Thursday, May 31, 2007

Eight things

Eight things you may not know about me, brought to you by Ann and my insomnia:

1. I've had the same recurring dream about someone breaking into my house since I was a child. Well, it's not exactly the same every time, but close enough: someone comes to the door and I know I shouldn't open it, but I do and they force their way in. It's been going for so long now that when I'm in the dream I realize it's a dream, except then it turns out it's real life and it's really happening. Except then I wake up. It does make me nervous about answering the door sometimes.

2. I have this thing about socks: specifically, I don't like the way they feel. I am very specific about what socks I am willing to put on my feet because of this. Brian does not have this concern, so he has many socks that feel "wrong" to me. Because of this, we have a crate in our bedroom that I throw all socks into when I'm putting away wash. That way I have to touch them as little as possible. Although it does mean that I have to dig through the yucky feeling socks sometimes when I need to find some. I am so glad it's summer and I get to wear sandals all the time now.

3. There's a major part of me that doesn't want to be vegetarian anymore. I frequently decide that it's too much work, that it makes me seem ridiculously picky, and that since I don't really have ethical issues with eating meat, I should just give up vegetarianism. Then I realize that this would require me to actually put meat in my mouth and chew and swallow, and the whole idea makes me feel rather ill.

4. When I was little I was afraid of the dark and liked the hall light left on when I went to bed. When I was in the second grade, firefighters came to our school to teach us what we should do in the event of a house fire, and one of the things they told us was that we should sleep with our bedroom doors closed. Such a dilemma: I was terrified of fire, and I thought keeping my door closed would keep me safe, but then my room would be too dark. My fear of the dark won out.

5. I have "internet friends"--a group of women I met on a public internet message board. There are 12 of us and I've met 5 "in real life" now. The other six I still consider friends, and I will sometimes say, "my friend said..." and then realize that I'm talking about someone I've never actually met. And when someone asks me how I met one of these friends, I'm always embarrassed to admit that I met them online.

6. In the summer after dinner my dad would sometimes walk us up to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream. I nearly always picked Gold Medal Ribbon. Brian and I walked up to Baskin-Robbins after dinner the other night. I considered the Gold Medal Ribbon, but went with World Class Chocolate instead. I felt sort of guilty.

7. I like movies where people talk a lot and nothing much happens. But sometimes I think the best moments in those movies happen when no one is saying anything. And just so I don't sound really boring, I also really like alien invasion movies, so long as they're not too scary.

8. I love the oaks and dogwoods and magnolias and cherry trees here, and the way things blossom in the spring and burn with color in the fall, but I have missed the cypress trees that show you the shape of the wind. I am looking forward to seeing those more often.

Why, yes, this is the bloggy equivalent of a chain letter. Nevertheless, I am tagging:


Friday, May 25, 2007


Sometimes the nighttime wake-ups don't go as well as they might. Sometimes instead of helping the baby latch on to eat and falling back asleep, you hear the cat hork something up, and you lie there wondering if your husband heard it too, but even though he's not breathing as deeply as he was, he still seems to be asleep and you figure you're awake anyhow, so after the baby finishes eating, you get up and get a drink of water and go looking for the cat puke. You find it and clean it up and then dig through the hall closet looking for the carpet cleaner, not bothering to be quiet for your husband's sake, because it's too early to be that polite, when suddenly you remember that you didn't double the baby's diaper before she fell asleep, so she's probably soaked, and if you don't want to deal with diaper rash or changing the sheets, you're going to have to change her and risk waking her up. You find the carpet cleaner, spray the spot on the rug, and go to change the baby. When you pick up the baby you realize that she is soaked and the diaper has leaked, so you also have to change her clothes, which means she will almost certainly wake up, even though nothing has to go over her head. And yes, when you unsnap her clothes, her eyes open and she smiles, and changing her is a struggle, because now she is wiggling and trying to play. Finally she's changed and you put her back down in the bed, and go to wash your hands and wipe up the carpet cleaner, and feed the cat while you're at it, because she's going to come around asking for food in another hour anyhow, as she still likes to be fed at the same time she was back when you had to get up early to get ready for work. When you come back to bed, the baby is awake, cooing and giggling and kicking her legs, while she watches the ceiling fan. You climb in between her and your husband, and curl your body around her, and she turns to look up at you and smile. You groan inwardly because it's too early for her to be really awake, but then you kiss the top of her head, so that you can feel her soft hair and smell her new baby scent, and you rest your hand on her lightly, and her eyes slowly close. And everything is okay, perfect, even, and 4:30 in the morning isn't so bad after all.

