29 March 2016

Your Host

So I guess now I'm supposed to introduce myself, because that's what I said I would do.  I'm having a hard time writing this post because I think it's triggering my hatred of personal statements.  I just want to be the change I seek in the world, guys.  I just want to help people.  (I really do, I just hate sounding so trite and predictable, as if I am merely nice rather than acting out of a deep feeling of connection and responsibility to other human beings. And then I hate sounding like I am tooting my own horn and oh god, why are you making me do this, just let me into your grad school/med school/residency all ready!)

Anyway, I'm Mali, aka Zetcetera for the purpose of this blog.  

I'm 31 years old and I guess the personal statements have gone ok because someone granted me admission to grad school, med school, and residency.  So now I'm a mom and a wife and a family medicine physician.

I enjoy hiking and reading and taking mostly blurry photos of my kids.  My personal pet-peeve is gas-powered leaf blowers because they are SO loud and why is that even a thing? I believe in the inherent goodness of people, the educational value of mud, and the mind-clearing properties of a clean desk.  I like cheese and good socks and naps.

My favorite color is purple, my favorite food is guacamole, and my favorite author is Barbara Kingsolver. If I had more time I would spend it kayaking, tie-dying things, and writing.    

27 March 2016

March 24 - Day Off

Today was my first day off in a while....like 6 days.  Resident Mali is laughing but it felt pretty grueling actually.  Especially the night I got home at midnight and had to be at work at 8am the next day.  Residency Mali is cackling madly. I'm pretty embarrassed I whined about that in real life.

Anyway, it was my day off and it was gorgeous outside.  Bear and I got up early and had breakfast.  He currently eats exclusively Bevita blueberry biscuits for breakfasts and he would eat them for every meal if we had not instituted a "only one pack of biscuits per day" rule.  Also he typically eats them off of a plate on the floor while mostly or completely naked.  A Pintrest mom I am not.

Usually he eats his breakfast on the floor in the hall right outside the kitchen door while I do some dishes and make my own breakfast.  But today I was committed to giving him the undivided attention he's been so needing lately.  So I ate a bowl of cereal sitting cross legged on the floor in his room while he crawled in and out of my lap and pretended we were both fairies - Fawn and Vidia specifically.

Once Pax woke up, I took the kids (I still can't believe we have two of them) to Centennial Park to play on the playground.  Pax did very little playing but she did have poop-splosion so I can only assume she enjoyed herself.

Then we headed to the Starbucks at the mall to fuel up, and then to Greenberries which is a baby and kid consignment shop.  We scored a sweet new double stroller.  This brings our stroller fleet up to three.  Three strollers, people.  This from someone who theoretically values simplicity.  Kids: making all your values theoretical since forever.

We headed home for nap time, there was a bit of a meltdown in the car on the way home - I think it was a blood sugar issue - mine and Bear's.  The meltdown paused for sleeping and then resumed.  I was the worst person ever for giving my child goldfish crackers.  The.  Worst.

Once we got settled down, the four of us went for a walk in a local cemetery to try out the new stroller.  It might seem like a strange setting, but it's a family tradition.   There is a very nice wooded cemetery just a few blocks from my parents' house, and we used to walk the dog there because it was convenient green space and usually secluded enough to let the dog off the leash.  The tradition continued with Abby-dog, who we walked in the huge cemetery near our Baltimore house.

After the short walk, it was home for dessert - Oreos on the balcony.  Bear stripped down to his underwear, naturally.  It was very peaceful, the warm air on our skin and the scent of flowers in the air as darkness fell.

20 March 2016

Introductions, continued

Ok, picking up where we left off, introducing the family members.

Next up: Bear

Bear is three and a half going on sixteen.  His vocabulary is pretty much that of a high school freshman, including words/phrases like "gondola car," "marsupials," and "is that mandatory?" He loves trains and trucks and construction equipment and also princesses and my little ponies.  He subsists on a diet of entirely carbohydrates and prefers to wear as few clothes as possible.  At night he sleeps in a 'nest' (read: a pile of blankets on the floor in his closet) with Winnie the Pooh until he sees "scary shadows," at which point he joins me and Pax for some snuggles.

While becoming a big brother has been a big adjustment for him in terms of the distraction of his parents, Bear is enthusiastic about his sister.  He loves to show her off to people we meet, "This is our baby, Pax.  She's my sister!"

