What just happened.

I caught myself watching her eat her breakfast this morning. She was just so cute. I don’t know if it’s because I felt, at that exact moment, her brother kick me hard on my bladder or crazy pregnancy hormones, but I felt an overwhelming sense of love for her. Motherhood. Nuts, y’all.

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I’m back.

Well, sort of.

A lot has happened since I last posted but I don’t have time to get into that now.  I mean, I’m sure I could MAKE time, but it’s a little painful to talk about so I’ll just start here in the now and maybe come back to it.

I’m pregnant.  That’s big news, huh?  17 weeks.  Feeling pregnant now.  I’ve been told I don’t look pregnant which makes me wonder if I’ve always look this fat.  Thanks, hoards of well-wishers.

I did the dishes this morning.  That’s super exciting because it’s the first time I’ve cleaned out C’s milk cups since the beginning of my pregnancy.  I dumped out one and the curlded milk plopped into the sink.  It was sort of beautful too, looking like a pale white coral.  You know, in a That’s-Going-To-Make-Me-Puke kinda way.

I’ve been spending too much time looking at fancy party websites.  It’s a slippery slope, this, because seeing these makes me want to make them for Baby, which then makes me look at these and I could totally make those and then it’s back to Let’s do this for the shower and all of the sudden my day is gone.  Seems I need a Pinterest account.

New favorite blog – the only one lately that’s made me leave my blog reader to comment, is Mackin Ink.  Her words just make me happy.

C’s applesauce is gone and my presence is being requested at a dance recital/poetry reading in her room.

Until then.

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The rain.

Here in Houston, we don’t get much of a Fall.  Two days ago, it was 80 degrees.  Yesterday we had a “cold front” come in, so it rained.  All day.  That’s pretty much our fall.  Rain.  And winter, come to think of it.

photoAnyway, yesterday Claire had two Halloween parties, so she was all dressed up in her Tinkerbell costume.  After her last party at dance class, I tried to change her into regular clothes, but she acted like I was pouring acid all over her body do I just left it.  Sure, it’s hard to buckle her seatbelt with all that tule, but this will all be over Saturday night.

Then I realized that we needed to go to the store.  We were out of milk, and for those of you with small kids, that’s the equivalent of running out of….I don’t know.  Medicine?  Diapers?  Wine?

I decided to go to the “Ghetto” Walmart (it’s just a Neighborhood Market, not the full Walmart), because it’s right around the corner from our house.  It was raining off and on, but I thought we could run in and get out before the real rain started.  Of course, I didn’t anticipate how many people had the same idea as me.  Even the self checkout lanes were long.

While in line, we heard the rain pounding on the ceiling.  Well, there goes my idea to get to the car before it starts to rain.  We checked out, and walked toward the door.

It was pouring.  I could barely see the cars in the parking lot.  So, like three other people, we decided to wait by the door to see if it slowed down.  Claire was totally fine with that idea; she does not like to walk in the rain unless she’s wearing her rain boots and not much else.  She hates to get her clothes wet.

I crouched beside her and we talked about what she did in school that day, how we were going to go Trick-or-Treating this weekend, about the rain.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a woman watching us, but I didn’t think much of it.  I picked Claire up as the woman stepped closer to us.

“Happy Halloween, Mom.”  She said, and handed me something.

It was a dollar.  She had given me a dollar.  I looked at my clothes.  Did I look homeless?  Did I look like I NEEDED that dollar?  I was so shocked, I think I barely muttered a “Thank you” and ran out to our car.

Why in the world am I looking for a job?  I’ll just dress Homeslice up in her fairy costume and hang out at the local Walmart.  We’ll make a killing!

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You heard what?!

As some of you know, my kid brother is in South Korea teaching elementary school kids English.  This is odd for a few reasons.

One, he can bearly speak proper English himself.  Who decided that he was qualified to teach conversational English.  Those poor kids are going to go home saying stuff like, “It’s coo’ Dawg.”

Two, he’s never lived farther than 35 minutes from my mom.  Oh wait, that’s not true.  He spent one semester in Stephenville.  It was about an hour away.

Three, I’m not 100% he knows how to tie his own shoes.  How can he live in a foreign country all by himself?!

Anyway, he’s there and I’ve talked to him once so he could let me know he got in.  There’s a 14 hour time difference, so I didn’t expect to talk to him that often.  But last week I got a strange text message from a friend in Austin.

“Heard your brother on the local morning show.  He sounds good.”

Who da what?! I called my mom and she got a call from a friend of hers telling her the same thing.  So, my mom calls the radio station.  Apparently, Mikey is no stranger to this station.  He called in once to complain about the girl that he was “dating” when he was in Europe, and calls every few weeks.  But he was in the same town as the station.

