Tuesday, February 27, 2007

size matters

Went to the pediatrician's. Generally, my ped is pretty nice, but I wasn't so hot on her this time. See, Lucy is small. Very small. Low on the growth charts small. Even for breast-fed babies small.
Course, you look at Dyami and I and you wouldn't expect gigantobaby, would you?

So, when she comes back with the news that Lucy is light for her age, I wasn't too surprised. Also wasn't surprised that she recommended feeding her solids. (She recommended solids at Lucy's four-month appointment, at which point I told her I wasn't going to do so. See, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend doing that either. Shouldn't this woman be following their advice?) And we have started solids. Slowly, and without too much gusto. But we have started. I was thinking about doing it on weekends at first. If we felt like it. Since it's kind of a pain in the butt (and this is from a woman who complains about nursing!) And because Lucy still doesn't have teeth and doesn't react too well to some foods, solids are a little, well, premature.
The ped, however, wanted us to start three meals a day. Which is just not going to happen right now. How am I going to give my child that much food all at once? Food would go from being a pleasant, fun thing that we ease into to me force-feeding my child three times a day. Exactly what I wanted to avoid.
But see, I kind of like authority figures, and doing What They Say, and so it's hard to go in a second time and have her tell me these things, and know I'm going to pretty much ignore her. Hard, but still doable.
It doesn't help her credibility that she also says that breastfed babies are bigger, usually than formula fed babies, which is false. (Looked it up in my baby book. UC Davis study says she's wrong. Plus, think about it: which is harder, getting food actively out of a boob or passively out of a dribbling bottle? You don't even have to suck the bottle--and it's easy to overfeed bottle fed babies). It's hard to trust her advice when she's wrong on something so simple. Also, breastmilk has more calories per ounce than most solids, so wouldn't I want to give her more of that to be most efficient?

Anyway, to make a long story short, I do take her concerns (somewhat) seriously, and have been trolling around for feedback from trusted people, like my midwife, Sarah, my LLL leader friend, my mom, my mother-in-law, and last but not least, Dyami.
See, breastmilk should still be plenty for her right now, and the best thing for her right now, but half of the people are telling me it's not. Which is a little frustrating, seeing as how I'm getting mixed messages. And how it produces worry and lack of confidence (like birth, breastfeeding is kind of a confidence game, seeing as you can't actually see how much food the child is getting). I've poured my life (literally--I haven't had much of a life) into feeding this child for the last six months--willingly, though not without a struggle--and now it seems that it's not enough. Not enough? Are you kidding me?
I'm thinking about ways to increase my milk supply (which is surely the better route than trying to force-feed my child or give her foods that could possibly cause allergies later on) but already nurse a lot, and it's hard to motivate myself to come out of the nice little comfort zone we've created over the last month and a half. Things have been relatively easy since January. God, it's been nice. I think about waking up in the middle of the night to nurse or pump and I whimper.
I was quite relieved to talk to my mother-in-law, Donna, actually. Turns out Dyami was small, though she can't remember how small. But Jamie, his older brother, was a munchkin (28 pounds in kindergarten). And Jim, my father in law was small, and Donna herself was a preemie.
So probably a lot of this is genetics. This is good, since Donna's children all turned out normal and coordinated and quite brilliant (if I do say so). And funny and handsome.
Lucy still has a chance, people! It's amazing!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Bedtime was another unpleasant episode. I was going to write 'battleground', but I know moms who really have battles at night, so I won't overstate my case. I nursed her for about 40 minutes, trying to unhook the kid several times. No luck. Finally, I asked Dyami to try taking her to the bathroom (she's had kind of an icky tummy the last few days). She got upset. A little poop, but a lot of crying/screaming. We quickly decided she was Not Into Bathroom Time, so I started nursing some more.
Of course, my mood as a mom swings quickly. While I'm nursing for longer than I want to be, I just want to get away. Back to dinner, and my celebratory "Lucy is Asleep" glass of wine (which I'm sipping right now. Ahhhh, Papio). Then when she's crying, I rush back, full of compassion, only wanting to cradle her to my breast. She nurses. I caress her baby-fine hair and delicate scalp, and think about how precious and fragile she is.

