Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lingerie and Jet Fuel

Rob and I just celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. Our celebration was very low key. We dined on fine hot dogs and exchanged gifts. Part of the lack anything more spectacular was that we don't know a babysitter yet and part was that Rob had to work that day. Part of the difference between that and previous celebrations was a not-so-subtle shift in what we find romantic.

Last week I unpacked a box labeled simply "pajamas." In in I found my wedding lingerie. I sat there holding this stuff in my lap and simply staring at it. Honestly, I had forgotten that I had it. I feel special if he doesn't go to bed smelling like jet fuel. I don't remember that being on my 'list of desirable qualities in a mate' list that I had. To romance me he must first bathe...yeah, not sure that ever crossed my mind as a form of romance. I'm also pretty sure that if he had offered to let me go the store alone to shop for paint six years ago I would have been annoyed that he wanted to get out of running errands with me. This time, it was one of the highlights of my month. Two hours completely alone? To shop for paint? Honey, THANK YOU!

Regardless, that night I put on the lingerie, feeling slightly idiotic (and amazed that it still fit), like he didn't know every inch of my body underneath it and love me despite my flaws. His comment, "I remember that stuff!" wasn't exactly what I was going for. We both got a good case of the giggles. It's what I imagine the great romances were made of.

We've hit that point in our marriage where we find intimacy in the knowledge that we have our whole lives to discover each other, that we belong completely to each other, that we are building something worthwhile together. Seeing him playing with his son is far sexier than him mowing the lawn shirtless ever could be. The emotions have burned off the relationship and what's left is solid, deep, it's commitment, it's our choice to stay together, it's grounded in God and the family that we have made together, it has been tested by distance, by loss, by tragedy. It isn't a piece of silk over exposed legs...it's better than that. It's knowing that whatever I need him for, he's there, that he is mine and mine alone. It's why I'll follow him wherever he goes even when it takes me from my loved ones. It's a bond that only grows deeper with every passing day. It's being willing to put in the work to have one love for one lifetime.

It's simple, it's perfect, it's happiness...

I didn't "fall in love," I chose to love him. I make that choice every single day. I'll make that choice over and over again until death do us part.

Happy Anniversary my love...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Poison Control

After a lovely breakfast, I was changing over laundry when I smelled diaper rash cream. I looked around the corner and found my son, slathering diaper rash cream all over himself and in his hair. An inspection of his mouth showed that he had also eaten some. I read the back of the tube which emphatically stated to call poison control immediately. I'm not sure why their number isn't already in my phone being as I call them at least twice a month but after I looked it up, I put it in my phone as my number one speed dial.

The nice lady laughed and said it was probably fine, but since it was in his eyelashes to put him in the shower for 20 minutes to do an eye flush. She also said that it might affect his diapers and cause vomiting later if he had ingested a significant amount.

While I had her on the phone, I asked about bug spray since he had gotten a mouthful of that yesterday. Apparently, high concentrations of DEET cause seizures in little kids so that is one more thing to worry about at our upcoming camping trip. I'm not sure it is possible to babyproof a campsite. Lock everything dangerous in cars? The fire too?

After we showered and he had a nap, I fed him a watermelon snack. Twenty minutes later he was throwing up what appeared to be blood. After a minor short lived freak out, I remembered what he had eaten and stopped looking for a local pediatrician. As a side note, I probably should get that lined up before it becomes urgent.

He seems totally fine now, but I have to wonder what is the attraction to eating stuff like that? Bug spray? dryer lint? diaper rash creme? crayons? play dough? febreeze? hair mouse? cat food? That stuff can't taste good. Milk out of a bottle? No thanks! I'd rather dump it in mommy's shoe and lick it up that way.

A Perfectly Normal Tuesday

While they are much funnier, I figured all my posts shouldn't revolve around how exhausting and humiliating being constantly outsmarted by a one year old is...

Today was one of my less hectic days...

We woke up and ate breakfast without incident. I spent some time in prayer thanking God for that. We drove to Valparaiso to hit the DMV (or BMV, even the web-site isn't sure which it is) to change my driver's license, registration and plates to the new address. I drove the same 1 mile stretch of Hwy 30 at least 12 times looking for the elusive-apparently-not-clearly-marked DMV/BMV while being serenaded by screams of outrage over having play time interrupted with meaningless adult errands. I found out the paperwork I brought was not sufficient (I would have thought that the mortgage paperwork would have been good enough coupled with a piece of mail with the new address, but I was wrong). We drove back home and Gus fell asleep as I pulled in the neighborhood. Lovely.

