A bit of a day...week...month...

on 26 February 2009


Do you know how much I knew about teething before I had a child? I knew that they sometimes ran a fever and they drooled a lot.

That's it.

I'm starting to think this is a global conspiracy because if people really knew the truth about teething, they would NEVER HAVE CHILDREN.

The Boy has 4 (FOUR!) Teeth coming in right now. The two on the bottom (either side of the front two) are almost through the surface. The top front two he's been getting for WEEKS. The Husband and I have been watching this slow decent of these huge swollen mounds for weeks--it's like watching lava coming towards you...it looks like it's moving really slowly but it's still going to consume you and your whole life in a lake of burning molten rock.

The Boy is feverish today and oh my holy trees he is so foul there are not adjectives to describe it. For lo, he doth LOATHE everything. I've been giving him regular doses of Tylenol most of the week and last night he got Tylenol and baby orajel--why someone hasn't yet invented Baby Novocaine, I do not know.

And just to prove to you all how not fun Burnstopia is right now, here's photographic evidence of the face I see most of the time...

I know. He looks miserable. He IS miserable. There's just not much consoling him. And if I could give him the Baby Novocaine I would...he's so much more fun and sweet and adorable when he's not miserable.


on 21 February 2009

The Boy goes to bed around 6pm. It's great for him, he sleeps really well until midnight (I'm blaming this on teething because up until the past few weeks he slept really well until about 4am), but it's less than ideal for me since I am a grown up and don't go to bed (very often) before 9 and I don't go to sleep (most nights) until 11. And since I'm whining, I thought I'd show you what our nights look like lately...

9:00pm: The Husband and the Wife are watching back episodes of West Wing. The Wife is ahead of the Husband so she is also piddling.

9:30pm: The Wife fluffs the whites in the dryer (at this point, she is intent on folding them) and washes up the last of the dishes in the sink.

9:45pm: The Wife is getting ready for bed. Thoughts of laundry have been put off until tomorrow.

10:00pm: The Wife in bed...debating whether or not she wants to read before attempting to sleep.

10:15pm: The Husband has given up the fight to stay awake and joins the Wife in Bed Sweet Bed.

10:20pm: Lights are out. The Husband is snoring away. The Agnes is settled in on top of the Husband and the Leike has decided it's safe to roam the apartment now and has started by licking my fingers until they're raw.

10:45pm: The Husband is still snoring. The Wife is awake.

10:55pm: The Leike is vomiting on the rug under the kitchen table. [It's the third time this week.] The Wife gets up and cleans it up.

11:05pm: The Leike has decided to hunt one of her toys, including her hunting cry. As loud as she can howl.

11:15pm: The Leike is still going.

11:25pm: That CAT is still HOWLING.

11:35pm: The Wife, fed up with this yowl of DEATH, gets up to investigate. Only to find the Leike standing threateningly over a bright green toy mouse and a cardboard box.

12:00am: The Wife is still awake.

12:45am: The Boy wakes up.

12:47am: The Wife goes in to the Boy, plugs mouth with pacifier, retrieves Monte Bear, tucks him back in, all the while hoping he hasn't noticed her and will return to sleep.

12:55am: Not so much.

1:00am: The Wife microwaves a bottle for the Boy, checks his diaper and administers said bottle which he slurps at, all the while attempting to grab hold of wayward hair--MY hair.

1:20am: The Boy is done, tucked in, asleep. The Wife trudges back to Bed Sweet Bed.

1:22am: The Leike has decided she's done for the night and would also like to sleep in Bed Sweet Bed, in MY spot.

3:30am: The Husband is still snoozing away. The Leike is still asleep. The Agnes is pacing the length of my body. Apparently, just to make sure I am still alive.

4:44am: The Wife gets up to avail herself of the restroom. The Leike is asleep on the futon (finally), the Husband is still asleep. The Agnes is still asleep on top of the Husband.

6:30am: The Boy wakes up for the day (YAY!!! Time to PLAY!). The Wife wakes up the Husband pleading with him to please get up with the child because she will crumble to dust if she has to get up and be nice. The Husband gets up with the Boy and shoos out the cats and the Wife returns to actual sleep.

