Downer

Dear non existant scant readership,

I’m kind of a downer today (see salutation above) Today feels like I’m for sure not ever going to finish anything ever again.

We’ve made progress on the planning portion of the home renovation that I was sure when we bought the house would be done a year ago. The next step is to vacate the premises so walls can be knocked down and whatnot. Sadly, I haven’t found anywhere to vacate to and I’m sort of out of ideas as to where to look.

Meanwhile the DIY portions of the house are really intimidating today. What made me think I’d be able to lay tile? and yeah, sure I could pull down all that chain link fence in the back yard but how will I find time to do that before we park our van down my the river and move in?

Plus? I totally haven’t posted daily. That wasn’t bothering me yesterday but today not posting daily after I decided to try to post daily is totally bumming me out. And yes, I am watching Peg+cat right now. Why do you ask?

Baby Talk

On Sunday Dovie started to babble. It was very exciting. She was doing her thing, rolling back and forth on a blanket or kickn’ it in the jumper or hanging out on my lap, maybe she was cramming her hands in her mouth, I don’t remember the details but then she started in “ahbababababa,” and I made a mental note. Repeating consonants- developmental milestone- I should record this for posterity. I realized that soon she would move from Baba’s to Mama’s and then I would start to wonder if she meant it or if she was just practicing.

I took a linguistics class in college. I loved it. We used the phonetic alphabet a lot. one of my French classes that semester was heavy on the phonetic alphabet as well so between those two classes I pretty much rocked the phonetic alphabet. Fast forward four years to when I wanted to write down Zizza’s sweet baby pronunciation of various and sundry phrases and realized that my skillz had faded with disuse. Bummer.

Anyway, we talked a bit about child development in that class. My favorite tidbit from the chapter was how as they’re learning kids will try a variety of pronunciations for a given word before finally landing on the correct one. Sometimes, they’ll give the correct pronunciation a try in the middle of the process and then move on to try an alternative or two before they learn which is correct and go back to using that. Parents occasionally notice this and think their child’s speech is regressing which is not the case, they’re just continuing through the learning process.

Monday morning my Dove looked at me and said “Mamamamamamama!” her meaning was clear, the syllable she chose to babble was right on. Clearly she’s a brilliant and gifted child who adores her Mama. I shall write in her baby book- First word “Mama” spoken at the tender age of 5 months. Of course the above paragraph doesn’t apply in this case. She may not have repeated her performance, may even have seemed to call me “Nnnghmm” earlier today but I’m still counting it.
So there.
No amount of education can stop me.

Monster Cereal

Did you eat monster cereals as a kid? You know, Count Chocula and the like.

I remember them from childhood but I never had occasion to try any. My Mother wasn’t the breakfast candy type. We had giant bags of toasty-o’s, wheat puffs and the like so I never experienced Count chocula, or boo-berry or…what’s the werewolf one? They weren’t something I pined after as a kid, I guess I knew how hopeless it was and saved my energy to pine after other things.

A few years ago I noticed the monster cereals in the store around Halloween. Back in the day they were available all year round, nowadays they’re a seasonal thing. I usually buy a box of Count Chocula in October because A-yum and B-it’s less work than decking out the front yard in spider webs and ghosts but still makes my kids feel festive.

We generally skip all the other monsters because they all have the same unappealing flavor. We don’t eat it at breakfast time. I try to spring it on the kids when it’s least expected. They come home from school one day and BAM! Count Chocula for an after school snack!

This year I did buy a box of Boo-Berry. I was hosting an activity day (Twice a month all the little girls from church between the ages of 8-11 come to my house for an activity. Hence the name) and I thought Halloween cereal would be a fun treat, I personally don’t care for the berry flavored options but maybe some of the girlies might.

As our activity was winding down and it was time for refreshments I brought out the cereal. I was expecting a big reaction. Cereal and milk in the middle of the day? And festive sugar cereal even! I thought it was going to be BIG. It would have been for me. It is for my kids.

