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July 2007
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August 2007

Sleep, the Holy Grail

The baby is finally down for a nap, after an hour of rocking and singing (interrupted with a shower for me, because all the rocking and singing was getting ridiculous.)

When Jackson was first born he slept in a pack and play next to my side of the bed. Well, he was supposed to sleep there. A lot of nights he slept on my chest or in between us. I can't really remember why we couldn't get him to sleep in the pack and play... But then Phillip started insisting on making a bigger effort to get him to sleep in the pack and play. (Sad for me. I loved cosleeping!) One night, maybe when he was a month and a half old? Phillip put him to bed in the crib and it was the weirdest thing. Our baby was sleeping in his own bed in his own room! As for naps, up until he was maybe two and a half or three months, Jackson slept wherever we could get him to sleep. He had no discernible schedule, as far as I could tell, so he slept in his grandmothers' arms, in the travel box on our coffee table, in my bed, on the couch with pillows stacked all around him.

Now Jackson sleeps in his crib. Depending on when he last eats (anywhere from six to nine) we usually get him down around nine, ten at the latest. In the last couple of weeks it's become amazingly easier to get him to fall asleep and stay asleep when we put him in his bed. I used to have to stand over his crib for 15 minutes with my hand on his chest, willing him to sleep deeply enough that he wouldn't miss me when I tip toed out of the room. But now we usually rock him a little, sing to him and then oh so gently lay him down. He usually has one night waking, anywhere between midnight and three, and Phillip, my knight in shining pajamas, does this feeding. (Can we get a big round of applause for my husband? Maybe a MacBook gift certificate? Anyone?) And most of the time Jackson wakes up between five and six (one time he slept till eight, oh my God was that a marvelous morning.) I get up to feed him in his room and I always bring him back to bed with me. I have a much better chance of getting another hour of sleep if he's in bed with us, plus, if he wakes up, Phillip will hear him and play with him. (Does anyone else have a husband who cannot hear the baby monitor, even on the highest setting? Maybe you can keep that MacBook discount.)

Napping is easier too, now that he's older. He usually takes his first nap about two hours after he wakes up, his second some time around lunchtime and occasionally he'll sleep again in the afternoon. On a normal day I'll get hour-long naps out of him.

Those are the good days. I can take a shower, I can clean up the kitchen, I can start some laundry and read some blogs. Then there are the days where the boy refuses to sleep, even if he is so obviously exhausted, and I am tempted to put him in a cardboard box on the sidewalk with a a sign that says FREE TO A GOOD HOME.

I feel sort of rotten saying that, because I am blessed with an Easy Baby. He has never ever cried for hours on end- I don't think he's even cried for minutes on end. He'll fuss when he's tired or hungry, but we can almost always figure out what he needs and then he turns back into his cheerful laid back self. (Thank you God for giving my baby my husband's disposition rather than mine. Bring back the MacBook!) And because we know we have a generally happy and healthy baby, we've decided to quit analyzing the sleep thing. We're okay, he's okay, he'll sleep when he sleeps.

But yesterday I was considering swallowing the entire jug of bleach. Jack would not go down for his morning nap. WOULD NOT. He wouldn't cry or anything, he just wouldn't melt into that sleeping mode. Fine, I said. I put him down on his playmat. I strapped him into the bouncy seat while I took a shower. I put him in the Moby and that's when the yawns started. Big "I'm so tired, put me to bed!" yawns.

Except when I put him to bed, he woke up ten minutes later. Again, no crying, just a little fussing. I'd go back into his room, rock him, put him down and bam. Ten minutes later I'm back doing the same thing. Finally I put him down on my bed (why does he sleep better on my bed?) and I got, oh, twenty minutes.

Afternoon nap: same thing. I almost started to feel sorry for him. It was like he was trying so hard to sleep- it would only take seconds to rock him back to sleep- that I felt Moxie and her sleep regression theories must be right. There must be so much going on in that gigantic head of his that he can't shut it down. The nasty part of me is glad to see some of you are suffering as well. Poor baby. I've been super interested in Tara's sleep posts and Maureen's about crying it out (as if by accident!)

