14 December 2007

What Hits The Fan

H-3: FEE FI FO FUM! I smell the blood of an Englishman!
Me: You do? Really?
H-3: No, actually, I think it's just a poopy diaper.

What is it about poo? Why is it so funny? So fascinating? So discussable in public situations? The other night we are walking around one of those stores that you need a card to get into and a freight truck to get out of. I needed some baking sugar, and purchased it in the smallest bag they had, ten pounds.

H-3: Mama, what is that?
Me: It's a sack of sugar.
H-3: NO! Silly Mommy!
Me: Really, it is.
Daddy: I think it is a sack of sucre!
H-3: No, silly Daddy! It's a sack of.............POO POO! (insert two children giggling madly).

I suppose I should be grateful she does not know the other word yet.

Her brother is no better. Sometimes we let him hang out in a pair of cotton trainers, since he is prone to rashes. A couple months ago my downstairs stack ran out, so I had to run upstairs to get more. I grabbed a pencil, my engineer's rule, and some green engineering paper (LOVE that stuff) while I was upstairs since I was plotting out how much it would be to replace our deck surface. I knew where all that was. That is ALL I did upstairs.

Unfortunately, I forgot that time moves at different speeds in different levels of the house when you leave you not mobile baby on a different level. Nakey butt. Have I mentioned that poo is really facinating? Have I mentioned that what E-1 lacks in verbal precociousness he more than makes up for in determination and creativity? Had it been finger paint on paper, it would have been an impressive bit of art work for a 6 month old.

Please tell me that at least girls grow out of this.

03 December 2007

Three Boxes

I got an copy of this blog post in an email the other day. I have no doubt I will receive it again. And again and again and again. Now, I disagree with a great deal of what Sgt. Jeffers said. I don't think it is unpatriotic to disagree with a particular President, to think a war is a mistake, to report on the bad as well as the good. However, one thing I agree strongly with is that a whole bunch of folks in this country give a bunch of lip service to 'support the troops' and do exactly two things to support the troops: Jack and Shit.

The true irony of Sgt. Jeffers' words is this, people are doing EXACTLY what he so despised. Instead of actually doing something concrete, they are mindlessly forwarding his words in spammy email with titles like 'This says it ALL' and 'The last words of a great soldier.' Give me a break, okay? Do you have any idea how LAME you are when you read this, forward it to all your friends with a little 'wow, this is really deep,' then get on up and pour yourself another cup of coffee? Folks, this man DIED for our country. The least you can do is honor his wishes. I am not telling you to go out and do x, y, and z for 'the troops.' It is up to you if you want to support a friend or neighbor overseas this holiday, or help out a family here at home missing that loved one. I am saying if you do something, actually DO something that will make a difference.

There are three boxes sitting here in our office/sewing room/guest room. Three folks we know well, overseas. The neighbor we like, despite his being a FSU Seminole. The (nearly) shortest dude ever to wear a flight suit. The desk jockey one day, on the ground in the thick of it the next friend that will miss his first child's first everythings in the next few months. The boxes are open, and I am sending them to arrive in the doldrums of after-holiday January. I keep pitching stuff in, wondering just how much I can STUFF into the things, thinking about what I can and cannot send over. Thinking of these brave men, and all the brave men and women who are far away tonight.

Sometime soon, three gifts will journey afar. They will journey to the land where, 2000 years ago, three other gifts arrived in celebration. My gifts will be far more humble, and the recipients merely human beings. I hope that my gifts will in a small way honor these men and the season.

And I pray for peace on Earth.

01 December 2007

Name That Tune

Irreverence is a fact of life here. So is singing. This leads to some interesting musical moments. Our making dinner song, for example, is this little number from the first season of the Muppet Show. It has also become our veggie aisle song in the grocery store, which is a story for another time.

Songs that are fairly standard kid friendly bits are never left alone. Now, just so you know, *I* don't go ruining any of the classics. That is my husband's job. My daughter is completely convinced that the one about the rodent running up and down a large timepiece ends not with 'Hickory Dickory Dock' but with 'IntoTheMouthOfTheCat.'

Yeah, I am still waiting for the call from preschool on that one.

