Cactus vs. Tree

Hello World!  Camden recently started sitting forward facing in his jogging stroller, and it's a different universe.  One where he gets to see more than just my sweaty, huffing face, which might be just slightly more enjoyable.

During our walks/jogs I've been pointing out all of the desert's subtle hints at spring: the air smells like wildflowers, the saguaros are a little fatter, hummingbirds zip around all over the place.  Spring seems so brief in the desert, as we all anticipate the coming summer heat.


Sometimes I daydream about Camden's childhood, filled with lush grass to roll in, cold streams to wade in, and towering oaks to build tree houses in.  Roy had forests to explore, as well as a beach with caves, tide pools, and miles of sand.  Think Goonies.  That was his life, the perfect setting for adventures and exploring.  Pretty awesome.  And then I wonder... if we stay permanently in the desert, will Camden be missing out?

And then I remember my own childhood.  I think of how we lived in the swimming pool all summer- sometimes Mom would even bring sandwiches out so we didn't need to go inside.  Our shoulders were brown, our faces freckled, our hair green-tinged from chlorine.  I think of getting the water hose out to cool our scorching trampoline, which always resulted in "rain showers" and "hose jump rope", even if we were fully clothed.  I think of exploring the sandy washes in the desert behind our house where we chased lizards and caught tarantulas to bring home to our delighted mother.  I think of Christmas afternoons where all the neighborhood kids ran outside barefoot in their pajamas to show off new scooters and Tamagotchis.  Where else can you do that?

We didn't know any different, and we didn't want it any different.  It was the best childhood ever!  Kids make do-I mean, we even had a tree house.  It may have been just a couple of wooden planks nailed to the trunk of a ten-foot, scraggly mesquite tree, but to us it was a top-secret fortress.  Kids only.  Very cool.

It wasn't grass or trees or a beach that made our childhoods awesome.  It was our parents.  We gotta do the same for Camden, no matter what kind of ecosystem we happen to be living in.


Gotta Do What You Gotta Do


Picture a knobby-kneed flamingo carrying a canoe through a parking lot.  Now put that flamingo in a skirt and heels.  Got that image?  Now you know what I looked like on Sunday when I was hauling our pound-packing baby in his carseat to our car.


Roy was still inside the church building, and even though I usually make him carry that clunky carseat, I thought I'd be all helpful by getting Camden buckled and ready in the back seat.  Cam was sleeping, so I was trying not to make any sudden movements, trying not to knock up against any cars.  I was wobbling through the center of the parking lot when the wind picked up hard.  The enormous carseat basically acted as a sail and started dragging me around.  On top of that, I couldn't see where I was going because my hair was flying in my face, and of course I couldn't let go of the carseat, I just had to hang on tight and hope a car wasn't going to hit us. 

Through the blonde-haired haze I saw a family exit the church building.  A dad and his two young children.  They were the perfect age to think a flamingo in heels getting whipped around the parking lot clutching a huge canoe is the funniest thing in the world.  And I was fine with that.  Until it got worse.

Another gust of wind and suddenly the ends of my skirt were blowing around my ears.  I tried to pull a Merilyn Monroe, but Merilyn didn't have a huge chunk of plastic to balance in her arms.  I've never been so grateful to be wearing black tights in my life.  I'm sure you could see my underwear right through the sheer material, but hey... it made me feel a little better as I turned my backside to the young family. 

In that moment a thought entered my mind: You gotta do what you gotta do.  I wasn't about to drop the baby just to save myself some embarrassment {or to save those poor kids from being emotionally scarred for life}.  So what to do but soldier on?  Skirt flapping, tights butt bearing, blundering my way through the parking lot. 

As soon as I got out of the middle of the road I leaned against our car door to try to pin my skirt down.  To no avail.  I decided I was just going to jump in the car as fast as possible so I didn't have to meet eyes with the family I just flashed.  I lowered the carseat to the ground just in time to hear a little toddler voice, "There's Mommy!"

I grabbed fistfuls of my skirt, held it down, and turned around to see the little girl running toward me with her arms out.  Seriously?  What about that situation made her think I was her mother?  I'm not even going to speculate.

When she saw my face her smile dropped and she made a sharp change of course away from me, her arms still out, but now clawing frantically at the air.  The dad and I laughed at the same time.  Crap.  Simultaneous laughter calls for at least an exchanged look.

Mister Dad said something, apologized for his daughter's mistake, but all I could hear was wind and my heart pulsing in my ears.  Should I apologize for flashing them all?  Pretty sure my face was purple at this point.  I nodded, smiled, said something about how cute his daughter was, opened the back door with one hand and slid backward into the car like a snail into it's shell.  Hide hide hide!

Oh yeah- then I reached out and hefted that stupid carseat into the shell with me.


I can just imagine the conversation around the dinner table that night: 
"Hey Dad, remember the crazy lady with the white underpants?"  
"What?" asks the wife.
"Oh.  There was some frazzled new mom in the parking lot," the husband clarifies.  "Couldn't walk and keep her clothes on at the same time."


