Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Deja vu all over again

While chatting with Will the other day, I came to an unsettling realization. I don't have deja vu anymore. That in and of itself isn't unsettling, but when we delved deeper into the "why" of it, I came to the conclusion that I don't have deja vu anymore because every one of my days is pretty much exactly like the rest of them anyway. My life IS deja vu. It has been especially bad recently what with being snowed in and unable to go anywhere. I pretty much want to go back in time to the Friday before last and punch myself in the face for this post. But in Sara of Two Weeks Ago's defense, she thought she'd only be snowed in for a couple days. If she had known how very much snow was on the way, she might have been a bit less cheery. Right now though, our 3rd snow in 10 days looks like it's wrapping up without much ill effect on the roads, so I am hoping to go on an excursion with the girls tomorrow. Anywhere will do. And I am hoping that since all of Frederick county just underwent a 7 day quarantine that everyone's germs had a chance to run their course in the privacy of their own homes and now we'll have a remarkably healthy late winter.

This part of winter is always difficult. The excitement of the holiday season is over, all of my magazines are showing spring dresses and Easter centerpieces, your sister and mother are luxuriating in the Jamaican sun (grrrr), and yet outside it's still winter. And this year is especially bad because with all the snow on the ground I can't even let Emily go outside without gloves, hat, scarf, sweater, shirt, jeans, boots, snow pants, wool socks and someone to lift her out of the snowdrifts if she falls over. During the week that someone has to be me, and since Charlotte does not tend to accept any activity other than being held and being nursed, it's tough to even get enough time to get Emily dressed, let alone go outside. And now that I'm feeling normal again, I would really like to do some exercise but the girls rarely cooperate. I COULD go for a walk with Emily in the stroller and wear Charlotte inside my big coat, but these days the sidewalks are buried under over 4 feet of snow :-( Sigh.

In an effort to distract myself from the cabin fever, I am focusing on things I'm looking forward to. I am shopping around for a car, because I am not a huge fan of our Highlander, and it'll be paid off in June so I'm anxious to find something new and different. I would dearly love a Toyota Sienna with AWD, but the trade-in value of our Highlander would pretty much pay in full for a Kia Sedona which is also rated extremely well and the thought of having a new car and no car payments is compelling. And as long as I have to drive a family car, I might as well go all out and get a minivan because they ARE incredibly convenient. It's like driving your living room around.

I'm also thinking about and planning other warm weather things like the garden we want to plant, the CSA we are joining, the trip to the beach we'll be taking with my family, the "Triumphant Return to Travel" trip I want to take with Will once Charlotte is old enough to be left with my parents for a couple days (although that will probably be more like a year from now), and the trips and activities I would like to do with the girls once going outside isn't such an ordeal. Hopefully if I plan things now they'll actually happen, and if I can keep my eyes focused ahead on the warmer months I won't notice so much that my legs are buried in the snow.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Free at last!

This morning, I awoke to two wonderful sounds. First was the sound of the snow plow finally going by! I almost cried with happiness. Coincidentally it went by exactly when I usually wake up, so I am quite grateful to be freed from my snowy prison AND allowed to sleep in untill my normal waking time. I don't take kindly to being awakened by anyone but my children because nobody but my children can possibly need me badly enough to warrant curtailing my precious sleep.

The second wonderful sound was Emily's voice announcing that her bed was dry this morning! The poor girl has been potty trained since August, but I always still put a diaper on her at night. I did this for two reasons. First, because I was too exhausted what with gestating and now with feeding a new baby through the night to even consider having to deal with an accident at 3AM. Second, because Emily's diaper weighs about 5 pounds when she wakes up in the morning and considering how deeply she sleeps I just didn't think she'd be able to hold it or wake up enough to get that much pee out without a diaper on! Will has been lobbying for us to give her a chance for awhile, so last night we finally did and she made it on the first try! Now if only she could learn how to get a reasonable amount of toilet paper by herself without unraveling the whole roll she'd be 100% self-sufficient in the potty department.

