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July 2007

The most unreligious baptism post ever

Jackson's baptism was yesterday. It was a blessed sacred day, or it would have been if I hadn't had to change the poopiest most disgusting diaper in the universe moments before the main event, and I changed it in the PEW. Yes. As Father was standing mere feet away in the aisle giving his homily, Phillip and I were furiously stripping off a filthy outfit and a revolting diaper so Jack wouldn't contaminate the font when we dunked him in. We were successful, in that we kept the poo away from my white skirt and the white towel. A tiny bit got on Phillip's tie, but that was easily taken care of with a wet wipe and no one was the wiser. We are acing this parenting thing.

Because I am not particularly holy, the only part I remember from the actual baptism is praying that Jack wouldn't pee into the font while receiving the sacrament. (If anyone cares: he didn't.)

Then we were off to a snazzy Chinese restaurant for dim sum, with friends and two families in tow. There was the Caucasian family, with a grandmother who only eats white bread, coffee and chocolate cake and an aunt who had to bring peanut butter and jelly to survive a trip to Japan. Then there was the Chinese family, most of whom live in Hong Kouver where the Chinese food is authentic and sublime. When we go to Hong Kouver I am the sole white person and thus unfamiliar with many of the, uh, delicacies. I sit next to my mother-in-law who shields me from the chicken feet and the fish heads and makes sure Phillip eats whatever I can't bring myself to put in my mouth. But at Jack's baptism lunch I got to be the expert (sort of) at my family's table. I picked dishes off the cart, I told my mother what she'd find inside the dumpling and I retrieved all sorts of slippery items with my chopsticks and deposited them on relatives' plates. (Yes, I was totally doing the Asian pick-off-all-the-communal-plates-with-my-own-chopsticks thing and damn proud of myself.) I even convinced my grandmother to try one of the walnuts from the dish of honey walnut prawns ("They're like candy!") and she ATE IT. Better yet, she LIKED IT.

Then we went home and crashed, because oh my God is it exhausting making sure 25 people unfamiliar with downtown Seattle can get to the restaurant from the church and home again. And by "crash" I mean "played 15 hours of Mario Party on the brand new Wii". Can I help it if Phillip finally brought home a video game console we BOTH enjoy? Sigh. We shall never speak of this again.

Who wants pictures?

This one's for Maureen.
My parents are already humiliating me.

Cousins! The one with the mohawk is two, the one whose giant blue eyes have been possessed by Nagini the snake is seven months and Jackson is the one who looks slightly worried to be sitting next to these behemoths.
Perhaps a kennel IS a good idea.

Jackson says, "These cloth diapers do nothing for my figure." Ye Ye says, "I have the darlingest adorablest grandson in the world." Fat says, "I could take them both."


They can't make me smile. I won't I won't I won't.

Eleven weeks.

Stick a fork in me

I am done feeding the baby. DONE. I think I'm going to invent some kind of strap on food chute down which I will pour pureed peas and melted ice cream and the cans of chicken broth taking up space in my cupboards because we no longer cook.

You know, it's not like I expected breastfeeding to be easy. I expected weeks, if not months, of pain and suffering. What I didn't prepare for was the logistics of breastfeeding and the multiple ways it will drive you insane, even if it doesn't hurt. For me, there was the two weeks of tube feeding (did I tell you about that? No? I was still trying to avoid the boob talk, probably. NO LONGER, INTERNET!) Then there was the baby who took over an hour to eat. Then there was the turning black and falling off episode. And now? I believe we have entered the Distraction Phase. And I am going to sign myself into the asylum.

I didn't think it could be the distraction phase at first. Because the bookshelves have ALWAYS been there. The Four Flowers of China in their black and white frames have ALWAYS been there. The sun? Shining through the windows? Causing the shadows and glares? COMMON OCCURRENCE IN THE SUMMER, the only season he's ever known! But just this afternoon I was attempting to force lunch down the child's gullet and his father just happened to walk by. It was like WHO'STHATWHO'STHATIMUSTSEEEEEE! and lunch was effectively over. Damn Phillip and this whole work-from-home-on-Wednesdays thing.

But seriously. It is driving me nuts. I can't feed him in public, not because I am worried about modesty, but because he is so annoyingly loud and squirmy. He cannot abide having a blanket over his head, but he won't just lie there and eat. He eats for ten seconds and then yanks his head back (taking me along, of course) just to get a look at whatever he was looking at ten seconds ago. Or sometimes he'll be staring, all contented and glassy eyed, and suddenly he starts squawking. For no reason! It's the same food! In the same container! It's not like it tastes different or anything. And sometimes he'll just eat a little bit and stop. Eat a little bit and stop. Eat a little bit, smile to himself, and stop. Oh, and the WORST thing is when he just wants to PLAY. When I am all "For the love of God, EAT!" and he is all, "Slurp! Smile! Kiss! Violently shake my head from side to side while grinning at my frustrated mom!" Of course, as soon as he starts acting up, mealtime is over. He refuses to calm down and finish. So I end up feeding him for ten minutes, shoving him at his father and worrying about how soon he's going to want to eat again because he didn't fill up last time.

