29 October 2011

A Girly Girl

Anyone who doesn't think that to some extent, gender roles are inherent ought to meet Abigail. She already behaves in stereotypically girly ways, and she is only 5 months old.

-She will talk to anything that crosses into her line of vision. And she will talk nonstop. She talks to me, she talks to toys, she talks to books, she talks to the cats, she talks to the ceiling fan, she talks to the box of instant pudding, she talks to her feet, she talks to her mobile, she talks to her wall decorations.

-The girl LOVES to shop. When we go out, she just stares at all the bright colors on the shelves, intermittently staring, talking to them, and reaching out with her wild, uncoordinated grasp. No matter what is wrong, if we go shopping, she instantly calms down. Her favorite store appears to be Target. Now that is definitely girly.

-Abigail is really into dressing up. Whenever I change her clothes, or even take off her pants to change her diaper, she smiles. She loves to stare at and hold her clothes before I put them on her and if I put a hat or headband on her head, she'll just reach up and hold it. (She also likes to look at other people's clothes, although I suspect that is a general baby thing).

-She is already a drama queen. Everything is either really exciting or really maddening. When she is tired, hungry, or happy, the whole world knows it.

-Lastly, she inexplicably prefers the pink rattle to the red and green rattle. I have no idea why, but she won't hold or shake the red and green rattle. They are identical other than the color. The first time I ever handed her the pink rattle, she grasped it with both hands and started banging it around.

There is no doubt about it, I gave birth to a girl.

27 October 2011

Embarrassing Parenting Moment

Last Sunday we slept in very late and ended up rushing around at the last minute to make it to an 11:45am Mass, to which we arrived in the parking lot at almost 12:00pm. In order to catch the Gospel (if your late enough to miss the Gospel, then you'd better mark off next Saturday to confess missing Mass), Matt dropped us off at the doors, then drove around to park the car in the back of the overflowing parking lot.

Normally I just bring Abigail and the diaper bag, but since we were in a hurry, I just grabbed the whole car seat and booked it to the church. Thankfully, none of the readings had started yet, so I straighten my clothes; I'd lost a few pounds and was feeling particularly dashing that morning. I was even wearing jeans to church, which I hadn't done in at least a year, and had paired them with sneakers and a loud, decorative scarf. Smirking with the knowledge that we'd made it on time, I searched for a place to sit. Now, showing up late to church is usually enough to get you some dirty looks from the more devout section of the congregation, but showing up late with a baby only gets you looks of sympathy and compassion, even though no one knows that the baby had nothing to do with our being late. I check on Abigail who was looking around the church contently and gripping her butterfly toy with two hands, a very cute pose.

I spotted an open seat at the end of a pew near the front of the church, along the row of pews to the side of the church. The only other lady in the short pew had a head full of gray hair the pew behind her was filled with nuns. Bingo! Little old ladies and nuns love babies! Surely they wouldn't begrudge a woman showing up late with her cute little baby! I looped around the back of the church and sauntered down the aisle, feeling everyone's eyes on Abigail as she sat quietly, looking adorable in her church dress and smiling cutely.

When I reached the pew, which remember was closer to the front of the church than the back, I made sure to genuflect properly, all the way down on one knee (sometimes I just bow and cross myself, it depends on how heavy Abigail feels that morning) and slid into the pew. I could already hear the lady next to us "awww"ing at Abigail when "SMACK," I rammed the car seat into the side of the pew. Although Abigail didn't cry, everyone was looking at us, the little old lady gasped, "oh!", the guy in the pew in front of us turned around, the people across the aisle way were watching, and although I didn't turn around to look, I could feel the nuns burning holes into my back with their eyes. Or maybe that feeling was just my ego plummeting to the ground. I sat down and quickly pulled Abigail out of the car seat and preoccupied myself with adjusting her outfit and giving her her butterfly toy.

Throughout the rest of Mass, Abigail was left to suffer the consequences of the wrath I'd incurred. When I propped her up on my shoulder and she smiled her big gummy grin at those nuns, I heard no chuckles of admiration. When it came time for the "peace be with yous," no one touched Abigail's leg gently and offered congratulations. And even though she peeped not once through the entire Mass, no one stopped us after the final hymn to tell us what a good baby she was.

Maybe everyone thought I was a single mom because Matt had to sit in the pew in front of us and no one knew we were together. Maybe it's because I look so young (when I was pregnant, someone gave my mom a few pointers on raising a pregnant teenager). Maybe it's because I rammed my baby into a pew, but for some reason, all the normal Sunday morning experiences were gone, especially my bloated ego.

26 October 2011

Work, Work, Work

It has been over a week since I last posted! I can see my readership statistics taking a jump off the deep end as a result. I haven't been blogging because I really don't have anything law school wife related to talk about. I don't usually do when we enter the doldrums of mid-semester. In the space in between settling down into the new routine and freaking out over finals, not much happens. I feel like I am walking a fine line with my blog because on one hand, I want this to be about being a law school wife, but on the other hand, it is my experience as life as a law school wife, and right now, my life consists of babies and freelancing design.

But I have nothing to post about in the world of law school, so in the interest of maintaining readership, I'll post about life in my wife-ly world. I am balancing an active baby and two large clients. I also just got a few one-time clients yesterday with small projects on short deadlines. Abigail naps 2-3 times a day and goes down for the night around 8pm. I try to do some design work for at least one of her naps and almost always after she goes down for the night. The second nap is usually timed to occur right as I am taking her for an afternoon walk in the stroller. If she takes a third nap, sometimes I do design or pay bills, but sometimes I take a break to read (or blog!). Abigail is going through a stage where she actually wants to sleep alone in her room or on our bed, so I am getting the chance to get some more work done. When she is awake, we usually alternate between tummy time and the Bumbo and we play with toys and read books. I am starting to introduce the Exersaucer (ours is jungle themed), for which she is old enough, but not big enough. I have to bolster her up with blankets and she still can't reach the toys along the rim, but she gets a huge kick out of watching me move them around.

