Friday, January 23, 2015

Stream of consciousness

My aforementioned progesterone supplements are helping, but I can still tell where I am in my cycle based on the state of disarray of my apartment. (If it's "So messy you'd be ashamed to invite over your mother-in-law," that's the follicular phase. If it's, "So messy you contemplate setting the whole thing on fire and starting over," that's the luteal phase.)

I'm having a good week currently; yesterday I reorganized Tad's toys so that the living room doesn't look like Babies R Us vomited in it, and today I vacuumed the living room, dining room, and hallways.

Tad finds the vacuum terrifying (I obviously didn't use it enough when he was in the womb), but fortunately for my spine, he has moved on from needing to be perched on my hip the entire time I'm vacuuming. Now he toddles along after me, babbling reproachfully and occasionally bursting into tears if the vacuum should happen to blow air on him.

He hates weather, incidentally. Especially wind, but any inclement weather will do. If we go outside and it's anything other than dry and calm, he scowls and gibbers complaints at me until we get into the car.

He had a spur-of-the-moment pediatrician appointment on Wednesday at which he scored some antibiotic cream for his poor bum, and that's all we'll say about that. He also weighed 22 pounds and 2 ounces, so we need to switch his carseat to the other recline level. (It has one rearfacing level for 5-22 lbs and one for 22-40 lbs, and he was 21 lbs 2 oz when we bought it for him, poor thing.)

His new baby cousin was baptized on Sunday and when we put the two of them next to each other Tad looks HUGE and OLD and it makes me all broody. Also, we had him wear shoes to complete his outfit and from the way he carried on and refused to walk you'd have thought we'd broken both his ankles. We took the shoes off and he happily toddled around his grandparents' house in the wake of his older cousins and some of their cousins.

I decided two days ago to push him to take only one nap. We'll see if I change my mind in another two days, but so far it's going well. Yesterday I distracted him with grocery shopping all morning and then he napped from 12-3 (though he needed resettled at about 1:30), went to bed peacefully a little after 9, and stayed in bed until 8. (He did wake up a couple of times wanting to nurse, but if I don't have to actually get up I call it a good night.) Today I distracted him with vacuuming (he did not enjoy that nearly as much as grocery shopping) and then put him down a little after 12, resettled him at 1:30, and he's still sleeping now, at 2:35. But I should publish this post and go do some dishes or something before he wakes up.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

7QT 1/9/15

A very informal and rather belated post.

1. Tad has slept so badly this week, you guys. I'm not even going to talk about it except to beg pardon for any ridiculous spelling or grammar errors that might occur in the course of writing this post.

I would like to note, for posterity, one sign of actual progress, though: He does sometimes sleep for short periods by himself. It used to be he would wake within 15 or 20 minutes if I dared to not be right next to him, but now the times when he wakes up in 20 minutes are "bad naps" and "good naps" can last over an hour. It doesn't make up for his terrible sleep otherwise, but it gives me hope that he might actually sleep someday.

2. I believe I mentioned in a previous Quick Takes post that Tad started taking a few unassisted steps here and there at the beginning of December. He made incremental progress in the month since his first step, working up to about a dozen steps at a time.

Well, on Wednesday evening (while he was Not Sleeping and Scott and I were watching classic Doctor Who), Tad let go of the couch and walked all the way across the living room--10 feet at least--without falling even once, though he did pause a few times to give himself a round of applause.

Since then he's been toddling all over the house, turning corners and navigating around toys (we have lots of toys on the floor) and doing all sorts of fancy stuff. And clapping for himself all the while.

He does still drop down and crawl when he really wants to get some speed, though.

3. I think I lied about his expressive language hitting a plateau. Some new developments the last few weeks:

- When playing with his toy cars, he will say "Brrrrru" and "Bee bee!" Meaning, of course, "Vroom!" and "Beep beep!"

- When he wants food, he will make sure we're looking at him (usually by squawking at us) and then stare at us while making very exaggerated and deliberate chewing motions. I try to use the word "food" and the sign for it whenever I feed him, so I'm not sure why he does it this way, but it's pretty hilarious.

