Monthly Archives: December 2011

Aftershock and growth spurts

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Counting the minutes until Vi’s first nap of the day.  She slept until 5:30am today.  I suppose I should be grateful she did not wake up at 3am like she was doing.  Yay.  Its this growth spurt stuff.  Its messed with her sleep, but I think my milk supply has caught up finally.  Even so, the pediatrician wanted me to start Viola on rice cereal with breast milk in it.  I said no.  If its purely for “socialization” and not nutrition, I would rather not give her cereal–there are so many other starch alternatives with more nutrition in them than sludge.  I was thinking that maybe we can try sweet potatoes.  I was hoping to wait until Vi is clearly interested in food, but I’m thinking maybe an intro would be interesting.

I watched a movie called Aftershock yesterday.  Its a Chinese film about a family who fell victim to the 1976 Tangshan Earthquake.  The special effects were good, but it was super long.  I almost didnt make it through because the mom saw her kids buried under the rubble.  She had to choose between the two of them who to save since the slab they were under would crush the other one when one side was lifted.  I was horrified.  I think I’ve become soft especially when it comes to children in movies now.  I guess its better than desensitization.  The mother chooses to save her son, and is plagued by guilt for the 30+ years afterward.  It turns out that the daughter lives and doesn’t contact her mother for 32 years.  The daughter secretly surviving is the only clever plot point, and the rest was just filler.  I would recommend the first 20 minutes of this film, if only for the earthquake CGI and if you’re interested in that point in history.

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Frumpy Mom (me) and Macbeth

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Viola is going through her four month growth spurt.   I know this because she’s sleeping a lot during the day and eating a lot too.  Writing a blog entry is one of the only things I can think of to do that wont wake her up.  But I’m not sure what to write…

I got a call from PGCC offering me a Prop Supervisor position for Macbeth…and its actually doable.  I will have a competent assistant that I will be semi-training.  With an assistant, I don’t have to be there as much, and thats huge because of how dang far the place is.  Im really excited.  In fact, I’m incredibly relieved that my fears of falling off the theatre planet were just that: fears.  In the meantime, I think I might generate a connection with a university near me and see where that goes.

Speaking of fears, I remember when I first got pregnant with Viola, I told my dad I wasn’t too keen on the mom thing.  I mean, having a baby with Eric sounded exciting and scary, but I was referring to the “mom image” stuff.  You know those moms at the grocery store…sweatpants, no makeup, stuck in the house too long.  THATS scary.  I was afraid I would lose touch with the outside world, not seeing beyond my poop-filled diaper-y day.  And there would be no reality beyond thinking my (get ready for offensive statement…) snot-nosed kid is the most perfect kid on the planet–don’t you want to see more pictures of him/her??!!  That is offensive, yes, but you all know what I’m talking about.

Well, guess what I’m wearing today?  Sweatpants.  Makeup?  Yes, but very little.  Just because I want Eric to still think his wife isn’t ultra-frumpy.  Do I think Viola is the most beautiful, perfect, amazing kid in the world?  Duh.  Minus the snot-nosed part.  Lots of drool, though.  Do I care?  Not in the least.  I do try and be sensitive not to talk about the sleep cycles of my child to people who don’t ask…and the mundane details of her jabbering each day.  I only share that with family and Godparents!  And on my blog.  Its MY blog!!

I think since I have never been too keen on other people’s kids, I want to be somewhat sensitive to that in other people towards my kid.  I think that’s why people who are naturally good with kids impress me…lots.  I’m the awkward one who is too much of a party pooper to play spontaneous tag with a little kid.  I was the youngest, after all.  What do I do with these little people?  Eric and I have babysat a handful of times, and ended up teaching about the dangers of diabetes through Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Not to mention the unfortunate Animal Cruelty in Milo and Otis.  Yeah, we’re awkward.  But I think having our own kid will help.  Speaking of which, she’s awake!  Duty (doody) calls…

 

Still starting over…

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Spending this Christmas without family has made me think more about our continued quest for a permanent place to land.  If you’ve relocated as much as we have over the past 3+ years, you know how difficult it is to start over.  Eric and I are one of those couples who value close relationships, and cannot thrive without their support.  We have no family nearby, and each new move has forced us to start over, trying to meet new people, hoping we can someday develop close relationships with our peers.

When we lived in Ithaca, the community was so small that once you find a church you like, you’re pretty much set with meeting people and generating friendships.  You can call someone and it takes them ten minutes to get to you.  Despite a huge church blow-up, jading our view of  the church that took at least a year to recover from, we still miss the people in Ithaca.  Eric’s job wasnt quite what he needed it to be, so to avoid layoff, we had to move to DC.  Working for the Smithsonian was a huge step for him, so we welcomed the new beginning.  Since then, a series of moves around the DC area produced some unexpected connections as we struggled to find a place we belonged (and a place we could afford) in this super expensive area.  Although Eric works for the Smithsonian institution, he is not immune to the condition of the crappy economy, so we are still scraping the bottom of the DC salary food chain until things improve.

