Hannah on Being 2

This chick has emotions in abundance. And she does not know what to do about it. And it is equal parts adorable and disastrous. She absolutely displays the crazy pants mood swings I associate with the “normal” pregnancy stereotype. I will tell her no. She will look at me and throw something (anger) and then drop her head to the floor and start crying (sadness) but something in the exhalation of her fake tear breaths just tickles her so she starts giggling (happiness) and then looks at me and remembers I told her no so she stops giggling and glares at me again (back to anger) before launching herself at my leg for a big death grip bear hug (love). All day. This happens all day. This full range of emotions takes about 2 minutes to cycle through. There are approximately 10 hours my kid is awake (on a very very very lucky day) and taking an hour out for eating and Blues Clues, we do this about 270 times a DAY! Frustration, anger, sadness, crazy laughter, shame, love, hug, slap.

And you know what? I am no damn help. It just gets worse kid, but then you don’t have mommy’s leg to hug. But they do make this super awesome stuff call wine. 😉

Other than having all of the emotions blow through her tiny little mind constantly, she’s also got language on the brain. She will talk up a storm! It’s mostly nonsense stream of consciousness but there are definitely some very clear trains of thought and explicit instructions going on there. Yesterday, I woke her up and did the morning routine of diaper change, outfit selection, and general bedroom clean-up. (If you don’t get to her immediately after she wakes up, she throws every single thing out of her crib.) She did not stop muttering throughout this entire process. I caught words like “Ba!” (bottle) and “B!” (bellybutton), “Coo Coo” (Blues Clues), “Daddy” (pronounced da die), “sh”, “NO-no-no”. She loves to throw away her own diaper. Weird, but I’ll take it! I let her off the changing table, handed her the diaper to throw away in the hallway, and watched her little finger wag while she continued to provide me a summary of her itinerary for the day? She marched downstairs reminding me to “sh” be quiet because “Da-die” is “honk shoe” (snoring sounds). At the foot of the stairs, she took a left and made sure I was following her before literally running into the kitchen. She threw her bottle into the sink, went to the pantry where all of our shoes are located and grabbed her sneakers. She brought them to me muttering “shoes shoes” the whole time and then sat on the floor and stuck one foot as high in the air as she could, pointing to the shoes and then pointing to her foot. Once I got her shoes on, she grabbed a pair of my flip flops and put them on the floor in front of my feet and then just looked at me to make sure I would put them on. Which I did. And then she ran right to the back door and clear as day shouted “OUTSIDE!” to which I of course had to say, “let’s have some breakfast first. Are you hungry?”. Clearly the worst thing a mother could possibly say. Her face melted, she picked up and threw a cheerio that was on the floor from some other tantrum, squatted down so her tiny lil butt was in the air and put her head on the floor, started fake crying, peeked out to see if I was looking and when she caught my eye, started giggling and then ran over for a hug. Holy hormones batman.

Her vocabulary is picking up. There are definitely words that she is connecting, words that she is using to consistently label, words that are the actual label for the actual thing. Phone is a new one. The Phone is where Coo Coo comes from. I got a gift card to Amazon for my 10 year anniversary at this company, so naturally I spent that on Shelby’s birthday and spoiling Hannah. She now has a fancy dancy kindle fire where Coo Coo can come from.

She has not lost her insatiable curiosity and her absolute love of heights. She plays on the big girl equipment at the park and will only consent to the baby equipment if there is another kid playing over there that looks interesting enough to try and be friends with. She has no time for sloth, she runs everywhere and barely notices or cares if you keep up. In fact, she’d prefer if you didn’t because you’ll just pull her off those giant monkey bars she

really wants to climb and then she’d have to put her head in the dirt for her two minute emotions coaster and that would just be “yuck”.

 

The thing is guys, she’s not even two. We’ve got like 3 more months. So I’m a little scared that this will be life until she’s 20 and stops calling home.

How Does One Do This?

Children. What the crap you guys.

This is me confirming that vacation seriously screwed everyone up and is totally not worth taking most of the time. Blah.

