Monday, January 28, 2008

Life Lessons

Toddlers are great teachers. They are persistent, inquisitive, challenging, and they will never never never give up until you've learned your lesson. Lately, Jack has been teaching me the timeless wisdom that in order to survive motherhood intact, you have to think poop is funny. Because, let's be honest, shit happens. Lots of it. Sometimes, in really inopportune places. A few days ago Jack helped himself to his potty chair, did his business, then ran to my room and rolled around my white down comforter bare-bottomed. Well, not exactly bare; there was a dingle berry or two along for the ride. Today while I was making dinner I overheard Jack singing a song about the crusties on the fireplace. I peeked around the corner to make sure he wasn't spreading ashes everywhere, and found to my surprise that he was happily wiping down the outside of the fireplace, doors neatly closed and no ashes in sight. I went back to rubbing herbs all over my chicken, feeling very pleased that Jack was occupied while I was working. Not two seconds after I got the chicken in the oven and my hands washed, I found out why he was so happily employed. Jack trots into the kitchen, hands dripping, and cheerfully informs me: "I got my shirt wet in the toilet and this diaper wipe too!" "Jack, have you been washing the fireplace with toilet water?" "Um, yeah, and I got my shirt wet so I need to take it off." For a moment I was speechless, but quickly realized swift action was what was called for so I ran a bath for Jack then sprayed and scrubbed and scrubbed and sprayed like the Lysol addict I am. So whether you're a new mom or you've been at it for years and still don't find bathroom humor amusing, loosen up. Poop is funny.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jack Bites

It is 8:15 at night, and the phone rings. I check the caller ID and see that it is the pesky bank again, looking for Damien. Aaron and I have informed them no less than six times that Damien no longer lives with us, so please stop calling. I decide to let Jack answer the phone, and it went a little something like this... Jack: "Hi! *pause* I said, HI!" *banker talks* "This is Jack. *banker talks* "Yeah, but you can't talk to them. *banker talks* "I have a dinosaur; he says 'Rooooooaaaarrr!!!' *banker talks* "I have a dinosaur I said! Raaaaaarrrrrgggh!!! *banker talks* "Goodbye!" At Central Market, we stopped in the fruit section to get some bananas. Jack spied some ridiculously cute miniature bananas which were three times the price of the regular ones, but he was so enamored with them that I decided to let him have just one. I pulled one off a bunch, but it in a bag and let Jack hold it in the cart. He was positively wriggling with delight. "Mom, it matches Matteas!" "How does it match Matteas(who, as far as I could see, bore no resemblance to the banana)?" "Because it's SMALL!" Jack often likes to watch me give Matteas a bath, and sometimes if he's very gentle I let him help. Thursday night we were doing our bath routine, admiring how chubby Matteas looks naked. Jack reached for the baby soap and said "I'm gonna help wash Matteas Mom; I'm very insistent." "Insistent? Really? Where did you learn that word?" "Um, Weggie tales." Jack, making a dinosaur run across the shelf, knock down a copy of My Imitation of Christ. "Jack, please pick that up. We don't leave books on the floor, especially not books about Jesus." "But Mom, why did Jesus leave His book here?" Bedtime. I tuck Jack in, making sure he has his special snuggly blanket. We say bedtime prayers, making sure we ask God to bless Grandma and Grandpa as well as the usual litany of people special to Jack. I kiss him goodnight, then give him a little squeeze. "Jack, I love you so much." "And I love YOU so freaking much!"

