Monday, December 12, 2005

No more deer in the headlights.

I've never been happy with the name I gave this blog. I was just trying to find a somewhat memorable name and URL that hadn't yet been taken. And once upon a time, I did feel like that - motherhood came and suddenly my whole lifestyle and all of my priorities were completely changed, and my head was spinning. But I already was pretty much done feeling that way by the time I started this blog. And I really don't like the image it projects of me. I'm really not paralyzed by indecision, staring at my oncoming doom without even trying to step aside! So I've started a new blog, Woman of the House, which I hope will more accurately reflect me and my take on the world. Please do pay me a visit in my new home. I'll look forward to seeing you there.

Testing, testing...

I really need to figure out how to embed active links in my text. So, without further ado, here goes nothing...

Here's a blog I enjoy reading every day. ABB makes me laugh, and think, every day. (And, incidentally, I lifted the source code for this trick from her site!) If you haven't already, you should check her out.

Hey, that was easy! Wow, I expected this would cause way more aggravation than it did. I wish all tech issues were so easily addressed.

Trying to become a bigger-hearted person.

I hate feeling the way I do about Babymama. Really, she isn't a bad person. She can actually be really nice. Case in point: Friday, it snowed like a bastard. It took me 4 hours to get home; usually only takes 1 1/2. Anyway, I called home while sitting in a parking lot that usually is a main street, mostly just to bitch about the situation. Babymama happened to answer. I asked, jokingly, if she could make sure there was something refreshing and alcoholic ready for me to drink when I walked in the door because I was going to need it by then. She could tell I was wound up, so she went upstairs, rounded up my sister-in-law, and together they CLEANED MY APARTMENT. Just because they thought it would help me relax and feel better once I finally got home. And you know what? It really did.

Babymama didn't ask to be put in the situation she's in. Now, on top of everything else, her car died on Friday and she can't get herself to work or the holy terror to preschool. I don't know how she's going to deal with this situation. But I'm trying to find a welcoming, warm place in my heart for them both because I hate the way I feel like an evil bitch whenever I think about them, or see them, or get aggravated by them. Yes, Babymama is a chronic maker-of-bad-choices. But hindsight is 20/20, right? I think she just did what she felt she had to do at the time, and grabbed what little fun or pleasure she could on those rare occasions it was available to her. (Yes, she's had a much harder life than I have, too.) I'm trying to take to heart that prayer that goes "God grant me the strength to change what I can change, the patience to handle what I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference." I don't see how I can change this situation, so I REALLY need to develop a lot more patience than I currently have. She's really not trying to make my life harder - and as hard as things sometimes feel for me, hers is ten times harder and always has been.

On a happier note, I took the babygirl to the park to play in snow for the first time. (We have a yard, but we also have a 125-lb. dog, so our snow is now far from virgin and white!) I took her to a big, open expanse of dazzlingly white, untouched snow in the middle of the park. She seemed to like it well enough, but missed the point of playing with it. She mostly just sat down and ate snow, as fast as she possibly could. I made a little snowball and threw it at her; she picked it up and ate it like it was a ball of ice cream. Anyway, it made for some cute pictures.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Kwitcherbitchin! and the f-bomb.

You know, it's really not that cold yet. Cold is not when it's 20 degrees and people's cheeks turn all rosy so you walk real fast to get warm and then have to unzip the top of your down coat to cool off. Yet, all day long I heard variations on this conversation:

Concession clerk to me: So, is it still cold out there?
Me: Yup.
Clerk: Yeah, sure did get cold early this year.

Bus station security guard: Hola! Esta frio, si?
Bus station janitor: Si, esta mucho frio!
Security guard: Si, mucho frio.

C'mon, people. This is Boston! Cold is when the wind coming down Devonshire Street is like a barrage of knives magnetically drawn to any millimeter of exposed skin. Cold is when you close your eyes against that wind and your eyelashes instantly freeze together. Cold is when you wear 2 pairs of socks under winter boots, thermal underwear top & bottom, and a sweater under your down coat, and you're still an icicle by the time you make it across town to work. Save your stupid "sure is cold today" blather until it's actually cold. You've all experienced this. You know it's coming. In the meantime, will ya stop crying wolf, for pete's sake!