This lasts about a minute. Then, when her nursing is strong, and shows no sign of abating (after more than twice what she usually does a night) I stop being quite so misty-eyed. God, can't she finish already? Who does this kid think she is?
Finally, I unlatch. Call in Dyami for backup (he pats her and stays in bed a few minutes to try to head off any wakeups). I tiptoe out of the room. I sit down at the dinner table. I take a bit of my (now cold) chicken.
I hear the Sound of Dread. Baby crying.
Put down chicken. Grumble, grumble. Back in dark bedroom for 10-15 more minutes of nursing.
She seems to be asleep now. (Cross your fingers and pray, people).
I do feel bad for her. And really, tonight wasn't so awful. But gosh, it's just aggravating to be in that dark room for over an hour, with a verrrrrrry tired baby, and not have her sleep. What's the deal?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

empty head

It took a long time to get Lucy to fall asleep tonight. While in bed, I was getting slightly (well, by the end of the nearly 2 hour process, more than slightly) annoyed by it; I had Other Things I wanted to do tonight, like write. Today, on my walk, I thought about a story I'd started BL (before Lucy) and had an idea for a new scene.
Of course, once she did go to sleep, and I came out here, got a glass of wine, and sat down at my computer, my brain was empty.
The other day, I managed to write a pretty good poem--this was my first bit of super creative writing in a while. It felt really good. But I'm tired tonight, worn down by the day (she got pretty cranky at the end of the day, and I was really ready for her to go to bed, and then it took several frustrating attempts to get her actually asleep). All of my creativity has been drained out of me.
So I decided to whine here.
Plus it's Ash Wednesday, and Dyami's playing bass at our church, and it's always a very meaningful service, and I can't be there.
Plus when I was in bed getting Lucy asleep, I thought I heard robbers in the house. I got really scared (seriously, there's not a lot more more vulnerable than being in bed with your sweet baby). I went to check out the noise once I got Lucy settled. It was the cat. Don't know how she made said noises (they weren't recognizably hers), but everything was still here, the house was empty, and the doors locked. Gosh, I hate being scared in the house by myself at night.
Plus Lucy is making all kinds of noises and sounds about ready to wake up again. Sigh.
Whine + wine = blogging.

Monday, February 19, 2007

leaving her

So the last few days I've had some (drumroll) time to myself, out of the house, sans baby.
Lucy still eats about every hour when I'm around, but we have discovered she can go over two hours when I'm away. This is actually enough time for me to go someplace with a friend, like a restaurant, eat, chat, pay, and come back without feeling rushed. Not feeling rushed is kind of an odd, but good feeling. She hangs out with Dyami and they have a good ol' time.
So for my Saturday outing, what did I do? Went to Babies R' Us.
I know, I know, it's not very un-mommy of me, but we need a stroller and a high chair, and Target, close to our house, has a lousy selection. So my friend Helafo (Heather LaForge) came with me.
This is the first time I've been to Babies R' Us (BRU) since...hmmmm...since well before I was pregnant. I went to Toys R Us for a baby shower gift over a year ago. Does that count?
I'm actually kind of proud of myself for avoiding the place. It scares me. Rows of strollers worth hundreds (hundreds!) of dollars apiece. Flashing, beeping, jiggling, shouting toys. Coordinated fabrics on high chair, crib, bassinette, stroller, car seat, changing pad, and diaper pail. Ridiculous baby furniture (will your baby really need twelve pieces of furniture??) And everything is cross-promoted with Disney or Nickelodeon. Elmo Diapers. Dora Burp cloths. Sponge Bob Floor mats. Ugh.
There was a high chair by Fisher Price that was called the "Rainforest" chair. In the center of the tray, there was this foot tall, foot wide plastic tree with gizmogetry all over it.
Okay, people, this is a high chair. For eating. How is a kid supposed to eat if there's a toy that's bigger than her head right in the middle of the tray? And no, it didn't look removable. It is kind of like getting a plate with an LCD screen in the middle of it. So you can watch movies in between your potatoes and your green beens?
The worst part was they didn't even have the particular products I wanted to look at (high chair, strollers, Baby Bjorn Little Potty). What good is such a gigantic store if they have a lousy selection?
Boo to you, BRU. Boo to you.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I'm enjoying my daughter.
Enjoyment kind of snuck up on me, hidden in between decent (more than decent) sleep on my part and new skills on hers. She's almost crawling, has mastered a mischievous look, and goes after the cat with wild abandon. And I'm lucid enough to watch.
Love was a given (thank God). Interest, a given. Enjoyment came sporadically when I was just trying to have enough energy to hold her over the sink.
The other day, while she was sleeping, Dyami imitated some of her best faces. The wide open eyes looking around. The crawling and making sure we're paying attention.
And I almost wanted to wake her up. Just to see those faces. (Almost). Of course, had we woken her up, those faces would have been hidden under the "why the hell did you just wake me up" upsetness. But still. I was actually tempted.
Praise God for enjoyment. May it come full and thick, like the ropes of drool from Lucy's mouth.

