Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Been a Busy Evening of Babywearing Basics

I'm happy to report that my son feels much better today!

I'm hosting a meetup based on baby/toddlerwearing at my house in a little less than two weeks and I want to give attendees useful information to take home. I've been gathering information for weeks and finally spent a few hours researching the validity of the information. I have written about six pages (obviously I'll be printing them front to back!) and I have two separate handouts that contain illustrations and photos depicting safe holds.

I felt that I knew quite a bit about babywearing before I embarked on this journey, but my mind is boggled at how much I didn't know! I have seven carriers, five different types. I'm afraid that I want another type of carrier now that I've learned more about it. . .this is becoming an addiction, isn't it?

I have a little more work to do on my handout and I'm hoping that this meetup will be fun and informative for everyone who attends!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sick Babies Are No Fun!

I'm sad to report that my son didn't miraculously improve overnight and he was still sick today.

He had a pretty bad bout with diarrhea in the middle of the night and it kept the two of us up for a bit. He knows to let mama know if he goes poo-poo, so I went to sleep in my own room. I wish I hadn't.

When he finally woke this morning, I walked in his room and the stench slapped me in the face. He had a diaper that was full of loose stool. How long it was there, I have no idea. He howled and cried as I wiped him clean and his bottom and entire groin area was so red that it was almost purple.

He had no energy today and spent the entire day in my arms or laying on my bed. He even took a morning nap, something he hasn't done in ages, in addition to his regular afternoon nap. My son is typically on the go from the moment he wakes up until he falls asleep, so his fatigue is a good sign that he feels poorly. He also has no appetite. He ate 1/4 of a banana, five bites of chicken, six Goldfish crackers, and 1/4 cup of chicken noodle soup today. He normally eats more than this in one snack. His lack of appetite is particularly troublesome to me.

Having a sick baby is so hard. You feel so bad for your ailing little one and you wish that there was some way you could take their sickness away. I adore snuggling and cuddling with my son, but I hate that he felt so bad that he was content to sit still all day.

We did share a special moment today, just before he drifted off to sleep for his afternoon nap. He was staring at me, eyes heavy, and he was touching my face. I whispered, "I love you." And his eyes closed. I think it's so sweet that the last thing he heard before going to sleep was his mama telling him that he's loved.

Thankfully, his diarrhea stopped this afternoon, but he still had a fever when he went to bed tonight. I'm hoping that he'll be back to being himself tomorrow. . .

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Day Out of Balance

All it takes is one little thing to be out of balance and the entire day falls apart.

There was a bit of drama last night and I never did get around to eating dinner. I think that's what started it all. I wasn't able to go to sleep until a little after four this morning. Obviously, the official start of my day began waaay too early.

I knew that my MIL would need my help today. I brought lunch & dinner and cleaned up the kitchen. I meant to run to the grocery store for her, but I ran out of time. We enjoyed a nice visit until my son needed his nap.

My son didn't care that I was exhausted from the moment I woke up because he really needed his mama today. He kept telling me he was "tie tie" (tired) and he started running a fever at around lunch time. The only things he ate today were 1 cup of milk, one bite of cheese, one bite of pear, 1/2 a cookie, a cup of juice, and a cup of water. My son typically eats like a horse and his lack of appetite worries me far more than the fever. He refused every single thing I put in front of him tonight. And he refused every beverage I offered. I feel horrible that my son went to bed with no dinner.

Though he ate virtually nothing all day, he somehow ended up with diarrhea. Horribly smelly, gooey, and messy diarrhea. Did I mention that this was in a cloth diaper? A cloth diaper with gathering at the legs. That was the frosting on the cake of my day. Make that the poop frosting on the crap cake of my day.

My poor little babe only wanted to cuddle before drifting off to sleep. I held him close, humming his favorite bedtime song. He kept kissing me over and over again. Of course, I kept kissing him over and over again too.

Here's hoping that my son improves overnight and tomorrow is a much better day.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

La la la la, la la la la, Elmo Sucks

My son has grown obsessed with Elmo. For those of you lucky enough to not be in the know, Elmo is a Muppet of some sort that's on Sesame Street. He's red and he speaks in falsetto. He has a goldfish named Dorothy and he continually bothers a barely-functioning retard named Mr. Noodle. Or it's his brother, Mr. Noodle. And I hate that I know that.

My son adores this little red monster. He will run to the televison whenever he hears Elmo's wimpy voice or his theme song. He excitedly points to the TV and tells me it's, "La-La."

I have unwittingly fed his obsession with all things Elmo because I made the mistake of giving him two pair of Elmo jammies at Christmas. They are long-sleeved jammies. It has been hot the last few days. I want him to wear short-sleeved jammies. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I've tried to get him to warm up to his short-sleeved Mickey Mouse jammies to no avail. He apparently knows how to fully undress because he does a darn good job of it when I try to dress him in these stupid Mickey jammies. Last night he began thrashing about as I was dressing him for bed. He kept calling out, "La-LA! LA-LA!" I don't know if he thought the little red bastard would somehow save him from the indignities of wearing Mickey jammies or if he was simply demanding that I dress him in Elmo jammies.

He also has an Elmo T-shirt. An Elmo T-shirt that he has been demanding to wear every friggin' day. Thankfully, I do laundry every night and I can indulge him in this simple demand. The jammies were another thing altogether.

I checked at three different stores before I found one that had short-sleeve Elmo jammies. And I bought every damn style they had on the sales floor. For good measure, I also bought him some Elmo outfits for Summertime.

I dropped over $100 on Elmo clothes today. Jammies, T-shirts, and shorts. Over one hundred freaking dollars. I told my husband that part of this better count as the little one's birthday gifts.

I can't remember the last time I spent money on myself. Well, I did buy a mascara today because I was out. But to buy clothes just because? Geez, I can't even remember when I last did that. I'd guess I was still working, so at least two years or more. But I was (sort of) happy to spend this money because it makes my son so happy to wear clothes with his favorite little character.

He saw his new Elmo jammies tonight and his eyes lit up. He actually hugged and kissed the shirt before I put it on him. A hearty thanks to Kohl's for saving me from a bedtime struggle tonight.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Making Progress on My Journey

I did something this morning that I haven't done in ages. No, not that - you perverts. I worked out on a Saturday morning.

Even back when I was the Cardio Queen, I NEVER went to the gym on a Saturday morning. I would go in the afternoon, but never in the morning. I've always enjoyed sleeping in on the weekends and, more often than not, I was drinking on Friday evening and didn't have the energy to work up a sweat come sunrise.

Since I'm not drinking at all this month, I decided that I had no reason not to squeeze in some activity before my little tater tot woke up. Besides, I was attending an Easter Egg Hunt/Potluck in the afternoon and I knew that I'd have an easier time facing temptation if my appetite was dulled from some aerobic activity. I was aiming for 30 minutes, but I ultimately rode the LifeCycle for 45 minutes before I called it quits.

I'm fairly critical when it comes to exercise because I know how hard I used to work my body. In some ways, I feel that I shouldn't be too proud over doing 45 minutes because I used to do 90 minutes of cardio and I never did less than 60 minutes.

But that was then and this is now. I had trouble doing just 20 minutes on Tuesday (on Level 1 and Level 2) and I made it through 45 minutes (30 on Level 2 and 15 on Level 3) today. That is progress and that does make me feel proud.

Best of all, I remembered why I used to love exercise. At about minute 19, I felt it. That high-flying feeling you can only get by doing some moderate-to-intense aerobic activity. It's exhilarating and it's a big reason why I enjoyed working out. I began to smile and punched the air for a few minutes before raising them over my head in some sort of mental victory. My face was flushed and my eyes were lively. My skin glowed and I tingled from my head to my toes. It was almost as good as an orgasm except my panties weren't soaked from anything besides my sweat. That warm feeling remained long after I showered.

I used to feel a real joy of movement and I suppose I had missed moving my body. Once I experienced that awesome and long-forgotten feeling, I knew that I will be able to embrace activity once again. Sure, it will take some time to work up to 60 minutes and even longer to work up to 90 minutes. But I can do 45 minutes today and I will do 45 minutes tomorrow.

Thanks to the aerobic appetite suppression, I was able to resist unhealthy choices that would have tripped me up at the potluck this afternoon. Macaroni & cheese, cocktail meatballs, and potato dishes surely would have been my downfall. Instead, I chose to enjoy a hamburger patty, a lot of raw veggies (that was my contribution!), and some fresh fruit. I did decide to have a sliver of homemade chocolate cake and a 1/2 cup serving of homemade banana pudding. I reasoned that I would use my dinner points on dessert at the potluck because I knew that I wouldn't eat supper tonight since the potluck was in the late afternoon.

