Friday, September 26, 2008

The First Big Trip

I'm excited and nervous. Today we're driving down to Cincinnati for the first time with Eleanor. My in-laws are having a big Open House on Saturday for the whole clan and friends to come by and meet Eleanor.

It's strange to think that so many people haven't met her yet. She's already changed so much! Yet it also feels soon to be traveling with her. Can she handle the trip? Can I? How will she feel about the complete change of scenery? Will she remember her grandparents and aunts and uncles that she's already met? Will she cry constantly or be happy and stimulated by all the new experiences?

I think this is sort of a litmus test, where we will see another facet of her personality taking shape. Based on her behavior in the past few weeks, I'm going to guess that she will enjoy the trip, overall. I think that she's been handling new experiences pretty well, and shows a lot of interest in the world around her.

My only concern is that she tends to cry for other people who are not myself. Everyone is all excited to hold her, and she often responds to this love and affection by trying to make their eardrums bleed. Is this something one grows out of? It's rather inconvenient at times (like say, when I would like to brush my teeth or go for a run), but I'm sure I'll remember it fondly 14 years from now, when she won't have anything to do with me. I'll remember a time when I was the only person she wanted, and whenever I held her in my arms she was happy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Little Too Quiet

I'm actually getting some things done today, and it's kinda freaking me out.

Eleanor went to the doctor the other day for her 2-month check-up. Apparently she's in good health, falling in the 90th percentile in length, middle percentile for weight, and low side of average for head circumference. So she is very tall, on the skinny side, with a tiny head. I'm not really sure what that means, but I still think she's adorable. Tiny head and all!

She also got her first vaccinations at the appointment. She got stuck 3 times. The nurse was very efficient; Eleanor hadn't even managed to start wailing about the first one before the second one was in and nearly done. Much to my surprise, she wailed for a minute or so and then stopped.

Since the doctor's appointment, her sleep schedule is all crazy. She slept nearly the rest of that day, stayed up during the night, and seems to be sleeping today away as well. Last night Keith and I were both pretty miserable, when we couldn't get her to sleep. But today, today! Today is a glorious thing, filled with sunshine and quiet and endless possibilities.

I took a shower. I got dressed. (Beckett was excited!) I ate breakfast. I even had the audacity to make a to-do list ... and have completed several items! I can't even tell you the last time that has happened. Okay, I can. It was July 19.

All the same ... it feels a bit odd. I feel like I should go and poke her. Wake her up and make sure she's okay. Surely I shouldn't be allowed this much free time during the day? Why is there a part of me that feels like I will be punished later for enjoying some free time now?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Daily "Routine"

What does it say about me and my daily routine since Eleanor was born that, when I get dressed, the dog gets all excited? Like, if I'm putting actual clothes on, instead of pajama pants and an oversized robe, it's a Big Day! Things might happen!

If I get shoes out of the closet, he goes into overdrive.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mid-Day Outing

I spend a lot of time lately popping into stores for just one or two items. With feeding Eleanor every 2-3 hours, I don't have time for major excursions in-between. But it's still nice to get out of the house and remind myself that there is a wider world beyond my front door. If I can just gather everything for the diaper bag, keep the baby quiet and happy, and manage to buckle the car seat in correctly, then I can participate in the adult world for a short time.

Running errands is the perfect way to spend my hour or so of free time. All the stores are within 5 minutes' drive of our house, and shopping has no set time limit. If it's going well, I can browse longer. If it's not, we cut our losses and head home, and hopefully the car has lulled Eleanor back to sleep before I pull in the garage.

Last week, I was at Target, following the slammed door incident. The breast-feeding part that I had originally intended to buy was out of stock, so I was desperately searching for something else to put in my cart, so I didn't just buy peanut M&Ms and a bottle of wine.

As I glanced around the store, I noticed the seasonal section across the aisle had been transformed into a Halloween wonderland. And a grown man was standing in the costume aisle, seriously considering the mummy mask, then putting it back and fingering the Frankenstein hands.

And I think I've been living in the 9-5 world for a little bit too long. Because I was fascinated by the fact that a healthy adult male was shopping for a Halloween costume at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. It's been such a long time since I was out and about during the workday that I think everyone else should be chained to their desks.

