Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cara Mama - Smiles Await You When You Rise

Cara Mama,

Was that better? I didn't wake up until 4:45! So you got to sleep a lot, and we went back to sleep pretty easily. Then when I did wake up, I was all smiley. And when you started kissing me, I gave you kisses back! It was so sweet.

Daddy got to sleep in until 8:45! We are good to him, aren't we? We were quiet and happy so he could sleep in while we played downstairs.

I know I feel a lot better since I got a good night's sleep. I hope you and Daddy do, too! This doesn't mean I'm going to take good naps today, though.

Ti amo,
Pumpkin

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cara Bambina - Not Again

Mia Cara Nervosetta Bambina (my dear fussy baby),

What a rough night we all had. You are a poor baby, and I know this is tough for you. But you are breaking your parents. We are broken. You're daddy's back? Broken from carrying, holding, rocking you. You're mommy's psyche? Broken from trying to soothe, nurse, get you back to sleep, deal with your fussiness and clinginess. We are two broken people trying to make you sleep and feel better.

Just when I thought things were finally at the edge of manageable, you hit another regression. You're dad does not want me to jump to the conclusion that this is the 46 week (10 month-ish) sleep regression/fussy period that should accompany a developmental spurt (so if you are reading this Londo, I suggest you stop and come back to it in another week), but I see all the signs. I've referenced the only book that has ever been true for you (my unique baby). The early evenings and early mornings have been getting more and more difficult for you to sleep, and you've started getting extra clingy and fussy during the day. You are obviously not feeling right.

I'm hoping this fussy period does not last long. I think the 37 week/9-month period was supposed to be pretty bad, but it wasn't too bad for you. Nothing like the period when you were 3.5 months to 7.5 months. THAT was bad. You are almost 42 weeks, and you tend to go through these periods early and take your time getting through them.

But please, please, can you try to get through this a little quicker and easier? Your broken parents need to try to get repaired, and everytime we are close, we break again. We are fragile right now because of the repeated breaking. The superglue needs time to set, you know. And we all need time to sleep. When you start sleeping through the night, I will buy you a pony. Okay, I won't really, but your dad and I will be VERY HAPPY! And don't you want to make us happy?

la tua mama a pezzi (your broken mama),
Mama

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Post-Christmas Wrap-up and Not Killing the Cat

Well, I'm feeling a lot better about Christmas since talking with others who had way worse times than I did. Suddenly, my Christmas looks pretty good! ;-) I am having some post-Christmas epiphanies, too. I've gotten some good advice, and from now on I'm going to do only that which I think is fun and worth doing, and let the other stuff go. Londo and I talked about it, and we are also going to do more earlier. And that's enough about that (at least for now).

Today, my major gripe is the cat. I may very well kill him one of these days. You see, when the cat isn't happy, he pees on stuff. Usually it's a bathmat or a rug, often it is right exactly where you step without thinking. But yesterday morning, it was on my good coat, which had slipped onto the floor. And this morning, it was the changing pad that's on the ground in the Pumpkin's bathroom.

I have had it with this behavior!!! I'm ready to strangle him! This is not an appropriate way to show his displeasure!

And we've pretty much figured out what his issue is lately. It's the baby gates we've put up. Londo thinks he has trouble getting over the one that is on the basement stairway and he can't get to his litter box in the basement. But it was wide open this morning, and he still went and peed in the baby's bathroom. I think he is just upset that there a gates blocking where he once roamed free. But he can jump over them. He is a cat. And we have to keep them up because of the baby. So he needs to get over it and STOP PEEING ON STUFF!

I can't kill him, though. The Pumpkin's first word was cat ("ca") and she loves to say it everytime she sees him, so he lives at the mercy of the baby.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bah Humbug. Huh.

So, I didn't realize this until yesterday, but I hate Christmas. It turns out, I'm not alone in how I feel about this, but Londo's crotchety-ness isn't really surprising to me. I am, however, surprised by my feelings.

