With pictures no less!
Here's what's been doing the past few days.
I'm still working on the scarf from my $25 hank of bison hair yarn. It's fingering weight and I'm knitting it in a moss stitch using size 6 needles, I've been working a few rows here and there and it's a good 18" long by now - just another 4' to go. The woman I bought it from (and the label instructions)said it's supposed to fluff up like mohair once I put it in the washing machine for a few minutes and then in the dryer for a few minutes more. This is my "knitting in the semi-darkness while I put the boy to sleep project," if the project I just finished is a guide for how long that takes, it will be ready for spring of 2007.
I tried a new dye using Wilton past food coloring (Christmas Red) and a new method, my crock pot. The first batch of yarn that I did over the summer I hand painted using Kool Aid. While the yarn was still in the pot, I was dissapointed because it looked to be a uniform color, but when I took it out - WOW!
One half of the skein seems to be a red/orange with a few hints of yellow or the natural cream variagation, the other half is more yellow/organge with a few hints of red. Here's a swatch I knitted up from the red/orange end.
Drum roll please....I have finally completed a knitting project FOR MYSELF! This is almost unheard of for any craft. John got me a gift card for AC Moore four years ago and I got this beautiful yarn. I ried to turn it into a scarf at least a half-a-dozen times since then. Fourteen months ago, I started knitting myself a scarf - the first real knitting project I ever started. Well, it's finally done - the ends are woven in and everything. It's an acrylic/wool blend knit in moss stitch with a multitude of mistakes, but no one is ever going to get close enough to find them.
Last but not least - protecting my needles from a marauding 18 month-old:
(yes, that's a circular on the side there)
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
With pictures no less!
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Would of course smell as sweet, but I'm sure the rose would feel bad if it was referred to as a Satan Blossom.
I've been trying very hard to eliminate double-sided words from my vocabulary when it comes to Michael. I may refer to myself as "weird" or "strange", but at this point in my life I wear them as a badge of honor, that I'm different from everyone else. That said, ten years or so ago, they didn't feel all that good when other's used them as derogatory words. I really didn't fit-in in high school, especially my first two and half years there. There was this one group of boys who made my life a veritable hell. One of their favorite taunts was to say "Skal Gal" (a play on my last name) in this high pitched voice as I walked past them in the hall. Like all nick-names, it stuck - but in my junior and senior years it was used in a completely different way and became a good thing - like my secret name to my friends and those in the theater department - I was the QUEEN of props, I don't know if they've seen the like since.
John still has a tendency to use "weird" or "strange" to describe Michael and my back crawls just a little bit every time I hear him do it. We got Michael this play cell phone a few months ago and John recorded a message saying, "Michael is weird," on it and I made him erase it immediately. He's not the only one who has these slip-ups though. We both refer to Michael as "Stinker-Man" without a thought most of the time, not thinking of the message we are sending him. I've used the word "Slut" to describe Michael's flirting ways a few times in an attempt at wit and have felt immense guilt afterwards.
I just want my boy to be the happiest person he can be and to not find out how much words can hurt from me. Hopefully, he'll be able to escape a good bit of that lesson from others as well.
Posted by Jenn at 11:59 PM
Thursday, December 22, 2005
I had my follow up GYN appointment for the adenomyosis this afternoon. It's not as good as I hoped for. The adeno is throughout my uterus and not just in my c-section scar. My doc said that with no treatment it won't be long before my pain increases and I start bleeding more. My mind is screaming for me to get pregnant right now, but it's still not quite the right time yet. We really have to get our finances more under control and I want to drop at least another 20 pounds before I get pregnant again. He also told me that a VBAC is pretty much out of the picture because of the state of my uterus. If I got pregnant right away, I'm also at an increased risk of Placental Acreta. The risk is already higher for me because of the c-section that I had with Michael and recovering from a hysterectomy on top of a c-section, a newborn, and a toddler is not something I want to consider.
He gave us three treatment options: (a) do nothing, (b) Lupron, or (c) hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is right out since we want to have at least one more child. Doing nothing will result in the adeno spreading and getting progessively worse causing more pain and increased bleeding. I really think the Lupron is not going to be for me. The drug simulates menopause, which will allow my uterus to heal and the endometrial cells that have run amok there to die, thus firming up the muscle. The problem is that I have an *extensive* history of mental illness, and even low dose birth control makes me crazy, I can't even begin to imagine what a chemically induced menopausal state will do to me. I've decided to get a second opinion on my treatment options from a doc who specializes in maintaining fertility. There has to be another drug tretment option out there that will not result in my being hospitalized or in complete mental misery for six months.
I asked for a copy of the MRI report and found out some other interesting things. While I was pregnant, I was convinced that I had Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, but my OB blew me off saying it was just on the bad end of normal pregnancy pain and the chiropractor I went to see basically told me not to read stuff on the internet. The MRI report says that I have moderate to severe degeneration of my pubic symphysis, which is a nice validation. This time around, chiropractic treatment throughout my pregnancy is going to be a high priority. The report also revealed that my bone marrow looks like I have anemia. I only found this out from reading the report and am a bit miffed that my GYN didn't even mention it. I'm going to call my PCP this week and see about getting an H&H and a CBC done to confirm and then treat - if I am anemic, just treating it could make a world of difference.
Posted by Jenn at 5:10 PM
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
See how many exclaimation points!
I just spent the past half an hour reading the manual for my mother's group's website to try and fix something only to finally figure out it's something that has to be changed in the code, which I don't have access to (nor do I really want it at this point). Teaching myself PHP script is not high on the priority list right now. This is a complete bitchy, oh woe with me - I'm becoming a pagan and the hell with the secular/religious parts of this month damn it kind of post, so just bear with me.
