Sunday, July 31, 2011

How I'm spending my Sunday ...

Not pictured: being jealous of my children and their naps; being exhausted from no sleep because either there is a growth spurt happening with my youngest or else she just thinks that sleeping at night is so LAST MONTH and why would you sleep when you could cry, MOTHER?; keeping my oldest from stomping on his sister's fingers; steering both children away from meltdowns; reading and revising research papers; making breakfast; making lunch; making plans to head to my parents' house for dinner; doing laundry; drinking coffee; drinking more coffee; dreaming of quiet and peace.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Motherhood & More: A mother’s nightmare: Falling while holding a child*

It finally happened.

And if I’m honest I can say I’m surprised it hadn’t happened already.

I fell holding one of my children.

I’ve mentioned a time or two how klutzy I am, and it’s true. As I’m typing this I’m covered in a plethora of bruises, bumps, scratches and cuts from bike rides, stumblings or just everyday walking around my house.
At one point a couple of weeks ago I looked like someone who’d been in a bad car accident.

But the thing about falling is that you don’t expect it. Your guard is usually down and you can’t anticipate how it will go.

I’d heard so many stories of parents who have fallen holding their children. For every five who were able to twist around and protect their little one, there’s one who fell on their child and broke their arm.

So this was a daily fear of mine. I continually worried about whether or not I’d be able to shield whomever I was holding. Walking up and down stairs holding the baby proved to be troublesome since I couldn’t stop picturing myself tumbling down. Add to that a mild case of self-diagnosed vertigo and it’s enough to make me not want to ever walk up another stair.

But that’s not something I can avoid. It’s a part of everyday life, especially in my house where my kids’ rooms are upstairs and everything else is down. So I suck it up and try not to think about that sort of thing.
Which is exactly when it happened.

I wasn’t at home and I wasn’t on my guard.

Both children had spent the night at their grandparents’ houses the night before since I was celebrating turning 30. My husband, Chris, and I had just come from picking up Adele, the baby, at my parents’ house and were on our way to pick up Sebastian from Chris’ parents.

I was carrying Adele from the car, as well as my purse and diaper bag. I walked from the car to the porch steps fine, but as I started up the steps my shoe, my cheap, $3 flip flop, caught on one of the bottom steps. I tried to stop myself from falling, to catch my balance, but it just didn’t happen. I was going down and there wasn’t much I could do about it.

And so, in that short split-second, I situated myself so I would take the brunt of the fall. My shin hit first, then my hip and elbow.

But I did it. I protected Adele. She was a little shaken up, I think, from the fall, and fussed a little, but thankfully it wasn’t from pain.

It took me a minute to stop shaking and be able to stand up. When I did I was stiff and sore, something that would stay with me for a few days, along with the bruises and scrapes I still carry. And I will probably keep the scar on my elbow, which is OK. It’ll be a constant reminder to me that I can do this parenting thing. I can keep my kids safe to the best of my ability, to the best of my control.

And that makes me feel so much better.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise's Wednesday's Woman on July 27, 2011.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

If I did go out I’d probably walk up to random children and ask if they had to potty

I’m drained, guys.  Maybe it has something to do with being 30 now (you know, ‘over the hill’).  Or maybe it has something to do with a little one possibly teething but most definitely not sleeping last night.  


I’m leaning toward that last one.

Most of the time it really doesn’t bother me that I don’t have a social life.  I’m busy and occupied and not sitting around waiting for someone to invite me out.  But sometimes it just gets to me.  I miss my friends and I miss being stupid and I miss dancing and I miss having no responsibility.  

You hear people talk about their weekends and what they’re doing and how they sleep as late as they want and go wherever they want and do whatever they want.

Do you know what my weekends are like?  Every other day of the week except maybe just a little more relaxed since Chris is home.  But he’s loaded down with homework and trying to stay caught up on yardwork-type stuff.  

And so a lot of parenting and household maintenance falls to me.  

I need a break.  

I need a day (or two) with friends.  I need some drinks and some laughter and most definitely some adult conversation.

I need to be able to get in the car without making sure I remembered diapers and changes of clothes and toys and food.

I need to be able to get out of that car without having to stop and take a couple of babies out of their car seats.

I need to not have to wipe bottoms or clean up food that’s been thrown on the floor or navigate through tantrums.

I need to be able to be an adult.  I need to be able to be a teenager.  

I need to be Jaime, not Mommy (or Ming Ming, as I’m called these days).

