Sunday, August 30, 2009

Appreciating one hour

Things have been busy, busy, busy lately. It feels like I'm always moving.

Unfortunately, not much of that moving over the weekend involved getting out of the house. Just because I am a stay-at-home mom, it doesn't mean I prefer to "stay at home." I get a little nutty if I'm in the house for more than a day. I like to be OUTSIDE! Breathing fresh air! Doing stuff! Even if it's just to run to the store....

I know in the past, I have mumbled and complained over running around a lot. There have been times I'd kick off my shoes, change into my flannel jammie pants and declare, "I am NOT going out anymore for today!" But that's when I'm running around TOO MUCH. And being outside all the time. I like to be inside the house, too. Just not...all day.

So it was that Saturday, I couldn't get out of the house. Neither did the kids. Even though we wanted to go somewhere. And today, I had plans to go out. Spend some time at the library, maybe a Starbucks or window shop. Just, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! You know?

But miraculously....hubby decided that today was the day he'd do yardwork. Which meant I was stuck inside the house, watching the kids. I know I could've put them in the car and we'd go for a drive. (We do that, sometimes.) But I wanted to have some "me time." Just time to myself.

But as the day wore on and it got late, I started to stress out about not being able to go anywhere. At around the time the library closed, I got upset. I put my foot down and made my case for getting OUT of the house. When that time came, it was too late for me to be able to be out for longer than an hour. And I decided to just forget it. It was either longer than an hour or nothing!

Hubby promised to make sure I could do that tomorrow. But as I sat reading a book and just letting my stubbornness pass, I knew that would not work. It was either one hour of "me time" or just wait until next weekend. I have a TON of writing work going on next week. I just can't squeeze in the free time next week; I KNOW I won't have any!

So I decided that I will take this one hour of downtime tonight. And while I made that decision, hubby got the baby into the stroller, got Jennifer onto her bike and they went out for a while, too. So I guess we were ALL going to grab our last chance of downtime in what was left of the day!

I went to the bookstore and I DID NOT take my notebook with me this time. I'd already spent the morning writing and meeting a deadline. Now it was time to STOP being a writer and just enjoy the world again. Be in the moment. I felt naked without my notebook, but I knew I had to just be a part of the world for a while and take EVERYTHING in. No writing allowed! Turn off the writer and turn on the observer.

Still, I read through some books while at the bookstore. And enjoyed some Irish Cream Latte (yum!!). I was also texting one of my sisters, and people-watching, too. It was nice to be able to do that again.

And when I got back home, I felt refreshed. It was good to be with my babies again. We were all really happy and enjoyed time together. We ended up in front of the couch, eating cheeseburgers and watching a movie. The world just felt lighter again and I'm grateful I took that downtime to feel renewed for it. Even if that downtime lasted only for just an hour.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend fun

I had plans for Saturday that we would have some "family time" and just all do stuff together, since all of us RARELY do stuff together. But hubby's friend came over and he wanted to go have coffee with him. It was important to me that we do family stuff and I wondered if we could move it to Sunday. I had to call one of the places on the itinerary first to see if they were opened on Sundays and, finding out that they are, I said, "OK, we'll do the family stuff tomorrow, then."

Before hubby could meet with his friend, though, he had to run some errands. One of those errands was to take Jesse for a haircut. (Later, after seeing the curls gone, I started to cry. I loved those little curls!) While he and Jesse were getting ready to go out, me and Jennifer were getting ready to go out. Jen and I would have our "mother and daughter" day like last weekend. Woot! I told Jen, "The men are going in one direction and the girls are going in another direction." With two boys and two girls in the house, we often say stuff like that. "The boys are asleep and the girls are awake." "The boys are watching TV and the girls are reading books."

I will post "before" and "after" pics soon. It's hard to get Jesse to sit still long enough for a decent pic!

