Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in Review

Yeah, yeah, all sorts of big things happened in the outside world; some were good and some bad.   However, this was a very introspective year for us.  The most important events of 2010 in no particular order:

1. The late stages of pregnancy

2. Hawaii

3. Childbirth!

4. The best baby that ever there was!

5. Caring for the sick baby

6. Learning to breastfeed

7. Our second wedding anniversary

8. Travel to South Africa

9. All those glorious firsts

10. Our first Christmas as a little family

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Words of the Year '10

Now we come down to the last few days of the year, and I always enjoy reading the little round ups of '10. It just takes you back to all the news stories, articles, and events that filled the TV, radio, and print, and populated your head with their vocabulary. One of the first to come out was the Top Ten Words of the Year as determined by The Global Language Monitor. Some are immediately familiar, while others require a bit of coaching to remember. Spillcam and Shellacking both bring out mental winces for me.

10. Simplexity

9. Shellacking

8. 3-D

7. Snowmageddon

6. Deficit

5. Guido

4. Refudiate

3. the Narrative

2. Vuvuzela

1. Spillcam

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baby's First Christmas

Yes, yes, I know Delphinium is too young to remember her first Christmas, but we certainly will. For weeks she's enjoyed the tree with all its splendor, and actual Christmas was even better. First there was the astonishing early morning appearance of many of her favorite family members. Finding your cousins on your doorstep before breakfast is a surprising and wonderful thing. Then came the stockings. Did you know that there are toys in stockings?! Before she could fully comprehend (and nibble) her stocking presents (a blue mesh ball and a small penguin with huge eyes were the best) it was time to move on to unwrapping.

Many other parents warned us that the wrapping and boxes are far better than the actual gifts, and this was absolutely the case. Delphinium wanted to eat all the paper and crepe, and I kept having to wrestle ribbons and other decorations out of her chubby fists. Still, when she did actually get down to a present she was quite interested. The biggest challenge for her was the pace. Her cousins are capable of unwrapping and appreciating each gift in about thirty seconds flat. She wanted to take her time. Then, about half way through, all just got to be too much. She started to rub her eyes, and I knew she needed a break. We went upstairs for a little nap, and left the family to finish with the presents.

I was quite impressed with the restraint we managed to maintain when it came to buying her presents. Among her gifts were a bug jar full of soft rattle bugs, a pull along frog, an orange rattle creature, a skwish toy, and a fuzzy gray and white dog. She also got many new books and clothes as well. Even now, days later, she still hasn't finished investigating the new goodies. We will also have to come up with names for her new favorites.

On the whole though, I think her favorite part about it all was the attention. I think she would be quite happy to have Daddy quit work and just stay home to play with her. She would also love to see cousins, uncles, and Grandma on her doorstep any morning of the week. Whatever will I do to console her when holiday time is over? Oh I know, we'll read a dozen new stories, and play with all kinds of new toys. Next year should be even better.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Baby's Christmas List

Okay, so I don't really know for sure what Delphinium wants to see under the tree on Christmas morning, but I think I can make a fairly educated guess based on the things I know she loves.  Just to name a few:

10. Kitties!

9.  Bananas

8.  Giraffes (stuffed animals, printed on things, rubber toy version, you name it)

7.  Grandma

6.  Her cousins

5.  Books (but only certain ones)

4.  Mirrors

3.  Rattles

2.  Mommy and Daddy

1.  Boobies!    

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Firsts

I will not soon forget Delphinium's first visit with Santa. It was supposed to be a regular week day, but circumstances made M available in the early afternoon, so we decided to play hooky. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something Christmas-y without all the holiday crowds of a Saturday or Sunday. Acting on an email tip (go M for figuring this whole plan out) we headed down to The Bravern building where were supposed to find The Man in Red.

Delphinium was looking very smart in her little red dress with red and white spotted tights (with ruffled bottom!) and we had high hopes for a fabulous photo. When those elevator doors opened, we were not disappointed. There he was, Santa, and he had a real beard! Not only that but his eyes how the twinkled, his dimples so merry, and... but I digress. He was quite a convincing Santa. And he did not smell of gin (or anything else he shouldn't).

With that auspicious beginning how could we go wrong? We sat Delphinium, as cute as a button, down on his lap, and... she burst into tears. Unlike her picture with Frosty the Snowman, where she just stared at him, Santa was scary. It started as a trembling of the lip, and went on into full-blown terror. I scooped her up, we went with the very first photo (the least unhappy one), and that was it for us.

Away from the frightening stranger, the baby returned to her cheerful self, and we strolled off to the main mall. Happy in the knowledge that we did not have to wait in line for the more central Santa. While I'm sorry Delphinium was discomfited, it was an experience with lots of warm fuzzies for me. I imagine our visits with Santa will only get more significant as time goes by, but this very first one was special to me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Finery

Goodness gracious whoever would have thought that a Christmas tree could be so sublime.  Delphinium is in love with the thing, and she doesn't even know what usually appears UNDER the tree! The first time she saw the naked tree just brought into the house, she chuckled at it.  Then it got dressed! She just thinks the lights and the decorations and the color and sparkle are something entirely cool.  I catch her just gazing up at it while she's playing on her blanket in the living room.

The first few days it was up, she was sick and teething at the same time, and more than once we "broke" a sad mood by visiting (and sometimes petting) the tree.  There are even a couple of ornaments that are baby-friendly and can be taken off and loved for a few minutes.  Christmas suddenly has a whole new value for jaded old me. 

Monday, December 20, 2010


The baby skill of the week is really two related talents.  First came the two arm wave as if our girl were conducting her own (crazy) symphony.  Sometimes it takes a form that more closely resembles a rabid fan at a sporting event.  Another great feature about waving both hands in the air is that you can then bring those hands crashing down onto your tray.  Pounding the table is now one of her favorite after dinner activities, and I'm afraid that Mom and Dad do nothing but encourage the behavior (picture all three of us slapping our placemats). 

The other half of this skill is also waving, but a much more subtle kind.  Delphinium is now able to hold up one hand and open and close the fingers in a "hello/goodbye" gesture.  At first she would only do it to herself when seeing her reflection.  It was SO cute to see her sitting in her walker in front of the sliding door waving away at the baby in the glass.  Now she's moving up to waving at real live people.  It's still quite hit or miss, but one day soon she may decide to wave at you. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baby's First Concert

I absolutely cannot believe that it's been nearly a year since M. and I attended a symphony concert, but life with Baby just flies by.  That's why I was so excited when M. found tickets for all of us to a family-friendly holiday concert.  Dressed in our holiday best (Delphinium has the cutest little red corduroy dress with smocking and tiny white flowers) we made our way into Seattle and Benaroya Hall.

The concert was held in the small upper hall (can't remember the name!) and it was jam-packed with kids.  I think Delphinium would have been just fine with going to the hall, sitting down, and watching all those big kids for half an hour.  However, the music began soon after we arrived.  Our girl stood on Daddy's lap and watched the stage with open mouth for the first half of the show.  Then, in true baby fashion, she fell soundly asleep and did not see the rest of the performance.  A great time was had by all.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bad Parenting Part 1 of ?

Delphinium and I are sitting in the doctor's office waiting for her flu shot booster.  My baby is cheerful as ever.  Many other parents and kids are also waiting, and some have struck up conversations to pass the time.  A lady and her son decide to chat with us, and this is how it goes:

Lady:  Oh what a cute baby!

Me:  Thank you!

Lady: I love her hat!

Me: Thank you!

Lady:  She has the prettiest blue eyes!

Me:  Thank you!

Lady:  How old is she?

Me:  Thank you, er, nearly eight months.

Lady:  Is she sick?

Me:  No, we just need a flu booster.

Lady:  Has she been crying?

Me:  No, not recently.

Lady:  What's that on her eye then?

Me (turning the baby the face me, and then noticing that I did an incomplete cleaning job after her last meal):  Oh that would be the pears she smeared on herself for lunch.

Lady: Oh.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Baby Cradles on International Flights

Bassinets or cots are available on many international flights, and they can be a wonderful help. You simply reserve the baby bed when you book your tickets, and make certain that you've paid all appropriate fees (the cot is free, but the baby probably isn't). The baby cradle we were given on KLM (I think it was a Boeing plane) was a wonderful little basket that zipped closed over our child's middle. She slept quite happily there for more than seven hours.

Unfortunately, the Delta (I think it was an Airbus) baby bed was not very comfortable for her because the zipper went all the way to the top meaning we would have been closing it right over her face! I did not think that was healthy or safe, and you could not zip it part way, so we did not use the cot. However, the cots are worth booking if only because they guarantee you the bulkhead, and that is definitely worth having if you are travelling with a little person or not.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Delta Airlines Sucks

The short story: Delta Airlines Sucks

We booked several legs of our Seattle to South Africa trip on Delta and several other parts on their partner, KLM. Without fail, the KLM experience was very pleasant and everything we could have wished. Also without fail the treatment we received from Delta was nothing short of shocking. Delta employees were rude, ineffective, and either unable or unwilling to do the simple things required to do their jobs in a reasonable fashion.

From the ticketing agents (who took nearly two hours to print out our tickets AND double charged us for the infant fee) to the flight attendants (who were grumpy, rude, failed to bring an infant seatbelt, and one who actually fell asleep during take-off!) to the gate agents (who sent M running across the airport to fix THEIR mistake) to the finance department (who refuse to refund the double charge) we were not impressed.

As if that were not enough, all three adults (but not the baby) got serious food poisoning from eating the airline meals on our last flight. We didn't eat anything else, so we know it was their food. Delta is in serious need of a figurative smacking. I will be doing my best to avoid buying tickets from them in the future.