Friday, February 16, 2007

baby vocabulary

A lot of what people say about baby activity is extremely ridiculous.
I would laugh at them, except I say the same things as everyone else.
Here's a short dictionary.

Cradle cap=extreme baby dandruff. Anyone got the Selson Blue?
Drool=spit. Sure, it's cuter coming out of those little bee-stung lips, but it's the same stuff that baseball players hock onto the pitcher's mound. (Sans chewing tobacco, at least for my baby).
Feed=eat. I'm okay with "I'm going to feed her," but "she's feeding" or "her eleven am feed" gives me the heebie jeebies (even though I say it occasionally). It makes the baby sound like the velociraptor from Jurassic Park. As in, "Ahhhh! The baby is feeding on the entrails of that raccoon!"
Fussing=whining, baby style. Okay, before all of the other super-crunchy parents get on my case, I know the baby isn't trying to manipulate me, can't actually whine, and is only trying to get her needs met, yada yada yada. But gosh, the tone of fussing is a whine. It's at the same frequency as chalk on blackboards.
Going down=going to sleep. Sounds like a plane crash. Actually, maybe that's accurate.
Nursing=breastfeeding. I don't know if this one is actually funny, but it is odd that we have all of these people called "nurses" running around that have nothing to do with mother's milk. Which begs the question--did they, at one time, actually, well, nurse?
Putting her down=Trying to make the child go to sleep. Sounds dangerously like euthanasia. Maybe that's because some parents consider large doses of morphine for a fussy child. See fussy, above.
Spit up=puked-up curdled breastmilk. Surprising puked up curdled breastmilk. Come on, people, let's call a spade a spade.
Tinkle=pee. I don't say this one, but I have fond memories of a neighbor friend's mom always asking their toddler if she needed to tinkle. Sounds like the child has a jingle bell stuck up her hoo-hoo.

So there you go. Babies are kind of gross little creatures, and we try to gloss over it all to make them seem cute. Or to not scare the part of the population that hasn't had kids yet.
Anyway, I gotta go. Lucy's fussy, so it must be time for her 1 pm feed. Today's menu: dead armadillo*. Then we'll be dashing through the snow to her baby potty so she can tinkle.

