Wednesday, January 25, 2006

shopping vs. buying - did you know there was a difference?

I didn't. Not until yesterday when I was "taught" this by Nathan. He knows I've wanted an mp3 player since November-ish and recently gotten quite serious about comparing them. He knows I can't stand my current little am/fm tuner that I take to the gym so I can tune into the tvs. He also knows I currently can not find the am/fm tuner that I can't stand. Earlier this week, Nathan and I discussed this as a possible birthday present. Well, this is how the discussion went: N: You're not going to buy it right now, are you? J: Not this minute. N: Because it will probably be a birthday present for you. My birthday is not until April 24. No surprise I'm not keen on waiting 3 more months for this mp3 player. Yesterday, Nathan was on the way home from work when he called to "check in". I asked where he was and he said he was birthday shopping. Wait. Huh? What? He's birthday shopping for my birthday (mine's the next in line of family birthdays he would shop for) three months ahead of time? When he usually thinks about presents but doesn't actually buy them until the night before or day of? You know how this translated in my head, right? "I'm getting my mp3 player TODAY! Happy 29 years, 9 months old to ME!!! I am SO excited!" I spent the next hour or two until he came home wondering if he got the kind I told him I wanted (with an fm tuner so I could watch tv at the gym if I wanted to), what songs I'd start downloading tonight, which service I'd use to download them from, and hey! - I'll even go to the gym at 5:30 AM tomorrow to use my new toy! Yeah!! I'm getting a new toy!!! So Nathan came through the door and I saw no new toy in his hands. I was all smiles. I inquired of where my new and early birthday gift was, and he said he didn't buy, was just shopping. WHAT? HUH? I know. It must be in his backpack. I open his backpack and it's quite obvious, there's no mp3 player there. (I realize I'm starting to sound like a 4 year old here. And while I do not usually act like a 4 year old, yesterday I did. So there.) The CAR! Nope. He meant it. He was shopping, not buying. And I quite obviously did not go to the gym at 5:30 this morning.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

guilt vs. gratitude - makes me rip my hair out

Not really all my hair. Because, while I'm told I have a lot of it by the people who "do" it, it's fine and thin and doesn't look like there's much there. And not even the gray ones, because there's so many of those that I might as well rip everything out. Anyway, the guilt vs. gratitude part of the title. I am in the process of cleaning Jake's room out. Yesterday, I took every ever-lovin' thing out of his room. Well, not true. Remaining were the dresser, twin bed and crib. Oh, and the big bookshelf thing. So I took a lot of things out of his room. Proof, you want? That I'm not exaggerating the "a lot" part? Take this: And this: After having loaned his infant clothes out, the bags came back with the sizes mixed. And of course, I would never expect to get baby clothes returned in as good a condition as they were loaned out in - babies do yucky poop and barf things. So I took this golden opportunity to resort sizes, donate some clothes I'm just not lovin' on anymore, and throw some others away. Wait. I have a point here, right? Oh, yes. In addition to the clothes come baby toys and baby blankets. Which is what this is all about. THE BABY BLANKETS. When Jacob was born we got baby blankets from about 4,983 people, most of whom I have never met or heard of, most of them homemade, not all of them cute. But I've saved almost all of them because of the guilt of throwing away or donating something that someone took their time and money to make. For me. Or my child, but that's really the same thing when the child has just exited my womb. I'm once again in a "throw EVERYTHING that we're not using at this VERY minute OUT. NOW!" mood. So the baby blankets are just sneering at me. And I'm still stuck somewhere on the guilt vs. gratitude scale.