John has thrown his back out AGAIN! I know it's not his fault (my mantra so I don't throttle him and then reanimate his corpse because he's not allowed to die until the children have graduated high school - yes I said, "children"), but *something* happens at almost every holiday. We've had more than our fair share of back injuries, we've had gout, we've had a broken nose (what was to be our first Valentine's Day when we were dating), we've had a broken toe, and kidney stones. Of course, with the back, it means that he can't do any of the cleaning that I was depending on him to do. It's hard enough trying to divide my attention between what I think I have to do (read: baked goods), what I want to do (decorate), what I need to do (buy/sew presents, mother's group newsletter), and what I *have* to do (care for the boy and make some me time so I don't go insane - more of a danger than one might think).
I can't bake because almost every dish in the kitchen is dirty because John's back has been bothering him for 3 days now and washing dishes makes it worse (but playing playstation apparently does not - and no I don't really mean that to be as bitchy as it sounds, it's just hard some times). It's freaking 3:30 in the morning and I still have to hang up the freaking laundry (yet another John job).
The boy decided he only needed to sleep for an hour this afternoon. We went to the grocery store to get a turkey breast (which has to be cooked tomorrow with the 5 million other things I need to do). The store is 9 blocks away and it's cold, very cold and I really needed another layer on. The boy started screaming after 5 blocks and continued to scream and spray saliva and mucous for the remainder of the walk and most of the grocery store trip. I picked up a bottle of pinot noir on the way home.
I love my husband very, very much - and spent a good ten minutes on the phone with one of my girlfriends telling her so with soppy anectdotes. It's just I'd like a pain/injury free holiday for once, damn it! The only good thing about this is that I can't make the sign to hang from the stroller, "Attractive Lease Rates Available with an Option to Buy!" or the one to pin to John's back.
I have to stop now before I commit any more crimes against punctuation.
"Hello, my name is Jenn and I am an parens-aholic..."
Posted by Jenn at 3:16 AM
Monday, December 19, 2005
It's finally starting to feel like Christmas for me. I still have a ton of work to do, but it's not feeling like a huge burden which is very nice. I had the day off today which was fantastic - I went to Abington to paly Call of Cthulhu and had a great time. It's the first day off I've had in a while. It didn't involve John brow-beating me to leave the house for once and I feel so much better for it. My Christmas shopping is almost done, the decorating is slated for Monday night, and my sewing load is quite manageable. I'm planning on making 5 different kinds of cookies and fudge this year, but am willing to limit it to 2 kinds of cookies and fudge if time gets out of hand. I just feel so human tonight.
Now to dig out my Christmas tape!
Posted by Jenn at 12:25 AM
Saturday, December 17, 2005
I found the patterns for these in this month's issue of Knitty. The pattern is called Toasty Pocket Creatures. They are essentially little cozies for a rice sachet to keep your hands warm in the winter. I used a bit of wool that I dyed a few months ago and knocked it out over the course of two evenings. I did some of the finnishing while Michael was up on Thursday and he was not happy - he won't have anything to do with the finnished product because I was paying attention to it and not him. If I'm not carefull, I'll probably set up some lifetime hatred of handcrafts in him.
All in all, it was a nice break from the stuff that I have to get done by the middle of next week.
Posted by Jenn at 1:58 AM
Thursday, December 15, 2005
I have to stop surfing - everytime I get on the computer I find at least 3 more kntting projects that I want to make - and these aren't just the, "Oh, that looks like it would be fun to do," kind of projects - they are the ones that scream, "MAKE ME! Your life and future happiness depend upon it!"
The problem is that with the season, knitting is competing with many, MANY other things right now. Hell, I haven't even spun in the past two days, and that's the new craft obsession du jour.
Well diaper laundry beckons and then I have to get back to work on a project that I haven't been able to touch for a good week. I also have to come up with a character concept for a Call of Cthulhu game that I'm supposed to play in this Sunday and come up with a Christmas list for Michael.
Can I just stop time for a few days to catch up? If I was a Time Lord I could! (oh God, I've said too much)
Posted by Jenn at 12:51 PM
Monday, December 12, 2005
We have our first bonafide illness - everything that has come before it in the past 18 months (including the nebulizer treatments) was just practice.
Michael started getting sick on Thursday, and I wasn't too happy because this time it went straight for his chest. The runny nose came, that annoying lowgrade fever, then the diarrhea - because we have to have parity, a mess at both ends. Last night he woke up at 1 and was running a 103 temp, then the screaming began. Every time we put him in the crib or even made a motion towards the crib he would start screaming. He's definitely not a cosleeping kind of kid, so that was out. John and I split things up pretty evenly, so both of us managed to get an hour or two of sleep each.
Of course I was supposed to make decorations for a luncheon for my mothers' group today. I sent out an email at 2am saying I was having problems and to see if anyone could help me out. I got through to our peds office at 8:30am and was given an 11am appointment - just enough time for me to trek into town and set up the centerpieces that I made last night. I really have to stop doing this to myself - I had *no* business chasing a bus at 9:30 this morning, I should have been napping with my sick child. At least I didn't try to get the backdrop made last night or walk to the 24 hour drugstore to buy a glue gun - the Jenn of two years ago would have done that.
