Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Very Good Day

What a day! The Taiko drummers were really amazing. The group was made up of fairly young college students, and they put on a great show. They had choreographed moves to complement the phenomenally vigorous drumming; it was a very physical show. Homestead Mama and I were moved and invigorated by the show. The drumming historically was used to intimidate and inspire on the battlefield, and also to synchronize the heartbeats of large groups of people. Pequita was nervous at first - the drums were so loud that you could feel the percussion in your chest - but transformed to fascinated. Monito was - well, see for yourself. video
Typical. Months of sleeping through his sister's occasional-to-frequent fussing/screaming have conditioned him, I suppose. Once he woke up, he was pretty interested in the motion.

We spent some time in the science museum afterwards. We haven't been members long enough to have gotten tired of the place, and still run around playing with things under the guise of showing Pequita the exhibits. There is a ball that floats on a jet of air that kept her (and H-Mama) excited for a long while.
We left because I was hungry, and the kids were asleep within a couple miles. We had a nice romantic dinner of takeout Chinese food sitting in the car at 4 pm in the parking lot of Lo.we's. It was actually a lovely snatch of alone time together - ambiance is in the eye of the beholder, clearly. We were at the home store to look into buying new doors that are lead paint-free, and found a good, fairly cheap solid pine door that will work just fine and are cost effective enough to justify the effort - it would take us weeks to strip the paint off the old doors given our amount of free time, and the exposure to toxic stripper makes it hard to do with kids around. We'll spend the time/money to strip the 2 big cabinets we have, but those we can do at our leisure. The doors we need when guests come for Pequita's birthday in October and for Christmas. Our family and friends had to use the bathroom and the guest room with only a curtain for privacy for long enough during the initial renovation, and I don't want to torture them any more than is necessary. (Actually, they should be grateful to have a bathroom with a curtain for a door. We have a good friend who spent many a day here pulling electrical wire, re-shingling our garage roof, and soldering pipes who still whoops with joy each and every time he is able to flush the toilet. Some people have a lasting bad reaction to going to the bathroom in the woods for a few months. In the winter when leaf coverage was scarce and the snow was deep. Go figure.)

Once we returned home, I nursed Monito down and started sorting books that we'll be donating to a local charity sale for which we will receive a tidy little tax write-off. I'm working on not being attached to the things that are cluttering my life, even some of my beloved books. I am keeping only a few fiction favorites, some that I haven't read yet, and all the pertinent reference books we've collected (gardening, farming, woodworking, cooking, etc.) Homestead Mama popped Pequita onto her back in the Ergo carrier and went outside to clear some brush from the yard while daylight was waning. We have a lot of burdock and thistle that are drying out and will be attacking the dogs through the winter, so it is easier to cut them down and burn them now. She came in with a burdock cluster stuck in her hair. I thought it was pretty, like a hibiscus in your hair when you vacation in Hawaii, but Homestead-style and an invasive weed. It was a bear to pull them out, though.

Less Black Saturday

Ok, we may make it. While Pequita wouldn't sleep in her crib, waking up every 20 minutes or so unless we had her between us, she did sleep last night. And as of 11:47 today our living room looked like this:


They only slept about an hour, but isn't that just the most beautiful sight you've seen? It is for us. With Homestead Mama home (weekend and all) my stress levels are much diminished about Pequita's whiny clingy behavior; four hands, four boobs, etc.


We are about to jet off to the lumber yard to see about buying new doors for upstairs since we don't have time to strip the (possibly) lead paint off them and it has to happen. We'll see if we can find some that match and don't cost hundreds of dollars, although our hopes aren't too high. The doors are original to the house, so are at least 150 years old and nice solid wood. Then we are off the the science museum to see the taiko drummers from the local university kick off the Japan theme that starts today. Hopefully Pequita will like it and Monito won't be afraid of the noise.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Delurking, anyone?

I'm going to participate in the 2007 Great Mofo Delurking extravaganza. What I mean is, I hope you participate in it too. I am definitely not commenting as much as usual on the blogs I read - no excuses are quite good enough since the folks I love to read are still posting.

I love getting comments here - I still am amazed people are reading it, since I have little time to write actual thoughts down and seem to only be able to muster kamikaze mommy updates. I know, the photos of the cutest babies in the world keep you coming back, but I still hope to do better. One thing I need to do a LOT better on is replying to comments in the comment stream. Seems a lot of the folks who leave a message don't leave an email - this is fine, but I could reply right in the comments so you know I got it.

