Friday, April 30, 2010

Dr. Bob's Vaccine Book

During the latter part of Finn's hospitalization, when they started asking about vaccinations, I was paralyzed with irrational fear. Fear that had been planted and nurtured by the cloud of paranoia exuded by the anti-vaccination crowd. Fear that my baby, who had done so well, even arriving so early, would be irrevocably and instantly changed due to those shots. He left the hospital with only one (DTaP). Our neo-natalogist was remarkable patient with my lunacy, as was our pediatrician on the outside. Now, almost two years later, I can look back on my stressed-out, anxiety-ridden former self and shake my head with embarrassed wonderment that I could so easily allow my fears to rule me. But it does help me understand how useful a tool fear is, and help me to understand how otherwise reasonable people can turn into jibbering blobs of crazy when fear is applied correctly. Especially with a calm voice, easy-going manner, and credentials.

I bought Dr. Sears' Vaccine Book thinking "Hey, it's by an MD, and he seems to be talking about the science." Also, the Sears' Premature Baby book had been helpful to me in understanding prematurity. I trusted their advice because they made me feel better, not necessarily because I cross-checked and knew their information to be correct. Who does that in the midst of such a life-changing event?

I read the Vaccine Book and took notes. When you are in the midst of a stressful situation, he sounds so reasonable, and I never bothered to question why I was disregarding the recommendations from the CDC. I was a typical doctor's nightmare: a concerned, terrified parent armed with what she thinks are the facts. My own embarrassment over my gullibility is only surpassed by my resentment over the nefarious tactics of the anti-vaccination crowd.

Fortunately, as time wore on, and Finn prospered at home with me, healthy and developing normally, I also began to re-develop normally, back to my skeptical, sane self. The one that had to question myself and the fear that had overtaken me. The one that sought information in the form of facts. I still did not know how damaging the "alternative schedule" is, the one that Dr. Bob offers up at the end of the book. His reasonable tone is so soothing and reassuring. I even loaned the book to an expectant mom, silly fool that I was.

Finn is up-to-date on all his shots, and will continue to be so as we pass two years next month. I am still full of chagrin and my slip into paranoia, and am questioning other assumptions. It's difficult to find out that a lot of the information coming out of the "natural parenting" magazines and websites is not fact-based, but instead is drivel and tripe that sounds nice and crunchy. True, most of it is not harmful, like the "vaccination safety" "green our vaccines" "vaccination skepticism" stuff is, and I continue to not let my baby scream, we still have our co-sleeping moments, we wear him rather than stroller him, and use cloth diapers, because these are things we prefer to do. But I don't buy Mothering Magazine anymore because their motherhood-is-perfection, look how beautiful birth is approach leaves out all of us who didn't have that gorgeous natal experience, and their approach to the vaccination argument is not reasonable or helpful. Which makes me question their other assertions.

(I won't bother to dissect the facts regarding vaccination, as this post does that for Dr. Sears' Vaccine Book, and this blog regularly exposes the lunacy of the anti-vaccination crowd, along with other health woo. Now I just have to go back to former posts of mine and create addenda alluding to my return to reason. It's not going to be fun.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I'll be 40 next month, and I just had my first massage. And pedicure.

I'd never been interested in it, and even today, if I had to pay for it myself, I never would have done it. It's such a strange thing, and I guess I am terribly odd, but whenever people would go on about spa days and massages and pedicures, I would shudder. I am not sure what it is, but I think it has something to do with control and boundaries, as well as my perpetual fear of anything new. I don't like to not know what is going to happen or what I am supposed to do. I certainly didn't want people to be touching my feet.

But if I were ever going to do it, today was the day. It was being offered as a gift, I would be with my best friend who knows the score, and I am on vacation. I know it sounds like I am talking about contemplating skydiving and bungee jumping, and normal people would not have to mentally prepare for what they consider pampering. I think the odds of dying from or during a pedicure or a massage are pretty slim. Plus, it's highly unlikely that people who are being paid to do a job and hope to be tipped will ever point and laugh or ridicule their clients.