We took the boy to the doctors (a half-an-hour late thanks to my misplaced devotions) and was told that he had a nasty double ear infection. They gave him motrin in the office, thus ending my reluctance to use it because of that weird ultra-rare allergic reaction. They sent us home with scrips for amoxicillan (now available in a miriad of disgusting flavors as opposed to just "pink" which was the only option when I was a child), ear drops (another joyous thing to administer), and motrin which the pharmacy actually filled to my suprise - of course after I bought some on the way home, John didn't know not to give them the RX. It was a good visit all around, and while the doctor talked about the vaccines he hasn't gotten yet, it was a *very* token mention because there is no way I am going to shoot my very sick and miserable child up with something that's going to make him feel bad, I just got the, "well call when he's better so he can get the shot."
Michael has been sleeping pretty much ever since we got home - and in the most pathetic and heart wrenching ways possible. At one point he was standing up and leaning the top-half of his body on the couch, sound asleep. As tough as my own sleep deprivation is at this point, hearing that plaintive half cry/half scream when he wakes just rips your heart to shreds and spurs you into immediate action.
Sorry this is so incoherent and for the many spelling mistakes- it's been a long day.
Posted by Jenn at 8:13 PM
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Ahh, the joys of another craft!
Only I can manage to go to a science fiction convention and come away with knitting supplies. I've been wanting to learn how to spin for the longest time, but the effort of finding the supplies has held me back (as well as the fact that I really don't need to learn another craft). One of the merchants there was selling spindles and offering spinning lessons, so I took her up on it. She gave me the spindle that she was usinging to teach me with and I bought another one and some wool roving so I could make my own yarn.
I spun a bit last night and then plied the yarn I made this morning. Here's the swatch I knitted up:
Posted by Jenn at 1:26 PM
Friday, December 09, 2005
We were watching an episode of James the Cat on PBS Sprout while giving Michael a nebulizer treatment (the cough is back again). John compared it to Yellow Submarine on a trippiness scale. You just aren't prepared to hear a kangaroo exclaiming "Strewth!" after every other sentence. For some strange reason, all you saw of the eagle were his feet and the bald patch on the top of his head. There were other bizzare happenings as well, but they defy description. John asked me to reach into the television and make the writers explain to us what just happened.
Posted by Jenn at 12:24 PM
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I joined a list serve dedicated to knitting wool soakers last night. I've already posted there 4 times!
I stayed up until 1am trying to finish a soaker and I'm getting ready to start another one.
I have 5 knitting projects in various stages of completion that I've been working on for the past 8 months or so. I also have several crochet projects that haven't been touched in a few years.
Tuesday night I spent a nice hour in Starbucks sketching designs for baby carriers and accessories. I would love to have the time and resources to make 2-3 dressmaker's dummies and 3-4 infant dummies so I could fully test out my designs. I spent at least 30 minutes trying to figure out how to make the joints on the infant dumies and where to add weight to make them realistic while laying in bed last night.
Michael has finally "discovered" my yarn caddy in the livingroom - I'm looking at a good half an hour's work there.
I spent 45 minutes reading knitting links when there is laundry to be done.
Ah well...housework calls.
Posted by Jenn at 1:34 PM
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
I'm not quite sure what happened, but I feel like I'm finally getting back in sync with Michael and it's been great.
For several months before we had him evaluated for his communications delay, I was really feeling at my wits end. It was just so hard to couch everything in terms of his needs and it felt like I had to ignore any desires I had which just made trying to respect his needs and limitations that much harder. It was getting to the point that I was really starting to resent him sometimes - I couldn't go out to eat with my friends without planning on spending the second-half of the meal chasing him around the restaurant and dealing the inevitable meltdown when I wouldn't let him out onto the street; I couldn't participate in conversations because he needs to be moving and really doesn't like being restrained. I went through all of this work to co-found a mothers group and I couldn't actually enjoy hanging out with other moms because of the care and attention my own child needed. I was also envious of other moms and their "better behaved" toddlers - no one else seemed this frazzled. A couple of times I actually questioned my parenting - wondering if I just let him cry-it-out or made him sit in the stroller no matter what I would be happier, but they were very short lived thoughts and turned my stomach a bit.
Since his evaluation, I know I'm not exaggerating things and maybe that has been the key. I've been better able to keep my expectations for him down to what I can actually expect of him. I'm getting better at distinguishing needs from wants; sticking to my guns and not giving into tantrums, something I admit I was doing a lot of the time because I just didn't have the strength to deal with them. I've also become very selective as to what we do when we are going out: I'll only do group activities in the early morning which I know is his best times; if we go out later in the day, I make sure I'm walking so he can get a bit of a nap in the stroller and we only meet up with a few people in places where he can have some space to run.
In conjunction with me becoming more in tune with his capabilities, he's really starting to understand more. It's like he sees how hard I'm working and is trying to meet me half-way. I can't tell you how happy I am that we've made it over this bump in our relationship. This is the first time in quite a few months that I've been able to find Baby Zen, and it feels great. Now begins the work to keep us there :).
Posted by Jenn at 1:53 PM
Monday, November 28, 2005
Whenever I go into town to meet up with my girlfriend and her 11 month-old, John always pesters me for stories about how Michael interacts with other children. I told him how my friend's kid poked him with a stick. For whatever reason, John thought this was very cool.
Posted by Jenn at 7:33 PM
Sunday, November 27, 2005
What you might say? Why the perfect AP parent award and acceptance into the club.
Yes it's a bit heavy on the sarcasm, but an attachment parenting board that I post on is going through one of those, "if you do X you're not AP," battles right now and it's not pretty. It's also lasting a lot longer then it usually does which means a major shift is in the works. The ever popular sleep issue is the culprit this time, which I have to say is a pleasant break from breastfeeding or, "how could a mom deprive her child of that most basic of all human rights?" (yes, still a little bit bitter about that).
