Monday, November 30, 2009

A picky eater

I already have it all figured out.

Bjorn will attend Texas Tech University, just like his Daddy and I. Only I will have to be there also - so, I'll be his dorm RA and he can live in Coleman dorms (the co-ed ones) like I did, and that way


After two absolutely miserable days of trying to get him to take a bottle in any way, shape or form, we are at our wit's end. I think this kid is going to be breastfeeding forever.

I know, I know. It's only been two days. But two days of him screaming and writhing as if he is in such pain merely because we held a bottle near his face. Two days of him crying so hard he gives himself the hiccups, doesn't eat for over 6 hours because we are trying to make a point that he gets the bottle or nothing and two days of finally giving in because the only thing that stops his crying is letting him nurse.

Yes, I gave in.

You would have, too. Admit it.

I know what most of you are thinking (because I have already received this advice over and over). Don't do anything but feed him the bottle and he will take it when he's hungry. By doing that Mama needs her own bottle when the whole ordeal is over. Bjorn gets hungry and then he gets mad and then he WAILS and then there is no stopping him. It's one of the traits he got from Daddy.

We first tried breast milk that had been frozen and defrosted. After three hours of screaming and refusing, I tasted it to find that it may have been a little sour. Not bad, mind you. But something didn't taste right.

So then I took freshly pumped milk and put that in his bottle. Fresh as in pumped-in-the-last-three-hours fresh. Very fresh. (And just to make sure there, I tasted that, too.)

He refused it.

We tried Mama giving it to him. Then Daddy tried. Daddy tried while I left the room so he couldn't see me and - as some Mommy bloggers put it - "get confused". We switched bottles and nipples. We sat him upright and laid him in a nursing position. We gave him the bottle to explore and play with, to familiarize himself. We tried room temperature and warm. We tried pre-mixed formula. And mixing our own formula.

And overwhelmed both him and us.

But what are we to do? Daddy is working everyday and night this week, so I am on my own with him. We should have started this bottle thing sooner, but the days crept up on us faster than we expected. This weekend Bjorn will be baby-sat by Grandma and Grandpap while I head out for my friend's wedding festivities. So he will have to take a bottle. And I have to go back to work soon.

And, like all Mommies everywhere have said, I am sure that when he gets hungry enough, he will eat. He has eaten from a bottle before, and while he seems to throw up much more, he still at least takes it.

I just feel bad that I will be leaving Bjorn with Grandma and Grandpap knowing that he is going to scream and wail until they can finally shove a bottle in his mouth. At least they have been through this before. They know that babies cry. And I know that at over 17 pounds, Bjorn will not be starving. He is an eater like his Daddy and will eat when he's hungry.

Even if that means letting Grandma and Grandpap deal with his crying all day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank you. Thanks very much.

In the interest of being like every other Blogger out there, today is the day we blog about what we are thankful for, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda.

But I can't be all sappy - even if it is that time of year. I'll save that for Christmas, maybe. Don't hold your breath.

Here is my list of thankfulness. In no particular order, we have:

Top 11 Things I'm Thankful For & Top 3 Things I am Not:

I am thankful for:

  • My friends and family. I group them into one big lump of thankfulness because some of my friends are as close as family and some of my family are my best friends. They are the cheese to my tater tots and the deep-fry to my turkey. I would still be me without them, but they make me into a much more awesome version of me.

  • My job. I am thankful that my job gives me so much time off to enjoy my little man, and I'm thankful that I have a job to go back to. In this world of almost 10% unemployment, that is not a small thing. I'm also grateful to have a job that, while maybe doesn't put to full use my years of college debt, are helping, as states, to stave off the boredom that usually occurs 5 years into a job. It helps to like your job.

  • Hot water. I could handle an outhouse if I really had to, but no hot water? Sartre had it wrong - hell isn't other people. It's a cold shower.

  • Air travel. My husband was born in Scotland and lived there for most of his childhood. My parents grew up in Illinois, lived in Texas for 25 years and now live in North Carolina. My brother and sister-in-law live in Dallas and my In-Laws and Siblings-in-law live in Houston and Austin. I live in Phoenix. Without air travel, I would be spending days weeks in a small train compartment or in a cramped, muggy car. Instead, I spend 4 fours on a plane, drinking a free Diet Coke and watching a movie. Without the widespread use of air travel, I may never have met my husband, been born a pure blooded Texan (y'all) or been able to participate in everything from weddings to football games to birthday parties. (Not to mention that I wouldn't have a job!) My hero for air travel says it best here.

