November 28, 2010

At the Zoo

After many days of catching up and doing grown up things over Thanksgiving, it was time for some H time. We packed off to the zoo to show H the elephants. Thanks to Mommy, she's been making elephant noises all over the place. She can't actually make the trumpet noise yet, but she puts her lips together and blows big raspberries, which is kind of better if you ask me.


As is my usual practice, the Ergo was in the car. I leave it there so I don't have to worry about always bringing a baby carrier with me. Plus, it's my preferred carrier for the grocery store. Quick and easy with no tails to drag through the parking lot. Because we were out with Grandma and Grandpa and would be doing a lot of walking, I figured: stroller. It's easy to push, and she'd be able to see the animals.

The only other time H has been to the zoo was during International Baby Wearing Week. We used the Ergo, it being baby wearing week. H was up at chest height and had no problem seeing the animals, so it never occurred to me that the stroller might pose problems.

There were of course the usual problems of finding the ramps, which in a public place like a zoo, is not really such a big deal. But what I did not expect was to discover that all the windows for the enclosures would start about two inches above H's stroller-bound head. The zoo is much less interesting if you can't see the animals.

H could actually see the hippos because their plexiglass went to the floor

So, instead of enjoying a stroll, or having the comfort of a carrier, H was carried in arms through most of the zoo. Don't get me wrong, I'm always happy to have an excuse to kiss those cheeks, but this was definitely a lesson learned for me. I was just thankful that we were out with two other adults and it was easy enough to trade off carry duty. For the future, zoos are added to my list of places more easily negotiated via carrier.

H was not so fond of the Komodo Dragon, metal or otherwise

November 21, 2010

Tough and Independent

When I became an Air Force wife, it was with the intention of being tough and independent. Any military wife needs these attributes. Pilots’ wives especially need them to deal with the frequent and often unexpected absences. I had plenty of practice during the two years we lived together before we got married. Josh would often be gone at least 20 days a month. Because he responded to the needs of the military, we never knew exactly when he would leave or when he would be back.

During that time I got used to doing things on my own. Fixing things, buying things, going places, meeting people—all by myself. I was tough and independent.

We planned carefully the timing of our first child. Josh wanted to be around (I use this term loosely to mean not deployed) during the pregnancy. Validating my birth control obsession, we got pregnant about 36 hours after he got back from deployment. This would let him experience the whole pregnancy and be around for the first few months.

Then we got orders.

Suddenly we were moving to Dover. It was a great opportunity, and we were thrilled to be moving closer to family. Dover’s squadron was also getting ready for their first deployment. They would be leaving three weeks after we arrived—one month before I was due.

Josh ended up going for the second two months and was able to be at the birth and be home for the first month. Then he left, and I went back to tough and independent.

Even at this point, I was doing ok. Since that deployment there have been plenty of trips, and I’ve coped through all of the single-parent trials. I will say I’ve had a lot of help along the way.

It took a little place I like to call Altus, America to finally make me cry, “Uncle!”

There’s something about two very small, dark rooms; a kitchen with two burners, no oven, and a bar sink; construction in the room above us; 12 hour work days; cloth diapers and a laundry room; and a cranky baby that makes you want to curl up in a ball and cry.

I have to laugh at myself because I jumped at the chance to go out to Altus with Josh. We had good friends out there with kids the same age as H. I had visions of play dates and easy work days with lots of time off in between flights. While I was daunted by the fact that we’d have to be in the dorms, I figured we could make it. I am tough and independent.

And we did have play dates. We did go places. But Josh also had very long days and grad school to do when he wasn’t working. When you only have two rooms, there aren’t really a lot of options for letting Daddy work. So, instead of having H for 12 hours, five days a week, I had her 12 hours, seven days a week. It’s no one’s fault. It’s just the way things worked out. But, as I’ve come to realize, all work and no play makes Mommy cry over spilled milk.

The moral of my story today is that while we should be tough and we should be independent—all of us, not just Air Force wives—there is no reason for us to be stupid. Sometimes the best laid plans need to be changed. In this case, poorly thought through plans definitely need to be changed.