Oh the drama, it's really highschool all over again.
It started out with a thread asking for a serious discussion of "crying it out" (CIO to the bulletin board savy, or lazy typists). The mom present the situation - her two year old fights sleep unmercifully to the point of throwing a major tantrum every night. The child also needs his space while expressing his frustrations, any attempts to soothe the child or empathise whith him/talk him through it just makes things worse and doubles the length ot the tantrum. So mom lets the child cry his frustrations out alone in his bed to settle himself down to sleep.
Responses were mixed - some saw no problem in the scenario, some toddlers are notorious for fighting sleep and their tantrums, so it's best just to let them get it out. They also brought up the fact that developmentally, a two year-old left to cry alone for 2 minutes in a tantrum is nowhere in the same boat as a six month-old left for the same amount of time, crying for someone to comfort them. There was at least one response that said leaving a child alone is leaving a child alone and gave mom some hints for helping her child work through the tantrum (which mom already said only made things worse).
Well, someone got their panties in a bunch and started a thread complaing about a crying-it-out thread appearing on an attachment parenting message board. There was mixed response, but mostly it was bewilderment at why the original poster was upset because they didn't see anything wrong or "un-AP" in it.
Then we crossed the threshold into semantics - someone actually defined everything from parenting to sleep a la Dr. Sears, to gentle sleep training via Pantley, and finally through the various grades of crying it out - attended crying through to extinction methods. One poster said that any sleep training is antethical to attachment parenting, except maybe if mom works outside the home (always nice to know that a stay at home mom doesn't need as much sleep). Another made the suggestion that any advice must be 100% AP and nothing else would do.
I like attachment parenting because it's the closest term I can find to describe my parenting philosophy, but I am getting very disenchanted with other moms who call themselves "AP". The mommy-one-upmanship is alive and thriving, and there is a definite feel that you have to be "AP" enough to use that as a description for your parenting. I admit, I don't do everything on Dr. Sears' list and get little flack from friends and family for the things that I do follow, so I'm not as touchy about it as some. My son is also just shy of 18 months old, so there is a lot of parenting confidence going on; I'm not quite as defensive about my choices as I would have been this time last year.
There seems to be a sense that you must fit your child and family into AP and not the other way around. The message board has recently added a few "forbidden" topics, "...this board is not the place to discuss scheduling, sleep training, or spanking." Spanking has no place in a discussion of discipline, except as to why it's wrong or an, "God help me, I just spanked my child. Please help me do better." Even as much as I feel that it has no place in any parenting discussion, I don't feel it is necessary to post on the top of an attachment parenting board that there is to be no discussion of it. Including sleep training as a forbidden topic eliminates using the No Cry Sleep Solution as a tool for helping baby and mom get better sleep by their own definition of parenting to sleep being the AP ideal and everything else falling short. Including scheduling in the list ignores the fact that there are some children who not only thrive on a tight schedule/routine but demand it. I know I'm playing the semantics game with these, but they started it - nya, nya, nya, nya, nyaaa, na!
In my mind this just opens the doors to including other things that aren't "AP" and it may not be too long before things like crib sleeping, bottle feeding (formula or breastmilk), and stroller use are included. A list of forbidden topics has no place on a support board and if someone posts something that you find upsetting, you don't have to read it or you can do your damnedest to bury the thread by creating threads that you do want to read.
I'm bordering on incoherent now, so I'll step down from my soapbox for now.
Posted by Jenn at 12:19 AM
Saturday, November 26, 2005
...and it's finally happened - Michael's first substantial injury. I stepped out for a moment to go to the corner store while my sister was watching him. I was just climbing the stairs when I heard the hysterical crying start. By the time I go the door unlocked, my sister was opening the inner door to rush Michael out to try and catch me coming up the street. As far as injuries go, it's not too bad. He climbed up on our captain's chair in the living room and tipped it over, slamming his face into an end table in the process. There was what seemed like a lot of blood and quite a bit of screaming, but when we all settled down, he split his top lip and took a bite out of the inside. Two hours later the only indication it happened is his swollen lip and the blood stains on my shirt. He's looking pretty bad right now - red teething rash on both cheeks, crusty, runny nose, and now the swollen lip with neat little red marks where his bottom teeth cut into it.
- Busted Lip - Check
- Goose-egg - Check
I'm not really this cavalier about my son's safety - it's either slight sarcasm or full out hysteria and I find slight sarcasm to be the more productive of the available mom ground states for this one.
The lip is normal-sized this morning and just little red marks remain. He was also up for several hours last night and chose to vent on our poor, defenseless copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar which is now in shreds. The joy of laying on an air matress next to you child's crib while he throws pacifiers and pieces of book at your head in his frustration. At least I didn't have to wake him up to make sure he was all right per the ped's instructions.
Posted by Jenn at 8:08 PM
Friday, November 25, 2005
I have the hardest time trying to reconcile what I am capable of doing and what I feel I should be doing. Between the fact that I am my son's primary caregiver, the low level of white noise caused by my depression, cooking, and the bit of housework I am responsible for I do deserve regular breaks. I spent a good thirty minutes vacillating between, "I've worked hard this week, I deserve a few hours to myself," and, "I've done nothing this week, why the hell do I need a break - this is John's day off and I should be cooking and cleaning."
