Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Parting is such sweet sorrow: An Open Letter to a Dear Friend

So, this week I have decided it’s time to say goodbye to you, dear friend. It’s sad—I barely know how I’m going to get by without you—but it’s time. We’ve both known this was coming.

And so it is with a heavy heart, dear Morning Nap, that I bid you adieu.

We’ve had a good run. You’ve been with me for such a long time. I remember back when we started things up, gosh, almost a year ago. You were only 45 minutes long back then! I don’t know if you’ll recall how under-appreciated you were back then—I’d use you to do laundry, dishes, take showers. God, what a waste. I’m so sorry; it wasn’t you—it was me. I just didn’t know how to make the most of our time together.

And then our relationship blossomed a couple of months ago. I realized you were so much more than simply a time to do meaningless chores. You were a time of rest. Escape. Reading books, blogs or email. Napping. Remember that nap two weeks ago? It was a Joey-and-Ross quality nap. I don’t think I ever loved you more than that day. Too late I learned to savor our moments, roll them around on my tongue like really good chocolate.  And just as we were hitting our stride, you started to fade away.

I wanted to deny what was happening at first. We were so good together—how could you ever want to leave me? But soon, you were shifting away, letting me down, making excuses. I started to wonder: were you avoiding me?  The salad days of having an hour and a half, even two hours together were gone before I knew it, replaced by 30-minute quickies. And it took so long to even get to you in the first place—25 minutes of machinations and foreplay for something that seemed to be over just like that?

I was finally honest with myself and realized I was going to have to admit that a union that seemed so perfect was just a temporary fantasy. I needed to let you go, to free you to bring happiness to some other woman (or man). I don’t know if anyone else will appreciate you the way I learned to these last few weeks, but I hope they do. You were good to me, and I’m gonna miss you.

Luckily, your friend Afternoon Nap and I have had something going on the side for quite a while. I think it’s time we took our relationship to another level…

Nostagically yours,


Monday, January 30, 2006

Sa-tur-day in the park

Okay, I am feeling lazy today, and these dang pix from when the weather was so nice this weekend are so cute I can hardly bear to have them in the camera, so here's another picture-story. (PS: Note the righteous black and gold outfit: GO STEELERS!)

Whoa--foul ball! I got it, I got it.

Who's open?


I have HAD IT with the personal foulage, woman!

I'm outta here.

Hey, look, pinecones.

Now, don't go getting all hysterical. I'm not going to eat one or anything.

I'm not STEW-PID. Sheesh.

Well, maybe just a taste.

Like you "just tasted" that half-gallon of ice cream the other night.

You wanna get down with this?


You don't know what you're missing.

Oh, yeah, I'm a swinger.

You know what I mean.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Oh, the PLACES he'll go

So while Bee-bee was here last week, I managed to capture these photos of D-funk doing his new favorite activity: climbing! It seems like we only got a couple cherished days of walking before he decided Just Walking was sooo, you know, last Tuesday and started climbing everything in sight. Oy, as GGC would say, to the vey.

We call this first one "Hey, mama--guess what I'm going to do while you're doing the dishes and not watching?" He hasn't (knock on wood) done a gainer yet, but I've since learned to keep the rocking chair in the kitchen while I'm working in there!

We call this one "Get down? Get. down. Hmmm. Nope, sorry, I'm not programmed to acccept that command yet. How 'bout I hold my arms up, grunt and squeal, and you lift me up and put me down instead? Thaaanks."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Mommymatic wants to know: Why all the hate for B.E.?

I’m talking about Baby Einstein. I’ve seen sneers at these ubiquitous DVDs on several blogs/websites (I was actually going to say “I’ve heard people dissing on Baby Einstein,” but then you’d wanna know where and I’d have to admit that it was online somewhere, like 90% of all conversations I have about motherhood. *sigh*). And I wanna know—what up with that? If you’re a hater, I want to know why. I can’t imagine parenting without them, but maybe 30 minutes of peace is vastly outweighed by some other side effect of which I’m unaware. I’m guessing it’s one of the following reasons:

  1. Baby Einstein videos are hideously boring for adults. This is true. Seriously. The first time I watched one, I almost lasped into a coma. No funny literary references for the grownups watching like the ones in Veggie Tales or Sesame Street, but then, my son is entertained by taking the lid on and off an empty Gerber puffs container for an hour, so I suspect we have different standards for how to define ‘entertainment.’

  2. Babies shouldn’t watch TV. I could almost buy this reason, but most of the people saying this are as bad as me when it comes to watching copious amounts of TV. It’s educational at its best and brain candy at its worst. But almost all of us do it—why not babies? When do they get a break from all the learning, chattering, crying, diaper changing, eating and pooping work they do? When is it their turn to have some me-time?

  3. Baby Einstein won’t make your baby smarter. I’m sure this is true, despite what Disney might say to the contrary. But many babies do seem entertained by it, and if they learn the word MOON! and how to count from 1 to 10 in Hebrew while they’re at it, well, then, no harm, no foul.

  4. Disney just wants to get kids addicted to its movies so they can scam money off them in the future. This is undoubtedly true. If they get together with the Coca-cola people and the Target people, I am so screwed. I might, as my friend Jessica once suggested, just as well just start automatically handing over a $100 bill whenever I walk into Target. But seriously, a lot of people really hate Disney for a variety of really good reasons: they make over classic tales in horribly sanitized, often culturally inappropriate and sexist ways, and they have money coming out of their bellybuttons from it. But then, the Southern Baptists hate Disney, and that’s often reason enough for me to find an organization one that I can get behind.

