Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some Stuff from Today

We baked a spinach and ricotta pie last night that '07 mama Beth recommended (it's from the Moosewood Cookbook). I fed it to E for lunch today and he LOVED it. I'm so pleased.

We went back to the Children's Research Lab at UT this morning to participate in another study. This one was about music and involved E sitting on my lap (theoretically) and watching a screen and listening to the same classical melody being played by different instruments. E had more important things to do, though. There was a room to explore and of course we'd arrived with balls in each hand, which needed to be dropped and rolled and recaptured over and over again. We gave it a go three times before giving up. I can't say I blame him--the music they were playing wasn't turned up very loudly, and it was boring, at least for a thirteen-month-old who's used to rocking out to Laurie Berkner and the Biscuit Brothers and Putumayo's African Dreamland cd.

On our way there, we got pulled over on the highway. I can't remember the last time I was pulled over. I was shocked to discover that our inspection on the VW had been due in May. May! How in the world we missed that, I have no idea. The police officer was nice, which is a rarity in my experience. In any case, after UT, we went and had the car inspected.

Later this afternoon we have our playdate with Kay and Jonas. We're at their house this week. I'm looking forward to it, especially because it's such a beautiful day. Hopefully we can spend some time outside. They have a lovely backyard.

TJ leaves on Sunday for six days, five nights--right when Daylight Saving Time hits, which means E will be waking up an hour earlier than usual. Brutal. I meant to start adjusting his schedule slowly, but that hasn't worked out very well. We're going to stay with Catherine and Shannon for three nights next week, so that'll be nice.

As for the situation with my family, I was able to get in to see my childhood therapist, Susan, last week. I saw her from age 9 to 18 and I adore her. It was such a relief to be able to talk to her, especially because she already knows my family background. She advised me on how to proceed and validated a lot of what I've been feeling. I wrote my parents a letter on Sunday night. I haven't heard back from them yet. My stomach is constantly in knots, but part of me does feel better having written them. I have no idea how they'll respond or what the future looks like for all of us. Susan suggested that I keep some distance for a while, and that's my inclination as well, but it makes me so sad at the same time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eamon, after you went to bed tonight, we carved a couple of pumpkins.
The one on the right reminds us of you. Something about the mouth . . .

Balls, Balls, Balls

E is addicted to these balls. He carries one in each hand everywhere he goes. Occasionally one will get away and he'll go crawling after it with the other one still clutched in his hand. Crawl, thunk, crawl, thunk, crawl, thunk. He's like a pirate with a wooden leg.

We have a game we play in the living room where we station ourselves at opposite ends of the coffee table and roll the balls back and forth to each other. He always catches the balls (which he finds hilarious), and he does a fairly good job at rolling them back to me. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Brrrrr (Finally), and Voting

We went to Zilker Park this morning and then in the afternoon TJ came with us to vote. I have to say it felt pretty great to cast a vote for Barack Obama. Got me all teary.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Paging All Budding Walkers

From his reaction, you'd think this was his first encounter with the paging feature on the phone, but it's more like the hundredth. Playing with the home phone is his number one favorite game these days. We're surprised the phone has hung on this long for all the abuse it takes.

TJ took this video early this morning when he was up with E.

Upside Down

We had a lovely time on Saturday at Catherine and Shannon’s house blessing, and we hung out for a while afterwards with C & S and S’s mom. We stayed past E’s bedtime, and when we got home it was dark and there was a car parked outside of our house. Turns out my parents had driven up from San Antonio and were waiting for us to get home. We weren’t expecting this at all (they hadn't called to tell us they were coming or to ask if it was a good time) and my stomach was turning somersaults as I got E ready for bed, nursed him, put him down, fed Squeaky, etc. (TJ was entertaining my folks while I did all this.) I knew as soon as I saw them that they had come to tell us about what was going on with Gwen’s family. Whatever it was seemed to have something to do with our family as well.

After scrambling to finish the evening chores and trying to get my head around the surprise of them showing up like that, TJ and I sat down with them and they proceeded to tell us what was going on. The conversation that followed was more awful than I can describe. We didn’t fight—it wasn’t like that--and besides, I was in shock and have only slowly begun to process what happened. It was just terrible. I’m sorry to have to be so vague, but this stuff is not for blogs.

