Saturday, April 30, 2005

Tractors and Trailers and Trucks, Oh My

I'm discovering that one of the hazards of being the only female in a family is that we end up going to look at Caterpillar construction vehicles instead of the Nordstrom outlet when we have an hour to kill.

BUT....check this out! They had a gift shop! The lady at the shop thought A was so cute that we got three FREE caps! One flame-thrower like this one, and two plainer ones just for visiting! I put this one on and A told me I "look beautiful." I don't know about beautiful, but I do think it looked pretty good. I would never in a million years buy these hats, or a little onesie with the "CAT" logo on it, or any of the other amazing products they offered, but these were FREE! I'm going to wear it everywhere. And we all (except Ben) have one! I'm thinking...Christmas card photo?

We also got a DVD of construction vehicles doing their thing. There's one part strictly of explosions. Boom! There goes a field! Boom! There goes a cliff! Boom! There goes a big hillside! We'll have to get A a DVD of trout spawning or something to make up for the ecological devastation.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I Can't Finish....

Here's my problem with blogging right now. I can't complete a thought. I can't complete the laundry. I can't complete the thank-you notes. I usually complete diaper changes, but that's a loose cannon waiting to go off. I realize this is a normal state for mothers who have just given birth, but it's getting in my way. Here are some of the thoughts I've begun over the last week....

1. In South Carolina they passed a bill making a first offense of cockfighting a felony, while repeated domestic violence remains a misdemeanor. Representative Altman basically said that the chickens are helpless, while women are able to leave their abuser, and it's their fault if they don't. I think we should get Mrs. Altman to beat up her husband, since it's only a misdemeanor.

2. In the same week, George Will wrote a column that annoyed the heck out of me. Misrepresentation of therapy and psychotherapists is, naturally, a sore subject with me. The basic premise was that our culture is treating everyone as if they're feeble, and somehow that's the fault of therapists. I wrote a post trying to tie these two events together, but frankly, it didn't make much sense. Just know that they both pissed me off.

3. A now knows how to use the computer mouse and can point, click and drag. He can navigate the whole Playhouse Disney site, and he doesn't even read. Blows me away - he's not even three (although he'll try to tell you he's four. Don't believe him). Are kids today born with ingrained computer knowledge?

4. I return to work next week. God help us all if my brain doesn't kick back in. Clients will be treating me like I'm feeble, and they'll be right.

5. The novelty of having a new baby is wearing off. He's cute and all, but I want him to sleep more than 2 hours at a stretch.

6. I got a pedicure - it was a GC from last Mother's Day that I finally used. G walked around with A and Ben during my appointment and when I came out, A said in wonder, "You got pink toes?" He's asked me that several times since, like he just can't figure out how or why I would have pink toes. When you really think about it, it is a mystery, I agree.

7. A got a gift recently - "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus". Cute book. Except that it's taught A to whine "Plleeeeeeeeze?" every time I say no to something. Not so cute. Pretty annoying, really. Be forewarned.

8. The nurse at my dr's office asked me, out of the blue, yesterday at my 6-week postpartum check, "So are you going for a tubal?" Are you trying to tell me something? Did everyone in the office take a vote and decide that I should?

9. Apparently the nursing team that was on the morning I gave birth is being very diligent about sticking IV's in women's arms as soon as they walk in. It's oddly pleasing that I would have such an effect on a whole nursing team. I think they should tell patients that they're performing the "Lunasea Honorary Early-IV Procedure." (I almost wrote "Memorial," but that implies that I died.)

10. Drive-through services are a boon to parents with multiple children in car seats. There are not enough drive-through services in general, and there are not enough drive-through coffee shops in the world.

11. G just took a job with a Major Medical HMO in our area. He'll be doing groups with clients just released from the psych hospital. This means that, since he'll be working full-time, and I'll be working part-time, and we stagger our schedules to avoid paying for child care, we will both essentially be single parents. Let me be the one to break it to you: therapists don't make the big bucks.

12. I was playing with A in the grass, watching him move a toy jeep through the grass (over "bumpy muddy road!" he says). The jeep went on a huge safari-like expedition, this way and that through the tall grass. I asked him where the jeep was going. "Costco," he said first, then corrected himself. "Target" was the final destination. That's my boy.

13. Brothers - they've already got the same smile:

See what I mean? Lots of thoughts started, any of which could potentially be a blog entry, and none finished. On the other hand, 13 blog entries in one! What a deal!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Guest Blogger

I just don't have time to blog this week, so I'm propping Ben up at the computer and giving him a chance to express himself.

Ben's Blog:

Arrived last month. It was very frightening - there I was, just swimming away in the nice warm water, my every need attended to, and suddenly, the walls of my comfortable little spot literally began closing in on me! There was a "pop!" and all the water went gushing out! "Hey! Wait a second! I'm still using that water!" Well, it quickly became clear that my previously beloved home planned to squeeze me beyond recognition and push me down a tube about half my width. I don't THINK so, I thought. There must be another way out. Besides, who knows what's at the end of that tube? Could be anything out there. Let the cord go first, I said, and pushed it out ahead of me as a test, sort of like sending the bird into the coal mine to check for toxic gasses.