It's a perfect example of the Once You Think You Have It Figured Out, Baby Will Change! header in the parenting books. Because until this last week, I thought things were going swimmingly. It really doesn't hurt anymore, I'm more confident in public, I'm positive he's letting me know when he's hungry and eating well. But now he's only eating a few minutes at a time and I'm worrying about whether he's getting enough. He doesn't always want to eat again at the right time. Or he does, but he doesn't seem ravenous like I'd assume. At my moms group this morning there were babies who are eating every 1-2 hours and babies who are eating every 4 hours during the day and sleeping all night. (Where do I get one of those?) When Jackson is being NORMAL, he eats about every three hours during the day. In the last week (coincidence?) he's starting to stretch his nighttime sleep, though not at all consistently. Then there was the day when he was eating every 4 hours and sleeping nearly all the time in between. WHAT IS GOING ON?

I hate to say "Jackson does ________" because I still don't see a pattern. I feed him when he's hungry, and that could be two hours or nearly five hours. He's sleeping more at night, but sometimes the long stretch is early evening, sometimes it's early morning.

We're also starting to distinguish between hungry fussing and tired fussing. Even though he's been a cranky distracted super annoying eater all day, I'm positive he's tired right now. And Phillip just came downstairs to say he's asleep in his crib. We'll see how long THAT lasts.

Some friends of mine were talking about that Babywise book the other day and because I'd never heard of it, I looked it up. Sounds deliciously controversial! But from a purely practical point of view, I don't see how you even begin to implement that kind of program. My baby is nearly three months old and I still don't see us having a regular schedule any time soon- the idea of having him scheduled from birth boggles the mind. I never know what we're doing. I shoot for a midmorning nap and an afternoon nap, but I'm lucky if I can get him to go down at all.

Then again, before I had a baby I couldn't comprehend these people sharing all their "what works for us" stories. I thought that they must spend their entire days devising new and varied strategies for coping with fussy eaters and babies who won't sleep. That couldn't possibly be the case, right? Seemed like every mom had a different way of doing something, and it always sounded like they'd arrived at their preferred plan after heaps and gobs of trial and error. Were there even enough days and weeks to experience that much error? Turns out: YES INDEED. I most definitely DO spend my entire day thinking up how to do the next thing better. My little brain is working overtime: "Well, THAT feeding went horribly, what if we try THIS at the next feeding!" and if you are doing that every single time, then of course you have enough experience to draw from. In other words, I HAVE NO LIFE.

Anyway. The newest struggle is the eating thing. I can't deal. I don't know how many times in the last couple of days I've sworn at the baby (what? He doesn't speak English yet!) and tossed him into his father's lap because I AM DONE.

Then, just to spite me, he starts smiling at me from across the room and I can't even accuse him of taunting me because it is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Talk about a pushover.

Quick! He's sleeping!

Finally- finally!- the baby is asleep, even if he's only asleep in the Moby, meaning I cannot do the dishes or fold laundry while he's sleeping. Bummer. Actually it's been a pretty good day. Last week was full of bad weather and nothing to do and a baby who refused to be put down, but today has gone well. He napped long enough for me to eat breakfast and take a shower and then we went to the mall. Both of us need something to wear to his baptism. If I'd scheduled it a month earlier Jack could have worn the frilly gown my brothers and sisters and I wore at our baptisms but now he's too fat. (I KNOW! What happened to my SMALL BABY!) I am sad about this (sniff! heirloom! tradition! sentimental!) and not so sad (it's a DRESS.) So off we went to see if there were any appropriate outfits available for purchase at the local mall. But no, there are not. I can either baptize my baby in the latest green and orange thing from Gymboree, or buy an expensive and uncomfortable-looking satin tuxedo from J.C. Penney. I really just wanted something soft and white and boyish, it didn't have to be fancy or formal or have a giant cross appliqued on the front (yes, I could have bought something with a giant cross appliqued on the front) but there is nothing to be had. Perhaps I should not have waited until a week before the baptism.

Speaking of clothes: why are all the onesies that say Daddy's Little Helper decorated with little saws and drills and hammers? Why aren't there any Daddy's Little Helper onesies decorated with computers and cables and power strips?