Monday, December 06, 2010

To Gift or Not to Gift

Our extended family is currently going through a crisis.  Okay that might be over-stating things just a tiny bit, but at least we're engaging in a debate.  The issue?  Christmas.  Not the holiday as a whole, I think everyone is pretty much in favor of that, but the question of gift-giving.  The brothers and I (and M too actually) all grew up with the idea that Christmas was, well, a time of plenty.  In other words, there was always and excess of special treats, an excess of decorations, and an excess of presents.  We (I hope I can speak for them) enjoyed things to the hilt.  Christmases were absolutely magic.

As a grown up I have always wanted to recreate such feelings.  Now that I have a child I would very much like for her to have a holiday as wonderful as mine.  However, not everyone in our family feels this way.  Some point out that the crass commercialism of it all is neither healthy nor charming, and that if we want to truly appreciate each other on Christmas we would do it without so many (any?) gifts.  I can absolutely understand the point, but I still can't pry myself away from the desire to shower people with goodies.  I still love the pile of beautiful presents underneath the tree, and that is a pale shadow of how much I loved the scene when I was a kid.

Couldn't we all agree to bump up or charitable giving, buy nothing in January, or do some volunteering to contribute to the greater good?  That way we could still have our Christmas and eat it too.  I know the one thing does not cancel out the other, and I also know that I'm starting to sound whiney and shrill, but this is an issue that causes me a certain amount of angst.  If you celebrate, where does your family fall on the festive vs. frugal spectrum?     

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom '10

Happy birthday to my most favorite mom.  I really REALLY appreciate your work, and so do a lot of other people.  Love from all of us. 

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Baby's First Cold

Our poor little girl started to get sick the day before Thanksgiving, but I didn't realize it in time and dragged her out to visit family.  Every day since I keep thinking "okay now she must be getting better" but so far this crud just hangs around.  We are now on day nine, and she is still snuffly and sad.  Nursing is not easy due to the congestion, and every morning her eyes are goopy.  Then there's the sleeping.  Actually what I mean to say is that there isn't much in the way of sleeping.  When her nose gets completely blocked she wakes up crying.  This happens about every one to two hours.  She tries to smile and play normally, sweet little thing, but she spends a lot of time leaning back on the pillows to rest.  I know she really isn't that sick, but it is hard to watch anyway.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Planning to Kick the Bucket

No, no M and I do not plan on dying any time soon.  However, now that we have Delphinium we thought it would be prudent to have a will and such to cover the possibilities.  Thus we met with a lawyer and filled out a questionnaire about our "wishes" (hmmm, not to die?).  It was very odd to be thinking about funeral arrangements and bequests and trust funds, but it was worth it to know that everything would be okay for the kid.

Recently we went back to the lawyers office to sign and finalize the whole thing.  The two parts that made me chuckle were the repeated use of the word "testatrix" to describe me (M got "testator" which is not nearly as cool) and the reading of the official script.  That's right, in order for the testatrix to finalize her will, she must read OUT LOUD a statement of intent about this being the actual will and testament blah, blah, blah.  It was really hard not to laugh at that point, but I managed to remain dignified. 

At the end, I did have a weird moment of feeling like I was looking into the future.  Here we were, two young (ish) adults with our baby daughter, tying up our plans in the form of this will.  At some point down the line (hopefully a long time away) a grown Delphinium will probably sit in some similar conference room and unwind the very same document.  Strange thought, but I guess that's the way it's supposed to go. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Usually around Thanksgiving time I make a list of on hundred things for which I am thankful.  This was always part of an assignment for my English students, but this year I do not have a class.  That is actually fine because this year I am not collecting the huge list.  It's not that I don't appreciate all those wonderful bits and pieces.  It's just that this year I am so especially thankful for Delphinium that she eclipes everything else. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Delphinium thinks the snow is all very well and good (we are on day three) but she does not much care for the dressing required to actually get outside.  The first layer of thermal onsie is fine, and she cheerfully pushes her fists through the little sleeves.  Mom does the snapping, and voila! the first layer is done!  Then comes the full body sleeper suit, and again the baby is pretty helpful about sleeves and feet and snaps and all.  However by the time we get to the pants and sweater, she is really not feeling so good about things. 

All that finally accomplished, you would think that any normal mom and dad would call it good, but not poor Delphinium's parents.  They make her put on a huge coat on top of it all, and by the time she's squeezing into the 8th sleeve, this baby has really had enough.  Luckily, that's about the time that we actually go outside, and the view of the world turned completely white is so arresting that our little girl forgets why she was annoyed. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

First Snow

Delphinium's very first sight of snow was eeeearly on Sunday morning.  She didn't seem to take much notice of the change outside the window, but when I wrapped her in a blanket and hat and took her outside, there was definitely recognition.  At first she just seemed sort of perplexed by all the excitement, but then she actually started looking at the little flakes falling on her sleeve.  I made a little ball of snow and touched it to her cheek.  That got a smile at last.  Then she just snuggled in close and watched the white come down.  It really wasn't that much of a snow, and what we did get was gone quite soon, but I have high hopes for more in the near future!

Friday, November 19, 2010


I know, I know this has become nothing but a baby log, but that's pretty much my whole life right now (M too of course!).  What else would I write? 

Can't remember if I've mentioned the teething.  For those who don't get to see little Delphinium on a regular basis, the teething fairy is definitely hovering around our house.  We don't have any actual teeth, mind you, just lots and lots and lots of drool with occasional lashings of itchiness and pain.  Our poor little girl goes through about half a dozen bibs a day sometimes, and often I am still not changing them fast enough.  She also rubs her ear (or occasionally scratches it) when the discomfort radiates throughout the jaw. 

Then of course there's the chewing.  She is quite determined to get her entire fist in her mouth, and when that isn't enough she tries anything and everything else she can grab.  Bumpy binkies are popular (thanks Auntie C. for the fabulous raspberries) as are burp clothes, all sorts of toys, boardbooks (they all have sodden edges), and even the kitty's tail if only it would sit still long enough.  Frozen rings and rags are not poplar because they make her hands cold, and then that makes her cry.  The sweetest is when she grabs mom's or dad's hand and pulls it to her mouth for some quality chewing.  Hands down (har!) Daddy's fingers taste the best.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby's First Gymboree or Proof We are Yuppies

Yes, yes, I finally caved.  My PEPS group has been attending Gymboree baby classes for some time now, but Delphinium and I were in South Africa when it all began.  Now that we're back, we were invited to go along.  I had some qualms since I've always seen Gymboree as a silly activity for people who didn't know how to play with their own children.  However, peer pressure is large, so I bundled the baby into the car on a rainy afternoon, and we headed off to the class.

My first impression was not so good.  The circle of babies included ones as young as three months and as old as seven.  How much can a little baby get from a singing and movement class?  Then the shockingly young teachers (they seemed about fourteen but probably weren't) got things going with a welcome song.  For the next few minutes I was in agony.  The songs were beyond twee, and chatter from the teachers was irritating, and they had stupid names for the toys.  I love playing with my baby, but this was ridiculous. 

Then I noticed something.  Delphinium was having a ball.  She loved looking in the mirror on the floor.  She giggled and cooed for the clapping games, and she thought the "sensory time" was fascinating.  Even the parachute, which made other babies cry, was amazing.  "Aha!" I said to myself "this is one of those times when I need to get over myself!" and then I did.   We had a lovely time together, and I only winced a little when they brought out the "Gymbo" puppets. 

Monday, November 08, 2010

Food! Glorious Food!

These days the laundry is always tinged with a sort of golden orange.  No, M has not joined a cult.  It's all the butternut squash that edges most of the baby clothes.  That's right, we have moved beyond the age of milk and we are no experimenting with actual food.  It started with rice cereal made with breast milk (to keep things a little familiar) and that was such a success that we went to squash in the second week. 

You should have seen Delphinium's face when she got her first bite.  I don't think I've ever seen anyone that excited over plain porridge.  She eats with both hands, and it is actually quite a challenge to get the spoon into her mouth before she can grab it away from you.  The first spoonful of butternut was a bit more of a shock (this is certainly NOT milk!) but it too became very popular in no time at all.  By the end of a meal she is liberally coated in orange goo, but she is happy.  Next week we may try peas.  I sincerely hope she and food have a long and happy life together. 

Friday, November 05, 2010

Did You Call?

Earlier this week I wouldn't know if you'd called because my cel phone was, well, unavailable. It wasn't missing, but I couldn't exactly answer it if it rang. It all started when I went to pick up the nieces from their respective schools. Both kids in tow, I asked Elder Niece (newly promoted to the front seat after turning twelve) to call my mom since I'm not the sort of person who calls and drives. When in the car, I often leave my phone in the niche next to the emergency brake, so it was easy for her to make the call and then put the phone back where she found it. We went off on our merry way, and I didn't think another thing about it.

Eventually, we got home, bundled out of the car like a heard of elephants, ate snack, began homework, and started to make some dinner. Since we were still waiting to hear from my mom, I thought I would check my phone for messages. Oh noes! I left it in the car! Running out to the garage, I found that the phone was not in the usual niche. Instead, it was about four inches to the right wedged in another little crevice, but this one was the rubber gasket for the emergency brake! Are you visualizing this? I could just see the top sticking out next to the lever. I tried to pull it out, but of course it slipped down inside the housing like a ship beneath the waves (sigh).

Ten thousand attempts to retrieve the phone were unsuccessful, so the next day Delphinium and I made a pilgrimage to our favorite mechanic. We got to spend some quality time in the beautiful autumn sunshine while they fished the phone out for us. No harm done! Of course I know Elder Niece did not intend to do this, she doesn't have a trouble-making bone in her body, but I may need to be more careful next time. Who knows, with Delphinium learning to crawl soon this may be only the beginning.

