Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On the street where we live

A few days ago the sun was brilliant and so we decided to take advantage of it and the sidewalks that were actually cleared. It was Sweet One's first time walking outside by herself.
The balance of holding on to her so she wouldn't fall and letting her go so she could figure things out on her own was a little hard to learn at first, but once she got the hang of it she was thrilled. She refused to hold my hand (something we'll have to remedy down the road) and showed little hesitation in exploring her surroundings.
Determination set in when she decided that the neighboring walk (which has not been cleared once all winter) was something she would tackle.

All in all, Sweet One seemed to be loving the outdoors. She was fearless and excited to see what was out there.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicken Little sobers up

I've always been a person who needs to look at negative possibilities to figure out how I might deal with them before I can focus on the positive. "Hope for the best but expect the worst," was what a good friend once told me, "that way, if the worst happens it isn't so hard to deal with. If the best happens, it's great!" Over the past three weeks there have been a bunch of things that, on their own, I could deal with but one on top of the other made Chicken Little rear her ugly head. There have been some moments where I wanted to give up completely.

We are starting to get our Green Card application together and one requirement is a medical exam done by a doctor who is approved by immigration. I really had no idea what to expect at our first appointment today. As we entered the waiting room, an elderly Ukranian woman moved across the room to give us space to sit together and also so that she could more easily try to piece together a conversation with a young African mother. We sat there with Sweet One looking around the room (and once she got comfortable she would smile at anyone who'd look at her!), we heard Ukranian being spoken between this woman and three others who appeared to be part of her family. Another young man joined them shortly before they all left together and I overheard that this woman has seven sons, five of whom are "here in America with me". After all these people left there was an Indian man with us in the room. Sweet One kept smiling at him and laughing as she looked out the window. At one point he said something to the effect that it doesn't matter what happens, once she smiles like she does the whole room lights up. We agreed.

The waiting room we spent so much time in was unlike any other I have seen. The carpet was thin like you often will find in an office but it was also quite dirty. There was a LittleTikes picnic table in the middle of the room. Clothing on a rack and in boxes suggested to us that those who needed them would take them. The chairs creaked and appeared to be quite old. Information posters on the wall were in languages other than english. It was obvious to us that this office dealt with many immigrants and that they have a lot of patients in on any given day. I learned later from the nurse that they also care for a large number of refugees as well as regular Americans. In the end, it was clear to us that this clinic did everything they could for those who would not be able to get help from the regular private practices that one finds in this country.

After I was done with the nurse I sat with Sweet One playing quietly with my keys as I held her on my lap. I continued to pay attention to what was going on around me. A nurse was holding something with WIC on it, trying to find out from the couple she was talking to if the mother could prove an address and income. Quite honestly, it didn't seem like they could. English also seemed to be a struggle for them and any attempt to guess which country they came from would be futile. (I wouldn't be surprised if it was somewhere along the lines of Vietnam or Thailand but that is a huge guess.) There was also talk of a child who did not gain any weight and had shrunk in height. They were going to remeasure and luckily there was a mistake of 2 inches!

We spent close to an hour and a half there and most of it was in the waiting room. I can honestly say that it was a sobering experience. I've been worrying about a leaking bathroom ceiling that could fall in because our house is poorly insulated and the heat loss has been causing some ice build up. Big Love's paychecks will be smaller than the previous year because of a mistake made by the administrative assistant. I'm so sick of always having to plan supper and go grocery shopping, it feels like a never ending process. Seriously? "For fukk sake, wake up!" I said to myself as Sweet One and I sat eating our modest suppers after we had gotten home - me, left over brown rice and kidney beans and her, rice noodles and my kidney beans. (It will still make me laugh when I'll find a good portion of those beans in her diaper tomorrow, completely undigested!) We own a house that is our home; we get a paycheck two times a month and there is no chance of Big Love losing this job; we have food and the ability to get more if we run out; I have a husband who adores me and a daughter who amazes me every day! These people that I watched would probably give anything to be able to have what I have.