He's waking up again... It's been ten minutes exactly.

Yesterday made me think a lot about how awesome this summer has been with my new baby, and how less awesome it might have been had Jackson been a High Maintenance Baby. Would I be loving motherhood just as much if Jack was making me crazy every day? If he never ever went to sleep? Can I even complain when I have a friend who's said she hated her life when her daughter was Jackson's age? Even when my baby is at his fussiest and least willing to sleep, he's still not bawling my ears off or voicing his displeasure to the entire neighborhood. He's just fussy until I pick him up.

And yet, the bleach, it was calling my name.


How do I love you, TiFaux?

A very traumatic thing happened over the summer and I will refer to it as The Great TiFaux Hard Drive Crash of 2007. Plainly put, I have not had my TiFaux for over a month. A MONTH, people. I have had to watch Top Chef in real time. Do you know what time Top Chef comes on? Ten! That's a whole two hours after I would like to be asleep!

Anyway, it hasn't been the total end of the world seeing as how it's summer and summer TV is about 90% crap. (The other 10% is the Bravo Channel which, admittedly, is also crap, but crap I happen to adore.) I've informed the management no less than fifty-seven times that the TiFaux must be repaired by TV Season, also known as September. I've had blind faith in the management. He has yet to fail me in the television department. But yesterday he called me downstairs to say that fixing the TiFaux will require many buckets of dollars in addition to many hours of re-networking the Cheung household. If you have spent any time at all in the Cheung household you know that there are computers in pretty much every room and re-networking means I probably won't see my husband until Halloween.

You KNOW I was in favor of spending many buckets of dollars, right? I am honestly ashamed to admit this, but I need my television. Neeeed. It's how I wind down. It's how I keep up on World Affairs. It's how I know what's going on with Britney. It's how I tune out anxiety late at night. It's blog fodder. It's much needed background noise. It's often the center of my entire social life. The cable bill is right up there with electricity and water.

But then Phillip floated the whole, "If I buy a MacBook now, then we can use my machine for the TiFaux and I will have to do, like, a third of the networking."

Hmmm. Let's call this: How Phillip Scored Himself A MacBook For His Birthday.

He blames me, because I have pretty much coopted our laptop, a few-years-old Dell, for my work-from-home endeavors. In fact, I am using it right now, but from my desk upstairs where I have hooked it up to my flat screen monitor so I have two- TWO!- monitors and oh my how did I ever live without two monitors before? I can have Dreamweaver open AND Dynamic Drive code samples up at the same time! (Cheater!)

(Hey, all you people who know about these things: is there some kind of almost four months regression type behavior? Like suddenly deciding naps are for the birds and waking up fifty times a night just because? GAWD.)

Due to the child who is on fire with righteous indignation to find himself in his crib- how dare he be in his crib!- I can't rattle off my Shows I'm Totally Going To Turn Off The Phone Ringer For. But I CAN tell you that while Miss Veronica Mars may have left Neptune for good, she's going to be hanging out with our favorite Heroes come October. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?





So maybe her taste wasn't so great

My aunt passed away this morning.

In her memory, I am posting the Ugliest Bag To Ever Grace The Internet:

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Oh yes, I AM the ugliest bag in existence.

It's like someone went and purposefully found the most hideous print in JoAnn Fabrics and decided that what it really needed was a bit of leopard spot trim. And then, when the leopard spot trim failed to make the bag as horrifying as possible, the bag maker went the full mile and added the furry neon grim trim and now- NOW- humanity has at the perfect accessory for those times you want your eyes to bleed.

Here's the really scary thing: I own this bag. Why do I own this bag? Because last summer my aunt mailed it to me with a note that said something like, "I saw this and had to buy it. I am sending it to you because you are the only person I can think of who would appreciate such a monstrosity. Love, Your Aunt."

What does THAT say about me? I am not sure. Although I am sort of proud to have it hanging in my closet. I do like furry trim. I do enjoy hideous prints. I always thought some day the Perfect Occasion would arrive and lo, I would have the Perfect Bag.

