Thursday, November 30, 2006

The sad reality....

Is that I'm old. Old. Old. Old.

I know this because today was *early release day* for the high schools in my local school district. This horrifying event that allows random teenagers and their angst to roam the malls and streets starting at 12:15pm happened to coincide with my day to meet the mommy group at Starbucks. And wouldn't you know it? Teenagers lurve their caffeine. Literally PACKS of teenagers were descending upon Starbucks as I pulled in to the parking lot. They were hanging on the rails of the outside seating area like monkeys at the zoo. They were scurrying across the parking lot in front of my car. Don't think I didn't count up the number of points they were worth.

One mom was already in Starbucks, sitting alone with her child, staring out the window, and from the look on her face, desperately willing the rest of us to show up. I was so relieved that for once I hadn't been Miss Punctuality. I am so on time it is embarrassing. Fortunately today, Ethan decided to take one of his 20 minutes nap at just the right time to make us 5 minutes late.

Seriously people. They were like locusts.

And they gawked as each one of us walked through the door with our babies. The girls "awwwwwwwwed" in their high-pitched girly voices, waking up the babies who were sleeping. The boys paid no attention until it looked like a baby might be getting ready to nurse; then the thought of seeing naked real life booby piqued their interest and they were all about oooh'ing and ahhhh'ing at the babies.

As I stood in line to order my grande peppermint hot chocolate (just saying that makes me feel warm and fuzzy--oh, and fat), Ethan was accosted by a green-haired girl from the *alternative* crew. She was in front of us with her guy friend who will be coming out of the closet shortly. Until then he's just going to write really deep and disturbing poetry. Anyway----as she turned around and saw Ethan in his cute little Bjorn, she did her cute, teenage girl giggle (pom poms or black lipstick, the giggle is usually the same), turned to her Will & said, "How much money do you have in your wallet? Can you buy me that baby?"

Wha???? So weird. How do you respond to that? I did one of those, "I sort of heard you, but I'm pretending not to pay attention" smiles and ignored it. Kids say the darnedest things....

Sunday, November 26, 2006

He puts the "grrrrr" in Swinger, baby!

Today, in honor of the freakishly warm November weather we're experiencing, we took Ethan to the park. There we found three groups of musically dueling folk groups (wha?????) and the baby swings. We went for the baby swings, the dueling banjo routine was just an, bonus?

Earlier in the summer, I saw a mom putting her baby in the swings and thought it was the cutest thing ever. But as I was carting around a floppy-headed baby who was so tiny he's slip through the swing's leg hole, I assumed we'd just have to wait until his around his first birthday to introduce him to the joy that is the baby swing. Not so.

Today is more of a photo blog than anything else. You'd say it's a cop-out, if the pictures weren't so freaking cute!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Grandma Has a Thong...

...and other things you learn at Thanksgiving dinner.

I'm not going to share the story of how I know (it's just more fun to make you guess). But I thought it was a funny title for the Thanksgiving post.

So today I had a realization about myself. As I watched my petite little sister in law show my husband's cousin how to do "Spider Man" push ups, while I drank my standard soy chai tea latte, I came to the painful realization that I have let myself go.

Sure, I know--"9 up, 9 down", that's what people say. "You were on bedrest for 4 months!" they also like to remind me, as if this somehow makes the extra 20 pounds I am carrying around almost 7 months later an acceptable given. As if no one could possibly be expected to be able to lose weight that their body no longer needs because of a condition that hasn't impacted them in more than half a year. "But you have the baby to take care of all day! When would you even have time to work out or cook a really healthy meal?!" They like to remind me. Perhaps this is the most valid of the things people say to me to make me feel better about this body I no longer recognize.

Regardless--I am fat. Well, not fat like "you'll see the lower portion of my body walking away on a nightly news report about obesity" fat, but fat. And it's not unfamiliar territory--after being Miss Skinny Minnie in high school (I used to drink slim fast shakes WITH dinner just because they were so yummy), my metabolism hit a brick wall in my early 20's and I spent the better part of a decade with one foot in Obese-town. So perhaps more than a woman who has always been thin and then finds herself carting around extra weight after giving birth, this new body of mine terrifies me in a way I can barely stand to describe. And I won't because it's Thanksgiving, people! And I don't need to take this post to that dark place....

And it's not just my weight. I have had one haircut in a year. ONE. IN A YEAR, people! How my hair isn't all Crystal Gayle'd out is beyond me--it just stops growing after a certain point. But it ain't pretty. And I am wearing make up that is a year old, with the exception of course of the Benefit goodies I was suckered into buying when I walked through Sephora with my "haggard mommy" face back in June or July. When I drive by the DSW shoe store, I barely feel a pang of desire. This is deeply disturbing as I used to live within walking distance and would go at least once a week just to see if they had any new Mary Janes that I might NEED. Now I have one pair of shoes. And they aren't even stylish, internet! Weep for me!

My point being that starting on Monday, this girl is whipping herself into shape. No, no, I dont' think I'm going to drop 20 pounds before New Year and all that craziness (when I was fat, I used to make deals with myself that I would do everything in my power to embrace anorexia, starting tomorrow....). I am going to flip through magazines until I find a haircut I have to have and I might even do color. That's how serious I am about this. Then I am hauling my sorry Cover-girl wearing ass to Sephora and I am going to buy something other than brown eyeshadow. And then, I'm going to throw away the ice cream and stop drinking chais!

......sorry, I just hyperventilated a little bit.