Monday, November 01, 2010

South African Blergh

Ah the joy of souvenirs from your vacation.  Cute little doodads, postcards, candy from foreign lands, and also bacteria and viruses.  It seems we brought a Norwalk-type thing home with us because I was driving the porcelain bus all day on Friday, and now M is feeling quite poorly.  Nausea has got to be the worst of the standard illnesses.  Let's just hope that our Little Miss remains immune. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monkey Feet

The other night, I was trying to put Delphinium to bed.  She has trouble going to sleep on her own (surprise, surprise) so I usually nurse her and rock her at bedtime.  This evening she was wearing a little sleeper printed with monkeys and the feet were monkey faces.  She looked so cute as I put her in her crib.  As I put her down, she started to shuffle and wake up a bit.  I covered her with blankets and then sat down in the rocker to see if she would sooth herself back to sleep.  For a while all was quiet, and I thought she might have have gone down on her own, but then I saw two monkey faces bobbing around above the level of the bumper.  She was wide awake and amusing herself by waving both feet in the air.  One of those sweet pictures I won't soon forget.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bird Battle

A few days ago we ate lunch at a restaurant with a deck that looked out over the ocean.  It was an amazing spot due to the views, but it did have one small problem.  The local birds viewed this outdoor dining area as a wonderful snack bar.  Having been fed by hundreds of stupid tourists, they were bold as brass about coming on to your table, getting right up next to you, and stealing things off your very plate (if you let them).  Some might find this amusing, but I do not think we should feed wild birds or encourage them to be so familiar.  Therefore, armed with a drinking straw I whacked any bird that can within arms reach.  Okay, so maybe "whack" is too strong a word.  I wasn't trying to hurt them, but I did want to encourage them to head elsewhere.  Unfortunately, the striped mice were too fast for me.  It was a most memorable meal.

Monday, October 25, 2010

South Africa Part 2

This computer sucks, so I'm keeping this short (soorry for the errors)

Yesterday and the day before were our outings from the valley where M's mom lives and into the city of Capetown.  Our first stop was Kerstenbosch gardens where we met up with an old school friend of M's and his family.  We had a wonderful time doing lunch and wandering the acres upon acres of flower s, trees, and artwork.  Delphinium was especially happy due to her passionate love of trees.  I could visit the gardens weekly and never be bored.

The next stop was the suburb of Simon's Town.  We stayed in a sun-washed guest house with the most impressive view of the bay and the navy yards.   At one point we heard the boom of a ships horn, and the battleship glided out to sea.  We kept trying to drink up the sun and the setting as much as possible.  After one night there, we set off for more sights.

Still in Simon's Town we headed down to one special beach where we could view the penguins.  Yes, yes, there are penguins in South Africa.  Jack Ass Penguins enjoy the warm water, and many of them come to the sunny beach to molt and breed.  They are very sweet in their black and white suits, but the smell is a bit like a hen house. 

Lastly, we drove the winding road to the Cape Point Reserve.  This is the point where the Indian and Atlantic ocean currents meet.  The point itself is a startling piece of rock jutting up out of the surrounding water.  A classic lighthouse perches on the edge, and visitors can take the "Funicular" tram up to the highest point.  The views were quite startling.  It certainly didn't hurt that the sky was brilliant blue, and the cormerants were screaming over head.  A good time was had by all.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

News from South Africa

Please pardon the mistakes.  I'm typing this on a trying computer.
What a long strange trip it's been.  However, it's really been a very good one.  We left Seattle on Sunday afternoon, flew for nine hours to Amsterdam, and then took a twelve hour flight to Cape Town.  During the entire trip, Delphinium barely cried at all.  When getting on each of the planes, you could see the people around us staring and glaring at being seated near a baby.  By the end, we were getting compliments about what a good passenger she was.  I was completely floored.  The air part of this trip has been worrying me for months, and it was no problem at all.  She ate, slept, played, and charmed others and did not really cry at all.  May it please continue on our flight home.
We've been at M's mom's house for several days now, and the time change is what is really effecting us.  The first "night" the baby did not want to go to sleep at all, and then when she did, she was up again four hours later.  From 4am on, we drank tea and played with her.  Now, a few more days in, she is still struggling to adjust.  We're a bit tired, but otherwise doing just fine.As far as activities, we've been taking it pretty easy.  We've had some very nice meals out, and we got the chance to visit a vineyard and goat dairy the other day.  We tried about ten different kinds of cheese as well as olives, candied fruit, salads, and crusty bread.  Mmmmm.  Aside from the beautiful formal garden, they also had an impressive veggie patch including a scarecrow dressed in world cup finery.  In many ways it doesn't feel very different here, but then you notice the springbok in among the goats.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Travel Prep

I am officially beginning to freak out.  Our trip is just a few days away, and that means we have to face the realities of flying with an infant for TWENTY hours!  Usually I make a deal with myself that if I can't do anything to change a situation I might as well skip getting upset about it.  Somehow the zen approach just isn't working this time.  I feel like there is something I ought to be doing to prepare.  What can it be?  Then I go around and around trying to imagine the possibilities. 

Packing is another challenge.  I've accepted that we will not be going lightly now that we have the baby, but I'm still trying not to let it get too ridiculous.  M bought us two new hard-sided suitcases, so we have plenty of space, but the trick is not to exceed the weight limit.  Fortunately, we have access to a washer once we get there, so we don't have to pack too crazy much.  The part that's most confusing me is packing for the baby.

What does a baby really need for a long trip?  We use so many different toys, swings, bouncers, strollers, rockers, cribs, etc. during the course of our day that I can't quite imagine not having them.  However, we can't take it all, so we'll just have to make do.  I'm also trying to figure out which things need to come in our carry-on for the actual plane flight.  The only thing I'm sure of right now is the need for lots of diapers and changes of clothes.  If you've flown with an infant before, feel free to leave me your advice. 

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Five Months of Baby

Better late than never!

At five months old, Delphinium is working on many of the same skills she started on last month:

-she can really control and coordinate her movements now, so reaching and grabbing is far more successful

-she shows preferences for certain toys such as Green Bunny, raspberry binkies, Gerald the Giraffe, and Miss Mousey

-she can now actively throw away toys she no longer wants

-she can roll over but mostly chooses not too

-she loves to do situps which consists of pulling her head and shoulder and feet and legs off the ground in an attempt to sit up

-she loves to put her feet up in the air and sometimes grab them with her hands, and shoes quickly become chew toys

-she's still drooling waterfalls, but no teeth in sight

-she turns to the sound of her name, and will happily chat with you through long conversations

-she loves to read stories such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I am a Bunny, and Great Day for Up

-she sleeps through the night very well, but does not like to nap during the day

-she NO LONGER hates the stroller!  Woot!

-she NO LONGER hates the carseat!  (unless she's really tired)

she is about to become a world traveler, so wish us luck!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Basic Vaccines Done!

I took my poor little miss to the doctor again today.  She's not due for her six month check-up for another couple of weeks, but the doctor wanted to make sure she got her full course of regular shots before we head off to the third world.  Therefore, we made a special "jabs only" visit today.  It makes my heart turn over to see her smiling and giggling while we wait.  Little does she know.  Luckily this was not such a tramatic visit.  I was playing with her and tickling her while the nurse gave the shots and she didn't even cry until the second one went in.  Even then, it was only a moment or two.  Now she's sleeping off the effects (was there ever a sweeter picture than a sleeping baby?), and hopefully by tomorrow she'll be all better.   

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Banned Books Week 2010

Banned books week is here once again, and I almost missed it!  It seems that requests to remove literature from American libraries and schools are once again on the rise.  The American Library Association keeps track of official challenges and tabulates the most frequently challenged titles for each year.  This year's list includes Twilight, The Color Purple, and The Chocolate War.  Interestingly, many of these titles were challenged on the grounds of "religious perspective" which must mean that of the challenger because Twilight does not include a religious perspective as far as I can tell.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Tomato Funeral

The blight has come to our tomato patch.  It seems that the large amount of summer rain encouraged the growth of a fungus, and all the tomato plants are paying the price.  The vines died from the ground up, and all the fruit that was still green has now turned black.  We salvaged about one more pound from the wreckage.  That makes maybe five pounds of tomatoes in all this year.  We spent $36 for plants plus perhaps $6 for soil  this year, so we put in $42 in total.  $42/5 pounds is $8.40 per pound for organic home-grown tomatoes.  That's even more expensive than the farmers' market!  Still when you factor in the hundred times the baby and I went out to watch them grow it comes out all right. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gold Stars

Hello everybody, my name is Joy, and I'm a gold star addict.  No, no, gold star is not the latest designer gin or raver drug.  It is that rush many of us get from being patted on the back.  I think it starts out very young when our parents say things like "Good job Joy!  You went pee in the potty!" or "Wow!  I'm so impressed by how much you ate of that mashed banana!" Praise!  Validation!  A warm, happy feeling spreads through your tummy.  You eat it up, and another gold star addict is born. 

And there's really nothing wrong  with gold stars and kids.  It helps them to make good choices, and to feel happy about their accomplishments.  A good mark (and maybe some praise from teachers and parents?) on a paper at school makes you feel so good that you want to work hard on the next paper too.  All through childhood I really do not see a problem, but at some point we have to be weaned away from this habit.

