Gregor the Overlander is the dashing young (11-12yrs old) hero in a series of books written by Suzanne Collins who also brought us the Hunger Games. I must say for as long as the prospect of giant bugs put me off of reading these books she really did an excellent job. Gregor is a preteen young man living in the city that never sleeps, New York City, New York. He lives with his mother, sisters and grandmother is typical New York fashion for the working class. His father seems to have disappeared into nothingness a couple of years ago and Gregor is helping his mom keep everything together while they eek by on her salary. Gregor is a little mature for his age which makes sense as he is the oldest and he helps to keep his siblings fed.
All that changed the minute he fell through a dryer vent with his sister Boots. Gregor discovered a whole new world far below New York City. This world is completely different from the one he is used to and incredibly dangerous. Over the course of five books Collins introduced a number of different creatures and Gregor has to make a lot of tough decisions. I’m a huge fan of Rick Riordan and this series is at least as good as the Percy Jackson books. When they make the movies I’ll surely be just as disappointed. What I love about this series is that Collins doesn’t treat Gregor with kid gloves. He is the warrior, In tough situations he has to make tough decisions, all the while dealing with the fact that to his parents he is still a child and will eventually have to go back to life in the Overland. They are quick reads, and well worth acquainting yourself with.
In the last book Gregor comes to realize that while he has been named the warrior by a strange series of prophecies he does not have to let that influence the rest of his life or even his decisions in the moment. What a novel concept, just because someone old says something does not make it so, does not make it prophecy, does not make it inevitable. May we all come to realize we are the harbingers of our own happy or sad endings.
I’ve enjoyed a lot of youth fiction this summer, perhaps it is because I have been immersed in children’s programming or perhaps it is because there is something lovely about a plot that doesn’t involve silly sexual tension or needless death/rape/death scenes (I’m looking at you George RR Martin). I enjoy adult content and complicated plot lines as much as the next person but there is something clean and fresh in seeing the world from the perspective of a child too young to know yet what the real monsters are.
I’ve linked the books below.
Gregor the Overlander
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
Gregor the and the Curse of the Warmbloods
Gregor and the Marks of Secret
Gregor and the Code of the Claw
Me in 2016:
Why do I put a clean onesie one my little one first thing in the morning? I know there is an 80% chance he will have a blow out within an hour of getting his first fresh diaper and change of clothes and yet I always out him in a clean onesie after he eats breakfast. I know why. I want him to be clean. I am a little unhealthily obsessed with making sure he is clean and looks like someone loves him.
Isn’t that what we all want? To look like someone loves us. To feel like someone loves us. So I do a little in hopes that one day he will know that indeed someone loves him enough to wash the same poopy onesie a hundred times.
Me two weeks ago:
I wrote those first two paragraphs years ago. I can firmly say that not much has changed. He is potty training now and while he can pee in the toilet like a champion, doing number 2 seems to be harder. Maybe it will finally happen with consistency soon, but until then I washing a lot of poopy underwear/throwing away a lot of poopy underwear. Oh motherhood. The things we do that we never thought we would be doing, like judging how much poop is too much to clean out of a pair of undies.
You know what, my little champion has been pooping in the potty all on his own for about three days. He hasn’t had an accident in a few days now. I updated this just to say, take heart all of you moms and dads in the trenches of trying to teach a tiny human not to poop behind his bedroom door on the ugly shag carpet(yes this happened last week) Your child probably wont start kindergarten without being able to take care of bathroom stuff on their own.
As far as methodology goes, I started having him pee in the potty on and off at 18 months. I should have followed through as soon as he caught on with it and tried something like the three day method which is what we did at 26 months. The three day method is about 40 page worth of ebook that tells you to throw away the diapers and do nothing but help your kid learn to use the potty while you in turn learn the signs of when they need to go. Its pretty intuitive. In addition to that I also gave him a prize for every successful go which eventually has turned into only a prize for going number 2, which is almost weaned off of entirely. He does know what a prize is now so there is that but I will take spending 20 bucks on a tub full of kid goodies in exchange for not having to change a diaper. Carl did not learn to use the toilet in three days, It was probably another two weeks before we went all day with no peeing accidents and another month before we successfully made it all day with no poop clean up. Honestly though I expected that. It takes 21 days to form a habit. Toilet training is simply a habit.
If I could share one bit of advice with myself a year ago it would be to savor those moments before he can say damn it and just clean up the poop explosion.
