Friday, January 29, 2010


A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life.
~Irish Saying

I find myself thinking of this old adage whenever I deal with my brother. He has become the embodiment of the Old Testament directive to “cleave unto” your wife, to the exclusion of your birth family. And when I remember how close we used to be, and how unbearably awful things are now, it makes me worry about what the future may hold for Kirk. I don’t want to loose him just because he’s married.

It’s strange because I used to worry about ending up having the same kind of relationship Mr. b has with his mother. They love each other and get along with each other and get drunk with each other and are close emotionally, if not geographically. But they also have a time limit and with snip and snipe at each other if the visit is too long. Kirk and I definitely fit that pattern. We can already push each other’s buttons and already need to take breaks from each other and already just get annoyed with each other. But we also aren’t completely dismissive of each other’s thoughts and feelings.

Maybe it’s my lifelong fight against conformity that’s making the latest round of bullshit with my brother hurt so much? I truly don’t know when he became so judgmental. It’s frustrating to see someone’s previously open mind close so completely. I don’t think Kirk is capable of that kind of lack of empathy but I wouldn’t have guessed it of my brother either.

Here’s the thing. I think my kids are happy and well adjusted and I take joy in the little things in life. I let the annoyances roll off me more often than not because I’m too lazy to waste energy on them. I live in the present because I can’t change the past. I like to have fun. I used to have, hooboy, a different kind of fun before kids but that was before kids. Yet I’m not going to just close the book on fun simply because of being a parent. I make sure my children are healthy and safe and I include them in as many activities as I can because I want them to know what’s out there and I don’t want to shelter them unnecessarily. I do not believe that is irresponsible. I do not believe that makes me a bad parent. I do not believe that my doing things differently from how someone else might is cause for disgust and revulsion. And I do not want to be around someone that I know is going to watch and analyze and judge my every move.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Two Transitions

When I got home from work last Friday I was thinking that it might have been my last day of pumping at work. Doing it just once a day has really reduced my milk supply nicely and I can definitely feel that I’m on the right track. But then over the weekend I started doing math and realized I will be going eleven to twelve hours between feedings if I skip pumping at work. I think it’ll be fine but I’m definitely putting it off a little longer. I only have ten or so bags left from the last milk storage purchase so that’ll be my cut-off.

I think it’s obvious that the real trick to finalizing weaning will be suckling for comfort – and I mean for both Ronnie and me! She doesn’t actually need the boobie calories anymore, especially as we’re introducing whole milk into her formula bottles. But it’s still great bonding time for us and I still like snuggling with her when she comes into bed with me at whatever point at night.

In the meantime, Mr. b and I are putting out collective foot down on Kirk regarding sippy cups at bedtime and wearing overnight diapers. Mr. b was over 5 years old before he was having constant, regular dry nights so it’s not surprising to me that we’ve been keeping Kirk in overnights. But he’s been getting lazy with them. Over the last month or so, he’s woken up maybe three or four mornings a week with a poopie diaper. That’s ridiculous. So he’s cut off. He has to make sure he’s pooped at least once that day or else I make him sit on the pot before tucking him in for the night.

Since he’s wearing underpants in bed I’m also not allowing him to bring his sippy to bed with him anymore. It’s irked me for quite some time but Mr. b didn’t care and it just didn’t seem worth the fight. I would only fill the cup with maybe an inch of beverage so it’s not like he was getting a big huge drink. But now even that it over. I’m hoping a nice side effect will be lessening Kirk’s reliance on the damn sippies in the first place! It’s not like he’s going to be allowed to have them in kindergarten…

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vision Quest

Kirk has his appointment with the eye specialist on Wednesday morning. His regular ophthalmologist suggested we see this guy for a second opinion on if the glasses are fixing his strabismus or if he’ll need patching or surgery or something else. Being that it’s the University, it’s a teaching hospital and clinic and the first doctor we saw was a resident. She was really good with Kirk, running through all the various tests, but definitely seemed flustered with some of his refusal to cooperate. She brought another woman in who I thought must have been an instructor but it wasn’t clear. This second woman was fabulous. She took no guff from Kirk but was also cheerful, brusque but friendly. She whipped through the final couple of exams in no time. They did some really interesting stereoscopic tests that I assumed were for eye alignment.

It’s amazing how much I know about eye exams now considering I’ve only ever had one in my lifetime – outside of school checks – and have never needed corrective lenses. There’s so much more than just how far you can see. Depth and clarity and binocularity and it’s really a truly amazing discipline.

