Friday, August 31, 2007

A Long Time Gone

Clearly, I haven't been posting for a while, and I'm sorry to any of you who have been checking in for updates. I guess I just got caught up in other things. Like trying to sell our house, make some money, raise a baby...little things like that. There is so much that has gone on, I guess I've been avoiding writing it all down because I knew it would take time. Time that should be spent cleaning the kitchen in case someone comes by to see the house.

But let's start with that. The house. Boy, if you don't have to sell your house right now, by all means, don't. It is a SLUGGISH market, which you've no doubt heard by now. No one is buying, and too many people are sellin'. I personally blame the media. All this talk about the housing market going to hell is scaring people away, people who would probably have no trouble getting a mortgage, perfectly good people who should be buying OUR house. The fact is, there is nothing inherently wrong with the housing market - it's actually a really good time to buy, if you have good credit and a reasonable income. You just can't buy more than you can really afford like you could a few years ago, and that is a good thing. The bottom line, though, is that right now we do not have any prospective buyers and I'm doing my darndest not to freak out yet.

On to other things.

The baby is good. She's really good. Great even. Attachment is going so well she won't let anyone hold her when I'm around. When discussing this from a detached point of view, this is awesome and exactly what we want to happen. From a more personal vantage point, it can be really hard. When Paul comes home, that's supposed to be my "me time," at least enough time to make dinner, anyway. But with each passing day of mother-baby bonding, she becomes less interested in being with papa minus mama. It's all mama all the time, and it can be exhausting. Today at Eliana's gymnastics class, a bee got in her bonnet (not literally) about something, and man did she let everyone in the entire gymnasium know how unhappy she was. From then until bedtime, she made it very clear that I would be the only one holding her, and woe befell me if I tried to shirk my duties as baby-holder. When papa came near, she grabbed a fistfull of my neck skin with one hand and clutched my shoulder with the other, laying her head firmly on my chest. No, there is no question that attachment is indeed happening, and I'm a little nervous about blowing it somehow.

And man is she gorgeous. Here are two from last week. Have you ever seen such a beautiful baby?!

I'm pretty in love with this little face here. She's very smiley (as long as I'm within 8 inches of her person), sleeps well most of the time, and eats like a champ. With each day she gets a little bit stronger, and cognitively she is right on target. I can't imagine a more perfect baby. We really, really got lucky.

Then there's my other baby. She's also doing really well, especially when I let her nap in the afternoon. We've concluded that sleep is really the key to Eliana's well-being and good behavior. When she's tired, she miserable and takes it out on us. The problem is when she naps in the afternoon, she's unable to fall asleep at night until close to 10pm. This happens even when I wake her up after an hour. It's hard to know which is worse - a grumpy kid or one who falls asleep when we do. Today I went with happy night owl. Yesterday I chose the grumpy option, and coped with the torture by taking pictures of her, like so:

This is my pouty little super model, Eliana.

And finally, before I crawl into bed, I have to put something out there: As much as I love my girls, I really, really, really don't like being a stay at home mom. I know there are thousands of women out there who would give anything to quit their jobs and stay at home tending to the little ones, and I should be grateful that I have the option to stay home for more than six weeks, but I am climbing the walls. Hour after hour of rolling a ball back and forth, doing puzzles, reading Cinderella, helping a baby learn to sit doesn't exactly stimulate one's mind. It has its really great moments, and I recognize its importance in the little ones' lives, but 14 hours a day is just too much. It's too much of anything, really. I need a break. I need to feel my brain working on more than just figuring out what I did with the canister of formula I swear I just bought. I envy women who feel completely fulfilled gluing foam flowers onto pipe cleaners, playing ABC Bingo, and rolling around on the floor all day, but I am never going to be one of them. I just have to decide at what point my need to be away does not come at the expense of my newest child's development as a secure, happy individual.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Pictures from the trip to Hosanna

OK, I have to do this quickly, so please forgive the lack of formatting and descriptions these pictures will have. I think I'm going to try and figure out how to make a slide show from them, and they will look much better once I'm able to put that together. But anyway, here are some from the trip south, to the region where Meron was born (she continues to be the most enjoyable baby ever, by the way, and I am completely and totally in love with her). I hope to post pics of Meron this weekend. In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful countryside of Southern Ethiopia!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Things are gonna get hairy

I may have to take a bit of hiatus from my beloved blog for a week or two. I'm still going to post some pictures very soon, possibly tomorrow, but that may be all I have time for until our house goes on the market.

I'm sitting on my couch watching the continuous coverage of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. What a horrifying event, so surreal to think that it's only a few short miles from my house, and that I drive over that bridge numerous times every week. In other words, it really could have been us. What a fragile thing life is, and how quickly it can be taken away.

We learned about the tragedy immediately after our realtor, Mike, left us with a mind-numbing list of things we need to do before putting the house on the market. What a ridiculous thing selling one's house has become. The "stager" (the woman who creates false impressions of a house using rented furniture and wants us to pretend that children don't actually live in the house, or that if they do, they spend their days sitting in quaint chairs near the fireplace reading Chicken Soup for the Soul) has all sorts of ideas regarding what all needs to happen to the house to get it ready for sale. Some of her points are valid, and some are simply unnecessary. I'm sorry, potential buyer, if you don't like my red love seat, but hey, you don't get to keep it anyway, so put on your imagination hat and picture my family room without it. I think it looks cool. Clearly I'm a little defensive when someone suggests I should take my furniture out of my house and put rented crap in it, but I think we have nice furniture and I have no intention of renting something else. All in all, Mike thinks we may end up coughing up close to $5000 getting the house ready. God, where did I put my Xanax?

Enough about stupid house crap. I only included it to explain why I may not be posting as much for the next couple of weeks, as most of my free time will be spent boxing up books, painting walls, and removing any trace of family living.

On to more interesting topics. Both of my girls are exceeding expectations, I am proud to announce. Many people have been asking about Eliana and how she is doing with the new addition to the family. She is doing amazingly well. Truly, she has risen to the occasion and is officially my big girl. Meron adores her, and Eliana makes many genuine attempts to play with her. Eliana's favorite game is to suddenly rush at Meron and give her a big hug. Unfortunately, from an observer's standpoint, it looks more like a tackle, and the poor baby nearly always ends up on her back with a preschooler on top of her, looking more than a little discombobulated.

Meron slept through the night last night, and napped on a regular schedule today, waking up after an hour or so. I think she has officially (and so quickly!) adjusted to the time difference. I am amazed and grateful that she was able to adapt so quickly. She fussed a couple of times during the night, but all I had to do was put my hand on her back and she quieted down. She is a noisy and busy sleeper, moving a lot and making little noises periodically. I wear ear plugs at night now, but it's way better than having to get up for the day at 3am.

So far, I am really enjoying parenting a baby, and I could not have said that with my first, which leaves me feeling sad and a bit guilty. I have no idea what role hormones and first-time parent cluelessness played in my difficulties dealing with Baby Eliana, but so far anyway, parenting a baby like Meron has been much more enjoyable. It took me about 3 days to adjust, whereas with Eliana it took, oh, about 9 months. With my first child, I was always stressed out, always worried about when and for how long she would sleep, when and how I was going to eat my lunch, when and how I would ever piece together more than 5 hours of sleep, and whether life would feel enjoyable again. Yes, it really felt that dire for a few of those early months. I guess I'll just have to pay for Eliana's future therapy sessions, when she realizes just how much she and I traumatized each other during that first year, and try to keep the "you were never this easy" comments to myself.