I immediately started imagining a scenario where it was extremely important to him that he have the perfect Halloween costume. So important that he blew off an afternoon of work in mid-September to start looking. Ex-girlfriend's Halloween party? Big work shindig where everyone is expected to dress up to show that they're part of the team? Maybe not a Halloween party at all—maybe he was a bank robber and finding a disguise was work.

He probably wasn't skipping work at all. But he was still looking at Halloween costumes in mid-September (which seems ridiculously early to me). And no matter what his real story was, I appreciated having something to mull over as the "free time" timer dinged in my head, and I hurried back home to feed the baby.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Like a Hurricane Hit

You know your life is crazy when you forget to mention that your car broke down. When that's minor, compared to the other catastrophes of life.

My parents came over yesterday afternoon—ostensibly for the Bengals game, but really to see Eleanor. My mom noticed that the glass window in the back door had a huge crack running through it, sealed over with duct tape.

"What happened to your door?" She logically enquired.

"The dog did it," was my short answer, although the more truthful answer is that the dog caused me to break the glass.

He really has no shame. He eats anything and everything that is left within snout's reach. Wicker clothes hamper, plastic breast pump parts, dirty diapers ... anything that sounds entirely unappealing to a sane human being, my dog demolishes.

The middle of last week, Eleanor and I were unexpectedly running to the store to replace a breast feeding part that Beckett had eaten. I closed the back door and hadn't even made it down the porch steps before I heard him grabbing the empty pizza boxes off the stove. A hot, fiery rage filled my veins.

I ripped the door back open, grabbed the one pizza box on the floor, and started banging it around as I looked for the dog and the other pizza box. When I found him and the partially shredded pizza box (he'd only had 30 seconds, or else it would have been completely gone), I yelled at the top of my lungs about what a bad, disrespectful dog he was. I banged around the pizza box some more to work out a bit more of my frustration. I threw the pizza boxes on top of the fridge, which he hasn't figured out how to get to (yet), went back outside, and slammed the door for good measure.

Hence, the cracked glass.

Then on Friday, Keith's car wouldn't start when was leaving work. Completely dead. Some good Samaritan gave him a jump. Which you would think is a good thing ... except it meant that it died again a few blocks later. Only this time he was in the middle of a busy downtown street, blocking traffic, instead of in his parking lot. And the car was so dead, he couldn't even get the hazard lights to come on, so he got many dirty looks and filthy words hurled at him as he waited over an hour for the tow truck.

So yesterday afternoon I explained about the door to my Mom, but completely forgot to even mention the car fiasco. And that was BEFORE our power went out early Sunday evening, thanks to the high winds of Hurricane Ike's leftovers. As of mid-day today, our power is still out. The power company is saying that, with so many homes out of power (about 400,000 in the Northeast Ohio area, according to, it may be until the end of the week until power is restored everywhere.

This morning I packed up Eleanor, Eleanor-related necessities (two bulging bags) and the ungrateful, disrespectful dog, and headed out to my sister's place on the Westside, which had never lost power. And here I am.

I'm hoping the silver lining is that normal life won't seem so bad after this. The baby may be screaming, but at least I can watch "Project Runway" to drown her out! I'm dirty from cleaning up another one of the dog's messes? At least I'm assured of hot water for a shower!
After dealing with this, it will all seem easy, right?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The First 8 Weeks

Good news! We're only halfway through September, and I'm writing my first post. Hopefully, this means I might actually write October's first post in the first week or so ... and by Eleanor's second birthday, I might be back to posting on a regular basis! Or maybe that's too ambitious .....
So yes, things around here have been hectic. A baby is seriously hard work. Harder than anything I've ever done before. But even with all the sleepless nights and difficult feedings, it hasn't been all bad.

When I look back on this time, I hope I don't just remember the problems and frustrations. I also want to remember that, for the first month, Eleanor hiccuped just as much out of the womb as she had in it, which is quite a lot. She actually started hiccuping during delivery, which I found very distracting!

I don't want to forget how she moved as a newborn—her jerky arm and leg movements as she first started to unfurl from the little ball she had been for months. I love the feel of her sleeping on my chest, heavy and completely trusting. And the first time she looked up at me and smiled, at about six weeks, was amazing.