Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bye bye also means "Trick or Treat!"

So. Which picture do you think we should use for the old family Christmas card picture this year?

This one?


Or this one?


Here he is showing off his haul


We had a great time. I didn't know that Halloween is such a boozefest for the parents. My uncle stashed a twelve-pack of beer in the wagon "for Charlie to lean on" and most parents were walking around with a drink in their hand. In fact, I think that's why everyone had wagons, because you need two hands to steer a stroller and only one to pull a wagon (you also need two hands to get a kangaroo laden wagon out of a stranger's landscaping, something that should be tried first instead of nearly tipping your kid into the bushes as you try to push it out backwards with one hand while holding your beer and a plastic pumpkin full of candy with the other). Is this normal or do we need to buy in that neighborhood?

Charlie had a blast riding in the wagon and shaking the candy in his pumpkin bucket. People patiently held out pieces of candy for him to take and put in his bucket. He pointed out all the decorations to us. He was one tired kangaroo when we got him home nearly two hours after bedtime and went straight to sleep after his bottle of milk.

And now Ryan and I are feasting on his candy. Without even having it X-rayed! Because we're wild rebels over here. I wish he had gotten one of those LSD soaked tattoos they used to send letters home to parents about when I was in elementary school. Because a couple of those, a little background music (the Tonight Show probably), and things could get PRET-ty crazy around here at the temporary apartment.

Ooh, maybe once my mind has been freed I can finally fix that problem I've been having with my Matlab code!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Quack quack

Something happened to my voice and if I try to speak I sound like a sick duck. I took Charlie to the park today to try to make some friends. I got all gussied up in a black tshirt and some brown capri sweatpants and even thought to dab on a little lip gloss as I got the stroller out of the trunk of the car but as soon as I opened my mouth to talk to a potential friend it was suddenly time for a diaper change or a nap. I'm probably the subject of some kind of phone tree now. Awesome.

We were in another town this weekend for a family wedding and while there I got to meet the wonderful and talented Kyla over coffee one afternoon. Her strength and ability to keep her sense of humor in a tough situation inspire me and I really enjoyed meeting her face to face.

Now for some pictures because I really need to go to bed soon so I can get some rest and Charlie doesn't laugh every time I try to speak tomorrow like he did today.

At the Church

Here he is before we went into the wedding. He made it through the bridal procession before he started getting chatty. I gave him his sippy cup which he snatched from my hand and then threw his head back to drink with such gusto that it made a loud THUD against the pew, eliciting giggles from people sitting around us. Then he started pointing at all the candles and saying "OOOH!" and when I picked him up to hand him to Ryan I grabbed him in just the wrong spot and he let out a big burp that echoed through the sanctuary. Ryan and I made some nice friends standing outside the front of the church.

Biggest Dog He's Ever Seen

Charlie was delighted by this huge dog that came to the reception pulling a carriage. He greeted the horse by sticking out his tongue and panting, which is what he does when we ask him what our dog Rossby says. The green hoodie is part of the "Oh shoot the reception is outside and he's getting over a cold and I found this in the back of my car" collection.


He took a good nap after this terrifying experience. But at first he loved the lights and he clapped his hands and waved at his Nana and Ryan every time we passed them. "Bye bye!"


He was enjoying this swing ride so much that I just kept pushing him until he was nearly asleep. Then it was time to go inside for dinner and the birthday cake that our hosts had bought him.

Charlie "sat" at the table and ate dinner

He ate his piece standing in a Pack and Play that we pulled up to the table. Is that a happy boy or what? He tested the crib's design limits by jumping up and down between bites. He had no trouble falling asleep in the car on the way back to South. He's such a cool kid.

Friday, October 26, 2007

An open letter of apology to my sister...

Dear K,

I should have known better than to bring Late Afternoon Charlie out in public. I really should have known better than to bring Late Afternoon Charlie to your Starbucks where you were clearly already having a busy day. I thought he would be OK because clearly I have lost my mind.

I should not have let him see his cup of milk before I was ready to give it to him. I shouldn't have pushed the straw issue so hard. Had I given up sooner there would have been much less milk to clean up and much less ungodly screaming.

I should have just shared my coffee cake with him instead of hiding it in my purse and taking little bites when he wasn't paying attention. I should have known that it couldn't last, that he would see one bite go in my mouth and demand to have some in that adorable loud way he has when he is tired and being forced to sit in one place and drink milk from a cup.

