Sunday, November 30, 2008

Just Call Me Kris(ten) Kringle

Today marks the end of Nablopomo. I can't believe I actually made it. By the skin of my teeth but I am a champion nonetheless. I can't say each post was thought-provoking but I guess quantity overrides quality for the month of November. I'm sorry, my dear readers.

But to make up for listening to my incessant blabber, I am getting in the holiday spirit and giving away a little gift to one lucky reader. I have a pair of Spice BabyLegs up for grabs. The color is neutral for boys or girls and perfect as a second layer in the winter season. Even if you don't yet have a baby, you can indulge your inner 80's maven and wear them as leg or arm warmers. You know, while you fulfill that New Years resolution to get in shape.

All you have to do is leave a comment (c'mon lurkers - now's your chance!) with your name and email address. I will choose one reader at random on December 14.

Spread the word and good luck!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Redux

After lots of good food, good company, and not-so-good traffic for travelling, it feels good to be home.

Thursday morning, DH woke up and went for an early morning run while I watched snippets of the Macy's Day Parade with Nate and baked green bean casserole. Yes, I cooked. Hard to believe, I know. But it's kinda hard to ruin a casserole so I figured it would be right up my alley. We headed out around 10:30am and made it to our first stop, my FIL's home, around noon. Nate did surprisingly well in the car - napping nearly the entire way.

The family was already there, anticipating our arrival. We were welcomed warmly as Nate was passed around like a hot potato. He tolerated the unfamiliar faces well initially but quickly became overstimulated with a meltdown that was damn near impossible to recover from. I retired to a quiet bedroom to distract and nurse him several times during dinner but the commotion - not to mention jerky movements and pandemonium courtesy of his cousins- left him high-strung and agitated. It wasn't until the house cleared out a bit that he was able to fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion.

We had planned on spending the night and driving to VA to have dinner with MIL the next day but considering Nate's mood, we decided to leave that evening and spend the night with SIL instead. So, we took a 2.5 hour drive to VA, stopping once on the shoulder of I-95 to nurse as cars whizzed by. A bit cramped in the backseat but we were ultimately successful.

After the long drive, we were all wiped and slept in Friday morning. Even Nate, who only woke up twice in 9 hours to nurse and went right back to sleep. We arrived at MIL's house late that morning to help cook and clean. DH was feeling brave and ventured to the local shopping center to take advantage of Black Friday sales. I stayed back to peel potatoes and manage Nate's nap routine so we did not have a repeat of Thanksgiving evening. Thankfully, it paid off and he was in much better spirits this go round. He seemed to adapt to his cousins' methods of play and their clamor no longer triggered his startle reflex or subsequent pouting.

Weary after another night of soul food (and wine for DH), we decided to stay yet another night with SIL. Unfortunately, DH had a severe allergic reaction to MIL's cats and could barely breathe through his nostrils come sundown. His contaminated sinuses resulted in all-night snoring. Therefore, none of us really got a wink of sleep. I awoke with a sore throat that has yet to ebb. Actually, it now seems to be pummeling my vocal cords. I probably picked up a weird bug from the kiddos. Since the only thing we have in the house is Robitussin and it would spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for my supply, I'm relying solely on prayer so as not to lose my voice.

Without further ado, here are some photos of Nate's first Thanksgiving(s):

This doesn't really require explanation, does it?

My little Butterball

Guess he didn't get enough to eat, even after 2 carb-loaded dinners

Watch out turkey, we have a ham

Pardon the hair. I'm still not feeling it but hopefully it will grow out a little in time for my birthday and Christmas.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After

Gluttony never tasted so good. I'm currently recovering from my gastrointestinal overload.

I'll be back tomorrow with details and pics of our holiday.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

One Year Ago

One year ago today, I got the surprise of my life when the cycle I assumed a failure - my fourth and final Clomid cycle - shockingly resulted in those two pink lines.

What a difference a year makes.

It goes without saying that I have much to be thankful for this year. My DH, my best friend. My friends, family and loved ones. My health. Finances that afford me luxuries as well as necessities. But most of all, I am thankful for my son. The little man who's smile lights up my heart. Who introduced me to the incredible world of unconditional love. There aren't words to express the elation I feel when I look into his eyes. Thankful? Grateful? Indebted? None of them really get my point across accurately.

I wrote this unsuspecting post last Thanksgiving. I know that for some of us, my cornucopia wish came true. But for others, sadly, the dream has yet to become a reality.

I'm not sure if those still on the winding IF road have ventured over here after my transition. But if any of you are lurking, please know I think of you all everyday and pray that you will soon have your heart's desire. I am incredibly thankful and lucky to have such wonderful friends out there in blogland. I may not have met many of you but you are all dear to me regardless.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Have You Ever...

