Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster

I was offered a copy of Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster to read for the BlogHer Book Club ... wait, let me just get this out of my system:

Here I go again, on my own
Goin' down the only road I've ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
And I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time
Here I go agaiiiiinnnnn

Okay, thanks. And yes, there are many Whitesnake and 80s rock references throughout the book, so rock on.

If I could sum up this book in one sentence, it would be to say that this book is Mean Girls meets Back to the Future meets Wizard of Oz meets Thirteen Going on Thirty. You totally know what I mean, right?

So let me get a few bothersome things out the way first before I tell you all the things I liked about this book.

1) It's the story of a mean girl who gets a chance to go back and do things over to make her life better. Having been the victim of many mean girls, I would say I do not think they should be the ones to get a chance like that.
2) Did I mention it's the story of a mean girl? So you hear all her horrible mean thoughts? And you hate her until pretty much the last few pages of the book, and even then, it's hard to really like her, because you remember all the horrible things she did? Yeah. That.
3) The book makes some pretty bold statements about bullying and high school that I do NOT agree with. But, I'm not the authority and my opinion is not the only one, so, whatever.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, can I just say that I should have been reading Jen Lancaster a long time ago? Her writing is biting and hilarious, and ... what's even better than hilarious? Whatever is funnier than hilarious, that's what she is. I can understand why she chose to write the voice of a mean girl, because it made for some interesting dialogue and inner monologues. On top of that, Lancaster is a master of character development. There was not a single character in the book that I didn't feel like I had met in person and had known for years. I have to hand it to her, even though I was having a REALLY hard time in the first third of the book suspending disbelief (Okay, she's ... going back in TIME? Good lord.), once I was halfway through the book, there was no way I was putting it down until I was done. 

Bottom line: Hilarious, well-written, great characters. If I can read from the point of view of someone I dislike and still want to devour the book .... that's some dang fine writing. Excuse me while I go out and read all the rest of Lancaster's work.

If you want to read more about the book, you can do so at the BlogHer Book Club. You can learn more about Jen Lancaster on Twitter, facebook, and her blog.

I was provided a free copy of this book and compensated for this review, but the opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Added Numbers to Distract You From the Fact that There is no Common Thread

Is it wrong to hope that the girls have some sort of bug? I mean, I'm 99% sure it is wrong, but hear me out. They have been INSANE lately, and everything is messed up -- sleep, diapers, attitude, etc. I have a runny nose and just started coughing today, so maybe if they just have a virus or something, then in a few days they will be back in tip top shape and I can forget some of the horrors that I have witnessed over the past few days.

At any rate, here are some of the other things on my mind lately:

1. Genevieve ... well, the kid just won't freakin' sleep. At all. It's been two months of her refusing to sleep for longer than ten minutes at a time -- with three exceptions, two of which were during the day, natch. We have tried to adjust every single variable -- temperature of her room, amount of clothes on her body, sleeping position, level of darkness, white noise versus no white noise, EV. ER. EE. THING. And before you give me the, yeah, kids don't sleep, suck it up speech, let me just say -- shut up. Some kids sleep. In fact a LOT of kids sleep. And at this age she needs a LOT more sleep than she is getting to stay healthy, so not only am I worried about my precarious sanity (you try not sleeping for longer than ten minute intervals for two months and get back to me), I am worried about my little biscuit. 

Oh sure, she might be fine in a few days, or in a few weeks, in which case you can tell me that I was a big lame complainer and everything is fine now and I should have just shut up about it all. But she might still be doing this for another year or maybe -- heh -- maybe she'll never sleep for longer than ten minutes at a time, but if that's the case, then one day she will be old enough for me to put in her room and let her talk to herself and read herself books when she doesn't feel like sleeping. So, either way, I suppose it WILL come to an end. I just wish I had one of those kids who slept. Is that too much to ask (apparently, yes, yes it is).

2. Have you seen the last Mission Impossible movie? Ghost Protocol? Well, my dear husband decided to try to watch it two weeks ago on Thursday night when I teach. He got both of the girls to sleep, started it, then had to hit pause every ten minutes to go get Screamy McBaby, rock her to sleep, pray she didn't wake up Josephine, put her down, creep back to the living room to watch ten more minutes, and on and on until I got home. 

