Friday, February 29, 2008

A random remembrance

I've had a very frustrating afternoon. I will not bore you with the horrid little details, but take yesterday's annoyances concerning the birth certificate and multiply it...oh, maybe ten times, by adding a completely fruitless two hour excursion to two crowded government offices in very bad rush hour traffic and you will begin to understand my foul mood.

So I came home, fed Aiden and began to get dinner ready, stewing and steaming all the while over the perfectly futile waste of time and energy that constituted this day. All I could handle making for dinner was simple spaghetti and meatballs. And I managed to ruin even that. I burned the stupid sauce... and then I remembered something that miraculously softened my mood.

I remembered an incident from my childhood that took place maybe 20 years ago. Our poor mother had had a similarly trying day which culminated in burning spaghetti sauce. However, it wasn't completely burned beyond hope. She managed to salvage it, for the most part, but there were a few stray flecks of darkness in the sauce. However, knowing the fact that she'd had a hard day, we didn't say anything. ( A strange and uncharacteristic instance of merciful maturity on our part...) But then, a family member appeared on the scene, who shall remain nameless...partially because I can't remember with absolute certainty which of us it was...But it wasn't me! This person was apparently unaware of the outrages of the day, and not knowing the fact that the sauce had been partially burned, sat down at the table, started to partake of the dinner, and perhaps thinking that there was some strange, new seasoning in use, commented, " What are these little black things? They don't taste very good...!" I'm not sure it was funny to Mama at the time, being a sort of last straw on her poor back but it ended up becoming a family joke, brought out in odd moments over the years.

So as I saw the sauce sticking to the bottom of that wretched sauce-pan and realized with a feeling of simultaneous rising fury and sinking heart that I had flubbed yet ANOTHER THING today...suddenly, in my mind's eye, I pictured Andrew wandering into the kitchen, looking over my shoulder and murmuring with his characteristically impeccable timing, " What are those little black things? They don't taste very good.." And what could I do but SMILE.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'd like the Birth Certificate Combo Meal...

I went on several wild goose chases over the phone today. One of the missions I was on had to do with getting Aiden's birth certificate. ( This is so we can get his social security number, because someone at the hospital dropped the ball, I guess...b/c it's been two months and his S.S. # card hasn't come in the mail yet... We need it so we can do our taxes, so we can get our refund, so we can get a new dishwasher to put in the house that Jack built.) After harassing several people at the hospital to make sure that I had exhausted our luck there, I was told to call our probate court. I looked up the number in the phone book, only to be told that it was no longer in service. Ah. So I tried a different county office, hoping they could help me get in touch with the probate court. THAT number was disconnected too! It turns out the yellow pages book was an unmitigated WEB OF LIES. Um... actually it was two years old. But good grief- not every phone number should be wrong in a two year old phone book!

So I ended up calling information and asking for the number. Surely, I would be safe with the good old 411. I had to nearly scream my request into the phone because they had one of those maddening systems where you have to speak to a robot whose favorite phrase is, " I'm sorry. I didn't get that..." I was relieved when they said they could automatically connect me with my desired number, if I just said yes. YES! No more number dialing for my poor little worn out digits. Besides, the whole time I was trying to multi-task and was feeding Aiden, so the less fine motor skills I had to perform, the better. Ah...the phone is ringing...soon I shall be conversing with a bureaucrat who will help me...

"Hello, this is Taco Bell..."

I kid you not.

Now, I've been known to crave a chalupa or a gordita on occasion. Don't get me wrong: I like Taco Bell. Just not when I'm trying to order a birth certificate. THE 411 WAS WRONG! Does
" ----- County Probate Court" sound like "Taco Bell" to you? ( Let me give you a hint- the name of my county does NOT rhyme with either of the words " Taco" or "Bell." )

And the next number I tried was wrong too. It was some gallery whose employee sounded distinctly hostile.

Good grief.

So I felt like I had performed a small miracle when I finally got through to the place I wanted... which was thanks to the probate court's WEBSITE. Where would we be without the wonderful world wide interweb? I will never trust the phone book, nor call 411 again. EVER. I have learned my lesson: don't think that you can hold the infant and put the phone on speaker and dial away. No. You'll be on the phone all day that way. The computer is your ONLY HOPE. Put the baby down and merge onto the information superhighway.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Trick or Treating - in February." Or " Drive-by- Hot Chocolating."

Don't come to my door asking for hot chocolate because I'm fresh out.

The story goes like this. I guess Grandpa hailed, or was hailed by, some young waifs of the neighborhood and was bragging on Aiden. Well, the little girls wanted to come meet this Wunder-Babe, but before they came to the house, they sped away on their little kiddy cart ( which looks like a mini-John Deere tractor) for no apparent reason ( maybe to ask their parents...?). Grandpa came in to tell me to expect visitors. Emma, 6, and Briley ( spelling?) 3, came to my door about fifteen minutes later with Grandpa and checked out Aiden, as he slept in the cradle swing. ( This swing was loaned to us by Bryan and Sarah and is worth its weight in GOLD - Aiden loves it.) Briley took it upon herself to rock the swing, a little too vigorously for my taste, and Grandpa quickly assured her that it was completely unnecessary, as it is battery powered. They were very cute and sociable. Suddenly, out of the blue, Emma pipes up with, " We just came by to get some hot chocolate! We'll take one package."

