Friday, December 31, 2010

On (Not) Starting Over

I'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions, and I rarely keep them. Despite this, I usually make several every year, then torture myself when I fail to stick to it. Save more money. Be nicer. Be more patient. Get a better job. Lose weight. Enter a triathlon. And on and on and on. All my good intentions turn around to bite me in the ass when I realize that I either forgot about my resolutions or simply decided I didn't have time for them. Then I go through the whole mindfuckery again the next year.
This year I've decided to opt out of the whole thing. For example, I've made a deliberate decision not to obsess over losing my baby paunch. I'll work out like I normally do and the weight comes off when it does. As long as I'm not forced to buy two seats on the airplane then I'll call it good.
I've become nicer and more patient without trying. I think maybe becoming a Mom did that. All the line cutters/ smelly hippies/ bad drivers in the world were once someone's sweet baby. That's the truth. So obviously no one can completely suck. That's enough for me to throw less stink-eye around.
In 2011 I will like myself the way I am.- cranky, slightly larger than I want to be, sentimental, and broke. Whatever. So there universe.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Working Girl

Well, now that I am just getting the hang of taking care of a tiny human it's back to work for me. Today is the last day of my maternity leave. Why I can't be paid a generous salary for blogging, surfing the Internet, raising Ceci, and drinking coffee all day is beyond me. I'm good at all those things. But the universe sees fit to throw me back into the workforce instead of blessing me with incredible wealth. And because I like to complain (another thing I'm pretty good at), I'd like to mention how lame it is that Washington state, unlike my homeland, does not offer women the opportunity to file for state disability benefits while on maternity leave. Thanks Washington, for being unsupportive of women and families.
On the bright side, my parents are here for a whole month to help out with the baby. Of course, pessimist that I am, I have gruesome fantasies of them accidentally scalding her with their coffee, sitting on her, dropping her, putting her out with the recycling, forgetting to feed her, or forcing her to listen to Garrison Keillor all day. Her little brain would wither.
Logic tells me that none of these things will happen. After all, my parents managed to raise me to adulthood without any fatal snafus. I just love my girl and I don't want to miss out on anything. Sigh.
I'm sure I'll feel better by the end of the week when I see that Ceci is still in one piece and she still knows who I am. And I'll be thrilled to see an actual paycheck again.
I'll leave you with an awesome healthy cookie recipe that actually tastes good and relieves some of that post-holiday binge eating guilt. Adieu for now, the next time you hear from me I'll be a working girl.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Baby

Here's Ceci working my Christmas bib from the 70's. It's just a little too big, but I can tell she feels sassy in it. Her Grandparents are heading up in the car as I type, having driven 900 miles or so from California with their two cats in the car.
Tomorrow we're going to bake pistachio cookies as gifts. We've been trying to get this done for weeks but nothing seems to get done around here unless it involves sleeping, eating, or pooping. I'm thrilled to have my parents here for the next month so I can get back into some semblance of a regular routine as well as have some help with Ceci when I go back to work next week. I'm not sure I will even remember how to do my job.
Anyway, it will be our first Christmas with baby. Hopefully it's laid back and full of good food, cheesy Christmas movies, family and friends.
Lots of love to you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

How to Take Care of a Baby

I'm still learning how to be a Mom, and it's tricky. I've made some mistakes this week and I feel a bit stupid. Here's the deal- it's the holidays, and we've gotten a lot of party invitations. I'm determined to take Ceci to a few parties because she is cute, dammit. I like showing her off.
Thursday night we took her to a friend's dinner party and things did not go well. Upon our arrival Ceci was mobbed by a herd of squealing women and she flipped out. There was lots of screaming. We ended up hiding in an upstairs bedroom and nursing for a few hours. I could hear the loud talking and music coming up through the floor and I questioned my judgement. Why do I torture my daughter when all she wants to do is stay home with a boob in her mouth?
Sunday night we dragged her out again to a three-year-old's birthday party at the bowling alley. That was okay for a while, but after about twenty minutes of pins crashing, toddlers yelling, and Guns n' Roses blaring Ceci started to melt down again.
Luckily, there was a Mom there who is a million times smarter than I am and she lent us these-