Anyway, it ended up taking him three weeks to finish the movie (so sad, our lives, am I right?), but he was obsessed the the term "invoking ghost protocol" -- even before he knew what that even MEANT. So, the past three weeks have been full of Jeremy doing fun things like beginning to answer a question I have, saying you should "blah blah blah, and then ... INVOKE GHOST PROTOCOL! Wait! Where are you going? That's FUNNY!" or teaching Josephine to say "invoke ghost protocol," which, yeah, it's cute because of how she says it ("Indoke dost protocol") (she also calls "dinner" like "ginner" -- Ds and Gs are hard, yo), but really, not that funny when he laughs so hard after at me trying not to sigh and roll my eyes. He didn't say it at all yesterday, for the first time in three weeks, mostly because he went in to work early and got home late and was exhausted, but I'm still on edge. If he got a lot of rest last night, he might spring it on me tonight. GUH.

To answer your question, NO, I have no idea why I hate the phrase so much. But I CAN tell you why he is using it so much -- because I HATE IT SO MUCH.

3. A new phrase in our house that IS adorable is Josephine saying "SURE DO!" when I ask her something. Love it. 

"Do you want to play with blocks?" 

She has also started saying (prepare yourself for the cutest cuteness) "My sure do love my mama!" (pronouns are also hard. "My" means both "I" and "me" when used at the beginning of a sentence lately). I mean, COME ON. You could have knocked me over with a feather the first time she said that.

4. That reminds me a few other things she is saying that have been cracking me up: 

She has been saying "That's a funny one!" when she thinks something is funny or when she thinks something she has said is funny.

When I turn on the lights in the morning, she covers her eyes and says "Too shiny!"

Instead of just asking for bandaids now, she tries to convince us she needs them. She says "uh-oh!" bends down, touches the floor for a millisecond, then stands up, shows us her finger, and says "Got a boo boo! Need a bandaid!"

She has also been singing a lot lately. The other morning she made up a song about me cooking an egg in a pan and how much she loved eggs while I was making one for her.

She's something else.

5. One last thing. I don't know what it is, but no matter what time Josephine wakes up in the morning, EXACTLY one second before Josephine starts wailing in her room for me to come get her, Genevieve fills her diaper with swamp water. But only on weekdays, when I am home alone and they both need me simultaneously. 

Timing. She has it. 

How to wrap up something that had no focus? How about I tell you that I just tried to put Genevieve down for a nap and she refused. Oh good, let the overtired baby cycle begin again today! I'm ready! 

(Good ending, right?)

Monday, January 28, 2013

It All Comes Together At The End There

The story hour at our library is 9:30 AM on Monday mornings. I'm not gonna lie -- I often lay awake Sunday nights thinking of reasons that we shouldn't go. I know, dreadful parenting all around, yada yada yada. 

Josephine LOVES it beyond not only her capacity for words but mine as well. As we drive to the library she sings "Goin' to the library! Gonna read books! Gonna sing songs! Gonna see my FRIENDS!" but it's rough getting there. Even though she is out of bed by eight, the kid is not really awake until nine, at the earliest, which makes the day pretty dramatic and awful, right from the get-go, if I try to get them both out the door on time. 

I know, you hate me now because I can't even get my kid ready by nine AM, and oh my god, what a lazy woman I must be, but she is a SLOW waker-upper, and if you rush the process, you risk a day of awful. 

Did I ever tell you that I finally figured out one of the things contributing to our mornings that began with nine or ten full-blown meltdowns in the first five minutes she was awake was that I was talking to her too much when she first woke up? Seriously. 

In the morning or after nap, I would traipse in there, all chatty and happy to see her after all those hours without her, and I suspect it sounded a bit like "GOOD MORNING MY LOVE! HOW DID YOU SLEEP? IT'S MORNING! MAMA'S HERE! I LOVE YOU! WOULD YOU LIKE A FRESH DIAPER AND A NEW OUTFIT AND FOR ME TO FIX YOUR HAIR AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND THEN YOU COULD HAVE SOME BREAKFAST? HUH? WOULD YOU? IT'S MORNING! I MISSED YOU!" because she would stagger around and not be able to focus her eyes, and then fits, fits, more fits, which would taint the whole day. 

