Saturday, December 29, 2007


So, the last month has been rather hellish. I obviously really pissed someone off. Charlie came down with that nasty, nasty cold that's been going around sometime shortly after Thanksgiving. This coincided with some teething so it took us awhile to figure out what was going on. We went to the doctor for his 15 month check-up and discovered that he had a little ear infection. As that cleared with some antibiotics, up he entered the OMG how much snot can one little nose produce section of the cold which wasn't that bad except for sleeping because he wouldn't be able to breathe so there was a lot of rocking.

In the midst of all this, I got The Cold. The 2nd week we were sneezing and coughing together. Luckily, Charlie had decided he enjoyed Teletubbies a few weeks earlier so we spent one notable afternoon on the couch after yet another disastrous nap. Charlie actually sat and watched 2 full episodes as well as a random cooking program while I contemplated why anyone needs sinuses anyway. This is the child who generally sits for 10 minutes tops, God was obviously feeling just a little guilty about the previous weeks. Happily, I discovered that a great deal of my difficulty was from a lack of humidity so, as long as I sat in the shower 3 times a day, my sinuses were no longer burning tubes of misery. Apparently, no matter how exhausted you are, it is unwise to deprive your over-enthusiastic mucus membranes (thanks pregnancy!) of a daily dose of humidity via the shower. Lesson learned.

Charlie and I then battled it out to see who needed the humidifier more as we entered (for the love of God!) week 3! Week 3 greeted us with my husband coming down with The Cold although he got to take all the lovely medicine so it didn't make him quite the tower of misery Charlie and I were. That week the congestion migrated down into our chests so that Charlie and I had adorable matching smokers coughs. Happily, I learned from one of my pregnancy books, the baby had already started squishing my lungs to a notable degree which explained my propensity to see black spots and wonder at what point you go to the emergency room for oxygen deprivation.

Charlie and my husband both came out of the worst of The Fucking Cold (as it was now known) by the end of the week. However, I am blessed with an immune system that doesn't attack the small being growing within me which I am so grateful for. The corollary to this seems to be that my immune system doesn't want to take any chances and is apparently debating if it should just perhaps send a strongly worded note to any other invaders. This meant that on the Friday that everyone else started to feel better, I started the day by apparently trying to cough up my toes which also triggered my morning sickness and led to my back strenuously objecting to puking and coughing at the same time. According to my back, It Simply Isn't Done! This, of course, was the day neither of my OBs were in the office and a brief chat with the nurse revealed that all I could really do was try heat and tylenol unless it got "really bad" and then I could go to the ER or call the doctor on call. While I was miserable, I doubted if 4 hours in a waiting room chair was really the way to go so, my husband stayed home from work and I lay in a stupor. Of course, the best position is flat on your back for the first day or so but when you're pregnant you can't do that because of the whole vena cava, black spots issue so I instead had to manage to lay on my side with an artful arrangement of pillows. Mind, I was also continuing to cough in a highly enthusiastic manner throughout the whole experience which just helped things so very much. My husband spent the next several nights in the guest room. Oh, did I mention that the violent 20 minute coughing fits would wake Charlie so we had to cough into pillows?

I was finally able to really rejoin the land of the living Tuesday which was just in time to frantically finish all the Christmas prep that had been going at a good clip but had, at least, seemed manageable until a few days previous. Just as our families were set to descend, my husband got a stomach bug and was completely out of commission for a full 24 hours and on limited duty the day after that. Oh, and my brother who was staying with us had a cold but a different one that we had been battling and my father was sick with an unknown illness but my mom thought it could be the flu (it turned out to be a UTI). Clorox became my new best friend. But, aside from a lingering cough on my part, we seem to be finally wandering out of illness land. I am hoping for 1 solid week in which all 3 of us are actually healthy before we start the next round. Wish us luck.

Monday, December 17, 2007


There is something particularly pitiful about throwing out your back while throwing up. Pregnancy is such a beautiful time...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bitty Bumps and Bounces

So, I've been feeling this little bit for about a month now. I first noticed her (I really think it's a her this time) after my last OB appointment. I woke up in the middle of the night trying to figure out if I had to pee or puke until it finally dawned on me that the funky feeling was coming from right about where the OB had found the heartbeat. (speaking of which... can you say "low." It was into the forest time for that doppler mic. Although, it was also nice because I finally figured out that was probably why it takes me so long to really show.)

I have come to the conclusion that noticing the really early, shivery, flippy in the middle feelings is a lot like your first kiss. It's exciting and wonderful while at the same time being a little odd and leaving you with slightly mixed feelings. In the form of the kiss there is all that wondering of where your noses go and if people really use their tongues because "Ewww!" In the form of the baby movement, since I noticed it so much earlier than with Charlie, there was the fact that it wasn't so much those fun pokes as it was a feeling that left you with the nagging suspicion that something was happening with your gastro-intestinal tract that you couldn't identfy- unsettling at all times and particularly so when you are totally in the middle of morning sickness. At this point though, things have settled into the more comforting bitty bumps and bounces; little hellos from the newest member of the family. It's not consistent by any means yet but often enough to be reassuring and make all the puking seem worth it. Charlie has taken to lifting up my shirt to poke at my belly button and I can't help but think that soon it will poke back. Whatever will he make of that?

I had another appointment today and things look good. The heart rate was in the 150s and the baby was sitting slightly higher so I am no longer worried that all those kegels were a complete waste and that my uterus was about to fall out or something. The big ultrasound won't be until January 10th which is way later than any of the other May Mommies somehow the doctor was more concerned about good images that gave really solid information about the baby's health than my desire to include the sex in the Christmas letter. Humph!

In other news, Charlie is battling a cold/ear thing/cough that he kindly shared with me and he is having a terrible time with naps because of the whole not able to breathe thing. I also decided that it would be nice to knock out 6 Christmas presents at one go and make a photo book of Charlie for various family members which is causing my computer great consternation. And there's all that other Christmas stuff to do. So, my evenings and weekends and coherent thoughts are being eaten up at a startling clip. Someday I will be coherent enough in the evenings again to post on something like a regular basis.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Morning Sickness the Second Time Around

So, I'm still struggling with morning sickness. I had rather hoped that for this pregnancy I would magically wind up with a nice, well-behaved case that would wrap up no later than week 13 and that I would enjoy the wonder that is the second trimester that I heard so much about during my last pregnancy. It doesn't seem meant to be.

However, this time it doesn't seem as awful as last. I think the big thing is that I didn't really expect it to end this time. Last time, I kept thinking that it would surely only be a few more days, a week at the most and then all would be smooth sailing. This time, if it ends before the 7th month or so, I'll be pretty happy. Zofran has made all the difference as well. I know that I will only allow myself to throw up twice and then I can stop. I still might feel a little iffy for the rest of the day but I can leave the house without wondering when I will be making a sprint to the restrooms (even more exciting with Charlie in tow). I also have plenty of strategies this time. There are days that the refrigerator is just too much so there are bottles of ginger ale out on the counter for me. It means that some days Charlie gets to carbo-load for lunch but there are worse things and even on the worst of days I can usually manage to cut up his banana. I have a near encyclopedic knowledge of what foods are most likely to stay down or at least not be so bad to re-visit.

I also know the up-sides to months of morning sickness. At no point do I really have to worry about my weight gain. I know enough tricks to sneak calories in to keep myself from loosing weight and when I start being able to eat more normally, I can cut those strategies out. For instance, while I'm still getting sick regularly, I only drink things with calories. This means that I am beyond sick of gingerale but I also haven't had to be hospitalized or get stern lectures from the OB. And, I can look at all food with the attitude that if I think I can keep it down, I can eat it. If that means I have a day of french fries (only Wendy's please) and chocolate milk shakes (Ben and Jerry's, of course!) so be it. After all, even the most conservative pregnancy books encourage you to follow your cravings during the more difficult days. I also seem to get to skip over some of the aspects of pregnancy that plague other women since I seem to basically just hang out in the first trimester for the better part of 6 months. Heartburn was a total non-issue until at least the 7th month. I could give myself at least a rudimentary pedicure until the very end. The lower weight gain also meant that I shed the baby weight with little effort. I hung on to the last 5 pounds or so until Charlie started solids and then, off it slid. I am one of those rare women who gets to look at pregnancy and breastfeeding as this odd sort of delayed weight-loss plan where you eat way more than usual and then at the end of 15 months or so you're 2 pounds less than when you started with bigger boobs to boot. And, I know that I apparently come into the pleasant part of pregnancy just as everyone else is gearing up to be miserable. I found the 7th month to be quite nice really and even a hunk of the 8th wasn't that bad. Finally, puking just isn't nearly as objectionable an activity as it once was. Apparently, familiarity does breed contempt, or at least neutrality. At this point, the biggest issue for me is that the receptacle be clean. There is perhaps nothing quite as miserable as being in the middle of an unfortunate event and being completely without ability to escape your failings as a housewife. So, should anyone ever want to inspect my bathrooms for cleanliness, the time is now.

