Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I thought this only happened with women's clothes

Two shirts. Both size 6-9 months. Both Carter's brand.

Dignity, thy name is not "Mother"

Last week, I took Jack to “Wiggle Words” at a local library, which is basically a sing-a-long session for kids from 0-23 months. My cousin has a son two months younger than Jack, and we took our babies in order to meet other moms in the area. We didn’t really expect the boys to get much out of the session, but Jack surprised me and spent the whole time with big wide eyes, thoroughly enraptured. And we also met some play group organizers, so success on both fronts!

After the class, my cousin and I went to get bagels from the Bruegger’s across the street. Because I had to nurse Jack, we chose a table in the back section of the restaurant where there were no people. I am still far from expert at nursing in public. I can’t figure out how to get him started while under the blanket because I need to see what’s going on. Add to this the fact that he pops off frequently for a little look-see and a chat, and I end up spending most of the time with the blanket hanging uselessly from my shoulder or, more likely, pooled on the floor.

So when Jack popped off for the tenth time that session, I gave up and stopped pretending that the blanket was in any way assisting me in keeping my modesty. “It’s a good thing this room is empty,” I said to my cousin, as I helped Jack re-latch. At that exact moment, two construction workers walked by our table on their way to the back door. Two male construction workers.

“Don’t worry about it,” one of them said to me. “Seen one, seen ‘em all.” And they went merrily on their way. (And no, they did not seem extra merry.)

Those of you without children probably think that I was terribly embarrassed by this incident, but the moms out there know that, oddly enough, I wasn’t. Something about giving birth strips a person of any normal sense of personal modesty and dignity. I am reminded of an anecdote Erma Bombeck once wrote about after she gave birth to her first child. She was worried about the way something looked, so she went out into the hall and opened up her shirt to the first official looking person she found. “Does this look normal to you?” she said.

Unfortunately, he was a janitor.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A few things I have learned as a mom:

1. Breastmilk poop and solid food poop are two entirely different beasts. An important difference: solid food poop is not announced by a loud "pbbbttthhh" sound, and instead appears as a little surprise upon opening up the diaper.

2. At no other time in my life will the frequency of another person's bowel movements be so hugely important to me. I certainly hope.

3. If there is a chance I will fall asleep while nursing, I must make sure to lean my head back.

4. It takes about an hour to regain normal motion in my neck after falling asleep with my head hanging down.

5. If there is a chance I will fall asleep while nursing, I must make sure my legs are not crossed.

6. My mothering instincts are sound and will make me protect the baby should I happen to fall right down on the floor thanks to a complete loss of blood flow to my left foot.

7. It really hurts when a small person grabs the loose skin on my neck and gives it a little tug and a squeeze.

8. I have loose skin on my neck.

9. Baby kisses are slobbery, but very fun.

Friday, March 16, 2007

To sleep, perchance to dream

I remember this one time back in college, my friends and I were waiting for an exam to start and were using the time to discuss our preparedness. One of my friends made the statement “I only studied for five hours,” and I was struck by the dramatic difference between college and high school. In high school, the phrase “I studied for five hours” would not be qualified by the word “only.” In high school that comment would sound more like, “Oh my God! I studied for, like, five hours!” And so it is for relative amounts of sleep before and after having a baby. Where the childless complain, “I only got six hours of sleep last night,” a new parent will cry out with joy, “I got six hours of sleep last night! In a row!”

Ah, yes. Last night, I got six hours of blessed, blessed sleep. In a row. I think I may have even entered REM cycle. And without leaks! We have been having issues with our diapers of late. We use cloth, and they all of a sudden started leaking like anything overnight. We figured out that they had some detergent residue which made them less absorbent, but last night we doubled up the regular pocket insert with a Trader Joe’s bar towel (credit: Moxie). He wore a single diaper from 7pm to 6am with no leaks. It was very very exciting.

Speaking of cloth diapers, let me take this opportunity to say that, although I am very happy with the cloth diapering system The Husband and I have developed, I am not very happy with the effect the cloth diapers have on my getting myself to work. You see, cloth diapers are much, much bulkier than disposables, and I can’t possibly fit all 8 diapers and the requisite changes of clothes into one diaper bag. So on the days I take Jack with me in the morning, I have to bring the following items:
1. my work bag
2. breast pump
3. diaper bag containing clothes, wipes, vitamins, bottles, etc.
4. diaper bag containing diapers
5. plastic bag containing the enormous amount of food I have to bring for my own lunch (my word, but I get hungry these days)
6. usually another plastic bag containing the clean Tupperware my mother-in-law sent home the previous week full of food
7. Jack

When all of these items are piled up for transport to my car, it looks like a family of four is going away for the weekend. And it’s even worse on the way home because the items somehow get spread out among more plastic bags that my father-in-law hustles to the car before I get a chance to consolidate them, and then there are additional items because The Husband and I find it difficult to leave my in-laws’ house without food and gifts. I realize this is not a terrible problem to have, but Lord a’mighty, I’m schlepping a lot of stuff around.

