Well, you made it a year, kid

Since I’ve been thinking about it almost constantly for at least the last three weeks, I can’t really say how surprised I am that Elliot turned one today. I say “turned” because he popped out around 9:45 AM, if you recall. It’s been a long and short year, all at once. Just like time always is – you lose some, you feel like you’re catching up, you can’t wait, you wish you had it back. Sometimes, I remember how he lay in my arms and drank my milk, all happy and content. How he used to grab my thumb whle he ate, as an anchor or reminder that I was holding him. We spent so many good times together, he and I, just bonding, looking at each other, committing faces to memory. His seems to have changed so much

I can still see similarities but I know where it has changed.

With each new thing he learned, I had to catch up. I was always about a week behind him. Like when he was done eating every 2 hours or when he no longer wanted to sit in the papasan. When we was ready to move onto 9 month chunky foods, when he could be wearing shoes as he cruised around the house. As a first time mom, much of Elliot’s first year was a gigantic learning experience for me above all else.

There were some times during this year when I allowed myself to compare my child to others. This will make you insane. It is not healthy to think that your kid will do anything remotely similar at the same time as anyone else’s kid. My friend’s daughter, two weeks younger, did almost everything before Elliot, except get teeth. Elliot has eight and she only has two, still. Babies, I have learned, do things at their own pace. In Elliot’s case, he may have been a couple weeks behind the “norm” on such activities as sitting up, crawling, and walking but in time, he got the hang of all of them. In fact, once he gets it, he takes off and never looks back. That’s where we are with walking. The last two days, he’s been taking one step then two. He’s so close. I give him a week without the pretense of having to live up to his parents’ standards (Ash and I both walked very early.)

Before becoming a mom, I didn’t realize that at one, you begin calling a child a toddler. Toddler. I have a toddler! That’s a big “Holy crap!” moment for me. And he’s about to be toddling. And getting into trouble and starting to develop more of his little personality. He already has in some ways. He’ll let you know when he is tired. Or when you’re not entertaining enough. But he also likes to cuddle more now and he is beginning to show way more interest in daddy over mommy. Yet, he comes back to me when he’s feeling out of sorts.

I really do look forward to this second year. When I was younger, I dreaded change out of fear. Fear of the unknown. But these days, I embrace it. Not wholeheartedly but with a confidence that I can do it. That I can address the problems and work through them. I have my husband to help. I have my son as my cause.

Happy birthday Elliot!! Mommy loves you.

Keeping up with the Smiths

My life is in upheaval right now. Things are crazy, all over the place, and I am slowly – no, quickly – losing my sanity. I could use a beer. And as if this weren’t already awful, my parents had to put my childhood dog to sleep. Ok, well, I was 14 when we got Barney the beagle but still. He had been declining slowly for a number of years and when he couldn’t use his back legs this morning, I knew it was probably just time. In some ways, this relieves my parents. He was so old that he peed everywhere and he got them up all hours of the night. They have another dog who sleeps until about 9 in the morning so now, they might be able to finally get some rest. Without further ado, here are some things that I have been up to latey:

  • Saturday was the last night that Elliot got breastfed before bed. Sunday, he was breast milk free. He took the entire process really well and was ready. I kind of miss the time we spent doing that but we still get to hang out. :)
  • The insurance company tried to give us a quote on our damage without sending an adjuster to the house. So now, I am waiting on the roofer who worked with us last summer to come out and give us a quote. I hate dealing with insurance companies and I hate when all I can do is wait.
  • Elliot visited the new daycare this morning and he just did “ok.” He was a little tired and clingy but I think he’ll get adjusted soon. It’s a new environment and a lot to take in so hopefully it won’t take long before he gets comfortable.
  • Ash’s poison ivy is everywhere. Well, all over his arms and legs and has spread to his eight ear and left eyelid. I think he’s finally giving in and going to the doctor this afternoon. This is a very good thing because although I know he cannot spread the poison to me, I really get kind of squicked if he touches me.
  • My allergies have been acting up. That is all
  • Elliot turns the big ONE tomorrow around 9:30 AM. Be thinking of him and his step into toddlerhood.
  • It has taken me all day to write this post. Now that I am about to leave work, all I can do it publish and move on.

Evolution

My hair has evolved into this untamed mess that keeps coming out of any bun I try to create. It also started to do this annoying flip out thing right above my ears and it looks like I got caught in the rain and let it air dry. I am so frustrated with it but I hate Hate HATE paying for a haircut and/or thinking about styling. A.) there’s not time in the morning for “product” and/or blow-drying. B.) I don’t particularly feel like spending money on “product” when I could be using it towards things that are necessary like food… and cute onesies at Target. So I am stuck in this conundrum of bad hair days. And it pisses me off.

