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September 2008

One of the down days

I don't know what to do with Jack.

Somehow I got the three of us ready and into the car in time to go to the one and only playgroup we attend. I needed this playgroup. Surviving these initial days of Two Kids On My Own requires at least a two-hour afternoon nap. The last time we'd gone to playgroup Jack slept till nearly FIVE so that's what I was gunning for today, folks. A deliciously long afternoon nap, in which I would watch TV and catch up on blogs and read the paper and, oh yeah, make sure the other baby is fed and rested.

Once we got there, Jack spent the next several hours running around like a fool. The friend who hosted has a huge beautiful house a little ways out of the city and Jack probably didn't know what to do with all the ROOM. And all the DIFFERENT rooms. And the upstairs! And the backyard! I didn't mind too much when he flat out refused to eat the rest of his lunch and smirked at me every time I told him to COME BACK HERE because I was going to get a nice long afternoon to myself. ME ME ME.

Would you be surprised if I told you I've spent the last hour trying to get him to go to sleep?

That's not entirely truthful. He fell asleep in the car. He stayed sleeping when I put him in the crib. He woke up howling about forty-five minutes later. "Interesting!" I thought to myself, and continued eating my butternut squash soup (see: turning orange) and waited for him to quiet down. But he didn't. And it went on long enough that I thought maybe I should go upstairs and see what the fuss was about.

After ten or fifteen minutes of wondering what I should do, I finally picked him up and sat down with him in the rocking chair. I sang 'Baby Beluga' ninety-seven times. He fell back asleep. I put him in the crib. He woke up. And five minutes later he started crying.

That was about half an hour ago. He's not howling so much as loudly whining and I don't know what to do. He's tired. He needs to go back to sleep. I am not going back up there to get him.

I really really hate this part of being a mom. Not the work and not getting time to myself (although that IS a bummer), but the not knowing what to do. The older he gets the more I question what I'm doing in this whole parenting business. Molly is a piece of cake. Feed her, change her, wash her endless loads of spit up laundry. Molly makes me feel like I'm doing a good job. Jack, depending on the day, makes me feel like an idiot, a big fat meanie, incapable, incompetent, lazy, wondering if I should send myself to anger management counseling.

I don't know how to handle this emerging personality. I don't know how to make him listen to me. I don't know how to get him to eat. I am too tired to take him outside to play. I am too overwhelmed to get all of us out of the house. I don't know whether to be mean or firm or if my frustration is justified. I don't know if I should just let everything go. I don't know what to change. I don't know what to do when he's tired and won't sleep. I don't know if I should leave him there, yelling in his crib, or not.

God, I feel like such a crap mother right now.

Big deep dark bloggy thoughts

Thursday night I broke up with the internet. It was nine or ten at night. I was staring at one of those sites that helps you pick out a color palette and trying to decide if my links should be this shade of pink or that one when I realized: Oh dear God. Had I just wasted three or four hours of precious Phillip-is-finally-home-from-work time picking out a color scheme for my stupid blog redesign? OH YES I HAD.

And that is when I shut my laptop. I went to bed. I ignored the internet on Friday. I didn't even check my EMAIL, people. And over the weekend I've been fairly lukewarm towards my bff the internet. I could take it. I could leave it. What am I doing, anyway? I'm your Average Nearly-Thirty Mom chronicling her not terribly unique experiences ONLINE, where PERFECT STRANGERS can read EVERYTHING. And obsessing about color schemes while she's at it.

A while ago one of you emailed me and was all, "Um, so your visited link color? Is, like, super light and I can't read it and ruins my whole Mighty Maggie experience and seriously, when are you going to fix that?" Which was sort of embarrassing because dude, I KNOW. I knew that link color was a mistake the day after I published the new site and it actually honestly and truly bugs me that I haven't fixed it. But I was all, "Whatever, I'm having a GIRL, I'm going to turn the whole site pink pretty soon anyway, it can WAIT." Except, Thursday night I came to the conclusion that it's probably going to need to wait a heck of a lot longer.

Turns out that keeping up with my Online Persona is no sweat with one kid, but totally kicking my butt with two kids. Not that I am going to give up blogging or anything (did you think you were reading one of THOSE posts? Ha! As if!). I've been sort of content to make fun of how much time I spend on my computer, but in the way where I am letting you know how cool I am. Or, at least, how cool I THINK I am. I mean, how awesome am I? With my forty-seven websites and my always available laptop and my live in technical help? But now when I think about how much time I spend on my computer, I tend to also think about what I am NOT doing when I am on my computer. Not just things like The Dishes and Vacuuming, but also Talking To My Husband and Playing With My Kid. Which is very very sad, even if you ask me.

And then my husband went and bought himself an iPhone Friday night and a few minutes with THAT thing kicked me back to my senses. "The internet! It is my home! I shall never quit you!"

