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September 2007

Skip this, come back tomorrow

This sleep thing is killing me.

I know I know. This is possibly the most boring topic on earth. I KNOW. I have had to listen to myself for a whole MONTH now going on and on about sleep and how to make it happen in my house. I've resolved numerous times to just "go with the flow" and "see what happens" and "stop obsessing", but really people. When have I EVER gone with the flow?

The thing is, Jack is not a horrible sleeper. He has never been awake all day. He has never been awake all night. Right now, in fact, he is sleeping like an angel, and at the appropriate nap time as well. We had to WAKE HIM UP to get to church on time (and let me tell you, there was quite the conversation about whether we should endure eternal hellfire for ditching church and letting the baby sleep, or enduring the more present hell, which is a cranky overtired baby. In the end God won, but if it hadn't been for feeling obligated to the old lady we drive to church on Sundays, I might still be in my pajamas.)

But! Even though I feel we are doing relatively well in the getting-enough-sleep department, I am constantly tormenting myself about what we should be doing. Today's self-berating is sponsored by Putting Your Baby Down Awake. I have never done this. Well, that's not exactly true. I have never done this and had it work. When it's nap time, Jackson and I go upstairs, read a book, pop the pacifier in and rock and rock and rock (it's more like dancing, actually, since I'm standing up and bouncing around) until he's pretty much out. On a good day I put him down and he sleeps for at least an hour. On a bad day I put him down and his eyes flash open and the process starts over. I blame myself, of course, for not putting him down awake when he was a teeny baby. I should have started that early on, but to be honest? I was too busy congratulating myself for figuring out when he needed to take a nap in the first place. There I was telling everyone what a great napper he is, when NO, I should have been bashing my head against a wall for ensuring month four to five would go kablooey.

Seriously. I am trying to be funny about this, but my laptop is going to crash from the, uh, dripping into the keyboard.

It's not like I think I will be rocking him to sleep when he's thirteen. Or that I've somehow damaged his psyche or something. It's more like I know I've done something wrong. WRONG. I swing between Excuse Me, How Is It Wrong To Rock Your Sweet Baby To Sleep and Holy Bad Habit, Batman, You Have Been Kicked Out Of The Smart Mom Club. One moment I am all, "He's still little, it's probably a phase, maybe 5 months will be better, we'll just do what works for now" and the other moment I am hunting for the corkscrew and sobbing into my big glass of Failure.

What have I been doing about it? You mean, how have I been attempting to be a Good Mom? I've read the books. I've asked my friends. I've scoured the internet. I make sure I am not the only one who puts him to sleep. (Phillip puts him to bed, grandmothers often put him down for naps, Phillip will do the first night waking so he doesn't get the idea it's time to eat.) We swaddled. We unswaddled (We went back to swaddling for nighttime sleep, and the last two nights have been a lot better.) We've done our best to keep to a nighttime routine. We've tried early bedtimes. We've tried waiting until he's visibly tired before starting the nighttime routine. We have, oh yes, let him cry. But except for one evening when he fell asleep on his own after ten to fifteen minutes of fussing, one of us always ends up rocking him to or back to sleep.

My mentally balanced and laid back husband has simply decided that he is too young for full blown CIO (our version was more fuss-it-out than cry-it-out) and we'll wait until the five month mark at least to try something new. The last two nights we've been able to get him down fairly easily, so it's easier to think like this. But I can sit here and read myself the riot act for not being consistent on our fussing-it-out experiement, for not canceling every single evening obligation in order to make sure he has the perfect sleep environment. I wonder how my friends got their babies to sleep on their own at Jack's age or before, and wonder what I'm doing wrong. Only today it occurred to me that if I was letting him fuss at night I should probably let him fuss for naps too. I have no idea how that's going to work, since every day is different. The sleep thing is killing me.

But the boy? He's fine.

I can't help it if my mother's a psychopath.

At least we got some cute pictures

He slept so badly last night. SO. BADLY. Before Phillip left for work we discussed which state-run homes we're willing to live in, should we lose our minds and need to be institutionalized. Jackson, of course, thought the entire conversation was hilarious, but I don't know. Waking for the day at five-thirty, when you have also already demanded attention at midnight and two-thirty IS NOT ALL THAT FUNNY.

