Thursday, December 18, 2008

toddlerhood.

You know you've had a shitty day when you're sitting in absolute silence, but all you can hear is the sound of your child screaming in your head, playing on repeat at full blast. That and the sound of your heart, still thudding loudly in your chest, because your blood pressure is so high that your veins might explode.

Thankfully, there's a bunch of chocolate chip mint brownie ice cream in the freezer, a Dude to cuddle, and some funny shit on YouTube to watch, because I don't think I could handle it otherwise.

My mother-in-law always tells her, "You're lucky you're cute," and OH MAN is she right. I love this kid beyond belief, but her attitude right now? AAAAH. If it's this bad now, how am I going to get through the terrible twos? Or middle school? Or the teenage years?

Friday, November 28, 2008

mommy spice posts.

When I was writing for Mommy Spice, I somehow neglected this blog a lot, which is dumb, because if you know me, you know I can easily write for more than one blog at a time. But the past few months have been rough.

Anyway, since I have not posted here in quite some time, I thought I'd link to the other stuff I was writing at this time over at Mommy Spice.

July
A Day in the Life of Super-WAHM
Kids' CDs We Love
On Mobility

August
Working From Home
Strong Woman
Vacation, All I Ever Wanted
It Takes a Village
Weird Art
Vacation Stuff
Mama Body Image
Sleep Regression Woes
The Importance of Playgroups
Finger Foods
An Evening Without Baby
One Way to Look Like a Weirdo
Father-Daughter Time
Trimming the Talons
Cheap Green Baby Stuff
The Changing Seasons
Bee's Current Favorite Toys

September
Grandparent Love
Torture Chamber
Setbacks
Phone-Sitting
Baby's First Infestation
Gentle Nap Training
I Don't Wanna
How to Prepare for Parenthood
Saved by the Power of Snuggles
Sippy Cup Success
Stretch!
I'm Still Here

October
Lansinoh Ultra-Soft Disposable Nursing Pads
Resourceful Husband Award
Please Let This be a Sign of Good Things to Come

After all the shit that happened in October that I just posted about earlier tonight, I let my entire Internet presence fall by the wayside, so that's where it ends. Unless they let me back on. We'll see.

hiatus.

OH GOD WHERE HAVE I BEEN. Mentally, my brain is still insisting that it's October where it's almost December. So I haven't just been neglecting my blog, but I've been in a tailspin and neglecting nearly every single thing except for my husband and daughter. (Hey, they're the ones who really matter, right?)

I don't have a great excuse for what happened in September (the last time I blogged here), because technically I could have spent more time writing. I actually hadn't been feeling so well for a little while, and I'm still not sure what was up, but I was having this serious chronic fatigue issue that just would not quit. Blood tests revealed nothing, but there were days upon days where all I wanted to do was sleep. So I'd been pretty bad at the Internet. And I didn't even care, because my non-computer-centric life seemed to fall so far behind that catching up on weeks' worth of e-mail seemed impossible. And far too tiring.

That's okay, I thought, as September drew to a close. October will be better. October has always been my favorite month. It starts with my birthday and ends with Halloween, my two favorite holidays. And I absolutely love autumn in the Northeast, and I really feel it begin in October.

The first two weeks of October promised to be particularly awesome. It was my first birthday as a mom, which was exciting. Two days after my birthday, Dude, Bee, and I had plans to fly to the Dominican Republic for a sorely-needed-by-all vacation for five days. I hoped this vacation might rid me of my fatigue issues, figuring that sometimes a little R&R away from home does the trick. Upon returning home, we'd visit my parents for a couple days, then drive back home with my mom, and then my cousin would be flying in from Detroit for a conference and visit. Maybe I'd be feeling normal again by then. I could catch up on my online life, go visit the friends and family I'd neglected, start going back to playgroup, perhaps even arrange a new weekly meeting with a few moms I know and like, et cetera et cetera. You know, all those enjoyable parts of day-to-day life that I was excited to return to. The month would round out with Bee's first Halloween. Doesn't that sound lovely? It sounded lovely to me.

And it was lovely. At least, the birthday and vacation and Halloween were. I never did go back to playgroup, sadly for Bee, and I'm only now starting to get back online. It's all the other shit that hit the fan, and the fact that I already felt "behind" on life after an energy-less September where even considering brushing my teeth before bed wore me out, that started this chain of crazy events that I'm not even sure sound believable anymore.

We returned home to a serious structural issue in our entryway, leading to our building being temporarily condemned and us having to stay in a hotel while my mom and cousin were visiting. When we were let back in, we had to enter and exit through the EXTREMELY TERRIFYING and seemingly unsafe fire escape WITH A FREAKING INFANT. Then, completely unrelated, part of a ceiling panel collapsed in Bee's room, which is connected to our room. When opening my bedroom door one day while holding Bee, I found a FUCKING SQUIRREL running across my bed. I'll admit that I'm definitely high-strung when it comes to rodents running through my house, so I FREAKED OUT. What the hell, man? Here we are entering and exiting through the fire escape with a baby, trying to entertain family guests, and a squirrel falls in through the roof in my baby's room, a yard from her crib?

Once that mess was cleared up, the three of us came down with a miserable virus. Dude returned to work, and I felt like ass. And it was about time to follow up with my doctor on that whole fatigue issue thing. I decided to call after getting Bee down for a nap. Bee fell asleep on me, and as I started moving towards her room to put her in her crib, Dude called and woke her up. Dude never calls during naptime, just in case such things occur, so I was annoyed that the ONE time he didn't follow this rule happened to be the ONE time I needed him to.

But he called to tell me that he was laid off from his job effective immediately, thanks to the economy fucking his company up the rear. The extra shitty part? We had planned this vacation back in April, when he got hired at that job. They told him he might not have enough vacation time, but that he'd accrue it by the end of the year and it would just put his vacation balance into the negative. I mean, that happens in tons of places, and I've scheduled vacations like that before. And his being laid off was totally unexpected; I mean, prior to this, they were talking about promoting him at his one-year review. So since we had just gone on vacation, he was left with EIGHT HOURS OF SEVERANCE PAY.

Also shitty? Since it was the end of a pay period, they were canceling our insurance. So that doctor's visit never happened. So... that sucked. Because Dude and I weren't exactly rolling in dough in the first place. I mean, things were SUPER tight and difficult prior to this, and we didn't have much in the way of savings, and we were a one-income family. Sure, I work from home, but I don't earn enough to support me by myself in a cardboard box on the Charles River, let alone enough to support a husband and baby.

Somehow, I managed to luck out even more and develop mastitis within a day or two of him losing his job. I don't know if you've had mastitis before, but let me tell you right now, it sucks. And not having insurance isn't exactly helpful, especially because mastitis can develop into an abscess, and that was the last thing I needed. Dr. Google taught me all about the amazing antibiotic properties of allicin, found in garlic, and thankfully, that did cure me. I smelled like a freaking garlic factory for days, but according to my mother, that's nothing new.

On October 30, I said, "Listen up, October. You've got one more day to redeem yourself. So get on that." Within an hour, I started menstruating. My first real period since Bee's birth. So basically, October this year? Failed. Miserably. I give it a rating of February, which is obviously the worst month in existence. So fuck you, October, right in your fucking ear. And Mom, if you're reading this, yes you can curse on mommy blogs, and yes I know that curse words don't sound ladylike, and I'm sorry but no I will most likely not stop.