When we are kids, Christmas is a wonderful, magic time. Everything is done for us, without us thinking about it. There are decorations, good food, presents, candy, carols, cards, time off of school. It's great! My sister, brother and I would wake up our parents, run downstairs and open our stockings, and then all eat breakfast together. Usually, my dad would make our favorite eggs-in-toast, while mom was working on the Christmas dinner. After breakfast, we'd all go open presents. Then we'd either go to my Grandmother's house or have the family over to our house, and there'd be more presents and games and food. It was so much fun.

Now, I'm not only an adult, but a parent. Now I have to do the present buying, decorating, present wrapping, baking (although this is my favorite part), stocking stuffing, cooking a contribution to the Christmas dinner, holiday card writing (which I still haven't finished), and on and on. There is just so much stress--it hardly seems worth it! Especially to celebrate the birthday of someone who was most likely born in August or September!

Perhaps all the holidays this time of year (including placing the celebration of Jesus' birth during this time period) is really to celebrate the solstice, lengthening of days and return of the sun (or sun gods) during the bleak winters that humans struggle through. Then why do we put so much on ourselves to do this time of year? It seems to me like we should make this time of year easier on ourselves because winters are tough, and the lack of sunlight makes people more tired. Did I mention that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder with my main symptom being overwhelming tiredness/exhaustion? Yeah, this time of year is especially rough for me, even without my sleep deprivation from the Pumpkin.

But I will have to continue celebrating Christmas, especially now that I have a child. I will soldier on and try to do as much as I can with as little stress as possible. (I'm hearing the Mission Impossible theme in my head...) Maybe I can hide my feelings and keep the magic alive for the Pumpkin and any other children we have. I think Londo and I just need to start earlier, which we always mean to do. When are they old enough to start helping out more? ;-)

Edited to add: I meant to say that there were some really bright and beautiful moments to Christmas day and even the holiday time in general. There were some moments of pure joy and beauty in amongst all the stress and frustration. Mostly due to the Pumpkin and other kids and their joy at everything. And that was precious.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas and To Be Read Challenge

To all those who celebrate: Merry Christmas!

We've had a great Christmas morning so far. It's the Pumpkin's first Christmas, and she seems to be enjoying it. At 9.5 months, she doesn't quite get it, and she had a little bit of a stunned look on her face when we were opening presents (hers, hubby's and mine). Londo and I had a lot of fun, and we are going to my parents for Christmas dinner with my siblings and their families. I hope all you interneters are having a wonderful day.

Now, someone inspired me to do the To Be Read Challenge 2008. I buy, receive and borrow so many books, and I really mean to read them all. I just don't always get to them. So I'm doing the challenge! Below is my list of books and alternates, which I will at some point add to the side of the blog to track. Anyone else want to join in?

The books (in no particular order even though they are numbered):
1. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
2. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
3. The Pact, by Jodi Picoult
4. Saving Fish from Drowning, by Amy Tan
5. Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman
6. It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff
7. The Blind Mirror, by Christopher Pike
8. Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen
9. The Last Days of Dogtown, by Anita Diamant
10. Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior, By Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
11. Desiring Italy, collection edited by Susan Cahill
12. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality, by Brian Greene

The alternates (again in no particular order):
1. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
2. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
3. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
4. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
5. Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen
6. The Dante Club, by Matthew Pearl
7. A Conspiracy of Paper, by David Liss
8. Eon, by Greg Bear
9. The Accidental Buddhist, by Dinty Moore
10. Bella Tuscany, by Frances Mayes
11. Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier
12. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Yikes! That looks ambitious to me. We'll see how I do... Considering how much I generally read, this should be doable. But you also have to take into account that I will throw in a romance novel or two a month, cause I need a regular stream of light-hearted, happy-ending stories to keep me a happy girl. This will definitely eat into my internet time...

Oh, and there is pretty much a story behind each of the books I selected, so at the beginning of the month when I start the book, I'll relate the story.

