Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time Passages

When I voted, Finn was 5 months old and 11 pounds, 9 ounces or so. I was still using the sling when we went walking, rustling through autumn leaves. Now, we are finally about to have two senators, he's about 17 pounds and crawling, and the summer flowers are blooming.

Congratulations, Senator Franken.

Monday, June 29, 2009

yeah, he's crawling

Reunited, and it feels so...


There was a reunion at the NICU today, and I was eager to go. I know that some parents can't stand to go near the place, but I am thankful for my healthy son, and they were an integral part in making that happen. While we were driving into the parking ramp, Pete experienced the same anxiety he experienced whenever we came to visit Finn, but I didn't have that. The place is still as familiar as it was last year, but it doesn't upset me. All I could think was that it was interesting to be bringing Finn into Childrens'.

There were a lot of people there. More than I expected. Families were milling about the entire second floor. It must have been weird to be coming to see your baby in the NICU with all the festivities going on outside the unit.

They had a short program with former patients, now going to college, as well as a musical act and characters dressed up in Wizard of Oz garb. We did not get our photo taken with them. It creeped me out a little bit.

There were craft areas with stickers and face painting, but Finn is a little young for that stuff. We only saw one nurse who had taken care of Finn and none of the doctors. I had been hoping for that, but, heck, they are probably working, and if you are not working, then you don't want to be at work. They are putting together an album for them, though, with current photos and updates, and I submitted one of those.

We ate some cheese and fruit, talked to a couple of soccer players from the Minnesota Thunder (the coach had a daughter in the NICU 5 years ago), and went into the gift shop for the first time, where Pete bought Finn a Grover stuffed doll. We never went into the gift shop while Finn was a patient. There did not seem to be a need. I got some information on volunteering, and I am thinking about doing that in my "spare time."

When I find some.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Pete's recording with The Hounds of Finn this weekend. I had the boy yesterday, and he took him with him today, so I could go to the Titanic Artifacts exhibit at the Science Museum. All in all, I would say that it's a good show, though I think that they should add some focus on the science side of things: how they retrieved the artifacts, how they are preserved... exactly why there is wood and leather, but I get no human bones (come on, everyone is wondering). You know, that sort of thing. It's a lot of history, which is cool, but this is the Science Museum. There's room for them to tell me how, at 12450 feet below the surface of the ocean, at 6000 psi, there are bottles of champagne with champagne in them. How did the face powder survive? What about the paper? What exactly is going on when iron brought to the surface explodes.

These are things that inquiring minds want to know.

Also, I'd like to know why I would buy my child a Titanic coloring book, containing scenes like this:

I mean, is this from the Disaster Series?

Can I get a Donner Party Coloring Book? September 11th? Antietam?

I always thought it was horrifying that this is considered an amusement ride:
Come on kids! Play while you can! We're going down!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

As I drove home, I reminded myself not to apologize when I walked into the house. I had not given a time; I was not late. But it was 10:30, and I had just spent four hours with friends on Pete's suggestion, and I felt bad. I felt like I had betrayed someone or something, that I was wrong and needed to say I was sorry. When I got home, the boy was asleep, and Pete was editing video in the kitchen. All was well.

I didn't apologize.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I just took an actual lunch break: a period of time during which I sat down and ate a meal slowly and contemplatively, while reading for pleasure.

Often, I forget to eat, or I eat at my desk, or I consume a Mason Jar of trail mix over the course of a day. Usually, I am bolting my food, either while I feed Finn, or while I focus on what I have to do next, or, indeed, while I actually do what I have to do next.

So how about we talk a little bit about Motherhood and Resentment?

We know it's out there, though these two words are not tied together as much as "Motherhood and Fulfillment" or "Motherhood and Joy" or other cuddly comparisons. Motherhood and Resentment. Just this morning as we readied the family for work and day care, I remarked that, as a mother, I am now merely an extension of my family. This happened after Pete told me to stop getting Finn's bottles ready and get myself ready.

"There is no 'me' anymore," I said.

Being the mother is different, and there are biological and societal reasons for this sublimation of self. I don't know how much I feel like getting into The Patriarchy right now. Even on a full stomach, that's a big topic, which tends to provoke eye rolling from those who believe that we live in a post-feminist world (all evidence to the contrary). But biologically, I am dependent upon Finn, and he upon me, due to breast feeding. I need him to keep supply up, and he needs me to provide food. You could say that is my "choice," but I don't view it that way: it's my responsibility. And it means that, without a significant backstock, I don't have the freedom to just go somewhere for a night, or a long day, because I don't have the food for him.