On the homefront, the holy terror really threw us for a loop last night. Her mom was out at a doctor's appointment, leaving her in our charge. Hubby and I curled up on the couch with the babygirl and the dog, and invited her to join us for a cuddle. She stopped, tilted her head to look at us quizzically, and asked, "What the f#*& are you doing?" Hubby and I looked at each other, turned back to her and asked in unison, "WHAT did you say?" She repeats, "What are you f#*&ing doing?" (Actually, it was more like "fug" and "fugging.") Oh, my god, it was SOOOO FUNNY we had all we could do not to laugh (MUST NOT positively reinforce the use of swear words!!!) Instead, we pulled her up on the couch with us and very seriously told her that that was a bad, grown up word, that little girls weren't allowed to say it, and we wouldn't punish her this time because maybe she didn't know, but if she says it again she'll have to go in the corner and then go to bed early, and did she understand? She very soberly nodded her head before happily snuggling up with us.

Two and three-quarters years old, this kid is. Did I start with the obscenities this early? Dad, if you're reading this, I'm so sorry.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I never intended to be the kind of mommy who takes too much personal satisfaction in dressing up my baby daughter like a picture-perfect doll. But since my babygirl was born, I've discovered that there's nothing in the world like the satisfaction that comes with finding the PERFECT outfit for her, then finishing off the look with the PERFECT accessories. Once achieved, the resulting nirvana demands it be memorialized with a $100 trip to Kiddie Kandids followed by a day of (possibly manufactured) errands designed to show off my babygirl's fashion perfection to the world at large. Yesterday was such a day.

Months ago, I found the cutest $12 outfit at Marshall's, a discount store. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was her holiday-photo-card outfit - it looked winter-y without being expressly Christmassy (I am, after all, Jewish); it came with everything including tights; and it had a nice, posh look to it. Only then, my sister-in-law suggested, "Oh! You should get some little pink Ugg boots to go with it!" Then, of course, nothing would do but that I had to have the little pink Ugg boots. It took a month of searching, and when I found them, they were at Payless of all places - $14, two dollars more than the outfit. Then I realized the outfit needed a hat to be complete. More searching ensued. I found it, for $10, and the thing didn't even fit right - it really just sat on her head but slid off with the slightest motion. I hung the outfit up IN THE LIVING ROOM, to be admired, until the day came to take her for her photos. Yesterday was that day.

I knew I had to get there early - KK's does a bang-up business even outside of the holiday season. We woke up, ate, bathed, watched Sesame Street, got dressed, and headed out the door. We were there 1/2 hour before they opened and were first to arrive. Other cars started arriving not five minutes later. By the time the doors opened, there were eight parties behind us, and the staff told new people arriving that they couldn't fit them in until 12:30! The babygirl performed magnificently. She posed perfectly and smiled right on cue. Each pose came out perfectly on the first shot. We were done in six minutes - a record for us by a long shot. She was a hit. Everyone (including the photographer) said how cute she was, and several people asked where I got her outfit and her tiny Ugg boots! 1/2 hour later, we were out the door with $100 worth of photos in hand - 24 holiday cards and two sheets of wallet pix in two more poses. (I can never get out of that d@mned place for less than $100!) Anyway, here are the three-out-of-five shots that I got made into photos:

The holiday card shot:

The too-cute-to-pass-up shot:

The glamour shot:

She fell asleep in the car on the way back before we even made it out of the parking lot. Also too cute to miss:

Then we went to Auntie G's house for a playdate with her son, who I'll call Big Boy or BB for short. He's 7 months old and weighs a pound more than my babygirl at 14 months. He's the boy-est looking baby boy I've ever seen, and cute as a button:

BB's older sister L. has lots of cool things to play with, including these party-favor sunglasses which the babygirl just KNEW she had to have:

Then the hubby, the babygirl and I headed out to price gas stoves at Lowe's/Home Despot/Sears/etc. (Our old stove conked out 2 days before Thanksgiving & refuses to be fixed... grr... could be another whole post but I promise I won't...) She had on her pink furry hat and purple embroidered winter coat with white furry hood and cuffs and embroidered flowers over the holiday outfit. Coming out of Lowe's, she insisted on walking back to the car herself, holding her daddy's hand. She looked every inch the baby fashion plate. Two older (maybe 50-ish) ladies walking into Lowe's made a huge fuss over her. "OOOHHH! Look! She's so FASHIONABLE!" "Isn't she just the cutest thing!" "What a sweet outfit!" My god, I just ate that sh!t right up.

