Holidays

Dec. 13th, 2009 11:56 pm
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
I am so excited for Christmas this year.  It's the first time that Tai is really able to participate, even in the smallest way.  He recognizes Christmas or 'Disnis' decorations - especially snow men, santas and lights.  He loves to point them out.  He wasn't thrilled about sitting on Santa's lap the other weekend, but we managed to get a good picture before he started to cry.   Which was better than last year, when he wouldn't even let us put him on Santa's lap before freaking out.

Most of all I'm looking forward to when he opens his presents.  I know commercialism has 'ruined the holidays' but I love finding just the right gift for someone and seeing their face as they peel back the paper... I'd be perfectly happy to just give presents, I don't need any myself.  (Though I wouldn't complain if someone felt the need to get me a gift certificate for a massage or a weekend away or something.  Heh.)  Tonight Tom and I went out and shopped for Tai.  He's starting to get to that age when he notices things and remembers - so I didn't want to do the shopping while he was with us.  (Though I did buy some clothes that were on sale at the Outlet Mall in SoCal when we were down there.  I figure he isn't going to be into clothes yet, so that doesn't matter.)  Fortunately Sunday night isn't a big shopping night, even in San Mateo.  So we were able to brave the store without going utterly mad.  Unfortunately they didn't have the tricycle that we wanted (which is the main portion of Tai's gift) so we're going to have to order online anyway.  Ah well.  I mostly wanted the hands-on experience of checking out the toys before purchasing them that one just doesn't get with online shopping.  I suppose I'm old fashioned like that.  Same way I like to write with pen and paper before transcribing to the computer.  Or I prefer paper books to reading online.

So my shopping is mostly done - I have stuff for Tai, for Tom, for my brother, and we're going to do Photo books on iPhoto (of Tai, of course) for several family members, so that takes care of them, too.  I just need to get something special for Mom.

I am totally in the Christmas spirit, even if I did have a stomach ache earlier.  
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
Anat makes sufganiyot

We were invited to Anat, Karen and Talya's house for their (sorta) annual Hanukkah party so at a little after six we headed out in the wind and the rain to break the darkness with some candle light.  It's been a couple of years since I was able to attend their party - last year they were in LA for Anat's internship; the year before that she had just had Talya; the year before that I was sick... but the year before *that* I went and never in my life have I eaten so much delicious fried food.  I couldn't miss that this year!

We arrived late, but in plenty of time to have some of Anat's latkas.  Tai wasn't sure he liked it at first, but it seemed to taste better from Daddy's plate than Mommy's.  His favorite thing, however, was the sufganiyot - fresh donuts, which Anat is cooking above.  They are perfect, soft and melt in your mouth, hot enough to burn if you eat them right out of the oil (as I did) with a light dusting of powdered sugar.  Truth be told, I'd be happy to skip the latkas entirely and just eat sufganiyot.  But that's because I am a total pig.  

I spent the first little bit of the party feeling awkward - I didn't know anyone other than Anat and Karen (and Talya, of course).  I made a little chit chat, but that's harder to do as a stay-at-home mom... or maybe I'm just projecting.  Then I started helping Anat cook and then I felt much more relaxed.  Tai, as I am sure you will *not* be surprised to hear, had no such issues.  He had a fabulous time running around and flirting with everyone and charming them, and playing with Talya's toys.  It took her longer to warm up than it took him!  But by the end of the evening he was helping her with toys she dropped and trying to one up her show-offingness by doing his modified downward dog yoga pose on his head.  And then shaking his butt like he was dancing, and falling over.  One of the other party goers suggested we should get him into theater immediately because he seems to enjoy performing so much.  I'm just glad he has no trace of social anxiety!

He also had fun helping to light the Hanukkah candles, though he didn't know any of the blessings.  Fortunately no one set their hair on fire.  And i was the only one who spilled wine.

It was another reminder that I feel so much better when I push my limits and go out even if I'm not feeling like it.  I have a good time, and my mood improves immensely.  Not to mention, Anat and Karen are good people.  Talya (their daughter) is only two months older than Tai and I think they'd have a lot of fun together if we all hung out more.  I need to make it a priority.

aubreym: stick figure thinking "Sometimes, in my head, I pretend boys are kissing." (slashy)
Tonight was the last meeting of my novel-writing class. It was a long class - 6 months, though we only met once every four weeks. In between the meetings, we were to share 10 pages of our writing with an assigned partner, and update our teacher on how our week went, writing wise. It was a mixed bag - while I enjoyed the in-class discussions and writing, I was disappointed that my partner was mostly absent and dropped the class without even letting me know. Neither she nor I were very good at pushing each other - when we missed our weekly pages, neither of us gave the other one grief about it. In fact - for the first month or so, I sent her pages, but she didn't send any in return. I felt awkward about that - as though she was doing more work than I was and I found it harder to send pages. In fact, she only ever sent me two weekly updates.

