Thursday, November 20, 2014

Biters and walkers*

Have I already said Graham is a scooter who never crawled? Nary did the tyke crawl, having chosen instead to scoot around on his butt like a human Roomba. Seriously, check out my Instagram for a hyperlapsed video of him scooting around our living room that makes me howl with laughter every time I see it. I should spray his pants with Lysol and get a little cleaning out of the deal (oldest joke on the planet -- feel free to roll your eyes extremely hard).

When he began his scooting, his pediatrician said it was fine as long as he was using all of his limbs equally. I smiled and nodded but the fact is he does not -- he tucks his left leg and pulls himself along with his right leg and his arms. Damn, I'm giggling just thinking about it. I wasn't super worried because Graham was also showing a lot of interest in learning to walk. But me and my husband were ever so slightly worried and it was all the fault of the Real Housewives of New York, which as everyone knows is the best version of that franchise.

Anyway one of the new housewives, Kristen (delightfully batshit nuts btw), has a daughter who scooted just like Graham and she ended up needing therapy and orthotics to correct muscular issues. Damn you, television! I would live an almost worry-free existence without you! Although, yo, Facebook, you are running a close second, what with your links to articles about moms who die in childbirth, so thanks for that, you dick.

So I was darn happy today when my son was like Hello I would like to walk unassisted now, and he just took off, over and over, teetering and tottering and grinning and laughing hysterically and falling but getting back up to try again. Hot damn that kid is something else.



*reference to "The Walking Dead" fully intentional.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NaBloPoMo Reject

I did not post yesterday! Ha!

I am in party planning hell, yo. Which means my tiny infant boy who I just gave birth to last week (it seems like) is about to turn 1 year old.

So things have been nuts.

And I wasn't planning to post tonight, but my husband was all: Are you going to write a post? Me: No. Him: WHAT? You didn't write a post last night so now you have to write two tonight. Me: That is not happening, bossman.

Naw.

Anyway, that is all that is happening. Except for I am also reading Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl and so far it reads like a young girl's mostly funny sexual awakening. I am wondering if that's all the book is about, which is fine I guess, but I am pretty sure there are other interesting things about her, too.

'Tis all.

Good night.


Monday, November 17, 2014

On weaning

Certain unnamed parties continue to ask: Are you still breastfeeding?

Answer: Yes.

Did I imagine I'd still be breastfeeding my kid when he was nearly a year old? No. Then why am I still doing it? Because my child has a very strong association with breastfeeding and sleep. And a sleeping baby is a baby I like. (Secondary reasons: My child is skinny and needs the calories, and has a sensitivity to dairy, so I can't just switch to cow's milk.)

Also, FYIzers, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months, and the World Health Organization recommends 2 years (*gulp*).

I do feel a little defensive about still breastfeeding. There's a stigma against moms who breastfeed past age 1, no matter what anyone says. It just makes people uncomfortable to see toddlers breastfeeding. It's like people think, Well, if you're still doing it at 1, next thing you know the kid's gonna have a tumbler of scotch in one hand and mom's boob in the other.

But, there's good news. I do want to wean my little milk hound. Particularly now that he's got TEETH.

I realize most babies begin teething around 6 months, but I got a reprieve and Graham didn't get his first tooth until 10 1/2 months. But they started popping in one after the other and now it's basically like trying to feed a puppy, with those little needle teeth. Today, for example, he bit one boob, unintentionally, and I yelped, scaring him. Then he bit the other one and somehow I gulped back a yell but it hurt so bad tears sprang to my eyes. There is never a time when my boobs do not hurt a little bit.

So believe me, no one is more ready for this child to wean than I am. But also -- I think I'm gonna need a lot of luck to make it happen.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Review: Inherent Vice

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image from goodreads


Admission: I only read this novel because I saw it was being made into a movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, who(m?) I think is just a truly wonderful actor and so interesting to watch.

And I think it's possible this book will make an entertaining movie. But I really didn't like the book.

Reasons why:

- There were so many characters, I couldn't keep them straight. This may be a mommy brain issue, though.

- It feels like a slight ripoff of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and, I mean, seriously, there's another lawyer character being played by Benicio del Toro? Was Johnny Depp not available for the lead? The difference in the lead characters is that in FALILV the lead is a reporter and in IV he's a private detective.

- I can tolerate lines and lines of song lyrics in novels when they serve a purpose or are legitimately song lyrics, but all the songs in this novel -- not so much.

- I honestly was not sure what the hell was going on. There seemed to be at least five mysteries happening simultaneously, and it wasn't clear to me what precisely the parameters of any of those mysteries were.

So for that reason, I'm not even sure I can adequately explain the plot. The lead character, Doc, has this ex-girlfriend whose boyfriend goes missing, but then she goes missing, too. And then there's this other guy who's gonna be played by Owen Wilson and he, like, faked his death or something. And there's a cop guy who's gonna be played by Josh Brolin. And there's like a bunch of things called the Golden Fang and I just don't know, you guys. I don't think any of this paragraph even made sense.

The thing is, I know there are people who legitimately enjoyed this book and I want to know who they are and where I went wrong. Help?

Also, what are you reading now and should I be reading it, too?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cousins

My son is lucky he lives in the same town as his cousin, Ava, and gets to see her pretty much whenever he wants. It's been fun watching them interact and wondering what they'll be like as they get older. We hope they'll like each other and get along, of course. So far, so good.

These are from earlier today. That's Ava with the braids trailing along behind her, and Graham on the floor doing his best to scoot along after her (he never did crawl; he's a scooter).




Friday, November 14, 2014

Sliding doors

This week's Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Junior had Sting on it! I mean, he is perhaps the coolest person to ever go on one of these genealogy shows. I was pretty excited, not that it takes much for me when it comes to this stuff.

Sting's real name is Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner and he comes from a fascinatingly long line of shipyard workers. This is just an interesting (to me) aside.

Anyway, it is impossible for me to ever hear of Sting or hear one of his songs without being immediately mentally transported to rural Alva, Florida circa 2002. I was paying rent to a 30-something reporter who, for God knows why, had moved from California to Florida and bought this terrible house on a canal. I was relegated to a loft room, where there was a window swamp cooler and, thankfully, a door to keep my roommate's cigarette smoke out.

Andi -- my roommate -- lived 16 miles from where we worked at the newspaper. So once we were home for the evening, we were pretty much home. I mean, I went out a few times, but it was a bit of a slog on a rather long, dark road, and after the sun went down, fog rose from the Caloosahatchee and covered the asphalt. So I'd stay in and join Andi on the couch for as long as I could tolerate the secondhand smoke, and she'd play Sting's greatest hits on repeat, and I tell ya what -- it grew on me! I ended up buying the same album so I could enjoy it later, once I'd moved back home.

And about that -- moving back home. I could have not. For a while, anyway. My editor offered to extend my internship and suggested it might lead to a permanent position. This was a few days before I was scheduled to leave, and I didn't plan to linger in Fort Myers, which I'd grown to hate quite deeply. He was a great editor (his name was Sheldon. What a great name.) and the paper was a good paper. I should have been honored at the offer, and any real reporter -- anyone who was dead serious about the profession -- would have accepted it gratefully and hunkered down in that friggin place for a while. And by a while I mean possibly for frigging ever.

But my stomach dropped and I felt simply horrified. I was terribly homesick and really hated Florida -- every single part of it. And it turned out my passion for my chosen career was not as strong as I'd believed it was. And really, if you can't enjoy being a reporter in Florida, which has the frigging strangest news of any state and a terrific open government and public records laws that made doing the job quite a bit easier than it did in California, then you are probably not meant to be a reporter.

So I turned Sheldon down, and Sheldon was rightfully surprised. It was a great offer. Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I'd accepted it. I'd be living a completely different life, I believe. Probably a different husband (if I even would have married), different kid(s), different home in a much different town. Maybe I'd still be a reporter.

Or maybe not. Maybe there's a homing beacon that calls us all back to where we're supposed to be, if indeed we're supposed to be somewhere. Maybe soul mates are a real thing. Maybe we're on paths we can't avoid, no matter how many Sheldons appear with job offers 3,000 miles from home.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Style pariah

When it comes to shopping for clothes, do you ever feel like this: I don't know exactly what I'm looking for but I feel like I will know it when I see it, except I never see it, and on the rare occasion that I do see it, it costs $350.

This is the story of my style life and explains why I have one pair of terrible, terrible jeans that fit me (four others that are also terrible and only sort of fit) and I'm currently wearing a nursing tank top and a torn sweater from the GAP (circa 2009). This outfit is extremely representative of my entire wardrobe.

I just don't know anymore. I lost my style identity several years ago and I am having a lot of trouble getting my mojo back. Sometimes my mom or sister will look at something and say: This looks like something you would wear. And I am just like: I look like I wear hobo clothes? And truthfully -- yes, I think I must.

