Baby still striking….

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Apr 8, 2008 Under babies, family life

….and to top it off, she’s grumpy today as well.? If anyone knows a magic spell that will make those darn two bottom teeth come in faster, please email me asap. I would happily? pay millions of dollars (well, no, I don’ t have millions of dollars—would you take a well-used, slightly defective, growling rottweiler instead?) just for a glimpse of those pearly whites.

Well,? at least? I’m getting to spend some good quality time with my new best friend, who I like to call Mr. Pumpy.? Honestly, just the sight of the darn breast pump these days makes me? throw up? a little, in? my mouth.

And in my spare time today?? Why, I’ve watched some delightful videos on proper latch techniques and breast feeding, and did some scintillating reading on a million and one ways to end a nursing strike.? Of course, the disclaimer is that these techniques may or may not work for YOUR baby.? Sigh.? Almost as? compelling a read as Water for Elephants—Not.

I’m sure one day soon all will return to normal again.? Although the “again” part is probably a bit misleading.? Isn’t “normal” a relative term, anyway?

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baby goes on strike

Posted by houndrat on Monday Apr 7, 2008 Under babies, family life

We have a situation in my house.? A nursing strike, to be exact.

No, we don’t have a shortage of medical personnelle or anything like that.? I’m not talking that kind of nursing.? What do we have?? Well, one pint-sized container of stubborn baby, to be exact.? You see, ever since Finley started teething hard, she’s decided she’d like the milk to simply flow into her mouth, with little to no effort on her part.? Maybe via funnel.? And you may or may not know this, but that’s not exactly how breastfeeding works.? See, the baby sucks, and the milk comes out.? It simply doesn’t just fly out unsolicited (well,? not unless you’re out in public and it’s at a? very inconvenient moment, and you forgot your nursing pads—but’s that another story), and as far as I know, there’s no way to shot-gun milk.?

I know this may not sound like a big deal to some of you, but trust me—it’s gargantuan.? Because? believe it or not,? when the baby doesn’t nurse, the milk doesn’t come.? And the more and more baby doesn’t nurse, the more and more the milk supply goes caput.? Obviously not a good thing.

So now, instead of nursing Finley for about 5-10 minutes tops, several times a day, I get to follow the? following oh-so-convenient schedule:

? 1)? nurse baby as much as she’ll nurse (and listen to intermittent fussing) for about 5-10? minutes.?

2) supplement baby with cup (note–not a sippy cup–a regular cup, no lid) for about 15-20 minutes.?

3) change baby’s soggy clothes after feeding with cup and/or wash baby, since just as milk gets on baby as in baby.?

4) pump milk for at least 20 minutes to get about half the amount baby could have sucked in 5 minutes had she been so inclined, so that supply doesn’t diminish (oh, the joys of pumping).

5) wash out pumping supplies

So, basically, what used to take 5-10 minutes a pop now takes well over an hour.? Several times a day.? Suddenly, what? (negligible) free time I had suddenly took a nose-dive.

And you thought my house was messy before.

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Napping baby alert–disturb at your own risk

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Mar 25, 2008 Under babies, family life, naps, parenting

So, I’m sitting here, on this beautiful, sunny, warm California early-spring day, and I’m wondering something.? No, I’m not? wondering? about the musical chirping of the birds, or if we’ll have a nice summer this year, or even who’s going to win the stinkin’ Democratic nomination? (by this point, it could be my dog Fergie for all I care—she says free liver biscuits for all, by the way).?

Nor am I wondering why I can’t decide, after months of deep and profound introspection, whether my son should attend morning or afternoon preschool sessions (these days, I’m just chalking? my indecisiveness? up to a disturbing genetic defect and leaving it at that).

No, what I’m wondering on this idyllic, lovely day, is this—would I, or would I not, serve jail time for chucking the largest rock I could hoist without breaking my back? at the moron across the street’s car, which is currently blasting? music at about a billion decibels and making my entire house vibrate from his pimped out base?

What, you think that’s extreme?? Puh-lease.? Can you honestly tell me you’ve never, not once, in your entire life, ever thought about? taking a giant baseball bat and bashing some dude’s dance club on wheels into smithereens?? Or blowing it up?? With maybe just a tiny nuke?

