Wednesday, May 30, 2007


So I'm pretty proud of myself.
I've been a lay on my left, nurse on my left (and vice-versa) kind of mom the past nine months. I tried the mix-and-match position (nursing from the upper boob) unsucessfully early on, and felt like I was going to either suffocate my baby or put my back out. Problem solved: I never tried again.
Well, problem mostly solved. Except for when I needed to switch sides, and Dyami was in the other side of the bed, and it was a big pain to switch, and not safe to nurse her so she was facing the edge of the mattress.
But two nights ago, at three am, I thought, What the hell? and just rolled over a bit, like it described in my breastfeeding book (entitled So that's what they're for!). And it worked! Lucy nursed, I was only moderately uncomfortable, she got full and slept for more hours! And no Chinese fire drill in the middle of the night!
So now I'm not just doing it in the wee hours, but just when I'm lazy, putting her to sleep. I feel all skilled and such.
It only took nine months, people. Pretty soon I'm going to be pumping and getting her to fall sleep on her own without the boob. And learning the French horn. And jujitsu.
It could happen.

baby makeout

Lucy is teething, I think. So that's probably why she's doing a bad imitation of Pepe LePeu while nibbling my leg and toes.
I keep imagining her talking to my leg, saying, Oh, dahlink, I zink I am in luhv with zhou.


So I read The Price of Motherhood. Besides making me even more of a crazed, liberal, tree-hugging activist, the book also made me a touch nervous.
I'm really glad that I have confidence that my marriage is going to last past whatever troubles we run into, because I am a sitting duck if anything were to happen.
I've been skulking around the house lately, making sure Dyami doesn't start oppressing me. (He managed to diffuse my tension by cleaning the oven and kitchen counters on Monday, unprompted. I love this man!)
Things didn't go so well when he offered his usual incisive/devil's advocate critiques of the book when I read him quotes. Sometimes I don't think guys realize that for them it's a fun parlor game, offering critique, while for us (well, me) we're inserting our own last name for Mr. and Mrs. X, so it's a tad more personal. For example: when I mentioned some ideas regarding equitable divorce, which involved taking much of the guy's salary and giving it to his wife and kids, so that they all would be at the same crappy standard of living, here was his (joking) comment: "If that's the case, it would have been cheaper for the guy to make his wife go back to work, and pay someone else to watch the kids."
For the record, I know he was just playing devil's advocate, and he told me straight out that he agreed that the kids shouldn't be in poverty because Daddy decided he wanted a new girlfriend, but still! I resolved the argument by getting surly and weepy for a while, and then we made up.

But, nervousness. The book is supportive of the choices women make--but is very clear about the long-term consequences if you guess wrong about your marriage. Motherhood is a big factor in poverty, as is divorce; alimony is increasingly less common, and all the stay-home care you provide (or want to provide) your kids doesn't count in its calculation. People tell you you're doing "the most important job" but they don't want to pay you for it, and if you're poor, to get public assistance, you can't stay home with your kids, but must put them in daycare and take a job that pays less than the daycare costs. Social Security ignores your (very real) provision of productive, tax-paying members of society, jobs don't allow flexible time, and the women who have power (and seem to prove that feminism has changed our system) generally don't have kids. Not only that, but traditional family advocates (read: conservatives), feminists, and even regular moms often ignore or criticize or worse, fight against policies that might actually help the grand majority of us. And all these lousy policies are unlikely to change until moms get in power. Which is a bit hard to do when we're locked out by lousy policies.

All of this makes me need a large dose of wheat-free, gluten-free beer. Or a Moms Rising party. (It's happening! Whoop!)
I'm praying that my nervousness would not translate to anxiety, but to action. That Christ would help me not worry about what I can't control (the future, for example) and instead speak up for those that don't have the time or freedom to read hair-raising books.

white noise

Dyami, last night, sitting in a quiet house with me, still recovering from cold-induced congestion:
D (looking around, confused): Is the radio on or something?
Me: No.
D: (Looking around) What's that noise, then?
Me: ?
D: (Looking at me) Oh, wait. It's your breathing.
Me: (Wheeze, snort, sigh.)