Dude has not yet found a job, has been given the run-around by a few places that are dangling him by the balls outside a window, and in general hasn't been very hopeful what with the current economic environment and the fact that it's holiday season. Hiring has slowed down/stalled in a lot of companies. We can't afford to keep paying for rent and bills and groceries on his measly unemployment checks, which by the way were FIVE WEEKS LATE, which sucked extra hard. So we have packed up ourselves, our cats, and about 75% of our shit, and drove them 250 miles down to my parents' house, where we are currently residing. Which definitely has a lot of benefits, but since I'm here to vent right now, is also sad because we miss our home and our friends. And it sucks further because moving in general sucks, especially when you're leaving a place you really like, and more so when this is your third move in 18 months.

The most frustrating part is that we're not even sure if we're going to stay here, because he's still waiting to hear back from one place. If they make a good offer, we might just move all this shit right back, which would suck. But if they don't make a good offer, who knows when he might get hired? And since we don't know what's going on, it makes it so much harder to figure out what to do. Do we move the last of our furniture, buy a bunch of baby-proofing gear and set this place up? Or do we wait in limbo, not really settled anywhere?

And I haven't even told you about Bee yet. She's going to be ONE! YEAR! OLD! in less than two weeks, started walking at the end of October/beginning of November and is now an old pro, and is in the midst of a HUGE verbal boost and is learning at least one new word a day. And she's just picking them up out of nowhere, man! Like, today at snack, she learned the word "cheek," and before bed, she randomly patted my cheek and said "CHEEK!" and then touched her own cheek and said it again. We're into parts of the face right now. "Nose" is the reigning favorite, and "teeth" was one she learned two days ago and also really likes talking about. She's also obsessed with babies. And, I'm not sure where or when this started but I think I'm going to blame my parents for this one, but she also has a firm grip on the word "no" now and is kind of obsessed with things she isn't supposed to do. I don't even have to say it. If she goes for my cell phone and I calmly move it out of her reach and try to distract her with something else, she points at my phone, wags her finger, says "No no no," and bursts into tears.

And, in case I haven't mentioned it yet, she got FOUR TEETH in the past month and a half. For those of you who weren't sure, for the record, having an infant who is simultaneously getting four teeth as well as going through a big developmental spurt culminating in walking and talking is difficult all on its own, because while their brains work on all that stuff at once, they get totally cranky and needy and easily irritated and stop sleeping. Or at least my kid does. Which, for the curious, really didn't help this whole oh-my-god-Dude-is-unemployed-we-have-no-money-what-the-fuck-do-we-do thing. But I think that phase is over, at least. The super cranky working-on-everything-at-once bit, not the what-the-fuck-do-we-do bit, because that is still going strong.

So yeah. It's been crazy-go-nuts over here, and the last thing I've had time to do is sit down and blog about it. But I've desperately wanted to. I do enjoy writing. It does have therapeutic value for me, and it helps me calm down and organize my thoughts, which would have been really useful these past months.

On the good side, Dude and I feel like our relationship has really strengthened since we're together so much, he's gotten to spend way more time with our daughter than he would have had he been working, we're feeling very thankful that we have a place to go and options that will help solidify our future, I'm getting to spend lots of time with my family, and last but certainly not least, Bee is just so freaking cute. This is such a fun phase, and I know I've said that for every phase she's gone through, but this is what I love about children: watching them grow and develop and enter these new phases of development. It's really amazing to me in general, and it's just so cool going through it with my own child because I see it from a totally different perspective.

So things aren't all bad by any stretch of the imagination, but they have certainly been stressful and insane and unbelievable, and after a long hard day of trying not to lose my mind, the last thing I have been able to do is check my e-mail or write a blog post. Believe it or not, I even took a leave of absence from my job, because while we need the money, I just don't have the time or energy to sit on the computer for more than 10 minutes at a go most days.

If you read this, you get a cookie, because damn this was long. But hey, now you can stop wondering where the heck I went.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

ec news.

So! I just wanted to update real quick on our elimination communication stuff, since I last talked about it here. If any of the diaper names I talk about aren't linked and you're curious, refer back there for more info.

Bee has been having a lot more pees in the potty. We still have a LOT of misses, but that's okay. We got these training pants, which I thought seemed like a great deal - 15 training pants for $30? Woot! They aren't waterproof, but that's okay. If we're going out I just throw a Thirsties cover over them.

So I have her in those for most of the day. I still use the Kissaluv fitteds with Thirsties if I need her in a diaper, and the Happy Heinys remain our going out/nighttime diaper. The Kissaluv contours and Snappis have been put away. I still love them and all, but I'm finding the underpants to be much easier.

Lately she's been resisting peeing in the Ikea potty, so I often just take her to the sink and hold her in a seated position with her knees up and cue her. This is great because she can look at herself in the mirror, which provides entertainment. Vain baby! Some days I can catch nearly all of her pees and some days I feel like I miss them all by minutes. One interesting thing? She's been keeping pretty dry OVERNIGHT (wtf?) and peeing in the potty tons as soon as she wakes up. Isn't that odd? I thought that was the last step in graduating from diapers. But no, she'll pee in her pants sometimes all day long and then hold it all night. *shrug* I'm not going to attempt to understand, or assume that it will last, since she is in such a changing phase of development.

Since her poop has become different since increasing her solid food intake, she's been resisting pooping on the potty as well. She likes to pull up and stand in a corner (no eye contact while pooping, lol) and poop there. But usually if I see her pulling up in such a way that she can't look at me, I know I have to take her to the potty. If I'm like "OH MY GOSH WAIT COME HERE AND POOP" then she freaks out and will hold it in. But if I calmly just put her on the potty and immediately distract her by reading her book after book, she'll chill out and go.

So even though we're facing a step back with poop, and we're having a lot of misses with pee, it's still going decently. Getting the undies on and off her to pee or change is so much easier than lying her down for a diaper change, especially with contours and Snappis and covers. I can get these on and off while she's crawling away.

As for diapers themselves, the fitteds are my reigning favorite for that same reason. I can button them up and pull them on like underpants, which is easier than getting this wiggly baby to lie down long enough to get a diaper on her.

I still have all this other stuff to post about, but I think I am slowly catching up to where I want to be.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

i want to be more regular.

And I don't mean by upping my fiber content; I mean posting more frequently on this blog.

Once again, the past few weeks have been crazy. Before I get into that, let me do a quick Bee milestone recap, since that is my primary purpose here.

First of all, as I said in this post, she is definitely saying hi. Witnesses agree. The "hi" has become much clearer. She sounds almost Southern, drawling slightly as she says it, which is odd considering she is a New Englander, born and raised. Oh, I am chuckling far too much at myself for the "born and raised" thing; I need more rest. Anyway. I know I told you about this already, but I am confirming that it is true since I was unsure last time. I thought that first words tended to be nouns. Bee is extremely social, so "Hi" as a first word seems fitting.

On July 16 (why did I forget to mention this in the other post?), she figured out how to pull up on objects to a standing position all by herself. On July 27, she began crawling. She just started, out of nowhere, and combined with the pulling up, we are in a whole new world of parenting. She is FAST, folks. FAST!!!

My days are generally spent trying to get verboten items out of her hands or worse, her mouth. I cannot tell you how hard she cried when I swiped a piece of carpet fuzz off the FRESHLY-VACUUMED FLOOR from her mouth. You would think that she had seized upon a chocolate-covered doughnut or something and I wrenched it away from her before she had the chance to enjoy it.

On July 31, we had our first ER visit. Short version of the story: Bee woke up with a very low-grade fever the morning we were supposed to go to Cape Cod. I thought it was teething, but it spiked up to 103. We went to an urgent care center and were referred on to the ER. After much Bee poking and prodding, including taking blood from both arms and inserting a catheter for a urine test, we learned that she had hand, foot, and mouth disease.

