Wednesday, December 16, 2009

our little secret

It struck me yesterday how secret babies are.
Bear with me while I explain my (inspired while sleep-deprived) idea.
They are just so private. My mom was over the other day, and said, "Oh, Julia! I get to see you while you're awake."
And I realized--she probably has only seen Julia a handful of times awake. And my mom has probably seen her the most out of anyone besides me, Dyami, and Lucy.
So to everyone else in the world, Julia is like a big mystery.

It's kind of like kids become more and more public the older they get. People oooh and ahhh over my two-month old when I go to the grocery store, because not only are they not that age for very long, and change so drastically while they're at it, but they're usually asleep, or have their face buried in a sling the whole time. Until a baby is about 6 months, they just aren't for public consumption.

Thinking about that made me remember that we've got this little masterpiece, this little treasure here, that only we really get to enjoy. Even our closest friends only rarely get to see her. Her flirtatious smiles, her good-natured grin at three in the morning, the tiny crook of her toes, the crud embedded in her eyelashes, the tiny butterfly shape of her ribs, the fuzzy head, the little dimply growing softness of her, the unimaginable softness.
I've said before: infancy is not my favorite childhood stage. But I'll hang with it by golly, and thank God for the privilege.

Friday, November 20, 2009

oh. that's why I'm tired.

1. Of course, sleeplessness. Not horrible, but persistent.
2. Breastfeeding burns like 500 calories a day. Just looked it up: that's like being in a spinning class for forty minutes, or running an hour on a treadmill.
3. Then I looked at my phone, which has been in my pocket the whole day. It has a little step counter. How many steps have I taken today? 8659. That's four miles. I have no idea how I walked 4 miles, on top of the spinning class I just took, but apparently driving to the grocery store, walking to the park on the next block, and rocking the baby to sleep=4 miles.

The idea of intentionally exercising right now is laughable, but I guess I don't have to be intentional. I just have to have two children.

I think it's time for a hot bath.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

best Lucyism yet

Lucy, holding a picture of a chinchilla: "Look, mama! An enchilada!"

Friday, October 16, 2009

The perils of midwifery, home edition

I was thinking I wasn't going to post Julia's birth story here, because like many things about birth/newborns/parenthood, it didn't quite turn out how we expected.

And then, I thought, well, perhaps that's all the better reason to post.

I have a few magic minutes while one daughter sleeps and the other enjoys a playdate, so I'll take some time to process here, and then I suspect I won't be posting for a good long while.

2/3rds of Julia's birth went so smashingly. Labored in the tub, a little more leisurely than last time, pushed her out. It was hard, but nice to feel a little more acquainted with what my body was doing.

She was born, and I got out of the birth tub and went over to our bed (with the help of my midwife and others, of course) to await the placenta.

This is where things started not going so well. The placenta did not come out. Instead, a lot of blood did.

To give some context, with Lucy's birth, the placenta came out fine, but a lot of blood did too. Enough that my midwife considered calling 911. The bleeding stopped well short of the danger zone, though, and I stayed home and later got an IV to restore the lost fluids. It was a little scary, but still safe.

This time, we called 911 after a few frantic minutes, Pitocin injections, and some attempts for me to push. Big fire fighters arrived from the fire station around the corner, lifted me onto a stretcher, and turned on the sirens to get me to our local hospital. It took about 5 minutes to drive over there.

The hospital staff and OB/gyn worked their magic, and got me stable, got the placenta out, and gave me 2 IVs and 2 units of blood.

Let me be clear: it wasn't a whole lot of fun. It was scary, and it was not very safe.

After the chaos died down, the OB that worked on me (brilliantly, I should add) came over and said, "Unless you want to leave your daughters without a mother, you should never have another home birth again." Let's just say that her tone was less than gentle.

I want to say a few things about her comment. One, in some ways I agree with her. So does my midwife. I would not be a good candidate for another home birth. Obviously, this bleeding thing is a pattern, and home birth midwives are not prepared to give emergency transfusions or to transfer directly into an OR if needs be. So. If we do decide to have another baby, I will be doing it under the care of an obstetrician. These kinds of situations are what they are trained to handle. And as I've said before, I am grateful to live in a country where that kind of care is available to me.

However. What I didn't appreciate about her comment was her assumption that I would try to do a home birth even if it wasn't safe.I'm sure there are people who would refuse hospital births even under these circumstances, but I am not one of them. Part of her tone, I think is a general problem with our treatment of mothers in the US: an attitude that we are not competent to make informed decisions about our own treatment. Just look at the hysteria about having a glass of wine every once in a while during pregnancy. Sure, don't imbibe every day, or even every other day, but a little alcohol a few times in pregnancy is probably not going to cause problems. The French, I'm sure, are not ignoring the cabernet during pregnancy.
So doctors, hospitals, and just about everyone assumes, that if left to their own devices, moms will make poor choices for their children. Great message!
Also. If you choose not to follow their advice, and say choose a home birth instead of laboring in a hospital, you have proof positive that you make poor decisions.

I have a few other things to say about our experience. We went to our local hospital, which is very baby friendly. They have a team of nurse midwives, and desipte the one doctor's comment, I generally felt supported and affirmed in our decision to birth at home. All this to say, I think this hospital is a pretty good choice for laboring moms. Probably one of the best choices in our county.
But even so, I would not be excited to labor there. I would do it, but only because home birth is no longer an option for me.
The main reason is that I saw about 20 different caregivers while I was there, none of which I had ever met before. If I had gone the hospital route, and planned to be there, I still would have only known one: my OB, and that's if he or she was on call. Also, most OBs would not stay with me during labor--they would arrive only at the end or if there were a problem.
As it was, we saw two OBs, about 6 nurses, one lactation consultant, sundry nurses aides, a pediatrician (not mine) from our ped group, and a partridge in a pear tree.
In contrast, this is what I get with a home birth midwife.
--All prenatal visits.
--Her cell phone number and pager to call anytime if I have questions during my pregnancy. When I got close to labor, she returned my phone calls in about fifteen minutes, even if was late at night. That was kind of nice when I thought (I think wrongly) that I was leaking amniotic fluid.
--She comes immediately over to my house when I go into labor and want her there.
--She stays with me, checks my vitals during labor, and coaches me through labor if I need it.
--She holds my hand if I get transferred to the hospital, and coaches me through the not-so-pleasant procedures that must be done.
--She coordinates care for my newborn while I'm incapacitated.
--She visits me in the hospital and drives my newborn over to me so I can start breastfeeding as soon as possible.
--She serves, post-partum, as not just my caregiver, (checking bleeding and such) but also as a preliminary lactation consultant and quasi-pediatrician. She comes over at 9 at night if I get mastitis or I'm worried about my newborn. If she's concerned, she tells me to go to a real pediatrician or lactation consultant or whatever immediately.

Through all of this, she knows my whole history, from my last birth, my prenatal visits, has been in my home, met my husband and my daughter, my parents. There is just no way I'd get this kind of care through the hospital. No one can tell me that her having that kind of information is not safer than having relative strangers take care of me.

One more note: Why, why why do hospital workers wake you up every two hours during the night to do things like take your temperature and see if you need a sandwich? They are kind and well-meaning and so annoying. During my first night in the hospital, I definitely needed someone checking these things, and I was so out of it it actually didn't bother me that much. The second night, I did not. And funnily enough, I kind of needed some sleep. Between waking to pee, waking to nurse my baby, and dealing with hospital policy, I got about 2 very non-consecutive hours of sleep. How can this be good for recovery?

Finally, I think my experience would have been safer were there more integration and acceptance of midwifery in our hospital system. The paramedics would not have wasted time asking my midwife if she had covered the baby's head. I might have had a backup OB (currently, OBs cannot do backups, at least in our city. The one I know would be willing has said he'd be pilloried by hospitals and possibly lose his privileges if he did). A backup might have been already acquainted with my medical history, instead of learning it while doing life-saving interventions. The hospital staff might have some history with my midwife, some relationship that would facilitate good care. Instead, as one very nice and supportive nurse said, "We don't see many successful home births like yours." I thought it was great that she thought my home birth was successful (it was, sort of) but this is a telling statement. How are they supposed to have a good opinion of home birth if they never see any of the people that succeed at them?

So all things considered, even knowing i shouldn't birth at home again, and knowing it is not a safe choice for me, having somewhat of a worst-case scenario happen has not convinced me that home birth or the midwifery model of care is a bad choice. If anything, it has done the opposite. I wish we had known that home birth was not a good choice before this birth, but I'm glad I had the chance to experience it.

And I wish more people did.


Miss Julia Noel Caliri, 6 lbs 14 oz, born on Monday, October 12 at about 8:30 pm.

Lucy on name choices before the birth: "Let's call her Turtle."
Lucy on name choices after the birth: "Let's call her Princess."

Nuff said.

Friday, October 9, 2009

sickie sickie

We're all sick over here.
Yes. I am sick with the cold or flu, and I'm also waiting to deliver a baby.
(Due date, blah blah blah, is like now, okay?)

I have been trying my darnedest not to get any sicker, and to get better quickly, and to not panic that labor will start while I'm congested and run down. Cause I had a pretty smooth labor last time, but it was kind of like running a marathon on a treadmill I couldn't get off of, which I wouldn't really want to do when not in the best physical health, no?

But tonight, I'm feeling a little more Zen about it all. Here are a few reasons:

1. For some reason, I really feel like the baby will come when my body is ready. True story: with Lucy, one afternoon about a week after my due date, I got really sick of the waiting game, and I said to God, "God, just make this baby come out already, okay?" And about six hours later, she did. I think this prayer was partially a prayer, and partially a surrender that my body was cued to pick up on. And while I'm excited to meet this new person, I know I am not physically ready for her to make her way into the world. So I'm asking her to please hold her horses.

