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Nov. 15th, 2014

I like to write, and I never get to. It's soul-stifling, not being able to write. Now, it's a Saturday, and my 4-year-old is asleep, and my husband is fast asleep after a hearty helping of wedding libations, and I'm completely alone with energy to spare, at last. Normally at the end of the day, I've enough life-force left for only a show, if that.

It's finally Fall, and many things have come and gone that I've wanted to record. October is already gone, and shit, did we October hard. I look forward to the month all year long, because it initiates an entire season of delight and acceptable weather after a 9-month Summer of sweltering oppression. Once October arrives, there are finally so many different things to do, that we have to choose. Things to do. This is key to my happiness. It is the source of my anxiety, and the key to my happiness. When there are things to do, I am anxious, for these things must be done well, and on schedule. Cookies must be iced at the midnight hour. Homes must be decorated. Supplies must be purchased. But if there is nothing to do, there is only despair. I just need to chillax. BUT I CAN'T.

In the beginning of October, the Thunderbirds arrived. This stands out as a memorable weekend, because there couldn't have been a person in Melbourne who didn't know that the Thunderbirds were in town. We all knew that the air show would take place at the Melbourne Airport, but it wasn't until the Thunderbirds buzzed my place of employment, as well as just about every other establishment in town, that I realized that having these bitchin' pilots around was a pretty goddamned awesome privilege. They more-or-less gave the entire county a free airshow per day while they were in town, and even a joyless curmodgeon, like myself, couldn't deny that this shit was exciting. A friend even had one of these gentlemen pilots assist her in a mall when she was having a truly horrific afternoon with her toddler. It was just really exciting having them around. I want to remember it.

After that, many Halloween-themed things happened. We decorated the house. Some nights, we "made it spooky," which meant that we turned out all of the normal lights, and lit up the bat lights and the candles. I spent some money on our decorations, but not that much. I like to think that I am smart with my purchases. I like to think that we can have a pretty damned fabulous Halloween on a budget.

October is also the month when I ran 2 5K's in one day.It doesn't mark an especially long distance to run, but it's the first time I've run 2 races in one day. The first 5K of that day took place on the beach. It was a gorgeous morning-- the sort of thing that every Floridian is waiting for by the end of September. The starting gun fired (yes, an actual gun!), and we all took off in pursuit of a personal best. It was early. On the beach, there were surfers, fishermen, and their daughters and sons. One little girl of about 7 caught sight of the parade of runners, and she began running along side of us on the sugary sand of the upper beach, until she was at last called away by her father. It was a beautiful thing, to me, to see her run against the backdrop of the rising sun. It reminded me of myself as a young girl, seeing all of the people in motion, wanting to prove that I could do it, too.

After that we had trick or treats, trunk or treats, boos at the zoo and visits to the farm, mostly in the police costume Francisco insisted upon (even though there were far cooler wizard costumes to be had). Still, never has there been a more handsome police officer. Our trunk or treat at the preschool went quite well. I took my purple and black decorations from my household, threw in some spooky spiderwebs, and we had the best damned trunk in the joint. People stopped to take pictures, and kids wanted to re-visit just to look. I'm sort of like, if ya'll like this, just wait until we actually make an effort! Halloween is my thing. It's on a Saturday next year. I am planning major events.

ANYWHO, Once the trunk-or-treats, Fall festivals and 5-K's were done, it was NOVEMBER. Now, if you know me, you know that this is the month of adventure and all that is good. Even before Francisco was born, I knew that November was the shit. Now, Francisco done been born, and November is a Fall celebration of happiness that 'splodes the boundaries of joy tolerance!

There were paragraphs here about our Disney Resort time. Somehow I feel that it's excessive for a 4-year old.

My son is extremely intelligent. He recognizes that people are both good and bad. He recognizes that his bad brain tells him to do bad things. He recognizes that my bad brain is not nice either. He is particularly loving in the mornings. After exchanging I love you's at 5 AM, I asked him at 6 AM if he still loved me. He said that he did. But, "You know what I don't love?" he said? "Your bad brain." He's talked about his bad brain before. Very perceptive, at 4, I think, to know that we are all good and bad. Even him, even mom.

Apr. 1st, 2014

I miss writing. I miss writing here and having people read it and care about it and interact with it. That experience made me feel like writing more. I still have thoughts I'd like to write about, but now I have no time for writing, and no motivation to go back to writing for no audience.