The next time I'm frustrated because I haven't been able to replenish my wardrobe with new clothes that fit, or that we're coming close to the end of the month and we haven't saved as much as I would have liked, or that my DVR messed up and didn't tape the show it was supposed to, I hope I can focus more on what we do have and not what I think we lack. Perhaps I'll be able to send Chicken Little on her way for good.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Riding my stream of consciousness into New Orleans

The last three weeks have been somewhat stressful - not sure if we were going to owe the church money because of someone else's mistake, waiting to find out how much less Big Love would get paid each month also due to the mistake, things going wrong with the house, overcast weather making me depressed .... lah, bah, gah .... etc. I've had my moments. We've had our hearts set on going to New Orleans next month for a few days and I was worried that the trip would take the course of the cheesecake I made Big Love for Valentine's Day - it was baked and yet the texture was more of a thick mousse, the glaze was hard and the crust was soggy so it really wasn't a cheescake at all! After spending enough time online tonight to fry my brain, I emailed my sister the progress. (I'm amazed how many hotels have discounted rates at this time of year!) Here is said email:

.... I just found a hotel for $59 a night WITH a crib option and so that way we'll be able to take the express bus in (save $60 there by not taking a cab) and not bring our pack n play (save $50 there in baggage fees) and thus be able to afford the trip - AND a special day where we go on a tour of a Plantation. So how cool does that sound?! Wanna join? March 22-26 is when we're going. Hoo wah. This might actually happen and even nicer is we don't have to pay taxes and shit like you do with Air Miles when we book the flights with our rewards and so something MIGHT actually work out for me and I can stop worrying about how my bathroom was leaking again and that my house makes it sound like it is raining because of all the heat loss due to crappy insulation and FUCK IT I'm going to New Orleans and it'll be great! Now we'll sleep on it and book it tomorrow!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One negative aspect of social media

Social media doesn't always help me feel more in touch. Yes, it is easy to check in on people we are curious about - to see if the friend who dumped us in Grade 6 is still the 'it' girl in her new world, to see if that ex-boyfriend's ended up with someone not quite as cute as we are, or the ease of satisfying our curiosity of 'where are they now'.

As the person who moved thousands of miles from home, I am often thinking of my friends back home. I leave messages on their wall, congratulate them on the various events they post about, and drop a quick hello here and there with the simple hope that they will know someone is thinking of them. I have to admit that while I don't expect every little remark to be reciprocated, once in awhile it is nice to hear something back and with some people it is more often than not ignored. After awhile, I give up. What is the point?

Today I got an instant message from someone I have not heard from in quite some time: Hey, How are things? [Your daughter] is beautiful! Only just getting into the facebook thing, again. Sorry I am crap at keeping in touch! I haven't heard anything from her in three years and the excuse of not using facebook a whole lot is crap as I have seen regular updates from her. So at what point do I realize that I am taking this too much to heart? With tools such as Facebook, is there too much expectation for people to keep in touch? I am trying to take into account my struggles with a lack of my own community here and so maybe I am making too much of this. But she was a good friend at one point and that is why I feel hurt.

I probably won't spend too much time obsessing over this as I have dishes to do and Weeds to watch, but I am curious about what you do. Do you have higher expectations for people to regularly keep in touch now with things such as Twitter (I don't tweet) and Facebook at your disposal? Or can it sometimes make you feel like shit to have put some effort into keeping in touch with a particular friend, get nothing in return for years and then all of a sudden, "Well, I suck and I don't care"?


Maybe I should have titled this "No one wants to be rejected" because I think that what this all comes down to is that for three years I felt completely rejected and that never feels nice. Last night the episode of Life Unexpected was all about that: No one wants to be rejected.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Now that I'm a Mama I listen to street music

The first album I ever bought of Lionel Ritchie's Dancing on the Ceiling and I remember clearly listening to it with my pink walkman in Grade 4 with my boyfriend, Mark, sitting beside me. I quietly sang, "I only want to say I love you" over and over, along with the song hoping he'd hear me. In grade 5 when my friend was showing me all of her heavy metal cassettes I was completely clueless. I didn't really like them but I thought that maybe I should since everybody else did. So I borrowed some and tried to like it. It never worked and I didn't really care.

In High School, I started hanging out with a couple of guys who had a band. They were shocked at how little I knew about popular music because they expected more from a person who had been taken music lessons for most of her life. They took me through the CD store multiple times, surprised that their recitations of band names was met with my blank look.

These CDs basically sum up the listening I have been doing over the past few years:
Sara Bareilles, Little Voice
In the Heights
Gavin DeGraw, all three albums
Glee Soundtracks
The Essential Billy Joel (2 Discs)
Having such a short list is a stark contrast to the days when I would buy new CDs almost weekly. (There was a year when I claimed close to $1,000.00 on my tax filing for CDs.) I loved being able to find new recordings of all kinds and add them to my collection. It was so easy to go into a store and come out half an hour later with two to four CDs in my hand. (The reality of using student loans to do this didn't hit until a few years later!) CD purchases were one part therapy to help me cope with a hard break up, one part research/professional development and one part entertainment. At this point in my life I nearly lived in my car because of all the places I needed to get to and music played an important role to keep me awake! (Nothing like Bach to keep me calm during nasty winter driving.) Listening to music was important to me.