All right--I guess I will have to make some changes, because I don't want to be the pretty fat girl I was for 10 years (is there anything more well-intentioned and hurtful than hearing "You have such a pretty face!"). But perhaps it will be a small cup of ice cream instead of a bowl. And maybe it will be tall chais a few times a week instead of grandes daily. .....I'm still breathing into a paper bag here, people.....

So, although the timing couldn't be worse (there's pumpkin pie upstairs and two kinds of stuffing! TWO!), I am grateful that my sister in law is such a skinny little biatch, with such a damn kicking hair cut, and a travel bag full of Estee Lauder makeup in the bathroom. And I'm grateful that she's been carting my son around all afternoon so I could help with dinner and blog.

Probably not the standard "Today I am thankful for this journey of motherhood and the lights of my life, Husband and little E" that you were expecting, but really--doesn't that go without saying?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

When a baby's gotta eat, a baby's gotta eat!

So today my boob's made their debut on the local evening news. Well, sort of.

In response to some ignorant idiot flight attendant kicking a nursing mom off of a Delta flight last week in Vermont, women across the country sat down at Delta ticket counters from coast to coast and whipped out their boobs in solidarity. And I was there. Yeah, sister!

I wasn't going to go. I wanted to. But I was torn--10 am is right smack in the middle of Ethan's nap time. Generally I'd chew off my own arm rather than keep Ethan from napping because when he misses a nap, he is a bear. A bonafide cranky infant bear. It's not pretty. So I was going to say a lot of "gee, I wish I could go, but...."'s and call it a day.

But by 10:15, it became apparent that napping was not on the agenda, in spite of the eye-rubbies and the whining (oh, how mommy loves the whining!) So I bundled him up and headed off to Reagan National Airport.

There were about 25 women there and a ton of babies and toddlers, as well as the press. Ethan made a big show of spitting up on me, which was lovely, but he also managed to get a few minutes of nursing in here and there as well. It was basically just a big old love fest with a bunch of moms and their kids. It was great!

Of course, with the way the Delta ticket counter is set up, we weren't right in front of them; we were at a bank of seats off to the side and we didn't see one representative from Delta at all. Cowards. But we did see the press. Every local DC news outlet was there, filming, shooting stills and interviewing moms.

And lo and behold, as I watched the 6pm news, there I was---all unflattering and shit, but nursing my little boy and apparently carrying on a very animated conversation with the woman next to me at the same time. I could tell by watching it (again and again--we have DVR) that they caught a moment during which Ethan wasn't really eating--he was just sort of hanging out (he may have actually been talking to my boob at the time; when he's not eating, he often mistakes my breast for a microphone or his best friend and he has quite the conversation.)

When they say the camera adds 10 pounds--yikes! I felt like that line from Friends when Monica says of fat-self in a home movie, "The camera adds 10 pounds!" and Chandler responds with, "How many cameras were on you?!" Yeah, I think I had about 5-6 cameras on me to add all that weight. It wasn't pretty.

But it was important. And I'm glad I went. I'm glad I was able to show my support for a baby's right to eat, even if the container from which their food comes makes some people, who should be smarter and better than that, uncomfortable. Imagine telling a mother that she can't feed or comfort her hungry and scared child because of a boob. By the way, the entire time I was there and in the entire new segment--I didn't see one nipple. Not one. Well, I did see my own. But it didn't offend me. :-)

Monday, November 20, 2006

No, I'm NOT talking to myself, thank you....

One of the perks of having a baby (besides the baby smell and the unconditional love stuff) is that when I am out in public, I can talk to myself ALL. DAY. LONG. and no one looks at me like I'm a crazy homeless person.

I'm an only child. One of the fabulous quirks of being an only child is that I have, from an early age, talked to myself. Muttering, cracking myself up, full-on conversations. SOLO. If I forget where I am and start doing this in public, I can definitely make people avert their eyes like, "Don't look at the crazy person. Don't look at the crazy person. Don't look at the crazy person."
So I have learned that perhaps I will spend less time in psych ward if I learn NOT to talk to myself when I am anywhere others might witness it. My car. Fair game. The shower. Fair game. But Starbucks, the grocery store, the mall---all off-limits.

Until I had Ethan. Carting Ethan around, in the bjorn or the stroller gives me an open invitation to prattle away, all under the guise that I am in fact, chattering lovingly to my son. And, don't get me wrong, often I am. I shower him with baby talk and air kisses plenty. But I also ramble on about what type of apple I should buy to make the sausage and apple stuffing for Thanksgiving. At great length. In front of people. It's so liberating.

Of course, my fear is that I will become so accustomed to this license to be a crazy person in public that a.) one day Ethan's going to be old enough to talk back and he's going to be like, "Ma, you're a loon." and b.) one day he's not going to be out in public with me every single time I'm out and what if I start talking to myself then??? I'll be the crazy lady who roams the aisles of Target chattering to herself about cat litter. God. Help. Me.

And, yes, I know I took the weekend off from the whole blogging thing. I have failed at the whole 30 entries in 30 days. I won't beat myself up, though. This month has definitely jumpstarted my blogging and that's good enough for me. A girl's gotta rest sometime, you know.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Tis the Season....

So, being Jewish (or as we joke considering how lax we are at this point in our lives, "Jew-ish"), and the parents of an infant, we are faced with the dilemma of how to integrate the secular components of Xmas (that how the non-Christians write it, right?) into a celebration of Hannukah.

As a child, a Hannukah bush decorated in bright primary colors adorned the top of our TV (one of those big 1970's television consoles). Lights & tinsel in non-Xmas colors pop into my memory and can be found in the pages of my childhood photo albums. My mom's side of the family celebrated Xmas and my Dad's celebrated Hannukah. It never confused me as a child; I knew which one went with my religion and which one was just for fun. Even still, I loved Xmas carols and everything about the Xmas season. I wonder now if my parents ever feared I was going to come home from school one day (oh yeah, I went to Catholic schools--that's a whole other post) and declare that I loved Jesus.

