day 61: night snapshots number 2

I’m on e’s mat, waiting for him to finish his nighttime toy check before he crawls in beside me. He goes through his blocks and his string, pauses at the spoon he so dearly loves, peeks at the crack in the door, walks along the nightstand and the bed, dismounts and crawls toward the mattress. He sits next to me, singing and bouncing, getting out that last bit of pent-up energy before he lays down his sweet head. Just at that moment, boom bursts through the door, shoving it aside, and clambers atop the armchair sitting right next to e’s mat. She stares down, he stares up, and they converse.

Such precious dears, this boom and this bean.

day 60: night snapshots number 1

It’s sleeting. It’s snowing. It’s hailing. So this is what they call a wintry mix. Bean just finished his bath and boom is raging to go outside. We quickly bundle up and venture into the elemental night.

The stoop is slick with weather blown sideways. Down one step, down two, and boomer, in front, hesitates on the fourth. Down a third. boomer steps and slips and suddenly I see the ice coating the rest of the stairs and the sidewalk below. Had boomer not warned us through her own sacrifice, had I hurriedly traversed with only bedtime on my mind, bean and I would have taken a hard, dangerous tumble. Boom, you saved us, and I will kiss your sweet frozen paws over and over again.

day 59: something to do

I’d had enough. My sweet boy didn’t seem to be himself any longer and I wanted to (I want to) get him back. So I began to search and sift and distill and came up with a cock-eyed plan to get him better.

But I realized in mass today that without God, it’s all pride, vanity, sloth: those three sins that led me here today, wondering whether the information I found is the right information, knowing my son was compromised by my own hand, paralyzed in analysis. And those three sins will continue to harp me unless I follow the Lord. The Word, after all, is He, and He is the way and the truth and the life. Those I’d rather have than my small sins, even though they are mine and mine alone.

My political libertarianism battles the preachings of my faith. So there, reader, whoever you are, I’ve said it loud for it in silence it shatters me: now you know I am a despiséd radical. Hide yo kids hide yo wife. I do not care. Just leave me free to follow Him. God, being God, is always the path I ought to take.

Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re-
entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of themselves a
visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by
minutest fractions the water’s downdrafts and upswirls, the
dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where
they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into
itself (it has those layers), a real current though mostly
invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing
                                    motion that forces change—
this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.
–Jorie Graham

day 58: the open

I took a break yesterday (thanks A), drove to the gym, and surprised myself.

Two years ago, I attempted 13.1:

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:
40 Burpees
45 pound Snatch, 30 reps
30 Burpees
75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
20 Burpees
100 pound Snatch, 30 reps
10 burpees
120 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

Those #75 snatches. I spend 11ish minutes attempting, only to get one #75 snatch: and a terrible, horrible, no good very bad snatch at that. I was wrecked, disappointed, disillusioned. I wasn’t in great shape then (I really should have been able to snatch #75 more than once considering I’d done it so many times in Oly) and I figured I was worse off now, with my scattered gym attendance and zero snatching since I fell backwards into our erg during practice gone wrong. (I didn’t want to pick up the bar again for fear of accidentally hurting e. He tends to wander onto our mat when I’m kettle bell swinging or rowing.)

So, when 15.1 showed up with #75 snatches, I thought to myself: at least I’ll get 25 reps.

I ended up getting 60: two full rounds of 15 toes to bar, 10 deadlifts, 5 snatches. The snatches were surprisingly smooth. Granted, I did all singles with eons of rest in between while all around me were muscle snatching straight through, so they were not butter smooth but…mint chocolate chip smooth. I messed up two or three or four, but I definitely got the bar up and without too much ugliness. The toes to bar were another story. The fifteenth of second round I attempted six times before finally reaching the bar. It was a mental blunder though: I forgot to engage my scap.

The clean and jerk went fairly well too! The cleans were ugly (gross) but I PR’d (not by much) the jerk with #107. I really should have gotten #113 but I scared myself out of it. Stupid fear. Stupid me.

I waffled on signing up for the Open for about three weeks. I thought it would be a waste of money, and I hate wasting money. The truth is, I’d pay $20 for the feeling I got when that bar flew overhead.  So I’d say it was a $200 workout right there. What a deal. Honestly, just seeing everyone so excited and taking part in that was worth the $20. So, $220? I think yes.

