Thursday, November 22, 2012

Let's Talk Turkey

Turkey 2009
It's just the three of us at home for Thanksgiving this year because Chuk is too busy finishing up the end of the semester for us to travel anywhere or host. Honestly though, I'm kind of excited to be doing a small, family Thanksgiving. It feels good to be establishing our own traditions now that we have Baby.

So since it's just going to be the two of us eating, we got a 19.5 pound turkey, obviously. (My turkey and my son are almost exactly the same size. Ha!) We'll also be having eight sides and two kinds of pie. Ridiculous? Absolutely! But it's Chuk's favorite holiday and feasting is pretty much the point of it, so how could I say no? At least we both like leftovers.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Naughty is His Middle Name

List of things I never thought I'd say that I've said today:

  • Stop putting your foot in the poop.
  • Come here, please. I am allowed to clean throw up off of you.
  • 'No' means the opposite of funny. (When I say "no" in a serious voice, it always elicits a laugh.)
  • Hang on, I'm just going to get that booger out for you.
  • Please stop trying to eat my face. You're getting slobber all over me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Guilt Over Not Feeling Guilty, or I Hired a Babysitter for Tonight

I can account for every moment I've spent away from my son during his whole life. In six and a half months, I've spent exactly 15.5 hours away from him, or about a half hour a week, and that includes EVERYTHING including the time he was in the hospital as a newborn, the four trips to the grocery store I've made without him, the one time I had lunch with my mom and sister, the time Chuk and I got pizza while my mom stayed with my sleeping baby, everything. My husband has, on occasion, spent more time away from him in a single day than I have in his whole life.

I don't think this is entirely healthy for me. I can see how easy it would be for me to sacrifice my hobbies and interests and give up larger and larger pieces of myself to motherhood. But being a mom, as wonderful as it is, isn't the only thing that defines me, or at least I don't want it to be.

So I've started trying to find ways to take breaks. I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it. My husband works full time and is taking four graduate level classes, so even though he's a feminist, he's not much help, but we're talking about him taking on baby duty three nights that he doesn't have class so I can take an intro to knitting class, something I've been wanting to do for a long time.

More monumentally, I temporarily overcame my shyness and asked our upstairs neighbor, the one who's always asking to hold the baby and covering him in kisses, to babysit tonight so Chuk and I can go to a concert. This is a major milestone, people. I'm leaving my baby with someone who isn't his parent and not my mom. We're going to see Ray Lamontagne and I couldn't be more excited. I saw him in concert eight years ago and he was fantastic. Chuk and I danced to him at our wedding too, so it'll be an extra special date night.

But I'm nervous too, not so much about the baby, who I think will be in good hands, but about my neighbor. My baby has been on a nap strike all week (that's another story, but suffice it to say, good Lord, I've earned this night off!) and has suddenly started getting fussy during diaper changes. He's never been put to sleep by anyone besides me. What if he cries the whole time we're gone? My husband, mom and I are bound by blood to love him even if he's screaming his head off, but the babysitter, not so much. I expect it to be fine (my plan is to have him in bed before the babysitter arrives, knock on wood) but there's always that twinge of doubt in the back of one's mind.

I'm forcing myself to get over it though. And just to gild the lily, I'm leaving the baby with Chuk on Saturday night and going to an Aretha Franklin show with a girlfriend. Yes, I'm leaving my baby two nights in a row. I figure belting out R-E-S-P-E-C-T will assuage any ovarian guilt I might be feeling.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Trying to Be a Good Friend During the Hard Times

I don't know if everyone ages this way, but I'm always kind of surprised by the fact that I'm an adult. I still kind of feel like I'm faking it. And the truth is, I don't know what I'm doing. Recently, I've been hit with situation after situation that I don't know how to handle. Adult situations. Situations that have me sitting, thinking, wishing there was a manual. 

Earlier this year, my friend's long awaited for son died when he was five weeks old. Another friend was accused of a crime I am certain he didn't commit, but his lawyer thinks he will be convicted of anyway. Yet another friend is breaking her engagement and having to find a new job and move out of the home she shares with her fiance. My friend's, who I've known since I was twelve years old who used to be like a sister to me, husband is charged with a crime and being held in jail on one million dollar bond. Another friend is getting divorced after nine years of marriage.

My heart aches and aches and aches for them all, but I don't know how to respond. What do you say to someone whose life is ruined? How do you react when it might not get better? How can I be a good friend in uncharted territory?