The majority of those girls thought I was flat out insane. Most of them worked through it and enjoyed the awesomeness despite my clear insanity but one girl politely declined and excused herself to jump on the trampoline instead.
It was her first week too.
Now she thinks I’m some psycho cereal pusher.
I can just imagine her telling her parents about the activity “I had fun with the girls, but that weird lady tried to feed me an unhealthy breakfast at 4:30 in the afternoon.”

Two days ago at lunch time I decided to finish off the last of the sugar bombs. I helped myself to Count Chocula and Duke requested Boo-Berry. Then, because there was only a tiny bit of Chocula left, I had seconds. Did I feel sick later on account of this sub par lunch? Yes I did but that’s beside the point. Duke (who had a healthy meal before I busted out the cereal) called me on my seconds. “Why are you having more mom?” and I answered him with complete honesty. “Because I’m the mom and I can,” Then I went about my business.

When Duke finished his Boo-Berry I was in the bathroom. He knocked on the door “Mom,” he called “I’m done and I want seconds because I’m a kid and I can.”

Well played sir.

I divided the rest of the boo berry between the other kids. Enzo, who can’t be kept from the side of his baby sister by any force of nature other than school, ate his while looming over Dovie as she jumped contently in her jumper. He dropped a piece on her tray and fast as anything she picked it up, popped it into her wet little baby mouth and ate it right up.

Now, she hadn’t shown any interest in solid food. I’d done an experiment or two like letting her gum and apple but she really wasn’t that into it and I was cool with that. She’s five months old now so I knew it was coming but I was content to keep her on a milk diet for a while yet. Staying tiny is fine by me. But now I feel like I have to make up for that artificially flavored, colored, non food entity by feeding her wholesome new things and that is why she enjoyed a few spoonfuls of mashed up avocado last evening for dinner.

I blame it all on the Boo-Berry.

Once again my mother is proven right.

I’ve decided

It’s been awhile since I gave NaBloPoMo any attention. Is it even a thing anymore? First I thought I’d been there done that and I didn’t feel the need to bother, then I adopted a different month because I felt like I needed the kick in the pants at the time and then I just let it slip by with out a word almost forgotten. But yesterday I realized it’s November and something stirred within me so I decided to do it. I have 3 days to make up or then again maybe I’ll just let them go. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.

So here’s a topic. About 2 weeks ago Dovie suddenly ceased control of her hands. She was just a tiny little thing waving her arms about and reflexively grasping whatever came into contact with her wee palms and then one day she figured out how she was doing that and then the world was her oyster. She takes her binki out of her mouth and examines it, turning it in her hands this way and that. A toy placed beside her will be picked up and played with.

I remember one day when Zizza was teensy and laying on a blanket with a few toys placed around for looking at while her tiny arms waved, I looked up from my book to gaze at her, as you do, and she was reaching, tipping the top fisher price ring (the red one) off the stack. I was amazed. I’d never seen her be intentional about her play. Suddenly she was a person as well as a baby…and now Dovie is too. Well, I think the whole baby=person thing was an equation I worked through mostly that first time and have understood from the beginning with subsequent babies but it’s always remarkable to see them exercise autonomy for the first time isn’t it?

You’re boring, boring into my heart. (name that song)

Yesterday morning was wildly productive. Dovie cooed herself to sleep and napped away. Duke enjoyed some quality time with Steve and Blue and
I busted out Enzo’s 11th doctor tweed.
This morning I thought I’d have similar luck with the remaining costumes but Dovie didn’t nap so deeply and Duke was only interested in one episode of Blues clues. I needed to have Zizza here for reference in order to do much costuming for her and I spent all my free minutes looking in the same places over and over for the missing Batman cape (Duke and Roxie are pumped to repeat this. dream come true) and any likely components I could morph into a costume for Dove. She’s going to be a super hero like those other 2 but we’re making up a character for her based on what I can put together from things i already have on hand.
I exhautsted mt self with my efforts at productivity this morning so once Duke and I finished our lunch I sat down with my computer to chillax. It’s a technique I’ve been using for his nap time called “bore you to sleep” sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
He joined me on the sofa after not too long and asked “Mom, how come I’m so big to not have any sleep?” I countered him with “Do you think you need some sleep?” He assured me that he did not and then snuggled into me in such a way that I was sure I had him this time and I was right.