Once you're an adult it just doesn't work so well.  Sometimes, at work, you can find that kind of validation, but even there it's not going to be consistent.  Most of the time at work people simply expect you to do what needs to be done (or not but that's a whole other topic).  At home you really aren't going to get a lot of back patting.  You empty the dish washer and, hey presto, the crowd goes wild!  Not so much.  The key is to learn to do things for the sake of getting them done.

Becoming a mom has really brought this home to me.  M. is very good about helping out and offering encouragement.  However, most of the time it is just the two of us here at home, and the baby is really not capable of being a cheerleader.  At this point you just have to dig in and do the laundry, diapering, dishes, vacuuming, etc because you are the mommy and that's what mommies do.  Suddenly the gold stars seem to matter less.  A clean (ish!) house and a happy baby are their own rewards.  Most of the time.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It Gets Better

The gay rights movement has had an up and down week. In Florida, gays and lesbians are now able to adopt children after the state supreme court found the ban to be unconstitutional. On the other hand, Don't Ask Don't Tell remains in effect in the U.S. military. How some of this can still be allowed to stand in 2010 is beyond me. 

The challenges experienced by gay adults are nothing compared to those faced by children and teens. The suicide rates for homosexual (or even just those perceived as gay) teens are far above the norm. This type of abuse remains one of the most accepted forms of harassment because many parents still believe that homosexuality is wrong. School administrators and teachers often feel hog-tied in their ability to help because parents object to anything that might be deemed "pro-gay". Or at least that's the excuse.

Many students report feeling hopeless as their peers and even their families reject or abuse them.  For some it must seem as though a normal life may never be possible.  In response to the suicide of 15 year old Billy Lucas, Dan Savage made the video, It Gets Better.  You've got to see it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Swaddler No More

Yesterday, we went to the store to purchase yet another box of diapers (go ahead judge me). We needed the next size up, but for some reason I just couldn't find our preferred brand in the correct size. Then M pointed out that the box I was looking for was right there on the shelf in front of me. Why couldn't I see it? It seems that size three diapers are a new category, and so the name and packaging change. I was used to looking for those nice green and teal "swaddler" boxes, but no, it seems that we are now purple "cruisers." I know this is a silly little thing, but it made me sniff a little. My baby is tiny no more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Hunger Games

Just a quick plug for my favorite series of late, The Hunger Games. While this author can be found in the Young Adult section, her stories are quite readable by all ages so long as you enjoy sci. fi. dystopian future stuff. All three books deal with issues around authoritarian governments, poverty, and human rights. However, the main theme in all three is actually the power of media to shape opinion. The Hunger Games themselves are the world's worst reality TV show where young people from all over the country are forced to fight to the death in a giant arena. The cameras are always on, and the rest of the population gets to enjoy the spectacle. Of course there's always that one person who can't seem to play by the rules. Just do your best to ignore the love triangle which is trite and unnecesarry.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Elder Niece Grows Up

Our first little girl (of her generation anyway) is really and truly growing up. Elder Niece turned twelve a few weeks ago, and I can hardly pick my jaw up off the floor. She is tall, graceful, well-spoken, and self-possessed these days; a far cry from the little kid she was about five minutes ago. I can so clearly remember that solemn little face, and I am very glad to notice that she smiles much more than in earlier times. She might even be, dare I say it, a tolerable teen when the time comes. Happy birthday big girl!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Corn and Blueberry Salad

I've been meaning to post this for ages. I saw a recipe like this one in a magazine, and I couldn't believe corn and blueberries would be a nice combo. Provided you get good ingrediants, it is an incredible (and pretty) salad. Red pepper and cucumber are nice additions too:

6 ears fresh sweet corn, husked
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. ground cumin (preferably whole, toasted, and then ground)

Try it out I dare you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ten Years Since 9/11

It was my second week of teaching (in my whole career) when I heard about the first plane. I remember going into my principal's office and watching the smoke pour from the first tower. I wish I'd kept a blog back then to remember the rest of the details. I do remember the kids having lots of questions. It was probably quite different then because most kids didn't have cel phones. If something like that happened today; it would be a different story. I saw a TV piece about how many of the soldiers who are currently in Afghanistan can barely remember 9/11 since so many of them were elementary kids at the time that it happened. The world will never be the same.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rolling Over

Delphinium did it! She rolled over! She's been doing a lot of almost sit-ups and side curls for some time now, and today, just after her dad got home from work, she rolled all the way over. She seemed truly surprised to find herself on her tummy all of a sudden. Then she proceeded to do it again just for good measure. M tried very hard to capture it on video, but she refused to perform. Next up, crawling, and then the world!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

First Day of School

Yesterday was Elder Niece's first day of middle school! She was really, really nervous about going, but I have no doubt it will be a good transition. She is, of course, in the high performing program which is a great fit for her intelligence and her dedication (but I'm not biased!). Proof that she's in the right place? She took herself to the bookstore over the summer and bought a middle school prep book and a spelling book. She spent a portion of her summer studying up (not that she needed it) and it was all of her own free will. I wish she could be in my class!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Rainy Walk

Ever since Delphinium was very tiny, we've struggled over walks. This is due to the fact that I like them and she doesn't. It seems to stem from her dislike of most baby carrying methods such as strollers, baby packs, and other strollers. Were I willing to carry her in my arms the whole way, she would be a big fan of the walk. Unfortunately, after about the first half mile, this gets very tiring for maternal backs.

Then we hit on something big. We've been using the Baby Bjorn since she was born, but it was not until Delphinium was strong enough to face out that it became popular. Now you can put her in it, and she will remain happy for an hour or more. This is exciting for all kinds of reasons.

Yesterday, we decided to put the Bjorn to good use by going for a walk. We'd been cooped up in the car during the morning, so it seems like a good idea to get out and move around. I'd never taken her out in the rain before, but since she's so close to me while in the Bjorn I knew an umbrella would work well. We bundled up a little, grabbed our sunny yellow umbrella, and headed out into the world.

The umbrella turned out to be half the fun. She kept looking up at it (do admire the color?) and chatting out loud about it. We looked at flowers of all colors, watched crows hopping around in the road, and admired the big kids who were playing in the yard at the school. The best part, though, was the deer. She was standing in a forested spot near the school, and she did not seem in the least worried about our presence. She calmly stood there eating dripping blackberries about twenty feet from where we were standing.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Camping at Penrose Point

For the past five years, a sub-set of the family has used the last weekend of August for our traditional camping weekend. We love to pitch our tents in some beautiful site, build fires, cook our meals over the coals, and then sit around singing songs and trading puns and word play. It's a great chance to catch up with one another before the craziness of the school year hits. This year, everything seems to have changed, but we still didn't want to miss out on this chance.

This year, we had a few more challenges than before. Not only do we have a new baby to think about, but my broken tailbone is still bothering me too. Nevertheless, we remained undaunted, so off we set for Penrose State Park near Purdy. The car trip was a bit uncomfortable for me, but the baby did a fabulous job and did not cry even once. After about an hour and a half of driving, we crossed over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. This was very exciting for all of us (having never been) since we've seen the old video of "galloping Gertie" many times. Luckily she stayed safely aloft for our trip over.

A little more driving brought us to the park where the rest of the family was already waiting. It is a beautiful park set on the water with the camp sites back in the woods. Sites are close together, but if you went on a less popular weekend, the might not be an issue. For us, it turned out to be a bad thing because the 50-something lady in the campsite next to ours decided to stay up late drinking boxed wine and talking, talking, talking about anything and everything. We heard her opinion on dozens of topics, but we did not hear quiet until two or three in the morning.

It was also a bit anxious to camp with the baby because the temperature got down into the low 50s, and it was very tough to be sure that she was staying warm enough. At one point in the night I found that she'd poked her little hand out of the blankets, and it felt as cold as a popsicle. I kept waking up to check that she was warm enough all night long. It was not what you would call a restful night.

The next day we did get the chance to enjoy the dramatic scenery. The park is surrounded on two sides by water, so there are many impressive views. Rocky beaches and mud flats are also common, and the girls had a wonderful time cruising the edge of the mud flats looking for sand dollars and tiny fish. There were kayaking and fishing opportunities as well, but we never got that far.

As much as we enjoyed ourselves on Saturday, as it got closer to bedtime, I just couldn't face another night in the tent. Our noisy neighbor was still in residence next door, and the overnight temperatures were not supposed to be any warmer. Thus we admitted defeat. After a lovely campfire dinner, we headed for home. Next time maybe we'll last the whole weekend. Still, I'm very glad we went.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Four Months of Baby

At four months old, Delphinium can now:

-Hold up her head, neck, and back well enough to ride on your hip

-Happily ride forward facing in the baby bjorn (hooray! going out in public just got SO much easier)

-Laugh out loud (especially when Dad is being hilarious)

-Coo and make all sorts of talking sounds (sometimes when she's unhappy she doesn't cry, but instead tells you, in very earnest tones, about all the things she thinks need fixing)

-Hold up her head and shoulders when turned on her tummy

-Lift her bottom in the air by pushing off with hands and knees

-Scream for an entire mile while hating on the stroller

-Scream for an entire car trip while hating on the car seat

-Grab all sorts of things and stuff them in her mouth (towels, blankets, her own clothes, toys)

-Drool, drool, drool

-Suck her thumb

-Sleep all night (for about the last seven weeks fingers crossed, crossed, crossed!)

-Kick off ALL those stupid blankets

-Streeeetch like super baby

-Melt family members through extreme cuteness and a highly lovable nature

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

All Things Big and Small

Hard to believe but little Delphinium is four months old! She just went to see the doctor for her well baby appointment and was pronounced in excellent health. We also had the traditional parental fun of finding out her growth compared to other children her age. Her height and weight are in the 95th percentile, so we can relax in the knowlege that she's getting enough to eat.