Anyway, thanks for chiming in on the Staying Home With A Two-Month-Old Is Dreadfully Dull conversation. I didn't mean to sound as if I don't like my two-month-(and a half!)-old. I actually find him fairly entertaining. I don't know what that says about me, but I really can watch those kicky little legs and gummy smiles for hours on end. And, I've decided, I prefer two months to two years. The adorable blue-eyed nephews have been in town for two weeks and Jackson and Phillip and I have been going down to Grandma's house pretty regularly to see them. The older one is two and the younger one is six months and both of them are large enough to squash my child and eat him for dinner. They are the cutest things on the planet, but MY are they loud. The older one is constantly throwing around his favorite phrase ("No way!") and the younger one has developed this maniacal baby velociraptor shriek that he pulls out whenever he's tired or hungry or just bored with whatever toy is currently jammed in his mouth.

The other day I walked in the house and my older nephew was standing in the living room giving me the "who are you" stinkeye. He was wearing nothing but a diaper and a little t-shirt that said: WARNING: I AM TWO. And really, that says it all. Jack and I have agreed that we will skip two and go directly to three, especially if he has a little brother or sister. I don't know how my sister-in-law puts TWO babies down for naps. Just the one is enough to make me hunt for the smelling salts.

On the other hand, that same two-year-old nephew calls his cousin "Baby Jackun" and I dare you to come up with something cuter than that. THERE IS NOTHING CUTER. It is so cute I will spend the entire afternoon asking two-year-old nephew various Jackson-related questions. "Who sleeps in that box?" "Baby Jackun's box!" "Who is this baby?" "Baby Jackun!" This blog post is being typed by a puddle of goo.

I have pictures, but they must be downloaded from the camera and that is yet another job I am loathe to do while wearing the baby.

Oh I do believe the sun is poking out. Could it be? Although I think the only reason it poured all weekend is because God knew the Harry Potter book was coming out and wanted to make sure we didn't feel guilty if we stayed inside reading it the whole day. I think I'm going to see if I can get the baby to sleep in his BED and then start washing the dishes because did I tell you? The dishwasher is broken. And not the "doesn't wash the top rack" broken like I was complaining about earlier. This is "does not latch and will not start" broken. And this cannot be, since the whole reason I live in the United States of America is because dishwashers are a God-given RIGHT. (Have you lived in Italy? Where there are no dishwashers? And where you must store your freshly washed dish in a drying rack hanging directly above your sink, so that you are dripped on the whole time you are standing at the sink AND developing back problems because your sink is too low and the rack is too high? Italy may have excellent food but the kitchens are designed by crack smoking blind people.)

This is quite possibly the random-est post ever. I think I need to go lie down with the baby.


This morning my husband went out to buy me the last Harry Potter book. He came home with the book. And a Wii. I've decided I don't mind the Wii, since he watched the baby all day so I could read.

It's 9 o'clock. I just finished. Have you?

Why I love you guys, part 487

Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone. There's nothing like announcing it's your birthday to guilt people into leaving you comments. It's the next best comment-generator to giving birth.

On my big day I attended my first mom's group thing, went to lunch with my husband (who works from home on Wednesdays, rock on family-friendly employers!), spent an hour and a half at the DMV before I decided I didn't want to spend my entire birthday at the DMV, went to dinner with my husband and left the baby with a most obliging sister and wandered over to my neighbor's house for her birthday party. I KNOW. What is this having a birthday on MY BIRTHDAY? But she's the doctor and gave me, like, 450 pounds worth of pregnancy books way back when and practically did a jig when she saw our new baby, so she has my blessing. Also she is closer to thirty than me. (Although she is also a doctor. What have I been doing with my twenties? NOTHING. GAH.)

In case you are interested, I talked the most obliging sister into babysitting again this morning so I could return to hell the DMV and renew my license. Whereupon one of the machines broke and I was there even longer than the demons licensing representatives even planned to torture me.

Now Jackson and I are hanging out in the living room waiting for his grandparents to show up with our weekly delivery of fried rice. Jack is kind of sort of napping, by which I mean he is passed out on the couch and only occasionally waving his arms around and squealing for attention. (Which I am not giving. You are tired! Go to sleep!) Sometimes he smiles in his sleep. Phillip and I have a number of theories as to why this is, most of them involving milk. What else could a baby be dreaming about?

So the mom's group thing. I have thought long and hard on whether I should detail my mom's group experiences on the internet and the answer is: no, am I crazy? One day I should like to be friends with the mom's group ladies and I won't want to hide my alter-online-ego. But I will tell you a little bit, because I simply cannot help myself. Also, it involves you. (ARE YOU HOOKED?)