Oh? Will you now? (... as if this was some regular occurrence.)

Kids are so funny. Hi- I just met you- give me your hot chocolate! Lucky for them I HAD hot chocolate! And lucky I had it in packets and not in one big ol' can. ( Okay, kids, let me scoop out a cup's worth of powder into your upturned, grubby palms and then you can run on home...) I've actually been on a hot chocolate bender in the last few weeks. I ended up parting with my last two packets - and gave them the last of my marshmallows too. Why not? I mean- what good are marshmallows without hot chocolate? And they really didn't want to drink it here! I started to put the kettle on but they insisted they wanted it " to go", as it were. The three year old also wanted to make off with a bottle of Propel water, but her older sister wouldn't hear of it. I guess canvassing the neighborhood for hot beverages is one thing- to ask for a sport drink would be unthinkable. The whole thing made me laugh.

Ah well. I suppose since giving a child a cup of cold water is lauded in the Bible, then doling out hot chocolate packets to cute urchins is sort of being virtuous.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weeping and gnashing of... gums

You know that old saying, " A watched pot never boils"? Well, I have a new twist on that proverb: " A listened-to baby never stops crying." I'm sure all you experienced moms out there probably know exactly what I'm talking about. Lately, I have been steeling myself to let Aiden cry himself to sleep at night. If I know he's full, dry, and burped, I don't worry too much when he wails; I keep reassuring myself that he's just exercising his lungs. In some ways, it's not too hard to let him cry because I'm pretty exhausted when bedtime comes and so I just lie there and let him screech away like an outraged cat in the next room. And he'll taper off and I'll think, " Oh, good. He's done crying."


Thinking that is just an INVITATION for more crying. Then he winds up again, like there's no tomorrow. But if I zone out and think about something else, or get on the computer, or whatever, next thing I know, he's conked out. So... Ironic New Mother Piece of Advice Number One: Ignore your child.

Last night, as I lay abed listening to him, I remembered my parents talking about how I cried all the time as a baby- apparently, it's all I did for months. I'm sure Aiden is not NEARLY as bad as I was, but in some small measure, as I endure his nightly roarings, I am getting a taste of my own medicine, almost thirty years later. But I can't really complain because he is now USUALLY sleeping a good five or so hours at a stretch every night. Knock on wood.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Iron Curtain in GA; Our House is BUGGED!

We got new phones! ( land-line phones, not cell phones.) The old ones kept having problems and we were getting tired of picking up the phone and hearing snippets of the other person on the other end... and everyone who called us was getting tired of hearing us say, " Hello? Hello? I can't hear you...Hang on...Let me switch to another phone and see if I can hear you better on that..."

( Well, secretly, I loved the old malfunctioning phones because, being an anti-phone person by nature, I kind of liked the excuse... "Sorry! Can't talk! Stupid phone isn't working again! You'll just have to email me. Or text me. Or leave a comment on my Facebook wall. Or on the blog... In this world of hyper-communication, surely you can find a way to reach me if you must." But, being married to a rational adult, he convinced me that it was wise to bite the bullet and just get a phone system that worked.)

One cool and nefarious feature, among many, of these new phones is the baby monitor feature. There are four phones in the system and you can listen in on any one of the rooms in the house where there is a phone from any other phone. And by listen in, I can press a button, pretend you are a Communist spy and hear what is going on in that other room...without ANYONE in that other room KNOWING that you are listening! ( *rub hands together in a Lewie Hansen-like gesture...*) My mind was so blown by that revelation. I LOVE technology!

SO, anyone who comes to our house...BEWARE! Big Brother, or Big Sister, may be eavesdropping. No church leadership meeting is safe in our living room from now on! ( Ha ha. If I really wanted to know what was going on, I'd just sit on the stairs and listen.)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Some more pictures...

The other day, a package came in the mail from Mrs. Janet Hidden, a friend of our family's from Essex days. She had made this magnificent quilt for Aiden. I was completely blown away! It's so nice, I almost don't want him to get near it, for fear some spit up or other bodily secretion will mar its beauty. But I really wanted to get a picture of him with it...

(He went through quite a bald spell for a while but now his hair is starting to grow back on the top of his head. YAY! Don't know if you can really tell from this picture or not...)

And then we have this lovely family portrait...At this point, he was pretty much DONE with the photo shoot and had descended into wild wailings. He was NOT ready for his close ups, but I think he's still pretty cute anyway.

More pictures on Flickr.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Aiden Goes to Church

Yesterday, Aiden attended church for the first time. Hurray, hurrah. And according to tradition, we gave him back to God in a ceremony of dedication. God's in charge of his life, and that helps me to relax a little bit.

Here is a picture of him taken yesterday, wearing the sweater and hat that Aunt Liane made for him (picture taken by Penny).

I haven't been posting a whole lot recently, mainly because most days are pretty much the same - consisting of feeding Aiden, burping Aiden, changing his diapers, eating, sleeping, and laundry... Not very exciting material... but I am very happy, nonetheless. One smile from him makes my entire day. And it's real to me that even though, according to the world's standards, I am not being very productive ( I am not contributing to the Gross Domestic Product or anything like that), I am sustaining a new life and that is of tremendous importance. Even though it appears mundane, I am doing God's will for me right now; it is God's will to feed and burp and change this child every bit as much as it is God's will for some people to go be a missionary to China.

And I love Aiden so much, it's almost scary.