Thursday, January 31, 2008
The bad news -- I seem to have lost my brand new cell phone. Which is the first phone I've really used a lot and liked. It disappeared on trash day, which worries me. I had it out that day because I was waiting for some calls. It was sitting on the living room on a table, and the next morning it was nowhere to be found. So I immediately started calling it to see where it was, assuming I'd hear it ringing somewhere in the house. The call rang and rang, but there was dead silence in the house. Hrm. Later that afternoon, it ominously stopped ringing all together when called, going straight to voicemail. Which could mean the battery died (which I doubt, since it had been charged recently).
My fear is that some little busybody threw it in the recycling bin and it went out with the trash, and then got compacted and smushed around the time it stopped ringing.
We're still looking for it, but we're hampered by the fact that it's so freaking small. Sometimes I can't find it when it's in my coat pocket because it's so small and thin and light. On the bright side it's magenta, so it should stick out visually. I've been through all the toy boxes, the book basket, every coat and sweater I wore that day, all the bags we used (diaper, library), and a half-hearted sweep through the car. I've looked in the stroller. I've looked under furniture. I called one of the two stores we went to that day to see if I lost it. (I'm pretty sure I didn't, though. The other store doesn't open for another hour. I'll call them later but I'm not expecting much.)
I think it's gone... Bummer.
My first attempt at making some felt hairclips for Sofie. The verdict? Not hard at all to make, although my technique needs to get better. The hardest part is cutting out the flowers because they're so small.
I used this tutorial but a different kind of clip... (Alligator clips - they're just so much easier to get in her hair.)
I need to get my new macro lens on the camera, because these pictures really kill a lot of the detail.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I just hope she isn't giving them performance reviews -- she did spend her third trimester listening in utero to me guide about 60 people through the Microsoft performance review process. I hope it didn't rub off too much.
The Committee, seen here in slightly non-consecutive order.
Every day when she naps, I line them up somewhere like this, and she immediately goes to find them when she gets up and then spends a happy half hour moving them from place to place. One moment they're all lined up on the snack table. Then they're all sitting on the couch. Once, I found her with them all laid on their sides. "Nap," she said to me by way of explanation. Hrm.
Today she's been lining them up on the welcome mat, as if they're just waiting to go out into the world. Here's the result of her handiwork, after she got distracted by a snack and wandered away:
What now, boss lady?
Here she is in progress, with gloworm handy to offer advice:
Finally, four of them ended up shoved into Daddy's hiking boots, although she was disappointed to find they wouldn't all fit:
Monday, January 28, 2008
The tantrums right now seem like these moments where her emotions just become a storm that she can't manage anymore. Like this afternoon. It was lunchtime and I wanted to put her in her high chair. She had other ideas, but it was close to naptime and I wanted her to eat so I overrode her struggles and fastened her in, which led to some tears, and went into the kitchen to make her lunch and see if she would calm down while I did so.
She did not. She was mad, she was frustrated, she was really really upset, and she just lost it.
I came back from the kitchen when it became apparent that this had been a mistake, and got her out and she just clung to me and cried and flailed for about fifteen minutes. We rocked in the rocking chair. We went into her room and sat in the glider. We tried to sing a song. (Nonononono, she said. I stopped.) I rubbed her back. Eventually she started to calm down, although she still looked shaken up -- for a few minutes she just sat quietly, looking around the room with one hand firmly on my chest as if to ground herself, unwilling to move. Finally a smile came and started to play and it was all past.
But what struck me was what a physical event this was, and how disturbing it was for her. She feels these huge things -- sadness, anger, frustration -- and every once in a while they just get completely out of control and she's lost in a whirlwind. Right now, she wants to cling to me when that happens. I know that won't always be the case, but for now this is what she wants, not to lie on the floor and kick but to bury her head in my neck and sob.
And it feels to me like I have a really important job at those moments -- to hold her, to ground her physically, to keep her safe. To try to name some of it for her ("are you feeling mad? you're pretty upset, aren't you?" or even just "do you feel yucky?"), kiss her hot, sweaty little head and she shrieks, and just try to help her come back to herself.
It's interesting to me also that these tantrums don't bother me. The little flashes of temper sometimes get me hot under the collar, the times when she whips her cup across the room and whines, but not these big explosions. I just feel compassion for her, and feel like holding on to her, the two of us bobbing across the ocean of her emotions as she learns to navigate them safely and come back to shore.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Oy. That's a new trick that's going to keep her fastened into footie pajamas at night and naptimes for the next year.