We took a little longer to drive to Shelby’s parents’ house than usual. Hannah was mostly OK, but syncing up bathroom breaks, gas fill-ups, diaper changes, and food requests was surprisingly more difficult than it should have been. I stopped to fill up the car and no one was hungry, so then I’d get on the road and Hannah would almost immediately destroy her diaper. So I’d pull off again and change her, try to pick up a little snack or something. But inevitably, 30 minutes to an hour down the line someone was hungry or had to have an emergency bathroom break. It was just weird. But we got there. Late. Since Hannah napped the last few hours in the car and we had just arrived in a shiny new place with shiny new people, I was pretty sure that trying to put her to bed was going to be an exercise in futility so I let her stay up until about midnight.

When we visit the in-laws in summer, we have to sleep in the same room with our delightful and beautiful young offspring. That first night, I waited until almost 2:00 to go in the room out of fear of waking her and setting our whole vacation off to a horrendous start. But she slept. I mean, only until like 8:00 the next morning, but she slept through my re-entry and bed squeaks and stayed in her portable crib the whole time. It gave me hope. Maybe she was old enough to get this travel vacation holiday thing now and sleeeeeeeeeeep. The second night, she also slept straight through. In her crib. It was amazing. And awesome. And I let my guard down.

And then no matter how worn out we tried to make her throughout the day, she never again slept through the night in her own bed. She napped well. She napped hard. We played in the pool, ran in the yard, took walks, went shopping, went out on the boat, played with toys, watched her favorite TV show, usually accomplishing all of those things once before each nap and once after. She was tired. But she wouldn’t sleep. Sometimes it was her usual brand of “nap time’s over! I’m UP! LET’S PLAY!!!!” Sometimes it was just a constant wriggling and low level whine. Sometimes it was full out screaming. Sometimes it was midnight – 4. Sometimes she just woke up at 5 so I would take her down for MeMe to play with her and she would fall back asleep for an hour or so and then her nap and sleep schedule went all bonkers and then we all suffered.

But we did have fun. At least I did with Hannah. There were certainly moments I wanted to just throw her at another adult and slam pillows over my face and just sleep until the sun went down, but there were a lot of fun moments too. Watching her play in the pool. Seeing her confidence in wandering a speeding boat and sitting right up front. Her excitement at the mud puddles the days it rained. Her delight at the bubble machine and how quickly she put together her new puzzle. Playing with my parents who came out for a quick visit. Accepting my brother in about 12 seconds and not crying when he held her and smooshed his newly bearded face on her cheeks. Offering kisses to literally everyone at the table and running to hug people’s legs. I’m so glad she is such a sweet and happy girl.

But now that we are back home, her sleep is still fairly erratic. She has slept through the night I think twice since we came back. Last night was the hardest. Last night was one of those nights we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. We each tried holding her, rocking her, singing to her and trying all the usual soothing techniques. But her body kept tightening, completely rigid while she shrieked in the highest pitch I’ve heard in awhile. And then she would flop around and try to wriggle out of our grasp and slam part of her body on something hard that would set her off again. She bit her lip playing in her stroller after dinner, and one of her particularly floppy times she slammed her mouth on my collar bone which set off a siren of cries that were definitely pain driven. She was tired. Not particularly interested in playing. Just crying. I wasn’t going to be able to sleep anyway, so I sent Shelby away to rest in case this went on all day. I would rock her, distract her, get her settled. We’d lay down together and I could hear her breathing slow. I could tell she was almost asleep, and then she would shake herself violently, as you or I might if we were falling asleep at the wheel, and then it would start over. Growing pains maybe? Her mouth still hurting? We were both there to tuck her in which is a usual trigger, so I don’t think that was the problem. I just don’t know.

Also, in other scintillating news, we are rapidly approaching the terrible twos. Hannah was informed of this milestone a little early it would seem as she is being a veeeeeery stubborn little thing, and asserts herself at every opportunity. But even THAT she is doing super cutely. As an example, she has taken to helping herself from the pantry. I’ve seen her come out with a bag of her cookies, and bag of chips, a box of crackers, and a tube of oreos. When we catch her, we tell her she needs to ask dada or momma “please?” and then we usually give her a taste of whatever she came out with. But it usually takes a good three minutes of her trying to get into the thing herself complete with whining and flappy arms and refusing to say please before she gives up, says “peet” while handing over the bag/box and then smiling very sweetly and hugging a leg. Sometimes she’ll frown and put her head on the ground BEFORE running over to hug a leg, but she always hugs a leg. Because it is cute. And it works. And she KNOWS it.

