Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yule tide greetings! (Of the lazy variety)

Hi!  Merry Christmas Eve!  Today, I am going to copy and paste a holiday email I sent out to friends and family.  Because I would like to give a Christmas post, and I was thinking about writing about Christmas traditions and how having a baby is a time to consider all that stuff and talk about the research I've been doing into traditional Christmas things from Wales and Iceland (Mr. Adventure is basically a red-bearded Welsh Viking).  But I don't feel like it.  And I have a lot of work to do at work today.  AND I'm cooking a turkey tonight instead of tomorrow, so it will be my first time not brining.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

So, here is a copy of the email I sent out.  (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  And pictures have been excluded to maintain Hamburglar's digital privacy.  And because he is so damn cute that you would literally die if you gazed upon his baby face).

"Hi people!

Merry Christmas Eve!

We didn't do Christmas cards, so I'm sending a Christmas email. I typically assume that people are just as busy as I am, and I am trying to show restraint and not bombard anyone with millions of baby pictures (unless you ask for it) because, well, who wants to look at pictures of a big fat baby face all the time? Especially when you can come visit me and see him live in all his neck roll glory!


A lot of things have happened this year. I had a baby in September and he already weighs 16 pounds. Because all he does is eat. If we really want to eat him, we should probably do it for Christmas. I'm pretty sure that by next year he won't fit in our oven.

Also, Mr. Adventure's daughter came back into his life, so it's almost like I had two kids this year. (I'm just really grateful I didn't have to give birth to the five year old). It's kind of crazy going from being well known for my impressive drinking ability to having a family. Like a house and a car that was manufactured in the past five years and two dogs and two kids (though we only have the 5 year old every other weekend).

Being a grown-up is hard work! But being sober after 10 years of drinking like my liver could pack up and leave any day is interesting. It's like being drunk in a whole new way! And I learned that I am physically and emotionally capable of just having a beer or two and if I only want half a drink, I have no qualms about dumping the rest down the sink! 5 years ago, I would have considered that blasphemous.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, for those of you who were worried about my drinking habits, you don't have to worry any more. At least not for the next 18 years... :D

Man! I should really plan out what I'm going to say before I start writing. Because I'm just all over the place here. That's okay I don't know what else to say anyway.

Merry Christmas everyone! Here are some pictures of young mister Hamburglar, in case you want a chubby baby to look at.

I'm glad I know you all. And, also, just so you know, I don't know if it's breastfeeding or new motherhood, but I'm turning into a total sap. NPR had a thing where they were playing listener submitted recordings of them singing Deck the Halls, and it made me cry.

Oh, and I'm planning a Seattle weekend in January.

Don't do drugs and stay in school.

That is all.

(Oh! And to KSK: I STILL have not mailed your birthday present, so I'm moving your birthday from November to January. xoxoxo)"

And there you have it.  Now, don't you all wish you were on my emailing list, too?

And by "list" I mean the handful of people I thought may possibly be interested in what is going on with me and my favorite baby.

Anyway, Merry Christmas!  I've got some trace metals data to analyze!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Compliments to the babe!

I went to a work-related cookie exchange last weekend and brought my favorite baby with me.  And it got me thinking about compliments and the weirdness of the compliments people typically extend to babies. And I'm kind of inspired now to start using these compliments on adults.

For example:
"Your neck muscles are so strong!"
"You're really good at holding your head up!"
"Look at you using your hands!"
"You grabbed your giraffe!  Good job!"
"Are you smiling?  You're so good at smiling!"
"Is that your elephant?  Can you grab your elephant?  Good job!"
Post-burp: "Good job!"

Granted, I deliver many of these compliments, but the idea of complimenting an adult on their head control cracks me up.  I wonder how my boss would take it if I went in to her office while she was writing an email and said, "Look at you!  Typing with two fingers!  Good job!"

In other news...

I stepped on the scale with Fatty McFatfat.  He weighs over 16 pounds.  He just turned 3 months old.  And I knew he was huge, what with his glorious neck rolls and whatnot, but last night I saw a 6.5 month baby and a baby that was born on August 27th.  They were both smaller than Hamburglar.  It kind of put into perspective how super giant my baby is.  But, one of my coworkers told me that her exclusively breastfed first born was 28 pounds by 6 months and then was 30 pounds at a year.  So I guess we will see what happens once Chubs McBabylegs starts moving around.  (Also, as a side note, I added McBabylegs as a word into my phone so I can Swype it now instead of having to type it out every time.  So that's nice.)

