Things I Have Confiscated

Hannah is in her collecting phase. She constantly has her hands full of something. She is also in her climb to the highest precipice phase. You may be able to imagine some of the terrifying combinations those two overlapping milestones may present, but let me help you visualize.

I’ll start by listing the places we have found our daughter recently standing, dangling, or otherwise engaging in unconventional activities. This, mind you, is after only 20-30 nanoseconds of being out of our sight. It’s almost like she has a Star Trek transporter hidden in her diaper.

  1. Coffee table
  2. Different coffee table at the foot of the stairs placed in a vain effort to keep her off the stairs
  3. The stairs
  4. Kitchen table
  5. Kitchen island
  6. Kitchen counter
  7. My desk
  8. On top of her slide
  9. Any and every chair in the house
  10. The dryer
  11. Inside the dishwasher
  12. Inside the kitchen cabinet – the one that hasn’t been baby proofed but will be shortly
  13. Inside the bathroom cabinet – cuz Narnia?
  14. The rocking ottoman in her bedroom
  15. Our bed
  16. On her “helping you learn to stand” toy
  17. Inside her wagon
  18. On top of a precariously stacked pile of Fisher Price toys
  19. Her drum
  20. The arm of the couch

She is pretty fast, she runs now. She also collects so much stuff to carry around with her. Some examples of items I have removed from her death grip…

  1. Pens and Pencils
  2. Playing cards
  3. Sticks (from inside the house. Where did she even get them?)
  4. Glasses – as in drinkware
  5. Glasses – as in to be able to see with
  6. Scissors
  7. Pill bottles (thinks they’re rattles)
  8. So Many Q-Tips
  9. Toilet Paper
  10. Wipes (after having removed every wipe from the package)
  11. Diapers (clean or otherwise)
  12. Tissues (after having removed every tissue from the box)
  13. A hunk of onion she pulled from the garbage
  14. An empty cat food tin she also pulled from the garbage
  15. Christmas bulbs
  16. Shattered Christmas Bulb pieces
  17. Shattered Light Bulb pieces
  18. Lighters
  19. Candles
  20. Chocolate – I think she might be a witch, there is just always chocolate around her
  21. Diet Coke cans
  22. Beer bottles
  23. Shoes, to include my heels and heeled boots
  24. Fistfulls of cat food
  25. Straws
  26. A screwdriver
  27. Every utensil
  28. The gardening tool I use to pick up the dead animals the cat leaves on various porches
  29. All manner of electronic devices, but mostly Shelby’s computer and phone
  30. Batteries
  31. Plastic grocery bags

Now some of these are terrifying items just to have on the ground. I mean, the papercuts from playing cards alone! But imagine rushing into the kitchen to find your daughter standing on the table with one hand full of pens and the other stuck up into the light fixture to make the noise that happens when you bang the lightbulb against the side. How about squatting on the desk which she got onto via the swivel chair trying to stick a pair of scissors into the surge protector? Any takers? My personal favorite was finding her on the coffee table dancing to the top hits of 2016 complete with Philips Hue disco lights and a pretty healthy collection of Mardi Gras beads. Holy crap you guys, if I haven’t said it before, I am in deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep trouble with this one.

And The Water Drama Continues

After the January fail, a few posts went onto the neighborhood’s NextDoor page which you may or may not remember/care that I follow. Usually, it’s a lot of back and forth arguing over fireworks v gunshots (totally fireworks BTDubs) and who ran a yellow light like a hooligan. But this water situation is definitely making me sad so I decided to contribute via reply.

I admitted in my comment that I may be a spoiled city girl, but I found it super annoying that I am never confident that I’ll have water, cleanish appropriate to bathe my toddler in water, on a daily basis. That when we haven’t gotten the company blast that they are working on something, we still have a thick dirty film on everything. And that we’ve already had to replace a dishwasher that simply failed to work AT ALL from being so jacked up with deposits. Shelby has said that this pitiful water situation actually makes him want to consider moving. It’s not fun.

So anyway, I did not get the bashing I was expecting, but rather got a few “Thank”s and a few follow-up posts about people who were just as annoyed with the service.

And then we got another notification that our water would be out this week M-F 8-5 for flushing. We should boil water for personal use and avoid using laundry and dish washers.

