Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mommy's Helper

Gotta start 'em early, you know!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More to Come...

It did not warm up today and the ice did not melt.  And there's another storm on the way...  We were very blessed not to loose power on Monday.  There are major outages all around us, still.  We'll see if we don't join the ranks this time...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I was just so tired of hearing about it...

Drama, drama, drama.  "Be tough!"  I said, "You're a boy!  Get it over with!"

This has been going on for months already.  Let's be done.

Every day he would ask, "When, when,wheeeeen?" and when it was finally time, he said, "Wait, maybe ten more days!"

"Here, let me see..." I said... POP

"AH! Mom...!"

"Well, look at that. It just came out in my fingers."**

Jonah lost his first tooth!

To say he's really excited would be an understatement.

So he's upstairs, asleep, with his tooth under his pillow, and I'm sitting here, wondering... What are teeth going for these days, anyway?  I think I got a quarter, or maybe two.  In fact, it may have started out as dimes.  But now I've heard of people going as high as 20 bucks. (!)  (Yeah.)  (Not in this house.)

Also, what do I, um, do with it, provided I actually can find it when I go fishing around under his pillow while he sleeps?  I remember having this horror when I was a kid that when I was grown up, my Mom would present me with a little film canister full of my baby teeth.

Off to go find some quarters...

**Funny, I seem to remember hearing that before somewhere... like... from my Mom.

A Crawler's Manifesto

Brothers and sisters of The Revolution!  Mobility is within your grasp!

The world is your oyster!

Eat it liberally!

The less you have to do, the more you can do!  Embrace your freedoms!

If, in the course of your explorations, you sight The Glorious Mother, catch her whenever it suits your purposes.  Using your charms is more appealing and effective, but do not fear resorting to pitiful crying and misery if she seems too busy for you.  The Mother's heart is soft and she cannot withstand your pain.

 Remember that The Mother is your source of comfort and security in these trying times.  A bumped head is not to be born in silence.

Resist the diaper changes unless you are given a peace offering.  Insist on the reward.  I will admit, however, that sometimes being clean is it's own reward.  Wiggle enough to ensure that the exchange is made quickly, however, that you loose no time in your Important Work.

If you have older siblings, there are even more wonders to be had in this place.  A basket of toys all to yourself is wonderful, of course, but your brother's paper airplanes are much to be preferred if you can get them.  Be persistent, my friends!  It will pay off in the end.

The bigger children will guard their things ferociously, but if you persist, you will prevail.  Do not try to overpower them, as by their size they are mightier than you.  When they aren't looking however, taste freely of the forbidden fruits!

 If The Mother will not yet feed you all the interesting things that The Family consumes, bear on in patience, my friends.  Know that it will come.  Meanwhile, scavenge under the dining table as often tasty bites are dropped unnoticed except by Us.

Above all, always remember that Freedom is yours for the taking!

Monday, February 21, 2011

That's Me, Ever the Optimist

I overheard the cashier in the store the other day talking to the customer in front of me.  "Yeah, this weather sure has been nice!  I hear we're supposed to get a storm this weekend, so I guess it just can't last.  But I really think that this will be It, and then we'll have spring for sure!"

I rolled my eyes. Hello?  It's the middle of February.  Don't go gettin' yer hopes up, leddy.  We gots us a long haul, yet.  Like, probably another 6 weeks before we can really think about spring.

But then I thought, well, maybe that's part of my problem.  In order to survive in a cold climate, you have to be more optimistic.  Spring has to be ever around your proverbial corner, right?

Okay.  Optimism.  I'll try anything once.  (Well.  Almost anything.)

So.  Here goes.

Would you like to come sit on my lovely porch?

Pull up a chair....

I'll make some delicious tea!

We'll sip it luxuriously as we gaze out at the beautiful gardens.

Scones!  Scones, will you come if I make scones?

What?  You don't want to come have tea on my porch?  Not even with scones? Well!  What sort of hardy, optimistic souls are we, anyway?

Look!  I even have potted plants.

No?  Still won't try it?  Sigh.  What would it take to entice you?  Sunshine, you say?  Warmth?  Bah.  This is Michigan!

In Michigan, we tap the maples one week...

...then watch the branches all break off the next!

Come on! 

The weather's fine!

Hm.  Mayhaps I should keep practicing my "optimism" skills.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spring Fever Remedy

A dear friend of mine always gives me a pot of flowering forced bulbs around the time of my birthday (read: the worst month of the year... February) because she knows how much I, erm, dislike winter and long for spring.

I love flowers in February.  They make me happy.

Update on the sleep battle:

This baby's mommy is a genius!  GENUIS!  Bwaa-haa-ha-haaaaa!  BWA-HA-HAHAHAHAHAHA!