What else?  Christmas is next week.  And I got presents for Mr. Baby, even though he won't be able to open them.  It's all stuff I want to have for him between now and his next birthday.  So, on the Hamburglar McCloud Christmas list, we have...

Plan Toys Cone Sorting  The box says for 18 months or older, but a lot of reviewers said they wished they had had it earlier.  Probably not 3 months early, but whatever.

The Plan Toys Rattle Baby  I wanted to get him a rattle.  Silver rattles are expensive.  My dad gave us his old rattle from when he was a baby, and it's super cool, but I think McCloud is a bit too young to play with old, rusty bottle caps from the 1940's.  Maybe after he gets his first tetanus shot...

Triangles by Haba  I just liked the reviews.

Plan Toys Butterfly Mirror  Can you tell I like Plan Toys?

For Mr. Adventure's 5 year old daughter, we got:

A Lady Bug Tea Set (her dad calls her Ladybug)

Crayon Rocks for the stocking and colored pencils.  And a tiara.

This super cool rag doll  If she likes it as much as I do, we are going to get her the mermaid for her birthday next month.

This super cool book

I also got some books for the kids.  Including Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman.  And the Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey.  But that is more for me.

So, there you go.  Weird compliments and child/baby gifts.  Happy Christmas/Solstice/whatever.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Palm readers, cloth wipes and glorious neck rolls

When I was 18, I worked at the worst pizza place in Portland, Oregon.  It was on Hawthorne Blvd. and the pay was just as bad as the pizza, but the people that worked there were amazing.  And one of my dearest friends worked across the street at Ben and Jerry’s.  Free pizza and ice cream!  Madness!

I was working one day and one of the palm readers that hung out on Hawthorne came in.  He had a super bad headache and needed some ibuprofen, so I gave him some.  He was so grateful; he offered me a free palm reading when I had time.  He told me to just stop by.  He was normally sitting on the sidewalk across the street.

That weekend, I went to go see him before work.  I have had my palm read twice in my life.  That was the first time and he read my future.  The only part I really remember is when he told me I would have one child.  He said, “One child, maybe two, but definitely one and it’s going to be a boy.”  So I’ve known for a long time that Hamburglar would be born.  And maybe he will have a brother or sister.  We don’t know yet.

The second time I had my palm read was about 5 or 6 years later.  I was drunk in Dublin.  I refer to it as the night I was nearly kidnapped by a Pakistani Palm Reader.  Because that makes it sound really fancy and exciting.  I had been on a drinking adventure with one of my Irish friends, and we wound up at his friend’s house, who learned how to read palms from his mother, who had learned from her mother, who had learned from her mother and so on.  He told me he didn’t like to read the future in people’s hands; he preferred to read their past.  So, he read me my past as written on my palms and it was uncannily accurate.   It’s interesting how much of us is written on our hands.

I’m not sure why I woke up thinking about these palm readers this morning.  I just know that, when I think of one, the other tends to come with it.  I kind of want to find that first one again and ask him if my number of children have become more definitive.  But that’s because I hate making big decisions.  Well, it’s a love/hate thing.  When I first moved back to the country, I was thinking about joining a cult so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a job or making my own decisions, because living in the US has seemed far more complicated ever since I returned.  Part of that could also be due to excessive amounts of sobriety.

Anyway, enough of that.

I have started using cloth wipes to go with my cloth diapers.  I’m not sure why we didn’t do it from the beginning.  I mean, if we are going to be washing diapers anyway, why not wash other stuff, too?  I did a bunch of research and read everything I could find (of course) and I went to the co-op and bought two, 4-oz, glass bottles.  One blue and one brown.  The blue one holds water.  In the brown one I made a solution consisting of:

            4oz water
            1 tsp Dr. Bronner’s super sensitive/mild baby soap awesomeness
            1 Tbl olive oil
            And a little aloe vera gel, for funzies

I spray it on the baby and use baby wash cloths as wipes.  I received about ten million of them from baby showers and I bought a few more.  They are working super well.  Between the cloth wipes and diapers, our favorite baby hasn’t had diaper rash.  We use a disposable at night and, since he normally goes 8+ hours before being changed at night, I slather desitin on him as a preventative measure.  But, there you have it.  Cloth diapering and cloth wipes are working well for us.

