Sunday, March 27, 2011

Things that turn my heart to mush

Watching Turo run with outstretched arms to greet Grandpa at the Denver airport this morning.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Granola bars

In attempts to have healthier snacks when we are out and about, we made granola bars. The recipe came from here (thanks to one of Liz's Monday reading lists). We added dried cherries & blueberries.

Turo likes to pull up his step-stool to stir and press the buttons on the Cuisinart.

Apparently I need to work on my food photography, but really they are pretty yummy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It’s time to clean the bathroom, again

Somewhere in the middle of scrubbing the tub, I usually think “Wasn’t I just cleaning in here?” One of my least favorite parts of being a housewife is the upkeep of our home. This is rather problematic since the home features prominently in the titles of stay at home mom and homemaker. I’ve never been a terribly tidy person. Both my mom and grandmother keep very nice, neat homes. I didn’t get that gene. It doesn’t bother me to step over something on the floor for several days in a row. I work fine when I have numerous piles on my desk. But now that I’m at home full time, there really isn’t an excuse for letting the house get messy. But it does. Toys migrate their way to all sorts of nutty places. Cheerios and pasta bits lodge themselves in the rug. Boots and shoes accumulate at the door. Laundry wrinkles in the dryer for a couple of days.

The daily maintenance is a struggle for me. There are few moments of feeling “success” in the housekeeping department. The dishes are always getting dirty. Clothes are always finding their way to the hamper. Early on I tried to tackle one task a day like dusting on Monday and mopping on Tuesday, but then the house never felt completely clean. Now, I try to do all the big chores at the end of the week, so at least the house feels pleasant for the weekend. I like it when the house is tidy. So you’d think that once it was clean, I could somehow do a little each day to prevent the clutter from returning. And I do toss in the laundry and keep the kitchen straightened (which means that I feel like I’m always either cooking or cleaning in there), but the rest of the house quickly slides downhill until Friday.

My goal for March/April is to spring clean my house in hopes that once things feel organized and sparkly, I will be more motivated to keep up with it. So far I have cleaned one closet and ¾ of my kitchen. I guess I need to step up the pace to get it all done before the happy days of spring begin to call me outside.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sink + Bubbles = Lots of Fun

Turo loves playing in the sink. When I'm making dinner, Turo can often been found here pouring, stirring and mixing. Water often finds its way onto the counter, floor & Turo, but it's a small price to pay for a few peaceful moments.


I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and write a few thoughts about attachment. Now that we've been together for almost two years, I think we're pretty well attached. I can't point to any specific things we did that have made us connect. In fact, I can look to several things that we did that probably would make the attachment experts shudder. I think Turo's personality played a big role in how we moved from strangers to family.
Days after we came back from Africa, we packed up our house in Dallas for a move to Michigan. We lived in our empty rental house for a week (at least Turo wasn’t overstimulated). We stayed with Jose’s parents for a few days along with their middle son, his wife and two kids visiting from Minnesota (nothing like six extra set of eyes watching you bumbled through the first weeks of parenthood). We went out to goodbye dinners with friends. I think I took Turo to Target almost everyday (just to have something to do – remember all our stuff was in a moving van heading north and it was summer in Texas). Other people held him, played with him. He slept in a pack-n-play next to our bed. I flew back to Michigan ten days before Jose, and my mom stayed with us for a week. The kid must have been thinking the Amharic version of WTF. Yet he seemed to go with flow. No big outward demonstrations that he was freaking out. He began to prefer me over others pretty quickly. I told myself that if he gave us clues that he was scared or uncomfortable that I'd adjust, scale back our activities. Now looking a photos from those first couple of months, I can see the uncertainty in his eyes. Of course, being strangers and all, that was a subtle clue I didn't pick up on.

Despite our chaotic beginning, we found ways to build attachment. I carried Turo a lot. We rocked him while giving him milk in a bottle at naptime and bedtime for months. We sat by him while he fell asleep at night. We hung out at home for most of the summer (with a few playdates and visits to Grandma's mixed in). We soaked in the sunshine. We developed a routine. I enrolled us in a toddler group and Kindermusik, which I think supported our bonding through music and play. The changes in our relationship were subtle and are still happening. It wasn't like one day we were "attached." The signs popped up in day to day stuff. Like when Turo stopped crying when Jose took him to bathtime. Or when he started to seek out my lap. Or when he wanted to snuggle in our bed at night. Or when he began giving us spontaneous kisses and hugs. Or in the way he likes to play "baby." And even recently when he has been telling me to make him feel better when he is crying.

The only major bump so far (at least that I can point to - sometimes I worry that I'm missing clues that he is struggling) was last October. He regressed back to some early behaviors of crying whenever I'd leave. It was surprising because we hadn't seen this behavior for nine or ten months. Even at my mom's, where he usually is pushing us out the door so they can play, he sobbed and begged me not to leave. Then it dawned on me, October is the month he lost everything. I have no doubt that somewhere deep down he was remembering this and it was scary for him.

Sometimes when I hold him, I wonder if he will remember this three year old boy love. His connection to us at 13, 18 and 25 will be very different from what it is now. Turo somehow managed to make it through that first nutty month with us, but there are many more attachment milestones to navigate. As much as I hope that we are doing all the “right” things to help Turo feel supported, loved and attached throughout his life, I know there will be frustrations and set-backs. And I have to accept that no matter how much love I give to my sweet boy, it will never replace all he lost.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Now Keep it That Way

Growing up, I heard the phrase “now keep it that way” from my mom anytime we finished a big cleaning project. Even now these words ring in my head after I tidy up the house or straighten a shelf in the basement. For me the challenge isn’t always in the initial project but the maintenance of it. I feel like I go through life with lots of good intentions. I’ll made homemade granola bars once or I’ll compost for a week or I’ll click on the Moveon petition to fund NPR, but I don’t stick to it. I soon find myself buying less than healthy snacks, tossing the banana peels in the garbage and merely shaking my head at the direction our country is going. I stop. I stall. I get caught up in the day to day and lose sight of my bigger goals. But I want to be more. Do more. So I’m hoping to use this space to experiment and to explore.

A new blog!

Three years ago I started blogging as a way to document our journey to Ethiopia and our son. Now that our “baby” is a preschooler and we’re approaching our two year anniversary of meeting, it just felt like it was time to say goodbye to babybarto. I thought about stopping blogging. After all I could just post cute photos of Turo on facebook. But I like writing. I’d like to do more of it. I’d like to blog about my current life as a stay at home mom, about my attempts at becoming a better parent, wife, friend, family member and citizen and about other random stuff that floats around in my head.

Don’t worry Mom there will be photos too.