Saturday, January 27, 2007

On hiatus

The time has come for RunCookWrite to go dark for a while. I've been thinking about this for a while, and a long series of conversations with D today about our marriage, stress, money and a host of other fun things has convinced me that now is the time.

One of the things D asked me today is to take time each day to do something for myself, whether that's practicing yoga -- something I've yet to do since Ess was born -- taking a 20-minute walk or reading an actual book. I was never very good at that sort of thing before she was born, and if it's possible I've gotten even worse at it in the last eight months. The strain is starting to show, and not in a good way. (What a surprise, right?)

Time is tight as it is, and I need some way to signal this reprioritizing to myself. And, frankly, I think I need to dwell a little less on all my neuroses, my anxieties and the tyranny of little things. So I am going to take a break from blogging -- from writing and, much as I hate to say it, from reading. I appreciate the community that's sprung up in this little nook of the blogosphere so much, but I need to spend more time away from the computer for the time being. So I am going to try to go cold turkey on reading your blogs, catching up with your lives, wondering what you'll say today. (Well, the wondering will probably continue.)

I'm not deleting the blog -- yet, anyway -- but I'm not going to post anything here for at least a few weeks. Thanks so much for reading, and for offering your comments and support. You're the best, and I'll miss you.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Cashed out

What a week it's been. Ess had a fever/runny nose bug for a couple days, one of which involved her consenting only to sleep when held and rocked. This was especially nice considering that we'd watched An Inconvenient Truth before bed that night, leading me to have really weird, unsettling, apocalyptic dreams while dozing in the glider with her in my arms. A fun way to spend the hours from 3 to 7 a.m., let me tell you.

As a result of the fever, D and I had to figure out who stays home with the sick kid. His workplace is decimated by sickness and short staffing this week, and I was on deadline with a story. So we each took half a day off and cobbled together our lives that way. I was glad to have gotten the morning shift at work, since by the afternoon I was a bleary-eyed zombie.

Which is pretty much what I am tonight, since I stayed up (until the extravagant hour of 10 pm!) to watch Grey's Anatomy last night and then had the little half-pint attached to my chest from 5:30 on. Oh, and there was some middle-of-the-night Jelly barking in there, too. And on top of a full day of work and a few hours after work wrangling the mostly recovered Ess, I just spent two hours on revisions to the dreaded annuity story. For a brief moment while I was sipping my Guinness and Googling answers to my editor's questions, I was having fun, remembering how much I enjoy the quest for the right answer to a question. And then I realized the question was unanswerable and my nose was runny and my accursed canker sore hurt like hell, and that I didn't actually like hunting down unknowable facts about annuities after all.

So here I sit, carefully sipping water so as not to irritate the inflamed corner of my mouth and pumping one last time before I go to bed.* D had leftover pizza for dinner and is now watching some movie I can't identify. I had Annies Mac & Cheese and am longing for some time spent pondering the back of my eyelids. Oh, and the advice I received from my dentist today about how to prevent further canker sores? Decrease the amount of stress in my life. Ha.


*Can I tell you how much I am looking forward to quitting pumping? I've decided that I will pump until Ess turns one, and then I will nurse her before and after work and on the weekends until some point to be determined later. The rest of the time she can drink cow's milk or soy milk or, hell, Guinness if she wants, so long as it does not need to be sucked from my body with a motor. So that means just three-and-a-half more months of schlepping this stupid pump around with me, of knowing that every single frickin' night I have to get through a pumping session before I can go to bed, of calculating how long I can be away from the house without becoming one very uncomfortable (and damp) woman. Mid-May can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


The annuities story is STILL not done. Nor are calls made for the next piece I need to start. So much for counting on long naps from Ess this week... usually I get at least one nap of more than an hour out of her each day. This week? Not so much. (And the productivity plummets when someone insists on blogging rather than finishing that section about index annuities.)