So I don't think I'll venture out quite yet, but it makes me feel lighter just knowing I'm not trapped anymore. 7 days is a long time to have to entertain a 2 year old without the benefit of playgrounds or libraries or Little Gym.

Reading all my childless friends' facebook updates this week has made me somewhat jealous. It would've been quite nice to just curl up on the couch with Will and a cup of tea and catch up on our TV shows while it snowed (although without kids we wouldn't have been nearly as far behind on our TV shows in the first place). Instead I was charging back and forth between a screaming hungry baby and a bored tantruming 2 year old (who referred to her sister yesterday as a "stupid old baby" and tried to drag her across the floor by the foot of her PJs), wracking my brain for fun stuff to do and desperately trying to convince Emily that we don't need to watch Home on the Range again. That's where she learned the word stupid in the first place :-( But parts of this week were fun, and I am actually quite glad that we even had Home on the Range as an option, because lots of people were without power this whole week. I can't imagine having to go through a blizzard without being able to bake, do laundry, watch TV or even stay in my house. I can't imagine the frustration and annoyance of having to pack my whole family into a car that can't handle driving in 10" of snow and trying to find a hotel that'll accept two 45 pound dogs, one of whom just discovered that he loves eating poop. Dealing with THAT has been horrifying enough while snug and warm in our own house.

So I've decided I need to make a list of things I'll miss about having little kids, and things I WON'T miss about having little kids. I'll keep the first list posted in a place I see it and add to it often, and the other list I'll save to reference in the future when I am looking back with nostalgia on these days.


-Hugs and snuggles pretty much whenever I want
-Hearing "I love you mommy" often
-The hilarious things that kids think about and say
-Not having to "learn to let go" yet, I can keep them with me and safe at all times
-Fuzzy baby heads...have I mentioned that I love baby heads?
-Their butts. Baby and toddler butts are adorable
-The rest of them too
-Having someone around who is so sweet, so innocent, and so impressed with the simplest things
-Watching them grow and feeling so proud when they master new concepts and tasks
-Having people in this world who think I know everything
-Being able to act like a dork without judgment
-Kissing boo boos and being able to make it all better
-Feeling so needed all of the time


-Feeling so needed all of the time
-Having to deal with human waste every day
-Having to adhere perfectly to a 30-minute long carefully choreographed bedtime routine or else suffer the wrath of a 2 year old
-Brushing teeth, wiping butts, washing hair, wiping noses
-Tantrums, especially when there are multiple tantrum events in one day
-The huge messes
-Having to pack up the whole house before I go anywhere, and having to buckle them into carseats. SUCH A PAIN
-Having to prioritize my free time to the point where getting a pedicure (or sometimes even a shower) is pretty much out of the question
-Having to drive a "family" car (I miss my little Audi!)

I had to make the first list longer than the second so that I look like a good mom. Which I HOPE I am, and if I took a week and made these lists exhaustive, I have no doubt the first would be way longer than the second. Motherhood does feel like a pretty thankless job sometimes, but even if I have a day when the second list feels longer than the first, I love my kids like crazy, and that makes up for any perceived imbalance.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowpocalypse/Snowapalooza/Snowmageddon/Snow More 2010

We're all too clever for our own good.

Hey, remember my last post? The one about how I was still cool with hanging out at the house but Emily wanted to get out? Well we got our 30" of snow, Will dug us out, and 4 napless days later when the furthest I've gone from my house is the mailbox, I'm getting some cabin fever. The first snow came on a Friday, which meant I could look forward to having Will at home with me and the girls for several days. However now it's Tuesday, and Will's at work because the newspaper (being a newspaper) doesn't close for snow. And now this is happening:

That, my friends, is 15-20" of additional snow falling on top of the 30" we already got. That is Mother Nature laughing at us. That is where I'm going to keep my pet penguins, because I've always thought they were super-cute and now that we are living in an Antarctica-like climate I know they would be very happy here.

