Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dairy is still not my friend

So now I suspect that my precious, perfect baby boy is allergic to dairy.

Even though I can't tolerate dairy, I still cheat once in a while. Not often, and I don't fret much over hidden dairy in processed foods like bread. Big doses make me notice the discomfort, but everything takes the "worth it" test -- "Is pizza worth the discomfort?" No; "Is that chocolate brownie worth the discomfort?" Yes. Cheese always loses, chocolate always wins. My friends have probably noticed my hypocrisy, because they try to protect me from dairy and once in a while it's a wasted effort (but I do appreciate the thoughtfulness!).

Now, after a Thanksgiving weekend binge on cinnamon rolls with lots of gooey icing and three regular Sbux mochas, the baby has a red rash on his face that won't go away. It's almost a circle around his mouth and doesn't seem to itch him. But it is bright and angry and scaly, and it keeps flaring up after I have eaten something with dairy -- including pastry, fruit and cereal bars, my own chicken pot pie in which I used 50/50 Butter Blend Smart Balance, and Chocolate-dipped Peppermint Joe-Joes (damn!). Just cutting back hasn't helped much. Since my last known exposure, I have been very careful and this morning the rash is much better. It pains me to see my baby boy reacting to something, to think that we may be dealing with a long-term problem. I hope not.

Oh, and the rash is not the only symptom. Around the same time he transformed from a sweet, happy baby boy to a SHRIEKING banshee. He doesn't normally fuss much, but he tells us with whining when he is wet or tired or hungry. But after the rash started, those discomforts became HUGE ORDEALS that would set him off, reaching decibels that surely could not be measured, rattling my brain and piercing my eardrums. I'm not exaggerating. Really, the shrieking was that bad for about a week. It's better now. Actually, the shrieking is almost gone too. Strange coincidence, eh. I doubt it.

My gut tells me that dairy is the problem. The family, the pediatrician, some friends are not convinced. I guess time will tell.

In the meantime, I will be reading labels more carefully and declining what previously might have tempted me. I apologize in advance for becoming picky!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Busy baby

In just the last couple of days he learned to:

Roll over
Blow raspberries
Uncurl his hands
Grasp toys
Try to grab his feet
Squeal
Scoot his body across the bed by pushing off his feet
Do push-ups
Suck his thumb

In three days, he'll be four months old! No longer a newborn... wow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

When mama get a freelance job...

...Baby won't nap...

...Three children's stomachs get mysteriously empty every hour...

...Two young girls empty half a jar of Av0n Cinnamon Chapped Heel Relief cream onto their feet in a little over thirty minutes...

...Baby decides that this is the day to discover the toes on the ends of those kicking legs, learn how to bat at toys, practice almost rolling over, and crack up at hiccuping sister (thus, the lack of napping)...

...Eight-year-old develops taste for "tween" reality shows and gets surly with five-year-old sister who wants to watch Dora and Diego...

...Weary mama stays up 'til midnight with M.E.G.O. setting in...

...Work breaks mostly revolved around food and eating (wait, this was the same when I was in an office)...

...Husband gets orders for a business trip...

...All utensils and most dishes are crusting over in the sink...

...Compassionate friends come by to help out and leave saying, "I wish I could help more." (I wish they knew how a little goes a long way!)...

...Getting dressed in the morning involves picking clean clothes out of the pile in the living room...

...Desperate self-employed mama looks up and asks "Why now?" then calls Grandma...

...GRANDMA ARRIVES! BABY SLEEPS! KIDS STOP ARGUING! DISHES GET WASHED! LAUNDRY IS PUT AWAY! MAMA GETS WORK TURNED IN!

Ahhhhhhh, whew!

Only ten more days to go on this project...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yeah, I'm a grammar geek

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Moments

On the way to a summer camp class, right in the middle of the city, we pass a man wearing a cowboy hat. The younger girl starts hopping up and down, pointing and screeching, "MAMA-MAMA-MAMA! LOOK! It's a real COWBOY!" He cocks a grin, and tips his hat at her.

--

The trio returns from grocery shopping. I'm parked under a nursing baby. The oldest enters with a hopeful look on her face.

"Mom, we asked Daddy to take us to Raskin Bobbins [sic] but he said we had to ask you."

"Okay, I'll talk to him about it."

One hour later...

"Mom, did you talk to Dad about going to Askin Robbens?"

"No, but I will."

One hour later...

"Mom, did you and Dad decide-"

"NO NOT YET DON'T ASK ME AGAIN I WILL TELL YOU WHEN WE FIGURE IT OUT."

"Okay."

(I lied. We had already discussed it and planned it for an after-dinner treat.)

One hour later... rain is coming down in buckets.

"Honey, Dad and I thought we would go to get ice cream after dinner but now it's raining too hard. I'm sorry."

"Mom, this rain is freaking me out. I would rather stay home. It's okay."

"We'll go another day, okay?"

"Yeah, mom." Hugs.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Elders

A popular magazine recently ran a feature on "What We Learned From Our Mothers." Readers were invited to submit items of wisdom, vignettes on the lasting lessons that their mothers gave to them. I pondered the question for days, hoping to make a submission of my own words that were inspired by a positive thing that she taught me through saying or doing.

Grief fills me, for I could not think of even one.