Monday, May 28, 2007


Since Lucy is approaching school age, I've started looking at curriculum books, and trying to make the decision about whether I want to go full-bore and homeschool her.
I know, I know, this is a bit premature, given that she isn't walking or talking yet. But no one ever accused me of not planning ahead.
Part of me is very seduced by the idea of learning with my kids, reading great books to them, and helping instill a love of learning, rather than sending them to public school and watching it be drilled out of them.
Both Dyami and I went to public school, and both of us got a good education. With a few exceptions:
  • I remember dreading the first two months of school in elementry grades, because it was all review. I made paper clip chains and tried to get through it.
  • I would read ahead in my textbooks and then be lost when I got called on.
  • Worksheets where we had to write "complete sentance" answers, even when the repetition was numbing. Example: Why did the chicken cross the road? Ans: The chicken crossed the road to get to the other side.
  • Dyami was in Montessori for his first grade year, and then in public school after that. He said he didn't learn anything new in math until sixth grade. Man, he could have been a Nobel Laureate in Math by 6th grade if he hadn't been held back by the public school system.
  • The whole 'being smart is dumb' culture really sucked. I put up with it until high school, where in our school, being 'average' was dumb. Also not cool, but it was nice to have a break.
  • A mediocre teacher and a lousy book in PreCalculus in high school. God, I hated that class. I could never figure otu the homework, and neither teacher or book helped. I scraped by, but learned almost no math. In college, I got an A in Calculus with a good teacher and good book. (I still don't remember any of it, but I did master the material at the time).
  • Dyami opted out of Honors English because the teacher was obnoxious. (Being Dyami, he told the teacher so, in class). It didn't harm him long-term, but he probably missed out on some cool books.
  • I was a little worried about getting beat up in Science C in Jr. High.
  • Junior high in general, actually.
  • Health class. Ugh.
  • Just a lot of wasted time. A lot, a lot of wasted time. And we were in good schools.
So those are the reasons a public school education doesn't appeal for our kids. Plus, I think the quality of schools around here has probably not gone up in intervening years (my high school is now nearly twice the size it was when I was there. That's kind of scary). Not to mention the bomb threats and Columbine-style incidents.

And (perhaps naively) I think Dyami and I could do a good job of educating. I am pretty qualified and excited about language, history, and social sciences. If I had a good math curriculum, I'm sure I could do fine (I always did fine with decent books). And Dyami is great backup if I hit roadblocks. Both of us love learning, love good literature, and are constantly seeking out new forms of knowledge.

When I think about actually learning things with my kids--going to the library and seeking out info on the Renaissance, or photosynthesis, or being able to fill in the gaps in my own education while helping my kids to learn, that sounds pretty cool. I mean, I did Spanish and English grammar study for fun one summer. I know, I'm a nerd.
And reading a bunch of great books together (though I don't plan on making my kids read Jerome and Hercletes in translation, sorry).
And trying to tech them spanish--maybe going to Mexico for a month as a family for language immersion together? Or to Argentina? pretty cool.

As for "socialization", I know a family that homeschooled all three kids (well, they're still in the process) through high school, and their kids are completely sane, well-adjusted, and socially adept. In fact, they're pretty awesome kids. So there's no reason it can't work.

FInally, I really, really, really dislike the consumer focus of our society. With the branding, and the emphasis on labels, and who has the best toys, and kids with cell phones, and high school kids with new cars. And the marketing is reaching earlier and earlier and earlier. This really bothers me. I know that a lot of this is guided by peers, in school, because it sure was for me, in the days of less-intense advertising. Guess, Keds, Espirit, Trapper Keeper, etc. You know what I'm saying.

Here's my hesitation.
1) I'm worried I'm thinking about this just to prove something. Like with EC, I tend to seek out the most difficult, high-effort way of doing something and then bang my head against the wall in an effort to show how superior I am to everyone else.
I do not think this is a biblical model for homeschooling. I am trying to pray that God would show me if homeschooling would be good for my mental health.
2) I have a friend that homeschools that really, truly, loves being around her kids all day.
I'm not sure I will be in that camp. I love Lucy, don't get me wrong, but I really covet the baby-free moments I get.

So those are my hesitations. If I'm a worse mommy because of homeschooling, it's not worth it. I don't want to be a witch or a martyr. I would like to have time to do my own writing and thinking again someday.

Friday, May 25, 2007

turning thirty

The cool thing about turning thirty today is that because it's such an important birthday, I get a free pass from the hard work of motherhood, and can just enjoy my baby while someone else takes care of her while she's cranky from not sleeping much last night. I especially appreciated that last night, when someone else woke up with her every half-hour until two. And someone else also gets to suffer from my blossoming cold that's keeping me indoors and might otherwise put the kaibosh on the fun plans I had for today.