Now, this isn't to say that extended morning sickness doesn't suck. It does. There are definitely mornings that I simply delete that damn perky e-mail telling me how wonderful I feel now that I'm in my second trimester. I still wish a violent death to any woman who dares tell me how she simply didn't allow herself to throw up or asks me why I don't just make sure I keep food in my stomach and God help anyone who suggests I try some nice crackers. Really, at this point I have had morning sickness for at least 9 months. I have tried it all. If you have a baby yak I could sacrifice to the Goddess of whatever and happen to know of a nice chant I could try, please share, otherwise, trust me, I have sooo tried it. But, at least this time I have some perspective and realistic expectations.

Monday, November 19, 2007


It really seems like about once every 2-3 months Charlie completely forgets how to sleep and we spend several days in sleep hell. Is it too late to decide that instead of being a Mommy, I'd rather be the cool Aunt?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Me Time

We are encouraging Charlie to stop worrying so much about the impeding tasks of the day and to instead indulge himself. We would like him to take some time out for Charlie where he can just please himself. Naturally, the best time to do this would be from 5:30-6:30 am. We feel he needs to take a step back from the bustle of the start of the day rush and just breathe. I have offered to take on his chores for him so he can really just relax. I told him that I would handle spreading the puzzle pieces around for maximum distribution, taking all the dirty laundry out of the basket and replacing it with clean burp rags and pulling all the books from his shelves. We have assured him that we understand that it's important to get in touch with your morning Charkra and to become one with the sun. So far, we have met with little success. Charlie seems to just give and give and just can't take a step back. He feels such a strong drive to visit with us and ensure our happiness and access to animal crackers and o's. He needs to give cuddles and hugs and remind us where our belly buttons are. He doesn't want us to miss a moment of each precious sunrise. What treasure!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day Dreaming

Charlie has a cold which means more time in the rocker and more time to just sit and think. It's sort of nice to do occasionally and I've started to be able to see why people talk about the wonders of rocking a sleeping baby. I have to say that when I was rocking a sleeping baby for hours on end every day while desperately needing to sleep, eat, and pee, the romance was rather lost. Anyway, I started think about where I would like to live and as always, my thoughts turned to Maine. I have this idealized vision of it from trips taken throughout my childhood. In the summer it was this delightfully cool oasis where you could run around outside even in August. I could walk to the beach and sit on the dock or walk to the corner store and get a coke and pretzel rod all by myself. The air smelled exotic and comforting at the same time. A wonderful blend of evergreens and a sweet grass and meadow smell. We could go to LL Bean and examine the stream, sit in the tent, and find a small treasure to take home. Sometimes we would drive the rest of the way 'up' and go visit Canada or visit relatives who lived in areas so remote, it was rather unfathomable.

When we talk about where my husband should look for a job next, I always bring up Maine or Vermont or New Hampshire but there is little there to draw him professionally however much he might like it personally. I think some of my longing is also a means of putting my head in the sand regarding climate change. While the seasons are also 'off' in the North East, coming from warmer climes, it probably won't seem quite as jarring as wearing short sleeves well into October did here. I worry rather frequently these days about what sort of world Charlie will find as he grows up and never really feel I am doing enough. I struggle with how many children we should really have if we are being ecologically responsible. We have really slacked on the reusable bags since I have been in the quagmire of early pregnancy. We are switching our bulbs to florescent as the incandescents burn out, drive a hybrid car, and try to vote for the green candidate. At the same time, I know that all of this is such a minor drop in the bucket. I still use my dryer regularly. We also drive a minivan. We don't live in a walking friendly community and as such, drive more than I would like. We use air conditioning and turned the heater back up to 71' after Charlie was born. I feel like we, as a society, may be on the cusp of change and I am hoping that it happens soon enough that we won't have to move to Maine just so Charlie can see what snow is.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Give Rice A Chance

You're pretty SMRT! Go prove it and get rice to people who need it here:

I hit level 43. Can you beat the sleepy pregnant woman?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I think I might be a bitch...

or, at least quite assertive. I belong to a pregnancy message board where I keep reading about these women who have husbands that want to go off for ages doing all sorts of things- watch football games, go hunting, skateboarding, etc, etc. While that by itself isn't a huge deal, I'm always taken aback by the rest of the story. The dad's are also working long hours, often nights and weekends, the wife is pregnant with a tiny one already, this is the 3rd time this month, this was the 1st time they were to see their child awake in a week, and so on. I'm of the opinion that I don't really care what my husband wants to do outside of family obligations, he helped make this family so he can help care for it. This doesn't mean that he doesn't do things he enjoys or that I don't, for that matter, although we could both use a little more time to devote to them. I very much understand the importance of taking time for yourself. But, when you go into parenthood it should be with the implicit understanding that sometimes it will suck. You will have to miss sleep and outings with friends and hobbies may take a beating. It also comes with the understanding that just because I'm The Mommy, I'm not the default caregiver and I'm certainly not the default caregiver of my husband. These men are demanding special meals at special times while the mom is trying to juggle a crying baby's needs and morning sickness. My husband has been offered anything he would like to eat over the last month or two, as long as he fixed it. When he travels a lot, if I don't get to the laundry and he needs a clean shirt or whatever for his next trip, he knows he can do a load himself. When he started getting very martyred about the extra work he's being taking on while I was in the 'must sleep now' stage of pregnancy, I told him to grow up and get some perspective. I was quite effusive with my appreciative praise but I also wasn't going to cry him a river over 6 loads of laundry and 4 grocery runs over a 4 week period. I just lost some of my ability to pity when I reached my 3rd really nasty diaper of the day, requiring me to have a puke bag out and ready to go before even taking off Charlie's onsie. My husband does help more than some but less than others. I find it hard to not feel guilty about the whole thing though when I hear about these women slogging through motherhood, in effect, on their own and I can't decide if I'm just a demanding bitch or they're push-overs or if it's all some fuzzy thing in the middle. I'm so glad that Mommy-guilt can manage to creep into every aspect of your life...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Cute but Yucky

Charlie has started trying to give me kisses, at least, I think that's what he's doing. They involve pulling my face down and putting his open mouth on various parts of my face. The thought is very cute but I always have a burning desire to wash my face right after- particularly when he has just finished eating his snack.


So, in one of the abrupt turns typical of pregnancy I have gone from shunning all food 20 minutes ago to being willing to commit a felony for some shrimp cocktail. Oh, if only I had a kitchen staff or cabana boy to do my bidding...

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I haven't had any really crazy cravings with this pregnancy but I don't remember really having them at all with Charlie. This baby has some definate food opinions though. Over the last weekend I have simply OMG MUST HAVE NOW had to have:

1 pear
dark chocolate
smoked gouda
southwestern eggrolls from Arby's
chocolate chips on a waffle

I have also craved but haven't manage to aquire:

cheesecake bites from Arby's
Riesling white wine (I don't even really drink wine)
yeast based homemade waffles
instant coffee with non-dairy creamer (I just don't know...)

Getting Sucked In

I have degrees in several flavors of Early Childhood Education. I am completely aware of the many variations of typical development and have a strong bias towards play based education. I don't believe in flash cards for the under 6 set. I don't believe in tutors for pre-school. I don't believe you really need to do much in the way of direct instruction to see a young child flourish. My developmental mantra is that "You don't teach teething, why would you teach the other stuff?" After all, teething and teeth are the only real bastions of sensible thought on early childhood development. You will occasionally hear a parent questioning if they should be concerned if their child has reached their 1st birthday without cutting a tooth but I have yet to see a toy aimed at teaching your child how to cut teeth faster. There are no vitamins or drops advertised to speed the process along. The acceptable range for cutting teeth allows for a comfortable margin of acceptability. Charlie started teething at 3.5 months and other children we know didn't even show a hint of teething until after 7 months and no one considered either child odd.

At the same time, I keep feeling myself getting sucked into the doubt that is seemingly integral to modern parenthood. Charlie has yet to really have a first word. He has a mighty clap at this point. We taught him to do that rather than crying for "more" and this may have slowed down his speech a touch. I know that it won't have any detrimental effect in the long run but I do worry that I "messed him up" in some way. He will say "woo woo" for anything with 4 legs. He can identify his head and mouth. He is perfectly within range of typical development and shows no sign of any communication delay but I worry. He has wonderful pre-verbal skills and is fabulously outgoing but I worry. I read about other children who walked sooner, are talking, are running, etc, etc and I worry. At baby gym, when the rest of the children can sit for the songs and Charlie simply can't/won't I worry even though I know it's not really a developmentally appropriate expectation.