It's something that is always on my mind, and I have to pump while at work, and sometimes at home, to have enough for him to get through his days away from me. I was short four ounces this morning, meaning I had to defrost one of my perhaps three extra bottles. Meaning that I have to come up with 12 ounces over the course of today and the weekend to be ready for Monday and to replace the one that I used. So I am pumping every two hours today at work, and I am going to try to either nurse or pump every two hours over the weekend, to get there and maybe boost my supply. I am adding supplements and loads of water to that equation to assist in this endeavor. It's very difficult to fit pumping in when you are with the baby. It sometimes results in pumping while nursing, which Finn finds enormously interesting, making it even harder to do.

Pete has the luxury, as I have written before, of "getting" to take care of Finn. He also has the luxury to go play music with friends, both at rehearsals and at gigs in bars. Where they serve alcohol. To adults. At night! I hear they do this now...

He does not have to think: "Oh man, I am up late, and this is totally going to suck when I get home and have to deal with the baby all night and not get any sleep at all." For me, going out often creates more work and exhaustion on the other end, thus not being a "break" at all.

Yesterday, I came home from work to find that Pete and my mom had created my evening for me. If I wanted, Finn and I could go up with Mom to my brother's house and have dinner, all while Pete went to rehearsal. After which, Pete would pick me up, and we would go home. I weighed these things as Mom and I picked up a reupholstered chair, dropped off books and DVD's at the library, and picked up our box of veggies. Did I need to wash diapers for day care? If I left the house, what would I not be getting done? What could I get done home alone with Finn? If I left, I would not be able to pump. If I left, I would not be in control of my comings and goings. I would be dependent upon Pete to pick me up on time, which is practically an impossibility.

Pete was late, and I was pissed. I was exhausted; Finn was tired. It would be too late for me to pump when I got home because I was too tired. Finn screamed half the way home. I got a headache. I was seething and filled with resentment. Over all of it. He gets to go and rehearse? Play music and have fun with people he likes? And then be late to get me, possibly causing many disruptions over the course of a night's sleep? He gets to do all sorts of things, and I "get to" be with the baby. Even the freelance work we both have taken over the summer: I am fitting mine into my time, and he is fitting his into our time, or that's what it feels like. I edit pages while I pump at work, when I used to be able to knit and listen to public radio. Or I edit pages while nursing. Or in the rare times Finn naps for me (when I should be washing dishes or sorting yard sale crap).

I resent that I am no longer the me who I once was. I resent that I don't have the freedom to just do what I want to do, not that I ever really did. Not that any of us really do. I just resent that it's glaring to me, every single day, that I can't... I can't... I can't...

It doesn't mean that I am going to run off and, I don't know, see the sights in, say... Buenos Aires, or that Pete and Finn's story will be made into a Lifetime Movie of the Week, with me as the Thelma AND the Louise. It doesn't really mean anything. It's just a testament to the roller coaster that is motherhood; another addition to the chronicle of American female existence; a minor addendum to the lactational litany; a simulacrum of... no. Not going there.

June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Finn sleeps with us. It just sort of happened. Who knows what we would have done had he been born like a normal baby, around his due date and toward the end of an actual third trimester. I always planned on having our baby in our room, and I was looking at getting a co-sleeper. He wound up in our bed through a series of changes in night time routines which always involved him falling asleep with one of us and his apnea monitor. Would he be a sleeps all night baby were he not a cosleeper? The world will never know. Would he be an all-nighter if he had not been born so early? His adoring fans can only speculate. It does not really matter, but it does not help me quell feelings of stabby rage whenever I hear another parent cooing over their 10 week old baby who sleeps through the night. Especially when my demon vampire baby is crawling out of his co-sleeper, into our bed to bite me on the arm while making hypervenitating sounds. It makes me think that the advocates of bedsharing are only doing it because they want other people to suffer their hell. Then again, I signed up for this, and I don't think that breast fed babies do sleep through the night commonly, and if you add the family bed to that, then you are most likely going to be awake a little more and a little longer.

He's asleep right now in his co-sleeper, and I snuck out to take out my contacts, wash my face, and write this. I'll sneak back in, and he will wake up in 1 to 3 hours. Then I'll move him into the bed, and we'll do the nursing tango until we get up for good.

His Indian name is Naps at Daycare, or Sleeps for the Sitter. Hearing about his three hour napathons just makes me sigh and shrug at this point. Then I go wake up all the cats. Because I can.

But I don't think I'd go back and change anything. There's no point in thinking that way, and I did get time with my baby; I do get time with him. And during the day, he's happy and charming. He's secure and adventurous. Happy Morning Baby often makes up for Thrashy McDiaperpants.

I guess I could think about night-weaning sometime soon, but then I also think that he's only almost 13 months, 9.5 months minus the hospital fetus time, and I don't want to risk a big drop in supply just yet. So I'll hang in there. We have moved into a different phase, the one where he actually does sleep alone for awhile and Pete and I watch library DVD reruns of shows we can't see because we don't have cable. Together, on the couch, like grown ups. And I obsess over whether or not Finn is still breathing, in the room all by himself.

