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Friday, May 29, 2015

Busy days

A lot of real estate in this blog is devoted to Mal, who is demanding of my attention and who hits milestones on a daily basis.

Then there's Daphne, who can make her own food, and take care of herself so much that I don't always have a lot to "report" about her... And then there's the fact that she doesn't want me posting pictures or talking about her too much. :)

But I really have to brag on her for how she's stepping it up in our move so far.

Daphne is wanting to earn some money, and we basically told her that if she'd go full throttle from start to finish any time we're working at the new place, we'll allot her so much each day up to a maximum. The catch is, if she doesn't get it all, she doesn't get any of it.

Well, she has risen to this occasion, really even more than I expected.

Our new place doesn't have wi-fi, so she can't chat with friends but she hasn't rushed us to get home. She hasn't complained about being tired or asked, "When are we leaving?" and she's powered through the hours we've spent there.

Yesterday, her new computer desk arrived. She was chomping at the bit to put it together, but we had several boxes to deal with and get out of the way, and she broke down boxes and gathered trash and kept asking, "What else do I need to do?"

Then when we got to her desk... Well, she wanted to do it. When I'd take over, she would get restless and say she really wanted to put it together herself. So I ended up nursing Mal and telling Daphne what parts to put on next. She took to it very quickly; much more quickly than I did, as a stinking adult, trying to put together do-it-yourself furniture.

At one point, she was trying to get one of the sliding tray brackets attached to the desk with one of the 8 screws that required an actual screwdriver (as opposed to Allen wrench). The screws were about 3 mm long, and you have to feed them in just right, but it's tough because the bracket is pretty narrow. She'd put it in place, and just as she'd get the screwdriver up (nope, ours aren't magnetized), the screw would fall. After hearing a tell-tale clatter as the screw slid into the tray again, I heard Daphne mutter under her breath, "I'm so f***ing sick of this." I contemplated correcting her, but then realized that was probably one of the more appropriate applications of that particular swear, so I let her have it.

In the end, she pushed onward and was successful.

From hauling stuff up the stairs to packing out copious amounts of garbage and recycling and everything in between, Daphne has really worked her tail off and I'm so proud of her and grateful not to have to do things by myself on the days when we go and James is at work.

Love my girl!
Right now, it's a blank slate!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ups and Downs... and Back Up

Mal has been teething and probably in a growth spurt pretty much all week. He's also uber-mobile, and our house has no boundaries (storage with doors), so I spend a lot of my life trying not to be too distracted to notice that he's tearing the book cover for "Texas" by James Michener (too late) or eating weather-stripping a cat pulled off of the back door (also too late) or getting into the litter box (just stopped him) or eating cat barf (yes, it happened; I thought, looking at what he was putting in his mouth, that it was cardboard from the scratching post... and, yes, I let him eat that because I'm tired).

This morning, Mal had a full one, going to the grocery store, skipping his 9:30 nap entirely (which he does about half of the time now) and then going to brunch with James and me. He finally fell asleep around 11:30 and napped on the bed for a good half hour while I got some stuff done. Then he was up, and he wasn't too happy about my changing his diaper. He literally went into hysterics, which he does as I'm trying to fasten the new diapers pretty much all of the time. This set *me* crying because sometimes the cumulative months of fussiness just get to me, and that was one of those times.

But then...

Lately, the valleys tend not to precede the peaks by too much.

Someone wanted to come see the house at 3, then they wanted to push it up to 2:30, which we learned at 2:23. The whole family went outside to walk to the bank and to get bubble tea. On the way, it started pouring rain. We got our drinks and it had lightened up just a bit. Actually, I hadn't gotten a drink and wanted to go to 7-11 for a soda refill, but it was still coming down pretty heavily.