I let him sleep in the car while I packed a bag and a lunch for the beach. Our friends showed up and off we went to the beach. We got out of the car at the beach 10 miles from the house, all seven of us clad in some version of wishful thinking summer attire (to be fair, it was seventy degrees in my driveway). The beach felt like a balmy 50 degrees with a brisk wind. Within a minute of hitting the sand, Gus's teeth are chattering. I dig out an extra T-shirt for him and we eat a sandy lunch of salami, cheese and broccoli We let the kids play for a little under an hour before group misery over-rode the objections of the one child wearing enough clothing.

I brushed as much sand out of my car as possible, plunked the kid in the bathtub where he happily splashed for almost an hour. Once his fingers and toes had gone from blue to pink to white and shriveled, I dressed him and all but tossed him in the crib for a nap. I walked across the hall and collapsed on the bed. In the midst of reaming myself out for not taking advantage of nap time to get housework done, I got a much needed nap.

When the baby woke up, we went for a really long walk around the neighborhood, then Gus got out of the stroller and took off down the street pushing the stroller. We took the long walk again with him pushing the stroller the whole time. Then came a trip to CVS just for chocolate. When we got home I nuked a hot dog for him and he offered me a bag of marshmallows as an acceptable dinner alternative. After a parental talking to (and hiding the bag of marshmallows) he ate or fed to the cats most of the hot dog and tried to eat a spider for dessert. We cuddled and read several partial stories and then he went to bed.

This was a great day, considering what the last couple months have been like and I'm still exhausted. Maybe it isn't him, maybe I'm just getting old.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's that Smell?

Watching a child grow from tiny, squalling newborn into a robust toddler involves all the senses. The delicate feel of their skin, the amazing overnight changes visible in their features as they grow, the random things that end up in your mouth as a parent (saliva, pacifiers that have been dropped who knows where, occasionally some things much nastier) and of course the darling little coos to the ear splitting shrieks. But the parade of smells...there is just something about the odors of childhood that amazes me.

I remember when he was a newborn and I would sit and hold him with my nose pressed to his scalp, inhaling what has to be the most delicious non-smell food in the world. Two weeks later colic and a horrible case of reflux set in leaving him smelling like baby spit up most of the time, that sort of 'off' milk smell that doesn't discourage proximity but can usually be fixed by changing their clothes. The diapers of this period also weren't terribly off-putting, with the sickly sweet smell of breast milk poop.

Fast forward 8 months and he is a mobile stink machine on wheels. As a result of consuming copious amounts of table food and an inadequate digestive system, washing diapers had become a distasteful act, not to be done until absolutely imperative. On the plus side, the reflux had all but gone away and we went a couple months without him throwing up at all.

By the time he had been on cows milk a month I was back to doing diaper laundry every other day. Any longer than that in the diaper pail and an accidental breath through my nose left me losing me lunch in the trash can. These days find me wandering into a room olfactory stations blaring...what is that smell? I sniff high and low to find the culprit whether it be the smell of raw fear emanating from my cats, a week old bottle stuffed in a toy bin or the darling emissions coming from a 25 pound midget. Occasionally, I find that the lingering odor is smeared poop on my own clothes from (hopefully) the last diaper change. I can't begin to count the number of times I've smelled something in public and without breaking in conversation lifted Gus to nose level to smell his diaper. If it wasn't him, I've embarrassed whoever I was talking to that tried to stink and not claim it.

Today I walked into his room after nap time and smelled the unmistakable stench of vomit. I pulled him out of the crib and sniffed him down. Nope-clean. I smelled each stuffed animal and blanket as it came out of the crib. No dice. I found a sock at one corner of the crib that reeked and upon further inspection, Gus had removed it, thrown up in it and tucked in in the corner of the crib and taken a nap. None of the crib bedding smelled except where it had contacted the sock and his clothes were fine. Laying the sock on the ground while I stripped the bed I was distracted by a tug on my leg. Staring up at me was a sweet child. He grinned at me, said "Please?" and handed me the offending sock. Ugh...

And then of course there is the vague odor of urine that every toddler seems to have clinging to them. No amount of baby wiping or sponge bathing seems to get rid of that sour diaper smell the way their bottoms sitting in a bath tub for 30 minutes can do. Unfortunately Gus has eczema. He cannot be bathed everyday without breaking out into a ferocious rash that resembles what I imagine morphing into a lizard would look like. Most of the time he gets a bath every 3 or 4 days. So every 3 or 4 days, I hold him close and breath in his sweet smell.