I liked most of my classmates, though there were a couple of people who tended to hold forth in the discussions - giving long winded responses that seemed more about them than the writer. But that happens in just about every group, so I'm not too bothered about that. But going three weeks in between classes made it difficult for me to form any friendships, or writing relationships. Part of that is my social anxiety - I had to re-acclimate in every session... but I think part of it is we didn't get a chance to get momentum together. There is a possibility that I can take a class with the same teacher that meets every other week for 6 months.

The other good things about that class are - we would submit more writing, 25 pages three times for a total of 75 pages - and the critiques would be real critiques, rather than simply a discussion of what we liked.

I found that helpful - it's encouraging to have other people (especially other writers, and ones who don't know me) tell me that they enjoy what I'm working on. Every time I've had a class, I come home completely energized and feeling good about my novel and the possibilities. This is not a small thing, especially since I pretty much stopped writing for a couple of years after some especially harsh critiques from a college professor. Not something I need in the middle of a first draft. But I'm feeling thicker skinned than I was in college. (Thank god for that!) I also think my writing has improved. (Which, I should certainly hope!) And sometimes I feel like I need more depth to the critique than I was getting here.

That said - tonight's critique went *very* well. I was especially pleased because this submission was entirely new writing. There were a bunch of good comments about how my scenes felt realistic and the dialogue was working well. My teenagers felt like teenagers. The characters were realistic, even though I'm not a gay guy myself.

My favorite comments, though, were these:

The teacher said my writing was spare and understated, which works well with the passions I'm exploring. (I'm over the moon about that, because my harshest criticism from the college professor was that I overwrote *everything*. Maybe it was an adolescent thing. I hope so.)

She said I should trust my instincts, my sense of story and character and ability with language. She wrote that once I finished a draft "the writing itself, I don't think, will need much fixing - it will be only a matter of shaping the material". (I am just so pleased that an objective observer thinks I can write. Woo!)

At the end of the class, she talked about how excited she is to get to read everyone's stories, and that she hopes to be able to buy them all in bookstores. She talked about how she can't think of anything better than for everyone to be able to share their stories with the rest of the world. I found it so refreshing that she comes from a place of fullness - that one of us getting published doesn't take away from her, but instead adds to the world. I think this is why I trust her as a teacher. She sees all of us as story-tellers, in this together. Minor issues aside, she made this a good class.
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
I am exhausted.  Don't worry - I'll quit writing that soon.  I'm just wishing that Tai would, one night on his own - magically, sleep through the night.  Either in our bed or his, I have no preference.  Just no 1, 3, and 5am wake up calls for boobie.  No nightmares and following desires to play robots (I'm not sure he was awake when he suggested the robot thing).  Just sleep.

 I fantasize about sleep the way most guys fantasize about sex.  I dream about solitude and a king size bed with soft, clean sheets, piled with pillows and blankets with a night stand big enough for a glass of water, a pile of books and a notebook.  No need for an alarm clock in my fantasy.  I could sprawl out - arms and legs like a starfish.  I would open the window at the head of the bed and let the cool air rush in.  If I get chilly, I can just curl up in the blankets.   I could get lost in novels and when I start feeling sleepy I could just lay the book down and sink into the mattress.  

Of course, I'd settle.  A full size bed.  A cot.  A chaise lounge.  A couch.  A tiny night stand.  A single book.  One blanket and pillow.  Wrinkly, scratchy sheets.  But please, just some quiet and a luxurious 8 hours of solid sleep.  I haven't had that in more than two years.  I miss it.

(But not enough, apparently, to consistently try sleep training.)
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
  1. I have cold feet.  I never have cold feet - I wear Birkenstocks in the winter in Massachusetts.  San Francisco should not be 44 degrees.
  2. I am catching up on my Dollhouse viewing.  (Topher cracks my ass up.  Also - Summer Glau as a hot, crazy, brainy chick?  Yes plz!)
  3. Luna and Cocoa are sleeping next to me on the couch in little dog curls.  They are snoring.
  4. I'm contemplating my [livejournal.com profile] yuletide fanfic.
  5. I'm contemplating my novel.
  6. I'm wishing 'contemplating' turned into 'writing' without any work from me.
  7. I'm drinking spiky nog.
  8. House singing George Michael makes me giggle.
  9. By 10pm my brain is mostly mush.  It is 10:15.
  10. I'm enjoying our Christmas tree, which is up and decorated.  So far, none of the ornaments have been tasted by Tai.
  11. I still need to schedule an appointment with my psychiatrist.  I've been saying that for months.
  12. I owe at least two people phone calls.  
  13. I am tired. 
  14. When I say that I'm grumpy and Tai echoes the 'grumpy', it's hard to stay grumpy.
  15. I still need to sign up for Natural Resources birth doula training.  I've been saying that for months, too.
  16. I'm missing someone.
  17. I talked to my Dad today, after a couple of months.  He called me, which is a change.  And he's thinking of coming out.  I'm not holding my breath.  But I also am.
  18. I'm finding one of the hardest things about being a stay at home mom is boring myself.  I need more hobbies.  And a break.
  19. I'm having a hard time, anxiety-wise, lately.  It's stomach flu season, and I'd be happy to hole up inside.  But I do not want to do that to Tai.  So I'm pushing hard at my limits.
  20. I'm longing for peace.
  21. I'm finding this list to be more difficult than I thought.  (See numbers 9 and 13 above.)
  22. I'm looking forward to a New Years Eve party with a couple of families from my Mom's Group.
  23. I am fantasizing about sleep.
  24. I'm missing my grandmothers.
  25. I'm trying to remember to be grateful - I have so many things in my life to be thankful for.
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
Last night was the 31st Annual Sing-it-yourself Messiah and even though we were tired and we hadn't planned ahead, Mom and I managed to go.  It was our fifth year (though we skipped 2006 and 2007 because Grandma was sick, and then dying).  Every year we say we're going to take the classes to learn our vocal parts, but we never do.  Even so, I think I'm making a little bit of progress both keeping on the alto line and not getting utterly lost in the notes.  This year it was held at the Mission Dolores Basilica instead of Davies Symphony Hall.  It made it harder to see the conductor, but there was something about singing in a church that felt perfect.