*Sometime, I have to tell you guys about my claim to fame: mentioning dead armadillo on a very bad Kenny Rogers space cowboy music video. No joke!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


So Lucy has a new skill. It's pretty exciting. She can push up on hands and knees. Crawling is going to follow, sooner than I think.
Right now she's pretty mobile, and her "dangerous things" magnet is pretty strong. In other words, she's skooching along the floor, and what does she go for? Here's a list:
1. Power cords. Especially the slightly sickly one on my computer (wrapped with electrical tape).
2. Somewhat shaky media center, featuring the collapsed back panel, malfunctioning swivel feature, sideways shearing, and the easily opened glass doors with poky corners.
3. CD tower that, when she's a little bigger, she could tip over on top of herself. Along with all of the CDs.
4. The cat. There have been a few rather nerve-wracking Eleanor v. Lucy moments, where Lucy gives the cat her most winning smile and Eleanor hisses. Anybody need a cat?
Dyami and I need to do some serious baby proofing. I'm trying to avoid the impulse to cover everything in bubble wrap; surely some element of difficulty is good for her. She has to learn physical consequences eventually, right? Though Eleanor would look good in bubble wrap.
My bro- and sis- in law lived with my in-laws for a while, in the chicken coop. Apparently they didn't even cover the outlets. Aren't you required to in your parenting contract? As my very chill bro-in-law, Jamie, put it, "Ava's not running around the house with metal forks a lot." It probably that they had a ratio of four adults to one toddler in the house. Me, I don't want to depend on my child not finding the metal forks. Perhaps we'll switch to plastic.
I am much more chill than before Lucy was born, though, when I was worried about everything. Like the death-trap crib. And accidentally dislocating her leg when I lifted up her bum to change her diaper.
Babies are much, much tougher than I thought. Thank God.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

fancy technoblogger

So Pro Mommy emails me and asks if I knew I could have my comments emailed to me, instead of having to navigate through three pages every time I want to see whether my myriads of readers (well, just Pro Mommy) have left a comment.
Oh--um, sure I knew that. Of course I did! What, do I look dumb or unsavvy or something? (Furiously clicking to the "Settings" page, finding the email notifier, typing in my address). Ahem. What were we talking about again?
While I was changing my settings, I noticed that there is also a setting to allow unregistered users to comment. Which was switched off. And actually, I have one other friend who actually reads this thing, but is not a user, so now maybe she'll leave me comments. Pretty please, Amy? Comeon, I'll bribe ya!
So it's a free-for-all, people. Comment away!

Monday, February 12, 2007


Every day I push the "publish" button to send my thoughts into cyberspace so you all (the hundreds, if not thousands of people who frequent this blog) can see it. But I get published elsewhere, too.
I'm crowing a little bit today, because a story of mine is appearing in Harpur Palate this month. I just got my contributor's copy, and it's pretty slick.
I've gotten other stuff published a few other places, but this is the nicest journal I've been in so far.
Getting short stories and poems published is sort of like conducting a mass Monster.com job search via snail mail, but it never ends. And when you do 'get the job', instead of getting paid, you get copies of the resume you sent in back, printed in a book with other resumes.
Hmmmm. Why do I do this again?
Well, for the joy of being published, of course, and for the bragging rights on my blog.
I have this whole elaborate system for getting published: spreadsheets of journals to send to (about 250 so far) color coded by time of year (spring, fall, summer). Spreadsheets of which pieces I've sent where, with dates marked when I send letters out and when I get the (nearly inevitable) rejection letters back.
I have a lot (a lot) of rejection letters. I file them in a binder, alphabetically. It's bursting. Most of the responses are form letters, but a few are personalized rejections. This is actually positive, for they are not bad personal ("Hey, you blonde, 5'4" nincompoop, why did you send us this trash about your sad childhood?"), but good personal ("Heather, you actually came pretty close to not being rejected! Congratulations!")
So anyway, published, and not just in cyberspace. In a real journal that sells for ten dollars!
My life has meaning now!

Thursday, February 8, 2007


I'm like a whole different type of mom now.
I use a stroller.
Before Lucy was born, Dyami and I looked at strollers and decided not to buy one just yet. It was a great decision. Since Lucy's least favorite place is her car seat, it probably would not have helped to try to strap her in it and wheel her around for even more time during the day. Plus, with a little baby, a sling works just fine, thank you. And it fits in the back seat of my car. With room left over.
I felt a little smug that we had managed not to lay down $100 plus dollars on something everyone says you need.
Then I got my sore neck.
My sweet mom said, "Hey, I've got an umbrella stroller in our garage" (They're grandparents five times over. Can you tell?). I borrowed it, and tried putting Lucy in it. She's under the 6 month recommendation for this type of stroller, but she can sit up on her own, and she is so advanced for her age (yada yada yada).
And guess what? She likes it! We go on walks, and her weight doesn't create migraine headaches!