Anyway. Institutionalization aside, the point of this morning's post is to tell you that our trip wasn't a total bust.

Here we see where Jackson inherited his propensity towards multiple chins.

Okay, maybe it was a joint effort. Triple word score to those of you who can locate and circle the clip on sunglasses Phillip refuses to hand over to the totally embarrassed Style Police. Even Jackson doesn't want to be seen with those.

The view from our room. Pretty! See all those lounge chairs on the "beach"? Guess who couldn't enjoy her complimentary lounge chair usage due to having a BABY who had to NAP and shouldn't be out in the WIND? Why'd we bring him along anyway?

Necessary for enduring the not sleeping. What is up with my always taking pictures of alcohol consumption? What am I, fourteen?

What we do for fun.

Sometimes I like to pretend I still have a SMALL BABY.



Gratuitous non-vacation photo, included because Jackson would like to show you all where the no sleeping happens. Do you think its the plethora of junk inside his crib? Hmm? Maybe?

I have just spent another 20 minutes trying to find a picture of me with my new haircut, but apparently it is impossible to take a picture that displays my new haircut AND doesn't make me look like I just got off a transatlantic airplane ride. I am nothing if not vain, so no new haircut picture for you! Suffice to say that I lopped most of it off in a way that requires that I actually DO my hair (how novel!) but I love it and want to marry the girl who did the cutting. I believe I have found (dum dum dum) MY STYLIST. I went in saying, "If you give me a Katie Holmes haircut I promise I'll get the liposuction to match," whereupon my stylist rolled her eyes (she did! in front of me! exactly what I KNEW would happen if I went in all "make me look like a celebrity!" shame!) and then worked her magic to put me somewhere between Katie Holmes and New Mom Who Couldn't Stand Having Her Long Ass Hair Hanging In The Baby's Face While He Tries To Eat.

And now? I am off to my parents' house. I just want you to know I spent all my valuable shower (and hair doing!) time writing a post. For you. DO YOU LOVE ME?

I think I could go / Deep as the sea of Yoko

The opening line of one of my favorite Dar Williams songs goes, "The first part of every day for me is good." (My favorite Dar Williams song starts with, "I wonder if Yoko Ono/Ever thought of staying solo". Which, in addition to being very much about Yoko Ono, is oddly relevant to this post as well. You totally want to be my new best friend now, don't you!)

Anyway, I really like that line and for me, lately, it is true. The first part of every day is always pretty good. I wake up between the hours of early and godawful, I feed the baby and he hangs out in bed with us until it's time to really get up. Sometimes he'll fall back asleep too and it's all very sweet. On rare occasions I will martyr myself by taking our very awake and very bored child downstairs to babble and play while Phillip sleeps a little more. And this morning I was treated to my own extra hour of uninterrupted sleep. (I am pretty sure this has to do with the fact that I put the baby to bed before Phillip got home from work last night, but I am not complaining.) The darling angel is napping now (the morning nap is the most reliable!) and he's gone past the magic 45-minute mark so dare I hope for two hours? DARE I HOPE?

The rest of the day, however, is a crapshoot.

Yesterday Phillip's mom came up and watched Jack while I "worked". (See the use of quotation marks there? The quotation marks signify the fact that 1) my big project, the one that was going to earn me actual money, went bye bye when the client found someone else who, let's face it, is probably much more talented and experienced and better looking than I am and 2) my part time work has yet to start, leading me to believe it may never start and 3) I pretty much read blogs all day and plotted various get rich quick schemes all having to do with watching eight hours of television a day.) So yeah. Mondays are my big work days. Tuesdays used to be a big work day, back when I had work and my mother didn't, and I'd drive down to her house and she watched Jack while I shouted obscenities at the computer upstairs. But now that I am mostly unemployed and my mother went and got herself a full time teaching job (I KNOW. HOW DARE SHE.) that's not happening anymore. So I joined another moms group (what is my problem?) that meets every other Tuesday morning and get this- on one alternate Tuesday a month I am volunteering to babysit for the other moms group. Obviously I have been attacked by the Krazy. Wednesdays I have my other moms group. Thursdays are my new days to drive to my parents' house, because I still hope to have work one of these days and because I suppose my dad is capable of watching the baby, having raised five of his own and having hammered the fear of God into the hearts of countless elementary school students. (And later, when Jack is a misbehaving older kid, I can't wait to hear my dad shout, "You think THIS is yelling? YOU HAVEN'T HEARD ME YELL YET!")

