Monday, July 31, 2006

songs in my head

I almost always have a song playing in my head. Is this normal? I get very tired of the songs sometimes, and it's often the same ones - like my mental jukebox has only a dozen or so choices. I've been this way for as long as I can remember. I doubt the jukebox was there when I was a child, but I don't remember any kind of sudden onset.

This morning it's a pop song. "Don't think - I know what you're saying. I can't stop this feeling. Don't tell me 'cause it hurts" (something like that). It's annoying when the song is playing over and over all day and I still don't know the words!

When I have one song playing it's hard to think about or remember the other songs in the list. But I can tell you that in the last few months the jukebox has added a children's section: electronic versions of "Camptown Races," "Pop Goes the Weasel," and "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

I understand why those tunes are in my head. I hear them a lot. These other songs from the radio appear from nowhere - I don't have to have heard them recently. I often wake up with them, and they play for a day or two. I wonder if they contain messages from or to my subconscious. I wonder if it's the fillings in my teeth picking up a radio signal while I sleep! I wonder if there's something about particular melodies that makes them stick. It's never my favorite songs. Sometimes it's commercials.

They're hard to get rid of. But it seems like calling attention to the song helps it fade. Like talking about what you dreamed. By the way, after watching "24" (on dvd) last night, I dreamed that I kidnapped a 12 year old boy for his own safety. I played Irish music for him while we were in transit, thinking it would make him feel safe (???). Then when I took the tape off his mouth I asked him if he liked Irish music. He said it's okay but what he really liked was "cultural rock," and he excitedly reeled off a list of bands from past and present (the only one I remember is Yes).

I think that's a term my brain made up, "cultural rock". I don't think that's a real genre of music - is it? Maybe that's what this mental radio station plays!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Daddy's birthday

Okay, Bud, this one's for you! Thanks for reminding me to get back to blogging. As I type, David is in the rocking chair in E's room, sleeping baby draped over one arm, book in the other hand.

Emma is happiest when she has a handful of someone's hair.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

sleep update

David is working out of town, and how do I take advantage of his absence? Instead of throwing parties I'm going to bed early. Night before last it was 8:30. Last night it was 8:15. And when E cried at 3:15 this morning, I still felt happy because those 7 hours of sleep were completely UNINTERRUPTED. Not a creature was stirring, not even a cat. I don't need to explain what a blessing that is!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Jay thinks it's funny

Along the fur-/hair-pulling theme... Both these kids are having a great time! Cousin Jay let E pull his hair and laughed about it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

ambient cat hair

This morning E woke up with puffy eyes and snot smeared all over her face, with cat hair stuck in it. But she was standing in the crib just beaming at me.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Emma and Emma

Marie wrote in her blog about Victor and their cat, who is named Emma. When we went over there the other day (to swap babysitting so each couple could see Pirates of the Caribbean), she told me how good Emma the Cat is with babies but I couldn't believe it til I saw for myself. The cat was the one who made the overture. These pictures are the warm-up:

Emma the Cat is one of those six-toed Hemingway cats. Some of these pictures make her fur look black, but it's gray. She never made any noise but purring, and never even jumped at E's squeals.

Here's the actual laying on of hands:

The amazing one we didn't manage to get on camera was Emma the Girl burying her face in Emma the Cat's side, as well as grabbing two tight handfuls of fur at the same time. I wasn't comfortable letting that go on for longer than it took to reach and pull the baby away, but I have to admit it was funny! The cat just lay there.

Do you think Ellie May or Kaylee (our cats) will ever reach this level of acceptance???


E has a "summer cold" I think. Cough, runny nose, irritable, but no fever and still eats well. Just doesn't sleep well, which means I don't either!

There are still many more photos I haven't posted, and things I haven't written about. Maybe I'll use these few minutes to try to catch up. When she wakes I thought "she should probably get some fresh air". Then I remembered, "but the fresh air is stifling hot!" I am not a summer person. People making small talk say things in May and June like, "It's almost summer!" and "Any big plans this summer?" And I remember that other people like summer and they do crazy things like take summer vacations. They sit on porches, dig in gardens, go to pools and beaches, cook on grills, and they love that stuff.