  • God-incidences. Other people call this coincidences or good luck. But I know that there is a whole lot more to life than just a luck of the draw. A God-incidence is when I introduce my new roommate and my boyfriend's roommate, and they wind up married. A God-incidence is having the baby throw up on you, so you have to change your clothes three times, and when you get in the car, you pass a fresh wreck that you might have been in if you hadn't had to change your clothes. God-incidences are everywhere if you only look for them.

  • Coffee. In case you didn't know, coffee is a girl's best friend. What would we be without coffee? A bunch of grumps with bedhead.

  • My home. A home is a house with love. And we have that. I also have a roof over my head. Yes, this roof has depreciated in value more than I ever care to think about (just read the papers for more on the Phoenix economy), but I still have a home. My little piece of America. That's enough for now.

  • Washing machines. When my brother was born, my parents did not have a washer and dryer. And they still used cloth diapers (going green before it was cool!). The thought of all the baby poop my mom had to touch. . . . well, I'm grateful to both her and the washer. You know what? Let's include this for all modern household appliances. The oven, the microwave, the toaster oven. My dishwasher may not be necessary but it's a hell of a lot nicer than the alternative.

  • Naps. Naptime is really the only time I get anything done around here. And by "done", I mean finish blogging, blog-reading and facebooking. Yes, facebooking is now a verb. You don't believe me? Google it.

  • My dog. What is the bane of my existence doing on a thankful list? When I thought we were gonna lose her a few years ago, I just about lost it. She is my Marley. She drives me crazy eating leather scraps from my craft box (last week), baby food off the table (last night) and banana peels off the counter (this morning), but at least I know what to expect from her. Unconditional love and a whole lot of weird-looking poop.

  • Sonic ice. It makes me happy, and it makes me happy to think that such a small thing can make me happy. And isn't it always nice to appreciate the small things in life? So, I am thankful for Sonic ice. For its ability to be so small, yet last all day long. Thanks, Sonic.

I am unthankful for:

  • My cell phone. Although I appreciate this little piece of equipment as a justincase of accident, I am supremely unthankful for the ability to reach me at all times. And I know what you are thinking, but I can't just leave my phone at home because that tinny, whiny voice in the back of my head pipes up with 'what if I get in that accident/run out of gas/lock my keys in my car again'. So I just screen like crazy and only answer if it is really what I want. (And, as a disclaimer, I am not unthankful for all cell phones. Just mine. I really like my husband's cell phone. It helps me get things picked up at the store on his way from home work so I don't have to go!)

  • Crazy drivers. Don't they know that I have a very new human being in my backseat and that it is my job to protect him? And how can I do that when you are running red lights and weaving in and out of traffic? I'm a speeder, too, and I understand rushing around town to get everything done. But there is a point where your speed gets reckless. So, watch out for me. I have a Beautiful Bouncing Baby on Board.

  • Credit cards. Although I love my credit cards for what they can give me (3 years no payment no interest) I also am incredibly unthankful for that kind of pressure. How am I supposed to have the strength to say no to something when I can pay it off in 5 years with no interest? Anyone can pay $20 a month!! Sigh. I will learn self-control someday. . . .


Another thing I'm not thankful for? Black Friday. I don't understand the thrill of it all. I don't understand why we spend ONE day at home with our families relaxing and enjoying each other and spend the next day in the madness of crowds and chaos. Most everyone has the Friday after Thanksgiving off work, so here's an idea - play football outside with the kids. Go on a walk as a family. Play scrabble. Talk. There are a million better things to be doing than racing from store to store just to save a few bucks. It's not worth it.

This holiday season, I want to know - what are you thankful/unthankful for?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Who wants Rice Cereal?!?

For the last 173 days (but really, who's counting?) I have been nursing Bjorn. Through the good and the bad. The pain and the dry mouth. The leaking and the overflow. We've been through most everything, and we have learned together how this whole breastfeeding this works.

He's eaten (always covered by a nursing cover my Mom made) in a hockey arena while I watch the last 2 minutes of the game. He's eaten in the middle seat of a crowded, stale-aired airplane. He's eaten while I watch TV, while I rock in my awesome rocking chair and while I sleepily roll over and try to both nap and feed.

To be honest, though, my reasons to breastfeed were selfish.

