Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blog Relocation!

I'm so excited to finally be up and running on Wordpress.

Please come visit me there from now on:

It's the same exact blog, but with a much-needed facelift and name change. I'll still probably play with the design. Down the road.

I know at one point I'd talked about retiring this blog and starting a super impersonal one, but I decided not to go that route. Blogging is too much of an outlet for me, and I would be so, so limited in what I could say if our families knew about the blog. I might start one for them that's just pictures and quick baby updates.

See you on Wordpress!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It started at 4:40, when E woke up and refused to let us put him back down. He was hurting. His canines. Getting him to bed the last several nights has been difficult (multiple bouts of rocking and crying), which is unusual for him. He's also woken up mid-nap a few times and needed Tylenol.

Later yesterday morning (it was a long morning) I scared myself by falling on the stairs. I was carrying a huge basket of laundry, and E was downstairs on the other side of the gate, waiting for me. I fell down a couple of stairs and landed on the landing on my knees and one of my feet jammed into the baseboard. I started sobbing immediately for some reason even though I wasn't seriously hurt. E thought I was laughing, so he started laughing the laugh he does when he wants to be in on the joke but doesn't know what's funny, until I came down the stairs. He stopped laughing as soon as he saw me, and a look of grave concern came over his face. He watched me closely and hugged me. He is so sweet, that one.

After nap we were playing outside when I realized he was poopy, so I changed him on our new changing table downstairs, but then realized the diaper cream was upstairs. He's had a terrible diaper rash that was even bleeding yesterday morning, so I wanted to be sure and put cream on his bum. I put him down to run around naked while I ran upstairs to get the cream. You can probably guess what happened: Came back down the stairs and found him frozen in the kitchen with a huge pile of soft poo on the floor behind him and a puddle of pee on the floor in front of him. He didn't know what was going on or what to do. Up until now he's been completely oblivious to all things potty related, although he did ask me two days ago to take his diaper off so he could sit on his potty. I think he'd seen one of the co-op girls doing this; I don't think he's realized the purpose of it yet. Anyway, yeah, cleaning up a steaming pile of shit from the kitchen floor was a first for me. I'm just glad I succeeded in keeping him from running his vacuum through it. It was a close call, as we both apparently had a lot of cleaning to do.

A bit later, before bedtime, I was checking email before reading to him and he was behind me with an empty bottle of Motrin (which he loves to play with), a half-full bottle (which had the childproof cap on), and his little medicine cup. I swear I don't usually let him have an un-empty bottle, but he was going to bed in a few minutes, and it wasn't worth the battle to keep it from him (I thought). I just didn't think there was any way he could get the cap off. We both pretended to pour and sip the medicine and smack our lips, and then I turned back to my computer. Soon thereafter it dawned on me that he'd gotten very quiet, and then I realized that he'd uttered a gleeful, triumphant sound a few seconds before. I turned around and he was standing there with a giant grin on his face and two empty bottles of Motrin. I looked down and the carpet was covered in purple goo, as was the front of his shirt. It took me a minute to realize that he'd probably swallowed some himself before dumping it. And I'd already given him a teaspoon. I wasn't too worried, to be honest, but I wanted to call Poison Control anyway. They were super nice (and even called back this morning to check in). Turns out he could've swallowed an entire bottle and been fine. Good to know. Needless to say, he slept like a rock last night.

So, those were the day's highlights. Which I really didn't have time to just write out. But oh well.
It wasn't a bad day at all (and we had a great time at the park in the morning), it was just long and . . . eventful.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Letting go of insecurities

On Friday morning we had some new friends over, and E and I had a great time. It was actually our first time ever having a one-on-one playdate here at our house with someone we met through the Austin Mamas. It was so nice talking to this mama and being around her sweet little girl, and I'm glad we got together. I've been a bit insecure about having people over, partly because we live kinda far out (for some people), and partly because I've been to several of the mamas' houses, and they're really nice. But you know what I realized? My house is nice too. Nice enough, anyway. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. So we don't live in a hip neighborhood--who gives a shit. And who cares if other people have nicer houses. This is ours, and I'm thankful for it, and it's fun having people over. I've decided to apply this philosophy to other areas of life as well--it's liberating.

E with his friend Clay and Clay's baby sister, Cebe, last week.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

This Morning with E

E had I had such a nice moment this morning. We don't usually go outside before we head out for the morning, but it was lovely out (not oppressively hot yet the way it's been in the afternoons lately), and we had time to kill, so I opened the sliding door. We sat side by side on the back steps for a long time, sharing a huge bunch of grapes, talking to Squeaky, and watching a cardinal dart from fence to tree and back again, singing happily. The sun lit up patches of grass through the trees and the grapes broke sweetly between our teeth. It felt right and good to be together. My first baby, my love.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Two (very different) poems on Mother's Day

by Wendell Berry

I was your rebellious son,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.

So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love,

prepared ahead of me, the way home,
or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,

and forgave before I could act,
causing me to smile now, looking back,
to see how paltry was my worst,
compared to your forgiveness of it

already given. And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,

where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.

"To My Mother" by Wendell Berry, from Entries. © Pantheon Books, 1994.


by Sherman Alexie

I wanted to walk outside and praise the stars,
But David, my baby son, coughed and coughed.
His comfort was more important than the stars

So I comforted and kissed him in his dark
Bedroom, but my comfort was not enough.
His mother was more important than the stars

So he cried for her breast and milk. It's hard
For fathers to compete with mothers' love.
In the dark, mothers illuminate like the stars!

Dull and jealous, I was the smallest part
Of the whole. I know this is stupid stuff
But I felt less important than the farthest star

As my wife fed my son in the hungry dark.
How can a father resent his son and his son's love?
Was my comfort more important than the stars?

A selfish father, I wanted to pull apart
My comfortable wife and son. Forgive me, Rough
God, because I walked outside and praised the stars,
And thought I was more important than the stars.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

So, the verdict is in . . .

And it looks like we're having a GIRL!!!!!!!!!!

Holy shit. Can you believe it? I can't believe it. More soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mama, Ma, Ma, MAMA

For the first time ever, E called me by name from his room this morning after he woke up and had played awhile. It was awesome. I've actually been looking forward to this for about a year for some reason.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Climbing and Hitting and Growing Up

TJ's away again, this time in New York. But just for two days. E really misses his dad and asks about him all the time. "Dad-dy? Dad-dy? Dad-dy?" It's so, so sweet. He's really into Daddy these days.

So, he climbed onto a kitchen chair (and then practically onto the table) tonight for the first time ever. There's no going back now, this much is clear.

He's obsessed with playing in the sweltering parked car these days, and as a result we were both super hot and sweaty tonight, and I decided to just take a bath with him before having dinner. It was so refreshing to mix up the routine. I took a bath with him last week for the first time since he was a tiny baby and he was totally ambivalent about it (I was imagining him loving it for some reason), but this time he knew the drill and there was less of a feeling of "Dude, you're taking up my space to play," and more of a "You do your thing and I'll do mine." There was a little curiosity about my body, but almost not as much as when I'm just changing clothes or going to the bathroom with him near me.

Speaking of curiosity, he's started hitting me sometimes when I'm holding him and he's annoyed/angry/frustrated. Yikes, major change. He's also less gentle with my breasts all of sudden. Ever since he was weaned he asks to see the boobies several times a day, and he touches them ever so gently and lays his head lovingly on my belly or chest. But in the past couple of days when he's asked to see boobies, he hasn't been gentle at all. Booby time may be drawing to a close.

I was watching him building with some blocks earlier when he didn't know I was watching, and I was just so aware of the fact that he's not a baby anymore. He has his own opinions and desires, and they're separate and often in conflict with what I'm trying to direct him to do. It's such a difference from the baby who you kiss without being pushed away, and who's content to be toted along with you wherever you go. But there's also something beautiful about seeing this little independent person emerge out of the baby you cared for so completely (and still care for completely). It brings up this strange mixture of pride and wonder and sadness and excitement.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekend Recap

We had such a good weekend. It was a nice balance of social activities and productivity, both of which can be a challenge for us sometimes. We actually could've used some more down time, but whatev. It's better than too much down time, which is usually what happens (and what I always think I want, but I'm realizing that's a mistake).