I've faced quite a bit of temptation in the last two days. I went to John's Incredible Pizza for lunch yesterday and I had the potluck today. I feel that I handled both situations very well. I budgeted my points with these events in mind and I made great choices along the way. Add in the activity and I think I'm definitely making solid progress on my weight loss journey.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Slingin' Babies & Pouchin' Toddlers

I won't have time to write a post tomorrow, so I figured that I better do it tonight.

Earlier this month I wrote about how much I adore my Maya Wrap Adjustable Pouch. It has proven to be an indispensable part of my parenting arsenal. I truly wonder how I parented effectively without an appropriate carrier for my toddler.

When my son is upset or overwhelmed, he goes in the pouch. When my son is tired and we're out, he goes in the pouch. When we're in situations that can be dangerous, he goes in the pouch. When Mama needs an extra pair of arms, he goes in the pouch. You get the idea. I have "pouched" him as he's starting to have a meltdown and being held close quickly restores his sweet attitude. I've joked that we should have named him Joey because he likes being in the pouch so much.

I took my MIL to the doctor again today and she requires a wheelchair at the moment. He won't sit still on her lap and he can't be trusted to walk by himself without holding Mama's hand, so he went in the pouch. My son eagerly snuggled up to me once he was safely ensconced in the pouch and I was able to push my MIL in the wheelchair.

Two different people stopped to ask me about the pouch.

While in the elevator, one woman asked my son's weight and I replied that he was around 25 pounds. Her eyes widened and she asked if he was too heavy to carry him in the pouch. I told her that it's perfectly comfortable for us and just a few weeks ago he was pouched for 3 1/2 hours with no problems. She told me that a friend can't wear her 20-pound baby because the child is so heavy. I let her know that there many types of carriers, one for nearly any mama and nearly any baby, gave her some ideas, and exited the elevator.

While checking in, the receptionist commented that my son looked comfortable hanging out in the pouch and I replied that I thought he was. She wanted to know if it was difficult to wear him. I told her the same thing that I'd told the woman in the elevator. The receptionist responded that she can't wear her 6-month old anymore because it's painful for mama. I asked what type of carrier she was using and it sounds like she's using a Baby Bjorn or some other type of crotch-dangle baby carrier. You know what I mean, the kind that has the baby facing outward, legs dangling, and all the baby's weight is supported by their crotch. I suggested a few carriers that would be more comfortable for her and for her baby. She countered that there has been a "sling recall" and I let her know that the recall is about a specific type of carrier, not all "slings" or carriers are dangerous. She mentioned that babies had suffocated while being worn and I let her know that it is perfectly safe to wear your baby or toddler if you are using an appropriately-designed carrier and using it properly. By now there was a line behind me and I finished by encouraging her to check out babywearing to learn about the vast variety of carriers that are available.

I typically like to quickly go about my business and don't like to idly chit-chat with strangers that I will most likely never see again. Since when do I care what someone thinks of baby/toddlerwearing? I can only guess that I care because I love it so much and it has brought tremendous comfort to my son. I believe that we have a special bond because I wore him so often in the early days. No, I'm not saying that mamas who don't wear their babies don't have a special relationship. I'm saying that I believe that my relationship with my son has been enhanced because I chose to keep him close all the time. Well, except bedtime because he's always slept in his own bed.

The pediatrics department was busy today and ALL infants were strapped into their infant carseat/carriers while waiting. Yes, every single infant was left to sit in a carseat/carrier. Some of the carseat/carriers were on the floor, which is the safest place I suppose, others were on a chair next to mom. Out of all the moms that I saw today, around ten or so, only one was paying any attention to her baby. Even when babies were fussing, moms still didn't pick up their child and chose to rock/shake the carseat/carrier instead. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with carseat/carriers, I know some good mamas who have used them, but the behavior in the waiting room today was interesting to me.

I can't imagine putting my baby in a carseat/carrier and toting them around that way. Let's start with the fact that they are heavy and bulky. Kind of like, well, a carseat. I hated the idea of leaving my son in a seat when he didn't have to be and I loved to cuddle with him in waiting rooms, in stores, in restaurants, anywhere. Before anyone gets all up in arms, remember, I am not saying there is anything wrong with carseat/carriers. I just would never, never, never tote my son around in one because I prefer to wear him close.

Wearing your children, pushing them in strollers, toting them in carseat/carriers. . .I don't know which is best. But I do know which I prefer for my children and now my readership does too. What about you?

Diva Cup - Month Three

WARNING - WARNING - WARNING: This is yet another post about my vagina and it's on-going adventures with a Diva Cup. Stop reading if it will creep you out to read about my period and stuff like that.

It's been three cycles with the Diva Cup. I initially thought it was the worst invention in history, far worse than a Chia Pet, but I'm definitely coming around. I guess you can say that I have a love/hate relationship with the Diva Cup. I love it most of the time and I absolutely detest it some of the time.

Let's start with fit since that is what has caused me the most problems. I still think it's too big, but I've learned to deal with it. If I relax and bear down (does that make sense?) during removal, I have a much easier time and it isn't nearly as painful. Insertion isn't usually too bad if I fold it as small as possible and lift my leg as high as possible. Yes, it does look like I'm doing bizarre yoga poses when I'm inserting my Cup.

I made the mistake of telling my husband that the Diva Cup would be perfect if I could just stretch out my vagina a tiny bit. Heh, tiny bit! Anyway, I don't mean that I want it as wide as the Midtown tunnel, but insertion and removal would be so much easier if my nether regions were just a little more roomy. My husband shot me an incredulous look and sarcastically said, "Oh yeah, that's a great idea!"

Of course, this is the guy who half-heartedly suggested that I consider having another C-section once I have our second child. You know, so that the playpen isn't destroyed by our child's melon head and broad shoulders. Honestly, that is a concern I have too, but that's another topic for another day.

So, for the most part, I have insertion and removal down. I haven't had too much trouble emptying or cleaning the Cup. Storing the Cup is easy enough. Not having to buy tampons is wonderful. In two more months the Cup will have paid for itself in tampon savings. However, I have been using a liner each day that my Aunt is visiting. I have one very heavy flow day each cycle (I fill the cup several times in a twelve hour period - hehe, period!) and sometimes the liners are necessary.

My biggest problem at this point is my morning routine. I have a tiney vaginey and it gets very irritated at intruders in the morning. The Diva Cup doesn't even try to make out for a little bit before barging on in and my vadge particularly despises the Cup in the morning. It gets so angry and clenches up so tight that, I swear, it can turn coal into diamonds.

Obviously, I have grown to hate the Cup every morning. But the rest of the day typically makes up for it. Like I said, it's a love/hate relationship.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Party Girl Confronts Her Past

In addition to this being Day 3 of my weight loss journey, it is also the third day that I am abstaining from alcohol. I plan to avoid booze for at least 30 days to get this weight loss started the right way. Since I've made it forbidden, I'm naturally jonesing for a drink to wind down.

I don't hide the fact that I like to drink. I really, really, really like it. I like wine, champagne, sparkling wine (no, it is not the same as champagne), light beer, vodka, tequila, and the occasional glass of whiskey or bourbon. If I didn't have my son to look after, I would probably drink every day.

I can't say when this love of liquor developed. I was born in the 70s and, prenatal care being what it was, my mother drank a little when she was pregnant. And when she was nursing. Alcoholism runs in my family, perhaps the taste for booze is buried somewhere in my genes. I got drunk for the first time at the wedding of my mother & father when I was six-years old. Can you imagine? A drunk six-year old. Of course, the next morning I was a hungover six-year old and everyone put together why I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to party with the adults. No, no one was serving me Stingers. I had simply asked for a cup of punch, champagne punch, from every guest. Everyone figured that one cup couldn't hurt and gave it to me. Looking back, I wonder if anyone else even had a sip of that delectable nectar.

I generally hate pack-rattery, but one benefit is that you run across all sorts of useful stuff. I ran across four 12-week food journals that I kept when I initially was on Weight Watchers. I lost just over 30 pounds when I was on the program, so I eagerly perused my journals to see if I could gain any insight to my weight loss.

Talk about an eye-opener!

I discovered that I abstained from alcohol during only one week out of the 48-weeks I tracked. One week out of 48! Another week I only consumed two vodka tonics in the entire week. Sounds pretty good, right? Wrong. Those were the only two weeks that I didn't drink like a fish. Let that sink in. I enjoyed a modest amount of alcohol in only two weeks out of 48.