...gotten a haircut that you hated with so much passion that you contemplated getting hammered and burying your head below ground ostrich-style until it grew out?

I never had until tonight.

I should have known better than to request a dramatic cut. But I had quickly grown bored with the straight, plain Jane bob. I wanted something shorter, more sassy. Something easy to maintain, since time is of the essence and I can't afford an hour of styling. Something that wouldn't make me dread shampooing and rinsing for fear of having Gremlins emerge from the hairballs that entangle my fingers.

I should have known by the stylist they elected that I was not getting the cream of the crop. The woman was easily in her fifties, weighed about a douce and a half and reeked of nicotine. Her expression read as though she was frustrated by her lot in life. She was obviously eager for her shift to end. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she just had a bad day. I'm never one to bank on first impressions. Everyone deserves a chance.

I asked for a graduated bob, short in the back but longer in the front. I wanted the longest pieces to be BELOW my chin, which I explained prior to the hair surgery. What I ended up with was a creation a la Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club. Minus the bangs. It is graduated but the front pieces barely meet my chin. Not exactly what I had in mind and not what I expected, given my verbal instruction.

Needless to say, I am not happy. I have actually cried tears over it, thinking of all the holiday photos that will be taken with me bearing this monstrosity. DH thinks I'm overreacting and just too acclimated to the familiar. He insists it looks good. But I think his kindness is spawned from pity. After all, he did offer to drive me to the mall to buy a hat if I was depressed. Hmmm...

Maybe I do just need to get used to it. Maybe I need a day to adapt to the change. I'm hoping it grows on me. Or else DH really will be acting as my chauffeur to Hats in the Belfry.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Absent-Minded Mother

Okay, today I've officially earned the right to wear the dunce cap.

After yet another night of dismal sleep, I found myself pushing the snooze button one too many times. As a result, I was rushing to get out the door and off to work post haste. I ensured I had my purse, coat, mittens - it was a frigid 30 degrees this morning - and even a few bills that needed to be paid and mailed.

I scurried to my frost-covered car and drove off in a mad dash to beat the clock. Traffic was kind and I pulled into my parking spot just as the clock struck 9. It was then I looked to my passenger seat and had an epiphany.

I had forgotten my breastpump.

Luckily, I had just breastfed a half hour previously and was able to put in a couple of hours' work before making the trek back home to retrieve it. It was quite a fun lunch break to spend 50 minutes driving and 10 minutes scarfing down Subway.

I guess I should start using post-it note reminders or checklists now that my preggo brain has resurfaced.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

True Blood

Is anyone else hooked on this show?

Tonight is the season finale and I have no idea how I'm going to spend my Sunday nights until next season. I'm tempted to buy the books just so I can cheat and skip ahead.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Nate has decided to take advantage of the weekend and sleep in.

Normal routine is asleep by 10pm and up at 7am, with 2-3 awakenings during that time. Last night, he fell asleep an hour early at 8pm and dreamfed 3 times during the night before finally waking up for good at 8am. Not even close to sleeping through the night but I'll gladly take what I can get.

Despite his slumber, he napped all day long like he hadn't slept in years. Hour long nap. Wake long enough to feed, babble a bit and get a diaper change. Repeat. I even questioned if someone had slipped him some tranquilizers while I was in the shower this morning.

He did have moss-colored poo last night but it has since returned to its usual chartreuse shade. So I don't think he's coming down with a cold. Perhaps just a temporary foremilk/hindmilk inbalance.

He's been in pretty good spirits - only getting fussy when he's ready for naptime and I've missed his cues. I have to put him down at the sight of the first yawn or risk the misery of overtiredness. I've learned that lesson the hard way.

I'm thinking the hibernation is just more evidence of a wonder week in full swing.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Spirit

So sorry for the drive-by posting last night. I didn't mean to hit publish and run. But a screaming baby hinders my creativity and willingness to write. Seems we're smack dab in the middle of a wonder week. Yeah, wonder how I don't bludgeon myself to death. There is comfort that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sunny weeks to come, albeit not soon enough.

It could be the snow flurries we had today, the reintroduction of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks or the fact that Thanksgiving is fast approaching, but I'm getting in the holiday spirit. The holidays mean so much more this year with a little one.

In holidays past, I was full of anguish and envy. I'd see parents in line at the mall, waiting with their fresh-faced younglings to see Santa. I'd see babies in strollers, surrounded by gifts. Kids dressed up in their Sunday best for picture-perfect Christmas cards. My heart ached as I watched the life I longed for lived out through others. Every Christmas commercial on TV twisted the knife in deeper. Maybe I had a touch of seasonal affective disorder but it was downright painful to spend one more holiday childless.