I need to be friend, not mother or wife, just for a little bit.

So … Who’s free?

Lillith Fair 1999.  Also known as my first encounter with the gays.  Also known as a time to just
do whatever the hell I wanted.  I totally stole this picture from my friend's facebook page.  Hope you
don't mind!  I'm the one in the middle.  I'd like to tell my past self that bras are awesome and I should
totally think about wearing one.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I guess accidentally getting drunk before I went to bed last night was a bad idea

6:50 – Wake up with Chris, but don’t actually get up.

7:00 – Jump up right before he leaves because you just remembered that you have to have the car today to take Sebastian to the doctor for his 3-year check-up.

7:05 – Try unsuccessfully to convince Chris to do things your way but he insists on doing it his way (the hard way).

7: 10 – Go back to bed even though you know it’ll probably only be for 15-20 minutes since it’s almost time for the kids to wake up.

7:11 – Hear Sebastian on the monitor.  “I want to go downstairs!  I want to go downstairs!”

7:11 and 28 seconds – Groan 

7:15 – Go get Sebastian up, attempting to force him to be quiet so he doesn’t wake his sister up.  Bring him downstairs.

7:16 – Try to convince Sebastian that it’s a good idea to lay back down in my bed and try to go back to sleep.  He doesn’t agree.

7: 17 – Hear Adele on the monitor.

7: 18-7:30 – Nursing Adele

7:31-7:35 – Getting Adele dressed, fighting off her tendency to scream and thrash about when getting her diaper changed.

7:36 – Come downstairs and turn on the computer.

7:37-7:45 – Answer a multitude of questions on why I was turning on the computer (“What’s it doing now?  What’s that?  We don’t touch the computer, right? Mommy, what’d you DO? You can touch that?  Not me, right?”) while simultaneously getting dressed and making the bed and also keeping a newly-crawling baby from sticking her fingers in all the outlets.

7:46 – Stare longingly at the newly-made bed.

7:47 – Tell Sebastian for the third time that he’s not watching his Diego movie until after breakfast, as is the rule EVERY SINGLE MORNING.

7:48 – Argue about whether peanut butter is a good breakfast food.  Realize that it doesn’t really matter except that’s probably what he’ll have for lunch and I have to draw the peanut butter line somewhere.

7:49 – Settle on toast

7:50 – Decide that now would be a good time to put a pot of coffee on.

7:51 – Stupid whole coffee beans!  I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO GRIND YOU.

7: 52 – Realize that the coffee beans can read minds and did not like the way you were thinking about them and so just out of spite jumped out of the coffee grinder when you were trying to put the top on and all over the floor.

7:52 and 3 seconds – SON OF A BITCH!  (in my head)

7:52 and 10 seconds – enlist Sebastian to help you clean up the beans before Adele charges into the kitchen and eats them all thus ensuring that she never sleeps again.

7:58 – Coffee finally brewing.

8:00 – Toast in the toaster.

8:01 – Adele in her high chair with some cereal.

8:02 – Put the water on for your oatmeal.

8:03 – Toast buttered and jellied and placed in front of Sebastian with a cup of milk.

8:04 – Sebastian: “I want oatmeal with my toast!”

8:05 – Okay.  Be happy that you can finally convince him to eat oatmeal again since it’s probably better than the cereal that he usually eats.  Make him the real thing as opposed to the little instant packets that you eat.  Oatmeal on.

8:06 – Smush up a banana for Adele, who is waiting patiently.

8:07 – Run to the bathroom because you just realized you haven’t done that yet.

8:08 – Sebastian’s oatmeal is done.  Adele is in finally getting her first bite of breakfast.

8:09 – Sebastian: “I have to go pee!”

8:10 – Sebastian, from the bathroom: “Mommy I peed on the thing!”

8:11 – When he comes back into the kitchen interrogate him as to what exactly the ‘thing’ is because you don’t want to go look.

8:12 – It was the shower curtain.  And the floor.  And the toilet seat.  

8:12 and 5 seconds – GRRRRRRRRR!

8:13 – Clean up a lot of pee and wash hands.

8:15 – Give Adele three bites.

8:16 – Sebastian: “Mommy, I’m done!  Can I watch somepin?”

8:17 – Tell him that Adele really needs her breakfast first.

8:18-8:22 – This conversation is basically on repeat.

8:23 – Also try to convince him that if he would just be go play for a few minutes Adele would eat and not be distracted by him and then she would be done faster and he could watch TV quicker.