We walked home, Daphne came inside, and it had all but stopped raining, so James, Mal, and I went back to 7-11. Just as we rounded the corner about half a block away, it started POURING. James and I got caught in pouring rain once before, when we'd biked to Kerbey Lane and had to ride the 3/4 mile back home shivering in the driving torrent. We darted into 7-11 in high spirits, including Mal, who was soaked despite my having lowered the stroller's "awning." James noted that we could have gotten our umbrellas when we were home, but I think the boy would have gotten wet regardless.

After I got my drink, it was even worse! You couldn't see across the street for the sheets of violent rain. We stood inside the door and waited about three or four minutes when it dialed back to just raining heavily, and we took off.

I'm sad to say that James let rain get on my cup of soda. I don't think he respects me at all.

It was flash flooding on our way home. Pouring buckets, thundering, the whole deal. We got even more wet and hit the porch giggling. Mal had a great time. James and I always have a good time. I asked Daphne if she'd been laughing at us when the storm kicked back up, but she was gaming and I don't even think she noticed.

So I took Mal into his room to dry off and to take off his onesie, which was like a wet rag. James brought me a towel, and after I'd wrung some of my hair out, I brought Mal into my room so I could change clothes.

I was trying to put on a sports bra and tank top, but even though I'd toweled off, I was still pretty damp. I elicited James' help in getting the sports bra untangled in the back, and by the time I was ready to pull it down in front, Mal had crawled over, pulled up on the side of the bed, and latched on standing up. I guess he just saw "nursies" and figured it was time for a snack.

James and I laughed *so* hard. Mal did, too, although he wasn't sure why we were tickled; he didn't care much. But in that moment, all of the stress from earlier today melted away and I could see our way through. We're getting there.

Good thing for those moments, too, because the rest of the evening was pretty difficult! Well, Mal was kind enough to take a short nap when my best Vegas friend Adrienne called while I was making dinner (I wore him) then after our nice chat, he woke up probably too early and was just a cranky mess when he wasn't distracted by James or me. I got really close to giving him a suppository because of how he was straining a few times, but he seemed to be more comfortable during the five minute window of feeling better I gave him, so I dodged that bullet.

In other news, I've eaten all of the things the past two days. I don't think I mentioned it, but that thing that stops when you're pregnant and then for a while when you're nourishing your baby returned last month, in all of its glory. Today, I thought about it before my weepy incident and did after take a few left over "happy pills" from the postpartum days. I am still sitting here having polished off the rest of the bag of Trader Joe's unsweetened and unsulfered freeze-dried mango slices and fantasizing about the left-over cinnamon toast popcorn I made a couple of days ago (alas, the M&Ms are gone, and it's only popcorn now).

My Facebook feed overfloweth with friends posting pictures of their kids' high school graduation. Meanwhile, here in my world...


Thursday, May 21, 2015

The ultimate parental failing... yes, I've done it

Everyone thinks they're going to be a good parent. Well, at least I believe everyone starts out wanting to parent well. You read your books, you gather intel, you form a plan. Even if it's not your first time around, it feels like it is, except this time you have experience of your own and you know that there are things you want to do better. To do more. To do as closely to perfect as is humanly possible.

Well, people, I'm here to tell you: I failed.

I failed big time.

I had such good intentions, but in the end those intentions fell prey to my discouragement and it is with great shame, mingled with relief, yes, but mostly shame that I write this blog post.

What have I done?

Before I tell you, understand that I haven't even told James yet. In fact, if someone will message him around 10:30 tonight, after I'm in bed, and tell him to read this, that would sincerely be doing me a solid.

Then he can process it overnight and maybe see his way around forgiving me in the morning.

The fact is that it's too late to go back and undo it. That's why I didn't tell anyone. I didn't want to be talked out of it. I'm sort of stubborn that way.

So what did I do?

::gulp::

I sold our cloth diapers.

I'M SORRY FRIENDS, FAMILY, ENVIRONMENTALLY-CONSCIOUS COMMUNITY, AUSTIN, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, AND THE WORLD BOTH PRESENT AND FUTURE.

Truly, truly, I am sorry. But I couldn't do it any more.

