Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Note to self

Do not wear the boy on your back for an hour on the first day of your period and the day that you are having a test that requires you to lay flat on your back for 45 minutes. Only I can manage to throw my back out doing an MRI.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Getting to know you...

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 :).

Monday, November 28, 2005

Get me my poking stick...

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.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Contest - the mom who does all of the seven baby-b's wins!

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.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Pain sucks

That's it.

We've been waiting....

...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.

Injury Checklist

  • Busted Lip - Check

  • Goose-egg - Check
Now we just have to wait for the shiner, skinned knees and elbows, and hopefully nothing worse than a sprain. Considering how active he is and the fact that he's almost 18 months old, I'm suprised it hasn't happened sooner. Just the other day he ran full tilt into the corner of our dining room table (another nice bruise on his face). John's ready to cover all of our furniture in bubble wrap and foam.

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.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Haus Frau in Training

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.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Too much time on my hands...

I just posted to a message board that I frequent and I actually wrote in the html code to make bulleted lists.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I am not alone in my obsession

I haven't really mentioned it here, but I am not alone in my obsession with Sesame Street (considering I watch about 2-3 hours of it daily). Take a look at Heather Armstrong's latest post on Dooce .

Note to self...

Do not try to knit if the boy is in a mood or you can say good bye to your nicely wound skein of yarn.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cold, rainy day

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...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Tungsten. I need tungsten to Liiive...

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...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Reality Check

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.

Elf chicks rule!!!!!

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!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"You know what they say."

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.

Doctor's visit

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...

What goes in...

I sometimes have to wonder if Michael is actually getting anything from the food I feed him when it all appears to go straight through him when I change his diaper.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"Well, go on - sue me!"

This week's South Park took a stab at Scientology and it was wonderful.

Of particular joy was the running joke about Tom Cruise in the closet.

Instead of the usual names in the credits, everyone was listed as John or Jane Smith.

There is no joy in Mudville...


  • 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.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Oh, Insomnia

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).


Music of my misspent youth (or 101 uses for OxiClean)

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?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Never underestimate the woman in the housecoat...

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)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Social Commentary?

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.

Mixed Blessings

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.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Was this on purpose?

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.

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.


Friday, November 04, 2005

The Chroniclized Tragic Wars: Part the First

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.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Oh, but for the time....

I so want to while-a-way a few days crunching HTML and getting the exact look I want. Then I'll need a few weeks to play around with the graphics.

Oh well, the child wakens.

Early Intervention Evaluation

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.