I don't know. I don't know that I'll ever figure it out. I write short, awkward emails saying I'm sorry and that I support them. I send Facebook messages saying I just want to check in and that I'm thinking about them. It doesn't feel like enough, but I can't think of more. I don't feel like a good friend, but I'm trying.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Activities for Infants

All day today I've been thinking it was Friday. Even yesterday I thought today would be Friday. Every time I've realized today is only Thursday I am exceedingly disappointed. Long week, friends, long week.

Anyway, now that the weather is getting colder here I've been having trouble thinking of things to do with the baby to help fill our days. Our default is stay at home and hang out or go to the park and look at the trees, looking at trees is Baby's favorite thing, but soon the leaves will be all gone. It's hard coming up with things to do with an infant; it's not like we can do a craft project or bake something or play a game. He can't even sit up and holding things is a hit or miss proposition. He's mostly in to just looking at stuff. It's extra awesome if that stuff moves, but not too fast for him to see it.
So I've come up with two lists, an inside list and an outside list, for things we can do when the weather is bad and when it is nicer out. Most of the ideas are completely free, but the ones with a fee are $5 or less. If you don't live in my area, not all of these things may be available to you, but perhaps it will help you to think of some ideas of fun things to do where you live.

Pet store to look at fish
Watch people swim at the indoor pool*
Soft playroom**
Botanical Gardens Conservatory (Specifically, the waterfall in the Hawaii room)
     National Gallery's water fountain
     Portrait Gallery's atrium with its undulating ceiling and large area to run around
     Natural History for dinosaurs
     Building Museum** (The playroom will be fun when he's a little older.)
     American History (Probably the least interesting for babies, but it has lots of toys on display.)
Visit Chuk at work
Ride the bus or metro**
Book store
Coffee shop** to people watch
Take a bath together***

Dog park
Spray ground
Playground (For myself, I list out all five playgrounds within walking distance of my apartment.)
Feed ducks at the river
Watch the bigger kids play sports at school, soccer field, or little league field
Arboretum for the koi pond (and the trees, obviously, trees are his favorite)
Walk around the neighborhood
Sculpture Garden to watch ice skaters in the winter and fountain in the spring

*Our city's indoor pool has a large window between the lobby and the pool so we don't have to be on the actual pool deck.
**Fee associated with this activity
***Not outside the house, but still different from playing with our same old toys.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


If you haven't already, please go vote today. Although I almost never write about politics on this blog, it is a subject I feel passionately about. Women have been able to vote in this country for less than 100 years. All over the world, people are fighting for the right to vote, risking both jail and violence to do so. Don't squander your right.

I'm taking the baby with me to vote this afternoon, partially because I don't have childcare, but mostly because it's never too early for me to start indoctrinating him. The great thing about living in a swing state is that I feel like my vote really matters. The not so great thing is, of course, all the political ads. I can't wait for those to be over.

Chuk voted on Friday because he is working as an election official today. Do you realize the election officials make less than minimum wage and probably took a day off work to help keep our republic running smoothly? Please be nice to them. It's a long day at the polls for them. Chuk has to be there at 4:45 am and they told him he'd likely be there until after 8:00 pm.

If you live in the DC area, and still haven't figured out who you're voting for, this voter guide is very helpful. Unfortunately, I didn't discover it until I had already spent three hours Saturday night researching school board and city council candidates. Argh. I may love politics, but it turns out I don't love reading local election debate transcripts.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Birthday Freebies

One of the nice things about birthdays is getting free food from restaurants. Many of the offers are good for a week or two after your actual birthday, so you have an opportunity to take advantage of several. Here are some that I'm signed up for or have heard about:

California Tortilla will give a free burrito if you're a member of their Burrito Elito program. Good for two weeks after your birthday. (This is my favorite chain Mexican restaurant. The offer lots of other promotions throughout the year as well and only send an email once a month. You can get a free taco on Tuesday if you say "vote" to the cashier.)

IHOP will give you a free Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity, or meal of equal or lesser value, within a week of your birthday. You have to print an email and bring it in to redeem the offer. They'll also give you one free meal for your anniversary, but just one, so your spouse will have to pay or you'll have to go by yourself.

Noodles and Company will give you a free noodle bowl within a week of your birthday. I forget the exact dollar amount of the offer but it's like $8. You have to print and bring in an email to redeem the offer.

Cold Stone Creamery offers a buy one get one free coupon for your birthday. Again you have to print an email and bring it in to redeem.

According to their website, Denny's offers a free Grand Slam on your birthday. My friend told me about this offer so I'm not sure if you have to be signed up for their email to get it.

Do you know of any other birthday deals or freebies?