Thursday, January 29, 2009

simple joy

Clark is seriously the cutest thing ever on the planet. I don't remember thinking this about Frances when she was this age and lately I've been wondering why that is... Perhaps I just don't remember correctly. But then I realized that when F was this age I was pregnant and very sick and exhausted and in fact didn't want to have much to do with her. I didn't have the energy to be animated and every time I changed a diaper I threw up. The smell of her formula made me sick, as did the smell of most things. It was not a good time. Also, Clark is a snuggler. He nestles down on my chest with his thumb in his mouth, just to take a play break or to recover from a spill, or just because he's a mama's boy. That mama's boy thing isn't without merit, for sure. Frances wasn't attached to me like this, and she also wasn't nursing still. Clark and I have this little private time, several times every day. So sweet.

"Ghap!" he says with his hand up in the air, reaching for the far corner of the room in salute. "Bhak!" and then a sweet squinty grin like Frances used to flash. Charmed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

do what you gotta do

I've been absent here on the blog because I've been struggling with headaches again. Silly--when I was sick recently I took to drinking lots of hot tea; it would clear up the congestion, if only for a moment. It wasn't until days later that I realized that the lovely blueberry tea I was drinking was not caffeine free. ha! So headaches I had for about 5 days. Now it's better.

Here's the new thing: I'm boycotting cooking dinner.

Two days this past week Mitch was at school late. My sitter was here to help and instead of cooking I ate leftovers while standing next to the fridge. What I discovered was that we got the kids in bed much earlier, got the toys picked up and family room straightened and dishes washed and kitchen cleaned with all kinds of time for me to relax and get in bed early.

So I've decided, at least for the time being, it's takeout and leftovers only. Once in awhile I'll cook something during the day if I have some spare time, like this morning I cooked up a whole batch of sausage while Clark slept and Frances watched Dora. Now I have that in the fridge to go with whatever else I can find. I also have some containers of things already in the freezer I can pull out, like chili or butternut squash soup which I made double batches of last month and froze half. Of course, we're going through our freezer stash but I suppose that's what it's for.

I now understand why everyone complains about the winter here. Have I said that before? I love the snow on the ground all the time, but damn is the wind cold! Like can't-go-out of-your-house cold. We've all been sick all winter and that's wearing thin... But now Frances and Clark and Mitch are all on antibiotics and things are improving. I can see how it will feel like Spring takes her steady sweet time.

Clark is hilarious. He does this thing we call the "Clarkman salute" where he holds his arm straight up like he's reaching for something in the air. When we're reading books he leans back in my arms and looks up at me and wants me to touch his nose with mine which makes him giggle that sweet baby giggle. He's climbing everything everything everything and I find myself having to vault over furniture to get to him before he___ (fill in the blank). He can entertain himself for long periods of time going from his wooden box of baby toys to the toy mop in the corner to the rocking horse to the doorstop which he sproings over and over. He wants to walk with Frances's firetruck but can't figure out to get behind it so holds the back with one hand and the handlebars with the other and goes in circles, around and around. I hope I can get around to posting this little video of him jumping with his walker. Very cute. Also, there have been some actual first steps the last two days. Changes to come!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

joy in the drudgery

I'm trying to remember all this is temporary. It's hard when you're in the middle of it. I feel like all I do is complain here on the blog and in my head too, though there are certainly joyous moments with the kids. Lately I've been fantasizing about being a childless person and about how Mitch and I could go cross country skiing and could decide at the last minute not to cook but go out for pizza instead, about how I could read my book while lying on the sofa or I could nap or make a trip to the grocery without its being an event. I think I'll look back on this winter and remember it as really hard because the kids are so little and it's a big production go outside to even get in the car. I don't think it will always be this way, though the nature of depression is lack of perspective--the inability to see the larger picture.

There ARE joyous moments. The kids are both really cute and funny and amazing to watch develop and grow. Mitch reminds me that if we were childless people we would miss out on all that joy. I think my lack of perspective limits me from remembering what I feel from week to week or maybe even day to day. Just a couple of weeks ago I told Mitch I thought I might really like being a stay at home mom.

