Monthly Archives: August 2010

There Are No Bugs Left In Illinois…

…because they are all dead, smashed against my windshield.

This past weekend, I took Lorelei on a little adventure.  Brian was away for the weekend, getting poked with needles (he is a part-time lab rat) and I had an open invitation to go visit my (now) in real life friend, AndreAnna in Iowa.  The timing worked out extra perfectly – although not for a perfect reason – because her husband had to fly back to New Jersey to try to fix up their house for sale.

So.

As, you may know, I have a wee bit of an anxiety problem.  And also a tendency to injure myself in really stupid ways.  Friday morning, as I was getting into the shower, I must have put my foot down funny because there was a sudden, stabbing pain that shot from my heel all the way up the back of my leg to my knee.  I could not put any weight on my foot at all for most of the morning.  I was in high stress mode already because I knew that Brian would be gone no matter what I ended up doing. Well, the thought of being alone in the apartment for two days when my foot hurt as much as it did made the decision for me.  It was my non-drivin’ foot and, by Friday evening, it was well enough to hobble around on without wanting to scream in pain so I was pretty convinced that I was going.

But then I thought about ALL.  THE.  STUFF. I.  HAD. TO. DO!!! and I started freaking out.  I was going to be driving four hours ALONE with a baby.  I had to pack enough diapers to get me through two days.  I had to pack clothes for her and clothes for me and toys and my medication and (OH. EM.  GEE) I had just started my period (you’re welcome) so there was that to deal with.  Add to that her reluctance to go to sleep and I was a tightly wound ball of nerves.  But, since insomnia is still getting the better of me and I couldn’t fall asleep, I had plenty of time to do the packing so I was almost totally ready to go by morning.

Lorelei mostly cooperated by only waking up once (at 2 am) and then waking up early but not too early so I could get us loaded into the car and on the road before 8.

The trip looked like this:

Illinois is possibly the most boring state to drive through.  Which probably explains why Lorelei slept almost the entire trip up there.  And then I got lost once I got to the Quad Cities because Google Maps sucks hairy balls and give me shitty directions.  But I found it.  Honestly, it wasn’t the most exciting day ever, it was the same thing I probably would have done at home, except I got to be with a friend and Lorelei got to play with other kids.

And, my two favorite shots from the weekend (not taken by me because I only brought my dinky little camera):

Lorelei and Charlotte

Rock star

Oh, did I mention that Lorelei didn’t take a nap.  Of course, she slept in the car, but she didn’t nap. We headed back towards the Lou Saturday night and boy was she cranky.  She slept for the first hour or so and then she went into full on fussy.  I had always planned on stopping for the night somewhere about halfway home.  I know my limits.

So, after missing several exits with hotels in Peoria, I finally spotted the shining light of a Holiday Inn Express in East Peoria.  Lorelei was crying but glad that I had finally gotten her out of her car seat and then…

MY CREDIT CARD WAS DECLINED.

The card that I had just put money on specifically so that I would have somewhere to spend the night just in case.  What followed was an hour of trying to coordinate with Brian, booking a room on-line with his card, having them manual force my card through (why they couldn’t do that in the first place is beyond me, but whatever) so by the time I finally got us up to the room I was stressed out.  Which meant Lorelei was stressed out which meant that she spent half an hour screaming at the top of her lungs and refusing to be put in her Pack-n-Play.

There is a silver lining, however.  She not only slept really well, but I was able to shush her back to sleep when she woke up in the middle of the night and she slept until almost nine!  At the risk of jinxing it, she has been much better about sleeping the last couple nights as well.

So, to wrap up what I’m sure is becoming a really boring recap of my weekend, we drove back on Sunday.  She was not nearly as well behaved and people do not know how to drive in construction zones.  Oh yes.  There was construction on every single interstate between St Louis and the Quad Cities.  And of course, that was the one of three possible routes that I picked.  I win.

And also I killed a lot of bugs.  And can someone please come wash my car for me?  Because, ew.

