Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Irreplaceable

I have some extra naptime today, so I get to write a bit more. 

Time to get serious, folks.

I'm of the opinion that mothers are 100% irreplaceable.  When you lose the one person who you considered your mother (biological or otherwise), I can totally believe that the experience is earth-shattering.  I watched my dear friend lose her mother unexpectedly when I was 12.  I watched my babysitting charge lose her mother when she was even younger, probably around the age of 5. 

Since then, I've continued to watch helplessly while more of my friends and loved ones watched their mothers die.  I've met new friends who lost their mothers young.  For each of them, they have their own unique pain that is the absence of his/her mom.

I'm so lucky that I don't know that pain.  I can't look at my loved one and say, "Yes, I understand" about anything regarding losing my mom, because I still have my mom around.

Ok, so where am I going with this?

Up until recently I had an epiphany earlier this week, I've always considered myself "replaceable".  I mean, I know I'd be missed, and Dave would be so pissed and heartbroken if I died prematurely, but seriously.... not irreplaceable (Mom, I know you disagree.  :) ).  So taking care of myself was never a top priority.  My health was never a concern, and even today with my physicals I really don't have anything to worry about.

Yet.

See, while I've conquered smoking (almost 4 years ago with Dave), I haven't been able to find the motivation to be at a healthy weight.  To exercise consistently, to lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle.  I talked a great talk, but the problem has always been that I haven't had the fire necessary to push through some of my biggest obstacles.

Until now.

Now I'm a mom.  And it hit me this week, with all the indulgences, with my back and knees aching due to all the excessive weight I'm carrying around...I'm getting to that age that all of my lack of healthy action might start causing some health problems.  True, scary health problems.  And thinking about dying of something that I could have done something about, leaving Grace way too early when I could have prevented it... it's breaking my heart to think about it. 

No one really can choose when they die, unless we're talking suicide, which we are not.  I can't control bum luck like getting hit by a bus or getting hit by a toilet seat that falls out of the sky.  But if I die from like diabetes, or a heart attack, or a stroke and the reason I died is in part to blame because I couldn't put down the pizza or get off my ass to go for a walk...

Well.  There's no rewind button.  There's no redo, undo, erase.  No start over.

There's only my sweet little Gracie graduating from high school without her mom in the audience.  My dear angel getting married without me to help her with her dress.  Grace having her own child, and I wouldn't be there to help her out.  Everything I was so unbelievably fortunate to have with my mom....I might not be there for Grace.

How unbelievably unfair of me not even to try to live the best life I can manage in order to hopefully extend my life to maximize my time with her.

So there you go.  My new year's resolution.  Not to fit into a dress, but into a future I want with my Grace.

I finally feel irreplaceable.

It's a Happy Song: Part I

Quickly after Grace was born, I discovered channel 928.  Toddler Tunes.  Kiddie music 24-7.

See, as much of a chatter box I can be, I do relish in not talking for extended periods of time.  I used to go for long periods of time during my 1.5 hour commute to the Air Force base in complete silence.  No books on tape, no NPR, no music.  Nothing.

However, I don't feel that's very healthy for Grace.  Her language skills are building their foundation right now and I want her to hear language even when I don't.  Although it's not talk talk talk sing sing sing all day long in our household, channel 928 is on a lot.  Someone recently opened me up to the concept of listening to books on tape with Grace.  The Deathly Hallows was the only Harry Potter book available for lending, so we've listened to a couple of CDs of that too.

But this post is about 928 and my favorite (and not so favorite) songs I have recently discovered.

Album That Makes Me Laugh:  Numbers! by Sesame Street

I love almost every single song that 928 features, but especially the ones featuring Ernie and Bert.  I don't recall being so hysterically amused by this duo, but the songs One and One Make Two and Six crack me up. The first because of the way Ernie bails on Bert at the end of the song to rendezvous with a Gerard, and the latter because the whole song is Bert singing the praises of the number six while Ernie is all like "you're lame for liking the number six, Bert."

On a side note, this album made me realize that Ernie is kind of a dick.

Most Irritatingly Inaccurate Song:  "When I Was A Dinosaur" by the Chenille Sisters.
Never mind talking puppets and monkeys in other artists songs.  What gets to me about this stupid song is that it starts out with a narrative that goes something like this: "A long time ago, a prehistoric wind blows through the hair on the great woolly mammoth... a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth."  WOOLLY MAMMOTHS DID NOT LIVE 65+ MILLION YEARS AGO.  NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.  Also mentioned: cavemen on the run.  NONONONONONO
*shaking angry fist*

Best All Around Singer:  Justin Roberts
At first, I thought Zach Braff did a children's album under the pseudonym "Justin Roberts."  Nope, Justin is his own man, and he writes and performs great songs.  Among my favorites are The Koala Bear Diner, Song For You, and Maybe The Monster from Meltdown!.  He's just great.


