Friday, March 31, 2006

Hear me roar?

...most women find themselves putting their hobbies--and girlfriends--aside as adults.

This quote is from Diablo Cody’s review of Rollergirls in February. I had been noticing a lack of activities and friendship in my own life lately so when I read this it really stuck with me. I guess I had assumed it was part and parcel of being a mom. You just have to put your own priorities on hold in order to care for this other person that is completely dependant upon you. And while that’s both empowering and fulfilling, it’s also draining and denies you an identity other than “Kirk’s Mom”. I’m more interesting than that dammit. But do I even know it anymore? I mean, I don’t sew anymore and my wardrobe used to be 90% my own creations. I’ve been working on the same knitting project for 6 months. I don’t even read. I’m lucky to get one book finished a month. And I used to plow through one every week or two! I don’t belong to any regular groups. Sure, I have book club, but that only meets once a month and I keep missing the meetings. They’re always perfectly legitimate excuses (everyone has the stomach flu, I’ll be in Texas, etc.) but then what? My choir is only active 3 months of the year. What about the meantime? Mr. b is off to band practice twice a week and I’m home with the boy. He always tells me I need to get out and do stuff, but what? And with whom? All my girlfriends are in the same boat as me. But why don’t we force the issue more? Not everyone has kids yet. But even my girlfriends without kids are “too busy”. I count myself lucky if I see a single person during the week that’s not part of my immediate family or a co-worker. Actually, once a week is probably too frequent. Usually it’s once a month. And when we do get together, we always tell each other the same lie, “It’ll be different when we all have kids. Then they can run around and play while we hang out.” It sounds lovely. Will it ever happen?

But then again, I’m having a good week this week. Diablo bought me lunch today (and because of that act of kindness, I’m not going to flame her for totally stealing my years-old pirate obsession!) and tomorrow I’m going over to another friend’s new pad. But 1) this is highly unusual and 2) I put together the hook up for tomorrow. Because I’m sick of hibernating. I’m sick of only having internet contact with people that live in town. I’m sick of only hearing about friends third-hand from Mr. b who heard about it from one of the boys at band practice. I may be Kirk’s Mom, but I’m also me. So now I need to find a kung fu or tai chi or yoga or belly dancing class nearby. And start taking Chinese lessons.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Weekend in Sickbay

That was a helluva thing.

Kirk continued waking up to puke/dry heave at least once an hour Thursday night. Occasionally the poor little buddy would hurl the minute quantities of stomach juices that had managed to replenish since the last time. He would cry, confused at why such a terrible thing was happening, and then settle back into an uneasy sleep in my arms. I dozed a bit while holding him on the couch, but mostly I just watched over him. Mr. b got home about 3:15am and went to buy some Pedialyte. At that point I had given Kirk a few ounces of water over an hour or two and he had managed to keep it down. So I went to bed at 4 and then got up with him at 6. Short night.

Friday afternoon I started giving Kirk half-strength formula. He was hungry and thirsty and the Pedialyte just wasn’t good enough anymore. He was wanting something every couple of hours because nothing was sticking with him long enough. But I wasn’t willing to push it and give him full-strength until it had been a full 24 hours vom-free.

And then Mr. b got sick.

I just don’t know how we managed to get through those first few weeks of Kirk’s life when we were up all the time. But at least we were able to trade off so that we could each get more than 3 hours in a row of sleep. I didn’t have that luxury this weekend. I was the sole care-giver for Kirk and I was also trying to nurse my poor sick husband through the pukingshits. Kirk and I went to the grocery store early on Saturday morning to get various beverages for him once Mr. b was able to keep water down. That was my first time out of the house.

I was still keeping it together on Saturday. I fed Kirk some applesauce for breakfast and some oatmeal for lunch and kept Mr. b supplied with Gatorade and juice and chicken soup. I was weary and exhausted, but I was just glad that it looked like I was going to escape getting diseased, too. But I was more run down that I realized. Late on Saturday night, when Mr. b was finally starting to be on the mend, Kirk woke up for another bottle yet again. And I lost it. I couldn’t handle having my sleep interrupted after a mere 2 hours yet again. Mr. b fed Kirk his bottle and I tried to go back to sleep. But something had snapped. I got back up again and was trying to clean and straighten up the kitchen table. In the dark. Mr. b says I kept mumbling about how I couldn’t sleep because I had to do stuff. I remember doing this but I don’t know why it seemed so important at the time. I was totally in a fugue state. Mr. b got up with Kirk in the morning and I was finally able to sleep. I could have slept for days.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Common Sense