If I could tell my month ago self anything it would be to buy one more packet of underwear, and relax.
Buying a home is not all its cracked up to be.
If one more person tells me that this experience is supposed to be fun I might just lose my shit. Faith and I decided to try and buy last year. To quickly save money we decided to move in with our mom after the lease ran out on our house. Let me tell you nothing will motivate you to find a home or save money better than living at home/driving 14hrs a week. That’s been pretty miserable. Add on to that a commute with a toddler and it is just that much worse.
We have seen no less than three dozen homes, probably closer to four dozen but Faith could tell you exactly. This doesn’t even begin to factor in the ones that were off market or in contract when we tried to go see them. If you have a list of ten houses to see in an afternoon be prepared to sacrifice 3 hours and only see 8. On a typical house seeing day the first house might have no roof Information available and funky insulation but hardwood floors under the carpet and a nice backyard, the second house will have carpet with concrete underneath, funky 50s tile, need complete repainting, but have plenty of attic storage and large bedrooms. The third house your Realtor will have trouble with the lock box, the house will have a broken attic ladder, small rooms, linoleum, and best of all a drop away, dirt floor scary basement with no access other than a ten foot drop. House number four looks great on the outside, the neighboring houses are cute, the upstairs living area looks pretty good except the one round air vent running through one bedroom from the obsolete coal stove in the basement but when you get to investigating said basement it has an unadvertised unfinished bathroom and extra room with concrete floors, block walls, mold, a chair in the corner, a single light bulb and an unidentified stain on the floor. House number five is off the market, and house number six has unfinished floors. House number seven was gorgeous online but when you go to see it there is an old car with a flat tire in the garage area, a broken glass door, a two tone badly painted storage area all before you enter the house which is supposed to have a central unit but instead has a window unit insulated with trash bags, the floors are halfway finished and several windows have not been installed. House number eight only has one picture online which is never a good sign. When we arrive to see it we learn it’s occupied and the owners are home which is super awkward. The fuse box is also not up to code.
All of this happens with a screaming toddler after house four that ends up being bribed with a sucker.
And the hunting continues….
I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while and it has been almost a year today since my last bit of writing was published. I don’t think anyone ever stops writing if that is something they enjoy but I shelved this blog last year for a hundred reasons only a few of which will I expound upon. Last year I was on the cusp of a divorce and that was all I wanted to write about which is kind of depressing. I felt like I might regret using this particular public avenue for that. A year ago today I was also pretty boring. I had sort of lost myself in babyland as lots of new moms do. Between new baby and new divorce all that was on my mind was how to keep from drowning.
My first divorce anniversary inst for another few weeks and my toddler wont have his second birthday for another month but I think I’ve gained enough perspective and have enough life going on to open myself back up to writing. So here I go.
I always like writing during Lent. There is something beautifully cathartic about this season. Lent is a time to grow and change (or at least that’s what I put on the bulletin board). We give things up or take things on for Lent in order to gain a closeness with God or to deepen our spiritual connection. Sometimes that is pretty great and it actually works. For instance I gave up Facebook which I have mostly stuck to. I have not posted anything since Lent began and I am beginning to think it might be a habit after Lent. The purpose of that was twofold. One, I could have more time to read and study the Bible that I usually wasted in internet land. It has definitely fulfilled that purpose. I feel like I waste much less time. The other purpose was to distance myself from the drama of other people. While Facebook, and social media in general may have had the original purpose of bringing us closer together I feel like it often drives me further away from people. I don’t want to know that some family member I love and respect could actually share the views of our current president. It makes me want to run far, far away. I’d rather not be solicited by eight different mom friends selling everything from lip products to weight loss shakes. I understand everyone has to make a living. Trust me I know the struggle, but its hard to not let something like that put distance between people. We see such a limited window of a persons soul on social media and frankly I would rather see that person in real life. I think they would be much better that way. We may not be as pretty, or as thin as our profile picture would suggest but in my experience we are much better human beings.
Here’s to actually finding the time to write again. Next week maybe I’ll share my house hunting experience (Its super hilariously awful)
I should be cleaning. This is the story of my life when Carl is not with me. I hate having a dirty house and I did clean a little, but then I got distracted by all the thoughts. Life has seasons. This is just one of many seasons. I got a new (to me) car today. Its pretty exciting. Faith and I won’t have to car share anymore which is pretty sweet. Car sharing is hard and it can be tricky.