Yes, I understand that boobie milk is the best nutrition for my little guy. Yes, I understand that he inherits some of my immunities and all of my nutrients.

But really it was supposed to get rid of my baby belly.

Ha! As if!

But that's a post for another day.

When I began breastfeeding, I promised myself that I would do it for at least six months. Since I am lucky enough to have a job that gives me a little more than six months off work, the timing was perfect. And I was also lucky enough to have more than enough milk for the entire baby population of Arizona. Lactation consultants call it "overabundant milk supply". I just call it "embarrassing leakage and choking hazard".

As we get closer and closer to that six month mark, I am itching to stop breastfeeding. Itching to be able to leave the house for more than three hours without worrying about getting back to feed or pump. Itching for someone else to sit with him for 30 minutes as he eats dinner or lunch. Itching to be able to wear real clothes and not worry about what I'm going to be showing off if I have to feed him in public.

And Daddy is itching to be a bigger part of it all.

The Ped suggested that we wait until 6 months to start Bjorn on solid food, but since we already have waited 173 days (again, who's counting?), we figured that was long enough.

Yesterday, we mixed some of my painstakingly pumped milk into a little bowl, stirred in some Gerber rice cereal with a blue plastic spoon and took that big step into Big Boyhood.

And he hated it.

Not that I can blame him. I tried it. It was pretty disgusting. And I've tried my breast milk, too. (Kinda sweet, but really thin. Like a sweet skim milk.) If I had to pick one, it wouldn't be the DHA, Iron Fortified rice cereal either.

Too bad for him, he doesn't get a vote.

Today I am off to the library (because even as an aspiring novelist, I'm too cheap for a bookstore) to find books on pureeing my own baby food. Not because I'm organic or hippie-ish or anything. Again, because I'm cheap. It's so easy to do, and so much less expensive.

But I need help. Suggestions. Do I need to buy a baby pureerer? (spelling??) Or would a food processor get it pureed enough? I already have a Mommy who gave me the suggestion of the Annabel Karmel cooking books. Any others you like for baby's first foods?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Giveaway coming soon!

In the interest of staying young by trying new things, I have decided to do one more new thing on this blog.

I will be hosting a giveaway.


I know. Cool, huh?

What will I be giving away? It will be one of my homemade baby creations, but you'll have to check back with me to see exactly which spectacular creation it will be.

Not today. Not even tomorrow. But soon.

First I have to finish my laundry and get my baby over this pesky upper respiratory infection. Then it's giveaway time!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's the best time of the day

As the day for me to go back to work keeps creeping closer and closer, I'm trying to enjoy every last moment of being a SAHM.

I still very much miss adult conversation and no-baby time, but I know that those days will come soon. And then, I am sure that all I will want is to be home with Bjorn.

So I am taking more time to do the things I know I will miss, as he gets older and as I prepare to head back to work.

Today's favorite SAHM moment:

He was fighting sleep in every single sleep position that usually works. No crib, no magic chair, not even rocking in my arms. After 15 minutes of crying and eye-rubbing, I finally tried lying on the couch with Bjorn lying backwards on my chest.

In less than 30 seconds, he was fast asleep.

Instead of thinking of all the millions of things that always need to be done, I spent the next 45 minutes alternating between catnapping and watching Law & Order. All with Bjorn's 17 pounds snuggled sweetly against me.

Best 45 minutes of my day. Hands down.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I don't really do things like this.

Ok, so I've never actually done something like this.

But here I am, doing it today.

What's that in the middle of my blog? It's a shortcut to a Kindle reader giveaway. For each person that enters this giveaway through my blog, I get an extra entry into the contest.

(How they track this stuff, I have no clue! But I was an English Lit major, not computer science. I'm sure some 20-something now-millionaire devised some software that handles giveaways and such. . . . )

Even after begging, I still have not received any free stuff from any BBBC (Big Bad Baby Companies). But other people do, so I spend Bjorn's naptime entering contests on all the Mommy blogs I stalk. This Kindle giveaway is just one of many that I am hoping to win. (And NO I am not telling you all my giveaways, as then you might enter and I would have one LESS chance of winning! The only reason I'm telling you about the Kindle is because each time YOU enter, I get entries. It really is all about me.)

My friend M&M has already won something on a Blogging contest and I am so jealous! I wanna win, too!!

But I digress. Back to the Kindle.

