Saturday, 16 May 2015

Stuff and Things

I really miss writing.

I also miss reading and baths and vacations and roadtrips and uninterrupted sleep and normal bras.

They aren't lying when they say that time goes by faster with a kid. I keep thinking that it's only been a few days or a week since I wrote last, and when I finally come back it's been 2 weeks and the prospect of coming up with something to write about is just too overwhelming.

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But here I am, pushing through it.

Truth be told the last few weeks (months?) have been an absolute blur for a few reasons. Firstly, I have a baby and cliche cliche stereotype cliche. Second, work has been ramping up and since Amelia tends not to adhere to my work schedule I get a lot of work done in the evenings after she's gone to bed. Being a work-at-home mom is hard in a lot of ways I didn't really expect, or if I did expect it I didn't really have a frame of reference and it took me by surprise anyway.

I've been trying to eke out some time to myself here and there, reading books and getting outside to take pictures.  When your whole day is spent catering to the needs of a tiny dictator that looks like your husband and shares half of your DNA, little things like that take on a new meaning. It's nice to spend a little bit of time with things that don't need me, I guess.

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So in the last few weeks we had Mother's Day, my first. Funny story, we actually thought Mother's Day was the week before, on May 2. Well, I did, and Rob pretty much blindly follows my memory (or lack thereof) for dates. So for our pseudo-Mother's Day Rob made me chocolate-banana pancakes and bought me cookies. My friend Suze back in Santa Fe sent me flowers. We spent the actual Mother's Day weekend at Rob's sister's college graduation, which went better than we expected given the fact that we had a ten month old. It was nice to see family and for Amelia to get exposed to new foods and sounds and places.

Other exciting things are happening too. I'm starting to make other mom friends here, and now that the weather is finally nice I'm hoping we can actually start making play dates and so forth. Amelia is sleeping decently at night (knock on wood) and my allergies are starting to abate (double knock on wood). Rob and I met a person here who is Deaf, and after fingerspelling everything with him the first few times we met I thought I'd use the opportunity to teach myself American Sign Language. I've been practicing in the shower and also trying out new sentences with Amelia (who has started to mimic my signs by doing a sort of "one-hand clap" motion, which incidentally means "milk" in Sign Language). Anyway I haven't learned a new language in awhile and thought it'd be interesting to try.

So that's all that's going on here guys. How are you?

Saturday, 2 May 2015

May is CAITLIN MONTH

I love May. Love love love it.

It's partly because in New England, May is always when spring actually starts to show itself. April is nice and all, but you're almost guaranteed at least one snowstorm and that puts a damper on all the spring that pops up from the ground.

But if I'm being honest, a lot of it is that May is my birthday month, and even though adult birthdays are super lame compared to kid birthdays, it's pretty cool to gain a year.

This year I also get to celebrate Mother's Day for the first time. I thought it was this weekend but turns out it's next weekend, so we get to stretch it out even more. Rob's making me chocolate banana pancakes and the baby is celebrating by not letting me leave her sight for more than a few seconds at a time.

The pancakes will be pretty great though.

So, two whole days to celebrate ME AND ONLY ME, plus nice weather? Blammo. May.

Our May is pretty busy even aside from those things. Rob's sister Molly is graduating college next weekend and we are going to brave it with the baby (pray for us). A week or two after that my dad plans on coming for a visit because he hasn't seen Amelia since Christmas. And I'm hoping we'll do something for Memorial Day weekend too.

I am liking May for one more reason too. I've said it a few times now but it's just so exciting that I will repeat it.

Parenthood is actually really fun right now.


I love Amelia from the depths of my soul, but taking care of a young infant was just not my thing. In a lot of ways I feel like her first 9 months were almost like another pregnancy--essentially just "waiting it out" until the actual parenting started. Within the last month or so, though, she has just totally blossomed into this fun little person to be around. It's exhausting and boring and soul-crushing sometimes too, but what was once an entire day filled with those feelings has turned into the odd 10 or 20 minutes every couple of days. I have yet to find myself yearning for the days when she'd do nothing but lay in one spot and stare and scream and nurse every hour.