Anyway, on Saturday we went to the Palmer Events Center for the annual Celebration of Families, sponsored by the fabulous F.amily Connections. It was so much fun. We ran into quite a few people we know, and we saw the Biscuit Brothers up close and personal (I couldn't believe it; yes, I was starstruck--ridiculous), and then later we caught some of their show before we had to leave. They were fantastic. E also had fun playing with a giant balloon, watching a clown and Clifford the Big Red Dog (he was terrified of Clifford, actually), and outside they had a petting zoo that blew his mind. He was walking around with ducks and sheep and rabbits--none of which he's ever seen in real life before. I couldn't STAND that I forgot the camera.

Afterward we had lunch at Katz's Deli, complete with fried pickles. We were closing in on E's naptime, but for once we weren't slaves to our schedule.

Saturday evening I worked at the auction for baby Ike down south at Ruta Maya ( It was amazing, and it raised over $17,000 for the Roy family. I love the Austin Mamas.

On Sunday after church we went over to our friends' house for brunch. We hadn't gotten together in a loooong time (like almost a year). Sadly, E was deathly afraid of their sweet puppy Lulu, and Lulu had to go in her crate. I don't know if I've ever seen E that afraid. He was making the sad face and everything. In the meantime, he was fine at the park this morning with a much bigger dog (but he sees this dog fairly often, and the dog is very calm . . . ?).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pregnancy Stuff, Mostly

I am so behind on my emails. I just can't seem to find the time to write very lengthy replies, and I have several in my inbox right now that deserve more than a few quick sentences. In our spare time at home we've been working on cleaning out and organizing the garage (we're at least 80% there), and I've been going through closets and drawers and bookcases little by little, getting ready for the new baby and the rearranging we need to do (turning the guest room/my office into E's new room). I'm also in the midst of touring a couple of preschools (while E's at co-op) and trying to find a new OB. (I've decided to attempt a VBAC. I think.) E's recent developments have also necessitated some additional safety features around the house. Several have been installed, but we really need to secure some of our furniture to the walls. I was looking at the instructions today and it's going to be a bitch. Not sure how the bookshelves downstairs will work since they're Ikea and the backing is particle board.

Pregnancy update: I have an appointment later this week (we start week 17 tomorrow), and the doc said they'll try to make a guess about the baby's gender. I can't wait. I feel absolutely certain it's a boy, and I'm dying to have that confirmed (or to be told I'm wrong--either way will be incredible). I started showing awhile back (feels like I'm pretty big already, for how far along I am), and I think(?) I'm feeling the baby move at times, but only faintly, and I'm still not totally sure. In general I have so, so much more energy than in the first trimester, but there are days I'm wiped out for no apparent reason. The food aversions remain, but the nausea has left completely, which is such a relief. The late night snacking has commenced, and I've started to need a substantial snack (like a pj&j and milk) most nights before bed in order to feel full.

I've thought a lot about how different it is being pregnant this time as compared to last. It feels much easier this time. So far, at least (knock on wood). I've had none of the aches and pains I had last time, and some of them had started by this point. I guess the ligaments and skin and muscle were all broken in pretty well by E. I've had a fraction of the headaches I had before, and my face hasn't broken out (it was out of control with E). I'm also way more physically active this time (not that I exercise or anything. Please). It's easier psychologically as well. About this point last time, I was obsessed with where the top of my uterus was--I was sure it was too low. Now I know that I can't feel the top of my uterus yet. I still get plenty anxious about stuff, just not so much about pregnancy symptoms. And now that the first trimester is over, I'm in no hurry. Whereas it seemed to take forever for E to arrive, I feel like this baby will be here in the blink of an eye. Before, I put everything off until the last trimester, feeling like I shouldn't do things too early. I had no idea how exhausted and physically limited I would be by then. Now I know that I need to get things done in the next couple of months.

Blahblahblah, this seems boring and self-involved (though isn't blogging exactly that). Maybe I should be putting it in the written journal I'm keeping about this pregnancy. But in any case, I'm out of time tonight. Guess I'll have to blog about our weekend later. E got to visit a petting zoo!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday at the tail end of a long naptime

Wow, I'm having a hard time getting anything done. I mean, anything but menial chores. Part of it probably has to do with being pregnant, but mostly I think it has to do with having a very active toddler. When I'm not interacting with him or out with him somewhere, I spend most of my time cleaning and picking up the house, washing clothes and dishes. Order is important to me, and yet I often feel like I have nothing to show for my efforts. I get to enjoy a tidy room or a clean kitchen for a fraction of a second before it's all undone and the cycle starts again. Over and over. I feel like a hamster in a wheel, running and running but not getting anywhere. I'm sure this is the lament of many a mom. You'll have to cut me some slack, because TJ was out of town all week and I'm pretty burned out.

I took E for his 18-month well check yesterday (a month late). He got the dreaded MMR shot, which I've been fearing and avoiding for a year. I would've waited until his two-year checkup, but that's right around when the baby is due, so I decided to go ahead and do it now. And you know what? It was no big deal. I mean, he cried (he got two shots), but he was fine shortly afterward, and he was his usual energetic, happy self the rest of the day. We went to play at the Central Market playscape afterward and he had a freaking blast. He has taken monster naps yesterday and today, and this morning he was very difficult to deal with, but that seems to be more from his bottom canines. So, whew, glad the MMR is over.

By the way, he weighed in at 27 pounds, 11 ounces (75th percentile) and he's 32.5 inches tall (60th percentile). His head circumference is in the 90th percentile.

One thing that jumped out at me from the info sheet they gave us about this age: Don't expect them to share yet. Case in point: E's friend Jonas came over yesterday afternoon and there were many tears shed over the miniature Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner we have. Learning to share is hard.

Last Saturday I drove up to Ft. Worth to help throw a bachelorette party for a high school friend. Several of the girls were staying out all night with the bride, but I rode up and back with a friend of mine who's also pregnant (just two weeks apart!) and mama to a toddler. Partying all night and being away from our families the whole weekend wasn't something we felt comfortable with, so we drove up that morning and then back after a late dinner. I got home at 3 a.m. Groan. TJ left that day (though not until the afternoon).

I have to say that the best part of the day on Saturday was talking to my friend in the car. We talked for a total of around seven hours at least. Non-stop. And I felt like we could've talked longer. It was such a treat. No interruptions, no one else to take care of, and endless subjects to talk about. I love this friend, and I wish we got to see each other more often.

Well, E's up now. More soon, hopefully.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mary's Visit, Leaving E

There are all kinds of things I've been meaning to blog about, but I just don't have it in me at the moment. (Plus it's 3:30--E will surely be waking up soon. He's been napping for 2.5 hours!)

We survived Mary's visit, though I did flee to the bathroom once to cry and freak out for a couple minutes. Mary sounds exactly like Mrs. Costanza on Seinfeld, and I've decided that something about the way her voice sounds makes it hard to get outright angry at her. She comes across as sweet and sincere even while being offensive and grating. I believe her heart is in the right place, but it's a lot to take: the poor listening skills, the constant, BLATANT interrupting and talking over you, the repeating of stories over and over and over again, the cleaning directions and advice (while I'm cleaning), the non-stop chatter about sales and sweepstakes and money. TJ just kinda checks out, either leaves the room or literally doesn't respond to her. And that means it falls to me, the polite daughter-in-law, to listen and respond attentively at all times (there's rarely silence) and make sure she's comfortable. Thankfully, there were no fights this time. Even when she said something about how "all Asian people make their kids take piano lessons," TJ kept his cool. And she didn't badmouth Obama or quote Rush Limbaugh, amazingly. He definitely would've lost his shit then.

Her food addiction, as usual, was sad to witness. She talks incessantly about calories and diets and losing weight and wanting to eat healthy food, and none of it means anything. It's to the point that she can't be on her feet for long at all, and she has a terrible cough left over from the walking pneumonia she had last fall and this winter. She and I went to Target one afternoon, and on our way back to the car she told me excitedly that she'd picked out a special treat for us to share in the car before we got home. It was a box of Little Debbie Nutty Bars, I kid you not. Only 100 calories! It broke my heart.

Anyway, we're going to Florida in July to visit them (TJ's dad stayed home this time), and I'm pretty optimistic that it'll be a good trip. They will *love* having E there, and he'll have fun in their pool. We can get a direct flight, and they're set up well for babies, and it will be nice not to have to worry about meals and keeping house for a few days.

