Catching up

From this:

to this:


Noah's blog

Love this one, from The Wittenburg Door:

Day 6
So I was loading up the last of the animals last week when I walk past my neighbor Roger, the Molech-worshipper. He looks up and says "Hey, looks like rain."

True story.

Day 31

You guys read this blog. You know I love my wife, right? But I swear, sometimes she just gets on my nerves.

"The roof is leaking, Noah."

"Noah, the sheep are soaking wet because the roof is leaking."

You know what? Sometimes Noah just needs a little Noah Time, okay?

Read the whole shebang at The Wittenburg Door.


Wordless Wednesday: Roasting marshmallows


Cleaning elf

One night recently, I went to bed crying — honest-to-goodness crying — that our house was such a mess. I'm pregnant, and that's what I do. I was truly feeling so overwhelmed by our inability to finish the sorting we'd started, my frustration with the chaos surrounding me, and the impossibility that we'd get everything done before the baby comes.

I woke up in the morning and left the boys sleeping in bed. I crept downstairs to find this:

living room

And this:


When Steve got up later, I asked him how long he had stayed up working on it. Till 6 a.m., he told me.

That, my friends, is love.


If a pregnant woman falls in the forest and no one is around to see it, does she still look cute, in a beached-whale sort of way?

So I bought a lot of cute maternity clothes this pregnancy, and I realized the other day that practically no one has seen them. Except for, you know, Steve, who appreciates them, and Corin, who does not. The same goes for the cashiers at Safeway and the customer service staff at Home Depot who try to help me find "you know, that thingy you can screw into screws that are stripped?" We have a couple friends we see regularly, and a few more we see occasionally, and that's that. We visited Steve's family when I was in that stage where I knew I was showing but no one else really seemed to notice, and my family's not going to see me the whole nine months. It makes me wonder if spending the money on adorableness was really the wisest choice. I was lately contemplating getting a real haircut — as in, not by Steve — but decided looking fabulous just on the delight it gives me in passing by stray shop-window reflections probably does not make it the best investment at this point.

Last pregnancy, I was attending a church, and we had community groups going on, so every week a group of people got to see the ever-enlarging expanse of Amanda belly and muse aloud on what might be happening below the surface. It was fun, all that attention. Subsequent pregnancies are different in many respects, I suppose, but I feel like this one is sort of passing by without remark — that the baby will be here before I've fully experienced the moment of baby-not-here-yet.

And, once you've got the newborn, all attention is off you. I remember what a rude shock that was — no one telling me anymore I was cute, or huge, or anything at all — it was all on that baby. That scene-stealing baby. Silly Corin. (I mean, come on — I poop; I cry; I have fat rolls and funny-looking cowlicks. What does he have on me?)

To make up for the lack of in-person observations to appreciate my expanded girth and my expanded wardrobe, I've taken to documenting myself photographically as often as I think of it. Since I can't wait for Steve to volunteer, I end up doing the mirror-shot thing most weeks.

So I get fabulous pictures like this.

And this.
All this to say, if you want a glimpse of the ever-changing landscape that is my torso, let me know. I'll send you a picture.


Night owls

We've been trying to wrest ourselves into a "normal" schedule — as in, the type of schedule that wouldn't appeal to vampires.

It's been a trial, as it always is. And we always fail. I guess it's kind of like dieting, or sticking to a schedule. Some people can do it, and most people can't. Out of the people who can do it, most can do it for only a short time. I don't know how much hope to hold out that we'll transform into daylight people after a lifetime of being hardwired differently.

So far we've resisted the stark temptation to take a nap and throw off all our efforts, though it is so. very. hard. By mid-afternoon, we start checking the clocks in disbelief that it's not midnight yet. And we've also resisted the temptation to chuck it all and sleep in past our alarms. At least, more than a couple hours past our alarms. (Yes, alarms in the multiple.) It's a huge temptation, especially since I have yet to wake up not in the middle of a dream, feeling all groggy and out of it. And we have yet to see Corin wake up on his own, without prompting that is met with much protestation.