  5. The music on Baby Einstein videos would make a man ashamed to admit his name was Wolfgang. I don’t love the plinky music-box vibes, I’ll admit it. However, I do feel kinda smart when I’m humming something and someone says, “Hey, why’re you singing ‘The Bear Went over the Mountain?’” and I can say “Actually, it’s a selection from Beethoven’s ‘Wellington’s Victory.’ I just heard it somewhere recently.” And smile smugly. Of course, I have never actually done this. But I could.

So, if one of the reasons above is why you hate B.E., ‘fess up. Or give me one I haven’t thought of yet. Or tell me you love it, too. Mommymatic wants to know!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Target list

I left my house with this actual list of stuff to get at Target, and for some reason it struck Daddymatic and me as funny:

baby-proof drawer latches
rubber ducky faucet cover
baby wipes

That's really all I've got today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Feelin' the love--in so many ways

Okay, first up today, I gotta give some love. Some really fine peeps have been saying nice stuff about me, and I’m all but chucking my head into my shoulder, toeing the ground with my shoe and saying “Aw, shucks.” Especially since the three people saying nice stuff are arguably the best blog writers (blogaristo/blogarista?) I know! So thanks to Belinda, over at Ninja Poodles, who doesn’t believe there are only 3 of you faithful readers. But it was true until she told people to come over here and read this thang! Now, I’ve done some quick calculations, and I figured if 1/10 of her readers come and read Mommymatic, I’ll quadruple my readership, which is aaaawesome. So I return the favor: give her blog a read. Even if you don’t like poodles. Or toddlers. Or Arkansas. Because she has a funny take on ALL that mess!

Secondly, I think you’ve seen me mention in, say, every other post, my tag-team blog-idols, Wood and Dutch. Dutch has a paying gig (yes, you read that right: he is paid to blog) over at blogging baby, and he mentioned my MILF post and suddenly, my hits went up like mad. I got so much more traffic than usual, I was afraid the blogger people were going to call and make sure I wasn’t suddenly hosting free porn or giving away lattes or something. So thanks, Dutch. You did a sistah right.

And then there’s Cookie Lady. If you haven’t read Bite My Cookie, well, git on over there and read it! Because she is not only a hilarious and talented writer, but she features almost daily pix of her daughter, Foo. To say that Foo is cute is like saying Idi Amin had kind of an egotistic attitude problem. PLUS you will see where the inspiration for Heavy D’s multiple D-names came from (at least for me. Lisa’s come from her own genius head).My two faves are Oscar Foo La Hoya and Elle Mc Foo-son. See? You’re laughing already. I told you, she’s good.

And finally, love to someone who doesn’t even know me but who was kind enough to give away delurking buttons like the new one we’re sporting here—“If you don’t comment, you’re letting the terrorists win.” Sheryl posted them on her blog for the rest of us vultures to borrow, and I’m glad she did, ‘cause I was going to have to find a way to gank them if she didn’t.

Okay, so now that that’s done, let’s get down to bidness. My child, as you know, has something of an oral fixation. That is, he chews on EVERYTHING. Please see tiny gnaw marks on exhibits A-D.

Exhibit A: the arm of the futon

Exhibit B:A windowsill

Exhibit C: Mommy's childhood rocking chair

Exhibit D: Not even the books are safe!

See? Totally not kidding. So I’ve been kind of in a loop of frustration lately, because he either chews on everything (usually the kind of stuff you see here and not, of course, his toys and other assorted chewing-approved items) or needs to have a pacifier in. And then today I remembered that a friend of mine had mentioned a common household item that was her SALVATION when her third child was teething. I was at my wits’ end, so I gave it a try. Wanna know what it is?

Yep, a toothbrush. And not even a fancy pay-too-much-for-it child’s toothbrush, either (BTW, did you know that kids aren’t supposed to play with kid-sized toothbrushes? It says right on the package that children aren’t supposed to use their toothbrushes “unsupervised.” Uh, why? Are we afraid they’ll overlook one of their incisors? They’ll overdo the plaque removal? They’ll miss any chance they ever had to contract gingivitis? I’ll take my chances!) A plain ol’ no-name brand, too-big-to-be-a-coking-hazard soft-bristled brush. And he LOVES it— I only managed to snag that pic of it because he’s napping. He sounds like a hot-and-heavy high school couple as he walks around the apartment, sucking and smacking. It’s a little indecent here what with all the sound effects, but shoot, he’s happy, my furniture/cats/books are happy, what’s not to love? I can put up with gurgles of pleasure and saliva music if that’s what it takes.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Dis mama ain't no MILF

So the other day I ran across this word "milf", and I thought, “hey, what’s this cute new linguistic gem? I must find out what it means and use it every day!” Well, it turns out it’s an acronym, and since this blog is G-rated, I can only tell you that it was coined by young men and means Mother I’d Like to, ah . . . Fondle.

So anyway, these chicks on a cool blog were all talking about how they finally, finally have their milfy bodies back now that they’re several months (months!!) postpartum, and I have to say, it took everything I had not to become deeply hostile. I mean, I was pretty trim pre-baby, and it’s not like I’m some kind of grade-A finalist for 4-H Heifers of the Year or anything, but dude, I am over one year postpartum and SO NOT EVEN REMOTELY a MAWLF (Mother Anyone Would Like to Fondle). Things just are sort of more soft-underbelly than they used to be, I have total Mom Hair, and everything I wear looks like it should have a coordinating lanyard and tote bag. *sigh*

My rampant non-milfiness hit me today when I was in the locker room at the Y. Bee-bee and I had taken D-lightful to the pool and there was some kind of size 2 body/fabulous clothes-and-hair convention going on. It was all pre-teen girls and anorexic female CEOs, and I found myself wondering if perhaps there couldn’t be a separate dressing room for these people. I understand that they need to work out—how else can you maintain a trouser size that’s equal to my slacker former roommate’s GPA? But is there really a need to parade one’s walfy (Woman Anybody’d Like to Fondle) body around in front of the rest of us?