Welp... all I can say is you gotta do what you gotta do.  Sometimes you gotta let the baby drool drip down your arm.  Sometimes you gotta nurse in the front seat of the car in front of Target.  Sometimes you gotta blast "all da girls in club" even though it's maybe not baby appropriate {no idea why he likes that song}.  Whatever keeps the baby happy and healthy.  Bonus points if you look ridiculous doing it.


Forts

They're for kids.  So we could go ahead claim we made this one for ours.  After all, you're never too young to enjoy a really good fort.


But really, Camden didn't get to experience our creation until the next morning when the three of us ate cereal/milk and watched Looney Tunes.  Camden discovered gravity as he wriggled to the edge of the mattress and dove off headfirst.  Luckily his mama had quick reflexes and a camera in hand.


The night before he slept in his crib while his crazy parents watched a kid movie and ate pizza in the low-hanging fort.



Can I just say: how great is Wreck It Ralph?  So.  Great.  I loved everything about it.


Maybe it's weird that we build forts and watch kid's movies while our kid is asleep.  But let's be honest here, I never grew out of those.  Heck, I never really grew out of a lot of kid stuff.  Sidewalk chalk, running through sprinklers, making spaceships out of cardboard boxes... there's a delicious aftertaste of childhood that makes me so excited to dive in again--this time as a mom.


Oh hey, didn't see you there from behind my elephant.


Us


If you wanted to know some random things about the Buckmasters...  Here are 50

1-     They love to talk about their dream home they are going to design and build themselves someday, where they will grow old together.
2-     She often forgets simple words and phrases like “post office” or “frostbite.”
3-     He is articulate.
4-     If she would let him, he would have pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
5-     They like to read Charles Dickens together-preferably by a cozy fire.
6-     She nags him about chewing his fingernails.
7-     He wishes she wouldn’t hang used towels over the shower door.
8-     He only shaves once a week because she thinks scruffy is hot.
9-     When they were dating and went on their first hike, he held her hand all the way to the top of the mountain. 
10- The trail was really only wide enough for one person.
11- His second favorite holiday is the Fourth of July.
12- She loves fireworks, but hates hotdogs.
13- They picked out their engagement ring together on Hatton Garden Street in London Borough of Camden.
14- Their baby boy is named Camden.
15- She hiccups once a day.  Just one hiccup.
16- He calls it her “raptor cry”. 
17- It does kind of sound like an angry raptor.
18- He would love to go to bed at 7pm every night.
19- She jumps on the bed, tackles him, and they end up talking late into the night.  Every night.
20- They are best friends.
21- Sometimes they eat ice cream straight from the carton while they watch Netflix.
22- His hair is untamable.
23- She tries to tame it anyway.
24- They have a journal they pass back and forth to leave love notes in.
25- Last Christmas she got him a blender because he loves making fruit smoothies.
26- Every time he goes to make a smoothie the baby is sleeping.
27- The blender looks nice on the kitchen counter, though.
28- She taught him how to snowboard.
29- He taught her how to cook.
30- They used to teach Sunday School to a hilarious group of 4-year-olds together every week, and it was their favorite thing ever. 
31- She loves playing video games with friends.
32- Mario Kart and Goldeneye 64 is the extent of his gaming experience. 
33- He wants to keep it that way.
34- They made a New Year’s resolution to only have sweets on Sundays.
35- They aren’t very good at resolutions.
36- She wants to live in London {and for their kids to have British accents}.
37- He wants to live in small-town America. 
38- Their first kiss was during a romantic picnic, lying on a blanket in the grass. 
39- Unfortunately the picnic food was Chinese takeout so all she could think about was whether her lips tasted like soy sauce.
40- They frequently whisper and giggle-snort into their hands throughout movie theater previews.
41- He plays the guitar.
42- She sings in the shower.
43- They have a dozen potential boy names picked out for future children but can’t agree on even one girl name.
44- She’s always misplacing her phone.
45- He gives the best foot massages.
46- She likes to run.
47- He is running a relay marathon with her this summer.
48- They both really need to start training.
49- He makes her laugh.  Like a billion times a day.
50- Their favorite time is 7am on weekend mornings, when sunlight spills into their bedroom window and they bring their baby into bed with them to snuggle and play.

Our Toilets Are Clean


“Will you put him to sleep?”  Roy dangled the cranky baby in front of me.

“If you clean the bathrooms,” I countered. 

“If you put him to sleep, I will lick the toilets clean.”

Does this post need more explanation than that? 

Sleep training hasn’t been our favorite thing in the world.  Anything that causes hot little protest screams is on our list of Least Favorite Things about Parenthood.

Our little escape artist.

So once we finally got Camden sleeping in his crib, we would tiptoe around the house like there were explosive mines buried under the carpet.  Want to make something for dinner?  Forget about it!  Camden’s bedroom door is a mere three feet from the kitchen.  So we’d find ourselves banished to the backyard, eating cereal with our ant residents.  {We can’t seem to get rid of these guys.}


Yet Cam’s naps were still only 20-30 minute spurts! 

