Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our Daughter, The Werewolf

When family and friends or even complete strangers meet Lucy for the first time one of the first things they say is how good she is.

No doubt we can argue what a "good" baby really means (is a crying baby a "bad" baby?) but I understand their comment to mean that she's very content. I rarely leave the house with both kids but when I do Lucy requires about a tenth of the attention William needs. Part of that is their age but another part is their different personalities.

Lucy's been a Curious George since she was born. She gazes wide-eyed as we roll up and down the aisles at Target. She pulls off when nursing to see who just walked in the room. And she absolutely must touch that most fascinating object that just entered her radius of reach. Lucy will glide right past breakfast, lunch and dinner without so much as a whine if it means she can be in a new place with all sorts of bells and whistles to look at.

But Lucy's holding a secret from all of you.

When the sun goes down Lucy is anything but "good." Lately Brian and I have started howling during dinnertime; the hour the sun sets around these parts and the hour Lucy turns from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde.

Of course I'm being a bit facetious. No sweet baby is evil. But I have to admit she is a bit of a challenge.

First she's upset about her dinner. She doesn't want to have anything to do with baby food. If we're eating macaroni and cheese, she wants the noodles. If we're having tacos, she wants some too. Nevermind the fact that she's only just turned six months and has barely had any food besides mama's milk in the first place.

Then it's up to the bathtub where we're given a ten to fifteen minute reprieve of her werewolf status. Lucy loves her some bathtime. But what goes in the bath must come out and Lucy does not appreciate that concept. Kicking, shouting and thrashing about are all a regular part of getting Lucy lotioned up and into her jammies.

Around 7:00 Lucy goes down for the night.

I just laughed a little when I reread that sentence. "Down for the night." Ha! In my dreams. But I don't have dreams because little Lucy insists I stay out of that glorious only-in-my-distant-memories REM sleep.

Between 10:00 and 11:00 Lucy will make her presence known. Sometimes I nurse her and she goes back to sleep. Sometimes I'm too tired and cold so I bring her into bed with us. Sometimes, on the rarest of occasions, she will only require that her nukie be place back between her lips.

But in our bed or in her crib, nukie or no nukie, you can still set your watch by her for the rest of the night. She's up at 1:00, 3:00 and then again between 5:00 and 6:00. She's up for the day at 8:30.

We've tried many different things but Lucy wants only one thing. Boob.

"How can you blame her?" Brian asks.

Haha. Very funny.

I don't mind nursing Lucy. In fact, I love it. It's one of my most favorite things about having a baby in the house again. But give a mama a rest once in awhile, my baby girl.

I can tell, by the way she nurses, that she's not really eating. I know a ravenous Lucy girl and at 1 a.m. that she is not. She just wants the comfort.

And again, I'm OK with that. But can we cut it down to once a night maybe, baby?

Some nights, when I'm arousing to her demands from a deep sleep and it takes me longer than usual to fling one leg out of bed and then the other, Brian goes to be with her before me. This sets her off even more.

Smart girl. She knows he doesn't have the goods.

Maybe when she's three I'll miss these middle-of-the-night snuggling sessions like I remember so fondly when I stare at my sleeping baby boy who is so long past being a baby. Rarely is there ever a time a child needs his mother more than during those midnight nursings.

So, albeit a bit frustrated and achingly sleep-deprived, I'm trying to except that right now this is where we're at and that this too shall pass.

In the meantime, pass me another cup of coffee.

Friday, October 23, 2009

One Big Playdate

On Wednesday I lost my ability to make good decisions and invited over my three good mom friends from our original "mommy" class and all their broods.

I kid, I kid. It was tons of fun albeit a bit chaotic.

It's really a great story. We all joined the same Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) class way back in September 2007. When we learned that not only were we all first-time moms but also that our firstborns were no more than three months apart we became instant besties.

But it gets better. When number two came along you'd have thought we all compared ovulation charts. From August through December of last year all four of us were pregnant. Those babies were born in December, January and little Lucy finished up our procreation project in April. But I have a hunch none of us are finished just yet.

We're no longer in the same ECFE class but we've remained close nonetheless with playdates and moms-only dates. We laugh. We cry. But most importantly we support.

When they all came over on Wednesday to see our new house we quadrupled the normal capacity of our home. Every toy we owned was somewhere to be found on the hardwood floors. The crawling babies had to swim through a sea of plastic to get to the other side of the room.

And the noise. Good Lord! Amy quickly found the most offending device, a blue whistle, and promptly placed it high above and out of reach.

