Archive for May, 2009
a bedtime routine

4:45pm: An early dinner — homemade bread and homemade potato chowder.  H. gets a slice of the bread and some diced potato; also his sippy cup with some water.

4:46pm: H. manages to get himself wet from squirting the water all over himself.  Que sera sera. Take away the sippy cup, for now.

4:51pm: H. has chewed up about half of a palm-sized piece of sea-salt encrusted herb bread.  He doesn’t really seem to be swallowing it.  It’s just taking up space in there.  We try to coax him to spit some out without any real success.  Take away the other half of the bread to encourage him to eat the bits of potato.  Marginal success there.

4:57pm: Winding down our own dinner, we scrutinize H.’s palate again.  Much of the potato is gone from his tray, surprisingly little of it is on the floor, but he’s still got quite a bit of bread on the roof of his mouth.  We hazard a little biting and screaming while we scrape some out.  The bolus isn’t as large as a ping pong ball but it sure seems that way.

5:04pm: Clear the table.  A. takes The Boy to get cleaned up and out of his diaper.  I clear the table.

5:10pm: Start the water in the tub.  H. crawls around the house, fast as ball lightning and naked as a jaybird.

5:12pm: Drop H. in the tub.  Commence splashing.  A. retrieves the S.S. Mr. T to attempt slight abatement of splashing.

5:13pm: H. tries to hydrate by sucking bathwater from the washcloth.  Let that one go.

5:16pm: Commence actual washing of H.

5:22pm: Washing is done.  Allow H. to splash for a few more minutes.

5:25pm: Remove H. from tub, bundle up in a towel.  A. moves the drying/dressing operation into H.’s room; I drain the tub and clean up as best I can.

5:30pm: Five more minutes of naked crawling is enough, right?

5:35pm: Okay, ten minutes is enough.  Getting the diaper on is easy.  The pajamas, less so.

5:40pm: When did five whole minutes becomes “quick” for putting pajamas on an infant?

5:41pm: A. notices more bread bolus on the roof of H.’s mouth.  How did that get there?

5:42pm: Suffer a slight bite while retrieving the bolus.  If you put the two bits together, surely they add up to a ping pong ball.  It’s ridiculous, really.

5:44pm: Retrieve toothbrush.  (Side note:  has anyone else noticed that the “baby safe” toothpaste comes in a tube like model cement?  If it weren’t for the fruity smell, I’d swear they were just putting a different label on this stuff.)  Attempt to brush H.’s six teeth.  He lets me go at it for a minute or two.

5:46pm: Steal the toothbrush back from H.; the oral hygiene portion of the evening is over.

5:47pm: Kiss H. on the forehead and tip-toe out while A. nurses him (more/less) to sleep.

6:11pm: A. emerges and H.’s room is very quiet indeed.

Inspecting

Moving, starting back to work, and chasing after a baby are leaving me more than slightly exhausted.  This week we had inspections on our condo as well as on our new house.  The inspection of the house did not reveal any surprises, although we definitely have our work cut out for us.  I snapped a few pictures while we were there and thought I would share.

I took pictures of the front of the house from the car because it was raining.  From where we were parked, I couldn’t fit the whole house in the frame, so I had to take 2 shots:

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And the rest of the front, including the garage:

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The upper deck (I expect to enjoy many cookouts, glasses of wine, and cups of coffee out here):

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And lower deck (the deck requires some finishing work):

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Part of the backyard.  H will have somewhere to play outside!

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Woodburning fireplace in living room (this feature is more aesthetic than functional, as we will actually lose a lot of heat up the chimney; thus we will likely only use it for special occasions):

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Ahh….70′s era wall cutouts between the dining room and living room.  I imagine H and I will play peek-a-boo through these things:

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The super huge awesome kitchen.  It has a super awesome DISHWASHER.  And also a microwave, which is a good thing because our microwave died last month.  The kitchen is outdated but we have lots to work with here.  Definitely the best kitchen we’ve ever had!

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More hot kitchen action:

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View from kitchen into dining room:

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View from dining room out to upper deck:

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This house has 4 bedrooms.  We’re using two of those rooms as actual bedrooms for our little family.  The third bedroom will become a guest bedroom and the fourth bedroom will be a huge office/library.  This room will eventually become H’s bedroom.  The paint will be the first thing to get changed in this house:

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This will become our bedroom:

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The downstairs family room has an efficient gas stove.  It will really help to heat the house in the winter months:

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Those are the highlight shots from our inspection.  We have some work to do on the electric and roof, plus lots and lots of updating, but it should work out to be a super awesome home for us.  Did I mention that the neighbors are really nice??