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Central Market

A favorite activity for me and Jack is shopping at Central Market. We have a QFC two blocks away, but it's just not that thrilling. Besides, Central Market has little shopping carts. Jack had a tricky time navigating sometimes, but on the way home he assured me that whenever he crashed into someone, he remembered to say "Excuse me." However thrilling your own Me-Sized shopping cart may be, Jack finds that the crustaceans are best viewed from the safety of Mom's cart. Everything at Central Market is beautiful, even the seafood. Shopping there is always an Event, something more exciting than merely buying groceries. I find I have to resist the urge to buy things that I really don't want or need, just because they look so pretty.
Things like golden trout.
And beets.
Pears I do actually buy, but I appreciate the display anyway.
Mmmm, many possibilities.
I wasn't sure it was possible, but I think I'm even more excited about food now than ever. I've noticed that my metabolism has changed a lot since having kids, and I'm much more sensitive to swings in blood sugar than I used to be. I think is also, as I've noticed on days when he doesn't eat a lot of protein or fat that he seems crankier than usual. Aaron and I have been talking about eating healthier, and I've been strategizing; any excuse to think about food more. I'm pretty excited about some of my finds. Al introduced me to Barilla Plus pasta, which is made with bean flour so it's higher in protein and lower in starch. Texture-wise it's a little different, not as chewy, but the flavor is fine. Especially when it's covered in sauce. Last night's sauce was an Ode to Anna, made of 100% grass-fed beef and organic tomatoes. I used to hassle Anna(lovingly, of course) about her diet, especially the sprouted wheat bread; I'm now eating my words(and sprouted wheat bread) and haven't been feeling nauseated anymore. We were pretty healthy eaters to begin with, but by removing some of the simple carbohydrates in our diet we've gotten even healthier. I should clarify that by "healthy" I mean "a balance of protein, fat, and healthy carbohydrates, and no processed foods." Meaning, you will still find plenty of butter in my fridge. Saturated fats yes, trans fats no. Alas, there are some carbohydrates in my life I absolutely cannot give up, like croutons. They're no good made of whole wheat, but we don't eat them very often so I'm not going to stress about it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Road Trip

Matteas was so tired after our journey that he put himself to bed. I put his pajamas on then went to brush my teeth and when I came back he was out.
The boys have really enjoyed cuddling each other lately, especially in the mornings.
Jack lost no time getting reacquainted with Ryan. He took us to the Davenport Hotel for lunch; he works there, so he gave us a tour and some of the history of the hotel. Among other things, it is famous as the birthplace of the Crab Louis Salad, invented by Louis Davenport. The Davenport fell into disrepair and was bought several years ago by new owners who shut it down completely to do some serious restoration. The above building was moved by crane from the old hotel to the new hotel site. It was one of the prettiest rooms in the hotel.
Spokane Falls looking very chilly. It was so cold that the mist from the falling water would rise a little ways and then freeze to the rocks.
Jack had mixed feelings about the snow. It was about a week old so it was pretty frozen and slick; he objected to having his hand held on the walk down to the falls until he took a spill and went sliding on his bum. After that he was all about the hand-holding. When we'd had enough of the 24-degree outdoors, we headed to Ryan's house to warm up with some coffee before going shopping for dinner. Ryan has three roommates and they're all very skinny, so we bought some big steaks, lots of salad ingredients, asparagus, bread, and some mushrooms and shallots to simmer with beef stock and port to go on top of the steak. It was pretty fabulous. Ryan's friend Leif was also visiting Ryan so we had a pretty good crowd for dinner, but for all the bodies there wasn't a lot of talking. Hungry college boys.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Carpet Smells Like Vomit...But My House Is Otherwise Clean