I am just thankful that I have a wonderful mother-in-law who has had to put up with the same challenges throughout her career as an Air Force wife. It’s not just anyone who will drive 8 hours, pick up mom and baby, and then drive 11 hours (with stops) the next day to deliver them from dorm Hell.

And just for good measure, she’s babysitting tomorrow while I go get a massage.

Grandma and H before we left Altus

This blog is dedicated to you, Mom C. Air Force wives stick up for each other. More importantly, we save each other from being too tough and too independent.

November 16, 2010

The Other Shoe

It happens to every mom. What starts out as a routine bath/meal/diaper change turns into a circus. One small thing goes wrong and suddenly things snow ball out of control. You look up and wonder when your life turned into a sitcom and why you aren’t getting paid as well as Charlie Sheen. Your life is at least as interesting as Two and a Half Men, and that’s just laundry day.

For the past few weeks I’ve been letting Josh give H her bath while I wash the dishes from the day. With a bar sink and no dish washer, you really have to wash the dishes every day. Usually by the time 6:30 rolls around, I’m all parented out. I’ve been perfectly happy to let Dad take care of an easy and fun bath time. But tonight I was tired of dirty dishes and scalding hot water.

“I’ll do bath; you do dishes,” I say. Famous last words.

H gets her baths in an inflatable infant tub in the shower stall. Obviously. I toss the tub in, turn on the water, and stand there a few moments to make sure the temperature was ok. One of the many quirky details of life in Altus, America is that the shower has a one-eighth inch area of the temperature gauge that is warm but not scalding. Anything above that prescribed zone will burn your skin off; anything below will freeze you to death.

Showers, being the fascinating machines they are, interest H. When she discovered I had the water on, she comes right over and tries to climb in the tub. We’ve let her get in while the tub fills a few times. This has eliminated any qualms she feels about climbing in while the water is on. If she were naked already, then there would be no problem. But she was fully clothed. Thankfully only the burp cloth got soaked.

Meanwhile, H was stinking to high heaven. Poopy diaper off and baby naked, we were ready for bath time. Cloth diapers being what they are, the dirty diaper needed a trip to the bathroom to dispose of the nastiness. As I walk into the bathroom ahead of H, the dirty diaper in my hand swings and a single clump of poo falls to the floor. “Shit,” I think, no pun intended. Immediately I turn to H, who was following me, and say firmly, “Stop!” The last thing I want is for her to a) step in it or b) pick it up.

Dutifully H stops in the door to the bathroom, naked as a jay bird. And promptly pees.

I stand there, momentarily frozen, with a full diaper in one hand, poo on the floor, and a baby peeing on the floor of my hotel room—only most of it on the tile. My eyes dart to the toilet paper holder. Can I quickly get some toilet paper to scoop up the poo? No, I cannot. Half of a sheet of paper clings to the brown cardboard tube, mocking me. (This is almost certainly my own fault, brought about by my passive aggressive hatred of this place.)

I scream for back up, and Josh comes running. I drop the dirty diaper on the floor, scoop up the recently peeing child and deposit her in the tub to play safely while we clean up the mess.

Josh mops up the pee with a wash cloth. (This is not my first choice, but I’m not about to complain. “Pee is sterile,” he reminds me.) I use the remaining half a square of toilet paper to grab the poo off the floor. Next I turn the diaper out over the toilet (the joys of cloth). Sadly, this is one of those occasions where a squirmy baby equals poo that eludes the carefully placed diaper liner. More personalized attention is required to jiggle, scrape, and dunk the diaper.

In the middle of this process I realize that I still haven’t gotten a new roll of toilet paper. I grab the generic paper off the back of the toilet and gamely try to take the wrapper off of it with one hand while holding the dirty diaper over the toilet with the other. Just as I succeed in this feat of one-handed gymnastics I turn to check on H and see this:

Yes, that’s right. She was holding a leather shoe when she peed on the floor. And I neglected to remove it from her hand when I dropped her in the tub. It is now a bath toy. She dips it in the water, lifting and watching the water pour out of the Mary Jane.