The "Is That Will Ferrell?" Song: Scallywagg from Pegleg Tango by Captain Bogg and Salty
Dave and I heard this song and it sounded so much like the Will Ferrell as Robert Goulet.  I had to look it up to make sure it wasn't him doing a kid's album.  I'm specifically thinking of the SNL skit "Red Ships of Spain" but I can't find it on YouTube.  Much to our surprise, it was performed not by Will Ferrell but an actual band out of Oregon.  And on a side note, one of its members is "Lardass" from the movie Stand By Me.

That's it for Part I.  More will come, but my dear Grace is cooing into the monitor.  That was a 45 minute nap... maybe I'll just let her stew for a bit.

According to Babywise, that would be..uh, wise.  But that's a whole other post.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Snooze Button

When I was a teenager (and in my 20's to be honest...), I would purposely set my alarm way before I needed to get up because I loved hitting my snooze button.  It was like... it was as if I was getting away with something, fooling my body into thinking I'm scoring more sleep when in actuality my body could have probably used that extra 30-60 minutes to actually sleep instead of waking up every 7 minutes to hit the snooze.

These days I don't actually use the real snooze button on my bedside clock, even as a professional who needed to get to work on time.  I just got up with Dave or with my alarm.

However, there are times when I am awakened by some "alarm" and I intensely do not want to be awake.

Behold, the alarm clocks in my household:

Exhibits A and B:

Snooze button is located in your voice box.  Anything from "GO BACK TO BED" to "LIE.DOWN." tends to give us at least an extra half hour of sleep before succumbing to Moose's insatiable appetite.  The big lug is a hobbit, finding every excuse under the sun to have yet another meal.  "So, Mom, it's a Wednesday at 9:43 in the morning...how about another bowl of kibble?"

Exhibit C:
This is a wily alarm.  If he's actually stupid enough to meyowl in the bedroom at night (and yes... he is sometimes that stupid), a myriad of methods to hit the snooze button are available to us.  If he's within reaching distance, he gets tossed at Moose.  If he's not, anything within reach may be used as a mechanism to hit the snooze button, including shoes, pillows, and books.  Sometimes a simple "Hails, Moose...get the kitty" is all we need.

But if he's downstairs serenading the moon...well, we're screwed.

Exhibit D:
This one is tricky.  If it's at like midnight or 2 am... the snooze button is a bottle of formula and a subsequent quick cuddle before she goes back to sleep.

However, if it is after 4 am... like this morning at 4:30 am... The snooze button does not exist.  No matter how magnificently you swaddle her, no matter how much formula you give her, no matter how soothing the bedroom is....  

She will coo.  

And it is a sound that is both awesomely adorable and aggravating at the same time, because I want to sleep dammit.  But she's just being too cute to deny her.  Plus there is the added motivation that if she is not addressed in some fashion soon, that little alarm will turn into a tornado siren that takes a lot of coaxing to shut the hell up.

Luckily, when she gets up at 4:30 in the morning, it usually means she's down for a morning nap by 7-7:30.  Which is why I get to type this out.  

The last few days have gone well, as Grace and I have established a routine of sorts.  She'll be up by 9/9:30, and we'll go out grocery shopping.  She'll go down for another nap around noon-ish, and be up by 3 ish.  

Now now, don't go getting all happy for us with this nap schedule.  Gracie is experiencing some loosey gooseys and a mild fever, so I'm thinking she's teething and heading into her 6 month growth spurt.  So she's probably just resting as her body heals and grows.  I'm sure next week will change.  

BUT until then!  I'm going to enjoy these hours off.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Two's a Charm

That's not really right, but whatever.

She's down for nappy number 2 today and I'm flabbergasted. 

No, that's not really right either.  I'm more...cautiously happy.  Because she's coming up on 6 months, a time of growth for a kiddo and that usually is marked with increased irritability, sleepiness, and hunger.  So I'm sure this isn't going to last, and I'm a bit afraid for Dave tonight.  He's taking over duties while I go exchange cookies with some lovely ladies. 

I'm hoping to have her in bed before I leave, but that all depends on how long this nap is. 

Anyway, life has been extremely busy with visitations from my parents and Dave's mom.  Plus the all-consuming nature of being a SAHM, something I did not plan on.

You know how the saying goes, "Failure to plan is planning to fail?"  Completely doesn't apply to parenthood.  As babies are ridiculously and frustratingly unpredictable, planning is a sure-fire way to drive yourself absolutely insane.  I have a post somewhere about how parenthood is the most unbelievably humbling experience a person could go through. 

I know NOTHING.  I mean... seriously.  NOTHING.  No one can really prepare you for parenthood, no book can instruct you.  At best you can learn through observation, through helping others in their experience. 