And when he started doing that "limp baby" thing as a means of sliding to the ground outside so he could pick up cigarette butts and rearrange all the deck furniture, I should have known it was time to go instead of insisting to you "He's FINE!" as he got his head stuck in the arm of a chair and screamed until I freed him. Twice.

One day you may understand the itchy feeling of desperation to leave the house that sets in around 3:00. How it makes you do things you wouldn't normally do, like push a manic almost one-year old around Target for an hour, mouth hanging slack, eyes wild, and then leave without buying anything. Or think things like "I need to buy mascara RIGHTNOW. If I go to the drug store two counties over I can burn like an extra thirty minutes in the car!"

It is my sincere hope that next time I come into your store I will be alone with my book and my iPod and I will sit quietly in a chair and read and not spill anything or alienate other customers by staring at them with milk dribbling down my chin. And I will not look like a meth head. You have no idea how much I want that to be true.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

When Green Goo Attacks: Mother of the Year Application Essay

Oh my goodness. We can never move out of our temporary apartment. And not just because of the orange ring of scum that's forming around Charlie's highchair.

Tonight I was on my way out and three kids were riding their scooters around in the parking lot while one mother looked on and chatted with the friendly woman who waves at Charlie every evening when she takes her dogs out when another mother walked out onto her balcony, clean plate and dishtowel in hand, and yelled "Get out of the street, right now!" at two of the scooter kids.

You may not know of my secret desire to live in a rowhouse where I can yell things out the front door at my cadre of children playing in the street. "Char-LEE! You better not be playing with that fire hydrant again!" I am fascinated by the huge family of my friend Godmother who is from Pittsburgh. I met them at Godmother's wedding and they were FUN. She said something recently about having a big Catholic family of her own one day. That sounds way better than what we would be. A "big Methodist family"? Come on!

Does anyone know how to achieve a big family without ever going through a pregnancy again? Because let's be honest, that was not a pretty time for me. And a lot of it was not fun. Feeling him move was cool, eating cookies all the time was cool, waddling was not cool.

Woah. This is going nowhere. Charlie woke up at 3:00 this morning as happy as can be--babbling, waving bye bye, pointing at the fan. He had a fever that was making him goofy. I gave him some Tylenol and he went back to sleep. When he woke up he had green goo coming from his eyes and nose. I dabbed it off and we went to Little Gym and had a great time. I attributed his slightly cranky mood to not having had a morning nap and the goo hadn't come back so I figured it was his environmental allergies. Sorry, sorry, sorry everyone else at Little Gym. After we had lunch with my dad I finally broke down and bought a new thermometer. I took his temperature in his armpit in the car while he whined and squirmed and I sang "Old Mac Charlie had a Farm" to try and keep him calm. When he finally got away from me his temperature was 99.2, but the thermometer hadn't stopped going up yet.

The doctor taught me some new baby holds that I used to hold Charlie's head steady long enough for him to look at his ears. There are not many good places to hold onto that adorable round head of his.

Guess what! First round of antibiotics didn't even touch his ear infection! And now it's in both ears! And also conjunctivitis.

Charlie remembered his manners near the end of the appointment and when the doctor was walking out the door he stopped crying, waved, and said "Bye bye!"

I think the baby holds are going to come in handy when it's time to apply the conjunctivitis ointment. We should probably put a notice on our door or something. Something like "Sorry about the noise. We are not raising wild cats in our apartment" or "Please don't call CPS. It's medicine."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pictures, because my dissertation isn't going to write itself*

Two pictures of Charlie with his favorite things on earth, dogs.

The only thing they have in common is their love for the balcony
This is where we wait for Ryan to come home. When Ryan gets out of his car, Charlie waves and laughs and sometimes says "Bye bye!!" and jumps up and down. "Bye bye" is like "aloha" for Charlie. Hello? Bye bye. Good bye? Bye bye. A truck passes the apartment window? Bye bye. A dog is on TV? Bye bye.

Minutes before this picture was taken he was sobbing for me into my aunt's shoulder (I was standing about two feet away. With my hand on his back.). He forgot all about how under-rested and clingy he was when my aunt brought this big dog down the stairs. Put me DOWN Mama! Adogadogadog! Bye bye!

