Thursday, December 17, 2009

Epistle to Nicky

Dear Santa,
I would like you to know that I have been very good this year. I am trying to listen & not talk back, & I am willing to try new things to eat.

For Christmas this year I would like:
1. McQueen racing set
2. Blue Nerf sword & a yellow Nerf blaster
3. Lego Indiana Jones video game
4. Drum chair
5. New cube
6. New kitchen set
7. New bracelet - a purple one
8. A suitcase
9. A new toy Smoe kitty pet

Those are my ideas. I would appreciate anything you bring me. Merry Christmas to you and Mrs. Claus.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fear the Reaper

Kirk is mildly obsessed with death at the moment. I’m not really sure if this is typical at age four and a half or what. I don’t think he truly understands the concept of mortality, but he definitely knows that people and things die and it freaks him out. So he talks about it. A lot.

I’m not entirely sure what started it all. My sole remaining grandmother has been on a steep and steady decline for the past ten months so there’s definitely been frequent conversation about aging. At one point a few months ago Kirk told me that he wants to be a dad (his standard answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is “A Daddy.”) but he doesn’t want to be a grandpa because he doesn’t want to get old. And then he invented the dying machine.

Dying Machine

We were flabbergasted when he first came up with this concept. He announced out of nowhere that you need to take a rock and smash your dying machine so you can’t die. Apparently everybody has their own dying machine, though there’s still some confusion on the subject. He’s worked through the mythology pretty thoroughly with his dad, dictating the drawing to his father, so you’d have to ask Mr. b for more details but I believe the dying machine is in the center of the Earth. I’m not sure why more people haven’t smashed theirs. Maybe you forget about it as you get older and smashing it just no longer seems to be a top priority?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Teeny Weany

Nearly everyone I’ve asked about weaning has said to go slowly and start by just skipping one nursing session a day. That seems logical but which one do I skip? If Ronnie doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night – which is very rare – then I’m ready to burst when I get up in the morning. So I’d have to pump if I didn’t pull her out of her crib before I left for work. When I get home we both want to spend time together. I have already been avoiding going straight into nursing mode the second I walk in the door so maybe that was me unconsciously skipping a session. But I do feed her as soon as we’re both done with supper. And then she nurses on and off all evening long, well into bedtime. It’s not a case of actual “sessions” but rather a continuous switching from Boob One to Boob Two and back again until she’s in her crib for the night.

Yesterday it dawned on me: skip one of my daytime pumpings. I pump twice a day at work, once mid-morning and once in the afternoon. But I’ve been noticing a slow decline in my milk supply in the last few months since Ronica has been on solid foods. I’m bringing home maybe two or even three ounces less each day compared to how much I brought home when I first came back from maternity leave. Now, I’ve never been one that tries to supply enough breast milk for all daytime feedings when I’m away. That’s just too much work and literally unnecessary. Ronnie’s had formula at daycare since she started and when Mr. b started staying home with the kids one of the first things we did was buy formula for him to use during the day. So I’m not at all concerned about how much milk I’m pumping. Which makes this the perfect first (conscious) step towards gradual weaning. I pumped only one time today, just after lunch. I felt a bit full but not as uncomfortable as I have been after lengthier periods of time. I think this should be a nice way to ease into it. I don’t plan to even consider more active weaning until at least after the New Year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Amazing Bundle

I think the biggest adjustment I have to make to Mr. b staying home with the kids is when to feed Bundle in the morning. So far I’ve been able to sneak out of the house in the dark before anyone even gets up. I have my alarm set for extra early so I can go pick the little girl out of her crib and nurse her in bed before I start getting ready. Then I just leave her in bed with her daddy. This works even if she wakes up at 4 or 5 am, too. And then I don’t have to try to pump before I leave or when I first get to work or something else ridiculous like that.

We’re also working on a new bedtime plan. Now that Ronnie is home all day her naps are definitely being curtailed. I think she is fine on only one a day already instead of two still. She takes boobie snoozes with me in the evening when she’s nursing post-dinner. So then when her brother is in bed and she’s still not going to sleep I hand her off to her daddy. Generally I can get her down but she won’t stay down. She’ll sleep in her crib in their bedroom for maybe 30 minutes and then wake up and want more Mama. It’s a fine line but I’m starting to figure out when she’s *actually* still hungry and when she just wants to be held. Since just holding her without sticking a boob in her mouth is not an option in her mind, and I don’t want to be a pacifier, then it’s Daddy’s turn. I make myself scarce and he pat-pats her back to sleep. It’s working pretty well. And getting her used to falling asleep without a boob is good since weaning is looming ever closer.

Veronica’s definitely in a Mama Phase though. As soon as I get home from work she demands that I hold her. Doesn’t matter what she’s doing, eating or menacing, she wants me to pick her up. She race-crawls over to me if she’s not in her high chair and hauls herself up on my leg, begging to be picked up.

It’s just crazy how much she’s grown. I’ve completely failed to keep updating her new accomplishments. Maybe about three (four?) months ago we took down the changing table because we were changing her on the floor more often anyway. She sits up on her own since late September, about 6 and a half months. Just after 7 months she started crawling properly, on her knees with her belly off the ground. From there it’s been exponential. At first she’d pull herself up on furniture to her knees.


And then a week later on to her feet.

bath fun

She can now easily transfer her weight well enough that she moves along the edges of furniture or can go back and forth between the couch and ottoman or our knees and the chair or whatever. Her bottom two teeth cut through simultaneously Halloween weekend, just a week before the 8 month mark. I haven’t figured out which teeth are coming next but there’s definite movement going on in there again. It’s just been a constant stream of new developments. I don’t remember them coming this rapid-fire with Kirk. There was more of a sense of ebb and flow. He’d have a new trick and then that would last for a while. Then we’d get a slight step back to warn us something new was coming up. I don’t know if this is a girl thing or a second child thing but it’s rather amazing to witness. I had Mr. b lower the mattress in her crib so she couldn’t launch herself over the bar (I’m seriously expecting her to hoist herself into the bathtub while she’s “supervising” her brother’s bath one of these days…) but we’re already talking about getting her a big girl bed. Time to start looking for bunk beds.

I can’t decide if Ronnie is starting to pick up on sign language or not. I haven’t been using it as much with her as I did with Kirk. And I know her father isn’t using it at all. But she keeps doing certain motions with her hands that seem a bit more deliberate than just “Hey cool! These things are attached!” I also don’t remember when Kirk started obviously responding. But it seems like we’ve always been able to communicate with him so it must have been early. I guess it’s time for me to start reviewing archive posts and see how their timing really does compare.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


My blender got a work out this weekend. I was on a roll making stuff out of the borderline questionable produce on the counter and in the fridge. I’ve always been pretty good about either using or freezing the overripe bananas. I want to get better at finding things to do with the other fruits and vegetables before they just have to be tossed.

First I used up the pumpkin puree I had made for the Bundle at Halloween. I’m not sure why she didn’t like it. She likes squash. She likes zucchini. But she definitely did not like pumpkin. Her brother has been getting some serious mileage out of the fact that he ate an entire pumpkin when he was on baby food his first Halloween. I had pumpkin in the freezer for ages and he ate every last bit. Anyway, I also had a bunch of baby carrots way past their prime so I made pumpkin and carrot and ginger (leftover from Mr. b’s fad diet earlier this fall) soup and it was simply divine. Definitely going into my regular rotation. Really easy and utterly delicious.

I had another giant zucchini on the counter that our neighbors gave me and unlike the first one they had passed on, I had just zero inspiration for what to do with it. So it kept sitting there. Finally I realized I had to use it so I just made puree. Ronnie liked it the last time I pureed the leftover zucchini after I made bread and I figure hey, I can always make carrot and zucchini soup, right? HA!

My aunt recently sent me this article - featuring a picture of her granddaughter, my cousin’s daughter - so I’ve been thinking about baby food for a while. I’m not really a baby food making machine. I don’t have any philosophy behind doing it. I’m not trying to control the food my child intakes. I don’t have to work around any allergies or dietary restrictions. I’m definitely not brainwashed by the hippie organic bullshit. (Because I hate the bastardization of that word. We are all carbon based life forms. Period.) I don’t necessarily think it saves *that* much money, though it certain saves some. Mostly I do it for two reasons: 1) I like to cook and so it scratches that itch if I don’t have time for a big fancy meal and 2) I can introduce Ronnie to foods that aren’t available from Gerber.