Anyway, this has gotten long and boring enough that I should probably stop and get some work done. Or take a nap. Yeah, let’s take a nap.

 

 

 

Status Update

Since I know you were all worried about me and dying to know…

My computer conversion got pushed to the 27th, so I can totes take work on vacation with me! Isn’t that spectacular?

Let’s get real shall we? Family is fun, sure. But family can also be stressful. Married into family…yeah. I love my husband’s parents and they are nothing but the sweetest people. But sometimes, you just want a computer in your face cuz you “have to check on this work thing” so you don’t have to be the one to make the decision on what everyone is having for dinner.

It also helps to relieve that constant low level anxiety. I don’t have to check everyday, but knowing that I can is just amazing. I may not ever pick it up, I may not ever log on. But if it wasn’t there, I would not be able to stop thinking about it. Would neeeeeeeeeed to check. Would neeeeeeeeeed to be in touch. So yeah, I’m already feeling better about that.

Packing on the other hand…Gah this used to be so much easier.

Summer – Bleh

I remember when I was in school, any age really, and summer was the awesomest thing. Summer meant sleeping in. Beach trips. Family vacations. Pool! Camping! (Of course, one year it also meant Algebra summer school but…whatevs.)

We cleaned out desks or lockers. The hallways were always full of trash cans and screaming youths. In college, the packing was usually very last minute, throwing all non-essential items into a giant box and hoping I could fit it in the back of the van with all the TP I intended to confiscate.

I worked as a camp counselor for several summers throughout college. After the first summer, I trained and received my lifeguard certification. I guarded the pool, lake, and canoe trips down the river. I wore a bathing suit every day. I swam every day. And I still got to ride horses and go hiking and sleep under the stars.

And then I grew up. Theoretically. And summers became just like every other day except a lot hotter and a lot more crowded. I work constantly, and don’t really like to vacation during the summer because everyone else does. A Tuesday at the beach in September is near perfection. A Tuesday at the beach in July is damn near hell. Besides, if I can continue working, maybe I can catch-up on some stuff and feel ahead of the game when the client comes back from their Caribbean getaway.

But Hannah. Oh how she loves to be outside. How she enjoys the water so stinkin much. I wish I could give her a pool membership. Or that we lived closer to the beach and I could drive her out there after work everyday. I know she is still too young to retain these memories, but I feel inadequate only being able to offer a sprinkler and bucket o water in the backyard.

And so I am equal parts genuinely excited for her and overly stressed for me that we are heading to my In-Laws’ lake house next week. I bought Hannah a life jacket so she can go out on the boat. They have a lot of land for her to run around and explore. We’ll pick up another little pool for her at Wal-Mart so even if she isn’t on the boat with us, she’ll be having a great time with Meme. And no matter what, Hannah will not go without. If I forget anything, it will be purchased for her. She is going to have a great time.

I on the other hand am going to be anxious. Stressed. I will probably have more grey from this relaxing vacation than I ever have. See, we’re getting new laptops at work, scheduled for the week I am out. Which means I have to leave my current computer in the office so it can be imaged and transferred to the new one. Which means a full week without being able to just check in, delete unnecessary communications, forward pertinent information, or just know what evil horrendous garbage I have left for my back-ups to clean up for me in my absence.

I still feel so out of sorts with this job. I am constantly confused, defensive, and trying to dig out of horrifying and so obvious errors made by the previous owners. Meanwhile, I know I am probably creating some pretty large issues myself, not billing or not following a procedure correctly or not keeping adequate records or not using the correct type of pen which renders the whole study completely useless. And it is stressful to think that someone else will be responsible for a week and catch all of these things and think me an idiot. That is really more hurtful to me than getting lectured, or fired. Someone finding out that after this long, I still don’t know what’s going on.

Summer. Bleh. Go home and give me Autumn with some pumpkin flavored crap and a hoodie.

All Things Considered

We had game night. We went to a festival. We threw a party.

I know, what the heck right? From nothing ever to three social events in one weekend? Back the truck up Shemanda. Save some fun for the rest of the world.

We went out for game night Friday. Beth came over to babysit and Hannah tricked her into letting her stay up until almost 11! But it worked out ok, she slept all through the night and until about 10 the next morning.