*and apparently the only way out is straight ahead. whatever.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Back from the clutches of the rogue antivirus software that attacked my computer

Just back from two terrifying days during which I couldn't comment on blogs or check my email unless I walked up a giant hill to the complex's business center. I walked up the hill exactly once (and sat at a computer next to a guy who was Googling a slightly scary psychological condition) and that won't be happening again. Interestingly, the fitness center is also at the top of the hill. Once I got there, huffing and puffing from the walk there, I was only able to eek out ten minutes on the elliptical and a half-hearted arm workout with some free weights I found. Hardly worth it if you ask me.

Which brings me to my next topic, post-pregnancy, post-breastfeeding bra shopping. Or, "They Only Look Small to You". Because after nineteen months of looking like a fertility goddess, being able to wear a button down shirt again is exciting, but before you happily grab a bunch of cute little C and B bras off the rack and trot off to the dressing room you should consider your already fragile body image and perhaps start with something a little larger and work your way down. No one wants to be the one stalking out of the dressing room red faced and empty handed. Hate. HAATTTEEE.

I decided to postpone looking for a new pair of jeans.

So, no, I didn't find anything.

Mr. Charlie is quite the cranky boy this weekend. He has this scream-choke-scream combo that works its way into your head and reduces your intellectual age to approximately six months. He was doing it tonight when Ryan asked if he should run out for some Baby Orajel and I answered by rocking and crying and making a low gutteral sound.

At the church luncheon he devoured half a banana without me cutting it up first. When he saw the banana he lunged for it and started signing "more more more" so I just gave it to him thinking he would suck on it like he does apples. I was pretty proud of him, and even bragged to the friendly strangers sitting at our table, until I fed him a spoonful of beans and he threw up three large unchewed chunks of banana and all the beans I had given him all over my pants. But when my mom gave him table food at dinner he sat in his booster and sobbed until we gave him some jarred turkey and vegetables instead.

Is this teeth? Or do we need to call a priest for an exorcism?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Little Gym, my new BFF

We arrived a little early, at 9:15 for a 9:30 class. Which to my neurotic self is about five minutes late because the man who runs the place (and who is an alum of MyUniversity, GUNS UP!) asked me to get there early and 9:15 is merely "on time". As soon as we entered the lobby Charlie began pointing through the windows into the Gym and saying "Oooooh!" over and over again and trying to wriggle free of my grip.

The class began with Bell Time (timid smile, gentle bell shaking) and then it was time to walk around in a big circle together. For Charlie, the youngest kid in the class, it was time for me to hold him by the elbows ("Spot from the elbows, Mom, so he can learn to balance all by himself" dislocated shoulders be damned) and drag him in a circle while his little feet struggled for traction. He loved it (huge smile, lots of shrieking).

When it was time for Do Whatever You Want Time (or as Charlie called it "so happy I'm going to explode time") I let Charlie go and he crawled faster than I've ever seen him go over to a giant foam ramp. He crawled up the ramp and then beamed at me proudly. He also loved the tunnel, where he crawled back and forth so fast I thought I would have to go in there to get him (this was similar to a game we played at TheOldHouse in which he would crawl under the dining room table and I would run around to the other side and "scare" him and he would collapse in a fit of happy screaming and giggling. He could play for hours if I wasn't such a selfish mommy who wanted him to eat dinner and take a bath). He loved trying to hang from a wooden bar and his teacher helped him do a flip (he demonstrated readiness by hanging his head back when held on his back near the bar, or something).

Once he even seemed to forget that he doesn't know how to walk yet because he stood up in my lap and tried to take off after a little girl on the big foam ramp.

Ball time, where the bigger kids learned to throw while Charlie satisfied his oral fixation, was fun until it was over and then it was NOT FUN, but by that point he was totally exhausted.

He had such a good time that even before I knew how well it would make him sleep I paid for the rest of the semester. And then I went to Ulta to pick up some nail polish and clippers to replace the ones that are in storage because oh my gosh I was not prepared to have to take off my shoes. And also a hairbrush because they packed that too and I was tired of looking like Steven Tyler. Nine years in TheOldTown have not been good for my personal grooming standards apparently.

Charlie fell asleep immediately when we got home for an hour, but the best part was that he slept an hour later than normal this morning. I rushed through my morning routine expecting him to wake up any second but soon found myself watching the Today Show and periodically checking his vital signs.