I will also post another pic soon. I ordered a "Knight Fever" tank top. It arrived on Saturday. And, oh my gosh, it is AWESOME!! They only have it in "large" and I was worried it would be too big. (I don't like wearing loose tank tops.) But it fits really well. Not loose at all. It's not all glittery like in the picture. Just a normal cotton tank top. "Knight Fever" has glitter on it, as shown in the picture. I asked to have the name "Jonathan" put on the back, like with my other "Knight Fever" shirt. And now to get one more!!! LOL I want to get the red one. Maybe I should go with Jordan's name this time.

Anyway, our first stop was the library. While there, I saw the book QUERY LETTERS THAT WORKED! Real Queries That Landed $2K+ Writing Assignments by Angela Hoy. (A shout out to Angela!) I also got a book on book publicity, and another one on poetry. Jen left the library carrying a stack of nine books. Sniff, I was so proud.

After the library, we headed over to Sweet Life. Jen got a chocolate cupcake (yay for chocolate!) and I got a canoli. I've never had one before so I wanted to try it and see what all the fuss was about. (It was gross. YUCK!!) Then I took her to PlayLand and, while she was there, I did a little reading and a little shopping. One of the things I got was a BIG notebook for Jennifer, because she draws and writes so much, she keeps running out of paper! So I got her MORE paper and the latest issue of National Geographic for myself. (I'm an armchair traveler. LOL)

After PlayLand, it was time to do the "boring" stuff. We took the car to the car wash then got some groceries, as well as pizza for dinner. At the store, I let Jennifer get a Redbox movie. After dinner, I bathed Jesse and put him to bed. Jen and I both read books while waiting for the baby to fall asleep, then we watched the movie, Hotel for Dogs. I thought it was such a cute movie. Jennifer started to cry when the brother and sister, who were in a foster program, were separated. She kept telling me she would NEVER leave her little brother. She never wanted to be separated from him. She just bawled her heart out over that. I hugged her and assured her that her dad and I made arrangements for her and her brother to ALWAYS be together if something happened to us.

After the movie, she went to bed and I watched an episode of Trading Spouses that I'd DVRed earlier in the week. Then it was MY turn to cry and get upset, when the little boy was so sad over his mother leaving for a week. It made me want to run to the baby's crib, pick him up and hold him really tight! Every time I watch a show like that, I keep thinking I could NEVER leave my babies for a whole week. I'd probably spend all that time thinking about them and missing them!

Sunday morning, I woke up with a huge headache. I wanted to just stay in bed (and lie there mumbling "my head is pounding, pounding, pounding") but I knew I had to get up and get the children fed, dressed. I finally managed to get out of bed and just felt sick. (I blame the canoli!) I took some Tylenol but when my headache went away, I had serious stomach pain. GAH! Darn canoli. I wasn't feeling so great because of that stomach pain and I was worried we'd miss church. When I finally got to take a bath and get dressed, the stomach pain just got worse. After my bath, I said a short prayer that the pain would lessen or go away so that we could go to church. I ended up feeling well enough to go, even though we arrived there really late. But at least we were there! And it was so good to see my "friends from church" there, too.

After church, we went to the bookstore and got some magazines. We also bought Jesse a new cloth book. I can't buy him board books; he tears them up! Eek!

From the bookstore, we went home and just relaxed. Hung out. Watched some TV. Did a few chores (laundry, changing ALL the sheets on the beds -- which is a weekend ritual even if the sheets are not dirty! -- vacuuming and dishes). When we finally ready to go to have our family outing, we went to Roaring Rapids Pizza Parlor to make a reservation for Jennifer to have her birthday party there. (Yay! We'll have so much fun!). Then we went out for ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery.

Overall, it was a fun weekend. Now to relax some more because fun time is coming to an end. Tomorrow is Monday -- time to get up early again and get back to work!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


This morning, Jesse got me up early. I have grown used to getting little sleep because of his erratic sleeping patterns (he woke up three times last night! UGH!) but I was still exhausted when I got up with him. I was stumbling around, changing his diaper and making the coffee and getting him his breakfast. I suppose I have to get used to this; school starts in 3 weeks! I have been trying to get Jennifer back onto a "school schedule" in preparation for this. And me on a new schedule, as well. But it's slow going.