But that doesn’t really explain the third puree I made this weekend. We had a half a sack of bulk dried apricots (again, left over from the mister’s weird diet fad) and they weren’t really getting eaten and were taking up space in the cupboard. So even though I can buy baby food apricots, I decided this was the best thing do to with them. I boiled them up to rehydrate them and then blended them and then I fell in love. Seriously. The frickin’ best tasting thing ever to come out of that blender. I want to have puree of dried apricots in my fridge at all times. I think it could possibly be the most versatile food product of all time. It would make a great sauce for pork. It would make a great ice cream topping. It’s delicious just plain as it. It would be great in a jelly roll. Or a pin wheel. Or a tart. I can’t stop thinking of ways to use it.

And of course after all that industry I ordered pizza for supper.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Paradigm Shift

I’ve always known that I do not have the temperament to be a stay at home mom. Conversely, I’ve always known that Mr. b does have the temperament to be a stay at home dad. And now he is.

This is going to be a big change for our family but I think it’s going to be a good one. He’s over the halfway mark now with his schooling and his projects have been demanding more and more of his time. Since he has spent his days at work, this meant that he would have to go meet partners even on nights with no class, or leave early to meet before class. It was getting to be very hard on Kirk to have so little time with his daddy. It was getting to be very hard on Daddy to have so little time with his son. And Ronnie really hasn’t gotten to have much alone time with her daddy at all. As soon as she sees me it’s all mama, all the time.

Next week is the last official week of daycare. I don’t think it’s sunk it to Kirk yet. I think he thinks he’s just having a random free day where he managed to con his dad into keeping him at home today. But the way I figure it, he’ll be home with his father until he starts kindergarten in the fall. By the time Mr. b is done with school and looking for jobs, we should be back down to only one child in daycare. That will be a helluva thing.

And really, the financial part is the only con that I can see to this whole thing. Because even not paying for double daycare, that’s still not quite as much as his entire month’s wages. But once you add in the money saved in all the other little areas – from buying lunches to having someone focused on the household budget – it should be close. And hey, the whole world is fucked right now so what difference will it make?

A big difference emotionally and mentally. I’m already looking forward to not having to get three people ready in the morning. I genuinely prefer taking the bus to driving. I think Bundle will get more nurturing care with her father. I think Kirk will be more accepting of the time his dad does have to spend away if he has him around all day. I think my husband will have significantly lowered stress levels from being able to spend time with his kids, from being able to meet school partners during the day, from not having to focus any time or energy on a job that has no relevance to his chosen career. We’ve grown complacent in our lower middle class lifestyle and having someone at home all day will allow both of us to examine what can change and what needs to change. The long-term cleaning and organizing projects that never get bumped up on the To Do list from nice-to-have status will actually get done.

Mr. b has renamed his blog to Ad Dad and plans to chronicle this transition. I’m very excited that after so much discussion and “can we really do this” hemming and hawing, the day is finally here. This is going to be great.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Put Some Toilet Water On It

Sunday night Kirk killed the toilet. Daddy was at the Steely Dan concert and Mama was busy with Bundle and Kirk used about 2/3 of a roll of toilet paper. I had been talking to him down the hall, concerned something was Going On but didn’t actually put the baby down and go investigate. I told him explicitly not to use too much paper, not to take big pieces, and to flush in the middle if he thought he might need more. Kirk didn’t listen to Mama.

I attempted to plunge the toilet but couldn’t get it cleared. I figured I was a wuss. But then Mr. b tried the toilet snake yesterday morning and that didn’t work either. So I guess that explains why the plunger wasn’t good enough. After work we tried the Depot and checked out our other options. We had a longer pipe snake from the basement floor drain issues of a couple years ago. But that proved to be too flexible and would just bunch up at the clog.

Mr. b started investigating options online. Dawn: didn’t work. Shop-Vac: seemed to be helping until it stopped sucking and started blowing. Toilet water was being sprayed all over the hallway wall. At the same time the toilet started running uncontrollably and the bowl began to overflow. I tried to soak up the mess with towels but instead ran to the neighbors to borrow their wet-dry vac. The hallway was flooded and it was flowing into the bedrooms and the linen closet. It dripped down into the furnace room downstairs. As the menfolk were investigating – opening the evacuation pipe further along will entail tearing into the wall because the geniuses who refinished the already finished basement closed everything off – I tried to keep the kids away from the mess and clean up at least a little bit.

So now we still don’t have a working toilet. If we didn’t have the downstairs bathroom we’d have had to call a plumber or stay at a hotel. Kirk was sent to bed early last night. He is contrite if flippant. His biggest worry is that buying a new toilet will cut into the Christmas presents budget. We’ve been trying to impress on him that the lesson is not Don’t Use Too Much Toilet Paper but rather Always Listen To Mama. Because he didn’t and he should have.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Kirk decided early on this year that he wanted to be Superman for Halloween.

Superman and Jor-El

Naturally Mr. b then realized Jor-El would be the perfect costume for him.


I wanted to get a hot dog bunting for Bundle, because that’s hilarious, but didn’t want to spend twenty bucks when she doesn’t care yet. Thankfully we still had the baby demon costume that A3 wore last year and Kirk wore three years ago.

devil girl

I couldn’t find the horned hood thingie though but found the Santa hat to be even funnier. She was Satan Claus! I was out of inspiration and so just wore festive black and had green hair.

witch's familiar

My folks and my sister came over with A2 and A3 to trick or treat with us while my dad passed out candy.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Food Fight

Kirk fights with us over trying new foods. It’s gotten to be quite brutal. He didn’t start out as a picky eater and I’m really not sure how it even happened. We have spaghetti once a week because it’s cheap and easy, yes, but also because we know he will eat it. We always have fish sticks in the house and have had many meals of frozen fish filets along side his breaded minced fish sticks. I won’t cook him his own separate meal but I also don’t want him to starve.

We’ve tried so many different methods to get him to just try things. Mr. b is right that we don’t want to make eating an unpleasant experience so I especially have to keep my temper in check and make sure I’m not punishing him unduly. But it’s also gotten to the point where Kirk has requested time out in his room in lieu of trying the one bite we’re requiring. And that is not going to fly.

Typically we’ll insist on One Single Bite of whatever the new food item is, and then he can have a peanut butter sandwich or something else. Occasionally Kirk will find that he actually likes it and then eat a normal dinner with us. Usually, however, there are tears and screams and yelling and threats and he’ll get his blanket or other precious item put on top of the refrigerator and I’ll end up throwing up my hands before I get physical and then Mr. b leaves for class and I’m stuck with a child in revolt. I’ve attempted a new rule: you don’t want to try that new thing? Fine. But you have to try *some other* new thing of your choice. So far that’s worked a grand total of One Time.

I know that it can take kids up to 10 tries before they develop a taste for something new to their palates. I know that just providing the options and eating by example are all supposed to be the “correct” action. But frankly, I don’t see it working. I guess we’ll move on to the smother-it-in-ketchup option next. I don’t really know what else to try. I do know that fighting with Kirk about his eating habits brings out the absolute worst in me and I hate that. I hate that I have such violence inside me and I hate that it’s my own child that activates it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sleep Study

Sleep, or lack thereof, continues to be the subject of much consternation in our house. At first I thought I had figured it out. Mr. b was home on Thursday last week so I made Bundle a doctor’s appointment for that afternoon. Her cold has been hanging on for a couple of weeks now and I always feel better after getting confirmation that yes, indeed, it is just a cold. And yes, indeed, it is just a cold. But since her cough is so rattling and has been the key feature of said cold for a while now and her daddy has asthma, she came home with her very own personal nebulizer.


I’ve heard all about Mr. b’s visits to the emergency room as a kid. Heck, I’ve even had to take him once! (We left our own engagement party because he couldn’t breathe. Amazing how they don’t make you wait your turn then. Heh.) The nebulizers are so easy and small and portable now.

Daddy loves albuterol!

It really seemed to make a big difference. We had been holding Ronnie in the bathroom with the shower running to try to loosen up the phlegm via steam and that had helped but this was even better.

All weekend I over-thought sleep patterns for both kids. When was Kirk napping, how long, what time did he get up in the morning, when did he finally go to sleep after going to bed? When was Ronnie napping, how long, what time did she get up in the morning, when did she finally go to sleep after repeatedly not going to bed? Again, it didn’t seem to match up with what was happening at daycare. After receiving such fantastic advice, I broached the topic with C on Friday at pick-up but only for Kirk. I told her I was researching why they don’t fall asleep and that I think Kirk needs to be made to get up after 2 hours, even if he was only previously just lounging for the rest of the time listed on his nap chart. I do still think they feed off each other’s restlessness but I admit I was using that as an excuse.

It seemed to go well the first part of this week. Kirk was gone Sunday night, sleeping over with his cousins, and Veronica went to bed very easily and earlier than we’re used to. Then Monday night Kirk was wrecked from sleeping over with his cousins so he went to bed very easily and his sister wasn’t disturbed by his squirming around. But by the end of the week I don’t know that much of anything has changed.