Luckily, I’m easy to talk down. All it took was finding out that Bee-bee was actually able to capture D-lectable in my FAVORITE new outfit (a corduroy jumpsuit and high-top boots—some people dress their kids like street urchins, I dress mine like an autoworkers’ union member), making my FAVORITE face—the Elusive Smirk (which sounds like a Dr. Seuss character, doesn’t it?). Here he is: I call this creation “Mr. Mechanic Smirky Joe”

Sunday, January 22, 2006

St. Bee-bee and the dissertation

Yes, my mother is visiting again, and yes, she is every bit the heroine of epic proportions she was back in October. And June. And March. And last January.

Of course, right now she’s screaming like a sailor at Jake Delhomme, but seriously, she should be sainted. After keeping D-luxe for 2 days over Christmas, I really thought she’d be done with us until he was, like, 18, but she just keeps coming back for more. It started when I called to ask her advice about being a “temporarily-single mom,” and asked her to hearken back to days of burnt sienna kitchen appliances when my sister and I were little and our dad traveled on business. She had good advice and reassurance, and even better, she had an offer to come up and help during Daddymatic’s absence.

To say that I was all over this like a cheap suit is an understatement. I love my son and we were fine for our virgin solo flight of a whopping 36 hours, but really, I shouldn’t be left alone at all—let alone in charge of someone else. I took reasonably good care of the child but ruined my own dinner, stayed up too late and didn’t manage to catch a shower for 3 days. And my child sleeps almost 14 hours a day—how sad is that?

So one of the things my mommy still does is boss me around. I don’t mind, because I now know that carrying, birthing and caring for a child make you feel like you should have a DARN TOOTIN' lot of input as to how they live their lives. So she decreed that while she is here, I am to take 2 hours per day to work on my dissertation, which has been on life support since oh, say, last January.

So at St. Bee-bee’s behest, I went to a coffee shop yesterday to try and do some work. Or at least make a plan as to how to start getting some work done. I brought the lapster, some highbrow academic articles, and latte money, set everything out, and instantly felt hopelessly lost. First, it was impossible to concentrate—the sun was so bright it obscured my computer screen, there were waaay too many pre-teens drinking smoothies to tune out hearing different voices repeat: “So I was all, like: whoa! And he’s all: whatever. And I’m all: Okay, right?” Secondly, I felt like it was difficult to bring myself to care about issues so distant from my current life situation. I study foreign accent and how it relates to international grad students’ identities, which of course is terribly important. But all I could think about is whether I could get the enhanced kind of soy milk at Wal-Mart and if I needed to wash more diapers. And when my son was going to start talking. And how long his afternoon nap had been.

Is this what I’ve become? So focused on my son and my role as his mother that I can’t even work on a project I’ve been planning, eating, sleeping and breathing for the last 3 ½ years? A project that just one year ago seemed really fascinating and worthwhile and now seems like nothing more than something to get out of the way so I can prove grad school wasn’t a huge waste of time.

I was so depressed that I left the coffee shop after a scant 45 minutes and indulged in one of my dirty little vices: country music. Not—lest you think better of me—the “country before country was cool” Pasty Cline kind of country, either. I just wanted to cry, and hey, if you can’t find something to cry about on a modern country station, you’re just not trying hard enough. Sure enough, I found something sadder than watching the Carolina Panthers lose their championship game and had a nice, cleansing cry. Then my little sister called, all a-flutter with news and wedding plans and stuff, and I was drawn back into the world where the articles I write, the fancy scholarship I read and the conferences I attend matter precisely jack squat. When I lay awake later that night thinking about it, I remembered that twelve and a half months ago, I decided that at the end of my life, I would not regret spending less time with school and more time with my family, and that maybe the letters M-O-M were the most important three letters to follow my name after all.

I still believe that. It’s easier some days than others, but I really do believe that.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Lambie follow-up: Some clarifications

So, just to clear a few things up about Lambie, since the last post seems to have raised some folks’ alarms:
  1. I did NOT give OG Lambie the sleeper hold, send her to Lovey Heaven, or artfully toss her in the trash. I merely washed her, dried her and allowed her to have a break.

    Here she is, wet but daisy-fresh, after her first full bath.

    And here’s the water she was washed in.

    I know—ew. That mess is GREY, people. And finally, here she is, all dried and fluffed and ready to be dragged around the house by her ears, thrown in the tub (thank you again, Clorox wipes!), gnawed on and suffocated with love.

  2. The reason Pristine Lambie, who may soon be renamed Slightly More Lived-in Lambie, was [quote unquote] adopted is because we didn’t want D-luxe* to have to live without his darling for even one night while she was being de-odorified.