I truly believe God eases us into this. If I had been handed as fully mobile, loud but not terribly communicative, drooling, sticky, stinky toddler that I have now, I'm pretty sure I would have feigned insanity rather than voluntarily taken it home with me. Lucky for both of us, they gave me a sweet smelling, mild tempered, tiny, angelic newborn. I was given an opportunity to love and grow attached to this wrinkled creature so now, when it vomits in a sock and hands it to me, I just sigh, throw the sock in the laundry and sent the midget on its way with a kiss on the head and a pat on the bottom. And then go wash my hands in bleach.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Don't Like Popsicles

Tonight's dinner was a little bizarre. My son ate a ton of salad, and almost no ribs, then played with and eventually discarded instead of devouring his Popsicle. I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little weirded out.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The First Twelve

This morning Rob left for Phoenix. He will only be gone for 30 hours but I'm not sure his son will be alive when he gets home. It all started when I dozed off on the couch this morning while he was playing. I was abruptly startled out of said nap by a crack to the skull. Gus hit me in the head with a metal rod with enough force that it bled for a while and I'm going to have a goose egg for a few days.

A couple hours later I am strapping his car seat in so we can go get milk. This task takes about 45 seconds. In the meantime, he has let himself out of the house and goes running towards the street with me running and screaming after him. I watch in horror as he runs right out in front of a car. I am so thankful that the driver was not on their phone and was not speeding. They didn't even come close to hitting him. Rob called to see how things are going seconds later and I was still so shaken up I couldn't concentrate on what he was saying. Gus was screaming because I was holding him so tight and because he was subsequently banished to his crib while I finished strapping his seat in.

We went to the grocery store where he charmed other shoppers by throwing blueberries at them and playing peekaboo. Then he made some other shoppers grateful that theirs were grown (I know because they told me so) as he kept trying to launch himself out of the cart headfirst and screaming in outrage when I put him back in the seat.

When we got home I left him strapped in the car while I unloaded the groceries because short of locking the deadbolt behind me every time, there isn't a good way to keep him in the house while I'm outside. He let the whole neighborhood know what he thought about the situation. I can only wonder what some of our new neighbors think of us. I imagine most of them understand as probably nine out of ten of them have kids still at home but still....

While I put away groceries, he took them back out for me, then grabbed a bottle of hot sauce from the fridge and took a swig of that. Then for some reason, he wanted a drink (I couldn't help but laugh at that!) Then he spent a good five minutes grunting and straining trying to pick up the watermelon. Then he decided that rolling it down the stairs looked just as fun. I managed to get there in time to prevent him from sending the watermelon to a messy meeting with my carpet.

Then my oven told me it was preheated, I opened it, put the squash in the oven, closed the door, turned around and saw my son standing on the counter drinking out of the glass coffee pot.

The last few days he has discovered he can move the dining room chairs to reach stuff on the counters. Apparently today he discovered he can pull all the drawers out and climb them and sit and stand on the counters. This has the added bonus of allowing him to reach the stuff in the upper cabinets. Again I'm so thankful he didn't hurt himself, that I never got around to making my coffee this morning, that he wasn't scalded, that he didn't climb up on the counters where the knife block is, that he didn't bang the coffee pot on the sink that he feet were in and cut himself, that he didn't fish the butcher knife out of the sink, that he didn't fall and bust his head open or break his neck.

I am at a loss for how to deal with this. Telling him "NO!" takes months to sink in for any particular undesirable activity. I was in the same room and had my back turned for maybe 20 seconds. I can't never take my eyes off him. He can't stay locked up in his crib all day. The kitchen is as baby-proofed as it can possibly get and there is no way to gate it to keep him out of it completely. There are some things that need to be on the counter. I'm so frustrated right now and I'm hoping once he settles in he will calm down a bit. In the mean time, I'm scared to take my eyes off him. I think it's amazing the survival rate for boys is as high as it is.

I also think I'll take that straight jacket now dad!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Different Life

Yesterday was my second mother's day. While nothing was about the day itself was spectacular, it definitely gave me an appreciation for how different our lives are now than a year ago. A year ago I had a three month old and all I wanted was a really long nap and to be able to lay Gus down without him screaming.

How different our lives are now! Rob and I contemplate daily how any child of ours could think that 8.00 AM sharp is an acceptable wake up time when there is nowhere to be. I'm a little disgruntled about the hour because I prefer to be up an hour or so before he is, but I don't wake at 7.00 naturally or motivated by an alarm clock if there is nowhere I have to go. So for now, the baby is my alarm clock. I get him out the crib, turn him loose while I brush my teeth and hair and then go down to make our breakfast.