One week I consumed nine total drinks, a mix of wine, beer, and liquor. And I wrote, "Awesome," next to the tally. That's more than one drink a day and I hardly think it's awesome today. And it gets much, much worse. One week I consumed a total of two bottles of wine (that's bottles, as in five glasses are found in a bottle), 2 beers, and 2 "diet" margaritas. You know, is the diet really that important to you when you are drinking BOTTLES of wine?! I wrote, "Good Job," next to that one. Really, MrsHashBrown, that's a good job? WTF would be a bad job? Well, I soon found out!

I figured that the absolute worst week would have been when we were out of town or at a Jimmy Buffett concert or something. Nope. It was just a random week as far as I can tell. A week that I consumed 41 alcoholic beverages. Forty-one! That's like having six freaking alcoholic beverages every single day of the week. I had the good taste to write, "Not Good," next to that one. No kidding.

The really crazy thing is that on binge-drinking days I would horde my daily points by eating a lot of vegetables. Some days I damn-near drank all of my points. And, yet, I somehow still lost weight. Oddly enough, my weight losses and gains do not appear to correlate with my alcohol consumption. I think that it was only my dedication to exercise that allowed me to lose any weight at all. Frankly, I'm not surprised that I never hit my goal weight with that kind of piss-poor dedication to the program.

I knew I was a pathetic, falling-down drunk when I was married to my ex-husband. I was miserable and just wanted to drink myself into oblivion when I was married to him. But I had no idea that I was still drinking so much after I married my husband. I'm wild about my husband, why do I still need to drink so freaking much?

I'm amazed that one person can drink so much and still have the ability to track their drinks. I'm amazed that I lost any weight at all. After reading the booze consumption on some days, I'm amazed that I have never had alcohol poisoning. Seriously, I think I could drink damn-near anyone under the table back then. Talk about a party girl!

Now, I haven't been drinking so heavily in recent times because I have a little boy to look after and he wants his love & care whether Mama has a hangover or not. But it is scary to me to read just how over-the-edge I was. And it's impossibly easy to go from one drink to two drinks to three drinks to out of control.

I think it's a very good idea that I lay off the liquor this time around. Hopefully my dedication will yield the results I'm seeking.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 2 - Overcoming Hurdles

I dragged my old bones out of bed at 6:39 this morning so that I could squeeze in a workout before my kiddo woke up. I didn't want to get up and exercise, particularly when my husband told me it was time to wake up, but I told a friend I would and I didn't want to let her down. Being accountable is tremendously motivating.

So I started the morning with a workout. It was the weakest workout I've ever done, but I did it and I'm proud that I made the effort. Sure, I was queasy and had the shakes by the time I was done, but I felt pretty good about a half-hour after I finished.

My kiddo was still sleeping, so I took advantage of the time to plan my day's meals. I even measured out my breakfast and first snack and wrote them in my food journal. Then my son woke up and we had to hustle out the door to make it to pre-pre-school on time.

There is a snack break at about the mid-point of my son's class. I had packed his snack and my snack before running out the door this morning. My snack, per my food journal, consisted of pineapple and celery sticks. His snack consisted of string cheese, Cheerios, raisins, and a Nutri-Grain bar. Yes, I know he eats a lot, but somehow he is always on the light side of the pediatrician's charts. I think he has a hollow leg. . .

Anyway, my son took one bite of his string cheese and told it, "bye-bye," signifying that he was finished with it and he moved on to his Cheerios. I casually picked up the cheese and brought it to my mouth - and then I stopped. I hadn't written down string cheese in my food journal. I didn't know if I would have the points to waste on string cheese after eating lunch, dinner, and snacks. So I threw the cheese in the trash.

I'm a little bummed out that I'm already facing hurdles, but I feel proud that I handled it the right way. Day 2 was a good day and I hope to say the same about Day 3!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 1 - So Far, So Good

Today is the first day of my lifestyle change. I woke up this morning and jumped on the scale for my initial weigh-in. It was worse, much worse, than I expected. I was in shock for at least an hour and I'm still reeling from the digital numbers that glared at me this morning. Okay, more like I was glaring at the digital numbers on the scale.

I weigh more now than I did the day I delivered my son. And I don't have the whole 39-weeks pregnant excuse. I can't even say it's "babyweight" because I lost all 27 pounds of it in short order. No, I gained "toddlerweight" - well over 30 pounds of freaking weight. I could just kick myself, but I'm too fat to make the effort. Of course, my ass has grown so big that it probably wouldn't take much effort at all!

But okay. Dwelling on it or being pissed about it isn't going to make anything any different. I had to know what I'm working with here. Now I know where I'm starting from and I'm working my plan.

The best tool for weight loss for me has always been tracking. Not just tracking, but accurate tracking. Every Bite. Every Taste. Every Lick. If it goes in my mouth, it gets tracked in my food journal. Well, not everything - you perverts!

To help with my tracking, I have been using measuring cups and measuring spoons all day. A drink of milk in the morning - measured it. Salad dressing with my lunch - measured it. A few bits of pineapple in-between a snack and a meal - measured that too. And I will have to do so for many weeks and months to come because I am no longer accurate when eyeballing a serving size.

I've discovered a few things today. More accurately, I've re-discovered a few things today.

- A Tablespoon of salad dressing is plenty for 2 cups of greens if you don't like your salad to look like soup.

- A 1/4 cup of avocado is much smaller than I remembered.

- One cup of fruit will make you feel stuffed. For about an hour.

I tracked all day and didn't even taste the meals I prepared this morning - that was harder than I expected! I've also had a headache all day. No doubt because my body is craving fat, salt, and sugar - three things that aren't really helpful for weight loss and most likely helped contribute to the weight gain. Thanks to the persistent headache, the most activity I could handle (besides chasing around my son) was picking fruit for about 30 minutes.

The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. I took that first step today. Day 1 is down and I stayed within my daily points target so I consider it a success.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health Care is NOT the Same as The Civil Rights Movement

And it is so GD offensive to say that it is. I'll get back to that in a moment, but for the moment, know that our esteemed leaders have passed a bill(s) that puts the government in control of a significant portion of our economy.

Here are the highlights of this oh-so-wonderful legislation: Adults who don't want to purchase health coverage will be forced to purchase it under threat of financial penalty. Seniors who use Medicare Advantage will no longer be able to keep their existing coverage. Insurance companies (who aren't charities, for the record) will not be able to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions - conditions that are likely to cost the insurance company a lot of money over time. Insurers will be obligated to allow 26-year old, ahem, children to stay on the parent's plan. That's not a typo, folks. I've purchased my own health insurance since I was 21-years old, but apparently kids today just can't get their shit together and buy insurance if it's important to them. And if it's not important to them, as it often isn't to young adults, they will still be forced to purchase insurance - see first point.

Yes, Congress has passed that POS health care bill.

As a libertarian, I am firmly opposed to the government monkeying around with much of anything and I sure as heck am opposed to them expanding any further than they already have in the last several years. Unfortunately, this is the type of stuff that happens when two of our three branches of government are controlled by the same party. Abuse of power is much easier when no one is going to stop you, see? And, in case you think I'm giving a free pass to the abuses of power that occurred during the Bush years with a Republican-controlled Congress, I am absolutely not because they sickened me as well. But those guys were yesterday's news and today's news involves Obama & Co.

Among other atrocities contained in the legislation: Families earning up to $88,000 apparently need help to pay health insurance premiums and they'll get it. Tax increases and Medicare cuts. Childless adults will be eligible for Medicaid in 2014. Individuals earning over $200K (and couples earning over $250K) will be hit with a new Medicare payroll tax. Individuals fortunate enough to have a so-called "Cadillac-plan" for health coverage will have the privilege of paying a new excise tax for their good fortune. Of course, this last bit was scaled back significantly because union thugs opposed it and goodness knows that anyone with a "D" behind their name will walk in lock-step with their union benefactors.

All of this is disturbing enough to me, but the following quote has me seeing red:

"This is the civil rights act of the 21st century."

That verbal excrement was uttered by Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. Rep. Clyburn is a ranking member of the House. A very high-ranking black member of the House. And he had the nerve to say that this health care tripe is akin to securing civil rights for all Americans.

Look, think what you will about the need for health care reform. Think what you will about the civil rights struggle. But understand that they are fundamentally different on the most base level.

Groups of Americans suffered from discrimination, even SCOTUS-sanctioned discrimination. Think about that for a moment. Americans suffered legally-sanctioned discrimination. That was wrong and it is a part of America's shameful past that we shouldn't forget, lest we are doomed to repeat it with another group of Americans. No, I'm not going there. But I probably will at some point in a future post.

