travel, thoughts

cart, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

we've been traveling, a lot. almost as often as not, actually. that's kind of crazy, and it's making me feel kind of crazy (and making the house look very crazy) but it's all been good. there's more coming, too. larry potentially has five trips in a five week period coming up. eva and i will have flown somewhere every month, may through december. now that she's two, she's racking up the frequent flyer miles -- she'll have more before she's 2 1/2 than i had at age 17.

along with all that, i'm having all sorts of disjointed thoughts lately that doing lend themselves to an organized little essay. today, driving home, eva learned that her birthday was july 7th, then asked me when my birthday was. i said, february. she said, "oh, just like the groundhog." wtf? we worked out she knows this from doing "letters" on the computer (they discuss a groundhog coming out in february to check for his shadow) so it makes perfect sense. but that moment of "what the hell, how is it you know that, aren't you supposed to be a baby or at least only know what i remember having told you?" is very disorienting.

we spent a month (in june and july) in alaska. eva has a blast and it was fun to see how many things she could do now versus last year. she fell in love with camping, and we were there long enough that she got into a pretty good rhythm ("now it's time to get grandpa from work", she'd tell you that he works "at the pharmacy, he gives medicine to sick people to help them feel better.") the best part, though, was seeing how much my parents enjoyed eva, how they would just really be present with her and drop everything else whenever being silly and playing seemed more fun. eva, of course, thought that was great. there's something new that i didn't expect in being the link in the chain of those two generations. it changes my relationships both directions and it feels like we're all part of something bigger.

eva's obsessed with babies, which i think is pretty age appropriate. she also enjoys being a "pretend baby", and will say "this pretend baby wants this mama to hold her", or request pretend side of milk or she will pretend cry or ask for a pretend diaper. i think it must be hard, being between being little and big. i guess that's what all of childhood is in different ways. you're always saying goodbye to the stage you're leaving and trying to figure out the one to come. i like that she knows how to express this need to me, and i don't mind playing pretend baby at all.

in august we spent two weeks with julie and lora in north dakota, first in fargo then in wilton. i had so much to say about that trip, it brought up so many thoughts from my past life there, but it got all muddled and they couldn't get down. julie was newly pregnant and not feeling well, but eva did her best to keep her distracted (as if being in the process of buying a new house wasn't already keeping her busy enough). we went camping -- eva's now an old pro -- and saw lots of cousins, and there was even a street dance in wilton! because of that, i saw more people from my high school class than i've seen since graduation, plus i had a good talk at the bar with my favorite teacher which was really nice. but beyond the stuff we did, it was just nice all being together. i don't know how both my sisters got to be such naturals at dealing with toddlers, but that is a big bonus that i can go and relax knowing eva's in good company.

if i haven't mentioned it before, eva's been eating well for several months now. sometime in late june, i think, she started eating more than three bites at any given meal and i found i was no longer counting every single speck of food that went into her mouth (easy to do without trying when she ate so little). we still have days where she doesn't eat much, or where she rejects a dozen different food options before she'll eat something, but that's called being a toddler, and is not concerning to me. now she'll eat two eggs and cheese for breakfast, for example where last spring we'd be lucky to get two bites in her. excellent progress.

last week we went to seattle to my smith friend sarah's wedding. we stayed downtown (at the moore hotel, i highly recommend it for the budget-consious traveler, it was perfect), and eva was great the whole trip -- well, not counting 10:00 p.m. on the flight home, that was not so great. she loved downtown and would just nap in her stroller as we walked around or ate lunch. it's so refreshing to be in a real city where you don't have to drive everywhere. we took the bus for some day trips, and cabs to the wedding activities, but it was fun just walking and exploring. eva made friends with sarah and many of the wedding guests, since eva was being quite charming at the wedding and the party the next day (toddler at a wedding on a boat that doesn't dock until 10 p.m. could be a disaster, but she was great). we're really glad we went, and it was nice to have a little family vacation.

