Friday, February 27, 2009

Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake

Baker's man,









      









                      
                                                      Bake me a cake as fast as you can!

Roll it.









   









                      
     And pat it.


And mark it with an L,  and throw it in the oven....





















And then have Daddy invite friends over to watch basketball on the night when Mommy has her meetings.





Thursday, February 26, 2009

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Seattle,

Are you kidding me? You do this to me Every. Year. 

Every February you tease me with nice weather that smacks of spring.  Warm breezes send the smell of salt water to my neighborhood.  I go outside and actually see the sun.  My winter coats somehow migrate into the back closet and their places are taken by jackets on the hooks by the door.  I plan new exercise regimes that involve lots of time on the jogging/biking trail.  I start making a list of seeds to get for my little garden.  I rake up the leaves and long grass from the winter.  

I get happy.

And then?
Please stop.  I am so vulnerable to your whims, and I don't know how much longer I can take your wicked taunting.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth

Monday, February 23, 2009

Communiquez!

One minute I had a little baby who was little and needy and helpless and then overnight she turned into a big girl who can move around to get stuff that she wants and voice her opinions - both good and bad.

As of this weekend, I have a relationship with Lucy – one that she recognizes. She started calling me Mama! When it started about 10 days ago, I figured she was just vocalizing and accidentally spoke the word I’ve been repeating since she was born, but I kept encouraging her to say Mama when she looked at me. And then on Saturday, she looked at me and said “Mama” plain as day without any other chatter. OH! The melting of the heart! (I should add that she’s been calling for her Dada for about 2 weeks now when she gets up in the morning. She is SO Daddy's girl!)

Something has happened this past weekend, and my baby grew up so big. Also on Saturday, she was up from her nap and I changed her diaper and then she made the sign for milk! It took a minute for it to click, because her default is constantly moving her hands like she’s dancing Flamenco. But then she did it again, and the request for “milk” was unmistakable.

Incredible! She’s a human! She thinks!  She has thoughts of her own when she thinks about things! What a shift in my paradigm!

I think I’ve grown up this weekend too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sleep Update

So sleepy.  But that's not the worst part.  The worst part is being sleepy and generally ugh while trying to entertain a SUPER crabby tired baby.

I decided that I was being a wuss by wrapping her with just one arm out, and that it would be better for everyone if I just ripped off the band aid real quick-like for a very brief amount of discomfort instead of drawing it out for a week (weeks?) of misery.

The night sleeping has already gotten better.  The first night was really bad, the second night was kinda bad, last night was bad, and I'm hoping that tonight will be ok.  

With Lucy the issue isn't falling asleep.  In fact, the first night I had steeled myself for something so much worse that I kept feeling like I was forgetting to do something.  She'll fall asleep within minutes of being tucked into her crib with her little lovey.  The problem is that her moving arms surprise her and wake her up a bazillion times each night.  And did I mention that she decided that 5:50 is her new wake up time?!  Wheee!

Do I even need to describe to you how way too early that is for me?  7 is a hardship, ok?  And now the beautiful, wonderful, lovely nap schedule that I worked so hard at is no longer.  Now she's so tired from the bazillion wake-ups and early rising that she can't stay awake more than an hour or so in the morning, and then takes three very unpredictable naps these days.

I think I've gained a stone in stress eating.

It will get better.  It will get better.  It will get better.

Good thing she's cute.








Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Storm Before the Calm?

I have a very sweet Bubba.  We had a laid back long weekend.  There wasn't much of anything going on.  A little bit of work for both of us, dinner with friends on Saturday, church on Sunday.  A couple trips to the park so Lucy could swing.

But we sure are all tired today.  Last night we decided to wean Lucy from swaddling.  

It's gotten to the point where she's so strong she Houdinis herself out of the wrap multiple times a night, wakes up crying, and one of us has to get up and tuck her back in.  We have had enough.  We are of the opinion that anything waking US up at night = not ok.  I had a conversation with a friend yesterday, too, and she said it's easier to let them cry it out when they're younger - when they're older it's so much harder not to go to them.  I have a pretty hard time listening to Boo cry anyway, but I was ready.

