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Jangling

The last week has been full of emotional ups and downs.  Maybe even the last month but definitely the last week.  I’m finding it hard to let go–I guess it’s a sort of wanting to go inward while taking everyone with me.  To be honest, it’s a return to feeling part of a community, which has been sorely missing in the past several years.  It’s going to take time to remember that the beauty of community is having people who are there when you come back out without having to drag them into your navel whilst you gaze.  And I do love me a good lintfest

ANYHOW.

I’m feeling a little like a belled cat because of all of this.  It’s  nice to not be sneaking around on the periphery all the time but it’s hard getting used to remembering to get out of my own head when I’m out and about.  I think this is a good thing, though.  I’ve spent a lot of years not being fully present and I think it’s kept me from feeling comfortable and happy.

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Ok, if you got through all of that self-help crap, here’s your reward–the baby’s newest cuteness:

Every time he pees, he closes his eyes and yells out “HOAK!” (soak) as loud as he can. He also says “allo!” for hello and sings “bolo bolo bolo” when I play David Newman and likes to watch the Ankees pyay basheball on the tee with their hats and bats and guys.

As always, all pictures are on teh Facebook now, few that they are 🙂

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Lucy finishes kindergarten in two weeks and I can’t even believe it.  Time with the flying and all.

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Yeah, the catharsis of telling my business on the internet has been surpassed by the catharsis of a good sleep.  I can’t lie.

The past few weeks have been a journey of getting to know myself, trying to look honestly at my strengths and weaknesses, and all sorts of other psychobabble-esque crap.  Also, I’ve discovered that sometimes talking to myself in my head is more helpful than talking to myself here.  Just sayin’.  It was interesting to realize that I do so much writing for my classes that I don’t so much need the blawg to get stuff out of my head.

So yes, the past few weeks…trying to get outside, walking with the baby, breathing in what passes for fresh air in the flight path of La Guardia.  Spent an excellent day with mizz Luce at the botanical garden learning an eentsy bit of foraging, how to make seed bombs and compost cookies and cleaning up at the flea market.  I discovered I not only love Jerusalem artichokes but they grow in containers so there’s that for an upcoming project.  Once I finish finals and fun-reading, that is.

The boy is tearing up the vocabulary these days, keeping us on our toes trying to figure out if he is saying ‘no’ (nose), ‘no’ (nurse) or ‘no’ (stop it).  He rolls his r’s when he says ‘draw’, says ‘coo’ instead of school, andwhen he gets into batting stance, he says ‘guy’ (looks like he’s a lefty).  If you’re watching tv, he asks to put on baseball (tee?  bayball?’) and not only does he have a batting stance complete with follow-through, he has a leg kick he uses when he (‘whoa’ a la Joey Lawrence) throws the ball.

The girl has taken to writing books and is better than her mom at use of adjectives.  She has created a Crusader’s Club (for the Earth) and a spy club.  The latter is a bit of a disappointment for her as I put the ixnay on hosting her entire class for a spy club meeting.  I think mostly she likes the idea of wearing a disguise.

For the end of the semester, I have 3 papers, 2 finals and 15 questions of varying complexity to answer in three different classes.  Oh, and 100 pages of a book to read before I can answer 6 of the questions and do one of the papers.  I am not a happy bee right about now but it will feel damn good when I am finished next week.  Wish me luck.  Or sanity.  Or both.

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This  morning my son woke himself up by clapping in his sleep.  Loudly.  He then sat straight up in bed and asked for the phone.  “Call? Call?”  As we began to get up, he leaned over to the nightstand and proclaimed, “Ball!”

This is how our days are going lately.  He has other words (in a grand nod to his Irish roots he calls all food “potay-toe”) but for the most part, he wants to talk on the phone or play ball.  All.the.time.    It’s cute, though.  For the first 7 hours at least.  Right now?  He’s dribbling a soccer ball around in the living room.  He’ll do this for hours, and honestly?  I expect his obsession with soccer to pay for C and I in our infirmity.  Either that or he will use his grand meowing skills to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a cat.  You never know.

We lived through St. Pat’s and are down to a reasonable number of shamrock plants (15.)  I replaced 14 out of the 20 bought from those bastards but I think most of them were going to make it.  Thank goodness that the one I took in which was not-so-great looking had new buds and thank goodness the little girl who got that one was thrilled when I showed them to her because I felt really bad taking in a straggly plant.  Aside from that, it’s sprout city in here.  We’re planting some wheatgrass this weekend I think and then keeping the rest of the seeds until Lucy’s spring break.