On July 29 (?? someone make sure I go back and double-check, I think I might be wrong), I left her alone with a non-family member for the first time while I ran out to the dentist.

On August 6, we went to the Cape Cod - first family vacation! On August 7, she cut her second tooth, which made the vacation start off rather interestingly.

On August 13, she had her first haircut, which I am still adjusting to. She looks adorable, but I miss her sideswept emo bangs.

On August 17, we left her alone for her first big stretch. Okay, not alone, but I mean, without either parent. And she'd been without us during appointments of mine and such, but only for a short while. On the 17th, we left her with my parents for nearly 9 hours. She did beautifully, and to be honest with you, she was way better for them than she usually is for me.

She is now 8 months old and eating finger foods like a champ. She's sleeping better than she used to (yay!) and more or less on a schedule. She flips through book pages now before eating them, and follows the sound of our voice and crawls after us if she can't see us. She lets go with both hands when she's pulled up to stand on things, tries to balance for a second, and then lands on her bottom.

Interestingly, she seems to have given up on signing. When she wants milk, she makes this new cough/giggle/whine sound as I unhook my nursing tank/bra. For everything else she might need (besides her need to say "hi" to everyone in the world), she fusses or cries. Heh. I think I need to try to encourage the signs more. Dude is much better at that than I am, which is weird because I used to work with babies and encouraging them to sign was a big deal to me.

That's the low-down on Bee. So I know I said "Before I get into that," which would mean that now that I'm done, the "before" part is over and I am to go into the craziness of the past few weeks.

However, it is much later than I thought it was, and I would really like to be at least moderately rested for the day tomorrow. So I am off to bed. I will tell you about the craziness next time.

Monday, July 28, 2008

a day in the life of super WAHM.

Recently (read: last week), I made the anxiety-inducing transition from stay-at-home mom to work-at-home mom. Planning is my forte, so mid-week I sketched out what seemed like a typical day...

The Plan:
7:00 - Wake up. Get ready for the day. Eat a hearty breakfast while Dude (the hubby) takes care of diapering and dressing Bumblebee (the 7-month-old). Nurse Bumblebee if needed. Exercise while Bee plays in the playpen, monitored by a Dude getting ready for work. Shower. Get dressed.
7:45 - Prepare work station. Make sure everything is together for the day's needs and that Bee has plenty of toys to play with and no access to anything dangerous.
8:00 - Relieve Dude of Bee duties. Engage in fun bonding time with Bee that stimulates her emotional, mental, and intellectual well-being. Smooch Dude as he heads out the door to catch his train to work.
9:00 - Log online and IM Boss for the day's assignment. Catch up on e-mail while waiting to hear. Discover that the first assignment will begin at 10, due at 11.
9:30 - Change and nurse Bee, then put her down to a nap. Smile maternally as she falls to sleep promptly at 9:45. Prepare for assignment.
10:00 - Start work on time. Do a terrific job. Finish up and find out that the next assignment will begin at 1, due at 2.
11:00 - Pick up and comfort a wakeful Bee. Check diaper and change if necessary. Play on the floor with blocks. Keep Bee very happy. Nurse as needed.
12:00 - Eat a nutritious, balanced lunch at the table with Bee in the high chair. Feed her cut up veggies from own lunch. Prepare a healthy snack to eat later while working.
12:30 - Get Bee settled with her toys. Marvel at what a calm, well-adjusted baby she is. Prepare for assignment.
1:00 - Start work on time. Do a terrific job. IM Boss to ask about next assignment. Rejoice upon hearing that there are no more assignments for the day.
2:00 - Change and nurse Bee, then put her down for a nap. Pat self on back when she falls asleep with no trouble. Eat snack. Tidy up around the house.
2:45 - Prepare a nutritious dinner that will be easy to heat upon Dude's arrival home. Make extra, figuring that leftovers will be for lunch tomorrow.
3:30 - Pick up a wakeful Bee. Go for a lovely walk to the library. Return books and get some new ones. Come home, hang out, nurse, and play.
6:00 - Dude comes home. Heat up dinner, portion out some veggies for Bee, and enjoy a calm family dinner. Relax with Dude and Bee.
7:30 - Bathe Bee and change her into PJs. Sing songs, read stories, and nurse. Exchange loving glance with Dude as Bee falls asleep. Enjoy a fun evening, watching "Coupling" on Netflix while munching on dessert.
11:00 - Go to bed, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Sounds great, right? I thought so too!

The Reality:
7:00 - Hear alarm. Peer through one heavy-lidded eye as Dude wakes up and tends to the baby. Beg for five more minutes.
7:05 - Plead for five more minutes.
7:10 - Insist on five more minutes.
7:15 - Yell incoherently at Dude and ask to be left alone.
8:00 - Arise with a start. Find Dude and grouse at him for not getting you up sooner. Pick up a Bee that's desperate for milk and nurse. Leaf through a magazine while nursing. Lose track of time. Suddenly realize that Dude is running late, leaving you unexercised, unbreakfasted, and with unbrushed teeth.
8:45 - Leave a grumpy Bee wailing in the playpen. Use bathroom and brush teeth, feeling guilty while listening to the baby's cries. Do not bother to get dressed. Attempt unsuccessfully to console Bee, who demands to be held. Grab some Cheerios and snarf them.
9:00 - Set Bee on the floor and immediately pick her up when this leads to sobbing. IM Boss while Bee throws things off desk, tries to eat mouse, and helps out with typing. Discover that first assignment will begin at 10, due at 11. Feel stomach churn with Cheerios and anxiety.
9:15 - Change and nurse Bee, who falls asleep on the boob. Attempt to extricate self from her grip while keeping her asleep. Fail miserably. Set up Boppy on lap and let her nurse back to sleep. Frantically prepare for assignment while she sleeps. Pray to every deity out there that she will stay asleep until 11.
9:58 - Attempt not to cry when Bee wakes up cranky. Sit her on the floor. Unplug laptop and sit on the floor next to her. Get to work, handing toys or smooches to Bee as needed. Enjoy a small uninterrupted break of productivity. Glance at Bee, wondering why she is being so good. Discover her cheerfully eating cell phone. Wrestle it away amidst her tears. Hold her on lap.
11:00 - Finish assignment, just in time, only to be asked to cover someone else on a new assignment due at 12:30. War internally. Accept assigment out of desire to impress Boss and earn a bit of extra cash. Feel relieved when Bee has somehow cheered up and is enjoying her toys. Complete work. Learn that next assignment starts at 1, due at 2. Gulp.
12:30 - Change a soaked but happy Bee. Feel guilty for not changing her sooner. Nurse her. Lay her down for a nap.
1:00 - Start work with a growling, angry belly. Attempt to banish thoughts of food from mind. Worry about quality of work. Assume you suck as a worker and as a mother. Groan when Bee wakes up halfway through project. Wonder why Bee sleeps so poorly. Set her up on floor, sitting next to her with laptop.
2:00 - Finish assignment and rejoice at being done for the day. Stop Bee from progressing towards laptop wire with jaw unhinged. Eat canned soup at the desk, neglecting to give any to Bee. Reassure self that breastmilk is her primary source of nutrition anyway, and that she will be fed solids at dinner. Unable to stem hunger, eat popcorn, 2 apples, two scoops of frozen yogurt, a package of crackers, and far too much full-fat Dubliner cheese. Promise to restart Weight Watchers tomorrow.
3:00 - Attempt to nurse an uninterested Bee. Wonder if Bee is getting enough to eat. Feel cranky about full feeling in breasts. Wonder when the house got so messy. Feel defensive about it. Call Dude. Beg him to come home early, knowing full well he can't.
4:00 - Consider taking Bee to the library, just to get out of the house. Feel too cranky and low on energy. Lie down in bed with Bee and a trashy romance novel. Nurse her to sleep and read romance novel.
6:00 - Take a wakeful Bee to the front door to greet her daddy who has just arrived home. Realize that dinner was never made. Give Bee to Dude. Boil water and make pasta from a box with storebought sauce. Have Dude set Bee in playpen, sautee vegetables, and grate cheese. Wonder why Bee is always happier in playpen when Dude puts her there.
7:00 - Eat, giving Bee some veggies. Tell Dude about planned schedule versus actual day. Refrain from getting annoyed when Dude tries not to laugh. See the humor in it. Smile. Exchange stories about the day and the cuteness of the Bee. Realize the day was not that bad, as everyone is fed and happy and healthy.
8:00 - Notice the time. Feel guilty about lack of sleep routine. Notice how exhausted Bee suddenly looks. Skip bath. Feel guilty about putting a dirty baby to sleep. Sing songs, read stories, nurse. Realize Bee is overtired. Spend a billion years trying to cajole her to sleep. Doze off several times in the process. Decide that waking up late was the reason the day got away. Vow to get in bed no later than 11, no matter what.
9:30 - Success. Exit the room to find that Dude is happily drinking a beer. Feel a stab of irritation at the fact that Bee will not sleep for Dude and thus he can enjoy a beer rather than spend an hour and a half convincing a crabby, exhausted baby to sleep. Be snippy.
10:30 - Get into an argument over nothing. Realize pointlessness of argument. Wonder if we should go to bed or watch an episode of "Coupling." Decide to watch episode to lighten the mood and avoid going to bed mad. Vow to go to bed by 11:15 at the absolute latest.
11:00 - Groan when Netflix connection craps out mid-episode. Want to throw things. Rejoice when Dude cycles the router, fixing the problem. Dismiss pangs of annoyance about going to bed late. Enjoy episode.
11:30 - Get into bed. Perhaps the plan will work out tomorrow....

