Friday, April 30, 2010


It's not terribly original to say that once again I haven't been posting much because I'm tiiiired, but it's true. Lately though, it's more that I'm sleepy. I keep drifting off in the evening, and a little worrying, am having a little trouble with feeling sleepy while I'm driving. Falling asleep too easily is a problem I have never had in my life. No, whatever else you can say about lifelong insomnia, at least you don't have to worry about falling asleep at inconvenient times. But it's like someone attached weights to my eyelids and they're doing their best to clang shut.

I'm not sleeping any less than normal, and in fact probably a bit more because I keep falling asleep involuntarily, so I'm not entirely sure what's up. I would say that this sort of tiredness normally comes with the first trimester for me, but I'm really really really really sure I'm not pregnant. Really. I'm starting to wonder if we should start casting a suspicious eye towards my thyroid again (although despite a strong family history of hypothyroidism and many, many doctors taking one look at my neck and ordering thyroid tests, in my many years of problems with chronic fatigue, it has never been my thyroid), or maybe check my iron or vitamin D levels. I'm wondering if I should wait until I'm completely done breastfeeding though, to let my hormones shake out. I'm slowly drawing down to pumping three times a day, which is producing about 12 ounces. It's about half of what Alec is drinking these days, which feels fine. I'm pumping enough that I don't feel like I'm giving up, but infrequently enough that I don't feel quite so chained. I think I would like to be done by the time we drive to Michigan at the end of June, because sitting the car and pumping in the parking lot of a Burger King in Ohio, trying to keep myself covered in case of passersby getting too close was not exactly the highpoint of our trip home last Christmas.


I'm starting to realize that it's less than two months until my children have their birthdays. That really doesn't seem possible. I've been trying to think up gift ideas for both of them, with mixed results. I can find lots of things K might like, but nothing is standing out as IT, so it's hard to choose. I have a bunch of ideas of things I could make, but again, I need to choose which ones because I can't possibly finish them all in six weeks. I've been sewing play food, so I'll continue with that, and probably do a couple dresses, but I have more exotic ideas that may or may not work. Alec is the opposite problem - I can't think of anything for him. I'm never good at thinking of presents for one-year-olds in general, and he already has all of K's old baby toys, and all he's really interested in is K's current toys. He's played with her kitchen far more than she has the past couple weeks.

What I would love to get them is a swing set, but I don't think that's in the cards financially this summer. The only playground within walking distance of our house is across a twelve lane raod, so we don't go nearly as often as we might. I'm also thinking that the playground will be difficult when Alec starts walking, since he'll be mobile enough to constantly put himself in danger but not big enough to use any of the equipment. I've been scanning Craigslist for cheap swing sets, but there seems to be some sort of time vortex on that site that allows them to sell before they've even been listed. We also need something pretty small, so while there are any number of lovely looking wooden child Habitrails out there, I think they would stretch past our property line.

And here ends the litany of First World problems for the night. I'm off to pump and possibly start sewing a felt orange.

Friday, April 23, 2010


First, because I know many people reading this will be interested, Stephen Sondheim was on Fresh Air Wednesday. Shows like this are the reason I love Fresh Air so much.


Scene from Monday:

When picking K up from preschool, I was told that she hadn't been able to think of a "W" word for the letter of the week. Trying to lead her to a word, I asked her, "K, what do you put in the bathtub when you take a bath?"
"Okay...but what do you wash with?"

I finally had to whisper "water" to her so she could give it as her word. I suppose I should have asked her what puddles are made of, but I suspect she would have said "mud."

Speaking of school, I got a flyer yesterday saying that next week is Grandparents' Day, better known as "Special days that seem like a good idea except for the people who get it rubbed in their faces that they don't have as much family on hand as most people."

Have I ever mentioned that I grew up 1000 miles away from all of my grandparents? I could legitimately be accused of being a little sensitive on this subject. We were always able to dig up someone elderly from church to go for my brother and I, but the people I know best at church are a touch young to be asked to be a substitute grandparent. I just hate the thought that K gets to experience being left out of a special day at the tender age of four.

