Saturday, May 10, 2008

49 Weeks: Symphony of Destruction

I had been feeling like a complete asshole because our house, for the most part, still looked like someone threw a hand grenade into a moving truck. Turns out the baby's destructive tendencies were the reason I couldn’t get the house together. Ryan took her out Thursday night for a couple of hours, and I unpacked all the stuff in the living and dining rooms (which included five huge tubs of our clothes and a significant amount of spare bedding), put it all away, straightened up, and cleaned. Two hours without the baby and it looked like an actual home instead of a squatter encampment constructed entirely of fleece blankets, DVD box sets of Joss Whedon shows, and cheap t-shirts from Target. The next day she took a hour-and-half long nap and I got our entire bedroom done. It’s much bigger without boxes of crap lining all the walls. Ryan came home from work that day and kept her busy for an hour and her room no longer looked like a Babies R’ Us had dumped a supply truck in the middle of the floor. We’ve lived here for a month, and I felt like a gigantic slacker because the only room in any sort of working order was the kitchen, so I was relieved to discover that I could actually blame the mess on my child. Now we just have to keep both sets of parents from toting carloads of crap down here and dumping it off.

On the other hand, she requires somewhat less entertaining these days precisely because she can roam the house looking for things to do. I am so very, very glad to have this house right now. We don’t have a lot of stuff at the moment, and there’s not much she can hurt (or hurt herself with). It’s one level, so I no longer have to worry about her climbing up or tumbling down stairs, and now that I have things 90% unpacked and put away, most of the maintenance is vacuuming every day so the entire house doesn’t turn into a giant hairball. When I need to do something, I can just turn her loose and let her toddle around. I still spend time with her, of course. We read books every day, books and books and books. Sometimes we (try to) go for a walk. We wrestle (she’s a pretty rough-and-tumble little kid, and wrestling on our bed is a full-contact sport), we do piggyback rides. She likes handing me things, so I get her to help me sort laundry or load the washer. She really, really likes wrestling the cats. For example, as I type this she is body-slamming and then crawling over poor Chick while chattering and giggling away.

We haven’t done very many (or, um, any) out-of-the house activities yet, since our one-car situation means that if I want to do something during the day, I have to get up at 5:00 am, put the baby in the car, and drive Ryan to work, drive home since nothing’s open that early, do my stuff during the day, then pick him up in the afternoon. Piper still wakes up 2-3 times a night, and doesn’t usually settle in for her longest stretch of sleep until 2:00-3:00 am so most days I do not feel like dragging my ass out of bed at 5:00. I’ll have to start soon, though, or I’ll never meet anyone. When we were in Plymouth, I’d made some friends with women who have babies around her age and we’d go to lunch or the indoor playground or the park or coffee together at least once a week, and I am hoping to make some similar friends here to do the same with. I miss having friends to talk to, and judging by the enthusiasm with which Piper greets the neighbor kids, she misses her friends, too. I put together a list of area storytime events, toddler-friendly activities, and La Leche League meetings so we have plenty to pick from every month.

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