In other news, Chumbawumba, aka Hamburglar McCloud, aka Fatty McFatfat, aka Chubs McBabylegs, weighs almost 17 pounds.  One of my coworkers has a son who is a year old and he weighs 18 pounds.  I’m pretty sure Hamburglar is full of dark matter.  Mr. Adventure is worried that the wee babe is too heavy, but I think once he starts crawling and moving more, he will slim down.

Speaking of moving… he is grabbing things other than my hair!  It’s all very exciting.  I bought him Sophie the Giraffe and he grabbed it out of my hand and was sucking on her face.

And, speaking of things that go in a baby’s mouth (whether they should or shouldn't), I read this hilarious list on Slate, Called “A 10 Month Old’s Christmas List”.  It starts with, "I am a 10-month-old baby, and I write because my mother has been sending out my Christmas list to people, and her list does not in any way represent the things I really want.  I could give two s#*ts about receiving stacking cups."  And it goes on to become really funny.

I feel like I am getting dumber.  I wonder if every new mom feels like this during the first year or so?  Will I get smarter, though?  Or will I just not miss the brain cells I am currently losing?  It's hard, though.  I work 40+ hours a week using my science brain, then I come home and basically feed the wee babe until I go to sleep.  Hence his nearly 17 pounds of glorious neck rolls and wrist fat.  He's still exclusively breastfed, and I keep reading that you can't over feed a breastfed baby, so...

Mr. Adventure told me the other night that I used to be witty.  And he’s right.  I was god damned hilarious and clever and all sorts of awesome.  Now I’m just so damn tired.  All the time.  There is not enough coffee in the world.

In the world.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

If these walls could talk…

Our house was originally built in 1951 as a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom with two garages; one attached and one not.  I like old things.  I have a 1968 Volvo wagon and I have a 1951 house that is made out of lava rock.  It’s awesome.  The attached garage was converted into a bedroom/laundry room a while ago and a family room and second bathroom were added on about ten years ago.  We converted the family room into a master suite and it’s nice having a giant bedroom.  I like our house.  It’s one story with low ceilings, but we got a great deal on it in a neighborhood that I really like. 

The down side to buying a house that old is the forty plus years people spent smoking indoors.  The house doesn’t smell like cigarettes or anything, but the walls are kinda gross.  We were so excited to move in that we didn’t paint before we moved everything and, well, here we are over a year later and the only rooms that have been painted are the nursery and the main bath.

When we tore up the carpet in the nursery and chose our paint color, the guy at Lowe’s told us we didn’t need a primer.  Even though we thought we did since I had washed the walls in that room three times and grossness kept leaking through, we listened to the paint expert.  It has been several months since we painted the room, and the grossness still leaked through.  So, we are off to Lowe’s again this weekend to get some primer and some paint and we are going to do things right this time.  Yes, primer has more VOCs, but once the floor has the clear coat put on it, it will take 90 days to cure, so we probably won’t put Hamburglar in there until he’s two anyway.  Because that’s when the floor will be done and the walls will be painted.  Probably.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is that if these walls could talk, they would likely need a voice box.  Because throat cancer.

McCloud is now 12 weeks old. He met his first baby the other day because my brother and sister-in-law (SIL) showed up at my house with some 8 month old baby.  I guess it belongs to some 17 year old girl my SIL babysits for sometimes.  I don’t know.  What I DO know is that baby was LOUD.  And he liked getting into stuff.  So it was nice to get a peek into what life will be like once my favorite baby starts crawling.  It was really interesting watching him with someone close to his age.  He smiled at the other baby and was doing typical social niceties, until the other baby got all loud.  Then Hamburglar started scowling.  It was pretty funny.  But now I want to see him with other babies closer to his age.  I think I may set up a coffee date with Dog Park Girl and her baby.

Hamburglar is at the point now where he is getting frustrated that he can’t use his hands well.  He is starting to grab things on purpose, like the elephant on his bouncy chair.  He gets this super intense look of concentration on his face.  But he also grabs things like my hair.  And he gets his tiny baby fingers all woven into it and he cannot let go.  Last night I told him he needed to learn to let go.  Then I realized that is something many people struggle with throughout their lives.  And I was like, “Whoa.  That’s deep.”  And maybe some things are worthy of getting your little fingers all tangled up in, but sometimes you have to untangle them and set them free.  Or something.  I don’t know. 