----

"Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), or anankastic personality disorder, is a personality disorder that is characterized by a general psychological inflexibility, rigid conformity to rules and procedures, perfectionism, moral code, and/or excessive orderliness."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsessive-compulsive_personality_disorder

My mother has always been kind of odd. She has been the butt of jokes among family for many years, as well as the focal point of much of my teenage anger and angst. I used to make lists of all the ways I would never be like her. I even pretended for a long time that I was adopted or born from aliens or somehow came from outside the family (never mind the strong resemblances) just to not be related to her.

I know some girls grow up idolizing their mothers--those special women who may have been a master of the kitchen or garden, a muse with clever asides or wise proverbs to pass along, goddesses full of grace or kindness or generosity or wit--but I could never see any of those qualities in her. I inwardly cringe every time she opens her mouth to speak... what kind of ridiculous, infuriating, critical thing will come out this time?

Yet, I have always tried to forgive her. To ignore foolishness. To wish her to be different. To hope that she would acknowledge her pettiness and selfishness, to want to change. To think that maybe I was being too harsh, too critical and not forgiving enough.

A person can be mentally ill and yet fool acquaintances with outward appearances of health and charm. My mother is great at this. She is a master manipulator of people's emotions. Or was. Everyone who knows her well can see through this. The facade is breaking. I wonder what the strangers that she tries to charm see? Do they believe her act? Or do they just see an old woman that is trying too hard?

We just spent the better part of a week with my parents. My poor father, who hides from her most of the day, puttering around outside, taking long naps, ignoring her beckonings on the excuse of his increasingly-profound deafness. My mother, self-described as "particular" about how things are done but is utterly compulsive and demanding, self-aware enough to admit to being "forgetful" but really has large blank spots in her recall of all kinds of facts, dates, events and people.

----

"The DSM-IV-TR, a widely-used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines that for a patient to be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, they must exhibit at least four of the following traits:[1]

-Preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost
-Showing perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)
-Excessive devotion to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)
-Being overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)
-Inability to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value
-Reluctance to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things
-Adopting a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes
-Shows rigidity and stubbornness
It is important to note that while a person may exhibit any or all of the characteristics of a personality disorder, it is not diagnosed as a disorder unless the person has trouble leading a normal life due to these issues."

Of the six italicized items above, the last applies to all things about my mother. Most of all denial that there is even a problem. She won't admit to being obsessive-compulsive--spending thirty minutes to wash two haircombs in hot running water is just making sure they are clean. Two hours loading the dishwasher by scrubbing each dish before putting it in the machine is just being thorough. Applying more ink two or three times over the same words she just wrote on the page (to the point where the paper is embossed with her writing for several sheets underneath) is just making sure the pen was working.

----

"Dementia (from Latin de- "apart, away" + mens (genitive mentis) "mind") is the progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the brain beyond what might be expected from normal aging. "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dementia

The cruelest part is that there is no getting better from this. Years of high blood pressure, a cocktail of competing medications, a lack of hobbies (besides harrassing various medical professionals) to stimulate the brain and previous unaddressed mental issues all add up to the children discussing not if, but how and when and where to move the elderly parents. My dad at 78 is vibrant and healthy, but tired and slow. How long can he continue to care for her, as she gets more and more out of control?

Just a few days ago, her compulsive behavior caused an insult to my in-laws and shame upon me. She has already lost all her friends and is no longer invited to social activities. I am struggling with what to do next. I don't think I can stand to just watch and wait any longer. I feel too young to have to deal with this. My older siblings are reluctant to force any changes yet. Ever since I was a kid, I was acutely aware of how much older my parents were than the parents of my peers. In my twenties, it was less of a big deal, we were finally getting along. Until the decline started (I cannot pinpoint a date, but sometime after my first child was born.) Now it is a huge deal, worse than ever. She totally lacks the will or desire to overcome her compulsive behavior. There is no getting better. Only worse. It can only end badly now.

I wish I knew what to do.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My response to #1 in the babywearing contest

Just thought I'd share...

Keep trying. Even if the baby fusses the first (or second or third) time in the carrier, don't give up. I introduced my oldest child to a ring sling at five months old. She was bewildered and objected at first, but after persisting and making sure she was fed, tired and calm each time we tried, she soon got used to it and began to get excited whenever I brought it out. Both of my other children were carried from birth, so they too got used to the various carriers quite quickly. When I share my babywearing advice with friends frustrated by a baby who cries when put in the new wrap, sling or tie, I always tell them, "Don't give up. You both will get used to it, and soon learn to love it!"

Memories, new and old

Fresh-picked cherries, $2.49/lb.
Micro-brew soda, $.99 each.
Shaved ice, $3.50.

Revisiting a favorite roadside fruit stand from your childhood with your kids: Priceless.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Vacation

So it's just as hot here in our hometown in the California high desert as our new home in central Arizona. We sure didn't come here to escape the heat.

But it has been a great week visiting family and friends. We baptised the baby, enjoyed a nice reception at hubby's uncle's house, spent several days with my BIL and his family, and are now kicking back with my parents, in my childhood home. Tomorrow we will have a barbeque at my sister's house, then see fireworks before getting back on the road to come "home." Even though we miss the people who still live here in So Cal, each visit makes us appreciate our new city even more.

Most vacations, we are rushing from place to place, trying to fit in as many visits to old friends as possible. This time, we are not, for a combination of reasons--high gas prices, baby naps, quality time with just a few people, oh, did I mention the high price of gas? ($4.69/gal here.) With all this downtime, I am reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," hoping to be done by the time we get back. My hands are missing hook and yarn, as I am craving something crafty to do. I have a long list of projects in mind for the rest of the summer while the girls are in summer camp.

