Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holidays, in Our Style

Another Christmas came and passed.  Boy was it fun to have a break from work and focus on the family.  Mariano made duck that I got from an Amish farm.  It was delicious.  I made a squash soup, that didn't turn out well at all!  Since then, we've been playing with some of the new toys that family members got for the kids and enjoying hiding out in the house together.

- Nalini has taken to playing with dolls that she received for her birthday.
She is getting a temper too
- Kaio shat in the bath tub
- I'm getting and looking old
time goes faster the older you get

 -Kaio discovered his first icicle and we made our first snow man
- Kaio whines and it makes me crazy
- my stepmother complains about having to clean her 8 bathrooms
- missing mariano's family
- working from home and trying to make yogurt, but to no avail
- did you know that crock pots have lead in them?

- We got our first family chirstmas tree.  A potted one, so that we can plant it, or keep it in the house for years to come.  We only had two ornaments though, a little painted christmas tree and a popsicle stick rain deer that kaio made in daycare.
- christmas is about being with family and having fun together
- I've been making teas
- kids sat in the wagon and we all went for a wagon ride around the block

Since it was raining the day after we got the wagon, Mari fashioned a covered wagon from a tent, and we all climbed in to take a ride around the block.  Nalini was going nuts with excitement, but then she fell asleep.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Little Rocking Chair

Sitting in traffic for two hours, the day before a blizzard, and I was so pissed at a seven year old.  Or actually, I was pissed at myself for inconveniencing myself for a seven year old.  Friday morning, the weather report added more inches to the snow forecast every hour.  By 4pm, they were projecting 10-20 inches and everybody and their mother was heading to the grocery store for provisions.  I was more concerned with scoring a sled.  But, alas, there was a sled shortage in Northern VA and we were forced to try to improvise with large plastic storage bins.  We were not the only ones in the store with this idea.
So Friday at 4pm, in the mouth of the madness, I drove to Leesburg after work to buy a child rocking chair for Nala, because she keeps sitting on things wishing they were little chairs (like piles of shoes, pillows, and steps).  I know she just wants a little chair that is her size.  So, yeah, I drove half an hour West, past an outlet mall, the day before a blizzard, to meet a woman who posted her daughter's chair on craigslist.  And when I got there, it was one of those typical cookie-cutter fancy-smancy houses that popped up during the housing boom, like colonies of mold.  So the mom had four wild, out of control kids and an equally out of control dog.  One of the daughters proceeded to have a breakdown because I was taking her childhood chair while the son was rocking back in forth in it, outrageously, and then letting it topple backward.  Then the two other daughters were running in circles around everyone and knocking things over.  The mother didn't know what to do.  The daughter was very upset, and the mother tried to reason with her, "Madison, I am selling the rocking chair so that I can buy you new presents."  That helped for a minute.  Meanwhile one of the daughters runs up from the basement, "MOM!  Ashley peed in the plant because I told her to!"  The mom didn't even hear her, she was too busy trying to stop her son from breaking the rocking chair and trying to figure out if she should console her daughter or push on through the deal.  I was thinking this would be a pretty good preview to my life if I would have more kids.
I ended up insisting that the daughter keep the chair.  My grandmother gave me a little wooden rocking chair when I was a baby.  She embroidered zoo animals on the seat.   Now, it breaks my heart that I don't have that chair to give to little Nala.  My dad gave it away to charity along with every single other relic of my childhood when he moved into a new home with his new wife.  I was away at college on the other side of the country.  So when I asked him about the chair, he said that it must be around somewhere.  I searched his whole mansion.  No chair.  But, I did find our old projection tv, and an old 286 computer.  He saved a freaking 286 computer, but he didn't save the hand embroidered rocking chair that his dead mother made for his baby daughter!  It sunk my heart, thinking of how my dad valued his toys over his family, or how much more value he put on commodities than heirlooms.  If I made him feel guilty for not saving it, then he didn't show it.   Dinner was just as normal, and weird, as always.
Since  then I haven't stopped thinking about that little rocker, and so when the girl was crying to keep her childhood rocking chair, and the mom was feeling really torn because she knew how far away I had driven to pick it up.  I told the mom it was ok, hoping that Madison would save it for her daughter someday.
That was my opinion until I got stuck in traffic on the way out of Leesburg!  Then I was cursing the spoiled brat.  I had even taken the Green Way to get there - a $5 toll!  And because of an accident on the road I missed the first hour of Kaio's Christmas Party.
But then the next day it snow-stormed: Blizzard of 09.  I made a post on Freecycle, asking for a rocking chair "pick up in shine or snow".  And I ended up with two responses and two perfect rocking chairs, so now Nalini has a place to sit downstairs and upstairs.  Boy does she love it!  When she first saw the chair, she ran over to it and looked at me with this huge smile and a look in her eyes that said "Really? a chair just for me?!" it was so cute.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nalini's Birthday Party and Postpartum Reflections

