Monday, May 28, 2018

The Secret Life of Ella

Ella is a wonderful, delightful, beautiful baby. She is generous with her full grin. Even to strangers, she does not hide her face. She delights in her siblings, smiling when they approach her, especially Sam, to whom she gives special adoration.

When we go out in public, people stop to tell me how good Ella is. She is so very content. In church, she is mostly quiet, making pleasant baby noises. Our fellow parishioner exclaim over her. What a good baby she is.

And she is a good baby! Ella is very easy to please. It isn't a complicated affair. After nursing and clean diapers, she only really requires one thing. Her sole requirement is that I hold her. That's it. Notice I did not say that she be held. Oh no. It is a very specific set of arms she requires.

As a result, I regularly change the diapers of a screaming baby since I cannot both hold her and change her diaper simultaneously. Mealtimes are conducted to the soundtrack of screaming baby. (Yes, I can hold her and eat, but sometimes I don't want to.) Showers are spent trying to decide if that sound is the water or the screaming baby. Baths are a special favorite where she screams as if she is actually dying from the time she hits the water until she is dry with the diaper replaced. I get dressed to screaming and get ready for bed to screaming.

I brush my teeth holding baby. I do laundry holding baby. I make school checklists and help children with schoolwork holding baby. I make the bed holding baby, which is more strenuous than you might think. If it can be done holding a baby, I have probably attempted it. Otherwise the wages of free hands is screaming baby.

I do usually get a couple of hours of sleep at night while she is in the crib, but sooner or later, she will wake and realize she is not touching me. She may not be hungry, but she definitely needs to grab my face in order to go back to sleep. And as she gets more mobile, she is more satisfied on the floor. She will accept being held by her father or her siblings for minutes at a time. But soon and very soon, she will be screaming for me again.

Ironically, she was our most chill newborn. She hardly peeped when put down, even the very first night. She slept through the night before she was two weeks old. She was magic baby. Then, around four months, it all changed. She went from being always content to having a list of requirements.

Still, there are worse fates than having to hold a happy baby all the time. It isn't a horrible way to spend your time. When she begins to cry, all I have to do is pick her up. She immediately shines her benevolence on us again. And the strangers at the grocery store will exclaim, "What a contented baby!"

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Purge, Part 1

I've decided to start a series! Hurrah! I think if I write little blurbs and updates about purging the house, I'll be more accountable and less likely to slide into overwhelm despair. This decision might drive every one of my three readers away from this little outpost, but so be it. Last summer it was all pregnancy all the time. This summer will be organizing and getting rid of a mountain of things. So here's the first post. Right now, I am just thinking and deciding on a plan of action.

First decision: Should I tackle the kitchen again or head straight up the stairs for the kid junk?

Points for the kitchen: I am finicky about the kitchen and cannot function in it when things are not just so. As a result, I have not really spent any kitchen time since January 2017. Really. A meal here or there, but that's it. A clean and organized kitchen means I could maybe meal plan and cook regularly again. We eat out entirely too much because the kitchen makes my brain freeze. If I organize the kitchen first, the upstairs cannot be retrashed while I am working on it. Also, I've already purged it once, two years ago, so it isn't quite as out of hand. The stuff I got rid of didn't come wandering back.

Points for the kid junk: The upstairs is traaaassshhhed. It's hard to overstate. There is so much junk without homes. So much stuff that just needs to leave. Because of the overabundance, the stuff wanders all over the house. If the upstairs was purged and organized, the overall house clutter would decline significantly since that is a major source of it.



Unrelated to starting the purge, I have a vision for my bedroom closet that doubles as the bathroom linen closet. I think it would be easier to keep up with items in stock if each had it's own little canvas box. I am thinking about those small 6in canvas crate boxes you might get at Target. I see a shelf with a dozen little crates, one with toothpaste, one with deodorant, one with contact solution, and so on. Is this an organizational dream or am I plain crazy? Is this too fiddly to keep up?