Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Meaningfulness of Christmas Cards

This is why people despise Christmas cards.

We have lived at our current address for 2.5 years. Meaning, this will be our 3rd Christmas in our house. It's bad enough that we still get junk mail for residents who have lived here for the past 20 years or so ... but so far this month we have gotten three Christmas cards to the couple who lived here before us. These are actual cards, mailed by individuals ..... who apparently are so out of touch with the former occupants that they're not even aware these people have moved 4 hours away. Over 2 years ago.

I don't know if it's the fault of the sender, for not paying attention. Or maybe the recipients never bothered to let them know? But surely, if you care about someone enough to feel the need to send them holiday greetings, shouldn't you know where they live?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Babysitting Success

Our night out this past weekend went really well. The Dayton Flyers won (Go UD!) and we enjoyed our time away.

We couldn't help wondering, of course, how things were going back home. But we resisted the urge to call until we were on the road heading back home. According to what my parents told us, Eleanor was a little angel and everything went very smoothly. I suspect, though, that they would tell us that regardless of the truth, because they love us and want us to leave the house occasionally over the next decade or so.

Being a parent is a funny thing. A strange combination between wanting your child to become independent and wanting to take care of her forever. Why is it that I'm so conflicted? I wanted her to take a bottle .... but when she finally did I was a little sad. I wanted her to be happy when her grandparents hold her and play with her .... and when she is, I feel unneeded.

This parenting stuff is hard work. Even when we're taking the night off.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Procrastination Techniques

When it comes to Christmas again, I always fondly remember the ways I would procrastinate in studying for exams in college.

Elf bowling was probably my favorite. Silly and addictive, it saved me from hours wasted on actually revising my essay and learning topics of study. So if you need something to procrastinate from this holiday season, enjoy!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pre-Game Jitters

I'm starting to get nervous, and tip-off is still days away.

For the first time, we are leaving Eleanor for an evening out on the town. Our Alma Mater, the University of Dayton, is playing the University of Akron in Akron, and we have tickets. This means we'll be gone around 5 hours, between driving and the game itself.

I never intended to be the kind of parent who won't leave her child with a babysitter. But, well, you can't plan on the child. And, for her first 4 months, Eleanor refused to take a bottle. So that made the decision for us.

We've snuck out of the house a few times before. When Keith's parents visit, they send us out for coffee or a quick meal. My Mom has watched Eleanor one afternoon while I went into the office for a meeting. And we even went to a friend's wedding in October—we just skipped the ceremony, showed up at the reception in time for the meal, and left before the dancing really got started.

But every time I've been gone, I've felt the clock ticking. And I knew if I didn't get back within 2-4 hours at the most, there would be a hungry baby meltdown. Which is much more ferocious and scary than it sounds. As time passed, I could feel myself winding tighter and tighter as I worried about what was going on at home. I couldn't truly relax and enjoy it.

A few weeks ago, that started to change. I don't know if the 20th bottle we tried was the charm, or if she had just decided a bottle wasn't all that repulsive. But she started to show a little interest in it. We've been working on it since then, and I'm completely confident that Eleanor is fully capable of taking a bottle.

Will she choose to take it? Well, that's a different question entirely. My parents have graciously offered to be the experimental babysitters, and suffer Eleanor's wrath if she chooses to refuse sustenance. They have seen and lived through her hungry frustration before, so I have every confidence that they can handle the situation. Between the rocking, bouncing, singing, shh-ing, and more, they could soothe their way out of World War III, if necessary.

So I'm really looking forward to this basketball game. I know that Eleanor will be lovingly cared for, and is completely capable of being fed and happy when we get home. I no longer worry that I'm abandoning her and scarring her because she's going hungry while I sip my latte. So we just might have to stop for a leisurely latte on the way home.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lap of Luxury

My lap has been a busy place of late. Obviously, 90% of the time, Eleanor and I are hanging out. I'm soothing her, I'm bouncing her on my knee, she's standing on my legs. This is the majority of lap duty.

But the animals are also more interested in cuddling. I think they're jealous. I used to try my best to entice Gomez to sit in my lap and let me pet her, with very limited results. Once Keith even helped cover me in cat treats to try to get her attention. She never showed, but Beckett loved it.

Now Beckett has always liked cuddling together on the couch. He comes and curls up right next to you, maybe putting his head on your knee. He's not a big believer in personal space.

But both animals have upped their attentiveness. Whenever my lap is empty, they seize the opportunity. When I'm sitting at a computer, Gomez is usually curled up in my lap. (To be perfectly honest, she just left. But she had been sitting with me for about 15 minutes, I swear!) Beckett likes to join me when I'm baby-free on the couch or recliner. But it's not enough for him anymore to sit next to me. He now jumps into my lap, curls up, and rests his head on my arm.

I don't mind too much. It's nice to feel wanted. And it's nice to be holding someone who won't scream in my ear or tug on my hair.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Welcome, Father Winter!

The windows went in just in the nick of time, because winter has come early this year. One Friday, they were putting in a window in the sunshine and Eleanor and I went for a walk. The following Monday, snow was blowing in through the gaping hole in the siding as they framed out another window, and I turned off the heat so it wasn't running continuously.

I can't believe how quickly time has passed since Eleanor was born. She's already 4 months old! Suddenly it's December. Thanksgiving is past and Christmas is just around the corner. How did this happen?

I'm very excited for Eleanor's first Christmas. I'm not excited to bundle her up every time we go outside. I miss going for walks around the block, or even just around the backyard. I'm excited for her to experience snow. I feel guilty every time I pick her up and her tiny little fists have turned into blocks of ice.

Part of me is already looking forward to the Spring. Opening the windows again, sitting on the porch swing with Eleanor on a sunny day. But part of me also feels that the time is already going too fast. Eleanor has changed so much since was born, and will continue to change rapidly over the next few months.

I try to picture us in the Spring, but I have no idea what Eleanor will look like or be doing. Will she be crawling? Standing? Speaking in full sentences? (Probably not.)

So although the dark days of winter are depressing, I'll do my best not to wish away this time with my daughter and all of the experiences we have to look forward to.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now

As I mentioned—very briefly and bitterly—a few months ago, we are getting all new windows for our house. Because our house is old and the windows are incredibly drafty—oh, and have lead paint.

But windows are quite expensive, so we ended up doing just over half of the house now, and will have to do the rest another time. The installation took FOREVER. Nearly 3 weeks, to be more precise. It's because we chose custom windows, built by a local shop, instead of mass-produced ones. And, apparently, our house is a one-of-a-kind crazy building where the frames don't match the window size and the walls vary in thickness from the top of a window to the bottom. That sort of thing.

I was going to blog about getting the windows put in as it happened, but it was just too depressing. They finished maybe one window a day, and then lost a day here because of weather, another day there because someone on the crew was sick .... yeah. It was a long process.

However, they are now in and they look fabulous. We can already tell a huge difference, particularly in the living room where the biggest windows are. I doubt we'll save as much in heating bills as we spent on the windows in one winter, but give it a decade or so and maybe we'll break even.

It's just so difficult to relax or feel at ease in your own home when you have contractors on the premises. Eleanor and I had to hide in the basement whenever I was feeding her, which felt like most of the day. Plus I dreaded hearing that there would be another delay, and all the uncertainty of never knowing when they'd be finished.

And yet, by the end I was a little sad to see the contractors go. The same two guys had put in all the windows. They'd told Eleanor how beautiful and smart she is, and exclaimed over what a wonderful dog Beckett is. They even threatened to take Gomez home with them, too, because she'd also befriended them. The house felt a little empty on the first day without them. But it felt a lot warmer, too.