I had other things I wanted to mention, but it's now after 8:00 p.m. and I need to stop. I'll just quickly add that TJ and I went out on a date Saturday night for the first time in months, and a sitter put E down for the first time in, well, ever. That was really the point of our going out--we're working up to the weekend my friend gets married in June. I was a nervous wreck for no reason, of course. He went down just fine. But I hate leaving him. It's to the point that I have a hard time thinking of anything else or enjoying myself. It feels a bit desperate and unhealthy and makes me wonder if I have any identity left apart from who I am with him.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Recent pics

Trying in vain to see his belly button. It's impossible when your belly is so round!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

This-n-that on a Thursday that feels like a Friday

It don't think I have much to say at the moment, but TJ took E to the airport to pick up his mom, so I'm alone at home, which NEVER happens. It feels divine and weird.

Mary will be here until Tuesday. You may remember some posts about her last summer. (I don't think I'll reference them here. Ahem.) I hope this visit is as enjoyable and non-suffocating as possible. I know E will love having his Grammy here.

What else . . .

Oh, we found out this week that we don't have maternity coverage. Surprise! More on this later. Shitty, shitty news.

I had my 12-week appointment today. I refused the ultrasound/Downs screening that was scheduled, and instead the doctor just listened to the heartbeat externally (it sounded nice and strong--wow). I felt great about not having the ultrasound, as wonderful as it would've been to see the baby. I also talked to the doctor about VBACs. More on this later.

Today is our four-year wedding anniversary! We have a sitter coming next Saturday, so we're going to celebrate then.

I have been really tired this week, and grateful for the ability to nap part of the time that E naps (he's been napping so well, though only sleeping ten hours a night). I ended up enlisting TJ's help in preparing for Mary's arrival (specifically he mopped downstairs last night). Everything is in good shape now.

Oh, gotta go! Am being picked up shortly for dinner.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Drowning in Oak Pollen

I have horrible allergies. Horrible. This is the third day of it.
Moving sluggishly. So congested. Uck.

We got a lot done today, though. Stuff like taxes and vacuuming and cooking and starting to clean out/organize the garage. And there was playing, lots of playing outside with a certain someone. He has allergies too, but there's no keeping him from going outside.

About the working-from-home/noise situation, I should clarify that it's not that E and I have to be quiet when we're here--we really don't--we just can't be crazy loud. It doesn't cramp our style most days, I wouldn't say. Just sometimes, usually near the end of the day, though having the sand and water table out back has helped with that. But I vacuum regularly while TJ works, and crank up the radio in the kitchen and so forth. I don't want to make it sound like we have to tiptoe around. As frustrating as it was, Friday's incident was the first of its kind, of that magnitude. We talked about it later, and TJ just doesn't think it's going to happen that often. Still, he'll need to find a place with wireless to work come next fall, if not sooner. And I have to ignore the shrieking (which I normally do) at all costs.

Okay, time to go. I'm trying not to get trapped online up here every night after E goes down. I have yet to be successful.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Working from Home: The Noise Factor

Obviously there are huge, huge benefits to having TJ work at home: the overall pace of our lives (especially when compared to the hellish job he had before), the lack of commute, the help I get in the mornings, the ability for us both to be present for dinner prep/evening playtime. The fact that we're usually done eating dinner by 6:30. The bonus of having my lunch made for me whenever TJ has time. (We never eat lunch together, but he makes my lunch when he can.) And perhaps most importantly, there's the huge benefit of E getting to see TJ during the day, even if it's just to wave hi as we pass his office.

TJ doesn't have the type of working-from-home job where you make your own hours and work quietly behind a desk. His is a high-pressure, fast-paced job that's more suited to an office environment in many ways. His schedule is packed with phone meetings and conference calls with clients and colleagues and his partners. He never starts later than 8:00 in the morning, and doesn't take a real break until he stops for the day, which is at 5:00 on average (though he sometimes works at night). Not bad.

The issue that seems to be developing has to do with E's noise level, specifically the high-pitched shrieks he's been into lately. There's no way to stop him, nor should we, in my opinion, and the dynamic that's developing around his shrieks is problematic to say the least. For example: Today we'd been out all morning. Upstairs from 8:30 to 9:30, and then out of the house from 9:30 to 12:30. E needed to eat lunch as soon as we got home, and then we'd be going upstairs for naptime. He was in his highchair, waiting for me to quickly get his lunch together, when he started with the EARSPLITTING shrieks. I knew that TJ was just getting on a video conference call, so I was shushing E desperately (knowing that this only makes it worse, but feeling like I had to do something). I was begging him to be quiet, but the shrieks continued, not surprisingly. TJ came barging out of his office with his earpiece on and said, "You've got to do something. Just . . . do something." I said there was nothing I could do. He repeated that I had to, period. I repeated that there was literally nothing I could do, sorry. E had to eat. Back and forth we went, at a stalemate.

After lunch, to get E upstairs without a struggle or a peep, I was parceling out sour cream and onion chips (not worth explaining, but obviously they're not something I want him eating at all). Yep, I was buying his silence until we were safely upstairs.

Not good.

It's frustrating to me, and I know it's frustrating on TJ's end as well. But I don't know what else I can do. I'm already taking him out of the house every single morning of the week, then we're upstairs in the afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 or so.

The last time TJ was out of town (which obviously sucked except in the way I'm about to mention), there were a couple of days where E and I had a dance fest in the kitchen over lunchtime. I cranked up the music and we were dancing and laughing and whirling around like lunatics. It felt so wonderful, and I remember wondering why we'd never done this before. And then I realized--it's because we always, always have to be quiet.

There are also times when I'm trying to prepare dinner when TJ's working late, and E's doing what toddlers do in that situation--pulling on my legs and moaning and crying and trying to get my attention. I can't let him do it for long since it's too loud, but if it were just the two of us at home, he would have to wait until I'd reached a stopping point. I worry about what this is teaching him. And what about when the new baby is born? Can you imagine?!

We definitely need to figure something out.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Heading Toward the Twos

E's officially eighteen months as of today. A few months ago at his well check, the doctor suggested picking five rules and sticking to them. He said we wouldn't have the energy to consistently enforce more than five. I thought it was good advice, but couldn't come up with the five. We didn't have any rules yet, other than not going in the street. E didn't seem to understand enough to follow rules or deliberately act out. He was still a baby in many ways. But suddenly, we're in new territory. It's happened gradually, really, but this past week seems to have introduced a new era of intentional boundary pushing. We find ourselves enforcing lots of boundaries, over and over and over and over again. Many of the rules involve throwing, which results in the item being taken away: cups, food, blocks, puzzle pieces. Also: no pulling cds from the shelves and throwing them on the floor (this has been the biggie lately, and it's not like we can take the cd towers away). No standing on the couch downstairs (not safe with the wood floor); couches are for sitting. No standing in the high chair. No opening the dishwasher and climbing in (we haven't found a lock that works on ours). No climbing out of the bathtub during bath. I'm sure there are others I'm leaving out. Every time I look away, he's running for the cds, etc. Of course, this is his job right now, and ours is to be consistent. But wow. I can see why the doc advised a limit of five rules. How to keep it to five, though?

We've also seen the emergence of tantrums--real tantrums that involve collapsing on the ground and kicking and screaming and rolling around. But they're not as crazy as they could be or will be. There's definitely still room to grow there. But the poor guy, he gets so upset over the tiniest things. Sometimes my heart breaks for him and sometimes I have to turn away so he doesn't see me laughing.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quick Post on a Sunday Evening

Visited Nana yesterday in Wimberley. She's not doing great: she took a fall several weeks ago and fractured her hip (prescription: rest, ugh), but she's still in so much pain, she thinks she may have broken it. Hopefully she'll find out more this week. I was so glad to see her, and she gave us a wonderful gift while we were there--the first piece of pottery she every bought. It's beautiful.

It seems I've turned a corner in terms of feeling crappy. This is the fifth day in a row I've felt better. Ah! It's nice. It seems a little early to be feeling better, even though I know everyone's different, but I've worried a bit--surprise. I felt just crappy enough later today, though, to set my mind at ease (irrational, I know). I expect everything is fine. After all, I'm about to start week twelve (at last!), and my shape has started to change (why do I find that so shocking?). Good things.

I don't think I'll blog in much detail about this pregnancy, at least not in terms of physical sensations and changes. I'm keeping a little written journal about that stuff.