(I mean, it's the internet in your POCKET. 24/7! I always thought I wanted a pocket-sized Tim Gunn, but now I'm thinking the iPhone is even better.)

So here I am writing this boring sappy everybody-hates-this-kind-of-post post, but WHATEVER. I am all about the chronicling of everyday self-absorbed minutia, I've just got to find a better way to do it. Or a more efficient way. Or SOMETHING. And stop thinking about redesigns because I just finished building a Real Website and I'm going to need the next two years to recover. So that redesign and new link color is, uh, on hiatus.

Anyway. The Internet graciously allowed me my whole "I think we need to take a break" drama and now we've gotten back together and everything's cool. I think. I'm mostly pretty 99% almost sure I'm going to start the Diet and Exercise Regimen of Wow I Hate Vegetables But I'd Really Like To Fit Into My Pants Again tomorrow and I'm afraid my coping mechanism consists entirely of: Whine Via Blog.

Of course, when the internet has been so awesome as to send you something like this...

Is anyone else tearing up over the cuteness? The sentiment? The fact that those are THUMBPRINTS HOW FREAKING ADORABLE? can't quite fathom how you could ever break up with it in the first place.

Thanks Emily!

Does this take the place of working out?

Yesterday was a goodish day.

Yesterday I read on a Seattle blog that Carmen Consoli was in town. And I thought to myself, "Hmm, that name sounds familiar." And so I googled her and then I found the song I've been trying to remember for yeeeeears, a song I really liked when I lived in Italy. I love how Seattlest calls her "Italy's Ani DiFranco" because it's like, "Oh yes, of course I would gravitate towards quirky folk singer types in any language." I think I might have liked to go to her concert.

Not that I get out much these days. I think this was the second year in a row I missed the Indigo Girls. I can look at this fact one of two ways. One: How am I supposed to enjoy grown up things at grown up hours of the day when I have children? Or two: I am no longer an angsty college student. Draw your own conclusions.

Oh right, so yesterday was a goodish day. Yesterday was the first true day I was home on my own. As in, Phillip didn't stay late in the morning or work from home, and no one came to visit. AND Phillip got home about 20 minutes later than usual which I know doesn't sound like a big deal but believe me when I tell you THAT WAS A LONG TWENTY MINUTES.

Also: Molly is waking up from her newborn coma and wants to be held all the time. She's still not very fussy and only seems to cry when she's hungry or having her spit uppy clothes changed, but she does not want to be left in the crib. This wouldn't be such a big deal if I weren't having to get Jack his lunch and dinner, cart him upstairs for diaper changes, do the laundry, clean up the dishes, make sure someone isn't painting the walls with mushed up peas (THIS HAPPENED), you know, ANYTHING. Jack was in some sort of carrier 24/7 when he was Molly's age so maybe he didn't like to be put down either, I just wouldn't know.

Oh, and Jack and I fought over the stairs again, but people I am winning, because I do believe he is LEARNING. Through a combination of sitting in the corner and swats to a cloth-diapered bottom he appears to be getting the hint. I am still really frustrated with the whole Discipline issue and have no real idea what is working and what isn't and what I should be doing and oh God that BabyCenter bulletin says I'm doing everything wrong, BUT. I figure this is not just a toddler-centric thing. One day I will be awake at night wondering whether a year is too long to ground somebody for stealing your car keys. In other words, I probably have a LOT of time for the freaking out. Why waste it all now?

But anyway, by the time Phillip got home I was beat. Usually I am Mrs. Chatterbox when he gets home, sharing an entire day's worth of observations in ten minutes, but lately I am too zoned out to say more than hello. Get this- when Phillip got home I sat down and filled out a 6 page junk mail survey about our new car, solely because I need 15 minutes of decompression. I apologized later, but Phillip said he understood. Actually, the words he used were, "I can imagine..." DOT DOT DOT.

It's not like Jack was a terror yesterday or Molly was unbearably needy or anything like that. But it's EXHAUSTING. I know one of these days I'll figure a few things out and I won't feel like the living dead by the end of the day, but right now I could probably spend a week at a spa and STILL have knots in my back.

Business as usual

Dudes. I am amazing. I gave both of my kids baths, I took them to the park, I swept the floors, I did the dishes, Jack ate his entire lunch AND dinner, there were only a handful of time out/sitting in a corner episodes and I was the victor in the Battle Royale that took place on the stairs. I am NOT hauling that kid up and down stairs anymore! Well, sometimes. But he knows how to go up and down stairs by himself and when I am carrying Molly, I will not be yelling at him to crawl down on his own and then, when that doesn't work, flinging Molly in the crib so I can chase after him and drag him down myself. THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS.