Jelly still lives here. And still pees like crazy. I think we have set a lifetime record for the number of days in a row the kitchen has been mopped. Next step: Attempting to train her to use pee pads. If she's going to pee indoors, at least we could get her to do it in the right place and cut down on the mopping.

The DC trip has definitively been cancelled. Bah humbug.

Canker stores are still, y'know, canker-y. Supposedly B vitamins help them from sprouting up so frequently, but the all-knowing kellymom says to beware an excess of such while nursing. Gah.

Storytime at the library this morning: Met a potential New Mom Friend! Her daughter is a few months younger than Ess and both mom and baby seemed quite nice. I told her about the Monday playgroup we do sometimes, and I'm hopeful we'll see her there or at the library again soon. We introduced ourselves and the kids, but didn't get around to phone numbers. Fingers crossed.

Cuticles: Still razor sharp.

This afternoon's post-nap activity, assuming Ess is willing: A trip to Outletport, where I hope to exchange my JJ Legume jacket whose elastic waist thingy broke for a newer and swankier one. Perhaps a little something like this? We'll see.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Random bullets of 3 degrees*

--Today's assignment: 1,900 words on annuities, a subject about which I know precisely nothing. Should be fun.

--Still no resolution on the Jelly situation. I had a long talk with the vet the other night; Jelly is possibly in the early stages of kidney disease, or she may have Cushing's disease, which if confirmed could require a surgery that we are unwilling to have performed, or she may have early liver disease. The vet outlined a series of options, none of which sound very good to us. And she did say that euthanasia would be "a valid decision." She also suggested that we would not be remiss to think of the entire family's quality of life, and not just Jelly's. D wants to try a week or two of keeping Jelly gated in the kitchen, to at least contain the accidents, and see how that affects her and us. She peed overnight again last night, which means that at some point today, in addition to writing about annuities and wrangling Ess and helping get a turkey meatloaf made, I have to mop the kitchen. Again.

--If you came near my cuticles, you might require a shield to defend yourself from their deathly sharpness, all the Burt's Bees hand salve in the world notwithstanding.

--And also the canker sores, which I seem to have in some sort of chronic form. Driving me crazy.

--D is going to his parents' tonight to watch the big game. I will be alone with the Sunday Times and the homemade hot chocolate my sister and brother-in-law gave us for Christmas. It sounds like heaven... unless the annuities need attention, in which it's a few more hours of nose to grindstone and then collapsing into bed.

--I really, really need to devote some time to myself, to something other than my job, freelancing, childcare and keeping us all fed and (marginally) clean. Thinking about taking up crocheting again, since my carpal tunnel seems to have gotten better now that Ess is not nursing all the frickin' time. But then I think of the freelance queries unwritten and the emails unanswered and the meals uncooked (not to mention the savings account unoverflowing) and say yes to another freelance assignment.

--Which is why it's such a bummer that the trip to DC we impetuously dreamed up earlier this week seems to have gone up in smoke. Our friends can't wait to see us... but the plane tix went from $99 to over $150 in the few days it took to dither and ponder and make up our minds. And now that quick, relatively cheap weekend away seems more like an unaffordable luxury given the expenses of daycare and car insurance and, oh yes, vet bills.


*With wind chill; it just doesn't seem as dramatic to say "Random bullets of 16 degrees"

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dog angst

I don't think it's any secret that I've become really frustrated with Jelly, our elderly mutt who pees in the house constantly. It's gotten worse lately -- several mornings a week of mopping the kitchen floor at 6:30 am, or of getting out the paper towels and Nature's Miracle again to swab the living room rug or dining room hardwood -- and I've sort of reached the end of my rope. I've been especially concerned about what happens when Ess finally realizes she can move... and scoots right into a puddle of dog pee. And then I've felt horrible about the fact that I would probably be in a very different frame of mind about this animal if we didn't have a baby.