Which led to this-


We were able to stay a little longer and I ordered a pair of these earmuffs as soon as we got home. As soon as they arrive we're taking her to see Slayer. She's going to love it. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Home Alone

Matthew took the baby out today for a few hours, and while I puttered around the house a revelation  struck me- I was home alone for the first time since Ceci was born! What a luxury. What silence, what peace, no one hanging off my boob or pooping on my bed (this could be the cat or the baby). The leisurely opportunity to sip tea and paint my toenails. I also tried on all my favorite jeans, and no amount of elbow grease, prayers, or expletives would make them fit over my flabby postpartum pooch.
Still, those few hours were my very own Christmas miracle.
I finally found the time to make this chai pumpkin bread, and it is delicious even though my sleep-deprived brain left out all of the spices except the cardamom, which I tripled.

I also pulled this little gem out of my creepy picture collection.

Don't worry, I've already faxed a copy of this to the FBI. Obviously, this is not just a photo of a creepy man dressed as Santa. This is photo evidence of a vile, soul-sucking Golum wearing a man suit that is in turn wearing a Santa suit. Clever no? I can see right through it. Look at the dead eyes. The child looks happy though, which is another Christmas miracle. Every photo I've ever seen of a human baby with Santa involves lots of tears. I can, and have stared at this picture for hours. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Conquering Christmas

So, like most bloggers I read several blogs myself. One of the blogs I follow put me in a odd mood this week. Said blog posted a piece called "Clipboard Christmas". The subject of the post was how to organize oneself for Christmas, and the blogger made hand drawn charts that she then clipped onto clipboards with headings like "crafts", "gifts", "cooking", and "decorating". You get the idea.
I can't quite put my finger on why this bothered me, but it did.

I've been pondering how I want to frame Christmas for Ceci, and what types of traditions we should have as a family.
For instance, do we want to make a ritual out of making Christmas cookies, or guzzling eggnog and passing out drunk under the tree? Do we want to encourage hand made gifts over store bought? Should we blast Bing Crosby records and buy a giant inflatable snowman for the yard? I guess what I'm getting at here is that I've been thinking so much about trying to create a perfect Christmas for my family that I've managed to suck the joy out of it.
I don't want to point the finger at the aforementioned blogger and say that that type of anal-retentive Christmas planning makes the holidays stressful, because for her that may work well to organize her thoughts and tasks. As for me, I think I need to let the holidays unfold organically with no more obsessing over how it should go. If we feel like making gingerbread then we will. If we decide to dress up instead and re-enact Star Wars, then so be it.
After all, Christmas is simply about enjoying family right? (or about baby Jesus if that's your thing).

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Good Neighbor is Hard to Find

I got devastating news this week. The girl that lives in the mother in law apartment behind our house (we'll call her Ann) gave her notice and she's moving out February first. Curses. This is tragic because Ann is thoughtful, quiet, and kind, and we're living in such close quarters that these things really matter. Her one bedroom apartment sits behind our house, and the walkway into her place goes right by our bedroom window. We share utilities, garbage, recycling, gardening space, a patio with some shabby lawn furniture, and parking. From all arise a hotbed of drama.
In the 3.5 years Matthew and I have rented our house we've had a string of bad neighbors before Ann came on the scene.
Here's a rundown of the shit show in our living space-

2007. We move into the house, and shortly thereafter L. and E, move into the apartment. They are a lesbian couple from California, tall and fit, and in their mid- twenties. They drive a gargantuan yellow Hummer that they proceeded to double park in front of our house and the naturopath's office next door (this eventually drives him to cover the street in orange cones so no one can park anywhere). All was well at first, until our utility bills started arriving and I discovered that Matthew and I were receiving all the bills for both rental units.  I spoke with the landlord and he told me there was no way to separate the two units, so I had to pay the bills and collect money from the ladies out back.
Here's where things turned to shit. I spoke with L. and E. and proposed that they pay one third of the utilities. That was really the only way I could think of to divide it, as there was no way to measure how much water or energy each rental was using. Their rental unit was roughly one third the size of ours, so I figured that was the way to do it. L. and E. told me they were agreeable with this plan.
Unfortunately, every time I had to collect money from them for bills L. (the meaner of the two ladies) became argumentative and found ways to insinuate that I was trying to cheat her and her girlfriend out of their money. They always paid, but it was a struggle every month. Collecting money from them was a nightmare of passive aggressive notes taped to my backdoor, and I got even more upset when I learned that THEY DIDN'T PAY RENT. E. was a family friend of our landlord, so they got free rent but they still felt compelled to fight me over the stupid water bill. Bitches.

