Saturday, June 28, 2014

Seven Quick Takes with unexpected compliments and carnivorous babies

I exercised every day this week. (Monday - Friday.) It's weird. My goal is to exercise more-or-less every day until my next chiro appointment on July 7. I don't actually expect her to notice a difference or anything, but I have the attention span of a mayfly when it comes to things like exercise, so I can't think any farther ahead than that.

Tad thinks exercise is hilarious and likes to crawl all over me while I'm doing it.

When we were at Scott's parents' on Sunday (for Scott's birthday), his mother was admiring Tad's eyes. (They have been dark gray with golden brown centers since he was 2 months old.) She said that her father had gray eyes. Since he died in the early '60s, I doubt there are color photos lying around for us to compare, but it tickles me to think that maybe a particular shade of gray lurked through two generations of brown eyes just waiting for my recessive genes to come along.

Scott's family has a tradition regarding birthdays: When it is someone's birthday, you have to say one nice thing you noticed about them in the last year. (And it has to be an actual positive and not something like, "I noticed he annoyed me less often than last year.")

Anyway, I said that I noticed he is a very good childbirth coach, which is particularly impressive given that he only took half a class; he didn't read books or blogs or anything.

So then Scott's mom reminded us all of The Racecar Tent Story, which goes like this: When Eldest Younger Brother was being born (at home), toddler Scott was just hanging out in the corner of the bedroom in his racecar tent. Every now and then he would say, "Ready, set, GOOOOOOO." Because racecars. But his mother found it funny/encouraging while she was laboring and she was getting all schmoopy remembering that now that toddler Scott is all grown up and being an actual childbirth coach.

On Wednesday Tad and I interrupted our busy day of sitting around crying about teeth to go to a meetup of my babywearing group. I returned an Ergo to the lady I borrowed it from, tested a mei tai from the lending library but didn't borrow it, and overall had a great time sitting around and talking. Tad, meanwhile, crawled over to another baby and made friends with him (they were pawing amicably at each other's faces), so I guess he liked it too.

At one point, I was switching the MT from front carry to back carry by sticking Tad in it as if I was going to front carry and then just holding the upper straps in my hand and using my free arm to scoot him around to my back. (It sounds more complicated than it is.) Anyway, once I've fumbled my way through that maneuver, the lady from whom I borrowed the Ergo said admiringly, "You're really good at that!" I just said thank you, instead of insisting that I really wasn't that good and only knew what to do because I'd backcarried twice in the Ergo. I have these moments a lot, where I think I'm bad at something because I am not 100% perfect, and everybody else is all, "Wow, I didn't figure out how to do that until my third child!"

Speaking of, since we didn't take the MT home, Tad and I tried out backcarries in the woven wrap again and actually had some success. Terrible Bathroom Selfie demonstrates:

I figured out shortly after taking this picture that I really need to do the waist tie more at bra-strap level if I want Tad to be high enough to be really secure. We'll see if that revelation helps with positioning him/tightening the wrap appropriately. Also we'll see if I have any hair left by the time we figure it out. He loves to YANK while he's on my back, and getting him higher certainly won't reduce the incidence of that.

Speaking of improbable compliments, I was meeting with my friendly neighborhood lactation consultant the other day and we somehow got to talking about math. I said that I'm not really bad at math, but that's only because I'm smart enough to compensate for the fact that my brain simply does not think in mathematical ways.

She said that this made perfect sense to her since I've always struck her as much more of a people person, not a numbers person.

That's quite possibly the most unexpected compliment I've ever received.

Tad got his fourth tooth in honor of his father's birthday. (And now seems to be working on a fifth HALP SEND CHOCOLATE.) Apparently he's excited by the possibilities of solid foods or something.

He certainly has seemed to take more of an interest in actually consuming what we give him. First there was last week's oatmeal adventures, and then this week he ate two peas and a few crumbs of ground beef.

The peas were hard for him to manage since he doesn't have pincer grasp yet...he eagerly grabbed a fistful and then sat there staring at his closed fist in confusion. I circumvented this by smooshing a pea on the tip of my finger and offering it to him. He pulled it right into his mouth and worked on that pea for probably 5 minutes. Then Scott offered him another one. Then we went to fish his mouth out before we got him down from the highchair and couldn't find anything. The missing peas were located in his diaper the next morning.