Now, I can truly appreciate the holidays again without being blinded by my depression. I can see everything through Nate's new eyes. The wonder and amazement. We can create new traditions. As a family. We'll be the ones standing in the ridiculously long line to see Santa and stocking up on anything branded "Baby's First Christmas ".

I know being his first Christmas, Nate won't really have a clue as to what it's all about or what is going on, for that matter. But I want to make all of his firsts as special as I can. I want to make beautiful memories. Sorta selfish since I'll be the only one remembering the details but he's only this little once so I feel like I need to capture this moment. I want to indulge. So it's hard not to go overboard. I want to give him everything.

Which begs the question: what presents do you get a baby for his first Christmas?

So far on the list are:

BPA-free sippy cups
BPA-free bowls and utensils
Wooden and organic teethers
Few 6 month+ toys
9 month & 12 month apparel
Lullaby CD's / DVD's
Winter bunting

I'm sure I'll think of more but I'm trying to keep it within a reasonable budget. Mostly practical gifts but some fun ones thrown in for good measure.

Now that I've shown you mine, you have to show me yours. Wishlist that is. Do you have any special holiday traditions with your little ones that you wouldn't mind me imitating? They say imitation is the best form of flattery, right? Nate's a little too young for cookies and milk and letters to Santa so I'm at a loss. I'm also lacking originality in the worst way.

Perhaps some hot cocoa will inspire me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Disgruntled baby on my lap means posting will be delayed until tomorrow.

I'd prefer it was just plain old writer's block.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On Strike

Nate apparently feels as though he is not being adequately compensated for his drudgery and went on bottle strike today. Just in time for MIL to babysit.

After taking a rare 2-hour nap from 9:30am to 11:30am, he woke up famished. His voracious appetite led to extreme intolerance. By intolerance, I mean screaming inconsolably. To the point that our adjacent neighbors probably feared that we were operating a slaughterhouse. MIL tried switching bottles and nipples, varying positions and switching milk - in case one particular vial was contaminated. Still a tomato face. The only thing she could do to get him to eat was to sit him in his Bumbo and feed him breastmilk with one of his soft-tipped spoons.

Oy vey.

After the spoon-feeding distraction, he gained enough composure to concede. And he drank from a bottle with no argument for the rest of the afternoon. Of course, he only drank about 10 oz. in my absence so my boobs have taken a beating tonight.

You'd think after 12 weeks of bottle experience, he would learn that they are not, in fact, demon spawns sent to invade his soul. It's not so much that he's a slow learner. More like a drama king. My temperamental baby certainly knows what he likes. And he's sure to let everyone else know too.

The highlight of the day was that there were no wardrobe mishaps. I arrived home to find him dressed in clothes that actually fit. Also, no assvice was given regarding his gassiness and reflux.

Credit must be given where credit is due. And she paid her dues today.

Monday, November 17, 2008


The great "deal" from yesterday really was too good to be true. I went to check on my account, only to discover that my order was cancelled this evening.

I did receive an email from Guest Services stating that there was an "unexpected error" that lead to several mis-priced items, and they are unable to honor the advertised price. The correct retail price on the Marathon should be $279.99.

Needless to say, I probably won't be getting my beloved cow print seat. I'm extremely disappointed and probably won't be shopping at Target in the near future.

Back to researching alternatives...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Deal - More Like A Steal

If you're anything like me, you can't beat a good deal. Well, mommas, do I have a deal for you. If you're in the market for a convertible carseat.

Target has Britax Marathon carseats on sale for 80% off! Free shipping too! Choose from Granite or Cowmooflage.

I thought for sure it was a mistake so I hurried and snagged one in the bovine print. Total was $63 and some change. It won't arrive for about 6 weeks as they are out of stock but you can't beat a savings of $220.00.

I was researching other brands like Evenflo and First Years because, while my heart's desire was the Britax, I had no idea how we could spare $300 for a carseat. Now we won't have to sacrifice quality or safety for affordability.

ETA: The links are no longer working. Maybe it really was a freak mistake that happened to fall in my favor?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What A Feeling

Would I be a maniac to dress my son in these?

Was that one too many Flashdance references? Alrighty then.

They seem like a good idea. Diaper changes without fumbling with snaps or zippers. Added warmth with the winter season fast approaching. Cute color combinations and textile options. Not to mention we could avoid rug burn when Nate becomes more mobile. They grow with your baby so you can get use out of them for years. They are $12 a pop but then again, I wouldn't have to invest so much into pants that he can only wear for a month or two before he's onto the next size. And lest we forget, there's always Ebay.

DH believes that leg warmers on someone of the male variety would surely influence his sexual orientation in the future. I say no way. Naturally, I'd be avoiding any shades resembling cotton candy or watermelon. So, the jury's still out.

