Archive for the 'Parenting' Category

Harumph.

I’m in a muddle about a variety of things.

Saturday I returned home from two weeks away doing research in “old papers” (as we tell the Bug) in an old city on the NE seaboard.  The second week of my research trip I was joined by BD and Bug.  We all camped out at BD’s Aunt’s house in a nearby suburb.  I took the commuter rail into town each day to do research and BD and Bug went to the beach, rode on a boat, played with cousins, generally had fun with Aunt, Uncle, and Grandpa.

Now I am back home, trying to get back into the groove, and staring down the barrel of an unwritten conference paper, half-digested research notes, and a lot of mommy angst.  What’s the mommy angst about?  Glad you asked.  There’s a few sources, but they intersect. One is the issue of the second child.  Whether or not to have.  And if, when.  BD and I went out to dinner (alone!  just the two of us!) while we were away and had our second Big Talk about the second baby issue.  We agreed to have one, and to start trying in August so as to ideally pop the bugger out early next summer, maximizing the combination of the academic summer-off with the during-the-year maternity leave.  I have a lot of fears.  That the adults won’t be able to deal with a newborn, we’ll never feel sane and well-rested again, and that we will be ruining both our own lives and that of the Bug.  He will never feel special again and we’ll never enjoy parenting again.  On the way home on the airplane, Bug was sitting on my lap during takeoff and for much of the trip after, and he was so sweet and agreeable and his little, warm body fit so perfectly on my lap.  I was so glad to be his mother, and I felt like I never wanted to lose that singular connection.  So there’s that. And there’s a million other things: I don’t think Bug will like a sibling based on his personality and his reaction to other kids (he does like them but is in a major anti-daycare phase because he says he doesn’t like the other kids there, etc.  He’s never been the kind of kid who voluntarily says hello and goodbye, never wants to hug other kids, is incredibly open and funny and nonstop chatty with BD and me, but can be somewhat closed with other kids and adults, though it does vary).

Of course there is a part of me that DOES want another child.  I like being a mother, I thought being pregnant and giving birth and breastfeeding were, for all their pains, a powerful and rewarding experience.  And I really do believe that in the long run I want more than one child.  I have the deep feeling of perpetuating the generations of my family — not a sense of duty as much as a sense that existentially it’s the right thing to do.  My parents are getting old, BD’s mother is already gone, and I now realize though my parents have loomed so large to me (and continue to do so in many ways) they are actually finite beings, and that I have to create my own life, my own future, and that feeling of creation and sense of futurity for me take the shape of wanting more kin, namely another child.  But that’s all kind of abstract when you’re thinking about middle-of-the-night wakeups and the like.  And let’s face it, the Bug was not an easy baby, so that’s my only experience.

Intersecting with all this is the fact the Bug is in a sort of frustrating phase.  Yes, he is 2.5, so it’s all to be expected.  Right now he is very sleep-resistant.  We pop him into his crib after all the bedtime rituals and he instantly claims he has to go to the bathroom.  Sometimes he really does, sometimes he doesn’t, so taking a tack of total non-response to his claims of “I need to pee” or “I need to poop” doesn’t seem like a good option.  But neither does the endless struggle over it we’re all engaged in now.  We always capitulate and go in, eventually, but it frustrates and annoys us and drags bedtime on forever.  And then he gets up between 5 and 6 in the morning!! So we’re just tired.  And he’s strong-willed, and we don’t really know what to do.  But I feel a little worn out by it.  And also by things like this: desperate crying/tantruming first thing in the morning because I, instead of BD, came to get him up out of his crib.  Or because his potty wasn’t in exactly the right spot on the bathroom carpet.    And you know, he just resists most things: toothbrushing, getting into the bath, getting out of the bath, getting dressed.

Of course I complain and feel wiped out and then two seconds later he is cracking me up or I’m just watching him lie on the floor absorbed in play and feeling that heart-swelling-with-love-and-amazement-about-the-beautiful-creature-in-our-lives-feeling.  Ah, motherhood.

A Bicycle Built for Two

One of my goals for the summer was to figure out some way to start biking with the Bug.  Now that he’s at a new (and better) daycare, he is closer to my office.  I figured it would be fun and planet-saving to bike to work, dropping Bug off on the way.  In typical fashion, however, I spent half the summer in a fit of angst about which method of toddler-transporting to choose.  The good old fashioned rear seat? Or the cooky front seat?  The demographically-correct Burley trailer? The lovely but expensive Madsen cargo bike?  The even lovelier, even more expensive bakefiets?  Actually the latter was never an option since it was way, way out of our price range.  Each seemed to have its advantages and disadvantages, and the prices were all over the map.  To top it off, I had to get myself a new bike first.