spice for women

For the next two weeks (and hopefully more!), please feel free to read my posts at mommyspice. The posts NOT written by me are pretty fabu too, so go ahead and check it out. Mine are the ones that say "Mama Bean" at the bottom, in case that isn't obvious enough. ;)

You know you want to.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

miss me?

Gosh, I feel like it's been a million years since I posted. I was lucky enough to have family in town, and then this week has been crazy. My mother, who had been here three months helping out after I threw my back out, left on Monday. I was nervous enough about how I would handle everything on my own again - while I am doing a lot better, I haven't been taking care of everything on my own since March. On top of that, I started a new telecommuting job this week - eek!

Suffice it to say, it has been a crazy month.

On July 11, Bee figured out how to get from being flat on her tummy to sitting up. While she still can't crawl, she can get around pretty fast - she'll roll over a couple times, push from her tummy to sit up, and then pitch forward again and roll over and sit somewhere else. On July 16, she figured out how to pull up to standing on a little toy cart she has.

Interestingly, whenever I tell the older generations about this, they all say, "Just wait till she starts driving." GIVE ME SOME TIME HERE PEOPLE.

Also, you won't believe me about this at all because she is only 7.5 months old, but I'll tell you anyway. So she's been waving hello for a month now (she doesn't wave bye-bye unless prompted - waving is a greeting for her and she will wave at absolutely everyone, photographs, and the cats), and each time she waves, we always wave back and say "Hi!" Now, for the past two days, every single time she waves, she says "Hi," clear as day. If someone walks in the room and says "Hi," even if it's not to her, she will make eye contact, wave, and say "Hi" back.

I am torn about putting it in the baby book, to be honest. But I feel like it is too early for a first word, and that alone - a strange clinging to textbook knowledge rather than the knowledge of my child - makes me feel like it can't be real. On the other hand, we aren't deaf or blind, and we see and hear her doing it. It just seems so unreal, I guess.

I have more recipes and tales to share, but on this laid-back weekend I think we are going to get around to some of that organizing that we keep procrastinating. I can't believe we've lived in this apartment for nearly four months now - and that we're almost completely unpacked. I am reminded of that scene in The Incredibles when he's on the phone with his wife, and she declares that they are officially unpacked, and he confusedly points out that they've been living in their house for years. She agrees, but says that now she has actually unpacked the last box. Ah, moving.

Monday, July 7, 2008

dictator's decree.

Things I am not allowed to do while breastfeeding:
-breathe loudly
-laugh
-sneeze
-cough
-read a book or magazine
-eat
-talk on the phone
-send a text message
-rustle through papers or bags
-pick my nose
-make any sound whatsoever, with the exception of singing or humming favored songs
-make any movement that is not related to nursing

Moreover, people inside or outside the house may not make any noise. Nor may the cats, other birds and animals outside, or any passing cars/trains/other vehicles.

Should any of these rules be broken, she will pop off and REFUSE to latch back on, while milk sprays everywhere. I then cannot coax her to come back to the boob for a good long while. These days, I feel more and more like an unmilked cow. A cow pumped up with hormones, udders reaching the ground, with PETA employees photographing it for their next big pamphlet.

My overzealous supply makes me desperate for a nursing session, and Bee will quit at the slightest provocation, and so I am ashamed to admit that I have been trying to follow these unfair, unspoken, RIDICULOUS rules.

I wonder how much more she gets away with simply because I have oversupply. I mean, if I say, "Whatever, don't eat then," I'm uncomfortable, and oh how I loathe pumping and hand-expressing!

When she's older, should she demand that the crusts be cut off at precise angles, I am not getting out the protractor. I am going to say, enough is enough. Eat your damn crusts.

Monday, June 30, 2008

vegan crockpot stew.

If you're turned off by the word "vegan," even hearty meat-eating friends of ours love this stew. And hey - you can always feel free to add meat to it. I actually have been vegetarian my entire life, so I have no suggestions about how to adapt this for meat-eaters. You'd probably know better than me.

I make this stew in our Crock Pot. Takes about 15 minutes to prep, and then cooks itself all day long without any further effort from me. Super nice on days when I don't feel like cooking, but want a home-cooked meal. If Bee's happy, I do all the vegetable chopping with her in the playpen. If she's sad, I toss her onto my back in the Ergo. If, by some miracle, she's asleep (sleep? what's that?), I can get the whole thing done in the 20 minutes that she usually naps.

If you're into Weight Watchers, this recipe is low-point, and Core-friendly.

Stuff You Need
slow cooker
1 medium eggplant, diced
1/3 of a medium-sized cabbage, chopped
2 carrots, cut into discs
1/2 cup green beans
2 potatoes, diced
1 small onion, chopped (can substitute with, or add, scallions)
1/2 cup dry, or 1 can, chickpeas (sustitute with kidney beans, black beans, etc., as desired - when using dry beans, soak in water overnight first!)
6-12 oz tomato paste (depending on how tomato-ey you want it - can substitute crushed or pureed tomatoes)
1/4 to 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice (I sometimes use cracked wheat instead)
3 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 cups water
salt to taste
dried or fresh herbs of choice (optional)

*Note: you can put in or take out any veggies you want. Don't like eggplant? Add more potatoes! Looking to reduce starches? Nix the potatoes and rice, and add in lentils! (Red lentils are delicious in this; I add 4-8 oz when I use it.) It's an EXTREMELY adaptable recipe. I am always doing something different with it, depending on our mood and what's in the fridge.

Recipe
Throw everything into the slow cooker except the herbs. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Add herbs just before serving. That's right: all you have to do is chop everything and throw it in there.