Fortunately, I did not have time to worry, as we had all of a ten minute warning to get down to the fourth floor to the spa. We put on robes to go to the appointments. It was weird being out in public basically in PJ's. I mean, if you are not wearing underwear under your clothes, that's one thing. You still feel clothed. But not wearing underwear in something like a terry cloth robe is something that you normally only do at home.

Is that too much information?

Well how's this? I really should have pooped beforehand. It definitely made it less relaxing.
It's good to be on vacation and to have some time with friends, but I am missing my boys, and I will be really happy to be home again. This is probably a real point of time off: to recharge and see your life from the outside, so you can come home and be able to appreciate it.

I'm going to need to sleep for a week, though.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Things that are different...

I don't have to bolt my food. I can slow down and chew. Taste stuff.

I am sitting on the couch , in my pj's, with my laptop and a mug of coffee, at 10:45 on a Friday.

Also, there are no cats here, so something with cheese can just sit on the table, unmolested, un-gnawed. Safe.

I can swear. We're at the point at home where certain things need to be spelled (C-O-O-K-I-E), and we really should stop swearing. Fuck.

Water pressure.

Sleep? On Vacation?

But there's so much to do...

So I apparently just don't sleep through the night anymore. It's something I have in common with my baby, who probably slept through the night for once.

Last night, I didn't have insomnia, but I woke up a lot. I didn't wake up confused; I knew where I was, but I woke up. At 6:00, I figured I could probably get up, and here I am. It's 8:00 in Saint Paul, so I still got more sleep than I would have at home. I'm listening to the traffic stream by on the 101, as it does all night. dorkchic is asleep, as she should be, as any sane person with a day off should be.

Everything went fine with the travel. Safe, bags intact, sanity intact. We brought my stuff back to her place, and caught up. I had an Orange Blossom Cream Ale, which daddywhumpus may remember as the beer we girls were all about six years ago, when we met. I haven't seen them for the past few years in the Twin Cities, but now that I know it's still out there, I am resolved to search more thoroughly this spring. It was a lovely departure from my traditional Guinness, and it reminded me of sitting on my porch, in my gardening overalls, having an early afternoon beer with Pete in early May. We will have to indulge in this again, this year. We'll just have to put a gate on the porch entrance because babywhumpus finds joy in running into the street. He must like the stern talking to he gets as we try to explain the importance of personal safety and traffic observation. Because he's gotten that talk numerous times.

I woke up thinking about what my boys are up to. If it's a normal morning, then hopefully Pete is either at work or on the bus on the way to work and babywhumpus is having second breakfast or playing his little heart out at daycare.

We talked on Skype yesterday afternoon, which was nice. dorkchic got to hear Finn's sweet little voice and see him in action. He says his name now, when you ask him what it is. It's adorable, and we have to get it on video. I asked him last night, and he complied. Technology has given us some wonderful things, and the ability to see and hear my boys when I am away is definitely one of them.

After the cream ale (see how I did that? I went off on a tangent, but I brought it back), we went to the Fluevog store. There were some boots I wanted to meet in person, which I did. I found out that they were not as lovely in person as they were online, which is often the case. It was not the case with daddywhumpus, but these boots did not get to come home with me. It's for the best.

The orange ones deserved it more.

The other two are in line, in order. They will be watched in case of sale or clearance.

The middle pair may not have to wait that long.

We also hit up dorkchic's place of work, which is a coffee joint, among other things, at which she often talks to celebrities. I am a geek, so I love that sort of thing, and of course, I want to see at least one of them. One time when I was here, George Clooney checked out my ass.

That was a good day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

This is a Trip

The problem with a 9:20 a.m. flight is that you really can't drink. I know that airports exist in a nowhere of notime, but it's too early for a chardonnay.