8:30am: The Wife wakes up and spends the next half hour basking in the novelty of being totally alone.

The breakthrough? All I want for Mother's Day is a weekend at a Holiday Inn to SLEEP undisturbed.

Date Night

on 19 February 2009


So that's what life is like amongst three dimensional adults.

Three weeks ago (or so) I heard this brief spot on NPR about Anthony Bourdain coming as part of the Bryan Lecture Series with Guilford College and I thought, "Hmm. The Husband loves Anthony Bourdain. I like Anthony Bourdain. This could be fun!" So I bought them as part of his birthday celebration. It just so happens that tonight was the featured night.

Sadly, the Husband is coming down with what the Boy and I have been sick with this past...week...10 days...something like that. But we had paid good money for these tickets and we haven't done anything really fun and well, OUT since before the Boy was born so we had more than earned our night out.

So we left the Boy with my charming neice and we trotted off to see Anthony Bourdain.

Frankly, that was the strangest mix of people I've ever seen at any kind of performing arts venue. It was very obviously this odd proportion of season ticket holders (the over 45 crowd) and then those of us who are fairly young, foodies, punks, artists, and chefs. But it was fairly cool. There was an oddly high proportion of pregnant women and women with young babies there...but that's another story.

Anyway, this guy is incredibly cool. He's traveled all over the world and his over-riding message is Be grateful for what you have. He seems genuinely stunned by his own good luck. And while he does his fair share of disparaging the mass marketed crap one finds on television, he also does his fair share of praising the efforts of various sincere chefs.

He had a hilarious rant on THIS spot with the Devil Sandra Lee.

He talked about great meals and scary meals, rich and poor and what makes a great conversation. He talked about the ways that food brings us togther regardless of whether or not we share the same beliefs.

Most of all, the Husband and I, we laughed and we talked and I (at least) got to feel like a thinking, breathing adult again.

The Husband is running my neice home and I'm listening to the Boy fuss. It will probably be months again before we get to go on another actual real date night, but man, it was great.



We are going on an actual, real DATE. As in OUT of the HOUSE.

We are not talking about our usual take-out and a netflix. This is a DATE. There will be paid parking involved. I have SHAVED my legs.

I just thought you'd want to know. I'll post tomorrow and let you know what it was and how it goes.

Rainy Day

on 18 February 2009

Back when the Boy was newborn, he would only take a soothie pacifier. Nothing else. Well, he would briefly consider his beloved Nuks but the soothies were the only ones with the magical ability to calm him down. (Now, of course, it would be all Nuk all the time if I let him.) Anyway, he sort of out grew the soothies so we put them in a drawer. Then the teething hit and lo, it sucketh. And I was digging through that drawer for some other something and I picked up a soothie and thought, "Hmmm. It's rubber. I wonder if he'd like to chew THAT." And I gave it to him and now it is (again) his most favorite thing. Want to know why?

Thumb protection.

This Boy will happily sit and gnaw on his thumb (protected by the soothie) for...oh...45 minutes or so without complaint. He cracks me up.

And lastly, just because it's so lovely I can't convey it in words, this is how he likes to go to sleep.

New Favorite

on 16 February 2009

Sorry for the radio silence, but dude, my lungs--they're falling apart.

In the absence of any actual, substantial content (that doesn't involve the words phlegm, spasm, or fever) I'm asking you what's wrong with my child?

He has all of these toys and MORE. This is just what he plays with on any given day.
But you know what his favorite toy is?

A toothbrush.

I'm really hoping that this is not indicative of a future fussiness. I'm fussy enough for my whole family. And lastly, just because he's so cute I could dunk him in chocolate and swallow him whole:

Oh, Funtastic.

on 12 February 2009

We're sick.

Sorry for not having anything witty and funny or smart to tell you all. I'm not entirely sure how this happened. I went to teach an enrichment class and when I came home BAM! I was sick (no Emril added).

Then I went to bed and got up 4 times during the night to calm the Boy down because he doesn't feel good and can't sleep and when I finally stormed out of bed for the last time around 7ish the next morning I was shamefully confronted with his crusty, snotty nose and I felt awful.

(It's hard some times to remember that he's not torturing me for fun, he's not diabolical in any way.)