I’m trying to figure out where to go from here and how to move forward. I fear that my family will never be the same, and I question my parents’ handling of the situation (to put it mildly). I’m trying to get in to see a counselor as soon as possible so that I can get an objective, professional opinion on how to respond and deal with what I'm feeling. In the meantime, I’m sort of clinging to TJ and Eamon for dear life. I’m so grateful to have them. And thank God tomorrow night is the night I’m going over to Catherine and Shannon’s for one of our girls' dinners. They have already been so supportive, of course. I think we’ll be spending Thanksgiving with them this year instead of with my family.

So . . . just sitting here, sad and anxious and angry and thinking what a relief it is to have E to take care of and laugh with and love in the midst of something like this.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Status Report: Twelve Months

It's amazing that twelve months ago, give or take, E looked like this.

And here he is today, a big standing guy.

I took him to his twelve-month check-up this morning (he turned one on September 30). He weighed 24 pounds 11 ounces and measured 30 inches tall. Those measurements apparently fall in the 60th to 75th percentile range, and his head circumference landed around the 80th percentile.

In the waiting room, I noticed something in his hair that I thought was dried food or snot at first, only to discover that he has cradle cap on the top of his head. For some reason, uncovering the peeling, flaky, orangey expanse of dry scalp hidden under his sweet blond locks gave me the willies. The timing of the discovery couldn't have been more perfect, though. The doc told us some stuff to do, so we'll see if it works.

I only had a couple of questions going in. The first had to do with whether I might be raising a Motrin addict. I just feel like I'm constantly doling out the Motrin. The doc said once a day is okay when it's needed, and giving it a break every now and then is a good thing. Our Motrin use runs in spurts, so I was relieved to hear this. E's fifth tooth is in as of yesterday or the day before, so that was cool to see.

My other question had to do with food (surprise, surprise, toddlerhood). I haven't had a chance to post about it, but I just don't feel like we've got the food thing down. It seems like Eamon eats the same four meals (actually more like two now) over and over again, and in the meantime he's getting pickier and pickier. (So predictable, I know.) He flat-out refuses to feed himself fruits or vegetables. He won't touch them; the texture freaks him out. We're still able to feed him some veggies and fruit out of jars in between bites of regular food, but I don't expect that to last much longer. Right now, the main meals he eats are peanut butter & jelly sandwiches with Pirate's Booty and black bean & cheese quesadillas (and this week we thought to add spinach--and he ate it!). He used to eat tortilla with hummus, but now he won't touch hummus. Last night I couldn't bear to give him another quesadilla, so I tried heating up leftovers from our dinner the night before: baked pesto chicken and rice and peas. He surprised me by going nuts over the chicken, and he spit the rice and peas out. (He used to just refuse things; now he spits them out.) I was ecstatic over the chicken. Up until now he wouldn't eat chicken. He's also stopped eating avocado and bananas. He loves cubed cheese and cottage cheese; he's a dairy man in general. Frozen veggie burgers used to be popular: no mas. We've gotta find some other things that he'll eat, although the doc said not to worry about this stuff. He said E's sensitivity to texture is completely normal and that on average toddlers only eat one spoonful of food per meal, and then every seventh meal or so they eat a ton. Worrying about it will just make you neurotic, he said. I didn't tell him I already had that covered.

It would probably be best to all eat together, and to feed him whatever we're eating, but I just don't see that happening right now. He eats at 5:30 or 6:00, and there's just no way we can have dinner ready by then. Maybe at some point.

While I'm at it, here's a (hopefully quick) rundown on life with E as of late. On average, he goes down at 7 p.m. and wakes up at 6 a.m. (today it was 5:00, woohoo). We haven't had any night wakings in awhile, not since we cut out that one feeding. Actually, that's not completely true. He often wakes up once or twice between 7:00 and 11:00. Frequently, he puts himself back to sleep without us having to go in, but if he wakes up more than twice, it's usually because he's teething, and at that point I give him Motrin and rock him for a song or two. He goes down for his nap between noon and 1:00 and is usually up by 2:00. He often sleeps for an hour and a half, sometimes an hour or less, and sometimes (more rarely) for two hours.