Seriously? Boil water for personal use? Like, all personal use? Like if we want to shower before work anytime this week and have a hope of not bathing in sediment and whatever else they’re flushing we have to stock up on that much boiled water? For bathing my kid? Who has discovered her ears and how much food and drink she can fit into them? For cooking? Cleaning? And we had one day’s notice for all the laundry and dishes?

So one of our neighbors posted an eloquent complaint that he had submitted to the company. With details about following up with the Utilities Commission. And then someone else followed suit. And others have as well.

So maybe my little plea will help inspire change. Not that I specifically will be contacting the commission or company because I do not have the kind of time, mental energy, or baseline knowledge to organize a complete multi-mile neighborhood aqueduct overhaul. But maybe, just maybe, I can look forward to taking a shower whenever I want. Wouldn’t that be a novel idea?

Water…Grr

Water continues to be my archenemy. SHAKY FIST!!

We moved out to the country. Technically. Though not exactly. We are still in a neighborhood. We still have several grocery stores within ten minutes of our house. We have a garbage company that collects our trash and the recycling is picked up by the city. But we are technically outside city limits so we are not on city water. We have a company. That kinda sucks.

Pretty routinely, we’ll get a voicemail and text alert that the water is being shut-off or worked on. We’ll have low pressure for a week. We should boil everything for human use (including bathing). When I say routinely, I mean once or twice a quarter. Almost every month. Almost every month we have suspect water for bathing, cooking, eating, washing the plates we ate off of and cooked with. During “normal business hours” we have such low water pressure that it would take approximately 45 minutes to fill one pot of water full enough to boil for…I don’t know, drinking? What can you even do with one pot of water?

This is not as annoying as it was when we needed water to make formula. I mean, it’s still suuuuuuuuuuuuper annoying, but at least we have alternatives to mixing Hannah’s nutrients with disease ridden water.

So today, at just before 8, I got another alert. While I was sitting in the bathroom. Doing sitty in the bathroom things. I figured we just got the alert, so one flush couldn’t possibly do any harm. HA HA HA WRONG!

I used the restroom upstairs, but for some reason, when I flushed it destroyed both the upstairs and downstairs toilets. The tanks began to bubble and leak, even with the tops on. A nice puddle formed upstairs. Thankfully not downstairs since the wood under the linoleum has already rotted away. It was seriously loud (if you wake up my child I swear I will stab you in the eyes) and kind of terrifying. Double bubble toil and trouble!

I cut the water supply at the toilet base in both bathrooms and so far, nothing has exploded. I replied on our neighborhood message board to ask if anyone else hated this company and thought we should start looking at a new one. I’ll be interested to see what hate comments are showered down. Showered, like water, THAT DOESN’T WORK SO I WON’T BE SHOWERING TODAY!

The Random Dreams of a Stressed out Mom of Nerves

I think I am allowed now to say, for the official record, that Hannah is expecting a new cousin to join the family in late spring/early summer 2017.

Whoop!

Commence freaking out on behalf of my sister.

My pregnancy was by no means difficult, extraordinary, or remarkable in any way. We trudged through with relatively minor discomforts, no concerns until the end, and eagerly anticipated our new arrival just about every step of the way. We were as prepared as we could have been, though have made many discoveries since our little bundle of joy arrived. I lapped up all advice from other mothers, listened to stories, read blogs, read articles, and consider myself to be pretty realistic on all accounts anyway, so everything was just as dandy as could be expected. That doesn’t stop my still somewhat anxious brain from trying to stifle all of my wisdom from exploding onto the expecting couple.

I’ve been pretty good I think. Offering suggestions from my experience, reiterating that their experience will be their own and there is nothing any other mother (however recent) can say that will absolutely work for their situation. I feel like I’ve been relatively quiet and have only provided details about what absolutely did not work for us and why. But all the quiet has only brought up all the things and has made my crazy brain that much crazier. My dreams are getting a little out of control.

For example, let’s review last night’s dream shall we??

First – they are not due for another 5ish months, but I dreamt they already had the baby. For some reason though, this was not early enough to cause concern and everything was just peachy. As a testament to how OK everything was, (Cor, prolly don’t want to read this part unless you want my freaking out to bleed over…) their baby was 16 pounds. 16 pounds!!! We were all together, staying in some sort of wintery zombie apocalypse hippie commune thing so were truly invested in this baby as a source for continued humanity and not just as the neat little thing a family member was caring for. (Perhaps a bit too much of the board game Dead of Winter?)

