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Friday, January 9, 2009

Haiku Friday #13: Lucky Number 13

Haiku Friday

This is my thirteenth
Haiku Friday; I think it's
Been so far so good.

Also, my son turned
Thirteen months old on Monday
He's getting so big!

Not superstitious,
I think the number thirteen
Is lucky instead

Actually, I've always thought of thirteen as my lucky number. Life just seems to work out in weird, unusual ways for me. Often it seems things turn out the exact opposite of how I expect. So thirteen being my lucky number just works.

Haiku Fridays are a bright spot in my week. I'd like to make a point of doing them every week, just so I can have something to look forward to at the end of my work week. And I'd like to think that my readers enjoy something fun too. Might as well make it more often.

My gift for the thirteen-month anniversary of being a mom? Another step towards turning into mine -- last night while feeding my son dinner I bestowed upon him The Mothers' Curse: "Someday you're going to have a messy eater child just like you!"

To read more haiku and/or participate yourself, visit Christina at A Mommy Story.

Happy Friday, everybody!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Toddler Swearing

My son is now 13 months old. I can't even believe how fast he's growing and changing. His communication skills, epecially, are developing rapidly: he says cat, meow, roar, ho ho ho, and uh-oh (ho ho ho as in what Santa says, not a derogatory term for three women down on their luck). He knows a few signs: shaking your finger for no, opening and closing your hand for on and off (although he uses those interchangeably), and he tries to sign more, finished, and stop.

He plays peek-a-boo, either by pulling a blanket over his head, waiting for someone to say, "Where's the baby?" and then pulling it back down for the "peek-a-boo!" part, or using his hands to cover his face and then removing them. He also plays patty-cake -- his favorite part is "Roll it". He even helps a bit when he's having his diaper and clothes changed: he will hold up his legs during diaper changes and he pulls his arms through sleeves, both to put on and take off a shirt.

And recently, he learned how to swear (no, not like Mommy and Daddy do). You know what I'm talking about -- that angry babbling noise toddlers make when they're clearly trying to cuss you out.

He still has no interest in trying to walk, or even trying to crawl on all fours most of the time. He does this army-crawl/scooting thing to get himself from one end of the room to another fairly quickly, just to get to what he wants, and then he stops. And if he decides that it's too far, he won't bother.

Occasionally he's been attempting to lift his belly up, even pulling himself up on the furniture halfway to standing. But the other day I stood him up on the couch and put his sippy cup just out of reach, to see if he would try to cruise. He reached and reached and reached with his arms, but wouldn't so much as budge his feet.

I tried to encourage him, saying "Come on, you can do it!" and trying to help him move his back foot forward. But that just made him madder. He yelled, "Nyigh nyigh nyigh nyigh nyigh nyigh nyigh!" Actually, it almost sounded like he was saying nein over and over (that's German for no, if foreign languages aren't your thing).

I guess my baby's growing up. :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Love You Mom

This morning, the weather in central Ohio was awful. Around 7:30, a mixture of sleet and rain began and let up about an hour later, about the time I got to work. It was a bit slick in places, but overall, it wasn't too bad for my commute -- although that may have been because everyone was driving at about half the speed limit. I skidded a few times and was glad to get to work and not have to drive anymore, but I wasn't afraid for my life or anything.

Maybe I should have been.

Around noon, when we were just serving the kids lunch, we heard whooping and hollering. My first thought was that some kids were running wild through the hallway. And then I realized it was crying. We had heard yesterday that one of the infant classrooms had a new baby and the mother was really upset when she dropped the child off. I thought maybe that infant was a little late in arriving or something.

And then I heard, "No, it's not true! It can't be true."

It was our music teacher, Kate. Her husband had come to work to tell her that her mom had been in a car accident on her way to work this morning. She had skidded and gotten her car turned around on the freeway, her car was hit by a semi, and she died instantly.

It took awhile for the center directors to get her calmed down a bit, and then she got in her car and followed her husband out of the parking lot. I don't think I could have done that myself.

I have no idea what I would do with myself if my mom died. I don't even want to think about how my husband and my son would cope if I died. And then I think about my husband, whose own mother passed away when he was only 11 years old.

Have you told someone you love them lately?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Very Own Con

My husband and most of his friends, and many of my friends, by proxy, are really into comic books. I'm a bit of a fangirl myself, although I haven't read much. What I have read (a bit each of Justice League, Ultimate Spiderman, and the latest incarnation of Green Arrow) has only been recent. I've also enjoyed the fairly recent explosion of movies based on comic books (I'll be truthful, they're more succinct -- although that's not always good, as in the case of X-Men: The Last Stand).

Ever since we moved to Columbus, we've been hanging out with Aaron and Christina more often. Mostly it's for playdate reasons, but it's also nice to have adult friends that a) understand kid-related conversations, and b) don't always want to talk about their/your kids. Aaron writes for Superhero Flix and often goes to comic conventions as a member of the press. He's interviewed some seriously cool people, like Seth McFarlane and Jewel Staite most recently at the San Diego Comic Con.

So you can imagine that I might be a little jealous. Even as an ordinary citizen, attending the San Diego Comic Con would be too cool. But I might have a chance to go to a convention of a different kind instead.

Christina has a blog of her own -- you probably read it if you're a mom too -- and she attends blogging conventions. The biggest one I've heard mention of is the annual BlogHer Convention, a blogging con for women bloggers (in fact, the whole BlogHer site is for women bloggers -- it's pretty cool, so I'd check it out if I were you!).