It is annoying to finally start feeling well enough to go out with both girls only to get repeatedly snowed in. And it's very difficult to keep a 2 year old on a nap strike occupied and happy while you are trapped in the house with a baby attached to your boob. Yesterday we watched 5 movies, and I hated it SO much. I feel like I'm turning my daughter's brain to mush, and I definitely feel like my brain is turning to mush. Every time she asks to watch a show, I try to distract her but the truth is it's so much easier to sit down and nurse Charlotte or do the dishes when Emily is plunked in front of a show. I've told myself it's ok, it's only temporary, I'm just using it to get us through crazy times and as soon as I'm not pregnant/Charlotte is older/We're not sick/It's not raining or snowing outside I will enforce a no TV policy. I sound like an addict rationalizing, and the worst part is that I've created a little addict in the process. Once we cut back on TV it's going to be painful so I keep putting it off.

With little kids, distraction is much better than just flat-out forbidding something, so I made big plans for today. We were going to go outside and play, and we were going to do fun, educational activities inside and Emily wouldn't even have time to think about watching TV.

I spent 15 minutes getting Emily into her snow gear, and 15 more minutes trying to get Charlotte full so that she'd be nice and calm. I strapped Charlotte to my chest and bundled us up too. Then we added food coloring to spray bottles, and went out to have fun!

Not pictured: screaming Charlotte strapped to my chest.

Emily sprayed the colored water for about 2 minutes, then decided she didn't want to have anything to do with it anymore. She ate a couple handfuls of snow, then started whining to go back inside.

No matter! I had fun and educational activities planned for inside too!

I decided to start discussing the concept of opposites. We collected black and white things from around the house, and I had Emily sort them, then we used little cups and millet (because I hate millet and will never eat all of what we have) to learn about full and empty:

In the corner you can see our squares of sandpaper and plastic we used for rough and smooth.

We also did near and far, and closed ourselves in the powder room to learn dark vs. light.

As an added bonus we even glued cottonballs to black construction paper to make snow pictures. And in a fortuitous turn of events a package arrived from my aunt that had gifts for Charlotte as well as a Dora the Explorer backpack filled with art supplies for Emily that occupied her for awhile.

And after doing all of that? We've still ended up watching 4 shows in between activities. I need SOME time to get dishes done and nurse the baby. And I need preschool to start. Then someone else can entertain my kid 3 days a week because this is exhausting!

Speaking of preschool, I finally made my decision after much (MUCH) deliberation and agonizing. I had hoped that once everything was decided I would heave a sigh of relief and not have to worry about it again until August, but that has not been the case. I got both girls dressed and out of the house last Monday in time to make it to the preschool sign-up at 9AM (I really impressed myself there) thereby securing my daughter's future, then immediately started questioning my decision. True, her preschool has the best playground, a big indoor gym where the kids can play in bad weather, a centers room instead of individual centers areas in each classroom which allows them to offer more materials, tiny bathrooms, small classes, experienced teachers and field trips and classes 3 mornings a week vs. 2, but it doesn't offer Spanish or Yoga or sign language or an observation area like the preschool that made second place on my list. Let's just hope that Emily doesn't ever end up cursing me for my decision as she's sitting across the desk from a deaf spanish-speaking yoga enthusiast interviewer.

But right decision or no, she's officially signed up now, and if we turn out regretting our decision we can always rectify our mistake with Charlotte. That's what second kids are for, right?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

All I really want is girls!

