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September 2009
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November 2009

The fog has landed

Word Count today: zero (So I can't be accused of only posting when I've got something to show for my time, besides, you know a healthy, happy kid).

I've been working on my column this week. I managed to write the entire thing about the flu without once mentioning the word "vaccine." On purpose. I've solicited the opinions of those I trust on the subject and other than that ... whatever. I do however have a blog post brewing on the whole H1N1 vaccine debacle around here.

I was reminded that I hadn't posted the link to October's article yet ... pregnancy fog has settled in nice and heavy. So here's that:

In other news ... I think I'm getting sick and am off to bed. There was something else but I've forgotten already. See above paragraph.

Mama's gotta bounce

  Slang Roll   

Slang Roll (2)

These slang flash cards are a gift I bought for Matt when he started teaching English to high school students. You know, so he could communicate with them in a hip way. Most of them were totally inappropriate for the classroom but we've had fun over the years randomly pinning them up in the house. I bought them from Knock Knock, a company that sells all kinds of fun things if you're in the mood for browsing, it's usually worth a laugh or two.

This one reminded me of this weekend when I realized I was having an awesome time just hanging out with Sam at the park, collecting sticks and acorns and literally watching leaves falling. He is getting more and more fun to be with and I thought this card would make for a cute scrapbook page. But now I've gotta bounce and make breakfast.

Get away to get ahead

Today's Word Count: 1,217

Sam and I went up to visit my first friend in the world, Mel, so we could deliver a birthday hug in person as well as sing a little "Zivjo, Zivijo" which Sam translates to "Zibjo." But he says it with such glee you gotta laugh.

It was fun watching our kids play together and kind of a trip to think about how it's been 3 decades since we used to celebrate birthdays together as toddlers in striped velour outfits and  yarn in our pig-tails. Well, Mel's hair anyway. Mine wasn't long enough but that's another story.

A cool thing happened on the way home. Sam was occupied with his snacks and trains and I got to actually think for 30 minutes, minus a few minutes here and there spent fishing (safely of course) in the backseat for water bottles and dropped trains. As I've been working against my (self-imposed) deadline to put the novel in my head and heart into cohesive chapters, it's become painfully obvious that there are holes in my plot and gaps that need bridging. And some things you can't force ... they have to come to you. But I figure odds of them coming to be are better if I'm actively seeking out the answers and listening for them. Those are the kinds of answers that come in the middle of the night, while showering or driving with no pen in the car. Luckily, I keep a pen in my hair most of the time and two of the things I've been trying to figure out just kinda worked themselves out on the drive home. That has to be one of my favorite things about this writing gig: getting away from the computer still counts as working and sometimes even is the difference between staying stuck and getting ahead.

By the way, if you're not into looking cute and you have long enough hair, I highly recommend keeping pen tucked in there during flu season as an extra safety measure.

p.s. thank you, thank you for your encouraging comments and support ... you have no idea how much that means to me.


My darling day job ... and other excuses

Today's Word Count: 835

I get this certain way when I haven't written for a while. Sulky, maybe? Cagey? I woke up that way this morning, went to bed that way last night and realized I had to do some, well, writing today no matter what. Sam is on another nap strike. I refuse to consider that he might've given up naps. That would be treason. He could not possibly be so aggressive at such a young age. I could always write later at night after he goes to sleep but the problem with that is that while I used to be pretty creative and productive during late hours, I now consider 7 p.m. "getting late" and I am capable of little more than Facebook status updates after 8 p.m.

So there's the morning. Except that I'm up being pregnant on and off during the night with the peeing, the leg cramps, the oh-my-God! we're having another baby?!panic attacks and the having to wake up fully to engage all my body parts to maneuver a simple turning over action. So early mornings are out.

Until the nap strike I was managing well in the nap window but now ... I read this and think maybe I'm being a whiny slacker but I know myself well enough to know I'm useless on not enough sleep. Cranky and useless. Today I let Sam have some "rest" time anyway in hopes that he'd settle down and I turned off the monitor for long enough to get a little writing done. He alternated between bouncing on the bed, singing to himself about the monkeys that bonk their head doing just that and being quiet long enough to lull me into a state of concentration.

I'll figure something out but meanwhile, it just felt good to get some work done. I'd been out of the story just long enough that I struggled to get back into it. On the upside, while I wasn't writing this week I made some progress on some of my goals best categorized under "organize everything."

p.s. Yes I'm still thinking I am going to meet that December book deadline. I have, however, been avoiding counting the days and my page totals to see if that's even a remotely reasonable possiblity without some help with my darling day job.

Damn yellow duck

I mentioned the other day that there was a minor irritation in an otherwise awesome 2-year pediatrician's appointment for Sam. So I go in with a list. Every time. The Fabulous Dr. K expects it and teases me only a little bit. He also says he appreciates it. I don't know about that, but I don't really care since I can't count exclusively on Google for the medical well-being of my child.

I start adding to the list from the moment we walk out of the previous appointment, so you can imagine it's a longish list. For those that care about details like this, I keep it all in one place (My Moleskine planner) so the list is ongoing from the time he was born and makes sort of a funny thing to look back on. For instance, it makes me smile every time I see how freaked out I was about that nasty little umbilical cord waiting to fall off.