Your thoughts, as always, are warmly accepted.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Down Home Cooking

I've never been what you might call "domestic". My husband cooks dinner every night. And while I take on the majority of cleaning responsibilities, it's not something I enjoy by any stretch of the imagination. I see it more as a necessary evil. I'm far from a 1950's housewife.

So, it comes as a surprise to many - including myself - that I am considering making Nate's baby food. Homemade. This coming from someone who's idea of homemade is Hamburger Helper. (It is made stove top, in my home, right?)

I deliberated long and hard about whether I wanted to commit to such an undertaking. I'm working full time and barely have time to shower and brush my teeth as it is. But I'm really excited about it. I want to make the time to do this. Even though it's a few months down the line, as we don't plan to introduce solids for another 2 months. I like the idea of making a nutritious meal for my son. Knowing exactly what ingredients are going into his tummy. No extra preservatives needed. Only absolute freshness. And maybe new flavor combinations that you wouldn't find in traditional jarred baby food.

Since I'm low on time and inexperienced in the kitchen, I found the most awesome gadget to get the job done. A defroster, steamer and blender all in one. Small. BPA free. Just one piece of equipment to clean. Totally worth the cost, in my opinion. I may just add this appliance to my Christmas list. How Rachael Ray of me.

A few BTDT moms have pointed me to this website, which not only offers recipes but gives great guidelines for which foods to introduce and when and how much. A wealth of information and very easy to navigate. I find myself perusing it regularly for creative inspiration.

Who knows? Baby food may be my foray into cooking but perhaps while I'm at it, I'll discover my inner chef.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

I think Nate is beginning to develop a sense of object permanence - that people and things exist even if they are not present. Unfortunately, this intellectual milestone is disguising itself in the form of separation anxiety.

Over the course of this week, I've noticed several changes to his behavior. I can no longer leave him in his swing or bouncer and walk out of the room without the onset of tears. I can no longer face away from him for more than a minute or two without a distress signal. As a matter of fact, I've had to change the direction of my computer so that he can see my face and not the back of my head from his swing as I work. I need to be in his direct line of sight, if he allows me to put him down at all.

The funny part is that as soon as I walk back in the room or look into his eyes, he calms down immediately. He still implores me to hold him but the hooting and hollering ceases instantly. I try to get to him promptly when he cries but there are some times, I just can't get there straight away. Like when I'm stepping out of the shower, toweling off water droplets. Or when I'm disinfecting the toilet or kitchen and have soot or chemical resin on my hands. I don't want to create an insecure child but I also don't want to create a monster that can't soothe himself.

It may be totally unrelated to the aforementioned anxiety but I've also noticed he is startling more easily. If DH or I sneeze, cough, speak in an excited tone or make sudden movements, he pouts in terror and cries frantically. I can usually distract him during one of these fits but not before feeling overwhelming guilt. I don't want to frighten him but I do want him to be accustomed to noise. No home can avoid clatter entirely. And I really don't want to walk on eggshells everytime he drifts off to dreamland.

He napped a cumulative hour and a half yesterday - when he usually does so easily in one stretch - and the catnaps he had were all on my lap, at the boob. My little piggy has also been eating up my supply. He ate 17 oz. today while I was at work when he normally eats about 12-13 oz. in my 9-hour absence. I can barely pump enough to replenish what he eats while I'm away. No leftovers like we used to have.

Perhaps the escalating panic and separation anxiety are just more remarkable side effects of those "wonder" weeks?

He may have inherited my sweaty feet but I hope and pray he doesn't acquire my panic attacks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Closure

Yes, this would be Nate's newborn and 0-3 month clothes. Now packed away in his closet. BIG step for momma. She needs a hug.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


You'd think from looking at my bed in the mornings after the alarm goes off that I'd been sharing my pillow with a woolly mammoth.

The hair loss I've inherited postpartum is incredible. My hair falls out in small clumps each time I shower and my hairbrush resembles a tumbleweed. I have to clean it out each week or else I may lose the handle in the debris. Literally everytime I look at Nate, I see a stray hair in his hand (about to enter his mouth, of course) or on his clothes. I've grown tired of the tell-tale tickle of loose hair. Drives me bonkers.

Apparently, this is very common after childbirth due to fluctuating estrogen levels. Higher levels of estrogen slow hair loss during pregnancy. Once estrogen plummets, the thick, lustrous head of hair that accentuates that rosy glow goes by the wayside.

I'm just hoping not to go bald by Christmas. Or else I might be asking Santa for some hair plugs. Or at least a nice wig. Real hair. No horse hair. I may be suffering from alopecia but I still have standards.