I just checked on him.

He is.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


No, not the Confederate States of America (don't tell anyone, but they lost), but Community Supported Agriculture. Ours started two Thursdays ago, and I couldn't be happier about it. Last year was our first experience with a CSA, and we could not keep up with it. Between visits to the hospital and other life-type items, my compost haul next year is going to be incredibly rich. Pete thought that we should opt for every-other-week boxes, and he's probably right, but I am really going to try, now that we are all in the same house together.

Last week, I had to compost some spinach that went all gloopy, but that was it.

Monday, June 22, 2009


He has four. He does not let us see the bottom ones, but we can see the top two when he smiles sometimes.

He bites me. All over. Often.


Overall, the following picture is an accurate portrayal of how we feel about our day care:

On Friday afternoon, we attended a pot luck after work at M&M. They do these events periodically, like on May Day, and this one was in honor of the solstice. The kids did a performance, which was a song about M&M Day Care, including a verse about pretty boys and strong girls. Gotta love that. Then there was a pinata, which started with the youngest member of the establishment, Alejandro, who will be a year old at the beginning of August.

Finn took the baton and hit the pinata a few times (everything is a drum), then on to Benjamin, who did not want to give up the baton and had a little tantrum, staining the pavement with snot. It moved through the kids until the sun was finally broken, unleashing its contents of fake money, tootsie rolls, and toy frogs.

I had totally forgotten to put this on our calendar, so it was not until I was into my work day that I remembered. So we brought leftovers from the previous day, an entirely local and organic salad from our CSA containing radishes, kohlrabi, green garlic, and green onions. It was pretty good, if full of "weird stuff."

In the backyard

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The baby is sleeping in his co-sleeper, in our room. Pete is in the kitchen; I am at the computer. It won't last, but it's nice. And super weird. He did this on Friday night, too, and Pete and I watched a couple of episodes of "Weeds" before my opening the window woke the monster. First time something like that has happened since we brought the boy home from the hospital.

Of course, I am so used to being near him when he sleeps, that I find it's hard for me not to check on him every six minutes. He was in the co-sleeper a few nights ago, inches from my nose, and I could not sleep because I could not see him breathing.


Just last night, I was thinking how nice it was that I have not had any boob problems for a very long time. Many months ago, probably in fall, I felt some pain coming on in Lefty (poor Lefty, still an underproducer), but I managed to turn it around with heat and fluids. The full-on mastitis that I had previous to that was so painful I could not hold the baby on my left side, which is where I hold him. It's really hard to hold him any other way.

Well guess what. It's happening again. And again, I am trying to flush it out with frequent nursing on that side, massage, fluids, pumping, and heat, once I go to bed. Heat. On the solstice. Not exactly what I want to add to the bed, especially considering that my remarkably sweaty baby will probably wind up in there with us, too.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Picture Update

Pete's Red Sox hat and breakfast at the Square Peg diner, where Greta works.

Breakfast at day care on the first day. Then my camera stopped working.

Playing at the park with Pete. Nice shot, eh? That's Pete's work.

Blue Potatoes! Well, they are more purple... from our CSA.

Babies and Malabrigo.

Morning nap with my favorite boys. This morning.

Friday, June 19, 2009


The Roamer, The Wiggler, Squirmy, Thrashy, whatever you want to call him... The Boy was again all over the place last night. Pete actually managed to put him into the co-sleeper, asleep, and he stayed there, asleep, on his tummy, until after 11:00. Granted, that was only a little over an hour, but it's a start. He woke up, and I let him stir and fuss until it was clear that he was just going to get more upset, rather than settle down. He nursed a bit and then fell asleep, winding up like a little hyphen between Pete and I. Don't be fooled by their size: babies take up a lot of room when they are sleeping. Then he stayed asleep until 2:45 or so, and we did the same routine again. Stir, fuss, wait, escalate, nurse.

But hey, Pete's muscle relaxants seemed to work!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

* 5/18/2010: Please note that this post was written during my Great Vaccination Fugue, from which I have recovered. Finn will be getting the CDC recommended vaccination schedule from now on.

He's sleeping in his carseat in the guest room. Both he and Pete had doctor's appointments. Finn had his first Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccination, and Pete was seeing a doctor about his incessant and worsening neck/shoulder/arm pain. It's Finn's first live virus, and Pete has some muscle relaxants and an order for physical therapy. We'll see how that goes and then move on to an MRI if things don't improve.

I had my favorite nurse today, the one who is supervising her granddaughter's vaccinations, and we worked out a schedule for Finn. He's getting them all, just one at a time, as I have mentioned. We're should be caught up and all set by 18 months, which is good. She says it's important to get them in under the age of two. He does not have to go back for a month, which is nice for both of us, though the clinic is not far away, and Finn does so well with the shots. He also gets to flirt with people in the waiting rooms, which he really likes.