It’s at this moment that you can choose to laugh or cry. Given all the trials we’ve been through in these two small rooms, I really wanted to cry. Josh looked at me just then, his eyes dancing, and he laughed as he said, “You’ve got to laugh.” So we did.

November 15, 2010

Yarn Over

Many of you know that I crochet. I have trouble sitting still while watching TV, and it gives me something to do with my hands. Useful, but not so engrossing that I can’t still enjoy Grey’s Anatomy or Project Runway or whatever. It’s something my mom taught me when I was about nine. I spent years and years having only made one hat. Then in college I took up the hook again. Now I pretty much always have a project going.

This is why a trip to Hobby Lobby is much like a trip to Barnes and Noble. I can’t go in and not come out with something. It’s almost a universal constant. My recent trip scored me yarn for three baby hats, a pair of pants for H, and nylon cord to make a bag (super curious to see how this turns out!).

Anyway, my real point is to share with you my downfall in the world of crochet. I have made hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters, afghans, and Christmas ornaments. I can do any stitch you throw at me. I’ve created a few original patterns. But I cannot, for the life of me, make a hat that is just the right size.

What is wrong with me? I measure the head. I make the hat exactly that circumference, and it’s big. Every time. I’m completely baffled here. It doesn’t matter if I’m following a pattern or not. I measure, I check my gauge, and the damn thing is big.

 My latest hat: Yes, it was too big.

I appeal to the other crafty people out there. What am I missing here? Clearly I’m missing something! How can I start my wildly popular and profitable crocheted baby hat line if I don’t get this problem under control?

I’d like to note, that it’s just hats I have issues with. My sweaters seem to come out fine. This is why I’m so puzzled. I know how to follow a pattern. But you make it round and suddenly I’m making hats for giants.

Anyone know a giant that needs a hat?

November 11, 2010

A Little Breastfeeding Story

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about breastfeeding. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about why I kept breastfeeding when things were pretty bleak for me. I’m not sure that I really have answers, and I’m certainly not in this to tell you how awesome of a mom I am because I stuck with it. Breastfeeding is one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life—not just in my mom life (all 17 months of it).

Time to get personal and lay the bad on you. I have flat nipples. I didn’t know that was even a thing before I got pregnant. Even though I had read about them in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, I didn’t think it applied to me. But it did. To make a long and painful story shorter but no less painful, we had a very shallow latch that wore the skin off both nipples in a matter of maybe a week. We’re talking raw, bleeding craters the size of a fingernail on both nipples. I could barely stand to have a t-shirt against them, let alone have a baby suck on them.

Medela’s Hydrogel pads saved my breasts. I used them religiously and cleaned out the hospital gift store—the only place in town I could buy them. But it still took three months for my nipples to heal completely. I have scars. In the meantime there was a lot of work and a lot of tears.

When the damage first occurred, my very concerned husband suggested we try a bottle of breast milk to give my breasts a chance to heal. Terrible idea. He didn’t know, and I didn’t know, and it was all we could do at the time. That one bottle led to three days of H refusing me. Three days. She was only a week or so old at the time. We finger fed her for three days. It took three people. I would pump while two people managed the bottle, dropper, finger, and baby.

Finally I ended up with nipple shields both to protect my breasts and give her something to latch on to. It still hurt to breastfeed. It hurt every time. For weeks. Sometimes I would still bleed. Nothing is as horrifying as when I first looked down at my beautiful nursing infant to see bright red blood beading at the corner of her mouth.

I spent a lot of time wincing, crying, and occasionally sobbing hysterically. H spent a lot of time yelling at me.

But it did get better eventually. For me it took a good 12 weeks. Standard wisdom tells women to wait six weeks before they decide to quit or stick with it. At six weeks I thought that anyone who said that breastfeeding was a wonderful bonding time and so relaxing was full of shit. I felt like breastfeeding for one year was a prison sentence. I also felt like a pretty crappy mom. It wasn’t until I got to 12 weeks that I felt somewhat competent and ready to ditch the shields (a painful process in and of itself).