We had 17 diapers, so that was about enough to get us through 36 hours. Those of you with large families can scoff, but mandatory laundry every day and a half was wearing me out with this high-needs baby and at least one high-needs cat after whom I have to clean up every two hours or so.

You go through cloth diapers faster than disposable, and so when Mal would pee while I was changing his diaper, that meant two gone. Then he'd poop 8 seconds later, so that'd be four. Then when I changed that one, he'd pee again, and there are almost a third of the diapers used in under a quarter hour.

The smell... ehh, I could handle that. It's just pee-ier than with disposable. But Mal's backside was red and angry about every three days by the end of the day. Whether it was a growth spurt so he'd nursed a lot and had runny stools or was on meds or whatever... We use all the right stuff for preventing diaper rash, but often I'd put him in disposables just to give his derriere a break.

Now we're moving, and buying a regular washing machine that will use dozens of gallons of water per load.

And I couldn't. I just couldn't.

You can't make me change my mind, because I already shipped them! Actually, I rode my bike down to the post office, and I'm hoping that riding my bike everywhere so that I can never recall exactly when I last bought gas counts as sort of carbon offsets for pitching toxic waste into landfills.

But who am I kidding?

I know it doesn't.

I only hope that one day, I'll be able to look at my mommy self in the mirror again. And, no, this isn't a happy dance I'm doing. It's the dance of shame. I'm so so sorry.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"Delayed Obedience is Disobedience"?

If you've been keeping up, you know I've been reading and thinking a lot about parenting: Mindful parenting with the goal of raising a solid adult (instead of having a "well-behaved" kid), respecting my children and their individuality while helping them find their way.

Today, I was thinking about a phrase I've heard often. When I Googled it, a lot of Christian sites came up, talking mostly about God rather than parenting. But I have heard it most in a parenting context: "Delayed obedience is disobedience."

In other words, if I ask my child to set the table and she says, "Just a minute," then she's not obeying me. Obedience has to be immediate, according to this philosophy, or it doesn't "count."

But is that true? If you're a Christian, is that based on any biblical principle?

I was thinking about one of the "heroes of faith" from Hebrews 11 as I pondered this. Moses. Remember him? An enslaved Israelite hidden from the authorities rather than killed per royal edict. Found and raised as the daughter of the king, then ran to the mountains when he killed an Egyptian he'd seen kill a countryman, and became a shepherd for his father-in-law.

The particular scene I'm pondering is the famous "burning bush" with whom I'm sure even the most irreligious among us is familiar.

I'm going to boil down and paraphrase a lot, and I'll add some bullets for fun.

God asked Moses to go to Egypt and deliver a message to the people and the king.

1) Moses asks, "Who am I" to do such a thing?
God's response: He reassures Moses and tells him to go.

2) Moses asks, "What do I say if they ask your name?"
God's response: He reassures Moses and tells him to go.

3) Moses says, "They won't listen to me."
God's response: He reassures Moses and tells him to go.

4) Moses says, "I am not eloquent."
God's response: He reassures Moses and tells him to go.

Actually, in his mercy, God provides more tangible assurance each time. 1) I'll go with you. 2) I'm the eternal one and I'll be with you. 3) Some won't listen to you, but that's on me. Many will; check out the miracles you can work through me. 4) Covered. Your brother who *is* a good speaker is meeting you.

Then what happened? Moses went. Well, he got his father-in-law's permission first, then he went.

Did God hold it against him or punish him because he didn't acquiesce at the first ask? Did he punish him to "teach him a lesson"? No. He assured him. He gave him more information. He didn't waver, but he also didn't bully. He knew he was the one with the power, so he didn't have to prove anything to Moses.

Now, let's consider someone who didn't delay obedience, but who actively disobeyed: Jonah. Jonah didn't just ask God if he was sure, and give up every reason why he couldn't or shouldn't obey. He actually went the other direction. God *did* discipline him, chasing him down with a storm and then saving him from drowning via the rather disgustingly creative method of having a giant fish swallow him and urp him up on the shore.