She has turned a year old and the days are whizzzzzzzzing by like an express train.  As her personality develops, I feel that I am starting to fall in love with her.  I know that this is going to sound bad, but when she was born I didn't feel as tight a bond with her as Kaio and i didn't find myself enamored by her sweet littleness and cuteness.  I thought she was funny looking.  I used to have these sick and disturbing fantasies: like that maybe I would never grow to approve of her and then she would grow up always trying to gain my respect and love, only I would never truly love her and she'd live with the self esteem of a child rejected by their mother.  I even looked on the internet to see if other mothers ever had these thoughts. Only I didn't know exactly where to look or how.  What, could you google: "Don't find my second baby as beautiful as my first child"?  When she was a really little baby and mariano would hold her, she would cry for me, but i felt I didn't deserve her love and desire. I think I even resented her for taking up my time that I could be spending with Kaio.  It was just heart wrenching.
I never showed my feelings to her.  And I showered her with kisses and hugs and sang to her and carried her everywhere with me in my arms.  I just kept hoping that if I went through the actions then she would grow on me and she wouldn't know the thoughts I was hiding.
Well, she is a year old now and i know that things have changed.  She has this cute little smile and laugh.  She is such a sweet and easy child, and I would do anything to make her smile.  She loves to be held, to dance, to hide in her tent, and copy adults.    She still sleeps right next to me every night with her little head nested against my armpit.  and when she wakes up and starts playing and walking around she does so with calculated determination and innocent curiosity.  I have to look at her with wonder and love.
So my new task is to find things for her to play with.  I've realized that all our toys are Kaio toys, and she seems to have a distinct personality.  She likes to sit on things (pillows, piles of clothes or shoes) so I need to find her a miniature chair.  Her nanny got her a doll for her birthday and she seems to like it.  I didn't even think about ever getting her a doll.  That seemed so girly, but she likes it.  Well aren't I too much of a tomboy feminist.
Anyway.  I hope that someone who is having similar post partum feelings as I was can read this post and know that the feelings will pass.  You will love your little baby soon.

It doesn't hurt to get some alone time every couple years

After a tremendous all-family-members-on-deck tickle fight, we got to enjoy a date night out on the town thanks to a surprise offer by my mom to watch the kids.  Though we were feeling unprepared for spontaneity *chuckle* and a Friday night curled up on the couch watching the History Chanel sounded better than trucking it through 0 degree wind to a loud bar for a couple drinks.  But, we took her up on the offer to babysit the sleeping children after we put them to bed.  That means that we left the house at 10:30 and got to DC, parked, and in the first club before midnight (way past my bed time)!  Why did we drive all the way into the city?  Mari suggested that it would be fun.
And it was :).  We started off the night listening to live music at a practically deserted jazz club.  When the singer sang No Woman No Cry with her melodic, raspy voice, I was in a blissful, calm and romantic state of mind. How rare to have all three feelings at once.  Then when the band's set ended, we walked next door to the dance club Heaven and Hell.  The lower level was rap or gogo, the upper level was trance or techno, and the middle level was dance hall or regga.  We danced and danced and it was so fun.  I especially loved the 'regga,' that's what Mariano called it, but I'd never heard it before.  It was like a mix of Reggae and Dub music.  After tiring ourselves out we finished the night with a couple multicolor dressed falafels from Amsterdam Falafel House.  The shop has a fixins bar filled with a variety of different color and flavor adornments for your falafel.  And their pita is organic.  It reminded me of an aurevedic meal.  Because there were so many colors and flavors: pickled beats, purple cabbage, baba ganoush, garlic sauce, curried cauliflower, so many colors!
So we had a great night and what made it extra special and fun was that we were in Adam's Morgan.  You see we used to live there before I got pregnant and we moved to the suburbs.  So we had a great few months of heyday going to the clubs together, dancing, listening to live music.  It was nice to recreate those times.
Then when we got home both of the kids were in our bed.  We curled up with them and woke up together.  Some of the best times are just playing around with the kids in our little bed room, but it doesn't hurt to get some alone time every couple years.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

An unschooling weekend

Things aint so bad really.  I was looking over some of the last posts and they are a bit disturbing and intense.  Sure, mari's care got stolen, but we are really not that troubled by it.  I guess this demonstrates how unattached we are to material items: the car was filled with stuff and as each day passes I remember something else that was in there.  Today I realized the earrings that Mari gave me to wear on our wedding day were in there.  So sad.  He came up with a little proverb about how fingers die but metal endures, or something like that that didn't make sense to me.  But it seemed like he was trying to say that they were just a couple pieces of metal and nothing more, so it will be ok.