In my head -- in my wildest dreams -- I've got kind of crazy hair and I'm wearing flower child dresses and boots and cable knit and zany earrings.

My more reasonable aspirations have me in nice jeans that FIT! And nice sweaters and jackets and blouses and such. My hair would simply be shiny.

In reality -- most of my clothes are half clean, have holes, and they are probably best described as faded, ill-fitting mom garb. My hair is so far from crazy, it's practically invisible. But at least it's clean!

The situation is so out of hand, I am at a loss as to where to even begin. When I think of the monumental task of finding enough clothes to constitute an acceptable, current, stylish wardrobe, it just makes me unfathomably tired.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Caffeine

I know exactly how caffeine has once again rooted itself in my life. Just over four weeks ago, I made a note (I keep pretty meticulous notes about my kid) that Graham stood in the crib for the first time. Every night after that was more terrible than the last. Therefore HELLO CAFFEINE MY OLD FRIEND.

To beat a dead horse, for those who might remember or have read for some time, I am not supposed to have caffeine because of my arrhythmia. It doesn't bother me most days and won't kill me; it just has the ability to make me feel really, really awful. It's only been really awful on three occasions, which I shall list to ensure you are hella bored. 1) After moving to a new, higher elevation town by myself to begin a new job. I didn't find out about the arrhythmia until years later though. 2) After gaining about 20 pounds and having some stressful work times. 3) After two miscarriages and major weight fluctuation.

In every instance, I was chugging caffeine like mad. And the last two times I went to the cardiologist for it, the first thing he said is to stop drinking caffeine. So I did, and I was off of it for a long time! Until just recently. I mean, I needed it, you guys. I couldn't manage to get anything done without it. And also: It makes me a better person. I am like 142% happier on caffeine. And that's just one latte! Of course, I know it's a slippery slope.

I'm not even sure where to go from here. I'm at the point where if I miss a day, I have a bad headache. Which is a bad sign. I don't know, maybe I'll downsize to single espresso shots instead of double (I know you're like, YA THINK). What I do know, of course, is I need to quit, yet again. So that will be fun. Meh.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Break your momma's back

Just a brief post tonight. I'm tired. I have a headache. Jane the Virgin beckons.

So, my back hurts. Straight up achin' bacon. Particularly at night, when I'm attempting to sleep. This is problematic, seeing as how I already have something else that keeps me up all night called MY BABY. I suppose this is all related to my abdominal muscles being shot to hell from pregnancy, in addition to having the physique of a marshmallow and carting around my heavy kid all day. No idea what to do about this problem, although I presume Dr. Google would be helpful in this regard.

And then my other problem is that I've managed to frighten my kid so badly that he now hates having a bath. YES I WIN AT MOTHERING. So what happened is that yesterday I put Graham into the tub while the water was still running from the faucet and he freaked the hell out. Message received: Do not put me in the tub while the water is still running. But! As I predicted yesterday, I apparently broke his brain and now the tub is simply a terrifying place to be; he freaked out again when I put him in the tub tonight, even though the water was off. Also very few ideas what to do about this issue.

That is all. Solve my problems, please. Good night.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Closed captioning

Have I mentioned my son is a light sleeper? Mayhaps?

I can't do much of anything once he's in bed; can't make dinner, do dishes, flush the toilet (unless it's a #2, I'm not an ANIMAL), talk on the phone ... You get the picture. So watching TV in the evenings has been interesting for quite some time. Me and my husband watch it at such a low volume, we can't be certain of what's truly happening on any of the shows we watch. Every night one of us turns to the other and asks, 'What did he/she say?' And the other will shrug, 'No idea.' We just sigh and continue watching.

But, as Graham would say, OH WOW. We have figured out how to watch our shows and not miss a single word of dialogue. You probably already know what I'm going to say because you're a smart person and would have done this long ago (also, it's the title of this post): CLOSED CAPTIONING!

I am experiencing a level of television enjoyment I knew only pre-baby. It's so lovely to understand the words that are coming out of people's mouths and to appreciate clever writing. Also, I enjoy being explained to that tense music is playing or someone is moaning or saying, 'Ugh!' Or '[chuckles].' My favorite to date is 'Eugene! Eugene! Eugene ...?' That's from The Walking Dead and is dialogue we never would have even known existed due to our decibel problemo. No problemo any more, amigos.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The weight thing (again)

So, four thousand years later, I'm still trying to lose weight. Has there ever been a time I haven't been trying to lose weight? The last time I remember weight not mattering to me, I was in the fourth grade. And my weight didn't become an actual issue until years later, in high school.

What pisses me off the most about trying to lose weight is the mental energy I spend worrying about how I look and how to look and feel better. No. 2 on the list of things that piss me off about losing weight is how fucking hard it is.

The weight game changed the second I got pregnant. It feels like everything that's happened to my body since then has been almost involuntary. First I lost weight because I was so sick. Then I gained a very respectable amount of weight -- about 35 pounds -- during pregnancy. Truth be told, I'd expected to gain about 50. Still, I looked and felt horrific. I was terribly bloated. But, four weeks postpartum, I'd lost every pound, and kept losing until I was five pounds lower than I was before I got pregnant. This is easily attributed to breast feeding, because I was eating everything in sight. A few months postpartum, I also got pretty sick and was vomiting, so lost another five pounds, which just never came back.

Until now. It's back. Oh, it's back. I'm weaning Graham, so the calorie-burning benefits of breastfeeding are practically nil, and besides that, I've picked up many, many bad habits over the last two years.

So, my current mission is as follows:

1. Identify bad habits acquired during and post pregnancy.
2. Systematically eradicate bad habits.
3. Replace bad habits with nonsucky new habits.

That third one is the real kicker. Right now food is a reward. For instance, I'll reward myself with a latte and a slice of lemon loaf because I'm exhausted and heroically going about my mom duties anyway, instead of slamming vodka and locking Graham in his plastic baby jail. If deprived of my reward, it's a real bummer. So I need to figure out some stuff that makes me feel as happy as a latte and lemon loaf, ya know? And also, I can't even really get into what a crutch chocolate is right now.

So that is all. I'm open to ideas, guys. I feel like a dieting newb since it's been so long since I gave it any real effort and I've dug myself into quite the hole when it comes to my new eating habits.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Things psychopaths do

I don't know what got me thinking tonight about the time I visited Laci Peterson's house.

I'd put Graham down for bed and he'd gotten back up and was standing in his crib. We heard a thud and then some screaming, and there was blood all over his face. It wasn't as bad as it looked, once I'd wiped his face off. He's been teething and bumping his mouth on stuff and sometimes the areas where he's about to cut a tooth, it will bleed.

My husband had run out for guards to put on the crib railing and I was nursing Graham back down and I just remembered the night I stood on Laci's street. My memory is imperfect but I know there were other people there and lots of flowers and candles and all the sorts of things you'd expect. The house was dark and empty, of course.

If you don't remember, Laci Peterson was a woman who went missing Christmas of '02. Her body and that of her seven and a half month old fetus were later found in the San Francisco Bay. Her husband Scott is in jail for their murder.

I'd been working at the Union Democrat in Sonora, about an hour north of Modesto, which is where Laci and Scott lived. Back then, Sonora was not exactly a cultural mecca, so ethnic food was nearly impossible to come by. Myself and a coworker/friend decided to head to Modesto for Indian food, a Trader Joe's stock up, and at the last minute she asked me: Should we stop and see Laci Peterson's house? And I said yes right away. Back then, working as a journalist, I felt compelled and practically entitled to see these sorts of things, and this felt little different from visiting a site for an assignment.

Except then we got there, parked the car, and walked to the house. There was nothing remarkable about it at all and definitely no reason for us to have visited. It was just the uninhabited former home of a dead woman who could have been a mother if her psychopath husband hadn't murdered her so he could pursue a relationship with a blonde.

We stood there for a moment with our arms crossed. We'd come empty-handed; no flowers or notes from us. And we understood we shouldn't have gone there. It wasn't our place to visit. It was the scene of something unspeakable, and we were just engaging in a sort of dark tourism in a place we had no right to be. We quickly left.

I never think of that. I think sometimes of the case, but I rarely remember that cold night we visited Laci's home. I don't think of it in any particular way; I don't feel guilty about it or anything. I just think -- there was this infamous murder and I went to where it probably happened.

Laci's child would be 10 years old. I don't know, maybe it's the fear of something happening to my kid that made me think of her baby. It's funny -- I have no stomach for the news any more. Me! I used to digest the most horrific facts with cold detachment. Facts were facts and my job was to report them, not blubber about it. I've seen murderers, rapists, dead bodies, victimized children, burned out homes, and people who were experiencing a level of grief I'd yet to fully understand. All that stuff used to make me righteously angry, and now it just makes me terribly sad.

