parenting


“Claire hold um-bella! Which you! Gether!” = As we walked out into rain to get into the car this morning, Claire wanted to help me hold the umbrella (with me, together).

“Mommy take-ah school me!” = Mommy taking me to school today.

“Morning time! No take-ah nap. Not….yet!” = Her many protestations to my trying to get her to lay back down yesterday after an ill-timed poop resulted in her waking up and only sleeping a little over an hour.

“Claire ca-cake. Happy to youuuuu.” = Girlfriend loves her some cupcakes and associates them with birthdays. I gave in and made her a stellar chocolate orange cake – more on that later.

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Apparently the Nashville news made such a raucous about the last snow “storm” that hit our fair city (which resulted in, like, a half inch of snow at best) that they are now referring to any winter forecasts as “situations” instead of catastrophes. We had orange alerts at work on Friday (no, really, we actually had the alarm system go off and announce “orange alert: inclement weather”) and got to go home at noon due to Situation 2010 which, as you read below, caused a lack of nappage in my house. Well, I was actually impressed. We got a few inches of snow. It snowed all day Friday and all night too.

Claire and I went over to play with some friends in the lovely white snow. Needless to say, it was quite the fun time.

Last night I ended up stayed the night with a friend because we did yoga and then stayed up til midnight watching Dexter and I didn’t want to drive home on icy, un-plowed, un-salted roads (and that’s why they freak out down here: they are woefully unprepared for snow and ice. I read in the news today that the city of Nashville has 30 pieces of equipment to handle 5,600 miles of roads.).  So this morning, when I was trying to leave without waking her (I have a toddler alarm clock that results in my waking up at 7a.m. no matter where I am) I got stuck in her driveway that was literally a sheet of ice. After much trial and error between her and I using shovels and (don’t laugh, it’s all she had) Epsom salt, a family walked by and helped push me out.

Safe back home, Claire and I enjoyed a snowed-in day together while Huz worked on his dissertation in the study. We made playdough and she had a blast making impressions in it with my large collection of rubber stamps.

After nap (alas, only an hour-long today), I decided to get even more crafty with her and we made some cute, hand-painted elephants on a string that I saw a few months ago over here.

The result was a fun new piece of artwork to add to her room.

It was a fun day and I have to say that I’m glad it finally snowed around here.

My two year old is so utterly dependent on routine that I am currently writing you pent up in her room waiting for her to fall asleep. No, this isn’t the norm around here and, no, I’m not happy about it. What happened is this. She should be in daycare right now, but because I live in the South and because the South freaks out at the mere thought of snow, we got let out of the office at noon today. That part makes me happy, but because I had to pick Claire up 4 hours early from daycare, her nap schedule is screwed up. Majortime. She’s been in her crib for an hour now and she won’t stop singing and jumping up and down. So I finally decided to come in here with my laptop and just sit here ignoring her until she falls asleep. So far, it’s succeeded in calming her down: she’s no longer standing and jumping; she’s lying on her back taking her socks on and off, turning to make sure I’m still here every now and then, and softly whispering to herself.

Oh, the things we parents do!

What things have you done that you said you’d never do just for some peace and quiet?

I took a sick day today, not because I’m sick, but because I was traumatized by an accident this morning. It involved my beautiful child’s face and the tile floor. Yes, it’s as painful as it sounds. I sat her on the kitchen counter, as I do a lot since she still demands to be picked “up, up!” while I’m making breakfast. She’s too heavy to carry around on my hip like the old days, so I sat her down while I went a few feet away to get ice from the freezer door. You can guess what happened. Her fleece pajamas were slick and she fell off the counter in an instant, face-planting onto the tile floor. I threw my water bottle and was there in a nano second, but it was too late. I scooped her up in my arms and was crying and wailing before she was. She instantly had a bloody nose, bloody teeth, and a bloody lip that puffed up making her mouth look crooked. We iced, hugged, wiped, and paged the pediatrician to see if a trip to the ER was needed. Thankfully, it was a doctor I know and she also is a mom. She said something similar recently happened with her 2 1/2 year old and it sounded like Claire would be okay and that she did not injure her head. We need to watch her for any loose teeth (the risk is choking on them, not losing them since they are baby teeth). She seems fine, is eating normally (even a bit of apple this afternoon), but she looks a mess with a fat lip.