Last night, I had a grand plan to start winding Corin down by ten, so that he'd be asleep by 10:30 or 11. But he was in the bath, and having fun for once, so I let it be. He didn't get to the bed till after 11, and it was about 12:30 when I looked over at Steve and was like, "What is wrong with him? Why isn't he tired?!"

And Steve said simply, "He's a night owl."

Yup. Two night owls reproducing = a night owl. I guess it shouldn't be too surprising. We always get second and third winds late at night, but mornings are a drain. We will always, always opt to stay up late to finish something rather than get up early. And all morning church services and library story hours and playgroups seem tantalizingly out of reach to us. It's this that's making us want to change our habits, so that maybe we can attend all the family-oriented morning (and afternoon) activities without so much distress. But, yeah, so far…

This evening at 6, Corin started falling asleep on my lap. I woke him up again posthaste, but it just goes to show — we're tired. We're all tired. But not so tired that going to bed at a decent hour seems in the least appealing. There's just so much fun to do at night!

I think I'll try a 9:30 winding-down tonight. Wish me luck.


Our social butterfly

Our view of the festivities, from the table in the corner (and via our non-focus-friendly camera phone).
We went to a party today for Corin's preschool.

It's exactly the sort of gathering at which I fare very ill: large masses of strangers in a room acoustics forgot. I keep thinking, I should like these parties. I should want to meet the parents of my child's schoolmates, and see him at play with his friends, and perhaps even arrange a future playdate or two.

But, as I was telling Steve, I think a better option for us would be a much smaller gathering — for instance, maybe just the parents from the afternoon class he attends, rather than parents from every variation of classes, and perhaps in a more intimate setting than a community center gym.

Not that I'm complaining about the organizers; I'm just complaining about myself, and my lack of sociability.

Steve and Corin and I arrived late and did first things first — piled up some plates with food from the potluck tables. Then we found a seat, at a table that held other people's belongings, but at which no one else ever joined us. I always tend to pick empty tables at potlucks and thought this time I would force myself to sit with someone — but, no.

The ever-active Corin is a blur of motion, what with his sitting in a chair and sipping multiple juice boxes and all. We went through four balloons before the party was over. Two were stolen from tables by a suspect who looked remarkably like the above, only more in focus.

Outcome of the four balloons: One was lost to the ceiling, one was lost to a cute little girl who lost hers to the ceiling, one popped inexplicably from the rough stabbiness of Mama's hand, and one is safely floating in the living room.
Corin ate his food. Well, some. And picky-ed his way through four juice boxes before settling on one he liked. And then we sat. And sat.

There was a very good children's musician performing, but Corin refused to get near.

They set up bouncy castles afterward, but Corin won't go in bouncy castles unless they're devoid of other rugrats — or, at the very least, girls. We tried explaining to him that there was no way we could persuade fifty giddy youngsters to exit the three bouncy houses so that he could have his alone time, and he started shouting helpful instructions at us: "Yell at them! Yell at them!"

But when we tried to leave, he insisted he loved the party and had to stay. Sigh.

I noticed other kids standing by their friends. I wondered why our kid had none. And then I remembered that his parents were sitting by themselves at a table to the rear. Apple, falling, tree, all that.

I always feel conspicuous for being a social reject at these shindigs, so at one point I looked around at the other tables. Wouldn't you know it — we weren't the only ones. Probably a dozen other lonely people shifted their eyes away from contact and pretended they were engrossed in drinking from their water bottles, or tapped their toes determinedly to the music, as if to broadcast "Sitting by yourself is FUN!"

So I felt better. If we were going to be loners, at least we were doing it with a crowd.

Corin insisted we swap nametags, because clearly mine had an "A for Apa."