Other than that, just chasing H around, feeding H, feeding H more, and then feeding him again 10 minutes later.  He actually ordered something off a kid’s menu a few weeks back and managed to eat about a third of it in one sitting.  I never seem to pack him enough food for his 2 days a week at the nanny.  Last night for dinner he had a “snack” of whole wheat pasta with red pepper sauce followed by a quarter of my sesame-soy sirloin steak and about a third cup of chopped broccoli.  He wouldn’t stop eating!!!  Yesterday I gave H his second haircut and I managed to really botch it.  He wouldn’t sit still and kept rocking back and forth and squirming.  I cut it too short in some places and it’s really uneven in the back and around his ears.  Oh well.  It’ll grow out again fast enough and I’ll have an opportunity to redeem myself.  Going back to work has been good for me, although I’ve realized that it’s practically impossible to do science part-time.  I never manage to make the sort of progress that I feel I need to make.  I have a self-imposed deadline of August to submit another grant, and I don’t see it happening at this point.  I think maybe it might work out better when we’re in the new place and I have a desk to work at.  Without an actual office at home or at work, my options are limited.  So that’s it for now….I’m hoping that H abandons his current whining jag that is no doubt induced by teething pain.  We’re all zombies in our house right now, except for the cat perhaps, who probably caught some shut-eye last night while hiding in the couch.  Some days, I really wish I could hide in the couch too.

11 Months

Holden ushered in Memorial Day weekend as an 11-month old baby.  It’s hard to believe we’ll be celebrating his first birthday in a few short weeks.  Holden still loves people (especially other babies), animals, chasing the kitty around the house, tormenting the rabbit, dancing, “reading” to himself, going to the park, and getting into everything he can get his not-so-little hands on.  His vocalizations are sounding increasingly speech-like, and he has developed some rudimentary sounds that he associates with specific objects.  ”Dig-dig” is his word for dog.  ”Itty” is his word for “kitty” (he has yet to master the “k” sound).  This past weekend he started being able to stand unassisted from a sitting position.  It was pretty wild to watch him rise up to a standing position without using any support or relying on anyone else’s reassuring grasp.  As I watched him stand, I saw the little self-corrective movements in his feet, legs, and trunk that prevented him from crashing to the ground.  It’s amazing how quickly we are able to acquire these sorts of motor skills.  Holden is indeed a little machine, optimally designed for learning.  

Holden is still working on some more teeth.  The pain seems to come and go without any rhyme or reason.  On days where his teeth are obviously bothering him, his sleep suffers.  He’s asleep by 7:30PM every night—he wakes up every couple of hours thereafter, and finally wakes up for the day between 5AM and 6AM.  I don’t think I’d mind the early waking time if he slept more soundly throughout the night.  I could even tolerate a couple of night wakenings without much of a problem.  The constant interruption of my sleep is really starting to take its toll, though.  That said, during our Memorial Day getaway to Maine, Holden slept through the night two nights in a row.  This hasn’t happened since January.  When we returned home from Maine, he reverted back to his crappy sleeping habits.  I do wonder about the noise in our condo and whether that contributes to Holden’s poor sleeping.  We live on a busy street and there are people up and down our driveway at all hours of the night, smoking cigarettes/drinking beer just below his bedroom window, etc.  It will be interesting to see if Holden sleeps better after we move.  I do have to add though, that Holden and I have perfected our little bedtime routine.  It used to be that we’d do our bedtime stories, brushing teeth, nursing, followed quickly by being tucked into bed.  I’ve found that Holden is so much more relaxed if I cuddle with him for a while after he is done nursing before I tuck him into bed.  It does end up taking me 45-60 minutes to get him to go to sleep, but the process is so so sweet and special that I really don’t care how damn long it takes.  After he’s done nursing, I position him so his head is resting on my shoulder.  I usually pat his hair and rub his back.  He blinks slowly and his eyes lose their focus.  But he will occasionally smile as if he feels like the most loved baby on the planet.  It’s so sweet.  When I finally do lay him in his crib, he rolls immediately to his tummy and smiles as I rub his back and pat his hair.  He just loves going to sleep this way.  This isn’t to say that he is always this placid and tranquil at bedtime, but nine times out of ten, he really is.  I just love this time with him and I will be sad when he outgrows it and wants to go to sleep on his own.

And speaking of growing up quickly—we’ve begun the slow process of parting with Holden’s baby items.  His jumper, which he absolutely LOVED as a younger baby but hasn’t used since he was 5 months old, was given to a family with a little baby.  We’re selling his co-sleeper and a bunch of other things that Holden has outgrown.  It’s nice in some respects to know that we are past the babyhood period of our lives but of course it’s also incredibly difficult to accept that Holden really is on the verge of leaving babyhood forever.  I wonder sometimes if I cherished the time with him enough; I was so consumed with job searching this past year and wallowing in my own self-pity and being angry with our neighbors, that I sometimes wonder if I wasn’t present enough with Holden.  It’s kind of irrelevant, these thought exercises in self-loathing.  I can’t do it over—all I can do is commit to being more present for him in the days to come.  Looking back, I really do think I did the best I could.

To wrap up this rambling and incoherent post, I will leave you with some of my favorite images from the past several weeks:

At Fort Williams.  I was worried about H’s feet being cold.  You will see that I am holding his feet with my hands in every shot.