Of course, comparing health care to civil rights implies that those who oppose another bloated social problem would also be opposed to securing civil rights for all Americans. You know, the health care opposition are just a bunch rednecks. And, let's face it, in this day and age, there is nothing worse to be painted with the racist brush. I mean, you'll have to go to rehab if you are - a la any number of lame-ass celebrities.

Make no mistake: Health care and civil rights have nothing in common! Rep. Clyburn should be ashamed of using such hyperbole to assuage his own conscience over his vote.

Health care is nothing even close to civil rights. And, if it is, what's the next right we will demand as Americans? Shall we demand that the government provide us a home that meets our standards? Shall we demand that the government provide us with our own vehicles? Shall we demand that the government provide us with our education, up to and including graduate school? Shall we demand that the government raise our children? Shall we demand that the government provide us everything and make all of our decisions? Hyperbole works both ways, Rep. Clyburn.

I'll leave with this gem, "A government big enough to supply you with everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything you have. . ."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

1 Evening Out + 2 Friends + 3 Cocktails = One Relaxed Mama

I've been a stressed out mess for the last three days. By last night I was feeling so exhausted and overwhelmed that I thought I would collapse in a tearful heap at a moment's notice. Today was a busy day too, but I am feeling nice and mellow right about now.

My husband and I enjoyed a lovely dinner out with one of my friends and her husband this evening. We decided to go to my favorite restaurant, Rembrandt's, and I already knew my order before I even touched a menu: medium-rare filet with sauteed mushrooms, baked potato with everything, and spinach salad. Since we procured a babysitter who drives, I also knew that I would have at least two cocktails. Okay, I ultimately ended up having three cocktails, but it was over a three hour period so I wasn't sloppy or, even worse, belligerent. Of course, my husband thoughtfully picked up a bottle of wine for me to enjoy once we returned home so there are no guarantees that I won't end up that way! I keed, I keed. . .sort of!

This evening is like my last hurrah because I am starting Weight Watchers on Monday. On the rare occasion that I drink when I'm being diligent about my caloric intake, I typically have vodka & diet tonic with a very little bit of tangerine juice. That equals two WW points per drink. Tonight was a night for cosmos and I didn't think twice about the calories I was drinking - let alone the calories I was eating! My friend has lost quite a bit of weight on a plan that she's following and I feel very inspired by her success. I mean, if a fellow busy mom of a toddler can follow a diet and lose weight, I can too. Come Monday (heh! A great Jimmy Buffet song!), I will begin my own weight loss journey.

I did probably dominate dinner conversation, as I often do - curse my verbose nature!, but I feel that I learned a lot about our friends. And it was so nice to get to know friends over a tasty meal without having to chase toddlers around. Conversations were started and completed without interruption - imagine that! I particularly enjoyed being able to chat with adults without my son shouting, "Poo Poo!," or saying, "What's this?" every two minutes.


I see that one of my guilty pleasure movies is on right now (Deep Blue Sea - yeah, it's a little lame, but it is oh-so-satisfying!), so I will cut this post short. Just know that I am one relaxed mama right now and I'm really looking forward to seeing my father tomorrow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's Easier to Go to Work

I'm just a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), it's not like I'm ever busy, right? Wrong!

I babysat a 22-month old all day yesterday. I spent yesterday evening doing food prep (cutting veggies, cutting fruit, making dip, etc.) for a brunch playdate that I was hosting today. I enjoyed a bottle of wine last night once my husband came home from work. Okay, a bottle and a half. An alarm went off in my son's room in the middle of the night last night, which I had to turn off - apparently the kiddos figured out how to set the alarm clock. I woke up waaay too early (at least it felt that way) and had a hangover. I assembled and cooked four different dishes, put the fruit and veggies in pretty serving dishes & bowls, and set the table, buffet-style. I made coffee, boiled water in the kettle for tea or cocoa, decanted apple juice and milk, and poured sugar in a sugar bowl. We entertained six of our friends today and had a blast. We helped a friend label diapers for a yard sale tomorrow morning. We made arrangements to carpool with another friend to said yard sale. I left my son in the care of his father and spent four hours getting my hair done this evening. My son was not asleep when I arrived home and I had to soothe him to sleep. I'm actually glad that I overate at the brunch because I didn't end up getting supper until around nine o'clock. I have to go to the store sometime tomorrow morning to pick up a birthday gift for a special little girl and we'll be attending her birthday party tomorrow afternoon. We have dinner plans with another friend tomorrow evening.

I'm so busy lately, I wonder how I ever had the time to work.

In the midst of all these obligations, I'm worried about my father. He has spent the last two days in the ICU (still there tonight too), he's had to receive a total of four units of blood since his "routine outpatient procedure" on the 17th, and the procedure wasn't fully completed. I can't even go see him because I always have my son around and there is no way I can get away with bringing a 22-month old to the ICU.

I'm busy, I'm exhausted, and I'm unbelievably stressed out. Stop this train, I want to get off. I'm putting on the brakes come Sunday and that's that.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Never Want Twins


I babysat the 22-month old son of a friend today. I have a 22-month old boy. And I added another one to the mix. What was I thinking?!

Now, this other little boy was very sweet and well behaved. I was impressed by how well he followed directions and how well he vocalized his needs. But it was still another child to watch and that alone is stressful.

So I had two children from 7:15 am to 3:15 pm. This is what it's like to have twins, I thought to myself. Well, in that case, I don't ever want twins!

I have a very busy little boy. He's on the go from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed. Actually, he's even a busy sleeper - he thrashes around in his crib while sleeping every single night. He's so active in his sleep that sometimes I expect to find that he's bruised himself in the night. This other little boy is a pretty active fella too.

Two very busy little boys in one little house - is it any wonder that I feel exhausted?

Thankfully, they played very well together. My son was more than happy to share his toys with his friend and they both liked each other's company. They enjoyed sharing snacks (I discovered the hard way that our friend doesn't like apple peels!) and seemed to like sitting at the dining room table together.

Unfortunately, they also decided to share poop schedules. My son typically poops once each day, right after breakfast. He pooped three times today!! His friend pooped three times today!! I changed six poopy diapers today; three cloth + three disposable = six yucky poopy dipes.

I joked with our little friend's father that it's like they were in a competition to see who could poop the most. Except no matter who wins, I was going to lose! haha!

I survived two 22-month old very active little boys today and it was relatively painless. But I hope to never have twins!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Modern Cloth is Pretty Easy

Though I've learned a lot about cloth diapers in the last two years, I realized today that not everyone realizes how easy it is to deal with modern cloth. It made me think that I should explain how I became a CDing mama.

I started purchasing diapers before my son was born. I bought some totally lame All-in-Ones (AOIs), washed them up about eight times to fluff up the cotton, and waited for my baby to arrive. I didn't use cloth when my son came home because, quite frankly, I couldn't do laundry by myself and I felt bad about making my husband wash diapers since he was such a help in so many other ways in those bleary-eyed early days. Once I was physically able to retrieve laundry from the washing machine, I discovered that the diapers I purchased were impossibly large and would never fit my little 8-pounder. So I put aside my cloth diapers and used disposables. Those stupid diapers still don't fit my son to this very day. . .how in the world are they marketed for infants?!

I wasn't ready to give up using cloth, so I purchased some prefold diapers and a couple of modern diaper covers. I also picked up a diaper sprayer on clearance at Home Depot - it was only $1.00! Armed with some great tools, I was amazed at how easy cloth diapers were to use.

I decided to purchase a variety of diapers to round out my stash because I only had a dozen prefolds. So I bought some pocket diapers (bumGenius), some nice & trim AIOs (bumGenius), and some fitteds (Bambineo/Bambinex?). I also picked up a variety of diaper covers (Bumkins, Bummis Super Whisper Wraps, Thirsties, & Proraps).

I truly began to enjoy diapering once I was armed with some fun diapers. Weird? Perhaps, but if you have to change diapers eight to twelve times per day, you look for something interesting to break the changing table monotony.

Then things turned very strange. I began to covet a particular type of fitted diaper that is oh-so-squishy-soft. So I bought a few used ones (yes, they had been worn by other children) in all types of patterns. . .some are very boyish and some are a little girly, okay, a lot girly, but I figure no one else will be seeing his diapers besides me. I mean, I like the diapers very much, but he's just going to poop and pee in them, so who cares about the pattern? Anyway, though I detest a two-step procedure (diaper + cover), I love these fitteds. Seeing the fun prints makes diapering, well, fun.

