ANTS

We’ve always had a small issue with sugar ants in our living room (of all places). I used to find a stray ant or two every once in a while, but now that the dumpling is older (and thus, 78% stickier and prone to leaving crumb trails behind), I really have to stay on top of vacuuming and pick-up to keep the ants at bay. I’ve figured out exactly where they’re coming from and have a few tricks to head off the masses that somehow seem to sense exactly when the dumpling has left his snack container out of sight. While I wouldn’t say I’m chill with their appearance, I have at least accepted it.

However, I can’t say the same for the ants that appeared in our kitchen, just inches away from my baby’s table over the weekend.

I first noticed one on Saturday evening. It was enormous, at least compared to the microscopic black ants that journey into our living room. It was scurrying across the window bench (we have a big bay window in the kitchen). I quickly disposed of it and prayed to the home-ownership gods that it would be the only one. Maybe it came in with the mail? That happens right?

My hopes were dashed when I ventured into the kitchen Sunday morning and found dozens more. Some were already dead, caught in the spider’s web (yay spiders!!), but most were still roving through our recycling and not really accomplishing anything other than freaking me out. I cleaned them all up (our trash probably had at least 50 ants in it by the end of the day), but the next wave appeared shortly after. It was then that I made a discovery: the window ledge had a little gap and they were pouring* out from there.

*Not literally, like apocalypse style, but it definitely felt like it. stupid ants

I sent Luffy to the store for caulk and a caulk gun because NO THANK YOU. I can deal with tiny sugar ants trying to abscond with graham cracker crumbs. I could not deal with these giants trying to abscond with my baby** while he eats his breakfast.

**Again, not literally, but you catch my drift. stupid ants

And so, after we put a very confused*** dumpling down for the night, Luffy and I tackled the ant portal. Neither of us had ever caulked anything and while I’m pretty sure caulk guns are supposed to be self-explanatory, considering they don’t even come with instructions, we had a heck of a time trying to get caulk out. We somehow managed to get it to come out the back of the tube before we were successful with getting it to come out of the tip. And, after thinking several times that I had cut the opening too small, our resulting nozzle tip could have accommodated a U-Haul. Thus, my “line” is more like a tornado’s debris path. But! We successfully closed the ant portal, so take that! Stupid ants.

And how was your weekend?

***Thanks daylight savings time!

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Polishing Up the Home, pt 2

More progress has been made!

Except not on any of those things I mentioned there. I’m still, uh, working on those. I need to go buy fixtures and deck repair supplies. And then schedule out an official time with the handyman (though I have at least contacted him, so that’s progress).

Instead, we mounted our flat screen TV to the wall for maximum mature-adult-lives-here-ness. And when I say “we,” I mean our friend. Because I have never hung anything that big or expensive and wanted some help. He’s an engineer, so he was allllll over the chance to use power tools and a level. Plus, I have never witnessed such an organized assembly process, and that says a lot coming from me because I like to think my own assembly process is pretty damn organized. He put me to shame there, but thanks to his help, we got the TV mounted in a couple of hours Saturday evening.

This served two purposes, really. First, the all-purpose anchors I bought to anchor the TV (among other things) were not compatible with the TV. Because OF COURSE. Second, the dumpling has already stumbled upon Jas’ patented game. If we are sitting in the living room with the TV on, which honestly doesn’t happen all that often, and he decides that we’re not paying him enough attention, which happens every single time, he’ll pound the TV with his little hands or snack cup. I get up to redirect him and he goes right back to pounding because he thinks it’s a hilarious game. Pound. Re-direct. Pound. Re-direct. Etc. So, mounting the TV not only ensured that it wouldn’t fall on him, it also places the TV out of reach. Score one for mom and dad!

So now I just need to find a nice cable organizer to conceal the half dozen cables roped between our TV and various devices. And I need to find something to conceal the power strip. And I need to re-center the TV stand, which now just holds all of our various devices and no TV. And the wall looks so bare, since we hung the TV pretty high, so maybe I can find a nice fake plant to green up the space a bit? Just a couple of things added to the to-do list.

You know, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure this was just a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing.

Polishing Up the Home

But first – we finally figured out what it was that had the dumpling so upset last week. His molars. They are erupting. Aaaaaaand that’s probably all you need to know about how our week was last week. Aye yai yai.