As an aside, I did for a very brief time in the third or fourth grade consider becoming a nun. Something about it appealed to me (I'll wait for you to stop laughing before I go on). But then Laurel told me I had to be Christian to be a nun. Well, that put an end to that career path. Because, again, I was never confused as to what my religion was.

But for some reason, as a parent, I don't know where/how to draw the line. Is Ethan going to want to believe in Santa? Should we get a Xmas tree and just decorate it with blue and silver? In this day and age, these decisions shouldn't be brain surgery, but to new parents trying to make the right choices for their child (good lord people, one wrong move and he's scarred for life, don't you know that??!!! yikes!!!) , it feels huge. It feels MASSIVE. It feels like Mama needs a glass of wine. Or two.

We did decide that we were going to send holiday cards. With a picture of Ethan on it. Husband & I both agreed that this year, neither of us are "family portrait quality". Our goal is to be freaking hotties for next year's family holiday card. We will light up the mailboxes and mantlepieces of friends and family with our thin, perfectly in shape gorgeousness

So today I took pictures to use for the card. Please enjoy, Internet. And happy whatever holiday you celebrate.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


My son. He is a good fella.

At least, that is the consensus of my new group of mom friends. We were sitting around Starbucks this afternoon and it must have been the velour track suit he was sporting (zipper down a bit because it was freaking hot! People, it is November--it's supposed to be cold!) and the curly-q magic of his hair. He flashed a smirk at one of the girls and as if it was a revelation from above she said, "He could be a Soprano!"

And she was right. He just needed a cigar.

How you doin'?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

In the blink of an eye...

So tonight I gave a pregnant friend of mine Ethan's 0-3 month clothes. Sigh. Pieces of fabric that are too tiny for him to wear now. It's wonderful, really. I love helping my friend out; she was so sweet and thoughtful when I was pregnant, on bedrest, in the hospital last March and after I delivered Ethan. She and her husband brought us food and were the first to babysit Ethan when Husband and I were finally willing to be apart from him for more than ten minutes at a time (it is, however, still on record as the most speedily consumed meal EVER). So it's a great thing, and I feel good to have helped out in some way, since I'm usually so busy with Ethan and spinning in circles, I don't really feel like I'm doing a lot for other people these days.

At the same time, as Husband helped her carry the three bags of clothes out to her car and I went upstairs to nurse Ethan to sleep, I had a moment of such intense sadness. Like I was losing a tiny little piece of my baby. While my sweet little man, who is growing so much every day, drowsed while he nursed, I wanted nothing more than to freeze time and just keep him where he is now. It was all-consuming and I had to talk myself out of crying.

One of my favorite books ever is The Catcher in the Rye. In one of the final scenes Holden Caufield watches his little sister Phoebe on the merry-go-round and wishes he could put her in a glass case in the museum because nothing in those glass cases ever changes, even though the world around them changes all the time. My teacher's mind always thought that was such a poignant way to look at youth and innocence and the desire to protect someone you love from the changes that growing up forces one to go through. My mother's mind is just a puddle on the floor thinking of that passage and how quickly my little baby is growing.

He was fussing earlier today and I heard myself say, "I swear, I can't wait until you can just TELL me what is wrong." But I can; I can wait, little man. Take your time. Please don't go too fast.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Not so lovey....

Yeah. About two posts back I was all bragging and shit about that stupid lovey. Lovey, my ass.

It would seem as though Mr. E has become immune to the lovey. I'm sure over the past week or so he's been building up sleep antibodies to use as a defense against the power of the lovey. And thus, today the lovey had zero impact on my little napper. Irony of all ironies, this immunity seems to have coincided nicely with the day that I rushed out to Target to buy two more identical lovies in case this one should become worn beyond all recognition or god forbid, lost somewhere.

Today--no naps. Well, none to speak of. There was a 20 minute stretch in the car between Target and Babies R Us and another 20 minute teaser which followed an hour of "pleeeeeeeeeeease sleep" from mommy. That was it. Then there hours of crying and blowing raspberries and crying and giggling and crying and...well, you get the general idea.

This nap strike comes on the same day that we are transitioning Little E to his crib. Yeah, delightful. In his exhausted state, the first attempt was super easy. Two hours later, however, he's been up twice, each time increasingly pissed off that he is not in our bed.

Good times...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Life's a beach

It may be the middle of November, but it was sunny and warm in South Carolina this weekend, so we took the opportunity to introduce Mr. E to the surf and sand. He seems to have taken to it like a natural. There was even a face-plant into the sand that illicited no tears or fretting of any kind. It got more of a "hmmmm...sand is tasty" reaction than anything else. Sure kid, spit out the fancy organic cereal mommy buys for you, but savor that mouthful of dirt. Ah well, I guess that sort of counts towards his introduction to solids.

So the sand in the toes, in the fingers, in the hair, in the diapers, in the carseat, in the butt...that was all fun stuff! There's nothing quite like watching him discover something for the first time, especially when it is something like the beach, a place I grew up loving and have such warm and fuzzy memories about.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It's all about the lovey...

I haven't spent a lot of time kvetching about it because usually I have a hard time finding the humor in it, but little E is not the greatest sleeper in the world. Perhaps it was the seven nights he spent in an isolette in the NICU, perhaps it's just the way he's wired, but this kid NEEDS to be on people. Not near, not next to....on.

