135-139/365: Vacation

Just a few snaps from our travels. We got home around noon today, and I promptly started feeling awful. I suspect some virus floating around the airport got me. Here’s hoping it’s a short-lived misery. On the bright side, we had a marvelous vacation.

Here’s Iris on the flight down. We were very fortunate: she slept an hour and a half out of the two hour flight… both ways. For all my complaints about sleep, she’s a great vacationer. Cheerful, interested, content. Pop her in the carrier, and she’s good to go.

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Later: getting her courage up for the kiddie pool. I love the way her shadow is stretching away. Very gunslinger/hero in the setting sun.IMG_0254

Iris LOVES slides. Another reason to look forward to sunny weather. We have a neighborhood play park less than a block from our house. Going to be a good summer.IMG_0306Lazy morning at the marina beach.
IMG_0320 Mom in her natural habitat. She was trying to get a good shot of a bald eagle that was circling and swooshing and fishing over the lake. I have been to all kinds of national parks in my life, but I’ve never seen a bald eagle in the wild before. Ah, Disney World.IMG_0335 Small World was every bit as fun as I hoped it would be. It took her a few minutes. It’s pretty stimulating to a girl who spends most of her days just chilling at home with her mommy. But there are dolls! Everything moves! The music is so dance-able! Iris loved it.IMG_0429 Getting braver.IMG_0469 By the time we had to go, she was a pro. She was so into it, in fact, that she threw one of her rare tantrums when it was time to go. Which is fine, because her tantrums are kind of adorable. I probably won’t think so in another year or two of real toddlerhood, but right now… I can’t help it. Her bottom lip pooches, and she throws herself backward with such dramatic flair. Also it doesn’t last long. Her frustration expressed, she moves on pretty quickly.IMG_0480

Also this face gets me every time.

Carl and I also had a great vacation, but we didn’t take so many pictures of ourselves. In our off-duty times (we were vacationing with my folks, and Mom very kindly held down the fort during nap time), we sat outside and drank coffee; walked around the campground; lazed by the pool. It was too short but amazingly nice. A perfect winter pick-me-up.

Next up: surviving February.


132/365: Lately

IMG_0223You’ll pardon the many photos of Iris in her pajamas these days. I don’t know if you live in the North American weather system—or if you have a history of going outside—but it’s cold. Really cold.

Here are some other odds and ends:

  • I’m writing through nap times again. It feels great, although it would feel slightly more awesome of I could get Iris to nap for longer than 30 minutes at a stretch. I wouldn’t mind if she woke up happy, but she’s been waking up tired. Boo.
  • Iris climbs stairs. She made it up for the first time today (Carl close behind her), and then was so proud of herself she did it three more times throughout the day. We have a baby gate at the top of the stairs, but it looks like we’re going to have to figure something out for the bottom too.
  • The homey life of a Stay-At-Home apparently gives me plenty of time to think about how to make life more complicated for myself. I have not only picked out Iris’s outfits for our vacation, but placed each one in a plastic baggie with the date labeled clearly on the outside. After, of course, checking the weather forecast for each specific day.
  • I can get projects like that done, but the dishes? Forget it.
  • I am incapable of finishing a book. I’ve tried to read five different books now, and no luck. I can’t decide if I honestly only like to read books that are at least 50 years old or if I am developing an allergy to highbrow Art. It seems to be full of people contemplating their deaths and being miserable. I realize this lowers my lit cred significantly, but it’s my current complaint… although the more I think about it the more likely it seems that I really just prefer old books. Maybe I should try that George Eliot novel that’s been taunting me on the shelf for months.
  • I’m puzzled lately by the drive to believe (of which we have daily proof on social media) that “everybody else” is either incredibly stupid or eager to do evil at every turn. It seems like the mystery novel version of life—as though there are really a large number of people interested in expending extraordinary amounts of energy in thwarting and destroying other people’s lives. And not, you know, a vast assortment of people who are perhaps self-interested and imperfect, but largely trying to do their best in a grayscale landscape. Am not trying to pick any fights here. But it just seems odd to me.
  • I dreamed last night that I saved a pig from being slaughtered for my family’s holiday dinner. The pig had already been “de-meated” which sounds beyond gruesome, but on closer inspection it had simply been shrunk to a height of six-inches at the shoulder but was in all other ways (apart from two small nicks on the flank), perfectly fine. “I CAN’T DO THIS” I told my family, bursting into tears. “I AM TAKING THE PIG HOME.” And I did.
  • Later that night, I dreamed I was in college (in the Matthews Auditorium, if you know the place) trying to decide who I should marry. Gosh, I’m glad to be four years removed from those days, I thought when I woke up. And then, because the dream wasn’t at all problematic, I lay awake for half an hour trying to decide what to do for Iris’s 1 year portraits. Because if you’re only getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night, it’s really important to also have some minor bouts of insomnia.
  • I just heard the pacifier drop on the floor in the nursery. Somebody is awake. For some reason, that’s her first step on waking up. Reach her little hand through the crib bars and delicately drop the paci on the floor.



