Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Car Seat

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I sold Goblin’s infant seat on Craigslist yesterday. (I love Craigslist!) It’s been sitting in the garage taking up space now that she has a giant convertible car seat. I was in declutter mode when I dusted it off, took photos of it, and posted the ad. When someone texted me about it right away, I thought, “D’oh! I should’ve asked for more money!” We arranged to meet in a gas station parking lot near my work yesterday over my lunch hour. I pulled up into the stall and met the woman who wanted to buy the seat.

She was young – mid twenties perhaps, and had a small baby bump. I wondered if this was her first baby – I imagined it was, since she drove a tiny orange Dodge Neon. I thought back to my first pregnancy, when I had a mixture of equal parts “oh my GOSH how am I going to do this?” and pure, giddy excitement sloshing around in my brain. I purchased all of Hollywood’s baby supplies secondhand back then too. As I looked at this woman, I saw a little bit of myself in her, and I was glad this car seat would be used by her family.

We made small talk about the weather. It was a beautiful day, as so many of them are in September around here. She inspected the car seat and announced that it was in great shape. I told her that my daughter had only used it for about six months before we moved her to the big car seat.

In that instant I froze, suddenly thinking about this infant seat and all it had witnessed.

Before Goblin was born, I perused model after model of car seats online, reading hours' worth of reviews and trying to decide which color and design to pick. I finally settled on this one. I loved the cheerful orange and green dots. I knew they’d work for a boy or a girl.

The car seat sat in our dining room for weeks, waiting for baby Goblin to be born. I'd look over at it and then glance down at my huge belly, feeling excitement about this new addition that would be joining our family.

It carried Goblin home from the hospital for the first time. She wore an itty bitty gray sweatsuit that said "I Love Mommy" on it and a knitted hat that Auntie M made for her. I remember how tiny our baby girl was; I was so careful buckling her into the car seat – I didn’t want to pinch her little legs in the clasps, I didn’t want the straps to be too loose or too tight.

She wasn’t a big fan of the car seat, or of being restrained in general – often times she looked like this when we strapped her in:

waaah

I left her at daycare for the first time in this car seat. I carried her into the sitter’s home, unbuckled her, took her out of the seat and handed her off. And then I cried all the way to work.

Each morning last winter, I would slip on the little crocheted pink and blue hat, tuck her tabby blanket around her chest, place the pink lamb fuzzie next to her cheek so she'd have something soft 'hugging' her, and wrap a blanket around her. Then I’d throw a quilt over it all when we got outside into the frigid air.

carseat

One of my favorite photos of Goblin was taken in her car seat. I snapped it with my phone before I headed out to work one day. She looks so pensive here:

pensive

She went all sorts of places in that car seat. It carried her to mass on Sunday mornings, where it sat perched on the wooden pew with Goblin dressed in her frilliest outfits. It protected her in the car as we made trips to Nanna’s, to Grandma’s, and to meet friends, both new and old. The car seat held Goblin as we went to football games and sporting events. We wedged it into the bleachers for chorus concerts, basketball games, and show choir events. It clicked into place on top of Target shopping carts and went along for the ride as I got groceries and odds and ends. It sat neatly into an upturned high chair, holding a sleeping baby as our family dined together in our favorite restaurants.

It carried her along on trips to the zoo with her sister and cousin:

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And to the science center with The Boy and Bumblebee. (It wore her out!)

sleepy

The car seat has been through it all. We’d bring it into the house after a trip and plop it on the living room floor. Think of the conversations it overheard, being at the center of our home day in and day out!

The last hurrah of the car seat was our trip to Italy. Goblin had moved to her big car seat by then, but we took the bucket seat with us on the plane. Here she is sleeping with Hollywood as we drove to the airport:

italy bound!

We didn’t use it for long, but some of our most precious moments happened with that car seat protecting Goblin.

As I grabbed the handle and handed it to the new mom-to-be, a wave of nostalgia and sadness passed over me. My children are growing up so fast, and even my strategy of having them over a span of 18 years hasn’t stopped that from happening. As the young woman handed me her payment and took the car seat, she looked at me. I think I caught a glimpse of that hopeful excitement mixed with terror in her smile. It made me happy to think of the new adventures this car seat will experience with its new family. I said a quick prayer for this woman, hoping that she'll be blessed with the fortune that our family has had. And with that, I sent the car seat on its merry way.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Look out, world!

"Hmm. I see Mamma over there."

Walking 2

"Hi, Mamma!"

Walking 3

"Look at me!"

Walking 4

"I'm cool."

Walking 5

"This walking thing is a breeze!"

Walking 6

"See how good I am at it?"

Walking 7

"Yeah. I know I'm awesome."

Walking 8

Kid's a walking machine. It's pretty cute, but she has frequent falls. I predict many future bruises.

We had a great weekend. Well - most of it was great.