******

Ash and I have been churning through the first season of Heroes. I had not seen an episode all the way through before and now, Now? We are hooked. I can’t – obviously – go into any detail without the dreaded spoilers but it’s so intriguing because they usually answer one question and ask 7 more. So I am always wondering what will happen next. And for the record: it’s SO much better than Lost.

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Elliot is taking one step now. He will pull up, let go and move one foot ahead before falling down. We’re THIS close to being a walking creature! It’s crazy how fast he can get on his walker without actually face-planting into the coffee table, floor, dogs, etc. My heart aches to think of his first few months of flopping around lazily in my lap. I knew that I could put him down and he’d be exactly in that spot when I got back. (Not that I ever put him down and walked away.. not often anyway.) But now, oh now… we have a moving thing on our hands who has a mind of his own and certain places he must venture to. These include, but are not lilmited to: the guest bedroom where he tries to climb on the elliptical, the bathroom where he pulls down his bath toys, and Ash’s amp, upon which are a couple picks and the metronome. And the scary part is that very time we move Elliot away and redirect, saying a firm “No”, he chuckles and crawls right back to where he was. Oh sigh. Babies…

*****

I just got an email back about on online teaching gig. Maybe I can make something of this and earn some extra cash! Wish me luck!

Poison, p-p-p-poison, Poison

Do you see how many x365 entries I wrote today? That’s a lot of work, people. I’m continually having to take a trip through the wayback machine to find these names. They’re hiding in the darkest recesses of my brain, in filing cabinets covered in cobwebs. I feel good knowing that I am caught up though. Must stick it out.

So, yeah, guess what Ash has? Poison Ivy! And I don’t mean the lame Batman villainess. When we were hauling logs on Sunday and one of our kind neighbours came by to help, he mentioned that he was pretty sure the vine that had completely taken over the tree’s trunk was probably posion ivy. I freaked out just a little but not for my own safety. I didn’t want to go inside and pick Elliot up, transferring the spores to his skin too. I immediately washed with hot soapy water (which he said woul neutralize it) and lo and behold, I didn’t end up with a reaction to it anyway. (Although I later read that hot water can open your pores to it and perhaps make it worse.) But I find it highly amusing because I am otherwise allergic to every substance known to the flora world.

It’s odd that it took until late last night to show up. Ash said he was a little itchy – when I offered to run to CVS for calamine, he declined – but then this moring, as I was making my lunch, Ash came up behind me and in a very nice, yet pleading voice, asked me to run to the store (at that moment) because it was taking everything in his power not to scratch. It’s mostly his legs and upper arms. We lotioned him down this morning and I noticed that he already had some blisters. Ugh. What I didn’t know about posion ivy is that you can experience the itching anywhere form one week to three! I hope it goes away for Ash quicker than that.

Aside from dealing with that little issue, we’re on Elliot Walk Watch 2k8. This kid’s so close to his first steps, it’s ridiculous. He is really adept at pushing his walker around the house but as of the past couple days, he’s been letting go and turning away from it, totally free. Then last night, he tried picking up one foot to move it forward. He’s going to get it any day now. How exciting!

And on that upbeat note I leave you…

Days 124 – 134 – x365

Kevin D. – fellow co-worker

Introduced me to Watchmen and I could not put it down once I started. Thanks for all the comic talk and here’s looking towards your new baby, coming soon!

“Union Chris” – old friend

Met you in the student lounge and since we knew a lot of Chrises, you became Union Chris. Funny now how you’ve grown up and gotten a real job.

Millie – old lady on childhood street

Walked the streets with a large green rolling bag and lived in a tiny white house with blacked out windows. I always wondered if you had died in there.

Mr. Jim – childhood neighbour

I used to stop by your house on my way home from school and we ate milk and cookies while watching the afternoon news; me, you and your wife.

Herman – childhood neighbour

Older guy who always worked in the yard, meticulous at his gardening until one day, I didn’t see him and my parents told me he died. I didn’t understand.

JR Reagan – childhood/neighborhood friend

Blond spiky hair and a troublemaker, I followed you around – being one year older – and wanted to skate and ride bikes just like you and your friends.

Erin K – neighbourhood friend

Lived on the opposite side of the street but house had the same layout as mine, just flipped. I envied you having an older sister and a pool too.

Pinkie – friend’s grandmother

Nicest old lady; let us swim in her pool and made awesome cookies. Drove us to Awana and was a team leader. I remember your white cotton candy hair.

Myk Fontana-

You changed the spelling of your name to be different but you really weren’t: just another asshole in high school who wanted to be in a rock band. Asshole.

Jimmy Fontana

My first crush in the new high school. Your drove a Jimmy and your name was Jimmy. Somehow this made you even cuter to me. But your brother sucked.

