Monday, January 11, 2016

Sippy Cups-Are You a Straw Cup?

In my youth, I did some babysitting.  In the course of babysitting at one particular mother's house, I was unloading the dishwasher (because I was the go-above-and-beyond type *pats self on back*).  I went to put away a sippy cup and a mountain of brightly colored, different shaped cups cascaded out of the cabinet.  After several tries at a better way of stacking, I backed across the room, threw the last cup in there, and let loose a clever Rube Goldberg machine to slam the cabinet door closed.  Not quite, but I did toss the cup in and slam the door as quickly as possible and mentally apologized for the mess it was going to make later.  After the mental apology, I kind of judged those cups and that disorganization.  Oh the wisdom of a teenage babysitter!  "I couldn't handle that sort of cup chaos falling all the time!  I'd do something about it!"


What precisely would I have done?  Because on the other side of that cabinet, I would LOVE to know what my grand plan was.  Suffice it to say, sippy cups are slowly taking over my house.  I still can't handle the chaos and the constant falling out of cabinets, but am at a loss to both fix it and to stem the never ending tide of new sippy cups entering the house.  It's like that scene in Harry Potter, where the goblets keep multiplying in Bellatrix's vault each time they touch one, except there is never a cool dragon ride, just lots of cups.

We started with the basic pink, two handled, training cup.  It molded like nothing I've ever seen.  I could not keep it clean.  It would mold in little crevices that I had to use special brushes to get to and even the sanitize cycle on the washer couldn't cut through the fungus.  I still have it.  Why?  I don't know.  Then we went through a trial period of several different types of handled sippy cups because she didn't want to drink out of anything.  I have those cups too.  Still.  Languishing in the cabinet.  Now we are past the handled cups and into the very slick-sided plastic ones.  Soon we will move from that kind that has a spout to the straw kind.  All these cups will take up space in my cabinet theoretically for the next 15 years depending on the age differences of our future hypothetical children.  Well that's a depressing thought.

Here's a more fun thought.  In the course of thinking about all these sippy cups, I have decided that sippy cups could be a personality test, each one has distinctive characteristics.  

The Leaker:  You are so full of life and joy, so full in fact you can't keep that joy in.  It just spills out of you.  Joy everywhere.  This means that people either love you or hate you.  Some people just rub that joy on their face and through their hair like it's a deep conditioner.  Other people look at you and say "you are a hot mess of emotions" and put you in the back of the proverbial cabinet.

The Handled Cup:  Who can use a cup?  You can!  You can!  Cup!  Cup!  Cup!  You are a never tiring cheerleader.  You cheer, you help, you eeeeease people out of the old into the new.  You meet people at their level and take them to a new one.  But then they leave.  And you're okay.  Okay-ish.  You just want to be LOVED okay???  You are a freakin' Giving Tree of love and devotion and help and then people just move on to newer flashier cups leaving you to pick up and...wait...is that a new baby?  Who can use a cup?  You can!  You can!

The No-Handled Cup:  Yep, don't mean to brag, but you have arrived.  Look at all these freshmen.  You're big man on campus.  You know what's what and you don't mind to shove a few smaller people out of the way to get it.  You just got your first credit card and you are using it!  Why have one outfit when you can have every color, every Disney character, and even monogrammed.  Go big or go home.

The Perfect Cup:  You are part of a couple.  It's the two of you all the time.  When you go to sleep, you're clutched in their arms.  When they wake up, you are the first thing they want.  You go everywhere together.  Everywhere!  Do NOT possibly forget to take you somewhere!  Fury will rain down upon your head!  Other people might say this is unhealthy, but you don't care.  You're world is completely taken up by your one person, the rest fades to black...until a new cup comes to the cabinet.  Dun dun dun!

Straw Cup:  There are a lot of words that could describe you, we'll call you a mother lovin' bad bottom.  Oh yeah.  You are a world traveler-the park, church, the children's museum, what what!  You are independent.  You love new things and aren't afraid to give them a try.  Coconut juice anyone?  The world is your oyster and you are going to put your sticky hands on all of it!