He nurses three times a day: morning, before nap, and before bed. He's had a runny nose for the past week and has sometimes been too congested to nurse before nap, so on those days he's nursed after nap, and hasn't had a problem going down for his nap without nursing. I'm toying with the idea of cutting out the midday nursing, or rather seeing what happens if I don't offer it. There are days he wants to nurse for comfort, and I oblige. This happens maybe once a week. It happened last week in the middle of our playdate with Kay and Jonas. He came over to me and asked to nurse by moaning and leaning into me and grabbing at my shirt and biting/sucking on my arm. He nursed for a few minutes and then pulled off and resumed playing with Jonas, as though all was right in the world again.

He's starting to take steps but isn't walking yet. He spends a lot of time going from sitting to standing without holding on to anything, and then he stands and balances and grins and bounces and squeals and claps. We've noticed that he understands certain things we say: "Are you ready to go?" "Where's Squeaky?" That kind of thing. It's an amazing feeling to see him start to comprehend language.

In the past week he's learned how to hold his sippy cup by himself, and he seems to be enjoying the independence this offers. We now put his cup on his highchair tray during meals, and he stops eating very frequently to drink, which I find hilarious.

He loves social outings and is no shrinking violet. This is a constant source of wonder and discovery for me--watching him with other people, seeing the energy and happiness he gets from connecting with adults, bigger kids, and to a lesser (or different) extent, other babies. He thrives on it. He feels such joy, he could just burst.

This past Tuesday was my first time working at the co-op, and it was fascinating for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was seeing E's response to my taking care of other babies. One baby had a hard time when his mama left, and he needed to be held for a while. Eamon did not like that one bit. In fact, the other mom on duty had to comfort him while I was holding the other baby. It cracked me up because it seemed so unlike E (at least to date; then again we've never been in this situation before). A similar thing happened when I changed another boy's poopy diaper. E crawled over and clung to my leg, moaning dramatically the whole time. It was pretty funny.

It's amazing how intense and exhausting two hours with a group of little ones can be. I had a good time getting to know the other five babes better. They are all so different (natch), and so funny and sweet. The ages range from 12 months (E) to 17 months. This whole co-op thing rocks, I must say.

Well, I started this post during naptime today, and now it's evening and time to wind things down. Maybe I'll add a few more things tomorrow (as if this post weren't long enough).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So what that my hair's a frizzy disaster: It's raining!

Seems like we've had quite a bit of rain over the past couple of days. It's wonderful, despite how sticky and humid everything is. I'm positively salivating at the thought of the cooler air that's supposedly coming behind the rain.

I had a whole list of things to post about, but it looks like I waited too long to start. E's awake. He napped for an hour and a half, which happens quite often these days. I'll take it.

More later, perhaps . . .

Monday, October 13, 2008

First Steps?!?! And a visit from Uncle Angus.

Yep, E took his first steps tonight! I hesitate to say so because it happened only once and it was right before he had his bath and went to bed (so it feels like we imagined it), but TJ and I were both standing right there, and he took three whole steps before sitting down. It was a bit like when he started crawling; it just happened. Pretty cool. (I am insanely excited and can't really say why; just a proud mama.) He seemed tickled as well, and started clapping his hands as soon as he sat down from taking the steps. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow. I hope I can get it on video; we tried tonight but no dice.

In other news today, my little brother called this morning (he had the day off from school) and he had some time to kill between dentist/orthodontist appointments, so he came up here to hang out with us for a few hours. It was completely unexpected and wonderful. It meant a lot, because he's busy with his senior year of high school and we don't see him much. So it was fun, and TJ made us all lunch and hung out with us some too.

I found out from Angus today, and from subsequent conversations with my parents (dad and stepmom), that some weird stuff is going on with my stepmom's family. I don't know what it is yet; my parents want to wait to tell us (me and TJ and my siblings) until we're face to face. Scary. I've been very worried about Gwen lately but haven't had a chance to post about it. My stomach is in knots now, but I don't know how long it will be until we find out what's going on, so I'm going to just try not to think about it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Park, Almost Walking

We checked out a new park today. Not sure what it's called, but it's behind the new stores off 51st Street near Mueller. It's schmancy, but lacks shade. What happened to the slightly cooler weather we'd been having? Sigh.