So get ready. Next Wednesday, October 3, is the Great Mofo Delurk, and I hope to hear from a bunch of the people who know all about the intimate ins and outs of my life. (How many blogs include pictures of a naked lady in labor, huh?) I know you are out there - I check my sitemeter and see that I have readers from all over the world. Just today readers from the following places checked out the blog: Salt Lake City, Hartford, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, Texas, San Francisco; Iowa, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and all over Massachusetts, as well as Israel, the UK, South Africa.

For my part, I'll try to post more and better. We'll see how I do. If I suck at it, let me know next Wednesday!

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

Black Friday



SAHM: 4 good days

11 month old: 1 really, really bad day, which totally kicks my '4 good days' ass.




Pequita hasn't had a night terror for days, but has had two episodes while awake, which hopefully indicates that it isn't night terrors but is instead the developmental tantrum problem, which in theory will be over sooner. However, she is still off her sleeping kilter. She napped a total of 60 minutes today from 10am until 8pm when Homestead Mama put her down for the night. This is NOT ENOUGH SLEEP if you are eleven months old. She was a clingy whiny horror today, driving me to tears more than once and giving herself a fat lip in a clumsy fall. I called my sister for help when I was at my wits end around 5pm. She gave some great advice which I put into action immediately and it worked. She said to go outside immediately and let Pequita get tired, wet and have a change of scenery. We had just had a horrible hail storm, but the afternoon sun was out and it was just what we all needed. She loved the hailstones everywhere, and crawled around eating them by the handful. She went on the slide, danced around the yard,crawled on the wet lawn furniture and got soaked with icy water. We came inside, and I was desperately holding out for Hottie Friend to come over in the afternoon and help me regain my composure, but she had to cancel (for a very good reason - I hope it's going swimmingly!) I found her voicemail waiting when I got back inside and I was at a total loss (= cried more). As per my sister's advice, I fed Pequita some yogurt, then H-Mama came home. (!!!) After one look at my face she took over. Pequita had a long hot bath and played a bit more. At 8 pm, H-Mama nursed her for a total of about 3 minutes before Pequita conked out hard. In my first free time all day long (doesn't seem like that big a deal, but with almost constant stimulation and stress it can be hard) I lit my favorite incense, put on a Ray Lamontagne CD loudly and danced around the living room with Monito, who was happy for the time together. I then sat down to work on the computer (read blogs) and relax further with assistance. (Yes, my coaster is the wrapper from the top layer of cookies that I already finished. I was well into the second layer. No comment.) After a while, I looked like this:instead of the pinched shrewish sad mom I was earlier. That's the thing to remember - the tides will turn, you'll rediscover the love you have for your kids, and they'll be cute as hell again.

There was a highlight or two from the day, believe it or not. They include buying the crib I saw baby consignment store last week for $35. I also found a play yard that will likely adapt to a wood stove gate (I'll let Dad have at the mounting and modifications when he is here for Pequita's birthday) and a couple of nice pieces of clothing for next year. Boy, people in my town really sell nice kids clothes! The international students here have things that are so much better made and stylish than we can buy at Tar.get and the like. I'll try to get pics of her in the clothes once she has become human again. Most important highlight? The realization that even when I was at my worst I would rather be home with the babies than at work.

Boy Babies

Monito has his first diaper rash.  (Same time as Pequita's first - does anyone reading know if they can be spread from one babe to the next?)  Imagine you are going to give him some bare butt time to give him some relief, and are staring at him on the changing table deciding if a cloth diaper changed frequently counts as bare butt time since he pees so much.  Now imagine that he ends the argument by peeing.  How far do you suppose the copious stream would reach before you can put your hand (ew) over the flow to stop the carnage? 
 
Answer: 5 full feet, covering the wipes box, trash can, bookshelf, cordless phone, and light.  Sigh.

Dancing Queen

Monito is having a lovely time just chilling out in the neglectosaucer. Grooving on the sights and sounds. In swoops Ms. Pequita like Godzilla to commandeer the music & entertain her brother with a little dance number. I am becoming sick of the music selections on this toy. Why oh why don't they make one that plays Abba, or that you can download your own music into?

video

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Conceiving Monito

One year ago yesterday, September 26th, I was lying on an operating table in my RE's office (IVF doc, for those of you who are blissfully ignorant) getting pregnant with Monito. Below are the notes I made in the Excel spreadsheet I kept of my medical activity. (Yes, yes, I know. Closer to obsessive than organized. But we had a lot going on - Homestead Mama was 8 months pregnant, for example - and I don't like to relinquish control of important things. I had one for Homestead Mama, too, one worksheet for each month's activity. Big file. )

"9/26/06. Transfer day. 8 of 10 embryos retrieved were excellent. Xferred 3 best ones. Froze 5, tossed 2."