The other day I took her to the park for a change of scenery. I had to wait to go until she'd had a napped and nursed and seemed like she was in a generally decent mood.  We only stayed about 15 minutes because on the whole she was pretty unimpressed with swings and slides. The weather was gorgeous--a perfect day. While I obviously enjoyed the time together, all I could think about was how much fun those outings will be when she's even just a little older. How when she's maybe 4 or 5 I can bring a book while she plays on the playground with other kids, how I can take her out for ice cream or slurpees afterward. How one day I can watch her dance around outside and have an imagination instead of chasing after her to make sure she doesn't grab errant dog poop on the edges of our yard.

So what does all that have to do with May?

Nothing really, I guess, except that with the start of this month just feels like a new beginning in so many ways. I feel like I'm hitting my stride in a lot of areas of my life and after this past winter, that's pretty damn cool.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Currently

Reading: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. The baby has actually given me some reading time lately which has been awesome, and I am really, really enjoying this book.  It's basically a collection of passages from the now-defunct Dear Sugar advice column, but I really enjoy Cheryl's well-thought-out, beautiful, no-nonsense answers.  If you're weirdly into advice columns like I am you will probably also enjoy this.

Enjoying: my child's 10th month so, so much more than any of her previous months. She is SO MUCH FUN NOW. Not to mention thanks to some minor sleep training this week she is sleeping better at night and I'm relishing having time at night to spend time with Rob, to mess around on the computer and to not hide my phone (seriously, that kid dives for my phone every time she sees it). During the day she smiles and laughs and it's just...the most amazing thing ever.

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Watching: The Office reruns over and over and over again. The gurus of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to avoid screen time until the age of 2, but that is one bit of advice that has gone right out the window. If I couldn't have something on in the background during my long days alone with the baby I think I'd go completely insane. So sorry, Amelia, for your underdeveloped TV brain.

Eating: much healthier foods! Amelia is eating 3 meals a day nowadays (plus a snack) and as a result I'm buying a lot more fruits and veggies. So far she's eaten everything with great relish, especially strawberries and avocado.

Worrying About: Amelia starting two days of daycare in June. She's still dealing with pretty intense separation anxiety right now and I'm worried she's going to come completely undone with the change.


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Monday, 20 April 2015

A Few Words but Mostly Cute Baby Faces

I seriously stared at this damn blinking cursor for probably 10 minutes on and off and I got nothing.

So since I haven't shared photos from the big camera in awhile, and since we've been enjoying the increasingly warm weather with Amelia, here are some cute baby faces instead.

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Skills I've Developed as a Parent That Have No other Practical Use

A lot of parents make comments about how parenting is "a job" in and of itself.

I beg to differ. I get paid to do my job.

Also, I think that the vast majority of skills I've learned as a parent have little to no practical use outside of being a parent. I honestly think about that every day--"wow, I've gotten really good at this thing for how useless it is outside of the walls of my house."

Here are a few of those things:

1. Vacuuming the floor with my non-dominant hand and holding my baby on the other side.

2. Learning all the creaky spots on Amelia's bedroom floor and avoiding them in the dark of night.

3. Eating my feelings.

(Who am I kidding, I've had that skill for a long time.)

4. Remembering kids' songs that I haven't heard or sung in 20 years.

5. Breastfeeding. Not otherwise practical unless there's a REALLY WEIRD job out there that I just don't know about yet.

6.  Watching reruns of "The Office" and "Bob's Burgers" ad infinitum. I guess this does have a practical use which is, of course, being awesome.

7.  Calculating formula to water ratios.

8. Brushing tiny baby teeth.

9. Clipping tiny baby nails (I'm actually really good at this).

10. Changing a diaper on a baby that is trying desperately to roll on her belly and/or stand up.

Monday, 13 April 2015

How to Set the Internet on Fire

If there's one thing the internet has in spades, it's righteous anger. There was a time where I participated in it, but at this point in my life I mostly just find it humorous.

I'm not one to provoke people on the internet per se--I'm far too scared of confrontation to do that--but here are some sample posts in case you find yourself bored and wanting to watch the internet explode. I think the kids call this "trolling" but I call it good clean fun. 

(Not really. But here they are anyway.)

1. To rile up moms: "I am sleep-training my circumcised formula-fed son who hates seeing women breastfeed in public. He's been crying for 4 hours all alone. Should I feed him his regular McDonald's Happy Meal tomorrow for breakfast?"