Here is the kaddish we will say for my aunt.

MOURNER'S KADDISH

Exalted and hallowed be His great Name

Throughout the world which He has created according to His will, May his kingship reign, and His redemption come forth and hasten the coming of His Redeemer

In your life and in your days and in the lifetime of the entire House of Israel, speedily and quickly say, Amen.

May His great Name be blessed in this world and in all worlds.

Blessed and praised exalted and extolled, honored, adored and lauded be the Name of the Holy 0ne be He,

Way beyond all the blessings, hymns, praises and consolations uttered in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and a good life for us and for all and say, Amen.

He who makes peace in His heaven, may he make peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.


Babies!

Hurry up and look before my friends freak out about having their preshhhussss on the big scary internet!

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Cuteness, yes? This is what four babies look like when their parents, all eight of them, are dancing and whooping and laughing and clapping and turning cartwheels in hopes that 1) the four babies will stay on the couch, 2) the four babies will look at the eighty zillion cameras and 3) that they will smile. I think we'll shoot for smiles next year.

I'm going down to visit my mommy today. This is good because Jack is being a CRAP sleeper the last couple nights and I'm pretty sure that without help from the grandmothers I would be death walking. Also because I am supposed to start working and working right now means cranking out a website in one month. A website people will actually USE. I have never ever done this before and if I wasn't waking up to debate the finer points of sleeping through the night with my baby, I was waking up and saying to my poor stupid self, "WHAT HAVE YOU GOTTEN YOURSELF INTO?"

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My mother is doing what now?

I'd externally process this new kind of neuroticness, but the boy is demanding breakfast. I tell everyone I love not having to go to an office and talk on the phone and go to meetings, but I've still got a boss and he's rather irrational about arriving on time...


Return of the chunk

I am winding down from a most excellent weekend with wonderful friends. Four couples, four babies, lots of talking and heaps of food make for a fabulous, if exhausting, time. Once I get my pictures uploaded I will treat you all to the four cutest hapa babies you've ever seen.

Of course, four babies means we are all exhausted on a level I've never quite experienced. And our kids were GOOD! Super nappers, happy with their toys, friendly with the grown ups, perfection in chubby packages. But still. Very tiring. Also,

Jackson

kept looking at me like, "What is up with all this noise, woman? Aren't you supposed to be the one taking care of me? Could you please shut those other babies up?"

Anyway, it is the food I would like to talk about right now. (What I should be doing instead: stripping off the spit up and slobbered on shirt, climbing into bed, ordering my husband to give me a foot rub. The things I do for you!)

So, the food. Cinnamon rolls. Noodles with peanut sauce. Salmon and rice. This crazy yummy chickpea and black bean and rice and chicken thing. Fricking VEGAN DOUGHNUTS. Before the weekend started I was completely in love with myself for having dropped two pounds in the last week. Two! That is two whole pounds more than I'd lost in, oh, about a month.

This morning I saw that I gained one of those pounds back. And tomorrow morning I will probably note that I have gained back the other as well. And all I have to say about that is: DAMN YOU, FRIENDS WHO KEEP FEEDING ME DELICIOUS CARBOHYDRATES! 

(And the wine. I may have had a bit of wine.) 

Seriously people. I am feeling the Carbo Loader Blues tonight. I was doing so well! Salads for lunch, meat and vegetables for dinner and sucking down low carb fudgsicles when tempted to throw back an entire bag of chocolate chips. But this weekend I ate my weight in rice and bread and noodles, not to mention hefty side orders of sweets. (We went here Saturday night! How could I help myself?!)

Here is the sad truth, Internet. Sweet adorable Jackson required forty-five pounds to bring him into this world. (Well, that’s how I like to think of it. I’m positive he needed all that ice cream.) Two weeks after his birth I’d lost about twelve pounds (two weeks being how long it was before I was brave enough to check. Perhaps I should have waited longer. Twelve pounds? Six of those were Jack!) Three and a half months later I’ve lost 28 pounds total. I have 17 more to go before I’m back to what I was when I got pregnant. (It would be 15, but no, I had to eat doughnuts this weekend. VEGAN doughnuts.)