So we called in a professional.  After reading my Nap Slap post, an old friend contacted me to let me in on a little secret: she’s an infant sleep consultant.  GOLD!

She suggested a few changes to the nursery {blackout curtains, removing the airplanes over his crib, etc.} and it has made all the difference.  The kid is sleeping in his crib and not in anyone’s arms!  That is, unless Roy is feeling like a softy. 


Not every nap is perfect, but we’re making progress.  We’re talking 2-hour naps, people.  Oh yeah, he’s a champ.  I think the secret has been getting some really good white noise going.  We have an app on my iPad that plays white noise, and I plug it into an iHome and BLAST it.  The whole nursery practically vibrates with white noise, now.  He likes it.  We eat in the kitchen.

Now to master leaving the house.

----

So far we've had one successful family outing at the Tucson Festival of Books.  It was actually kind of grey and wet, which was a nice change for us down here in the desert.  It was fun to get Camden all bundled up for once.



I love these boys.


New Full-Time Job


Going back to work after maternity leave has kept me sane


Initially this realization shocked me, filled me with a sinking feeling of guilt.  I love my boy.  I've wanted to be a mama my whole life, not file papers and answer phones.  What was wrong with me?  I shoved the feeling under a metaphorical rug and pretended it wasn't there.


Until now.  Since this blog has become a space where I share my mothering blunders and minor successes, let me bare all.  Here it is: getting up at 5:00 in the cold dark hours and leaving the house to work at a desk for seven hours is easier.  It's easier than the mental game of parenthood, the emotional strain of parenthood, and not to mention the physical drain of parenthood {feel my biceps lately?}.  I know a lot of parents don't have a choice, they have to work.  But I think some do have a choice, and now I honestly understand why they would choose work.  It's just easier.


So I give Roy a kiss, skip out of the bedroom and breeze past the nursery with a sigh of relief as I get into my car sans 300 pound car seat.  Slightly giddy to get to leave the house {dressed with shoes and everything}, I spend the first half of the day having adult conversation, and showing off the adorable pictures of Camden on my desk, which capture only the best moments.

He's rolling over now-a-days

By 1:30 in the afternoon Roy taps out and I'm home, refreshed and ready to love on my baby boy.  My patience is endless, my focus is all pinned on Cam.  We read books, we practice rolling over, we go running with the stroller, and bedtime comes swift and peaceful.  Ah... part-time mommyhood is easier.

But what's easier is rarely what's best.


At first it was a huge bonus for Roy to have alone time to bond with Camden for the first half of the day.  He quickly gained confidence in his daddy abilities.  All day he sent me videos and pictures of them and their adventures.  Like Camden's first time in grass - which he appears to think is itchy.



Originally we thought Roy would have plenty of time to study.  'Cuz babies sleep all the time, right?
HA!

Got drool?

Although I like my job, it's not a career.  It's not what I went to school for, it's not what I'm passionate about.  The purpose of this job was to get us through Roy's schooling.  But now my job is hindering Roy's schooling.  He needs me home.  And Camden?  He's not a newborn anymore.  We can't pass him back and forth, dropping him off at the office or picking him up from campus-it's hard on him.  He needs me home, too.  And the fact that I wish I didn't have to give up my job... well that bad mom feeling I shoved under the rug has grown legs and is scuttling around in the open now.

I quit on Monday.  My fear was that my boss would be irritated, since I've only been back for a month.  Maybe he'd think we hadn't tried hard enough to make it work.  But then he said something I didn't expect:
"I recognize and appreciate the sacrifice you're making for your family.  I know it's easier to go to work than to stay at home with kids all day."

Whaaat?!  My guilty legged creature isn't the only one of it's species?!  I just wanted to give my boss a huge, bone-crushing hug!  But I figured that would be inappropriate.  Plus I don't want to hurt him, what with these new, enormous biceps of mine.


He has no idea how much better he made me feel.  Maybe I'll even try to boot this guilt out of my life altogether.  It's okay that parenthood is hard, and that it's not always rainbows and unicorns.  There are lows, which for us are currently made up of teething fevers and nap crises.  But the highs?  I've only been doing this for 3.5 months and I can already tell you... there's nothing higher.



In three weeks I'll be taking on mamahood full throttle.  Learning from this experience, I'm going to change a few things.  Like I'm going to get dressed in something cuter than sweatpants, even though it will almost certainly be covered in spit-up within the hour.  Who cares, that's why God invented laundromats.  And we're going to go out.  That's right- leaving the house lugging the car seat with both hands.  We're going to go to the library, even though there's a good chance that Camden will make a hiccup-induced scene.  We're going to hang out with other mama's and their babies, because that's one of those highs I was telling you about.  What's better than a puddle of babies?



 "You have beautiful eyes.  Now hold my hand."

Proud mamas.

My new full-time job... it's gonna rock.  And when it doesn't... well at least it's not answering phones.  At least I'm doing what I'm passionate about.