Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Baby's ONE!

I can hardly believe it, but my baby's one. No, it doesn't seem like yesterday that he was born. We did have a long year, but even though a lot happened (moving to another state, husband graduating, travelling abroad, etc) , these things don't make it less painful to see him grow out of babyhood so quickly. I want to hold on to his baby-self, therefore I'm not so eager to see him start walking, though I'm curious to know when/where it'll happen.

We had a party on Sunday, and before that, from Friday night through Sunday morning, a visit from friends who hadn't been to our house in over 3 years (she happens to be alergic to cats, and this caused the visits to basically cease - this weekend we took the cat to a friend's house, and that made it all sooo much better!). My brother-in-law, sister and nephew arrived on Saturday night for the celebration. On top of that, we had spent the whole week going to bed between 2-4 am (if not later) editing a short film (20 minutes) or Linton's first year of life, and between that and trying to clean the house, etc, we got really tired... The party was perfect, though, just two families of friends plus the relatives. Linton napped the whole time, and woke up -- a little angel, literally -- for the Happy Birthday and presents. It was all worth it! I even decorated my first cake (this would actually be the second, but Kelvin's last month, only required coloring the frosting and covering the pieces of the "train cake", and in this one I actually wrote on and decorated). I'll try to add a picture.

Well, I'll post the way it is, because I don't have time right now to add more. Last Thursday my back started aching. It seemed to get a little better over the weekend, but right now it's worse than ever. I never had any problems before. It's probably that Linton got too heavy, and I constantly carry him on my right hip (that's the side that hurts badly, right under the clavicle)...
It's not very easy to write when one's in pain, but I haven't blogged for a while (and my last post I saved as a draft, and have yet to finish), so here it is.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Busy (busy?)/ Taking long to get a Ph.D.

Well, just to keep this blog going...

We're a bit busy because we're going to Massachusetts this weekend for my husband's commencement (he finished his Ph.D. last year).

I'm also dealing right now with memos and such to get my "statute of limitations" renewed. Yes, I have been taking longer than what's "allowed" (6 years) to finish my Ph.D. Considering other people in my department, which this year received SEVENTEEN requests to renew statutes of limitation, I'm almost OK --this is only the second time I request an extension, which means I've been working on my degree for 7 years now, the next year will be my 8th. However, I've had a baby 3 years ago, and another one last year... This is the case with a few of my colleagues who have requesting extension this year, but for most, it's not the case.

Anyway, that aside, I've actually been "busy" (?) reading other blogs. I hate to admit that it becomes completely addictive to do so... And slightly frustrating when having my own blog doesn't get me anywhere, just makes me waste time reading other blogs.

The problem is, it seems my dept. wants to clean up its act this year and try to get as many of us to graduate as soon as possible. I kind of like the pressure, but this makes me have to work and feel terribly guilty of spending all this useless, albeit fascinating, time online.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Neighbor Girl is OK/ My son's reaction

*updated on 11/11/07 to add photos of Kelvin as he asked the questions I listed in the third paragraph below. His face is just so expressive and it was interesting that I had my camera on hand while he talked. He looks very concerned -- something quite surprising for such a young child -- he was only 3!Just a quick update [to the last lines of the previous post] to let you know that my neighbor's niece fractured her leg, and was kept overnight in the hospital, but other than that she should be OK. Fortunately, she fell on dirt that had been worked on to plant a garden, and not in the narrow cemented path right beside it. My neighbor said that the window was locked, and the kids opened it on their own.

In the end of last year I had talked very seriously with Kelvin (my 3 year old) about the windows, explaining that he could fall, etc. I inadvertently mentioned dying and of course he didn't really know exactly what it meant, and I volunteered a "you'd leave us/ you'd no longer live here with us" explanation - which frightened him SO much. "I don't want to leave our house, I want to live here with you, I don't want to die" he almost sobbed. Of courseb I immediately reassured him, and changed the focus of my warnings completely (you'd get hurt, etc). But for a few days he was quite shaken at the terrible idea of "leaving", because I think not being in his home with his family is a great "fear" for him (I'm so glad he hasn't reached the "fearful phase" yet - when exactly does that come? Does it vary from child to child?).
Anyway, yesterday he asked a few times whether the girl had died, and I explained repeatedly, "No, she just got hurt", etc. Then, he was really concerned and asked a ton of questions, such as "Why didn't she obey her aunt? Why did the policemen come? Why did she go away in an ambulance?" I answered, and of course I reminded him that he should keep away from windows so he wouldn't get hurt as well. Today told me again that the girl had gotten hurt and fallen because she hadn't obeyed her mom. And asked me again why she had not obeyed...He asks so many questions! The good part is that he seems genuinely interested in the responses. Today he also asked: "Are we going to live is this house forever?" "Why not? I like to live here." Sometimes he asks about the old house. I don't think he remembers much, because he was 2 years 4-5 months when we moved. But he does have an amazing memory, and surprises us often with out-of-the-blue questions about things that happened months ago.I have been planning a post about things he says for a looong time, but some of them are untranslatable!!! Let's see what I can do about that...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's day... 3 posts in one

After a lovely breakfast in bed, a card, a gift and a private "concert" from my singing 3 year old, I've come here to try to post some thoughts I've been entertaining for a while. Since they're all about mothering, it's just fitting it's mother's day...