Okay, so perhaps I am a little warped.? But I mean, come on folks.? If people could just decide to be super noisy at appropriate times, that would be one thing.? But this dude had the audacity to make that unholy racket when my baby was napping.? NAPPING, I tell you.? It’s unacceptable, unpardonable, and goes against all the laws of nature, or at least, all of the important ones.? ?

And no, it? doesn’t matter that they have no idea I’ve got a snoozing infant in here.? If they’re neighbors, they should know I have a baby.? Babies typically sleep a lot, right?? Then I think it’s perfectly reasonably to expect them to assume she’s napping 24/7, and keep their stinkin’ speakers on permanent mute.? ? Or at the very least, keep them? at the level at which you would play a Barry Manilow song when your big rocker brother is home (and you don’t? aren’t craving a? good ass-kickin’? every day for the rest of your natural born existence).?

Let’s face it—when she’s napping, the chirping birds alone make me long for a good? pellet gun.? You can only imagine the kinds of cravings shaking walls bring on.? Okay, so maybe my urges don’t really necessitate nuclear weapons and bludgeoning (at least on really good days).? ? But they do involve flaming poo bags and upholstery.? Or (on really bad days), a smallish bazooka.

Heck, I’ll ‘fess up.? When my daughter is tucked away in her crib catching up on some zzz’s, I even want to rip the mailman a new one when he’s kind enough to bring our mail to our door.

So, I guess the moral of my story is this—Nobody messes with my? napping baby.? ?

Oh yeah—and if think you’re gonna pump up the volume around my ‘hood, you’d better sheath that ride in stink-proof armor.

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Baby Breakthough!

Posted by houndrat on Saturday Mar 8, 2008 Under babies, family life, naps, parenting

Why am I jumping up and down with glee?? Because together, my miraculous, wonderful, brilliant daughter and I finally mastered the most? crucial of developmental milestones.? The grandaddy of them all.? The motherload.

For all you newbies out there—no, I’m not talking about walking, talking, or feeding herself.? Why on earth would I be excited about any of those?? Let’s see—walking?? Hmmm, I get to child-proof my home and follow her around hoping she doesn’t bonk her head every other minute.? Or knock over knick-knacks (except we got rid of all those with baby number one).? Or eat toilet paper holders? (no, wait, that’s Fergie, my chewing-challeged Ridgeback puppy).? Talking?? I figure the sooner they talk, the sooner I get to hear “No! No!? No!” and “Mine! Mine! Mine!”? As for feeding themselves—well, maybe you need a little more laundry to do, but my basket is full, thank you very much.?

So what AM I referring to?? Why, the baby transfer, of course!? In case you newbies still aren’t catching on, let me enlighten you—the baby transfer is one of the single most? life-altering skills? you? and your child? can achieve within the first few months.

Oh, it sounds simple enough–you take one sleeping baby from Point A (their car seat), and deposit the same sleeping baby at Point B (their crib/your bed/any designated nap spot).? But in reality, it’s about as simple as solving nuclear physics problems.? After going on a bender involving multiple tequila shots.? And some Boone’s Farm.

See, the key term involved here is “sleeping”.? Obviously, any? fool with a pair of arms? can transfer a baby from their car seat to the crib.? But when you add the “sleeping” requirement?? Then it’s a whole? ‘nuther ball game.? And trust me–you don’t want to fumble this one.

So? big deal if your? baby can’t transfer, you say?? Let me go over the options, oh-short-sighted-one.? If your baby never learns this amazing feat, then you are destined to one of two things:? a) a home-bound existence, because your baby becomes so cranky from missing naps that you end up agoraphobic and never leave your house again, except in the rare event of a large? alien invasion? or phone call from Brad Pitt inviting you to run away with him? or b) spending upwards of ten hours each week just sitting in or next to your idling car, twiddling your thumbs and? being forced to listen to “soundscapes” on infinite repeat? while your baby snoozes in the backseat.

So, unless you want to be parking your happy hiney in the driveway next to your? dozing child for hours on end, on a daily basis, until your kid finally gives up their nap (mine is four and still napping, if that’s helpful), then let me assure you, this is the milestone you don’t want to miss.? ? Really.

And that’s why I’m jumping for joy.?

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I have a dream…

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Jan 22, 2008 Under babies

Apparently, this is how we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day around here.

