Thursday, December 30, 2010

On The Sixth Day Of Christmas...

...my Bubba is doing the dishes that won't fit in the dishwasher.

This is an undertaking of epic proportions.

We bought a portable dishwasher for our apartment for our first anniversary, and we like joke that it was one of the things that saved our marriage (that first bit of married life was a hard bit for us - we had never lived in the same city/state/country before getting married!) (That makes us sound like a mail-order couple or something. We just lived far apart.). You see, we had this agreement that I would cook dinner and he would do the dishes after. Ideal, if you ask me. I love cooking, and I hate the soaking scraping wiping aftermath. But. The Bubba is an engineer of the very first anal-retentivest nature. He starts the dishes by sorting. Each dish will be lined up according to color and then size and then shape and then amount of washing attention needed. And only then will the washing begin. Oh and the stacking/drying process! Whole 'nother bag.

Not that I'm complaining. I'm so totally okay with the fact that he has a different way of doing things. It just means that I won't see him until 10pm. And it doesn't mean I can't make fun, right? Because really, without taking the piss, where would marriages be, I ask you.

Next time I'll tell you about how he alphabetizes the garbage.

(Can you tell that the Bubba's on furlough this week? We've been spending lots of quality time together.)

We took the Christmas tree down this week and most of the decorations. We left up the little artificial tree for the Epiphany. I think I'll do a king's cake with Lucy this year. Although, every year I say I want to do a king's cake just like every year I want to throw a beaujolais nouveau party and it is never done. I have found in my vast experience with myself that I am fabulous at coming up with fun ideas and just very very poor at finding the motivation to execute them. Lazy.

I saw the midwife today. It was glucose test week, that most looked-forward to of all weeks. Mmmm, delicious. The midwives in my practice must have all been on vacation this week because the office was echoey-empty and the only midwife there was one I hadn't met before and didn't particularly, um, love. But whatever. I don't have to take her home to live with me, right? She was very smart and efficient. She was not a good listener, though. The whole time I kept wondering if I was maybe the only patient in all day because she seemed to just be waiting for her turn to talk the whole time (and not about my baby. About Christmas with her granddaughter including every gift she bought and why.). She didn't even bother with the frivolity of introducing herself when she came in. It was just weird because all the other midwives in the practice are basically on my running list of acceptable sister-wives.

My weight gain in the last six weeks surprised me. After being so focused on the numbers on the scale going down after Lucy's birth, it's so hard to be excited about them creeping (or in my case jumping) up. But this midwife did win points by telling me that Bidou seems to be a big baby, and since I came to the appointment with my pre-pregnancy jeans on with a hair band through the button hole, she said not to worry too much about it and just to be sure I was eating smart. (So I came home and ate fatty-fat-fat-sausage stuffing and Christmas candy to celebrate, of course.)

Bidou's heartbeat was at 148, and he's measuring "at least" two weeks big. I explained to the midwife that I have a long, skinny husband, and all the evidence I have heretofore collected says that we make long, skinny babies.

That reminds me. Bidou does this thing lately where he will curl up in only one side of my tummy. My stomach will have a huge right side and then a hollow little slope down the left side and then he'll do this roll-jump thing to take up his whole space again. It's like he's practicing his hunker-spring Crouching Dragon moves. Super weird. That and this kick-punch-punch thing he does I find really exciting. It's like he's a little human in there or something.

We shall see! Sooner rather than later, too. I start seeing the midwives every 4 weeks now that I'm starting my third trimester!

Dun dun duuuuuuuun. The end is near. And yet. So. Very. Far.

We're to the very complainy part of pregnancy. The part where I get heartburn from just looking at food. The part where I'm finding it increasingly hard to fall asleep at night and then sleep through the night. Oh, and my stomach and small intestine and such that's all smashing up into my ribcage gives me the worst crampy, charley-horsey feelings in my left ribs after I eat and/or when I'm lying on my left side. The lower back aches and the sacrum aches and the shooting pains that go from the lower back down the butt cheeks to the knees. All of those nice things.

And on that note, I bid you goodnight. It's almost 9pm after all. I've got my eye on my jammies and bed and my book (The City and The City by Mieville. Anyone reading that? It's really a trip.).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So That Was Christmas...

I have been seriously lacking in the blogging inspiration department. I think this little boy fetus started living off of my brain cells and the two that I have left to rub together just don't make any sparks. He better be wicked smaht, this kid.

He better have a huge 'fro of hair too, because I've had really bad heartburn already and I have three more months to go. This kid might get more "Do you realize what you put me through?" lectures than Lucy ever does. Start pitying him now.

But! I digress. I sat down to tell you about our Christmas.

You're on tenterhooks, I know.