Except for this, of course.

Feb. 23rd, 2014

The other morning, when I was running, I saw a shooting star. I wished for happiness. Is that too vague? I've been feeling pretty good lately, so I'm going to call it a wish come true, until it runs out.
WHY did I waste so much of my life being miserable in that wretched apartment? It was a hellish cave of despair; a long, thin, windowless corridor of torment, where there was no place to put fucking anything, and I was simply too tired and devoid of belief that we could afford better to do anything about it. But now I am relaxing on my patio, by the pool, watching the sun set through the windows the oak branches and moss make in my backyard, listening to the call of some loons or Sandhill cranes or some shit, and at last I feel like I am at peace. I've locked myself out of the house, but when Gilbert gets back, I will resume placing our belongings within our many, many cabinets and closets, where I do not have to see them, cook some dinner in my great, big kitchen, then curl up on our sumptuously comfortable new couch and watch Homeland. Goddamnit, this is the shit.

Sep. 29th, 2012

So, I'm working a lot more now. The lady that did the billing/accounts receivable/contract set-up at my job left, and I am taking her place. Of course, she's been gone for a week, and we aren't getting a new A/P person until Monday, so that means I've been trying to learn and do a new job while simultaneously performing all of my pre-existing job functions. It hasn't been a very relaxing time. I got a raise, which is nice, but I don't feel like these people are dying to have me move into that position, meaning I don't feel like I've got the vote of confidence from either my directly-involved co-workers or the company at large. In my mind, they're kind of like, "Well, it makes the most sense to have her try to fill the position, but let's face it, she's really going to fuck that shit up."

It could be real. It could all be in my head. But if you're me, it doesn't matter, because the reality is that everyone thinks you're stupid and incompetent, and you may as well stop trying to fashion a career out of the disjointed shards of failure littering the wastelands of your life, because that shit is just hopeless.

The worst thing of all, though, is that I hardly ever get to see Francisco. And for what? For the most tedious bullcrap on earth, that's what. I'm missing out on almost everything my son does, and it's not even at the cost of something I can say that I love, or that I feel is making the world a better place.

It's not easy being a working mom. I just deleted a whole paragraph about that, but it will suffice to say that it's just not fucking easy.
I started writing the below I don't even know how long ago... well over a month, maybe two.

I feel like I want to write down some of the interesting and funny things Francisco has been saying lately. I want to get some audio and video of him just babbling, too. I already have kind of a hard time calling to mind the types of noises he made a year ago. I can imagine myself years later trying to remember what his word for "thunder" is.

He calls thunder "bahnoo," and he's fairly frightened of it. It may have even given him a nightmare (he woke up after the second night of thunder crying and shaking). He's still talking about "bahnoo" days later every time he hears a loud noise, when he looks outside, or even seemingly randomly. He replaces his T's with B's a lot of the time (TV is "bebe" and table is "bable"), and he can't really say R's, so I guess thunder just comes out "bahnoo".

He's on a big grape kick right now, and he calls them "bapes." I'm not really big on encouraging the mispronounciations, but come on, "bape" is just fun to say.

Today he was climbing over his father's stomach and calling it a "hill", so that was pretty hysterical. Every time he sees a slanted surface, he says it's a hill.

Ok. Back to present day. He says "thunder" now, and is less afraid of it when he wants to be. I suspect he claims he is "fraid" and "cared" of it just for the sake of extra snuggles and holding. He says "table" instead of "bable" already, and is starting to call the pacifier (yes, he still uses one, but only at night if we can help it) "fier" or "pa-fier" instead of "pa" as it's been since he started speaking.

In the morning, when I need Gilbert to get up and tend to Francisco so I can take a shower, I rouse him by smacking him in the side and going, "baaaaabe," so now when I tell Francisco to wake Daddy up, he does the same thing-- smacks him on the side and goes "babe!" It's really quite funny, and another one of those things I'd like to get on tape. They just pick up on every little thing.

