Posts Tagged ‘saturday’

Saturday Funday

30 October 2010

Dear J-

All last week I kept getting unsolicited advice:  do this, do that, here’s what you need, no try this instead, here’s some more references that will help.  Of course I’ll no doubt have something to say that I’ll rue the day I didn’t do this or that after it turns out I need to take the test over again, but for now I’m free to scoff:  there’s lots of works-for-you ideas that may not be broadly applicable.  It got to the point where I’d agree and hide the books somewhere in my desk so I’d look like I took them in to the test.

Today shot by surprisingly quickly.  It started out with rain but we had a full slate in front of us: library, Target, crafts, and finally pumpkin carving, which exhausted us (we never claimed to be full of energy to begin with, and between fulfilling wishes and trying not to cut ourselves/the cats/figgy well … our hands were full.

Mike

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Last Day

16 October 2010

Dear J-

We have all had a full day; I got to luxuriate in a semi-nap* while theVet played with figgy at various activities. figgy got to make a mask at our local branch library, which was a nice surprise when we got there (the design was reasonably simple — a jack’o lantern based on an orange paper plate), and she toted that around the rest of the day. But of all of us theVet had the biggest day: her last day of work.

This is the clinic she started at nine years ago as her first real job out of school — there was a time four years ago when she quit to go work for someone else, but that didn’t last long, and she was soon back after figgy’s birth, doing the part-time shifts she’s worked now for the past three years. I noted earlier in the week that we’ll now have Saturdays together again, but I didn’t mention that it’s really been since 2001 that we’ve had both weekend days together. We’ve developed ritual Saturday mornings to be followed loosely and now that’s about to change.

I can’t say what might be going on in her head tonight, whether relief or nostalgia, fear or acceptance. We’re entering a time of change and it’s going to he unsettling for a while; I’d forgotten that I shifted to a Sunday-Thursday schedule for a few months after figgy was born so that I could babysit on Fridays and Saturdays to allow theVet to work, for instance. No doubt I’ll look back on the quiet evenings and wonder where this time went too; I’m still catching my breath now that summer’s past.

Mike

* Semi-nap because most of those activities involved bringing stuff to daddy, whether it was a blanket to keep me warm or some Play-Doh treat. I’m not proud; I’ll take sleep where I can.

Long Saturday

9 October 2010

Dear J-

The length of the day is compounded by how willing figgy is to work with us; the longer she goes without a nap the harder it is to go on: the smallest obstacles are insurmountable and the slightest hindrance is worth a grand tantrum of the o-my-lanta-they-let-you-reproduce sort. Today has been very long, yet the night has been mercifully short. No nap makes for a dramatically quick drop-off to unconsciousness.

We have been relatively happy with our phone situation, as we have saved big over conventional monthly cell phone service based on usage: our phones were relatively expensive to start out as they didn’t have a carrier subsidy, but the low monthly rate based on virtually no use has made up for that several times over. Virgin Mobile, our embarrassingly hip carrier, has rolled out smartphones with a tempting low rate: $25 a month for limited minutes (ten per day) but unlimited text and data. That’s still four times what we’re paying now, but our phones are starting to meet with puzzled looks: oh, is that all it can do?

It’s enough for now: the long night, cheap phones, quiet companions in the dark, reading books together after weekly library trips. I just never knew how satisfying it would be to fall into a rut.

Mike

Saturday Night

2 October 2010

Dear J-

So today was the big test — well, not that big test, but a personal one:  we took figgy up to her aunt’s house to spend the night with her cousin.  As we were sitting down to dinner, we got a call where figgy was being obviously brave and saying all kinds of good things and then, as the phone was passed to me, abrupt silence, followed by the wail of understanding — they’re not coming back tonight, and all those things we’ve threatened her with (“Well, we’ll just go home then” and “We’re going to leave without you”) have come true.