I just read another blog about parenting and the writer has such a wonderful joyous positive attitude. For instance, she believes 6-month-old twin boys to be double the joy, not double the work. She seems to see the world with just the right amount of humor and I wished I could have joined in some of her family's christmas, just for a bit. Reading her blog made me happy, made me think there is indeed humor in what I often think of as the drudgery of daily living, made me think I can live this way too. Maybe I can. That would be nice. I'm going to start a campaign to change my perspective. As soon as I can get some sleep.

On a side note, I recently got an email from a friend who said she's been reading this blog and that she loves that I am "enjoying this motherhood thing so much." She says it's evident in my writing. Is that true? Does some of that seep through even the complaining? I hope so.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


It turns out a walk in the snowy cold is an incredibly economical use of my sitter time. I got exercise, was alone to think my thoughts, saw the outside world, gave Milo a semi-workout, felt much better. It's odd to live here where the snow is always on the ground. I like it. It reminds me of the seasons I worked at the ski resort, but then I didn't live the minutae of regular life, didn't have to go to the grocery or drug store, didn't have to drive in it much.

Oh it felt so good! The sound of the snow, the texture of the cold. The high here yesterday was 8 degrees and I assume it wasn't even that when I was out. The cold is so intense it's a physical experience all its own. Being out in it felt a bit like freedom. I've got to remember. I've got to do it more often. I need reprieve like this, and returning stuff at the mall doesn't do it, you know? No, I need to interact with the planet itself, not the linoleum that lines the halls of commercialism.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I'm here to complain. I'll be brief.

oh my gawd i'm tired. And I think a little depressed after so long w/ so little sleep. I can't imagine how I'd feel after 7 hours straight.

Frances is sick. big runny nose, tears running down her face though she's not crying, fever. Clark is sick too. Just a day off antibiotics and his fever is back, snotty nose, terrible cough, pulling on his ear. Was up with him 3 times last night, one of them for an hour as I brought him downstairs and suctioned him and changed his diaper and let him play a bit. Was up with Frances only once but that was not a quick one either; I sat her on my lap and sang to her. She gets so lonely.

So today no school because of illness. I've got to call the doctor because he wanted me to bring Clark back in anyway to have his ears checked after we finished the antibiotic.

I just want to go back to bed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

i need a vacation

The potty training must be pretty stressful for Frances; she was up twice last night in the night, stretched out in her bed crying scared and sad like a bad dream. She calmed down right away when I was there and I rocked her for a bit and sang to her until she said she was ready to go back to her bed. Clark isn't sleeping either--he's right on a developmental cusp physically and I've read that these types of transitions are like when you have a presentation coming up at work plus guests coming to stay and the water heater breaks. Just system overload. So he was up three times. The first time I nursed him and the second I tried to just soothe him and rock him but he was so upset that I wasn't nursing him that he nearly propelled himself out of my arms. So nurse again we did. Need I say I was pretty tired today? Plus Frances is giving up her nap, I believe. No wonder today I want a new job. Or at least a vacation.

I put her pull-ups back on her today. It was just too much for me and clearly was causing her anxiety and then we had music class. I was worried that if she had an accident in music class she would be really upset, though I knew I could have her go to the potty just before class and then again afterwards. It's only 45 minutes after all. Anyway.

But in other ways things are good. This morning she'd been watching TV and I told her we were going to turn it off and she could find something play while I worked in the kitchen. I was blending apricots I'd steeped and bananas and then pouring them into ice trays for Clark's meals. At first I suggested she work a puzzle or maybe build with her duplo blocks. She said, "That's a good idea, Mommy!" then started making suggestions herself. Clark was sleeping and it was a nice moment with just the two of us. I need to keep these moments in the front of my brain, especially when I need a vacation so very badly.

Monday, January 12, 2009

where did he go?

My son is a complete and total maniac. I don't know when this happened. Last I checked he was a sweet smiley cuddly baby. He's still smiley, but he's also everywhere at once, fast fast fast, completely suspended while trying to climb the pack-n-play, the refrigerator, the dining room table. He wants me (Mitch, you, whomever) to hold his hands so he can walk 6 times around our first floor circuit--family room to office to hallway to living room to dining room to kitchen and back to family room. If your back is aching by the 4th time around and you try to let go of his hands, he sits down hard on the floor and flaps his arms and screams this growl of a scream. He growls a lot, in fact--a new sound, the angry sound.

