Thursday, March 30, 2006

Falling Down, and Getting Up Again

These are the scary basement steps that our dog, Coltrane, refuses to go down. Nothing, not even a raw steak, will get him down these steps.

These are the scary basement steps that freaked my sister out when she came to visit last June, and she begged me not to carry the laundry up and down them while I was pregnant.

These are the scary basement steps that my son rolled down, barrel-style, on St. Patrick's Day.

I was cooking dinner. Super-Hubby had gone downstairs to get some tools for home improvement. Somehow, the ancient door didn't latch all the way. Our house is 90 years old, and we still have most of the original hardware on our interior doors. It looks cool, but it's not so great for keeping things closed.

Tommy, with his insatiable 7-month-old curiosity, decided to check out the box of corn starch on the bottom shelf of the "pantry." And then I heard ca-thunck, ca-thunck, ca-thunck, followed by some loud, panicked screaming.

I'm not entirely sure the screaming wasn't mine.

We did the broken bones check, the blood check, the bruises check. Nothing. He calmed down within minutes, but I called the pediatrician, just to make sure Tommy was ok. My regular, laid-back, I've-seen-it-all pediatrician wasn't on call, so I was referred to another doctor.

"How, exactly, did a 7-month-old fall down the stairs?" he asked incredulously, in a tone of voice that suggested he thought I might have thrown my son down the stairs.

"He's very mobile, and the door was left ajar by accident."

"It is very unusual for a 7-month-old to be that mobile," he said. "Are you sure that's what happened?"

Because of Tom's age, the doctor said we should take him to the ER for an exam. So we bundled up our perfectly happy, healthy baby and headed out. I was terrified the
ER doctors were going to call Child Protective Services on us after my conversation with the pediatrician, but to the ER we went anyway.

The nice resident at the ER gave my laughing, raspberry-blowing baby a quick once over and said nothing looked amiss. She said we could take him home and monitor him, or she could give him a CAT scan, if we wanted. We opted to take him home.

I have never been one to make a big deal out of routine falls and bumps. When Tommy falls down from a stand and startles himself into a fuss, I clap and cheer. Pretty soon, he is smiling and going about his business - and learning that the little bumps in life aren't really so bad. But I really wasn't prepared for these bigger bumps.

That weekend, we put up baby gates like maniacs. We were extra careful to make sure the basement door was shut. For the first time in my life as a parent, I began to act like all those paranoid mothers I always make fun of, in my head.

And that weekend, Tommy started pulling up.

Enter exhibit 2: The crib that Tommy climbed/fell out of on Wednesday.

I was downstairs folding laundry, and Tommy was napping. I heard him wake up, heard his happy babble as he conversed with his new friends, Kanga and Roo.

Then I heard a THUNK and a scream.

I picked him up, he quieted. My heart raced and my arms trembled. He laughed and pulled my hair, tried to stick his fingers up my nose. My knees trembled.

Somehow Tommy had managed to pull up far enough on his crib rail to flip himself over. It was my fault, because the mattress wasn't in the lowest position. I didn't think he could get out, yet. I was wrong.

My son was fine, but on Thursday, I was still trembling. It's Friday, and I can still feel a quiver of fear sliding up my spine as I write this.

I was reading The Girlfriend's Guide to Surviving the First Year and she writes about how mothers are the ones in society who keep superstitions going. We are the ones that say "God bless you" when you sneeze. We knock wood. We wait, expectantly, for the other shoe to drop.

And so, I find myself waiting for the third fall.

I know it's coming, I just don't know when, or where. And I pray that it won't do anything to seriously injure my precious, precious boy.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Pulling Teeth

I have an article coming out in the lastest edition of Crunchable tomorrow about my abject terror of trains; writing it was a killer.

Believe it or not, I used to be a professional writer. Maybe I wasn't next in line for the Pulitzer, but I was pretty good. At least I could string two sentences together without sounding like Ernest Flippin' Hemmingway.

But now?

It's all short, choppy sentences. No transitions.

The man stood on the beach. He saw a big fish. Then he went skiing and outran some bulls.

Maybe I should just move to Key West and drink myself into oblivion.

Oh wait. I hate Florida, and I don't drink.

Darn it, foiled again.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Dream Weaver

I feel a bit like Pharaoh asking Joseph "What does this all mean?" as I write this post.

A couple of weeks ago, Kathryn from Daring Young Mom showed up in my dreams. She had invited me to a mommy gift-exchange at her house. She was wearing a teal blue sweater and was very nice to me, offering me refreshments and gifts, even though I was a complete stranger. Her friends were also very nice to me, even though I was a complete stranger to them. Still, I felt like an outsider.

When I woke up, I told Super-Hubby about the dream and he laughed and told me that I absolutely HAD to blog about it. But I didn't, because I thought it would be weird. I mean, I've never met the woman. Doesn't having her appear in my dream make me some sort of weird stalker? (I'm not, I promise.)