I asked C about Bundle’s naps earlier this week, trying to find out if she’s actually asleep during the times that are listed. So the feedback I’ve been getting has been more specific, stating when she was making noise and when she was quiet. But it still seems long. And this morning C mentioned she didn’t know that Ronnie was sitting up on her own until I had set her down like that the other morning. I find that strange because she will sit up now even from crawling, and not just have to be placed that way. And maybe it’s because we have hardwood floors at home and there’s carpeting at daycare but frankly, I feel like it’s just another indicator that my poor baby isn’t getting very much attention during the day. And *that’s* what freaks me out more than anything.

So for now it seems like Miss V will either not go to bed and then when I finally get her down late, like around 11, she’ll at least sleep through the night. Or else she’ll go down fairly well but then wake up in the midnight-thirty range and come to bed with me the rest of the night. I prefer the former if I have to choose so that’s what I’m going to work on. But at this point, the daycare concerns are enough to make me root for Mr. b quitting his job and staying home with the kids even harder than I already was.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Today is the release date for the new Mercurial Rage album on Susstones titled Cascade! It's available at all the finest local indie retailers, on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic and other digital retailers, and of course, direct from The Susstones Shop!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sandman on Strike

I think my kids sleep too much at daycare. Every day we get the slips recording their activities, what they ate, and when they slept. And every day it shows that Kirk had a 3 hour nap and that Veronica napped for a total of 5 or 6 hours. That just seems ridiculous to me.

Ronnie is a tricky baby to get to sleep at night. She’s been that way almost since the beginning but hey, every kid is different. She is very easy during the day and very difficult at night. At least once a week for the past few months she will quite simply not go to sleep, causing me to give in and take her to bed with me at midnight when I couldn’t take it anymore. I was starting to really worry about it until superbadfriend sent me this link to 31 Ways to get Your Baby to go to Sleep. Sure, most of that is just common sense stuff that we’re already doing. But I needed the reminder and it was good to see some things in writing that related to specific actions of my naughty bundle, like thinking that the snack bar is open all night if she’s in bed with me.

Typically Ronnie will nurse herself to sleep, I’ll put her into her crib, then she’ll wake up an hour or so later, we’ll repeat, and then she’ll stay in her crib for the rest of the night. Or at least until about 5am at which point I don’t have a problem bringing her in bed with me for the remaining hour and a half until my alarm goes off. So the inability to get her to stay asleep, or go back to sleep after the initial pre-bedtime snooze, has been very frustrating. I’ve ascribed countless theories to try to explain it. She’s got a cold right now and a nasty sounding cough and I’m sure that’s affecting things. Mr. b says it’s just a phase. And lord knows having her brother up and rattling around in the bed next to her isn’t doing anything to help.

That’s why I’m starting to wonder if it might be the amount of sleeping during the day. Kirk just will not go to sleep at night either. Sure, he goes to bed with a relative minimum of fuss. But then he stays up for sometimes two or more hours, “reading” books by flashlight or talking to himself or his easily awakened sister. Then in the morning he’ll complain of being “so tired” and I’m sure he really does need the nap at daycare to recover from his late night. And the cycle continues.

At home on the weekends Kirk usually doesn’t nap, though I still enforce Quiet Time if we’re not out and about. If he got up extra early then I’ll make him lay down or if he’s particularly cranky but he’s four and doesn’t necessarily *need* the nap every single day. When he does nap at home, I wake him up if it’s been two hours. That’s his limit; anything longer and he won’t go to bed. So it’s kind of dismaying to see such a long time written on his “report card”. Maybe it’s not actually sleep that entire time. I know that C makes all the kids, regardless of their ages, lay on their cots, so maybe a good portion of that time is resting not sleeping. But I suspect there’s more sleeping than not.

Which brings me back to Bundle. At home on the weekends she’ll usually sleep in with me until around 9 or 10. That’s when she would be waking up from her morning nap at daycare according to the take home slips. And that’s fine. Babies need multiple naps a day. Even though it looks like she goes down for her morning nap sometimes less than a half hour after we drop her off. But what concerns me is that it then looks like she’s up for a measly two hours and then spends the rest of the day napping again. Another four hours. She’ll be up when we pick her up but generally only long enough to have an afternoon bottle. But again, what portion of that time is spent actually napping and what is time laying by herself, alone in her crib in the other room? At home she’ll typically do her afternoon nap on the boob but if I put her in her crib it’s about an hour tops of solid sack time. I’m afraid to ask about it because I don’t know how to bring it up and I don’t want to learn that she’s just a crib baby at daycare. She’s always creeping around on the floor when we pick her up, and in good spirits, but is that because she’s finally getting some attention for the first time since before Noon?

Maybe Mr. b is right and it’s just a phase. For both of them. But it seems like they’re feeding off each other with the no sleep thing at night. I haven’t changed anything about their night time routines. So I feel like daycare is the only logical option left to investigate. But how do I approach it?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Miss Bundle is chewing on everything these days. Nothing is safe from her reaches. And while she doesn’t “properly” crawl, instead swimming across the floor at amazing rates, she has a vast range and gets into everything. Her favorite is paper at the moment. Newspapers, Daddy’s homework, Brother’s art, anything. Straight into the mouth. Chomp chomp.

This has led to the introduction of foodstuffs that maybe would have waited a bit longer. Ronnie still doesn’t have teeth so I don’t have to worry about her actually biting off bits and choking, which makes it easier. I figure if she wants to gnaw on something, a carrot has got to be better than a nasty, germ covered whatever. I’m sure that contributes to the fact she’s currently got a cold with a truly dreadful sounding cough. Our favorite thing to give her right now is a pickle spear. First of all, she makes a funny face as the vinegar hits her tongue. But then she’ll suck out the pickle juice just like she’s drinking a bottle, leaving not much more than just the rind when she’s finally done with it.

I did dig up one of Kirk’s old pacifiers for her to chew on. She hasn’t been interested in using one before, instead thinking that Mama ought to provide a boobie whenever she wants, but as a chomping object it seems to be doing the trick. I wonder how long before she actually cuts a tooth? I can’t remember how long it was for Kirk and besides, every kid is different.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Man of Steel

Kirk is all about Superman right now. Mr. b got the idea into his head that he’d enjoy the original 1978 Superman. Which he most definitely did. So we’ve been slowly Netflixing them all, and some Justice Leagues thrown in for good measure, just watching Superman III this weekend. Kirk is dead set on being Superman for Halloween and has already scoped out the costumes at Target. But I won’t even consider buying one until it’s at least October. Which means that everyday Kirk has asked, “Is it still September? Is next day October? Then I’m gonna get my Superman costume!” (Complete with fist pump into the air.) Yeah, like I’m running down there on the First to buy it for him.

Mr. b, being the genius/sucker that he is, figured we could buy some time if we got Kirk some Superman pajamas. Obviously Kirk was totally down with that idea. And honestly, he needs new jammies anyways. While we were picking them out last night we also checked the DVD aisle. Because Daddy remembered seeing a special DVD set of all 4 movies for a mere $9.99 and sure enough, we went ahead and bought that, too. Supergirl is coming next from Netflix.

Clearly some Superman had to be watched before bed, while wearing brand new pjs. Kirk wanted to see “baby Superman, his hair is so funny” so the first movie it was. During which time he announced to us that “Jor-El is a really great name for a daddy. When I’m a daddy I’m gonna name my son Jor-El.” I don’t really have a problem with that. I mean, my son is named Kirk.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Karate Kid

Kirk had his very first karate class last night! It’s through the city recreation department. All the parents were sitting along the wall in the room as the 3 to 6 year olds sort of listened and sort of followed directions. Mr. b had predicted that Kirk would go all shy and cling to his legs at first. If he had put money on it, he would have won. But after not too much persuasion, Kirk got in line with the other kids and paid attention about as well as I could expect from him. Hell, I remember my first year of dance when I was 4 and we did a crap job of learning our steps and staying in formation and whatever. We had a tap dance with baby dolls. I’m sure it was precious.

Anyway, first the teacher had them warm up. They ran in a giant circle around the perimeter of the room. Hilarious. Then she had them learn how to fall. She explained to us parents that it was important for kids to know how to fall for when they get into school if they get pushed down they won’t bang their head on the pavement. Great. Basically she had them do backward and forward shoulder rolls down a padded incline, onto a mat. Then the kids got to crawl through a little canvas tunnel and get back in line. It took a few tries but we finally got Kirk to let us hold onto his glasses. He was the only glasses kid there. The final activity was a little weird. Each kid picked a color out of four options, then the teacher spread a bunch of short soccer cones out on the floor in the various colors and the kids had to go collect only their chosen color. And that was it! A half hour goes very fast.

