Sunday, December 21, 2008

Flying solo.

I have a lot of stuff in my head right now, but not a lot to post about. Today Matt is at a Patriot's game, having been invited by a friend who got tickets from a friend, who got them from a friend. They are good seats, with access to a luxury box, so Matt was pretty thrilled. He's off having a great time, and I'm happy for him, but I'm a little frustrated and tired. I'm likely going to be by myself with Charlotte all day, without the car, and some days that's just a little overwhelming.

Charlotte and I spend 4 days a week by ourselves, no problem, but on the weekend it's a different routine, and I expect and anticipate having the extra help. Or being able to say, "Dude, I need a nap and a shower, hang out with the kid, okay?" Plus, I feel bad for Charlotte. It sucks when your mom is phoning it in, and today, that's how I feel. Charlotte's napping right now, but I know she'll be up soon, and I have soooo much to do for Christmas still that I know I'm going to have to stick her in the play yard and work around her. I feel guilty for that, but I don't have time to put this stuff off, either.

Blah. I need a vacation. Not from Charlotte, but from everything else. If only I could wake up tomorrow with no work and a clean house. Someone send a fairy godmother, 'kay?

In Holly Jolly news, we went to a family Christmas party last week (like last year) and Charlotte again got to sit on Santa's lap. She didn't actually cry, but she was very concerned/interested in this dude. She couldn't take her eyes off of him. Even when she got her present and we took her to the back of the room to open it, she was still craning her neck and trying to see what he was doing with the other kids.

Santa gave her a Minnie Mouse toy, which would not have been my first thought, but Charlotte absolutely adores her Mo-mo. I don't think she's ever seen Minnie before - it's not like Winnie The Pooh, where we have a lot of stuff with him and Tigger on it. She recognizes Pooh, Tigger and Elmo when she sees them in different places, but Minnie is her first Disney Mouse, and there is something about her that Charlotte finds very appealing. They've been inseparable all this week, and Mo-mo is oft requested by name, which is unusual for Charlotte.

Another fun thing at the party was Charlotte hanging out with my youngest cousin, Chelsea, who is seven. Chelsea and I are the cousin brackets - at 29, I'm the oldest, and she's the youngest. Chelsea was chasing around Charlotte, with Matt or I following as back-up. After five minutes, Chelsea looked at me and said, "Playing with Charlotte is fun, but she never stops moving! And she always wants to touch things she's not supposed to!" This is a lesson that the youngest daughter and youngest granddaughter never had to learn before, and it was pretty funny.

It was a great party, I enjoyed myself, and I enjoyed seeing my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and relatives who I don't know who they are. It was awkward and weird in some ways, though - my dad wasn't there. He's never there, since my stepmother and my dad's family had a fight over 10 years ago. And as much as I am kind of over the whole thing, it still hurts and sucks to see Dad's siblings all joking together and helping the family set up, and to know that Dad isn't there because he doesn't want to deal with it. It sucks that Dad isn't there to say, "Oh, Jenn, this is Uncle Joe, remember him? He's the one who used to tease Gramma about going for a ride on his motorcycle!" Me and my sister just kind of wander aimlessly, not knowing what we should offer to do. It doesn't help that my whole family is kinda bad at communicating, to the point that one year we showed up at a party only to find out that we were supposed to be dressed nicely for a family photo. Dad, who had been the one to relay the party invite, neglected to mention this. We thought it was just a regular cook-out, and were wearing t-shirts and jean shorts. It ended up being no big deal, we all stood in the back, but it was just one more thing to make us feel alienated.

At this party, my uncle told me and Nicole that he had talked to our dad on the phone that morning, and we both said, in unison, "That's nice." He realized from that response that we hadn't heard from him in a while - and Uncle Scott felt bad. The whole thing is such a big mess, and I don't even really care to untangle it. I could go on and on for hours about it, and it would make even less sense. I'm just really sensitive to it at this time of year, with all the sentimentality and obligation and true joy and dread that Christmas means to me.

Shaking that all off....

I'm really looking forward to Christmas with Charlotte - I know that she's getting some fun toys, and I can't wait to see her play with them. We've been really lax about leaving her presents around, banking on the fact that she's 14 1/2 months old, and won't really notice that the See N Say in the box in our room is going to be unwrapped on Christmas morning. However, Charlotte has noticed and remembered said See N Say, and she likes to come in our room and stand in front of it. I think she's trying to figure out why we have something that is so obviously for her in a box in our room. She's going to lose it when she realizes that it actually makes noises!

I'm trying to decide if I want to take her out in the snow for a few minutes. I think I'm going to wuss out - it's such a pain to get us both all ready to go. Maybe tomorrow before Matt goes to work we'll take her out for a minute. She really likes the process of getting ready to go out, thank god. Charlotte loves her coat ("co") and her mittens and her hat ("ha") and thinks the snow ("no") is funny.

