Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Month Twenty Letter*

My Maddy-girl!

Today you are twenty months old. Twenty! Months! Old! Already! It's been a blink since your 19 month day... And yet here we are.

This last month, like many of the others, has been awesome. You have gone through another bout of teething (and the related grumpiness/fragility) and now have the nubs of teeth 13 and 14 making their way through. But the ugly has passed and you are your normal self again. Everyday we're moving closer and closer to having a true conversation. You are still mostly naming things, but you are also really learning how to express yourself and your wants. And right now? You are ALL about The Wiggles and playing with the stereo and books. Even In the Night Garden is being changed to "WIGG-OS"! And so much dancing... so much adorable, sumo-wrestler-like jumping and squatting dancing! As soon as you get to daycare the staff know to turn on the stereo and provide the music you crave and let your body go. I have tried a few times to get your dancing on video, but as soon as the camera is on you, you stop and come over. "CAM-RA!" and it's time to press the button.

Daycare continues to be awesome. You have 2 best friends (2 little boys) Aeric and Alexis. Every morning you ask for them, your face lights up when you get to see them. But both of their mom's are pregnant right now, and that scares me. Soon both moms will be on maternity leave, and likely your friends will be staying home... and there will be no more best friends there to play with. Other friends, yes, but not these two. Will you still call for them? Will they come back after their siblings are older? But while both boys are older than you (one a few weeks, one a few months) you still tower over them both. Already your shirts are a 3T, and while we still have you in 2T pants, they are starting to be a tad snug. Mostly it's just the rise of the pants, the length is still good. In fact, the pants are a little long. I think your torso is out-growing your legs and arms... But you are perfectly Madeline. Perfectly you.

Tomorrow we will get to forever capture this moment, professionally. You, my dear, are getting your first CLASS PICTURE! And there will even be one with your daycare friends! I hope Alexis and Aeric are in the picture - I want you to one day see your first friends. But we will get some of you alone. I think I have planned your outfit, for the pictures. A dress you have never worn, until tomorrow, but one that I did once. Baba didn't keep a lot of my old clothes but she kept (and loves) this little blue dress. And tomorrow you will wear it! But don't tell baba, it's a surprise for her.

I notice when I type out what you say, it's almost always in all caps. My girl, you express yourself with such joy and exuberance that only all caps will do. You live life with happiness. You are so friendly and social. You will say hi to people, any kind of people, when you meet them. Often, though, they don't say hi back. They pretend that they can't see you. And I don't think it's about you, Maddy, I think it's about society. That smiling and saying hello to a stranger, even a 20 month old one, is frowned on. And one day we'll likely, for safety, need to teach you the same. That people you don't know can't be trusted and that people you see should always stay strangers. And I feel sad for that future you, the one that maybe will pretend they can't see the happy 20 month old that says hi to them. Can we let you keep your friendliness to the safe-stranger and still protect you from the evil-stranger? Can we ever really tell the difference between the two?  How hard it is to protect you from the immediate dangers and also from those scary what-ifs and unknowns...

I love you so much, my girl. I will always try to keep you safe and protected but not caged in. And I hope I can succeed. Happy 20-month day.


*written the 26th, posted the 27th because I really fail at hitting publish

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our day

There is a flurry of blog posts about what a "normal" day is like. Trying my day. Hmmm.... here goes!

Today: Yesterday, because I didn't get the chance to finish until lunch today. And holy smokes, it's looooooong.

615 am (ish): Alarm rings. First Neil's cell alarm (which sounds like an obnoxious robot rooster) then a few minutes later my radio (set to an obnoxious station). We both eventually stumble out of bed and go to the closet. I put on clothes that probably match. Well, they do in the dark as I look down. I let the dogs out of their kennels and we're heading downstairs. I glance in the only full length mirror, at the top of the stairs, and see no glaring stains. And I match! Starting with a victory.

630am: Dogs are let out to pee. I pee. I put in my contacts. Am tempted to step on the scale but I know the number will be the same. Screw it. Dogs are let back in. Sherman's butt needs wiping. Yes. Really.

635-7am: Flurry of activity. Throw Maddy's toast in the toaster oven, pull out her high chair tray to set her breakfast up. Pour her milk. Pop coffee in the microwave (for me). Check the dogs food and water. Maddy wakes and go into her room. Hear Neil leave for work. Maddy starts her day by calling out for her friends and naming things. AH-lex-ee. EE-ric. KEE-Cat. Plop her on her change table, on her back, and turn on the lamp since it's now so dark in the morning. Maddy hates the light in her face and grumps. I try to block the light and change her diaper. Maddy is still not impressed with the light. She sits up. As she sits there and leans to look out the window I throw a long sleeve shirt on her and jeans. Put on white and pink argyle socks. Maddy wants her Dora socks and starts to take off the other ones. Change argyle for Dora and curse Dora marketing. Maddy grabs Oddg and is off. Turn on the TEE-FEE (tv) at Maddy's request/demand and back to the kitchen to finish her brekkie. Balah (peanut butter) on toast, a spoon with just some balah on it, mandarin orange and milk. Put tray on high chair and call Maddy over. Plop her in her chair and she eats! Grab coffee and chug much of it down.