eva's upstairs, i can hear her chattering away to larry, who is trying to get her to sleep. sleep has been a challenge off and on the past few months (particularly naps) but it's been better the past few days. i think she had to adjust a bit from the west coast time zone. really, i complain at times but given we have no schedule to speak of and every week we're sleeping somewhere new she's doing amazingly well. i love love love that she is so adaptable, that she just goes with whatever is going on. i would have real trouble if i felt like we couldn't go to dinner for a special occasion because it's late in the evening, or couldn't travel because it would mess up her rhythm. she's a great traveler, which is what makes this crazy schedule this year possible. and i love that as she grows, she'll just be used to traveling and having new experiences, and think of all the places we'll be able to tell her she's already been...

better go help. i think maybe papa put himself to sleep but eva's still awake.



oh, my sweet baby. or baby's big sister, i should say. she is so excited about the baby, and says the sweetest things. here's the conversation we just had lying in bed as i put her down to sleep:

"mama, you have a baby in your belly."
yes, i do.
"it's panowah! (looking down to my belly and waving) hi panowah! she's growing bigger and bigger."
that's right. panowah is only this big now but has to grow this big before it's time to come out of mama's belly.
"and she will be sooo big!"
and do you know that panowah might be a boy?
"ummm, maybe a girl." (sing-song convincing voice)
maybe a boy
"a girl!"
okay, we'll see.
"maybe she will share my toys with me?"
i bet she will. are you excited to be a big sister?
"yeah." (big grin.)

also, she has put the facts together (i'm growing a baby, it will come out, babies drink milk from their mamas, eva drinks milk from this mama) and deduced the concept of tandem nursing. she'll point to whichever breast she isn't at that moment next to and/or using and say "that side is for panowah." or, "probably panowah will want that side." crazy. but i'm glad she's (currently!) willing to share, since she may or may not be nursing by then (likely not, i'd guess).


the announcement

i can still hardly believe it, but it's finally happened. i'm pregnant! we found out friday (the morning of sarah's wedding) in our seattle hotel room. i had had a negative test on monday, the first day of my missed period, but i tested again since there was still no sign of my period (confusing if i wasn't pregnant) and i had felt a bit queasy at dinner the night before. plus, i started doing that thing of being able to smell everything from across the room.

in the 9 or 10 months we were trying, i often pictured the moment we would find out. i sent larry in to check on the results, and imagined a sly grin or a big announcement... instead, he turned around and i was faced with mild confusion. oh, the momentary confusion of the faint second line! (on an ovulation predictor, that's a negative.) once we cleared that up, we crawled back into bed with sleeping eva and couldn't help but chat excitedly across her sleeping body, inevitably waking her up. deciding the only reason not to tell her is that she'll run and tell everyone else (yet, no one believes a toddler, right?), we told her there was a baby in mama's belly. "and papa helped", she noted. i was happy to be able to tell her this, since she had asked me a few days before, "mama, can you make a baby in your belly so it can grow bigger and bigger and i can play with it after it comes out of your belly?" she's been all about having a baby sibling for months, so she was pretty excited.

after a bit, i asked her if she knew the baby's name. she looked at me like the answer was so obvious i hardly needed to ask and said "it's panowah in your belly, mama." panowah is the second of her imaginary sisters and the one she discusses the most (sorry, bohp.) it's almost like she knew of panowah's presence before we did and was just waiting for her/it to get into my belly over the past few months.

already i'm having trouble remembering why i was so worked up about trying to get pregnant (funny how quickly it slips away). last month was my first confirmed ovulation, and true to form with our apparently a-ok eggs and sperm, that's all it took. (if i can actually *ovulate*, we can get pregnant on the first try, yet again.) i disliked the waiting and uncertainty, but i do like that it all happened according to what nature had in mind... i ovulated as soon as my body decided i was ready, and now i'm pregnant and presumably eva will wean naturally as my milk supply decreases in a few months (or not, we'll see, but i'm glad i didn't have to wean her to get pregnant, i prefer letting it happen naturally).