The ground beef was easy for him to get into his mouth (we gave him little sticks taken from a cooked hamburger patty) but a little harder for him to manage afterwards. When we'd gotten everything we could find out of his mouth and taken him down from the high chair, I offered to nurse him and he kept taking a few sucks and then making throat-clearing noises and looking concerned. So I went fishing in his mouth again and came up with a piece of gristle about the size of a gnat. After that he nursed just fine. I guess we don't need to worry about his gag reflex not being sensitive enough.

I'm tired of typing and the baby needs a diaper change, so here's a picture of him looking adorable. (He was carefully supervised and we don't normally let him sleep with blankets.)

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Another recipe named after a pasta even though we just use rotini in everything. This one is from my mother-in-law.

1 lb pasta

1 lb ground beef
16 oz tomato sauce
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Pinches of basil and oregano
1 clove garlic
1/2 onion

1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella
Pepperoni to taste

1. Cook pasta.

2. Brown beef in a dutch oven or similar.

3. Add ingredients through onion; simmer. (I don't remember how long and I didn't write it down. Until you get bored.)

4. Add cooked pasta, parmesan, mozzarella, and pepperoni. Cover, transfer to oven, and bake at 350 for 15-30 minutes.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Exercise and The Weekend Of No Parking

Last Monday I up and decided that I was going to start doing some mild core-strengthening exercises. We'll pretend it's because my back basically hasn't stopped hurting since I was about 5 months pregnant, but really it's because Teresa kept asking if I was going to have another baby last time we were visiting. (No.)

So I did them Monday through Thursday. I motivated myself by eating my daily dessert after I exercised. It's kind of fun when you're not exercising to lose weight. Then on Friday I ate my brownie before I exercised so I had no motivation and then Saturday and Sunday we were too busy, but I did crazy amounts of walking on those days so I think that counts as exercise anyway.

On Saturday one of Scott's household brothers was getting ordained in the diocese just across the river, so we drove down, thinking, "Oh, it's only a half-hour drive, we don't even have to leave that early!"

We forgot that when you're going downtown you need to start with 30 minutes of driving time, add 15 minutes of circling around looking for a place to park, and then add another 10 minutes of brisk walking to get you back to where you wanted to be from where you actually parked.

Afterwards we spent 10 minutes walking to our car, 10 minutes driving to the post-ordination reception, and 10 minutes circling around a parking garage and then walk-walk-walking back over to the convention center. (Maybe we should have just walked from the church and saved ourselves the $5. Also, we're really lucky I happened to have exactly $5 in cash in my wallet.)

Anyway, we got home and passed out for a few hours and then cooked a late dinner, watched some TV, and went to bed.

The next day we got up at our usual time, took turns showering/playing with the baby, and then went to our usual 12:30 Mass. We actually pulled into the parking lot at 12:29, which is basically a miracle for us. (The Cobblers are not known for their punctuality.)

Of course, the one day we show up on time is the one day we have to park WAAAAAAY over at the other end of the lot because everybody else was more on time. Even the cry room was super crowded by the time we actually got ourselves back there. (I don't usually sit in the cry room, but during super-crowded Masses I figure a] I might as well save a seat in the main church for somebody who will actually use it, and b] the cry room will actually have space to sit because nobody wants to sit there.)

Then we did a short Corpus Christi procession over to the new adoration chapel. Then we had to wait in line for a long time so we could meet our perpetual adoration division leader and get a certificate and a drink of water and a cookie.

(Then we went over to Scott's parents' to celebrate his birthday, but that's not part of this story.)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

You had ONE job

A while back, I posted about how before Tad was born I coached Scott that he had one job in the hospital: Stay With The Baby. I made sure to tell him that repeatedly so that if something happened that caused the baby and I to become separated he would stay with the baby reflexively, without hesitation.

Fortunately nothing that dire happened, but he still did an awesome job. He didn't leave that baby's side for the whole 2 days we were there.

It's hard for me to remember this as a happy thing, though, because whenever I do I think of how (even just by implication) I had one job: Feed The Baby. And I messed that one up pretty spectacularly.