MMR is one of the vaccinations that has the most controversy, I think, but I am not sure why. I suppose I could look it up, and maybe I will later, but I have things to do while the boy is sleeping. Possibly it's because it's a live virus, or maybe it has the most side effects associated with it. Basically, we have to watch, as he could develop a rash or fever in 7-14 days. Fever developes in one person out of six and a rash in one out of twenty. So far, Finn has had no reactions, but I like to be able to monitor these things.

Briefly, he has completed his HIB and is done with the first round of DTaP and Pc (Prevnar). He started his Hep B and will get #2 in late July, #3 in December. He will get his third polio in October. Hep A starting in November, and Varicella in December. He will also have to have DTaP at 15 months, so August or September.

Basically, they get a lot of shots.

Last night, Finn was nicely asleep on his belly (he rolls himself there now), and it took me forever to fall asleep. The boy was then thrashy and rolly and whiny from around 1:00 a.m. until Pete took him. I figured out that this is what he's been doing, from around 1:00 to 5:00. Thrashing, rolling, whimpering, nursing, thrashing, rolling, and whimpering. I'm used to being tired, but it's still exasperating sometimes. Now with Pete in so much pain, he can barely help, so it's going to be extra fun for awhile, for all of us.

I am starting to think that Finn might actually sleep better in his own bed, so we are going to set up the crib soon, but fit it into our room. Somehow. That means taking the co-sleeper down, which I mainly use as a bed rail and book/glasses storage. Still, it's a little sad, acknowledging that he's growing and changing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Every once in a while, I hit a wall. Things build up, whether it's lack of sleep, too much to do, or stresses beyond my control. Usually, it's a convergence of all those elements, and I lose it a little bit.

Last night was one of those times, and today I am trying to figure out what to do about it.

The Boy has been thrashy and fussy the past few nights, and we have not been sleeping well. I don't know what it is, it could be many things from teething to my hormones, but since he can't tell me, guessing won't do much good. This along with work, day care shuttling issues, a messy house, an overgrown garden, a yard sale coming up, and an almost total lack of a social life, let alone any time to myself (that is not related to getting something done) came crashing down on me. Pete had rehearsal, and he was not back yet. It was nearing 10:00. I started to feel resentful about being a mother. Yes, it happens, and it's real. And the conversation in my head was maddening. By the time Pete arrived home, Finn was settled down, but I was still feeling upset.

Pete gets to rehearse and play gigs. He gets loads of time away from the house, away from the baby, doing something he loves to do. His perspective, when it's time to take Finn, is that he "gets to" spend time with the boy. "We play and hang out," he says.

My perspective is that I have to.

That is not to say that I don't enjoy my time with my son or that I am unaware of how much I will miss this baby when he is grown. It's to say that there is less of an element of choice in my life than there is for Pete, and that sucks sometimes.

Pete's suggestions are that we set Finn up in his own room, in his own crib, and let him "fuss." Also, he suggests that I schedule time out of the house, away from the baby. A co-worker who is also a mother says I have to let him cry it out, there's no other choice.

OK. Really? That's it? Own crib/cry it out?

Pete is probably right about the scheduling time out of the house thing, but with him rehearsing once a week and gigging perhaps twice a week, we have no time at home in the evening together, and that would suck, too. Also, if I am out of the house, I need to leave part of me behind in the form of milk, and we don't have backstock anymore.

It's just not as simple as "I'm going over to Kira's now. See ya bye." Because when I get home, I have to take over anyway because of our night-time routine.

Which is, when Finn starts to get eye-rubby (or I do), we go to bed, and he nurses to sleep. I read. He wakes me up over the course of the night to nurse. We get up between 6:00 and 7:00 in the morning. Sometimes, I don't want to go to bed at 9:00. Sometimes, he doesn't.

There's not much time between getting home from work, sometimes as late as 6:30, and bedtime. Not much time for getting out of the house, let alone cooking dinner.

So here I am.

I don't think I want to set Finn up in his own room, but I would probably be OK with his own crib. I am not OK with letting him scream. Everyone can say what they want about that, but it does not feel right to me, for me, and I don't want to do it. If that means I am feeling like this, off and on, until he is weaned, so be it. Like I said, this is cyclical. I don't feel like this all the time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Travels with Baby: Breastfeeding

Nursing? Planning a road trip?

Here are some things I wish I would have done.

I should have checked up on the state laws concerning breast feeding for the states in which we found ourselves. In our case, that was Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

Turns out that, out of those, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, "have laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location." Wisconsin, as well as Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws.

How nice of them.