I can't wait for next Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Late Mom

There are fifty-three minutes between now and Charlie's first Little Gym class. Where is Charlie? Why am I sitting at my computer and not sipping a caffeinated beverage in the not-local coffee shop that shares a shopping center with Little Gym? Because someone needed some quiet time in his crib.

You see, he is having some trouble dealing with disappointment. In particular, he learned to turn on the TV today. At the exact moment he turned it on there was a commercial for dog food on that showed one life-sized dog face after another. The ecstatic shrieks of delight came to an abrupt and angry end when The Today Show came back on. After that nothing would do but trying to climb into the fireplace or chew on our wireless modem. Suggestions to do something else were met with angry sobs. He was asleep in less than a minute.

And now the caffeine headache that began on the back-right side of my head has spread to the top middle. And soon I will be "Mom Who Shows Up Late with the Mad Baby and the Starbucks Drink." But hey, we're in the big city now! When in Rome, right?

Monday, October 15, 2007

At least he'll learn to make his bed neatly and shine his shoes

Guess who has his first day in the toddler room tomorrow! Yeah. When the hell did THAT happen?

When I visited all the babies were sitting on tiny chairs around a round table having cheese and crackers.

Always eager to please, I assured the director "Oh yeah, he's eating table food," which to me I guess means "food that can be placed on a table and not sucked from my boob" and then she handed me a calendar with their daily menu. Cheeseburger day promises to be a struggle.

Know what happens after morning snack? Arts and crafts time. Am I the only one who is having trouble picturing a kid who rubs mashed bananas in his hair like it's leave-in conditioner patiently gluing macaroni to a cutout of his hand?

And also? No cribs. They have funny little cots. And only one nap. Apparently in South "daycare" is a euphemism for "military school for babies."

I visited another center today that was very nice except that all the other kids in Charlie's room were eight feet tall and they wore shoes and ran and were very very loud. Charlie clung to my chest and looked very concerned. He would have been trampled! I cooed "Oooh, Charlie, look at all the other kids! Aren't they having fun!" as I backed out slowly and then ran to the car once I passed the main office.

(speaking of "ooooh", Charlie's newest thing is pointing at something he finds interesting and saying "oooh!" I wonder where he learned that! Ryan noticed it in the lights and fans section at Lowe's)

So anyway, it's only two days a week. I'm still a nervous wreck (imagine!). I can get some work done, Charlie can learn a few things during "Applied Physics and Rocket Science Time" (which is just after afternoon nap).

Stay tuned for a blubbering mess of a post tomorrow.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

They call it "the cable"

Did you know you could hook a wire up to the back of your TV and get like ten million channels? It's true. We have one in our swank corporate apartment. Correction, we have TWO in our swank corporate apartment. We also have a cookie sheet. Together they made for a nice evening of eating cookies and watching the Law and Order SVU Marathon. Perfect. Only problem is that our balcony faces a road and it sounds like the Space Shuttle is taking off outside every time the light turns green.

Charlie and Phent are sleeping off an ear infection diagnosed by a friendly doctor who saw Charlie nursing when he walked into the exam room and said "Hey, Little Man! Having a little afternoon snack?" then helpfully offered to hold Charlie while I "got reorganized." Charlie amused himself during the wait by crawling in and out of the automatic sliding door and loudly shrieking with joy every time it opened. We were totally that family.

Ryan and his parents and all my clean clothes are still on the way down from the old house. I think I'll move the bedroom TV out here and watch two shows at once. And eat some Oatmeal Cream Pies.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

South or Bust

My dad and Charlie and I leave tomorrow afternoon after the movers finish loading the truck. When I picked up Charlie at daycare on Wednesday his teachers were both wearing shirts that said "Charlie Don't Go" and he was wearing a pink shirt that said "Charlie We Love You" that every one of the teachers at the center had signed.


So yes, I'm all sniffy and sad. And this morning had a little freak out because of my presentation which is now over. By noon all of our stuff will be gone. They packed my toothbrush and my hairbrush. I won't have access to them for a month while we live in a corporate apartment while we "wait for our rental to be ready" which is code for "wait for my parents' renter to leave so we can move in."

I've been to the coffee shop three times in two days. I studied for classes my sophomore year here, a year that started with a one! So much that the staff thought my study partner Robert and I were "a thing" (which, hahahahahaha!) and always brought him two forks for his cinnamon roll.

There is so much we will miss. I love driving by the hospital where Charlie was born every time I go to school. I love our church. I love our pretty house.