OK, the nurse said home care should be fine. If Kirk gets dehydrated, has a high fever, or continues to vomit or dry heave after 12 hours, then he's got to go in. I shouldn't give him anything, water or medicine or anything, until his stomach is settled. Then it's Pedialyte for 12-24 hours, then 12 more of half-strength formula, and then back to a 4 month old's bland rice cereal and applesauce diet. And he should sleep sitting up if possible to prevent, as Mr. b put it, him from going Bon Scott on us. Kirk's sleeping reclined on a mound of pillows in the living room right now. I'll just stay out here with him until Mr. b gets home from work late tonight and can bring the car seat in. I'm not sure if I should stay home from work tomorrow. Mr. b doesn't have to work so childcare isn't the issue. But am I contagious? I sure as hell don't want to pass this evil shit on to my coworkers. I mean, it looks inevitable that we'll be getting sick next. Great.


Well fuck. Kirk has the stomach flu. I'm on hold with the after hours nurses line right now to find out if there's anything we can do besides just wait it out. My younger niece started puking on Tuesday afternoon so Mr. b went and picked up the boy. A2 was fine yesterday morning so we brought Kirk over there. But then this morning my sister called. She and her man had been up all night with the pukingshits. So obviously we didn't bring Kirk in. He was fine all day. Then, about an hour after dinner, after he was in his jammies and about ready for bed, I picked him up for his nigh-nigh bottle. And he spewed all down my shoulder and down my back and onto our comforter. Mr. b changed him but then had to leave for work. Kirk fell asleep so I got all the puke covered items into the laundry. But then he woke himself up about 45 minutes later, coughing on more vomit. Since then he's had dry heaves two more times. No fever that I can tell but I also haven't taken his temperature because I don't want to disturb him now that he's finally fallen asleep on my lap as I type one handed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


When the hell is Kirk gonna cut his first tooth dammit?! I know that it all depends on the individual and that there's no way to predict it. But pretty much every single baby I know in the world and online even kind of close to his age has at least one. Yeah, Doc said that it's better to have them come in later than earlier. So the permanent teeth come in later when his mouth will be bigger. (And considering the orthodontic mess that both Mr. b and I had, that's definitely a good thing.) But Kirk has been ready to have a tooth pop out any minute now for frickin' four months! I can't take the wait anymore! The poor little guy was just a wreck tonight. He didn't have very good naps to begin with. He was sitting calmly in his daddy's lap after dinner and then out of nowhere started wailing. I put some numbing medicine on his gums and he promptly passed out. And still nothing. He's got all the classic teething signs that They say to look for. He's having really runny poops. He's drooling like a droolin' fool. He's fiercely chewing on everything. He's even making this goofy face where he looks like he's chewing on his own lower gumline! The poor little man!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

On Raisins &c.

My M.O. for making my own baby food has been pretty simple: if Gerber/Del Monte doesn't make it, then I will. I don't see any point to going through all that effort for something that already exists. Plus, we often feed Kirk on the go so we need portable chow. Frozen puree cubes just aren't portable. Kirk really enjoyed the stage 1 prunes but I can't seem to find any in stage 2. (There were also tons of awesome foods that we saw in the grocery store in Texas that we don't have here. Ham and papayas. Mangos. Guavas. All sorts of tropical goodness. It's not fair.) So I reconstituted some raisins and tossed 'em in the food processor. They were a bit tangy for him. He really liked it at first, but after half a serving, it was just too much flavor. Earlier this week I hit upon the idea of mixing a raisin cube with half of his last banana serving. It's not like he was going to eat the bananas plain! And it worked perfectly. It wasn't too banana-y or too raisin-y. Tonight I tried again with the remaining bananas. I think he's on to me. He started making his "ew" face. Which is different from his flavor pucker. I'll have to think up something else to mix the rest of the raisin cubes with.

Mr. b thinks that adding a raisin cube or two to some chicken salad would be a perfect fit. I think I'll have to give that a whirl next time I make some. But I put fresh grape halfs in mine. Would that be weird to mix with raisin puree? I always think it's weird to eat corn salsa with corn tortilla chips. Incidentally, the raisin cubes don't freeze quite solid. They are still a slightly viscous liquid. So it was a challenge removing them from the ice cube tray since I couldn't just crack them out. It was more like a Jell-o mold.

