daily life, february 2014

With three trailers (Wägen) our daily life has changed again.  It is always changing.  The nature of life, the nature of parenting, the nature of the passing of seasons.  It feels worth recording.  It feels like the more of these posts that I remember to write, the more interesting it will one day be to look back at them, wondering at the people and places I have been.

With a cousin visiting the chores spread themselves out among three instead of two, and the difference is a noticable sigh of relief.  He may sleep later than Pickles ever lets us, but he loves making kindling for the stove, washes dishes almost every day, cooks spicy Indian food that makes our noses run and our stomachs happy.

When does the day really start?  The first time that Pickles wakes me up, asking for a drink, at 1 or 2 or 3 am?  At 5 or 6 when she threatens to wake up for good, but usually falls back asleep for a few hours with milk?  At the very latest it starts at 7 or 7:30, if we’re lucky 8, when she wakes up for good, usually in a bad mood.  “Milk!”  “Eat!”  “Peepee!”  I vaguely remember a time when she woke up happy, and we played games across the pillow from each other until I could bear the thought of getting out of bed.  Now she wakes up cranky, demanding.  I can’t say I blame her.  I feel the same way.

Let’s just assume that this is a day when the Beard is at home.

He gets out of bed first, motivated, I can only assume, by the dream of coffee.  Whoever makes the coffee lights the woodstove in the kitchen.  Whoever doesn’t lights the woodstove in the sleeping trailer.  Except when the Beard is faster, which he almost always is these last few weeks.  Then he shoves paper and medium-sized logs into the woodstove and leaves it to relight itself on last night’s embers before heading to the kitchen to do the honors there.  It takes somewhere between 10 minutes and 45 for the stove to relight.  The pressed mulch briquettes we use to heat at night keep the trailer at a comfortable tempurature until we wake up, and leave enough embers to make relighting a hands-free process.  Long live pressed mulch briquettes.

Coffee is ground by hand, water boils on the stove, kindling crackles in two wood stoves, the Chemex is prepared, and it all results in a cup of coffee delivered to my hands.  While the Beard heads off to wash dishes or smoke or where ever, I get Pickles dressed, brush her hair (screaming), brush her teeth (more screaming; it is a nightmarish process that you have to hold her down for).  I attempt to sneak in a few minutes on the internet, alternatively, while she either plays happily or begins to scream “outside outside” over and over.  It doesn’t matter what the weather is like.  That kid loves the outdoors, the trampoline, and walking around the property anywhere that isn’t our direct yard.  Sometimes I actually wish that she liked tv more. HA.

The Beard and I trade off Pickles in shifts.  One goes to the park so the other can write a few emails.  I take her to play groups and dates (and on Thursdays, child care at the gym) so the Beard can fiddle.  The Beard cooks lunch, and we all eat together around the new kitchen table that I am already starting to take for granted.  Shifts are traded.  We bike to the grocery store.  We bike to the playground.  We bike into town.  We bike to a friends’.  Sometimes we are lucky enough to get a nap.  At home diapers have been replaced by a potty, like magic (the kid potty trained herself).

The Beard, or maybe my cousin, or maybe even I cook dinner.  We eat around the table again, reveling in the luxury of delicious food at every meal.  Talking about music.  Playing music.  Pickles refuses to stay in her seat and insists on sitting in my lap.  I refuse; eating is holy and I want my space.  She clings to my leg, whines, starts yelling and signing “sleep” over and over to signify that she’d like to go back to the sleeping trailer, and she’s not going to leave me alone until we do.  Sometimes the Beard takes her over, and she screams until I follow.  Sometimes I take her over, leaving my meal half finished, disgruntled.  Yesterday we brought her high chair back in from the shed and strapped her in, and she finally had no choice but to sit there until we were all finished.  It wasn’t even that dramatic.  What a relief.