Oh, wait.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

the template

Here's the deal. Now I regularly read two blogs that had exactly the same template as mine. Well, except for my fancy font-switch in the sidebar. Actually, that was pretty much the same, too.
So. A new template, that better reflects my uniqueness, in a sort of pre-packaged way.
In other news, we bought Lucy a new carseat today. We did it without too much discussion (I'd heard several great reviews of this particular brand, so we just went for it). But I realized after the fact that she will no longer be in the bucket-you-can-transport-between-cars model, which means we will be in my little civic a lot more. I think Dyami will be bummed. He likes his car.
So new template, new carseat. Whoa, are we renegades.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

general awesomeness

Dyami and I on the floor, entertaining Lucy:
Me: I want to go blog.
D: Okay.
Me: Except I have to think of a topic.
D: What about how awesome your husband is?
Me: Hmmm. Any specific ways is he awesome?
D: No, just general awesomeness.
Me: Hmmm. Okay. Take the baby.
D: What! No, wait. I was kidding! Sigh.

Ways Dyami is Awesome.
1) Okay, his name is Dyami Zed. 'Nuff said.
2) Last night, after a few too many wakeups, he said, "You should go in the other bedroom to sleep. I would hate to have you move her to her bed and have her wake up again. I'll sleep with her." She wiggled all night. I love this man.
3) He's a very good breakdancer. Ask him to moonwalk for you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
4) He taught me how to entertain little kids. Sample: when a child counts to five in Spanish, waiting for validation, you say, "Hmmm. Did you say apple, banana, cherry, pinapple, papaya? No? Oh! You must have said, Kangaroo, dog, goldfish, ox, rhino." Etcetera.
5) He rides his bike to work to save energy. And wanders our house saying, "What other things can we do to save energy and eliminate waste?"
6) He thinks the "Evil" level Sudoku puzzles he gets off the Internet are easy.
7) He once wrote an email to the CEO of his old company, cc-ing his boss, saying that he felt honor-bound to let the CEO know that their main product sucked, and that he had grave concerns about the direction of the company. Then he sat down in a meeting with the CEO/his boss and explained all those things. He was not fired. The CEO just explained why their company did, in fact, suck (hint: they wanted to get bought out in a massive IPO, five years after the dot-com bubble broke).
8) He likes helping people. He wrote custom software for his brother to help him shoot a stop-motion animated commercial. And re-wrote it again. And re-wrote it. He also wrote a program (taking a month of free time) for a friend of ours so our friend wouldn't have to get up at the crack of dawn every week to stare at a computer screen for an auction he needed to bid on for his job.
9) He's speedy! He plays soccer and darts around the field. He's so fast it looks like he's in two places at once!
10) He manages to acquire new skills easily. Need a closet installed? Dyami will draw up plans in Visio and figure out how to do it. New fireplace? No problem. He looks up how to take down a gigantic mirror adhered to the wall (it involved a lot of duct tape, then smashing the mirror and peeling off the jagged pieces), cuts the tile himself and refurbishes the rusted grating.
11) He has better grammar than I do. Like he knows actual grammatical rules. And when his company asks him to review web pages, promotional materials and such, he makes comments like, "What type of audience are you trying to aim this brochure at?" or, "This sentence is ambiguous as written." or "These navigation bars aren't clear. I don't know where I'll navigate when I click Healthcare or Business." People. This guy is a computer programmer.
12) Smart as he is, I still beat him in Scrabble. Well, okay, not last game.

Okay, enough embarrassing Dyami. Our baby is getting just a touch fussy.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I feel bad about my shampoo bottle *

I have a bottle of shampoo that is giving me feminist/ethnic reconciliation problems. It's special curl-enhancing shampoo (I know, curl-enhancing shampoo?!! What the heck!!?? I bought it by accident, okay? Thinking it was my curl cream. And was too embarrassed to return it). It's by a company called Bumble & bumble, and here's what it says (besides curl-enhancing shampoo/for fine to medium hair):


1) So having curly hair (or, perhaps more accurately for this product) desiring to have curly hair) makes one demure? A baby doll? A muse? A painting by Botticelli? Do no women with curly hair desire to be, say, powerful or kick-ass? Mature? Wise? None of the adjectives make me think of competence or power. All conjure images of helplessness (baby doll/ damsel), doing what they're told (demure) or only good for inspiring men to creativity (botticelli/muse).
2) What about women of color? Do they not have curly hair? Why is it that having curly hair must be associated with particular nationalities/ethnicities (nordic/english)? This I have a bit less problem with, since it's conceivable that African-American women would laugh at this product at being wholly unsuitable for their curls, and women with actually curly hair have no desire to enhance said curls. However, the english/nordic labels makes me feel like the curls are also supposed to be blonde (since botticelli's curly-headed Venus is, too), which I also have a problem with.

