Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Things are looking up, baby.

Pequita has discovered the joy of mobiles. I must admit that I had begun to wonder why people used them. Now I know. Instead of waking up in tears, she wakes up smiling and giggling.

The one above the changing table looks like this:
and makes this happen:

The one above our bed, where she is still sleeping, makes this face:

And the one in her bassinet, the Tiny Love brand one with stuffed toys, sliding parts, and music that plays completely stuns her.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Deck (de-deck, re-deck) the halls

This post was written on Dec 18, when my internet was down.

Here at the homestead, we usually aim for tasteful decoration at Christmas. Aside from an annual discussion about appropriate lushness of the Christmas tree, we agree that lots of lights and natural decorations is a good thing. We put out few decorations in the house, but mostly apply lights to the outside pine trees, put candles in all street-facing windows, and apply pine boughs liberally around the house. For the actual Christmas tree, we have a ritual of waiting for snow to fall and trekking 30 mins away to a cut-your-own tree farm Homestead Mama has gone to for years. The owners are always in Florida in December, so we can bring the dogs to ruin their unbroken snow, hike around the property selecting a tree, admire it in its live habitat before cutting it down and dragging it through the snow back to get strapped onto the top of the car. We try to get a tree with a birds nest in it for good luck in the New Year - this trumps perfection of line and fullness. I prefer a sparser tree to showcase select ornaments; Homestead Mama likes a thick tree that you can't see through and prefers to load it with every ornament she ever collected. We agreed to alternate years, so we are each happy. It was that or have 2 trees, and our house isn't big enough for that.

This year, with Pequita taking up every waking minute, I managed to hang a garland of fresh pine in the living room, and set up 2 faux 3' prelit trees flanking the front door in metal urns. Pitiful, even I admit it, but since time is an issue, and all strands of lights are coated in lead that I didn't want to handle while pregnant and handling Pequita, this is as good as it gets chez nous. (We also have a 6' strand of colored lights draped over a window in the living room, but it has nothing to do with Christmas and everything to do with giving the baby something to amuse herself with so we can see her giggle with sheer joy at twinkling color.)

We are traveling to Boston for the holidays, and are counting on my mother, Boston Grandma, to decorate in her usual way so that when we arrive for our short stay we'll have many seasonally themed backdrops against which to drape Pequita for 'first Christmas' photo ops. After a recent phone call, we learned that mom did, indeed, decorate the whole house for the first ever Christmas WITH GRANDBABIES. She has been preparing for this for decades, really. Proper holiday decor involves trading out all the linens on the first floor with red and green themed ones - table runners, doilies, dish towels, and the hand towels in the guest bathrooms (watch out for the sequins, as they scratch if you dry too vigorously). She twines pine garland around banisters, mantels and light fixtures, and digs out all the craft projects we kids made throughout the years, from the wooden & glitter angel, to the walnut shell Christmas mice. There is also a tasteful tree in the living room which cleverly hides the best cat nest of the whole year. The tree is pushed up to the radiator and front window, and a lucky cat can bask on the warmth surrounded by actual LIVE TREE branches while getting a workout batting at the ornaments hanging right at paw level. Rapture. Yesterday I found out that mom had an opportunity to get the first floor painted, which it did need after some unfortunate water damage and plaster repair, and she UNDECORATED the whole place, let the painter do his thing, and then PUT IT ALL BACK UP. This is a woman who clearly cannot wait for her first Christmas with 3 generations. My sister & partner are being forced to leave their lovely nearby home to come sleep under the same roof as the rest of the clan on Christmas Eve, so the glory that is the whole family waking up in one house Christmas morning can be realized. I believe I shall bring mom a screaming Pequita at 4:30 for her feeding to help share the joy. I remember when we kids used to wake up before the sun rose to go see what Santa brought. Roles have now changed, and my parents are up earlier and WE are begging to be allowed to sleep in.