2008. The girls move out and D. moves in. I spoke with my landlord about my hatred of collecting money for utilities and we agreed to lower my rent in exchange for me paying all the bills, so no more drama there, thank God.
D. is a nice young man from the San Juan Islands with a job as a pilot, so we didn't see much of him. He wasn't a total asshole. He did, however have a fondness for working out on his elliptical machine butt naked. So there was that. He also decided that he would rip up all the flagstones in the backyard in a misguided attempt to help out with yard work, then he never put them back. Eventually Matthew and I tried to put them back into their rightful place, but now they are terribly uneven and a tripping hazard.
D. moved out after less than a year.

2009. N. moves in. N. was a twenty-one -year-old "musician" from New Orleans. He claimed to be a professional trumpet player, but I never heard him practice in the six (?) long months he lived here. N. was a drunken violent mess. He went to the bars every night and came home with lots of young men, all loudly cursing outside our bedroom window as they stumbled back into his apartment. As he moved in during the summer months, they would continue the party in our backyard after the bars were closed, and inevitably the drunken slurs would escalate into verbal assaults and then these fools would end up fighting in the backyard. Our backyard was like a cockfighting ring for demented fratboys.
Every once in a while I would go back to N.'s door, knock, and politely explain that my boyfriend and I worked early in the morning, that he was too loud, and that all the yelling outside my bedroom window wasn't appreciated. N. was always very apologetic. Generally he answered the door with terrible booze breathe and a black eye. He always blamed the chaos on his "cousin", or his "brother's girlfriend" who "had a really bad night".
Anyway, things would get better for a few days and then once again I would find myself cringing in bed while N. and his friends fought and broke beer bottles outside my bedroom window. I stopped trying to be nice to N. I continued to sweep up broken glass and cigarette butts every morning. I started complaining to my landlord about N.
Eventually N. moved out, and left the apartment full of bags of trash.

Here's where I mention that up until now, not one of the tenants ever took out the trash or recycling, helped tend the lawn or the yard, or did anything to improve he general look of the property.

So here I am, about to lose the one good neighbor we've had in almost four years. It's a dark day. If you're reading this, and you live in Bellingham, point any and all sane and considerate renters in our direction, because I'll burn the place down before I'll live with another drunken fool or lesbian Hummer driving wench.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Meatball Madness

I've made this Italian wedding soup twice in the last week and I am totally hooked. My affection for meatballs in soup or just about any other vehicle extends back decades, but I forgot how much I like them until I made this delicious, soul-warming soup. I am now newly obsessed with meatballs. I love them. Rolling meatballs between my fingers, eating them, reading meatball recipes- I've barely hide time to tend to my child since I rediscovered my passion for them.

That being said, I do think the soup would translate well to a vegetarian recipe. Just use veg stock and veggie sausage instead of meatballs. The fennel seed in the meatballs is what makes them brilliant, so if that could be incorporated into a veggie meatball it would be perfect.
I also made a few modifications to make the soup more to my liking. I omitted the celery and used lots of parsnip, left out the pasta, and used ground lamb instead of beef. Oh my God, lamb meatballs. I'll never be the same.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, You Turkey

Happy birthday to Matthew and hooray for birthday cake! Sometimes I wish I could put candles in every meal, or at least every dessert. They make everything so festive, and the resulting lighting totally smooths out my wrinkles. 
I went ahead and made the chocolate Guinness cake I've been obsessing over and it was delicious. We have been grazing on it all day and I'm wondering why we don't have chocolate cake laying around the house all the time. It's almost impossible to be ungrateful or cranky when you have a chocolate cake in your kitchen, even when you are deeply sleep deprived with sore boobs. 
And Megan- I've got your pavlova recipe in my pocket for another night- but why must you taunt me with your fancy metric measuring system! You must know I am a lazy American and conversions make my brain hurt. 

Love and Happiness

In case you're wondering, not only has the snow NOT melted, but it has increased. It's been snowing all day.

