Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Typical Day

A year ago Ginger over at Ramble Ramble, wrote this post about her typical day. At the time, she invited us all to play along and share a typical day in our lives. And, I felt like I couldn't do it because our days varied so much from one to another. I knew if I had to get Charlotte off to daycare so I could work that things would run on more of a schedule. I also told myself that maybe when she was older it would be easier to get her on a routine.

Well, Ginger has invited us, a year later, to share a typical day in our lives once again. And, while I do not have the routine I thought I would have by now, I suppose I will give it a go anyway:

Between 6 and 7:30 I generally wake up to use the bathroom. Now that we are trying to have a baby again I need to turn on my Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor at this time. During certain days of the month I turn it on and it tells me what day of my cycle I'm on, then it turns off. Other days I have to insert a test stick into it so it can measure how "fertile" I am that day. It's a pain in the ass. I fumble with the test stick, a Dixie cup, snapping the stick into its place and then waiting the five minutes for the monitor to read it, all while trying to not let myself wake up too much so I can go back to sleep for a bit.

"But, wait!" you say. "You have a two-year-old, and you can go back to sleep after getting up at 7 A.M. to pee in a cup?" Well, yes. Lately Charlotte has been waking up around 9 or 9:30. She goes to bed at 8, so this is a pretty sweet deal. And I know you're jealous, but shut the hell up, and let me enjoy this! It will only last a week or so, and then I'll be back to lying down with her in my bed waiting for her to fall asleep so that I can have the pleasure of her staring down at me at some godawful hour the next morning saying, "Mommy? You wanna go downstairs with me? Yes? Let's go!"

Lately when I do hear her calling for me, I've just fallen back asleep from the whole monitor debacle so I'm a little groggy. I walk into her room to see her standing in her crib holding all of her stuffed animal "fwiends," and she is ready to PLAY. She will immediately hand off one of her bunnies and begin giving me directions on how to hold him, what he should say, if he should be crying (He usually should be.) I'll try to play along for a few minutes before suggesting we go downstairs. She'll agree, and if she's even a little bit tired she will request a "moobie" which is nice because it gives me time to wake up. If she's rested, she'll run straight to a box of toys I was hiding in her closet because I didn't like them or I thought she had outgrown them, and will sit down and get to work. She will ask me to join her, but I will need to change her diaper first. Then I will suggest breakfast.

God, this is not interesting at all. Look, here's the deal. Everything that needs to be done around here is just one more thing that gets in the way of Charlotte's ability to "pway." If she had it her way we would make the bunnies hop and bounce and say "Beeeeeee" (Did you know that bunnies say "Beeeeee?") from the second we woke up until, well, forever. Because who needs sleep, right? She would like for me and Chris to sit on the floor with her all day playing with her princesses or Spiderman, reading her books, and taking the occasional break to run in circles around the couch. Every diaper change, every teeth-brushing, every outfit change, meal, and especially every outing outside the house is just really cramping her style, okay? So, let's just play all day until Mommy's mind is complete mush.

Oh, and the latest development is her asking for me to tell her stories round the clock. It started with a sweet morning on the couch. I sat against the arm of the couch; she sat in my lap leaned against me, her wild curls tickling my nose, and she asked me to tell her a story. A "Pumby Bumby" story, to be precise. Pumby Bumby is the new "Pumpsy," a nonsense word that has somehow been anthropomorphized into a character whose adventures I sometimes chronicle on the couch or during a long car ride. This particular morning, Pumby Bumby had some pretty wild shenanigans, involving playing basketball with bears, napping on clouds, and fighting dragons. Charlotte enjoyed the story so much, apparently, she has decided that me telling her stories should be happening all day. Most times she requests a princess story, so I can just tell her the story of Ariel or Jasmine without having to use my imagination. But, boy does that get tedious. Of course, most of the time, I do it. Because if there's a person who could say no to that little grinning face saying "Mommy,can you tell me a story?" well, I probably wouldn't want to meet that person.

So, we spend the morning doing all of the above, intermittently pausing to do one of the many aforementioned distasteful tasks, all of which result in my trying really hard to keep my temper as Charlotte STALLS HER ASS OFF. Seriously, if she ever did anything the first time I asked, I could die happy. Instead it's a bunch of "Charlotte please come lie down so I can change your diaper. Please come now. Charlotte! Do you want me to come get you? Well, then come here." And god forbid I do have to grab her to get her to do my bidding. Then it's ten minutes of consoling her. Honestly, I don't know how I get anything done.

