Tuesday, December 21, 2010

this I know is true

I loved my daughter from the moment she was born.

I fell in love with her a little bit later, I think.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Everything moves so fast

The danger of being the parent of a baby is just trying to keep up. Stopping to look around, to take a breather? Seems like a crazy idea. After all, even when you have a spare half hour, there are three hundred things you could (should) be doing. You could be cleaning or paying bills or washing dishes or doing laundry or or or...

And sometimes you just want to take a nap.

I was off today-- I switched my usual day off because the sitter had a conflict. Normally I'm off Fridays, and the long three-day weekends are busy and full of things to do. Being off on a random day in the middle of the week meant that there wasn't anything we had to do, and it was a really nice day full of nothing particularly important. It was good not to have to go anywhere (we did run an errand, but that was it) and to just spend some time with my daughter, who gets funnier and more interesting every day.

(I've always liked babies just fine, but I definitely like them more as they get older. I know my life as I know it will be over when she's mobile, but I am FINE with that.)

Taking the time to just be, to be present-- that's a good holiday gift.

Speaking of holiday gifts, I am not done with my holiday shopping, and I glare at anyone who is. I'm taking some time off this Friday while Elle is at the sitter and, come hell or high water, I'm finishing my shopping.

I have finally, however, ordered my holiday cards. They are freaking adorable. It helps, of course, that they're mostly made up of a picture of Elle's face. And she's pretty freaking cute.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks

I head out tomorrow to visit family for the Turkey Day weekend. I've basically put my foot down and said that I will not travel at Christmas (sorry, not risking a potentially snowy, nasty drive with an infant); that's an unpopular decision, so going to visit for Thanksgiving is my olive branch.

It's a terrible time to take three days off work, but it is what it is. And Elle will enjoy a few days with people who dote on her. As will I.

It's been a hard year for many people I know. It's been a hard year for me, in many ways. It would be wrong, though, not to stop and give thanks at this time of year for my healthy, sassy daughter, who is doing something new every day. She's discovering rice cereal, is thisclose to rolling over, holds on to toys (and sticks them in her mouth), and is interested in everything going on around her. She's getting more hair, is chubby, and seems to get longer if I look away from her for a moment. She likes her babysitter, does not like naps, and responds very well to prune juice should it be necessary.

I am very thankful for her. And for my friends reading this, as well.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


These days, life is made up of simple things.

Getting the laundry done. Then getting it folded.

Elle's rosy cheek soft against mine.

Thinking of things I should be doing, and ignoring them to take a few minutes for myself.

Loading my IPod with songs from Broadway musicals that I want to relearn, so I can sing them to my baby.

Working so hard all day that I barely have time to breathe, and kind of enjoying the intensity.

Running to catch the train home.

Having a reason to run.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Dear Elle,

We had a good day. I didn't have to work (I'm still on shorter weeks), and while we have plans tomorrow and Sunday, today was wide open. It was nice not to have to be anywhere but with you today.

You were up early (you have been ever since daylight savings time changed back), and all smiles. You were smiley all day, in fact, despite your truly horrifying lack of naps-- a four month old infant should not be able to stay up from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. with only one 35 minute morning nap, 10 minutes sleeping in the car, and 20 minutes sleeping in the stroller. That's IT. Seriously. Crazy.

Despite that, though, you were a happy girl. You loved going out and doing errands; even the grocery store is fun for you. You were happy to get not one, but two walks, courtesy of the unseasonably warm day. Walks are so good for both of us. (I confess I am a little worried about winter days where we truly can't get out of the house, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.) You liked hanging out while I did stuff in my room, and you enjoyed just being on your blanket surrounded by toys.

You worked very hard at getting the various toys into your mouth. Right now it is ALL about the mouth-- everything must. go. in. the. mouth. NOW. Sometimes you aren't quite sure how to get the toy to your mouth, and it ends up around your ear, but you figure it out eventually.

You spent much of the day just watching me with those big, gorgeous eyes. What do you see when you stare at me? A woman at the store said "Oh, look at her. She's just looking at you like she's thinking 'that's my mom.' " I don't know if that's what you're thinking with that little intent face. I guess I won't ever know.

When it was time for bed, you went down without a peep; you just snuggled your head into my neck as I sang to you, then went into your crib, kicked off any attempt at a blanket cover, and found your thumb. Now you're hopefully upstairs making up for all the napping you didn't do today.

Sweet dreams, my beautiful happy girl.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It doesn't take much

Apparently, if I fake a coughing fit in an over-the-top melodramatic fashion, Elle thinks it is absolutely hilarious.

Who knew?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Four months

Elle is four months old. That seems completely impossible, but it's true.

A while ago, someone said something to me about motherhood that rings very true now. She said the individual minutes seem to take years-- but the time goes by so fast it's unbelievable. Yes. This.

She's alert and chatty. She likes being around people. She has an excellent appetite and thus the most adorable fat thighs you've ever seen-- rolls upon rolls on those thighs, each one pink and soft and hilarious. She does not like changing clothes. She still likes the ceiling fan. She-- unfortunately-- also likes TV. Fortunately, she's starting to look at books when I read to her, and often seems to enjoy them. She doesn't mind tummy time so much; it's like it's a whole new perspective, and that's big fun. She's grabbing at things reliably now, though she doesn't quite know what to do with them once she has them. She has excellent head control. She can't roll over on her own yet, but let her wrap her hand around your finger and give a pretty mild tug and she'll whip over like a pro (and once she gets there, still doesn't quite know what to do with the arms that are now underneath her). She sleeps at least 10 or 10 1/2 hours per night most nights, straight through, but still doesn't nap reliably for me during the day. She likes her babysitter, and adores her babysitter's teenaged son. She does not like wearing hats. She's not in love with being in the car, but she'll put up with it if she has to. She likes looking at the sparkle of jewelry. She likes being sung to. She laughs and laughs when you stretch her toes up to her face, or when you make noise and kiss her in her neck folds, or when you "fly" her around over your head. She is very serious after about 4:00 in the afternoon. She is not at all serious in the mornings; when I get her out of her crib she greets me with a smile and, often, a little chirpy laugh that I can't describe.

Four months? It seems like four years, and four minutes, all at once.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Advice and consent

People who know me have, more than once, told me that I am ridiculously independent. I have trouble asking for help, for one thing. This is something I have gotten better at out of sheer necessity since I became pregnant, and even more so now that I'm a parent (and a single parent, at that-— help is essential), but I'm still not great at it. I probably never will be.

I'm better at listening to, and taking, advice. While I will stand in the middle of a melting chunk of ice and insist that I AM FINE AND DO NOT NEED HELP, I am the first to admit that I don't know everything, and I like hearing other people's opinions and ideas on things. (So offer me advice how I should get off the ice. Don't offer, God forbid, to help!)

Except, apparently, from my mother.

Some of it is in the delivery, and other people who've heard my mother give advice to me have agreed with me that her delivery is... not necessarily helpful, or easy to accept. (Validation! I love me some validation.) Her incessantly negative opinions of, and advice relative to, bre.astfeeding in the first few weeks following Elle's birth was exhausting and frustrating. I'm still angry about it, to be honest, and rightly or wrongly I attribute some of my difficulties with bfeeding to the stress it caused.

However, that said, I'm sure she has plenty of good information to offer. She did a pretty good job raising me, after all. But for whatever reason, the hair on the back of my neck just goes right up and I can feel myself digging in whenever she starts offering her thoughts on anything to do with Elle.

(Sample: She called smack in the middle of one time when Elle screamed for 2.5 hours for no apparent reason. Mom: “What's wrong?” Me, exhausted: “I don't know. She's just screaming her head off.” Mom: “Is she wet?” Why, thank GOD you asked, mother! My baby daughter has been inconsolable for over an hour and I never even thought to check her diaper! Thank goodness you called with your wise counsel! Seriously, I just looked at the phone and didn't know how to respond.)

It's a shame, because if I was more open to her counsel, I'm sure I'd benefit from it. I'm just not.

My babysitter L, on the other hand, can say pretty much the same thing—- but I listen to her. She's got a son in college and has been watching kids for 15+ years, so she has a good base of experience to draw from. Her advice has been very practical and down-to-earth. I'm also reassured that she notices things about Elle and mentions them to me, so she's clearly paying attention and engaged, which I like a lot.

So I don’t have trouble with accepting advice from motherly figures. Just my mother.

Good to know.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday mornings are made for updates

I think there's a trend-- Elle is going down for her nap just when I should be leaving for pre-church choir rehearsal. And she really needs to go down for her nap; there's no cheering her up or hoping she'll fall asleep once we get to church.

Next Sunday is her christening. I think I'll have to get her up earlier (yuck) in order for her to nap a bit before we have to get her out of the house... It should be interesting. At least there will be other people there to babywrangle, what with my parents in town, and the various godparents and friends present.

