Monthly Archives: September 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I bring you five things I’m thankful for.

1. My Cashier at Sappington Farmer’s Market
Thanks for remembering me.  Thanks for saying hi to Lorelei and tickling her feet.  Thanks for making her smile because that makes me smile

2. My Nikon D40
You aren’t the fanciest camera but you always get the shot I want.  Thanks for making me feel like I might actually know what I’m doing and for capturing some of my favorite moments so I can always look back and remember the good times:

3. Old Navy
Thanks for being cheap enough that I can buy clothes that actually fit now that I’ve lost 20 pounds.  Thanks for being cute enough that I don’t feel like a slob when I wear them.

4. Apple Cider
You remind me of the gorgeous weather on that first fall weekend.  You remind me of the perfect day we spent at the farm.  You make me look forward to cool days, sweaters and pies.

5. Lorelei’s Tooth
Thanks for being the reason why she cries.  Not because I like that she cries but I like knowing that it will pass.

What are you thankful for today?

Outsider

Despite the fact that an infant (OH.EM.GEE. almost a toddler!) makes it extremely difficult to be anywhere on time, I’m still early. Even though I wrestled with her to get her diaper changed.  Even though she crawled away from me as I tried to slip her pants on.  Even though she screamed as I tried to bundle her into a hoodie – it was a little chilly this morning.  Once we’re in the car, however, she babbles happily at her socked feet – no shoes today – and watches the world speed by.  We pull up to the bookstore a full fifteen minutes before story time is set to begin and I park easily in a space right near the front door.  I hoist my purple plaid bag – a change from the bulky brown diaper bag I usually carry – onto my shoulder and unbuckle Lorelei from her car seat.  She rides in my arms, sitting easily on my hip.  She turns her head excitedly and surveys the change in her surroundings while her hands are busily trying to pull my necklace off.

Even though I had promised myself I was not going to get a coffee – I’ve been trying to limit this treat – I make my way back to the cafe and order the usual.  Iced caramel macchiato.  Lorelei tries to pull the straw out but somehow I manage to hold the beverage out of her reach.  I set her down in the kid’s area and wave hello to Franny*, a little girl of about 2 who adores Lorelei.  The two girls greet one another.  Well, Franny says “Hi, baby!” while Lorelei attempts to pull the decorations off of her shoes.  Her mother is polite and mentions her daughter had been asking if the baby was going to be there today.  Thus ends our exchange as I settle down on the floor to keep an eye on the ever-more-mobile baby girl.

Others filter in.  Everyone seems to know everyone else and although they don’t ignore me, interaction is minimal.  I feel uncomfortable.  Lorelei is curious and social.  She goes up to the other kids and although she will most frequently just touch them or point at them, at least she’s trying to say hello.  I could try, too.  But I don’t.

I feel like I did on the first day of high school.  I didn’t go to the same middle school as everyone else.  They all knew one another and everyone already had someone to share a locker with.  I shared one with my older brother.  Groups already had formed in the cafeteria while I – already the nerdy outsider – didn’t fit in anywhere.  Again, I shared with my brother.  His friends were my friends.  I don’t know how many of them liked me for me or just because I was Clayton’s kid sister.  Over time I made a few friends but I never really fit in.

I don’t want to get hurt again.  I hold back from trying to form friendships with these other mothers because I’m afraid.  I’m afraid that they might get to know me and not like me.  Worse than that, I’m afraid that they won’t tell me that they’ve decided they don’t like me.  One day, I will show up at story time and even though I thought these people were my friends they will all talk to each other and, despite my best efforts, will ignore me.  Then what will I do?  Lorelei has so much fun going to the bookstore, I couldn’t stop going just because I didn’t feel comfortable anymore.  I would have to keep going and fight the urge to cry because I was on the inside for a brief moment but now I’m on the outside again.

All of this rushed through my mind in those few brief minutes before story time began in earnest.  Then we started singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Wheels on the Bus” and I saw Lorelei light up and laugh like crazy.  She is so incredibly happy.  She hasn’t yet learned what it’s like to be hurt by a friend.  So, after story time, I made sure that I said goodbye to Franny and her mom.  I’ll see them again next week and maybe we’ll talk a little more.  Maybe this time will be different.  Maybe this mother is just as nervous and awkward as I am.  Maybe I will make a new friend and I won’t go through day after day feeling all alone.