Furthermore, in keeping with making me nuts, he is obsessed with paper. And plastic. Wants to put anything (everything) paper or plastic in his mouth. I guess I had nothing more to do than watch Frances every time she twitched when she was this age, but I don't remember digging paper so often out of her mouth. I suppose I also had the energy and time to keep the house straighter, not to mention the toddler I didn't have then who scatters around paper after coloring w/ markers. Every time Frances takes the plastic off the straw for the juice box I worry that a piece will end up on the floor and become a choking hazard. I have fear of choking hysteria.

In music class today my friend Wendy, who has a boy about 6 months older than Frances and a girl a week older than Clark, leaned over and said, "It seems like it's gotten a lot harder lately, do you think?" I do I do. I think as soon as Clark learns to walk it will be better. As soon as he doesn't need me to help him, as soon as he can practice on his own, as soon as we can all walk on our feet to the car rather than my heaving him up onto my hip (he's really heavy), it will be better. I sure hope so.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

potty training is hard.

I don't know if I have the stamina. Maybe we should just put the diapers back on. sigh.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

toddler autonomy

As I was trying to simultaneously find my keys and wrestle Clark into his bunting this morning, already close to late for school, Frances dropped her zippy bag of cereal on the floor. She was already coated and hatted, ready to go, and she stood there in the living room beside the bag of cereal and said, "Mommy, I can't pick it up!"

"Yes you can. Bend down and get it."

"No! I can't DO it. Mommy do."

What is this "I can't do it myself" stuff? I mean, I get it, I really do--while the toddler wants autonomy and independence, she also craves to be taken care of (who doesn't?) and is torn between the two. But really? A plastic bag inches from her foot? I could understand if it were something that truly tried her abilities and she just didn't feel like exerting herself or risking bodily injury or something, like climbing up into her high chair or car seat. But picking up a plastic bag off the floor? Maybe it's a test. Maybe she's trying to see just how miniscule are the things I'm willing to do for her.

I didn't do it.

Last night Clark was up at 11 and was up at 3:15 and was up again at 3:40 and wouldn't go back to sleep, so he and I came downstairs. He played and complained while I was irritated and ate cereal and checked my email and waited for the Tylenol to kick in. (Maybe his teeth? The cold he's had forever? General cantankerousness?) This morning my patience cup was a little less than full.

So instead of picking up the bag for her, I mucked through the family room looking for my keys under scarves and hats and fleeces, digging down in the bottom of my bag, searching yesterdays coat pockets. She came and stood in the hallway.

"Mommy! I can't pick it up!"

I stopped the search and faced her. "Frances, you don't have to pick it up. You can leave it there and not have any more cereal. But I have other things to do. I'm trying to find my keys and trying to get us in the car to go to school, and I'm not going to pick it up for you."

She disappeared, then moments later reappeared in the hallway with the bag. "Mommy I CAN pick it up! I DO it!" She sounded truly proud of herself, as if she were actually surprised at her abilities.


As for the rest, the tantrums have mostly stopped. There's one every once in awhile when she's very tired or very hungry or out of sorts (she is still a toddler...) but they're not all day long anymore. She's actually been quite agreeable lately. I'll ask her to bring me something or to put something back and she'll say, "Sure!" Because everyone's been sick she's taken to asking frequently, "You feeling better, Mommy? You feeling better?" She asks me and Daddy and Clark and the dog too. She's also been telling me about her crying. Like day before yesterday when I picked her up from school she said, "I cry."

"When did you cry?" I asked.

"When change my diaper. I cry."

"Why did you cry?"

"Cause I needed you Mommy."

Or the other day when I had a sitter here and was leaving to run some errands. As I said goodbye to her she said, "I no cry when you go." It's pretty cute.

There is, this minute, sideways snow out the big family room windows, great big flakes of it. I love how people in this town jusy go about their business as if it isn't happening.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I just calculated: we spend $150 a month on baby food. (my kid eats amazing volumes of food.) Imagine if we were buying formula as well! I wish I had time to make more of it, but when? Maybe I'll find more time somewhere under one of the piles in my family room.