Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

My in-laws gave Piper a giant-size walk-on keyboard for Christmas.

It's very loud.

Especially since she can't walk yet, so she sits on the keys, and unlike a regular piano, the sound doesn't ring out and then fade. It just keeps going. And going. And going.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Shootout at the ZZZ Corral

What time is it? Why that would be 2:45 in the a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

I am still up.

I am still up because Piper is up. She woke up tonight about 12:30, screaming as though the Boogeyman himself had appeared to her, and since my husband has to get up at 5 a.m. to go to the airport, I took her downstairs with me. I figured it would be a few minutes, a half-hour maybe, until she dropped off to sleep again. I could snuggle her on the couch while watching reruns of Jon & Kate Plus 8 or something.

She refused to snuggle. She refused to sit quietly on my lap while I surfed the Internet. She didn't take kindly to playing alone on the floor, either. Then she went through three diapers in a series of rapid-fire pooping incidents the likes of which I haven't experienced since her tiny-infant days. She screamed and threw herself around in my arms when I tried to rock and shush her. She pushed me away when I tried to snuggle her. She screeched in indignation when I put her in the Exersaucer. She howled with fury when I laid her in the pack n' play, even though I turned on the "soothing vibrations" and "nature sounds." She twisted off my lap and very nearly catapulted herself onto the floor when I tried to tell her a soothing bedtime story.

Currently she is sitting on the floor next to me, playing with the straps and zippers on my diaper bag.* She is obsessed with straps, buckles, and zippers lately, as well as taking things out of their container/box/bag, so it fits the bill on all counts. Even though I'm tired and annoyed right now, I am still getting a kick out of watching her studiously test the zippers and chew on the straps and try to pull out the things tucked inside and finger the zipper-pull.

This is a battle of wills. I can outlast her. She barely took any naps at all today (two, less than 20 minutes each, instead of the two hour-plus ones she should have). This may account for my current, slightly crazed, state of mind, but it also means that she'll have to fall some time. She is a tiny person, she's a kid, she has to sleep. I logged less than eighteen total hours of sleep in the week after she was born; I can do it again if I have to. I will win this. I will stay up with her until she passes out while sitting up, if need be.

Edited, 2:55 a.m.: She's on my lap now, because I heard a small thunk and looked down to discover she was no longer playing with the diaper bag but instead taking advantage of the smooth hardwood floors here in the dining room to lay down and push herself around backwards. The thunk was her foot hitting the leg of her high chair - she'd scooted underneath it and gotten stuck. Much squealing ensued.

3:09 a.m.: Ha-ha! I have the power of boob. I win. She dozed off while nursing and I laid her on the couch so I could finish up a few things. Victory!

3:20: I win nothing. She woke up howling, apparently quite pissed-off at being tricked into sleep.

3:35: Dozing...dozing....

3:45: Asleep again on the couch. Complete with little baby snores. Which, while I find them adorable, probably mean that she is congested and has therefore caught The Plague, aka the sinus/respiratory misery that has plowed through everyone else in the house since last week. Well, this means the rest of my week is going to be a totally shit time...

*My diaper bag? Is awesome. Remind me to tell you about it sometime. And I mean that in an "I have a funny story" way, not a "hey, I'm a freak who thinks everyone should hear about idiotically mundane details of my life" way. Okay, well, maybe a little bit the second thing, because I am blogging here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Again, Not Much of a Planner

My husband has a 6 am flight to Charlotte tomorrow, because he's going down there for a few days so he can do his orientation and meet his students and maybe look for a place for us to live.

Like I said, 6 am tomorrow.

He just got his hotel & car rental this afternoon. It required much scrambling.

He's not packed.

I don't think any of his dress clothes are even clean or accessible.

He can't remember what time his flight gets back on the 22nd.

I have to go buy him some shoes.

We're both sick.

And I have fucking Christmas presents out the ass left to knit.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If I Were Smarter...

...I'd be in bed right now. Instead, I am up writing and blogging and reading and poking around on the Internet. I cannot do this during the day because Piper has decided that I must not be more than four feet from her at any point during the day, that naps are for suckers, and that the key to true happiness is to have someone hold your hands and 'walk' you around the house. She can support her own weight and has the walking motions down pat, but she can't get to a standing position or balance herself, so someone has to hold her up as she walks. I have to admit, it's pretty fun to have her chubby little hands clutch my fingers as she jaunts from room to room, toddling after the cats with delighted squeals and making a complete circuit of the first floor over and over. What's not fun is walking around hunched over for thirty minutes at a stretch, creeping around the house at a snail's pace, "walking" the baby through the maze of holiday-decoration-filled boxes my mom has dragged out in the past three days, trying to make sure she doesn't eat anything glass and every lap around glancing at the basement door and thinking about the 10 loads of laundry piled up down there.