I’m a pretty industrious sort of gal. Pre-dumpling, I could rarely spend an entire Sunday just sitting – I had to accomplish at least one thing. Be it laundry or lawn work or running to Target, something had to get done or else I’d feel entirely useless and adrift. Ticking one thing off my mental to-do list put me in a much better frame of mind. I could be in a funk over body image issues or deep into existential crisis mode and have my spirits instantly lifted by cleaning Jas’ litter box and picking up the groceries. Luffy thinks I am weird. (For the record, Luffy is the complete opposite of this. He puts much more effort into keeping things off his to-do list.)

This doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t procrastinate with the best of them. Take our kitchen lights, for instance. They have been in some state of flickering and/or not working for at least (does some math…. counts fingers…. realizes she is getting old) three years? Maybe more? For frame of reference, they were on my list of things to do before the baby gets here. The baby who is now almost 16 months old, yes that one. And it’s not like they stopped working a week before he arrived either. I was just really good at ignoring the issue.

Every once in a while though, I get a burst of motivation and energy for all things house-related. It started with light bulbs. I would swear that the previous owner of our home replaced every single light bulb at the exact same time because they’re all going out! Simultaneously! One in the guest bath, one in the office, one in the living room, two in our bathroom. Every time I turn around, I spot another bulb out. And of course, you can’t just buy an exact replacement bulb these days – have you shopped for lights lately? It’s all “10.4W equivalent of 60W”, or some such nonsense. And then you have to pick a color spectrum like daylight or soft white or cool white – which is great! Except when you’re trying to match bulbs that are already there. And you know what, I bet this is why the previous owner replaced them all at the same time.

Anyway, replacing the one bulb in the guest bath, led me to finally getting around to fixing the kitchen lights. I had previously discussed the basics of what I would need to do to replace the ballast with my dad (in November 2015 and I remember that clearly because we were visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, sans dumpling, so that just tells you how long these lights have been out) and hopped up to pull the ballast out to take with me to Home Depot. The dumpling and I searched high and low for a replacement ballast, but none could be found. I finally had to leave when the dumpling became bored with looking at ballasts and decided that running away from mama was much more fun. After some googling at home, it turns out we have an old-school ballast that needs to be semi-specially ordered and costs like $30/ea and my dad was like, just hold off! We’ll replace them with LED lights next time I’m down! which meant that I could go back to studiously ignoring the flickering lights in my kitchen.

SOLD!

But then! I decided that I wanted to replace the light in the utility room. It’s too dim for my liking (I want a near surgical-suite level of brightness in there). And you know, I’ve been meaning to swap the fan in the dining room with the fixture from the living room. With tasks mounting up, I decided to hire a handyman to take care of several items around the house that I’ve been procrastinating on for four and a half years.

YAY!

AND THEN. Jas woke me up at 2am, early Sunday morning, with her patented paw-aggressively-at-the-mirror trick that she has been doing at 2am all her life. It wakes me up because the mirror makes this weird noise. Because I never hung it up. Because it is really big? And I was always really nervous of hanging something that big. So it just kind of leans there. Anyway, the point is that I have had this mirror for at least five years and she discovered she could play this game with me on probably the second day we had it (I come out of bed swinging because it pisses me off like nothing else) (I am sure this delights her) (otherwise, why would she keep doing it so much). Ahem. Again, anyway, my point – guess what I did Sunday morning? I finally hung the darn thing! And then I went out and bought a little pet bed to put beneath it, as an offering to Her Highness to make amends for ruining her nightly fun.

I feel so productive you guys!

Post-holiday Recovery

Well then, that was depressing.

In hindsight, I think that I was just really upset over my parents leaving early. Even before the holiday, I had been bummed that they were only staying for a full day (Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning, so basically just here for Christmas Day). So the abrupt departure was something I just couldn’t deal with. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the dumpling was a lot to handle, but topped off with my parents being here for just 24 hours, and voila! Existential crisis du jour.

If I may though, the decision to have a second child has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. I’m not sure if it’s the dumpling’s mini-tantrums or my concerns over his development or perhaps the lackluster Christmas we had. Regardless, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to whether I want to have a second child.

Luffy’s ambivalent on the matter, so it’s really up to me. He does, at least, concede that I do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to our son, especially right now when we are in the grips of parent-preference (me, of course). It is nice to hear, in a way, that he sees everything that I do, but it doesn’t help the decision about a second child because I know that I’ll be doing most of the work. Hopefully, the dumpling will be a bit more independent when/if this hypothetical second child makes an appearance, but I know I can’t just focus solely on the young child and leave the older to fend for himself.

On the one hand, it feels like such a cop-out to plan my life out based on what’s easier right now. Right now, I can’t comprehend throwing a second child into the mix. Another strong-willed, uneven tempered being. I barely keep up with the dumpling as it is and I am always happy to turn him over to daycare for the day (mama needs a break too!). Honestly, just the thought of “I will only have one child” brings me a lot of relief and peace. And since it does, is that my gut telling me that I’d be no good as a mother of two? Is it taking the easy road or is it taking my feelings into consideration regarding our family’s future? After all, no one wants to be that mom who looks back at her life and regrets her children.

I feel like we’re at a crossroads of sorts. We ventured down one life path (have a child!) and we’re coming to a fork. The path that we’re on now has been fun, yes! With the dumpling’s laughter and smiles – watching him learn to crawl and walk and eat solid food. But it’s also been hard. With nursing around the clock in the beginning to newborn meltdowns to toddler meltdowns to colds and stomach viruses and febrile seizures.

This post is just all over the place at the moment. Basically what I’m trying to say is that raising a child is hard – oh so very hard – and I do a lot of the truly hard stuff. So if I choose to only have one child – is that taking the easy way out of life? Would I regret it later, that I never put in the hard work upfront to later enjoy the rewards of multiple children? Or, is choosing to have one child simply listening to my gut feeling that I’m unhappy right now and that child-rearing is the source of my unhappiness?


To add in one of my patented to be fairs, we have had a few tough weeks here recently. First with the shenanigans at Thanksgiving, then the seizure, and Roseola, and a cold, and possibly molars, and Christmas letdowns – it’s probably not the best time to be making life decisions. In the midst of the holiday blues, I even forgot that just weeks ago I seriously contemplated writing up a post about just how happy I was. At the end of October and first week or so of November, I was completely content. I felt it to my very core, the feeling that all was right in my little world. I didn’t write the post, because I thought it would come off as too braggy – look at me and my cozy little family! – but now I’m sad that I didn’t. It would have been a nice reminder of just how happy my life can be.

Christmas or bust

Sigh.

Oh you guys. I mean, after our Thanksgiving, I had really hoped that Christmas would go better. We are 0 for 2 on major holidays in 2017.

I have a hundred to be fair modifiers for our day yesterday. The dumpling has a cold. He’s becoming a toddler. I didn’t sleep well the night before. My parents, who got into town Sunday afternoon, had to cut their visit short and leave Christmas day. Our day started at 5:30am and already felt long by 8:00am. I have that telltale tickle in the back of my throat that makes me think I’m coming down with the dumpling’s cold.

Anyway, a hundred modifiers to try to explain our tiring day. The dumpling woke up on the early side, which has been happening basically since last week. He didn’t have a fever, which was good news (this cold has brought a low-grade fever since Friday). I had hoped his spirits would be better. And they were! A little. He’s not eating much right now, so our lunch out with the family turned into a pass-the-dumpling style game as we all attempted to keep him happy and quiet-ish. Luffy’s parents kept him entertained while we exchanged presents with my family. He went down great for his second nap and woke up happy, but devolved into a cranky hell-demon within a couple of hours.

Overall, the day was a bust. And then this morning, my day again started far too early. I greeted a sort of happy dumpling, but endured two separate tantrums and a litany of near-tantrums the entire morning. Over things like not being able to play with the stove and not being able to get into a child-locked cabinet and a lengthy tantrum over I’m not even sure what. He was fine one minute and had dissolved into a puddle of misery and woe the next.

Days like yesterday make me question my …. skills? Competence? Intuition? Whatever you want to call it…. as a mother. There are days, like today, when I think to myself that I’m far too selfish to do this again. I enjoy having time to myself. I miss the holidays when I didn’t have to worry about a small child’s needs – when the day could be about relaxing and enjoying time with family. I look at pictures from my friends’ days and wonder what I’m doing wrong. Their children look so happy; why did I spend Christmas picking a howling dumpling up off the floor a hundred times? I know the comparison is not fair to me or to the dumpling, but I still can’t help but make it.

I worry because I feel like all of this is so hard for me. Other families we know seem to be having a blast on Christmas or Thanksgiving – opening presents or eating turkey – and it’s just not working for us. The dumpling howls in protest over some new, infinitesimal problem. He’s sick or teething or over-stimulated in the unfamiliar place and I might as well have a newborn again. And if this is so hard for me, maybe I’m not cut out for motherhood. Maybe we shouldn’t have a second. I barely have enough patience for a tantruming dumpling as it is, how on Earth would I summon the patience for two littles? So that brings me back to the too-selfish-to-have-a-second conundrum.

It sounds trite and cliche, but parenting is so hard and I’m having doubts that I’m any good at it.

Happy holidays!

I have today off, which I feel is a little odd but I’m not complaining. Plus…. I have today off and yet I still dropped the dumpling off at daycare which means…. [ahem] I AM NOT DOING A DAMN THING ALL DAY!!!!!!! Woot woot!

Luffy and I dropped the dumpling off (he’s got some conference calls this afternoon, but he bummed around with me this morning) and went to get breakfast tacos. We decided to kill even more time by going to see the new Star Wars movie. Spoiler alert: we didn’t get to see it. I went to the restroom to pee before the movie and was faced with my own little horror show. My period – a week early. I felt like such a teenager again. I hadn’t replaced the liners I keep in my wallet and a frantic search of my car didn’t even reveal an ancient emergency tampon. I thought briefly about staying for the movie and just, I don’t know, keeping my legs crossed tightly, but Luffy laughed at me and steered me towards the car.


We’re all ready for the holidays around here. I wrapped all of the gifts and tidied up a bit, though I’m sure I’ll need to clean again before my family gets here. We’re seeing Luffy’s parents tomorrow (they want to take us to get pizza and I’m fairly certain it’s solely for the purpose of watching the dumpling eat pizza) and my family gets in on Sunday. They won’t be here for long, so I’m sure it will feel like a whirlwind.

In other news, the dumpling is battling his first cold of the season right now. And just a week after his brush with Roseola! Did I mention that? We had a follow-up appointment with his pediatrician on Tuesday and she confirmed my suspicions that he likely had Roseola. It’s a virus characterized by a sudden high fever that lasts 3-5 days. About 12-24 hours after the fever subsides, a rash appears for 24-48 hours. It can only be confirmed by a blood test for antibodies which explains why the hospital’s nasal swap didn’t reveal anything. Also, according to one article I read, about 10-15% of babies with Roseola will experience a febrile seizure because of how quickly the fever climbs. Of course, take that with a grain of salt because the internet. The silver lining is that once they have Roseola, they have immunity for life.

But back to his cold, the poor thing. He’s not running a fever, as of right now, but it doesn’t stop me from dosing him up with Motrin at nights, just in case. We’re running his humidifier on full blast and moved our air purifier into his room. And of course we’re chasing after him with tissues to wipe his nose which, according to my son, is the WORST imposition. At least my insistence that he drinks more water is met with more appreciation. I even make him a little concoction of warm, diluted (very diluted) cranberry juice and honey each morning. Honey to help with his cough and cranberry juice to entice him (that boy is definitely my child in his love of tart things). So yeah, that’s where we’re at now. And while we still can’t dose him up with, say, Robitussin, at least he’s not a tiny newborn anymore. My nerves can handle a sick toddler over a sick newborn any day.

Anyway, that’s us! Happy holidays from my little family to yours!

Turkey Day 2017

We’re back! I hope your Thanksgiving was gluttonous. Ours was…. good? Bad? Clingy? Scream-y? No-sleep-y?

Sigh

Our mistake was staying too long. We were visiting my parents out in West Texas and flew in Tuesday morning with a return flight on Saturday at noon. Honestly, if we had left Friday morning instead, we probably would have avoided 80% of the crying and woe that we endured. (Yeah, Friday night was that bad.)

It all started pretty well. The dumpling was clingier and more tired than usual, but I expected that for the most part. His waketimes drastically shorten until he’s more familiar with his location, but that’s perfectly understandable. We worked around it for the most part, holding him for most of the early days or talking to relatives from the floor as we encouraged the dumpling to play. Extra patience at bedtime and holding him to lengthen a nap (which wuh?? did we bring along a newborn??). Luffy’s patience ran out about 2:30 on Thanksgiving day when we were both struggling to get a clearly tired dumpling to go the F to sleep and he tried to change our return flight. No dice, though I did manage to get the dumpling down just in time to go snuggle my cousin’s newborn!

The true trouble started on Friday night though. The dumpling was extra cranky and resistant at bedtime and fear shot into my heart when we heard him wake up just two short hours later. I managed to get him back down fairly quickly but he only stayed down for forty minutes or so. And here is where we made the biggest mistake, I think. I envisioned a very long night for us and, in an effort to make soothing easier for myself, tried to bring the dumpling into our bed for the night. Now, the dumpling hates co-sleeping, and I know this, but I thought that since he already had been asleep that his sleep drive would be enough for him to just conk out again. In reality though, we actually just ensured that he’d be wide awake by the time we re-arranged things. Then he treated the first couple hours of the night as a nap and wanted to party while we tried to get him back to sleep. By the time he was truly ready for sleep again (somewhere around midnight), he was far too touched out, I suppose, at all the patting and shushing and rubbing and holding.

Around 12:30 in the morning I decided to give him some space, which is when he decided to howl like a banshee. My poor mom woke up (though she assured me that she woke up to check on us) and convinced me to let her take him for a bit. The dumpling started crying even harder when I passed him over to her. I gave them ten minutes and poked my head out to hear my son still screaming. That’s when I threw in the towel and resigned myself for a very long night. I gave him a dose of Tylenol, just in case, and then held him as I talked with my mom. I then moved to the living room and sat down on the floor, where the dumpling finally passed out in my arms sometime around 1:30am. My sweet mom gathered blankets and a pillow for me and I scooched my way down into a reclined position and tried to ignore my protesting back and hips. Around 3:30 in the morning the dumpling rolled off me and face-planted into the floor where he slept soundly for another hour or so. After that he wanted back on my chest and slept there until 6am, when he was AWAKE! and ALERT! BRIGHT EYED AND BUSHY TAILED! Gah mom, what is your PROBLEM?? I walked him around the dark house until I reasoned that he might as well eat some breakfast if he wasn’t going back to sleep.

So, I got about an hour’s worth of sleep that night? I’m not really sure. Thankfully, Luffy took over mid-morning while I laid back down and got a nap in. The dumpling also got a good nap in before our flight (also thankfully – praise baby Jesus!). And then….. the flight.

The. Flight.

We managed to distract the dumpling with food for most of the flight. But, when we started our descent, all hell broke loose. He quite literally melted down. My best guess is that his ears needed to pop and that sort of just set off his whole DONENESS with the travelling situation. He was over it. He wanted to be out and off and was done. With me and his dad and everyone. I have never felt more embarrassed and ashamed on a flight and this is coming from a girl who once threw up on a flight because she was hungover (which, I would not recommend to anyone, was not a fun experience). He screamed and screamed and screamed, barely pausing for breath. He worked himself up so much I seriously thought he might vomit or pass out from lack of oxygen. He screamed right up until we walked off the plane. By this point, Luffy was boiling mad and I can’t really blame him. The whole experience was just miserable and didn’t really lessen up any on our Uber ride home, though we did at least get to joke with the person we inflicted our hollering child upon (and tip generously, I might add).

Then, ladies and gentlemen, I witnessed a damn near miracle. As I walked through our front door with the dumpling, he lit up. I kid you not. He was SO happy to be home. I had not put that child down since practically Tuesday and in an instant he wanted down and was off to say hi to Jas and find his Sharpies* and visit his toys. It was incredible to feel the tension and stress just melt away from him.

Sunday was wonderful as we spent quality time together again, laughing and playing and not holding him for 90% of his day. I had almost forgotten what our little boy was like normally while we had been away.

So whew. I am glad things are back to normal around here. We did have some fun. We ate lots of good food. Drank lots of champagne. My mom and I baked and made candy. We saw the house my brother and his wife are moving to (that’s right! they’ll no longer be in DFW which I am very sad about). The dumpling played with my parent’s cats, including their four-month-old kitten, and my parents were delighted by just how well he treated them (gentle hands! I say for the millionth time). We watched movies and saw extended family. We took walks and enjoyed tickling the dumpling. If I separate out Friday night and the flight back, we had a fantastic time! So I think I’ll do just that for my own sanity.

*I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but the dumpling loves Sharpies. I have a colorful set of the fine-tipped ones in my office that he discovered one day. Now, he’ll just go play with them and cart them around the house. I keep finding Sharpies everywhere though my set seems to have dwindled. Oh well, it’s awfully cute.