And so for the past six months, in addition to being "Mommy, the food", two or three or four times a day, I become "Mommy, the bed". You can watch a lot of TV being "Mommy, the bed", but you can't really accomplish a lot. Thus, "Mommy, the keeper of the house" is in dire need of the ability to physically telaport herself through time and space to get the laundry done and cook a meal. I will just say that Martha Stewart would consider my house uninhabitable (and that woman has done time in prison!)

Don't get me wrong, there's almost nothing sweeter in this world than a sleeping Ethan. And being "Mommy, the bed" gives me a front row seat to all his almost irresistibly edible cuteness. Many times I have found myself staring adoringly at his little snoozing face wanting to reach down and swallow him up in one bite. But cute only goes so far when you realize that your arm is falling asleep AGAIN, you really have to pee and you're dying of thirst. I still believe that the joy that was my July kidney infection/hospital stay was a result of not having enough water to drink while Ethan was a newborn because I was stuck on the couch for literally hours and hours at a stretch without a drop of water to drink as my poor kidneys tried to make do with the drops they could squeeze from whatever food I happened to be able to eat in between naps and the incessant scream-fests that were the early days.

"Well, Sarah, put him down, go pee, get a drink and come back, silly!" Ha Ha Ha, I say. Even in the deepest of sleeps, this little stinker would know when his head met with anything other than the crook of mom's arm and the wailing would begin. I tried this over and over again until I realized it was simply not worth the trouble it took to soothe him back down. And so I sat with him. For hours. For months.

Until last week. I decided that the "on mommy" naps had to end.

Now before you "tsk tsk" me and throw the "bad mommy" award my way, I made this decision not for my own sake, but because I was noticing that Ethan was no longer the deep, peaceful sleeper he used to be when he was on me. The slightest movement from me would stir him and his naps, well, they sucked. (But while I am so busy explaining myself to the internet about why I won't let my son nap on me anymore, I'll throw this out there---why shouldn't I be allowed to take my own feelings into account when I decide what parenting choices to make? I am bombarded with so much stuff about how I have to do everything just perfectly and selflessly for his benefit or I will be messing him up for life and only have myself to blame when he starts beating kids up on the playground and smoking in the boy's room. I happen to think there's got to be a balance of what works for baby and what works for mom, or mom's going to end up being the one beating kids up in the playground and smoking...anywhere).

Anyway, I digress. Ethan was not napping well on me and we needed to make a switch. If that means that I get some time during the day to wash a dish or make a shopping list, more power to me.

And so the quest to find the perfect nap setting began. Husband has been putting Ethan to sleep at night in our bed. Thus, the bed seemed logical. But the end goal is the crib. The thing cost a small fortune and so far has only served as a place to pile laundry, to dry the little man after a bath and the occassional session of tummy time. So I tried the crib. And I tried letting him "cry it out".

Um, no. That lasted about 45 minutes. Yes, I know I did it wrong; I went in to his room every 5 minutes and cuddled and loved him because I just don't have it in me to let him scream. If it were simply a fussing or a little cry, I could cope. No, no, no. All out "I'm on fire"!!!! screaming is more Ethan's cup of tea when he's left alone in his crib. One afternoon was enough for me to realize that that method wasn't going to work for us.

It occurred to me that what was missing in the crib was me. Or something to remind him of me. And so a drive to Target solved that problem. Yes, mommy is best, but a plush little lovey that's half teddy bear, half blanket aint' half bad.

I am telling you, somehow this little piece of fabric and bizarrely disembodied teddy head has revolutionized sleep in our house. I held it three or four times while he nursed and now, all one has to do is give Ethan his paci, his lovey, tap him bum a few times while whispering sweet nothings and the little man is off to dreamland. Okay, sometimes there are some tears, but they are few and far between and they smack of "boo hoo, I don't want to nap", not "someone save me! I'm on fire!!!" And the naps....they are in the bed. Not on mommy. Next week we will attempt to revisit the crib and see how that goes.

And now I can start finding other ways to procrastinate instead of cleaning my's not like Martha Stewart is planning on visiting anytime soon.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Java for Jesus....

Did you know there are actually places in this country where you CAN'T find a Starbucks? I know, it is a sad thought. Coming from a city where on certain street corners you can actually take your choice between the three Starbucks within eye-shot, this dearth of Starbucks is more of a shock to the system than a triple shot espresso.

Here we are in relatively rural South Carolina visiting my parents. We have grown accustomed to the latte withdrawal over the years and we just make sure that we savor that last grande on our way out of town to start the 8 hour drive. I figure, they gave me life, kept a roof over my head and paid for my education; the least I can do is go grande-soy-chai-tea-latte-less for 48 hours or so in order to see them a couple times a year. It's not easy, but hey, I love them, right?

So imagine my glee when my father told me there was "Starbucks-type" coffee place just down the road from their house on the golf course. After Ethan was down for a nap, I grabbed my keys and scooted down the road. I turned right at the Fish House, a restaurant that has a gigantic fiber glass shark busting through the roof of the building. It's quite the landmark.

And so I arrived at the latte place. Thus began my religious experience for the day. I should have been clued in by the shop's logo--a coffee cup with steam in the shape of a halo. I opened the door and immediately saw that they had two cushy couches, a la Central Perk and cute little lamps and coffee tables. The couches were upholstered in denim, but I guess it is rural South Carolina after all, so its' not like they furnished the place at Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn.