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A Day

Nothing monumental is going on around here.  I mean, not really.  Lots of things are going on but they are little things:

  • Yesterday I spent the entire day wearing two different colored flip-flops.  How I manage to get two shoes out that were for two different feet and two different colors is a mystery.  Let’s just say, dark closet plus holding a baby plus trying to drag things out with my toes does not equal a matching set of shoes.
  • I got line jumped at Target.  I don’t know how it works other places, but at this Target you form one long line in the Express lane and as a register is open they call the next person.  Well, I guess my staring off and not at the cashiers meant that the two bitch teeny boppers behind me thought it was okay to just go around me.  WHAT?!?!  If I hadn’t been a) kind of out of it and b) helped by another cashier 10 seconds later, I might have threatened to cut a bitch.
  • I fit in size 10 pants again!  Drawback to that being that now I need to buy new pants because all the ones I own are hanging off my butt.  Alas, it shall have to wait.
  • I got Mockingjay today.  Oh boy, I have to restrain myself from skipping ahead to the end.  I’m just so damn impatient and I don’t get a lot of time to read so it might be DAYS before I find out how the series ends.  WAH WAH WAH.
  • My friend Rory was here yesterday.  I had bison nachos (bison=yum, feeling after eating nachos=yuck).  Lorelei apparently has entered the stage of being afraid of strangers and would not let me hand her off to Rory, hence the flip flop debacle.  Eventually, she got over it but I kind of miss her being so trusting.

Sign

I don’t like to talk about it a lot.  I hide it and gloss over it.  I don’t want people to know.  It’s hard to even write about it here because so many family members read this and I don’t want them to worry.

I’m fine.

Sometimes.  Maybe.

Sometimes I am not fine, though.  And it sucks.  It sucks a lot.  Even the word suck seems like a completely inadequate description of how I feel.

There are mornings when I don’t want to get out of bed.  Mornings when I feel that every single ache is a stabbing pain.  I feel dizzy and shaky and sick.  But I get up.  I take my pills, I make my breakfast.  I play with Lorelei and we watch Yo Gabba Gabba.  I go grocery shopping, I bake and cook.  Sometimes we go to the park.  Sometimes I curl up in the rocking chair in her room and read while she crawls around playing with her rings or her stuffed animals or her books.

Sometimes, in the afternoons, when Lorelei doesn’t want to take a nap – when I spend 20 minutes holding her and rocking her until she falls asleep only to have her wake up the second I put her down in the crib – I break.  I call Brian and I bitch at him.  I complain about stupid shit that doesn’t matter.  I get mad at him and hang up for no real reason.

But I keep going.  I don’t succumb.  I find a way to make it through the day, even if it’s just marking time until the end of the work day when I can hand the daughter off for a precious few minutes of just me time.  I feel guilty about it.  I love Lorelei more than anything in the whole entire world and I would do anything for her.  But I’m so exhausted.  I’m tired of the two hour increments of sleep at night.  I’m tired of falling asleep during her (rarely does it actually happen) nap time only to have her wake up mere minutes later.  I don’t want to be unhappy and stressed all the time because I know she can sense it.  I know that when I’m tightly wound it upsets her.

But – and here’s where the deep breath comes – one time I stood alone in the kitchen in the darkness and I pulled one of the knives out of the block and put the edge against my wrist.  I didn’t break the skin.  I couldn’t do it.  But I did stand there crying in the blackest hour of the morning.  Three am, insomnia.  I know I’m stronger than that.  I know that I wouldn’t go through with it, even after the hardest day.  I couldn’t do that to Lorelei.  I couldn’t do that to Brian or my family or my friends.

It’s been better recently.  I wouldn’t say it’s been perfect but I have managed to go the majority of a week without feeling the crushing weight of sadness.

I embraced the part of me that likes to be spontaneous and drove to Hannibal.  The daughter and I sat in a coffee shop where she was (naturally) cooed over by little old ladies on their senior citizens bus around America tour (or something like that).  We walked around the quaint little downtown and saw Mark Twain’s childhood home.  We went down to the river and I saw this sign:

Dear sign, I will try to remember that.  I think, for now at least, I have stepped back away from the edge but just in case I have you to remind me.

TP

Let me start off by telling you about my cats.  I love them to death.  I do!  Sometimes they drive me completely insane with their neediness.  They seem to think that curling up to sleep around my neck is a good idea.  Personally, I only think that is acceptable when the temperature is below freezing, not when it’s 100-degrees outside.  But I’m getting off topic…

My cats are big fans of eating things that are not food.  Plastic bags and tape being their two favorite snacks.  Grace (the really fat one) is the worst.  Any plastic bag – or really anything made out of plastic since she has tried to eat plastic wrappers before, too – is fair game for her.  But when she’s really pissed off, she goes straight for the toilet paper.