Bubba and Lucy's stockings and the mitten Advent calendar I made this year.

It was just the Bubba and Lucy and me for Christmas this year. And we're the adults in charge of "making" Christmas. Except we're lazy. There's something weird about Christmas when it doesn't feel very Christmassy. Obviously like we're missing something, but also a little bit like we're getting away with something. We don't have to do anything if we don't want to. It's a strange mixture of regret and freedom.

We did get a real tree this year! Smells so good!

The Bubba and I talked this year about what kind of traditions we should get it together enough to provide for Lucy. And pretty much we didn't come up with much this year. Good thing Lu doesn't care yet. But we did decide to be a "Christmas Eve Family," I think. His family read the Christmas story and opened gifts on the eve which left Christmas day to small stocking gifts, church, and big family meals. In my family, we opened gifts Christmas day and it was always a struggle with logistics of opening, church, meal, etc.

First present of the year, cutest pattern evah!
Lucy's version: "Roodaaaf the raindeeeer wif a reeeed nooose!"
in some ambiguous tune.

The Bubba had the 24th off work and after a hearty Bubba-made breakfast of egg nog waffles, we all retired to the living room to sit around the tree, us with our coffee, Lucy with her choo-choo trains. Since we had plans for that night, and since Lucy kept asking if it was "Christmastime yet" while predatorily eyeing the brightly wrapped gifts under the tree, we told her she could open one gift while we were sitting around sipping coffee and feeling full and merry. She was thrilled. She grabbed a gift and shook it saying "What IS it? It's a SURPRISE! FOR ME!" And jumped up and down. If I could bottle up that joy I wouldn't hesitate. It was so magical. I don't even remember what she opened first, but she played quietly with it for an hour or two and the Bubba and I tucked into our trashy vacation novels on the couch and everyone was happy.

Art supplies! SCORE!

After that hour or two, Lucy suggested "Can we open ANOTHUH pwesent? How 'bout THIS pwetty pwesent suhpwise for ME?" and we were soft with the contentment that sugary food and caffeine and a lazy morning reading can bring and acquiesced. And so the tone was set for our Christmas Eve day. Every few hours Lucy would pick a gift to open and then she would disappear to play with it. She had a blast, no one was overwhelmed, it was no less than ideal.


Christmas Eve evening, we went for dinner at some dear friends' and had a delicious meal of broiled mussels and braised beef ribs and carrots and potatoes and cappuccino cheesecake. Our friends have a daughter exactly a year younger than Lucy, so they had fun chasing and stealing toys from each other for a couple hours while we enjoyed our meal.

2010 party outfit of choice

We've obviously been talking a lot about Baby Jesus around here with Lucy and trying to explain in two-year-old terms what Christmas is. It's really something to witness her grappling with some great big concepts. The other day in the car, Lucy said, "Baby Jesus was born?" And we said "Yep, isn't that AWESOME? He came to show us how to love each other!" And she was quiet for a second and added "Baby Jesus is coming in the springtime?" And were said "Um, no, that's Baby Brother that's coming in the spring." Ah, the literal mind of a two-year old processing concepts that she can not see or fully grasp.

We went to 10 am Mass Christmas morning and were happy to see the addition of Baby Jesus to the manger scene. After that we were the laziest bumps on logs that you ever would hope to meet. Lucy and I took a nap and the Bubba read his book. After our snooze, we took care of the two gifts Lucy still had to unwrap under the tree that we hadn't gotten to yet.

Get this: WE DIDN'T EVEN MAKE A CHRISTMAS DINNER. I had a nice roasting chicken in the fridge and ingredients for our favorite stuffing, potatoes, green beans, broccoli, etc. But we had leftover this and that scrounging around in the fridge and cabinets for something to throw together. LAZY! We ended up with leftover mussels over pasta with a sauce of garlic and heavy cream. It was altogether delicious and took 20 minutes of our attention.

One can never have too much orange in one's wardrobe, don't you agree?

And that was our Christmas.

THE END.

(Now to wean the girl off of Christmas Carols...)

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Day

Today we went to the zoo. I had sugar cookie batter chilled and cookie cutters at the ready, but then I looked out the window. It's warmish and sunny! A last minute change of plans, and we were watching the orangutan eating broccoli and kale for lunch.

Go me! Being Flexible and Fun Mom!

I let Lucy do whatever she wanted and take however long she wanted to take doing it. She picked up a stick and poked it in every hole and crevice in the whole zoo. She climbed up on some slimy wet wood fences to see the elephants. She knocked on the window of the meerkats. She got filthy. I chose not to care. Now she's in her bed humming Silent Night while she winds down for a snooze, which I find to be beyond precious.