As usual, we have our goals and to-do lists. We are trying to say a family Rosary daily (something we've never been good at), maintain productivity on the weekends, and I'm still trying to lose baby weight (goal: prepregnancy weight by Jan 1st). Matt is job hunting and the world is still turning. I am really struggling with the weekends right now, because changing the schedule can throw Abigail off for days at a time. So I am trying to be disciplined and not sleep in and stick to the routine when Matt's around.

17 October 2011

There Will Always Be More Work

It is very hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept that there will always be more work to do on any particular project. I like to sit down, dedicate everything I have to a certain task, finish it, and move on with life. If I have something that requires multiple follow-ups, it clutters up my mind and frustrates me. This characteristic keeps me incredibly productive, but encourages poor prioritizing.

For example, when I decide to straighten up the apartment (a morning chore for me), I need to straighten every surface in every room before I can move on. If the laundry needs to be switched from the washer to the dryer or Abigail gets fussy or the kitchen catches fire, it has to wait until I am done organizing before I can take care of this new problem. Or lets say I am working on a brochure for a client when Abigail gets hungry and Matt needs me to pack his lunch because he is running late. Oy. I have a really hard time switching gears between projects.

Having a baby has taught me a lot about coping with unfinished projects. No matter how well or quickly or thoroughly you change a diaper, you will always have to change it again in about 2-4 hours. It isn't like showering or doing the dishes, where you can sit back and say, "okay, now I am done doing this until tomorrow." I try to make to-do lists in the morning, so that if I don't get a chance to finish something, I don't have to try to remember to do it later, I know I can reference it on my to-do list the next time Abigail is napping. My other coping strategy is to verbalize to myself, "Abigail is more important than vacuuming." It helps me realize that my actions aren't matching up with my priorities.

Lastly, as I've mentioned before, I am kind of OCD, so I like to make lists, repeat things, and follow certain patterns. For some reason, repeating my responsibilities to myself helps me to feel like I have them under control. Having a to-do list is a less-stressful way to repeat all my tasks to myself. Since they are written down, I know I can reference them if I need to, so I don't freak out if I forget an item on the list.

09 October 2011

Adventures in Housewifery: Kitchen Edition

I am sick of my own cooking. A dietary staple in our house is a meatless spaghetti style dish. Add a jar of spaghetti sauce to noodles of your choice, sprinkle a little shredded cheddar cheese and call it a day. 4 servings, super cheap. The problem is that I don't really like pasta. I have been trying for a while to learn how to cook rice and beans. We're taking about the super cheap giant bag of dried stuff found only on the bottom shelf of the Mexican aisle. I finally cracked the rice code over the summer (simmer than pan on a SUPER low setting. Like, "1" on the stove dial. And a little extra water never hurt anyone). I am still working on beans. Maybe it's the fact that my slow cooker is older than I am, but either way, I'm still working out the kinks. Meat is incredibly expensive down here, so we tend to eat meatless or just use a very little meat and stretch it with veggies. My husband is weirded out by the thought of simply switching out beef for beans in some of our other mainstay meals, but I think I'll try sneaking a few in. In the meantime, I've been stock piling bean and/or rice recipes to try. Anything to stretch that food budget.

My new kitchen is much smaller than my old kitchen and I am sick of trying to cram everything in there. I have too many kitchen gadgets, most of which are convenient, but certainly not necessary. I got a lot of them as wedding gifts (I had no idea what I was doing with that registry scanner), or things I bought during our first year of marriage (when we actually had money) and my kitchen was unheard-of-ly gigantic for an apartment. If I could have a garage sale, I would totally sell a bunch of things off, but alas, such is not the case in an apartment. The various gadgets are still in too good of condition to simply donate, plus we could use a little extra cash. I figure my only option is a Craigslist-style garage sale. We tried one of those when we left Michigan and it was rather disappointing, but I may just be willing to give it another try if it means clearing out another shelf for more productive use.

Well, I think that is everything worth discussing with regard to my kitchen ; )

07 October 2011

Senoritis

We have a serious case of senoritis over here. I think having a baby is only hurting the chances of our recovery. Matt is sick of court and sick of casebooks. I am sick of being alone and sick of having no money. Plus, with all that goes with having a special needs baby, I am so over this law school thing. Very slowly our evenings are giving over to watching last night's episode of The Office on Hulu, playing Portals 2 (which he got for his birthday), watching the latest Netflix, or talking. Matt has managed to stay on top of his reading by staying up late or getting up early, but we're running out of steam. We made a list of two goals (and two incentives to keep those goals) and posted them on the fridge. We get up on time or Matt doesn't get morning coffee and we make to-do lists or else we don't read the Wall Street Journal. We've done pretty good improving our habits. If we can keep it up through next week, we'll add two more goals.

We still have 7 more months until graduation. I am so excited to be done, but so terrified of him not finding a job. I would wish for those months to fly by except Matt graduates 6 days before Abigail's first birthday and I am not ready for her to be one year old.

"Fun" side notes, (1) Abigail's therapy started back up. 1-2 hours twice a month for now. Goals include encouraging her to use her hands more and testing her throughout the day to see if she is just lazy or has hearing loss. (2) Yesterday was my birthday. I am officially half way between being 20 and being 30. (3) I would loose this baby weight a lot faster if I was half as dedicated to eating right as I was to excising. Oi food, why do you have to taste so good?