I discovered that I have a white noise machine already in my room.  Okay, maybe it's not so genius, considering I didn't realize this a long time ago, but you know what they say-- sleep deprivation is the mother of invention.

That is what they say, isn't it?

Anyway.  I have a white noise machine beside my bed in the form of an old digital alarm-clock-radio that I've had since I was about 10.  Set the dial to some good static, et voila-- white noise, volume controlled.  Hopefully it's not as hard on our electric bill as a fan.

I've only so far employed this tactic today, but so far so good (of course, now I'm ruining it by broadcasting it all over the intertubes...).  His nap this morning was a good 1 1/2 hours, and now for his afternoon nap, he's been sleeping over an hour and a half and is still sleeping.

During lunch, Evan was playing contentedly on the floor and Nathan commented "He sure is a pleasant baby when he's slept well!"

Indeed, my dear.  Indeed.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Like a Baby

I think that the thing most obsessed over by parents of babies is sleep.  It seems like the whats, whens, wheres, and hows of sleep and the most consuming thoughts during a baby's first year.  At least, it is in my house.

And more so with Evan than with Jonah, believe it or not.  You would think I'd have it all figured out.  And I certainly know a lot more about baby sleep this time around, but that just gives him license to up the ante. I am convinced that Evan is the worst sleepinest kid ever.

At seven months, he's probably capable of "sleeping through the night" but I laugh in the face of "sleeping through the night."  It's not even on my radar.  At this point, I don't care if he doesn't sleep through the night.  I'll be happy with just one or two wakings through the night.  And I don't care if people tell me that "it's normal and every baby has their own sleeping patterns blahblahblah."  No way.  He doesn't need to wake up this much.  And on the other hand, I don't think he's being manipulative, either.  It's somewhere in the hazy in-between.  (Though, I am afraid that when he's a little older and learns more about manipulation, it could quickly spiral into that kind of baby-sleep-torture.)

So nights are one thing.  And naps bring different, but equally vexing vexation.

(Can you tell I'm a little tired here?  I find myself casting about for the perfect turn of phrase and coming up... completely blank.  Blanker than blank.  It's pitiful.  My similies and analogies go limp and bland and I find myself repeating words.  I guess the past year of sleep-deprivation is catching up with me.)

For months now, he's been taking a not-long-enough afternoon nap, and then needing an evening nap because he can't make it until bedtime and then he's not ready to go down for the night until much later than I want him to be.

A good, adequate and predictable sleep routine with a decent bedtime is very important to me.  Really important.  Really, really, really important.  So important that I start working toward it very soon after birth.  It takes time and maturity, and I'm perfectly willing to be patient.  But this is just ridiculous. I expect a newborn to wake frequently and nurse around the clock.  A seven-month-old?  Not so much.

There are several things at play here in Evan's little Sleep World of Mommy Horrors.  One thing is his neck troubles, which I hope and pray will very soon will be resolved (progress!  we're making progress!).  Teething has lots to do with it all as well, I have no doubt.  But there is one thing with trumps them all, and I've suspected it, and now I've put my finger on it for sure.

See, when we were at my parent's house, a large portion of his sleep troubles went away.  Poof!  Gone.  Not overnight, but by the time we left, he was in a great routine of two good naps per day at very predictable intervals and a somewhat reasonable bedtime and even -le gasp!- only two night wakings at the same time each night.  I call that pretty darn good, all things considered.

And then we came home and it all went to Heave-in-a-Handbasket right away.

So, you see, the trick is, we just have to be and Grandma's house.  That's all there is to it.

Okay.  Right.  Yeah.  No.

The thing is, it's not so much about Grandma's house as it is about Grandpa's barn.  'The barn?'  you ask, 'what does all this have to do with the barn?'  Ah-ha.  That's just it. 

Upstairs in the barn is the lovely little guest bedroom in which we slept.  The lovely, little, QUIET guest bedroom.  Evan napped like a dream up there. (Pun!  Hee hee!)  In fact, at first I thought he was just exhausted after the plane trip, but then he kept it up the whole time we were there.  I'm quite convinced that he was making up for all the many, many poor naps of his life at home.

HOWEVER, if I so much as tiptoed into the room, he was awake.  If, as happened a few irritating times, my little brother-who-shall-remain-nameless COUGHsamCOUGH went into the barn (not the bedroom, just the barn), he was immediately awake.

And now, as I'm typing this, I hear him crying, a mere two hours after going to sleep "for the night" because Nathan dared roll over in bed.  Grr.

What I'm saying is that he's a light sleeper. 

Actually that's an understatement.  Is there a term for sleeping even lighter than that?  Helium, perhaps?