Sounds a bit cavalier in the re-reading, but keep in mind we had been trying to conceive in one way or another for four years and the magic had kind of gone out of the process. Granted, conceiving a baby is not about sex for lesbians, it is always about a process apart from that. Sure, it is intimate, important, and ends up being a physical process, but all the heavy mindf*ck that infertile straight couples have to deal with, the performance anxiety, the sex on the clock, etc. is something that we are not burdened with. Our intimacy might get totally messed up all on its own because of the stress, physical failures, whatever, but sex doesn't become a command performance. Getting pregnant doesn't start with a nice dinner and candlelight, it starts by selecting a cryobank and reviewing hundreds of donor profiles. Oh, and it involves a credit card or three.

Anyway, I was still not believing that H-Mama would actually deliver a live baby. I was convinced I would miscarry again. And looky! We got this: Looks like he's saying, "Hey, pretty mama. Come here often?" doesn't it? He is so tall that now that he is just strong enough to be comfortable holding his own (large) head up for long enough to enjoy the neglectosaucer he already needs to be bumped up to the next setting.

Yogurtcone - Great Idea Gone Awry

At the lake earlier in the week, a woman in my mother's group related the great idea of serving your child yogurt or cottage cheese in an ice cream cone to let them neatly feed themselves. Pequita is all about feeding herself, so this was a great idea for her. I bought buffalo yogurt at the grocery store because it is so thick it would stay in the cone; Pequita doesn't quite get the concept of right-side up yet. (That is not me you can hear delicately farting towards the end of the video. Monito is sitting on my lap & is the culprit. Really!)
video

I had a difficult time not laughing watching her massage the nice cool yogurt into her leg - it must feel like a spa treatment. She coated the floor, too, but when she started heading for her baby brother I intervened to much screaming & protesting, and we headed up for a bath. We'll try this again in a few months and see how we fare then.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sibling Love

They love love love each other. Here are some shots of their play when they are left to their own devices. Somehow Pequita always ends up on top of Monito.Pequita wanted to nurse and Monito was already doing so, and cheekily taking up all the real estate to boot. In a fit of pique, she bit him on the hand. I wouldn't have known what made him cry out and whimper if I hadn't seen the shine of spit on his hand, and then the teeth marks. I fear that the boy is in for a rough few months.

And this coat? Only $8 and a lovely purple microfiber shearling. It should fit her next year. I love it so much I'm willing to store it. Amusingly, she cannot get up in it when she falls. Am I a bad Mom for letting her struggle for a bit so I could get a good picture? Maybe.

The Birds

We met the mom's group at the lake yesterday. It was in the 90s and humid, so it seemed a good idea. There was much toy grabbing and Chee.rio sharing under the shade of a huge tree, and then the call of the water brought us all to the shore about 20' away. Monito stayed laying down on the blanket pondering the tree limbs above him - it was really quite beautiful. Pequita joined the other 4 kids & moms by the water. She loved sliding her fingers through the flat slate pebbles on the beach. She found the sand underneath quite satisfying. Mmmmm. Sadly, a few stray kid snacks can turn this idyllic site:
into a scene from Hitchcock's The Birds. The ducks were fine, but the gulls were aggressive.The children were all a bit alarmed; Monito chirped from his blanket and I looked up to see the brassiest of seagulls on the blanket with him eating snacks about a foot from his head. We retired to the nearby playground very shortly after.

It's 10 am: Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

[warning - potentially fatally boring]

Pequita is yawning after a hard morning of pulling all the clothes off the shelves. (*My* brilliant idea to forego dressers for nice open shelves for our things. Stupid in hindsight.) Monito is wide awake, but since the right snack bar is full and has his name on it, he'll be asleep shortly. I managed to re-organize the nursery clothes to get all baskets up-to-date, only current clothes in the armoire, and cull all the put-away-in-case-I-or-myu-sister-has-another-baby clothes and the smaller pile of clothes to sell. I also put away 2 baskets of clean laundry. I was never this organized before I had kids, especially not this earlly in the morning.