We wrapped the girl with one arm out like the pediatrician recommended.  But she could. Not. Fall. Asleep.  The Bubba was in there holding her free hand and singing softly until she gave up.  It only took about 30 minutes - I had steeled myself for worse.

But then the wake ups.  I totally lost count last night.  I think the Bubba took care of three of them, and I was up at least four times.  Plugging her pacifier back in, giving her the lovey to hold on to with her free hand...  

Not to mention the fact that Lucy is a huge whiney mess today even after an almost-two-hour ( partially unswaddled!) nap.  I got 40 minutes of Happy followed by 40 of Melted Into a Puddle of Misery on the Floor or On Your Lap or Wherever I Am.  I guess I should just put her back down for another nap.

This is when the self-doubt is at its worst.  What am I doing?  Is this the right thing?  My word this is a drag for everyone involved.  I'm miserable.  Lucy's miserable.  I'm sure my tired Bubba sitting at his desk trying to figure out some problems is miserable.

It'll be worth it, though.  

Right?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Dear Lizzie,


Happy Valentine’s Day!


I’ve hijacked your blog because I want every one to know how wonderful you are. Your boundless kindness, true beauty (inside and out), sharp intelligence, and endless capacity to love make you amazing and make me (and Lucy) very lucky. We appreciate you so much, and you really carry this family…will you be our Valentine?


As part of today’s celebration love, I feel compelled to include a brief story of how I proposed to you (for the benefit of your readers since you were there, of course). I hope you don’t mind.


Love, The Bubba


An excerpt from The Bubba’s Memoir:


The City of Love

October 27 – November 3, 2004

Last Wednesday I flew down to France to visit Liz. She had vacation from teaching high schoolers for All Saints Day. It seemed like everyone took a month off for this holiday (it was only a few days), but that is just because french people know how to relax and enjoy themselves. My blood pressure dropped a few points just from being around them. We spent the first 4 days in Nantes (the 's' is silent) on the west coast. Of course the first day there we have lunch/dinner with 5 of Liz's french friends. The one who was my age could speak English, while the other 4 were older natives who have taken Liz under their collective wing. They spoke english better than I speak french, but since I know no french there were clear language barriers. Nonetheless, i enjoyed being the butt of a few jokes, and I had a memorable 4 hour lunch. No lie. We ate lunch for count'em 1, 2, 3, 4 hours. It was GREAT. The rest of Nantes was a flurry of croissants, baguettes, cheeses,coffee, and L’ApĂ©ritif (drinking and snacking before a meal). the flurry of all things french fortunately continued in Paris where we spent the last few days. The sights, the food, and the atmosphere continued to amaze me. From the Louvre to the Gothic churches to the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triumph at night, the passion of the city was palpable. On Tuesday, we climbed the Eiffel Tower to take in the view, and with Paris at out feet and the passion of Paris all around us, I proposed to Liz. Oh yeah, she accepted. Now you might say that I bought into the cliche of the City of Love, but as my dad said after I informed him later that day, "You'd be a damn idiot not to propose at the top of the Eiffel Tower." So there you go. Even though we were only about half way up the tower, I think padre was 100% correct on this one….


Liz and I got married 8 months later, and 3.5 years later things have only gotten better and better…


Q: What has 2 thumbs and is exceptionally lucky in Love?


A: The Bubba.


Photo 1: Smooching at the Eiffel Tower after the "official" proposal


Photo 2: This is right before I asked Liz to marry me. Her video camera had just run out of tape, my camera battery was dying, and we both felt broken after walking up about a cazillion steps. Despite the weariness, the moment felt perfect.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Diaper Roulette

Lucy wears cloth diapers 90% of the time.  I read somewhere that to be truly more environmentally friendly by using cloth diapers, you'd have to wash them in warm water and hang them to dry.  I only have 10 diapers, which turns out to be a little more than a day's worth, so I'm doing diaper laundry once a day(ish).  Hanging dry is not really an option.  So I don't feel so bad putting her in paper diapers every so often.