Steve and I filled the time till the party ended talking big about how we're totally going to transform the downstairs half-bathroom — for reals, this time. New paint, new tile, pedestal sink and updated faucet to replace the hip 1980s model, eco-friendly toilet (not a composting model, though; I have to draw the crunchy line somewhere), chair rail for charm, and a round mirror hanging from a ribbon, because won't that be dainty?

And then, instead of driving to the paint store to finally, finally, finalize that stupid yellow we're searching for (antique! pale! why don't you exist!), or to Home Depot to order our sink, or to home to schedule the handyman to come give us some estimates or a floor place to locate our tile choice (1920s black-and-white chic, which strangely enough is not easily found in the twenty-teens), we merely dithered as we always do about cost, clearing clutter, our dismal track record at installing anything properly, blah blah blah, and ended up doing nothing. And so it is.

But at least we had partied. Hard.


My furry four-year-old

I've never had that oft-expressed fear that I won't love my second child as much as I love my first. I don't think (I don't think) it's because I don't love my first child… It's just, everyone says, Don't worry; you will. And I believe it. I've loved plenty of new people in my life, and I haven't had a problem expanding that love to fit them in. Yes, some of them have exited that love as well, or had the love morph and change into a more distant affection, but I'm going to imagine my four-year-old (at the time of birth, or thereabouts) will be staying pretty close, of necessity. I mean, he still can't pull his pants up after he pees, for crying out loud. He needs me.

I have worried that I won't love my firstborn as much as I love the second, at least for awhile. I've heard this is a common phenomenon, and I've experienced it to some degree already when Corin was born. I brought him home, and Luna was there, meep-meeping for attention. And I just looked down at her and thought, Boy howdy, are you hideous. You're so…furry.

And, the thing is, I kept telling my rational brain, No, she's not, stupidhead. She's a beautiful cat. But I simply couldn't see it, not for months. I petted her, but under duress. I'd much rather have been smoothing my hands over chubby-soft newborn limbs and nuzzling that rockin' fauxhawk.

So I imagine when this new baby comes out, I'll be all, Get offa me, you big gangly big old big thing. You have too many…limbs.

And I'll have to, like, keep it to myself and all, because Corin might not appreciate being told he's abhorrent in my sight.

I have to imagine it's an evolutionary trait, this strong preference of the mother for the newborn. The newborn, after all, is vulnerable — but also really, really, really, really annoying. If the mother didn't attach so strongly, there's no way we'd have survived till now.

Eventually I saw Luna as pretty again — and, frankly, a lot less work than this baby I was strangely enamored with. I imagine the same will happen with Corin, given time.

Till then, I'll just have to hide the shudders. For now, I'll enjoy that I still see him as my original adora-baby. Those big pink cheeks, the ringlets over his ears, his snub nose, his rounded belly, the dimples over his knuckles that are persisting, to our delight. My little cutie. My big boy.


Beyond the truth

It's come to my attention that some of my former readers think I'm being mysterious or possibly exclusive — that I have some fabulous hidden blog. But, no, I just took this one down for awhile and haven't been writing a word.

These past months were an experiment in telling the truth, and — no.

I originally had no thought of telling the truth. I kept it in for at least a couple years, until it exploded, semi-privately, at home. Steve took it in and urged me to share with the larger world — that someone would understand.

I've come to the conclusion that it's not so. I'm sure it's mostly my fault, which pains me as a writer. I guess you can't blog about some of what you think without people thinking that's all of what you think — but writing down all of what you think is burdensome, to say the least, if not impossible. I never felt I was expressing myself fully, and what I did express found little resonance.

I think that's what I was hoping for most of all: an echo out there of "me, too!"

But, barring telling the truth, what is there in its place? I get tired sometimes of being multiple people. This crowd knows this face, and this crowd another. But what has been the point of masks, or even of dropping them? It hasn't preserved friendships to be half myself, anymore than it's preserved them to be fully myself.

It's hard to know what to write when I don't know who my audience is anymore. I think I'll just have to write back into the void and see what shakes out.

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