We interviewed an evening/weekend sitter today and it went well. The plan is to work up to my friend's wedding weekend at the beginning of June. E needs to feel comfortable with the sitter caring for him that weekend, especially since she'll be putting him to bed two (possibly three) nights in a row. Uncharted territory. So we're going to have this sitter come multiple times over the next two months, starting next Sunday. She was highly recommended to us, and has been a nanny for seven years, working with all ages. I can't tell you how relieved I am to have found someone. Also, it will be great for me and TJ, albeit expensive, since we hardly ever go out together.

Okay, time for cereal and an early bedtime. I have a longer post percolating, but who knows when I'll have time to write it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Another Day Down (and it included a three-hour naptime!)

After work today, TJ took E to play outside, then made him dinner and fed him (while I got takeout for us), and then insisted on bathing him AND putting him to bed, not to mention picking up the toys downstairs. I was so grateful, especially because today was extra rough in terms of queasiness. I wish I had food cravings that I could indulge, but literally everything repulses me and nothing is satisfying. It's strange to look at macaroni and cheese and want to barf. Time to go read Agatha Christie.

Boobies and a List of Words

E and I are pretty well adjusted now to not breastfeeding, I think, and it feels good. But he's a bit obsessed with my breasts. This had actually started before we weaned. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he's into bodies in general. He knows where his penis is and can say penis ("puh-puh"), and likes to play with it. He also likes TJ to pull up his shirt so he can see his hairy belly and touch his nipples. He doesn't say "boobies" when he sees TJ's bare chest, so he must know there's a difference. Several times a day, he pulls my shirt up and demands to see my boobs. (He also tries to pull down my pants!) He smiles lovingly when he sees the boobies, touches them gently, and then lays his head down on my belly or chest. It is so. very. sweet. He doesn't try to nurse, he just touches them and nuzzles me and says something that sounds a little like "boobuh" or sometimes just "boouh."

We are cuddling more in the rocking chair, which I love. Sometimes when he wakes up from his nap, he'll sleep on me in the chair for a half hour more, and I get to snuggle him and doze a little. I was cherishing this last week, thinking about how that kind of thing won't be possible as often once we have another baby. Right? Then I was thinking about the new baby and about how different his or her first year will be compared to E's--when I was able to focus on him completely. More on this later, I'm sure.

I meant to say before that the preschool issue I mentioned earlier has been resolved, as much as it can be. I'm incredibly relieved, though I still regret that the situation even exists in its current state. But there's nothing I can do about it now. It is what it is, and I have learned from it.

I wanted to start a list of the words that E's saying (boring to anyone but me, I'm sure). A few of these words sound precisely the way anyone would say them, but most are approximations, or just sounds that we know represent certain words. The only sound that's completely unrelated to the word it stands for is "dog," which comes out as "koh." But it's not vocalized, it's just a kinda gutteral noise, like a sound effect. Hard to explain. In any case, here are the words he has so far:

Squeaky (Kiki)
Daddy, Dat, Dada

Of course, he understands a lot more than he can say. When we're reading, if you ask him, he can point out the fish, bird, elephant, camel, monkey, flamingo, barnyard animals, and various items in his book of colors (like the brown gingerbread man).

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I have a blog over at Wordpress that I've been trying to get set up for months. At some point I'll make the switch. I'm thinking I should make it a less personal blog, a way for family and friends (more than the few who know about this one) to check in when they're so inclined. TJ suggested this, since I spend so much time emailing and trying to keep up with people. It's getting harder and harder, and I don't imagine I'll have much time for it at all come next fall. I'm just not sure an impersonal blog is my style. I don't know if I could do it. I already feel limited on here for a few reasons, and my family doesn't even know about this blog. Hmmm. It wouldn't be an outlet the way it is now, but maybe that's okay. In any case, I'm excited about the switch over to Wordpress.

This weekend was awash. We had a lot on our list, and none of it got done. TJ was at SXSW all day Friday and got home that night. He knew he was coming down with a cold beforehand, and declared himself officially sick by the time we went to bed. I took care of E most of Saturday and today, feeling super crappy, as usual, myself. TJ did do the bath and bedtime routines. Still, it's amazing to me the way men just stop everything when they're sick. I feel sorry for my poor sickie and have taken care of him and gone grocery shopping and gotten E out of the house so he could rest, but part of me is a *tad* bitter, given that I've felt sick for the past two months. Today TJ said innocently, "Are you ever going to wear your contacts again?" WHAT?!?! Are we on the same planet?!

Really, this is not to say that I don't have sympathy for his cold (he was shivering in bed next to me last night and it was sad), or that I don't appreciate all the wonderful things he does. I do! He's amazing. But . . . the gender differences are stunning sometimes. Don't get me started on the cat litter . . .
I don't know what we'd do without the sand and water table we got recently. Thank God for it. We spend hours outside each day and E always ends up filthy and absolutely soaked.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I mentioned a couple of posts ago that E's been hard to satisfy lately. Duh, he's teething again. All he's got are canines left until the two-year molars. We've had a nice respite from hardcore teething and had forgotten how completely it transforms him. He's been up the past two nights, and on Motrin, and the drool is spilling from his mouth. When he's awake he's clingy and demanding and quick to scream. It's exhausting. He did great at co-op this morning, though. The mom on duty mentioned how sweet and even-tempered he was, and I was all, "Say what?"

This morning he was up at 4:30 and didn't go back down until I forced a brief nap on him at 7:30. TJ was out at a work thing last night, so he was out of commission this morning, and I wasn't amused. I have a UTI right now, and the medication I just started is giving me diarrhea and making me more intensely nauseous than I am anyway. I can't wait to crawl into bed tonight.

But can I just say that we got some new shorts for E recently, and they are so cute I can hardly stand it? He's wearing the khaki ones today. I almost fainted from the cuteness earlier.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weaned, Apparently

So, we've been nursing twice a day (morning and bedtime) for quite awhile. This week, starting Monday, we dropped the morning feeding, and E didn't seem to care at all. I figured we'd see how things went and then in a month (or two? I wasn't sure) we'd drop the last feeding and be completely weaned. I've found that nursing while pregnant is uncomfortable/painful, which is partly what prompted me to move forward on the whole weaning thing.

Then at bedtime on Wednesday, right after we started nursing, E bit me. Hard. I started yelling "ow, ow, ow" at the top of my lungs. I put my finger in his mouth, but it did no good. He was smiling with the nipple pinned between his teeth. He finally released and we sat there for a minute. He was saying "kitty" and was completely unfazed. I could just imagine him doing it again, and I was too terrified to risk it. I decided to see if he'd let me rock him instead. I was sure he wouldn't, but I thought if he had to ask for the boob he'd be less likely to bite when he got it. He's hardly ever bitten me before.

Lo and behold, he put his head down and I rocked him like we usually do after nursing. I held him close, and I couldn't believe what was happening, that he was going to bed without nursing, and with no warning. The fact that it followed the biting made it even more upsetting somehow. I started crying, silently, so that hopefully he wouldn't know something was up. When I put him down, he was awake but sleepy, and didn't protest at all. He went down like any other night. I cried and cried, not really knowing why, but sensing that something big had happened.

We haven't nursed since then, which at this point I think means we're weaned. I hate that the biting incident was our last time. I wish I'd pushed it on him after that, so that we ended with a good memory. (There was a moment today when we could've nursed, but I felt like it had already been too long.) I kept thinking he would ask for it, and I decided to wait for him to initiate, but he didn't. I even put him to bed myself those first four nights. I have to believe that he was more than ready to wean, and perhaps so was my body: It's been six days on one side and five on the other, and my breasts are as deflated as ever.

I've been weepy off and on the past few days, missing the snuggle time with my boy. He's not a big cuddlebug otherwise. We'll find our way, though, I know . . . transitions are just hard. I feel like one of those annoyingly needy mothers right now, whose desperation ends up forcing their children to push them away to keep from being smothered. I can already see glimpses of how that dynamic develops over time. I vow here and now never to become one of those moms. It better not be one of those things that sneaks up on you. I will not do that to my children.

I should mention that TJ put E down last night for the first time (with me here, anyway), and it went off without a hitch. It was liberating! So there is something to celebrate in this change. And I have so many beautiful memories of nursing E, I can't even begin to count them. One day soon, I'll be able to think about them without crying.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

First Trip to the Zoo

Here's E getting his mind blown at the San Antonio Zoo. He was looking at an enclosure chock full of flamingos walking delicately around on their improbably long, thin legs. It was a freaky sight to see, even for a grown person. This was the week TJ was out of town. E and I went to San Antonio for two nights and one day, and my dad took the day off to spend with us. (Thank God.) The first night we were there, E woke up at 3:30 and I never got him back down. The second night, he was up at 2:30 and then for good at 5:30. I'm so glad we went, even though I was painfully exhausted and sick by the time we left. E had a blast.