So I've been yammering about it to anyone who will listen. Even our unabashed dog-lover friends have been surprisingly supportive of the idea that it may be the end for her, that perhaps the incontinence is just as upsetting to her as it is to us. D and I talked for a long time the other night and came to the conclusion that if it is not time for The Talk with the vet, we will need to find her another home, because we just can't deal with this amount of chaos in our lives. Or, rather, I am not willing to deal with it.

Somewhat fortuitously, we needed to take her in for blood work in order to get a refill on her arthritis meds. And our favorite, beloved vet tech spent a good long while with me this morning talking about Jelly and looking at the trends in her tests. And, to make a long story slightly shorter, based on all the testing in the past and this morning's blood draw, it looks as though she is in the early stages of kidney disease. They're having me bring in (yet another) urine sample just to make sure that the results weren't indicating that she's dehydrated, and then the vet will call me this evening to discuss next steps.

On the way home from the vet, before we had the results of the blood work, I was hoping that this was the answer we'd get, because it would be clear to us that Jelly's prognosis is not good (due to her age and other ailments, she's not a good candidate for treatment). But now that we've nearly got it, and it looks as though we will have a clear rationale for putting her down, I am heart sick. I have talked so cavalierly about this dog, have been so irritable when she stumbles blindly into my path or stomps on Ess while she's playing. I have literally joked about putting rat poison in her food bowl. And now I feel absolutely awful. Guilty for being so mean, for wishing death on her, for lacking in compassion. I fought to get this dog, and now I can't wait to be rid of her.

I may be getting exactly what I wanted, and it really sucks.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Yesterday, I promised you a full post on my reaction to the news that my one-time college roommate is now a hotshot -- and I mean, really a hotshot -- at a magazine for which I would very much like to write. But upon further reflection, yesterday's comment re: jealousy is really all that needs to be said. Especially since said roommate has not responded to my email of greeting and reconnection.

In other news, ye gods, is it cold here in the north country. How cold is it?

So cold that I finally got around to putting the oh-so-attractive plastic insulation on the window above the couch in our living room. The rest of the house has replacement windows, but since this window overlooks our enclosed (non-insulated) front porch it has a nice, drafty old double-hung window. It's not really worth the dough to get a replacement window put in there, but damned if I couldn't relax in front of the Golden Globes last night with about three layers on top of me to keep the chill off.

Thus the decision to finally get out the window kit, which I bought about a month ago, when I was angsting over energy use. Ess is taking short naps today, so in her second 40-minute snooze I finally got the plastic on. How drafty is my house? So drafty that as soon as I got the plastic sealed on all four sides -- yet before I even got out the hair dryer to tighten it -- it smoothed itself out and filled with air.

No wonder I've been so cold.

Still, Ess and I just got a nice walk in before the wind kicked up, which it's supposed to do in a few hours. I put her in the Bjorn, which I haven't worn in quite a while, and wandered down to the bakery for a chocolate chip cookie, then to the beach for a look at the silly dogs who think this is swimming weather, then around the block and home again. Ess' nose was runny and her cheeks are still bright red, but we had a nice walk and my back is actually in decent shape. There's a rolled-up towel under the drafty front door, I've got a full layer of long underwear on and Ess is sporting her new Babylegs, courtesy of Santa.

Finally, welcome to winter.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Freaking out

(I was planning to write about the intense envy I've been feeling ever since discovering last night that a college roommate of mine is a hotshot at a very well-known consumer magazine, but the following freakout is taking precedence. Green-eyed monster post to come at some point in the future.)

I just went to get Ess from her morning nap. She's been taking monster naps lately -- almost three hours yesterday, 2 hours 40 min. on Thursday, etc. -- so it was no big thing that she'd been down for 2.5 hours. I hadn't heard any noise from the guest bedroom where she naps in the Pack & Play, but I poked my head in to be sure she was ok.

And there she was, wide awake, smiling. And covered in vomit.