In fact, it might be exactly want you wanted. (Well, except for the cat puke.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mid-May miscellany

Gonna see the folks I dig. There has been an awful lot of off-key singing of Joni Mitchell around here these days. The reality that we are actually moving back to California has sunk in at last. I'm trying to get our place cleaned up enough that the landlord can show it to potential renters, and weeding through old clothes and papers so that we don't end up hauling crap we don't need all the way back across the country. I browse Craigslist and the MLS every single day, and think gleefully about the full service movers that we're getting. On muggy days, I think good thoughts about bay area weather, and when we have thunderstorms I consider how much I'll miss them. And then I eat some ice cream, because that is how I cope with even positive stress like this.


Nurse-in update. The nurse-in last Thursday was kind of fun. A lot of moms and babies (and a few dads) gathered on the terrace at the Cannon Building. My friend Melanie and I admired various baby carriers and the babies that were in them. A photographer from Mothering took our picture, and Melanie and I took pictures of each other with her camera. Adriana got hungry and I tried to nurse her, but she was too distracted by all the people around her (and you try to explain to a four-month-old that she is missing the entire point of the nurse-in). When they decided to start, we were encouraged to move behind the lectern where people would be speaking. I couldn't hear a word anybody said, but I clapped when everybody else did. And then Adriana was finally hungry enough to eat, so I sat down on the steps and fed her and changed her diaper and we all went home.

Me and Adriana, Melanie and Eliza


Pachuquitos. The other day I pulled up at the stoplight outside the high school. It was a beautiful day, and I had my windows down and the radio on. A car rolled to a stop beside me, windows down and some Spanish-language rap playing so loud that it drowned out the music I was listening to. I glanced over to see four teenage boys, three with backwards caps, one with a bandana, all slouching in the car. Very badass. Except for the fact that they were driving someone's mom's Volvo stationwagon.


Oops. Did you know that the expression is "to put the kibosh on something," not kibbutz? Which, I guess putting the kibbutz on something doesn't make a lot of sense. But saying it wrong will totally make your husband laugh. And maybe that's what you're going for.

But the day after someone around here made that error, there was an interesting piece on Marketplace about kibbutzim.


Baby photos!

The other day I picked up my camera to take a picture of Adriana and discovered that Brian had grabbed a few shots of her that morning while I was sleeping in.





Those photos make me so happy. I guess I think it's sweet to think of them playing downstairs together so I can get some extra sleep after taking care of the middle of the night feedings and diaper changes.

Also, my in-laws seem particularly enamored of this photo:


Baby sunglasses! Heeeeee! And you should see her when I put my sunglasses on her, because they are even bigger and funnier. Only I can't show you that, because I lost them at the pediatrician visit on Monday (which totally sucked, by the way, and I am beginning to suspect that a large percentage of the people who choose not to vaccinate just don't want to hear their baby cry, and the people who space shots out and end up with more days of shots must be absolutely nuts, except, I mean, I considered it, so I see their reasoning, but oh my god the crying), and I went right back in to look for them, but couldn't find them then and no one had found them the next night when we took Adriana in because she was still running a fever (which, yes, I know a fever is a normal reaction and hers wasn't even that high, but the advice nurse told us to bring her in, so stop laughing at us as crazy neurotic first time parents, Dr. On Call, and didn't you learn in medical school that pointy stilettos are totally unhealthy?), so I suspect that someone found them and kept them, and then threw them away because they were the prescription ones I got last spring, and they will make anyone else extremely dizzy because of my particular screwed up eyes, which sucks because they were expensive, and that is totally why I should never buy expensive sunglasses, except having prescription sunglasses is very awesome.

I'm sorry. That was a long sentence, wasn't it? My apologies. Here, have another baby picture.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day

After my mom died in 2001, I did my best to avoid Mother's Day. The first year was actually the easiest, as Brian and I spent all of that May traveling around Spain. I didn't look too closely at a calendar before we left, so I wasn't even entirely sure which Sunday it was. The only other Mother's Day I remember in particular was one a couple of years later, after we'd moved to Washington, when we decided that spending the afternoon at a bar near our house watching NBA playoff games would be fun, and that the bar was likely to be free of people celebrating Mother's Day. After all, who takes their mom to the billiards bar to watch basketball on Mother's Day afternoon? The bar was fine, but getting there wasn't much fun, as we walked down the row of restaurants where families were sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and their late Mother's Day lunch.

For six years I indulged a rather Grinchy feeling on Mother's Day. I didn't get to celebrate it, and I didn't want to watch others celebrating it. I told myself it was a fake holiday, one created (or at least marketed) by Hallmark to sell more cards, made sure Brian got a card and flowers to his mom in time, and then did my best to ignore it.