Reading Kingsolver's book also has my mind imaging a bunch of garden and cooking projects. In the spirit of local flavors, on the way home, we're going to stop here:

http://www.charliebrownfarms.com

I can't wait to get back to my own kitchen (and bed!).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

FReakIN HilARious

I used to play Dungeons & Dragons and I love to cook... if you have ever played an RPG, IRL or online, you'll love this!

http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/commentary/alttext/2008/06/alttext_0618

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Butterflies, Part 3

It was like giving birth all over again. Well, not exactly, but the waiting was like labor and the emerging was full of expectation, anxiety and excitement like birth.

It started on Thursday. I was sitting in my usual spot nursing the baby when I noticed movement in the treehouse across the room. I called to my girls and told them to check inside. They found two new butterflies clinging to the sides, slowly opening and closing their wings to dry them. It had only been six days, so we were surprised but elated that the butterflies were appearing.

I cut a bud from our rosebushes, set it in a cup of sugar water, and placed it along with an orange slice inside the treehouse to feed the butterflies. We watched over the next couple of days as they continued to be "born," dried their wings, and started to feed. By Saturday, all five butterflies were fluttering around the treehouse, literally climbing the walls.

We decided not to keep them captive any longer (well, I decided and had to convince the kids, who wanted to keep them forever as pets). On Sunday, after church, we came home and let them out in the front yard. One by one, they found the door, and went off to explore the world, lifted by a light, cool breeze. There were a few tears after the excitement of the release, but it didn't take long for my sweet girls to ask:

"When can we order more butterflies?"

Enjoy the pictures.







Top Ten Ways I Can Tell I'm Not Pregnant Anymore

Sometimes it takes a while for my body image to reset itself. It's just now, at nine weeks postpartum, that I have really started assessing the "new" me. Just a few things that have really struck me as forming the reality that I am officially done* with pregnancy:

10. No more sciatica or hip pain.

9. I can reach the faucet handles on the sink.

8. Sleeping on my back.

7. Stirring the pot at the back of the stove.

6. Saying goodbye (forever) to maternity fashion and rediscovering my regular wardrobe.

5. Getting up to pee only once each night.

4. Shaving my legs regularly again.

3. Did I mention that my back doesn't hurt anymore?

2. Cleavage.

1. Loving this gorgeous baby boy on my lap!



*I have another post composing itself in my mind on my feelings about my pregnancies. More later.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A fine morning

We spent a lovely morning at the park and library down the street from our house. By the time we got there, it was starting to heat up in the sun, so the girls didn't last long on the playground equipment. Instead, we headed down to the edge of the little lake and watched the ducks while eating a snack in a cool, shady spot. The girls chased birds and played Duck, Duck, Goose (C and I were allowed to not get chosen as the "goose").

We wandered into the library and unexpectedly found our neighbors in the children's section. The kids all read books together and we signed up for the summer reading program (with prizes like tickets to the local WNBA games!). The baby started to wake up and fuss, so we checked out some books and came home for lunch.

We have been trying to conserve fuel and stay home most of the time, but what happens is that they watch too much tv. It was a good change, free, close to home, and just a nice way to spend a mild early summer day!

My camera or theirs?

These are the types of pictures you get to see on the camera later when you have let the kids snap photos around the house:







Too bad it's out of focus

Waiting for butterflies, Part 2:

Finally, they came.

Last Tuesday, the caterpillars arrived in a little cardboard box. The girls were jumping up and down, giddy and excited. We put the little cup of caterpillars on the shelf and watched them grow for a few days, then overnight on Saturday they made their chrysalids.

Yesterday I put them in the pop-up Butterfly Treehouse. The little coccoons quivered as I transfered them. To be sure that they didn't get mauled by little fingers, I did the move before the girls got up in the morning. They were giddy and excited again to see the Treehouse set-up and the chrysalids waiting inside.

Now we wait again, for them to open this time. I hope they all open successfully. From the infomercial, the girls know that butterflies take seven to ten days to complete their metamorphosis. Now E is asking every day, several times a day, "Has it been ten days yet?" So we do a subtraction problem to figure out how many days are left. Maybe they will open sooner than that? We shall see.

Here is the environment with the five coccoons inside:

Waiting for butterflies, Part 1

Ever since E's pre-K class had a butterfly environment in their classroom this spring, she has been begging to have butterflies for pets at home. I've explained countless times that they don't live with you as pets, but gave in a bought the Butterfly Treehouse at Target (yet another infomercial product that they can rattle off the narration).

The kit was basically a pop-up mesh cylinder and a postcard to mail away for the caterpillars. We mailed it, on the third day after buying the treehouse and listening to her ask, "Can we put our names on it yet and mail it now? Okay, now? How about now?" So we put it in the mailbox, drove home, and when we walked in the house, she asked, "Can we check the mail and see if the caterpillars are here yet?"

Gosh, that was a long week. Everyday, she woke up asking, "Are the caterpillars here yet?" When the mail came, she asked. Each night, she went to bed asking if the caterpillars would come in the mail the next day. What a hard week that was for a five-year-old!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Last Days

Today is E's last day of Pre-K, and tomorrow is M's last day of second grade. Everyone knows how glad I am to see summer break arrive so that we can stay home more and not have Baby C in the car so much. But I still feel a little sad about the end of the school year.