Besides, I think I've been quite nice this year.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Important Bits 'O Info

1. DH got a job offer.

2. With my company.

3. He has accepted.

Only slightly more money. No financial freedom by any means. But it will be a change in atmosphere, which is considered imperative at this current point in time. And he will still be allowed one day a week to telecommute.

His boss was not surprised in the least. He patted DH on the back and wished him well. Of course, there were no counteroffers made. No begging or pleading to stay. Just a request to extend his employment beyond the two-week courtesy. Take and take with no give until the bitter end.

DH, however, has insisted his last day will be November 21st. Standing firm. After all, they did cut his paternity leave short. Time with our newborn son that he'll never get back. Enough is enough.

Shall he endure endless ridicule over the fact that his wife found him a job? Have I threatened his masculinity? Pilfered his testosterone? Oh well. Is it wrong I have no sympathy regarding gender bias?

You may be wondering how I feel about sharing my work space with my husband. I've deliberated on the issue. My disposition at work and at home differ slightly. I'm much more Type-A at work. A perfectionist. Organized. Focused. At home, I am relaxed. At ease. A bit disheveled, but without much care. I've never really had to share both sides of myself with him before. Sure, he's seen both escape from my grip from time to time. But he's never been involved with my multiple personalities on a daily basis. Would he change his perception of me? Would I see a side of him I wish he hadn't revealed?

My job was my time. I liked having my separate interests. My independent relationships. A career all to myself. Selfish as that may be. I had to delve into my childhood lessons library to find the will to share.

But I had an epiphany. I am not and I will continue not to be defined by my spouse. I am a unique entity. I have proven my talent, sharpened my skills and laid the foundation of my position. My accomplishments could never be compromised or challenged unless it were my doing.

We work in vastly different fields - he in IT and I in marketing. While we will share space in the infinite land of the cube farm, we will be working far enough apart not to impede one other. His projects will not intercede mine and vice versa. And since I will only be in the office twice a week, we may only cross each other during company meetings or on our ways to the restroom or to the water cooler or coffee maker.

I did spoil the fun by reminding him there will be absolutely no quickies in the supply closet. Not that it was ever a serious consideration, but I'm sure his weiner would have no qualms about it should we obtain unfettered access with no consequence.

All in all, we are very happy and much more secure.

Just ask me if I still feel that way in 3 weeks after I've gotten a healthy dose of reality.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Guest Post Brought To You By The Great Blog Cross-Pollination

First, let me thank the hospitality of my hostess today -- the lovely and kind Kristen...she was one of my very first blogs I ever found -- that welcomed me to this warm place -- and so how appropo that she should be my match:

It's so improbable, the striped shirt, the trousers, the hair up in a scarf. I imagine the moment he stood there taking the photograph - a summer in the early 1940's. I imagine the same sandy Michigan soil, the twining sweet-pea vines, the sprays of daisies. She's twenty, in love with a machinist. She's heartbroken because they've been trying to have a child and if she knows anything its how easy children come because her mother had one after another after another: her sister Claudelle before her, Ralph and Boone after her, Ruby Dolores and Celeste Faye -- spilling out into the drought-hardened yard on the Kentucky farm first, and then after the train North, out of the frame house in the suburbs of Detroit -- her mother would have her last child before she had the first of her own -- a blue eyed boy, a chubby, nearly-naked child clutched in a picture like an unwieldy handbag while her parents wore church-going clothes, her mother cats-eye glasses and a netted black hat, her father a broad-cloth shirt straining over his barrel chest and belly, his hair slicked and graying. It's hard to see in them the schoolteacher she once was, the orphaned daughter who'd inherited her farm from her father, one of the most successful farmers in the county; he a cowboy come up from Texas where he'd been running cattle, cousins somehow. He would show people his roping tricks in the backyard of their Michigan house, how he'd lasso, roll a cigarette with one hand on the pommel. He stands in the photo on the back porch beneath an awning and the lacy shade of a tree, his wife clutching their last born, he's staring straight at the camera without expression. You have to wonder if he had regrets. He'd tried to run north without them, without his wife and the four children they'd had in Kentucky -- gone north and sent no word except that when he had steady work he'd call them up, when he had a better place they'd be there...and the months ticked by and my grandmother's great-uncle put them all on the train and sent them north. My great-grandmother came with the kids and the cast-iron skillet, the family bible, some photographs and her second eldest daughter grew out of her accent, blazed with the kind of mind that's god-given as she cleaned other people's houses and rang up sales at the dimestore and graduated high school, married a handsome hot-rodder with a good job at Gar-Wood and a temper.