It's hard to keep up with her from day to day, she changes so much. She's always doing something new, and it's difficult to remember it all, let alone write about it. I like to write about her, to try and record everything that's going on with her and put down the tiny moments that make up our life together. A few weeks ago, I read back through some old stuff I wrote when I was pregnant, and it seemed so very far away. Me? Pregnant? I was pregnant? It seems like a lifetime ago.

The truth is I love my baby, and I love being with her every day. I never thought I'd be one of those people. I keep talking about going back to work soon, and eventually I will have to, but right now the thought breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to think about not being with her all day. Even days like the past three, where most of the sounds issuing from her cute little mouth are whines and cries and howls and I drive myself crazy trying to either figure out what's wrong or distract her so that she will be quiet for five minutes before my head explodes. No toy is fun, no activity is amusing, even the once-beloved swing and Exersaucer inspire screaming and full-body thrashing whenever I take her near them. She cries if I put her down, she gags on her rice cereal and peas and sweet potatoes and looks at me as though I am trying to poison her. She fights sleep, throwing herself around in my arms as I try to persuade her to nap or at least go to bed sometime before midnight. My arms and shoulders ache from holding her all day, from picking her up and putting her down so many times. Yesterday I made chicken enchiladas one-handed.

Even on these days, when I am exasperated and tired and realize I haven't had a shower in three days and I just want to work on knitting Christmas presents and maybe finish a damned cup of coffee...even on these days I love her and I would rather be here than answering someone's phone or discussing user-friendly implementation strategies for the latest system upgrade.

I haven't been away from her for more than four hours since she was born. That was only because my mom dragged me out shopping one day when Piper was seven weeks old, and what was supposed to be a one-hour trip out for some birthday cards and Campbell's soup turned into a four-hour odyssey through first the dollar store and then Wal-Mart, with me dragging behind my mother as she perused every single greeting card they had and Max calling every half-hour to tell me that although he'd tried everything three times, the baby was still screaming and if I didn't come home soon he was going to float her down the river in a basket made of bulrushes. After the third call in forty minutes where I could hear Piper screaming in the background, I finally told her that we had to go right now, just buy your brother the card with the shitting monkey and get it over with before the neighbors call Child Services on my husband for stabbing our baby with red-hot pokers.

When we got home, I was out of the car before it had even stopped rolling, and I bolted into the house to find my stressed-out husband holding a red-faced baby who was shrieking so loud the neighbor across the street commented on it the next day. I took her and soothed her and nursed her (ahh, the power of boob) and promised my husband that we would take her with us next time, rather than disappearing into the great wide open and leaving him with a pissed-off infant.

I have been out a few times since then, Max and I have gone out to the movies or dinner once in a while, or I run errands alone. I don't leave her for long periods of time, partly because I don't want a reapeat of that day, and partly because I don't want to be away from her. There are, of course, times when my husband comes downstairs and I say "pleasewatchthebabyI'mtakingashowerrightnowokaybye" because I cannot put up with one more minute of listening to the ceaseless moan-whine and I don't want to dig chunks of soggy, chewed paper out of her mouth for a fourth time in two hours. It usually only takes thirty minutes of hot water and fruity shampoo and fluffy towels before I'm ready to go back downstairs and discover where the cache of oh-so-tasty paper is hidden or make another attempt at convincing her that smushed-up peas are really edible and not something to rub in your hair or grind into your clothes.

I like my little girl, and luckily she likes me right now. I treasure every slobbery kiss, every hug that invovles pulling my hair or poking me in the eye. I know that before too long there will be school and sleepovers and boys and iPods full of music I will call "noise." I'm enjoying this closeness with her for as long as she'll let me.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Not a Planner, But He Makes Good French Toast

One of my husband's more exasperating qualities is the way he hands out information. Whenver anything's going on, he either a) doesn't get all the necessary info, or b) doesn't give it to me. For example, he'll tell me his parents are talking about coming for a visit on Saturday, but he won't know what time and he thinks "maybe we're going to go eat lunch or something together." I don't find out until Friday night that they are coming the next day at two o'clock and not only are we going out to eat, they have a very specific place in mind and I need a nice-looking outfit to wear and they'll probably want to come back here afterwards so I need to make a dessert and stock the fridge with beer. It has taken YEARS of screaming and pleading and explaining and temper tantrums on my part to get him to correct this habit even a tiny bit. At least now he'll tell me up-front that he doesn't have any more information, and occasionally he'll remember to ask for it before he hangs up the phone with the person he has just made plans with.