Damn it all. Pequita was playing in the kitchen (pulling all the tupperware off the shelf we set up for her) and 60 seconds later I heard her distress call. She had made it up the stairs that I had left ungated (a thump for me) and was at the top of the stairs wanting help to get down. Holy crap. Bad mommy. Really fast & quiet Pequita, though.

[Edited at 10:27 am: Monito asleep in swing, creaking under his bulk with every swing. Pequita asleep on her pillow pile next to the couch. Yippee! Uninterrupted coffee for me and some time to call the accountant and price cheaper car insurance.]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New Middle Name

We should have named her Pequita Patina Homestead-Baby instead of the actual middle name we chose.
We have been acquiring sturdy solid wooden furniture for years in anticipation of kids, furniture that we will be able to gently sand and oil the surfaces to make them like new once the kids are past the bashing stage. Mostly oak Stick.ley, but also mission-style antiques. She is wreaking havoc on it, as expected. It doesn't make it any easier to watch happen.


Let It Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

We're ready for winter. We expect to get back to our usual winter activities, like snowshoeing and winter hikes now that no one is pregnant in our house. To get the kids ready, I went to our local baby consignment store for their coat & winter tent sale last Friday. I scored a Han.na Ander.sson snowsuit for Pequita that will fit this year with the cuffs rolled up and might even fit next year. I may hem up the limbs a few inches (neatly, so I can let it out again next year) if it gets annoying to have cuffs. I love it. I tried it on her to see about the fit and expected her to hate it, especially since we were trying it on in 80 degree weather. As soon as she heard her legs swish swish in the nylon, though, she took off happily swishing all around the house. I didn't know it had the reflective piping until I saw what the camera flash did to it. Bonus! I got the best thing I could for Monito, a sedate navy blue snowsuit, since they don't seem to make clothes in riotous color for boys. As soon as I have time to sew, I'll remedy his wardrobe. I have an embarrassingly large fabric collection for just this kind of problem.
Best of all? These snowsuits retail for around $80. We got ours for a lot less. This does my heart good. I also got some nice sporty clothes for Pequita. I find that dressing her in workout clothes makes even Homestead Mama interested in her wardrobe, if only a tiny bit. Some nice fleece shirts and lined nylon pants, all very warm. Monito has so many hand-me-downs that his four baskets of clothing storage are packed. Things get a little more sparse as sizes get bigger. This is either because kids are eating after 9 months and therefore staining & ruining their clothing more, or due to the crawling, which at least for Pequita has left her clothes much more worn.
Once my parents arrive for her first birthday (less than three weeks!) there will once again be plenty of clothes for Pequita. Grandma lives in a very nice area around Boston and the consignment stores there are full of high quality used clothes. I am not averse to new clothes, but much prefer getting more for less.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tubby

Our son loves his tubby, just like his older sister. He giggles and smiles when submerged in the warm water, until the camera is brought out and then he gets his deer-in-headlights expression. And as always, his sister insists on kissing him repeatedly, no matter what's going on.

Tandem Napping

With two nap schedules and one mommy at home, here is how we do things. One of them plays with me while the other rides and sleeps. Presto, multitasking at its finest. (This was a two-hour nap for Pequita.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

It Is Official

I better learn the SAHM secret handshake, because I quit my job today, one month before I was due to return to work from maternity leave. I met with my manager and the department chair this morning and they took it very well. They both were a little surprised that I had been planning on returning after having two babies within eight months. It couldn't have gone better - when I am ready to return to the work force, my manager would like me to give him a chance to hire me back within the department if there's an opening at my level. It was gratifying, and the last hurdle for me to get over before relaxing into being a SAHM officially. Now, all I have to do is remain sane and enthusiastic while staying home investing my time and considerable efforts in raising happy, healthy, confident, smart and curious children. So far they make it easy. I'll let you know how I feel in a few months. I'm going to get on a couple of daycare facility waitlists (average wait time for infants is 9 - 12 months for an opening) just in case I hate staying home or my car blows up, the septic system needs to be replaced and the roof collapses all in the same month. Our finances should be fine, but certainly couldn't withstand multiple large calamities all at the same time.

Since I just QUIT MY JOB this morning (woo hoo!) Homestead Mama and I went out to our favorite romantic restaurant as a celebration, and also as a last hurrah before we start actually living like we only have one income. A table for two on the terrace in the Indian summer temperate evening air with lights in the trees and candles on the tables. A cute young waiter with a 9-month old daughter at home who was pleased to have a table avec enfant in his section. Scallops, squid, roasted beet salad, chocolate chipotle flourless torte and chocolate lava cake, and delicious wine with each course. We had a lovely time.