So now you can understand why I don’t bring a change of clothes for myself. I’ll just stick to black pants.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Also, don't pour acid directly into your eyes

I'm currently working on a presentation for my company's annual safety training. In every lab safety training I've ever undergone, the trainer or pamphlet always makes a point of saying, "No mouth pipetting." (For the non-sciencey out there, "mouth pipetting" is when you take a little glass or plastic tube, insert one end into a sample of, say, bacterial cell suspension, insert the other end into your mouth, and suck some of the bacterial cell suspension into the tube in order to transfer it to another container.)

And every time I come across that rule written out explicitly, I think to myself, "Who would do that?"

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

And Where "Drying Your Hair" Is the Stuff of Dreams

My cousin had a baby about two months after Jack was born, and I remember talking to her when Luke was a few weeks old. Naturally, our conversation was mainly about sleep: how much sleep was had, and when the sleep happened. This is because sleep quickly becomes the most precious thing in a new mom's life after the baby. It goes: Baby, Sleep, Food, Husband. (Note: for nursing moms, it goes: Baby, Sleep, Food, More Food, A Little More Food, Husband, Food.)

"Luke frequently takes long naps, but I never know which nap will be the long one," said my cousin. "So sometimes I sleep when he sleeps, but sometimes I use his naps to get things done. This morning, for example, I took a shower."

Ah, motherhood. Where "Taking a shower" qualifies as "Getting something done."

I have more to say on the subject of sleep, because my darling baby, who for the past month and a half has gone easily and happily to bed at 7:00 almost every night, has suddenly decided that our putting him to bed at 7:00 is the worst thing that we could ever do to him. Why don't we just abandon him on the side of the road already? IT'S THE SAME THING. We have been resorting to either my standing at the side of his crib with my hand on his chest until he falls asleep, or The Husband's bouncing him to sleep on the exercise ball. (It's a core workout at the same time!) I know that we are probably setting ourselves up for some nasty habit breaking down the road, but we can only take on one sleep thing at a time, and we are currently attempting to get him to at least take STEPS towards sleeping through the night. Progress is being made on that front, but it involves my sleeping on the floor of his room. And I have to be the one to do it, because The Husband remains resolute in his refusal to nurse the baby.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Stupid apple

Last week, Jack and I visited Big Sister #4. While we were there, Elfin Nephew had to do a time out because he refused to wash his hands after using the bathroom. Normally, his time outs have a time limit, but this time he had to sit on the step until he washed his hands. And because he can be a stubborn little bugger sometimes, he was there for quite a little while.

He passed the time first by trying on his mother's ankle boots, and then by playing with the apple his little sister had left on the floor by the stairs. She's one, and she prefers her apples peeled.

"Mom," came the plaintive cry from the step. "This apple is making my foot all yucky."

"Well, stop rolling it with your bare foot, then!"

This is not the number you are looking for

Ring. Ring.

"Target baby department, may I help you?"

"Yes, I'm trying to find a Fisher-Price high chair that the Fi-"

"Hold on, I'll check and see if we have one."


"Yes, we have a few in stock."

"But you left before I could tell you which model I was looking for."

"Oh, OK. Which model?"

"I'm looking for the 'Easy Clean' high chair. The Fisher-Price website says they make one of the patterns exclusively for Target, but I can't find it on the Target website."

"Do you have the model number?"

"Yes, it's 'J24-'"

"No, it should start with three numbers, like '002.'"

"I don't have a number like that. The model number starts with 'J.'"

"No, it should start with a '002.' It usually at the bottom of the item description on the website."

"But I said I can't find it on the Target website; I can only find it on the Fisher-Price website."

"Oh. Well, if you add it to your cart, the number I need should be right next to the description."

"No, you don't understand. I can't find it on the Target website. I only have the Fisher-Price model number, and I just wanted to know if you have it in the store even if it's not on the website."

"OK, I just need a '002' number to check the stock. Do you have a '002' number?"

"No, I don't have that number. You see, I'm just trying to find out if you have this specific model because the Fisher-Price website says that they make it exclusively for Target."

"Well I can check the stockroom if you give me the item number. It should start with a '002.'"

"But I don't have - OK. I guess you don't carry it. Thank you."

"Thanks for calling Target."

Ring. Ring.

"Fisher-Price, can I help you?"