So I tried to put DYM and her gift-exchange party behind me. I didn't give it another thought.

Until last night.

Because last night, she drove clear across the country to come to a conference I was hosting, in my dream, that is. She arrived in a black Acura that looks just like the one belonging to my across-the-street neighbor. She had left the kiddos with DYD and was extolling the virtues of sleeping on pool tables. (I have NO idea where that came from.)

Once again, she was friendly, funny, captivating - in short, the life of the party, er ... conference. Crazy.

So, Joseph, what does this all mean?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Photographic Evidence

Ok, so I've been moaning and groaning about those teeth (5!) - and now I have some evidence. Here you go.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I can't help myself. I am supposed to be working, but it is to much fun to crawl around on the floor with Tom, and have him grin at me with his four big teeth in a wide-open smile. I wish I had a camera with me so you could see it, too.

This afternoon he has been investigating the palate and digestibility of common office paper. He has carefully examined all of the legs of the furniture for moving parts.

He is testing his vocal abilities, yelling ba-ma-bam-pa over and over as he scoots around the floor. He pauses, and slurps his hand, alternately blowing rasberries and sucking up his own spit.

He pulls himself around the floor Ursula-style, dragging his feet behind him. He hasn't quite figured out the mechanics of hand-and-knee crawling. But man, he's efficient. And fast.

This morning, he attacked the dishwasher while it was open, pulling up on the door and trying to crawl in to the dish rack. When I opened the refrigerator, he was right there, ready to pull as many items out of the door as possible before I shut it again.

He views the dog as Mount Everest, and makes several attempts to scale him each day, usually employing teeth and sharp little fingers. To Coltrane's credit, he just lays there and rolls his eyes while "the puppy" climbs all over him.

I'm sure every mother feels this way, but he is so perfect he takes my breath away.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Filed Under: Ewww, Gross

This afternoon I stopped at the grocery to pick up some sugar. I grabbed a cart from the cart return, and just as I was putting Tom in the seat, a well-dressed man walked up and said "Wait, I'll get that piece of cheese out of the cart for you!" He then pulled a half-eaten slice of American cheese out of the main portion of the cart. I hadn't seen the cheese, but assumed he was gathering up this trash as a kindness. I thanked him.

He turned around and a moment later I noticed him chewing something. I looked for evidence that he was still holding the cheese, but his hands were empty.

I think he ate the cheese.

Eww, gross.

Hunger Force

I am starving. I have been starving for about the past 14 months, more or less consistantly. But this is getting ridiculous.

I finished my lunch (ham sandwich and grapes) and my snack (low-fat string cheese)and have now resorted to digging out the emergency snack I keep in my diaper bag (a package of peanutbutter crackers.) The only problem is that somehow, they got stored right next to a bar of soap - so now they are Cucumber and Green Tea flavored peanutbutter crackers. Nasty.

I'm eating them anyway.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring and Other Random Thoughts

I let Coltrane out in the backyard this morning, and there were tiny little snowflakes floating through the air. So much for the first day of Spring.

Luckily, the flurries were short lived. Now it's just cold and windy, but at least it's clear. Spring is just being a tease. Two weeks ago, it was sunny and 70 degrees. My daffodils popped up above the ground sporting big, fat, buds. My crocuses, poor things, bloomed. Now we've reverted to cold, 30 degree weather and my poor flowers are all a-shiver.

Or maybe I'm just all a-shiver.

It is hard to believe that Spring is here. The past seven months have just flown by, and I can't help but wonder if the rest of my life will follow suit. Will I wake up one morning and realize that I am 80 and that my life has rushed by so quickly that I hardly had a chance to enjoy it?

My best childhood friend lived two houses away, and the path to her house lay through a neighbor's yard. I remember one spring when I was maybe 6 or 7, calling her house and asking if she could play. Her mother told me to come over in five minutes.

I ran out in the yard, unable to wait in the house. And there I stood, dancing around, peeking at my digital watch every three seconds, willing the minutes to hurry up and move, already! Five whole minutes was a long time to wait to see my best friend.

But now five minutes passes in a blink of an eye. Winter rushed by so quickly I barely made my hot chocolate quota. Spring has arrived and Tom is blooming and growing so fast it makes my head spin. Every day I wake up and he is less of my baby and more of a big boy. This weekend, his Grammy taught him how to hold on to the furniture and cruise around. He is so good at it!

I don't know whether to applaud or to fear the onset of spring, when the world grows and changes at a crazy pace. Some days I wish I could slow time down. Maybe I just need that old digital watch with the cheap plastic band.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ow Ow Help!

Disclaimer: This is a post about breastfeeding. It may get detailed. If you think it would weird you out to read about it, then skip this post. Please.