Since Mr. b has to leave for his own class when Kirk’s gets done, I walked home with the kids. Kirk was very excited and talked about how much fun he had and what he’s going to do “next day” and how he’s “so tough”. Even though Thursday nights are my nights for choir, I think I might want to get Kirk signed up for the next session already. Mr. b can take them and I can meet them there after practice. I’m just glad that the boy didn’t fight it and seemed to genuinely enjoy himself.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eye Cee Ewe

Kirk had another eye appointment on Friday. He was…less well behaved than the first time. The optometrist’s assistant asked if he knew letters and started out showing him letters. He named them clearly for a while and then started in with the lunatic babbling. I hate when he does that. He totally sounds like Billy Madison. It’s sort of a corollary to him acting extra weird around kids he doesn’t know well. He is so smart and well spoken at home but then when there are adults he doesn’t know well he just switches into gibberish. He thinks it’s funny of course and I just want to bash my head against the wall. So she started showing him pictures instead of letters and he was mildly more clear with his responses, but only up to a point. I honestly don’t know how she was able to glean anything from it at all.

And then it was time for the eye drops. I knew it was going to be a problem. I mean, Kirk remembered them vividly from his first appointment. His father took him to his second appointment but that was just a muscle check so no dilation necessary. I actually had to hold him arms down so she could get the drops in his eyes. It was pretty ridiculous.

The nice thing is that then you have to wait a while for the drops to take effect and that break really helped to reset Kirk’s behavior. We played in both of the waiting rooms at the clinic so he could check out the varying toys. He even made friends with a couple of other kids in for whatever check-ups that day. So by the time he was seen by the actual doctor himself, he was reasonably cooperative.

The doctor wants Kirk to see a specialist. A specialist in eye surgery. I think I did a good job of not freaking out but also not being meek. I wanted to make sure that by seeing a specialist we weren’t passively agreeing to any surgery without further discussion. As I understand it, Kirk’s got a more unusual form of the strabismus than is typical for a kid. His vision in his right eye is equal to the vision in his left eye. They are both farsighted the same amount. So when he’s wearing his glasses, the right eye is straight. However, the muscle in the right eye is still weaker so it hasn’t been corrected by the workout of wearing glasses. In this instance that means that giving him an eye patch, to force the right eye to work overtime, wouldn’t actually make a difference because his sight isn’t the issue. (I wonder if this would work? Heh.) The doctor doesn’t know if this is something that Kirk will just grow out of and that’s why he wants a second opinion. I guess that makes sense, though I’m still completely freaked by the idea of my child needing surgery. But it’ll take a while before we find out since the specialist likely won’t be able to get us in for many months. In the meantime, Kirk’s glasses prescription remains the same and no other changes need to take place so that’s good.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cry Babies

Ronnie had her 6 month well baby check on Tuesday afternoon. Kirk actually came with! It was the first time Doc B had met him, though obviously he had heard all about him throughout my pregnancy. The up side of having Kirk with is that he’s excited about his next shots, because he wants to prove that he’s “so tough” and not cry during them. But of course he’ll forget all about that by the time next summer rolls around…

Young Miss V remains huge. She’s currently rated at 89% for height and 74% for weight. Kirk definitely didn’t hit those spots on the growth chart, staying around 50-50, like he is now. The girl got a mostly clean bill of health. However, I do need to go pick up a prescription for some cooter cream. She’s got something called a labial adhesion. Basically, the fine, thin skin of the inner labia has glued itself together. Doc said it’s really common and can happen to circumcised boys, too. I remember it happening with Kirk. Doc P just pulled the skin back, Kirk cried once, then it was fine. But that’s not the way to deal with it with girls apparently. She’s going to have an estrogen cream that we just need to apply once a day and the hormones will take care of it. Doc B said that she’s at the crossroads right now and it could separate on its own, especially since she’s such a kicky, kicky bundle. But it could also continue up to the urethra, potentially blocking up her pee and causing a bladder infection. Definitely don’t want that. So cream it is!

But speaking of Kirk and crying, man alive is he an emo kid these days. It’s both really sweet and really annoying. I’m glad he loves his cousins and his friends and his daycare ladies and his grandparents. It’s darling when he leaves someone and immediately says that he misses them, or when he announces that he misses someone he hasn’t seen in months. But when he starts bawling because I returned a Netflix disc? That makes me roll my eyes. I’m sure it’s just a phase, further developing emotions and whatnot. But part of me thinks this could be an actual part of his personality, too. His Daddy is sensitive. His Papa is totally sentimental. It’s not like it would come out of nowhere.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Epicurion Queries

There’s been a minor rash of milk related food poisoning incidents in the Midwest lately. From drinking unpasteurized milk. And I just think, who drinks that? I mean, if you aren’t a dairy farmer, how would you even have access to it? Isn’t that illegal?

But of course Veronica drinks unpasteurized milk. It’s just mama milk, not cow milk. And it’s not homogenized so it separates as it sits in the fridge, waiting to be used. It’s easy enough to recombine the milk fats with the rest of the milk. Generally just the shaking and sloshing that gets done while heating the milk up under the faucet will do the trick. But it’s got me wondering: can you make cheese or butter from breast milk?

I’m not going to try. Don’t you worry your pretty little head. Mainly because I’m way too lazy for that kind of thing. But the scientist that lives in my head is definitely curious. I mean, it’s milk. You should be able to make milk products. But then who would use them? Ronnie’s not up to cottage cheese or even yogurt yet since she’s under a year. But would those things be OK for her to have since they wouldn’t be cow milk, which as I understand is the reason you need to wait a year before switching to whole milk from breast or formula? And if you have other kids, would they be fine eating breast milk ice cream? Or is the whole thing just too squicky and overly hippie dippie freaky to even consider?

People do some freaky-ass shit with their maternal by-products. Of course there’s the whole eating the placenta deal, which while fascinating is just far too gross to even consider. I don’t care if placenta pills ward off post-partum depression. I’m not living in the wild, nursing my litter of babies in a cave for weeks on end, needing the iron richness of my placenta to provide the only nourishment I’m going to get until they’re old enough for me to leave them and go hunting again. Therefore I’m not eating my placenta. End of story.

I did remember to ask to see it this time though. I can’t remember why I didn’t after I had Kirk. I know I was worried that birthing the afterbirth would somehow hurt which…yeah right. You can’t feel that after a whole damn baby just went through there! And I don’t remember watching while Mr. b cut the cord. I still didn’t see the cord be cut this time but I did ask to see the stuff before it got sent to disposal. It was all dark and weird and organy (duh) and there was a tiny little hole in the sack the nurse pointed out which would have accounted for the slow leak that was my water breaking. The umbilical cord is sort of whitish grey. Again, interesting from a scientific perspective, but I don’t need to save it for posterity.

Frankly I was far too jittery, literally, after having Ronnie to even consider anything more than satisfying intellectual curiosity. Apparently it was the pitocin. I had the shakes big time once she was out. They put her freshly born unwashed bundleness on my chest and I held her and loved her and tried not to vibrate her off of me I was shivering so hard. It took quite a while to get back to normal.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Veronica has earned herself a new nickname: Menace. This is because she grabs everything that comes within her reach. It’s unbelievable. And it all goes straight to her mouth. Of course. It’s both cute and extremely frustrating.

She’s even becoming more of a menace on the floor because she’s developed a circular version of the army man crawl. She’ll deliberately spin herself 360 degrees in order to get at whatever toys are within her sphere of reach. She hasn’t yet gone in a straight line but it’s really not going to be much longer before she adds her legs to the mix.

On top of all of this movement, she continues to be huge. I foolishly bought a pack of onesies a couple weeks ago in the 6-9 month size and they’re already too snug. I already went through hand-me-downs to pull out the 9 months for her but realized this weekend that I need to pull out the 12 months as well. I have no idea how this happened. She wore NB for nearly three full months and now is practically skipping over sizes!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Kirk is destined to be The Weird Kid in school. I mean, I suppose it was sort of inevitable with us as his parents. He could have rebelled by becoming a football jock or something but that’s already seeming incredibly unlikely. I’ve noticed that he even increases his weirdness quotient when he’s around other kids he’s not very familiar with. We were at a company softball game last week and he was off playing with random stranger kids that were attached to the game at the adjacent diamond. And he was totally upping the bizarre behavior, strange voices, calling things by the wrong names, deliberately subverting the rules of their impromptu game, that kind of thing. After some tattling to us they ended up finding a rhythm and playing together nicely but it definitely took a while.