We had house blessings last night, so we spent a good part of the day cleaning and getting ready. I was very proud of myself since having a priest come to my house is normally something that would stress me out and I'd spend three days cleaning for, but that just wasn't going to happen so I had a little talk with myself. I wanted Father Joseph to bless our house but I didn't want to get all stressed out about it, so I didn't. I realized that Father was coming to bless our house, not inspect it with a white glove to make sure I was dusting perfectly(I don't dust. But I did yesterday.). I surprised myself with how relaxed I managed to be; we got lots done, but not everything, and I was okay with that. I should mention here that Aaron was a huge asset, moving mountains of laundry and getting Jack to clean his room beautifully.
Dinner at Briana and Shane's went well and was incredibly tasty; Nani took pictures so hopefully she'll put some up soon. All this should have told me that something was coming, but I didn't really know what until Jack came into Nani's kitchen and told me that his neck hurt. He'd never complained of that before, so I wasn't sure what to think. He asked me to pick him up and he was kind of whimpering, and when he started coughing I had the presence of mind to walk over to the sink, where Jack proceeded to barf up all the Skittles he and Kateri had been eating. For a barfing incident it was a little too easy, directly into the sink with no mess.
But he made up for it when we got home and he barfed all down Aaron's shirt, at the top of the stairs, down the hallway into the bathroom, all over the bathtub and the shower curtain. Vomit isn't really one of those things you can save for later no matter how much of a procrastinator you are, so I put on some gloves and gathered up all the barfy clothes and threw them in the washing machine. Then I turned my attention to the carpet while Aaron showered with Jack. A few minutes later, Aaron called out from the shower. "Is my phone out there next to my keys?" "Um, no." *thoughtful pause* "It was in my pants." Down to the washing machine to pull out soapy piles of barfed-on clothes, a grateful prayer for the discovery of latex gloves, and a very wet fishing-out of Aaron's cell phone. Back to the carpet, which wasn't going very well. Armed with lots of Clorox spray, hot water and a very capable scrub brush, all I seemed to be doing was grinding the barf chunks into the carpet. I did my best, then covered the whole soggy mess with towels so we could walk down the hallway without tracking barf smell everywhere. I made a bed of towels on the couch for Jack, got out the trusty stainless steel bowl and braced myself for a sleepless night.
It turned out not to be so bad. Jack didn't barf again, so I nursed Matteas to sleep and put him in bed with Aaron, then went back out to the couch to keep vigil while watching "The Gods Must Be Crazy." I love that movie. Jack moaned a bit in his sleep so several times I jumped up and grabbed the bowl, but the onslaught I was preparing for never came. I dozed on the couch and took comfort in our icons and our beautiful wall cross(from my sister Moira). Satisfied that Jack wasn't going to puke in his sleep, I finally went to bed at five a.m. Luckily, the boys slept until ten so I'm tired but not destroyed today. Now my only worry is who will come down with the bug next, and whether we should still go to Spokane to visit Ryan. Jack is eating and drinking just fine today so at least it's a mild virus, but the thought of five hours of road trip with nausea and vomiting does not appeal to me. Aaron does this trick with our kids where he gets them to lock their knees and stand on his hand. Jack liked it, but not as much as Matteas who clearly knows he's being tricky. He's napping now, so I'm going to drink some Earl Grey in my super-clean house.

Monday, January 14, 2008

NO SOLICITORS...for your own good

I don't know why, but we get a lot of solicitors at our house. It's annoying. In our old house, it was Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses; here, it's window salesmen. Four of them over the past five months. After today however, we may be seeing less of them. Or more, depending on how the poor kid feels about his experience. It was one of those days when I just rolled out of bed and headed straight for the French press, unable to form coherent thoughts until I had two cups of coffee in my system. After that, things just kept happening and I never made it out of my pajamas. It was a little chilly, so I threw a cardigan over my pj tank top and continued cleaning the house in my fuzzy Christmas pj pants. A few hours later, still in my pajamas, there was a knock at the door. Baby in hand, I answered it. A teen-aged boy was standing in the rain, trying to sell me windows. I explained that we're going to replace our windows, but not for a few more years so please don't come back until then. Undeterred, the young lad asked if he could come back next week and give me a demonstration. "Seriously, we're not replacing the windows for a while. Our kitchen is ugly, we have no bedroom; windows are not a priority." "Can I call you in a few years?" "I hate phone calls; mail me something." During our pointless exchange, the young man kept smiling at me spontaneously, mid-sentence and then pulling a straight face. I thought it was because Matteas was making eyes at him, but when I stood in front of the bathroom mirror later I realized it might have been on account of the 1 1/2" of cleavage at the top of my sweater, the zipper of which had snuck down quite a bit since this morning. That reminds me of an old joke: If a solicitor comes to your door and asks to see your boobs for research purposes, don't show him your boobs; he is not a researcher, he's JUST TRYING TO SEE YOUR BOOBS. I wish I'd thought of that joke earlier.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Things I Never Did Before I Had Kids

The Time: WAY past bedtime. The Place: The hallway, because that's where I happened to corner Jack so I could brush his teeth. The Situation: Toothpaste dripping down Jack's mouth, no washcloth in reach. The Weapon of Choice: The dirty laundry hamper. Jack: "But Mom, that's the dirty laundry." Me: "It's okay, I know where the poop on that outfit was and I used the clean part to wipe your mouth."