We usually serve it with Costco's Kirkland brand whole wheat croutons. They are DELICIOUS, and if you're into Weight Watchers, 5 croutons are about 1 point. If you aren't vegan (we aren't), I heartily recommend serving it with cheese as well. We usually cut up several cubes of Dubliner cheese (mmmmmm) and toss them into the bowl and pour the stew on top. Jarlsberg would be divine as well.

With the croutons and the cheese, we find that this recipe serves 6-8 people.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

how we part-time EC and cloth-diaper.

Despite not having read The Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh, or doing any Internet research at all, we practice part-time elimination communication with the Bee. She's in exclusively cloth diapers the rest of the time. Does this sound like a huge pain in the ass? Well, it's actually not bad at all, and while it might not be right for each family, it works perfectly for us.

Where do we buy our diapers?
Abby's Lane. I could not be more impressed with that site, seriously. Stephanie, the woman who runs it, has PHENOMENAL customer service! Clearly, I'm not the only one who thinks so, 'cause check out her Diaper Pin feedback. She's amazing. And a damn fast shipper - once I ordered on a Tuesday evening, and my stuff was shipped Wednesday morning. AND SHE HAD A WEEK-OLD BABY and two other kids. Any time I've e-mailed her with a concern, she's e-mailed me back promptly. One time, a $200 package of diapers I purchased got lost in the mail despite the USPS (they hate me) marking it as delivered. I e-mailed Stephanie immediately and she shipped out a brand-new package for me the next business day, and the items I bought which weren't in stock anymore and weren't going to be restocked got a prompt refund. She also called me that time, as well as another time that I was afraid my package got lost (we had horrible luck with mail in our old apartment), and she was just so... sweet. Heh. Plus, she has awesome deals that I haven't found on other sites, especially if you're buying several diapers by one brand. And, if you sign up for her Yahoo group, you enjoy a discount. Oh, I could go on and on, but I love her and highly recommend her.

What diapers do we currently use?
When Bumblebee was a newborn, my mom had made her some fitted and contour diapers, and I can share more info about how she made them later - they were awesome! But she's got tendonitis and neck/shoulder pain, so she stopped making and I started buying. So, we have:

-5 Kissaluvs fitted diapers (Bee's in size 2, at 28.25 inches and 17ish lbs)
-12 Kissaluvs contour diapers (size M/L) Note: The contours were bought from the Kissaluvs outlet store.
-10 Snappis (we didn't need this many!)
-4 Thirsties covers (medium)
-24 Indian unbleached prefolds (size Regular) that we almost never even use, even though they're quite nice!
-7 Happy Heiny's one-size pocket diapers, and each comes with two micro-fiber inserts
-4 BabyKicks Hemparoo fleece prefolds in medium (we could easily get by on 3, and probably even on 2)

This... is too many, lol. We don't need those 2 dozen prefolds. Everything else is great, though, and gets us through 2-3 days before we have to do laundry. We have two Swaddlebees diaper pail liners that we hang from a hook near the changing table, and dirty diapers get tossed in there. On laundry day, the diapers and the bag get tossed into the wash together.

When we go out, we use a Wahmies wet bag to store dirty diapers in, and we generally use Kushies flushable diaper liners as well, just to make any potential poop clean-up easier. I highly recommend these over the Imse Vimse or Bummis liners - those melt at the sight of poop, in my experience. Then when we get home, the wet bag and the diapers inside get thrown into the hanging pail liner.

When do we use what?
During the day, we use either the KL fitteds or contours under a Thirsties cover. We secure the contours with a Snappi. You cannot beat Thirsties. Seriously. I have never had a single leak with these covers, ever, whether it was a ton of pee or a blow-out poop. On days when our laundry situation is getting dire, we use the Indian unbleached prefolds with a Snappi and a Thirsties, but that's actually pretty rare. I should sell those prefolds... Anyway. At night, we use a Happy Heiny's pocket stuffed with its two micro-fiber inserts and a hemp prefold. We put this on her around 7 pm and change her sometime between 6:30 and 8:30 am, depending on when she gets up for the day. No leaks!

When we go out, we take along the Happy Heiny's one-size pockets with two inserts. One insert would be fine if you don't have a super pee-er like Bee. She holds her pee and then lets it all out at once, so extra absorbency is nice for us - that's why her diaper is stuffed so big at night.

What do we do on laundry day?
Since we don't have washer/dryer hook-ups, we got a Sears portable washer and dryer set off Craigslist. I wash the diapers on hot with Purex Free & Clear. A lot of people don't like free & clear detergents for cloth diapers, but it works well for us. Your mileage may vary. We also throw in 2-3 drops of tea tree oil for its antiseptic properties. We dry on high heat. Never use a dryer sheet or fabric softener - these make your diapers less absorbent!

As for cleaning poop out of the diapers? When she was exclusively breastfed, I just rinsed the diapers out in the sink. I blasted them with hot water. It took about 30 seconds and the poop melted off, and then I'd toss the diaper into the pail liner. A lot of parents of exclusively breastfed babies do not rinse at all. But we did. We started ECing before she was on solids, and so we don't really have to rinse out poopy diapers anymore. On days where she's refused the potty, we use the Kushies diaper liners and they take most of the mess out of it.

What about EC?
Every morning, we put her on her Ikea potty (ours is green, though the black looks cool, huh?) and cue her. How do we cue her? Well, um, we make the straining/grunty noise that she makes when she's pooping. Usually it takes a few minutes and she taps her legs and plays happily, and then she'll grunt and poop. Usually. She doesn't always poop. Sometimes she gets mad and screams as soon as we sit her down. So we just pick her right back up again, put a diaper liner in her diaper, and we're off. We don't want the potty to be associated with anything negative. During the day, if she ever seems like she's straining to poop, we immediately put her on the potty. It really doesn't take much extra time. In the morning, it takes around 5-10 minutes before she does her business, and generally guarantees that I don't have to change a poopy diaper that day. If she doesn't go, then it takes 5-10 minutes whenever she strains. She will pee in there as well, and I bet if I put her on the potty every couple hours I could be doing full-time EC, but... I don't.

Every so often, she gets mad and refuses to sit on the potty all day, and poops in her diaper, but that's fine! I really don't care. Basically, pooping in the diaper ain't no thang, and pooping in the potty is a bonus. Which we get to enjoy about 9 poops out of 10.

And that's what we do!

Update 9/6/08: We've been slowly transitioning towards full-time ECing. Read mroe about it here!

easy delicious lentils.

How to make super, super easy masoor dahl in a matter of minutes:

Stuff You Need
1 tsp canola oil
1 cup masoor dahl (red split lentils)
2 small tomatoes (or 1 medium tomato), cut into large chunks - diced if you prefer
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp dahl masala
3 cups water
salt (to taste)
fresh curry OR coriander leaves (optional)

Recipe
Heat canola oil in a saucepan on medium-high. Add, well, everything! I added the ginger and garlic first, then the tomatoes, then the dahl and water, then the masala and salt. Mix it up. Once the water started boiling, it only took 10 minutes for everything to cook, and I turned off the heat as soon as I could*. Then, I added about 5-10 fresh curry leaves that I ripped into small-ish pieces (each piece was about a third the size of a leaf), left them sitting on top prettily, and covered it.

*I accidentally left it on the stove a bit longer, but I recommend turning it off after about 10 minutes or as soon as the dahl (lentils) look nicely cooked.

Serve with chapathis or rice, or whatever you like! If you add another cup or two of water before you cook, it makes a delicious lentil soup.

We're having it for dinner with spinach parathas. Yum!