This post has no conclusion. I'm just throwing it out into the void in the hopes that it won't come back and I can be rid of that thought that I failed.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Seven Quick Months

Tad is 7 months old today! He doesn't have a pediatrican appointment until 9 months, so no stats, but my mom estimates he weighs about 17.5 pounds based on getting on and off the bathroom scale with him. That scale is not very reliable, though, and I really don't think he's gained a pound and a half in a month given his previous rate of growth and the fact that he's supposed to slow down a little after 6 months. I'd buy 17 pounds even, though.

He continues to do his Drunken Bunny crawl. He's very very fast. I moved my computer to the dining room table so he can't reach the cords and moved my shoes into the bedroom, so then he kept crawling into the kitchen to gnaw on the mat we keep in front of the sink. I do not wash that thing nearly often enough for him to be doing that. So the mat temporarily lives in the bedroom and I'm borrowing a baby gate starting tomorrow. I feel like such a bad mom, curbing my child's desire to EXPLORE, but seriously. Sometimes I need to cook dinner without having to rescue the child from salmonella or e coli every 30 seconds.

About a week and a half ago, we noticed that all of the sudden Tad can sit without propping himself up on his hands. You sit him up and he just stays that way, waving his arms, until something distracts him and he topples over. (Admittedly, it does not take very long for something to distract him.)

Then a couple of days ago he went from a sit to a crawl without flopping over in between. He has yet to pull himself into a sit from crawling, but he has lately started "lounging", where he stops crawling, rolls onto his side, and props himself up on one elbow so he can play with/look at things. I suspect this is the precursor to pulling to a sit.

Lately, his locomotive prowess has been overshadowed by his TEETH. He has three. He got the bottom right incisor first (on the 10th) and then the two top ones (on the 15th). The bottom left has been looking like it's going to break through since before the top ones even started, but it hasn't yet. I hope it does soon and then he waits a while to get any more teeth, because the CRYING, you guys. He is just the saddest baby ever about getting teeth.

He does deeply love these two little freezable teethers we have, though. He hears the freezer door and opens his mouth like a little baby bird. (He is very good at holding them himself, but he never reaches his hands out. He wants it to go right in his mouth, then he'll grab it and hold it.)

We started letting him sample solids on the 8th. He has delicately nibbled on some watermelon, apple (peeled and steamed), and banana without actually swallowing. Then last night we gave him oatmeal and he went to town with it. I cooked it nice and thick so he was able to shovel it in with his hands and get it off a preloaded spoon that I handed to him. (He was amazingly handy with that spoon.) I must admit I don't know if any actually made it into his stomach considering how much was smeared on his person and the high chair when he was done (he got a bath afterwards), but I didn't see him spit any back out.

We kind of gave up on our No-Cry bedtime routine after about a week. We should probably get back on that because Tad's sleep is TERRIBLE. I feel wimpy saying that considering he sleeps a 6-hour stretch most nights now, but that 6-hour stretch is the only decent sleep he gets. The other 18 hours he spends catnapping and crying. It gets rather exhausting after a while--for everybody.

I remember when he was a newborn and everybody would say it went by SO FAST and I was all, "Every hour feels about a century long. I think you just got amnesia from sleep deprivation."

And then I blinked and he's seven months old with a funny lopsided toothy grin and some days every hour still feels about a century long but at the same moment I want him to slow down and be my baby forever.

The nice thing is, no matter how big he gets, he always will be.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June bullet points

These were going to be Quick Takes, but after two weeks in a row of failing to post them on a Friday, I'm just going to throw them up here. (There are less than 7 because a couple did get rolled into a QT post for this Friday.)

~ The other day, Scott was praising the baby for being so big and commented how it's amazing he got so big just drinking milk. Then for some reason he started explaining to the baby that whales are mammals and they also drink their mothers' milk and they get very fat indeed.

"Whales are basically giant swimming bags of fat," he said.

Then I looked it up and turns out that whale milk is 25-50% fat. (Human milk, by contrast, is about 4.5 percent fat.)

I think it's funny that our son is only 6 months old and we're already having unschoolish moments with him.

~ Youngest Younger Brother and The Only Sister were in the annual homeschool group play a couple of weeks ago. (They were doing "Anne of Green Gables.") I spent the first 20 minutes walking Tad in the lobby until he fell asleep. Then I got to watch about 10 minutes of the play. Then he woke up and started crying again and my father-in-law offered to take him out. They were walking around on the sidewalk outside the theater and everybody could totally still hear Tad screaming his little head off. So I took the baby and nursed him some more and brought him back in at the end of the next act and he started screaming as soon as we came into the theater. It so happened that the end of that act was intermission, so after grabbing some refreshments I just stuffed him in his carseat and hightailed it out of there. Scott got a ride home from his family.