E has thrived in this class. Her last preschool was in a special ed setting, so that she would get the help she needed for her speech delay. However, she was more developed socially and emotionally than her classmates at that time, since the class was made up of children from 2.5 to 4 years with a range of abilities and varying special needs. She was a leader in that class (which may have given her an inflated sense of responsibility, eh?), but didn't have any close friends.

Moving to the Pre-K class at her sister's school was a big change. The curriculum was more challenging, and she was interacting with her peers. Her speech and language issues have all but disappeared (I can still tell where they reside but others have said they can't)--we haven't even renewed her IEP. Her talents have flourished and she is just about ready for kindergarten at this school. I say "just about" because our school runs the curriculum about a year ahead of other schools. E is expected to know a lot going into kindergarten, and we will work on some materials over the summer to keep it "fresh." She has made many friends and grown very attached to her teachers. It will probably be a shock to go to a different classroom and get to know a different teacher next year. She still refers to her school as her "new school" because this year was a change for her. Maybe when she returns it will sink in that it is no longer "new" to her!

As for moving to third grade, M is both nervous and excited. She wants to be in the same class as her best friend, but she never told me which teacher her friend requested. M talks a lot about third grade, but also said she wants to stay in second. She has had a good year, even though this teacher gave us some headaches. I am so proud of her development. Last year I thought she would never "get" math. Just recently, it has been really clicking for her. She can now do three-digit addition and subtraction in her head and is working on multiplication and division. It is starting to test my own abilities to help her with this math! Pretty soon she will be on algebra and then I will tell her to ask her father for homework help.

She is also a very creative writer. I wonder where she gets it. LOL. I recently showed her a short story that I wrote in second grade. She was amazed... that I was ever in second grade. Too funny.

Her future aspirations have changed from pilot to artist. She loves art class and has asked to join the afterschool art program next year. She also loves sports and particularly soccer. It's the favorite sport of my father-in-law, so I know he will be happy to see her play. Daddy will have to wait for C to have a kid in tee-ball.

So now that we are getting ready for summer, we have so many memories to enjoy of this school year. Bring on the laziness!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cow's milk...

... is still not my friend.

My very nice Mother's Day ended on a sour note. A sour stomach, to be more specific.

My girls wanted to make Chocolate Truffles out of the "Shrek" cookbook (yes, it does exist--and some of the recipes are appropriately ogre-rific). Ingredients: dark chocolate, heavy cream, cocoa powder. Even though I knew better, I had to taste the mixture to make sure it was coming out right. What a MISTAKE.

I had been wondering if I should test my dairy tolerance now that I'm not pregnant anymore, which is when I am most sensitive. Well, the symptoms of my continued intolerance are very similar to food poisoning. The baby didn't appreciate me being up all night in the bathroom, especially when he wanted to eat!

Soooo, my friends, if you ever see me putting anything containing dairy products near my mouth, PLEASE STOP ME. Remind me about the truffles. That should do it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Baby love

Three weeks old, and he has "woken up."

Looks around at the world.
Gazes into faces held close.
Coos after the bath.
Sucks on his fist for entertainment.
Relaxes on the bouncy seat in front of the open screen door with the fresh breeze on his face.

Mmmmmm, baby love.

She's lucky we don't spank

My five-year-old is testing me in ways I had never imagined. I knew she was going to be in love with her brother. I knew she would protect him. I knew she has an obsession for all things related to babies. But I didn't know how smothering this would become...

I feel like a broken record, this is all I say, all day long: "Stop touching him." "Leave him alone, he's sleeping." "You can hold him when he's awake." "DON'T TOUCH HIM WHEN HE'S ASLEEP."

Last week she broke the baby swing. Not even 72 hours after I assembled it. The replacement part arrived today. We'll see if it fixes the problem. I might resort to garnishing her future allowance to pay for the replacement.

Yesterday, in the spastic haste that she has developed in order to hurryupanddoeverythingsoshecangocheckonthebaby, she dumped a full cup of cold juice in my lap. Accidentally, yes. But ohmygoodness, it was the last straw.

Deep breath.

On the upside, she loves her brother. She will do anything for him. She is helping change and wash the diapers. She keeps tabs on his every breath, whimper, twitch and flutter. She has calmed down at school and the teachers have praised her for it. She doesn't tire of helping with anything. Yet. {snicker}

Ah, my daughter. If only you would give me a little personal space when I'm nursing the baby, I would be much more patient with you. But I love you through this crazy, nutty, exciting time anyway!

Hooray for breastfeeding!

From MSNBC.com
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24387268/

Breast-feeding rates hit new high in U.S.
Three-quarters of new moms nurse their infants, at least briefly, CDC says

Monday, April 14, 2008

Baby

Christian was born on April 6 at 10:53 am, in the water at home. We are doing great--feeding, changing, watching, learning about each other.

The labor was intense. Long. Frustrating. My second back labor, posterior sunny-side-up baby. Foggy, yet some parts were startlingly clear. I am not ready to write the birth story yet. It may take some time. I have to process and figure out how to compose it first. Call me if you want to hear about it. I can talk it through, but not write it yet.

He is perfect. Precious. I am truly unworthy of the honor it is to be his mother. I feel like a first-time parent all over again, but with a certain calm and ease that the first-timers would pay any price to get in those initial weeks.