I really need to break this mindset because it upsets John to no end. I sulk around the house with this black cloud of anger hanging over me, all the while he thinks I'm mad at him and he doesn't know what he's done wrong. I told him things would be so much easier if he would stop being the caring husband and father he is and start saying things like, "Woman! Where's my dinner?!" That way I could just be mad at him outright and stop beating myself up.
Well, the blueberry muffins need to come out of the oven and I need to get bundled up because I'm braving the arctic weather to go out by myself for a couple of hours.
Posted by Jenn at 10:57 AM
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Michael and I braved the elements to make the trek out to Trader Joe's this morning. I got myself two treats - a quart of egg nog and a bouquet of flowers. The flowers are gorgeous - a whole bunch of deep red gerbera daisies with some mums and eucalyptus thrown on for good measure. I'm enjoying the egg nog right now in a cup of freshly brewed (albeit weak since it's been that long since I broke out the cofee grinder and I've completely forgotten the bean to water ratio) coffee. I brewed it with some nutmeg and cardamom too.
Flowers, a hot, creamy drink and a sleeping child.
Once I get some oatmeal cookies made, it'll be perfect.
Ah well, the child wakens...
Posted by Jenn at 2:39 PM
Sunday, November 20, 2005
We made the trek out to Ikea this morning for storage jars and a super-cheap breakfast. The weather was absolutely perfect - sunny, a very light breeze, and just cold enough that you need a sweater. Michael rode the bus for the first time without being strapped to my body. He sat on one of the seats with John and had a great time touching everything and banging his hands on the window. He wasn't too keen on walking in the direction we wanted him to across the parking lot, but settled happily for riding on Dad's shoulders. He ate canteloupe off of a fork by himself which was way cool and had a ball climbing on the display tables in the Children's department while we tried to not buy him everything there. He also interracted with a few of the other children, and not just to take something out of their hands so he could play with it.
We were in the check out line and he was starting to get fractious, but of course stopped so he could flirt with the woman behind us. He does this all of the time - whine, whine, whine, struggle, struggle, chuck whatever I'm holding, stange woman smiles at me - what was I upset about... oh, she's not looking at me anymore - whine...
Well, I'm off to put things in jars...
Posted by Jenn at 2:01 PM
Saturday, November 19, 2005
John and I had a bogged-down moment tonight. Both of us are still a bit worried about Michael's communication delay and the possibility of autism. John confessed that he worries about Michael's future; I confessed that I'm sometimes envious of my friends' babies and how they are fine developmentally. We both talked in circles about it for a while, reassuring each other, until Michael let us know on no uncertain terms that it was time for him to go to bed.
We started off with the normal bedtime struggles - the dreaded diaper change and then the donning of the pajamas. He actually let me put moisturizer on his legs and really seemed to enjoy it which was a first. Then we settled down in the glider and put on NPR which was playing some very nice instrumental music. For the first time in I don't know how long, he let me rock him to sleep.
It's almost indescribable, the feeling of his fleece-clad weight sitting on my lap and leaning back against my chest. Being able to hug him to me, shush quietly and give him a kiss on the top of his head each time I stop to inhale. Rocking back and forth and watching his eyelids slowly droop down and close. It was a moment I've always loved and have missed terribly with the advent of his independence. It was also the reminder that I needed that I love my boy more than anything else in the world and come what may, I am incredibly blessed. To know that this miracle loves and trusts me enough to fall asleep in my arms. That I've been granted the privilege of loving and guiding him through life. That I have the honor of bearing witness to all of this, each and every day. Thank you, Michael.
Posted by Jenn at 8:55 PM
Today I get to pretend I'm a sociopathic, elven archer with an obession for fire and explosions for 5 hours this afternoon (or as John would say, "Pretend?"). Our party is finally off the damed boat, so my character can blow things up again - yay!
This is the perfect antidote to all of the children's television I watch during the month - oh but to catch Elmo in the blast radius. A girl can dream, *sigh*
My character is extra cool because she has a Warforged Squirel Monkey as a familiar. We are using the Eberron Campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons and it's lots of fun. The Artisan character class is my favorite yet - you have to love a class that allows a character to turn her weapon into a flaming burst weapon at a moment's notice.
That's it - I have come completely out of the geek closet now. And just to ground myself - I'll also be making homemade chicken broth during the game and knitting a bit.
I am so looking forward to this!
Posted by Jenn at 10:01 AM
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I was bemoaning the fact that I just can't seem to catch a break - fatherin-in-law has cancer, depression creeping back, developmental delays, brother-in-law's marriage falling apart, and now the adenomyosis.
John sat me down, and trying very hard to keep a straight face, sang the following words to me:
You know what they say.
Some things in life are bad,
They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle,
Don't grumble, give a wistle!
And this'll help things turn out for the best...
...always look on the bright side of life!
I have a wonderful husband and a fantastic little boy. Thanks for helping me to remember that.
Posted by Jenn at 9:52 PM
I went to my GYN today for the pain I've been having around my c-section scar for the past few days. He's diagnosed me as having Adenomyosis, a condition where endometrial tissue has grown in my incision. I have to schedule an MRI in the next few eeks and go back to him at the end of December for my follow-up. The diagnosis fits with the pain I've been experiencing at the end of each month and sporadically throughout the month. I've alwasy had pretty rough periods when I'm actually ovulating and since I am doing that on a regular basis for the first time in years, I just chalked it up to that.
I am a bit freaked out by what I've just read and how the best treatment for it is hysterectomy. I'm also kicking myself for not making an appointment sooner. This was my first exam since my post-partum visit with my OB last September and my GYN is the kind of guy who would have done an ultrasound just to check how I was healing as a matter-of-course. He didn't go into a lot of details so that gives me some peace of mind - if I had something to really worry about, he would have told me upfront.