It's really cold

Frozen herb garden

Anyway, it is Thanksgiving and I've got a lot to be thankful for. 
a beautiful and healthy baby
an awesome husband 
Robert Downey Jr. 
a loving and supportive family
a Buick Le Sabre with airbags 
a strong and healthy body
a mostly level head

and lots of other stuff.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ready, Set, Snow.

Snow in Bellingham is a somewhat infrequent event. It snows four or five times each winter, and it usually melts away within a few days. That being said, when it snows here the city turns into a messy and dangerous mess. The city sold all but a few snowplows some years back, so only the arterial roads get plowed, and the sidewalks certainly don't get maintained unless the residents take it upon themselves to do so.
It's certainly a huge difference from the years I lived in Lake Tahoe, where the plows were so efficient that even when it dumped snow all night I would almost always wake up to a freshly plowed street and driveway. No such luck here. Ceci and I don't have any pressing engagements, so we're fine to hunker down and wait it out.
Happy Sunday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Birthday Cake Roundup

I'm brainstorming this weekend on the subject of birthday cakes. Wednesday is Matthew's 37th birthday and I need a delicious cake recipe, not too difficult or time consuming to make, but still fancy enough for a special occasion. I'm considering a chocolate stout cake from smitten kitchen, but I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any. 
Here's some memorable birthday cakes from years past-

Flourless chocolate cake and the first birthday Matthew and I spent together as a couple.

Not sure what type of cake this was, but it was my cousin Tyler's birthday. I think it might just have been "sugar flavored". It was disgusting but he loved it. Note the sugar ants crawling up the side. 

Caramel cheesecake for Sam's birthday. 

Tiramisu cake for a friend's birthday. This cake was delicious but it took all day to make. 

Chocolate and yellow cake for my 34th birthday. 

And of course I have to throw in a cute picture of Ceci because she is one month old today! Happy birthday Ceci, you are the moon and the stars. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolly mittens!
Oh my God, I'm so sorry. Occasionally I am possessed with the spirit of Maria Von Trapp and those damn exorcisms never quite take. Hahaha. Seriously though, my brain is a pile of quivering goo.

Anyway, what am I blathering on about? I just want to share a few of my favorite baby things. Because really, isn't half the fun of having a little girl all the cutesy stuff you can put on her body and in her room? I sure think so.

There have been times I've gotten frustrated with my Mom for being a bit of a hoarder. She's not bad enough to get her own episode on that one show, but it's been touch and go over the years.
But God Bless her for saving my baby clothes. As soon as Ceci gains some girth on that little body she will be sporting this Oktoberfest beer wench outfit from my childhood!

Here I am in my parent's front yard in June of 1977.

Pilsner anyone?

And this hippy- dippy crocheted dress.

I'm not sure how I feel about the hat that goes with this outfit. It might be a bit too Holly Hobbie. What do you think?

My Paddington Bear overalls.

Also! Please admire our beautiful Ceci Pearl finger puppet handmade by her talented benefactress and lover of she-babies Karie Jane.

This is the last thing, I promise. Dragon shoes from San Francisco Chinatown. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Our Birth Story

