Lately life has trumped blogging (obviously). Yesterday, while I was crossing the street after lunch and thinking about how much I like the downtown area where I work, I thought about why I blog at all.
There are so many great blogs out there. Library blogs, tech blogs, library tech blogs, book blogs, blogs by my review journals to keep me abreast of collection development areas. Mommy blogs, food blogs, design blogs, shopping blogs, knitting blogs, political blogs, entertainment blogs. Lots of blogs on different subjects with different styles.
It's 3 years now since I started my blog. I wanted a way to keep up with friends and family, especially once I found out I was pregnant. It still serves that purpose. But lately I think what I want to do with my blog is tell stories. Little stories, about something Otto's done, or having lunch at the coffee shop.
There are a lot of things I don't blog about. Work is a huge part of my life, but I'm afraid to say much about it here. Like anyone else there are days when I love my job and days when I don't, and I don't want a bad day to follow me to the end of time because I wrote something about it here.
Today wasn't a particularly good day. I had a great long weekend. We went to the zoo Monday, and spent the rest of the weekend kicking around, having fun, relaxing. Getting back to work yesterday was kind of a shock, and today ended up being a 12 hour day due to circumstances beyond my control. It's tiring. The hours are tiring, and I'm not a natural people person, so all those hours around people drain me like nothing else can. When I get stressed I want to go hide in my office, put my head down, and power through my work. Unfortunately my office is easy to find and not much of a sanctuary. Heck, the break room is easy to find! If I need an hour alone I literally have to leave the building and not tell anyone where I'm going.
And there are lots of days and weeks when that's ok and I can deal with it. But lately I think my general stress level is just high enough that I need a big STOP sign for my office door. This is a busy time of year, there's lots going on, and just getting through my mail every day without interruption has been a challenge.
It's hard to not write about all those things because somewhere in the last 3 years writing about stuff has become another way to deal with it. I can put Otto's antics in perspective when I write about them. I'd love to be able to do the same about work.
But I can't. So, I'll write this: Jon brought Otto over to have dinner with me tonight since I couldn't come home. We went to the restaurant next door and had meals that are served with french fries, and it was the best part of my day. Otto sat next to me in the booth, snuggled close like he knew I needed the extra attention. He gave me a big kiss and hug when he left. I love my husband, I love my son, and if I don't always love my job... well, 2 out of 3 is pretty darn good.
It's been a nutty week.
Actually, it's been a nutty month. I'm feeling a little strained, a little rough around the edges. Crabby, in fact. Positively unpleasant!
So, after 2 evenings at work this week, and at least one really long day, I decided to take today off and go with Otto and his class to the petting zoo.
It was quite a riot, and we had a good time despite the fact that it rained on us during the hay ride.
Watching toddlers get excited about goats and a pizza lunch can really put your life in perspective, you know? It doesn't have to take that much to be happy.
Otto and his classmates were very well behaved. He's now in the older half of the class and knows the field-trip routine, and it was fun to watch him falling in and following orders. He hung onto me until it came time to get on the bus. Then it became clear exactly how popular I am... at the moment those doors swooshed open, he wiggled down out of my arms and ran to get in line. He headed up the stairs without looking back, and when I walked around the bus to see where he was he was sitting in the seat furthest back, right by the window. He waved at me and grinned, unconcerned that I wasn't in there with him.
I followed them over and we went through the program and hay ride, then spent some time in the petting barn with all the animals. Everyone started getting tired and cranky and hungry, so around 11:30 we went to another building for the pizza lunch.
Imagine a long table of toddlers, every one of them with a piece of pizza on a paper plate and a little cup with a couple of ounces of Sprite... You're probably thinking chaos, right? Food flying, pop spilling, squirmy kids getting up and down. Wrong! It was absolutely silent as everyone scarfed their pizza. Otto ate a slice and a half, and asked for more "juice" after finishing his pop (he doesn't get it very often, so doesn't know the word). Erin piped up and said "my water is spicy!" which made me laugh. She obviously doesn't get pop very often either.
And then it was time to get back on the bus. This time Otto paused and looked back at me as he climbed the steps, so I blew him a kiss and waved. He blew me a kiss back, his smile huge, and went to get in his seat.
I came home and took a nap, then checked work email and got caught up on bills, and now I'm going to get him so we can meet Daddo at Ikea for supper (Swedish meatballs, anyone?).
More film at 11... (I'll upload photos later this evening).
I just now got Otto to sleep.
Lately, bedtime has become a maze of tactics designed to get the child to lie still and allow his eyes to fall shut. Rocking. Not rocking. 2 stories. 4 stories. Snack. No snack. Last night we resorted to Daddy going in and holding Otto until he fell asleep. As usual, Dad fell asleep too, and around midnight I had to go in and roust him out of the chair.
But Daddo isn't here tonight (away on business). So I did the following:
7-7:30pm -- walk Jake, Otto in the stroller
7:30-8pm -- work in the front yard raking out lava stone with Otto's help, all on the theory that fresh air and manual labor make you sleepy
8-8:30 -- bath, lotion, jammies
8:30-9 -- quiet coloring in the kitchen, snack, and listening to the Wiggles
9-9:20 -- brush teeth, final diaper change, stories in the rocking chair
9:20-9:45 -- tucking in, then patting on the back to keep him lying still long enough to fall asleep (I stayed so long that my arm started to fall asleep and Jake came in and flopped down beside me to get his tummy rubbed because I obviously wasn't going anywhere)
I have a feeling some military campaigns would be easier than getting a 2-yr old to stay in bed.
