Monday, August 31, 2009

Got a reorganization project?

The whumpus-es would be happy to help.

We know exactly where your stuff really needs to go.

And we provide the face-to-face human contact that is so lacking in customer service these days.

Who knew proper organization was so tasty?

Wow, yeah.

daddywhumpus is at the State Fair with the babysitter, gearing up for the Jackson Browne concert at the Grandstand. I am at home, too tired to go. I would have been no fun. Indeed, I have been very little fun lately. Too tired/mad/dumb/busy even to write anything here. Now, I am sitting in an empty house, listening to the timer on our 1951 Tappan Range tick onward to pizza time while I sip a Guinness. The boy is asleep, though reluctant to let me leave the room. The cats are watching the evening-time street movements. So when I say "empty," I mean that I am the only human grown-up present.


One more minute.

Unlike my meat, I like my pizza to have a little toast-y-ness around the edges.

The "should-do" list is long. The "want-to" list may be longer. I am doing neither, though it could be argued that sitting here, typing with Guinness and waiting for pizza is a "want-to," I never actually wrote it down, so it does not count.

Sometimes, there is a sublime wonderful-ness to a frozen pizza. I make a mean home-made, but this is the perfect night for "heating" as opposed to "cooking." I try to keep a couple of frozens in the freezer for just such a time. It's the end of the meteorological summer, though Minnesota has been pretending it's Autumn for a while now. It's 68 degrees out there, and last night, I was actually cold in bed: the cabin we were in was 56 degrees this morning.

Yes, cabin. Pete wanted to whisk me away for a night off. And as we were down at my parents' house, it was the perfect time. The "Ga's" could watch The Boy, and I could sleep. Which I did. Though I had trouble falling asleep, and I woke up several times. It was not because of the boy: I was not worried about him, though I did miss him. I am just crap at sleeping, in general, and it's been a bad week for it.

I read a whole crappy paperback, "Outbreak," which is so crap, it's actually written from the movie of the same name and not the other way around. The whole time, I was wishing it was "The Hot Zone," which was a much better read, being based in truth. Both books are from the Ebola or Human Liquefying Virus craze of the mid 1990's. By the time I was done with that, it was 10:00, and Pete, who had been asleep for a few hours, had to pee, so I read some Harry Potter. Contrary to what some may think, books on constitutional originalism do not put me to sleep.

The boy was fine. Pete was more emotional about being away from him than I. It was lovely to see him when we returned, and he was happy to see us, bestowing unsolicited kisses back and forth on our smiling faces.

Then he got stung by a yellow jacket and screamed most of the way home.

The two incidents were unrelated.

Be expecting back-dated updates, though I may just add them and backdate them at the top of the entry, because I know I hate scrolling. And if I hate it, so should you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Matinee

It's noon-13, and I have given the boy first and second breakfasts; cooked up some fresh pasta sauce with tomatoes, onion, and garlic from the CSA and herbs from our garden; kept the kitchen clean through sauce cooking and breakfast cooking; started laundry; and even done some knitting while babywhumpus had some boob snack. I think it's time for some video from this morning.

Sunday Morning

We buy them toys and fancy things, but Finn's favorite toys this morning are my steel water bottle and his little glass baby jars. He's been rolling the water bottle around on the floor, and it appears that our floor slants a bit. So far, he has only paused to poop. I guess that means I'm on.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Yearn for You

Pete made us go look at a house for sale today, and it's perfect for us, aside from the fact that it's priced about 80 thousand above the highest price I was thinking we could pay for a house. And it's not like we are really looking. There are just a lot of houses for sale, and we feel like we need a little more room. We have the whole remodeling plan, and we are going to have the kitchen done next spring, but we have gotten to the point where some irrational part of our psyche wants a house that's already all done.

We can't afford it.

It's perfect.

And now I am yearning.

I hate yearning.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I need new bras

Weren't expecting that, were ya?

I have one real bra that fits me. Meaning, "bra that one would consider wearing on a date." I have two nursing bras which definitely don't count when considering the idea of being on a date. Other than that, it's the sports-type bras I bought when I was pregnant because nothing else would fit, and they are getting stretchy and weird and are not attractive or supportive, kind of like that boyfriend we all had in college.

Thing is, I am still lactating (yeah, I said it), so size will change, but I could be lactating for quite some time, so I think I should just go and get some new bras. They won't work with the pumping, but at least I could look good in my clothes from the waist up.