Friday, January 11, 2008

More Christmas

This is the Nativity scene we made this year. Briana gave us the wooden figures, a lady at Value Village gave Jack the little wooden crate, and I made the robes with the leftover sheet I used to line my kitchen curtains. I like how the kitchen twine I used looks like rope. I wanted to make crowns for the kings and paint the faces, but Jack wanted to play with them as-is only he wanted them to have clothes, so I did the best I could on short notice.
This is the only picture I got of our white Christmas. It's through our living room window. It's not the greatest I know, but I saw the snow and kind of panicked to get photographic proof at all rather than the perfect picture.
Matteas was having a great time with Granpda Tom.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Sleep Deprivation Fall-out

I have no pictures today because I haven't set up my new camera and the old camera finally ground to a halt. Literally. I tried to turn it on and this it what it said: "Oh, you want me to work, do you? That's amusing considering the years of abuse I've put up with. Well, you've got another thing coming. For instance, this: wheeeeeeeeeooooooooooooooorrrrrrrreh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh- ckrck-ckrck-ckrck-ckrck." Then, it expired. It was good while it lasted, but duct tape and rubberbands can only do so much. I'm serious. It was difficult getting people in public to take our picture because they were wary of touching our camera. It did look kind of like a bomb, I guess. So, random. Last night a friend of Aaron's came over to borrow a ski jacket. Aaron was going to loan him his old jacket, but I suggested he try on my grandpa's old ski jacket which boasts some sweet colors and tailoring, but it also really really warm. I wore it when it was four degrees outside and I got hot. He was skeptical of the colors at first, but as soon as he put it on it won him over. I thought to check the pockets first to make sure I wasn't loaning him anything too personal, and found an old bank receipt. Dated four years ago exactly. For those of you not impressed by such odd coincidences, what are you doing reading my blog? But for the rest of you(Andrew), I'm glad you're here to share my "I heart Huckabees" moment. It's been a while since I talked about poop. You were hoping I'd say that, weren't you? Well, okay then. So the potty-training is still in process, and one of the more motivating thrills attached to it is to discover the identities of the poops, and how many of them there will be. When he first started using his potty chair, Jack would simply announce the quantity and size. He has since discerned that his poops have actual families, and he gets very excited about certain combinations. The first poop of the day usually goes like this: "Mom! I pooped! It's just a Mama poop, no babies." The following movement, thusly: "Mom! I pooped! It's a lot of babies, no Mama!" But the most exciting production goes like this: "Mom! I pooped! Come see, it's a Mama one and a Daddy one and babies!!" He also has a flushing ritual. The poop, whoever they be, always addresses the poops that have gone before, by saying "Wait for me little poops!" Today, before beseeching his fecal predecessors to wait for him, he told me that the poop family he'd just produced was "cuddling." What can I say, the kid really likes families. Again, for those of you grossed out by this sort of thing, what are you doing reading my blog? Okay, that was a lot of poop talk. Perhaps some explanation is in order. I'm tired. Very tired. Inhumanly, impossibly, torturously tired. Matteas has developed a little ritual where he falls asleep around nine or ten, only to awake two hours later bright-eyed and ready to party until two or three in the morning, during which time he demands stimulating conversation. All this fellowship has really worn me out, and last night was particularly rough. He stayed up until three a.m., woke often to nurse after that, then Aaron's alarm when off at six a.m. not once, not twice, but three times. Then eight o'clock rolled around and Jack was suddenly in my bed, fidgeting. Very close to me. Almost on top of me. Waking up Matteas. I nursed Matteas and tried to whisper Jack back to sleep, but he was hold still just long enough for Matteas to start to drift and then commence fidgeting again, re-waking Matteas. After three or four rounds of that fun, Matteas gagged on some nasal drip left from his cold and barfed down the front of my shirt. A lot. So I gave up and cried a little, then walked into the bathroom and ripped the towel bar from the wall in protest of the futility that is my drive to sleep. I have dark circles under my dark circles. I average 3-5 very broken hours of sleep a night, and this has been going on for almost two weeks. So if my spelling is bad, my grammar incorrect, or the content of my posts just plain inappropriate, just know that I'm too tired to fix it or care.