I wonder if the frozen food cubes would be good for Kirk to suck on? It would make a helluva mess! And I suppose he's already learning about self-feeding with his little baby snacks. He likes zweiback toasts and arrowroot crackers and these groovy veggie puffs that Gerber makes that melt in your mouth so you don't have to worry about choking. The sweet potato ones are really, really good! And we got him a little mesh food holder deal, like this, that we can put fruit slices (or veggies or meat or whatever) in for him to gnaw on.

I still wonder about food allergies and all the introduction rules. I know he's fine with wheat since he's had mixed grain cereal. He had already had rice and oatmeal and barley so I figured we had waited plenty long. I think we're still supposed to wait until 1 year before strawberries, though he's already had other berries like blueberries. Maybe they're not the same type of whatever it is that can be allergenic? I'm not really sure how much longer we have to wait before he can start with citrus. I know we're supposed to hold off on peanuts, all nuts now, for as long as possible. And eggs are supposed to be introduced later, too. Maybe we can do those next. Since Kirk doesn't have teeth yet I have to make sure that everything is squishy enough for him to handle. So pieces of cheese are still out. Well, he doesn't even like cottage cheese yet (I think he has a texture issue--he made the same face when we tried to feed him chopped up spaghetti off our own dinner plates) so I guess we'll just stick to yogurt on the dairy front.

PS--Major congratulations to Diablo on her upcoming Letterman appearance! That's so kickass!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mixed Feelings

My dad is doing substitute daycare today. He didn't need to; the conflict my sister had was canceled. But he had the day off for it and he was super excited to see his grandson! He was just thrilled to pieces when he arrived this morning. I gave him the lowdown of Kirk's current eating and sleeping habits, demo'd the walker, and was off to work. Well, I just got a call from my sister. My dad had called her with Kirk questions. He wanted to confirm how much to feed the boy (1 jar, just like I said) and when he takes his nap (after lunch, just like I said). Dad supposedly didn't want to "bother" me at work. Like I don't fuck off whenever I need to/feel like it anyway. So I really am realing from a serious bout of jealousy right now. It's my son dammit. You ask me questions about how to raise him. Mr. b is always bummed out about how little time we get to spend with Kirk during the day and that my sister gets to see him more than we do. I'm always defending the arrangements and scheduling by pointing out that Kirk sleeps for most of the afternoon so she really doesn't spend that much time with him. And it's truly and honestly fantastic that he's cared for by someone that loves him so much when we're not there. And we have the mornings getting ready with him, which often doesn't get factored in. I admit the evenings do seem short and go by very quickly. As do the weekends. So I really don't need my dad inadvertantly stirring up these feelings of inequality that I so successfully suppress. It's not his fault; I could never say anything to him. I don't know that I'll even mention it to Mr. b. But I have to admit, I'm fighting off tears right now at my desk as I'm typing. My sister played it off as, "Isn't it funny that he called me about your son?" But it's not funny. It hurts.


Kirk has been tooling around in his walker for a week now and he’s starting to get into stuff. It’s both adorable and problematic. Like on Sunday. I was trying to make a big meal (fake cannelloni, using lasagna noodles instead of pancakes) while Mr. b was out at band practice. So Kirk was waddling about all Walker, Texas Baby. Then I noticed him picking at the wall suspiciously. He had removed the nightlight from its plug and was trying to stick his fingers in the outlet! GAH! Yes, that nightlight has been moved and there is now a plug cover in its place. He’s also been picking at the loose strings on the couch where Mr. Smoe (R.I.P.) used to sharpen his claws. Which wouldn’t be so bad. Except he then tries to eat them. Sigh.

Kirk is very aware of his newfound mobility. He will deliberately walk over to where we are. And he’ll just as deliberately walk away if we’re boring or if he wants to try to get the kitty or something. (She does not like this new development.) But this also means that if he wants attention, he has a new way to demand it. Now there aren’t just tears and cries. Now he also bangs up against my legs and peers up at me with longing eyes and holds out his arms. How can I possibly resist that? How can I possibly get the dishes done?