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Cookout at Uncle Joe’s.  Holden enjoyed crawling, ice cream, and unassisted standing.  He looks so big!

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I love this photo.  It looks like an advertisement for something.  Of what, I do not know.

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Fort Williams.  Holden spies Papa trying to covertly capture this moment.  I am  probably oblivious because I am too wrapped up in keeping H’s feet warm, again.

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Someone is a drama queen.  Holden has established several different ways of telling us “No,” including shaking his head, arching his back and crying, struggling and crying, screaming, and now this:

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Holden with his pal Mallory.  They share a nanny together two days a week.  Mallory accidentally bit Holden last week.  But it doesn’t matter.  Holden is loyal and loves her anyway:

3540793186_329bb94442So happy to be outside!

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Holden is still in love with Mallory:

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Holden loves spending time with his Papa:

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We have a house!

We saw 6 houses on Monday.  We made an offer on one of them.  We negotiated back and forth with the sellers and today we sealed the deal.  The house is a BARGAIN (woot, for buyer’s market!) and will end up costing us about the same as our condo.  The house is an ugly duckling from the outside.  The inside has a lot of potential.  It mostly needs updating.  It has an awesome bi-level deck off the dining room, it has a kitchen with a breakfast bar, a woodburning fireplace in the living room, and gas stove with exposed brick in the family room.  It has FOUR bedrooms and two baths, a mudroom, and a 2-car garage.  It’s on a quarter acre.  We will have 1200 more square feet of living space than we currently have.  And the best part is that we will have nice neighbors!!!!!

We’ll post pictures after our property inspection…..w00t!

Move On

This past week was another cortisol-filled adventure.  After the whole incident with our downstairs neighbor, our car was vandalized in our parking space.  We don’t believe our downstairs neighbor is to be blamed for this, although we do suspect a friend of one of the tenants in the multi-unit next door.  We have no solid proof though, so filing the police report was more for our own sense of closure than anything else.  The car is pretty much OK, so we are trying to move on and forget about the incident.  

We got an offer on our condo towards the end of last week and after many, many rounds of counter-offers, we finally came to an agreement and got our condo under contract.  This relieves much stress as we no longer have to prepare for showings that could happen pretty much at any moment, AND we can expect (if things go according to plan) to be moved by July 1st.  Today we attended several open houses around town and found a house that we could be happy in, although we plan on seeing 5 more houses tomorrow just to be sure.  The house needs some work, mostly cosmetic stuff, and a new roof.  We saw some of the neighbors outside gardening with their kids, and they waved and smiled at us.  I wanted to pinch myself, not believing that we weren’t being asked to apologize for Holden’s existence for once.  Our lives are going to improve so significantly once we are out of our current housing situation.  Enduring these final weeks in our condo will be tough, so we plan on packing the coming weeks with trips, bike rides, mini-hikes, grilling, and strawberry picking.  Our downstairs neighbors have made it clear that they don’t intend to be courteous with the volume of their music, so unfortunately, it looks like we must grin and bear it for a while longer.   And don’t even get me started about the passive-aggressive door-slamming…

So where does karmic retribution factor into all of this??  Clearly, someone who is as awful as our neighbor has got to have it coming to her at some point, right?  Well, I have a prediction that I would like to share.  The individual who is buying our house came in with a low-ball offer and continually countered our counteroffers, even after we very clearly stated that our counteroffer was FINAL and we weren’t willing to accept anything that she would offer beneath our last offer.  Did she take no for an answer??  Nope.  She kept at us.  What does this mean about her as a person??  Might she be obstinate?  Might she be unwilling to give up until she gets her way??  Might she fight our downstairs neighbor tooth and nail over every little thing??  I am willing to bet the money we lost on our condo that she will.  Believe me when I say I DELIGHT in the idea of this.  Paybacks are a bitch, what can I say.

While I am relieved and happy that we will be moving on, part of me feels sort of sad and nostalgic about leaving the home to which we first brought Holden.  As I cuddled him to sleep this evening, I was looking around his bedroom and thinking about all of the hours I have spent in there nursing him, reading him stories, tickling him, trying to pin him down for diaper changes.  I have a vivid memory of one of the first nights we had him home.  I remember sitting up with him and nursing him for several hours in the middle of the night.  I remember that he finished nursing and I laid him in my lap (yes, he actually used to fit in my lap), and I remember that he had his eyes open and he looked up at me with so much love and he smiled at me and made a noise that sounded like “A-goooooo.”  And when he did that I remember feeling like he was a conduit for everything in this world that is unconditionally loving, gentle, and pure.  I felt such immense love for him in that moment, and such an intense connection with him, and moreover, I felt so lucky and grateful that such a good person came from me and Rob into this world.  In that moment, I felt like I really had a sense of Holden as a person.  I felt overwhelmingly that Holden was a good person….a gentle soul.  Moments like this one are moments I want to remember from living here.  I will pack these moments lovingly in bubblewrap, place them in a box, and secure them for the ride.