I’ve noticed that older kids tend to exclude Kirk when there’s a group of kids playing together. At daycare there’s a 5 year old boy that he just idolizes and this boy is generally nice to Kirk. Except when all the other kids are gone for the day and the only other one left besides them is the 7 year old Mean Girl. Then they are rude and mean and call him names and don’t let him play with them. I’ve even seen this happen with Kirk’s alley friend who is about to turn 6. They play together so nicely and are really great friends, running over to each other’s houses and playing in each other’s yards. But whenever any of the other neighborhood kids are involved, again Kirk ends up being left behind.

I’m trying to not get too involved in child politics. Obviously he’s going to have to learn how to fend for himself because he’ll be starting school in a year and lord knows he’ll be interacting with all kinds then. But I am also trying to make sure that we go to as many family friendly artistic and intellectual type events as possible. Like the iron pour back in July. Going to Art-a-Whirl. We’re meeting my sister for a community theater production of the Jungle Book this Thursday. We bring both kids with to drop Daddy off at gigs. I bring them to book club once a month. Basically I want him to know that there are other weirdos out there. Musicians and artists and comic book readers and sci-fi fans and boys that wear pink dresses. He may be called “nerd” already (which I think is solely due to wearing glasses) but being a nerd is a good thing.

We do need to help Kirk to understand fandom. He gets so obsessive over something and expects everybody to automatically know what he’s talking about every single time. Not everyone has seen exactly what movie or book he’s referencing. Hell, not everybody has even heard of things like Doctor Who. Most kids can’t name a single rock drummer from the 60s, much less choose a favorite one.

I’ve decided that one thing I can do is get Kirk involved in activities. Nothing major. Just community offerings like swimming lessons and karate. I’ve been talking about signing him up for something for a year now and haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. I don’t think I can put it off anymore. I certainly don’t expect or even want him to be “normal” but I do think having some “normal” interests will help to normalize him around other kids.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Latest Developments

Kirk had his Four Year Well Child Check last week. When do they start calling them annual physicals? It seemed sort of anticlimactic because he didn’t get shots. Doc P said she likes to save them up for the pre-kindergarten visit so it’s like a rite of passage. That makes sense. She was impressed with his intelligence (he was prattling on and on about dinosaur extinction) but also gave us literature on dealing with a kid that demands constant attention. Because…yeah. It’s definitely getting ridiculous with that kid. Doc was able to ease our minds on a couple of issues. Kirk often complains of a sore knee. But since there doesn’t seem to be any consistency, it’s likely just growing pains. I’ve also noticed he complains of being “so tired” or seems almost depressed at times. As long as he is easily snapped out of it, it’s just normal emotional development. So that’s a relief. We also brought Miss V with just to show her off, heh.

Sweet Bundle is back to a more normal sleep schedule finally. Having her wake up as early as 1am was getting rough, since I’m too lazy to return her to her crib. She was draining me dry before I would even get up in the morning! As I suspected, her step back was a prelude to a new trick: she’s rolling every which way now. I set her down on the floor blanket and she’s off before I even realize it. She can roll both directions and genuinely likes tummy time so she uses it as a method of locomotion more than anything. I find her under the rocking chair or under her swing, playing with furniture from below. She’s also starting to sort of side-crawl. She’ll get into half-roll position and push with her foot instead of roll over, scooting herself forward an inch. I predicted that she’ll be actually crawling in a week. Maybe that’s an underestimate but it’s going to be real soon. Quicker than her brother, that’s for sure.

Kirk’s on the last stages of night-time potty training. He was sleeping in underpants for a week or two and staying dry but after a couple of nights of peeing the bed he wanted to go back to wearing Overnights. He hasn’t been willing to try underpants again yet, even though his diaper has been dry most mornings. Mr. b has been great in producing this project. I think it’s close to his heart because he was a bedwetter into his elementary school years. I personally would have gone the lazy route and let the boy wear Overnights without thinking about it but I admit it’s been nice to give him praise and encouragement for such a Big Boy achievement.

Veronica likes carrots. Or else she just has no choice because when her daddy feeds her he means business. HA! I hadn’t made it to the grocery store yet last weekend so just pureed up a bunch of carrots for her. They’re not as silky smooth as purchased baby food but like I said, she seems to like them. We’ve also been mixing a little bit of apple juice into her rice cereal on occasion for a couple of weeks now. Which means that Ronnie officially eats three food groups!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


I was looking through my old posts about Kirk at about the same age as Ronnie is now. The nursing ones especially. It’s truly amazing to me just how much effort I put into getting that boy to eat boobie. And I kept it up, too! There were so many setbacks, from him not latching on to not having a pump once I had to return the hospital rental. Sweet Bundle got it figured out before we even left the delivery room at the hospital!

I managed to keep up the attempt for a good four months before calling it quits. Kirk was definitely ready since he didn’t really care in the first place. Ronnie is five months and I am only just now starting to even contemplate weaning eventually, much less make plans for it. Neither of us are anywhere near ready for it. Kirk was formula fed with breast milk supplement and Ronnie is breast fed with formula supplement. Completely opposite situations. Plus, I can pump at work easily thanks to my sister passing on her Medela.

I’ve developed a pumping routine that seems to work nicely. I go twice a day and pump for 15 minutes each time. It takes about 25 minutes total because of set-up and clean-up. I tried going three times a day but it didn’t make any difference to my milk supply and was too hard to fit into my work schedule. I’ve definitely had days where a meeting gets scheduled during one of my usual pumping times, generally about 10am and 2pm, and I have fidgeted and watched the clock, waiting to get out so I could release the pressure. I guess it’s sort of like having to pee really badly. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s certainly uncomfortable. I had a programming class a few weeks ago and had to ask the guard at the building if there was a lactation room. That was an interesting experience.

The milk I pump generally gets used within a day or two at home. I was freezing it if the bag hit the one week mark but all of the frozen milk has since been used. There seems to be a sort of macho competition between women about how much milk they produce. The more and you “win”. Well, I loose apparently. I bring home about 7 ounces of milk a day, combined after two pumpings. Sometimes maybe a half ounce more and sometimes maybe a half ounce less but it’s really been pretty consistent. That’s not enough to feed the world and definitely not enough to feed chowhound Bundle at daycare so I never bothered even trying to send milk with her each morning. It’s easier to use it at home.

Now that Miss V is eating rice cereal the milk gets mixed into that and then she finishes whatever was left as a post-cereal bottle. That seems to be working for both of us as it gives me a chance to fill up again after the usual just-got-home-from-daycare feeding. Even if she just had a bottle before I picked her up, she still wants to nurse and that’s fine with me. It’s cuddling, bonding time for us. Same with co-sleeping. Veronica hasn’t really settled into a new schedule yet since the introduction of cereal into her diet. I think she’s also undergoing a pre-new-development regression, causing her to sleep fewer hours in a row at night. I remember Kirk doing that before each new trick. So I bring the girl into bed with me to sleep-nurse when she wakes up and since I fall back to sleep, she never makes it back into her crib.

I did read that Kirk got the go-ahead for apple juice, cut with water, after his four-month well-baby visit. I hadn’t even thought of that for his sister. She hasn’t had anything since the prune juice lattes of her constipated early weeks. I’m going to have to ask about that at her six-month well-baby. It seems the rules change all the time and vary from doctor to doctor. One thing at a time I guess. We’re still getting used to balancing Daddy playing with Brother while Mama feeds Sister.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chow Time

Ronnie’s eating patterns changed somewhat over the last few days. She’s been waking up earlier and earlier at night and eating nearly constantly for those few hours she’s in bed with me. So we decided to try cereal last night. She seemed to really like it! Obviously she has to learn to swallow the different consistency but she didn’t get mad like Kirk did on his first go. Maybe that’s because we’ve got some experience in the matter and maybe it’s just because she’s proving to be an all-around easier baby than he was. I did feel a slight twinge of “my baby is growing up” melancholy but only slight.

Awesomely, I managed to get a dinty conversation in this video. Kirk loves pizza but won’t eat the dinties. That’s the toppings. I don’t have a clue where he came up with that word but we’ve been using it for several years now so it’s just part of the family vocabulary.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I love hand-made gifts. I’ve just always been a fan. The time and effort and creativity that goes into them makes them so meaningful and precious. Kirk had several fantastic gifts of that sort. Of course there was the Enterprise sweater but he also had some awesome onesies that were hand decorated, a Tintin quilt that’s hanging on his wall, and I knitted him a little white hat and matching booties. I have done nothing of the sort for Veronica.

Thankfully, other people are picking up my slack. A couple of my aunts have made her some blankets, bibs, and a crocheted cube toy. Just this week we received this awesome TARDIS sweater, once again made by the inimitable akg!