I so want to just be able to let Charlie blossom in his own way and his own time. There is a time and a place for concern over development. I am well aware of those signposts and markers he really shouldn't miss and when to ask for help. So far, he hasn't shown a hint of delay. He changes so fast, it seems like as soon as I begin to wonder if he will manage to make the marker in a reasonable time or when I feel like he has been almost there for so very long, it happens. Charlie is very much a child who wakes up one morning and turns a corner. He will be soooo close for ages and then, boom, there it is, suddenly with accuracy and precision. Some of it is also that I spend so much time with him that I miss things. I become so entrenched in the day-to-day that I miss that he is passing objects back and forth or is crouching or making more distinct babbles. He has become simply who he is and I couldn't tell you exactly where he is in skill development any more than I notice the lengthening of the day. One day you simply wake up and realize it is light when it was dark and you know the days are longer. One day I looked at Charlie and realized that he no longer crawled at all, instead he walks. It all goes too fast to spend your time worrying but that seems to be all the world wants you to do.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pregnancy Book Reviews

One of my husband's friends has just found out that she's pregnant (remember, couples are expecting but only the mommy is pregnant!) and I thought that I would put together a book review in her honor. I will offer the reviews based on what I remember but in some cases, it's been a bit since I've read it and I'm just too sleepy to go and re-read. So, take the information with a grain of salt and feel free to offer up your own suggestions...

Don't Panic! Pregnancy Book by Judy Morris
In my opinion, this is the absolute best book for dealing with the practicalities of pregnancy and new motherhood. You won't find weekly updates on what your uterus and baby are doing but you will find concise information about things like how warm your bath should be, if you should dye your hair, and how to get all those thank you notes written. It's a small book that will fit in your purse so you can whip it out when you need to figure out which fish are safe, which type of sushi you can eat, or if you should think twice about that 2nd cup of coffee. It's all presented in a calm, clear manner that explains enough that you feel informed but not so much that you're bogged down. Every pregnant woman should have this book.

What to Expect When You're Expecting I didn't find reading this the terror that other women seem to. I keep hearing about how scared they were after looking something up in it. I did find it rather "meh" in the information department though. It seemed like it gave you adequate information but finding it could be a pain and it was written in a slightly condescending manner. That said, my husband said that it's the book he always looks things up in. They also seem a bit hung up on weight and nutrition. While I think it's important to be aware of, if you already have any weight anxiety or body issues, this book really won't help you out in that regard. On the plus side, it does point out that episiotomies aren't routine and offers some different
laboring positions.

Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week by Curtis and Schuler I liked this book on the whole. It nicely met my need of wanting to know what was going on with the baby with more detail and frequency than the monthly format of What to Expect. You can tell that there are some fairly slow spots where not much is happening beyond the baby getting nice and plump. There is definite "filler" material in those weeks. I wasn't wild about the way that it presented the labor process though. I got the distinct impression that the authors would like you to lie back and simply listen to the nice doctor rather than being a thinking (and opinionated) participant in the delivery. They also present episiotomies as routine.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy by Vicky Iovine
This is one to get from the library rather than buy. It's a nice overview of what is to come and is a quick read. It's ideal for when you just got the 2 lines and are both panicked and euphoric and want a basic idea of the road ahead without needing detailed information about the pros and cons of various screening test and the like. I found some of the information a bit dated (particularly about clothing) and she focuses a lot on sex and body image (neither of them astoundingly positively) as well as making some fairly negative assumptions about how the men in your life. But, it does give a frank discussion of all the stuff about pregnancy that you hadn't even thought to ask your friends about or, you thought about it but couldn't bring yourself to ask.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sheer Frivolity

So, it has come to my attention that Harlequin has released their Christmas themed titles. There are few things quite a yummy as chocolate chip cookies, a bubble bath, and the pure cheese romance that Harlequin serves up. Christmas titles are just one step closer to mindless heaven. Can you really beat Christmas in his Royal Bed and A Town Called Christmas or, for true old school delight...The Boss' Christmas Baby. And for those of you who simply MUST have a sheik there is The Sheik and the Christmas Bride. I know what I want in my stocking this year!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Baby Gym Class

I took Charlie to his first baby gym class. Neither his father nor I were surprised to see that he was the busiest child in the class. He was the only one to try to wander out the door (3 times), try to play with the shoes everyone had taken off, try to crawl into the storage closet when they got out the parachute, and wander into the dark corners of the room completely by-passing the fun equipment set out for him. The other babies sat in the ball pit and enjoyed throwing the balls out. All Charlie wanted to do was climb in and out of the pit over and over again.

He was also a bit of a non-conformist. He would only sit for 2 of the circle time activities, finding the baby slide far too alluring to leave alone for a a full 5 minutes.

He was the most adventurous. He was the first to start wandering around the equipment, picking things up and examining them. He engaged in one of his favorite activities where he collects any number of items and piles them in one spot only to pick them all up and move them to a new spot. The child can spend a happy 15 minutes rearranging 3 items on a shelf- it's amazing. He also go to push some tubs around which is always thrilling. He may have a future in furniture removal...

He loved sitting on the parachute and waving it around but it was a woefully short activity. I'm interested to see what the next class is like since this was apparently just a day for the babies to get used to the equipment.

The next day we went to the library and he completely flummoxed this other little boy by making him his partner in crime. Charlie likes to give you objects to hold. If you take them out of your lap before he is ready, he will just put them right back in. Sometimes he mixes it up by wanting you to pass it back and forth to him. Fun times! I'm actually really happy about all this because it indicates some really great social and language development but anyway, back to the little boy. So, Charlie started taking all the trains off the table at the library and piling them in this little boy's arms. He had no idea what to do and considered crying but eventually decided to give them to his mom so we had this whole little chain of Charlie giving the little boy the trains who gave them to his mom who gave them to me until Charlie finally got distracted by the beanbag chair.

1st Appointment

So, apparently my OB broke his wrist last weekend while biking. That meant that my appointment moved from Monday to Friday. We were able to see the baby and it looks great! Although, this baby seems a bit more shy than Charlie and didn't want to have it's picture taken so we wound up with more of a fuzzy blob than a cute profile shot but maybe this indicates that this baby will be a good sleeper- I'm hoping anyway. The heartrate was in the 170s and the baby even flipped around a little while we watched- so sweet! Anyway, I apparently ovulated ages later than I thought I would and it really is a minor miracle I got pregnant that cycle at all. This explains why I wound up peeing on so very many sticks and why the line was so faint. My due date is now May 17th. Although, after Charlie I have very little faith in due dates. I prefer to think of it as due month with the assumption that should the fates continue to smile on this pregnancy, I will have a baby sometime in the month of May. Also, therapists have been consulted, books have been read, and discussion was had and, assuming all goes well, I have been cleared as a good candidate for VBAC. In fact, my OB said he "loves" VBACs. His only real concern is if I attempt the "trial of labor" and fail then the recovery will be a doozy but, we'll hope for the best and I think I will probably err on the side of bailing early rather than late if it comes to it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

On Parenting

So, I am slowly crawling out of the 1st trimester hole. I started zofran today and was pleased to discover that when 7 am came around I was no longer wishing I was on hospital bedrest and could just curl in a ball and have someone offer me ice chips occasionally. I'm not sure if it's totally the medicine or that I may be wandering into week 10 which is when morning sickness is traditionally said to slack off. We don't actually know where I am in my pregnancy yet since my Monday appointment that included the dating ultrasound was rescheduled for this Friday. Apparently OBs occasionally have unpredictable schedules- who knew!

Anyway, when I wasn't starting at the ceiling and debating if breathing was really a necessary waste of my meager energy, I spent quite a bit of time contemplating what sort of relationship I would ultimately like to have with my children. There is always drama with both my mother and my husband's parents but it has been particularly tumultuous lately and I keep wishing that I had a really good relationship with one or the other side. I've been thinking a lot about friends I have who seem to get along well with their parents. There is still occasional friction but they seem to generally look forward to visits and will do things like call their parents because they want to. I've also thought a lot abut the difference between my relationship with my dad vs my mom. They have very different ways of interacting with me and I generally feel like my relationship with my dad is positive. It seems like the thread that runs through these relationships is that the parents have let go. In this instance, it seems that if you love something you really can set it free and it really will come back. These parents don't seem to spend tons of time giving advice or questioning decisions or offering unasked for opinions. The general attitude seems to be that they have done as much as they can to mold their child and it's time to see how it turned out. I've noticed that these adult children seem to be among the more successful and happy of my friends. They are confident but seem to know that there is a place for a soft landing when they need it.