Eventually, I have to take a step inside.

*Name changed for privacy

Apple Picking

Just a short drive away from St Louis is Eckert’s farm in Millstadt, Illinois.  Flying down Highway 163, one can almost forget they just came from a major city.  The type of businesses one usually associates with “the sticks” line the road – used car lots with names like “Pay Later” and auto service centers selling used tires.  There might have been a dilapidated sandwich shop that had not yet open for the day’s business as well.  And once you make the turn – assuming you don’t miss the sign, Brian – there is nothing but fields on either side of you.  “I want to live on a farm someday,” I said at least once.

I can’t honestly remember if I’ve ever been apple picking before.  Certainly, I’ve never been as an adult; but had I ever gone when I was little?  I’m sure there were many opportunities for me to do so – there was even a pick-your own farm right near my dad’s work – but did I ever go?  I don’t think so.  We had an apple tree in our yard, there was a plum tree in the field by the storage unit, we had strawberries and blueberries and blackberries growing either in our yard or nearby, so why would we ever need to go to a “real farm.”  And despite the fact that I’ve lived in St Louis (off and on) for the last ten years where Eckert’s is an autumn tradition, I’ve never been.  This past weekend, since fall decided to make a bit of an appearance, it was time to rectify this.

There were trucks with hay bales and “souped-up” tractors to pretend to ride on.  Also, a “Jack-o-Lobber” which is a pumpkin cannon.  It’s as awesome as it sounds.

Mountains of pumpkins dominated the center of the main pathway.  If you continued down past the country store and the food stands, there was a petting zoo.

That camel on the left bit me.  Yes.  I was bitten by a goddamn camel!  Almost every time I told someone about the camel biting, they did not believe me.  That camel was a real jerk though.

A hay ride cart – pulled by a nice John Deere tractor – transported us away from the “Fun” Farm and into the orchard.  Despite the screaming children running wild among the trees, it was very peaceful.  Brian and I wandered away from the big crowds and picked some Jonathan apples (soon I will make them into a pie).

We also scored some really delicious golden apples.  It was a really wonderful fall day and I hope we get to turn it into a family tradition.  A few more of my favorite shots from the day:

Nap, Interrupted

Since her morning nap was rudely interrupted by the groundskeepers running the leaf blowers – seriously, don’t they know that it must be ABSOLUTELY QUIET in order for her to sleep – and her afternoon nap is unlikely to happen today, let us all revel in the cuteness that is a sleeping baby.

Especially when that sleeping baby is snuggled up on daddy’s shoulder.  This picture was taken last weekend during our failed attempt at visiting the Jewel Box and, as per usual, she had fallen asleep in the car on the way there and then insisted on staying asleep.

Insomniac (Revisited Again)

I’ve already covered Lorelei’s sleeping issues here and here if you need a quick refresher.

About a month ago, the two of us went on a road trip to Iowa which included an overnight stay in Peoria on the way home.  It was a real turning point when it came to her sleeping through the night.  She spent about 45 minutes screaming – it was late and she was tired – but she only woke up once during the night and it was really easy to put her back to sleep.  After we returned home, the good sleeping continued.

I have to admit that I had gotten used to it.  I could put her down for the night without having to rock her completely asleep.  She would whine for a few minutes, but usually she would put herself to sleep rather quickly.  And then she would sleep for eight straight hours.  Once more with feeling: EIGHT STRAIGHT HOURS!  Around four in the morning, she would wake up and realize that she had slept EIGHT! STRAIGHT! HOURS! and was therefore full of pee and very hungry.  I could deal with this.  Four in the morning is not so bad when you are talking to someone who used to leave for work that early.  And joy of joys, she would go back to sleep for another three or four hours.  Meaning I got to sleep for another three or four hours.

In the last week, however, she has added a midnight scream fest to our evenings.  Look, I’ve spent almost a year without a full night’s sleep so for the most part it is no big deal that she wants to wake up twice (HAHAHAHA!  Not really) but for the love of Pete, why now?

I was spoiled.  I could go to bed around ten and not have to worry about waking up for six hours.  Now, I can’t sleep.