For whatever reason, I was more invested in keeping up my sister than in her baby. I was constantly hoisting my glider onto my back to put it in whatever room of whatever hut/grocery store they had fled to to try and escape me. I lectured her about timers for feedings, the importance of keeping her own resources up for the sake of the baby; her husband could fend for himself, but she needed sustenance. I confiscated the young one for several hours to ensure my sister got sleep. I posted husbands outside her door to give her the assurance she needed that she would not be attacked. I was very territorial. Even my own mother knew better than to cross me.

Incidentally, another woman at work is expecting a baby at roughly the same time. She was also in my dream. She was not nearly as important. In the hopes of not obliterating your faith in me as a person entirely, I actually at one point suggested sacrificing this woman because I believed her nutrient rich body full of hormones and productivity would benefit my sister and her newborn in ways that canned beans could not. Plus, she was just stealing resources from the rest of us in a ratio disproportionate to her anticipated due date. Thankfully, I was overruled and the species was allowed to continue.

Weird right?

This is pretty routine for my dreams these days; some compilation of almighty wisdom and surrogate parenting mixed in with  a(n un)healthy dose of weight of the world responsibility for the upbringing of a new generation. I also recently dreamt that Hannah and her cousins (all male) were the leaders of their respective clans a la Game of Thrones North of the Wall type silliness, but that all clans bowed to Hannah since she could climb the highest. Further dreams include taking over hospitals, airplanes, and 1920’s style train cars for the delivery of all newborns, leading birthing and new parenting classes at Duke University, and raising a generation of toddlers in a snake pit similar to Indiana Jones or the Chamber of Secrets.

I have “normal” dreams too, like vacationing at the beach and taking Hannah to Disney World (which we will be doing this spring). Stressful dreams of raking leaves, packing Christmas decorations, and spreadsheets. But these are being edged out or morphing into civilization saving dreams of mass importance.

Anyway, time for me to save the planet through the power of Project Management.

2017 Thus Far

While Christmas had it’s ups and downs (fun, flu, family), New Year’s was equal parts forgettable and disappointing.

It used to be so fun. We had an uncle who’s birthday was the 31st or 1st (can’t remember now and not sure if I ever knew). We’d pack the family van and drive to Pennsylvania, birthplace of my parents and current abode for almost their entire families still. We’d spend Christmas at my Grandfather’s mobile home park and have food and family time in the rec center where we exchanged gifts. The week would be spent drifting in and out of aunts’ and uncles’ homes. We always spent New Year’s at Uncle Steve’s setting off fireworks and chasing each other around with sparklers.

The years we didn’t make it PA, when we lived in California or Louisiana or Pap had died, we’d still stay up late and celebrate the close of one year and welcome the next. I went to parties. I had friends.

And then I became an adult and went to “better” parties and had different friends. And it was always Natalie’s birthday on the 31st so we always made plans to get together. We even drove to Asheville for celebration and frivolity when she moved.

And then we had a baby. Last year, I barely made it to midnight with a sleeping Hannah on my shoulder. I had returned to work by that point but Hannah was still only 2 months old. This year, at 14 months, I hoped and prayed I’d be asleep and that Hannah would stay that way no matter how many fireworks the neighborhood deployed. Not to mention, the Christmas flu that took out my parents and daughter caught up to Shelby and I on Thursday so we were still pretty exhausted come Saturday night from a weekend of parenting a toddler while flu-y.

I think I fell asleep at about 10:30? I know I fell asleep on the couch and then hoisted my behind up to bed. At not quite midnight, Hannah awoke with her typical (these days) shrieking and I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed. Shelby marched up the stairs and started pacing around with her. She quieted quickly. He brought her into bed and that is how we spent the changing of the year; husband and wife with a tiny life nestled between them.

She was fast asleep by 12:30 or so (I think. Honestly all the days/nights run together anymore) and I was able to sneak her back into the crib. She slept until 8:30 New Year’s Day.

And since then, the flu appears to have left our house. I’ve returned to work. We’re piecing together some semblance of normality after the closing of the theater and the family vacation. Hannah cut another molar. We have yet to take down decorations or unpack the bags.

I’m hopeful that 2017 will be better than 2016, but I’m not setting any expectations. I’m hopeful my moods will stabilize and Hannah will continue to be happy and healthy. I’m hopeful that Shelby can find something outside of the home that will make him happy. I am hopeful.