All of the morning's applesauce (or a lot of it, anyway) was covering her shoulders, her sheets and her pacifier. It was cold, so it'd been there for a while. And I never heard a sound.

That's the part that's totally freaking me out -- she sleeps on her back (see: lack of interest in rolling), and it is potentially really dangerous that she threw up and I didn't know it. The only time I was out of earshot for any length of time was right after she went down, when I hopped in the shower. I was in the bathroom with the door closed for 15 minutes tops; it's the room right next to the guest room, so if she'd been wailing I would have heard it. Quieter crying or vomiting wouldn't have carried through the wall, though.

I do know that when I left the bathroom, all was quiet, as it remained for the next 2 hours. And the poor thing was laying in there covered in puke. Granted, if she was miserable she would have cried -- believe me, she is not shy about lettting us know that she's unhappy -- but it is killing me that I didn't look in on her sooner.

I used to shower when she was awake; she'd sit in her bouncy seat and play while I showered. But she's outgrown the bouncy seat, and isn't happy in the Bumbo seat long enough for me to get a decent shower in. And I'm too chicken to shower with her. But now I'm rethinking the strategy of showering while she naps... I guess if I do so, I should bring the monitor down so I can be sure to hear her. And I should definitely check on her more than I do now... I tend to be afraid of waking her up, so I leave her alone for perhaps longer than I should.

Luckily, Ess is totally happy and full of energy now; she's chattering and playing with the pieces of her beloved shape sorter. But I am feeling like I can't catch my breath as I ponder what could have happened. Thoughts of more experienced parents would be much appreciated right now...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eight months old

Jan. 12, 2007
Dear Ess,

How has it been eight months already?? You're getting to be such a grown-up little baby... sitting proudly on your own, heading off confidently to daycare (well, at least not dissolving into a puddle when we hand you over), gobbling up solid food and babbling your little heart out.

As usual, it's been an eventful month, with lots of firsts: your first Christmas, your first days at daycare, your first visit to story time at the library, your first head cold, your first stomach bug, your first meat (mmm... pureed chicken. It sort of grosses us out, but you seem to like it quite a bit). And then there was a much-welcomed return to something you tried out a while ago: you slept through the night! Once, anyway, and then you got the stomach bug and there went that idea. But we're hoping it'll happen again soon (may we suggest tonight?).

We ventured out on another trip to New Jersey this month, and we have to say fantastic in the car -- you were easily entertained by your toys, and you took plenty of long that you were naps. We still need to work on the whole sleeping-away-from-home thing, but it sure was nice to have an uneventful car ride (from you, anyway; an unexpected snowstorm on the way back caused us no end of misery). All four of your grandparents, and your doting great-grandparents, were thrilled to spend time with you around Christmas, as were we, though we have to admit that the holiday season was a lot more exhausting than we remember it being in years past.

As far as Christmas goes, you were the recipient of many lovely gifts, including several books customized just for you. They were particularly apt since you're quite the little narcissist these days, loving to look at yourself and laugh. We think you're pretty funny, too, especially when you carry on long conversations with yourself and screech at your ducks in the bathtub.

We have to admit to being a little curious about when, exactly, you're going to realize that you can move. You've completely quit rolling over, and you show absolutely no interest in crawling (despite your mother's attempt to get you in the starting position). You love to sit and play with your toys, and you're also quite fond of standing (with help) and gazing at the world. Everyone assures us that we will not be rushing off to your college dorm to roll you over at night, so I guess it's just a question of when in the eighteen years between now and then you'll figure it out.

A few funny quirks we want to remember: When we carry you upstairs for bed, you grin wildly and crane your neck at the smoke detector at the top of the stairs, which is apparently a very humorous object. You've added a few consonants to your babbling, saying "da da da da" all day long (sometimes even when Dada is holding you!). You adore playing peekaboo, and you've recently begun laughing heartily when you're tickled. You continue to be infinitely more interested in the dogs than you are in us, and we wonder if that will ever change.