Every time I participate (in whatever small way) in performing this piece, I find something else that speaks to me - even though I'm ambivalent about Jesus and Christianity.  Every time, I feel called back to my roots (though they are slight) as a Christian.  This year I was moved by the alto's air that went: " He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief".  I am drawn by an aspect of God that has lived as a human, one that is 'a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.'  This is and aspect of God that I can relate to.

The air that struck me as most beautiful was where the soprano sang, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; He is the righteous Saviour, and He shall speak peace unto the heathen.  Rejoice greatly."  The tempo slows as she sings "He shall speak peace" and she repeats 'peace'.  My heart opened and softened.  Peace, yes.  This is what I need - heathen, or no.  Please, speak peace unto me.

All I hear, however, is Tai speaking 'boobie' unto me.
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
Tai's social smile

Dear Tai,

At this moment, I hear you calling me from upstairs where you should still be sleeping.  I'm pretending that somehow writing this letter makes up for sending your Daddy up to you so I can finish my post Sing-It-Yourself Messiah eggnog.  This is the difference between life as an infant and life as a toddler.  I wouldn't have done that even 10 months ago.  I would have been up the stairs in a flash.  Now your Daddy and I trade stink-eyes until one of us gets up.  Not that we don't love you - we are just greedy for every moment of solitude.  You have a toddler's energy and we are getting old.  Also, Mommy likes to use the bathroom all by her lonesome.  Weird, I know!

I can't believe you are almost two.  And at the same time, I certainly can believe it.  You are talking up a storm - though sometimes I don't understand you no matter how many times you repeat it.  You can form three and four word sentences - especially imperative sentences.  You are still the director of your world, at least as much as the pain-in-the-butt adults will allow you to be.  You want to do everything yourself (woe betide the person who doesn't let you buckle your seatbelt or jump off the curb in the parking lot!) and you love to help - especially getting mail and doing the laundry.  Folding and unfolding - one and the same thing for Tai!

We just got back from a trip to San Diego and the desert.  You got to visit your Pawpaw, Des, and your Daddy's grandpa, Pop in San Diego.  You impressed them with your ability to entertain yourself for at least twenty minutes just going out the dog door and letting yourself back in the back door.  You visited with your Uncle Q and your Granddad in the desert.  You're starting to have a preference for hanging out with other guys... when you had a choice of playing with Grandma or Granddad, you picked Granddad.  (Which prompted your Daddy and I to wonder how we ended up with such a man's man.)  You spent a lot of time improving your kicking abilities, and started to learn how to hold a golf club.  You take after your Mommy - you're quite the water baby!  Even though it wasn't above 50 degrees on our last day down south, you still wanted to swim.

It's almost Christmas and we've started decorating the house.  You love your model train that runs around our tree, and you know what snow men look like (even if it's fortunately far to warm to make a real one).  You sat on Santa's lap for the first time and we managed to get a good photo before you decided that sitting on strange guys laps is not for you.  I can't wait to share the magic of this season with you.  It's one of my favorites, and it's going to be even better now that I can make it magic for someone else, too.

I can't even count how many words you say.  You still say 'oleoleo' for cereal.  You say 'Da-dad' for Granddad, 'bahbin' for mountain, 'Howmeen' for Halloween, 'disniss' for Christmas, 'ay-oh' for radio, 'Peber' for Peter, 'nineese' for Chinese (as in food).  You still call Grandma 'Bah'.  You still love to order the dogs around.  Cocoa is 'Doh-doh'.

Even if I listed everything you can do (climb up the climbing-web on the playground), everything you love (balls, trucks, drawing, playing piano), everything you can say ('Dad-dad, sit down floor please), it still wouldn't encompass why I love you.  I love the way you say 'please' and 'thank you' for everything.  I love the way you say 'You, Tai' and crack up after I sing the 'I love you a bushel and a peck' song.  I love your laugh. I love the scrunchy face you make now when I tell you to smile for a picture.  I love how much you love experiencing the world.  

Tonight I was at the Mission Dolores Basilica with Bah, singing the Messiah and at intermission we went to see Mary's shrine.  Standing there in front of her I offered my thanks again - that I was lucky enough to be blessed with you.  

Love you times a million,
Your Mommy

aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
The subject says it all.  I got a call from Dr. Treece this morning.  I was napping with Tai but got a message.  He said, "I got the results from Tai's blood tests and there's some things we need to talk about."  Yeah, those words will strike fear in a mom's heart.  Needless to say I called him back right away.  Apparently Tai's lead level is 9.  That's one point short of where some brain development problems might start.  It's not as high as it could be (for example, according to Tom the CDC says cities EPA often don't get involved unless the child's lead level is 15).  But most babies Tai's age have levels of like 1 or something low.

I haven't caught Tai eating paint chips.  All I can think is that he's been exposed from the construction we've been doing on the house.  I worried that it's in my body, that I've been poisoning him through my breast-milk.  My aunt told me all along that we shouldn't do the construction while I was pregnant and Tai was an infant. But Tom swore that it was fine, his parents did it and his brothers are fine.  I didn't really believe him but I didn't have a choice.  I don't have access to a ton of money to just finish the house myself. So I went along.  And now Tai might be the worse for it.  Tom says we'll just paint over the whole house and that will solve the problems.  I'd rather just be done with the construction.

Dr. Treece is proscribing Tai vitamin and iron supplements, since he's also mildly anemic.  Hopefully the iron will bind to the lead and filter it out or something like that.  Oddly enough I haven't done any research yet myself.  I'm just tired.  Tomorrow.  Until then I'll try not to worry - what's done is done.
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
Last night Tai slept poorly.  He woke up almost every hour to nurse, which meant I woke up.  At least Tom got to sleep through the night, because Tai never woke up enough to fully cry before I started nursing.  I need to do something differently with his sleep schedule because waking up that many times isn't good for either one of us.  He did, however, take two long naps today.  Two hours in the morning and then over an hour in the afternoon.  But then it took over an hour to get him down tonight.   

Fortunately I got together again with Marne and Eliana this afternoon.  Tai and I spent a couple of hours with them, playing with Eliana's toys, eating her food, making a mess on their kitchen floor with chewed up tofu and eggs.  Marne was incredibly gracious, she didn't even let me clean up and Eliana was kind enough to ignore the fact that Tai wanted whatever toy she had, and drooled on all of it.  Eliana is just three weeks younger than Tai, though she was two months premature.  It's fun to hang out with another mama who has a baby almost exactly my age.  We spent a lot of time talking about what they're doing and what they're eating.  And we talked about how having a child has changed us and changed our relationship with our husbands.  It's funny, they're having many of the same fights Tom and I do. 

I really enjoy just sitting and chatting with other moms.  We don't have to do anything special, we don't have to go anywhere.  Just hanging out in the livingroom while our kidlets try to get into trouble is enough.  When I left I felt good, full, happy, understood.  We made plans to meet next Monday and I'm looking forward to it.
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
Tom's been on vacation since Christmas Eve. It's been good for both Tai and I to have him around. I get more of a break, and Tai has gotten some quality time with his Daddy. Several times this past week Tom and Tai have gone to the park just the two of them. It gave me a chance to just be by myself for an hour or two, and it gave them a chance to not have Momma watching all the time.

Today Tai spent much of the day whining. I think he's teething - he's been drooling a lot too, though he won't let me look at his bottom teeth. He just cut one on the top, bringing his total to 6. I think Tom has a better idea of how I feel after a day of Tai-whine, though! I'm not looking forward to tomorrow, though. It's going to be an adjustment for all three of us, after getting to some sort of routine.

There were some high points of the day, though. We picked up burritos at my favorite taqueria in the Mission and took them to Dolores Park. Tom shared his with Tai, who enjoyed it quite a bit. We played on the swings, Tai slid down the slide, we met a couple of other babies who were close to Tai's age. And then we came across a brass band practicing down by 18th and Dolores.

I love San Francisco. Where else can you find a bunch of hipsters playing brass band music on the street? One dude with a huge scruffy beard playing sax. A guy with an anarchy tatttoo on his hand playing something that looked like a mini-french horn. A skinny hipster girl playing a saw with a bow. Two big drums played by a girl in horn-rimmed glasses and another guy. A girl playing a snare drum. It rocked. Tai wasn't sure if he liked it at first, but then he got into the groove and danced.

Tonight I finished my first loaf of handmade bread. It wasn't bad. It turned out a little bit heavy, but I was using Safeway All purpose flour and added in some wheat as well. Plus, it was my first time! Tom ate a whole piece and I had two. We'll see if Tai likes it tomorrow.

Tom made a big batch of applesauce. It came out very tasty. Not as sweet as the pear-sauce, but more complex. He mixed a bunch of different apple types, which I think was a good idea. It didn't get finished until after Tai's bed time, so he'll be tasting that for the first time tomorrow as well.



aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
No headache tonight.  And even though Tai has woken up every hour since I got him down at 7:30, he's only taken about 15 minutes to get back down each time.  I need to finish reading the sleep books I bought (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and the No-Cry Sleep Solution), because no matter how hard I try I just am not learning anything by osmosis.  

What helped most, however, was the comments I got on my last entry from other mamas.  It was good to know that I'm not alone, that this won't last forever, and also that it could (and possibly will) be worse.  The levity of comments helped.  Knowing that other mamas lose their patience too helped.   Community (both in person and online) is a wonderful thing.  Social anxiety aside, I'm a social animal.  I do best when I have friends.  Also - a night of sleep helped.  I need to remember that when I'm feeling my most frustrated - a new day will come and things will change, again.

Tom, Tai and I went down to the Farmer's Market again today.  We got a bit of a later than usual start and didn't arrive until after 11.  Unfortunately that meant a lot of the veggies were picked over.  I skipped getting Bok Choy and Collard Greens (two of my favorite things) because they both looked wilty and spotted.  I got the last of the broccoli right before another person came.  Several stands were closing down before we left.  We did get some good shiitake mushrooms, garlic, butternut squash, apples (for apple sauce!), carrots, potatoes (what are 'taters, precious? Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew...) and a random bunch of greens that is apparently 'like spinach'. 

I made stuffed squash for dinner tonight - baked the butternut squash then filled it with sauteed shiitakes, garlic and onions, as well as bread crumbs, cottage cheese and spices.  Then baked them again.  Very tasty.  Not necessarily pretty - I have to figure out how to stuff the squash without making a mess, but that will come.   I only wish that Tai could have stayed awake for dinner.  He likes squash, and this would be easy for him to eat.

Then, while Tom finished his rounds of Left 4 Dead, I mixed up the beginning of a bread dough.  I haven't made bread before, but I love fresh bread and I figured why not give it a try?  Mixing dough by hand is tough!  I have to put the muscles I'm getting from carrying Tai around into use.  We'll see what happens when I finish the dough tomorrow.  I think I might actually be enjoying this cooking thing.
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Tai)
I have a headache tonight, so please excuse the whiny nature of this post. 

I am losing my mind.  It's funny how quickly I can go from 'ahh, having a child is bliss and I love every second of it and Tai makes me so happy and the world is wonderful la la la' to 'I am going to have an annoying, whiny, never-sleeping, nursing through the night never in the day, almost toddler for the rest of my life and it sucks and I'm going crazy and ARG!'

Earlier tonight I was rocking Tai back to sleep and I was thinking how nice it was to have his warm weight on my lap and how much I love nursing him to sleep.  I love his dreaming smiles and his little sounds.  He fell right to sleep, I put him in his bed.

Fifteen minutes later he was awake again.  He wouldn't let Tom help him sleep.  I tried to nurse him down, but the minute I laid him on the bed he woke up and started crying.  He nursed until he fell off the boob, but then he'd grab for it again and pacifiers just weren't working.  I spent half an hour trying to put him down and gave up.   Now he's watching Heroes with Tom and I, trying to get into whatever he's not supposed to (bottle caps, forks, the one remote we're using) and acting like he's never going to sleep again.  

I'm not sure what to do.  I don't really want to do anything that involves long crying episodes, even if I'm there by his side.  But maybe I should?  I tried putting him down early tonight - at 6:30 - since he seemed tired and had an early nap.  He went to sleep quickly so I thought I did the right thing.  Of course, he was up permanently at 9:15.  Please remind me that he's not going to need me to nurse him constantly when he's 10?

He is adorable, though.  Just a second ago he was giving me unprompted kisses (open mouth, of course) and grinning like a little devil.

XBox

Jan. 1st, 2009 11:30 pm
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
I am not a video game person.  It's not that I dislike all of them, just most of them.  I'm not very good, either.  However, every now and again a game catches my interest and I get hooked for a little while.  I've gotten hooked on the Sims, both the original and the second version.  I had an extended run with Crash Bandicoot and Super Mario.  A longer time ago I played a lot of Centipede, Galaga and Ms. PacMan.  I'm not one for the first person shooter, even if you're just killing zombies like Left 4 Dead (which is Tom's current obsession).  I've never played World of Warcraft.

The other day Tom had found a demo version of Sonic the Hedgehog Unleashed for the XBox 360.  He had me play it, just to check it out.  The first run through I couldn't get used to the 3D bits and I found the controller awkward.  But then I tried it again. And again.  And then I decided we had to go out and buy it.  I couldn't wait for the shipping from Amazon.com - after all, Tom goes back to work next week and I'll never get the chance to play when I'm spending the day with Tai.

We picked it up this evening and I've been playing since then - with only a break for dinner (which Tom cooked) and to nurse Tai down.  Not a very social way to spend my life.  However, it felt good.  I forget how addictive playing video games can be.  I get stuck on a minorly difficult level and I *have* to keep playing until I can figure out how to get past it.  When I do manage, the victory is sweet.  However, I get frustrated almost as easily.  I start to act like a five year old, "I pressed A but it didn't register!  How come they can shoot two bombs at once and I can't?  Dammit!"  My sore-loser side comes out to play and my blood pressure rises.  Why is it fun?  I guess it's the relief that is so much greater when a level is particularly difficult.

Now the baby is crying, so it's off to bed.
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
It's down to the last half an hour of 2008 and I'm sitting in the big green rocking chair, where I've spent many long hours rocking and nursing Tai.  For the moment I only have my computer on my lap.  Tai is sleeping in the bedroom and Tom is playing Left 4 Dead on the couch.  (So my background soundtrack is zombies barfing and guns blazing.)  Tai had a good first New Years Eve - he and Tom went out to a co-worker's party while I stayed home and watched Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers and read Brain,Child.  (Never let it be said that I don't know how to party.)

Tai had a fabulous time.  He charmed everyone, as usual.  He scammed some crackers, cheese and pickles from the hostess, Angie, even though he'd eaten plenty of Chinese food at home.  He certainly takes after Momma in terms of taste - he loved the dill pickles (though he mostly left them as chewed up, soggy messes for Tom to get rid of) and hated the bite of blue cheese that Angie offered.  He also loved their kitty, despite his recent run-in with [livejournal.com profile] twirlgrrl 's Stinky.  The kitty would not allow baby-pats, which is probably smart considering his Luna-pets often include ear and tail pulling.  He cruised around the apartment and flirted with everyone until he finally collapsed in Tom's arms after bonking his head on the kitchen table legs.  He would have stayed longer, but he was falling asleep nad it was getting late.  He's definitely like Daddy in that way.  And, true to form, he was flirting with other party-goers until the very last minute.

So I'm listening to zombies die and considering the end of the year and wondering what the New Year will bring.  Even though there have been a few hard moments, and even though many people I love are going through hard times, I'm feeling pretty positive about 2008 - after all, this is the year that Tai joined my family.  No gift could be better.  And even though I'm horrible about keeping resolutions, I'm going to make a couple of broad resolutions - not just for 2009 but for the next few years.

1.  I will do my best to be healthy - physically and emotionally.  I'll keep learning how to eat well, and to share that with Tai.  I'll keep up with therapy and journaling and working through my issues so Tai doesn't have to deal with my stuff on top of his.  I'll be more active so that I can keep up with Tai and teach him that moving is fun.

2.  I will do my best to be an adult - I'm going to stop giving so much weight to what other people think and try to follow my heart both in terms of how I live my life, but also how I raise my son.  I'll listen to advice, I'll do research, but I'll make my own decisions (with Tom, of course).  I will do what's best for Tai, even when it's hard for me.

3.  I will do my best to live my life to the fullest without allowing my fears to stop me.  As far as I know I've only got this one wild and precious life.  I want to make something of it.

and finally -
4.  I will cut myself some slack.  I will remember progress, not perfection.  When I make a mistake, I'll just chalk it up to a learning experience and move forward.

Happy New Year to all - hope 2009 is wonderful.
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
We had an appointment with Dr. Mike this morning.  It went pretty well - the only slight problem was that Tai's ginormous head has gotten even bigger.  For the first time Dr. Mike paused about its growth. There was mention of hydrocephalus, though Tai's soft spot was too small to check through that. But Tom pointed out that he had a big head as a baby (and still does), and my cousin Jim also had the big baby head.  Fortunately Dr. Mike pointed out that Tai didn't seem to have any of the other symptoms, and said, "This is me, not worrying."  But of course I'm a first-time Momma and I'm still slightly concerned.

Tai's growing like a weed - he's 26 pounds, 4 oz and 30 inches long.  His head is 40 cm.  He had to get his second vaccination as well - should have had more but I was lazy about making appointments.  I'm still a little worried about the long term effects of vaccination ingredients, like aluminum, so it's not only laziness.  It's also procrastination and the desire to really allow time to pass between injections.  He got the pneumococcal vaccine (he was also supposed to get the HIB vaccine, but apparently the office had run out).  He only cried for a few seconds during and after the injection and Tom was there to hold him so I didn't have to. (Next month will be my turn, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

The hardest thing for him was when he had to have his blood drawn for the lead test.  It's standard procedure, and Tom wanted him to be tested anyway, since our house is old.  We had to wait for nearly an hour at St. Luke's, but Tai didn't mind watching all of the people who were also waiting and he also pushed his stroller around the hallway for a bit.  Poor kid has my veins with their tendency to hide somewhere deep in the recesses of our arms.  Tom said the lab guy had to poke around in there for a bit to get one.  He also seems to have my stomach for needles; Tom said he just watched while the blood was drawn.  He cried a little, but Tom said that was because he had to hold his arms immobile.  I was, of course, hiding in the hallway.  I can take whatever procedure being done to myself, but it's a whole other story when it comes to Tai.  I know it's for his own good, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Tai didn't seem to suffer any ill effects from the vaccine, though he was a bit grumpier than usual.  Though that could be because his naps were screwed up.  To make it up to him we went to Balboa park for a little while this evening, so he got to play on a whole new set of playground equipment.  Actually the park was pretty cool.  They had rock climbing walls and a little school bus to climb on and a swing that looks like a chair.  I can't wait to take him back when he's older and able to walk and climb.  We're going to have the best times.