At the counter, I read the menu--the blakcboard with the perfectly penned list of drinks and options. What is it about that perfect hand-writing you always see on coffee shop blackboards? Is penmanship part of the interview process? What happens if the person with the impeccable handwriting is sick on the day that the specials change? Can they even open the shop?? I swear, only first-grade teachers and coffee-shop employees have this ability to write their letters in perfectly straight lines and such impossible neatness. Not to mention the little curlique embellishments on the sides.

After placing my order (I cringed saying, "medium" instead of "grande", but I didn't want to seem like a big city snob, you know?), I looked around waiting for her to see if they still have any soy milk.

This is when I saw it....the stone tablet replica of the Ten Commandments on the wall. I thought "oh, I bet those are cute coffee shop commandments, like "Thou Shalt Not Spill" and squinted to get a better look at them, hoping for a laugh. Nope. "Thou Shalt Not Kill" was right there as #6. Eek. Pretty heavy reading while just standing around waiting for the milk to steam for your latte. I am much more accustomed the the little bulletin board poster at my local Starbucks that says, "Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy". See, there's a commandment in there, but it's subtle. And perhaps way more appropriate for a public place that's taking my money in exchange for something as secular as coffee.

Then I started scanning the room. On the coffee table were no fewer than 3 different books with "Jesus" somewhere in the title. On one of the far walls was a shelf with statues of Mary and Jesus and wire doves adorning the all behind them. Above the door was a wooden cross. Suddenly the halo over the mug in the logo made sense---here I was, good little Jewish girl, in a Christian coffee shop. Mkay. Thankfully, answering "Have you accepted Christ as your personal savior?" was not part of the ordering process.

I had no problem with this--I guess whoever is paying the rent on the shop has the right to decorate it as they choose and honestly, 99.999% of people going into that shop are probably going to the same church together every Sunday morning anyway. I'm just a Jew passing through. No need to keep me in mind when they decorate, I guess. But it did remind me why I live in a more diverse place--if the coffee shops in DC had posters of Jesus on the wall, they'd probably also have a basket of yalmulkas at the door and a pile of prayers carpets next to the couch.

My problem with them was that their Chai sucked. Seriously, people. If you're going to open a coffee shop and offer something besides plain old coffee, learn how to make something besides plain old coffee. It's what Jesus would do....

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Name is Sarah & I'm Ethan's Mom...

Now you say, "Hi, Sarah, Ethan's mom".

This is sort of what starting up a mom's group feels like---Moms Anonymous. My "Baby & Me" Yoga and Baby Massage classes have morphed into an informal mom's group. Last week three of us met at Starbucks and today seven of us met at a local coffee shop, babies in tow. We came equipped with bjorns, pacis, strollers, pacis, burp clothes, sun hats, pacis, toys, our horror stories and, oh...yeah, pacis.

I really enjoy meeting with these women. They are women I would have been friends with if I'd met them in a regular non-baby yoga class or if they were co-workers. But that's not how I met them. I met them because we all signed up for a class without knowing each other and because we were trying to make some sense of our new identities as moms; in particular moms who are staying at home, either permanently or for some undetermined stretch of time. We haven't really gotten into it yet, but I wonder if any of them feel like they are floating out in some unfamiliar space, grasping to make sense of it all. I think that's probably too *deep* for our second cup of coffee.

But there's lots of talk about breast pumps and labor and sleep habits and reflux, which I suppose is just as good as spilling your guts about how hard being a mother is and how exhausting and how you feel like your identity has slipped away and you feel like you're rebuilding from square one.....

Did I say that???

Anyway, what I mean is--I find it interesting that this group of women, we don't know each other at all, really. I only know their last names because of our email address list. I dont' know what they all did for a living before having kids. I don't know their husbands' names or what type of music they listen to, where they stand politically, or where they are from originally (well, I know where a couple of them are from). All I know is that they are other moms of other adorable babies and I enjoy their company. And I realize that that's all they know about me, too. I am Ethan's Mom. They are the first people I have known socially who see that as my primary identity.

I have to say, it's kind of cool.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A little game in lieu of real blogging...

Stupid 30 posts in 30 days. I have nothing interesting to talk about tonight, but I feel compelled to post just because I said I would. Writer's block and sleep deprivation are ugly things, especially together.

So instead of trying to come up with anything witty (cuz it ain't gonna happen, people), let's play a game of "Does he look like me?"

Ethan, 2006

me, 1971

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Flock of Ethans...

So, this is what happens to my son's hair when it is not properly combed after his bath.

This bizarre curly-q mohawk is a spontaneous example of the unruliness that is my son's hair, unless of course he is sneaking out of the house, stealing the car and joy-riding into the city under cover of darkness to get his hair styled at some after-hours baby salon that his father & I are unaware of.

If that is the case, he should be a real treat as a teenager.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Oatmeal and barley and rice...oh my

I posted a picture yesterday of Ethan's reaction at starting rice cereal a week ago. In case you missed it, it looks something vaguely like Edvard Munch's "The Scream" (please google it if you are unfamiliar). This week we decided, since rice cereal was such a bust, perhaps oatmeal would be more palate pleasing.

Nothing, my friend, could be farther from the truth. There was a lot of crying and flailing involved. Husband and I have, in the past, considered taking a baby sign language class, but even without training, today I could clearly tell this was, "Ma! Get that shit away from me!!! Where the hell is your boob??!!" A mother just knows...

So today, after a third failed attemp at oatmeal, I thought perhaps barley cereal would be the magic ticket. You know, third time's the charm and all that. Besides, I'm a fan of barley--they use it to make beer, right? It had to work. Who ever heard of a baby who didn't like cereal? Well, if there's a list of "babies who hate cereal", please put Mr. E on that list, right at the top. After the first tentative bite, the message that seemed to be shooting through the synapses in my son's brain was not "Open your mouth for the next bite of cereal." It seemed instead to be, "The spoon's on fire!! The spoon's on fire! Warn mommy with a blood curdling scream and kick all appendages at full speed!!!"

