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