Then came the shocker, her head circumfrence is in the 5th percentile. Yes, you heard that correctly, the 5th percentile. I should not be too surprised since M also has quite a small head (you'd never guess by looking at him!) but the comparison between body and head is just so strange. Oh well we know her brain is growing because she learns new and fabulous skills all the time. Perhaps I can find a place to order custom-made hats.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hornets - But Not the Green Kind

It all started when the pregnant yard worker got stung by a hornet in our front yard. It seems we've been harboring a huge hornet nest without even realizing. After making sure the poor lady was not going to swell up and die (her partner took her home), we headed inside and closed all the doors and windows. M got right on the phone and found an exterminator very quickly. They were able to come in only half an hour, and soon we had a man in a full bee suit in our yard. He sprayed the next and took it away without much fuss, but as he was working M could see the hornets shooting out of the hive and landing on the house and yard. I was afraid for the neighboring kids, so I went out the back door and went to warn the houses nearby. As far as I know, nobody but the orignial person ever got stung. All in all, not the way you want to spend your time (or money) but at least the results were good.

Friday, August 20, 2010

And Then I Went Crunch

Yesterday, Delphinium and I were getting ready to go have dinner with my mom. We went upstairs to change into fresh clothes, came back down, and then realized we'd forgotten baby socks. For the 400th time that day, we trudged back up, grabbed a lovely pale green pair with colorful spots, and headed back down again. About half way down the stairs we ran into trouble.

Honestly, I'm not really sure what went wrong, but all of a sudden I was tumbling. You hear stories about the inborn impulse to keep the baby safe, and I can say that it is true. With no actual thought involved, she ended up on top of me even though I'd been carrying her on my hip. For myself, I landed on my back and tailbone and then slid several steps before coming to rest near the bottom. Somehow a wall hanging came down too, so there was quite a little pile of me, baby, hanging, and socks.

I wanted to just lay there for a moment and catch my breath, but I really, really needed to know that the baby was okay. She did not seem to be anything other than startled, but I still patted her down and checked all over her head and especially her eyes to look for damage. Seeing nothing wrong, I picked her up and moved her down to the couch so I could undress her and do a further check. Nothing appeared wrong, but she was still crying and crying. Finally I realized that I was probably making horrible grimaces at her, so I tried smiling instead. Sure enough, she started to hiccup and sigh instead of screaming. Within a few minutes, she was her normal happy self.

I was not my normal happy self. In addition to various scrapes and tweaks, my back side was screaming. My tailbone got the worst of the experience, and sitting down was extremely painful. I called my mom, and she arrived about an hour later. That was very good news since she was able to take the baby. Within a few hours, I had a visit from Mobile Medicine, and they said my tailbone was either bruised, sprained, or broken, but it didn't really matter which since there's no treatment for any of them. Today I'm feeling a bit better, sitting on a boppy, and taking ibuprofen. M says it happens to everyone sooner or later. The lesson of the hour is to use the handrail EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remembering How Lucky We Are

Yesterday I went to the dentist ALL BY MYSELF! It was pretty unsettling to be on my own even though Delphinium was with her dad and then her grandma during my appointment. I have absolute faith in both of those people, but it was still just very odd. Over time, perhaps that feeling like I've accidentally left one of my arms at home will fade.

When I got to the dentist, all the office folks and hygienists asked after the baby since I'd been seven months pregnant the last time I'd been. We chatted for a while about the joys and challenges of parenthood, and then I remembered that the last time I'd also talked to the office manager who was also expecting a baby this summer. I asked the hygienist about her, and the story she told was exceptionally heartbreaking.

It seems that the office manager was due at the end of July about three months after our baby. Early in her pregnancy she got the news that her baby was chromosomally abnormal, but she chose to carry the pregnancy to term in hopes that the abnormalities would not be significant. When the baby was born, they discovered that it had no diaphragm, and the lower organs had risen to fill the chest. This meant there was no room for lungs, and they barely formed at all. The baby lived for half a day.

In the miracle that is childbearing, we often forget how incredibly complex the whole system is and how many chances there are for things to go wrong. The amazement should lie in how often the process goes well. I went home to hug, hug, hug my beautiful, strong, little girl. I hope with all my heart that things go differently for that family next time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vanishing Elders

The Japanese are known as one of the longest-lived cultures due to their healthy diet and lifestyle. Or are they? This article is about the scandal currently emerging in Japan over the care of the nation's oldest people. It seems that the whole thing was touched off when officials went to check up on the nation's oldest man only to discover that he'd been dead for more than thirty years. Now it seems that many of those listed as centenarians are actually missing in action. Does Japan really revere its elders?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Reading Cont.

I just have to brag a little. Some kids have to be coaxed, pushed, and tricked into summer reading, but not my nieces. This summer, both nieces have been visiting the public library on a regular basis with their nanny. They've also both enrolled in the summer reading program which began when school let out. The rules are something like "read ten books (appropriate to age) and win a free book as a prize." Elder Niece casually announced that she'd already won her free book and was doing the program over again to get a second. As if that were not enough, this girl reads real books. There are no biographies of Britney Spears on her list.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Reading

I am shocked to discover that summer reading is good for kids. The New York Times recently ran this article about a study of elementary students who were given free books to take home over the summer. Half were allowed to choose from various age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction picks while the other group were given puzzle and activity books. After three such summers, the children who had access to extra reading practice during the summer scored far higher in reading than their puzzle working peers.

This is doubly significant because the children were allowed to pick their books AND how much they read over the summer. In other words, even seemingly schlocky books can be the avenue to choice (not parent or teacher forced) reading. Once kids get the knack for reading as fun, the sky is the proverbial limit. Those of us who might want to impose our own literary standards need to sit on our collective thumbs.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two Thumbs Up

The big baby news of the last week has been all about the thumbs. Delphinium has been trying for some time to get her hands into her mouth, but recently a break through occurred. Ladies and gentlemen, the thumb has been located! Yes, it's true, it came away from the hand and found its way into our girl's mouth without the rest of the fist. This was BIG NEWS in our world because it means that Delphinium now has a built-in pacifier that she can deploy at will.

The only difficulty we've encountered (other than wondering where that thumb may have been) has to do with the rest of the fingers. It turns out that if you put your thumb in your mouth without first curling the other fingers you tend to poke yourself in the eye. Of course you do not realize the cause and effect, and glare at your parents wondering why they've allowed some mysterious force to injure you in this shocking way. For the moment, we're keeping her nails as short as possible and hoping the second half of the lesson comes as quickly as the first.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Being a Grown-up

Recently, I was watching a toddler play with bubbles. This made me think about how easy it is for little kids to find amazement and joy in the world. Flickering lights and tree boughs over head make my daughter stare in wonder. How sad it is that we adults can't find such simple pleasures. Then I realized this is a double edged sword. If we were so easily distracted, there would be all sorts of things we couldn't do. Driving would be impossible if the sight of sun on water so diverted our attention that we then crashed the car. Also, the young brain that so readily becomes elated has the flip side of being always on the edge of despair. One advantage of being an adult is the perspective on what is or is not a terrible tragedy.

Things that do not make me cry:

10. Falling asleep

9. Slow food service

8. Red traffic lights

7. Strangers smiling at me

6. Potty moments

5. Losing things

4. Loud noises

3. Riding in the car

2. Being alone

1. Changing clothes

Monday, August 02, 2010


Last week's mommy movie was actually more of a daddy movie. I've never seen so many fathers at one of these weekly baby-friendly movie showings. I guess that's due to the fact that it was sci-fi and not some schlocky chick flick. Inception is certainly no chick flick. It aims to be a more of a mind bleep (if you know what I mean). The plot is incredibly complicated (I won't even try) and it requires you to put the realistic part of your brain on vacation. That being said; it was a fun ride. Just make sure you don't go while sleepy, or your head might fall off.

Friday, July 30, 2010

First Date

Yes, you read that correctly! We went on our first date! No, no, not our first date ever (that was nearly eight years ago) but our first date since the baby came. In honor of our anniversary, we took the baby to Grandma's house, and left her there for more than TWO hours! Then we snuck off to a restaurant on the waterfront and watched the boats and the sunset.

I think we even looked more-or-less normal since our hair was combed and we did not have any spit-up stains in any obvious places. M. actually looked quite handsome in his white button-down with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that we haven't forgotten how to talk about things other than our daughter.

By the time we got back from our outing, the baby had eaten, gone for a walk, cried a bit, had several changes, put on PJ's, and enjoyed her own private music show. She did not even seem to notice our return because she was too busy watching Mr. D. play. I do believe a good time was had by all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Two Years Married

What a difference a couple of years can make! Not only are we still married, but now we have our own sweet little Delphinium as well. I could not ask for anything better. M remains the best friend and husband a girl could have, and now he is Super Dad as well. Happy anniversary to my dear husband. May we please have 70 or 80 more?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ten Things That Wake Baby

10. My creaking bones (I'm not kidding)
9. Creaking floor boards
8. Kids playing in the street
7. Crows hopping around on our roof
6. Diaper moments ('nough said)
5. The garbage truck
4. The recycling truck
3. The yard waste truck
2. Lawn mowers
1. The cat (who does it on purpose to get back at me)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mommy Movies

One of the challenges of having a baby is that there are things you used to enjoy in your old life that you can no longer do. Babysitters are all well and good, but they require preparation, money, and the willingness to leave your baby. Therefore, I love, love, love the Mommy Movies at Lincoln Square Cinemas.

