Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kisses and dancing, oh my

We have so much going on at Chez Plus One these days. While crawling is still apparently of absolutely no interest whatsoever, it's never boring around here.

- Baby kisses! This week saw the arrival of the first baby kisses from Elle. Big, open-mouthed, wet, slobbery kisses.

The first time it happened I thought she was trying to eat my nose, but then she did the same thing again, aimed at my cheek-- very deliberately, and with a very serious face, her eyes enormous. I realized, then, that it was her version of a kiss.

I can't help laughing when she does it, because my face ends up covered in slobber, but it is so sweet and gentle.

- Baby dancing! She has figured out how to get several of her toys to make noise, including one that plays the ABC song. When the ABC song starts, she starts wiggling her tush and moving her arms around, and sometimes her little head starts bobbing as well. It's ridiculously adorable. I do need to catch it on video.

She can't crawl, has little interest in rolling over (she can, but why bother?), and could care less about putting weight on her legs-- but she's got rhythm.

That's my girl.

I am blessed with a baby that, in general, is a happy, inquisitive, funny little bundle of babyness. She wants your undivided attention ALL the time, and if she doesn't get what she wants she's pretty loud about it (common for babies, I think), but overall she's a happy, good baby. I clearly got a great pick in the baby lottery, and I give thanks for that every day.

My parents were in last weekend, and it continues to be an interesting experience. They adore Elle, but she tires them out quickly (I'm an older mother, thus they are older grandparents). I sometimes think they like the idea of her as much, or more, than they actually like her-- they like having a granddaughter, showing off pictures of her, and talking about the cute things she does. The actual work involved in her, they don't like so much.

I think that's probably fairly typical of grandparents.

But it highlights, again, the fact that when you're a single parent, there's no real respite-- not even with family. I'm OK with that. I just have to remember that and not have other expectations. I am the only person driving this bus, and that's how it is.

They also stay with me when they visit, in my very small house. A friend came over for dinner with them one evening, and commented later that it seems like I spend all my time waiting on them when they visit. Now, my parents would laugh at that, but to some degree my friend is right. We've even had conversations that they don't understand why I'm not cooking dinner for them.

"You just don't think about dinners when we're here, do you?" my mother said.

I looked at her. "I don't think about dinners," I responded. "In general."

When she starts eating a regular dinner, I'll start thinking about cooking. At this age, though, it doesn't make any sense. I'll pop in a frozen dinner or reheat leftovers, and often eat them while she has her evening meal of veggies and cereal, but anything more complicated than that doesn't make sense right now. And if you come visit me and there's a dinner involved, we'll be going out, ordering in, or making something extremely simple (something frozen, or something involving pasta).

They can't afford to stay at a hotel (and that's another post entirely: your lifestyle should reflect your income. If it doesn't, there's a problem), so they stay with me. I want Elle to know them for as long as possible, and to be close to them. But they stay with me and then complain about my house.

If my house is not comfortable, stay elsewhere. If you're staying here, shut up.

I need to find a nicer way to say that.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Eight months

Elle is over eight months old now (eight months! wha?) and part of me wishes I could just freeze her right at this age, and keep her just as she is.

But by the time I'd finish wishing I could freeze her, she'd have moved onto something else. Seriously, it's that fast.


Did you know the Park dudes wrote a musical about the Morm.ons? They did.

I can't make this stuff up.


Work has been intense. I've accepted a new role with the same company, and this month I'm doing my new job and my old job. I'm doing this in a situation where I have almost no flexibility, schedule-wise-- I'm already leaving Elle with the sitter for as long as the sitter's schedule allows, and by the time I get her to bed I have about an hour and a half to clean up, have something for dinner, think about what to wear the next day to work, and collapse. So at the moment, it's not like I have any time outside the eight-to-five to get these massive amounts of work accomplished.

Yeah, I'm whining. Sorry. I should probably suck it up and work until 10 or 11 at night and collapse into bed after that, but if I lose sleep, I get sick. I can't afford that.

Of course, I also can't afford to risk my job. It's never a good thing to lose a job, of course. But now I have this little apple-cheeked ball of curiosity dependent upon me, and-- I hate to say it-- there's a low level of terror that if I'm unemployed, she suffers.

That's possibly one of the hardest things about being a single parent, honestly. Unless I win the lottery (and I'd have to play to win, heh), there's always going to be that drumbeat in the back of my mind, that fear about What If.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm so behind I'm almost caught up with myself

I really do think about updating this all the time. But as we all know, thinking is not doing.

A lot has gone on since Valentine's Day, when I last posted. Elle is sitting up by herself-- well, mostly. If she spots something she wants she lurches over to grab it and usually ends up on her face, which I find hilarious (I'm a terrible mother!) and she finds soooooo traumatic. (She's also becoming a Drama Mama, which is hysterical.) She's still babbling a lot, but with few consonants; I wouldn't be me if I wasn't worried and projecting out into the future assuming that there's something horribly wrong and I need to get an evaluation and and and.

(I know perfectly well she'll do everything in her own time. But I worry. I can't help it!)

She's been fighting a horrible cold-- bad enough that I took her to the ped on Friday to make sure her lungs/ears were clear. They were, thank goodness. This was complicated by the fact that she's been teething on and off for ages, and right in the middle of her bad cold, the teething switch went back to "on." Saturday was full of excellent naps, thanks to Tyle.nol and the trusty vaporizer. She seems better today.

I marvel, often, at how lucky I am. She's a happy, inquisitive, good natured little baby. She's already able to entertain herself for short stretches (though she likes me nearby), and she finds other people and their activities endlessly entertaining. I mean, I'm actually able to get to church most weeks, because she loves the lights and music and people. Also, my church has a little area on the side for kids with a rug and toys, so we go over there and we hang out, sometimes playing, sometimes watching other kids play (big fun), and sometimes having her bottle.

I feel like I'm getting my feet under me, mostly. And while I know the entire definition of parenthood is that the ground shifts constantly (usually when you least expect it), I think our little family is pretty wonderful. I can't wait to see what's ahead.