8:32 – Give up since Adele has stopped eating and is mostly spitting food out in your face or slapping the spoon away.

8:33 – Adele gets her hand caught under her and smacks her cheek on the kitchen floor.  Lots of comfort needed.

8:39 - TV on.

8: 40 – Five minutes of quiet for me to eat my breakfast and drink my first cup of coffee.

8:45 – Everyone seems occupied and content so I head to the computer to write for a few minutes.

8:59 – Invaded by Adele.

9:00-9:08 – Writing, hopping up every 45 seconds to take something away from Adele that she’s not supposed to play with, realizing that I could stand to do some more baby proofing in this room.  Or never let her in.

9:09 – Start to feel normal after second cup of coffee.

9:10 – She’s fussy.  It’s naptime.

9:13-9:30 – Diaper change, nursing, story, lullaby, and she’s in bed.

9:32 – Clean out poopy diaper because it’s cloth.

9:33 – Realize that it’s time to wash diapers again, but that would entail taking the clothes out of the dryer and putting the ones in the washer in the dryer.

9:33 and 7 seconds – Maybe later.

9:35 – Just a few more minutes of writing.

9:36 – Sebastian: “Do you want to watch Diego with me?  Do you want to play balloon with me?”

9:37 – Feel supremely guilty for asking him to wait a few minutes.

9:40 – Realize that not only have you not brushed your hair yet, but you also haven’t brushed your teeth or the teeth of any of your children.

9:41 – Stop writing.  Post silly blog.

If only it were this easy ...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Homemade Friday: Corn! And Beans! And Salsa!

In hindsight I was ridiculously unprepared.

In the spring my dad planted a whole bunch of corn, enough for my sister’s family, my family, and my parents.  At least.

I wasn’t able to help much with the care of the corn so I guess I didn’t fully comprehend how much was there.  So when my dad said it was ready and we needed to come pick it, I went, but didn’t actually take anything to put the corn in.

The corn harvest coincided with Dad’s birthday so we had a nice lunch (corn!) before braving the heat and scratchy plants.  They’d invited Dad’s sisters to come, too.  It’s all about sharing the (corn!) wealth, really.

Dad drove his truck around back and we all picked buckets or bags full, then dumped them in the back of the truck until it was almost to the top of the bed.  (It’s a small truck, but still – lots of corn.)  

When it came time to take our share home I realized that unless I wanted it all rolling around in the back of the hatch I needed some grocery bags.  I filled up about 10 bags full, I think.  And a couple of bags of green beans, too.  Naturally.

Sunday night, when we got home and put the kids in bed, Chris and I did shuck a couple of bags but I didn’t want to mess with them that night.  I was beat.  We’d been swimming and were not in the mood for all that work.  So I left shucked corn in the bags for the next day.  And the next.  And the one after that, too.

I’m really not that excited about corn anymore. 

Any spare moment I had was spent shucking or cutting it off the cob or heating it up or cooling it down or bagging it.

And it just wouldn’t end.  (I am not my mother, who stayed up until after midnight two nights in a row to get all of theirs put up, then got up super-early in the morning to drive an hour to work.  Nope, not my mother.)
But finally it was finished.  Or so I thought.  Until I found a bag I’d missed in the bottom of our refrigerator drawer.  That one went to some of Chris’ family.   I’d already given up by that point.

But now we have about 15 quart bags of corn in the freezer, which is a nice feeling, and plenty for us for the coming year.  I’m thinking about corn chowder.  Lots and lots of corn chowder …

In addition to that I have some really bad zucchini and corn salsa that I spent HOURS cutting up vegetables for.  Well, I guess it’s not awful, but it tastes more like a relish than salsa, and I really don’t like relish.  I should have thought about that before I made 12 pints of the stuff.  Anybody want some?

And, in spite of all that, I still had to do something with the remaining green beans.  I mean the ones that I didn’t let mold in the bag.  Because I was too busy putting up corn to worry about beans.  I blanched some and froze them in bags, only getting about 4 or 5 of those.  But the rest I made into 8 pints of dilly beans.  I haven’t opened any yet, but I think those will be good.

I hope. 

Because it sucks to work so long and hard on something and not like the outcome.

Stupid corn relish.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I’m really not against this toy. For reals.

