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ZahZer’s Words

I made a quick mention on Facebook about some of my favorite Xander-isms, those words he says that only JS and I can understand, and a friend commented that she wrote all of her daughter’s words down so she’d remember them.

I thought this was brilliant, so I’m stealing the idea.

In no particular order:

  • ZahZer/DahDer – Xander
  • faffle – waffle
  • beebee – berry
  • noast – toast
  • tattoo – color/draw
  • chi-chi – chicken
  • mow mow – cat/iPad (there’s a cat game he likes)
  • feffel – pretzel
  • foofoo – flower
  • nahnoo – balloon
  • naynay – horse

I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones that come to mind. I wish there were a way to bottle up The Cute so I can pull it out on those days I’m tempted to list him on Craigslist.

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Meanwhile….

Hey, so remember when I used to have a blog?

Yeah, me either.

Well, we’ve moved into the house (and, for the record, I love it!), we survived Irene, my mom has come and gone, we’ve painted, we’ve played, we’ve met a neighbor and we’ve (sorta) gotten back into a more regular sleep pattern (HA HA HA HA, SHUT UP).

We finally got the Internet working, though our cable card seems to be wreaking havoc on our TiVo (I will not switch to CableBrand DVR. NEVER.) I got a new compute (!), but still haven’t had time to transfer whatever files we were able to rescue from the busted one.

It’s been insanely busy. JS started teaching the day we closed, so he hasn’t had tons of time to invest in things like unpacking or painting, so it’s insanely busy and a little more slow than either of us would like. But we’re dong it. The bright yellow is out of the halls and the living room. My office is much lighter. We bought a green chair.

I posted before pictures of the house on Facebook. When we’re (mostly) all done I’ll post both before and after ones here.

OH! And I got a job. I know, right? Almost exactly a year ago I went through a binge of applying to online universities as an adjunct instructor. At the end of the month I’ll have my first class! It’s not tons of money, but it’s some, and more importantly, it’s university level teaching experience. I’m nervous, but very excited, too.

I hope to be back to regular posting this week.

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A Year And A Month

Xander,

Today you turn 13 months old. You’re officially into your second year. I know I sound like "such a mom" when I say it, but I seriously just can’t believe how quickly it’s gone (but, of course, you’ve ALWAYS lived with us, haven’t you?).

Last night your dad and I sat together and laughed for a good five minutes over just how much you’re already a little boy. You’re nonstop motion, a blur of dark curls and dimpled elbows, smiling beneath your pacifier. You’re changing by the minute. You’re crawling and climbing and standing and walking along the edges of anything, really. The other day I caught you hanging by the knobs of a cabinet, giggling as you lifted your feet of the floor and dangled. You talk. You love to talk. You sound a bit like a Russian robot, sure, but I know you have stories to tell us. Your eyes light up and you gesticulate wildly as you exclaim "bleee bloop stchluey cloaflo na bo bo bo!"

You are a Pet Person, no doubt about it. You break into hysterical laughter at the sight of Tonks. You want so badly to "pet" her, but she has learned that your pets are more of a fur removal process than strokes of love, so she mostly runs away from you. Unless you’re eating, in which case she is right under your chair. And you are always (ALWAYS) eating. You are an adventurous eater, so far: quinoa with shredded squash, tofu, broccoli puffs, turkey-meatballs, polenta, veggie pancakes. Your favorite seems to be French Toast, which I try to make in batches and have on hand. You are not so sure about pasta, though, leaving me to wonder if we’re related after all.

So much fun stuff awaits you in this second year of being alive. You’ll be walking and talking and running and discovering and oh, what joy.

I am so looking forward to what’s to come, but I also want to remember last year, your first year. I want to remember so much, the details that feel so unique to you, but are treasured by mothers the world over. I want to remember the powdery smell of your head. The way we’d fall asleep together, while you nursed – you’re starfish hands curled up against my skin. The first time you smiled at me, because you knew it was me. The way your legs would dance when I held you out to be held by your dad. The excited and impatient screech you’d give when it was time to eat. Your bewildered expression the first time you rolled over. Your dimpled fingers clutching your favorite blankie close to your face. The sound of you giggling in bed with Dad after I’d drop you there in the mornings while I made coffee and took a moment to wake up. The first time you intentionally signed "more" at me (for more food, of course). The way your dad and I would shape your hair into a Mohawk in the bathtub. The squeak of your pacifier going up and down in your mouth. The warmth of your breath against my chest as you slept against me. Your delighted surprise at discovering your feet.

Nothing else in the past year can compare to all these memories you’ve given me. They’re seared in my mind, tattooed in my heart. Every day you give me something new to treasure, even when I’m sure I’m so full already that I can’t possibly hold any more. My heart just grows to make more room. And more and more and more.

I love you, little boy.

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Questioning

Before I had Xander, and while I was pregnant, I wanted to be a stay at home mom…if I could. If finances allowed. If the timing was right. If, if, if. I wanted to be there, day to day. To see the little moments that go by so fast. So very fast. I wanted to cloth diaper (have had mixed success with this, but oh man, the diapers are so effing cute). I wanted to make his food. I wanted to be the woman who could take care of the baby all day, keep the house moderately clean (I know my weaknesses) and make a nice dinner at night. Not because it’s my job as a woman, but because I wanted it to be My Job.

I never thought of it as "I’ll ‘just’ stay at home." I knew it would be work.

But I was spoiled. JS had a job that allowed him so much time at home. He could teach online from his office upstairs. He could attend meetings virtually. I could shower whenever I wanted to. I could go to the store while Xander napped. I could take a break and just get out of the house, almost whenever I wanted to. I mean, yeah, JS did *work* from home. So it wasn’t ALL the time that I had such freedom, but enough. Enough to not be used to being on my own with an infant and a household (and a dog).

Now it’s different. JS still has more flexibility than MOST jobs, I’d say. But it’s not unusual for him to work away most days. You know, like MOST "other" parents of a stay-at-home family do.

But I don’t know how to do it.

I get up with him at 630 (after, if I’m lucky, one or two night wakings) and I have to feed the cat, let the dogs out, feed the dogs, get the bottle made, make coffee while JS feeds him the bottle, make his Big Boy Breakfast, make OUR breakfast, change his diaper (well, the morning one is normally JS, actually, because I’m conveniently busy at this time), and then JS walks the dog before he leaves. Then I try to play with Xander or run an errand until his nap time, but more often than not he won’t sleep and he’ll cry and scream and the dogs will bark and the cat is throwing up and I’m yelling for everyone to just SHUT UP, just for one minute! And then, of course, more barking and crying and screaming and it goes on for HOURS and I just want ten minutes to myself, ten minutes to go potty and drink some water and cram something into my mouth because I haven’t eaten all day but no, one of the dogs is peeing on the floor and needs to go out and the cat runs outside and I give up on Xander’s nap so I have to find him something to eat (I would have made him something yesterday and frozen it, but yesterday was a lot like today and I never got any time to cook) and I take too long and Xander cries some more and I have to get the cat back inside and Xander’s diaper leaked and I need to change him, which he hates, and on and on and on and on until, finally, finally, JS is about to come home and I haven’t started dinner or unloaded the dishwasher or done anything other than barely hang on to my sanity and keep our son alive.

What I’m trying to say is….I’m not very good at this. And sometimes, like today, I wonder if I am doing the right thing. If I’m cut out for this gig. If Xander wouldn’t be better off in daycare, or with a nanny, while I got the hell out of the house for a few hours. But what would I do? I’ve been jobless for 2 years. My current skill set is changing diapers with minimal poop transfer, and tuning out Yo Gaba Gaba while playing peek-a-boo with a non verbal infant.

Then there’s the fact that…you know, I LIKE him. I miss him at night after he goes to sleep. I love the mornings when he gives me that big sloppy grin. I don’t really WANT to leave him all day long.

I guess, really, the thing is….some days are hard. And today was hard. And I don’t feel like I dealt with it with particular grace and I wish I were better at this.

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The House That Built Me

It’s strange, sometimes, to be in a brand new place. A place with no history of my own attached to it. I have no memories of riding my bike to the park, hoping that Ross had a baseball game so I could sit way back behind the field and watch, too shy to say hello. The slide I went down hundreds of thousands of times with my brothers is all the way across the country, if it’s even still there. The soccer fields HERE hold someone else’s wins, losses, and orange peels.

I drove by it a few times in my most recent stint living in California – the house I grew up in. It’s a different color now, pale blue instead of "not pink." The front yard is different, too. The Asian pear tree is gone, the ice plant on the hill outside the kitchen replaced with something different.

I drove by it, but I never went in. My brother did once, on a visit. He walked through the house, the remolded kitchen, our old bedrooms (I wonder if the back bedroom still has a dent in the wall from when I kicked it in anger at being sent to my room). He said the old chicken coop in the back that we decorated with puffy paint as our Kid Only Fort was still there, but the swing set Dad built was not.

I debated it, especially in the final weeks. I wondered what it would be like to say goodbye. To close, once and for all, that chapter of my life. Would it bring closure? Or would it be too much?

So many of the memories from that house are great: perfect and idyllic scenes from a suburban childhood. Bike rides and slumber parties and sibling pranks and disastrous cooking attempts and block-wide games of kick-the-can at dusk.

But somehow I doubt that those would be the memories to come to life had I gone in. The few poisonous ones, I think, would have sneaked up and around, an unseen mist of confusion and pain and shame and things I’ve dealt with, so many times, so many ways. They wouldn’t bring me down again, like the once did (or tried to, rather). But, still. Why do it? Why feel those things again? Why remember things on purpose?

I wrestle with the decision I made, the decision to avoid, to preserve, to keep my forward momentum. I feel, in a way, that not going back was a small victory for the ghost of abuse. That I conceded a small part of the victory I have fought so fucking hard to win.

Then again, maybe not. Look at me now. No, really. Do. I’m happy. So happy. I have a husband whom I am so in love with, and who amazes me every day with his kindness and love. I have a son who…defies words. He crawls up to me now and demands kisses. only to turn his head at the last second and laugh as I make an exaggerated smacking noise against the air. He plays peek-a-boo, pulling his blankie up over his face and waiting until you say "where’s Xander" to pull it down and grin. I have parents who love me, and have supported me (well, except when I told them I was voting for Obama, but hey, no one’s perfect!) (that’s what they said, amiright?).

So, really, who cares. Who cares if I went back, or why. I did what I’ve learned to do: make the decision that will keep me well, keep my happy, keep me on track.

It’s just a house, after all. Hell, JS and I have gone through THREE of them out here, before we ever moved.

(REJECT FEAR)

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Remember Me?

You guys, I miss my computer. A lot. Blogging from my phone kinda sucks.

Anyway, we’re in Vermont! All of us, the whole family! It’s been…rough for a bit. JS got the same horrendous stomach bug Xander and I had just days after we got here, so it was a long day of solo parenting and pet wrangling and house chore doing and…well, you know. A lot. And, of course, it wasn’t the best day for JS either. Our "host family" (sounds sorta vampirey, right?) is on vacation so we’re housesitting and watching their pets and it’s really quite perfect right now. The house is nice and big enough to spread out and close to all sorts of things we need.

So, as far as pictures go: I don’t have a lot (also: can’t upload them because NO COMPUTER. HATE), but I did snap this one while driving down the road. This, appearently, is just what Vermont looks like. Yeah, I know. I’m still surprised by it, too.

JS is back at work this week after taking a few days off to welcome Xander and I to our new state. So now it’s just me and The Boy, tooling around, trying to figure things out. I’ve found a few shops and, of course, the Starbucks. We’ve driven by our Alleged House a few times, which is lovely.

Hopefully I’ll have a new harddrive for my laptop today and that’ll take care of my computer issue for now. And hopefully THAT will mean I can go back to my regualar Internet Addicted lifestyle.

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You guys, stuff like this makes me love Alabama.

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We’re still alive! A little wan, and a few pounds lighter, but alive!

X and I have been in Alabama for just over a week. We’ve been miserably sick for just under a week. But I THINK we’re on the mend, and I did manage to see Harry Potter (OMG) and I think today that we’ll ALL get out of the damn house.

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Busted

My laptop is dead. Dead, dead, dead. And I’m not getting it fixed until I can (hopefully) recover all the data off of it.Or, at least the Xander and iTunes data. So in the meantime I’m relegated to emailing blog posts on my iphone because, what, you expect me to remember my dashboard password. HA HA HA. Oh, you. You’re so pretty.

We’re in Alabama for another week and a half. We LOST THE VACATION RENTAL because, well, because it’s Vermont. I guess. The owner said "yes" to a family who asked to change their dates even though we had confirmed. So. Whatever. I need to get all of my Vermont bitching out of my system because I’d really like to make friends there at some point. But it is not easy.

Last night there was the most amazing lightning storm I’d ever seen. It would have been a lot more fun if I weren’t still so terrified about tornadoes.

Also? I hate teeth. Xander is working (still) on the top two front ones and they are torturing him, and me. Teeth suck.

Happy Monday! Only DAYS until Harry Potter!

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Empty

The boxes are on the moving truck, the condo is clean, the keys handed over. I’d probably be more sentimental about leaving the home we brought Xander home to, but right now I’m just too damn tired and am looking forward to being in a house with 3 adults to 1 child.

Still, though. It’s bittersweet.

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