She did go right to bed tonight, though, in her new room. Thank god. Three hours later and she's still asleep. Keeping our fingers crossed.
It was a tough, tough, tough, tough day today. We all woke up tired and cranky, me especially, and everything we tried to do today was colored by it. Out usual Saturday morning breakfast out was difficult -- Sofie misbehaved, I was impatient with her, our food was really slow to arrive and burned when it did -- and because I was so tired everything just felt like such a trial all day. Sofie was a unique force of destruction today, tearing the house apart with a ferver not usually seen, over and over and over, even before the missed nap. I was snappy with her when she did this, which I felt bad about. I'm pretty sure my snappiness left her more frazzled and we just fed off each other all day. And then the missed nap and the messiness and refusing to eat her dinner and the horrible screaming tantrum when we gave her a sippy cup because she'd asked for a cup but not THAT cup, that's clearly the WRONG cup and how could we be so stupid!! And on and on and on.
I won't say I felt like a failure as a parent today because everyone has bad days, and I gave her plenty of hugs and told her I was sorry for being impatient, but I certainly didn't feel like the parent I want to be today.
Sleep will help. Both of us.
So we're back to doing the "every ten minutes, go in and comfort her until she settles down" thing. And we're anticipating that for a few nights we're going to have to leap up if she wakes in the middle of the night and is scared; probably she'll need a few days of reassurance before she can return to her usual habit of just turning over and pressing her gloworm for music, and drifting right back off to sleep.
It's good that we're starting this on a weekend.
I've got really mixed feelings about this whole process, even though it needed to happen. It'd be one thing if her bedroom was on the same floor as us -- I don't think I'd feel weird about that. But down a floor seems like a long ways, even though it's still just steps from our bed, right at the bottom of the staircase. And it's been nice having her upstairs with us all the time! We've spent many a happy moment watching her play in her crib before she knew we were awake, from our vantage point across the room. I find it immensely comforting to be able to hear her breathing if I wake up, and sometimes to tiptoe over and take a peek at her. It's comforting knowing she's literally RIGHT there, an arm's reach away.
On the other hand, she's almost 18 months old, and she's old enough to sleep in her own room. We have monitors next to the bed and will still hear every sound she makes, and I can still roll over and hear her breathing. And wow -- it's already nice to be able to go upstairs during naptime without worrying about waking her up. It'll be great to be able to turn on a light upstairs after seven p.m. for the first time in over a year. It'll be a relief to be able to have a conversation without whispering when we go to bed, and to be able to sneeze and flush the toilets without constantly fearing waking the baby.
I can see all of this. I agree. She may even sleep a whole lot better. A lot of people have said this is often the case when they're no longer in their parents' room.
But I think I'm going to miss her tonight.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
And sure enough, she was playing with my laptop. She'd opened it up and was most seriously tapping away at various keys, trying to turn it on. Her expression and posture were an exact mirror of mine when I'm on the computer. She was, in a word, engrossed.
Thank goodness she hasn't yet figured out where the power key is.
Tonight after she had her dinner, we were playing in the living room while we waited for Brett to get home. She was messing around with various things on the floor and I was sitting in a chair not three feet away, and yet still it took me a few minutes to realize that what she was up to was not the innocent rolling-around-on-the-floor game that it seemed to be. No. She was pouring a little water out of her cup onto the hardwood floor, then licking it up.
Mopping the floor with her tongue, pretty much.
Blech. Thankfully I'd mopped it earlier so it was relatively clean, and thankfully I don't use anything real harsh on it when I do. But still.
We went to the dentist today, all three of us, for Sofie's and my cleaning appointments. Sofie's was mercifully short, just five minutes of leaning backwards on my lap with her head in the dentist's lap so she could get a look-see at her beautiful 14 teeth. Sofie tolerated this for about a minute and a half and then had a fit for the remaining 3.5 minutes, but still it was enough to determine that her teeth are fine and she's doing well.
After that she got to play in the lobby with Daddy while I had my teeth cleaned, where she proceeded to throw about a hundred crayons around the room, play with plastic animals, and plaster her nose against the glass door leading back to the cleaning area in hopes of catching a glimpse of me. She was so cute doing this that the dentist actually stopped work and took a picture of her.
Let's see, what else is new with Sofie?
- Suddenly, she makes me blow on each and every piece of food before she'll put it in her mouth. She holds it up to me with a huge grin and says, "fffff! ffff!" (which is her way of making the blow-on-it sound) and then waits until I oblige. If I don't, no eating happens.