(If you count vroom, beep beep, and the unconventional sign for "food" all as words, he's up to 11. I am really not sure those count, though.)

- "Ut!" for Uh-oh has turned more into "Ah-oh!" and "Gahgy" for Daddy has turned into "Dada." (I am not sure where the y sound went--I guess that might be sort of a lateral move instead of a step forward.)

- The other day, while nursing, he unlatched, said, "Ah duh!" (All done) and then shook his head "no" and went back to nursing. I think that might count as a sentence. Or having a conversation with himself. Or something.

4. In order for the next language update to make sense, I must interrupt by talking about the Christmas gifts Tad got from the S side of the family. (We had "second Christmas" with them on New Year's Day.)

He got a set of toy pots and pans from his grandparents, a pound-and-roll toy from one aunt and uncle (in other words, there are balls and a hammer and a sort of box thing with holes), and a Mega Bloks dump truck from another aunt and uncle. He loves all of these toys to bits. I am waiting for the novelty to wear off and then I really am going to box up about half of his toys and stick them in a closet and rotate periodically. He's a year old, you guys, and already has SO MANY TOYS.

5. Anyway, some receptive language leaps I've noticed lately:

- A few days after we got the dump truck, Scott was being annoyed by the baby, so he told him, "Go see what's inside your dump truck" and made a dumping-out motion a few times. The baby actually figured out what he was trying to say and went and looked inside the dump truck! I thought that was especially impressive since he'd only had the dump truck a couple of days.

- After one of the many, many times he escaped from my floor-changing-station in the middle of a diaper change, I told him, "[Tad], you have to get your diaper changed." In response, he shook his head at me and kept right on crawling away.

- He has known for a while how to make his hand into a fist so it's easier to get into sleeves. I am now having some success training him to make putting a coat or shirt on easier in other ways. For example, I generally hand him a toy while getting him dressed to keep him distracted, but of course most toys do not fit through a sleeve. So I put the sleeve on his free arm while saying, "One arm," and then I say "Two arm" and every now and then, Tad takes the hint and switches the toy to his first arm so I can put his second arm through the sleeve. (When he doesn't, I help him out a little.)

(The one arm/two arm phrasing arose from the fact that I tend to count things while dressing sock two sock, one sleeve two sleeve, one mitten two mitten...)

6. On Friday we bundled up well and went to a playdate. Tad still doesn't play much with other children; instead he went off by himself with a toy telephone and sat happily holding it to the side of his head and chirping, "Dada? Dada?"

I think that's a remarkable level of imaginative/abstract play for his age, but maybe he thought it was a real phone and was trying to get Dada to rescue him from socializing. :)

7. I finally generated myself a patron for 2015 and got St. Peregrine. Getting a saint invoked against cancer admittedly makes me a little nervous, but maybe he just picked me because he knows what it's like to not sit down for 30 years!

Friday, January 2, 2015

12 in 2014

Because I only ever do linkups. And this is just pictures, not links to popular posts like other fancy people are doing. My kid doesn't sleep enough for fancy blogging.


I should really put one of the very pretty pictures of Tad's baptism here, but it's my summary post and I'll do what I want. ;) January was when I really started to feel like we might be okay. My SSRIs had started to kick in and Tad had finally started to follow a curve on the growth chart after falling down it like a stone in the first 5 weeks and I finally got a rogue piece of zombie placenta dealt with. 

Babywearing was a huge, huge part of the general feeling better. My postpartum anxiety was so bad that I'd feel like I was going to have a panic attack every time I held the baby--or was in the same room, or thought about him. It was bad. Babywearing was my version of exposure therapy, like people do with phobias. Gradually, having him sleep peacefully next to my heart while I walked around doing whatever helped me grow accustomed to him--helped me fall back in love with him.


