Thursday, September 29, 2011

Goodnight, Sweet One

- Goodnight, my love.
I walk to the door.
- Mom?
- Yes?
mumbles - No, thank you.
I opened the door and start to walk through.
- Mom?
It's like she was waiting for me to make my way out the door before our conversation continued!
- Yes?
- Can you make spaghetti tomorrow, too?
- Sure, sweetie.
We didn't have spaghetti tonight.
- Goodnight, Mom.
I hear the smack of her lips as she blows me a kiss through the darkness.
- Goodnight.

This has been the scene of the last few minutes each night as I leave Sweet One's room. (You can thank the NickJr. series Olivia for the spaghetti line. It's in one of the episodes we have on DVD because I we don't actually get that channel.) I love it. I absolutely love it. Just as much as I love looking at my Little Man's eyes light up when he looks over and knows he has my undivided attention.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

One day I'll wish I could have these days back

It's hilarious how overwhelming moments can be and then they're so quickly gone.

Little Man has seemed to work his way out of screaming himself to sleep. I can say that it has made my life much easier because while I knew we needed to go through it, my entire body ached and sometimes trembled while I listened to him scream. For awhile I thought he might be getting confused when I'd hold him during the day for his naps and make him go to sleep on his own at night. I think I was right. Today is day three of having him go to sleep on his own during the day as well and it has made all the difference. Very little crying at all. I'm not sure if there was even a total of two minutes of crying for all three times I put him down! I miss holding him and watching him go to sleep. After feeling worn out from the day, it give me quiet time to breathe and relax that I didn't feel guilty for taking.

With the change in seasons coming I'm going through the kid's clothes. I can barely keep up with clothes for Little Man as he is already moving into 9 and 12 months clothes. Sweet One isn't growing out of her hers that quickly but there are some 24 mth clothes that are finally a little small on her. After all, she is almost 33 months now! I'm a little emotional as I pack up some of their clothes knowing that any child of mine will never again be this little.

Right now I'm trying to have a few minutes to write these thoughts out hoping to clear my mind a bit. The day goes by and it is one nap after another as Little Man's two naps are on either side off Sweet One's one. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by this as I do not have even five to ten minutes of kid-free time for myself. Big Love is a great help in the morning but really, I'm just trying to get myself functioning so he can get to work. After an interrupted night's sleep it isn't always easy. Today as I was telling him how draining it feels to have our days defined by naps, he said that it won't always be like this. I know there will be the day I wish I could have them both napping and playing right by my side.

"I need my mum-mum," I hear as Sweet One is obviously having a difficult moment. I'll go to her and hold her. Because one of these days I may only hear that over the phone, if I'm that lucky.

I walked into the bathroom. Sweet One was on one end of the room and Big Love was on the other. She didn't want him to do anything to help her get ready for bed. (Usually he does most of it because I've been taking care of Little Man.) She hadn't even let him put her lotion on and so as I made my way to the floor I started rubbing her back with her lotion. "That feels good!" she said with a smile that took over her entire face and planted a huge kiss on me. If that isn't enough to make this all worth it, I'm not sure what is.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Violence at my doorstep

Last night I spent more time awake than I'd like. Little Man woke me up for a second time around 3am and I didn't fall back asleep until nearly 5. The longer I was awake, the more frustrated I got. I starting thinking that if it were actually happening 'now' rather than the few days previous I might have known something of such magnitude was going on.

Three gunshots. One to gain entry, one to kill her and the third to kill himself. She no longer loved him and he wouldn't have it. A sad situation of domestic violence that her two children in the apartment when it was happening. I can only pray that they were asleep when their mother was shot. But I am not so naive to think they wouldn't have seen her body lying there or his as he took some of his last breaths before he died in the hospital. A grim scene that shouldn't happen to anyone.

My bedroom is approximately 50 feet from where this happened; Sweet One's is even closer. All of us were completely unaware of the entire event that took possession of the early hours. I didn't hear any shots nor did I see lights from all of the emergency personnel who came to the scene. I am ashamed to say that I didn't notice the crime scene tape around the building until Big Love pointed it out around 930 the next morning. He only noticed it after our friend pointed it out. That's six hours after it happened.

The only time we've been aware of things going on in that building were when people were screaming at each other on the balconies facing our house or when a young woman's children were playing on the steep hill that makes up the backyard (she was no longer living there when all of this happened).

