11 New Things for 2011

No resolutions here…I think in a year when you are anticipating: a baby; a move; a major career redirection; a kid starting school…you are allowed to not make any resolutions other than “let’s just do the best we can with the coming year”.

But, 11 things for the New Year that answer the question, “So, what’s new?” (a big post, but it makes up for my relative absence for the last few weeks):

1. 4 1/2 year old separation anxiety. I am not making this up: Zora never really had any sort of separation anxiety phase. Ever. Almost to the point that it was a little worrisome. Would she ever figure out that Erik and I were her family? Would she wind up going home with complete strangers after church? Had we done such a good job of teaching her to be friendly that she never learned appropriate boundaries?

But now, at 4 1/2, this kid has suddenly become clingy and upset about baby sitters and daycare. And not specific people. She just doesn’t like being dropped off or left with someone else. She’s fine once we leave, but whoa can she look pathetic beforehand!

I’m thinking we’ve got a little bit of new sibling anxiety going on here!

2. The new bed: Erik and I bought each other a new bed and mattress for Christmas. One night, we were out to eat and Zora (no boundaries, remember?) explained in detail to the people at the next table what she was making for us at preschool for Christmas. The nice lady said, “Oh, I be that will be their favorite Christmas present.” Erik and I looked at each other and immediately knew the other was thinking the same thing: “Nope. It’s the bed.”

I love the bed. It’s queen sized, so I’m worried that we will never again live in a place with a room that accommodates it, and wonder if this is an extravagance. The mattress is amazing, and it’s higher off the ground than the old ikea model, and it feels like our own little ship of refuge.

While there is no tree trunk involved, I keep thinking about the importance of their bed for Odysseus and Penelope.

3. We’re going to try cloth diapers on this baby. I’m still not sure this is a good idea. But my roommate from college generously sent us her stash, we supplemented last week with some newborn sized stuff, and I keep telling myself that our current laundry situation is perfect for this. That may change when we move in the summer. We’ll see.

This whole cloth diapering thing is an incredibly complex sub culture. We spent 2 hours at a shop in the city getting a tutorial from the salesperson. I try not to think about the cost of the bucket full of supplies we left with, but I’m trying to remind myself that it is probably still going to be cheaper than the disposibles. I do have to say, though: the cloth diapers are pretty darn cute.

4. We continue to debate school options for Zora next year. There is a financial balance we have to strike between rents in certain neighborhoods and either proximity to a decent but not too pricey private school or being within the boundaries of a good local public school. It is kind of maddening.

I am so sad for the city of Chicago in all of this. I love this city, and I wish so badly that every neighborhood had a wonderful school. Would putting our child in the public schools be an act of solidarity with people who want to make that school system better? I wonder: because, of course, we are really truly only considering neighborhood schools that are the higher performing ones already. I just don’t have the energy to be an activist in a low-performing school. Is it really seeking justice to place your child in a school that is already a good school?

5. And then there’s the private school thing. I am mostly the product of a public schools. But I spent my first 2 years and my last two years in private, parent-led, Christian schools, schools that used a Dutch Reformed Kuyperian model of education. (I know, that’s crazy technical and obscure language there, but I just want to make clear…this was not the type of Christian education where they taught science out of the Bible, nor was it the type where there was just sort of a prefunctory reference to religion in some classes.) In the middle there, I also did a year as a middle schooler at a Montessori school. And, I taught at a private school for two years.

I know that private school is not always the purview of parents who are simply privileged and trying to get their kids away from the hoi polloi. And there are some private schools that have educational, philosophical, and religious stands that I agree with and would be willing to pay for.

So I go back and forth on this school decision.

6. I’ve been wondering how we are going to break the news to Zora that we’re moving. It’s really too far away for her to have to be worried about it. But she’s going to start picking up on conversations about this. She’s so helpful though. A few days ago, she said to me, “Mom, when we move from here, I think we should move to Chicago.” And then, she started naming Chicago neighborhoods that we’ve been discussing. And named our current favorite as the one she thinks we should move to. Doesn’t miss a thing does she?

So, problem solved on breaking the news to Zora…

7. I am starting to think that pushing this baby out will be easier than preparing for leave. Perhaps I am over-acheiving in thinking I will produce a daily calendar that lists all of the youth and children’s ministry tasks around here, and who is responsible for each…

8. The problem with producing # 7, though, is that I still have to do all the day to day stuff. I keep my to do tasks on notecards. I often find I have a half inch stack that has to get done in day. Finishing that calendar for leave gets pushed to the back since it doesn’t seem as urgent. While I love this whole note card system (since using it, I have much less anxiety about whether I’ve forgotten some task), it has also made me realize that there is perhaps no way I can finish everything I am supposed to do. I have to conclude that either (a) I have horrible time management skills and need to step things up a notch or (b) I’ve got to figure out some way to get rid of some of these things.

9. I’ve been organizing closets and cabinets. So much so that every time I jump into another one, I worry that I’m going to go into labor within a few days. Because, organizing a closet is not something I normally do. Ever. But I might be looking for the wrong sort of nesting. When I had Zora, the biggest “nesting” moment I had was the afternoon I sat down and handwrote a 10 page treatise for the Sunday School teachers on the Joseph story, the theological implications of it, and how it might be presented in a way that was relevant to the concerns of children. So, if I start getting out my Hebrew and Greek texts, then I should probably be a little concerned/excited that the time has come.

10. And, when the time does come, pray for us to manage to push the baby out. We are planning, at this point, what’s called a “VBAC” (vaginal birth after cesarean). Turns out, this is kind of a crazy controversy in the world of medicine and in the mommy-sphere. There have been pendulum shifts in how insurance and hospitals and doctors handle it; there is amazingly heated debate about it on the internet; depending on where you live, finding a doctor who will do this can be time-consuming.

My basic take is this: it stinks to recover from major surgery. The human body is pretty amazing, and I’ve had a healthy pregnancy. Based on what I’ve read, I’ll take the odds that my body can pull this off, and the levels of risk aren’t that scary. And I found a doctor who I like and who thinks it’s a good option. We’ll see…

11. Baby dreams. These really only kicked in for me after the New Year. I think I was too tied up in church Christmas stuff to think about the baby. By now, I’ve had dreams where: the baby turned out to be a girl; the baby turned out to be a monkey (I believe it was a Gibbon); the baby was 4 feet tall. I’ll take the surprise of a girl (although, I’ll be really surprised…that was a pretty clear appendage on the ultrasound!); monkey or four feet tall is going to be a little more than I can handle, though.

One Response to “11 New Things for 2011”

  1. Susie Says:

    We cloth diaper, and love it. Love. It. B wears paper ones at daycare because that’s just what they do, and at home we use cloth. I can easily be one of those crazy moms who will happily talk about how much I love cloth diapers all day long, so feel free to give me a buzz if you want :)