? They had a dream, all right.? ?

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Who stole my baby coos?

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Jan 15, 2008 Under babies

Somebody stole? our baby.? ? Or more accurately, swapped her in the middle of the night with a baby clone.? I mean, the baby in our crib looks the same, feels the same, even has that same sweet baby spit-up smell.? But that’s not our baby.

You see, our baby coos.? In fact, she makes the sweetest, most wonderful sounding? coos? I’ve ever heard in my life, coos that would melt even the most jaded of hearts.

Not this baby impostor.?

But let’s retrace my steps.? Last night, all was copacetic (I’ve wanted to use that word since that song by Local H gained popularity–you know the one—”And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic and you learn to expect it, you know you’re so pathetic.”) ((One thing about me you might not know yet—my brain is a toxic dumping ground for a vast number of? utterly useless and? random 80′s and 90′s songs, much to the awe and annoyance of my friends).

But I digress.? Back to our story—all was well, so I nursed our little girl, swaddled her, and held her per our nightly ritual.? As usual,? our? precious little angel? cooed up at me with big eyes and a big smile as I? tenderly cradled her in my arms? and laid her gently in? the crib.? I continued to listen to her on the monitor as she? peacefully lulled? herself to sleep with those lovely coos.?

And that’s it.? That’s all I remember.? Until this morning. This morning, when I heard the most disturbing of sounds.? There I was, in my nice, cozy bed, anticipating the first of the morning coos on the baby monitor, when—”SQUAWK!”? I almost peed my pants (which isn’t an especially novel concept around here, but still).? Not knowing what to think, I grabbed the closest sturdy object I could find? (it happened to be part of a sprinkler–have I mentioned my son’s fascination with everything landscaping?) and charged her room.? I’m not sure what I was expecting—maybe that a? ginormous parrot had? taken up roosting on her changing table? ? (because that’s such? a common occurrence in San Diego) or perhaps a velociraptor was occupying her closet (okay, so I never said I operated? on? a full brain? in the mornings).?

? I cautiously peered around her room.? Seeing nothing amiss (well, except for another decapitated toothbrush in the corner–dang it, Fergie!)? I then? peered into the crib.? There was my sweet princess, smiling as usual.? Nothing seemed peculiar.

Nothing, that is, until my daughter looked up? at me with her big,? adoring eyes, flashed? me a smile, and then opened her little rosebud mouth and said “SQUAWK!”

I jumped so high I nearly decapitated myself on her ceiling fan.

What the….?? Squawk?? SQUAWK?? My baby doesn’t “SQUAWK!”?

That’s when? it dawned on me—somebody had switched my baby.? It was just like a really horrible soap opera plot, only sans the part about the evil step-sister’s step-mother with amnesia who was separated at birth? from her twin and ended up cheating on him with her best friend’s? husband (who we all know in actuality is gay).? Somebody had stolen my? dove and replaced her with this toucan-wanna-be.

And I want my cooer back.

All kidding aside, we are growing to cherish the “squawk” as another adorable baby stage.? This tale of bird noises actually served as a lesson? for us, a wake-up call that the old adage of enjoying every minute with your children, because they grow in the blink of an eye, is probably so cliched because it’s true.? So, we will? treasure every wonderful stage as it occurs.

But I still miss my coos.

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I ain’t no housewife

Posted by houndrat on Saturday Jan 12, 2008 Under babies, family life, husbands, kids, SAHM

My friend recently told me she’s a good wife, but not a good housewife.? It got me thinking (always a dangerous? pastime in our home)—what the heck is a housewife?? I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I? married a man, not the outrageously? over-priced tract house with the world’s most minuscule kitchen? in which? we currently reside.? Although? I suppose I could be wrong—we did have a helluva? lot of booze? at our wedding.

Seriously, though, I think the? term “housewife” epitomizes all of the outlandish expectations men have? of their wives–for example, things like mopping the floor daily (sorry, I don’t live in a Brady Bunch rerun), or cleaning the toilet until it sparkles (I’ve never really understood the need to clean an appliance that will be instantly sullied by human excrement within hours of washing it), or discarding dirty toenail clippings (hey, they’re biodegradable).? ? I don’t know about you, but my wedding vows were to love, honor, and cherish—not love, honor, and pick up thy husband’s dirty undies ’til kingdom come.? And I’m pretty sure the latter statement would have penetrated even? the haziest of? booze-impaired brains.

