Photo: Ursa Minor before his very first haircut. Oh my goodness, I loved that hair. I miss it so much. Surprisingly, it never curled up the way his brother’s did. Actually, his hair became lighter and a little more straight. He looks more and more like his father on a daily basis. Unbelievable.
I’ve been calling Ursa Minor a “toddler” for a while–mostly because meets the most basic definition: He’s over one and he can walk confidently on his own. But in comparison to his brother, Ursa Minor is still a little baby. He’s significantly smaller than his brother, he still speaks in baby-talk with a smattering of real words in between, he’s still quite cuddly like a baby, and still quite edible like a baby…yes, I’m still constantly putting his feet in my mouth… and then he still has that most wonderful baby laugh… He is still enamoured with my hugs and kisses, and would much rather sit in my lap than anywhere else in the world. As soon as Ursa Major could walk, he was out!
but the evolution is happening. It’s been happening for a while, but now it is going down.
Ursa Minor will be 18 months old this month. There has been an explosion of language of late, with him trying new words and phrases, but more importantly, he’s been very comfortable using two-word phrases. Suddenly, it’s “Hello, Mama,” when I walk into the nursery. “Bye-bye, airplane (or any other vehicle),” when we see something going by. Very stern “No [anything here]!” in rejection of whatever is offered. When he isn’t speaking his mind in little 2- and sometimes 3-word phrases, he’s counting. He counted to 12 this morning without any trouble, muddled through the teens, gets a little confused about 17, but he knows the pathway to 20. So he’ll kinda scream 20 after three muddled words and he’s so happy with himself.
There is balance in the universe. So where there is joy, there is annoying.
Ursa Minor’s new favorite thing is to throw. In frustration, in joy, in fascination, in boredom. And anything. The big toy bus. The wooden toy train. The food that I so artfully and lovingly prepared for him. The water that he demanded that I get for him. Just throw, throw, throw.
As a matter of fact, over the weekend, I declared that Ursa Minor’s chore when he gets older will be to maintain the floors. All sweeping, moping, and vacuuming will be his sole responsibility. As soon as I know he can push a vacuum, I’ll never touch another one again! I vacuumed the dinning area no less than three times a day for the last three days. Not just because he’s a messy eater (because he is), but because he way of rejecting whatever is on his place is to pick up individual items, look at me, and then drop said items on the floor. He will look me dead in the eye and drop some chicken on the floor like a boss. Lord. Killin’ me.
The worst part about it all, of course, is that Ursa Minor got all of my rebellious attitude. He knows which rules are arbitrary, which rules are actually rock solid, and which rules he can break and not really get in trouble for. I really can’t believe just how smart and powerful he has become. He’s still a little to squirmy for official timeouts (we started those with Ursa Major when he turned 2), so I’m having a little trouble making the discipline stick. The discipline of children mostly requires the discipline and patience of the adults involved, so I’m content to do what I can and lay down the foundation before we get really concrete when he turns 2.
And he’ll be two in April. And do you know what that means? He’s going to be eligible for preschool next September. The cycle continues. Ursa Major will move up to “real” preschool (more curriculum integrated with the play) 3 or 4 days a week (depending on what we can afford…) and Ursa Minor will start going to the toddler program 2 days a week. While I’m very excited about the prospect of having more time to myself starting this time next year, I’m sitting here bewildered. Where did the time go? At least I only have one application to fill out this time…and no suspense–we know he’s getting in. What I’m not excited about is finding out how much tuition is going to be next year. There are no sibling discounts. I’ve been told there there is financial aid available, but we got burned by that last time… Mountains to climb at a different time.
It is good to reminded of why we’re doing all of this work around the house. It has been a difficult few days. We had to ask for an extension on the commitment date because there is just so much paperwork and so many little steps needed before the bank can write the commitment letter. On Monday, we were still torn between two contractors. My husband really wanted one and I wanted the other. My guy had all of his paperwork in on Monday, ready to go. The Husband’s guy was still on vacation, without the majority of his paperwork in. It seemed like a no-brainer, but The Husband was still holding on to his guy. Mostly because his guy was significantly less expensive than my guy.
But when the bank started asking for more and more documents, it forced The Husband’s hand. We’re going with my guy, who was recommended by my good friend. I actually really like him and think that he’ll do a great job. He is expensive, and I’m afraid we’re probably going to get a little less for our money than we would have with the other guy, but as long as the quality of the work is good (and I trust that it is), then I’m satisfied.
But we have a larger problem looming. Our commitment date has been moved to October 16th, and we don’t know if that means our closing date has changed. The date now being floating around is November 1. We can’t live in the house until the work on it is done. We can’t start the work until we own the house. The contractor estimates that the work will be done in 5 to 7 weeks, that’s after waiting to get the permits from the town (1 to 7 business days). We’re running up on a huge financial problem: Paying rent on the place where we live while also playing a mortgage. It will be such a strain on our budget, just in time for Christmas. While the contractor thinks that he should be able to have the bulk of the work done by mid-December, enough for us to be able to move in, we might need to move out of our current place before that. The Husband wants to give notice to our landlords and have us move out December 1…which would render us homeless. It would save us $1800 (if someone else rents the place. Otherwise, we’re still responsible for the month), but it would still render us homeless.
So I’m sitting here wondering how I’m going to propose to my mom that the boys and I need to hang out at her place for 2 weeks. I absolutely know that she’s going to hate it, though I don’t anticipate that she would say no. I never moved back home after college. I went down for the summer to pack up myself and prepare for graduate school, and then The Husband and I packed up a truck and moved to Boston. I’ve never asked her for money since then, either. I’ve been wholly financially independent of my mother for almost 10 years. To have to ask for this, even so temporarily, is very embarrassing. I’m so grateful, however, that she’s up here and that I’m able to even ask. If she were still in Maryland, I don’t know what I would do…
And this is going to severely disrupt Ursa Major’s school time, too, as mom lives on the other side of the universe and I wouldn’t be able to drive him without leaving her place at like 7. Augh, and I just realized that this would severely disrupt my playgroup, too. I might have to cancel one of the dates…
I just can’t believe how challenging this has been. I knew that homebuying would be work, but this has been exceptional. The Husband is so exhausted, he barely knows which way is up anymore. He’s going to be working late for the next two nights, which is a strain on the both of us. I’m going to bake him cookies this afternoon and make pasta tonight for dinner. I’m craving yeasty bread, so I think I’m going to bake some rolls to go with dinner tonight. He loves bread, so I think this will give him some cheer. In times like this, we can’t shrink from each other. I have to step it up more than usual and support in the best way I know how. So the house will be clean, the boys will be fed and bathed, and dinner will be warm and ready for my husband when he gets home. The best way I can support him is to make sure that everything involving this house and these two boys is in order, so that he can concentrate on his work.
My life is stressful, but I realize that so many of my peers (and indeed, a few close friends and family members) are facing an even more stressful situation at the moment. I cannot express in words my disappointment in my government and my concern for my republic right now. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Federal government–Three generations of my family have worked for the Federal government in some capacity. I have so many friends back home who are wondering what they are going to do when bills start coming due. And of course, calling that area home, I know just how connected that entire region is to the Federal Government. The impact reaches far into my home state and hurts most of the people and communities that I hold dear. If any among you are federal employees or contractors, or people who serve that community, please know that I’m thinking of you and standing in solidarity with you. We’re a better nation than this. Our government is supposed to be the envy of the world…but right now? Well, my toddlers behave better.
I’mma let my senior senator get the last word today. It took a while for Liz to grow on me, but I gave her my vote and she has yet to disappoint me. Having such excellent representation in the Senate is just another reason to love where I live.