Jonah obeyed after that, but it's apparent he obeyed out of fear of reprisal rather than out of respect and submission, because after he did what God wanted, extending mercy and a second chance to his enemies, he was freaking pissed when God didn't smite them, anyway.

So, do I want my kid to appear to behave while secretly resenting me (and that's all Jonah's deal, but I'm comparing the attitude to my children's because he was basically being a big baby), or to feel heard, understood, and then to agree to obey because he wants to?

Jesus even told a parable about two sons who were asked to "mow the lawn" (as interpreted by "Adventures in Odyssey"). One said, "No," and the other said, "Yes." But the one who said no changed his mind and did it. Does it not count as obedience because he didn't jump up and do it the second he was told? Apparently not, since Jesus' point was that prostitutes and tax collectors would get into heaven before the religious elite of the day. Again, the comparison breaks down a bit, but it seems like we're not held by God to our first answer to him.

And I'm not even getting into Abraham's attempts to bargain with God to save Sodom and Gomorrah for 100 righteous people, or 50, all the way down to 5. Did God ever pull a, "I don't bargain with a 4-year-old!" on him? (This was an actual phrase I heard on the radio the other day. My opinion is that 4-year-olds aren't all terrorists and that maybe hearing them out and working together toward a mutually satisfactory conclusion isn't the worst thing a parent could do.)

Even Jesus himself asked God if there was any way to do things differently than what he'd agreed to do in obedience to his father. There wasn't, and he submitted to his father's will... But you'll notice that the gospels are maddeningly free of God's, "Listen, son, we discussed this and you said you'd do it. I expect you to do what I say. The whole world and all of eternity hangs in the balance, and I am your Father so you will do what I say, and you'll have a good attitude about it!"

I suppose that's not a great example, either, because what threat of punishment would God have had that was worse than what was already coming?

I guess in that situation, my point is that Jesus knew and loved his father so much that even when the decision to submit to his will was the most horrific thing that existed, he did it. And God didn't bother tearing him down for the ask of a last-minute reprieve. Also, it's stated that Jesus lived as a man but "did not sin," so clearly asking for clarification or an alternate route isn't considered sinful.

So my question is this: When you ask your kid to turn off the computer and they say, "It'll take me about 7 minutes to finish this up" and you go over and unplug it, what have you taught them? How is that discipline? I'm feeling more and more that what's often lauded as no-nonsense parenting seems a lot like laziness and bullying.

By the way, I'm not pointing fingers. I have a 13-year-old and I can remember MANY times that I made her cry as a young child because I yelled or harassed or strong-armed her into doing things. I want to do better with her in the short time I have left, and I want to do better with my baby. I don't have all of the answers, but I'm coming to believe that I'd rather err on the side of gentleness than harshness. I don't expect everyone to agree, but that's where I am.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Baby needs a new pair of shoes

Actually, he doesn't need shoes anymore because I got a pair at Gymboree today (or Saturday, since it's now two days later and I didn't get very far on the blog post that day).

After I dropped Daphne off at her dad's, I went to Lakeline Mall so Mal could play on the indoor playground. He liked it but got overwhelmed by the noise and activity after a while, so that when, 40 minutes after we got there, he pitched forward and carpet-burned his forehead a bit, he was READY to go.

This is when he was still having a good time.
After Mal was done playing, I strapped him into the carrier and we walked. First, the food court at Lakeline Mall is beautiful. I should have taken pictures of the curved building facades but, honestly, I didn't see them until I was on the floor below.

I walked past two trolls and pondered briefly before turning around, chasing them down, and asking if I could take their picture for Daphne. She loves Homestuck, and I love Austin!

THEY. ARE. AWESOME.
Way to be yourselves... err... cosplay... err... whatever for no other reason than that you want to. <3
(Yes, I know what that sign means.)
After that, we went to FYE where found Daphne a rare Gravity Falls T-shirt. They had the whole "buy one/get one half price" thing going on, and I can't resist, so I got James a Deadpool shirt, too.

