Monday, November 24, 2008

The World's Longest Thoughts on Parenting with absolutely no pictures whatsoever

Internet, I ain't going to lie. It's been a hard month. A hard two months. A hard year, in many ways.

For the first 2+ years of our marriage, K. and I just... coasted. Snuggled up, watched Scrubs, and mostly reveled in being with each other after our long-distance courtship.

There is less time for everything these days, including snuggling. We definitely need to get better about scheduling date time that's not just the couch-flop after Annaliese goes to bed.

And yadda yadda yadda, of course it's worth it. Baby years are hard for a reason (be exceedingly kind to all people you know with young children). But they do end, so we've stopped counting the bad nights, thank God for the good ones, power through the temper tantrums that accompany diaper changes, and revel in the snaggled-toothed smile and daily accomplishments of our very bright and charming daughter.

But becoming a parent, as brief a time as I've been one, has so far changed the way I feel about many, many things (from childbirth to Baby Einstein), including-- adoption and those who opt not to have children.

I didn't really get either before.

On adoption-- 

I used to think that there was something special about having a biological extension of your lineage, etc.

Well, it's kind of fun when K. sys that Annaliese has the shape of my eyes, etc., but in general? She is not at all related to me.

By which I mean that I often get the feeling that I am less a "parent" and more of the assigned caretaker for this little sprout of a person, who dropped from the sky with her own soul, mind, heart, etc.. And that her personality and such has nothing essential from either me or K. and instead, she is herself, and would be if she happened to land in a different family. So it makes perfect sense now to adopt, because either way, you're just signing up to be a soul's caretaker during their incubation phase, and if you adopt, you get to skip the peeing eight-hundred-times a-night, morning sickness, and the never-ending FUN of labor.

Secondly, on choosing childlessness:

I kind of feel like people without children should never, ever, ever complain about ANYTHING, especially not sleeping well. (But that's just silly pettiness, I know.)

More seriously: having a child is a really big commitment, and like everything in life, it costs. Money. Time, time, and more time. And for the first time in many people's lives: putting someone else's needs ahead of your own. Over and over and over again; in fact, a hundred times a day. 

K. and I came down with the stomach flu at the same time last Thursday. We literally could not stand up. And yet, the baby had to be fed. And changed. And rocked to sleep. Rinse and repeat. That's a dramatic example; how about this morning, when Annaliese pooped before I'd finished my nausea-quenching cup of morning tea, like she does almost every morning? 

My point is that I didn't used to understand people who didn't want to have children, and now I do. Because it's ok to like your life so much that you don't want to give it up for anyone. It's understandable to know yourself so well that you can say, I'd rather be a loving aunt/godmother/whathaveyou than have my own children. I get it.

(This is turning into a really long post.)

And here's something else I'd like to say: 

I always wanted kids. Now I have one and one on the way. I love my daughter INSANELY. I'm literally always happy to see her smiling face, even at five o'clock in the morning. And I'm sure I'll fall in love with our next child too. 

All that being said, I think babies kind of suck. (For the first six months, they're both incredibly demanding and incredibly boring: a deadly combination.) I'm really not looking forward to having another newborn, because I sure didn't enjoy it much this last time and now it'll be even harder.

That's the God's Honest Truth. I don't want to go through labor again, I don't enjoy seeing the clock at every hour of the night, and breastfeeding's a whole lot more fun when you're not spending LITERALLY six hours a day doing it. If I could hand my babies to someone for the first six months, someone who I could trust as much as I trust myself, then I really probably would.

But sometimes life just sucks, ya know? And so I hope we can remember to count our blessings (healthy child, we chanted during Annaliese's infancy. healthy, healthy, HEALTHY child.) and trust that the hard times will gradually phase out (and then in, and then out, and then in again) and then someday there will be a glorious day when K and I turn to each other and say, they're not babies anymore. They can wipe their own butts, put themselves to bed, and guide spoons and even FORKS to their mouths on their own. 

And then we will high-five each other, ship the bebe children off to loving grandparents, and go do Very Adult Things in our little cabin in the woods (by which I mean drink more than one glass of wine and stay up after nine.)


we will drive home too fast because we missed them so. (Sort of.)

Can't you see it?

Friday, November 21, 2008

and then we all caught a stomach bug.

meaning that maybe i didn't food-poison my daughter.

the one bright spot.

the end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

hey, i made the bed.

k. has a cold.

after a day of stomach bug probably caused by me feeding her some questionable yogurt (yay for poisoning the baby! best mother EVER!), Annaliese's superb immune system succumbed to said cold.

And K. has to go to work (despite being sick), so there is no Mama-break-Wednesday this week.

Which in turn means that the OB appointment I've been looking forward to and was supposed to happen an hour ago got pushed back to Dec. 4th, since there ain't no way I'm taking my tired uncomfortable sniffly little girl into Oxford and there's no one to leave her with.

