Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stupid neighbors with their nice looking yards.

Every morning I wake up and the only thing I can see out of the window as I lie in bed is our willow in the backyard. At first, looking at the tree made me happy because it was the first thing to turn green and come alive. It was a good sign of spring. Now that it is alive though I keep thinking, Those branches are too low. It will be hard to mow under them. I MUST CUT THEM DOWN AND I MUST DO IT RIGHT NOW.

Just a few years ago, I would have gone out and hacked them all off myself the very first time I thought that. Or at least I would have hacked off as much as I could before giving up and going inside, leaving the project abandoned forever.

Now I have to go and be reasonable about things because I don't have my mom to come and clean up after me. A truly reasonable reason for not going out and hacking those branches is that I am 8.5 months pregnant. But that's not really my concern. My problem is that I remember from times past that cutting off the branches is the fun part. The unfun part is taking all of the branches I cut off and breaking them into smaller pieces and disposing of them. And there would be a lot of branches to get rid of.

Even worse still, sometimes the trash guys act like they're too good to take my sticks because I didn't tie a perfect square knot or something and then I'm doubly stuck with my dang branches.

So, I'm going to do the responsible thing and.... leave them on the tree! Make it somebody else's problem! That's what adults do, right? In the face of insurmountable work, give up. Isn't that a saying or something like that? No?

I pretty much gave up on the interior of the house. Our vacuum has been out of commission for a long time. I can't scrub the floor anymore because I can barely walk across it. I can't keep up with Jared's work laundry and Oliver's toddler messes and all of the dog hair that accumulates int he vacuum's absence. Long ago I gave up on the mismatched trim, the nonfunctional doorknobs, the unhung toilet paper holders.... I am too overwhelmed and I just can't do it right now without help. So it sits, undone, and I've kind of accepted that. It will have to wait for later.

I am fine with being an underachiever for now. I've resigned myself to that.


I still want to save face with the neighbors. I need to make a good first impression. I'm sure if they saw my nicely raked lawn and my orderly hostas they would think, "Wow! Those new people are awesome! I surely want to be friends with those cool cats!"

(What? That's not what makes you want to be friends with people? You think I'm worrying too much about keeping up with the Jones'? YOU DON'T KNOW OUR NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, PEOPLE. I'm pretty sure our neighbors aerate and dethatch their lawns each year. They probably enjoy aerating and dethatching their lawns each year. This is fierce competition.)

So... anyway. The point of all of this is that I am going to go outside again today and try to whip the heucheras lining the driveway into ship shape. And I just wanted to point out that tomorrow when I am complaining that my back and my butt hurt, you should know that it could be worse. I could have gone after that stupid willow tree.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I make mistakes too.

The worst part about Oliver being so innocent is that he doesn't know that I can be wrong. He doesn't think I can make mistakes too. He doesn't realize how imperfect I am yet.

This afternoon I was trying to get him to take a nap and he threw the biggest fit I've ever seen. He hurled himself to the ground, started screaming, and refused to get up. He typically doesn't do this, but today we were both in a bad mood and he took it to the extreme. He was mad that Jared was at work on a Sunday. He was mad that he dropped half of his sandwich on the floor and the dog ate it. He was mad that he couldn't have juice, he couldn't watch TV, and he didn't get to see Grandma today.

I told him he needed to have a time out to calm down, but he didn't budge. I had to pick him up and move him into time out physically. He kicked me hard and it hurt. I was already mad and I yelled at him. Way more than I should have. I told him he was bad. I told him good kids listened and that he doesn't listen and that he is bad. I yelled at a two year old who was having a bad day.

He cried. He said, "No Mom, don't be mean. I'm sorry! I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry, Mom." Then I cried, too.

I felt horrible. I knew I shouldn't have overreacted like that. I know that he is two. I know that two year olds are allowed to be naughty sometimes. I know that all of his problems seemed like the end of the world to him. I know that all of that stuff was important to him and that's why he was so upset.  I knew all of that but I was too mad and I said too much and it was too late. I didn't take the time to think about things from his side, and I made a mistake. It was just too late.

I apologized to him, but it only made me feel worse. I told him how sorry I was. I told him I made a mistake.  I told him that we were both upset and what I did was wrong. I said to him that sometimes I make mistakes and it's not his fault. And do you know what he said to me?

"No, Mom. I bad. I sorry."