The boy beckons...
Posted by Jenn at 3:54 PM
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
- Called gynecologist about moderate to severe pain I've been having for two days now and have an appointment for tomorrow (yes, this is actually good for me)
- Called my sister and asked for help taking care of Michael
- Michael went down for his nap in record time (less than 10 minutes)
- Organized knitting
- Moderate to severe pain
- Sister never called me back
- Spent almost 30 minutes of frustrated crying/meltdown/tantrum (on both sides) trying to figure out what Michael wanted from 6:30 to 7:00. Found out it was something to eat, but not just anything - more of the rice dish I made for dinner, the same food he pushed out of my hand at 6:15.
- Spent an hour trying to get him settled for bed - bounce, bounce, bounce, whine, shriek, babble, babble, babble, chuck pacifier at mom's head, repeat. Why doesn't thorazine come in a grape-flavored chewable tablet?
- It's still raining so I can't go outside and force my electronic pets into cock-fights and be evil.
Some days you just can't be the mom you want to be.
Posted by Jenn at 8:54 PM
Monday, November 14, 2005
I can't sleep because way too much is going on in my head, so I just spent the past two hours playing with Macromedia to come up with the new design. I still have to work out some kinks, but it's getting there.
Here's a shot of what it's supposed to look like on EI 6.0 at 1024 x 768 resolution. If you see something radically different, please let me know (I'm still a CSS novice).
Posted by Jenn at 4:28 AM
I was listening to one of my play lists on John's iPod tonight and it brought back so many memories of the things I used to do to that music - going to the shore at 2 in the morning because we had nothing better to do; driving past old boyfriends' houses and talking about how we were so much better off without them and not seeing the irony of what we were doing; coffee, cigarettes and my '81 Tempo, making sure I had the gallon of water and the antifreeze in the trunk so the car wouldn't overheat while I was driving through Alaire State Park in the middle of the night; the hole-in-the-wall gas station and their $.97 a gallon gas. I remember one particular mix tape where "Jane Says" was on one side and "I Kissed a Girl" was on the other and how we'd flip the tape and listen to the two songs over and over again. Hearing "Laid" always brings back memories of screaming obscenities about Christy Todd Whitman at the top of my lungs out the car window to no one in particular. Listening to "Peaches" and thinking how wonderfully silly it is and hoping my generation won't be judged by that song (if it is, I think we got off lucky).
All of these memories, as I steam-clean my carpet after midnight while John sits up with Michael who is battling yet another cold.
Where did the time go?
Posted by Jenn at 1:40 AM
Saturday, November 12, 2005
It's been a movie weekend!
Last night I scored some major points for not only wanting to watch Batman Begins but knowing who Ra's Al Ghul and Dr. Jonathan Crane are thanks to all of the episodes of Batman, The Animated Series I've watched (and yes, I've probably seen all of them, and all of the Justice League cartoons as well). Batman is a superhero I can really get behind, unlike that alien Boy Scout and goody-two-shoes, Superman (who happens to be John's favorite). You should see us go at each other, it's kind of scary that two adults can become so passionate about fictional cartoon/comic book characters, besides everyone knows that Batman is better and there really is no contest (damn aliens and their super powers).
Tonight we watched Kung Fu Hustle. I didn't think a movie could be stranger that Shaolin Soccer but I was wrong. John enjoyed it more than I did, being more into the slapstick elements and fight scenes than I am. I really liked Shaolin Soccer - it was like watching a Baliwood musical with Kung Fu. If you ever get the chance, I strongly recommend watching at least one Baliwood Musical - it's great fun and incredibly addictive - you have to keep watching just to find out what happens next. The best parts are the English phrases/nonsequitors that are peppered throughout the film and the seemingly random dance/song sequences.
I have to say that I've become a bit of a purist when it comes to dubs - I much prefer to watch the movie with the original soundtrack and the English subtitles turned on. Because Michael is sick and we were trying to keep an ear out for him, John played the dubbed version of Kung Fu Hustle and had the English subtitles - it got a bit annoying seeing the difference between the direct translation and the dubbed rewrite. If you haven't done this yet with an Asian film - I highly recommend it - Princess Mononoke is so much better without having to listen to Claire Dane's flat rendering of San.
Did you know the same man who plays Brother Justin in Carnivale also does the voice of Lex Luthor in the Justice League cartoons and the voice of Mr. Crabs in Spongebob Squarepants? During the last stint of new Justice League cartoons, every time Lex appeared on screen, I'd sing, "Who Lives in a Pineapple under the sea?" softly.
Oh, the life of a geek...(and Batman is definitely better)
Posted by Jenn at 11:31 PM
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
John's been playing his new Hulk game on the PS2.
If the Hulk picks up a person and throws him, the person dies.
If the Hulk picks up a cow and throws it, the cow shakes itself off and returns to grazing. No matter what the Hulk does to a cow, the result is the same.
Posted by Jenn at 7:33 PM
I just got home from a board meeting for the mother's group I'm in. Since I have so much on my plate right now, several parts of the meeting centered on what duties I could give up. I'm enough of a control freak that it was a bit hard to give up some things, but it really is a relief to know that I won't have to spend the last week of every month going crazy with all of the work I have to do and find time to take care of myself and my family.
The hardest thing they asked me to give up was the newsletter. I came up with the original design almost two months ago after about three hours of intense work in Publisher. I should have been doing housework at the time, but it felt so good to be using my design skills which have lain dormant for more than two years. Over the past few months I've probably invested at least 20 hours in making this. I am very proud of the result and have heard nothing but praise about my work.
While discussing next month's issue, the point was brought up about letting someone else take over for the next three months. Yes, I will admit that that the anal part of me thinks that someone else won't do as good a job on it and I can let that go. The artist in me is screaming, "No!" This is my creation, something I have invested a lot of myself into. I got to use computer programs for more than just making greeting cards. I got to do something I've wanted to do for ages, serious design work. I had a creative outlet for something that wasn't directly baby related. I did say that I really didn't want to let it go, but I don't think they understand what this means to me. It feels like I'm being slapped in the face, "You did such a great job, so now we're going to give it someone else to do."
They do have the best of intentions and are probably right on a level. I just have to let it go.
Posted by Jenn at 1:14 AM
Sunday, November 06, 2005
We were flipping through the channels and came across a show called "Young Blades," about the young musketeers. Any sense of historical accuracy went out the window when you saw the token female. The actress's last name is Cliche.
You can't get better than that.
Posted by Jenn at 7:28 PM
Saturday, November 05, 2005
We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary tonight with:
Latkes (elegantly served on Melmac)
Mimosas made with really bad spumante (it's really bad)
and Bubba-Ho-Tep (can't go wrong with Bruce Campbell).
I am the luckiest woman in the word, and that is said without one drop of sarcasm.
Posted by Jenn at 9:14 PM
Friday, November 04, 2005
First off, I’m not even sure “chroniclized” is actually a word, but then again I don’t think “discombobulation” is one either, so we’re off to a great start.
When I was in seventh grade, I was obsessed with drawing daggers laying on tables in front of cobweb draped candle sticks. The daggers were always dripping blood - not what you’d expect to find in a Catholic school girl’s notebook margins, but I never claimed to be normal in any sense of the word. At some point or another, I started putting arms and legs on the droplets of blood and made them jump off of diving boards into blood pools, thus the Droplets were born.
In my junior year of high school, I gave the Droplets their own comic - The Tragic War Between the Droplets and the Killer Tomatoes. You are introduced to the Droplets, a fun and carefree people despite their rather macabre origins. Then you see the Killer Tomatoes who are envious of the droplets’ fun and frolicking. Fueled by this envy and a profound hatred of their theme song, the Killer Tomatoes attack the Droplets. I was never really clear on what the battle consisted of, but most of it took place between panels (a sketchy story’s best friend). Droplet scientists worked feverishly to find a way to fend off the tomato menace and eventually settled on a giant laser, thus reducing the Killer Tomatoes to Killer Tomato sauce for spaghetti night.
The weirdness didn’t stop there, but this post is getting long, so I’ll save the rest for later.
Posted by Jenn at 12:48 AM
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
At his 12 month visit, Michael's ped was concerned about his speech development. I did the self-evaluation test from EI and felt that he didn't need it then, but was on the bottom of the curve. In October, before his next well visit, I did the test again and felt I couldn't check off the language/speech box, so we called EI for an evaluation.
They pretty much confirmed everything I felt was going on. There just seems to be something missing when it comes to communication with him. You can see the wheels turning, but he just can't make the connection between a word/sign and an action. They said he tested with a 45% delay in communication. They also tested him as having a 30% delay in fine motor skills and some sensory issues, but they feel that is due to the communication delay.
We are going to start weekly speech therapy and bi-weekly occupational therapy for him. I also am going to take him for a hearing test to rule that out, although they and I agree that there probably isn't a problem there. They also suggested that we make an appointment with a developmental ped to rule out any ASD (again. we don't think it's a problem, but just to rule it out). There is apparently a year waiting list for this, so we can always cancel it when we see improvement.
I'm still not sure how I feel about this. John is very relieved (he stayed home for the eval). On the one hand, I am relieved that I can put a name on this and know that I'm not just imagining things or blowing them out of proportion. My mantra today is, "This is not your fault, it's just the way he is and he and you are getting help."
On a nice upside, I impressed them by couching his behavior in terms of needs (needs to be moving, needs to explore, etc.). It was nice to have some validation that I'm doing the right things.
Posted by Jenn at 2:51 PM
Monday, October 31, 2005
While walking home from town this afternoon (thanks to the SEPTA strike), Michael turned around in the stroller which is his usual way of requesting more food. I asked him if he wanted more to eat and her made the sign for more! I asked him if he wanted more again and he made it again!
Yay! We have comprehension!
Posted by Jenn at 5:31 PM
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
We took Michael to the Zoo today, and the highlight of his trip was standing on this little platform over a pond and laughing at the ducks.
It was so cool watching him walking back and forth on the platform and seeing John hunker-down next to him to point out the different ones.
I have two of the world's greatest men in my life.
Posted by Jenn at 9:43 PM
I was talking to my mom tonight about my sleep deprivation and how I have to refocus everything on getting more sleep. She went on to tell me how much she wished I could afford to by a DVR, how much of a life-saver it's been for her, how hard it is to function the next day if she stays up late to watch TV, and how much she wished she could afford to buy me one. I replied that I don't stay up to watch TV, that I stay up to clean, do laundry, cook, knit, or just to have a few moments to myself in a quiet house.
I don't know if she has some sort of amnesia about how damned hard this is or if she's a part of the, "Well I survived it, so she can too," club. No offer of a baked ziti, or even just meatballs. I get the line about how I can't go to two grocery stores in the same weekend but no offer to come and help me go grocery shopping. It's like the breastfeeding thing all over again. She'll sit from afar and criticize and offer pointless advice, but never drive the 10 minutes to help her first-born keep her head above water.