Now we’re nursing at 17 months, and I’m so thankful that we made it. I am now one of those moms who can gush about how nursing is a precious time. She falls asleep nursing almost every night and almost every night I nearly risk waking her up because she’s just so beautiful that I want to kiss her and squeeze her.

But how did I get from there to here? What actually made it possible?

A lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m obstinate. I had decided I was going to breastfeed and by God I was going to do it. I also have a mom who breastfed both her kids—me for two years. I have a very supportive husband. And we had a lot of help.

The actual breastfeeding part is really something between you and the baby. You absolutely should have emotional support from your family and husband. You absolutely should get help from a lactation consultant or Le Leche League leader/group. I got a lot of help both from the hospital lactation consultant and a LLL leader. But the real work is between you and the baby. The ultimate deciding factor will more than likely be your willingness to continue in the face of whatever challenges arise.

That nursing relationship in those first few weeks can take up to 99% of your time and resources. Newborns eat all the time. If you’re nursing every two hours and it’s painful every two hours, you’re going to be rather tired. The last thing you need to do is anything that is not directly connected to caring for your child.

Bring on the grandparents! When you’re getting ready to be a new parent some people will tell you to wait and have grandma and grandpa come two or three days in to give you some one-on-one bonding time. Pardon me as I call bullshit. This is some modern idea someone came up with and is a terrible idea. Even if you have a short and easy labor (and I did), you are exhausted afterward and so is your husband who was up with you the whole time. My parents arrived two hours after H was born. Those two hours were plenty of time for one-on-one bonding with our new little one. (Initial bonding, people! I have my entire life to have one-on-one time with my daughter.) Getting to shower and sleep in my own bed while Nana and Nonno watched H and made dinner was great.

Bless my dear, dear parents and in-laws. We had grandparents on duty for a whole month after H was born. I did not cook. I did not clean. I barely shopped. I took care of H.

Now, all things being equal, that would have been the end of it. But the Air Force being what it is, our carefully planned pregnancy ended right before our new unit deployed. When H was a month old, Josh deployed for two months. While I am headstrong and stubborn, the idea of being a single parent for two months with a one-month-old was terrifying. I fled back home.

In practice, I had someone at home with me during the day for two and half months after H was born (my Nana lives with my parents). In a nutshell, that is why we are breastfeeding today. That is why we made it. Because I could go and take a shower. Because when I got mastitis (twice) I had someone to take me to the doctor and watch H all day while I slept it off. Because someone was there at 3am when I couldn’t walk the floors anymore.

The idea that we can do it alone is ludicrous. We need help and not just from our husbands, no matter how wonderful they are.

My advice to you if you’re getting ready to have a little one is to get help. Line up the grandparents for visits. These should not overlap. They should also last for as long as possible given everyone’s circumstances. When the grandparents are there, they are there to work. New moms are not to do a damn thing except take care of baby and answer questions about where pots and pans are. And no sightseeing. This isn’t that sort of visit.

If your family can’t spend a great deal of time, cast a wide net. Enroll aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, and best friends. Accept local help as well. If you have a neighbor who offers a meal or to run to the store, let her. If your work or church group offers meals, accept them. Budget for Merry Maids to come clean the house for at least the first three months. Make and freeze as many meals as will fit in your freezer before the baby arrives. Let your husband cook if he can/is willing to learn. Stock up on delivery menus. There are even post-partum doulas you can hire to help you out after the baby is born.

Bottom line: In all but a very few rare cases, if you have boobs and a new baby, you can physically nurse. You do have milk. The baby does want you. You can overcome bad latch, flat nipples, mastitis, thrush, or whatever, but you have to have the emotional reserves to do it. If you have to clean the house, shop, make the food, comfort the baby, take out the trash, do the dishes, pay the bills, and breastfeed, life will be much much much harder. Be easy on yourself.

