Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dave Ramsey Would Be Very Upset With Me

I feel like a huge weight has lifted off my mind lately. Ever since Baby P came barreling into the world I've had this nagging guilt that something I was doing was making her so sensitive, so restless.
After a week of caring for Little E, I've put that guilt to rest. I do the exact same things with him that I did when Peyton was an infant (except nursing, because that would be a little weird) and he's still her total opposite. He's cried twice. That's it. And not even with an insistent AID ME NOW cry, more like a Hey, if you're not busy could you attend to me? cry.

At one point Little E went to sleep sitting in the baby rocker holding onto my finger. That's it. That's all he needed. My brain exploded. I didn't know babies could do that!

Peyton likes having Little E around. She brings his bottle and pacifier to him all the time and rocks the baby rocker for him. She's sometimes a little too enthusiastic in her rocking but we're working on it. She's taken to carrying around her dolls and caring for them. It melts my heart.

I thought I would begin to resent how different my own experience was when Baby P was an infant but so far I just feel like it's not a big deal. It may be that I've finally come to terms while the fact that my little girl's babyhood was nothing like I pictured or I may be in denial about it. I can't tell.

As for how I ended up needing to take on an entire other kid in the first place, well that's a bit embarrassing. Actually, it's really embarrassing. I didn't even want to write about it until it was mostly fixed, so I've been pretty quiet here lately.

It started with Josh's chair. I wanted to re-stuff it so I got some supplies from Amazon. About $50 worth. When I went to checkout I got one of those store card offers, which I usually ignore. Except this time it was for a free $50 gift card and all I had to do was sign up for a credit card. So my supplies would be free. Whoopee!

As you can probably imagine, it went downhill from there. We had pretty amazing credit because we didn't have credit cards, Josh had paid off a car loan crazy early and all our bills were paid on time every month. We were a credit company's dream team. So the Amazon card came with a relatively high limit.

We reached that limit within 60 days.

At first it was a Do Not Use card. Then it was a This Is An Emergency card. Then it was a We Deserve A Treat card. And on and on, justifying purchases that I honestly couldn't even list you now, six months later. So they obviously weren't needs.

We got a bad case of the Gimmes. Gimme a new video game. Gimme a new nursing tank top that looks exactly like the two I already own. Gimme a helium tank for birthday balloons. Gimme expensive Disney balloons for a first birthday party. Gimme a second car payment. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

It got pretty bad this summer. When we went to North Carolina the engine fan in my car (that we just got 30 days before!) went out. Suddenly we had a  huge bill and no money to pay for it because we just emptied our savings into the vacation. And we had to drive home in three days. Oh but, lo and behold, Firestone has a credit card! Yup, we got a second card.

With all the new payments added to our already strained budget, it was getting hard to breathe. There was more month than money. The fact that Josh's pay wasn't properly increased this year to keep up with inflation doesn't help. Our groceries are more expensive despite the fact that I buy about half of what I used to. Our utility bills have been cringe-worthy. Little surprise expenses for Josh's job keep coming up and since he can't just tell the Army no, we have to cut back somewhere else.

It's just a lot of no good circumstances all coming around at once. Most of it is my fault. I shouldn't have fallen for that first card offer. I don't really know what happened to my resolve. I think it may have been because I was lonely and exhausted. Josh was in a different state for three weeks for training and I was holed up at home, bored, frustrated, in need of adult conversation. So I went and became a shopaholic. I'm not very good at being a grown-up these days. 

I tried working from home as a call representative but with how high maintenance Peyton is it didn't work. So I put an ad on craigslist figuring there must be someone like me in need of affordable, quality childcare. And now we have Little E five days a week. It took a few days to adjust but we seem to have settled into a nice routine. It helps that Little E is super easy going. He doesn't yell at me unless I'm too slow making a bottle. I think we're going to be good friends.

Slowly but surely, we're working to fill the debt hole back in. I'm lucky that our marriage hasn't gotten shredded by our money troubles. It hasn't been perfect but we've teamed up rather nicely against the odds. Now excuse me while I post some more things for sale on craigslist, gotta get my hustle on.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Life with a Boddler

Hello? Anyone still out there? Hi, Mom. I've been away. Let's call it a midsummer vacation. Really I was just procrastinating. But here I am again. Did you miss me? I know you missed Baby P!

I'm not sure what age a baby becomes a toddler. Does it happen at a certain month? Year?  I feel like we're in the midst of some kind of transition. She's a baby and yet kind of a toddler. A Boddler.

Peyton is independent when she's awake yet I still have to hold her for all naps and rock her to sleep at night. And she's still nursing. As much as I love our breastfeeding relationship, I admit I wouldn't be devastated if she weaned herself sooner rather than later. I'm quickly discovering that as much as I love some crunchy things, full-term/extended/whatever you want to label it breastfeeding isn't jivving with my personality. Sometimes I'm gung-ho Yes, lactation is awesome! while other days I'm all Really? Another clogged duct/milk blister/2 hour nursing session? In case you don't know what a milk blister is, it's like a whitehead on your nipple. I know, super sexy right?