2. I was kind of bummed to be a shut-in before becoming a shut-in. But you know, today I'm just enjoying some very quiet time with my daughter. I don't have enough energy to do anything terribly exciting with her, and she's a little run down too, but this time of just being together, alone at home, will not happen again. So I think I can hang with being quiet and still and just appreciating the one miracle I'm already blessed with.

3. I felt so panicky about dates and times last time, so panicked and yet impatient for the whole show to get on the road last time. And this time? Not so much. I was feeling a little more panicky a few days ago, before I got sick, and now that I'm sick, I am remembering that I have no control, really, over when this baby comes, or what she is like, and that I will soon be doing a lot of very hard work, but also have a lot of once-in-a-lifetime things happening, and I'm just okay being quiet, and thinking about what's coming, and waiting for it, rather than hyperventilating about it.

4. I feel like a lot of the mental work I needed to be do to get ready for round two of motherhood is having space to get done right now. Now, because of the resting and the quiet, and the lack of activity to distract me. Motherhood is an awesome experience. Terribly awesome. And to be forced to be quiet and still before taking it on is probably a good thing.

Today I came across a verse from the Psalms: "Show me the road that I must walk, for I lift up my soul to you."
Ah, yes, Lord. The road I must walk, even if it's not necessarily the one I imagined or counted on. Because it's the one you have chosen for me, and that's enough.

cuddle buddy notes

For those of you uninitiated, a "cuddle buddy" is a sock or little pillow filled with rice or flaxseed or other grain that you can put in the microwave and heat up and get a nice little hot pad. My personal favorite use for this is to prevent me from coughing when I have a cold.

Note: When sewing the cuddle buddy, finish the fabric edges, because otherwise they fray.

Note: When the fabric frays, the seams come apart and leave little holes.

Note: Rice or flaxseed leaks readily out of those little holes.

Note: When people talk about not eating cookies in bed, they should also mention how a liberal sprinkling of grains inside the sheets also does not feel so great.

Note: You can try temporarily fixing the frayed hole with a bulldog clip in the middle of the night. This will seem like a good idea because it's the middle of the night.

Note: Fixing the hole with a bulldog clip is not a good idea.

Note: When you want to re-heat the cuddle buddy in the microwave, remember to remove the bulldog clip because (duh!) it's metal.

Note: You won't remember to remove the clip because (duh!) it's the middle of the night.

Note: When you scorch fabric (luckily not enough to make a fire, like that infamous cookie incident a week ago), it tends to disintigrate.

Note: Even more than when you don't finish the seam edges.

Note: You will notice this as you are getting into bed. In the dark.

Note: There is a lot of flaxseed in one cuddle buddy.

Note: When you try to think of some way of repairing the now hopelessly holey cuddle buddy, give up. Just do without--or, better yet! find a different, unscorched, intact cuddle buddy. Somewhere in the room. Because what chance do you have of sleeping if you're hacking up phlegm, anyway?

Note: Next time, leave the bulldog clips where they belong--in the pencil drawer.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

road safety notes

Yesterday, Dyami made a right turn. I saw a car barrelling through the U-turn right into our lane--right at us--just as Dyami was looking away.
I kind of yelped as a warning.
But instead of looking at the oncoming traffic, Dyami looked at me. I thought--why the heck are you looking at me instead of traffic? Don't you hear me yelping? I was so flustered, I couldn't say anything until we were (thankfully) out of danger.
"I was trying to warn you that a car was there," I said. I think I sounded a bit exasperated.
"I thought you were going into labor," he said.

Ah. That's why he was looking at me.

Note to self: In the next few weeks, use words, not grunts or yelps.

Friday, October 2, 2009

you're frickin' kidding me.

She is asleep, folks. Honest to God.


Me: Lucy, please go in your room and be still and quiet for a few minutes. You're sick, and you need some rest.
Lucy: Oh.
She turns and (?!?!) goes into her room.
It remains to be seen whether she will actually nap. But! I had to write this down because I don't think I'll believe it actually happened.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

she's a DRAGON, lady. get over it.

At Michaels yesterday:
Checkout lady to Lucy: So what are you going to be for Halloween?
Lucy: Um--ah, a DRAGON!
Lady: Oh! I thought you were going to say a fairy. Because you're SO SMALL.
Lucy: ??
Lady: You know you can't be a big dragon, though, right? Because you're SO SMALL?
Lucy: ??
Lady: So are you going to be a baby dragon?
Lucy: I--I a big, SCARY DRAGON!
Lady: Oh.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Lucy is in a big name-invention phase.

There are the names she gives to inanimate objects: Bouvis, her rocking horse, not to be confused with Bouvey, her monkey.

There are the names she gives to new "tricks" or "games" she's invented: "IwannagetitIwannagetit" is the straightforward name of the game where you throw something and then run towards it and yell, "I wanna get it! I wanna get it!" Then there are the less decipherable names, kind of like when Fletch invents his pseudonyms on the spot: "This game called...Saolobphonaca." Then, two minutes later, the same game is called "Saolononinanpie"

There are the names of her alter egos. This morning it was Poppy (better than Volva, which she was one afternoon). Poppy's main characteristic was that she SPOKE IN A REALLY LOUD VOICE. As in, "My name POPPY! I USE LOUD VOICE!"

And then there are the names she gives me. Lately they've been recognizable names, such as Mavis.

It's awesome when I can't figure out exactly how to pronounce Lucy's names. Then it's like we're in the "Art Dealers" sketches from Saturday Night Live. Here's a sample:
L: "You named Nuni."
H: "Nooney?"
L: "No. Nuni."
H: "Newney?"
L: "No. Nuni."
H: "You mean, Nuney?"
L: Exasperated. "Nuni."

Next she'll be asking me to use the glass-enclosed bathroom or to hire a European butler of indeterminate gender.

don't do it

If you have passable-but-not-great drawing skills, and you ever have an inclination to draw an elephant looking up, with its trunk pointing upwards, don't.
Trust me: it won't look like an elephant.

who's on first?

Riding home in the car with Lucy and her friend G:
G: Something something something (The radio was on+car noise+I'm not as clued into her pronunciation as my daughter's)
L: "G, what you say?"
L: "G, what you say?"
G: "What you say?"
L: "What you say?"
G: "What I say?"
L: "Momma, what G say?"
H: "I'm not sure. G, can you say it over again?"
G: "What I say?"
H: "What are we saying?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

at loose ends

I bought a book a while ago, called "The Toddler Busy Book" that I've been enjoying immensely.
It's a whole bunch of simple ideas for toddler activities. None of them require any fancy materials; I'm pretty craft-supply challenged, and even I usually have the stuff they call for. Many of them are great learning activities without being hung up on the learning part. And most (not all) require just a little bit of energy, setup, and many, the toddler can help do the setup that's required. Which is often more exciting than the activity.
However, even a great idea book does not fill every gap in our afternoons.
Yesterday, I had a hard time coming up with things for us to do.
I just felt short and irritable all day, despite the fact that I'd gotten enough sleep, and enough to eat. And despite the fact that there were some activities during the day that broke up our time at home.
Still, though, when I opened the Busy Book for some ideas, nothing appealed to me, mostly because despite not being sleepy, I was just too tired for water play! or paint! or anything requiring glue! or exclamation points!
I hate those afternoons.

Today, well, today I was still tired. But Lucy entertained herself nearly the whole second half of the morning, which, in hindsight, was a marked changed from yesterday.
Finally, it clicked: it is a lot easier to come up with interesting ideas to do when you only have to do it once or twice in an afternoon, and not every five minutes. And, when the toddler is a little less cranky and demanding.

Today, in the grocery store, though, I was tired, and she was tired, in that new, very three-year-old way she gets tired, where she is unable to follow directions or listen or control her body very well. It's not defiance, exactly, just that she kind of gets a little bit drunk or like Rain Man. Lack of control, not willfullness. And I was able to get her through the store with only one meltdown (short) and with nearly everything we came for, and without losing my patience (barely).

When we got back to our car, I sat for a minute and prayed. Because I know, if I'm tired now, that a time is fast approaching where I will be much, much more tired. And where Lucy will likely be that much more three/drunk/RainMan.
And I would dearly like to continue to have my patience and grace with her. One of the things I most worried about with mommyhood was how to control the anger that sometimes bubbles over in myself. I so appreciated "The No-Cry Discipline Solution" because it talks all about how to control your anger as a parent, which I struggle with even when I'm not sleep-deprived and dealing with a preschooler. Apparently "discipline" begins internally: if you can't control yourself, you haven't a prayer of controlling a tiny bundle of willfullness.
I'm so thankful that those techniques, and the temperament of my child, and a lot of prayer, has kept me, most days, from losing it. That most days, I keep well away from that loss of control with her. Truly, no one is more surprised by this than me.

I'd like to keep that true when the next one comes. Because frankly, it's what my daughter deserves. She doesn't deserve to have me melt down just because she's a typical three-year-old. Or because my choice to have a second child means I have less of myself to give. I want to be gentle with myself--I know that maybe I'll have less time or energy to play with glue! water! fingerpaints! and I hope to be okay with that. But I would like to continue to be gentle and kind, and I know how hard that is, from experience.
I'm thankful to be practicing now, when I'm tired, and often chock-out of clever ideas to entertain us. Hopefully, the habit of gentleness will be so engrained that it will take more than a little sleep deprivation to dislodge it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


People keep asking if I'm ready to have the baby.
Today, I am a little bit more ready.

For anyone who hasn't heard about my fabulous husband and bro-in-law* and our awesome family business, today is a Banner Day.
We released version 2.0 of our software, Dragon Stop Motion.
You should buy a copy! So what if you don't even know what stop motion animation is! It's just kick-ass software that you should be able to find a use for! It has a pencil/line/eraser tool that is great for entertaining toddlers for about 10 minutes, so it's well worth the cost.
Okay, don't buy it. But do go look at the website. It's so pretty! And professional!
And go read the manual I wrote for it! Because you know you love reading manuals for software you're never going to use!

Anyway, you're wondering what releasing version 2.0 has to do with me having a baby.
Let's just say I'm glad that the software is released and for sale several weeks before a whole other boatload of work begins. And I actually finished writing and proofing the manual before my brain disappeared for several months.

This is very good news. If the baby waits until her entirely fictitious due date, we might even have some time to relax and enjoy ourselves before her arrival.

Like I said, it's a banner day.

*Special props go out to Jamie for his well-deserved Emmy award for the title sequence to United States of Tara. You can see it here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm the one with the problem

I am a little weird about due dates.
As in baby due dates.
I'm not telling people what it is.

I mean, I told Dyami. And my parents. And about eight other people.
But when the security guard in the pool parking lot asks me when the "blessed event" is, I do not give him a calendar date.
When the nice mom of a friend of mine asks how much longer I have, I say "Less than a month" or "a few weeks."
And then they press for more detail (as in "But when, exactly?") I don't give any more information.

See, with Lucy, I happily gave out a date through my whole pregnancy. "August 16th," I'd say to all comers.
Only, when it got to be August 10th, I realized something.
I had said August 16th so often that the date had come to mean something to me. And being me, a planner, that likes things just so, I had a hard time not hyperventilating when I realized just how flexible that "due" date was. And that we were getting awfully close to that fictitious deadline.
Thus my reticence when people ask now.

I think the whole concept of a "due date" is not that helpful. Why?
1. Did you know that some German doctor in the late 1800s decreed that women's pregnancies lasted 40 weeks? No, he had no scientific basis for this decision. He just thought it would be neat and tidy to have it last ten moon months. How very Germanic of him. (Does it surprise you that I have German blood running through my veins?) Women's pregnancies last, on average, longer than 40 weeks. And even longer for your first.
2. That ultrasound that you may have used to establish your due date? It has a fairly wide margin of error. In your first trimester, it's plus or minus (if I remember correctly) 5 days. So if your due date is the "15th", anywhere from the 10th to the 20th is fair game. In my case, we didn't get an ultrasound till the second trimester, in which case the margin of error is 8 days or so. That gives us a two week window for an "on-time" baby. If you were paying attention to conception dates, or have a really good idea about your body cycles and biorhythms, and all that jazz, you could probably have more idea what to expect. But if you're like me, and don't notice you're pregnant for two months, and only after your husband has been insisting for weeks that you're pregnant, (just like the first pregnancy), then perhaps depending on being that in touch with your body is a tad bit unrealistic.
3. The baby might be late. Or early. Just to further throw off that two-week window. So, really, there's about a month, conservatively, where the baby might pop out, where it would be totally nothing to worry about.

Again, I'm a planning sort of girl. So this fuzzy logic is hard for my brain to wrap itself around. And I've found that not saying the due date over and over helps remind me, every time people ask, that I really do not know when this girl is coming. I do not have any control over it.

So sorry if I seem a little rude or secretive or whatever. Dyami thinks I'm a little irrational over this point. It just seems part of our culture's weird fixation with exactitude in this area that does not lend itself to exactitude.

And, if you're wondering, the baby should be here by Halloween. I think.

Friday, September 18, 2009

the world according to Lucy

Every day, Lucy says things that make me stop and reflect on just how awesome and hilarious the learning of language is. I keep thinking I need to post them, if only to preserve them for when someone is giving toasts at her wedding. So, a few Lucy-isms.

  • Bathing suit is baby suit. Even I get to wear a baby suit.
  • Dried banana is dried manna. In case you need to take a snack on a long walk through the desert. Oh, wait.
  • Also in the biblical vein: Zaccheus, that short tax-collector, is Zucchius. But not Zucchini, as Dyami tried to tell her.
  • A vacuum cleaner is a vapping cleaner. Also: her vapping cleaner is a walking toy: a purple elephant on wheels. Top that, Dyson.
  • A few alternative lyrics: "I've been working on the weird-road" and "Little Miss Muffet, sat on a puffet, eating her turds on the way."
  • When we get in the car, her favorite reading material is the Thomas Guide map, about which, when it's placed in her lap, she says, "Look! The Bi-ble!" Then she asks us who the Bible is about, and answers for herself: "Jesus and God."
    Some might say the map/Bible connection is fitting. I'll leave that to you decide.
  • After a performance (tap-dancing on the hearth, an improvised song on her guitar), Lucy says, "Thank yoooou, thank youuu." At first, she needed a cup of water to gesture with during the thank-you, as if she were giving a toast. I'm not sure what lounge lizard taught her this.
  • Also after a performance, she bows, which means closing her eyes tight and (barely) tipping her head forwards.
So there you go: a short album of Lucy's awesomeness.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

since I'm already feeling all political...

Regarding the health care debate:

For those of you out there who advocate keeping the status quo, you're certainly entitled to your opinion. But: I challenge you to consider dropping your current health coverage* for a period of one year. Just a year! Preferrably do so when you're experiencing a major life change, like moving, or losing a job, or having a child. You probably won't get into a car accident during that year. Odds are against it. Probably none of your other family members will, either. You'll even have more freedom to choose your provider for routine exams and such.

Not willing to do try my experiment? Then how comfortable are you, really, with our current health care system? Because you are just one job loss away from that scenario. And with no guarantee that you will only be without coverage for a year.

*I know several people without health insurance who do not advocate a public health insurance option. Frankly, I respect their opinions more than those I know who do have health insurance and oppose reform, because, well, at least they put their money where their mouth is. Still agreeing to disagree, though.

Monday, September 14, 2009

a letter to the Today show

Dear Today Show,
I'm writing today in response to your segment titled "The perils of Midwifery" (later changed to "Home Birth". I was extremely disappointed by the biased, incomplete, and exploitative reporting done in this segment.

I'm due to deliver my second baby at home in a few weeks. I chose this option because of my desire for the safest birth possible. Period. To represent my choice as "trendy", or foolhardy, is to insult my intelligence, and insult the hundreds of thousands of women around the globe who choose to be midwives, support homebirth, or give birth at home themselves.

While I sympathize with the couple who tragically lost their child, and can't comment on Cara Muhlhahn's competence, I do know that your report left out a multitude of facts:

1. Caesarian section increases the rate of maternal and infant death. Even in the best-case scenario, it combines major surgery with caring for a newborn and (for first-time mothers) learning to breast-feed. Avoiding an unneccessary caesarian is a completely rational, safe choice. It's not about pursuing a "hedonistic" spa treatment, or about imitating celebrities.

2. The WHO recommends that caesarian rates be at about 10% for all birth. Currently, the national average is 30% and rising. At some hospitals, it exceeds 50%. This means babies and mothers are _dying_ unnecessarily in the US. Perhaps this would be a good topic for a Today show expose.

3. Women have been giving birth without medication, at home, since the beginning of time. While I thank God for the advances in obstetrical care that save those mothers whose births are high-risk, and am happy for those mothers who chose pain medications without experiencing some of their possible side-effects, characterizing home birth as "extreme" is like saying sex in your bedroom at home is "extreme". In fact, this is the way we've done it for millennium.

4. Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that Ms. Muhlhahn's care was incompetent. That says nothing about the safety and efficacy of home birth. You might as well say that one bad obstetrician makes it unsafe to give birth in any hospital. If you did say this, I'm guessing the ACOG might sue for libel. Do you pick on midwives because they don't have the political clout and the $$ to keep you honest?

5. Just this year, two high-quality studies have come out, comparing home birth outcomes to low-risk hospital births. You can find the results summarized here: From the summary: "Consistent with many other studies comparing planned home with planned hospital birth, the results showed comparable perinatal mortality rates, less serious morbidity for both women and infants, and lower use of obstetric technology in planned home births."

6. Nowhere in your segment did you mention the ACOG's possible conflict of interest in speaking about home birth. By definition, a birth attended by a midwife is not attended by an ACOG member. Perhaps the organization's leadership might be biased?

7. In many other countries (the Netherlands and the UK, to name just two), midwifery care is the gold standard for birth. These countries have lower rates of infant mortality than we do. Even if that correlation isn't attributable to the midwifery model of care (which would surprise me), having midwives attend births sure isn't hurting anything.

Finally, and less factually, it irked me that the two journalists presenting and introducing the segment (Matt Lauer and the journalist himself) were both men. At least have someone actually qualified to speak about labor and delivery report about it.

For too long, women have been forced to shut up and submit passively to a system that does not value their voices, their intelligence, and their ability to choose wisely for themselves and their children. Your report just demonstrates how little headway our country has made.

Frankly, I am disgusted that you would exploit this couple's tragedy to present such a biased, incomplete report. You've used the loss of their child to sensationalize and twist a powerful, humane, and life-affirming experience. It shocks me that Today, which I've been watching since grade school, would have such low standards for their journalists. I urge you to apologize to the midwives and mothers throughout America that you have insulted and, frankly, libeled.

Heather Caliri

Saturday, September 12, 2009

the perils of misrepresentation

I'm sorry, I can't hold back from a rant. Just a wee little rant.

Yesterday, there was a segment on the Today show about homebirth. It's title? "The Perils of Midwifery."
Sounds nice and balanced, doesn't it?
Apparently, a couple hired a very well-known midwife (Cara Muhlhahn, who appeared in Business of Being Born) in Manhattan to attend their home birth. Their daughter had no heartbeat when she was born after four days of labor. These poor people are understandably grieving and looking for answers. They blame their midwife.
Now, let me be clear. I don't know the case, and I don't know if Muhlhahn is at fault. It's certainly possible. What I do know is this: one negative outcome with one midwife says nothing about whether home births in general are safe. And: I've read about Muhlhahn: in 18 years of practicing midwifery, she's lost only one other baby. I don't know what her infant mortality rate is--what percentage of births this is. But it is fear-mongering to say that if a practitioner has one bad outcome, they are a bad practitioner. Or, that if there's one bad practitioner out there, that every practitioner is bad.

Of course, this wasn't mentioned in the Today show segment.

What they also don't mention: midwives monitor heart rates during the course of labor. (Yes, they bring along actual medical equpment!) They are happy to transfer if something seems out of the ordinary. During my first labor, my midwife was a little concerned that Lucy's heart rate was slowing. She mentioned that we might need to transfer if Lucy wasn't born quickly (which thankfully, didn't happen) Lucy (just like the baby mentioned on Today) had the cord wrapped around her neck--three times.
Also not mentioned in the Today segment: about 25% of babies have their cords wrapped around their neck. This is cause for caution, but not panic.

What Today did mention? Home births are apparently popular among celebrities. So home birth is now like a "spa treatment", and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly objects to women choosing their birth locales based on what's trendy.

Yes, this is why I chose a homebirth for my first (and second) child. Because Demi Moore did.

Today made some attempt to show the other side of the story; an interview with a different, satisfied Cara Muhlhahn client, and one sentence from Marsdon Wagner, who is a perinatologist and perinatal epidemiologist. He was director of Women's and Children's Health in the World Health Organization for 15 years. He mentioned that in a hospital, you have a one-in-three chance of a caesarian.

That's all they gave him a chance to say. Then, they cut to the poor grieving mother: "A caesarian wouldn't have been the worst thing. Losing our daughter was."

Not mentioned: There is a significantly increased risk of maternal and infant death with a caesarian. Besides the risk of death, babies born by caesarian section have lower apgar scores, and mothers have negatively impacted fertility after the surgery, and all subsequent labors become more dangerous for mother and child. That does not even touch on the "less serious" side effects, like how caesarians make it harder to care for a newborn, negatively impact breastfeeding, cost a lot of money, and leave some women feeling like they (or their bodies) failed.
In fact, the WHO recommends that caesarians account for no more than 10% of births. Because they are not safe unless there is a real reason for them. Here in the US, they are at 30% and rising.
We are not just talking about avoiding a scar around your bikini line.

A few other things not mentioned about the "perils" of midwifery: lots of other countries have midwives attend births far more often than OB/Gyns. In some countries, you have to pay extra for birthing in a hospital if you're low-risk. They have lower infant mortality rates than we do.
For low-risk births, home-birth stacks up really well against low-risk hospital birth. There are no double-blind randomized trials to prove this, which is why the ACOG can still claim that it's not safe. But tell me: if you're pregnant, do you want to be randomly assigned to a birth location? No? Then don't expect a randomized trial to be published any time soon.

Anytime I tell someone about birthing at home, they say, "Wow, you're so brave." or, "That's commendable."
What I don't say? I'm about the least brave person I know when it comes to taking physical risks. Don't like heights, horror movies, putting my face in water, surfing, roller coasters, bees, going downhill too fast on a bike. When I got an ear infection a few years ago, I went to the emergency room, convinced my brain was about to explode. They laughed at me, then told me to go home and take an aspirin.
Personally, I chose home birth because I don't want to fight a system in a hospital that is not safe for my baby or for me. I don't want a doctor inducing me with a non FDA-approved drug that radically increases the risk of uterine rupture and infant death (Cytotec). I don't want to be induced and have much more painful contractions. I don't want to be bullied into giving birth before my baby is ready to be born. I don't want to be strapped to a machine instead of being able to move around to ease my pain. And I don't want drugs that increase my likelihood of caesarian many times over. Most of all, I want to be someplace where I feel safe, comfortable, and in charge.
Believe me, "bravery" has nothing to do with my decision to birth at home.

Listening to our country debate healthcare, and then hearing a segment like this on Today, I'm starting lose hope that our country can ever have a rational system of medicine. Because if anything would help our country save money on health care, it would be increasing the role that midwives have in delivering babies. Birth is the most common reason people go into the hospital. And caesarian is the most (or one of the most) common surgeries. I can understand that home birth isn't for everyone. When it's needed, obstetrical care is lifesaving. Caesarians are lifesaving. Hospitals are lifesaving. And giving birth can be a scary prospect for women. I completely understand that a lot of my friends think I'm a little cuckoo for choosing to birth at home. I understand that epidurals help a lot of women avoid pain in labor--and I'm always happy to hear when that happens well, when the drugs don't cause other complications. I don't think "natural" birth is something to be commended for--it's just a choice, and one that a lot of women aren't prepared ot make.
But it makes me angry that our culture does not empower women to see that choice for what it is: a safe alternative. It makes me angry that friends whose births did not go as they were hoping call me, saddened, after their birth. I don't think my friends are at fault; I think the system they entered into does almost everything possible to prevent them from feeling empowered, safe, and calm.
And honestly, I'm angry that in all this debate about healthcare, I've heard nothing coming from official channels that midwifery might be used as a cost-saving measure. Because what a way to save money--provide women with better care (someone that stays with you during labor! Someone that empowers you to believe you can do this incredibly difficult thing! Someone who won't cut you or cut you open unnecessarily!) while not spending money on unnecessary procedures.

But when a show like Today represents this choice as vanity, as trendy--no, as foolhardy and dangerous, I'm afraid that there's no way that our culture will ever change enough to truly empower women to make real choices about where to give birth.

For anyone wanting to learn more about birth, and the medical studies that support (or, really don't support) current obstetrical practices, I invite you to read "The Thinking Women's Guide to a Better Birth" by Henci Goer. Or, check out some sample chapters here. This woman (no not an MD, but as she says, "I can read.") has read the medical literature to find out what the experts really say about the efficacy and safety of our current birthing system. She talks about the statistics and conclusions behind different medical studies, and helps interpret the results in laymans terms. Unlike the Today show, she even talks about her biases and includes information even if it doesn't buttress her point. The book isn't just a negative rant (like this post); it would also be a great resource for learning what you can do to have a safe, less-painful, more successful labor.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Nesting has started. There is about a month to a baby. So. I'm packing up some non-essentials on our bookcases in our bedroom to make room for things like diapers and wipes and clothing. All important stuff.
But the first stuff I chose to put in boxes was my collection of lit mags I've been published in. Plus my MFA thesis (a manuscript of short stories) from SDSU.
I'm a pretty pragmatic person, stuff-wise. Sometimes to a fault. But though I do not need this stuff to be out on a daily basis, it feels a little too symbolic to pack it all into a box, seal it with tape and put it onto a top shelf in our garage.
I will get this stuff out again, right? Or at least use it, somehow, even though the physical realness of it is literally in cold storage?
To make the symbolism complete, I am packing my literary accomplishments in an old Pampers box. Sigh.

I am glad that I started work on a promising essay a few days ago, and that a good friend suggested a market for another essay recently. Otherwise, the cold storage would feel like an especially ominous omen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

let's be honest: one can always complain.

I have nothing to complain about, this pregnancy. Really. Next-to-no vomiting! Sleeping great! That weird back pain I had last time? Now it's more diffuse and less, well, pain-y.

But. Because I know you want to know:
  • Itchiness. Mostly solved by avoiding anything with a waistband. Note: This cuts down on the wardrobe. Plus the undergarment options. But! The itchiness is solved! Mostly!
  • That one ligament on the right side, where I can be standing still and feel like I have the worst side-ache known to marathoners? Ready for that one to stop being kicked.
  • That under-water feeling when I stand still? Along with the side-ache? Apparently the four iron pills I'm taking are not enough.
  • Also. The pills. Enough already. Switched to a once-a-day prenatal, which I think is the best invention ever, except I'm skeptical that it actually contains the RDA of all the stuff I'm supposed to take. But--I'm "taking" "all" of my "prenatals"! So I don't care if they actually contain the RDA! *
  • Apparently, one can mimic gastric bypass surgery with a strategically placed baby. Please, don't ask what happens when I exceed my stomach capacity. Urp.
  • That creaking sensation in my hips. There is a lot of flexing and stretching going on, which is awesome during labor but less awesome when you're squatting to hold your three-year-old over the drinking fountain.
  • Sleeping with a body pillow is less than ideal when it's hot.
  • Kind of miss exercising. No, really.
  • Standing up and sitting down. Argh.
  • Softened brain, lost neurons. Sorry for the forgetfulness, everyone!
Okay! Enough complaints. In general, I like pregnancy a lot more the second time around, because I'm not panicking about the forthcoming baby! Well, I am, but in a more knowledgeable sort of way. Informed panic is the way to go.

*Read this awesome book called "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth", and noted that the medical study that established the need for folic acid supplementation showed that there was improvement in neural tube defects when the folic acid was taken from conception to 2 weeks or so. Question: Why am I still taking folic acid? Hmmmm? Also: Why have I never really succeeded in actually taking the folic acid when it would make some difference?

Monday, August 17, 2009

best excuse ever

Child, upon leaving her bed and opening bedroom door after lights-out:
"But I just want some love."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

was that too obvious?

Dyami's been trying to eliminate some food out of his diet to see if it will eliminate some migranes he's been having. We tried wheat, but decided corn was a more likely suspect. I keep running over the foods I should or should not buy. Which led to the following conversation:

D: "Are there any of these Smart Balance margarines without corn in them? Because I don't really like butter."
H: "The corn is the butter flavor. So it would just taste like oil."
D: "Grrr."
H: "Which reminds me--you shouldn't have any microwave popcorn, either. Cause those have butter flavor in them."
D: Stares. "Plus the popcorn. That might have corn in it as well."

Riiight. Good thing I've become a savvy label-reader. Because if we had to rely just on my memory for this stuff, we'd be in trouble.

Friday, August 14, 2009

the story of Jojo and her feelings

Today Lucy asked me to read her the story of Jojo and her feelings. *
I had no idea what story that was. "Can you tell me what happens in it?" I asked Lucy.
"Jojo not want share her toys with her baby sister, and she not nice to her." Lucy said.
Aha. That story of Jojo and her feelings.

So I told Lucy the story of Jojo, how sometimes she liked having a baby sister, and sometimes she didn't. She especially didn't like it when her baby sister started wanting to use her very special scooter (that we just got two days ago). And so one day, Jojo knocked over her baby sister and took the scooter, and scooted away into the other part of the yard while her sister cried.
And how Jojo's mommy took care of the crying sibling, and then talked to Jojo, and they talked about feeling good at having her scooter back, but bad about having made her sister cry. And then Jojo decided to tell her sister sorry and give her a hug.

I decided Lucy's humongous smile during the telling of the story was because of relief that we were discussing deep issues non-judgmentally, and also excitement over obviously dangerous thoughts, and not some sort of relishing in the hypothetical suffering of her (I mean Jojo's) baby sister.

Does anyone but me have any sense that maybe this wasn't just a bedtime story? Anyone?

*For those of you just tuning in, Jojo is the gifted baby possum that occasionally shares in our family's adventures.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

gender studies

So a good friend's daughter was asking Dyami about my pregnancy yesterday. "How do you know it's a girl?" Elle asked.
Dyami told her that they can take special pictures of the baby inside my belly, kind of like an X-ray.
Elle nodded. She's savvy on that. "So they look at the hair? That might be hard to tell, though. Cause some boys have pretty long hair."
Dyami, perhaps wisely, decided to let her parents explain that one to her.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


At bedtime, Lucy and I usually pray a little bit in between the stories and the snuggle-in-bed. And then one day I had the idea of throwing in a little blessing for her: "The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
I really love speaking these words over my child every night, and oddly enough, I think Lucy likes hearing it; sometimes she says some of the words with me. The ritual of it is touching to me, every night, and I hope she remembers that I ask God for these things for her.

And she's never asked a question about my prayers, but she started asking questions about the blessing. Which led to the following conversation:

"Peace? What peace?"
"It's feeling really safe, and calm."
"God give us that?"
"Yes, he gives us peace."
"And Mama give peace?"
"Maybe a little bit. God gives us the most peace."
"Piece of cake?"
(Trying not to laugh. Not succeeding) "That's, um, a different word. It sounds the same, doesn't it?"
"Is it a big piece or a small piece?"
(No idea how to answer. Still laughing.)
"God gives biggest piece?"

Yes, I guess he does. Especially if (for Lucy, anyway) it's chocolate.

customer relations

Around here, we're eager to teach Lucy Life Skills. It helps that so much of her play is mimicking things we do all the time (we go to Papa's house! We go to the bank! We pretend to be a midwife and check the baby's heartbeat!).

A current favorite is the "Let's go to the bookstore" game. It involves getting out the baby monitor, collecting a laundry basket full of board books, and then coming over to me. Sometimes Lucy is the clerk, and sometimes she's the customer. Whoever is the clerk takes the baby monitor and clicks the volume button (beep! just like a scanner! Yes, Lucy figured that one out all on her own). Then the clerk says how much you owe ("That one two dollar.") and wish you a very nice day out.

Today Dyami was the clerk, and included some consumer savvy in the script:

"Oh, and this book is three ninety-five. Will that be all for you?"
"Huh, yeah."
"Do you have a store credit card? Would you like to open one today and save fifteen percent?"
(Enthusiasm) "Huh, yeah!"
"No, see, Lucy. They always try to get you to take a card. You should say, "No, thanks." "Would you like to open a store credit card?"
(Enthusiasm) "No, thank you!"
"And what about an extended warranty?
(Cautious). No, thank you."
But it's only $25.99 and includes protection if your purchase gets wet."
(Enthusiasm) "Huh, yeah!"
"No, we never get the warranty, either, Lucy. They'll always try to up-sell you."
"Me want play Uno."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Further adventures of JoJo

You all remember the story of the baby possum, right? It's still pretty much Lucy's favorite story, but as good stories do, it has been enlarged and mythologized. I thought I'd share some of the recent iterations for your enjoyment.

--In which the baby possum's name is JoJo, and she lives with us while trying to make it big as a singer-songwriter. She comes to us from New York with her guitar, but ends up leaving when Eleanor, in a fit of rage over stolen food, sends the remote control car after her. Then Jojo goes out to the backyard to find her mommy and daddy.

--In which JoJo and the Caliri family and Eleanor all join in the local parade, get our own float, which has a big sign: "Featuring Jojo, the guitar-playing baby possum!"

--In which JoJo sees a hot-air balloon and convinces us to try it out. So we all go for a ride, after promising that JoJo and Eleanor won't scratch the balloon and thus send us plummetting to our deaths. Lucy was a little scared when the balloon took off, but JoJo held her and made her feel better.

--In which JoJo sees an ad for a battle of the bands. She gathers her animal friends into a band: Eleanor on drums, Freddy Frog on bass, Henrietta Hippo on vocals, and Lucy (not an animal) on piano. They practice hard for six weeks, perfecting some hits, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Human. Then they enter in the "All-Animal and Little Girl Band" category and take the competition by storm.

What's next, JoJo? Politics? Honorary Doctorates? Reality TV?

mascara conspiracy

Personally, I think mascara is mascara is mascara.
I mean, you could conceivably pay tens of dollars for mascara, or 3.99 at Target.

Challenge: Guess how much I spend?


Anyway, last time at Target, I had a chance to test my theory. See, in those commercials on TV, they always make mascara seem so sexy, and like it is the bedrock of your beauty regimen. The mascara will transform your lashes into false eyelashes, without the glue!

I was seduced by the Lash Stiletto commercials (come on, you've gotta love Drew) and then at Target, the two-pack of Lash Stiletto was less expensive than two of my regular brand.

So I tried it. And I will admit, I was kind of excited. (Perhaps I should get out more?) But really: my lashes are nothing to write home about, especially since both my husband and daughter have really fabulous lashes. I can use all the help I can get, Drew. So I withdrew the wand and...

Really, it didn't look any different than my normal brand. Maybe a touch less gloppy. No thicker or richer or stiletto-ish. Just my lashes, but in black-brown.

Personally, I think the mascara companies have their normal $3.99 formula, and then the "Let's put Drew Barrymore in a commercial and slap a new name on the slightly misshapen bottle and call it Lash Stiletto and charge $5.99 for it!" And then people buy it while the commercials are out. When that dies down, they call it Lash Sabre or Lash Staccato or whatever, and find some other movie star to peddle it.

It's a lash conspiracy, people.

Actually, now that I think of it, that's not a half-bad name for a new mascara.

this joke has spiraled out of control

Every morning and evening, Lucy takes a little gummi vitamin.
This is a major highlight of her day.
They come in three flavors, and are shaped like little bears.
Nothing wrong with that.

Except: one morning, many months ago, Dyami pretending the vitamin protested as Lucy lifted it to her mouth: "Don't eat me!!!" (In a shrill gummi bear voice).
Of course, this made the already-exciting ritual even more exciting.
So then we had to say, "Don't eat me" every time she ate the darn thing.

Again, we're still on the border of propriety here.

Then Lucy realized that if the gummi bear could say one thing, it could say others. Which led to the macabre conversations we've been having every morning and night:

"Hi, Bear Vitamin, what your name?"
"Orangy (or Bartholemew or Chrissy or whatever. We have come up with a lot of names. Once we name them...kaput.)"
"Hi! Nice meet you." Pause.
"So why did you get me out of that jar?"
"Cause I going eat you. See my sharp teeth?" (Big smile, very sharp teeth.)
"Oh no! Don't eat me!"

Etc, etc.

I didn't notice how awful this really was until a) my parents heard the exchange and b) the babysitters heard the exchange.
Then I was like, what are we teaching our child?
However, I am hard-pressed to know how exactly to end the massacre of the innocents at mealtime. Perhaps we bundle it together with the conversation about how that "chicken" we eat really is chicken.
Except we don't usually taunt the chicken before putting it on the grill.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

pronoun confusion

Lately, Dyami has been telling Lucy that she's his girl.

"Daddy my girl," Lucy told me today.
I did a double-take. "Your girl?"
"He my girl."
"Is Daddy a girl, Lucy?"
She laughed. "Nooooo," she said, with the tone, what, do you think I'm stupid?

Then, later at dinner with Daddy:
"Daddy, you my girl," she told him.
More double-takes. "Do you mean that you're my girl?" Dyami finally said.
"Huh, yeah," she said. "You my girl."
"No, if you want to say it, you'd say, "I'm your girl."
"You my girl."
"No, say, 'You my...'" He paused. "I mean..."