Actually I should have learned my lesson a long time ago.  I was educated as a geologist, and I loved looking at rocks n' stuff in the labs, reading about volcanos and groundwater in books.  But my professors were always preaching that there is only so much you can learn in controlled settings and in books.  The true path to geologic enlightenment is via hands-on field experience.

And, by gosh, they were right.  Identifying bits of feldspar in the field is completely different than a lab sample or a thin section under a microscope.  And it's totally applicable to being a parent too.

Yes, I did just make a geologic analogy to parenthood.  THAT JUST HAPPENED.

Anyway, she continues to nap, and I"m hoping to get cracking on Christmas cards while watching The Big Bang Theory reruns.  Tomorrow, perhaps I can continue catching up on email and FB messages. 

And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to post again tomorrow. 

Then again, I may not.  No plans.  Just hopes and dreams.  About blogging. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Drinking Breakfast

Like most babies, our Gracie has a liquid diet.  However, with her appointment with the pediatrician last week, we got the go ahead to start her on some solids.

Of course "solids" is hardly descriptive, as the food in question was barely more solid than her formula.  After a hilarious but largely unsuccessful attempt to feed her the liquified rice cereal as per instructions on the box, we transfered the rice smoothie to a bottle and she finished it off that way.

Last night, I finally got the opportunity to try again, only this time using only a half ounce of formula to the tablespoon of rice cereal, making a loose paste to feed our darling daughter.

Hilarity ensued again.  By God, is she getting fun.

In anticipation of solid food eating, Gracie had the forethought to ask for some various accessories for Christmas to help her with this endeavor including a baby food cook book and freezable storage containers.  Nonnie and Papa Schmidt obliged.  The book Grace got was The Best Homemade Baby Food On The Planet, and she loved it.  For true!  I placed her on my lap and paged through it and she's all smacking the pages and feeling the paper, which is actually a new development over the last week.  She's finally sort of "getting" books.  If "getting" means "pummeling and trying to shove in one's mouth."  Because if that is the case, she totally GETS it. 

Anyway, my sister Amy also helped set me up with a manual baby food grinder, I already have one of those Magic Bullet blenders, an immersion blender, and lots of utensils and wee bowls for Grace to enjoy such exotic foods like oatmeal and bananas. 

I tell you, she just turned 5 months old, and I can't believe she's turned from a squalling blob to a bright eyed, curious, intense, vibrant little baby who gets a kick out of being fed rice paste.  It didn't seem to go fast, but upon reflection the old saying really is true: kids do grow up fast. 

Better hold onto my tush...this is going to be a fast, intense ride.  With BANANAS.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Big Wet Sloppy Kiss From Yours Truly

I am completely overwhelmed by the warm thoughts and wonderful support everyone has been giving me.

You all remind me how truly blessed I am and no matter how many years have passed or how many miles are between me and you, you are still there for me.

Maybe it is the connection of being a parent that brings people together.  I don't know.

But I do know that I'm finally crying tears of joy, knowing that little Grace and I have a support system all over the good ol' U.S.

Thank you very much for taking the time to comment on my FB posts and read this little blog of mine.  And thank you for the advice.  I'll keep everyone up to date with progress.  :)

MUAH!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beginner's Luck?

Grace finally got her four month vaccinations yesterday, almost one month late.  The delay was due to her respiratory issues; the pediatrician decided she was finally ready to get those shots.

I cried with her.  Solidarity, my child!

Before the dreaded four shot punch in her adorable little hamhocks, we discussed a great many  things, like introducing solids, the merits of an exersaucer, and (to my surprise) sleep habits.

It started out as a conversation about Grace's inability TO SURVIVE without me in the room, if not holding onto her for constant snuggles.  Not that I blame her, for I do enjoy a good snuggle myself.  But it turned into a discussion about her seemingly inability to fall asleep without me.

There are two schools of thought on the subject of babies and getting them to sleep:
1. Don't let them cry.
2. Let them cry.

I have friends in both camps.  My pediatrician is a #2 (and not in an awesome way).

I winced when she suggested I should just pop her in her crib when she's tired and let 'er rip.  Grace is good for at least of 20 minutes of unabashed, can't breathe, beet red in the face screaming on the occasional car trip.

When I asked whether or not letting her cry it out would be psychologically damaging, she countered that her need for me to fall asleep could also be damaging.  So I decided to try it last night, and maybe visit the library in the morning for books on both approaches.

So.

6 p.m.: Bath.  Then 4 ounces of formula.  She's still wide awake when I put her in her crib with some lullaby music.

I walk away.

I brace myself.

...

Nothing.  Not a peep.  I hold out for 15 minutes before I check on her, and sure enough the kid is sound asleep.