We had a garage sale last weekend. I have some extra cash floating around. I bet Pete would be OK with that.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Something else

Don't go here if you don't want to read about my stance on health care reform and the current debate. Seriously. Don't. I put it on kittywhumpus for a reason, even though it does have to do with The Boy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, Michael at day care mentioned that they had done a storm drill, piling into the basement.

Today, they had to use it as tornado sirens went off, tornadoes touched down in south and downtown Minneapolis, and straight-line winds damaged the best record store in town.

So far, there are no reported injuries, just property damage around town, and everyone at day care is just fine, though Finn did not like being in the basement.

And there's no way the diapers hanging on the line at home are dry.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finn's Reel

Finn has his first song, written by his father. Pete's Irish band, The Hounds of Finn, plays it at their shows. Pete was kind enough to tell me that "the proper name is 'Finn's Reel/A Father's Pride.' "

You can listen to it here at their website.

And yes, this is a shameless plug for my husband's band.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bath Time

I am thoroughly enjoying Finn's bath time.

It used to be a bit of a production, but since I added it as part of The Routine, it's quite a lovely moment in our evenings. He'll crawl right into the bath room and stand, holding onto the edge of the tub, watching the water run. Then I will hand him his colored cups, and he'll toss them into the tub, one by one, pausing to stand on his toes to look in at them floating on the soapy surface. When he has added them all, he turns to me and reaches, trying to step up. I take off his clothes and his diaper, and he climbs up on my leg, ready to go in, the final ingredient in the baby soup. I only let it fill for a couple of inches so he can sit and play, but he needs steadying in any case because it's slippery, and he likes to stand up and drop things back over the edge or pat the wall on the other side.

Last night, we added blowing bubbles. I bought him some bubble bath, seduced by the word "Calming" on the label. I don't know about that, but it smells really good, and it comes with a bubble wand. For some reason, in the last couple weeks, I have not tried it out. I think I assumed that it would not really work, and that would be quite disappointing. But last night, Pete was helping, and he immediately saw it, grabbed it, and started blowing bubbles. Finn is entranced, but can't figure it out. He wants to grab them, but they disappear. They stick to him, and he tries to shake them off. But he likes it.

Tonight, he repeatedly put his face down very close to the water, just slightly getting his nose and maybe his mouth wet. The last time he did it, he got in a little too far and didn't try it again. He didn't get any in his nose or mouth, he wasn't spluttering, and he also did not get upset and want to get out of the tub. I'm happy he feels confident enough to explore.

It's now 9:32, and he's been asleep for about an hour or so. He'll wake up a couple of times for Pete, but only for what Pete calls "a few seconds." I am going to drag my sick body to the guest room for some book time and hope that the consumption cough stays away so I can get some sleep.


As in, "I still feel like..."
But here's the baby. He's fine this morning.

It's excellent that he did not get this sick. It would have sucked so hard for him.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Here's the Thing.

This is the thing. Here it is. The difference between being a mother and being a father. At least in this little family. Pete had a gig tonight, which is common enough. It was at the bar nearby--the one where we met, actually--so it's nice if I can stop by. My parents consented to watch The Boy so I could go for a couple of hours. They do this a lot. They are cool. They would watch him, then I would come home, and they could go out and hear the band, too.

Of course, there I am, with friends who I hardly ever see, let alone AT NIGHT, IN AN ACTUAL BAR, and I know that I have a diaphanous time limit. Pete does not. He has a gig. I want to stay. And stay. I can't. Pete has to. He has a gig. I am having fun. Pete is having a blast. He gets to stay. He has to. He has a gig. I have to go home. I have a baby. So does he. But I am the mom.

This IS my gig.

And just before I leave, he makes an announcement into the microphone about being pulled over on the way to the bar (which is ten blocks away). Is he serious? What the hell? I can't ask. He's ON STAGE. With another beer. I get to go home and wait for the baby to wake up.

Oh, and I am still sick. I probably should not have gone out at all, but the opportunity is rather rare. I was up pretty much all of last night coughing like a practically dead person but not quite like a zombie, and I am tired.

