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Archive for November, 2007

From 7 to 1:45, you would not have liked me very much.  Chico and I did not like each other very much.  In the middle of the night last night, I called my 1-month old son a dumbass and told him to shut up because all he wanted to do was nurse.

This is one of the hardest parts about parenting.  About mothering.  Sometimes your kids make you irrationally angry, even when they aren’t even old enough to understand anything.  And sometimes you’re just thankful they don’t understand what a dumbass is.

This morning feels a little like the morning after a lover’s quarrel.  Has he forgiven me for saying such mean things?  Have I forgiven myself?  I’m holding him extra tight.  Does he still trust me?  Does he know I’m not angry anymore, that it wasn’t him I was angry with in the first place, but my aching nipples and exhaustion and not knowing how to comfort him, to sleep?  And most of all, does he know I still love that little head on my shoulder, even when it’s hollering at me?

I spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in the dark of the middle of the night reading about things like cluster feeding and comfort sucking, overactive letdown (Chico does a lot of spitting up and then wanting to nurse again right away plus arching and grumbling after he’s been nursing normally) and the pros and cons of pacifiers.

I have no idea what I’m going to do.  I’ll buy him a paci today but I don’t know if I really want to use one.  On the one hand, it has to be better than name-calling, but on the other, he only fed once between 2 and 8:15 so I ended up with the best night’s sleep I’ve had since he was born.

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7 things meme

  1. I used to manage an adult video store.
  2. Until I met C, I was mostly a slob.  Now I freak out in messes.
  3.   Growing up, my family had an Old English Sheepdog who shat in a bucket.
  4. When I was 3, my aunt and her friend made up a game called ‘Earthquake’ wherein a Fisher Price house was shaken and little people were rolled down the roof.  Apparently they also read Vonnegut to me, but I don’t remember that.
  5. I am irrationally offended by bad grammar and punctuation but rarely catch my own mistakes
  6. I don’t eat any veggie that comes on pizza
  7. I hated baseball until the 2001 season.  I became a rabid fan because of Alfonso Soriano.

I think all of y’all have doe this, but tag yourself if ya haven’t.

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I took the Buy Handmade pledge yesterday, so it was only fitting that for my first official holiday purchase of the year, I gave in to peer pressure and placed a Creative Wanderings order. In doing so, I actually managed to find something for my impossible-to-shop-for SIL (who also has the most incredible knack for finding awesome things for other folk, therein making me feel like a lazy schlub every year) plus picking up little things for the kid-cousins, my MIL and a friend who loves smell-good stuff. I was good and didn’t pick anything for myself, which I am regretting a bit now 🙂 There was just too much to choose from–I wanted one of everything.

Kind of Crunchy Mama tagged me for the 7 Weird Things meme, which I will do after I’ve had some coffee. I’m tempted to say that everything is weird about me, but that seems like sort of a cop-out 😛

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This morning my firstborn stood in the bedroom, sobbing.  ‘But Mommy, I want to keeeeeeep it!  There’s things I want and things I want to keep and it isn’t fair…’

What it, you ask?

A banana peel.  It’s now in an old take-out container on the counter.  I don’t know what I’m going to do if she decides she still wants to keep it when she gets home from school.

Also…if you are in the market for cloth diapers, buy them here!   I placed my order on Friday and it was here yesterday morning.  She has an awesome selection too!  I can’t wait to get it all washed and dried so we can have a big ol’ Fluff Lovefest.

El Hombre Chico is finally able to hang out looking at stuff without being glued to a person.  In fact, he just put himself to sleep in the co-sleeper.  I’m still not ready to put him in there overnight though.  It’s far too nice to wake up next to his little face.  I think maybe I’d be the happiest mommy if I could wake up next to both of my kids, but Lucy sleeps like she’s performing feats of acrobatics in her sleep and I always ended up waking up with her toes in my nose or something equally unpleasant.

I woke up in a sweat last night and had to remove my socks and half of the covers.  I’m going to start lobbying for turning the bedroom heater off as well.  I want a winter of fleece and flannel and huddling together for warmth.  And yes, I used to pretend to be Laura Ingalls in The Long Winter when I was little.  Hells, I bought another copy of it over the summer to get myself inspired 🙂

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So it appears that Chico may be having some gassy issues when I consume dairy products.  It may be coincidence, but after last night, I’m taking a break from the milk and cheese.  That’s right, the bulk of my diet.