Oh, what to do? Tommy is pretty much refusing to eat any baby food. He enjoys trying to eat finger food, but his four teeth can only chomp so much. And by that I mean that last night for dinner he had one rotini noodle and two green beans and a slice of strawberry. That was it.

This means that Tommy and his four teeth are pretty much relying on my girls for their sole nourishment. And oh, the torture.

I love nursing. I have loved nursing since he was born, despite the frequent pain and difficulty of our early nursing experience. But this, oh my. LLL books say that nursing should never be painful, even when babies have teeth, so we must be doing something wrong. But it's like I've got two little razors biting the top of my nips, and he's somhow increased his suction power to super Hoover. I don't know, but it is torture to feed him. When we finish nursing parts of my nips are frequently white because he's sucked so hard.

Despite my poor, abused girls, I am absolutely not interested in weaning. So what can I do to ease the pain in the mean time?

I am slathering on the Lansinoh, but it doesn't seem to be doing much. Does anyone have any suggestions? All ye other mothers, does this happen to you? What do I need to do to fix it??

Holy Swimmers, Batman

I just found out that another friend (still not me) is pregnant! Whoo hoo! It's raining babies, apparently.

In case you're wondering, the Great Carnac says this baby is a boy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This just in

I just learned that a friend (no, it's not me) is pregnant, and I have this very strong hunch that it is a girl. I am writing it down here so I don't forget. I forget everything if I don't write it down in a safe place. I want to see how accurate I am when the baby is born!

Good News/Bad News Wednesday

Good News: I am once again wearing my size 8 boot-cut Levis.
Bad News: They look like they were painted on.

Good News: I didn't even have to lay down to zip them!
Bad News: The only reason I'm wearing them is because everything else I own is covered in baby spit up.

Good News: These are jeans that have not seen the light of day for more than a year!
Bad News: I personify the line in Trace Adkins' Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk:
"Lord have mercy how'd she even get them britches on?"

Thank goodness I have a long sweater to cover my bum.

All this leads up to a post begging you other young mothers to tell me what you wear and where you shop. My wardrobe is in very, very sad shape. It mostly consists of jeans that are either too tight, too loose, too short or too long, ugly, shapeless long-sleeved t-shirts and some hip-length sweaters. That's it.

I tried to go shopping over the weekend, but let me tell you, there was nothing that was even remotely attractive. I would love to wear some clothing that is cute and stylish, but does not make me look like a big plaid pumpkin or is so low cut as to ride down when I am carrying my son. (Had this problem with a shirt I thought was ok, but clearly wasn't.)

Oh, also, it needs to be nursing accessible and look good on a slightly-shorter-than-average (5'4") very curvaceous woman who is still pear-shaped, despite her big nursing bazoombas. And comfortable. And preferably machine wash- and dry-able. Right. I'm not too picky.

I think I'll just declare the mu-mu my official clothing option. Would make life much easier.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A weekend that cut the mustard

Super-Hubby, Tommy and I headed north on Friday, and spent the weekend in the Poconos. We stayed in this tiny, one-horse town right on a lake. Our condo had a gorgeous view and a jacuzzi. Need I say more?

But the best part of my mini-vacation was the local IGA. This town literally has four churches, two banks, a diner and an IGA. THAT'S IT. So I really wasn't expecting that much when I stopped in to pick up some supplies for our hike on Saturday. I grabbed some ham and some yummy rolls, then strolled over to the condiment aisle to pick up some mustard. And there, folks, I was met by an amazing sight. The mustard fairy had apparently descended on this tiny grocery store, for there were an amazing 70(!!!) different kinds of mustard on display. We're talking honey mustard, stone ground raspberry mustard, horseradish mustard, Dijon mustard, mustard that will do your math homework.

Even my local Wegmans, the mecca of gourmand grocery shoppers, does not stock 70 different mustards.

So there you have it. Weekend in the country + mustard = happiness.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

That's my boy!

My son has recently made great strides in new things he can demolish do. For instance, he can completely disassemble an entertainment unit in less than two minutes.

He can locate any and all electric cords or receptacles in less than 90 seconds, even in a room where he has never been before.

He can crack floor safes. He can also open and close kitchen drawers, the door to the dogs kennel and anything else that will swing when pushed.

He can take his pants off. I have no idea how he does this, as I have only seen the evidence, but not the act. It is possible he enlists the dog to help.

He can topple trashcans and remove their lids. He can devour half a Parents magazine faster than you can say "Holy gerbils, Batman."

He can vomit repeatedly on anything and everything, yet still gain weight at an incredible rate. Sometimes I think he actually puts lead weights in his diaper when I am not looking.

And last, but not least, he can bite mommy with his four (4!!) brand-new teeth. That's my boy. He does nothing half way. He has one upper and one lower through the gums, and two more almost through. Ouch.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

And now ... we wait.