Christmassy Things

Christmas “break” started out just dandy. I took Friday off so we could spend a stress free morning snoozing, prepping, and packing before our short 3 hour drive to Williamsburg, VA. I had intended to leave around 1 to get there early and check in, steal the best room in the suite and get started on the Christmas decorations. Instead, it was nearly 3:00 before we got on the road but it worked out perfectly anyway. My sister made a pit stop at my house to return some old patio furniture and the cousins got some advance playtime. All of the drivers descended upon the hotel at roughly the same time to find my mother and father “engaged” in some timeshare upselling talk that I was very happy to have missed.

We investigated the suites, assigned rooms, and got to the unpacking with a swiftness. Some decorations went up to give the place the Christmassy feel, and then of course a list was made and the first trip to Wal-Mart commenced. I drove with my mom out to the airport to pick up the last of our arrivals at roughly midnight, and crashed almost immediately upon returning to my room.

Day 2 was rainy and cold. We had intended a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, but most of us were still pretty beat from the journey the day prior, so we sat around and chatted instead. The kids played together in the adjoining suite with an adult rushing in every few minutes to make sure all limbs were still intact. (Thankfully, there were no hospital trips, broken bones, and shockingly few bumps, scrapes, and bruises.)

Hannah spent most of the trip not being able to decide if she was totally on board with her cousins. She followed them around, played with all the toys with them, climbed on all the things with them, ate all of their chocolate (I kid you not), but would often get over stimulated or stressed out or sad that so-and-so took her flying foam disk thing and would spend the next several hours glued to my legs. Her cousins usually weren’t far behind.

I really enjoyed watching them play together. She was so cute with them one-on-one. She and Jack seemed to be the most in tune. They communicated through silly faces and body positions. He’d squat then she’d squat. He’d squint then she’d squint. He was delighted by her completely. She and Liam shared toys the best. He would show her how to do something, then she’d take over and try. Sometimes she did it right, but almost always it devolved into flappy arms and throwing whatever it was she had in her hands but that didn’t seem to bother Liam. He picked up on what she liked and they did that thing together. She and Craig are the closest in age and are both still pretty self-centered. Mostly they existed in each other’s spaces. They acknowledged the other was there, but didn’t really share or play together. They were just content to play separately in the same spaces. Of course, every once in awhile one of them would want the toy the other was playing with. Sometimes Craig shared. Sometimes it went a different direction. I don’t think Hannah ever reeeeeally shared. She’d either take what she wanted, or decide she didn’t want it anymore and rush to my legs.

The nights mostly bleed together. Some assemblage of adult gaming and child taming. On different nights, Hannah cut a tooth (a molar! My little monster), woke up screaming with some pretty sudden and horrific diaper rash, woke up crying from a little too much fun happening in the adult gaming room next door. And then of course, there was the night of the flu.

My mom got it first. She spent so much time searching, booking and adjusting a nice lunch out for 15 people the day after Christmas and then was slammed by the flu the day we were supposed to go. By Monday afternoon, she seemed to be feeling better and Tuesday everyone seemed just fine. Tuesday evening, Hannah was fussy, but no more than usual. She woke up at some point crying like she was in pain, so I heated up a bottle, gave her a half dose of tylenol and laid her in the bed next to me. She snuggled into the crook of my arm and fell asleep halfway through the bottle. And that’s how we stayed until about 2:30 in the morning. I’m not sure if it was the sound or the convulsions of her tiny body or the wet warmth and smell that woke me, but I knew immediately what was happening. I tried to get her to the bathroom as quickly as I could, but I was on the wrong side of the bed and ended up just leaving a trail over everything in my wake. Shelby, for his part, caught on quickly too and set to work stripping the bed and starting the laundry. He drew us a bath and I got us as cleaned up as I could before the next wave hit. She was so groggy. That was the most terrifying. She could barely open her eyes or move her arms and legs. She couldn’t lift her head. We eventually caught a break and I took her out to sleep on the couch outside my parents room so Shelby could maybe get some sleep before our drive home the next day. Hannah and I were up every hour. And then I could hear my dad echoing Hannah’s sickness like clockwork. Tuesday night was horrible. A terrible end to an otherwise delightful family Christmas.

I’m happy to report that by the time we got home Wednesday afternoon, Hannah seemed fine. I read it could take up to 2 weeks for the healthy bacteria in her intestines to recalibrate.She’s had some epic diaper events, a few extra baths and has gone through a ludicrous amount of outfits, but she’s been just as giggly and active as ever.

And on that disgusting note – Shemanda Out!