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August 28, 2001
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago

Portraits

11:10 am: So I have today off. It's so nice to be able to just take care of Jet and not worry about working.

Technically, Jet was up four times last night, but I only fed him once. The first one, it was before we'd gone to bed, and only fifteen minutes after he'd passed out. John went up and didn't even have to pick him up, just put a hand on his chest and reassured him. Jet went right back to sleep. The midnight up was half an hour for John of trying various things and ending up with feeding Jet some watered down formula and Jet passing right out after that.

I was up at 2, and Jet nursed just a little bit on each side before just going right back to sleep. So that was a quiet half hour for me. At 3, though, Jet woke up with a stuffed nose. He was whistling and breathing through his mouth and while I could get him to sleep again, the bother of breathing was waking him up again. So I took the plunge, and got the booger chaser, and went after the plug. Sucked out a lot of gook accompanied by much screaming and flailing of limbs. I then took a chance, and gave Jet a good drink of water from his sippy cup. He was wide enough awake that he knew what it was and he drank from it eagerly enough.

Then the two of us settled into the rocking chair in his room and I just cuddled him to sleep. No nursing, just held him close and let him relax and fall asleep and be totally loose limbed about it before putting him back into his crib. He sighed, rolled over onto his side, and went back to sleep.

I was convinced he was going to wake up at 4, hungry. The next thing I know, it's 7:30, light outside, and I'm full to bursting, and John's not in bed anymore. I get up and John's at the desk working away. He'd gotten up just because he'd woken up. After his midnight stint, he hadn't remembered a thing. He hadn't heard any of the other goings ons, and after a full seven hours of, for him, uninterrupted sleep, he was awake and ready to go.

My.

Jet only started stirring when I had already gotten up and came out. He was playing with his toys in his crib and when I walked in he was almost annoyed with me. Kind of the 'do I have to stop playing now?' look. He ate just fine off me, but didn't really act all that hungry.

Maybe it has nothing to do with what we're doing. It could easily just be that Jet's off whatever growth spurt that happens after six months, and this is all there is. He's not that hungry anymore at night, and it's something as commonsense as giving him water after he was forced to breath through his mouth. That would dry me out. Maybe it's just that I'm not taking work stress as being okay anymore. Or, maybe it is what we're doing and it's making it okay for him to fall asleep without eating. We'll never really know.


10:10 pm: The day was really good. I am amazed by what a difference it makes simply to have the time to ourselves and to do whatever it is we want to do. There are days like this when I wonder why the hell I go back to work and do the things I do for work. There's just so damned much of it and there's so many things I feel like I should feel guilty about when I'm not doing them, and it's just painful, sometimes, because I have a lot of internal clawing that says that I shouldn't be having fun, I should be working, damnit, and it just kinda aches all the time.

Admittedly, I think that this is how I've actually worked all my life. I build up a huge pressure of things that have to be done, of tremendous guilt and shame and things delayed, and when it finally gets to be too much, I do it. I do it all. In one huge fell swoop of dizzying ability, I finally get into gear and crank so hard I get a huge, gloriously hard thing done and then I fall over and go boom. Then I do it all over again, in part because I know I can, and in part because of this huge build up of resentment about work because I so don't want to do it until I have to and I can't seem to get the genie to start working until I'm so overwhelmed I can't see. Talk about stress puppies.

Now I know why both my dad and sister have acid reflux. I am pretty sure that the only thing that's saved me has been John and his laid back attitude about life and everything. I've had ample evidence that when I'm with someone that is less laid-back and more prone towards worry or stressing that I get infinitely more stressed. So John's probably given me a few years extra on my life and already kept me from the very painful rigors of acid reflux.

And, today, his spirit gave Jet and I quite a fun adventure, along with some advice from Joan.

After lunch, and after Jet had his solids and a good long nursing, the two of us headed to Wal-Mart. Normally, I consider Wal-Mart the killer of mom and pop store and stay out of them like crazy; but today I had a mission, and that mission was to get something of a professional portrait of Jet while he's still six-months-old. John's mom and dad have portraits of all their boys at the six month mark and it just seemed a good thing to do, and Jet's nearly seven months now, so it's now or never. Joan said that Wal-Mart had five dollar portraits, so it was well worth doing and they'd give us more prints than we'd know what to do with.