When we're driving in the car after a tiring activity, and it's around his nap time, I'm always trying to keep him awake, because I know if he falls asleep in the car, his real nap time may be thrown out of whack (and that afternoon nap is important for my sanity and my need to accomplish things around the house). So if I catch him looking drowsy, we have this game we play where I say, "Yoooou better not be sleeping back there! You better not be!" So then he tilts his head to the side, smiles at me, and does what I think is his attempt at "pretending" to sleep. Then I reach behind and tickle his legs to make sure he's awake. The smiles he gives me when we play that game are some of the sweetest he ever gives. When I flip the rear view mirror to peer back at him, he smiles in a way that definitely says, "Yep, I'm adorable! I know it, and you know it."

His favorite things to play with over the last few months, and still today, are grooming and cleaning products. He has this deep obsession with holding things like soap, hair spray, his toothpaste, diaper rash cream, etc. I don't know what it is. He's all "hold hold!" and if I don't let him hold the coveted object, he rages. I know that a toddler has no business toting a bottle of hair spray around the house, but this is just a battle I'm choosing not to fight right now. He hasn't sprayed it in his eyeballs... yet. He's also obsessed with brooms and mops, and this, too, has been going on for months and months. I've taken him to one of those "indoor playgrounds" with tons of toddler toys a few times, and he has zero interest in the climbing aparati or even the bounce house. He just wants to climb in and out of the little cars, cook in the kitchen, and go "shoppin'" in the pretend grocery store.

He also loves playing in the water. We took him to Sebastian Inlet to swim in the tide pool last week, and he was positively giddy. I think it was the most fun he's ever had in his life. Played right through his nap time and passed out almost the second his butt hit the car seat when we left. Somehow, he thinks it's just hilarious when he falls over in the water, even when he ends up inhaling it, and THAT, I just don't get. I'm pretty sure that water to the face sends most toddlers into hysterics. But not him! I think he may have gotten some fish genes from the Snyders.

He is often happy and joyful when he's in his own element, but when presented with an unknown situation, he can be a very serious child. A few months back I tried putting him on one of those little coin-operated rides at the mall, and he said, "no, no, no" and wouldn't have anything to do with it. I tried again yesterday, and he rode the ride, but looked sooooooo earnest while it was in progress. He did ask to go again, so I guess he enjoyed it to some degree, but the look on his face was cracking me up. I am worried that there may be more of my shyness, lack of confidence and tendency to be intimidated by other children in his personality than I would like there to be. In fact, I wish that he'd have NONE of those traits that I feel have paralyzed me and prevented me from deciding that I am good at something and going after it. I see him looking on at other kids running around a play area, like kids are supposed to do, and just not appreciating their wild and crazy behavior, and it absolutely reminds me of myself. I know part of that is from not being around other kids all that often, and I hope that will change some once we get him in preschool in the next couple of months, but I definitely worry that part of it is genetic. Gilbert says that he's still young and that we'll see a change, and I certainly hope that's true.

Well, I could go on and on, but I think that the time is now to call this a post and post it, or else there may never be a post.
Well, it pretty much doesn't get any better than Francisco. His intelligence is becoming so apparent, and his antics are becoming so deliberately entertaining, that I look forward every day to what awesome thing he's going to do next. Of course, caring for a toddler is not easy by any stretch of any sick and twisted imagination, and there are moments when I wonder why I ever thought that I might be cut out to deal with all that goes on with raising one, but by and large, it just keeps getting better. I started typing a paragraph about the bad moments, but it looked like a lot of whining about shit that everyone has to deal with, so I deleted it.

Anyway, his language development just astonishes me. I remember making posts when he was, like, 3 months old, about how the constant narration of all that I did-- that which "they" recommended, was wearing on me, and how I wondered whether what I was doing was enough to ensure that he reached the absolute highest of his potential. Now I see him with a vocabulary of at least 100 words at 15 months old, and I can't help but pat myself on the back for my high-fat pregnancy diet, filled with boiled eggs, spinach, and choline supplements, and the nearly 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding that I ensured, knowing full well that the person that he is has to do with factors well beyond my control. But still, I did all in my power to generate the very best human that I could. Can't I just have that?

Well, there's more to say, but as always, I don't have the energy to say it, and a Publix sub awaits, so here are some pictures from our strawberry picking adventure last week.

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Francisco kind of sucked at berry picking, but I so look forward to the many fun experiences we will share in the future =D

Also, newish hair... please ignore under-eye bags which I SWEAR the 4 year old G1 camera phone accentuates =D Hair still be bitchin':

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P.S... Should I have another baby? I'm thinking MAYBE in, like, 3 years, but probably NO.