so, we're home now in austin, and i'm periodically tired and queasy and have the super-smeller, but nothing major yet, just enough to remind me that i'm actually pregnant. we'll slowly start telling people but for whatever reason, even after all the waiting, i sort of want to keep it to ourselves for a bit longer.

just now eva said, "mama i'm hugging you and the baby in your belly!" she's going to be a great big sister.

gotta run. i'll save these pregnancy posts as drafts for now and publish them after i tell everyone.


mother of the year

bench, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

today sucked.

not all of it, but enough of it to leave me questioning what the hell i think i'm doing. (i did go see a movie with a friend, that part was nice.)

this morning, we ran errands. i had (and still have) a killer headache that won't stop making me want to yell at strangers and/or cry. eva was putting on a good show of being two, arching her back to be let down in the chaotic yarn store causing me to nearly lose my balance and drop her, or running off screaming "no!" to everything i say. but the truth is, she was the same as always, a mix of charming and challenging, but i was just not handling it well.

we came home and she wouldn't nap. "nap" is turning in to a 2 hr stressfest of trying to get her to sleep because she's not truly tired until 4:00 but that's too late to nap if i want her to to go to bed before midnight. she's edging closer to dropping naps, but we're not there yet, so we butt heads over it. she was poking and scratching me during our 5 minutes of nursing, and after countless attempts to redirect her, i mentally lost it and marched out of the room, saying "fine, do whatever you want, i don't care.", plus some swearing. nice! just the perfect response for making your child feel unconditionally loved.

later after calming back down, i went up to relieve larry of the napathon efforts, and after some time, she announced that she was peeing on the special book i bought all of two hours prior, one that was for her and papa to share. contrary to all my thinking on such things, i basically shamed her for it including the gem "i thought you knew how to take care of your books but i guess not." lovely. once again, just the perfect reaction to have. no surprise that she peed in the laundry basket 30 minutes later, despite the fact that she rarely has accidents these days.

when i got home from the movie, larry reported that they had the calmest evening in a long time and eva fell asleep peacefully next to him on the couch -- a good hour earlier than she generally does. then when she woke up just now and he went to soothe her, it turns out she was having a bad dream, sitting up and rocking her knees talking mysteriously about a book (hmm...telling.). he was calming her by saying "papa loves you and mama loves you" when she interjected "no no no she doesn't!"


what a proud day of parenting this has been. as i hear myself get frustrated with her, that's quickly replaced by frustration with myself for reacting that way, for not being stronger. i can of course point out that it's been a bit of a struggle lately what with all of our travelling, and my weeks at a time without arry to help parent, and how he threw his back out and is stressed at work which makes things harder, and that i'm feeling just off in general lately. but even with all that, i need to be able to stay calm in the heat of the moment. eva deserves that much.

the thing is, i can't change the situation. she's a kid, i'm a mom, that's going to be hard sometimes. all i can do is change my reaction to the situation. i can get all upset and stomp around like an idiot, or i can take a deep breath and model something useful for my daughter. i'm working on that and making real progress; today was just a giant stumble along that path.

i'm saying all this not as self-flagelation, but in an effort to provide balance and realism to this little record of my days. i wouldn't want eva to read this someday when she has her own child, for example, and think that it was all happy all the time -- who can live up to that? it's that whole thing about not measuring your insides by someone else's outsides. you can't compare yourself to what someone chooses to let others' see, and i don't want this blog to be all outsides. we are happy, at moments deliriously happy, but not all the time. like today, which (as i so articulately stated up front) sucked.

so, i'm working to be more gentle with eva in these moments of extreme frustration and to get a better handle on my emotions. but i think i also need to remember in the mean time (as my friends and i all remind each other) to be gentle with myself. tomorrow i can try again. i can apologize to my daughter and do better. that's all i really need to worry about; the rest i can just let go.