There is still a little bit of dirt under my fingernails from playing in the dirt yesterday. I have been feeling really off-kilter for a couple of weeks now. Nothing I can put my finger on, really. Actually, Stephanie said it best here. What I need is a little "guk."

And I guess, for me, a little "guk" is some potting soil, some seed trays, and a whole lot of seeds.

While my mother's helper played with Tom, I put together my upside down tomato planter, which I hope will give me a little more room for my tomatoes. Then I carefully and lovingly planted two trays of snapdragons, some alyssum and some basil. For the past three springs, I have started at least some of the plants in my garden from seed. I don't have a whole lot of space to work with, but I make the most of my sunny back porch.

Seeds are hope in a tiny package. As I plant them each spring, I marvel at the power of life contained in such a tiny little seed. I anxiously await the moment when they pop their little green heads above the dirt, straining for the sun. I know it will be a week or two before anything happens, but I will check every day, sometimes two or three times, just so I don't miss that first awakening, the growth of something from what seems like nothing.

For me, there is no better entertainment than watching my seeds grow and imagining how beautiful they will be when they bloom or bear fruit.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Oh, Otto.

A few weeks ago I was browsing the lingerie section of my local Tar-jay, looking for something to go under a sparkly black top I had purchased to wear to a wedding. It was the week after Valentine’s Day, so there were plenty of gorgeous lace demi-bras to be had for those whose cups do not runneth over.

There were delicate, sheer, containment units for fried eggs (barely A), apples (barely B), and oranges (barely C). For the ladies with grapefruits, there was a smattering of heavy-duty white cotton numbers more suited to a German grandmother than to a 25-year-old nursing mom trying to look nice for a special event.

“Achtung! Zees undervear vill lift and support, ya, and scare away zee men!”

Seriously, these bras practically started at the neck and covered most of the ribcage and the straps were at least four inches wide. The matching panties to these things came in sizes L, XL, and 1 X. You could sail a pirate ship with a pair or two.

But for me, there was nothing.

I am well past the grapefruit stage. My ladies are more like big momma Holsteins. While pregnant with Tommy I discovered the cup on my bra is large enough for me to wear like a hat. On my Very. Large. Head.

Oh, Otto Titsling, purported inventor of the “over the shoulder boulder holder,” why did you stop your attractive designs when they will only support pebbles, gravel, maybe a river rock or two? Are us boulder ladies resigned to only using special orthopedic-style supports and trusses? Should I just have a flying buttress installed and call it quits?

So here’s my little secret: Apart from one of the very first bras I owned, (at age 13, a lovely pink lacy number) I have never owned a pretty piece of everyday lingerie. I have never, ever, owned a bra with matching panties.

I have tried stores for larger ladies, but the problem is, the rest of me isn’t that large. I am an average weight for my height. I am not large, except, well, you know. So stores for the “plus-sized” do me no good at all.

We won’t even talk about Victoria and her secret. Her secret is that women with actual breasts can’t shop at her store. Oh, how I hate Victoria and her stick-thin models. Have you seen the new Ipex commercials? The “wireless” wonder bra is supposed to be ultra-supportive, but the commercial makes it very clear that the model doesn’t actually have anything to support! So how would she know?

I have a vile hatred of the lingerie industry. I am jealous of all those fried egg ladies out there, who buy bras that pad and lift and push and inflate, supposedly to look more like me, while I’m out here with my girls hanging low, wondering how much sailcloth it will take to hoist them aloft. And all I want is a little lace to dress it up.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Barbeque Ice Cream

Oh my goodness, someone actually did it. Took Mopsy's suggestion and Googled Barbeque Ice Cream, and it turns out a guy in Deleware actually makes the stuff. Gross. Double gross.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Blog that can't be Googled

Ha ha! I have foiled that impressive master site-cataloguer, that invisible library of the funny, the stupid and the profane (as well as the interesting, informed and ignoble.)

Yep, it's nearly impossible to Google me. Try it. I dare you. See if you can find me other than through my blogger profile. 10 points to anyone who can.

Thirteen Things (The Ice Cream Edition)

Thirteen Things that should never be made into flavors of ice cream

I love ice cream. I love most of the following items. I just don't love the idea of the two together.

1. Barbeque. Nothin' says summer like that finger-lickin' barbeque ice cream.

2. Broccolli. Yum.

3. Salsa. (But you could put it in a Tostitos cone.)

4. Cheese.

5. Roasted corn.

6. BLTs.

7. Lettuce.

8. Spinach salads. Especially not spinach salads with egg, goat cheese, tomatoes and hot bacon dressing.

9. Popcorn.

10. Asparagus with or without hollandaise sauce.

11. Grilled salmon.

12. Mushrooms.

13. Ranch Dressing.

Thanks to Jen for some help with this list!

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