Thursday, November 30, 2006


I am a pillow connoisseur.
Things haven't always been this way. When I married Dyami at 25, I was still using the synthetic fiber-fill pillow (I think) I'd been using since second grade.
I think the pillow industry recommends changing your pillow every 2 years.
That's a lot of dust mites, people.
Then I slept with Dyami's down pillow a few times. "It actually cradles your head," I marveled. Dyami increased my pillow awareness (and snobbishness) when he got me a super-deluxe pillow for Christmas one year. Memory foam core, surrounded by real down. It's firm and soft, all at once.
This is a serious pillow. I think the down was picked by monk amputees. With their teeth. (Ptooie.)
This pillow came with a serious price tag.
And we've been unable to find another one as nice.
So then began the pillow wars. I'm a lot (a LOT) less aware than Dyami, so he'd steal my pillow as we were getting ready for bed, and I wouldn't notice the sub-par pillow for days. Or nights, rather. Then I'd notice I wasn't nearly as comfy as before. I'd pick up D's pillow, and sure enough! The switcheroo.
I got him a pillow (foam core, down fill) but it wasn't as nice. I cried a few times, and finally gave in. I took the sub-par pillow, he took the nice one. I mean, if I didn't notice for several nights, he obviously needed it more than me.
Then I got pregnant.
Even Dyami wouldn't take a pillow from a pregnant lady.

But the positive preggers test was only the beginning of our pillow journey. After a few months I was supposed to start sleeping on my side. I'm a back sleeper, and needed some help. So back to Bed Bath and Beyond for a body pillow.
We called it Mr. Pillow for a while, until Dyami slept with Mr. Pillow once during a nap. And then it was Pat.
He (Dyami) was tempted to steal Pat, too, but again, I was pregnant.
I told him he could have Pat after I gave birth.

How could I have known that birth multiplies the need for pillows by approximately 1076 percent?

After Lucy, I had to nurse. At first, I used every pillow in the house. Boppy, three pillows behind my back, neck pillow to help me sleep. Pillows alongside to prop up her head. I slowly got the hang of nursing laying down, but that required Pat (sorry, honey), and several pillows besides.
I nursed so much that it felt like the only things touching me those first weeks were the pillows. No one else could get close enough.

After three months, I've found the combination of pillows that seems to work:
On couch: boppy, two firm navy pillows, one small tan pillow.
On bed: two off-white couch pillows, bed pillow between legs. Small pillow for side-sleeping if Lucy's not nursing. Two pillows or more on floor because I'm afraid of her rolling off the bed. Not to mention the monk-plucked special pillow.
Dyami still has Pat (s/he turned out not to be firm enough for nursing) and his compromise pillow.

We're both small people, have a tiny baby and a king sized bed.

There's not enough room.

And now I'm super-territorial about pillows. When we have people over and they move my couch pillows, I'm shocked and appalled. I'm using those, I think, smiling through clenched

We're trying to let go.

Now my only problem is my original, super-special monk pillow. We've come and gone past two years' usage, and there's no way I'm throwing it away for a lesser pillow.
Could a pillow count as an heirloom? Maybe Lucy can use it as part of her dowry.
If I'm willing to part with it then.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

