Sunday, February 26, 2006

Belated Valentine's Day pictures

Iris helping to decorate the rice krispie bars we made for Matt for Valentine's Day. They were pretty fun to eat, as well :)

These are the gorgeous flowers Matt got for me for Valentine's Day.

Iris painting a Valentine's Day card for Matt.

Here is Iris painting again this afternoon, it was a pretty rainy day. She absolutely LOVES to be artistic, which I think is fantastic, since art is in my genes-- everyone in my family is an artist in some respect. One of these days I'll have to take a picture of her wall of fame, where we hang up her best work!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Adventures in nursing a toddler

Today, for the very first time, I felt like a total idiot as a mama in front of my own mama. Actually, not in front of her as in person, but rather we were on the phone.

My mother has been awesome in not pushing her own parenting agenda on me. Until today I honestly didn't know her opinions on co-sleeping, extended nursing, vaccines, discipline, etc etc. She just listens to my stories and keeps her mouth shut, which is actually impressive considering my mother is full of opinions on everything! I did assume she wasn't bothered by my choices, which I think is a safe assumption. All of her grand children are being raised in generally the same way, so she's seen it all before.

Iris has a few, okay, quite a few, behaviors that make me cringe. I try to follow the gentle, kind, understanding approach and temper it with a stern voice when I feel the situation allows (like when she's pummeling the cat for the fifteenth time in one day). One of the behaviors I don't quite have a handle on is her, um, zest for her mama's milk, AKA "nursey booby". She learned the phrase "nursey booby" quite a while ago and I always thought it was totally adorable and was more than happy to oblige her when she asked me. I also tell her to ask please, which comes out "peeeeed!". If you're a smarter person than I, you have probably already put it together in your head that her cute little "nursey booby" phrase, combined with shouting "peeeeed!" has turned in to a bit of battle of not understanding why she can't nurse, even shen she asked so nicely! At least a dozen times a day now, she screams and cries "nursey booby" and "peeeeed!", thinking, of course, that adding a please on the end of her demand means I HAVE to do it, and is just that much more upset when I refuse her. And I do refuse her, alot, most of the time actually, because she asks SO many times a day, and we are already nursing 7-10 times a day as it is. Sometimes she even asks not five minutes after finishing a nursing session. Being refused a "nursey booby" typically results in her collapsing in a teary mess and I try to distract her, comfort her, and explain that boobies are tired and need to rest. "Boobies are sleeping" is a common phrase to hear around our home. She doesn't buy it.

So, this has been going for the past several weeks. I often heard that nursing toddlers lose interest in mama's milk when she becomes pregnant again, but not Iris. My pregnancy, and subsequent more plentiful milk supply (which I only say because my boobies have already grown) has made Iris a junkie for my milk. She can't get enough, and makes that VERY clear to everyone around her. Back to my original point for this post, tonight I am on the phone with my mother. I had originally called my folks to find out what the best way to cook the chicken that is used in chicken salad (I'm a total idiot when it comes to cooking meat). The conversation ended because my beautiful, sweet, adorable daughter was on my lap screaming "nursey booby! nursey booby!" over and over and over. My mom, bless her soul, was trying to remain calm, but she was secretly shaking her head because she thought I had created an obsessive, manipulative monster of a nursing toddler. I have begun to wonder if possibly I have. Earlier in the conversation I mentioned that I was worried about what was going to happen when Iris saw the new baby sharing her mama's beloved boobies. "How long are you planning to nurse?" my mother asked, quite innocently I may add (it wasn't a loaded question, at least it didn't feel like it). To which I launched in to my spiel about the benfits of nursing a toddler, and child led weaning, etc etc. I also shared a story of how "cute" it was that Iris asks to "nursey booby". As if on cue, Iris climbs on my lap and begins the show. My mother, I am sure, feels more than a bit smug, just having joked "I think if they're old enough to ask, they're too old to nurse!" Here I was on the other end of the phone unable to quiet my daughter down and simultaneously am trying to explain why I'm doing the right thing for my daughter. I felt like such an ass, and more than a bit like a failure. Sure, I am doing the best thing for Iris by nursing her, but what are my skills as a parent saying about her nursing behavior?

As I do with most everything nursing related, I checked, and was led on a little search in to the world of nursing manners. Nursing manners! Incredible! Now I have to fix what I didn't nip in the bud in the first place. I'm like a freakin' walking billboard for why women don't extended nurse. How did this happen?

The day from hell

There are a couple of things I wanted to write about, and I just remembered both now. I am not sure if I'll write both down tonight or not, so I thought I would start with my day from hell, which was actually last week Friday. I had blocked it out of my memory, but then a few things happened today to vividly remind me of the day and my failures as a mama.