Next week’s gonna be great.

day 57: despite me

Despite all my research, despite all my caution, despite all my careful planning, I’ve made a potentially disastrous stumble; and despite this my sweet boy is breathing, joyful, hilarious, sweet, adventurous, charming, amazing. I have to keep reminding myself of this. The age of information is not an easy one to navigate, but ease has little to do with necessity. In truth, bean seems to have had a poor reaction to his last set of shots: inconsolable high-pitched screaming, lethargy, constipation, head-banging, no smiles from the smiliest kid in the world. But all of this is “seems” and causation is not correlation and who am I to question and no don’t Jenny McCarthyism me, I did not know who she was until someone accused me of being a star-struck ignorant follower and guess what I do actually understand the articles I’ve read on PubMed and I have explored the mechanism of disease as well as developmental anatomy and physiology and I let myself be bullied and bean may be the culprit and it’s terrible and I’m terrible and gosh how can I be trusted with this precious life?

But I think that’s where God comes in. (And really, He should never “come in,” he should always just be here, but I’m about as good of a Catholic as I am a mother and that’s not saying much.) Bean will be okay in the end, despite all of this. Despite me. And I just have to count myself blessed to be able to love him. And I’ll go on loving him the best I can. But I just have to hate myself for a little bit, maybe while he’s napping, because I did not seek truth. And then I’ll go back to trying to forgive myself because, well, I’m a better person when I’m not busy throwing punches at my heart.

It’s been five days, and he’s smiling again.

day 56: taxes

It’s that time again. The deadline prepares to strike, and I am building my defenses. The IRS has me pegged, for some confusion regarding my university scholarship. The past five years I’ve been examined and squeezed and audited and fined. Here’s hoping, lacking employment, they find me spotless. I’m not sure what they can do to me this year, but I’ll definitely laugh if they find something worthy of offense. Such cleverness, to find something in nothing.

Last night I sat at tag counter vent over paperwork, carefully filling our portfolio with the numbers in the W-2s and the 1099-INTs and all those other coded forms. It’s calming in a schoolwork kind of way, but the inevitable botching I’ll do gives it the flavor of a test for which I did not study. Seeing my look of concentration (which admittedly is a “don’t you dare open your mouth in my presence, you pond scum” kind of face) A repeatedly asked if anything was wrong. I told him no of course not. He asked why I didn’t look happy.

Well, I suppose I can always work on my joy, but I think I’m in fairly good company when I say that most people don’t leap at the chance to do their taxes.

Ahh well. Only two more sheets to fill, both regarding health expenses. The toughest for last! And I’ll go ahead and smile right now; the end draws near.

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
— Winston S. Churchill

day 55: behind

It’s true: I’m much better at everything when I work out. It’s been a week since I set foot in the gym, and my stretches at home are not as gratifying to my senses as the pounding music and bgr empty lungs and the muscles that scream to quit but don’t. A has been inordinately busy at work, doing very important things, so gym excursions are not mine to have.

And look, I’ve barely blogged since then. Correlation, sure, but I expect causation as well. Feats in the gym lead to feats outside.

Despite my lack of dedication to the gym, I have been playing. A lot! It’s a delight to play with e, freed from worries and fears regarding the future and the past.

day 54: shots

Shots shots shots shots shots shots shots shots shots shots shots shots shots.

Gosh I hate that song.

I’m not too fond of the medical injections either. Bean had three yesterday, as well as a blood prick for good measure. Poor kid. It just made my heart hurt. Surely not as much as his though, unknowing why his momma was standing by doing nothing as a nurse cruelly jabbed him with spiteful needles in his sweet thighs and little toes.

I wasn’t around for his first shot. Well, I was in the bed trying to expunge a placenta from my insides, but he was in his poppa’s arms when he got his extra Vitamin K. His second prick came just 36 hours after he was in this world. In order to test whether he had a rare metabolic condition that eats away his bones before too late, the hospital had to collect five circles of blood. Each was about the size of a quarter and who knows how deep, but poor e screamed and screamed and all I could do was hold his tiny arms down and press his torso into the mat to mute his writhing. He “knocked out” after the second circle was filled, giving up, passing to safe unconsciousness, leaving this realm that was full of hurt and blood and no one to take the pain away.

Yesterday was not so bad. He did cry very much, again outraged, confused, screaming as though to say why why why. But I got to pick him up and squeeze him tight and even though he’s in the middle of a cranky crying clingy phase it seemed to help a bit. He’s rather used to being wrapped up against me, and having zero is terrible timing on my part, but my arms do what they can.