And here I am. Back at home. Mad. Wondering if he really got pulled over and for what, and if maybe--if he really did--if he should have mentioned THAT to me instead of "honey can you bring me a dry shirt because it rained on me."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Being Sick Sucks

Being sick while you are a mom sucks. Being sick is boring and sucky. Being sick makes you less available and patient with your baby. Being sick takes your baby away from you and makes you miss him and feel like you are not being a good mom. Being sick makes me feel sad and useless. Being sick turns me into a mere mortal. Being sick makes my brain all cloudy and keeps me from doing things I love.

Being sick sucks.

So here's a video of my baby eating toast. Because he does not suck.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One Year

Finn only has one birthday, but he has a couple of anniversaries, and today is the first anniversary of him coming home from the hospital.

Tired mom and tiny baby:

Tired mom and big huge baby:

I am home sick and totally unable to process lucid thought, so that's all about that for now. I'll be back when I can be more interesting.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Sleep Crutches"

Sleep Barbie is big on "sleep crutches," or what she also calls "negative associations" such as breastfeeding, cuddling, rocking, and music as aids to get babies to sleep. She insists that "negative associations" as a term does not mean that the things are actually negative, it's just a term.


Things like cuddling SUCK.

But blankies and stuffed animals are ok. Though, if they need them to fall asleep, then they really aren't doing it by themselves, they are just doing it without you.

I'll keep leaning on my crutches as long as I need support, and as long as my boy wants them. I mean, if "negative associations" does not mean "negative," then "crutch" might not mean "crutch."

As it is, The Routine gets him to sleep by 8. Last night, he woke up at 8:53 (he's a single sleep cycle sleeper). He was back asleep by 9:09 and he slept until sometime around 1:00. Pete got him back to sleep and brought him to me at 3. It's progress by inches, and Finn is still a happy baby. He's eating at around the 3-4 mark, but we are focusing on the bedtime part of the routine.

The weird thing now is that we hardly see our baby. I mean, we still have some night-time parenting going on, but we get home from day care at around 6, feed the boy, start The Routine at 7, and he's asleep by 8. In the morning, we get up, get him ready, and head out the door.

The weekends will be nicer now because we can look forward to spending time with the baby.

Le Sigh

I haven't eaten yet today. I'm feeling sad. I feel like the people I work with think I suck. I feel like there are machinations going on behind my back. I'm dumb and pretty much useless. This morning, I was unable to approach a domestic situation from a rational perspective and simply had to be stompy and emotional about it, even though I knew that it wasn't helpful and that things would be just fine if I simply stated my case. I wanted to be mad. I feel like a warm, damp towel, flaccid and listless. I don't want to do anything, but crying sounds like a good idea. I am audibly sighing. Time is going by very slowly.

Sound familiar, ladies.

I better check my calendar.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bed-time Story Review: Ten Little Teddy Bears

This is a turgid morality tale with a wholly unfeasible ending.

It is short, so I am going to include the entire story here.
See if you can get to sleep after this gruesome story wends its way into your psyche.

In "Jane Eyre," the Rev. Brocklehurst gives young Jane a pamphlet in which sinful young children meet their deserved ends. It's very Victorian.

This is similar.

With teddy bears.

Let's begin.
Can you read it?
"TEN little teddy bears/Think flying is their line./One flies off for evermore--/Then there are NINE"

I get it. I do. Teddy bears are cute, and now we are using them to learn our numbers.

But notice how all the bears sort of blur off into the distance? That's the scanner interpreting the story for you.

We are one bear down. He was apparently kidnapped by a random, Furry-obsessed aviator. He's gone, for evermore, Mr. Raven.

KATE should have known better than to get involved in a BOYS' GAME.

Two down.

Eight's demise is witnessed by children, thus doubling both his trauma and theirs.

Number 7 gets eaten by a freaking fish. What is UP with FISH?
Is this a Jesus thing?
Was this a Bad Little Teddy Bear?

In any case, I am starting to feel bad about reading this to my baby.

Swallowed by a fish.

Six left. Bad little teddy bears.

Ah. Here we are. Previously, our little bears have been "little," "jolly," "travelling," and "paddling," but now, it's time to PAY:

Greedy. They are licking and tasting the goods (hey, is this a KIDS' book?), and one is dragged away--just one--to an undetermined fate.