I am trying to incorporate these observations into my interactions with Charlie already. This is so hard. I wish I could have a model or reference in the way my parents raised me or the way my husband's parents raised him. I have to let Charlie fail and struggle and get there on his own. I want to swoop in and do it for him. Sometimes it's easy to know when to be there. When he's crawling on the sofa, I am right there but other times it's such a challenge for me to judge when he truly needs help; when he has reached the limit of his patience; when it is time for Mommy to make it better. I know it doesn't get any easier but I keep hoping that if I am just reflective enough, I will one day be able to tell Charlie to fly and he will still call a while later and tell me about all the wonders he's seen because he wants to and not because he feels guilty.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I have officially entered the stage of pregnancy where you wonder what you possibly could have been thinking. I am queasy and sleepy and my hip hurt. On the other hand Charlie is being ridiculously adorable a good bit of the time and has started sleeping for a good hunk of the night with enough frequency to cause happy thoughts.

The other day I was trying to get him down for a nap before I left for a eye doctor appointment. Lately, he's been having a really hard time winding down for a nap and nursing and books are often less than effective. So, we're back to the swaddle and rock method. Of course, he's not so much a burrito anymore as a tamale. Anyway... I thought he was down but his foot had been twitching just a bit so I gave him a few minutes. The babysitter and I were chatting and I had the baby monitor and we kept hearing banging about so I went up. Charlie was standing up, rattling the side of the crib, delighting in the falling down on the crib mattress and then standing up to do it all over again. When he saw me he said "Yay!" and waved his arms in the air for me. Luckily, this was before the bone crushing fatigue element of my pregnancy so I was able to find it adorable instead of cause for tears. The second time I put him down, there was no foot waggling and he actually stayed down for 2 hours.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Best Thing About Being Pregnant...

I am always being productive! Even when sitting here, eating chocolate and surfing the web, I am growing a person! Whoo!

Now, I just need to manage to write a post for Charlie's 1st birthday...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pregnancy Ticker

Now that's a face only a mother could love... I'll keep my pregnancy ticker down low on the page for a bit until we reach a slightly more attractive stage. :-)

Call from the Doctor

I heard from the doctor himself that all looks well. I apparently do suck at calendar math. Everything is apparently in line with a pregnancy that is about 4 weeks along. I had forgotten how scary early pregnancy is but, hopefully, it will all go well and all those things that don't seem that they should possibly work, will.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


It seems that I might suck at calendar math and it looks like I may have actually tested a bit early. I'm quite worried though because the line was very light. Although, looking at the calendar and trying to figure things out, I have no earthly idea when it would have happened. I had a blood test today and we'll hear from the doctor tomorrow. Please hope for the best for us.

Friday, August 31, 2007

My New Endeavour

So, I've been toying with this idea for several days now...

I was at a meeting with some other moms and offered to do the shopping for the group since Charlie and I go out every day for a while. I have to Get Out Of The House on a regular basis and Charlie tends to get bored if we're home all day and a bored Charlie isn't a pleasant Charlie. Several of the moms suggested that I start a shopping business and I think I might do just that. I was thinking $10 for once a week grocery shopping ($15 for delivery- mostly because of gas prices) and $5 for each other store- $6 for WalM@rt since it's such a pain. I thought I would limit it to no more than 4 families. I figure I can probably shop for 2 at a time so, if I had 4, that's 2 trips to the grocery not counting our family needs and I don't know if I really want to go much more often than that. It seems like it's a good way to get paid for something I already do. I'm a little worried that as soon as I start Charlie will suddenly HATE all shopping excursions but I thought I could probably go in the evening if it comes to it. My husband can watch Charlie then and I could probably finish the groceries in an hour or so per 2 families which puts me at $15-$20 an hour which isn't too bad for 2 evenings a week. I'm also a little worried about morning sickness rearing it's head but I plan on telling people that we are TTC so I might need a brief hiatus and, really, this time I can hardly manage it the way I did before- laying on the couch sipping gingerale and bargaining with God anyway so I might as well feel like a productive member of society.

So, Moms, what do you think? Too pricey? Too out there?

Another BFN...

So, this may not be my month. Happily, I now have ovulation test strips so we can have a more informed go next month.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


So, I wasn't sure if he would actually pull off walking by one but we had a few wobbly steps tonight. Hooray!

Johnson's Take Me Away...

As I sit listening to Charlie cry (sleeping hasn't been going well the last couple of days and yes I have checked on him numerous times- every time I go in, he's rubbing his face against the mattress and yawning so he's clearly still tired he is apparently mostly pissed that sleep can only take place while NOT also playing) this coupon looks particularly attractive. Johnson's will "melt away your stress" for cheap after you fill out their survey. Get your $4 off coupon here.


The one nice thing about testing at 4:30 am (I really had to go!) is that you aren't nearly as distraught over a negative since all you really want is to go back to bed. Re-test on Friday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


A free sandwich and a coke are here.

So cute!

The cutest baby duck story ever!


I'm sorry to keep everyone in suspense. I must say that I have no more insight than you do. So far, all tests have come back negative although I took yesterday and today off. I am hoping that not having the gumption to pee into a cup at 6 am is a Sign but I haven't seen it listed as an early sign of pregnancy yet. I do plan to test again tomorrow though as that is the actual 1st day I am supposed to test on.

In other news, Charlie has decided that he doesn't want to sit still long enough for use to spoon feed him but we also haven't been able to find any finger foods he will reliably eat other than cereal. I am waiting for the scurvy to set in...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Two Week Wait

So, we are now in the two week wait. I suck at the two week wait. I enter into it willingly and the first day or so is fine but then things go downhill. I get irritable and cranky and impatient and clingy. I want to know RIGHT NOW! I am one of the sort who really is either totally zen or totally not. Charlie came by his lack of emotional middle ground honestly. I actually think that I might test starting on Saturday which is rather on the ridiculously early side but, eh... I stocked up on dollar store tests and if it means I can make it through the day without biting someone's head off, I think it's worth $1 or maybe $2. Maybe Charlie and I should make a pilgrimage to the dollar store today, I suspect 5 pregnancy tests won't quite be adequate....

Anyway, as I explained to my husband, Saturday (maybe Friday), isn't actually that silly since it's really the 10dpo (days past ovulation) wait. (Thank you a slightly alarming site but a very welcome source of reading during the cursed wait) I discovered that neither temping nor paying attention to bodily fluids is terribly effective for me. Apparently, no one told Charlie that I need an uninterrupted 3 hours of sleep and a consistent waking time. Happily enough, in this circumstance, I have always had a bit of trouble with mittleschmerz and it is way worse since I had a baby. So, let's turn lemons into lemonade! After all, who doesn't want to jump one's husband's bones when having a headache and cramps! Unfortunately, it's a bit of an inexact sort of science and I either ovulated on the 15th, making Friday a fine time for testing (did you really think I would manage to hold out until Saturday), or the 19th making even Saturday well beyond the bounds of credulity. Unfortunately, I have almost no idea of what a typical 2WW would be like for me. I was on the pill for ages and then got pregnant quickly last time and haven't had very many cycles at all since I had Charlie so, unlike the other women on the message boards I frequent, I can't say that I don't usually go to bed at 8:30, wake up starving, and have cramps. I might have that happen every month- who knows!

Of course, I stumbled upon this post at thingamababy which talks about the conception kit. Please don't pay $300 for that. Get some non-latex condoms and instead cups at the drug store and have at it for more like $15.

Of course, when I'm feeling particularly wild and crazy, I watch the new clear blue ad which must be the most amusing pregnancy test ad ever. It's light years beyond that one where the lady is jogging and keeps going "am I pregnant." Going off of the basis of many women's experiences in early pregnancy, I have to to say that if you're even entertaining the notion of jogging, you are totally not pregnant. So for your viewing pleasure...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Nested has a fun gadget for those of us who like the whole spell baby's name as a nursery decoration but want to go at it slightly differently.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Teething again

Charlie currently has 8 teeth. There are 10 to go. At 2 weeks to 2 months of teething time per tooth my life will be hellish for a while, won't it? Not that the next while will be a cakewalk for Charlie either...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Wizard Rock Moment

No one can say my tastes aren't diverse...

This song is by a fictional rock bad headed up by Draco Malfoy and is aimed at Harry Potter. If you don't like the books, you should really just skip over this post.

Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah

The first song that I am currently gushing over...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Job Satisfaction

So, this has been a bit of a rough patch for me in mommy-hood. Charlie is starting to sleep enough (2 nights over the last 10, he's actually slept through the night!) that I am becoming cognizant of something beyond how I will manage to make it through the day. We're to a point where Charlie requires enough attention that doing anything else is less than successful but is self-sufficient enough that you get rather bored. He's adorable and charming and a delight but is lacking in conversational skills. He isn't old enough for crafts or games. Even play dates are still a bit out on the horizon. The park (when it hasn't been sweltering) is still a bit above his skill level although he does like to crawl in a nice patch of grass.