TARDIS sweater

The Trekkies sent around a card again, too. Lovely folks, one and all!

Bundle got this adorable hat from the fabulous monkeypants. It’s still a bit big but should fit perfectly for the fall.


And superbadfriend was super badass and painted Ronnie her very own orangedotstickbutt. And hand delivered it!!!

Orange dot stick butt

We hung that sucker up in the kids’ room right away.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I think Bundle has officially outgrown the Bjorn. I noticed the last time I had her in it, just for a neighborhood walk, that it seemed rather snug. She’s been facing forward for quite some time now, with the top folded down, so it’s not like there’s even another transformation we can make to eek out a bit more time. This weekend Mr. b had her in the Bjorn at a local art event and he noticed it was tight, too. In fact, once she was taken out to be passed around between friends, we never bothered to put her in it.

So I pulled the old umbrella stroller out of the coat closet. I think we have a “younger” stroller somewhere but hell if I know where. This umbrella stroller has definitely seen better days. It’s stained and the plastic latch to keep it folded is busted off and yeah, it’s been used. They’re cheap so I should just pick up a new one. Regardless, Ronnie fit in it just fine. She and Kirk and I went on a long walk and she really, really enjoyed it.

Veronica may have to deal with hand-me-downs with her baby equipment but at least clothes are one area where not everything is second hand from her brother. Yes, I’ve gone through his old bins and pulled out everything reasonably gender neutral. But that doesn’t add up to much. And there are so many cute little girl clothes to choose from! I love that brown seems to be the It color for girls this season. I happen to already be a fan and brown and pink is just a fantastic combination.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Veronica's Post

Ronnie had her 4 month check up yesterday. Nothing exciting to report, which is as it should be. She’s getting huge, now weighing 14 pounds 1 ounce (65%) and is a tall girl at 25 and a half inches (90%). All physical development is on track and we can start her in on cereal in the next few weeks or so.

She’s starting to hold on to toys so I added some plastic links to her carseat.

asleep at the wheel

She brings toys up to her mouth but doesn’t necessarily chew on them yet.

She continues to be a drool machine however. Doc said no teeth are immanent.


For some reason, I can’t get her to smile on camera. She has the most beautiful smile. Such an enormous, genuine grin. My dad was tickling her and I ran to get the camera, but once she saw me with it she went back into serious mode.

She’s got some awesome clothes. I love these legwarmers.


Kirk's Post

Naturally Mr. b let Kirk open one of his presents from us a couple days early.

lots of Cars

They spent quite a lot of time putting together “the courthouse what’s on fire” and playing with all the other Cars.


The main attraction, however, was saved for Kirk’s actual birthday: the drum set!


We had it set up in the basement and brought him downstairs, unawares.

Kirk requested that it be moved into his bedroom, understanding that meant the vast majority of his toys had to go downstairs. Now he and his daddy have band practice.

Monday, June 29, 2009


We had Kirk’s birthday party this weekend. I was impressed that he understands it wasn’t his “real” birthday. I had explained that people have to work on his birthday this year so we were having his party on the weekend so people could come and bring him presents. Lots of presents.

opening presents

reviewing the loot

I’m never organized enough to make actual goodie bags for the kids but I did pick up some random crap stuff for them to play with during the party. Mini-frisbees, bubbles, and candy necklaces.


We actually planned ahead and got a Star Trek cake. How cool is it that they have Star Trek cakes standard at the Target bakery right now? Love it when there’s a new movie out and kicking box office ass.

blowing out the candles

Apparently it was exceptionally tasty cake.


Young Miss V had fun being passed around.

so cute

But she crapped out hard when we all had quiet time after the party.


My sister and her family stuck around and that evening we walked up to the local Jamboree for fireworks and carnival rides. Mr. b was the best Drunk Uncle of all time and bought the kids shitloads of glow-in-the-dark bullshit. By the time we all got back home, my sister decided to give in to her girls’s constant begging to sleep over. So the tent went up in the backyard and Mr. b, Kirk, A1, and A2 all spent the night out there. I think Kirk’s still wrecked even today.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Current Events

No means no. No I’m serious. It really does. When I tell you to stop jumping next to your sister, you need to stop. When I tell you to stop climbing the side of the couch, that doesn’t mean you should do it again. One more time is not an option. You need to quit.

Bundle slept basically through the night. I got her down about 10pm and she didn’t start to stir until nearly 5am. I don’t expect it to last but it was a pleasant surprise!

I’m really overthinking party times for Kirk’s Fourth Birthday Party.

The little girl is rolling over. It’s largely unintentional but it’s also pretty regular. She’ll be startled by her sudden back position after having just been propped up on her tummy and it’ll freak her out. Ronnie also likes to curl up on her side when lying on her back and is starting to move into tummy time from there. So both ways. Time to dig out the baby gate. And make sure the floors are cleaner. Ugh.

Kirk has a workaround for hate speech. He is not allowed to shout, “I don’t like you Mama” or Daddy or anyone else. So when he’s pissed he’ll bust out with, “I don’t like everyone.” It’s kind of hilarious. And who hasn’t had those moments of extreme misanthropy?

When I leave my nursing pads out they end up of the floor by morning. I figured one of the cats was playing with them but I wasn’t sure which one. Last night I saw Squeakers Squirrel sniffing at them. I guess it makes sense she’d be interested in the sweet smell of dried on boobie milk.

The kids are usually the last ones there when I drop them off at daycare. All the others gather around Veronica in her carseat while I help Kirk get his shoes, and hoodie if he’s wearing one, off and put away. Then he gives me at least one of the following: a hug, a kiss, a high five, a fist bump (blow it up), a nose rub. Sometimes I get all five. Then I give the Bundle a kiss and I’m off.

Kirk is starting to sometimes claim he “had a bad dream”, about twenty seconds after he’s been put to bed. Not falling for it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sleeping Arrangements

Last night was Bundle’s second night in her crib in her brother’s room. So far, so good. I mean, it’s a work in progress, obviously, but we’re getting there. Kirk’s got a set bedtime ritual and once the routine is completed, he’s done. It’s easy to move bedtime up when necessary, just by starting procedures earlier. Ronnie, however, just eats and eats and eats and eats and then passes out. There’s no real adjustments possible. She’s generally sacked by 10:30, though it can happen earlier. So basically, I just sneak into the sleeping boy’s room, put the sleeping baby in her crib, and sneak back out. We’ve got the monitor set up so I’ll go fetch her when she wakes up in the 2am-4am range to eat again. Theoretically she could then go back but since we’ve mastered the laying down nursing position I generally just keep her in bed with me until I have to get up anyways.

I think the trick is going to be those nights where she falls asleep earlier and he’s wound up and talking to himself in his bed for two hours. We’ll see what happens.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eye Boogers

Ronnie had her first non-weight check or well baby related doctor’s visit yesterday. She woke up with her right eye crusted shut. It had been sort of boogery/mucusy on and off for the previous two days but never really that bad. She hasn’t had a fever or any other signs of sickness, other than a slight cough, so I hadn’t been worried about her. But even though having your eye that crusty is a pretty legitimate reason to go in to the doctor, I still wondered if I was just being an alarmist parent.

Doc didn’t seem to think I brought her in unnecessarily. He prescribed some eye drops, which I suck at administering. Babies have such immature sinuses that mucus can only really escape through the tear ducts and that in turn can cause an eye infection. I’m just glad that her first sickness is an easy one.

Friday, June 05, 2009


Last night Kirk stepped on his sister. On her chest. The thing is, he wasn’t being malicious. But it also wasn’t an accident. He was experimenting. I was in the kitchen and I heard Bundle scream out in pain. When I turned around I saw him bent down and giving her kisses. It took a second to register that he had done something before I started in with the accusations. “What did you do to her?!”

When he admitted he stepped on her I had to ask where and he rubbed her chest. So then I had to check to make sure everything felt OK before I picked her up to comfort her. I asked if it was an accident and I could see the wheels turning before he answered no. Yeah right. If it had been a foot or hand I could buy accident. Hell, even arm or leg. But not chest.

After Mr. b got home from school I found out that Kirk had been testing the waters earlier. He had apparently been lightly resting his foot on her, removing it quickly when his father saw what he was doing. So clearly it had been on his mind for a while. That helps explain why he didn’t seem very remorseful. But he knew he was in trouble and he brushed his teeth extra good last night as a peace offering.

This is only the beginning of the sibling fun.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dead TV

I’ve always been a fan of reading the source material for movies. Not just sci-fi and fantasy but anything really. I think I first developed the habit after seeing “Howard’s End” and then equally adoring the book. I enjoy rereading each Harry Potter before its movie comes out and trying to guess the changes that the screenwriters had to make. It’s gotten to the point where I will read something I’ve been vaguely aware of or “meaning to” get to and once I hear that an adaptation is in the works then I’ll hurry up and check it out of the library.