Hottie Friend made this treat of a dinner possible by pushing us to go out so she could get some baby time. She stayed home with Pequita, and they had a smashing evening by all reports. A friend kept her company, and they reveled in our daughters delightful company, or so I like to think, to the point where they didn't notice the squalor the house is (usually) in (these days). We love that. Monito came with us to dinner - I haven't been getting him acclimated to bottles because I haven't had to, and also because I don't feel ready to leave him with other people yet. He's still in the very-manageable-in-public-phase, and while he was awake for the whole dinner he wasn't crying, just admiring the twinkle lights in the trees and nursing both boobs dry. (Did I mention Mr. Off-The-Charts is in one doozy of a growth spurt?)

Maybe Hottie Friend's friend (possibly Outdoorsy Girl, but I'll have to get to know her more before a moniker will stick) will be able to do 'Girl Friday' help around the house for us - we lost the last person who was helping us manage to complete projects. I have started decluttering the house, but that has mostly consisted of me making piles in each and every room of the house of keep, give away, sell and toss items. I only can work in 12-minute stretches or so before one or both kids wakes/cries/needs me; at this rate it is taking forever. I can't stand it. I'm ready to burn down the house and start fresh with the insurance money. I suppose it will be easier if we can get someone to help us with childcare and project completion. We are hosting Christmas this year, so I've got three months to get all my ducks in a row. Plenty of time. The house will be clean and spacious and devoid of clutter by then, except for the baskets of baby toys in each room. Maybe if I'm brave enough I'll post before and after pictures. It will be embarrassing, but might be good for my humility.

All's Calm

Pequita was up 4 times between 11am and 2am, which seeems to have left her with no time to have another episode. This is good. (It also begs the question: did H-Mama's feeding her canned pears in light syrup - sugarsugarsugar - at 10pm crank her up? Oy. She wants Pequita to be bulletproof and be able to eat anything. We'll have to discuss this when we arent' sleep deprived, as I think she CAN eat pretty much anything, but when we feed it to her matters quite a bit.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Challenging Ones

Our OB has said, while watching Pequita, "The more challenging children make really interesting adults." At this rate, Pequita is going to be on the cover of Time Magazine by the time she hits puberty.

Pequita has been waking up at night with, sadly, what seems to be night terrors. She starts crying, and within 90 seconds it turns into screaming. Her eyes are closed tightly, and she seems to be asleep all the while that she is thrashing against our arms, arching her back, bellowing, crying, agitated, and inconsolable. A sleeping tantrum. She is completely unresponsive to anything we do to connect with her or calm her. Last night, Monito woke me up to nurse and as I put him back in his cosleeper 15 minutes later, I noticed Pequita was still in our bed, having fallen asleep next to Homestead Mama after nursing. I asked H-Mama to move her to the crib (because we all sleep better without a whirling dervish thrashing around between us all night) and upon being gently laid down onto the crib mattress, Pequita started the episode. Ho-ly mackerel, is all I can say. This is the third time it has happened and the worst by far. I ran with her into the master bath, since bright light has helped in the past, and since I wanted Monito to have a shot at staying asleep (which he did, the one bright spot in all this.) There, in my arms, she screamed until she was hoarse. I wondered if it was a bad nightmare, and tried to wake her up - I yelled her name, jostled and bounced her, even slapped her cheek, but nothing made a dent. (H-Mama said that dunking her feet in the cold water might have been more kind than the slap, but it didn't occur to me in the adrenalin rush that I was riding.) About 12 minutes after it started, she stopped, accepted the boob for nursing, and was asleep within 60 seconds. And allowed us to lay her down in her crib, and proceeded to have a night like any other. I'd like to note that 12 minutes seems a very long time when your baby is acting like she's being electrocuted.

I took her in to see the pediatrician this morning to rule out ear infections or illness, since she does have a cold. Sadly, she was healthy as a horse. H-Mama says that I sound like a ghoul for wishing double ear infections on her, but a 10 day course of antibiotics seems preferable to me that a possibly multi-month or -year affliction for which there is no cure.



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

SAHM


About a week ago, Penguin Momma asked in the comments, "How is it being a SAHM?" (Stay At Home Mom.)

I have been ruminating on this. It is mixed. It is also busy, and I would have answered the question days ago if I had enough time. (I post so many pictures because it is quick, and I am proud of the babes. I have many thoughts about other things that I don't have time to coherently write down these days, but look forward to posting.)