Now, I'm spending way too much time on the computer during Christmas day! I'm off to try and make that napless child take a nap and wrap the rest of the presents...

I've updated the list of alternatives I originally posted, since I'm allowed to make changes up until December 31st. I've removed The Republic of Plate, translation and notes by Allan Bloom, because I don't feel I can give it my full attention with a 1 year old running around. I also removed Warrior Queen: The Story of Boudica, Celtic Queen, by Alan Gold, because it can wait. I'd rather read the two I added (I'm not sure how I didn't put them on the list first--it was a big "doh" when I remember both): Eon, by Greg Bear, and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. But I think that is my final books and alternatives lists.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Question of the Week - Traditions

This is a special time of year for many people. And I was wondering, is there a tradition that you particularly enjoy? This could be any kind of tradition: religious, cultural, familial. Old or new. Just something that you consider a tradition and you do every year.

I know MommyEm's answer is not going to be receiving Christmas cards. hehe.

Here's my answer:
For the past 5 years or so, my neice (who just turned 13!) comes over to my house during the week before Christmas, and we do our holiday baking. I love baking and we make really good stuff (truffles, gingerbreadmen, caramel popcorn), but even more, I love this time I get to spend with my neice. Just hanging out and baking. No matter how busy we are through the year, we make time to do this together at perhaps the busiest time of year. And this year, we are doing a 3-day extravaganza of baking!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Guest Blogger: With Every Christmas Card I Write...

I have a special treat today... My good friend MommyEm has agreed to provide a post for today so I can continue day 2 of baking (which will probably go into a day 3 and maybe 4) and work on my own Christmas cards! Just maybe I'll get it all done close to Christmas. Thanks MommyEm, and enjoy readers!

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All names and some details have been changed to protection the innocent…oh, who am I kidding…it’s to protect me! - MommyEm

I used to like Christmas letters. Until exactly 40 second ago. I liked everything about them – the pictures, the paper, and the concise life updates. My favorites were from close friends and family since I knew the real dirt and liked to see how they edited out the PG-13 and R rated details from their lives. I suppose it all started when my sister and I were the stars of our parents Christmas letters and I liked that people around the globe (my mother has a friend in Holland) were reading about my adventures in life.

But my love of mass yule tide greetings came to a screeching halt when I excitedly ripped open a friend’s letter and can came face to face with a perfection confection that just made me sick. And jealous. Both feelings that make me turn green, which isn’t good with my skin tone. But as a new mom with an 11-month-old who thinks sleep at night is for the weak, I beg your and my friend’s (although I really really really hope she never reads this) forgiveness. Here are six reasons for my unattractive jealous rage towards a dear friend:

1. The letter is perfect and on-time – the perfect picture of darling child with jolly Santa. If we are lucky, Dorothy will get her picture at a local pharmacy Santa with a candy cane in one hand and complimentary bottle of baby Tylenol in the other (childproof cap, of course).
2. Quote – the perfect child is “sleeping through the night since 10 weeks.” No comment. Well, actually lots of comments, but I don’t want Dorothy’s second word to be “@#%&#!!”
3. Adorable cat loves adorable baby – I keep worrying that Dorothy will need a baby eye patch after our demon cat Medea takes a swipe at her one day.
4. She loves her job and gets paid well. I love my job, but the last time I checked this stay-at-home mom thing was an unpaid internship.
5. Perfect husband got a new perfect job. My perfect husband, love him as I do, got the perfect job, but it requires a move during the holidays.
6. They have the perfect house. I have a house that looks like it could audition for an episode of “Clean House.”

See? She’s organized, sleeping, and looks really cute in her picture. Of course I hate her. Can you blame me? Wait…don’t answer that. Jealous ragers, especially those who haven’t slept for over a year, only ask rhetorical questions. Childish? Yeah. Petty? Sure. Will feel bad about disparaging a friend? Absolutely. After eight straight hours of sleep. I swear. So, happy holidays from the Land of NO-Z’s and may all your children sleep through the night.