Which means that by the time I actually see a doctor regarding the baby that's theoretically in my womb, I'll be like a 100 weeks pregnant, aka 13! Which is practically into the second trimester!

Batting a thousand over here, but doing my best.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Someday I intend to sit down and write a thoughtful well-reasoned post about one of the thoughts that pop up as I am walking the dogs/ changing a diaper/ picking up pieces of mashed banana, but today is not someday.

So in no particular order:

We saw a movie yesterday! Me and K.! On a date! I really like my husband, and it was super-nice to spend 107 minutes of 007 time snuggled into his arm and trying to share the wonton soup we'd snuck into the theater. Plus the advantage of living out of town is we got to spend the drive TALKING. Also nice.

Annaliese had a fab time playing with Billy, the 15th-month-old of our good friends who have a kciakss farm, and she received her first on the lips kiss, a fact her papa is not too pleased about. But then again, we kiss her on the mouth all the time. So I guess it was her first NON-FAMILIAL lip-kiss (did I mention K. and I used to be cousins?)

She is also this-close to walking. Standing all the time, stretching down to pick things up and then righting herself, stepping while holding onto something for balances' sake. She's just brilliant.

It is cold and clear and sunny, and I have to pluck the lower leaves from my Brussel Sprout plants. My leeks and carrots are coming along, and the kale, to K's horror, is ready to eat. Broccoli heads have just begun to form. I love fall gardens.

The house across the street progresses. I look out my front window a lot to see what the guys are doing; they've almost finished the foundation work, and then we'll be getting a roof! Oo la la, so fancy!

Oh, and last night, I went to bed at 8:30. A fact that K is mildly horrified with and that I am completely delighted about. 


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

An Update on My Sad, Stubbly Life

So the truth is I'm a big liar. Because this picture makes me look way too happy and the fact is, with K. out of town, I'm a pretty sad sack. Pajama pants, tea drinking, red-nose-sniffles, the works. 

But I DO have plans to buy a replacement razor for the one I left in VA so I can be a smooth-skinned sad sack by Thursday night, when my loved one returns (TMI? TOO BAD. GO READ SOMEONE ELSE'S BLOG. I COUGH ON YOU.)

The good news is that I am completely disconcerted by the sudden change in Annaliese's sleeping habits: just as I was getting out my cry-til-you-puke stick, she decided that yes, she could be put down for a nap, roll over, clutch her blanket, and fall asleep. Seamlessly. It's happened 3x a day (morning, noon, and night) for 3 days now and I am thrown for a LOOP. Is she just over her month-long hell trip that easily? Or did she sense that I wasn't going to come in and spend hours patting her back and walking around? I don't know, my friends, I don't know, and it ALMOST keeps me from loving the new thing, because I'm all like, if it came that easily, how can I trust it to stay? I'm keeping my cry-til-you-puke stick just in case.

I have written very little about pregnancy #2, mostly because other than that time I was nauseous before we got to Kroger and then COMPELLED to eat supermarket california rolls while STILL PUSHING the shopping cart, I haven't really felt all that pregnant. Sure, the belly's getting bigger, but then again, I ate a whole lot of chips and salsa. 

I've got my first prenatal appointment (made completely laissez-fairely last week, when I finally got around to it) next Wednesday, at which point we'll hopefully find out if El Grapo is still alive, and then I'll report more frequently on the new bebe.  Everyone seems to be rooting for it to be a boy. Personally, I'm rooting for it to be a SLEEPER. 

Thankfully, friends have invited me over to dinner tonight, so that'll get me through Monday night, and that's 4 nights down, 3 to go. K. left 2 days early to go hiking in the Zion National Park and drink beer with Nicholas, a choice I have been ENTIRELY gracious about by hissing things like "enjoy it since it'll NEVER happen again."

(sometimes I think I totally suckered K. into marrying me. I never complained about things, didn't talk all the time, and I distinctly remember beauty rituals that have fallen by the way side, like taking milk baths and scrubbing myself with brown sugar and olive oil. Although I might revive that last one, because it makes your skin feel awesome and forces you to clean the tub.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Despite the awesomeness that is my new novel (working title: Ingrid and Gus: The Tale of a Pregnant Knockout Adolescent and How She Became Addicted to Heirloom Tomatoes), it is damn hard to write.

Because mostly what I want to do when Annaliese has taken 30 minutes of screaming, backrubbing, and rocking before she literally pitches forth onto her blanket with exhaustion is 

1. A big glass of SOMETHING 
2. Eat something savory and good, like a cheese omelet
3. take a nap myself

You'd think by ten months the child would have learned that SLEEP IS GOOD. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In Honor of Obama, Our New President

Annaliese has a bright future with the donkey-lovin' Democrats.

Pics of the VA trip home here.
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

home again home again

and oh so happy to be so.

pics and stories tomorrow.