And of course I knew that there was no way Kirk was going to be able to avoid getting his eyes dilated. He hates that. It’s not just the eye drops themselves, though he really despises that process as well. He truly can’t stand the effect of having his pupils opened so wide. He complained about the exam lights blinding him even! Not that I blame him. It’s very trippy. He was extremely concerned, knowing we were going to the eye doctor, and had been freaking out about getting shots and “magic eye drops”. I assured him he would not be getting shots but kept my mouth shut on the other. I counseled him to let the doctor know right away that he didn’t want those things and sure enough, when they walked in he announced his preferences. Alas, he did not avoid getting eye drops.

There is, however, a lot more stuff to do when you’re on campus and have to kill time waiting for the drops to take effect.

Then we finally saw the doctor himself. He was amazing. I really, really liked him. He was great with Kirk and explained everything to us very clearly. Apparently the middle woman that was so fabulously nonsense-free is an orthoptist. They specialize in vision alignment. The U graduates one per year and there are only ten programs in the country. The doctor has three on staff. So it really makes sense for us to go there. The doctor explained that while to us it looks like the glasses are correcting his cross, it’s actually still 6 or 7 degrees off. It has to be a larger degree to be noticed by the naked eye and they consider it parallel when it’s down to about 3 degrees. So he’s getting there! Since the glasses do seem to be making a difference, he wanted to try a new prescription for Kirk. In two months then he’ll check to see if that’s helping enough.

Basically there are three options: the glasses will correct it completely, the glasses won’t correct it at all, the glasses will correct it partially. Our next steps will depend on which of those three things happens. I feel positive that we’re not being pushed towards surgery and that if it ends up being necessary, it will be because all other options were explored fully. In the meantime, I guess we’ll have to go to the glasses store this weekend…

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Kirk has his kindergarten registration last night. It was a lot of fun but I was exhausted by the end of it.

We got to the school and headed into the gym. None of us had ever been inside it before but there were teachers and PTA parents stationed all around, pointing the way. Immediately we recognized someone: angelmamma! I had no idea she had decided to hold M back a year. I’m very excited that he and Kirk will be in the same grade, though they didn’t really remember each other. It’s been several years since they were at daycare together. We didn’t get to hang out much because we were in different nametag color groups.

Our group traipsed off up the stairs to go meet with some teachers in one of the classrooms. They happened to have the same floor rug that used to be in Kirk’s bedroom and so instead of sitting with the kids for storytime, he laid down upon it and refused to move. When he did move he came over to where I was sitting with his sister and wanted to play with the Duplos that were there. Nuh uh. Mr. b inched forward to the point where he was sitting just behind the kids and eventually Kirk got the point and joined him. The teachers were great and ignored the misbehavior, letting him adjust to his surroundings on his own terms, but still calling him up to participate in the interactive portion after most of the other kids had gotten a turn. I was impressed.

After the story, our group went out to ride the bus. Kirk was much better behaved here. He listened carefully to the rules for bus riding and was one of the very first to start singing “The Wheels on the Bus” when the teacher asked if anyone knew any songs about buses. He seemed by excited by the whole thing.

Finally our group went to another classroom and this time Kirk was right in with the kids, no prompting necessary. When they asked for volunteers, his hand went up but he didn’t spazz out like some of the others so he got picked. They sang and he played his role and seemed to be having a great time.

Meanwhile, I found someone I knew! Before our groups split up I heard my name called and saw someone I haven’t seen in over ten years! She and I were friends through the girl I went to Mexico with and stayed friends after she moved out of the state. But we had lost touch and though I thought of her from time to time, she certainly never crossed my mind as a possible mother of my son’s school mate! Her son and Kirk got along really, really well and played together the entire time we were back at the cafeteria filling out paperwork. I’m glad he’ll have someone he knows, even if they’re not in the same classroom. Now we just have to find time for playdates!

Everything went really smoothly and I think Kirk’s genuinely excited about starting school. I am, too. But now the worries are setting in. He’s going to be taking the bus thanks to some incredibly strangely drawn district borders. Waiting for the bus I’m not worried about. Riding the bus I’m not worried about. Getting off the bus and finding his way to his classroom I’m worried about. Which is stupid because it’s not like they won’t have teachers and PTA parents there to guide kids again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Two Front Teeth

Ronnie still hasn’t gotten any new teeth. Her bottom two cut through on Halloween weekend so it’s been well over two months. I don’t remember Kirk having such a long gap between the first teeth and new ones. I could be making this up but I seem to recall that once they started coming in, it was slow but steady. It’s sort of weird that the little girl is just holding constant like this.

It’s not actually a problem in any way except eating. She wants to feed herself. Badly. It’s become nearly impossible to feed her any kind of spoon food. Doesn’t matter if it’s baby cereal or applesauce she Does. Not. Want. But there are only so many things you can give her that she can mash with her hard gums! The foods have to be firm enough that she can pick them up with her fingers but soft enough that she can still “chew” it. And we can’t just give her puffs and other baby snacks all the time.