open letter to the neighbors

Dear Neighbors, I'm sorry for your very rude 6:30 am wake up call. See, this is how it happened. I was in the middle of trying to do four things at once (an improvement on yesterdays 10 things at once) when Jacob started playing with my car keys. I thought it was a fan-tas-tic way for Jacob to keep himself occupied at 6:30 am, seeing as how he'd already been awake for 90 minutes. Yes, people, if you think your 6:30 wake up call was early, try 5:00 am. Anyway, I forgot that Jacob knows that the buttons on the car key make the car go "beep", and that he really likes to hear the car go "beep." I also forgot one button was red. And that he likes red. I remembered all this when I heard a car alarm go off, and I thought that someone in our building was being very insensitive at that early hour. Why weren't they turning it off already!!! Wait. Car alarm. Jacob. My keys. In his hand. IT'S MY CAR. Of course, Dear Neighbors, now was probably not the time to fiddle with the car key and try to figure out which button to push to make the beeping stop. Just for future reference, and in case it's your car one day waking me up (we would not want that, now, would we?), NONE of the buttons work. In this case, two negatives does not actually equal a positive, meaning, pushing the button that started this whole mess will not make it stop. Trying to unlock the doors using the button won't work, either. So that, Dear Neighbors, is why you saw me dart out the door in my pajamas at 6:30 this morning, open the car door, start the engine - which FINALLY stopped the beeping - stop the engine, and hurry back into my house. Except I couldn't really hurry back inside. Because Jacob was standing at the front door trying to watch the whole thing, and when he saw mommy walking back, he promptly shut the door in my face. You'd think this whole wake up call was MY fault, by the look on his face and the door slam. Anyway, it probably won't happen again. And by probably, I mean it won't happen again this month. Kind Regards, The Rarely-Home Mom

Sunday, January 22, 2006

if only my bank account accumulated this quick

Julie (rarely-home mom): Jacob, let's count! I'll start. One... Jacob: two, five, six, nine.

thump, thump, thump, thump

That's my heart, in a regular pattern again...thankgoodness. Yesterday afternoon we were on our way out of our condo complex to go to fil's birthday party. We backed up and I heard something that can't just be classified as screaming or shrieking. My first thought was that we just backed up and hit a kid, but wait - I didn't feel a thump. I looked around for the source of the noise, and saw L, a neighbor kid from a few units down, holding his little brother, S, and screaming his head off. "HELP. HELP. HELLLLLLLLLLP. Mommy!!!!!!" I jumped out of the van and ran over to see what was wrong. L, probably 8 or 9 years old, was holding S, 4 years old, in front of him. S was completely limp with eyes closed. I took him from L so I could lay S on the ground to see what was going on. His whole body was limp, except for his arm that was bent and stiff. I laid S down, pulled up his shirt, put my hand on his little chest to feel for a heart beat and breathing, and when I saw no chest movement, yelled for Nathan to call 911. I tilted S's head back to get ready to do mouth-to-mouth when he opened his eyes and looked really scared. I have never in my life been as happy to see a child's eyes. Never. Never been as relieved to see signs of breathing, feel a heartbeat under my hands. Never. I kept him still on the ground and just tried to make small talk while we got S's mom. I was surprised to fight back tears and feel my own heart racing, but I had to remind myself we had a terrified 4 year old, and my tears would only scare him more. After the police and firefighters and paramedics arrived (three police cars, two fire trucks and one ambulance), I told what I knew and backed out of the way. Watching as a nearby bystander, it took every single ounce of self control not to run to the car and get my camera. Every ounce and then some. It wasn't that I necessarily wanted pictures of S or his family, but the scene in general. What we figured happened, after talking to L, who watched the scene: S was on a scooter, whose tire got stuck in the groove of the sidewalk. He fell off the scooter, and head first into a tree-like bush, hitting his head and eye. He stood up, and then slumped over, which is when L went to try to hold him up and we heard the screaming. It took me at least an hour after all the trucks had gone to calm down, and then even after I was calm, I could still hear the screaming.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

we didn't even go to Berkeley yesterday

For lack of a thoughtful post, I present you with Jacob, who went all bohemian artist on me yesterday: And if you know Jacob, you really get the double meaning of "crafty". One of Nathan's old shirts became Jacob's new art shirt yesterday afternoon. I thought we'd give the shirt a try with crayons before we tried paint, to make sure he'd keep the shirt on. All good. The hat explanation, since I've already had my sister say he looks like a cancer patient and another friend make a similar "what is with that hat?" comment. I wish I had one. Jacob, who won't keep the hat on when we're outside when it's frigid, would not take it off yesterday when we were art-ing. I would try to hide it before he'd shriek for his "HAT! HAT!"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

seeing the world through train-colored glasses?