I'm on a plane, without my family, and I am an anxious flier. I can't let go, even though I know there's nothing I can do. There's nothing I can do to make it safer, there's nothing I could do to help in an emergency, there's nothing I can do. I have to cede control.

I hate that.

I am an anxious flier. I usually can’t seem to  let go. I mean, on a flight, there’s nothing I can do. You have to cede control; there’s nothing I can d to make it safer , there’s nothing I can do to  help; there’s nothing I can do.

I'm on my way to Los Angeles for five days of Mom Gone Wild (I am relatively certain I will be the only successful procreator at most of the events). I'm traveling alone, without my boys, away from my boy, away for the first time for more than one night, and it's going to be weird. I brought along a manual pump, and I’ll try to get to it at least once a day, but I’ll probably be fine, even if I don't get to it. After all, last time I checked, Lefty still worked, even though I hardly ever use it. It’s like sympathetic lactation. "Well The Boob is doing it..."

I didn't cry, but I thought about it. I held it back. Airports make me nervous enough to be able to do that. In the olden days, baby- and daddywhumpus could have accompanied me to the gate, and then I might have wept, but curbside, I still have to check in, check my bag, pay for it (for cryingoutloud), go through security, and get to the gate. There's too much to do for me to indulge in frivolous emotion. Finn watched as the car drove away, with an inscrutable look on his face. Mouth closed, eyes wide. I like to think it was "Hey, we're just leaving here here?"

The boys will be fine; I will be fine. I will mainly miss him in the morning, afternoon, and bedtime, when we do pillow. That's probably when he will miss me, too, at least for the first couple days.

I'm sitting next to a woman who is 26 weeks pregnant, "So [she's] got a long way to go."

She's already been pregnant half a week longer than I was, and I think "Sister, you just never know in this life." I wonder if I should say anything, probably not, but I can't help myself.

“I had mine at 25 and a half weeks.” It could have been worse. Much, much worse. I could have just said something like "Well, here's hoping."

“Oh, don’t say that!” she responded.

I said that the thing she should keep in mind is that the care they can provide is excellent, but odds are, she will be fine. We talked a lot about what that was like, and she got to see pictures of what her fetus probably looks like right now, and how often can someone say that?

It’s bumpy, and I am watching Mad Men Season Three..

Too bumpy. I hate flying. Super bumpy. 11:04 a.m. I hate this. Ten minutes of turbulence ahead of us, they say.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Nursing mothers will now get additional support, thanks to page 1239 of the health care bill that President Obama recently signed into law. It requires employers to provide 'a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.'" -Article in CNN

Friday, April 16, 2010

It was just one of those weeks.

You finally feel like you have climbed to the top of your household to-do list--you're not necessarily ready to claim it in the name of your country, but at least now you can see the terrain and the way forward.

You have been able to enjoy your baby a little more because of this, though you know that your husband needs more of you, and care must be taken for him.

You are able to shake your head sardonically about the non-existence of magazines entitled "Fathering" or "Working Father," knowing that American society may never see the need for that sort of thing. At least it doesn't make you want to scream anymore. At least right now.

You even have a plan to climb out from underneath the crushing pile of debris that currently is your work to-do lists. You mean to tackle that on Monday.

Then come three nights of insomnia. You miss Monday, and when you come in on Tuesday, it's to overhear a conversation between two of your colleagues in which they are complaining about you. It's stuff you already know, but that doesn't mean you want to--or need to--hear it when they think you aren't listening. Now, your Grand Plan to fix those problems and get on top of your work life will seem responsive only to that conversation and not a personal initiative. It's less enjoyable and any satisfaction that comes from possible success will seem hollow and toadying.

You do it. Because it needs to be done, and you were going to do it anyway.

At home, you still are not writing or sewing or drawing, but you are getting some knitting and reading done on the bus. Plus, every night, once baby is in the bath, you have been doing the dishes, wiping the table, counter, and stove, getting the morning coffee ready for brewing, sweeping the floor, and filling the water filter pitcher. So at least you are not waking up to those undone dishes.