Like I said, I normally don't post giveaway stuff on my blog, leaving it to more important information. Such as the state of Bjorn's poop. Or whether I found my perfect boots (which I finally did!).

But this is the Kindle, y'all.

This is the mecca of traveling book lovers.

Although nothing can replace the smell of a brand new book, and nothing is better than sinking into a mountain of pillows, turning page after page in anticipation, I yearn for the Kindle. I will soon be going back to flight attendanting, and I need the lightness the Kindle offers.

Oh, wait. You don't know what the Kindle is?

Let me tell you all about it. Better yet, just go here and Wikipedia will do all the work for me.

Pretty much, it is an electronic handheld reader that can store gazillions of books, magazines and newspapers so that, while you will have to turn off this electronic device during takeoff and final descent, you will not have to pack five books (mystery, sci-fi, non-fiction, popular fiction, thriller) for a weekend trip. As I have been known to do.

So help a sister out, click on this link and help me add entries in this contest. I really don't ask for much. Why not this one little thing??

Monday, November 16, 2009

Letting Daddy in

Seeing as I spend 8 12 hours a day with Bjorn while Daddy is at work, he often gets the brunt of my dismay at being a house-mom through my distressed phone calls.

They go something like this:

"Why can't he pick up his own toys?"
"He won't stop crying!!! What do I do?"
"YOUR son just pooped on me. Literally. And it was warm." (I think I just threw up a little in my mouth remembering that. Yech.)

Bring the awesome Daddy that he is, when he gets home from work, he wraps Bjorn in a big ol' Daddy hug and suggests that I go out for a few hours. Window shopping, maybe, or go get a pedicure. Anything just to give Mama a little time away from it all.

I always decline. The evenings are the only times I get to see Daddy, so why would I leave when it would be our time together, too?

Lately, though, I have wondered if maybe I am doing a disservice. Not just to myself, but to Daddy and Bjorn also.

Maybe Bjorn needs his Daddy time - where Daddy can throw him around and wrestle without Mama hovering nearby with some band-aids and the cell phone pre-dialed to the hospital.

Maybe Daddy needs his Bjorn time - where he can figure out on his own how to get him calm. How to change the poopiest overflow diaper and give him a bath. So Daddy can find new toys and games that Bjorn likes.

So they can bond.

I was trying to be a good wife. I know that Daddy is at work all day, working hard to keep us in teething toys and diapers, so I didn't want to burden him when he got home.

But I work all day, too. I make sure we never run out of milk, eggs and meat. I take the toilet paper off the counter and put it on the dispenser. I vacuum the dog hair out of the rugs and teach the Dog to play nicely with babies. I pick the zucchini out of our garden and make zucchini bread for dessert. All this and more.

I am a working mother.

So it's not a burden to him to let him have his son for a little while.

It's a joy.

It's a responsibility.

It's what we signed up for.

It's parenting.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's the little things in life that count. . ..

Every day once in a while, when I really feel that need for silence, I will hand a screaming Bjorn to Daddy and sweetly say 'Can you take him for a minute? I have to go to the bathroom.'

I will then go into the bathroom, lock the door and lean back on it and contentedly sigh. Sometimes I close the toilet, sit and read an entire magazine article. The whole thing. From beginning to end.

Sometimes I will lie in an empty bathtub, close my eyes and imagine myself fully rested and energized.

I'm getting some much needed alone time.

Daddy just thinks I have a little too much fiber in my diet.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I know this sounds incredibly like a desperate housewife, but just bear with me. . .

I despise my mop. Any suggestions on a new one?

This little Piggie went to market and this little Piggie stayed home. . . .

I have a confession to make.

This whole H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic Stuff kinda freaks me out.

I don't remember ever receiving a flu shot. I'm sure I did, because back in those days (of horses and carriages and walking three miles up hill barefoot in the snow) before vaccines were blamed for autism and ADHD and obesity, everyone got vaccines. It is just what you did.

But I don't remember getting it.

And I don't remember getting the flu, either. If I did get the flu, I'm 99.9% sure it hasn't been in the last ten years. Allergies, yes. Broken nose and finger and some weird rash-thing no doctor has ever been able to diagnose, yes. But the flu? Nope. Not me.

And it's not really Piggie Flu that is upsetting me, but it is the constant media attention on the flu in general. On swine flu and regular flu and flu shots.