His sisters are obsessed, to the point of fighting over the amount of time he spends on their laps. E has a devouring fascination with him that she cannot control--I am constantly demanding her to give him space, back off, take her fingers out of his mouth, etc. M is more reserved, but concerned and loving in a tender way that makes me so proud of her. I wonder how long the interest will last?

It is an amazing feeling to have a son. It is still settling in. I always thought I would have all girls. The fortune-teller was wrong. I am blessed with a boy!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Odd cravings

In the last few days, I've had some odd cravings:

Cherry cola slushie*
Hot roast beef sandwich
Arroz con pollo*
Barbeque


*Fulfilled.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Birth Beads


I have been blessed many times. These beads symbolize the many blessings given to me by dear friends as I complete this journey of pregnancy on my way to a new phase of woman/motherhood.

Thank you!

Wearing baby

I've been a ring-sling mama for almost eight years. I started wearing M in a Maya Wrap when she was five months old. Both of my kids have spent as much time in a sling as a stroller (we are equipment hogs). I've even become a distributor for several sling companies, so that I could pay for my own slings through the small profit made by selling them when someone notices the ones I have worn.

When E was a baby, there were ring slings, rebozos and Moby wraps. Now with babe #3 soon to appear, I have been introduced to the myriad of baby slings, wraps, carriers and packs. I am still too intimidated by Babywearer.com to delve into that abyss, but I have peeked over the edge and have seen where it could lead me... and where it has led my friend, JB (shout out to your collection!).

So I have pulled together a little bit of a collection myself--from remnant inventory, requests from family traveling abroad, gifts from friends and one recent purchase.

Here's what I have so far:
My original, first Maya Wrap (in #15 blue chambray)
A FancyBabySling lavender/gold Asian-print ring sling (I think this company is no longer in business)
A Taylormade wine silk ring sling
A Taylormade batik royal blue ring sling
A homemade Mei Tai, have no idea who made it.
A Placid Baby Mei Tai
A Sleepy Wrap in light blue
Two rainbow-on-black rebozos from a street vendor in Guerrero, Mexico
A blue and aqua rebozo from a street vendor in Guatemala.

What I don't have links to here, I will have to take pictures of or show you in person. You'll probably see them in person. Don't hold your breath for me to post pics.

In closing, I am sharing these pictures I took from our vacation to Southern California last summer. We spent the day at Venice Beach, and I was very excited to spot a Latin American family fishing in the jetty, with the mom carrying the youngest on her back. To preserve her privacy, I didn't take pictures of her face (well, actually, she wouldn't turn around at the moment I was snapping these), but I did see that the rebozo she was wearing was knotted in the front near her right shoulder. Notice that the baby is not wearing shoes--he didn't need to, as he was not put down the entire time that I was watching them (a good hour or so we were in the same vicinity).





(NB: I don't plan on wearing my baby in quite that position.)

My little doulas...

They got really upset last night when they had to go to bed without helping me in the birth tub. Doulamadre was here to give me a pampering session and it was getting late. I was in the tub, let them do some massage and water splashing, but they both cried when they got put to bed before helping me get out. I felt so bad. Tonight, I will get in and relax earlier!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My little doulas

My girls are natural doulas. The last two evenings, while I was relaxing in the rental birth tub with the jets on, they have attended me every second. They were scooping water over my back, rubbing my shoulders, stroking my hair, kissing me, suggesting that I flip over, adjusting the towel I was leaning on, checking the thermostat every 10 seconds, and basically loving me to death in that tub.

They cannot wait for the big day.

I love them so much.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The $90 Dell Laptop

Hooray for extended warranties!

Our Dell laptop freaked out and died a couple weeks ago. After a tech replaced much of the internal parts, and after I spent about 12 cumulative hours on the phone with the help desk, they decided it will be better to send us a whole new laptop instead of fussing with more parts expense and tech hours. Oh, and I told the tech today that I'm due to give birth any day and would like to get this taken care of before then. He commented that his wife is expecting their second in July, so he must have felt empathetic towards me and talked his boss into the replacement option... I didn't realize how well that would work! I just thought that the birth card would just get me a tech sent out here to finish diagnosing the problem. Instead, it got me a brand-new laptop!

I highly recommend buying your next computer from Dell, with the extended warranty, and wait until you're due to give birth for it to break.

I swear, I didn't plan it this way!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

38 weeks

We are ready.

March is almost over. All the events I was waiting for have passed. The checklist is pretty much done or discarded. The kitchen is full of food. Hubby's grandma is here to stay through the end of April, helping out with whatever is needed. The birth tub was delivered, filled and turned on to heat up today. My supplies are ready. Everyone has their instructions. My sister has directions to get here from California. My good friend H had her baby and now I have permission to go ahead (she was so worried that I would go first even though she was due earlier... I desperately didn't want to disappoint her!). I've been blessed many times with ceremonies and beads. I got my henna and belly cast. We took family and maternity portraits. All of these things meant so much to me that I almost couldn't breathe until each one was checked off. Check. Check. Check.

Now it's time to wait. Relax. Practice Optimal Fetal Positioning (babe is hanging out OT or OP most of the time now). Tomorrow, start soaking in the tub to enjoy it. Think about maybe making some more freezer meals, if I feel compelled. Try to get the laptop fixed. Cruise through the daily stuff, kids' school and activities. No more events to attend, parties to plan, promises to fret over. Just time to chill and enjoy our last few days as a family of four.