  3. This info is primarily for Wood (who claims Mommymatic readers—all three of you—want to know how we performed our duty as Lovey-Enablers to get him to take on Lambie in the first place): The only thing we did to assist D-luxe in his Lovey Acquisition was to give him pretty easy access to a few toys we thought would be good loveys. One thing that I think helped a LOT was that we held the Lovey while nursing, so he learned to associate Lambie with his other favorite Lovey(s). I’m actually really glad we did this because my Insta-weaning Boobs (sorry Dutch) might have messed him up forever if he didn’t have that Lambie to fall back on. We also made (and still make—no point in trying to pretend this doesn’t still happen) sure to pick up Lambie and offer it to him when we went/go in to comfort him/hold him during his night wakings. Now, he’s a face-rubbing guy, though, and that might make a diff because Lambie is a lot easier on the face than she is on the eyes. But we’ll be happy to share any lovey mojo we’ve got going on here. Oh, and for those of you trying to instill love for a particular object: you can go ahead and decide which toy you’d least like your child to attach to and that’ll probably be the one she/he chooses. Actually, D-Lovah could have done worse than Lambie, so I should shut up and count my blessings, but there were two or three others I’d have preferred.
Oh, and one final clarification. Remember in my next-to-last post when I said there'd be no more pic-laden posts for a while? I lied. Obviously.

*Thanks again, Lisa. You are now the official Child Nicknamer around here

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lambie: The Story of a Lovey

So I've mentioned my son's lovey "Lambie" in the past. Not an original name (but it beats the name Gund assigned it, which was "Winky." Um, yeah. 'Cause giving a lovey a nickname used for penises SURE won't send a kid to therapy later in life.) Not even a terribly original lovey (I personally wanted him to attach to his blanket/bear toy (is it a blanket or is it a bear?), a lovey my friend Meg described as "the only one that asks an existential question." But despite my better efforts, Lambie became his favorite Mostly Companion (other than me), and all was well. Well, all was well after Lambie's radical rattleodectomy, which took place in October, after we realized her jingling siren song was waking the little guy when he rolled over her in the night.

Interestingly, for some reason--probably because we usually insist that Lambie stay in the crib so she doesn't get lost--the only pic I have of D-lite with Lambie is this one, when he's like 5 days old. Lambie (not to be confused with the Reverend Al Sheepton, at the top of the picture) is only barely visible on the right edge of the picture and is, at this point, still in her original fluffy, clean, white state.

But anyway, as I said, all was well with Lambie and the Matic family for many months. Lambie went South with us for Christmas. She was carried out of the crib for during especially emotionally fragile moments, and we learned to be grateful for her presence.

Then this week I learned also to be grateful for mass marketing and for the fact that my child could have cared less for a more original and interesting toy. That's because over the last month or so, Lambie has taken on something of an odor. Daddymatic broke the news to me gently by saying, "Sweetie? Lambie kinda smells like a cesspool." Lambie also has been gray for a long time, and the tips of her ears are downright black. Here is Original Gangsta Lambie (or maybe she should be Lambie the Unwashed?) in her current state (Note her grimy ears. Note the dingy caste of her coat. Note that this blog doesn't have a scratch and sniff option, and be glad) :

We decided something must be done about Unwashed Lambie, so we got on the internet and found, lo and behold, that not only do they sell Duplicate Lambies, but they even come in a 2-pak in order to avoid precisely the dilemma in which we found ourselves! So we ordered a new Lambie, and she came today.

Here's the new, pristine Lambie. Note how she's so clean it hurts the eyes. Note how her fur shines--and not with hand grease and dried drool.

So Lambie got here, her rattleodectomy was quick and painless, and I made the swap just after afternoon nap. I wondered if D-Lovah would take to her at all, so I held my breath. It turned out he'd seen me swoop in, carry off O.G. Lambie and hide her on top of the entertainment center, because when I asked, "Where's Lambie?" he looked at the top of the entertainment center and whined. I pointed to Pristine Lambie on the floor and he squealed in recognition, scooped her up and immediately began applying a thin veneer of baby saliva to her face. I was so happy--I felt like a veterinarian who'd convinced a mother cat to take her runty baby back into the litter. Part of me didn't want him to settle, wanted him to "accept no substitutes," but the other 90% of me is just really glad he's easy to please and that he will not have to endure a Lambie-free environment whilst O.G. Lambie is having her first bath.

So here he is with Pristine Lambie.

He really is happy, but my stupid camera only catches his expression just AFTER he smiles. This picture makes me wanna say, "Baby, Daddymatic made me do it!"

Tune in for updates on the Great Lambie Laundering of 2005.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sing with me: Turnin’ the seat around

So we turned the car seat front-facing on Monday and I hadn’t realized what a pro I’d become at sticking D-money in his seat. We had a swing, a rhythm, kind of a scoop and swoop move we’d perfected to get him in the seat that I just don’t have putting him in facing the other way. I know it's odd, but it’s kind of a nice (if slightly cheesy) metaphor for our relationship—we get comfortable with a phase but we start to outgrow it and we find the early stages of the new phase to be pretty heavily laden with awkwardness. But we press on—because we have no other choice—and then we figure it out. And almost as soon as we do, we launch ourselves into another phase.

The car seat thing also reminded me that there were soooo many things I didn’t get before I actually had a child. Like I remember when my friend whose son is 2 ½ visited here in the spring. I asked her when she turned her son’s car seat around and was surprised to hear her say “Very shortly after his first birthday.” At the time, I remember thinking, “But it’s so much SAFER to keep them rear-facing. Why would you turn them before you absolutely have to?”

Well all I have to say to that now is DUH-HUH! Because the child’s legs are cramped up against the back seat! Because he can anchor his feet on the seat and arch himself up and make it impossible to strap him in. Because he fusses and wails sometimes if he can’t see you, which wears on the nerves. Because I haven’t been able to sit in my front passenger seat for over six months because the dang car seat is so friggin huge that when it’s rear-facing, I have to push the front seat up so far it looks like my Nana’s been driving.

