Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Prayers, Paychecks, Pottytraining, Pedagogy

Living without a paycheck is a hard thing to do in the US. I make just as much money as I did at quite a few jobs in the past--were you to look at the ANNUAL amount. It is still just squeaking by with hubby's paychecks, medical bills and debts. But at the same time, there are weeks when I don't make half as much as I've planned to. The kids forget. The parents say "can I pay you next week?" etc etc. And sometimes there are no-shows. Sometimes I say, "hunny, I'll get 60 bucks tonight and then make a run to the store for diapers and milk and stuff" and then no 60 bucks come. It's a tough ride. Say all you want about saving, planning....when you've planned and it just isn't there, there ain't much to fall back on.

There is an upside. My time is my own. I always felt so trapped sitting in front of a computer having finished my work, hoping for some interesting conversation. I got in trouble for too many emails at work--I was trying desperately to entertain myself! I certainly have a challenging job here. Each student brings about their own issues, their victories, and I love being part of that. I am nervous about all-state this weekend. Two nights ago I dreamed of being chased by choir teachers through the neighborhood. I am hopeful that my students will come to me rosy-cheeked and satisfied. I know what it's like to not get picked. I am not so crazy about seeing that next week. But I certainly feel like I'm on a pretty major ride.

Baby S pees when she wants to. She likes the potty, but it's all on her terms. We have evenings of freaking out because she is naked and her legs are wet. WHY WHY? And then we realize she just poured water on herself....or lip gloss. Or sometimes we find pee. It's a DELIGHT. I wish she had the ambition of a 12 year old "I will get this done, mommy!" but it's nowhere near that. It's more like, "eh, I'll pee in the potty if there's candy and I'm in the mood."

I have so many prayers regarding where we are to go next. Where are we going to church, where are we working, what will be the place that brings me sanity and hubby peace? Does all that come in a place? Sometimes I love Iowa. Sometimes I think the glass ceiling is leaving bruises on my head. It depends which day you ask me. In the meantime--I am asking for some faith too. I feel faithless these days. SPinning rapidly, trying not to grieve what used to be my anchor. I am wondering why that's been so easy to lose track of.

I must go to sleep soon. On Thursdays my day starts a whole hour early than any other day, and that BITES! It is so hard to get Baby S up, and myself, and clean the house, and feed the dogs, and yell at hubby, and apologize, and kiss him goodbye. That takes a long time, trust me.

It is gettin' cold here....and that means winnnnter. I'm not ready! Can we have a November Indian summer? Does that happen? Where suddenly it's green and we can go running outside again? Alaas, I think probably not. At this point I am just praying for a winter like last one, which wasn't nearly as bad as the previous, in my opinion.

I miss my california sandal-wearing days when it gets a chill here. I almost forget what it's like to not expect snow! I just start dreaming of white sand beaches with hubby and his lobster-red cheeks. Although the last few nights I've lost him to Arkham City.

Goodnight blog.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I am down 9 pounds. Let's just start with that. I have lost 9 pounds since July 1. 9 Pounds I'd been trying to lose for a year. I feel hopeful, and that is a great feeling. If only I could go through days not thinking about it, not being afraid of my weight or wishing good news would rescue me.

But I am bored. And that boredom, coupled with a fear of how much worse the winter will make it, is feeling like depression. I am not in a show. I am finding my students annoying--constant last minute cancels, chasing them for payment, all of our bills questionable every month because we don't know what day I'm getting paid. Ugh. I have been drilling all-state choir parts with students which is SO BORING. None of the artistic joy I normally find in a lesson. That ends soon, and hopefully will help.

Kids are boring. They are lovely and make you feel loved and give you someone to love, and are boring. They want to do the same thing 10 times, have the same discussion 10 times, and eat the same thing 50 times. The "cute" stuff they say becomes grating the 1000th time they say it. You can love 'em all you want, but if you are someone like me, who thrived on world adventures, urban conversations, witty banter with friends, challenging spiritual quests, the 2 year old is boring.

I find Iowa lovely--and sometimes I just think the new people I meet here are SO intriguing. But I really miss the adventure of the city. EVERY DAY in NYC I found something new. I met someone interesting (not always a pleasant experience, but the adventure was worth it)! I felt like every day someone wanted to argue with me, to discuss with me, to sing me a new song. And here, I just find the same faces.

How can I be someone who loves the un-urban environment (loves the farms, the open spaces, the relaxed atmosphere, the live chickens being sold in stores) and yet who desperately misses the skyscraper way of thinking? I do. I miss it. I fell in love with hubby partly because he was someone who WOULDN'T give in to my desire to get lost in arguments to keep myself occupied. But now I want him to fight with me! I want a challenge that's fun. At least, you know, more fun than weight loss.

Who's up for a trip to Asia? And where do I get a few thousand to do it? Can I somehow talk myself into planning some musical adventure over winter when I barely feel like getting up? There must be something better than potty training and spending weekends sadly alone, missing the one person I actually moved out here for. I need a group of witty, crazy, intellectual people to drive me crazy. I miss kayaking, I miss the subway, I miss chinatown.


Friday, October 7, 2011


Baby S is two and one month. I thought it's been a long time since I just posted about her, minus the constant complaining.

It's been a week of bickering for hubby and I. We are cooped up, and need some romance time, I think. This may be the hardest part of parenting.

Baby S sings the alphabet song and calls it "A, B, Me." She won't really sing it completely unless you do it with her. She likes to point at various people in the room and yell, "Daddy, try" "Mommy, try".
She also sings : Jesus Loves Me (with hand movements), Tiny Tim (aka the bubble song) Twinkle Twinkle (God help me I'm starting to hate this song), Ring around the Rosie, Wheels on the Bus (She's especially good at this one), Holy Holy Holy, Row Row Row Your Boat, Itsy BItsy Spider, and a few others. She also likes the Elmo Song, "You Do It, You Use the Potty" which she occasionally screams at full volune while walking through stores. She seems to only know that line.

She says "Daddy hold you?" when she wants hubby to pick her up. She repeats funny phrases she hears. Yesterday she came home from daycare with two new ones:
"Knock it off, Bullseye" (that's the name of the dog at daycare)
and "How do you do, Mommy?" (my personal favorite).

She likes to go to daycare and BSF (kind of like Sunday school). When she leaves she often says, "Goodbye, kids". She acts shy when you take her, but then never cries. She seems to want to go to the toys right away. She loves any sort of standing toy (workbench, kitchen). She also is starting to love baby dolls and always loves balls.

She loves books so much you can read her 5 or 6 at a time. She loves the fully read books with stories, and the ones where you just ask her to find stuff. Probably equally.

She requests certain diapers by the characters on them, and cries until I give her that one. I will not be bullied, so I simply put other diapers on her and let her cry. Her favorite is "unchin" (elephant). She sits on the potty for huge amounts of time. She does the whole routine: potty, hanging out, toilet paper, flush. But she does not pee or poop. Every time she gets on I remind her "What do you get if you put pee in the potty?" and she says, "Chocolate." But she never gets any chocolate, because it never happens. Fascinating. The worst part of this is that sometimes she wants to go potty on the big potty when I'm on it. Then there is great screaming. "My POTTY. MY PEE." She tries to push me off.

She easily speaks 4-5 words at a time, but you can't always understand what they are. She loves to repeat what daddy says right after he says it.

She loves to cuddle. She loves to kiss and says "I love you (wuv you) Daddy, Mommy, Nana, Bubbe" She sometimes hugs me and says, "ooooooh, mommy". THat's my favorite, I think.

She has a weird sense of humor, but mostly laughs at us being goofy. She laughs when we dance or jump up and down, and when I put the bubble wrap out and run on it she laughs so hard she can't breathe.