Now he’s in South Korea.

Anyway, mom got a clip of the call, so I thought I’d put it here.

Mikey calls from S. Korea

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Double take

It’s pretty amazing how quickly my moods change, even to me.  I can’t imagine how it must be to live with me.  I mean, I AM a Gemini, so it’s not suprising.  In fact, all three of us in the house are Gemini.  Oooooh.  That explains a lot.

But I digress.

Hubs has been gone for over a week now for work, and my Lovely Sister-In-Law and Mother-In-Law were throwing a bridal shower on Sunday.  So, MIL offers to take Homeslice Saturday night so I can finish cleaning up.  Don’t get me wrong, I DID clean up.  A little bit.  But I also made plans to go out.  I was actually pretty excited about my particular plans that evening, so when they got cancelled, I was understandably upset.  I had a back up plan, but it wasn’t nearly as exciting.  Anyway, I ended up at a friend’s house, drinking keg beer and playing drinking games until way too late.

It wasn’t until the drive home that it hit me.  The reason I was so upset about my original plans being cancelled is that I don’t get too many nights like that out anymore.  If Friday night sucks, I can’t just try again Saturday night.  My life has changed so much and, driving home, I didn’t like it.  It wasn’t fair that Hubs was out of town and I had to take care of Homeslice by myself.  It wasn’t fair that I couldn’t go to a bar and drink and get hit on and flirt and stay out late anymore.  It wasn’t fair that I had a kid way before I was ready, and now I don’t have a job, my body will never be the same, and my expectations are through the roof.

I’m not going to lie, I was kind of a mess.  I cried the whole way home for what could have been – I cried because my plans were cancelled; I cried because I made those plans in the first place; I cried because the next day I had to get up and clean up and be the suburban housewife that I’ve been trying to avoid since moving here.  I cried because I feel like I’m too young to have a 2 year old, and I’m younger than all the other moms in my Mops group, but I’m too old to go out to bars or stay up late.  I cried because this wasn’t the life I imagined I would have, but I cried because I wasn’t sure I KNEW what life I was supposed to have.

So.  I cried, I took a shower, and I went to bed.

Sunday morning, I got up, cleaned up and hosted a kick-ass bridal shower.  I remember standing at the sink, cleaning a pan, calling out orders to my Lovely Sister-In-Law and Mother-In-Law, thinking “I’m really good at this.”  I overheard people commenting on the invites that I made myself, and the pictures that I took, and the house that I decorated.  I overheard a friend of mine praising my chili, and my Mother-In-Law bragging to her friends about how I taught myself to sew.  I was told over and over again that I should throw parties like this for a living, and how funny I am, and how glad they were to meet me.

And I was in my element.  I liked hearing that people enjoyed my cooking.  I liked showing off my photographs, and handmade pillows.  I still felt like I was too young to be “entertaining,” but I had a good time.

So I don’t know where I fit.  There are days when I’m so happy to be doing exactly what I’m doing; to be moulding a young life, to be cooking and creating.  I know I’m very lucky that I get to stay home with Homeslice, and I know that these years will go by way too fast so I should treasure them.  But there are times where I feel restless.  I feel like I’m not doing what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing – but I don’t know what it is that I’m supposed to be doing.

So, I’ll get through this weekend.  Then I’ll get through next week.  And I’ll keep trying to find that thing that makes me feel whole.  Maybe that’s the point.  Maybe I’ll never find it, but at least I can say that I tried.  At least I can say that someone likes my chili.

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Oh that’s right.

Claire loves to dance.  I’m not just talking about jumping up and down, or spining in circles like most normal two year olds. Nope.  Homegirl can plié with the best of them.  She turns on relevé with her arms above her head.  And she loves (and I mean LOVES) to arabesque.  There was an episode of Little Ensteins in which June was doing a “Sleepy Dance” to make some Nesting Doll Soldier fall asleep…or something.  Anyway, she sings the moves she’s doing: “Rocking sidetoside.” Saute UP and down.  Arrrr….a….besque.  Arrr….a….besque.  Now Claire walks around the house singing, “ArrrrABesque! ArrrABesque.”

Of course it sounds more like “Arrrr a Becs” but whateves.

Where was I?  Oh yes, dancing.  Since homeslice dances to EVERYTHING, I thought it might be a good time to try to teach her how to point her toe.

We were lying on the couch last night before bed, and I was showing her how to straighten her leg and point her toe.

“See, kid.  Feel how tight my thigh muscle is.  And see my pointed toe?  Good!  Good job.  Now try the other one.  Good job!  Yes, I feel your muscle.  Good.  Next we’ll learn about turn-out.  See how my leg is turned?  You want to turn you leg – from the hip- out.  And of course point your toe.  See Mommy?  See how Mommy’s leg is turned-out?”