The mentality here is different, no doubt.  There is a transient population here similar to Ithaca due to the student population and the high number of political internships.  Most people are focused on their careers and have no plans to settle here, and don’t care to develop close friendships.  And sure, East Coast people are less openly friendly, I’ll admit.

We have been thrust into a new peer category lately: young parents.  That holds some promise in finding new venues for connection, although I’ve noticed that sometimes the only thing you have in common with those parents is simply that: you are both parents.  Not much basis for close connection.  Don’t get me wrong–we have friends. Unfortunately all of them are 45 min-1 hour away minimum.  A friend of mine I met through PGCC theatre dept lives closer to Baltimore.  Without traffic(unlikely), it would take me almost two hours to reach her.

We live in Manassas and would love to invest in the community here in our town.  As with all new moves, it takes time…we know.  Sometimes we feel like a broken record, constantly talking about trying to “fit in”somewhere.  Eric asked me if his expectations for relationships are higher than everyone elses.  “No”, I said, “It just takes time.”

Its amazing we’ve been in the DC area almost as long as we were in Ithaca, and we still feel a little lost.  Now that we’ve settled in our own place (barring any unforeseen catastrophe) and will be in Manassas for a while, I have hope the connections will come.

A glimpse into a socially stunted me

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After having a child of my own now, I’ve been thinking lately about how much I got picked on as a kid.  I am the youngest of three girls, and that produced an attention-getting tendency–I was the clown, and also the family’s people-pleaser.  A combination of awkwardness and the product of divorce, produced an angry middle-schooler.  I was constantly in flux between internalizing conflict and being taught to “heap burning coals of kindness” upon my enemy’s heads like Jesus taught.  I think the analogy of burning coals caught more of my interest than the kindness, although there was a particular incident where it worked on a bully in middle school (the kindness, not the burning)…but I digress.

I recently spoke to my sister, Lacey, about my childhood memories.  For a period of time in my tween years, most memories involve just me, and I wondered if I just preferred my own company or whether I didn’t have any choice.  Beyond a few exceptional people who accepted me for who I was, I didn’t have a whole lot of friends to work with.  One particular memory was of me making my own yard sale in hopes of making a few dollars.  I hung some clothes in the branches of the tree in our front yard, and spread the other items on a table and on the lawn.  My Uncle David was visiting and bought my pogs for a whole $5!  If I recall, that was one of my only sales.  I also remember some girls riding by and teasing me.

This last Thanksgiving, my mom and I were reminiscing on how difficult it was for me to make friends, and how my mom (riddled with guilt by her own admission) felt it was important to let us work out our problems on our own.  I eased her guilt by assuring her I completely agreed with that philosophy.  I had enough insecurity without my parents reminding me how many friends I didn’t have.  But it made me think: How would I try to help Viola if she had the same difficulty?  I remember being so bogged-down by the constant stinging comments by the more popular, skinnier and prettier girls at the top of the social food chain, that I would daydream terrible scenarios which would result in their pleading apologies.  I know.  Scary stuff, I admit.  Looking back, I see the pattern that leads to school shootings.  To be clear, I don’t condone extreme violence to others as a result of bullying (although it would have been nice to know how to throw a punch).  And knowing me, if I was pushed to breaking, I would most likely curl up in a ball and cry before inflicting physical harm on anybody.  So, that’s pretty much what I did most of the time as a young adult: I cried.

I did eventually start wedging myself into the social scene by High School, thanks to some Smashing Pumpkins fanatics who gave me a chance.  I was always a little unusual, and by no means popular, but I found my little corner until college where I could start over.  Is it any wonder I became a theatre techie?  They accept everybody, and black helps you blend nicely into the shadows.

How will Viola be?  How can I help her be her best self without being one of those helicopter parents?  I think it would be worse if she became “one-of-those-girls” who picked on the overweight and less popular.  I pray against that most of all.  Its my childhood memories that push me to panic and prefer homeschooling, but Eric keeps me grounded on that point.  I think my parents had a good balance and I’ll take their lead on this one as best I can.

Christmas…and thoughts on how social media has not done us any favors

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I’m trying to figure out Christmas presents for my husband, but its been tricky.  We really don’t have the money to get presents for anyone this year, but we’re going to try to get some things for the nieces and nephews.  We agreed to get a present for each other, but all the brilliant ideas I have had throughout the year have completely left my mind.  I know he would be happy with the Captain America DVD, complete with hours of special features, but I don’t feel like that’s a creative gift.