Mommy movies are every Thursday at 10am in Bellevue. They usually show three current-run movies that appeal to mommy-aged people not little kids. The lights are left up and the sound is turned down so that babies are not disturbed and their parents can still see to tend them. Added to that the free snack delivery from the concession stand, and you have a wonderful morning out for moms and dads. Of course babies do occasionally cry during these movies, and parents can be seen pacing the aisles from time to time. However, when you have one of your own it really doesn't bother you at all. Hooray for outings with baby! Hooray for maternal sanity! Hooray for Lincoln Square Cinemas!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Art of Sleep: All Through the Night

She did it! Oh she did it! She slept through the night without feeding or changing! She went down around 11pm and did not wake up again until 7:15! Of course I kept waking up to check that she was okay, but I didn't have to do anything for her because she was STILL ASLEEP! I know, I know this does not mean she will do it again any time soon, but it is such a thrill just to know it's possible. MY baby slept through the night!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

All Joy and No Fun

A few weeks ago, this article went pinging around FB like mad. All the parents, new and experienced, seemed excited about it. While it is a long read for an article, I had no trouble getting through. The main theme is about how parenting can be simultaneously the best thing going and the hardest job ever. Study after study finds that parents are stressed, bored, exhausted and otherwise wrung out by their kids, so why, the authors ask, do people keep signing up for the job? The answer may lie in your definition of happiness. To paraphrase on great quote from the article: Parenting is the greatest source of joy in the world, but it turns all your other sources of joy to shit. Seems a bit strong to me, but I do see the point.

What interested me most about the passing around of the article was the subtle (or not so subtle) admission among friends that we aren't always completely blissful as parents. There's not a day (or an hour?) that goes by where I don't think how lucky I am to have Delphinium, but that doesn't mean I don't miss my freedom and peace sometimes. In the end, I do agree with this author that the love and sense of purpose are entirely worth the price.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Art of Sleep: Three Months

Sleep is the big topic of conversation around our house these days. This is nothing new since we've been chasing after it, cursing the lack of it, and trying to be more comfortable with it since Delphinium was born. However, recently something exciting has occurred. This milestone was when the baby fell asleep in her swing a few days ago.

It was a complete surprise. I'm so used to soothing her down with nursing or rocking or bouncing that I had no expectation of her falling asleep on her own. Yet there she was, snoozing away as happy as can be. In an instant I was well and truly conflicted. On the one hand, I was thrilled by her development and what this might mean for the ease of future naps. On the other hand she did it without me. I know it's supposed to go this way, but sometimes it's hard to realize she will need me a little bit less every day.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Parenting Blind

It used to be, in my former working life, that I had to make a lot of decisions. How to run my classroom, how to deal with parents and co-workers, how to manage the work load etc. My strategy for dealing with this issue was to gather as much info as I could and then go with the option that seemed most sensible (well that was my goal anyway). Of course things didn't always go my way, but at least I could feel that I tried to make an intelligent choice.

Parenting feels to me like a whole different story. Every day I make decisions about how to care for the baby, and I feel like I am doing so blind. Of course when I try to figure out the best way to get her to take naps, I can read about it, I can ask my friends and my mother what's best, and I consult with my co-parent. However, because every baby is different, there is no way to know if the information and advice pertain to my situation at all.

Also, while I knew my job as a teacher was important, somehow parenting seems so much more serious. She's just so tiny and so dependent on us that small mistakes can have major consequences. At this point we are her whole world, and we do not want to mess that up! Still, there's nothing for it but to try. I get the feeling that this concern does not go away. Now I worry about car trips and nursing, but in a few years it will be potty training or drivers education. Let's hope good intentions can carry the day.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Oregon Pledge Song

While I was a student at the University of Oregon, I used to love to attend convocation which is the opening ceremony for each academic year. Going back to medieval times, the tradition of convocation is by no means a requirement at the university, and many students never even attend. I, on the other hand, love that kid of ceremony with the professors in their robes and the president with the ornaments of his office. Speakers are also an important part of the event, and my favorite ever was the venerable NPR correspondent, Daniel Schorr. Call me a geek, nerd, or keener, they all fit quite well. Last, but not least, was the singing. There was always a program that allowed a person to follow along. The Oregon Pledge Song was a perennial fixture:

Old Oregon we pledge to thee our honor and fidelity
Both now and in the years to be a never-failing loyalty.

Fair Oregon thy name shall be written high in liberty
Now uncovered swears thy every son our pledge to Oregon.

(John Stark Evans 1919)

Friday, July 02, 2010

A Few Notes on Breastfeeding

Not that I'm exactly an expert, but I certainly know more than I did three months ago:

1. Breastfeeding is as good for you as it is for the baby (i.e. really really good)
2. Breastfeeding can be way harder than you might expect, but it gets so much easier
3. Breastfeeding is a skill that both mother and baby must learn
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help
5. Nipple cream is your friend
6. A good nursing bra is worth its weight in gold
7. Wear a bra at night even if it seems strange
8. Breast pads will keep you comfortable at night and embarrassment-free during the day
9. Invest in a pump even if you aren't returning to work
10. Breastfeeding releases the most wonderful bonding chemicals
11. There is nothing lovelier than a tiny milky face turned up to look at yours

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ten Weeks

The last couple of weeks have gone by in a flash. Once again it seems that Delphinium is getting more aware and awake all the time. She now wants to face out and see what is going on as much as possible. Her neck is getting stronger all the time, but she still needs some help to sit up safely. We've taken to carrying her sitting up with her back against our chests and our hands under her bottom. This is very popular especially when you offer commentary about the things she can see.

She also enjoys time in her swing and baby gym, and it's very cute to watch her bat at the toys above her head. She gets such a look of glee on her face when she manages to send the fabric lion swinging. She still hates her carseat and the whole process of buckling and unbuckling. Maybe going for walks will be more popular once we can ditch the carseat and use the stroller on its own. Last, but not least, she still LOVES to have her diaper changed. She can be in the middle of a big fuss, and all you have to do is put her on her changing table. She turns all smiles and coos when the diaper comes off. Then you have to watch out for the waterworks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Wearable Baby

Delphinium and I spend a lot of time together. All of it in fact. There are times when carrying the baby gets to be, well, a bit of a burden. After all, there is no where a baby (this baby anyway) would rather be than in Mom or Dad or Grandma's arms. Sometimes those arms get tired, and then it's time to find an alternative. That's why I went wrap/sling/carrier shopping at our local baby consignment shop. They had many kinds, but the helpful lady recommended a wrap since mine is still a small, young baby. It turns out that she was right.

Delphinium is now a big fan of the wrap (which is really just a long piece of t-shirt fabric with a ring closure at one end). It keeps her snug and close to your body and must remind them of being in the womb. Also, the stretch of the fabric lets you bounce just a little extra. The best part is that you have one and a half hands free to do other things. No, no actually the best part is that the baby is happy and you are comfortable. What could be better than that?

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I hate, hate, hate when the baby gets a poke, but there was no question about her getting vaccinated. We really believe that it's in her best interest, and everyone else's as well. Still it wasn't much fun to take her in today. She was feeling a bit fussy before we arrived, but she perked up when Dad arrived to meet us for the appointment. She was weighed and measured and seen by the doctor, and she put up with all this in pretty good humor. Then came the bad moment. One nasty tasting dose in the mouth, and one stick in each thigh. She cried for a few minutes, and now she's sleeping it off in her cradle. Much better than polio or pertussis down the line.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eight Weeks of Baby

I keep wanting to do short little daily updates on all the cute little milestones Delphinium's been making, but it can be so difficult to get to the computer these days. Nevertheless, I have to try. It would be nice to be able to go back and remember these early days.

In the last couple weeks, she's been very busy getting stronger. You can really tell the difference when you hold her how strong her back muscles have become. She's no longer our limp little noodle, and she has become quite capable of huge stretches and back arches when she wakes from a nap. She's also working hard on holding her head up for longer and longer. She actually seems to enjoy tummy time most days, so I think she's getting her exercise.

It's all fantastic stuff to watch unfolding, but my favorite is the smiles. Sometime around six or seven weeks she suddenly started giving us "social" smiles. She's been smiling in her sleep for weeks now (about what does a baby dream?) but this is different. There is something decidedly warm and fuzzy about leaning in to pick up a baby from nap, have her focus on you, and then flash the sweetest smile. It makes the screaming times all worth while.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Daddy Goes Back to Work

It was bound to happen. A few days ago, M went back to work. Now Delphinium and I are trying to adjust ourselves to days on our own. Some days are perfectly easy, and we have a great time together. Others are harder, but so far, the baby has been the only one to cry. Even on the tough days, I wouldn't trade this for anything. There is a reason babies are so meltingly cute.

I am also so thankful that I do not have to go back to work now that the first six weeks are up. I absolutely cannot believe that is the standard amount of maternity leave available at many companies. Forcing women and babies to separate after such a short time cannot be good for either. Hooray for one year off!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

First Solo Outing

Given that M is heading back to work, Delphinium and I decided we needed to practice doing things on our own. Up until this point, we've been spoiled by Daddy doing the heavy lifting, Daddy providing the extra hands and extra eyes Daddy putting baby gear together and understanding how it works. Now it's up to Mommy. Gulp.

Thus, over the weekend, we went out all by ourselves. Mommy folded and loaded the stroller, Mommy hefted and buckled the carseat, Mommy packed and remembered the diaper bag, and Mommy even figured out the baby view mirror installation. Whew! Babies have SO much stuff!

Then, with baited breath, Mommy put the baby into her carseat. The baby smiled. Mommy locked the seat into its base (first try!), and the baby cooed. Mommy drove to the mall. The baby stayed awake (and cheerful!) the entire trip. We met Grandma for lunch (okay so it wasn't completely a solo trip) and the baby slept and slept. Looking at the baby in the mirror on the way home, it was as if she was saying "don't worry Mommy, we can do this."