Bear is my greatest joy and my biggest challenge.  He's exactly as stubborn and relentless as anyone would expect the child of me and Benjamin to be, and all that energy is currently focused on learning everything he can about the world around him. This often manifests as a non-stop stream of questions about everything from the metaphysical to the anatomical to the political.  The experience of being Bear's parent ranges from sublime to maddening to heartwarming, often all in the space of one morning.

19 March 2016

Welcome to Our Adventure

Good Morning and Welcome!

I've started this blog with the intention of documenting our family adventure - for our adoring fans back home (ie: the grandparents), and for the kids to read later, as even our oldest is not likely to remember this time of his life. (More on that idea later.)  I also want to force myself to write more - once upon a time, I was a high school junior looking for colleges and the most important thing was that the school had a creative writing major, because I was totally going to be a writer.  I seem to have gotten a bit off track - I'm a physician and a mom but not a writer.  In fact for a bit there I even forgot how to be a reader of things other than buzzfeed articles and medical textbooks.  That was a scary time in my intellectual life but I now declare it over.

Anyway, welcome.  I feel like I've made and broken this promise a hundred times before, but it is my intention to write something every day.  I won't promise it will be life-changing, or even good.  Hell, I can't really promise it will even be spelled correctly.  But I will write something every day.  Oh also, I can't promise it will be posted every day, because we're going to some internet-free dark zones in the coming months (As I tell my 3 year old, places you can't stream Octonauts on Netflix.)  But I will post when I get back to civilization.

And now I will introduce the cast of characters, from the smallest to the largest.

This, as you may know, is Winnie the Pooh.  Pooh joined our family before our oldest child was born.  He was a baby shower gift from the wonderful Mama Sue, my mother's sister.  In the past year or so, Pooh has been promoted to Best Lovey, and his presence is requested on all trips out of the house from preschool (where we all know Toys From Home are not allowed) to the grocery store to the swimming pool. This morning Pooh is my date for coffee, because even though I said "toys from home are not allowed in the classroom" approximately 49 times, Ms. Devon only had to say it once and then Pooh was thrust into my hands with instructions to "take good care of him."  

Every time we leave the house, Bear asks to bring Pooh.  I explain why this is a bad idea, leaning heavily on "I don't want him to get lost," and "He will get too dirty."  Bear counters with "I'll keep track of him," which is his version of "I'll write every day." I relent anyway, and then Pooh does indeed get lost and/or dirty.  When Benjamin takes Bear out he just says, "No, Pooh stays home." There are nine seconds of crying and then the whole thing blows over.  Still, I never seem to learn.  Or rather, I feel this is my part in this particular parenting ritual.  Anyway, if we don't lose Pooh on this upcoming trip, it will be a true miracle.  

Next smallest family member: Pax

Pax is three months old, and I can already tell she is going to be full of spunk.  Which is kind of what I expect to happen when I name a child "Peace."  She's pretty busy doing baby things - like sleeping only when it is not convenient for her parents and learning to control the movement of her hands.  In many ways she is benefiting from being the second-born child - there's less experimenting with parenting methods (we're attachment parenting! no, we're sleep training!) and diapering systems, the breast feeding is going smoother, etc.  But the degree to which her life is simply scheduled around her brother's needs is kind of impressive.  Her brother is what we call a "high needs" child at this age, and she is a pretty easy-going baby.  Well, an easy-going baby by our standards.  She does not enjoy sleeping anywhere other than in her car seat or on an adult.  And she does not enjoy being awake anywhere other than on an adult.  With this kid, you are pretty much down an arm at all times.  

This seems normal to me, but every once in a while I encounter another baby doing something crazy like lying on the floor playing with toys or sleeping alone in a crib.  That is not Pax.  Pax sleeps best snuggled up on her daddy's chest in the recliner or in bed with me on the futon.  In our upcoming travels, the pack N' play did not make the packing list.  

She loves her brother already.  He bounces up to her with his three million watts of energy and gets right in her face and she just smiiiiiles so big.  She also gives big smiles to her dad, and reaches up to grab onto his beard.  She has just started making some cooing sounds.  I'm so excited to watch her grow up, especially this early speech-developing part.  

And well, dear readers (both of you?), I will have to stop here for today as it is almost time to pick up the Big Kid from school.