One thing I will admit to is changing the words to the songs from middle school. You know, those songs you did not let your teacher or parents hear you singing. I know it is not my best parenting moment, but hey, what else ya gonna do when your sweetie, a dedicated streaker, has fallen so in love with her new jammies that she wants to wear them to the playground. And so, without further ado, our version of 'Bedtime Hymn of the Republic.'

Oh I wear my shorts and T-shirt in the summer when it's hot.
And I wear my pink pa-jammies in the winter when it's not.
And sometimes in the spring, and sometimes in the fall,
I slip between the sheets with nothing on at all.

21 October 2007

Running Commentary

H-3 loves to go to Trader Joe's. Balloons, stickers, friendly staff in cool shirts, food samples, and now they even have kid sized carts.

Yes, it takes longer, but both she and E-1 are greatly amused by H-3 having her own little cart. And the whole fact that she is a bit independent leads to some wonderful conversations. But it also leads to distraction, and I need to redirect and keep her on track.

We are pretty irreverent with our kids. (I know you are shocked by this.) So as I was following her down the frozen food aisle I informed her, 'H, you need to walk a little faster to the end of the aisle. And when you get there, pull up your pants. You are not a 15 year old boy.'

Laughter. Loud, hysterical laughter. I turn to the left and, right next to me, is a 15 year old boy. With his pants around his hips. He was not laughing, though to his credit he did smile at the situation. Now his Mom, SHE was nearly hyperventilating.

Yup, H-3 sampled the chicken tortilla, while I pried the Birkenstock sandwich out of my mouth.

04 October 2007


I suck at pumping, and not in a good way. Give me a baby, or two, or three. I can NURSE the friggin block. Pumping, not so much.

The thing is though, I believe in breast milk. Every baby, with rare medical exceptions, is made to be fed human milk. Sometimes, because of surgery or illness or really bad luck, Mom just cannot provide it. So I did something insane, something no reasonable woman with my relation to a pump would do. I decided to donate to a milk bank.

Now, I knew I could do it. I worked when my daughter was young, and she never had a drop of formula. I had to pump 3 and 4 times a day for 2 bottles. I went to nurse her at lunch so I had one less bottle to produce. I got up every day, EVERY day, at 5 in the morning to pump for months on end so I would have a bit of a fall back. I knew just a few ounces a week would add up, and I knew what they needed to add up to: 200.

Why 200? I never considered donating to any bank that was not a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, or HMBANA for short. There are other "banks" out there. Many are associated with a company that sells human milk at a profit, and does research in an attempt to patent components and make large sums of money. HMBANA banks are different. While human milk is expensive even from a HMBANA bank, the expense does not even cover the cost of testing Moms and processing milk. And if your critically ill baby needs milk and they have it, the baby gets it, even if you can't pay for it. There was no way I was going to DONATE milk to a for profit company to make money off of, when I could donate to a non profit organization that would utilize my milk in the best way possible. But to do that, I needed to get at least 200 ounces together. Any less, and it is just too expensive for the bank to ship, and to do all the testing required on the Mom to make sure the milk is safe to use.

So I pumped, and pumped, and pumped some more. I pumped once every single day. Some days I got 4 ounces, there were not many of those. On days when the only time I could pump was at night after nursing E-1 to sleep, I got an ounce. Usually I got three ounces. I started a bit late, because of the allergy issues E-1 had, and the fact that the first bank I contacted closed unexpectedly and suddenly. I also did not realize many banks take milk pumped prior to contacting the bank. I did not save anything before getting in contact, since E-1 wanted nothing to do with milk unless it was straight from the source. Some days I wondered if I would make it.

And then, I did. About a month ago, I went over. I stopped counting ounces when I pumped, and I got my blood drawn and all the final paperwork approved. Two days after E-1's birthday, a big blue cooler landed on my doorstep.

Tonight, somewhere between here and North Carolina, that blue cooler is 2/3 full of my frozen milk and sitting on a FedEx plane. I hope one day my children will be proud that despite the difficulty in doing the right thing, Mama is someone who puts her money where her mouth is.

Or in this case, where their mouths were...

01 October 2007

One Year

A year ago today, not far from where I sit, my darling baby boy was born. I cannot believe a year has passed, and E-baby is baby no more.

Happy birthday, E-1.

28 September 2007

Cuppa GI Joe

I am writing this to ask you (all what, seven of you) for a favor.