Damn easy to make, even with Bee having a humongously bad poop crisis in the middle that I feel like I ought to tell you about for sheer humor purposes, but seriously, it was so bad that writing it out would be like experiencing it all over again. I could happily drink 10 martinis in a row just to forget about it, and I don't even like vodka. But! Despite it all, the dahl only got slightly overcooked, and it still tastes delicious.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

sleep demon

For some reason unbeknownst to me, my daughter has given up napping at the tender age of 6 months. I have been telling myself for weeks it must be teething, but to be honest, I am not entirely sure.

Yesterday, I started off the morning by going to physical therapy. (And, by the way, it's my third week and it's going fabulously, even if I'm left quite sore. It's really helping.) Bee was exhausted and due for a nap before I left, so I hoped that she would sleep at least for part of the time I was out. Two hours later I came home to a crying, miserable child and an explanation from my mom about how much she just REFUSED to close her eyes for even a second. She apparently even tried not to blink, and all Mom's tips and tricks for getting the baby to sleep failed hardcore. Since I was drenched in sweat, I had planned to shower as soon as I came home. Bee was lunging towards me, desperately doing some combination of a wave hi and the sign for milk (she gets them mixed up sometimes), so I figured I would nurse first and then shower. It was almost noon, and that's around the time she goes down for her second nap, and meanwhile she had skipped her first one.

She had quite the restless nursing session, flailing her body about, pulling off to whine and complain, and still fighting sleep. I dunno about other kids, but for my kid, fighting sleep on the boob is pretty intense. It took me a good long while to settle her and get her to sleep. Even after that, I waited until she seemed deep in slumber, looking uncannily like a passed-out drunk. I should note that by this time, I was uncomfortably grimy, and I had to go to the bathroom desperately. DESPERATELY. Mom was on stand-by, so I rushed off to relieve my aching bladder.

As soon as I sat on the toilet, I heard the unmistakable sound of weary screaming. By the time I washed my hands and returned, she was wide awake on Mom's lap. Refused to nurse, refused to go back to sleep. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, sometimes I have to go to the fricking bathroom. My mom hung out with her, doing whatever she could to cheer her up, while I took my much-needed shower.

Anyway, all afternoon the kiddo was mad, and understandably so, despite failing to understand that this pesky "tired" feeling would go away if she would just GO TO SLEEP. So I figured I'd toss her into a back carry using the Moby, and go about my business with her hanging out on my back, and that she'd eventually sleep like that.

As I leaned forward to tie her on, she puked. Big time. Warm, chunky spit-up ran down my neck and into my freshly-washed hair.

Sigh...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

stick to plumbing, asshole.

Frank, the plumber, showed up yesterday because apparently there is a leak downstairs whose source might be from our apartment.

I've met him once or twice. I can't say I know him very well. But, since when do you need to know someone well to give them parenting advice?

Let me preface this by saying, we just moved here 2 months ago. In those 2 months, I've had a really bad back injury, been completely immobile and required help to move from reclining to sitting up, gone home to my parents' house, returned, and started my way back to some semblance of normal. In those 2 months, Dude has started a new job, installed shelving all over the place, taken care of whatever he can around the house, and helped me care for myself. And, don't forget, we have an infant to take care of.

I guess what I'm trying to say is WE'VE BEEN A LITTLE BUSY.

We've gotten a big push done on baby-proofing, which is great. Bee is 6 months old. She can't move yet, and I can't predict at all when she'll start crawling. She pretty much hates being on her tummy, and she will not roll around. She can roll over, both ways, but she avoids it at all costs. She can sit up, and is quite content to just sit there surrounded by toys. My mom and I are with her full-time while Dude is at work, so if she starts moving around before we're 100% finished doing what we need to do, at least one of us will be right there on top of her. And we're pretty close to being finished anyway.

The outlet covers are all replaced with safe ones, the bookshelves and other pieces of furniture have been secured to the walls, high shelves have been installed to put dangerous things out of her grasp, cables and wires are securely out of the way... what else, what else? Basically, here's what's left. We still have to put the magnetic locks on the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen. We're not sure if we need to put bars on our windows or not (we live on the second floor.) We've got to figure out what to do about edge guards for our coffee and end tables. Whichever brand we got from Home Depot peeled right off with barely any effort, turning into a lovely choke hazard. We haven't decided exactly what we're going to do about that, actually. Basically, as first-time parents, we aren't quite sure what babyproofing gadgets are and aren't necessary, but our rallying cry is, "Do not leave baby unattended." There is absolutely no way that a physically disabled woman and a man with a full-time job can do every single thing all at once, even with my mom here. There are only 24 hours in a day, and lots of VERY important things to do, and we have to prioritize.

So, Frank comes in yesterday, and tells us that our windows aren't safe for the baby. Which immediately gets under my skin, because I don't come into the bathroom while he's trying to figure out which pipe is leaking and tell him how to do his job.

"I mean, those screens just pop right out, and I see that you guys let her lean on them all the time."

"Um, well, no... we don't. We do hold her up and let her look out the window, but she's safe because we're holding her." We don't mention that Dude has triple-checked the screens to ensure they don't just pop out, and for this reason we haven't decided if we are going to put bars on the window or not. If she's not able to get up there by the time fall comes, and we start keeping the windows closed, is it even worth it? I'm not sure, to be honest with you. It might be. Hence why it is still a point of discussion. But this does not make it Frank's business.

"Not always. I've seen her get up there and push on them. And that's not safe. I mean, you guys should really have bars on there or something."

Oh, really? SHE CAN'T MOVE. And YOU DON'T LIVE HERE. When the hell have you seen her get up there without us? "Yeah, we might do that."

"I can't believe you would take a risk like this. You hear these stories of kids in New York City leaning out 40th floor windows, and they just lean on screens like this. You touch these screens, they pop out, and the kids just fall out 40 stories to their deaths."

Dude and I steal a glance at each other and shudder. Is this guy for real? "Listen, we-"

"You know, I bet if she leaned on that, she'd fall right out and die. I bet she'd just die, right there, on the ground." He leaned over and pointed out exactly where it would happen, eyeing Bee with a gruesome look on his face.

I am officially angry. "I'd really appreciate it if you could NOT talk about the death of my child to me."

"Well, if it's gonna happen, isn't it better to talk about it before rather than once it does happen?"

Are you FUCKING kidding me? The hypothetical pissed me off enough - you're going to act like it's an inevitability?

I'm not going to attempt to justify myself or my parenting skills to a socially awkward plumber who doesn't have children, and who doesn't believe that our baby can't move. I mean, as soon as people noticed my thickening waistline last summer, the unwanted advice and stupid comments flowed freely. I can't take each dumb thing seriously. And I don't.

But I DO hope that a toilet explodes in his face, with shit spraying right into his mouth.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

she said milk!

Okay, maybe she didn't SAY it. But Bumblebee signed today, for the first time!

We're using Baby Sign with her for, well, a plethora of reasons that I won't go into at the moment. Or potentially ever. We've been using the signs for "milk", "eat" (solid food), "cup" (sippy), "more", "all done", "change" (diaper), and I can't even think of what else.

The sign for "milk" involves opening and closing your hand, kind of like you're milking a cow. (Heh.) Last night, she opened and closed her hands a few times very intently. I told Dude that she was physically able to do the sign, but we knew it might take some time before she actually did it purposefully. For the past week or two, each time I sign "milk" when she wants it, she smiles or coos or laughs excitedly. (This doesn't happen for any other sign, but she's very motivated about milk!)

And she did it, today! She was fussy and about due for a feeding. As usual, I said, "Do you want some milk?" while signing "milk." As usual, she laughed happily, but this time, she signed it back! I got so excited that I scared the everloving crap out of her. She looked very concerned and wouldn't nurse for a few minutes.