I prefer paper diapers when we're going out.  Something about potentially having to rinse a diaper in a public restroom makes me gag.  Or having to carry around a dirty cloth diaper in my bag.  Not ideal.

With the new addition of solid foods to her diet, Lucy has these not-quite-breast-milk-not-quite-solid-mostly-sticky-grossness poops.  This stuff sticks around like caulk.  In order to clean it from a cloth diaper, it either requires rigorous scrubbing in the toilet or liberal scraping with toilet paper.  Neither of which are generally fun.

Yesterday when we went to the play room, Lucy had on a paper diaper and when we got home, I got to change a very dirty diaper before I put her down for a nap.  And all I did was throw the diaper away.  

That got me thinking.

I LOVE it when I put her in a disposable diaper and she poops.  I feel like I just beat the system.  Like I just WON something.  It's an intensely satisfying gamble, because it's so rare that I win so big.

If you figure a baby, we'll call her Lucy for the purposes of this statistic, poops once a day. Well, maybe twice in three days - the solids slow things down considerably.  And if I change 8ish diapers each day, then I have a one in twelve chance of winning Diaper Roulette.  

Well, actually, we put Lu in paper diapers at night because it's just easier.  And she doesn’t poop overnight, so we can rule out that change. So that makes 7 changes on average per day. 

Then lets say Lucy poops 3 times a week on average.  That equation would be 3/7x7 = 3 out of 49 or about 1 in 16, but exactly .061 so 6% chance of gambling and winning. 

Not rigorous to three standard deviations, but it's a good gamble.

Last night we changed her into a paper diaper for bedtime and she pooped again.  Twice in one day.  I should hit Vegas.  But then again, according to my statistics, I'm screwed for, like, the next two weeks.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's the Little Things

Today has been an Extraordinarily Good day.  Even though Lucy woke up at 6:30.  

It turned out to be awesome because she was tired by 8:30 and slept until 10:40.  Just in time for a diaper change and some quick second breakfasts to get to the toddler room at a community center to meet Maggie and Carrie and their babies for some play time.

Lucy sat and watched everything very contently.  She's a good watcher.  She stares in wonder at the big kids bouncing balls and eating plastic food.  

On my way out I bought a delicious latte with the money I found in the Bubba's pants that he thew in the wash pile (SCORE!) and took Lucy for her first ride on the swings at the park.  Curses that I didn't have my camera with - well, actually it was in the car, so, ok, curses that I'm so lazy - because it was hilarious.  She thought it was laugh-out-loud worthy.  That in itself would have made my day.  Latte and fun moms to play with aside.

And THEN?  Lucy didn't even fall asleep in the car on the way home, and went right to bed without a peep.

And THEN?  I made myself the perfect fried egg for lunch.  With bacon.  And the whites were all cooked and the yolk was just a little runny.  It was perfection.

And now I will use the rest of nap time to look through my new library books.

It doesn't get much better than this in my world, folks.  (contented sigh)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Awesomely Pathetic

All three of us have a cold.  It seems like yesterday was the worst day and we're all getting better today, but it sure has been pathetic.  I've got nose and throat issues and the Bubba and Lucy have the nose thing as well as a drainage cough.  It is just so sad to hear the sounds of a little cough coming from the crib and to have to wipe baby's runny nose.  Lucy already has the low volume whine perfected for optimum reaction from mommy.

Nothing's more fun than playing with Mom's lozenges!

In reality, it hasn't been too bad, and Lucy's been a champ about it.  Mostly it just makes me feel bad that she has her first cold.  Somehow she avoided that nasty flu, so I assumed that she had some sort of superhuman immune system.  What?  That's a natural conclusion to jump to.  And she is now fallible.  But her six month check-up was fortuitously scheduled for yesterday.

The doc says Lucy's weathering the cold just fine and not to worry - the cough might last a while without being contagious.  Which both sucks for her and is good for our social life.  

And I know you are all wondering about Lucy the Incredible Growing Machine's specs.  So here you go.  She's 28 1/2 inches which is still off the charts - greater than the 97th percentile.  Her weight is 17 pounds 9 ounces: 75-90 percentile.  Which happens to be on the heavy side for a wimpy mom and a bjorn or moby wrap.  Must. Purchase. Stroller.  The cranium measures 42.4 cm.  To sum up: GO TALL SKINNY GENES!