Beth decided to stay the weekend with us to help out with the party prep and child wrangling and just have some good old fashioned friend time. It was invaluable. She and Hannah played. She took Hannah on walks. She helped in the kitchen. Beth even made her signature dip and deviled eggs!

I spent most of the day Saturday mowing the lawn and attempting to get things organized. I made trips to Lowes and Kroger, got more plants and a kiddie pool and sprinkler, and a couple of other necessities. Then showered up and headed out to the middle of nowhere!

A friend’s band was playing an outdoor gig out in the country. It’s usually a pretty small affair, a few arts and crafts stands, a few farmer’s market type stands, a few food trucks. There’s a covered stage that faces a pretty low sloping hill that is usually packed with blankets and birkenstocks. Also a slip n slide made out of two giant uninflated outdoor pools. Anyway, we went to hear our friend sing and tooled around the little stands. Hannah danced and scurried. We stood in line for the slip n slide but it was a little slow and though she would have had a great time, she started to move on and I was totally OK with encouraging that.

Sunday I spent most of the morning repotting plants and cleaning up the outside areas for the party. We were prepping the outdoors but also trying to prepare ourselves for the fact that it was probably going to rain. We rearranged furniture, steam cleaned carpets with Shelby’s brand new steam cleaner, and then went out to dinner so as not to dirty all the dishes before the party. But then Shelby and Beth stayed up late working in the kitchen making gigantic messes anyway. So make that 4 social events. We went out to dinner!!!

Monday we officially started at 4 but invited people as early as 2. the first carload (and I do mean carload) arrived at about 3:30. The last person left at a little after 9:00pm. All in all, I think we had a success! Everyone seemed happy, chatty, well fed and content. It didn’t rain. The mosquitos weren’t too aggressive. We had another little girl come and she and Hannah spent most of the time in the pool. They did take breaks from splashing every once in a while to run through the sprinkler with some adult or other. Hannah also took occasional breaks to wave at her adoring public. (She was totally being paparazzied all day.)

Oh yeah, and our neighbor called the cops on us. WIN!

Date Night

Shelby and I have had very few date nights since Hannah was born. And we haven’t really had the most traditional dating life anyway. OK, let me back up and tell you about a time BB (Before Baby).

When Shelby and I first started dating, we did the traditional thing. He’d pick me up, we’d go for food, take a walk around campus (college town though very thoroughly not college people), go dancing, go to the zoo…It did not take long before we were just completely comfortable sitting around a house watching TV or playing games or hosting parties where others had to come to us.

And then we got married and were both heavily into theatre. We spent most of the time at separate rehearsals and then would meet up at the bar afterwards. Or we’d get home as fast as we could to sink into the couch and melt each other’s stress away. Our “dates” were primarily theatre based; go to see the other’s show, go to a show together…we’d still take day trips to the beach and maybe try to find a hotel to stay in if we were too tired to drive home.

And then I got pregnant. We were both still into theatre, but it is a lot less fun hanging at the bar when you can’t drink and you’re tired and either no one knows you’re preggers yet and you feel ginormously fat or you’re about 2 months from your due date and are actually ginormously fat. And we were trying to buy a house. And our cat was sick. And it just made more sense or maybe it was nesting but I would just come home from work, pop some netflix on the iPad and pack boxes.

Enter baby.

Hannah was born November 4, 2015. The first time Shelby and I left the house at the same time, together, without Hannah was March 17, 2016. I think the second time was September 17, 2016 when I went to watch Shelby perform and then rushed home right after. I’m not really sure if there has been a third time. So that would make tonight the third time.

It’s no big thing. Some friends invited us over for game night. It will be casual. We won’t be too far. Beth is a fantastic babysitter. Last time (I mean apart from the time she rescued us when we had the flu), Hannah had such fun and then fell asleep and slept all night which was rare at that time. This is a good thing. And I am trying to convince myself here, this is a good thing. Social adult time together as husband and wife. Blah.

Zoo 2.0

We joined the Zoological Society. I don’t know if I mentioned that before but it seemed logical given our child’s deep devotion to all things animal. The membership basically rocked our socks the first time we used it because one of the perks is your own fancy pants entrance. We foolishly went on a Saturday and the line to get into the park was almost to the parking lot. But not for us, we strolled right on up and right on in.

