19 October 2015

What I've been up to...

This has to be a quick one.

I just had to waste a bunch of time scooting over to the mall to the Apple store to buy a new MacBook charger because Apple seems to make them intentionally fragile. When mine (well, my second one since I got this laptop in 2011) started to fray, several weeks ago, I shored it up with white electrical tape to wring some more time out of it, but this morning it gave up the ghost. It seems, from reading product reviews on Apple's website, people tend to get only about nine months out of them, though, so I'm at least satisfied that I did my best to make it last.

Meanwhile, and working backward for some reason:

  • Declan, my sweet little monster, screamed from somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 am on this morning. (As it turns out, he cut a tooth for our trouble, so perhaps tonight will be better.) On my way back from my Apple errand, I ran into the sweet lady who lives downstairs and apologized to her for the noise. She said, as she always does, "No problem! Babies will be babies!" But she'll probably be as happy when we move out in a couple of months as we were when our old upstairs neighbors went. (Of course, we went from wild hooligan children -- old enough to know better, unlike Keira who genuinely doesn't realize she's stomping sometimes, and even if she does she doesn't realize what it sounds like to someone downstairs {judging by her blank face when I tell her to "for the LOVE, stop stomping!"}, or Declan who may cry inordinately sometimes, but is just a baby -- to wild hooligan dogs who whine and wrestle with each other all day long, so it's not exactly a huge improvement.)
  • My mother came to visit over the weekend and she babysat for us on Saturday night so we could go out for our anniversary. We thought about it and realized we hadn't gone out on a real date night in two years so we could afford to blow it out a little and so we went out to Ruth's Chris steakhouse and feasted. So delicious. 
  • Last week I had coffee with my new friend Mary, whom I met when she hosted a Blessed Brunch. We sat at Starbucks and laughed like loons about every-darn-thing in the world. I said after the brunch that my soul felt refreshed and it's no less true about three hours in a comfy leather chair with a pumpkin spice latte (yes, I'm one of those, what of it?!) and a friend. Delightful. I hope to do it again soon!

Also, unrelated: I think Karl Keating must be reading my blog because this column reminds me of something... ;)

06 October 2015

Shower Thoughts: Ants, Buddhists and Super-Rats

As you may know, I work from home full-time-ish (which is to say that I get paid for part-time work, but my production-driven job takes me full-time time to complete, so I'm obviously a winner). This has its drawbacks, like rarely seeing people other than my own little family, and its HUGE advantages, like being able to stay on top of the laundry and being able to shower, alone, when I feel like it. (Hallelujah.) And I do most of my blog-post-dreaming-up in the shower. And shiz can get weird.


Just now I was taking a shower and spending too much of the time allotted drowning ants (again), and I got to thinking: what do Buddhists do about infestations? Do they just live with them? I mean, I guess my little ant shower-crashers are basically harmless, so I'm sure a Buddhist would have left them alone rather than washing them down the drain with a maniacal supervillain laugh -- I spend a lot of time alone, remember? -- but what about, say, Buddhists who live in NYC?

What about cockroaches?


02 October 2015

7QT: 2 October 2015

1. I did a victory lap yesterday on our successful night-weaning, and it bit me on the rear with a quickness. The little booger screamed for hours last night, and being well-rested already feels like a distant memory.

2. I have the itchiest inner ears in the whole entire world. I'm starting to think I'm allergic to something I consume on the daily because... Okay, so you know how when people in movies have allergic reactions, they always start knuckling at their ears?

Hitch does it right about 0:50 in case you have no earthly idea what I'm talking about. I want to do that all the time. Or stick pointy things in there and dig around. It is not good.

3. We're looking for another new rental. We had hoped to be long gone to our new life in San Antonio by now, but it's taking its time happening. (We're waiting to do this in God's time, but after a bunch of very hopeful signs waaaay back in 2012, He has started to take His sweet time about it.)

I'm not going to tell this whole story because these Takes would cease to be Quick, but the takeaway is: please pray for us that we find something with more space for less money. (Stop laughing.)

4. It's soup weather! I'm making soup this week even though Michael claims to hate soup. Really, what he hates is plain chicken broth. I have never put mere broth in front of him, and whenever I make soup he likes it, and then promptly forgets that he liked it and goes back to "hating soup." Does anyone else's husband pull these shenanigans?

5. I turned on an old episode of Chopped while I write my 7QT and then put on my face and one of the chefs just said he plans to "take as many risks as he can safely take." That just makes me laugh and laugh.