When we first got the cats, back when we lived in that crappy apartment in the Central West End with a kitchen the same size as the bathroom, we were their third owners and they were only a year old.  So, for the first few months, Grace was a nervous wreck all the time.  So our toilet paper rolls were under constant attack.  Which is why we tried to keep the door closed at all times.

Side Story: this apartment was really crappy.  It didn’t have central air and heat so there were radiators in every room which you had to turn on, ya know, when it was cold.  Except the one in the bathroom always smelled like burning so we never turned it on.  I took many many showers in a bathroom that was approximately the same temperature as the outside, aka freezing cold.  Oh and the insulation around the windows was non-existent.

Side Story #2: In an attempt to maintain toilet paper integrity, I always closed the bathroom door before I left for class.  Well, I must have been in a rush on this particular morning to catch the shuttle – because the driver was a bitch and even though I was very rarely late to the stop, every time I had to run (usually because she was early) she would bitch me out – so I locked Josephine in there one accident.  For the entire day.  I’m surprised she still likes me.

So.  I think Lorelei might be taking tips from Grace on how to annoy Mommy.  The other day, after getting out of the shower – yes, Lorelei hangs in the bathroom with me while I clean myself – this is what I found:

There might also have been a little bit of this:

Lorelei, however, played innocent:

How can you stay mad at that face?  Also, pictures of your daughter eating toilet paper as a baby will make excellent blackmail for when she’s dating.

I’m evil.

Joy

I dance around the nursery in my pajamas and sing along to the Beastie Boys and Cowboy Mouth (“Sabotage” and “Get Out of My Way,” respectively) while I shake my tush in full view of anyone who happened to be driving past the apartment.

I splash around in the pool while the husband carries the daughter through the water.  We lift her up and spin her through the air like an airplane.

At story time, although easily the youngest there, Lorelei is enchanted by the books and the songs.  She crawls around trying to grab a stuffed animal (or a book, or another kid’s shoes, etc).  She pulls a crayon from the basket and although she doesn’t entirely understand that she shouldn’t eat it, she waves it around like a baton and occasionally makes contact with the paper.

Some days are shit.  Some days I have to deal with cat hair balls.  Some days Lorelei has disgusting poops and, because she is Squirmy McSquirmyson, she drags her feet through the diaper trying to get away from me as I try to wrestle her and wipe her butt – one day she will be embarrassed that I wrote those words.  I will be so close to throwing in the towel and saying Fine.  Don’t wear a diaper.  Get pee and poop everywhere.  I’m tired of your histrionics.

But that awesome thing about babies is that, when they aren’t crying about APOCALYPTIC-LOSS-OF-THE-BINKY, they are full of joy.  Usually it is about the silliest little things.  Lorelei will laugh and clap her hands when I make funny faces at her.  She will find the handle of a screwdriver (just the handle, no sharp screwdrive-y bits) and will crawl around the apartment with it as if it is the greatest thing that has ever been invented.

I wish I could approach each day with that kind of attitude.  I am so frequently bogged down with anxiety over things that don’t matter that the little moments are lost.  But I am trying to do better and I have some pretty awesome inspiration:

Smells Like Home

Today was a big cooking day Chez Kirsten.  This morning I busted out a gluten-free bread recipe and gave it a whirl – not this recipe, but that’ll give you an idea.  Up until now, I’ve been reluctant to bake my own bread since it always seemed too complicated.  Yeast and kneading and rising OH MY!  This was approximately five minutes of prep and after 40 minutes of baking – voila! – fresh, homemade bread.  For dinner I roasted a chicken.  Nothing beats the smell of chicken and herbs and apples.

Tangent: Lorelei hates the sound of the KitchenAid.  Hates.  She also dislikes the sounds of the blender, coffee grinder and vacuum cleaner.  Also running water.  Whoever said that babies liked these noises has obviously never met my child.  Best way to distract her: Yo Gabba Gabba.  That’s right, I let the television babysit while I made bread.  Such a bad mother.

The scents of cooking always remind me of growing up.  My mother never really made anything fancy.  In fact, she thinks the recipes I make are “adventurous,” but she cooked almost everyday for us.  Whenever I have stew in the crock pot, I remember my mom getting up early to put everything together for dinner.  The smell of roast and onions drifting through the house before it was even lunch time.