Ah well. K can focus on the fact that my mother is visiting in a little over a month. She's going to be at Oberlin Memorial Day weekend for her 50th college reunion (Five-O. My goodness. My mother doesn't seem that old). Anyway, since she'll be halfway here already, she thought she might as well come visit us. I'm not arguing. She really wants to take K to Sesame Place, which again, I'm not arguing. Sesame Place is one of those places where it seems a shame to have little kids and not go, but it's the most egregious example around here of the "price individual tickets so high it's only slightly more expensive to get a membership" pricing structure around here. It's annoying, because I don't have the time or money to belong to dozen museums, but there are plenty of places I'd like to go occasionally (as in, less than once a year) that I don't because it's just too expensive. Sesame Place would be $150 to take the entire family, so it's never been a remote possibility. But if my mother wants to pony up the money, I'm happy to let her. And I plan to try to convince her to put the money towards a membership so we have another place to go this summer.


Now that I think of it, there was another conversation I had with K this week. It went along the lines of "It's fine if you want to get some mandarin oranges from the jar in the cabinet, but once you open it up, you really need to put it in the refrigerator." I'm not sure how long it sat in the cabinet merrily fermenting away, silent but deadly, but eventually I opened it up to get a palpable wave of vinegar and the sight of some rather unspeakable oranges floating in a fetid soup. Yum-o indeed. Occasionally, I'm secretly happy to discover a container is an unrecycleable plastic so I can guiltlessly toss it away without opening it up to clean it and getting personally acquainted with its rapidly evolving contents.

As I poured K's prison wine experiment down the sink, I found myself wondering if citrus is used as a base for wine. I know of alcoholic drinks where you add alcohol to orange juice (screwdriver, mimosa... and that's where my sad, tiny knowledge of alcohol dries up without additional research), but is it ever used as base for alcohol?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Alec at nine (and two thirds) months

First, as of yesterday, he is twenty four pounds, four ounces and 30.5 inches tall. That's 90th percentile for weight and 95th for height. No tiny pygmy babies here.

I need to stop waiting so long between when Alec actually turns a month older and posting that month's update. For one thing, he's closer to ten months than he is to eight anymore. But mostly because every day I wait to update, he starts doing something new, and at this rate, I'm going to have to add "advanced calculus" and "builds small nuclear reactor" to the list.

Only a week ago, if you put him down on the floor, if you came back ten minutes later, he would have found a way to move about five feet. He was pulling up to stand and cruising a bit, but not in a very focused way. But in the past week, he's started cruising with aplomb, working his way around the room via couch and coffee table.

And he has started crawling in the past couple days. He's not very good at it at the moment - right now, he reminds me of one of those electronic dolls that crawls, lacking any sort of speed or fluidity of motion. But I have no doubt that will change quickly. Just this afternoon, I came upon him enthusiastically crawling after K, going faster than I had ever seen him. It fascinates me how he has come to crawling from the completely opposite direction as K. She spent months wriggling around on the floor, valiantly attempting to get her torso off the floor. Alec, on the other hand, has always hated lying on the floor, and his way of getting to crawling is to move forward from a sitting position onto his hands and knees as a way of stretching to reach something he wanted. Eventually, he extended it to actually crawling forward a little bit, and there's been no turning back. We are so very doooooomed. Last time we had a newly mobile baby, we didn't have an older child sowing small chokeables everywhere she roams. And every day, Alec proves that he can reach some new place that we thought was safe. It's tempting to give into my desire to toss half of the contents of the house out the window, but it's a generally unpopular solution. Instead, I'm forced to go with Constant Vigilance and perpetual cleanup.

In other gross motor developments, he can get into a sitting position from lying down.

He is eating three meals a day now, feeding himself almost entirely. A couple weeks ago, I was passing K a piece of bread at lunch, and he announced he was ready for finger foods by intercepting it. He has an excellent pincer grip and uses it to expertly pick up Cheerios and small pieces of fruit.

