Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hey, You...

Sometimes a song says it best.

Meanwhile, the Evil Genius, Sprout and I are hauling the keylime bars and brownies I baked yesterday off to K2's place for her son's birthday party.

What're you up to, today?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Day

You ever have one of those days when, if you didn't have kids, pets, a job (not that I have one - shoot, the only skills I could get paid for these days are generally plied on a street corner and are frowned upon by society and the law), bills to pay, and a host of other obligations yammering inside your noggin, you wouldn't bother getting out of bed?

The kind of day when you can't do anything right, shit breaks down that you can't fix or afford to replace, and it seems like the whole damned world is pissed off at you?

The kind of day where you want to apologize for taking up precious oxygen?

Yeah, this could very well be one of those kinds of day. Hoofuckinray.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Well, Dang.

We've been busy-ish here at Casa de Crazy. It's warm outside - in the seventies, don't hate us - and believe it or not it's time to start prepping the garden and get some seeds going indoors. Also, I have a rigorous napping schedule; I'm in training for the Snooze Olympics, and I aim to bring home gold this time.

We spent Saturday at K2's new house, helping her move in. Well, Someone helped move things. I mostly held down the couch.

The new place had an electric range, but gas hookups were available. K2 prefers cookin' with gas, so she took her stove from the old place, which left her with a glass-top slide-in to spare.

Hey, I said, the oven at Casa de Crazy is behaving like...well...like any appliance that's living in the vortex of doom. How 'bout we take hat glass-top off your hands?? Yep, I'm turning into a scrounge, a scavenger, a first-class mooch - but the oven at Casa de Crazy doesn't always turn on when we try to activate it. Sometimes it takes 14 tries to get it going. No, I'm not exaggerating, nor employing hyperbole - it actually took Someone 14 tries to turn the danged oven on, one morning. Can you blame me for glomming on to a possible replacement??

K2 allowed as how E the Amazing (her husband) didn't really need a stove in the basement for brewing beer, so if we wanted to cart it off, we could. I think E the Amazing took it very well...he only cried for fifteen minutes!

I hadn't seen the range at that point, but figured it was worth a shot.

Here's the thing - the stove/oven/range/cooking apparatus of doom at Casa de Crazy is a drop-in. The one from K2's house is a slide-in. There is a world of difference between the two...I just didn't realize how much difference...

I knew we'd have to remove some flashing and screws holding the drop-in to the counter. I knew we'd have to saw off some cupboard from below - called, I am told, mop board - and possibly some counter top from behind. I thought that would be it, though.


First, the slide-in is a glass top. That means one should not use cast iron on it. Uh-oh...that's not a plus. Cast iron is a standard around here. Still..an oven that actually turns on when you turn it on? Big old plus! Also, knob controls, not digital? Yay!! And the knobs are up on the back, not down in front, so kid friendly! Hurrah.


Before I go getting all excited, perhaps I should look up how one removes a drop-in and converts to a slide-in...just in case there's more to it.

Sure glad I did that.

Yes, we have to unscrew, and yes, we have to trim. We also have to trim the counter, as the space is 1/4 inch smaller than the new unit. 1/4 inch doesn't seem like much until you're mucking with an unwieldy appliance, and then it's as good as a mile. Also, we would have to remove the supports that were under the drop-in, and put something there to bring the floor level, as the Pergo doesn't extend under the stove.

The biggest thing, though, is electricity. You see, the drop-in is hard-wired to the house - no plug. The slide in has a plug. I dunno about you, but I am not an electrician and don't care to learn the trade on the fly.

So, yeah, dang.

Anyone need a nice, GE glass top slide-in??

Friday, February 18, 2011

That's Life

There are scads of decisions to make when having a baby.

Things like whether to have a baby. And what to name it. And what color the baby's room will be. And what college he or she will attend.

Some choices are easy (take vitamins, avoid nuclear fallout), some controversial (circumcision), and some require a fair bit of thought (name her after your great aunt in Canterbury? Or after your cousin in Fargo?).

One of the choices we made regarding Sprout was easy, though. We knew from the start we'd be donating cord blood. When Bird was born, the only cord blood banking option was to do so privately, which meant only we could use it and we'd be paying storage fees. It wasn't an option.

This time, though, Redneck Central General Horspital and Sock Emporium had a recently formed program that we could take part in - a public cord blood bank!

I was, in a word, delighted.

