Oh Dear, It’s been a while

I’ve been thinking about this poor blog. I couldn’t leave her with that last sad post.

So much has happened. So much has changed. Max is healthy and happy and five years old and he has a little sister who is 16 months.

Germany has become home and I have a great circle of friends living near and far.

There were rough patches – PPD after Max, a separation and a reunification, a new baby, lost family members to name a few. But everything changes and time marches on and nothing stays the same for long.

As far as this blog that got me through many years, I will let her sit with a happy ending.

Life is good. I’m incredibly lucky and I’m living a life I never expected. My kids are incredible and not a day goes by that I don’t thank the stars for them.

Perhaps when I have more time or have more to say, I’ll be back, but until then let’s leave the party with a smile.

Saturday 4 pm

Hi Dad,

Today is one of those days I would love to have you around, if for no other reason but to hear you laugh.

Max has been squinting for the last week or so. It has had me more than worried because, well, you know, every sniffle is pneumonia and every squint is a brain tumor. I googled brain tumors in toddlers and was set to call the specialists on Monday.

It’s not a brain tumor.

Turns out, his hair was too long. Strands were getting into his eyes causing him to squint and hit his head in attempt to move the hair back.

I have cut his bangs and lo and behold, no more squinting or head hitting.

I made oven roasted potatoes this morning hoping to create a potato to add to a breakfast burrito because last time I checked, krautland does not understand this concept, the breakfast burrito. (Why would you have beans for breakfast???)

I found a potato that seems to be close to a yukon gold – goldener – so I thought I’d give it a try. Actually, this is my fourth bag of this type of potato. The other three have turned to multiple eyed monsters and I’ve silently thrown them away in my secret trash so Markus doesn’t lecture me on wasting food because oh my god you would have thought HE had lived through a war.

The potatoes turned out just okay.  They were missing something, I don’t know. doesn’t matter. I ended up throwing some eggs and bacon, made in the oven YAY!, and it was a delish scramble.

Then I made a tuna salad for Markus which he claimed was the most perfect tuna because I added celery. Seriously, his standards were way low. I’m going to have to pace myself or he’s going to get the wrong idea about my cooking.

While I was cooking, my sweet son, shorn of his wayward locks, dumped an entire container of yogurt on my aeron chair.  This is an important point because it went through the mesh of the chair on to my wool rug. Oh, the joys.  It wasn’t until about 10 minutes later did I notice little foot prints everywhere. Max had stepped in the yogurt and then when I started no, no-ing him, he ran. With yogurt feet.

After cleaning that mess, I inaugurated Ruby, my brand new Kitchen Aid food processor, by making home made bread crumbs from a stale loaf. It was fabulous, but I ended up with bread crumbs everywhere because I didn’t notice the third bowl and wow, my robot culinare (that’s french) has three bowls.

So it’s only 4 pm. I have one more dish to cook tonight. I’m using Thyme. I can’t remember ever using thyme. I’m a little nervous. I’m using up a ton of food that is about to go bad. In the meantime, Max has gone vegetarian. He won’t eat a bite of meat. It’s all about dairy and berries and pasta and goldfish crackers.

So, hope you have a good day. I love you and will talk to you soon.

love,

jen

 

 

And another day begins

The following returns me to my roots of blogging. I just need to talk it out and you can come for the ride or not. It’s not pretty below and not all that entertaining. After two months of silence, tis is what I’ve got.

You know, I’ve been at this blog thing for quite a while.  Not the longest commitment I’ve ever made.  That would have been my cats. Who knew when I was 21 that I would still have the same cat I couldn’t resist in the 3-day special cage at the pound. I’ll be 39 this year and she and I are still going strong. Comrades have passed, but Kiska, man, she just keeps truckin’ (if by truckin I mean she sleeps all day in the same place on the bed. Jumping off for treats in the morning only to be back on the bed when I try to make it without disturbing her.)

Then there is my marriage. If that’s not a commitment… Well, let’s just say I take commitment seriously.

Then there is the kid.  He is the easiest commitment I have ever made. Not that it was easy having him – years in the making. Nor is it easy on a daily basis. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done ,this Mom gig. But it is like breathing. I know nothing else at this point.

But you know, it is hard. This last week has been hard for a million reasons. My thyroid meds are still not right after four different medications and adjustments. It takes me about five days to figure out that the bone-tired exhaustion, loss of coherence and memory loss is not just a bad night of sleep.

Sparky has been working a million hours and it’s still not enough so he works a million more. And sweet Max decided to stop sleeping again, going to bed later and later, waking up at midnight asking to eat, waking up at 5 am to start his day.

It took me 3 weeks to realize it was a new sleep pattern for the kid and not a few nights off. After days of different non-solutions, I finally revisited the sleep training he and I used the first time he learned to sleep through the night.  And finally, after days of sitting in front of his door with the video monitor in hand, telling him to get back in bed at the exact moment he tried to leap out, well, last night it worked.

At the same time, Max has hit his terrible twos. I don’t know how to deal with this new phase. I’m at a loss.  The stern voice that worked 3 weeks ago is completely ignored. No now means “Sure, go ahead and drop mommy’s phone into the toilet.”  My phone might as well join my mothering skills, self-esteem and energy.

I became the screaming mom with the shitty kid.

But I don’t have a shitty kid. I have a great kid who needs boundaries and structure and a mom who knows how to create those in a functional way that does not include screaming.

I felt like all I was doing was screaming and although it was not working, I didn’t know what else to do. Now I get on my knees, look into his eyes, say no and then offer something else. This works, but I’m on my knees more than a 2 dollar whore.  And then, before I can get up, he’s into something else I have to say no to.

On top of all of this, I need to shit or get off the pot with kid number two. I want another for a multitude of reasons, but I have no idea how I would do it. No idea.  The thought of another kid moves me to tears (and panic attacks) because I feel like i’m fucking up so much already. I’m so tired. I can’t think straight with one, how in the hell would I do another. I see all these women, all my friends, doing so much and having 1,2, or 3 kids in tow and they do it.  It might not be easy, but it seems easier for them than my one and my one kid is a good, mellow kid. He really is low maintenance.

I went out twice last week and twice I lost major items. The first time it was my sunglasses. My exorbitantly expensive sunglasses I had trouble justifying because really who spends that much on sunglasses even though I haven’t lost a single pair of sunglasses since I was 22 and I wear sunglasses every single time I leave house. And the second was my GPS, Gloria.  Sure, she takes me through fields or through downtown Frankfurt on my way to Claire’s, but she likes to see the countryside. I know she’ll take me for a drive while getting me to my destination.  I need her. And I lost her.

Then both items were found in the trunk of the car. I had no memory of putting them in the trunk. I guess if I did, they wouldn’t have been lost.

All of these feelings of crapiness came to a head last night.  Markus came in from a long day of appointments to find me feeding Max boxed, non-organic mac and cheese while drinking a glass of wine. I rarely drink anymore and I never drink when it is just Max and I because I worry too much about not thinking clearly in an emergency.  (In my defense, I knew Markus would be home momentarily.)And see, I’m judging myself even now for having two sips of wine while alone with my kid.

Then this morning, at 6:15 am, when Max came into our bedroom, climbed up on the bed and said “Mama!”,  yesterday and all my self-inflicted judgements and insecurities floated away. I saw life through Max.

The morning washes away the day before and he just can’t wait to explore the new day with me. Me. The mom who can’t remember shit anymore and who drank wine while alone and who screamed at him and isn’t as physically fit as she once was and whose body looks like she had 8 kids and whose laundry is on the floor and who can’t remember shit anymore… did I just say that? it feels like I might have said that.

None of that mattered to him. He just wanted to point out letters and play trucks and eat good stuff and drink juice from a cup and he wants me to do it with him.

And that’s all I really need to do.

The magician

This is for my aunt.

Up the Poop Chute

I just did something amazing. For the first time in 18 months, I thought “hey, I need a shower” and then proceeded to do just that.  There was no need to coordinate “eyes” duty. No Sophie’s Choice of do I sleep, shower or pick up the house/fold the warm laundry before it wrinkles ’cause mama might be cooking, but mama does not iron kind of decision process. (Max is in his crib for quiet time.)

I thought it and I did it. Doesn’t seem like much, but hey, I take my accomplishments where I can get ‘em.

In other news, I had a colonoscopy last week.  Ooh exciting I know.  Haven’t you always wanted to know about other people’s colonoscopies.

During a routine Dr. G visit, a test came back with an ambiguous positive.

Having a mom that died from breast cancer, a dad who survived colon cancer and a sister who survived ovarian cancer and even a dog with anal cancer, I’m a little techy about cancer tests.

Sparky cancelled his appointments and  got me into the camera man right away and everything is fine.

When I was getting ready to go, I realized that it had been a long time since I had blown my hair dry and put on make-up to go out. And given the situation, did I put on my make up to look good while my eyes are open or while my eyes are closed?  Closed eye makeup looks very different. And god knows, I needed a non-clumpy mascara! I went with a neutral all over shade with a subtle liner. It looked fine with both open  and closed eyes. And the neutral gloss would assure my lips stayed moist during the procedure.

Disclaimer: Look kids, drugs are no good.  Don’t do them at home or even with a concierge Dr. because you’ll end up like MJ and death is not a life choice you can make more than once unless you are Julia Roberts or Keifer Sutherland in Flatliners.

My doc uses the Michael Jackson  death drug ( propofol) to “allow his patients to sleep through the uncomfortableness of the procedure.” He gives you a choice, but really? Awake for the camera to take its journey to the center of your body or asleep? All I can say is that Germans are a hearty bunch.

And wow, what an awesome drug for medical procedures. Love that I woke up from it too. And when you wake up, you wake up HAPPY. I was so damn happy, if I could have walked without stumbling the day could have been so great!

The first thing I remember after coming to was the doctor saying, “Ah, don’t worry about it. That’s the euphoric side effect.  You’ll be back to normal in a couple of minutes.”

I don’t know what that was in response to, but I’m glad I took such care with my make-up.

I wish my dentist could use that drug. How great would it be if you could go get  a root canal and wake up HAPPY! It would be the best repeat business gimmick. I would actually go to the dentist and not just the kids dentist who tricks me into not looking at the big steel needle she’s about to stick in my gums. She’s been trying to get me in there for over a year. Hey, dentist lady, give me something that will put me out and have me wake up euphoric and I’ll be there.

I didn’t get out of the camera mans’ office without injury, however. In preperation for such a procedure, one must drink a concoction so vile that your bowels empty until your colon is pretty and pink. With that said, the toilet become your best friend.

In a pre-procedure”just to be sure” bathroom visit, I slammed my face against the too-close-to-the-toilet-for-a-gastroenterologists-office door. I hit that door so hard trying to lean forward to wipe my ass that I saw stars and my lipstick made a permanent mark on said door.  That door is so close to the toilet I cannot be the only person who has ever gone in for a colonoscopy and come out with an almost broken nose.

Then I had the wonder drug and promptly forgot about it in all my euphoria. The next day it took me a couple of minutes to remember why the bridge of my nose was bruised.

All’s well that end’s well, right?

Tomorrow is Sparky’s turn. I’m a little jealous. I’ve been trying to get things (other than my foot) up Sparky’s ass for nearly a decade.

**This post is NOT sponsored by the makers of Propofol.

Like Seven of Nine, but without the great boobs

Last night a friend came over for dinner. He’s a former expat living back in the states and travels back and forth a bit. It was very nice to see him. It’s been years since we last saw him, long before Max’s arrival.

We sat down for dinner of meatloaf and oven potatoes and brownies for dessert.  It was so completely “housewife”, I made a joke about it.

The joke fell kind of flat because as funny I thought it was, its not quite funny to anyone else because well, I’m housewiving. I take care of my kid, I clean up, I support my working husband and I, shutter at the thought, cook.  I cook meatloaf and roasted chicken. I make sides  dishes.  And the entrees aren’t tortillas with lunch meat and the sides aren’t cocktails.

So conversation moves on and we talk about Max and about Calvin’s job. Then about Max and about a mutual friend and then about Max and kids in general.  I kept trying to move the conversation away from kids, particularly mine because I never wanted to be that person, that couple, that can’t talk about anything but their kid with their childless-by-choice friends.  At one point, in attempting to turn the conversation from the kid, I went to cats.

I know.  The horror of it all.  Kids and then cats?  I can’t even bring myself to think about it. I’ve lost all wit and charm and when I talk about pussy, it isn’t even the fun kind.

And really, the brownies weren’t good enough for that.

Calvin, the wonderful man he is, referred back to Malcolm Gladwell in his understanding of why we talk about Max so much and was very gracious about the whole thing.  He left and went to a late night party.

Sparky and I went to bed.  Tired from work and the kid and the two glasses of wine, we discussed being “that couple” and promptly fell asleep before 11 pm.That is a late night these days.

And that is when it hit me. We have been assimilated into the Parenthood Borg, meatloaf and conversation and all.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. There is nothing better than taking care of Max, but I have this visceral dislike for the title of what I do. In any and all documentation, I continue to use “management consultant” as my occupation.

It’s not like I don’t think it’s valuable or that I don’t value the choice I have to stay home or work. It is my choice to stay home and raise Max. I love it. More than anything, but I hate the term housewife.

Then there is my inability to talk about anything other than Max. And it’s not like I don’t think about more than Max, because I most definitely do. I guess I was just surprised at how singly focused I am with other people.

I remember when I worked for the mortgage  division of a large bank.  My boyfriend at the time hated going to work parties with me because he didn’t want to talk about mortgages. Then I started dating people who did work in the industry and funnily enough, we talked about work and our days, but never talked about mortgages.  I guess it’s the same thing.

And that’s when I realized that until Max is older and Sparky and I have more time to ourselves, Max is it.  There are far worse conversations for us to have, but perhaps not for Calvin.

Eighteen Months

Holy scheisse. My kid is 18 months old today.  When did that happen?

I’ve said this before. This is the age where parents decide to have another kid because the kid is so much fun.  Even his temper tantrum are interesting to me.  I don’t always respond like he would prefer, but I find it fascinating how in one day he learned to go boneless when I try to herd him where he DOES NOT WANT TO GO.

Or how Sparky insisted Max could walk up and down the three stairs to his room solo.  It took me one entire day of sitting in the hallway ready to catch him if he fell before I was convinced.  He walks up and down in the center of the step, not holding on to the wall. He doesn’t even wait for both feet.

Physically, he’s always been ahead of the books/curves.  He’s strong and tall. Skinny, but healthy.  He lifts his high chair to move it where he wants it. He picks up everything he wants moved – cat stands, slide, chairs both grown up and kid sized. Sparky’s dreams of a powerlifter might not be so crazy. He’s a runner, kicker, thrower, stair and furniture climber. He’s tall. I think that helps. He’s also got big feet.  His bod fits into 2-year-old blanket sleepers – the american ones with the feet – but his feet don’t.

He still doesn’t have a lot of teeth.  The top isn’t so bad with a total of 6, but the bottom?  Only the front two and two molars.

He sleeps 12 hours straight at night and 2 hours during the day.  He also gets an hour of quiet time where he just hangs out in his crib and reads a book or dances in the mirror. He can hang out alone and that is a wonderful gift for both of us.

He’s pretty much loved. We continue to meet the 1000 kisses a day minimum and he doesn’t hate it.  He’s not a snuggler but lets me inhale his deliciousness whenever I want.

He’s finally talking.  Sparks and I consulted all the books and websites in the way only first time parents do worried that Max was falling behind, that we were failing in some way because he wasn’t communicating with his words.

Well, he’s now talking.  Cat was his first word. Then good boy, ball, goodbye papa, clock, and lastly Mama. Mama might have been the last word, but it is the one he says the most. He’s also got baum, blumen, tschois and juice and counts the stairs with me – one-two-tree.

He tells me when he’s hungry by signing.  This was the first deliberate communication between the two of us that wasn’t intuited or response oriented.

The first time he did it, I had no idea what he meant. He pulled me by my hand to his high chair and signed again.  I was just blown away.

I mean really, you get to know these babies and they’re just babies until one day they aren’t anymore.

And Sparky?  Well, when I was pregnant, Sparky and Claire were talking. Sparky said he couldn’t imagine anything cuter or snugglier or more love inducing than his cat (who was my cat until she traitorously decided she was Sparky’s). I think Claire laughed at him.  Sparky laughs now too.

Max tell me when he’s hungry, but he tells Sparky when he wants to go for a nature walk. Between gathering the shoes and the carrier, Max leaves no room for misunderstanding when he stands at the door saying Goodbye and blowing me kisses. And I can see the love and pride in Sparky’s eyes every time. It’s like he can’t believe this little creature wants his time and attention.

For those of you who know Sparky personally, it might surprise you to hear that he is very vocal about having a 2nd one. This is the man who thought he’s be just fine without kids, ever. This is the man who slept through Max’s first 9 months.

Sparky hears Max more times than I do these days. It might be the pillow over my head, but whatever.

Here’s to you, kid.  Thanks for the most delicious, incredible, fucking hard and awesome 18 months of my life.