Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A different sort of vacation

CanCun was, by all accounts, a great vacation. But here's the thing: it was a different sort of vacation. In the past, vacations meant freedom--from work schedules, the demands of the daily grind, and all the other responsibilities that keep one tethered and tired. Vacationing with a baby, or children, I would guess, is different in that you're still tied to the schedule. The feedings, the naps, the bedtime. Sure, there's some flexibility, but not much because altering the timeline too drastically means an ugly meltdown.

So when the rest of the family was sunning and drinking on the beach, we were headed up to the room to get the Little One out of the sun and down for a nap. This nap thing? It happens twice a day. And that bedtime thing? Well, Becca goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00, which means long leisurely dinners are not an option. Hell, long and leisurely anything is not an option because attention spans and patience are short in wee ones.

I don't mean to bitch and boohoo I-had-to-take-my-kid-to-Mexico-feel-bad-for-me. That's not it. Seeing Becca on the beach was such a joy. And the trip was relaxing, in it's own way. It was simply different. It's odd that you think you've settled into this new role of parent and you think you know how it goes when suddenly something comes up and you're like, "Hmm, how to handle this now that there are three?"

(And since Becca learned to crawl--I mean chuck it across the room like a rocket--and pull herself up on anything and everything while we were on vacation, parenting as I've known it is ALL OVER. Constant line of sight and baby-proofing in full effect. God help me!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Beach Baby

Here's a quick peek at how Miss Becca did while on vacation:

Needing to rail against Frontier Airlines and their stupidity and muse about how a vacation with a kid is not, by typical standards, a vacation, I'll be blogging...for at least a wee bit longer. Apparently something needs to seriously get my goat to compel me to write. But more on that later, for at the moment I desperately need to run to Target and give them a kidney in exchange for diapers, formula, and various other necessities.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A few notes

It seems time has been doing its thing--namely getting away from me. We're leaving for Mexico on Saturday (with my entire family, hopefully, hopefully), and there's packing and cleaning and so much else to do. But first I thought I'd take note of a few developments around here.

For starters, Becca has decided that despite how disdainful crawling seems, she'll do it...a little. When the motivation is right, she'll crawl at quite the clip across the room. However, it's not her preferred mode of transportation, which is to walk with assistance. She wants to be standing or walking ALL THE TIME. And fittingly, her new word is "up," which she utters constantly. I think it's become her catchphrase for "I want something." It's a bit hard to decipher if an "up" means "more bottle" or it actually means "up, you, and walk me about the house until your back gives out." But now that we're mobile I'm both relieved (Hooray! No explaining to the doc why my daughter refuses to crawl!) and suddenly more exhausted. Parenting just took on a whole new challenge.

She continues to be incredibly stubborn, which is at times funny and at others so exasperating that I want to run from the house to the nearest bottle of wine. Every other day she's on some sort of strike: formula strike, baby-food strike, nap strike. Staying one step ahead of this kid is harder than one would think. But at the same time she's a joy. Becca is funny and sweet and exhausting and all-encompassing. There are days when I think I made a mistake in staying home with her and other days when I know I did the right thing. Depending on what day you catch me, you get a whole different take on parenting. But I think that's part of the gig. The ups and downs, the steps forward and the steep slide backward.

And with this need for flexibility in mind, I'm mentally gearing up for Becca's first plane ride, first vacation, first dip in the ocean. I fervently pray everything will go smoothly. As to whether I'll continue this blog when I get back, I'm undecided. I wonder if it's serving its original purpose, and at times shouting into the abyss seems a bit fruitless. But until I'm back and have had time to decide the fate of my incoherent ramblings, cheers!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cue the music

In all my various theological teachings from Catholic high school and CCD, limbo was always described in rather neutral terms. It's this place between heaven and hell, a place where you wait and see. What they don't tell you is that limbo, emotional limbo, is its own private form of hell where your emotions get jerked back and forth between hope and despair, often in only a matter of hours. It's exhausting. And just when you think you've gone numb, another wave of news sends you crashing. It's a place where all plans are tentative, all joys are slightly guilt-inducing, and all phone calls make you vaguely shudder.

But even in limbo, life goes on. Becca is oblivious to all the chaos around her and I don't think she fully understands what the tears are for. That or she's decided court jester will be her first call of duty. She smiles serenely or makes raspberry noises at inopportune moments. Like those last rites? Perfect time for making farting noises. (She obviously got her knack for timing from her father.) But more than anything she's a reminder that life goes on in this bizarre, funny, heartbreaking, amazing circle.

She is now 10 months old, sporting five teeth, a lust for walking and standing (assisted), and a general disdain for crawling. Becca loves the cat to no end. She also loves to repeatedly do the things that I've said "no" to. Don't throw my sippy cup off the tray? Are you sure? Because I really think one more toss is in the cards. Don't spit my food at you? But carrots make such a lovely spatter design on your shirt...

Discipline is now among the things we're trying to reinforce in the household. That and every time the phone rings, like Pavlov's dog, you must take a sip of wine.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A crap day

In what kind of world do you rush to the vet's after your mom calls to say that your childhood dog may be put down, only for a blessed reprieve...and in the same hour discover your grandmother, in the local Alzheimer's unit, is going downhill so rapidly that the priest has been called in to provide an anointing of the sick?

Mine, apparently.