Cord blood is terrific stuff. It's full of all kinds of usefulness, including stem cells (but NOT embryonic stem cells, source of all kinds of stuff including controversy) and fairy dust and unicorns. Google "stem cells" if you want to know what they're good for, but be prepared for some reading.

Or you can go to the National Marrow Donor Program Site and read about it a bit. They even have a way to see if your local hospital is participating - cool! So if you or someone you know may be expecting and don't plan to privately bank it...

Hey, you may save a life...and you might get a nifty t-shirt, too!

"Woo-hoo, I rock!!"

No one paid me anything to write this, by the way. Yeah, we got a t-shirt in the mail, but we didn't know about that until after we donated. I just happen to think this is a good thing to do with a seriously limited but valuable resource.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sometimes You Da Windshield...

...sometimes you da bug.


I feel flattened.

Yesterday wasn't too bad, but it wore me out. What the Hell happened to going to bed at two, waking up at five and going all day??

Oh, wait...I got older and had kids.

We spent the morning at the doctor's office - Bird had some ass-kicking asthma going on, the kind his regular inhaler couldn't touch. I hate it when the kid can't breathe. He uses his whole body, struggling to get a breath in or out. I have asthma, so I know what he's going through...and I hate that I can't make it all better for him.

So he asked if we could go to the doctor - and you know a kid feels like some kind of awful when he wants to go see the MD!

When we got there, they told us they couldn't see us. Really! They said we could sit and wait, and maybe in an hour or so they'd squeeze us in...or we could take one of their late-afternoon appointments and come back.

Now...in order to go to the doctor's office, it wasn't just "throw the kid in the car and go down the block". No. The baby had to be fed, changed, dressed, and packed into her car seat. The Evil Genius had to be dressed and packed into the van before the car seat went in, because the car seat blocks the way for him. Someone needed coffee to live. No, really - you need oxygen, he needs coffee. I needed about twenty more hours of sleep because I'd been up just about every hour the night before (feeding Sprout or giving the Evil Genius breathing treatments). I could have let Someone handle some of it, but if you're a mom, you understand - there's no sleeping when it comes to your kids. Even when someone else is perfectly able and willing to handle them, if you're anywhere within earshot, you're awake and twitchy. Then we had a twenty minute drive to get there.

So getting to the doc.'s was a production. Then, when we got there, there was a random, unattended child in the well-baby waiting area...which pissed me off, because where were her parents and couldn't they read the multi-lingual signs? The ones clearly stating that children (well or not) are NOT permitted in there? How hard is it for TWO of you to keep track of your ONE child in a waiting room? One with glass walls? And why would you NOT know where the Hell she is at all times? Look, it's not the Mall of America, people - it's a small space in a small building in a small town doctor's office. Also? Put the cell phone down and keep your plague spawn away from the well-baby area, you freakin' rude, slacker ass-holes. Not that I feel strongly about it or anything. When I told the lady at the front desk about the unattended, free-range snot-factory, she looked confused and said "Oh..." and did...nothing. Sigh.

I looked at my kid, fighting for air. I looked at the woman at the counter. I would really like to have smacked her upside the head with his inhaler. I took the earliest appointment they had and told Someone we would have to come back. Neither of us was thrilled, but he took it well...at least we could go home and have breakfast, now. We'd skipped that nicety because we both felt Little Dude needed oxygen a bit more than we needed freezer biscuits.

As we were leaving, the nurse called out to me - would I let her check Bird's pulse-ox before we left? Why yes, yes I would. Someone waited while she put the sensor on Bird's finger, frowned, and asked us to come back with her - she wanted to check with another machine.

Turns out, the other machine also told her something she didn't like, because next thing I knew we were ushered into a little room, Someone brought Sprout on back, and Bird was dosed with one medication orally and hooked up to a nebulizer for another med in short order.

So that was our morning.

Once he was oxygenating a little better, we got some prescriptions and headed on out.

Next stop? Evil Empire. While the kitchen sink makes for a cute bath tub for the baby, it gets a little old trying to hold her slippery butt up while getting it clean...so we wanted a tub. And some pants - for some reason, we don't have many pairs of pants for her. Odd. And a bottle scrubber. Oh, yeah, and one of those basket thingies for washing bottle parts in the dishwasher. And, umm...yeah, whatever else we need to live.

Then grocery store for a few essential items (I needed those powdered doughnuts to live, honest!!)and prescription pick up.