So, yeah, last Friday. Let me give you a little idea of how the week went leading up to that day. On Mondays and Tuesdays Matt works earlier in the day and gets home at about 2:38, which leaves me enough time to say hi, grab my stuff, and run out the door to get to work myself. I work until 9:00. These two days, we see very little of each other. This particular week, Matt had work functions the second half of his work week, so on Wednesday we were supposed to meet him and his co-workers out for dinner, but then they changed the time at the last minute so it was far too late for Iris and I to go out with them. I was really looking forward to a night out, without cooking, but alas it wasn't meant to be. Matt was gone from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm. The same with Thursday. My respite on the days I am home all day with Iris is that he is dying to spend time with her when he gets home at the end of the day, and also does her bedtime routine every night. I didn't get a break until she went to bed, and by that point I was EXHAUSTED! Then Friday comes. Our dog, Lily, had been scratching up a storm for the last few days, and upon further investigation, had tons of scabs and raw spots all over her body. On Wednesday Iris and I gave her a bath and flea and tick stuff (just in case). On Thursday I decided to clip her hair down so that I could get a closer look at her skin (which is when I saw all the spots). Grooming Lily is a serious pain in the ass normally, but I tried to do it at my wit's end, with Iris running around the kitchen and therefor spreading hair all over the house. Grrrr. Okay, so on Friday I decide to make a vet's appointment for the dog. I also decide that she looks so darn godforsaken that I better finish the grooming I started, but only ended up making an even bigger mess, and Lily still looked terrible. Much yelling ensued and there was hair everywhere.

SIDE NOTE: for anyone who thinks I purposely named my child and dog after flowers, please let me explain. Lily was my mother's dog and is almost ten years old. My mom named her. I have always loved the name Iris (and actually don't think of it as a flower name) and knew that when I had a daughter, that would be her name. There was no planning or purposeful matchy-matchy thing going on, although I do feel like and idiot every time I tell people both of their names in the same sentence.

Okay, back to the story. So, Iris and I load the dog in to the car to bring to the vet. We get there, no one else was in the office, it was pretty smooth getting in. Then we are sitting in the tiny exam room waiting for the doctor. Lily has the worst dog breath of all time. Seriously. It might have something to do with her fondness for eating cat shit, but who knows, right? So, Lily is stinking up the room, scratching like mad, and Iris is trying to drink the bleach bottle that is strategically placed right at toddler eye level, and is trying to stick her hand in the garbage can. The room obviously wasn't built for mom's and their children. I barely hear a word the vet has to say, as Iris is on the verge of a hissy fit the whole time we're there. At one point the vet takes Lily out to weight her, etc etc (turns out I'm a terrible dog owner, as she has gained 20% of her body weight in TWO years! Ugh!) Finally, he came back, and we were ready to check out. At this point the waiting room is filled with people, I am trying to pay and figure out what the vet is trying to swindle me in to buying, Lily is trying to attack an already terrified kitty who is shivering in the corner of a kennel, and Iris is just off, well, pretty much trying to figure out how to destroy the whole office. Of course every person in there is watching this little scene unfold, no one offers to lend a hand (okay, I probably wouldn't have taken anyone up on it, anyways) and I leave with over $100 on my credit card, three bottles of meds, and the dog undiagnosed itching problem. After the vet I decide to stop and get tacos for Iris and I, since we went straight to the vet's after she woke up from her nap, and usually we eat lunch right away. So, we are waiting for our tacos to be made, and I am drinking a diet coke and trying to get Iris to drink some water. She takes one look at my drink and yells "dink!" over and over, so I am like, fine, have a sip, thinking she is going to hate all the carbonation. WRONG. She LOVES it, and continues to slurp down half the cup. Okay, so in case you're not following, at this point I'm a pregnant mama sharing a diet coke with toddler. It's not looking good. Luckily she forgets about it long enough to get in the car and start the ride home. I decide to call my mom on the way to update her on the dog's condition. When we get home we start walking up the stairs to our apartment, and Iris sees the soda in my hand, and starts screaming for some. I am on the phone with my mom, so of course, instead of hanging up with her, I hand Iris the diet coke to keep her from screaming. As soon as I end my conversation I realize that I need to get the soda back, but Iris isn't having it. A short struggle ensues, I get the soda back and Iris crumbles in to a screaming mess in the corner of the living room. I am so exhausted (and queasy from lack of food) by this point, I had to sit down to eat my taco while speaking softly to Iris trying to coax her down from her tantrum. She wants nothing to do with it, and screams uncontrollably for a good 15 minutes or so. Obviously, at this point I should have been all over her trying to fix things (and this time NOT with a diet coke!) but I was just so freakin' exhausted, I couldn't even think straight. I finally remember that she stops crying if I sing to her (you know, like torturing her out of it) and so we sit down to sing Baby Beluga and she stops crying. There is snot and tears, she's a mess. Finally she sits down and eats her taco, and all is well with the world. Except for the dog, who is still itching wildly. Ugh.