Then I went downstairs to check out Gymboree because I had seen a sign that said the "whole store" was $12.99 or less. I had to ask at the desk whether that also meant shoes, because Mal could use some, but their shoes are like $27... and he'll barely wear them at all, then he will outgrow them. So no. As it turns out, they were! I ended up spending about $80 (got a lot of 18-24 month stuff because he's outgrowing 12-18 month clothes already) on what was originally ticketed to be over $300. Which means I wouldn't have bought the stuff before. I got Mal a jacket for next winter, some shorts and pants for now, the shoes, and just a cute shirt he can't wear until it cools down in the fall.

I was chatting with the cashier and mentioned that James had started working again, and that was good because we were literally at the point of "baby needs a new pair of shoes." So I like to think of this weekend as the kickoff of our month-long spending spree.

Why? You ask.

We are moving. We need stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Plus the moving itself (we're hiring people and a truck) and double rent and utilities for 30 days. We were on "no non-essentials" while James wasn't working, and now we're going to reverse our fortunes. Actually, we will have to dig into savings a bit, but I don't mind because we will be able to replenish it soon enough. We didn't have to touch it when he was unemployed and I'm grateful! Between unemployment insurance, tightening our habits, and the fact that all of the IRS stuff ended up being pretty much a wash so that they sent US money after we'd sent THEM money, we were able to float on what we had.

What do we need?

ITEM 1: Washing machine. After living here, I've found that I do. not. like. the high-efficiency front-loaders. We'd looked at top-loaders, and after doing a bunch of research, James ended up settling on (and I agree because I'm too tired to research and I trust him) a very unattractive, VERY dependable Speed Queen. Yes, the kind they use in laundromats. No electronics. A 15-year warranty on the transmission, and a lifetime warranty on the tub.and basket. Holla! ITEM 2 is a dryer, and we'll probably just get a Speed Queen and call it a matched set.

Update: I just bought them. I love the internet.

ITEM 3: Vacuum cleaner. After more research, James decided on (and I agree, because... see above) on the Shark Navigator Deluxe, which is the highest-rated vacuum cleaner on Amazon.com.

ITEM 4: We're "investing" in new litter boxes. I say this because the ones we're buying are ridiculously expensive. However, the "lids" lock down, so Mal shouldn't be able to get into them, which he has shown us he can do with the regular ones now that he's mobile. I'm also hoping it cuts down on litter tracking. Fingers crossed, or we're going to feel like idiots for spending a bazillion dollars on three litter boxes.




ITEM 5: A new mattress for James and me. I think we've been too tired to do much about this one.

ITEM 6: Vitamix! We'll finally have room!

ITEM 7: A computer desk for Daphne. She's had a little game table for two years and needs room to draw. So we're getting a corner desk that has room for her computer and for her other activities.

Then we're starting over with a bunch of little stuff like cleaning supplies and spices. The spices are a serious need. Austin is bizarre. The other day, I opened a SEALED jar of instant coffee to put some in a cake I was making, and the crystals were all clumped together. I had to mine it out! I have to bang the onion powder on the counter before I can use a bit of it, etc. So humid here. It's ridiculous, and we just need to call it a day on the stuff we have. We need to throw away a lot of Hamburger Helper, too. I already went through and tossed James' canned goods from 2010. He did an apocalypse preparation a few years ago, and now we're better off starting that over, too, if it's still important to him.

So, I'm grateful James has an income again, and while I don't love throwing away the dough, it's neat to be making some cool changes. Thanks for being along for the ride!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Confessions of a mom in the trenches

Some time this week, I realized that we've hit the sweet spot: That stage of infancy where it starts getting... well, funner. I have always loved Mal, but I'm starting to like him. I'm sorry if that sounds awful, but it's true. I have not enjoyed being a mom the first six months of either of my kids' lives, and I realized this time around that even knowing that in advance doesn't make it any easier when you're in it!