7-720am: More generalized flurry. Run upstairs, put on my makeup. Pull my hair in a pony tail and wonder when the last time was that I actually did my hair. Can't think back that far, but am so thankful for the ease of a pony tail. Vow to never cut my hair again (until next time I do). Put the dogs back in their kennels. Sherm has become a weirdo again and is refusing to go in. Coax him in. Run downstairs, check on the kid. Give her more balah on a spoon. Put her lunch in her lunch box, then put that in her backpack. Organize myself for work, making sure I take everything I need to. Curse that I forgot to take the movies back to the library last night and put them in my work bag since they are now late. Take Maddy out of her high chair, clean her off, brush her hair and start the "it's time for DAYCARE" song (pretty much just that). Put on Maddy's coat and shoes. My shoes, assuming the blazer will be enough. Grab my purse, work bag, Maddy's backpack, Maddy and Oddg and we're in the car and off to daycare. Blazer wasn't enough. Cold.

730am: Take Maddy to daycare. Sign her in, put her lunchbox by the fridge, change her into her daycare shoes. Play with her a bit, singing songs and dancing, and say hi to the other kids there.

735-810am: Off to work. Happy that Maddy isn't crying today when I leave daycare! She has all last week and yesterday. Go through back alleys and back streets to get to the library. Drop off the videos. Drive to work. Park far far away and start walking to the office. Marvel at how much slower I am in the morning than as I am heading home.

810-815am: Get BIG mug of coffee.

8:15am -1230pm: Work. Meetings and emails and planning and organizing and thinking ahead. Have a constant stream of things to remember about my home life. Plan out my evening and tomorrow evening and Thursday evening and Friday (day off!). Like call to save a pie from Vi's for Pies for bookclub and remember to buy bus tickets for Neil on lunch.

1230-1pm: LUNCH! Go buy lunch (mixed greens and sweet and sour pork). Eat the same lunch I have for 7 days, since I am tracking my calories and there is a "previous meal" button, so instead of entering everything individually each day I am lazy. Go buy bus tickets. They are out (make plans to come back tomorrow). Start this. Get tired from everything I have already done and all the FRANTIC TYPING.

1-420pm: Dread a meeting at 130, due to the personalities there. Still thinking about everything that has to be done outside work too. Make more frantic lists. Go to the store to get bananas for Maddy on an afternoon break. Walk by the Starbucks and am tempted to buy a salted caramel mocha. Think of having to input it into the phone and opt for water instead. My laziness may actually be paying off, in terms of calorie tracking! Buy 3 bananas, wondering if that will ensure that Maddy will no longer have any interest in bananas. Yesterday, when we got home, she said "HAI MY 'NANA!" even before acknowledging daddy. Oh... and work. And do a good job. Not perfect, but good.

420-445pm: DASH to the car. Drive to pick up Maddy from daycare. Curse rush hour traffic but be thankful I am allowed to work a slightly modified workday which means I miss the absolute worst of it. Get to daycare and run into the school, excited to see my girl.

445-450pm: Ask staff how her day was, while also changing her shoes to outdoor shoes and putting on her coat. Chase her more and try to convince her to leave without having to pick her up and carry her out, resulting in wailing that I am making her leave. Am already thinking about what the first things I need to do when I get home are, to have dinner ready on time. Drive 3 blocks home.

455-530-ish pm: Cook dinner. Miso marinated steak (cooked on the stove) and spiced quinoa and steamed broccoli. While doing this, tidy the kitchen a bit, let the dogs out, feed a starving Maddy and talk to my husband about our days. Start emptying the dishwasher and Maddy comes over to help. For the first time ever she takes the cutlery out of the dishwasher, one at a time, and walks it over to Dada who puts it in the drawer. We cheer with every piece of cutlery and Maddy is BEAMING with pride that she could help. Of course, it just makes a simple chore longer/more complicated but that doesn't matter a bit. Think of 100 things I need to remember to do, but since I can't write it down I forget by the time dinner is done.

530-ish- 545pm: Eat. Maddy eats more than usual and throws only some to the dogs. Get a little disheartened that I have to cook 3 times longer than we take to eat the meal. Think about having a beer but then get too lazy to walk ALL the way downstairs to get it.

550-605pm: Sit on the couch. Catch up on Facebook and type this and nothing important but just need a chance to tune out. Neil clears the table, puts away the food and gets everything ready to wash later.