I was not a pretty baby, a cute kid, or an attractive teenager. I was raised by a single father who did ALL our clothes shopping at Sears, so needless to say I was never a fashion plate until I got old enough to earn money to do my own clothes shopping. As the former class ugly-kid-whose-daddy-dresses-her-funny, it's so very validating in the most embarrassing way to hear strangers sing the praises of my babygirl's cuteness and of the way I dress her. I can't help it. I love dressing her up, not just for how nice she looks, but for the way it makes ME look so good by extension. God, I can't believe I admitted that. I'm totally shameless.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Things my daughter does (and won't do)

My babygirl is 14 months old now. Our efforts at disciplining and teaching manners to the holy terror are really paying off, as the babygirl now spontaneously says please (points tiny finger at desired object and says "p'ease!"), thank you ("'an'oo"), and even one time, you're welcome ("'oo'el'um"). She also goes and stands in the corner every time we tell the holy terror to do so. Clearly, she does not yet get the concept of punishment.

She climbs in and out of her crib when the rail is down (it is wedged in between my side of the bed and the wall), flips around in it, turns on the music on her crib mobile by kissing the control buttons, flops down on her face in it, and steals our pillows to put in it.

She picks up debris from the kitchen floor and puts it in the trash. Also, puts non-debris, such as her shoes and sippy cups, in the trash.

She throws things, with great force and delight, onto the floor. Things she likes to throw include her wooden Ikea blocks (shown below), pots and pans, and remote controls. The noisier, the better!

The list of age-appropriate things she won't do is short, consisting of only one item. However, this one item is VERY IMPORTANT, and the fact that she won't do it is causing great distress to her daddy and I. She will not sleep in her d@mned crib!!! At 13 months, we got her to sleep in it, no problem, for almost 3 weeks. Of course, we had to put her to sleep and then gently place her into the crib without waking her. But then, she decided she was all done with this crib nonsense (except, of course, for playing in it) and wanted back into Mama and Daddy's nice warm bed. We'll get her sound sleep, but as soon as she feels herself descending through space into the crib, she wakes up. The second she hits the crib mattress, she flips over and pops onto her feet, wailing in spectacularly heartrending fashion. Nothing will convince her to lie back down and go back to sleep; she cries until we take her back out and cuddle her in our bed.

Last night I took her to bed, got her to sleep, tried to put her into her crib and failed, and gave up, laying her down beside me to sleep. At midnight, about an hour before my husband usually comes to bed, she rolled off his side of the bed and woke me up screaming. There is no worse feeling in the world than waking up to your baby screaming, frantically feeling for her next to you in bed in the dark, and realizing that she's NOT THERE and that the screaming is coming from the floor. She wasn't hurt, but it took her a good 20 minutes to calm down and get back to sleep. I piled up all our spare pillows on my husband's side of the bed so she wouldn't roll off again before he got there.

I'm just about ready to try the cry-it-out method of getting her to sleep in her crib. My husband absolutely refuses, insists it won't work, but offers no alternate solutions. It's really getting frustrating. It was so nice having our bed back to ourselves for those three weeks, and both the babygirl and I slept much better that way. I can only hope we get her out of our bed sometime before she goes off to college.

Rare sightings of the mythical "infantus cribsleepus":

Monday, December 05, 2005

Heaven, thy name is Ikea

So, yes, I made it to Ikea on Saturday. With the best friend. And with the babygirl. We got a fabulous spot right next to the door in the family-friendly parking area. And then, we passed through the portals into retail heaven. Instead of St. Peter, there was a nice lady handing out maps (MAPS! this store needs MAPS!) and pointing us up the escalator to the start of the Ikea experience. And off we went.

Now let me make this clear, I am not a big fan of shopping. I'm picky and getting pickier with time, so I rarely have that blissful a-ha! moment where I see something I just have to have. But Ikea is the remedy for that ailment. I had a-ha! moments around every corner. I could have dropped, oh, maybe three grand easily. I could have happily thrown out all the furniture in my house and replaced it with Ikea stuff. Only, I brought the station wagon, so, limited capacity and all that... Also, I don't have three grand to blow and I couldn't conscience the hit on my credit card.