One problem with the stroller: I'm under 5'4", and it is is too short for me. Not because I'm tall, but because my arms are like that dinosaur's in Toy Story II . It's kind of embarrassing. Realizing how short my arms made me realize why one of Dyami's favorite positions in bed with Lucy doesn't work for me. He kept talking about how when he lay next to her, he'd put his hand on her legs. I tried it once, and my hand doesn't reach past her hips. (And that not comfortably). The reason is now clear: His arms are a good two inches longer than mine. He's a monkey.
Speaking of abnormal body parts, it amazes me how all of us have relatively the same proportions, but such wild variance at the same time. For example, I have a very long torso and stubby legs. So if I sit on the floor with my legs out straight in front of me, I can touch my toes without bending forward very much. Whereas I've seen basketball players whose feet might as well be in Timbuktu.

So, strollering. It's pretty nice. Except for the dogs. I'm afraid some strange dog is going to come up to Lucy. When I see them on the street, I growl.
Okay, I'm lying about that part.
Hey, I get protective around hummingbirds. So what do you want from me?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


I knew it would happen, but it's still surprising.
I'm not so into spit. Kid spit, dog spit, any spit seems pretty disgusting to me. My neices, when very little, would "kiss" us, which meant a very sloppy open-mouthed smack. I was not so excited by it, but feared visibly wincing (or wiping) would be rude. I'd heard that with motherhood came a magical acceptance of spit. (People call it drool, I think, to make it sound better). And my baby drools. All the time. She's like a wee snail, leaving wet slime tracks wherever she goes.
To be honest, I am not super excited by her spit. But the magic has occurred. I don't mind it nearly as much as I should.
Today I lay on my back and held her up over me. She loves touching our faces, and in this position, she has prime access (with the added benefit of my hair being out of the way so she doesn't grab it with her kung-fu grip).
Incidentally, when she grabs my nose, I honk. She laughs. It's hours of fun. (Cause and effect isn't too strong yet--she laughs, but makes no move to grab again.)
So anyway, while I held her over me, I lowered her body so she was propped up on my chest, her face a few inches from mine. She was pushed up on her hands.
Then she sort of dipped down, so she was right in my face. Nose to nose. It was slightly disconcerting, because the string of drool very slooowly made it's drippy way onto my cheek.
But I was okay with it, because her cute face was right there. I laughed.
Then she dipped even further down and started sucking on my cheek.
It was a very odd sensation.
Mind you, this baby sucks on my body parts quite a lot. But the face?
I knew I was a mommy when I didn't even mind.
I am a glutton for baby affection.
Sloppy open mouthed kisses, here we come!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

sore neck

I have a sore neck.
One would think this would have happened sooner, considering how hard motherhood is on one's body. I see why people say it's good to have kids at 21. My body was so much more resilient at 21.
Here's how it happened: I saw a man fall on the subway tracks, so I leapt down to save him, and jarred my neck pulling him out of the way of the train.
Okay, so what really happened is I slept on my stomach. One night.
This is pretty unfair. I mean, how many people sleep on their stomachs with no problems? I do it, and I get whiplash.
So for about three weeks or more I've been almost unable to turn my head to the left, or tilt it to the side. This makes driving difficult.
And then there's the little matter of the sling.
See, I use a sling a lot. Lucy naps in it, for example, when I'm out of the house.
Last weekend, with the sore shoulder, i put her in the sling, and I started getting a migraine. My vision started going all fuzzy before the actual headache started.
Actually it was sort of dramatic (sometimes, it's good to have dramatic symptoms, because you get more sympathy). My young friend, Master Roark Polzin, was sitting right in front of me, and I kept looking in his general direction, and wondering, "Where's Roark?" He had a bright orange shirt on, too.
Then I had to go home and lay down in a very dark room.

