Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Readjustment.

Oy, today was rough.

We had company the entire week of Spring Break, and then a two-week stay in Michigan, which means Piper has had grown-ups paying attention to her, playing with her, and generally catering to her every whim for three straight weeks. I was worried about how she would do when we got home and went back to our days alone. Today wasn't as bad as it could've been, but she went to bed early (by choice) and I heaved a huge sigh of relief when she did.

I don't know if it's because she got used to having someone constantly there to play with, or if it's because I did. I don't know if it's because the trip wore her out (she didn't sleep very well last night, and her nap today was half what it usually is) or her schedule is all messed up or she's just confused and angry about where all the fun people went. Maybe it's because I am so exhausted (see post below) and I woke up stiff and sore from changing beds or because now that I'm back here I can't push the looming spectre of unemployment away anymore.

Whatever it was, I was grouchy today. I didn't feel like indulging her requests to nurse every 20 minutes, and when I offered drinks or snacks she came unglued. I spent more of the day than I should have catching up on email and my fat stack of unread Google Reader posts; she spent a lot of the day destroying the house Ryan cleaned while we were gone and whining. Dear Lord, the whining. Nothing was satisfactory to her today. She wanted mac and cheese for lunch and when I didn't have it on the table in two minutes flat she started to scream "MAC and CHEESE!! MAC and CHEEEEEESE!" at me and wrap herself around my legs. "Waaaaant mac and cheeeeeese!" she whined, and kept whining as I explained that it wasn't done yet. When it was done, she took about three bites and then demanded more of the strawberry-yogurt-covered raisins she had been eating all day. I tried unpacking our bags, but she took the things I unloaded and scattered them throughout the house. I tried to sit down and pay bills, but she wanted to sit with me. She wanted up on my lap to look at LOLCats, then two seconds later she wanted down. While I was wiping down the bathrooms (my husband's self-imposed "to do" list while I was gone apparently did not include items like 'clean up beard hairs I have sprinkled all over bathroom counter' or 'wipe out sink so that wife does not gag the first time she washes face after arriving home'), Piper unloaded the stuff from the cabinets and got really pissed when I told her to stop sucking on perfume-bottles or to stop dipping my toothbrush in the toilet. She didn't want to play with her new dishes and serve pretend coffee to me and her dolls; she didn't want to cook me any play-food eggplant-matchbox-car-doll-bootie pizza. She wanted to read books, but none of the ones I suggested. She threw herself on the floor and howled when I said that two episodes of Kipper was enough TV for one day and we were going to listen to music for a while.

When Ryan got home for a break between jobs, we went out for sushi and she was pretty good for about 20 minutes, eating a half a lemon wedge (she loves them, rind and all) and 1.5 potstickers before starting to shriek and demand to get down. After he went back to work, I gave up any hope of getting something useful done. I filled a bucket with water, gave her a soak-proof baby doll (naked, of course; she has decided that no doll in our house should ever wear clothes), and turned her loose in the back yard. 45 wet minutes later, she was muddy enough to warrant a shower and in a marginally better mood. That didn't last long, however, and she dissolved into whining, fighting, and sobbing. She put up a huge battle when it was time to brush her teeth; I'm sure the neighbors heard her screaming "NO NO NO! NO WANT BRUSH TEETH! I JUST DON'T WANT IT BRUSH TEETH NOOOOOO!"

She passed out around 9:15, which is totally unheard-of. She woke up after an hour, but settled back down. I am hoping that a night of good, solid sleep will cure both our grumpies. Which reminds me, I should be in bed...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

We are back, in one piece and everything. Piper slept through the flight there and then, two weeks later, through the flight back. On the flight back, she was asleep before we left the grond and the seat next to me was empty so I laid her down and - get THIS - picked up the in-flight magazine and read it cover to cover. Then I browsed the Sky Mall catalog, ate a granola bar and drank the plastic cup of ginger ale the flight attendant gave me, and stared out the window. All without a child climbing on me and screaming, smacking me in the face with a toy/book/broom/cat/shoe, or smearing anything on my clothes.

It was over an hour and a half of quiet time, all to myself. I had packed my knitting in our checked baggage, because I thought that with a mid-afternoon flight and a curious 22-month-old, there would be no time. I had crammed my carryon backpack with toys, books, and goldfish crackers, expecting to need some sort of amusement or distraction about every eight minutes. And I didn't use any of it. I kicked myself for not at least stuffing a paperback or my new issue of ReadyMade in there. All the same, it was heavenly and relaxing and amazing to have time on my hands.

I am now considering flying to random destinations once a week, just so my kid gets one good nap in every 7 days and I can finish a knitting project some time before the next Ice Age.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Worn OUT.

Piper and I are in Michigan, kickin' it in the suburbs of Detroit for a couple of weeks. Well, more accurately, we have been here for a week and have one more to go.

And I am so TIRED.

I am always tired when I stay at my parents' house. Something about this place sucks all the energy out of me. I am always dehydrated; my sleep is restless; I wake feeling as though I were dragged behind a truck. Piper seems to be feeling it, too; the purple circles under her little eyes are growing larger every day, no matter what time she finally succumbs to exhaustion and tumbles into bed.

The trip (or maybe it's just the house) seems to be having some odd effects. As the days go on, she is getting more and more possesive of me, but it seems to be only at my parents' house. When we are out somewhere, she's okay exploring and wandering around, but when we're here, she freaks out if I leave the room. Yesterday I went to use the first floor bathroom - which is located not ten feet from where she was watching Yo Gabba Gabba! - and she freaked out, came running, and screamed "Mommy! Mommy!" while pounding on the bathroom door until I opened it and let her in.

We worked on potty-training before the trip and have kept it up during, but she has a very high number of accidents when we are at my parents' house. Since we've been here, I took her on a 3-hour jaunt to Ikea, an all-day excursion to my in-laws' house (complete with an hour-long car ride there and two-hour ride back), an all-afternoon trip up to Troy (1.5 hours each way because of #@!@#!$ traffic), and an afternoon play date at a friend's house. She remained dry throughout all the excursions. The only problem we've had was when I took her to the park, and that was my bad - 45 minutes of playing outside where there's no bathroom is just asking for trouble. But here at the house, she has managed to pee on the livng-room carpet at least a dozen times. I don't get it.

It's been nice to have this little trip - the closest thing I've had to a vacation in a loooong time - but I think Piper is ready to go home. I'm getting there, too - no matter how many days I stay when we come here, there's never enough time to go everywhere and do everything I want to do. And usually I can get a lot of the people to come out here to the house, but for some reason this time they all want me to come to them, which has meant a lot of running around. It is making me sort of sad and bitter about our life in Charlotte (well, more sad and bitter, anyway) because it seems so empty compared to all this. I have friends here who want to spend time with me, things to go and do, places to walk around and playmates for Piper. We have none of that in Charlotte, and as much as I miss Ryan and my little house and the rhythm of my days alone with Piper, it is also like a very peculiar version of solitary confinement. I guess I am feeling a bit wistful about the life we could've had here but didn't. We did try, but the pieces just didn't fall into place.

Or maybe I'm annoyed that despite my parents' sweet digital cable setup, I have not managed to get up and catch my morning re-runs of The West Wing even once.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009