In the last week I gained three pounds. My midwives were visibly pleased (me too!). BP still low and normal. Baby is guesstimated around 7 pounds. Lots of movement and forward kicks, with a big ol' foot often sticking out next to my belly button. More mucous. More contractions some days, fewer others. Sleeping is spotty. Naps are coveted. Ankles are swelling in the evenings. Heartburn is here. It all adds up to being near the end.

Tomorrow, chiro. Grocery shopping. A long soak. The last day of March.

I feel good. I am ready.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My non-accent accent

I found this on a friend's blog, thought I would share.

I'm not surprised by the result, considering that I *am* from SoCal (though not a surfer, but my niece is). I'm mostly interested to see the results my friends get, since many of us in Central Arizona are from all over the country.

Let me know if you check it out!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland
Boston
North Central
The Inland North
Philadelphia
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Sunday, March 23, 2008

37 Weeks

This week is brought to you by the letters "B" and "H" -- When you think of B&H, think of "Braxton-Hicks."

My uterus is up to something. Taking it's time. But, something is goin' on.

I've been having interesting contractions for a few days now. The Braxton-Hicks are not new, I've been experiencing those since 19 weeks. The new and interesting ones make me hold my breath for a moment--they don't hurt, but they demand attention and make everything inside scooch down and push up at the same time. Then I remember to not hold my breath and I just breathe slowly while waiting for the whole thing to relax itself and be over. Interesting. A little tiring too. I feel lame, too, like "oh, no big deal, just keep going, why are you stopping, why are you going so slow, you're acting like you're in labor already, silly." (Ok, so explain the gobs of mucous, eh?)

It's too early. We/me/baby are not ready yet. But five of these an hour sure make it seem like three weeks to my due date is a realllllllly long time. (I'm not counting/timing these contrax... that's an estimate, that's what it feels like at the most frequent.)

Aside from that, I am feeling really good. The pain and discomfort in my back from the accident is gone. The congestion from the head/chest cold is almost gone. I have enough energy to get through the day--tomorrow will be a test of that, with the girls going back to school after two weeks of spring break. The weather is GORGEOUS and the citrus is blooming. My yard is full of the fragrance of grapefruit blossoms and the windows are open in the house all day. Spring is a beautiful time to birth a baby.

Oh yeah. Birth a baby.

It comes out. I am starting to remember how that feels.

Ah, back to thinking about spring and blossoms...

Check. Check. Check.

An update on the To-Do List:

Four birthday parties. (Three down, one to go.)
School carnival.
Donation committee. (I've been flaking this one. Oh well.)
Dentist appointment. (Survived yet another one.)
Haircuts.
School. (Daily)
Catechism. (Weekly)
Gymnastics. (Weekly)
Dance. (Weekly)
Swim lessons. (Weekly)
Field trips. (I don't have to attend the next one.)
Chiropractor. (Weekly)
Prenatals. (Weekly)
Board meetings. (To be rescheduled, I guess?)
Birth Circle. (This Thursday.)
Easter. (It was nice and low-key.)
Jury duty. (Didn't have to report, woo hoo!)
Cook & freeze meals. (Still need to do this.)
Sew burp cloths, changing pad covers, receiving blankets. (Forget it, we have been given what we need.)
Find and wash missing newborn diapers, baby sling, rebozos. (DONE!)
Scrub shower and replace curtain. (DONE!)
Wash new sheets. (DONE!)
Put together birth supplies basket. (DONE!)
Assemble bassinette. (DONE!)
Clean house. (Uhhhhh, this is never ever finished... I am almost beyond caring now.)

Wow, it feels so nice to be almost done with March...

Friday, March 14, 2008

11

This is not a gripe, complaint, brag or boast. It's just a fact that I am trying to process.

For the first time in my life, I am concerned with not gaining weight. I gained healthy, normal amounts with both of my kids--26 and 24 pounds, respectively. Starting this pregnancy at the weight I ended the last one (having actively worked off then passively put back on the same stubborn 30), I expected to tip over 200 for the first time in my life. No big deal, just my expectation.

I never expected to be at 36 weeks with only 11 extra pounds on my body. Actually, on my belly. It doesn't seem to have landed anywhere else. Did my metabolism magically speed up when I got pregnant at 35? Or is this baby growing so voraciously that it is sucking all the nutrition out of everything that enters my mouth?

I think about all those women in the 1950s that were told to keep their weight gain to no more than 15 pounds. They did that by smoking and drinking a glass of wine every night. At least I'm not doing that. Seriously, not even the wine.

The baby is growing fine, my midwives aren't worried, so I guess I shouldn't be either. But hey, I'm pregnant. I'm supposed to worry and obsess and be a loony basket-case, right? No?

Oh. Okay. I think I'll go relax with a glass of soy milk and a doughnut.

36 weeks

Less than a month to go until my due date. WOW.

I am excited, impatient, ready, not ready, willing to wait longer, not yet nervous, already nesting, scatterbrained, insomnified (if that's not a word, it is now), making lists, checking things off, making new lists, sewing, crafting, coughing, sneezing, breathing in the coming spring, cleaning, organizing, sighing, contracting, drinking tea, talking to the little one, asking "Just wait until April 2nd..."

That's me in a nutshell. It's a beautiful day.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Apology

Dear Readers,

I'm sorry I've been grumpy lately. There's something about myself that I want to explain, so you will maybe understand me a little better.

