Archive for August, 2007

Pollock reborn


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Walking the line

Yesterday was the start of the new semester and boy, did I feel good coming in to work. I had eaten well all weekend and, in spite of a bout of insomnia the night before, had a good amount of energy when I woke up in the morning. I took brisk walks during my lunch and both of my breaks with the intent of doing the same today.

Fast forward 24 hours. After battling with Autumn to change her diaper, battling with her to put some clothes on and battling with her to get strapped in the car seat, I’m spent. I’m wiped out from yesterday’s physical activity, the first in a long time, and want nothing more to take a nap. I want to turn off my brain, skip tonight’s class and veg out like I do pretty much every night after I put Autumn to bed.

The struggle with trying to get Autumn in the car seat was hard, emotionally and physically. She had established from the beginning that she was in no mood to accommodate me in any way today, but I hadn’t expected such a violent refusal to cooperate with the car seat. The more she struggled and kicked, the more upset I became and, in turn, the more upset she became. I started to shout, to plead, to reason with her any way I could. I looked at her face, all scrunched up and red and just wanted to walk away. I wanted to shout, “Fine, YOU WIN!” and slam the door on her and her unbuckled car seat.

Our daycare provider only lives a mile from us, but I knew if anything was going to happen to my unbuckled child it would happen during that one-mile drive. I loosened the straps as much as I could and finally got her buckled in. As soon as I pulled the slack out of the straps I slammed the door, muffling her protesting screams.

During that one-mile drive all I wanted to do was drop her off at daycare and flee. I didn’t want to kiss her or hug her or say “bye-bye.” I just wanted to go. Luckily the part of me that has not remained petty and immature took over and realized that 21 month-olds are not the most rational beings on the planet and that withholding my affections wouldn’t prove a damn thing to her anyway.

When we reached C-s hosue, I carried Autumn inside and set her on the floor just inside the door and warned C- that Autumn hadn’t been the most cooperative. As Autumn headed towards the playroom I called out, “Don’t I get my kiss? I won’t see you until tomorrow.” She turned around and with a “mwah” pecked me on the cheek with wet lips.

Of all the things I asked her to do for me this morning, I’m glad that was the one thing I didn’t have to get by force.

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My right foot

I haven’t written much in the past week and a half because I’ve had a lot on my mind and couldn’t decide which topic swimming around my brain was most worthy of a post. I started a couple of posts and abandoned them when I got too busy to finish and am now back at square one. What should I write about?

How about my foot? My right foot which still pains me three months after I sprained my ankle. I’ve sprained my ankle three times in the past four years and this last time saw the least amount of immediate pain and swelling of the foot. It was late and I was off to bed but had to go back downstairs to retrieve my books for class the next day. I didn’t turn the light on and apparently miscounted the number of steps that lead down to my basement. There are only about six, but it was late and I was tired and skipped the last step, landing so heavily that my ankle buckled because I was in no way prepared to skip that last step.

I fell and collapsed into a heap in the laundry room doorway, trying my best not to scream too loud and wake Autumn. Nathan rushed downstairs to help me up, but surprisingly I was able to put a bit of weight on it and hobble up the stairs. The first night I was in a lot of pain, but by the next night I felt much better. I still limped around the office the next day but by the end of the week I saw a lot less bruising in the toes than I had when I’d sprained my ankle before.
A few weeks later my ankle was still swollen, and up until recently it still pained me to wiggle my foot into a shoe. My ankle constantly feels stiff, especially after periods of inactivity (of which there are many) and once in awhile I’ll feel a little jolt of pain run up my leg if I move my foot the wrong way.

Now I’m an intelligent woman and if I were reading this on someone else’s blog I’d say, “She should get that checked out.” Yeah, I should get this checked out but I’m afraid of what will happen when I do. There was an article in our paper recently, written by a reporter who happened to do the exact thing I did; she missed a step. She was given a sexy kneewalker to keep the weight off the foot for a month. If you just clicked on the link to the kneewalker you’ll see the device I’m talking about. You’ll also see the woman modeling the kneewalker has a smile on her face that I doubt is mirrored on the face of anyone who actually has to use the device.

I’m hoping my foot will gradually get better so that I have an excuse to not go to the doctor. Classes start the week after next and I’d like to not walk into a classroom sporting custom rims with a convenient hand brake.

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I would really like to know what is with a toddler’s need to throw everything on the floor. For Autumn, it’s as though no other surface exists but the floor, and if there is another surface it is only a temporary home for whatever she pulls from it to the floor. Papers on the kitchen island? Pulled too the floor. Paperbacks in the bookcase? Now in a heap on the carpet. Those shampoo bottles sitting on the edge of the tub were just waiting for her to enter the bathroom and push them into the tub. That’s why they were there.