When the kids were having breakfast this morning, I introduced Jesse to Honey Nut Cheerios. He LOVED it and kept signing "more." Haha. It was cute. But he didn't love it as much as Instant Breakfast drink, which Jennifer had with her toast. I decided to go ahead and give him some of that since that's about the same age Jennifer started drinking it with her breakfast (at that time, I'd received my mother-in-law's encouragement to give her that drink and it took some doing to measure it correctly because she threw it up the first time I gave it to her. Ever since, we've used the pouches and I mix it all in a tumbler instead of a regular-sized 8-ounce cup.) He drank all of his then, when it was not offered after he signed "more" (because he already had 2 full cups of milk!), he tried to drink Jennifer's and she kept trying to get her cup from him. No fun trying to stop him from crying and throwing a tantrum over not getting more Instant Breakfast drink. I felt guilty denying him more --since after all, he only had half a cup!-- but I had hubby's complaints over Jesse being fat hanging over me. I believe that a chubby baby is a healthy baby. Jennifer has always been a string bean and Jesse has always been chubby. And he's a boy! Boy babies are usually more chubbier than girls.

But, anyway. That's for a whole 'nother blog post.

My muse was on fire today. I'm trying to get three assignments done before the end of the month and have pretty much avoided writing anything else until then. So I was feeling guilty after I wrote an article this morning. One of the things I have due is a short story and, in my defense, at least the article was about writing short stories! Still, I felt bad. I was cutting back on other things to get these projects done. Bad writer for writing something else! But I remembered how we should take something bad and turn it into something good. So I decided I must be in an article-writing mood today. Maybe I can get my article (which is due) written up. But I didn't have an idea for what to write about. I've been tussling with this all week. What to write. What to write!

Finally, I figured out what to write. Yay! But before I could even put pen to paper, Jesse got stuck when he was trying to climb into the kitchen table chair. His arm and elbow got stuck in the slat. I was trying to get his arm free but no luck. Meanwhile, he was twisted around on the chair and in pain. "Jennifer, go get Daddy! Hurry!" I turned to call to my daughter. After she ran to get her father, I once again tried to get Jesse's arm free but I couldn't do it without hurting him. His dad came and took over. Both Jen and I were agonizing over Jesse crying so bad as his father worked to free his arm. Finally, when his arm was free and it was determined he was okay, we sat with him, holding him and giving him kisses as we tried to soothe him. (I have been on hubby's case about getting padding for the backs of those chairs to cover the slats. This is not the first time Jesse's arm got stuck in between them! He's also gotten his arm or leg stuck in the slats of his crib, despite crib guards. AAH! I hate that sort of design on furniture! I once saw a photo of a baby who suffocated after sliding through the slats of his crib, at the bottom of the railing, and that picture haunts me to this day.)

Later, Jesse took his nap on the couch and I wrote up the article.

One thing Jennifer kept doing today is going to the computer to play her game. (She's hooked on Mario Brothers.) And I had to keep reminding her it was not time to play her game yet. I was like, "First you have to eat breakfast. First you have to get dressed. First you have to wash up. First you have to brush your teeth and hair." She eventually got frustrated with all the interruptions and logged off. Which was a good thing, since she also had to clean her room!

I have Jen signed up for karate now (technically, Jeet Kune Do) and she got all excited about going to class today. We ended up getting there late because of a lot of running around (something Jesse was happy about, since he LOVES going "bye-bye." Every time I pick up my keys, he runs and grabs his shoes!). When I reminded her of her class today, she got all hyper and started doing karate kicks. We'll see if that excitement will last!