You can breastfeed and do all those things. Just not right away. Remember, even if you end up spending some money in the beginning, the cheap formula will run you $1,200 a year, not including buying bottles and all the stuff that goes with them. If you spend any less than that, you’re saving money. Plus, I barely even need to mention that breast milk is the ideal food for baby and gives your little one the best possible start in life.

I now relinquish my soapbox. If you’re still pregnant, I wish you a wonderful birth and easy breastfeeding. If you’re struggling right now, there is hope. More importantly, there is help. You just have to ask.

November 9, 2010

Book Review Time

Early this fall I was introduced to one of my new favorite books on natural childbirth: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. My dear neighbor, R, lent it to me after hearing me wax enthusiastically about natural childbirth, and I’m quite grateful.

Since becoming a mother, via an unmedicated, at-home birth (more on this another time), I’ve had lots of people ask me about my experience and recommend some “must reads.” Ina May has gone to top of the pile. She mixes birth stories with information on how the body really works in childbirth. Given her years of experience and her practice’s statistics, listed in the back of the book, you feel comfortable trusting her expertise. She also speaks in plain English, so that even later on when she’s talking about the business of birthing everything is easy to understand.

Speaking of expertise, I would like to dwell for a moment on Gaskin’s stats. This is a women who, in thirty years from 1970-2000, had a c-section rate of 1.4%. The national average is 24%. That statistic covers over 2,000 births. She must be doing something right.

I will say, Gaskin is something of a hippie. More to the point, many of the birth stories, especially some from the early days, are rather “hippie dippy.” Look past the fact that the baby was named Autumn Apple Breeze, or some such. The stories themselves are powerful messages about the power of women’s bodies and what’s possible when you let nature take its course. If I had read the book before giving birth, I might have sneered at some of the stories and how the women seem to romanticize labor. Having read it after going through it all myself, I was able to appreciate what they had gone through. They are honest reports of labor. And the more positive labor experiences you can hear about, the better.

The second half of the book talks about how the body works during pregnancy and labor. After taking a Bradley class on natural childbirth, reading a good bit, and going through labor once, I still learned a lot from Gaskin. I found myself making mental notes for round 2. The techniques she discusses are available to any woman. There’s no need for modern fanciness or mumbo jumbo. It’s a woman’s body doing what it was made to do. Think about it; we were designed by whatever powers there may be to have babies and nurse them. If we stopped getting in the way with modern interventions that don’t actually help that process, our bodies could do their jobs just fine.

So, whether you’re enjoying your first pregnancy or are already a mom, try reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, if you’d like to learn more about natural childbirth.

November 7, 2010

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

I’m a cloth convert for sure. I tried cloth diapers over the summer and came to like them a lot. If you’re a friend on Facebook, you can read all about my cloth diaper trial in my notes (pre-blog, you know). I’m sure there will be a post about the virtues of cloth sometime soon, but for now, I’m going to share with you the glamour of being an Air Force wife. I have come to realize that cloth diapering only really works when you have your own washer and dryer. Laundry rooms—not so much.

Another fun aspect, giving H a bath in the blow-up tub in the shower stall.

On our recent stay in Altus, America we had the good fortune to have our family together—three of us in two small rooms. When I say small, I mean the entire dorm could fit inside my living room with room to spare. Really, I could fill entire blog entries with the dorms here and how they could be improved (blowing them up is one option).

Thankfully the Air Force does provide a free laundry room for their dorms. If this story involved rolls and rolls quarters, it would take on horrifically annoying proportions.

Normally, we get H in bed and take the wet bag downstairs; we do one quick load of laundry, dry, and they’re ready in the morning. Herein lies my first problem. H sleeps in the living room. There isn’t actually room for her pack and play in the bedroom. I might be able to slip past her once or twice to wash the diapers, assuming she sleeps through the draft and squeaking door. But washing diapers here involves four round trips.