One of the reasons I love having coffee in the morning – other than the necessary jolt of caffeine – is that our house always smelled of coffee on the weekends.  The sound of a fresh pot brewing is comforting in its familiarity.

For the longest time, Brian and I were a very eat eating out all the time couple.  I’m glad we aren’t anymore, I want Lorelei to grow up in a house that always smells of fresh food being cooked.  To me, it smells like love*

*Big cheese alert!

The Pratfalls of Learning to Stand

Sometimes learning to stand is difficult:

Note: No babies were injured during the filming of this video.

BlogWho?

As posts start to trickle in from around the blogosphere (god, I hate that word) about BlogHer – for those not in the know, big huge fancy blogging conference – this past weekend, I can’t help but be filled with a large dose of jealousy.  I have a problem with envy.  I’m working on it, but we live in a materialistic society and it seems like keeping up with the Joneses is a given.

I wanted to be there.  Not because I wanted to network or “build my brand” (puke) but because in the past year, when I have felt so isolated and alone, I have made a lot of connections with other really cool women through the amazing power of the internet.  I wanted to be able to go up to them and give them a hug.  I wanted to tell AndreAnna in person that I spent most of the last months of my pregnancy while I was laid up with my bad ankle reading all of her old entries and wishing that I lived closer to her because, damn she was the kind of person I wanted as a friend.  I wanted to tell The Bloggess that I almost snorted water from laughing at her posts.  I wanted to have drinks with Cass and Rougie.  I wanted to see Pocklock’s baby bump in person (is that weird).  I wanted to meet new people.

And it was in New York.  I have friends in New York.  Lots of friends who I never get to see because travel is expensive and travel with a baby seems impossible.

But, as I have to constantly remind myself, things work out for the best.  We had to move.  I wasn’t comfortable leaving the baby because I spent zero time worrying about pumping and having stockpiled breastmilk and getting her used to a bottle with any sort of regularity.  In reality, I probably would have spent the entire trip worrying and calling Brian every five seconds – or the opposite, not worrying and then feeling guilty about not worrying – and, therefore not enjoying myself.

Instead, I spent this weekend at home.  In my pajamas.  Hooked up to tinychat and connecting with a whole other group of cool chicks through the power of blogher@home.  Lu and Jen hosted an awesome online party.  I was introduced to the magic that is Kim (whose voice I could listen to all day long).  We talked about inappropriate things and serious things.  I laughed so loudly that I was afraid I was going to wake up the baby.  I drank a large quantity (for me) of sweet tea bourbon and woke up seriously hungover.  It was great, and while I still wish I had made it to NYC, this was almost better.  When I was feeling shy and awkward, I could just read the chat and not join in instead of standing in a corner looking like an idiot.  And, unless someone wants to pay for me to go to San Diego (or we can work a family vacation into it somehow), I probably won’t be going next year.  And if so, you can bet I will be curled up in bed with a pitcher of booze and my laptop!

Nine Months

Dear Lorelei,

My tornado.  My hurricane.  My bundle of insane energy.  You leave destruction in your wake.  Papers are strewn upon the floor, books become an obstacle course.  Your new favorite activity?  Taking the kitties water dish and dumping it out across the carpet.

Just last week you finally (FINALLY!) got your first teeth.  After ages of acting like you were teething – drooling and chewing on everything and screaming if I dared to touch your gums – two little nubs have poked through.

From a baby girl who could barely manage a real crawl a month ago, you are standing and trying to walk already.  Every opportunity you get, you pull yourself up and walk your little feet.  You inch along the edge of the coffee table.  I’m so proud of you.  It seems like its been years since you were just a tiny bundle who would lay very still in my arms with only your arms and legs waving.  Nine months have brought so many changes already.  I will always want time to slow down, but I’m in awe of all the things you’ve accomplished already.

Love you always,

Your Mother

Front Porch

In the evening, another hot St Louis summer day gone by, we sat on our porch and enjoyed the cool breeze.  The sun was sinking down and the heat had abated a little.  Our little family of three.

The maple trees which grow big and tall in front of our building had dropped a number of seed pods on our porch.  Little helicopters to be discovered by small hands.  Brian would gather a handful of them and throw them in the air.  They would come back down to earth, spinning.  Lorelei was fascinated and delighted by this and even the cats got in on the action:

We are all enjoying the peace and quiet that has come from our move out of the city.  It didn’t happen in the best way, but it has turned out better than we could have hoped for.