Baby has been sleeping better, only waking up once or--two nights in a row--not at all. He's not sick anymore, and he's happy. He says "mama" and "mommy," though you have no idea who taught him the latter.

Really, you have it pretty good.

It was just one of those weeks.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's a Crappy Day.

So here's a picture:

We went to the zoo. More on that later.

Monday, April 12, 2010

No Good Title

I've done my performance appraisal for work. Answered some email, both personal and work-related. Sent out babysitter requests. Put in a time-off request.

It's 4:34 a.m.

Clearly, I have a lot on my mind.

This is the third night of this, though Saturday night was more in the realm of general restlessness rather than full-on insomnia. Friday night, I woke up at 2:30, which is right around when Finn has been waking up lately. He did not wake up until 5:30, which was just about as I was falling back asleep. Tonight/last night (there's not much of a difference at this point), I probably woke up at a similar time, but I did not get out of bed until 3:30. Both the boys are sleeping away. Friday night, I watched series two episodes of "Lark Rise to Candleford" until I decided I simply had to try to go back to sleep. It didn't work very well. Tonight/this morning, I am taking care of  business because my brain is spinning.

There's too much going on; too many things in my head, and I had to get a few of them out of there. There are many more, but they have a teeny bit more space in which to knock around, so perhaps I will have some quiet, at least from the brain area. The insomnia is more than likely hormonal, at least, that's my hypothesis. I have no diagnoses or evidence aside from personal anecdote, and we all know how reliable that is on a macro level.

But it's day 16 on that lovely old girl calendar, and it usually seems like it's mid cycle that this happens to me in a big way. I have not been very good at sleeping for a good chunk of my adult life, and I don't seem to need as much as 8 hours a night, anyway, but this is ridiculous. I don't remember what it's like to sleep through the night. Indeed, at this point, I can't even imagine it.

You lay your head down, fall asleep in 10 minutes, and wake up eight hours later? Really? People really do that?

There's no point in trying to go back to sleep at 4:42 a.m. when the alarm will go off at 6:00, but I am going to be wrecked.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fever Baby

Wednesday when daddywhumpus picked babywhumpus up from daycare, the latter had a little fever. On Friday, it was still there, so we took him to the nurse. She didn't find anything out of the ordinary. After babywhumpus' nap that day, he had a temperature of 104. We got him into a lukewarm bath with me and gave him some more acetaminophen, and it came down. It never got that high again, and now it's gone for the most part, but he was left with super snot and consumption cough. Thankfully, as he is not a Victorian Poet, we hope that he only has a spring cold, and all will be well in time.

The adults are left with sleepless nights, turned into zombies.


There's often not a lot you can do for your sick toddler. Love and Tylenol. Patience and calm. The second duo is difficult when you are frustrated, worried, and sleep deprived, but trying to find a calm space when the boy is hysterical is essential. It helps to calm both parties.

Sesame Street Face: the boy is in love with Ernie

It's tough. The grown ups have to work; we have to get along with each other; we have to take care of stuff. When a child is sick, those things are disrupted. Dishes pile up, the menu is neglected, food is not cooked, the vacuum remains dormant in the basement. Tempers can flare, and one parent usually winds up bearing the brunt of the sick child. In this case, it's me. Nursing seems to help him when he wakes up coughing; it gets him to at least try to breathe through his nose and helps to move some of the gunk. It relaxes him. He is able to go to sleep for an hour or so until he coughs and wakes again. daddywhumpus seems to be on panic mode when they boy is sick at night; almost too worried to be able to reason, and his nerves translate. It's probably something to do with feeling so fortunate in his excellent care and relatively health if remarkably tiny beginnings and a superstition that it could go horribly awry. That's a big part of parenting in general: a whole new category of worrying.

I can handle the night-time parts with relative calm, but my patience is worn to a shiny nub by morning, and once the household is up, my tolerance is gone. That's where daddywhumpus comes in with day-time calm.