I was totally the worried mom at the ped's office yesterday.  I felt like I kept asking the same questions over and over.  Mostly because Lucy still sleeps fully swaddled, and I'm worried that at some point we're going to have to stop doing that and how do we?  Doc said it's not that big a deal but gave me some pointers on how to wean her off of swaddling.

And then there's the question of solid foods.  What do I feed her?  I mean, I know it's not supposed to count calorically until she's a year old, but there really aren't very many guidelines for what foods when and I'm the kind of person who works really well within set parameters.  My doc is really good at simplifying everything - she just said feed her whatever is categorized as stage one in the baby food aisle.  I make my own baby food, but those are pretty good limits.

So I went to the grocery store to get a feel for what foods are stage one and to grab some diapers and cough drops and kleenex.  You know the essentials.  And Lucy refused to sit in a cart.  Fine, she's a new sitter, that could potentially be scary, fine.  Except that somehow between holding a writhing Lucy and grabbing stuff off the shelves, I strained a muscle in my back.  Whine!  So now my right side is a little slower than my left and I keep getting bad crampy feelings like charlie horses in the middle of my back.  Not fun.  More whining.

To add to the indecent amount of patheticness in our household my Bubba just called to say he got in a "little accident" on his bike on the way to work.  And you "can't even tell" unless he smiles.  He's calling to see if our dentist can do some emergency repair of some sort to cover up the chunk of Bubba tooth that's somewhere on 5th Ave.  Sigh.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Six Months? It can't be.

Dear Lucy,

Some friends from church just had a baby girl, and as I held her I couldn't remember you being even remotely as tiny as she seemed.  In six (very) short months you have changed from this very helpless very needy little rooter into an active and funny little person.

There's not a day that goes by that you don't make me belly laugh.  My new favorite thing is your "fake" cry.  If you don't like that you can't reach your toy, or you can't wait the two seconds for me to warm up your food, you'll squeeze your eyes shut and let out a "aaaaaaaaah" and then you'll open your eyes to look at me and see if I'm reacting.  Then repeat until either you get tired of it or I do.

You just started sitting up last week, which means all kinds of fun new things for you.  Like being able to chase the toys around the bathtub or see your daddy when he first comes in the door with that look of raw adoration on your face.

You've grown out of your infant car seat and out of your 6-9 month clothes.  I love that you're so healthy and growing, but any time you choose we can cut out the nursing in the wee hours of the morning.  I'd be ok with that.

It has been absolutely amazing to watch you develop over the past six months.  I marveled when you smiled at me for the first time.  I got goose bumps when you flopped from your back to your tummy.  And now that you're sitting up?  You might as well be going to school for how big you seem to me.

It's just incredible to watch you express your little personality too.  You seem rather easily frustrated, but you're good at working on what you want - you've started reaching and pushing with your feet to get at the toys just out of your grasp.  You're learning so much so fast.  You've got a great sense of humor, too.  Sometimes I have to pause for a second to think whether you're laughing at the same thing I'm laughing at.

You've even made me a better person just by letting me be your mommy.  I have so much love in my heart for you sometimes I just can't imagine loving anything any more.  And then all you have to do is smile at me and I know that I have the capacity to love an endless, infinite amount.  I want our family to be caring and thoughtful and giving and loving, and I work on that every day for you.

These past six months have simultaneously been the most amazing and difficult and fun and frustrating and rewarding and hilarious and meaningful six months of my whole life.

Happy half-birthday, Lu-Bird.  Thanks for being my baby.  

Love,
Your Mama






Friday, February 6, 2009

This Just In!


Sitting!
A brand new vantage point!


Expert jumping:

video

Trying to sound like Mom and Dad talking (blah, blah, blah) along with her new growl:

video

My goodness, this girl cracks me up every day.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Let Me Count the Ways....

A couple days ago I went out with some mommy friends (it was as if I had a life outside of my child for a moment!) for dinner and drinks.  I don't often go out.  At all.  In fact, my once-every-two-months outing with these girls is about the extent of my nightlife anymore.

