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Archive for September, 2006

I gave Max a bath today around 4pm. It was at this time which I discovered that the natural light in our bathroom is perfect for plucking the hairs on my face. I had hairs growing out of pours I didn’t even know existed – and they were, like, an inch long. As I meticulously stretched my skin and pulled the tiniest imposing black hairs, Max played happily in the tub. Unlike getting him to cooperate when it’s time to get in his car seat I have no problems getting him to take a bath. Baths, he likes. Car seats, that’s a story for a later day. And, yeah, getting him out of the bath is also a story for another day.

After freeing the mile long hairs pullulating on my chin and above my eyes I suddenly felt dirty. Although the mowing process took about twenty minutes and Max’s skin was beginning to look like an 80 year old’s, I decided to leave him in the tub and turn the shower on for myself. Bath time had us busy for about forty minutes. But, what the hell, I felt clean and like a woman when it was all over.

Since I was sparkling and my mug now had hair in only the areas one would expect, I was stoked to make the dinner I had planned. I got Max’s nappy on, turned on Sesame Street, and gleefully headed downstairs to get a recipe off the computer. As the printer was doing its magic I heard something that I would have sworn was impossible to hear. I heard the sound of a toilet seat falling on the floor (our seat is broken and is barely hanging onto the snaps that are supposed to keep my ass from falling in the water). NOOOOO! I thought for sure I must be mistaken because I know I locked that damn bathroom door.

Well, I “know” wrong and as I rounded the corner my fear was confirmed. Max was hovering over the toilet frolicking in the water. Thank the stars I actually took the time to flush – a rarity these days. When I got into the bathroom the seat was on the floor, one of Max’s hands was in the water, the other on the flusher, and there was a roll of toilet paper waiting to go down. All my gentle parenting philosophies were flushed down the toilet (heehee) and I yelled, “MAXAMILIAN! WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? NO, NO, NO!” I ripped him away from his play area and threw him back into the bathtub. It was mortifying because although the water was clean the rim had not been scrubbed in about a week.

But oh, there’s more…

When Max was in the tub it dawned on me that he was diaperless. “MAXAMILIAN! WHERE IS YOUR DIAPER YOUNG MAN???” With the sweetest look on his face and the softest most serious voice he pointed out into the living room and said, “poo poo.”

I just had to laugh.

So, after I get his butt cleaned and bath set up, again, I go out into the living room to see what the damage is – hoping that my dogs didn’t locate it first and turn it into a snack.

I found one big ball of terd and a diaper flung to the side. Damn it. When I finally scrubbed the carpet enough to take out its color I took the dirty wash cloth to the laundry basket. On the way there I stepped in another terd pile. So, as I kept one eye peeking in on Max in the bathroom, happily playing in the water, I scrubbed again then scanned the rest of the up stairs for more butt critters.

Hal got home maybe ten minutes after this whole fiasco. Lucky man. I whined to him about my last hour as he laughed at the humor in it all. We decided that we would all take the dogs for a walk so I could get out of the house. We also decided that Hal was going to cook dinner tonight.

Before leaving he put on some brown rice. I asked him if he thought it was a good idea to leave that sitting there cooking while we walked the dogs. He reminded me that brown rice takes forty minutes and that we’d be back way before that. Besides, he said, “it’s not like I’m going to burn the house down.” No, that is a job for me when I’m cooking.

So we go on a nice walk and when I run upstairs ahead of everyone because my bladder is about to let loose I smell the smell of burning rice. Before we left for our family walk, Hal turned the front burner on “low” after the rice started to boil and the back burner that actually had the rice sitting on it was left on the highest setting.

He almost burned the house down.

And, on a completely unrelated note…

Making love to your husband while your baby is taking a nap is a lot like taking the SAT’s. There’s no time for foolin’ around and the alarm always goes off before you’re satisfied with what you’ve done.

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Two longtime friends of mine came over last night for a visit that lead to conversations about relationships, communication, motherhood, and other topics that touch the lives of one or all of us in some fashion. When ever I spend time with people and the door to my mind is open to giving something other than diaper changes and receiving something other than sweet hugs and kisses from my family, I feel refreshed. It’s just a fact of life that one relationship, of any kind, won’t ever full-fill every need I have. I feel full on so many levels and each level has its different source. When I spend time with friends I’m reminded that I’m not only a mom, a wife, a daughter-in-law, or a basket case. Yes, that was a little ode to The Breakfast Club. I’m also a loving and giving friend who has a world of knowledge and love to share and needs that can only be fulfilled by receiving knowledge and love from friendships with women.

Max was quite the comedian and entertainer last night. He had us all laughing our asses off whenever he made the decision to do something – which was every moment he could. He skillfully imitated a clucking chicken, ran out from behind the curtain with his arms stretched out while growling like a monster so he could scare me, and charmed his audience with his growing vocabulary skills. His energy was different than any other time I’ve ever seen it. It was new energy brought about by having a captive audience. It was the energy of an entertainer. He soaked up the laughter and applause and of-course, repeated his comedy routine several times milking it for as long as he could. He had no problem being the center of attention and in fact, judging by the look in his eyes, he wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was also really cool that we were still able to carry on adult conversations in-between Max’s comedy acts.