I should have known she was a little too young to learn turn-out.  Instead of practicing her point and turn-out, she looked at me for a long time.

The she said, “I have two elbows.”

Oh that’s right.  I forgot you’re two.

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Yesterday I watched my little brother board a plane (well, not really.  I actually watched him go through security [and get stopped because he didn’t take his laptop out and put it in a seperate bin – even though I TOLD him to – OMG how is he going to survive without me to take care of him?!?!] but that sounds more dramatic) to Korea where he will teach English to third graders.

He’s going to be gone for a year.  He’s probably not going to come back home during that time because if I were in Korea, I’d travel every chance I got.  This is the first time he’s been gone longer than a few weeks (He spent a semester in Stephenville when he was a college freshman, but then moved to SWT – where my Dad lived and 15 minutes from my mom.  He also studied abroad for 6 weeks last summer, but he came back.)

He’s 23.  He has graduated college, he’s lived in his own apartment and if the economy sized box of condoms that I found in his suitcase when we were packing are any indication, he’s had sex.  But he’s still my kid brother.  He’s still the kid who couldn’t hold all his cards when we played Uno, so he would build a fort  with videotapes so he could lay them on the floor.  He’s still the kid who sat in my babydoll’s pink high chair wearing a bathing suit and goggles, playing “lifeguard.”  He’s still the kid who used to run away from home to the field behind our house every week.

He’s still the kid who needs me to remind him to cut his tonails and call him to make sure he wakes up for class and buy him beer because he’s a broke college student.  He’s still the kid who eats cereal out of a mixing bowl and who never has food in his apartment.

Except that he’s not.

He’s an adult.  He can drive and drink and tie his own shoes, and he can live in a foreign country where he doesn’t speak the language and is responsible for the education of children.

He’s grown up, but he’s still my kid brother.  And I already miss him.

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Most things about motherhood confuse me.  Before, I thought I was going to LOVE being pregnant.  It was going to be a MAGICAL time, I was convinced.  I would glow!  Then I actually GOT pregnant and found out that the pregnancy glow everyone talks about?  Is actually a fine layer of sweat.  I never knew Oklahoma winters could be so HOT.  The weatherman claimed that it was the coldest winter they had had in 17 years, but weathermen (wait, is it weatherpeople?) are wrong at least 67% of the time.  Its true.  I did some research.

I was confused about how I felt about my newborn.  Wasn’t I supposed to have this overwhelming sense of love and adoration for her?  I didn’t.  Sure, she was cute.  But I’m convinced that kids are cute so parents don’t drop them off at gas stations when they get to be too much.  My boobs?  They baffled me.  Why didn’t they work the way they were supposed to?  I mean, they have ONE job to do (and no, it’s not entertaining my husband, as much as he insists that it is) and they weren’t doing it.  Come to think of it, my boobs also confused 3 Lactation Consultants, 2 different chapters of LLL, and my mother – who apparently breastfed me until I was three and only stopped because she became pregnant with my kid brother.

As Claire got older, my bafflement of all things child-related grew.  Where, exactly, does one learn the “Evil Eye.”  Is there a class I missed?  Do they also teach “The Voice That Stops Kids In Their Tracks?”  Because my lovely sister-in-law doesn’t even have to get to three before her kids run to do whatever it is they’re supposed to do.  I tried that once.  I said, “Claire.  1……2” thinking she’d jump at the thought of getting in trouble.  Nope.  She went, “3…4…5!”

In fact, I have failed at every form of punishment I’ve tried.  I’ve tried the Stern Voice (“Claire.  SIT. DOWN.); I’ve tried the Quiet Voice In Her Ear, which is works well with the Threat (“Claire, if you don’t stop screaming at your cousin, we will leave”).  One time, I tried Time-Out and wouldn’t let her get up until she apologized for hitting me.  She sat in that chair for 4 and a half hours.  You think I’m kidding.

I was confused when my Gymboree teacher asked me to teach a few classes a week.  Most of the time I didn’t like my OWN kid.  Why would I want to spend time with kids that I DIDN’T grow inside my body for 9 months?  I was confused when other mothers suggested I become a preschool teacher.  See above.  I was confused when I started actually ENJOYING the kids music that played through our car speakers every day.  And the night I lay on the couch with Claire – after she fell asleep, mind you – to finish a new episode of The Penguins of Madagascar, I almost didn’t recognize myself.