I have always wanted to have children and stay home to raise my kids when they are little. I want to be the person who shapes their young lives, installs trust and love into everything they do, and give them a secure start. I feel strongly that I can do more for them staying home with them than I could by putting them in a daycare facility. Not everyone feels this way - Homestead Mama doesn't feel suited to staying home entertaining babies. She misses them terribly when she is at work, but feels more of a whole person when she is working. When she is at work, she can forget about the kids and focus on her day. When I'm at work, my mind regularly is drawn back to the kids, and I am conflicted about my job - I like working, I get a lot of satisfaction from it, really groove on the intellectual stimulation and love to work with my colleagues. I work at a university in a high powered, high pressure environment doing executive support for faculty. Amongst the drudgery that makes up part of everyone's job, I have interesting, meaty tasks and projects to work on for which I get recognition and that I really enjoy, like publishing an 80-page report annually, and being the image and historical archivist for a thriving department, among other things. Before we had kids, I regularly worked late, took work home, and invested a huge amount of myself in the job because it was the best way to do it, and I liked getting things done properly. Since Homestead Mama has been pregnant, and particularly since Pequita was born, I found myself sitting at my desk pining to be elsewhere, leaving work early to fetch Pequita from daycare, getting to work late because it was hard to leave the baby in the morning, and generally feeling very torn between the two lives I have. When I'm working, I feel as though I am stealing time for my baby. When I am at home with the kids, I feel that I have to steal time from the kids for my work (be it helping my fill-in manage my paid job, or the artistic work I truly love, the fiber design & creation, stained glass, woodworking and writing.) Given that situation, I am much happier focusing on the kids and stealing time for work now and again. I know that work will still be there in a month, one year, five years from now. The kids will all too soon be pulling away and asserting their independence.

I have been spending a lot of time arduously weighing the pros and cons of staying home, quitting a good job that pays very well in order to be home with the babies. It can get boring in my living room with people who cannot talk yet - it is work to keep it interesting, and to keep myself engaged in the process. I have actively sought to build and maintain a group of mothers with whom to meet regularly with our kids to get some companionship & mental stimulation. In the group we have a woman who used to do mediation for unions, a German television journalist, lawyers, faculty, artists, a farmer, etc. It is never boring. We meet up periodically for evening pot luck meals with the husbands/partners in tow, and that is great as well. My wonderful town has well-appointed parks and walking paths for kids, and a science center/museum for children, as well as many activities for young families. It is a great place to raise a family, and I'm intending to try to take advantage of as much as possible.

I think I'll be happy and fulfilled at home. If I end up hating it, I'll go back to work. But I would always regret not trying this out.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Neglecting a whole new generation!

And did you notice that Monito has graduated to sitting up by himself in the neglecto-saucer? This means my hands will be free sometimes. Joy! (Mixed with horror and sadness that he is so big already.)

You Should Be Dancing (Yeah)

Anyone remember the Bee Gees? (Does anyone notice that I try to use song titles as my blog titles? Due to lack of imagination, usually.)

In the past week, Wonder Week 44 has served Pequita well. She has learned how to (quickly) climb the steep staircase we have, drink from a water fountain, and find things that are hiding inside and under other objects. She also has clearly used sign language to ask to nurse, which is super. And just last night, she learned to dance. It seemed to happen quite organically, at a mom's group potluck we attended with many other nice couples and their kids. She was alone with Homestead Mama and figured out how to make a battery-operated toy play music. As soon as the Latin beat kicked in, H-Mama said she started to bop back and forth on her knees to the tune. She has learned to do that to the neglecto-saucer music today - video for proof follows. She dances and H-Mama and I sit around her covering our mouths with our hands trying not to let our delighted mirth disturb her inner beat. It is hysterical and very cute.

video

She has also developed an awareness of her own smile, and now when the camera is pointed at her she SMILES with her brain = a little less happy looking, a little more manic. We call it monkey face. She's also cutting two more teeth, each flanking the bottom two she grew first. This helps explain her sleep difficulties and her unwillingness to eat much food; she's preferred breast milk for the last week. Time is flying way too fast.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Homestead Mama and Pequita were up at 7am (well, Pequita was and H-mama followed her lead) and went downtown to run errands. They came back at 10 and I suggested that we dart down to the diner Hottie Friend reminded me about - H-mama is all about the diner, so off we went. Thirty minutes later and we were enjoying corn bread & homefries with sausage gravy. Mmmm.
Since it was right around the corner and it was Saturday, we decided to go join the local kids science center - for a modest fee, we now have a 12-month membership to heaven. Pequita LOVES the under-4 years old room. Instead of figuring out how to keep a toddler interested in our same toys day in and day out for the entire cold winter, we can change it up by going on a field trip to this place. The water table is a big hit.
Pequita is hot on the trail of the concepts of under, over, in and out. She now looks under furniture, cars, anything with a gap under it. And is frequently rewarded. She found this green plastic thing under the water tub, and it was her favorite toy for the duration of the visit. And yes, we took our daughter out in her slippers. That is because Homestead Mama dressed her, and this usually means assessing if yesterday's clothes are still clean enough to wear. I changed her when we got home.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Her Future's So Bright

