Thursday, March 29, 2012

I’m not very good at this - yet

It’s official. I am now a work-at-home mom. WAHM - I have a new acronym! It’s exciting. I’ve never done this. It’s scary - don’t exactly have the W part down yet since I don’t really have anything concrete that delivers sustainable income. So let’s just focus on the exciting part for now. Because scary is always lurking somewhere.

On Monday, my first week at being a WAHM, I was so giddy with all these plans I had. Without a commute and a full-time job downtown, I’d have all this time to do all these things! And so I had (naively) envisioned the following:

1. Pick the preschooler up earlier so we can hang out and spend more time together (to try to make up for the guilt of spending most of the day with the baby).

2. Get domestic! Work on laundry and picking up toys in increments, rather than wait until they become a colossal pile-up that I can’t look at without heart palpitations.

3. Make lunch and dinner.

4. Make my first batch of kale chips - thanks to the new organic produce subscription service, I’ve been more adventurous with my veggie procurement. More time in my hands means more creativity in the kitchen - yay!

5. Make granola bar for breakfast for Little Miss and My Guy.

6. Meet with my ex-boss to talk shop.

7. Write not one but two blog posts. One for myself, and one for a current client.

8. Respond to some great comments from my previous blog post.

9. Lunchtime walk as my workout for the day.

10. Complete two freelance assignments at naptime.

That was all planned for Monday. Not the week. Just Monday. With a child at home nonetheless. <Cue the LMAOs, LOLs and ROTFLMAOs here.> Yeah, this is where some of you SAHMs and WAHMs make snorting noises, you’re laughing so hard. Because you know better.

And now I do too. What an amateur I am!

Here’s what I actually did that day: Kale chips.

Don’t ask. I don’t even know how, of all the things I had planned, this ended up as the only thing that got done. At 10:40 at night.

Oh, and I did make my meeting with my ex-boss (two things!). After the appointment, his status got elevated to “potential client”. (Secret happy dance!)

But I’m still flabbergasted. Kale chips? Really?

KaleChips
Really.

 

Glossary of acronyms:

LMAO: laughing my ass off
LOL: laugh out loud
ROTFLMAO: rolling on the floor laughing my ass off
SAHM: stay-at-home mom
WAHM: work-at-home mom

 

* * *

Have you ever grossly miscalculated something before? Have you ever had kale chips? (Thankfully, I liked them or else I would’ve been a little peeved that that was the only thing that I accomplished.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I wish I could capture it all

Produce Box with Rainbow Chard

My dearest Little Miss,

You discovered rainbow chard when it arrived in our produce box this evening, and when you saw that it came in your favorite color, pink, you decided that that’s what you wanted for dinner. So enamored you were with the pink veggie that you wanted to help cook it. And so you did by rinsing the chard. But you wanted to do more.

“Is there anything else you want me to help with?”

You have no idea how happy that made me. Cooking a meal together, you fawning over leafy greens, and going back for seconds! But this isn’t new. Your ability to eat anything and everything is just one of the reasons I’m so crazy about you. I’m just glad to finally have someone in the house who snacks on Wasabi peas and olives the way I do. (You’ve just edged past your daddy in my book of cool, but don’t tell him I said that.)

Rainbow Chard and Sausage PastaPasta with rainbow chard, spicy chicken sausage, navy beans and cremini mushrooms


Another reason (among many) why I adore you? Ever since your sister arrived, I was worried about jealousy, but you’ve proven that it’s completely unfounded. In fact, you’re an amazing big sister, who, for a three-year-old, takes your big-sisterly duties seriously as you sing to her to quell her fussiness and make silly faces to make her laugh.

You’re also great at hairball intervention, making sure nothing gets inside Thumper’s magnet of a mouth as she explores on all fours. Watching her watching you with doe eyes, I just know that as long as she has you, she’ll be okay.

Sometimes I wish I had an instant recorder that I can activate by blinking my eyes because perhaps then others could also see just how funny you can be. It’s mostly inflection or context, which I can’t replicate, like your out-of-the-blue, matter-of-fact statement, “If a polar bear walks into my room, I’d be a little surprised.”

Or when you said “Daddy’s just choking!” when you meant joking. We were roaring, but I guess you just had to be there. Well, technically you were. But you won’t remember.