The Glass:  You are the black tie, pearl draped, only eat things with five adjectives person.  You are delicate.  You are what everyone aspires to be.  No one can touch you.  Look down to those lower shelves and judge all the plastic flotsam you see!  Bwhaha!

So, be honest, who are you?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Who Am I Doing This For?

I have a mini soapbox today.  It has to be brief because I am on coat number four of silver spray paint on angel wings.  You can imagine how much help Cordie is with the painting process.  The weather is also being super cooperative as it is and has been raining all day long.  The painting came after the dying of a previously white, now sort of gray/blue, dress.  Why am I doing all this?  Halloween.

At this age (Cordie just turned one), Halloween says way more about me than it does about her.  She can't pick her own costume.  This is one of a precious few years that she gets to be what I deem cute or cool.  However, because I am a suburban SAHM people start asking in August "Oh are you going to make her costume?"  Because that appears to be part of the job description.  In August, I blithely replied "Yeah, I probably will.  No sense spending money on something I can whip up myself!"

Oh the optimism of August.

Now it's October though and I am in throes of a post-birthday craft funk.  I'll make a little confession to you, oh Internet, great keeper of secrets...I looked for a pre-made costume.  I know, I know!  I stay at home, what else do I possibly have to do with my scads of free time?  Costumes are expensive though!  Especially for being such cheaply made bits of nylon that will inevitably rip when I put her in the car seat.  It's not like she's three or four and into dress up yet.  That, in my opinion, is the time to go pre-made.  Then just chuck it in the dress up box on November 1st.

The cost and the fact that there seem to only be insect costumes for one year olds made me revisit making my own, I mean HER own, because Halloween is about the kids after all.  Eye roll.  I decided Cordie would be a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who.  This checks the box of "hip costume that reflects well on parent's interest" as well as "not a bee, butterfly, or ladybug" and "crafted not bought".  I am winning at Halloween.  So I bought dye, wings, and spray paint.  Suddenly this costume was not necessarily cheaper than store bought.  What's so wrong with a butterfly anyway?  Everyone loves butterflies!

I have now somewhat successfully dyed the dress, painted the wings, considered different methods of face painting, and found a silver hair bow.  I'm looking at the costume and thinking, "Yep, those wings will be lucky to stay on long enough to get a picture."  The arms of the dress may be short.  She can't, or shouldn't, eat that much candy so is trick-or-treating even an option?  So why I have done all this?

Over compensation for not seeing her on her first Halloween when she was Cinderella in interim care.  Not wanting my kid to be the only kid without a cute costume.  Getting to influence her to like cool things like Doctor Who.

And because I get to eat her candy.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Transitioning

Cordie is beginning to transition to solid food.  We have FINALLY found a sippy cup that she can and will drink from, but she does not like milk.  Because of that we aren't rushing it.  Still, Cordie loves food and she is getting more independent by the hour and wants to feed herself.  It's the strangest thing though, I suddenly don't know how to feed my child!  I remember when she went from laying down in the baby bathtub to sitting up in the big tub.  I called Mom and told her "I don't know how to bathe my baby."  Cordie was about six months old so Mom said "Um...okay?"  I could not figure out how to get the backs of her legs clean!  She was sitting in the water, so how could I scrub her without practically face planting while lifting her slippery, soapy body with one hand and simultaneously fending off her vicious grabs at the washcloth and actually wash her little thighs with the other?  Eventually I figured it out, but that was my first glimpse at how transitioning from one thing that you know so well to something new kind of throws everything for a loop.

The weird transitions are one of those things about parenting that I didn't really expect.  I sort of thought there would be concrete mile markers.  She doesn't eat solid food, then she does.  She doesn't drink from a sippy cup and then she does.  I knew I would have to wean her from a bottle, but I didn't appreciate the full spectrum of she eats purees and I eat feed her, she eats soft things that I feed her, she eats soft things she feeds herself, she refuses to let me feed her and eats more or less independently.  There is way more gray here than black and white.

