Blog Archive

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Eddie's Phases

Phases are good and they are bad.  The good part of them is that they pass.  But the bad--or maybe just annoying--part is that you don't know what the next phase will be.  In my experience with Eddie, I've learned to go with the flow (when my sanity permits) because I can be sure that the next phase will be worse.  Harder to deal with, more annoying, more complicated, more dangerous, always worse.

Some of his noteworthy phases of the past included:

  • Pulling things out of the dishwasher at about 10 months old.  I dealt with this by not opening the dishwasher during his waking hours.
  • Putting his hand into the ice maker bucket at about 10 months-1 year old.  We have a bottom drawer freezer in the house and it was the perfect height for a crawling and standing baby to get into.  I dealt with this by not opening the freezer when he was around if at all possible.
  • Insisting on having several spoons to eat with during all meals, even meals that didn't require any utensils during his third year.  I dealt with this by letting him have the damn spoons because it was easiest.
  • Running down the driveway, down the path, and into the park at about 14 months old. I dealt with this by not letting him into the front of the house at all unless he was in my arms or we were walking to the park anyway.  
  • Collecting sticks, rocks, and other "treasures" (i.e., usually garbage) everywhere we go from about age 2 to the present.  I deal with this by letting him do it and throwing the piles of crap away once he loses interest in them.  He often insists on washing the rocks with soap and water so at that point they are allowed inside the house and we put them into a special "treasure" jar (and then after a while I chuck them outside).
  • Taking off his shoes and socks to run around barefoot from whatever age it was when he learned he could do this until about two months ago when he got excited about picking out his own shoes.  I dealt with this by insisting on shoes only when we went into stores (the alternative was that he'd have to ride in the cart, which he hates).
  • Demanding that we use a big orange flat cart at Costco for the last few months.  I think his father allowed this phase to happen and dangit, it sucks. Those carts are harder to push around and the won't sit still on them, rather he stands and holds onto the handle.  The only good thing about it is that he helps me load the cart with stuff--and the kid is strong enough to grab a 2 gallon pack of milk from inside the walk-in fridge and load it himself.  Pretty impressive...but it doesn't completely outweigh the annoyance factor.
  • Sleeping with zillions of book on his bed from about 2.5 years until just a few months ago. I dealt with this by allowing it because heck, it's better than having books on the floor.
  • Filling vessels with water from about 3.5 years to the present. If there's ANY container in any sink where he's supposed to be washing his hand, he'll first fill everything up and dump out the water a few times before he's satisfied and will then wash his hands. I deal with this by allowing it.
  • Screaming bloody murder when I try to brush his teeth from about 1.5 years until age 3.  I dealt with this by doing whatever was possible to get his teeth brushed.  I've heard from dentist friends and relatives that you should pick your battles and teeth brushing is one of them that you must choose to fight and WIN.  Sometimes that required a headlock maneuver or pinning down his flailing arms with my knees.  Eventually he realized that those toofies were going to be brushed no matter what and he stopped fighting. I'm glad I dealt with it this way because now brushing is expected, something my folks didn't do and I hated brushing.
  • Dumping out ALL THE THINGS in his room before he falls asleep for the last couple of months.  All the books, all the toys, all the stuffed animals, all the clothing.  Everywhere.  I deal with this by making him clean it up about once a week and not consoling him too much when he steps on a toy and breaks it or hurts himself (he's gotta learn to take care of his stuff!).
I'm sure I've missed some but those were the ones that have stuck in my mind.

And here's the latest and worst of the bunch.  They really do always get worse.  (Phases, not the actual kid.)
  • Hiding when he hears us calling out for him for about the last month. This has only happened a few times.  Initially, he'd hide in a moving box and it'd jiggle with muffled giggles escaping from his excitement--a dead giveaway to his hiding spot.  But now he's gotten so good that he can actually stay completely quiet and still so I absolutely cannot find him.  This morning he hid for twenty five minutes while I walked around the neighborhood, the park, went to the neighbors' houses, etc. calling his name.  I know that statistically, he probably wasn't kidnapped. So I while looking for him I was much more frustrated than scared.    I finally noticed that the chickens weren't following me around the cul-de-sac as usual, but they were instead sitting down by "their" bush in the front yard.  That was odd, so I hunched down and spied my mischievous child under there, grinning up at me.  It was clear that he was able to see me walking around the entire neighborhood from that vantage point.  I was so mad.  There were strong words, there was crying, there was screaming when his toy cars were taken away as punishment.  I explained that I was mad, frustrated, scared, and disappointed in him.  And then he cried and begged for his cars the entire 15 minute bike ride to school.  He was still very, very upset when I dropped him off to Miss Amanda at school.  
The good news with this hiding business is that I know that he's fully capable of sitting still and being quiet for an extended period.  Hanging out with him during meals, quiet/nap time, while playing you'd otherwise think he could only wriggle, squirm, run, bounce, talk non-stop, yell, and sing during every activity.

Lord help me if the next phase after hiding his even worse--cause I'm not sure I'll be able to handle it.