But all of this amazingness has taken it's toll. I am dead tired, I have a headache and dinner is prepped but not cooked and guess who doesn't feel like cooking anymore?

When Jack was an infant I had Phillip do the first night feeding. For some reason it is way easier for me to do the 3 am feeding than the 11 pm. But I was also going to sleep at, like, EIGHT. With Molly I don't go to bed until after her 10 or 11 or midnight (whenever it happens to be that day) feeding. This occurred to me only a day or two ago. Shouldn't I be going to bed earlier? I'm getting less sleep and I have TWO to take care of. But then I realized that if I went to bed at 8 or 9, I'd only have an hour or so of no Jack, and while I love Jack, really, I do look forward to my toddler-free evenings. I need my toddler-free evenings. I have television and blogging and reading and snacks to enjoy and DAMMIT I am going to enjoy them.

So Phillip hasn't done a feeding yet, even though I swear that is what kept me functioning when Jack was tiny. I think with Molly, feeding her is a zillion times easier so it's not as big a deal. (Although she takes a bottle like a champ,. THANK YOU BABY GODS.) And I swear, today is the first day I've felt this tired. Maybe because today was my first real day doing it on my own and, like I said, I was amazing.

Molly is just as easy, if not easier, than Jack. And I am infinitely less neurotic, less afraid and not nearly as hard on myself. But Phillip and I aren't in the high-on-new-baby-fumes lovey-dovey place we were in when Jack was born. This time we're all business. We're dealing with a toddler discovering his [annoyingly strong] will. We've got work deadlines and laundry and sometimes someone doesn't clean up after breakfast which makes someone else irrationally angry. While we really took time out to enjoy and marvel over Jack, we've just sort of put Molly into the New Baby slot and went on, business as usual. I feel bad writing that, for the obvious reasons, but that's how things are. Sometimes I think it's sad, sometimes I think it's good. Molly might not have her parents making googly eyes at her all hours of the day, but they're a heck of a lot more competent than they were with her brother.

(And we still make googly eyes. Molly is fascinating. She looks absolutely nothing like Jack, and I am pretty sure she has a dimple in her right cheek. I spend quite a lot of time inspecting that right cheek to see if I'm right.)

Anyway. I need to make dinner.

P.S. I have some half-assed thoughts on low carb diets at the other blog.


P.P.S. I ended up emailing my Not Yet Friend and I'm glad I did. Thanks for your input. The End. 

A toast

The good news: tomorrow I will upload my finished (FINISHED!) website to my client's FTP site and then I will be done done done done done never to do this again, what was I THINKING?

The bad news: I wasted my entire weekend learning how to write a PHP script, only to find out that I should have been writing an ASP script. And if you actually know what that means you know that these people shouldn't have let me anywhere NEAR their website. Seriously. NOT DOING THIS AGAIN.

And in OTHER news! Have you heard about Jess's wedding shower?

Jess is a Frequent Commenter here on Mighty Maggie, which is so many kinds of awesome I can't even tell you, because Jess's blog sits in a folder in my rss reader called INTERNET ROCKSTARZ. Well, I was lame and never sent my ACTUAL shower gift (it's sitting on my kitchen counter!  STILL!) and I wanted to make sure I did the next part, which is write some kind of toast or sentimental Ode to Marriage for Jess to read. Ummmm...

Jess, on an average day I am lucky if I get five minutes of conversation with my husband. We are sleep deprived, doused in spit up, grousing at each other and at the kid who eats solid food. We can't remember when the bathroom was last cleaned. We've had work deadlines over our heads. We're eating junk food for dinner (at 9 o'clock at night, in front of our respective laptops). The other night we stayed up late talking about whether we should call it "time out" or "sitting in a corner".

It's been a while since I could say it's romantic, but it's the best most wonderful funnest smartest thing I've ever done. I loved what you wrote about knowing this is what you want because I totally knew what you were talking about. It's just... the awesomest. I can't wait to read about the purple wedding and all the well-written thoughts I know you'll have about Getting Married. And then? I REALLY can't wait to read about the BABIES!

(I had to give a wedding toast once and I ruined the whole thing by sobbing and rambling incoherently. This was marginally better. I said MARGINALLY.)

Yay Jess and Torsten!

This is only your first stop

Jack has already spent quality time in the corner today, as he refused to come down the stairs this morning. He'd crawl down one stair, then sit. Then maybe another stair, and sit some more. Then he would crawl back up. Oh, maybe he'd give me another stair, but not two. And because I had Molly in my arms, what was I supposed to do about it? Nothing I said, no tone of voice, no amount of glares had any effect WHATSOEVER. I ran into the living room to put Molly down, ran back to the stairs and swept that kid out of the stairwell and into the corner, where I had to hold him still while I counted under my breath. We've been doing the corner thing for a few days now and while it seems to get more of a reaction than anything else I've tried, I don't know if it's working. If you're at ALL interested in this sort of thing, if you have any advice, if you have the perfect child and think I'm just doing everything wrong, if you have the same kid and the same issues, head over to Parenting where I have vented about this kind of thing IN MINUTE DETAIL.