...she has to wear shades. Too bad that she found them more annoying than interesting when we were at the beach and they would have been helpful. What a difference a month makes.

Pequita had a wonderful first. She was playing while I sat on the red couch nursing Monito and chatting with a friend. She was clearly tired, but loving her pillow pile and crawling around. I noticed all of a sudden that she was still - never happens! She had crawled up to my feet and collapsed into sleep. Usually sleep is preceded by some whimpering, requests for nursing and a little snuggling. Putting herself to sleep? Marvelous.


And just look at the upper torso control. Not to mention the not so baby-like expression. Our little golden boy.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nonstick

Bonus: with my new shorter hair, Monito's spitup trajectory almost always misses my hair, going straight over my shoulder & down my back. (It took me an embarassingly long time to figure out why I couldn't easily run a brush through the hair on the left side of my head. Ick.)

And imagine my pleasure at realizing that I instinctively hold Monito (and Pequita) almost exclusively on the correct side of my body for optimal mental health. It has nothing to do with wanting my right hand free for typing - really.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

One muggy day too many

I prefer cool and dry to hot and muggy. I love the onset of autumn, the pulling out of the wool sweaters, the dry rustle of leaves on the ground. I look forward to this every year.



Here we are in September and it was in the 80s and 80%ish humidity yesterday at the farmers market. Blech, I say. When I came home, Homestead Mama watched the babies while I showered off the sweat and dust. That was not quite satisfying enough - if I could have gotten an appointment with my hair guy Donald I would have, but he's got a steady 2-week wait for appointments (he's excellent). So I took matters into my own scissors. Five minutes later, voila. Instant cool.

Wonder Shmonder

Our babies are, it seems, perfectly spaced to both be in Wonder Weeks at the same time. Fiddle dee dee. (We're trying to clean up our language since Pequita is clearly acquiring language now. I get well into the fffffffffff- exclamation and can only save the situation by sounding like Scarlet O'Hara.) I was up two or three times an hour with Monito from 2am on - he was fussy and unable to settle. He and I tried nursing, not nursing, burping, pacifier, watching the mobile, being touched, leaving him alone, walking, and lots of me muttering creative curse words under my breath. I believe I heard Homestead Mama chuckling in there a couple times as her charge was the "easy baby" for once, but she denies it. Did I remember to try bouncing him on the yoga ball, the remedy that always worked for Pequita? No. Nuts. Pequita was up several times as well with bad dreams - she wakes up screaming bloody murder or crying loudly, but is easily settled by nursing. I am a night person. We went to bed at midnight after watching a new TV show, and I was awake and reading until 1:30 am. (The show was Torchwood on BBC America - a spin off from the remade Dr. Who series. It was pretty good - H-Mama loves all things sci-fi, and I usually sit next to her working on my computer. This show I mostly followed.)
So once we finally gave in to unsettled babies and got out of bed this morning, H-mama took both babies and told me to Google Wonder Weeks to check. I'd have looked it up in the book but I apparently I lent that to someone. Lo and behold, they are both gearing up for a doozy of a stage shift. Yay. We will suffer through the stage regardless of what a book says, but somehow having it identified gives me the illusion of a semblance of control over it, which for me is helpful in reducing the muttering and cursing.
After a 10 minute workout in the Bu.mbo seat, and a 10 minute rest in the bouncy seat, all the while watching H-mama make us a yummy brekkie, he achieved sleep.
See my delicious coffee, fried eggs and mole' with tortillas that was brought to me my computer? Someone loves me, clearly.

Arrival

For the 4 years Homestead Mama and I were trying to conceive babies, I kept busy in many ways, but mostly I knit. Through the failed efforts, the non-starter months, the miscarriages we each suffered through, the myriad baby showers for other women, and all the waiting, I made baby hats, baby sweaters, and anything small and quick to keep busy.