Dec. 29th, 2011

Christmas has come and gone this year, and now 2012 approacheth. I'm gonna have to put this Christmas on record as one of the worst to date. It had its high points, and it was fun watching Francisco finally figure out the concept of "opening a gift" (he engaged in this work with earnest concentration), but with less money to spend than we've had in the last few years past, the warm, sticky weather and the increased workload that closing out a year brings to an accounting department when the rest of the world is slowing down and taking a break, I just wasn't feelin' it. I mean, I've never been one to spew Christmas cheer out of every orifice 'round this time of year, not since I was a kid, anyway, but I'm going to say that Christmas cheer has hit an all time low this year.

Mostly it's the financial struggle that's got me down. I'm too old to be struggling like this, and not being able to buy the people I love the caliber gifts that they deserve is a poignant reminder of what a failure I've turned out to be career-wise, and that shit's just depressing. I especially want to show my appreciation for Gilbert and my family for all that they do and how hard they work... with gifts. But I can't.

Last Christmas was pretty awesome. It was the best adult Christmas I've experienced, I'd say. It was the baby's first, so that was exciting in and of itself, and we put up our first Christmas tree as a nuclear family, plus it was really cold for pretty much the entire month of December, and I had money saved up that I really shouldn't have been spending on Christmas, but at least I had something. That was a nice Christmas.

This year, we did our now-traditional white elephant gift exchange again at my family's house. That was fun, but I was sweating my balls off all night long wearing my sweater-dress in the muggy swamp air, and I was exhausted that evening before I even left the house. Anyway, the shark jacket made its annual appearance in a 60-in TV box that took up half of the living room, and it came with a Ninja Turtle Snuggie as a bonus. This set was the prize of the evening and was stolen, I think, four times before it ended up with its final owner. Gilbert had it at one point, and never did recover temperature-wise until we came home and he stripped down to his boxer briefs and black socks (gotta love that look).

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Goddamnit it, it was such a hot Christmas. I knew we were in for it this year since the last two winters were so gloriously ice cold.

Anyway.

This is our tree this year, which is a $30.00 half-off, last minute special we picked up a week before Christmas after fighting all day long. BUT WE HAD A TREE.

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The highlight of Christmas this year was definitely Francisco's suit.

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But, he had to change into his comfy Christmas PJ's after he pooped his pants.

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I'd brought these along since we did Christmas Eve LATE this year due to work schedules. Francisco actually stayed up until 10:30 or 11:00 that night, which is, for him, unheard of and EXTREMELY late (and extremely late for me to be out too, for that matter). He was having a blast, though. I think we was really feeling the excitement of being up and out late and doing something special.

After we came home, I was so thankful to finally unwind on the sofa with a Corsendonk Christmas Ale while we watched a Christmas Story and Francisco fell asleep in my arms.

Me and my handsome by the tree:

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I did enjoy opening presents with Francisco on Christmas morning. As I said, he took present opening very seriously.

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Here is a crazy, noisy toy he got from his aunt.

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From Francisco's "then and now" photo shoot:

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I love the mischievous little gleam in his eye in this photo.

I'm going to see what I can do about making next Christmas more awesome than this one. Saving up a little money to buy gifts would be a big help. I'll see what I can do.
I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about the degree to which my life exemplifies the phrase "unrealized potential." It just seems like things would be a lot different if I had only... done things differently.

Too late now. I'm just too old and used up to do anything meaningful with the time I've been given.
We celebrated Francisco's first birthday last week. The big numero uno. We had a little party at Ballard Park, and with the breeze, the weather was just about perfect. It was bright and beautiful, and I barely sweat at all. I ended up going with a "monster" theme, sort of, so his cake was a big, blue monster face, and we did little monster cupcakes for the other guests.

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Well, I didn't do them, the girlfriend of this guy I work with did them.