Now, I don't know what you think about the wars we are in. Heck, half the time I wonder if I know what I think about what we've gotten ourselves tangled up in. One thing I do know, there are lots of really great people over 'there' doing what the powers that be have told them needs doing. Even if you exclude the whole fact that you are getting SHOT AT, BOMBED, and otherwise endangered, life there often sucks.

You are away from your family for months. The weather is lousy. There is no sex. There is no beer. And the coffee tastes like . . .

Um, well, yeah, uh, let's just say the coffee tastes bad. And you can't do much about about most of that, but you CAN do something about the coffee. You don't need to go to the store, the post office, or get yourself tangled in that packing tape stuff. There are all these wonderful coffee companies, many of them micro roasters, who are happy to send your coffee donation to the troops. They vary in how they work, how much they charge, whether or not they match the donation, things like that. I have listed a few, I am sure you can find more, perhaps even someone local to you.

So raise a mug in salute to their service, and if you can, help them raise a mug too.


Coffee Donations To The Troops:

Boca Java will match your coffee donation pound for pound. (this is who I use)
Island Joe's won't win any web design awards, but their award winning coffee can be donated.
Maxey Coffee Company will send your coffee donation to a service member and a buck to AnySoldier.com.
Dunkin Donuts holds a monthly drawing, 50 winners a month receive a case of coffee. FREE!

11 September 2007

Off The Beaten Path

It is a bit hard to get to, though you can see it easily from the 395. The folks building roads in the DC area love to make you change lanes, and you need to drift right, and right, and right again across about a zillion lanes of traffic. The signs are barely there, they could not be more than a couple feet square and a couple dozen yards before the road you need to take.

But finally, there you are. The US Air Force Memorial. Situated on a bit of land next to the Navy Annex, its spires rise out of the ground and soar skyward. As you walk the grounds, the quiet of the place seeps into you, despite being surrounded by asphalt and traffic.

The quiet is deeper than immediately apparent. As you stand under the spires and look to the distant Washington DC skyline, a large flag comes into view. It is then that you realize that here, 6 years ago, a plane taken over by evil in human form flew over. Low enough to see and hear far too much, it crashed moments later into the side of the Pentagon.

On that day, people stood in parking lots, sat in cars stuck in the traffic, jogged along paths and sidewalks, and in a moment were forever changed by their witnessing of history. Many still hear the plane in their dreams.

On that day, it was hitting or missing the traffic. A TDY. A transfer to a job a month before. Stopping for coffee on the way into work. A newly reinforced building section, offices miraculously empty because so many had yet to move in. All that stood between life and death on that day was a moment, a split second decision.

On that day, there was no rank. Military and civilian from the very top of the ranks to the very bottom dug in the rubble, and listened to the firefighters, and prayed.

Never forget.

23 July 2007

Gentle Readers

So I am thinking about installing one of those counter things. I must be way more popular than I thought, because apparently both The Pope and folks at TSA read my little blog.

Okay, so I am kidding. Seriously though, the TSA news is fabulous. It is about time they stopped being such boobs about breastmilk...

(If you are new, and intimidated by my HUGE number of previous posts, Here and Here are the ones I am referring to.)

13 July 2007

The Longest Day...

...so far, ever, is the 24 hours the Poison Control Center said to 'just monitor him closely.'

We had recently arrived at our hotel room after a longish drive to a beach vacation. I had half a headache, and opening the door to the overpowering smell of cleaning solutions and air freshener tipped me directly into migraine country. After starting the process of airing out the room a bit, scouting out the usual hazards (electrical cords, outlets, trash bags) and getting settled, H-3 asked if she could have one of the candies left on the night stand. We said okay, and she opened it and popped it in her mouth. Somehow, even though she was just sitting there while she ate it, she managed to swallow it whole. She was fine, scared and her throat hurt, but fine.

She and Daddy headed for the front desk for a restaurant recommendation, I lay on the bed and put E-baby on the floor where I could see him with stuff to play with. My head was pounding so bad that standing upright just was not possible at that point. He crawled along the base of the bed and out of my sight, and I expected him to emerge on the other side. He paused for a minute, then started crying and making weird noises. I rolled over to the edge and noticed something on his shirt, I thought it was a button.