What? 'Train' isn't a color? Details. Overheard at our house the past week: Me: Jacob, chew your food better. Jacob: Choo? Choo choo? (looks around desperately for the train in question) You know the song "The Ants Are Marching"? Did you know it has a verse about trains? It's not really "The ants go marching two by two." In our house, it's "the ants go marching choo choo choo". So much for marching.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

So! Excited!

Browsing through the literary calendar in the newspaper today (as I do for fun every Sunday, even though I've never gone to one of the events), I found this: A Great Good Place for Books: 6120 LaSalle Ave, Montclair Village, Oakland 510-339-8210 Saturday: "Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined," Andrea Buchman and Amy Huddock, 7 p.m. First of all, I'll assume they spelled Andrea's last name incorrectly, and they really mean Andrea Buchanan. Second of all - yeah! I used to be a frequent reader of Literary Mama, until I discovered mommy blogs, and religion blogs, and then food blogs, and well, I've become slightly distracted. Also, another chance to go to Montclair, a super cute walking town nestled in the Oakland Hills just off Highway 13 (between the 580 and 24). In fact, Nathan and I just had dinner there last week at a really tasty pizza place after a night out without Jacob. We had already made tentative plans for next weekend (we were thinking Monterey), but this might be enough for me to push back Monterey. And I love Monterey.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I've come a long way, baby.

After Jacob's morning shower, he had a 4 pm bath. Long story, not worth telling. He was thrilled to get in the tub. It was the first bath he's had in probably months. It's just so much easier to toss him in the shower. It takes less time and makes considerably less mess. As soon as I threw open the shower curtain to reveal the tub, I was washed over by memories. The memories came faster than the water flowed into the tub. Too fast, almost. Too vivid, also. From the bathtub I removed the infant tub, put some random baby bath toys on the ledge, and added the soap and water. Jacob was thrilled to jump in. And I could do nothing but remember. After Jacob was born, I went through severe postpartum depression and anxiety. What should have been the best months of my life - the long wait to be a mother was over! - were anything but happy, anything but cheerful. Those months were most certainly not peaceful, or relaxing. I hid my symptoms and my sickness very well, even from my husband. Strangers knew nothing of the madness that took over my mind. Nathan, my husband knew something was wrong, but he had no idea what was going on, or how to help me. When he came home from work, his instinct was to take over parenting duties for me so I could have a break. He at least knew I needed that. But while I desperately wanted a break, there was no way I could take a break! I'm a mom! Moms do not stop! Nursing moms never stop! Every now and then, Nathan would offer to bathe Jacob each night. I rarely let him. I still do not understand why I was so protective over my job as "bather of the baby". It was our time, I guess, Jacob and me. We were both fairly calm each evening during bath time. Today, I sat on the toilet seat and watched Jacob play in the tub as he sang to himself and splashed water all over the room. I don't think I have given Jacob a bath since I have recovered and felt well again. I kept thinking that the last time I was sitting here, with Jacob sitting there, doing this...the last time, I was not ok. And I remembered. I held the small, round music box to a baby mobile I pulled out of the tub just minutes before (how did that get in there?). I turned the dial around and around. Instead of hearing the soothing lullaby, I heard the memories of my own tears. I remembered crying for hours a week, sometimes hours a day. I cried while I nursed, cried when Jacob wouldn't nap, cried while I watched TV. I cried while cooking, cried while we took walks, and cried every morning when my husband left for work. I did lots and lots of crying. And while it now seems so long ago, today, while I held the music box, I could hear the tears again. I put away a half-used bottle of lavendar baby lotion. Nathan never liked that scent. Every time I put it on Jacob, Nathan said we'd turn our son into a sissy. Well, eighteen months into Jacob's very rough and tumbly life, there isn't an ounce of sissy in him. I smelled the lotion, and I remembered lying Jacob on a towel every night after his bath. I would use the lotion to first rub down his stomach, then his arms, before going to his legs. Finally, I would slather my hands in lotion and rub Jacob's feet. That was his favorite part. Even at eight and ten weeks old, I would rub Jacob's feet and he would sigh like he was getting rubbed down by a world famous masseuse. Today, when I remembered the lotion massages we shared each night, I momentarily stopped smelling lavendar. Instead, I caught a whiff of the three-day-old body odor from a new mom who couldn't move enough to even get in the shower. I remembered being so paralyzed by saddness, fear and guilt that the smallest daily tasks seemed difficult or impossible. I took Jacob out of the bathtub, and while rubbing him down with our new thick, plush towels, I couldn't feel the softness that I expected. For a minute, all I could feel was the memory of the guilt, the shame, the darkness, the anxiety, the inadequacy, the hopelessness. And that's when I started to worry. I had not felt these feelings, had these memories, for months. Am I having a relapse? Am I not better anymore? Instantly, I knew I was fine. I wasn't having a relapse, I was remembering. Remembering keeps the past with us just enough to remind us what we've learned and how we've grown. I need to remember. I don't like to think about how terrible those months were; who would like reliving a vivid and painful hell? But remembering helps me know that I'm doing just that - remembering the past - not living in it. It makes the fact that I'm better feel real to me. Sometimes I wonder if I'm all the way better. The depression is gone for now. See how I don't say it's all the way gone? For now. Forever? Or for now? I still deal with some anxiety. Once in awhile I worry that I'm just biding my time until another huge attack. I think I might always have a faint shadow of that following me around. At least I know how to manage the anxiety now, how to stop it in its tracks and not let it get out of control. After I dressed Jacob and we left the bathroom, I didn't have to wonder anymore if I was better. I know I'm better.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