Yesterday, I thought she might have waved to me, but it could have just been an excited flail. Mom was holding her, and I walked into the room and said "HI!" very cheerfully, and she got all pumped and flailed her arm.

Damn, my kid is starting to communicate.

hooray for boobies!

Conversation between me and L, Bee's 2-year-old cousin, yesterday:

L: [eating noodles and trying to give them to Bee] Bee noodles?
Me: That's very sweet of you! But Bee can't share your noodles. She's too little to eat that.
L: Bee too little food.
Me: Yep, she's too little to eat food.
L: Bee mommy's milk?
Me: Yeah, Bee drinks mommy's milk.
-a moment of intense contemplation on L's part-
L: [very seriously] Boobies.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

chocoberry chip frozen yogurt.

I made this for Dude's birthday (which is tomorrow) and thought I'd share the recipe. I used my Cuisinart ice cream maker to make it. I did adapt this recipe myself, based on a bunch of different recipes I found online and in the Cuisinart recipe booklet.

CHOCOBERRY CHIP FROZEN YOGURT

Stuff You Need
3/4 cup milk
2 cups yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
1 12-oz bag of chocolate chips
10 oz strawberries, pureed
an ice cream maker

Recipe
Combine milk and half the chocolate chips in food processor. Process until smooth. Add yogurt and sugar; process until sugar is dissolved. Add pureed berries and mix well until smooth.

Turn machine on and pour mixture into freezer bowl through spout. Let mix until thickened - about 25-30 minutes.

During last 5 minutes of mixing, add remaining chocolate chips.

You can put it into an airtight container and freeze for a couple hours before serving to give it a firmer texture.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

back update

So, here's the shpiel (?) on my back.

I've been on (breastfeeding-safe) narcotic painkillers since March. In April, I had an evaluation for surgery, and they said nope, not needed, and my MRI looks better than it did pre-pregnancy. (Huh.) I had a cortisone injection (a lumbar facet block), which did not help. They told me to follow up in 3 weeks. My appointment was today, even though it's been 4 weeks due to scheduling.

My mom came up to help out just before the injection and had planned to stay for two weeks, and we assumed that at the end of it I'd be fine. We were wrong. Bee and I went down the 250 miles to my parents' house and stayed there for two weeks while Mom finished things up at work. We hoped I might be able to go back up by myself. We were wrong. She came up with me, and we stopped hoping that I would be okay by a certain amount of time. She took a leave of absence and just figured that once I was better, she would go. (I can't express how grateful I am that we're able to have this option. Otherwise, I'd be up shit's creek without a paddle.) So we came back this past weekend.

Follow-up was today, and the next step is physical therapy. But not just regular old physical therapy - a spinal rehabilitation "boot camp." It's a 6-8 week program, and I'll be lifting lots of weights and strengthening up a ton. I'm nervous, but mostly optimistic that it will help.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

not a cat person.

My dad is not a cat person. He really is not an animal person in general. My cat, however, loves my dad, who surreptitiously pet him a few times just now and thought I didn't notice. Kitty got wicked pumped and purred.

Dad: [pulling hand back quickly, startled] What is that noise?
Me: The cat purring.
Dad: No, it's really loud. And it sounds like something's vibrating. Like a cell phone.
Me: Yes, Dad, that is the cat.
Dad: No! That sound! What is that sound?? Is the bouncy chair turned on?
Me: [irritatedly] OH MY GOD. The cat is purring! I just said that! The. Cat. Is. Purring.
Dad: The CAT is doing that?
Me: Yes. He's purring.
Dad: But why? Why is he making that sound??
Me: Cats purr when they're happy!
Dad: Huh.

Good grief.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

today's chuckle.

Yesterday my friend D came over. The two of us took Bee and two other friends for a walk. It was really, REALLY warm and we thought we'd stop by the local ice cream place. D was so cute about Bee - he didn't want to put her down, even for a second, and worried about what she would have since I said she couldn't have ice cream.

(Side note: why do people act like I'm mean for not letting my 4-month-old eat ice cream? They aren't supposed to have dairy for some months yet, people!)

D: What about Bumblebee? Did you bring her anything?
Me: Anything for... what?
D: Something to drink, like a little cup with water?
Me: Oh, she doesn't need water. Breastmilk is 88% water, so she doesn't need anything else.
D: Oh. Did you bring her any milk?
Me: The milk's in my breasts. And I brought my breasts....
D: Oh. Well, that was very responsible of you!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

high on jesus

At the surgeon's office yesterday, country music - which I don't listen to at all - was playing. Bee loved it. "High on Jesus" by Kinky Friedman was her favorite. It will now be stuck in my head for all eternity. It's that kind of song.

I told Dude about it, and he said in a deadpan voice, "A Kentucky man was arrested yesterday for driving under the influence of Jesus."

Maybe you had to be there. It was funny.

(And, I don't need surgery. I had an evaluation because my back has been really awful, and it's just getting worse.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

puke happens.

Bumblebee has figured out how to suck on her fingers lately. Not the thumb, mind you; just the fingers. Unfortunately, this means that she will often stick a few fingers into her mouth a little too deep and stimulate her gag reflex.

I think it’s obvious where this is going.

As I tell Bee constantly, sometimes Mama has needs too. For example, sometimes I need to pee. Badly. So I usually lay her down, do my business, and return. Today, soon after I’d changed her into her outfit for the day, I set her on the newly-washed bouncy seat and went to the bathroom.

I heard the telltale sound of retching and emerged from my urinary experience to find her covered in spit-up. With her head turned to the side, no less, so that it could get everywhere as much as possible. Deep in her ears, down her front, seeping down her neck and back, sticking her hair to the back of her head. She realized I was standing there, staring at her, and greeted me with the hugest, grossest, pukiest smile I’ve ever seen, spit-up evident in her mouth and dribbling down her chin.

Oh, babies.

product review: ama'z padz.

I dunno if any of you nursing mamas out there are copious leakers like me, but if so, you’re probably interested in nursing pads. As for disposables, I think that Lansinoh makes a good nursing pad, and I hear their Ultra-Soft ones are good though I haven’t tried them. But! I am not a fan of using them. Two reasons: 1) I have to keep buying more all the damn time, and 2) I hate that they’re individually wrapped. This feature is probably nice for moms on the go, but for moms who stay put like me, it means a crapload of useless plastic wrap. (The wrap is recyclable, at least!)

I’ve tried a few different random washable nursing pads and haven’t been impressed, as they haven’t lasted more than 3 hours. But this week, I’ve used nursing pads bought from Ama’z Padz - a website that sells cloth menstrual pads. THUMBS UP, ladies! These lovely washable pads are not only pretty, but DAMN do they absorb a lot of milk. If you’ve used Lansinoh’s disposables, you know they can hold a decent amount, and I can go through a pair or two in a night. Ama’z nursing padz, on the other hand, will last me the whole night and through the next day as well. I bought 4 pairs, which is perfect. I do Bumblebee’s laundry every other day, so those 4 pairs will take me through to the next laundry day and then get washed with her stuff. They can be washed and dried normally - I use hot water and high heat without trouble.

I was also pretty happy with the customer service. I e-mailed Janet, the woman behind Ama’z Padz, asking her how to order, and she told me to check her site Mondays at 1 pm. Three weeks in a row, I missed the stocking, and when I’d sign on the following day, everything was sold out. I figured that my Lansinohs were working out fine, and I had a bunch of those left anyway, so I left it alone. Janet e-mailed me last Sunday to tell me she’d have some in the next day. I signed on at 1:10, and only 1 pair was remaining out of the 5 she’d put up! She knew I wanted 3 more, though, and that I’d missed out the past few weeks, so she made me 3 more that night and shipped all 4 out the next day. I thought that was really nice of her, especially considering she's pregnant and I could barely get my own act together while pregnant. Shipping was super fast, too.