If you are local, you have probably heard of this organization. As soon as you even mention 'baby', a crowd of well-meaning experienced moms (and people who are not moms but are the kind of people who think they know everything) are insisting that you sign up with this group, even though doing so costs more than the shoes I bought myself for my birthday and requires you to hang out with strangers at their houses. (And if I had time and energy, I would go off on a little 'who do they think they are, it's not just middle class stay at home moms with big clean houses who need support groups!' but blah blah blah.) Anyway, all of that is to say this particular kind of mom's group is HIGHLY recommended by everyone from your best friend to the nurses at the hospital. Even though I have gobs of mom friends and plenty of playdate-ish opportunities, I signed up. Yay me.

We all met at the facilitator's house (yes, there is a FACILITATOR) and put our babies on our pretty Land of Nod blankets and proceeded with the whole Getting To Know You thing. Which wasn't horrible. Why are strangers always so nice?! I'm going to have to change my whole personality platform pretty soon.

But it was a very weird experience for me. Some of these girls were having hard times. I mean, really hard times. They were not shy about talking about those hard things either and I sat there thinking: these are all the things I worried about while I was pregnant. I devoted at least one anxiety-filled day to each and every one of these concerns. But I? AM DOING SHOCKINGLY WELL.

Seriously, I nearly started crying in the middle of mom's group. And it would have been an odd sort of crying- sadness and empathy for my fellow new moms and tears of relief for myself. How did I get off so easy? Sure I've had my moments. Anyone remember that mouthy can of Similac calling my name at 3 am? The first weeks at home are now a blur and lately I'm dealing with boredom and selfishness and stir-craziness and resenting a husband who takes a shower whenever he feels like it. But compared to some of the things the other moms were sharing, I'm conducting a cakewalk over here.

Sometimes I think my previous experiences with anxiety prepared me pretty well for this motherhood thing. The no sleep part, for example. Been there done that! Worrying over things you can't control? Totally covered. Feeling like you can't do it anymore? The last two months have been a breeze- a BREEZE- compared to my most anxious week. Granted I have a pretty easygoing easy-to-figure-out baby, but I can't think of one single time in the last two and a half months when dealing with anxiety would have been easier than caring for my baby.

Which is why I was so freaked out about caring for a baby and dealing with potential post-partum anxiety at the same time. I would surely die. So this is why, before the baby even arrived, I was asking friends to watch me for signs of rapidly declining mental health. I was collecting phone numbers for last ditch breastfeeding help. I made logistical decisions about work and babysitters. I did not assume, ever, that any particular part of this baby thing would be easy. And most of all? I had the internet. I am being dead serious super duper honest- if I hadn't had my little message board and my RSS feeds and the amazing women telling their stories online and my very own website with my very own blindingly gorgeous readers I would not be doing this well. I love my real life mom friends. They're the best. They've lent me breast pumps and made me dinners and listened to me freak out about stupid stuff and met me early in the morning for walks and called me to make sure I'm still alive after immunizations and family visits and Phillip's first day back at work. But the amount of stuff I've learned from you guys... not to mention the encouragement and the "I've been there too" comments and the funny supportive emails- OKAY STOP IT. ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE ME CRY?

I know there are lot of people who think the internet is all stalkers and everything, but when I think about what things have supported me through the baby stuff, my online community comes instantly to mind. I couldn't help wondering if the moms at my moms group knew about the sites I know about. If they had any online friends. If they had BLOGS. Because I am all about people starting up blogs. People leave you nice messages on your birthday! Why wouldn't you want that?!

A lot of stuff that could have been hard just wasn't hard for me. And the stuff that's hard, well, I read about it and emailed about it and got a lot of virtual hugs.

Oh my gosh could this BE any sappier? It's not even regular sappy, it's NERD SAPPY.

The baby is waking up and he's timed it well as I'm about to make even myself throw up. Time to begin the daily afternoon racking of my brains to figure out how to keep the baby happy. I promise to dial back the saccharine stuff. Maybe tomorrow I'll write a blistering character sketch of the woman who took my picture at the DMV. Think Dolores Umbridge in a DMV uniform. Mmm, Dolores Umbridge reminds me that I will be spending my entire weekend reading the last Harry Potter book. And as much as I love the internet, if the internet tells me what happens before I finish the book, I will send the entire internet to the DMV for all of eternity.

It was a very good year

Happy birthday to me! Today I am 28 years old. Let us not dwell on how dangerously close to 30 that is and instead think about all the presents my husband should be getting me.