So today, I've already finished ironing clothes for the week, written a thank-you note, washed the only dirty bottle, and decided not to dust. Thus, I'm messing around on the intarwebs, and hoping Elle wakes up in time to make at least part of the church service. We also have a baptism informational meeting afterwards, which (if nothing else) we should be able to make.

I've worked out how to make choir rehearsals on a semi-regular basis. But getting to actually sing... that's going to be a challenge.

Elle made her first trip to Ikea yesterday. She was angelic, which I am taking to mean that she's a fan of Swedish design. Also of Swedish food, because she was perfectly behaved while a friend and I grabbed a cheap lunch in their cafeteria.

They've redesigned the traffic flow/interior of my favorite Ikea, and made it much less open and much more difficult to maneuver. Bleah. You used to be able to wander around in fairly open aisles, and now you feel herded like a sheep. I understand that they want you to have less freedom to roam because theoretically then you'll buy more-- but for me, I'll buy less when I feel claustrophobic. And I'll be grumpy.

Of course, I still managed to buy. I got a small bookcase for Elle's room, as well as some more fabric collapsible storage boxes that are perfect for toys. They have a cute toy box, but the little fabric boxes are more portable and flexible.

Did I get anything for me, you might ask? Yes. A soap dish. We all know who rates in the Plus One household.

One note-- I needed the bookcase for a good reason. A friend who works at a library in the area got me a stack of children's books from when her library was reorganizing its children's collection. Literally, we're talking about a stack of books at least a foot high-- probably higher than that! They are fabulous-- I'm going to wipe off the covers, just because, but it's a wonderful stash of books that hopefully Elle will love.

You can never, ever have too many books.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hairy issues

Postpartum hair loss: OY. I have always had TONS and TONS of hair, but now... I swear, where I part my hair, it looks like I’m going bald.

Doesn’t help that I need my hair colored, too, so you see the grey roots at the part. But SERIOUSLY. I know it'll stop and that I’m not likely to go bald or anything, but I'm not used to this thin hair crap. And I’m not happy about it.

No wonder my hair looked so good immediately post-baby; it was probably about twice as thick as it is now. Oh, well. I’d rather have thin hair (and my daughter) than still be pregnant.

Also, note to self: Self, you can’t continue eating like you’re brea.stfeeding. You’re not any more.


I was at a get-together of single moms this past weekend, and someone was asking me how it was going back to work. I admitted, honestly, that it hadn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. One of the other moms there nodded. "Yeah. Because work is way easier than taking care of a baby."

You know, she's right. I can't even tell you how much respect I have for stay at home moms now. For IT IS HARD. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun or rewarding, of course. But it’s hard, and I don’t think I could do it. I’m really glad to get home and see her, but when I get to work in the morning, I’m also happy to be there.

It helps that I like my work. I don't love my job, but it's the right job for me, right now, what with the new-single-momhood and all. I'm extremely lucky, because I've been at my job for a number of years and there's no question I have more flexibility because of the goodwill I've built up there.

Some women are wired to be home with their kids. I think I had Elle late enough in my life that I got wired differently.

But I sure do love coming home to her, and I'm glad I'm on a four-day week right now.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday sniffles

We may not make it to church today... little Miss Elle woke up, had her bottle, and was down for a nap only a little more than an hour later, which is not her norm. I think she might be starting on her first cold. No temp, fortunately, but she sounds stuffy to me, and-- TMI alert-- she had a pretty loose BM this morning, which is another sign of a cold (apparently).

This is why I have six people reading this blog: FASCINATING DETAILS OF POO.

It's hard to watch a little one not feel 100%. Just like when she was feeling poorly after her first shots, I just feel helpless. I'm glad she's sleeping now, since (just like with us grown-ups) sleeping helps her little body. I'm also going to dig out my little humidifier and set it up in her room, and I have the suction bulb ready to go. Hot times in the old town tonight!

I do need to get some saline drops. Let's see if we can get out to the store today or not, but I'm not waking her up to take her to church. If she needs to sleep, she needs to sleep. And we may make it to church itself; I just may not sing.

There's a single mom's group meeting this afternoon. If she's still not herself when she gets up, though, we may need to stay close to home.

Friends came over last night to meet Elle, and the husband cooked dinner for us as well. "Us" as in his wife and me, of course; as much as Elle might like to try enchiladas with a poblano spinach cream sauce, I think that would be a recipe for disaster, don't you? They were deeeeelicious. He's an amazing cook.

Before he started cooking (in my tiny kitchen, which is not made for his level of cookery!), we hung out and caught up, and Elle was perfectly content to hang out on the husband's lap. Basically, she adored him, and he's really comfortable with babies. They don't have children-- never wanted them-- but are terrific to their niece and nephew, and like kids; that comes through. Elle was happy as a clam. She's such a social little peanut.

She was then so wired, of course, that it took her a while to get to sleep. :) Which may also be part of her tiredness today, I wonder?

Anyway, I'm reminded again how lucky I am to have such good friends. Whatever I did in my previous lives, it clearly wasn't all bad; whatever it was that led me to having such wonderful people in my life, I'm happy it did.

I know some friends will fall away now that I'm a parent, too, and even the ones who stick around will interact differently with me/us than in the past. I've seen some of that already. But I've also seen such amazing generosity and affection. It's humbling, and amazing, and I am so grateful.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rambling thoughts on books and television and babies

I’ve always liked television. I’m a definite child of the boob tube, although when I was growing up the selection of programs for kids was far more limited than it is now. We never had cable, and even if we had, I doubt I’d have been allowed to sit in front of Nick Jr or Nickel.odeon or the Dis.ney Channel for more than a little while. Back in the day (as I smack my dentures), Saturday morning cartoons were the big show, and really all that was available. I didn’t know otherwise, so I enjoyed my TV when I could get it.

Books were my main source of information and entertainment, however, and I read everything I could get my hands on. Literally. I remember sneaking into the adult section of my hometown library. What was I sneaking up there to find? Books on English history. I'm pretty sure this is why the librarians never stopped me. If I'd been going up there for the bodice rippers, I might have been gently guided back to the kids' section. Heh.

I'm still a reader, but my love of TV has also continued into my adult life. If I have time, I’ll watch almost anything—from home decorating shows, to documentaries (I love documentaries, even about obscure subjects), to cooking shows, to cop shows, to dramas. I like shows that make me think, or make me laugh, or teach me things. So, basically, what I’m saying is that I like TV. It’s fun.

Of course, nationally, TV viewership has exploded since I was a wee sproglet. Circa 2009, the average American now watches more than 151 hours of TV a month—that’s about five hours a day. That number blows my mind. I have to say even in my sluggiest winter couch-lazing, I’m not sure I ever made it up to that number. And that number isn't even counting online viewing.

A slightly older survey found that the average child watches 1,680 minutes of TV a week—versus 3.5 minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children. And by the time an average child finishes elementary school, they’ll have seen 8,000 murders on TV. 8,000!! You can’t tell me that doesn’t have some kind of impact.

Elle hasn’t even rolled over yet (she’s trying, and it’s hilarious), but if I have the TV on in my bedroom while we’re getting ready, I can see her little eyes gravitate towards it. Even though I just have on the news, it’s shiny and bright, with colors and lights—tailor-made for baby eyes, and waaay more interesting than Mom’s face. But passive interaction with the tube doesn’t give her anything that helps her learn or grow. I read somewhere that they did some kind of analysis between a baby looking at a real dog, and a baby looking at a dog on TV, and the difference in how the baby’s brain was engaged was astronomical.

I’m not a saint. I’ll be using TV as a babysitter occasionally, and I’m not going to worry about it too much. I’ll try to limit it to PBS fare for as long as I can; I’m more comfortable with programs that at least pretend to be educational and aren’t peppered with commercials. But I know that can’t last forever.

I hope it lasts long enough, though, to plant in her a love of reading over TV. I’ve seen in my goddaughter that if you don’t learn to love books when you’re young, you’re never going to love them. You may end up liking them a lot, but you won’t love them. I want Elle to feel that books are magical, and that libraries are places of wonder. That finding a new book by a favorite author is like finding a gift meant just for you. That being deep in a good book means you hardly hear anything going on around you, because you’re off in some far-away (or make-believe) land, miles from your chair. That sometimes the way a book smells stays in your memory—I know, that sounds weird. But if you love books, you understand.

At this point, I’m just thrilled when she focuses on an object and smiles. But I know how quickly this roller coaster goes, and I don’t want to miss the window. I’m sure she’ll like TV, just like her mommy. But I also hope she loves books just as much as I do, because that’s the kind of love that leads somewhere.

My deep love for cop shows hasn’t really benefited me in any measurable way, as fun as they are. But reading? That’s paid off a thousand times over, and always will.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Soup, naps, and once in a century happenings

Completely random thought: hot and sour soup is awesome.