Friday, November 07, 2014

The best shows you didn't know you should be watching, plus other stuff

NaBloWriMo would not be complete without a list of TV shows we need to discuss. SPOILERS AHEAD if that kind of thing matters to you (although I'm a couple episodes behind on many of these).

- Parenthood. It's the final season and someone's gonna die. Who will it be? Zeke is the obvious choice but maybe it will be Camille? Or maybe one of the kids? Hahaha.... This is such a great show, I can't believe they don't have the ratings to keep it going.

- blackish. HILARIOUS. And then they did the spanking episode and I was so impressed.

- Jane the Virgin. So good.

- American Horror Story -- they killed the horror when Twisty died. Just sayin'.

- The Walking Dead - I don't know, I guess I'm just feeling ho-hum about zombies these days. When can these people get to DC and figure out the cure and such?

- The Middle. This is basically a show of my life.

- Sons of Anarchy. I can't even watch it anymore after what happened to Tara. Literally, I am not watching it any more. It's a disgusting show.

- The Leftovers was sort of dumb, right? So was the book.

- Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. - NEW FAVORITE SHOW OF ALL TIME. If you like Who Do You Think You Are?, and I assume you do not because you aren't 85 years old at heart like I am, you will love Finding Your Roots. He does three people's genealogy at once and they do the blood test thing at the end to show what their true lineage is. Bad ass. One evening while watching it my husband (who says this is the most boring shit on the planet) fell asleep, but I was so excited I had a dream I was a genealogist later that night.

- Marry Me. Should be better than it is but it has potential. I'm still pissed Happy Endings got cancelled.

- In that same vein, I'm gonna give Benched a try, as TV Guide (I told you, I am basically 85) says it's good, and it has one of the Happy Endings people in it.

- Sleepy Hollow. Has this show lost some of its pizazz? I just don't care as much any more. The best parts of each episode are when Ichabod encounters modernisms that baffle him, and that's only like 30 seconds of each show.

- The Mindy Project. Still so good!

- The Affair. The jury is still out on this one, but major points for creative story telling and mystery.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Becoming cool at the speed of continental drift

I forgot I was supposed to be breathlessly blogging, tweeting, and instagramming my last-kid-in-the-lunchline involvement with birchbox and stitchfix.

So here we go. I would seem more excited, but I cannot overstate the sleep deprivation happening over here, IN CASE THAT WASN'T CRYSTAL CLEAR YET.

I joined birchbox several months ago and it's been fun. I've even purchased two exorbitantly priced beauty products. One is an amazing shampoo I am rationing like chocolate if it was the end of the world and there was no more chocolate, knowmsayin? Ok, that was a bad metaphor. My point is I only use it when I'm going to be doing something other than mothering and schlepping around the house. (Interesting aside: I wrote "schlumping" and the computer changed it to "schlepping" and I just sighed like FINE COMPUTER YOU WIN. "Interesting" may have been an overstatement.)

ANYWAY the shampoo is called Number 4 Hydrating Shampoo. The stuff is basically magical. I wouldn't have thought I needed a hydrating shampoo, but it turns out I DO, and it makes my hair feel gloriously silky.

The other thing I bought is this great primer/foundation called Supergoop! I'm also rationing this stuff for special occasions. It works approximately four quadrillion times better than my old foundation, which was not cheap stuff, btw.

The next overpriced item I plan to buy once I run out of the sample is this eye cream called Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream and basically, it is sort of wonderful because it actually works. If it can make a person who gets four hours of sleep a night look like she got at least seven, it's working, mkay?

Now on to stitchfix. I received my first box the other day and was like ... the hell? I mean, I'm no style maven -- everything I'm wearing right now is literally from Old Navy and Target, and honestly I sometimes see homeless people dressed better than me. But I just didn't love the stuff they sent. Then I realized -- Duh -- I didn't give them enough info about what I am looking for. I signed up for it when G was squirming in my lap and whining to go play, so I was like -- yeah sure clothe me and stuff. They sent three polyester shirts with questionable patterns and one cotton shirt with horizontal stripes and gold buttons on the shoulders. I just wanted to be like: I am 36, not 86, man. And I hate, hate, hate horizontal stripes. Which of course they did not know. Be assured they do now. I did keep a cute necklace, though, so at least that was a win.

That is all. Have you signed up for either of these services? Do you have thoughts or tips on how to get the most out of them?

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Swingin around

The general consensus seems to be that seemingly put-together moms are scrambling just like the rest of us. Eyeliner is apparently not an indicator of an abundance of time on one's hands or a woman's ability to juggle child-rearing and the thousand other things that need attention every day. These svelte women, it's possible, harbor dark secrets. Scummy toilets or Taco Bell for dinner or sad young ones left to their own devices in their play pens.

But maybe ... oh, maybe, some of them really do have it together. It's ok if they do. I wouldn't be wracked with insecurity when they cross my path if I didn't already wish I had it together, too. I'd stop comparing myself to them if I could. But I didn't begin my womanhood firmly anchored in a sea of self-esteem, and I don't expect to end it that way.

My kid, though. I may wish the child would sleep, but I never compare him to other babies. It wouldn't be fair to the other babies, what with my kid being rosy perfection. Whether you or anyone else agrees with me, my child is the best looking, the smartest, the funniest, the most loving child that ever learned to stumble along on this planet.

I spent most of my pregnancy feeling inhabited by an alien being. I didn't often feel tender love toward Graham as he grew in me, and I thought that because of this that when I met him for the first time I might feel that I was meeting a stranger or just feel ambivalent, and I know this is a common way for moms to feel. It's a hell of a lot, being pregnant and giving birth to a human. But to my shock, the second I saw him my alert boy looked me straight in the eye and ... the best way I can explain it is to say I was reuniting with someone I'd known and loved for eons. It's beyond anything. It's inexplicable, if cliche.

Today we went to a park and he enjoyed swinging for the first time. Previously he has not enjoyed it. He spent much of his time in the swing saying, "oh, wow," which is his only phrase for now. Other words he says, in his own way, include cat, hi, up, out, meow, woof, dada, and mama. The other day, when he peed all over his changing table while I was attempting to diaper him, I told him he was crazy and he said, "Cazy?" And I said Yes, now you're all wet. And he said, "Ett?" You see? Genius.

video

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Mom jealousy

I can't really get into all the ways I am screwing up motherhood. Just know that for someone who has read an absurd number of parenting books, you would think I'd taken a holy vow to do exactly the opposite of what was written in each one. I'm not, like, shooting heroin while the baby plays unsupervised in a bucket of water or anything, but it is fair to say I do not have the best handle on a number of parenting aspects.

So I spend a fair amount of time wandering in public in my saggy mom jeans, wilting under the scathing gazes of superior mommies. Or the scathing gazes I perceive from these women. These beautiful, thin, stylish women who seem to have avoided the amazing hair loss I am still experiencing and definitely do not have a deeply, deeply disturbing relationship with milky way candy bars.

I do not know why these women, who have children the same age or younger than my kid, have it so together. Why their thighs are so skinny. How they have time to apply their makeup so expertly.

I assume their children sleep angelically for multiple naps every day and snooze without a peep for 12 hours every night. Nary a shadow can be seen beneath their eyes, which it goes without saying are definitely not bloodshot.

Yesterday I decided to visit a blog I hadn't seen in several months. I knew the blogger had had a child and was curious about how it was going. I really, really should have known better. The woman already leads a sort of charmed life. For starters, she makes a living off her food blog and is a willowy blonde yoga instructor. Her pregnancy had gone off without a hitch and she spent most of it hiking, doing yoga, eating extraordinarily nutritious food and generally looking like the most gorgeous pregnant woman alive. (I, on the other hand, looked like I'd been injected with chemo drugs and got a bad nose job)

So naturally, this woman's baby is enormously fat and at five months weighs more than my 11 month old. And yeah, I'm jealous her baby is fat. She's never had a doctor peer down at her and interrogate her about her breast feeding techniques and never had to wonder if her kid is getting enough calories.

And naturally, she is thin and sporting a lustrous head of hair and talking about all the dates she and her husband go on. At this point I began to feel a slight hint of murderous rage.

And then, naturally, her baby has slept 12 hours a night since he was 15 weeks old. And he takes "two good naps every day." This is the part when my left eyelid began to twitch uncontrollably. I turned to my husband and said -- If there is a God, this woman's next child will be straight from Hell.

And then I admitted: I am not a very nice person.

And my husband said: No, you are not.

That is not to say I feel my child was sent to me by The Devil. He is actually a very charming, hilarious, adorable boy in every way except for one -- sleep! And it happens that lack of sleep affects every other aspect of my life. I might -- might! -- be able to give superior mommies a run for their money if my little chunk of love was a champion sleeper.