I wonder what she's dreaming in this picture. Why children haven't come to her. The kind of mother she might be. She can't imagine that the child she waits so long for once she's come, when she's three the divorce will be final and he'll be taking that pretty hotrod to Florida and the sun and orange groves with a sixteen year old girl. She can't imagine what her unlived life and its toll will have on what she says to her daughter, and what her daughter will say to her own, and what that daughter is dreaming, sitting here. Why children haven't come to me. The kind of mother I might be.

I've realized that I want a life fully lived with as few regrets as one can have. I have slept in the wild. I have held the waist of a motorcyclist I barely knew who I met after my car broke down and we drank beer and watched an impossible starry Idaho sky waiting for a tow truck. He stood at my door with tears in his eyes going back to the woman, the love of his life he'd left in Vermont and I had a love in my own heart that made it impossible to do anything but kiss him once, sitting on a log in the middle of a clearing looking out over the bitterroot valley. Days after he'd gone a package arrived in my mailbox filled with sage he'd cut in the desert because he'd remembered that I loved the smell. He wrote a letter in the small ill-shapen letters of someone unused to writing. Signing it Keep a Good Thought.

G is gone today, off on the rare hunting trip that takes him from me for nearly a week -- rare for us who see one another every day and whose company we prefer above all others. I realize that it is only now all these years after we began dating that I am coming back to myself -- drinking tea out of my pottery cups, pulling out the handmade navajo rug that had been in an unused room downstairs -- unfurling it in the living room, chopping vegetables for my incessant vegetarian soups, listening again to bluegrass, folk music, coming back to my writing. I have to believe that being fully in my own body, in my own mind, in my own dreamed life will bring a fullness of joy to the children in my life -- so they don't stumble in the darkness of their mother's untouched hopes.

Have you solved the mystery of the guest blogger? Don't cheat! Leave a comment with your prediction before you hop on over to see Kristen's post of the day. For more cross-pollination fun and a list of all participants, click here.

Thanks! Your guest blogger ;)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Boy Mommy Tip #1,573

Point it downward.

And be sure to share this suggestion with your significant others.

Daddy took charge of bathtime tonight but failed to follow this sage advice when fastening the diaper. As a result, Mommy got a golden shower during our evening feed.

Ahh, the adventures of raising a little boy...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Teething Bites

As illustrated from the Wordless Wednesday pictorial, Nate's teefers seem to be slowly elevating to his gum line. I can't quite see any buds so I know they aren't close to popping through just yet. But all the signs are there that the toothless grin I love so much may soon accommodate some tenants.

Irritability, sometimes during feeds. Check.

Secreting drool like a Pavlovian dog. Check.

Coughing and gagging on said saliva. Check.

Chin rash and chapped skin around mouth. Check.

Gnawing his hands like a rabid animal. Check.

He starts out modestly, chomping just the digits...

But then the greedy little monkey gobbles his entire fist.

From the looks of his onesie, bibs shall now be a staple in our household.

I've tried chilled teethers, but Nate's not really a fan. I did go to the drugstore and purchase these, which had been recommended to me by BTDT mommies. I'm also considering a baltic amber teething necklace that many women I know have sworn by. I'd prefer to try homeopathic options before resorting to Baby Orajel or other medications. If all else fails, there's always Tylenol.

I had my first "bad mommy moment" last night while sitting in the recliner, browsing the web with Nate on my lap. He was consuming his appendages, as is his M.O. of late. I thought nothing of it until I glanced down and noticed a smear of blood across his left cheek, resembling a smudge of lipstick. Since we haven't - to my knowledge - exposed him to the world of cross-dressing, I reacted the way any other mother would. I shrieked in horror, scrutinizing every body part to see what could possibly be the culprit of the ghastly stain.

Turns out his fingernails, which I had just trimmed three days prior, had nicked the roof of his mouth. Therefore, his excessive hand-to-mouth coordination was to blame. I placed some mittens on him to prevent further damage and hoped it would speed healing of the wound. I was much more distraught than my little man, who was perfectly content as long as his hands weren't amputated.

Needless to say, fingernail trimmings will now occur twice weekly.

If his fingers can withstand the biting, that is.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

That's a Nice Way of Putting It

It appears that medical professionals have now applied an alias to the abyss of clusterf#$% feeding and erratic agitation otherwise known as growth spurts. They are now referred to as wonder weeks.

More like a pseudonym. Take it from me - there is nothing wonderful about a "wonder week". But it's nice to see the glass half full. And reassuring to know there's a legitimate reason behind the torment.

The theory is that there are predictable weeks during the first year of a child's life where they may be more fussy or demanding as they make progress in their cognitive and physical development. They will have seemingly regressed in their behavioral pattern as they attempt to comprehend this next milestone. Once they have completed a phase of growth, they will have what is referred to as "sunny weeks", during which babies exercise their new skills and are less temperamental.

