Try as I might (or almost might), I just am not typing as often as I’d like – or as often as I think I should. I don’t even check my email every day. Or my other email. The only place I seem able to organize myself is at work, and while I’m there, doing my job, the other 95% of my brain is running around making lists of things that I need to do when I get home – or better yet, things I should do on my lunch break so I don’t have to do them at home…and things that need to get done this week…before Thanksgiving…before the early Christmas we’re having with part of Bill’s family…before the regular Christmas that we’ll have with the rest of the family around here…I have given myself countless to do lists…and now I just need to figure out how to get by on four hours of sleep so I can get all this stuff done. And relax and enjoy the holiday season. And bake cookies.
Earlier today I suddenly was filled to the brim with a happy – yes, joyful – anticipation of the whole Thanksgiving/Christmas time…almost wanted to start decorating the house (but I haven’t done it…and won’t yet)…and then at some point I just fell flat. All the fizz went out of me and I felt this really empty and hollow and at-a-crossroads feeling. Weird. I think – probably like most people – I have such a mix of good and bad, happy and sad feelings wrapped up in Christmas bows that it’s hard to just be happy or just be unhappy about it all. I can’t be just one. I have to be both. Which is fine…they just are both so intense.
I get here – and I am stuck. I don’t even know what to type. Plus I’ve got the monitor on, and every time one of the kids breathes louder than their other recent breaths, I tense up…they’re going to wake up! One of them is going to wake up! I will be glad when Julia decides to sleep through the entire night again. Last night wasn’t so bad – she only woke up once. And then both kids woke up at 5 – which threw off my carefully choreographed morning dance of getting all the lunch bags packed and ready (Alex, Julia, and, yes, June Cleaver that I am, Bill’s.), then get myself half ready (I don’t get dressed in office-wear until right before we leave the house, otherwise I am guaranteed some formula drool on my shoulder.)
Speaking of the choreographed morning dance…one morning last week I was up at probably 4:30 or so – I think I’d been up with Julia and yes, that’s it, she fell back to sleep and I decided there was no point in going back to sleep. So I got a bottle ready for her – just in case – and left it on the night stand on Bill’s side of the bed. (Julia was in the bed – she seems to like our mattress better – it’s squishier because it’s one of those 5-feet-thick pillow top mattresses. We splurged. It’s pretty high up there…I feel like someone out of "The Princess and the Pea." Not so much like the princess – more like her exhausted handmaid, who zonks out and wouldn’t notice a butternut squash under the mattress, let alone a pea.)
Anyway – Julia snoring…Bill snoring…left Julia’s bottle there and told Bill there was also a sippy cup of juice on the ironing board for Alex, in case he wakes up while I’m in the shower. Bill grunted gently in acknowledgement. I took a shower. A luxuriously looooong shower – maybe a whole fifteen minutes, which is like a day at a spa for me. Just as I turned the water off I heard the door to the kids’ room open……..and close. So Alex was awake and demanding juice. Good. I’d have another fifteen minutes to myself – he’d drink his juice and either doze off or start talking to his stuffed animals.
Two minutes later, just as I was getting dressed, he started wailing "MOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYY!!" So rather than leave Bill to it (technically I was still in the post-shower phase and not specifically required to respond), I dashed (really) from the bathroom into Alex’s room and asked him what was wrong. He kept saying "Not want it! Not want it!" and I asked what he didn’t want, and he said – in a hurt, offended tone – "Dis!" and pointed to the corner of his crib closest to where I was standing. In the dim light I saw something plastic and curved…I reached down…it was a bottle of Bath and Bodyworks lotion.
Yes. Instead of the sippy cup.
The lotion (no, I don’t remember what kind) bottle isn’t even round. And it wasn’t on the ironing board, either. But somehow…in his sleepy state…Bill…and I just think of Alex, so happy to get that first sippy cup of apple juice in the morning…a nice alternative to toddler morning breath…and instead, Daddy, perhaps displeased with something Alex did the day before, is suggesting that he quench his thirst with hand cream. ???? I still laugh when I think about it.
And Julia. Julia! All she wants for Christmas is all twenty of her first teeth, at once, dammit! Because Julia wants FOOD. Not just the pureed baby stuff she is gulping down now. That’s interesting enough, but still…it’s clearly not what Mommy and Daddy and that crazy and funny little blond-headed boy are eating.
I was holding her in my left arm one evening at the dinner table. She had finished her baby cereal mixed with formula and squash or peas or something and didn’t want to be in her high chair any longer. The rest of us were still eating – beef stew. (From a can. I’m sorry. I just don’t always have time to make everything from scratch…much as I really really want to.) Anyway – I was holding Julia – she was standing on my leg, watching everyone else eat…and her super sharp baby radar picked up motion in the lower right sector…Mommy was bringing a spoonful of something from that big bowl up to her face and into her mouth Julia’s little serious face followed the spoon from bowl to mouth, watched the spoon go back to the bowl empty, then swung her head around like some kind of magnetic device had been switched on and, mouth open like a leech, she affixed herself to my left cheek and tried to suck the beef stew out of my face.
I couldn’t believe it – so I did it again – and sure enough – little suction face Julia latched right on. I whispered to Bill to watch – and I did it again so he could see. And of course he couldn’t believe it – so he whispered "do it again!" and I did, and Julia did, and Bill and I just stared at each other and laughed in delight and a bit of fear.
Last night…what did we have for dinner…oh, yeah, Bill made coq au vin and I was again, foolishly, holding Julia after she was finished with her puree of sweet potatoes and puree of ham. I put something in my mouth, and this time she grabbed my mouth with her fierce little fingers and tried to squeeze my mouth open. Honest. She saw where it went, and she wanted to get it. The food.
OH – and one more little Julia story – Bill made a fire in the fireplace on Halloween, in the afternoon, and got out the old popcorn popper thing that you hold over the flames and wait an eternity for the kernels to finally pop, and they have a mild campfire kind of flavor…so he made popcorn and put it in our cobalt blue popcorn bowl…and he and Alex were sitting in the wide chair in the living room, enjoying their popcorn in companionable male silence. I was feeding Julia a bottle over on the little couch, and I had to hand Julia off to Bill for some reason, and then sit back down on the couch…I don’t remember why…but I watched as Julia, held in Bill’s left arm, kind of resting against the arm of the chair, noticed the popcorn AND the fact that Bill and Alex were putting those lumpy off-white things into their mouths – and with one smooth, practiced motion, she swung her little arm down, into the bowl, grabbed a handful of popcorn, and started to bring it right up to her little mouth. I made some kind of reactionary sound, and Bill got the popcorn out of her hand. She wasn’t happy. I think she bared her gums at him.
So I figure the minute she gets a tooth or two, we’ll have to start giving her steaks to gnaw on.
And last…I was making turkey tetrazzini (however you spell it) last week – in a very big hurry – with a pan of mushrooms on the front burner and a pot of white sauce on the back burner…and I was leaning over to shake some grated parmesan cheese into the white sauce (which also contained chicken stock and wine)…and then my sweater was on fire. Two lines of little flames running up the front of me. I shrieked (apparently) and threw the cheese off somethere and yanked the sweater off and threw it to the floor. Bill came running up the stairs – he thought I’d seen a mouse. HA! I don’t think I’d have taken my sweater off if it was just a mouse. Alex came up the stairs too – little guy – asking "Okay, Mommy?" I felt a little shaky and jello-like but basically okay. And fortunately the sweater is black, so it’s okay too.
And lastly…I call Alex my sweetie-pie…and he calls me his feetie-pie.