How could I ever make him think he is bad? He isn't bad. He does bad things sometimes but he isn't bad. I can't stand that after all of this, he still thinks that he was the only one in the wrong. While I was trying to explain to him, he kept trying to assure me that he will be good. He kept telling me that he was sorry. He kept telling me that it was going to be alright. He blamed himself for everything, and it killed me.

I'm in charge of his life and and I'm supposed to make him know that he has value and that he is good and worthy of every good thing. And today I screwed that up. I feel like the worst person in the world.

When I finally took him downstairs and tucked him into bed, he quietly laid down his head and let me cover him with his blankets. I asked him if he wanted a story or a song, special treats usually reserved for night time.

He said no, it's nap time now and turned his back on me to sleep.

I want him to understand that he is good, even if somebody tries to say he's not. Especially if somebody tries to say he's not. It just makes me so mad that I have to protect him from myself now, too. It's a horrible thing to know that you've hurt your own child.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This is why people do spring cleaning.

Sometimes things happen and you want to hit yourself on the face and say, "Why didn't I think of this before?"

Like when I realized yesterday that Oliver's  car seat is approved for up to 50 pounds and  he may very well be 50 pounds. Or that time when I made Oliver walk around the mall in shoes 2.5 sizes too small. Or the time last week when I realized that the brown ice cream he pointed to at the ice cream shop isn't chocolate but coffee flavored. 

Sometimes things are obvious and you have no excuse other than stupidity for not realizing them. Other times, these realizations would only come to crazy people because situations just get too weird. These weird situations happen a lot around here.


Lately I've been very short on toddler sized spoons and forks. I always thought they must be dirty in the sink or waiting to be unloaded from the dishwasher. Those are the sensible, normal things that would happen to spoons and forks.

I should have been smarter than that. How many times have I unloaded the dishwasher and been completely caught up on dishes and realized that we still only had a couple of forks in the drawer? Many times. It never occurred to me that these spoons and forks could be anywhere else. It definitely didn't occur to me that I should start looking in every odd corner of the house for them.

After all, who would want to take toddler utensils and use them for anything other than eating?

Oliver. That's who. Either Oliver or some ghosts with really tiny hands that just happen to eat breakfast in my shorts drawer.

With all of this warm weather we've been having, I went into my dresser looking for a pair of shorts that might stretch to its limits and fit me right now. I found some shorts. But do you know what else I found in my shorts drawer? Some forks. A spoon. A smattering of Cheerios.

Of course, right? What do you keep under your gym shorts and daisy dukes?

"Oliver, did you put your spoons and forks in my shorts drawer?"
"Why are they in there then?"
"Mya put them there?"

The only problem is that while I found some spoons and forks, we're still missing a lot more. It makes me wonder where else Mya put them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Since we've been having all of this nice 70 degree weather, I decided to go out and clean all the dead leaves off of my hostas. (Gag. Stupid hostas. But they're there. So I'll pretend to love them. But they will always have this feeling deep inside that they're not the favorite child. That's just how life is.)

I pulled off two garbage bags full of dead leaves and junk. It really wasn't that hard of a chore but I'm tired out now. My shoulders and butt hurt. I still have 5 plants left to uncover, but they were in the shade and there is still a layer of ice under the dead leaves.

Oliver played around the yard and driveway with his bike until some older kids came rollerblading down the street. An eleven year old girl shouted to me, "You guys must be new! I know all of the dogs in this neighborhood and I don't know that dog. What is her name?"

So we talked about our dog for a while. Then she gave me the run down of what houses in the neighborhood have dogs, children, or both. Also, there is apparently a "gang" in this neighborhood filled with some mean boys that one time threw a rock at her dog. She told me that there was another park down the path that I didn't know about. There is also a stand of trees and some sort of stream/waterfall thing. Oliver and I are going to go exploring tomorrow and see what we can find. Assuming, that is, that I can walk that far and my crotch isn't shattering into a thousand tiny bone shards tomorrow.

The best part of the day for Oliver was when the girl's little sister came out to our yard. She is three, but she seemed much older than Oliver. She was much better at talking and general gracefulness.

"HI, GIRL! THIS MY DOG MYA. THIS MY BIKE. THAT'S MY MOM!" he shouted while falling off of his bike in enthusiasm.