I have been using this product for a while (since before Lucy was born) and I've never been wild about the label, but it has been bothering me more and more. I think I've been reading a bit too much Betty Friedan. Or something.
I don't think I'm going to buy the product again (too expensive, anyway) but I am going to use up the bottles I have left. I'm too cheap not to. Maybe I'll say something to my hairstylist.
Help! I'm becoming like my old roomate's husband, unable to watch movies because of the exploitation of women! Help!

*Today's post title is a hidden reference to Nora Ephron's new book (I Feel Bad About My Neck). That I haven't read. I haven't read any of her books. Unless you count seeing Sleepless in Seattle or When Harry Met Sally. Which I guess I could, seeing as she wrote them, too.

Friday, May 18, 2007

how I spend my time

I spent a lovely midmorning with my friend Abi and her daughter Ginger (five days Lucy's junior). We walked along the beach for nearly an hour and chatted.
One thing we chatted about was how both of us are a little nervous claiming housewifedom as our identity. I've been thinking about homeschooling, and am still really not sure if I can/will do it, and part of the reason is I get nervous about thinking of making raising kids my full-time job for the next ten, eighteen, twenty years. Not that I have to commit that full time now, but the idea of it scares me.
I realized recently, too, that I have the best time parenting Lucy if I try to hang out with at least one person a day, and try to get out of the house once a day. At the very least, this provides distraction; at best, I actually enjoy myself a lot.
Sometimes I feel irrationally guilty, though, getting to hang out with friends every day. Shouldn't I be doing something productive? I hang out with people rather than, say, dusting. Or getting other things done around the house.
This guilt ignores the fact that it is often difficult and frustrating to try to be productive with a baby. So one might as well be out with friends as sitting home, not being productive, whilst frustrated.
Why do I feel guilty, then? I think it's because hanging with friends (new ones, of course, not my old ones, many of whom I miss, but don't get to see very much) sounds relaxing and easy and decadent. I have this sense that if I'm a stay-at-home mom, I should have my nose to the grindstone as much as someone at a job.
This also ignores the fact that I used to like my job, generally. That I really enjoyed being in school.
So why the guilt? Why shouldn't I be able to make my life as a mom fun and varied?
Perhaps it's partially that I would also like to be useful.
This ignores the fact that I am extremely useful to my daughter, given that I'm her only food source. It's a very short food chain.
Okay, now we're getting closer to the truth. I want to be useful to other people, in that larger world out there. I want to be important, to feel important. And wiping baby's bums, important as it is in real terms (no wipe=skin problems, infections, etc), doesn't count in our world.
I'm reading The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars right now. The author points out how little mothering is valued, in real terms, by our society. For example, welfare makes moms of infants work at minimum wage jobs while they are given daycare vouchers. If you think about this, it makes absolutely no sense. Daycare is expensive. For what purpose, then are these women working? Is caring for a child worth no credit? (From a purely pragmatic view, wouldn't it be a good idea to support the moms as mothers, so that their kids don't cost the system money when they become delinquents?)
My friend Abi told me she has never really cared about what people thought about her before. But she cares when she tells them she's staying at home with her kid.
I've not had the experience, yet, of not caring what other people think. But I, at least, am mostly in social circles (conservative Christian) where my choice is valued (some might argue a little too much). And even I'm sometimes embarrassed to say, "No, I don't earn a wage right now". Or maybe more: "I don't plan on earning a wage anytime soon."
My problem is compounded by the fact that the work I want to do (write poetry, say*) also doesn't earn a wage. So I feel like a diletante or hobbyist if I say I'm a writer. And a nobody if I'm a mother.
I've also had an idea for a business (helping people write memoirs) that I would like to do at some point, if I ever have an hour of time on a regular basis to actually accomplish things. And yet: part of me knows I want to start this business to justify myself, somehow. Like the work I'm doing isn't enough in itself.
What's ridiculous about my embarrassment is that I'm working harder now than I ever have in my life, in many ways. And this is only my first child. Perhaps the mantle of motherhood gets more comfortable or commodious or normal as time goes on.
I would like to be proud of what I do. I would like to be proud to tell people I stay home, and know that they respect me for it.
Today I looked at my prayer site and this phrase from Ezekiel leapt out at me: "O mortal, eat what is offered to you." It's spoken to a prophet, and God is telling him to be a prophet in the way God wants him to be, even if it's hard. And Ezekiel eats, and it is like honey in his stomach.
I would like to eat what God offers to me, and speak what he speaks to me, and have it be sweet in my stomach.