By posting this I may be jinxing myself forever, but Elle seems-- seems-- to be settling into being a better napper. I know! It's amazing! I wondered if going to the babysitter's might lead in this direction, and it has. For now.

I'm getting a morning nap and two shorter afternoon naps. This is apparently pretty normal for her age, and I couldn't be more thrilled. She's getting the sleep she needs, and I have a few times during the day where I can get stuff done around the house. Or sit and ponder eternity. Or read trashy magazines. Anything!

What no one ever tells you is that, no matter how much you adore your child, if you have a baby that's up for hours and hours at a stretch, you can just plain run out of things to do. Elle can entertain herself for short periods of time, but she's social and likes interaction. If she's up for ten hours straight, not only is she a crabbypants because she needs sleep, she's increasingly difficult to keep occupied. I'm just not that inventive, apparently.

Which leads to last Saturday evening's 2+ hour screaming marathon. Tired babies are nobody's friend. Tired moms are nobody's friend, either.

So we had a great day today, including naps, and a visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory with a friend. GPC is one of Chicago's hidden treasures, I believe, and I get out there a few times a year. (In the middle of a Chicago winter, it restores your faith that yes, someday, you will see green again!) It doesn't take all that long to go through, but it was a nice break.

Elle loves looking up at trees and leaves and the play of light on leaves, so the GPC was fascinating for her. As usual, she looked very thoughtful and a little bit worried as she watches what's going on over her head, but her concentration never wavered. And I got to have a good catch-up with a friend.

Part of the reason we went today was that the Conservatory's agave plant is flowering-- which, in the plant's 100 year lifespan, generally happens only once. It's so tall they've even taken out a pane of glass in the top of the conservatory. It was kind of cool. Yes, I'm a geek. I own it!

In the past I've gone and taken lots of pictures; today I didn't even pull out the camera. I'll have to do so next time.

And now, because my little girl is (hopefully) sound asleep, I'm going to treat myself to an hour of TV before falling into bed.

Saturday night in the fast lane, people. Try to keep up.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In search of the elusive nap

I may have mentioned that my baby doesn't nap. Well, after her first week at day care and my first week back at work, I need to amend that statement.

My baby doesn't nap for me.

She naps like a dream for the babysitter. Several hours in the morning, and at least a little while between each subsequent feeding. She'll nap in either the swing or the pac.k and play-- basically she naps. Anywhere. Beautifully. As she needs to do-- her little body needs to sleep to grow.

FYI, even with all that daytime sleeping, she's still sleeping well at night. She comes home from the babysitter in a great mood because of all her terrific napping. This is, of course, excellent.

So, how's the napping going back at home with Mom? Let's just say: not well.

Yesterday: nothing outside of naps in the stroller while we walked. That's her usual, with me. Then, I got a swing. She hates it-- screams, sobs, and this morning spit up on herself twice in protest. I ended up taking her out of it, changing her clothes (we can go through five sleepers in a day around here), and putting her in her crib. I did get about 45 minutes of sleep out of her then, and counted it as a win.

Right now she's up in her crib again, because she could barely keep her tiny eyes open. Is she sleeping? She is NOT. She's not howling nonstop, but she's crying intermittently and thus not sleeping. I'm going to hang on as long as I can and try not to pull her out, but I'm not sure that crying it out for naps is something I want to do. I'd have no hesitation on doing it at night-- if her excellent nighttime sleeping changes, I'll do it in a heartbeat-- but it feels vaguely like overkill for naps.

On the other hand, she needs to nap. It's not healthy for her to be up for 12 hours straight with just little catnaps. I know it happens, and I have multiple friends that have told me their children never did anything else, but I've got to at least try. If nothing else, this is getting her used to the idea that she goes into her crib during the day for some quiet time.

I haven't heard fussing on the monitor for a few minutes. We'll see.

In other news, the first week back at work went well. She's in good hands with her sitter, and I'm back out in the world. It's strange to be able to eat lunch without anticipating an interruption... other than the people I work with, of course.

Still no fussing. Cross your fingers for me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The end, and a beginning

I'm in my last week of leave; I start back to work on Monday. I took Elle into the office this week to show her around, which was fun. It was a little surreal to sit in my office and feed her. Talk about worlds colliding.

It's amazing how quickly the twelve weeks have passed. The first six weeks or so truly were a blur, and I still feel like each day moves at lightning speed... yet crawls at the same time.

I have good day care for Elle, and I'm going back on a reduced schedule which will give me some flexibility. (Also, less money-- with my reduced schedule, unfortunately, comes reduced pay. We'll see how long I can afford it.) I'm very lucky on all counts. In addition, my workplace is being fabulously accommodating about just about everything-- it helps to have tenure, and to have both your bosses think you do good work.

Everyone's asking how I feel about going back to work. I'm probably not going to really know until I'm actually back at work. But honestly? I think I'm going to be OK. I don't think I'm cut out to stay home full time with an infant. I know many women are, and I think that's amazing.

But many of those women also have spouses/partners. I don't. So being at home is completely consuming, and there's no one to hand her off to. There is literally no time for anything but taking care of Elle, every day. And remember-- she doesn't nap. Hardly ever. The little bit of time I get when she's gone to sleep at night is mostly filled with washing bottles, making bottles for the next day, folding laundry... and when I'm back at work, I'll have to also do things like pack lunch, figure out what to wear, yadda yadda. (I steal time on the internet once she's in bed, but I should really be going to bed myself. Which I'm going to do as soon as I finish this post.)

The past week or so, she's been very hard to entertain-- she's been fussy and generally high-maintenance. Which is new, because other than her non-napping self, she's a really happy baby. I was telling a friend at lunch today that I think this personality change was designed to make it easy for me to put her in day care! (I actually think it's a combination of residual effects from the immuniz.ations she got last week-- poor baby-- and a three-month growth spurt.)

All of this combined makes me think that I am probably going to be a better mom to her when I'm back at work. And truly, I think she's going to love day care-- she's such a social little pumpkin that I think having other kids around is going to be the BEST THING EVER for her little self. It will give her the stimulation that you don't really get from a single parent/one child household.

And then we'll both come home and the time together will be that much more precious.

Along the lines of going back to work, I'm also taking the advice of some of the other single moms I know and making sure I have people (other than my amazing, amazing friends) in place so that I get some "me" time that's not work. The daughter of a friend is going to do some mother's helper type stuff for me occasionally-- just having her help with the baby so I can do things around the house is going to be incredibly helpful (and again, Elle will love it-- a new face!). I've put feelers out for a babysitter so that I don't have to automatically turn down every invitation I get that's not baby-appropriate. My tight budget means that babysitting will not be a frequent treat, but at least I'll have someone in line for whenever it is possible.

I'm sure there are those who will say I'm a bad parent because I'm not spending every single waking moment with my daughter-- and I don't want to spend every single waking moment with my daughter. They're entitled to their opinion, and I'm entitled to disagree.

What I want to do is to be the best possible mom for my daughter, and I firmly believe that I'll be a better mom if I have some balance to my life. It's all too easy as a single parent to let your child consume every single molecule of your existence; I'm already a ridiculously boring conversationalist because I want to talk about her all the time! So I need to make sure that I'm still Me, and not just Elle's Mom.

So yeah, I don't expect next week to be easy, and I'm going to miss that little face and her fantastic chubby cheeks. But... I think it's going to be OK.

I hope.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm going to bed as soon as I hit "publish post" on this, so please forgive me if it's a brief update!

Visiting the family out-of-state went well. Elle was ridiculously well-behaved, which served the dual purpose of helping my parents worry about me a little less... but they worry about me a little less because they think she's a perfect angel.

She's pretty awesome, but she's no angel. ;)

Got home Tuesday. Wednesday, she had her two month pediatrician visit. This included her first round of vacc.inations. It's now Friday, and my good little snuggly baby has been a raging, screaming hellhound of DOOM ever since.

That is perhaps an overstatement. But not a big one.

She ran a temp Thursday; that's gone today (Friday) but the overall fussiness level remains at Code Red. She was up extra early this morning, too (hey, at least I got a shower in, just in time). She barely napped yesterday, which didn't help how poorly she felt, so today we took three fairly long walks, and on two of them she got at least a half hour nap each. (She will reliably sleep on walks.) That's not much for many babies, but for Elle the non-napper, it helps.

Add in the two other short naps she had at home, and today was at least a day where I wasn't considering breaking out the baby Benad.ryl just to give her poor little body some rest.

I'm hoping she's back to her usual sunny self tomorrow. I'll call the doc if she isn't.

She fell asleep in my arms tonight-- no doubt completely exhausted from screaming her lungs out (I'm sure my neighbors are ready to call child protective services)-- and I looked down at her tiny little face and thought I grew you. You didn't even exist a year ago, and here you are. You're a whole little person, right here. She's amazing.

Now, if she could just get back to herself again. How in the world do mothers (single moms, especially) of colicky babies do it? Seriously, how?