So I’m typing one handed while my left arm snuggles that sleeper. I’m going to break my rules and post now, proof later because maybe I didn’t get many costumes sewn or find any missing Batman components but I bored my 3 year old into napping and now I’ve written a blog post as well. I can’t stop myself feeling accomplished under these circumstances.

Let me tell you about my baby

Considering she’s 3 months old I guess it’s getting to be time I introduced my little love bucket.

Once upon a time I was six or seven months pregnant and thinking bloggy thoughts. “What will the baby’s blog name be?” I wondered. I only wondered for a few minutes before I had an answer.

I needed something with both one and two syllable options, something that would jive with the other names I’ve got going on here and something that would fit the child in question. That seems like tough criteria to meet, especially the “child in question” bit, considering I hadn’t actually met the said child at that point but, as I said, it only took a few minutes thought before I settled on Dovie.

I liked the alliteration with Duke, I liked the way it reminded me of Anne Shirley (though I hope my girl will have a bit more backbone than Dovie Westcott of Anne’s acquaintance) and I immediately pictured a sweet and vocal babe who would coo herself to sleep. It was thus settled in my mind, barring any protest by the expected herself, the baby’s uniquety name would be Dovie.

Now, when my sweet darling lay, hours old, in her bassinet and began to coo in her sleep do you think I was surprised? Certainly I was pleased, certainly I marveled, but I can’t say I was surprised really.

She continued as a noisy sleeper for the first few weeks of her life. I have to admit, she sounded rather more like a duck than a dove. I suppose I could have switched the name to Duckie but as redheads go, I prefer Anne Shirley to Molly Ringwald (no offense to Molly herself, I’m sure she’s lovely) so I’m sticking With Dovie.

Now, the first thing you should know about Dovie, she is a smiler. The morning after she was born she looked at me and smiled. This was not the sweet but vacant gassy smile of your average wee infant. This was a really truly look me in the face smile. Her eye’s squinched into sweet little half moons and she beamed.

I continued to luck out and receive these glorious expressions every few days at first and even more frequently as she’s grown. I’ve tried and tried to catch the full effect of it on camera but it hasn’t quite happened yet. Full twinkling smiles are things she gives to people. People who’s full attention she possesses. Bringing a camera into the equation does not allow for that.

“Enough!” I hear you saying, “Words are all well and good but for a baby we need pictures! Show us the pictures for heaven’s sake!” and so, here are a few of those.

Day one


Practice

Don’t mind me, I’m just puttering around dusting off the skills I need to add photos to posts so I can properly introduce my baby already.

I’ve made quite a bit of progress actually. Tally Ho!

How sweet it is

My girls were home sick from school today.  Enzo cut a lonely figure walking to the car at pick-up time.  As he was climbing in I recognized the truth about the colorful oversize truck parked behind me.  It was a snow cone truck, and it was open for business.

Maybe it was because he didn’t beg (or even ask) Maybe it was because I had just been doing Halloween research and so his pledge to go as The Doctor was fresh in my mind (He’s not a particularly devoted Doctor fan, but he is particularly devoted to choosing things that make other’s happy. In this instance, me) Maybe it was that lonely figure from before.  Whatever the reason, I knew one thing; I wanted my boy to have a snow cone.

It is a rare occasion that I have cash on my person.  It was a stroke of luck that a craigslist transaction from the previous weekend left me with a spare fiver.

I watched him in my side mirror.  The smile I felt on my face he danced in line grew to double when his turn came and I saw him stretch to reach the window.

As he returned to the car my change flopped half-in half-out of the pocket of his red denim shorts. Maybe that’s why I wanted to buy him a snow cone.  Those are my favorite shorts.  They look straight out of a 60″s beach movie with their straight silhouette and frayed hem. Every time he wears them I count my lucky stars he’s willing to wear what I chose for him.