I decided that I would probably do better if I had a bit of a routine. Unfortunately, we live in a less than bustling area and the options are somewhat limited. Our rough schedule is rather heavy on Target and the grocery store and I had to really rack my brain to come up with 5 viable options that will occupy at least 2 hours. I watched with great envy, this NY City mom who takes walks with her kids where they can see all sorts of things and there is always another store to visit or another activity to do. She talked about how much she loved being a SAHM and I cried. I want to be her. I want to be fulfilled and stimulated and in love with my job of raising my children. But, at the moment, I'm not.

I suspect part of it is the stage we're in. I am hesitant to make strong moves towards going back to work as I think that things will change rather rapidly over the next 2 years. At the same time, I think Charlie is a child who would love group care. He thrives in the church nursery and other group settings. He is thrilled to watch and interact with other children. Finding quality, part-time care is always a struggle though and finding it when you are already feeling ambivalent about your decision is even harder. Coming up with a job I would enjoy is equally challenging. I think I would most like to find a very part-time office job. When I have subbed, I have always enjoyed helping out in the office. One summer I had an internship that had a rather large secretarial component and I really liked it. I love having tasks that you can actually complete; lists of things that you can check off. I like people and helping point them to where they need to go. I can schedule with the best of them and multi-task with a vengeance. At the same time, those sorts of jobs are scare here. And, I'm uncomfortable starting one when I don't know how the next pregnancy will go nor do I expect that I will want to continue after the next baby. I'm also a bit of a crafter and have a Stampin' Up demonstratorship but to grow it much more will take a considerable amount of effort and time that I don't presently have. This is also a rather economically depressed area and people tend to not be "spenders."

I learned about a mother's day out program a few days ago and plan to look into that. It sounds like it might be just right for Charlie. It's reasonably priced and would let him play with other children and is 5 days a week but you can enroll them for shorter periods. It's only during the school year though and they don't accept children until they are 15 months old. It is a shining light though. It would be so nice to have a morning or 2 a week that I could devote to doing something I find satisfying- something I can point to and say "I did that." If only I knew what the "that" should be...

Thursday, August 09, 2007


So, in preparation of us trying to have a second child I have been stocking my freezer. Since I had morning sickness for a coon's age last time and was felled by extreme fatigue (probably why getting 2/3rds of your caloric intake from gingerale isn't actually recommended) I thought that I would try to be prepared this time. Of course, this will likely result in one of 3 things. A- the power will go out for several days B- it will take us months and months to conceive the baby (I'm toying with "thing 2" or "who" as in "Horton Hears A...") rendering all cooking moot although likely eaten in a 1 day depression spurred binge or C- I will be completely puke free this time around but will get to experience all of the other pregnancy ailments I got to side-step last time- most notably varicose veins and stretch marks In support of "c" occurring is also that I have taste tested a variety of locally available ginger candies and teas to pick the ones most likely to be helpful at settling my stomach and am contemplating laying in a back stock to have on hand. Of course, then fate will do a double fake-out and I will not only have morning sickness for the next 12 months (why not throw in a couple of pre and post-conception months as well) AND get varicose veins.

Anyway... We now have 12 packets of frozen tillapia ready to go both with asparagus and with mixed veggies (I used this recipe as a jumping off point and then added frozen cubes of white wine and pre-chopped and frozen veggies from the market), 4 chicken curry casseroles (need a no-fail, yank out of the freezer for company meal or to take to the people who just had a baby? BEST CASSEROLE EVEH! I always have several on hand. It's an all-day project with the veggie roasting and everything so you might as well make a bunch at a time anyway...), chicken soup , potato soup, and beef stew, as well as turkey kielbasa sausage and frozen pre-chopped packs of bell peppers and onions (available in your freezer section because short cuts are ok sometimes) ready to add to the skillet with some potatoes for a 10 minute meal. I love this meal but have yet to figure out how to freeze it since potato doesn't freeze well. It's super yummy though. And, this was a summer favorite- coconut milk, shrimp and a little spice- yummy! But, it really requires a solid 45 minutes or so to cook and that just doesn't happen all that often anymore- sigh... I would also like to get some chicken packets ready to go similar to the fish packets but I need to wait for chicken to go on "buy one get one" sale again. Reynold's Wrap has a bunch of packet recipes that they don't list as specifically freezable but I fooled around with some a couple of weeks ago and they are definitely adaptable.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Trying to Conceive

We've decided to switch from not preventing pregnancy to trying to conceive this month. My husband has repeatedly stated that he doesn't get the difference but he's fine with whatever I want to call it as long as it involves nookie. It's come down to the fact that my relationship with my hormones is best described as "adversarial." Over the last few months I have felt like myself about 25% of the time. The rest of the time I have PMS, the P itself, a nice reaction to all that progesterone my body would like to keep on hand "just in case," or am recovering from all this hormonal excitement. I don't remember it being all that bad before and I suspect that nursing hasn't helped matters. It seems that the level of nursing Charlie would like to do puts me right on the edge between suppression of cycles and full-on fertility and any little change (like nursing an extra time a night while my husband is away) throws the whole thing into a tizzy. In addition, around when I ovulate, my supply dips so there are extra night feedings which confuses things more and then we get an incident like this month when I think I ovulated (and dipped) twice to make for 2 weeks of a special kind of miserable. Of course, all this night waking makes temping completely pointless so this is just an educated guess about the ovulating based on limited secondary fertility signs. I drew the line at checking my cervix... At any rate, it left me feeling that if I was going to be this miserable, I might as well be miserable with a purpose and go ahead and really make an effort at getting pregnant.

And, since it's really getting to the point that if things don't stabilize I will wean due to sheer misery, we've started night weaning. Charlie usually nurses at least once during the night still and sometimes more frequently. According to my research, night nursing effects fertility more than day nursing and so, I assume, cutting it out will help stabilize my hormones. Also, a good portion of the time he doesn't actually eat all that much and they only time we have a hope of doing night weaning is this month- the first time in ages my husband is slated to be home for several weeks in a row. Last night was our 1st go and went rather unexpectedly. The DH and I were prepared for much crying and tantruming and misery. The deal was that Charlie wouldn't be seeing mommy at all until time for the morning nursing which we decided could happen anytime after 5am (envisioning hourly wakings with wailing). Sometime between 1:30 and 3ish, the window Charlie usually wakes up in for his 1st night feeding, my husband would go in with a snack and hold Charlie in the rocker while he ate. We expected this to go over like a lead balloon and so we picked one of his favorite snacks. 2:30 rolled around and in my DH went... The snack was greeted with crows of delight, happy babbling and eating ensued. There was no crying at all. Over the next few nights we will fade the snack and then fade the rocking and, in happy land, Charlie will magically begin sleeping through the night within the next 2 weeks. Now we just need to tell Charlie the plan...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Highly Active Infant

So, the other search hit I noticed getting was for "highly active infant." There are few results for that search and none of them look like they would be terribly helpful for the poor parent who typed in the phrase. First, my sympathies. I'm assuming that the person that did this search was presented with a baby something like Charlie. This baby apparently never needs to sleep and if he does entertain the notion that he might need to sleep, it will only happen if you are holding him, rocking him, and standing on one foot while whistling "Dixie." This is a child who hasn't met an outlet cover he can't defeat. He would like to be with you all the time. Bouncy seats and swings can't contain this child. You will be given advice to "let him cry" and, one very difficult night, you will learn that your child can cry for upwards of 2 hours sleep for 30 and then start crying again. This is a child who would like to touch, see, examine, taste, and interact constantly. This highly active baby has 2 speeds- "on" and "fussy-please-God-just-sleep." On the up side, this child will let you know that you are the most important person in his life early and often. He will show you the wonder of ripping up a leaf, trying sweet potatoes for the first time, and, if you're lucky, be a fantastic hugger. He will be clever and inquisitive and will, eventually, sleep for longer than 45 minutes at a time. If you want to hear from another parent who is muddling through the experience, read on. Third, try some of these resources if you want actual advice...

Dr Sears calls this type of baby "high needs." Start with this article and go from there. I disagree with him on a couple of points though. I think high needs babies may need somewhat less sleep than other babies but not quite as little as he makes out. Also, I think that all babies and children benefit from routines, certainly after the "4th trimester" and that part of the behaviors he describes as "high needs" sounds a lot like Charlie when he's over tired and fighting sleep. So, I would ignore the advice about allowing your baby to have a wildly fluctuating bed time. Part of what you have to help your baby learn is how to wind down and shut off. These are not babies that know what they need so "listening" to them is sometimes not appropriate in my humble opinion.

On the issue of sleep start with The No Cry Sleep Solution and then give Ferber a go. I think co-sleeping sounds lovely in theory but if you have a highly social baby as well as highly active, it might be way to stimulating. This blog post is a great mom perspective on getting the highly active and highly social child to sleep.