What else?  Hmmmmm.  I’m using my time this Spring Break (still haven’t flashed the worms) to put away all of the crap that has collected in various ‘where the eff does this go’ bins.  I cleaned off my dresser and C’s dresser, have almost-completely-clean bookcases in the foyer and even cleaned out all of our old condiments from the fridge (you can’t imagine how many satay sauces and marinades we had crammed in there.  Seriously.)

And this brings us to right now, which involves much less cleaning out and much more writing.  Hey, any excuse to get out into the Real World–there’s a burger and cup of coffee with my name on it at the pub.

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We have officially entered the conversational phase of babyness.  There’s a lot of cobbling together sounds with arm gestures, actually, but we have been able to determine a few words that are used consistently.

There’s Mama and Dada, of course.  Ba for ball, buh for book.  Da for doll.  Appuh for apple, which seems to be used not only for apples proper but seemingly for any food.  There have been a few precursory attempts at saying both waffle (uffuh) and banana (this varies from time to time.)  Pickle is ‘Puhpuh’ and all animals are ‘Neenas’ and they all say ‘nee-yah’.   This last is my very favorite thing in the whole wide world, narrowly edging out the aforementioned ‘appuh’ and the first melt-your-heart communication, ‘Day-day-day’ accompanied by swaying/rocking/hurtling oneself back and forth which represents dancing.  That one is still incredibly cute actually, especially since he does it on command.

It is fantastically adorable and keeps me from losing my mind entirely when he hurls Cheerios on the floor or shrieks at the top of his lungs because I have set him down to go use the john.  Just to keep it real.

We have gotten to the age where every moment is accounted for by both the struggles and the joys of parenting and I find myself with little time or desire to plug myself into the computer, which is a nice development in and of itself.  It leaves me time for the reading of books, the making of crafts and the whole exercising thing I let slide for so long.  Despite the frustrations of missed naptimes and shrieks over the littlest frustration (the baby’s not mine, I swear) I am really enjoying my time with both of my kids.  It’s a really nice feeling and you can feel free to remind me of this when homework time rolls around and I’m trying to prepare food while keeping the older on task and the younger from rupturing our eardrums with his shrieking.

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He is completely transitioned to grown-up food and yesterday ate a great feast of falafel, Moroccan spiced carrots and beets, red cabbage, cucumber and pita with hummus and tahini.  Chico enjoys long crawls pushing his ‘ba’ from room to room, can throw overhand, stacks rings atop each other to the number of three, and will sit and flip through book after book as though he is really reading (without taking big bites like his sister did.)  He loves wooden puzzles, the cats, and big sister Lucy.  And, happiest of all for me, we are still nursing strong despite the two weeks of hospitalization back in January and my now-recurring plugged duct. I’m also particularly proud that he has not had a disposable diaper on his chickpea butt since last October.

A year goes by like lightning, doesn’t it?  I sure do love my little guy, big helper, companion, nursling and entertainer.  My biggest fear about having a second child was that I couldn’t possibly love anyone as much as I love my Lucy.  Thank you, Francis, for showing me how big my heart could grow.

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Sweet jesus let me stop sneezing.  I woke up at 5:45 making a terrible racket, which woke up the baby (horrors!) and now I’m with the eyes itching and snot evacuating and I find it all rather irritating.  C is full-on sick, Lucy had a fever yesterday afternoon but seemed to be recovering by the time I got back from my CSA shift, and thankfully, Chico seems to have escaped entirely (knock wood.)

This is all by means of explaining the disjointedness of this post.  Hold on!

My mom is coming tomorrow!  Hurrah Mom!  My Baby Brother conned her into driving him and his gear up for The Last HOPE. She’s heading out here for a visit with the grandkids whilst I take in a few talks myself (dirty hippie to the core, I’m planning on the enviro ones plus JELLO BIAFRA!!!!!!111!1!1leeven.)  Beside myself with excitement.  Full report next week.

It hit me last night how starved for adult conversation I am, coupled with how nervous I get talking to people I don’t know.  I walked home with another mother and went into full-on expository yak yak yak mode.  My husband assures me that people like me even though I do that, but I still am hoping I didn’t come off as too needy/crazy.  Because I’m really a pretty reasonable person most of the time.  Or some of it at least.