Hal was a complete and totally wonderful partner, too. He had no problem tending to Max while I spent time with my girlfriends and he did it all instinctually. It’s nice to not have to “ask” your partner to take care of the kid while you do other things. I am very grateful for how attentive Hal is with Max and although I feel that this is the way things should be, I am well aware of the fact that for many moms (and some dads), it is nothing like this.

Now, even though I know Max will protest the affection and do every thing in his baby powers to pry between us, I need to get upstairs and give my hubby a big hug. Yeah, Max gets jealous when mommy and daddy snuggle.

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Nursing Whoas…

Although I love nursing Max I can’t deny that there are some idiosyncrasies about it. For instance, I have nicknamed him, Wandering Hand. He thinks this is funny but I can assure you that I do not.

Some of his tactics that have gotten him this name (and a few other names, some which will not EVER be mentioned in public) are:

1.) He likes to take the skin on the soft part of my breast and pinch it between his baby-sharp fingernails. I’m constantly shoving his hand away telling him to stop it. But, like I said, he thinks this is funny and in goes the hand again.

2.) If it’s not the pinching that’s irking me it’s the “I must go for the other nipple when-ever mommy leaves it open,” mentality he has adopted. When I slack off for even a moment and leave my poor other boob bare to the air here comes Wandering Hand ready to pinch it, pat it, and push it in as far as it can go with the palm of his wee little wandering hand. Grrrr.

3.) Every time I shove Wandering Hand away from my exposed nipple he starts whining. And, while still nursing (he ain’t letting go of THAT nipple) he is slapping me.

4.) Whenever we nurse while I’m sitting up and he’s in my lap (as oppose to both of us lying on our side in bed) he HAS to be barefoot. No matter where we are I have to take his shoes off. Then, instead of calling him Wandering Hand, I refer to him as Kicking Face, because that is what he likes to do to me. Believe it or not this isn’t as bad as it may sound but when we are not at home he typically only nurses for like, one millisecond. Then I have to struggle to convince him that his shoes must go on again.

5.) This last complaint isn’t a problem… anymore. I nipped it in the bud RIGHT AWAY. See, once nursing babies become mobile, they like to be moving all the time – including when they are latched on to mama’s boob. It is also usually around this time when they get their first set of real piranha fangs in. Max would always try to do flips and dives around me while he nursed. This was where I drew the definitive line for him. This was a big NO-NO for me. That is why now; we only nurse in two positions – either lying down together or him lying down on my lap. Any time he gets a little bit of that crazy energy I make him stop nursing. Of-course, he’d rather nurse than do a flip so it was easy to teach him this boundary.


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Ultrasound Today!

Hal and I went this morning to get the ultrasound. I don’t remember feeling so anxious and excited about Max’s ultrasound. I think that is because at this time during my pregnancy with him the idea of having a baby was still just an “idea.”  With this baby, it’s REAL.

The technician was a man in his late thirties/early forties who was offended that we were there to “just find out the sex of our baby.” He claimed that any ultrasound tech would be up in arms about that. Even when he stopped being rude he was still abrasive and arrogant. If we weren’t there to discover something wonderful the tech would have made the entire experience a bad memory.

But, he was so not a part of my need for happiness today. All he needed to do was his job, and he did. This is the source of my ear to ear smile, today:

Meet BellaGrace.

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Transitioning and Toddlers

Max’s biggest challenge right now is leaving one activity/situation/environment to go to another. When he’s enjoying something he never wants it to end, naturally. So, leaving grandmas, the library, story time (you name it) has become a lesson (for me) in time management. My approach, which seems to be working, is to give him ample warning that we are “about to leave” or “we are leaving in 15 minutes.” Sometimes, however, I am not able to give him the time he needs to emotionally prepare for the change of scenery and I find myself carrying a kicking and screaming toddler out of the home/building/room (you name it). While it doesn’t anger me that he is throwing a fit, it can be somewhat embarrassing and frustrating – such was the case yesterday while leaving the library. It’s embarrassing because you know people who don’t have or understand kids are thinking, “Geeze, what a brat” or “Why can’t she control her child” (that one really kills me! CONTROL??? HA!). And, it’s frustrating because he’s usually kicking and squirming as I’m trying to hold and console him. But, what can ya do? I just tell him I love him and that we are going to such and such place (I try to make it sound fun no matter what our next stop is)… “Max, we are going to get a root canal… ooooh how fun!”

I do this, usually, with a smile on my face but if you look real closely, you can see the glisten of sweat on my forehead and the redness in my cheeks.