To my blog and my friends, I may (okay, not just may, but do) complain too much. Because I can, to you. Overall, this pregnancy has been a good one, since I have nothing bad to report, no complications or difficulties other than some minor annoyances. But it's safe to complain to my family and friends--they know and accept me, they listen and they don't question things like my plans for midwifery care and homebirth.

To the outside world, I have to put on a different face. The rosy, cheerful, "everything-is-great" face. I feel it's my job to project the vitality of pregnancy, the normalcy of natural birth and be a positive influence on their opinions of doulas and midwives. That's why I don't believe in venting to the "public" -- I prefer to educate on a positive note rather than try to prove a negative point.

It can take a lot of energy to do that. When I let it out to you, it's because it gets tiring to handle it all and still show a smiling, "I feel good!" attitude to the world. And I do feel good. Most of the time. I want you to know that. And I want to thank you for making me feel safe about resting my head on your shoulder in those moments that I don't feel so good. Because I appreciate the support. Always.

Love,
Little Bit

Less stressed

Two days into March now. After having an emotional breakdown the other day (which is sometimes necessary, though unpleasant), things are more under control. The school carnival is behind us. It was fun, I got to volunteer by sitting on my butt in the shade (while helping out the two classroom booths my kids belong to) and hubby with his brother took the kids around to the rides and attractions. We also scored a Baby Basket in the Silent Auction -- it's full of onesies, little socks, wipes, bath stuff, baby books, picture frames and, get this, the wicker basket is the perfect size and shape to pack all my homebirth supplies into. Hey, I'm happy with it all the way around!

The to-do list is also whittled down. I washed the sheets. We ordered the baby's carseat. Today, hubby is shopping with his mom for baby stuff, and I'm home sewing and prepping the birth supplies basket. He said he would assemble the bassinette when he gets home this evening. Now that everything is coming together, I'm feeling soooo much better.

Sometimes the tears of a good cry can help wash your emotional home. How's that for a sappy new saying?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Stressed

Four birthday parties.
School carnival.
Donation committee.
Dentist appointment.
Haircuts.
School.
Catechism.
Gymnastics.
Dance.
Swim lessons.
Field trips.
Chiropractor.
Prenatals.
Board meetings.
Birth Circle.
Easter.
Jury duty.

That’s just the four weeks of March. And I’m supposed to find time to get ready to have a baby?

Getting ready for baby to-do list:
Cook & freeze meals.
Sew burp cloths, changing pad covers, receiving blankets.
Find and wash missing newborn diapers, baby sling, rebozos.
Scrub shower and replace curtain.
Wash new sheets.
Put together birth supplies basket.
Assemble bassinette.
Clean house.

What was that I was told about enjoying the end of my last pregnancy? HA! WHEN?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why did I...

Just spend $50 to order a stroller part when I am trying to figure out how to clothe this new baby on the cheap?

Cuz it's for the stroller I paid $200 for five years ago, and I can't bear to part with it.

When E. was a baby, I found this great deal on a Peg Perego Plikomatic (it was a great deal at the time). This stroller has been through everything with us, it folds up like an umbrella stroller (tho a bit on the chunky side) and has a rearboard step for an older child to hitch a ride. I researched strollers for months when I was pregnant with her... this is what I settled on. So when the seat got a hole, I knew I was going to replace the seat, not the whole stroller.

A bit obsessive? Not more so than the friend who buys a different stroller every three months. (You know who you are.) At least she buys used/recycled in her quest for the perfect stroller. Despite that, she has probably spent more on strollers than I have, and I'm only up to $250. (You know this is all said with love, natch!)

So, anyways, I'll be washing up the Peg (which hasn't been used in a good, uh, year or so) and putting on the new seat when it gets here, all ready for the new babe ride around in style... when it's not in a carrier or sling that is. (Another obsession, more on that later.)

Oh my, this is real! There is a baby on its way!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Five. Cinco. Cinque. Cinq. Öt.

AnimatedSocialIntenseLivelyEnergetic

Little girl, you are my star. A dancer, chef, socialite, daredevil, rule-breaker, rule-follower, artist, explorer, animal rescuer, counselor, comedian, foodie, fashionista. (What are you going to wear when you outgrow that purple skirt?) Your sense of humor, indignation at unfairness, and emotional intensity keep me on my toes, always wondering what will come next from your amazing brain. Your "imaginary watch" tracks your own special time as if you live in a different continuum than the rest of us. You constantly rewrite your own history through your stories about all the extraordinary things that happened when you "were a baby." I can only imagine what kind of history you will help create for the new sibling you are so eagerly and impatiently awaiting. You are ready to be a big sister, a second mommy to the baby, and knowing you, this little one will worship you (just as you plan for it to).

A born entertainer, you captivate everyone we meet, capture their heart with your antics (which other five-year-old could hold their own in a sushi-eating contest?), then you invite them to your birthday party. The samples lady at Costco was right: you are one of a kind. The world has never had anyone else like you.

Happy fifth birthday, baby.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lucky me!

Hubby's grandmother is staying with us this week. It makes me so happy to have her here. She used to live with us when I was working full-time, she took care of my kids and was a huge help around the house. I have really missed her presence, stories and teaching since we moved here.