To bed. Hopefully, for the night.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Time flies

Seriously. My baby is eight weeks old already. When the heck did that happen? Really, when?

Elle's still not on much of a schedule, but is at least a little bit predictable-- to the point where I can do a bit of advance prep in terms of preparing bottles, or knowing about what time to head upstairs to start the going-to-bed routine. It helps.

When she's awake, she's almost always happy. I am so lucky. She likes going out and seeing the world (easier when it's not 0ver 90 degrees and humid), she likes new faces and people talking to her, and she likes light/windows/shiny things. She interacts with the ceiling fan in my bedroom-- coos and warbles and chirps, as if telling the ceiling fan how awesome he is. (What gender is a ceiling fan, anyway?) She doesn't quite yet see well enough to find mirrors fascinating, although they're definitely more interesting than they were even a week ago.

In other words, she's a pretty typical baby: just wants to be loved and interacted with. Oh, and fed on a very regular basis.

She's napping right now-- woke up early and hungry, snarfed down several ounces, and passed right out. My friend E-- who was my fabulous acupuncturist-- handed me down a rocker thingy (this one), and Elle is much more willing to nap in this than she is in her pac.k and play or her crib, so she's in that and I've had a chance to do some exciting things like start some laundry, wash a bottle... you know, that fun stuff.

E also gave me a ton of clothes and probably $100 worth of diapers that her daughter had grown out of. I'm reminded, again, of the generosity that's out there. Not just generosity of stuff (though diapers are so, so welcome), but generosity of spirit. It's scary being a single mother, and sometime I'll do a post about that. But the support and friendship and love I've gotten from everyone has been humbing and amazing. From the friend who comes over every Tuesday after work, just to help, to people who call to check in, to diapers...

It's hard and scary, especially in this economy, to be a single parent. But I think we'll be OK.

Someone's waking up (and sadly, it's not me) so I'm off. And truly off-- I'm headed out of town at the end of the week to visit family, so they can show Elle off. My plans include naps and getting some sun, since the grandparents will be more than happy to take Miss Elle and spoil her rotten. (And probably do a variety of things I'd rather they not do, including feeding her rice cereal; but that's another post.)

See you mid-September!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Still here, still busy, still in awe

Apologies-- I haven't updated in a while. I think about it, and then get caught up in stuff. I got a funny, dear, alert, cuddly, wonderful daughter in the baby lottery, but I did not get a baby that naps. She sleeps well at night (mostly), which is a blessing, but by the time she goes to sleep at night the last thing I think of is updating a blog-- I have to do the ten thousand things I can't get done during the day before I fall into bed!

Baby carriers, FYI, are great inventions. I can do a fair bit of stuff with her snuggled against my chest. She generally falls asleep-- until I try to take her out of the carrier. And then-- WOE! I CANNOT SLEEP IN MY CRIB! WHY MUST YOU MAKE ME?

Or something along those lines. (And she's fine in her crib at night, fortunately.)

Elle is seven weeks old this coming week, and it's hard to believe it's only been seven weeks because so much has changed. Sometimes I look at her and it still feels like I'm on the world's longest babysitting assignment-- like at any moment life will go back to what it was, and this little girl will go back go someone more worthy to be her mom than me. But life will never be the same again, and that's as it should be.

I had a friend over yesterday who ended up hanging out for most of the day, much as we would have BB (Before Baby). And it was so nice to hang out with Elle and my friend, and to see the way my daughter has not just changed my life, but also how well she fits into it, and how she is making her own place in the world. People that matter to me are going to matter to her, and she'll have her own relationships with them. And my horizons will expand, too. They already have.

Speaking of Elle, I believe she's finally getting up; I should go get her so that we can maybe make it to church today. We had a late night last night, so it's good she slept in a bit. Sweet, snuggly babies who don't nap need a good night's sleep!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


A friend just visited-- another single mom. Her daughter is just over two years old, and a very busy bundle of curls and curiosity. It was good to catch up with her, and she got in her baby-holding quota. (No one wants to put a sleeping baby in their crib except their parent! Everyone else wants to hold them. It's hilarious.)

She asked me a question that's gotten me thinking: how is being a parent different than I expected?

I tend to be fairly verbal, but I didn't have a quick answer for this. My reply, eventually, was that right now it's pretty much what I thought it would be. I always expected the first six weeks or so to be fairly overwhelming full-time infant care. I expected to enjoy it, mostly. I expected to love kissing my daughter's head, or to get a kick out of giving her a bath. I expected to feel a little cut off from reality. I expected all of this, and it came true.

I guess what I didn't expect was that I'd find tiny little things absolutely fascinating and endearing-- how her eyebrows raise in surprise when she finds a food source, how her hands constantly move around like little butterfly wings, how she is not fond of loud noises or direct sunlight. These are not particularly revolutionary things, yet I note and remember them as if they're the most important facts ever. They are, in a way.

I also didn't believe how enormous this experience would be. You know intellectually that everything changes when you become a parent; it's different when it's no longer an intellectual exercise.

It's entirely, overwhelmingly different.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Maintenance and quick update

Alert readers may note I've added a tag: "Elle." That is not my daughter's name, FYI, but it's what I'll call her here, and how I'll tag posts involving her. And alert readers who know me in RL may figure out why I chose that as her online name. :)

Miss Elle is napping at the moment; I'm going to go wake her up as soon as I hit post. It's after 6:30, after all, and if she sleeps much longer it will be a loooong night. And while she's had some catnaps today, her mother has not, and will need whatever sleep she (I) can get.

She's such a joy-- today was, largely, a very smile-y day for her. She's still not smiling at me, really, but when you look at a little month-old smiling face it doesn't really matter that she has gas. It's just a total delight to see her smile. On a face that tiny, the smile takes up most of the real estate, and I just want to kiss her little cheeks.

Of course, when she's not smiling, she's struggling with gas. Poor baby girl. You spend a lot of time worried about bodily functions with kids, I've realized, and watching her turn bright red in order to burp just breaks my heart. Her pediatrician visit is next week and while I'm fairly sure this is normal and not reflux, I'm going to make sure I talk with the ped about it to see if it is reflux, or if there's anything we can do to help. (I'm already feeding her while she's upright, burping her frequently and feeding smaller quantities at one time, keeping her upright after feedings-- all the stuff the intarwebs tell you to do.)

Tiny smiling babies shouldn't have to be in pain. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life with you

Taking care of a newborn is simultaneously one of the most fascinating and most boring things on the entire planet.

It's fascinating because she's this whole, complete, amazing little person who already has very definite opinions about a variety of high-level topics (window blinds, ceiling fans, blankets, diapers, etc.) and has her own unique personality. She makes hysterical noises when she's waking up (I swear she even barks sometimes), she hums while she's eating, she has the most gorgeous feet in the world, and she's started smiling randomly-- not really in response to specific things, but they're amazing smiles nonetheless.

So really, I could bore you for hours with stories of her fabulosity.

On the other hand, she's a newborn. Even though she's awake far more than most (who got the "sleeps up to 20 hours a day" newborn? Because IT WASN'T ME-- I'm lucky to get two naps from her a day! Which means no napping for me-- so much for "sleeping when the baby sleeps"), she's generally eating, staring at the above-mentioned window blinds/ceiling fan/other shiny object, or fussing because she has gas. As amazing and wonderful as she is, you do start looking around a bit during the fifth feeding of the day. You can only gaze at her beautiful, funny face for so long.

God bless Net.flix, is all I'm saying.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Eleven days old

My daughter is asleep in her pac.k and play. She's eleven days old, and each day is a new adventure.

She makes the funniest expressions-- her yawns are as big as her entire face, she looks extremely suspicious when she first starts eating (seriously, it's like she's thinking every time "What is this? What is this? I don't under... ah, there, I get it now..."), and she apparently finds the light in my dining room more compelling than just about anything on the planet.

She is eating up a storm (ten day growth spurt, perhaps?) and sleeping for at least a few consecutive hours each night; it's amazing what you can do if you're getting at least a little sleep. I'm br.east and bottle feeding; I'm just not producing enough, and she's hungry. (Any br.eastfeeding crusaders, please take your guilt trips somewhere else-- I'll do what I need to do to keep her fed. The lactati.on consultant at the hospital acted like formula was the Devil; I feel it's a necessary evil in some cases.)

She has incredibly long fingers and toes-- those are not from me, that's for sure-- and big eyes that haven't yet decided if they'll be brown or hazel. She also, unsurprisingly, has a full head of hair. That, she gets from me. ;)

She's a happy baby all day, but gets fussy in the evenings and there's not much you can do to make it better. If you want to visit, come midday (unless you don't mind a fussybudget baby)!

It's scary and fun and amazing, and she's wonderful. I'm a mom. It's a whole new world.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hey there

Guess what? There's a new baby in the house!