6. Anybody got a good recipe for gluten-free chocolate cake that will be like cake and not like fudgy brownie? Keira's birthday is next weekend, she requested "chocolate cake with spickles" (sprinkles), and a couple of her cousins are gluten-free. I've been trolling Pinterest and I've found some things that look promising but I'd rather make something that's been vouched for by someone. I'd do some test cakes but then we'd have to eat them and I am fat enough thank you.

7. Facebook has really been getting me down recently. I wish there were a filter for political nonsense. I just want to see people's kids, funny memes and life events, and I'll even happily check out what you're eating! I just don't want to read about how I'm obviously soul-less because I disagree with you about gun control and abortion. Get on that, Zuckerberg. (Alternatively, can we all just agree to keep politics on Twitter?)

01 October 2015

Second kid... First night-weaning.

Sweet Declan.

Sweet, sweet Declan.

Sweet, sweet, baby terrorist Declan.

In his first nine months of life, he had slept through the night a (scant) handful of times, but his typical MO had been getting up once or twice in a night. Neither Michael nor I were happy about it, but we were getting through. Some nights he'd get up more than twice, and we were less happy about that, but we weren't broken.

And then.

Last Friday night, Declan got up FIVE TIMES between 11 pm and 5:45 am, at which point he decided he was up for real. I'm a pretty poor sleeper myself, so I only caught snatches of sleep in there somewhere. I spent Saturday in a haze of tired, irritable funk.

Saturday night, he started wailing at 11 pm again and my heart fell. Due, probably, to our poor night's sleep the previous night, Michael didn't wake up right away. During that time before my husband would have gone lurching to Declan's crib, my thoughts raced around.

I heard my mom in my head, telling me, "If you're not training him, he's training you."

I thought about all the reasons I hadn't cracked down on him sooner: he's a twenty-four pound behemoth -- and didn't get that way by accident -- so he's probably hungry; his eczema is flared up really badly and I know from personal experience that the one sensation you can't sleep through is "itchy"; he's teething so hard; he's prone to night terrors like his sister, and I can't tell sometimes if he's having one or if he's just mad; he's such a lazy lump of a baby that he doesn't know how to get himself into a comfortable position; he has never so much as paused in his screaming during the fifteen-to-twenty minute periods of trying to wait him out before; he's going to wake Keira; Keira got up a lot too, for a while, but she stopped on her own.

I thought about whether any of that justified five wake-ups in a single seven-hour period. Every night for the rest of my life, potentially.

By the time Michael awoke, I had decided that unless we were reasonably sure this was a night terror, we were going to wait him out. We pulled up the video monitor feed and watched him for a while. During a night terror, he usually thrashes and tosses with his eyes shut tight, but this night he wasn't doing that. So we were more-than-reasonably sure that it wasn't a night terror.

He screamed, no lie, for at least ninety straight minutes. I almost had to physically restrain Michael from going to get him. He sounded so mad, bordering on panicky. I prayed for discernment, and for God to give me the strength to do this if it was the right thing.

He calmed himself a couple of times in that ninety minutes, but he would start up shrieking again within five minutes. I considered listening to an audiobook with headphones to drown him out, but ultimately rejected it because I felt I needed to listen in case he started to choke or something. I switched back and forth between Declan's camera feed and Keira's camera feed (#modernparenting), trying not to worry that Keira had pulled her covers up over her head in apparent, totally justified annoyance.

I was a nervous wreck. Michael was worse. At one point, he almost stormed out of our bedroom door to get Declan from his crib even as I told him he couldn't. I may have resorted to threats to get him to get back in bed and leave him alone. (I mean, maybe I did. I was sleep deprived so I can't be sure. ;))

Finally, he exhausted himself and went to sleep. Four hours later, he ramped up again and screamed for at least another hour. At 7 am when he started fussing, Michael brought him to me and I nursed him in bed and we dozed together for another hour.

Each night since it's gotten better. We haven't gotten him out of his crib since that Friday into Saturday overnight of terror. Last night, praise be to Jesus, he slept twelve hours without a peep.

The hardest part was the feeling that if I were just a better mother, a more patient mother, this wouldn't be necessary.

But ultimately, children want boundaries, and a night with five wakings wasn't any better for him than it was for me. The last few days he's been 200% happier. I've been 2000% happier.

Thanks be to God for that.