So now, I go in, quietly say "Good morning my love. Come on out to the living room whenever you're ready, and we'll start the day," and she nods, I leave, and in a few minutes, she comes out, all smiles and good attitude. She just needed some GD space, MOM. 

I told Jeremy about this, and he was like, "Well, duh. There was a pretty strict rule in my house when I was growing up that no one should talk to me or look at me in the morning." Uhhh.

So anyway, this morning every school in the state (basically) was closed because of a terrible ice storm last night, but we were going to have to leave the house later to take the dog vet anyway, so I figured, eff me, let's go to freaking story hour even though everyone else will stay home. We got there just in the nick of time, but I should have known, I just should have KNOWN, based on the level of "MY DO IT!!" that was flowing from her tiny mouth, that things were about to go awry, and I should have just driven away while I had the chance.   

Yes, we are at that glorious age where she must do everything herself, and in theory, and for the most part, I think it is adorable and wonderful and am very proud of her for being so big and strong and competent and wise, but then there is the other part of me -- the one that is desperately trying not to rip my own hair out of my head the fiftieth time she says, "NO MAMA, MY DO IT! STOP TOUCHING! WALK AWAY A ME!" when I forget and try to do something for her or have to do something for her because I don't care what Montessori says, I'm not going to let my 2.5-year-old do certain things. Sorry. 

Anyway, the shouting. OH, THE SHOUTING. This morning she wanted to climb up into the SUV and then into her seat, which took about ten minutes in the freezing cold while her sister screamed in her carseat and I desperately tried not to say "hurry up!" over and over. Then when we got to the library, parked, got everyone out, and I went to grab her hand (as I explained earlier she would have to let me do), she shoved her hands in her pockets, shouted "MY HANDS IN MY POCKETS, MAMA! INNA POCKETS!" and when I tried to compromise by holding onto her hood, she screamed "NO TOUCHING!!" and tried to run away. Yeah, that would have worked out great -- walking with your hands in your pockets right after an ICE STORM. I know I could have let her face the consequences of her decision (fall face first into the ice and snow), but I just wasn't up for that.

As predicted, she was a bit ... wild ... at the library. Usually she has a lot of energy and whatnot, but she listens to 98% of what I say. Today she listened to about 1%, and as we were checking out books and getting ready to leave, she ran over and pushed the handicap door opener which someone (ahem GRANDMA ahem) taught her to use, and I had to dash out after her, holding the crying baby, all our coats, a bag of books, my purse, and the craft with wet glue and glitter (Seriously - every week! "I'm going to put some glue on this, two-year-olds. Don't touch the glue until it's dry!" THANKS.). I was not amused.

Then we had to rush home, pick up the dog, and rush to the vet, because apparently I excel at choosing the worst possible time to schedule things. 

Of course Cleo already knew where we were headed and was panicked, and by the time we got there, Genevieve had fallen asleep, so I couldn't even strap her into the Bjorn, which was my master plan so I could have one hand to grasp Josie's little hand and the other to hold my scaredy-dog on a very short leash and navigate her through the scary world of other dogs and cats and smells. So I had the thirty-pound carseat, big kid, and huge scared dog. It was a blast. 

As we were headed out, I had to take them all up to the counter to pay, and three of the cats who live in the office came over to torment Cleo. They stood right between her and Josie, and Cleo was torn -- get as far away from the cats as possible or get between them and her child who was in danger? (I don't even know. She's not afraid of our cat, but she doesn't want any other cat near her family.). 

So I shoved the dog between my legs and try to hold her there while she is lunging around like a bull on a leash, and I'm also trying to keep Josie away from the cats because one of the receptionists kindly informed me "two of those cats hate kids -- watch out!" and then Genevieve started crying so I rocked her carseat with one foot while I signed the credit card slip.

And now, here it is: the story I set out to write and took a few thousand words to get around to (lucky you):

One of the vet techs offered to walk Cleo out to the car so I could hold both of the kids as we walked through the ice, and the other said, while this whole shit-show was happening "Wow! You make it look so easy!"


I looked right at her and said, "I make it look easy?" (*quizzical eyebrow raise*)


"Well, you make it look GOOD," she countered. 

I looked at the scene around me, at my hastily thrown-together outfit, and imagined just how bad my bushy, frizzy bun and half-assed make-up must look. 