Our biggest challenge is mealtimes because only a fraction of what’s on her plate actually winds up in her stomach. We’re trying very hard to teach her how not to behave like a baboon during meals, but Autumn seems hell bent on resisting our tutelage. Sometimes we’ll find ourselves dodging flying bits of Dino nuggets if she’s not particularly hungry. The really infuriating thing about this is that we know she doesn’t act like this at daycare. She behaves during meals there and withers under C-‘s scolding looks. One cross word from C- and she’s ready for therapy. We try to reprimand her and feel as though we’re talking to Helen Keller. No response whatsoever.

The other day I’d had enough of watching her toss perfectly good food to the dog and pulled her out of her chair. We’ve gotten rid of the high chair and Autumn now takes her meals in a small table and chair set we put next to our dining room table. I pointed to the bits of grilled chicken on the carpet and said, “Pick that up, please, and put it on the table.”

The first bit of chicken she picked up almost made it into her mouth. I sighed, grabbed her hand and said, “No this is trash now. You threw it on the floor and can’t eat it anymore.” Of course Molly was only feet away witnessing the mealtime bounty disappearing before her eyes, but I was determined to teach Autumn that not everything thrown onto the floor should get sucked up by the dog. The lesson ended with a trip to the garbage can and a rather put-out looking dog sniffing the carpet for anything we may have missed.

So that’s my plan for now; she throws it on the floor and has to pick it up. I found that method to be a bit challenging yesterday with corn. Lots of corn. You ask a toddler to pick up corn and she will pick up one or two kernels before calling it quits. I gave up too and called Molly into the room to clean up after us both.

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Improved, with eyebrows

Improved, with eyebrows

I don’t know if it’s the eyebrows or today’s ensemble, but I think I look slimmer here. Dark colors really are more flattering.

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This is pretty much what I’m wearing today. I thought about putting a donut on the shirt, but I think this picture says it all.

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Devil in a Pooh dress

Saturday Nathan’s brother Dirk and his family came over for dinner and to spend the afternoon in our pool. While we were floating around Nathan asked Dirk and Lisa if they would be willing to bring Autumn home with them so we could have an evening to ourselves. They were more than happy to oblige and we thought the arrangement would work out well since we were going to see them the next day at Roman and Joy’s anyway for the twins’ birthday party.

It was a good plan in theory, but the execution did not go as well as I would have hoped. Dirk and Lisa and the kids stayed to watch a movie with us and did not leave with Autumn until after 8:00 pm, which even on the weekend is past her bedtime. So Nathan and I have the house all to ourselves for the first time in nearly 21 months and all I can think about is that I hope to God Autumn falls asleep on the way to her aunt and uncle’s house. Needless to say my distraction put a bit of a damper on the rest of the evening.

At 10:00 I called Dirk and Lisa’s house but received no answer. Now Nathan’s distracted and the two of us are imagining all sorts of horrible things that involve our daughter in serious peril a good 50 miles away from us because it should not be taking them this long to get home. At 10:18 Lisa called to say all was well but that Autumn hadn’t slept at all on the way there. Also, it turned out their trip home did not involve any kind of peril but a visit to Walmart, which explained their delay.

After the phone call Nathan and I were able to relax but I still had trouble sleeping. I kept wondering what kind of demon would be wearing my daughter’s skin the next day. Much to my surprise, we found a happy child sitting on her aunt’s lap when we arrived at Roman and Joy’s. Apparently Autumn did not get to bed until 11:00 but did sleep in until 10:00 am, which is right on target with the 11 hours of sleep she gets each night. She was happy to see us and would not let go of my hand as I tried to maneuver my way through the taco bar. Apparently she missed me, too.

In spite of getting the needed hours of sleep, her schedule was out of whack and there wasn’t much we could do about it. This morning the demon reared it’s ugly head and did not want the mother to touch her. It wanted to sleep, sleep SLEEP DAMMIT! Did not want to get dressed in the new Pooh dress Aunt Lisa bought at Walmart. Did not want to leave the house to go to daycare. Did not want the Spongebob blanket she brings with her wherever she goes and would not give Daddy a kiss goodbye after he strapped her in the car seat.

Now I’m left feeling the guilt over wanting a few hours without her and over sending her to daycare knowing how difficult she’ll probably be today. I did warn C- that she might be in for a challenge, but I don’t know much that warning is going to help.

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