Looking back at their timeline, it does appear to hold water. Remember this post from 12 weeks?

I suppose I should enjoy these so-called sunny weeks because in approximately 2 weeks, we'll be thrust back into pandemonium.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

PSA: Vote!

My patriot wants to encourage you to cast your vote today - if you haven't already - in this historic presidential election. He doesn't care who you vote for, as long as you just DO it! Nike style.

After tonight, we will know - or at least have a pretty good idea - whether we will have an African-American president or a female vice president. I won't elaborate on my personal preferences but I'm proud to be a part of this. I'm honored to be living in the here and now. And I'm pleased to have a say in my future. Our future.

I think this election has evoked more passion and enthusiasm than any other I have known before it. I have read the blogs of fellow voters and how their eyes welled up with tears as they cast their ballot. Or how they wanted a tangible piece of evidence for such a momentous occasion. It speaks volumes about the state of affairs here in the U.S. People are not only ready, but they are eager for change.

Question 2 on the ballot here in Maryland is legalizing gambling. Slots: yay or nay? I am pro-slots personally, as I feel that we could generate revenue to fund our local schools and health systems. But I do agree that our governor needs to be more fiscally responsible and be cautious with our spending rather than relying soley on an influx of cash flow from slots to balance the equation. Our sales tax did increase from 5 to 6% this year so there needs to be some accountability.

Election Day also makes me think about women's suffrage and those who paved the way for me to be welcome at the polls. I appreciate those who risked or gave their lives so that my voice could be heard. And I am thankful to exercise the right for which we've worked so hard.

I'd normally tune into HBO but I'm actually excited to watch the news tonight. That's HUGE. I normally avoid all the pessimism and bias and opt for a sitcom. Not tonight. It's a nailbiter. Like the season finale of American Idol to the umpteenth power. I just need to know which candidate will clinch the title.

Monday, November 3, 2008

To Clip or Not to Clip

The pediatric appointment I had scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled. Apparently, Nate isn't due for another well baby visit until the ripe old age of 4 months. They said I could still come in if I wished but since we'd probably have to pay out of pocket for an unsubstantiated visit, I decided my concerns about reflux and sleep regimens could wait another few weeks.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before but we were told way back at his newborn inauguration, Nate has a frenulum. Basically, my baby is tongue-tied. The pediatrician said it was "significant" and we should consider having it clipped by an oral surgeon, but referred us to a lactation consultant for a second opinion. The L.C. seemed to think it was minor and since it wasn't interfering with his breastfeeding (i.e. no pain with latching, gaining weight properly equalling efficient sucking), she saw no need to clip it. She said that while it does cause them to work a bit harder at the breast, this overcompensation allows many babies to work around the frenulum. Some even break the frenulum naturally as a toddler from taking numerous spills and tumbles. Having already succumbed to circumcision, I couldn't bear to put him through more surgery at just one week old. So, I decided to shun the clippers.

DH, however, is second guessing this decision. He feels we should clip to prevent a possible speech impediment in the future. And that it would be best to do the surgery as soon as we can while he is young, able to heal quickly and easily, and unable to remember any pain associated with the event.

It's quite the quandary. I don't want Nate to suffer with unessential surgery, regardless of how simple the procedure may be, but I also don't want him to suffer in childhood should he endure malicious ridicule for having a slur or lisp. I would hate to feel like I put him in harm's way needlessly but I'd also hate to regret not acting sooner on a potential problem.

Tell me: what would you do? I guess I have a few more weeks to arrive at a conclusion so your input would be valuable.

I also now have a few more weeks to get some reading done and arm myself with knowledge regarding my sleep dilemma. They say knowledge is power. In time, we shall see.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lethargy and a Great Misnomer

Daylight savings time can kiss my arse. It hasn't done a thing but cost me time today.

I put Nate down (and thus myself) an hour later than usual last night with the hope that his sleep and nap pattern would not be greatly affected. We retired to bed at 10:30pm. Nate woke around 1am. Pop out boob. Suckle. Back asleep. Stirring again at 3am. Pop out boob. Suckle. Back asleep. Stirring again at 5am. Pop out boob. Suckle. Back asleep. Stirring again at 7am. Usual wake-up time. Gave up the pipe dream of a decent night's sleep. Changed massive pee diaper. Put baby in swing. Watched him doze off enviously. Made myself a cup 'o joe and hopped online to look for holiday gift ideas.

Due to Nate's reflux, we feed from only one side at a time. This limits the spit-up and projectile vomit episodes. But it does mean he needs to eat more frequently - about every 1.5 hours - as opposed to 3 or 4 hours that most babies can manage. His light snacking is not an issue during the daytime but it poses a problem for sleeping through the night. I guess I'm destined for many a sleepless night until his digestive system matures and he can handle the load from both of my milk trucks.