I waved the pen in the air, like you might expect a graying British man in a laboratory to as he exclaims "By George, I think he's got it!" and said "I'll take it!" 

Then we staggered out while I laughed and laughed and laughed. 

Indeed; I'll take it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

On Love

Thankfully there had been a big storm overnight and Jeremy called in to work -- the hour drive in roads these bad just wasn't worth it. I was happy to have him home, and happy to have him around on a day when both my little angels needed to get a shot at the doctor.

I hadn't expected Josie to cry, since she never has, even once, when getting a shot. I especially didn't expect it, since she had been talking for two days how she was excited to go to the doctor's office, she was going to get a little poke, and it was no big deal. When we got in the room, she climbed straight up onto the table and said "All ready!" 

But then she cried. Big, fat tears. And opened her mouth in a deep, deep wail. I scooped her up and rocked her, and then had to trade off -- giving the big girl to her daddy to hold and taking the baby so I could hold her while she had her turn. 

I knew Genevieve would cry. She's not like Josephine, who barely noticed the shots when she was tiny. She feels the pain and cries and cries and can't be consoled. 

She got her shot and wailed. I lifted her up to hold her, then took her over to Josie. I told Josephine, "Your sister is sad about the shot." Josie lifted her head off of her father's shoulder, where she had been crying, and looked right in her little sister's eyes, grabbed her chubby little hand, and said, "It's okay baby sister. Don't cry!"

And Genevieve stopped crying. They smiled at each other through their tears, and it was all over. They were both fine. 

That moment: Jeremy is holding Josephine and I am holding Genevieve and they are looking at each other with love while Jeremy and I look down at our girls with all the love we had no idea we were capable of having in our hearts -- they're exploding, our hearts! -- I want to freeze that moment and keep it forever.

This is why I ask her to help the baby and talk to the baby and think of the baby's feelings -- not because I want her to feel like her new role in the family is to be the baby's keeper, but because I want her to learn how wonderful it feels to make her sister happy so she will give love freely and get it in return. Like this. This perfect moment where Josephine saw the opportunity to comfort her sister, did it willingly, saw how happy it made her sister, and that, in turn, made her happy.

I still worry that Josephine will feel like she is a helper-to-sister above other roles in her life, and I will work hard to ensure she doesn't feel that is her only role (she is also Much-Loved Smart Funny Beautiful Fearless Angel Daughter of My Dreams), but this is one of the big reasons we wanted more than one kid. That moment, right there. The love between them. I could see it. 

I want to keep that moment forever.

Friday, January 18, 2013

It Was All Warranted. Don't You Agree?

I have a tendency to be overly-polite. No, not on this blog, OF COURSE. Mostly to strangers. Which is usually a good thing, in my opinion, because, well ... why not, right? However, it's not always a good thing, because other than a whole lot of me saying "please," "thank you," and "of course, it's no trouble at all," what it really amounts to is that I don't stick up for myself when I'm being treated poorly. 

Except that one time when we were at a fancy-schmancy event and I was seated pretty close to a buffet line, and a lady decided it was too much trouble to stand in line and leaned up against my back. She started putting so much pressure on me that it felt like she had actually taken a load off and was sitting on me. I freaked a little and said under my breath, "No, please, press your ass a little harder into my back. That's normal," to which she responded (I KNOW), "Oh, sorry," and took a step away. Everyone at the table looked at me in abject horror until I turned, looked at the lady, and said, "OH, ha ha. I wasn't talking about YOU," and then got really interested in my salad.

That went well.

Anywho, I'm not one for resolutions (as you already know), but I would like to start sticking up for myself more. I'll still be very nice to strangers, and I probably won't mention people's asses, but when strangers (and even people I know) say mean things to me, instead of standing there with a smile on my face until I can find a way to change the subject, I would like to stand my ground and let them know I don't care to be spoken to that way.

As an exercise, I thought I'd share a few things that people have said to me recently, to which, in EVERY CASE, I responded "......" 

I would like to insert what my response SHOULD have been in place of awkward silence. This way, when the situation arises again, I will be all practiced and have responses ready in my head. Clever, no?

Okay. Here we go. Remember: All real things people said to me recently. ALL. REAL.