But now I am a mom. This weekend Brian brought me home a bouquet of gerbera daisies, my current favorite flowers. He gave me a card and a bird guide, and after going out for brunch (french toast and a bellini--yum), we drove to Mason Neck for some bird watching. It was an altogether perfect day, with my perfect little family.

Now Mother's Day doesn't seem so bad. I mean, dude, it's totally like getting my birthday in May. And I love my birthday. I should have a baby every year.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Four months

One day last week I was feeling particularly sleep deprived, so in the afternoon, after nursing Adriana to sleep in the armchair, I stayed where I was and closed my eyes. I couldn't actually fall asleep, but it was nice to relax there with her sleeping on my chest, her head nestled into my neck. We used to nap that way when she was brand new. But now she's big enough that when she woke up, she pushed up so that she could look me in the face. I smiled at her, and she smiled right back. I felt sentimental and happy.

Then she spit up down the front of my shirt.

Even though I was tired that day, mostly I'm not too sleep deprived. For the past month Adriana has been waking up a little bit more than she used to, but it hasn't too bad. She nearly always goes down at a reasonable hour, and when she wakes up to eat she falls back to sleep immediately. But the real reason I'm so well rested is that after she wakes up in the morning to eat, Brian takes her downstairs and plays with her while he gets ready for work, allowing me to sleep in. And on the days he works from home, I sometimes even manage to sleep until 8:30 or 9, which leaves me rested and full of energy--and in shock as I remember that in my "past life" I was the sort of morning person who slept in until 7:30 on weekends.

Sometimes I think she's waking up more often because she is teething, but so far I can't feel anything through her gums. Sometimes I think it's a "sleep regression" because she's developing new skills, like a couple of weeks ago when she began rolling over. She still only goes back to front, and it involves a lot of wiggling and grunting. The first few times she was unhappily surprised to find herself on her belly, but I'm pretty sure at this point that she's doing it on purpose. She is still fascinated by her own hands, and I laughed yesterday as she moved one back and forth in front of her face, opening and closing her fingers with amazement. She is also reaching for her feet these days, and studying them carefully.

She's very aware of the world around her at this point, the world beyond her own hands and feet. Nursing her anywhere but at home can be a nightmare, as she is too distracted to really eat and spends most of her time pulling away from me to look around. She smiles at strangers in the grocery store, and coos and laughs when they talk to her. She likes toys now, and the touch-and-feel books we have are getting a lot of use. Her favorite toy, though, is the cat, and Adriana is always trying to reach out and touch her. At one point I glanced down at where baby was lying on the floor to see that Cecilia had settled down beside her. I wasn't worried about them, since I was right there, but I clearly wasn't paying enough attention, because a couple of minutes later when I looked, Adriana had grasped the cat's tail (the most fascinating part of her, since it sways back and forth and fits so nicely in a fist) and the cat was looking at me as if to say, "If you don't put an end to this, I will." I quickly released the cat and promised to watch them more carefully together. I think Cecilia will soon learn to steer clear of the baby.

It's amazing to me how much she's grown in the past four months. On Monday we'll have a pediatrician visit and I'll get to find out exactly how big this child has gotten, but I think she's about fifteen pounds and probably 26 or 27 inches long. Last week, after a middle-of-the-night diaper blow out that required a "costume change" for both of us, the first sleeper I tried to change Adriana into didn't fit. She had gotten too long and couldn't stretch out her legs. So, over the weekend I went through the box of clothes that I've been waiting for her to grow in to, and picked out most of the "6-9 months" items, and that's what she's been wearing for the past week. I don't know who comes up with these sizes, since I've never met anyone who found that they were accurate.

Our love for her grows faster than she does. That sound horribly corny, but I can't think of a better way to put it. In the first days after her birth, I would look at her and cry because I was so overwhelmed by the strength of my love for her. If someone had told me that my love would only get bigger, I don't think I would have believed them. I've got the crying pretty much under control now. But every day I notice little changes in her. Every day she laughs when I blow raspberries on her belly. Every day I cradle her in my arms as I nurse her and look into her eyes. And I think that everything is just perfect.

Adriana asleep

Adriana asleep

Adriana the Rock Star

Adriana in pink

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Baby's first rally

Today Adriana and I are headed for Capitol Hill, for a nurse-in to support the re-introduction of Congresswoman Maloney's Breastfeeding Promotion Act. You can read about the rally and the legislation here. And if you're in DC, you should join us.