Gosh that was a long paragraph. Let's start a new one. So that's Thursday and then Friday is my free day. I really don't want to work on Fridays. I have to say, this mom thing is a really great excuse for saying things like, "I don't want to work on Fridays."

All that to say: I never quite know what I am doing after the holy morning nap. I am either "working" while someone else is watching the baby, or the baby and I are staring at each other wondering how we will possibly while away the daytime hours.

Before Jack was born I asked a friend of mine what it was like staying home with a baby all day and she confessed that life can be rather dull. "Sometimes," she said excitedly, "we sit on the couch and she watches the cars go by out the window!"

Over the last few days I've put a lot of thought into what I want my job to me, in addition to my permanent position as Head Diaper Changer. I'm ready to think about that now. My moms group (the one I've been going to all summer- we'll call them the Swearing Wine Drinkers and we'll call the other moms group the Nice Church-Going Ladies, guess which one I like best so far) is talking a lot about emerging from the "baby fog". People are starting to think about what they want to do with their time, now that caring for a baby doesn't require every brain neuron you have. I don't feel like I really had much of a baby fog, but I can definitely tell things are different now. I'm relatively confident about my ability to go to Target with the baby, whereas at four, five and six weeks old the mere thought created major mental anguish. You're starting to think about who you are again. You're all the things you were before, plus Mom Of {Insert Baby Name]. Seems like being the Mom of Jackson takes over a lot. That's how the moms at the moms groups know me, it's my new identity at church and that's how people see me when I go to the grocery store or walk around the lake with a stroller. I am a Mom.

But I am also an avid blog reader, a baker, a traveler, a wannabe writer, an enjoyer of quirky folk music, a nice church-going lady and a swearing wine drinker. I need to figure out how to be those things and be a mom at the same time. I'm not having some eye roll worthy identity crisis or anything, it just feels like it's time to start being all the parts of me that aren't mom. And if one of those things could make me some cash on the side, that'd be great.   

Grumble grumble

Well, internet, I've decided that four months bites. And I would tell you what it bites except this is a family website.

My kid could not be cuter. That is not the issue. The issue is: my darling sweet-faced happy baby has turned into Prince Will Not Take A Nap and Master Hates My Bedtime. And four-and-a-half-months is just hard in general, I've decided. I don't have the biceps required to lug him around in his car seat anymore, but he has a long way to go before he grows out of it. I thought my hair was falling out before? OH NO. I can practically carpet the bathroom floor just by blow drying. Everything I own is covered with a sticky sheen of drool. Those two teeth have fully broken through and they are JAGGED. I am wondering if I should start solids already because he stares at everything we put into our mouths. I am still 15 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. Did I mention the sleep? And how there is none happening in my house?

So let's talk about something else, shall we? I will now completely rip off a book I read in elementary school:

FORTUNATELY Veronica Mars is returning to television!

UNFORTUNATELY she will not be returning to Veronica Mars.

FORTUNATELY she will be appearing on my  second favorite TV show!

UNFORTUNATELY I hear she will be playing a Bad Guy.

FORTUNATELY she is an excellent actress and will, I'm sure, handle the Bad Guy role with decency and aplomb!

UNFORTUNATELY Heroes did not find it necessary to hire Logan Echolls as well.

Oh dear, everything else I can think of is in the UNFORTUNATELY category. How I miss Logan Echolls.

Actually, the most unfortunate of the unfortunatelys is that Kristen Bell is going to be an entirely different character and we'll never see Veronica again. I don't see why they couldn't have just plopped Veronica down in New York or something and have her figure out the whole deal. The heroes could be flitting around saving the world and Veronica could be harassing HRG and acquiring classified Heroes information with her devious yet oh so charming ways. Wouldn't that be an awesome show?

Veronica, I mean Kristen, says a Veronica Mars movie could happen one day and she'd definitely participate. (Well, she'd have to, obviously. Veronica Mars without Veronica? What would that be like? At the very least they'd have to resurrect Sheriff Lamb.) I don't know about a movie. What would it be about? We already know what happened to Lilly and what happened to the school bus and all the things that happened during the (sigh) somewhat convoluted third season. Maybe Veronica could just hang out with the gang in the Neptune Grand's bar, trading witticisms and referencing pop culture and hanging on Logan's every word. I'd watch that. And this is why I am not a screenwriter. 