Evidently this is a thing for lots of moms because the baby food aisle at Walmart is chock full of foods in different levels of independence.  We are somewhere between the regular baby food that I would feed her, (Heaven forbid that I should feed her instead of her doing it herself) and the squeezeable pouches.  So basically every meal is a combination of these



Part of the issue is, let's be really honest, me.  I am first time mom-ing this up.  Seriously.  You should see the size of the bites I put on her tray.  They're infinitesimal.  You know the cups of fruit that you might pack in kid's lunch boxes for school?  I cut those pieces in half.  Yesterday, for the first time ever, I gave her a roll to take bites off of instead of picking it apart for her.  Well, not a WHOLE roll of course.  Half a roll.  Half a tiny crescent roll.  


The thing is, I KNOW this is ridiculous!  I know that with baby #2 I'll be tossing them a chicken leg at 8 months and being like "go to it kid!"  And yet I still do it.  I try to comfort myself by watching Dad who breaks Cheez-its in half.  I'm not alone in this realm of craziness!

The "best" part about all of this is the sleep regression.  Cordie isn't getting full enough in the evening to sleep all night, so she's waking up for a nighttime feeding.  Oh goody.  I'm caught between how sweet it is to snuggle her and promising myself that the next day I am going to feed her until she has chipmunk cheeks and can't possibly hold one more bite of anything.  One day this week Cordie ate in her high chair for an hour and half!  I did not sit and stare at her the entire while making "helpful" comments like "take a sip of juice, not that much juice, nom-nom-nom".  She slept the whole night that night and it was glorious.  Blissful sleep!  

We're growing together.    Eventually she will drink milk (our pediatrician is suggesting going cold turkey on the formula to "encourage" her to drink milk, yikes).  One day she make take smaller bites off of a bigger piece of food!  Until then, I just continue to eat the other half of the roll she can't handle that my insanity says she can't handle.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On This Date 365 Days Ago...

...My family was driving home from the beach.  We had gone to Myrtle Beach and it was great.  We had an awesome time.  Mom had asked, as she had previous two years, if I thought we'd have a baby with us next year.  This time, unlike the previous two years, I said no.  I said that the process would most likely take longer than that, but hopefully by 2016 and almost certainly by 2017 we would have a baby at the beach.  

As we were driving, I was struck with the need to pray for our birth mother.  This wasn't unusual, after all I had been praying for her since I was sixteen and felt the first flutter of a calling to adopt.  I prayed and prayed, but the urgency of the need wasn't letting up.  Finally I told Josh that he needed to pray for our birth mother and we prayed together.  I think I even texted Mom in the other car and asked her to pray.  Finally the pressing feeling went away and I asked Josh what, if anything, he thought was going on in her life.  We wondered if maybe, possibly she had found out she was expecting.  How cool would that be?  We would have a June baby!  I was hoping.

Then we got home and found the official approval letter and I cried.  We were a waiting family.  I changed my cover photo to this.  We were so excited.  We were FINALLY getting close after years of seeming ever further away.  We just had no idea how incredibly close we were.


At 11 that night, Cordie made her sudden and slightly unexpected entrance.  It blows me away, truly even a year later, at how active and present God was in that entire situation.  I could not believe it when our adoption worker told us her birth date and I realized that I had been praying so hard for the birth mother That Day!  And yet, why should I have been surprised?  God's hand was all over our adoption start to finish.

There is no comparison between the screaming, colicky, barely a handful of a baby that we brought home almost a year ago and the happy, active, growing toddler we have now.  There were nights that felt so long in the moment that I thought I would never see the sun rise, but now I can't believe that the time has gone.  I was here for practically every second and yet I still feel like I missed it somehow.  I blinked and she was big!  It's amazing and breathtaking and heartbreaking and joyful and so many emotions that I can't help but cry.