Sidenote: This trip made me realize that the days of the Pack-n-Play are over. We're getting a portable crib to keep at my parents' house from now on. The new baby (knock on wood) can use it next, and I expect my dad and Gwen will have other grandkids someday who can use it as well.

Long Time No Blog

I don't think I've ever gone this long without blogging. Sorry. There are several reasons. One of them has to do with fatigue, which leads me to some news that I've decided to go ahead and post on here: I'm pregnant! We're winding up the ninth week. I've had two ultrasounds so far, one just this past Thursday, and everything looks good, so fingers crossed that the next month continues to go smoothly.

I've been much sicker this time. No puking, but nauseous and grossed out by most food. And just so, so tired. The week before last was incredibly difficult. TJ was gone all week, E didn't sleep well and was up at 5:30 almost every day, and I had my first encounter with hives. It was miserable. This past week was much better, and I slowly started to catch up on housework and emails, though I've realized that I just can't spend as much time online as I have in the past. I also finally got two nights of good sleep. I haven't been sleeping well, in part because of some problems I'm having with a couple of close friends. It's been extremely upsetting, especially a situation surrounding E's preschool enrollment in the fall. I don't know what's going to happen with that, and it's been stressful. There are very few good two-day toddler programs in Austin, and while we have a spot in one, the issues with my friends have necessitated (in my opinion, anyway) trying to find another preschool, which looks to be a losing battle. I'm at a loss. E has to be enrolled somewhere in the fall, for his sake as much as mine.

Speaking of E, he's a little pistol these days. He's saying lots of new words, and he's doing a good bit of screaming and whining as well. It's been hard to satisfy him lately. We've been working on getting him to stop throwing his food and cups. It feels like our efforts are utterly futile, but I guess he'll get it over time. He's been dancing more than ever (he loves his little musical table), and is obsessed with climbing on anything and everything. As usual, he would spend all day outside if he could, with as many balls as he can carry. We just got a sand and water table for him, and I can't wait to set it up in our otherwise barren backyard. The past few days have been cold and rainy here, which has been wonderful overall, but hard for little guys who get bored cooped up inside. I can't believe he'll be eighteen months old in two weeks. That seems like such a milestone.

And speaking of milestones, it appears that E is now weaned. I'm going to write a separate post on this . . .

Monday, February 23, 2009

Quick and Incomplete Update

I finished my book assignment last Tuesday night, and I still don't feel caught up (hence the lack of blogging). There's something else going on to contribute to this, but more on that at a later date. Now I'm gearing up for my friend's wedding shower this weekend, and for TJ's week-long trip that starts next Monday. In the meantime, we have a busy week as usual.

I'm sure there's an E update, but I can't think what right now. We've just come through a bout of teething that resulted in the emergence of his last one-year molar. He's still teething, but no longer needs Motrin every day. We had a good time with folks at the park this morning. Beautiful weather.

My little brother's All-State concert the weekend before last was wonderful, and TJ and E had a great time spending all day together. They'll be doing it again this Saturday while I'm at the shower in San Marcos. When I got home from San Antonio (it was Valentine's Day), TJ had gotten me a rose from him and one from E, and he'd prepared a Valentine-y cocktail and bought steaks to grill. He'd even gotten some strawberries and chocolate for dessert. He's notorious for hating Valentine's Day with a passion, and I'm ambivalent about it, so we've never really celebrated it. This was a sweet surprise to come home to, I have to say, Valentine's Day or not.

TJ has been especially wonderful lately, by the way. I sure am thankful for him. Lovey love.

Monday, February 16, 2009


One of my fellow Austin Mamas, whose blog I read all the time, is going through something I can't begin to imagine. After an incredibly scary pregnancy and premature delivery (at 28 weeks) last summer, her baby Isaac (aka Ike-a-saurus) made it home this past fall. But to make a long story short, a problem with his airway developed over the past few weeks, and then he got very sick with an unknown virus, and he's now intubated and sedated in the pediatric ICU. He's having surgery in the morning, and the situation is very grave. Please think good thoughts for him and his family. They have been through so much, including his dad getting laid off recently.

The Austin Mamas have already raised enough money to pay for Isaac's Cobra for February and March. The mamas are also organizing a bake sale, silent auction, rummage sale, and a family friendly music event. But for now everything is on hold until the surgery is over.

I've been a huge secret admirer of Ike's mom, Kari, for a year now. She's a children's author and might be the funniest person in Austin. Her blog is here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Words, Balls, and Shape Sorting

We seem to spend most of our time with E these days laughing. I know this is just the merest taste of what it will be like when he's really starting to talk, but where we are now is so delightful. Everything he does is funny and/or unbearably cute (okay, except when he throws his cup). Yesterday he brought a record six balls outside on our afternoon walk. He carried two to the front doorway, tossed each one into the yard in front of him (while still standing inside the house), then ran back into the living room to get two more. Repeat. This was after he woke up from his nap and stood at the gate at the top of the stairs saying, "Ssss, ssss, ssssiiiiiide, buh, buh, buh!" in other words, "I want to get the balls and go outside." It was the first time he's expressed something using two words.

Once we get outside every afternoon, he surveys the many balls that lay scattered across the lawn. He's like a king contemplating his dominion. He then chooses one or two and we start the walk, throwing and kicking the balls ahead of us and then running after them. He's great at throwing, and at bending over and batting the balls, and TJ has taught him how to kick, though he doesn't kick them as often. My goal on these walks (aside from keeping him from going in the street or up to a neighbor's house) is to keep the balls from going into the storm drains. Anytime one of the balls escapes (roughly fifty times per walk), I run into the street like a maniac to catch it before it's lost. We've lost many, many balls.

The word he says most clearly, and most often, is "kitty." He adores Squeaky and also identifies cats in books and anywhere else. One day he was staring at the side of the fridge saying, "kiddy, kiddy, kiddy, kiddy," and we realized that he was looking at a magnet we have that has a cat on it. Each time something like this happens, it's thrilling for us and we get all goofy with excitement.

Yesterday we were reading his book about colors (over and over and over) and he kept pointing to the green apple. I'd say "apple" and he'd look at me with this smile that seemed to mean, "I know what it is and I want to say it but I don't know how." Then he said, "aaaaaaaa." We went through this several times, me saying "apple" and him saying "aaaaaaa." He couldn't figure out the second syllable, but he knows it's there and wants to say it.

Today I told him that we were going to see a baby this morning, and he smiled that same smile. I said, "Can you say 'baby'?" He smiled and said tentatively, "buh-buh."

His word for TJ is "Dat." He loves his Dat.

He doesn't spend much time stacking blocks anymore. His main obsession now is the shape shorter. He can't do it by himself, but wants to do it all the time, which can get tedious, to say the least.

He spends time each day quietly looking at books by himself, turning the pages, staring and staring at the pictures. I love watching him do this when he doesn't know I'm watching.

I'll end this here, but may add to it later . . .

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Getting chased upstairs on the way to bath.

"Sometimes a President Is Just a President"

I really enjoyed Judith Warner's last column in the New York Times:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fitting It All In

It's been over a week since I started this book assignment, and it's really taking its toll. My brain is mush, and it's been a struggle to keep up with the neverending cycle of laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, emails, bills, and so on, in addition to hanging with my sweet little dude and trying to find time to work (every night, every day at nap--basically any spare moment I have). I've enjoyed using my brain again and having a book project on the table, but doing it this way is not sustainable. I had a sitter come Monday morning for three hours, and she's coming back Thursday afternoon for a couple of hours. That enables me to get roughly 50 pages done out of 256 (I'm currently on page 148). I'm hoping the sitter can come back next Monday too. In the meantime, I forgot that this Saturday is my little brother's All-State concert in San Antonio. I'll be gone all day doing that while TJ stays here with E (the longest he's ever flown solo). As soon as I ship the book back, I'll be focusing on preparing for a bridal shower I'm helping to host in San Marcos in two weeks. In the meantime, it looks like TJ will be out of town next Thursday and Friday.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Our Current Schedule (for the record)

We have a great schedule these days. It started to shape up around the time E turned one and dropped his morning nap, and it's only gotten better.