And while we’re on that subject, can I also say this same now-that-I’m-a-parent-I-get-it dope slap also applies to Clorox wipes? I thought these things were the pinnacle of lazy self-indulgence. I’d see an ad for them and be all, “God, how anal and wasteful can you be at the same time? I mean, do you have to sterilize every freaking surface twice a day and use a whole throwaway cloth every time? Can’t you just bust out the cleanser and a sponge?”

Again, DUH. See, we use cloth dipes around here and when there’s a poopy one, we have to rinse it in the tubster ‘cause I’ve been to lazy and cheap to buy a sprayer that attaches to the terlet. So here I am, rinsing crap into my tub twice a day and sometimes, I’m just too overwhelmed with stinky to scrub out the tub. Or at least I was until I watched the D-mander toss his lovey Lambie into the tub. Luckily, I’d scrubbed it out after the most recent poop processing, but oh HORRORS if I hadn’t. But it was like a light went on the next time I saw an ad for Clorox wipes: Aha! THAT’S what those are for! I realize it’s silly because we use cloth dipes partly to help assuage the waste problem, but I’m all ABOUT some irony.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ok, ok, last picture-laden post for a while

I know I've been going nuts with the pix for the last week, seeing as how it was a big week, what with the walking and the turning one and all, but I HAD to post these last two I got back today.

This first one is D-lish with his Auntay Emily and Unky Jon. Don't they look more like his parents than Daddymatic and I do? What's THAT about?

And here he is in his new jammies from his godmother SueBobb. You can't see the snowboarder on the front, but we call them his Olympic Awareness Jammies because we get mad psyched about the Olympics around here. It's the only thing that is allowing us to consider the fact that the NFL season is ending. Gooooo Steelers and Panthers!

Monday, January 16, 2006

A call to all (three) readers! Please help me!

I have some really nice "friends in the computer" (I think Misfit Hausfrau was the first one to use that term, but I'm not sure). Their blognames are Wood and Dutch. They are also two of my three readers, so you know who you are if you're not them. Anyway, Dutch and Wood have a really funny, really moving, devastatingly well-written blog. And a cute kid named Juniper/Junebug who D-lish (thanks Lisa for that nickname) has been scamming on in case things don't go well with his current girlfriend Nina.

So, you're asking, what is this to me? Well, folks, these cute cats are up for Best New Blog at the Best of Blogs awards. They really, really deserve to win. A woman with a blog called ninja poodles is beating them by a carefully coiffed tail, and friends, that just ain't right. The "poodles" blog is funny, but the Junipers have a special place in my heart. These people post adorable pictures of street urchins every Friday. They take their child to art museums. This postabout their visit to a sex-cabin in Tahoe made Daddymatic WET HIS PANTS laughing. They made me fall in love with their daycare provider, for heaven's sake. So click on this link and vote for them. Once a day until I tell you to stop. They've made the blogophere a wonderful and witty place to be, and I'd like to help them out.

Thanks y'all!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

We got this pah-ty started!

So, yesterday, we had a little soiree at Chez Familymatic for the D-train (as my friend Lisa calls him). Even though Daddymatic told everybody not to, they brought lots of gifts. Really good gifts. With crinkly, crinkly paper and yummy bows.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. It was really fun. I thought our little guy would kinda freak since our apartment is so small and with 12 adults and 4 kids under 15 months, it felt a little cramped. But he really had a great time--flirting with his honorary Aunt Emily and being thrown in the air by his honorary Unky Jon, attempting to take a pacifier from his girlfriend Nina (yeah, she's an older woman--she's THIRTEEN months), and, of course, eating the awesome cake his daddy made for him. (I have been told I should mention that the cake was healthy, which is was, because then people won't think it was delicious, which it also was. But we had grocery store sheet cake for the healthiness haters, anyway). Here he is, letting me blow out the candle and then enjoying some cake. More pix on the flickr site--click in the photobox on the left side of da blog to go see 'em

It was very interesting to watch D-Lovah around his age peers since (other than weekly visits with Nina and her twin brother Sam) he doesn't get much face time with other babes. One thing Daddymatic and I both noticed is that he walked more--a LOT more. He was probably walking 70% of the time. Of course, today, he was back to about 50/50, but still--he proved he can walk almost all the time. He also was so taken in by what was going on that he ceased for several hours from earning his new nickname ("D-stroyah"), which is to say that more than two hours went by without mommy or daddy repeating their "Not in the mouth, sweetie" mantra 587,364 times.

While we're on the subject, does anyone know when the incessant chewing on everything/putting everything in the mouth stage ends? Or what to do about a child who, say, chews on furniture? He's worse than the cats--he even took a chunk out of our WINDOWSILL today. This is the same windowsill that was hard enough to break one of Daddymatic's drill bits, but apparently is no match for baby teeth.


Oh, and the only time he doesn't put stuff in his mouth? You guessed it: when he's in his high chair, surrounded by food.

Welcome to toddlerhood.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A birth(day) story, Part II

And then I did a possible bad thing. I lied. When my midwife, whom I’d sworn to be 100% honest with, asked me if I felt the “urge to push,” I lied like a rug. “Oh yes!” I said. I never ONCE felt the urge, but I didn’t care. I’d fake this baby outta my abdomen if I had to.

So they did the magic bed-o-matic thing and I suddenly had this place to kneel so my butt was about eye-level with the midwife’s face. I kept telling myself “this is her job; she’s seen worse,” but it still seemed wrong to me. So I pushed a few times before I figured out that I was supposed to be pushing DURING the contractions and not just kinda randomly. Ooooh. I said, “If I push during contractions, I might poop.” She said, “That’s how ya know you’re doing it right.” Another eureka moment.