His laugh is changing, too.  It’s getting cuter.  And Mr. Adventure says our favorite baby looks like me, but I see him in there, too.  Mostly in the facial expressions.  Hamburglar has his father’s scowl.  Although, I have been scowling a lot lately.  I’m trying to stop because I don’t want to get Botox between my eyebrows, but I also don’t want angry wrinkles.

You know how I have a new favorite blog/website pretty much on a weekly basis?  I came across this post on howtobeadad.com and it’s funny, so I read it to Mr. Adventure.  That got us talking.

Mr. Adventure is an only child and the only living relative he has is his mother.  I come from a pretty big family, but none of my brothers have biological children so far, and my brothers with bonus kids all have kids that are way older.  I’ve always kind of had a Highlander mentality when it comes to kids (you know, “There can be only one” and all that jazz), but I was visiting a friend of mine who echoed something Mr. Adventure had said and that is: when your parents are dead and you are an only child, you are all alone.  And at the end of this post on How to Be a Dad, the author says the same thing,

“But there is one thought that keeps me up at night.  It’s a bit morbid but I feel like it comes from a truthful place inside.  It’s the thought that one day, when Avara and I are dead and gone, my son will be alone.  Sure he’ll have cousins and uncles and people who cherish him but he won’t have someone of his own blood who knows him as only a sister or brother could.”

So, there’s that consideration.  I’m hoping we will decide by the time our favorite baby is about a year old, because if we do have a second child, I would like them to be close in age.  And I still plan on getting my breast lift when I’m 35, so I would like to be done breastfeeding before then.  Mr. Adventure says if we go again, it would be nice to have a girl.  I told him I don’t really care, but I think it would be nice to have another boy.  I think that mostly stems from the terrible relationship I have with my own mother, though.  But two kids in diapers sounds horrible.  So I don’t know.  Plus, my pregnancy was so smooth, I worry if I get pregnant again then all the horrible things that didn’t happen the first time around will happen the second.  Like, one of my friends has pregnancy induced carpal tunnel and super bad edema.  I don’t want that.

Then there’s picking a name again.  Mr. Adventure hates the name Clyde, even though it is the best name ever.  Plus Clyde is a great name for a boy or girl.

Just kidding.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Your baby won't cry or vom forever. (At least I hope not.)

For those of you who don’t know, Hamburglar McCloud still likes to yell at his dad while I’m at work.  Mr. Adventure says the wee babe is yelling to let his dad know that he is displeased that dad is not mom.  

The text messages I tend to receive from Mr. Adventure while I am at work during the week are sad.  And funny.  And hilarifying.  Mondays are the best/worst.  For example:

Mr. Adventure: Baby hates me.
Me: He doesn’t hate you.  He just feels comfortable expressing himself around you.
Later in the day:
Mr. Adventure: Fuck yeah!  Puke in my ear.
Me: Nice!
Mr. Adventure: Oh my fucking God.
Me: What?
Mr. Adventure: He won’t stop.  It’s ridiculous.  When are you getting home?
Me: Around 3
Mr. Adventure: I’m going to cry.  Or bash my head against the wall.  Or both.

Don’t worry.  When I got home yesterday, they were both fine.  Mr. Adventure was neither crying nor bashing his head against the wall, but I could hear Hamburglar crying from the driveway and Mr. Adventure was sitting on the couch with a blank look on his face, bouncing the babe in his arms.  It’s the same look I wore when I couldn’t get our favorite baby to stop crying when we first brought him home from the hospital.  

Poor guys.

Mr. Adventure had been researching nonstop baby crying before I got home, and he came across a great post on the Pregnant Chicken website.  For those of you unfamiliar with Pregnant Chicken, I am in love with her.  She has great advice, like, “Shake a martini, not a baby!”  And the linked post talks about PURPLE crying, which is apparently totally normal and stands for Peak of crying, Unexpected, Resists soothing, Pain-like face, Long-lasting, Evening.  You should totally read it. 

I think that, especially when you are faced with a tiny being who is screaming himself purple and is inconsolable, it’s comforting to know that you are not alone and that it is, allegedly, normal.  She also gives tips on how to maintain your sanity.  From the practical (Put the baby down in a safe place and go pee.  Everything seems better when you're sitting on the toilet.) to the fun (Find one of those little old ladies that stop you in the mall and tell you that these are the best days of your life and give them the screaming baby.  Fun fun, Motherfucker.) to the hilarious (Draw a moustache with eyeliner on your baby's upper lip so they look like an angry dandy while they cry).  If you read that post, you will see why I am now in love with her.  And it's not just because she spells moustache the same way I do.

