Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Age of Delight and Aggravation

Photos snapped seconds apart in time.

We've been having an up and down time with Elan lately. On the one hand, he is completely delightful, interacting in new ways with us, with language, with music, focus, imagination, making up stories that always seem to feature the line "suddenly, a storm came!" And on the other hand, he is impossibly difficult, fighting us over every little thing, turning a simple request into an epic power struggle and exhausting Mikhail and me with his defiance.

Tomorrow he turns 3 and a half, and it's clear that some major internal struggle is going on inside him. He wants to be a big boy, and he doesn't. One moment he runs up the stairs, sets up his potty seat, and proudly poops on the toilet unprompted. The next moment he refuses to talk in anything except baby-talk, frustrating even the simplest exchanges. One day he cleans up his toys and revels in getting a star sticker; the next day, he refuses to help us pick up his trains, stubborn even against the threat of them getting taken away (a threat we of course then have to follow through with).

He's testing us, that's for sure. But he also seems to be testing himself, trying to calibrate some internal compass: is he ready to be a big boy or does he still want to be a baby? And I'm sure that the difficult nature of the last few months, my retreat from normal life to my bed while grappling with morning sickness, is part of his insecurity. So now I try to reassure him that I'm really here, and part of that is keeping my temper while being very firm with him, even when I'm feeling crappy and would rather just let things slide. However, I keep reminding myself that I want some of these systems in place before the baby comes. So that even when there is the inevitable backslide post-baby, we'll at least have a history of things like clean-up time, quiet time, toilet training, to fall back on.

When I step back from the inevitable frustrations of this age, I can really appreciate how incredible it is to get to watch another human being develop. And to have influence over that development (though Elan's strong personality is always reminding me the limits of my influence).

There are times I get overwhelmed by the thought of having another child when this one is already such a (beautiful, delightful) handful. At those times I comfort myself with the knowledge that at least the baby won't come out knowing how to yell "No, poop!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Moving Fast

My favorite baby/toddler shoe company, See Kai Run, is having their big annual sale now. 50% off, plus reasonable shipping. The best sizes are moving fast, so hop over there and gobble yourself up some cuteness.

I always buy one size ahead for Elan (at one point 2 sizes ahead cause his feet were growing so fast), but unfortunately he's up to their next line, for older kids, and they didn't have any cute boy styles on sale in that line. Now what will I do when he outgrows these?

Monday, May 17, 2010


A few days ago, I felt it. Like a goldfish swimming in a bowl, if your hands were the bowl so you could feel how the tail pushed the water. That's how I described the sensation to Mikhail. It was a little startlingly weird. I don't remember sensations like that with Elan; the first thing I felt with him was the sensation of popcorn popping, at about twenty weeks. They say first-time moms rarely recognize the earliest sensations (16-20 weeks) and second-time (or more) moms frequently do, and so feel the baby move earlier.

The baby!

It appears there's actually a baby in there. Or at least a personable goldfish.

And last week I swam laps twice, had two long walks (during which I felt very slow and tired pushing Elan in the stroller, but still), and went to prenatal yoga class for the first time. Yoga, how I have missed you! It was the perfect level class for a pregnant lady who has been too sick to do much exercising. And now I am sore, but not too sore. And I want to go to yoga class everyday.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Shot of Zany

Thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Gracy, I am happy to introduce you to the culmination of an art form that you might never have been exposed to before: the Peruvian music video. If you've never seen a Peruvian music video, featuring popular Andean huayno music (we always joked in our year in Peru that it was appropriately named as to our ears it sounds like whining), you are in for a treat. And even if you have been forced to sit through too many huayno music videos blaring in buses through the wee hours, this one is still worth your time. Not only does it feature three artists, all of them incredible in their own ways (truly!), it is also about a topic I've never encountered in huayno music before: Israel.

Just watch it. Revel in the zany.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


A long-overdue update...

* I made it to the second trimester! I am now in my 17th week, which seems kind of amazing. A few weeks ago, the nausea improved about 10%, and now I think I've made another 10% jump. It's definitely not where I hoped I'd be by this time, but it is nice to feel some improvement.

* With a corresponding slight improvement in my energy, I suddenly notice how disorganized and chaotic my life and house are. However, I'm still pretty worn-out, recovering from various colds and sinus infection and pink eye, on top of the pregnancy symptoms. So I find myself no longer able to completely ignore the disorganization, yet still lacking the will to really tackle it. The same thing happened after my miscarriage, when I found myself longing for someone to come rescue me. I try to remind myself that 20% improvement means I am allowed 20% higher expectations of myself, no more. Baby steps...

* I managed to swim laps one day this week for the first time in too long to count. I'm trying to use that increased energy to get a little more exercise, since it's such an important mood-booster for me.

* Elan is (occasionally) wearing underwear! This is a big step, as he was very undergarment-averse for the first few months of the potty-training adventure. Finally we graduated to him saying "later" he would wear them. Then one day my clever husband put the underwear inside his pants. Viola! We didn't draw his attention to the fact he was wearing underpants until the end of the day. Of course he still prefers to be bare-bottomed inside his pants, and he has very skinny hips, so he winds up showing off the world's cutest plumber's crack on a regular basis. What 3-year-olds can get away with.

* In the chaos of the last few months, Elan has been steadily napping less and less, and Mikhail and I find ourselves struggling to come up with new routines for "quiet time" to give us all a break. I'll let you know if I find something that actually seems to reliably work. So far, it's all very random and disorganized-feeling. I have realized that since having a child, a firm structure and schedule have become very important to me, which is interesting since in my life B.C., I didn't think of myself as a very scheduled person. I'm not sure how much of this phenomena is due to the fact that Elan is a child who responds well to a firm schedule, and how much of it just how I am as a mother.

* Somewhere in the chaos of the last few months, my writing partner and I finished our screenplay. How did that happen? A lot of very focused work, including several 4-day-long writing marathons, while our husbands wrangled the children. We have now submitted it to a few places and are hoping for positive signs. There's a fair amount of fear involved with putting something out into the world and facing rejection, but it feels great to actually have finished a major piece of writing.

So there they are - recent milestones. I will try to get myself to post more often...