I got my monthly email from the Dating Divas, and I have to give them some credit–they have some good ideas for budget-conscious couples.  I’d like to share them, but my husband reads my blog!  Which brings me to another thing thats been on my mind:

How honest can we really be in public forums?

I will admit that in an effort to be honest (and funny and sarcastic), I can be negative about some things.  Unfortunately, on a public blog like this one, I’ve had to hold back because honesty can lead to hurt feelings.  My blog gets posted to facebook, so anyone who might normally not read it might happen upon a hurtful statement concerning them or their family member. I’m not planning on writing any mean things, but I feel its important to keep the peace instead of risk burning bridges and hurting the people I love with honesty.

I think there’s a story now about a woman suing facebook because something she wrote on her wall about her job got her fired.  If you ask me, I think she’s crazy.  SHE WROTE IT!  She should be mad at herself.  Or mad at what the modern world has become due to Social Media.  Facebook and Twitter just made it possible for someone to lose their job or  lose a political race because of a measly Tweet.  They are just the messengers!  We are the ones responsible for how we use these forums.  I don’t know if easier access to other people’s lives has done us any favors.  In my opinion, its resulted in a an entire family sitting down to dinner, with everyone on their iPhones.  (I can say that because I don’t have one!)

Does anyone else run into that in social forums?  Have you ever held back on a facebook post because you remembered that even a general statement about something could hurt a close friend?  I am forced to save my juicy information for my my mom (…unless its about her).  Even so, the upside of being limited on my blog helps me be a more positive post-er!  If I can only dwell on the positive stuff, then it gives the other stuff less power.

At the very least, I can’t talk about my new ideas for my husband because he’s so sweet to read my blog!  I should be thankful for that!

 

Thanksgiving

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We just got back from San Diego and it was a good trip.  Vi did well, under the circumstances.  Last night’s bedtime was so rough, I ended up curled in a ball on the couch, crying, waiting for her crying to stop.  It was that bad.  She was changed, fed, and tired…so… what else am I supposed to do!!?  We let her scream bloody murder for awhile then after I couldn’t stand it anymore, we got her up and gave her a bath to chill her out.  Then tried again.  Eventually sleep came, and she slept thru the night (except a brief wake up around midnight, then she fell back asleep).

Vi did especially well on the planes home.  We had a connection in Chicago, and the plane was late.  I had her in one arm, running through the airport, thanking my lucky stars she could hold her head up(somewhat).  I probably jiggled that baby right into whiplash, but she was ok.  She hadn’t realy napped on the first plane, and wouldn’t nap on the second plane.  Right when we baorded the plane from Chicago to Dulles, she started to cry (and rightly so).  She was exhausted, hungry, and whiplashed.  We hadn’t even begun to taxi, and some woman in front of us tells her nieghbor:

“I’ll probably have to wear earmuffs the whole flight”

Hello?  I can hear you!  I’m sitting right behind you, lady!!!  Viola quieted after a minute, and she didn’t utter a peep the whole flight.  AND she barely napped!!  I don’t know how she did it, but I had my guard up the whole flight anyway.  I had it  all planned out in my head.  If the lady did any more “half- turns” or comments about Vi, I was going to say, “Back off lady!  Its been a long day!”  That was exactly how it would have gone, but we survived.  The guy in front of Eric said something about how Vi is quiet now, and Eric almost decked him.  We were pretty stressed after the four hour flight followed by running across the airport, followed by another flight.

Visiting my sister, Summer and her family was a much needed trip.  They didn’t really know Eric very well, and I hadn’t seen my nieces or Randy (Summer’s hub) since our wedding.  Her two daughters, Precious & Winter, are 8 and 9 now, so they are completely different.  I still have the friendship bracelets they made me on my wrist!  And also silver toe nails with gold french tips (Winter’s idea).  My mom got to fly out to spend Thanksgiving too, and we all met in Carlsbad (near San Diego) at my Uncle and Aunt’s house.

Being with my sister and my mom was like being with my best friends again.  The only thing missing was my other sister, Lacey.  She stayed in CO with my Dad for Thanksgiving.  We are about as far from family as we can be right now, it is really hard.  But I love the East coast, and Eric has a great job out here.  It did get a little annoying how some Californians wouldn’t stop talking about how East Coast people are @$$holes.  Thanks guys.  My husband is from here.  Oh, well.  As beautiful as California is, I prefer seasons.

Walking away from my sister at the airport was really  hard.  On both of us.  Having to leave with the baby changes a lot.  It makes it more difficult for both parties.  I don’t know when is the next time we’ll see each other, but I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

The baby is up!  Gotta go…