I've been getting a tiny Veronica fix from watching Big Love, where Mac and Lilly Kane and Beaver all have supporting roles. Since our TiFaux has been on the fritz, I've been watching cable news, the Food Network and a whole bunch of Foyle's War episodes I stole from my parents' giant library of British detective shows. (Does anybody else watch British detective shows?) Phillip isn't terribly interested in Mr. Foyle, seeing as how he has up and joined a fantasy football league (I KNOW) and wants to watch football all the time. LAME.

Late last night Phillip finally got our TiFaux up and running so I am all set to devote my evenings to television this week. At the very least, it'll help distract me from the no sleeping. Seriously. Four months is kicking my butt. 


Wow, vacation was hard.

I know part of the reason (what am I talking about? MOST of the reason) things have gone so well for Phillip and me in the Taking Care Of A New Baby department is a large and experienced support network. My little sister practically lived at our house the first couple weeks Jackson was home, holding him while I took showers and napped and scrounged for something to eat. Many of our good friends have babies, and they understand having to go home early or needing a place to put the baby down. Phillip's mom comes over once a week to watch Jack so I can get some work done or, you know, go to the mall and treat myself to a latte and a pair of new shoes. My mom and dad are now only an hour's drive away instead of, oh, four frillion hours, and we see them all the time. I'm going out for drinks with my first moms group this weekend and starting up my second group in October. We have our longtime friends and our church community and our families and did I tell you my sister moved out of her six-blocks-away apartment into a one-block-away apartment? It's just not that hard to find someone to watch the baby or at least go out with the baby.

Until the last two days when Phillip and I decided just the three of us should go on a little road trip. I booked a nice hotel (and a morning massage) and we figured we'd just hang out. Can't do much with a baby who naps three times a day, right? We loaded up some TV shows onto the laptop and brought a bag of books and magazines. We told ourselves we'd nap when the baby napped.

Except, the baby didn't take very long naps. He didn't go to bed on time. He woke up three or four times in the night. Last night he woke up at one and didn't go back to sleep until three. That's pretty bad for my generally mellow kid. (And vacation seems to have screwed us royally- right now he's into his second hour of screaming about his bedtime. Phillip is doing the pat on the head thing and I am sending fourteen dozen emails.)

Yeah, I'm still sort of obsessed with the sleep thing, but lack of sleep wasn't the hardest thing. It was just not knowing what to do. We had a really nice room and I'd pretty much packed Jack's entire bedroom, but we didn't have his playmat or his exersaucer (there goes my no plastic vow) or the bumbo or even an extra room where we could hang out while he napped. We were at a resort in the off season (hello cheapness!) but that meant it was a little too chilly to enjoy the resort amenities and besides that, we were slaves to the nap schedule. We wanted to be slaves to the nap schedule. We wanted to read and watch TV and read up on our websites and just, you know. DO NOTHING. But people! Doing nothing is really hard when you are doing nothing with a BABY.

For example, you should not let your baby watch four episodes of 'Big Love' back to back. Right? Right. Your baby cannot hang out in the middle of the bed while you are getting your massage and your husband is reading about Wesabe. Your baby is not going to play happily by himself until the reasonable hour of nine or ten because you happen to be on vacation and want to sleep in. In short, you must do all the things you normally do to take care of and entertain the baby, you just have to do them in a foreign place where you don't have access to your things or your house or your big fat wonderful support system. I don't know how many times over the last two days that I thought to myself: HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS?

I am totally in love with my baby. I am way more in love with him than when I first saw him or first brought him home. This morning before we left I was feeding him (after he'd woken up criminally early, mind you) and he was doing this cute thing where he'd sip sip sip and then pull away, tip his head to get a better look at me and then BEAM. And after he'd give me five or ten seconds of the "You are the best mommy in the WORLD!" face, he'd sort of giggle to himself and latch right back on: sip sip sip. And then another beaming face. You don't care how early you have to wake up when your baby gives you that face.