It seems that thus far, whether mixed with breast milk, water or formula, cereal is not going to make it's way into my son's belly after that first bite. Actually, now that he's tried all three, I don't think I'd be able to trick him again. I have to admit, I can't blame him. It's not like I'm offering him Fruity Pebbles or Apple Jacks (because no one can resist those). I am trying to convince him that after six months of the perfectly concocted milkshake meal after meal, that this goo is actually food. Each bowl is more cardboard-y than the other. I can understand why he'd be horribly offended by this turn of events. I just hope that some solid food catches his fancy soon. As much as I love breastfeeding, I will not be sending a thermos of breastmilk to kindergarten with this boy.

Now, I had a fabulous picture of the bowls of barley and oatmeal cereals AND a witty caption that had something to do with the children's version of Dante's Inferno and the various circles of cereal hell....BUT the memory card is jammed into the camera and I fear I am simply breaking it bit by bit as I try to eject it with increasing aggression at each attempt. (I'm taking deep breaths and trying not to panic). So I am picture-less today.

But I am 6 for 6 on the whole NaMoBloPo thing.... (did I get that right?)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Six Months...

Seriously? Half a year come and gone? It hardly seems possible, little man! And yet, it is the 5th of the month and that means you are another month older, having had another month's worth of experiences, trials, tribulations, adventures and hugs & kisses.

I can hardly figure out where to begin. You've changed so much. Your personality, in all it's strength and determination, shows itself more and more with every passing day. You have started to grace us with the fabulous smiles of pure joy at simply seeing mommy or daddy come into a room. The most precious part of my day is when I open my eyes in the morning and there you are, eyes wide open and looking at me. When I say, "Hi, bud!" your face lights up and the smile just takes my breath away--it's a sucker punch of happiness. When daddy comes downstairs from work at the end of the day, you wiggle in my arms or flap your arms and smile, your tongue blowing raspberries as daddy reaches out to take you. It is so wonderful to feel your love begin to find a way to express itself.

The smile that lights up the world and the hair that defies explanation

It's been a busy couple of months. We took yoga & infant massage classes together and I think it was such an important step for both of us. The first few yoga classes were tough--you were super fussy and I spent the second hour of yoga rocking you in the hallway and crying, wondering why I spent $100 on seven hours worth of holding and rocking you while you cried, when I could essentially do that at home, minus the other women doing yoga while their babies peacefully slept and the tibetan monk chant CD. But by the third class, you seemed to know where we were, what we were doing and you even began to dig it. You still fuss every once in awhile, but you realize now, perhaps, that mommy reeeeeeeeally needs that hour to do sun and moon salutations--you are pretty happy now to lay at the top of the mat, shaking your blue bee and watching mommy mellow out in triangle pose.

This month's biggest stressor was your weight. You are a skinny little man, darling. Are you sure you belong to daddy and me?! During September and early October, I noticed you nursing less and less. Still every couple of hours, but only for a minute or two at a time. there something wrong with the milk factory? Nope. That's good quality stuff. So why no weight gain? You actually only put on about 6oz in three weeks and the doctor wasn't too thrilled (and we like making the doctor happy!). So we decided that perhaps, even though you aren't complaining about it, you might still have some reflux and we started you on Prevacid. Voila!!!! The magic potion!!! Now, you are Mr. Nurse-aholic again and you have finally tipped the scale at 13lbs, 2oz, according to the digital scale at the breastfeeding group we go to. You are finally fitting into the 3-6 month clothes, as you hit 6 months. That's okay--you can keep wearing them for awhile; mommy has a shopping issue she needs to deal with and she spent wayyyy too much $$ on your 3-6 month clothes, so don't feel like you need to suddenly weight 16 lbs or anything.

This tummy time stuff is so last week, Mom.

You are also a flurry of learning this month. I noticed back in September that when I talked or made noises at you, you were staring intently at my mouth, watching to see how I formed the words and sounds I was making. I experimented sticking my tongue out at you. Over and over and over and over. You stuck your tongue out at me. I blew a raspberry at you. Again and again and again and again. You blew a raspberry at me. I said, "Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious" to you.....nothing. Oh well. Maybe next month.

So there is the sound of constant babbling coming from you now. If it is any indication of your future chattiness, I expect to get many "too social in class" comments on your report cards. You "talk" to your toys; you "talk" to your hands; you "talk" to my boobs. You've got a lot to say, my friend. And sometimes you are happily rambling and sometimes I think you're trying to tell me that Timmy has fallen down the well or something, considering the passion and emphasis you seem to be putting on some of your "syllables". I can't wait to see what comes out of your mouth when things start making sense.

Then there's mobility. Let's just say, you're trying. You've long since mastered the belly to back roll. Please. That is SO three months. You seem to be totally uninterested in getting from your back to you belly, however. You do seem to give it a shot every once in awhile, but it's half-hearted at best, as if you're already jaded by the whole rolling thing.

