Monday, April 28, 2008

Red sky in morning

Today was not a good day, and it started out so well. Thea slept almost through the night - two wake-ups only - and was so chipper this morning. But then she woke from her morning nap after only about an hour. And then she fell back asleep around 11 for 15 minutes. And then the same in the afternoon, fitful sleeping/waking/sleeping. I think it was a combination of the cream sauce I ate yesterday and the teeth that are working their way through her itty bitty mouth. By 8 I'd hit my cry quota for the day (from several fronts) and went into town for a movie. I rented Juno.

Gahh. So here I am having had a shitty day as a parent and I'm willing this 16-year-old to take the baby and shack up with her tictac-eating boyfriend. And crying. What a hypocrite.
I guess parenting is rewarding, for better or worse. But it takes every arrow in my quiver, to be sure.

Tomorrow, I am on a mission. I am reclaiming my dishwasher, come hell or soapy water.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Is it possible that there is a correlation between Thea eating a bit of cereal each day this week and her sleeping much better? The books say no way, but you've got to wonder. I think we've dropped from four or five wakes per night to two or three. That's a big difference in my world.
She's a week shy of four months, and all the books say I'm setting her up for a life of allergies, but I guess I'm figuring that if she is actually consuming the food, it must not be that bad for her. Most of it dribbles out of her mouth still, but there is a marked difference between the amount going in at the beginning of this week and the end. Not to mention the presence of some decidedly big-girl poops (egads, was I not ready for that - bring on the Diaper Genie).
I've also started not feeding her when she wakes up after less than two hours - just tap on that golden aquarium song machine and hobble back to bed. They make aquariums now with remotes. I looked at them last week and decided they weren't worth it, but if I had it to buy again, I think I might.
Thea is teething like mad. She now digresses into screaming fits. Not crying fits. Screaming. Like an enraged monkey. Actually, I've never heard an enraged monkey, but I'm using some imagination here. High-pitched expressions of frustration. Very funny, in a scary sort of way.
She continues to be very outgoing. I started putting her in the big backpack this week, and she's so happy to be up high and at face level with everyone. Smiles, glee, chorteling.
Matt has been teaching fire class all weekend, and will the next as well. So still no dishwasher. And no breaks. I'm a little tired. Yesterday I worked a firewise booth at the safe kids fair and wow, did that take a lot of work. I'm tired just thinking about it. Drank a big glass of wine at the end of that day and was reduced to a puddle barely able to get Liam and Thea in bed. Gotta be careful with that. Half-glass maximum before kids are in bed, I think.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Baaaad mother

I've come to a realization. Either I am now a bad mother or I have been a bad mother for a long time. See, Liam requires a huge amount of hands-on, face-to-face, entertain-me, hey-mom-hey-mom-hey-mom attention. And I don't know if I was a better mother when I was giving it to him or not. Because I certainly can't keep up with his demands these days. And the resulting fallout isn't always pretty.
Luckily, it has been nearly 50 degrees for several days now, sunny, and the snow is melting all over the place, so I feel very little guilt when I shove him out the door.
To keep things running this week, I have lists of lists and lists to remember the lists. There's the dinner food list, the daily activity list, the work list, the trying-to-start-my-own-business-so-I-never-have-to-work-for-anyone-again list, the housekeeping list, and I've even got a don't-forget-to-pluck-your-eyebrows list. It's called pampering, but at the end of the day, even maintaining my eyebrows is a bit above me.
Even with all the lists, I still lose my cool a bit, usually when Liam asks why exactly he can't play with the box that I told him he couldn't play with because it has my jewelry in it.
And adding to the confusion is the fact that I have lost my dishwasher. It happened like this: On Friday, when Matt came home and found me chiseling grime from around the bathroom sink faucet, he banished me out of the house. So I went to a restaurant, ordered a nice glass of red wine and an appetizer with cheese in it, throwing caution to the wind. My friend Karyn stopped by and we chatted. It was bliss. Then the phone rang.
As I was leaving for this escape, I heard an odd sound near the fuse box in the bathroom. Couldn't figure out what it was, though. Matt figured it out. There was a wire that used to connect to a warning light for our water tank. Somehow it had broken close to the ground, and we had wrapped electrical tape around it and forgotten it existed. Well, that spot now has about a foot of melted ice water in it. Sooo, the wire started making all sorts of neat snappy, sparky noises and steaming or smoking, we couldn't tell which. Either way, we had to turn the power off to the whole house while we searched for the cover to the fuse panel, which was also buried under the snow.... and once we found it, we found out it was wrong, and the fuse was actually inside. So we turned off the fuse. And what else was on that fuse, you ask? The dishwasher. The washing machine, too, but luckily, I was able to use an extension cord to plug that in elsewhere. The dishwasher, sadly, is hardwired in. So, there you have it.
And the only way to fix this problem? Chisel the ice off the cover to the water tank, and climb inside down to an electric box in there that we pray has the other end of the zappy wire in it. I have never wanted snow to melt so much in my life.
Oh, yeah. Thea.
She's doing really good. Teething like crazy. Hates laying down, wants to sit in her walker most of all. Very laughy. Giggles when you clean under her armpits. And I gave her some cereal yesterday and today and she opened her mouth for it repeatedly, which is how I determine that I am not, in fact, torturing her.
Photos coming soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

no normal

"How do you do it?" Matt asked as he groggily sat in the living room, a cup of coffee plastered to his hands.
"Do what?" I responded, folding laundry.
"Stay cheerful when your sleep is interrupted night after night."
"Do I have any other choice?"

I'm sitting on the couch now at 6 a.m. Thea "got up" at 5:30 and now she looks like she's ready to go back to sleep. Yesterday she took big naps all day, sometimes with no more than 15 minutes awake in between - so many naps, in fact, that I began to wonder if something was wrong. But no, it is just her nutty schedule. One day she won't nap for more than 20 minutes at a time all day and then next it is glorious three-hour stretches.