It was a tablet. Wet and slightly dissolved, he had obviously stuck it in his mouth then spit it out when the nasty taste hit. So instead of dinner recommendations we got directions to the nearest ER. We did not end up actually going, we called Poison Control on the way and they recommended monitoring him.

He's fine, I have laid off myself a little with the Mommy guilt, and we ended up having a pretty decent little trip. And a new number on our speed dial.

22 May 2007

Bad Medicine

Maybe half a dozen docs in my area will clip a tight frenulum on a baby's tongue to solve nursing problems. Fewer than that will even CONSIDER doing it for tight frenulums on the lips, and then only if the baby is under general anesthesia. You want to find a doc to cut off the end of your infant son's penis? No problem. So my intact son has a not so great latch. I imagine his lips will get fixed the way his sister's did, falling.

My son's original pediatricians were happy to prescribe Zantac and other acid suppressing meds for E-baby's reflux. The response to doing what actually helped, getting food allergens out of my diet, was 'well, if you really think it helps, but you might not make enough milk on such a limited diet.' Um, hello, have you looked at my 18 pound, 4 month old, finally stopped spitting up baby?

My daughter's OB needed an episiotomy to deliver all less than 7 pounds of her. My midwife helped easy my nearly 9 pound son into the world with barely a scratch. That was just the tip of the iceberg in the differences in birthing my darling children. But people think I am brave, crazy, or both for giving birth to my son at home.


14 May 2007

Before and After

Before Kids:

Find cool brownie recipe online. Print it out. Preheat oven. Mix together brownies. Place in oven. Throw together crock pot chili recipe while brownies are cooking. Retrieve brownies from oven a few minutes after chili is cooking away in the crockpot. Go on with the day.

After Kids:

Find cool brownie recipe online. Print it out. Pop in video for toddler, nurse baby. Take shower and get dressed, because baby is asleep and toddler is busy and this will be your one and only chance. Melt chocolate, change baby diaper, put baby on back in an Ergo because he is fussing. Defrost burger you forgot to put out the night before due to lack of sleep. Tell toddler yes she can play with water if she stays on the porch near the door. Put baby in doorway because toddler makes him laugh. Preheat oven, mix together rest of brownies, put in oven. Start burger browning. Check on toddler. Turn off stove under burger. Take off toddler's clothing on porch, spray her off with the hose since she interpreted 'you can play with water' as 'you can mix the water with your ultra bright sidewalk chalk and then body paint with it.' Take toddler in house, tell her to stand on wood floor while you go get washcloth and clean clothes. Get washcloth and clean clothes. Retrieve toddler from carpet, clean her up and have her put on new clothes. Clean carpet with mini steamer. While you have it out, clean the spot from the accident she had 4 days ago that your husband did not clean up and did not tell you about until last night. Retrieve brownies from oven. Brown burger, throw in crock pot. Add tomatoes and spices. Make toddler lunch. Chop onion. Saute onion with right hand, with your back facing the stove. Hold baby in left arm and nurse him again. Add onions to crock pot and turn on. Find lid to crock pot. Convince baby to let go of nipple so you can reach crock pot lid without causing bodily injury. Put lid on crock pot. Go on with the day.

26 April 2007

Here's Your Sign

I wait patiently for someone to back out of a parking space in a small lot. Helps us both, I stop traffic for her and she provides me with a spot. As she clears the space, enter that familiar villain into the parking lot. Lady driving alone in a monster Suburban, cell phone glued to ear. She quickly sizes up the situation and hits the gas, aggressively rocketing part way into the parking space and stopping. The woman backing out, instead of pulling forward and out of the lot, now must back up in a tight space to have the room to leave and give Little Miss Entitlement room to pull the rest of the way in. I either have to wait for another spot to open up or walk across a busy through way with two small children.

The vanity plate on the Suburban: 4JESUS.

I am about to merge into the circular on/off ramp from the highway, and a truck comes around on the on ramp part. Seeing me with my turn signal on, he ignores the huge space behind me and guns the engine in order to pull out onto the highway in front of me. He barely makes it, even though I see his aggressive bordering on crazy driving and do my best to keep out of his way.

His tailgate is festooned with a school of fish. Yeah, those fish.