That was the last time I went out on the town with Lucy. No more grocery shopping with her, taking her to Nature's Mother for bible study, or going to playgroup.
I was already a recluse. Now I am a hermit.
I think I need to invest in a hair shirt.

Friday, February 2, 2007

our soundtrack

I sing a lot with Lucy.
This is actually quite gratifying, since as a kid, I sang and annoyed the crap out of my poor sister. And Dyami isn't super excited about me harmonizing to the radio. So I've held back all these years.
But Lucy loves me singing.
Here's how it goes:
Lucy: Fuss fuss fuss. Fuss.
Me singing: Blackbird singing in the dead of night--take these broken wings and learn to fly all your life---
Lucy: Smile.
My voice is magic!

At first, I was rather (too) formal about the singing thing. I tried to learn actual tunes (Beatles, as shown above, were very popular) and remember the words. I'd be singing to Lucy while walking and stop and repeat verses and stuff because I'd flubbed a word or sung the verses out of order.
Then I realized: Lucy doesn't care! I could sing stock market quotes and she'd be happy.
As evidence, here are some of her favorite songs:
1. Bumblebee. This is a vocal exercise the old choir director at our church , Ken Fox, used to give during rehearsals. It's sort of arpeggios up and down the scale, singing the word Bumblebee. Classic. This was Lucy's favorite song for a long time. Lucas, my nephew, learned this exercise in his choir, so he sings along when we see him.
2. Singing numbers. I count a lot when we're sitting over the toilet, to keep from wondering how long I've been holding her (good news--we've mostly made the transition to the Baby Bjorn Little Potty which is a lot easier on my back and arms). She likes just the plain counting, but if she starts to fuss, singing the numbers often works. Sometimes I sing them to the same melody as Bumblebee. Big hit.
3. Humming Christmas music. This I did more around the holiday season. It made me feel a bit more festive (about the only festive thing, aside from our tree, that I did this year). Silent Night was her bedtime lullaby for about a month.
and last, but not least,
4. Any melody I come up with off the top of my head, combined with any words I happen to sing. Often I just say what I'm doing to her, but set to music. (Ie: taking of your pants now, taking off your pants now, taking off your pants now, and here is your diaper). Or I talk to her randomly but sing it (Lucy you're my girl, you're the cutest little baby in the world is a standard). Pretty much anything goes.

So our life is kind of like a really bad musical, with little plot and kind of inane lyrics and questionable melodies. Luckily I have good pitch.
Who cares, though? I'm performing for an audience of one that thinks I'm the next Barbara Streisand.
At the height of their fame, John Lennon said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus (people got really mad at him--but Jesus was so "popular" he got executed...hmmmm.). Sometimes I kind of feel that way with Lucy (popular, not executed).
She doesn't know about Jesus, yet, though, so it's okay.
If he sang to her, she'd probably be pretty stoked.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

it's a boy

So my friend Hack Mommy has been over the past few days with her kids.
Having them around makes me really excited to have Lucy grow up a little more. Little kids (and bigger ones) are so cute.
First off, I have a lending library now! Abby borrowed books at my urging a few days ago, and when she came back yesterday, she brought two back. She said, "I brought these back so I can borrow two more."
Hee hee. Apparently we have a four-book limit at my library. I might have to get a card catalog.
Then, Owen, the three-year-old, has decided that Dyami and I have a son that's a few years older than Lucy. He keeps pointing at things, and saying, "That's their little boy's."
His logic is impeccable: he told their mom, "Lucy can't be the oldest. The baby isn't the oldest."

Wow! It's so clear, now!

So we have some child making to catch up on. According to Owen.

I'm kidding. Man, am I kidding. I'm still reeling from the one child.
Despite the cuteness of my kid friends.