Finally, after some minutes of pushing, I complained that I wasn’t feeling anything to, ah, bear down on, as it were. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I felt raw-ther like I was trying to birth a jello mold. The midwife noted that my “bag of waters” hadn’t broken yet and that that might be the problem. She offered to break them for me. I accepted her offer. I am sure she would love for me to make some kind of Noah joke here, but I won’t. I’ll just say there was lotsa water. Apparently some with meconium in it, but I wasn’t to learn that—or that it meant the kid was drinking his own poo—until later. Finally I was able to really push, and I did. Daddymatic said it was excruciating to watch (to watch!) because he’d see the head and then when I’d stop pushing, it would turtle back up in there. Finally, they were able to see the head all the time, and the midwife asked if I wanted to touch it. “I’ll touch it,” I remember saying through clenched teeth, “when the baby is out HERE.” I remember several things about the last five minutes happening all at once:
  1. My cell phone rang. The midwife looked up and said dryly, “You wanna get that?”

  2. The head of L&D nursing came in and asked if I minded if, say, five of her best students observed the head protruding out of my vagina. Heavens, no.

  3. I felt the baby’s body coming out of mine and it felt really, really small. Like a Barbie-doll small. He turned out to be pretty big, so I’m thinking I wouldn’t use my birth-canal sensations as weight estimates for anything legal or binding.

  4. The midwife warned me that she’d need to suction the baby while he was only half-way out, so I didn’t need to freak.
Sure enough, that little bugger got halfway out and started wiggling when she suctioned 11 ccs of meconium-laced fluid from his tiny gut. Daddymatic started to cry. It was 1:50 PM. Laurie helped me sit up, the midwife put my hands under Heavy D’s arms and I pulled him out onto my chest. I was awed at how big he was (22 ½ inches, 8 lbs 15 ½ oz.), since he’d felt so little and scrawny in the birth canal. And there he was, literally big as life. It was amazing and slippery and messy and the baby was all grey, but all I could say was “Hey, little guy. You’re here, you’re finally here.”

It didn’t really hit me that he was HERE until I heard a lullaby playing on the PA system in the hospital. We’d been hearing them all day, since the L&D folks play one whenever a baby’s born. When I heard it, I said to Daddymatic, “Hey, another baby was born just now.” The midwife looked up from stitching me, stared at me fixedly and said, “Sweetie, that’s YOUR baby.” Oh. I mean OH! Oh MY! That’s when it finally hit me, and I cried. Laurie helped the little fella latch on and we had our first nursing at about 10 minutes old. It was such an amazing thing. Then Daddymatic took him to the nursery for his first real bath and stats-session, and I ate like a PIG. I wasn’t at all sure what to do with myself, or, for Pete’s sake, this BABY, but I’ll tell ya, I have never been the same since. I’m a MOTHER.

Here we are: he's 15 minutes old.

And here's the whole familymatic:

And today, my baby is a year old. Just like that.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A birth(day) story, Part I

Daddymatic has been making a DVD (we got a DVD-RW for Christmas—thanks, Gramma and Grandaddy!) of all the vid we’ve shot of D-Lovah over the last year to play at his party this Saturday—if I can bear it, I’ll post some here. I’m watching him have his very first bath at the hospital, so I thought I’d FINALLY write out his birth story in celebration.

As I recall, I had been in light labor for, oh, say, a month before the real thing finally happened. But late January 13, we’d gone to our favorite diner for sundaes (my mom’s recommended labor-bringer-onner) and I felt yucky and crampy all the way home. At about 3:30 AM, I woke up feeling like I had menstrual cramps. I thought “ah, it’s just the pre-labor fake ones” until they got pretty strong (it only took 15 minutes) so I woke Daddymatic and told him, “Rehearsal’s over.” I got in the tub and he started timing and we were barely able to wait till 5 to call the midwife. We were psyched because Ann—one of the three midwives in our practice—was still on call. We liked all of the midwives, but Ann was the one we saw at our first appointment and showed us a picture of our little bean-boy in my uter-house, so she had a special place in our hearts. She asked Daddymatic if I was able to talk through contractions, and when he asked me I—of course, mid-contraction—just gave him a nasty look. From my all-fours position, I attempted to gasp, “Dude, I can’t even STAND during contractions.” Ann, no doubt thinking we were melodramatic first-time parents, told us to come on ahead.

This is me right before we left for the hospital. My mother said, "You look deformed."


Anyhoo, by the time I got all checked in and decked out in my sexy L&D-wear, it was 6:30 AM and I was almost 3 cm. dilated.

Hard labor was, in many ways, full of surprises. It hurt, for one thing. For another, all the techniques we’d been taught in Bradley method courses to help deal with the pain would have worked had I gotten a splinter on my way to the hospital, but contractions spit in their faces. I hated having to be strapped down on my back every 5 minutes (okay, probably more like 30, but it felt like 5) to be hooked up to the *&^% fetal monitor which made the pain so bad that at one point, I actually puked on my husband.

Luckily, I had a.) the best husband/coach in the WORLD—he was great about being barfed on, among other things—I think he was just glad HE didn’t have to push the fetus out and b.) the best labor and delivery (L&D) nurse in the country. Her name was Laurie and she let me stay in the shower for 3 hours. I thought I’d rather be in a tub, but the one Jacuzzi suite was already occupied and the shower ended up being better anyway—lots of steamy white noise to accompany my scroaning (scream-moaning) and wonderful, beautiful Laurie to bring me warmed blankets to dry off with.