Of course there will be other times when things don't go quite so well, but it was ever so nice of Delphinium to boost my confidence just this once. We've rounded another corner together, and we're off.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Lure of the Spring Garden

Lately, the garden's been calling my name. Especially when the sun shines, I really want to get out there and enjoy the smell of the dirt and the new green plants. However, this year I'm a bit preoccupied. The baby needs really really a lot of my time, and it just doesn't work to go outside to work for a few hours. There is a saving grace though. Without my bossy self out there, M has stepped up to do some plant husbandry. It turns out he's quite good in the veggie department especially. We have cunning little radishes pushing up their heads, lettuce leaving going wild, and even a few tomatoes begining to show a few flowers. We may have a decent garden yet. If summer weather ever arrives that is.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sleeping is Easy

In the before times, I used to be a picky sleeper. First, it had to be very dark. I couldn't stand the flickering of technology, the glow from a hall light, or even an overly bright clock face. I also wanted just the right combination of blankets, sheets, and pillow. How could a person sleep comfortably with the wrong kind of pillow? Then there was sound. Ambulances, the cat, and a snoring husband all had the potential to ruin a perfectly lovely sleep.

Now, however, things have changed. Sleep can be such the elusive unicorn that I will take it in almost any form. I can now sleep in chairs, on sofas, or in any sliver of space that happens to be available. Lights, sounds, lumps, and bumps all have little or no impact on my ability to snooze. Only the sounds of the baby have me instantly awake.

I'm not the only one. The other night M got into bed while I was still in the rocking chair feeding the baby. He said "goodnight" to us, laid his head down on the pillow, and was snoring in three minutes flat. Let's just hope that when the depravation is over, we can figure out how to sleep like normal people again.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Three Weeks Old

Wow! I can't believe it's been three weeks since she was born. In a way it seems like a lifetime ago, but it could also have been the blink of an eye. Time definitely turns on its head when you have a newborn. At three weeks Baby C. is well past her nasty turn with jaundice. She is eating very well (she nursed for over an hour last night!) and I expect her weight to be up quite a bit when we have our next doctor visit.

She's also just getting a lot stronger already. She makes huge stretches and seems to be flexing and testing all her muscles. She's also in much greater control over herself, and she really really would like to be able to hold up her own head. Her cries are changing too. At the beginning, she had the mewing cry like a very small kitten. Now she's moved on to a lustier, louder version that can't fail to draw attention. She has many wonderful tricks, but one of the most impressive is the way she uses her fists to hold the pacifier in her mouth. She's clearly the most precious and talented baby that ever there was.

Monday, May 10, 2010

First Mothers Day

What a lovely way to spend my very first Mothers' Day. It was the first really warm, sunny day in ages, and my elder brother invited us to his house for brunch. We carpooled with my mom across the water. This was a day where all the mountains were perfectly visible in every direction. Brunch was cooked by L, and we all had to have second helpings because it was so good. Finally, for the end of the day we went for a walk around our neighborhood. Baby C. is, without a doubt, the best kind of gift any person could receive.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Getting Over Jaundice

I have this theory about having babies that everyone pays their proverbial dues at some point along the way. Some people having trouble getting pregnant, others endure very difficult pregnancies, while still more have long, painful, or even dicey deliveries. That is why I should not have been surprised when my wonderful pregnancy and comparatively easy delivery gave way to the ugliness of jaundice. I know, I know, as baby problems go, jaundice is really not very bad. However, for us it was the darkest time, and one that I won't soon forget.

The image of her first heel stick in the doctor's office is one. She was too dehydrated to bleed properly and had to be stuck a second time. I swear watching that occur was more painful for me than anything that happened to my body during the delivery. I also remember her first night strapped to the light bed. I sat in the chair next to her, breast pump in hand, and tried to express milk that was not there. I cried more than she did that night.

I am certain much of this hard time was due to my own hormones. Still, there is something very singular about having a baby. You love them so much that it literally hurts sometimes. I think it was my friend K who said it is like learning to live with your heart outside your body. The tough part is that it leaves your heart very much exposed to bumps and bruises that would not normally have been a problem. My mom has pointed out more than once that the baby herself will not remember any of this, and I certainly hope this is true.

So here we are in the after times. I am pleased to say that her jaundice is almost completely gone, and she is now much happier and more energetic. Her color is much closer to roses than bananas these days, and she has surpassed her birth weight. It helps very much that my milk came in during her time on the photo therapy bed, so I was finally able to feed her and feed her and feed her as much as she would take. It does my mommy heart good to see her so much better, and I really, really hope we've now paid our dues for the foreseeable future. Regular life never seemed so sweet.

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Having a Baby

I wrote the following piece mostly for my own memory, but enough people have shown interest to warrant the blog post. Be warned, this may very well be T.M.I. for some people.

It was a Friday afternoon, and the first day of my maternity leave from work. I got up late (comparatively speaking) and enjoyed a leisurely morning at home with M. I was feeling a bit hot and uncomfortable by then, but at nearly 38 weeks into my pregnancy, that was to be expected. By 11am, M had gone off to work, and I took myself down to the local mall to get a haircut. I arrived a little early, so I browsed around the shops for a little while buying a tiny blue onesie with an embroidered flower. Haircut time came around, so I went over to the salon and made polite conversation with the staff while they did my hair. When they asked my due date, I said airily "Oh it could be any time now." Little did I realize.

After finishing up at the salon, I went over to have lunch with M at his office. We grabbed something quick, joked about the horrors of cafeteria lunches, and then still had time to take a stroll through the botanical garden on our way to the doctor's office. The spring flowers were out in full force, and the air was filled with the scent of daffodils.

We arrived at our appointment in plenty of time. We've seen so much of that place in the last several months that there was nothing anxious about being there. M and I thought we'd have the usual check up and be on our way. We were shown into the exam room, had to wait an unbelievably long time for the bathroom, and did all the regular heartbeat, blood pressure, tummy measure events. The doctor was not our regular one, but one of the partners, and she wanted to tell us all about her 6th grade son's middle school career. At some point, she stopped talking about him long enough to look a little concerned.

It seems that the baby's heart rate was a little higher than normal, and that I did not measure a big in the belly as I should by that stage of pregnancy. A quick ultra-sound revealed less amniotic fluid than normal (5 out of ?), and the doctor said we might need to go to the hospital for a stress test. She left the room, and we could hear her make several phone calls. By the third or fourth person, it was clear that we were being sent to the hospital for more than just a test.

The doctor came back into the room, reviewed the signs of trouble, and told us that since the baby was so far along it was better just to deliver her. This would avoid any risk of her being "in distress" from the low fluid levels. We didn't really know what to say. For some reason, even though it was late in my pregnancy, I was still not prepared for this news. I had always imagined being awakened by contractions and then heading off to the hospital. Nevertheless, in a few minutes I had started to get excited about the prospect of meeting our baby face to face.

We made the very short trip from the doctor's office to the hospital, and found our way up the maternity ward on the 6th floor. There is something very weird about being completely clear-headed (no labor pains) as you travel to the hospital and check in. There is nothing to distract you from imagining what is about to begin. I could hardly sit still as we waited. M was busy making phone calls and sending emails to cancel our other plans and let people know what was happening. I wanted to pace and chatter and do anything else with my excitement, but I made myself sit still and wait.

It really wasn't very long before a nurse took us back into our room. As I saw the number plate outside the door I thought "Oh yes, #606 is going to be very important to us." It was just a hospital room with bed, rocking chair, monitors, a wall full of closets and compartments, and a tiny bathroom, but it was a place we got to know really, really well. The nurse showed us around, and then asked me to head into the bathroom to change from regular clothes into a hospital gown. I took off my gigantic pair of full-panel pregnancy jeans for the last time.

Settled into bed, they strapped a fetal heart-rate monitor and a contraction monitor to my belly. I found this process to be reassuring because I could listen to the baby's heart as I lay in bed and know that she was still okay. Depending on which way I was turned, I could see the actual rate. When I was turned on my side away from the machine, I asked M and my mom to tell me the rate about once every two minutes. The sound of that monitor was the background music for the next 14 hours.

The IV was the next part of my "kit" to be introduced, and with that came my first contact with pain. I've never had any trouble with needles, but the sickening stick and jab of this process was more than I'd expected. The IV remained in my arm for the next 36 hours, and it never did become comfortable. However, it was through the IV that I got my first dose of pitocin (a synthetic version of oxytocin) at about 5:30pm.

They started with a very tiny quantity of pitocin with the plan to increase the dose every hour. However, that small amount was enough for me to begin feeling contractions almost immediately. After 15 or 20 minutes, I have having regular tingling sensations in my abdomen, and in another hour, it was full on, but not yet painful, contractions. The rocking chair was my friend for this next phase as it seemed to ease the discomfort. I actually able to visit with my mom and M, and we spent some time watching Elton John be interviewed on Oprah.

Eventually, after a few hours of mild contractions, things began to get serious. I was getting very uncomfortable to the point that I kept trying to stand, sit, walk, or sit on the big rubber ball just to try and get some relief. One of the few things that gave any relief was to have M rub my back where much of the pain was concentrated. I even tried to sit in the bath for a while, but the discomfort was turning into something very tough to manage. I finally let the nurse know that I would like an epidural.