So, that was my day, I won major mama of the year points.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bored off my booty

So I'm at work, sitting here, bored as hell. The clinic I work at recently moved a few blocks down the street, so our department (as well as the rest of the clinic!) is in total chaos. I don't feel like dealing with any of it, so I'm trying to do my normal work, but I'm the only one here and I can't stay focused on work to save my life. I'll blame it on the pregnancy.

So there have been recent rumblings of Matt not getting this fancy new job we've been fucking DYING for him to get. Now I'm mad at the pervy assholes who were supposed to hire him and fix everything that sucks about our lives. Apparently the guy who does the hiring told Matt's co-worker that they aren't hiring any of the people who have already applied- BEFORE he ever told Matt. Nice, huh? See, a pervy asshole. Now I'm in a poopy mood because I had been silently writing my resignation letter for the job at this stupid clinic I work at. Now I'll have to put it off until a bigger and better job comes along. Sigh. Too bad these assholes don't know how great Matt would have done working for them. Oh, well, their loss. And ours, I suppose.

We had a fantastic weekend, which was nice. Usually I work on Saturdays, but this past Saturday the clinic was closed for the move, so I was forced to stay home. Suprisingly, Matt and I got through two and a haf whole days without fighting with each other, which felt really nice. Maybe it's progress? It also is so indulgent for me to be at home that long with help with the chores, and taking care of Iris. I got so much rest it was crazy-- CRAZY! A girl can get spoiled!

There actually isn't much else new to report. I like it that way. Nothing much going on, no new news.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

This is cool . . .

My friend Julia had a link to this on her blog, and I thought it was cool, so I'm stealing it. I don't know how many people who read this actually know me well enough to take this survey, but hey, anyone is welcome to give it a go!

Johari Window

Okay, more to come . . .

Some recent pictures

Miss Iris walking around the house in my fancy shoes.

On her slide.

Showing off her smile and playing in the laundry basket. Apparently laundry baskets are VERY exciting places to play!

Iris and her friend in their "capes".

Friday, February 10, 2006

Picking my battles

Today was an interesting day showcasing my neurotic tendencies and also my totally passive tendencies as a mother. We'll start with my neurotic ones, shall we? I got a voice mail from Julia, the woman who watches Iris on Thursdays, informing me that her daughter was sick with a stomach virus. Throwing up and the whole nine yards. Of course, being the neurotic mama I am, I immediately freaked out and starting cursing the day I ever needed a babysitter. Surely my trip to buy nursing bras yesterday wasn't worth exposing her to these kind of germs! Okay, breathe . . . Matt has calmly informed me that if she's going to get sick, she's already contracted the virus, and if not, then she hasn't. Hmmpf. I guess that's a pretty simple explanation. At any rate, I made her wash her hands a few times (like that will help now!) and gave her some extra Thymactiv, both acts I am sure has kept Iris as illness-free as she has been this whole year. Matt and I can't even remember the last time she was sick, even with the sniffles. Maybe last fall some time? I think she missed a day of co-op in October, from a slight fever. If she gets sick with this particular illness, I'll be heartbroken (and terrified of contracting it myself, especially pregnant) but I'll still be glad we've done as good of a job as we have keeping her well this year. Especially compared to last year when it seemed like she was sick just about every three weeks. Ugh. Anyways, we're knocking on wood and poor Matt didn't even want to talk about it for fear of jinxing her good health, and our good luck.

So, on to how I'm beyond passive. Today Iris and I met Melissa, her son, and the girl she nanny's for at a local park. We had never been to that particular park before so Iris had a blast exploring. She is completely fearless when it comes to climbing on play structures and going down slides. Melissa, on the other hand, barely wanted to let go of the hands of her kids, and was terrified of letting them run free, mostly out of fear of them hurting themselves. After all, it really does suck when someone else's child gets hurt on your watch. At one point Iris and I were on top of the play structure, and she decided to slide down a corkscrew slide. I couldn't see the bottom from where I was standing at the top, but she had already been down once and so I wasn't worried. Melissa was also at the bottom, attending to her little brood, but not really watching Iris. So, Iris slides down and apparently turned on her side and fell of the end of the slide and landed on her head. Or so Melissa reported. I just heard Melissa say something like "oh my god! Iris fell on her head!" and I said, "is she crying?" (I didn't hear her crying.) and she said "no." I was like "okay!" and slid down the slide to check things out. Iris was just fine and kept on with her activities. That kind of stuff just doesn't bother me as much these days. I have to work really hard at being a more hands-off mama, and understand that bumps and bruises are par for the course when you have an exploring toddler. A little while later she climbed up a small hill and decided to wander off and try to walk/slide back down in another spot. All on her own. Again, I couldn't really see her, which ended up being fine, she didn't hurt herself. I probably should have watched her more closely, I could feel Melissa's quiet gasps as I glanced over to try and figure out where my daughter was. This is certainly one area she and I are pretty different on! I tried not to bring it up the rest of the afternoon, but I sometimes think she feels the need to explain to me why she doesn't let her kids explore more. I have to hand it to her, wrangling two toddlers is really, really hard (heck, the reason Iris wandered off down the hill was because I was trying to closely watch Melissa's son).