This zoo is broken into two regions; Africa and North America. That first time, we started in Africa. But there are two loops, one for the big game animals and one for the little guys. We kinda did it wrong and ended up going through the monkeys and bugs a couple of times before linking up to North America. It got late and the park was getting ready to close so we tore through North America kinda hurriedly. We also missed some of the animals that had already been put away for dinner or whatever they do behind the scenes when the tourists are all gone. Still, we walked back to Africa and got to glimpse the giraffes and elephants which are my favorite animals by far.

This time, we started in North America. It was hot. Most of the animals were asleep far away in the shade but we did get to see a lot of the aquatic exhibits that we missed the last time. The sea lions were out and being very photogenically compliant in their swimming around in front of all the windows (I mean for those who are halfway decent at photography unlike yours truly). There were lots of fish of course. We saw the otters being silly. But once again, the polar bears were not available. They haven’t been available the last several times I’ve been to the zoo. Methinks they may no longer be residing in the zoo at all, and the teams are just buying time until a new pair arrives, but that is mere speculation. We may just have fantastically bad timing.

sea lion
Unimpressed

They also have several kid zones throughout the park. Animals are cool n all, but all that walking gets kinda boring. Let’s SLIDE! I let Hannah loose in one while Shelby rejuvenated with some french fries and shade. I’m fairly certain we could have just stayed there all day and she would have been pleased as punch. Instead, after about 20 minutes of playing I lathered her in sunblock and strapped her back in the stroller to continue our trek toward Africa.

And that’s when it all started to go horribly wrong.

It was hot. And though the paths offer a lot of shade, they also offer a lot of hillish type walking. Particularly up to the exhibits. Oh yeah, did I mention that Hannah had one of her UP UP UP nights the night before and didn’t let us go to sleep until 5:00am? So everyone was already kinda edgy and raw from being up all night. Hannah was tired of being in her stroller but could not be counted on to stay on the path. Shelby was hot, tired, and soooo not interested in chasing Hannah and the subsequent hysterics when we tried to wrangle her back into the general direction we were attempting to walk. I was hot, tired, and trying to balance humoring Hannah and appeasing Shelby.

And then Hannah started sweating sunblock into her eyes. Which she tried to rub out with her slippery sweaty sunblocky hands. And she would only eat a bite of one snack before getting upset and requesting something else. And Shelby ran out of ice cold Diet Coke. And then Hannah just had a complete meltdown about shoes and heat and stinging eyeballs and WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT PARENTS? ALL I SEE IS A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT COLORED ROCK BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY MY BRAIN CAN CHANGE THAT INTO A SLEEPING GRIZZLY BEAR.

It was nap time but I couldn’t stroll Hannah fast enough to get her relaxed and sleeping. (She falls asleep in the stroller often, but really only if she has consistent movement at an up pace. Not super fast, but also not general meandering.) We never made it to Africa. We got as far as the center junction before we finally decided to call it quits and catch the tram back to the North America entrance. I took Hannah to the restroom while Shelby started the car and got the AC blasting. Hannah found contentment sitting in the sink and turning the water on, completely dousing her shoes and legs but thankfully not her outfit as I had stupidly not packed her a spare. A quick and loudly protested diaper change later, we buckled her up in the nicely cooled backseat. Within seconds, she was napping peacefully and stayed that way the whole drive home and then some.

I’m glad we paid for the membership. I would have been frustrated and harbored resentment if we had driven the almost 2 hours to the zoo and paid full price for about an hour and a half inside only to then drive 2 hours back home. But as it was, we recorded some valuable lessons about what to pack, how to manage time and expectations, and what times to shoot for given the kid’s temperament. I look forward to further exploring presentations and feeding times to increase our likelihood of a) seeing active animals at all and b) showing Hannah something super cool. (I mean, this trip she seemed to be the most fascinated by a large bird that sat fairly closed to the exhibit viewing area cleaning it’s wings. So sleeping lions and tigers and bears lose out to something that actually moves. Imagine how cool it would be if we actually saw lions tigers and bears moving! [I don’t think this zoo even has tigers.])

We’re also planning a quick trip out to the coast this summer as our Zoo membership includes access to several aquariums as well. I think that will be a more successful trip what with the indoorness and air conditioning and water. But then again, she may just have a meltdown because we won’t let her in the tank with the fishes.

Toddlers. It’s a darn good thing they’re cute.zoo