Going through a divorce is difficult, but I think if you wrap your mind around it and if you take a lot of time to do that then it will be less difficult. At least that has been my experience so far. I know everyone has a different experience and while I acknowledge that I had a hand in the ultimate demise of the relationship I also think that I did everything I could to save a sinking ship and then I did the healthy thing by jumping off.
And now I get to live again. That’s the way life should be. If it isn’t working, try and fix it, if it can’t be fixed…give it away and move on. Don’t spend all your time dwelling on that other person. Let them live their life. If you have a child with them then you can’t help but dwell a little, I mean you have to see them on a regular basis. But don’t make that your whole life. That is one my mantras these days. So far I think I am doing pretty good. I stay busy, I haven’t binged on cookies and ice cream, life is pretty good.
It takes about 20 minutes to pump breast milk every time I have to pump.
It takes about an hour to make dinner, do the dishes, and feed the baby every evening.
Seeing a movie in theaters takes about 3 hours no matter the length of the movie
There are 24 hours in a day
It takes about 3 days to finish a moderate embroidery project.
There are 7 days in a week
It takes roughly 14 days to get paid.
It takes 21 days for a new habit to form.
A Caterpillar will transform into a beautiful butterfly in about 28 days
It takes 28, 30, or 31 days to get to a new month
A dragonfly will live for about 4 months
Growing a baby takes about 9 months
Some babies learn to walk in just 10 months
A chameleon lives for about 1 year.
Some children are potty trained by the time they are 18 months old
That’s how long it takes me to go from one step to another. That would be how long it takes me to from separation to actually taking another step. Good grief.
When last I told this epic tale I was being driven to the hospital post haste. My tale began around 9pm, and at this point it is a little after 11pm. We made it to the hospital, and Steven wheeled me up to L&D in that same wheelchair from an hour ago. I remember the wheelchair. I remember the nurse Erica’s face when we showed up for the second time that night under considerably different circumstances. After all the poor woman had discharged me less than an hour before. I remember Steven asking where they wanted him to take me. I was so tired and the contractions where continuous at this point. No breaks in between to breathe that I could distinguish. I was beginning to feel a foreign urge to push. Push what from where I wasn’t certain but I knew I needed to push. Nurse Erica pointed us toward a room and Steven helped me get out of my clothes and into a gown because there was no way I could do it myself. I remember somehow ending up on the table.
We had taken a tour of the L&D wing several months before where they showed us all the neat features of the bed, like how it transforms in all these different ways for ease of birth in different positions. I never got to use any of those features. I didn’t need anything to speed labor along. I got onto bed somehow and Nurse Erica checked me. As she was checking me I was asking about an epidural. Or pain medication, or really anything. In my head I was thinking just hit me with something. Knock me out. I’ll take a csection please. Originally, in my birth plan which never saw the light of day, I thought I would let labor progress until I was at six centimeters dilated and then ask for the epidural. I didn’t want to get one until I really needed it. Its funny how intense pain will change ones mind because I really didn’t care how dilated I was at that point I just needed relief.
Nurse Erica looked at me, with a big smile and said “Well how about lets just have a baby”…. My immediate thought was “What the fuck?”. You have got to be kidding me right? However I had promised myself that no matter how much pain I was in I would be polite and nice to the nurses and to Steven during my labor. I didn’t want to look back on it and have to apologize for being a crazy bitch. However right at this moment Nurse Erica was reminding me of the chesire cat. I was certain I had fallen down a rabbit hole. So I politely asked for an epidural to which she then calmly ordered the nurse next to her to get a doctor because I was at a ten. As in ten centimeter dilated. As in the babies head was coming out anytime now. I don’t think she realized I heard her but I did. In my head I am thinking and out loud I kept thinking I’m not ready yet. It isn’t time yet. This is too fast. Nurse Erica had assured me I wouldn’t be ready until probably tomorrow. I want my epidural. I wasn’t going to be a hero.