- Suddenly Gloworm, her indispensible night-time toy and the only reason she ever started going to bed by herself or sleeping through the night, is not just a night-time toy but a 24-7 companion. He comes out of the crib with her in the morning now, where previously she just held him up and made me kiss him and then left him behind until naptime arrived, and goes everywhere she does, including out of the house. Today he went to the dentist, to the grocery store, and to the library. This terrifies us because he's inevitably going to get lost, and seriously. THIS THING IS THE ONLY REASON SHE EVER SLEEPS.
So we need a backup. And wouldn't you know it? The thing seems to have been pulled from the market. It's out of stock everywhere -- online, in person, everywhere. Our days are numbered.
- She's developed a new love of reggae. Bring on the Marley, man. Nothing gets that little behind shaking faster than some reggae beat. So, so cute. I wish I could box up this little kid dancing, with the spastic arm-waving and the booty-scooting and the bouncing knees and the big huge tummy sticking out in the front, and save it for years from now when I need a lift. That and the spinning around in circles until you fall over. If these could be bottled there would be no need for Paxil in the world. Take two baby dance moves and call me in the morning.
Monday, January 21, 2008
We had Kate and Steve over last night to watch the Packers game, and the girls wore their respective cheerleader outfits -- Sofie showing her Patriots pride and Molly cheering on the Packers. Darnitall, though, it turned out they won't be playing each other in the superbowl. Shoot.Everyone had a good time, though, even though it involved staying up a little past bedtime for the little ones.
Molly touches the screen for luck
A little reading break - Sofie signs the word for water while looking at doggies drinking in her book.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Mr. Adrian Monk.
I'm a latecomer to the series, having only discovered it a month or so ago. But wow - what a fun, smart, funny series this is! And there are seven years of it I haven't seen. This will keep me going through the writer's strike and then some. I taped twelve episodes yesterday during the viewer's choice marathon, and I watched most of season one on New Year's Day in another marathon.
And I'm hooked. And I really do have a little crush on Mr. Monk.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
And right now, while I finish my dinner, she's playing happily with two long strips of border fabric I cut off earlier today -- clutching them to her chest, draping them across her shoulders like a stole...
A little fabriholic is in the making.
- I did my first hour of work on a small editing job that I've taken on, editing a series of technical papers for a programmer who works downtown. Each job is only three or four hours of work, but it's fun to be doing it and it brings in a little bit of money.
- I had a great business meeting that morning with someone else I might do some work for. Being home with Sofie has added many wonderful things to my life that I wouldn't trade for the world, but I'd kind of forgotten the pleasure that can come from feeling like a competent professional with all your ducks in a row.
Many of the mothers I know with kids the same age as Sofie are successfully balancing part-time, at-home work, and I'm now at the point where I feel like I could do that too. This is helped by the fact that Sofie is consistently napping for about three hours every afternoon.
- I started a Yoga Mama class which is meeting just up the street from me. Yoga Mama runs a series of classes for women that start late -- 7:45 to 9:30 -- so that you can go after you tuck your kids into bed. It felt great to take some time for myself, but I also have to say that this one session of stretching and salutations and lots of downward doggies did more to ease some chronic pain issues I've been having in my neck and right shoulder than four weeks of physical therapy has done. I'm seriously considering cancelling my last PT session this weekend and going to another yoga class instead.
So yes, as you can tell from the first two bullets, I'm starting to do a little work again. Not much - I think my maximum time output I can manage right now is around 15 hours a week. But I'm going to start looking more seriously for paid freelance writing and editing work that I can do from home and which will help add some new skills to my resume for my eventual return to the fulltime work force.
A return which is still years away, for sure - there are no changes in my plan to be home with Sofie until she's in school. But my secret goal is to build up enough experience to support myself as a freelancer or a consultant once she's in school, so that I can have more flexibility in my schedule and be able to be home when she gets out each afternoon.
As with all things in life, I have a very strong sense that the right thing will come along at the right time to make this happen, if I stay open to the possibilities of what's out there and just kind of let the universe provide. Opportunities come up all the time if you pay attention. I'm trying to.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Well, the new windows are finally in! Instead of being a one day job, it ended up taking three days, due to unexpected levels of rot in the studs below the windows in Sofie's bedroom -- parts of those walls had to be rebuilt, which involved drywall and mud and sanding and all sorts of other intricate steps. We spent one day camped out at a friend's house, one day hiding in the basement, and one day running errands for the last few hours of the work. But they're in and they look fantastic, and already we can tell a HUGE difference in the comfort level and temperature of the house. It's so warm! It's so comfortable, with the thermostat set way lower than it used to be. So great.
We also got new phones today, switching over from Sprint to T-Mobile and saving almost $50 a month in the process. And we kept our old numbers. And my new phone is magenta, which is kind of fun. I've been playing with it all evening.
And I'm half done with my winter swap quilt, which has to be mailed out by the end of this month. More on that as soon as I get the borders on -- I'll post a picture soon.
And poor little Sofie is coming down with something. She had a raging fever all evening and is now snoring away in her bed. We called the nice on-call nurse at our pediatrician's office, who told us that 102.8 is still considered a moderate fever rather than a high fever (that's hard to swallow, but I believe it, having read that everywhere else I looked too) and gave us good advice about what to do and what to look for, and said that she's probably either coming down with the stomach flu or something respiratory. Listening to her hack and snore away up there, I'm guessing respiratory.
So tomorrow, if it's anything like tonight, will probably involve a lot of laying around watching television and cuddling a fussy toddler who wants to cling to your pantleg and scream any time you so much as try to put her down to use the toilet. Poor kid.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
We're really looking forward to having new, more water-resistant windows -- most of what's going in will be sliders rather than casement, which will cut down on how wet they get, plus we've switched to a better type of wood for this climate. Plus hey, windows that close all the way are just a nice thing to have in the winter, you know?
Hopefully our heating bill will show a huge reduction now that we're not blasting heat out into the great outdoors, and Sofie's room will no longer be so frigid that we can't really use it for anything from November through March. Once the windows are in, we're also going to move her crib down from upstairs and let her start sleeping in her own room for the first time. That'll be a big step for everyone here -- mama has mixed feelings about it but I know it will be a good thing for all of us to have our own nighttime space again.
Sofie and I are spending the day out of the house tomorrow because in addition to being cold with half of the windows taken out of the walls, we're pretty sure that a house this old has got lead paint under the current paint somewhere, and the dust generated from taking the windows off (down to the studs, in most cases, because the sills rotted too) might be dangerous for Sofie. So we're off to run errands, go to Gymboree, and visit friends in the afternoon. And then come home to a newly cozy, airtight house!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Sofie's new reading chair, which we got for a song via Craigslist, sits next to its larger cousin. So far, we're a little disappointed to say she doesn't much like it -- we got it for her because she was so crazy about the kid-sized chairs at some of her friends' houses, but she greeted the arrival of one in her own home with great suspicion. What is it DOING here? What does it WANT?
She'll warm up to it. Big bird already has.
We had a great night last night -- we put the Sofster to bed at seven and then had a few friends over for a lavish Italian meal which Brett worked all afternoon on. Not only did it feel festive because of the holiday, it felt doubly festive because a) I didn't have to do a lick of work preparing the meal and b) Sofie was asleep before the party even started, meaning we could get out some of our nicer and/or more breakable things (like, we could have a tablecloth without worrying about any little people yanking it and all the dishes too off the table), we could just focus on our friends and adult conversation, and we could drink!
Our friends John and Jacki, and Michael and Susan and Malcolm (from Cascadian Telegrams) joined us for the evening, and Alan and Beth (from Working Artist) stopped by for a drink on their way out to tango. Malcolm, who's in kindergarten, almost made it to midnight but conked out on the basement couch in front of Star Wars shortly before the fireworks went off. The rest of us may have doubted our ability to stay awake until midnight but we were still up and talking long past.
Brett's "Goodfella's style" meal was truly spectacular. He made an amazing pasta sauce that simmered for something like four hours on the back of the stove, and pounded out pork cutlets, breaded and sauted them, then topped them with provolone for a quick trip into the oven. We made homemade garlic bread, and friends brought caesar salad and a lemon tart. Yum. So good, and so much fun! Because we started late, the evening involved mostly sitting around the table eating and drinking great red wine until nearly midnight.
No one made any resolutions, at least not that we discussed, but we joked that Sofie had told me as I put her to bed that her New Year's Resolution is "Get bigger." Simple, attainable, easy to measure. Smart girl. Me? Nothing specific. I've got some projects I want to do this year, mostly quilting related, but really I just feel lucky with the life I'm already living right now and just look forward to continuing to take care of Brett and be home with Sofie and watching her incredible unfolding into an active, interesting, funny little girl.
Today we're both recovering from a little bit too much wine, but basically feeling good and happy. I got to sleep in for a few hours while Brett and Sofie played in the basement, and now Brett and Sofie are napping upstairs while I watch the Monk marathon on USA. A great, quiet start to 2008.