I need more mornings like this.

And to think! It's a choice I make! Silly me, getting all caught up in the What I Want instead of the What I Need To Do. Some days I don't like my job. It's thankless. It's challenging physically and emotionally. A lot of times it's boring and repetitive and messy and frustrating. That makes me crabby. But! That's when I take for granted how lucky I am to have a kid who is growing and learning and how I get to be an integral part of that process every day. And when her (many, diverse) needs are met, she's actually pretty great.

I read this post today too. It's amazing. I'm going to try not raising my voice. Really try. The rest of Advent, I'm going to focus on choosing Joy. That means (among other things) making sure my job is done well. And that means making sure my girl's needs are my first priority instead of a crabby afterthought. It helps to have some focus.

We all work a little better like that.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crabby Christmasy Smorgasbord

Oh! Um, hi. It's been a while. I don't even know where to start, it's been so long.

I spent a week (or more, it may or may not be ongoing!) in a super crabby, emotional funk. Partly brought on by the stay-at-home weather, partly by the boundary-testing toddler, but mostly the combination of the two. I've been a little more tired lately at week 23+, and a little less agile. Pair that with a toddler who constantly dares me to react to her purposeful naughtiness just is a shit storm if you'll pardon my French.

Award winning parenting going on up in here, in other words.

Lucy is more of a challenge than she ever has been. I'll tell her one thing, and she'll look me in the eye and do the exact opposite. And then she'll either run away (because she knows I'm not as quick anymore!) or just stand there and face off with me. I'm running out of threatening faces. I think she might have spent most of the day in Time Out yesterday. Which also bites, because she SEEMS to get time out. She treats it right, she doesn't like it, she SEEMS to understand the lesson and straighten up afterward. But at the same time, it's like she doesn't CARE right now. Like Time Out is worth kicking her toy across the room or ripping the ornament off the tree or throwing Mama's perfume in the hamper. Sigh.

I just hate days that seem to jump from one form of discipline to another instead of enjoying whatever the day brings. I just really hope this phase passes quickly.

The only thing that seems to save both of our sanities is an Art Project. Ever since the Thankful Tree, Lucy asks to do an art project every single day. I'm totally ok with this. I'm all for it, actually, but after two weeks I'm kinda running thin on ideas! We did a gingerbread house,
made ornaments, colored countless pictures, decorated construction paper Christmas trees, made cookies, meticulously filled the Advent calendar, colored more pictures, made a hand-print wreath. I have learned that I was not really cut out for pre-school project-ing. The messes! Our dining table has been a repository for the random miscellany of these projects lately, and I am so tired I just shove it to one side and slide our chairs closer together to eat dinner at the other end.

In other news, I'm about done with the Christmas shopping! The godchildren are all taken care of, and so is Lucy's name exchange cousin. The Bubba already got his gift from me and Lucy - a new winter coat (he looks like a grown-up with appropriate winter attire!), and I have a couple things to slip into his stocking too.

Lucy, though, I don't know about. I have some little things to put in her stocking too, a little puzzle, some warm socks, beads to string on a necklace, bubble bath. But I can't pull the trigger on an actual gift for her. We wanted to get her a CD player for her play space so I wouldn't have to live through her playlist on the kitchen radio any more. But I can't find one that I like - slash - am willing to pay the price they're asking for it. I mean, I like this mp3 player, but... I don't know. So now I'm kinda wondering if we should just wait and not get her anything. Maybe pick up something in the after Christmas sales? But how can we not have a gift from Mommy and Daddy for my baby to open under the tree? (Truth is, she'll be happy as happy with the wrapped bottle of bubble bath as with anything else.) Whatever. She's naughty and I'm ambivalent. Obviously I need the Bubba to make this call.
(Do you have ideas for me? What are you buying for the 2 year olds in your life?)

And then me. You know, I loooove Christmas. I love twinkling lights and the hopeful anticipation of the season. I love thinking of the perfect gifts to wrap and then watching other people's joy in opening them. But I don't love getting presents. Like, at all. The Bubba keeps asking me what I want for Christmas, and the absolute truth is that I don't want a single thing. Weird, right? But I never know what I want to ask for, and the idea of a thing is always so much awesomer than the thing itself for me. Sure, I wouldn't mind having a stand mixer or some fancy softy-soft jammies or a new sewing machine. But really? I don't NEED those things, and that gives me Gift Guilt. And the guilt is worse than the happiness at having a new THING. Don't like.

Um anyway, I think I just put a damper on my already stupid crabby post. So maybe I should just hang up the keyboard now.

I'm contemplating going to the pool with Lucy tomorrow. So, you know, there's that. I'll just go ahead and try again tomorrow.