I’ve been doing a lot of ruminating on philosophy lately.  Reading After the Ecstasy, The Laundry when I have a few minutes to rub together and thinking about who I am and what I believe.  It’s sort of nice to try to let go of everything I use to define myself or know others use to define me and really reflect on the self that I am, to paraphrase Kierkegaard.  I keep little index cards that I letter and color with quotes and reminders of things that strike me as important to this journey, which is a nice little meditation on the idea contained within.   I’m feeling much more steady than I have in a while, which is such a wonderful gift.

It’s making things around the house much easier as well.  I’m not as daunted by the day-to-day tasks I have to do when I stop thinking about what I need to do next.

Meanwhile, Lucy is teaching a yoga class to her brother.  I get such a thrill out of that.

I still haven’t decided what class I’m going to take.  On one hand, I’m really excited about the idea of learning Mandarin, especially since C is taking it next semester (he went to college as a Chinese major back when he was young and impressionable) and I’ll be able to keep up with him at home.  On the other, it hit me that when I was in the hospital in the throes of the meningitis fever, I tried desperately to focus my eyes enough on the wall beside my bed because I wanted to write down what I was dreaming.  Which, I think, means I’m probably needing to get back into the habit of writing regularly because hello, I was rolling around with a fever of 104 trying to write.  The answer will come to me.

In Chico news, he got his first tooth and is crawling, only instead of getting up on his knees, he sort of throws himself forward while using his arms to determine directionality.  It looks ridiculous but is a deceptively speedy method of propulsion.

And with that I’m off to take down laundry.

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I totted up my numbers for the Riot so far this month and overall they aren’t so bad.  Except for consumer spending, but that’s getting ready for summer and, of course, making sure I have a pair of shoes I can live in until I can cram my toe into a toed shoe.  You know, important stuff.  Ok, so that is a huge excuse, but we needed a few more things to complete projects from our Recycled Crafts book, which will significantly reduce our trash numbers.  Already has, I should say, as we have saved every last plastic bottle, bottle cap, glass jar, and aluminum take-out tray.

I’m a bit concerned about our electric numbers.  I have to keep reminding myself that electric balances out over the year, so even though it looks like we’re way over, we really aren’t.  Still, I’m looking forward to losing the daily trips to school for Lucy and doing more around home.  We should end up cutting down from 20-25 kWh/week transit to closer to 6.  This week will tell us how we’re apt to look for a while.  It’ll be tough again when Lucy’s summer classes start, but it’s only twice a week instead of five times at least.

Food is, well, terrible.  Despite the start of CSA season, we’re coming in at just over 30% local, 12% bulk, 56% wet.  Our first meat/egg/dairy delivery will be on the 24th so that week should tell us if it’s going to make a significant dent in our wet totals.  I also need desperately to start hitting the Greenmarket again, and working in a biweekly trip to the bulk store.  I just don’t want food shopping to turn into a full-time job, you know?  I’m shooting for getting local to 50% for this next week, and I’m hoping the rest will naturally fall into place after that.

Trash and recycling, interestingly enough, are both really good for this past week.  Much lower than they have been, and I do think it’s in large part due to saving stuff for projects.  I’ve been cleaning out old files, though, and I fear our recycling will be high this week coming up, but it’s worth it to get more clutter cleared out.   I came across some old photos of the apartment from when we moved in, and it was marked how much less stuff we had then than we do now.  Everything out!  I wanna get back to a reasonable level of crap.

And incomp0letely unrelated to reductions or crap or anything else eco, my son has begun pushing himself up onto his knees and rocking back and forth.  It is thrilling and terrifying in that way only parenting can be.

And the other night?  C was walking him around the apartment while I scarfed down food, and he pushed himself back from C’s shoulder, looked for and made eye contact with me, and said…

Mama.

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I think I am officially addicted to babywearing.  So much so that, with the Baby Bjorn size limit looming in the not-so-distant future and the pouch unmanageable for out-of-the-house outings (love it for sick and needy baby.  LOVE.  BIG LOVE), I ordered a Custom Babyhawk.  Reversible.  Skullduggery toile on one side, aqua mini calaveras on the other.  Black straps.  It’s a completely hedonistic purchase but I love it.  I can’t wait for it to get here.  I have the Ergo for longer trips and if I get sore in the Babyhawk but I think the ‘hawk will be my main carrier. Because Chico is Baby Punk Rock after all.  It’s a huge chunk of money, the carrier, but I have been pretty good about spending on new stuff for the past month and a half.  Oh hell, I think I get to have shopping lapses sometimes.