I'll admit it, I am a control freak and I like to have as much information as possible beforehand. I like to be able to plan for every contingency. Some people would find it paranoid and weird that I would pick out three (sometimes more) possible outfits to wear to lunch with my in-laws, so that I have choices based on what the weather is like tomorrow, possible shoes I might feel like wearing, and whether or not I think his mom will wear a blue dress and do I want to run the risk that we might be dressed even a little bit alike. I am more inclined to call this facet of my personality the "they drive to weird-ass out-of-the-way places and I don't want to be scrunched into their Saturn for four hours of drive time wearing too-tight pants and a sweater that is hotter than a blacktop in July, and ok so sue me but I would be weirded out if my MIL and I both showed up in flowy blue dresses" factor. I will make said dessert and buy said beer for consumption post-meal at our house, but I will fret that maybe blueberry pie won't go with whatever we'll be eating, and perhaps I should buy both light and dark beer because you never know what people will be in the mood for.

My husband's refusal/inability to adhere to the Defense of Our Marriage Freedom of Information Act (i.e. Weetzie will freak the hell out when she does not know every tiny detail beforehand so if you are making plans you'd better get your facts straight, pal, and God help you if you don't tell her everything you know immediately) has forced me to be a little more Zen with my planning. Oh, sure, he's improved (he usually remembers to nail down time, date, and place now), but you are talking to a woman who will not wear red underwear beneath a purple skirt because those two colors don't match and it would bother me all day. I am so Zen now that he can say "my parents are coming on Saturday" and I will just shrug, pick out two possible outfits, and make an apple crisp. That's how Zen I am.

My Zen-master qualities will be sorely tested with this move. Er, possible move, since last night he said that he hadn't actually told them he full-on accepted the offer, and he thought maybe he'd go down there first and check it out. I spent the day combing websites and puzzling over neighborhood maps for a place we may or may not move. I haven't even gotten around to trying to price moving trucks or figuring out how we're going to live for months and months with no furniture because we got rid of it all and, horrifically enough, there is no Ikea in North Carolina.

I suppose I can't blame him for his caution. We went in blind and excited for our California move, and that did not turn out nearly as great as we thought it would. And a job is nice, but if it's going to be another terrible job in a place we can't really afford to live and would hate...well, that's why we left California.

I am pretty proud of myself, though, for not picking up something and beating him with it when I asked about things like the job salary, benefits, etc. and he said he didn't know. I just took a deep breath and told myself that I can't blame him for not researching the job all that well, since we thought it was a long shot and weren't sure how interested we were in another big move. It would just be nice to know these things, so I can work out a possible budget and maybe find a pediatrician or know if I'm going to have to auction a kidney on Ebay every time Piper gets an ear infection or someone keys our car.*

He's supposed to go down there for an orientation before the end of the month (two days right before the school lets out for Xmas break), and I think his plan is go down there solo and check it out - the school, the neighborhoods, the town in general. We want a reasonably nice neighborhood (our budget never allows for one that's super-trendy or super-safe) where we can survive with one car. I am going cross-eyed looking at apartment listings and trying to get familiar with a city I've never been to. When we moved to California, it was sheer dumb luck that got us an apartment three blocks from his school, which just happened to be on the safer end of town. We picked that complex because it was cheap and allowed pets. Somehow I don't think Fate will be that kind twice, and I don't want to end up livng next to a sewage treatment plant (does Charlotte have a DoWiSeTrePla?) or in a place where living with only one car is out of the question.

One thing that got me totally excited about this (possible, probable) move was when Max pulled up the weather forecasts for there...and then for here. It's supposed to be high-60's in Charlotte this weekend. Here? They're prediciting mid-30's and snow. I did not like the cold when I lived in Michigan before, and two years of wearing flip-flops 11.5 months of the year did not make me happy to come back to a place where I have to dress my wriggly, cranky child in 4 layers of clothing just to take her outside.

*Which happens a lot, actually. Twice in the first year we owned it - once in CA, and once two days after we arrived back in Michigan.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Southward Bound

This morning, Max got offered a job in North Carolina.

It appears that we Yankees are about to go get Southern-fried.

Sunday, December 02, 2007