In truth he was his happiest he’s been in a week while we were waiting for the doctor to check on him. It was a joy to see his bright smile. I’m grateful he enjoyed those few minutes of peace amidst the whirlwind of growth that threatens to topple him over at every gust.


day 53: internet hilarity

My productive Internet time is spent becoming a web developer, learning Python and algorithms, and figuring out how to get sticky labels off of jars. In a blanket statement, I’ll say the programmers are far more entertaining than the mommy bloggers. Listen to this:

Heck, we don’t even allow animated ads, even though they are totally standard on every other site on the Internet, because it would be disrespectful to programmers to strain their delicate eyes with a dancing monkey, and we can’t serve them 100% if we are distracting them with a monkey. That would only be serving them 98%. And we’re OBSESSED, so 98% is like, we might as well close this all down and go drive taxis in Las Vegas.

Anyway, it worked! Entirely thanks to you. An insane number of developers stepped up to pass on their knowledge and help others. Stack Overflow quickly grew into the largest, most trusted repository of programming knowledge in the world.

Quickly, Jeff and I discovered that serving programmers required more than just code-related questions, so we built Server Fault and Super User. And when that still didn’t satisfy your needs, we set up Stack Exchange so the community could create sites on new topics. Now when a programmer has to set up a server, or a PC, or a database, or Ubuntu, or an iPhone, they have a place to go to ask those questions that are full of the people who can actually help them do it.

But you know how programmers are. They “have babies.”  Or “take pictures of babies.” So our users started building Stack Exchange sites on unrelated topics, like parenting and photography, because the programmers we were serving expected—nay, demanded!—a place as awesome as Stack Overflow to ask about baby feeding schedules and f-stops and whatnot.


Maybe it’s because I spent the majority of my past twelve years with programmer-engineer-physicist-type folks rather than mommy-type folks, or maybe it’s because the mommy blogs hit a bit too close to home or maybe because google searches on mommy blogs don’t necessarily turn of the best, but rather the most popular (In the programming world best and most popular are synonymous; I expect this correlation is missing from other realms): also, maybe it’s because they feature terribly long run-on sentences but I just find that mommy blogs aren’t as gripping as programming blogs. Also, after writing it three times in one sentence I don’t really like the term “mommy blog.”

My unproductive Internet time? That’s devoted to the rabbit hole of woven wraps. I’m now down to zero (with one on the way because they really are useful.) A gets so annoyed. It’s silly, I began all this crazy stalking and searching and buying and flipping as an attempt to show A how annoying it is to find him spending time on Clash of Clans and Words with Friends in all his spare time, with the frustrating habit of having to be called three times if I need his attention while in the middle of one of these time sucks. I think it worked (A rolls his eyes so far I think they’ll get lost in the back of his head whenever he sees me scrolling through the listings) but I’ve sadly and completely uncharacteristically become an addict. I’m already plotting my next purchase. Don’t worry, I’ve limited my eyes to more budget-friendly varieties.

With two days under my belt sans wrap, I can say I’m a much better mom when I have one. Bean can’t even go to sleep without it. And lengthy walks are laughable. So in remembrance, here is our last: sling studios falling feather cliveden. Sold because, well, it was really pricey and so are jaws.

day 52: reading with bean

As I’ve been at the gym more frequently, A has commandeered bedtime. He’s given bean a bath all by himself, where “all by himself” refers to both A and bean. Bean sat in the bath all alone like a really big boy, and A got everything ready and then soaped up bean and then dried him off and then rubbed him down with coconut oil and got him all bundled up in PJs and snuggles. No easy task, that, and one I only did out of necessity, when A would have to work, much preferring his helping hands when they were around. But A has it all figured out, and they have a guy-time routine, and I am left with an hour to myself which I inevitably spend watching them (surreptitiously) if I’m not away at the gym.

You see, bean has a habit of crying when he sees me once I’ve been out of sight for a bit. I think he just wants some cuddles and it’s his way of asking for them. We’re working on signs but none have stuck yet, so crying is really all he has. Thus I hide, but sometimes it is hard because I love seeing his sweet face! Yesterday I used my ears instead of my eyes, hiding in the other room as A read bean his bedtime story.

A approaches reading in an entirely different manner than I do. He maintains his individuality, whereas I surrender myself completely to the author. He has some thought for the aspects in his own life in which the story may have bearing, where I change my life, myself, to mimic those characters which I particularly admire. What does this mean for The Very Hungry Caterpillar?

A’s hungry caterpillar is hilarious. He probably won’t get to eat all four strawberries on Thursday because momma will swoop in and eat every single one of them, down to the sticky sweet juice. And the cupcake on Saturday wouldn’t stand a chance in poppa’s world. Also, the plums look a whole lot more like big purple grapes than any plum you’d find at the farmer’s market (incidentally, that’s exactly what I think plums look like but I think A has better eyes than I do.) I could not stop laughing at his anecdotes and personal injections.

Bean, boom ,and I sure are blessed to have a person like him.