There’s just so much I wish I could capture, for your sake too, yet my hands aren’t quick enough for the camera. My fingers can’t type fast enough. And sadly, my mind not supple enough to commit every detail to memory. You make me laugh so many times a day - the things you say both amuse and amaze - but right now? This moment? I got nothin. Not a damn thing.

And that’s the biggest issue I have with this whole growing up thing. That pace. You are funnier and wiser and more articulate and responsible, yet I can barely keep up. They feel like sand in my grasp. The stronger I try to hold on, the more they spill to the sides and the faster they escape my palm.

Maybe these are just the usual antics of a three-year-old. Maybe I don’t have to remember every detail. But they’re all new to me, and I’m greedy. I want to remember them all.

Like this little gem:

After putting Thumper down for the night, I found you playing quietly by yourself as your daddy, who pulled an all-nighter because of work the previous evening, slept on the couch.

“Shhh...” you whispered. ”Daddy’s asleep; he’s really tired. I’m playing quietly so I won’t disturb him.”

He later admitted he didn’t even realize he fell asleep, yet there you were, instinctively looking out for him like he was one of your many dolls you like to mommy. Just like the way you sometimes look out for your sister. Or the way you look out for me too.

Sometimes I get so caught up with the whole “Thumper is my last baby thing” that I tend to forget that you are my first baby. The one who first caught my breath.

And you know what? I believe you still have it.

Always and forever,
Your Mommy.

Enthusiastic About Carrots

 

This is a Wordful Wednesday Post hosted by Angie over at Seven Clown Circus and Amanda at Parenting by Dummies.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The easiest and hardest decision to make

My dearest Thumper,

ThumperSippyFirstAt 9.5 months, you hit a new milestone today. You drank milk from a sippy cup all by yourself for the first time! I’m not even sure if it’s a milestone, but you know how we are about celebrations. We tend to overdo things around here. Like the not-one-but-four extravagant meals your daddy and I had this past weekend to celebrate our seven-year anniversary! (You were present for three of them.) I think it’s just an excuse to overindulge – which we did, quite a bit – and not feel guilty. But I suppose seven years is pretty cool…

But I digress. Sippy cup. Milestone. Yes! Having just started army crawling about two weeks ago, you’re about a month or six weeks behind your sister when she was your age, but don’t fret. She was at daycare since her fourth month. You started at eight. She spent the earlier part of her life honing her motor skills because she had to.

At daycare, it was easier for caregivers to get the babies independent at an earlier age, and so she was. I was so proud that Little Miss could hold her own bottle at four months(!) – a tiny consolation for not being the one to hold that bottle. Or rather, to be the one to breastfeed her myself. Refined motor skills were second prize to what I really wanted, which was to be there, doing the things I could and wanted to for her.

But now I get a second chance. A once-in-my-lifetime opportunity to stay home with my baby and witness firsthand the milestones I missed while I was away at work the first time around. You see, when my freelance contract ends at the end of the month, I will no longer be working full time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do after this freelance gig and instead of looking for a replacement full-time position, I’ve been entertaining the idea of a new career trajectory that allows me to work from home. Part time. Because then I am able to dedicate more of myself to my girls.

It’s exciting, but it’s also really scary. For once, I will not have the safety net of a weekly paycheck. Your dad just quit his job two months ago to pursue his dream, and while it’s going really well, I don’t know if it’s enough to carry us all through while I sorted things out on my end.

More worries. More uncertainties.

But today, when it was just you and me together, I got to see you place your knees on the ground and your bottom in the air as you pushed up with your hands from the army-crawl position. You were this close to crawling for real, and I watched it all happen! And when I introduced the sippy cup, I saw the glint in your eye when you figured out how to tip it up to get the milk to your mouth. How could I not want to be here?

Being near you is intoxicating. Not only because you’re a good, easy baby, but because you’re my baby-baby. My last! If I miss this opportunity to relish your babyhood, I will miss it forever. That’s scarier than the unknown that awaits me after this month.

For once in my life, there is a possibility of making this happen - to be at home with you while pursuing a career I love. I won’t lie; not having a stable income will be a colossal adjustment, but we’ve weathered through worse.

We can do this. We have to.

In the car last week, your daddy and I had this conversation. Well, I did most of the talking but he listened, which was important too.

Me: “It’s great that we can afford them nice things but you know what I remember most about my mom when I was growing up? The meals she and I made together - well, she did all the prep and allowed me to chef. Because of that, I made my first meal on my own at 11!

