Tuesday, July 22, 2008


When F hits C and he starts in surprise and then scrunches up his face in panting little sobs, I just lose my mind. This morning I was nursing him on the couch and she was lounging beside me, all smiles and talking, when she suddenly kicked him (very on purpose) in the head. Inside I went ballistic. My internal reaction was so intense that I couldn't even respond to her--I just got up off the couch and walked away with the crying baby. I stayed mad at her a long time, which isn't helpful. She had, I'm sure, forgotten what she'd done, and wouldn't know why I was being short with her. I know it's not nearly the only time she'll be rough with him, and someday he'll be big enough to turn around and whop her back...

We're leaving for NC on Thursday, driving down with everyone in the car--Mitch, me, both babes, and the dog. 11 or more hours says mapquest, and that's obviously not including stopping to nurse the baby. It could take us days. I'm optimistic about it all; not about how quickly we'll get there, but about enjoying ourselves on the way, even if we don't arrive until Sunday. Today I tried to organize the house and pack; tomorrow I have to get the car completely loaded up so we can leave early early Thurs morning. All this and Mitch at school the whole time. I seriously don't know how single parents do this. Even with my two babysitters I'm completely exhausted, emotionally drained. I can't even wash a dish before both kids are in bed. By that time the kitchen is a war zone and I'm all out of juice.

F has started to bargain. When I say "only one song before bed," she says "two songs." And if I say, "okay, two songs and then it's time for bed," she says, "three songs." I keep my wits about me and stick to two. Her favorite phrase right now is "Cece play little bit," which means, "I want to play some more instead of do whatever it is you want me to." Night before last she woke at 3am crying hard, a bad dream, and when I went in she said, "Cece play little bit." Cece is what she calls herself. Used to be that's the best she could do with the name Frances, but now she can say it fine and chooses to still call herself Cece. If you say, "Is your name Cece?" she says, "no. Frances." Her other favorite phrase is "more talking mommy?" which means she wants me to tell her things--about the upcoming trip, about what we're going to do tomorrow, about things that have already happened. She loves to hear these stories. "More!" she says. "More talking mommy?" (which sounds like "ma-taki-mommy")

Oh my goodness I'm tired. It's 10pm and M just called to say he's on his way home. Poor guy is so stressed trying to finish his dissertation. Sometimes I think, "I'm not cut out for this," then I remember that I'm doing it alone and it won't be like this after this push to the end. It won't be like this after August. It won't be like this forever. It's my current mantra. Eye on the ball.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

losing my mind

Here are the things I've lost:

My teeny tiny digital camera (expensive)
My fabulous baby sling that I used literally every day (expensive)
The new Clinique makeup my mom bought for me (never used)
My mouth/bite guard (quite expensive)
My o-so-stylish sunglasses (not expensive but very useful)
Much sleep (greatly missed)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

alone with frances

We went to the zoo and the attraction F liked most was the water fountain.

C is now the age F was when, during my drive to work, I would fantasize about not stopping the car, driving on through the mountains and into Tennessee, staying at some motel where I would sleep all night long. I would wonder how long it would take my family to find me, but until then I would be free. I would see a movie, eat in a restaurant, soak in the bathtub. I don't have those fantasies this time, but I understand where they came from.

Today I had the sitter stay with C while I took F with me to the farmer's market. I strapped her on my back and we stood in the rain together, sharing an umbrella, and listened to a couple play bluegrass under a large white tent. She sleepily leaned into me and I could feel her breathing. It was quite possibly the first time we had been together, just us, without the baby since he was born. We're alone sometimes when he's sleeping, but I always have to listen for him--my attention is never fully with her. Besides, we can't leave the house then; we can't go out into the world together. Today was so sweet. I got choked up there in the rain listening to a girl with a guitar sing "Amarillo". I thought that it may be one of those moments I'll remember in stills, as if it were a photograph. I wonder if I will?