Hollywood was home for the weekend. It was so great to see her. School is going well for her, but she's got a full load with 18 credits.

She babysat the crew so that we could go out to dinner since Friday was our wedding anniversary. On the way there, I ran over this lovely carriage bolt:

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When it happened, It just felt like a bump on the freeway, but it became pretty clear with the thwack, thwack, thwack sound we heard that it was something related to the tire. Luckily, it happened not far from where we were going to eat, so we pulled off the freeway and into the parking lot of Buzzard Billy's.

The Husband found the bolt sticking out of the tire, removed it, and a WHOOSH of air came out of the tire. Then he put on the spare.

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Thank Goodness this happened when he was with me. I took one look at that crazy Kia-made jack and would never have been able to figure out how to use it. (Haha, who am I kidding? That sentence implies that I'd have been able to change the tire if I had a jack that wasn't all weird like our Kia jack. That's sooo not true, I'd have been up a creek no matter what kind of jack we had.)

We had a nice dinner after the tire was changed, though. TH's mom happened to be at the same restaurant as us, so we chatted with her for a while.

The next day, TH took the car in to fix the tire. It couldn't be fixed, and we had to buy a new tire. But guess what? Tires apparently come in pairs, so we had to buy TWO tires. Grrr... That anniversary dinner ended up costing around $400.

Saturday night we took the family out to dinner. Hollywood was up in Ames visiting her boyfriend and she called to see if we wanted to meet for dinner. We had our favorite Ames pizza (Great Plains, yum!) and then went out for some gelato. The place we found wasn't very good, but it was still fun to think back about our trip to Italy.

I spent yesterday cleaning out my closet and selling some stuff on eBay and CraigsList. We are trying to go through closets and storage areas to get rid of our junk since the annual bulk garbage day is coming up. How's that for exciting?!

Anyway, that's about how our weekend went. It was great to see Hollywood and her boyfriend, and it's pretty awesome watching Goblin walk everywhere. I have to admit that I love the walking so that I can put cute little skirts and dresses on her - when she was crawling, they'd just get in the way.

Happy Monday!! We've got a busy week again. Football game tonight and the usual weekly activities from then on.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blue and Bouncy Thoughts

While driving into work this morning, I had one of those commutes where my mind will not stop bouncing all over the place. It was similar to how I navigate the grocery store when I forget to bring a list with me. I start with the produce, then go to the dairy counter, remember that I need tomatoes and head back to the produce aisle. Then I get cereal and bread, but have to turn the cart back to the dairy section because I forgot we needed cheese. Finally, as I'm heading toward the checkout counter, I remember that we need toilet paper. It’s exhausting, really.

I heard this song by Ed Sheeran that reminded me of Hollywood - not because she's selling herself to pay rent like in the lyrics of the song, but because this kind of music reminds me of her. And this makes me feel particularly lonesome for her today.

The corn fields are starting to change colors:

Corn's changing color. #iowa

They’re still pretty green, but the change is beginning. In September, the fields of corn turn from a bright, vibrant green to a golden maize color. The contrast with a cerulean sky is one of the things that I love most about the landscape of my state.  The fields made me think about how we took some of Hollywood’s senior pictures with that magnificence as the background last year. My oldest daughter is enjoying her life in college; I can tell this when I talk to her. But I miss her something fierce. I’m trying not to smother her, I want her to truly experience life on her own, but there are times when it’s hard – I really just want to know how she’s doing and if she’s eating well and getting enough sleep.

I know she misses us too. I sent her a text telling her that Goblin walked the entire length of the living room, and she replied with this:
 : ( (
Here are a couple of videos of Goblin’s first few steps. (they’re each only 5 seconds long) The first one shows how excited she is to be walking. The second shows the actual steps. They were taken on Friday – she’s a pro now. Amazing how fast she picked it up.





I’m also missing my mom. She’s out in DC and I know she enjoys her job very much. I’m so proud of her and inspired by her successes. But I miss her. And I realize that I wasn’t a very thoughtful daughter when I went away to college. I didn’t call much, and didn’t come home that first semester for months. My mom has always been reserved when it comes to nagging and giving unsolicited advice, maybe because she got plenty of that from her own mom. So she didn’t pressure me or make me feel bad about my newfound independence, but I look back at that and it makes me feel bad. I was a bit too focused on my own life to call home and see what was going on. Thankfully, Hollywood is nicer to me than I was to my mama at eighteen.

I’ve got a lot of other things on my mind – work stuff, home stuff, the usual mom stuff. I wouldn’t say that I’m depressed today, but my thoughts are tinged with blue today.

Then again, I realized that the shadow of my car looks like Shrek:

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I also had a dream last night that I was living in the dorms and my RA came to talk to me with only a towel on. In my dream, I was my giggly, naive, 18-year-old self. And he was hot. I thought about that little gem of a dream on my commute too.

So it wasn’t all doom and gloom.