Thursday, April 7, 2022

The Big Day

 Today a lot of big things happened!

1. Ansel turned FIVE.  Incredible.  Unbelievable.  

    After he went to bed last night, Paul and I built a little IKEA desk and chair for him, snuck it into his room, and filled all the drawers with new drawing pads, construction paper, pipe cleaners, googley eyes, popsicle sticks, watercolors, colored pencils, 100 crayons, markers, and little jingle bells for good measure because he likes them.  Also his own little desk lamp.  Also a bag of child's washable makeup because he always watches me (the few times I ever put on make up) and always gets in my drawers to "do his own".

    When we woke up this morning, his light was on which usually means he'd gotten up at 5:30am and went downstairs to play with toys.  But when I peeked in, he was sitting patiently in his bed -- "waiting for my special puppyups"  (side story: we call waffles "puppyups" now because one morning on our trip to Oregon, Paul was cutting up a waffle and said "I'm just going to eat this puppy up."  After which Ansel said, "Can I...can I have a puppyup too?")  

    He had bright pink eyebrows - which I complimented profusely - and he told me that he EVEN HAD MAKEUP MOM MY OWN MAKEUP as a surprise present and shyly said that he had been very careful to only put one color on "his eyelids".  

    He'd also already started drawing in his drawing pad and was very excited to see jingle bells in the drawer.  It was just a very gratifying way to greet our new 5-year-old on his birthday.

    After special puppyups in bed, we also gave him a little present of a remote control train, which he'd been asking for FOR MONTHS and he literally shrugged.  Win some, lose some.  At least he wanted to do my own makeup for me later.

    He also immediately asked if he could play Minecraft -- we'd been holding him off for over a year saying that he could play it "when he turned 5" and bam, he remembered.  Before Hadrian went to Karate Camp, he sat next to Ansel for an hour and taught him all the keyboard controls.  After he left, Ansel played Minecraft for 5 hours straight - absentmindedly eating bites of birthday cake and searching for villages and sunken treasure.

2. Ansel got his first COVID vaccination!

    He was so brave.  He was so quiet and was holding so much in on the way to the doctor's office.  He only cried a little bit right after it was done - like he was just relieved he didn't have to hold in his fear anymore.  The rest of the day he kept talking about how he got his shot and his special card now - he was excited to think it meant he wouldn't have to wear a mask .  And we're excited for him.  It's so good to be able to line up four vaccination cards on the table and see all our names on them.  We're almost all "there."


    It's not a huge surprise.  He'd been passing all the gates throughout the year with flying colors.  We were pretty sure it was in the bag ---- but you neverrrr knowwwwwww.  And today he finally got the official letter!!  We sat around laughing about making him go through some elaborate made-up ceremony we'll call his "Jacketing" (aka when I will bestow upon him the Dublin Tweed jacket we bought him for this moment, when we were in Ireland).  Having to get past "Reviewer #2", being ceremonially struck with branches of "The Tree of Knowledge", being thrown in the chicken coop and told to catch one and hold it over his head (couldn't think of a metaphor there yet, just sounds hilarious).  Maybe we'll make that happen.  I hope so.  He's officially an Associate Prof on July 1.

4.  I got my first recruiter contacting me about a job with a $200K base salary!  I definitely will not get that job, but it seemed MIND BOGGLING so figured it belonged here.

Addendum: One more thing about Ansel that I've wanted to write down.  He loves to play "Bird Restaurant" right now.  Where he brings you a "menu" - just our wild bird field guild pamphlet - and you pretend, well, that you're in a restaurant and you order a bird to eat.  He LOVES Bird Restaurant.  Very into it especially if you order courses.  He's the waiter and the cook and the busboy and the other restaurant guests.  It's a good time.

In one of our games of Bird Restaurant, I told him about the time when I was pregnant with him and I looked out his window and saw a male Painted Bunting.  It was so shocking a bird I thought I was hallucinating.  I couldn't believe there was a bird in North America that looked like that.  "A Rainbow Bird", I told Ansel.  "A BIRD WITH RAINBOW COLORS?!" he practically screamed.  We looked at pictures together and now he asks me to tell him about the "rainbow bunting" and how they live in Savannah "where [he] was born."

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Rabid An(imal)sel

 It's been 10 days since Ansel's tonsillectomy and little dude is not doing well.  

I should say, not doing well at night.  He wakes up every two hours just screaming like a banshee.  I don't mean to sound like I'm making fun.  It's just factual.  He wakes up every two hours all night long and is just out of his mind.  

He is clearly in a lot of pain (at night. Totally seemingly fine during the day.)  And there's nothing more we want to do than to fix that.  But he has also gotten it into his head that taking Tylenol or ibuprofen is worse than death.  Or at least worse than his throat/jaw pain.  Or at least he hasn't been able to recognize that the medicine is actually helping him instead of being an elaborate way we torture him.  

So he screams when he wakes up.  He screams when we come into his room to try and help.  He screams when we pick him up.  He screams when we don't pick him up.  He screams if I offer to squeeze the little medicine syringe.  He screams when we ask him if he wants to do it instead.  He screams if we offer him ice water with a green (his favorite color) bendy straw instead. He screams if I look at the "wrong wall."

The only time he stops screaming is if we give him the medicine syringe (after he screams "I'LL ONLY TAKE IT IF YOU GO AWAY!") and leave the room.  And we fall for this every. single. time.  Why?  Because it's 1:30am on a Tuesday morning and we've been up at 9:30pm, 10:45 pm, and 12:00 am so far.  And we sit outside of his room and wait.  And slowly the screams stop.  And then we get hopeful.  And go into the room...only to find he's fast asleep with the full medicine syringe still in his fist.  

So far tonight this has happened three times.  In a row.  I keep letting it happen because I don't know how I could pin his arms down, steady his head, and get the medicine in his mouth + actually swallowing it while he's screaming at the top of his tiny lungs.  (And it's Paul's turn to get to sleep tonight - bunkered downstairs, insulated from banshee noise.)

Finally, during this last 'bout, at a complete loss, I finally grabbed the syringe and shot 1 ml (out of the 7.5 he needs) directly into the back of his screaming mouth.  Just to try and break him out of this screaming loop or something!  Anything!  In the darkness I couldn't tell if anything actually went down his throat, but at least he realized I meant business. 

It took five more minutes of sneak-squirting mini shock medicine bullets into his screaming mouth and having him react with surprise/betrayal/horror each time until I think, I hope, some actually made it into his stomach and I'd "finished" the dose.  You'd have thought he'd realize what was coming each time, but no it was the same level of "you traitor, you're trying to kill me" from him every time.  But after I was done, he immediately collapsed back onto his pillow, suddenly and shockingly in silence, and fell asleep in a literal second.  

I do NOT know how to break him of this screaming in the night reaction to pain.  I'm SURE it's actually making things worse for him.  I only want him to finally get some sleep and get some painkiller.  The last five nights have honestly been so much of The Worst.  Mostly for him!  At least I get to sleep in the bunker basement bed every other night.

I'll close this out with a portrait of daytime Ansel to try and balance things.  He calls floss, "sloth".   "Mommy, can I have some sloth?"  "I need to sloth my teeth."  We will never correct him.  Sort of like how he still talks about "salami (tsunami) waves."

From 2am, I'm closing this out by hoping my sneak medicine attack means we both get to sleep a little more than two hours now.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Lasso Train


We jumped on the Ted Lasso train tonight.  Just thought I should let the internet know.
(So far it's the best.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Hello. I'm 37 Now.

 I realized I was 37 yesterday.  

Just sitting on the couch.  Minding my business.  When all of the sudden I realized I was thirty-seven.  Do you understand what I'm saying?  DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING?!

I was fifteen years old when my mom was 37 (?).  My dad was working for the United States' House of Representatives when he was 37 (?).

What.  "Wut."

I take comfort in the (many.  many.) articles and studies and graphs and tables that tell my generation, over and over, that we actually have a life progress handicap of something like 10 years compared to our parents.  So really, me at 37 is actually them at 27.  

Actually this is not comforting now that I think about it again.

But it seems generally true if I get specific.  I probably have close to (or...actually less than...most likely) the same salary my Dad did when he was 27.  My parents had a five year old and a one year old when they were 27.  That's not too far off my mark now.  I'm fairly confident they were driving old, used, four-door sedans they had had since early in their marriage when they were 27 - hey, sounds familiar.  

I could say that at 37 we're a bit "ahead" of them at 27 because our degrees maybe?  I had two masters degrees before I turned 30.  Paul got a PhD right before he turned 30.  But sometimes I wonder if we would have gotten those degrees if, well, if there had been any jobs to go to that had any stability or promise or pathway.  School was the way we could try and wait things out in that second half of the 2000s.  A way that felt like it was safer for our resumes and long-term prospects, even though it meant our retirement account balance was literally $0 until we were 32.  (Don't even get me started on how "vesting requirements" took us right back down to practically $0 again when we moved a few years ago.)

But see now, here's the thing.  If me at 37 is them at 27...then that's not great.  Because my hip already hurts when I try to jog a quarter mile.  Me at 37 is not the same as me at 27.  Physically.  Mentally.  I don't have ten extra years hanging around in me to just coast on into retirement.  I will be just as tired just as early - I don't magically get some secret power so that I get 10 extra years of youth because I was born in 1984.  BUT I'M JUST GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT.

