Sunday, August 28, 2011

Scraped From My Tired, Tired Brain

1. It appears, according to a calendar that must be correct because it's been working properly the rest of the year, that Eli is going to be four on Tuesday. He was the first of my babies to have his entire life, thus far, blogged in public. Kind of amazing if you think about it.

Ah, four. Four is... not a toddler. (Though you might not know if it to witness one of the tantrums he still occasionally throws.) It's a preschooler. So, I have a kindergartner and a preschooler and a baby. OH WAIT HOLD THE PHONE. Jameson will be one in a month. Which is... a toddler? Is that RIGHT? What is going ON?! I'm just about fresh out of babies again?! This feeling, this one right here, is why I can understand how it happens that a person could run out of space and money for kids long before they run out of interest in having another baby.

2. Addy starts school next Tuesday. Real school. And I will be outnumbered by boys all day. I'm so happy for her, but I'm a little scared for myself. Also, I'm pretty sure I will cry the first day. I can feel the lump in my throat already.

3. I'm getting so excited for my doula workshop, which is at the end of September (I rescheduled it from November; did I already tell you all that?) It's getting close! I'm also getting impatient for the library to track down the last three books I still need to read before I can go. I mean, it's kind of an honor system, but I am nothing if not honorable, gosh darn it, and I WILL read those books.

4. I've also got a bachelorette party in September, and a wedding shower, and four birthdays in the family. Plus soccer games twice a week, not to mention, you know, getting used to the whole SCHOOL REAL BIG KID SCHOOL thing. I'm just powering through on auto pilot, baby.

5. Also, on leftover birthday cake.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

If Only My Backyard Was This Pretty

Right in between the library and the museum, our city has a Children's Garden which is one of my favorite places to take the kids. It used to be funded by the city, but that was cut a few years ago, and for a while it wasn't very well tended anymore, though there were still some loyal volunteers from the gardening club who made sure the place didn't completely fall into disrepair.

This year, though, those volunteers really kicked it into high gear, because it is GORGEOUS. I have seriously never seen it look so beautiful and so well kept up, thanks to these hardworking people who spend hours weeding and pruning and thinking up fun new play areas, all for free and simply from a desire to make kids happy. Whenever I hear about human nature at its worst, it cheers me up a little bit to come here and remember that there are a lot of nice people doing nice things, too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just Look, Don't Touch

Ever since Eli moved into a toddler bed, he and Addy have shared a room. But... it was getting to be a little much, those two sharing a room. I probably don't even need to say more than that, but for anyone confused, I will add: kids at these ages are fascinated with body parts and also think there is nothing funnier in the universe than much discussion re: said body parts. When you have a boy and girl, these discussions can get a little weird after a certain point. Ahem. SOOOO, a month or so ago, we moved Addy into her own bedroom, formerly Jameson's nursery, and moved him (and his nursery furniture) into the bigger bedroom with Eli.

I had many elaborate plans for this impending move, including repainting the rooms, organizing the closets, and possibly even refinishing the wood floors. But, only the closet organizing part happened. Basically, Jameson began pulling up, we realized we needed to lower the crib mattress ASAP, and decided that as long as we were dragging the mattress out and fiddling with screws and generally engaging in an annoying activity, we might as well go ahead and just move the darn thing. I had thought originally that we should wait until Jamie wasn't getting up at night anymore, so as not to bother Eli, but then realized: a) that may never happen, and b) half the time Eli gets up at night too, so with all the coming and going in and out of my bedroom (heh, upon rereading that sounds kind of dirty,) what difference would it make? Also, Eli's become a pretty deep sleeper, so it's never once happened that Jamie's nighttime feedings have disturbed his older brother.

ANYways, after everything got situated and cleaned and looking all pretty, I decided to take pictures of the "new" rooms while they were still in all their pristine glory. Behold: (And also try to imagine away all the various cluttery baskets of toys and trash cans and jumbo diaper boxes and fans.)

I had fun taking pictures of the preternaturally clean bedrooms, so while I was at it I took some of our room, too, which I had also cleaned that day. Then I was all excited and thought, "I should do a whole series of Home Tour posts! Then at least I would have a webpage of images of our clean house I could look at to cheer me up when it's a wreck as usual!" And then I thought... maybe that's really lame. So.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Have No Idea If This Will Make Any Sense

So the other day I was finally putting into albums several stacks of pictures that had been waiting for... a long time. A few belonged in the album which also contains all of Jameson's newborn pictures, and when I flipped it open, oh my... My heart (and uterus!) literally contracted at the sight of the wee little baby, the soft and fragile skin, the dark, downy hair and curled up limbs. Oh, and that strawberry birthmark over his right eye, which has since disappeared, but that I always used to kiss when he was sleeping.

Jamie, a few days old.