But maybe it's better we are leaving a town where you can take pictures like this in public. I mean really.

Living la vida redneck

Next time you see me I will be coming to you from our swanky corporate apartment in South. The title will probably be "I'd love to have dinner with you but we'd have to come down all those stairs to get to the car so I'll have to pass."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

That'll be Dr. Husband to You!

This is the face of the newest (and hottest) PhD at MyUniversity.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Later this post will be used as part of my insanity defense

No time to post... busy preparing to move and working on a presentation my advisor insists on me making on Thursday while my dad supervises the packers at my house and Ryan receives his fourth IV Immunoglobulin transfusion (like the one that gave him a fever of 102.4 on Friday night and caused me to freak out to such a degree that my dad cancelled all his plans for the week and drove up to help us (and keep me from buying more stuffing)).

Ryan's dissertation defense is tomorrow and then my mom can say "My dawtah married a doctah!" to all her friends because she is sometimes an ethnic New York City Jewish woman trapped in a New England Episcopalian's body.

I'm stealing five minutes at the coffee shop where somehow I confused the barista (who was a man, so it is probably "baristo") so much that he brought me (just me) a glass of iced tea and a cup of coffee and a smile that says "Enjoy all this caffeine, clearly you need it more than we do."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Next Stop, Cat Store

You know how you're not supposed to go to the grocery store hungry? I would like to add that you should never go to the grocery store after a post-advisor-meeting freakout, a misunderstanding with a friend, a conversation with your pastor/friend about how sad you are about moving (in a week), and with a baby who refused to take an afternoon nap so you could watch Oprah and sleep on the couch.

Can I offer anyone some comfort food?

So yes, the more rational part of my brain, a big part of which was delivered along with the placenta, knows that I am moving a week from tomorrow (!!) and that it's time to start cleaning out the fridge and not baking brownies and casseroles like a crazy cat lady. But the more emotional side of my brain has the rational side pushed up against a wall in an alley and is all "Man I'll CUT YOU if you make a single sound do you hear me?!"

Did you know the cranberry sauce isn't out yet at the store? It's a shame because it would have rounded out tonight's dinner of turkey, green beans, and stuffing so nicely. What's funny is that even though I spent like ten minutes in the canned vegetable section looking for cranberry sauce I didn't feel even the slightest bit crazy until I got home and unloaded all that stuffing.

I've scheduled a haircut for tomorrow. Maybe this isn't the best time.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Delurking Day

It's that time again! Introduce yourself! I'd love to meet you.

I'll give you a topic:

If you had free childcare for 24 hours and an unlimited budget, what would you do?

I would hire a personal baker and chef to fill my house with delicious treats. While they were working, Ryan and I would sleep late and then linger over a breakfast of coffee and chocolate chip scones then go for a long bike ride around the lake. We would come home for lunch and a long nap then go out for cocktails. We'd finish off the day by coming home for a delicious dinner and movie together. Then we would sleep. No really.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Behold my Generation Y-ness

I nearly killed myself by caffeine overdose yesterday. Every available drop of moisture was sucked from my entire body. I was twitchy and scattered and very very irritable.

Why did I do this? What could have possibly been so bad?

My car broke down. In my driveway. When I was trying to go to the coffee shop.

It started and then stalled and then made this machine gun noise when I tried to start it again (and then it started yelling unintelligably and shaking its fists at the heavens because WHAT NEXT?! COME ON BRING IT! Maybe that was me.).

I already had a caffeine headache, so I had to act quickly. I had sent my coffeemaker to South with my dad to get it off the counter so the kitchen would look bigger. So I briefly thought about walking to Arby's down the street but thought once I was there the temptation to also get a large order of curly fries would overwhelm me. Then I considered the drug front/taco restaraunt on the corner but that was too scary.

I would have to make my own tea. I filled up our electric tea kettle and dropped two Lipton family sized teabags into our lemonaide pitcher. I poured boiling water over the bags and went to the other room to check my email. When I came back the tea was so strong I couldn't see through it. I tried adding water but even when I had almost filled the pitcher completely the tea was still too dark. "What are you going to do?" I thought as I poured myself a nice tall glass, being sure to use lots of ice.

That was a mistake. Not as much as the second glass though.

Whoops. Sorry about the attitude, honey! Thanks for fixing my car! Kiss kiss!

Hi Charlie!
Can you believe this little guy is eleven months old today?