Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Around Here Lately

It's been a whirlwind of something like excitement the last two weeks. Maybe less excitement and more general busy-ness, but still a whirlwind.

Today, for example, my heart stopped when Zuzu ran away from me in the carport and ran to the alley instead of the gate to get in the yard. I had (mistakenly) trusted her to walk the few feet from the car to the gate while I unloaded the dirty diaper bag, my purse, and the Target bags. A split second later, I had dropped everything in the carport and chased her into the alley--a total danger zone because cars drive way too quickly and she just darted out from the side of our garage. I was so mad and upset and freaked out by imagining the worst-case scenario that could have happened, that I just picked her up, plunked her inside the gate, and left her there crying while I picked up everything off the ground and carried it inside. Then we had a talk about cars and danger and not running away from Mama, which I'm sure was really effective.

Really it just means that I'll be carrying her into the fenced in yard and making a second trip to get all our crap out of the car. She cannot be trusted to walk alongside me!

It seems reasonable to hire a personal assistant to carry my purse and the diaper bag once Rerun gets here, don't you think?

David and I spent last weekend in Michigan, leaving Zuzu here with my parents. I left her overnight one time last August for a quick trip to the lake with some girlfriends. It was less than 24 hours and she was asleep for at least 12 of those, plus she was at home with Daddy. So this really felt different--it was THREE whole  nights. We missed her like crazy, although it was really freeing to be able to not watch the clock for lunch-time, nap-time, snack-time, bed-time. We just did what we wanted, which felt so weird because we hadn't had the opportunity to do whatever we wanted with our time without being totally burdened with grief since December of 2010. After Eliza died, we had all the time in the world, but we didn't enjoy a moment of it because all we wanted was to be answering to the demands of a newborn. By the time the worst of that fog of grief had shifted, we were answering to the demands of a newborn.

So it was a strange but nice sensation to browse aimlessly in gift shops and eat late dinners and see a movie in the theater. As for Zuzu... I'm not sure she missed us at all. She had a blast with my parents, ate and slept well the whole time, and basically seemed to enjoy herself hugely. My only complaint is that her wake-up time seems to have shifted to about 30 minutes earlier which is not okay. We are still working on readjusting that.

I will say, though, that her snuggles when we got home were pretty much the best thing ever. David got her up from her nap and she gave him a huge smile and a tight squeeze around the neck, but then looked at him and said, "Mama?" So maybe she missed us a little bit after all.

The purpose for our trip to Michigan was for me to attend a conference on Victorian literature, which was both interesting and productive (believe it or not), and we also had time to do some shopping, eat at some great places, see The Grand Budapest Hotel, and on our last day we even took a scenic little drive. I'd never been to Ann Arbor but I loved the college town vibe and how walkable everything was. We stayed at a kitschy little bed & breakfast and really loved it.

(Also my parents said that when we were gone, Zuzu kept pulling out the DVD case for Breakfast at Tiffany's and pointing at Audrey Hepburn and saying, "Mama," so that's basically the greatest compliment EVER. Way better than my previous look-a-like.)

I have felt a little crazed since getting home, I think mostly because I had grading that was leftover from spring break (that's FINALLY finished and returned to my students--just in time to get another batch next week). We count on our weekends to do laundry and grocery shopping, so that has felt a little crazy this week, too. Spring break flew by once I got home from Vegas, and between house projects and a couple get-togethers with friends and all that damn grading, we've been busy in a good (but tiring) way.

Zuzu is entertaining us with more and more words and starting to string sentences together. She is definitely a fan of warm weather as her favorite activity is anything "Out-sigh! Out-sigh!" She'll grab her shoes and struggle to put them on herself, shouting, "Help! Pease!" in a voice that is clearly a demand rather than a request. She loves her little pink Toms and I have to convince her to wear her cute little brown Mary Janes some days. She's wearing shoe size 4.5 now (as long as they aren't too narrow), so I'm waiting a little longer to order her summer sandals (which is fine since it's still annoyingly cold here--though I think it's supposed to start feeling like Spring this weekend).