And I feel that, given enough time -- say, 12 years -- I can probably get him to sleep through the night, and probably to sleep past 7 a.m.

Monday, November 03, 2014

To sleep, perchance to scream

I almost forgot to post today. I was all focused on completing my absentee ballot (which I have to take to a polling place tomorrow, thereby defeating the purpose of being an absentee voter, as per usual), and then I felt happy because I was going to go to bed, or attempt to anyway, because Old Eagle Ears (the baby) sometimes wakes up when the floor creaks as I tiptoe by.

And then I was like Oh Damn. NaBloPoMo.

This is how a life of non-blogging begins. Sleep deprivation.

We are in the midst of one of the most challenging times with Graham. I thought the four month sleep regression was difficult ... I thought a lot of times were difficult, and the honest truth is this child is not a good sleeper, so it has been difficult. But I believe what's been going on the last couple weeks takes the cake.

The child has been teething for a few weeks, so there's that stabbing mouth pain to wake him up. And then when he wakes up he wants to stand and yell in his crib. Getting him back down to sleep sometimes takes HOURS. Last night I was up from 1:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. and he woke for the day at 6:20 a.m. Do you see how this is no effing joke? I'm running on pumpkin spice latte fumes.

It's just what's happening right now. I have accepted it, and am determined to plod through the damn thing until this kid learns how to GTFTS. That's not to say there haven't been times when I'm so tired I just cry. Hahahahaha. I thought I knew what sleep deprivation was. As all the mommies told me when I was pregnant: I HAD NO IDEA.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

BOOKS

This is my first book review post in a year! How sad. I certainly haven't stopped reading. Parenthood is time-consuming and exhausting, but I HAVE CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS. One is that I need to read. When I'm not reading, I feel depressed.

(Other requirements: Chocolate, wine, sunshine, human interaction)

So anyway, Imma just post a list of what I've read in the last year, with a quick rating, because: TIME CONSTRAINTS.

- The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell: OMFG SO GOOD. Please Hollywood do not pull a Cloud Atlas. This is another book that should never be a movie but is HELLA GOOD.

- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: Very nice dystopian future novel by one of the best.

- Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Decent. Sort of depressing.

- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. So bizarre but pretty good.

- The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Entertaining. Well written. I didn't love it but it's a good book.

- Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. I enjoyed this due to my periodic hypochondria.

- The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. SO FRIGGING GOOD.

- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. SO, SO GOOD.

- Want Not by Jonathan Miles. Definitely entertaining and smart.

- Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth. Meh.

- The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Really good!

- And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. Amazing and heartbreaking.

- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. One of the best of the year. READ IT!!

I also read at least a dozen baby books, most of them about how to get your kid to sleep HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA *sob* that is a post for a whole other time.

Happy reading! Tell me what your favorite books of the year are!


Saturday, November 01, 2014

NaBloPoMo Attempt

Is anyone still reading this blog?

Not bloody likely.

So no one will mind if I attempt to blog once per day for NaBloPoMo. I am too lazy to explain what that is, so please employ google if you've stumbled across this post for some bizarre reason.

I'll try not to brain dump; I'll try to stick to one topic for each post. I don't plan to use writing prompts, which usually annoy me. And I'll attempt not to just complain in each post.

GOOD LUCK TO ME.



Wednesday, October 01, 2014

A latte of griping

So I was having a rough morning. I'd had an argument. Aunt Flo is in town (which in and of itself is not that crappy but this is her first visit in more than a year and a half which basically means a year and a half's PMS is raging right now). Finally, Graham had a crappy nap and would therefore be crabby for the rest of the day.

And to top things off, I look SO OLD now you guys. And I am so fat. And then I went to the store with one droopy boob because I forgot to clip one side of my bra back in after feeding the kid.

Basically it was a shitstorm of first world problems.

So I decided that, it being October 1, this would be a lovely day for a pumpkin spice latte. So I drove to Starbucks, and speaking of shitstorms, there was a shitstorm of a-holes from a nearby gym standing around in spandex, causing a terribly long line. So, remembering Peet's also sells a pumpkin latte, I went there. It was much more reasonable. A woman with a dog even smiled at me. Things were looking up! So I ordered my latte and was then told they were OUT OF PUMPKIN. I almost cried. But instead I ordered a vanilla latte.

THE END.

Just kidding.

Well sort of not kidding.

Then I drank my latte and became a better mother. A caffeinated Erin is just a better Erin; there is no doubt. Unfortunately I can't have caffeine regularly because I have The Oldz and my heart might 'splode.

Then I got butternut squash soup from Le Boulanger. Never mind there is a heat advisory today and I am getting all this hot stuff to eat/drink. And also never mind that I also had butternut squash soup for dinner last night.

I desperately want for it to be fall so I can just break out the cable knit, but October seems to desperately want to be a summer month. The rest of the week is forecasted to be in the 90s.

I know that was a terribly interesting story. You are welcome.

In other news, professionals have cleaned my house. As I texted to a friend, I should have been ashamed to allow strangers to see the place in the state it was in, but all I truly felt was a bone-deep weariness and enormous relief. And honestly, my shower has probably never been cleaner. The sort of hilarious thing is Lucia, the woman who cleaned my house with her little friend, seriously underestimated how frigging filthy the place was, and literally threw in the towel after a few hours because she didn't have enough time to do everything. Still, everything she did was approximately four thousand times better than what normally happens around here. She will be asked back soon, and  hopefully she will agree to do so.

Monday, September 22, 2014

If you think you're tired now...

On Friday, Graham pulled himself into a standing position on his own, twice. Since then he's done it countless times, and today he was awfully close to just jumping to his feet from a seated position. Which ... he'll be 10 months old next week, and I sort of hadn't expected to need to deal with a child who walks for at least another couple months.

So over the weekend I sent my husband out to pick up a Baby Jail I bought from a woman on a Facebook moms group (all I see on Facebook now is stuff about babies and breastfeeding -- I am officially uncool). Baby Jail should come in handy when I've exhausted myself from trying to prevent Young Master from bashing his head into the coffee table or nosediving into the disgusting, hairy cat beds, which are like the number one thing he wants to dig his hands into and rub his face on right now.

So yeah, it's true; a child who needs constant supervision while attempting to stand and walk is more tiring than one who mostly sits or just rolls around on the floor. My mom said to me recently: "If you think you're tired now ..." And dude. I am so tired right now. And I see how I'm going to be even more tired soon. I object to this development, for the record.

Other baby-related things:

- On Friday G spit up all over me, but I didn't realize it'd also gotten in my bra until several hours later. Delightful.

- I've been trying a probiotic on him due to his dairy sensitivity (at the suggestion of his pediatrician), but I think maybe it's making him spit up. Does anyone have experience weaning a dairy-sensitive baby? I don't know what to give him once he's weaned. Almond milk? Then there's the concern of enough fat in his diet ...

- Speaking of weaning, I'm trying to plan my strategy so that he's weaned by around age 1. I don't expect it to be easy because he's a comfort nurser and has a strong association with nursing and sleeping.

- I'm thinking about G's first birthday because I know it's going to take me forever to get it planned. So far there are like 60 people on my invite list and I'm realizing I need to winnow it down if I plan to not completely lose my shit that day.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

To soothe a little toothless beast

Today was our first Story Time at the library, and I have concluded that it is a good way to kill an hour, except now I want to hide indoors until next Christmas because ENTEROVIRUS EVERYONE PANIC AAAAAAHHHHHH!

(Seriously, though, enterovirus.)

It was cool. A semi-enthusiastic librarian sang a few songs and read a couple books, and at the beginning and end she brings out this bear that kisses all the kids on the head (ENTEROVIRUS), and I must say that is fricking adorable because the kids love it. Graham mostly chewed on his fingers, screeched a few times, and blew raspberries. Afterward he played with a 17-month-old girl and 18-month old boy who are both learning to share. The boy was wearing a Nirvana shirt. The girl's mother kept explaining to her about the green sticker on her hand THAT'S A STICKER. A STICKER! A GREEN STICKER. Sweet lord help us poor parents. We basically spend the majority of our days repeating ourselves loudly and enthusiastically. 

Somehow the rest of the day passed. Yes, I spent quite a lot of time holding Young Master erect so  he could be Lord of the Family Room, pick toys up off the table, throw them on the floor, and then gaze at them with disdain. 

Eventually a spot of shade appeared in the back yard, so I dragged our asses out there for about an hour and it was just the ticket for my savage little beast (who was a bit sleepy and impatient today from being up for two and a half hours last night). He gazed at the leaves waving in the breeze and I laid back on a blanket and enjoyed the perfect weather. He ended up resting his head on my stomach while watching the trees, which is something he NEVER does, because it's far too similar to sleeping, and he's simply not the sort of baby who dozes off just anywhere. I got a little sentimental, thinking about how lucky I am to have this boy and my home and the opportunity to spend so many hours watching him grow. 