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My last post was written during the exact moment I was having blissful feelings about my in-laws and while I was at their house visiting. When I was done with the post I went out into the kitchen, still high from writing, and found Max sitting on the counter eating bread while MIL was standing in front of him. She noticed that I looked at what he was eating and held it up to exclaim, “Its bread.” She smiled and I smiled back at her then leaned in to give her the most loving hug followed with a big kiss to boot. I was swept up in my emotions and blurted out, “I love you soooo much!” She laughed and said, “That’s because you have family, now. You’ve never had that before.” I started to cry while I tried to laugh it off saying, “damn pregnancy hormones!” We both laughed and she gave me a big hug.

Later that night when Hal and I were at home talking after Max went to bed I told him this story.

He then said, “See, even my mom has a little bit of wisdom every-now-and-then.”

 

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I’m at my in laws again tonight. I’ve been over here every night since Friday. Can’t say that I mind. Everyone pays lots of attention to Max which allows me to veg-out in the recliner unharassed by toddler-needs… which for a SAHM is like a wet dream come true. They also have a nice supply of food in the kitchen. Grandma always makes sure that there are plenty of vegetarian options for when we come to visit.

I’m feeling kind of bad about all the bitching I’ve been doing about the ol’ in-laws. Even though every word of it is justified, the truth is, I really, really, REALLY love them. They treat me like family and I feel like a part of their family. Hal and I not having kids until we had been together for ten years really was the key for me getting along with his family post-baby. I know them. They know me. I don’t have to hold back my feelings yet I’ve matured enough to know how to “pick my battles.” Hal’s family and my mom are my only true family. I have a bio-dad, a step-dad, and other “relatives” but none of them feel as close to me as mom and Hal’s family.

For instance, my step-dad’s wife turned 50 recently and had a big to-do at their home. Were we invited? NO. My feelings were so hurt when she (accidentally) casually mentioned it as she was showing me a gift she received from one of her sisters at said party. I think she picked up on it because she quickly changed the subject. We try to have dinner with them once or twice a month but that is about the extent of our interaction. While I do love them and value the short amount of time I get to spend with them, it’s just not the same as Hal’s family. I actually don’t feel as connected to my step-dad, his wife, and their son as I would like too. They are good people but kinda isolated from Hal, Max, and me.

Now, with Hal’s family… his uncle who lives in California and has only visited a handful of times since I’ve known Hal, is currently in town. With Hal’s family, we are EXPECTED to be at the house when relatives from out of town visit. And, you know, I like that. It makes me feel loved. It makes me feel like part of the family. His uncle even treats me like family and makes me feel loved.

Anyway, while I love all of my family members I definitely feel closer to some than others. But hey, that’s to be expected.

Max is a really funny kid. He gets it from his daddy.

Ten things Max does that makes me smile and laugh:

1. Lifts his leg up, holds his butt cheek, makes a farting sound and then laughs hysterically.
2. Holds a toy behind his back, squats, makes a fart sound, drops the toy as if he pooped it out then laughs hysterically.
3. Makes a fart sound when I bend down then laughs hysterically.
4. Climbs in the “steel cage” (aka: our chrome laundry basket holder) and growls like a beast with his hands up in the air as I say to him, “you’re a caged animal!” You are a beast, Max!” And then of course, he laughs hysterically
5. Runs up behind me, slaps me on the ass, and says, “butt butt!”
6. Says, “MMMM, MMMM, good!” as he closes his eyes real tight and rubs his belly in a circular motion when-ever he eats something he really likes.
7. Says, “My robot!” while pointing to himself when Hal tries to play with his Power Rangers and Transformers.
8. When he runs through the house naked because he’s refusing to put his diaper on he always hides behind the living room curtain and yells, “mama! mama!” I then have to go out into the living room and ask, “where’s Max?” Every time like clockwork he runs out from behind the curtain roaring like a scary beast with his hands up and out to get me. He charges right for me with laughter the whole way and jumps into my arms giving me the biggest baby bear hug ever.
9. When he grabs my face and gives me 20 kisses in a row on my cheek.
10. When ever I say, “I love you Max,” he hugs and kisses me as his return gesture.

I recently told a girlfriend of mine that I can see myself having four children. Yes, I said FOUR. At this point I think I heard her die a sordid death of shock on the other end of the phone. Hal and I were eating lunch the other day (by ourselves at a restaurant… woo hoo!) when he mentioned to me that he could see us having ONE MORE BABY. We both agreed that it would be something to revisit in a few years after this baby is born but it was great to at least hear he is open to the possibility. Now, if I can just get that in writing signed with his blood.

Mama-work is the most demanding work I’ve ever done, as anyone who knows me has heard me say too many times. But, it is by far the best and most rewarding work I’ve ever done (also something I say often). I can see myself accomplishing a lot of goals throughout the rest of my life (writing professionally, getting a college degree, traveling more, reading more… to name a few common and well understood goals) but the most meaningful one of them is raising babies for a few more years.

Now, I have to go and make guacamole for our taco dinner tonight.

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