This was not a new feeling, this weird wistfulness. I get it almost every time I look at newborn pictures of any of the kids, and I sat pondering what exactly this odd sensation is- so different than the usual "oh look how cute and little they were!" feeling that other pictures of their younger selves elicit. I think I finally figured out what it is.

It's that I wish I could go back to revisit that brand-new baby time, but knowing what I know now about that particular baby. When I experienced them then, all I saw was the tiny, velveteen creature that just days before had resided within my pelvic cavity and was now either sleeping or sucking away my life forces via nursing and sleep deprivation torture. I of course appreciated the giant, blinking owl-eyes and that amazing smell and the general breathtaking cuteness of it all, but I didn't know THEM, those specific babies, yet, and wouldn't for another few months. I knew them on a primal, animal level of knowing, of course, in the way that every mother knows the baby she has gestated, but I knew next to nothing about their personalities. The sound of their names did not conjure any particular character traits or unique qualities in my mind. And now... now that Jameson and of course the older two are just EXPLODING into themselves on a daily basis, becoming these wonderful little people that I feel so lucky to know, let alone parent, the sight of their newborn selves just means so much more to me.

Newborn Eli.

I am so glad there are photos, at least, and that the sight of their thrilling newness will never be lost to me. That I can look at those old-soul eyes in those fragile, swaddled bodies and think, "Oh! That was you!" Not just the adorable, slightly foreign newborn handed up to me in a hospital blanket, but my Addy, Eli and Jamie. So strange. So amazing.

Addy, a few hours old.

Monday, August 08, 2011

In Which I Am Shallow And Also Negligent Mother

I just finished season four of Mad Men Saturday night, and yesterday I experienced a full-on depression when I realized I had nothing to look forward to watching that night. I suppose this SHOULD be the time to ponder my tv addiction and find some more constructive nightly routine, like exfoliating my face or learning to knit or organizing my mysteriously overcrowded-yet-filled-with-nothing-useful-for-dinner cupboards, but all I really want is another show in which to submerge myself. I settled for watching Gordan Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares last night, and while it was certainly entertaining, I'm afraid that the horrors of undercooked mussels don't have quite the same dramatic pull as Don Draper's skinny ties, endless Old Fashioneds and dubious taste in women.

So. Tell me what to watch next, por favor. And DON'T say Tudors, because I am TRYING to watch the last season, and Netflix is having some kind of problem with that show and the screen freezes every couple of frames while the soundtrack continues unabated. I have been checking it daily for over a week to see if it's fixed, and am getting so annoyed I have to restrain myself from hurling the remote through the screen. I was halfway through this last season when the problem started, so until it resolves, I am just STUCK with all these mysterious loose ends (though, having read many a Phillipa Gregory novel in my time, I am PRETTY SURE I know how things are going to turn out.)

Oh, and as long as you're dispensing advise, maybe you could tell me how to keep my son from jumping into every body of water he passes. Saturday our town had its annual downtown fair, and Eli took the opportunity to hop waist deep into the center fountain as breezily as though he was splashing in a puddle. Then yesterday our family was at the pool for all of fifteen minutes when a storm suddenly rolled into the horizon. At the first thunder crack the pool was evacuated, and a few minutes later when the rain became imminent, they sent everyone home. So we were scurrying around trying to get everyone toweled off and pack things back up, and when we turned around to get Eli, he had flung himself back into the water and was paddling around gaily as a lifeguard approached to fish him out. He was literally the only person in the water, so that was a... proud moment.

Oh and also Jameson is crawling around everywhere and it's a lot of fun except that, now that he can sit up at will and pull himself to standing and all that, he views his crib as a the equivalent of a KGB cell. He instantly starts wailing and crying whenever I put him down, even if he was so tired that his eyes were literally falling shut just seconds earlier. This is very distracting when I'm trying to watch Mad Men, as you can imagine. Maybe a ciggy and an Old Fashioned would help.

Friday, August 05, 2011

At The Lake

For those of you curious about how exactly one "goes to the beach" in Canada, here are some action shots from Lake Huron:

You ride in a golf cart down the bluff from the cottage to the shore. You could walk of course, but then you would also have to walk back UP, which might constitute exercise and is not part of a vacation.

You perform water dances similar to those of the Little Mermaid. Maybe several hundred water dances, all of which require an audience.

You gnaw on a plastic shovel for upwards of an hour.

You make sure to bring along a beautiful grandma who also cooks and babysits teething infants.

You enjoy the solitude.

You sit in a chair and read.

You wear proper sun protection.

You play in the clear, shallow water for as long as the grown ups will let you. (And I mean VERY shallow. It's the longest sand bar I've ever seen. To give you some perspective, we were probably a hundred feet out at least and Jim and I were on our knees in this picture.)