Now dinner is baking in the oven and darkness is settling in and I have this small window of time to myself, and it feels so nice to just type my thoughts, as mundane as they are. 


Surely someone wants to come hold this child upright for 10 hours

We have entered a developmental stage with Graham during which a few things are happening.

  1. We're down to two naps a day, often only half an hour each. (THE HORROR)
  2. Graham has decided he has no interest in crawling, and would simply like to walk. Therefore, he would like me to hold him upright all day long so he can practice. When I refuse, he cries.
  3. I am at a loss for how to keep this child occupied for as many hours as he is awake during the day.
So, finding myself with a surplus of non-napping, restless 9-month-old time on my hands, I've taken to roaming the city, much like a mommy zombie with terrible lower back pain.

I am not really sure how many times I've been to Target this week; I only know it is too many.

I went to two separate grocery stores today before noon.

I have been to pay a bill at the dentist in person.

I have walked up and down downtown Willow Glen just for giggles.

I have been to the park to try baby swings (not a hit) and to admire all the equipment that's still too advanced for Young Master. We sat in the shade for a while, but as per usual he just wanted to be held so he could stand erect, like Lord of the Park or some shit.

I have walked around the mall twice.

And today, I sank to a new low. I went to a gym and asked for a tour. HAHAHAHA. I was thinking: Maybe if I go to a gym, someone else can watch this child for 45 minutes while I listen to music on my phone and move my limbs hither and thither.

But of course then my friendly gym tour guide wanted to know MY GOALS (45 minutes of peace to myself?), so I told him I want to lose weight and feel better. He asked how I planned to do it, so I was like: the cardio machines, and, like, yoga? Which then resulted in a Speech about How I Am Doin It Wrong Because I Need To Be Lifting Weights. Fortunately for this young man (who looked all of 23 years old but claimed to have 6 year old twins, bless his heart), I did not give him MY speech which goes something like this: Do Not Talk To Me Like That Young Man Because I Have Read So Many Books On Diet And Exercise I Have Basically Earned A Degree In Nutrition And Sports Medicine And I Could Run This Fuckin Joint.

Seriously, I could be a personal trainer, if only I practiced the knowledge my brain has absorbed about diet and exercise. I don't imagine anyone wants a fat personal trainer? Anyway, I am perfectly aware that weights help with weight loss but I explained to the Young Man: But you see? (I wave in the general direction of the weight area) There are no women in the weight area. It's intimidating. And he's just like: No.

Whatever. Gym saga to be continued.

******

Via the magic of the Save button and the non magic of my child being awake for two and a half hours when he was supposed to be asleep (just WHY), this post did not get published last night and is instead being posted before 7 a.m. on Thursday. Because even though Sir was awake during sleep hours, he still woke at 6. At least it wasn't 5:30? God help me today.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Skeleton Hurts

I wanted to commit to blogging way more and posting pictures every time and being engaging and interesting and not constantly whining, but what I have come to realize is:

HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA

I can blog more, but whatever appears here is just going to be what it is. Whatever I have time for. Whatever I am feeling/thinking/smelling.

So I'll just start with that.

This was a nice weekend. Me and my husband didn't fight at all (what our arguments really boil down to is "I CARE." "I CARE MORE." "I'M TOO TIRED TO CARE." "GO TO BED."), and we actually went and saw a movie, which means we were without our nine-month-old for about three hours. Of course, we sat at the back of the theater scratching our faces and bouncing our knees because we were anxious about how he was getting on with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece, but we should have known he'd be completely fine, and he was.

It was the first time we'd been out in five months, which is just preposterous. But it's difficult to make the effort when you're exhausted.

Saturday night my husband picked up our neighbors from the airport -- they stayed at a Sandals resort in the Bahamas (I will kill them with my jealous rage) -- and I read a little (The Bone Clocks -- loving it), slept a little, and watched Dallas Buyers Club (good stuff. Jared Leto was amazing).

Sleep is still so elusive. Graham sometimes sleeps through the night, but his regular wakeup time when he does that is 5:30 a.m. I think we can all agree that is a hellacious hour to get out of bed, but he's as cheerful as an elf on crack. About 65% of the time he wakes around 3 or 4 a.m. and I need to nurse him back down and then I can't get back to sleep and I lie in bed and hate my brain as it makes REALLY STUPID LISTS of things I need to do that day. ("Well lessee here I need to do the laundry and get the groceries and make the baby food ..." WHO CARES EVERY DAY IS THE SAME AS THE DAY BEFORE YOU WILL BE FINE IF YOU DON'T THINK ABOUT IT FIVE HOURS IN ADVANCE YOU ASSHOLE)

My brain is as asshole.

Also, my skeleton hurts because I have The Olds and when you are the elderly parent of a nine-month-old, it hurts to heave your carcass off the floor after playing with your child. Being a little chunky monkey doesn't help matters, I'm sure.

I am getting out more. I am still thinking a lot about sleep training (I am weak). I am thinking about losing weight. I am thinking about a birthday coming up next month. I am thinking about having work done on the house. And I? Am hiring someone to clean my house. Which is pretty much the best idea I've had in a couple years.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for more of the minutiae of my days.

Monday, July 28, 2014

blogher '14

BlogHer has come and gone and now 'tis time to reflect. Me and my compadre, Christina, noticed major differences between the conference we attended in 2011 and this conference. I'll address those in a minute.

This year's conference was a "selfiebration," so I obliged. Left to right: Nicole, Christina, me.

Overall, it was worth every penny for me to get out of the house, away from my adorable 8-month-old. I spent entire spans of time not thinking about or doing mommy things, and it felt really wonderful to just be an adult woman for a couple days. Although I still had to pump milk every few hours in the lactation lounge, which was in itself a bonding experience with the other pumping moms. My husband watched Graham for those couple days and did such an awesome job that now Graham truly prefers my husband when it comes to nap time. I'm so proud of both of them, although sort of hating life today because this nap issue is no joke.

Awesome things about the conference:


  • The expo hall. It's always fun to see what products the sponsors are trotting out and giving away as freebies. I'll probably spotlight a few on Instagram.
  • The Lactation Lounge, sponsored by Lansinoh. They provided a curtained-off area with a couch and a couple plush chairs, outlets, a fridge, and various breastfeeding/pumping-related supplies. It was a lifesaver. 
  • Breakfasts. I just love hot buffet breakfasts. 
  • Speakers from Twitter and eBay, plus Jenny Lawson (hilarious), comedian Tig Notaro (REALLY hilarious), Arianna Huffington, and Scandal's Kerry Washington!
  • There were some moments of inspiration in some of the sessions I attended. 
I didn't attend any of the parties, so I can't really speak about how those were, although Rev Run was at the party sponsored by McDonald's on Saturday night, which is pretty cool.

Things that were a little off:

  • None of the cool kids I met and saw at the 2011 conference were at this year's conference. 
  • This was the conference's 10th anniversary, and the organizers were pretty proud of it, so they'd planned for a bunch of speakers to discuss ... I'm not sure what. How awesome BlogHer is? There were simply too many speeches and they all went on for far longer than the 10 minutes they were each allotted. It began to feel like church camp -- it's fun until you have to go to church for the third time in one day.
  • The 2011 conference blew me away. Everything was on a grand scale and planned exceedingly well. Attendees actually attended the speeches and sessions, and the guest speakers and surprise stars were really impressive. The food was superb and abundant. The expo hall and giveaways were overwhelming in volume. This year was just a different story in every regard. 
  • Some of the sessions were a bit lacking in information, disappointingly. Many of the moderators and panelists just seemed really into talking about their own experiences rather than trying to help attendees. The best session I attended was really informative and was about optimizing social media. 
I don't write any of this to knock the conference or its organizers, because I can't even imagine the planning that must go into an event this enormous. I have a lot of respect for what they've done with this conference over the last decade.

But I wonder what's going on. Is it that blogging is dying out? Or has BlogHer become unhip? Maybe it was just an off year? Perhaps no one wanted to go to San Jose. It's understandable that it'd be easier to draw big names to San Diego in 2011, because it's close to Los Angeles. But really, what is happening? I'm curious to hear your theories. 



Saturday, July 12, 2014

Enjoy it now

What is there to do, really, other than just accept that every day I will hold my child for a few hours while he naps and I will get up around 5:30 a.m. every day? It won't last forever, and as I'm being commanded, I ought to ENJOY THIS NOW, because these moments are fleeting.

