I’m not completely at peace in my new home office, sitting on the edge of the futon, reaching to peck the keys. But at least here, I have a little space to myself. The pastel art walls might become soothing, and the seascape up on the wall may comfort me as well. The restless child, however, might have trouble adjusting to the blue glow in the corner, and some of this stuff just has to go into storage:
• The heirloom cradle, unused and outgrown.
• The giant wagon, so nice for a picnic at the park, so large and in the way for those cozy winter nights!
• The winter clothes, or summer clothes, or whatever clothes do not fit right now.
But not this bookshelf, which doubles as my desk, and not the curtains, which (in my humble opinion) make a house look more like a home and less like a rental.
I will probably take the trash out more often, and get to the girly pile of clothes when they smell. It will work.
I can tutor and type and create custom curriculum. I can virtually assist people and work on the webpage I am designing for a friend.
But this futon sitting thing—I’m not sure about that. My back is aching just from this little blog post. Oh well. For every problem, there is a solution.
For a few passing hours last night and this morning, I contemplated caring for other children in my home for pay. Call it daycare, childcare, babysitting, preschool… It’s all about the same. And for a few quiet hours, when my own kids were asleep, I thought it might be something I could manage in order to make ends meet so I could continue staying home with the kids. And then they woke up.
I have but two precious angels. The eldest is potty training. The youngest is learning how to eat baby food. Both are very messy.
Today I am grateful for running water, wet wipes, Clorox Wipes, puppy pads, towels, lots of shorts and undershorts, a husband, food in the pantry, a washer and dryer, and an earlier bedtime! Goodnight!
This was the place where I first met you. Where I held you. Where I kissed your newborn flesh and whispered I love you. Now it is rubble. Ruined and broken. Replaced. To think how many were born here. How many died.
Did it reach its quota?
To me, the memories are blessed and few. Visiting a mother as she waits news of her husband, getting wired for my own sleep study, taking birthing classes, making your dad get his head checked after he bonked it, and getting hooked on the Bachelorette while waiting in the waiting room.
But mostly, I remember you, my son. How I prayed for you! How I longed for you. How I was amazed that you came to me. Here. And I called you Bug-a-boo. And it stuck.
Last night my husband bemoaned the fact that Bug was pretending to play baseball. I told my hubby that it was hockey because Bug was hitting the ball around on the ground. The husband said it was only because he didn’t have a tee.
So today Bug gets back from a walk with his grandparents to the nearby baseball fields and points to the clutter covered table, saying either “bees” or “piece”. We could not figure out what he wanted, so I systematically started pulling things off the table, asking if it was each thing. You could see the frustration growing around his eyes as he repeated his mystery word, pointed to his new found tennis ball, and say ball. Again.
Is it on the table? No. Is it in your room? Yes! Show me. But he also wanted Grammy and Grampy to see so the four of us crowded around his ginormous toy box as he uncovered the heavy lid and as I opened it. Right away, he grabbed his plastic baseball bat. Bees became base and Grampy taught him how to say baseball instead of just base.
So the grandparents were able to sneak away when I pulled out the one book we own that includes a bat and some balls. After Hop on Pop was done, the kid cuddled with his plastic bat and dog slobber tennis ball. What do I care? Naptime is naptime.
However, when I was writing this, I heard a plastic bat and an uh-oh and somehow he got the bat caught in his bed frame and hit himself in the head. (It didn’t hurt him, don’t worry.). But I mentioned that the bat might want to sleep on the toy box instead of in the bed with him. He nodded, and went back to the wonderland that toddlers visit in their dreams. I’m sure the umpire has already yelled, “Play Ball!”
We started out in Portland on Hawthorne, one of my favorite haunts. We visited the Waffle Window, where my sister used to work. It’s not the same without her, but it’s still pretty awesome to walk up to a window on the outside of a wall and order a gourmet sweet Banana Rama and Spicy Bacon Belgian waffle.