Before karate, though, we had to go to the store and the store we went to has a bunch of people there who knew me when I was pregnant with Jesse. It is always so mind-blowing to see them act around Jesse like they have known him FOREVER. Well, I guess technically, they have! But it's still so interesting! They say things like "he's getting so big" and "it's nice to see him again" and I think it's really special to have that sense of familiarity. I know I may not feel like I'm a "part" of Eugene and don't have REAL friends here, but that kind of familiarity people have with my children just really helps to ease the stress and anxieties of being so "alone" here. As it is, one of the mothers at the karate class approached me and said she knew about Jennifer because her son goes to the same school.

I just really had to think, you know, through my children, I am able to meet new people. Have some kind of "familiarity" with where we live. And build up relationships with others simply because of who my children are and what they do. It really is interesting and even reassuring. I am hoping this will mean I'll be able to have a friend to hang out with our send emails back and forth with.

Anyway, I digress.

After karate, we came home and just hung out. Then we decided to go for a walk. It was still daylight and the weather was beautiful. So we walked down to the market and bought some goodies. When we had dinner later and I was in the kitchen getting our plates ready, Jesse let me know he was hungry by making the sign for "eat." I thought that was really cute.

Later, after I gave Jesse a bath, I was sooo tired once again. I was dressing Jesse and forgot to put the lotion on him before I put on his clothes. Just as I was about to dress him, he said "Mama, Mama" and made his own home sign for the lotion (a rubbing motion on his chest). I thought that was neat and told Jennifer. She was surprised and said, "He's the smartest baby in America!" Maybe I'm bragging, but...I think so, too.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mother and daughter day

On Saturdays, I usually try to get out of the house to have a few hours of "me time" to just read, have coffee, shop or just hang out in a nature setting. This is my time to just "refresh" myself for the upcoming week. It's a time I usually just think about things, turn inward and meditate or pray, try something new. Just BE. It's hard to do that when you have kids. They don't like to do the same things that grown-ups do for fun and relaxation. This kinda thing does wonders for me. It really does help me "recharge" myself and feel like I just have that "alone time" to be one with myself.

I can't do this EVERY Saturday, though. Or every Sunday, if Saturday is too busy. But that's what I usually try to do.

However, instead of having a so-called "selfish Saturday," as I call them, I decided I would do something differently today.

Today, I would spend my Saturday with my daughter.

I told Jennifer that today was "mother and daughter day" and we had a list of things we'd do together to just have our own "girl time" together. I know that when you have more than one child, one of them can tend to feel left out. And I know there were times in which Jen felt a little left out while her younger brother got so much attention. So I've decided that, one day out of the week, it will be HER day to be the center of attention.

So when we finally managed to get out of the house today, we headed straight for the Coldstone Creamery. We enjoyed an ice cream treat there, then we did a little shopping at Old Navy. One of the T-shirts she got says, "Girls Rule and Boys Drool." (Oh, Lord. I hope she doesn't go back to school saying that to all the boys! LOL)

After that, I planned to take her to a little shop to buy a book, but they'd moved. So we went to a store instead and she bought two comic books. We also bought supplies for a "candy mask" we are planning to make later on (using candy, cake icing and paper plates). Then we went to the park. I was concerned because it was getting late. It was 7:00 when we left for the park and I didn't want us out after dark. So I told Jen she could play at the park for 10 minutes. But we ended up having so much fun, we stayed there for 25 minutes. And, thankfully, it didn't get dark.

We still have plans to make that mask. And do each others' hair. And play a board game. Those things are all part of our special day together.

Tomorrow, however, will be "daddy and daughter day." At least, we hope it will. She wants to do some stuff with her dad tomorrow, and I'll spend time chilling with the baby. I hope he'll be able to do that for her.

But even if that doesn't happen, at least she had one special day. I am thinking of getting rid of my "selfish Saturdays" and replacing it with the "mother and daughter" day instead. My daughter won't be young forever, and it won't be long before she'll want to hang out with her friends instead of her mother. So for now, I think I should hold on to these special days with her while I still can. I can always be selfish later.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Slowing down on housework

I realized something this week: I am spending more time doing housework than I am doing the writing. That's not good! I have to get my book to the publisher in two months! So I have to make writing the priority. At least for now. At least until I get this book done and sent off to the publisher.