*In other news: I got another poem published! And yes, I'm getting paid. In contributors copies, of course.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Melissa posted a meme and did her usual mass tag. (I act as though I'm a veteran blogger. Hah!) I consider myself tagged (really, I just like talking about myself) so here goes.
The Rules:
1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. (Sorry, can't do this. I read a total of four blogs, two of which have already done this meme).
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

1) I was on the Freshman Academic Team (think Jeopardy while wearing vests in school colors (brick/gold). Did not make the Jr. Varsity team my sophomore year. Sigh.

2) I insisted on wearing sandals/open toed shoes in college for my first two years. In Houston. Where it rains all the time. Then I got some close-toed shoes and realized how asinine I was.

3) I was in a Kenny Rogers music video called "Planet Texas" when I was in sixth grade. (I had a child-actor phase from age four to fourteen). In the video, Kenny gets kidnapped by cowboys from outerspace. My big line: "I know where there's a dead armadillo! Wanna see?"

4)I haven't washed my car since...hmmm. Since before Lucy was born.

5) I did, however, manage to vacuum last night. (Were these supposed to be interesting facts? Too bad.)

6) We almost named Lucy "Mia" or "Zia". And there was a brief mix-up where I thought Dyami wanted to name her either "Tomorrow" or "Zizo". See, there was this post-it with a list of potential names. And then one morning, I noticed the two additions mentioned above while D was at work. Here was the subsequent email:
Me: "So Tomorrow and Zizo, huh? I don't think I can do "Tomorrow" because I was in Annie too many times. And Zizo is a little, um, off the beaten path."
D: ???!!!
Me: The names, you know, that you wrote on the post-it.
D: ???!!!
Me: Oh, wait. Is that just a note reminding me that my midwife appointment tomorrow is now at 2:30 instead of 1:30? (Write 2:30 kind of sloppy. You'll see).
Now we call the orange stray cat that frequents our cat's food bowl Zizo.

7) I taught myself to read when I was four. And my parents read out loud to my brother a lot and to my sister some, and to me hardly at all. So much for parental influence. (I think the fact that my father's family are all crazy readers probably helped the most).

8) My husband's middle name is Zed. Doesn't that kick ass? (Especially when your first name is Dyami) My middle name is Lynn. I like it, but it's not quite as cool. Maybe our next child could have Zizo as their middle name.

Okay, meme away, world! and let us know with a comment below where to read your eights!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

'nuff said

The Lactivist posted about "the dark side of breastfeeding" today.
I really liked her post. So much so that this inveterate lurker actually commented!
If you haven't breastfed before, and are thinking about having kids that you breastfeed, you should read the post. I wish I had had this kind of perspective before I started, because I think the rude awakening would have been a bit less rude.
Don't get me wrong, I think breastfeeding is absolutely the right choice. I'm not at all sorry that I'm doing it, just as I'm not sorry I had a baby. But some days, I think, what the *&@$^! was I thinking? Like last night, when I woke with a splitting no-caffeine headache at 1:30 am when Lucy woke, and as she nursed, I realized the headache had spread to my stomach, so I was wondering if I was going to barf as she wiggled and didn't go back to sleep. Oh, and our night light is a blue LED light which is apparently at the optimum headache-increasing spectrum.
Ohhhhhhhh. It makes me nauseous just remembering.
SO. Go see the Lactivist! Now!

ps. Someone needs to wean herself off of that second tea she's been sneaking in the late morning. Because I don't want to increase my caffeine addiction. And I don't want any more 1 am headaches.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


So I got out a scale at my inlaws and weighed Lucy.
It's not an officially calibrated doctor scale, but my weight seemed normal on it.
Lucy weighs seventeen pounds.
That is four more pounds than she did at 6 months (a little less than three months ago), when the doctor got all concerned about how small she was.
And according to the WHO breastfeeding charts, she's now firmly average.
Whoo hoo! My child is mediocre!

So it's official: I didn't need to worry about Lucy wasting away from not being fed enough. I also didn't need to feed her three times a day or wake up in the middle of the night to pump. I didn't need to worry about the fact that her growth had slowed and was falling off of the curve on my ped's laptop screen.
Imagine! My child might not match the curve on a laptop screen! She might grow in spurts!
Wait. Don't they call them "growth spurts" for a reason?

And just a note: I would still be okay if Lucy weighed less; I was pretty firmly convinced she was fine all this time. But I will admit it's nice to have the little number that sort of backs me up. Just in case other people don't trust my motherly intuition.

Monday, May 14, 2007

recovered goods

On our last trip to Ojai, our camera got stolen. Here's what happened.
Dyami packed a red suitcase and I a blue backpack. On the way home on the train, he was in charge of most of the packing. In the blur of last minutes, neither of us remembers exactly who packed the (fairly new) digital camera, but it seemed logical that he did it, in his red bag. Possibly on the outside pocket.
On the train, the bag was stowed behind us on the luggage racks. And Dyami noticed some hoodlum types skulking around that area.
When we get home, no camera.
I checked every pocket on his bag and mine. He checked every pocket in his baag and mine.
Still no camera.
That's when we realized it was gone, stolen by those aforementioned delinquents.
We were upset. We put away the red and blue bags in the garage.
Then we bought a new camera. For the second time in six months.

On this trip, we get home, and I am unpacking my blue backpack. I felt a lump.
You guessed it! Old camera, stuck at the bottom of the main compartment. Not even in a forgotten side pocket. Just in the main compartment.

There's only one explanation.
The delinquents had a change of heart (perhaps a conversion: maybe now they know Jesus!). They somehow located us in Encinitas, found our house, broke into our garage, and put back the camera they stole in the bottom of my luggage.
I'm not sure whether I should feel grateful for the recovered goods, or a little creeped out that these former delinquents broke into our house.
Well, now we have two cameras. One of which is dead (and we threw away the battery charger, because the camera it belonged to had been stolen).


My daughter is getting downright flexible.
First there was the car ride to and from Ojai, in which we had some crying and unpleasantness, but not during the majority of the trip.
Then there was the day trips in the car; getting in and out of her car seat several times, overstaying past her tiredness, being out after dark, and generally messing with her schedule, and no major screaming fits! And even some completely peaceful rides when I least expected it!
And finally, there was the realization that when distracted, the little girl can go for hours (hours!) in between her two naps. Meaning that we could stay out places leisurely, without looking at a clock, and/or deliberately space her naps so that her bedtime would be later, so that we could actually have a family dinner out one night!
And I also had some wheat this weekend. Once because I thought, what the hell and once because the choices for lunch were Subway and Jamba Juice, and I just went for a sub. And there was some mild digestive problems, but nothing not livable. (And it may have been due to the Chipotle we had for dinner Sat night, which has also resulted in mild GI distress).
What's next, the solution to global warming?

We took advantage of said flexibility last night when we went to church. I got to sing at our nighttime service (woo hoo!) and afterwards, we talked to people and then we went out to dinner. Fidels! Yum! Sure, we sat on our own for maximum speed, ordered ate and checked out like speed demons, but we were able to do it. And she was actually smiling on the car ride home! And went to bed and slept just fine. And is still sleeping at quarter past eight! (Okay, she woke up at 4:30 and kept me up until 7:15, at which point I gave up on me sleeping, but still, at least I had time to make tea!)
I had time to fantasize about us actually going on a real trip. Someplace exotic, like Mexico. And actually enjoying myself, rather than being a stress case.
It could happen, people.

Friday, May 11, 2007

stranger danger

So Lucy has shown the first signs of stranger anxiety. Of course, this coincides with our trip to visit her grandparents and aunts and uncles, so none of them got to hold her for more than thirty seconds at a time, since she very obviously wasn't enjoying it. She smiles and plays with people as long as they're not holding her (on the floor, she'll crawl up to everyone) but pick her up and whoops-a-daisy, unhappy baby. And I had been looking forward to being able to hand her off to people.
Of course, one thing gets worse, and another gets better. I would no longer describe her as particularly fussy in the car. Not only did we make the trip to Ojai uneventfully, but she's been in and out of the car and car seat since we were here, and even when she wasn't in a great mood, she's generally been accepting.
One part of this, I think, is that we made car copies of her favorite CD: "Slugs, Bugs, and Lullabies". We listen to this CD a lot at home; during the witching hour before Dyami gets home, for example, or when she's overdue for a nap. But now that we have car copies, I feel like we have the nuclear option of child soothing. Especially the first song.
Did I mention we listen to this CD a lot? I'd say at least twice a day, normally. And she likes the first song the best, seemingly (she falls asleep to it the most, and when we put it on, she shakes her head back and forth in delight). So on the way here, we played that song about twenty times. Dyami and I know all the words. He knows the bass parts, I the harmonies.
We could take this show on the road.
Which is possible now, since we can actually go on the road for more then ten minutes at a time.
Of course, the drive home tomorrow morning will be the proof of the pudding.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Maybe the fact that I'm relaxed in Ojai means I will also become a best-selling novelist.
It could happen.

miracles upon miracles

It is eight pm. I am in Ojai, in the chicken coop. I am typing. I have just finished a leisurely brownie, and some seltzer water. I am relaxed.
My baby is sleeping in the other room, and she might even stay asleep.

Let's pause for a moment to just savor those two paragraphs.


This is such a different experience than last time, I can hardly believe it. Last time we arrived (trip was fine) and Lucy had about three major meltdowns between arrival and bedtime (which was another meltdown). This is a baby that doesn't melt down very often. Then we didn't sleep the whole night.
The rest of the trip was less eventful, but not super-relaxing.

In contrast, today we drove (drove! imagine!) three hours with only maybe a half-hour of fussiness, total. The rest of the time she was either happy or asleep! (We stopped several times along the way, but all things considered, the trip didn't take us that long)
She had no meltdowns. She had minor fussiness and shyness at Nana and Poppa's house (my in-laws). She got mildly fussy a bit after bedtime and then fell asleep pretty easily.
Best news: she is now in her hammock bed (which we brought along, a major reason we drove) and so she is in a familiar place! So she might even stay asleep tonight!
I know, I know, it's such a crazy concept, I can hardly believe it myself.

A major weight has been taken off of my shoulders.
In other good news, my fabulous husband got me an hour massage today with a great person here in Ojai. Which helped with the relaxing.
And my fabulous mom-in-law made us brownies. Gluten-free. Does she love me, or what?
Speaking of which, I'm going to go have another one. And then I'm going to relax some more.

Monday, May 7, 2007


I've had an idea for a while of hosting a party.
I was inspired by this website,, an advocacy group for family-friendly policies. They produced a documentary about the issues, and I got a DVD. They recommend that people hold house parties and show the movie, then have conversations about the issues/ideas it raises, to try to raise awareness about the current state of affairs, and some ideas for how to change things.
All good, right? Fun party, being active and helping other moms, helping other people to find a better life, and making our society more livable for everyone. And with a movie, we could even make popcorn!

So I haven't actually planned anything yet. Part of it is that it's hard to have projects when your day is divided up into 10 minute chunks.
But that's not the only reason.

I have never really been an activist. I've always thought I should be spending time doing dogooderness of some kind. But I've never really done anything. Sure, I serve in my church, and give money, and be kind to people, but it's not the same thing. I've never really had a cause (except for my faith, which calls me to do dogooderness as part of showing God's work in my life).
I've always been a bit uncomfortable with causes. I think to be active in stuff, you really have to be sold on something, and willing to put yourself on the line to make something happen. You have to be full-bore about something and identify yourself with it.
I'm always so wishy-washy I am never sure about really committing to causes.
Actually, I think a lot of it is fear of looking stupid.
I kind of have a pathological fear of looking stupid. So much so that if I play games with Dyami and lose frequently, I get bent out of shape, because I am so afraid of being "bad" at, say, Duck Duck Goose.

So to invite a bunch of people to my house and show a video, I have to say, This is my cause! Join me! Aren't you excited about this too? Isn't this important?
What if everyone yawned? Or said, hmmm, I don't find this very compelling? Or, why are you sending me an invite for a cause? I need to go do something better with my time.

Okay, this is all sounding like a really bad case of "everyone like me" syndrome.
Sigh. Will I never get out of junior high?

The thing is, I am tired of being so wishy washy. I am tired of being cynical about causes. I am tired of not being willing to put myself on the line. I don't think being cowardly about letting people know I care about things is a good way to spend my thirties. (I'm almost thirty, by the way. At the end of the month. !)

Today Dyami and I were talking about feminism, and some of the issues the movie raises (he hasn't seen it), and in typical Dyami fashion, he raised some good points of critique with the way I described things. And then I got all bent out of shape because he was critiquing me.
I realized, after I calmed down, that it's that same fear of looking stupid. Because I am a baby, learning about all of these issues, and I don't really understand them all that well. And I don't know that much about them yet. So who am I to "raise awareness"? Who am I to invite people to a party about them? Doesn't that just smack of the novice, getting super excited about something she doesn't even understand all that well?

Anne Lamott descirbes the voices in her head as a radio station, called KFKD. (FKD stands for a bad word, okay?). The station plays all negative commentary, all the time. Shooting down any idea she has as stupid, irrelevant, hopelessly naive, etc.
I have no idea what the woman is talking about. Really, I don't.