After dinner she plays in the sleeping trailer for an hour or three.  We’re trying to cut back on what sick time has made a rather extreme television habit to a night time wind-down habit, so maybe she watches an episode of Baby Einstein on my computer.  It is a quiet, relaxed time most days, and I can read a page or two of a book between interuptions to look at cars or set up train tracks or kiss hurts.  Sometime between 8 and 11 she’ll show signs of tiredness, and I’ll whisk her into bed.  She usually doesn’t need more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, but they are the longest 20 minutes of my day, spent waiting in the dark.  Being kicked.  Feeling impatient.  Ready for a break.

Now that our kitchen is finished we sometimes hang out there post-bedtime, not worrying about how loud we’re talking or playing music or drinking beer.  What luxury!  But more often than not I am too exhausted and want nothing more than to lay in bed, reading by the light of my solar lamp, visiting fictional worlds, and finally winding down myself.

0 Comments on “daily life, february 2014

  1. Thanks for the glimpse into your daily life!

    I have bitter memories of the toddler toothbrushing battles! You might enjoy this story of how I learned to just hold him down and get it done. >:-(

    About the kicking at bedtime: Make sure you are clear with her that you don’t like that. Consider making “no kicking” a condition of your staying with her while she falls asleep. When my son began to kick me on purpose (i.e. it wasn’t that he happened to thrash a leg while drowsing) I was in a stage of having lots of migraines, so I was kind of accustomed to being in pain–in fact, I often had a headache and was heavily medicated for it while putting him to bed–and I did not do enough to stand up for my rights. Within a couple of years, he was kicking me a lot and seemed to feel entitled to do so. It wasn’t until he started doing it in public and I saw other people’s shocked reactions to this that I realized how warped this had gotten and started standing up for myself, and by then it wasn’t easy. So I’m cautioning you: If you’re pretty sure she’s kicking you purposely–even if she claims it’s an accident–or if it truly is a falling-asleep thing but it’s hurting you, do something about it NOW.

  2. Becca: Oh god, the toothbrushing horror! Unfortunately absolutely nothing we do makes her want to do it. Sure, once every two months she will actually do something besides just eat the toothpaste, but otherwise it is total war. I am always so conflicted on forcing anything physically onto her body, but the thought of what will go down if she gets a cavity because we have basically given up or don’t want to hold her down makes the decision clear. I thought after over a year she’d be used to the toothbrush. Sigh.

    Anyway, yeah, I am actually very clear with her about not liking the kicking. She isn’t allowed to cuddle with me anymore after kicking and has to lay on the other side of the bed, or I get out of bed completey. Still makes me so mad, esp since I don’t want to get out of the frickin bed usually because I’m so tired at that point. Mostly it is just rolling about and sort of flining her limbs about in an attempt to get comfortable though luckily. At the moment anyway.

  3. Oh how exhausting they are at this age. When she demands things, is it in English or German? I think all this will soon pass and you will get a bit more time to yourself.

  4. for tooth brushing, when my son was tiny we wiped his teeth with a warm damp wash cloth or had him chew it, and we used a rubber, nubby thingie with baby toothpaste on it, he had reflux, lots of throwing up at night and the wash cloth really helped, when he was a little older we had him swish and spit, the doctor was surprised that his teeth/enamel were in good shape after being washed in acid/vomit

  5. Anne Marie: Depends on who she’s demaning something from. English with me, German with the Beard.

    Tess: Good idea. I dread our first dentist visit. I can’t imagine she’ll let some stranger look in her mouth when she wont let us anywhere near it without massive drama.

  6. the briquettes remind me of the times my father made those himself out of old newspapers. I can still picture the tub filled with torn pieces of soaked newspaper and we taking turns to handle the briquettes press.

    And sounds like you have to struggle to find time to read. The horror!

  7. Girl, you amaze me every time I read this stuff. I couldn’t do all that you do. I’m way to lazy and like my luxuries. It’s comforting to know that our 2 year olds sound alike and the separate kitchen area where you can be loud is nice! Thanks for linking up.

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  9. I was thinking. I maybe have something to tell you that would help Pickles. It’s kinda vague hippy crap (that i strongly believe in) but i dunno, could be helpful. If you are open to it please send me an email. If not, that’s okay too. I know i have been flooded with unwanted “good advice” from a thousand other moms and “childraising specialists” for months now so if not i also understand.

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