The washers have no pre-rinse cycle and no second rinse option. Round 1: Empty wet bag into machine and run a light wash with cold water. Round 2: Add soap and run an extra clean wash on hot water. Round 3: Run a normal cold wash to finish rinsing. Round 4: Transfer to the dryer. Total time: At least 2.5 hours.

If everyone had to wash diapers this way, no one would do it.

Diaper wash has to be done during the day, which means that it usually takes much more than 2.5 hours because in the middle of it we have to go to story time, get the mail, or take naps. I’m usually on the last clean diaper by the time the wash is actually done.

Part of me is tempted to go out and get some disposables. The wash is the only problem that would solve. I’ve discovered that my little 12-14 hour sleeper has a bladder capacity larger than the average disposable diaper’s absorption ability. Every time she sleeps in a disposable, she, the PJs, and the sheets are wet in the morning. A solution that translates into a daily load of laundry is not helpful. This brings us back to square one.

For the time being all we can do is adapt and be flexible. Flexibility, after all, is the key to air power (those of you who know me well know the right mix of humor, annoyance, and long-suffering this phrase evokes).

With quite a bit of travel planned for 2011, this little adventure gives me food for thought. It seems to me there’s only one way to avoid this problem in the future: potty training. Oh, boy.

November 5, 2010

Run for It

I have never considered myself to be athletic, let alone the runner type. It’s true, I am a dancer. If there is music involved, I can move with grace, skill, and balance. Take away the music and add any sort of ball and I become enthusiastic but entirely unskilled. I once held up gym class over my inability to properly serve a wally ball. Not one of my prouder moments.

Given that sort of background, you can understand why the idea of running never had much appeal. In fact, I avoided it like the plague for, oh, the last 13 years or so, or ever since I finished my Phys Ed requirement in high school.

Runners, to me, were these people that sprung, fully formed from the font of fitness—much like Athena emerging fully grown from Zeus’ head. (Geek alert!) Runners were people who had always been fit and always would be fit. In an us-vs-them world, I was not one of them.

And then I had a baby.

I am blessed with a pretty good metabolism that, combined with decent food choices, has kept me relatively slim. Except for dancing, I’ve pretty much spent my adult hood sitting on my ass.

I thank breast feeding for a good portion of my weight loss after H was born. Did you know that breast feeding burns an average of 500 calories a day? You’d have to run on the treadmill for 60 minutes at a pretty brisk pace to burn that many calories. All I had to do was sit on my butt (and we all know I’m good at that), read, give my baby the best food available to her, and I could lose weight!

All that being said, none of this so far has anything to do with running. But I’m getting there. Promise.

The problem is that breast feeding alone does not a weight loss plan make. After H was 3 months old and I still had 8-10 lbs to shed, I screwed up all my courage and got a personal trainer. Best. Investment. Ever.

But the first thing on her list was getting me to run (in addition to weight training). While in theory I understood the whole idea of running and weight loss going together, in practice I was skeptical of the results. I am no runner.

Those first runs were ludicrous. I would walk 4 minutes and run for 1 minute. Longest minute of my life! I was so nervous that I’d get too tired that I made tiny circles around my block and did five or six laps. A neighbor would sometimes compliment me on getting out there, and I’d secretly laugh. I was not running. I was hyperventilating.

Of course, eventually 1 minute turned in to 2 minutes turned into an entire mile run. When you’re unemployed and you can get up and run with no other real time constraints aside from those baby-imposed, you can get into a rhythm. I was jogging.

I promised myself little perks if I could keep at this “running” thing. Over the months I earned new sports bras, cute new shorts, and eventually a BOB jogging stroller. I had now invested too much money to stop running. It was part of my day. I even ran a 5k!

H and I getting ready to run the 5k

This is not to say that running magically became easy for me. It’s still not easy. It’s still a struggle to get out there some days. I still have days where I feel back at square one with no wind and an aching side. I am still a very slow runner. My husband walked that 5k I ran and was beside me the whole way. (But he does have very long legs!)

Despite all that, I finally consider myself a runner. It has taken me a good year to figure out that being a runner has nothing to do with how fast you go, how far you go, or how often you go. It has a lot more to do with your willingness to put one foot in front of the other—repeat.