I have been – and probably always will be – an insomniac.  What’s keeping me awake these days is the knowledge that I will likely have to wake up as soon as I fall asleep.  I don’t mind waking up in the middle of the night (really!) but if I had just fallen asleep?  It is torture.  I feel like I can’t move and the thought of walking all the way to the nursery is painful.  Brian is great, he’s the first to go in at night and make sure she has a dry diaper and sometimes he’ll try to get her to go back to sleep.  These days, it doesn’t work.  She wants mommy.  I know the days of her wanting her mommy (and only her mommy) are probably limited so I’m trying to not get upset by this.

I’m hoping that she is going through a growth spurt so that’s why she’s so hungry.  I’m hoping that the midnight screaming might have something to do with the top tooth that looks like is starting to poke through.  I’m begging for things to go back to the way they were just a week ago because I am so tired.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to hook up my caffeine IV if I’m ever going to make it through the day.

Alternate Plan

All week I have battling what I’m going to refer to as “THE SINUS INFECTION OF DOOM,” which has made me really cranky and also has made me not want to leave the apartment.  And also eat anything I can shove into my pie hole (but that’s neither here nor there).  So, last night I had to cancel my plans to go to the baseball game which was really for the best since large crowds would probably make me want to stab sharp objects into my eyes.

Today, I had planned on laying around the apartment and recuperating since, for the first time in a month, we had no plans and Brian was actually going to be home.  But alas, taking a “mommy sick day,” meant being away from Brian and I don’t know about you, but I like being with my significant other.  So, I took a deep breath and decided I would go to the Jewel Box with the husband and daughter.

Best laid plans and all…It was closed!  And the balloon race was also this weekend.  Let me tell you, any event in Forest Park brings out some truly terrible characters.  Like the parent who was with their kid (boy? girl?) who was pants-less and peeing out in the middle of the field.  Or the group of people who instead of walking on the other side of the barriers which were put up for the specific purpose of protecting pedestrians from automobiles insisted on walking very slowly RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR CAR!  No, I get it, you’re a pedestrian you have right of way, yadda yadda yadda, but please if there is somewhere partitioned off for you to walk please don’t be so self-involved that you don’t use it.

Ahem.  Anyway, pictures:

The Jewel Box (closed for “maintenance”)

Lorelei and Brian and part of the war memorial (aka giant sun-dial thing)

My foot (I’m being all arty and shit)

Riding on daddy’s shoulders

Boxes: Best toy ever?

Waiting

I spend a lot of my time waiting.

I wait for Brian to get home from work (or class, or being out of town).

I wait for bed time.

I wait for nap time.

I wait for the laundry to be done.  For the dishwasher to finish running.

I wait for bread to bake and dinner to cook.

I’m tired of waiting.

I want to do.

I’m tired of being tied to someone else’s schedule all the time.  Be it Lorelei’s or Brian’s.

I want to just be me sometimes.  I want to sleep as late as I want.  I want to go to the movies or out for a drink and not have to worry about getting home at a certain time.

I will still wait though.

I am lucky to have a perfect daughter.  I like being with her, even if it means I don’t leave the house most days.

I am lucky to have a husband who works so hard (and so much) so that I get to stay home.

I am lucky that I got to make this choice.

So, I wait.

Mystery

Do you ever miss the way things were when you first start dating someone?  Do you miss discovering new things about your partner every day?  Do you miss not knowing what they look like when they’ve woken up hungover or sick?

No matter what anyone says, there comes a point in every relationship when the mystery is completely gone.  Brian and I have been together for almost nine years (married almost three) and I think it’s safe to say that we have reached a level of comfort with each other that is scary.  Here are a few examples just from the last week, enjoy a close up view of our relationship.

We’re laying together in bed, after the baby is in her crib for the night but before we’re ready to go to sleep.  It’s something of a ritual for us to just be there talking nonsense for awhile (I have horrible insomnia).  As we were laughing about something probably really stupid, Brian lets out this massive fart

ASIDE: Anyone who says they aren’t comfortable farting in front of their partner is lying!  It is not possible to be in a relationship with someone for longer than a few months without needing to pass gas while in their presence and personally, I don’t enjoy the feeling of unreleased gas building up in my digestive system.  /END ASIDE

So, Brian farted I said, “What the hell is in your ass?  A brass band?”  It was a trumpet fart, for sure.

