Halloween Chez Nous, 2005

October 30, 2005

Last night we went to our church Halloween Party. To prepare for the party we baked and decorated a cake for the cake decorating contest. We had a lot of fun and have some leftovers of the “decorations.” Uh-Oh!

Little Red thought the cake was so funny, all afternoon whenever he passed by the kitchen he looked up at it and laughed.

Incidently, we won “Wierdest Cake” at the party.

Finally it was time to go to the party. I didn’t dress up for this one, but hubby did, and Little Red, of course. (I had entertained the idea of copying ABQ, but just didn’t get around to it, and then saw a friend at the party dressed as that. She looked better than I would have, anyway.

My homemade costume for my son was a real hit, for those who made the connection that the coppertop baby was the coppertop battery.

And when my husband was holding him they were … Assault and Battery. (You have to understand, my husband works for a criminal law firm.)

We had a lot of fun seeing all the costumes during the costume parade. Several people told me they thought we should have won an award for the costume, but I didn’t really care. It was just gratifying to see him look so cute and know that I did it. 🙂 I AM A (domestic) GODDESS!

Finally, after we left the church party we made an appearance at our friends’ “A Very Geriatric Halloween” party. Little Red would have come as the battery for our hearing aid had he not spat up all over himself. He just came as our great-grandson. We played some fun, silly games, and saw some really amazing costumes! Our hostess had even made vericose veins under her stockings and didn’t get out of character once! Her husband came complete with sun spots and the whispiest hair I’ve ever seen. It was a lot of fun, but those old people sure know how to party and they wore our little guy right out.

For us Halloween is not yet over. We have another party on Monday. Different theme. Different costumes. Stay tuned.


Mothering Fear

October 29, 2005

One of my biggest fears as a mother happened today. I obssessed over it as a brand new mother, concerned that in my weakened, post-operative state, that the worst would happen and I would break my newborn. As I got stronger this fear moved further back in my mind, but I always worried about it, and this morning, I did it.

How do I describe how we fell down the stairs? Did my socks slip on the carpeted stair? Did I misstep? Am I just off-balance because of the flu?

The good thing is that it was the final step before the tile floor, so we didn’t fall far. And while the whole thing is a blur to me I was able to sheild my son so that he didn’t fly and he didn’t hit the tile. (But it did scare him and you should have heard him carrying on!)

We’re fine. I’m very relieved. I’m sore and will probably sprout some lovely bruises from the ordeal but we’re fine. It was, after all, the last step so it isn’t as though we rolled down a dozen stairs.

One fear down, only a million to go.

Why Do You Blog?

October 28, 2005

Ever since I read Karen’s post the other day on the Blogger’s Philosophy, I’ve been asking myself why I blog.

Why did I create a blog?
My reasons for starting my blog are twofold: first to chronicle my adventures as a new mother (because I’m really not keeping a journal,) and second as a way to deal with my birth experience — putting it into words really helped me sort things out. But I didn’t want to be just another Mommyblogger because sometimes I had thoughts beyond what my son was doing.

I waffled around in the middle, trying to find my voice and ultimately deciding that since it was my blog I could write my own rules.

Rather than journaling “this is what I did today,” which I’ve done in the past and tires me when re-reading, I’ve been writing more essays. Sometimes they are narrative, sometimes they are expository, but usually they have a point. I started doing this long before I read Karen’s post and it’s all because I ask myself what the purpose is of my writing. Is it the schoolteacher in me? Perhaps.

Why do I continue to blog?
I’ve usually got several thoughts in my head at any given time. The barrage of verbal diarrhea to which my husband is subjected daily is sometimes too much for him. Blogging allows me to empty my thoughts without monopolizing all my time with my husband. It is a creative and intellectual outlet. Also, as I read I get me more ideas. I have always loved to read but now that my time and cognitive capacity is limited I find a novel too daunting, but a single blog post just about right (except, of course, Dana’s Week in Review, which I had to do in two sittings.)

I do love to read and receive comments. I also love to read other’s comments. I often check back on a blog I have commented to see what comments came afterwards. I get email notification everytime someone comments on my blog. I just love knowing what other people think; I am so intruiged what different things people will take out of the same passage. It fascinates me to see inside people’s minds.

But when Dana told me in an IM the other day that she didn’t know what to say other than “I agree” I realized I didn’t really care. I do enjoy getting comments, but I finally realized that isn’t why I blog. I blog for me. And I would continue to blog if the comments were abolished.

Why do you blog?