proof that, yes, I am as looney as I claim to be

On New Years Eve I we were playing games with 2 couple friends and it came up that I take lots of pictures. I guessed that most days, I take between 20 and 50 pictures a day. And no one believed me! Do I exaggerate? Sure, and probably more than I'd like to admit. Like no, Jacob really did not go through 432 diapers today. It just felt like it. Sure, at least half of the pictures I take are deleted right away. But they still didn't believe me. So, I offer you proof. What other mother takes pictures of the tomato seeds that get stuck inside her kids belly button? Only a mother that really does take 20-50 (and sometimes more) pictures a day. Thank goodness for digital.

The Husband? He rocks my world.

I called The Husband on his way home from work today and asked him to pick up a couple things from the store on his way home; buns (for the bbq pork sandwiches) and a red onion. He walks in with buns, a red onion, and THREE - 3 - bunches of flowers. Three! First, I'll show off my pretty pictures, then I'll explain that, while this seems simply wonderful a thing in itself, it's even more than that. First, the neener neener neener pictures: Tulips are one of my faves. And he didn't even know that 2 days ago at Costco I spent a few minutes looking longingly at the tulips there. Next, the calla lilies. Again. LOVE them. They're classy and simple and pure and just beautiful. But my mother will always insist on reminding me that "Julie - those are funeral flowers." Well, then. Welcome to my funeral home:Lastly, the roses. And oh, the roses. I truly do not think I have ever smelled roses this fragrant. I kept sticking my nose in them tonight. They smell so heavenly. And there's 13! A bakers dozen! Which is perfect for someone like me who lurves to cook and bake. I took lots of pictures of the roses. Because I like to pretend that I'm a photographer. And also because I'm still getting used to our new camera. Lucky for you, I'm only posting a couple:

Ok, any girl would be super excited if her husband came home with three - 3! - bunches of flowers one night. But it's even better because I wasn't even nice to The Husband last night. It's not like he did something wrong and this was his peace offering. N0pe. I was the dope. Last night he came home from work in a bit of a touchy mood. He didn't know that I, too, was in a bit of a touchy mood. And I decided right away, subconsciously, of course, that my touchy mood took precedence over his touchy mood and I wasn't comforting or a good listener or any of that nice stuff that a wife should be when her husband comes home in a funk. And I still got 3 - three! - bunches of flowers. Sometimes, he is way, way too good to me. Wow, I love him.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Paper, plastic, or cloth?