Kirk is also experimenting with lots of new syllables. He’s stringing so many together that it often sounds like words. Of course, we hear what we want to hear, so besides the classics like Mama and Dada, he’s also always going on about Klingons, the Bluths, and various Presidents and Vice Presidents throughout history. It’ll be interesting to see how long before he starts associating these sounds with people and things. We’re trying to do sign language with him, but we’re lazy.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Well, the friend that loaned us a car seat before Kirk was even born just came by to pick it up. She’s due with their second on April 1st but is convinced that she won’t make it to April Fool’s Day. We both got a good chuckle out of the fact that the seat was too big for Kirk when he was first born. Crazy. He’s in a back-to-front facer now. Mr. b and I went to the big Baby Fair at Toys R Us on Tuesday. Yeah, we totally got suckered into their coupon flyer. But it was such a great sale!

We got Kirk the car seat ($10 off!) and we got him some miscellaneous food and basic care items (all with coupons!) and we got him a walker ($5 off!) and spent enough to get a free umbrella stroller ($12.99 value!). This was the first time we spent over a hundred, at once, on solely baby crap. It was totally worth it all for that walker.

I know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (or whatever) does not advocate the usage of walkers. And when Mr. b first brought it up to me, I was thinking of those Danger Will Robinson jagged metal 70s deals. But this thing is totally Christopher Pike. It’s so cool! It’s got bears on it and a little toy tray. Kirk is kick ass at going backwards and is starting to realize he can go forwards, too. Two nights. That’s it. He’s already awesome at it and it’s been two nights. He’s so going to skip crawling. I know parents always say, “I don’t know why I was so excited for my kid to start walking, now I can’t keep up!” but dangit, it’s my right as a parent to be excited for my kid to start walking and then exasperatedly tell new parents that it was silly of me to think so!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Home Sweet Effing Home

Kirk was so good on the plane this morning. He was a bit squirrelly and loud at first but then slept for the entire rest of it. Which was for the best since we're all just miserable right now with Texas colds, courtesy of Kirk's "snot-nosed" cousins. Hot damn descent hurts so bad with a congested head.

The whole visit I kept expecting Kirk to do something new, something BIG something new. Like getting into a sitting position on his own or finally figure out crawling or, most likely, cut a tooth. He was doing so many new small things that I guessed it had to indicate an imminent development. He's got a couple of new noises, one is this funny smacking, pucker-lips thing and the other is bouncing his forearm over his open mouth while "singing", sounding like the old Indian war cry kids do with their hands. But he didn't pull out anything spectacular.

Then I realized that he has been doing something new the whole time. He's been treated like a big boy with his sitting. Grandma and Grandpa have a carseat that stays in the car so going in to places, Kirk comes out on his own, not in the cradle. He tooled around museums in a fantastic umbrella stroller (need one of those right now), sat in high chairs at every restaurant, took baths sitting up in the tub without a baby tub. So that's it then. I was putting off getting a rear-to-front facing carseat until we got back from Texas. We've got to do that this week. And I need to put a bulkier blanket in his diaper bag. Kirk is still a bit small in your average restaurant high chair, especially those cheap wooden ones with no back. We stuffed everything in the bag behind his ass to fit him in there better. Oddly, the nicest high chair was at Popeye's Chicken of all places. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Pros and Cons of Travel

Baby Kirk is just loving Texas. It's been totally hot out all week. Today it was like 80 degrees! So he doesn't have to wear a jacket. Or socks! I promised him he wouldn't have to wear a hat but I had to make him wear a sunhat at the park today. It's really cool giving him a sneak preview of summer. I mean, he won't be able to go in a swing again for a couple of months after we get back home. But he's been getting sun-tired. Which is understandable; grown-ups get tired just from fresh air, too.

Kirk is also definitely feeling the effects of not being at home. Just that general sort of weariness that travel causes. We drove to Austin yesterday to spend the night with my BIL and his family. Kirk was fine yesterday. He got to see his other cousins again (he was excited to see a little girl cousin--he likes those!) and his auntie and be fawned over and everything. But the drive back here to Conroe tonight was just too long. The last hour or so was screaming cries. I ended up crawling over to the back seat to soothe him and he eventually fell into an uneasy sleep for the rest of the drive.

It's all been good preview and practice for when we drive to Georgia for my cousin's wedding in May. Kirk will be older. And my mom with be going with us. But we already know that Kirk needs to have shorter chunks of time on the road. And nighttime driving should be avoided if at all possible. He's a good boy. It's fun traveling with him. I look forward to many more fun trips down here.