But the waking up is still hard. Phillip and I were so out of it today. We snipped at each other all morning and discussed schedule strategy on the drive home. The minute we finally got the baby to nap in his crib, we passed out on the bed, totally forgetting everything we wanted to get done this afternoon. Right now we've been trying to get Jack to sleep for almost two hours- every time we lay him down he wakes up screaming. You just feel shot and the sad thing is, this is the way it goes. This is having a baby and for some people, two hours would be pretty damn good.

Before we leave

After much howling and protesting, the boy fell asleep around 8 last night, unswaddled. He woke up at 2:30. (Well, that's the time I got out of bed. I was lying there listening to the baby holler and feeling bad for Phillip who was trying to put him back to sleep- until I realized Phillip was snoring next to me and the baby was hollering all by himself.) After I fed him he was sleepy and I just put him back half asleep in the crib, with a pacifier and swaddle free, and he slept till 7:30. HALLELUJAH.

(Wait. Phillip says Jack woke up again sometime after that and he had to go put the pacifier in, but I am not counting this because 1) it was just a pacifier trip, not a yelling trip, and 2) I slept through it so who cares?)

Things we will be trying again:

  • No swaddle!
  • Sleeping on his side! (Is this a no no? I don't care. He sleeps much better on his side and looks a lot more comfortable, not to mention it's good for rounding out that flat spot. The flat spot really bugs me.)
  • A stuffed puppy dog to chew on.
  • A pacifier.
  • And, unfortunately, letting him yell for a while while we put him to sleep. Not too long. He didn't fall asleep by himself, but to understated rocking in Phillip's arms, accompanied by what I'm sure was an emotional rendition of 'Hush Little Baby'.

Now I have to feed the baby, take a shower, pack a bag and print directions because we are going ON VACATION! It's not Hawaii but it will do.


I planned to have this fabulous Emmys post this morning, but I couldn't stay awake. But a quick perusal of the internet shows that no one I care about won an award (except America Ferrera- whoo!). Anyway, I have a much different and much more pressing matter to attend to right now.

At the age of four and something months, did anyone else's sweet good natured child suddenly turn into a teenage girl? There is a sudden influx of Attitude in this house and Phillip and I are not amused.

More personality during the daytime- that's one thing. The kid is a lot more obvious in his likes and dislikes now and occasionally even prefers to be left alone to roll around on the floor rather than snuggling up to any number of the people around here wanting to hold him. But the "personality" that comes out when it's time to sleep, MAN. Our neighbors must think we're skinning a cat.

He can be obviously tired or not, it doesn't matter. When I haul him upstairs to start the take-a-nap stuff, the last couple of days have been exactly the same. Change diaper, maybe read a book if he doesn't seem too sleepy, then lay him horizontal in my arms to start the vigorous swinging and "Hush Little Baby"ing we do to get him to sleep, dare I say it? Quite quickly and easily. BUT NO. Gone are the days of the baby who fell asleep within two verses. The minute I change his position from upright to horizontal something must click in his brain: SLEEPYTIME? NO SLEEPYTIME! and the hollering commences. Full on "I can't believe you just grounded me!" yelling. It's not crying. It's not fussing. It's a four-month-old temper that makes me quiver thinking about the teenage years. And he does it to everyone, not just me. Phillip, who has been putting him to bed since day one, tried to get out of it last night, offering to do the dishes if I'd put the baby down. Dishes!

It's pretty much all Phillip and I can talk about. No one likes to hang out with us anymore. Anyway, we're not sure what to do. Right now the baby is napping and after relatively little rocking, but the rocking that did occur was noisy and violent and required biceps of steel. He is pretty much crying it out while being strapped down and rocked within an inch of his life. Seriously, after a while his eyes are closed and he's falling asleep, but he's still going, "AAAUUUUGGGGHHHH" for ten more minutes in your arms.

And so, I must ask the Internet: at four months were you swaddling your baby? We are. Even though it sometimes seems like the thing Jack wants most in the world is his hands readily available for chewing, he has never slept very long unswaddled. He might go down without being wrapped up, but sooner or later he wakes himself up with scratching or flailing his arms or just random startles. The nights he's slept the longest are the nights he's wrapped the tightest and couldn't get out of his swaddle. (He sleeps swaddled for his naps too, although looser because I can't achieve the life-sucking straitjacketness that Phillip creates for bedtime.)