Which I get. I've understood it from the first second I saw my boy's little alien eyeballs blinking back at me. When he was just a newborn, my mom gave me a 6-month outfit for him to wear later, when he would fit into it, and I was almost angry when I saw it. THIS IS SOMETHING A BOY WEARS, NOT A BABY. He mustn't grow, mustn't, mustn't, and then he just kept doing it and now he's 7 months and wears 9 month outfits because he's pretty much going to be an enormous human being.

So yes, I'm enjoying this now, even though I average five hours of broken up sleep a night and I've seen way more sunrises than I'd like. People talk about how they never understood how they could love something as much as they love their children, and my theory is: When you look at your kid, it's like looking at the best, most deserving, untainted part of yourself. It's pure narcissism, is what it is. It's all the chances you ever wanted to truly wipe the slate clean and begin anew. Pure love and trust pours off babies' little bodies, and it's pretty impossible to respond with anything other than utter adoration.

And I do adore this kid, so much. Sometimes I feel a physical need to just crack open my chest and store him in there for a while so I can REALLY HOLD HIM, every part of him, compress his little body with my righteous new mom love. I would bite him, hard, if it didn't hurt him, because sometimes you just want to bite something you love, hard.

So it's funny how sometimes this feels like a merry-go-round that's spinning around at 90 miles an hour. Get up, feed, dress, play, clean, nap, feed, nap, feed, nap, feed. I wonder at myself, my Groundhog Day-edness, and whether it's wise to just continue neglecting housework, exercise, this blog, my other writing, the sorry-ass state of my saggy-ass mom jeans. I read somewhere the reason 1950s housewives could do it all -- have kids and keep a house and feed their families -- was they just put their kids in playpens all day and got shit done. Is that what I should be doing?

It's easy for me to get stuck in ruts because I am, at heart, a surly hermit. I'd normally accept any excuse to stay in my home, alone, all day. But, you may be surprised to discover, even surly hermits have their limits, and their tiny little pink hearts sometimes even crave adult human interaction. When the CHOICE to be a hermit becomes more of a necessity, this particular hermit becomes somewhat more surly than usual.

It's extraordinarily difficult for me to ask for help. I just never got any good at it. And I'm a fairly terrible friend, as I have an aversion to talking on the phone and I will rarely be the one to suggest a girl's night out or anything fun, truthfully. (See above re: surly hermit status) But, I've realized I need help. Ooh, it hurts my tiny heart to admit it, but I do. And I will need to ask for it, as people so rarely are gifted with extra sensory perception. I will need to call people on that dad-blasted phone of mine, and beg them to come hold my child so that I can clean the bathroom or write or go buy some clothing from this decade. Or I will beg them to sit with me and converse as normal adult humans sometimes do. Maybe we will even eat a meal of food. It's a little overwhelming to think about.

I don't want to do it. I really don't, a whole lot. A big part of me keeps saying I should be able to do this. I'm perhaps the forty bajillionth woman to have a child on this planet, so it's hardly anything special to raise a child. And I wanted this boy so badly, it makes me feel guilty to sense anything but gratitude when it comes to the situation I'm in.

But this temporary, "fleeting" time, while flashing by at 90 miles an hour, has been really difficult. Isolating, frustrating, monotonous, crazy-making. I hesitate to admit it, but I believe many mothers feel this way at times. I believe it is normal, and I believe that because our villages have dissipated, it's up to us to rebuild them around ourselves in our times of need. I've never called upon my village until now, and now, I am calling.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sleep Training: The Seventh Circle of Hell

Well. It's possible there couldn't be anything more dull to read about than how my kid sleeps (or doesn't), and yet this is my blog, and my kid's sleep consumes my Every Waking Hour, so that is all I am capable of writing about at the moment.

Where to begin ...

Possibly with the sleep books. I have read:


  • Secrets of the Baby Whisperer
  • Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (Ferber)
  • Good Night, Sleep Tight
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution
  • The New Contended Little Baby Book
  • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

I have tried the suggestions in each of these books, to varying degrees, and what I have found is that my child is one of those who will cry hysterically for hours, even if he can see me; even if I am holding him; even if I am patting him gently and murmuring consolingly; even if he is well-fed and has a clean diaper and is sitting prettily in the magic sleep window.

What I know:

- If I let my kid cry, he will eventually fall asleep after many hours. If I let him cry continually for days on end, I am somewhat certain he would eventually get the picture and learn to sleep on his own.
- I cannot let my kid cry for days on end.

Which puts me in a difficult position. And on the receiving end of quite a bit of advice. "He will have to cry." This has been said by my husband; by my pediatrician; by my mother; by many, many friends. Eventually, they say, he will have to cry. If not now, then later. The longer you wait, the harder it gets, etc, etc.

I'd come to accept this, and I chose a method that allowed him to cry but also allowed me to comfort him while he did so (The Good Night Sleep Tight method). This method works, although not as quickly as Ferber's method or the extinction method, which I was OK with because it's supposed to be gentler -- babies tend to not react so terribly when their loving parents are sitting at their crib side. I know many people who have successfully tried this method and none of their children reacted as mine did, which is to say he cried so hard for so long that he began choking and finally choked so badly that he stopped breathing and I nearly called 911. So here's how I now feel about any sort of hysterical crying during sleep training: Hell to the no.

The No Cry book is my last hope, and is, of course, the slowest and most difficult method. Which is fine, except for the fact that in the meantime I am the only person who can currently feed or put this kid to bed without him going totally bonkers. And the nap time and bedtime rituals are very elaborate and time consuming. For example, since the 4-month sleep regression (this is a real thing all parents should fear), I have had to hold Graham for the entire duration of his naps. *insert unamused emoji* For weeks, I tried to continue doing what I'd done previously -- nurse the kid to sleep, then put him in his crib for the remainder of his naps. He wasn't sleeping great, but he was sleeping. Now, whenever I put him down, he immediately wakes and cries.

This is not a child who falls asleep easily, or just anywhere. I see people posting photos of their kids asleep on the floor, in the bathtub, in the high chair, you name it, and I just laugh and laugh. If nothing else, I have learned that what moms all say is true: All kids are different. What works for one will not necessarily work for another. I'd amend that to say: What works for most kids probably doesn't work for mine. And that's OK. He comes from a long line of stubborn buttheads. Stubborn buttheads even marry into the family and produce even more stubborn buttheads. I am certainly a stubborn butthead, but apparently not enough of one to force my kid to cry until this problem is solved. Others in my family have solved this same problem with the cry-it-out method and describe hours of crying and vomiting. Stubborn buttheads for life, I tell you.

All that to say ... I just needed to write this because dealing with this on my own most days is a lot. It's grueling at times. I absolutely understand postpartum depression now. At times I feel very alone and desperate and hopeless. I cling to comments from friends who've been where I am and remind me this isn't forever and there are things that will work and to keep trying and when all else fails, there is wine.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My writing process

I'm delighted to be fairly alert and with a laptop perched on my knees this evening. If all goes well, Graham will stay in dreamland and I will finish this post tonight.

Katie of Ettible asked me to answer a few questions about my writing process. I rarely think of myself as having an actual process, but I am a writer of sorts -- I once made a living as a newspaper reporter, and most recently published an e-book on Amazon.

Here are the questions:

1) What are you working on right now?

I've mainly just been focused on keeping up with blogging, because all of my writing was derailed by the birth of my son in late November. I really need to get back to all of my writing, if only for my sanity. I have two more books in the works at the moment. One is science fiction and unlike anything I've written before. The other is the second book in the Nicky Beets series (the first book is called "Bigger."). I can't wait to get back to it!

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I can't honestly say that it does. When I was a reporter I wrote a few clever articles that were entertaining and funny, which can be difficult to do on a deadline. That was always my favorite way to write -- whenever I could editorialize a little -- so it was probably a natural progression to start writing fiction. Although I have to say I must have been one arrogant SOB to just jump into fiction with exactly zero training in fiction writing. Turns out writing novels is not easy! So long story short -- my fiction writing is nothing special, really, although I personally think it's at least entertaining.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I've always wanted to write a novel. I've always loved reading and have always been a daydreamer with a crazy imagination. I wanted to turn my daydreams into a book that I would love to read. I also continue to blog because I want to stay fresh and satisfy my unholy urge to overshare most of the details of my personal life. It's a problem many introverted writers have.

4) How does your writing process work?

Hahaha! "Work" is an overstatement. At least half of "Bigger" was written while I was slightly inebriated. Much of it was written while listening to Chopin (see above re: arrogance). I tended to hem and haw for much of the day before forcing myself to finally sit at my desk and then write write write until something interrupted me or it was suddenly dark and I was hungry. Once I finally had a rough draft, I tore it to shreds in editing. I rewrote, edited, rewrote, edited, rewrote, edited ... The final product only barely resembles what I started out with, and I am still not completely satisfied with it. But if I have to edit that thing again, I might lose my marbles. I'd really love to edit and rewrite this entire post, actually, but I don't have the time.