Oh, that's right! I DON'T.

At some point during the day I will remember that I was supposed to call my grandma. Or, I will walk into the bathroom and see the smudges all over the mirror from when Chris let Charlotte play on the bathroom counter, and she smeared water all over the place. Or, I'll get a little bing on my phone reminding me to pay a bill. And, all of those realizations will go out of my head a second later as I'm pouring yet another cup of milk for Charlotte or trying to soak up some time with my husband while the kid naps or maybe just plays by herself for a minute.

And, there will also be the time of day where I will make the decision to leave the house to write, or stay home and clean, or go to the fitness center for a half-hour on the treadmill, or just catch up on Glee with Chris. And if I choose not to go write, I will feel guilty all day. And then I will vow to write after Charlotte is in bed for the night and Chris is at work, but most times my brain will be too tired, and I will just watch a rerun of Roseanne and go to bed. I will feel guilty about that, too. And, though I will never stop trying to make writing a part of my daily routine, I will try to be kind to myself when it doesn't happen and remind myself that this is the time I carved out in my life to be home with my daughter.

It's dizzying and exhausting and all-consuming right now. But it won't always be like this. And, I will miss the sweetness of her voice as she asks me again and again to play with her or tell her a story. I will miss the way her laugh sounds right now, even though I am sure I will never stop loving her laugh. This is our time. Before school and friends and teachers and boys. I will miss these days of no order and routine.

Though, someday maybe "our" time will involve getting together for margaritas, and that would be pretty nice, too. I probably won't even have to tell her a princess story.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bloggers, Booze, and Bravery: My BlogHer11 Highlights

I got home from BlogHer on Sunday, and I had an incredible time. I would love to tell you that I met a ton of new people, but that is much harder than I thought it would be. However, I did get to know a handful of people really well, and that is a lot better in my book. I walked away feeling like I had new friends. I might not have found a lot of new people to read my blog, but there's always next year!

View from the hotel room

I found a couple of the sessions helpful (and a couple were good just for gawking and/or mockery,) but I probably learned the most just by talking to my roommates, Ginger and Brooke, and a few other people I had the pleasure of chatting with. I have many, many, MANY ideas on how to improve this space, but I will spare you the chatter and work on actually making those changes.

Instead, here are some highlights of my BlogHer experience:

I was in a flash mob (Here's the video. I'm in the back. You can't see me, but I swear I'm there!) I have always wanted to do this, but never actually thought I would get the chance. So, when Ginger signed up with a group of San Diego bloggers trying to put one of these together and asked me if I'd like to join, I immediately said "YES!" It wasn't until I started watching the videos to learn the dance that I started second-guessing my decision. First of all, Theresa, who choreographed and filmed herself doing the dance, is such an amazing dancer, I just couldn't fathom being able to do what she was doing. I was seriously getting cold feet, but Ginger convinced me to stick with it, and I am SO glad I did. I might have messed up a few of the steps, and I might have almost knocked Ginger to the ground by spinning directly into her, but I don't think anyone noticed, and it was a bunch of fun.

I read one of my blog posts in front of a roomful of people. The "Listen To Your Mother" show was holding an open mic night where you could throw your name into a drawing for a chance to read the post of your choice. Heart pounding, I threw my name into the humor section and listened to some wonderful readings, some hilarious, some moving, some both, while simultaneously hoping my name would be called and that it wouldn't. Finally, the suspense ended as my name was called, and I ambled up to the stage to read this post. Luckily, I wasn't the only person reading a post about postpartum sex, so it wasn't as inappropriate as I initially expected. It was a rush to have more people than have probably ever read my blog listening to my words, and it was an even bigger thrill when they laughed at all the right places. Definitely my favorite moment of the weekend.

Photo by Ginger

I met a blogger I really like and respect. I saw Anna of ABDPBT.com at The People's Party Thursday night, and I approached her to tell her how much I like her work. I expected that to be the end of it, so it was a very pleasant surprise when she recognized me from Twitter (or at least pretended to, but either way it was cool) and then chatted with me and Brooke for over an hour. She is hilarious and despite her unfortunate "hater" street cred, is really just a breath of fresh air from all the blind acceptance of all things related to the "blogging community." I'm glad I got a chance to meet her.