In the end, I found myself a nice old ladies Schwinn on Craigslist, and went with the deluxe front-set from BoBike.  We tried the cheaper Ibert front seat first, but the Bug had a tantrum when I tried to get him into it and I really had to bow out my knees to ride with it.  Then when BD and I were on our Pacific Northwest Idyll I saw a dad and son riding with the BoBike mini and I knew it was for me.  I ordered it when we got home, introduced it to the Bug over a series of days — first just putting him in it and rolling him around the driveway, then taking short rides in the neighborhood, then finally starting to ride to and from daycare.  Once he got used to it (and accepted the fact that in order to go on the incredibly fun and exhilarating bicycle he was going to have to wear a f***ing helmet) he loves riding on it, and I consider our commute together one of the best parts of my day.  We ride in the summer sunshine, chat about the cars and trucks and dogs we are seeing, and I don’t have to deal with parking.  I’ll continue this as long as the weather permits, which I’m hoping will be well into November.

20 months

The Bug is 20 months old today.  There’s a post over at Ask Moxie (http://www.askmoxie.org/) about how to support a laboring woman, so everyone is getting into sharing birth stories, which is great.  I love to think about and remember the day I gave birth.  It really was the most amazing experience I’ve had in 35 years here.  I think about being pregnant and giving birth a lot, mostly because whenever I go swimming, which is generally every Tuesday and Thursday, I think about swimming when I was pregnant with the Bug and how I went swimming on his due date while I was leaking amniotic fluid (though I didn’t yet realize that was what was happening).

Apropos of my post about wanting to document the Bug’s life more fully (besides in pictures, of which we have a zillion), I have been meaning to compile a list of the words and phrases that Bug is saying.  So here goes my best attempt.  I will surely forget some:

Mama, Dada, Lucas (the dog — pronounced Yicky), Kyrie (the dog), doggy, cat, duck, pig, sheep, bug, DD (the name for his aunt and uncle), Big Poppy (his paternal grandpa), Dupey (his maternal grandma), Meredith (his daycare provider), Abida, Me-me, Jacob (all 3 from his old daycare), broccoli, carrot, cracker, cheese, walnut, cashew, date, banana, apple, milk, water, olive, muffin, shake, raisin, radish (raddy), yeast (as in nutritional), rice, truck, car, up, down, side, dollhouse, bike, bicycle, seat, cord, plug, shoe, sock, night-night, meow, shovel, dot, Ernie (as in the Sesame Street character, of which he has a stuffed version), tooth, police car, fire truck, vacuum (vac-ki-ki), outside, book, read, “did it” (as in I did it, Mama did it, etc.), “got it”, “have it”, “coming out”, please, toilet, bye-bye, hello, pee-pee, glasses, cup, bottle, coffee, “see it”, button, camera, ladder, ball, “oh no,” “uh-oh,” saw, light, door, open, hush, bag, bus, guy, whee, music, “make it,” clock, this, that, knife, baby, big boy, hot, no, brick, heavy, eye, knob, carpet, step, stop, fast, out, help, shoe, take (“Mama take it”), ladybug, wall, hammer, tofu.

His receptive vocabulary is of course much bigger, so I won’t even try to document that.

I sure do love that beautiful being!

Taking Time

I am having a bad day.  Yesterday I finished a draft of the last “big” chapter of the book I am writing.  You would think this would make me feel good, but instead it has brought a fresh round of serious anxiety.  Why?  Because finishing that chapter means that all I have left to do is rewrite the introduction and afterword.  And those are the spots when it’s Really Important That I Know What I Am Talking About.  What the book is about, what my argument is, how it relates to all the scholarship that has come before.  These are spaces to zoom out and pan the camera across the landscape.  But you know what?  That kind of a thing makes me want to vomit and find the nearest exit door.

That’s when I turn to the blogs written by all those waldorf SAHMs and feel even worse about myself and my life.  Here I am, miserable in my office counting the minutes until I can leave, when I could be at home with darling Bug, baking whole wheat sweets and knitting him woolen covers for his cloth diapers while we plant our garden and he nurses until he goes to kindergarten.  Okay, I exaggerate, but you know what I mean.

And I think I feel especially bad because my anxiety does interfere with my connection with the Bug.  Like this morning, Baby Daddy did the waking-up routine with Bug and I was already feeling anxious about my day by the time I saw him so I felt at a distance from him the whole morning.  And then I thought about how when I get home I will be focused on chopping things up to make dinner for all of us, including Uncle E and Aunt C, who are staying the night.  So there’s some more unquality time.  And then he’ll go to sleep.  He’s making such incredible discoveries every day and learning new words by the pile, and I have not been diligent about recording it all.

So my new desire is really just to take time.  I really do have enough of it.  Just take the time to stop and play with the Bug and then take a couple of minutes to record the day or the week’s best sayings and doings when he’s in bed.