When I put it that way it doesn’t sound so terrible. But I lost most of those 28 pounds pretty early on and the last month or so has been slow going. Those summer clothes never made it out of their plastic storage box. And the last 17 are the difference between the fat jeans I’ve been wearing all summer and the two sizes smaller stuff in the back of my closet.

I know I know. It’s called: Don’t Eat The Ice Cream, Moron. But what’s a personal website for if you can’t occasionally slop around in a bucket of self pity?

 

Oh, and all you people who are all, "Breastfeeding! It is a weight loss miracle!" You people are liars. Ly. Ers.

Sigh. 

I’m hoping to get a post up sometime soon about Three Months: A Whole New Baby and Do Everyone’s Husbands Play Dorky Board Games Requiring Miniature Plastic Fantasy Creatures You Can't Bear To Admit Actually Belong To Him Or Just Mine? But seriously, I was not kidding when I said my shirt was soaked with slobber. I'm starting to reek.


Why Jackson will not be brainwashed by Saturday morning advertising

I hosted the moms group at my house this morning. Rather than bore you with my neuroses (my house! it is filthy! and furnished by the Late Nineties College Dorm Life Catalog!), my insecurities (will they eat my zucchini bread? can I wear shorts with legs that are 20 pounds overweight (each) and last shaved in July?), my victories (they said my house was "beautifully decorated"!) and my extreme shallowness (the "beautifully decorated" sentence was the best part of my day thus far) I've decided to take a different tack, a tack not often seen on this website. The tack of Actually Talking About Something Worthwhile. Today's topic is: Should my kid learn Chinese?

GAH.

The obvious answer is: Duh. Of course he should learn Chinese. Haven't you seen the cover story on the July/August's Atlantic Monthly? (I've been reading it out loud to Jackson. There are only so many times you can read Brown Bear Brown Bear, people.)

The second obvious answer is: Everyone should have a second language. (Says the girl who spent her formative years in Italy and, when pressed to "speak Italian!", busts out with a poorly pronounced "Dov'e il vino?")

But...

Okay, so there are a few other biracial babies in the moms group. One of those babies happens to have a white mom and a Chinese dad like Jackson. Today that baby's mom asked me if I'd heard of a local language immersion school for kids (newborn to five years). She is planning to take the Mandarin class with her baby- the dad already speaks. I said, "Uh... maybe?" She said that her daughter would probably go to Chinese school as well when she's a little older. Was I planning to send Jack to Chinese school? I said, "Uhhh... maybe?" (I've asked Phillip to describe Chinese school in one sentence for you uninitiated few: "It's a place where you spend your Saturday mornings learning Chinese instead of watching cartoons.")

Leaving aside the craziness (my personal opinion!) that is attending a pricey language immersion school with your three-month-old, learning Chinese is a serious consideration and one to which I've given a lot of thought. More thought, incidentally, than my Chinese-American husband has given and definitely more than my Chinese-American mother-in-law thinks is necessary. When Jack was a few weeks old I was talking to my mother-in-law about how to retain some sort of... Chinese-ness... for Jackson. She told me not to worry about it. It would take care of itself. Her biggest concern about her own kids was making sure they "fit in", that they were American. We'd take Jackson to eat Chinese food in Canada and that would be good enough.

I am not so sure.

Phillip speaks a bit Mandarin and no Cantonese (his parents speak both, although Cantonese is used at family gatherings) and that's his biggest issue with growing up Chinese-American. His aunts and uncles and cousins all spoke Cantonese- even his older brother taught himself from Chinese TV- and he never knew what was going on at family dinners. He went to Chinese school, but he didn't learn enough. It really bugs him.

So say we sent Jack to language immersion or Chinese school because we don't want him to feel left out the way Phillip does. But he'd be learning a language his parents do not speak and therefore he wouldn't be speaking it anywhere except during classes or with his grandparents (who speak English as well). Does this mean Phillip and I should go to these classes too? We probably should, for our own edification, but real life doesn't leave a lot of room for language school and even less for opportunities to speak the language in context.