First on the list is the cancer curing, whale saving, sin absolving iPhone. As you know, I am not much for phones, with the talking to people and everything. Especially on cell phones, which are teeny little things with too many stupid features, like that thing that fills in your words for you as you type. I HATE THAT. I have a very old scratched up non-picture-taking phone and I am loathe to upgrade as that means having to enter in all my phone numbers again. But! I may have stopped by the Apple store yesterday and got myself kicked out after I slobbered all over one of the display iPhones. So clean! So simple! So easy to read blogs while Phillip chauffeurs me about town! For the first time in my life I am craving a gadget. The problem is, if Phillip gets one I'll be jealous, and if I get one Phillip won't be able to stand living in the world. Since we don't exactly have an extra grand lying around, I don't see myself opening up a little iPhone box tonight. Bummer.

Diamond earrings. Natch.

A homemade gift certificate offering to do all the nighttime feedings for one week. Wouldn't that be nice? I'm pretty used to not sleeping already, but every morning I'm dragging around wishing I could only have ten more minutes, ten more minutes.  But I get up and take the baby downstairs anyway because one of us has a real job and earns actual money and that person is not me.

A box of chocolates. Apparently I am on the Diet again. Boo.

We have a kid now. That means we are never going anywhere by ourselves again. But I sure would like a trip to Hawaii. Last year for my birthday we went to Hawaii. It was divine. It was heaven. Last year on my birthday I was dressed up and sipping fruity cocktails in a fancy hotel lounge. This year I'm going to my first mom's group and then, even more exciting, heading over to the DMV, as my driver's license is expired and I did not realize this until Phillip took a look last night and was all, "Um, Maggie? Do you need to be able to drive?" YIPPEE.

Then there are the times when I covet a horribly expensive designer purse. I'm realizing it's not always convenient to drag the gigando diaper bag on a quick run to the grocery store. Not that a horribly expensive designer purse is necessary, but sometimes I walk by the horribly expensive designer purse store and it's like they are emitting BUY ME pheromones (how do you spell that?) from their front doors. Gah. Of course, if I had a snazzy bag I'd have to have a snazzy wardrobe to match, don't you think?

A dishwasher that works. Our dishwasher is great, unless you want to wash things on the top rack. Then it flings all the bits of food up to the top rack and leaves out the soap and water, because I'm constantly rewashing lettuce-encrusted glasses. Gross!

Anyway. That's just the shortlist. If I didn't have to find a way to take a shower in the next hour and a half I'd be all over the long list. But no, I have to have clean hair and not smell like sour milk if I'm going to my first mom's group. Why did I sign up for this thing? I won't know anyone there. I have to pay money to join. We're going to SHARE and you know how I hate SHARING.

But 27 was a good year. Jack and Fat think so too.


Stay at home mom

What do you do with a two-month-old? Most days it's just him and me and I battle selfishness all day long. I want to sleep longer in the morning or take a shower when I get up or eat when I'm hungry. I don't always change him right away. I put him in the wrap and try to go about business as usual- bending over to load the washer, sitting down to type, pouring a glass of water, acting like I don't have a small human being strapped to my body. I take him out of the house even if I suspect he's overtired or fussy and should probably be put down for a nap.

Even if I wasn't always thinking of myself, I'm not sure what I'd do with him. Beyond feeding him, rocking him, putting him to sleep. What else is there to do? Sometimes I read to him. Sometimes I put him on his playmat and watch him bat at his toys. I talk to him and try to get him to smile. One of my favorite things is taking him up to his room for a diaper change, because for whatever reason, coaxing a smile out is easiest when he's on his changing table. When I can't figure out what to do next, I'll put him in the wrap. Then he'll fall asleep and I'll feel guilty because a) the baby is asleep instead of being "stimulated" and b) I'm spoiling him and setting him up for a lifetime of bad sleep habits because he's not sleeping in his bed.

Then I pick up one of the dozens of fancy baby toiletry products littering his room and knock myself in the head because MY GOD, someone needs to relax.

I don't get caught up in the "worst mother" thing. This morning I put the baby in a borrowed Baby Einstein chair, dragged him into the bathroom and hopped into the shower. He started to howl almost the minute I got in, but I took my shower anyway. Every so often I'd slide the door open and say, "Here's your mommy! I'm right here!" and he'd stop crying and look at me like, "If you're my mommy then why have you left me all alone in this ridiculous looking chair?" But I didn't feel bad. I need a scrubbed face and clean hair in order to proceed with my day, even a day where I'll need to change my shirt twelve times to combat the spit up.