Even as I experience the bittersweetness of her outgrowing clothes and toys, becoming super independent, and growing into her huge personality, I'm so excited about the next year!  She's going to add a lot of words to her vocabulary.  She'll learn to walk!  We're so close on that.  She's taken about half a dozen steps, but they're accidents, she doesn't even realize she's doing it.  She'll probably pick a thing she loves to sleep with like a doll or bear.  She may transition to a toddler bed.  She'll dance a lot, that girl loves to shake her thang!  Maybe learn work a puzzle or color.  Definitely master the iPhone.  It's going to be great.  I'm so glad I get to be here to see it.



Happy birthday my sweet pumpkin!  Mommy loves you more than you'll ever know.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Magician King


Yesterday I finished The Magician King by Lev Grossman.  It is the second of a trilogy, preceded by The Magicians and followed by The Magician's Land.  I wasn't wild about The Magicians.  It was okay.  Okay enough that I went ahead and picked up the second, but not so great that I was eagerly anticipating it.  I really really thought I blogged about the first book, but I can't find it which is now making me feel sorry for my friends and family because I had a LOT of feelings about the first book and if I didn't share them here I must have shared those feelings with them...in an endless stream of "And THEN do you know what happened?  I didn't think it was a respectful way to handle a reference to a greater work.  The characters are hard to root for!" Etc etc etc.

I'm really making you want to read this aren't I?

I say all of this to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by the second book.  Not only was I not hyped because the first book fell short of the intended goal, I dreaded the almost inevitable Second Book Syndrome that occurs in trilogies.  However, I was pleased to find that The Magician King did not suffer from SBS in my opinion.  Hooray!  The pacing was good and the story felt like it had merit and worth on its own instead of solely to move the reader from the genesis of The Magicians to the final conclusion of The Magician's Land.  There was an actual story that was worth telling and reading in this second book.  It also succeeded in making want to finish the series.

Grossman leans heavily on parallels to other fantasy works like Harry Potter, the Narnia books, and The Lord of the Rings.  The first book felt almost mocking of the other worlds, but this book tied in the elements of those stories without the mockery and with more original imagination.  The story felt more lived in, like the author was comfortable with the places and mythology he had built.

This isn't a book for a new fantasy reader (for those I'd suggest The Night Circus, The Golem and the Jinni, or Neverwhere), but if you are a dyed in the wool fantasy lover, I'd definitely give this a try.  You will enjoy the references and the possibilities set up in this world.  Don't be fooled by the comparisons to Harry Potter though, this is much more mature in themes.  There was scene in the final fifty pages of this book that I'm still internally cringing over.  It has a lot of good reviews by fabulous fantasy authors and that can be a recommendation in itself.  If you give it a shot, let me know what you think!  I'd love to, once again, ramble on about the pros and cons of the first one too!  If you don't want to invest the time in reading it, I learned (from Wikipedia so tread with caution) that SyFy has ordered a 12 episode season of the first book.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Worry

This isn't a very uplifting blog post.  I'll just go ahead and throw that out there at the beginning.  I've been wanting to post about some of the minutiae of our life, but everything seems kind of tainted with this gray cloud of worry.  Finally, I've decided, whatever I'm just going to blog about it.

Most of you probably know that I have struggled with depression and anxiety for years.  Looking back on my childhood, I can see that I was a very anxious kid from the beginning.  The depression didn't come along until high school, but when it did, it superseded the anxiety in mind consuming-ness.  I've never been shy or uncomfortable talking about it because I honestly don't see a reason to be.  It's a part of who I am, but it doesn't define me and I get aggravated when others put pressure on me to hide it away like it's shameful.  It's brain chemistry!

When Cordie came along, she rocked our world and my normal routines.  As a result, I wasn't taking my medicine regularly.  I didn't start to notice until I got dizzy, which is a side effect of coming off of it.  So I talked to my doctor and we decided that I was in a place to stop the medication.  I was all for it and I did.  I stopped at the end of January because I figured if I could make it through February, the worst month of my depression, and with a baby who wouldn't sleep, then I was golden.  Sure enough, things were fine.  The rest of the winter, all spring, and all summer were fine.  Oh I might have an isolated incident of anxiety, but nothing major and nothing that would even be considered outside normal.