But maybe I am just being negative. I don't know. To be embarrassingly honest, I'd only be learning Chinese for Jack's sake, and I probably wouldn't try very hard. Have you seen those Chinese characters? There are a frillion of them! I could barely hack my way through first year Italian in college, and that's after having lived in the actual country.

(Yes, I know this makes me super lame. But I'm being realistic here. I am about as good at languages as I am with math, which is about 100 times worse than Barbie.)

It's not just language, though. It's the whole idea of Jackson being half Chinese and figuring out how to honor that. He has a lilywhite mother, a second-generation Chinese-American father and fairly Westernized first-generation grandparents. He will get his fill of as-authentic-as-possible Chinese food, but what else? I honestly don't know. I've been thinking about it since I married Phillip and I still don't have any good answers.

Jackson will have a library full of books on Chinese current events and experiences of foreigners in China. (Peter Hessler's River Town- go read it.) He will have lots of half Asian half white friends (at least if his parents and theirs have anything to do with the friendship-making!) He will live in a city with a high population of Asian people, a high population of Asian restaurants, an Asian art museum, Asian celebrations in the International District. He will know his Chinese-American and Chinese-Canadian relatives. He will have parents who love to travel (despite their irrational fear of airplanes) and who hope to accompany his grandfather on a trip to Hong Kong some day soon. His father will make him the Asian comfort foods his mother never eats. He will know he has the same Chinese name as Jet Li (according to his grandparents. "Zhang Yi Jie", Jie being the Jet Li part, but of course I can't type the tones.) And, as you know, he's all prepped to have the mad rad Asian nerd computer skillz. (Oh yeah. And he already has his own Mii on the Wii.)

Other than that?

I want to do the "right thing" whatever that may be. But also? I'm afraid of going overboard. Like... "Sucks to have your special Chinese-ness diluted by your mother's The Man-ness!" I don't want to bombard Jackson with Chinese school and Chinese books and Chinese everything because I have issues. (Which I don't. Unless I think about it too much and have watched too much cable news that day.)

So right now? He has a board book about dim sum. And grandparents who play the Chinese version of patty cake with him. That's about it. I think we're good for now.


Pictoblog

You are all terrible parents. Falling off the bed? Chugging Clorox? Baking your child to a crisp in the sun? FAT LIPS? I do feel better, thank you!

Now, in lieu of something interesting to say...

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If my mother would get out of the way I could watch the news in peace.

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The boys.

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They are never going to catch me smiling for a bunny picture.

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Neither are they going to see me roll over. I did that once, I'm over it.

And for comparison's sake...

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Three weeks old. Fat sighs and says, "Those were the good old days."


Someone call Child Protective Services

Well, I finally did it. After weeks of feeling rather smug about my ability to quickly and fearlessly clip my baby's fingernails, this morning I snipped off a huge chunk of skin in addition to the nail. Not just a cut- more like taking off an entire layer of skin. Jackson looked at me, wide eyed and astonished, and quickly dissolved into giant baby tears of pain and betrayal. Blood was seeping out of the cut (more like "huge gaping wound" actually). It was like seeing the heel prick test at the doctor's office, only worse because I was the one making my baby bleed and for absolutely no medical reason at all.

I, of course, lost my you know what.

"PHILLIP!" I screamed. "GET THE BAND AIDS! GET THE BAND AIDS!" Jack was crying and I was crying and all I could think to do was grab his tiny baby thumb and stop the blood flow with the nearest burp rag. Phillip could not get the band aid on fast enough, in my opinion, and then when he finally put it on, the blood soaked through within seconds. Which made me cry harder.

I decided we would both feel better (me and the baby, who cared about the father?) if I tried to nurse him. So we did that and Phillip attempted to apply a second band aid and also file down the rest of his fingernails because no way were we going to clip the rest. Jackson calmed down and even smiled at us a few times, but I could not relax. I sliced off my baby's fingertip!

Even worse, Phillip's parents were coming by in, like, five minutes to babysit so Phillip and I could go out to lunch and catch a movie. This meant I would have to explain why their grandchild was wearing bloodstained pajamas and a soaked-through band aid on his thumb.