When he got to the car he announced “I got Tiger’s Blood!”

That’s my boy, choosing the best flavor like a champ.  Then he said “Ahhh, there’s nothing better than a cold treat on a hot day,”  and later; “Don’t worry mom, I won’t brag to the other kids about this.”

Every word out of his red stained mouth affirmed to me that I had made the right decision.  An over priced snow cone has never made me so happy.

I’m gonna beat this thing

I miss blogging so much. SO. MUCH. But dag yo, it’s hard!

Why is it so hard?

One Sunday (at church) we talked about not comparing ourselves to others and how when you do it you’re generally comparing your weakness to another’s strength and that’s a bad recipe.  Then again, maybe your comparing your strength to another’s weakness that’s another bad recipe. (no one mentioned this in the discussion. Admitting you think you’re better than other people is aparently taboo?)  Anyway what I was thinking was this; What about comparing yourself to yourself? Strengths and weaknesses have peaks and valleys.  Things that were my strengths 4 years ago are weaknesses right now and that SUX MAN! (strong language)

You know what’s cool about having babies?  The healing process.  Not just the obvious physical part, though that’s pretty awesome too, but the emotional part.

Roxy had been gone for three-ish months when I got started making Duke. I was given a miraculous easing of pain when she left. It lasted through the first month of her absence and then pulled back little by little. After you’ve been carried, God sets you back on your feet gentle and slow while you get used to walking again.  As I was finding my stride and stumbling a bit, having Duke in my belly pulled me through.  That joyous reason to feel horrible helped me come to grips with the grievous. You see, I could easily forgive my lack of productivity on the grounds of pregnancy whereas grief didn’t garner any such lenience.  Self forgiveness makes a big difference and pregnancy granted me that.

During the three years that have followed Duke’s arrival Roxy and I (and the rest of the family) have been working through the break in attachment that was the result of her seven month absence from our family. This has not been easy. Reforming and repairing attachment is hard work.  Trying to get by without making the repairs is even harder.  There have been casualties along the way.  Blogging is one. Sewing is another. Basically, all my productive hobbies fell to shambles during this period.

We finally reached a turning point a few months ago. I was relieved to see the improvement in our relationships but pregnancy was so cumbersome mildly pleased was the best I could muster. Joyful was out of the question. Then the baby came and the weight (both figurative and literal) lifted  and all of that progress caught up with me.

My midwife checked with me faithfully for signs of postpartum depression, but there was none of that for me this time. Unexplained sadness? No way! I felt (feel) so good.  Suddenly I can access the whole of my brain when for so long swaths of it have been partitioned off, unreachable behind velvet ropes of stress and hormones.

One of the mental processes wasting beyond the barrier was my inner monologue.  Giving Rox the attention she needed to keep her from flying off the handle and then dealing with the fallout when she flew off the handle anyway was so utterly exhausting there weren’t any resources left to tell myself stories with. If I’m not telling stories to myself, then I ask you, how can I expect myself to write them down and share them? It’s not really reasonable but I tried to do it for quite a while.

It was such a relief when I gave up trying to post regularly.  I think I’m ready to come back though. Proof? I’m at 573 words right now and didn’t even have a plan when I started to type.  I’ve just been letting my mind wander onto the page. To be honest, I’ve written and lost 2 conclusions to this post already (frustrating) The result of this is; between the lack of planning and starting over halfway through x3 I don’t have any idea whether this post makes any sense or not and I’m so mixed up in it re-reading doesn’t lend any clarity.

I’m forging ahead though because for one thing, the fact that I can continue to spew words onto the page is really encouraging and for another, I’ll never get back in the habit of posting if I don’t start somewhere.  So I’ll start here, with this piecey, wandering blather of a post. You’re welcome (sarcasm)

Unbelieveable

A few of unbelievable things going on right now.  First of all.  I feel better at 36 weeks than I did at 30.  A few stretches for sciatica plus a magnesium supplement for heartburn equals; I had no idea 36 weeks (and four days)  could exist at this level of comfort…not that I’d call it comfortable.