Home again, and as soon as I ate, fed and medicated the Evil Genius, and fed Sprout, she and I retired for a nap. Poor Someone...I left him to fend for himself, even though he was nice enough to make me lunch...

Someone and the Evil Genius got up to some arts and crafts while us ladies snoozed, and I woke to home-made birthday cards from my guys - sweet!

That was the afternoon, then.

The evening was all about Wii Resort Frisbee golf, junk food, and general family time.

So I didn't spend the day curing cancer, climbing Mount Everest, or exploring the Mid-Atlantic Trench...but I went to bed feeling steam-rolled anyway and got up this morning feeling much the same way. Good grief.

Meanwhile, Sprout seems to think eating and fresh nappies should occur on a regular basis, the Evil Genius has ideas about games we should constantly be playing, Casa de Crazy isn't cleaning itself, and I don't give a hoot, I'm taking a danged nap.

How're you feeling?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What the...? Another One??

Alternate titles for this post: Oh, My Effing Gee, Not Again! or Help, They Keep Coming! or Do I Have to Have Another One?
It's my birthday today. Woo hoo.

I don't much like my birthday. People die on or around it. No fun. I usually have to plan my own party if there's going to be one. Also no fun. For the last twenty or so years, I've made or bought most of my own cakes. Whee.

On this day more than any other, I suffer from a raging case of Who-Gives-A-Shit-itis.

When I was a little girl, I loved birthdays, including mine. It helped that the boy I was going to marry had the same birthday as me. People sometimes thought we were twins. Sean O'Dell...I wonder what ever happened to him? When we moved away, I pined for him for days...maybe even a whole week - it was true love!

After that point, though, my birthday became something of a non-event for me. It's hard to care about the day when your own family forgets it. Hard to feel like it matters for anything other than marking another year gone when no one else seems to notice or care.

Falling as it does on the day after V-Day, it's a sort of double-suck day. Yay, two days in a row where I hope (despite my best efforts not to) that someone will actually care enough to note my existence, only to find myself (again) feeling empty and disappointed.

Don't get me wrong, Mum has always done her best to make the day special, and so have a few dear friends. I don't want or need parties, sympathy/guilt gifts, things like that...a nice meal with my family is freakin' brilliant as far as I'm concerned...but I'd prefer not to feel like the day would go un-noted unless I remind people about it. To be remembered, to feel valued, would be a fine thing.

Even better would be not to care in the first place.

Meanwhile, Mum's out of town, so today it'll be me, Someone, and the kids. I may or may not hear from friends - they have lives, after all - and I already know I won't hear from the rest of my family (Dad hasn't remembered mine or Big Brother's birthdays in decades), so I'm going to take an afternoon nap and count myself blessed to have the love that I do. I may remember that I have had one or two good ones in recent years and could even manage to cheer the fuck up...but don't hold your breath.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

If They Ever Ask

There are some things I'd like to tell my children if they ever ask for advice about relationships. I'm not holding my breath...but I figure I can post them here safely enough. I DID consider titling this "Things I know about relationships" and leaving it blank, but figured it's been done to death. So in no particular order...
How well do you get on in the kitchen? How compatible are you, in a culinary sense? If neither one of you cooks, how well can you do takeout together? Can you share dishes, enjoy some of the same things? Maybe you don't think it's important...but it is.

Do you cook together? Even someone who doesn't know how to cook can cut vegetables, make a salad. If they don't cook, do they at least help clean up after a meal?

Do chores together. Trust me - cooking, cleaning, doing laundry together strengthens your bonds. Unbalanced housework makes for imbalance in a relationship...and can lead to bitterness and resentment.

Learn when to let them be angry or hurt and when to step up and offer solace. Learn when you need to be angry or hurt and when to accept solace.

No matter how angry or hurt you are, offer them an opportunity to explain themselves, to make things right.

No matter how angry or hurt they may be, don't let them labor under misconceptions about your motive or meaning - clarify, make things right, however long it takes.

Don't be afraid or too proud to say "You were right."

Don't gloat or hold it over them if they have the strength of character to say "You were right."

Watch sports together from time to time, even if you aren't a fan - it's a way to show interest in THEIR interests...and you may find yourself enjoying the game after all.

Offer them the opportunity to share in YOUR interests, too.

Listen to music together, even if it's not always in your taste.

Let them know what interests you and give them an opportunity to watch, to listen, to participate.