It was quite scary for us all. I don’t do well with my child getting hurt – I feel too much emotion, I shake and cry.

Huz and I just watched a powerful episode of Friday Night Lights last night – one that dealt with parenting: it showed both really good ways to do it (the Taylor’s having the sex talk with Julie which was full of love, not anger) and bad ways to do it (the McCoy father pushing too hard and then getting violent with J.D. in the parking lot). I just hope I can parent the good way – the way that is loving, supportive, and accepting – and that all of these powerful emotions that caused me to take a sick day because my kid got a fat lip lead up to that kind of parenting. I think Claire is in good hands, so long as we never let her sit on the kitchen counter again!

I’ve decided to skip church this morning (heathen, I know). Instead, I’m staying home and making three freezable meals for my vegan + meat toddler (she’s allergic to egg and dairy, in case you forgot). This means we eat separately, which means time to cook is at a premium around here.

This also coincides nicely with my resolution to help cook more at home. Poor Huz has been doing the majority of the cooking for 2 years now. Sorry, babe!

I’ve decided to try these recipes out (modifying them to be egg- and dairy-free, of course): chicken pot pies, sausage and bean casserole, and turkey burgers. That should last a few weeks and then I’ll cook and freeze again.

I woke up rather depressed – mostly, I think, because last night we babysat for some friends and when the 3 month old screamed and cried for 45 minutes I felt unnerved and inept. Huz was a natural with her, however, and held and rocked her the entire time. I guess I felt unmotherly and frustrated that I felt I should be a natural. Talk about sexism! Why do we expect our gender to dictate our feelings and responses to the world? Just because I’m a woman (and a mother) doesn’t mean that I’m ready for another (and I’m not entirely sure I’m even a good mother – my 2 year old drives me nuts sometimes!). I think that’s what’s bothering me the most – I don’t know if I want another child and that makes me sad and guilty – I feel like I’d let Huz down, not to mention the grandparents, as well as Claire who could use the companionship. I feel guilty that I don’t think I can do another baby and toddler. This shit is tough! How on earth do you do it again!?

At least I’m trying. I’m going to make my child some nutritious food today. That’s good mothering, right? Right?

Huz and I are relatively new Joss Whedon fans. We have faithfully watched Dollhouse* over the last year and are amazed by the philosophical and ethical themes that a sci-fi television show can have, if done right. Of course the world doesn’t seem to appreciate the intricacies of selfhood, desire, and the fine line of morality within the context of trafficking human bodies, so the show is being canceled. I hate FOX. If So You Think You Can Dance was on any other channel, I’d boycott. Anyway, since we’ve come to appreciate his work (Huz also watched Firefly which I didn’t like), we started watching (cringe, I know) Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It sounded so cheesy at first and I resisted watching it, but we’ve really come to enjoy it. It’s silly and sometimes dumb, but the characters are well developed and there is a lot to glean from them – from gender roles to teenage angst to accepting fate and making your own way in the world. The last episode we watched was rather dumb; it entailed the high school swim team taking steroids and turning into swamp creatures of some kind.

*Huz recently started writing guest posts about Dollhouse on a friend’s tv blog. Check it out.

I came home yesterday afternoon and experienced a similar infestation, just not swamp creatures. Some how our kitchen had been taken over by bugs – there were ants on the kitchen counter and on the window sill, there were two lady bugs repeatedly crashing their hard bodies into the kitchen light (click, click, click), and then there was a big black spider crawling on the kitchen ceiling. I handled the ants alright, joyfully smashing them with a paper towel, then I ran out to the garage and got some bug killer to spray on the outside of the window where it looked like they were coming in. The lady bugs were more annoying than scary, but the big black spider on the ceiling? By that time I had had enough with insects in my house and spiders kind of creep me out. I screamed like a girl (but I AM a girl!) but Huz wouldn’t save me because he was busy cooking dinner. So I stuck it out, got the vacuum cleaner out and sucked it into oblivion. I hope I can come home tonight to a swamp creature-free kitchen!