One last picture of Charlotte - her new thing is climbing, and she's figured out how to pile up things to use them to stand on. In this picture, you can see that she totally thinks she's going to be able to swing her leg over the side of the play yard and make her escape. Not true.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Got it!

Here's the picture we're using on Christmas cards:

I think it's pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

I am also discovering - cue dramatic music - that I need more sleep than I thought I did. I know this may seem obvious, like, "Hello, you have a TODDLER!", but I've gotten by on very little sleep for almost my whole life. I started being afraid of the dark after I saw the movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial when I was four or five, and I didn't really sleep well again until, oh, say, college. You know, when I started drinking. I used to stay up reading sitting under my desk by my nightlight when I was 8 or 9, reading with a flashlight when I was older, listening to the radio on my walkman, watching late-night TV. I have seen many more episodes of The Patty Duke Show, Dobie Gillis, Mr. Ed and The Twilight Zone than a lot of other people my age. I also remember infomercials for such long-gone products as DidiSeven (a stain remover) and of course, the ThighMaster.

I felt like I had trained myself to cope on very little sleep as a kid, 6 hours a night at the most, more like 4 or 5 all through high school, and then college it's the same thing. Go to classes, go to work, stay up writing papers and reading and studying (and partying, and drinking and smoking, and staying up late talking about existential crises). Then real life with it's work and email and phone calls and grueling TV watching schedule, roller derby practice and knitting Christmas presents. Then baby, and feeding and changing and trying to keep your house and job from falling apart around you. Finally we've reached the point where Charlotte pretty much goes down to bed at 8 and sleeps through until 7:45 or so in the morning (knock on wood! knock on wood!). And then I'm working all day, taking care of Charlotte all day, and I don't finish work until midnight, and hopefully am in bed by 12:30 or 1 am. To me, sleeping from 12:30 to 7:30 seems like it should be more than enough sleep - dude, that's almost 7 hours! But last night I just could not cope and went to bed at 10:30. I woke up at 7:00, when the alarm clock went off the first time, and I didn't feel any resentment at all! I just thought, "Wow, I'm refreshed, I guess it IS time to get up!" That's so bizarre to me. I've always hated getting up, had to drag myself out of bed, exhausted and miserable.

It's weird to think that maybe my problem is not that I'm "not a morning person" and just that maybe I need to sleep more. Huh.

Unfortunately, that revelation is not exciting in any useful sort of way. I went to bed last night needing to do two more hours of work that I will have to make up later this week, and with a sink full of dishes that need to be washed. I also didn't shower, knit baby booties, or do anything else that needed to be done. So while I have concluded that I do need to sleep more, I've also concluded that I don't have time to sleep more. Oh well. That's the story of everyone's life, right?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Harder than it looks...

I've been trying to get a good picture of Charlotte for our Christmas card this year. We went to 3 different stores after work looking for a Santa hat, which didn't work out so great. We ended up getting a semi-cute outfit that was appropriately Christmas-y, because I had this plan to take pictures tonight and order cards tonight when I ordered some other stuff. However, the pictures didn't come out that great due to a) lack of natural light at 7:30 pm and b) lack of energetic cuteness at 7:30 pm. So I'll try again tomorrow. Matt is less picky, and he's like, "Use that one! Use that one!" after looking through the pictures on the back of the camera.

"It's blurry, I hate the lighting, and it's not what I'm looking for," was my reply. Because while yes, these are cute, what I really want is wow. And I'm capable of it, now and again. What Rebecca calls "money shots." While the ring of that is a little, uh, porn-y for my tastes, I know what she means. When I think of a good picture, I want one that is more like this:

So I have a project for tomorrow. Use the daylight, and capture the perfect an acceptable Christmas card photo. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday countdown...

The Christmas countdown is on. I am...well, started on my shopping at least. We have good ideas on what we're getting everyone, so that's something. Thanksgiving went well - except for the puking. Charlotte gagged herself and puked in the car on Thanksgiving morning - a first! Then her cousin K threw up all that night. It was...a little much.

I'm excited about Christmas this year, but not so excited that I have no time to breathe, much less make this season magical. I'll figure something out, all I know is that not getting the tree up is not an option. Charlotte enjoyed the lights so much when she was just an infant - I know she'll love them now, too. I took a jillion pictures of her last year - here's just a couple.

A big problem I keep running into is thinking that I need to have coherent, cohesive, well-thought out blog entries. I intended this blog to be kind of a way to keep track of what's going on with Charlotte while she's growing so fast, and I'm losing stuff because I'm caring too much about making it good. So prepare yourself for a bunch of mediocre, picture-heavy posts. Because I hate it when it's been a month between blog posts.