Friday, October 22nd was a clear autumn day. I woke up feeling as good as could be expected for someone 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I ate some breakfast and talked with a friend on the phone. Around noon I noticed some bloody show in my underwear. For those of you that haven't been to Babyland, bloody show is a mix of blood and mucus that appears when labor is impending. It could mean that labor is hours or days away, so I didn't think much about it. I did however email my doula Kathy and tell her about my exciting underpants discovery.
I went over to another friend's house to walk his dog. My whole plan for my maternity leave (which just started the day before) was to take lots of long walks and hopefully encourage baby X to make a prompt arrival. So Bosco the dog and I set out on the trail and walked. The trees were changing color and I was listening to Wilco on my ipod, really loving the crisp air and the smell of fall.
I started having what felt like menstrual cramps during our walk. They were very low in my abdomen and pretty mild, so Bosco and I kept cruising and we walked about four miles that day. At this point I was dismissing these as Braxton Hicks contractions. Weeks earlier I resolved not to get my hopes up for a early baby.
After our walk I went home and took a nap. I was still having intermittent contractions, but nothing too strong or regular. Matthew got home from work around three and by now I was timing the contractions and starting to wonder if I was in labor.
We went out to eat and I continued to time the contractions over cheeseburgers, fries, and a milkshakes (the most fabulous pregnancy indulgence ever). They were still irregular, so I gave up recording them after dinner. Once we got home we watched "Nightmare on Elm Street". I know, that's the weirdest thing to watch when you're in labor, but whatever.
Kathy called around ten to ask how I was feeling, and I assured her that I was just having a few Braxton Hicks and most likely wouldn't be calling her tonight. She told me to call her if anything changed, and we rang off.
Around midnight I woke up with contractions that were too painful to sleep through. I got up and sat on the yoga ball in the living room, breathing through the contractions and rolling around on the ball.
By 2 am I wasn't coping as well as I would have liked and I woke Matthew up. We went back and forth about calling Kathy. Amazingly, I was still doubtful that I was really in labor. We timed the contractions and found them to be consistently three minutes apart, so Matthew called her at 3 am.
Kathy arrived at our house thirty minutes later and we settled in and labored together through the dark hours of the early morning. Matthew went back to bed to save his energy for what laid ahead.
Mostly we talked. In between contractions Kathy told me about her son in Spain, and the other births she attended. We watched Planet Earth DVDs with the sound off. We breathed through contraction after contraction. I sat on the yoga ball and walked around the house intermittently. I tried to breath through contractions standing up, leaning against the couch, and even on the toilet, but nothing felt as comfortable as sitting on the yoga ball.
I was increasingly uncomfortable but still felt that the pain was manageable. I even thought to myself that this labor might not be as bad as I feared. Funny eh?
At around 8 am Matthew got up and resisted asking us to turn on the football game. I know this is what he was thinking because I just asked him. That's love people. Instead, he went to the bakery on his bike and came home with pastries for the three of us.
We three continued to breathe and walk and roll around on the yoga ball. In fact, I found the more uncomfortable I became the harder it was for me to get off the yoga ball. I started to seriously worry about the car ride to the hospital, when I would have no yoga ball under my butt. We could call this "ball attachment disorder".
Anyway, around noon we decided to go to the hospital so I could get over there in the car while I was still coping relatively well. My fear of having strong contractions in the car was starting to overwhelm me at home, so we packed up and left.
We checked into the childbirth center at the hospital after I had the most intense contraction yet in the parking lot. Ouch. When I waddled inside, panting and groaning, the woman at the front desk actually asked me:
"What can I do for you today?"
Jesus lady, what do you think? Don't ask a woman in labor stupid questions. Ever.
The admitting nurse whisked me into the triage room and got me into a gown so they could check my cervix. I was 2-3 centimeters, which was pretty much what I was expecting. My contractions quickly become more painful and difficult to manage. I believe this was partly related to the change of environment from the comfort of my home to the sterility of the hospital. At this point, the triage nurse asked me what I wanted to do about pain management.
I told her I was going to try to skip the epidural. "Try" was to operative word here. I had no solid birth plan. In cooperation with Kathy and Matthew I decided to try to have this baby with a minimum of interventions, but I wanted to keep my options open. I didn't know how things would go. I didn't know what my pain tolerance was like. All I knew is that I didn't want to be chained to the bed, or to try to push the baby out from a reclining position. I wanted to be free to move around the room during labor, and when the time came, to push the baby out from any position I chose.
