Friday, October 30, 2009

The Delicious Morning Nap

This morning I am thinking about giving up the morning nap in exchange for a morning workout with the Stroller Fit class. I've tried to do this multiple times now and I can't seem to bite the bullet. The reason? I LOVE the morning nap. It's long, delicious, relaxing and productive time and I don't want to give it up.

Whether you work full or part time or stay at home, there is always the quest for time. While my decision to stay home has given me plenty of invaluable and enjoyable time with Finny, it has left me with very little time for myself, and this is when I start dreaming of the Dark Ages.

Sometimes I wish I lived in a time when there was no electricity. I wish that when it got dark, you simply had to go to bed. Or I wish I at least lived in a time when there weren't TVs or computers, so that in the evening we would all sit around and knit or read or play the piano. I wouldn't have to check my email or shop online. I wouldn't be able to. I also recognize that I wouldn't be able to buy things like Brownie Mix or frozen chicken nuggets, which also make my life much easier today. And if I lived then, I'm sure I'd sit around going, "Ugh, do we have to listen to that tune again?" or "God, wouldn't it be nice if I didn't have to leave the house to go shopping in the rain? Wouldn't it be great if I just had a 20% off Bed, Bath and Beyond online coupon with free shipping that I could just use from the comfort of my own couch while I watch 30 Rock?"

But all the same, I can't help but wonder about how nice it would be to have more idle time.

Just as the more money you make, the more money you spend, the same is true for time. We make things faster and easier to save us time, but then we find ways to fill it up with other things and again find ourselves wondering, "Where did the time go?"

I hardly ever print my digital pictures any more and I haven't updated my ipod since September of 2008. There is a room in the basement that seems to growl at me when I pass it because it is full of all the things I haven't made time to unpack, and the green folder that holds my recipes begs me to organize it whenever I open the pantry door. Little did I know people were chuckling behind my back when I told them I would work on my novel "while the baby naps." I didn't understand yet that nap time would be my time to empty the dishwasher, shower, pee and collapse on the couch myself.

What is so wonderful about Finny right now is that he is sleeping well. He sleeps from 8-6 or 7 a.m. every night and he takes a morning nap, which sometimes lasts up to three hours and an afternoon nap that lasts close to two. And when he takes these naps, I get, you guessed it--time. Time to drink a cup of coffee. Time to clean the bathroom. Time to check email. Time to write this blog.

I know that making time for exercise is important, but with time for myself in such short supply, can I really afford to sacrifice the mornings for a workout, when all I really want is that hot cup of coffee and some time to gather my thoughts? There will come a time when Finny will voluntarily give up the morning nap, so why should I force him to involuntarily do it now?

There will be plenty of opportunity for me to give up time to myself in the future when we have multiple children who can move and talk and play soccer and take dance classes. I don't think I'm ready to give it up now when it's so quiet and nice and peaceful just sitting here all by myself.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Got These Sacks Part II

Later that same day, Finny was still clutching his two plastic dolls at lunch time. I pried them out of his fingers for his morning nap, but as soon as he awoke, he quickly captured them again. He drove with them in the car to the park. He carried them around the grocery store. And finally, he was confronted with a dilemma when I sat him in his high chair and sitting before him was a tray full of food. It was then that the anxiety set in.
"But Mom, how am I...? I mean how can I possibly...?"
He was confounded. Food. He wanted to eat. But to let go of the dolls would be simply unheard of. So I watched on, amused, as he finally decided to briefly set one down so that he could put a peach in his mouth and then quickly retrieve the doll again for fear of the imbalance that was immediately created by clutching something in only one hand.
Then, he realized I had tricked him.
"Peaches?! I dropped the doll for a peach?! Blast! Where is the real food?"
Then I showered his tray with bites of peanut butter toast and the dolls were released, but only temporarily. I watched as he would pop a peanut butter bite in his mouth and then clutch a doll. Bite. Bite. Clutch. Bite. Bite. Clutch.
The dolls seemed to be silently pleading with me. Covered with peanut butter from head to toe, I could see them begging with their eyes, "Please!" they pleaded, "Get us away from this mad man!"
And so I pulled out the secret weapon--Milk.
"Free at last!" they shouted, "Free at last! Good God Almighty, we're free at last!"
(The fact that he happened to be clutching the black dolls is purely coincidental. Finny does not discriminate against plastic objects. He holds them all captive regardless of shape, size, age, gender, gender preference, religion or color.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sorry, Got These Sacks

