Sunday evening I received a call from Abe's Great Aunt Sandra, who said that she was in Idaho and would like to come meet our new baby. I harbor a strange love for this woman whom I had only met once before, so I looked forward to seeing her the following day.
So on Monday, after spending two joyous hours picking out food from the shelves of our favorite supermarket (our first trip to WinCo in at least three weeks!) a whirlwind hit our house. Accompany Aunt Sandra and Uncle Bob were their daughter, Melissa, who lives in Sugar City, and her four youngest children. The children tore in, ran about, went outside, came back in. They ate some crackers and cheese and drank purple grape juice without spilling it on the carpet. The littlest one attempted to bite Soren's foot. The next littlest one poked and prodded my son in various ways, making his Nana very nervous-- which made ME very nervous. Would he, too, attempt to make a meal out of my little boy? The adults sat around and chatted as much as was possible amidst fearful glances and warnings cast toward unruly younglings. Aunt Sandra took many pictures and the whirlwind moved on, to Sam's Club and then beyond.
Here's a photo of Sandra holding Soren. "This will just make Brenda so green!" she exulted.
The quality of the photo is poor. This was my fault. Poor lighting, I suppose. Soren was a little uncertain about this new lady, so Sandra is attempting to entertain him with my mom's "Visiting Teaching: Do it/Done" magnet.
On Wednesday I went visiting teaching for the last time with my dear visiting teaching companion, Joyce Hall. She is moving to Blackfoot and I will miss her terribly. She's been a wonderful companion. When we finished visiting our ladies, I swung by our house to pick up Abe so we could drive up to the Stake Center and have interviews to renew our temple recommends. Soren was in bed, but his grandma and grandpa were nowhere to be found, which meant we weren't going anywhere with just each other. We really wanted to get those interviews done, however, so I ran out to the car and asked Joyce if she would sit in our home and listen for Soren on the baby monitor while we drove to Shelley, met with the stake presidency, and drove back. Joyce agreed, so I brought her in, showed her the monitor, and bade farewell. The poor dear. She has a hearing problem and was terrified that she wouldn't hear Soren on the monitor if he woke up, so she went downstairs and sat, among a lot of dirty shoes, in the hallway outside his bedroom door. And of COURSE he woke up. And of COURSE when she came in to pick him up he freaked out because she was a stranger. Poor Joycey had to hold my inconsolably loud baby until my parents came home. Fortunately, it was only about five minutes. But five minutes can be a very very long time when you are holding a screaming child. Sigh.
For our date on Friday, Abraham and I went to see "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration" at the temple visitor's center. Abe's mother told him he should go see it months and months ago and we finally did. And, as moms are apt to be, she was right about the film. It was extremely well done. I had heard the stories but never really felt the sacrifices that Joseph (and Emma!) made to bring about the restoration of the gospel. It really gave me a lot of food for thought.
Saturday was a day of bad mothering.
Friday night I fell asleep with the perfect plan for the following day. It was to be a day full of noble acts. I was going to wake up, spend some hours in the office while Soren happily played on a blanket on the floor. Then I was going to come home, clean the house, then journey across the street to my Uncle Dewey's house to give him a much needed haircut and beard trim and also clean his house. I was then going to reward myself with a pedicure a la my dear friend Ressa. All the while Soren would be in tow, happily playing and gurgling and taking naps.
Unfortunately, Soren (and his stomach) had other plans. We woke up, bathed, and drove to the office. I sat my child on the afore-mentioned blanket, retrieved the money to be deposited that week, and turned on my computer.
Soren began to fuss.
"You need a nap," I told him, wrapping him up and popping a binky in his mouth. He began to scream. "Just go to sleep!" I said, rocking him in my office chair. He continued to scream. "I'm trying to get some work done, child!" I told him, laying him down in his seat and letting him scream while I sorted through cash and checks. He wriggled and writhed and screamed and thrashed. I picked him up and tried to nurse him while I created a spreadsheet. He would have nothing of eating. He wouldn't eat, he wouldn't sleep, he wouldn't be placated by a toy. And it made me mad. After several minutes of impatiently trying to calm my child so he would Be Quiet and Let Me Get Important Things Done, I called Abe in tears and begged him to come watch Soren while I worked. So Abe dropped what he was doing, drove to town in my parents' hideous and filthy van, and rocked Soren to sleep. I completed my work and we returned home.
Back at the home front, Abe asked me to give him a haircut. I sat Soren down on a blanket, got out the clippers, and began to shave Abe's head. Soren again began to fuss. I tried giving him a toy. This did not please him. I tried wrapping him up and putting him down for a nap. This only made him angry. I tried to nurse him. He gagged and coughed and shook his little fists and proclaimed his rage in a loud voice. So for the second time that day, I laid him down and left while he screamed. I finished cutting Abe's hair, brushed the excess hair off my clothes, and then retrieved my upset child from his crib, holding him and singing him songs until Abraham came and put him down for a nap. His nap lasted approximately 15 minutes. The MOMENT Abe left for work, he woke up and began crying again. I was at my wit's end: tired, cranky, and most of all, thwarted. I was home alone and beginning to feel desperate, so I called my friend Nicholas, who came over with two Capri Suns -- "liquid happiness," he called it-- and helped me load up Soren for a walk. We rambled down to the cemetery, where we discovered piles of flowers near the garbage ("God put these flowers here to make you happy," declared Nick), which we raided, loading the stroller to capacity with silken colors.
This is Nicholas pushing our stroller full of flowers. He would probably want me to remark here that he is NOT gay. Just happy. (Editor's note, circa 2010: after years of vehement denials, Nick did finally come out of the closet...)
And this is Soren posing with our ill-gotten graveyard stash.
Later that afternoon little Sorenito projectile vomited multiple times and created an enormous diaperful of orange poo. I remarked that he had experienced carrots for the first time the day previous and wondered aloud if perhaps that might have been the cause of his sour mood. "These are the ramifications of carrots," said Nick. We decided that a book should be written by the same title: "The Ramifications of Carrots: A Memoir."
I felt like a wretch and a horrible mother all day long. And when I finally sat down to contemplate the problem, I realized that I had woken up that day with the idea that I was Rachel Skousen, Person Who Does Things and Accomplishes Stuff. I SHOULD have woken up with the idea that I was Rachel Skousen, Mom of Soren Skousen, Who Needs Things and Who is a Big Accomplishment That Doesn't Always Seem Like One at the Time.
An adorable shot of The Big Accomplishment That Doesn't Always Seem Like One at the Time.
Anyway, this week also marked the beginning of a new church calling for me. I'm the ward Laurel's Advisor, which means I'll be teaching the 16-and-17-year-old girls in the ward. I'm pretty pumped about the whole thing. Tonight I'll be attending a daddy-daughter date luau. Hawaiian Haystacks will be served.