Saturday, June 14, 2008


this blog pretty much has no point anymore- i have a window. but hey, i still like to comment on other people's posts, and then i am here and then- well.
So just read a post about daycare. i of course have had my thoughts on the subject (see april). nowadays, there is no daycare. instead, there is the papa.
which is pretty cool. instead of fretting about the lady i don't like messing up my kid because i called her out for pulling on another kid's leg, i can think about B. and his dad, bonding, parks, library, smiles, pictures, kodak, etc.
but then i come home-
"don't feed him that, that gives him gas."
"wipe him off THIS way."
"we don't let him do that"
"what, are you trying to kill him"
Etc. And in some small piece of my brain i long for the days when i could tell his daytime caregivers to shut the fuck up.
I have been demoted from Senior to Junior Caregiving parent. Even if I wasn't doing all the heavy lifting before, well, i was doing more than the hub. But now from 7 AM to 5:30 PM it's the Daddy Show and he knows a lot more about the B. workings than I do. And so when he gets self righteous on my ass, I have to shut up and take it. Ouch.
Who knew I was so proud of my sub-par parenting?

Friday, May 16, 2008

to a window

well, i'm no longer under the fluorescence- at least exclusively. My new office has a great big window, where I routinely show my boobs to whoever would care to look up to the 3rd floor.

It's been a long, slightly terrible week. The first few days were awful- I felt like death, my job was cold and demanding where it should have been warm and (ever-so-slightly) yielding and I wondered how I could have left my family and my life and come out to this cold dry place where it snows in May (why? why?) and my tongue was like paper and my boss took me out to lunch and I couldn't eat, almost couldn't speak. And G. at home with the baby so miserable too and the baby feels so gone from me and then my boobs don't work and there's my period...

Anyways. It was intense.

I feel a lot better now. How could I not - it's Friday night and I've had three beers. My job is going to teach me a lot. My boobs seems to be working better. The period is ending. G and I feel human.

It's still a strange, dry place, this Denver. And I still wonder- do I just go where I am asked, instead of asking the questions myself?

This strange planet.

If next week improves as rapidly as this one has, by next Sat. I'll be on cloud 9.

1.5 hours till the big 3-2. Par-tay time....

Sunday, May 4, 2008


it's the middle of the night. i am tense.

a two-week old stomachache
the baby's asleep, and i'm not
my whole body itches
i am losing track of boundaries, and routinely dispense TMI
i am very very paranoid

i. hate. change.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

pump it DOWN

Sitting here pumping like any day but it has changed -- i'm only doing it once a day, and I'm not getting much (this looks like about 2 ounces). The trip away really did in my production, despite the 40 oz of milk I came home with. And it's all for the good but it just feels wrong. I guess this is what motherhood is about, right? Trying really hard to do something, learning it, getting it right, and then you still do that? what's wrong with you? and learning how to stop.

So we're leaving DC -- my husband on Sat., me next week. Lots of goodbyes. And lots of craziness inside my head -- I am very tense about all we need to do and because I hate change. I am not at my best when I am tense -- to put it mildly. I am making fairly terrible decisions and losing any important item i come in contact with -- between Tuesday and Wed I lost:

-Laptop - I decided to check a bag with it (see "terrible decisions" above)and then it wasn't on the plane. But I got it around 12 am on tuesday night. Much agony beforehand.
-Important bar and loan documents (ditto)
-My wallet (turned out to be in the trunk, but not before I agonized over it for a night)
-My badge - twice - once just in the house and once at a restaurant.

Plus, the cell phone last week of course. So basically I am insane right now. I can't keep a single coherent thought in my head. In a meeting this morning, and my boss is talking DIRECTLY TO ME about MY NEW ASSIGNMENT and in the middle of what he is saying I am thinking why hasn't the rental place gotten our check? Should I call fedex? Is it OK to mail my bar application first class? Etc. And then he stops talking. And waits for me to respond- with an intelligent question, perhaps. And instead I stifle a yawn and say that sounds .. interesting.

Yup- I'm THAT employee.

But it's great to be home- even if it's only home for a few more days. Laying in bed with B. and G. this morning (B.'s mouth has been on my boob for most of the time that I've seen him since returning home.), the cat on my chest, I tried to reassure myself that this will be the same wherever we are, that this happiness and contentment will stay. But it's a bit of a hard sell for me -- I am so afraid we will be terribly unhappy, even though I've done everything in my power so that we will be happy and rationally, it seems like we will be. But as noted, I'm not too rational right now.

Monday, April 28, 2008


still traveling
still working
still tired
still drinking too much caffeine and all jittery
still behind on that paperwork due in two days
still miss that baby B. so hard (repeat)
still staying up too late
still mad about that book- (after all that suffering THE KIDS DIE. Yeah. These things should come with a warning label).

But tomorrow's the last day - and it will actually be fun. No more suits.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Traveling for work. Nice people, nice dinner, and nice bed but oh oh oh
B. cried all day today after I left. This hurts my heart.
G. sounded destroyed.
I picked badly when choosing my stupid travel read - it's about a woman who abandons her family and children to have an affair - granted, it's with frank lloyd wright, who is obviously pretty cool, but it's just painful for me to read. And I though leaving B. wouldn't bother me so much this time. That was idiotic. I can barely read the parts about the affair with wright, i just keep on thinking about her two little children.
And teeth. I really need to brush my fucking teeth.
One more thing - the rumors of my phone's resurrection were much exaggerated. Apparently pouring rain fries the circuits - who knew?

who leaves something like THAT?

Friday, April 25, 2008

more songs

more songs I associate with particular moments and situations, and descriptions thereof (and you didn't think I could write like a lawyer!)

On My Mind (Kalai)- in the weirdness that is the post-radio world (and post-me knowing about music), I have no idea if Kalai is famous. All I know is my friend Amy gave me a CD with his songs and they are lovely. And she found him on MySpace. This one is me in my cube, waking up, all pregnant, and thinking about the baby rumbling around inside me, especially when the chorus came around - I've been known to take my time/ And I've been told that I'm all right/ But I don't know if I'm your kind/ All I know is that you are on my mind.