Ikea has something for everyone, no matter what your taste is (except for that Americana-crafty look). Lots of somethings for everyone. And then, when you turn over the tag, you see that it is CHEAP. And then you HAVE TO HAVE IT. Here's the stuff that I just HAD TO HAVE:

The play table with two chairs and two stools.

The wooden box, now in use as a toy box. It comes with a detached lid, too (not shown). I actually bought two, one for toys currently owned and one for toys yet to be acquired:

The incredibly cute wooden blocks packed in a wagon:

I got a bunch of other small stuff too. You know, it occurs to me that out of everything, the only things I bought for myself were two $3 laundry sorters and a $4 little woven rug for the floor of my pantry. But I shall soon remedy that! Here, without further ado, is the couch I plan on buying at the first available opportunity:

It has slipcovers. That come off easily. And can go in my washing machine! For a dog owner and toddler parent, this is critical. Two thirds of Ikea's couches have washable slipcovers. I could barely find three slipcovered sets at Alperts, Jordan's, National Furniture Warehouse and Bernie & Phyl's combined, and they were way more expensive, and I didn't even like them! Ikea is truly home furnishings heaven.

You know, I just got a pretty nice raise at work. (Pretty easy in federal government service - just show up for X number of months and you automatically get it.) Last Friday was my first check to show the raise, so I was feeling a little flush. Well, one trip to Ikea pretty much took care of that sensation. I checked my bank balance today and it was one of those yikes moments.

It's a good thing I enjoyed Ikea so much. Turns out, when I picked my own order in their warehouse (that's how it works for all but the largest items), I forgot to pick the legs to the blue plastic playtable. The kids could have done without the table for a little while, but I couldn't live with the mistake. So back I went yesterday. In the snow. It was worth it - the babygirl and the holy terror just LOOOOVE the set - played at it, ate at it, just sat nicely and watched TV at it.

And my husband totally didn't mind that I made the trip on Saturday - even said, "Well, I didn't even tell you this was going on, so I guess I'll just handle her on my own." And you know what? The holy terror was a good little girl the whole time. She was good all weekend. Maybe we're finally getting through to her. It was nice.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

On Breastfeeding.

My babygirl has been breastfed since birth. I consider us to have been blessed that she never needed so much as a drop of formula to eat. But that wasn't easy. Breastfeeding was incredibly painful for the first five weeks of her life. And then, when I returned to work, I had to pump my milk to bring home so her daddy could feed it to her the next day. Breastfeeding (once past the initial blistered-nipple phase) is warm, wonderful, intimate and loving. Pumping? Not so much. Here, for your edification, is a picture of my breastpump, which has by now spent more quality time with my boobs than my husband, who has shared my life for fifteen years:

I hook myself up to this thing three times a day while at work, for about ten minutes each time. That's an improvement - at first it was FOUR times a day until babygirl started eating solid food. It makes this rhythmic mechanical sucking noise, and I can watch the milk jetting out. Only, I don't. It weirds me out. Instead, I just listen for the dripping sound to stop before I shut the machine off. On an average day, I pump about 12 to 15 ounces.

Once I started pumping, I also started having supply issues. I always managed to have enough for babygirl's meals for the next day, but often it was a close thing and I panicked that she was going to go hungry. It was causing me misery on a daily basis, which further served to diminish my supply. So, after much research and with much trepidation, I went online and purchased a drug called Motilium, brand name for domperidone. This wonderful stuff is meant to address gastric problems, but has the side effect of upping your secretion of prolactin, which in turn stimulates breastmilk production. The only problem is that it's not FDA approved for this use, or for any use. There was a study in which rats injected with massive amounts of domperidone for lengthy periods of time developed cancer. Bah! That's not how breastfeeding women use the stuff. Lots of lactation experts recommend it without reservation when necessary. There's one website from which you can buy Motilium without a prescription for a fairly reasonable price, so I gave it a try.

All of a sudden, supply was no longer an issue. I was pumping enough to lay in a good freezer stash to fall back on! And the babygirl was nursing longer, looking more satisfied at the end, and putting on weight faster than ever. Life was good. Everything boob-related was perfect. I went through that shipment and two more. And then... My next shipment didn't arrive. My milk supply tanked, just a bit more than no milk at all.

By now, babygirl was 13 months old. I thought, oh well, maybe it's time to wean anyway. I fell back on my freezer full of stashed milk, rationing it out on a slowly diminishing basis. The only problem is that babygirl is clearly not ready to wean. She kept demanding to nurse, fussing when my milk ran out after a couple of short minutes. She became fussy and unhappy. She slept poorly. She frequently didn't finish her bottles of defrosted milk, and fought taking those bottles from me at all. And me? Well, I missed the breastfeeding as much as she did. I didn't realize how much I love the intimacy and how much satisfaction I get out of providing her with custom-made perfect nutrition until I no longer could.

I got a letter from the FDA telling me that they had stopped my Motilium shipment from overseas, and would be returning it to the sender. I wrote the company, who promised to re-ship it right away. And I vented my frustration by posting on a bulletin board for pumping moms which has supported me through this whole pumping odyssey, in response to which one very generous mom mailed me an extra box of Motilium to get things going again, and wouldn't even accept any payment for it. Well, I couldn't get her package open fast enough once it arrived. My milk came right back, thank god. My babygirl nursed like a fiend once the milk returned. And - cutest thing! - started giving me "thank you" kisses after finishing her last nursing session before bed. Then, last night, my replacement shipment arrived. I now have enough to keep babygirl in milk for another two months. Believe me, I won't wait so long before ordering my next shipment.

Now, the drudgery of pumping no longer seems so bad. I'm happy to be able to do it at all, and I will keep doing it until my babygirl lets me know she is ready to give up nursing altogether. Not all moms are fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed. For those women, the availability of good, nutritious, inexpensive formula is a blessing. But I know how blessed we were to have this breastfeeding relationship, and I will do whatever I need to do to maintain it until my babygirl is good and ready to let it go.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New pics; anticipated weekend nirvana

It occurs to me that it's been too long since I posted any new pic's of my babygirl. So, without further ado, a couple of the cutest pictures I've taken lately:
I have far more pictures of babygirl sleeping than all her other pictures taken together. I don't know why; there's just something especially pure, soft, and lovely about her sleeping face. But this is one of the most fun in the "sleeping" photoset - she was SOOO tired but wouldn't go down for an afternoon nap, instead passing out in her highchair as I prepared dinner. This was taken at my cousin David's house in Ardsley, New York - a three-hour drive from home, but well worth the drive. It's babygirl's first designer outfit: a Ralph Lauren Polo number, courtesy of a sorely-missed law school classmate. You can't tell, but she's eating a chunk of honeydew melon. David's wife put out a tray of cut fruit on the coffee table, well within babygirl's reach. She went back to it all day long, eating a strawberry here and a pineapple chunk there. Such good eating habits - Mama's so proud!

Anyway, my weekend will be highlighted by a day trip to the newly-opened Ikea home furnishings store in Stoughton, MA. I have heard innumerable rapturous reviews of this Swedish mecca of affordable accoutrements, and have finally made up my mind to experience the wonder firsthand. Plus, Mama needs a new set of couches in the worst way! Seriously, the place is as big as a football stadium, with parking lots to match. But they have preferential parking spots for customers with infants as well as playspaces throughout the store, so babygirl will be coming along for the ride. It also has an in-house restaurant offering such things as Swedish meatballs and lingonberry mousse to tempt my culturally-intrepid palate. I will be bringing along my buddy, she of the husband-who-just-moved-to-Bangkok, because she also needs new couches and a hefty dose of Swedish/American consumerism to distract her from her wordly cares. I await the weekend with bated breath.

Note to my husband (who is unaware of this blog): I happened to overhear, from the kitchen, Babymama asking you to babysit the holy terror for ALL OF SATURDAY AFTERNOON, and you agreeing to do so. However, I was not included in that conversation, nor did either you or Babymama clue me in afterwards. The aforementioned Ikea trip was planned AFTER that conversation, in a state of what you should assume to be my ignorance of YOUR babysitting committment. I fully anticipate that there will be fighting down the road, probably on Saturday morning, as you protest there is no way I could have been unaware of the arrangement and I can't possibly leave you alone with her. While it is true that I was not unaware, my awareness is coincidental at best and I will deny it to my dying day. If you want my help for such onerous tasks, please request my input ahead of time or at least clue me in afterwards. You're on your own for this one, babe. I'm off to Swedish furniture heaven.