It was not until this past year, when Piggie Flu erupted in sty's everywhere, that I first learned that the normal flu kills approximately 30,000 people a year. Wha-wha-what??

How come I had never heard that before?

That number seems so enormous to me. So incredible to believe. 30,000.

That would be 50 times my HS graduating class. It would be the entire Texas Tech University student body the year I graduated. It would be a little less than 1/3 the city I live in now.


According to the MADD website, a little less than 12,000 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2008.

Yet the normal, average, everyday flu killed almost three times as many people as drunk driving.

And that is what scared me. Because now it's not just me against the world.

It's me standing between the world and Bjorn.

Friday, November 13, 2009

No Babies Allowed

I've never liked signs that read 'No boys allowed' or 'Girls only'.

Even the Little Rascals, with the He-Man Woman Haters Club, strikes a sour note for me.

I would much rather slosh beer and lick chicken wing sauce off my fingers than sip tea and eat dainty cucumber "sandwiches". And maybe there is a guy out there who would rather discuss fashionable hemlines so I can watch a football game. So you can't say that men are allowed because they like certain things and women don't and yadda yadda yadda.

And I just don't like anything that lets some people in and keeps others out. It's not fair. It's not right.

So I was especially upset today during my bridesmaids dress search (short story version - I'm the maid of honor and pick my own dress) to find that this huge warehouse that is most definitely housing my perfect dress does not allow babies.

**Life screeches to a halt.**

Yes, that is right. Does not allow babies.

They even had a sign saying "No infants or children past this point." This point being the moment you enter the store.

Then I was told that they allow children in the dressing rooms, but not on the sales floor, so I would not be able to see, touch or smell any of the thousands of dresses. I was not allowed to casually stroll around until I gasped "Oh!" and gave a little sigh at finding the perfect dress. I was to wait patiently in the dressing room while they brought dress after dress of exactly the opposite of what I told them I wanted.

So I guess they meant it in a keep-your-grubby-hands-off-my-designer-dress kind of way.

But, then, they are still discriminating against all infants and children, while not all children are dirty or grabby. Some - like my 5 month old - are fast asleep in a baby stroller, where even if he was to wake up and begin grabbing for the latest chiffon one-shoulder number, his arms don't reach.

I was so stunned by the sheer arrogance of the "customer serviceperson" (because, really, there was no customer service here) when she asked "Don't you have someone else who can watch him?" after I had driven the 45 minutes across town, that I never even asked why they don't allow children. I am only assuming the dirty hand thing, because, really, what other reason could there be?

I take my child everywhere. He has gone to professional hockey games and a high school football game. He goes to the mall, the grocery store - even out for a nice sushi dinner. Our closest family is 2000 miles away and I am not doling out $50 to a baby-sitter when my son is perfectly and completely portable. Where I go, so goes my son.

If you don't like that, you don't get my business. You don't get the $200 I will shell out for a dress. You do not get the pleasure of selling me a dress. You do not get my good recommendation. You get just the opposite. Click here to find out exactly where not to spend that well-earned money.

Whether it be sex, race or age, discrimination sucks.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My reason

Reason #273 to have a baby: During rush hour, you get to use the HOV lane. Even if you just went shopping, and not to work.

A milestone minute

I don't read parenting books, so I have no idea what all the "milestones" for babies are. And I have no idea when they are supposed to occur.

This has its pros and cons - the biggest pro being that I get excited about everything Bjorn does that is new and different from the day before. I'm not searching for the next written "milestone" and I don't get worried that he hasn't sprouted a tooth/crawled away/spoke in complete sentences yet.

Today's Mama Loves Milestone:

He can sit up. All by himself.

Of course, it is only for about a minute, and then he slowly weeble-wobbles and topples to the floor.

Then we all laugh, sit him upright again and do it all over again.

Yes, I laugh when my baby boy falls over. But he's very durable. He can handle it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mama's advice

Oh yeah, I have absolutely no self-motivational skills.

I have skipped three days of NaBlogWritingMo and have yet to begin on the novel stuff. Oops. I've got to figure how to motivate myself! Eh, who am I kidding? It will happen when it happens. . . . and knowing me, not anytime soon!

Last Saturday was my 10 year HS reunion. It was also only the third time in Bjorns short life that I have left him with someone else for more than two hours.

The first time was less than 2 weeks after his birth, when Grandma watched him so Daddy and I could go out to celebrate my birthday. It was heaven for me, as I was an emotional wreck for the first six weeks, but Daddy missed him immensely.