For You (Bruce Springsteen): On the honeymoon, walking back to the hotel (well, stumbling)through the hot streets of (you'll never guess) Ottawa, singing this to each other, slaughtering the lyrics. BROKEN ALL YOUR WINDOWS RAMMED THROUGH YOUR ALL YOUR DOOR... FOR YERRRR FOR YERRRR (oh we are TALENTED). A ten minute walk that took about an hour with many, many (very happy) detours.

If you listen to the lyrics, it's a pretty fucked up song (about craziness and suicide) for a honeymoon. Good thing we didn't pay too close attention. Though how cool is the line "Didn't you think I knew that you were born with the power of a locomotive/ able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?"

Maybe I am born with the power of a locomotive. That would be awfully convenient come this moving weekend.

it lives!!!

After five days outside, two of which it poured rain, my cellphone still lives!!!

Of course this means I can more effectively embroil myself into my brother's family's sad divorce drama, but since yesterday involved family members sobbing on the phone as I answered questions about bluebooking from coworkers, it will probably be better than using my office phone.

I've flipped B's carseat around- he didn't have enough room for his feet the other way. It's awfully nice, getting to see him, but I'm a little dissapointed he's not more excited about it. Look I say, you get to see MOMMY! and the ROAD! and he's like THERE ARE NO STAIRS TO CLIMB HERE DAMN THESE CHAINS. And then there is crying and then there are cookies. Mmm... cookies...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Some questions

Randomly generated, of course. Nothing to do with me.

ONE- Can you do anything for a family that's divorcing? ANYTHING? Can you tell their kids anything except yes this sucks?

TWO- When will I stop getting so easily aggravated, particularly at G? When does this pregnancy/baby tension train let me off?

THREE- Is my perception that my family is slighting me, and my annoyance at such perceived slighting, some sort of weird defence mechanism because I'm so sad about leaving them?

FOUR- Will all this bar/loan/house/job/medical paperwork really get done by May 1? Can I get over my extreme suckage at such paperwork?

FIVE- Is it completely idiotic to move away from all family and friends when you have a 1-year old?

SIX- Why was the Darjeeling Limited not a bigger hit? It rocked the house let me tell you. Can we agree to that?

Friday, April 18, 2008

daycare at one

Given how much I think about daycare, and rant about it to my husband, it's kind of surprising I don't write about it more. It's just kind of . . . complicated I guess. I love them, they drive me crazy, they make me feel incompetent, THEY are incompetent, I love them, etc. All in all, it's a good place for him. And it's a really good place for me. I am so glad I've gotten to have these lunches with B. for the last year. Taking the elevator to see him in the afternoon may be the most consistently blissful moment of my day - I am going to see my baby.

He's got two teachers. One is great - warm and round with these big boobs the kids are always cozying up to. She laughs a lot and sings songs with them but is also a good disciplinarian. She could totally kick my ass and occiasionally gives me funny looks and asks THAT'S what he's having for BREAKFAST? (If she could only see what I feed him at home... he really has eaten squid). But that's all cool. The other lady drives me a little crazy. She's all office politics, always fighting with the (6?) other teachers in the segmented baby room. And she just doesn't seem to like kids, I have no idea why she does this job, considering the better-paying options in this area. She is not enjoying herself. And then there is this- I saw her (or thought I saw her) handle a 6 month old baby fairly roughly- basically shoving the baby in a chair by holding one arm and one leg. But it happened so fast, I'm not quite sure what I saw now- and when I called her on it, she denied it completely. So she kind of freaks me out. There are other fill-in teachers, and most of these I like a lot. Basically, if someone is fairly happy and talk to my son, I will like her.

There have been times over the year that have been bad - when I felt trapped at this daycare and tremendous dislike for it. But they are co-mingled with my own sensitivity to criticism, particularly around my parenting, and now when I look back at them I can see I was reacting more to implicit criticisms of me rather than anything particularly bad about the care. For instance, they were really pushing me to supplement for a while, saying he didn't have enough milk and was hungry. Which is an awful, awful thing to hear - and really pissed me off, because it wasn't neccesarily true. But well, it was some days. And that still makes me feel terrible. Also, I haven't been the best daycare parent either, particularly my forgetfulness of bottles, diapers, wipes.

All in all, I'm so glad we got in and, all things being equal, that I've worked for this year. Not that quitting was ever, ever, an option (thankyoumayIhaveanotherAccessGroupLoans?). But I'm glad he's getting out of there pretty soon. He's ready for bigger rooms, bigger stuff, bigger adventures - like hanging out with his dad and exploring Denver. And then hopefully we'll get him in somewhere a little less institutional.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

the pump slows

After a year of asking myself every day if I made enough milk, figuring out the logistics of the extra pump session, I am consciously slowing down my pumping. Instead of three pump sessions a day, I've been doing two or even one, plus a midday nurse. Why? Because I don't want to pump at my new job - and that's next month. So I'm trying to slow down the factory, but it's hard - I am really used to doing this and so is my body. Skipping sessions just feels ... wrong. Change is not my strong suit, to put it mildly.

Realistically, unless I can dash home in the middle of the day, I may have to pump at lunch - I can't see in a month being able to go 9 hours without my boobs exploding. Lunch wouldn't be so bad - it's just that this new job is probably going to kick my ass even if i'm not taking 20 minute pump breaks out of the day. So I'd like to have one less thing to think about if I could.

Of course all this brings up the question raised hourly by family members (what a great question! i'd never thought about it!) - so when will I stop nursing altogether? I never thought I'd nurse past a year - mostly because, with working, that seemed impossible. But here I am. And nursing has gotten a little strange. He stands and nurses, squirms and nurses, nurses upsides-down, goes in for the boob like it's a fighter plane target - it's definately different from nursing a baby. My current plan is kill the during-the-day nursing over the next two months, keep the night and morning for another 4 or so. But, besides not wanting to pump anymore, I really have no idea. But there will be some nasty why-mommy-why involved. Because this boy is not the self-weaning type. The boob is my shortcut- Got a cut? Feel sad? Can't Sleep? Hey, here's a boob!- because he loves it so very, very much. And of course that will become a problem fairly soon.