I realize that one of the things that's changed most since the baby is that I don't have the patience to let F dally as I did before. When we're trying to get in the car and she's crawling around on the floor and not getting in her seat I lose some patience, but it's b/c the baby is loaded up and strapped in, and until the car is moving he's going to get more and more agitated. Or I don't let her take her time w/ her lunch because the baby will in a few minutes need to nurse. I don't know if this is something I can change or not, this thinking that we need to always stay on task. I've realized recently that the baby is now old enough (can hold his head up well enough) for me to put him on my back which leaves my hands more free to play with her. I've been carrying him on my front but that means I can't bend over well to help her, or I can't pull her close. I'm also starting to use the stroller more. He's so content hanging out wherever... and it frees me up to be with her if he's in the stroller rather than on my front.

I miss her still. Sometimes I wish she were my only child. I'm a bit envious of my other friends who only have one, but I just keep repeating to myself the things other women w/ kids close together tell me: later I'll be glad; it will be hard for the first 2 years, then much easier; they'll have a great relationship. I try to believe them.

Friday, July 11, 2008

american clutter

There are days when I want to get rid of 80% of the stuff I own. I go through this purging process, weeding out--trash, goodwill, yardsale, ebay--but I feel like I only actually rid myself of about 5%. It's especially bad recently and has brought on a new level of anxiety. I don't know if that's because of the opening of boxes and the realization of how much we actually have, or if it's b/c I haven't gotten everything organized so there's not yet a place for everything. It makes straightening up difficult, and I find when I'm done there are all these little piles of things that don't have a place to go. I wonder, if I just swept them up and dumped them in the trash, if I would miss any of it.

Then sometimes I accept that this issue w/ stuff is an ailment particular to my station in life: I am american, I am middle class, I have kids. The last has certainly changed my relationship w/ clutter. Before kids there was less, certainly, and I also had more time to manage it. I haven't yet figured out how to quell the onslaught of toys that enters this house. Sometimes I want to give away half of them and suspect my daughter wouldn't notice, and the rest of the time I just contend with it and wait for the day when the kids have outgrown them and I can pass them on. This goes for kids clothes too, but they seem to be more manageable as they fold and pack away. My clothes are another issue that I do not know how to address. I have pre-pregnancy clothes, maternity clothes, transition clothes. It makes me tired.

Will I one day have the strength to get rid of the vast vast majority of it and live a simpler life? I hope so. But, honestly, it's doubtful. I'm trying to lean into the reality of my life, give in to the tide and relax. Maybe the answer is to not let it get me so anxious.

Friday, July 4, 2008

I own a mini van

I've joined the ranks! And I'm pretty excited about it all, though this morning after the sitter and I loaded the car with both kids and the dog (he had a hair appt) we discovered that the battery was dead. I have 14 miles on this car and the battery was dead. AAA came and fixed us up of course. I don't think it diminished my overall joy about the purchase.

F has decided she likes her sitter. They play Ring Around the Rosy together and since that began F now is excited for J to come. They include her dolly, holding the doll's hands, and when "we all fall down," Frances flings the baby to the floor and says, "Uh oh baby." She also carries around 4 or 5 of Clark's pacis and tries to force them into his mouth. She doesn't understand how anyone could not want a paci, but her brother does not. To demonstrate this for her I put them in his mouth one by one and he spits them out. Generally we only have to do this once a day, then we move on.

I still haven't found my camera which is making me nuts, but I do have a few pictures my cousin D took at the beach. I'm going to include them here. And then, when I'm done with this post, I'm going to go look again in the few unemptied boxes.

Things here in NY are not nearly as hard or dire as I had feared they'd be with the move. (Though having to deal w/ DMV a couple of days ago made me think I would slit my wrists). I got F enrolled in the very last spot in preschool starting in the fall--2 half days/week. I want to sign up for a "music together" class for us on another morning. Clark is the sweetest baby ever on earth which is not only wonderful in of itself, but also because I can't spend that much direct attention on him with F charging around shouting "Elmo World! Elmo World!" (my dad calls her the blond tornado). I'm so so fortunate that I'm able to use sitters a good bit while trying to organize this huge house. I miss our little one. Seriously. M is really stressed trying to finish his dissertation so we've scheduled sitters 4 eves/week to be here 4:30-7:30 to help me get F fed and in bed. Mitch comes home around 9, so he doesn't see her much right now, but it's got to be done. Will only be for 4 or 6 weeks. I like the company of the sitters and having the help in the arsenic hour keeps me sane.

And the weather here is amazing.