I am frustrated hearing that same Peter Pan-ish frustrated -- "30 is the new 20!"  "40 is the new 30!"...  But I don't feel 27...  I feel 37.  Because I am 37.

And look.  We're fine.  We use this phrase a lot now.  "Look at us.  Look - we're doing fine.  We're so lucky. We're going to be ok."  But it's an odd tone we take.  I think because we realize sometimes that our measurement of "fine" is in comparison to the bulk of our generational peers, but not necessarily in comparison to quantitative benchmarks of security ("Your app wants to show you how your net worth compares to other 30-somethings in your area!"  But not: " wants to show you if you're on track for being able to occasionally eat out when you're 75.").  I have no doubt that if my parents, at 37, had the same investment portfolio we have right now, that they would NOT be laying in bed at night and whispering to the ceiling how grateful they were that they were doing fine.  They probably wouldn't be sleeping at all.  

But this is what fine is now for us of the millennial type.  Fine is saying, "We can pull from our emergency fund to pay the $5000 for our son's surgery next month."  Fine is saying, "I'm so glad interest rates are so low because it will make that loan we need to fix the bathroom easier to pay off."  Fine is saying, "We could make things work with just one car, if we need it...We really could..."    And sincerely saying all those things with complete gratitude.

I got on here to quip some joke about realizing I was old, really realizing it.  That took a turn.  

But look here.  We're actually fine, you know.  We're fine.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Wednesday Things

I've been reading (/gazing-at) the book Dinotopia with the dudes, mostly Hadrian, the last few weeks.  It's a good one that I think too many people have forgotten.  The paintings and illustrations alone!  Hadrian takes it to his room most nights just to look at as he falls asleep. I bought the first one - we're going to check out the sequel from the library.  Might buy that one too if it's even close to the first.

Hadrian's trying out Taekwondo, starting on Monday.  He's very excited to learn about "being a ninja and kicks and stuff."  He may be sliiiiightly disappointed in what he learns at the community rec center.  But this was the thing he said he wanted to try out.  

Pic is Hadrian in my grandpa's pilot hat/goggles from the 50s/60s.

Ansel still talks like a baby?  Oh well.  He wants to practice his new pedal bike every day. We're still getting the hang of the concept of pedaling in general at this point.  

Today he came with me to find some ladybugs and we released them after dinner on one of our Box Elder trees that's become a bit overrun with aphids.  We'll see if it makes a difference.  At the very least, we've given 500 ladybugs a good chance at life.  

Also I was thinking about how he never speaks loudly - doesn't really yell either.  I wonder if his tonsils make it so he can't be loud?  Not sure.  Just an idea.  

He's very much into helping with cooking and baking.  He and I made some chocolate raspberry lava cakes in mugs last week - which were delicious.  Two thumbs up to our new kids cookbook.  It's been all winners so far.

For the first time in Paul's entire life, he had a "beginning of a cavity."  He took the news very hard.  I think part of his identity may have been "person who has perfect dental health" and was thrown into a bit of a crisis this week.  He got a filling today - was very nervous about it - and when he came home couldn't stop talking about how weird it felt to have a numbed face.  Kept trying to do simple face things and sending me pics of his attempts while I was in meetings.  Here was, "Trying to make a kissy face."  I'd just hear him out in the kitchen laughing  and then get a picture on my phone a few seconds later.  

We made Spaghetti alle Vongole tonight (aka just clam pasta).  Something we made a few times in Denmark and more in Georgia.  It was one of toddler Hadrian's, and Paul's, favorite meals, but we'd completely forgotten about it. Harmon's came through for us with a pound and a half of (as fresh as we could get in Utah) littleneck clams and we had it all made in 25 minutes.  It was just as good as we all remembered too though Ansel was unconvinced.  He stuck to his banana and buttered bread.  

Both kids had a chance to sleep over at the grandparent's new house last weekend and basically it's all they talk about right now.  While they were gone, Paul and I kind of stayed in our regular routine - which I know sounds boring, but it was kind of nice to do the same things, just slightly less harried and slightly more quiet.  We still got our Friday Night Costa Vida Salads (a habit/tradition that came out of the pandemic), watched a documentary, read, fell asleep.  In the morning we did some yardwork, went on a walk (to get some Boba Tea from University Place), took naps, read books.  I think if there was a hierarchy of who had the best weekend there it was #1 - obviously the boys, #2 - us, #3 - my exhausted parents.  We thank them for their sacrifice.

Oh yeah P.S. Hadrian got into the Chinese Program (or so they tell me but I'm still scared because it was all just over the phone and not in writing and maybe it's all a trick I don't even know but I really hope it's true it's probably true?).  So that means Ansel will almost definitely get in as well.  Which means I guess we should start saving up for a China trip in a few years.  


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