The Baby Whisperer message boards are
also full of friendly moms with babies that can't slow down. These are referred to as "spirited" babies. Her EASY schedule is also rather helpful although we've found that Charlie needs to be rather sleep deprived to actually sleep so, we've modified it to give longer awake periods and shorter sleep periods (sigh...)

Finally, start a blog and vent away.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

11 Things About Me

1- I really love doing laundry. It's my favorite household chore. I get to feel like I have really accomplished something just by sticking a bunch of stuff into a new spot to stash it. Now, putting away the laundry is another matter all together...

2- I love having meals socked away in my deep freezer.

3- My favorite meal to have in my deep freeze is a fish packet. You take the flash frozen fish fillets (I usually use tilapia) and put them on a bed of frozen veggies on a piece of aluminum foil and stick a couple of lemon slices and some sort of herb on top. Pop in a couple of frozen cubes of white wine and fold into a little packet. You can then make as many servings as you need by pulling them out of the freezer and baking at 400' for 45 minutes (25 if they were in a regular freezer).

4- I was totally Ginny/Harry before it was cool.

5- I have 2 "comfort books."

6- They came to college with me and to the birth of my son.

7- One is Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

8- The other is Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. (The cover on the edition I linked is really hideous- mine looks much more appealing)

9- I tend to like stories where the girl saves the boy.

10- That meant that I also fell in love with Princess Florecita and the Iron Shoes when I was doing lit reviews for my children's lit class but I don't own it for some reason.

11- Now I totally know what I want one of my Christmas presents to be.

I mostly posted this because I was tired of the hazing post being at the top but also, it seems like all the cool kids have these lists of 100 things in their about sections. I'm not quite a cool kid so I'll just do 11 for now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Hazing Process

So, a number of things have come together that just make me mad. So, this is basically a rant but, hopefully, it is a productive one...

I have noticed that there seems to be a mommy hazing process or at least the belief that there should be one among our mother's generation, at least from my perspective. My most recent run-in with this was in a meeting last night. I have been a member of a group of wives and mothers of faculty at my husband's university. It's starting to seriously die out and a big part of the reason is that they are still doing things almost exactly the way they have always been done. The new President called me and asked if I would help in her efforts to revamp things so that the group would be more appealing to the younger set. What I didn't realize was that by "younger set" she actually meant women between 50 and 60. I tried to point out that most of the efforts she was planning on making wouldn't actually appeal to women of my age but I failed miserably. That's a whole other post. Anyway, one thing that came up was that I said that women with young children would enjoy x,y, or z but that she would need to take steps to find someone without the young children to spearhead the effort because young mothers just didn't have that kind of time, especially for a group that they aren't already attached to. I then heard the old refrain that I hear from many of her generation "But we did it." I had to bit my tongue to prevent a sarcastic response.

I have heard many permutations of this. Our church's children's ministries are desperate for more help mostly because a number of families have children spread in ages leaving them stretched thin when they volunteer for all the groups. At a church picnic, I was listening to a woman discuss how much she missed her grandchildren and I pointed out that the nursery really needed "rockers" and perhaps that would help fill the gap she replied that it was really up to the parents of the infants. I've gotten similar responses from several other grandmothers woeful over their lack of baby time. My mother tends to go on about how hard it was for her when I ask if she could come to help while my husband travels. In my MOPS group, there are older women who are to act in a advisory capacity to the younger mothers. When we had a childcare crisis one morning, not a one volunteered to help watch the children so that more mothers (who were the actual target audience) could attend the program. The list goes on and seems to stretch to other areas as well. When I was in teacher training, the older teachers worked the student teachers to the brink of exhaustion while somewhat younger supervising teachers offered a gentler experience. The older teachers would repeatedly speak of how hard it was when they student taught. The medical community is only just now rethinking if it is wise to treat their residents as they do, even if it was how they did it when they were residents. I was listening to an interview wit the editor of Mothering Magazine and she was talking about how hard it was for them to live a natural lifestyle in the 70s and how now you don't have to be as committed to get organic foods or whatnot with a clear implication that this was a great downward trend.

Back to the point...

It seems like women who became mothers in the 70s and 80s feel that just because it was hard for them, it should be hard for everyone. It's as if they feel that there is to be a trial of fire, a hazing, a massive slog and any assistance is verboten. The thing is that they made their beds. They rejected the previous generation (with some merit) and wanted to do it differently. These women were going to do it all with ease. They would be supermoms. It's like an entire generation that is stuck in the teen rebellion stage of development. Slightly younger women seem happy to offer all manner of assistance. Offers from women to help with Charlie while my husband is out of town almost always come from this younger crowd. The helpful hand holding the door while I struggle with the stroller is from this group. The kind smiles in the grocery store as Charlie melts down- from the mothers of the 90s. I'm not clear if it's generational or if they just don't remember. I find it so frustrating. This is a group of women who are so perfectly poised to make things just a little bit better but won't. I sincerely hope that when I am out of the haze of rearing the very young, I will remember to lend a hand to those still struggling up the ladder rather than icing the rungs...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Africa Lyrics

So, the single biggest hit I get for my blog is people stumbling across this post while looking for the lyrics to Toto's Africa. To make the multitude's lives easier, here they are from this site. Now you too can enjoy trying to get it out of your head...

I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She's coming in 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped a nomad along the way
Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, "Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you"

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I blessed the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what's right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become


Hurry boy, she's waiting there for you

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I blessed the rains down in Africa, I blessed the rains down in Africa
I blessed the rains down in Africa, I blessed the rains down in Africa
I blessed the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Monday, July 09, 2007

Oh, baby...

First, in an unrelated note... This is the slogan on my Cracker Barrel fudge box: "Plow into pleasure." Does anyone else find this to be an odd wording or have I just been spending too much time with the Smart Bitches?

Second, my husband and I are starting to seriously consider attempting to start the process for having another baby sometime in the very near future. This has me completely thrilled and terrified at the same time. I had such horrible morning sickness with Charlie and I had assumed that I would just take the medicine this time if I had trouble but all the meds are incompatible with breast feeding. I hadn't really planned on breastfeeding indefinitely and I think I should be able to make my 1 year goal irrespective of anything else but it does make life so much easier with Charlie. He has so much trouble winding down for sleep (and, yes, that is starting to improve- more later) that a little booby time is the simplest solution. We've worked hard to keep him from only knowing how to go to sleep through nursing but, especially when my husband is out of town, it is sometimes the one thing keeping us mildly sane. Also, Charlie loves the booby. We've dropped most of the easy feedings at this point and the rest will be a real wrench. I still don't find it a transcendental experience but there is something very "motherly" about it and it is such an easy way for mommy to make it better. Weaning will be harder on me than I expected.

The whole out of town thing is quite worrisome as well. My husband tends to travel at least several days every month. We're able to get some sitters and my mom sometimes comes down or we go up to them for the longer trips but I am often at the edge of endurance by the time he gets home if I'm solo now. I can only imagine what it will be like when I'm hormonal and exhausted or when we have 2.

At the same time, Charlie is an intensely social fellow and I think he'll be thrilled at having a sibling. We both think it would be nice to swoop through the intense, babyhood time instead of stretching it. We think we would like to have several children and I would like to be done with pregnancy by 35 or so and I'm 30 now. That isn't a huge time crunch but it does make you aware of where you are. The idea of being pregnant while Charlie is still taking naps is also a big thing. I know he won't hold on to them for too long so, sooner is better than later from that regard. It also seems like it would be nice if we had the next one before Charlie really got used to the single life. And, we're sort of going at it with the assumption that, saving some sort of major medical problem, it would be hard to have a more difficult baby. Charlie has many, many good points but he is, by far, the most difficult sleeper I have ever heard of, save Patrick. My husband commented that at least with colic we would know it would be done in 3 months or so and I have to agree. And, even if we have a child as difficult as Charlie, we have at least gotten 1 to practice on and now have at least 7 sleep books under our belt and I have that whole master's degree that covered everything about babies except sleep so... Of course, we could have a good sleeper who is exceedingly cranky and not nearly so cute and then I would, perhaps, second guess my assumptions, but at least I would be well rested and, as Dr. Sears says, you can handle just about anything during the day if you can just get some sleep at night. Finally, we've noticed that most everyone seems quite pleased with how they spaced their babies with the occasional exception of people who really, really weren't planning to have a baby just then. So, it seems that no matter what we decide, we will likely think we were completely correct in hindsight.