This year the convention is in Chicago, the closest to Columbus, Ohio that it's likely to ever get. I really really really want to go, meet famous and little-known bloggers like myself (well, at least the little-known ones would be), hear all sorts of great speakers, and, of course, party. I'll admit that part doesn't sound half bad.

But it's gonna be pretty tough. I'm still the only family member working, while my husband is going to school to try and get a job that pays more than minimum wage. I make just over minimum wage myself (I mean, I work in a daycare, and it might be the most expensive daycare in the area, and the best place to send your kids, but it still pays crap). We're on food stamps and Medicaid, and that helps a bit, but it's not enough. We try to pay our rent, car insurance, and my student loan on time every month, but sometimes it's late, and other than those three imperative payments, we have to choose which other bills to pay. This month we're paying the gas bill so it doesn't get shut off. And you all know about the higher cost of living now (especially diapers and cat food -- at least gas isn't as expensive now).

Sometimes it's hard. We haven't gone on a date since my birthday, before I started writing this blog. We basically have to avoid fast food of all kinds, limit our road trips to Cincinnati to see the in-laws, decide what we really need and what we can wait on -- sometimes I ask my mom for diapers and wipes, and she buys all my son's clothes. He wouldn't have anything to wear otherwise. And we still don't have a pack 'n' play, second carseat, or even a baby gate. He's thirteen months old, and we don't have a gate for our stairs (we live on the second floor and the stairs are on the inside).

But we know this is temporary. As soon as my husband finishes his certificate, he's qualified to teach high school English. We hope and pray every day that he will get a job offer upon his receipt of the certificate. Or at least by August. As soon as he gets a job, things will get much, much easier. We'll move into a bigger place, buy those things we need that we just can't afford right now, even think about the possibility of a second child.

Unfortunately, we just don't know. So, as much as I want to go to the BlogHer Conference this summer, we may not be able to. We're trying to save any way we can: carpooling with Christina, splitting a hotel room, trying to finagle a way to get that student discount on admission. Since our daycare/preschool is NAEYC accredited, I have to do training each year. I'm hoping to find out that the training sessions I have to attend count as classes so that I can get in as a student -- a steep discount.

My best chance at going? Would be to win the Queen of Spain's giveaway. We'd still have to figure out our half of lodging and gas, but I have a feeling it would all be downhill once the registration is paid for. She's giving away one full registration on her blog.

There's still time! If you have been wishing you could go to the BlogHer Conference '09 if only you could afford the registration fee, this is your best chance too. All you have to do is write a blog post, link the post to her giveaway post, and leave her a comment. Click that link for full details.

What a beautiful, generous person. May we all be so generous (or as much as our personal situations allow) in 2009. And to those of you who are entering at the last minute like me, good luck!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thank God That's Over

A quick note: To all three of my faithful readers, please accept my apologies for my long absence. With a busy holiday season and six differeent family functions to attend, I had very little to say that was actually interesting to read time to write. I hope you will forgive me and keep reading anyway. My (blogging) New Year's Resolution is to post at least 2 to 3 times each week. And by telling all three of you this, I now have an obligation to live up to that goal. :)

Well, I have to say I'm really glad it's 2009. Anybody else? I wouldn't trade the memories of my first year as a mom and all that comes with it, but the rest of 2008 can bite me.

Now that 2008 [finally, thank God, hallelujah, praise your deity of choice] is over, many of us find ourselves feeling a little reflective. I think it's a result of the way most of the world is taught to think about our lives: that they are, relatively, very short, and that our brief time on this planet is all we get, and we have to make the most of it. (I know not everyone believes this, but this is not a religious/spiritual blog. If you want to read and discuss spirituality, go here.)

So as the end of each year approaches, all of a sudden we realize, "Crap! What the hell did I accomplish this year?" And right then and there we decide: "Next year will be different. Next year I'm gonna stick to that diet/hit the gym every day/spend more time with my family/be a better person." Take your pick.

For me, I could never pick just one. There was always too much about myself that I wanted to change. I would write out a detailed plan for my perfect life in 19__ or 20__. And I would inevitably fail. Perfect doesn't exist.

So this year, I'm posing a challenge to myself: I'm only going to make one resolution this year. And I'm going to keep it. As of today, January 1, 2009, I hereby resolve to organize my house once and for all. I am going to start slowly, take it step by step and work through my apartment, and then expand my newfound organizational skills to include a calendar (paying all my bills on time and always knowing when we have doctors' visits -- what a concept!). Then I'll go from there.

Sure, I have other changes I want to make -- eat healier, exercise at all more, and (let's be honest here) work on my marriage. But I'm not going to magically turn into the person I want to be today, or any New Year's Day for that matter. Change takes time, and patience, and pacing oneself, so that one isn't tempted to try for perfection. And if I begin by organizing my house into a home -- and maintaining it -- I'll have more time to spend on my family (and myself).

I invite you to also challenge yourself to make only one resolution this year, and keep it. Don't overwhelm yourself. Oh, and let me know what your resolutions are in the comments below!

Goodbye 2008, and good riddance!

Thanks to FlyLady for the wisdom on organization. If you too struggle with organization, I encourage you to check out her site. She has some great insights on how easy it is to get sidetracked, perfectionistic, and overwhelmed--and how to overcome it!

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