Ask for, and give, time apart, even if it's only an hour or two. Absence can be as important as presence for a relationship.

Have common interests...and have a few things that you don't do together, too. Common interests give you opportunity to be close, disparate interests give you something to talk about later.

Everybody needs a little space of their own - a room, or even just a corner, to retreat to, to be broody or sad or creative. Respect that space, both of you.

Sometimes a body needs privacy. Respect that, too.

Never compromise (or ask for compromise) on spirituality. You don't have to worship the same gods...but you shouldn't have to stifle yourself spiritually to make someone else happy...and neither should they.

Make sure there's more than just sex. Don't get me wrong - sex is terrific...but it can't be the only reason you're together.

Be yourself, honestly and completely, and allow them the same honor. If you can't trust them with your secrets, your dreams and aspirations, your true nature...then something's not right. The same goes for them. Trust is key.

Let go of the past - the person you're with now is a whole new experience and doesn't deserve to be judged by another's actions.

Keep your word. If you can't keep a promise, don't make it. Nothing hurts like a broken promise, and nothing kills trust and love like constant let-down.

Be honest. Don't lie unless it serves the greater good. Your interests are not always (or even very often) the greater good. Honesty is frightening...but it's also a sign of love, respect, and trust. These things are key.

Don't make threats you cannot or don't intend to keep. Don't say things you don't mean. That's manipulation, and it isn't honorable.

Love, act, and live honorably. If you must lie, cheat, or steal, then it had better be for a very good reason...and your convenience doesn't count.

Sometimes sex is just sex - it isn't love. That's OK. Don't mistake one for the other.

Use condoms or accept the consequences. But use condoms.

Put the seat down (if your partner is female).

Take turns choosing what movie to watch, and try not to roll your eyes at their selections.

Read together. Discuss what you've read.

It's OK to have differing opinions. A lively discourse is a wonderful thing. Just don't lambaste them or tell them they're wrong because they don't agree with you

Turn off the TV, the computer, the distractions, and LISTEN to them.

Be involved in your life - this isn't a spectator sport.

Sometimes you will annoy each other. Try to get over it as quickly as possible, and don't be afraid to tell them you're irritated. Don't be offended if they do the same. It's not a judgement, it's a feeling.

Don't say "I love you" when you really mean "I'm sorry" or "I want..." You devalue it. If you mean it, though, say it as often as you feel it.

"I love you" isn't just words - it's actions, too. Don't just say it...show it.

Don't make them responsible for your well-being, and don't make yourself responsible for theirs. That's not love, that's co-dependence.

Learn how to kiss them. If you think you don't know, ask. If you tink you DO know, ask.

Support their dreams and aspirations, even if you don't fully understand or share them. They should do the same for you.

Dance with them sometimes, if only in the living room, and even if "dancing" is simply swaying in each other's arms.

Loving isn't owning. Don't forget that. People aren't possessions and shouldn't be treated as such.

Love isn't blind...but it accepts the flaws it sees as part of the whole. You're not perfect, either. Yes, your mother just told you you're not perfect. Adjust.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stuff Without Nonsense

We've got a busy couple of days ahead of us, so of course Sprout is fussing (although "fuss" for her isn't as bad as it could be) and wants to be held and walked about when she's awake, which is more often.

I've re-discovered the ability to type one-handed.

We're headed to Mum's today to water houseplants and make sure the pond's not overflowing. Tomorrow, it's a bit of house-keepery because on Monday? Dad and Stepmom are paying a visit!

Alert the media. Seriously - visits from/with them are rare as hen's teeth, because they are never in one place for very long. It'll be nice to see them.

What's your weekend looking like?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two Weeks

Has it been two weeks already?? Two weeks and two days, to be precise. Holy wow...

We took Sprout to her two week check-up this morning. They weighed, measured and examined her thoroughly and declared her "beautiful", "perfect", and "really very alert" in tones that sounded genuine rather than rehearsed.

She's almost back to birth weight, although I'm glad they weighed her before she loaded her nappy (poor Someone fielded this one, and it was a doozie!!). At least she waited until we got home to be...er...productive.

She's grown an inch, as well...exhausting work, given how much she sleeps.

Speaking of sleep...I need a nap. Sprout's a good sleeper, but I'm still not getting as much rest as my body seems to want. Sigh.

How're you doin'?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


When she's curled into her Papa...