She's incredible-- happy, healthy, and beautiful. And, therefore, posting will be light here.

I'll try to pick up posting once my parents leave. (They're here to help. Mostly, they're doing so.)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Still here

A very, very quick post to say hello! Still here! Still pregnant! Unfortunately, also-- still no internet at home!

DSL think it's the landline, landline thinks it's the DSL. We'll see. I even have a backup meet-the-technician person scheduled, just in case I go into labor before the tech arrives.

Of course, I don't think that's going to happen. This baby is pretty darn comfortable, and I don't think she's going anywhere in the next few days.

If she does, at least the hospital has wifi, so I can post. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Not-so-brilliant ideas

...trying to put together a pac.k and pl.ay at 10-something on a Saturday night, when you're tired and ready to go to bed.

(It's not the playpen part that's hard. It's the changing table attachment. The instructions could not possibly be less clear... especially to a tired pregnant woman who should have been heading up to bed. Oy.)

Left to do:

- get the glider in and set up (that's tomorrow, after work)
- hamper for the baby's room
- diaper pail or no diaper pail?
- install the car seat (I have it. Need to install it.)

I got all dressed for the gym today, and ended up just taking off my gym clothes and staying home. Anyone who wants to call me lazy, go right ahead. I'm 38 weeks tomorrow, and I think a little lazy is OK at this point.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Waiting (in several different ways)

I'm stuck at home this beautiful Saturday morning, waiting for the meter reader (and when they say "between 8 and noon," I'm expecting him at 11:58), so I'm using the time to putter around the house. And, apparently, blog.

Quick thoughts before moving on to some articles that have appeared recently...

The last few weeks of pregnancy appear designed to:

1. Make you long to go into labor.
2. Make you not really care exactly how they get this baby out of you. C-section? Bring it on! Right now! Don't even wait for anaesthesia, doctor!
3. Make you appreciate your pre-third-trimester bladder capacity, however tiny it might have been at the time.

Enough said.


There have been a rash of articles lately about donor conception, based on a study done by the Commission for Parenthood's Future. The survey has concluded some very negative things about donor-conceived children, including confusion, depression, and other problems. (They also find an increased amount of issues with adopted children.)

There are problems with the survey. The organization that did the survey is a conservative group (including being anti-same sex marriage, and thinking climate change is bunk), so the possibility of survey bias is certainly there. People on one of my discussion lists have pointed out numerous issues with the survey itself, including how the survey sample was chosen (self-selected, rather than random), no control group used, the structure of the questions themselves, etc. Even to a stats amateur such as myself, there seems to be smoke and mirrors going on there.

After all, facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.

Even if you write off the survey organization themselves as hacks, though, it's worth considering the information, and the effect your choices have on your offspring. Do I think it's ideal to raise my daughter as a single mother? I do not. And, for the record, I have not given up the hope of finding a partner to share my life with, and to hopefully be a father figure for my child. (I don't think I'll give up on hoping for a partner even if I'm old and toothless in a nursing home, thanks.)

But for now, it's her and me. I hope I can rear her to be smart and confident, and to understand that however she was conceived, it was with a whole lot of love. I'm also going to make sure she meets other kids in similar family situations; I'm trying to stay active in my local single mom group for that reason. (It's also good support for me!) Families are all different shapes and sizes, and just like I want her growing up knowing people of all genders, races, ages, etc. and thinking that's completely normal, I want her growing up seeing that "family" is not a one size fits all definition.

Now, I'm using an "open ID donor," so I've made a choice that will allow my daughter to initiate contact with her donor once she's 18. I don't expect that this will make everything perfect, of course, but she'll know that I didn't close that door for her. (And, unlike one of the authors of the study, I will always be honest with my child about the circumstances of her conception. The truth will always out, whether it be donors or adoption, and secrets destroy. You just can't lie to kids.)

I'd love to see a rigorously conducted and peer-reviewed study on donor-conceived children of single parents (along the lines of the recent survey that showed children of lesbian parents have done extremely well-- look at the construction of that research vs. the CPF survey). (Note-- this link also provides info on the donor conception survey I'm discussing.) I'd like this very much.

But until we get that, I'm going to read the less-rigorous surveys for the information, but take them with a very large, and very crunchy, grain of salt.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Three weeks left

So much for keeping people posted with my blog, hm?

I’m still pregnant. 37 weeks, which means she can come any time and be just fine, medically speaking. But I’d like about another week and a half, to be honest— there are a few things I’d like to get done. (And if she hangs on past the weekend of the 26thth, I have a party and then a zoo outing I wouldn’t mind attending—though being not pregnant sounds awfully appealing.)

What’s great, though, is that there’s nothing overly critical that needs to happen. If she decides to make an appearance early, I have clothes, a place for her to sleep, bottles/formula (I am planning to bfeed, but you never know), diapers, and wipes. Anything else can be ordered online, or brought over by the kindness of friends.

It’s weird to know that, at pretty much any time, all my plans and schedules could go entirely out the window. As a planner, it’s kind of exciting yet crazy-making at the same time. Will I get all the baby clothes washed before she shows up? Will the glider come in? (Seriously, I ordered that dang glider when I was about five minutes pregnant. Oy. Bu.y Bu.y Baby, you are ON NOTICE.)

And speaking of baby clothes, this baby has a MOUNTAIN of them. Sadly, many of them are newborn or 0-3 months, which she may grow out of in the first five minutes of her life. I’m doing some judicious returns and getting larger sizes, where I can (note for future reference: always give a gift receipt; you don’t know what the new parent/s already have!). I don’t want her to be suddenly nekkid at six months, you know.

I’ve also been the very lucky beneficiary of some terrific hand-me-downs. This is, seriously, why I have so much stuff. I’ve gotten things at the showers, yes, but I’ve also gotten bags and boxes of wonderful, lovingly used clothes—some from people I don’t even know, but who heard through friends that I was pregnant and sent them along. The kindness that’s out there amazes me.

Although, as one friend told me, it’s a little bit of kindness and a whole lot of “Oh, yay! I can get these clothes out of my house and free up space!” ;)

I look forward to passing the clothes on, as well. For both reasons.

I do need to do a belly picture. I’m definitely visibly pregnant—no question any more—but keep being told that I do not look three weeks away from my due date. As one friend at work said, “You don’t look like you’re about to have a baby. You look like you had a big lunch.” While I think she is mostly just being kind, it’s nice not to be huge. Hello, I’m uncomfortable enough at this size!

But I’m still making it to the gym on weekends, and was at yoga tonight. That’s something.

And so it goes. I'm ready; I'm looking forward to meeting my daughter.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Getting along

...Wow. I haven't updated in a while. Sorry about that; this month has quickly gotten away from me. Work has been busy (and generally fulfilling, which is a nice change), I've been fairly active on weekends, and blogging has fallen by the wayside.

Still pregnant. I'm at 35 weeks tomorrow. In two weeks, I'll be at the point where they will consider the sproglet full-term, and not worry if I go into labor. Even if I go into labor right now (ack-- God forbid!) her medical problems should be minor and short-term. Everything's formed; she's just gaining weight and putting the finishing touches on her lungs.

So, at this point, I'm basically a slow cooker. Even if, on hot days like today, I feel like a convection oven!

I've reached the point where I'm definitely visibly pregnant (though apparently, I'm still small for how far along I am), and where I'm definitely uncomfortable. So, little Miss Sproglet, stay in there two more weeks and after that, any time. Please.

Had lunch with a friend yesterday who told me that her late mother (who I knew and liked very much) had a knack for predicting when people would deliver, and she belives she inherited a touch of it. She thinks I'll be early. I do too, actually-- the baby's already head down and very (verrrrry) low, and I myself was two weeks early.

I'm going to basically start treating every day at work as my possible last day, after this week. This week, I'm going to clean stuff up (more than I already have).

I had the friends-of-mom shower a couple of weekends ago. This coming weekend is the friends shower, then the weekend after that is the last friends shower that I have objected to strenuously but was overruled on.

(The shower this coming weekend had an invite list of about 15 people-- and if I had expanded it to the next level out of friends, it would have approached 40. And that's totally not fair to the two good friends hosting it. So the last friends shower is a casual potluck BBQ in a park, where people can bring kids and hang out, and my mother is not invited. I still object, because I don't like the fuss at all, but at least it's casual.)

Oh, and this week is also my church choir shower, which I also objected to, and was told in no uncertain terms that they would have it whether I was there or not.

Don't mess with Episcopalians and a party. That's all I'm saying.

Friday, May 14, 2010


The last two posts were grumpy and/or sad and/or blue, and as I head out of town for a couple of days I hate to leave that at the top of the blog.

I'm sitting on the sofa net surfing while a guy resurfaces my upstairs bathtub, after which I'll throw my suitcase in the car and go back to visit my hometown for my first baby shower. (This is strategy at its finest-- get away from the fumes, and by the time I'm back on Sunday afternoon, no fumes! I'll still need to shower at the Y for a few days next week, but that's OK. A little yucky, but OK.)

