Sunday, January 31, 2010

A tip of the hat to Alice Bradley.

Today I read Alice Bradley's latest blog post about her fear of the negativity people post on her blog. Alice writes about her life, about her challenges with depression, shares funny light-hearted moments of raising her son... It is good stuff. It is her real life and I like reading about it. I don't know her but I can identify with her. She is a realistic person, better than a TV personality or a novel character. You really should check her out.

Today she talked about how she is sometimes scared to write things because of how people will react. About how mean people can sometimes be. About how intimidating it can be to click the publish button and fling your feelings into cyberspace to be met with cynicism or camaraderie or anything inbetween.

I've been writing in this little blog for almost a year now. Over 100 posts. And all of the public comments people have ever tried to make ahve been negative. I've gotten some negative comments about how I chose to deliver Oliver, about jokes I've made, about my parenting style... Different little things that really don't hurt anyone at all. I know I should have just allowed people to post those negative comments, but I just couldn't.

I clicked delete and they're gone.

Because I didn't want to look back at all of my posts someday and see the negative things that a stranger had to say about me. I know my blog is a public forum. I know everyone is free to read and think what they want, and that is OK. The publicness and nudity of the internet is what drew me to it. I want people to see me. I want to be real. It is so much harder to tell people about myself in real life. At least here I can hit "enter" and share my real self, even if I am sharing with millions of strangers. Hiding behind type is just so much easier than looking somebody in the eye and admitting that I have flaws and feelings. I feel such a release from posting on my blog that I want to purchase this space and keep it as mine forever.

I do receive encouragement from my friends and family. I receive kind emails from them when I've had a bad day, and that goes a long ways. I've received a couple of emails from people I don't know thanking me for things I've said, and that makes everything "worth it." So why do the tiny little public comments people have posted on these pages bother me so much? I don't know. They shouldn't. I won't let them bother me. Instead, I will be focusing on all of the kind things people say to me this year.

And as part of my Top Secret New Year's Resolution, I will no longer be deleting any comments I receive. I'm taking the filter off so anything people want to say about me can be said. Maybe it will also open the door for more positive comments, I don't know. It doesn't matter. All you lurkers who have been waiting in the wings to judge my every semicolon and misspelling... This is your chance.

Bring it on, internet. You don't scare me anymore.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Okay. New Year's post long overdue.

Oliver can play by himself now, if you count "play by himself" as being happy unattended for 15 or so minutes. I guess I was doing it all wrong before because I've adapted my alone-play-time techniques and he seems just peachy. Allow me to share the mistakes I made:

1. Giving him toys to play with. TOYS!? What makes you think I would want to be left with toys, you cruel mother! These fun, bright, colourful toys! What have I done to deserve this?!
2. Leaving him on a soft surface. Softness!? But how can I hit my head against the floor!?!
3. Leaving him on his back. Put me on my stomach! So I can immediately flop over to my back and THEN I can be happy. Because I did it by myself. I don't need your charity, woman.

How did I remedy these problems? Well. I give him a diaper to play with. A piece of printer paper. My empty water bottle. GREAT FUN TOYS! I put him on a blanket on our hard floor. Makes a great noise when his head crashes into the ground. I leave him on his stomach so he can roll over super fast and scare himself to death temporarily. Of course, how did I not see this before?

But anyway. I'm digressing. Oliver is playing with a diaper right now so I can write this post.

2009 I think deserves some recognition.

1. Barfed my guts out in the dorm hall and lived to tell about it. "They" say you forget all the bad things about pregnancy, labor, and delivery but I'm not buying it. I can still remember it like yesterday.
2. Found an apartment, furnished it, set up shop and made it into a good home for our family. It feels like home here.
3. Faithfully went to the doctor at least once a month. Even though I hated it. Even though probably40+ different people had to look at my vag. I call that bravery.
4. Pummeled the insurance company reps into submission so that I might have health insurance to cover Oliver's entry into the world. And by pummeled, I mean cried and begged with as much dignity as I could muster. It was hard and scary and I'm actually proud of what I did do, as embarrassing as it was.
5. Gained 50 pounds, and in a herculean effort expelled 10 + of those hot wriggling pounds out of my loins. I'm working on those other 40. That'll be in next year's summary.
6. Learned how to eat a salad without projectile vomiting or feeding it to a dog.
7. Got engaged to my favorite adult person.
8. Decided that I am okay with being a mom now, even though it makes me different. And I'm not half bad at it, either.
9. Breastfed even when my nipples were BURNING AND DYING AND OMG JUST ABOUT FALLING OFF.
10. Traveled with a 3 month old infant on an airplane on Christmas Day and did not get mad once.
11. Decided to really let go of my "friends" who weren't supportive of me and Oliver. It was hard to do but I feel better for it.