Trying to crawl is where it's at now. I noticed a few weeks ago that you've decided to try to get places by getting up onto your arms and pushing of with your hands. This would be an ideal means of transport, if you always wanted to get to what is 3 feet behind you, because all you do is ending up sliding backwards. However, if you are trying to get to Larry Lion who is 3 feet in FRONT of you, well, then you have a dilemma. So you've learned the way of the inchworm. I cannot tell you how funny it is to watch you curl up your legs so that your butt is in the air, you chest is on the ground and your arms are completely out of the game. Where you should be propelling yourself forward by pushing off with your feet, you're simply just trying to throw your weight ahead of you, willing yourself to move. Unless the force is with you, my friend, that's never going to get you there. But it's cute to watch. What you need to do is realize that both the top and bottom halves of your body are required to work together and at the same time for this elusive crawl to materialize. Perhaps this month....

Let's talk sleep, little man. It's a concept you've yet to really grasp a hold of. Sleep makes the world go round, pumpkin. Sleep makes people happy. Sleep makes mommy happy. You like happy mommy. Let her sleep. Since day one (okay, day 7, when you came home from the NICU) you have been napping on or right next to me. I love you, sweet thing, but jeez. Six months, two or three naps a day---that's a lot of "sit on the couch" time for mommy. She's used to being able to pee when she feels the urge or, oh, I don't know, get up and walk around the room without worrying about waking the giant (that's you). I do love the bonding time with you, but we're basically living in squalor because the time I should be spending perhaps cleaning the bathroom and making a meal for your father and me, I am fighting off the need to sneeze lest I wake you, my arm is falling asleep or I am dying to scratch an itch on my nose that I can't reach because of how you fell asleep on me. This means that tomorrow, Operation Nap In Crib begins. I am going to have to toughen up. I am going to have to draw the line in the sand and see what I can get away with. I am going to have to really decide what is "fussing" and what is "crying" because I can't bring myself to let you "Cry it Out" a la Ferber, but I also can't be your own personal sleep-number bed until you're 10.

Nighttime has gotten a lot easier. Because now you just sleep with us. Daddy bathes you, gets you ready for bed, then I nurse you and he reads you a story and lays with you until you fall asleep. When we come to bed later on, you're snug as a bug (a la safe co-sleeping rules per Dr. Sears) between us. You wake up still. Sometimes once. Sometimes twice. Sometimes 800 times a night. There's no real rhyme or reason. Can we work on the rhyme and reason this month, please? Hmmmmm? Pretty please. I do love, though, how you reach out in your sleep with your little hand, just to touch my arm, to make sure of my presence.

Your favorite new toy is your Baby Einstein activity center/jumperoo. I got it a few weeks ago because I just could not hold you up in a standing positon all day. Yes, you don't roll from back to belly and you don't crawl or sit upright, but you LOVE the world from a standing position. You just can't do it yourself. So the jumperoo is the answer. You bounce, you play music, you spin the frog. It's fabulous.

Must. Make. Frog. Spin!!!! Must make frog spin!!!

We also started solids this month. Rice cereal was first. You were far from thrilled. Even mixed with breastmilk, you were having none of it. "What is this cardboard-tasting crap?" your face seemed to protest as more of it ended up on your chin, bib, and cheeks than in your belly. Now we are working on oatmeal, but not really finding much success with that, either. The box says you might need to try it up to 15 times before you like it, but I think that's just Gerber trying to sell me more cardboard..I mean, cereal.

This is not the look of a man who is happy with his cereal...

We took you apple-picking this year. Big let down. Not that you weren't fabulous company, but I think I expected you to enjoy yourself more than you did. I thought you might be mesmerized by the trees and the pumpkins in the pumpkin patch. But really, you just wanted to nap. No biggie, little man. There's always next year.

Seriously, Mom, I'm trying to nap. Do we have to climb trees right now?

What is up with these giant orange things? What is up with this cold ground? What is up with my hair??!!

We're waiting on teeth. We are praying for teeth. On the days when your teeth are trying to work their way up through your gums, you are not a happy little man. You drool, you cry, you get a fever, you don't sleep. AT. ALL. I took you to the doctor last week to see if you actually had an ear infection, but alas, no..."just" teething. I asked the doctor if you were going to be "like this" until you popped this tooth. She explained that you could be like this until ALL your teeth were in. There was an unpleasant silence as I mentally digested that tidbit of doom and gloom. Then I said, "If that's the case, Mama's going to have start drinking at the crack of dawn!" The doctor was not amused. Perhaps making joking references to alcohol abuse to your child's pediatrician isn't the smartest idea. Oh well, live and learn.

I cannot believe that you've been for half a year. I cannot believe every day when I look at you that you are the same little being that grew and wriggled in my belly for eight months and that you will continue to grow and learn and change with every moment that passes. I am obsessed with taking pictures of you (258 in October alone), but I cannot bear the idea of forgetting a second of this and I need pictures to remind me because it goes so fast. I am torn between my anticipation for the future and my longing to slam on the breaks and keep you from going any further. As your hair grows, as you put on ounces, as you get closer to independent mobility daily, I realize that I am simply your guide through this adventure and that the seconds slip away so fast. Sometimes I think I might squeeze you a smidge too tight or smother your face with too many kisses, but I can't help myself. I am trying to memorize the way you are right now, the baby soft skin and tiny fingers and rosy cheeks, so that some day, when you don't want me kissing and hugging you (because, ugh! Mom, how embarrassing!!!) I can think back on these days and remind myself that you will always be my baby.

You then...

You now....

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Working out the kinks...

It's tough being a baby. There's the sleeping and the constant nursing to contend with, not to mention all the shiney, crinkly toys at your disposal and that mommy lady who caters to your every whim at the first sound of a cry. One can imagine the stress, right? That's why all babies need massages. You know, to ease the tension of every day baby life.