We're currently practicing "Don't ask, don't refuse" which was working pretty well except that Peyton's nursing like it's her job lately because she has not one, not two, but eight teeth coming in at once. It's karma for my short-lived but dramatic teenaged rebellion, I'm sure. I'm tempted to try night weaning her pretty soon in a bid to get her to sleep all the way through the night. But the thought of losing the sleep I get now after months of work is completely terrifying. I get a migraine just thinking about it. Maybe I'll get the guts to go for it. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and she'll magically sleep on her own one day soon.

Baby P has been mimicking us a lot lately. Like right now she's pretending to clip my toenails by pressing the clippers backwards against my foot. She has also learned how to brush her hair (if she could just figure out which side of the brush to use) and how to use hair clips on my head. Although, she hasn't quite figured out that it's best to UNclip before yanking it from my head. I've lost small chunks of hair daily since Baby P discovered what her nimble fingers can do.

Lately Peyton's favorites are books and her "stuffies". I find her carrying around her board books and sitting with them in random places like the hallway, just flipping through the pages and looking intently at the pictures. A stuffie is anything fluffy and animal-shaped. Even our living, breathing dog is a stuffie. The poor dog can't lay down for a snooze lately without suddenly being grabbed up by the head in a fat baby arm choke-hold. Hermione is a pretty good sport about it, although I don't think the situation is helping her doggy anxiety much.

Peyton's been walking for a few months (I'm still amazed by this development) and she rarely falls down now. However she has adapted a peculiar way of swaying while she walks in order to keep her balance, so it's a bit like living with a tiny drunk person.

We have a fashion diva on our hands, it seems. Everything from Josh's socks to my pajama pants are subject to becoming an interesting new accessory. I'm able to capture a lot of it on Instagram but there are some times when I'm without my phone and just enjoy the moment instead. Like when my bra became a two-tiered floppy hat. I like to think she gets her sense of style from me.

There has been a discovery of buttons recently. Before, Peyton was aware that some things, like the T.V. remote can be pressed and smacked and sometimes things will happen as a result. But now she knows what buttons will produce what reaction. She found the PS3 buttons, much to Josh's dismay. She loves to eject the disc. You can imagine the chaos this creates. The cutest part is how she'll hold up the disc like a prize and then repeatedly jam the Eject button down and attempt to peer into the slot when nothing else comes out. If Josh is playing a game when Peyton gets a hankering for button pressing, she will burst into tears if he so much as says "Awww." She feels pretty bad about it, I guess.

For the past week I've been spending a good chunk of my day standing in the hallway opening doors while Baby P stands on the other side and pushes them shut. I often find Josh in the same situation on his days off. This game literally goes on for hours if you let it. I usually try to get her into the kitchen where she can close AND open the cabinets as much as she wants.

About a month ago I set up a "drum set" for Peyton with an empty salsa jar, a few mixing bowls and a beater for a drumstick. This kept us occupied (and our ears ringing) for a good amount of time. I put it all away in the cupboard under the sink (which is now filled with baby-friendly objects due to P's insistence on opening the door and pulling out the cleaning supplies) the other day. Yesterday I watched in fascination as Peyton brought the mixing bowls, salsa jar, beater and a plastic measuring cup out to the living room. Then, I kid you not, she turned them all upside down in a semi-circle around her and starting playing with her "drums". I mean, holy cheese sticks, kid might be a genius. Or maybe this is normal. I don't know. But it seemed pretty intelligent to me.

My girl has also gotten really into sharing; or her version of it anyway. And she isn't very concerned with whether or not you actually want what she's presenting you with. It's a gift and you will accept it (and then return it 5 seconds later when she changes her mind). The dog has animal crackers shoved into her mouth on an almost hourly basis. It's not unlike the relationship that Iago in Aladdin has with Jasmine's father. Hermione is beginning to regret her months spent stalking Baby P as an infant since this is obviously payback.

I don't know if this is normal boddler behavior or if I'm just blessed with a special kind of kid, but for most of the day, she wants to be picked up but then wants down, then up but only if she can grab everything off of the table too. Oh, and any food you happen to be eating is also hers for the taking. But she only wants to taste it and then she gives it to the dog.

If that's not enough cuteness for you, pretty soon we'll be adding another bundle of joy to our home. No, I'm not preggers and don't plan to be any time soon. But starting in a couple weeks I'll be taking care of a sweet little newborn baby boy. You know, to keep things interesting.

Really, though, this is a supplemental income that we really need. I have a separate post coming up about this, but to put it simply: I screwed up. I made stupid financial decisions for our family and suddenly we're living paycheck to paycheck. Not even that, really. More like the money's gone two days after payday and then we're just hoping the sky doesn't fall.

I don't say any of this for an "Oh you poor dear" reaction. Our bills are all paid and we have food on the table every day. It could be worse. For a lot of people, it is worse. I just want to be as honest as possible. I'm not babysitting because I just love extra work (no matter how squishy and cute that work is). I'm working to cushion my family and hopefully clamber as gracefully as possible out of the embarrassing hole I dug.

So there you have it. I have a busy boddler and an empty wallet. But we're happy. I have love and humor and an incredibly sexy husband. Which is a lot more than I could ever ask for. Although I wouldn't turn down a winning lottery ticket, in case anyone has one.