Monday mornings: play at the park with the mamas and babies
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings: co-op
Wednesday (or sometimes Thursday) afternoons: play date with Jonas and Kay
Thursday mornings: play group with mamas and babies
Friday mornings: storytime

After being out in the morning, we come home, eat lunch, and then naptime starts around 1:00 and runs anywhere from 2:30 to 3:30. He's often groggy when he wakes up, and if so, we spend some time snuggling in the rocking chair. After that we play upstairs awhile and then we come downstairs and he gets his balls and we play outside until 4:00 or 4:30. Then we come in and I start dinner, which usually doesn't go over well. (The starting of dinner, I mean, not the dinner itself, ha.) TJ often stops working while dinner is being made and either takes over cooking or entertains E while I finish (or else we're both cooking). We now all three eat dinner at the same time, between 5:30 and 6:00. It's pretty hectic, considering there are only three of us. E eats what we're having when possible, which is maybe half the time. TJ is the one who bathes him and reads to him, usually, and then I nurse him and put him down around 7:00.

On Fridays we go to Chuy's.

On non-co-op mornings we sometimes end up running errands or meeting other friends or hanging out at home; it just depends.

Co-op has really taken off in 2009. I don't believe I've posted about it much. A group of the '07 Austin Mamas (myself included) started it last fall. E was 12 months when the first session began and he wasn't walking yet. (Wow--that seems crazy to me now.) We rent a room at the UU church that is fully stocked with toys and opens out into a wonderful courtyard play area with a sandbox, swings, a slide, push toys, balls, etc. We started with just two mornings a week (six babies each morning), but now we've expanded to four mornings (some people come one day a week, some two--like us--some three). We recently hired a teacher (last week was her first week), and in addition to being great for the kids, it also means that us mamas only have to work at the co-op once every six weeks instead of twice. In my case, since we go two days a week, I'll be on duty a total of two days out of twelve. Right now the hours are 9:30 to 11:30, but starting mid-March they'll expand to 12:00 and then later 12:30. It'll be interesting to see what happens to the group as (I assume) more and more of the kids leave to enroll in preschools around town. Right now we've got a good thing going.

Last fall E had some trouble adjusting and came close to cracking his skull open one day (I bawled all the way home and considered dropping out but felt better after talking to the other mamas about the situation), but this winter he's totally found his groove. He loves co-op and isn't as overwhelmed by it as he used to be. Before the holidays, one of the mamas made everyone a co-op book to take home with pictures of the room and the kids and mamas and the stuff outside, and E asks me to read it to him all the time now.

As you might imagine, I heart co-op as well, because it gives me time to run errands (I can run *so* many errands in an hour!), go on a walk . . . whatever. It's even been nice when I've spent the time close to the church, keeping an eye on E from afar. I've read in the car, written emails, stuff like that. I've also enjoyed slowly getting to know some of the other mamas. They're a wonderful bunch.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend Summary

Bullets, cuz that's all I have time for:

* Went to a CPR training Saturday morning at our church. I hadn't done the training since college, and I'd forgotten a lot, plus CPR has changed a bit since then (30 chest compressions instead of 15, for instance). We were also trained on an AED--how great is that? I didn't know that was part of the training. And we went over choking. (S-c-a-r-y.) Even just acting out these horrifying scenarios brought tears to my eyes several times.

* Saturday night we went out to dinner with a couple of friends of mine from high school, one of whom is getting married here in Austin in June (and moving here in March), and the other of whom has a baby a little older than E and is a bridesmaid along with me, in our friend's wedding. We're throwing her a shower at the end of February in our hometown of San Marcos. As much as I'd love to blog about this wedding (would I ever), it's something I shouldn't write about on here, and that's probably just as well (plus, who has the time?).

* We went to the early service, as usual, on Sunday morning. A quote I loved: "Anger is like wine: It hides you from yourself and reveals you to everyone else." And: "The person who angers you, conquers you."

* From church we drove to my parents' house in San Antonio, and my stepmom Gwen babysat E while TJ and I went to lunch and then over to the high school where my dad is the choir director and my little brother is a senior. My dad does a musical every year, and that's what we were going to see. This year he did Into the W.oods, and my sweet little brother (Angus) played the Baker, one of the leads. He was wonderful and I cried. He wants to major in International Relations, but I hope he continues doing stuff with theater and voice in some capacity.

* E had a blast with Grandma (though he did fall and get a fat lip) and she was able to get him down for a nap easily. You could've knocked me over with a feather. I was so relieved. No one else besides us has put him down for a nap in like nine months. She brought him to the high school as the musical ended, and he ran up and down the aisles of the auditorium laughing hysterically and chasing the cool new balls Grandma had gotten for him. He also played with Pops. It was incredibly sweet to see him interact with my parents, both of whom he clearly remembers and loves.

* Afterwards we all went out to eat (minus Angus, who went out with friends), and then on the way home I was suddenly seized with the fear that we'd left E's white noise machine at my parents' house. Sure enough, we had. I nearly freaked. I was so sure this meant that E wouldn't sleep and that we'd have to move ours into his room, which would mean I wouldn't sleep. But I actually talked myself down from prematurely freaking by reminding myself that E is not me (that's been well established!) and that he could very well sleep fine without it, and wouldn't that be awesome? How liberating to be free from our dependence on white noise! (I'm a light sleeper and a lost cause, but he needn't be.) Sure enough, that's what happened. He slept fine, didn't wake once, and as I type he's napping without it as well. This was definitely a blessing in disguise.

* The book assignment I accepted a few weeks ago arrived with no paragraph indents (it's a British import, so it's already been typeset), so there's been a delay while that was fixed. I got the new files this morning, so I've got my work cut out for me for the next two weeks (originally I had four to do this). I'm a bit stressed. Looks like I'll be working quite a few nights coming up.

* I shudder to think of the number of calories I consumed yesterday. What a weird eating day. I've felt vaguely ill since last night's diner dinner of chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes (and a coke--it's been years since I ordered a coke at a restaurant--what the hell?). I've vowed to make up for it this week.

* I think I'll write a separate post about E later/soon.

* We had a marvelous time this morning at the park with the mams. So fun . . .

* I guess using bullets doesn't come naturally to me, huh. I gravitate towards paragraphs.

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Things

I ended up doing one of the 25 Things lists that's going around Facebook. TJ adamantly refuses to succumb to doing one, but I couldn't resist. I found it strangely cathartic. Maybe that explains why I ended up spending so much time on it. Sheesh. I've loved reading other people's, and it was fun coming up with some wacky but true shit to include in mine.

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. I shouldn't be allowed to own plants. Unfortunately, I forget this from time to time.

2. I used to live in a group house with a rocket scientist, a drug addict, and a zookeeper.

3. It can take me a long time to warm up to people and feel comfortable.

4. I used to smoke, and I still miss it sometimes, especially on crisp autumn nights.

5. I've stuttered since I was a child, but it didn't take over my life until after college. Since then it's gotten worse, although I'm still what they call a covert stutterer.

6. It took us 18 months to conceive Eamon, including a miscarriage and minor surgery to repair an abnormally shaped uterus, and yet what we went through seems like a piece of cake compared to what friends of ours have gone through or are going through. Those were tough times, though. I still look at our beautiful boy and pinch myself.

7. TJ and I met at a bar in DC. I turned him down the first time he asked me out, and then we got to know each other while we each dated other people for a few months. After that he swept me off my feet and the rest is history. Other than wanting to be a mama, I’ve never been so certain about anything as I was about marrying him.

8. We used to spend all our time at the bar, drinking and playing music. Funny how things change. He hasn't had a beer in almost six years, and neither of us writes or plays music anymore.

9. I sat on a jury for a murder trial in DC. We ended up convicting the guy of second-degree murder and sending him to jail for life. It took us days to reach a verdict. Twice we told the judge we couldn’t do it and twice he sent us back. Many tears were shed in that jury room, by both men and women. After the trial was over we found out that there had been a previous trial that ended in a hung jury.

10. One Monday afternoon when I was cleaning the bathroom in our apartment in DC, I witnessed a gang shooting out the window. I ended up testifying in two trials against a notorious gang leader, who stared at me without blinking the whole time I was on the stand. I have a transcript of my testimony, and it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

11. I’ve met (“met” is stretching it in some cases) Caroline Kennedy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jimmy Carter, Ted Koppel, Amy Sedaris, Steven Colbert, Bill Clinton, Edwidge Danticat, George Pelecanos, Edward P. Jones, and Molly Ivins, to name a few. One of the perks of working at a great indie bookstore in DC.