~ Scott and I attempted to pay the Novena for the Seven Gifts in the days leading up to Pentecost. I think we hit about 4 of the 9 days. Oops. (We really ought to renew our de Montfort consecration--I think the last time we did so was December 8, 2012--but can you imagine how long it would take us to finish a 33-day course of prayers?)

~ I went back to therapy two weeks ago. Not because I'm doing badly, but because I'm doing kind of okay and want to keep it that way. I've spent way too much of the past 4 years bouncing in and out of crisis mode, mental-health-wise, so I thought I'd give routine maintenance mode a try.

~ Then last week I had an annual gynecological appointment. (One of my early prenatals counted as an annual, so I was due for another one.) It was very boring. I am currently about 15 pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight. I blame 5 of those pounds on the baby and 10 on my antidepressants. Now that I'm not taking the antidepressants anymore I suppose I should shed some weight before I have to start blaming my ice cream habit. Anyway, nobody said a peep about my weight, and the dreaded birth control discussion went like this: NP: "Do you need anything for birth control?" Me: "No." NP: *notes down, moves on to next question* I had a whole speech prepared and everything, but I guess I'll have to save it for another time.

~ We went to visit my family this past weekend and Teresa kept insisting that I had another baby in my tummy. Apparently that was enough to motivate me where 10-ish months of persistent lower back pain was not, because I started a routine of core-strengthening stretches yesterday. And by "started a routine" I mean I did them that one time. I should go do them again once I remove this sleeping baby from my lap.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


- Once upon a time, my dad "invented" something called the microfreezer. It works like a microwave, but it makes things cold instead of hot. Say you want a bunch of ice for your cooler on a hot summer day. Pop some water in the microfreezer and you have plenty of ice in just a few minutes!

I was thinking of this a few weeks ago when I was making no-bake cookies for a chocolate fix and realized they had to CHILL. It was terrible, all that waiting.

- This probably already exists somewhere, but when Tad was small(er), I came up with the idea for a drive-thru library. You pull up in your car and you can return books and get reserves. (You can't just have the librarians working the drive-thru browse for you, though. That would take too long.) That way if you have a baby who somehow fell asleep during the 5-minute drive to the library, you do not have to wake the baby up getting out of the car.

- Scott and I were waiting for the bus the other day and discussing how the bus schedule changed slightly so now we have no idea if we're late or early on any given day. I said it would be cool if somebody made an app and named it after those notice board in airports that tell you whether your flight is on time, boarding, delayed, etc. This app could be synced with the busses somehow (probably via GPS) and you could not only look up the bus schedule but find out whether a particular bus was running late or not.

- Speaking of baby sleep, somebody needs to make noise-cancelling headphones for babies, so that when the baby desperately needs a nap, you don't murder the person who coughs just as he's falling asleep and wakes him up.

I was telling my mother about this invention earlier today and she reminded me that once upon a time I said that I was never going to tiptoe around my babies so that they would learn to sleep even when it was noisy.

Well, I did say that, and then I had a baby who DOES NOT SLEEP. You change your tune real quick when you get one of those non-sleeping babies, let me tell you.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Teresa gems

The other day my mother called me to tell me that Dwija had her baby. I talked to Teresa while I was on the phone and she told me all about how she had two worksheets left to go and then she would get to go to McDonalds for ice cream and eat inside and get a Happy Meal and then she'd be a second grader and on the first day of second grade she would get donuts and then it would be time for First Communion.


She had to do standardized testing this week (it's part of Ohio's rather complicated homeschool law), and one of the questions tested her ability to read a calendar. The question was something like, "If Johnny and Suzy are going to the fair on June 14, what day of the week are they going on?" Teresa didn't even look at the calendar accompanying the question; she put Saturday because of course they're going to the fair on Saturday; that's when Dad is off work.


Earlier today she asked Mom for a notebook and then sat down at the table and started writing stuff in it. She calls it her "blog." Mom thinks it's hilarious that she knows the word "blog" and not "journal" or "diary."