The Art of Patience

October 28, 2005

For the most part, every behaviour of my sons that makes me unenthralled only lasts two weeks. After that, of course, he has changed developmentally and no longer needs to do whatever it is. Even the teething bouts have been shorter than two weeks.

My son’s six weeks of separation anxiety was exhausting. I reminded myself every day that it was only temporary, that I should be happy that he loves me, and that when he is sixteen he won’t want to cuddle anymore. It was my daily mantra. I gained more patience and a better way to multi-task. And just when I reached the point when I wondered how I could continue this, it stopped.

It was a really abrupt change; suddenly one day at our Mommy & Me playgroup my son cruised away from me and over to play with his friends. He ate from every mother there (and shared his own food) and then ate all of my food (my adult food) as well. It made sense to me that after spending so many months with these people that he would come out of his shell with them.

The next day while we were visiting my surrogate grandparents (I’m her visiting teacher, but it’s way more than that) he let Jacob take him outside while I stayed in and visited with Zelma.

At the end of the week he rifled through the diaper bags of women we didn’t know at the library and played with children he had never before seen. Officially the separation anxiety was over.

I am relieved. He still likes to keep me in sight and sometimes I am still public enemy number one when I dare do non-baby things (see previous post about cleaning up the water.) But a small part of me is sad, nostalgic for the baby that wanted nothing but me. He’s growing up so fast!

Water Water Everywhere

October 27, 2005

In June of 2004, immediately before we moved into this apartment, the hot water heater was replaced. What had started as a small leak had gone unreported to our landlords until the whole thing needed to be replaced. Unfortunately the leak had also damaged the carpet and carpet pad so within the first week of moving in we reported the smell and that we felt it was water damage in that part of the apartment. The carpet guy tore out the carpet pad in that area and put in a new one, but did nothing with the carpet because the carpet had not been damaged and replacing the carpet would just draw attention to the old and new areas. We also reported that the faucet in the bathroom leaked.

A couple of months later I was doing laundry one Friday afternoon and went upstairs to move the laundry along when I noticed water on the floor; our washing machine was overflowing. It was a smaller than normal load and I was so surprised that that was the load that broke it; but I laid out towels to soak up the water and did my best to avoid water damage. Of course it was a Friday afternoon, one of the most inconvenient times to get anyone in to look at things. The decision was that the 14 year old machine had a broken pump and after about a week and a half my landlords decided to get us a new machine. This was good news for me because it meant I was also getting a new dryer (they’re attached up/down units) and that meant I was getting a dryer that would only beep once when it was done instead of one constant stream of noise until I (uber-pregnant) ran up the stairs to turn it off. Not only was this easier for me, but it meant I could do the laundry after the baby was born and not worry that his nap would end when the dryer load did. The only reminder now of that incident is the water stains on our ceiling in the living room which I didn’t want them to paint over because I was pregnant and didn’t want the paint fumes.

A couple of months later my son was born and it was finally the rainy season. He and I were adjusting to life alone (hubby back at work and our mothers had left the country) when I stepped on the carpet and swamped my foot. Oh no!!! I put my poor son on the futon, saying, “just one second, sweetie, Mummy needs to figure out why the living room is flooding,” and went to investigate. While the rain poured on me I saw that three tiny leaves were covering the one tiny drain on the patio causing the water to enter our living room. I bailed and swept outside and laid down towels across our living room and swapped them out for the towels in the dryer. (Good thing we have an inordinate amount of towels!) Poor baby just laid there, hardly whimpering — what an angel! Since then, armed with the knowledge of what these leaves can do, I sweep the patio often, but have been out several times sweeping and bailing in the rain to protect our living room, and, because they all drain together, the living rooms of both of my neighbours.

With all the knowledge I now had we had many dry months. Then this summer I noticed that our nasty kitchen faucet (which I hated for several reasons) was leaking. Sigh, another report. I waited to make sure it really was happening and called my landlords, report both that and the bathroom faucet from the year before that had been forgotten. I was very smooth and said that both faucets only leaked a little bit and only when I was running the water, but since they paid the water bill I thought it only fair that they know that water was being wasted. They seemed to appreciate the added touch of me trying to save them money and got to it right away. But that was only the beginning of the problems.

As my landlord suspected, the kitchen faucet leaked again and he finally replaced it two months ago. He and the plumbers noticed something not right about the pipes underneath and did what they thought was fix it. I have a shiny new Moen faucet in my kitchen, which has solved many problems.