We’re doing it in preparation for the Next One.  When he arrives there’s no telling what kind of hospital stay we’re in for, so it’s a test run to see if she’s able to stay with others while we wrestle with sleep deprivation those first few nights.  I’m almost familiar with how it goes, but I’m also looking forward to the refresher course.  I suspect it’s almost like falling off a bike — you never quite forget how it goes, but it’s not usually as bad as you remember.

So far the night’s been unusually quiet.  Somewhere we’ve brewed up a witch’s concoction in her tummy of rice noodles, coconut, shrimp, and popcorn that’s induced her to vomit (we called again a couple of hours ago, and were told that she’d sacked out in front of the TV after fussing, puking, and then saddening ever so gradually.  It’s hard on her, sure, but it’s at least as hard on us to have the usual routine disrupted, the cries in the night not ringing out for us to help, help.

Mike

Library Day

18 September 2010

Dear J-

So to our fellow library patrons I’m sorry. And sorry again. There’s nothing worse than getting to the library hoping to study and being assaulted both by my daughter, who has turned into a bit of a panty-flashing exhibitionist (I blame Target’s Circo brand, whose sizes run roughly one age size small) and even better, a recalcitrant companion. I ended up abandoning her by a checkers set in order to get enough time on my own to browse for some other books.

The intersection of books that I want to read and books the library has is a usefully large set that is more than enough, but I’m having trouble picking them out; my old modus operandi, which is rustily coming back to me, is to walk up and down the stacks checking favorite authors and then cover art to pick something that looks interesting, hen reading the back to see if I really want to go on. Throw a three-year-old into that, though, and it’s lucky enough if I get to check an author I know, let alone leisurely peruse A magazine.

Now I think I understand the parents who pull DSes and PSPs out of the bag and plop their kids down at the table when I’m there: it buys you some precious mental time alone. The smoothest day we spent at the library was when she was so tired she fell asleep almost walking in through the door; the weight was great, but there was no struggle over which part of the library to stay in, nor any objection to me walking past the same shelves over and over.

Mike

Rooftop Set

5 June 2010

Dear J-

If today’s any indication, we have a fair amount of naps in our future in order to ensure continued harmony; she crashed for two hours after lunch, where not even the prospect of ice cream could keep her awake for long. But prior to that figgy was already displaying all the signs: unreasoning crabbiness, irrational thinking. At some point she inevitably comes back down to earth — between the early morninig and all day runninig around, she’s bound to run out of energy.

I still maintain that the secret to energy independence will revolve around millions of toddlers on treadmills, though. I’m always surprised by how quickly Saturday mornings can pass, though there’s tricks for that too. I’ll turn around and the room will be thrashed just like that — if the natural state tends towards increasing entropy, then children are the change agents driving that.

The truth is that you need to put in just as much energy to make it work, and I know how exhausted I am at the end of each day is testament — measure — of how I’m doing. And yet you know that there’s always more that you should have done. It’s days like these (tired, ashamed of some things, reflectively listening to her bellow for more attention) that I know there’s more in a Saturday than today, but sometimes the lessons are hard to digest.

Mike

Chitty Chitty

24 April 2010

Dear J-

I confess that today’s been another wasted day, as it were; there’s nothing I can point to as a tangible change from today aside from purchasing a new belt (the one I have is still solid, but I’ve been wearing it since two jobs ago — eleven years — and it’s starting to look tatty). At some point later in the day, as possible activities start to be checked off, we dip into the reserve of movies we’ve bought and today’s fishing trip brought up Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. There are some contemporary movies where the innate personality of the actors never fail to come out (in rough order, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, and Adam Sandler) at some point, and in the same way CCBB can be said to be a Dick Van Dyke role.

I can blame my brother for turning me on to the movie; between the provenance (written by Ian Fleming, the father of James Bond) and the execution (characters break into song like any good contemporary Disney flick) I think I’ve been fated to see it at some point or another. It’s not admitting too much, is it, to say that any movie with singing characters has a good chance to win its way onto my shelf? Growing up we were allowed to stay up Sunday nights for two reasons: the Star movies (Trek or Wars) and James Bond flicks, which were a particular weakness of my father. While there’s little intrique, comparatively, in CCBB, something about watching it makes me feel eight again.