Person in question: Another mom at library story hour
Her: Are you Italian?
Me: Ummm ... yes.
Her: Yeah, I could tell by the arm hair.
Me (revised response): *HEADBUTT*

Person in question: Someone who is not a stranger
Her: God, I don't know how you do it! I could never sit around on the couch all day! I need to be busy, so I could never be a stay-at-home mom!
Me (revised response): *KARATE CHOP TO THE WINDPIPE*

Person in question: Someone who has never met Josephine. Ever. Or knows anything about our finances. At all.
Her: It's really too bad you can't afford day care, because Josephine could really use some socialization, don't you think?
Me (revised response): *KICK TO THE CROTCH*

Person in question: Someone I just met at a work function
Her: So, is your baby sleeping through the night yet?
Me: No. God, no.
Her: Ha! I know, why did I even ask, right? You certainly don't LOOK like you're getting any sleep at night!
Me (revised response): *THROAT PUNCH*

Next up: I try to quell my violent tendencies. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

5 Months

Our little biscuit was five months old on Wednesday! It's been a wild ride with this one, but oh-so-wonderful. 

She had a hard time coming into the world and getting used to living here, but once her gut got better and we figured out what was going on with her skin, she started settling in and getting happier and healthier by the day. Once she was about a month and a half, she had become the sweetie we know today, and though there have been some rough spots (being sick a LOT, starting teething early), she is a trooper. 

Last visit to the doctor's office she was 16 pounds, 4 ounces (93rd percentile) and 26 inches long (96th percentile)! Amazing! Her head circumference is 16.25 cm (57th percentile). She makes her chunky monkey big sister look like a dwarf at this age! She fits into some 12-month clothes, and the 6-month stuff is all officially out of her wardrobe. 

Best tricks: 
She can roll front to back and back to front like it's her job. Put her down and she might roll across the room in a few minutes flat. That sucks a bit since she has pretty much outgrown her Rock n' Play Sleeper and if she sits in her bouncer for more than a few minutes, she finds a way to trap her arm in the seat and gets all mad that her arm is pinned down. My favorite place to put her was her little gym on the floor, but she rolls out of it in a snap now. 

She is trying really hard to sit unassisted and can also sit almost all the way up from a reclined position! This is why the sleeper is on its way out the door -- if she's on an incline, she can sit right up, and she would be able to topple right out of that thing. I still plan on using it for the weekly pictures, but no more sitting in it to happily watch me make dinner. (Yes, yes, I know about the mold and the recall. Ours is mold-free.) 

She rarely cries (and when she does, she makes the saddest little pouty face in the world); instead, when she would like to make her displeasure known, she makes this terrible noise. The best way I can describe it is an "EHHHH" noise. We call the girl "grunty." She just keeps making this noise non-stop until you magically discover what she needs, and I tell you what, she knows what's up, because I dash around like a maniac trying to stop that noise: "Diaper? Food? Toy? Want to be held? Want room to roll around? Want a solid gold pony? ANYTHING! IT'S YOURS! STOP MAKING THE NOISE!" 

This is not to say I find my kid annoying. Yes, it does feel like someone is drilling my eyeballs and my head is in a vice when she makes that noise. But that all just means she's advanced. Survival of the fittest and all. Here, I thought Josephine's newborn cries were the most gut-wrenching sounds on the planet. I was wrong. G has one-upped her and ensured she never goes unnoticed. Clever little monkey, this one.

She makes up for all that with her sweet little voice, though. Her talking, her laughing, her sweet little coos! Can't be beat. 

She loves eating, snuggling, rolling, toys, mirrors, pulling Josie's hair, looking at faces, and laughing, but her absolute favorite thing is her sister. She lights up when she sees her and laughs and laughs at anything she does, and talks and talks and talks whenever she is around. 

You can really see in this video -- when Josie is singing to her, she is looking up at her like she hung the moon. 

Having even a tiny drop of liquid in her diaper, sleeping on her back, sleeping in her crib, sleeping at all (for the past few weeks), the way her gums feel (apparently -- they are VERY swollen and she can't stop rubbing them/chewing on things). That's about it. 