Although we are a bit late in posting this update -- as we suspect will happen from here on out whenever the 10th falls in the middle of our now very busy weeks -- our adoration of you has not diminished one bit. We love you so much, sweet girl!

Mom and Dadadadadada

Saturday, January 13, 2007

What not to wear while watching The Devil Wears Prada*

A black v-neck shirt

A cozy purple shawl

A pair of black, tan and red argyle socks

Baggy red flannel pajama bottoms emblazoned with snowflakes and grinning monkeys on skis

A pimple on your lower lip

A hair on your chin

*Unless you would like to feel even frumpier than you already did

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sing a simple song

Since we instituted a bedtime routine for Ess several months back, I sing two songs to her as she nurses in the dark. The first is "In My Life" by the Beatles... a relatively coherent version of the first two verses, anyway. I can never remember how it ends, so I wrap up with some humming that seems to do the trick nicely.

The second song is a little thing called "The river is flowing" that I learned in the newborn class I took with Ess. It's simple and short and it works well in what passes for the key(s) I sing in. I like that it's a signal to Ess that we're winding down, that as she finishes nursing and either falls asleep or doesn't in my arms, that it's time to go to her crib.

All was well and good with the nightly concert. But then "In My Life" started to bug me. I was sure I was remembering the words wrong -- I wasn't, as it turns out -- and what's more, the song is aimed more at a lover than a child. On top of which I was bored of it.

As a result, last night I decided to throw a new tune into the mix, something a bit more contemporary that would teach Ess about the music of her mama's youth. D and I had been in the car recently when "Nightswimming"* by R.E.M. came up on the shuffle. I started to sing along and realized that I knew every single word. And, hey, skinny dipping at night is a great topic, right -- even if there is a hint of a conflicted relationship tucked in there at the bridge.

So how come every time I sing it, it turns into "You Are the Everything"?


*If you scroll down to the bottom of those R.E.M. links, there are some (unintentionally) funny close readings of the lyrics.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Getting out there

Today I took a big step (for me, anyway): I gave my number to a couple I met at story hour at the library this morning. Their son is six months old, and they just moved to the neighborhood from way, way out of state. We chatted a bit after the chaos of the Eensy Weensy Spider (and here I thought it was Itsy Bitsy...) and the Hokey Pokey, then ended up walking out at the same time. Feeling bold, I offered the woman my number. She seemed pleased and stopped at my car while I rummaged around for a pen. She didn't offer hers in response, so I sort of wonder whether she thinks I'm a crazy stalker-type person, or if I'll ever hear from her... who knows.

In the last 36 hours, I've been doing this sort of thing a lot. Yesterday morning I emailed my neighbor to see if she wanted to get together with the babies sometime (her daughter is a month older than Ess). I went to the moms' group at the birthing center and chatted with several people, then came home and called the woman I'd met there a few months ago to see if she and her son want to get together sometime. Her landline was not in service, and she's got an out-of-state cell number, so I wonder if I missed that opportunity altogether. Still, I made the call, which was more than I've done in months.

I've been wanting to make friends with some other new moms for a while now; my only close friend nearby with a kid near Ess' age also has a toddler, so her free time is limited (though we do manage to drop in on each other fairly regularly -- we've agreed to a late-afternoon open-door policy, which is a major salvation on those days when I'm going stir-crazy at 3 pm and bedtime is still hours away). This friend also works full-time, so she's not around during the day on Mondays and Tuesdays, when I'm home with Ess. (She works in the schools, so she's home relatively early in the day.)

So I'm hoping that at some point one (or more) of these other feelers I've put out there will result in some fun for Ess and me. As for what finally spurred me to act? It's a combination of a couple things, one of which is the delight Ess clearly takes in being around other kids. (At storytime, she had absolutely no interest in the activities because she was too busy staring wide-eyed at the other babies, several of whom came by to give her toys to hold.)