We share so many common interests, despite the nearly 50 year gap between us. She believes in parenting much the same way I do, she teaches me how to cook the Mexican foods my mother never did, she gently corrects my Spanish, and she shows me sewing techniques that I always thought were too hard to bother with.

My husband and his mom get tired of her stories and the "embellishments" she adds to the retelling of family lore, but it never gets old to me. She may walk slowly, not see very well anymore and forget things, but she has so much energy and patience to spare. I treasure her like she is my own grandmother. The plan is that she will come back and be with us a while when this new baby is born. She is always very busy with her grandchildren--new ones are born every year, numbering more than forty in grands and greats. But she loves my kids with a special, tender love that makes us feel first in her heart (not that it matters, but it does, KWIM?).

Oh, and we are eating sopes tonight. YUM.

Did I tell you that I'm lucky?!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pregnancy update

Well, I guess I should post an update while I'm still pregnant... because if I procrastinate any longer, it will be April and baby will be here!

That's how fast it seems this pregnancy is going. I can't believe I'm already in the third trimester. Time needs to slow down (really slow, because I don't want to turn 36 in two days, nope, don't wanna). I'm enjoying it, for the most part. I love being pregnant, I love the feeling of blossoming and growing a baby. I'm lucky in many ways -- I don't tend to gain a lot of weight, I don't really crave junk food (don't have that much of an appetite, really), my blood pressure is good, I don't get a lot of swelling. So I don't have many complaints, especially since I've been seeing a chiropractor consistently throughout this pregnancy, so the lower back and lower abdomen pain I experienced with my two girls is under control. So is the heartburn (although it's still early for that, I know it's coming).

One thing that is bothering me is the regularity of Braxton-Hicks contractions. I get them frequently, when my bladder is full, when I don't drink enough water, when I move too fast, when I walk too far. So annoying.

The other annoyance has been my OB/GYN. I'm planning a homebirth, so I have been seeing both the OB and a midwife. I started with the OB for the purpose of sustaining this pregnancy--after three first-trimester miscarriages, I wanted to make sure that I am able to carry at least one more past my "danger point" of 9 weeks. The early blood tests suggested low progesterone levels, so I went on a supplement until 14 weeks, then weaned off it. Both the midwife and OB agreed that I could do co-care... but the OB's office has hassled me at every visit to get a pap smear. I have declined every time, but they won't leave me alone about it. There are other tests coming up that I want to decline--GD and GBS--and I don't want to be hassled for those either. So now I have to get the nerve up to call the OB's office and dump them. Or at least thank them for their help and let them know (nicely) that I'm not coming back. As a doula, I don't want to burn any bridges, ya know?

So far the plans for the homebirth include a birth tub, my midwife, my doula, a few other close friends and family members... and that's about it. All the other plans are unformed in the swirling clouds of the nether regions of my brain. In some ways I feel disconnected from the birth experience because I am not placing expectations upon it... I am so open to whatever happens that I don't feel the need to plan it out. I just know that the birth tub will be here waiting, that my labors have been long and painful in the past, and that I want to just relax the baby out. How's that for a birth plan?

What else is there to say about the pregnancy? My girls are impatiently ecstatic. My preschooler asks me every day if my tummy is big enough for the baby to come out yet. My seven-year-old talks to the baby and gives me neckrubs. This child, girl or boy, is going to have many mothers, including its two sisters.

Girl or boy? Gosh, after "What's your due date?" this is the next most-asked question. I simply say, "It's a surprise." The reaction is pretty split: either, "Oh my gosh, I don't know how you can stand not knowing, I would have to know!"; or "Good for you." I prefer the latter. We have definite predictions around here--hubby and preschooler both think it's a girl, my older daughter and I both think it's a boy. We'll see.

That's it for now, I'll post another update with more info later.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I feel so lame

I am officially sucked in. I have cowed to the media hype. I have become a cog in the machine that is Disney's Hannah Montana.

Tonight I bought advance tickets to the nearly sold-out movie showing of "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Disney Digital 3D."

Ugh. Help me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ironic?

I got a new label maker for Christmas. I can't wait to use it! Now I can mark all the storage bins, tag drawers, organize clutter into neat(er) homes. But I have to wait. Why? Because hubby misplaced the brand-new pack of batteries that we bought to load into all the portable, battery-powered Christmas gifts.

SIGH!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Class and privilege meme

I found this at Katie Allison Granju’s blog. It’s originally from What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

Very interesting food for thought… those that apply to me are bolded, my comments italicized.

1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college My mom claims to have gone to college, but it was a one-year secretary trade course. That doesn’t count in “my” world.
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor Two uncles and several cousins in Mexico are physicians.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children's books by a parent.
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 One year each of ballet, tap & jazz dance.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs. I paid (and am still paying) for my college education.
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels I can only remember two trips that involved hotels. All the rest of our very few vacations were spent sleeping on someone else’s floor.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them. Does it really count if it didn’t run and took two years of weekend sweat to get running?
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
25. You had your own room as a child
Only because my siblings all moved out when I was 5.
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16 My first flight was at age 7 to visit my brother at college. My second flight was at 15 when I went by myself to visit my mom’s friends in Mexico City.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up. Hmmmm. I experienced museums on school field trips and while visiting Mexico City. My parents never took me themselves.
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family. I was quite aware. My dad was always being laid off from his job and we didn’t have central heat. I was told to bundle up and not use the space heaters.

I'm not tagging anyone, but if you decide to do this meme, please let me know!