Blocked

Dec. 29th, 2008 09:18 pm
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
Tom's still home from work this week - he gets the week between Christmas and New Year's off, which is pretty cool.  It means we get to spend more time together, and he gets to spend more time with Tai.  Which also means I get to spend more time by myself.  I've actually spent a couple of hours writing, one yesterday and one today.

Unfortunately I'm having a really difficult time getting into it.  I haven't been able to get into the novel at all.  Instead, I've been working on my fanfiction.  I feel like it's at least making me practice writing.  I have an outline that I'm working from.  I have most of it plotted out and I'm over a hundred pages in.  It is a novel - just not one that I'll be able to publish unless I do some substantial reworking.  Even then, I'm not sure.  But it's fun - I enjoy playing with my versions of Tolkien's characters.  Creating my own back-story, filling in blanks he left when he wrote the Ring Quest.  He wrote an adventure story, and allegory.  I am working on something more character driven.  It's nothing like what he wrote, but it's still his world.

Even so, I just can't seem to get into the groove.  My words all seem off.  Stilted, boring, flat.  Not even melodramatic - that would need some bit of drama.  Instead I feel like I'm just plodding along.  I'm hoping that if I keep chipping away at it day by day I'll eventually find my way again.  I'll be able to rewrite, or throw away or just leave the bits I don't like.  But in the back of my mind all I can hear is the voices saying that I'm not really a writer.  Or I'm a crappy writer.  That I wont be published, that all of my hoping and dreaming is for nothing.  It's hard not to listen to those voices.  To keep going in the face of them.  It's frightening to think that writing, which I need to do as much as I need to breathe, might not be something that I'm good at, no matter how hard I try.  And being a bad writer is almost worse than not writing at all.

In other news, we took down the Christmas tree and packed away all of the ornaments.  I'm glad to have it down - now I don't have to spend my days thwarting Tai's desire to munch on glass.  Though I'm sure he's going to find the house much less exciting now.  No angels to point at.  No lights or snowmen.  At least he has new toys to keep him busy.  He still loves his drum and his doggy race car and everything else.  And Daddy will be home for the rest of the week so Mommy can steal away to chip away at the block.
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
This is what I've been working on today - the beginning of Chapter 10 of King's Courtesan (an alternate universe retelling of the Lord of the Rings).  Since it's more than my word minimum, I'm using it as my entry today.

Read more... )
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
Tonight the family (including Mom, McGee and Quin) went out to the Stinking Rose for dinner.  Tom and I haven't been there in probably 8 or more years, so when Quin suggested it, we figured why not?  We like garlic.  No one is going to want to come within fifty feet of any of us for the next century or so, however.  Everything we ate tonight had garlic in.  Fortunately Tai ate some too, so he won't asphyxiate when we go to bed.  Unfortunately we ate too much and so were too full to partake in the garlic icecream.  Maybe next time Quin is in town.

Tai was adorable.  He was hungry, but there was too much to see to spend any time nursing.  So we gave him some cheerios as an appetiser.  Then the rolls came.  He ate almost a quarter of one before stuffing his mouth so full that pieces started getting pushed out.  Mushy pieces.  Yum.  We figured we'd better stop that while we were ahead.  No roll-gagging at the restaurant, please.  Fortunately the food came and Tom shared his dinner.  Tai put away an impressive quantity of ravioli and garlic mashed potatoes.  On the ride home he fell into a carb induced coma.  He woke up a few minutes ago for a falling-asleep nurse, but went right back to sleep.  I'm going to have to follow soon. 

Mom mentioned again that he's getting more interested in solid food than he is in nursing and she and Tom talked a bit about Tai weaning in the relatively near future.  I'm not going to push him to wean, not by any stretch.  I would be happy to nurse him for the foreseeable future.  I love the closeness, the cuddling, the way we play and giggle.  It's something that Tai and I share that he doesn't share with anyone else.  But I'm also going to have to take my cues from him.  When he's ready, I'm going to have to let him go.

Fortunately he doesn't seem completely ready yet.  He still likes milky, especially at night.
 


Family

Dec. 26th, 2008 10:53 pm
aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
My brother has been in town for two and a half days and we're already bordering on irritating each other.  One of the things I'd like to do in my quest to become an adult is to learn how to hang out with him without feeling like we're about 14 and 10 again.  (And maybe that's over-estimating the ages we act.)

Generally we get along pretty well.  We love each other, without a doubt, and I know that no matter what happens in my life, he has my back.  When Tom broke up with me briefly back in my senior year of college and broke my heart, Quin offered to drive up to Rhode Island to kick his ass.  He was mostly serious about the offer, and if I had said yes he would have.  My grandma used to tell stories about how Quin and I would be fighting like cats and dogs, but if anyone else intervened, we'd unite and get mad at them instead.

But sometimes he drives me up the wall.  Whenever Mom asked him to do something to give her a hand while preparing for Christmas, he'd complain and half the time not do it.  She asked him not to poke one of her candles so the wax wouldn't get on the good table cloth (yes, a tiny bit of an anal request but that's neither here nor there) and he pouted for 20 minutes.  He was nice enough to hang out with me when I visited [livejournal.com profile] twirlgrrl and Blue today, but he did complain about not 'doing' anything.  (Don't worry, L - he had fun in the Haight later.  I just would have rather hung out at your place longer.)

Part of the problem is we're both into different things.  He'd be perfectly happy walking through the Mission or the Haight for the millionth time, but Golden Gate park is boring. He wants to go out to bars at night, preferably with Tom and/or me, but we're not much on the being out after 10 thing now that we have Tai.  Mom isn't so willing to help us to strike a compromise, always telling us to make a plan.  I suppose since we're both adults we shouldn't need our mother to run interference, but it does help.

The other problem is my family seems to be in the habit of spending *all* of our time together when we're visiting each other.  Like if I don't join them at the bar or a movie I'm a total kill-joy and I'm bringing the whole thing down, and sometimes Quin refuses to participate altogether.  So I get guilted into doing something I don't want to do and instead of just saying that I agreed to it, I get irritated.  Wendy encourages me to learn how to do it differently - reminding me that we can each do something we enjoy while letting someone else do something they enjoy.  But it takes time to shift a dynamic.

I'd just like to make things smoother, because it ends up making holidays tiring and stressful.  And when he's staying at our house it's a little too cozy.  Or maybe I'm just tired because I have a baby.
 


aubreym: Ocean beach at sunset (Default)
Tai had a fabulous day.  It started bright and early - 7am, though we managed to keep him occupied in bed until a more reasonable hour (7:30).  Tom figured that it would be a good idea to start the gift frenzy early so Tai wouldn't be too tired to enjoy it, and it turned out to be a good idea.  Even though I would have preferred to sleep in a bit longer.  Say two or three days longer.  We were surprised to discover that Quin was already awake when Tom went down to start the coffee.  This was lucky because then we had a built-in camera man.  Since there are so many relatives on the East Coast (and in the midwest) we had to videotape the proceedings for posterity.  

Tai is a true member of my family.  He went through each of his gifts very slowly, playing with and appreciating each one individually before moving on to the next.  We didn't even make it through all of the presents from Tom and I - we're saving a couple until tomorrow morning.  Tai started with his stocking, where he discovered a pair of shoes (tasty), a car, a truck, a train and a wooden maraca that was painted to look like a bumblebee.  He was pleased with the noisemaker, and then when we showed him how to drive the cars around he had fun with those too.  The first present he unwrapped was from Santa - a drum, filled with several other instruments (bells, a tamborine, a small xylaphone, and a rattle).  This turned out to be one of his top two gifts.  He *loves* to drum.  Also, the little drumsticks are perfect to stick in your mouth and teethe on.

He also got a cell phone (a plastic flip-phone that you can record a short message on).  In the last week he discovered how to hold the phone to his ear and listen, so I figured it would be a good gift and requested that Santa send one.  Someone pointed out that in a few years the phone will be an antique, because no one will use phones like that anymore.  It's certainly not an iPhone.  One of the noisier presents is a dog sitting on what looks like either a tractor or a doghouse.  When you shake it it barks and makes 'vroom'ing noises and then you set it on the ground and it zooms across the room.  Tai really enjoyed watching it go, and after only a couple of times where we showed him how, he made it go himself.

He got a Sesame Street hauler (Elmo as a tractor trailor and Cookie Monster and Oscar as a couple of little trucks), a bat and ball toy from Quin, a pop-up toy where you flip switches or turn a key or something and animals pop up like jack-in-the-boxes.   And the last toy we opened, also from Santa (at Momma's  request) was a walker.  It has wheels and a handle and he can hold on to it and walk all over the house.  He had the best time just cruising all around.  Once he learns to walk on his own it converts into a little ride on toy that he can scoot.

It was a lot of plastic, and more noisy toys than I originally planned on getting, but he loves it all so much that I don't feel too badly.  Grandma got him a toybox, a little alien that scoots around the floor and makes noises (which he couldn't decide whether was cool or freaky), a couple of books, a couple of cars and a little bee.

He had some of Christmas dinner - scalloped potatoes, veggie sausage, lentils, and banana.  Unfortunately he crashed out for the night and missed out on the dessert.  He was amazingly patient, even with so much going on.  He didn't melt down until almost nine tonight.  Now he's curled up and sleeping on his dad's lap.

My own gifts were great - a new MacBook from Tom, clothes and books and a stock pot from Mom, music from Quin, a book from McGee... but my real present is Tai, and the day with my family.  It was warm and wonderful and even though we missed those who weren't with us, pretty perfect.

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