Notes from 13 months: the calm before the storm

Before I talk about coffee and baby walking and napping, I would be remiss if I did not mention what has been weighing on all our hearts this past week: the horrific terrorist tragedies that have played out across the world. There are no words that can describe how small my problems feel in comparison to those whose innocent lives were taken from them and whose families must somehow go on with their lives wishing they were thinking about coffee and baby walking and napping instead of what they are instead forced to think of. We have all hugged our dear ones a little closer these past days and the only way I can think to win over the twisted, horrific acts committed by Daesh is to go on and show that the lives we lead are not going to be controlled by fear and we will not let them win.

Love will win over hate.

Ca va mieux. 

So now, naps and Thanksgiving and coffee and baby walking.

tay and kat ho ho ho

We spent the entire weekend together and this was the only picture we got together. Seems about right.

This past weekend one of my lifelong friends Katherine visited from Texas. It was awesome. However, in the “not awesome” category was the mind-blowing revelation that Thanksgiving is next week. Here is how this piece of information finally lodged itself into my brain:

Katherine: Oh my gosh, can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?
Me: Ha, no it’s not. I thought the same thing and looked at the calendar the other day and it’s the week after next week.
Katherine: No no! It’s actually next week!
Me (in my head): Oh silly Katherine. That’s not how time works. I’ll pull out my phone calendar to show how much time we have before Thanksgiving.
Me (out loud): Holy sh*t! Thanksgiving is next week!

It appears time has made fools of us all, and especially me. It also appears that all my “super early” planning for Thanksgiving can be filed under “a normal and appropriate-ish amount” of planning, and I have once again found myself with a full on holiday season in front of me with 0 presents bought and accounted for.

Oof. Pass the egg nog?

With this newfound information blowing my mind I have decided that instead of being productive, I would jot down a few thoughts about the last month or so of motherhood. Because there is just no way I can possibly try and process one more time that Thanksgiving is next week.

Walking is a whole new bag of beans.

Connor walking gifAnd that bag of beans has now been picked up while I’m making dinner and then somehow opened and spread all the way down the hallway.

At first walking was actually an improvement in the “keep child corralled and appropriately looked after” scene in our house. Connor had gotten shockingly quick on his hands and knees but just after learning to walk he was still just unsteady enough that he slowed down and I had the advantage. This grace period lasted approximately fifteen minutes, but that fifteen minutes was awesome.

Now we have hit the ground…running walking baby-marching and this has proven itself quite the adventure in child care, especially when I’m doing something extraordinarily un-baby-friendly with my hands like seasoning a pork shoulder for the slow cooker and my hands are covered in seasoning and raw pork.

Baby locating device

Baby locating device

The bright side? It turns out that you can teach old dogs new tricks. My new favorite thing is when I look up and then frantically start yelling, “OHMYGOD WHERE’S THE BABY?!” the dog will now also get up and run straight to the baby. He’s like a homing beacon for stray miniature humans. I knew having a herding dog would pay off someday!

Brinks, you are a gentleman and a scholar. Except when you get into the trash. Then you are a ruffian and a middle school dropout.

But first (and then in the middle, and then last), coffee.

futurama coffeeI realized recently I have no idea how many “cups” of coffee I drink a day. This is because I apparently drink them only in half-cup increments scattered and re-warmed throughout the day.

At any given moment I am pondering if my lack of ability to do anything is due to too much or too little caffeine.

Results continue to be indeterminate.

Finally, I can participate in a Tinder-esque app

Ellen-SelfieTinder came along after I had started dating my husband and so I have always nodded along to my single friends’ stories about Tinder trying to convey a sense of understanding about the culture of the app I very clearly lack while also trying to not venture into the look of morbid curiosity. I fear I often wade straight into the “morbid curiosity” realm due to my banal questions and eyes opening wider and wider with every passing moment of the story.

In some strange way, though, I felt left out. I wanted this satisfaction of instant judgment too!

Er…I mean…I wanted to be able to participate too!

Luckily, Katherine (the cruel friend mentioned above who informed me about the calendar) actually had me covered there (so maybe not as cruel as previously thought). She told me about this app called Babyname that is literally “Tinder for baby names.” While we aren’t going after kiddo numero dos any time soon, the idea is still fun and the app is so simple it almost hurts. You and your partner both download it, link up to each other, and then are both presented with baby names at random. If you like one, you swipe right. If you don’t, swipe left (which I am assured is how Tinder works). If you and your partner both swipe right on a name it stores the name in your “matches”. The idea is that you independently can come up with agreed-upon baby names without having to explain to your spouse why you can’t name a child after your 7th grade crush because that’s weird, that’s why, end of discussion, okay?!

It’s so satisfying. And it really is amazing. You never realize how many people you actually don’t like until you try and find baby names.

I would perhaps rather go on a quest to Mordor than navigate the transition to one nap a day

fozzie facepalmUnless there’s a chance that what lies in Mordor is a quick and easy solution to this parenting conundrum of going from two naps a day to one. I can’t say with any certainty on what actually is in Mordor, actually; I always fall asleep during the Lord of the Rings movies*.

There are good days and there are bad days. After daylight savings hit there were a lot of bad days. Oddly, want to know what made me feel better? Connor and I go to a playgroup for kids 0-3ish at the German school around the corner once a week. It has become Connor’s most favorite thing we do, despite neither my husband nor I speaking German. When daylight savings came up and I mentioned it had thrown the 1-nap-a-day thing sort of for a loop (along with some of the sleeing-through-the-night thing…also fantastic) they agreed and said how hard it is for children with changing the clocks back and how much it messes kids up. The way I figure it is that if Germans, a group of people known for their strict timekeeping skills and scheduling acumen**, admit that scheduling can be thrown off, maybe I can loosen up and realize it’s not just me.

Parents, consider yourselves warned. If Germans can’t make daylight savings go well, then what hope is there for the rest of us? None. The answer is none.

I think (think), we’ve turned a corner lately. But it’s a cruel reminder that just because you think you have something mastered or done doesn’t mean the baby won’t put you straight back into your place, even if that place is headfirst into a bowl of coffee. (Please see above.)

It really does just keep getting better.

IMG_5556I hated this advice when when people would say it after Connor was born. “It’ll just keep getting better!” everyone said. “But, it’s great!” I would think. “Let me enjoy how great it is right now!” And then, it would get better.

All of a sudden when I say, “Want to go read a book in the booknook?***” Connor will go over to the booknook. (Note to self: must make sure Connor knows booknook is not a word.) He has preferences, and moods, and words, and a personality. It all changes every day, minute by minute. And it’s amazing to see how it happens.

And it does just keep getting better.

*Oh, be quiet. I’ve heard it all from my husband before. Blah blah blah they’re great, blah blah blah. Can we go on with our lives now?

**Excuse the massive oversimplification of an entire people and profound stereotyping here. It just fits into my internal narrative and makes me feel better so can we go with it? 

***The dog bed that sits next to a bookshelf in our house. Don’t judge me – it’s an orthopedic dog bed.

Voila! le booknook.

Voila! le booknook.