Nursing is also a shortcut for me, and I'm a little anxious about how I will adjust to life without it. I definately get the happy-chemical-high from nursing- it totally mellows me out. And I'm below my pre-pregnancy weight without giving up Suzy-Qs! (honestly, don't eat these. I got one last week - and I am not picky - and man it was nasty. The frosting was straight Crisco - without enough sugar.) So I'm kind of worried I'm going to become an anxiety-ridden mess and gain back, say, 20 lbs, when this gig stops.

A plan. There will be a plan. Coming Soon, of course.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

the sounds of fluorescence

I've been trying to keep a running list of songs that I associate with particularly important moments in my life. But, being fairly empty-headed these days unless it involves law, a B., or, um, celebrities, I keep on losing track, so here is the first draft.

17 Again (Eurythmics). 1999, Me in KY trying to decide to stay or go, parked in the driveway of some random little apartment building, staring at it intently, hoping the answer was there if I just looked at that second-floor door long enough. (It didn't work). And then, every change afterwards. Because, sad but true, I feel like I'm 17 again pretty much everytime change comes rolling my way. It's always SHIT! WHAT?

Over My Head (The Fray). 2006-07, The official theme song of my pregnancy. Enough said.

Come Pick Me Up (Ryan Adams). 2004, Friday afternoon in my decrepid office with the window open and I am so ready for the weekend to start and my grueling life of work and school to pause. And I am so happy.

Dancing at the Zombie Zoo (and every other song on this album) (Tom Petty). 2000-2003, Running on our KY town's sad excuse for a running path, basically an asphalt strip alongside the highway, flipping my walkman's tape halfway, feeling so strong and optimistic and then weak and incredibly depressed and then strong and then - let's just say I worked a lot of shit out on those runs.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Work is winding down. Instead of Typing Long Stuff or Correcting Glaring Errors on Other People's Long Typed Stuff, my main job these days is Looking Busy. Which is sweet. But the thing is, I should be doing so much other crap. There are a lot of forms in my life between now and the big move West. But which to do first? Dumb, but it's causing a bit of - paralysis. Add a bum knee, a sore tooth, and a familywide stomach virus and we limp along these days. I just look at the screen, rewinding to "where should I start?" over and over.

Man I am tired of not seeing the sun for 9+ hours a day.

Yesterday after dinner, B. and I were out on our walk under a brilliant blue sky. He's exploring the yard of the street's new and very fancy (and for sale) unoccupied McMansion; we had a grand time, climbing the steps up and down (he's finally getting good at going down), looking for birds, picking up mulch, putting down mulch. But then he gets cranky all of a sudden so I pick him up and he is coughing and, oh no, I know that cough. And then right on the (new) driveway, there is the puke. It brought back lots of memories of the North Trail and, oh, who I am kidding, the THOUSANDS of places I have puked...

There should be some witty line wrapping it all up here but that is the end of the story. We went inside. And he went to bed. See what I mean about these damn doldrums?

Monday, April 14, 2008

why this is an anonymous blog

I am constantly amazed at how often one needs to shower. I'll be going along, doing my thing, and remember that I need to go Do That Again. And I'm all like Really? But I just showered (#) days ago! Sadly, it actually kind of gets me down.

Also, I may now know that it's totally possible to pub crawl with a baby. Just make sure your compatriots like the wee ones, you've got a stroller, and you take nap-inducing walks (for the baby, not you) between bars. Just say'in.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I slept with the window in the bedroom open last night for the first time. It was great. The slight breeze, the smell of trees and grass and flowers.
Maybe, just maybe, spring is here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I love how i sound so sure about everything in the last post. Saving the world, having one kid, etc. Just in time: I went to a party with old compatriots last night and it left me a crying blob of directionlessness on the floor of a hallway basement in the Rayburn house office building (with my boob stuck out nursing, of course. There is always a boob stuck out in such moments.). From here in bureacracy land, I had been thinking about our move and my new job as an affirmation of my committment to certain causes. But they are down in the trenches. And to them it is abandonment and a sell-out. These people I respect and adore were really angry - and dissapointed.

I've been working it out, and I feel better, and I have come back to thinking that our move is a good idea- I know I need to learn how to do this stuff before I can really help anyone. And in this new job i will learn from the best and, as G. says, up my bad-ass quotient.

But still. I just wanted to die, right then on that stupid floor.

How do we ever know we are doing the right thing? Who are these people that do?

Off to pop another painkiller. $%&* tooth.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

my case for sticking with one

For years I was pretty nonchalant with those tiny pills in their foil, pop-out packaging. Miss a day? Two? Three? Oh well, I’d think- what’s the worst that can happen? I’ll get pregnant.

Once bouncing boy later, I take them Every. Damn. Day.

How many kids do you want? My family and friends ask. One I say. We’re stopping. They shake their heads. You’re just saying that. Give it time. Everybody wants more!

They could be right – neither I nor anyone else has any idea how I’ll be feeling about this subject in say, five years, when I may or may not still be within The Baby Makin’ Window.

But all in all, I am as sure as I can be that this is it.

I don’t have a very socially acceptable reason for acting as if my own son has scarred me for life. There’s been nothing traumatic. During pregnancy, I did not vomit or have to go on bedrest; I just lumbered around with an extra fifty pounds. I even enjoyed never being cold (I was pregnant in the winter). And though the birth was no picnic (lots of labor, then an unplanned C-Section), my recovery from the C-Section was quick and the dreaded PPD never came. And my son himself? Took to nursing like a champ, never had colic, is consistently good-natured. We even took him out for movies at night until he was 7 months or so. I’ve had tremendous family and on-the-job support; while I’m working, my son is in my building at daycare and I see him all the time.