Huh.

Beginner's luck?

I'll take it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Boat Full of Awesome

Today was full of Awesome*, and I mean that in my own way and not in any way like Merriam-Webster would have you believe, but my meaning is sort of tangental to the slang version of Awesome, in that Awesome means "very impressive."

My Awesome day started early with Grace.  She presented me with her first gift of Awesome in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, where I was fortunate to be removing all kinds of Awesome from her adorable little tush.  After I got her back to sleep by about 3:30, she slept in her swing and I in the chair in blissful non-Awesomeness until 6:45.  When I got her up 15 minutes later, I was again stunned by another display of Awesomeness.

On a somewhat related note, did you know we just started cloth diapering again?  Yes.  Yes we did.

Anyway, after a very long morning that was more figuratively Awesome rather than literally Awesome, I decided to go outside and collect the Awesomeness that our two large labs leave for us.  Since we leave the Awesomeness for up to a week in the backyard, you could say that our yard was full of Awesome.  So there I am, collecting the Awesomeness, and I'm like a third done, and then I turn around and notice that Moose is expressing his supreme Awesomeness in an area that I just de-Awesomed!

Awesome.

Then I return to my beloved Grace who decided to celebrate an uncanny and frequent series of literal Awesomeness with an uncanny and frequent display of figurative Awesome behavior, which would only abate when she was entertained by me every 5 minutes before she would become Awesome once again.  In either sense.

It is now 8 pm, and my Grace has been asleep since...  sometime in the last hour.  I don't even know.

I confess: while I'm utterly exhausted and even though I may have cried once or twice today due to being a tad overwhelmed, her smile could still melt my heart.  Moose's wonderful nuzzling can make my day.

No one told me this was going to be an easy job, especially when you add the two labs and an old cat into the mix.  But I know I can go to sleep thoroughly, wonderfully spent.

Or... thoroughly Awesomed.



*poop

Monday, November 21, 2011

First Monday

It is almost quarter after six in the morning and I expect Dave to be stirring any second now.  I've been up for about an hour.  Grace slept from 8-5 with one binky emergency at 10pm, which is in stark contrast to Saturday night's insanity where we were trying to get her down until midnight.  And she was up again at 3 and I think at 6....

And she's sleeping in her swing.

So I find myself with a freshly brewed cup of coffee in a quiet house, waiting for a load of laundry to dewrinkle, and enough time to contemplate this new lot in life.

The calm before the storm, I'm sure.


Anyway, I'm feeling good about this choice.  A co-worker told me on Friday that she was proud of me and Dave, for taking this leap into stay-at-home motherhood; she told me she fought hard back in the day to make this choice possible.  But not just MY choice, but OUR choice.  Feminists fought for not just a woman's right to choose the home or the workplace, but also for men to choose as well.  We chose this lot in life, and every single couple out there also makes that same choice.  Choosing to have both parents work is not a good or bad choice, and neither is choosing to have one stay at home.  It's simply a choice people make that is unique to every family.

We thought sending her to daycare was the best choice for us.  Luckily, when we realized we chose incorrectly for our family, we had the means to have me stay at home.  Is it strange for me, working my entire life?  Yes.  It will definitely take a period of adjustment.

But I think we'll be just fine.  :)

Mulsoff Girls Unite!


P.S.  Grace seems to be doing better.  We are still battling a fever that won't quit, but she's starting to smile and play again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Burp After Feeding

Not just the name of this new blog, folks, but words to live by if you are a parent of a baby.  Because if you don't, all hell will bust loose in a couple of hours as your child/charge screams bloody murder trying to get it out the other end.  Or maybe that is just our luck.

How is that for an opener?

This blog will contain the bulk of the Domestic Goddessness, including adventures in parenting, budgeting, cleaning, and cooking.  Home Grown Nibbles will primarily focus on the gardening hobby and a bit of cooking.  The main blog will remain the Nexus of News for all things Chateau del Mulsoff, like Grace's first steps, Moose and Hailey antics, travels, visitors, etc.

I hope to update everyone regularly, through at least one of the blogs.  I make no promises about not using cheesy cliches about motherhood, parenting, or the like.  I fully expect that I will drive people nuts with the "boy, she really is growing up faster than I realized!" and "oh, it's the most rewarding job in the world."  So if you aren't into the whole stay-at-home mom gig, that's why there are two other blogs for your reading pleasure. 

So, my last day at my current job is on Friday...almost 2 years writing permits is coming to an end.  While I'm sad about leaving my co-workers and such a cool job (oh hush, writing permits is more awesome than you could possibly know...), I'm extremely excited about spending oodles of time with my wee Grace and this time mostly when she's not hacking up a lung due to pneumonia.

Stay tuned for more thrilling entries on Burp After Feeding!