29 August 2007

Another Lesson- And Distraction

While I ignore my recent shaved-ass-inspirations and drink wine and eat chocolate, Augusto is unclogging the washing machine pump filter. In a stupid, stupid moment, I put two small latex-backed rugs into our $1K front loader. This error was preventable. After Stella smashed raspberries into one of our little wool kitchen rugs, the conversation went like this (but in Portuguese):

Gentle MIL: You know, I was thinking these rugs are...

Perceptive Me: Really dirty. I know.

Earnest MIL: Can't you take them down to the cleaners to have them washed?

Me: It will cost me at least $20 per rug to clean them. They're $10 IKEA rugs.

MIL: $20 ?!!

Cocky Me (turning crusty rug over in the sink): It says to flat wash only, but if I ruin them in the washer, it's cheaper to buy new ones than pay for cleaning.

Gentle MIL: I don't know...

Excited, Naive Me: I've been wanting to clean them or get new rugs for ages. They're at least 3 years old. I'm going to give it a try!

So I am escaping the not-so-mumbly mumbles of my pissed off husband (who has gathered a crowd, both young and old, by pulling out baby socks and pennies and... wads of rug glue). I am posting baby videos on You Tube (of course!). Oh! to be under 3 and have smart ideas and simple solutions. "Don't worry Mama, these things happen. Don't cry about the washer."

24 August 2007

Body Lessons

I have made bodily discoveries in the most memorable and significant of times. At 27, my first cluster of gray hairs unveiled themselves the day I kicked out my cheating boyfriend. I found a yet-to-be-explained kiwi-sized abdominal mass when I was in nursing school and exploring every crevice with newfound abandon. At age 12 I broke my pinky toe. Nursing it I found my beloved Christmas tree shaped toe mole. In a beer-inspired college competition, I learned that my ability to fart on command is not, in fact, a common skill.

This week- in the most unusual and unfortunate of ways- I learned that my ass has grown. It was in my way, and I accidentally shaved it. I was standing in the shower, shaving my legs and rinsing the razor behind me when the side of my ass caught on fire. It took one stupid moment to realize what I had done, and considerably longer to decide how to get out of the shower and stop the bleeding without ruining a towel. I shaved a 10-inch slice that stung the whole day but has almost completely healed. What I learned- other than there IS a creative way to make your ass the highest part of your body AND apply pressure at the same time- is that I need to curb my daily chocolate habit and get this widening ass to the gym! No more excuses.

15 August 2007

Drunk Without the Buzz

I am Mama tired. Mononucleosis tired. Mt. Everest tired.

Otto is 7 months old today. He is still not sleeping longer than 4 hours at a time. I’m getting up 2, 3, 4 times a night and working 3 days a week. And I got whatever sniffly, coughing, raspy, achey virus the kids had. A nurse at work told me when her son was 5 months old she ran away for one night. Literally left with barely a warning. She pointed her husband to the frozen breastmilk and spent the night in a hotel.

I’ve never been a night away from the kids, but I have a screaming loud physical need to curl up in a bed for 24 hours. Any bed. I’d take even 8 hours if they could be free from baby coughs, nursing, Stella night-talking, husband farts, pee habits, and post nasal drip. I don’t have any more frozen milk, but we do have formula and a baby that needs night weaning anyway. Could I do it? Sneak away? I don’t know if I could, but I know I need it.

A local man forgot his 11-month-old son in the car and went to work all day (only realizing it too late when his wife called to ask why daycare said the son was never dropped off). In the wake of that tragedy, the paper published a you-think-it-couldn’t-happen-to-you piece- and convinced us that it could- with results from a UCSF sleep study. It found that people who are sleep deprived (only 4 or 5 hours a night for as little as a week or regularly interrupted sleep) perform on tests at the same level as a person who is legally drunk. I can’t imagine forgetting my children in a locked car, but I can relate to a busy, sleep-deprived life where a slight change in routine can throw off a whole day. And make you do something you’d regret forever.

Fortunately my offenses include putting cereal boxes back in the fridge and showing up at work in my flip-flops. I’m legally drunk without the buzz. Whoo hoo.


On a more positive note (strictly, oddly related the mouths), Otto cut his first tooth on Sunday. Stella chewed her first gum tonight.


I had so many other deep and clever things to write about, but like a drunkard, I can’t remember what they were. So I’ll just pass out now.

04 August 2007

We Made the Decision, Part 2

Yesterday morning I sought shade at a plastic picnic table while talking about booster shots and shyness with Stella’s new preschool teachers. Stella ignored me in favor of the ice cream stand made from buckets and chairs, the giant slide, the girl who played house. It was a battle to extract her. I was thrilled to be negotiating. Vovo is waiting. We’re having a party tonight; you need to have your nap so that you can have fun later. We’ll come back and play next week.

We’ll come back. Yes! After weeks of polling my parent-friends and harassing my mother-in-law with the merits of this school over that one, we have enrolled Stella in our local preschool. I have a really good feeling about it. The decision came down to the walkable, time-tested, dog-eared, multicultural school v. the brand new, flashy (animals! Redwoods! a submerged in the ground boat!), make-our-own-organic-tea, 10-minute highway drive school. The old school is a little cheaper. The new school’s play yard and plans for kids making books with their own digital images (etc, etc) was hard to pass up, but we couldn’t ignore the years of experience, real diversity, and proximity of our choice. I wavered even until I handed over the deposit, asking “Is this $420 refundable?” But then Stella started to play, and I started to chat with the staff and watched them interact with the kids, and I relaxed. Melted into the bench, actually, relieved to be done with the pros and cons list and to have made the best choice for our family. Our morning seemed like a casual family picnic with the grownups kindly asking one boy not to play pretend guns and another getting smothered with kids-hugs when she arrived. One school had an impressive list of goals and philosophical foundations. The only mission of Stella’s new school is play and peace. I could feel it %100.

01 August 2007

Just Thinking

Just when you think it’s safe to share a new trend, it changes. I was silly enough to brag about Otto’s longer sleep nights. He was finally sleeping 5 ½ to 6 hour stretches and I rejoiced in the company of other parents. “Oh, how much better I feel today than the past 7 months!” I told one woman who is due to have her first baby any minute. Stupid.

I am sitting here pre 7 am (way before my pre-kid days) after one measly 4 hour stretch last night and then Stella woke up to pee. And then Otto was up an hour and a half later. You do the math. I know how short it was without counting. Augusto up for the 4 am potty break, but the slightest loud breath wakes me these days. Lying in bed is far better than carrying 30 something pounds to the bathroom. So I can’t really complain about it.

It makes me crazy how much of the time I want for the past or hope for a change in the future. The focus of our childbirth prep class was being in the present. Meditation. Taking a big breath. Dropping the Doom of Dwell. I worked really hard at it. Or didn’t work hard. Whatever I was supposed to do. Let go into the moment. I sucked at the practice. There is nothing like labor or a newborn to keep you mindful of the present. I hung around for those… but now I’m a time traveler. Monday I was so grateful for my job and looking forward to my increased hours. Yesterday I was pining for my maternity leave as I strolled to the playground and library, latte in hand. (When out on a weekday, I’m always amazed at how many people are window shopping, sitting at cafes, not working or caring for children. What ARE they doing? Self employed? Trust fund? Laid off and taking a break from the job hunt?)

Anyway. I’m up after too little sleep and will be heading to work in an hour, so let me be present with this gift: this happy, babbling little guy all to myself before the rest of the house wakes and the rush of the day begins.