Dealing with poopy dipes at home is one thing, but I was still afraid to use cloth while away from home. About a month ago, I finally decided to put the kiddo in cloth full-time and it hasn't been too bad. Well, I still use disposables at night because my boy wakes up rashy after wearing cloth for twelve- to fourteen-hours at night.

Thankfully, my son doesn't often make wet or smeary poops, so it's been rather easy to use cloth full-time. Sure, there have been a couple of times that the poo doesn't roll neatly off the diaper and into a toilet, but those times have, thankfully, been rare. Overall, I wonder why I didn't transition to cloth full-time a long time ago.

That's my story. That's how I became a CDing mama.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Preparing for Weight Loss

Yesterday, I shared how I gained back nearly all of my pregnancy weight, now I'm going to share how I'm preparing to lose it.

- I have told my friends and family that I am going to be embarking on a weight loss journey. My husband is even on-board to lose some weight of his own. I know that I will be better able to succeed if I have the support and encouragement of friends and family. Also, it helps keep me accountable.

- I have tucked away or thrown away my "trigger foods." Trigger foods are those which you consistently overeat/overdrink. That means wine is going in the fridge in the laundry room rather than the fridge in the kitchen. It also means that I do not have a single potato chip or chocolate bar in my house. I do have crackers, but they are for my son. . .I will really have to stop myself from taking his snacks because I like them too. My husband tends to eat a lot of peanuts and I specifically did not pick up any today at the store.

- I have started reading nutritional labels and calculating the Weight Watchers Point value prior to purchasing any foodstuffs. I have started writing the Point value on foods that we already have in the house.

- I have purchased high-fiber, low-fat bread and tortillas. I don't eat these things often, but my husband does and I want to help encourage his success.

- I have purchased plenty of fresh and frozen produce. I have already made up my first batch of WW zero point soup. It would taste better with a bit of beef, but it's plenty satisfying if we're craving a snack.

- I have mixed up my favorite low-fat ranch salad dressing because I'm far more likely to enjoy eating a green salad if I like the dressing. I tried making the dressing non-fat, but it was terrible, so low-fat it is.

- I have purchased non-fat dairy - milk, sour cream (for dips), cottage cheese. My husband actually just walked in the door with another gallon of non-fat milk. . .I am officially overrun with non-fat dairy.

- I have purchased a new pair of athletic shoes. No, I will not be running right away, but I will begin doing something active each day. It may be as simple as walking my kiddo to the park and chasing him around in the grass, but it's a start and I have to take this one day at a time.

- I have dug out my measuring cups, measuring spoons, and food journals. I am prepared to begin weighing, measuring, and tracking my daily food intake.

- I have read through my old Weight Watchers materials to re-familiarize myself with the program. I kind of feel that I don't have to pay for the program since I already know the program, but I've told two people that I would join with them.

I think I'm prepared to begin my journey. Let me know if you think I'm missing anything that I'll need to help ensure my success. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 15, 2010

How I Gained the Weight

I'm starting Weight Watchers again in one week. It's not that I particularly want to, it's more like I need to at this point. I haven't truly worked out in ages. Though I have indulged in unhealthy foods, more often than not, I have overindulged in perfectly healthy foods. Instead of only having a glass of wine every now and then, I've enjoyed a few glasses of wine a few nights per week. I know how to lose and maintain weight, but I chose to ignore that knowledge. And it just kills me that I willfully did this to myself.

It wasn't always this way. I used to go to the gym five days each week and thought nothing of doing 90-minutes of cardio on the elliptical, stair climber (that big escalator-looking machine), or the bike. And by 90-minutes of cardio, I don't mean I was chatting with friends - I was seriously working out. I wasn't big on using weights (typical woman, right?), but I did muscle-building workouts every now and then. I walked the dog most days of the week. I enjoyed a healthy and delicious diet. I wasn't at my goal weight, but I was within ten pounds of it. Then I finally got pregnant.

I had been trying for nine or ten months to get pregnant and was so excited. I stopped my workouts and didn't work out once while pregnant (pregnancy exhaustion is a real bitch), but I remained very mindful of my diet. Unfortunately, I developed a love of bacon. . .something I'd eaten only a handful of times in my life. I was disciplined and allowed myself one bacon & egg sandwich each week - see what I mean about being mindful of my diet? Thanks to my efforts, I gained a respectable 27 pounds.

By my six-week post-partum check-up, I had lost all but a few of those pregnancy pounds. By eight-weeks, I weighed just a little less than before I conceived. In fact, I wore a sexy swimsuit to a pool party when my son was eight-weeks old and I looked better than I ever have before. You know, those super-impressive nursing DDs. I really miss having nursing boobs. . .

So what happened? Well, for the first time in my life, I developed a sweet tooth. I don't mean that I liked candy, I've always liked candy, but I NEEDED candy. I didn't need a piece of candy every now and then, or even every day - I needed several pieces of candy each and every day. But I still didn't gain weight because I was exclusively breastfeeding and producing milk takes between 300 and 500 calories each day. My son never took even an ounce of formula because I produced so much milk and that milk production kept me from gaining weight even though I had an impossible to satisfy sweet tooth.

At around five months, my son had his first taste of anything besides my milk. On the advice of his pediatrician, I started letting my son have solids to stop his near-constant spitting up. Though I wanted to exclusively breastfeed until my son was at least six-months old, I followed the pediatrician's advice - which didn't work anyway. Grrr! I have identified that that's when I started gaining weight. Double Grrr!!

Anyone who knows how breastfeeding works knows exactly why my weight started creeping up at that point. For everyone else, here's a quick explanation: Your body tailors it's milk production based on how much your baby eats. If your baby nurses often, you'll make more milk. If your baby only nurses a few times each day or doesn't adequately drain your breasts, you'll make less milk. Anytime your baby eats anything other than at your breasts (formula, solids, even your own pumped milk), it is a missed feeding and your body will decrease it's milk supply unless you pump. Since my son started eating a small feeding of solids, that was a nursing session that he was missing and my body began to decrease it's milk supply at that point. My body no longer needed the full 300 to 500 extra calories because I was no longer nursing exclusively. However, I didn't cut back the calories I was consuming and the weight began creeping up.

By the time I fully weaned my son, a little over one-year of age, I had gained back between 10 and 15 pounds. Why didn't I join Weight Watchers then and nip this in the bud? I really can't say, but I sure wish that I had!

My son will be two in a couple of months. I can no longer claim to be "pleasantly plump" because I have grown quite fat. I'm embarrassed to admit that I weigh just shy of what I did on the day he was born. So there it is. I need to lose 45 pounds to be at my goal weight. Really, I should aim for 50 pounds so I can be below goal with a five-pound cushion - you Weight Watcher members know what I'm talking about!

My next installment will be about how I've been Preparing for Weight Loss. . .assuming nothing else grinds my gears in the meantime! Family Guy reference for you animation domination fans out there!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Shopping for a House

I hate shopping. I rarely spend money because I hate shopping. I never buy new clothes, shoes, jewelry, books, CDs, DVDs, or stuff that clutters up the house. I don't care for electronics, expensive cosmetics, or collectibles. I tolerate grocery shopping because, well, my family has to eat. My husband's first wife was on a first name basis with her favorite Nordstrom sales associates, so he definitely appreciates that I'm not fond of spending money on frivolous purchases.

For the last several months, we've been casually talking about buying another house. Every few weeks or so we'll drive around the neighborhoods we like and check out what's available, stopping in on any open houses along the way.

I love my husband's house. I don't want to move and I'd be happy to spend the rest of my life here. Unfortunately, our neighborhood isn't as nice as it was when my husband moved here in 1981. Thanks to the RHNA and government interference, our neighborhood is slated to turn to what I consider absolute crap. My side of town will most likely be where the city council is dumping over 800 very low or low-income units.

Our city traditionally does not allow high-density housing, but housing advocates don't really care how the legitimate residents feel about the matter. I guess they feel that everyone deserves to live in an area with low-crime, highly rated schools, and very high property values. . .whether they can truly afford it or not. That last part is particularly galling to those who worked hard and saved up to live in such a great area.

One of the things I like the best about living here is that it is mainly single-family homes. If I wanted to live around high-density housing, I'd be living in my condo. Call me a snob if you want, but I don't want to live in an area with a lot of apartments or condos and I don't want my son to go to school (even a highly rated school) in such an area.

So we've been looking to move and just rent out this house. We walked through a house that I actually liked a lot today. My husband HATED it. I asked what he didn't like and he said it was too small. I think our current house is too big (it always feels that way when I'm cleaning anyway!) and I've been hoping that we'd buy a smaller house. He actually wants a much bigger house! Of course, I know who will be cleaning so I'm not quite on board yet.