In retrospect, though, might not have thought that one through - I ended up passing out from lack of oxygen. Who knew that rope was so important? But, they did get me out of there awfully quickly and I didn't have the conehead I saw on some of the other babies. So it's all good.

They've brought me to what they call "home." There's a big person with boobs, and a big person without boobs (the Dark One). There is also a short person who keeps getting up in my face, all squeaky-voiced "Hello little Benjamin!" and rubbing himself on me. I'm a bit worried about that one. I do not seem to have control of my arms and legs yet, and so cannot grab his hair and pull yet. Give me a little coordination and I'll bet he'll stop all that fondling pretty quickly. But I have to be careful - he looks like a vengeful sort and seems to have many projectiles he could use against me. I'm not always feeling a whole bunch of love in all those "brotherly" pats, you know what I'm saying?

By the way, who's in charge of this operation, Rumsfeld? What do you think we're doing here, invading Iraq? What's with sending me out here without working parts? My arms and legs are, seriously, all over the place! They freakin' wake me up with all the flailing and I can't even keep my thumb in my mouth. And what's with the vomiting? All vomit, all the time. I'm getting better at turning my neck so it flings over my shoulder, but really, I shouldn't have to do that. I also have an inordinate amount of gas for someone who only eats breastmilk, but apparently I get that from the Dark One.

The one with the boobs has an annoying habit of being near me without putting her boobs in my mouth. If she's around and I'm awake, I see no reason for her boob to not be in my mouth. I have learned to begin screaming and then I'm like "Oh, look, wonder of wonders, I guess the boob is available, after all. Funny how that works. I guess you think I'll just stop if you put that thing in my mfmmmmffffff..."

This also works if I'm with the Dark One. He is useful, I have found, for searching out The One With the Boobs and depending on how loudly I am screaming, can find her quite rapidly.

The One With the Boobs seems intent on getting me to smile or laugh. She's always making these goofy faces and telling me to smile. I'm like, "Hey, when there's something to smile about, I'll smile, OK? But right now I'm gassy, my clothes are wet from vomit, my arms are flailing all over the place and you guys don't change my diaper quickly enough." But the fact that I can't speak the language yet is causing a communication breakdown. More bad planning, if you ask me.

Plan is to keep the boob in my mouth as much as possible, continue to work on arm/leg control, and stare at high contrast things. Oh, and keep trying to grab that short one's hair.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

WIth a Little Help From His Friends...

G and I were watching the coverage of the new pope while A. played at his train table this afternoon. I didn't think he was paying much attention, and besides, how much sense could all this make to a 2.5 year old? Later, the evening news came on and of course, led with the pope story. A. looks at the TV, sees Ratzinger, and asks me, "He turned Pope?"

I liked the way the clergy they used as commentators kept referring to the Holy Spirit like it was the project manager for the conclave. "The Holy Spirit has been organizing the cardinals to choose the correct direction for the church..." "The Holy Spirit is directing the vote..." I think Donald would be pleased with how quickly the ol' H.S. got the job done this time, (although Ratzinger scares the heck out of me).

Friday, April 15, 2005

The "Fatal Attraction" Lady Should Not Write Children's Books...

The rather ominous-sounding book A. inherited from neighbors.

Monday, April 11, 2005

What IS the point?

1. Quote of the Day: "What's the point of embalming?" said to me, completely out of the blue, by G. as he walked into the kitchen. Turns out he's writing his will and is always looking for ways to save a few bucks.

And let's not even discuss why he thought I'd know such a thing.

2. Things that make me cranky:

  • Unplugged toasters (that you don't realize are unplugged until you go back, in a rare baby-allowing-himself-to-be-put-down moment to quickly spread cream cheese on your toasted bagel and your bagel is still partially frozen).

  • Babies born with undeveloped stomach sphincter muscles so they throw up everything they eat. What's the point of that? Talk about a design flaw.

  • The volume dial on the FisherPrice Ocean Wonders Aquarium. Is there a reason children need to be able to turn the volume way up to "split-my-tiny-eardrums?"

  • That it took me almost 40 years to realize that the tune to the ABC song ("now I know my ABCs, next time won't you sing with me") is the same tune as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Next Year, I'm Going as a Rabbi

It's always time for a "things A. said" post.

1. Upon seeing all the cardinals decked out for the Pope's funeral
on TV: "Halloween!"

2. A. at the breakfast table: "I like Target!"
Big Sister: "I like Target too - there's a lot to see there."
A: (pause, thinking): "Yeah! There's a lot of red there, too!"