PS- In case you’re interested, breast feeding plus three days of running and two of weight training each week equals a weight loss of 20lbs! And I can lift and carry my sweet girl without getting exhausted.

November 3, 2010

Do the Math

When you become a mother, you improve your math skills. Did no one tell you that? There you were all those years, bored out of your mind in math class, doodling your future married name surrounded by hearts when you should have been learning the skills needed to care for your future children. I can tell you’re skeptical. Picture it this way:

The baby cries. You open one eye and glare at the clock. It reads 2:30am. Your mind shifts into high gear to solve the following word problem:

If the baby went down at 11:45pm and it is now 2:30am, then she has been asleep 2 hours and 45 minutes. This means she must be hungry. I will have to get up and feed her. I went to bed at 12:30am. I have been asleep 2 hours. If it takes 30 minutes to change her, feed her, and get her back to sleep, I can be back in bed by 3am. That means that I can sleep at least 2 more hours before she wakes up again. I might get as much as six hours of sleep tonight—if I add it all together.

Approximately 30 seconds have passed since the baby actually started crying. If those aren’t math skills, I don’t know what is.

What’s remarkable to me is that this feat is repeated pretty much at every feeding, diaper change, and nap for the first few months. There is a constant running list and accompanying clock of how long it has been since the child input, output, or slept. I picture it as the sort of heads-up display an advanced robot might have on board. This is why moms look at dads like they’re imbeciles when they ask whether the baby is hungry when she cries for no good reason. Doesn’t he know that she ate 35 minutes and 27 seconds ago? He does not.

I love getting some time to leave the house by myself. But inevitably I will come home and ask when the last time our daughter ate/peed/slept was and will be met with a raised eyebrow and a look of (lucky for him) adorable concentration. I usually receive a ballpark estimate and a sheepish grin. The physics major/math minor in me took a while to adjust to this “uncertainty” in my schedule.

Amazingly, if you look, babies will tell you exactly what they need when they need it. There is a cry for hunger, a posture for poops, and sudden, uncalled for fits to signal nap times. And yet, I cannot let go. (You can laugh right now when I try to tell you that I am a proponent of baby-led schedules.) It’s not that I want to tell her what to do. I just want to be able to plan for what comes next.

Thankfully as the first year passes and you don’t have to add to come up with the number of hours you slept—you can just count like a normal person—the schedule thing becomes a lot more fluid. That’s when you have the afternoon where you realize that the reason she’s screaming at you is because you haven’t fed her yet, and it’s been a while to say the least. Eek! You thank your lucky stars that babies can tell you their needs, unlike the plant I constantly forget to water. Then you get her lunch. And maybe yourself lunch, because you never actually had breakfast. 

The math can wait until after lunch.

November 2, 2010

Well, here I am

It's taken me a while to warm up to the idea of a blog. I hadn't considered it seriously until I had an unexpected job opportunity to work as a real, honest-to-goodness freelance editor. An opportunity that subsequently fell through. I suddenly realized that I did need something "professional" to do. We'll see if this is it.

I've always felt more comfortable editing other people's writings than necessarily writing my own. I will doubtless look back and think that things could have been worded better, differently. But there is no dress rehearsal for life, and if you decide to read, you'll put up with me. You have to; it's what makes you a reader.

But I hope at least to be amusing, at least some of the time. I can almost certainly promise you that I'll offend you at some point. I will apologize now. It's not that I'm the offensive sort. It's just that my foot hovers dangerously close to my mouth at all times.

I'd like to claim that all my postings will be profound. Right. That I'm the next hidden gem of untapped talent. I can think of at least one person far more worthy than I. I'm just me--trying not to lose it and so far succeeding.

I can promise to regale you with tales of the ridiculous journey that is Mom-dom, editing and writing tips (let's be blunt: the things that drive me nuts, and I hope you don't do), my "crunchy" mom side (natural birthing, breastfeeding, baby wearing), and the assorted oddities.


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