We aren't sure, but it seems like Eamon is getting close to walking. He's clearly thinking about it a great deal, and today he took a single step a couple of times. He also stood up (without holding on to anything) about a hundred times in a row. Hmmm. We shall see.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stuffy Noses, Retiring to Vermont

Eamon and I have allergies. At least I think that's what it is. I was miserably congested last night, and E is sporting a snot nose. More crusty than runny. (Sorry. It sounded so gross, I couldn't resist.) TJ wasn't able to get on an earlier flight after all, so it was after midnight when he got home. I had gone to bed long before after eating ramen at 9:00 p.m. (I was compelled for some reason, gotta love that sodium) and watching Law & Order. For some reason, being all congested made me feel super cozy and autumnal last night, even though I felt crappy at the same time. I took an antihistamine before turning in and it made me deliciously drowsy and out of it.

I'm so happy TJ's home. Hearing him talk about Boston and how stunning and vibrant and alive it is right now had me ready to pack our bags and sell our house. He was stuck at JFK for five hours yesterday and we were fantasizing over the phone about retiring to Vermont . . .

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Home, Jealous, and Daydreaming

We're home after a two-hour drive from San Antonio this morning. (I ended up having to take a different route and it took longer.) E was up the whole time, not happy to be stuck in the car, and he was going through toys at the rate of about one per thirty seconds. (I had a bag of toys next to me and handed them back to him one after another, sang songs, rolled the windows up and down.) It was a long two hours. I was sooooooooooo happy to be home, and so was he. It felt wonderful to come inside and open the windows and be back in our space. He proceeded to play on his own for a good hour or so as I carried all our gear inside and put everything away, started laundry, etc. He's napping now. He has a little bit of a runny nose, and after lunch he broke out in an intense rash on his lower face, something that's never happened to him before. I'm not sure what it's from--food, I assume, but what? I think the runny nose is allergies, which I've realized is what's going on with me as well.

It sounds like TJ has been having the time of his life in New England. He says it's breathtakingly beautiful (they've been in Vermont and New Hampshire mostly), their meetings have been awesome, they've had great dinners in rustic VT homes, and last night they (TJ, his business partner and friend Alice, and two of their clients who sound more like friends) ended up at an open mic night, and he borrowed someone's guitar and played four of his own songs. He (and I, for that matter, but mostly he) used to play at open mic nights in DC, but he hasn't played at one in three or four years. He had a blast. This morning their meeting in Boston was canceled, so when I spoke to him briefly earlier, he and Alice were in Cambridge Square (I think?) looking for a coffee shop. It's been a long time since he visited Boston, and I know it brought back a lot of memories. (He lived there for three years after college.) In any case, he isn't scheduled to land in Austin until midnight, but he just called and said he'd gotten on an earlier flight to New York. So it's possible that he'll get home a couple hours earlier tonight (I hope!), but we'll just have to wait and see.

Is it awful that I'm jealous of all the fun he's been having? I mean, I'm glad he's gotten away a few times over the past six months and had a chance to cut loose and do his own thing, because I think that's important, but, well . . . actually, I think I'll stop here because I'm about to start whining and sounding like a two-year-old. It's just that his description of the last three days sounds like HEAVEN to me. I think I also envy his ability to live in the moment and leave Eamon behind without obsessing and feeling guilty and conflicted. He misses E like crazy, but not to the point that he can't enjoy a few days away from him, whereas in my case, as much as I'd love a weekend away (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE), I hate the thought of leaving Eamon overnight way, way more. It's kinda sick, I suppose. Or maybe not--he's only one, for God's sake. We're still nursing. But anyway, I actually have my sights pinned on my ten-year college reunion next May as a time that I can go off by myself and refuel. I never thought I'd go, and there are certain things about it that don't interest me at all, but I find myself thinking about it at least once a day. Weird. Maybe I should mention that I went to a small liberal arts women's college near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, and I was not at all ready to leave when I graduated. I was in love with the place more passionately than I've ever loved anything, I would say (baby and husband aside; it's a different kind of love). So, yeah, I'm looking forward to going back, taking long walks, remembering, reconnecting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Looking Back to Now