So with all the credit cards cancelled, we have been planing well to ration the food we have.  It is a good exercise in moderation and premeditation.  It is also timely, because with Mariano's cousin visiting from Brazil last month, we started going out to eat to show her the glorious varieties of delicious cuisine available in our region.  Now we are being forced to kick that habit.

The house looks great with our new floors.  Plus, Kaio has not been coughing, which is the most important thing of course.  I hope that it holds up, we'll see if he starts coughing again after the new year, that seems to be when he usually gets sick.

I have been trying out some unschooling techniques, since one of my HMN friends sent out a blog post about unschooling philosophy.  hmmph. though I think that Kaio maybe a little too out of control, immature, wacky, or something for it.  I've been letting him make his own decisions and have more control over things all weekend and... well I wouldn't say that I've seen much progress.  He wore his Lightning McQueen sneakers out in 6inches of snow instead of his boots:  result = wet shoes.  He didn't go to sleep until almost 11pm and he was exhausted.  Then on Sunday I made pancakes for breakfast, but he wanted cereal: result = processed food instead of healthy fresh food.  He also was super whinny in the afternoon, but he may have just been tired.  I was really trying to be a good unschooling parent and say yes to everything and find teaching opportunities in every situation.  But sometimes Kaio doesn't know what he wants or he changes his mind, or he drags me all over the place.  It seems like the more I give him what he wants, the more he wants things and the more whinny he gets.  I think, like all of the ways to be a parent, I have to pick and choose what works for us and not be extreme in any parenting style to the point where I'm unflexible.
Nalini has started smacking her lips when she wants food.  It is so cute, and a great way for her to communicate with us.  She also started doing some hand signals too, like milk and drink. Kaio and her play together sometimes and it is super cute.  Today we were walking down the sidewalk together.  I was holding one of her hands and Kaio the other.  She was so proud of herself to be walking in step with everyone and her big bro.
So things have been going pretty well :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A story of life bringing out so much

Bad things, when they happen, make you feel a rush of something different, something unusual.  Feelings of any sort, whether good or bad, are experiences and these make up life... remind us that we are alive.  Without the bad, we would not notice the good.  And without any of it, we would not notice that we are alive.
So much has happened in the last week.  My mom had a car accident, relatives came and went, we got new floors installed in our home, and then this morning Mari's car and wallet got stolen.  To make it worse, today was the last day of the month, the busiest day of the month and he had to work late.
So tonight I was alone with the kids.  I went to mom's to pick up my bicycle so that Mari can get to work and left the kids there while I went to inflate the tires, stuff the bike in the car, drop of the bike at home.  Then I started freaking out, what if the thieves come back to the house (they have the key).  Paranoia sits on my shoulder as I take out the trash from the last week.  This was depressing: feeling scared and alone in the dark, wishing Mari was around, and then feeling pathetic for needing him.  When I got back to mom's to pick up the kids and take them home Kaio did not want to come.  But then he did.  But then he didn't.  He did not know what he wanted.  I made the mistake of giving him a choice.  He was so torn, crying because he wanted to stay with grandma, and then crying because he wanted to go with me.  The thought of putting the two kids to bed was exhausting: changing Kaio's diaper while Nalini tries to eat lint off the floor of the bathroom, nursing Nalini to sleep while Kaio fidgets and whispers things.  It is tough, and I wasn't looking forward to it, so when Kaio was crying to stay with gramma I said, "OK, you stay with grandma. (period)"  and I turned the car around and dropped him off at the door.  "Here, you take him, he doesn't want to come with me."  she hugged him, and he looked back at me with eyes that pierced my heart.  His look said: I don't know what I want, I'm just a kid, why don't you want me, I'll go wherever I'm wanted.  I went back to the car where Nalini was and started to drive home.  But there was a sinking feeling in my stomach.  I ran back inside mom's house to check on him "He's fine, go home!"
The look haunted me the whole ride home.
I was able to nurse sweet Nalini to sleep easily, and then started getting Kaio's lunch ready.  I couldn't stop missing him... and feeling like I had made a mistake in bending to his tired and cranky whim.
Then there was a knock on the door... It's Kaio!  - "He was fine for a while, but then he wouldn't stop crying for you and saying I love my mommy" mom said.  oh I was so happy to have him back.  Big hug and time to get ready for bed.
How do you make a kid understand that it is hard being an adult, and that sometimes we feel sad and overwhelmed?  We can't always be 100%.  And sometimes - a lot of times - I feel confused too.   Actually I'm continuously realizing that I am not much more mature than Kaio.


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