And now look. We have arrived. Here is Pequita, light of our lives, in one of the hats I made in an outpouring of grief and hopelessness after my miscarriage in June of last year. Seeing her in it is joyous, but also a little bittersweet. Infertility is something that I have integrated, not gotten over.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

New Wheels

Pequita's recent yard sale acquisition. $5 well spent.
She'll grow into it. Until then, we do a lot of this.

State Fair

Last weekend, we packed up the two babies and went to the state fair. We skipped the rides, games and loud midway and went right to the animal barns. Monito was clearly too young, and slept in the stroller or in the sling on my belly most of the day. He woke up for the draft horses, though. He wasn't even as long as some of their heads.

Pequita had a traumatic incident when she was eye level with a goat who bleated loudly right at her. She was startled and cried, so we decided to introduce her to the rest of the animals from the comfort of our arms or the Er.go sling. The sheep were her favorite, being nice and peaceful and quiet. She also liked the cows. We had a family nursing session in the cow barn as an ode to the gentle beasts. I forget that once we leave our liberal town our unabashed public nursing is a lot more exciting/upsetting to folks. Bugger them, I say. We're lactivists, I suppose, since we refuse to hide the process under one of those idiotic capes for keeping the breastfeeding process a secret. I think they are far more conspicuous than what we use under normal t-shirts (although we use the cheaper Tar.get version.)

Homestead Mama's favorite part? This. She is a secret lover of the savory pink tinned meat. Blech, I say. We ate our lunches and changed diapers in the shadow of this truck. Very odd, but that's a state fair for you.

Monito, almost 12 weeks

Lest Pequita be given all the airtime, I offer a short clip of Monito on a friends lap at the farmer's market this morning.



He's growing so quickly! He regularly does stomach crunches now, trying to get his head up. He sits in the Bu.mbo seat for short stretches to help his muscles get strong, and he does pushups during his tummy time. He is awake for longer periods of time, and really grooves on his sister. She dances around in front of him (or on him, sometimes) and he laughs and smiles and coos. She, as evidenced in the picture below, dotes on him, insisting on kissing his head many times a day. She picked this up from us.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Embarassment of Riches

I was happily catching up on my Bloglines feeds, and had an Ah hah! moment when reading Julia's recent posts and found her link to this. Nice to identify what's been going on with me. I've been worried, annoyed, and just confused by Monito's constant burping, spitting up, discomfort, gas, and agitation around feeding. Pequita suffered from none of that, so it was a rude awakening when my spawn struggled so. Many of the remedies the article lists are things that I arrived at by myself (after myriad combinations of habits & techniques) or cobbled together from advice and suggestions. Monito and I are managing pretty well now, at almost 3 months, but it sure would have been nice to have this information early on. I almost went to a LLL meeting several times, but figured I wasn't having trouble with his latching on, my supply, or nip.ple pain and didn't make time for it.

I know many people who had it much worse than I do, who struggled with cracked and bleeding nip.ples, not enough milk supply (=interrupted nursing, expensive formula, gadgets to help feed their baby that require set up, cleaning, sterilizing etc. even in the middle of the night, not to mention the heartbreaking disappointment of not being able to bond over the boob with their babe) and I would choose an oversupply problem any day. Nonetheless, it has been trying, and has caused much anxiety and crying on my part.

I figured out early in life that the worst you've encountered/experienced is the worst you can grasp. I arrived at this conclusion when at 18 years old I was in my car accident. I would be lying in my hospital bed with 2 broken legs, a crushed ankle, head contusions, et al, and a visitor would come to cheer me up and compare my convalescent experience to their traumatic elbow sprain when they were 10. This really infuriated me for a while. I mean, come on, really - an Ace bandage vs. traction & a wheelchair for 6 months? After a while I figured out that *I* certainly hadn't understood real pain, limitations, and loss of independence until it happened to me and I couldn't escape it. I had to learn about all those things and to accept them as lessons over time, and I'm mostly grateful for the knowledge, even as I resent the hell out of the physical limitations and expense and trouble of shoe shopping and modification. So my breast milk oversupply is like a sprained elbow to another persons multiple fractures.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pequita - week 43

She laughs.



She walks. Started this past weekend, and is about to actually figure out what she is capable of, thanks to a little plastic hippo that karma put on the street with a free sign on our way home tonight. Lord help me.

Yo.

I can't decide if this look is Pirate or 'hood.
Regardless.

Behold perfection.