I haven't asked anyone to answer these same questions, but I think if you're interested, you should! I'd love to read about how you do it!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

the nap pickle

HELLO!

Remember me?! I did fall down the baby hole, just like I swore I wouldn't. The problem, it turns out, is that I suck at training my baby to sleep. It's a very long and boring story about NAPS and how I HOLD my BABY for every nap he takes and at the end of the day I have two hours to converse with my husband, eat dinner, and watch a TV program before I slip into unconsciousness and the night shift begins.

Because my baby also does not sleep through the night. This is shocking, I know.

Anyway I decided I just need to make blogging happen, somehow. It's important to me. It connects me to other people. It helps me express myself creatively and feel like a normal human instead of a walking, baby-talking tit. So I do hope to keep this up a couple times a week, SOMEHOW.

Things that have been happening, in bullet-point form since it's been nearly three months (THE SHAME) since I blogged.

- I cut my hair and now I feel like a very ugly mommy. It's quite a lot shorter than it was, and it needed to happen because my hair was falling out in clumps. Now I'll just let it grow back out, but meanwhile, I totally did that thing where I became a mom and sliced off like 15 inches of hair. STEREOTYPES, I AM IN YOU.

- We put foil up in the baby's window and sealed the cracks with duct tape. So that we can cook meth in his room. Ha! No, it's so this child will sleep. When even the smallest crack of light seeps through, he just stares at it, wide-eyed. I'm sure our neighbors are like: What the hell.

- The boy and I got sick together! It was the best. He had a cold. I had A COLD plus vomiting for whatever reason. I am still getting over it like three weeks later. I hate everyone.

- We are feeding Graham solids now! So his farts smell reaaalllly extra special. He's enjoying it, though, which is a relief because it signals that SOMEDAY I will no longer be his primary food source. I remain an unenthusiastic breastfeeder, which probably means I am a sociopath.

- My husband and I went on TWO DATES! This was amazing. And I ate frozen yogurt, which is the closest I've come to ice cream in six months, and then Graham vomited to confirm that, no, frozen yogurt cannot be on the menu until the aforementioned tits are off his menu.

- G is in the 90th percentile for height, still, but down to 10th percentile for weight, which is concerning. I have no idea if he's just going to be a lanky sort of guy, but I constantly worry he's not getting enough to eat.

- G is still being swaddled and hates it but can't sleep without it and this is a nightmare I'm going to have to train him out of and send hellllllllp........

- I am watching The Bachelorette and I have so many thoughts. 1) Andy is so annoying. 2) The dead guy ... I mean. I just feel like an awful voyeur even watching. 3) That is all I guess. I'd love to be recapping it but see above for REASONS.

- omg BLOGHER is coming! You may not care about this but I do. This is going to be my longest time away from my child *cough*FREEDOM*cough* and it's just overall really fun meeting other bloggers and going to the sessions. I am pretty much a fraud for even attending this conference but thankfully no one cares because I paid my monies and that is all that matters. Tell me if you are going!

- Tell me what book to read next! I just finished The Secret History (while employing aforementioned tits in aforementioned foil-darkened room) and liked it but it's been a couple weeks and I need something new to read. No horror, no historical fiction (unless it's REALLY GOOD DAMMIT).

- Lest I sound like an ungrateful former infertile, my son really is the best kid. He's spirited, happy, laughs a ton, jumps like a maniac in his jumper, and overall just reminds me every day what a miracle he is. My husband and I marvel at his existence constantly.






Monday, March 17, 2014

well

I'd be doing well to put up one post a week, but that doesn't seem manageable quite yet. I really, truly thought blogging was going to be possible post-baby, but it turns out I didn't know jack shit about babies. Ha!

Like, what'd be cool is if you could get stuff done while babies slept. Or, like, if you could sleep while your baby sleeps. What I didn't anticipate was how HARD is it to get a baby to sleep. Sometimes by the time I get my baby to sleep, I've also fallen asleep, and then he wakes me up. Most times, I spend half an hour getting him to sleep, and then 15 minutes later he's awake and ready to party until the next nap rolls around. This is barely enough time to mash a sandwich into my mouth-hole, much less put on makeup or clean bathrooms or BLOG, for godssakes.

(BTW sleep training has gone by the wayside for the time being. He improved SLIGHTLY so I let it go, besides which I am nowhere near ready to listen to him wail. It hurts me.)

Nonetheless, little Graham gets cuter by the day. He's in full-on drool mode, possibly teething, although I don't see any evidence other than the drool. He's got grabbing stuff down, and most of it finds its way into his mouth. He likes to stand up (with help). He likes when his dad whistles. He's just learned, hysterically, to splash in the tub. He does not like being ignored or made to sit in his chair for FIVE FRIGGING MINUTES while mommy makes a piece of toast. He dislikes having his nails cut. He hates all of his carriers other than the car seat.

His hair is falling out, and so is mine, in great clumps. To-do today: remove giant hair monster from shower drain. I need a hair cut pronto so I can just chop off this witchy crud and start over with a new batch. I do wonder what color his hair will end up being. So far his eyes are looking sometimes hazel, sometimes greenish (!), but I believe they'll eventually settle into brown.

We moved Baby G into his own room over the weekend, after MUCH hemming and hawing and major guilt on my part, because, I dunno, now he has to sleep in a room alone instead of three feet from me and we can't wake each other up all night long? But he's about 3 and a half months old, and frankly I'd been wanting to move him for about two months now. But there are all these concerns about SIDS and then my own paranoia about him, I dunno, injuring himself somehow in his crib, which I logically know is the safest possible place in the entire house for him.

So anyway, the move went OK. He did wake more frequently, but each time I went into his room he was angled 90 degrees from where I'd placed him and grinning maniacally at the ceiling fan. So I'd say he's OK with his room, at least.

I guess that's about it for now. I'd write some book reviews but I don't have time. Which makes me sad. I do rate them on goodreads if you feel like checking out what I've been reading on there (I think the link is on my sidebar. I don't have time to link to it, even. Ugh). I haven't picked up a new read for a couple weeks because I'm looking for something really good. Open to suggestions!

Friday, February 14, 2014

regression

The child is going through some kind of sleep regression thing, dudes. The nap issue wasn't enough. We are literally back to the same sleeping pattern he had as a brand new baby, waking five times a night (he's now 11 weeks). Except at least as a newborn he napped during the day. FUUUUUUUUN. Shoot me.

I read some article recently that called parenting "all joy and no fun." I see how some could arrive at that conclusion, and it feels that way sometimes. Like at 4 a.m., the most horrible hour of the day. BUT. Then I have a "conversation" with a beaming Graham --

Him: "Ooooooooo!"
Me: "I love you, too!"
Him: "Wooooaaaaaa?"
Me: "Yes, you ARE cutest baby in the universe."

-- and then it feels like all joy and all fun.

Although I do admit to feelings of frustration and boredom in the prior week. My life feels like one big preparation for nap time. It's a little repetitive, not to mention it's a lot of work getting him to sleep, and I sometimes dread the process. But things will be this way for only so long, and I have no excuse to be bored, seriously. As Adam on GIRLS would say, "Boredom is for lazy people with no imagination." SO TRUE.

This week we had our first needle vaccine and ohhhhh my god I can't believe I took my child willingly to a place where he would be hurt. The moment he was stuck with the needle, he cried, tears and all, the shaking hiccup cry, and he looked at me like: "Why?!" Utter betrayal. It's one thing when your kid is crying because he's tired or hungry; pain is a different thing. I nearly lost it and I'm surprised I didn't.

That was the day I wore all my war paint -- a full face of makeup. And it felt really nice. I need to do that more often so I feel good about myself. Everything else is sort of blech. All my clothes are The Worst, I have no good nursing bras, my stomach is flabby and lined with angry looking stretch marks, and my hair is witchy and beginning to fall out.

I really appreciate everyone's feedback on their own parenting experiences. It helps me feel more normal and gives me an idea of what to expect! This week I'm wondering if you have any favorite children's books you enjoy reading your kids, and also if you have any recommendations on good nursing bras. I'm also wondering what your favorite wipes are. I was using Pampers for a while but then realized they have a bunch of chemicals I don't love, then tried Seventh Generation and those suck.

In a few days I swear I'm going to post something 100% non-baby related. It'll be a book post! I've managed to read a few books on my Kindle in the dark while nursing all damn night long. And they've all been really good, probably because I'm not messing around with any novels with crap reviews right now, just going for the good stuff. 'Til then.



Monday, February 03, 2014

On naps

I got a really great response on the last post about getting wee ones to nap! The consensus seems to be: 1) He's too young for sleep training 2) Do whatever works, for godssakes.