I got the most awesome son ever in the world. He smiles and laughs and it makes me feel so happy. I've always been terrified of calling strangers over the phone, but I've done it so many times for him that I think I'm over that now. I'm able to be a little silly-er because sometimes making him happy means doing a stupid little dance at a Target check out. I'm better since he's gotten here, and that makes me happier.

This is the first year in a long time that I've made a New Year's resolution. But I'm not going to tell you what it is.

Belated Happy New Year's, Internet.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We get things done around here. Sort of.

Since the getting-back-from-Florida sleep nightmare we've settled into a little more OK sleep routine around here. Oliver goes to bed at 11, gets up at like anywhere from 8-9, eats a little breakfast, and goes back to sleep for another 2-3 hours.

Today Oliver went down after his morning feedings with no problems, until I got back into bed and heard him grunting over the monitor.

My first reaction to whenever I hear him making noises over the monitor?

Crap. I have to get out of bed again.

But then his grunts never turned into cries, and I heard a few farts come out so I thought.. Well, good. He had gas. He's better now. He'll sleep.

And sleep he did, for about an hour. I thought.. Well. I guess he wasn't tired. But NOPE! Wrong-O. He actually just didn't want to sit in his own feces any longer. The noises I heard over the monitor were poop noises. Rookie mistake on my part.

I scooped him up and immediately felt cold poop on my arm and side. I looked down, and SURPRISE! Giant puddle of congealed baby poop. All over in his swaddle wrap. All over his body. It was a doozie.

So then I called Jared in for reinforcements and we sat there, rubbing our eyes awake, staring at this poop mess for a few seconds. (My exact thoughts: Oh Shit.) (Ha! Get that!?>! Get it!? I kill myself sometimes.)

Then I tried to think, well.. how do I get this shirt off over his head without smearing poop all across his face? I probably would have just stood there forever had Jared not jumped in and said, "I'm getting the scissors."

My first thought? I should protest. He's cutting a perfectly good shirt. I mean, sure... It is ugly. It doesn't fit him. But still. Somebody else could use that shirt.

My second thought? Well... I am tired. I can't think. Let him do it.

So Jared cut the shirt off his body and we threw it in the trash. We were desperate. We were sleepy. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It got the job done. The bath, the diaper change - all that jazz was a piece of cake after we got the initial poop off of him.

But now let me think... Are there any other non poop related things going on in my life? Not really. Most events in my life fall into a bodily functions category these days.

Lets see here. We ate two whole bags of salad mix. I made cheesecake brownies for the neighbors' party but we ended up eating them ourselves and not going over because we got too tired. Yesterday, I managed to immaculately clean the bathroom so that I could have an enjoyable bath time experience in which I daydream that the remainder of the apartment is equally clean.

Oh yeah! I want to make a bucket list. 100 items. Lofty goal, huh? I know.

My friend Jessica is coming over for Superbowl Partytime Fun & Awesome and we're going to create a list of stuff we want to do before we die. My first item? Try more than 150 different kinds of fruit. I saw a fruit stand in Palm Harbor and I wanted to stop at. I'll have to go next time. Florida could maybe redeem itself in my eyes with some awesome exotic fruits. Maybe.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pacifiers, a double edged sword.

Oliver I like pacifiers. Most of the time. Sometimes.

I like that they keep him from crying in public, tight spaces. I like that he is more likely to fall asleep with them. But they have a sordid past.

In the beginning, they kept him quiet. He loved them. But he couldn't keep them in his mouth to save his life. It was annoying to be continually replacing the fallen pacifier.

Then there was this beautiful period during which the pacifier and Oliver coexisted so peacefully together taht I was like.. "Yes. I love those things." He kept them in his mouth. They made him happy so I could make dinner, clean the house, watch a TV show. It was great.

That period lasted approximately 5 minutes.