Overall, this child is mellow as all get-out compared to her sister (and me). She's a very happy, smiley girl. Everywhere we go, people comment on how happy she is, how sweet she is, and what a good baby she is. If they had to spend the night with her or heard "The Grunt," they might change their minds, but hey, being a super-sweetie most of the time is pretty dang awesome.

She's just a beautiful, sweet, happy, smart little girl. She's amazing, and I can't wait to see her change even more drastically over the next few months. Almost a half of a year has gone by! It's hard to believe.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: The Willpower Instinct

Here's something interesting about me: I used to have so much willpower that I would get a stick of rock candy (BEST. TREAT. EVER.) and make it last for over a MONTH. Seriously. I would take one tiny little crystal, eat it, savor it, and put the stick back in its baggy until I could enjoy a piece the next day. My mom would find Halloween candy a few days before the NEXT Halloween and make me throw it out if I wanted to trick-or-treat for more.


Now, so help me if a block of cheese enters this house, because it will be gone muy rapido.

The BlogHer Book Club offered me a copy of The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More if It by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., to review, and after being wildly offended (Me? Why do you think I need to work on my willpower?) I agreed, because ... well, you heard about the cheese.

Now, I'll admit, I'm not a huge fan of self-help books, mostly because of the defensiveness I already mentioned, but I'm also just not much of a fan of non-fiction these days as I used to be. So, if a "self-help" book can get me interested enough to actually describe it as a page-turner, I'd say we have a winner.

I'm not going to outline any of the specific information or strategies that the author offers*, because that seems mean to give away the reason people would have to buy and read the book, but I will tell you that what she offers is fascinating -- all the information on how the brain works, why we feel what we do, and how to shift that thinking -- I really enjoyed it all. One of my favorite features was an end-of-chapter recap: The main idea and willpower challenges to try. it makes it easy to flip back to all the main points, remind you what the chapters were about, and get it all fresh in your head again. She also mentions that the book is written to be read over the course of ten weeks, as if you were taking her course on willpower, reading one chapter a week Since I didn't have ten weeks to read the book before I reviewed it, I didn't, but I certainly intend to. I think it will be a great experiment for the new year to go back through and re-read it over ten weeks and really focus on that week's challenge. I'll let you know in ten weeks how things are going. :)

*Okay, maybe just one -- I love that she reiterates what many before her have said -- dieting is bad for you! She does a great job of explaining why restricting leads to failure in most cases, but she also goes on to give you strategies to use instead (so I can't just say "dieting doesn't work! Suck on that!" and eat whatever I want). 

Overall, it is a book I recommend, and I already have pages folded over so I can share information with specific people who will find it as interesting as I do. 

I was compensated for this review by the BlogHer Book Club, but all opinions are my own.

Monday, January 7, 2013

One Day I'll Sleep

Well, the baby has settled on a daytime schedule. It goes roughly like this: Anytime Josephine is sleeping, I am awake. Suck on it, mom. For the millionth (?) day in a row, as I was closing Josie's door and imploring her to "rest her eyes, rest her head," wailing from the room next door started up. AS I WAS CLOSING THE FRICKIN' DOOR. How does she DO that? 

It is nice to have one-on-one time with each of the girls every day, don't get me wrong, but it also means I get NO BREAK EVER EVER, on top of no sleep at night, AND it makes it wicked hard to get out of the house to do anything, and OH MY GOD, it's too much at once!

That's basically what has been consuming my time over here: Sleep issues of every way, shape, and form.

Basically, the baby is still struggling with establishing a solid daytime schedule that leaves her happy and rested AND has decided nighttime requires constant comfort from mama, and to top it all off, Josie is putting up a fight at nap and bed times now, something she doesn't do all that often. 

The short story is I am obsessed with sleep but get none. The long story is what you will get, however, because hello, have you MET ME?

Let's start with Genevieve. She is doing okay during the day. She doesn't have a real schedule yet (but Josie didn't either at this age), but she is sleeping and being happy, so that is good. She was rocking the two hours up, two hours down thing, even though it never started at the same time every day, and I could handle that. Now she is up for two hours, goes down easily, takes a great nap, is up two hours, goes down for a nap-- oh, just kidding, that ten-minute nap is all I'll do, mom! Then the rest of the day is like that -- no real naps until bed, and by then she is cranky and overtired and can't sleep. Shocker!