I’ve been stuck in a vampire fiction rut for a good year now. It’s easy. And there are so many series to choose from that once I start one I don’t have to think very hard about what my next book will be. Check out the next one in the list!

Well, now it seems these two things are converging on me. Only not movie adaptions but rather television. The only television series that I’ve also read the source books from is The Dresden Files. I saw the show before I started reading the books and I haven’t gone back to rewatch the episodes to see how closely they hewed to the novels. I am aware of some character changes but I’ve got the two mentally categorized as fairly separate entities so it doesn’t really bother me. Plus, since I am already in the habit of doing mental script adaptations, I think I’m much more accepting of necessary alterations than the typical rabid fanatic.

I started reading the Southern Vampire Mysteries, also known as the Sookie Stackhouse series, once I found out that HBO’s show True Blood was based on them. The DVDs of the first season just came out and I’m excited to start watching. I’m hesitant, however, because I don’t wait to spoil myself – for the show or for the books! I’ve only read the first three and I don’t know how much the show has deviated from the plots. This should be my first experiment. The next series to be adapted is Anita Blake. I’ve gotten through the first four of those and the mini-series-as-series-pilot hasn’t even been filmed yet. So I should be quite a ways into it by the time it airs. The final series, however, I think I’ll skip entirely. I think I might be past the suggested read-by age for The Vampire Diaries. Sure, I devoured Twilight but then I turned into an LOLfan after that ghastly fourth offering. And the CW show they’re basing on the books seems just too…Twilight angst times Gossip Girl teens and I don’t know that I can take it. Boone on Lost did nothing for me so having him cast as a vamp is just not enough of a draw. Should be interesting to see if it makes as big of a splash in the zeitgeist as Twilight did.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Role Playing

Kirk likes to act out movies and TV shows. Sometimes he’ll play the roles, like when he’s the Doctor, and sometimes he’ll use props, like his millions of Cars vehicles. If he doesn’t have any proper merch then he’ll use whatever he can find. He managed to gather together stand-ins for all the characters from the Brave Little Toaster, and plays with them in the kitchen because that’s where the toaster is.

Blanket, Lampy, Radio, & Kirby

Most frequently he’ll want to play musicians. This has been going on for a good couple of years now. He used to wear a gaudy plastic ring so he could be Ringo Starr. He used to wear a crapped out cowboy hat so he could be Dave Gahan. He’s got his own kid-sized guitar and sings along to videos and has great rock stance. But he always comes back to the drummers. He always wants to know who the drummer is when he’s introduced to a new band. He always wants to be able to see the drummer whether we’re watching American Idol or the Rolling Stone’s Rock n Roll Circus.

Since his only drums are a plastic baby toy set he got for like his first birthday (shhhh, we’re pricing out proper mini-kits), he likes to use anything and everything available. I’m not sure if the old diaper genie was promoted to drum status or if that’s a demotion since it was previously playing the role of a Dalek…

Little Drummer Boy

Poor Ringo has most definitely lost out on Favorite Drummer status. That honor now belongs to Nick Mason of Pink Floyd. Kirk’s fascination with volcanoes gets to crossover with his rock knowledge thanks to Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii. He loves watching Roger Waters slowly walk over to the gong during the prog madness. And he quite literally plays Saucerful of Secrets: The Game. He’s Nick of course. He’ll even make Mr. b sit down on the ground and use a busted off piece of lightsaber as a slide to properly portray David Gilmore.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bathing Beauty

I have never given my daughter a bath. I'm not sure how it's ended up that way but there you go. They've all been administered by her daddy. In fact, Ronnie has graduated from the sink to the bathtub and I still haven't bathed her myself.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The End of an Era

Well, it’s over now. I’m nearing the end of Day Two back at work.

Last Friday Bundle had her Two Month well baby appointment. Everything looks good. She’s now at 10 pounds 3 ounces (over 4 pounds gained!) and 23 inches long (nearly 5 inches!) and has a little head (in the tenth percentile). Doc reiterated that he thinks her sporadic pooping is just her own preference. He asked lots of questions about it and thinks it sounds normal, though not common. Her belly button sticks out super far and that’s due to a small hernia; again normal and should heal itself without any intervention from us. She got her first shots, complete with Real Tears, and that’s about it. Oh, and she does seem like being a redhead is a real possibility. Especially in the sunlight there is definite auburn hair going on.

Grandma and Grandpa stayed with us until Sunday before flying back to Texas. It seemed like little Ronnie underwent an emotional growth while they were here: she smiles for real now! I love that part. Nothing like an infant’s genuine pleasure. I love it when she’s suckling away and then suddenly grins on the boob. But it also means that she’s moving into the part where she doesn’t think it exists if she can’t see it and so separation anxiety begins. Which makes my going back to work even harder.

Drop off yesterday morning went well. Of course she didn’t know what was coming. C said she ate well and didn’t need the breast milk I had sent with as comfort food just in case. So I’ll be freezing the milk I pump during the day at work. So far I’m pumping twice a day and getting quite a lot. I have a little picture of my bundle on the pump case and a snippet of her fussing saved on my phone so I can trigger the mental impulses to start the milk flowing. I should bring some of her used laundry to smell, too, but that seems like work. But even with the pressure relieved mechanically, I was still desperate for her to get back on the breast as soon as we got home. Mr. b and Kirk were heading to the store and after looking at us nursing on the couch just chuckled and said, “You two have fun.” Still, it took some time before she seemed like “mine” again. She just didn’t look at me the same way when I picked her up in the afternoon.

To just get it all over with at once I’ve also begun crib training. Well, not precisely. I don’t want to disturb her brother’s sleep in their room so instead it’s technically bassinet training. Same method we used with Kirk though: put the Bundle in her bundle bin rolled into our darkened bedroom, let her cry for X number of minutes, go in and comfort her, put her back down, wait for a longer period, go back in, and so on. It only took a few tries and then she slept soundly for a good solid four hours. She’s been a very noisy sleeper all along and prone to only sleeping on the boob or resting on one of our chests so I think this is a great first try. Hopefully when she’s too big for the bin she’ll already be used to sleeping by herself and the transition to the crib will be relatively easy.

I do feel kind of like I’m betraying her trust though. Leaving her with a stranger all day and then not even holding her all night. But hey, I still keep her in bed with me once she wakes up to nurse. Now that we’ve got the laying down position figured out good enough it’s easier to just roll over and switch her from side to side as she wants more boobie. And she was in a good mood this morning, even falling asleep on the “lengthy” five block drive to daycare, so I guess she’ll forgive me eventually. One day at a time.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Three Things

1) Kirk started his new daycare on Monday. Things seem to be going well. It's definitely more structured than his old daycare but I think that's a good thing. It also feels somehow more "official" because there were forms to fill out. We walked there this morning and yesterday morning. I love that it's walking distance! Kirk still talks about his old gang when confabulating but I'm sure the new kids will start getting mentions after he's been there a while.

2) We bought a new car Monday night. It's a 2009 Pontiac Vibe. Our '99 Jetta, Otto Rodriguez, had been dying a slow death for the past year or so. If it was just Mr. b and I we probably would have continued to limp him along for a while yet. But we're a one car family and we need something 100% reliable now that there are kids in the picture. It's just slightly bigger but enough to make a difference with two carseats in the back.

3) Mr. b's parents are flying up from Texas this afternoon! They haven't met their new granddaughter yet. We're all very excited to see them. Kirk is looking forward to taking them to Target and pointing out everything that he wants that his mean mama and daddy won't buy for him. They're only here through Sunday so the visit is going to go way too fast. And then when they're gone it means I have to go back to work.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Child Garden

Friday morning we took Kirk in for his Kindergarten pre-screening testing. It's required by the state of Minnesota for all children attending public schools. There were three parts to the screening: mental development, physical development, and bureaucracy.

We had a lot of paperwork to fill out, some of it immediately identified by Mr. b as remnants of the "progressive" programs instituted by New Dealers. Then we all went in to meet with the first of three ladies. She had Kirk build small towers of blocks, do some counting, pick the correct opposites, match shapes, do simple drawing, things like that. As a parent it was incredibly difficult to keep my mouth shut. I wanted to nudge him in the right direction, give him hints, or simply laugh at his hilarious attempts or failures. There were several instances where he got something wrong that he knows perfectly well how to do. But I suppose having the patience to go through this process is part of the whole "readiness" idea.