Despite my therapist almost ordering me to do so, we will not be asking them for financial help in getting Michael into a daycare program once a week so I don't burn out.
Hell, she didn't have any help like that and her kids turned out fine.
(Sorry, I'm a bit bitter -- yes, she really did suggest DVR as a solution. God, how I wish that were an exaggeration.)
Posted by Jenn at 9:24 PM
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
On Monday, I was telling my mom how badly Michael was sleeping and the strain the sleep deprivation was putting on me. This is made even worse by my depression starting to creep back. I am spending so much energy trying to beat that monster into submission that I don't have much left for anything else. Well, rather than the gentle, "Maybe you should let him cry," that my mother has given in the past to this sort of venting, she suggested that maybe he wasn't eating enough to sustain him through the night. The ever present sadist in me started jumping up and down, screaming, "You're starving your baby!" The angry teenager suspected my mother of trying to sound like she knew more about my child than I did, which is surprising considering she only sees him once a month (no issues there). We then went on to discuss his diet during the latter part of the day and what kind of sustaining foods I could add to it. He's fairly picky and I don't jump through hoops to find things that he wants to eat, not wanting to end up like one of those, "My toddler only eats chicken nuggets and hot dogs," kind of moms. The result is he mostly grazes. I offer fruits, veggies, and some whole grain breads and crackers for snacks, and I offer him food off of my plate at dinner which he may or may not eat (he's very anti protein right now).
Well I got off of the phone with her, and then the despair and anger set in. How on earth was I supposed to manage to make these sustaining foods? For the past few months (great timing on my part), I've been very gung-ho about changing our eating habits and starting a whole foods/all natural diet. Since money is so tight right now, this means the elimination of convenience foods from our diet. So I make almost everything from scratch. I am having serious trouble keeping up with this load as it is - now my mom is suggesting (for the good of my son) that I start making egg custards and risotto on a regular basis to I can tank him up on food.
I took her advice that night and set to work. He was whining and bouncing at the gate while I made some sushi rice (he definitely wasn't in the mood to wait for brown). I shredded some chicken and started a roux for the sauce to a steady stream of whining punctuated with a shriek every once in a while. I finished the sauce, thought about doing a vegetable and decided that my nerves couldn't handle it, dumped it on the rice and we both ate.
He slept through the night.
Please God, let this have been just a coincidence.
Posted by Jenn at 7:47 PM
Monday, October 24, 2005
I'm a member of an Attachment Parenting message board and sometimes I read something that really rubs me the wrong way. First off, let me say that I do subscribe to the Attachment Parenting Philosophy and feel that it's what works best for me and my family. I do not like Dr. Sears and something about Martha just annoys me, but I digress.
No matter how much some AP advocates might say otherwise, mommy one-upmanship is strong and thriving. That's my beef with the Sears, they pepper their books with all of those warm and fuzzy anecdotes that can lead a neurotic first time mom to believe she is doing something terribly wrong because she does not have that perfect bond with her child. Parenthood and especially motherhood is really hard and it really sucks sometimes. I really feel that AP would gather more devotees if they admitted this, but again I digress in my rant.
To many, any reason that you give for not breastfeeding is an excuse. They may not say, "You didn't try hard enough," but the use of the word "excuse" rather than "reason" certainly implies it. I went through my own personal hell to try and breastfeed Michael and reached that dark place where I had to make the choice between continuing or saving my sanity. Until you have reached that place, you have no right to judge. It was such a terrible decision that no matter how angry I get at others' lack of empathy, I would never even wish it on them. That is not to say that there aren't women out there who really do mean it when they say they didn't want to breastfeed because it would make their boobs sag or they would be too tied down. But there are a lot of women who will give what looks like a lame reason to some because the decision tore their heart apart. It's easier to give a superficial reason rather than relive the pain of the choice you had to make.
You breastfed through your nipples falling off? Well bully for you! Just don't think that I didn't try hard enough or didn't want it badly enough to continue. My son has a mom who was not hospitalized during his infancy and believe it or not, I feel that is more important than breastmilk.
Posted by Jenn at 10:55 AM
Thursday, October 20, 2005
There is nothing quite like the sound of a toddler bouncing on a plastic-wrapped mattress, whining at 5:30 in the morning. Especially when you spent the night before avoiding things and didn't actually fall asleep until almost 3. John got up with him, but it was 5:30 and he had to go to work this morning. After doing the whole, "No, you go back to bed," dance, it became moot anyway - with Michael in the throes of separation anxiety, once I'm up I'm not allowed to leave. So John got to go back to bed for an hour or so and I got to deal with a tired, grumpy baby.
John just left for work and I tried to go into the kitchen to get something, which Michael was not happy about - this time he bounced at the gate and whined/shreiked until I came back.
I think I'm going to pack us up and make the trek into town. It's a lot earlier than I planned, but this way I'm less likely to snap at Michael which is the best thing for both of us.
With the unerring ability of babies everywhere, he found the two pairs of what I thought were safely-hidden scissors. Now he's bending and talking to our DBZ mousepad and bewailing his lot in life because I won't let him bang on the keyboard and eat the mouse. It's really funny watching him move from thing to thing in the computer-room and talking and touching random objects.
Despite how peeved I am right now due to lack of sleep and my own lot in life, these moments are all too fleeting in the grand scheme of things. Oops, he's found John's comics - have to rescue them.
Posted by Jenn at 7:32 AM