Frankly, I can't wait to get there. Free daycare, the ability to actually knit/cook/shower/sew while someone other than Homestead Mama and I dote on Pequita. Outings to one of the best cities in the world will be had. After 9 weeks, my sister and her partner still haven't met Pequita yet, much to all our dismay, and I am sure that there will be baby trading as we fawn over my 9 month old nephew and they coo over Pequita. I feel pretty blessed all around. Now if only I could drink cup after cup of the homemade eggnog my dad likes to make. Alas, the 3 dozen whipped raw eggs and the gallons of liquor that go into it both kind of cancel that treat out for me this year. Sigh. I hope my mother had time to bake cookies.

Friday, December 15, 2006

All the culture we can handle

I used to read poetry by Sharon Olds, Audre Lorde. I made time for the classics. Life has changed.Without further ado, I bring you a poem by Tammy Etheridge (yes, Melissa's wife) from her blog: http://hollywoodfarmgirl.blogspot.com/High literature? No. As much truth as Margie and I need right now? Absolutely.

Wanting For Nothing.

hygiene is overrated
sitting down to eat is overrated
eating with two hands is overrated
hell, sometimes eating is overrated
sleep is underrated
clean clothes are overrated
desitin is underrated

Nuff said?

Sticky life

Homestead Mama called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that we have entered a new phase of parenting. This caused some concern, as the last time I heard this gravity in her voice it had to do with the onset of projectile pooping. She went on to say that we have entered the Sticky zone. Pequita's presence in our life is causing sticky spots to appear on surfaces - table tops, books, clothing, TV remote controls. Our baby is growing up.I really need to focus on blogging from home, where it isn't A) illegal, and B) I have access to all my pictures. This post could have a lovely shot of Pequita drooling onto herself and others, her most consistant skill so far (aside from the pooping & farting). Finding time at home is difficult, since Pequita does not yet find the blinking computer screen nearly as interesting as I do and tends to protest sitting in the office for any length of time. Her 'protesting' causes the dogs' ears to press so hard against their heads that they look like seals, and they flee the room in distress. The cats just move to the first floor and select a new cushion to guard.


I am doing well - I'm 14 weeks along today, and definitely feel pregnant. Peeing every 90 minutes or so (through the night, too, yay), I have a burning thirst all the time so I'm drinking like a camel, lots of scorching headaches from hormones, and my ute feels like I am carrying a hedgehog around. I am conscious of it most of the time. All of this is fine & manageable; frankly, anything that doesn't involve bleeding is a godsend. HOWEVER, the hormones have left me looking like a 13-year-old. My hair is stringy, my skin is breaking out. This is defintely not the glow I was expecting to be sporting right now.I still haven't told my family - I'm waiting til after the Jan 3rd amnio, so should know if this is a healthy pregnancy by Jan 17 or so. Goodness, I hope so.

My belly is being pushed out by the hedgehog...err...pregnant ute, making me definitely show if I don't dress properly. Since family & friends don't know, and since Margie and I are taking the baby to my parent's house for the holidays, dressing & clothes that camouflage are top on my list. How to hide a small but noticeable swelling without wearing maternity clothes? Not simple. The maternity clothes saleswoman stared at me blankly when I asked if she had some normally-tailored clothes that are cut bigger - NO empire waistline blouses, pants with a stretch panel in front, etc. It seems most shoppers at maternity stores are gloriously celebrating their bellies, not keeping them under wraps in trepidation of bad news. I ended up buying some long t-shirts and a stretchy skirt, and will fudge w/ my normal clothes as best I can. I guess it isn't too a big a deal if the family finds out, but it will save me all the asking, tracking, and attention on me if I can stave it off for another month. The last miscarriage was brutal, and was definitely made worse by having the pregnancy at the front of everyone's brains & hearts every time they talked to me/saw me. I like the attention to be on Pequita now, where it belongs. Who wouldn't want to focus on this?