In other, more crafty, news, I decided to try my hand at knitting something other than a scarf this weekend. It had been at least a year since I had knit anything, so after a few quick YouTube tutorials (I seriously forgot how to cast on using just one needle), I was on my way. And I made this. In just two evenings. I’m so very proud of myself, especially because when I presented it to Claire this morning she immediately put it on. Yeah! I can knit something 3D! I see matching mittens in her future.

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Last night’s fright fits in well with today’s date.

After a normal day of work for me, writing for Huz, and daycare for Claire, we came home and did the usual eating, bathing, putting Claire to bed routine. Huz graciously went out and bought me some fried chicken and him some pork shoulder from a local southern soul restaurant since neither of us felt like cooking. We ate while watching all of our Thursday night shows – Fast Forward, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock. We settled into bed around 11:00 and as soon as my head hit the pillow Claire started to cry. It had a different quality to it (yes, new parents, you really will start to hear that your child’s cries are different), so instead of giving her 10 minutes, I went in to check on her. I’m glad I did. Her face, hands, and blanket were covered in blood. Red, red blood. Claire’s blood. I have never seen her blood before and I don’t want to see it again. She got her first bloody nose and it looked like it was a lot and had been bleeding for a while. Trying to stay calm, we picked her up and quickly cleaned her and her bedding. The bleeding stopped, I sat cuddled in blankets with her, gave her some rice milk and put her back to bed. I couldn’t sleep until midnight. And then she cried again at 4:00a.m. with another bloody nose.

My poor baby. We don’t know if it’s because of the weather changing and the forced air heat blowing and drying her out, or if she picked her nose in her sleep….ideas? How to fix it? I hate her humidifier because it gets the hard woods all wet (even with towels) and makes her room feel like a swamp.

In other news, Huz is back from his 5 day trip to Montreal where he had a good conference AND a good job interview. Wish us luck as we wait to hear if he qualifies for a second interview. It would be amazing to live in a world class city in Quebec! We’d have to learn French and a new culture and our little girl would be bilingual. A.W.E.S.O.M.E. We are trying not to get excited, but it’s hard not to enjoy the idea of it all.

Remember that cancer grant I applied for a while back? Well, turns out they had a record number of applicants this year and, due to low contributions from donors, were only able to fund 10% of those applicants. While it isn’t the entire $4,000 that I owe, they did award me $500 to help with bills a bit. And I’m grateful. Especially considering that only 10% were helped. I’m glad I spent the time writing my essay reflecting on the cancer experience – even if I hadn’t won any money it was a good way for me to process my feelings about the disease and how it affected me.

I haven’t posted in a while, so I can tell you that the opening night of my first photo show was amazing. It was during Art Crawl, which brings hundreds out to see art in a heavy galleried part of downtown. There were tons of people, lots of free wine, lots of art vendors outside, traveling musicians, and a carnival kind of atmosphere. It was a great, vibrant part of Nashville I just discovered and I now want to have date night on the first Saturday of the month from now on so that I can participate in this atmosphere of fun, art-loving people! I had 20 or so medical students come to support me, as well as friends and church buddies. Even though Huz was away, I felt very supported and loved. I also sold one print! It was to a friend, but still, I sold a print! 🙂 The show goes for two more weekends so I hope that I get a chance to sell at least one more, but if not it’s okay. Having the opportunity to have some of my work hanging on a wall and seeing people come up to them and discuss them made me so fulfilled. Thank you, Nashville, for this experience! If we move away to Canada, or somewhere else, I hope that I can find such a welcoming, artistic niche like this little city has to offer.

Happy Friday the 13th everybody!

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