For his birthday Sebastian got a Thomas the Tank Engine plastic train set, complete with a movable Thomas.  It’s really cool and has a bridge and shaky parts and such.  And it fits with the train set he was given last year for his birthday.  He’s in love with these toys and it’s been nonstop trains since he got the new one.  

But for some reason I can’t put the new one together without the directions.  I’ve tried.  I can’t make the pieces come together without step-by-step visual drawings.

I don’t know what that says about me.  But I’m gonna go ahead and blame the toy.

So I thought maybe if I started putting the old pieces with the new pieces I’d make it easier on myself since there would be more tracks, thus everything wouldn’t have be positioned a certain way in order to fit together.  Plus it meant MORE ROOM FOR THOMAS TO CHOO CHOO ALONG.  

Sebastian was understandably excited.

So this morning I fit it all together, only having to adjust the tracks a couple of times in order for it to work.
It sat in the living room floor all day just fine.  When Adele woke up from her nap and I brought her downstairs she was fussy, so I thought I could distract her from said fussiness by letting her tear up whatever was in her path.  Which was the train set.  

Now I only let her rip up a couple of pieces because I thought I could still see how to put it back together.  But when Sebastian woke up from his nap I guess he wasn’t too happy to see the tracks messed up.  Either that or, you know, he’s Captain Destructo.  Which is what I call him.  Because he destroys things randomly, completely, and diligently.  

Whatever it was, it meant that tracks were picked up and thrown across the room.  Or walked into another room and pitched in the air.  

There were tracks all over my house, is what I’m saying.

When I was fixing Adele her dinner I thought the train set would be a good distraction for him to play with while I cooked everyone else’s food.  So we gathered up the pieces and I started fitting them back together.

Let me just give you the highlights on how this played out, shall I?

Sebastian: Shaky Bridge!  Shaky Bridge!  Oh no!  The tracks aren’t finished!

Me: Let me just try this one.  Nope doesn’t work.

S: Shaky Bridge!!  Thomas makes good decisions!  We’re putting the train tracks together, right?

Me: Maybe this one?  No?  Really?

S: He’s in the tunnel!  Thomas is in the tunnel!  Shaky Bridge!

Adele: WaaaaHHHHH!!!!

Me: I’ll be right there!  Just let me finish this!  It can’t take too much longer.  Let me just try it this way.  There.  Oh crap the other end popped off! (in my head: sonofabitchsonofabitchsonofabitch you stupid tracks why won’t you fit together?)

S: We’re putting the train tracks together, right?


Me: COME ON!!!



S: SHAKY BRIDGE!!!!!!!!!!

Me: Almost got it! COME ON!  WHY WON’T YOU WORK!!!!

S: No, I don’t want the tracks put together. Don't put them together.

Me: FINE!  (In my head: Are you kidding me?  it would have been nice if you’d told me that TWENTY MINUTES AGO!  OH MY GAWD!)  (Also, I may have thrown down the tracks that I had in my hands and stomped off.)  (I am not proud of that.)

We had leftovers for dinner.

Shut it, Thomas.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Uh, so nobody’s going to tell my mom this story, right?