I had said, since almost the beginning that I wanted pain meds. i said this in labor class and I am fairly certain they thought I was a drug addict. I just thought it had to be a joke. But it wasn’t funny. Then I thought it had to be a dream, it was too soon to have him, but then the pain came through and I realized I had never had such a painful dream. All of that was obliterated as soon as the next wave of pain came with the overwhelming urge to push. I told everyone that I thought I needed to push which was very adamantly denied. Don’t push I was told. Breathe through it I was told. I was beginning to believe there was a hell and labor, specifically trying not to push, was it. There were nurses everywhere trying to put an IV in, prepping for the baby, and Steven was there holding my hand and repeating what the nurse said about not pushing. I could see them all, but at the same time it was like I only saw parts of the event at a time. My world had narrowed to the pain and fear and the occasional face I saw above me and Steven holding my hand. The pain isn’t scary. The pain is just something to get through. Ive been in pain before. What is scary is being in pain and being responsible for helping a child come into this world. Of all the things in life you don’t want to screw up this is a big one. I knew I could deal with the pain because it would eventually end but I was a lot less sure about being able to deliver a healthy baby.
Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity but in reality was probably about 20 minutes a doctor showed up. He was a sarcastic sort of fellow with glasses and a square face and a dry sense of humor. His name was Dr. Hurd and he is definitely not who I would have picked to deliver my baby, but at least he had a good sense of humor and didn’t add to my mounting sense of panic. My regular doctor is a kind, soft spoken sort of fellow who instantly makes you feel like everything will be ok. Dr. Hurd had nothing of that bedside manner, but he would do in a pinch…which this definitely was because shortly after he showed up the babies head started to crown and I heard lots of exclamations about a head full of hair. Apparently I was birthing Chewbacca. I remember having this thought rather fleetingly. After finally managing to find a vein that would take an IV. They tried both arms and finally got a hand. All that was going on while I was trying not to push and dealing with my new completely pain medication free reality.
I’ve really enjoyed writing this story and looking back on it with fresh eyes. I’m so glad I chose to write it down and I hope someone else might benefit from it. You can catch parts 1 and 2 here. Stayed tuned for the next installment.
I am not going to jump on my soap box for what will hopefully only be a minute:
Maybe its just my generation, or maybe this is a common thread that moves through time in all generations of all people but I personally am sick of seeing people buy things, adopt animals, run through sexual partners and relationships, serially date, or stuff their face because they believe some small inconsequential and momentary thing or act or person or animal will fill all the gaps and be the the thing that “makes them happy”. How silly is that really? I mean I understand wanting the instant gratification of a good snuggle, or playing with a puppy, or having sex, or eating a tub of ice cream. It feels good. It makes us feel good for about 15 minutes. But what happens after that?
I have watched so many people that I really care about go from relationship to relationship and find no fulfillment. Worse than that is that those relationships tend to be abusive or unhealthy. When we are looking for that next thing to make us happy we sometimes lose sight of our own personal standards or forget that we have intrinsic self worth and don’t have to put up with crappy treatment. If we can’t find joy in being alone we will never be able to find it with another person added into the mix.
I’m by no means perfect, but even if someone treats me like poo I know it has very little to do with me and more to do with the other person (generally speaking). What happened to treating others the way we want to be treated. Apparently most people skipped that episode of sesame street.
I love to write. Why? Because I am a crappy verbal communicator and I feel like the only time I ever truly say what I need to say is when I write it. I’m not a great writer. I probably should have paid more attention to English grammar in school. I’ve written all kinds of things over the years. I’ve written letters, and essays, research papers, and short stories, and of course blog posts. I’ve written for other people. I’ve written for pleasure. I’ve written when I feel like something needs to be said. That’s what I did today. I wrote a letter because I felt like something needed to be said. I have to tweak it a little and its not just about me so I won’t be sharing it for all the world to read, but the feeling you get after writing something that needs to be written is like no other.
Why do I blog? I blog because I need an outlet. I blog because I sometimes feel like there are things that need to be said. I blog because I think our opinions matter and rather than beat my friends and family or the world at large over the head with them I write them here. People can take them or leave them. Now I suppose I blog at least in part so that if something ever happens to me my little one will have a way in which to get to know me that he would not otherwise have. Somethings we can’t prepare for. So I write.
Blogs can be our own personal soap box. A blog can be a journal. Some blogs are all about sharing with us how to better our lives. Some are about one persons passion, be that for cooking or cleaning or organizing or making or their babies or their DIY life. Somewhere in the midst of even the most commercial feeling blog is the personality of the writer. I am pretty sure my blog will never be famous. I may not ever write anything that anyone of any fame ever reads. Luckily I write for a different purpose. I write because I need to write.
So why do you write?