I do wonder if I'm doing all the right things. Most of the time I wonder if I'm worried enough. How is it that the one thing in my life that I should worry about is the one thing I'm pretty okay with? At the baptism class we had to answer a bunch of stupid "thought provoking" questions about faith and share them aloud. One was "I know God has faith in me because ________" and when the priest asked me what I'd written down I said, "I wrote down 'I have no idea'." Because questions like that are stupid when you're supposed to write something in five minutes and then share. I hate sharing. And I figured that was a more polite answer than, "What is dumber than a photocopied handout asking us to write down our thoughts on faith in a five minute period?" But all the other women in the class said, "Because he gave me this child to parent" and I thought, "Fool! Of COURSE that's the right answer!" So maybe that's it. God thinks I won't screw up. At least not too much.

Before I had the baby I thought it was terribly important to have a stay at home parent. Or, at the very least, a parent who was home as much as possible. Now that I have a baby, I still think it's important, but the nobility factor has dropped considerably. It's a dull and fairly mindless job, taking care of a two-month-old. Gross, too. You should see my shirt right now.

I hope Dr. Sears and all those people are right. I hope my baby is getting something valuable out of sitting around with me all day. Well, except for all those times when I dump him with my mother so I can go shopping or see a movie or, you know, drink. After being spit up on and pooped on and howled at all day I think I deserve a drink. Or three.

I put the baby on his mat so I could hopefully finish this up. He has kicked every toy out of range, has knocked down the books I propped up against the wall and has, don't ask me how, scooted himself a full six inches up from where I put him down. Also his father called and said he was going to be late.

Now? He has scooted himself into the corner and is bawling at me to relieve the situation immediately. But before I do, just a quick apology to all of you who don't have kids. This must be the boringest blog on the internet and I can't fathom why you are still around. I do have other things to say, they just don't come out as easily as they used to. I blame the spit up.

The shots. Oh my God, the shots.

Is it bad that I am leaving my kid to nap in his car seat while I am scarfing down string cheese sticks (hello South Beach!) and catching up online? We just got home from a friend's house and Trader Joe's, where I attempted to find some cloth diaper insert thingies (apparently their kitchen towels work as inserts? Because Trader Joe's is all kinds of amazing, didn't you know?) I managed to leave the tub of shortbread cookies at my friend's house (goodbye South Beach!) and I'm sort of regretting that sneaky move. The cheese sticks just aren't doing it for me.

So the shots. Sigh. I may need to go dig a fudgsicle out of the freezer.

All right. The shots were about as dreadful as I thought they would be. There was the added bonus of the nurse informing us that "his cry will sound different with the last one because that one burns" but we made it through. Phillip held Jack, the nurse did her thing, I cowered in the corner with the vaccination handouts over my eyes. The baby howled, of course, but as soon it was over he was sucking down a late afternoon snack and drifting off. Phillip and I swear he even smiled a time or two.

We ran some errands, had dinner with friends and then? When we got home? And took the baby out of his car seat? THE SCREAMING BEGAN.

You people did not warn me about the screaming.

Now, our baby doesn't scream. He bawls and whimpers and occasionally lets out a few spurts of very indignant shrieking, but he doesn't scream. The worst we've ever heard him cry is when he's starving and his idiotic parents are too clueless to figure it out. (What? It was only an HOUR after he last ate!) So after Phillip's attempts to calm him down weren't working, I declared the boy was hungry and tried to feed him. Then, for the very first time in the short history of Jackson Cheung, he did not want to eat. And that's when I began to cry.

We could NOT figure it out! He was FINE all evening! And then we were all, "Duh. He just had his shots." Since I could barely move my arm for days after my last tetanus shot, it should have been clear that my precious little baby was in pain after FIVE SHOTS in his tender scrumptious baby thighs. EVIL MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENT.

Poor poor baby. We then went five miserable hours of trying to figure out how to hold him without putting pressure on his legs. He'd fall asleep numerous times, only to wake up from oh so slight jostling and start screaming again. It was awful. Awful awful awful. I don't know how you parents of screamers make it through.

And did I mention that yesterday happened to be the day that broke all sorts of high temperature records in the Pacific Northwest? In other words: we were DYING. We couldn't even go upstairs for fear of succumbing to the awful stuffy heat. Let it be known that it wasn't ME who scheduled our appointment for the hottest day on record at five in the afternoon, HARRUMPH. We had the giant tower fan on full blast and our third-hand air conditioner going in the living room (oh yes, my husband brought home somebody's old beat up 1978 air conditioner and installed it in our dining room window) and we figured we were just going to have to camp on the floor. We were looking at a whole night of passing a hot sweaty screaming baby back and forth until one of us (hopefully the baby) passed out.