Nowadays I am beyond clueless as to what is current. The spaces meant for 'popular bands' in Sweet One's book have been left blank. I'm more likely to have Elmo's World in my head than I am anything that is remotely connected to the adult world. But maybe this is a little more informative than I thought. After typing who sings go outside on sesame street episode 4202 into my google search spot I learned that it was Jason Mraz. Now I'm singing a small part of the melody line from I'm Yours. "I won't stay inside, no more, I can not wait to go outdoors...." Oops, that's the Sesame Street one. I guess I still have some work to do to join the adult world!

Monday, February 8, 2010

If they were all like this I'd have half a dozen

I had a couple of weeks where I felt like I was barely getting by .... and then today came. Big Love woke me up around 8:00 (yes, he gets up every morning with Sweet One so they can have some time together and I sleep in - every day!) so I could get on the elliptical. I had a good work out and it felt great to care for myself in that way. Sweet One fought going down for her first nap, but that's ok. The sun was shining and for awhile it didn't seem like it would ever stop. Sweet One was in a great mood when she woke up and that mood continued on all day, especially after her second nap was a good one as well. We had a nice walk when the sun shone again around 3:45 and that was pretty much our day.

Sweet One has been going through so many changes lately. She is understanding more and non-verbally communicating so much to us. Each day we wake up and she looks different - a little more mature. Not so fast, little girl! Slow down so Mama can catch up with you! And so after a day like today when she has been in a great mood, the sun is shining and I feel good, I can only say that I am especially in love with my daughter today. She is making being her Mama so easy. Perhaps I'll have half a dozen more! Back to reality. My cup is overflowing and being a Mama is the greatest thing on earth.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Screening for One

Sometimes when I am most anxious about something it means that I need to deal with it. To simply take the step forward and get it accomplished. Today I did just that.

I love going to the movies. In Sweet One's first two months of she and I went to four movies but as she got older it was obviously harder for me to do that. It took awhile but I finally started going to them by myself - if the movie schedule coincided with when Sweet One was napping - and it was great to get out on my own. I often get too wrapped up inside my own head and seeing movies has always been helpful in giving me a much needed escape.

Today Big Love told me I was going to a movie. I hadn't been for a few weeks because the schedules of those I wanted to see weren't the greatest for me getting Sweet One down for her nap. In these same last few weeks Sweet One has not been nursing during the day and so I was using this as an excuse. I looked at Big love and told him that he'd need to put Sweet One down for her nap. I got one of his calm, reassuring looks and a, "that will probably be good for me" which left me with no excuses. I was nervous to leave Big Love to get her down for her nap. I've been doing it for so long and I didn't want her to scream at him ... blah, blah, blah. Ridiculous! I've been needing some time to myself for awhile and I felt guilty for doing just that. Now that I'm not nursing as much I need to let go a bit and let Big Love figure out things for himself with Sweet One. This whole motherly guilt thing sucks ass and I think it is stupid even though I let it consume me more often than not.

I left the house with a slightly queasy stomach. I felt teary as I was buying my ticket and as I sat down in the empty theater but that had more to do with feeling lonely than with guilt. Then there was a moment of "he's probably putting her down right now" and then I stopped. I was completely alone in this theater on a Friday afternoon. For about $6 I had a private screening! I let the mindless movie entertain me and my popcorn fill my jiggly pooch.

When I got home I was told that they survived. We all did and we're probably all the better for it. Now if I can just find some way to get Sweet One to nap more than 45 minutes things will be even better!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wrinkled up old squash

A number of days ago, I can't even remember when it all started, I decided to roast a butternut squash to then mash up for Sweet One. It had been in the house for awhile and so I cut off the bad spots and threw it in the oven with the potatoes. (Right! Then it would have been Saturday.) When it was time to take Sweet One up for bath and bedtime, the squash was close but not quite so I decided to turn off the oven and let it finish up that way.

Fast forward to Monday. I was putting together Sweet One's cubes and it struck me that I had made her some squash but I didn't know where it ... ah shit, I bet it never got out of the oven. (The second thing to have such a fate in the past month or so.) I couldn't face it and so after swearing and Big Love asking what was up, I told him to look in the oven. He laughed.

Fast forward to today. Wednesday. Four days (well, that's not that bad) after it all started. I remembered to finally get the squash out of the oven and don't they look appetizing?!

I feel like the squash looks. Hopefully whatever is going on will finish soon.