This morning, I was waking up and Evan was snoring.  (That's another thing-- he snores a whole heckuvalot for such a little person...)  Nathan came up the stairs ever so quietly and Evan was sitting up looking at him in two seconds flat.  "What, me?  I wasn't sleepin'!  I'm awake!  I won't miss anything!" 

The best solution at this point would be to put him in his own room with a door that closes and is away from the rest of the house (and ideally with soundproofing).  But I don't have that option right now.  I've always heard that if you make sure that the baby doesn't get used to sleeping in quiet, he'll won't need quiet to sleep.  BULL-ogna.  I did that with Evan-- never made an effort to keep the house quiet so that he'll learn to not be bothered by noise.  Obviously, that has not worked.

Running a fan helps somewhat, but I shrink at what that will do to our electric bill which is already getting out of control.  I found myself browsing "white noise" machines on ebay tonight.  Do I want to spend that $20-30?

But here I am, trying to put a price on my sanity.


Just ask me.  I know.

And the interesting thing about this?  The part that helps keep me from going into screaming meemees because it just so... interesting... and my brain likes interesting things--  He seems to be a very "auditory" child.  Of course, it's hard to tell much at this point, and most babies probably are interested in sound.  But he seems to have an extra dollop of fascination with sound and noise.  He's not very coordinated, but he is constantly trying to pat the floor with his hand or something held in his hand.  He vocalizes, quite nosily, ALL the time, and loves to have us pat his mouth while he does it, "indian" style.  He clicks his tongue.  We play little clapping games with him and he tries to imitate us.  He learned how to bang on the piano if we sit there with him.  He likes us to sing or hum to him (and has since he was two days old).   (And it's cute now, but I've know ten-year-old's like him and... well, let's just say I expect to continue to loose my grip on sanity as Evan gets older.)

Also, my Mom told me that my brother, Seth, used to be an extremely light sleeper who always needed a fan and took maddeningly short naps.  And he's now... a talented musician with perfect relative pitch.

All I can say is, Evan had better be a downright musical prodigy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


My house is a mess of unpacking and, once again, construction projects.  (Kitchen trimmed for my birthday- yay!  Kitchen floor re-varnished- yay!  "New" woodstove installed, which, despite my apprehensions, seems to be kicking out plenty of heat- yay!  Stink of varnish and stove paint- boo!  Dirt-- boo stinkin' hoo!  Lack of glass in the door of the new stove- quadruple boo, I'm gonna miss it a lot.)


Did you know that jet lag includes not only time and sleep and eating and general routine, but also temperature?  50 degrees when I left and 5 when I arrived is nothing short of shocking.

The sleeping and eating part of the jetlag really stinks, especially with a baby.  My clock says 1:16am.  Grr.  Evan's been sleeping about an hour. 


Loneliness, dehydration, cold, lack of motivation, snow, depression, crying and clingy baby, messy house...  I'm ready to hibernate now, thanksomuch.


The flight attendants on our flights handed out warm chocolate chip cookies after the drink service.  That's a new one.  Hm, let me think, a tiny foil bag of 13 1/2 peanuts or warm chocolate chip cookie?  No-brainer.  Cookie!  The Frontier Airlines marketing people are sure earning their keep.  That cookie seems like a huge perk, but, as my Mom pointed out, they charged me $40 for my baggage.


Hm.  I really do intend not to sound so negative when I write here, but I guess I'm a little depressed and trying to be funny to keep from being sad.  But I've been through this many times and I know it passes...  Maybe I'll have more cheerful things to write soon.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Flight Dreams

Yesterday, Jonah got his first real flight experience.

My Uncle Tim is a pilot and plane mechanic.  

Jonah loves planes.  Uncle Tim loves planes.  Jonah knows Uncle Time loves planes and Uncle Tim loves to share his love of planes.  It's a match made in heaven.

First of all, Jonah had to inspect every part of the plane and learn what everything was for and how it all works.

He asked about a frillion questions which Uncle Tim patiently answered.  They went through the whole pre-flight checklist and made sure everything was ready to go.

I think it was all Jonah could do to keep his hands off the steering... um... thingy (see how bad I am?  I have a kid obsessed with planes, but I don't even know what anything is called.  He'll educate me, I'm sure.) during takeoff.

Jonah listened carefully and paid attention to every detail.  He even got a chance to fly the plane a while!

Of course, the views were just spectacular.

  The mountain and valley were gorgeous.

(It is really too bad that I had a loose nut behind the camera and couldn't seem to get it working properly... Maybe someday I'll learn how to take decent pictures.)

The Columbia was smooth as glass.  The Gorge always takes my breath away, no matter what angle I'm looking from.

Jonah was never scared at all and had a great time.  He's been talking constantly about it ever since, and declaring that one day, he, too, will fly planes.