I've always assumed I would have some pain relief when I had a baby, but I wanted to go as far as I could just in case it helped the process to move more quickly. Once I asked for the epidural, I found the anesthesiologist couldn't come fast enough. Labor pain is quite difficult to describe, but the best I can do is to say that it's like having someone grab your one-piece bathing suit from behind and stretch and stretch until those bits of you are cramping in agony. Other people say it's like the worst leg cramps you could ever imagine. Either way, it isn't pretty. When Dr. F. came through that door, I was VERY happy to see him.

The epidural, like the IV, surprised me because I thought I was tough. I know what is involved in the procedure, and I didn't think it would bother me much. However, it is such a strange and occasionally painful set of feelings that it made me whimper more than once. Soon the process was over, and I was starting to feel some relief. Within several minutes my legs were feeling tingly and the pain of contractions was slipping away from me. Within half an hour I remember thinking how I warm and comfortable all over like a cat relaxing in the sun. I think that dopey feeling comes from your brain's own natural pain blockers suddenly having nothing to do. It was entirely fantastic. I kept telling M how good I was suddenly feeling.

Once the pain was gone, all we had to do was wait for my body to progress. I actually slept for a while with the only disturbance being the entrances and exits of the nurses. One nurse, in particular, stands out because she was so gruff and stern. She was a stand-in for my regular nurse, and she came into the room and started ordering everyone around. M was to turn me, I was to hold just so, and she arranged my limbs without any coaxing. Still, she was the one who said we would have a baby by 7am.

After a few hours of sleep, the nurse came again to check my progress. She said I was 10cm and fully effaced, so it was time to get down to pushing. Now I must say that by this point, I was in no pain at all. The nurse's exam didn't hurt (unlike the first exam which REALLY hurt), the contractions didn't hurt, but that doesn't mean the next bit was easy. I've heard those nice stories from some women about how they gave three really good pushes and the baby just popped right out. That's so great for them, but it did not happen that way for me.

Pushing, chin to chest, was absolutely the hardest physical labor I've ever endured. If it hadn't been for M holding on knee, and my mom holding the other, I don't know what I would have done. You take a deep breath, push with every ounce of strength for ten seconds, repeat for a total of three per contraction. Sometimes you get a minute to rest in between contractions, and other times they arrive one on top of the other. This whole business kept up FOR NEARLY THREE HOURS. When I said I was tired, the nurse said "that's why this is called labor not vacation." I kept pushing.

Finally, the doctor arrived, and we were ready for the last stretch (har!). The top of the baby's head was in view, and it was motivation to keep up the pushing efforts. However, the doctor had some concerns about the size of the baby's head versus the size of me. Quick as a flash, I had an episiotomy that caused me no pain whatsoever. That was all our little daughter needed. With just one more big push, she was born in a tangle of limbs and surprisingly little blood. They wiped her face, and laid her on my chest. The feeling was indescribable, and something I don't ever want to forget.

The next parts are mercifully vague to me. The doctor did things, the nurses took the baby to weigh and examine, and I just lay there waiting until they would bring the baby back. Once she was on my chest again, and M was at our side, I was feeling like all was right with the world. It is impossible (for me anyway) to talk about childbirth without becoming one great big cliché. Go to the thesaurus, look up "awesome" or "profound" or "incredible" and you would end up with a nice list to describe the whole thing. Yes, yes, I know it's probably just the hormones talking, but that I how I feel today, one week later.

What makes all the effort so worthwhile is our beautiful, perfect little daughter. She was 7lbs, 5ozs, and 20in long. There are lashings of M, me, and other family members about her, but mostly she just looks like herself. It seems like a face I've known forever, and I could, and have stared at her for hours on end. We are totally and completely in love. Now all we have left to do is grow up together.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The End of the World as We Know It

I hardly know what to think. After getting up and coming to work at this school about 1,700 in the last nine years, I just can't quite imagine NOT doing that anymore. On the one hand, it sounds very luxurious not to be waking early and dealing with the every day details, but on the other hand it's really sad. This has been such a major part of life that I just can't quite imagine it being gone. I was 22 when I first came into this job; I've grown up here. Now that's over. No worries, this job doesn't define me. Right? Now on to the next great adventure!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nearly There

A few days ago, M and I went to the doctor for the first of my weekly check-ups. The baby is not actually due for another three weeks which, in baby land, means she could be born anywhere from one to five weeks from now. I was planning to settle in for the possibility of the long haul. However, upon examination, the doctor found that I'm already one to two centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. The baby's head is also low, so the doctor thinks things will probably start to happen sooner rather than later. Even with the aches and pains, I still love being pregnant, but I am SO excited at the prospect of meeting her face to face.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Old Country Buffet Vs. Breastfeeding

Seriously?! In 2010? I must live in a liberal enclave because I thought this sort of thing had been decided years ago. A woman is completely within her legal rights to breastfeed her child in public, but still this restaurant decides to kick her out and call the police? Perhaps I have a rude awakening coming when I try to feed my child in public.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Can Jamie Save Us?

M and I are big fans of the TV chef, Jamie Oliver, and we were very excited to hear that he would have a new show on American channels. Years ago, I used to watch him on BBC America when he was just "The Naked Chef" with a half hour program. Back then he was a silly single guy who cooked food for his friends and band-mates, and then ended each show with a party scene in his hip London loft. Years later, he's a married father of four, and the tone and focus of his programming have changed quite a bit.

While he is no stranger to butter and red meat, Jamie's food has always been on the healthier (and fresher) end of the culinary spectrum. A few years ago, this interest in health led him look into the food and cooking practices in British school lunches. What he found was quite horrifying, and a campaign was born to overhaul the school lunch system. The four-hour TV series that documented this mission resulted in millions of viewers, and more importantly, billions of dollars in increased funding for school kitchens.

Flush with this success, Jamie Oliver has decided to take his show abroad, and the United States was his obvious choice. West Virginia boasts the fattest city in the nation, according to the CDC, so it was to this town that the show headed. I don't know if you could say that he met with more resistance since things were pretty awful at first in the U.K., but it is safe to say that not everyone was happy with the idea of change. The show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" is on now, and it makes for some very interesting television. This article documents some of the struggle. We're all left to wonder how much of an impact this might have in the long term, but I for one, really hope this helps.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Winding It Up at Work

It seems I am down to just about ten days left at work. I can't hardly wrap my mind around this reality, and it is for two reasons. First, I just can't quite imagine not being here and doing this since it has been a huge portion of my life for the last ten years. While this is tough, there is not much I can do to change/prepare, so it is sort of a moot, if emotional, point. Second, and of more immediate importance, there is just so much to get done before I go!

Over the last several months I've been trying to slowly strip my classroom of the hundreds of books, materials, and other goodies that actually belong to me. I try to take home a small bag of stuff most days so that we don't have any huge moving days at the end. However, I still have some large and untouched spots, such as my filing cabinet, that need purging and transportation home. I admit that this whole process would have been easier if only I had been more organized and efficient all along. Now I'm paying the price.

On the other end of things, I'm trying hard to prepare materials for my sub. She is very anxious that everything be provided for her, so it is a marathon to create all the plans and materials she will need to finish out the year. We have one last meeting next week to nail down the details, and then, hopefully, I won't be hearing too much from her after I leave.

Last of all are the goodbyes. This part is the toughest. I've written my letter for students and parents, and I've promised to come and visit if the pediatrician approves the plan, but the truth is that I probably won't get to see the kids again before the year ends. I must admit that I will be relieved to see the last of one or two kids, but most of them I will miss.

Then there are the co-workers. Just like the kids, there are those whom I will NOT miss, but they are certainly the exception and not the rule. There are dozens of people here who are genuinely wonderful. I can't quite imagine not seeing some of my closest friends on a daily basis. I just keep consoling myself with the thought of why I am leaving, and that goes a long way to taking the sting out of this process. Only a few more weeks before the next great adventure begins!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Baby Class #6: In Which We Try Not to Laugh

This class tried to be really useful and practical by teaching us about caring for a newborn. This is a very good idea since M has never had any baby practice, and my information is nearly a decade old. We did some brief baby changing/dressing instructions (M did not squash the baby's head like some other dads) and then it was time to move on to our video of the day, Breastfeeding.

Once again, the video was made in probably the early '90's, so hair and fashions were pretty funny. However, what made it really hard not to laugh was the attitude the narrator took to the process. Her ridiculous level of enthusiasm was matched by the silly dialog about what a "mystical" experience breastfeeding would be. Don't get me wrong, I'm all excited about breastfeeding, and I really REALLY hope it works, but I think "mystical" may be overstating things just a tad. I had to avoid looking at M for fear of bursting out laughing.

The worst came when they described getting the baby to latch on to the breast. It seems we need to tickle her cheek, look for her to open her mouth, and then wham! push in as much breast as possible. "You'll know you done well if your baby has a real mouthful of breast!" This line was delivered with such delirious excitement that we finally lost it in the back of the room. People were turning around to look at us, and I had actual tears in my eyes from trying not to laugh too much. I think I will get a chuckle (and then a wince?) every time I try to get the baby to nurse in the first few days.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Great Quote #593

"A rumor without a leg to stand on will get around some other way."

-John Tudor

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baby Class #5: In Which We Face the Odds

This class was, for whatever reason, not nearly so irritating as the last. It was mostly focused on births that go differently from the way they've been planned, and we watched a video about C-Sections. Now given that 30% of all births in our area are done this way, it is hard to say that such a thing is exactly unexpected. Nevertheless, every couple in the room planned to do things the more old-fashioned way.

It's quite sobering to realize that five of the fifteen women in that room were likely to go through surgery in order to have their babies. As I've mentioned once or twice before, I'm trying to keep an open mind, so that if a C-Section does become necessary, I won't feel to concerned. I have noticed that the babies delivered by this method seem every bit as cute, lovable, and healthy as those who come the other way.