For an example, here are Minnesota's laws:

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 145.894 directs the state commissioner of health to develop and implement a public education program promoting the provisions of the Maternal and Child Nutrition Act. The education programs must include a campaign to promote breastfeeding.

Minn. Stat. § 145.905 provides that a mother may breastfeed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.

Minn. Stat. § 181.939 (1998) requires employers to provide daily unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the workplace for this activity. (SB 2751)

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 617.23 specifies that breastfeeding does not constitute indecent exposure

Pete thought is was odd that I would have to think about state laws when it comes to feeding our baby, but there you have it. It's still so fun to be a girl, sometimes. The things that we have to consider can be very different, even if it has nothing to do with babies or children or reproduction.

I also wish that I would have brought my manual pump. My pump can use a car adapter, but it turns out that the plug in on the pump is recessed, and the adapter I had would not fit. We tried to find one on the road and while we were in civilization, but had no luck. I ended up buying an 18 dollar manual pump and using that on the way home. It worked really well.

Of course, now I have three breast pumps.

Travels with Baby: Packing

I took too much baby crap on our road trip.

And we don't really have as much baby crap as the average American.

I took too many clothes, but I had no idea what he would go through. I didn't even need the amount of diapers we took. He had about 1.5 Onesies (TM) per day plus a few sleepers, plus pants, shirts, socks, blah blah blah. It was way too much.

When we go back east for Thanksgiving, I'll be limited by air travel, which is probably a good thing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Milk Paranoia

Remember the days of too much breastmilk? When I thought that perhaps I could feed a village? Those days are gone. I still have enough for the boy, but the back stock is pretty much gone.

When my dad started taking care of Finn three days a week, I started to suffer from milk paranoia: the ungrounded fear that I would run out of milk and have to resort to formula. And indeed, Finn did go through the freezer stock pretty quickly. But even though he's established a two-bottle-a-day habit, and I can easily do that in The Bunker, I still have flashes of the MP.

The first day of day care, I appeared with four 4-ounce glass bottles of frozen breast milk and four empty bottles, convinced that he would devour them all, and hoping that he would not be mad that there was not more. When Pete picked him up and reported to me that the boy had only had two bottles, leaving two frozen, I was surprised. It has been two ever since, and he takes one or two when he is with Ellyn. I know some of it is that he's eating more solid food, but another part of it is plain activity. He's surrounded by other kids at day care, plus, he actually naps. In fact, were Finn to be adopted into a Native American tribe and given a name, I think it would be "Naps at Daycare." He even napped in his pack-and-play thing for Ellyn.

Not for mama.

In any case, the MP still clings to the edges of my irrational conscious state, but I can talk it down now. I pump two or three times a day at work and bring home enough for the next day. I would like to bring home just a little more, to be sure and to perhaps even start building a back supply again, but if I start to think about that too much now, I'll get all shaky and worried that I won't have enough milk, and I have too many other things to do.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ladies Ride

We grew up with this one, too, but I have not heard it anywhere else. Meaning, no one else I know had heard this. Not that nursery rhymes come up in everyday conversation before you have kids, and then when you are the only one with a kid, they still don't come up, unless you want people to stop talking to you in general.

Apparently, this is Mother Goose, and both my parents grew up with it. I know I have not done a book review lately. I am grossly behind in that. But I have a few words to say about this:


This is the way the ladies ride,
Tri, tre, tre, tree,
Tri, tre, tre, tree!
This is the way the ladies ride,
Tri, tre, tre, tre, tri-tre-tre-tree!

This is the way the gentlemen ride,
This is the way the gentlemen ride,

This is the way the farmers ride,
This is the way the farmers ride,

This is sung to the child while you bounce him or her on your knee, sweetly teaching him or her appropriate gender or class roles.

It comes from "The Real Mother Goose" (1916), so it goes back a long way. Well, clearly, as it's talking about people's horse-back-riding style. It was also printed in 1917 in Childhood's Favorites and Fairy Stories, The Young Folks Treasury, Volume 1. That one is more involved:

This is the way the ladies ride-
Saddle-a-side, saddle-a-side!
This is the way the gentlemen ride-
Sitting astride, sitting astride!

This is the way the grandmothers ride-
Bundled and tied, bundled and tied!
This is the way the babykins ride-
Snuggled inside, snuggled inside!

I guess it goes back to 1912, where it was printed in Boys and Girls Bookshelf; a Practical Plan of Character Building, Volume I (of 17), and Fun and Thought for Little Folk (1912). I love it. This rhyme gives a "practical plan of character building: this is how you are supposed to ride a horse, Timmy, depending upon whether you are a lady, a gentleman, a grandmother, or a baby. Those are your choices. Until the farmer was added a few years later, and the baby and grandmother were removed from the picture.