Anyway. So he and I hung out yesterday, he played and I watched West Wing (my lovely sister loaned me the complete series and I'm up to season 5). We napped and cuddled a lot under soft soft blankets so all in all, this might be the most pleasant convalescence I've had in quite some time.

Certainly more pleasant than this one.

Anyway. Since that's all that's going on over here, I thought you'd like to see the kind of madness that occurs when we both get sick, so here you go...


on 07 February 2009

So, that was a pretty crappy January, no?

You all know some of the stuff, but I doubt you all know all of it because, you know, I kind of quit writing when things get really bad. I figure, nobody loves a whiner and when I'm really depressed I need the LOVE.

The worst bit is, when all the crap comes down I start looking at my life and my choices with a more critical eye than normal. I would never consider myself an idealist, I'm not even an optimist--I'm a hard, cold realist with a heavy side of cynicism, but that's another story. Anyway, I did some depressing thinking about my life that last week of January and I found myself feeling small and unimportant and cowardly.

After all, if I was the brave, intelligent woman I like to fancy myself then wouldn't I be out there battling the lions of the world and knocking out a dissertation and adding more initials to my name? Wouldn't I be taking a public stand and making my name known (and FEARED)? Wouldn't I be doing anything else?

And then the heavens opened and a small, dusty ray of light shone down from Haven Kimmel's blog in this post. And then a week or so later I was knocked over with the giggles by this post from the Washington Post by way of the Lovely Katrina. And since they are helping to bring me and the Boy back into the civilized world, I thought I would share the methodology with you.

I am one of those pitiful people who measures my own worth based on the amount of "stuff" that I get done during the day. Every day I have a list of "stuff" that I want to get done and I take peevish delight in crossing things off of that list. I love the feeling of being able to say to the Husband when he comes home, "Look, honey! Look how much I got DONE." It gives me a sense of structure and purpose to the day but subconsciously I know what I'm really saying is, "Look, honey! I work too! I'm a team player!" (I would like to note here that the Husband has heard all of this before and he thinks I'm a little off my rocker with my need to prove myself, but that is also another post.)

The thing is, the Boy is never DONE. He's this on-going project that is just never anywhere near completion, which breeds its own discouragement. And when you're already discouraged from all the other crappy things piling up on you, it leads you to doubt why you made this choice to begin with.

But then you read what Haven Kimmel wrote about mothers (her own especially), about how foolish we are when we take our work lightly, about how we are raising the future in our own two hands, how these little beings are "our own best hope." And suddenly you look into a pair of big brown eyes, eyes that are just like mine but they see the world so differently, and suddenly you find yourself thinking--I don't have anything to get DONE because you, littlest man, you will never be DONE. He is my own best hope--if only I can teach him that his worth isn't measured by the things he crosses off of his To Do list, if only I can help him to be smart and brave and funny.

I often find myself at the end of the day wondering what happened. And nothing stands out--it was just a day. But then I read something like this:

When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.

It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.

It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.

It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.

And everything clicks into place. Oh yeah. That's what I did today. I kept the Boy fed and clean and well...only sort of rested. I managed to keep the toys sort of centrally located. I didn't kick the cats out of my way. There are a ton of dishes in the sink. And that load of laundry has been in the dryer for 2 DAYS now, but I spent 30 minutes just making the Boy laugh and that my friends, is an efficient use of time, it's my contribution to the team and I'm never going to cross it off of a list because it's not DONE.

Important Things First

on 06 February 2009

A shout out to the Husband! Happy Birthday, Babe. You rock! (And I'm not just saying that because you gave me a bite of your blueberry bagel.)

And since none of you have the privilege of living with him, allow me to sing his praises for a moment--I don't do it often enough.

He is an awesome friend. So much so that he's had the same friends since he was 12. He is completely himself, which is a truly beautiful thing in the day and age in which we live.

(Overheard: The Husband is on the phone with his sister and he's telling her about the Krispy Kreme Challenge that he's running tomorrow. You run 2 miles, eat a dozen donuts and then run 2 more miles. I am going, in spite of the prospective vomit because I'm the Wife and it's my job to scrape him up off of the pavement when necessary.)