Her favorite activity at swimming lessons is when we sing "If You're Happy and You Know It" and shout "Hooray!" because I lift her up in the air and splash her back down in the water. For the rest of the lesson, she kept asking, "More hooray? More hooray?"

I've basically convinced myself that a balanced meal at dinner can consist of crackers with cheese, crackers with hummus, and crackers with peanutbutter. Plus milk and a kiwi. Because someone's favorite food right now is most definitely "Craw-caw!"

We've discovered that the book No, No, Yes, Yes, as adorable as it is, may actually be giving Zuzu some naughty ideas--dumping water outside the bath and running away are two "No, no" activities in the book that she has given a try since we started reading it. Not quite the intended lesson!

She dyed Easter eggs with my mom and evidently really got into it. I'm a little relieved that they did that because I honestly wasn't planning on doing it--it seemed to me like a lot of mess and effort.  But they had a good time. The eggs aren't exactly gorgeous (no gold leafing here, Pinterest), but I'm glad Zuzu enjoyed herself. She's been hiding plastic Easter eggs and finding them around the house, and shouting "Egg!" when she sees Easter decorations elsewhere, so that's cute. I've gathered a few little things for her Easter basket so I'm excited to put that together at my parents' this weekend.

I'm definitely feeling pregnant, which makes sense since I'm past 25 weeks now. Movement has gotten more pronounced--like, oh, that was definitely a kick in the ribs. I have to pee before and immediately after every class, so basically once an hour. Makes me wish that the ladies room wasn't on the opposite side of the building, but the walk is probably good for me. My office is on the third floor and climbing the stairs has started to take a real effort now that my center of balance has shifted a little. I had a vivid nightmare last night about ticks and rats, which was disgusting and disturbing.

In better news, the book Three Minus One is now available on Amazon (that's not an affiliate link, FYI, because I have no idea how to do that). I'm so honored that my essay was selected to be part of it, and I'm so happy that a topic that still feels taboo is being more publicly discussed. The movie Return to Zero, whose producers went on to collaborate on the book, premieres on Lifetime on May 17th.

I'm not going to lie. I think the movie will be hard to watch, and reading the book will make me cry and cry and cry. But the grief is great because the love is huge. And that love deserves to be honored and talked about and thought about and addressed publicly.

So that's what's going on around here lately.


  1. Wow-sounds like lots going on!

  2. Hi,
    Yes, lots to comment on in that post and all in all sounds like everything is pretty great given that all the toddler behavior is, well, typical toddler stuff that I know we wouldn't trade for anything! But MAN they can move fast, can't they?!
    So I ordered Three Minus One right after reading this post the other night. Two copies. And No No, Yes Yes to put in her Easter basket. Sounds like I should've read this more closely because I recall you saying how much you liked it in Vegas and assumed what you wrote here was the same. Ha! So we'll see how it goes. Stinker is already giving me the "whattya gonna do about it?!" eye while doing something she knows she's not supposed to.
    Anyway. The Amazon box containing the books was harder to open than I thought it would be. And daring to read the essays is going to take some determination and basically loyalty to Anna and all the babies lost to us. Because damn damn DAMN it feels like intentionally jumping into the deep end of Grief's pool, voluntarily reading these essays.
    Which is why I started with yours first. Knew I could handle whatever you had to say. And I already wrote to you about that, so won't repeat myself here.
    But thank you for letting us know it was out, and when Return to Zero is airing. We'll be watching.

  3. B does that sort of running away business every once in awhile and it scares the daylights out of me.

    To have no schedule! How nice! I can see that in my future in about a year. The first time we have on the books to vacation without either kid. Can't wait!

    Glad you had a nice time. Welcome back....

  4. I just ordered Three Minus One and feel similarly to you about it - excited to read it, but no it will make me really sad. I love this post - sounds like you are up to lots of fun things!