Friday, May 16, 2008

Gah! Moving

And insomniac again!

Thank you all for your kind words and advice. They help. Maybe more so because we've got a bit of a breather to think about our parenting strategies because Munchkin is Way the Hell Up North with my until Tuesday. 'Breather' in the sense of she's gone so that we can pack all of our earthly belongings for two days, move them all 500 feet up the street and then spend two days unpacking it all. Meantime, of course, we've also repainted the floors in the new house to great stinky effect, and are desperately coordinating last minute reno details: kitchen light not working anymore! who the hell can un-hook and then re-hook-up our gas range/oven? Will my electrician ever cough up the name of a reliable plumber so that we can get facilities for the washer put in / the tap fixed / the shower installed? We have no furnace! There are holes in the walls! The electricians left hand smudges all over the walls and plaster dust coats every surface. Did I mention my sister came to help us pack up a bit last weekend and gave me her nasty cold? And that I'm making two 800 km round trips Way the Hell Up North in a six day period?

So, yeahhhhhh, its 4:34 am and I'm blogging. Also blowing my nose.

Pynchon, at least, is a rock: he's got Thu / Fri off work and has been a whirl of activity since he got home from work on Wednesday. When he sets his mind to something, he's pretty much unstoppable. If I've spent the last several months organizing the details of our move (address changes, utilities, contractors, legal details, mortgage, packing supplies, childcare) he's a man of this particular moment, tying up carpets and taping boxes and taking bed frames apart and sealing dressers with giant rolls of cling film. He's noisily and busily efficient and I am running around doing simple errands because it's what I can manage on broken sleep and a head cold. Thank god I married such a practical, hard working man.

It is nice, though, to spend time together focused on one major task, time as a couple. Colluding in all the details of this major ordeal, moving into a new house. I keep reminding him of the last time we moved, from the apartment to the house, a couple of weeks before I got pregnant: remember we had to buy a drill? And all those trips to Canadian Tire for more painter's tape? And that awful thunderstorm? I remember the move before that, from Alberta to here, when we drove across the country together in a car full of CDs, days before he proposed to me on the threshold of our first home, that filty two bedroom apartment on the 11th floor, in the midst of yet another set of boxes, the chaos of one more move.

Moves have always, ultimately, been good for me. Try as I might, I can't think of one time where a move hasn't prompted an improvement in my happiness. Today, giggling as we bumped into each other, paint brushes in hand, hunched over the hundred year old pine floors in our new house, things felt right. I sure don't like packing up to leave this house, our first house, where I'm currently typing away at the breakfast bar that was such a selling feature for us--but then, I've never been good at goodbye, and what is packing up all those boxes but a protracted farewell to this home? But it's fun to work together like this again, to blast the stereo and run giggling through the rooms, beer in hand, at 9pm and not worry about waking a baby, to sleep in after a hard day's work, nice to make a set of new plans for as-yet-unconquered spaces, a lifetime of possibility opening up for us again.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Got Advice? Because I need it ...

Hi there, wise and articulate momosphere. We need some advice.

Munchkin is going through a mommy phase: you know, all mommy all the time? With a strong sub-refrain of "go away Daddy" and "leave me alone" and major tantrum pitching. Tonight the tantrum lasted all through the bath and well into bedtime. It was a really big tantrum, alternating screaming for me and yelling at her dad to go away. This seems to be the way things are going for the last wek or so.

Let's be clear: we co-parent and, to be honest, he's more fun, more patient, more diligent about good food, jumps on the bed with her and fixes her booboos with kisses. She's never been like this before.

What I've been doing is just leaving the house when it's time for Daddy-daughter time: it's like if she can so much as smell me, it's over. God, it's like I'm breastfeeding again. She can't miss me: tonight, we had just spent two hours together, and she spent the morning with me, too.

I know all kids go through this, right? But it's overwhelming me and it's breaking Pynchon's heart.

What can we do? So far, we're just letting Pynchon and Munchkin work it out together: I don't jump in. It's hard for all of us to listen to the ruckus that then ensues.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

New! House!

The keys to our new house dropped into my hands on Thursday--well, one key, anyway, enough to get through the front door and marvel at the midafternoon emptiness of it. One key through one lock, opened one door into a foyer, and up the stairs, and into each room and each closet, sniffing out the space like a cat, running my fingers over everything. Mine. Ours. Under the stairs, up into the attic, open all the kitchen cupboards and drawers, turn on all the taps, experiment with the thermostat. Lie down on the floor in Munchkin's room, to contemplate this ceiling that is ours now, too.

Step everywhere, touch everything. Open the windows and look through them all. And then out into the yard! Ours, too! Walk the perimeter, touch the trees, the flowers, look around. Drink it in.

Then into action: I brought a blanket, some juice boxes, three pairs of Crocs. A bottle of champagne, a package of cookies. Art from daycare, some tape. The toy farm and all its constituent animals. My cell phone. A new doormat in front of my new door. Our new door.

I made a picnic for my family while they were busy with their days; I picked everyone up and phoned ahead for pizza. We begin to make our house our home, by our presence, by our rituals, by these little celebrations, the three of us, together:

The previous homeowner had heard that Munchkin was really taken with this kitty-cat cookie jar, and left it behind for us. I filled it with cookies, and Munchkin is full of praise for "Mar-ga-ret, Mar-gar-ret, leave you a cookie jar wif a cookie in it."

An empty house, with a Fisher-Price farm in it? Is home:

We had our picnic in the 'dining room' on a blanket, balancing plates of pizza and watermelon and grapes on our laps. Munchkin loved it. I think we all did:

Our celebrations are family celebrations now, with little boxes of apple juice nestled in the fridge next to the champagne.

I was very sad to think of leaving our first home, our home that Pynchon and I bought as newlyweds, our home where Munchkin was conceived and where we got to know each other. I was thus surprised at how right it felt to walk into this new home together, Munchkin discovering her new room! new room! with her daycare art taped to the door, running into and out of all the closets and yelling boo! How right it felt to hear Pynchon opening and shutting all the cupboards as he explored. To move into this house as our family of three, all together, eating pizza on a blanket and scattering plastic animals all around, everyone in their slipper-Crocs, all together.

Monday, May 05, 2008

"I'm so blogging this"

Saturday night, Munchkin got up five times. You know, just like a newborn, only 31 pounds heavy and full of rage and hollering like a town crier. I settled her at 10:30, then went to bed myself; Pynchon settled her again at 12:40; I found her feverish at 1:30 and gave her a bottle and some medicine and retrieved Pynchon from the basement so he could come to bed with me.

At 3-something she woke up again and I jabbed Pynchon: we were alternating turns, weren't we? Fair's fair, right? He groaned. I poked. He sat up and said something to me. I, with my earplugs in, didn't hear him so I asked him to repeat himself. This is what he said, enunciating clearly in annoyance that I didn't catch it the first time:

"I said: what. is. the. baby's. name."

"Um, Munchkin," I replied, a little taken aback.

Satisfied, he marched off towards the wailing noises issuing from her room. Obviously, he was still asleep. I thought briefly that maybe I should get up and handle it. But then I figured that, having been briefed on her name, and clearly ambulatory, he'd be okay. Right? Right?

Don't worry. I got mine: she got up again just after 5, and once more became my problem. Ah baby whatserface, you're making your parents crazy with sleeplessness ...