I told my Bubba I'd be home around 9:30 or 10 and out I went!  I had a huge burger and fries and two pints of beer.  Because we all know that in the company of good girl friends food mysteriously loses its caloric value.

About 9:30 a cell phone rang.  One friend said "I've been waiting for this.  It's my husband wanting to know if I'm ever coming home again."  One of my other friends said that she was kind of waiting for her husband to call too.

I thought that was interesting, because when I'm out with friends my Bubba would never call me.  Not ever.  Well, unless there was an emergency.  And even then he probably wouldn't call until he was able to tell me that he took care of everything and it was fine, but just so I know what's going on.

There are times when I really wish my Bubba were the kind of person who would call wondering where I am because he's worried about my safety or wondering how long I'll be because he'd like to try to wait up to go to bed with me.  The kind of guy who will call just to remind me that he loves me and he's waiting for me.

But then again, I know that he's the kind of person who would never call me if I'm out even until 2am because he'd be more worried about ruining my good time than knowing that I'm ok.  And then if I did stay out until all night and roll home in the wee hours, he'd get up with the baby and change her and entertain her until the last possible minute he could eek out of his morning before he absolutely has to go to work in order to let me get the maximum amount of sleep.

I'll take that kind of love too.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Food, Glorious Food!

I think Lucy’s growing. Not only does she eat like it’s her job during the day, but she’s been waking up between 2-4 every early morning to eat a feast before passing back out. Which is great, I mean we like growing babies! But, ugh. I'm so not used to waking up in the middle of the night anymore. Mommy needs her sleep.

Lucy’s been watching me very intently as I eat for the past couple of weeks. But for the past few days she has not only been watching the food-to-mouth trajectory, but she’s been opening her mouth and grabbing at my silverware. After I take my bite of yogurt, I’ll put the clean spoon in her mouth, and she makes the motions of tasting it and swallowing. She’s been getting mad and crabbing at me when I don’t put my spoon in her mouth.

So I figured that it’s probably about time to cave to her protests and try some solid food. I hesitated a good long minute, though. I mean, I just got my breastfeeding back on track – should I screw with a good thing again? But then, food right now is just for the experience of it, not for nutrition.  And after all, she turns six months in a few short days!

I mixed some rice cereal with some breast milk to very soupy proportion. Then I spooned the tiniest bit into her mouth. She tasted it with pursed lips, but not a drop came out. She swallowed it and then looked at me with a knit brow. I put the spoon full of cereal in her mouth again and she laughed out loud. My baby’s not really a laugher. She’ll smile, sure, and she’s very cheerful, but you have to tickle JUST the right funny bone to get her to laugh her husky “huh, uh-huh, huh” laugh. She bit at the spoon and then chuckled like she was laughing at some sort of inside joke.

I had to look at her and wondered “how much of this do you get?” because it just seemed like she was incredibly pleased to FINALLY get some of what I was having. About time you caught on, Mom.

Either way, she loved it. And keeps wanting more.

First taste of sweet goodness

And more!

And carrots!

And I even let her have a lick of the banana I was eating.  
She wasn't so sure about that one.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tastes Like Victory

Evidently it’s been a while since I’ve been out walking around after dark. Since Lucy started going to bed around seven (cue heavenly chorus), that’s usually the end of my night too. I’m not really even sure what goes on around here between 7 and 9:30 when I’m usually getting ready for bed. I know. A thrilling life I do lead.

Anyway, I digress. The Fremont neighborhood in Seattle is kinda hippie, kinda artsy, really chill. We have a huge bronze statue of Lenin in the “downtown” area and two coffee shops and a handful of bars, maybe a dozen restaurants. We don’t usually frequent any of these businesses due to the tightening of the proverbial belt, but last night was an exception.

We had a small victory we were celebrating, so after we put Lucy to bed, I walked down to the Thai restaurant for some take-out. It seemed like all the weirdos and riff-raff came out of the woodwork especially for me. There was the regular street guy hanging outside the corner market thingie, but he had three loud friends with him. Then there were a handful of crazies under the awning at a restaurant that’s only open for breakfast and lunch. Then there were a few more on the corner by the Thai restaurant. They all seemed to want to talk with me. I’m just not used to it anymore.