So it does make sense that it could have all passed us by. But it feels wrong that we only learned of it the way the majority of this community, by word of mouth and the newspaper. "Too close to home" and yet it still feels miles away.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A renewed choice

For the past five years, I haven't worked. My choice to move to this little town so Big Love could begin his career and enable us to start a family also meant that opportunities for my work were minimal. Also, I don't have a social security number which you need for almost everything in this country. (Luckily you can get an ITIN - income tax identification number - when you're in my situation and health insurance companies will still let you be covered without any number.) I could have found a specific type of job and then applied for a corresponding visa but there didn't seem to be anything in the area for me that was worth all of that gong show.

But yesterday things changed. Our Work Authorization Cards unexpectedly arrived in the mail and I can now go and get myself a Social Security Number. This also means that I could go and get any kind of job that I could find. But I'm not going to. I'm not going to leave my children in a day care. It's not that I'm opposed to day care, it is just that I would need a job that was highly personally fulfilling to let someone else raise my children for such a significant part of that day. And so, today I renew my choice to be a SAHM - a role I never thought I'd be 100%. I thought I'd have teaching/performing on the side while still spending the majority of my time with my children.

Hopefully renewing this choice with my new 'status' will help me find more fulfillment in my days with my children.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Soured Memory

A few weeks ago I started craving a milkshake. Not just any milkshake but the kind we used to have when I was growing up. All three of us kids would join my dad in the kitchen. I think I can even remember all of us sitting up on the counter, waiting for a little taste of what was being put into the blender. We'd open our mouths like baby birds as we got a little bit of ice cream to sample. So tasty and so fun.

First my dad would crack some eggs into the blender. I faintly remember it being one egg per person. Next was the milk just before the ice cream. The blender turned on and whirled away as more ice cream was added to get the perfect consistency. At the end, the finishing touch - a little bit of orange juice concentrate. We loved these milkshakes and thought they were the best in the world.

It had been years since I had this particular milkshake. (During high school my preference was a nice thick 'shitty shake', or chocolate, as my friend and I would pick them up in the drive thru.) So after two or three days of wanting to taste this childhood memory, I picked up the ingredients and got rather excited to make one with Sweet One. (I opted to veto the egg just to be safe since I'm still nursing Little Man.) It whirled and looked so incredibly thick and tasty.

I poured some for Sweet One but she said, "No thank you!" Next was my glass. I made quite a bit because there was still some in the blender and Big Love didn't want to help. The moment I started drinking it I was completely disappointed. What was with the sour smell? There was no rich vanilla-ish flavor. Every mouthful made me wonder why I remembered it so fondly. Near the end, still wondering if perhaps some milk had dried and soured in the blender, I remembered that if I'm all out of buttermilk I can substitute regular milk with lemon juice in it. DUMBASS! The orange juice concentrate was the culprit!

I think I'll go back to my shitty shakes. At least they don't taste like soured milk!

Monday, September 5, 2011


Tonight, Little Man went down without a sound, save for a few grunts. It took him 8 minutes to fall asleep. I'm amazed and speechless!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

All dressed up

Little Man was baptized last Sunday and this is the outfit I made for him.I really had no idea if I'd even have the time to sew but after searching online for something appropriate, I realized that anything somewhat dressy for baby boys was rather expensive. In the end, it really didn't take me that long and I was happy with what I did. (I wasn't all that meticulous with the snap tape which is why the shorts hang somewhat uneven.)

My friend found a Simplicity pattern which I used (thank goodness it wasn't McCalls because I always do a better job on a Simplicity pattern) and the rest is history. A texture polyester material on top and a linen blend navy material on the bottom.

Day 1 of helping Little Man self-soothe. Good lord do I hate it! 49 minutes of him crying but thankfully the last half was on and off. I took the first 20 minute shift and I am not kidding when I say that as I sat on a stool, resting my head on the railing, I cried and asked God He had to make it so fucking difficult! I loathe the idea of leaving my baby to cry it out at all but luckily one of the sleep references I use recommends sitting beside the crib for the first three nights. Gradually, we'll make our way out of the room.