They admitted me to a delivery room and I was shocked to discover that I was the only woman in labor at the childbirth center. It was a full moon, and I assumed that full term women all over town would go into labor that day.
The room was large and pretty nice, as far as hospital rooms go. We settled in by setting up our music and my beloved yoga ball. Kathy rubbed my back while the nurses hooked me up to an IV bag of fluids.
Since I was a low-risk pregnancy I asked them to leave the fetal heart monitor off for the time being and they were agreeable to that plan. The nurses, who were all very nice, left us to our own devices and the three of us spent the next few hours doing our thing- breathing, bouncing on the ball, and listening to a lot of Lilith-fair type music.
The nurses came in and offered to check my cervix every few hours. Before labor began, I decided that I didn't want these continual cervical checks, because I was worried I would get hung up on the number and get discouraged and upset if things weren't progressing as quickly as I would like. But I found myself accepting the offer every time they came in. As my pain became more and more intense I needed to know where I was at, because I wanted a realistic expectation of how long this labor was going to last.  Luckily, every time they checked me I was dilating more and more. I was at 4 centimeters by 4 pm, and 6 centimeters at 6 pm.
I got in and out of the tub a few times and labor seemed to pick up and move along every time I got out of the tub. I suppose the soothing effects of the hot water helped my muscles stretch and relax, thus speeding up the process.
By around 8 pm I got out of the tub again and found myself not managing the pain as well. Every time the doula told me to breathe through the contraction I would try, but I was whimpering and even screaming a little bit and I couldn't control it. The nurse checked my cervix again, and I was at 8 centimeters. I asked the nurse what my options were for pain medication, and she offered me some fentanyl. In retrospect I'm glad she didn't offer me the epidural at that moment, because I was definitely considering it, but the diversion to fentanyl was a better place for me to start.
The nurse gave me the shot of fentanyl through my IV, and it immediately relaxed me. I still felt the pain of the contractions, but the panic I was feeling died down considerably, and again I was able to breathe through the contractions. The pain medication helped tremendously for an hour or so, but as soon as I felt it wearing off the panic crept back, and the pain was becoming overwhelming.
My doctor came in and offered to break my bag of waters, which still had not ruptured on it's own. She told me it could speed up the labor process, but that the pain and pressure would increase because the baby would drop right into my cervix. Ouch. I thought about it for about 5 minutes and then accepted her offer. At this point it was 9 pm and I was determined to have this baby out before midnight, at which point I would have been in labor for 36 hours. I was over it.
I asked for and received another shot of fentanyl, and the doctor got out her creepy crochet hook and broke my waters. I felt a huge gush of fluid and a tremendous feeling of relief when it broke. And then just as she said, the pain and pressure increased. While the fentanyl helped a bit I was at the point where I could only scream through each contraction. I felt a bit like a fox with it's foot in a trap. I could not control my fear or the sounds I was making.
That was definitely the worst part, trying to deal with this pain at 9 centimeters and wanting so badly to push this baby out, but not being there yet. At this point I decided I would get the epidural.
"It's not too late!" My mind chirped hopefully.
But of course it was.
When it was finally time to push I tried everything- on my hands and knees, with my feet up on the birth bar, and squatting on the bed with the birth bar in my hands. (FYI- the birth bar is like a set of bike handlebars they mounted onto the foot of the bed). I pushed harder than I thought was possible for about an hour and finally, while standing on the bed with the bar in my hands I felt her head moving down.
I tried to tell the room that she was coming out, but I seemed to have lost the ability to speak coherently and I blurted something out that no one heard except for Matthew- who was turning white as a sheet.
In fact, the doctor and nurses weren't looking at me at all because they were unwrapping instruments and mumbling something about an internal fetal monitor. They were getting ready to put another monitor inside me and SCREW IT INTO THE BABY'S SKULL because the one strapped to my belly was no longer picking up her heartbeat.
So I started pushing the baby's head out while wondering if I was going to have to let go of the bar to catch the baby myself. Finally, the doctor looked up and saw Ceci's head crowning. It was pretty comical to see her and the nurses drop all their monitor equipment on the floor and get into postion to catch Ceci.
I pushed out her head, then her shoulders, and then the rest of her body slipped out like a little fish. She was born at 11:20 pm on Saturday, October 23rd.
The doctor put her on my belly and she looked at me, blinking and squinting in the bright lights of the delivery room. Matthew came around the side of the bed and we both just stared at her. It was surreal to think that suddenly now, we make up a family.
And that's how Ceci met the world. Pretty neat huh?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Morning View

