Monday, July 27, 2009


Violet is a baby living on the edge. She literally teeters on the edge of steps, sofas, Rubbermaid boxes, and any other surface that she can climb on top of with her limited upper body strength. Though Shawn and I have both been off work for the last month, I'll admit, we haven't supervised her 100% of that time. There haven't been any cases of egregious neglect--she hasn't been found wandering in the street clad only in a soiled diaper--but she's definitely been out of line of sight from time to time. It was a little bit of a shocker the afternoon I darted outside to ask Shawn a question and found my sweet little girl, crap loaded in her diaper, crouched on the floor eating the remnants of a peanut butter sandwich she'd scooped from the trash. My little baby bum is a toddler now and nothing brings her more joy than toddling away from her Mommy and Daddy.

Because I know that there is no way to make sure she will never get hurt, I have learned how to pick and choose the hazards I'll allow. The first thing to sort out was hazard vs. annoyance. A hazard would be Violet getting into the cabinets under the kitchen sink and sampling the cleaning products we store under there. An annoyance is Violet getting into the cabinet under our bathroom sink and chewing on the ends of every tampon in a Costco-sized box before she scatters them from one end of the bedroom to the other.

There are a lot of real hazards in the world and even these aren't all easy to protect her from. For instance, the stairs are still largely no-no's for Violet. I have seen her crawl up and now (be still my nervous heart!) I've now seen her back her way all the way down our flight of stairs. I know that she knows how to descend on her belly when that is her goal. I've also seen her roll a ball down the hallway and then sway ever so gut-wrenchingly, over the top stair as she watches it bounce down, step by step. The thought of her tumbling down the stairs scares the bejesus out of me so I'm *mostly* always diligent about gating her on one level. This morning, as I was ------ing (making the bed or drying my hair or putting laundry away or doing one of the other zillion things I do that keep me from focusing all of my attention on my 14 month old), she made a beeline for the stairs. I jumped in front of her to put the baby gate up and turned her around hoping she would find something to while away the next 2 (or 5 or 10 or 12 or 20) minutes so I could finish making/drying/putting/doing task. Unless she's wrecked tired, she's usually fairly easy to re-direct.

She did an about-face and rather than f-ing with me by going down the stairs, she went toward the tools that hang next to the fireplace in our bedroom. These are long, metal shovels and pokers--definitely not approved for baby. But they are also heavy and hard to get out of their holder. So I watched Violet slam them against the brick hearth over and over and I went about my business. There was no imminent danger to her from the fireplace tools, but if she pulled the same shit at someone else's house, I wouldn't let her do it. It doesn't look good, safety-wise, and the metal poker slamming on brick sounds even worse. But, she was entertained by them for a while and that is more than I can say Elmo did for me this morning. And, once I finished my hair/laundry/bed making, it is a lot easier to pick up some tampons out of the fireplace than take the child to the ER for falling down the stairs. That's how I play risky behavior roulette.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Violet is 14 months old. Not a major milestone for most kids, but 14 months is a number that has some significance for me. See, Violet missed my Dad by just 14 months. Had life moved faster for me, or slowed down for Daddy, he might have gotten to meet his first granddaughter. 14 months--just a wrinkle in time, really.

Violet and I spent Friday at my friend Leslie's lakehouse. I hadn't seen her parents for years and it was nice to catch up with them for a bit. Talking to her father, the way he called me "Kiddo," reminded me so much of my own Dad. I suppose Mr. Ryan and my Dad were contemporaries so no surprise they'd use the same lingo. Hearing his voice transported me briefly back in time.

The most fascinating and appealing part of the idea of heaven, at least for me, is the togetherness of everyone. People who missed each other in life, like my Dad and Violet or me and my own Grandfathers, get to overlap in death. Of course, getting to see those who passed on before us is a huge comfort, but it is those initial meetings that really captivate my imagination. The logistics of heaven start to get messy when you think about how many generations of ancestors may be waiting there to say hey, but, I guess with all eternity to play with, I can spend plenty of time with Great-Great-Great Aunt Maude and not worry to much about what else I'm missing. Ahhh, yes, heaven. What a splendid idea!