I started cloth diapering even though the one-size pockets were still comically large on my 10-pound baby. More importantly, I started processing a lot of my feelings about the whole postpartum experience. Very few people got it. I stopped talking about it (due to people not getting it) but didn't really stop processing. I thought it would never feel better. (Almost another year later, it still hurts, but it is better. I can now imagine someday being okay about how it all went down, even if I'm not yet.)


I started to feel like things were actually going in the right direction as far as balancing motherhood and the rest of my life went. Scott started going into the office regularly again instead of working from home most of the time, and (thanks to the wonder of babywearing) I could buy groceries and do chores and check Facebook. I had friends. I started weaning off the aforementioned SSRI. (I had logical reasons for this.) Tad was old enough that he could interact with us and play with his toys and roll around on his little play gym mat for a while. There were still many, many bad days, but I figured there would be fewer bad days as we went on.

(This was not entirely true. Looking back, I think 3-6 months might be my favorite baby age. Around 6 months we got hit with teething/mobility/separation anxiety and it hasn't let up since and to be honest I'm not much more competent at life than I was when my baby was 3 months old. *sigh*)


I had a quiet blogging month. I was dealing with SSRI withdrawal and the baby's tongue and lip tie revisions (which were about 50% successful, ultimately) and I think I was just kind of burnt out on talking about my troubles.


...and then I realized just how good I'd had it in the springtime. May was a busy, busy month. Scott had schola practice (they were singing for high school graduation), we celebrated our first Mother's Day with an extrauterine baby, Tad started crawling and got his first tooth and STOPPED SLEEPING EVER. (Now he walks and has ten teeth and still doesn't sleep.)


Tad started solids and learned to sit up without support and I attempted to cope with his sleeplessness by learning back carries. It didn't really work well. (We had a few passably good attempts, like the one above, but Tad got bigger and wigglier before it really clicked for me and eventually I abandoned the effort.) I went back to therapy, having weaned completely off those SSRIs and not wanting to go crazy again as a result. I also attempted to start exercising regularly, which didn't really pan out. I was constantly exhausted but also started to feel nostalgic for Tad's newborn days and sad about how fast he was growing up.


I obsessively documented every bite of food that crossed my child's lips. He still wasn't a big fan of solids at that point so it wasn't actually very hard. I also went through another round of Processing My Feelings about the whole early postpartum period. I still didn't feel better. I started trying to pray again.


Tad decided he liked food. I decided I didn't need to document every bite that crossed his lips. We did a lot of babyproofing. Tad learned sign language.


I was hormonal and crazy (in spite of the baby's still-constant nursing). The baby started actually talking. We discovered that we could keep him entertained at Mass if we brought books.


We started hunting for a new apartment. I had a few nervous breakdowns and Scott sort of took over the apartment hunting. He ended up finding us a very awesome place. I started using the term "high needs" in reference to the baby.


The baby slept so terribly that Scott hid the leftover Halloween candy from me in the hopes that Tad would sleep better without any trace caffeine in his diet. (I found the candy eventually but still rationed it out.) We had sickness and birthdays (at the same time) and waited forever for our new apartment to be ready. Then we moved all our worldly possessions from Point A to Point B in less than a week. I had a few more nervous breakdowns, but at the same time started to slowly feel like I was moving on from how traumatizing the end of 2013 was.


I had a doctor's appointment and went on supplemental progesterone to hopefully solve the pesky problem I was having of spending a week out of every month wishing I could step in front of the nearest bus. (I didn't tell you about that, did I?) We had all sorts of unexpected financial windfalls, including an incident wherein the car broke down but didn't actually cost anything to fix. We celebrated Christmas. We were sick pretty much the entire month and had all sorts of stressful stuff happen that I'm not even going to go into right now.


I wish I had a cute conclusion for this post. I don't. It's been a really hard year. There have been some awesome moments, but the year overall was full of being completely exhausted and having to actively manage my fragile mental health and basically just surviving. Here's hoping that I'll have better things to say about 2015.