(Anyone have advice on how to handle his hiding?)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Moving Progress

Dave just took off with Clifford the Big Red Truck, hauling off our living room and a 8 totes of our kitchen stuff (which is to say only maybe 20%).  

My dad loaned us his pickup and cargo trailer so moving should go much faster now.  The only thing we're missing is a garage in which to move all the workshop stuff and time.  Sigh.

This was the state of the living room this afternoon. The entropy of this house was reaching my maximum threshold and I was about to explode in frustration.  So, I ate some Mint Milano cookies, took a deep breath, and went back to work loading the trailer.
And this is what we're left with now.
It's so empty!  These pictures were taken many minutes apart...yet you'll notice that Taters is still in position.
Next weekend we'll load up the garden shed contents, some of the kitchen/housewares stuff from the garage, and maybe Eddie's furniture (since really, that's all that remains of furniture in the house). Slowly, slowly we make progress.

I am terrified that I'll have a stroke when I walk into the Coast House when we next visit.  Dave is in charge of unloading the stuff he hauls up there...and that of course means he just sort of dumps it wherever.  Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!  I can't stand that this Davis house is a nightmare of disorganization, but to think what the Coast House must look like right now seriously makes me go into a minor tachycardia rhythm.

AND Dave reports that he can hardly see the veggies we planted among the smothering weeds.  Even without that damn dissertation, there's so, so much work to be done.  Just thinking about all this makes me want to curl up and take a nap to escape reality...which is what I did on Sunday afternoon after taking Eddie on a walk in the 90F weather and realizing that I was way, way too exhausted to do any packing.
Eddie and I were playing with his dollies and then I fell asleep. Taters' rump was an okay pillow but my jaw hurt when I woke up in a puddle of drool in his fur. Ew.

I repositioned myself to use the dollie as a pillow, which was much more comfortable.  THIS is why I have a dog--he's the best snuggler ever. He could stay snuggled up with me (or any person, really) for hours and hours.
Wish us luck next weekend!  Dave takes his water exam on Saturday afternoon and then we'll busy ourselves packing the truck and/or tiling the bathroom and/or prepping the living room window for replacement.  Ready, set, go.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Oh, Davis

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much I will (or will not?) miss living in Davis.

Things I anticipate missing:
  1. Our relatively kid-safe cul-de-sac where Eddie can play without much worry of being hit by a car
  2. The neighbor kids and the countless hours Eddie spends playing with them outside
  3. The variety of grocery stores within walking/biking distance (the International market, stocked with Indian items; the Asian market; the food co-op; Trader Joe's with it's healthy convenience food; regular run-of-the-mill stores)
  4. Biking commuting to daycare and work/school
  5. Limitless internet bandwidth (at least seemingly limitless)
  6. Long growing season and fertile soil
  7. Antenna TV
  8. The tank top wearing weather
  9. Sidewalks
  10. (Relatively) short drive to my folks' house
  11. Seeing my friends and coworkers every day
  12. Not having to set aside time to exercise
  13. The park next door
  14. Talking about soils, chemistry, ag, and stats every day
  15. Cassie and Miss Amanda
  16. Lack of immediate judgement from random people who learn that my last name is Bower
  17. Being the only adult in the house (there's soooooooooo much to do and I could really use some help with all the chores and child rearing)
  18. Stores open past 8 pm
  19. Sushi
  20. Going to the movies (which, admittedly, we don't do often but knowing that we can go on a whim will be missed)
  21. Relatively plentiful college age baby sitters
  22. Unpaved, horizontal land right outside my door
  23. Home Depot, Costco, and Target being only 10 minutes away
  24. Constant cell phone service
  25. Twenty four hour medical care (ain't no urgent care or ER in Gualala)
  26. Chatting with random people who pass our house 
Things I anticipate not missing:
  1. The 100 F weather in the summer
  2. The hot, dry wind
  3. The dusty air
  4. Flies
  5. Having to keep the dogs on leash 
  6. Cleaning up dog poop
  7. Having to find appropriate places on our property where Eddie can dig in the dirt and make HUGE MESSES of mud and plant debris without making our suburban house look gross and unkempt
  8. Lack of trees for tire swings, tree houses, elaborate forts, etc.
  9. Buying fruit
  10. Single-handedly juggling Eddie, school, the dogs, and the house
  11. Gross, disgusting tap water (even after going through a Brita filter)
  12. Hauling fruit 3 hours by car to process it (apples, plums, cherries, tomatoes, blackberries, huckleberries, mushrooms)
  13. Being the only adult in the house (I want the chores and child rearing to be done my way, darnit!  And I want some privacy!)
  14. Being too hot while sleeping (hello cold sea breeze!)
  15. Cooking for two--it's so much harder than cooking for a larger group
  16. Having to close the curtains so passersby and neighbors can't see in our windows--at the Coast House this will not be a problem since there are no passersby and none/few of the neighbor's windows face our house
  17. Limited communication with Dave--Eddie and I sometimes only speak to him once a week via video chat, depending on his work/meeting schedule
  18. The nervousness I feel every time Dave is commuting on the curvy roads, which is always at night)
  19. High cost of childcare
  20. Not seeing Dave every day
  21. Having to count off the days until we next see Dadda to Eddie
Things that go through my head on a daily basis:
  1. Holy crap...are we really moving?
  2. Yay!  We're moving!
  4. OMG we will NEVER be able to move out of this house in time!  We have soooooo much stuff and moving is going soooooooo slowly!
  5. I'm so proud of how much progress we've made moving using only the minivan and a small trailer so far!  Two rooms done in only...wait, 6 weeks?  Ug.
  6. Are we making a mistake by moving to the boonies?  Will Eddie suffer from the relative isolation? Would it be better for us as a family to force Dave to find a job near Davis so Eddie can grow up here? But then what job would I have to find in order to stay in suburbia, too?  If us parents are happier and more fulfilled, won't that translate into a happier childhood for Eddie?  Or won't it?
  7. I can't wait to move to where the air is dust free, where I'll never have to use AC again, and where it rains more than 10 times a year!!!!
  8. I don't want to move to a place where there's fog all summer and rain all winter, where it's too cold to wear tank tops or shorts, where I have to drive so much.  
  9. I can't believe I agreed to live in that monstrous, outdated, ridiculous Coast House...which I swore I would never, ever do.
  10. Eddie's gonna love it!  All the space to explore, dig, build, and camp! 
  11. Eddie's gonna hate it!  No neighbors next door to play with, all the driving on the coast roads,  living in a new house.
  12. We'll get to see Dave Every single day!  Multiple times a day!
Things I am thankful exist, because they will ease the feeling of isolation:
  1. The internet
  2. Amazon Prime
  3. NPR