Oliver is very enthusiastic in all of his greetings. He is dying for a friend. While we were at the park yesterday he spent a good 6 minutes yelling, "HI, KIDS! HI, KIDS!" to some 7-8 year olds who just ignored him completely and splashed in the big puddles.

Today, at least, this little girl talked to him and seemed very nice. Oliver was over the moon.

"YOU MY FRIEND! Do you like my car? You can play my car. You can pet Mya. You like my new shoes?"

After petting Mya and talking in our yard for half an hour or so, the kids' mom came over to collect them and bring them home. Oliver was very sad that they were leaving. He gave the little girl a hug and said, "I WILL MISS YOU SO MUCH."

So, Oliver might be a little desperate, but at least he's willing to put himself out there.

Friday, March 9, 2012

It had nothing to do with my rectum.

They asked me if I minded a student coming in to watch my appointment. I didn't.

"She has a great example of diastasis recti."

Umm... Come again? Say what? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING ABOUT MY RECTUM?!

"See how her uterus is bulging out there between the abdominal muscles? That's all that means."


 "It's harmless but uncomfortable and not the best cosmetically..."

Great. I have a prime example of a big, bulging uterus and lame-O stomach muscles that look ugly as hell. Wonderful. So glad I could share with the class.

In other news, I worked more on my pre-baby shopping and errand checklists. There is a lot of stuff on those lists. And all of it is boring stuff. I thought I had made a pretty good list of our needs until realized I was missing a key item: diapers. Oops. Better get on that.

So much junk to buy, so much money to spend, and none of it is anything fun. Plus, in less than four weeks, I'm full term. Yee haw.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The likert scale of a two year old.

When Jared got home last night we piled into the car, drove to the mall, and bought Oliver some new shoes. After wearing his boots all winter, his feet grew 2.5 sizes. No wonder he complained when I put his old shoes back on him. He walked into the shoe store in a size 6.5. He left in a size 9. Oops.

I had a rough time of our second mall trip. After about ten minutes my crotch was hurting so much that I had a hard time walking. My hands and feet swelled up nicely, thanks to the 60 degree reading on the thermometer. I couldn't get my wedding ring off. By the time we made it to Target, I could barely walk the length of the store at a grandma's pace. With his new shoes on, Oliver turned the tables on me and complained that I was walking too slowly. How's that for ironic?

On the car ride home, Oliver was talking about all of the pets he knows. Out of nowhere, he decided to rank them all on a scale. We didn't know he could do this. We didn't know he even knew about about numerical ranking anyway. He must have seen it on TV, because it's not something I taught him. I'm sure he doesn't probably understand it completely, because these were his rankings:

"Bentley and Mya are a ten! Pico is a five! Sunday dog is four! MeowMeow is a W!"
"Is a W better or worse than a four?"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Don't worry guys, I'm totally legit.

Today we went to the mall for a while and Oliver was literally dragging his feet. I kept telling him to hurry up. He complained, as he sometimes does, that his feet were tired. I told him to suck it up, you're two years old, you can walk at least as fast as I can waddle right now, especially when you consider the swelling and contractions going on.

I got home and I took his shoes off and saw red marks where the straps were digging into his feet through his socks. Oops.

"Mom, my feet are sick. They need to go to the doctor."
"Yeah. Why didn't you say your shoes didn't fit?"
"I did."
" .... Oh. Yeah. I guess you did."

After wearing his boots all winter long, his shoes just don't fit like they used to. It's like he keeps growing or something.

Lesson learned: sometimes I should actually listen to him.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Trying to break through.

I can't wait for Jared to get home tomorrow. When all we have is each other, it gets really lonely to be apart. So far, that's the biggest problem with our house. We're here all by ourselves. This might as well be our own private island.  It's a graveyard here. The cold and the dark has locked everybody inside and I don't know where to go to find other people who might be lonely like me. The park is deserted. The library is empty. Where does everybody go?

I thought that signing up for a toddler class with Oliver would help me meet people, but my class was canceled when no one else signed up. We don't go to church, so we can't meet others there. I thought about volunteering, but right now my volunteer skills are limited to sitting on my butt, talking, and typing. Even worse, I probably won't have much time for volunteering once the baby is born next month. I don't want to start something I can't finish.

When we lived in the city, it felt different. There were always people around us. There was always noise. There were always lights. And even though we still didn't know that many people, it felt like we at least had that option. I felt like we could meet somebody standing in the parking lot, unpacking groceries. At the very least, the friends that we did have were close by.