Also, we had said that we would approach this with a not preventing sort of mindset. So, there will be no "command performances." At the same time, I'm temperature charting for a couple of rather unrelated reasons. First, I like to know what's going on with my body. Second, you usually have a milk production dip around the time of ovulation and it's useful to know that's going on. However, with the charting, you rather lose the whole mystery of which days might be optimal so, it feels like we're doing rather more than just not preventing pregnancy but rather less than "trying to conceive" which is leaving me a bit flustered. I'm a bit of a planner and I was ok with the whole "let's see what happens" but I have way too much information to really pretend I don't know if this is a "just for fun" evening or not. Now that you know much more than you ever wanted about my life...

Does anyone have any input?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Housekeeping Question

So, I like to wash my kitchen linens and bath linens together with a nice dollop of bleach. However, that means that it takes a few days to accumulate a load. What do you do with dirty washrags from the kitchen while you wait for the wash? I don't want to mix them in with other things due to mildew concerns.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A return to journalistic integrity...

Or a stunt?

Mika Brezezinski refuses to read Paris Hilton story.

I totally admire her but I'm not loving the guys. Is it just me or is their tone patronizing?

Better than Baby Einstein

Charlie just sat happily in his high chair for 10 minutes while I washed the windows (I have a minor obsession at the moment...) and watched our Roomba clean the kitchen floors.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Have you ever just wanted to say: "Has this ever worked? Has flailing yourself about, screaming, and crying EVER gotten you out of wearing clothes, having your diaper changed, or getting in your car seat? In fact, this just makes it take longer!" Why couldn't I have had a Vulcan?

Also, if you have bought the 4 pack of TODDLER wheeled items, do they really think you have the time to free each of the 16 wheels from plastic doodad, twist tie, and individual impenetrable fortress? If they can't withstand shipping without all this, I am beginning to doubt if they can withstand the attentions of Charlie.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Zounds! A non-baby post!

So, Charlie and I listen to Morning Edition during our start of the day activities. My husband came back in for something he had forgotten the other day and was startled to be greeted by a loud "bull shit" from me. He astutely figure out that I was actually conversing with the radio. I have yet to figure out if this ranks above or below conversations with the dogs. I miss the days when I could converse with my belly... Anyway, US automakers are claiming that they can't possibly make cars all that much more efficient because US consumers don't really want efficient cars. There is more to it but, might I say, that I totally would have bought a Yugo minivan if it had gotten 40 MPG. As it is, we went with the Odyssey, in large part, because half the pistons shut down when you hit a cruising speed and fuel economy goes up. The story is here. These are the times that I begin to really see why protectionism really wasn't the way to go.

Useful links...

Baby Cheap Skate looks out for good bargains on baby stuff- particularly diapers. She focuses on Atlanta but has some good tips in general.

Pandora Radio will generate playlists and stream your own radio station for free based on a song or artist preference that you tell it. It's made putting away the laundry rather pleasant.

On the move...

Charlie has reached the point where he is constantly frustrated. He desperately wants to walk but can't quite pull it off. So, he cruises about until he gets "stuck." He reaches the end of one cruising item but can't reach his next destination and cries because he is now much too good for crawling. I have spent the last few days feeling little hands wrap themselves around my calves, loaning my hands and arms as suitable walking aids, and administering hugs and cuddles liberally as it all gets to be too much. I am waiting for walking with mixed feelings. I am hoping that it will offer a bit of reprieve of sorts, like when he started crawling. We had several weeks where I could use my computer, do dishes, etc, as he poked around. It will be nice to have a constantly frustrated, regularly wailing child but it is sure to be a challenge to have him even more mobile than before. His father and I are frantically babyproofing. Cabinets are getting anchored, clutter is getting cleared, china is being put up. We also bought a wire crate for Shirley to use in the family room. She was having a great deal of trouble with evading Charlie while also napping so, we're in the process of teaching her that her crate is a refuge. She's starting to get the idea but it can't happen soon enough for me.

Charlie is also developing quite the will. Never a child to go quietly into the night, he has taken it to new levels in the last week which don't bode well. Today there was a 5 minute screaming fit involving a red face and crocodile tears after he was cruelly interrupted in his pursuit of removing an outlet cover.

In cute news, Charlie has also started really making a go at consonants. In the last week my ears have been showered with "ma" and "ba" (although no da, which is supposed to come first- our little non-conformist- I'm so proud!). While "mama" has absolutely no meaning yet, it warms my heart every time I hear it and Charlie delights in hearing me echo "mama, that's me!" in a delighted tone.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Nesting Part 2...

So, I seem to be going through some sort of second round of nesting. I have an insane desire to see all our windows sparkle and all the projects that I started pre-unexpectedly early baby to be completed. I think it's because Charlie is totally on the move at this point. He's got a solid crawl and is worryingly close to walking. I have taken to examining our floors from a "gee, what could I put in my mouth" perspective and it is alarming. However, I figure that you really only have to do a whole house re-organization and baby proofing once and then it's mostly maintenance. Also, I have taken to watching How Clean is Your House and the show that used to be Flip That House (the one on TLC instead of A+E). While the cleaning show makes me feel much better about the state of my house in some regards, seeing women so completely fired up about cleaning and then seeing the fabulousness that follows is quite motivating to the reluctant duster. Watching Flip That House has brought home to me just how much we'll probably need to do when we want to sell the house. They're all things that we've been wanting to do but haven't been able to because we had to replace (I kid you not) the washer, dryer, heat pump, dishwasher, and water heater and install new duct work (the previous system had the cold air return at the highest point in house- do you need to know anything else?), hook into the water main, do a very necessary bathroom remodel to turn the 1 completely dysfunctional bath into 2 bathrooms, and add a closet to the master bed room, which was inexplicably lacking one. All of this has taken oodles of time and scads of money. While the house was a very good buy and we still stand to make at least some profit on it, I'm not sure we would buy it again. So, I have suddenly gotten completely sick of feeling like we were still moving in. I want to sort things out and I want to do it right now.

Friday, May 25, 2007


I think I may have just witnessed chipmunk nookie...

A bevy of thoughts and opinions...

Charlie is now of an age where he can amuse himself for a while. However, this is only really possible in his nursery. He isn't old enough to just hang in the nursery by himself. The number of productive tasks you can accomplish in the nursery is, somewhat unsurprisingly, low. Hence, I am becoming rather enthralled by chrysalis.

When I become mistakenly optimistic about the world I try to do crazy things, like pick things up, whatever I have in my hand becomes far better than the big pink ball and I am then stuck prying things out of Charlie's hands and mouth (now with three teeth!).

Will Charlie ever reach a point when he isn't teething?

How is it that I have been back at pre-baby weight (actually a bit below) and in pre-baby clothing for months but I still have more tummy than I started with? Is this fair? Can't I get points for effort?

We have 2 dogs. One dog is enthralled by Charlie a hunk of the time and would love to play. When she is done with Charlie she intelligently leaves the room. The other dog would really rather Charlie leave her alone but has yet to figure out she can totally run faster than him. Which dog do you think Charlie would like to have as his bff?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tissue Paper

I just glanced up, realized my child was eating tissue paper, and decided that since it was white and wouldn't stain anything, I was ok with it until I could finish reading the America's Next Top Model recap (when I took the rest of the paper away and gave him a nice, edible rice cake instead- I'm not completely slacking...)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pulling Up

Charlie is working on learning to pull-up. I need to rent 2 padded rooms- one for Charlie with many benches, just right for cruising and one for me with a fully stocked bar...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Make Shane's Day

So, there's a little boy in Ontario who is struggling with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He has a birthday coming up and his wish is to break the world's record for most birthday cards recieved. His birthday is on May 29th. Go ahead and send him a card!

Shane Bernier
PO Box 484
Lancaster, Ontario
K0C 1N0

I scoff in your food safe Lysol spray's general direction..."

So, this article, posted at News On the Fly has made me completely question if there is any point to making any sort of effort in the area of cleaning Charlie's toys. These bacteria survive airless, waterless, radioactive, nasty, nasty environments. Is my spritzing and dishwashing really doing anything? Should I just skip it and pour me a nice glass of tea instead?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

There's something about Vikings...

So, I am totally devouring the Sookie Stackhouse vampire mystery series. The steamy scenes are just right- enough to get you thinking but not enough to get you thinking logistics. The world building is blended with the story nicely so you never feel lost but you also don't feel like the exposition fairy has just wandered by either. The back story from previous novels is helpful but not vital so you can read them in whatever order you can get them from the library. Also, this may be the single best way to get a Viking into a romance novel ever. Eric is a Viking vampire who has made his way through the ages into the modern world so you get the "Oooh, rugged alpha male with many, many muscles" without any of the historically accurate elements to his character and actions that thwart your feminist side. The latest book is a little on the plot heavy side. Its set up a lot of elements for coming books and goes light on the nookie but it was still good. I'm looking forward to the net already and it won't be out for another year. This is good since Harry Potter will be out this summer- so bittersweet!