Dave and I were engaged during my last semester of college.  I remember sitting in my environmental econ class, waiting for the professor to begin lecturing and I glanced down at my (horrendous) emerald engagement ring on my hand. It was left to Dave by his late grandmother "Tutu" and was such an old lady ring.  I mean it: it even had a hinge to enlarge the band diameter to fit over an arthritic knuckle.  While I love(d) Dave, I didn't like the ring because it wasn't me or mine. It was a hand-me-down and we didn't have the money to replace or restyle it to something that reflected me.  As I contemplated the ring I thought, "What if being married to Dave is boring like this ring and nothing interesting happens for us?"  OH BOY.  Isn't that funny?  How boring my life was back then.  If only I knew what was in store for us. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Uggle's Birfday!

May 3 was Edward's birthday.  Now he's 29!

I've found that Groupon is the best for gifts (for everyone except my husband and dad--they like tools).  Last year Edward got to fly a plane for his birthday and this year...well, this year is even more fun:
I think he's gonna have fun with this gift!

Gchat this morning.  Glad to know he's such a romantic guy.
Happy birthday, Uncle Edward!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Jump Rope Challenge

A friend posted something on Facebook about this May Jump Rope Challenge.  You are to jump rope 1 minute for each day of the month, starting at 1 minute for 5/1 and ending with 31 minutes by 5/31.

I just did my first minute.  HOLY CRAP.  I don't remember jumping rope as being so much work! A mere 25 years ago it was a snap!

And for the record, I used a real rope.  As in, I went into the garage and rummaged around on the side of Dave's shop bench until I found a suitable rope.  If I stick with this, I might need to get a proper jumping rope because the thing I'm using doesn't have much weight to it and seemed to get a bit floppy in the air.

Check it out for yourself and consider joining in the sweaty fun:

Just make sure you wear a sports bra.


It's been soooooooooooooo windy here lately.  

Every week for the last month we've had 1-3 days of intense winds.  I know it's been a whole month because it always seems to happen on Tuesdays, which has been my afternoon to go for a run for the last four weeks.  Running sucks.  Wind sucks.  Running in the wind super sucks.  Like, super duper sucks.  Lucky for me, I don't have allergies too badly.  Dave (and many, many other people here in Davis) have extremely bad allergies.  There's something about Davis that makes it particularly dusty and windy and allergen-filled.  Ug.

This dry wind makes me cranky.  Being outside in it for more than an hour exhausts me--just having the wind slap across my face really takes it out of me (not to mention the drying of my skin).  

Biking in it is near impossible.  There have been a few times when I've considered hopping off and just walking because I'm hardly moving.  

It's a battle to keep the plants watered in the garden.  Many of our apricots have fallen off the tree over the last month.  

And while I can't blame the wind directly, Eddie's nosebleed incidents have increased over the last month.  I've opted to drive the 3 miles to school instead of bike in this wind, just as a preventative measure against his nosebleeds.  But of course, we are stuck with Dave's no-AC Saturn so the windows have to be down when we drive.  So...I'm not sure it makes much of a difference if we drive or bike at this point (besides the intense workout of my leg muscles).

Gawd, just look at these weather reports:

I drove Eddie to daycare this morning and then went to find parking on campus.  There was NONE on my side of campus except for meters.  I don't want to have to move the car after 2 hours, especially since I'm just grading today and don't really need to be on campus.  So I came back home.  Hopefully the wind will have died down enough to bike by 3 when I head back to campus to teach.