The second time was when Bjorn was 3 months old and I had a bachelorette party that lasted all weekend. This almost doesn't count, for Bjorn spent the weekend with his Daddy. It's not like I left him at a baby-sitter's all weekend. But I didn't see him for almost three whole days.

Then, this last time, I left him at 7 pm and returned home at 1:30 am.

Mama had some fun.

Being a Mama, I knew that Bjorn was going to be giving me an early morning wake-up call. I knew that if I wanted to be in top form, I needed to be home early so I could get a good night's rest and be able to deal with him.

But I also knew that if I didn't take advantage of this baby-sitting opportunity and milk it for all that it was worth, that I would regret it. I need that social time.

Turns out, I am actually a better Mama when I have gone out, partied hard and only slept for three hours before my crying alarm clock goes off.

When I woke up at 5 am, I immediately took Bjorn, soothing and calming him. Seeing as we were both still sleepy, I took him into bed with me, where he promptly fell asleep cuddled against me. From then until 9 am, Bjorn would wake up once an hour, and we would play and tickle for about ten minutes before he would fall asleep on me again.

I actually had fun. I didn't mind when he woke me up. I didn't mind when he wanted to play. I even didn't mind when he cried a little. Because I knew that I had gone out and had a blast the night before.

Moral of the story?

Take those nights out. Take that time away. Let someone else deal with the crying and the pooping and let someone else have fun with the playing and the laughing. Get away.

What makes you a better Mama?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

LIfe is a chew toy

Like a dog with a bone, Bjorn likes to chew on anything he can get his hands on.

And now that he can deliberately reach for things, he can get his hands on alot.

Like my glasses, my earrings, my necklaces, my hair. He has learned how to unbutton buttons and zippers. That has led to a few embarrassing situations. He finds the zipper and gnaws on it as he pulls it down. Doesn't quite realize why it's moving, but you can see his little mind thinking,"Well, this is cool - it slides right into my mouth!"

But for this little 'un, life is a chew toy.

Everything head straight into his mouth, and if I thought I was an observant Mama before, now I've had to up the ante.

When I am on the computer, he sits on my lap. I throw about ten different stacks of brightly colored post-its on the table in front of him, giving me about 7 minutes of blog-reading before he gets bored.

Recently, I noticed he was even quieter than usual, for longer than usual. After taking a look at him, I realized why. He had grabbed a single post-it and slowly, but surely, stuffed it accordion-like, into his greedy little mouth. By the time I had caught him, only a thin little edge poked out.

I immediately grabbed it out, and unfurled it (spit and all) to see if any pieces were missing and how much had been swallowed.

Since the little guy doesn't know how to chew quite yet, it was disgustingly wet, but not a piece was missing.

Guess I will have to start keeping a better eye on him. Or else find an actual baby toy to amuse him with.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Leavin' on a jet plane. . . . . .

So here we are, the day of my 10 year HS reunion, and Bjorn and I are in Dallas. Minus Daddy, who has to work all weekend. Boo. :(

But Daddy probably had a very good night's sleep last night, while Bjorn and I didn't sleep at all. Sigh. The joys of traveling with a baby.

He slept both flights from Phoenix to Dallas, as he has the other three times we have flown. He is fantastic on planes. But, then, when we pulled up to my brother and sister-in-laws at midnight, he woke up and was happy as a clam.

(Are clams really that happy? How do we know that clams are happy? Do they smile? Do they laugh? I digress. . . . . )

From midnight until after 2 am, when we finally went to bed, this kid was playing and laughing and enjoying his godparents.

Mama, on the other hand, could feel the trouble a-brewing.

Bjorn fought off sleep like a prize heavyweight fighter, kicking and screaming every time his eyes even threatened to close. The pack 'n' play (borrowed from a thoughtful friend) incited what could only be described as baby curses when I tried to lay him in it. Ah, what a fun night I had in store for me.

And, boy was it.

After two hours of trying to get him to sleep in the pack 'n' play, with rocking and shushing and singing and crying and all those things Mama's do when they are desperate, I gave up.

I pulled him out of the crib, and onto the floor next to me. He promptly rolled over, stuck his hand in his mouth and fell asleep. I, on the other hand, was thoroughly and completed exhausted.

So, of course, I couldn't sleep.

I watched the clock roll from 4 to 4:15 to 4:28, until finally I came to my senses and turned off the damn clock.