12. I’m no stranger to melancholy and nostalgia and guilt, no stranger at all.

13. Every fiber of my being revolves about my son. So far I don’t know how to be any other way.

14. I admire people who have questioned religion and found faith. I identify with people who have questioned and who remain on the fence or on the non-believing side. I neither admire nor identify with people who believe without questioning.

15. I’ve come to view progressive Christianity as more radical (for lack of a better word) than Unitarianism or atheism, say. Radical in a good way. I find this very intriguing.

16. My grandmother has more balls than anyone I know. She also never feels sorry for herself, even when she has every reason to. This may be the thing I admire most about her.

17. I’m a light sleeper, and can only sleep well in perfect conditions (and even then it’s a crapshoot). My husband, on the other hand, should be in the sleeping Olympics.

18. I love to walk, and I desperately miss being in a walkable city.

19. I miss 3:00 p.m. lattes and after-work beers with my friend Trish.

20. I’ve never lived so much in my head since becoming a parent. There are so many things I don’t share with anyone anymore. It feels different, but okay and natural. There’s no longer enough time or energy to share it all. I wonder if other people experience this.

21. I used to only listen to female musicians until I met TJ. He opened my eyes to music I’d never been able to get into before (or didn’t know about), and now I’m no longer sexist in my musical preferences. (He also already knew every Ani Difranco song when we met. Can you believe that?)

22. I can’t relax unless everything is neat and tidy. Actually, I usually can’t relax then either. Watching a movie at home is a huge commitment.

23. TJ works from home, and I take care of E during the day. It’s pretty fucking sweet.

24. I love taking pictures and would like to get better at it now that I have a smokin’ camera.

25. Books were my lifeline growing up, to the point that my parents and teachers and therapist were worried that I was escaping reality to an extreme degree. I love books.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ah, sleeping in your own vomit

Last night I went into E's room to check on him before bed as always. As I opened the door I was greeted by the unmistakable stench of puke. Lots of puke. I turned on the light and peered into his crib, and there he was, asleep, covered in vomit from head to toe. It was all over the crib sheet, all over him, caked to his mouth and chin and hair. He slept on as I grabbed TJ and we gathered together towels and a game plan. We woke him up, stripped him, and put him in the bath. He was super smiley, totally unfazed, and ready to play.

I can't remember if I've mentioned that our co-op has been felled by an evil stomach virus. Babies and mamas started dropping like flies last Friday, followed by dads. I thought we'd escaped it, but perhaps we haven't. Oddly, E didn't throw up again last night and was fine today until just before nap when he puked a little, and woke up a bit later clearly feeling puny. After rocking him and letting him sleep on me a long while, I was able to put him down again, and there he remains.

If only I'd realized he'd puked last night, but he's been coughing lately, so I thought he was just coughing. The thought did enter my mind, but when he didn't cry, I dismissed it. Poor guy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cuts So Throwed

There's a haircut place a couple miles up the road from us called Cuts So Throwed. Wtf? Is this some kind of urban slang I'm unaware of? Not that that would be shocking.

Sadly, Club Whut It Dew has shut down. That was less than a mile from us, in a depressed little strip center. River City Bingo is there as well (not to be confused with River City Twirl Dance around the corner, a small, dilapidated building that sits alone on top of a hill and appears deserted except for the feather boas that hang neatly on the inside wall). Half of the strip center parking lot is always packed, and we think it must be the bingo goers. But none of it really makes sense.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

No MRR today

E had his fifteen-month well check this morning. (He turns sixteen months a week from today.) I thought he'd get the MMR shot this visit since he hadn't gotten it last time, and I was freaked out, despite having decided to go through with it after consulting The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears (the most balanced, informative book on the subject I've found). It was the last sentence of the MMR chapter that decided it for me, but no need to go into that here. TJ was fine with the shot, so it was really up to me, and what can I say, J.enny McCarthy made quite an impression on me when she went on Oprah last year. The good news is that E didn't have to have the shot today. Dr. D said that he's started delaying it to eighteen months or two years to set parents' minds at ease. Nice, huh.

He did get two shots today (both ones he's had before), and that was hard for him (quick recovery, though), as was being examined by Dr. D. He screamed hysterically, even when the doc was just listening to him breathe. Dr. D said that all fifteen-month-olds hate him; it's just part of the deal at this age. Who knew? He also talked about how important safety is right now (how fast they are, etc.), and how many people forgo eating out at this stage (I nearly died laughing, he was so on the money); and he suggested choosing five rules and sticking to them and letting the rest go. You could easily set a hundred boundaries, he said, but you only have the energy to enforce five right now, so you might as well choose consistency. I like this concept.

This was the best well check we've had, and for the first time, I had no questions. Last time my questions were about food and pickiness, but I've gotten over that (at least in terms of talking to a doctor about it). The fact that E eats zero vegetables and zero fruit (except in the smoothie we make him every morning) disturbed me at one time, but there's really nothing you can do other than marvel at a baby who doesn't like fruit.

As for the stats:

26.6 pounds (75% percentile)

31.5 inches (65% percentile)

head circumference 75% percentile

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day

Oh Eamon, this is such an important day. We are celebrating today and crying tears of joy as we watch Mr. and Mrs. Obama begin their work. What amazing people they are, and what a damaged country they have inherited after the last eight years.

No matter how hard the days ahead are for the nation, and we all know they'll be hard, it feels like hope has returned.

Here are a few pictures from this morning. In the first one, we're on our way to an inauguration brunch hosted by one of our Austin Mama friends. Our whole family went.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cloud of Happiness

It's such a wonderful relief to have TJ home!

Took my mom to the airport earlier this afternoon. It feels like we barely saw her, and yet that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. She came downstairs for maybe five minutes this morning and then got ready and left; when she came back this afternoon we departed for the airport immediately.

I was thinking about how I said that she made me feel as though I'm doing something remarkable in taking care of E, and I realized that was a total stretch--the word remarkable. That isn't what she said, or even how I felt afterwards, though I did feel validated, as I mentioned. I think I must be so desperate to feel remarkable at something, to have some unique knowledge or skill set, that I got a little carried away and created the experience that I wanted. But whatever.

A quote from church this morning has stayed with me today. It's from a Buddhist text. "For those who think compassionate thoughts, happiness will follow them like a cloud. For those who think hostile thoughts, unhappiness will follow them like a cloud." The trick is catching the constant flow of thoughts and messages we tell ourselves all day. I'm terrible at that. Oops. Hostile thought.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Catching up a little on a gray Saturday

We had a much busier week last week than usual, at least in the evenings. TJ's two work partners (and friends) were in town from DC, so we hung out with them Monday and Tuesday evenings (they came over here Monday and we went out Tuesday and then I brought E home to bed while TJ stayed out), and then on Wednesday night I had a sad, intense talk with my BFFs about baby stuff at their house. I've been thinking about little else. Thursday I worked my ass off getting ready for my mom's arrival. She's staying with us this weekend while attending a training (she's a play therapist and lives in Dallas). TJ left for the airport at 5 a.m. Friday morning, and my mom arrived here around 3:00 that afternoon, then left for a dinner and meeting. She did get some time with E before she left. She's away today from 8:00 until 5:00, so it's a strange, empty Saturday, but E and I will be picking up TJ from the airport at 5:30, so that's good. Hopefully we can all go to dinner.

This morning E and I went to the park and then to Target, where I picked up some stuff to make an oatmeal box for him. (I was bored and looking for something new to do.) Someone I went to college with who I recently found on Facebook has a blog with all kinds of cool ideas of stuff to do with your family/kids, and this was one of them. You take a big, shallow Rubbermaid container and you fill it with oatmeal and various cups and vessels and then let your kiddo(s) go to town. I'm wondering how much of the oatmeal will end up on the kitchen floor.

TJ's trip to San Francisco was a huge success, it sounds like. He's thinks they're getting the deal. He called me last night to tell me that he's a sexy bitch, which is what you say (in his little company of three) after you've landed a new client. It's not as obnoxious as it sounds; in fact, it's pretty hilarious.