But the kitchen water stories do not end there. Today when our garbarator backed up (again) I noticed a little bit of water leaking under the sink. It looked like the same old pipe had popped out and I popped it back into place. But this evening as the water in the sink with the garbarator was backed up and the dishwasher going, the pipes went, too. We were swimming in dishwasher water mixed with moldy remains from the garbarator. Frantically I turned off the dishwasher and what I thought were the water valves (which I think were only hot water valves –both??– because we were able to turn the water on even after I had done so) and laid out the towels. I locked my son in his room, “just one minute, sweetie, Mummy has to clean up this mess” and switched out the towels. He was not pleased, nor was my landlady when I called.

My landlord was all-business when he came over, but somewhat annoyed that it happened “after hours” so he couldn’t get to the hardware store. He did manage to figure things out and we are able to use our sink again.

Now let me explain that before we moved here I had only made two maintenance requests in my life, and that when little things happen, like the garbarator and the lack of weatherstripping, we fix it ourselves. We just aren’t complainers. (We aren’t plumbers, either.) But we understand that with an older place things do break down and we want to help our landlords maintain the place. We both try to go out of our way to be friendly to our landlords when we see them and try to make sure that we have many more casual conversations than maintenance requests.

I wouldn’t mind reporting the incidents if I felt that’s all I was doing, but each report is loaded (either said or unsaid) with, “what did you do?” I’m always on trial for “breaking” something and have to prove my innocence. (Innocent until proven guilty came from Greece, did it not?) And I know that the more reports I make the higher my rent will be next year. I also know that my neighbours are all hearing about what a terrible person I must be for breaking everything and complaining all the time (I know this because this is what I hear about my neighbours.)

I’m currently running a pool as to when a bedroom will have water problems, as that is the final type of room that has not yet leaked. The winner will get half of the money collected and the other half of the proceeds will go towards buying more towels.


October 26, 2005

On Monday my son and I met a mother with her young daughter in (where else?) the baby aisles at Target. She was interested in my Maya Wrap and my son was curious as to why her baby (incidently named Maya) was crying.

As we talked, sitting on the floor in the aisle, she feeding her daughter and me chasing after my son, it became apparent that we had very different lives, and that she wanted what I have.

She was starved for information and support, and asked me what books I had read to help me parent. She was surprised when I said that I didn’t really like the books I had read because they didn’t know my son individually, as I did; although I liked Dr. Sears’ books more than the others because his premise is that we know as parents what to do for our children. But I read many books while pregnant and many of the mothers in my playgroup keep current on their reading so I have a wealth of information available to me if I should need it.

She asked me about breastfeeding and shared her sad tale of being pressured into formula before she and her daughter had worked out the kinks of breastfeeding. I had already told her all about how supportive the hospital was and that they had in-house lactation consultants that made rounds as regularly as the nurses so I was able to stave off any major problems before they became problems. She had had to seek out help after she left the hospital, losing precious time and spending lots of money…

She asked me about staying at home and expressed her regret that she didn’t have that option. She and her boyfriend are not married, she doesn’t have access to his insurance coverage and doesn’t have the security or marriage. She lamented about how expensive day care is and how it seems to be the entirety of wages; plus how much she would miss her daughter.

I was sad for her; everything I have is what she wanted. It reminded me of how truly blessed I am; and how I wouldn’t want to face parenting without any of the many resources available to me.

Library Drama

October 21, 2005

Today at the library my son had a fabulous time. He’s finally getting more independent so even during story time he’s starting to go over to other children. During the free-for-all playtime afterwards he played with a variety of new children and even accepted unsolicited hugs and kisses from some other children. (So cute…)

At one point he was playing right behind another mother who had her back to him. Her low-ride jeans were pooching out a bit at the back and her t-shirt had ridden up so there was several inches of exposed skin. I happened to look over just as he was reaching over and while he did touch her he didn’t get his hand all the way down her pants. I was mortified. She said it was okay, and said it was her fault; she sat on her shirt, stretched way down, for the rest of the time. I was mortified.

After I fielded his attempts to pull the books off the shelves and rip the pages, since he had exhausted what he considered to be all of the usefulness of a room full of toys and kids, he went to check out the strollers. He loves to play with the wheels on anything and seems particularly interested in the mechanics of strollers. Unfortunately the stroller he was playing with was an umbrella stroller poorly balanced with a diaper bag and purse hanging off the handles. He hardly had to touch the stroller for it to fall over and hit a woman.

It was time to go. Good thing my friend with whom we had come was also ready to go.