Now a typical episode with the pacifier goes like this:

Step 1; Adult places pacifier in his mouth.
Step 2. Silence. For 25 seconds.
Step 3. Removal of said pacifier for close and careful inspection. (What is this thing? I have never seen this before. It looks so strange. You swear its the same one I had 5 minutes ago? I don't believe you. It must be different. Let me look at it more. Surely you're lying to me.)**
Step 4. Realization that said pacifier is not in mouth, therefore not suckable.
Step 5. Frantic freak-out-arm-thrashing while trying to shove it back into mouth hole with underdeveloped motor skills and a sense of extreme urgency.
Step 6. Pacifier is in such close proximity to the mouth hole that it is maddening. Perhaps even the handle or shield part is in mouth hole but definitely not the nipple. Perhaps a fist made its way into the mouth hole before the pacifier.
Step 7. Attempt at sucking whatever ended up in mouth hole.
Step 8. Frustration at sucking attempts.
Step 9. Repeat steps five through eight at least three more times.
Step 10. Cry.

**During this step, infantile hand to hand exchanges may result in dropping of said pacifier. In this case, return to step 1.

So now I curse whomever pressured me into using pacifiers. I can't wait to be rid of them.

(P.S. Why do all the 0-6 month size Nuks come in lame colours? I hate pastels. Oliver does too.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Slayers of the Salad.

We did it. We ate the whole bag of salad mix. We even bought another one. We win at health!

I am just going to throw this out there: Oliver is driving me nuts today. Slightly. Moderately. A lot.

Jared's schedule is just as bad as it was last semester. Actually, it might be worse. Let me think about it. But... Ever since we've gone to Florida Oliver has decided to cry. Why!?!

I know "they" say that you're not able to spoil a baby until he is 6 months old but.. I'm starting to think its a conspiracy. He cries just for attention ALL THE TIME. Call me a bad mom, but there are times when I would like to not do finger plays and/or silly noises. He has decided he is above sleeping now. I guess I shouldn't complain but these days he is only sleeping 8 hours at a time. The last two nights he has randomly screamed in his sleep and made us go in to check on him a few times a night. And he doesn't want to go back to bed in the mornings after he wakes up anymore. I am getting sooo tired, because even if he is getting 8 hours.. I'm not. I can only get some things done after he's asleep. Then it takes me a while to fall asleep. Then he wakes me up when he does his sleep screaming. Its driving me a little bit mad.

And another thing... he yells. Since Florida, he YELLS. Loudly. Frequently. And sometimes he's not even mad. Sometimes he yells because he is happy. Sometimes he yells because he is mad. I can't tell if he is happy or angry unless I'm looking at him. It makes reading a book, watching TV, sleeping, etc very difficult. Its such a grating sound. And I feel terrible for doing it, but when he makes that horrible noise I am sometimes guilty of offering him the pacifier just to shut him up. Ugh.

And he bites. My boobs. Ow.

I was about to tell you all of the good things he is doing now, but he started yelling for my complete attention so it'll have to wait until later.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Home at Last, Home at Last... Lord Almighty we are Home at Last

We're back into the home routine. Mostly. We just got done playing with some of Oliver's new Christmas presents. Jared and I tried to get through a heartfelt rendition of "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" but it was hard. We couldn't stop laughing. Because honestly, he just looks at us like... "Why are you doing that? You're dumb." He doesn't get it at all. And some of the songs sound like they're indoctrinating you into a cult. So there you go.

But other than that.. I'm certain he will come to like it eventually. And then when he does I'll curse the day I showed it to him because he'll ask for it over and over again. That is the pattern I've been noticing whenever I teach him new things.

We haven't done much since we've gotten home. The plane ride back to Minneapolis was good on Oliver's part, bad on the part of the people in front of us. They were drunk. Obnoxious. They thought it was hilarious to talk to Oliver in a cockney accent. They thought it was even better to tell me how exactly I should travel with him. AND THEN THEY WANTED TO TOUCH HIM.

There was also epic fail on part of the flight attendant. They all wanted to talk to Oliver, which I accept, but there comes a point when I'd like to be left alone. First, I asked her if there was a changing table on the plane. She said no. Then she told us it wasn't her problem. Thanks. It would've become her problem had we had another poopy diaper debacle like on our last flight.