What do people eat instead of cheese?

I kid.  Sort of.

C turned off the heaters in the living room/dining room (main area) last night.  I didn’t even realize until I was told.  I really wish we had some way of seeing how much oil/less oil we’re using.  It’s so frustrating to have no idea.  The other upside, though, is that it seems as though the building has been keeping it a bit cooler than in past years.  I’m hoping it holds for the rest of the winter.  I have some weatherstripping to do today, and our insulating curtains came, so maybe we can see if it’s tolerable to have the bedroom heater off as well.  That would leave only Lucy’s on, which I would estimate as at least a 50% reduction from American average (under the theory that we’d have turned off 75% of our heaters but have no idea how much oil it takes to heat this space up.)  I’m back to excited!

We brought in reinforcements on the Lucy situation (called Grandma) and managed to get her calmed down enough to go to the 2nd Thanksgiving.  She ran around with her cousin and huge red circles around her bloodshot eyes, finally passing out in the car 20 minutes from home and having to be carried into bed, where she slept until morning.  Last night, no fights.  She was asleep by a little after 7 and didn’t wake up until 7:15 this morning.  Thank insert deity here.  Sometimes kids are absolutely miserable little creatures.  Still, I’m glad to have *my* Lucy back.

Speaking of sleep, Chico slept from 11 to 3:35 last night, which means I did as well!  It was truly glorious, except for the ensuing ache from going so long without nursing.  There’s always a trade-off with kids, isn’t there?  He’s absolutely adorable, though, and really working on holding his head up.  I mean, really working it.  He barely lays his head down unless it’s in between lifts or he’s trying to nurse on my collarbone.  At one month old, his favorite things to look at are his sister and lights, the fancier the better.  Favorites are the bedside lamp with the red shade and the hall light at my MIL’s with the etching.  His little mouth opens in awe, and his eyes get wide, until he can’t take the stimulation anymore and he collapses in wails.  I spent so much time watching Lucy for signs of heart failure at this age that I think I really missed out on appreciating a lot of the normal development.  It’s so nice to get to focus on that this time.

At some point I’ll have to look at how tough it is to compare the early weeks of the two because every once in a while I feel really guilty about things I do with Chico that I didn’t with Lucy, like when she asked me if his diapers were hers when she was a baby and I had to tell her we used disposables.  That, coupled with having him in (what I’m sure she remembers as her place) our bed and her in her own bed…it’s tough, and I know she has to grow up at some point, but I feel bad for her sometimes.  It’s tough being the oldest, no matter how much you love the little one, and it sucks having to share the attention.  Hell, I’m 34 and I still hate sharing attention.  She’s doing so well, though, freak out aside, and just this morning came into bed to hold her brother’s hand and talk to him while I went to the bathroom.  When I came back in, she looked at me and said, ‘He’s exactly how I wanted him to be, he looks just how I wanted him to and he feels just how I thought he would.  I love him.’

And now I have to wait for my work to arrive today.  Turns out it isn’t so much editing as it is writing, and so I will likely be pretty scarce ’round these parts until it’s done.  In January.  I’m also working on C”s uncle’s book.  Which is probably why I have blog-diarrhea this morning–gotta make room for the next batch of craziness.

And all this without dairy.  Say it ain’t so!

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After Thanksgiving and the trial run of cloth diapers away from home, I realized I was ready to commit to prefolds.  They really work the best, and while not the cutest, def. the most practical.  I also realized (as I left the mini wet bag full of TC on the back of the bathroom door) that we needed a dedicated wet bag for the diaper bag (I also remembered that the diaper bag is pretty but totally impractical so we’re switching to a backpack.)  A couple of back-up diaper covers and a couple of really pretty pockets so Chico isn’t sitting in soak when we can’t get a quick change, and a few more inserts for good measure.  Voila!  No more disposables!  No more soaked suits!  And, best of all, no more freaking out about running out of clean diapers before I can get to the laundry room!  Hurrah!