2. To rile up childfree people: "If you don't have a child you can't understand love. You will change your mind and have 13 kids, just you wait. No one wants to see pictures of your dog/cat."

2. To rile up atheists: "Evolution is only a theory, not fact. There are gaps in the fossil record. The Bible is backed up by scientific fact."

3. To rile up Christians: "I don't need a magical sky fairy to tell me what to do. Christians are all bigoted and racist and religion is stupid and harmful."

4. To rile up liberals: "Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Fundamentalist Christian who doesn't have a birth certificate. Every American child should be given a gun at birth and George Bush was the best president in the history of America."

4. To rile up conservatives: "Obama promised to personally pay for my mortgage. I collect welfare and don't work so I take my Lexus, iPhone and tattoos to the welfare office every weekday for more of your money."

5. To rile up MRAs: "Men are obsolete. Women are inherently superior and men are all sexual predators. Women should be able to have sex with as many men as they want without judgement."

6. To rile up Feminists: "Feminazis hate men and make false rape claims. If women respected themselves they wouldn't dress in skimpy clothing or have casual sex, but I am entitled to sex. I'm a nice guy, women are just bitches."

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Introverted Parents, Introverted Baby

Amelia and I spent a few days this week visiting friends in Boston. I'd initially made the plans when we thought Rob was leaving for a prescribed burn (more fire, wee!). The burn was canceled but I wanted to go anyway, partially because I wanted to spend time with other moms and babies and also because I wanted Amelia to get practice with new situations.

Since she was born, we've spent much of our time at home. Part of that is that leaving the house with a baby is an exercise in...shittiness? I guess? Especially when said baby hates the carseat and screams bloody murder for most of the trip. It's also because we have no friends here, know no other parents, and because our area is really rural and there's simply nowhere to go. 

We've noticed her growing introversion, which could be because we stay home so much or maybe because both of us identify as introverted and we did, you know, make her with our genes. The other day at the grocery store a baby her age waved and smiled at her, which she returned with the most serious face I'd ever seen on a baby. You could almost see one of her eyebrows raise or hear her say, "seriously dude? Calm your tits."

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I finally have photographic evidence of this face.

Since we aren't having another baby anytime soon (or maybe ever ever ever) I thought it'd be nice for her to see what it'd be like to share her space with one.

We left on Monday and Amelia surprisingly did really well on the trip. This is weird but I think it might be because I listened to an audiobook in the car instead of music. Maybe the voices hypnotize her.  We made it to my friend's house in the afternoon, just after Amelia had woken up from a nap preceded by 20 minutes of mindless screaming.

The friend we visited is named Becky. Her husband was in the Army with Rob and we were both pregnant at the same time. Her daughter is almost exactly three months older than Amelia and this was the first time they met.

We did a lot in just a few days. We went to grocery stores and Target, hung out with another mom and baby, met Becky's mom, and crawled around on the floor together. Amelia did okay. She definitely did not seek out the attention or company of other babies and was much more content observing the action. I saw an obvious change in her demeanor when one of the babies would come closer to her--her smile would fall a bit, she'd cling to me a bit tighter or even crawl away. 

It was funny for me to be around other babies and see how different they all are. Mothers always talk about how different baby's personalities can be, but it's a whole other thing to see it unfold in front of your eyes. My friend's daughter, for example, is very active and eager to interact with babies and adults alike. The other baby that was there was mellow, but still quite social. 

As much as I'd like to avoid inadvertently pushing a particular personality trait by catering to who she is now and not bothering to challenge her, it's difficult not to imagine if these "proto-traits" we see now will factor into who she becomes as she grows. Since she was maybe 4-5 months old I've been struck by her need for "recharge" time with her "home base" (i.e., Rob and I), and as an introvert myself I totally get it, kid.

Whatever and whoever she turns out to be, it fills me with so much weird joy to watch her grow and become a person. I am just blown away by how her personality twists and turns, and I can't wait to see which experiences come to shape her.

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We had a lot of fun in the big city, but sleep eluded us (okay, just her) and we're happy to be home again. Now I'm enjoying an adult beverage and taking care of my back, which is incredibly sore from holding my needy baby for 3 straight days.