He's an excellent husband. He loves me enough to know when to leave me alone. This morning (on his BIRTHDAY!) he unloaded the dishwasher and got up early with the Boy instead of sleeping in, so that I could sleep another hour.

He wasn't a cat person when we got married--and I loved him enough that if he had told me to get rid of the cats, I would have found homes for them--but he didn't. He learned to live with them because he loves me.

He doesn't make grand gestures but he never fails to do the every day things that make living with him a pleasure instead of a hassle. (He's currently carrying the Boy around while he talks to his sister because the Boy was outraged at not being given some of his blueberry bagel. )

He's an absolutely amazing father. I suspected as much when I married him because he was so great with everyone's kids, but seeing him with the Boy has been one of those joys that was completely unforeseen and which never fails to make my heart swell up and choke off my lungs. He loves him in a completely different way than I do--I suppose it boils down to fathers and sons as opposed to mothers and sons. He delights in making him laugh. And will let him get away with almost anything. He holds him and chases the cats for him since he's not mobile yet. It's hilarious.

My pride prevents me from admitting too often, but he has completely changed my life. And in so doing he has changed me. It's not the crushing kind of love that you read about in books, it's the kind of love that's liberating. In some ways he's freed me from myself and my own unrealistic expectations. He let's me be human and weak and fallible. And in that way, he's kept me from ulcers and therapy. Thank you.

Happy Birthday, Husband. I love you.

I'm sad.

on 04 February 2009

I ran out of diet coke.

And that makes me SAD.

Seriously, I probably shouldn't even have it in the house. When I was a grad student I LIVED on diet coke. And when I was reading for my oral exams and writing my thesis I would drink up to a liter EVERY DAY.

So then when we moved up here and I took an extended sabbatical from graduate education I decided to be "healthy" and also "cheap" and give up my lovely diet coke.

I still don't fully comprehend that decision.

I was very good when I was pregnant and never drank it, and then I was nursing and well--the last thing we needed was a caffeinated boy. But then I weaned him and lo and behold, I could have diet coke if I wanted it! But I didn't really want it that badly anymore (go figure, I stop nursing and all of a sudden I have all kinds of energy again!).

But then we hit the doldrums with the Husband and the fellowship applications and then my birthday and then Boston and well, we were grocery shopping and the next thing I knew there was diet coke in my house!

I have been rationing it out, only on the days when I woke up really tired from not having slept very well, or, well...any day where I was not so happy with the way things were going.

Need I remind you all that the Boy is teething? Enough said.

So, I find myself out of diet coke and it's only Wednesday. And that makes me sad. BUT! The Husband's birthday is Friday so be sure to pop over and wish him a happy one!

My Day in Numbers

on 02 February 2009

1 very sore neck (apparently, I'm not so coordinated with the sleeping).
1 very angry child.
20 minutes of morning nap AND NO MORE.
2 containers of sweet potatoes slurped down by Mr. Impossible to Please.
2 HOURS of screaming before...
30 minutes of afternoon nap AND NO MORE.
2 front teeth bulging through his gums.
35 minutes in the shower avoiding my screaming child.
6 diapers cleaned and stuffed.
8 million clean spoons put away.
482 pictures of an angry child in order to get...
2 fairly decent pictures of said angry child to post to the blog.
1 AWESOME poem sent by Molly on behalf of our very own teething melodrama.
3 outfits the Boy went through today--not poop, oh no, Strawberry Yogurt Vomit. Bonus! It smells like strawberry CHEESE.
6 cookies consumed by ME (and we're all just LUCKY it wasn't MORE).

Where the Giraffes are...

So, many and many a year ago when the Husband and I were dating, he introduced me to this video by the Weebls people.

[Once upon a newlywed time he even did the Lion dance for me whilst singing the song...it was most hilarious but you'd have to convince him to repeat his performance for you...]

Anyway, I just finished working out and and I'm sitting in the Boy's room playing with him and he's just so darn cute, people, that I couldn't resist taking a few pictures of him with his toys, and well, he inadvertently reenacted part of the video, so here you go.

NOM NOM NOM delicious Zebra.

Even better? Delicious Giraffe.