He seems to get tired around seven or eight and we watch him for any sign of sleepiness during this time. Then we feed him (if he's hungry, we definitely do not have the always-nurses-to-sleep issue), change him, dress him, lotion him up, read a story and do the rocking/yelling thing. One night when we were feeling brave we put him in bed after 15 minutes of rocking, even though he was still awake. We listened to him yell for ten minutes before neither of us could take it anymore and Phillip dashed upstairs. But he was doing the moaning-while-asleep thing. As soon as Phillip stuffed the pacifier in his mouth he was out. So...? I don't know. He's just mad. He doesn't want to go to sleep. He arches his back and tries to vault himself out of our arms. He's not hungry or uncomfortable or wet or hot or teething any of the things we can think of that might make him cry, except TIRED. SO JUST GO TO SLEEP ALREADY.

Then there's the night waking. My God. For a while he was sleeping pretty well, nice long stretches. But now it seems we're back to every couple of hours. If he's wide awake I almost always feed him (and he may fall asleep while nursing or not) but if his eyes are closed we just give him the pacifier and put our hands on his chest to see if he'll go back to sleep. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If it doesn't, we'll pick him up and rock him and while that used to work really well, now he does the yelling thing.

Is he trying to say, "Leave me alone you morons!" Does he just need to get it out of his system and we're interrupting that process? But if I just put him in his crib to fuss instead of having him do it in my arms, I think he'd just lie there complaining. He wouldn't be sleepy enough to actually fall asleep. That's the other thing- he may be yawning, but he still wants to be bounced on the bed and carried around the house.

One thing I can't complain about is naps. Even if it's hard to get him to go to sleep, once he's out he's out. My child slept for a straight three hour stretch on Saturday. One day he took four one-hour naps, but the next day he took two two-hour naps because I didn't rush in and get him when he started fussing at the one hour mark. So I'm doing that now- waiting to see what happens before I pick him up. Even the nighttime- he's definitely not a horror. We sleep. We take turns attending to the prince's needs. He may yell a lot once in a while, but I can count on one hand the number of times we've had to stay up longer than an hour or two to get him to fall back asleep.

How do your babies/kids go to sleep? Does anyone else's baby moan and fuss in his sleep? 

Remember when I asked for your thoughts on vacation spots? We finally picked a place and made reservations. We're packing up the car tomorrow morning and spending two nights in a room with a lake view. And after that, I think, we are going to start some sleep training. We've been doing a rather half-assed job of it over the last two weeks, but after our little getaway it is ON. Well, once I figure out what we should do. Then it is ON.

(And you KNOW I'm bringing the laptop so I can tell you just how horrified I am when everyone else in the hotel is giving us the stinkeye because our baby kept them up all night.)

My brain is so very empty

Last night at my church meeting I learned about the Pope's new letter and the Tridentine Mass. Right now Arwen is hissing, "Don't go there, Maggie, do you WANT me to bust out the red pen?" But people! This is fascinating! The priest gave us a mini lecture on the subject since the folks on my particular committee should know what's going on (again, WHY am I on this committee?) and I just sat there ENTHRALLED. I need to read some books. I have a college education grounded entirely in how to write angsty adolescent poetry and how to act like your adolescent angsty poetry is better than everyone else's, and also how to write a feminist critique of every single Victorian novel in existence. The 19-year-old me was working her butt off to pay for this kind of education, but the 28-year-old me would sometimes like to give the 19-year-old me a good kick in the pants and say, "Self! What the hell are you thinking!" and then sign 19-year-old me up for some history classes. Maybe some art history and religion classes for good measure. (But no math. The 28-year-old me is still extremely proud of graduating from college without having taken a single math class.)

ANYWAY. I find this sort of thing intellectually delicious. Right after we got through discussing the Mel Gibson branch of Catholicism, someone flew off on a tangent about a Catholic-but-drop-the-Roman church in our area with (gasp) married clergy! Women priests! Gays with partners! And there were a few people on our commission who were just scandalized. SCANDALIZED! (Not our priest. Our priest was all, "If you ever go there one Sunday let me know what it's like!")

I shouldn't be this way, but I find the scandalized people nearly as entertaining. This is probably because I am not terribly hung up on The Rules. I know I probably should be, but I'd rather watch TV. (Wanna come over to my house Sunday night for the Emmys? I'm stocking the bar and drycleaning my spangly dress!)