Let's talk about the grandmother. Ladies are side-saddle because of their giant skirts. Gentlemen are astride because of their pants. And grandmothers are... Bundled and Tied? Was grandmother bad? Is she so old that they just strapped her to a nag's back and rode along? What's going on there? And the baby? Snuggled inside? Inside the horse? Inside the lady? Inside the bundles in which the grandmother is being held captive.

I am afraid I don't get it.

The original rhyme that I learned is archaic enough. Ladies have a sweet, trilling sound to their riding as they prance along on their ponies. Gentlemen are forcefully galloping, because gentlemen had so much to do as, by their nature as gentlemen, they were expected to do precisely nothing. To what are these gentlemen gambling? The club, most likely. And the farmer, well, the poor, dumb farmer is galumphing along on his draft horse like the toothless hayseed he is.

Finn loves it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Billboard Song

Everyone grows up with different songs. And many people grow up with the same songs, containing slightly different words. These variations are usually regional and can become bones of contention, especially if the debating adults in question are drinking. (See: Duck, Duck Goose/Grey Duck; Little Rabbit/Bunny Foo Foo).

Anyone else grow up singing this song?

The Billboard Song
"As I was walking down the street one dark and dreary day,
I came upon a billboard, and much to my dismay,
The sign was torn and tattered from the rain the night before.
The wind and rain had done a shame and this is what I saw:

"Smooooooke, Coca-Cola Cigarettes
Drink Wrigley's Spearmint Beer
Ken-L-Ration Dog Food Makes Your eye's Complexion Clear
Simonize Your Baby With A Hersey's Candy Bar
And Texaco's the Beauty Cream That's Used By All The Stars

"Soooooo Take You Next Vacation In A Brand New Fridgidaire
Learn To Play Piano In Your Grandma's Underwear
Doctors Say That Babies Should Smoke 'til They're Three
And People Over Sixty-five Should Bathe In Lipton Tea...

With a Flow Through tea Bag..."

From my cursory search of the interwebs, it seems like it was a camp/scout song. I wonder if kids still sing it, as it's a little out of date in a few places. First of all, many billboards now-a-days are not pasted up like wallpaper but are pre-printed jobs that go over the whole structure. Or they are annoying, flashing, accident/seizure-inducing electronic nightmares. Secondly, we don't see too many cigarette billboards anymore. Anyone Simonized lately? Also, the array products mentioned just don't seem like billboard fare. Gas stations, refrigerators, tea. Mostly, I see public service ads about mental health or those hideous (sorry) Pro Life Across America signs. Or notices for upcoming wedding/flower/RV/car shows at the convention center. At least in my neighborhood. I guess we are all sad about our looming reproductive decisions and should go to conspicuous consumption shows to make ourselves feel better.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Family Day Care. Stressing the Family.

It's just going to be great.

After visiting one day care that reminded me of FEMA housing, another that seemed like Baby Jail (and that also had a really creepy prayer on the white board in the toddler room), getting on 16 month long waiting lists, making numerous phone calls (well, having Pete make numerous phone calls), conducting many web searches, we found a day care, paid for the first month, socked away the second month, and Finn has had three days there.

By the way, are you pregnant? Thinking about getting pregnant? Thinking about considering pregnancy? Get a day care, like now. I had no idea how hard it would be to find one and how many of them would have ridiculously long waiting lists.

First of all, I really did not want to give up cloth diapers. But very few day cares will consider cloth. The thought of putting him in disposables for nine hours a day was repellent to me; it's just not how we do things. I had to buy a pack of disposables once in the last couple of months because I left the diaper bag at home when we went up to visit my family. I could not get Seventh Generation because Target does not carry them, and the smallest amount of any disposable I could buy was 48. Sheesh. We used two, and now that package is in the car, on the advice of my brother. You know, just in case I forget the diaper bag again.

Well, this day care not only will use the cloth, but we went over for a pot luck and May Pole celebration on May Day. It was really cool. Families came and brought a dish to share (luckily, I had ingredients on hand to make Mac-n-Cheese, you know, with real food). We got to meet other parents and more of the kids, and it's a really positive community of individuals. A Family Day Care. For the Family.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's June, and it's cold

Finn was at day care for two days, and he came down with his first cold on Sunday. At bedtime Sunday night, he was hysterical because he could not breathe through his nose and was trying to nurse. He is not a fan of the bulb syringe (I would not be either), and we had him in the steamy bathroom for awhile. He eventually settled down and fell asleep, and so did I. After a few hours of sleep, I was at work, and Finn was at day care. Monday and Tuesday were much better.

Day care. Two days.

It starts.

p.s. and yeah, it was in the 50's for three days straight, too.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

12 month appointment

* 5/18/2010: Please note that this post was written during my Great Vaccination Fugue, from which I have recovered. Finn will be getting the CDC recommended vaccination schedule from now on.