We gave him as much Tylenol as we thought responsible. We shushed him and held him and apologized profusely for bringing him into a world with infant vaccinations, but explained that the lack of polio in modern society should make up for it. And then Phillip said, "What about the Moby?"

In case you haven't heard it here before, GOD BLESS THE MOBY WRAP.

I was afraid Jack wouldn't like having his legs stuck in that thing, but he quieted down instantly. It was another 10 minutes or so before he fell asleep- and STAYED THAT WAY. Gingerly, oh so gingerly, I climbed into bed and let him rest on top of me. And after ten minutes of that, I rolled over so that he was still bound up against me, but resting on his side in the crook of my arm. We slept that way (well, one of us slept, one of us tried to not think about how her arm was going to need amputation in the morning) until Jackson emitted a cry I recognized, the FEED ME NOW cry. He went back to sleep pretty easily after that and today? My baby is back to normal. And amazingly enough, still sleeping in his car seat.

He is not going to have any more shots though. I hope the rest of you are immunizing your children so that mine doesn't catch any diseases.

Phillip is working late tonight (is there some kind of Network Administrator Widow support group I can join?) but I have all kinds of Trader Joe's yummies to munch on (like I was going to ONLY buy the kitchen cloths!) and Harry Potter #6 to reread before I get my hands on #7. Oooh, and last night's Top Chef, the only summer entertainment fare I've found digestible. Any suggestions? I almost watched the Real World Las Vegas reunion series, you guys, and I DID watch the absolutely terrible hosted-by-Joey-Fatone karaoke show. Clearly I am desperate.

The Great Cloth Diapering Experiment

I can't believe I'm going to write an entire blog post about diapers. I thought I was dull before, but this is probably going to take the cake.

Mmm, cake.

Anyway. I spend a lot of time on the internet, as I'm sure you are well aware. And during my forays into the mommynet I learned about cloth diapers and how today's cloth diapering systems bear only a smidgen of resemblance to my mother's prefolds, pins and soaking-in-the-toilet system. In other words, you could diaper your baby in something like this:


The whole diaper thing didn't really gross me out, as it did some guy I saw on A Baby Story one afternoon a few weeks ago, who used LATEX GLOVES to change his baby's diaper. (I would think that would be a dealbreaker. "Can you handle dirty diapers? No? All right, don't bother calling again.") So washing the diapers myself didn't seem like a big deal. The reusable-ness appealed to me, as I am something of a faux-environmentalist. But mostly I couldn't see spending a frillion dollars every month on DIAPERS. That you THROW AWAY.

Not that those diapers up there are cheap. No sirree. This cloth diapering thing, if you are going to be a snob like me and buy brand new easy-to-use pocket diapers, is a considerable investment. Especially when you consider how many diapers a two-month-old goes through in one day. Which is: A TON.

I read a thing or two and tried to get a grasp on all the different options, but after a while the plethora of cloth diapering websites and forums got completely overwhelming. And when things get overwhelming I email Maureen, because Maureen has a PhD in something ridiculously brainy and probably knows how osmosis works and how airplanes stay in the air. (I have no idea how airplanes stay in the air. This is why I ask for the wine as soon as I buckle up.) Also, she has a son named Jack who wears cloth diapers, so she obviously knows her stuff.

Maureen sent me a behemoth of an email about cloth diapers which I read, oh, fourteen times, and still didn't know what I should do. Finally I decided to treat her email like that Baby Bargains book. I skipped to the end and bought whatever she recommended. In this case, BumGenius one size diapers from Cotton Babies.

I bought two. They were the cutest things EVER. I may have put them in my purse and made all my friends examine them and tell me how adorable they were, when I'm sure they were just humoring me and thinking to themselves, "Obviously she has not encountered newborn poop." I bought five more on sale and figured that was enough to experiment with. I'd try them on my new baby and if it seemed like it was going to work, I'd buy more.

Then I brought home a SMALL BABY. His entire body fit into one of those diapers. He laid helplessly on the changing table while his mother laughed herself into fits. So the diapers went back into the drawer and around the six and seven week mark I was thinking they were probably going to stay in there forever. Phillip, for one thing, was not too keen on this washing diapers scheme I dreamed up. (Although I'm not sure why he cares, since I don't remember the last time he did a load of laundry, AHEM.) Also those paper diapers are EASY. No fuss, no bother, just twice as much trash as we used to produce. My mother seemed to act like cloth diapers were as ridiculous as breastfeeding and, well, I just wasn't feeling the SUPPORT, people. And you know how I require, I mean appreciate, affirmation.