If ever I'm feeling glum, there's nothing better than a really ridiculous SNL Deep Thought by Jack Handey to pick me up.
Lately, it seems to me if Finny could choose his favorite Deep Thought it would be this one:
To me, it's a good idea to always carry two sacks of something when you walk around. That way, if anybody says, "Hey, can you give me a hand?" You can say, "Sorry, got these sacks."
Finny, like Jack, does not travel anywhere these days unless he has something in each hand. In fact, he's almost totally forfeited the use of his hands in favor of just having a really solid grip on something at all times. You'll notice in the picture above that Finny, unwilling to drop his two plastic pals, is attempting to open his favorite tupperware cabinet with his teeth. You should also know that neither doll was dropped in his upward climb to get there. The climb was accomplished with the help of the rubber traction marks on the bottom of his socks and the complete use of his forearms and head. No fingers or pick axes were utilized. You should also know that his sole purpose in making the climb was to open this cabinet to find more things he could grip in each hand.
For the most part, it is wildly amusing to see him crawl across the house on his forearms, grip his sippie cup between his wrists, and pull himself up with his teeth. It only gets a little irritating when I'm trying to carry groceries in or carry the laundry up the stairs and I say, "Hey, can you give me a hand?" and he says,
"Sorry, I got these two dolls," or "Sorry, I got these two lids," or "Sorry, I got this measuring cup and gravy filter."
Then, I start to get a little ticked.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Your Own Personal Laugh Track

Recently, on our way home from a party, I was feeling a little sad and tired and found myself crying in the front seat. David, driving beside me, was trying to console me when we heard what sounded like someone gasping for air in the back seat.

When we turned to look, there was Finny in his dump truck pajamas with the feet, cloaked in his little black pea coat and cap, sucking on his paci and holding his sides, about to lose a kidney from laughing so hard.

Every time I let out a crying sob, he squealed with delight. Despite my sadness, his laughter was contagious and both David and I couldn't help but laugh at how hilarious he thought it was that I was crying.

David keeps talking about a way for us to bring in some extra money. We've talked about me teaching a class or trying to publish some of my writing. Now, I'm thinking about renting out Finny to anyone feeling a little down. We'll stick him in your back seat while you cry away and he'll just have a ball.

Everyone needs a little cloaked man in dump truck pajamas lurking in the dark, laughing his butt off. It'll do wonders for your mood. Haven't worked out the rates yet. Call me and we can negotiate.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Grand Show Has Begun

If we were to survey moms with babies across the nation on the top five most common comments received from strangers in the grocery store, I would bet,"Ahh, enjoy it. It goes by so fast" would be among them, somewhere beside, "He's so cute" and "Does somebody need a nap?"

I always smile politely and agree when I hear this comment, but frequently I've thought to myself, "When? When does it start going by fast?" The first three months when I was just a human breast seemed to last forever. The sleeplessness coupled with the back pain made me start crossing off the days in the calendar until Finny would be five. But, suddenly, Finny is in fast forward and indeed things seem to be going by so fast. It's almost as if Finny has been storing up tricks for the winter over these past twelve months and now the grand show has begun.

Just a few weeks ago I was so amazed that he could point. Now, all at once, he is standing on his own, playing "sooo big," blowing kisses, and clapping and it all seemed to happen in a weekend. It's official: Finny is a ham.

It was not so long ago that I remember thinking--gasp!--that Finny was, well, a little boring. I was lamenting over the fact that I was not productive and couldn't do my own thing. When he was awake, but couldn't move a whole lot, say a whole lot, or do a whole lot, I would sometimes count down the minutes until nap time. Now that Finny is one, something in me has changed as well. I don't want to be productive--I want to play!

I find myself thinking, "Do I really have to do these dishes now? I'd much rather dump all the blocks on the floor." I often feel like Finny is thinking the same thing. I mean let's be honest, how exciting can measuring cups really be? I know he just pretends to like the tupperware cabinet just so he can be close to me when I'm at the kitchen sink.

After years and years of experience, adults tend to get grouchy and serious, but not Finny. Ordinary things like socks, remote controls, and cell phones are truly hilarious to him. If I hide behind the ottoman and pop out at him, he nearly explodes with excitement. If I stack the blocks, he rocks back and forth sucking on his fingers and giggling, anxiously anticipating the moment when he can knock them down. If I turn on the Oldies music station on cable, he immediately bounds toward the TV, pulls himself up and starts shaking his butt.

This guy is a party animal. I'm pretty sure if he ever joins a fraternity (which I will do everything in my power to prevent from happening) he will have a nickname like Hambone and be put in charge of getting the party started. (The way things are going though, they may not want to put him in charge of music as he is being exposed to a lot of Broadway and Doo-wop, not to mention the Michael Feinstein he is exposed to when Grandma Finnessy has him.)