Or cradled in Mama's arms...

What does she dream of?

Is she in darkness?

Or does her mind take her beyond the reaches of experience?

Does she remember when her soul swam unbound, into the deepest reaches of space and time?

Does she dive, unfettered, into the hearts of light?

I wonder...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Deep Impact

Fair warning: Long winded vent following.

What the above has to do with this post...I dunno. Well...actually...two lines stuck in my head: "Others have excuses, I have my reasons why."
Story time, boys and girls.

When I was young(er), I was sent to boarding school. It was in New Hampshire. I was there for four years, through eighth-ish grade, the last level the school had. I say "ish" because the school didn't use the traditional grading system, and I was actually educated beyond eighth when I left, but the public school I was to attend when I moved put me in ninth based on age.

While at the school, certain things took on greater importance to me than they'd had before.

Things like mail - a letter was gold, a package sent a kid over the moon. I've recently learned that it's not unlike that for someone in prison; it's a connection to the outside world, proof that someone, anyone, still knows you exist...and more, that they care. I still have a few of the letters I received while at HES (the school).

Phone calls were good, too - once a week, we could receive phone calls from family, and we waited for those calls like hyenas waiting for a crippled gazelle to finally stumble and fall. The phone would ting and heads would pop out of rooms, a sort of prairie dog effect. Again, it was a connection, a reminder that we had families who loved us.

Visits were best of all. At any time, family could arrange to come visit, although weekends were the usual and most popular visitation time. I looked forward to visits from my family, although they were few and far between - Mum lived here in Redneck Central, I was at school in Nude Hamster, Dad lived on The Island and my grandmother was busy doing...umm...grandmother things. Mum wrote regularly, my grandmother came up once in a while, and Dad...well...

One Thursday, Dad called. It wasn't usual, and I was delighted to hear from him. We talked for a bit, and he told me he was coming for a visit.

I looked forward to that visit for weeks. When the houseparents made special weekend plans, I opted out because my father was coming to visit, and how could I go do...whatever? Plans were made, and I awaited his visit with growing excitement. From today's perspective, visits would have been boring - maybe go out for lunch, maybe hang out and talk for a while, maybe go to the library or into town to walk around - but we lived for them.

Friday night came, and the dorm phone rang.

I knew.

It was Dad, calling to cancel. At the time, he ran a charter fishing company, and he'd had a last-minute booking. He couldn't come up that weekend.

My father had his reasons why...but to me? They were excuses. Weak ones. Excuses that told me I meant less than everything else.

I told him it was ok, that I understood, that I knew it was important. We finished the call, and I went to my room and cried where no one would see or hear and bother me. I missed out on the weekend activities, spent much of the time alone in the woods talking to the trees and trying to figure out why I didn't matter.
Yesterday was T's birthday. For weeks, Bird has asked me if he could spend that day with his dad. For weeks, I have been asking "So, how 'bout it, can the kid spend the day with you?" For weeks, the answer has been non-committal. Finally, a few days ago, T called and said he would come get Bird and keep him overnight.

After confirming that he really was coming, I told Bird.

He was over the moon.

So yesterday, T called and said he would come in the evening. Bird was excited all day. When T called at 6 to say he was on the way, he also told me he couldn't keep Bird over night...he'd had a last-minute call to work.

I was...annoyed. Disappointed. Not going to be the one to tell Bird. T could tell him when he got here. I was also glad that, once again, I had NOT made any plans that hinged on being without an Evil Genius. I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid - I have come to expect these things.

Bird took the news well enough...but that, combined with the painfully short visit (about an hour here at Casa de Crazy, at least half of which T spent talking to me or texting/making/receiving calls on his phone) hurt him. He'd hoped to have his dad's birthday with his dad, a sweet thought...and he got a fraction of that.

He sang Happy Birthday to T (Without being coached or prompted by me, might I add?), eventually walked him out to his car, and came back inside...a very quiet boy. He spent the rest of the evening snuggled up to me on the couch - I let him stay up a little late and watch a show on what Earth might be like without a moon, put an arm around him (despite holding a sleeping Sprout), shared some Cheese-Its, and talked about what we were watching.

I know work is important. I know that income is necessary in today's society. I know that T's inability to tell people "I can't. I've made plans with my family." contributed to our divorce - coming in last place gets a little old, even when you're used to it. I also know that he's not trying to hurt Bird; he loves his son, and I do not doubt that for a moment. I know all of these things.

But Bird was hurt...is continually hurt when his father doesn't come until late in the evening to get him and brings him home early in the day, or cuts visits short to work, or goes to work while Bird is visiting, leaving the kid with his (T's) mom for most of the day - and while she adores him, it's his father he wants to see and be with.

Every time his father lets him down, I have to pick him up, pick up the slack, try to assuage hurt feelings, make it better (because I cannot make it right).

T has his reasons why...but to Bird? They're excuses.

And despite my best efforts, he is beginning to wonder why he doesn't matter.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Whew. Casa de Crazy is a little crazier at the moment - Someone's mom came down for a visit, along with his sister and her twin pre-schoolers (two three-year-old girls...think she's got HER hands full??), got here last night. The girls are running Bird ragged and the baby has hardly touched her bed, what with Auntie L and Grandma B vying to hold her.
Super Bowl day, and while I don't do football, I do the Superbowl. Yeah, I like the commercials. I watch the game and ask stupid questions that Someone patiently answers, but it's the ads I wait for.
I made chili. It's simmering on the stove, making the house smell loverly. Someone's mom brought jalapeno corn bread, stuffed jalapenos, and chipped beef dip (sounds and looks like a culinary train wreck but holy carp it's tasty!!), and his sister is planning on making Chex Mix later. I'll be throwing together a sausage-cream cheese dip closer to the game. Yep, we've got eats.
I made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Yes, I know I'm still supposed to be resting...but honestly, I love cooking, and with Bird happily entertained/entertaining the girls and an Auntie and Grandma to love on the baby, I can get in there and play for a minute, which is like therapy only tastier.
There's a hockey game on right this minute. You know, Someone's a happy fellow!
Auntie L and Grandma B took the twins and the Evil Genius off on a shopping excursion - something about batteries for the gifts they brought (it was cheaper to drive down here from Something Carolina than it was to ship Xmas stuff)(no, really) and needing ingredients for...erm...I dunno what...

The house it unnaturally quiet.
Mum boarded ship for her twenty day cruise today. As I have not heard from her, I am guessing all went well. If they haven't departed, yet, they will soon. Twenty day without talking to her, or visiting, or e-mailing...wow...

Considering that we usually talk on a daily basis, it won't be easy. She said she'd miss me...I think she'll be too busy cruising, and I'm glad. She needs it. I could not do a twenty day cruise; I'd miss the kids too much, miss my family and Casa de Crazy. We'll be going up to Mum's from time to time to look after plants and the house and take care of the pond. I will e-mail her pictures of Sprout so she won't miss all the growing that happens in the first month...she's paying for some Internet time onboard ship, which I think requires a third mortgage and a kidney.
What're you up to, today?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What She Sees

Little girl with the far-away eyes what do you see?

When you stare off into the distance looking right through me with those far-away eyes what do you see?

Blue like Papa's, dark denim. Blue like Mama's, touch of steel. What are you looking at so far away?

Are you looking back at past lives, remembering before you begin to forget?

Are you looking forward to future selves, wondering at who you'll be?

What do you see, little girl with the far-away eyes, in the murky grey, indistinct world of baby-sight?

Would you tell me, if you could?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Medicine for the Heart

I'm tired. I'm sore. I'm tired of being sore (What, it's too much to ask that nine whole days after what amounts a major surgery, I'm all healed up and ready to go??). I can sleep on my sides and back again, but have to move very carefully. The recent spate of Winter weather means the Evil Genius has been stuck indoors for several days, and he's full of beans and wants constant attention, which I cannot give him.

Life has not pushed the pause button while we adjust to our new family dynamic. Not that I expected it to - this isn't my first rodeo.

So I'm tired, and I'm sore, and I'm tired of being sore.

Sometimes, out of nowhere, for no reason, I feel my chest tighten, my eyes burn with unshed tears. I want to go lie down and hide under the covers until my hormones play nice.

Luckily, usually just when I could use it most, I catch sight of something like this:

And it helps.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Team Lift

Have you ever purchased a piece of furniture from, say, The Evil Empire? You know, one of those dressers that comes with Some Assembly Required? The kind that comes in a long, flat box and is made of particle board, laminate, paste, and hope?

Ever notice the warning on the box that says "Team Lift" or some variation? It usually shows one stick person trying to lift the box, little pain lines radiating from its lower back, a red circle with a line through it around the scene (like some kind of preemptive police tape), and then a happy picture of two stick figures, each lifting one end of the box and carrying it merrily along their way.

Team lift.

You know what? There are things about a baby that are much easier when you team lift.

Take feedings. Sprout's pretty low-key. She sleeps a fair bit (newborns may sleep up to 20 hours a day - nice life, huh??), wakes up when she hungry or needs a clean nappy (this is one of those babies who resents the hell out of being soiled), and is a cuddle bug. Given her druthers (and ours), she'll eat every three hours or so during the day and then sleep for a good chunk of the night. Don't hate us - we both know that could change at any time.

Around dawn, she usually wakes up quite peckish. One person could have their hands full with meeting her needs. Luckily, there are two of us to team lift. Generally, Someone gets Sprout from her crib and hands her off to me for a boob attempt. Meanwhile, he staggers into the kitchen and preps a bottle. He comes back to bed and when she's done with me (which never takes as long as I'd like), he'll either hand me the bottle or take her himself and feed her. When she's sated, she'll go all limp and nestle in for a nap, and we have a couple of hours of cuddle time. Good grief, that's a sweetness that cannot be described.

Another team lift situation occurred a couple of days ago. I was going to photograph it, but wound up lending a helping hand instead. You're probably better off. There was this nappy, see...it was...erm...epic. Sprout isn't a frequent pooper, but she makes up in volume what she lacks in frequency. She has elicited cries of surprise and dismay more than once, and we're expecting her deposits! Suck grand displays of alimentary prowess are not easy to contain or clean up alone...but again, there's two of us. One fetches a warm washcloth for bum wiping (there are some things no baby wipe was built to withstand) while the other cleans the baby. One gets her freshly frosted (Burt's Bees nappy ointment is my beloved go-to, and I call it butt frosting because it's white and smells loverly), nappied, and clothed. Sprout barely has a chance to protest before it's all done. Sometimes it reminds me of calf roping.

It's not all sunshine and roses. With me fairly out of commission (but not entirely, because despite my claims to the contrary I can't sit on my arse all day and do nothing), Someone has to pick up the slack...and he does. That means he's constantly up and down the stairs for laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning cat boxes, and running trash, recycling, and compost out on top of baby care. Sometimes, Sprout fusses. She isn't a cry-for-no-reason baby, but we can't always figure out what's wrong right away. Sometimes it's gas, sometimes it's a wet nappy, once it was the nappy she had on (it was rubbing and chaffing). Those little fits can last a few minutes and are distressing.

Team lift.

Someone offers Sprout comfort until he can't stand it, then passes her to me. I go a few rounds until I'm ready to cry, then he takes over. Eventually, one of us will figure out what's up and deal with it, and Sprout will snuggle up against us and all is right with the Universe.

There will be plenty of times when one of us is alone and having to do all the heavy lifting. It's nice to know we can and will team lift, though, when the opportunity arises.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011




The month Mum and I keep saying we're going to boycott. Mum just about is - she's going on a 20 day cruise. I'm not jealous, though - while I'll miss her (the person with whom I commiserate most about Feblueberry), I know she'll have a fabulous time and I have a Sprout here at home to distract me.

Feblueberry...the month I was born. The month people die. So many death-anniversaries on my calendar. One on my birthday - I was present when he died, sang him out with friends.

This is never an easy month for me. The beiges wake up and kick my arse up one week and down the next.

Today, the first day of my blah-est month, my baby girl is a week old. Holy wow. One week ago today, she was born.

So...while I will be struggling to keep my head above the post-partum hormone waves and dealing with the usual "aww, carp, it's that time again" feelings, I will have this wee baby to hold and cuddle, to love and cry over.

Have you ever had a baby hold you down? Tiny thing, she pins me and won't let me up until I am completely blissed out on baby fumes (not to be confused with the odors occasionally emanating from her nappy). I hold her for hours while she sleeps, doze with her nestled in my arms, or fall back to sleep staring at her cuddled up on her Papa's chest after her morning feed. Sweetness.

Someone is a terrific Papa. While I know he's just being Papa...I feel it important to make sure he knows I think he's wonderful. We all need to hear it when people think we're doing fine.

Below is a video I shot while we were still at Redneck Central General Horspital and Sock Emporium. He had no idea I was filming with my little Kodak Easy Share. Fair warning...you may find yourself melting a bit...