But now, we're starting to have a great time. Mal makes me laugh every day. He's still a lot needier than Daphne ever was, and he defaults to fussing more often than I'd like, but he's also charming and funny as heck and can play games and give affection and is just an amazing little kid to watch. 

One of the things he does now is respond to James' and my laughter by getting very tickled. Today, he was doing something weird like trying to chew on my nose (which he's done with James in the past, but never me) and it made me laugh so hard, he started laughing, too, like he meant to be funny all along.

He has at least 5 teeth now, and maybe 7. The middle two on the bottom are prominent, and he has three growing in on top, just missing the middle right tooth. He might have the two on bottom on either side growing in, but he's hesitant to let me touch his mouth much.

Mal misses James during the day, having had him home for two months while James job-hunted. It's cute and sad to see him cry when James leaves for work in the morning now. And he get so excited when James gets home.

Mal loves Daphne. She's still not sold on him, but he couldn't care less. He watches her and smiles at her and seems so hopeful that she's going to come around and adore him one day. James said he apologized once to Khrys for how awful James was to his little brother, and apparently Khrys has no memory of this abuse, but recalls James sticking up for him with friends. Maybe this is how littles' brains work. Gosh, I hope so!

Speaking of Daphne... A couple of months ago, I was reading through the journal I kept when she was a baby and came across something that made me facepalm for my early hubris. I pontificated about the peer-dependent culture in which I was schooled, and theorized that my relationship with Daphne would be different because she wouldn't be stuck in a room with similarly-aged kids all day and learn to see grown-ups as the enemy.

Well, guess what? Daphne age-typically does not enjoy being around me, things I say upset her for reasons I cannot begin to understand (and she either can't - which is what she says - or just won't tell me why), and there is always such a level of push-back I feel from her, even though I'm super laid back and actually don't push ON her much at all.

It is so difficult right now, and I wish I knew why or what to do to fix it. I miss her. I mean, I see her every day, and, yes, I can *make* her go places and do things with me, but they're typically so stilted and awkward and tiring, it's barely worth it. I miss the days when she wanted to go places, even to the grocery store, with me. Last week, my sister's younger daughter rode with her to take my older niece to see my parents. Daphne would never drive to Waco with me just for the chance to get out of the house and chat with me for two hours.

Tonight, D went with us to dinner (often she prefers not to) and it was okay, but toward the end, I said something that made her cry, and she couldn't articulate why it upset her, so I don't know how to avoid doing it again. She cried when we went to the mall last time. Actually, I cried on the way home because her obvious unhappiness with being around me hurts my feelings and spills out sometimes, too. And I get it: Mal is always with me, so some of it may be that. But it hurts me that she doesn't like him, either. I get oversensitive and jump on her for shooting him a dirty look when he behaves in a normal baby way (like tonight, trying to pull the plastic table cover off of the table) and then end up getting on to her for her "attitude," which she denies.

It's just messy and I've told her I don't know how to fix it, and I don't think she does, either.

I have so many friends who have said, "It's not necessary for your teenagers to rebel," and I had hope... but I'm starting to think that kids are who they are, and some are just going to do what they do regardless of what you've done as a parent.

Actually, a book I'm reading right now called "The Relationship Approach" goes into that a lot. It talks about how, in your kid's adolescence, you cannot control their behavior like you felt you could when they were little, so the most important thing is fostering the relationship you will have with them as adults (and before you say, "But they can't get away with murder!" you should read the book; it's not about becoming a doormat for your kids).

A lot of what I've been reading and thinking about lately pertains to mindfulness and gentle parenting. I realize that I was very overbearing toward Daphne when she was little, and she was actually a pretty great kid. Some of this might be backlash for that.

