The factory is silent. Its assembly line stands motionless. Somewhere off in the darkness, a buzzer sounds. One by one, lights begin to flicker and illuminate on long-unmanned diagnostic panels, giving a sense of enormity and complexity and scale to the machinery. The low hum of power supplies warming up comes next, followed by the higher and louder whine of turbines and electric motors. A whistle sounds, and one by one, employees begin to file in and take their places at the controls. Purposed for a single task, whose time has now come, the factory slowly comes to life...

Friday, July 30, 2010

How the Other Half Lives

Craig is in DC for work this week, so I took a week's vacation at work to play stay-at-home-mom. I figured taking off work would be the best idea because we have no way of knowing how Claire is going to react to her daddy being gone all week, and she should have as much of my time and attention as I can possibly give her.

So I get to see what it would be like to be a SAHM.

What will complicate this experiment is that I am also combining it with the experience of being a single mom. And I don't know if there is such a thing as a single, stay at home mom. Unless one came into some kind of big settlement or was somehow independently wealthy, that would be a tough one to do... So it may skew the view a bit, but we'll see.


I decided to take it a little easy today because I didn't sleep much last night. Craig had to be up at 3 a.m. to leave for the airport at 4, and so I couldn't sleep well either. So even though I tried not to work too hard, it was still pretty tough on very little sleep.

Craig and I have our days worked out to a solid system, down to the objects we get together for naps and bedtime, and the whole bedtime routine. And having that expectation already set and organized made it a little easier. However, the system only works really well if there are TWO people. Otherwise, it takes a long time to get everything prepped, and to add in things like...eating. Or showering. Etc.

I am now comfortable with peeing with the door open in front of Claire! ("Pee pees! Hooray for Mommy!") She thinks it's a riot because she's not normally allowed in the half bathroom downstairs, so it's like a forbidden wonderland to her. I have to remember to keep the blinds in the office closed though...

I got really anxious at bed time because I was afraid that was going to be the one time Claire would truly notice her daddy wasn't there tonight. When she goes up to her bath, she climbs the stairs and Craig is usually at the top encouraging her. I'm pretty sure she was looking for him tonight. On an ordinary night, before she gets out of the bath, I start rinsing her off, and say, "Let's call Daddy!" and she goes, "Da da da dd ddaaddeee!" Then Craig helps me get her into a towel. Tonight I only asked her if she was ready, but she still called out and looked for daddy. It almost made me cry.

Otherwise she went right to sleep! And then it took me an hour to clean everything up. Ugh.

But the house is weird when I'm here by myself. Every noise is amplified, and I'm just anxious about everything. I never used to feel like this in my apartment, but the house seems so big and empty and, well, scary. Having the alarm set makes me feel better though...


Okay, I totally need to quit my job and be a SAHM. My stress level is just about zero. The only thing giving me any stress at all (and it's minor) is trying to keep Claire on a schedule while getting everything done by myself. But we even managed TWO trips out of the house today: once to the vet to get Desmond's medicine (where Claire got to meet [and sign] doggies!), and then to the grocery store.

BTW, Claire LOVES going in the car. She's like an excited little dog when you say, "Want to go for a ride in the car?" She frantically signs CAR! and makes a beeline for the garage. It's pretty cute.

So we did all that, and now I'm just spending the rest of my night cleaning up. The monkey wrench this evening is that garbage has to go out to the curb for tomorrow, but I'm not marching out there in the bug-infested jungles of Charlotte at midnight to do it. So I'll get it all together and just take it out in the morning.

If Craig were home, my life would be a piece of cake. Three things I realized:

1. I bet a lot of people put their kids to bed at 6 or 7 pm just so they can get things done in the evening, and spend time together as a couple. (Also, I realize, if the kid has to get up mega-early for daycare. Slugabed Claire doesn't wake up until 8-ish.) If I were a SAHM, I might do the same. I don't like early mornings though.

2. If Claire wasn't in an inflatable tub inside the big bathtub (which we do for safety reasons) post-bath time would be an easy cleanup. (Also, she was more splashy tonight than I've ever seen her. She must've spent a good 10 minutes just splashing her hands around.)

3. I wish cats liked to eat people food off the floor. (aka, I wish we had a dog.) That would definitely save some time.


I'm desperately thinking of ways to replace my income so that I can take care of my baby full time instead of working. I'm even considering buying lottery tickets.

Claire definitely got up on the cute side of the bed today. How did people as goofy looking as me and Craig make such a beautiful, awesome kid?!

Claire and I are running out of things to say to one another at meal time because there's no Daddy to provide running chatter, but I'm improvising.

I've come to the conclusion that stay at home moms that say they're bored must just be boring people.


I will start buying weekly lottery tickets this weekend.


Not even worth typing up a whole thing about it. This week has been completely awesome, and probably the most fun, interesting week I've spent in the last year.

I am totally in the wrong line of work. Hell of a time to realize it though.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Signing Pitfall

Today Claire was sitting on the floor with me, and I was trying to show her the sign for "I love you."

I said the words, and showed her the sign and said the words again. And she studied my hand and my face, as she does when she's trying to concentrate hard on what I'm saying and doing.

And then she looked at her hands, and looked at me and signed...


I love you too, cheese.

Sometimes you just gotta go with what you know, I guess!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Claire!

I feel like a bad mommy for not writing this sooner. But then I realized that I've not written this sooner because I've been so busy taking care of you! So I can't be that bad a mommy, I guess...

Well my sweet girl, you've made it through your first year! Or more specifically, we've all made it through your first year together!

Your daddy and I can't believe how much you've grown. We look at how big you are and how you just go bombing around the living room on your own and we can't believe you're that same little bundle that used to fit on my forearm! That tiny baby with the big eyes and the even bigger appetite! When we get ready for bed at night, I sit and look at you, and remember wistfully how I used to hold you, and how the soft music used to put you to sleep. And then I'd carry my tiny sleeping bear up the stairs, being so careful not to wake you on that creaky 7th step, to lay you down gently and send you off to Slumberland. Now, the best I can do is tell you it's "night night time" and get you to give me that paci-grin before you rest your head on my shoulder as I carry you upstairs. (And that's on a "good" night!)

You're learning things by leaps and bounds, and you amaze me with something new every single day! I love to watch how your brain works as you puzzle out a new toy, or hear the little giggles that erupt when you figure something out for yourself. You're learning ASL signs that we haven't even bothered to try to teach you, and when we do actually point one out to you, you pick it up in an instant. And then you show us again and again how you know it now just to prove a point. (You try so hard to show us how smart you are, but we already think you're just brilliant!)

We are already so, so proud of you, Baby Girl! I'm so excited for this next year to see the many other ways you will astound us. I can't wait to see the little girl you are only now hinting at becoming. I can't wait to have talks with you and more time for us to do things together. I love you so, so much, and I know that every day I will continue to love you more, just as I have every day until now. I never knew so much love was possible, until you showed me. As much as I am helping you grow, you are helping me learn new things about myself every single day.

God bless you and keep you always, and Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet baby.

Love with all my heart,