I've been trying to write a post for, uh, months now, about the Catholic liturgy and why everyone seems to be very passionate about it except for me. And I thought this whole Tridentine Mass discussion was a perfect segue into exploring the abyss of my cloudy thinking on this topic. But see, you have already fallen asleep and started drooling on the nice fresh pillowcases.

I'll just say that I would LIKE to be passionate! I would LIKE to love the Mass and the rituals and all the different THINGS that Catholics do, I just don't know why or how. I've started a second book in my endeavor to embrace the religion I've always had, although this one looks to take the same assumption as the first, which is that whoever is reading already loves the liturgy and just wants more detail.

I think my third book is going to be one of those "Why I Drop Kicked The Evangelicals And Started Chilling With The Papists" books. I've got a couple lying around my house, leftovers from a friend who briefly entertained switching sides, and maybe that'll give me something to chew on. I don't know. I am firmly unequivocally most assuredly Catholic. I've already gone through my maybe-I-should-be-something-else phase. I am not Catholic because I think everyone else is wrong, I'm Catholic because I am absolutely positive that God wants me (and Phillip) to be Catholic. So. That being said, WHY IS THAT, GOD?

Like always, I blame the Non-Denominational Christian Fellowship for mucking everything up. If it hadn't been for them I wouldn't be having this existential crisis. When you feel you've grown the most in your faith during your stint in a Protestant youth environment, it makes figuring out how to be a grown up Catholic a little confusing.

And yet, Catholic I must be! Bring on the books!

For all of you who have no interest in reading anything Catholic- or religious- or God-related and are ferverntly hoping I get rid of the 'Faith' category altogether, I offer a super cute baby picture as a peace offering.


Thus I rend all faith discussion irrelevant as I must now go commit hara kiri on my IT administrator.

Sleeping through the night

The baby slept through the night Sunday night. 9pm to 6:30am. I know. You may all pick your jaws up off the floor.

We hardly hoped that he'd sleep through last night as well. But he did, mostly. I got up twice to put a pacifier in his asleep but moaning mouth (does anyone else's baby do this?) because I couldn't stand listening to it on the monitor. (Smarter people than I would turn off the monitor, but... I'm not quite there yet.)

After taking four naps yesterday (FOUR), the baby went to bed at 8 and slept all the way to 4:30 when he woke up demanding breakfast. Not bad, huh? I should have got a lot of sleep, even with getting up to tend to the pacifier.

BUT NO. Sometime after the second pacifier trip I was lying in bed willing myself to go back to sleep, a process that takes forever as all three of my longtime readers know. I was cursing my snoring husband and my moany kid and the heat (85 degrees in September? Must we?) when suddenly I heard this out my bedroom window:


(You can probably finish the last consonant for yourself.)

I heard it once. I heard it twice. By the third time I was certain the source was in my front yard.

"Phillip," I hissed. "There is a crazy person in our front yard."

(This has been known to happen. We live in the city, after all, and mere blocks away from a Very Sketchy Highway where Very Sketchy Types have been known to hang out and do their Very Sketchy Things.)

Phillip said, "Harrwha? Snerf?"


As you can imagine, it was sort of disturbing. I pictured one lone meth addict wandering pantsless up and down our street, bemoaning the loss of his last five dollars, or some such tragedy. I mean, he sounded bereft. Well, crazy and bereft. I almost felt sorry for him until I fumbled around for my glasses to get a look at the clock: two in the morning.

"Maybe we should call the police."


"Maybe one of the neighbors have already called the police. You think?"




"For the love of GOD-"

"Is that guy in our FRONT YARD?!"

We both laid in bed waiting for the next utterance of alcohol-inflected misery. We didn't quite know what to do. It wasn't like when I lived in the studio apartment across from the tavern and I had the police on speed dial. Bot of us were hoping he'd just go away (or at least get picked up by one of the cops constantly cruising around- I told you I live in a sketchy neighborhood) but after fifteen or twenty minutes he was still sharing his unhappiness with the entire block.

"I think we should call the police." (Meaning: I think YOU should call the police.)

"Maybe he'll just go away."

"I'm not sure I like your obvious disregard for the safety of your wife and son."

"What do you want me to do? Run out there in my underwear waving my rifle?"

"You could at least look out the window. Maybe brandish a Wii controller."