I did, however, carve this monster melon, which was kind of effed up, because everything I do turns out badly, but it still attracted the attention of passers-by who thought it was awesome:

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We had to rush and do the cake after everybody finished eating and I realized that Francisco was getting tired, so cake-time hit just about when he really should have had a nap. As a result, he had himself a little meltdown:

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It wasn't all tears and woe, though:

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As soon as I saved him from the evil blue monster that ruined his birthday, he passed out. It was chilly with the wind, and I had no blanket, so we had to cover him with two sweaters I had in his bag. I'm not sure where that pillow came from, but someone was nice enough to tuck it at his side for extra comfort:

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Here's the birthday boy in his special, birthday shirt, right before we did the cake:

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This picture is from the day before his birthday, where he's showing off his brand new bike from his Gran and Nana:

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Another highlight was little Lily falling into the river, which was obviously a huge hassle for her parents (I wouldn't have wanted to be the one dealing with that with my kid, that's for sure), but she apparently thought it was big fun, as she said she wanted to do it again, and her emergency change of clothes was a big, hot pink tutu, so that's what she ran around in for the rest of the day. It was pretty adorable.

I was worried about inviting people and who would show up, because, again, I don't know that many people with kids, and a one year old's birthday party isn't a big idea of fun for the childless, but I was happy with the turnout, and it seemed like Francisco's "best" adult friends that came had a mildly amusing time. I hope so, anyway.

So, we've kept this child alive for one full year, and he's no worse for wear. The Friday before his party, he tumbled on the step to the back patio where I'd left the door open as I made his breakfast (stupid mistake, I should have known better), and he smacked his head on the concrete, leaving a nasty scrape. That was probably the worst thing that's happened to him on my watch, and I was like, great, all of his party pictures will feature this reminder that his mother was remiss. Fortunately, the scrape faded quickly, and wasn't visible at all by his party on Sunday.

The week before his birthday, we went out with my mom and Gran to get his first haircut and his first pair of big boy walkin' shoes. The hair cut was just about the worst thing that ever happened to him, from his perspective, and I'd dare say it went even more poorly than the time I had to take him for a chest x-ray and to have blood drawn for his allergy tests. Seriously. hated it. Here's a collage my mom did of the traumatic experience.

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Hair cut sure came out cute, though. That son of mine had some wild and crazy hair before the cut. I took some before pictures that I'll have to get off of the camera.

He's walking now-- he started that about the first week of November, and he thinks he's hot shit for sure. He still gets all giddy and screechy when he gets going really fast. He knows lots of words now. I feel like he knows more words than the average one year old-- I thought I read somewhere that they should say 5-7 words at one year, and he definitely says more than that, but I just looked it up and saw something that it should be 10-12. Also, of course, it's more the beginning of words that he says "ba" for bath (he says that every night after dinner when it's time for his bath) and "du" for duck, but that counts, right? I guess I'm pulling this all out of my ass, but he seems like he's moving right along with his language development. We read a lot of books, and he loves them, and I've also been one to speak to him in sentences as opposed to baby babble, and I have to believe that this has all helped him progress.

Let's see, what words does can he say...

Mama
Dada (he just started saying this a lot, it's pretty cute)
Nana
Mow-mow (which is for "cat")
Mouse (mou- he has a book with a mouse in it and always says "mou" when we read it)
Bath (ba)
Bottle (ba-ba)
Book (boo)
Duck (du)
Up
Oh dear (seriously, he says this, and quite clearly)
Hi
Uh-oh (still the favorite)
Moo for cow
Hat
Poo-poo (he surprised us with this one just the other day)

He kept going "me, me" when I was telling him to eat his meat last night, so maybe this counts, too.

My mom says that he's said "all done" on more than on occasion during feeding, but I haven't heard that for myself yet.

He also does a lot of pointing and grunting at objects that he knows, but for which he can't say the word yet. It's like he wants to, but he just can't spit it out.

So, he's smart and handsome.

His favorite foods are broccoli, fish, eggs and puff cereal. Every time I try to give him a "treat," he hates it, so he's not so fond of sweets. That's good, I guess.

He's not really "into" anything, too young for that, I suppose, but his favorite activity is, without a doubt, opening and shutting doors. He's also, as I said, very fond of books. He'll sit and read as many of them as you'll do with him, so long as they're the right ones. He also loves his stuffed monkey.

The teacher in me is loving the way he's developed to a point where I can interact with him as my own little pupil. We went on a walk this morning out onto the gazebo over the lake and watched the ducks and the turtles swim by, and counted the ducks, and I realized how happy it made me feel to enjoy the privilege of interacting with him in this way. He's a lot of fun. He's a lot of work, and sometimes he's not so much fun, but when he's fun, he's lots of fun. Kind of like his mother, maybe.

I still find myself occasionally feeling like a stranger in this role. You know, me, with a kid. It's kind of weird.

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