She is obsessed with all animals. We found a frog together, and she keeps revisiting that place in the yard. She talks about all dogs and cats, and pretty much you can watch any tv show with dogs or cats in it and she will watch it with great patience.

Her favorite food is chocolate. In any form. Following that, she tends to like proteins and vegetables best. Fruits after that and all carbs (except noodles, she looooves noodles) at the end. She changes her tastes quite a bit though, which I like. At first she called all meat CHICKEN. I tried to teach her BEEF when we were eating it, so now she just says CHICKENBEEF. I'm not sure how to change that.

She loves walks--walks with the dogs, just the two of us, any walks. I dread a long winter with no walks. Swimming, climbing and general mayhem. She's a wonderful handful. And unfortunately, has just started growing fond of the word MINE.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chaos Theory

I made it through September. Why is that month always kind of tough? Maybe it's the season changing, the start of school, the lack of husband. Any of those things, I guess. It was stressful. This morning i filled out an application to teach at a University, sent my CV and cover letter and made them as needlessly long as I could to impress them with my VERBOSITY. Hubby's been helpful with the baby lately, but I am tired (so very, very tired) of whole weekends alone with her. I feel stuck, knowing that if I make plans she may or may not be cooperative with them, and her naps become so erratic with me trying to accomplish things. We end up stuck in the house more than I'd like and I clean, and clean, and did I mention how much I hate cleaning?

And I feel like such a bad mother on a day like today, when I got to do nothing for myself, not even the gym, and just had moments of looking at her like, "could you please just go somewhere else?" When all she does is want me to play with her all day long. I did take her on two walks (her favorite thing) and run through the house on the bubble wrap carpet we've created....but otherwise, I got the feeling she felt cooped up with me too.

I keep thinking about this event, years ago, when I was searching for an apartment in NYC. My friend and I (and the broker) were checking out an apartment we liked. I wanted to see how loud the bedroom was (it was close to the street)so I shut the door. I turned around, this moment by myself, and neatly written on the back of the door were the words THIS TIME IT'S DIFFERENT. Neatly, in print, by hand, and about 1000 times, from the top of the door to the bottom. I think sometimes about what that person was trying to say to themselves. I would assume there was an irony, like it's NEVER different. Like every audition, every relationship, every addiction is the same. exact. thing.

But the truth is that this time it is different. Every time it's different. Every attempt I've had at weight loss is DIFFERENT, and every conversation with a loved one is different, and every Sunday stuck with Baby S. The only thing in this world you can count on is change, right? And I am different. Every time. THe circumstance, the weather, the people. I find this reassuring because it means THIS COULD BE THE TIME. Or maybe not. OR MAYBE! Ha ha.

John Raitt, a famous broadway dude (if you don't know) once said to me and a few others that success was like a whirlpool. And he and all his friends got sucked in eventually. They walked and walked around it, hoping. And when I think about it, it probably looked the same every time you walked around. Except for, as he put it, suddenly and without warning someone got sucked in. Whhhhsp! And then the walk dramatically changed. There are so many areas of my life where I like to think of this odd analogy. But I guess the most important part to think about it is that those who stopped walking around it...those who made a B-Line away from the whirlpool, they didn't get sucked in. I mean, they could have found a new whirlpool. God knows there are far more than just one, and we should too.

But I think the last time you walk around you think to yourself THIS TIME IS NOT DIFFERENT. It's the same old thing, and you just can't do it.

I hope that the person who lived in that apartment didn't drown in hopelessness writing that. I hope that they saw that every time WAS different. I hope that their hope didn't turn to a hard shell in that deafeningly loud NYC bedroom. Sometimes I like to imagine that the very last, 1000th time that they wrote it, it was different, and they got what they wanted, and they moved out. Or up. Or that they wrote all of those words on one single day, walked away from that door, and never once again assumed things were the same.