I want a big & open kitchen. I want glass fronted built-in cabinets. I want at least 2.5 restrooms because I don't want visitors to use the restroom my kids will be using. I want both a living room and a den and I must have a dining room. And I do not want to hassle with a 2-story house. Seriously, we aren't getting any younger and there will come a time that we won't want to drag our old bones up and down stairs. Frankly, I want our house with an extra bathroom and in a better neighborhood.

My husband wants a lot of space for parking - at least space for six vehicles. He wants a very large backyard and at least a 3-car garage. He wants at least four bedrooms. And he wants a bigger house.

Purchasing property was much easier when I was single because I only had to please myself and didn't have to consult with anyone. I hate moving and I don't want to ever move again once we buy another house. Right now, it seems that we don't really care about the same things and I don't think that the perfect house exists for us.

I hate shopping. . .even if it's for a house.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Forward

I am exhausted. Not only am I exhausted, but my husband and son are as well. Due to family obligations, my poor little babe went to bed three hours beyond his bedtime tonight.

The last several days have left this family feeling completely wrung out, emotionally and physically. I am unable to even muster the energy to write this post. So I won't continue pushing myself and I will choose to vedge out and catch up on Spartacus Blood & Sand instead.

Also, since we're springing forward, don't forget to set your clocks forward one hour tonight before going to bed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wrap Stars and More!

I adore babywearing. Other than when he was going to bed in the evening, I wore my son nearly non-stop for his first six months. Since I was physically unable to lift my stroller in and out of my car (thanks to my c-section), I felt that my wrap was a god-send.

I used an Ultimate Baby Wrap, which is a very thin and stretchy material. I used my wrap like an extra pair of arms, cradling my son throughout the day. Of course, I couldn't help but constantly rub my son's back or kiss his sweet head when I had him in the wrap. Kissing and lovingly caressing your child seems like it would be so much more difficult when they are strapped into a stroller or carseat carrier. . .

My son seemed to like being held so close and he rarely cried unless I didn't catch his hunger cues. I loved this wrap and was so happy with my purchase. The bloom wore off when my son hit around 15 - 20 pounds or so. The stretchy material became a total hassle because I had to constantly adjust and tighten the wrap.

I was sad on the day that I retired the wrap and began using the stroller full-time. I thought that my babywearing days were over, a fond memory of my earliest days of motherhood.

I have rediscovered babywearing. Well, I never actually forgot babywearing, so I guess I have just discovered toddlerwearing. I bought a few different types of carriers a few months ago and I have to say that I absolutely adore wearing my 22-month old.

Due to my father's recent health problems, I spent many hours at the hospital last month. Thanks to my Maya Wrap Adjustable Pouch, the time passed quite comfortably. I was amazed that I could wear my 25-pound son without experiencing any aches or pains. My son liked being able to snuggle up to me when he was feeling tired, stressed, or overwhelmed. I appreciated the pouch acting like an extra set of arms and enjoyed the special closeness with my darling son.

I spent four hours at the doctor's office with my MIL today and I wore my son for 3 1/2 of those hours. My son is usually an impossibly busy toddler and he never stops moving. But, while in the pouch, he was calm, relaxed, and content. I honestly wonder how I handled parenthood without a pouch.

Note: Some types of carriers are very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Bag-style slings (like the Infantino Sling Rider) are all but impossible to use safely and their use has resulted in many infant deaths. If you are interested in babywearing, please do your research and make sure that you are properly using a carrier that is safe for your child.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sh*tty, Sh*tty, Bleh, Bleh

I like my son's bowel movements. Well, I don't like them, like them, but I'm okay with dealing with them. I'm even okay with dealing with them in cloth diapers.

He nearly always takes a dump at the same time each day and I put him in a dark-colored diaper for his morning constitutional so I don't have to worry about doody stains in his diapers. Usually his monkey tails are very neat & tidy and they roll easily off his diaper and into the toilet. These are the logs he's been laying since I switched him to cloth diapers full-time. No muss, no fuss, and I wondered why I didn't do this ages ago.

Days like today remind me why I waited so long to transition to cloth while we were out & about.

He slung the smeariest, smelliest, and stickiest mud today while we were at a friend's house for a playdate. He was in a cloth diaper and I didn't have my trusty diaper sprayer or my beloved Bac-Out so I had to go it alone. I cleaned his bottom, put him in a new diaper, and sent him back out to play with his friends.

I shook as much of the poop into the toilet as I could and was disturbed at how much was left in the dipe. I refuse to dunk & swish the diaper because I get the heebie jeebies when I think of putting my bare hand so close to the toilet water. I tried wiping the diaper clean with toilet paper and only succeeded in making an even bigger mess. Feeling skeeved out, I wrapped the diaper and tossed it in the wet bag. Thankfully, the wet bag contained the odor and I don't think anyone could have known that I had a poopy diaper in my diaper bag.

My diapers don't have stains and I prefer to keep them that way, so I immediately tended to the dookie-filled diaper when we returned home a few hours later. Using the diaper sprayer removed all fecal matter and left the dipes with very light staining. I doused the diaper with Bac-Out and tossed it in the pail. I decided I'd wash diapers tonight after the tater tot went to bed.

I am amazed to report that the diaper came out perfectly white. Not even the slightest staining. Another win for diaper sprayers & Bac-Out! Hooray!

I am proud that I handled a stinky situation so well while away from my handy cloth diapering tools. But I have learned that I desperately miss my diaper sprayer when it isn't available and I have decided that I will begin to carry a small spray bottle of Bac-Out in my diaper bag so I can more comfortably handle these sorts of situations in the future.

I've also determined that cloth diaper manufacturers must hate on-the-go mamas. Seriously. Why aren't dark colors and prints the norm for the insides of all cloth diapers? That way stains wouldn't be likely to show at all, even if a poopy diaper is left in the wet bag all day. Wouldn't that make better sense than having white insides, which are far more likely to stain? Can any cloth diaper mamas shed some light on this for me?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Baby, Don't Grow Too Fast

Life passes altogether too fast. I've spent so much of my life wishing that I was in another stage of growth. No, no, I didn't spend that time, I wasted it. I wasted it because I didn't allow myself to fully appreciate my life in that moment. I wish that I could relax and enjoy, but I just can't. No matter how content I am, I'm always seeking and looking forward.

My desire to move forward has often meant that I've passed up wonderfully valuable opportunities. In my haste to "grow up," I've made poor decisions that yielded negative consequences. In my youthful arrogance, I used to believe that having regrets was a waste of time. As I've matured, I can definitely admit that I have plenty of regrets.

Suddenly it seems like my son wants to grow up so fast and I don't like it. He's not sneaking out of the house or talking back (that I can tell!), but he's clearly trying to move forward. He refuses to allow me to feed him and insists on feeding himself, however messy it may be. And it is very, very messy. He's talking a little (or a lot!) more each day. He's stretching his physical limits and can easily accomplish tasks that he couldn't just a few short weeks ago.

Why is he trying to grow up so quickly? Perhaps it's a genetic condition, passed on from mother to son, or perhaps it's just part of the human condition. I wish that I could tell him that this is the best time in his life and it will never be so easy again. I know that he won't be my sweet little baby forever, but he will always remain my darling son.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What's This x 1,000

My son spent the entire day asking me, "What's this?"

I am exhausted from this conversation. I don't mind answering his questions, but he keeps asking about the same things. I must have said window, door, Mamaw, blanket, burpie, and Curly Squirrel at least 800 times today.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that he's developing and that he's using words. I just wish that he wouldn't keep asking me to label the same things over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Baby Talk

For months, I have been waiting for my son to talk. He has said Mama and Dada for ages, but he never said anything else. Our pediatrician (though it isn't relevant to this post, he has a lazy eye that totally creeps me out) wasn't terribly concerned that the tater tot only spoke two words at the 18-month check-up. I was a little surprised by his laid-back attitude, because he'd been a stickler for following the charts for the entire first year. Dr. Lazy Eye indicated that the kiddo should be speaking around seven words or so by the time he's two. My son will be two in May and I have been eagerly listening for any new words.

In addition to Mama & Dada, the kiddo can say tired and tiger (tie-tie for both), balloon, ball, & bye-bye (ba-ba for all three - he points or waves so we know what he's talking about), yes, yeah, what's this?, who's this?, what's this called?, and I love you too. I think Dr. Lazy Eye will be happy with the boy's progress. Nights like tonight make me wonder why I want him to talk at all.