Apple slices are actually out. Veronica has figured out how to take bites using just her bottom teeth and then she ends up gagging on too big chunks. But most everything else we’ve given her seems to be working quite well. She loves bread, either slices or rolls, because she can menace it at her own pace. We’ve been going through pretzel rods at a mad pace. She’s down with cheese and scrambled eggs and halved grapes and she’s even been eating her brother’s dinties off his pizza slices! Her aim and accuracy is increasing at a rapid pace and there’s less and less mess in her seat when we pull her out of her high chair. Except, of course, for the times when she doesn’t actually feel like eating and instead just wants to menace…

Friday, January 08, 2010


I love the Hitchhiker’s Guide. The books, the newest movie, the BBC mini-series, everything. I love the way that each version is different from the other and it doesn’t matter. Douglas Adams himself didn’t worry about contradicting anything he wrote previously so why should I? I love that it’s all canon.

This December lis and I decided to do a complete reread of the entire series. I started out strong. Obviously Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the one I know best, since that’s the one that was more or less adapted for screen. I found myself visualizing Mos Def as Ford Prefect but still had the BBC actor in my head for Arthur. I had a hard time remembering what happened next as I got into Restaurant at the End of the Universe. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the mini and I just didn’t remember all the stuff that happened after they actually left Milliways. Life, the Universe, and Everything was even more of a blank for me. I would remember things as I got to them but I wouldn’t have been able to come up with any of the plot on my own. The sad thing is, as I was posting my earliest book list for posterity, I realized I had reread them only as far back as 2005!

It wasn’t just that I couldn’t remember enough to distinguish one book’s plot from the other. I also didn’t find them to be that funny. Which is odd because they are known as some of the funniest writing there is. I’m honestly not sure what’s the blame for the lack of humor. Maybe I’ve read them too many times? Maybe they seem funnier in retrospect than when you actually revisit them? Maybe you need to hear them and I should get audio books? I really don’t know. So by the time I got to So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish I was considerably less impressed. It didn’t help that I found that book to be rather extraneous. I was happy with Arthur living on Krikkit and flying. I didn’t need any more. OK great, he finally got some action with Fenchurch and he finally found his way back to Earth but it all seemed just superfluous. And the space travel scenes with Ford struck me as intentionally obtuse. I feel like the only point of the whole thing was to kill off Marvin.

Now, the volume that we own doesn’t have the fifth book of the “trilogy” so I had to check Mostly Harmless out of the library. I was completely certain I had never read it until I kept being plagued by déjà vu while reading. Mr. b convinced me I read it once, back in the late summer of 1993. And this book felt even more egregiously unnecessary. Fenchurch was unceremoniously removed so that Arthur was back to being lost and alone. Ford was on a futile quest to save the Guide. And suddenly Trillian came back, only rather out of character and there was also another version even more out of character than the original. What was the point? To erase them all from history? I didn’t need that ending. It made me wonder if the publishers had demanded yet another sequel and Adams had been contractually obliged but didn’t want to have to do it ever again. I don’t actually know any backstory gossip but it really didn’t feel like his heart was in it.

Still, I put myself on the library waitlist for book six, just published and written by Eoin Colfer. I’ve never read anything of his (hers?) so I don’t know what to expect. I have no idea if Adams had left notes for another book or had even started one before his sudden death. And even though I’m somewhat soured on the stories at the moment, I still love them and am curious to find out just what could possibly happen next.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Pink Overload

I am officially over pink.

I’m not really sure how it happened. Hell, I like pink and wear it myself! Oh, I was never a particularly girlie girl growing up but I didn’t shun the color either. So I certainly wasn’t dreading pink outfits for my daughter. She has some unbelievably adorable clothes, like the awesome shirt sbf just got her for Christmas with a gold tree and birdie on the front. And I’ve bought some of them myself! Sure maybe I wouldn’t have picked out *all* of the hand-me-downs I’ve acquired but I can usually make them work.

But when I was folding laundry the other night I just couldn’t believe how much pink there was in her drawers. Too much pink. I mean, wow. I try to avoid putting pink tops with pink bottoms but I felt like that’s all that was left the last couple of times I dressed Ronnie. And yet her father always manages to get her into other colors. Hmm...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


For the third year running, I managed to read more books than the previous year. And last year I was astounded at the increase over 2007! (Which was itself double 2006. Hmm, I should backdate a post with my lists for earlier years. You know, for posterity.) I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up the trend. Heh. It helps that I continued to not read anything “hard”. I thought my reading would dwindle once the baby had been born but titles 11 through 17 were read while on maternity leave. I guess that might be the key to my ridiculous output: I had a lot of time to sit since I was nursing. And pumping! I was pumping twice a day at work for most of the year which gave me nearly an extra hour of reading on top of my bus commute every day.