So, on this sunshiny Friday morning, a few good things:

- I threw some box hair coloring on last night, and it looks good. Nice red highlights without the Bozo brassiness of the color I used last time (which they've discontinued, possibly because of the Bozo factor...). I did miss my temples, as I was wearing my glasses, but with my hair down you can't tell. And it's the temp kind, so I can fix shortly.

- It is a beautiful day. Absolutely beautiful. Perfect crisp blue sky, temps under 70... couldn't be nicer.

- I have wingmen for the shower in my hometown-- G is coming with, and my friend K is coming as well. K's husband is from the same area, so she's combining visiting her mother-in-law with the shower. It will be good to have them around as backup. They both know some of my recent struggles and, I think, will be a nice bumper.

As I said to another friend yesterday, though, I have to work to be the better person on this stuff: know my boundaries, set them with a smile, and let the other stuff roll off me. Easier said than done with family, I know. But that's what my goal needs to be. Making myself crazy over this does no one any good, and I cannot change how they act. I can only change how I react.

- The sproglet continues to be just fine: measuring absolutely normally, normal heartbeat, etc. She's also already head-down and has been for a couple of weeks. I'm hoping she stays that way-- she's an active but not overly-active fetus, so hopefully there's no flipping around at the last minute.

Also, my blood pressure, sugar, and weight continue to track right in the center of the "normal" range. Excellent. I'm always happy to be boringly normal on this kind of stuff.

I know that this couldn't possibly be a less exciting post, but at least it's not gloomy doomy. Have a great weekend, all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I had a really good morning, then this afternoon got hit with the blues. A big case of the blues.

I'm going to blame it on hormones-- I get to do that now-- but it wasn't just that. For some reason, I was really missing my little Vertigo Dog today. I can't believe she's been gone for ten months. I still come home, and part of me expects to see her face there, those fabulous ears up, tail wagging. There's nothing like coming home to the best dog in the world, and coming home without her there still feels all wrong.

I think it will feel wrong for a long time.

Then, at work, someone who I used to call a friend is leaving, and I had to do some of the stuff related to his departure. It was all perfectly cordial, but nothing more than that. This is someone I used to joke with, laugh with-- he was a work friend. I thought he was a good work friend.

I was wrong. Our friendship changed a long time ago, he decided I was something I'm not without ever talking to me about it, and now he's part of a group of people that simply don't like me. And we aren't friends any more.

This all happened a while ago, and I've been OK with it. Today, though, just brought a lot of it back, and made me sad again.

So while I'm blaming the hormones, it's not just that.

I think Jon St.ewart will cheer me up now.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Not your typical Mother's Day post

I hate clicking on a link to a blog-- that's linked at an aggregation site, so theoretically they want to be found-- and it's 100% password protected. Hey, I have no problem with wanting privacy. But then perhaps you should have that link taken down.


Childbirth class is over. Now I just need to practice the relaxation techniques. The instructor says to practice every day. I'm going to be very, very happy if I practice five times a week!


At lunch with a friend last weekend, we were talking about my impending parenthood, and our parents. This friend has a somewhat troubled relationship with her mom, so one of our topics when we get together one-on-one is often our dynamics with our mothers.

My mom and I have had a fairly stable and generally good relationship for years, but my pregnancy has definitely upset that particular apple cart. She's thrilled about the baby, which is wonderful. But her excitement has led to what I can only describe as something that looks a lot like mania: she wants to talk, all the time, about everything. Everything, anything. Constantly. In monologue format; there's very little actual conversation. No detail is too small to obsess over.

They live out of town, so in the past we've talked on the phone once a week; maybe twice if something specific comes up. She's now calling me far more than that-- not every day, but close. And after me being in the workforce for more years than I'd rather count, she still doesn't understand that when I'm at work, I don't have 20 minutes to talk about where everyone will be sitting at the shower. (And even if I did have 20 minutes, I don't care, though I'll be polite.) Despite conversations repeatedly over many years about how I'm at work, she still gets insulted that I keep the conversations short.

She also calls in the evenings, when the last thing I want to do is talk on the phone after a full day of... talking on the phone for my job. And if she calls and leaves a message and doesn't hear back quickly, I get multiple messages in That Tone Of Voice. (All you daughters know the Tone I mean.)

So it's a whole thing. I've been trying hard to approach this with empathy: she's thrilled. She's just got me, and had more or less given up any hope of a grandchild, and here one comes. I'm so happy she's happy. I'm lucky she's happy and supportive. But I am what I am.

Long story short, I was talking with my friend about this. I didn't realize, I told her, how this was going to change my life. And not in the way I expected-- obviously, being a parent is a massive, massive change I probably can't even imagine.

What I didn't realize was how my parenthood was going to open my life up to my family. And not always in ways I like, or am comfortable with.

I'm already changing my life for my daughter, and I am ready and willing and excited about it. But I don't think I can change for my parents-- at least not in the way I think they want me to.

This baby is not going to turn me into the daughter of my mother's dreams.

I'm still going to be the vaguely crabby, flamingly liberal, not Catholic any more single daughter who just isn't like all the other daughters of her friends. I'm not likely to suddenly start living in a four-bedroom house with a two car garage, 2.5 kids and a membership to the local country club.

And I'm not going to ever be the daughter who calls her mother every day.

For the record, I hope my daughter isn't either when she's my age. I hope her life is full and rich. I also hope that she thinks of me-- and calls me every so often. For a conversation.

Because she wants to.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pillow Talk

In general, when you're pregnant, sleeping becomes more challenging.

(Many people say it's putting you in training for when there's an actual baby onsite, who may or may not have any idea what "middle of the night" means.)

You can't sleep on your stomach, because your stomach is sticking out in front of you-- ow. You generally can't sleep on your back (according to the American Pregnancy Association, which I've never heard of but found through the magic of Google, "This can cause problems with backaches, breathing, digestive system, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure and decrease in circulation to your heart and your baby. This is a result of your abdomen resting on your intestines and major blood vessels (the aorta and vena cava).")

Under normal circumstances, guess which positions I sleep in 90% of the time?

So I'm now an unwilling side-sleeper. And along with me for the ride on this is an elaborate pillow setup. Currently, there are three pillows involved in settling in for the night:

1. A nice pillow under my head.
2. A long pillow on my left side, which is the optimal side to sleep on. (Here's why.)
3. Another, shorter pillow on my right side.

(This is going to be interesting when it gets into the hot weather, when I don't like anything touching me...)

I try to fall asleep on my left side, with the pillow against me and the bottom part of the pillow between my knees. Over the course of the night, I'll wake up in a variety of positions, of course, and I'll try to reposition myself.

The pillows are key to this. They are partially designed to keep me from rollling on my back like a beached whale, and partially so I can fling one arm over a pillow on either side and feel more supported. It's all very complicated. When I get up to use the washroom and then come back to bed, I have to go through the whole pillow-positioning routine again. And then again.

Thank goodness I have extra pillows in the first case.

And, for the record? I know perfectly well I may have a baby that thinks the middle of the night is the perfect time to exercise her lungs for her future opera career. However, in the few moments she allows me to get some shuteye, at least I'll be able to get that sleep on my stomach or flat on my back.

That sounds pretty great to me.


I finally talked to a friend yesterday who didn't know about the baby-- we'd traded a bunch of phone calls earlier in the year, but between my work schedule and her extremely busy mom-of-three schedule (and her youngest is special needs), we didn't connect and it fell off both our radars. Now the news is getting out at work (seriously, it's about time), she heard something at a party last weekend, and shot me an e-mail that basically said "Call me, or I'll hunt you down like a rabid dog." (It didn't say that, of course, because she's a kind and lovely person. But it was Stern; had a definite mom-vibe to it. In a good way.)

I was a little worried about her reaction. She's an extremely conservative Christi.n. But I should have known better-- she's the only conservative Christi.n I've ever met who doesn't judge others on her standards. And, if she loves you, that trumps everything.

She was thrilled, and it was so good to talk to her. I'm not sharing details widely (except in my blog, which all the world can see, of course-- heh), but I trust her and it was just nice to chat.

She sent an e-mail later, after our call, and it teared me up. Her last line was "You were made for this."

I hope she's right. Whether or not she is, I'm incredibly lucky to have the support and love of so many amazing people in my life.

And now, before the hormones again turn me into Weepy McSobberson, I'm heading out to Tar.get. I'd make a joke about my boring weekend, but it's not going to be boring at all-- tonight is ROLLER DERBY.

Ha! I can't wait.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Musical taste, or lack thereof

I have an ancient IPod at work—it’s probably one of the second or third generation originals, which I bought secondhand from a friend. It still works, and if someone did want to swipe it I wouldn’t mind much at this point... which is why it’s the one I leave at the office.

There’s a mix of songs on this that are inherited from my friend, and many that I put on there. I don’t tend to buy a lot of music online, so it’s largely rips of CDs I already own or borrow from the library. A while ago, though, I got it into my head to look for a song that I used to listen to back in college, and through the joys of ITunes I found and purchased it.

I’m not even going to tell you what it is; it’s a terrible 80s song that probably no one but me even remembers. But what I do remember is that, freshman year, that song would come on the cassette player (yes! Cassette player! Perhaps you’ve heard of them?) and my roommate and I would bounce around the room like jumping beans. On the beds, off the beds, spinning around, laughing so hard we probably scared our neighbors.

We were randomly assigned roommates, and didn’t get along all that well. I take complete responsibility for that. I’d never had a roommate, and was a horrible person to live with. Also, in hindsight, she was struggling with her own sexuality and what was most likely her first relationship, and because I’m completely oblivious (and was even more oblivious back then), I was probably the worst roommate she could possibly have gotten.

But that song, for some reason, flipped a switch in both of us. And all I remember when I hear it is unbridled silliness, and laughing until we couldn't catch our breath.

That’s a good memory to have.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rainy days and Sundays

It's always hard to motivate when it's gloomy and spitting rain, off and on. It's the kind of day where sitting inside, curled up with a blanket and a good book, sounds ideal. I suppose I should take advantage of those opportunities now, hm?

Despite the gloom, I did make it to church, to the produce market, and to the gym. Also managed to do a menu plan for the week and throw together some salads for easy lunch-packing. This is the last week of the childbirth class (we meet twice, with one as a make-up session) so I'm pretty much not home until Friday. I've learned the hard way that if I don't take a few minutes to think about meals, I end up eating out, spending money I shouldn't spend, and eating food that's not as healthy as it would be if I packed it myself.

(I'm still eating stuff I shouldn't, of course. Just less of it. Hold on a moment while I eat another vanilla wafer, please...)


(Warning: Musical theatre geekery ahead.)

Last night, I went to a production of Chess at a small cabaret-style theatre on the north side of the city. I've gone there once before for their production of Evita and enjoyed it very much. Evita is, in my mind, a big show, and they did an excellent job of mounting the production in an incredibly tight space. (It's also a show I can sing from start to finish with few errors, so I'm picky.)

The book for Chess is, at best, terrible; as one of my friends said last night, "Who thought it would be a good idea in the 80s to write a musical about chess matches?" But looking past some of the truly dreadful plotting the music is gorgeous, and I have a soft spot for the show. It's not staged often, and once again this company did a good job with the show in a limited space.

In particular, the actor playing Freddie (Courtney Crouse) was excellent. I normally have limited interest in Freddie as a character, but last night he was the one I really focused on throughout the show; his "Pity the Child" was incredible (and definitive, for me at least). It's difficult to play that kind of assholish character and give him any kind of layers, but Crouse does it beautifully. I'll be looking for him in future productions around the city, and assuming I'm ever able to actually leave the house post-baby, I'll attend productions simply because he's in them. Yes, he impressed me that much.

Jeremy Trager as Anatoly has a beautiful voice (I could listen to him sing all day) and throws himself into the role with dedication; he was good, but he was a better Peron. Maggie Portman as Florence also has a stellar voice (she was Evita for the same theatre company), but she never really gelled as Florence for me. She's not bad. I'm not sure she's capable of being bad; she's too talented. But Florence has moments of real, wrenching vulnerability, and Portman has trouble backing away enough to truly sell that vulnerability. (Also, she kept scrunching up her face. That's not acting, that's scrunching up your face. All of us who attended commented on it, actually; it became distracting.)

Overall, it was a good evening, and a production well worth seeing.

Next Saturday, for a change of pace, I'm going to the ROLLER DERBY. No, I'm not kidding.

I can't wait.

What does a seven-months-pregnant woman (who's finally popped, by the way) wear to the ROLLER DERBY? I have no idea. But it will be a lot of fun figuring it out...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One boring life, in bullets

Blogging has been light around here-- even lighter than usual. Sorry about that. Until the childbirth class is over next week, I'm hardly home during the week, which means weekends are spent running around even more than usual. And blogging about the dullness of my life isn't exactly number one with a bullet when I'm either busy or exhausted, or busy and exhausted.

A few things in short format:

- Had a long lovely lunch with P last weekend. The chicken salad was good, but the company was much better. I love how you can not see a friend for a while, but you just pick right up where you left off. I feel very lucky.

- I do not have a dress for the shower(s) yet. Grr. I'm going shopping weekend after next with a friend who has excellent fashion karma, and I'm hoping it will rub off. I did order this dress, because it looks flattering and is a terrific color. (I'll need to shorten it, I'm guessing.) With a cardigan and cute shoes, it may end up being my shower dress. We'll see.

On a side note, maternity clothes, tops in particular, are ugly. Trying to find decent tops I can wear to work-- that aren't ridiculously priced-- is hard. I'll probably spend the last month in Target dresses.

- I also do not have a crib yet. It's a long story, and it's not pretty. I just want it ordered and on the way-- I don't need it here. I need to know it's coming.

(That, by the way, seems to be my particular pregnancy hormonal kink-- if I get something on my mental list of What Must Be Done, it becomes a pretty serious mental issue if it isn't getting done. As in, near-hysteria. Things like dishes or laundry aren't on the list-- which may be for the best-- but the bigger house stuff? That's all on the list, and I get very, very worked up if I'm not making progress on the list. I guess there are worse hormonal kinks I could be stuck with, but this one isn't exactly restful-- especially when I have to depend on others for much of what needs to be done. Argh.)

- I went to the theatre last weekend and saw an... interesting production of Cabaret. (Well-done, yes. But some disconcerting changes, including a subversive female MC.) I'm taking advantage of getting out when I can, pre-baby (seeing another show this weekend)-- but I have to say, the sproglet apparently enjoyed it. She was pretty feisty throughout, which cracked me up (she's not normally an evening fetus).

- People at work STILL have not figured out I'm pregnant. I'm 29 weeks, people, and have a visible belly! I've told people! It's just not getting around. Most people are probably going to realize it next week, when I am teaching a class. Heh.

I hope the people who know don't think I'm ashamed. Would I rather be married (or heck, even partnered) and expecting? Absolutely, for a thousand reasons. But I'm not. Congratulations welcomed regardless. :)

Oy. To sleep I go. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Back to school

First birthing class last night. I'm doing one that incorporates self-hypnosis. And, as all these classes do, there's a lot of what my parents would call "hippy dippy" stuff-- which I don't mind at all.

I am very clear that I don't mind drugs during labor. But given how I overreact (physically) to drugs in general, I'm also fine looking for ways to avoid them. :)

I may write in more detail when I'm not completely exhausted (I even skipped yoga tonight, which I love love love, because I'm that tired), but one of the most entertaining things about the class was the couple who sat through the entire class looking absolutely, completely petrified. Sheer, unadulterated terror-- not just during the video of waterbirths, but the entire time.

Little too late to panic now, methinks...

Friday, April 9, 2010


I cannot tell you the last time I was so glad to get home on a Friday.

I celebrated by eating the other half of a turkey pastrami sandwich (left over from lunch) and falling asleep on the couch for half an hour. I know, you're jealous of all the excitement. And the sandwich even had avocado on it, thus meaning it was even more exciting!

(It was really a very good sandwich.)

It was a very intense week at work, with a big gathering that I was involved in planning. It all went off pretty well (and was even fun!), but it was a lot of work, and I just don't have the ability to be out until 10 p.m. right now without really feeling it. And I do feel it.

On the up side, I still made it to yoga. Yay for discipline, of a sort.

(In speaking of "discipline," we will not discuss the fries that originally came with the sandwich.)


Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and in the 70s. I can't wait.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Holiday weekend

It was a long weekend. Well, no. Technically, it wasn't a long weekend; I worked Friday until 4 and was back at work bright and early this morning. It was long in terms of content, not length.

I'm really not up for dissecting it just yet, but suffice it to say that I did not get the crib ordered (because I walked away from a conversation that was going nowhere before I whacked someone), I did get the glider ordered (but it cost several hundred dollars more than I expected), and I did not get any help picking out rugs (I'm sorry, but I just don't have time to endlessly bargain shop or debate the precise shade of blue necessary; I need a damn rug, and waiting until a week before the baby arrives is unacceptable).

And I'm really freaking glad to have the family out of my house this evening.

One positive: they brought with them several boxes of hand-me-downs from a friend's two daughters. I swear, I can probably outfit the sprog with just what was sent on. And it's lovely stuff, in great condition, from newborn up through 2T. I have to do some organizing and laundry, but I have a serious lot of clothing now.

A simple thank you note seems somehow inadequate. I'll have to think of something.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Questions, answers and HOLY CRAP I have a lot to do

A couple of questions I've gotten lately:

What's her name going to be?