We also just recently decided to buy the video monitor we desperately needed (Josie's crapped out) and move her downstairs to her nursery in her crib (SOB!) at night instead of sleeping upstairs in mom and dad's room. The first night she was a champ: up twice to eat and right back to sleep in the crib. A miracle! Amazing. Also, too good to be true. She's back upstairs now, and the worst part is, she is back to her desire for constant comfort at night. One-night break. Awesome. 

This all started in October when we had the combined total of maybe 20 healthy days between October and Christmas. Every time she got sick, she needed to be held and/or nursing to be able to sleep. ALL NIGHT. So I didn't sleep or slept for short bursts in very uncomfortable positions while nursing. Then she would get better and get sick a few days later, and, needless to say, she got used to her new nighttime situation and got hooked. Then came Christmas with no schedules and super-exciting moments which made it impossible for her to nurse or sleep well. Look! A thing! Listen! A sound! I must see and hear it ALLLLL! So, she got good and overtired and used to no-schedule life, and bedtime became even worse. I thought if I got her out of our bedroom and she couldn't see, smell, or hear me at night, she might actually get some rest. And the biggest burn is, I was right, but only for one night. I don't get it. Unless she's getting sick again. Oh, help me Jeebus.

I was talking to someone about this recently, and they said something to the effect of "Oh, it's too bad that breastfed babies need to get up a few times during the night when bottlefed babies at this age can sleep through the night." No, I'm not crying about getting up a few times to nurse. That would be a god damn pleasure cruise compared to what we are doing. I wake up feeling like I was hit by a Mack truck. That is no way to start the day when you are going to be caring for two kids all day with NO BREAK EVER. 

I guess the thing is, I had ideas about the second time around. I was determined to not make the same mistakes I did with Josie, or at least not let things get as far as they did so it didn't take as much effort to teach my kid about the beauty of sleeping long stretches. It was pretty hellish with Josie. 

If you weren't around then, I can sum it up by saying that I was guilty as hell about the first few months of her life being marred by constant pain, and that, combined with me leaning more towards Attachment Style parenting as a new parent (though I had never heard the term at that point) made me inclined to do whatever made her happy. Oh, you want me to hold you ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT? Okay! I love you, angel baby! Whatever makes you trust me again after I couldn't respond to any of your urgent needs when you were a newborn! Seriously. The guilt was overwhelming. Then, when we decided she was much too old to be sleeping in our room and getting up four times at night to nurse (I'll spare her by leaving out the age, but ... it was ... OLD), we realized that she was a tension increaser, and even if we wanted to try that plucky old "cry it out" method, we were shit out of luck because girlfriend could cry all night long and not give in. (Seriously, if you've never experienced a tension increaser, just thank your lucky stars and move along.) 

Luckily, Josie finally got it, and once she started sleeping through the night, we slowly crept her bedtime forward until she was sleeping 12 hours straight through, which made her naptime much easier too, since she wasn't overtired. It was a miracle. But it took a LONG time. I do not want to go down that long and winding road again. However, I'm not ready to just toss Genevieve in her crib and leave her there to cry. I'm just not. Honestly, I never will be. It's not the answer anyway, because there is no way I could sleep with her doing that, so it won't give me a break of any kind if I am up, listening to her and wringing my hands. 

The current sleep problems with Josie are a whole different ball game, obviously, as we are dealing with a two-year-old who has ideas and preferences and must do everything HERSELF and HER WAY, and I'm guessing that's 99% of the problem, and frankly, I'm much too tired to get into all of that, too. 

Plus, I'm teaching a history class this quarter and GROSSLY underestimated the amount of time I would need for reading, outlining, and making PowerPoints with awesome pictures to supplement the reading. You know what doesn't help? Only being able to work on all those things for five minutes at a bleeding time.

I know, two bummer posts in a row. Why do you even come here anymore?!?

Here, I hope this helps offset the complainy nature of this post: Cute girls! Being cute!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Year After 2012

I realllllly hate the number 13. This year is not looking good.

Anyway, I have to do something to wrap up the year because New Year, blah blah blah, even though I'm not feeling very "fresh start-y" or making any resolutions or any of that, but you know ... a year ended, so ...