131/365: Words Instead

No picture tonight, too busy writing. Few things in life can beat the sleepy satisfaction of doing the thing that is in you to do while the people you love pursue their own interests (or maybe just sleep) through the silence of a bone-cold winter night.

Am happy tonight.

I wrote a page.

130/365: They See Me Strollin’

IMG_0204This is Iris’s new favorite activity. We bought this stroller for our upcoming trip since it’s nice and light and folds down well. Of course, after we assembled it we had to give it a test drive, and since it’s about 2 degrees outside that test drive was all around the living/dining/kitchen.

With the posse, naturally.

And the crepe paper.

Possibly also some yogurt snacks and a juice box. It really just depends. I’m not sure why she loves being in this stroller when she is always slightly skeptical of the big stroller and outdoor rides (even when the weather’s nice), but she is always happy to go for an indoor stroller ride and will even sit in it for a while after we’ve parked.

On Sunday—Joel up for a quick visit—she sat in the stroller for a long time, eating donut holes and watching tennis with us. Although I guess that isn’t such a mystery. Donuts do have a certain charm.

Either way, here’s hoping it carries over on the trip. We have lots of miles to walk in the Florida sunshine (crossing my fingers for that last part).


129/365: Lucky in Love

IMG_0169Am catching up on my posts today for the usual reason: teething strikes again. At least, I sure hope it’s teething and not just random all-night-partying because if it is, Iris totally needs to work on her party skills. Nobody seems to be enjoying her parties.

But it’s funny how awful the nights can be—how exhausted and cranky I can feel when morning shows up, and we’ve been up five times with an inconsolable goomba—and then how none of it seems to matter after all when I watch her, just toddling around shrieking at Maxine and giving her daddy kisses.

Love is the good stuff.


127/365: Forks



Sippy cups?





Well, we’re working on it. She often has trouble telling which end is the forkable one, and will intently spear at objects with the handle. And she has trouble getting enough pressure on the fork to actually get those pesky little cheese bites and banana bits on the tines. But load that fork up and set it in front of her, and she is all over it.

IMG_0149Not so much the spoons, howev. I made the mistake of giving her a bowl of oatmeal and a spoon the other morning, and she had it pretty much everywhere except inside. But the fork skills—the fork skills are coming well.

And so is the sharing.



126/365: Please, Sir

IMG_0123This is the I-Would-Like pose—arm stretched full length toward object, eyes intent, up-flicked, questing shriek. I probably hear this 3 dozen times every day, usually in reference to food possibilities, but also in search of Maxine, her dirty diapers (she is obsessed with her dirty diapers for some reason), my phone, the laptop (always the laptop), the remote, and her wooden frog.

Right now she wanted to direct my full attention to the fact that she had finished her small helping of whipped cream and would very much appreciate a second.

… Have had even fewer than usual interesting thoughts this week. It’s been a lazy, drifting time. We play and clean (a little) and take naps. Iris is in the process of popping out her two top teeth, and I’m not feeling hugely motivated to do anything beyond the necessities. Although I did go to Target last night to start laying in provisions for our mini-vacay later in the month: a lightweight stroller; a warm jacket for Iris; baby snacks that travel well and are not crackers.

Today we may clean the bathroom. We’ll see.

We went to the library a few days ago, and I stocked up on Pulitzer Prize-winning novels in my effort to be better read in contemporary fiction. Ha ha. I started reading Paul Harding’s Tinkers… and there I remain. It IS beautifully written. But somehow so hard to get into. I dunno. I keep reading travel essays about Savannah and the Everglades and then going online to look at pictures of gardens.

You know how it goes.

Last night, Iris woke up at 11:30pm utterly convinced it was morning and that she should really be playing. The idea of being rocked or snuggled back to sleep was apparently pure torture—she cried for an hour before either of us could get her to settle down enough to sleep, and that was after a full belly and a fresh diaper. “You’re still on my bad side,” Carl told her when I brought her into our room after she popped up at seven (after popping up at 4 and 6 too). Which, if true, basically just confirms that Carl’s bad side is a fairly hypothetical place since he was holding her up so she could dance to Yo Gabba Gabba about three minutes later.

We are slowly wearing out. The theoretical goals and parental aspirations are gradually being replaced by an elastic pragmatism that exists mostly in the moment and has a high debt ceiling when it comes to kisses on credit. That policy, however, is a shared one. We have each, at different times, left the room declaring ourselves DONE, with various unprintables under our breath. Which is ok. I’m pretty sure that’s why many people still choose to parent in twos. Being able to declare oneself done and storming off to bed is one of those dramatic luxuries that come with the territory of co-parenting. I can’t actually imagine a version of real parenting that doesn’t include that kind of overwhelmed response at one time or another, so it seems to me that the best a person can do is to maintain a sense of humor. To pick up the slack, not take it too seriously, and start the next morning with a dance party anyway.

Also lots of whipped cream, though the benefits of that have been less rigorously examined.