Finn had his 12-month appointment. Every three months we have these special, longer appointments during which we talk to the doctor. In between, I am bringing him in for his shots, getting him caught up. So far, he's been doing very well with all of it, and this was no exception.

He's 16 pounds, 14 ounces, 27 inches long, and his head is 17.76 around. We knew he was getting two bottom teeth, but the doctor showed us that one of his top teeth is coming in as well. Chompers. He's on a couple of the growth charts and tracking the others. I'm not really worried about that stuff, though. I know that he's gaining weight and growing at a good rate, and that's good enough for me. And he's happy. That's the best part.

He had his second polio shot and handled that like a champ as well. It's time to start the 12-month round of vaccines, which includes measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) and chickenpox. He also needs his Hepatitis B (which is usually done much earlier) and his Hepatitis A. I am not crazy about the chicken pox one; I guess I would rather he got the chicken pox, but we are plowing ahead. I am still doing them one at a time--I have the time to bring him in, and the clinic is not far from the house.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"He Says"/"Oh Baby, I know"

This is something that makes me crazy.
Everyone does it. I do it, too. We can't help it.

Putting words in the baby's mouth.

If he had words, they would be like this:

"I barfed on my foot. Give me that. And that. I want it. These are my toes. I peed on your bed. Give me that apple. I pooped. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Give me that. Mine."

At least ten times a day, we tell Finn that "we know".

He doesn't know. Neither do we.

I think that the phrase "I know" might be the most over-used baby phrase in the world. That and "There there," though I don't find myself saying that. I say "I know" so many times throughout the course of my day with Finn, that I have tried to find substitutes for it, just so I am not repeating myself or being presumptuous. Two things Finn does not care about: repetition and unwarranted assumptions about the condition of babyhood. Truth is, I don't know. I am extrapolating from observations, much like I do with the cats. It's what humans do: "How would I feel, if that were me." Correction: it's what empathetic humans do. No, wait. Hopefully, humans, when evaluating a situation, will consider how they, themselves, would feel were they the main participant in the situation, and then will take actions which will reflect empathy rather than selfishness, if action is warranted.

How's that for too many words?

Thursday, June 4, 2009


As I mentioned, yesterday was my three-year wedding anniversary. The official anniversary of the best thing that the internet ever produced. The third anniversary of an awesome party. The third anniversary of the ceremony that marked the positive answer to the best question I have ever been asked, by the best person I know. He's my best friend, my love, my partner, my daddywhumpus, mine mine mine. Thanks for the great life, and thanks for the baby!

How did we celebrate?

By taking the baby out for Dal Makhani.

He liked it.

We love Indian food. We have a favorite restaurant that is not far from our house. I also love to cook it when I have the time (it takes days), but we went out last night. Funnily, it was Baby Night at the India Palace. Not literally, but there were four other babies there.

Who'd a thunk?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

We have a Nanny?

Um, I guess so. Sort of. It's weird. Rich people have nannies, not middle class academic staff. It's expensive to have a nanny, but not as expensive as it should be. By that, I mean, I can't afford to pay her what I think the job is worth, which is more than I make an hour, that's for sure. I think that child care as work is undervalued in America, no matter who does it.

But in any case, I have two days per week in June and the first week of June/July that I need to cover with more part-time care. My parents are going to help out for the last two weeks, leaving three wide open. It was making me crazy. But luckily, Pete has a friend from his latest class at the U who has taken care of babies and who offered to babysit for us sometimes. We hired her for Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10-4. That gives me time on either end to get to and from work, perhaps get a couple of things done at the house, and have 4.5 hours at my desk.

It's going to cost us almost as much for those six days as Finn's 9 days at day care. We're pretty much paying two months of day care in one, and who doesn't want that? Oh well. You do what you have to do.

(Just for reference, we're paying Ellyn $15 per hour, working out to $540, and we're paying the day care $591 for June. That will go up to $771 in July. I don't have any problem talking about money. It should not be so taboo.)

I was worried about today because Ellyn only had a chance to spend a few hours with us and Finn on Sunday, and I want him to be good for her. Our trip revealed his disposition to be more like Pete's than mine (that is: easy-going, friendly, mellow as opposed to fearful, suspicious, and cantankerous, like me.), thank goodness, so I had hopes that he would be a lovely baby for her and not Tyrannosaur.

Have I mentioned that he's an excellent baby?

He did great. The only problem encountered during the day was that the key we gave to Ellyn broke off in the front door lock. Others who have taken care of our baby and our cats will know that this was going to happen at some point. The thing sucks. The only person who does not have trouble with it is me. It all needs to be replaced, and now we have the perfect reason to do it.

In any case, Ellyn called me at 3:00 to let me know that they had come home from a walk, and the key had broken. I was in The Bunker, expressing myself, so I just packed up and headed home. It was only 15 minutes early anyway.