The storm of the century is moving in here, and as I watch the snow fall I am feeling very happy. I am happy that we live in the city now vs. way out in the country so I know our road will be plowed in a reasonable amount of time. If the power goes out, we will still have water because we are not on a a well anymore, and thanks to our sweet phones we will even have internet access, at least until our batteries die. We are even within walking distance of a grocery store, so if the $120 worth of groceries that I impulse-bought today (I already had enough food for days, but if everyone else is buying up all the milk and toilet paper, I need to buy things too!) don't last us, Will can just walk over and pick up whatever we need. I say "Will" because he is taller, and if we get 30" of snow I probably don't have the physical endurance built back up yet to take on such a trek. Also, I braved the grocery stores today with Emily and Charlotte, I ended up having to breastfeed my baby while standing in a 30-minute long line at the grocery store, and I withstood the confusion of having a lady with a full beard butt in front of me in line (I would've said something, but I usually make it a point not to pick fights with people who have beards) so I feel like I've served my time already.

But most of all, I'm SO happy that I've already had my baby and I don't have to worry I'll go into labor as 30 inches of snow is falling. And not being able to leave the house gives me an excuse to just lay around and enjoy my baby (It also helps that there's another adult here with me to give me a bit more time to relax). This time around, I don't think I'm sleeping much better (Charlotte will only sleep at night in the guest bed with me, the crib is super-lame) but I am feeling less exhausted than I did with Emily. Emily used to cluster feed in the evenings, and it stressed me out SO badly, but Charlotte cluster-feeds all day long and it doesn't really bother me much. I think it's because going from only having to think about yourself and your husband to having to spend 24 hours a day devoted to a tiny, new person is a huge wake-up call, but this time around I'm already awake. I also know how short this phase is, so I'm not falling into the "This will never get better! She will never stop eating/start sleeping through the night/stop crying!" mindset like I did before. Instead I'm trying to enjoy my baby while she's tiny, and watching the changes that happen every day. I am way more into enjoying the phase she's in this time around, instead of being anxious for her to hit milestones. She has already smiled purposely which I love, but I also love how solemn babies always look before they get super-smiley. Her eyes get more focused every day, but I love when she tries to look at me and her eyes cross. I am rubbing my face on her head at every opportunity before it turns from delectably soft baby fuzz to silky toddler hair (still good for face-rubbing, but you don't get exactly the same effect).

Emily is still doing great...aside from the fact that she's had a nasty runny nose pretty much ever since we brought Charlotte home. This distresses us quite a bit, especially since Emily loves to snuggle her sister, and also because Charlotte has gotten pretty sniffly the last couple days. Let's hope my antibodies keep it from getting any worse! But Emily is a great big sister, she hasn't shown any jealousy at all, she loves to rub Charlotte's fuzzy head, and whenever Charlotte cries Emily says "She needs her mama! Nurse her, mommy!" Between Emily and the ever-vigilant Mingus, I definitely don't need to worry that I won't notice when Charlotte cries.

I'm still in the kinda crazy early days before Charlotte settles into a schedule, but we'll get there soon. And while I'm fairly content to just lay around looking at my baby, Emily would benefit from some time out of the house but I confess I am afraid of all the germs lurking out there. I wanted to take her to the park the other day because it was supposed to be 50 outside and I feel like there are less germs on an outside playground where the sun can kill them than on the nasty indoor playgrounds at the mall and fast food restaurants, but the day ended up being 35 and rainy. Now I don't think all this snow will be gone until the pool opens on Memorial Day, so I guess I'd better get over my germophobia or else find some sort of nice sterile robot-child to help socialize and play with Emily because she'll end up going stir-crazy before long. It's really tough to protect a brand-new baby when you also have a 2 year old who periodically eats the ice out of the seafood displays at Giant and enjoys licking the freezer doors at Wal-Mart. If only kids were born knowing and practicing proper illness-avoidance procedures.

So until the weather warms up, I'll force myself to venture out periodically, but the bulk of my time will be spent snuggled up watching the best entertainment there is. No, not the Superbowl, or the Oscars, or even the Olympics, although I definitely need to find a way to watch all of those things. Not even Home on the Range (THE worst Disney movie ever) even though it plays at our house at least twice a day because it's Emily's favorite. I'll entertain myself by watching my kidlets grow and change day by day, and revel in how lucky I am to be able to do that.