So right now I'm rearranging our smallish dining room. It houses an old kitchen table (prob 2X2 feet square), a piano, a smallish corner bookcase for the cookbooks and phone, and the current, very ugly dining room table. The old kitchen table just became (for the 2nd time) the corner table in the living room. Tomorrow, a little kids table and chair set from IKEA will take its place. But the rearranging is not what this is all about. As I was going through the dining room stuff, I started thinking about my great table linens. I have beautiful table cloths. I love beautiful table linens. But we are a family with a small, very, very messy child. Which means a table cloth is lucky to get through 24 seconds of food on the table without being totally dirty and usually even stained. Sometimes I give in to my desires and put on the cloth, even when it's just a "normal" weeknight with the 3 of us eating. One of my favorites is bright red with multi-colores strips. It looks like the prettiest serape you've seen. I just washed it after a messy breakfast. How can scrambled eggs get ground into cloth? And the ketchup, oh the ketchup. We have become the plastic table cloth family, and it makes my sister cringe. My sister is in LA studying to be an interior designer, and thinks I'm committing a grievous sin by covering my ugly table in (gasp!) plastic (gasp!). The Sister is obviously Not A Parent, and not a parent of a Very Messy Toddler. I truly appreciate she has my best fashion sense in mind - heck, I would totally love to have a catalog-perfect home (and hopefully, with her help, I just might one day), but I also appreciate that she does not want to come to my house to wash a tablecloth a day. Scratch that - 3 tablecloths a day. Yes, we're that messy. And yes, the table is that ugly - ugly to the point that if we leave it without a tablecloth it might frighten small children who come over to play with Jacob. If not the children, definately their mothers. And I need them all to come over, because I really like the break that they give me. **Sidenote: I type fast. And it took me an hour to type this out. Why? Well, during the hour, I read the same Barney train book to Jacob at least 3 times (the staples are coming out and pages are starting to fall apart, we might be in Big Trouble), typed a little, played airplane with Jacob on my feet until my big toe kept cramping and I gave up, typed a little, and then had Jacob spit into my hand masticated string cheese, thick with saliva. Thanks, Jacob. After all, I guess it was Christmas just this morning.

Merry Christmas, Part...Wait - it's almost Valentines Day

This is how our morning started:

Thank goodness I found some Christmas presents last night. The Husband and I were getting ready to leave last night, and I noticed a bag of 4 Christmas presents in the top of his closet. Huh? They were from my grandma for Jacob. I started ripping into them (well, at the time, Jacob was busy tearing apart the living room, after all) before I was chastised by The Husband to "Stop! Those are for Jacob!" Fine, fine. And it's a good thing I held onto them, too. Because they saved me from listening to the above scene for much longer. And no, Internet, he's not hurt. Just cranky because I took away the fork he was using as a weapon. Mean mother, that's me.

And that's the beginning of our morning. Thank goodness there were 4 or 5 new books wrapped up inside that Christmas goodness. Jake loves books, and with the rain outside, we're going to need the distraction.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

fake snoring babes

As way of quick introduction, this really isn't a new blog. It's a continuation of a blog I've had going for almost a year. Why, oh WHY would someone move their blog to blogger? On purpose? Because that person previously blogged on Livejournal. 'Nuff said. (eta to anyone who cares, not that I expect it: no, I'm not going to bother to copy all the content from the old blog here. See, that would take time, work and effort that I would rather expend elsewhere. Have a nice day.) The fake snoring babe? That's my 18 month old, Jacob. Thanks to the Wiggles and the always tired Jeff, Jacob has taken to fake snoring. After asking to "hop up" in my bed, he's snuggled himself against the pillow and covered himself up. The sounds coming from him remind me of my husband, whose snores rattle the windows. Hey, not that it's a bad thing. I might snore, too. I just don't keep myself up at night. Time to hop in and fake snore with him.

Coming Soon!

In meantime, visit me over Inside My Kitchen: