Alright, people. I finally put it together. Constant feeling of about to cry? Not being able to stop dwelling about bad international news or the horrific act of violence towards a small child that took place on page three of a recent short story I read? Wee-hour contemplations of emotional pleas to our contractor to PUT THE EFFING SIDING ON?
I might, just might, be having some kind of hormonal five-months-pregnant out-of-whack thing going on.
During pregnancy with little A (and the subsequent seven months of not being with child), I noticed something. The emotional highs and lows of the month just evened out and kind of disappeared; I might have been crazy about some things when pregnant with little A, but on the whole-- I was way LESS crazy than usual.
Apparently this little boy plays by different rules. Less morning sickness, more food cravings, and whackier hormones.
So I'm trying to ride this out with some kind of grace. Drinking lots of tea. Writing in my journal. Asking every OTHER hour if K's heard from the contractor.
In baby A news:
No new teeth. No new skills. But my goodness, the refinements. I told K. the other day that this is really an awesome age, and I've NEVER said that before. But she's sleeping well (knock on wood) (though she's rising shortly AFTER six since the sunrise creeps up), she eats Cheerios with milk at breakfast in her own bowl with her own spoon, and she walks wherever she wants to with only the occasional tumble.
In other words, Annaliese is knocking me out by how grown-up and aware and fun she's getting. That coupled with the baby cheeks and pooched-out belly and duck-walk is really a killer combination.
This morning I was dressing her and she toddled over, picked up her nursery rhyme book, walked back, handed me the book, and settled herself in my lap expectantly. How cute is THAT?
She did it last night three times to K., effectively pushing off her bedtime. Because it's pretty hard to say no to a little girl who wants to hear about Jack and Jill.
It's been really warm! We've played outside two days in a row! Today we went to the park! And I dug three holes for my 30+ new trees that aren't coming for another three weeks! And I'm getting free blueberry bushes! And Annaliese has napped for an hour-and-a-half TWO DAYS in a row, thanks to the distraction of morning outside playtime! And today she charmed the pharmacist at the local drugstore into a free toy! She really likes her shoes! She also likes to walk around the house talking on the phone!
It's been a really nice week. Annaliese isn't at nursery school yet (February 2nd, people)-- but knowing she will be combined with the good weather and her good moods have made this a great couple of days.
So nothing interesting, blog-wise. My sweetie-pie husband is due home soon, and we have a date for a family walk. Dinner, bathtime, bedtime for a cute little girl whose breath perpetually smells of banana and who has learned to give kisses.
After a difficult few days, we finally had a nice one. Sunday included a family walk in balmy fifty-degree sunshine, a trip to the country to see a friend's farm, and two new episodes of Scrubs. Nothing much else to report. K's working at the building today, since he gets the day off from the office; the house on the other hand sits untouched across the street-- our crew came and put the porch roof on Saturday but have been working at another job for a week, the ingrates.
So some pics:
Annaliese in a handknit grandmother sweater, enjoying her first time outdoors all week.
K. enjoying our friend's toys in the country.
And the house, windows in, roof on, and wrapped. Now for the siding! Bring it on!
Today was one of those bad days that I am lucky enough to experience.
I know. But that's the way my mind works; I can't feel bad about feeling bad because then I feel guilty.
The child was perfect. Two naps, lots of grinning. I'm not sick. The weather is too cold to go outside (which is probably the problem, since a walk chases the blues away), but at least it's sunny. My husband is nice to me. We've got food in the fridge, and I've got a brand-new stack of library books. Yesterday I got a massage.
I know. Sickening, right? But here it remains: today was a long, slow, boring, wish-I-was-doing-something-else kind of day.
Staying at home with a young child, no matter how adorable and brilliant they may be, can be kind of boring. Like, really boring.
Next month, Annaliese will be bundled into her new forward-facing carseat, trundled across town, and dropped off at T.C.L. (a local learning center) at eight am so that she can sing along, play, go outside, and eat lunch with four of her peers.
She'll be there until noon, five days a week, assuming all goes well. AND that, my friends, means I get four hours a day where I can 1. write 2. go to the bathroom by myself 3. drink a cup of tea without being interrupted and 4. did I mention write?
Such bliss will continue until the arrival of Bebe #2, at which point that four hours a day will be once gain used for 1. breastfeeding 2. changing diapers. 3. trying to coax bebe into taking a nap so I can go to the bathroom and 4. did I mention breastfeeding? Every two-three hours, my friends, every two-three hours for WEEKS.
(By the by, since Annaliese is long-since off the 12times-aday-boobwagon and recently off it all together, I'm really enjoying not seeing my own rack so much. Nothing like absence to make the heart grow fonder.)
I'm really looking forward to having three months with time to accomplish. I sometimes mentally equate having a child to being a really good Christian: it's just not about you anymore, and your needs don't come first. But Annaliese is ready to take a few independent steps-- she's definitely ready to spend some time seriously playing- and I really think that TCL will be nothing but good for us both.
I also think she'll be happy to come home. Because thankfully, she's still a baby, and I've noticed that after venturing into the wide world with other people, she's pretty happy to climb into a cabinet and hang out with Mama.
Last night K. came home at 9:30 pm after working at the building. He came to bed, where I was reading, and brought a pastrami sandwich on a kaiser roll, as well as assorted candy, plus a plaque of Ritter chocolate with crunchy stuff in the middle.