I'm turning off the radio! I am taking a stand!
I am making an evite! I am inviting people! Whether or not they will judge me! I am joining a cause!
Just as soon as I get back from vacation.

Note: If you would be interested in coming to said party (or parties--I might hold more than one, since our house is small), you should comment, saying so. It will motivate me to get off my keister and actually follow through. And no, I have no idea what I will be doing about childcare (have kids there? Take kids to park? Who knows?). But I know we can figure something out.


So we're going to Ojai to visit my in-laws tomorrow.
I am, in many ways, quite delighted to be going. My inlaws are great (parents, bros and sisters) and it's been forever since we've been able to see them. Ojai is great, and we're taking a car, so we'll be able to get out a bit. The weather should be nice. And Dyami has six days off of work.

So why am I not exactly looking forward to the trip?

I think it's the vestiges of the last trip, where we had a fabulous time with Dyami's family, I slept very little, got a cold, Dyami got sick, Lucy got sick, and then we didn't sleep for the next month. I was just the tiniest bit unhappy for a long while.
Right now Lucy isn't sleeping that great (I think it's because we're transitioning her to a mattress instead of her hammock bed) and so the palpitations have started.

Breathe, Heather, breathe.

Most of me knows that Lucy is a completely different animal than she was at three months, that I know much better how to deal with her ups and downs, and am more resilient. Plus it's not winter, so the chances of everyone being sick are much lower.

But who ever said anxiety was defeated by head knowledge?
I have been asking people to pray for me. I don't want to have a nervous breakdown the first night (like I did last time) and subject my husband to my anxieties. I would just like to enjoy being there, like I used to. I would like to be more relaxed, in general.
I would also like to be a bestselling novellist. Or short-story writer.
One can pray, right?

Friday, May 4, 2007

I think

Lucy's teething. Or growing. Or has adolescent angst.
There has to be some reason she woke up five times last night, right?
It's not just random, right?
Or worse, deliberate?
Tea. (Groan) I need tea.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


So on Monday night and Tuesday night, Dyami woke to hear me cussing. I hesitate to tell you which word, because you'll realize I'm a bad person, completely unsuited for motherhood. Sigh. Okay, I'll give you a hint: it rhymed with duck.
Anyway, I said it a lot. As I was trying to get Lucy to fall asleep after a few hours of trying (5.5 hours on Monday. Fewer hours, but later, on Tuesday).
I don't know about you, but the mental image I have of myself is spouting bad cuss words in the middle of the night. Not the image I want Dyami carrying around, either.

Thankfully, there was no cussing last night. However, I did rant for a while. I'm not sure how long. (Doesn't ranting just make the time fly?) When Dyami pointed out that I was ranting, I got really pissed, and then about ten minutes later (after crying), found it really funny. Makes sense, right?

I felt a little better after meeting with some moms this morning. Turns out three of the four of us had some sort of meltdown last night. So I'm doing about average. Whoopee!

I have realized that one does not emerge from the first year of mommyhood unscathed. One would desire to approach the experience with boldness, grace, and emerge stronger for it. Get our hair mussed, perhaps, but not feel like Valium was called for. Not for our sanity so much, but for the sanity of those that have to live with us.

Question: Why am I using the royal "we"?

I joke about my midnight f-bombs, but in reality, I'm ashamed. Why do I have such anxiety? Why do I let my fear get so ugly? Where is my peace, my joy, my unshakable foundation in the Spirit?
Scary thought: I'm doing much better than I was a few months ago! And these past few nights have been tough, but they have been by no means the worst I've been through! So why cussing now?

This ugliness was right below the surface, pre-Lucy. I'm just more raw, which is why all this stuff comes out now.
Also: I don't want the ugliness to get worse, when she's actually able to understand me better.
I have been praying more than usual, lately, which is possibly why I didn't get out the steak knives along with the f-bombs. But I would like to be doing better. To be better.

So how do I find grace and quiet strength in the middle of the night?

I don't have any answers for myself. (I tend to talk to myself a lot. When I'm not using the royal "we").
On the prayer site I've been trying to use, this was the reading this noon:
"O God, you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on you; for in returning and rest we shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be our strength. " Isaiah 26:3; 30:15

don't know what I'm returning to, but I want to turn that way. Badly. But my spirit is like balky stroller.
Oh, Lord, may I turn your way. And keep fixed on you. May I be strong, in the middle of the night. May you be Lord of my nights, as well as my days.
May my mouth be filled with your praise, and not--well, all those other things.
May it be filled with silence, if nothing else.