Matt has made it a priority to be at every single one of Sam's milestone appointments which earns him significant credit in both the Good Dad and Good Spouse categories. He does however loose a few points on the Spouse front for always, but always managing a timely bathroom trip right before the nurse comes in to administer Sam's shots.

But I digress. On my list of questions this time were things like: is he getting enough nutritionally or should we be doing a multivitamin? (yes and no). Get fluoride prescription? (yes). How much should he be sleeping? (around 12 hours including naps). Will the fever blister on his lip ever go away? (maybe, maybe not). What do we do about the hitting? (smack him back. Just kidding. It's normal, be consistent and make sure he's not seeing it at home).

And finally: could he be partially color blind? I asked because Sam can name all of the colors except he consistently says "Blue!" when something is yellow. He also says "Blue!" when something is blue. I really don't care if my two-year-old calls a yellow duck blue, I just wanted to make sure everything is okay. didn't care as much as I just wondered if everything was okay. Seemed like a fair question.

The part that might've been excessive was that I brought in some props to make my point. Three blocks: red, blue and yellow. Sam was very busy what with all the tractor stuff and four adults in the room so he didn't happen to care what color any of the toys were. "Sam, what color is this?" I held the red one up. "Come,Mama, more tractor."

So I just explained to the Fabulous Dr. K what we'd been observing. He looked doubtful and went on to ask if I was sure it wasn't a matter of him being coached. He said it was unlikely and unusual for someone as young as Sam to know his colors that consistently and it was more likely that Sam had memorized some colors and was responding to my tones. Really? He's memorized all the balls, cars and images in all the books we read together? Because to me that is even more impressive than simply knowing his colors. Mensa here we come.

I recognize how stupid this might seem but it really, really bugged me. Partly, I think, because it made me feel like I was perceived as one of those over-achiever, force my kid into stressful learning situations type of mom. You know, like no breakfast before we do our French flash cards kind of thing. Matt gave me the look that implied it be best to let this one go and not try to convince Dr. K that Sam really does know his colors. Fine. We moved on. But I stayed irritated. Matt, on the other hand didn't seem to care at all. Except he did.

The other night Matt called me into the bathroom while bathing Sam.

"Sam so knows his colors!" Matt exclaimed days after that appointment. "Listen." Sam started putting his bath toys away, by color, thank you very much. "Yellow duck. Green turtle. Green zaba (frog). Blue dolphin."

"Wait did he say 'yellow duck?' Don't you mean blue?"

"Honey are you trying to f*** him up?"

"No, but if he'd started with the damn yellow duck last week we never would've had that conversation with the doctor."

"True." Pause. "But then we wouldn't know what a little genius he is."

"Our genius is trying to pee out the tub."


My good helper

Today's word count: 443

I'm getting my head back into Breaking Branches 300 words at a time, am still hopeful of meeting my December deadline. And also a little panicked. Today I'm a little distracted by the fact that my baby turns two tomorrow. He's been on the planet for two years and while I can't imagine him not being here, I am stunned that two years has already flown by.

Yesterday we went to the store to get the ingredients for his cake and pick out a candle. He picked the number "2" candle and chewed on it when I wasn't looking so it's nice and customized. I actually had to wipe it down with my sweater before handing it to the cashier. Kids are so gross! Also, adorable. We were at the store in the window just before nap time so I was a little nervous but he was hamming it up slapping high-fives with strangers and even holding his arms out for a random lady to hug. "Hug?" He asks, arms outstretched, as she searches through the spices. She smiles but then looks at me. "That would be weird, right? If I hugged him?"

"Well, kinda. But he asked for it. We haven't really covered the whole 'stranger danger' thing yet." She opted to high-five him instead.

Today we made the actual cake. Well, minus the frosting. He got bored before they finished baking so we went to the park for awhile. We've been practicing singing the birthday song and the "Zivijo, Zivijo" part we Slovaks sing. So he'd lick the batter and say "Mmm. Zivijo, zivijo. More birthday?" Lick. "I'm a good helper!" Lick.

I'm going to try frosting before he wakes up. We'll see.

Nesting the ADHD way

Today's word count: 0

I want to organize everything. Today. So far I've managed to make a lot of piles and lists. I think this is some ADHD form of nesting. Also, procrastinating. I switched gears this week, from my novel to the column, and am having trouble getting back into it again. The whole thing started with Matt bringing home almost all the rest of the boxes from storage. Eight total, I think. The rest of them will fit in the cab of his truck!!! I don't know any sports terminology but I'd suppose that's something like the home stretch, right? You'll be glad to know I found some of my favorite shirts and pants. Maybe I'll fit into them some time next year. Maybe. And, thank God, I packed away boxes and boxes of tea, all expired now and empty spice bottles. Really? The question that kept running through my mind as I unpacked this week was: "What in the hell was I thinking?" And then I remembered two things. 1) I was pregnant at the time with Sam, and 2) I genuinely believed I'd be unpacked again before the baby came; I guess I just didn't know which baby!