Then she flung this at us:

Attendant: How old is he?
Me: 3 months.
Attendant: Really?! He looks like 6 months.
Me: (Trying to read book. Yeah. Whatever.) Yeah. He's big.
Attendant: (Turns to Jared.) Is that your little brother?
Jared: ...
Attendant: ...
Jared: ... No... that's my boy.
Attendant: Your son? That's your son?
Jared: Yeah.
***Awkward silence***
Attendant: You just look so young. (Tries to walk away with dignity and refuses to make eye contact for the rest of the flight.)

How many times is this going to happen!? That is the second time that Jared has been mistaken for my son. Ridiculous. Do I really look that old? Does Jared really look that young? Disgusting.

We've been lying low since we got home. After Jared shoveled us out, we went grocery shopping. To be perfectly honest, it was a GREAT experience. I missed the normalcy of grocery shopping. And shoot me, I enjoy looking through coupons.

It wasn't just any grocery shopping day though.. it was TEN FOR TEN DOLLARS DAY. We could mix and match a bunch of things, ten for ten dollars. Great things we got for a buck included:

1. Half gallons of milk, in multiple varieties. (We stocked up on 3 gallons. There is one gallon left. We drink too much milk.)
2. Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage.
3. Half gallons of ice cream.
4. Cans of Campbell's soup.
5. Tortillas.

And then, we took an unprecedented step into adulthood. We bought salad. I hate salad. Jared doesn't like salad much either. But I was standing in front of the vegetables and they were arranged like beautiful farm-ish jewels, all colourful and pretty, and I thought... Man. I wish I could eat those.

So I took the bold step of buying a salad mix, and because we had to pay the three bucks or whatever it was I'll be damned if I don't eat EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF LETTUCE in that bag. Of course, its not like my salads are healthy. I also bought croutons and a creamy dressing. But still. Its a start. All those dumb health TV shows are about gradually changing into a healthy lifestyle, so... I mean. We've switched to whole grain pasta. We eat 12 grain bread. We have a vegetable with every meal. Those have got to count for something, right?

Now if we could just stop eating ice cream, drinking half a gallon of milk a day, grabbing unhealthy snacks all day... We'd be golden.

And now because I can't resist and because Jared said it was okay... I present you with:

OLIVER, The Amazing Standing Baby!
At the beach, no less!

P.S. He has started to sit alone, by himself, FOR ALL OF A MINUTE. Amazing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Enjoying the scenery on a detour.

I usually hate writing sappy posts because everything I say looks really dumb in print. It just does.

But all morning today I've been thinking about what must have been a lyric in a song or something, "enjoying the scenery on a detour." Its what I've been doing since Oliver has been born.

I never meant to have Oliver. He was accidentally brought into this world. It wasn't even supposed to be possible for things to happen the way they did, but they did. This isn't at all what I imagined I would be doing but I like this. Its fun to always be around to take care of him.

Christmas was good for me this year. It was very different, but it was good. I didn't feel angry or stressed at all, which I think must be a first for me. We missed our Christmas Eve flight and we flew down to Florida on Christmas morning. Even that ended up being a good thing because I got to spent Christmas Eve with my sister and avoid the pre-Christmas travelers.

Our flight out was mostly uneventful. The plane was 2/3 empty. We got a row of seats to ourselves. He never cried or fussed. He did make a giant poop all over his Christmas outfit, but something like that is bound to happen. It was a mixture of air travel law and my stupidity. Why did I think three wipes would be enough? It wasn't. There was poop EVERYWHERE. On his legs. On his back. On his feet. On my hands. Somehow even smeared on the mirror. I tried to walk out of that tiny bathroom cubicle with as much pride as I could muster, but I suspect I fooled no one. I walked in with a fully clothed baby and a spare diaper. I walked out with a naked baby and poopy clothes balled up in my free hand.

Oliver is getting to seem more and more like a person. I mean, I know he is a person but... he acts more like a kid. He is looking more like a kid. He stands up on his own if you give him your hands to hold. He doesn't scream at bathtime anymore. He watches everything going on around him and seems to be a lot more present. I'm glad Jared has this time off of school where he can just hang out with Oliver and enjoy him while eh is still small.

I know I haven't been around much online but I'll get back to normal once we're all home and settled in. I'm just goign to spend some more time doing nothing before I have to go back to infomercials and shoveling snow. Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year.