I've seen a lot of sunrises these last 12 days. I'm starting to get used to the dark night and the foggy murk of morning. At first it made me feel kind of lonely. Lately I've been imagining all the women in Bellingham and elsewhere silently breastfeeding in their homes. We are in league with one another. That makes it easier. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hormone Soup

There's been lots of action around these parts. Ceci had her first doctor's appointment yesterday. Getting her into the car seat and taking her there felt a little bit like scaling Mt. Everest, but we made it.
Ceci is gaining weight now that she's getting formula along with some breast milk from me, and she's looking good overall. In fact, the doctor and nurses were quite taken with her overall attractiveness. Her above average cuteness is now a medically established fact. But I knew that before they told me.
I had a little crying meltdown about the nursing thing while were there. It certainly doesn't feel good to think that I'm not able to provide all that she deserves. But it is what is is. Some breast milk is better than none.
The doctor told me I was "swimming in hormone soup" (a new and poorly understood diagnosis). I'm hoping this condition can be applied retroactively to all the crying meltdowns I had during pregnancy as well as the ones I may have in the future- maybe even tonight if Matthew's lucky!
Here's some pictures at the doctor-

Dr. H. admiring Ceci's gleaming pink gums

Ceci flaunting her trim physique and head of luxurious hair.

I'm working on my birth story, and I've noticed my mind has already started erasing the details. Especially the unpleasant ones. Does that happen to every postpartum woman? It's like the brain decides to delete the most painful memories so that you will go ahead and have another kid, thus ensuring the survival of the species. While I'm finishing that, if you like to read birth stories, check out Marvelous Kiddo. She posts one every week. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day Three

Dear friends, as some of you may know, I had a baby on Saturday night. If any of you are interested in hearing my birth story, let me know and I will try to write it down. It was intense, and I'm glad that part is behind me.
Anyway, now I'm trying to get to know our little Ceci.
She's been home with us just a day and a half. Last night I tried to jot down some observations about her at 3 am, while I was trying to breastfeed. The title of that post was "Help!". I deleted it.
We've been having some trouble with breastfeeding, to put it mildly. Between Ceci's insatiable hunger, the fatigue of labor, and my sore, bleeding nipples I've had some trouble coping. Last night I actually questioned if I brought the right baby home. I was hoping for a sweet angel baby, not a piranha that screams. Today we had a visit from the home health nurse and as I suspected, she hasn't been getting enough milk from me. I'm incredibly relieved to know what's going on, so we can now take steps to fix it. I'm also terribly ashamed for getting so frustrated with my baby. What kind of a person writes a snarky blog post about their hungry baby? I'm going to Hell for sure. She was so panicked, it makes my heart hurt. I think tonight will be easier, and now that she is fed and resting, the house is peaceful and quiet.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Now We Are Three

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Maternity Leave!

Breaking news! I just danced around the living room while I was mopping the floor. Thank God for the Blow. I can't remember the last time I really danced. It felt awesome. Don't worry, the curtains were closed so the neighbors were not subjected to my private bovine house stomp. I was worried that my maternity leave would consist of me wandering around the house trying to clean, but really just bumping into furniture and nagging the cat until Matthew got home.  How wrong I was. I'm a merry housewife, and I'm so jacked up I'm thinking about cleaning the whole house with fungicide just for the hell of it.
In other news, Beth is the winner of the hamburger phone! Congratulations to Beth and to everyone else- thanks for the comments and never fear! I will have another giveaway.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Women We Become

I love Miranda July. I love her so much I even considered the name Miranda for baby X. 
I love her because her mind works well. She also strikes me as honest and brave and I like that in a person. 
I'm bummed that I missed her exhibition "Eleven Heavy Things" in Central Park.  Check out her site if you get the chance. There is some amazing stuff on there, and if you can figure out where the exhibition is going next, drop me a line! I need to see it. 
This sculpture is my favorite of the bunch. I've been thinking a lot about my hopes for baby X. I want her to be smart, happy, playful, and healthy. All the typical things Moms want for their daughters. I'm terrified of the inevitable loss of self-esteem that seems to happen to girls once they hit ten or eleven years old. I remember when it happened to me. One day I looked in the mirror and I saw a pair of hairy eyebrows on a ugly monkey face. That's all I saw in the mirror for years. I lost value in myself, and I'm still not sure why that happened. My parents always tried to build me up. 
Thankfully after some terrible years my self esteem gradually reappeared. But I can't deny that I wasted many dark hours dieting, allowing bad boyfriends to treat me as if I was without value or intelligence, and feeling like a huge loser. I don't want that for my daughter. I want her to be powerful and brave and know that her value as a person is not relevant to her bra size, dress size, or looks in general. 
Any parents (or daughters) out there have words of advice? Books I should read? It seems like it's never too early to start. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Folly is Your Gain