In other news... Charlie is working on pulling up. We are sadly lacking in items of the correct height so I suspect many tears of frustration in the near future.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Query...

I'm not the only one who occasionally thinks "ok, nevermind, this motherhood thing is just too much, I'll be back in a while..." right?

Friday, April 13, 2007

I Might Be A Bad Mother...

1. My kitchen currently smells vaguely of mildew and I haven't cleaned under the microwave for long enough that I am now slightly afraid to lift it and clean under it. I am reasonably confident that the load of kitchen towels and dishrags and a dollop of Clorox will fix the smell. The microwave will have to wait until my MIL is coming to visit...

2. I have never vacuumed or otherwise cleaned my refrigerator coils. I honestly don't even quite know where they are or what they might look like.

3. I am still breastfeeding, in part, to loose those pesky 5 pounds. At times, this is a far stronger motivator for waking for the 3 am feeding than any benefit I might be giving Charlie.

4. I totally let the dogs sniff Charlie and there has been an occasional lick.

5. Today I let Charlie gnaw on the rocking chair's bottom rung (which has never been cleaned to my knowledge) because a) he had worked so damn hard to get to it and b) I really wanted to finish drinking my Spr*te.

6. My version of "Hush, Little Baby" can get decidedly ribald.

7. I wind up sometimes watching the clock and not the child because Charlie can occasionally thwart even the best observer in terms of his "sleepy window" and once it's past there's hell to pay.

8. I occasionally let Charlie gnaw on my empty plastic drink bottles even though they probably contain all manner of evil plasticness.

9. On the rare occasions that Charlie naps, I never actually do anything productive. I always take "me time"- in fact you can tell how well Charlie has been napping in direct relation to how often I post and comment on other blogs.

10. There have been days that I just can't stomach another 45 minutes of screaming baby and rocking chair and give up on the nap and play. I am well aware that this sets a bad precedent and that I will have a cranky baby in another 45 minutes but sometimes I just don't care.

11. I am going to drink caffeine during my next pregnancy. I miss iced tea with an unholy passion. I will keep it in moderation and continue to autoclave my luncheon meat but I will drink me an occasional tea, maybe even a coke!

12. I have, on a number of occasions, lied to Fertility Friend about when I took my temperature. This is, in part, because I have irrational fear that it will suddenly stop accepting my temperatures or send me a nasty note or something for not getting up at the same time every day. I'm usually within 30 minutes or so of when I said I took it but I still feel all scandalous about it. Ok, so, that doesn't actually have anything to do with my parenting. And, no, we're not "trying," I just want to know when I should expect a visit from the Bloody Barron.


13. I let Charlie drink juice. Someday I may even let him drink undiluted juice! We walk on the edge!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Riddle Me This...

How is it that my fabric shower curtain that has been hanging in my bathoom, getting steamy on a regular basis for at least a year now, still has the fold marks from when it came out of it's package? Is there no justice in the world?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Breastfeeding Misconceptions

This post is just for me to get this out of my system.

I belong to a mommy message board. The number of women I see give up on breastfeeding from misconceptions appalls me. Breastmilk is the best nutrition for an infant, excluding a very few special cases. If you can, I believe you should breastfeed. At the same time, breastfeeding isn't for everyone and there are lots of things that go into being a good mommy- how you feed your baby is far from the sole, determining factor. There are lots of reasons not to breastfeed. You may have had breast surgery that makes it impossible, you may need to take medications that allow you to be a great mommy but not a great food source, you may need a little more "me time" than breastfeeding allows for to be a great mommy, you may be uber-fertile and desperately need to start birthcontrol pills that can decimate your supply. In short, breastfeeding is good but a happy, healthy mommy is great.

It seems like the main thing I see cited as the reason women quit breast feeding in the first couple of weeks is that they don't make enough milk. It is incredibly rare that that is actually the case, and if it is there are lots of things you can do allow you to continue breastfeeding. First, your breasts work on a supply and demand basis. In order to make make more milk your breasts have to be emptied lots and lots of times in the beginning. This often leads new mothers to think that they aren't making enough milk since their baby is "always" hungry. Newborns will want to nurse every 60-90 minutes- you may get a 3 hour stretch with some babies but you need them to nurse lots and lots in the beginning to help your body establish your milk supply. When the baby nurses you release hormones that tell your body to make more milk. In addition, newborns don't have very big mouths or tummies and neither of you is very efficient at this point so, it takes them a long while to eat a meal. It's not unusual for them to nurse for 45 minutes at a time. It takes about 90 minutes for the baby to finish digesting the breastmilk so, if they are awake, they'll probably notice and be hungry again. You will feel like you have a baby living on your boob for the first few weeks. Even if you don't, there are growth spurts at the 7-10 day mark, 3 weeks and 6 weeks so, at those times the baby will want to nurse even more. Nursing in bed in a sidelying position will help you get sleep. The important thing is that all this nursing in no way indicates that you aren't making enough milk.

Formula fed babies will go longer between feedings. This is because it's harder for babies to digest formula so it takes longer for their tummy to empty out. Formula fed babies may also sleep longer at a stretch because of this. My husband and I refer to this as "better sleep through constipation." However, the benefits of longer sleep need to be weighed against the many benefits of breastfeeding. In addition, you may have to deal with a constipated baby.

Many babies will take an ounce or so of formula or water after a nursing session on the sheer basis of it being offered- not because they are hungry. It's easier to get out of a bottle than the breast. Don't use this as a basis to assume you aren't making enough. If you are worried, keep track of how many wet and poopy diapers the baby is making. You can also go to the pediatrician or lactation consultant's office and weigh the baby before and after a feeding to see where you stand. If there are plenty of wet and poopy diapers and reasonable weight gain (breastfed babies sometimes take 2 weeks to regain their birthweight and that's ok) you are making enough milk. If you aren't making enough milk by these standards and need to supplement then do so with a supplemental nursing system rather than a bottle. They are a pain in the ass to use but allow the baby to get more to eat while still stimulating your breasts to make more milk. Bottle supplementation is often the fastest way to get breastfeeding to totally not work out in the early weeks. Once your supply is established, then monkey with bottles and such. Give it 4-6 weeks and be sure that you are still nursing at least 7-8 times a day. There are also all manner of supplements and herbs you can try.

The first week or so is really hard. Breastfeeding is a grind. You will feel like you will never have a life, eat with both hands, or sleep again. But, it does get better. If you want to quit, do so but please don't say "He was nursing every 2 hours so I just wasn't making enough" because that's actually the way it's supposed to be. Although, I have also entertained the notion that the actual issue is that it's much more socially acceptable to say that you had supply problems than that you just couldn't take having a baby stuck to your chest for another 18 of the next 24 hours which is awful- new mommies have it hard enough without having to make up lies to keep society happy.


I don't feel like I say enough about the wonderfulness that is Charlie here so...

Charlie is a phenomenally bad sleeper. At the same time, I have never had to worry significantly about SIDS, which is great because I'm a real worrier by nature and probably would have been scared to death if he had been a great sleeper.

When we work to be sure Charlie gets enough sleep he rewards us by being one of the most socially adept and cheerful infants I have ever encountered. Charlie giggles and grins and flirts his way through every day. We actually have a lot of trouble when we try to run errands because Charlie smiles at everyone and no one can resist a smiling baby and have to visit with him. I have become a bit like those people who have to tell the fans "no more autographs" so that the star doesn't have to look like a mean-o. Charlie is so very social that he has been trying to flirt with the dogs for a month and is perpetually puzzled as to why they don't smile back. Charlie attempted to flirt with the fish in the fishtank but has since given up on them.

Charlie totally knows how to game the system with The Grin. It will be 3 am and you will be exhausted and in the rocking chair for the 5 th time that night and you will see a little hand sneak out of the blanket and pull the paci out and little brown eyes will lock on yours and a little mouth will grin with 2 little teeth showing though and if you didn't know that to do so would equal hysterical crying (on your part and his) in about 30 minutes you would totally put him on the floor and play. Babysitters have to be specifically cautioned about The Grin and I rather fear for any young lady he sets his sights on in about 20 years. We have a firm "no eye contact" policy during middle of the night checks. I have a way easier time with it since I'm blind as a bat.

If Charlie hadn't been waylayed by those pesky motor milestones, he would totally have his first word and it would be "hi."

Charlie has a joi de vive rarely seen. It first emerged when he was oh so wee and he would latch to my boobs with gusto only to unlatch and latch again in a fabulous booby game. He will squeal with joy at a glimpse of you coming to get him from his crib. Raptures of delight are found by a nice tummy tickle or a good bounce on your lap. Nothing can beat the fun of kicking your feet while your parents attempt to change your diaper. While Charlie is the only infant I know who can actually throw a temper tantrum, the capacity for equally extraordinary joy is there too.