I also read a lot of series this year. Some I completely finished and others I’m still working on. Several I caught up to the author and now have to wait for new titles to be published. Regardless, it was easy for me to pick out my next book when I was in the middle of a series. I used to try and wait a couple months between series titles, just as a palate cleanser I guess. But I found myself waiting sometimes only one or two books before returning to whatever series – and not even that when I was finishing off Sookie Stackhouse. Essentially I spent the year just switching off between Katie Chandler, Schuyler Van Alen, Hanayu Ashitaba, Sookie, Anita Blake, and Harry Dresden.

I did make some good discoveries this year though. Pete Hautman was a new find thanks to book club and I read several of his other young adult titles as well. I do hope to finish going through his work because I think he’s a fabulous author and really captures the essence of being a teenager. There weren’t any duds in our book club selections this year. I’d have to pick Guernsey as my favorite but I really enjoyed Birchbark House and Latest Grievance as well.

My reading resolution for this year is to read the books that are already in my house. I have several shelves filled with To Be Read titles. Some I’ve bought used. Some I’ve bought new. Some people have loaned to me and probably forgot where they got to since I’ve had them so long. Some people have just given to me because I can’t say no to books and then they can clear off their own shelves. There’s lot of good stuff for me to discover. But first I need to finish Anita and Harry.

1. Mixed Vegetables, Vol. 1 Ayumi Komura
2. The Tales of Beedle the Bard J.K. Rowling
3. The Birchbark House Louise Erdrich
4. California Demon: The Secret Life of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom Julie Kenner
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Volume 3 Wolves at the Gate Joss Whedon
6. Blue Bloods Melissa de la Cruz
7. Mixed Vegetables, Vol. 2 Ayumi Komura
8. Dead Until Dark Charlaine Harris
9. Grave Peril Jim Butcher
10. Masquerade Melissa de la Cruz
11. The Laughing Corpse Laurell K. Hamilton
12. Revelations Melissa de la Cruz
13. Leaving Home Anita Brookner
14. Living Dead in Dallas Charlaine Harris
15. The Optimist’s Daughter Eudora Welty
16. Circus of the Damned Laurell K. Hamilton
17. Rainbow Valley L.M. Montgomery
18. Godless Pete Hautman
19. Club Dead Charlaine Harris
20. The Lunatic Café Laurell K. Hamilton
21. Wyrd Sisters Terry Pratchett
22. Fool Christopher Moore
23. Sweetblood Pete Hautman
24. Bloody Bones Laurell K. Hamilton
25. Summer Knight Jim Butcher
26. Once Upon Stilettos Shanna Swendson
27. Dead to the World Charlaine Harris
28. Witches Abroad Terry Pratchett
29. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince J.K. Rowling
30. Damsel Under Stress Shanna Swendson
31. All Rivers Flow to the Sea Alison McGhee
32. Mixed Vegetables, Vol. 3 Ayumi Komura
33. Rilla of Ingleside L.M. Montgomery
34. Bite Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, MaryJanice Davidson, Angela Knight, Vickie Taylor
35. Don’t Hex with Texas Shanna Swendson
36. Dead as a Doornail Charlaine Harris
37. Powers of Detection: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy Edited by Dana Stabenow
38. The Killing Dance Laurell K. Hamilton
39. Many Bloody Returns Edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner
40. All-in Pete Hautman
41. Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog Jerome K. Jerome
42. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
43. Definitely Dead Charlaine Harris
44. Mixed Vegetables, Vol. 4 Ayumi Komura
45. Night’s Edge Charlaine Harris, Maggie Shayne, Barbara Hambly
46. Burnt Offerings Laurell K. Hamilton
47. FlashForward Robert J. Sawyer
48. My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding Edited by P.N. Elrod
49. No Limit Pete Hautman
50. The Van Alen Legacy Melissa de la Cruz
51. All Together Dead Charlaine Harris
52. Blue Moon Laurell K. Hamilton
53. How Green Was My Valley Richard Llewellyn
54. My Latest Grievance Elinor Lipman
55. From Dead to Worse Charlaine Harris
56. Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy Edited by Dana Stabenow
57. Dead and Gone Charlaine Harris
58. Obsidian Butterfly Laurell K. Hamilton
59. The Lost Symbol Dan Brown
60. Wolfsbane and Mistletoe Edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner
61. Death Masks Jim Butcher
62. Narcissus in Chains Laurell K. Hamilton
63. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Volume 4 Time of Your Life Joss Whedon
64. The More Than Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide Douglas Adams
65. Cerulean Sins Laurell K. Hamilton
66. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal Christopher Moore