Phillip kept telling me Jackson was okay and that cutting off his tender baby flesh was surely not the worst thing we would do to our kid. Reluctantly I agreed to leave him in the care of his more capable grandparents and we went to lunch. (But no movie. Something is wrong when the only movie you and your husband will agree to see together is Superbad. What is our problem? SUPERBAD? Really?) Anyway, not that I enjoyed myself. Every time I thought about Jack's thumb I felt sick. Just recently, because I am a clutz and a half, I got one finger stuck in our folding closet door and my thumb stuck in a corkscrew bottle opener. (Not at the same time.) Do not ask me how either of these things happened because I have no idea. I'm pretty sure both inanimate objects jumped out and bit me. Both times drew blood and required that I not wash my hair with that particular hand unless I wanted a side helping of stinging with my morning shower. My thumb healed only days ago and NOW MY BABY'S THUMB WAS HURTING JUST LIKE THAT.

Before I had a baby I would have looked at a person like myself and rolled my eyes as far as they could go. It's just a CUT. It will HEAL. Melodramatic much? Babies are resilient little creatures and like my mother-in-law the nurse is fond of reminding us, his cells are quickly multiplying! His thumb gash will go away much faster than mine did. But this baby is MY baby and the sight of his bloodied thumb is not going to leave my brain any time soon.

I still feel sick,. Especially because the baby fell asleep when his grandparents got here and has been sleeping ever since. For Phillip this means we'll have a well-rested happy baby for the afternoon. To me this means: MY CHILD IS TRAUMATIZED AND IT'S ALL MY FAULT.

In other news, the grandparents bought him a Bumbo and Jackson and the Bumbo are the cutest combination in the history of unnecessary baby items.

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Oh yes that IS a band aid on my thumb.

Anyone who wants to assure me that my baby can still be a functioning human being without his thumb tip is welcome to leave a comment, as well as anyone who can one up me in the child endangerment contest. I will be standing paranoid over his crib, band aids in one hand and a stiff drink in the other.


I have a degree in procrastination

Phillip gave me this book for my birthday: How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors. I was pretty excited because for the most part I really love books about writing. (Stephen King's On Writing is my favorite in this genre.) I thought it would be about, well, how they write. Ah! I said to myself. Inspiration! Directions! A how-to manual!

Turns out it is more of a coffee table book, with pictures and photographs and large print and funky typesetting. The editor sent a bunch of letters to authors, the famous and the barely published, to find out what they use to, for lack of a better phrase, get in the mood. Jonathan Franzen, for instance, must be sitting in his squeaky chair. Another writer must have on his desk (surprise) beer and cigarettes. Other authors have postcards tacked to bulletin boards, one has an oversize desk, one has a special typewriter, one must be in a particular hotel.

I put it away until just recently. I ran out of copies of US Weekly to read while I'm nursing and there's nothing good on TV anymore (and oh my lands my beloved TiVo is on the fritz) so over the last few days I've been reading my coffee table book. The first thing I have learned is: People who write, like really really write, are a little tiny bit insane. The second thing is that: Maybe I CAN be one of these people!

Anyone who's dipped into the 'anxiety' archive on this website knows that I have obviously have the "insane" part covered, thank you very much. Even my own father, my own flesh and blood, told me that it was okay that I occasionally deal with extreme mental instability as "it's sort of required that creative people also be crazy." But I didn't know that what I have lately been calling "nesting" is also my way of setting up my writing space (which is, of course, one of the plethora of ways a writer procrastinates on writing whatever it is she is supposed to be writing. Also in this procrastination category would be: blogging.)

So anyway. Last weekend I got all bent out of shape because the pack and play! The baby no longer sleeps in it! IT MUST BE REMOVED FROM OUR BEDROOM! I was feeding the baby and Phillip was all, "Yeah yeah I'll take it down, don't worry about it" but of course he's lying there SLEEPING while I'm feeding the baby. So as soon as the baby is fed and burped I am up dismantling the pack and play and shooting rays of death at my husband oh wait... I am digressing! Okay. The pack and play was quickly taken down and packed up and hidden under the crib to wait until we spend entire days at Grandma's house.