Edited to add: See Dwija for more photos. Duh.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Seven Quick Takes on the Feast of Stephen

Remember how I mentioned last week that Tad and I were sick with a stomach bug? Well, Scott got a mild version of that, and then he got a head cold of doom and spent yesterday (Christmas) lying around being miserable. He's spent most of the last few days doing that, actually, but yesterday was the worst.

To make our week even more interesting, our car refused to start on Sunday. My mom came down Monday afternoon and we were able to get it towed and do some last-minute Christmas shopping. On Tuesday morning the car repair people called back to say, hey, they don't think anything is wrong with the car at all, they think the microchips in the key have just degraded so the car no longer recognizes it. Sure enough, I walked down there with our spare key and the car was all better.

Why car keys have microchips in them I will never know.

In the middle of the car fiasco, Tad learned how to pry those little plastic outlet covers off the outlets. He likes to slobber all over them and then attempt to stick them back in. Yeah.... 

We used packing tape to tape them down. He was very upset when he first discovered our betrayal, but now he ignores the outlets. Probably he's busy plotting how to get the tape off.

Then on Tuesday night there were two different occasions when Scott and I both saw Tad walk about a dozen steps at a time. The second time he was even bold enough to attempt to walk across the open living room. (He obviously didn't make it all the way.) Until that point he had limited himself to walking close to a wall or piece of furniture, so he could reach out and steady himself if he wanted to.

He hasn't repeated the feat since, but I'm guessing he's going to keep making these little leaps and be walking proficiently before we know it.

Somewhere in there, I read a blog post at Melanie's that mentioned moms having hobbies or something like that; I'm a little fuzzy on the details. The upshot was that I decided I needed to start writing again or I was going to explode in a giant ball of stress.

So I did. So far it's just been posts over at my Sims blog, which seems completely dumb and pointless, but hey, I'm writing! I can set a goal and achieve it (maybe) and not have it undone by a rampaging baby 5 minutes later! (Provided I don't let him pound on my keyboard and accidentally delete everything.) Maybe someday I'll get enough sleep to attempt a novel again.

Tad and I went to Mass at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve. That would not have been my preference, but Scott was sick and I didn't want to attempt Midnight Mass solo with a toddler. Plus, with all the crazy things we'd had going on, I didn't want to put off Mass any longer than absolutely necessary lest something happen to prevent our going later.

We sat in the cry room because by the time we got there it was the only place with seating, but Tad was actually quiet as a church mouse pretty much the entire time. He spent a good 45 minutes just standing there holding my skirt and taking everything in, and then he nursed a bit, and then he chewed up a bulletin, and then he did fuss because I realized he wasn't just crinkling the bulletin in his hands and took it away and fished the soggy bits out of his mouth. But that was during the closing hymn so his fussing was hardly disruptive.

Tad was still fussy when we got home (at about 4:45) so I lay down with him to nurse and woke up around 6:00. Oops. I figured we were sunk at that point anyway so I let him sleep until he woke up naturally at around 6:45.

Sure enough, he stayed up until about 12:15 (waiting for Santa?), but slept in until after 9 a.m. the next morning. So we had present-opening at about 10 a.m. and lazed around the rest of the day.

I convinced Tad to model our new sling by letting him hold his car.
Tad got four presents and that was honestly too many; three would have been better. I had to persuade him pretty hard to get him to open the fourth one. It ended up being worth it, though, since he is now OBSESSED with the toy vehicles my siblings got for him.

His other presents were some books, a set of plates and bowls (I was having a Montessori moment--I need to get him open cups too, but Wal-Mart didn't have those), and an Oball. Wal-Mart just had this one (Tad's is light green); I would have preferred a non-rattling one but Tad has rediscovered the awesomeness of rattles recently so he is enjoying having a ball and rattle all in one. He does throw it like a ball in addition to shaking it, so that's good.

Our Christmas Eve dinner was intended to be Christmas Day breakfast, but I got impatient. So we had sausage cheddar biscuits and assorted Christmas goodies. 