These pronouns, they're tricky.

Monday, June 29, 2009

there's nothing funny about polio

Much of our parental duties consist of making Freddy Frog and Henrietta Hippo * talk. (These are the adorable felt hand puppets my aunt made Lucy. Thanks so much, Aunt Barb. No really. Thank you. For making little creatures that need our hands and voices to "work." Couldn't you have just bought something with batteries?
Kidding! Totally kidding!)

Today, for some reason, though, Lucy didn't want Freddy and Henry to talk.
She wanted them to cough.
Okay, kid. Whatever.
The coughing actually turned out to be an easy gig, because I only have one cough, and didn't even attempt to differentiate between the two puppets. Plus, she just sat in my lap and cuddled the puppets, and looked in their throats, and said, "You sick, Freddy Frog?"

Of course, then she asked, "You throw up Freddy Frog? You throw up, Henry?"
I laughed (in a froggy/hippo-type voice) and then said, "No, I just have a little cold. I'm just coughing."

Then a minute later, she asked, "You in a wheelchair, Freddy Frog?"


From the other room, Dyami said, "Sheesh. This is starting to sound like polio."
I started laughing again (less froggy this time).
Dyami, still from the other room: "You know, Heather, there's nothing funny about polio."
Right. Except when your toddler is diagnosing it in hand puppets.

*What about Giraffy, their lovable sidekick? Well, let's just say that Giraffy suffered a um, little mishap, when he (she?) was put into the wash hidden in some sheets. Giraffy's spots, horns, and eyes were all glued on. The glue did not agree with the wash.
It's a little creepy seeing a spotless giraffe with glasses but no eyes.
However. We retrieved all the spots! And eyes! and will glue them on again. Very soon. Although doing so would mean that we then have three puppets instead of two.

Note: I have two hands.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

another cool charity

If you're like me, you kind of sigh with disbelief at the general conservative Christian opposition to environmental protection. Really? We don't want to honor and respect the world that God so fearfully and wonderfully made?
Which makes it really exciting to find a Christian organization devoted to the part of environmental protection that really motivates me: saving the earth for people.

Because--let's face it--I'm not exactly outdoorsy. I grew up camping and hiking occasionally (my parents have hiked the Grand Canyon like fifty times...without me), but most days, I'd just as soon lie in a bed as on an air mattress under the stars. And animals are nice and all, but so are coffee shops and book stores.
However: ignoring the fact that we depend on the earth's resources (clean water, growable food) to live is lunacy. And ignoring the fact that those who are marginalized depend on the earth much more than me is at best callous.

So the more I learned about Plant with a Purpose, (the charity formerly known as Floresta) the more excited I got. They work on reforesting impoverished areas, and restoring the environment for people who depend on it absolutely. They do work in the Dominican Republic and in Haiti, along with mexico and in Africa. And they do it all in Jesus' name.
I still remember reading about the environmental catastrophes of Haiti, where you can see the border between the DR and Haiti clearly because all the trees on one side are gone. Guess which side is more impoverished? Guess which side had a harder time recovering after the blasts of the 3 hurricanes last year?
I also remember reading one of PWP's updates. They pointed out that when people deforest their own land for firewood, they're not stupid. They know that long-term, cutting down all the trees will starve them eventually. They just will starve now if they can't cook anything. Or boil their water.
PWP also works on sustainable agriculture, microloans, and community development.
Incidentally, after the hurricanes last year, they received a lot more interest in their programs from locals, because the locals realized that those who had worked with PWP recovered from the devastation more quickly, and with less help from outsiders.
So if you're a tree-hugger like me and you'd like to support Christians making environmental work a priority, check out Plant with Purpose. And bonus! They're even located right here in San Diego!

Friday, June 26, 2009

PIH donation

So I just was reminded that PIH has the opportunity to have any donations right now matched. If you're looking for a new organization to support, doing so now would be great for them. By July 1, the matching grant ends (at the end of their fiscal year.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

life you can save, part two

So I was kind of stoked to see one of the organizations I am excited about profiled in The Life You Can Save. I read Mountains Beyond Mountains last year (like the rest of America) and we challenged and struck by Paul Farmer's work with Partners in Health, his life, and his example. His service to the patients he serves is so extreme as to make me uncomfortable--with him and with myself.
We often choose to support Christian organizations, and PIH isn't, in name (though it's inspired a lot by liberation theology, and by Jesus himself). But PIH's committment to the worth of the people they serve is overwhelming. They airlift Haitians to Boston for lifesaving cancer treatments if no help in Haiti is available. It may not be cost-effective, when compared to other NGOs, but Farmer argues that if we'd do it for someone in the US, we should be willing to pay for people in Haiti to do the same. That kind of attention to people's intrinsic worth seems extremely Christian to me.
That's not to say that PIH doesn't have their eye on cost-effective treatment and interventions that actually change lives. They approach health care in a holistic way: if people have tuberculosis, the state of their house and their nutrition has as much to do with their recovery as drug treatments. So they end up treating a lot of social ills that aren't included in most medical schools' training.
And they were able to show to GiveWell that they have made a hard-nosed, measurable difference in the communities they serve (they started in Haiti, but have moved to Russia, South America, and Africa, as well).
So go and donate, already! Give some love to PIH.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the life you can save

Okay. Right now, I want all my friends and readers (the tens of you!) to go to this website. Read about the pledge. Maybe check out the idea behind the site (and the book it promotes). And if you can, read the book. It's short!
And then, take the pledge. Really.

To review a bit of what the heck I am talking about:
The author, of The Life You Can Save, Peter Singer, argues pretty forcefully that:
1. Religions, ethics, conscience all argue that we should care about extreme poverty.
2. Extreme poverty is daunting, but there are good signs that it can be ended within our lifetime.
3. We should all do what it takes to contribute to that effort. How much we contribute is up to our conscience--but Singer advocates a sliding scale of effort that would allow those of us who are affluent to remain affluent, but also eliminate poverty. Giving more than that is great--but perhaps we have no excuse to give less.
4. And if we create an environment that talks about giving, and shares information about where we're giving, and what organizations seem most effective, we can make giving normal, and exciting, and part of our culture.

What I like about Singer's approach is the sort of one-two punch that it presents. Based on the ethical arguments he makes, and the examples he gives (Paul Farmer, people in the 50% League, who give half of their income to the extremely poor), I felt like I should probably sell my house and don sackcloth to even hope to live up to his standard. So when I got to his final proposal, I was, well, relieved. Because sackcloth sounds itchy and I kind of like my house.

To be honest, I'm always kind of excited when we make donations to my favorite causes. I can be kind of a cheapskate, but for these causes, I know that the money I'm giving is worth it. And Singer encourages us all to share that excitement about others and talk about where we give. So maybe in my next few blog posts I'll talk about some of the organizations I most like giving to. And I'd love to hear from some of you, fair readers, to find out where you're excited to send your money to help those most in need. Go ahead! Comment! I know it feels kind of weird to talk about charitable giving, but maybe we all need to inspire eachother a little bit more.

One other thing: Singer talks a lot about the effectiveness of aid, and mentions an organization, GiveWell, that is trying to evaluate how effective different aid organizations are. GiveWell hasn't recommended very many organizations yet, because most of the organizations they reviewed don't really have data about whether the money they spend (surely with good intentions) actually impacts poverty. But I think if more of us start asking about that kind of data, more organizations will start thinking not just about giving, but about whether the money spent is acheiving anything.

Because if we are going to give more, I'd like to think we might see real fruit from it--soon. Just think: a little bit more from all of us, and we might not have to live with the spectre of the lives we aren't saving.

botany and zoology with Lucy

"Contrary to what I said before, pasta does not grow on trees like strawberries and apples. Pasta is made of wheat. Just like bread and meat and tomatoes are made of wheat.
You know that?

The ladybug plant is made of ladybugs. And when it's night time, the ladybugs go under the street, where their mommies and daddies give them baths, read them stories, and kiss them good night.
You know that?"

Night night, little ladybug.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Are you (freaking) kidding?

I purchased my PG Tips a few days ago from my local British food store. (PG Tips! Oh ever-loving caffeinated nectar!)

Anyway, I love the store: it's all china teapots, chocolate, and weird prepackaged cakes marked as "pudding". And very large boxes of PG Tips.
I told Lucy to take the box of tea to the front counter. After the saleslady mentioned that she used about twelve bags a day (two is about my limit before the jitters start), the saleslady asked Lucy, "Do you drink this tea?"
I thought she was joking, and laughed. Uproariously. Because what kind of fool would give their toddler caffeine? (Cause this tea is _strong_. Which is why I drink it).

The woman sniffed and looked a little offended. "My mum used to give it to us in our baby bottles," she said.

I blinked a few times. I think the woman thought I thought that the caffeine would damage my child in some way.
No, actually. I think giving it to her would damage me.

It occurs to me now: how did the British get to be known as the phlegmatic, staid country with that much caffeine running through their veins?
I guess they're competing with the Italians, who drink straight espresso.
Remind me never to babysit Italian toddlers.

She's not drunk. Really.

Is it just me, or does an overtired toddler act remarkably like a freshman on spring break? Here are the kinds of tired. For "sleepyhead" substitute "drunk" and you'll see what I mean:

--The expansive sleepyhead.
Every gesture is exaggerated. Every facial expression is a mug.

--The mean sleepyhead.
"No! Nonononononononono!"

--The silly sleepyhead.
Repeated words, really bad jokes, and the tone of voice tuned to remind one of nails on a chalkboard.

--The clumsy sleepyhead.
Trips, falls off of chairs, definitely fails a sobriety test.

--The punchy sleepyhead.
This could also mimic a cocaine habit. Because that is what this toddler is like. A crackhead. Zooming from one activity to another, running, jumping, in defiance of all laws of the conservation of energy. Or: perhaps the energy is drawn from the parent in some sort of quantum equation.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

letter to my skin

Please stop it. Stop itching. Decide that you like one of the various creams/salves/lotions I'm applying to you every three hours, and just shut up. Because that's what it's like when you itch all day and all night. You are like an overtired toddler, whining about everything. And a few hours of that won't kill anyone, but days and days? And nights and nights? When I'm not waking up to pee, I'm waking up to try not to itch you and to apply more cream/salve/lotion.

Also: why does one side itch worse than the other side? Am I growing a lopsided baby? Is she favoring one side? Because with all the growing/sagging/protruding that's going on around here, there does not seem to be a definitive listing to one side or another. I seem pretty even-keeled, externally. So: right side, get it together.

Don't you snicker, left side. Because sure, you're not as irritating as right side, but that is only in comparison. Believe me, if right side were to shape up tomorrow, you'd still be mighty annoying.

Also: clothes. Specifically, elastic bands, made to grip onto expanding flesh? Funnily enough, you are making the situation worse. My skin does not like anything grippy. So stop it.

All right. I'm starting to claw at you again, so I'm going to stop writing and go pick out some cream to put on you. Please. Just pretend you like it, at least long enough to let me go to sleep.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

our night life

Yesterday an envelope came from Netflix. It was one of our favorite TV shows, The Closer. Lucy saw it and asked what it was. "It's a video called The Closer that we watch sometimes when you're in bed," I told her.
"You mean you not watch Between the Lions?"
I blinked, and then said, "No, honey, we don't watch Between the Lions without you."

Which led me to imagine what Lucy thinks we do after she goes to bed:
"Honey? You put the video in?"
"Yep! Let's watch the "Piggyback, Piggyback" episode, then finish off with "Popcorn Popper."
"Great. We should have some frozen blueberries, too. With milk and Cheerios. And maybe finish it off by dumping all of the Scrabble pieces out on the floor and then spinning them around on the game board until they fall off."
"Awesome! I've been waiting for this all day!"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Furoshiki throwdown, part two

Ha! My hon-tsusumi (two book carry wrap) took me only two minutes and seven seconds! I had two books set aside to use before I started time, and I also spread out my sarong and folded back one edge to get a more approximate square before I started timing myself.

I think I have to learn all of the wraps and carriers that this book has. Cause I'm always toting a lot of watermelons. Well, no. But I do tote a lot of other stuff.

All right. Let the throwdown begin.

furoshiki throwdown

Can you say "furoshiki" three times fast?
I can't. But I'm going to try to do Or slow, depending on how agile I am.

Let me start at the beginning.

I am kind of stoked on the "Daring Book for Girls" series. It's a series now, because the Double-Daring Book for Girls has just come out. I gave the first one to my neice for Christmas two years ago, and when she read the back, which announced that it was a "no-boys-allowed" adventure, she turned to my dad, who was reaching for the book, and said, "Hey, Grandpa! It's no boys allowed!"

Anyway, I have the chance to participate in a fun interactive book shower for the authors, in which I challenge my blog readers (and I have a few of you in mind) to a Daring Activity Throwdown. Basically, I read up on one of the book's activities, and time my attempt. Then, you all try to beat my time. And you post comments lamenting how I beat you so handily.

So this is where the furoshiki comes in.

Furoshiki is a Japanese craft that involves wrapping things up (groceries, gifts, watermelons) in a large square cloth. It's not only a fun and useful skill, but also reduces consumption: you can always cart those pesky watermelons away without having to ask for a single-use plastic bag. The Double-Daring book has a variety of wraps to learn.

But I hereby select one for my throwdown: the Hon-tsusumi (two books carry wrap). I mean, it makes sense, right? Me, learning how to make my own on-the-fly book carrier?
And you readers in my audience? You need to participate! You know you have been waiting, just waiting for a way to tote more books with you. Aunt Barb, Megan V., HeLaFo, Michelle, women of WMU...I'm counting on you.

Okay. Here's the illustration that came in the book, along with instructions:

This works best with a larger (42-inch) furoshiki. Spread the furoshiki, and place one book on the left corner, and one on the right. Fold the left and right edges over the books and then flip the books over until their edges meet in the center.
Lift the top and bottom corners and cross them in the middle. Then, flip the two books again so that they fold up together with the crossed fabric inbetween them. Stand them up on end so that the crossed fabric is on top. Then twist the fabric and tie the ends in a knot to create a carrying handle.

Ready, set, Go!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

like mother...

If you know me, you know I like order. When I was little, I made little labels for the spines of my books and sorted them by subject and author. I kind of get a kick out of culling unused clothes out of our closet so we won't get over-cluttered. Dyami can't find the colander every so often because I have a new "system". And yes, I kind of like making all of the numbers match up (inflow! outflow!) on our budget.

So should it really surprise me that Lucy is just a

Scenes from a Budding Neatnik

Scene one: We invite two lovely (and slightly older) girls over to play. They get into three boxes of toys in the kitchen: plastic food, wooden fruit, and buttons/shells. They (gasp!) mix them up! It takes a while to convince Lucy that Everything will Be All Right.

Scene two: After a weekend of finishing a last minute gift, I leave my sewing machine, a few tools and some notions on the dining room table. At breakfast, Lucy blinks, looks over at me, and says, "Mama, sewing things kind of a mess. You clean up!"
I do not clean them up. At dinner tonight, I got admonished. Again.

Scene three: On our walk home from the park, Lucy notices a decorative arrangement of river stones and gravel along someone's yard. Dark river stones are placed in ovals around tree trunks. Lighter crushed gravel fills the rest of the space.
We have to bargain for a while. I finally convince her that yes, the nice people with the messy yard do have people to sort out the stones.
I just hope they get on it, because we walk past that house nearly every day.

In an attempt to forestall this neat compulsion, I have decided to let things get a little messier around here. Like: I won't fold and roll the undies before I put them in the drawer. I won't sort salad forks and dinner forks within the little silverware compartment.
Plus--the sewing stuff? It's staying on the table. For now.
See how well we're doing?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the bladder, it is tiny

Could someone please just install bathrooms every fifty feet, please? Because that's about how long I have to walk before I need one.
There's a reason for this: in our first (and last!) ultrasound, the technician mentioned that our baby girl's* feet were positioned right on my bladder. "So you might be noticing that," he said.
Ahem. Yes. Because also, the pregnancy? It makes me unnaturally thirsty.

Recently, I've been taking Lucy to a park that's about a ten minute walk from our house. It's a sneaky way for me to get exercise, since she's getting a bit old for the "isn't it fun to have momma push you around the neighborhood?" thing. The park is just past our local jr. high and the playing fields attached to it.
The park also has no bathrooms.

This is how the walk goes:
  1. Use the bathroom before leaving the house. Then drink water, because of unnatural thirst. Then use the bathroom again, just in case.
  2. Cross the street. Do not think about water. Do not think about water.
  3. Pretend you don't have to pee. Because it has been what--20 seconds?
  4. Walk downhill. Approach Jr. High.
  5. Gate open! Walk in and look for restroom!
  6. Get lost.
  7. Find restroom. Locked.
  8. Hurry towards playing fields. Two portapotties. Ugh. But beggars can't be choosers.
  9. Plug nose. Use available facilities.
  10. Walk away from playing fields with spring in step.
  11. Get 100 feet away. Do not think about water.
  12. Pretend you don't have to pee. Because it has been what--20 seconds?
  13. Arrive at park with full bladder.
Sigh. So yes, friendly neighborhood ultrasound tech. Now that you mentioned it, I have noticed a certain lack of capacity, bladder-wise.

*See how I sneak in these announcements? Yes, two girls.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

whatdidyousay? No, really?

On the plane home on a solo trip to Michigan, I sat next to a very lovely woman, Lisa, and her three-year-old.
We chatted for a minute or two--she was one of those happy gregarious people that makes it easy to carry on small talk for the duration of a flight--and then she pointed to my belly. "When are you due?"
"Oh, Novemberish," I said.
She turned to her daughter. "See, Chloe? She's got a baby in her belly."
Her daughter looked at my midriff, then up at her mom, her eyes wide.
"She's going to have a little baby." Lisa said. "Just like you were in my belly once."

Then Lisa pointed at her chest. Well, actually, at her nipples. "And she's going to have titty milk, Chloe! Just like mama did!" Then she pointed at my chest. "Lots of titty milk for her baby!"

I opened my mouth, then closed it. Because really, after that, what could I say?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

night of the living...everything

First it was Elmo. I think Dyami started it.

Dyami as Elmo: "Hey, Lucy! Elmo wants you to take a bath!"

Lucy jumped up and ran to the bathtub. Which meant I didn't mind keeping up the Elmo voice on my own while she got clean.

Then it was the puppets my aunt made Lucy for Christmas. Three adorable felt puppets, complete with attitudes (the giraffe, Giraffy, sports pipe-cleaner glasses) that I'd kind of like to burn now. Because of the weeks of activities that needed one of the three amigos to narrate. Freddy Frog reads a story! Henrietta Hippo dances to The Killers! Giraffy supervises puzzle time!