It was quiet enough today that a movie comprises the most notable point. Just a little day to fill the time between yesterday and tomorrow, quiet time spent together and perfectly.

Mike

Time Shift

17 April 2010

Dear J-

Saturdays move in slow motion some weeks and today was no exception: nothing accomplished, no great memories, right? Truth is that life drains away as we sit in front of the TV (at the moment, CBS is showing something called Saturday Night Strikeforce, which appears to be brought to you by the same people who kept pumping out Jean-Claude Van Damne movies well after their sell-past date expired — the audience looks more ripped-off than interested), and we had a long stint today.

What else are you supposed to do when resting and getting over a cold? The more movies we show to her, the less likely she seems to pay attention to any one in particular, although she was fascinated by the dragon in Sleeping Beauty; I remember being quite intimidated when I was little, although not to the same degree of trauma that I felt when Augustus Gloop got sucked up the pipe.

If you’re just marking off time in order to get through the day, perhaps it’s time for a change instead.

Mike

Today Tonight

10 April 2010

Dear J-

Saturdays are busy days; between the little bit of cleaning that I manage to do (vacuuming, which in the figgy era has turned into a hour-long misadventure of hiding and seeking with a long, loud denoument) and some small outing — we’ve just lately headed out to do a little shopping, which generally consists of shooing her away from various fragile displays and expensive toddler-level (seriously, couldn’t they relocate these things?) shelves. Do you ever pause somewhere along the way and wonder what else the day might bring?

Just today the fascination has been in providing herself impromptu (yet thankfully at-home) gynecological examinations; last week it was throwing things, so we are making some kind of progress. I still remember going to visit a friend and being surprised by their younger brother running around the house sans pants — we’re past the point of being able to wrestle her into clothes on a regular basis, and it’s just easier. That’s the real reason we never have people over, right?

I’m looking forward to seeing what next week brings; they keep telling me that this is a fun time, as she hasn’t completely gone to full disrespect and disobedience. Yet after flipping her dinner over, she was completely contrite and distraught, asking for more — discipline isn’t an easy thing to maintain in the face of hysterical tears. After no nap and an irregular Saturday schedule, we’re all ready to relax into jelly. That’s enough for today.

Mike

Longview

13 March 2010

Dear J-

Yesterday I spent a few minutes looking around the daycare for dirty laundry — not figuratively hunting for rumors and innuendo, but trying to find evidence of accidents; there were none, and I was confused, doubly so today when we ran out of pants and we had to choose between putting figgy into a diaper before bedtime and trusting that she’d be able to hold it. We did make it through an outing without incident (I’m not counting falling asleep and letting go in the car seat) but the rest of the day was filled with craziness.

It threatened rain all day, but the madness could not be contained in the house either. We made our way to Balboa Park where I initially thought we’d go off to the Japanese Garden and the Spring Festival, but we ran into a perfect storm of traffic (Zoo, major rummage sale, and a parade on the western edge) and we ended up trying to find a quiet corner instead. Yet as we made our way across the highway, the noise swelled and our steps quickened toward the St. Patrick’s Day parade instead of the Marston House like I’d thought. The brick paths and lush greens from the last month of rain were calling to me, but we’ll have opportunities in the future.

It’s strange how the more independent we want to make her, the more work we have to put into it. At some point she will find out that her legs work again and we’ll be able to discontinue the impromptu upper-body workouts, but that means we don’t get to hold her as much either. There are compromises and tradeoffs to every choice; we can’t hold back time, we can’t keep her from growing up and I wouldn’t want that — the small steps seem so infinitesimal until you actually take a longer look at things; one month ago, one week ago, one year ago.

Mike