homeless people

I haven't told my husband this story yet.
If you're reading my blog, you probably already know that Dyami and I practice something called Elimination Communication with Lucia. This isn't as complicated as it sounds--mostly it just means taking her to a sink/toilet when she has to go to the bathroom, and having her do her business there, rather than in a diaper.
It's what they do in India and China. All those billions of people can't be wrong, right?
Anyway, we got the idea from my brother and sister-in-law, Jamie and Evelyn. Their daughter is two and a half and has never worn a diaper.
Evelyn is taller than Jamie, with curly brown hair and the kindest almond-shaped eyes. She is very calm. So calm that when her daughter needed to pee at Disneyland, Evelyn dropped Ava's shorts and had her do it in the planter.
They recently visited, and I was impressed by Evelyn's calm, her quiet revolution in Ava's pants. Dyami loves Evelyn and respects her, but he's not so into the public urination.
That's why I haven't told him this story yet.
Fast-forward to a walk I took with Lucy. I had her asleep in a sling, and knew, setting out, that she was probably going to wake up, and possibly be upset. But being me, I just had to go out for a walk around the block. Half of our block is taken up by a nice-looking apartment complex, trees, lawn, pool and buildings.
Lucy woke up right outside the rental office. And needed to nurse. Not just when we got home. Right then.
We were passing by the sign for the apartment, which is a low stucco half-wall. I took her out of the sling, (I hadn't figured out how to nurse her in it yet). And sat behind the half-wall and whipped out the boob. She latched on okay, but started wiggling and crying again almost immediately.
See, when she wakes up from a nap, she always has to pee. And she often gets very upset when she has to pee in her pants.
"What would Evelyn do?" I asked myself. So I dropped Lucy's trou and tried to make her pee against the wall.
What I hadn't considered is that the half-wall was relatively hidden from the street, but was right in view of the rental office.
After a minute, a nicely coiffed woman comes out of the office and crosses the lawn. "Can I help you?" she asked.
Lucy's still squirming, crying, and not peeing. I think she doesn't like the wind up her shorts. "We're fine," I said.
She comes towards me and sits on the half-wall. Looks at us in disbelief. I'm making my daughter pee on the wall. She can't be okay with this, I think.
"Do you live here?" she asks.
I point over the hill. "Right in those houses over there."
"What are you doing?" she asks.
"My daughter needed to pee, so I'm letting her pee." (People get arrested for this, I think).
"Doesn't she have a diaper?"
I lamely pat the cotton prefold I dropped on the lawn. I try for an authoritative, 'I'm not crazy ' tone. "If we're bothering you, ma'm, we can leave."
"I was just worried about what you were doing to her," she said. "I was sitting in the office over there--I'm the manager--and saw you feeding her, and thought that was okay, but I didn't know what you were doing when you took off her diaper. I was worried."
Lucy's wiggling, wiggling. Crying. Still not peeing. What am I doing to my child? "It's what they do in China and India," I say.
"China and India," she repeats. You can clearly see she knows I am crazy.
We keep talking for a minute more--her staring at my daughter's dropped pants, me trying to see if Lucy has peed. On this nice lady's sign. I manage to convince her a) I'm not crazy, b) not a vagrant, c) not harming my daughter.
Finally, the manager gets up, smiles at me, and walks away. "Have a good day," she says.
I'm amazed she was so nice.
Finally, I gave up on Lucy peeing outside like Ava. "Sorry, baby," I said, wrapping her back up. "We're like the homeless people."
I haven't attempted peeing her outside a bathroom again. See, honey, I learned my lesson.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

in our hands

I gave in.
I read this article ( a while ago and resolved not to do this. Not to start a self-indulgent, navel-gazing chronicle.
And then three things happened.
1. I read Melissa Wilkins' blog ( and was wholly entertained. Thanks so much, Melissa (that's meant to be sarcastic).
2. My husband, Dyami is so quotable. Like last night, holding our three-month-old, Lucia, he said, "I am moved to tears by her. I mean, a few years from now, I won't be able to hold her like this, in my hands." I love you, Dyami.
3. I am always tempted to think that my new life isn't worthy of contemplation. I mean, it's mostly made up of whether to nurse in-sling or on-couch, various ways of holding my daughter so she'll poop in the sink, and the benefits of swaddling. With a side of keeping Lucy happy in the car.
However, motherhood is important. And I'm only starting my new life as a mother, and while it's tempting to ignore the change and lust after my old life, I would rather boldly decide that what I do now is interesting and important.
So, a blog.
By the way, "the spice choir" is what our friend Angela dubbed the spice rack, because it has riser-levels of spices, all lined up. I like to sing and cook, so the name seemed fitting.

As for important details of my new life, here is my current dilemma:
How do I keep people from exposing me?
See, when you nurse, you have to expose yourself, um, to the air. When out, I nurse Lucy in a sling, and wrap the tail end of it strategically, so you can't even tell I'm nursing.
But the problem is, people can't tell I'm nursing. Then they're drawn to Lucy's cute face, and they want to see it. Though I'm pretty sure they don't want to see my nipple at the same time.
Here's the conversation I had today with the lovely woman who helped me load my Trader Joe's bags into the car:
Her: "Let's squeeze that last one into the back. Careful! It's really heavy. Okay, done. Now, can I see her?"
Me: "Um, sure." (fumble, fumble) "Let me just get that nipple covered up."
It's not like I can blame people. I *do* have the cutest baby girl on the planet. And it's not that I'm that embarrassed (after thirteen years of ballet and stripping down in tiny dressing rooms, I'm not that modest). It's more I'm embarrassed that they'll be embarrassed that I'll be embarrassed.
It's even worse with men: our lovely pastor started moving the strategically placed tail of my sling after a church service, as I'm saying, "Oh--she's eating--oh."
Boy, was his face red. And mine for him. And so on.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006