Afterwards we strolled down to Jackpot Records and bought a She and Him album for my brother and his wife. Then we went to visit them in their new home and to spend the night.
My brother now lives near Alberta, so there is a while new section of Portland to discover. Earlier this week I heard about a popular ice cream place called Salt and Straw in the neighborhood from an old friend who was visiting Portland at the time. The ice cream shop was then recommended by two more people in the next few days. I was told it was one of those places where the lone goes around the corner. Luckily it wasn’t that busy when we went. It did not disappoint. We loved the Almond Brittle Salted Ganache Ice Cream, the Lavender, and the Double Vanilla. I really wanted to try the coffee and bourbon ice cream, but I can’t have coffee too late in the day, and I wasn’t prepared to ask if the bourbon was alcoholic because that just seems like an odd question. Like the answer should be obvious, either way.
There are a lot of little shops that I’d love to discover more, but when you are toting around two kids in a double stroller, you choose your shops wisely. We started out near the Community Cycling Center, which graciously offers public restrooms, and worked our way from 16th and Alberta to 20th and Alberta toward the ice cream. We stopped at some great places along the way: a house called the Make house, where bedrooms have been converted to art studios and the living room into a small retail space, a fancy toy store called Greenbeans, where I got each kid a toy, and a sticker store where a guy chatted with us about living in Pendleton, He kept saying it sounded so peaceful.
Finally we landed at a great art supply store called Collage. I already want to go back. I picked up micron pens, some gray pens to shade my Zentangles, a pack of ATC blanks, and some titles I’ll tell you more about later. Also a cute present for my mom called birds on a wire.
I always love hanging out in Portland. I was glad to have the chance to do it again.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I can’t afford a nanny. But I can afford to let a responsible almost-15-year-old ride with me to the big city and pay for coffee, food, and snacks. Oh, and I can make room for her pillow and blanket and stuff so that she can sleep on my mom’s spare bed. In return, I get almost-grown-up company on the road and someone to help me with the kids during our adventures. Pretty cool.
An unexpected bonus is that I get to introduce this country girl to things like Cinnabon and double-decker busses. We will also be visiting some places on my Portland favorites page!
My sweet nanny is wonderful. The kids flock to her. But it’s still challenging to travel with a baby and a two year old. The worst thing is when he misses naptime and then gets cranky in the evening. We aren’t huge on routines in our house, but naptime and bedtimes are pretty much set in stone. Ok, more like hard clay. But clay that is set and not terribly flexible. An alarm is set on my phone for each time and of we are in the middle of something, I give Bug a reminder and then hit snooze. Ten minutes ’til bedtime, Bug.
But when we are traveling, Bug might fall asleep in the car, and wake up five minutes later, thinking he had napped. Not really. For some reason that makes going to bed a lot harder!
Luckily I have had help to get me through and to save me from the loony bin! I think traveling with a nanny is great!
I’m sitting on the floor of my bathroom, propped up against the tub, waiting for Bug to decide he is done repeating the word “bubble” and also done with his bath. I’ve already washed him, and I suppose I could rush him. But I don’t like to. I like him to enjoy his bath. And he does.
What I don’t enjoy is sitting here bored while he splashes and talks and plays with his boat and his duck. I am here to make sure he doesn’t drown, but I’m not really present. To be honest, I’m a little annoyed that he needed a bath just when I had so many things to do tonight. To be even more frank, he’s been annoying me all day.
He’s at a stage in his linguistic development where he repeats things, a lot. He is learning how to form words, like bubbles, more, and hot. He is feeling his tongue, lips, and teeth work together to make words. He watches for our reactions when he says words and he us learning multiple meanings for words. He is working so hard, and he’s driving us crazy with his endless chatter.
So I’m lounging here on the floor, scrolling through my WordPress Reader feed for the tag “devotional” and I see something titled “The Gift You’ve Been Given” and I click it. It’s a reblog from somewhere else and it tells a story that’s valuable but not completely relevant right this minute. But it makes me think of the gifts I’ve been given.