They were walking around in the (extraordinarily chaotic) garden and, again, Finn was happy to see me but not crazed. I like that. It says to me that he is pretty secure.

As today is our 3-year wedding anniversary, we are going out, with Finn, for Indian Food.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Day Care Part 3

He's an excellent baby.

Our day care situation is a little convoluted. I was cut at work to 75%, which equals 30 hours a week. It's harder to find part-time day care than it is full time because it costs providers money. We found a place we love, but they only have two days in June. I had decided that I would try working three 9-hour days a week plus three hours at home, giving me two days at home with Finn. Finn's day care days in June are Monday and Friday (we are filling in with a friend, but that's the next day care story). We need to get him to the day care at 7:30 in order for me to get to work by 8:00. That means we need to leave the house at 7:00. That means I should be up at around 5:00. Those are all a.m. times, for you non-morning people. Pete will be picking the boy up before 5:30, and I will leave work at 5:30. We'll probably get home around the same time.

We'll see how this works out.

For today, it was OK. I stayed until around 11:00, when Pete came to pick me up. Finn was napping. In another room. In a crib. Without bottle, without nursing, without already being asleep. That's a little piece of magic. I worry about him sleeping for other people. I'll deal with it because he's my baby, but I don't want to inflict Tyrannosaurus Baby on anyone else if at all possible.

When Pete came to get Finn at 5:00, he was napping. In another room. In a crib. Without bottle, without nursing, without already being asleep. He had a good day, ate well, only went through two bottles (which was a relief for me as I am trying to keep up with him, and my backstock is almost gone... again, another story). Basically, he was awesome. Happy. He was happy to see me, but not crazed.

It's very good.

Day Care Part 2

People keep asking how I am, and I don't think they mean it in a "Fine" sort of way. They are wondering how I am, with my son starting day care.

I was told that I would cry. I thought that I might. But my time working while Dad watched Finn seems to have inoculated me somewhat because I feel good.

When we arrived at our chosen day care, Michael, one of the proprietors, was a little nervous that we would be just dropping Finn off, so I volunteered to hang out for a few hours, just in case there were any issues or questions. I put the boy in a high chair, and that was pretty much all I did aside from get his bottle ready. I tried to stay out of the way and observe. Finn had some raisins, watermelon pieces, and yummy oatmeal. I talked to the other children and a couple of parents and read my Ben Franklin book (Yes, I am still stuck in 18th century America). I chatted with Michael about substances I will allow them to slather all over my boy, and I still have to make a decision about that. The only things we have used on him so far are his baby shampoo, occasional sunscreen, and some Weleda diaper creme every once in awhile, all of which were carefully vetted by yours truly. He has not had any diaper rashes or any other skin troubles, so I have left it well enough alone. I'll figure out what they can use once I figure out what those items actually are. My simple rule is, if I would not use it on myself, I won't use it on him.

I guess I am not upset not only because I have been back at work for awhile, but because I think we made an excellent day care choice, and Finn is going to thrive there. I have no concerns about his happiness, and if he's happy, then I am happy. I am more sad that he is getting teeth than about him embarking on a new social experience that will be great for him.

Sad about him getting teeth? Yeah. Not to the point of pathetic tears or anything, it's just that I love this baby and this stage of baby-ness, and it's going so fast. The teeth are a reminder of that. I'll miss that toothless baby smile, so we have to enjoy it while we can.

Day Care

We were shooting for a 7:00 am departure (at least I was). We left at 7:38.

It's Finn's first day at day care; my first day back at work after vacation, and of course, today is the day that the front door knob fell off. It's been jury rigged for over five years with a stripped screw held in place by a small square of electrical tape.

I'm not sure how I feel today, aside from rushed. It's been rather stressful since we came home. There's a lot to do, a lot on my mind, a lot of external expectations.

June 1. It's summer. The List is huge. This summer we have a one-year-old boy at home instead of a fetus on the hospital, which makes this summer 100% better than last, and it has a different set of challenges: organizing a tag sale with a one-year-old; home improvements with a one-year-old; gardening with a one-year-old.

He's not crawling yet, but he'd working on it. We feel like he's one brain click away from getting it figured out. He's consonant babbling now, too, the most prominent sound being "da da da." I am not only trying to connect those sounds with the word and person of "daddy," but with a certain Police song. Day care will probably speed him along with both crawling and walking. As well as getting six and other bad habits.

His other progressions are little things we notice, like him trying out his upper register, babbling in a high-pitched, sing-song voice. Holding toys up over his head. Giving thing to us. Picking up food, putting it in his mouth, and releasing it so it stays there. And he's happy. His default state is happiness, and everything else is a small diversion from that state.

Oh, and his bottom teeth are coming in. We can hear them clacking against the juice glass, and we can feel them, but it's hard to get in there and have a look because he's too busy for that.