Don't get me wrong, I had many sweet and precious moments with Finny when he was a little baby and there is something so pure and lovely about a soft, wrinkly newborn. But the giggling. The constant giggling with those six big teeth popping out of his little duck mouth. My cup runneth over.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's a Dirty, Dirty World

Why do I clean? Don't they say the definition of insanity is to do the same thing again and again and expect different results? I clean and it gets dirty. I clean again and it gets dirty again. There is nothing more satisfying than a made bed, freshly mopped floors, vacuumed carpets, a floor without toys, and a clean bathroom. There is nothing more disappointing than the realization that it's all for naught.

The bed gets slept in, the bananas, french fries, and green beans end up on the floor again, the toys once again, along with the tupperware lids, end up scattered across the family room, the car, and the kitchen.

Yesterday, I found a piece of cheese in Finny's diaper, and when I was returning some plastic cups to Party City, I left the sales clerk with the plastic bag and she called me back. "Excuse me, Miss," she said, "Is this your number three?"

Yes, it was my number three.

I understand why I must clean up. If I don't, we'll all be skating across the kitchen floor on tupperware lids and squashed bananas, and soap scum will take over the bathroom (there's something cruel and unusual about the fact that I have to clean up soap).

But sometimes the puzzle pieces are just going to remain under the couch and my hair dryer is just going to remain on the bathroom counter because you know what? I'm just going to dry my hair again tomorrow and that puzzle is just going to be unpuzzled again in twenty minutes.

It's a dirty, dirty world we live in and sometimes it just doesn't make sense to clean it up.

First Birthday Party

I have never before put so much effort into planning a party for someone who would much rather be sucking on the remote control.
There's an unbelievable amount of build up and pressure surrounding the First Birthday Party. The time must be carefully chosen so as not to fall too close to nap time or bed time, decorations must be fun, but not chokable, the birthday boy must look totally adorable, and over night, a mom must become a master cake maker.
After viewing album upon album of one-year-old parties on KodakGallery, the heat was on. Little Elijah had an adorable train cake with a train made out of cupcakes, Little Gracie had marching chocolate turtle cupcakes, and Little Evelyn had a Barbie Doll with a ball gown made of cake and icing--all courtesy of their mothers. Clearly, the first birthday party is an important coming-of-age event where baby crosses the threshold out of babyhood and Mommy officially becomes Sara Lee.
So I did some research. After two trips to Michaels, sifting through catalogs, cake pans, and frosting tools, I finally let myself be the mom who does not decorate cakes. Thank you to my brother-in-law, Mike, who had a cake made for me, which was delicious and beautiful and saved me from the angst of trying to build a seahorse out of cake batter.
Thank God no one choked on decorations, although almost all of the party favor toys I gave out told me in small print that they are choking hazards. The toy maracas have tiny balls inside which a child could choke on and somehow the toy harmonicas and plastic dinosaurs are also dangerous to children under 3. It's a good thing I had the foresight to take out the tiny bags of glass and the whisky flasks before the party.
And then there was the birthday boy. General consensus agrees that Finny is just about as cute as they come. It's a good thing he doesn't understand much yet, because if he understood all the compliments he gets, his ego wouldn't fit through the door (which might actually save me a couple hundred dollars on safety gates). It just so happens though, that the night before his big day of present opening and picture snapping, I come home from the grocery store to hear the report from David that Finny got his first boo boo. While reaching for something on the end table with only one shoe on, he slipped and split his lip on the bottom rung of the table. At first I was distraught.
"Why weren't you watching him?" I asked David, conveniently forgetting all the times I'm in the kitchen and can't see him playing behind the couch.
But in the morning when I pulled him out of bed and saw his little fat, cut lip, I realized that he was okay and still cuter than ever. Besides Swayze can't be the only tough one in the family; Finn's gotta have a few tough guy scars of his own.
In the end, all went well. Present opening was total pandemonium with toddlers crying and running all over the place. Finny tried to eat the wrapping paper while Daddy wrestled him to the ground and I opened all his lovely new toys. We all watched as Finny bypassed diving into his little cake with his hands and face and preferred to be spoonfed, like the dainty gentleman he is, by Mommy and Aunt Laurie. And he was showered with kisses and love by all the lovely grandparents and aunts and uncles in his life.
Thank you to all who helped make Finny's day extra special. He won't remember a lick of it, but we will and we're grateful for it all.