But I did not spend my last paycheck on cloth diapers for nothing. And then my mom was all, "You should try them!" bringing the the number of things on which I thought I had her pegged but didn't at all to about 478. So earlier this week the boy started wearing his puffy fleecy cloth diapers. Not at night, because I'm "starting out small". Not out and about, because the diaper bag is already bulging and I'm still getting the hang of them. And not every day, because I only have seven diapers and some days that's not enough to last until bedtime. But so far so good. I've had one leak and I'm pretty sure that one was my fault, not the diaper's. The baby doesn't seem to mind them. And OH MAN are they ADORABLE. They make him look somewhat disproportionate, but I've got drawerfuls of too-big clothes so that's no problem either.

What I am not so sure about is what to do with the diapers between wearing and washing. We bought a cheapo trash can at Target (Maureen did not advise this, by the way, Maureen advises buying a trash can sophisticated enough to take you to the moon) and lined it with a plastic garbage bag. So when I change a diaper I just remove the insert and fling both pieces into the pail. The icky ones get a little bit of rinsing, but that's it. Then I wash them, but with only seven diapers it's not enough for a whole load and I don't want to wash them every day. The solution, obviously, is to buy more (which I will, soon) but I still have to figure out this diaper pail thing. It seems fine to me, but Phillip is TERRIBLY offended by the odor. I guess my nose doesn't work, I don't know. I haven't noticed anything too objectionable, although I can hardly be surprised to see that our definitions of "too" are wildly different. And I'm also going to have to use cloth wipes, because I hate sorting the cloth diaper from the disposable wipe. What a pain. And if you're already washing diapers it's not a big deal to wash a wipe as well.

So I need to figure out the post-use storage and also the rinsing and washing. I'm just winging it right now. It seems to be working fine, but I'm not going all out yet.

While I think about this, you guys can look at this picture and ruminate over the wonder that is 1) super cute green diapers and 2) my friend Neighbor's husband offering to change my baby's cloth diaper. I KNOW! Just the fact that Phillip diapers the baby sends my grandmother into a dead faint.


P.S. The baby gets his shots this afternoon. PRAY FOR ME. He will be fine. I will be the total wreck throttling the nurse holding the giant needle.

Two months old

Jackson doesn't know what you're talking about. He and Pat are buddies.


I had a little bit of a freakout this weekend. I'm feeling like the novelty has worn off. I don't have a newborn anymore. I've been doing the full time mom thing. I know how to get the car seat out of the car and snapped into the stroller. I change diapers and clip fingernails. I allow the boy to chomp on me every three hours or so and it's worked so well I can no longer safely hold him in one arm. It's a difficult job, but I love doing it and I haven't missed my old job AT ALL.

But! I'm supposed to start earning actual money again. I'm supposed to start cooking again. I'm supposed to vacuum and clean the bathrooms and do all the things I was doing before I had the baby. Only this time I have to do them with the baby. And I am NOT READY.

Hence the freakout!

Photographic evidence that the eating thing is going well.

After sharing every last detail of the freakout with my patient husband (one of the perks of being married to me!) I narrowed everything down (mostly) to starting work again. Half because my new responsibilities are only vaguely defined and I will have to be Miss Assertive Pants to get it worked out and half because, well, I don't wanna. Work, that is. Can't I just wear my baby all day? I am totally cool with just sitting on the couch polishing off the candy dish and watching My Super Sweet 16.

What do you do with a baby who is so tired he CAN'T fall asleep? Like the one I have right now?

Anyway. I went to the office yesterday to 1) show off my cute kid and 2) attempt the assertive thing. But decisions are on hold until the boss men get back from their summer vacation and while this earns me an extra two weeks of TV and ice cream bars, it's also another two weeks of worrying about it. Gah. In the meantime Phillip is going to build me a splendid mobile workstation and I am going to brush up on my very dormant and nearly nonexistent skills. One day I hope to be able to work upstairs while one of the grandmas watches the baby downstairs, or work from my parents' house while a great-grandma keeps her eye on the baby rolling around on the floor. SOMETHING will work out. Wait, that's it. Now is the time where all the things I said "will just work out!" actually have to start working out.

For the love of GOD why isn't the baby sleeping? I'm HOLDING him, for goodness sake! Albeit in the Moby, but the Moby has been pure magic lately. He won't sleep in his crib, he won't sleep on my bed, he's only barely sleeping in the wrap. When is my sister going to show up so I can take a freaking shower already!

In other news, the cousins are coming to visit. My mother's head just might explode from glee. The Lieutenant better not let those boys eat my baby, that's all I'm saying. You think I jest, but he's talking about buying a kennel for the older one.

Off to slip my child some Valium.