We haven’t taken the stroller out of the building in a really long time so I feel pretty certain I will get good use out of both.  I just find it so much more pleasant to walk around with Chico where I can kiss his fuzz-head and have chats about what we’re seeing.  I yak with the stroller too but you have to be significantly louder that way.  People used to look at me funny when I’d walk around talking to Lucy as a baby but damn if her vocabulary wasn’t huge early.

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Last night Chico was baby ‘splode-a-tummy.  See, Sunday I put milk in my coffee to test out the dairy sensitivity deal.  And this was a terrible idea because for the past few days we have had gas and poor sleep just like before I quit dairy.  So no more.  Cross my heart hope to…sleep.

Also I ate a burger on Monday and my tummy is not happy with me either.  Not to get too into details, but things aren’t coming out like they ought to.  So no more red meat either.  My resolve is stronger this time.

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Almost one year to the day after we got the first one, the second worm bin arrived yesterday.  It’s all set up and ready to go, the worms are in there (some of ’em anyway) and I just have to  figure out if I’m going to run 2 bins or leave one to sit until this one is full.  We can probably use both, especially with CSA season fast upon us.

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One of the books I just got is A Goddess in My Shoes, which I read last night in one sitting.  I love-love-loved it.  It’s the perfect combination of psychology and new-agey self help, and Rickie Moore has a voice I can really identify with.  I am incredibly excited about tucking into the chakra exercises.  Do I sound crazy yet ;P

I go through spiritual phases, sort of moon-like.  I’d like to think one of these days I’ll find something that sticks.  Maybe the point is to take what I learn and work it into one big tapestry of spirit instead of looking for the proper label for what I believe.

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My darling Francis, you are 6 months old today!  Your hair gets thicker, your eyes hover between blue and brown, and your sweet grinning face next to me every morning is the best way to start the day, even though it’s usually accompanied by a leaking diaper or a big clump of spit-up.

You like to sit on my lap while I type, drool dripping on my left hand and your right hand swatting at the control key.  You are       fascinated by anything I eat or drink, and you get mad when  I eat without you next to me or on my lap.  Last night you tried to steal my sandwich.  Tonight we’re giving you rice cereal for the first time.  And you just discovered the space bar!  What a big boy you are.

Your favorite artist is Clyfford Still and you are bored by impressionism.  You also like Greco-Roman statuary and Jasper Johns.  You like hanging out in the kitchen with me, listening to music, while we wash dishes and you like when Daddy takes you into Big Beddy and tickles your tummy or pretends to eat your ear.  When Grandma P talks to you on the phone, you try to figure out where she’s hiding, and Grandma L has a nice, comfy lap for you to sit on.

Your favorite person in the whole world, though, is your big sister.  Whether she’s singing silly songs to you or reading you a book, or throwing herself around the floor to make you laugh, your eyes light up at the sight of her, and the sound of her voice would wake you from a dead slumber.  When she gets home from school, your little body shakes with excitement while she washes her hands and by the time she comes to say hi to you, you have no choice but to let out a shriek of delight.  And the best part is, she is excited to see you too.

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Six months ago today I went in for a routine exam with my midwife.  The train was packed and I rode for about ten minutes, sweating profusely and taking huge swigs from my bottle of water.  By the time I got a seat, I had snapped at a man who looked for all the world like he was going to take it and leave me standing.  I sat down too hard and immediately felt a searing pain in my head and neck.  They called me a cab at the midwife’s office and sent me straight to the emergency room, who in turn sent me to maternity, where they hooked me up to a fetal monitor and gave me some Tylenol.  I tried to sleep and Chris sat next to the bed and people filed in and out trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me.

A few hours after I got there, the ob on call came to check me and I had dilated 2 cm and was fully effaced.  I was admitted, and C and I entertained each other with parthenogenesis jokes and how my labor was all in my head (har har.)  C was sent to fill out paperwork while I danced around the labor and delivery room, iPod stuck in the pocket of my gown, to Siouxsie and the Banshees (Monitor), Shriekback (Nemesis), Bauhaus (Spirit) and Dead Can Dance (Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove) most of which were old favorites from my club days. I wrote a blog entry while I danced, because I’m that big of a geek.