Aggressive, nasty, rude, and careless drivers abound in these parts. But if something makes you stick out, if your car is unique in some way, your rudeness will be noted and remembered long after. Super expensive car? People will comment you must think you own the road too. Beater car? People will assume your lack of finances indicate a lack in other areas. When you stand out, your actions, particularly the negative ones, speak more loudly still. And people will attribute the bad behavior to whatever it is you are already standing out for.

Come on folks. When you do these things, you give Christians a bad name. Sanctimonious jerks talking the talk (loudly) but not walking the walk. Why should anyone believe your Sunday if you aren't living it Monday through Saturday? So do us a favor and at least PRETEND to care about your fellow drivers here.

Or take that stuff off your car.

17 April 2007

What a Bunch of Clowns

You know, I am trying HARD not to just let loose here. So I'm going to be brief. It seems that Ronald McDonald House in Houston, TX has asked a mom to nurse her baby in her room. Her sick baby. Her baby that is recovering from BRAIN SURGERY. Up three flights of stairs. Every. Time. He. Needs. To. Nurse. Or else she can find somewhere else to stay. Ever had a sick nursling? Do you have any idea how many times they need to nurse? Egads.

I am too saddened by all this to even be coherent on the subject. And plenty of folks have already said it better. So go check out The Lactivist for the skinny on the current situation, and The Reluctant Lactivist for some detailed info on what YOU can do about this, including a great sample letter in the comments section.

Then write a letter or three.

28 February 2007

Food Poisoning

No, not that kind. The allergic-to-this-or-that food kind. Now, food allergies have always been a part of this family. Everyone has something. But they were all minor and avoidable thing, like oranges or cashews. Nothing that encroached on everyday life.

And then came E-Baby. Milk. Maybe Eggs. Who knows what else. All delivered to him through my milk. In the process of figuring this out, I have eliminated a bunch of things from my diet: Wheat, soy, corn, eggs, dairy, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, oranges. He finally seemed to clear up completely after about 4 weeks. Testing has NOT gone well. I tested eggs first, thinking that was not it. Well, I think now I was wrong. Poor boy is just clearing his system a week later.

What causes food allergies? Is better medical care preventing children that would have died from this in the past alive? Is our increasingly poisoned earth making our bodies more reactive to everything? Is the practice of feeding the majority of (American) infants with artificial baby milk making us sick? Is it vaccines, antibiotics, sedentary lifestyles? Or has this always been, and we are just now at a point in human history that we can stop asking 'how much food' and we can start asking 'which food'?

We are testing wheat this weekend. Wish me luck. DH is Catholic...

24 February 2007

ICK, Breastmilk!

Okay, so does anyone have a shovel? Because, you see, I need something to scrape my jaw back off the floor. Seems that in Columbus, Ohio, the Buckeyes are not the only complete NUTS.

If you are a breastfeeding Mom looking for day care in Ohio, don't bother looking at City Kids. Your milk is not welcome. Biohazard, don't you know. I mean, they will take it, grudgingly, if you pay an extra 50 bucks a week. Unless they are not taking it at all. I guess it depends on the month.

Good heavens, I wonder what they would have thought of me. H-3 , with her many suspected food allergies, took my milk to day care with her until 16 months of age when we moved and I decided to stay home. I nursed her nearly every day at lunch too. I had asked if nursing or bringing breastmilk would be a problem after a year. They said no problem, several children had brought breastmilk with them past infancy. At least one had continued until he left the center to attend kindergarten.

Read the full story over on The Lactivist. I am going to go nurse a baby and put a band aid on my chin...

15 January 2007


Parenthood and I introduced ourselves to each other when I was in my early thirties. I was never in a hurry. I went to college, married, did more college, worked. J and always wanted kids, but felt maturity and experience would make us better parents. We were right about that, by the way. We were always comfortable with the number two. It is what we know. It is what we feel is responsible, both personally and in the sense of passing on this world to future generations. H-2 and E-baby, so we are done.

And I long for more.

I want to make love knowing. I want that stick to turn color. I want the happy tears stinging my eyes the first time I hear the heart beat. I want a toddler nursing, or not, around my ever expanding middle. I want evenings spent picking two names. I want my husband's and my eyes locking and have us both feel, KNOW, that this is the day. I want that beautiful, tiny creation sliding into the world and onto my belly. I want the dance that is nursing with a new partner, perhaps this time with the old partner still taking turns on the floor. It calls me, powerfully.

How many would be enough? Will I every stop longing?