if I'll ever be the same again, but after having kids who is really?


I have help. We hired an au-pair. I know. Say it out loud and let the implications just roll off your tongue. Showering every day. Exercise. Making dinner with an extra set of hands that are NOT trying to blow up the house by playing "chef" with the knobs on the stove. And I've started teaching again. I've taught violin lessons for years and years, but since moving to Virginee I'd kind of let it go. Now I teach for a couple hours (depending on the day) in the afternoon and am able to bring in a little extra flow in the process--along with doing something that I'm good at and love. It's a win. A really big one. I've also started playing more weddings and events. My last "gig" was at the Supreme Court and I played for four justices. Antonin Scalia even came over to flip through our music and chat. Bah!! You: yawn. Me: AWESOME!

Soooo.... lest we think that we're getting too fancy and out of touch with mothering not to worry. I was pooped on twice in the tub last week. That's right poo. Claire likes to tub with momma and apparently I am the nasty whisperer because OMG it keeps happening! In fact there's crap on my pants right now. (too much defecation talk?) Le Sigh. So yeah, life's kept on a rollin but it seems that we've found a way to make it manageable for our family. And I'm happy. And it's nice.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Intellectual Giantess

Because there's nothing new to watch on tv these days Due to my intense desire for continued learning I've found myself reading more than usual at night. And I'm actually a little surprised at my turn in literature preferences. I mean I consider myself a fairly learned individual. I have a degree from a decent university and studied history (silence Tessie!), Russian, and dance (useful!). I've played in a number of symphonies across the country and one in Europe. (Do you like the build up? The intense need to justify what's coming next?) So really it's not like I'm sitting around all day building Lego castles and banging together pots and pans. Oh wait. Anyway, I've always liked to read. I enjoy the classics but don't love them. I'm not giddy at the thought of 6.3 seconds to myself so that I can run to finish All Quiet on the Western Front (unless that's one of your favorites in which case... no. not even then). I did quite enjoy Anna Karenina (this version please) and Cyrano de Bergerac will always be a favorite (digressing) but I would be a big fat liar if I said that reading books that "will forever stand the test of time" keeps me up at night with a flashlight under the covers. (What you don't still do that?)

I've read a couple "recommended" books these past few weeks and after about a hundred pages was clawing at my eyeballs. Love in the Time of Cholera? Am I twelve? Do I just not get it? Do I have the attention span of a sea-monkey? I got half way through it and could.not.go.any.further. Cold Mountain. Same problem. I just read The Russian Concubine (loved Memoirs of a Geisha. thought hey! maybe same same? no. not maybe same same.). LAME. Lame. Lame. And more lame. Sometimes it feels that these authors are writing merely to put words on paper. Lots and lots of pretty words. Why say something in four lines when one can stretch it out into seventeen pages? Again. I'm twelve. And apparently I'm okay with it.

So I've discovered that some of my favorite reads of late are actually in the youth literature section. I know. Not one word.

I won't lie, I loved Harry Potter. Read em all. I love the Chronicles of Narnia series and Lord of the Rings (even before the movies. oooh!). These authors write the best stories. It's all about spinning a tale and taking you to another place (one where you actually want to be. none of this incest/opium/rape crap. not to say that I don't enjoy a good adult novel, but hell sometimes I read to get away from all the heavy heavy) .

And so here are my recommends. Two thumbs right on up. Read em to your kids/with your kids/under the covers by yourself at night.

- The Bayern Series and Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (I'm ordering Book of a Thousand Days tonight!) These are great great books for girls (maybe boys? maybe that's pushing it.).

- The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer (okay so this one comes with a disclaimer: while Hale's books are beautifully written and after reading Bayern you could easily talk about her use of imagery and prose and use all sorts of hoity-toity words to discuss your reading experience... Twilight not so much. but i couldn't put them down. (again twelve) but it was so fabulously deliciously fun that i don't even care.)

I'm starting The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

And now it's your turn. Spill it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's a small world post-partum style

What can I say, when it comes to blogging consistency I'm a rockstar. But enough about my failings. Let's talk about my trip to Disneyland shall we? Yeah, so my post-partum issues are not getting better (Despite the thousands of cookies I've eaten. I'm so confused.). I've seen two psychologists, my OB three times, two regular doctors, and have been waiting three weeks to see a psychiatrist. Which I love. Because really, if you've finally caved and decided that you need to see a psychiatrist chances are that you can wait three to six weeks right? Hence my trip to Disneyland. And let me tell you, if you ever want or need to feel sane there are few places on the planet that will bring you to that conclusion faster than... or maybe I just got a particularly awesome Disneyland. Hard to say.

A few things I've learned since my last post (Or, things I took away from the mental institution spa vacation):

1- A "six" on the homicidal feelings chart in group therapy from the woman sitting next to you will bring about more anxiety than say the person to the left of you who habitually steals people's shoes.

2- If you think it's hard to fall asleep at night when you're at home, it is even more difficult to do so when someone checks on you every fifteen minutes throughout the evening to make sure you have not been killed in your sleep. My reasons here are twofold. One "the check" involves the need to open the door, let in light, and shut it, which is obnoxious. And two because this has obviously been a problem in the past, and that's not a bedtime story I want to think about right before my attempt at shut-eye.

3- Psychiatrists (or at least mine) in the hospital don't believe in post-partum depression for women who had their babies a whole six months ago. It has to be something else. Something bigger. More permanent. Fixable? Doubtful.

4-Hovering while you pee is exercise.

5- The institution is not a relaxing get away for individuals who suffer from severe anxiety and/or panic.

6-If you can't laugh about the ridiculous you have bigger problems.

7- Individuals receiving treatment in the institution are some of the kindest and most non-judgemental people in all the world.

8- The state of our mental health system is so abominable that I cannot even find the right words.

And so I'm back. And I'd say none the wiser, but really I don't think that's true. I learned much during my short hospital stint. Mostly about compassion and kindness and the strength of the human spirit. But also about keeping a close eye on my shoes.