In another lifetime (okay, 5 years ago), I seriously considered leaving my teaching career to pursue the life of a massage therapist. The thought of being surrounded by aromatherapy, candle-lit rooms and the "plinky plunky" music (Phoebe's words, not mine) of new-age artists piping through the sound system appealed to me beyond words. I imagined the sense of peace and well-being I have after a massage and figured that giving a massage must be almost as good as that. I was *this* close to drop-kicking my teaching certification out the window and enrolling in the local massage institute---I even went on an interview at the massage school, looked into buying the anatomy text books and gave my notice at the snooty private school I was working at. For any number of reasons, the switch never happened and now here I am.

Enter "Infant Massage"--yes, the class where I get to live out, in some tiny little way, my dream of being a massage therapist AND my poor little overworked, stressed out baby gets the much needed deep tissue massage his hectic life demands.

E and I took a 3-week massage course taught by my yoga instructor, Jennifer, who I LOVE. Her favorite little mantra is "I honor farts, poops and belches in my class." This is a woman who understands babies, people! Far more than the old ladies in the cereal aisle at my local grocery store, who fail to find amusement in my son's colossal adult-sized gaseous emanations while Mama selects her Special K Red Berries. Jennifer also makes up fabulous little nonsense phrases that I find myself repeating to Ethan when he is fussy....example, "ooohka linka lakka shinka, that feels good! (after a yoga pose or a massage).

Aside from the fabulous bonding time with Ethan and the miniature dream fulfillment, I also met, interacted with and established budding friendships with other new mommies. I find myself almost giddy at the prospect of having people over the age of 6 months to actually do things with on week days. And at the thought that perhaps Ethan will have other children to socialize with, lest he become that weird, socially awkward kid in kindgarten who is way too smart and grown up, thus making him the most likely to be picked on until college.

There has been talk of going to matinees, and there has been one bona fide Starbucks *date* between me and two of the yoga/massage mommies. If all goes well, we MIGHT even invite a few couples over to our house for a dinner or game night. But wait, I'm really getting ahead of myself--we've only had one date. Maybe we're not ready for that kind of commitment yet.

So infant massage really worked out quite a few kinks; my son's muscles, aching from all that sleeping, eating and rolling; and my own fear of throwing myself out there into a social world again, as opposed to hiding at home and wallowing in my own sense of "otherness" now that my life has changed so dramatically.

And here we are, "graduating" from massage class: Massager & massagee


Friday, November 03, 2006

A Room of One's the Raddison

So while on my blogging hiatus, Old Man Time snuck up behind me & beat me severely with the "YOU'RE 35 NOW!!!" stick. It was not pretty. I am not someone who generally minds a birthday. I loved turning 30--I felt all strong & powerful & centered in my life. Not so much with's tipping the scale each day closer to 40. FORTY. Four. Zero. Forty. yikes....

Having survived nearly six months of motherhood, I deemed myself deserving of a day "off" and informed Husband that I was going to take a day of obscene indulgence; this included ahhhhhhh, a facial (and is there anything sweeter than a facial that starts with a foot massage...ahhhhhh), a leisurely stroll through Barnes & Noble sans ginormous stroller and screaming child secured in ginormous stroller, 2 hours sitting in a dark movie theater, popcorn and soda all to myself (even if the movie sucked), and, the icing on the cake---I checked into a hotel downtown, took myself out to dinner and ice cream (Stone Cold Creamery is proof of God's existance, if you ask me) and then slept for....wait for it....11 hours. Un. Interrupted.

Happy. Birthday. To. Me.

Now, yes, I experienced major pangs of guilt during the course of my ME day. I thought of rushing home to hug and squeeze my baby and beg his forgiveness for leaving him for a whole day and night. I called home probably more than I needed to. I missed Husband and the E man. But I'm an only child and I think only children thrive on some amount of solitude. And that was some sweet solitude, my friend. Besides, I considered the case of engorgement I woke up with after not pumping for 12 hours to be my punishment. Nothing like carrying around almost 10oz of breastmilk IN your breasts to start your morning off right.

I started writing this post in my head last night as I laid in bed, unable to sleep. It was way wittier then and once again, I should have gotten off my lazy ass, come downstairs and written it as it was first popping into my head. But alas I did not, so what we have is just mediocre at best. But you know what? Three days, three entries. :-) And besides, I'm gearing up for the big SIX MONTH recap in 2 days...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Baby's First Halloween...sort of.

May this offering of the little peapod appease the blog-gods whom I have offended with my absence. :-)

Yes, Husband and I (okay, I) decided that since we called little E "pea pod" when he was in mah belly that he should be a "pea pod" for his first Halloween. You know, for old time's sake. Well, that and it's so freaking cute.

Halloween for us was actually just dressing Ethan up the day before Halloween and snapping about a hundred pictures. When the actual day arrived, we attempted to do the "dress up" again, and wound up with a very pissy pea pod. Please note exhibit A...

Clearly, Ethan was unaware of his own irresistable cuteness in this outfit, because he was having none of it. Also note the mellow and lovely leopard, Miss Chloe, chilling with Ethan as he melts the hell down. Trick or freaking treat, mom.

So after about a nano-second of that, we stripped him down out of his peapod-ness and he seemed content-ish again.

I guess the first Halloween isn't really for the kids, is it? I mean, without teeth, what's the point? And really, no one's handing out my breastmilk but me, so going door to door really isn't an issue yet. Maybe next year...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All right, Amy...I'm back! :-)

At the urging of my bloggosphere BFF, I have rejoined the world o' the blog. I have much to share. But not tonight. Must go to sleep. Tomorrow I will read up on everyone else's blogs and then dust off this poor neglected blog and get started again....if anyone's still reading! :-)