But I wasn't done. See, back in the second trimester when we started contemplating the baby's room, we figured we could still keep our futon. I could probably still keep my little desk too. It'd be the baby/guest/Maggie's office room. YEAH RIGHT. The first thing to be kicked out was my little desk. We ended up getting rid of it and buying an even smaller desk (which I love, my heart belongs to the West Elm catalog) and wondering how we could fit it into our bedroom. We moved the bed from one wall to another wall, got rid of a dresser, scooched a few other things around and now I had three square feet of office space in the bedroom. Ta-da! (We ended up moving the futon down to Phillip's office and then we ended up selling it last month because who are we kidding. We are never going to have overnight guests again.) Our bedroom now has the Phillip's-bed-from-his-bachelor-days under the window, one West Elm desk, one Ikea dresser, one Ikea bookshelf and a Target particle board nightstand I bought before I was even through with college. This is not a grown up's bedroom. It is the last room in our house that still has craptastic college furniture. I've had framed pictures leaning against the wall for two years- TWO YEARS PEOPLE!- because I keep hoping that one day my bedroom will look nice and THEN I'll know where to hang the pictures.

After spending, oh, $5000 while thumbing through the Crate & Barrel best buys catalog (in our heads!) we finally decided that a new bedroom set or, at the very least, real nightstands, are going to have to wait until The Next House. For now we will keep everything as is because, as craptastic as the pieces may be, they are all fully functional and no one goes in that room anyway. But. BUT. I must have a cute workspace. A cute workspace equals a soothing creative inspirational place to sit and think, right? (Here you are all nodding your heads in unison. Go ahead.)

I cleaned all the remnants of New Baby off my desk. (You know what I'm taking about: Percocet, water bottle, Lansinoh, baby monitor, Mylicon drops, stack of burp rags and what I will simply call Docusate (thank GOD I don't need THAT anymore)). I dusted everything. (Ick.) I put everything not directly related to work, extracurricular projects, the church committee and thank you notes in the space I cleared out on the bookshelf. Time to write, yes?

NO! Turns out my desk sits in a corner where one wall is plain new house white and one wall is crazy we-own-a-new-house-let's-destroy-all-the-walls! lime green. The bed used to be up against the lime green wall where you could at least say the lime green wall was an Accent Wall. See how it provides a pretty backdrop for the matching duvet cover? But now that we've moved the bed under the window, the lime green wall is just kind of hanging out by itself. And completely bare, I might add, because the stupid homeowner can't make up her mind about where to hang the stupid pictures. GAH.

So here is my new idea, internet, and it is fantastic. I am going to find, somewhere, huge sheets of cork. You know, like a bulletin board that comes in a roll. And I'm going to cover the entire desk corner in CORK. Then I will have a gigando bulletin board to hold up all of MY writing talismans: my quotes clipped from newspapers, my favorite Dilbert comic, the laminated homemade bookmark from my best friend with the Bible verse on the back, the picture of Phillip on our honeymoon, my Hello Kitty keychain, the magnet another friend made for me eons ago out of construction paper. (And my hair cutter lady's business card, but she doesn't count.) Is this not an EXCELLENT idea? It is so excellent that I've been plotting how to make it happen instead of writing or working or sending out the updated roster for the church committee. (Which: WHATEVER. It's their own fault for nominating ME to be secretary.)

The cork corner doesn't really deal with the lime green wall issue, but I'm planning to buy some curtains to "pull things together". And hang the pictures. And maybe make my bed once in a while so I don't have a "my house is so freaking messy!" meltdown every time I walk into my own bedroom.

(Did I tell you I am hosting the moms group next week? Perhaps this is where the psychotic nesting thing is coming from, I don't know, but I seriously want to buy everything in the Crate & Barrel furniture department, like, tomorrow.)

