Sunday, September 19, 2010

First steps

Alec slept like crap last week. He's never been a great independent sleeper, but last week he simply couldn't sleep without being in contact with another body (if only we could convince the cats to snuggle up to him), and then would be up and ready to greet the rosy fingered dawn.

Meanwhile, he's been doing a lot of taking one stumbling step between objects, but still not doing any real walking. Until Monday, when we went to pick him up from daycare and he walked three feet towards us, which the babysitter said he had been doing all day. And then that night, he slept straight through without a peep. Not a coincidence, I think. Those developmental leaps are tiring for all involved.

So yes, he's walking! He still uses crawling for going at any speed, and he can't stand without pulling up on something so if he falls, he has to switch to crawling. But he's definitely rocking the Frankenstein/Mummy technique, stumbling along with his arms outstretched. And he's just so proud, which is so cute to watch.

Proud walker

Meanwhile, K had her first day of kindergarten on Thursday (am I going to use Alec's first steps as an overwrought metaphor for his sister starting school? Why yes, yes I am). She's been as pleasant as an industrial strength enema most of the summer, which I think was largely due to school anxiety (a choice quote from two weeks ago: "But I don't want to go to college next week!"). She avoided the subject or acted scared every time the subject came up, and her new stack of uniforms languished untouched. But we went in on Wednesday to meet the teacher and see her classroom and suddenly everything was fine and she was nothing but excited.

They were treating us parents like we were very fragile. I suppose I should have been nervous at sending my baby off to kindergarten, but honestly, this is the third year in a row I've sent her off to full-time care. I think I've worked through the abandonment issues (I did have some logistical anxiety, but that's the normal anxiety that comes of trying to figure out a new building and new routines, with the added complication of a babysitter picking her up once a week).

Still, when I saw her in a uniform, lined up with all of the other adorable small children, it still hit me how she looked far too old, and my babies are growing up way too fast:

Proud kindergartener2

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Autumn is icumen in

It was over 90 every day last week, but I can feel Fall coming in my bones. I'm hoping my bones aren't given to wishful thinking. It helps that we just got back from Michigan and have been wearing long pants for the past four days. It was over 90 again when we get home, but temperatures have dropped below 80 again as apparently the weather from Michigan has obligingly decided to follow us home.

There's something about the change to cooler weather in the fall that reactivates me and makes me want to make changes. Maybe over 20 years of living on the academic calendar primed me for the idea that September means starting something new. Or maybe my inner psyche wants to observe the Jewish new year. Either way, this year we're giving into that impulse in spades.

The first change is one I've been talking about for a year now, a larger car. We just paid off the current car, so of course it's time to take on a new car loan, yes? Aargh. I would love to keep our current car and drive it to death, but because we only have one car, it has to serve every purpose we need a car for, including cross-country trips, and after a few trips where we could barely slip in a piece of paper between the roof and all of our crap, it's abundantly clear we need something bigger. Everyone in the back seat would also be a lot more comfortable in a slightly bigger car as well.

I had been thinking about procrastinating on this until the new year, until I talked to my brother about it today. He's buying our old car, and starting in November, he'll have a hard time getting vacation time for a while, limiting when he could travel out to get the car. And then my mother mentioned she had been thinking about driving out this fall, and could bring my brother along, saving the cost of a train ticket. So suddenly a new car by October seems like an excellent idea.

The second big change we're thinking about is moving. Which isn't so much a big change except that B brought up that since the Free Library has a bunch of branch head positions that need to be filled and is therefore about to do a round of promoting and hiring, now is an ideal time for him to ask to transfer to a library in the Northwest part of the city. We had been wanting to move over there right before he was offered his current position, and it's been a very good library. But as I've complained so many times, our section of the city has all of the drawbacks of both the suburbs and the city, except that in the actual suburbs here, there's shopping available. In the Northwest, they have walkable shopping areas with bookstores and coffee shops. Here, we were unbelievably excited when we finally got a Starbucks last year (really, this is possibly the only densely populated geographic area this size I've ever encountered without a Starbucks. There's practically a Starbucks in the parking lot of Starbucks). It's not that I ever really wanted Starbucks per se (although I've managed to develop a shameful frappuccino addiction), but there aren't any local coffee shops either. Or bookstores. Or anything interesting within walking distance, including a train line.

Basically, if we have to live in the city, we'd like some of the positive aspects of city living, like cool shops and convenient public transportation and a playground we don't have to cross a twelve-lane road to get to. That's available in the Northwest. As an added bonus, the fact that the Northeast and Northwest splay out like two outstretched arms over the rest of the city means that we'll be as close or possibly close to most of the places in the suburbs we go now, plus we'll be much closer to all of the things we'd like to do but don't because it's so much effort to drive to the opposite side of the city.

So now we're contemplating which libraries B should express an interest in and I've started looking at rental listings in the Northwest as well as the Northeast. I've been pleasantly surprised at the offerings - when I was last looking two years ago, we couldn't afford nearly as much as we can now, so looking at my target price range has gotten a lot of results. And some of them aren't even cookie-cutter postwar rectangles. Gosh.


Ack. Life just keeps going on and on, doesn't it? It's not so much that I'm incredibly busy as I'm just trying to find my new balance with working and child care with another child in the mix. I spend pretty much all evening alternating working and wrangling children, which leaves no time left over for typing. Lots has been happening, but it's a novel and a half, so here's the brief version:

- Online job is fine. I'm not fond of the stress of constantly having to live up to certain numerically based standards, but I was able to do it fine before, so I can do it again.

- We had our tenth wedding anniversary on the 5th. It's hard to believe it's been an entire decade, and thirteen years that we've been together. *insert various schmoopy things here*

- Remember the gum abscess in February? Well, it never quite went away, and then flared up again, and then I got sent to an every-increasing line of dental specialists until I wound up with a root canal and various doubtful predictions about keeping the tooth. The worry is that the infection is being caused by something like a small fracture in the tooth that is hard to see on an x-ray. My personal theory is that I had strep throat along with the abscess, and only got a week of a rather low dose of penicillin, so I just wasn't given enough antibiotics to knock the infection out. I have it on record that I didn't feel all the way better when the antibiotics were done. I got antibiotics with the root canal and the sore spot on my gum has vanished, so I'm hoping maybe the infection has been killed. Because as little fun as the root canal is, the thought of losing a tooth gives me the shivers.

- The new babysitters are doing fine as well. The kids both love them. I'm looking forward to school starting though, so K will be occupied five days a week instead of just three (because I couldn't really afford full-time daycare for both kids, so they're going three days and I have very, very full days the other two), and I'll bump Alec up to four days. I kind of want to have him home at least one day a week, just because I miss him. We had a good time, just the two of us last year.

- K is starting kindergarten next week. She's starting on a Thursday, which seems a bit weird, but I think it's because the first week of school is so screwed up by Rosh Hoshanah - the schools started the day after Labor Day, go two days and then have two days off for Rosh Hoshanah. Kindergarteners start a week later than the rest of the grades, so starting the following Thursday would be starting five days after everyone else.

-We just got back from spending an extended Labor Day weekend in Michigan with my mother. My brother came up and B's parents came down, so we had a pleasant all-family get-together with gorgeous cool weather.

But my baby is starting kindergarten!

- Our dealings with the Friends group at work has once again descended into utter madness. But that deserves a post all of its own, if not an epic gothic horror novel.

That's it for the moment. I will really try to find more time to update more than once every two weeks.