So basically, I have nothing to complain about. I know this, and truth be told, I like being a mom a lot. My son is (of course) the funniest, most touching, loveliest creature I’ve ever known.

But he’s not getting a sibling.

I come from a huge family by today’s standards- three brothers and one sister. I loved it, and I still do. As a child they were my respite, my retreat: no matter what went wrong at school or who wouldn’t play with me, there was always my family to play and talk with. Our fights weren’t much and even the nastiest only lasted a few hours – then you’d get bored and need someone to play Legos with. Nowadays, I live down the street from one brother and twenty minutes from two other siblings. I see them all the time. I bake with my nieces and nephews; they’ve taught my son some of his first words. Watching my sister with my son is incredibly life-affirming. My older brother even put me (and my husband and baby) up for a while. Almost every day, I enjoy the fruits of my parents’ decision to keep on breeding. They’ve enjoyed it too. I watched my father’s face at the last giant gathering: I can’t imagine anyone ever looking happier, Publishers Clearing House winners included. We have given my mom the unconditional love and acceptance that she’s craved her whole life.

But (sorry) my parents are also the reason I’m stopping. Having five kids made my mother pretty close to crazy. Twenty years in, she looked at me and said I’m done. I am tired of being a parent. You and your brothers and sister have taken up all of me and I have nothing left. But the thing was, she wasn’t. I was twelve, my brother and sister were ten, and the worst of parenting us was yet to come. I wish I could say my mom was just being dramatic. But I know it was true, and not just because she repeated it often. We came to overwhelm her and the effort involved in us left her – at some critical times – tired and frantic and very, very angry. And then my dad was left to care for not only his crazy children but his wife. Three years ago she bought a house across the country to winter at by herself, leaving us all (including our dad) behind. Strange but, these winters have been good for her – I think they've let her finally be her own person after so many years of being our mom.

Of course, in order to operate through this world I must, like all women, pretend I am Not In Any Way Like My Mother. But even if I didn’t drown out my father’s refrains of “you are SO much like your mother,” I’ve got my own, selfish reasons for depriving my son of the siblings that I enjoyed so much.

One – man, baby you take a lot of me. I knew it would be hard. Who doesn’t? They practically have billboards across the country that say MOTHERHOOD IS HARD and MOMS NEVER SLEEP. But the relentlessness of it is a surprise.

Two – and this is tricky – I need to do some serious, way-more-than-40-hours career stuff. I’m going to try and save the world in four easy steps, after all. And while some people could certainly do that with more than one child, I’m not even sure I can do it just with our boy.

Three – my husband. He is a wonderful guy. Smart, inspiring, creative, hilarious, loving, sweet. But he is also one of the least household-oriented people I’ve ever known. That stuff is misery to him. I don’t (usually) have a problem with this – he does a lot of other stuff, like work like a dog, do our bills, make me laugh till I snort stuff out of my nose. With one kid (or without kids), I am able to pick up the slack, and do the vast majority of the cooking/cleaning/grocery shopping kind of stuff. Two or more, it’s either me going crazy or us both going crazy from me nagging him all the time. Or our house falling down from the mountains of garbage piled up along the walls.

Four -- Because I’d like to keep on pretending I don’t have kids. While my life has changed considerably since having B., it seems to me like you have to make a lot more adjustments for #2. That’s when apartment living, small cars, public transportation, city outings, restaurants, etc. get a lot harder, if not impossible. Yes, I know I cannot continue to live my student-urban life. But at least with only one kiddy I can make a stab at attempting it a few times a month.

Will these always be enough? It’s a fairly compelling list to me. Maybe I should post it as a reminder to take those pills...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Back to the classics

What's worse than posting about your boobs all day long? Yup, posting about the dentist. No, actually POEMS about the dentist are worse. So in an effort to not cringe every time I return to this site, here is something else:

A Sarasota sunset. Don't you feel better?

So the whole CIO/modified-CIO/sleep-lady-dance-shuffle-CIO, etc. thing is going pretty well. Well, my goal was to present my husband on his return sunday with a Baby Who Slept Through the Night, proof positive that I Am An Excellent Mother (or, as my friend said, "be kind of braggy." Oh yeah.). Sadly, I did not get to discover how obnoxious such bragging would have been, because the first night G. was home, the baby woke at 4:30- and the next night too. Our conversations:

g: Are you SURE this WORKS?

me: You don't question the method in the middle! You don't question the method in the middle!

(Some people say I'm a little dogmatic. But who knows?)

But then B. slept till 6 am for two nights.

And then last night he slept till 6:00 again! I brought him into bed, snuggled him up to enjoy a little nursing and NPR and enjoy this feeling of well-restedness.

He puked all over the sheets.

Ah, the sweet smell of victory puke.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

$%*# the dentist

Walking back to work from the dentist
So sad about the nasty, expensive things I need done.
A new, and entirely unwelcome variety of sadness.
No romance, no broken heart, no pregnancy, no drama.
This is just living, and, dammit, this is just getting old.
The problems hurt as much, but they are grey
Are not very interesting --
Even as I am consumed by them, they bore me.
I imagine myself droning on about it at a party,
telling the youngsters how I grasped the chair's arms and almost screamed at the pain,
everyone around me plotting their escape.
I remember my parents going to the dentist for such things,
mentioned as an afterthought at a dinner they could barely chew,
or my father throwing his back out, my mother's early struggles with arthritis.
From my teendom, such things appeared remote, far away --
the dentist? really? Hmmm...
I kick a rock in front of me -- hard. There's no choice -- it's happening.
I will age gracelessly, but it won't kill me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

a butterfly flapped its wings in the amazon...

and I screw up my day.
My days go pretty well in general. But they are predicated upon me remembering lots of things and doing them in order in a certain way. This does not exactly, shall we say, come naturally to me. I try really hard these days, though, because if one thing gets lost then the whole thing is fucked.
Take today.
Last night, had a late dinner, tired, so I don't do the dishes and wash the bottles. I actually woke up early and loaded the dishwasher but neglected to take them OUT of the dishwasher. So now,
Daycare heated up his milk and spent 10 minutes looking for his bottles;
B. has no bottles so I am going downstairs to feed him instead of crunching out this work;
I have to take the train to meet G. to get the bottles so that B. can have a bottle for when I go to the dentist;
My hope of any freezer bags for this week is dashed.
One little screw-up- at least 1.5 hours of extra work and hassle for me, as well as all of the trouble I have caused G. and daycare.
I miss the days when I could just screw up and suck it up myself.
The only good side is, as glaring as this error is, I really do forget stuff, etc. far less than I used to. Of course if I kept it up at THAT level B. would be wearing newspaper diapers.