And over the last couple weeks I've come to a couple conclusions myself. Those are 1) Don't get used to anything, because the kid changes every day and 2) If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

That's not to say my kid is a napper, because he AIN'T. (YES, still with the capitals.) He WILL nap if I nurse and then hold him the entire time. I tried this one day last week and the kid got like four hours total in naps that day, which is stellar for him. However, that night's sleep was a nightmare, so I was like: Never again. I mean, I've decided I'll definitely nurse him to sleep (when that works, which is about half the time), but I don't have time to hold my baby for every nap. And I'd love to nap when he naps, but no matter how tired I am, my body has rebelled and will not allow me to sleep during daylight hours. No idea what is going on because I used to be a champion napper.

Also, I can't co-sleep because it terrifies me. I literally wake up every night in bed thinking I've suffocated the baby in the blankets. EVERY NIGHT. And I've never co-slept.

(Sidenote re: cats and babies. Maybe some cats are really cool with babies but my cats have sort of been dicks. They wake him up from probably 25% of his naps, so it's sort of a miracle I haven't sold them into kitty slavery by now. And today when I went to get G out of his crib from a failed nap, I came back out to find Simon (who is a CAT) eating my oatmeal.)

Graham does seem to be learning to nap on his own, SOMEWHAT. But he pretty much hates his crib for naps (and who wouldn't, the mattress is as hard as a rock. I understand we don't want our babies to suffocate on cushiony mattresses but seriously I could just use a piece of plywood instead of this mattress) and he FRIGGIN HATES being swaddled.

So this is my next question for you guys -- how long did you swaddle your kids? And is there any good way to transition out of the swaddle? I sometimes let him nap without one (right now, actually), but when I do it ends up being a short nap because he'll either startle awake or hit himself in the face with his hands. Graham struggles in his swaddle all night, every night. I put him down and a couple hours later he will have wiggled 90 degrees to the right as he struggles in his sleep to free his arms from the miracle blanket.

Also, out of curiosity, how long did you let your kid sleep in your room? G is still in our room but I'm weighing the pluses and minuses of moving him to his room.

Anyway, we're all learning and adjusting. Tomorrow he'll be TEN WEEKS! Double digit weeks old! Ten weeks since they sliced him out of me. It's crazy to think about. My husband asked the other day if I ever think about the birth because he'd just thought about it and was reeling again from the memory and I was like I THINK ABOUT IT EVERY DAY. I never thought I'd be a person who was obsessed with the birth of her kid, but I am. And not obsessed in a "how wonderfully miraculous" kind of way but more of a "oh the horror I can't believe I didn't die" kind of way. I think legions of women probably have post traumatic stress disorder from their birth experiences.

ANYWAY.

Guess who's awake?! Gotta go. Give me your best advice!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

*gasp*

That was me, coming up for air.

Touche to anyone who ever said to me: "You have no idea what you're in for." Touche.

And sorry I don't have time to figure out how to make the accent over the "e" right now. WE HAVE LIMITED TIME, PEOPLE.

So. There are so many things I want to talk about. So I'll just talk until my boss wakes up, which will probably be in 3 seconds. Goodbye forever.

Hello.

For starters, can we discuss sleep and naps and oh my god whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. One book I read calls what I have "trained" my child to do "accidental parenting." Which is to say I have trained my child to believe he needs to be held and/or nursed in order to sleep. Woe is me. Major woe.

So of course this means SLEEP TRAINING, which is from THE DEVIL. I am trying to train him to calmly drift off to dreamland in his crib for every nap HAHAHA. You know how this is going, don't you? My pediatrician recommends the Ferber method, or at least what I think is the Ferber method, and I just don't know because that's kind of like crying it out? That said, have I ever met anyone whose kids are good sleepers and didn't at some point cry it out? No. Very sadly, no. Please tell me if you are a person with well-sleeping children and you have a kinder method. Because Graham won't be the only one crying it out, you know?

(BTW can I just say VERY RANDOMLY that I am managing to watch The Bachelor this season and WISH I had time to recap because holy dumbasses. Sharleen or whatever her name is? What in the world? And South Korea of all places? I am so confused. Also, Juan Pablo is my major influence when it comes to using CAPITAL LETTERS lately because I follow him on TWITTER.)

Other things that are going on:

- I am in some kind of weird mommy-and-me yoga. Which is basically a bunch of women hanging out while their babies scream bloody murder. It's a JUDGMENT FREE zone, which is why I go to my zen happy place when all the babies are screaming. Like, even if my kid is screaming, I still find other kids' screaming annoying. I am such a hypocrite.

- I am dairy free and hating it. I don't think you QUITE understand what a large part of my life ice cream used to be. Making matters worse, I received an ice cream maker for my birthday, and it's just collecting dust. No cheese, either, which is TERRIBLE. I realized most of what I eat on a daily basis has cheese in it. No milk. No MILK CHOCOLATE. Do not ask me how I am surviving this, I have no idea. (Also, in case I've failed to mention previously why I am dairy free, it's because whenever I eat dairy, Graham pukes like crazy)

- Graham is 9 weeks old! It's nuts. He's in the 50th percentile for weight and 75th for height. He's long and lean and I'm still waiting for him to chub up. WHERE MAH CHUBBY BABY AT. Anyway he's still frigging adorable and loves ceiling fans and smiles a lot and has been making the cutest noises.



- Breast feeding is still so meh. Especially when my nipple is being chomped, I mean FRIGGING OUCH. And also when I wake up drenched in boob juice in the middle of the night, which is charming.

- I am never going to catch up on sleep, ever. Ever ever.

- Anyway, I cannot believe I actually found the time to write this. Sir must be so tired from NEVER SLEEPING SHEEZUS. I'll be back to update, eventually! Please give me all your best mommy tips!

Monday, January 06, 2014

motherhood

I started a post about motherhood THREE WEEKS AGO and now here I am attempting to finish it. It's just going to have to be as brief as I can make it, since we seem to have entered the notorious 6-week fussy period and daytime naps are not really happening. In fact, I just got Graham to go down for a nap, knock on all the wood everywhere, and therefore I need to write this and then go join him in blissful unconsciousness because, yeah, I am friggin exhausted and brain no worky so gud on just a few hours a night.

(I'm watching him on the monitor as he squirms in his crib. This update may not make it for another few weeks)

(It is now 45 minutes later. The nap was a no-go. SHOCKING.)

(He is farting. I am drinking decaf and pretending it's helping.)



So basically, with my brain in its current state, I have probably nothing to say that's very insightful. Motherhood is a crash course. It's not easy, but it's amazing and surreal. Growing a person who subsists solely on liquid that comes out of your boobs is really weird. At first I was like: This is a cool bonding experience! And now I'm like: I will do this because it's the right choice, but once that year is up, the tap turns off.

That's not to say that breastfeeding is particularly difficult, just that it's extremely demanding. I did attend a breastfeeding support meeting, which was helpful and revealing -- so many women struggle with breastfeeding in a variety of ways. (And also, I have absolutely no judgment against women who choose not to breastfeed. It's none of my business what you do with your boobs or how you feed your kid.)

Also, pumping is pretty much the worst. That is all.



Graham is still sleeping in our room, in his crib. This is good and bad. Good because I can respond immediately if he needs me. They're recommending you keep the kid in your room for like six months nowadays to prevent SIDS. Six months ... I just don't know. He makes so much noise in his sleep, particularly starting around 5 a.m., when he's decided he hates his swaddle and needs out of it immediately so he can hit himself in the face with his hands and piss himself off. This is a fun game newborns like to play. I'm at a bit of a loss.

Anyway, he generally wakes every three hours, from start of feeding to start of feeding, and because he has reflux, I hold him up for half an hour after each feeding, so that leaves me with maybe two hours of sleep between feedings, thus explaining why I answer "I don't know" or "I don't remember" to all questions these days. I don't know. And I don't remember.



I've addressed eating and sleeping, which just leaves pooping. Pooping is all normal. We went up to size ones in diapers and I'm considering checking out the earth baby diaper composting service because holy diaper-filled landfill. We are producing a horrifying amount of trash right now.

Changing boy diapers seems fraught with more danger than girl diapers, particularly because boys are able to, and do, pee on their own faces. Just ask Graham, who needed an outfit change at 2 a.m. today.

(And who needs another diaper change right now but is being SUCH A GOOD BOY while he sits in the rock n play while it vibrates. I said to a friend a few weeks ago I could take it or leave it, in reference to the vibrator, and I take that back, big time. That thing is a life saver. As are the swing and the moby wrap.)



So yes. Six weeks is a fussy age, but also right about when babies start to realize the boobs they've been sucking on are attached to an actual person, and then they smile at you and it's like, ok. You are pretty much the cutest thing ever.