And then my labor stalled.  After an hour, I allowed them to break my water.  I hadn’t wanted any interventions, and I’m not sure why I let them do it, but I think part was because i was afraid of being sent home and then having to stress out all over again about getting there, especially since the dilation and effacement happened so quickly the first time.  Still nothing.  I wasn’t even feeling contractions yet.  Hadn’t been all day, just the interminable headache which seemed to be how I was laboring.  Waves of head pain.  It was so surreal.

Finally I agreed to pitocin.  I was dehydrated and on an iv, nothing was progressing, and I could see from my midwife’s face that she was getting concerned.  I didn’t ask why; I was worried about the pitocin but I reminded myself that she hadn’t pushed anything on me with Lucy and wouldn’t do it now if there wasn’t some concern.

Pitocin.  Sucks.  Oh my god, I can still remember how panicked I was, contractions right on top of each other, feeling like I had to push almost immediately.  I didn’t think I could make it this time, and I had a relatively easy birth with Lucy.  I liked the waves of contractions leading up to transition and agony.  This was straight into the fire.  I felt like I was being a big baby.  I tried to maneuver myself into more comfortable positions, but the urge to push was getting too strong to ignore and then it was push-push-push-push-baby.  With more pushes, of course, but not many.  It was less than an hour total.

And then there was baby.  And everyone gasped at the sight of him, because he had been predicted at no more than 7.5 lbs and he was over 8.  And this time there was no whisking away or being alone because he was flopped onto my chest, all warm and big and I cried onto his head and told him I loved him.  And it was so wonderful.

I apologized to C and my midwife and the L & D nurse for being such a baby because I wanted so badly to be all grrrr this is no big deal.  They all told me I was nuts, I had not been a baby at all.  I didn’t believe them, but it was nice to hear.

And as he was weighed and measured, I talked Yankees with the nurse because, well, the work was done.

It was after midnight when I got a place to sleep.  There were no real rooms so I was stuck in a triage room, and all night I listened to women screaming and doctors yelling and the like, and felt like maybe I had been pretty chill about the whole experience.

I’ll write about the asshole roommate and her asshole family, as well as how Joe Lieberman was right outside the room and I didn’t go yell at him for being a turncoat, something which I have regretted ever since because wouldn’t it drive the point home to have a woman who had just given birth get up out of her bed to come yell at you?

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Aside from the two weeks I spent in the hospital, we have had a wonderful nursing relationship.  We have nursed in restaurants, doctor’s offices, at a funeral, at Gymboree, and in several exhibits at the Met.  I was afraid I’d fail at nursing.  I was afraid I’d never leave the house for fear of having to nurse in public.  When I got home from the hospital, I was afraid you’d prefer the bottle.  I love to nurse you.  Even when you want to do it constantly, I love holding you close and making you feel better.  And I am secretly so proud that you are getting so big just with my milk.  It makes me feel powerful.

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My favorite thing about having a second child is how much I love both of my kids together.  I worried, like a lot of people, that I couldn’t possibly have as much love for a child as I did for Lucy.  The thing is, I love both of my children individually, but I also love each one reflected in the eyes of the other.  To see how much your kids can love each other is such a magical experience.

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Chile’s new area of the Cut the Crap challenge is the kitchen.  Now, I had a good clear-out of my kitchen in October so I’m ok on cabinet space.  What I am not ok on is counter space.  I give you exhibits A and B:

These are my counters.  All both of them.  This is what I’m currently working on–cleaning, organizing, getting rid of.  Thus far I have hung a wall-mounted spice rack and dumped/washed out more expired spice jars than I care to admit.  The glass ones will be reused, plastics go to Lucy for pretend cooking.  I am attempting to eat through the foods in the pantry-cabinet (our real pantry is makeshift cleaning product/cat litter/fancy stuff storage plus a towering pile of plastic take-out containers I’m slowly finding reuses for.  Towering.  Seriously.

I’m hoping to finish today, if el hombre Chico cooperates.  Last night Lucy made him laugh so hard and for so long that he collapsed in tears and passed out without even nursing for 2 hours.  It was heartwarming up to the meltdown, after which I found myself instantly transported back to those days of early infancy when I found myself incapable of soothing him.  Still, it was so worth it to see my kids cracking each other up while I watched from the kitchen.

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