Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This stuff is hard!

I should clarify because, really, "stuff" is one of my ever so famous "Diet Coke" words (full of empty calories...doesn't really mean anything because it's so vague).  This CHILDREN stuff is hard! 

This is merely a sampling of STUFF that has to be dealt with, coddled, figured out, modified, and such.

1.  Sleep schedules.  I DON'T REMEMBER.  That's what keeps flashing through my mind in a perpetual loop of incoherency.  How did we train Abby to sleep by herself during the day?  I DON'T REMEMBER.  I'm stuck on this one.  (And we're not generally fans of the Ferber method.  I'm pseudo-attachment parenting in the non-crazy sense.  I agree with this theory that you should do what feels intuitive and comfortable for you.  Ferberizing is neither for us.  Cuddling with a sweetie is.  We're cuddlers, and for the record...Abby sleeps super great and always has at night since about 3 months and during the day since I DON'T REMEMBER.  Sometime shortly thereafter.)

2.  Attitudes.  A three-year old can seriously mood swing.  On Saturday, we day tripped it down to the State Fair and 3 hours of excitement with !!! extra excite !!! went to OUTRAGE, FURY, and general BANSHEE behavior for the rest of the day.  A three-year old shows glimmers of learning how to lessen their outbursts and recover fairly quickly, but what biological purpose dose the ability to absolutely SHRIEK in the highest, most painful pitch imaginable serve? 

3.  Lunch time.  Inevitably, there are three people who all arrive at hungry mode at the same time.  Planning ahead is my new motto, which admittedly, irritates me that I take valuable time in the morning when small fry is still asleep getting snacks and lunch ready for the rest of the day and don't just sit down and play with big fry for a while.  So far, this is the only way that I've figured out how to smooth out some major sticky parts in the rest of the day; I'm still working through this. 

4.  Behavior modification.  I hate being the Negative Nelly all of the time.  Why can't a kid just figure it out after one or two times?  Why?  Stuffed animals are the currency of choice in our household.  At any given time, "kitty," "Polly Panda," "little black kitty," "pink moo cow," "purple teddy bear," or "Harry the Horse" may find themselves in a time out.  Stuffed animal jail.

5.  Exercise.  I can't figure this one out very well either.  It's hard to push 2 strollers at once (this is how too much of my time went at the State Fair), I don't have a double stroller, and I refuse to buy one that isn't a jogging stroller, which aren't good for newborns. 

6.  Playgrounds.  No wonder parents go a little nutty.  Playing with my kid at the playground is enjoyable, explorative, energetic, and at times mind numbingly boring.   Admittedly, playing is not my forte as a parent, but I'm pretty sweet at reading.  We read a lot.

7.  Vacations.  It seems like everyone and their Aunt Judy is taking small tots on vacations, which I/we were very loathe to do when we had just one.  And now, it's been 4 years since we've been on a vacation (more than one night away in a B & B).  I'm ready.  And now I don't feel portable with the bigger one and the smaller one.  Catch-22!!!

I'm sure there's more.  She cries.  I go.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Is it okay to feel sentimental about a car??

Once upon a time, there was a young, childless married couple.  They were fresh out of college and had to figure everything out.  How to be a brand new adult can be confusing and tough.  They decided that the boy needed a car.  He decided to buy a truck.  So he did.

He bought a Ford Ranger.  And they loved it.  The stick shift was fun to drive.  The girl only stalled it every once in a while.

Then the girl got a job, too.  So the couple decided to sell her car that she had driven since high school and invest in long-term car. 

She found a black, 2-door Honda Accord with a sun roof, leather seats, a V-6 engine, and a 6-CD changer.  It was sporty and fun.  Low mileage.  Only 4 years old. 

They bought it.

She drove it a minimum of 450 miles a week the first year driving back and forth to work.  It was a long commute.  The miles piled up quickly.  She didn't care.  Her car was golden.

Then she got a new job, only 5 minutes from home.  The miles didn't add up so quickly.  She didn't care.  That meant that she could keep her car longer.

Then she started to commute to Ball State twice a week for grad school.  She kind of cared.  Gas was expensive.  But it was still fun driving the car over quiet roads.  It was something of a mental break to set the cruise control, jam to some music and open the sun roof, even at night.  The car was spunky.  She loved it.

And then...

Things changed.  Kid #1 came along.  The young, married couple now with one child had a truck and a 2-door car, neither of which are comfortably conducive to a family, though a car-seat was manageable in the Accord, though annoying.  They still loved their truck.  They still loved their car.  Unfortunately, the truck had to go.  She fought for it valiantly: "We can just have three cars.  We'll use it.  We'll be glad that we kept it."  Alas, he talked her out of it.

Now, she also had to give up primary driving of the sweet little car.  She drove the mommy car by default of being the primary kid schlepper.  She survived but secretly missed the car.  A lot.

And then...

Things changed again.  Kid #2 came along.  The still young, married couple now had 2 kids, a mommy car and a 2-door car, which technically can hold 2 car seats, but the safety of the children wasn't the best.  The seats were nothing if not a tight fit.  Too tight. 

After much deliberation (MUCH), the couple resigned themselves to selling the nifty 2-door.  One of the last vestiges of their first year of marriage.

But it happened, and she took it for one last spin.  One last trip around the block.  All the while, she was thinking, "Is it okay to feel sentimental about a car?"  She decided that it is.  It stands for a lot of important things in her life.  She feels a little melancholy today.   

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My summer reading list

Months prior to this summer, I've been looking forward to it for reasons both obvious and not.  One of those is that I distinctly remember having a summer of wonderful reading time 3 years ago when Abby was a newborn.  I very much wanted to recapture the simplicity and joy of just reading again.  Sadly, reading isn't much of a priority for me as of late (meaning as of years now).  Other than when I was completing my Masters degree and then the aforementioned summer, reading has always felt like a luxury that was too luxurious, something that I had no time for.  Admittedly, I didn't try to make much time for it either, fulfilled enough with my newspaper and magazines. 

A few months ago, I decided to re-read Emma (Jane Austen), remembering it as one of her works that I particularly enjoyed and hadn't tasted for several years.  But why stop there?  My intent to read one of her works turned into the determination to read all of her works in the space of a few weeks.  I've never done that before, but this also reminded me that reading a collection of an author's work does truly provide insight and a connection to that author more so than reading the works singularly.  Austen is a perfect example of the feasibility of this because she only has a handful of published works.  Caveat--I've tried reading Sandition a couple of times, but she died before finishing it, and I've not gotten into it like her others.

Northanger Abbey--Why is this one called Northanger Abbey?  Very little of the plot occurs there.  It pokes gentle fun at class (which, really, is Austen's main M.O.).  

Emma--a delicious treat, gossipy like Parade of the 1700s

Pride and Prejudice--I enjoyed more of the subtle sub-plots happening reading it this time around, elegant, insightful, classic class & gender issues

Sense and Sensibility--more of P & P, excellent

Mansfield Park--It took me a while to get through this one, the most laborious of the three, but still, Austen being Austen.  Enjoyable.