Cookies, fudge, buckeyes.
Then on Christmas Day our dinner was a pot roast accompanied by carrots and potatoes. I threw in a bunch of butter and some beef broth and assorted spices--mostly garlic. It turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

At some point we are going to have Second Christmas with Scott's family, but everybody has been super sick so we're not sure when. We want to make especially sure everybody's healthy because Mrs. EEB just had another baby. He is ridiculously cute judging from pictures on Facebook, so maybe it's better I'm not going to be exposed to him too soon--right now we can't really afford to find out if tiny babies are contagious. ;)

For more Quick Takes, I have no idea where you should go this week.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

7QT: Many different kinds of moving

So, we moved. (Kind of like how Quick Takes moved!) We were supposed to be out of our old place no later than November 30 and ended up locking up around 1:20 a.m. on December 1. Yes, that was as terrible as it sounds. 

It was so exhausting that the baby who never
sleeps alone ended up passed out on the floor.

We survived, though. I will have to do a video tour or something for those of you who are obsessed with the layout of other people's living spaces. (Or is that just me?)

The post office has succeeded in forwarding mail to our new place, so that's one thing out of the way. We're gradually trying to work on changing our address with everywhere else so we stop needing that forwarded mail. 

One thing that's slowing us down on the whole notifying-people-we-moved front is that 3 weeks after originally contacting the phone company to notify them of our change of address, we still don't have reliable home phone service. I really don't feel like going into that whole saga right now, especially since it probably won't be over for a while yet. (First thing on the to-do list is contacting our landlord to figure out who else offers phone and internet here. Then we're going to switch and pray really hard that it takes the new company less than 3 weeks to get things sorted.)

On the plus side, during the 11 days I didn't have home internet, I managed to get a lot of reading done. I read Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay on Melanie's recommendation. I am not sure what I thought of it. It might be the kind of book that I have to read twice. (The first time to figure out what on earth is going on, and the second time to enjoy.) But I have internet again, for now, so I'm not sure when I'll find the time to reread.

Tad decided to christen the new apartment by taking his first steps here. He took the very first step on December 2, when Scott and I were both looking at him because I was trying to take a picture of something unrelated.

Scott was holding a ball just out of reach...
or so he thought.

Since then he's worked his way up to 4 or 5 steps at a time, or so Scott alleges. I've never seen more than 2. He can also stand unsupported for a couple of minutes at least, if he's distracted by an interesting toy or some trinket he's not supposed to have. As soon as we start commenting on his awesome standing he stops whatever he's doing, looks around, and then sinks slowly onto his bottom.

His other big milestone is molars. The first one (bottom right) poked through on December 7, and then the second one (bottom left) on December 18. 

He was also sick AGAIN this week (I might have to abstain from LLL until spring because we always catch some pestilence a few days after a meeting...) so as you can imagine I am very, very tired.

His 9-month language explosion or whatever that was seems to have ended. The only new word he's added to his vocabulary in the last month is "uh duh" for "all done", which he already knew the sign for, so I'm not sure that even counts as a new word. My mother even heard "uh duh" once when we were visiting them recently, so it's not just our overactive first-time-parent imaginations reading all these words into his random sounds.

(For those of you not playing along at home, he now has five spoken words and four signs, for a total of eight words.)

He has made some pretty impressive cognitive leaps, though. The other day I was reading The Wonder Weeks in the hopes of gaining some insight into the brain of my tiny agent of sleep deprivation. TWW told me that sometime between 55 and 65 weeks, Tad is supposed to discover "the world of programs" wherein he realizes that there is more than one way to solve a problem.

I looked up from the book to notice that my 55-week-old (52 weeks adjusted) had stopped helplessly banging the box he was pushing against the corner and was instead backing it up and turning it in another direction so he could keep walking while pushing it.

I returned the book to the library. I took that episode as a sign that I'm on my own in figuring out this kid. :)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary This Ain't The Lyceum!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Viruses, Cake, and Selective Amnesia

My birthday was Monday but we celebrated it on Sunday because seriously, we already don't have enough time in the evenings.