So, instead, I like to call myself a stay-at-home mom, or SAHM, for short.? (or, if you read dooce, it’s actually an acronym for various profanities–which is equally apropos on any given day).? Honestly, though, I? have no problems with this moniker.? I do stay at home—well, except for the plethora of playgroup meetings, music class, gym class, grocery shopping, dog walking, outings to the zoo or Legoland or the beach, picking up the dry cleaning (okay, so I’ve only done that once in my entire married life, but it sounded good), etc, that force me to vacate my? residence for seemingly hours on end.? And I am a mom, unless those two little fiends living in my home were beamed? down by aliens, whose sole purpose? is to? study the effects of supreme daily chaos on the human body? (boy, are THEY getting an eyeful).?

Come to think of it, I had that second? fiend au naturel—and since certain body parts, which shall remain nameless, will never be the same, I suppose the kids are legit. (In case you’re wondering, “au naturel” means no drugs, no hospital—just my own house, my own bed, and a leather strap to bite down on—oh, wait, my husband is now telling me that was actually his arm.? Oops.)

But note, the title is stay-at-home mom.? Stay-at-home MOM.? The problem being—this title is an evil lie.? Or, an evil lie of omission, if you will.? Because implicit in this title is a whole list of other things we SAHMs are expected to do on a daily basis, things that are far less appealing than just being a mommy.? Let’s face it, you hear the term stay-at-home mom, and and what do you envision?? Images of smiling, cooing babies,? pictures of pristine moms in Jimmy Choos ruffling their equally pristine toddler’s hair, thoughts of decked-out MILFs and beaming, spotless children skipping hand-in-hand through the meadows, right?? ? Wrong.? It’s all a bunch of cow manure.? Essence of steer.? Meadow muffins.? It’s a load of poppycock propagated by men so that women will agree to be stay-at-home moms in the first place.? They cunningly neglect to mention all the fun extras that come with the job.?

For example, would you sign up to be a stay-at-home? poopy bottom wiper?? A stay-at-home dog barf cleaner?? A stay-at-home dirty undie scooper upper?? I think not.? I mean, seriously, who is going to pee their pants? with excitement? at the prospect of? being a stay-at-home snot sucker outer?? (There may be a lot of pants-peeing going on around here, including my own due to the above-mentioned baby-damaged body parts, but I can guarantee you it ain’t out of? glee over mucous).? Or a stay-at-home-hubby’s-nasty-hair-clippings-in-the-sink cleaner?? ? The last time I checked, my Master’s degree did not? adequately? prepare me for? such topics.? Maybe I should petition my school.

One time, my husband? proclaimed that he would make a great stay-at-home dad and a great househusband.? ? I? actually think I heard God laugh out loud.? Either that, or one of the dogs blasted us with another of those high-pitched farts.? Don’t get me wrong—my husband is an extraordinarily devoted dad, and an awesome husband and dad in so many ways.? Unfortunately, none of? those ways? involve? either a single? iota of ? consistent discipline or acceptable human cleanliness.? Basically, our house would implode within a week of leaving him home with the kiddage and doggage.? Think Home Alone, only? set in Bosnia instead of the suburbs, and you’ll get the picture.

So, please, make sure you read the fine print before signing on to be a SAHM.? That way, you can start learning how to be a stay-at-home-crusty-booger-wiper-offer far, far in advance.

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Procrastinators, Anonymous

Posted by houndrat on Friday Jan 11, 2008 Under procrastination

Hi.? I am a procrastinator.? I admit it.? In fact, I admit it freely.? What’s more, I like to talk about procrastinating.? A? lot.? Why, you ask?? Because talking about the things you procrastinate about is the ultimate procastination.? It’s like procrastination nirvana.

? What kinds of things do we procrastinate about at our house?? I don’t think there’s enough space on the internet to list? them all.? Honestly. But I’ll try to throw out a few.

Some procrastinations are small.? For example, I procrastinate about buying various items at the store.? Toothpaste (yes, friends, that not-so-fresh-breath is sometimes me),? toilet paper (according to my husband, you can cut up used socks and use them instead—a fraternity house secret), and food (hey, we all needed to go on a diet anyway), just for starters.?