I use one other reference as well and mix the two together to find what I feel works best for us. In the end,deciding that tonight was the night we'd start him getting to sleep on his own came from my gut. (Shit, he just sneezed.) I've been working myself up to it for a few weeks. Prior to August he had been sleeping so well. An average of 9 hours at a time at night with a few nights where he'd sleep through the night. Since August has started I am lucky if he goes 5.5 hours. I don't expect forcing him to sleep on his own will cure this as it is quite common for babies his age to wake twice a night, but I do hope it will help him in the long run.

One hour after he fell asleep, one gin and tonic and some popcorn and I'm feeling a little better. Hopefully things won't take quite as long tomorrow night.

Friday, September 2, 2011


It is impossible to pinpoint a time when my relationship with my mother started to decline but I know it wasn't always like this. The actual moment when I no longer felt like my mother would actually listen to me and hear what I'm saying is gone. It's rather sad. Quietly, I've always hoped for an idealized relationship with my mom. You know, the kind you see in the movies! Despite struggles, miscommunications and emotions, it always ends up being resolved after reaching an intimate honesty that can only be found between a mother and daughter. Well, maybe not exactly like the movies but similar to some I've seen between my friends and their mothers.

Last Thursday my mom and step-dad came for their first visit since Little Man was born. I was excited for the kids to see them and I thought that it started out well. We went to a zoo-type place on Friday where Sweet One had an amazing time and then on Saturday my mom and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing the brunch that would follow Little Man's baptism. Sweet One absolutely loved having her here and I loved watching them together. I will especially remember how much Sweet One loved to walk hand in hand with my mom. But then it all suddenly went to shit. I didn't even realize what was happening. One of those moments where it is almost impossible to grasp what is really going on.

Let me set the scene with a little back story. My kitchen sucks. It is small and the space is poorly designed. Very little counter space to do anything. My mom made many comments about how difficult it is to work in my kitchen on Saturday and I agreed because we were working. I often complain to myself or Big Love while I'm working in there. On Sunday there were a total of 10 adults and 4 kids eating brunch and we pulled it off nicely. In the evening I was looking forward to some relaxing after such a busy day but my mom seemed to want to spend more time consumed by how shitty my kitchen is and what she would do to fix it. I asked her to stop. It wasn't only this visit that she has told me over and over how bad my kitchen is and I just wanted a break for a bit. I was tired. It had been a long day. She went off her rocker! Suddenly saying, "you have to let me be me" and a myriad of other things that made absolutely no sense. The more I desperately tried to get her to listen to what I was saying, the more she pursed her lips and stiffened her face. I wanted to scream, "wake the fuck up! I am not trying to criticize! You are putting words in my mouth!" but as my sister later told me, there is no point. She's in a point in her life where she is wrapped up so tightly in her own things that she doesn't hear what people are saying and it's annoying. There is nothing we can do about it.

Monday morning she came to me and said that she and my step-dad were thinking of leaving early "because we haven't seen much of [the area just north of the US border]. You're so busy with the two kids and I think we're wearing out our welcome." I was sick to my stomach. As if all the struggles in our relationship are solely my fault! (As my sister also told me, my mom acts as if she never does anything wrong.) They did end up staying for one more day but after that you could cut the tension with a knife. I couldn't say anything without her reacting negatively. When they left the next morning, my step-dad said good-bye to everyone but me and pretty much ran out the door as fast as he could.

I sometimes wonder if we put too much expectation on these visits. With such a huge distance of space between us, it's as if we want a perfect time together to make up for how little time we spend together and how much money we have to invest in order to see each other.

Unfortunately, I think I need to lower my expectations. Both for these visits (if there are anymore!) and my relationship with my mom. I wish she was my 'go to' person but if I am honest with myself, she really hasn't been for many years. It is obvious to me that at this point in our lives we are not going to meet in the middle any time soon. My sister also struggles with my mom's deaf ears and so it is not just me being targeted and this helps me feel a little better.

I can not change her, I can only change myself. I will learn to let go. But the disappointment this realization brings is hard.
"Oh, Mother. I loved her at that moment, but what a motherlode she is."
Remembering the Bones, Frances Itani
(Today I put together a tumbling composter that my step-dad had bought me while he was here. Shortly after it was done I began to fill it with compost and about 5 minutes later it broke. I can almost guarantee you that my mom is thinking it is a symbol of our visit! "Because everything is a symbol to her.")