My son & I had an inane conversation while I was giving him a bath tonight. Here is the dialog:

Tater Tot: (pointing at the window) What's this?
MrsHashBrown: It's a window.
TT: What's this called?
MHB: It's called a window.
TT: (pointing at the bathtub) What's this?
MHB: It's the bathtub.
TT: What's this called?
MHB: It's called the bathtub.

This exact same conversation repeated at least twenty times before I stopped counting.

Yeah, it was a little irritating to have the same conversation over and over (and over!) again and I was a little annoyed by the end of the bath. But I adore having conversations, however silly, with my son. Silence may be golden, but my son's darling voice is priceless.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Just Love Rembrandt's

My husband and I took a little time away from our son last night. We hired a babysitter to listen to our son's monitor after he went to bed and we went out with a couple of good friends. We used to socialize with these two a few times each month and we haven't spent time alone with them since May 2008. One of our friends had just turned 50 we decided to go to Rembrandt's to celebrate.

Rembrandt's is within walking distance of our house and we used to go there once or twice each week. We went there so often that they automatically started making our cocktails when we walked in the door so that we had our drinks as soon as we sat down at a table. The head bartenders were absolutely wonderful and they always made sure to give us a little extra "love" in our martinis. We were on a first name basis with the waitstaff and we tipped well. As a result, they always took good care of us. We even showed up on an incredibly busy Valentine's evening, without reservations, and we were seated within five minutes.

Rembrandt's was owned by Bernie Gordon for decades. He clearly loved his restaurant, but he wasn't getting any younger and his restaurant was rapidly turning into a fading flower. Rembrandt's was sold several years ago. I remember reading about it and remarking to my husband that we should have made an offer. Of course, neither of us know a darn thing about the industry, but I just adore the place.

We hadn't been to Rembrandt's since our son was just a few months old. I could not believe the transformation! The new owners clearly know their stuff. They opened up the bar and closed it off from the main dining room. The knocked out some clumsy columns that apparently weren't required for roof support. The lighting, the wall coverings, and the booths were all terrific. It almost has the feel of a retro supper club.

There appear to be only two members of the waitstaff from the good old days and, yes, they remembered us and asked where we had been. With such a delightfully warm welcome and such lovely improvements, I hope we are able to visit again soon!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Jon Venables is Locked Up Again

Well, well, well. I have just read that Jon Venables has been locked up yet again. Jon Venables is one of the cretins who visciously planned to stalk and murder poor little James Bulger back in 1993. Jon and his co-hort, Robert Thompson, skipped school one day and embarked on a mad adventure that left a family completely devastated, a country completely shocked, and a world completely sickened.

These two ten-year old boys effectively planned the torture and murder of a poor little innocent toddler. I wrote about the James Bulger (RIP) tragedy in my post called, "The Evil Part of the Human Condition," on 1/4/2010. I will not revisit that horrible event because it is just too painful. I did not know any of the principles, but I am pained to think of the suffering endured by a little one not quite three years old.

All I really have to say is that I am glad that this monster who was released back to the public in 2001, this beast who thought it was okay to torture a defenceless human, is back behind bars. It may not jive with what the readers of this blog think, but I do believe that some people absolutely can not be rehabilitated and that these same people will always be a threat to the public well-being.

Now is the perfect time, UK, keep this animal behind bars for good this time!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Peter Potty

I'm tired of diapers. It's not that they are all that difficult, it's just that I'm reaching the point where I'm grossed out by my toddler's adult-looking (and smelling - bleh!) poop.

There is a wide range of normal when it comes to potty training. My FIL insists that all three of his boys were using the toilet by one year of age. I'm skeptical that they were fully trained at such a young age, but I suppose that anything is possible. At the other end of the spectrum is a nephew of ours who was more like four years old before using the toilet. My son isn't quite two and I truly do not want to deal with diapers for another year or two.

I've done a few things to try and hasten the process. I've had a potty chair and toilet ring in the guest bath for a couple of months so he's familiar with their use. I've switched him to cloth diapers full-time because they say children in cloth tend to use the toilet earlier. I've encouraged him to tell me when he has eliminated by either bringing me a diaper or telling me. And I ordered a Peter Potty about a week ago.

The Peter Potty has arrived and is awaiting assembly. For those not in the know, a Peter Potty is a toddler sized urinal. It can be flushed, but does not need to be plumbed. It is stand-alone, but it can also be wall mounted. They say (who are they, anyway?) that boys who urinate standing up learn to use the potty earlier.

Will it work? I can't say, but it is kind of cute. I mean, cute in a way that only a tiny urinal can be called cute. I'm sure that I'll be blogging about MrsHashBrown & the Tater Tot's Grand Potty Adventures in future posts.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Even When Life is Long, It's Still Too Short

Some days I think that I'll go back to work and put my son in a daycare facility, but not for the reasons you might think. I don't need additional adult stimulation, I don't want to talk about things other than diapers, and we don't particularly need the money.

But I crave the thrill of the sales process. I loved helping people see that they needed what I was offering. And, for those who didn't agree right away, I also loved the follow up. On more than one occasion, I captured a student more than two years after they made the initial contact.

As much as I'd like to sell ice to Eskimos, I feel that staying home to raise my son is important and it is a gift. Infancy and toddlerhood don't last long and I just can't choose my own selfish desire for my career over my son. You only get one shot at raising your children and I don't want to miss out on doing it the way that I think is best for our family.

I've become very aware, sometimes painfully aware, of missed opportunities as I've aged. My life is full of plans that I wish I had made, trips that I wish I had taken, words that I wish I had said. . .

Where am I going with all this? Why am I so pensive tonight? I guess I'm considering life and the choices we make because I lost a very dear friend last night.

Edna Frazier had style. I don't know her age, ladies of a certain age don't discuss such matters, but I would guess somewhere in the late-70s or early-80s. She was always impeccably dressed. Her nails were always neatly manicured and her hair was always attractively coiffured. She always looked beautiful and put together.

She was a wonderfully kind woman. I can't think of a single time that I didn't see a smile on her lovely face. She was very generous and giving. She always complimented me on how handsome my son was, how much she liked his short hair cuts, how cute she thought I dressed him.

Edna holds such a dear spot in my heart because she and her daughter, Cindy, were the only two people at the hospital on "my" side on the day that my son was born. Sure, my husband and his entire family were there. But, for various reasons, no one from my family came to the hospital that day.

My son was scheduled to be born around 8:00 am and he didn't arrive until just shy of 6:00 pm. I have no idea how long Edna and Cindy waited, but it was around 8:00 pm when I finally came out of recovery and they were there.

Though I have two pictures of the first time I met my son in the OR, I don't recall the event. In my memory, the first time I met my son was when my husband brought him to my room. I held out my arms and began crying with joy at the sight of my darling boy. My MIL and my husband's youngest brother were there for just a few moments and left the three of us for the evening. I felt a tremendous rush of love in that moment.

That's when Edna and Cindy walked in my room with balloons, flowers, a personalized welcome sign, an outfit (the one he ended up wearing in his first pictures) & a football (!) for my son, and a baby bootie necklace for me. Perhaps it's because I was in the warm hormonal afterglow of childbirth, perhaps it's because no one else bothered to come, but I always think of Edna, Cindy, and my MIL when I think of that most joyous moment between my husband, myself, and our son. It was a magical moment and I'm glad that they chose to be there and share our joy.

I never told Edna just how special she was to me and I have no choice now but to add that to my list of life regrets. She was so well-loved by her family and friends and she will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

Cindy is an only child and my heart just breaks for her tonight. She was very close to her mother and I know that she must feel devastated. Edna had been ill and spent quite a bit of time in the hospital toward the end, but we're never really ready to say goodbye. Even when life is long, it's still too short. . .

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Peacocks Put Hos Before Bros

It was a fairly cool day today, so a friend and I bundled up our toddlers and went to Irvine Park. The four of us enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch near the duck pond. We were visited by a peacock while we were eating our sandwiches. The kids thought it was interesting, but they weren't nearly as thrilled with our guest as we were.

After lunch, we let the kids run around to get the sillies out. The little girl had a blast tossing dried leaves in the air over and over again. My son delighted in stomping on the dried leaves and walking about with a stick he'd found.

My friend and I tried like crazy to get just one photo with both kids looking at the camera. Between the two of us, we took around 300 pics today. Of course, there is not a single photo with both kids looking at the camera.

We put the kids back in their strollers and walked to the Orange County Zoo. I've been to this zoo many, many times. I've always thought it was a little lame because the animals seem to be perpetually tranquilized. It is the most mellow group of animals and that makes it the most boring group of animals. Passed out bears, mountain lions, and beavers are just not that interesting.