(On the plus side, he's not as whiny as he's been. The Whiny has been replaced with Willful. I can't decide which I prefer, not like it matters. Whatever. Anyway.)

Following today's model of kicking you off to another site, I've got my first post up at my new blawg: Hot By Thirty. Again, if you're interested in that sort of thing. I meant to dress it up a little, but sometimes, as one of my former bosses used to say, done is better than perfect. (Do you know how many times I have to say that to myself? Sometimes done is better than perfect? It's right up there with Hail Marys in the Things I Repeat Over And Over When Totally Stressed Out file.)

I'm not sure how I'm going to tell you when I have something new over there. Especially since I'm in the middle of redesigning THIS site. (What is wrong with me? Like I don't have anything else to do.) Whatever. That is what feeds are for. 

My sister helped me take both kids to the grocery store yesterday and while we were there I said, "Will I regret not buying any chocolate today?" And my sister, wise soul that she is, said yes. I will regret it. And THANK GOD I had a chocolate-affirming person with me because I AM GOING TO NEED MY CHOCOLATE TODAY.

10 minutes till nap time

One of these things is not like the other...

For the last week or so, Jack and I have been engaged in a battle of wills. (I NEED that wine.) He was particularly and impressively horrible yesterday, Phillip's first day back at work. But I already banged out that missive and sent it directly to Parenting, to be published Thursday. Unless, of course, they fire me, which is entirely possible given that all I send them are incoherent vents and/or pleas for help.

When he is not being a willful pest, he's heart-meltingly adorable. There were three minutes yesterday when Jack held Molly for the first time and my heart exploded all over the living room. I would have taken a picture, except that the camera was across the room and my 16-month-old was centimeters away from poking out my 2-week-old's eyes.

The day before Phillip went back to work Jack got his first haircut. SIGH.

I wasn't big on the haircut thing, which is weird because I personally believe men should wear their hair short (and hats! bring back the fedora!) and facial hair is a grave evil and blah blah blah. But this was BABY hair. His FIRST HAIR. Also I kept hoping that one little curl in the back would turn into more curls and that the floppy unevenness would turn into an adorable bowl-ish cut. But no, it was just looking messy and stringy and I had to listen to my mother make hint after hint about needing a haircut.

So we took him to a salon just for little kids (can you say YUPPIE?!) and oh man you guys, there is a reason you take your kid to a little kid salon instead of the Great Cuts down the street, and that reason is:

a waiting room that resembles a miniature Chuck E. Cheese!

Although that means the crying begins before you even start the haircut, because someone does not want to leave the WAITING ROOM.

The haircut lady was very nice and immediately got Jack all zoned out on Elmo, the better to not get himself stabbed on a pair of pointy scissors.

The world could be blowing up all around me, but I wouldn't notice because ELMO ELMO ELMO.



And because she's feeling left out:


Molly meets Fat the Bunny.

If I'm not complaining I've got nothing

There will be no regularly scheduled venting about Whiny and Disobedient Toddlers today as I just got off the phone with Liz and am having an Attack of the Perspectives. Go send Liz some love.

Phillip is at work. I am at home. With two babies. Both of whom are napping. Five hours into this gig and I'm doing rather well, if I may so myself. Molly had her two week appointment this morning and has gained back her birth weight and then some (GO ME! GO ME! GO ME!) I managed to feed both children and put them both down for naps. (Although the term 'nap' is used loosely when it comes to newborns. This girl wants to eat every thirty minutes it seems like.) And now I'm sort of annoyed with myself for burning through the entire first season of Mad Men in one week (and caught up with the second season during the second week) so NOW what am I going to watch? The Hills?

(Also: I am physically restraining myself from writing an entire post devoted to Mad Men. I am no TV critic so my TV posts end up being "OMG DID YOU SEE THAT!" and "He's so dreamy!" and "I hate that girl!" and "WHY IS HEIDI DATING THAT CREEP?" and really, no one cares about that. But you GUYS! This SHOW! What took me so long? I think my favorite thing about it is that every time you think the story is going one way, it veers off in a direction you weren't expecting. Nah, who am I kidding? My favorite thing about the show is deciding if I'd rather be Don's secretary or Roger's. CAN'T I BE BOTH?)

But the Attack of the Perspectives is keeping me from writing about anything else. Sigh. It's gloriously sunny, my kids are sleeping, I have low-fat fudge bars in the fridge and I am totally going to watch The Hills. Not much to complain about here