Newspaper diaper wearing baby having a not-so-fun day in Shoot 'Em Up (though getting some close contact with Clive Owens can't be all bad).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

what i've been thinking about

oh yes, it's a glamourous life I live. Damnit.

Friday, March 28, 2008

happy friday

My long week of single-momness is almost over. Between that and the boot camp, I have been feeling pretty tired- especially, around 5 pm or so, when all the steps involved in getting me and B. back home seem overwhelming (pick him up, nurse him, get all his stuff together, strap on the bjorn, walk to the train, take the train, manage the crying, go up the stairs, walk a mile and a half, jimmy the door, take everything off, nurse...)

But today I am good. It's Friday, G. will be home soon, B. and I are seeing a lovely old friend for dinner, i have lots of Diet Mountain Dew, and B. SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! A fluke? Perhaps. But he did it! I AM GI JANE!!!

Thinking about God a lot these days. I never lost my faith, but these last few years I haven't been very engaged. There just seemed so much to filter out- my anger at Pope Benedict and his hate, my own guilt that I wasn't more involved, wasn't going to Mass. But it's funny, since deciding not to baptise B. Catholic, I feel so much better about my faith, talking to God seems easier, the paths seem clearer. I feel really confident when we go to Denver we are going to find a faith community that we belong in and I am going to raise B. in that community. This year at Easter, instead of feeling guilty or conflicted about my love/hate for the Catholic church, I felt more at peace, a little more distant, and like I could appreciate it for being a lovely service in a lovely church - not for me ultimately, but lovely nonetheless.

My job-to-come has made me realize that I am bigger than this fluorescent-lit hole. I can make a plan and make sacrifices and do something big for what I believe in. My life isn't just about compromises and sacrifices and nagging guilt. It sounds a little stupid, but I always wanted to be a hero, fighting injustice. And these last two years have been important (hello, baby), but I haven't been doing that. And now I can try and be a hero again.

And if I can do that, then I am certainly not going to let some Prada-wearing pope get me stuck. See ya later, Ratzinger- I'm moving on.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Das Boot- Day 3

Well the good news is that I had some excellent insights into The Nature of God and Humanity last night. The bad news is that I had them while rolling B's crib back and forth, over and over. But overall, I think we're making progress. Which is good, because being tough is a lot harder than mollycoddling my boy and nursing him all night. I'm pretty sure human beings should not drink as much Diet Mountain Dew as its been taking me to get through the days.

8:00 PM- Nurse B. to sleep. We played outside after dinner instead of taking a bath, all well and good, but as he drifts off to dreamland i realize that not only is he still wearing his clothes (I'd like to pretend it's the first time for that, but well...), he is still in the same diaper he came home from daycare in. I make the executive decision that B. couldn't care less and the diaper's staying. The next morning it practically disintegrates off his body. Lovely.
4:00 AM B. is awake and mad. But look! No 1 AM wake! So I drag my sorry ass out of bed and rock and roll that crib. But he is having none of it. He's up, I put him down, he's up, I put him down. He is very, very tired, though. Oddly enough, so I am. I decide as I look down on B. that God is attempting to get us to self-sooth and that all of humanity's history is one cosmic week of CIO. The occasional prophet, etc. is when God comes in and pats our back, rolls our crib, etc. Then I think about how unsucessful this self-soothing effort has been (hence the german sub reference). And how I cannot stand anymore. So around 4:30 I go to bed. He cries, but it's that lying down cry, not the I-am-standing-and-shrieking cry. No high ranges are hit. And miracle of miracles, it either stops or I pass out around 4:45.
6:30 AM I wake the boy up- in his crib! Hoo-ya!

I have big hopes for tonight. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

boots on the ground- day 2

Day 2 was an improvement. Oh, until I folded like a bad hand at 5:30.

8:00 PM - B. goes to sleep. He's been very tired and cranky all day. So has his mom. Hmm- wonder why?
1:00 AM- He's up. I'm not sure exactly how long I let him cry, I spent a while denying the Cry's reality, so, um, probably 20 minutes. I go in and say hi to the Very Pissed boy, I roll, sing all the verses to "American Pie" in my head. Who did write the Book of Love? He's out.
1:40 AM Um, no he's not. But after a few minutes his crying dies down and he's asleep.
5:00 AM He's awake, and not happy about it. Why? Why? After about 15 minutes I go in. I lay him on his back, give him the bottle, and I roll. He gets up. I lay him on his back, give him the bottle, and I roll. He gets up. I lay him on his back, give him the bottle, and I roll. He gets up. At this point, its 5:30, so I think whatever and bring him to bed with me. He nurses and is out cold until I change his diaper (I can't believe I do this to him- what a terible way to wake up) at 7 AM.

So. I am vowing tomorrow I will keep him in the crib until 6:30 AM, no matter how hard it sucks. Boot Camp is not for the Weak!!!

I forgot to mention that, at some point on Night One, I actually locked myself out of his room and had to pop the door with a straightened clothes hanger. Wow. My incompetence even blows ME away sometimes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

baby boot camp day 1

This is the week that B. will sleep through the night. How's that for a ballsy statement?

The time is right- he's finally not sick or teething, G the softy is away, I have stocked the house with Diet Mt. Dew (sweet sweet poison) for the hellish mornings and oh BTW? He's ONE YEARS OLD. Yup, it's time.