Here, I feel like a pioneer. I feel like I'm pushing the boundaries of the city outwards by breaking in this wild, barren territory.  I'm Laura Ingalls Wilder racing to beat out the winter before I starve to death mentally. When the furnace clicks off and the TV screen is blank, there is nothing. Complete stifling silence.  No traffic. No kids shouting. Just silence followed by silence followed by silence. I'm not comfortable with that silence yet. I still need the radio, the ceiling fans, the news in the background. I miss the neighbors who held acoustic guitar jam sessions on Saturday morning. I miss the cranky old man who slept with his TV on max volume. I'm still adjusting to these changes.

Last night I realized that in all of our time living here, I've never even seen the neighbors on one side of us. I know they're there. Their driveway is the first to be plowed. I sometimes see lights on in their house. But there is never a car coming or going. There is never anybody to wave to while he takes the dog for a walk. They might be vampires, for all I know.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not giving up. I'm excited for spring and for my mobility to come back so I can go out exploring. We have a house we can be proud of. Our family is likeable enough. The neighborhood is safe and nice. We're close to grocery stores, a couple restaurants, and good schools. We just have to find where we might fit in and insert ourselves there. Sometimes, these things take time, and I'm remembering that now. Patience isn't one of the virtues, but I'm practicing it anyway.

In time, my mom will come back from snowbirding and I can drop by her house when I'm lonely. She always welcomes me. In a few weeks, the snow will melt and the dog and the kids and I will scout around for other families like us. We'll show our faces at the block party and ask the whole neighborhood association, "Will you be our friend? Check one: yes or no." It will be grade school all over again. We'll be the new kids on the playground. It will be embarrassing and awkward because I am embarrassing and awkward, but I can't think of any other way.

At the very latest, we'll enroll Oliver in preschool next fall and I can meet other parents there.

Until then,  I'll keep tapping on the glass and waving frantically at everyone I see until I find somebody who can help me break through this bell jar set atop our lives.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Long night.

Oliver woke up a lot last night because of the snowplow/rain noises. Then he got up for good this morning at 4am. He doesn't seem to be bothered but I am tired.

I needed some mindless reading, so I picked up the latest parenting magazine that I got in the mail. No matter where I go, these magazines end up following me. I've never asked for a subscription and I've never paid for it, but yet... they always manage to find me.

I was reading an article about "helicopter parenting" and it made me think about my very much non helicopter approach. And then, because I'm really tired and it was around 5AM I started worrying that maybe I'm not hovering enough.

When Oliver bumps his head I don't go rushing to him; he comes to me for a hug and then goes back to what he was doing in less than thirty seconds. Oliver chooses most of his snacks; I either approve or deny them in my final say. I allow him to play downstairs with his toys where I can hear but not see him. He gets his own snacks out of the cupboard/fridge. I've just recently started having Oliver put his dishes into the sink or dishwasher. Every morning it's his job to feed Mya. When he has accidents, he helps me clean them up. He helps me carry laundry up and down the stairs and load/unload it from the machines.

For being less than 2.5, I make him do a lot. Some people think I make him do too much. Maybe I do. I don't know.

I don't want him to think he's just a slave. Even worse, I don't want him to think I don't love him because I don't do all of the stuff for him that other parents do for their kids. I know right now he doesn't have other parents and kids around to compare himself to, but he will soon enough.

Some people might think I make him do all of these things because I'm so lazy, but really I'm making more work for myself. By allowing him to play on his own, he sometimes does make huge, disastrous messes. Allowing him to pour out his own cup of milk means that he does quite often spill. This afternoon I found the fridge door not tightly closed.  I usually have to rearrange every dish he puts in the dishwasher.

Really, I just want him to be independent and confident on his own. I don't want him to think he needs other people to succeed or be happy. But, at the same time, I don't want to turn him into one of those creepy mini-adults that can't relate to other children.

He seems to handle his "chores" well. He seems excited to tell me that he did something on his own. Yesterday he proudly shouted to the neighbor, "I feed my dog, Mya!" "I help my mom shovel!" "I make cookies with my mom!"

It seems like he has pride in what he can do. So really, I'm sure I must be doing something right. It's just way too easy to doubt yourself after a night of poor sleep at 5AM when you're looking at a broken DVD he tried to set up by himself. I really can't wait for Jared to come home.