I haven't looked forward to summer since I got out of school and learned that "summer" meant nothing to me if I couldn't sleep late and I still had to get dressed and go somewhere. I used to look forward to going barefoot, but that's not as appealing now - because I live in the city and besides this is the Land of Gumballs, Red Clay, and Rocks (aka the piedmont of north carolina). Barefoot country is eastern NC, the Land of Sand - if you can dodge the Red Velvet Ants and the Sticker-Briars. The only thing I like about summer now is the longer daylight, because it feels like there are more hours in the day.

I hate the North Carolina summer heat so much, I'd rather take vacations, go swimming, go barefoot, sit on the porch, etc., in the spring and fall - even the winter (except for swimming). Summer to me is a time to hibernate in the air conditioning. I dread getting in the car, and that's another reason I don't do much in the summer. I wait for it to be over.

When I was on my trek in Nepal, I told my companions, "my body wasn't made for the heat". They (all from places like Chicago, NY, California) laughed, surprised. They said, "Well then why do you live in North Carolina???" My turn to be surprised. I thought, "Why wouldn't I? It's where I'm from." I never thought of moving away for the weather! I would have to weigh up whether that's worth it. And don't worry grandparents, it wouldn't be worth it YET, not with a little girl who needs you in her life! And three other seasons in North Carolina are just fine by me. Yes, we have ice storms, but that's a little short-lived excitement I can deal with. And no place I know doesn't have some kind of natural disaster threat about it, especially with global warming.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

another photo for reading relief

rest of the weekend update

On Sunday morning E and I were lazy at Grandma and Grandpa's house. They came home around 1 pm and we all went to visit Granny Annie. E laughed and laughed at the funny faces and noises Granny Annie made. And she discovered a baby just her size living inside the closet door (the full length mirror). When she kissed/bit the baby on the face though, it felt cold and hard!

We drove back home in time to have a birthday dinner with Daddy and Grandma Mickey and Grandpa Bud. They were all very gracious and agreed to a delivered pizza instead of going out, which was great for the weary and cranky travelers, and E got to bed at a close to normal time.

time for a picture to break up all these words!

Baby Containment Area Version 1

This worked for a few weeks. We had to change it around the time E turned 8 months old, because she learned to tip over that plastic toy chest - from kneeling she'd pull on the top edge, fall down, and end up lying under the upside-down box. She liked it, and did it twice. Looked too much like the fairy tale glass coffin for David's and my tastes - and could have become one if she stayed there too long.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

what we've been doing, continued

Friday, continued...
After the hearty handfuls of asparagus for dinner, and all day sweating in a car seat, E needed a bath. She had one in the kitchen sink, which was very exciting for her, especially since she got to play with some rubber ducks. She slept well that night in her small travel crib. We were given a teenage boy's bedroom for the night and they said we should come more often because he cleaned his room for us! The crib was stationed between the weight bench and the bunkbeds, where I slept on the lower one.

E woke around 6 I think. We dozed in a comfortable chair after she nursed. Aunt Lynn cooked breakfast. E ate Cheerios. She and I napped for an hour, then got ready to go to the family reunion in my "hometown". I put it in quotes because I wasn't born there, but it's my mom's hometown and we lived there for 7 years - seven formative years for me (ages 9-16). My mom's family all live around there. So it feels like a hometown to me. It's the longest I lived anywhere until now. I've now been in my town for 8 years.

The reunion was at the house we used to live in; now my Uncle Phil lives there with his family. We ate outside in 90+ degrees, but there was a breeze and lots of shade, and we could escape inside to the A/C when needed. I rode with Uncle Phil down the road and back on his motorcycle (a Harley -- I know it had 1200 cc, but I didn't remember to ask the model). It has been a few years since I was on a motorcycle, and the last one I rode on was a Honda Gold Wing, which feels like riding in an open car, pretty much. In London I rode with my ex on a Honda - something like 145, 165 cc. So I was nervous but excited. I had also never used an open-face helmet, so the feeling of the wind on my face was new. I did remember to keep my mouth closed! I thought too late about posing E on the motorcycle for a photo.

She did well being passed around to relatives, and enjoyed getting down on the grass, grabbing handfuls of it. She tried a little deviled egg along with her baby food, but was too distracted to really appreciate it. We left when I was tired and just assumed she was - about 3:30. Went back to Lynn and Debbie's to recuperate before hitting the road again. Tried to put E down for a nap - left her alone in the travel crib and we listened to her happy monologue for a long time before it became clear she wasn't going to sleep. But I'm sure the alone time helped her wind down. We got in the car around 7 pm and by now she hated getting in the car seat, but she was asleep by the time we reached the first intersection. She probably would have fallen asleep in the driveway (she had been awake since 11 am) but for the puzzling diversion of watching Lynn and Debbie push my car out of the ditch. I had backed one wheel in as I was trying to leave.