So having scientifically perused the internet for advice -- which mostly consists of the Internet telling moms of 9-months old who are letting their kiddies cry it out they are KILLING THEIR CHILDREN and asking sleep deprived moms of 2 months old WHY DON'T YOU LET HIM CRY IT OUT ALREADY -- my plan is to let him cry for 10 minutes, go in, say hi, offer him a bottle of water, let him cry for 10-15, say hi, etc.

So now you are probably waiting with baited breath- how did the first night of this grand experiment go?

7:30 I nurse him to sleep like usual. Which I know is no good, but another time, another time.
1:00 AM. Round 1 begins. He cries 10 minutes, I comfort, he's very very pissed, throws the bottle, etc. I go back and wait another ten minutes. I go in, he's pissed, etc. At 2:10 or so I have the bright idea that, like they do in daycare, maybe i should roll the crib back and forth. This quiets him down but it's a lot more rolling before he goes to sleep. Finally, he is out. Yes, it only took me an hour to jettison the "self-soothing" idea. I am STRONG.
2:45. He's up again. WTF? 10 minute crying, then rolling the crib back and forth. And back and forth. And back and forth. Think about how much nicer it would be to be nursing him horizontally in my bed right now. Then 10 minutes of crying. Then hiya baby. He starts sucking down the water, looking up at me with his LITTLE BEADY AWAKE EYES. No, sweetie, mama loves you. Just sometimes she doesn't LIKE you so much. He finally goes down, with much rolling, at 3:45 or so.
4:15. He's up? No? Thank you thank you.
6:00 AM. Our official wake-up time. I feel as if I've been run over. Good lord, this sucks. Fetch the boy, realize we should sit on the sofa so I can nurse him and thus begin our day. While thinking this, I take him to bed, nurse him and we both pass out. I wake at 7, I have to practically change his diaper while he's asleep to wake him up at 7:30. I am moving at glacial speeds.
8:51: I arrive at work, kindly greeted by my boss's boss- 51 minutes late.

So, it sucked. But that's why it's called boot camp right?

Off to suck down more Diet Mountain Dew-

Monday, March 24, 2008

12 months

Dear B-

Well, you've been 12 months for about 2 weeks, so i guess it's sticking. I just saw a picture of you from yesterday, Easter. You are sitting in a highchair at brunch and looking up and you don't look like a baby - at all (well, except for the highchair). You look like a little boy. Whose mother has never taught him any table manners. And then last night, you walked into the kitchen, and I saw you in the corner of my eye. Hmm - my boy walking. Guess that's normal. Wait - what?

When did this happen? A walking, nuh-nuh-nuh braying toddler, who climbs stairs and tackles play equipment and loves loves loves to be outside? Well, this month I guess.

Me and you are going to have quite a week - I'm doing the single parent thing, so, sorry, kid, I'm all you've got. I love watching you and your dad together. You've just starting really craving him, even when I'm in the room. He makes you laugh and laugh, throwing up and down, carrying you on his shoulders, tickling you.

But no offense to the papa, what you really love? What makes you laugh harder than anything, ever? Torturing my friend's cats. You chased them, stuck your head into their cubbyhole, and then - just becasue you could - crushed their playzone with your body, leaving them trapped between the wall and - your face. Yes, God loves you B. Or else those cats would have come to their senses and acted like normal cats and blinded you. You laughed like a crazy man.

You were creatively bad for the first time this month - you kicked it up a notch from the screaming or the scampering away as I (attempt to) change your diaper. You wanted the yougurt on the table. I said no and put you down on the floor. And two minutes later you have rolled your walker/truck over to the table and are standing on top of it, smearing yougurt all over your face. I guess I should have said no again, but I was kind of proud of you.

You are not cautious, though you approach your insanity with a serious deliberativeness. Sometimes you are shy, but it's so rare it always surprises me. You are more likely to have scurried down the hall and be flinging yourself off a piece of furniture, some rotting piece of food from the floor in your mouth, in hot pursuit of a scared cat. So we watch you pretty carefully. And try not to laugh too much.

So - not so much a baby any more. But who needs babies when I've got someone as cool as you?


your mudder

Friday, March 14, 2008

a list

Inspired by the many lists populating the blogworld these days thanks to NaBloPoMo (is that right?), here is a list:

Things that Unexpectedly Didn't Suck About New Motherhood
(or where I take my singular experience and generalize it for the whole world, because hey, I know one baby, must know them all, right?)

1. You don't have to wear a bra at night. That advice was apparently for people who actually enjoy wearing bras at other times, instead of people like me who take them off at the first moment I can (which explains the 5 rolled up bras my husband once found under the front seat of the car). Sure, my boobs may soon be making friends with my belly button, but I DON'T HAVE TO WEAR A BRA AT NIGHT. Fair trade.

2. You can take babies (at least B.) to movies up to 6 months - around 7 pm on weeknights was the best. Even really really violent ones. Because as long as he had the boob, B. couldn't give a %$&#.

3. Your cat will not try and smother your baby, sit on your baby, steal his breath, etc. He will not even hold the baby against you. In fact, he will good-naturedly move from your pillow to the end of the bed and, when you get more time for him, still purr into your ear at night and stick himself under the crook of your arm as you sleep.

4. (The most subjective of all) Breastfeeding and pumping don't have to suck. In fact, they can be pretty nice- even pumping. Especially if you can work out some kind of justification for writing stupid blog postings while you are pumping instead of working (try "I need to be relaxed for the milk").

5. Though you will be fat for a while, it bothers you less than any fat ever has (or ever will I'm guessing). This was the one I could never have imagined. Being fat and NOT CARING? Well, caring a little bit, but say, the way a 19 year boy cares about improving his diet of cheetos, Yoo-hoo, and beer- in a sort of long-range, absent-minded, theoretical way.

6. Drink a beer, give a booby. Pump and dump is only needed in binge-drinking type circumstances- whereas you will fall asleep after beer #2. Bring on the Guinness!