The other, though, is more significant: I am no longer looking for the Perfect New Mom Friend (tm). I think I've unconsciously been waiting to act until I find someone who is smart, funny and agrees with me on almost everything. And that just ain't gonna happen -- nor should it. So rather than sit in my house alone, reading the Baby ABC book over and over and over again, I'd like to hang out with some folks I like reasonably well. And if one of them turns out to be the Perfect New Mom Friend later on? So much the better.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Wanted: Motivation

I got one of my two freelance stories done over the weekend. The other was not even touched due to (pick your villain): the transition of Ess' stomach bug from one presenting with vomiting to one in which diarrhea was the main symptom; the endless hours of football on view in my house yesterday; the time-consuming, strange yet tasty dinner I made; a viewing of Little Miss Sunshine (verdict: not bad, but not as good as all the hype).

So now I am supposed to be working on the other one, which I started back before Christmas. Of course, Ess is supposed to be napping now, instead of crying in her crib. And the frickin' dog is supposed to be sleeping quietly rather than whining along with Ess. And I am supposed to be looking diligently at Word documents, rather than futzing about on teh Internets.

But I suck at getting Ess down for naps. (Note: I am not asking for advice here, just venting.) D is the champion at this task; I don't believe he's ever had her cry it out at naptime. I think it's my lack of patience that does me in... I am probably too eager to get her down in the first place, and then not diligent enough about getting her settled before I give up in frustration.

Of course, frustration is easier to come by after a lousy night's sleep. And, yes, that's what we're back to around here. Ess slept remarkably well after the vomiting episode Saturday; she went down at 7 and didn't wake until 3 am. Of course, she woke up again at 5:15 with the most horrific diarrhea-filled diaper I have ever changed, but then she went back to sleep until 8:30, as did I.

Last night wasn't so hot, in part because our normal night-time nursing rules (not before midnight, not until 3 am if she's nursed at 12) have been suspended due to her illness. So I wasted a lot of time waffling about what to do when she woke at 11:30, rather than getting right up and nursing her, which is what I did eventually... and then for whatever reason she couldn't get back to sleep after she nursed at 5-something. So I am tired. And lacking in inspiration.

But in the process of writing this, Ess has fallen asleep. The dog has stopped whining. And my delicious pot of half-caf has finished brewing. So I am off to the wonderful world of tips for small-business owners for as long as this nap persists. Still, if you find a little motivation lying around, send it my way.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

One step forward...

Last night, for the first night in many, many months, Ess slept through the night!! I was taking the night off in the guest room while D was on Ess duty, so I was guaranteed a good night's sleep no matter what. I woke at 4 -- after 5.5 consecutive hours of sleep!! -- and pumped, then went back to sleep until 7:30, when D came down and woke me. It was glorious.

I had high hopes for another great night tonight, although this time I planned to be sleeping in my own bed to enjoy it.

And then Ess started throwing up around 5 pm tonight. This was our first real vomiting experience. Or, more accurately, our first four vomiting experiences. D took the brunt of it -- today's lesson: turn the baby away from you when she starts puking -- but none of it was any fun. It was heartbreaking to watch her face crumple as she tried to figure out what was going on and why her tummy felt so bad.

She hasn't thrown up since about six, which is great. But rather than continuing our sleep training -- she woke last night at 11:30 or so and cried for 10 minutes, then went back to sleep -- I will be going to her whenever she wakes in order to make sure she stays hydrated. It took a bit of coaxing to get her to nurse before bed tonight, so I know she's still feeling a bit crummy, despite big grins as soon as she stopped vomiting.

I don't think one night of good sleep is quite enough to cure D and me of these stupid lingering colds -- can I tell you how tired I am of the congestion and the cough?? -- but I am just glad I am able to get up and nurse Ess tonight. Maybe she'll end up in bed with us, or maybe she'll stay in the crib... either way, I really hope she's feeling better tomorrow. (And that, knock wood, neither of us gets whatever she has.)