My mom cannot believe how busy E is. It's true--he's a busy guy. This morning around 7:30 she said, "So will he go down for a nap around 9:00?" I said, oh no, he doesn't go down until 1:00, and she looked at me with this stunned expression and said, "I don't think I could make it. You must be so exhausted. None of my three were ever as active as this." I said that I'm used to it and that it's probably good that I don't know any different, and she said, "Oh, that's definitely a good thing!" It was funny, and it made me feel seen and appreciated for what I'm doing, as though I'm doing something remarkable, which is not how I feel usually at all. In regular jobs you get some form of feedback, but with this you just do your thing and you live in your head and you get used to it and you get used to no one really seeing what you do. After all, what you're doing is not unique or of any economic value in our culture.

So, it was nice. This is the first time she's stayed here since E was a week old, and that wasn't a good experience at all, at all, at all, so I'm glad things are going better this time.

Can I just make it clear, by the way, that I'm not complaining about taking care of E full-time? (Which is not to say that I wouldn't hire a fabulous part-time nanny if I had the money. I might.) But. I fully and completely realize what a gift my time with him is and I could not be more thankful for it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Beautiful Sleep, Freelancing

We've had sleep the past two nights, and no fevers. What a relief. As always, when we're in the midst of something like this, it seems like it's never going to end, and then it ends and suddenly everything's fine.

Now I'm off to evaluate my to-do list while E naps. The list seems much longer than usual (the kind of stuff that takes months). I can't seem to wittle away at it no matter what I do.

I'm also pondering how to respond to an email I got from S.imon and S.chuster asking if I was still on hiatus from freelance work. I thought I was indefinitely--forever--but I'm being offered work if I want it. God knows I don't have time, but I also don't want to close the door completely. Maybe I can take on some shorter projects and do more books for middle grades and less of the older YA stuff. And perhaps I can limit the projects to proofreading only--no copyediting. Hmmm.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Two thirsty guys at the Houston airport on December 27

So as not to end on a downer . . .

I should note that TJ stopped working at 2:00 today to help with E. This man is such a wonderful partner at times like this, I have to say. And the fact that he works from home makes it so much easier. He and E played outside a bit, and then E deteriorated and they spent quite awhile laying on the recliner before moving to our bed, where the last I saw, E was asleep on his dad's chest. During this time I got a good long break, and when I went into our bedroom to see if they were both sleeping, I found TJ reading and E curled up next to him asleep with his fists covering his eyes. I wished I had a camera. He woke up glassy-eyed and miserable and hot, but rallied, and we actually had a nice evening full of peaceful play and takeout. Hopefully tonight will be okay.

It Continues

Last night was awful as well. When will this end? It feels like we're back in the newborn stage again, where everything is hazy and you forget to eat or brush you teeth. He'll only sleep if we're holding him, wants to nurse all the time, wakes up crying when we lay him in his crib, has no routine or schedule whatsoever (and usually we have a wonderfully predictable schedule). Unlike a newborn, he can stay awake at night crying and moaning for hour upon hour upon hour. I never knew he could physically do that. He still has no other symptoms other than a fever that is fairly well controlled by Tylenol and Motrin, but creeps up to 100/101 at the end of the day. It seems obvious that he doesn't have a UTI, because his fever would be much higher and he would be screaming in agony all the time. I think? TJ and I aren't functioning very well at this point.

I'm a little peeved that the doctor immediately suggested a UTI after hearing he wasn't circumcised. UTIs in boys are very rare, and our regular ped (we saw another doctor in the practice) said he sees roughly one case every five years.

Well, I feel like this is the same old boring stuff, but we're pretty much consumed by the situation at the moment. At least we're getting lots of snuggle time. I spend half the time savoring that and half the time about to freak out and needing a break.

I just want our old routine back. And for my boy to feel well again.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Worst Night Ever

Ever, ever, ever. Last night. Tonight can't be as bad, can it? A baby has to sleep sometime, right? But that's what I thought last night. I took him to the doctor this morning and they don't know what's going on. Since then his fever has gone up. The doc asked if E was circumcised and I said no, and she then brought up the possibility of a UTI, which freaked me out, because it's difficult to diagnosis for one thing (very hard to get a urine sample), and also, one of E's friends had a terrible UTI last summer and it was extremely traumatic. He had to be catheterized. Shudder.

I hope it's something else.
If only he could tell us where it hurts.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A pitiful state, big-kid shoes, and wine time

My poor boy. He has been having such a hard time. He spent much of yesterday crying and wanting to nurse (I'm sore), and then last night was just awful. We haven't had a night like that since his first tooth came in last spring, or since the first night at TJ's parents' house in Florida last March. Last night he was so uncomfortable he couldn't even lay his head down on our shoulders. He kept trying, but then would shudder and whimper and try a different position. He has one more molar left as well as his canines, which I keep hearing are the worst, so maybe that's it? His other molars hurt coming in, but not like this. He couldn't eat lunch today (he put a few pieces of cinnamon raisin bread in his mouth but was crying too hard to chew), and at co-op this morning he didn't touch his snack, which is unheard of.

In the meantime, his face has several scrapes and bruises from various falls, and the runny nose continues. Yesterday I put big-kid shoes on him for the first time, since his Robeez were wet, and he's walking very well in them. I figure I should retire the Robeez for a while so that he can get used to the hard soles. He screams when I put them on, but then is fine. I wonder if babies get blisters?

We had a great but brief visit with my grandmother on Saturday. That's the way it goes these days as a result of E's schedule. We got there a little after 4:00, played out back and visited until 5:00, then walked over to Ruth's house (Nana's best friend) for Wine Time. We've heard many a tale of Wine Time, but hadn't ever experienced it first hand. It's a hoot. There's a group of six or seven women, mostly in their eighties, all widows save one, who gather at each other's homes (they rotate) every day at 5:00. They sit around gabbing and drinking a ton of wine. They oooh'd and ahhh'd over E but didn't let him distract them too much, and they kept telling me to chill out and sit down and drink some wine--meanwhile he's wandering around Ruth's house, which is full of breakables and things to bash his head on. It was funny.

Nana is still cancer free, I'm happy to report, but remains on the chemo regimen for a bit longer. It really takes it out of her, but she's doing great overall.

Well, it sounds like E's up. It looks like it's going to be another long night . . .

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The first Saturday of 2009

I've been in a sort of manic tizzy the past couple of days. In love with E, in love with TJ, wanting to clean and rearrange our house, decorate, landscape the backyard, make resolutions, exercise and meditate, have another baby, buy a whole new wardrobe, get a haircut, write thank-yous, just plain write, make various appointments, cook healthy food, put away holidays decorations, finish E's baby album, learn how to use our new camera, go on a diet, eat obsessively. I don't know what's gotten into me.

Squeaky came home on Wednesday. They hadn't been able to get her to eat (other than through a syringe), but she started to eat once she was home. No more vomiting, and no diagnosis as to what made her so sick in the first place. The emergency vet recommends we get an abdominal ultrasound, but we're going to wait on that as long as she seems fine. It was a very expensive vet bill, but our Squeak is back. She's been extra snuggly and attached. She may have a UTI; we're still waiting for the results of her culture.

Here she is, shortly after coming home.

We went to my parents' house in San Antonio on Monday morning and came back late Wednesday afternoon. We had a nice visit, and E especially had a blast playing in the backyard with Grandma and Pops. He's been a basketcase since then (starting with the last day we were there, when he woke up at 4:00 a.m. and never went back down). Teething is such a bitch. There is nothing I wouldn't give him at times like this, but he wants things that he simply can't have, like a carton full of milk without the top on. When he sees me return the milk to the fridge, he becomes completely hysterical and can't be soothed. The only thing that comforts him (aside from the ultimate: nursing) is going outside. It's his new thing. He says, "Sss, ssss, sss" for "outside." I took him out Friday morning and he ended up falling on the sidewalk and scraping his cheek and the tender skin between his upper lip and nose. It was pitiful, especially because he has a runny nose and the neverending river of snot was flowing right over the scraped skin, and I had to keep wiping it. I ended up nursing him after that because he was just beside himself.

There is so much I could say about our time in San Antonio, not to mention our PA trip, but I doubt I'll get a chance.

I'm working on moving this blog over to Wordpress, by the way. I'm excited about the change.

Well, E's up, which means it's time for us to leave for Wimberley to see my grandmother . . .

A few photos from the holidays

The day before we left for PA.

E and his cousin Julia

Breakfast at the Egg & I in San Antonio on December 31