“I love food; I love cooking. And it would be wonderful to share that with our girls. Except I’m always looking for the easiest and fastest meals to make now so we can quickly eat and be done with it because we’re always scrambling or exhausted after work. And on weekends we’re constantly off doing something. There’s barely any time for us to spend in the kitchen, cooking together as a family. And I hate that.

“The things I remember fondly from my childhood is so much a part of me. Then I realize that I don’t just want to give our girls nice things. I want them to remember us because of the things we did together. I want us to leave them a legacy. My cooking. Your nerd things. [cough cough Star Trek cough cough]”


Your daddy (a.k.a. the most amazing man I know): “You’re right. We should.”

And we are.

Making plans. Crunching numbers. Trying to make it all work.

So that when the proud, I-did-it smile happens:

ThumperSippySmiley
I can be there for it.

I hope by the time you’re old enough to read this, Thumper, you can look back and see the evidence of this decision. And that you and your sister will have plenty of memories of making homemade pizzas, fighting over who can cook a better curry, and (*sigh*) even quoting lines by Captain James T. Kirk.

Always,
Your mommy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

THE GREATEST TOOL EVER!

RIP

I’ve been blogging for over two years now, and while I’d like to say that my girls keep me going in this space, I have to secretly admit that it has a lot to do with Picnik.com. It’s an online photo-editing tool that has been this blog’s best friend for the past year and a half because it actually makes my mediocre pictures look a little more polished. Or fun. Or kooky. Or whatever. It can do just about anything. And it’s wonderfully easy to use.

For me, it’s THE GREATEST TOOL EVER! You know why? Because with it, I will never have to use Photoshop and thank God! That’s the opposite of Picnik. Unlike Photo ”gazillion-menu-options” shop, Picnik is so user-friendly that my cat could make its own LOLcat picture.

But this isn’t a product review. It’s in fact more a eulogy, so to speak, because on April 19, 2012, THE GREATEST TOOL EVER! will be no more. Gone. Kaput. Forever. Google bought it shortly after I started using it, and I (naively) thought, cool! It’s going to be even more fantastic. Well…that didn’t happen.

What happened was Google decided to use most of the Picnik magic for Google+ users so it transferred some of the functionality there, but it’s nowhere near as impressive as what it is now. Or fun. Gone is Picnik’s quirky personality and welcoming interface. It now feels like pure utility. I know Google is about minimalist interfaces but come on already – don’t be the place that fun goes to die (ahem Google+ cough cough).

This Goo-gal, the one who used to be Google this and Google that, is not happy. Yes, italics and underlined – that’s how unhappy I am! I used to think that Google could do no wrong.  Until Buzz happened. Then Wave. And as far as I’m concerned, even Plus. But the worst offense is definitely the demise of Picnik.

OK, I’m done bitching lamenting. Deep breaths.

Now I’m going to take advantage of the last days of THE GREATEST TOOL EVER! and go to town with some of the features I’ve never even played with before. My subjects? My guinea pigs girls of course!

 

LittleMissVixen
Who’s this little minx? A three-year-old’s not supposed to be posing like this!

 LittleMissImpressionist
That’s more like it.

 BabyEatingZucchini
At Thumper’s sixth-month checkup, her pediatrician was concerned that she wasn’t eating so she recommended a therapist to help her swallow her solids. We thought it was a little extreme and decided to wait. A month and a half later, she ate everything in sight. That’s her “Hah!” face (directed at the doctor).

PersimmonBabyFace
And that’s her stuffing-my-face face.
Mmm…persimmon…

 UnibroueKindaNight 
This is what happens after the kids go to bed. 
A few of these later, everything starts to look like that doesn’t it?

See? How cool is Picnik? *Sob sob*

Goodbye Picnik. You will be missed.


As for you, Google, for robbing me of THE GREATEST TOOL EVER!, take this:

ThumperMonkeyFace

p.s. As I’m bitching lamenting here, My Guy sends me an IM with a possible new tool I could use even though I never asked him to. God, I love that man!

* * *


Bloggers, Romans and countrymen, do you have any recommendations on what I can use to replace THE GREATEST TOOL EVER!? (No pressure) Remember, it also has to be easy enough for my attention-hungry, fame-seeking cat to use.

This is a Wordful Wednesday Post hosted by Angie over at Seven Clown Circus and Amanda at Parenting by Dummies.

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