But now it's like the gremlins have been loosed on my house. Because it's not just the obvious candidates for animation. Now it's anything and everything. My shoes. My hand. My finger. My newly pedicured toes. The car. The pretend hammer (ie chapstick). The stick-turned-horse. Each must accompany us on our journey through the day, complete with high- or low-pitched voice, witty reparte, and endless replies to questions like, "So, Hammer! How is your day out? Where is your mommy?"

Oh--yes. I forgot. Each and every object also has a mommy and daddy that must be provided with more voices, more replies, more banter.

It's gotten to where I want to run far, far away every time Lucy picks up a new--whatever--and says, in a hopeful voice, "Spoon? You talk?"

No, Lucy. The spoon does not talk. The spoon is sleeping. Along with (yes) its mommy and daddy.

Also, your mommy. She has gone to sleep, too. Because of the large dose of Valium she just ingested. Hopefully she will sleep for the (how many more??) weeks it takes to move on to a different obsession.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lucy's greatest hits

Lucy's songwriting has really increased of late. Some of them are inspired by other works:
"One little two little fing-gers...One little two little fing-gers...One little two little fing-gers...."
but there are also some originals, like:
"Tuba. Tu-ba! Tuba tuba tuba tuba!"
And her current choreographed number,
"Watch out! For Busytown! Watch out, for Busytown!" To which she puts on her elf hat and runs around the living room in circles.
We asked her why, exactly, you have to watch out for Busytown.
"Cause it all filled with little furniture," she said. "Trip over it."
Ahh! That's so much clearer now.

so what do normal people text about?

So my old-person's texting helper on my cell phone does not include the words "snotty" or "snot" or "runny" in the dictionary.
Apparently, I'm not their target demographic. Who knew?

Monday, May 4, 2009

More munchausen

From a few days ago: Lucy put Elmo's head into the waffle iron. Don't worry, it wasn't on or anything. But I'm a little worried that she'll start going at him with scissors or something.

the news from around here.

So this would probably be better for Lucy to share. Lucy?

"Mama has a baby in she's belly."

So there you go. Straight from the big sister's mouth.

Q: When is the due date?
A: Who the heck knows? At this point, probably early November. Or earlier! I'm guessing we'll notice if it's earlier.

Q: How are you feeling?
A: Can't complain. Not too bad on the gagging front, and no puke. Since I'm out of the first trimester, I think we're out of the woods. Of course, I sleep like 10 hours at night and still need a nap, but otherwise...

Q: Does it feel different this time?
A: Yes and no. I've got about the same amount of symptoms, which I'm very thankful for. But I also kind of wish (this time) that I could just sort of hide the pregnancy until after the baby was born. Like in the antebellum times. Don't know why I feel shy.
Which begs the question: why announce this on the blog? Well, I figure I won't post unless I mention this slightly important fact about our life right now.

So there you go. Thanks for helping on this post, Lucy.
"Thanks for mine help."
Yes. Exactly.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

so maternal it warms the heart

Lucy has a little stuffed Elmo doll (no, he does not giggle, or tickle, or burp. He's just stuffed, with hard plastic eyes.) that is often at the center of a lot of her adventures. Today she walked into the kitchen, cradling him in her arms.
"Elmo crying. He fell on tile. So hard. Lucy make him feel better."
"Oh, Lucy," I said. "I bet he feels a lot better with you caring for him."
"Uh-huh," she said, and carried him over to the sliding-glass door. "You feel better, Elmo?"
I turned around, my heart warmed by my daughter's sweetness.
Then I heard a thunk.

When I looked back, Elmo was on the floor, his eyes having hit the hard tile.
"Oh, Elmo," Lucy said. "You fell. Lucy make you feel better." She picked him back up and shushed him.
I chuckled, then stopped. Because a minute later, she held him at arms length and deliberately dropped him on the floor. Then she hit his head against the floor a couple times to make sure he really needed someone to take care of him.

Sheesh, Lucy. Munchausen's by proxy already? And you can't even tie shoes yet.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

welcome to the family

Lucy has a baby bird. It is a baby crow. She likes holding it in her hands while we're in the car. And also when we're walking in the parking lot. If I need her to hold my hand, I tell her to put the baby bird in her pocket.
Is it clear yet this is a pretend bird?
On the way home, she was talking to her baby bird. Then, she yelled, "Mama!!"
I was about to respond when she added, "Bird!!!"
Then again. "Mama...bird!!"
More indecipherable words. Then, to me, "Baby bird crying for her mama. Found her mama. Mama with her!"
"Oh, Lucy, how nice," I said. "I bet the baby bird feels much better now."
"Huh, yeah," she said.
Then a minute later. "Dada! Dada! Bird!"
"Did the baby bird find her dada, too?" I said.
"Yeah. Now have Mama and Dada."
Nice and nuclear, I thought.

But then, a minute later...
"Grandma! Grandma bird!"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

John Jacob Jingleheimer...

This is a song I never heard growing up. Dyami learned it, but not "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly" or "Frere Jaque". I guess we're even.
It's got a catchy little melody* (love the "dah dah dah's" at the end) and funny words. Plus, it's kind of women's lib-ish, what with the hyphenated name.
In other words, perfect for a children's song.

Except the way "Schmidt" gets pronounced by a two-year-old. Very loudly.
I guess we won't be doing public performances any time soon.

*Is it just me, or is this a very, very odd rendition of this song? 1. It's really slow. 2. The guy is singing in a contra-bass range. All of which makes this snappy march sound kind of like a dirge. I'm very sorry to hear that Mr. Jingleheimer-Schmidt died just when I was getting to know him.
However, I like that for once a song demo isn't done with midi-horns. So that's something.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

gardening, revisited

Okay, so last year, I planted a garden with much fanfare and anticipation. I got sproutlings!

And then not much more.

The onions were little mini onions. I also grew four tiny fennel plants, big enough for Lucy's Elmo doll! If he were to eat fennel!
Also the tomato plants, which I planted from seedlings. From those I got about ten tomatoes. Of which, more than half were eaten by possums.
And one strawberry (or two!) every couple weeks.
Let's not talk about how much I spent on compost/plant material/etc. It wasn't a ton, but for twelve strawberries and two tomatoes, it was Too Much.
Lessons learned: there is no "really sunny spot" in my yard, okay? There just isn't. The plants, they'll sprout, but they're just not going to go crazy.

But! I think my garden may be redeeming itself.
Exhibit A. The thyme plant that looked emaciated and mite-ridden all last summer? It has decided to stay, even after my terrible watering habits over the winter!
Exhibit B. Those strawberry plants? They, too, look fat and bushy after a whole year's growing. Yay for perennials!
Exhibit C. The kicker! I invested in heirloom tomatoes last year, which caused me to kick myself when they proved to be less-than-hardy and half-eaten by rodents. (Marsupials? What the heck are possums, anyway?) But! Today I looked around the base of my garden, and there were no fewer than six sprouted tomato plants from seeds that fell from my lost fruit last year! Thanks, non-hybrid plants! And I didn't even have to do anything to get them to come up from seed. Plus, they're heirlooms! And this time I'm going to invest in some netting/electric fencing to keep away the critters! As soon as I get around to it.

In honor of my garden, today I bought a few basil plants, a few more strawberry plants, and a mint plant*. Now I'm going to plant them all and lean back and enjoy my kitchen garden. Which has resurrected itself just in time for Easter.

* Of course, one shouldn't be too cocky. Proof of a less-than-green thumb: I have managed to kill about three mint plants. These are plants that are supposed to be indestructible. Hmmm.

Monday, March 23, 2009

on a more serious note

I just watched this video: a 13 year old interviews his 80-something year old grandmother. Interesting, and bittersweet, except for the part where he asks what the hardest part of the Depression was for her.
Then it was just wrenching.
She stopped, looks down, and her face crumples. "When we didn't have enough to eat," she said.

This was seventy years ago, and the memory is still so painful that she can't even say it without crying.
God, it makes my heart ache. How many people in this world live that pain every day?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

kiddie performance art

My friend Todd (also famous because of this) demonstrated one good use for electronic toys. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lucy's favorite story

It's a true one. (Really).

1. In which the small woodland creatures perpetrate a home invasion.

Once upon a time, Dyami left the door open. The sliding glass door to the living room, because our cat is annoying, and in the warm summer months, wants to go in and/or out every five minutes (Yes, it was locked in the ajar position).

So, we went to bad with the door open. And then, we woke up to a very loud crunching sound. Something was eating our cat's food. Except it didn't sound like our cat.

2. In which man and beast face off.

We went into the kitchen to see what (the heck) was making the noise. Flipped on the light and saw a very small (tiny!) baby possum that somehow managed to sound like a bulldozer when eating kibble.
The possum blinked. And then it turned and ran underneath our dishwasher.

3. Enter the robotic car.

Dyami didn't want to reach underneath the dishwasher, or even go anywhere close to the dishwasher. I didn't want him to either. Possums, even baby ones, have very sharp claws/teeth.
So the obvious solution was to go get our small, remote-controlled yellow car and send it underneath the dishwasher to try to scare the baby possum back out the door from whence it came.

4. Vrooom.

Dyami expertly maneuvers the car underneath the dishwasher. Zoom! (sound of squealing breaks)
Where it gets stuck.
Along with the baby possum.

5. In which we go back to bed.

We looked at each other, shrugged, opened the kitchen sliding door, and turned off the lights.
Oh, and we also shut the door to our bedroom.

6. In which there is a tearful reunion (we think).

In the morning, the possum was gone. We tell Lucy that it went outside and found its momma and dadda.
Or it took the tiny car on a joyride, returned it to the dishwasher, and then wrote a memoir.
Either way, we decided to stop leaving the door open.
In the morning,