Tuesday, October 28, 2014


It's hard to place my finger on exactly what about her screams "kid" with no remnant of "baby" nor when this new maturity began. But somehow, she has grown up in the past month or so and I didn't notice. And now I have a big kid on my hands. A real big kid.

Olive is famously resistant to clothes and often takes them off. At 3.5, she has yet to ever dress herself or express any interest in dressing herself, but the other day as we were walking out the door, she grabbed a sweater. It was a confusing fall day forecasting sun in the early afternoon that never materialized. She was underdressed at school in the morning and commented to me then that I was warmer than her. So as we left the house later, she wordlessly tucked an extra layer under her arm and strode out the door.

She calls a bib a "boob" and she knows I know what she means but she still pauses afterwards like, "wait...that's not right", even though she can't remember what the word is.

She always always always picks me a bouquet whenever flowers are in reach. She bunches dead dandelions tightly in her fist. She delicately pulls the petals out of clover to suck on the sweet nectar at the base of each spore.

Just yesterday a bicyclist did something dangerous and she muttered under her breath, "bike lane, man."

There are several moments like these every day that wind me, and they seem to have appeared all at once. I'm not the only one who's noticed. Friends and babysitters who haven't sen her in a couple weeks are often saying, "wow, you're...older."

While it is bittersweet to watch the baby disappear, I feel, for the first time, really happy about the distance between my two kids. She seems so ready to have me busy with a baby now in a way she didn't even a couple months ago. I know it will be an adjustment but I'm relieved to see her developing her own independence that I hope will make the transition easier.

Blogger Tricks

Monday, October 27, 2014

on domesticity

Yesterday I plopped my pregnant bum down on a stool and scrubbed the inside of my oven for 2 hours. I am embarrassed to say I have never cleaned my oven before. What's worse is that this wasn't some virtuous change-of-season house cleaning. I forgot about some tofu broiling in the oven during Frida's second vet appointment of the day and came home to smoke.

So, the oven had to be cleaned, and well.

For a long time I have felt resentful of two things: the fact that the house needs to be cleaned and how much time it takes and the fact that I do it alone. But it was surprisingly gratifying to really get the oven clean and to do all the various other tasks that needed doing (washing curtains and wiping down walls, sweeping and mopping and laundry). At the end I felt tired and very much finished with the job but also glad it was done and without anger over the "loss" of my day.

Which is where Amelia comes in.

As a new baby/birthday/seasonal gift, Amelia offered me a few hours to look around the house and help me organize/rearrange things. Now, let's get one thing straight. This is not a small deal. When one is busy outside the house, one might overlook the fact that the laundry basket is difficult to get to behind the closet door for months or even years, but when one is home a lot, as I am, and using things in the house (and, perhaps, getting ready to bring a new baby with all their assorted accoutrements into the limited remaining space), some intentional spacial organizing is essential. Really.

Amelia came and listened to me ramble about all the ways the house doesn't work for me. The rooms are shaped weirdly for furniture, it's small, there is very little light in the winter and two of the rooms don't have overhead light fixtures, Spartacus is constantly bumping into things, etc. Then she gave me a bunch of ideas and even helped me move furniture (and do some disgusting dusting - back of the television, anyone?) and we completely transformed the place. Seriously, it looks amazing.

What I loved about her input was that it had a generous scope. We didn't just talk about my dream living room and then try to move backwards into it, we talked about how we actually use the space and how the furniture could accommodate us and all of the things we need to get done as a family. She recommended using only the things we already had to solve problem areas, rather than looking to buy a bunch of new furniture. And, she took into account my particular and weird husband. He needs to have a full bar within arms reach of a certain chair? Let's figure out how to put it there.

She was like a magical mediator between the space, our stuff, each other and our new family member - somehow taking all the pieces I couldn't quite fit together and building something I didn't even know was possible.

And here's the thing about when your house is working. It works. You save time, you feel less stressed, you enjoy cooking dinner, you're nicer to your kids, you look forward to coming home. You want to clean the oven. For the first time in years, I feel a new sense of looking-forward-ness to my space and that is so valuable to me.

So, I'm just here to say that if you are feeling frustrated/stuck/overwhelmed/pissed about your house/office/garage/etc., you should call Amelia. And no middle class guilt about spending the money because it's so worth it. It's cheaper than a _______ (maid, therapist, move to a new house, etc.)

(She's coming back! Photos to come!)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

pumpkins, etc. (or not, as the case may be)

We had Olive's cousins staying over a couple weekends ago and so we did lots of family things - the zoo for a big Halloween themed party and a pumpkin patch with pony rides and stuff. S and I remarked how unlike us it all is. Before kids we never ever would have visited a pumpkin patch. We saw childless couples there and slow clapped in our heads. How festive! What gumption! They don't even have little people to entertain!

Since the cousins live east and we were heading to their house to drop them off after the farm, we only looked at places between here and there. There are several lovely places up north, but they weren't the right direction. We narrowed it down to Jubilee (homey and small) or Remlinger (fancy and huge). We picked Jubilee and thank goodness because S and I both forgot our wallets. He had $19 in his pocket.

So, no pumpkins to take home and no lunch. But we packed tons of snacks and had enough for 3 pony rides at $5 each. We walked around and saw all the animals and basked in the sunshine (mid 70's in mid-October? Amazing.) And of course the kids were just happy to be together.

I'm so thankful for the little people in my life who get me excited about Halloween and Thanksgiving and lots of other things I never used to care about. And I highly recommend rustic, friendly Jubilee Farms with the $5 pony rides.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


// my mom would love this

// heavier babies end up doing better in school (and the myth of "full term" starting at 37 weeks) - the implications of this study are so important

// interview questions for potential babysitters 

// new parents who used to cook on life in the kitchen after kids

// mothering through the darkness: a writing contest (near and dear to my personal and professional heart)

// my suggestion for using up some extra chicken

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

23 weeks

I really cannot believe those cheeks...

Craving: apples and processed meat (bacon, salami, sausage). mmm, salt.

This baby is really trying to kill me. I am still sick. Last week I threw up 3 times, once on the floor. the thing about being a grown up who doesn't quite make it to the bathroom is that afterward you have to clean up after yourself. My mantra is: just get it done. I know how long it lasts and I just have to get to the end. And while the bad days are bad, in general, it's much better.

BUT!!!!! S and I went to breakfast this week and when the server came around he looked at him to ask about coffee but not at me. S said yes and he brought us two. (I wouldn't have ordered any.) But it just sat there, getting cold, and I figured, what the hell, I'll give it a try. I drank maybe 1/2 a cup, but it stayed down! And man, when you haven't had coffee in almost 6 months and then you do? I felt like superwoman. I was ready to hulk style break out of my shirt and lift a car off an infant. Coffee. The stuff of life, I'm telling you.

I wake up every morning at 4am, on the nose. Sometimes I can go back to sleep, sometimes I can't. I have a feeling this may be a reliable nursing time.

Boy, this baby is different. He's moving around: flipping, kicking, hiccuping, moving all the time. I used to feel Olive most mornings and every evening and not a ton in between (she stayed asleep all day in the same way once she was born). I feel this baby squirm and wiggle constantly, even when I am walking around.

Weight gain: 22 pounds. Whoop, there it is! It doesn't seem right that I gained 6 pounds in 3.5 weeks, but I did, so. My feet are pretty swollen, so I'm gonna give a little to water weight. I guess? (insert grimace emoji here) I'm also going to make a note to myself about the fact that I can eat now, and that is a win even if it means I'm getting bigger.

Just get it done, right?