It ended up being a good call because right about when I finished the lasagna, Tad spiked a 101-degree temp. We gave him some ibuprofen and ate cake and then turned in early. He ran that fever for the entire 24 hours of my birthday; it went away sometime between about midnight and 6 a.m. on the 18th.

Birthdays aren't quite the same when you're a mom, are they?

Food pictures!

a. Lasagna from the 1980 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Everybody loved this; even Tad managed to down half a piece once his ibuprofen kicked in.

b. This cake. As you can see, I was lazy and just did two 9-inch layers. It was still a really excellent cake.

c. Oh, and here's Tad's cake. It was yellow cake with a cherry filling (both from BH&G) leftover frosting from my cake, and assorted decorations. I am still miffed that the white frosting came out runny. You'd be amazed at how fiddly basic butter frosting is.

Not a lie
"You want me to do WHAT with the fire?"
Turns out he doesn't like cherries. He yanked it off
and threw it away before consenting to eat the cake.

I got Serenity and some cooking utensils (a wooden rolling pin to replace the metal one I got last year--did you know metal rolling pins eventually get full of rusty old water?--a candy thermometer, some new paring knives, that sort of thing) and also this card from my little sister:

Tad was feeling better by Thursday (his birthday) but hit his overtired cranky wall around 6 p.m., so we skipped cake and presents in favor of more going to bed early.

The next day we had cake for breakfast, present-opening after morning nap, and sherbet for afternoon snack. Then in the evening we Skyped with Tad's godfather. Today we are probably going to install his new carseat. We'll see.

More pictures!

Grandma and Grandpa D got him a convertible. ;)
New PJs, also from Grandma and Grandpa D.
Cards from assorted relatives.
Balls and a book from my siblings.
Wooden blocks from his godfather.

I actually bought the Grandma/Grandpa D. presents myself using a gift card they gave me. I am saving the rest of the gift card for Christmas, partly because our gift budget is kind of nonexistent this year and I want him to have some stuff under the tree (he doesn't know the difference, but it matters to me) and partly because I don't want to bring any more STUFF into this apartment if I'm just going to have to move it all in a week.

Oh, yeah, we are supposed to get the keys to our new place on Monday. Finally. I am not holding out a lot of optimism.

On Tuesday night, Tad was refusing to fall asleep and at about 11 p.m. I told Scott that no matter how little we slept we'd still get more rest than we did last year. He agreed. I added, "And I'll probably be a little more comfortable."

Scott definitely agreed with that one, and then we ended up having a conversation about how I would totally do labor again because now I've basically forgotten that it was actually painful and just remember that I got a baby at the end of it. Scott is deeply skeptical of this amnesia; apparently he still distinctly remembers how painful labor was and he wasn't even experiencing it!

(I mean, if you ask me whether labor is painful I'll tell you that around 7cm you start to suspect that Stephanie Meyer is right and your spine is going to snap in half and you're going to die. But that cerebral knowledge somehow doesn't affect my feelings about doing it again someday.)

On the selective amnesia note, I expected yesterday to be a lot harder emotionally than it was. I mean, Thursday I spent pretty much the whole day in a state of, "Oh, this time last year we were doing this." November 21 last year was a pretty awful day in lots of ways and I didn't really want to relive it.

But then I didn't. I don't even know why. Somehow in the last year the good memories got clearer and the bad ones fuzzier. So when I look back to a year ago today, the thing I remember is this:

All dressed up and ready to go home
And every second seems totally worth it.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Veggie soup + Garlic cheese biscuits

Vegetable Soup

2 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp oil
1 can kidney beans
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 sm can diced tomatoes (~16 oz)
1 lb frozen mixed vegetables
1⁄2 cup dried lentils

Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes in a large pot. (You can skip this step if using dried onion.)

Add all the other ingredients to the onion and garlic.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Add more broth if needed.

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1⁄4 cup butter (melted) or oil
1cup water
1cup shredded cheese

2 tbsp melted butter

Combine first 8 ingredients.

Drop on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Brush with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven.