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Welcome Baby Z! (A Birth Story)

May 17, 2012

I’m not sure exactly where this birth story is supposed to start, but I don’t feel I can tell Z’s story without mentioning certain significant pre-birth events.  At 36w1d, my midwife Lisa unexpectedly passed away as the result of a “sudden cardiac event.”  Lisa had delivered LM and I was totally devastated by suddenly losing her and her calming presence.  I hadn’t realized how much Lisa was a fixture in my vision of Z’s birth; it was as much an assumption that she would be there as that DH would be there!  But now Lisa was gone, and since home birth midwives don’t exactly work in group practices, I had very little time to make some big decisions about my birth plan.  I really didn’t want to go to the hospital or birth center, and there was only one other home birth midwife practicing (that I was aware of) in my town, so I contacted her immediately, and left a (really idiotic and frantic sounding) message on her voicemail.  Fortunately, Amy responded to my message, we met and she was willing to take me on as a client, even so close to my due date.  After our initial meeting, the next appointment was the home visit to make sure that all the supplies I had collected for the birth were the same for Amy as for Lisa (since every midwife has a different list), and then it was in to the typical waiting game: weekly prenatal visits, occasional texts or calls to discuss braxton-hicks contractions, natural methods of encouraging labor, etc.

At 39w6d, I officially started to get antsy.  L had been born one day before her due date, and weren’t second babies supposed to come earlier?  My mom had come to town to help during the last few weeks and during the birth, and here I was seeing no real progress.  At 40w2d, we went to my weekly prenatal visit and I was still only about 1+ cm dilated and 50% effaced.  I started trying some of the labor encouragement methods, without any encouraging results.  A week passed in which two friends of mine had babies, who had been due only one and two days before me.  I was very very happy for their new arrivals, but starting to get nervous for myself; home birth midwives can only attend up to 42 weeks; a Non-Stress Test (NST) was discussed, which may have the effect of buying more time, if the “official” results could be interpreted that I was less far along in gestation then previously thought.  At 41w2d,  it was time for the weekly prenatal again, and I was very hopeful since I’d had sporadic but noticeable contractions on and off since around my due date. I was still declared barely-2 cm dilated, and maybe 60% effaced.  We talked about the NST some more and talked about Tuesday or maybe even Wednesday as being the better day for it than Monday.  I was very discouraged but Amy was hopeful that labor would start naturally before that.  Fortunately, she was right.

On Monday, April 30, around noon, my mom and I were walking around the yarn section of Michael’s when I noticed that I’d had three contractions in a row that actually caught my attention.  Mom stared timing them at 12:35, and they varied from six to ten minutes apart for a couple hours, so I decided to start letting people know.  I texted Amy the midwife and let her know that I was getting regular contractions, and that I was going to try to lay down for a nap while LM had her nap.  I let DH and my brother both know that I thought it would finally be the day, and I would keep them posted.  As soon as I laid down and tried to catch a nap, the contractions immediately got much closer together, 3.5 to 4 minutes apart instead of 7 to 8.  They were slightly more intense but still not painful in any way, so I just laid in the bed and wrote down the times every time one started, for about 35 minutes until LM woke up and came in to find me.  I got up and started walking around and the contractions did not space out farther again, so I called DH and told him to head home (since it was 4:00 at that point, it wasn’t a big deal for him to leave work) and texted Amy, asking her to come by and check me before she headed to a 24 hour visit she had planned, for a baby she had delivered just the day before.  I also called my brother to start heading over, since he lives about half an hour away, my sister to come over and start her food prep, as well as the photographer who was coming to the birth.

DH got home and agreed that it was the real thing.  My sister arrived shortly after 5:00 pm and jumped right into her food prep duties; it was absolutely delightful to have my birth catered!  Sis made mini turkey meatballs in brown gravy, fried rice, and bean dip for tortilla chips, and they were very much appreciated.  Amy arrived around 5:15 and we started talking about how my contractions were feeling and whether I felt comfortable with her going to do that 24 hour visit on her other client, who lives about an hour away; I didn’t really, but I wanted her to check my progress before we made any more decisions.  Meanwhile, my friend Jenna the photographer arrived and began documenting the event.  My brother had wandered away from his phone at work, and missed a few calls for him to come get LM, then my sister hijacked him to go to the grocery store on his way over, so he didn’t arrive until about 6:15–and there was no way that Amy would be able to do a cervical exam without LM having a fit (she is VERY strange about people touching me, even DH).  So once my brother arrived, said his hellos and we said our goodbyes to LM for her first night away from both parents, Amy was able to give me a thorough exam.  She took my blood pressure, monitored the babies heartbeat, then we went into the bedroom for the first (and only) cervical check I would get.

At 6:55 pm, I was 5 cm dilated and 90% effaced, which Amy declared as active labor and she wasn’t going to leave to go to that other clients house an hour away.  I was really relieved since I know how fast LM’s birth went, but I looking back I think Amy was resigned to a long night of labor. After it was all over, Tom and I were amused that no one had really seriously believed how fast we KNEW this labor was going to go, but we did–although I’ll even admit I underestimated how fast it went at the end!

DH and my mother prepared the bed room by clearing off our big dresser for Amy’s supplies, and making the bed up with a clean pair of nice sheets, covered with a heavy plastic sheet and then that covered by a clean pair of cheap sheets for the birth.  I put on my birthing gown and the beautiful necklace of beads given to me at my blessingway–each bead from a different person, with a story and words of encouragement for me to focus on while I labored.  I love this necklace!

Now that all was prepared, it was just the waiting game, which is recorded in my own memory as basically a cocktail party with contractions.  We ate my sisters wonderful hors d’oeuvres, checked Facebook and text messages, and sat around talking about birth stories and Jenna’s photography.  My contractions were still coming about 3 minutes apart and were more intense, causing me to stop and concentrate on them, and they lasted about 45-50 seconds.  But there was enough respite between them that I could relax and follow what was going on.

At about 7:30, Amy gave me a dose of cotton root bark suspended in water, explaining that it would prevent my labor from stalling and even help move things along.  I can’t really say if it worked or not, since my labor seemed to be progressing on it’s own, but it couldn’t do any harm.  The cocktail party continued until just after 8:00 when Amy suggested I take another dose of the cotton root bark.  As soon as she handed me the glass and I smelled it, I immediately got nauseous and experienced a sensation that I have read about in other birth stories, of “throwing down.”  It immediately made sense to me (having never experienced it before) because it felt like my body was using the same muscles to bear down as it would use to throw up.  I didn’t think (or I really hoped…) I would throw up but I told DH to get a bucket anyway, just in case.  I sat still, in my own little world, while I had two or three really intense contractions and fought the nausea so I could swallow the second does of cotton root bark.  The cocktail party went on around me, and Amy told me later that she sent a text to her assistant around 8:15 telling her to be ready to come over but that there was no hurry.

I got up from my chair around 8:20 and took deep breaths while I walked around, and had two more contractions while leaning on the dining room table, which felt a lot better than sitting; all the nerves in my core and pelvic region must have been lit up because the pressure of sitting had become uncomfortable and when DH came up behind me at the table and tried to rub my lower back and hips, I had to tell him to stop.  I appreciated him wanting to help, but I didn’t want ANYTHING to touch me, it was too overwhelming.  I managed to control the nausea enough to drink the second dose of cotton root bark at 8:26, and felt like I really wanted to go to the bathroom.  I remembered this from LM’s birth and knew that I was probably in transition, but I think Amy still didn’t suspect it, until I was in the bathroom and had a contraction sitting on the toilet (didn’t actually have to go, another sign of transition) that made me moan and cry out something that I don’t remember.  I really wanted to lay down all of a sudden.

I came out of the bathroom at 8:32 and apparently Amy recognized the moaning for what it was and decided to get her birthing bag out of the car; she had been telling us earlier that “getting the bag” is the signal to her assistants that a birth is imminent.  Again, Amy told us later that that is the point when she sent the follow up text to her assistant saying COME NOW.  While Amy was getting the bag, I was moving from the bathroom to my bed, and laid down on my side.  I had another really painful contraction and told Amy as she came in that I felt like I wanted to push.  She was unpacking her supplies on to the dresser top; she told me to drink something and someone brought me a cup of apple juice that I sipped from.  My mom said I looked really pale so Amy suggested I take some oxygen and she got the tank and put the mask on me.  After a few minutes in the mask and another contraction, I was really off in ‘labor land’ and had no idea what all the people in my house were doing.  Amy wanted to try to check what was going on, but I told her another contraction was starting and she told me to lift my leg.  I did, and as the contraction peaked, my body started to push on it’s own and my water broke with a huge gush at 8:40.  The urge to push became overwhelming and I yelled something vaguely like “make it come out!”

Amy was standing a few feet away at the end of the bed and said something like, “uh, you look complete from here.  You can probably reach down and feel your baby’s head” which I tried to do but I wasn’t really able to differentiate between baby head and my own body at that point.  She asked me to roll on my back so she could get a batter look, but that triggered another contraction and involuntary pushing which really hurt and I have a fuzzy memory of saying something along the lines of “waaaaaaanna push ahhhhhhh!!”  And she told me to get up onto my hands and knees.  I had pushed the oxygen mask off when I rolled on to my back and she told me to put it back on as I very gingerly maneuvered up onto my hands and knees.  Someone pushed my gown up a bit farther and I suddenly remembered Jenna was around taking pictures and I mumbled something about her being able airbrush the photos (ridiculous where your mind jumps in those few brief moments in between contractions).

At 8:43, THE contraction started.  This is the part that I didn’t expect to happen so fast, since LM still took ten or so pushes to actually be born at the end of my three hour labor with her.  This contraction was indescribable, the most powerful sensation I’ve ever felt in my life; it started from the base of my neck and forced it’s way down, like squeezing a half-empty tube of toothpaste.  I bore down and I could feel the baby’s head descend steadily as I pushed (and yelled) and then a sting as something tore when he crowned and the head came out.  Amy called out “nuchal hand!” (which is exactly what LM had, her hand up by her chin, and which had caused identical tearing, on the other side) and I expected the contraction to end, but I only managed to take half a breath when I realized my body was not stopping.  It was on a roll apparently, and the position was just right so it kept right on going and I pushed with it and the rest of his body slipped right out.

At 8:44, little Z was born into Amy’s hands, and I finally managed to take that complete breath that had been eluding me for a minute and a half, and then I tried to look over my shoulder at my son.  Amy gave him a brief check and made sure he was breathing well, and then put a towel around him so she could pass him back between my legs for me to hold.  Holding Z and looking at him after he arrived so suddenly (I’d been standing in our dining room just twenty minutes ago!!) I was overwhelmed and started crying and talking to my son, saying brilliant, memorable things like “Hi baby!  Hi baby!  I love you!!”

Amy had me carefully turn back over and sit reclined, and as I turned around to face back out into the room, there was a stranger standing in the doorway: Amy’s assistant who had arrived in the 2 minutes between when I got up on hands and knees, and when Z was born.  It struck me as really hilarious that she saw my son’s face as his head was being born, before she ever saw my face.  At 8:49, the placenta was born and Amy took a look and told me I should probably have sutures for the labial tear.  Oh goody.

Everybody was in the room or the doorway and watching as I got Z to latch on for the first time, and Amy was examining the placenta and talking about it for the sake of my mother (who never saw one of her placentas) and for my sister, who despite two home births, never really got a good look at either of hers.  After that, everything was sort of a blur, as I cuddled my little Z and let everyone bustle around me.  My sister asked if there was anything special I wanted to eat and I couldn’t think of anything except macaroni and cheese, and tres leches cake…so she ran out to the nearest (very close) grocery store and seemed to come back in no time flat with three mac and cheese options, a whole chocolate tres leches cake, a bottle of champagne and a small bouquet of flowers.  After Z nursed a little on each breast, DH held Z while I got my sutures, and I partook of my super healthy post-birth meal, Amy finally did the measure and weigh-in with her fish scale; Z came in one ounce and two inches smaller than LM, at 7 lb 14 oz and 20″.

Aside from the few sutures, which I consider utterly insignificant, the whole experience was better than I had even hoped for, and totally worth the wait.  Once Amy took a few notes and did a final, thorough exam of Z, everyone packed up and headed out, and we were in our own home and our own bed for Z’s first night earthside.  Welcome to the world little Z, you are so loved!

Being born is hard work! Time to nap.


Murphy’s Law of Children’s Clothing

January 22, 2012

You can't see the back of her elbows. So gross.

1) If you buy it from a thrift store or Craigslist, it might get avocado or mashed pumpkin smeared on it, adding a faint stain which is indistinguishable from the faint stains that were on the clothing when you bought it.  Perfect.  That’s what kids clothes are for.

2) If you bought it new, she will get marker/crayon/food marks on it which will leave noticeable stains that you’ll have to explain every time she wear it: “It really is clean, she just got [substance X] on it a few weeks ago and it won’t come clean.”  The stain will fade to almost unnoticeable faintness on the wash cycle immediately prior to you donating the outgrown item to Goodwill or listing it on Craigslist.

3) If someone gave you the clothes as a gift, they will remain in near pristine condition regardless of the number of wearings and washings, until two hours before the person who gave them the clothes is scheduled to see them (because you thought it would be nice for the gifter to see the giftee wearing the gift!).  Then your kid will find the almost-empty glass of wine left too close to the edge of the counter last night, and dump in on herself.

4) If you hand knit an article of clothing for your child, custom fit and using the yarn she picked our HERSELF at the yarn store, she will find  the solitary, manure-laced mud puddle in a desert park roughly three weeks after the last rain fall (irrigation runoff from a ball field.  Awesome.) and fall in it.  Within two hours of putting the clothing on for the first time.


The Sweater Project

December 22, 2011

So, it’s been four months since I posted on my blog.  I got pregnant again, and chasing my fast-growing toddler is getting harder and harder.  She’s pretty stinking cute though!!


I’ve gotten back into knitting, which, let’s face it, is more relaxing and certainly easier to just pick up and work on, than composing a sensible blog post.  So I’ve decided to ignore the whole “sensible” aspect and just resume my cathartic verbal diarrhea.

Since getting into my late twenties, I’ve noticed I have a lot more patience for things than I did even when I was in college, which is what got me back into knitting; suddenly I can puzzle out a pattern that I wouldn’t have bothered looking at, and I can read books and watch video tutorials to learn new skills.  Good thing too, because the world only needs so many crappy acrylic garter stitch scarves.

Like everything else, knitting (and crocheting) has it’s own culture.  The upper crust of that culture, which was once totally unknown to me, is also part of the allure now.  I used to think that knitting needles only came in hollow, clacky aluminum and yarn came in cheap acrylic or slightly less cheap itchy wool, and you bought it all from mega-craft-mart.  But now I have discovered the Yarn Store.  It is a magical place where they sell nothing but supplies for knitting, crocheting and other closely related fiber arts.  The needles are made of warm, silky, silent wood.  The yarns come in luscious fibers like baby alpaca, bamboo and silk (among a dozen others), in delicious colorways.

So now that the instructions make sense and the supplies are a delight to use, knitting has become my new zen activity.  And unlike a lot of other relaxing activities, you have something totally awesome to show for your “relaxation” when you are done.  I’m trying to start slow, though, because all those quality materials cost $$.  And the yarn takes up space.  I have made a pledge to myself to keep my yarn stash at a reasonable size, and to use up what I have before buying more…

In college, I did go through a brief knitting phase, which resulted in the acquisition of over a dozen skeins of (cheap) yarn that have since followed me through about six moves.  Each time, the cheap wicker laundry basket where I stored them would get stuffed into a hefty bag, moved to the new place of residence, and stuck in a closet or shed.  When I got serious about knitting earlier in the autumn, I decided I was going to clear out some of that yarn and then only buy small quantities of nice quality yarns, with specific projects in mind for them.  I managed to pawn off 6 big skeins of Red Heart acrylic to a friend who knits blankets for animal shelters, leaving me with a few balls of cotton yarn in primary colors, a ball of grey knobby acrylic that I made into a much appreciated scarf (garter stitch, haha) for DH, and four skeins of a nubby nylon/acrylic blend that were intended to be made into a sweater, following a pattern on the back of the yarn label.

The primary colored cotton yarn can be made into baby/toddler clothes, but how to de-stash the weird nubby synthetic blend??  MAKE THE SWEATER.  Duh, you say.  But the pattern is pretty outdated, and I’m not super keen on a fully synthetic sweater.  It has become a matter of principal in my mind though, to knit something that ten years ago (yes, I’ve been carrying this yarn around that long and I’m not even 30 yet) that I wanted my mom to knit for me because it was too complicated.  And I want the yarn out of my stash; It would be a ridiculous waste to just throw it away, and none of my serious knitting friends would be interested in taking it.  SO here we are: The Sweater Project.

Step one was to untangle the godly mess of the one skein that had the wrapper pulled off it shortly after purchase…and has been rolling around in a wicker basket ever since.  HOLY CRAP! NEVER store yarn in anything made of wicker.  Lesson learned.

Step two was to “convert” the pattern to knitting in the round up to where it splits for the sleeves, which pretty much consists of casting on double the number of stitches for each side onto a circular needle.  I’ve knit about an inch or so of the bottom ribbing and it actually feels nicer knit up than I expected.

While the pattern itself is out of style, I am still happy with the colors I picked out a decade ago: Dark Thyme green in place of the Celery Green, Navy Blue in place of the Rose, and the same Vanilla color called for in the pattern.  Since this is the most ambitious knitting project I’ve taken on thus far, I’m sure I’ll have problems along the way and will enjoy blogging about them.  At least it will be warm, and the yarn will be out of my stash, so I can buy more, better yarn!

What is “Harm”?

August 12, 2011

So I saw the headline today that an appeals court struck down the part of Obama’s healthcare law that requires every American to purchase health insurance, the ‘individual mandate.’  It is expected the end up in the Supreme Court, and one of the judges from the appeals court was quoted as saying how it’s unconstitutional “to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health care product they have not elected to buy, and to make them re-purchase that product every month for their entire lives.”  Ok, I see where they are coming from.  But that made me wonder why 48 out of 50 states can have laws on the books requiring people to car insurance.  The answer I came across on multiple sites explained that only liability coverage is technically required because the laws are intended to prevent you from harming others by damaging their property and costing them money to fix or get medical attention; most states don’t legally require you to get insurance that covers yourself and your own property.  The requirements seemed to be loosely based on the Harm Principle, advanced extensively by John Stuart Mill, that society can only interfere with the liberty of the individual to prevent harm to others.

Sounds great.

But there is no clear line regarding where individual liberty starts to cause harm to others.  A good example is one I recall from my very first philosophy class: a man likes to drink alcohol to excess.  He doesn’t drink and drive, he doesn’t get angry or beat his wife and kids, but he can’t get out of bed the next morning to go to work.  The man is a laborer, so when he doesn’t go to work, he doesn’t get paid, so he can’t buy food for his family.  When he doesn’t show up to work, the other people on his work team have to try to cover for him and one of them gets injured trying to do the man’s job in addition to his own.  Has this man who likes to drink done any ‘harm’?

Now imagine that half the people who go to the emergency rooms of American hospitals either can’t or don’t intend to pay for the medical services they receive.  Who do you think is paying for that??? Everyone who DOES have insurance!!  Which is probably why insurance is double the price it needs to be, because the hospital knows that it only has a 50/50 chance of getting paid, and so charges double for every service (the $5 cotton ball effect…) to make it’s costs. But, those people who choose  to forgo (or simply can’t afford) health insurance aren’t HARMing anyone but themselves, so it would be wrong to compel them to pay for health insurance.

I will say that I would not be excited about being forced to buy health insurance because the way the system is now, it is outrageously expensive.  BUT, allowing people NOT to buy health insurance but still utilize the health care system (which is what people are doing now, more than ever) is not a sustainable system, and that is the very thing which has contributed MOST to the increase in health care costs.  Right NOW, most hospitals MUST treat everyone under EMTALA, but I can easily see that getting overturned.

If the Supreme Court upholds the decision of the Appeals court, there will be a dangerous precedent in place regarding the government’s ability to “compel people to purchase an expensive health care product.”  Because the Supreme Court recently decided a case that recognized a corporate entity/business as having the same legal rights as an individual person (I can’t recall off the top of my head, but I read a big story about it).  So it seems like a short logical leap (to me) for a hospital to refuse care to an individual without insurance, because the government has no right to “compel a company to provide an expensive health care product without the reasonable expectation that it will be compensated from providing that service” because to knowingly accept a financial loss would cause harm to the company.  And financial harm is the only kind of harm a corporate entity could experience, since you can’t exactly kick a company in the face (no matter how much you want to).

So, with over 40 million Americans supposedly harming no one but themselves by not having health insurance, they are continuing to damage an already broken system, which may turn around and tell them to go #*$% themselves if they have the the audacity to call 911 when having a heart attack, or show up at an ER in labor and about to give birth.  So sad.

I don’t know what the answer is, and I’m not saying the government SHOULD force people to buy health insurance, but allowing people to NOT have health insurance and still use the health care system clearly is not working.  If you are an economist or have a coherent counter argument, please share.  I am open to civil debate on the topic.

Crazy Ranting Time

June 12, 2011

So, I know it’s been a month since I posted anything and maybe I should provide a life update, or photos, or something.  But really, I just need to get something off my chest.  I read this article this morning, and I was just bowled over by how many things are totally, utterly WRONG with it, that I couldn’t put them all into a Facebook status.


I bet you don’t even have to click on that link to see the first thing that I am bothered by.  Just contemplate the story name in the URL for a moment.  Then read the article.  &$HFefwj;oFOjjI*  <– pounding my face on the keyboard.  Now a deep breath…here we go.

1)  “The milk produced by the transgenic cows is identical to the human variety…”   Um, I’m going to say no to that, right off the bat.  It’s not human breast milk, it is milk from a cow that has had it’s genetic makeup fucked with so the milk it produces displays the chemical and nutritive properties of human milk, as far as currently scientific analysis can determine.  As a philosopher (hey, my degree says so), I can tell you that discussions of identity and thus, the definition of “identical”, are fruitful areas of discussion and disagreement.

2) “…inserting human genes into cloned cow embryos …”  Bad idea.  I’m not a huge fan of genetic modification of plants or animals (for production of food specifically, and it’s just weird in general), but screwing with human genes?!  Where are the religious zealots on this one??  Those genes could have become an embryo/fetus/baby/person.  And using Evil Science to alter the plants and animals that God created has to be a sin, right?  Or does all of that fall under the category of God creating everything in the Universe for Man to use as he see fits?  I’d like to see some debate on this.

3) “with government permission it will be sold to consumers as a more nutritious dairy drink than cow’s milk.”  Ha!  This is the government of China, which allowed millions of it’s own population to drink melamine-laced infant formula.  I doubt regulation has improved much, so getting the government’s ‘permission’ would mean nothing to me in regards to the safety of any product on the market there.  And this sentence sounds like it will be marketing to the general population, no only (or specifically) for infants and children.  Which leads me to. . .

4) “Workers at the university’s dairy farm have already tasted the milk — and said it is sweeter and stronger than the bovine variety.”  WTF?  Most people get totally grossed out by the concept of anyone over the age of 1 (maybe 2, if you’re a crazy liberal lactivist!!) drinking or tasting breast milk (FOR EXAMPLE) but suddenly they can produce an imitation of breast milk out of the antibiotic-soaked, mechanically-milked, bloody-uddered bovine milk industry and it’s totally cool for everyone to drink.  I just don’t get it.

5) “It’s good,” said worker Jiang Yao. “It’s better for you because it’s genetically modified.”  What a totally pointless quote.  A dairy farm worker giving a generic and totally unsupported comment.  I’m so glad I’m a beta.”

6) “There are 1.5 billion people in the world who don’t get enough to eat,” he said. “It’s our duty to develop science and technology, not to hold it back. We need to feed people first, before we consider ideals and convictions.”  Well, the first sentence of this quote is true.  The second is a very general that could be applied to any area of scientific exploration.  The third is what really pisses me off.  So let me see if I have this straight: you have spent probably tens of millions of dollars developing an unnecessary ‘novelty’ food source that only has a purpose because a marketing firm will tell people that it has a purpose.  And only those people who can afford it, not the hundreds of thousands of infants and children around the world who suffer from malnutrition because their mothers are malnourished or have died or cannot produce enough milk.

I believe that there is (or could be) enough food on earth to feed the entire human population, but it is unfairly distributed, hoarded by wealthy people and nations.  Perhaps if people actually followed ideals and had convictions, most of those 1.5 billon might get enough to eat.  The ONLY way those people are going to ever get enough to eat is by more people having ideals and convictions, not by pumping money into research to genetically manipulate plant and animal sources of food.  That technology will only be used by those who own it to make themselves richer.


May 11, 2011

Sweet Baby Jesus in a bulletproof onesie!  Where have I been? (Besides reading this guy.)

Well, I pulled off the Big Bike Race.

Then my baby turned 1.  Wahhhhhhhh!

Then we went to St. Louis.

Tomorrow we leave for Phoenix.


Life Recently

April 4, 2011

I can always tell it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, when I have to go to the front page of and sign myself back in.  Things have been very busy on the home front, and it’s just going to get worse over the next two weeks.  Yes, April 17, 2011 is the date of the bicycle race that my cycling team is promoting downtown, and it is my job to make sure all the nuts and bolts are in place.  Unfortunately, working with nuts isn’t all its cracked up to be (!) and sometimes I feel like I want to bolt from the whole project.  But then I imagine how awesome it will be if it all runs smoothly, and how we could be setting a precedent for an awesome annual event.

Between all my many duties, including a dabble of work that requires that I juggle LM to various friends to babysit, I’ve been feeling a crafting urge, because a) it calms me down and b) makes me feel productive with all that seemingly unproductive (but very important) child-rearing time that occupies most of my days.  I had a conversation with my sister the other day, in which I told her I was stressed because I was having trouble getting tasks accomplished because LM’s nap schedule has been so erratic.  Then a few minutes later I told her about the fabric pennant decorations I’ve been making for LM’s upcoming first birthday, the felt balls I’ve been working on for awhile now, and the baby kimono I made from a pattern I invented.  Her reaction?  “How can you tell me you can’t get anything done when you are making decorations and baby clothes?!”

Allow me to explain. The tasks I have to accomplish for work and for the bicycle race most involve making phone calls, which I try to make as professional as possible and having a laughing/crying baby in the background makes that impossible.  So I have to cram all my phone calls into her nap times.  Also, they require some figuring, writing and general brainwork which is very difficult with a baby hanging on your leg or the back of your chair.  So I do most of my brainwork after she goes to bed (Note: worst possible time, because my brain is shot by then anyway). I try to keep up with housework tasks but LM now hates the vacuum cleaner, despite my attempts to wear her, make funny faces or vacuum in a different room; she will crawl to wherever I am, sit about six feet away and bawl the whole time.  I also can’t sweep when she is awake because she is either grabbing either the broom or the pile of interesting looking dust/fur/cat litter I’ve just created.  And when I can’t sweep I can’t run the steam mop. And I can’t squander LM’s napping/bed time with cleaning when I have work to do (yes, I am squandering ten minutes now to write this blog post, but it’s been 2+ weeks since I blogged last) so my house is less than pristine at the moment.

But LM seems pretty content to kick it on the floor of our spare room, where the sewing machine is set up, and play with toys and fabric scraps and scream at the cats when they peek in to see what’s going on.  The most important factor is that I can drop my sewing at any moment if LM signs ‘potty’ (she is doing it!  It’s awesome!) or starts crying or crawls into the bathroom and it gets mysteriously quiet (toilet paper binge).  If I got involved in a phone call or work project or even a more complex craft (knitting, etc) it would be harder to put down on a moments notice if she needs me.

Besides, I read in this book I’m working on right now called You are Your Child’s First Teacher and one of the mistakes that the author claims that many parents these days make is trying to stimulate and engage their children every waking moment.  While that approach is encouraged these days, to make children “smarter” sooner, it limits their creative play and natural exploration.  Also, it makes them totally dependent on you, the parent, for entertainment and stimulation…and when that becomes overwhelming, parents stick the children in front of the TV.  The author argues that from infancy, children are looking for guidance on how to be in the world, and that it is very good for them to watch you, the parent, go about everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, hobbies, etc.  They will start to imitate you in their play, making a hundred variations and imagined scenarios and entertain themselves while learning about the world.  There will be plenty of time for more formal teaching and instruction when they are older (five or six… heavens!)

And now I must cut this short, because LM just walked her first unassisted steps and I managed to change the batteries in the little camera and catch it.  WOOT!  UPLOAD!