605-700pm: Maddy poos. Can see the carrots we fed her yesterday. And now it's MADDY TIME! Read books, dance with her, nibble her awesome cheeks. She's learned to climb on the couch and does so repeatedly. Each time I tell her to put her butt on the couch, as she jumps and leaps around. Snuggle in with her, watching tee-fee, while eating balah on spoons. She finishes her spoon before I do and reaches up to take more of mine. Heart melts at the adorableness of it all. And be so very thankful that she's not the teething grump she has been for awhile.

700pm-730pm: Maddy gets her night milk. It's a bath night, and Daddy's turn to bathe her. Water gets poured and bath ready. Strip her down and throw her in for Daddy to clean. While she's bathing get her bed ready. Get the covers in place, pjs out, toothbrush on the dresser, curtains closed, toys that go in her room away. Get Maddy's clean laundry and fold it sitting in the hallway, watching my favorite people play in the bath. Daddy teaches Maddy to SPLASH in a new and frantic way. Water everywhere. Maddy gets enough splashes in her eyes and declares she's "ALL DON!" Bundle her up in a towel and carry her to her room. Lay her down and hand her Oddg. Sing songs softly to her as I put her diaper on and pjs. Maddy demands "CREAM" which in put on the palm of her hand and she rubs on her leg and my arm. Sit her up, open the curtain for her to look out as I brush her teeth. Barely get a few brushed before she insists on taking over. Hope I get the ones I missed tonight, tomorrow. Brush her hair a bit before she grabs the comb from me. Marvel at her independence. Lay her down on the change table, singing still. She lets go of the brushes and holds on to Oddg tightly and sucks her thumb. Sing "Soft Kitty" and ley her in her bed. She kicks her legs up and move the quilt around her feet. She rolls to the side and snuggles in, as I back out of the room singing the last words of the song.

730-1000pm: I put a bit more makeup on and I am out the door for dessert and catch up with a friend. Leave home at 740-ish and get there at 8pm. Talk and laugh (and complain about the service) until 930 when I can feel myself turning into a pumpkin again. Buy a pie there, so I don't have to go home and make my bookclub dessert. Happy I can buy my way out of this one... Drive home thinking about the dishes that need doing, the laundry and making Maddy's lunch. Groan.

1000pm on: Come home and my most fabulous wonderful husband has already done the dishes, made Maddy's lunch and hung the laundry. I CAN GO TO BED! Talk to Neil awhile, putter around and suddenly it's 1045pm and we're still awake. Think about updating this, but decide to at lunch tomorrow. Brush and floss and do my nightly routine. Think about reading, my bookclub is tomorrow and I am not close to being done the book. Too tired... Close my eyes and will my head to stop so I can sleep.

Aaaaaand... END SCENE!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The most boring blog

Well, things are... good! Maddy is awesome and loving daycare. And there is a new little girl starting, so she won't be the only girl there. But they will be outnumbered 10 to2. Yikes! Although this morning, for the first time in MONTHS Maddy cried when I left. She was running and playing and having fun (on the opposite end of the room than I was on) but when I did my daily goodbye, there were tears and sadness. It's heartbreaking to walk out on tears... I kept walking back in. The staff then took over and distracted Maddy once she got upset I was leaving. I refuse, however, to distract her to the point she doesn't realize I have left. I can't imagine her fear if she thought that suddenly, without warning, her mom just wouldn't be there. No kisses, no goodbyes... just GONE. That can't be good.

And she's learning more words everyday. This morning she woke asking, first, for her friend Alexis, Aeric and Gigi. The named shirts and pants and ceiling and light and window and tree. And then it was full-on running around and asking for balah (peanut butter) and toast and milk. She's starting on adjectives - she gets hot. But when something is cold(ish) she calls it hot also. But it's fun that she can recognize temperature change!

Maybe this makes me a bad/crazy mom, but with Maddy being so vocal, I am nurturing some mispronunciations, just for the cuteness. I know, I KNOW. It won't last. But the first time she tried to name peanut butter it was a bit of a tongue twister for her. She said balah. I thought it was ADORABLE and have since referred to it as balah and encourage Maddy to. One day she'll get it. But it feels like I am losing the baby talk at a frightening rate and I want my balah, dammit.

In happy news, that we can finally share, Neil has a new job! He has been looking for a new position for awhile and he's excited about this opportunity. He starts there soon, and while it'll be a transition from small business to the corporate world again, it's a YAY thing. But it will mean a shift in hours and I'll now be dropping off and picking up Maddy from daycare. I know Neil will miss the pickups, but there is just no other way to make it all work. And now I get the sad and fun too!

With me? Still loving my new position and am learning so much and having a blast with it all. The Ministry is great, the people supportive, the work-life balance encouraged at my position. It's all good. Nothing over the top exciting but nothing at all going wrong either. We are good and happy and doing well.

Which makes this the most boring blog, like, EVAR.