I figured I could do this end-of-year meme. It's the least I can do. For posterity. I'm pretty sure it's similar to the ones I did in years past, with a few deleted, and I stole it (shamelssly) from Temerity Jane, who I believe gets them from Sundry ...? Whatever. Here it is.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Bought a house, had a second child, had a child without pain medication (even though I planned for lots and lots), went the longest time without working outside the home that I ever have.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any last year. I mean, I was a little wrapped up in finding out I was pregnant, and I definitely didn't want to think sad things like "goal weights" when I was going to get as big as a house again. And no, no resolutions this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Err, me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My Godfather died.

5. What countries did you visit?
I accidentally drove into Canada then asked if I could turn around without paying the toll because it was just an accident, and also when were they going to get up the new signs explaining that you now have to take an exit to go to Port Huron and if you stay on the expressway you automatically go to Canada, instead of the other way around, like it has been for a berjillion years (the answer was tomorrow. The signs were going up tomorrow.).

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Dollar bills, y'all.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Welp, I'm gonna go with August 9th, the ONE DAY I specifically asked Genevieve not to be born, and then there I was, having a baby on the same day my other baby turned two and crying about it the whole time. Oh, and there was the whole failed epidural thing. Yes, ETCHED UPON MY MEMORY.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Tie between birthing a baby, buying a house house, and moving home. 

9. What was your biggest failure?
Oh man. Not one BIG failure, just everyday failures. Getting frustrated with kids, crying more than I wanted to, not realizing how good I have it when I'm stuck in the middle of a very bad moment. You know, the usual.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My back went out a few times in that seen-on-TV way where I am on the ground screaming for death. That was related to nursing SOMEONE ... ALL NIGHT LONG, EVERY NIGHT (more on this kid using me as a human pacifier later, I'm sure). Oh, and the fact that I am still in excruciating pain in the location of the three failed epidural pokes. But no, I'm not bitter about that, NOT AT ALL, why do you ask?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our house, cuz, you know ... place to live?

12. Where did most of your money go?
House, fixing house, Josephine, Genevieve, medical bills, other bills.

13. What did you get really excited about?
House, baby. (are you sensing a theme?)

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Umm ... Gangham Style?

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Both. I am happier about many things, but conflicted about many things, and sadder about them. I think overall happier, though. I don't like this question.
– thinner or fatter? At this exact moment last year, I had the little pooch of a newly-pregnant woman (well, maybe the pooch of a three-month pregnant woman, even though I was newly pregnant, WHATEVER.), and now I have the pooch of a woman who has been pregnant twice and her stomach muscles split and never got fixed ... and who also does not work out and eats lots and lots because of a baby who likes to nurse every two hours. So yeah, fatter.
– richer or poorer? Poorer. New baby and fixing up something in the house every dang paycheck.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Just be happy with my girls. Smiling sweetly at them and holding them in my arms. Soon I'll send the big one off to school and I'll only see her for a few hours a day for the rest of her life. Even though this time is exhausting, I will miss it when it's over.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Getting frustrated. Feeling guilty. Eating crappy foods. (Except Cool Ranch Doritos. I'll never feel like I should have eaten less of them.)

18. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas with Jeremy's parents and siblings and new niece, then with my parents and siblings and nieces and nephews, then at home with our girls and Santa stuff, then Jeremy's Gran with all the aunts and uncles and cousins, then my parents' house again with some aunts and uncles and cousins and cousin's baby, then visiting with friends from out of state, then all of Jeremy's extended family at his aunt's house. 

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Huh. We don't watch as much TV anymore. This is sad. I guess I'd have to say The Office is still my favorite.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
The only books I managed to read this year were books I was sent to review, and not a single one of my own choosing. I'll leave it at that.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
"The Wheels on the freakin' Bus;" thanks for asking about our music choices.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Meh. Didn't see many of those.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Date with Jeremy while his parents watched Josie. I was 30. I don't think I cried though, so ... bonus.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I know it's wrong to say money, so I'll say sleep.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

26. What kept you sane?
Jeremy, the girls' laughter, my mom, and my heating pad for my sore back at night.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Ummm .... I probably shouldn't skip the most meaningful question in the whole dang thing, but ... SKIP.

Happy New Year and junk. Give me a few weeks and I probably won't be this crabby (no promises).
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