Unbelievable number 2; It’s only 83 degrees out.  It’s May 9th.  This is the Valley of the Sun.  Yesterday the high was 77.  I don’t know how this is possible but I am grateful. Also, I don’t even feel bad for anyone living in a more northerly climate bemoaning the slow onset of spring.  Not even a little bit bad.  In fact, if you guys got another little bit of snow I’d be cool with it.  (selfish)

This brings us to unbelievable number three.

On Fridays the kids are allowed to watch tv.  limiting it to one day a week is how we keep it from overrunning our lives.  It also gives me an easy answer to stop begging in it’s tracks ie. “Moooom, can we watch somethiiing?” “Is it Friday?”  and that’s the end. Conversation over.

Today happens to be Friday.  We went to a midwife appointment first thing this morning.  On the way home Roxy asked the question, “Can we watch our shows when we get home?” I said “Yep,” but I also remembered the mess in the tv room. The mess that belongs solely to Rox and Duke, the other kids having not even set foot in that room since it was cleaned up last Friday.  So when we got home I told them they could have tv time as soon as they picked up the toys.

Wailing ensued.  Roxy started it “WE NEED HELP!” echoed By Duke “We need help!” “WHAT ABOUT ZIZZA AND ENZO!?” “what about Zizza and Enzo?” Followed by my answers;  ”You didn’t have help getting the toys out so I know you’ll be able to put them back on your own,” and “Ziz and Enz haven’t even been in the room so It’s not their job.”  ”BUT WE JUST WANNA WATCH SOMETHING,” “we just wanna watch something,” The wailing was followed by whimpering “mama, mama” and clutching at my arm.

I can’t abide arm clutching. It does things to my brain.  Hostile things.

Long story short.  Roxy was unwilling to put books on the shelf or toys in the bin and Duke was in a following mood so he couldn’t do those things either.  Rox also couldn’t content herself with the idea of not watching a show on Friday, which was the alternative to not cleaning, so she moaned and wined and clutched.

Meanwhile all that clutching meant I had to keep a firm hand on those hostile things in my brain.

This whole cleaning up story is really just a lead in.  Here is the unbelievable. Currently both of those children are napping.

I fed them lunch, then I tucked Roxy into bed.  She was indignant about it.  The two of them share a room see, and as the bigger kid she is the one who rests elsewhere during quiet time.  But elsewhere wasn’t going to work today.  Not with me holding the hostile back with a piece of scotch tape and her in full tilt moaning and clutching.  So I tucked her into her bed and then I laid down with Duke on my bed.

She protested by taking Dukes toy dragon ( the noisiest toy in the room ) to bed with her.  The dragon was roaring and doing it’s best to devour her bedding. The only way I knew to keep her from a full scale jailbreak was to be as boring as possible so I lay there, watching Duke practice increasingly dramatic face palms every time he heard her make a noise.

Eventually, the weight of drama in his palm as it met his face forced him back into the pillows. He was done in and failed to sit up to meet the next dragon’s breath.  His eyes closed, and soon in spite of the fact that the dragon roars had ceased and been replaced by the monotone-monosyllabic yelling of my own Roxanne my eyes began to close as well.

It was the silence that woke me.  She stopped!  I felt triumphant and groggy thinking smug thoughts to myself about how she’d yelled herself to sleep.  That’s when I heard her in the hallway. I’d been had.

I ended up hauling the piano bench down the hall and sitting out side her door until she gave up trying to come out.  Even then it was touch and go. Things could easily have gone the other way.  They have done in the past, but I had a steel determination today.  I knew how exhausting the fit throwing, moaning, clutching, and monotone yelling must have been, and I knew how miserable we’d both be if the hostile things beat their way out of my brain so I held fast.

Still it’s unbelievable.

Roxy is napping.