At about 11:30AM, which was right after the vomitorium visit, I told the midwife that we miiight need to revisit the whole “nonmedicated birthing thing” I had said I wanted. I was about 6 cm at the time. I was dilating about 1 cm per hour, and I knew I couldn’t do it for another 4 hours. She hemmed and hawed and said why didn’t we put me on an IV to help hydrate me, because being dehydrated can make the contractions feel worse. I actually bought this load of hooey and said okay. The IV did nothing but make it even more of a pain in the butt to get in and out of my shower, sweet shower, but I will forever be grateful for it, because it showed me my midwife knew I’d regret being medicated later and went as far as she could to make sure I really, really wanted it before giving it to me.

But what helped me most was that my sweet, wonderful husband dredged up the only nugget of useful info from our birthing class and recognized what the Bradley folks call “the third emotional signpost” or something silly like that. Basically it means that as the labor-er closes in on transition (ie, from first-stage to pushing stage), she will get tired and say she can’t do it. So his brilliant solution was to just ask me for one more contraction. “One more,” my addled brain said. “I can do ONE more. Just not five hundred. But one? Yeah. I can do that.” So for almost two hours, I did one more and one more and one more until I think the D-unit dropped into the birth canal and then all hell broke loose down there. Daddymatic said the noises coming from the shower were inhuman-sounding and there was lots of bloody looking birthy-goodness everywhere. I asked the midwife to check me when she came to put me on the cursed monitor again, and she all but rolled her eyes but did it anyway, and when she did, she said “Oh my gosh, your membranes are RIGHT THERE. This baby’s going to be born within the hour.” I was like “Yeah, duh, I told you. Let’s GO.”

This seems like a good place to leave you until next time. Tune in for the birth story part 2.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pantsed and pained

So, I know that when I was pregnant I must've read any number of cute vignettes from moms whose darling ankle-biters pantsed them in front of the mailman, UPS guy, the Avon lady, or the organic grocery delivery serviceperson, but that was a long time ago, way before I knew I'd be condemned to the Land Where Only Drawstring Pants Fit, and I guess I'd fogotten about them. All I know is that I've been pantsed oh, say, 30 times since the Boy Wonder started pulling up on me, and while it's not my favorite thing, until today it didn't bug me all that much.

And then today, there we were in the kitchen and D-Lovah, as always, was tugging on my pajama pants (it was a little before 4 PM, Wood, but only just a little) when suddenly, the pants slipped down, their pink panty-friends underneath went with them, and of course D chose that moment to lose his balance. Before you could say "Watch the short and curlies, man!" the child had grabbed onto, well, the only thing available in an attempt to right himself and all I can say is OUCH. But since I have been working hard on Not Cursing and Not Yelling (despite my love for the Misfit Hausfrau's tagline "Better Living Through Yelling"), I was proud that I managed to convey my dismay by merely sucking my breath in sharply. Of course, the whole reason I am trying the Not Yelling thing is because it makes D cry when I raise my voice, and when I sucked my breath in in my special "I think my pubes are on fire" way, it made him cry anyway, so whatever.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Prepping for the swinging single lifestyle: Gym-bo-ree Redux

So in light of the fact that while Daddymatic makes job-prospective visits to Utah, Toronto, Virginia and New Yawk, I will be a single parent, I tried to take Heavy D to the babysitting they have at my gym yesterday morning as an attempt at a dry run of sorts. As some of you know, I have extremely mixed feelings about at-gym babysitting, as I discussed in this post from long ago, but this will be the only way to maintain the workout momentum I've built up so far. Well, the verdict was: NO DICE. Not in a million years. It was awful--like 30 kids and only three "helpers"--two looked like college kids and one of them would only hold the little babies. What the heck is up with that??

PLUS there weren't even outlet covers on all the outlets!! HEL-LO, people! Outlet covers? I pay $50 in fees every month and you can't spare the $.02 for some outlet covers in THE BABYSITTING ROOM??

And while I'm at it, I might as well tell you that there was NO sign-in, sign-out procedure, so anyone shopping for an extremely cute almost one-year-old with an oral fixation coulda HELPED HIMSELF to my little one! Not that anyone would have noticed, because they were too busy wiping noses, calming screamers and cooing over newborns.

Plus there were meanie older toddlers who kept taking everything from D-Lovah and no one said anything to them. I'm not saying the workers need to be cops or anything, but D is so little. I resisted the urge to smack other people's kids and patientely held my breath to see how D would handle it. He took it like a man, I'm happy to say. I on the other hand--that's a different story.

And did I mention the room was FILTHY? I can only imagine the crap D would eat off the floor in there. Ick. So needless to say, I did NOT leave him there. In fact, I went to another gym that's known for its awesome babysitting (ah! the workers there have uniforms and certifications and stuff! And a sign-in/out system!) but it'd be $75/month to join there and NO pool. Phooey. I hate being a po' grad student.

So I'm mo' fire up the DVD playah and me and my girl Denise Austin are going to be power-yoga-ing it while daddymatic is away. Or maybe I'll do laps around the house with the baby monitor strapped to me a la Judy-from-Time-Life-books. The question I have is, is it worth it to complain to my gym? I mean, the whole reason I joined there was the babysitting! I know that they're going to tell me it's January and there's no point in hiring extra staff when the numbers of kids will be halved by February or March, blah blah blah, but that seems lame. I still need to go and it's not safe--either for the gym or for the kds--for the ratios to be that high. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

D-Lovah and his cat: a story in pictures

Okay, I'm going to try and post these--we'll see how Blogger does with it. I find it ironic that apparently among the 2000 flashes my camera does, not ONE is for red-eye reduction. Grrr.

Yo, Cat, can I get in on the basket action?