Dona arrived last. Dear, sweet Dona. Always the one to put everything in perspective. She laughed amid the cries and the screams and the pounding and the running as we were trying to have a real conversation.

"I just love this!" She exclaimed

I looked at her in disbelief. At that point I may or may not have been dreaming of us moms at a classy joint with a glass of red wine in hand while the daddies were at home with the little people.

"I mean, this is just where we all are right now," she said, "It's so cool!"

And I guess it kind of was. No one was annoyed by somebody else's kid because they were all our kids. All the same ages and all the same stages.

The best idea we had was to sit all eight of them on the sofa and get a picture. I never would have guessed it but it didn't turn out half bad!

We threw around a couple of good captions for the photo. Fertility? Pro-life? Repopulating the earth?

Or maybe, simply: Friends.

OK, here we go, left to right: Luke, Jack, Miles, Leila, Carter, Olivia, William and Lucy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Soaking It In

About six times a day William asks me if he can go to the park.

Roughly that many times I respond no.

It's too cold.

It's too windy.

It's dark.

It's raining.

Lucy's sleeping.

On and on the excuses go.

But today was one of the last warm days here in good ol' Minnesota. So I set the excuses aside and packed up his standard peanut butter and honey sandwich along with a sliced apple and we headed to the park for a lunch date.

The two parks that are near our house are both a part of an elementary school so we have to time our visits just right so we don't get clobbered by schoolchildren on recess.

I smiled as we neared "the red park" because I saw students lining up and heading indoors. Perfect timing!

We played. We ate. We tilted our heads to the sky and tried to soak in every last drop of sunshine.

But then I heard the sounds of many feet running toward us. It was the sixth-graders turn for recess.

I told William it was time to go but he waved me away not wanting to miss his chance to play with the older kids.

Those kids were big. They were loud. And they burped. They didn't say excuse me when they bumped into Lucy's stroller and they jumped feet first onto the bench I was sitting on. There were dares and teases and kids being left out.

I looked at my little guy who suddenly seemed a lot more little than he did earlier that day. Those big blue eyes of his watched in wonder. I could see that sponge of a brain of his absorbing more than I was ready to take on.

So I walked over to where he was standing and playfully scooped him up, cradled him in my arms and buried my nose into his cold, rosy cheeks while I drowned him in kisses.

He smiled and he laughed and he giggled.

Someday I know he won't smile or laugh or giggle when I do that. Someday he will be one of those sixth-graders.

But for today he was simply my two-going-on-three-year-old lunch date. How quickly I was reminded to soak in every last drop of that.

"How about we go to the other park and you and me will do races up the hill?!" I said.

"OK!" He said enthusiastically like it was the best idea he had ever heard.

Someday I'll look back on a day like today and remember when my little boy still considered me to be his best friend forever.

And so continues the age old battle of kids trying to grow up too fast and parents trying to keep them little forever.

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12, 2009

I had to title this post with the date just so that next year on this day when it's 60 degrees and sunny and I decide to look back through my archives and see these pictures I won't think that Blogger made a date error.

I just read through some of my friends' status updates on Facebook. Ninety percent are about the snow and one hundred percent of those are negative.

One little boy would beg to differ.

Other than his birthday William has no concept of this thing we call a calendar or even the natural order and progression of seasons.

For all he knows tomorrow's plans might include a trip to the beach.

Maybe they will.

But today's plans included hats and mittens, snowballs and wet pants (haven't had a chance to get snowpants that fit yet!).

Maybe you're annoyed you had to brush off your car this morning. I bet the traffic was a bit hairy too. Maybe in your neck of the woods you're even begrudgingly searching the garage for your snow shovel.

But I bet when you were almost three...

...way back when...

...and you woke up to this...

...I bet, I bet...

...you smiled like this.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Something Smells Good

The other day I saw a commercial that depicted a mother, fully dressed and ready for the day waving pleasantly as she sent her children out of the house and off to school.

"Ooooh," I sighed wistfully to Brian.

Brian looked over at me and said, "It's going to be a looooong time before that happens."

"I know," I sniffed.

"What would you do all day?" He used the same tone I often get from non-parents or non-stay-at-home parents when they are wondering what I do all day with children at home.

I pondered that question for a little while. What would I do all day?

My house would stay spic and span so I wouldn't need to clean it as often and even when I did clean it would probably take me a fraction of the time without any interruptions.

I'm not much of a decorator. Or crafter. Or shopper.

I do like to write (i.e. blog) but one can only stare at the computer screen for so long before the creative juices run dry. Besides, idle time on the Internet only convinces me that I absolutely must be the highest bidder on eBay for some name-brand something or other that I didn't even know I needed just a few hours earlier.

