Friday, August 31, 2012

He Deserves Better

Tuesday was a bad day. My normally easy baby only took one nap and spent the rest of his time fussing, crying or screaming. Oh, the ear shattering screaming! I fed him; I changed him; I sang to him; I rocked him; I smiled. I did everything I knew how, but it wasn't enough.

I fantasized about putting him in his crib, closing the door, and then putting in earplugs and lying down in my room. I didn't do it, but I wanted to. Instead, I held him and remembered how when he was two and a half days old and the doctors told us he was going to have to have a spinal tap and how all I wanted to do was hold him for a little longer, how I kept making excuses to hold him a little longer. And I thought about my friend whose one month old baby died this spring and how she probably longed to hold her little boy, even if he was screaming in her ear. These two thoughts were enough to get me through the hours until Chuk came home. When he walked in, he asked how our day was and the tears started to fall. I told him I needed to be alone for a little while, passed the baby off to him, and was finally, finally able to go in my room, close the door, lie down, and breathe.

There's not a point to this other than to be authentic. There are blogs out there that only write about the good stuff and there are blogs out there that do nothing but bitch and complain, but I think for most of us life is more nuanced. I love being with my baby, except for when I don't. Parenting is wonderful, but there are hard, long days and I want to be honest about that so when you're looking at cute baby pictures on my blog you know you're not seeing everything. Or when you're sitting on the floor holding a baby who is inconsolable, you know there's another mom out there who knows just what you're going through.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fastest Four Months of My Life

1                                         2

3                                        4

...and the happiest.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Making Laundry Easier


I'm always looking for ways to make life easier. (I'm kind of a lazy person.) It's always been a little bit of a hassle to sort through the dirty laundry looking for the delicates that need to be washed in a lingerie bag, especially if I'm in a hurry. Recently, I had a brainstorm that I could just use a binder clip to attach the bag to the hamper and throw the items in there instead of fishing through the laundry for them. When it's time to wash clothes, all I have to do is unclip the bag, zip it up, and throw it in with the rest of the clothes. It's quick and easy.

For me, it's easier to attach the bag to the outside of the hamper, but honestly that's not the most attractive way to do it. (I don't really need my hamper to be attractive though.) If the aesthetics of this are more important to you, you could clip the bag to the inside of the hamper. You could also use a clothespin or a bulldog clip instead of a binder clip.

This system works well for the usual delicate items like bras and panties, but works especially well for baby socks (pictured above) because they're so small that they tend to get lost, both in the hamper and in the wash, which doesn't happen when you wash them in a lingerie bag. 

Streamlined laundry and no more orphan socks, it works for me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Family Vacation

We spent last week in California. It was our first vacation as a family of three and there are some memories I hope I will hold in my heart forever.
Like my mom ordering special cakes to welcome the baby to California. (She threw a party for him to introduce him to all his west coast people.)
Like how when my sister held my baby for the first time she kept walking around telling people again and again, "I love him. We're so in love."

And how afraid my brother was to hold the baby, but how he did it anyway. 

 Like how excited the baby was to see the ocean for the first time. We took him to the beach where we had spread my dad's ashes and we saw a seal. It swam back and forth in front of us for more than twenty minutes. I've been to that beach hundreds of times in my life and never once seen a seal there.

Like how much the baby loved the giant redwoods in Muir Woods.

 And how much fun Chuk had riding the cable cars in San Francisco.

This week my heart is heavier. Chuk is back at work during the day and back in class in night. I'm worried about my ability to remain patient caring for the baby for so long by myself. Change is hard for me, but I'm trying to be brave and savor the little bit of time each week when we'll get to be all together. I'm already missing those easy vacation days though.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Italian Recipe from my Syrian Friend

A couple of weeks ago we had a little party at our place to watching the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. It was us and three other couples. We asked everyone to wear the colors of the country they were rooting for (no one did except us though) and to bring a dish to share from a country participating in the Olympics. It was a fun theme for a potluck.

Chuk and I provided chips and salsa (Mexico), dumplings (Korea), and Canada Dry ginger ale (Canada; we crack ourselves up.) Others brought wasabi peas (Japan) and wine (USA and France) and a pasta dish that Chuk flipped out over. He's been wanting to make it ever since. We made it earlier this week and it was so easy.

Here are the directions according to my Syrian neighbor. Use your common sense to figure out the amounts. Boil a package of fettuccine. When it's done, drain it and while it's still hot, throw in a big package of arugula (or you can use fresh spinach) and a lot of olive oil. Mix it up. The idea is you're using the heat of the pasta to wilt the raw greens. Then crack in a lot of black pepper, more than you think you should, and some parmesan cheese, less than you think you should. Mix it up again. That's it. We ate it with a salad and then I felt smug about all the healthy greens I was eating. (Then I ate some oreos. Shhh.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Embroidering a Whale Onesie

Since the baby has been born, I haven't been doing very much creatively, and I miss it. I've missed blogging and I've missed making things. So the other night I sat down and embroidered a onesie for the baby. It should have been easy, but my skills are very rusty.

I used this pattern, but simplified it a little bit and inadvertently reversed the image. It was my first time embroidering on a rib knit, and it was hard! I had to use interfacing to keep the fabric from warping and a regular needle rather than an embroidery needle, which meant using fewer strands of embroidery floss, to fit through the tight knit. It's all done in a simple back-stitch (my favorite) with French knots for the eyes.

Hopefully the baby will like it; I'm saving it for his first trip to the Pacific Ocean, next week.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cheap Date Night: Newborn Edition

This weekend was the Perseid Meteor shower. I thought it would be a nice little opportunity for a date night with Chuk. The vision was that we'd get the baby dressed in his jammies, all of us would load into the car and drive out to a field somewhere and then the baby would sleep in the car while Chuk and I laid out and looked at shooting stars.

Reality was a little different. On Saturday night we did all load into the car and drive away from the city, but we wound up in the parking lot of Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. The baby woke up and started crying when we turned off the car and the sky was completely cloudy and we couldn't see a single star, much less a shooting star. Major fail.

But we were determined. We headed out again on Sunday night. This time we ended up at a pullout on the side of the road near the Potomac River. (There were too many trees at the Mt. Vernon parking lot to go make it worth going back there again.) The baby stayed asleep so we pulled out our lawn chairs and our bag of trashy snacks and sat in front of the car looking up at the sky. (Sitting in lawn chairs on the side of the road in the middle of the night is exactly as classy as it sounds, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. We're city folk.) 

Instead of overcast skies, it was only partially cloudy...we could see maybe six stars at any given time. We craned our necks up to the sky, shielded our eyes from the headlights of oncoming traffic, passed the bag of chips back and forth, and talked. We had the deep, philosophical conversations that are usually reserved for late nights when you're in college or drinking too many cheap beers at the youth hostel or around a campfire. 

I saw one shooting star, but Chuk didn't see any. It didn't matter though. I think the takeaway is that we miss talking to each other about things that don't matter, because those are the things that draw us closer together, and that in order to make that happen, we need to leave the apartment and not be engaged with the baby. Right now, we don't have any childcare, but I'm okay with that. With a little creativity, we can still find a way to connect.