Anyway, that's where we are right now, and I just wanted to keep it real. Tomorrow is another day... and I'm taking Mal up to Lakeline Mall to the playground after I drop D at her dad's.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Welcome to the 90s! (Or, I got a smart phone! Specifically the ZTE Zmax)

It happened, peoples. I finally broke down -- rather, my phone broke down necessitating my buying a smart phone. All right, all right... I could have replaced it with another simple phone, but phones are so super cheap now, I couldn't resist.

I got a ZTE Zmax... of which no one has heard. And, unfortunately, there is something stuck under the "z" on my laptop keyboard, so this entry is super inconvenient to type.

c|net gives it a decent review, but they're also phone snobbier than I am. I just saw "big" and thought it'd be awesome. I rarely use my phone as a phone; mostly, I use it to text people. But my laptop is feeling like a monolith these days, and I'd toyed with the idea of getting an actual tablet once we move. That way, it'd be convenient for using just for recipes in the kitchen, and listening to podcasts on a device small enough to move from room to room with me. So, this "phablet" seems to be the perfect choice, thus saving us over $1000.

Big, but not too big. (That's what she said.)
Okay, first the dirty details: This unit was $179 at Walmart (yes, I know... ugh, but they got me with the cheapness). I'm paying just under $30 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data. It's through Walmart Family Wireless, via T+Mobile, and don't ask me how they manage that when I was paying T-Mobile $50 a month for the same thing before. Whatever.

One other cool thing about the Family Plan at Walmart is that each additional line (up to 5, I think) is $5 less, so between Daphne and me, we're still paying less than I was paying when I had my phone unlimited and hers text only! She can make phone calls now! She won't, but she could.

Just to compare, here is a side-by-side-by-side picture of D's new LG90, James' Samsung Galaxy S3, and my ZTE Zmax.



One of my favorite things, because I'm a dork, is the "live" wallpaper. It moves constantly and responds to touch.


I've made calls, messed with apps, and used the wireless and the 4G, all with good results. Today, I received my glass protection and case. It adds very little to the profile, but will hopefully protect my new investment.

It's rubbery; in the pictures, it looked like plastic. I like the feel much better!

The buttons are covered but accessible.

Now it won't slip out of my grip!

One of my favorite things about the size of this "phablet" is that it's small enough to fit into my purse (actually, coincidentally, there's a pocket the EXACT same size as the phone) but big enough that I can comfortably read websites and watch television programs!


We'll see how the battery life holds up, and if I end up hitting the end of my 500MB of 4G speeds, how the slow-down affects stuff. So far, I've only streamed video using wi-fi, and even when I've watched an hour-long show and done some online shopping, etc. I haven't gotten the battery much below half in one day.

In other words, so far, so good!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Another "random updates" post!

Still thinking a lot about the unschooling convention, and James has started a blog post of his own, but he hasn't finished or therefore published it yet. I have a feeling my parenting, at least, is changing a bit (or maybe drastically). I fear that I am becoming a dirty hippy, but we'll see. It might be a change for the better.

In other news: Mal's ear infection from before the get-away barely had time to heal before he started getting sick again. Last night was the worst, so we took him to the doctor for a follow-up today. If he hadn't had the ear infection, I might have let it go longer, but I've learned that when I get to the point of "I don't want to be around my child one more second" phase, it probably means that a visit to a medical professional is in order. Fortunately, eyes, ears, nose, throat, and lungs are all clear. Unfortunately, Mal has a killer cold and we just have to wait for the post-nasal drip and cough to clear up. He slept about 5 hours today, so hopefully that's helping him. I really hope he sleeps tonight; I didn't get much in the way of shut-eye last night, and I could use the snooze.

It's weird: the antibiotic we got wasn't properly reconstituted and had only 14 doses instead of 20. Maybe it's not such a bad thing that we're changing pharmacies soon.

Last week, something interesting happened. It was about the same time we received the cool "textural" toys from James' mom. One of the toys is just a jean pocket with a little purple bear inside. Mal will play with the bear, then I'll put it into the pocket and ask, "Where did the bear go?" More than half of the time, he'll look into th pocket and try to pull out the bear. (The rest of the times, he's already moved his attention to something else.)