It is as if the man is trying to make my head explode.
(and fyi: been craving pastrami but can't eat it without microwaving it cos I'm pregnant/listeriosis. also, K. doesn't share candy. Ever.)
We stuck with the classics. Cake. Presents. Bathtime and bedtime. My baby girl is innately gifted at celebrations, we're finding; check her glee out here.
I could write a missive about all Annaliese has accomplished this year-- learning to say Dog, Hi, and Bye; figuring out how to sit, scoot, and walk; swelling her parents' hearts with joy as she plants soft wet kisses on cheeks and squiggles in for cuddling.
I am awfully proud of her, and so I could gush on for a long time, but it's been a big day for everyone here and y'all know how much I love my little girl anyway. So here's to Annaliese Lee, a little live wire who will no doubt keep astonishing me for her entire life.
She received clothes, toys, shoes, and she's got a big-girl forward-facing car seat in the mail. But the present she can't comprehend yet is the one due around Memorial Day: a baby brother.
Ballerina slippers and a cow hat donned, Annaliese took time to show off her new blocks. She spent the rest of the day in a great mood, playing with new toys and reveling in the attentions of Nonni and Eliza.
We took a quick walk to work up an appetite and ate dinner late in the day, feasting on duck and ham and broccoli casserole and homemade spinach-and-artichoke dip with french bread and winter fruit salad with cucumber and two different kinds of pies, made by K., of course. It was a lovely day, peaceful and blessed and exactly what I want every Christmas to be like.
But as Annaliese was born on the twelth day of Christmas (my wee Epiphany), the feeling of the season persists.
There's one box left under the tree. Birthday plans include finding out the gender of her new sibling, cake, and of course, presents.
I don't think we've ever looked forward to a Tuesday so much.
Caitlin and Jim gifted us with LOADS of fantastic citrus, all sweetly individually packaged. We've been eating tangerines and grapefruits like madmen ever since!
Mom gave us a kick-butt Dutch Oven, which we've already used three times. I swear it works some kind of alchemy... the duck we had later in the day was fantastic, and the lentil-and-ham soup I made with leftovers turned out so great that even Annaliese liked it.
No word yet on how Eliza likes her longed-for crockpot. She's been too busy jet-setting into NYC for New Years to try it out, but rumour has it she's making a three-bean venison chili tomorrow.
And Annaliese received some wonderful gifts from her grandparents up north, including a particularly beatuiful knitted cardigan made by her Swiss great-grandmother years before. She's already worn it three times-- being gray and yellow and blue, it goes great with jeans and her new sneakers.
After an early church service, we returned home, got in our jammies (with the exception of K., who had pretty much worn his to church) and made fondue. We dipped broccoli, apples, and of course, chunks of bread, drinking tea (K. swears that cold beverages cause the cheese to congeal in the stomach) all the while.
Then K. and I worked on our homemade Christmas presents for our daughter. Here he is, blowdrying the handcut, perfectly one-inch-square blocks he made from heart pine taken from the building. He gave them all two coats of child-safe paint, brushed on letters, and then added a clear coat to finish (not all in one night, of course).
I've been working on a knit jumper for Annaliese since April. That night I finished it.
We listened to Mom read the Little Black Lamb (a family tradition), watched a movie, and got to bed tired, but with everything ready for the morning.
With not a shred of sorrow in our hearts, we drove north, leaving a slightly snotty (tail-end of a cold) Annaliese in the hands of her aunt and grandmother. We trudged around a salvage yard in the freezing rain, and then we checked into the hotel that Frommer's rates as the best in Memphis. Twas the day before Christmas Eve, with nary another soul in sight.
Despite the unoccupied hotel and the heavily-dropping-hints about our "first night away from baby" routine, we didn't get any kind of free upgrade. In fact, K. walked into our reserved room (a king-sized suite, no less) and pronounced it and its view of the boilers unacceptable.
So we paid a little more and moved to the 14th floor. This was the view from our room, and yes, that's the Mississippi-- it was right THERE. Like two blocks.
We ventured back out into the cold and the rain, sans umbrella because K's a chickenhead, and found the most amazing little nut shop, run by charming Middle-Eastern Muslim folk, who were adorable together and who pressed freshly roasted Mississippi pecans upon us.
Dinner at a so-so Thai restaurant, baths in the soaking tub, and just a few phone calls from Mom and Eliza, since 1. Dido had run away and 2. The power went out. Right after Annaliese finally fell asleep after extended hissies. And it stayed out for two hours. On a very cold night.
But we are opportunists, K. and I, and so we went to sleep in the king-sized bed under the down duvet with not a shred of guilt. See? Do we look troubled? Hurried? No.
When we got home in the late afternoon, after two grocery stores, an art store, and the hour-and-a-half drive, we found a very tired grandmother and aunt (Eliza: "Annaliese is walking birth control") as well as a thoroughly tuckered-out little girl who snuggled into our arms, gave us wet kisses, and was happier to see us than we'd ever seen before.
The 28-hours away was truly lovely. And good for all of us-- Annaliese to learn we do come back, K. and I for obvious reasons, and Mom and Eliza because they got to give us the BEST GIFT EVER and feel like the total champions that they were, coping with power outages and the world's stinkiest dog with admirable aplomb.