And just so this doesn't veer off into a unpalatable essay on Ohhh I want to be a WRITER, if only I could just sit down and have the words MAGICALLY APPEAR kind of super obnoxious post, I will leave you with my favorite Dilbert comic. Ever. In the Universe. And there are some damn good Dilbert comics.

(Transcribed, because I can't find the actual comic strip:)

Dogbert the Publisher is sitting at a computer typing a letter.

"Dear Tim,

Your book does not meet our current publishing needs.

Your plot was lame and I hated your characters and by association, I have come to hate you too.

For safety reasons, I hired an illiterate person to rip up your manuscript. I would use the return envelope you provided but I'm afraid you might have licked the stamps."

Oh, and today's (8/15) Dilbert? HEE-LARIOUS.   


Sleep, TV and Music: guess which one the baby likes best

After a couple days of truly awesome sleep, enough so that Phillip and I were starting to bat around the "sleeping through the night" phrase, the last day or two have been ROTTEN. What is this eating every two hours and waking up at 4:30? And not just waking up at 4:30. WAKING UP. Like, FOR THE DAY. I have calmly explained that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. The boy is now on his playmat violently kicking the baby wind chimes and straining to stuff the entire set of dangling toys into his mouth. His father is sleeping upstairs and I am allowing this because, when the baby would not go back to sleep, I got in bed and pretended not to hear him. I think Phillip was holding him and trying to get him to go back to sleep, but I am not sure. I was sleeping. Mmm, sleep.

I blame his mother's inability to get him to nap. Okay, that is not entirely the case. When we are home all day and being very routiney, getting him to nap is no problem. But! If I ever want to leave the house and breathe different air and socialize with people who can speak English, sometimes naps are disturbed. Like today, I will be attending the moms group right about the time he should be eating and probably going down for his second nap. If I can get him to take the first nap we might be golden, but this nap thing is a total crapshoot. WHO KNOWS? Yesterday I spent three hours at the lake with my friend and her baby. Both babies were hungry (we fed them there) and tired (we attempted to get them to sleep in our arms), but my friend and I were not willing to leave. Were you around yesterday? Gorgeous! Like we wanted to go sit inside our dull living rooms.

And also? I didn't think this would be a problem until he could at least sit up by himself, but my child loves the television. DUH, you are thinking. LOOK AT HIS PARENTS. But really. He looooves the television. He especially loves the traffic reporter and the Bravo channel. Yesterday I put him on his tummy and spread out a large assortment of toys thinking one of these days he might deign to roll over again. Instead he just held up his head higher than I'd ever seen it. I dashed to the diaper bag to retrieve my camera and I saw that my child was holding his head up that high so he could get a better view of Anderson Cooper on TV. ANDERSON COOPER?!

So, um, I am not sure what to do. On one hand, I do not want to stunt my kid's intellectual and developmental growth. On the other hand I am not ABOUT to turn off my television. Even if I am not watching it, it's usually on for the noise factor. I cannot deal with a perfectly still and quiet house. Gives me the shakes. But this morning, when we were desperate for the baby to go back to sleep or at least shut up already, Phillip mumbled, "We could turn on the TV" and I CONSIDERED IT.

BAD MOMMY! BAD MOMMY!

Whatever. We are just going to have to cultivate his tastes to match ours. Don't worry- I keep my hands over his ears when we watch The Sopranos and Phillip stands ready to cover his eyes during the whacking scenes.

(Speaking of keeping my hands over his ears, we took Jack to experience his first concert the other night. A friend's band was playing at a coffee shop so we went to show our solidarity. It was super fun, except for how I worried the entire time that I was destroying the baby's eardrums. I made Phillip put his hands over Jackson's ears but he hated it. He'd shake his head back and forth until Phillip moved his hands. Maybe the loud music didn't bother him? He actually seemed pretty happy. Speaking of- do you have any suggestions for music for a 3 month old? He is not a fan of my John Lithgow cd (which I really bought for myself) and his grown up banjo jazz cd doesn't seem to do much for him.)

Okay, I think he's hungry. At the very least he is howling for attention and I am a BAD MOMMY! who has been sitting at the laptop a smidge too long.