She wasn't kidding. The single shot portrait is used in a package of nearly a hundred prints, and the whole thing is actually $3.95 plus tax. My. Okay, they try to sell you on the other six shots they take, and packages that range from $40 to $100 on those other shots, and the one shot that is for the special isn't all that good. Jet's feet aren't in the picture and he's kind of off-center and all that. But for four bucks... I'm not sure I want to complain. Getting all those shots was something of an adventure in and of itself.

We got there at about 2:30, found a sign saying that the photographer would be back at 3, and then in the fine print it said that 2-3 was their lunch time. So Jet and I shopped a bit. We'd run out of bibs, pretty severely, so we bought a bunch of cheap bibs. I also saw a Gerber sippy cup with handles that was just so cool looking, I had to get it and it was half the usual retail price. There were also nursing pads for cheap and I'd run out of them the last time I'd gone out, so it was good to get more of those. Milk leaks are kind of embarrassing sometimes and it's good to have something that'll just catch 'em before they're even an issue. So we got a bunch of stuff, and then went back to the studio to wait.

She arrived a few minutes after a little grandmother arrived to pick up a print for herself from her daughter. Her daughter had had a son and had gotten a portrait taken and wanted to give her a print. The poor little old lady had girded herself with stories from her daughter about how the folks there were ignoring her, had dismissed the claim and all kinds of stuff. But the lady that showed up found her her picture and handed it over right there and then. So that seemed okay to me.

Then she and I got Jet up on the pedestal. I was there to catch him if he fell off and she proceeded to incite a baby riot. She laughed with him, cooed at him, shook rattles and squeaky toys at him, and got him to laugh really hard six times with different backgrounds. They were all, really, the same laugh out loud boisterous happiness. Very cute. It was funny, but there were a few pictures I would have taken instead. Like when he was really intent on the paint cans and was beating them with his palms and getting them to ring and sing and he was his usual intent self. I would have taken that picture, but she didn't. She just wanted the same smile every time, and she got it. When I saw the samples they were all the same picture, pretty much, with different backgrounds, so I passed up on all the other packages, just as I'd originally been planning on, and just got the special.

Jet had had a blast, though, in the taking of the pictures, so that was well worth the doing.

We headed home, and when John got home, we went out again, this time to try out La Panda, a local Mexican bakery and restaurant. I'd looked at the menu the time before, and it looked pretty interesting and far more authentic. When we walked in, everyone that was sitting down was Mexican as well as everyone that was staffing the restaurant. There was a TV tuned to the local Hispanic channel, and it was going full blast. The room was setup with all the bakery cases along two walls, and the checkout and candy counter took up half of the third wall. All the tables were scattered in the middle.

The waitress who took our order had just enough English to do that. John got the chile rellenos and I got carnitas, and the plates came full and piping hot with flaky flour tortillas along side that were so hot I couldn't handle them. There were traditional refried beans and the tomato based rice and plenty of our main entrees. It was good, filling, and fairly inexpensive.

What was really good was watching the clientele, which was mostly Hispanic men, coming in to get half-sheet baking pans filled with pastries, both breakfast items and rich desserts. There was a steady stream of them, with one or two moms with multiple kids in tow, who would also get tortillas and other stuff as well. There were about three Hispanic men that came, one at a time, to sit in the restaurant and all of them ordered tortas, a Mexican sandwich filled with various meat types, fresh vegetables, and cheese. Given that they made the torta buns there at the bakery, those were probably pretty good, and they were only about three dollars each. We'll have to get that the next time, instead of the more expensive meals, which might have been put there for gringos like us to help finance the place.

It was worth trying, and probably too dingy or small or even dirty in some ways, to bring my Mom and Dad while they're visiting. It was good to just try the place. Jet enjoyed sitting in his car seat and just watching everyone go by and he just lay there absorbing all the new sights, sounds, and people. So it was a successful adventure for him.

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Copyright 2001 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.