So, about the same time, I had hopped into the shower and James was watching Mal. It was around the time he had started getting sick again. He was not happy that I'd left him, and even though James was hanging out with him in his room, Mal was fussing and crawled out of the room, through the living room, to the washing machine, and then started pounding on the bathroom door. I was in the shower so didn't answer, so he just sat there in the hall, crying and pounding on the door.

Sad picture, but... We have object permanence! Yea! That's a huge milestone! He did the same thing today, when I'd stepped out to use the restroom. This time, I hadn't properly latched the door, so he was able to open it and crawl in crying. This boy loves his mama.

We sign our lease three weeks from tomorrow, and will give ourselves a month's overlap to move slowly to the new place. I'm ready for more room, James and D are ready for more privacy in terms of their "offices," and Mal doesn't care as long as I'm there. Heck, he'd have lived at the cabin, happily. That loft was like the world's biggest playpen, and we were in it with him!

We've started getting ready by starting to pare down things. One of the things we'd talked about doing was getting rid of our bed frame and putting our mattress on the floor. It's just one less thing to move, it eliminates the temptation to stash a bunch of worthless crap under the bed, and for now, it makes it less nerve-wracking when Mal is sleeping near the edge. We implemented that pretty much the day after we got home, and we're love it! The bed it a lot firmer on the ground, and now that the rollers are gone, I don't hate the wood floor as much.

Interestingly (to me), after we decided to do that - but before we did it - I came upon this website called Bedstart. It is about making your little one's bedroom baby-friendly by putting the mattress on the floor and having everything at his level. To that end, we sold Mal's crib over the weekend and it feels like his room is huge! We also got rid of one of his "floor" toys, and his lamp. The lamp I love, but he constantly wants to play with the cord and pull it over on himself and crinkle the paper shade, and the point of Bedstart is that the whole room is free for the kid to play in.

Something I'd never thought of before was that, say Mal wanted to go to sleep on his own in the middle of playing. He'd have to pass out on the floor because he can't climb into the crib. This allows him to get "into" bed if he wants to. I know, I know. Stop laughing. It might happen sometime. Anyway, I like the way it looks and "feels." A lot more comfortable.

He's having fun!


That said, this poor kid is 7 months old and some change and has never once "just" fallen asleep. There's always something. He just can't transition into sleep without motion or nursing. Everyone assures me this will change eventually, and I trust them. To a point. I am hoping, mostly. Sooner than later would be awesome. For now, we're just keeping on keeping on.

I need to write a letter to our landlord. We are hoping they'll let us out of one month of our lease here. On Monday and Tuesday, TWO PEOPLE walked into our house and neither of them was a delivery person! The first was a guy who thought we were an office and wanted to lease the space (there is a sign in the yard). The second was a lady who thought we were the leasing office for the apartments across the street. And that sweet lady just needed someone to talk to, because after James walked her out, she kept chatting for about five full minutes. "That place across the street, I applied for a job there once. 'Tiff's Treats.' I thought it was dog treats, but did you know what they sell cookies and ice cream?" Huh, yeah; we've heard.

I know, I know (again). We need to lock our door! Well, we do. But sometimes, we're in the process of bringing in groceries, or I've just wheeled Mal in in his stroller and we need a quick diaper change, so I skip it for the moment. I'm guessing this won't be an issue at our new place.

Neither will the chronically slow drains. We have to plunge the toilet and the bathroom sink at least once a week because they get clogged and back up. I had to run the dishwasher four times last week to get it to drain. They've done some work on the lines outside, but apparently there are roots in the line and they keep growing back.

Finally, having stuff out in the kitchen (on baker's racks, due to no storage space) is getting dangerous as Mal has become mobile. He pulled three nested glass storage bowls off into the floor the other day, but fortunately they didn't shatter. The sound scared him, so maybe that thought will stick and he won't try again.

More later or I'll never post this. :)