Oh and all that good stuff about this wonderful new baby, feelings of love, watching B. and his dad together as better than any drug ever ever ever, etc.- that too. But I'm an optimist- I was pretty much thinking that stuff would happen. But the no bra thing- how sweet is that?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

one year ago right now

i was holding B. for the first time. The recovery room was tiny and my family crammed in, against every wall. The window looked out onto the roof, and it was grey. I was very tired but so relieved, just laying there with this boy on my boob. He seems so tiny in my memory. No one could stop smiling.

I was so glad when we left the hospital- I wanted to put those weird hospital nights, the hell that is labor, and the unexpected c-section behind me. I wondered if I'd ever be nostalgic for it. A year later, I'm a little nostalgic- the drama of the 2 am car ride, G. holding my hand talking about boats to distract me from the surgery, everybody smiling and smiling, our delight at meeting the boy for the first time. But overall March 12, 2007 still sucked ass- except at the end, I got B.

How's March 12, 2008? Pretty damn good. Eating free "healthy" snacks and the scones I made for the office. Best, I just spent my lunch break playing with my funny little boy, sliding him down the slide, watching him push enormous tricycles around. He's pretty much recovered from his stomach virus. He makes the best noise these days- its like "tugatugatuga" but slightly more gutteral. And I've even feeling pretty human, though that comes and goes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

taking these moments

One year ago today, I was sitting in the Cuban restaurant in Burtonsville, barely able to fit in the booth, eating Cubans with G. and his mom, who had just flown in. I was ten days overdue, which was prety aggravating, but at that moment I just enjoyed that Cuban. Cubans- able to calm the savage beast that it the huge, 42-week pregnant woman. That's a pretty good ad.

Ben's birthday party was this weekend- fifteen people crammed into our tiny house and it was great. Bouncy balls all over the place, everyone talking and laughing and joking with the kiddies. My family has its share of hard times right now. But on Sunday I sat back on the sofa and watched a family that loves each other, who is raising kids so kind and gentle that they showered their baby cousin with ridiculous amounts of love; all of the overlapping ties of history and experience and empathy between everyone in the room. It's not always enough, but at that moment it felt like it was.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I have been feeling bad. Overwhelmed, anxiety, angry angry angry. Angry at B, because he cries in the middle of the night and in the car. Angry at G, because he cannot read my mind and cater to my every need. Angry at my house because it is messy, angry at having to wake up in the morning, angry at the world.

It took me about a week and half to recognize that it wasn't normal. My first thought was of course, I must be pregnant, because for the last four years any wild mood fluctuation has usually meant some variation on that. But thank god no. But recognizing it as something extraordinary and talking about it seems to be helping. And the baby not waking up at 1:30 and 4:30 last night and then screaming for an hour after I have already nursed him (as he did for the last week) is helping too.

I have big plans- omega-3s and magnesium and exercise and sleeping more and drinking more water. They have worked in the past to get me out of such holes. Hopefully they'll work to get me out of this one- even though this one feels a little deeper.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I wanted to meet some friends for coffee in this uber-cool coffeeshop that, even when I was cooler and lived in that neighborhood, was way too cool for me. Because I have never been cool, sadly. So now that I am even less cool- and wear sneakers with my work clothes (this still appalls me)- I thought- why don't I go there with my squirmy 11-month old? And why don't I go say WAY EARLY so that I have to wait in said Cool Coffeehouse for an hour trying to manage my child? Or and hey, why don't I do it on Valentines Day just to add to the non-causual, non-child-friendly feeling? And so I sat and kept B. away from the candles and then again away from the candles and decided everyone was judging me and I am judging me and oh shit he's screaming and I totally had a inner-me, irrational panic attack. And called my friends and cancelled and left and walked down the street of my former neighborhood crying because, well, I am always surprised when things are hard. A lot of things that really hard on other people are not such a big deal to me- I'm good at pressing on through, staying pretty happy. And I also have it pretty sweet- even-tempered baby (and of course hottest husband EVER). Meaning I have a lot of wiggle room. Meaning I am then blindsinded when something is actually hard, or a genuinely bad idea- like taking your 11-month old to a Cooler Than Thou urban coffeeshop. Not a big deal but that pressing up against what I can't, shouldn't do right now, oh how it wears on me.
The night got better- oh the chocolate. The chocolate is the best.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Ah, February. In the Northeast you are grim. But in Florida- oh man, you were nice. The semester starting with all of its hope. Clear blue skies requiring an occasional sweater. I miss New College today.
Yesterday I missed KY so much. And this place? I know I will miss it in just a few months- my family, those Sat. mornings and Sunday parties. And I am not consoled by the fact that I may love the place we're going- I feel like all that missing of all the places I am not just might make my heart burst.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Puppies, but dumber

Just back from my lunch with b. it used to be that he'd come up here, nurse forever, and then scurry around a little and then nurse some more. Then more scurrying, less nursing. Then two minutes of nursing, more scrurrying, plus a little playing with the computer, strangling himself on the blinds, etc. So now I go downstairs for lunch and play with B and the five other kiddies in his "class." This means I get a lot of love. The kids get really excited about me because well B is excited so what is this? what is this? They are all want to sit in my lap, use my shoulder as a balance, eat my hair, show me the COOLEST BLOCK. Sometimes I will have three trying to sit in my lap at the same time. And shove stuff in my mouth. 11-13 month olds really, really like that.
I think they are all groovy, but it's a little overwhelming. Six kids is an intense thing for me, I can imagine it is for B too. Found a toy you like? Nope, its gone. Hey, another kid is rolling on top of you? Now two? They are like puppies, except I'm not even sure they know what they are doing- in fact, I'm not entirely sure they know the other babies, are, um, there.
The moral of this? It takes a long time for humans to get our shit together. In the most basic, that-is-another-human sense. I won't even think about the self-actualization part.
In other news, its Election Day on the Potomac! GOOOOOOOOOO DEMOCRACY!!!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

an 11-month belated newsletter

I am going to try, inspired by the excellent dooce and magic cookie, to start doing 1 month newsletters for the boy. Yes, it's a bit late to start, but hey, better late than never, right?