On the plus side, Otto is big into helping lately. This is one of the fun things about having a 2-yr old. Saturday he came to find me and tell me the washer was done so we could swap loads (he likes to help with laundry). Sunday morning he helped stir pancake batter. Tonight he asked me to get down the little snow shovel we keep in the car trunk in winter, and then went after the lava rock. I had to go get my rake and help just so he didn't show me up.
After all that preparation for bed, I'm exhausted. So I'm off to bed myself. I kind of wish someone would draw a bubble bath for me, and put on a nice CD, and read me a story, and then pat my back until I fell asleep...
At 6 this morning, I heard a doorknob rattle.
Before I could fully wake up and untangle myself from the linens, I heard a little voice saying "Thomas? Shoes? Help? Help. Help! Help!"
By the time I sat up in bed Otto was sitting on the floor next to me, puppy in one hand and his new Thomas sandals in the other, still saying "help?" over and over like a little broken record.
I leaned over and helped him get his sandals on. Then I pulled him into bed with me, where we pretended to make a tent from the sheet and giggled at each other. It's pretty funny to see your mom hiding under a sheet at 6am. After a few minutes he settled down between Jon and I and went back to sleep. It's now 10pm, and he's worn his sandals all day.
He's supposed to be dressing himself to some degree, and what he wants to do without help is get his shoes on. But even with velcro fasteners it's tough going. The shoes have to be pulled open, and then you have to aim your toes in there and hang onto the bottom of the shoe with one hand so it doesn't slide away. And socks? Well, those are trickier still.
I don't know what possessed him to #1 wake up at 6am, and #2 decide the most urgent thing in the world was put on his Thomas sandals. Maybe it's another sort of mental growth spurt, the kind that wakes kids up at night because they're trying to practice new skills in their dreams.
What I love, though, is that he knew he could ask for help. Even at 6am, when I'm usually comatose and/or crabby, and even when what he wanted was to put his sandals on and then go back to sleep. As an adult, putting shoes on may seem like a small breakthrough, but I'm sure it's a big deal to Otto. I'm glad I get to be the one to help him figure it out.
It's green here again. All the trees have leafed out, the fields are emerald, the lawns are like velvet (except for ours, which is starting to resemble a hay field, but that's another story). It's very pretty, I suppose, driving along past green lawns and fields, with thick groupings of trees on either side, sky-high trees full of green leaves... It's very, very green.
Today for some reason I started thinking about how I used to enjoy driving to meetings in Wisconsin. There was my favorite back-road route to Waterford, which ran over the hilltops and gave me views back down towards Elkhorn. There was the trip to Burlington, which took me past dairy farms and ended with curvy roads by the river that fed into their quaint downtown. I liked taking 43 to Milwaukee and passing East Troy, with its fairy-tale skyline of church steeples and clock towers just visible from the road. Even the trip to Racine was kind of fun -- I always managed to get lost when I went to Racine, and I took that trip several (!!!) times. With maps. And directions. Maybe I was distracted by scenery at a vital point, I don't know. Then there was that fun curvy-downhill road from Waterford back to Interstate -- the one I drove Jamie's car off of one afternoon during a snowstorm. Ahem. Moving on...
Those drives had vistas and personality -- I got to know them well during my time there. Even though my library here is out in a rural area, I tend to drive into the Detroit metro area for meetings. Instead of hilltop views I get the views of the back ends of semis. It's not quite the same.
And I think I've decided that if I had to choose the perfect road trip, I'd rather head west, into open spaces and big sky and room for views, instead of north into trees and narrow roads that meander around lakeshores. I am still, evidently, a Kansas girl at heart, used to endless blue sky and brown-gold fields.
Tonight was Parent Night at day care. We went over to watch Otto and his class dance to the Wiggles -- or, in Otto's case, stand around and stare at his classmates as they danced to the Wiggles. He got into it at the end, though, and seemed pretty pleased with himself afterward.
After coming home and changing into jammies, Otto and I settled in to watch a few Wiggles videos at YouTube. I did a google search at one point for Wiggles, getting back the usual text-only list of results. My son looked at the computer screen, pointed at the first hit and said "Wiggles!"
Is it too early for him to be reading? I suppose that Wiggles would be a recognizable thing for him now, but still... I was impressed!
I'm feeling snowed-under lately, and I think I need to take a week off. The question is, when? Not soon, since we're gearing up for summer reading stuff. Hmm...
Yesterday morning I was trying to get Otto out the door, coax Jake into the house, and not freak out (too much) about running late on a Board Meeting Monday.
Otto was crying as I shoehorned him into his car seat and protested by putting his feet against the front seat and pushing as hard as he could, making it harder to get the straps over his shoulders.
As I clicked him in he sobbed, "bad mama!"
Which, as a guilt-trip tactic, is pretty effective.
But then we got to day care and he saw that he would have mini-bagels with cream cheese for snack, and suddenly everything was ok.
Never underestimate the power of a good snack!