So, if anyone out there is reading and would love some washable pads that actually feel nice and absorb well, check these out!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

how i got here.

It's so funny how people can totally affect your life. I had a LiveJournal friend, K, whom I "met" in 2003. She was pregnant, and my babylust was in high gear at the time, and so I absolutely devoured her every post. (Living vicariously through people is fun! Sometimes anyway.) I was obsessed with pregnancy and childbirth, and at the age of 14 I decided I wanted to have a drug-free waterbirth at a birth center. I knew all kinds of stuff about pregnancy and childbirth, and since I focused on developmental psych in college, I knew enough about fetal development and early childhood development. But I didn't really know much about parenting.

K was super into cloth diapering - something I hadn't even considered. Whenever she would mention her cloth diapers, I would look on Google or poke around online to learn more about them. I read all about Fuzzi Bunz and Cotton Babies and all this other stuff and decided I, too, would use cloth diapers. I loved the idea of a comfier diaper for a baby while not contributing more to landfills. In fact, at that point I also switched to cloth sanitary pads for the same basic reasons.

She also was really into attachment parenting, and through her I found Dr. Sears's website, and I ate it up. I would often not do my homework and instead read through sections of his site and daydream about my own future baby. Through K I also learned about babywearing, exclusive breastfeeding, co-sleeping, delaying solids, and all kinds of things I'm not sure I ever would have learned about otherwise. At around this time, I also learned about extended nursing and tandem nursing from another LiveJournal friend, and I thought that was just so cool - I never really knew that people nursed babies beyond infancy, and I especially didn't know that women nursed when pregnant or nursed a baby and a toddler at the same time. I've learned a ton about women's health and babies from the good old Internet.

All this has really affected the way that I looked at parenting before getting pregnant and obviously has impacted how I'm raising Bumblebee. And I'm really happy about that. I feel like what I'm doing right now feels like what I SHOULD be doing. Like it's the best thing for her AND for us. Obviously, if it didn't feel right, we wouldn't do it, and for many people it doesn't feel right. And that's fine. But all this awesome stuff, which I may have never learned about had I not clicked on some random links, feels right for us.

My mom always kinda laughs at me because somehow, SOMEHOW, she parented us without the Internet, gasp of gasps. Now we have access to so much information - sometimes too much, but oh well. It's really incredible.

We don't really raise our children as a community anymore, for the most part, in our culture. But somehow just by typing into a box, I created a community for myself.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

adventures in telemarketing.

What a gem from this morning....

Phone: Ring! Ring!
Me: Hello?
Caller: [snooty tone] Hello and good morning, and this call may be monitored. I need to speak with Lynn Jackson, please.
Me: I'm sorry, there's no Lynn Jackson here.
Caller: [stunned silence] ...Really?
Me: Sorry, you have the wrong number.
Caller: Gosh, okay... well... Is there anyone by the last name of Jackson there?
Me: No. This is the Ourlastname residence.
Caller: Okay, then I'd like to speak to Lynn Ourlastname.
Me: ......there is no Lynn Ourlastname here, either.
Caller: Well, it might be Gail Lynn Ourlastname? or Gail Lynn Jackson?
Me: No, I'm sorry, the only adults living here are Me and Dude Ourlastname.
Caller: [sounding utterly thrown] Wow. Seriously? Wow... wow. Um... okay then. I'm sorry to bother you.

Friday, February 8, 2008

first full week alone: check.

Bumblebee and I were lucky enough to have 'helpers' (for lack of a better word) in and out for almost 8 full weeks. Mom was here for the first 3 weeks. After that, Dude had one week off, and a few short weeks at work. And for two weeks my sister-in-law came to spend Thursday and Friday with us.

So, despite the fact that Bee will be two months old (!) on Sunday, this was our first week alone. And obviously we aren't really "alone;" I just mean that it is the two of us and no one else during working hours, Monday to Friday. And we did well!

Let me tell you though. It is damn hard to get things accomplished during the day. For me anyway. A large part of this stems from my net addiction, and I'm not using the word addiction lightly. I think I need to back off a bit! But I think my expectations for "getting things done" might be a bit high. No matter what, each day the baby is well-fed, decently rested, and frequently changed into fresh happy diapers. Her laundry gets done every other day without fail - very important when you're using exclusively cloth diapers! Our laundry gets done as needed. Dude and I both eat pretty well the majority of the time. I shower at least every other day (hey, that's pretty much an accomplishment all on its own when you're a stay-at-home-mom with a new baby). I brush my teeth at least once a day. The kitchen, dining room, and living rooms are pretty clean - a bit cluttered, sure, but not dirty! Things I would like to add to this list: Exercising in one form or another. Keeping all the rooms reasonably tidy. Making sure all the clean laundry is actually put away.

All in all, not bad. I've even been able to cook several times! This recipe has proven itself to be easily adaptable and completely EASY. Having a slow cooker rules! The rest of the time, the baby swing, Moby wrap, or Ergo baby carrier have been necessary in order to facilitate cooking, eating, tea-drinking, cleaning, web-surfing, and the like. Even now, Bee is in the ergo. Thumbs up for babywearing. I am so glad that I can keep this little girl close to me at all times without limiting my activities.

So. Speaking (writing?) of getting things done, I ought to go make sure dinner's ready. TGIF!

Monday, January 14, 2008

one month update.

Today, Bee is 5 weeks old. This past Thursday (the 10th) marked one month since her birth, so I felt it'd be good to update.

It's been a fantastic month of motherhood. The main trial at the beginning was nursing, due to a problem referred to as "Oro-Boobular Disproportion." Hilarious name, eh? Don't believe that it exists? Google it. Anyway, with time that's gotten much easier and we're old pros now. Heck, I'm even NAK right now - forumspeak for "nursing at keyboard," heh.

Just a few things I've learned this month:
-The old school way of bathing babies, the way my mom bathed us back in India, is far better than the newborn tub, which produced many tears.
-Cloth diapering a newborn - at least, this newborn - is easy and fun.
-Once mama and baby are used to the nursing relationship, babies are portable, even in chilly weather.
-Nothing is cuter than my baby's smile, whether she does it while awake and looking at me or in her sleep.
-"Sleep when the baby sleeps" is awesome advice, even if it doesn't always seem possible.
-We have some awesome family and friends, and having them visit and watching them with the baby is so wonderful.
-The sounds she makes are heart-meltingly adorable, both coos and complaints.
-Having a baby is really FUN.

Aside from eating well, Bee can now smile (socially, I mean; even fetuses can smile from contentment) and sleep for 5-hour stretches (please realize this doesn't mean that I sleep for 5-hour stretches, as I am awake while nursing her and changing her diaper). She does 1 or 2 of these at night, which is awesome. She has the college student sleep schedule of going to bed at 2 am or so and waking up at noon or 1. She can hold her head up rather well, roll from her back to her side, and loves being kissed. She is very much a cuddlebug. She is also a perpetual motion machine, and if she is sleeping without being held, she'll thrash about wildly the whole time. IN HER SLEEP. She loves being worn in the moby wrap and bounced on the yoga ball. We play all kinds of different music for her (Raffi, Reggae for Kids, They Might Be Giants "Here Come the ABCs", and The Beatles, just to name a few things in her repertoire), and her favorite seems to be ambient techno. She gets very quiet and calm when this is played - she really is her father's daughter.

It's been a great month and I look forward to the next. I feel very lucky and happy to have such an awesome, mellow, happy baby - not to mention a terrific husband who makes a great father, and a supportive and loving family. I think that's it for now.