Friday, January 05, 2007

What a week

Well, we survived the first week of the New Schedules. Just barely, though. Our hacking coughs persist, and I have yet to get anything close to a good night's sleep. We seem to have existed these last few days on sheer willpower. Ess has done very well at daycare, and I've been productive when she's been out of the house. But, yeesh, it sure has been quiet here.

As it is right now, in fact. She is in bed for the night -- she had two eensy weensy naps today and was rubbing her eyes from the moment I picked her up -- and D is still at work. He's not expected home until 9:30-ish, so I'm planning a thrilling Friday night of ravioli and sauce from a jar, plus some work on my freelance story that's due Monday. That is, if I don't collapse from exhaustion first.

Or self-doubt. That's the other thing I might collapse from. I've been meaning to write a separate post about my relationship to authority figures vis a vis Miss Ess, but it's sort of seeping out of me now, so here goes. I think perhaps the very biggest lesson I need to learn right now is that I am Ess' mother and thus know what is best for her. And not only that, but that I have a responsibility to advocate on her behalf.

Now, nothing serious has come up that causes this manifesto to spring forth. But I have a bad habit of automatically deferring to authority figures and then bitching about it later. Or, worse, figuring out later that something I've nodded along to actually won't work.

Case in point: In her rundown of Ess' day, our daycare provider mentioned that Ess had been ravenous all morning. So she ran through the three bottles I'd provided, plus three meals, by 12:30(!). So in the afternoon she defrosted one of the backup containers of milk we brought over. Which means that Ess had as much breastmilk in nine hours today as she usually does in the twelve I am gone on Thursdays. I let that one slide, under the theory that our daycare provider is still getting to know Ess. Inside, though, I am totally panicking, because there is no way I can pump 12+ ounces of milk in nine hours. No way. So I spend the whole walk home stressing about milk supply and pumping and yadda yadda.

Actually, that's not quite true. What I spent the walk home thinking about, in addition to the bottles, was the fact that she fed Ess spinach -- a food we have not yet introduced -- at one of her meals today. On Wednesday, I provided her with a list of what food Ess has had -- at her request -- so this shouldn't have happened. Like the bottle, it's no big deal in the grand scheme of things, and it's part of the adjustment process between the DCP and us.

But what bothers me is that when the DCP rattled through her rundown of Ess' day and mentioned spinach, I didn't say anything. She's a fast talker, and it's sometimes hard to break in, and I have not yet had a conversation with her in which we are discussing anything remotely unpleasant. On top of which she is older than I am... which makes me feel good about her ability to care for Ess, but also makes it more difficult for me to realize that she is not automatically right about everything. So I didn't say anything, and I should have. I thought about emailing her over the weekend, but that is totally the wussy way out, and I don't want to establish a pattern of using email to deal with things I find difficult to say out loud to her. So I've resolved to either call her on Monday or talk to her on Wednesday when I drop Ess off next.

The other incident that I've been pondering happened a few months back, when the caseworker from Child Development Services was here to screen Ess. She's a perfectly lovely woman -- very low-key and pleasant. She and her co-worker sat on the floor with us and Ess, and cooed at her while they did their assessment. And when they were done, they handed her back to me and I asked if they minded if I nursed her. My own baby. In my own home. As if they could've said no and I would have deferred to them? That's just crazy.

And of course they didn't say no. But it's not them, or their reaction, that I'm bothered by. It's my own automatic deferral to the Official People, especially those who are older than I. It's gotta stop, because there is enough second-guessing in this motherhood business without constantly kicking myself over a decision I should have made or a stance I should have taken. I've gotta get a backbone, and soon.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Turns out that my outrage over the denial of my application to join the AP group was totally misplaced; they were doing some year-end housecleaning and denied everyone who hadn't replied to the initial invitation email, which I never received because I didn't understand how their weird bulletin board software works. The moderator explained all this in a very nice email last night. So I actually decided to check it out and see what it's all about.