11 months
Dear B-

January was a big month for you and us. We moved into our own place- great for me (no more cooking dinners of bland child-friendly food for 7 people!), great for your dad (no more children sitting on his head as he tries to play Madden!) but not so great for you, as you no longer get to see some of the people you love most in the world- J, K, and E- on a daily basis. It breaks my heart when we go back up to their house and you start flapping your arms in happiness- now THIS, you seem to be saying, THIS is home. You fall into their arms and the mom-clinginess I see with you at home, at daycare, even with your dad, is nowhere. Mom who? It is great. But, well, kid, your parents value their sanity more than your happiness. So change has come.

But back to you. You rock. Your newest thing is feeding ME your food- and your sippy cup, and your pacifier. It's kind of nasty, but I pretend pretty good. You are really enjoying your new-found hand clapping skills- to Bingo, Pattycake, even songs that are not traditionally accompanied by clapping, like you are my sunshine. But that's okay, we're not purists. I've had to change the songs I sing so there are more fast songs we can try and clap to- so less john gorka, more paul simon. I AM accustomed to a smoth ride. I hope I've not lost my bite. And yes, sadly, I don't expect to sleep through the night. But, veering away from my narsicism for just a few more minutes and back to you- it's so great how just the motion of putting the hands together seems to make you so happy.

I think your first word is coming. And I think its going to be cat. I am pretty sure I heard you say it today when I pointed to the dogs on our walk- so, well, you may not have a perfect comprehension of what a cat is, but you know it's something non-human. And that is enough so that your mom knows you are a genius.

The last week has been rough for all of us- sickness, sickness. You've been easy to cry- who knew having a piece of paper pried out of your hands (like that doesn't happen about 15x a day) could be a world-ending event? Well now I know. But even with this fragility, there's been those happy happy baths- man you like to splash. And, ar ar ar, we'd better eat those delicious tiny hands- yeah, you like that too.

Smell ya later-

side benefits of parenting

When you are hungry, a ziplock bag of stale cheerios can always be found at the bottom of your purse. And, if you are really hungry, zweiback not in a ziplock. Hey- I didn't say it would be pretty.

Went to the dr.'s for a non-childbearing reason yesterday (a sinus infection) for the first time in say, two years- strange. I spent much of my non-work public time with B. strapped to my chest so it is very odd for me not to be automatically identified as a parent.

Back to my pre-pregnancy weight! Problem is, um, I was kind of fat when I got pregnant.

A quiet week under the big lights. We're figuring out a cross-country move. Very complicated with the kiddy. Do I move into a more suburban-type setting because of better schools and more families? Or do I go with the kinds of neighborhoods I've always like- urban residential, economically and ethnically diverse (like Mt. Pleasant or Capital Hill in DC) but what happens if we're the only parents with young kids and everyone else is a 20-something partier who breaks beer bottles on my stoop or pisses on my car? I LIKE hanging with other parents, doesn't it make sense to live near them? I'm thinking no. Part of it is the weirdness of searching from afar- I think if I could walk the neighborhoods myself I wouldn't be so conflicted- and probably find out that there ARE kids in these more urban neighborhoods. Though the one neighborhood I realy like just had its elementary school close because of declining enrollment- probably not a sign of a full-of-families neighborhood....

Thursday, January 31, 2008

not the confident mom today

I am feeling pretty overwhelmed. there is a question as to whether the boy is sick. I don't think so, but hey, when he had pneumonia I thought he was cranky from teething, so I don't exactly trust my gut on these things. My husband thinks he's sick; I wonder if its because my husband is always sick. And because the boy had a 100 degree fever yesterday afternoon, daycare wants a note from the dr. - I felt like such a bad bad mom trying to convince them this morning that he's not sick. I afraid that I really have convinced myself he's not sick just because taking him to a dr. logistically, selfishly, throws my whole day into the shitter.
None of this is a big deal. Either way it will be resolved pretty soon, and we both know that they boy's not deadly ill- feverish yesterday afternoon, upchucks an occasional meal, coughs sometimes. But I think moments like this are when we both feel most out of our depth- we have no confidence in ourselves or each other's judgements, and it makes me feel very, very emotional. And dammit, I really did want to meet my bud for coffee after work.
But I guess the thing that has me worked up the most is not the baby, its that I fucked up again at work- wasn't careful, screwed up some dates on a documents whose whole point was the dates. I feel so incompetent. I am so incompetent.

Update- He ran a 102 fever two days later, it turns out the poor boy was suffering from an ear infection. So I'm 0-2 and basically should not be trusted with my own child.

Friday, January 18, 2008

interview in denver

It is cold here- and I have a cold. So not quite as fun as I would have hoped. But in the end it's just about missing the boy-- more, and differently, than I have ever missed anyone.  How can it be this intense- he can't even talk! He barely knows I am gone! But there it is.  

I was kind of looking forward to the posh hotel room, the sleep without interruptions. But what good is that when I can't relax enough to fall asleep in the first place? 

And, why, does every book/movie/tv show seem to be about children who are imperiled? Or (you think?) perhaps I am projecting?

I'd better sleep.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I fell asleep in a meeting today- a two-person meeting. Well, to be fair, there was a speakerphone too and I'm not sure I was asleep- instead, I found myself talking and wasn't sure what I had said four words before. Which may be worse than falling asleep in a meeting- I woke up/became cogniscent mid-sentence.
I could blames it on my lack of caffeine today or the boy's nightly wakes, much worse lately. But I think it was that the meeting was the most relaxed I've allowed myself to be in the last ten days- of "vacation." All I had to do was sit up and pay attention? (apparently, even making sense wasn't required). That's nothing! Where is the pink-eyed? The small room with three people and no sleep? The relatives kvetching re: my parenting? The hours in a car with B. screaming?
Yes, I had a great time on vacation. Sun. Sun! But today rocks.
Viva work!
Viva the Life of an Office Slave!
Viva Day Care!