I know I get grouchy if my house is dirty. If it's NOT clean. But this is important and I know that I can't screw it up.

At least laundry and dishes are getting done every day. (Well, at least on the days I can do them!) At least my children are clean and well cared for. At least there are meals being cooked for everybody to eat.

As it is, I CAN'T do so much housework these days. I have been having bad pain in my left hip lately. I don't know why. One sister thinks it's dehydration, another sister thinks it's the change of seasons. Who knows! If the pain is too much, I won't be doing a whole lot of housework. I'm sorry, people, but it hurts too much to stand up! Also, my left foot has hurt a lot, too. But this is a permanent thing. I only have three toes on my left foot. They did a toe-to-thumb transplant with both of my feet years ago and that is why I only have three toes on my left foot. And three "toe fingers" on my left hand. I wonder if they foresaw the pain later on down the road? Nevertheless, yes, I have bad pain in my foot. So much so that I can't stand on it. (I have been limping a lot recently!) Sometimes, it doesn't hurt. Sometimes, it does. I have learned to live with this like I have learned to live with my back pain.

But I have to there a connection?

In the past, my back pain would be so severe, I was literally mush on my left side. I was literally dragging my left foot along across the foor because everything on the left side turned to mush. Completely useless.

And now my left hip is acting up. And my left foot.

It really makes me wonder if there is a connection.

One of my siblings has a genetic hip condition. In fact, he had to have hip surgery, before he was even 30 years old! And ever since his diagnosis, I have dreaded getting the same thing. And now, at the age of 35, I have to wonder: DO I have the same thing? Now? Will I need to have surgery?

I will have to pray on this.

I don't like a dirty house. I don't like things being messy. I like it CLEAN. But if I can't clean...well, then I can't clean! I am going to see a doctor about these physical problems.

In the meantime, the house will NOT be as clean as it used to be. I know it will be hard to deal with that on a personal level, but I will get through it. It is only temporary. This, too, shall pass.

At least this gives me an excuse to sit down more often. To cuddle up with the children. And work on my books.

LATER: I am thinking there could be other reasons why I have the hip problem. With the foot, it is a no-brainer why. But with my hip, it could also be...picking up and carrying the baby around at times (he weighs 25 pounds!), a bad mattress or bad posture. These are things I can consider looking into, as well.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Not everybody in Eugene loves the earth

Before anybody outside of Eugene, Oregon gets it into their heads that every single resident of Eugene is a huge environmentalist, hippie, tree-hugger and overall caretaker of the planet, don't. That's not true of everybody who lives in Eugene. Especially me. I ain't no hippie. I'm not an environmentalist. And I don't live off of solar energy while commuting EVERYWHERE on a bike.

I don't do those things, think those things or act like those stereotypes.

But I DO care about the planet. And I just wish more people in Eugene did, too.

In a recent issue of the Eugene Weekly, a woman wrote to the editor saying she was not going to attend the Oregon Country Fair this year, because the littering was so very bad. I mean, there were even people leaving their babies' dirty diapers lying around!

And in a recent article in the Register-Guard, they ran a story of how the littering problem is VERY BAD in a local park. There were visitors at this park leaving behind so much trash and some of that trash went into a nearby lake. I was angered to read about how people just so callously threw their trash all over the place, not even caring about keeping their area clean. People were even going to the bathroom in the bushes! I was disgusted by all of this, but deeply moved at how a local homeless man was picking up the trash and trying to tidy up the park. (Now, see! Not ALL homeless people just lie around asking for booze or hand-outs!) A bonus for him: Getting some money from all of the cans he collected to buy food with.

I was upset about this littering problem, though, and I shared my opinions about it with Jennifer. She grew sad and said, "I want to do something to help the environment."