In the last two weeks though, I can feel the anxiety level slowly creeping up.  Part of it is just that there is a lot going on.  Most of it's good, but it's still stuff that isn't our day-to-day life, like her birthday party, going to the beach, and our upcoming birthparent visit.  Guys, I hate it.  I hate that feeling of tightness in my chest and the pressure in my throat that makes feel like I can't breathe.  I hate that after months of smooth sailing that I'm second guessing my thought out decision to stop the medication.  Heck, I hate the second guessing of everything in my life!  Am I a good mother?  Am I a good wife?  Am I a good Christian?  Am I heading back down this anxiety riddled path that I don't want to be on?  There is the glimmer of logical thought that says things like "This is the anxiety talking.  No one is accusing you of being bad at any of those things." But it's hard to drown out your own hyperventilating internal monologue.

In a few weeks or months, when I don't feel this anxious, some of this will be funny.  Like me being gratingly peppy to Cordie about going to Kindermusik to make new friends, while I wipe my sweating palms discretely on her car seat cover and force a smile that resembles the Joker's crazed grin.  I KNOW it is stupid ridiculous to be anxious over Kindermusik, but I am!  Some of the anxiety has a basis in reality, like the birthparent visit.  I want it to go smoothly and I am concerned that Cordie won't go to her birthparents because of her separation anxiety.  I would hate to hurt their feelings.  But at the same time, I worry that she will instinctively recognize them as her "real" parents and take her first steps running toward their outstretched arms, thus confirming that I can't provide her with all the love and affection that she needs.  Darned if you do, darned if you don't.

Summing up, anxiety sucks.  If you have anxiety, I am silently saluting you Hunger Games style.  The arena is tough and the casualties are many.  Fight the good fight out there.  If you don't, be so thankful that this isn't your battle, but I'm sure you are fighting something equally bad.  We all are.  Support us, even if it has to be from a distance, we don't want to feel alone.


Monday, September 14, 2015

The 11 Swimsuits of Vacation

(To the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas)
For the first swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: One Orange and Ruffled suit.

For the second swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: Blue and Polka Dots with Ruffles

For the third swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: Black and White Abstract Art

For the fourth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: Many Scary Sock Monkeys

For the fifth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Minnie Mouse Tankini

For the sixth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  Green-Blue Lace with a Bow

For the seventh swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Floating Pink Monstrosity

For the eighth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  Green and Yellow Pineapples

For the ninth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  Pink, Gingham, and Pineapple


For the tenth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Valentine's Day Ruffled Piece

One the eleventh swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Bikini with Some Stars

11 stars and stripes, 10 hearts galore, 9 gingham ruffles, 8 yellow pineapples, 7 bright pink floaties, 6 pretty bows, 5 MINNIE MOUSE SUITS, 4 awful monkeys, 3 ruffled art, 2 polka dots, and an orange suit to round out the trip!

Hooray!

The beach was great.  Cordie was practically a fishy the entire time.  There were days where we swam three times a day and also got in the ocean.  She loved there being five adults who were pretty much totally focused on her haha!  That is her preferred attention ratio.  

The beach is a totally different experience with a kid though.  Forget those relaxing days of meandering between the hot tub, lazy river, and reading a magazine in the sun.  In beach trips of yore, I would pack enough books to read a full sized novel every day plus a dozen or so magazines.  I read about one book on the entire trip and felt good about my accomplishment!  Cords is so busy and wants so desperately to walk.  I think all of our pointer fingers are permanently pulled out of joint from her using them to steady herself while she walks/throws her body enthusiastically toward a goal.  I told her to go ahead and plan on getting a good paying job, because she will be responsible for the back surgery I'll need from hunching over like that! 

When people would ask why I wanted to be a parent or I imagined what parenting would be like (the good stuff, not the lack of sleep and disciplining stuff), the beach was always a mental scene I would paint.  Last year Mom asked if I thought we would have a little person with us next year and I said no because the adoption process would take longer.  Finally, add in that last year we were driving home from the beach on Oct. 13th (Cordie's birthday) and you get one grateful, happy, emotional Sierra.

Best trip ever.