I feel that heaven is likely an idea created by humans as a salve for the deepest losses we suffer so I can't just rely on Violet meeting up with my Daddy "someday." I have to do what I can during life to make sure Violet and my Dad do overlap. So I've been trying to remember the details of the "Hairy Green Toe" story he told me so I can share it with her. And I've been making sure to call her toenails "sock sabers" and refer to her as "Little V" every now and then. I'll call her Critter and of course Kiddo in case there isn't a light at the end of the tunnel. Because if there isn't a heaven where Bill Schroeder and Violet Pierce get to meet each other, part of my job as a Schroeder and a Pierce is to see that she gets some sense of who her Grandpa was and how much he would have loved her.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Lost Month

So June is over and I managed to post only once. Guess I'm not ready for professional blogging yet after all. I swear, I do have a good excuse. Several excuses really.

The first and grandest excuse for my absence from the world wide web is that we Pierces moved to a NEWWW house on June 24th. After a hellava negotiation process to unload our other house, we finally arrived at an acceptable deal with the buyers (thanks in large part to our realtor, Sussan O'Brien, who I'd recommend to anyone in a heartbeat) and we were able to move forward with buying a NEWWW house!!

The new place is palatial by our old standards, dwarfing our previous house. We went from 2 bedrooms to 4; 1 bathroom to 2.5, no garage to a 2-car attached; a postage stamp yard to a respectable romping ground for all of us. Needless to say, we are loving it. I don't know if I have an absolute-hands-down favorite part of the house yet (I love it all, really) but I am pretty enamoured of Violet's room. It was already painted the perfect shade of--you guessed it--Violet--when we moved in and is easily twice a large as her old room. It has plenty of space for her growing toy collection, her little kid library, a smelly diaper pail, and, her newest addition, her big-girl bed!

In our old house, Violet's room was still The Nursery. It was an idea of a baby's room, The Nursery was, an idea hatched in my mind upon finding out I was pregnant. Babies r Us and Pottery Barn Kids showed me photos of how I was supposed to house a baby and I thought, "This is good, this is cute, my baby must have this." I shopped and I researched, I poured over catalogues and safety guidelines, I deliberated--I shit you not--DELIBERATED FOR DAYS--over what the baby's crib bedding would be. The crib bedding was key of course, because, much like Ohio during a national election, the crib bedding is a bellweather for the rest of the nursery. A proper nursery theme begins with the crib bedding and goes on from there. I chose the Penelope bedding from Pottery Barn Kids and I am lead to believe that the price of the bedding must be inversely proportional to the baby's desire to lay on it. It was damn expensive and Violet spent ZERO nights sleeping on it. Not a one. She much preferred the Target sheets on Mommy and Daddy's bed. Or maybe she preferred Mommy and Daddy...

Anyway, we set up Vi's big girl bed, a double mattress and box spring on the floor, on our second night in the house and, wonder of wonders, she has fallen to sleep in it every night since. She is also logging 1-2 naps in her bed every day allowing Shawn and I to get shit done around the house. It was never possible for me to lay down with her while she drifted off when the crib was her bed and she woke up instantly every time we went to lay her in it. Now I can go lay down with her and nurse her to sleep. She hasn't made it all night in her own bed yet, but I'm fine with that. Even though Shawn and I had discussed how much easier it would be to put Violet to bed once we moved, the reality of her being in her own room didn't hit me til the night we made her bed up. I think moving her has been a bigger deal for me than for her. So when I hear her on the monitor at 2 or 3 am, I am always happy to go grab her and bring her back to our bed for the rest of the night.

Other bonuses about our new house: we are .8 miles from my brother Andy and his wife Aly. This means extra playtime with Vi's cousins Jack and Charlie. We also moved into a great little well-established neighborhood with an active homeowners association. We got here just in time to be a part of the 4th of July parade complete with a marching band and a flaming baton twirler. The neighbors we've met seem wonderful--the couple next door has lived in their home for 40 years and brought us over a lemon poppy seed cake to welcome us. My guess is that Charles and Lorraine will not have the same sort of alcohol fueled late night spats and loud make-up sex like our previous neighbors...Seems we've landed squarely in Pleasantville.

Finally, perhaps my most favoritest part of this new house is the thing we just turned on today...our wireless router! No more hunching over a desk in the wee hours to get a blog posted! I am writing this in the comfort of my own bed! Love it!