Well, picking up after ourselves is ONE thing we can do to help the environment. And Jen got this message across once again today.

We went for a walk today and I was not very happy to see trash in bushes here or on the sidewalk there. At one point, though, when we got to a part of the sidewalk where there was a whole lot of trash lined along the bushes, I angrily threw up my arms and stood there looking at that mess with my hands on my hips. I turned to look at Jennifer and say, "Do you know one thing we are seeing a lot of on this walk?"

"What?" she asked.

"All of this trash!" I angrily answered, holding my hands out where all that trash was on the ground. It was pitiful. There were papers, empty cigarette cartons, empty laundry detergent bottles, empty cans of beer, wrappers from cookies and other assorted snacks, and even a Band-Aid that had blood on it. (Eww!)

"Why can't people clean up after themselves!" I continued to angrily spout. "They treat the earth like it's some kind of trash can! They should put all of their trash where it belongs!"

I was really seething over this. I mean, we'd seen so much trash littering the grounds as we walked, it was really just bothering me. And seeing it lining the sidewalk was just the last straw. It just made me get really angry about this littering problem.

Usually, we admire architecture and gardening accomplishments on our walks. We admire the flowers, stare in awe at the huge, thick trees towering over us like giants, talk with and sometimes pet animals we see, and enjoy the good walking weather.

But not today. Today, the serious littering problem ruined what should have been a pleasant stroll through the neighborhood.

Jennifer's statement that she wants to do something to help the environment tugged at me. Especially today. Especially now, after seeing all of that trash and how it makes our streets and properties look so ugly and neglected.

So I am going to see what I can find out about a neighborhood clean-up. I don't know where you're supposed to go to get involved in that kind of thing. Or even where you get the trash picker-upper-thingy to reach into those bushes or into lakes to retrieve litter.

But this is a problem that definitely needs to be addressed. It's a problem we just can't make a face at and turn away from. We need to keep our streets clean. We need to put our trash where trash belongs. We need to stop littering and tossing our trash into bushes and onto sidewalks, acting like the trash we throw just anywhere is not our problem. Because it IS our problem. It is everybody's problem. And you're either a part of the solution, or a part of the problem!

Friday, August 07, 2009

RIP, John Hughes

I could watch these movies all day, any day:

Home Alone
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Sixteen Candles
The Breakfast Club
Mr. Mom
She's Having a Baby
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Uncle Buck

I could watch them. And watch them. And rewatch them.

I also enjoy watching some of the movies he produced:

101 Dalmations
The Great Outdoors
Home Alone 2

My thanks and respect to the man who brought us these movies: John Hughes. RIP. His genius and comedic acumen will be missed.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

About last night

With yesterday being Sisters Day, I made it a point to try to contact one of my sisters who lives in California. I'd already phoned two sisters, but in order to contact yet another sister, I had to call this sister first because I wasn't sure I had the right phone number. This one is in Lake Arrowhead but she is moving to the state of Maine soon. Anyway, she is my older sister, and it's hard for me to reach her by phone because when I call there, I usually get the machine. However, her youngest son (she has 3) answered the phone and I was REALLY happy to talk with him again because I haven't talked with him on the phone for, like, FOREVER! I do try to reach out to him on MySpace, but it's usually the stuff of a monosyllabic discourse.

Well, I figured I would try to catch her on Facebook. We just started chatting on Facebook. (Up until recently, I didn't know you can chat on there!) I'd sent her a message on there and I decided that as soon as she answered it, that was my cue she was online. At least, that was my thinking. I was hoping I could catch her, but she'd said she wanted to chat with me on Facebook when possible. So, I checked my email (not Facebook! I know, I'm weird like that. LOL) and, sure enough, I heard from her. But there were TWO messages, and not just the reply to my original message. One of them had the subject "emergency" and I held my breath as I opened it to read.