The truth is, I’d rather stay at home with a good book than go out to a bar.  Well, unless that bar has karaoke.  I can rock Salt-n-Peppa’s “Shoop” almost better than Salt or Pepper.  Because, as I always say, it doesn’t matter HOW much I have to drink, Homeslice is still up at 6am.

Motherhood is confusing and you NEVER learn everything; you think you’ve got everything under control and then they decide that they DON’T like applesauce anymore, that they’d rather poop on the floor than go on the potty.  It doesn’t make sense that they only like spaghetti at your sister-in-law’s house, even though you make it the EXACT same way; or that they know just how far to push you before you totally lose your shit, and that’s when they rev up the doe eyes and cuddles.  Nothing about motherhood make sense.

But on days when everything goes right; when there aren’t any tears (Yours or theirs), when they take a three hour nap and eat their dinner without walking around the house or asking for 12 different drink options.  When, at the end of the day, the house is clean (or clean-ish), dinner’s made, and you’re still laughing.  Those days?  That’s when it doesn’t matter if it confuses you.

Because it’s so good.

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One day, she’s going to teach ME. Scary.

When I was growing up, we had an old Macintosh computer.  Remember?  The one with the little green screen.  It was shaped like a box.  My dad is a huge computer nerd, so it was imparative that my kid brother and I learn how to use them.  In 4th grade, I gave my first Power Point presentation (it was on panda bears).  I remember the day we got the internet; I used to spend hours on AOL Instant Messenger.

I remember our fist cell phone only worked in the car, and looked just like the one Zach had on “Saved By The Bell.”  I had the first generation iPod and I wanted one of those orange Macbooks with the handle.

It seems that kids are getting younger and younger when they get their first cell phone.  Can you imagine what will be possible when my kid is my age?  She’s already learned how to use my iPhone.  She can unlock it, find the pictures, and scroll through to find a picture of herself.  She’s recently learned how to use the camera so I have 30 or so pictures of her leg and the couch.  She’s called my mom, because there’s a picture of her next to her contact information.  She’s sent text messages to my husband.  She can even find the video of the (stupid) Gummy Bear Song that she loves on YouTube.

I decided to embrace the curiosity, rather that discourage it.  I found a few good apps for my phone that she can use herself (she knows they’re on the fourth page and is very good at scrolling to get to them).

There’s a SpongeBob Tickler app that we have that does exactly what you think it would.  You tap the screen and bubbles float up the screen and he laughs.  Every once in a while, SpongeBob will talk to you, saying “Hello! It’s SpongeBob SquarePants!” or “Whatcha’ doin’?”  I can only handle about 10 minutes of that one before I find something else to entertain her.

I’ve one called Hatch that has a picture of an egg.  For each tap on the egg, a crack appears.  On the fourth tap, the egg breaks apart and a cute little animal is inside.  Most of the animals featured don’t actually come from eggs, but I figure that is a lesson for another day.

I Love Fireworks is a fun little game where you drag your finger across the screen and you see a trail of dots.  When you lift up your finger, a firework explodes.  Claire likes it because she can make her own fireworks, or watch a programmed show.

I also have an app called SoundBoard, which is just a bunch of sounds.  Animals, music, jingles, and my personal favorite, farts.  A little confusing, but I think it’s funny.

Our favorite game, by far, is called Shapes by Toddler Teasers.  It’s one of the only free ones (all the ones above are free), but Claire can play with it for hours.  Three shapes will appear on the screen, and a voice instructs her to touch one.  There’s crescents, stars, hearts, ovals, diamonds, rectangles, squares, circles and triangles.  Every time she touches the correct shape, there’s a round of applause.  And after she gets through a few rounds, she gets a “sticker” to place on a scene.  The next level has four shapes and so on.  She knew circle, square, star, triangle and hearts before she started playing this, but she caught on very quickly to the other ones.  I plan on buying more of the Toddler Tearsers.

So those are my favorite.  Do any of you have toddlers who can use your phone better than your mom can?  What games do they play?

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Suck it up, kid.

While waiting for dance class to start, Claire and cousin Jane were warming up.  One of Claire’s favorites is to bend her arm at her elbow, then fling it out while throwing her body around in a circle.  One time Jane got a little too close to the whirling dervish and got smacked right in the face.  She probably wouldn’t have reacted, but my lovely sister-in-law and I both cringed so she lost her shit.  She ran over to her mom, crying, and I pulled Claire over to me.

“You need to apologize to Jane.  I know it was an accident, but you still need to say I’m sorry.”

Claire looked at Jane for a minute, then clear as day said, “Shake it off Jane.  You’ll be alright.”

The best part?  Without missing a beat, Jane stopped crying, said “OK, Claire” and wiggled what her mama gave her.

Then it was back to the dance.

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