Sometimes, the procrastinations are bigger.? Like the fact? that we have yet to get? our daughter? a social security number or a birth certificate.? The midwife told us those in power like this to be done within 3 weeks of the birth.? Alas, our daughter is over 3 months now, and still without a country to call her own.?

This may not seem like a big deal, unless you knew that we had a home birth.? Apparently, if we don’t do this at some point, she will not be considered a citizen of the United States.? What I am wondering is, is it possible to be a citizen of nowhere?? How does that work, exactly?? I mean, I ‘ve heard of dual citizenship, but never no citizenship.

? But I digress (or, you might say, I procrastinate about procrastinating).? We also procrastinate about doing laundry (it saves the environment), replacing brake pads (we’re single-handedly keeping the rotor-making companies in business), and picking up dog poop (it’s free fertilizer, if you leave it long enough).? We didn’t have a crib mattress until our baby was two months old (hey, I needed an organic one, and you actually have to drive further than a mile to get those), and as for cleaning out the refrigerator?? Well, making your own penicillin does have some benefits, I guess.

Why do we procrastinate?? I honestly don’t know.? I mean, it’s not as if I really believe the toilet paper fairy is going to come make a delivery at our home (unless she just made a drop off in our trees—but I’m pretty sure that’s the kid who lives down the street, the little bastard).? And it’s not as if we think our friends are going randomly drop by and say, “Oh, I was just passing through, and thought I would? bring you? a crate of Charmin–it’s so squeezably soft, you know.”? (but friends, if you’re reading this, it’s not a bad idea—especially if you think you might need to use the john).

But the beauty of procrastination is, you can do it anytime, anywhere, anyplace.? In fact, I was able to procrastinate on about a billion projects, just by writing this blog.

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Fergie and the Christmas tree

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Jan 10, 2008 Under Christmas trees, dogs, kids

So what if I’m? writing about? a Christmas incident? in the? middle of? January.? I’ve already admitted I’m a procrastinator, right?

Anyway—pretend it’s the morning of Christmas Eve.? My mom and dad are in town, and my sister and her boyfriend are getting ready to come over.? For once, I’ve actually taken my time to really place the ornaments nicely and make the tree look good, instead of just throwing them up there willy nilly.

My husband is downstairs in the living room/play room? (where the tree is), with my 4 yr old son and my 3 month old daughter.? I’m getting ready to take Fergie, our energetic 14 month old Ridgeback puppy, outside from her kennel upstairs.? Since the baby is on the floor and I don’t want her to be pulverized just yet, I make the rational decision to get a leash for Fergie.? Of course, I can’t locate a collar, and being that I’m 1) unorganized, and know it will take me a good 15 minutes to locate one in the disaster area we call home and 2) am too lazy to spend said 15 minutes in search of one, I make the less rational decision to just slip the metal clip through the hand hole on the leash and form a make-shift collar.?

Do I know this a bad idea?? Certainly.? Does it stop me?? Unfortunately, no.

As you might predict, halfway down the stairs, Fergie is pulling so hard that I let go of the leash.? What you might not have predicted in a million years, though, is that the little metal clip bounces off our wood floor, ricochets, and not only lands on the Christmas tree but gets completely snagged there.?

Fergie, is, as usual, completely oblivious, and rushes around the corner.? I watch in horror as the Christmas tree follows her, falling completely over and narrowly missing her, my husband, and my baby. Ornaments go airborne and fly to all corners of the room, along with a plethora of pine needles.? And? there’s Fergie, still attached, who? could care less that she is now a giant make-shift tree ornament, and continues to wiggle with excitement, further tangling her leash.

Unbelievably, only one ornament broke.? It was, of course,? the most expensive ornament on the tree, a Radko collectable, but in light of what could have happened, I guess I can’t complain too much.? (The fact that it was also an ornament featuring Santa, the earth, and animals, proceeds of which benefited an environmental group, makes me think it was bad karma for us buying a dead tree to begin with, but that’s another story…..)

The tree, alas, never quite looked the same afterwards.? And that is why you should just slop those ornaments on your tree when you live with Ridgebacks.

See AOL’s top rated recipes and easy ways to stay in shape for winter.

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