Apparently, some really bad business went down with my parents last night. (They live in Illinois.) I'd rather not talk about it here, but it is REALLY BAD. I was shocked, horrified, scared and saddened. And angry, too.

My sister said she would stay logged on Facebook and so I logged in hoping to talk to her about this news. Thankfully, she was still on, and I opened a chat window and asked, "What the hell is going on out there??"

So we talked about what happened. It was very difficult for me. This is something really bad and I had to cope with the possibility that my father might end up dead before sunrise. I was practically in tears but tried VERY hard to stay strong and think straight. While chatting with me, my sister was trying to come up with solutions and things to do to help. I could hardly think of much as far as my father was concerned, but with my mom, I was able to give some ideas on resources she can turn to for help until we were able to get help to her.

Well, we chatted until about 1:30 in the morning. We were both emotionally drained and exhausted. It was so distressing and difficult. She promised to notify me if she heard anything. After I logged off, I wanted to try to find something that would help me get my mind off of things. I was not able to go to sleep. Not with all of that in my head!

So I watched the movie Born Free. I'd rented it for Jen to watch, but I wanted to watch it first to ensure there was nothing in there her young eyes shouldn't see. (There isn't. It's a beautiful movie and I had tears in my eyes at the end. But I had to wonder....if those tears were because of the movie or because I was so fragile.)

I ended up going to bed at 3 a.m. My husband had come home at around 2 and he commented on how I should not be staying up so late, on account of the baby. (He stays up until about 4:30 in the morning and I usually referee the kids in the mornings.) I'd agreed but I'd been too upset to be able to sleep, anyway. I was bracing myself for the worst, with my dad.

I woke up at 7:30ish. Husband had never come to bed. (This actually happens a lot! He falls asleep on the couch a lot.) When I went out to the living room and woke him up, I soon discovered the baby was up, too! I thought he'd just woken up (since this was his normal wake-up time) but my husband told me that, actually, the baby had woken up shortly after I'd gone to bed. He'd been up with him all night. He'd fallen asleep two hours ago and I was practically reeling, thinking, 'Well, was the baby asleep, too?? Who was watching him???' I didn't ask about that. I just didn't want to deal with that just yet. The baby was obviously in one piece and just fine, though I have yet to investigate any damage he might have done in Jen's room.

Looks like I have that to brace myself for, too. But at least this one is not as bad as what I was fearing for my father. I still have that to carry.

And the burden of explaining the news to my daughter should the worst happen to her grandfather. (She hasn't seen him for two years or so. And he has never even seen his new grandson yet. He might leave this world without ever meeting my son! It's heartbreaking. Despite ALL of the bad things that went down between me and my dad, he is still my dad. There were bad things, but good things, too. I still love my father despite the bad things that happened.)

I will try to stay strong as this new day comes upon us and I try to find out any news about my parents. In some way, I knew something as bad as this was going to happen. My father was on a path of self-destruction and nobody out there has been able to get him back on the right path. So I knew that something as bad as this was coming, and that he might even die. I have tried to prepare myself for this possibility. It's just really hard when it actually happens. This kind of thing is something we try to prepare ourselves for...but I don't think anybody ever can.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

There's a new writer in da house!

Somebody pinch me. Or, wait a minute. Don't pinch me. Not yet. First, allow me to dream of MENSA memberships, graduation from Yale and the discovery of a cure for AIDS, or something.

My son, who is 22 months old, wrote his first word today. His VERY. FIRST. WORD! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!!

Jennifer has been "helping" her little brother express his creative side with crayons and colored pencils. We always monitor him when he "draws" a picture that is actually a bunch of squiggly lines and stuff. Just to make sure he doesn't try to eat the crayons or shove them up his nose.

One thing Jennifer has is a Doodle Pro with an attached writing tool on it. It's the kind you can erase pictures on. It looks like this:

She has that one and a bigger, fancier one. Anyway, Jesse has been using that, too, in his exploration of his creative side. In addition to an Etch-A-Sketch. But he was doodling on that one today. And...somehow or another...DO NOT ask me how...he wrote the word "DAD"!!! In all capitals letters!

My husband saw this. He had this baffled look on his face as he showed it to me.

At first, I teased him. "You did that!" I joked.

"No, I didn't."

"Oh, come on. That was you," I teased.

He grew very serious, like I was accusing him of lying or something. "No, it wasn't."

"Then you HELPED him do that!" I teasingly accused.

"He just did it by himself!" he protested.

I froze. No way. NO. WAY!
"Oh, my God," I said. "He REALLY wrote that??"

Husband shrugged. "He just drew something that looks like the word 'dad'."

Oh, sure, hubby. And I just "drew" something that you can actually read in a book.

But I did not see it as some accident. I saw it as a real, actual word that my son wrote. The way I see it, he wrote the word "dad"! Maybe he can't read that word (or can he??) and maybe he doesn't understand that he WROTE a word. But you know what? In my eyes, he wrote his first word! My 22-month-old son wrote his very first word! Yay!

My celebration was short-lived, though. I wanted to take a picture of this moment. To cherish it. To fantasize about what a GENIUS he will grow up to be. To send it to EVERYBODY in the family so that they can go "wow" about it, too!

But I can't do that now.

Because my husband ERASED IT! GAH!!!

Oh, well. Jesse has been playing around with that thing all day. Here's hoping that we'll get a repeat. If we're lucky, he'll write "mom" next.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Outgrowing the crib

The other day, I caught Jesse trying to climb out of his crib. I didn't think he would be able to do it. And, truth be told, I didn't think he would be able to do that until he was at least 2 years old. That's how old Jennifer was when she started to climb out of her crib.

But guess what?

It's happened. It has actually happened, before he turned two!

I did not see it happen the first time. I never actually saw him climb out of the crib. But this morning after my shower, I walked back to the bathroom to get the sunblock and...there he was. In the bathroom! Yikes! I gasped. My heart froze. And I said, "Jesse!" It kinda scared me but I'm glad I caught him before he got hurt.

So I told my husband about this. "Jesse is climbing out of the crib now." Little did I know what adventure awaited us because of this recent development.

We could not get him to go to sleep for his usual naptime because he climbed out of the crib. Again. And again. And again.

It was very frustrating. My husband just decided that, you know, Jesse won't be taking anymore naps during the daytime. We had a disagreement about this. I was raised on the belief that a child stops taking naps when turning 3. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, in my family told me that. "He's 3 now. No more naps." It was like some milestone. (Even though there are, of course, teens and adults who catch the occasional nap.) I told him, we can't rule out naps completely. He acknowledged this and said, "Okay, if he falls asleep, great." I guess we can't designate his crib as the place to take naps anymore. He could fall asleep on the couch, on my bed or even under the table! (Jennifer was known to crawl into the cabinets where I kept canned goods and fall asleep in there when she was a toddler.)

So now we have this challenge of Jesse climbing out of his crib. And WHAT a challenge it is! First of all, like Jennifer, he is a night owl. He is VERY active and prefers to stay up at night and sleep in in the mornings. Second, he is ACTIVE! It is hard to get him to calm down enough for a nap.

This evening was proof of that. He kept climbing out of the crib when we put him to bed. At 10:00 at night. He just WOULD NOT go to sleep. I was very frustrated by this and trying to figure out what we can do to fix this problem. (Despite being a night owl, Jennifer NEVER climbed out of her crib at nighttime. She always stayed in there and went to sleep!)

My husband, however, was very patient about this. He just kept picking Jesse up and putting him back into his bed. Again and again. Time after time. He didn't yell at him or anything. Just quietly and patiently kept putting the baby back into his bed. I was very impressed by this.

I am going to still look up how to manage this situation. I think Jesse will still benefit from at least one nap a day. And I'll have to figure out how to curb this problem of him constantly getting out of bed so that we can instill good bedtime habits and he will stay there and go to sleep.