Next we went to get his eyes checked. That seemed silly to me since obviously Kirk wears glasses. He wasn't interested in their old school vision chart and the lack of friendliness on the part of the woman administering this portion of the exam certainly didn't help. We gave up on that and tried to do the hearing test. But she accidentally stepped on Kirk's foot and he cried and cried and cried and we gave up on that, too. I have two forms for medical professionals to fill out now. He's got his eye check-up next week but the hearing one will have to wait for his next physical in July. I remember doing all these tests in elementary school and really enjoying the hearing one especially. Mr. b says he remembers them, too.

Lastly we met with a lady to review all the results. Kirk's age bracket, 3.8-3.9 years, needed to score an 18 out of 48 on the mental stuff. He got a 32. So no worries there. Basically, everything is on track and there are no areas of concern. We found out which elementary school he'll attend - and that he'll ride the bus - and that's about it. It was an interesting process and definitely a milestone. It's hard to believe I'll have a "school aged" child soon but he'll start Kindergarten next year!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yay Poop!

Tonight Bundle finally pooped. It had been six days. A couple of weeks ago she stopped going several times a day - or even every day. After three days she had a major blow out and things have been irregular ever since. This was the longest wait, however, and I had actually called the doctor earlier this week. We were advised to mix in one ounce of prune juice with three ounces of formula or milk, once a day. It totally looked like cappucino. Thankfully it only took two of them. If she hadn't pooped by today I would have had to call Doc back.

I have no idea what caused this though. I've heard the theory that the baby is growing and using up every last bit of caloric energy and therefore not having anything to excrete. That seemed reasonable to me when it was just once. My dad loves telling the story of me being constipated as an infant and "popping like a cork". But that doesn't really match Ronnie's issue. I think we're going to be doomed to repeat nqllisi's experience with her daughter: a month of repeated poo strikes and prune juice treatments. I'll ask Doc for his insight at her two month appointment next week. And...I guess we'll just have to see what tomorrow's diaper holds.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Family Matter

When my mom was first diagnosed with MS in 1986 no one knew what it was. Very few people had even heard of it, much less knew what it stood for. At age 11, I quickly developed a short speech to explain it to my friends. Since then we've come a long way. It seems like everyone knows of someone with MS - when it used to be somewhat kept under wraps. Celebrities with MS have come out and advocated for understanding and continued research. You can help. I'm a notorious procrastinator and once again, the walk is this coming Sunday! I apologize for the short notice but donations will be taken until May 29th. I appreciate any help you feel willing to give.
Thanks in advance!

Consider a pledge to end multiple sclerosis and support me during Walk MS: Twin Cities Walk 2009.

MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. Please help by making a donation — large or small — to move closer to a cure for MS. Or, why not join me on the day of the event? Become a participant and side by side, as teammates, we will move together to raise the funds that make a difference.

Whatever you can give will help. I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Click here to visit my personal page and make a secure, online donation.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Me and Bundle McGee

Friday night Mr. b's band played the fashion show in the Twin Cities. We had planned on me attending this event since he first got the gig, sometime last fall. I've been out a couple of times since having Ronnie, once with the mister and once with the girls, but this was going to be major. We arranged to have the kids sleep over at my sister's house. We took the bus so we could both drink without concern. And it was a ton of fun.

But sometime during the second or third band (each band had two designer's lines shown during their set, here's the first during Mercurial Rage and here are some clips of the entire evening) I got a text from my sister. "What time do you think you will be done? Bundle really needs her mom." Well shit. That put a bit of a damper on things. But what was I supposed to do? I replied that there was still several bands left and that neither of us would be able to drive anyway. So she offered to come and get us.

Ultimately it was no big deal. We stayed until the end of the music and fashion and got a chance to talk to nearly all of our friends in attendance while waiting for my sister to show up. I had stopped drinking - and had only had three at that point anyway - once I first got the word from her so I could safely nurse Veronica once we got home. But it also made me think and I had a bit of a revelation: I am not ready to go back to work.

This was supposed to be my last week of leave. Eight weeks is not enough. So I talked to my manager and I'm taking one more. Sure, nine weeks isn't really *that* much more but I think it's going to make all the difference in the world. I'm still going to have a much harder time going back than after my leave with Kirk. I had 12 or 13 weeks then and he went to Auntie Daycare so I was able to convince myself he was merely hanging out with his cousins. This will feel much more painful and final. I am going to bawl my eyes out on the way to work that first morning.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Free Music!

Mr. b's fantastic band, Mercurial Rage, has a new single out today!

Mercurial Rage have been raising the roof around here for the last couple years with their uniquely infectious, ultra danceable sounds. Taking influence from the finest exponents of electronic pop’s first Golden Age (think Depeche Mode, The Cure, and dance-rock bands like Happy Mondays and Primal Scream), The Rage add their own totally unique lyrical stamp and jaunty melodic personality.

Download their awesome three-sided-single here!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Well, now I can go back to work. I don't want to but I have my doctor's OK. How the hell did I afford such a long leave with Kirk?

My post-partum check-up went smoothly. Everything's healing as it should be. I guess there are still some stitches that haven't fully dissolved but they're the inner most ones. I'm pretty sure I tore during delivery - 5 minutes of pushing goes extremely fast and I don't remember them making me pause for an episiotomy like last time. I noticed that Doc was referring to some notes in my file throughout my visit and I finally got a glimpse: it was a summary from the on-call doctor at the maternity ward! I don't know that I even said a single word to her. Doc showed up about 10 minutes after Ronnie was born and while he checked her over, basically all he did was congratulate Mr. b and I and shake our hands.

Since we're absolutely determined not to have an "oops" I definitely wanted to get on birth control right away. Supposedly nursing is about 90% effective, at least until your first period. And the no estrogen mini pill is also about 90% (and won't dry up your milk supply), but combined the two are as good as the regular pill. Doc said I should give the pill a couple of weeks to get into my system and double up on contraception until then. As much as we'd like to get back to normal marital relations, Mr. b and I are both a bit hesitant. I don't remember how long after Kirk's birth we waited.

It seems I had gained a total of 15 pounds from the time of my first ob visit until my final one. And now I'm officially 16 pounds less than that final weigh in. Doc was worried that such rapid weight loss might mean I was too busy taking care of the kids first and forgetting about myself. I assured him I'm eatin' like an eatin' fool. I actually need to make sure I don't go overboard with that. I gained weight after Kirk's birth because while I was nursing some, I wasn't nursing much. But I was ingesting enough calories for full time milk production. I suppose for the moment (the barnacle is attached to my boob as I type this one-handed) I don't really need to be concerned. Everything will change when I go back to work.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Regime Change

We finally found a new daycare. First I was looking into preschools for Kirk but they were all ridiculously expensive if you needed all-day coverage. Then I was looking into centers that had preschool programs as well as infant care but they were all ridiculously expensive. So then I started going through in-home daycares and found that infant openings were rare and precious commodities. We interviewed a lady a couple of weeks ago and really liked her but wanted to do due diligence and check out some other places as well. But our car broke down and we couldn't make it to the next appointment I had set up.

I decided it must be fate. First of all, this new woman is walking distance from us. That's...miraculous actually. And she had given me a phone list of her kids' parents and the ones I spoke to gave her unbelievably glowing reviews. And I was completely and utterly paranoid that we'd loose out on the infant spot if we didn't just jump on it. So Kirk and Ronnie will be starting when I go back to work.

Which means that I gave two weeks notice to K on Monday. I'm going to keep Kirk at home with me and the Bundle my last two weeks of leave. We'll save a little bit of money and it'll give him a more defined transition period. I've been mentioning to him that when his sister is big enough to get to go to daycare he'll get to go with her. And he attended the interview at C's house with us so he got to play with the toys and meet her and seems cool with it all. I know he'll miss his little friends but we can always have play dates.

The thing that I found troubling was that K did not seem in the least bit surprised when I called her to give notice. Granted, it's probably common sense that we wouldn't want to do dual drop-off in the mornings and that we'd want Kirk to be with his sister. But that implies that she would have known that when she gave away our infant spot. She didn't tell either Mr. b or I that we were in competition. That she was interviewing another family. She just announced to me, via email, while I was pregnant that oh, by the way, she won't be able to take the new baby. And that hasn't sat well with me all this time.

Friends and co-workers have been rather vociferous on the subject. But I honestly have only the best things to say about the care that Kirk has been given during his couple of years with her. Yet there have been some other professionalism issues that have come up, all having to do with scheduling. Largely they were the result of miscommunication but it was frequent enough that we actually had to have words about it. And I think that since that point we have been passive aggressively pushed out. Even Mr. b agrees with me on that theory, and he is notoriously unaware of subtext. It's sad and I don't understand why we got that treatment but there it is. So now we'll get to start all over. I'm just glad to have the frantic search completed. I feel really positive about the new place.