Some of you may have correctly deduced that I have a shopping problem. I really love to buy stuff. Luckily, my urges to waste my money can be easily satisfied by inexpensive things (most of the time) provided the said item has a certain je ne sais quoi. 
I purchased this hamburger phone yesterday morning and I have to say I felt good about it all day long. It was a funny thing really. I went to the local ebay store to try to unload my framed Ken Griffey jersey (don't ask), and lo and behold, I spotted the hamburger phone in the ebay store and was smitten. The shop girl agreed to sell it to me for $5 and I actually thought to myself- "This girl doesn't even know what this is worth!"
I snapped that baby up and went home feeling very self satisfied. Of course, I have no land line at home. I have no plans to get a land line. I have no use for a hamburger phone and I'm not sure what compelled me to get it except that it exuded a certain sex appeal that I was powerless to resist. 
So today, I have hamburger phone regret. It's not quite as bad as ate-old-dairy regret but it's still making me uncomfortable. I could have bought a REAL hamburger for 5 dollars. 
Dear Readers, do any of you desire the hamburger phone? I'm going to do my first blog giveaway with the hamburger phone. If you want it, leave a comment below and on Wednesday I'll choose someone at random. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Slow Progress

I'm making some progress on the baby's room. It's starting to look more like a real nursery and less like a cluttered storage room. Of course, in typical neurotic fashion I now feel guilty for obsessing over the room so much these last few weeks. Baby X isn't going to care about her room for a few years anyway, right? It's my own hangups that pull me into this room when I could better spend my time reading about infant care or attending a breastfeeding class. I need to shake off the voice in my head telling me that if the nursery looks perfect, then I'll be a perfect Mom. 
Perfect house does not equal perfect life. Good to remember. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Workout

Oh My Goodness. I almost don't have the words I need for this blog post, but I'm going to do it because it's just too good to pass up.
Matthew is a dedicated thrift store shopper. He's at Goodwill and Value Village at least two or three times per week, and it's a good thing. We have a lot of nice things that we haven't spent much money on. When you troll that much, you net some big fish. This was last week's bounty. The last time I laid eyes upon the Hitachi Magic Wand it was in the Amsterdam Sex Museum. The time before that, I saw it in my very own house in the late 1980's. This was a mighty popular massager back in the day.
For some reason, the massager evokes memories of myself and a friend lurking around the library after school. We sat between the stacks and read choice snippets of Clan of The Cave Bear to one another. That Jean Auel sure had a way with Caveman porn. Anyway, a pregnant lady likes a back massage any way she can get it, so I'm willing to overlook the Hitachi's tawdry past, and I'm even somewhat awed to have an artifact ripe with historical interest in my very own home.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Savannah Crush

Hello all. The Satorialist was in Savannah a few weeks ago, and as much as I admire his amazing eye for person-on-the street fashion I found myself ignoring his subjects and instead devouring the background of every picture for familiar places. I have a serious crush on Savannah. Matthew's parents have a house nearby, so we've been lucky enough to spend some time there in the last few years.
There are so many things to like about Savannah. Its quirky beauty is the most obvious. Savannah is beautiful but none too clean, too hot, and full of eccentric people. It's kind of like snooty Charleston's funky cousin. The restored historic district stretches for miles, and you can lose yourself for within it for days.

You see what I mean? Dreamy. 
Other things I like about Savannah- The BBQ, this restaurant where I gorged myself on a potted foie gras terrine, and the Savannah College of Art and Design
A word about SCAD. The presence of an art college injects some youthful vigor into what could be a stuffy old Southern City, and the art in the student shop is kick-ass. 
I've become infatuated with SCAD alumnus Stephanie Howard. It's difficult to get the full effect of her art from the website, but she makes expansive and meticulous pen and ink drawings on paper. She draws a lot of beauty queens, and uses cultural imagery that doesn't make sense to me as a stranger to the South, but I like the way it makes me feel, and that's how I know I like art. 

One last thing I like about Savannah- my maiden name pops up everywhere. I saw it on street signs, engraved onto tombs in the cemetery, and on local Bed and Breakfasts. I imagine my ancestors smeared themselves all over that part of the South before moving on to be debauched and disease-riddled in other parts of the U.S.A. Ah, the beauty of being a French American!
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