Sitting in my parents' quiet, cluttered house while E naps . . . realizing that I'll look back on this time of our life as pretty damn sweet. Today hasn't been anything special--in fact it's been long and a bit lonely so far--but nevertheless, I have a hunch I'll look back on this time with Eamon with gratitude and nostalgia, and will marvel at the ease of our days together. Even though the days don't always feel easy while we're living them, in the grand scheme of it all, compared to how things could be, easy is exactly what this is.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

All Was Fine, Of Course

I got to the church a half hour early and peeked in the room (the kids were outside playing) and I saw a sheet that had everyone's contact info, so I went and sat in the car for the remainder of the time. Eamon had fun--they said he was easy and mellow and had three helpings at snack time (no surprise there). It's time to get him some shoes, though. I've been meaning to do this, and I've found the ones I want to order (from Etsy), so I think I'll do that now. The mamas on duty mentioned that he needed some for when they go outside, which I hadn't thought of. (E's four months younger than the youngest baby in the co-op, and I think he's the only one who's not walking yet.)

I'm going to order his shoes from here.

Time to fold clothes and get stuff done while he naps . . .

Alone and Feeling Strange

I'm at Central Market right now. Alone. On a weekday morning. How cool is that? It's very cool, but also very odd. Eamon is at the co-op we've just started with a few other '07 Austin Mamas. It meets Tuesday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30. There was a meeting last week where the parents and babies hung out in the playroom (we're renting a room at the UU Church) and discussed logistics, but E had a fever, so we couldn't go. I know I should just be enjoying myself right now, but I feel uneasy, mostly because I'm not sure if today's hosts have my cell phone number. One of the mamas (who's not on duty today) collected contact info and whatnot over email, and I sent mine in, but I don't know if she gave it to today's mamas or what. So I feel nervous, but not nervous enough to drive over there and waste my precious alone time. Is that reckless of me? I think I'll just leave here a bit early. It *is* nice to have a break this morning (it feels crazy!!!!!), especially because TJ is at the airport right now, flying to Boston/Vermont, returning around midnight on Thursday. And I'm getting over a sore throat/cold.

Tomorrow morning E and I are driving to San Antonio to spend the night at my parents' house. I decided to leave first thing in the morning because I think that's the only way to ensure that he naps there in the afternoon. My parents and little brother Angus will get home from work/school around 4:30 or 5:00. They'll only have about two hours of Eamon-time, but I think that'll still be worth the production of going. We'll come back here Thursday morning after stopping by my dad and Angus's school (Alamo Heights), and then Thursday afternoon we have a playdate with Kay and Jonas.

Wow, time is passing very slowly here . . . I hope E is okay. He is, right? I'm sure he is. Maybe I should go over and make sure they have my number. What if he fell and bashed his head open? What would they do?

Squeaky killed her fourth vole this morning. That's right, four in one week. She must've found their nest or whatever it's called. So far we've just been flinging them over the back fence, which seemed fine for the first two, but the image of a bunch of scattered dead voles back there is pretty gross. I'm surprised we can't smell them.

Eamon is getting better and better at stacking blocks. It's pretty cool. He works so hard at it.

In other news, I've been very in love with TJ lately. I'm going to miss him this week.

Well, I've killed just about enough time. Hopefully in the coming weeks I'll be able to enjoy this time and focus on writing or whatever else, and not worry about E. I'm on duty next week, but the week after I'll have off. God bless the co-op!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

E in new pjs from Grandma Kelly (my mom)

Book Meme

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 42.
3. Find the first full sentence.
4. Post the text of the next seven sentences in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

Old Elihu was in bed as before, but now a black automatic pistol lay on the covers close to one of his pink hands.

As soon as I appeared he took his head off the pillows, sat upright and barked at me: "Have you got as much guts as you've got gall?"

His face was an unhealthy dark red. The film was gone from his eyes. They were hard and hot.

I let his question wait while I looked at the corpse on the floor between door and bed.

A short thick-set man in brown lay on his back with dead eyes staring at the ceiling from under the visor of a gray cap.

Dashiell Hammett. Red Harvest. New York: Vintage Books (1992). Originally published by Knopf in 1929.

Hangin' in the Crib

Here's Eamon hanging out in his crib post-nap yesterday (sometimes he doesn't want to come out right away) showing off some of his latest skills.