When I was 17 I saw a naked cowboy in Italy.
Let me back up.
My sister, who at the time was married to a guy in the air force who was stationed in Italy, let me come visit over Christmas break of my senior year in high school.
I was beyond thrilled.  I’ve always had a strong yearning to see as much of the world as I could, though of late that hasn’t really been satisfied.  But this trip was my first big trip and my first time flying, my first time flying by myself, and especially my first time flying by myself to a foreign country.
Heaven, is what I’m saying.
That experience, in and of itself, is another story that I will share sometime.
But for now let’s focus on the cowboys.
My sister had made friends with a group of people who were country.  So country.  They were all soldiers or married to soldiers and they all seemed to wear cowboy hats.  Now I’m not saying that they were all cowboys, but they sure did seem to enjoy the attire. 
And the dancing.
I’ve never seen so many guys willing to dance and actually enjoying it and doing it well.  I learned how to two-step and line dance at country night on base. 
I also learned about butter shots.  Nasty, syrupy-sweet butter shots.
At the time I thought they were awesome.  I have since changed my opinion.  In case you are lucky and have never heard of them, they’re a shot comprised of butterscotch schnapps and Bailey’s or Kahlua.  Now, I’m okay with Bailey’s.  It’s just you add to it a schnapps made to taste like butterscotch and it makes something so sweet and disgusting that it lands with a thud in the bottom of your stomach. 
But at the time I thought I was super-cool and adult for drinking them.
So one night me, my sister, and a bunch of cowboys and a cowgirl or two were gathered around a table where alcohol was being consumed.  I believe we were playing quarters.   (Actually, I totally just looked this up in my journal and yep – quarters.  Apparently I wasn’t that good at it.)
When I’m in situations that are uncomfortable I tend to stand apart, on the outside and just watch what happens.  And that’s how this started.  I think I made everyone nervous, especially one particular man in a black cowboy hat I was crushing on, by not being into the party.  I didn’t really know them, though and I was shy and wasn’t really a big drinker. 
But finally I rallied (I guess?) and sat down to play.  At some point (the details are a little fuzzy and not so much from the wine but from the fact that this was 13 years ago and I wasn’t a good, detail-oriented journaler) the game of quarters dissolved into a game of truth or dare.
Because of course.
So this guy in the black cowboy hat was dared to run to the mailbox outside wearing nothing but his hat and cowboy boots.
I averted my eyes as he ran outside because I was innocent and virginal and also ridiculously embarrassed.  I mean it was a MAN.  A NAKED MAN. 
(I was a late bloomer.)
I think everyone sensed my discomfort through their quarters-addled brains, which only added to their fun.  So after the cowboy got through running outside to the mailbox he came back inside and found me and started chasing after me.  I ran around the house until I found the bathroom and locked myself inside. 
Everyone was laughing, myself included, because the whole situation was hysterically ridiculous.  But I refused to come out until he’d put his clothes back on.
Guess where those clothes were?
Yup.  In the bathroom.  With me.
So I had to open the door to give him his clothes back so he could get dressed.  And, according to my journal, after that “he kept talking to me about what kind of life he wanted & the things he’d done.”  Also, “he skydives.”
I think we made a real connection, you know?
(Somewhere somebody has all of this on video.  I’d actually really like to see it.)

Has nothing to do with this story, but it's the only photo I could find downstairs
of my trip to Italy.  The rest of them are upstairs in my daughter's closet and
she's taking a nap.  Isn't it pretty?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Please don’t say any of this out loud or it will go away

I am taking a break from my corn adventures.  Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about them at a later time, probably on Friday.  I’m sure everyone is holding their breath, waiting diligently, and will be constantly refreshing their browsers in anticipation.


Anyway, I hesitate to even mention this.  It’s something that is a long time in the making, but that I’m sure as soon as I say it out loud it will ruin it.  So I expect everyone to read this in a whisper.


Adele is sleeping through the night.  At least for the past week and a half, except for the Friday before Sebastian’s birthday party (of course) which resulted in both my husband and I averaging about 3 ½ hours of sleep, but I’m not counting that one.  


This is the longest it’s ever been.  It may have happened a night here, or two nights there, but never like this.  I don’t know what finally changed her mind but I am happy for it.  I worked with her a month or two ago on going to sleep by herself, without help from me in the form of nursing or rocking.  It worked fine in the day time, and even going down for the night.  But if she woke up at all in the middle of the night she basically screamed and screamed until I gave up and put her in my bed.  

Honestly I was sure I had created a years-long problem of her sneaking into my bed every night, or her needing to be with me to stay asleep.  But I didn’t know what else to do.

And then I put her down one night and she stayed there the whole night, no fuss.

And then she did it again.

And again.

And again until it had been a whole week. 

I am trying so hard not to become complacent because I feel like as soon as I start expecting this and letting my guard down, it’s all going to end.  (And also, I put her down for a nap about 25 minutes ago and she’s still up there tossing around.)

But for now everything feels just a little bit easier.  Finally.  10 months later.  

Yesterday at my parents’ house Adele hadn’t slept all day and it was about 3 o’clock.  I’d spend about 30-45 minutes trying to put her to sleep by rocking and patting and pacing but all she did was arch her whole body and scream louder.

So we all sat down to eat and I put her in the play yard with some toys, hoping she’d occupy herself so I could eat a bit.  After a few minutes we realized we didn’t hear her anymore.  My mom went to check on her and she was conked out.


I hope, so very much, that this is it, and that maybe as a result of me being more rested I can try to be a better mother, a better wife, a better person all around.  

Cause damn.  Lack of sleep makes my shoulders tight and my brain mushy.  

I’m more than ready for this next step.

(Plus if she sleeps better maybe I can stop reading her this book.)*

*I don’t really read Adele that book.  Just Sebastian.