That is, if I can understand how to use the Internets properly. Too bad Ess isn't not old enough yet to show me these things...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What did they know that I didn't?

Back in May or June, when I was frantically trying to find local folks with babies about Ess' age, I heard about a local board for attachment parenting types. You have to apply for membership, which I did, thinking that despite the somewhat strident tone of the intro page I might find a friend. I wish I could remember what, exactly, the questions were and how I answered them, because today -- more than six months later -- I got a message stating flatly that I was DENIED. (And, yes, the caps are theirs.)

So I've been wondering: Did they somehow intuit that we would become cry-it-out types? Did they magically peer into the depths of my cupboards and find -- gasp! -- jarred baby food (which, incidentally, we used for the first time on our trip and I have to say part of me is wondering why I bother going through all the work of making homemade food, freezing it and then thawing it later when I could just pop open a jar of organic whatever)? Did they forsee that our co-sleeping days were numbered, or that the slings would fall somewhat out of favor? What hint did I give them?

The whole thing strikes me as funny more than anything else... but I have to admit that I am dying to know why I didn't make the grade (not to mention why it took six-plus months to inform me of that fact).

Monday, January 01, 2007

If this is really how 2007 is going to go, consider this my letter of resignation

Ah yes, a joyous start to the new year 'round these parts. We had a fantastic dinner last night with my sister and brother-in-law; she made a great antipasto plate and a gorgeous cheesecake, and I made a beef ragu for pasta, complete with grated orange zest garnish. It was lovely. And since then I've been miserable.

It was my turn to take a night alone with Ess; D had offered to do a night by himself on Saturday so I could get some much needed sleep after taking the brunt of the sleep deprivation at my parents' house. She was pretty good for him -- just one, 45-minute bout of crying, and only one feeding -- but last night she apparently just could not settle down, with a relatively constant low-grade whine from 9:30 until about midnight; obviously, I did not get much sleep. She was up again at 2:30 or so, with more whining for a while. And then when she slept in until 7:15 this morning, I couldn't take advantage, as I lay in bed and thought dire thoughts about what fate might have befallen her that she did not wake at 6 am as usual. I couldn't quite get myself out of bed to go check on her, so clearly I wasn't that worried... but it was not a restful way to spend that extra hour. I wish I could stop my thoughts from wandering down those dark corridors in my brain.

Today my cold is worse, with D's cough having come to roost in my chest and my brain feeling slow and wonky. I should really be doing the dishes piled up after last night's feast, but I burned the back of my hand on the oven last night and apparently ignoring it was a bad idea, as I have an oozing little wound there which makes dish-washing somewhat unappealing. What's more, Ess and I are likely not going to get out today, between our colds and the miserable conditions outdoors.

All of this whininess is exacerbated by the beginning of the first week of our new schedules. D's part-time paternity leave has officially ended, and he is back to work full-time. But in order to minimize Ess' time in daycare, he has opted to work four 10-hour days. With commuting time and the occasional errand, that means he's going to be gone for at least 11 hours most days, which I am not looking forward to. Tomorrow, for example, he works from 9 to 7. So he'll be around to spend a little time with Ess in the morning, but will leave by 8:40 or so and be back after she's in bed. That makes one loooong day for the two of us. The same is true for him on Thursdays, which will continue to be Daddy and Ess days while I am gone for 12 hours.

I know lots of y'all have arrangements like this and I'm sure it will all work out just fine, but it's a big change for our little family. I will no longer be able to pop my head out of the home office to hang out with D and Ess for a few minutes on a whim; I will work here by myself all day, then rush over to daycare to fetch her when my days ends and then put her to bed on my own. I don't know how we're going to get dinner made, or when D and I will get to have much of a conversation, but I know we'll work those things out. It's just hard to contemplate on this icy gray Monday, with a hacking cough and a whiny, runny-nosed little peanut who really does not want to take a nap.