3. Tonight after reading "A Catholic Child's Book of Prayers" at bedtime: "Wow,
that was good story!"

Since Ben has been home, A. has become quite pitiful. He says, in this really plaintive voice, "Wanna play trains wif meeeee?" drawing out the meeee in a way that suggests that no one EVER plays with him and it would be his last dying wish to have you play trains with him just for a few minutes. He will also look out the window and say sadly, "Where kids go? I see my friends?" Of course, when we do meet up with the playgroup at the park, he won't really play with any of the other toddlers. And of course, I feel guilty for not sending him to preschool this year and for not being able to get out for as many playdates now that Ben's here. Does parental guilt ever subside? It's such a big job and there's just no way to really do it right.

The big news here today is that our tub is fixed. There was some blockage in the pipes which meant that we had barely a trickle coming out of the spout. For A.'s baths, I had to fill the tub with a pitcher of hot water filled at the sink. I felt like Mrs. Pioneer Woman, except for not having to lug the water in from outside and heat it on the stove. It was still a chore, I tell you!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Scenes I Want to Remember

Scenes I want to remember from the hospital:

1. G. saying to the woman who came to sign B. up for the newborn hearing test: "Now, we don't want him circumcised."

Woman: "Um, I just do the hearing tests. You should probably talk to the nurse."

He later told me, "Hey, to me she was just a hospital official and as far as I could tell, circumcision hadn't been covered by anyone yet."

Smart-Ass Wife: "Oh, here comes the lady with the meal tray. Make sure you tell her you don't want B. circumcised."

2. The NICU nurse, Ronald, who was a large black man with dreadlocks. The little preemies practically vanished in his big hands.

3. Our other NICU nurse, Roberto, finding out that I was a therapist and telling me his concern that his 3-year-old son was "too sensitive and emotional." "He's a caretaker," said Roberto, and then added, "Hmm. Well, I guess he might get that from me," as he fed a brand new baby.

4. A tiny, very unhappy-looking Indian woman in a sari who stood right outside the NICU door without moving. It appeared that her daughter had given birth, the baby was in the NICU and the rules didn't let grandparents in. She was not happy. The mother of the baby didn't seem very involved in the baby at all, and I wondered if the grandmother would end up raising it. The mother didn't want to carry the baby out of the hospital, saying her back hurt. I guess the father didn't want to, and hospital rules wouldn't let her mother carry the baby, so the unit clerk carried the baby to the car. She came back shaking her head. "They didn't even have the car seat buckled in."

5. After B. was readmitted to the NICU, I was walking back down the hallway to my room, lost in my thoughts, and a nurse came out of nowhere and without saying anything, wrapped her arms around me. I burst into tears.

6. One of the NICU nurses made it her personal mission during one of the shifts to give each baby in the intermediate unit a bath. The bath consisted of holding each baby under the faucet of a large industrial-size sink. It looked like she was washing heads of lettuce.

7. Whenever a baby's O2 monitor went off (and the monitors went off a lot), nervous parents would inevitably look up and stare at the numbers on the screen, prompting a chorus from all the nurses: "Look at your baby! Look at your baby!" Meaning that instead of relying on the monitor, we should check the baby's color to see if he was getting enough O2.

8. On the last day, we were moved to the "annex" because of construction outside the window. The annex is where they perform circumcisions and we saw the materials. There were baby-sized plastic trays that looked like baby-shaped jello molds, to hold their arms and legs still, and little metal rings of various sizes, each with a small razor blade in the middle. I have no opinion on other parents' decision to circ or not, but yikes. I don't even have one of those things, and I was crossing my legs, saying, "ouch!"

9. All the doctors, who, trying to be sympathetic, said, "Wow, a prolapsed cord? Phew, those are really scary. You're lucky they got him out in time." And the neurologist, who said, "If any problems show up on the EEG tomorrow, it's from something earlier in the pregnancy." Perhaps there's a better way to say you don't think there's any brain damage from oxygen deprivation at the birth?

I'll have to add more as I remember them. Sorry to subject you to all this, but this blog is pretty much the only way I'm going to remember anything.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Papal Coverage

I'm just so glad that Entertainment Tonight has promised to bring us "celebrity reaction" to the Pope's death throughout the weekend.

I mean no disrespect by this at all, but as a Catholic, I'm surprised by the coverage. And if I were a non-Catholic, I'd be pretty amazed as well. I saw on the CNN crawl line (before the Pope actually died) that the church was urging Catholics to increase their prayers for the Pope. I wish they'd be more specific - exactly what were we supposed to pray for? His demise or his recovery? Neither seems quite right. That he's admitted into heaven? He's the POPE, for goodness sake. It seems to me that if anyone doesn't need our prayers to get into heaven, it would be him.

Edited to add: I myself have been riveted to the 24-hour coverage. I'm fascinated by the rituals around the papacy, and this pope was particularly charismatic. It also seems that John Paul II, despite what I may think about some of his policies, was a genuinely good, faithful man. What I wonder, though, is what it's like for non-Catholics. Do they think it's a bit overdone; after all, not everyone is Catholic? And praying for a peaceful passing makes complete sense - I'm glad that it seems that's what happened.

I think it would be really interesting if they selected a non-European pope. Maybe one from Asia or Africa. Wonder what the chances are.

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