I was traveling alone with E, and making rest stops was challenging, but I figured out a way. We got to my parents' house at around 10 pm, and having slept the whole way, my daughter was refreshed and active. Having driven the whole way, I was spent. Long story short, I know it must have been after 2 am when she finally gave in and went to sleep.

to be continued

Monday, July 17, 2006

what we've been doing

Wow, I just realized it's been a week since I last posted anything, and the post I left up there is not the one I'd really choose for you dear readers to re-read each day as you wait breathlessly for new pictures and Emma News. Moodiness and melancholy are often mixed in with elation and satisfaction, so please don't worry if I write about that now and then. Right now I'm in a great mood. I have a day off after a busy and exciting weekend, and that was a good plan! I am going into the office for a friend's baby shower this afternoon, but it's been a very nice slow morning for us all.

Emma is behind me in the high chair, being bribed with Cheerios for a few minutes while I type. She isn't hungry enough for the baby food I offered, but the finger foods are more for play. Her sleep schedule got way off this weekend as we visited family, but she enjoyed it all. On Friday we spent the night with our good friends Aunt Lynn and Aunt Debbie. The drive took just over 5 hours, with stops. E napped for the first 2 or 3 hours and that was perfect, but she got antsy toward the end. She ate a good dinner of baby food plus asparagus and baked potato off my plate, and stayed up til almost 10 pm (her normal bedtime is about 7:30).

More later - I'd better tend to her now.

Monday, July 10, 2006

working mothers' lunch

Nine mothers who work together had lunch today, ostensibly for one hour but no one could drag herself away that soon. It was such a good conversation, such good support and camaraderie, that I'm back at my desk feeling wistful and resentful and tearful and hopeful - everything mixed together. This lunch messed up my "working mom" strategy (having a strategy doesn't mean you necessarily follow it all the time), which is: When at work, don't think about home. When at home, don't think about work. I thought I was pretty much at peace with my "work-life balance". And no one has a perfect balance. Some of us are reading the book, Mommy Wars, and what's clear in that essay collection is that no one has it quite right. Even if they say they do, or others think they do, they don't. At least that's my take on it. So I'm envious without knowing who to envy. And I'm longing for something that may not exist. Something got stirred up today and it leaves me embarrassingly at a loss. I don't even know what to write here. It reminds me of being about 14 again, when "embarrassed" and "confused" were the two words that could describe me constantly.

My sweet daughter had a fright last night when she caught her leg in the bars of the crib. I think she must have fallen or writhed around, because it was actually kind of tricky to get her leg out. There's a big red scrape/bruise there this morning. When David and I responded to her screams, we found her lying down parallel to the side of the crib, with her leg through one of the spaces, kind of a 45 degree angle. I got there first and tried to get the leg out quickly but I felt like I had to bend it unreasonably. I did okay, but thought later it might have been easier to move her torso first and then slide the leg out - David probably would have thought to do that. Oh well. She was right as rain in a minute or less, even smiling, and could put weight on the leg. But the image of her lying there, screaming and actually shaking, is burned in my mind.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I haven't been doing so much house stuff this weekend. I've been having fun. Two lunches out. A movie. Reading. Holding a snuggly baby. Here are some pictures David took this weekend that capture some of E's expressions. The one in the car seat reminds me of her Grandpa Bud.

Friday, July 07, 2006

learning to chew, scratch, and cruise

E is eating Cheerios, one at a time. She was just gumming them down at first, but now she holds them to her tiny teeth and I can hear them crunching. She has also started scraping things with her fingernails, for a new experience. And she's cruisin' on the furniture!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

a few more pool pictures

fun fourth for us

Pool pictures! We went out twice yesterday. These are all from the first time, before we even brought out the rubber duckies. It was nice to actually use our backyard - we rarely go out there. The temperature was about 94 Fahrenheit. E was totally exhausted after "swimming".

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

independence day

We put E in a little inflatable swimming pool in the backyard and her dad took lots of pictures of her! You can see her two teeth in this one.

I haven't written a lot lately because I'm trying to use my free time for childproofing (i.e. decluttering) and other household kinds of things.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

pulling up first time