After breakfast we play. A week ago, we moved into a house much too large for us so we have a floor of our house that doesn't have any furniture. In the morning, Gus runs around this room like a crazy person while I sit in the middle and growl at him and pretend like I'm going to pounce if he stops running. Then we do something more calm like reading or practicing how to make snow angels on the kitchen floor so when the snow comes we're ready. Then mommy gets her computer time while Gus goes up and down the stairs over and over, working very hard to wear himself out for his morning nap.

Then we rock. Oh, how the rocking has changed over the course of a year. Last year he lay calmly and passively in my arms. This year, twice a day we have a baby's choice rocking session. Sometime he lets me hold him and we pretend he is a well adjusted, calm child. Sometimes he sits upright on my lap and we rock till he spaces out and falls over. A personal favorite of mine is when he absolutely wants to be on your lap but refuses to sit still and expects you to keep him from falling as he climbs up to your shoulders and hangs over the back of the chair or launches himself backward between your knees expecting you to hold his feet and rock as fast as you can. His new spin on rocking has us in side by side rockers, rocking back and forth and singing together until he is ready to climb the stairs and retrieve puppy and binky.

Then comes the cornerstone of my day...naptime. Half his nap is devoted to mommy time, reading, napping or eating if it has been a few days. The other half I use to do chores that are impossible when he is "helping," like folding laundry. He will hand me a piece of clothing, I fold it and put it in the stack, then he unfolds it and hands it back to me. While this will keep him entertained for hours, folding laundry is already at the bottom of my list of favorite household chores and I have no desire to fold the same shirt eight times. Right now, that half of naptime is being used to unpack items that aren't baby friendly, like medicines and soaps or picture frames and hardware.

All too soon, he is hollering to be let out of his crib. Depending on his mood, we have a brief snuggle session in the rocker, then he tears through the house like his diaper is on fire to do a cat inventory and make sure that they appreciate it the next time he is out of commission for a couple hours. Next is lunch which lately has been punctuated with "no," "off the table," "on your bottom," NOW!" We have started teaching him to stay seated in a normal chair at mealtimes as not all our friends and families have high chairs and most are not amused when he climbs on the dining room table during meal time and starts splashing in whatever they fixed for dinner and restaurants definitely don't find that sort of thing adorable.

Next we wash dishes which keeps him occupied for a good hour (what is it with running water and kids anyway?). Then the afternoon gets underway. This is the most entertaining and exhausting part of my day. On any given afternoon I will do 90% of the following activities: rescue a cat
pull something out of a toilet
take something sharp away from him
yell at him for chewing on an electrical cord
tell him to "Get down from there right now!" at least a dozen times
accept a few drive by hug and kisses attacks
put at least two dozen books back on the shelves
put the trash back in the trash can
tell him hitting mommy is not nice
kiss a booboo and/or pin him down while we stop a wound from bleeding since he eats bandaids
take a crayon out of his mouth
clean up a shredded piece of paper and/or take it out of his mouth
change his clothes at least once
hold him while he cries because he ran into a wall face first
pluck him off the dining room table four or five times
rewind a roll of toilet paper or stuff an entire box of kleenex or wipes back in the box.

Rob's mom commented yesterday that he must get all his energy from me because Rob was apparently not psychotic as a toddler. I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. I did pray that the next child likes to play with his fingers, sleep and gaze contently out of a window.

The evening is the highlight of my day. Rob comes home, we have dinner and then we play. He learns his body parts and how noses are in the same place on mommy, daddy, and Gus. Gus shows us his belly button and how he can tickle himself. He practices counting on his fingers and showing how old he is. He practices pointing to the right color ball when mommy says a color and the right animal when daddy makes the noise they make. If he is cooperative, we read a story. Then Rob puts on waltzes and Gus takes turns dancing with mommy and daddy in the kitchen till it is time for jammies and brushing his teeth. Then daddy rocks him to Andre Rieu until bedtime.

After Rob lays him down, we sit at the kitchen table in silence for a while and drink our tea and enjoy the quiet, we wash dishes, feed the cats, switch the laundry and then head to the couch to read (me) and watch tv (Rob). Last year this would have been the productive part of my day, but now I feel I have been dragged into responsible adulthood by my one year old. I'm up at eight, in bed by midnight or one most nights, my dishes and laundry are done daily, we eat three meals a day, I can't finish a book a day anymore, I actually remember to get my mail almost every day, and most weeks we get to the grocery store. Happy mother's day mom! I give you maturity and responsibility!