Bjorn slept through until 7 am, when he woke up, happy as a lark. (Again with the happy questions - how do we really know that larks are so happy?)

Mama needed an IV of coffee. This traveling thing sucks when the kids gets out of whack.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Everyday Choices

Yesterday, during my never-ending quest for the perfect boots (which was futile, since apparently my perfect boots are not in style this season), I saw a homeless man standing at a red light.

Since Phoenix in the winter has practically perfect weather for the homeless, I was not surprised. This is the time of year when every corner has a man with a sign and a dog.

But this got me to thinking. . .

Fortunately, Bjorn is not at an age yet where I have to teach him anything besides how to reach for his feet so he can put his toes in his mouth. And that was quite easy to accomplish. But soon I will have to start teaching him discipline and strength, compassion and giving.

And I have a choice.

Do I teach him that everyone should work hard for what they get? Or should I teach him that we should give to the homeless just because they stand out there with a sign? These seem to contradict themselves.

I have heard the stories - that the homeless average about $35,000 a year, tax-free. That some "homeless" drive new vehicles and wear designer clothes. I even read an article a few years back written by a Director for a homeless shelter asking people not to give the homeless money. This would only encourage their actions, where there are plenty of government subsidized programs available to them. Ones that we are already paying for with our taxes.

It was the longest red light in the history of red lights, but I suddenly realized that I didn't have a choice. I didn't get to decide what I was going to teach.

Someone had already taught me the right thing to do. I would have to do the same.

As the light turned green, I reached into my glove compartment for my emergency granola bar and into my diaper bag for my emergency apple. (I get hungry alot, and when I get hungry, I get mean. Mean with a capital B. I carry alot of emergency food with me.)

It was 2:00 in the afternoon, and I had already had three cups of coffee, a bowl of cereal, a hamburger, some Cheez-its and a box of raisins. Had this man eaten all day? Yesterday, even?

I rolled up next to him and handed him all my emergency food. Healthy food that would sustain him if what he really wanted was sustainability.

But what I really gave him was hope.

This is what I want to pass on to my son. Although this man may be a sneak and a crook, he also may be a proud man, down on his luck. Although he may live in a house bigger and nicer than ours, he also might live under the highway overpass. And although he may snigger and chuckle at the sucker I am, he also might send up an extra prayer for me.

Every Christmas season growing up, when the homeless began to appear on the corners of our small Dallas suburb, my mom would head to McDonalds, where she would put $100 of her hard-earned money into 4 $25 gift books. She would dole out $5 gift certificates to each homeless person she could, knowing that with that money they could get a hot coffee, a burger, and maybe even an apple pie.

With a $5 gift certificate, they could get a meal. A head start. A promise of something better.

That is what I want to teach my son. That although you can stand back and be cynical, it is better to stand tall and be compassionate.

Matthew 25: 34-40 Then the King will say to those on his right hand, "Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take as your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you gave me welcome, lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me." Then the upright will say to him in reply, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you? When did we find you sick or in prison, and go to see you?" And the King will answer,"In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November Goal

One of the Mommy Bloggers I stalk read on a daily basis, AnyMommy, reminded me in her post today that it is, in fact, National Blog Posting Month and National Novel Writing Month.

Pretty much, it's Write Your Ass Off Month.

I looked at the websites for both the Novel and Blog Writing and thought "Wow, well, I'm much too busy to participate in both, so I guess I will just see if I can possibly, maybe, do the blog writing. After all, I might be able to actually do that. I guess."

Talk about gung-ho! Look at that enthusiasm!

The Novel Writing is all about "quantity, not quality", which is something I can appreciate considering that I already have 3/4 of a novel sitting idly in Microsoft Word. And because the other 1/4 of the novel is in bits and pieces spread three computers, pieces of napkins from epiphanies in restaurants and any other piece of paper (receipts, toilet paper, etc) that is handy when inspiration has struck. I have alot of quantity, but I haven't actually read through it to see if any of it is quality.

The Blog Writing is simple. Write a post a day for the month of November. I first thought '"But, I have a 5 month old and my HS reunion and my house needs to be cleaned and I really wanted to go shopping today for those new boots I'm salivating over and. . . . "

Suck it up, Girl. It's time to put your writing cap on.