Not to make excuses…

…but I have some legitimate reasons for my brief hiatus in blogging. For one, Tropical Storm Fay was a little worse than Tallahassee expected. We had a ton of rain and where it typically collects on our driveway, near the garage, was even worse. On Saturday morning, Ash got out there in a rain poncho and dug a little trench for drainage. La la, going along all day, feeling cooped up and restless. Ash began a computer project but couldn’t find his screwdriver. Gets pissed, blames me (of course – what a male thing to do), then decides to drive to work where he had another one. This was about, oh, 2 or 3 PM. Not one minute after he left, I heard it: a crackling sound – an upheaval. Then, the crash that reverberated throughout the neighbourhood. So much so that I figured a tree fell across the street. I look out back, nothing. I walk out front and I see it:

That’s about a 60 foot tree on our house. That was obviously after Ash and I put Elliot in his crib and went out – in the driving rain – and tarped the damage. I was slogging through about 5-6 inches of water in the backyard to get thos cinder blocks. The worst part was that they were way out in the corners of the yard, where the dog poo. I just tried not to think about how disgusting that water was.

Here’s where it went through our entire fence in the back. Off to the right, is the earth and the roots. It must have been a good 50-70 years old and indeed, it had been leaning for a while. Though, it was not on our property so we had no control over that. Around 5 or so, we got done securing the tarp and there was nothing much else we could do.

Originally, we had a dinner club outing planned and we decided to still go. Because we really needed to get out! The rain had subsided mostly but there were so many roads closed and flooded that it took us a while to get acorss town. When we returned from dinner, the neighbour who owned said tree had tapes his insurance information on our front door. We had already filed a claim through our own so this made things even more interesting.

On Sunday, we woke and I gave the neighbours until 12 when I went over to speak with them. In the past, we had never exchanged words. They rarely if ever waved. We feared that they would be complete assholes about it. Well, turns out the guy is quite nice and understanding and so willing to work through it. In fact, he thinks that his insurance will probably cover our deductible.

Around 2, our awesome neighbours on the other side came over with the chainsaw and we began hacking away at the beast.

The best part was that lots of people walked by and offered condolences. One woman, from around the corner and who I had met before, came over to help move debris. Then, a guy from down the road whom we had never met before came and he did some of the heavy log lifting. I was so amazed to see young people, and neighbours, being helpful and friendly. It kind of restored my faith in humanity!

Here’s the damage the house incurred:

It’s not too bad but it won’t be cheap to fix. I’m just glad that the tree is gone and we can sort of move forward. But I tell you, this was not how I saw my Saturday playing out. And aside from that, I really wanted to spend this weekend relaxing, since Fall semester began today and it’s my busiest time of the year.

So you see now why I had been ignoring my blog. X365 posts to resume soon as well. I just need to get back on track.

Restaurant review, of sorts

Mothers out there reading this will no doubt know exactly what I am talking about when I say that last night I got to do something that happens rarely, if ever: go out to eat with a friend.  And it was awesome. Even more rare is the chance to cultivate “me time”, since the baby is such a huge part of our lives. I am, indeed, very grateful that he goes to bed at 8 but on a typical weeknight you can find me passed out on the couch by 10 PM.

So my friend Dave and I went to a little place called Monk’s, formerly the Main Ingredient. It’s a typical college hangout: front room that’s a little quieter and a back room with the bar and TVs. They also have an outdoor area that, I’m sure, is packed during the normal school year. But since school doesn’t begin until Monday, we were one of only four or so tables occupied. It took a while for a waitress to help us but when she did, she was quite nice and chatty and brought the beer, stat. Which was much needed. I mentioned that I had ONE beer at a party couple weeks ago and since, I had been wanting another. When you drink as rarely as I do, these little moments matter.

I ordered a burger – the Stilton. Check it out on the menu. Boy was it good. But massive. And it was a personal goal set forth as she placed it in front of me to finish Every Last Bite. And I did. Though it took me roughly an hour, over beer and conversation. Which, can I just tell you? Is great to partake in. I wasn’t saying, “Oh, little Elly, you’re ok.” Or, “God, kid, you are so whiny.” Or, “Did you poop your pants? Did you?” Having a kid can be mind numbing. Having a nice three hour dinner with an old friend: decidedly entertaining.

In some ways, I miss the old days. But as we were walking to our cars, everything hushed outside compared to the constant barrage of noise inside, Dave mentioned that one of our old haunts – brothers nightclub – is now closed. We both agreed that it was almost fitting. As if closing the door on a chapter of both of our lives, in seperate ways. Methaphorically speaking. All in all, a good night. I was happy to be home and I immediately fell asleep on the couch watching Olympics, I think. I was out fast.

And now, onto some more work before the day is over.