I'm pretty sure I know, but I'm not sharing yet. After all, until I actually meet her, I won't know. I had a friend who had a name all picked out, and the minute she held her daughter she looked up at her husband and said "That's not her name." Their daughter was named something else entirely, and it was the right thing to do.

So until I meet her, she's the sproglet. Or, often, Lucy. Which I really do like as a name (though it does not go with my last name at all), but am using here as a nickname. I like it better than having people ask about The Baby, which sounds oddly ponderous.

I have to admit that, while I was sure I was having a boy (and I still believe in the long run that might have been simpler, if not as much fun to shop for), I'm a little relieved as I've never really had a fave boy name, and have no idea what I would have named a him.

(My girl name for years, BTW, was Emma. Thanks, Fri.ends, for naming Rachel's baby that and meaning it's going to become another name like Madison where every class has at least three. Sigh. But I do love the name I've picked, and it's a family name which is even nicer.)

Where are the belly pictures?

I know! I've had about the same size belly for a while, though, so the drama of taking them weekly just wouldn't have been there. This week, however-- well, I do believe I've popped. I'm pretty sure it happened Thursday morning, in fact-- my pants fit one way when I went in to work, and another way before I had lunch. (It was the weirdest thing.) So I'll get my act together and try to start taking pictures now.

And I think this week at work will be the week where people finally figure it out. Given that next week I'll be 27 weeks along, I'm thinking it's about time.

How are you feeling?

I get this question constantly, and frankly, the only good answer is "Pregnant."


To address the second part of this post's subject line, HOLY CRAP I have a lot to do. A friend who's pregnant and due around my due date (the one I referenced in another post who's having a tough time of it) has pretty much her entire nursery ready, as does Lag Liv. I... don't. PEER PRESSURE ARGH. ;)

I am justifying this by the fact that I'm planning on getting most of my stuff from my showers, which are in May and the first weekend of June, respectively (with one more very casual one on the second weekend of June; more a picnic, really), and can't do much until then. But next weekend, I am ordering the crib and the glider, so getting those in and set up will hopefully calm me down.

Oh, crazy hormones. I do not love you at all.

Sproglet: please do not be too early. I'm going to need until about the second week of June, I think.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Someone asked me recently if I’m worried or anxious about my pregnancy. It was an interesting question, and I had to stop and think about it before I answered. And my answer was “no.”

In the first 12 weeks, I was pretty much waiting for something to go horribly wrong. At my age, the miscarr.iage rate is so much higher than it is for younger women (I am, after all, of “advanced maternal age”—hee! That’s like seeing “spinster” on your mortgage paperwork—it’s a real feel-good moment) that even after I saw a heartbeat I was cautious and not particularly optimistic.

Once I passed the 12 week mark, though... I don’t know. Believe me, I understand all that could still go wrong, but once I moved out of the first trimester it just became simpler. I’m not that worried. I’m sure a lot of it is that I continue to feel reasonably good (heartburn, busy bladder, and interrupted sleep aside). I haven’t gained a lot of weight, I’m still able to exercise, and while I’m going to be very happy to not be pregnant any more (and am even more happy that the odds are good I’ll never be pregnant again), it’s all pretty much sort of OK.

I have some worries about labor and delivery (who doesn’t?), and am starting to worry about the sheer overwhelming quantity of things I need to get done before the sproglet arrives, but I simply haven’t had a lot of concerns about the pregnancy itself. I’ve felt... well, not serene, but as if it’s all going to be OK, and that there’s nothing to really worry about pregnancy-wise. I feel, oddly, as if everything’s going to be fine.

It’s unusual for me NOT to fret, honestly. But... I’m not.

Saying this out loud probably means that Big Horrible Problems will immediately surface. :) But truly, that’s where I am right now.

I have a friend on another continent who’s due within a couple weeks of me, and she’s having a terrible pregnancy. She has far more preexisting medical issues than I do, and they’re all ganging up on her in full force; as each week goes by, she’s having a tougher and tougher time. She’s been told it’s only a matter of time before she’s totally disabled and on bedrest until she gives birth. I’ll tell you, I think of her when I want to bitch and moan about the heartburn or the poor sleep or about how I’m slower already.

Now, ask me about my post-pregnancy worries, and I can give you a list. A list that’s a mile and a half long, and getting longer every day.

I like to project months and years into the future. That is not a great idea right now-- I should probably make plans to survive infancy before I start worrying about her teenage years, hm?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Five good things

1. It was sunny and in the 60s here in the midwest today. Glorious. I went out at lunch and had to wear my sunglasses, and smiled when I got a little too warm in the sunshine.

2. Peanut butter.

3. Someone asked me at work "Are you scolding me?" My response: "Darn right I am!" He laughed and laughed. (He messed up, and I had to give him what-for.)

4. I got an e-mail from G that said only "Rabbits or elephants?" I blinked at it for a few moments, then shot back an e-mail saying "To eat? Or to wear?" (For the record, it was about shower invitations.)

5. Singing along to Journey on the radio while driving home from a doctor's appointment. Singing loud, and not caring if other cars heard.

Happy spring.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Like Lag Liv, I'm apparently feeling the nesting urge. (It could also be the spring cleaning bug-- it's been in the 50s around here the past day or two, and still light when I walk home from the train. It feels good.)

This past weekend, I shredded enough documents that the shred filled more than half my big recycling bin. I'm not talking one of those little foot-and-a-half high open blue bins; I have a four-foot high lidded recycling container and it was more than half full.

(No, you really don't need to save tax returns from the 90s. Really, you don't. Or bank statements starting in the 80s.)

Tonight I pulled everything out of my coat closet. I'm not done, but among other things I've thrown away two city of Chicago phone books (both of which were over 10 years old and big) and am moving a tennis racket and three (three?!?) wall-hanging type things to the basement.

Now, my coat closet is tiny, so don't be too impressed. But still, combine these two things with the other work I've been doing, and you have some seriously reduced clutter and much more space in my closets.

(I need to sell my large dining room table and buy a smaller one with fewer chairs, and that will pretty much finish off the "use less space" initiative for right now.)

Saturday, friends are coming over to help me 1) fix a drawer unit I screwed up assembling (do not put things together late on a Friday night when you're tired) and haul a bulky piece of furniture out of the house and up to another friend's house for storage until, someday, I have space for it again. I have good friends who don't even hesitate to step forward when I say "Hey, I can't lift anything right now! Help?" I'm lucky.

This means I can start really putting the nursery together next week. I have time-- technically-- but I'd like to get a few things in place now, and it will feel good to get some of this stuff done. One thing about having a small house is that there's no "overflow" room-- you just can't do y and z until you do x, because there's simply not space.

This is good in terms of discipline. But... still annoying.

On the other hand, I have less space to keep clean. So that's good. :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Top of the page

I realized that last week's post (the one before this) was not necessarily the best thing to have at the top of the blog for weeks on end... so am making some time to bump it down a notch by posting this.

Last weekend was very blue, and filled with a lot of self-doubt and fear and loneliness (self-imposed, frankly). I get too far into my own head, sometimes, and last weekend was one of those times.

I've always said that February was the worst month of the (my) year. I had a pretty good February this year, though, so I think last weekend was February getting off one last good shot at me. And now it's March.

I wish I could say I feel 110% better. I don't. I do feel much, much less like I want to crawl into bed until sometime next year; that's something. But some of the blues still linger. That's natural, I think.

Because I project out into the future all the time (one of the reasons my romantic relationships have been doomed to fail!), I'm worried that the lonely part of me-- and it's there, and always will be-- is going to look at this baby as the savior, as the being that's going to save me from being lonely. Not only is that completely not fair to her, it's not the least bit realistic. You have a child to love them, rear them, and let them go-- not put inappropriate responsibilities on their small shoulders. I'm doing this because I want to be a mom, and because I believe I can be a good parent. I can't be doing this because, sometimes, I am lonely.

Children are not born to save us, or save our marriages, or to "fix" something we did wrong in our lives, or to do anything other than be themselves and grow up healthy and strong.

In 20 years, God willing, my daughter will be an independent young woman out on her own. She'll be healthy and smart and caring and self-sufficient, and she'll think I'm crazy but love me anyway, and I will have hopefully reared her so that she goes out and lives her life without worrying much about how her old mom is doing at home. I hope she'll always want to talk to me, and always want to come home and visit, but it will be because she wants to-- not because I've imposed things on her that I shouldn't.

Hopefully, just being aware of this will help make it so.

This is why I don't blog when I've been blue: no one needs to see the insides of my brain.

And now, off to the day. I have laundry, lunch with a friend, the gym, and then to another friend's house for the Osc*ars. I've seen almost nothing that's nominated (I keep watching documentaries and Bollywood with my Net*flix subscription), but there will be people there I don't see often, so that will be fun.

In conclusion, George Cloo*ney should always win everything he's nominated for. The end.