A word on 20 minute naps: they are hell. Twenty minutes is just enough time to think you are going to get something done, but not enough time to accomplish anything. Example: Thea goes to sleep, I boil some water and get a cup of tea and some toast going. I sit down at the computer to work on a web site I'm building and from the living room I hear an "annnng." Repeat four or five times and I was just about ready to start tipping back some cold ones.

Instead I cleaned. You can't hear a baby wailing over a vacuum. Every little cleaning project I accomplished made me feel a zillion times better. What is the deal with that? Why is getting all of Thea's little clothes actually into her bureau such a rush? Why is walking into a cleaned-up room so rewarding? I think it is because it provides tangible proof that I actually did something with my day other than clean spit up, change diapers and respond to "hey, mom, guess what?" 50,000 times without swearing.

Matt is off training to be a bigger and better fire dude this week. He went to Palmer, came home for a night (just long enough to be reminded what gloriousness a hotel room can provide at this stage) and went off the next morning to Fairbanks. He came home with stories of singing karaoke and driving through a slalom course at high speeds with a fire truck.
I folded laundry and tried to unravel the mysteries of CSS web design in 20-minute stretches.
Funny thing is, when Matt is gone, it is difficult but I seem to thrive on the challenge. The house is clean. Dinner gets made. Liam and I do fun things like jump in mud puddles. I am supermom, hear me vacuum.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

shiny and white

After more sleepless nights than I care to count, and just when I was beginning to feel the impact of all of them stacked on top, I gazed into my darling dear's mouth today and saw something white, shiny and razor-sharp. The buckets of drool coming from her mouth were in fact there for a reason - her first tooth at age 3 months, 2 days.
I cannot believe I didn't figure it out sooner. Sure, I had seen these signs before. The clenched jaw, the copious amounts of saliva, the slight runny nose and crankiness. Liam had gotten his first tooth early at 4 months, so I knew all this. But somehow I didn't think there was any way Thea could be pulling off a tooth at this early a date, so I just watched it all unfold and told myself it was a coincidence. Just goes to show you that nothing you learned from your first child holds a drop of relevance. We are all just along for the ride.
I am so glad to have a reason to attach to all the fussing, something with a slightly shorter time frame than, say, allergy to milk or something like that. I spent the last four days trying to cut milk out of my diet and oh-my-god that was a trial. I'm still going to stay away from big chunks of it for now just on the off chance it contributes to her gas, but I don't think that was what was waking her up all the time. It had to be the tooth. She's been drooling like that for two weeks or so, and that's about when I put her in her crib and all the mess started (or should I say, round three or four of the mess.)
The other milestone Thea achieved this week was the rollover. She rolled back to front and then front to back, moving a good two feet in the process. The couch is truly out of the question as a holding spot for her now, but luckily, into my life came a Bumpo, this squishy little seat that holds them and allows them to sit and see the world. Happy happy girl. Much better than the car seat. Also got the high chair back that I had loaned out and she hung out in that this morning with glee. Up high. Sitting. Happy happy.
Good news like teething vs. allergy is needed this week. Trying to get any work done has proved challenging, and I'm going to have to get more tough about a schedule if I'm going to manage it. And yesterday Liam was under the weather, than threw up all over the one place in the house where the one-inch cracks between the floor boards aren't filled, so I was down on my hands and knees with a Q-tip and a coat hanger trying to get it out. What a glamorous job. Such is motherhood. Perhaps someone should make this blog required reading for high school students as a method of preventing teen pregnancy.
But, I got some great time in with friends this weekend, and went to the gym one day, too, despite the early call back from Matt with a screamer in the background. They haven't quite worked out all their wrinkles yet. But perhaps we can assume that, too, was the tooth.
Well, it is quiet in the next room, so I'm getting this up and going to bed. Yahoo!

Friday, April 4, 2008

wanted: sleep II

Ha, I typed in the title "wanted: sleep" and apparently I had already used that one in a previous post. Too funny.
It's been a couple weeks since Thea moved to her crib and she sure isn't getting the hang of it yet. She wakes every couple hours at the least, more at the most. I went for a well-baby check last week and told the practicioner everything I had tried: cutting out certain foods, gripe water, colic tablets, even gave some meds a whirl to see if it was acid reflux, raised the head of the bed, baths before bed, waking her during daytime naps after a couple hours.... nothing helps.
What she wants to do is nurse .... all night long. I think that's what she was doing when she was cosleeping. Today, we took a nap on the couch, and she nursed for two hours in her sleep. It is maddening. So why not just cosleep? Because my level of sleep was crummy. As odd as it sounds, four hours good sleep (not consecutive, mind you) is better than 8 hours broken, nutty sleep with periods of wakefulness interspersed. I was waking up with this huge kink in my neck that took hours to unwind itself. Not good.

But this morning, when I got up (woke up would be silly to say, really), I felt cruddy for the first time, really, since this craziness had started. I was priding myself on keeping it together through all this, but I think that is starting to crumble a bit. I'm working again now, so that has to be scrunched into every moment of sleep during the day. And the house is starting to show signs of neglect.
I think something I am eating is bothering her belly. She gets really worked up when she farts. Consequently, I am cutting out dairy in earnest - reading labels, etc. The nurse said she had a child with a dairy aversion and she had to cut it out of her system for three weeks before he got better. So here goes. At the least, I will lose a few more pounds in the process. But tonight I found myself staring at a block of cheese. It's so funny that you crave what you can't have. I don't even really dig cheese, but even just writing about it, my mouth is watering.
I promise I'll post some new pics soon - I'm just a bit behind in everything right now.