And then he was gone. Maybe he just drifted onto another street to incite the same conversations in those bedrooms, I don't know. I love our house. I love our neighbors. But once our kid is old enough to play outside I think we'll be looking for a new place to live.

The baby slept through the whole thing. Good boy! And now I have to go wake him up from his nap (I KNOW) to go to a new moms group thing (I KNOW!) If anyone wants the secret to my sleeping through the night success it is this: Obsess about it and make sure everyone knows you're obsessing about it. Then your baby will make you look stupid.


Here are 29 reasons why I love Phillip:

1. He does all the vacuuming. This means I have to clean the bathrooms, but dear God I hate vacuuming.

2. When I'm starving and there's nothing to eat, he'll make me noodles with an egg. It's very easy: open package of noodles, deposit into boiling water, mix in a beaten egg. But it only tastes right if Phillip does it.

3. He's super cute. (Evidence below.)

4. When I'm anxious and can't go to sleep he promises not to fall asleep before I do.

5. He's traveled with me to all my favorite places. (Even if he prefers Rome to Florence or Venice. Which is wrong in 47 different ways, but something else I love is the way he eventually agrees with me out of exhaustion.)

6. He will always be older than me.

7. My husband has excellent taste. Every year on my birthday he buys me earrings and I always like them. Purchasing jewelry for me is a venture fraught with danger, seeing as how I am 1) horribly picky and 2) not much for jewelry, but every year I loooove whatever he has picked out. Honest.

8. He played golf today. Apparently he hit a birdie, whatever that means, and he will. not. shut. up. about. the. birdie. I am deciding to love this, because it is his birthday and he is so deliriously happy.

9. He likes kids.

10. After we put the baby down he does the next feeding, even if the next feeding is at 3 in the morning instead of the usual midnight.

11. He built me a TiFaux.

12. He will eat anything I don't want to eat when we go to the Big Chinese Dinners in Hong Kouver.

13. The summer we started dating he picked me up at the airport after not seeing each other for months and I said, "Do you want to walk around the lake?" and he said, "Okay!" even though it was very late at night and both of us were very tired. I don't think he has walked around the lake since.

14. He likes to take pictures, so much that we rarely have pictures with both of us together. All of the pictures of us together look like this:

15. When I wanted to paint the bathroom a cherry red, attempted to paint the bathroom cherry red, realized I'd destroyed our bathroom with cherry red paint and went upstairs to have a nervous breakdown, he took over and salvaged it by himself.

16. One time I drank too much and he guided me out of the restaurant lounge, helped me into the car, rolled the windows down, drove me home and put me to bed. 

17. He's seen about ten different Indigo Girls concerts plus an Ani DiFranco show at which I am quite sure he was the only straight Asian man in attendance. Because I wanted him to go.

19. He understands how much I love my television.

20. When I am proffering my shrill opinion about something political or social or religious he will not get caught up in my ranting and instead quietly offer his own middle ground thoughts.

21. Once we took this little "Figure Out Your Political Philosophy Test". I predicted that Phillip would end up smack in the middle and I was right.

22. Phillip used to walk by a homeless man on his way to work every day. One day he decided to give that man his coat. He really misses that coat. We've been looking for a replacement for years.

23. He likes babies.

24. When we go to the cupcake shop he wants the vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. This is another thing I am deciding to love because it's his birthday.

25. He tried to teach me to drive a stick. Then he decided it was easier to just buy an automatic.

26. He is without any mental instability whatsoever, except for when he says I look pretty when I most decidedly do not look pretty. But I can live with this kind of insanity.

27. When I say, "We're putting the baby to sleep all wrong!" or "We have to throw out all the bottles and buy ones that don't leach chemicals!" or "We have to go see a lactation consultant before I DIE," he is always willing to go along with whatever I want to do.

28. I had to build a database for work once and I had to use all sorts of nerdy bits of code and I was instant messaging him every ten minutes for help. But he helped and he listened to me yammer on about my database for months and acted like he was proud of me instead of bored and annoyed by me, which is how anyone else would have acted.

29. Right now he is in the baby's room reading him a story. In an hour we will go out to dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate his 29th birthday, but I won't feel any more googly eyed about him than I do right now, listening to him say, "THAT'S not my teddy- his paws are TOO FUZZY!"