And now, the bears are foolish. Apparently, after you go below a critical mass of teddy bears, that's it. It's The Four Horsemen. The Seven Deadly Sins. It's All She Wrote:

All that is left is abduction by horrifying human girl children:

Car crashes:

And being eaten by monkeys:

And, aside from "whose freaking teddy bears are they anyway?" and "Why are they out unsupervised?" this is where I don't buy it. If kids are paying attention, they should be quite worried about the state of the previous bears, but WAIT! The White Guy has arrived to Save The Day:

Everyone is safe and well, no matter what the book said before.

So this is just some sort of crappy heaven metaphor?

Oh for crying out loud.

The Routine

I was just sitting with the boy in our room, going through the last bit of my part of The Routine, snickering about how many things I was doing wrong, according to Sleep Barbie.

I was nursing him, and I let him fall asleep.
Music was playing.
His crib is in our room.
I put him in his crib pretty much mostly asleep.

I don't know how long he'll stay asleep; last night, it was four hours, which is practically a record. But then he was awake for an hour and a half, making up for it, I guess.

He had his short bath at 7:00, then diaper (I am using his preemie diapers as night-time inserts) and p.j.'s, then boob snack with story, and this is where Pete usually comes in. Finn must have been tired (he took three very short naps today), because he fell asleep readily. It could be that he is already getting used to The Routine (I can't write that without thinking of "Friends.") because he started crying when I closed the door to the bedroom with us in it, but then he settled down pretty readily.

This is one of those times when The Books tell you that you should go to bed, too, but I am going to write a bit, pump, drink some Guinness, and watch some Sex & the City because Thalia knows, I haven't seen enough of it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Now What?

It's 8:27. He's asleep in his crib, though I have no idea for how long. I don't feel like knitting; I don't feel like cooking; I don't feel like cleaning. No reading. No drawing. No watching TV. I don't even feel like writing. But I don't want to do nothing.

I am kind of stuck.

I must be tired.

I think I should probably go to bed.

Too bad I don't know how to put myself to sleep.

bye bye, sleep lady

I took the book back. I exchanged it for a new story book for the boy about a hibernating bear and bought a copy of "Where the Wild Things Are" to be donated to a kids' reading program.

I think this was a good idea.

The Sleep Lady was pissing me off.

It's not going to work for me, and I'm not going to do it. Letting him wail while I watched was terrible, and I think, confusing for him.

The more I thought about it, the more I decided she was full of crap. At least for me. It may well work for loads of parents, and she's made a ton of money off of it, but she will forever be "Sleep Barbie" for me just because of the picture on the back of her book. Her comments about having her daughters sleep for eight hours by the time they were eight and ten weeks old with the "and yes, I breastfed both of them," strike me as snarky, and most of the reading I have done has said that babies that young are not supposed to sleep that long. I also got tired of her looking down her nose at AP-ers and co-sleepers, even as she tried to say that she is open minded. She's not. Again, we are not parenting by any book, but I don't need to take advice from someone who clearly thinks that we are kind of dumb for letting our baby into our bed.

So screw her.

And pretty much, screw all of it.

I am back to where I always have been: he will probably not sleep through the night until sometime after he is weaned, and it does not mean that he has a problem. We have been progressing with getting him into a routine, and things have improved. If he still needs me in the middle of the night, then he still needs me. I'm his mother. It's too bad that evolution has not caught up with our stupid schedules, but there you have it. I don't think that letting him scream, with or without me, is going to make anything better, and I don't want to do it.

After all, very little of the sleep advice out there has anything to say about premature babies, and as far as I can tell, no one has looked into the long-term effects of hospital stays on the sleep patterns of babies. Finn was jostled and prodded every three hours for his entire third trimester. Now he never sleeps much longer than three hours at a stretch. It could be a coincidence, but as long as everyone is putting thoughts into my baby's head and making all sorts of other pronouncements, I'll just add that one to the mix.

Last night, we did a bath at 7:00, then a night-time boob snack during which I read "The Cat in the Hat," then a little crib play time, and Pete took over. He was alseep by 7:47, and would have slept until a little after midnight if Pete had not decide to go in at 9:31 and get some laundry to fold. Even then, the boy was back to sleep in 13 minutes. Yes, I keep track that much. I heard him at 3:00 and then at 4:00, I went and got him. He nursed and then we slept until 7:15. Or, he did. The old cat woke me up, meowing for breakfast.

I don't need a book by someone who is not a sleep expert making me feel bad for not letting my baby learn how to sleep, which is what she thinks you are doing if you don't do what she says. I need to listen to how I feel and listen to what Finn is telling me.