All in all, it was worth the cost of admission. The dancing and drinking helped with the missing my child, and the swag wasn't awful. I've heard lots of complaints, but, hey, I got a vibrator and a bottle of wine. In other words, HOT DATE WITH MYSELF. So, thanks for the memories, BlogHer.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Pre-BlogHer Post...Sort Of

So, let's see. It's been nearly two weeks since my last post. I don't know what to say except I'm sure we're all used to this sort of neglect to my poor blog. Also, I've been in and out of a weird funk these last few weeks. Maybe it's the heat, maybe it's hormones (a woman's most reliable scapegoat,) or maybe it's Chris's new hours at work that have added up to less time with him and LOTS of time alone with Charlotte. I suppose it's probably all of those things that have left me feeling stressed, irritable, and at times, overwhelmed.

Chris has been getting home around 5 A.M. lately which means he needs to sleep until about one or two in the afternoon, depending how poorly he sleeps with all the heat and noise daytime brings. So, Charlotte and I have long mornings together, which have lately been punctuated by measly 30-45 minute naps. When Chris gets up, I catch up on housework, bills, errands, and other such minutiae, while taking breaks to spend as much time with my husband as we can manage between playing dinosaur puppets and doing arts and crafts. Oh, and in case anyone was momentarily impressed by that latter statement, let me inform you that "arts and crafts" with our two-year-old is just a fancy way of saying "paint" and "glue paper to...other paper."

Yeah, yeah, you get it. I'm a mom, and I do mom things. And house things. Get over myself. I just feel lately like I can't breathe until the kid is in bed for the night. So, I'm sort of out of the loop all day when it comes to internet stuff. And, I don't always use my evening alone time to catch up the way I should. I am trying to remedy this now because after I return from BlogHer it's going to be even harder to keep up. I'm sure I will meet lots of people whose blogs I want to read and with whom I would like to correspond. So, I'm working on it.

I'm looking forward to the conference for lots of reasons. You know, meeting lots of new people, parties, maybe getting some inspiration for my writing and blog goals, and, of course, getting a break from my day to day life. But, then again, that is probably the only reason I also don't want to go. My day to day life can be hectic, and I'm exhausted, but I have never been away from my daughter for three whole nights. Never more than one night, in fact, and that's only been a handful of times. I'm nervous about it.

Charlotte is at an amazing age right now. Which is not to say there were times in her life where it would have been easy to leave her for three nights, but it might have been easier. She's just so much fun right now. She's started telling me "When I was a baby" stories. I love how she can just make stuff up on the spot. The other night she was walking up the stairs to go to bed, and she stopped, dropped to the ground, and said "I see a bug!" (No, she didn't.) She continued "When I was a baby, I saw a bug. A fider (spider.) A big fider. And he bit me. And I said "Maaaahhh." A couple days ago she made up a story about how she was petting and riding on whales. And she started riding a little scooter some friends of ours picked up for her at a garage sale. It's the kind with three wheels, so it doesn't tip over, and she just shuffles around on it wearing a little helmet, and OH MAN, is it adorable.

Then again...

The whole, stopping on the stairs to make up a story, while heartwarming and hilarious, is also just one of the many ways she drags her feet whenever it's time to do anything she finds even remotely distasteful, such as going to bed or heading up to her room to get dressed. Seriously, what is so hard about getting dressed? I'm doing it FOR you! Just raise your arms and let me dress you in whatever ridiculous outfit I let you choose for yourself. I don't get it. If I happen to suggest something she actually wants to leave the house to do, like the park, for example, she'll be all "Yeah! Let's go!" and start heading out the door in her pajamas. I'll tell her we need to get dressed first, and she'll tug on her shirt and say "How 'bout my jammies?" When I inform her we can't leave the house like that, she'll decide she doesn't want to go to the park after all. Kill me.

And, frankly, I suppose it will be nice to spend three days with people I don't have to ask ONE HUNDRED times to pick up their shoes or come to the table for dinner. And since I can plan on that scenario going on for pretty much the next eighteen years or so, I should probably just enjoy the reprieve while I can get it.

I suppose I should start packing...