MIL told DH she thinks I should give up breastfeeding, as it makes Nate too gassy, and opt for formula instead. Don't even get me started on this. Yes, I have an overactive letdown reflex and yes, it can sometimes choke him and cause him to gulp, taking in more air. But I refuse to wean him and give him exclusive formula, which would probably be harder on his sensitive tummy than breastmilk. I'm not opposed to supplementation but I have really been trying with all of my might to reach my goal of 6 months exclusive breastmilk. And I don't plan on straying from this objective unless a medical professional convinces me otherwise. How about supporting the decision I've made in my family's best interest instead of insulting me and basically implying that my son's reflux is my fault? Just because you raised two children does not make you an expert on what works for every child. Case in point: I specifically told her that Nate is now in 3-6 month clothes. I even pointed out which drawer to use in case of an impromptu accident. On the one day we ask her to watch him, she purposefully dressed him in a 0-3 month outfit - contrary to my crystal clear instructions - because it was "cute". Nevermind that it looked like a muscle tee and nearly cut off the circulation in his thighs.


Sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah, reflux...

I've been avoiding meds since Nate has been gaining weight like a champ. I didn't want to administer anything deemed unnecessary. But I'm wondering if I should give them a go and see if we can build up to longer intervals between feeds. Something to discuss with the pediatrician on Tuesday, I suppose.

I'm also conflicted about cosleeping. I do love having him close to me - and simply rolling over to feed is quite convenient and conducive to my laziness - but I don't want to hinder his development or foster dependency on my scent or presence in order to fall asleep in the future. The nurse practitioner at my pediatrician's office practically slapped my wrist at his last visit and told me not to continue with it unless I wanted a three-year old sleeping in bed with us. Then again, I've heard from BTDT moms who said they waited anywhere from 4-8 months to transition to the crib and had very little problem doing so. In fact, they encouraged cosleeping and said that until 4 months old, babies are incapable of soothing themselves to sleep. I'd like to believe I could have the same seamless shift but since things have yet to be "easy" en la casa del Sticky, I need a plan of attack.

We have attempted to cry it out (CIO) a few times to no avail. At bedtime, I would rock him and feed and once he was drowsy, I would lay him down in his crib and quietly leave the room. He would be peaceful for several minutes but eventually whining would ensue. Whining would give way to crying. And the crying would give way to screaming - virtual pleading for me to come back. After 5 minutes, I would go back in to rub his back and soothe him without picking him up, speaking in a soft whisper. I would leave the room again and he would begin crying so dramatically that I feared he would vomit. I reached my limit of 10 minutes before I conceded to his demands and retreived him from his prison crib.

I've tried to use the crib more for naps, reasoning that we could gradually work our way from resting to slumber, but the maximum I can get out of him is 20 minutes. In his swing, I can get at least 45 minutes, if not longer. So, back to old reliable.

I've tried to execute the 3 B's (bath, boob, bed) but when reflux strikes, leaving behind the scent of eau de spoiled milk, or we have a morning blowout from the sheer force of hours of compacted waste, I have to bathe on demand. And since consistency is key to establishing any long-lasting routine, this plan is also unreliable.

I took an outing to the bookstore today and bought several sleep books. I should be able to pull at least one piece of useful advice from these texts. If I can only find the time to read them...

I'm desperate to nail down a routine. I think structure, in whichever form it may exist, is needed to preserve our sanity.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Boo To You

I hope everyone had a spooktacular Halloween!

I haven't dressed up for the holiday in ages. Since high school when my greedy friends and I would test the age limit for the receipt of free candy. But with Nate now in the picture, I had the perfect excuse to tap back into my childish side.

I wavered on the perfect costume choice. Sure, there was the traditional pumpkin. Or the infant favorite, pea in a pod. But I wanted something a bit different. Something that would allow his cuteness to shine through. I finally decided on a tootsie roll but when we hauled ass to the costume store, they were sold out. That's what we get for procrastinating and waiting until the day before Halloween to get our butts in gear.

So, I made a last minute run to Babies R Us and chose something from the tiny clearance rack.

Here's my little love bug:

The hungry caterpillar

All treats, no tricks

DH wanted to stick a pipe in his hand to reinact Alice in Wonderland but I thought it was best not to model our son after a consumer of psychotropic substances.

We didn't go door-to-door but the weather was so nice that we took a short stroll around the park while the daylight lasted. As the sun set, we retired home to watch some classic horror films. I tried my best to distract Nate from the more gruesome scenes, so as not to scar him for life at the tender age of 3 months. I'd say it was a pretty successful day as we were able to do all of the above activities without a single meltdown.

Low-key. Just how we like it.