No, no, don't get up. I'll just slide in here.

Yeaaah, I'll just take a little load off.

Oh, man, Cat, sorry-were you using that?

Seriously, where'd you go?

Now if only he could change litterboxes.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Yep, walking!

And a little completely unintentional cleavage action from mommymatic. *eye roll*

Moral of this story: Never let daddymatic hold the camera!

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Addendum to previous post: the rakish smirk

See, he was doing it in this pic--but it's all blurry! Dang!

But this one's cute enough to make up for it, no?

6 for ’06: Top six things Heavy D does right now that I love:

(6) He has learned to climb onto and into things. He climbs in our little plastic portable sink and into a wicker basket (especially when it’s occupied by a small sleeping black cat). He climbed onto a file box yesterday and was climbing from it ONTO THE SOFA when I busted him. He also managed to climb halfway up Bee-bee and Grampy’s stairs undiscovered. Because I don’t have enough stress in my life, I guess.

(5) Plays games. He can roll a tennis ball like a pro, but his fave game is “I’m gonna getcha” which we say while making scary hands and chasing after him. Once he’s caught, we reverse it with “Where’s mommy/daddy/Grampy/Grandaddy?” as we crawl away and he comes to find us. Apparently, object permanence is still a bit tenuous, though: we discovered that you can’t crawl out of sight completely—he gets a little freaked if he can’t see you at all.

(4) Knows the names of stuff. While he hasn’t managed to utter another word since the “broccoli” incident, he definitely knows the names for things. If you ask him “Where’s daddy?” He looks at Daddymatic. He knows Bee-bee, Grampy, Mama, and—the latest—Lambie who is his kinda smelly, once-white lamb lovey. If Lambie isn’t directly in his line of sight, though, he kind of whimpers the way he does when we play “Where’s mommy?” and tries to find her.

(3) When he’s eating something and manages to get most of whatever it is into his mouth but has just a bit hanging out, he’ll kind of tap the rest in with the back of his hand. It is trés elegant.

(2) When he thinks he’s being funny, he grins and wrinkles his nose and almost snorts in a rakishly cute way. The kid is hammy like a sammidge. I’ll post a pic if I can get one, but our digital camera either flashes so much that he quits before I can take it or captures the image all burry if I don’t use the flash and he moves even the teensiest bit. Any ideas on what I’m doing wrong or what I could try? All the other bloggy parents I know seem to get totally presh pictures while ours look like a 3rd grader took them.

(1) And number one iiiiis—walking! Yup, the little fella is having walking episodes all the time, though he still uses crawling as his chief form of locomotion.  I didn’t think I’d be this psyched about stepping over the Infant-Toddler abyss, but hey—parenting is full o’ suprises. We are hopeful he’ll be walking more by his birthday, which is—yipe!—SATURDAY! But more on that later.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Babies and politicians: a simile

I haven’t been blogging lately because we’ve just returned from our tour of the Gret Stet of NC and shoo-wee, I am tired. We were maniacal enough to do yet another 12-hour marathon journey, which didn’t suck as bad as the first, and daddymatic and I came up with a theory we’re testing out: babies are the ultimate politicians. At least Heavy D is. He is a TOTAL slut for attention (and his mother writes a blog, you say? Interesting. No chance it’s genetic, then?) and gets very frustrated if people don’t give it to him. For instance, we were waiting in line for a sub yesterday and they dude behind us was resolutely ignoring the little guy, who started to bark out these little tiny screams. When the dude would look at him to try to figure out where the highly annoying noises were coming from, Heavy D would grin at him and bury his head coyly in my shoulder.

But the politician theory evolved this way: while on the East Coast Remix Tour, we stopped at a lame mall in Maryland to let D-Lovah crawl around and play in the kid zoo-thingies they have at malls—you know, the things that are basically a padded room enclosed with mesh? They are a second cousin to the highly vaunted McDonald’s Playland. Well, oddly enough, he liked being in the mall better than being in the babyquarium because he could try to get people’s attention. He’d wave, crane his head around while being carried, and grin at people as he walked along hand-in-hand with us. If, God forbid, people didn’t look at him, he’d grunt in frustration and simply try harder (“maybe if I wave AND smile?”).

We decided he must be running for some public office the way he was schmoozing—he’d go up to older folks and try to charm them (“Hi, I’m Davis A. and I’d love to have your vote next Tuesday.”) or he’d go up to kids and try to make them think he was cool (“I’m Davis A, the hip baby who cares about the issues that are important to kids like you.”). If he’d seen another baby, he’d probably have kissed it. He was absolutely shameless. At one point, we stopped at a little grouping of couches in the middle of the mall and he kind of slouched over a coffee table in front of a sofa where these two teenaged girls were talking and proceeded to grin, coo and babble at them. You could tell they were, like, sooo totally OVER babies, but he was undeterred. And like any good politician, he is a pathologically the-glass-is-half-full kinda guy. While we felt the response was kinda lukewarm, he was incredibly optimistic, claiming as we left the mall that it had been a “big win” or we’d “brought our A-game” or something cliché and politicky like that. Also, he also appears to have no sense of budget, as he has ignored our requests to conserve diapers and repeatedly looks at us as if to say, “You’ve got to spend money to earn money.”

We can only assume he sees us as his staff, a conclusion we reached mostly because he seems confused by having to work with a skeleton crew (ie, just me and daddymatic) now that Bee-bee and Grampy are not here to round out the staffroom. We are, evidently, simply responsible for costume changes and making sure there are enough turkey wienies to go around. He’s pretty self-centered and a tiny bit tyrannical. But we’ll probably vote for him anyway.