He's at day care today. Baby, not daddy, and I made it in to work for a few hours. But I am wandering in a sparkly grey haze that is not as pleasant as it sounds, and I think it's time to go back home. It will probably be another long night.

I'm too tired for this

I guess Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are getting a lot of crap because their daughter, Shiloh, wants to dress as a boy and be called "John." Whatever. If anything, we should be upset at Angelina for sucking the hotness out of Brad, but that's beside the point.

I am thinking that kids play around with roles of all sorts, all the time. And given that the girl role has become so sickeningly pink and princessy, not to mention over-sexualized and extremely bitchy, I can't blame a little girl for thinking "No thanks, call me John." Boys get all the breaks, anyway.

I don't know why people make such a fuss over things like boys playing with dolls or girls wanting to wear boy clothes. In some ways, it's much easier for girls, as things like clothing have become more a-sexual, at least in the sense that girls can wear jeans and tee shirts, just like boys. And girls can be "tom-boys" without much stigma. It seems like boys are much more marginalized when they like something girly. In my own experience, when I worked in the princess hat shop(pe), I witnessed numerous crying boys being led from the booth because they wanted a princess hat, and that was simply not allowed. Similarly, I saw mothers telling little girls they they must have a pink princess hat, not a blue one. It makes no sense to me. Sure, I understand the possible societal judgment a child can face if it strays too far across gender lines, but I don't think that's what these parents are afraid of. They are afraid that their child will be "turned gay" by a doll or a truck or the misapplication of a color that was just being itself, meaning no harm.

Get over it.

It's all ridiculous, but it's there. I am going to set up my old baby doll crib for babywhumpus, once I get off my ass and clean the thing up. If he wants to play with it, he's more than welcome. If not, he can store his numerous stuffed animals there and be done with it. But the boy should have the chance to play with Barbies if he wants to.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

All we wanted was a bike helmet

The genderizing of kids' crap is simply out of control. Seriously. It's a bike helmet, meant to protect our baby's tender skull from smashing on the pavement, and you can get it in either pink with creepy mermaids or orange with action construction happenings. No? Well, there's giant pink flowers for the girls or, get this, a cops and robbers motif for the boyz. How will I EVER CHOOSE?! They are all so tasteful. We wound up finding a straight-up silver one; it shouldn't cause too much strife and confusion. Or blind any passers-by.

Here's an article I don't have time to read right now.

Really, LEGO?

Sorry. Really, LEGO™?

I just read this article, and I am a bit disgusted. LEGO™ is using some of the proceeds from its 2.1 billion dollars in revenue to sue a Minneapolis nonprofit for trademark infringement. This Minneapolis nonprofit is called "Project Legos Inc." So you can see where I am going with this. LEGO™ is claiming trademark infringement, "cybersquatting," and deceptive trade practices.

According to the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, "the suit... claims that the local group set up to help at-risk youths purposely used the name 'to trade off the significant goodwill symbolized by and the strong public recognition of the Lego marks.'"

Clearly, LEGO™ has a "goodwill surplus" and is trying to get rid of some through lawyer fees and beating up on the little guy.

But seriously, folks, LEGO™ is just looking out for the consumer, who might be "confused, deceived, and misled" by this devious nonprofit, trying to make us think that LEGO™ has authorized aid to disempowered youth. I certainly would not want to be associated with "Leadership, Empowerment, Growth, Opportunity, and Sustainability," and I know that if I ran across "Project LEGOS" completely unaware, and then found out it was NOT all about colorful little interlocking bricks from a far off country full of socialists, I would wind up adrift in a sea of befuddlement, questioning my very existence. Project Legos is engaging in unfair competition with LEGO™ and "has caused and will continue to cause irreparable harm" to the company. And that's that.

You could argue that this nonprofit IS actually.... no, I don't feel like playing both sides right now.

I love me some LEGO™s, but I may think twice before buying any new ones.