Through the pregnanct chicken website I came across another blog and a post on infant sleep.

I need sleep.  I like sleep.  The first couple of days after we brought Hamburglar home from the hospital and I wasn’t getting enough sleep were the worst.  As long as I get at least 6 hours and a cup of coffee, I am okay.  Pre-baby, I needed 8-9 hours, but was not a daily coffee drinker.  I think McCloud knows I need to sleep, because he sleeps at night.  And I am so glad. 

Infant sleep is one of the (many) things I didn’t really read about when I was pregnant because I figured I would do whatever came naturally to me.  But I also read.  A lot.  And I stumble upon things all the time.  I read an article a while ago that suggested sleep patterns are inherited from parents.  Mr. Adventure seems to have inherited his mother’s insomnia (he was allegedly an insomniac as a baby.  But he was a “good” baby, which I guess means he didn’t cry.) while the wee babe Hamburglar seems to have inherited my super awesome sleep patterns.  Why do you care whether infant sleep is inherited?  Because it helps lay the foundation for the realization that infant sleep “training” is bullshit.  Your baby will sleep when he sleeps and there isn’t really anything you can do about it.

I think SweetMadeleine says it way better than I ever could, though. “Infant/toddler sleep is erratic, unpredictable and doesn’t conform to our expectations. Children’s sleep habits have evolved to best serve the child, even if they don’t make sense to the parent. Adjust your expectations, not your child’s sleep habits (within reason).”

I’m super lucky. Hamburglar normally falls asleep between 7:30 and 8:15p. Occasionally he will stay awake as late as 9p. Sometimes he wakes up around 11p and needs to eat. Sometimes he sleeps until 1 or 2a and wants food. A lot of the time he sleeps straight through until 4 or 5 in the morning, which is when I get up for work and his morning feeding. Those nights are my favorite. Like this morning. I actually woke him up to feed him. Well, I did what’s called dream feeding, where I pick him up without waking him and start feeding him. He normally wakes up when I burp him, then I change his diaper and finish feeding him and put him back to sleep. It’s nice when I wake up before him because it gives me a morning without crying. On both our parts. And since I fed him a little to begin with, I have time to let the dogs out and feed them and pour myself a cup of coffee before I go back to feeding the baby his breakfast.

I’m a big fan of the Whatever Works parenting. Though, when Mr. Adventure and I had a disagreement about comfort feeding a few weeks ago, which ended when he told me I was “too educated and too liberal” to be a good parent. It got me laughing. And it is still my favorite thing anyone has ever said to me in an argument. Or possibly period. It’s funny, though, having a child with someone. I mean, there are all sorts of new things to discover you disagree on together. Before it was things like, “That’s a weird way to fold a towel” and “Dear Christ! Haven’t you ever folded a fitted sheet before!” (my fitted sheet “folding” is more rolling it into a ball and shoving it in the cupboard…).

We agree on the big stuff, like when to give your kid their first pocket knife and how old Hamburglar should be before we let him walk to the store or park or whatever by himself for the first time, but little things come up. Like the comfort feeding thing. I mean, Mr. Adventure clearly can’t comfort our favorite baby the same way I do. But I’m sure he will find something that works for him. For both of them, really. But it’s good to talk about things that bother you or things you don’t understand with your partner. I think, especially with all the social media going on, people just take for granted that everyone knows what they are doing and why. But people can’t read minds. At least, I don’t think they can.

This morning, after our typical text exchange of “what time did he stop eating/maybe he’s still hungry” after I asked what’s wrong, Mr. Adventure said, “I don’t know. He’s just angry.”

Me: He could still be hungry. He’s been eating a lot.

Mr. Adventure: Wow, he just fountain puked everywhere. Well that answers that…

Me: Nice. And gross. Love!

Mr. Adventure: Yup. Love

So, I guess, what I’m trying to say is:
  1. Feed your baby
  2. Don’t shake him when he cries.  Or when he doesn't cry.  Just don't do it.
  3. Find humor in the new things you disagree on
  4. Have plenty of burp rags for cleaning up vomit
  5. Use a mild soap so your skin doesn’t get irritated from all the showers you will be taking
  6. Love each other. A lot.
For realz, y'all.