Finally, I looked over at Brian and smiled.

"I would spend entire days in the kitchen!"

And it's probably true. This new kitchen of mine has made me realize how much I really do love cooking, baking and creating works of edibles.

It's also this autumn weather. Everything is in harvest and I feel like I need to hurry up and use it all before the prices go up and the freshness goes down.

Apple crisp and butternut squash soup. Brownies and carbonara. Zucchini cake and zucchini bread. Baked oatmeal with blueberries and raspberry cream cheese muffins with streusel on top. Homemade baby food delights! The make-your-own ice cream didn't work but that's OK. It's all a part of the process. The chili with cornbread turned out divine. So did the red pepper risotto and that's not especially easy to do. Tomatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, potatoes. They're coming out of our ears!

But I do have bums and noses to wipe in between so something's gotta give. Usually that something is a shower.

I might not be particularly beautiful to look at with my stringy hair, no make-up face and my yoga pants and old t-shirt uniform but my family eats well.

They're calling for two to three inches tomorrow. It's pretty early to start the snow season even by Minnesota standards. I better go see what I've got in my pantry.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Mouse and a Marathon

For about a week now Brian and I have been trying to catch (i.e. terminate) the most elusive mouse God ever created.

I first saw the little rodent scurry across the dining room as I was enjoying lunch during nap time. I immediately began to freak out. I lily-padded across the dining room chairs to reach for the phone. I called Brian at work who teased me relentlessly. Then I called my brother who lives five minutes away. I tried to persuade him to come over. No luck.

The kids and I made it through the rest of the day without a single mouse attack.

After dinner I headed over to the local hardware store to pick up supplies. Four standard mouse traps and two so-called childproof traps. We baited them with peanut butter and strategically placed them throughout the house.

I was sure I was going to wake up with my rodent problem gone. But we got nothing.

Friday night Brian and I were watching some television when I swear I saw the little sucker scamper through the dining room once again. Brian went to check it out but found nothing.

Each morning our traps have been empty. And I mean truly empty. As in, the peanut butter is also gone.

How in the world is it possible that the slightest bit of breath will set those traps off on our fingers but a whole mouse can crawl up on the thing and eat peanut butter to his heart's delight and then prance off without so much as a scratch?

And now I'm pretty sure he's told the rest of his mouse friends that there's a free peanut butter buffet at the Nash house so come on and follow me!

Any suggestions?

In other news we went as a family to watch the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday morning. The last part of the course is just a few blocks from our house. We walked back and forth between mile 22 and 23. They say the Twin Cities Marathon is one of the most beautiful urban marathons in the country and I couldn't agree more.

The temperature was a crisp 50 degrees. But there was no wind and only one stray cloud of mist. They say that's perfect weather to run a marathon. But it was a little chilly for my baby girl.

But it was also a good excuse to bundle her up making her look just as cute as could be. So snugly!

Target sponsored mile 22 which meant free cowbells for all.

William really got into it once that bell was in his hand. My favorite cheer heard from him was: "Lookin' good!"

I'm always a little inspired and very emotional when comes to these types of races. I've wrote about this before when my sister raced in the 10-mile two years ago. It never ceases to amaze me at the vast variety of people that run in a marathon. Young, old, big, small, athletic and not-so-much. And no matter if a racer is sprinting, walking or hobbling along, every single bystanders is sending out positive cheers. What a great lesson to teach your kids.

And here's a little hint for any of you out there thinking of running a race in the near future. Print your name on your shirt or have it scrawled down your arm. I noticed many of the runners did this and that way we could cheer for them personally. What a great trick for a little motivation booster!

On the way home Brian and I discussed if we would rather run a marathon or go through childbirth.

Obviously Brian doesn't have the option of going through childbirth but he's seen me in my rawest form twice before so I think he has a hunch what it's all about.

I chose childbirth. I'm not a huge runner. I like it for its efficiency at getting you a great workout. But the thought of having to run more than a 5K gets me a little uneasy.

They say five hours is a good time for a first-time marathoner and both of my labors have been shorter than that. Plus, let's not forget you get a cute little baby at the end of childbirth. If you're lucky you might get some soon-to-be-forgotten t-shirt at the end of a marathon.

But all rewards aside, I think I'd still pick childbirth.

Brian chose the marathon. He said at least you could quit in the middle if you really hated it that much. But I reminded him you could quit childbirth too if you just asked for an epidural. Sorry if I just offended any of you epidural-takers out there.

What would you choose? Marathon or natural childbirth?
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