Confession: I actually enjoy being naked.  I don’t really like the way I look, but I just don’t like having clothes on all the time.  I am not, however, someone who would ever consider going out in public that way.  I have no problem with nudists, I just am not an exhibitionist in that way.  But, years of not living with parents or roommates – Brian doesn’t count – has left me with a rather difficult habit to break.  I’m not saying that whenever I am at home that I take all my clothes off, but it has been known to occur.  I think I’ll stop talking about the naked thing now…

So, last night, as I was getting changed for bed – yes, I do wear pajamas on occasion – I was having one of those ick I feel fat and disgusting moments.  We had just gotten back from the baseball game where I indulged in a beer and a massive reuben (with bread, so blech) and chips (double blech).  And I also hadn’t done laundry, so the only underwear I had clean were the too big granny-panties that I had bought when I was in my third trimester.  This whole situation begged the question:

“How can you still want to have sex with me when you see me wearing these panties?”

Yeah, yeah.  I know I have a self-confidence problem

Tonight, after Brian had come back from the laundry room – remember no underwear all I had to wear was granny panties and lace thongs (uncomfortable!) – he sat down on the couch.  At this point he was just wearing his t-shirt and boxer shirts

“You didn’t go to the laundry room with no pants on, did you?”

“No.”

“Because I didn’t notice and didn’t even think to check.”  Yes, I sometimes think Brian would go out in public without pants on, but only because he’s absent-minded sometimes and might forget.

“Do chicks like naked penises?”

“Um.  No.”

“I’ll keep my pants on.”

And this exchanged transpired right as was sitting down to write; I thought it was fitting.

Foreclosed.

There is no easy way to say this: today our house was sold at a foreclosure auction.

Our home of four years now belongs to someone else.  I don’t know who, but I hope it’s a young couple like we were who are buying their first house.  I hope that they are people who will love it for it’s quirks: the lack of doors, the gorgeous ten foot ceilings and stained glass windows.  I hope they have better luck with the roof – that it doesn’t leak and the joists don’t need to be replaced (again).  I hope they bring a baby home to that house and make it work.

Right now, however, the house is only occupied by spiders and the ghosts of our memories.  Moments of laughter and sadness echo in the empty rooms.

It’s over.  I’m relieved to finally be able to let it go and move on.  We have a nice apartment to live in now with doors and two (two!) toilets!  We have neighbors who are polite, who didn’t get pissy when we asked them to turn their bass down one night.  It will be awhile before we will be able to even think about moving again, let alone buying a new house, but I am determined to make the best of this crappy situation and give my daughter the best childhood she could possibly have.  And if we hadn’t let the house go, I don’t know that it would have been possible.

Ten Months

Dear Lorelei,

This morning, at precisely 2:24 am, you entered another month of life and I was there with you.  That’s right.  No matter what we do, you still wake up (at least) once in the middle of the night to eat.  You are getting better though, don’t think that you aren’t.  Bed time is not (as frequently) a struggle and more often than not you can put yourself back to sleep if you do wake up more than once in the middle of the night.  This is a vast improvement from the ways things were just a few weeks ago.

You and mommy went on your first road trip alone together this month.  You have always done well on long trips – remember that nine plus hour drive to Toledo? – but I admit that I was nervous to be doing it alone.  Previously, I would ride in the back with you to keep you entertained while your father drove and I was worried that I would spend four hours listening to you scream.  You, as usual, proved to be better than I could have hoped for.  On the drive there, you slept almost the entire time and, although you were a little bit more “chatty,” you did very well on the trip back.  You slept okay in a strange hotel room.  You met other kids and played with them without incident:

Mommy’s friend AndreAnna took that picture and – I think it’s safe to say – her kids liked you a lot.

Speaking of playing with other children, the two of us have been going to story time at the bookstore regularly.  I will admit that I have the selfish reason of it is an excuse for me to purchase coffee drinks which are bad for me, but I also know that you really love story time.  You clap along to the songs.  You are enthralled by the books.  At least, the first book.  Once your focus is used up for the day, you will find something to play with while the other kids are still listening to the book.  You drum on the metal shelves or try to crawl up the steps to the little stage.  Sometimes, you find another baby and the two of you hang out banging away on the shelves together or clapping your hands like lunatics.

I am really lucky to have you.  You are so full of joy and curiosity and energy.  Sometimes it is exhausting to keep up with you, but most of the time I just marvel at how amazing it is that I managed (along with your father) to make a baby that is as perfect as you are.

Love always,

Your Mother

The two of us at the zoo.  You were afraid of the gorilla statue

You and your daddy.