Socially, he has improved his flirting skills by learning how to wave. He does both the whole arm wave and the finger bending wave, which are equally ridiculously adorable. He's also doing some proto-clapping, where he does what's clearly clapping motions but his hands only meet about half of the time.

I think this is the age when babies make up for getting even more exhausting by becoming even more extravagantly adorable. Last week, he cruised over to where I was lounging on the couch and spent an entertaining several minutes playing peekaboo with me by hiding and reappearing around my legs. He's starting to turn into a little person, who communicates and interacts in a more real way.



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

K has been into Little Einsteins lately. Despite my general antipathy for products of The Mouse, I like it quite a lot. I've come to realize that the children's programs that I really like (Little Einsteins, Backyardigans), are the ones that won't drive me crazy if the music gets stuck in my head. I like both series for introducing children to a variety of musical styles beyond Vapid Children's Pop. I love that Little Einsteins is teaching the rudiments of music theory.

But mostly, I'm vastly amused by the part of the program where we all cheer for Felix Mendelssohn.


We had what I would call my first Grown Up Easter this year, where I made the effort to put some sort of special meal on the table. We've done Easter baskets for K for the past three years, but most years, we've been at someone else's house for Easter, and the years we haven't, we just never got organized enough. Easter isn't a holiday B cares about, so it's always been up to me to make the effort if I want it. And mostly life has wound up being too busy.

But this year, we invited a friend over for dinner and had a lot of fun. The children were charming, I managed to mostly not dessicate the ham (it was supposed to cook in the crockpot, but it wouldn't fit. So I had to stick it in the oven, but my recipe was for the crockpot, and the instructions on the label said two hours. After a while, it occurred to me that a ham that is already cooked and is just heating up shouldn't need two hours in the oven at 350 unless you're making jerky, so I pulled it out after an hour, thankfully before it got too dry. Next year, I'm rigging some way to do it in the crockpot anyway) and we got to enjoy strawberries and fine spring weather. We skipped church because most of the family was coming down with a cold, but everyone rallied by mid-morning, so K and I went outside and had fun hiding Easter eggs and helping each other find them. I love how she's getting old enough to start making this sort of thing really fun.


But of course, the REALLY important event of the weekend was the new Doctor Who. We both enjoyed it quite a bit. Matt Smith has a nice zany energy that should be entertaining, but was able to bring the gravitas at the end when appropriate. He didn't have either of the two things that bugged me most about 10, which was the mopey emo and the preachiness. Tennant definitely grew on me, but after somewhere in his second season when I found myself wondering why I was so lukewarm on him in the beginning, I watched his first season again. Oh yeah. Because he was preachy and self-righteous. So far, none of that here. Okay, I wasn't incredibly fond of the bit at the very end which made it clear that the Doctor ex machina moments that feel a bit overused are going to continue, but I think that can be blamed on the writers, not this particular Doctor.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The hobgoblin of little minds

Dear Governor Palin,

Recently, you've brought our attention to the fact that words have the power to hurt, and that we live in an ableist society where the disabled often have to hear derogatory terms for their disabilities used as insults. And despite you rather inconsistent application of it, I respect your defense of your son and the people who share his disability.

So it would behoove you to remember that there are other people with other disabilities in the world, and they don't like their disabilities used as insults any more than than people with intellectual disabilities do. I know it's hard to train ableist language out of your vocabulary, particularly when it makes such a snappy pun, but really. You can't expect the rest of us to do it if you can't be bothered to do it yourself, can you?


The daughter of a quadriplegic who loves her mother as much you love your son, and gets just a much of a gut-punch when people use "lame" as you do when they use "retard."

(And yes, this is just the tiniest tip of the gigantic planetoid of issues I have with Sarah Palin, but most of them involve incoherent garbling rage, and this is the one that contains a point I'd like to make to a lot of people, many of whom I respect. Unlike her)