The zoo was absolutely fantastic today! Maybe it was the cool weather, maybe someone slipped the animals a little coke. Whatever the reason, it was a very entertaining day at the zoo.

All of the animals were awake and moving around. I have a pretty neat feature on my camera where I can make the cage bars disappear when taking photos. I'm still learning how to get the focus right, but I ended up with some great shots that look like I was in the enclosure with the animals.

Though not a part of the zoo, the park's peafowl put on quite a show. We heard their calls (sort of sounds like a howling cat to me) and wondered what the ruckus was about. As we walked along, we noticed a peacock on top of an exhibit. Suddenly, he flared out his fan-shaped tail feathers and was looking to score. A peahen showed up and was like, "Eh, I've seen better." So, in the peacock equivalent of a martini, he started vibrating his tail feathers to get her into the mood. I looked at my friend and said that I thought we were about to watch a little live-action peacock porn.

But no. He was peacock-blocked by another peacock who showed up to get a little action of his own. His tail flew open and we were treated to hearing the peacock squawk for several minutes. The original peacock began stiffly strutting and the second peacock, seemingly defeated, walked away. But the peahen followed!

We noticed a third peacock fly into the bear enclosure. I asked my friend if we were going to see a peacock mauled by a bear today. Rejected, the original peacock let his tail drop back to the normal position. He looked sad as he sat on a stump near his unused pleasure pad, watching his woman walk away with Johnny-Come-Lately.

So did the second peacock score? No! The peahen, in typical female fashion, clearly wanted a bad boy. She followed the third peacock - the one who was kicking it with the bears. I'd imagine that tonight she's telling her parents that she can change his irresponsible behavior because she loves him. Who knew that watching peafowl would be so darned interesting and so closely mimic human drama?

We stopped by the petting zoo before heading home. Finally, something the kids LOVED. Upon entering the enclosure, my son ran up to a tiny goat and kissed it while giving a hug. We snapped a few pictures of both kids sitting on a stump with a goat. Naturally, the goat is the only one looking at the camera. Another goat put its head on my son's shoulder and I thought that the goat was trying to give a hug. Then I noticed that the little bugger was trying to chew on my son's jacket.

We'd been at the park for about four hours and my son decided that he wanted to nap with the goats. So he sprawled out in the dirt while saying, "tie tie," which is how he says tired. I was grossed out that he hugged & kissed the goat earlier, but I was thoroughly skeeved when I realized that the ground was undoubtedly teeming with nasties. It effectively ended our day because I just wanted to get the kid in a bathtub.

I learned some interesting things today. Peacocks put hos before bros. Females of every species seem to give it up to the most reckless males they can find. And bears apparently don't eat peacocks.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Goose Eggs and Foreheads

Some kids are mellow. Some kids will cuddle. Some kids will sit still. Those kids aren't my kid.

My son is busy. He is on the go all day long. And by all day, I mean all day. He's even an active sleeper and I often hear him slamming around in his crib throughout the night.

Of course, very active children are more likely to suffer injuries. He's had more than his fair share of bumps, bruises, scrapes, and scratches. I am not squeamish in the least, but I grew lightheaded and thought I would faint the first time that he bled as a result of an injury. I still see spots at the sight of his blood.

He fell forehead-first on the floor not once, not twice, but three times today. I finally gave up trying to apply a cold-pack to help reduce the swelling and bruising. As I put him to bed, I noticed that he has a terribly angry-looking goose egg right in the middle of his forehead.

Toddlerhood is a time of great exploration and poor coordination. I realize that this is really just the beginning of the injuries that my sweet boy will suffer (I'm sure there will be plenty once he starts playing sports), but I hope that eventually I won't feel so terrible when he's been hurt.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Calgon, Take Me Away!!!

I feel like I'm living in a Calgon commercial. Do you remember those? I realize that I'm dating myself as quite a bit older than my stated 29-years by admitting that I remember those commercials, but I'm totally living those commercials today. They depicted a harried housewife, overcome with stress: the baby is crying, the dog is barking, the phone is ringing, the pan is boiling over, there's someone at the door. . .all at the same moment in time. In the midst of this frantic situation, she calls out, "Calgon, take me away!" Poof! Just like that she's relaxing in a nice, bubbly bath filled with Calgon.

I'm having a Calgon Take Me Away Day today. You know, the part before the sudsy bathtub.

It actually started last night. My right eye had been bothering me and I kept rubbing it. Big mistake, I know, but I actually woke up rubbing it in the middle of the night. Since I wear disposable contacts, I decided to toss them and use new ones tomorrow. I crawled back in bed without another thought. Notice that I didn't actually make sure that I had another pair to use come morning. Of course, I did not. So I had to blindly fish around for my ancient emergency pair of eyeglasses. And when I say "blind", I mean it. At my last exam, about 2 1/2 years ago, my vision was -6.00 in each eye. I fully expect that I have continued to grow nearsighted since then. I feel handicapped without vision correction.

Thankfully, I finally found my glasses in the back of a drawer. They are at least eight-years old (I really do not like wearing glasses) and I have had at least six prescription changes since then, but they are better than no correction at all. I took the kiddo to his class, which is only about two miles away from the house. After baby school, I decided to jam over to my optometrist. I was going to squeeze in an exam and, hopefully, score a pair of contacts to tide me over until my contact lens order arrived. Unfortunately, my optometrist (who I've been seeing for 15-years) is on vacation until March 10th. So I am stuck wearing eyeglasses with a terribly outdated prescription for at least another week and a half.

I arrived home to find that the freaking ants, who I've been battling for what seems like forever, made another attack on my kitchen counter. So I went on a cleaning spree and, like always, didn't find anything that could possibly be attracting the crawly little bastards.

I went to the living room to try to come up with a solution to my blind eyes and I heard birds chirping in my chimney. I gritted my teeth and shook my head. I have an intense fear of a bird flying loose in my house. I hate birds in general and it's just bad luck.

Then I heard even worse. The unmistakable sound of a damned rat in my attic. I love having the avocados and figs in the backyard, but they absolutely do attract rats. I was starting to feel like Marlin Perkins in Wild Fucking Kingdom between the ants in my kitchen, the birds in my chimney, and the damned rat in my attic.

I decided to leave the house to the wildlife and took the kiddo grocery shopping. I couldn't find my special shopping card at checkout. You know, those stupid club cards that every store requires that you have to get the sale prices? I hate those cards. I hate those cards. I hate those cards. Typically, you can give your phone number and the checker can credit the sale to your card that way. Unfortunately, I hate giving out my information and I always give fake phone numbers. I think an angel must have been my checker, though, because she took pity on me and used another card.

Once I arrived home, I realized that I never started dinner in the crockpot this morning. I promised my husband a crockpot meatloaf and he was going to get one! I fed the kiddo lunch and started prepping like a madwoman. I tossed the meatloaf in the slow-cooker and I made a couple of tasty vegetable sides, which I stored safely in the fridge.

About this time, I realized that I hadn't changed my son's diaper in a couple of hours. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. He always tells me when he poops. He didn't today. His bottom was so pink, it broke my heart to hear him crying as I wiped away the waste.

Suddenly, the day improved dramatically. My husband came home. He loved his dinner. Our kiddo was in a good mood. I even took advantage of the lull to clip the little one's fingernails - a task that is usually full of tears and drama. The baby doesn't like it either - haha. Oddly enough, he was very well-behaved as I wielded the nail clippers and he only cried a couple of times. I thought the day was turning around. I was wrong.

My husband returned to the office and the kiddo & I had our dinner. Then it was time for his bath. I stripped him down in the bathroom and dropped his diaper. Remember how I said that he always tells me when he poops? Yeah, well he didn't tell me yet again. He looked down and FREAKED OUT when he saw his diaper. He started screaming, "POO-POO! POO-POO!" and he began climbing me to get away from his diaper. I took him to his changing table to clean his bottom and the bottom that had only been pink an hour or so ago was now a deep red. My poor babe cried so hard as I wiped his bottom. It hurt so much that he refused to sit in his bathtub. He took his bath standing up tonight. He wailed and kept trying to move away as I cleaned his sore bottom. He threw such a fit when I slathered on rash ointment that I wanted to cry for him.

My poor babe didn't want to sleep tonight and he kept whimpering as he clutched my arm. I must have rocked him for nearly thirty minutes before he was settled down enough to finish our bedtime routine.

I don't generally drink during the week, but I am having some wine tonight. Sauvignon Blanc, take me away!!!