So, anyways, in completely unrelated news, it turns out Iris is the most brilliantly, talented toddler of all time. The other night, all on her own, she jumped in the air and kicked her ball. At the same time. Completely unprompted. I had to stop and think about the coordination that required when I tried to re-create the act for Matt. Luckily, Iris did it again, the second time on cue, so Matt got to see it and didn't think I was making things up. So, my new theory is that she's going to be a soccer player. A little Mia Hamm! Of course, she's over it, hasn't tried to do it again.

She also is really in to learning the ABC's song. She knows the melody, and some of the letters, so mostly she babbles it and interjects what she really knows. The past couple of days she has also started interjecting other things in to the song, like "hmmmm hmmm hmmmm nursey booby hmmm hmmmm hmmmm" and I think it's incredibly creative and adorable. Of course, I'm her mama! Everything she does is creative and adorable!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Oh please oh please oh please

So, I finally got up the courage to let Matt know that I wanted to have a serious discussion about the possibility of me finally (finally!) quitting my job if (if!) he gets this new job at T-Mobile. We are both seriously crossing our fingers, as the pay raise would actually be as much as I make in an entire year, hence the possibility of me being able to quit my job if he gets it. Much to my relief, he said he had also thought of that already and agreed it would be a good idea. Now we're both trying not to think about it too much, as we don't want to get our hopes up. I don't know, it just feels really, really promising. Matt is such a pessimist at this point in his life that he gets his hopes up about absolutely nothing, I, on the other hand, am still a tiny bit of a closet optimist. At least about this, I am.

In other news, I have to confess that I won another Little People auction on E-Bay today. I also put in my absolute highest bid on an auction that doesn't end for five more days. I am having bidder's remorse about that one, however, as I have already hit my spending limit for Little People at this point in time. Hmmmm, can I take my bid away? I'll have to look in to that. Sigh. It's so easy and fun to bid like crazy! My dear friend Stephanie pointed out that it might be a dangerous and slippery slope for me to be a stay at home mom with computer access. I think she might be right! Don't tell Matt :)

Monday, February 06, 2006

It's time again . . .

for me to jump on the E-Bay bandwagon and bid like crazy on silly items that no one really needs. Tonight it was Little People. Fisher Price Little People circa 1970's, to be more precise. My dear friend Melissa re-introduced them to me and my childhood flashbacks kicked in like crazy. Iris and her playmates also went gaga over them the other day, so I decided, in a moment of weakness, to sneak a peek at E-Bay, you know, just to see what they had. Well, I hit the Little People jackpot, but these things aren't going cheaply. I must say I did okay, ending the evening with just under $50 spent on about 35 pieces of Little People. I was most excited to get a swing set (Iris seemed to love the one her friend had) and a big set of cars, trains and tractors to share with Melissa.

Being a mama means I get to re-live so many parts of my childhood, sometimes in my head, but sometimes, such as with Little People, in real life. Puttering a car around on the floor with the kids the other day I was magically taken back to being five again. Can't put a price on moments like that, can you? Okay, well, if you're my partner, Matt, arguably, a price limit has to be set. At least for one night, I was an E-Bay goddess, gobbling up Little People. I've got my eye on an A-frame house complete with all the extras. Bidding ends in six days, at which point I am sure the bidding will be comparable to nice piece of jewelry, but I'm watching it none-the-less.

I can't imagine any of Iris's toys being worth this much some day. I am sure they will hold plenty of special value to her, but on the auction market, who cares about the cheap plastic crap that gets made these days? I hope I turn out to be the kind of mama that keeps all of my children's special toys, and breaks them out again some day when they have children of their own. I envy parents who have done that, although I can't really fault my own folks for not being quite so sentimental about my own childhood treasures. We moved so many freakin' times when I was young, they probably just started getting sick of lugging the crap around. I can relate, as every time I move now more and more gets tossed in the trash. For my grandchildren's sake, I'll have to start being more conscientious.