For the walk home, I decided to take another route so I wouldn’t have to go by all of them a second time and with a bag full of takeout. So I went down the less busy street and came across a guy squatting and bathrooming behind a dumpster. He called out to ask if I had any toilet paper, heh heh heh. Gross! Where did all these people come from all of a sudden? It hasn’t been THAT long that I’ve been removed from the evening scene.

Oh, what? You want to know a little more about what we were celebrating and a little less about our crazy neighborhood indigents? I can’t see why, but ok, I guess.

Well, the day before we went on vacation, my Bubba’s company cut about 25 jobs. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot but it’s not a huge company. That works out to about 18% of the positions. The boss-men called people into their offices one by one to give them the news, and word made it around the office of what was going on. The company uses a sign in/sign out software so that everyone knows who’s in the office/at the jobsite/out sick, etc. As people were let go, their names would be deleted from the sign in software and they would be locked out of the shared computer files. Bubba said that people were glued to the screens of their computers watching as names were deleted from the software, watching the number of total employees decrease and avoiding phone calls.  Basically worrying and wondering if they were next.

My Bubba wasn’t. In fact, we just got word yesterday that he was promoted to E3! That’s engi-nerd speak for Level 3 Engineer. That comes with a modest but not-nothing raise. It’s because my Bubba’s so smart and such a good worker, and in his own words, a Ninja-neer.

And we celebrated with delicious Thai food after a trip through Weirdoville, population: Too Many.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Got Milk

The week we got back from Wisconsin , I was super sick. I have never had the flu that bad. Ever. The losing of fluids in various interesting ways, the fatigue, the wanting to die.

But that wasn’t the extent of the badness. Oh no. I was so sick and dehydrated that I wasn’t breastfeeding at all. For the entire week. Lucy, meet Formula. Formula, Lucy.

Lucy’s system was insulted She went on a poop strike. There’s not a whole lot more fun chez nous these days than gambling on when the baby’s going to drop her next duce. I had to get her some pear juice to help things along after day 4.5. Which she hated, by the way.

But help things along it did. And when that bet was settled? Oh. My. Word. I won’t even go there except to say that breast milk on the out smells like lilacs and roses compared to used formula. Gag. And especially when I wasn’t feeling well to begin with? Ew. Seriously. Ew.

And THEN, when I started to feel better and was ready to get back into the swing of routine and feeding and sleeping and playing and whatnot, I sighed into our favorite chair with my favorite girl to breastfeed. Except that Lucy wanted nothing to do with it. These milk jugs were empty!

I called a lactation consultant and talked with everyone who has ever breastfed ever and asked for advice all around. Hoping, of course, that there would be some miraculous answer that someone would whisper in my ear that involved more words like “ice cream” and less like “dry pump every 2 seconds.” But I wasn’t so lucky.

I thought, “Well, maybe it’s time to wean! Lucy’s taking formula like it’s her job, she’s almost six months old, I could have my boobs back….” And then I got really sad about it. There’s a certain amount of guilt attached to breastfeeding for me. Like if I don’t, I’m cheating my precious behbeh out of something she needs. Which, I realize, is ridiculous. It’s emotions, people. They don’t often have reason.

But then again, there are so many upsides to breastfeeding. It’s so much cheaper. So much. And it’s super convenient. It’s not like I’m going to accidentally forget my boobs in the other diaper bag and Lucy’s going to starve. And it’s just such a nice little snuggle time with my baby who is growing so way too fast.

So pumping it was. Grumble, grumble, frickafracka grumble.

The good news is my milk is back. The pain in the butt news is that it took like 4-5 days that really sucked. (Ha! Sucked! Pumping!) Dry pumping has to be one of the most uncomfortable things ev-er.

But hopefully I won’t ever have to do it again. Inshallah.

And now evidence of my growing too fast baby:

Sitting up mostly on her own!

Figuring out how to get these darn things out of the box.