"Post 1": Twofold Mothering Question

There's a question in two parts I wanted to ask - whether there'll be responses or not is yet to be seen :)
First, I have been crazy about babies and young children since I was a young "tween". My neighbor had two beautiful babies, a girl and a boy, one year apart, and I spent the most of the 4 years we were neighbors playing with them. The girl's first word was my name. After we moved, I would still play with young kids whenever I had the chance, and they usually adored me. (note: in Brazil girls don't baby-sit for neighbors and friends, or else I'd have been a dedicated baby-sitter). Second, like my mother before me, I had my children after I was 30, and I often think that being older makes mothering easier for me, since I'm more mature and more patient.

Question, is mothering "easier" (or comes more naturally) for the baby-inclined women and/or older mothers?

Apparenly the answers would be simple, but I'm sure it's more complex than that. For me, a yes seems to be the case, but I'd be curious to know how it's worked out for other moms.

Probably this question is hardly original, but I started thinking about this when in our last visit, my sister-in-law said I was very patient with my kids, and I thought that this was because I'm older, since I was a nervous and anxious wretch as a teenager and in my early 20s. I also talked to her how I thought that perhaps mothering came more naturally to people like us, who had always loved babies and children...

Well, I just thought I'd ask!

"Posts 2 & 3": Ayelet Waldman and me on...

This past week I stayed up until 1 a.m. one night reading Ayelet Waldman's articles in Salon.com and also the NY Times. I want to comment a bit about 2 of them. Of course there's the whole polemic about her suicidal post on her blog and the subsequent end of it, which I only found out about (here - see Pop Culture) last week too, but I won't write about that...

1) Husband over kids
Apparently, Ayelet has been criticized (see last link above) for saying she loves her husband more than her kids in a NY Times article (adapted from an earlier essay of hers). Well, this is something my mother has been saying for as long as I can remember, and is the refrain of her daily emails now that she and my dad are newly retired: "Oh, I'm so glad that I love your father so much and that we get along really well now that we only have each other and spend all day together!" She has always emphasized the need to love your partner "above" your kids because she says kids grow up, move (to another country, right, Lilian?), and in the end you're left only with your partner or spouse. I just begin to feel that it's very hard to let go off one's children, but I think knowing you can count on someone's love and, in a different sense, dependence on you as enduring, will make it easier. In the first years of parenthood, though, it's hard (for both parents) to keep one's spouse in the first place of one's life - children are so demanding... But I hope to follow my mom's advice, and meanwhile, I'm happy to see another mother writing about those things, no matter what other mothers say (yeah... "mommy wars"...). I think Ayelet is right - children definitely benefit from a healthy and passionate relationship between their parents, and she's lucky to have that!

2) Wanting another baby
In a Salon article, Waldman writes about the desire to have another baby. I have briefly mentioned this issue in a previous post, but her article got me thinking about it again. For me, this desire, or lust, as Waldman calls it, comes and goes. It first surfaced when Linton was 3-4 months and began to look utterly cute and "scrumptions" (as Catherine Newman often said of Birdy) - I felt I just HAD to have another baby, since I knew mine would grow up. A few more exhausting months of little sleep, and I was on the "down" side - no, I didn't think it was such as good idea after all. Right now I'm in the middle of a "neutral" spell, which feels good. I don't really care whether we have another baby or not.

Sometimes, however, in comes the lust, the need, even, to have another baby, especially because Linton is growing so fast (he's so much bigger and less "baby-ish" than his brother was in the same age), and I have to try and think rationally: no, we can't possibly afford another baby, unless Klebert gets a really good job in two year's time (we'll not know until then, of course) - but then, I'll be over 35, oh!, but that's not too late, is it? And so on, and so forth... my brains juggles with the desire, the unrationality of it, all the pros and cons...

I also love how (yes, I'm mentioning her again...) Catherine Newman describes her reaction to not being pregnant with a 3rd child:
"All the cells in your brain are cheering — throwing their pompoms in the air and turning cartwheels, their little white skirts flipping up while they yell, "Not, not pregnant! N-O-T! P-R-E!! G-N-A-N-T!!!"
But your heart — your greedy, irrational heart — is sitting on the curb with its head in its hands."
Sometimes my heart is there too, when I think we'll uphold our decision to keep a family of four...

Sad/scary closing note:
While I write this, my neighbor's 4 year-old niece is being taken by ambulance to the hospital. She fell out of a 2nd floor window, and we are praying and hoping she's OK. Our houses are identical - with very low windows - and I feel so scared just thinking that something like that could happen to us!! I'll let you know how she is as soon as I find out.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I'm back (if baby doesn't shut off the computer again : )

Not much going on here in this blog, right? Everyday I keep on thinking, oh, OK, today I'll post in the blog, I'll write this and that, etc... but I end up not doing it.

Quick update. We're all better. Two weekends ago we went to my brother and sister-in-law's house and it was great! We mostly talked and talked, and didn't sleep much
[at this point, baby shut the computer off, happily, blogger lets us recover "lost" posts], but we definitely caught up from seeing each other only twice a year, on average, and now are ready to get together once a month!

We came back home and I had a couple of terrible nights of coughing, but soon I got better. I was pretty tired all week, but now that Linton is sleeping a bit better (two new teeth are out), hopefully I'll catch up -- oh, I just wish!!! He's 11 months now, but still breasfeeds quite frequently at night. I am not really checking the clock, but I think his longest stretches of sleep are 3-4 hours at most.

GREEN!!! Yes, now finally trees are green, and that beautiful, gorgeous pale "baby green", and my Brazilian soul feels much happier. The 6-7 dreary "ungreen" months are hard to bear every single year. I'm lucky that once in a while I go to Brazil and escape winter for a month or so... and this was one of these years.

Well, this post was just to get started, I'll be back.