So, in honor of Write Until Your Fingers Fall Off Month, I have decided to participate in both. Unofficially, of course, as I am a fantastic starter at things (half-marathon training, that damned almost finished book) and horrible at finishing them. So the pressure is on. . . . but not really. I haven't signed up, and I haven't paid any entry fees. I'm still half-assing it. But that's why we have Bloggie friends, right? To keep us on our toes when we kinda, sorta, only halfway do something?

I'm still not all gung-ho about it, but I'm trying. C'mon, give me a little credit. (And also give me credit for finally figuring out how to cross out typed words like in the first paragraph. I've been wanting to do that since I first started blogging!)

By the end of November (Because I am going to cheat a little - I know Nov has already started, but the 30th is such a clean number, so I am going to forget about these first three days and start now. Pretend its February with only 28 days.) Anyways - by the end of November, I should have a post a day on this blog and a finished book. (Really? Finished? Can I really do that?)

I mean, really, what else do I have to do? My 5 month old can entertain himself for one hour, my HS reunion is only one weekend, this house will never be clean again, and those boots I'm drooling over? Well. . . I'm gonna buy those boots today.

I have to. I love boots.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide

A good friend of mine recently had a c-section (welcome to the world Baby Lucy!!), and since she is an Austin hippie who planned for an all-natural water birth, I know she was horribly unprepared for it. I also skipped the entire chapter on c-sections, thinking, 'My pregnancy has gone perfectly! It won't happen to me!'

Murphy's Law strikes again.

But I know these first few days (weeks, months, years) after Baby is born is hard. I wanted to shout the good news from the rooftops, but since I was given very good drugs for the pain, I wasn't allowed near any rooftops. (Nor heavy machinery or alcohol. So, no penthouse parties for me!) And since I've always been a serial drunk dialer, I figured I would be a serial drugged dialer too, and after the requisite family calls, I turned off my phone.

I don't want to disturb my hippie chick with phone calls while she's in the recuperating stages, but I began to think about all the things I wish I would have known about c-sections. And advice I could have used right after the fact. She knows I'm here and if she wants advice, she'll call. But for all those who don't have my cell number. . . .

From my scar to yours, here are my first-few-days survival guide for c-sections:

  • Steal your Hubs' boxer shorts. If he doesn't wear boxers, send him to the nearest store for some XL mens boxers. Always get XL - this is a time for comfort, not fit, and these will be the most comfortable. You may think maternity shorts will work, too, but they won't. Remember that band that tried desperately to hold up your pants over that bulging belly? Not a good idea to have that on top of a fresh cut. Just hike that boxer waistband up to your boobs and call it a day.
  • While you're sending the Hubs out for underwear, have him stop by Motherhood Maternity for some maternity undies. In a size larger than normal. Don't think that high-rise undies from Target will work. They won't. In fact, the waistband will hit exactly where your stitches/staples are. Tell him to suck it up and go to Motherhood Maternity. Even if it isn't really on the way.
  • Nurses will not automatically bring you your meds. I learned that the hard way when, the day after surgery, I waited for 8 hours for my super-hyped-up-illegal-everywhere-except-Mexico happy pills. Talk about pain. With tears rolling down my face, I finally called the nurse, to which she responded 'Well, why didn't you just call earlier?' Ummm. . . because this is my first time in a hospital and first time having surgery and first time having a baby and I'm a little overwhelmed. And because you're the nurse. Lesson: Keep track of what you took, when you took it, and when you can have it again.
  • It will hurt to get up. If you are anything like me, it will hurt horribly to get up. Do it anyway. Lean on your husband, the nurse, the nice woman who repeatedly stops by until you pay your hospital bills. Whomever. Just do it.
  • When you get home, take all your meds. At least until you see your Doc for your 2 week follow up visit. Don't stop taking the stool softener just because you think you're fine. Or you may end up busting open your stitches in the worst possible way. Trust me. So not fun.
  • If little things like a dirty-ish house bug you, hire a cleaning lady. It's worth it. Because now is not the time to dust baseboards or perfectly corner-tuck sheets. (Seriously, didn't you do all that while you were nesting?) This is not even the time to fold shirts or wipe down the breakfast mess. And the last thing your Mom wants to do (although she will offer and gladly accept) is clean. She wants to hold her new grandbaby. Let her. Hire a maid.

There it is. My quick and dirty survival guide. I know I am missing lots of important points, and I'm sure I'll remember them as soon as I press the 'publish post' button, but here are at least a few to get you started.

Just in case.