Meanwhile, back in Parentland…now that I’m feeling like I’m doing ok with breastfeeding and cloth diapering, Lucy has fallen apart.  Not enough sleep led to a multi-hour meltdown/tantrum yesterday afternoon and night, and it sucked.  I don’t know what to do to keep it from happening again, and I’m feeling like the Wicked Witch of the West because the screaming and carrying on makes my skin crawl and blood pressure skyrocket.  Especially when all the kid has to do is take a few minutes and calm down, but instead sits on her bed and screams things like ‘No Daddy, stop’ when he’s in a different room, or ‘help, get me out of here’ when she’s not being restrained.  Please to advise before our neighbors decide we’re beating her.  I can’t take it anymore.  We’ve already covered crying wolf, as well as explicit instructions on how to get out of trouble or keep from getting into it, all of which fall on deaf ears.  I lnow she’s short on attention when she’s not in school, but this is ridiculous.

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She is writing her first book.  It is called…

wait for it…

10 Trd Turkeys.  Trd is pronounced ‘turd.’  She says it means ‘silly.’

You can’t make this shit up.

Happy Thanksgiving!  May your turkeys be free of turds.

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Slowly returning to normal

In the past few days I’ve been able to:

  • shower
  • vacuum (ok, dustbust)
  • get caught up on wash enough to hang a few loads to dry
  •  eat meals in addition to snacks
  • go to a store to buy a baby gift
  • change the cat litter
  • watch Lucy do a craft project and homework on the same day
  • stay awake through an entire DVD.

These things are very exciting.  Why, just last week I was so tired I thought I might die!  Chico is sleeping for 2-3 hours at a stretch between 11 and 6am, so I am feeling mostly human finally.   And this feeling is good.

So what now?

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Look! Cute kids!

Halloweenie goodness!

My cat is bigger than my kid.

Sibling love, first thing in the morning.

Ain’t they cute?

Last night we had our first diaper blowout.  There was poop from stem to stern, and by ‘stern’ I mean between toes and in the behind-the-knee folds.  As my grandmother said, ‘Aw, so he was a little hotdog covered in mustard?’  Pretty much.  My stoic Lucy stayed with me, handing me wet cloths with one hand while holding her nose with the other.  She bailed when I had to wash the poop out of the diaper, though.  I would’ve bailed too if I could’ve.

A bidet is looking wiser and wiser.

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Running Out Of Time

It’s now official, eleventy times over.  Let’s all pretend like the naysaying and doubting hasn’t happened, and figure out how the hell to move forward.  Because one decade for drastic reductions on a national/political level?  Not that damn long.  And the time for the rest of us to get our heads out of our collective asses and realize that ‘having the money to’ do things like pay for zillions of gallons of gas or multiple homes or full wardrobes in every size doesn’t mean that the world can afford for us to do these things.  It just isn’t that simple anymore, so let’s mourn the loss of our greed and selfishness, redefine our standards of success, and stop the bullshit.  Haven’t we all had enough bullshit already?

This is a lecture to myself as well.  Sure, we do well with gasoline, and don’t buy tons of electronics or take elaborate vacations.  We may even do above our fair share (by current American standards) despite spending too much money on stuff we probably don’t *need* and still having a fairly disposable lifestyle.  We have to do more.  This means that instead of buying Lucy 3 new pairs of organic cotton pants so that I don’t have to do wash every day, I may have to do wash everyday.  Instead of buying insulated drapes for the bedroom, I may have to do something more makeshift.  I do not get the luxury of saying, ‘But it’s hard with a new baby’ or ‘once he’s a little older I can…’  The ‘more’ that I am doing does not make me entitled to do less in other areas.  Somewhere along the way I lost sight of what I’m doing–preparing my family to use as little as possible without feeling as though we’re suffering because of it.  I’ve gotten caught up in the  yearlong Riot and its numbers when I need to be using the numbers to see what areas need more work.  In other words, ‘I won’t make 90% reduction.  Why not?  What now?’

One mistake I made was only focusing on the fun parts.  Like, toilet cloth and cloth diapers are fun.  The farm share was fun (until the end of my pregnancy, when I skipped a bunch.)  Even foregoing the a/c was fun after a fashion (satisfies the martyr in me.)  Charts and weighing trash?  Total fun.

Then there was the moderately or fleetingly fun:  growing food (too late in season/potting soil debacle), tracking water usage based on estimates, cutting car trips unless absolutely necessary (we cut a bunch, but honestly could’ve cut more if we wanted to.)

Last, the not fun:  not shopping.  Boy, did I ever suck at this one.  It’s hard not to buy things, or rather, to tell yourself you really don’t need something when you want it.  I did a lot of justifying my purchases–‘I need maternity clothes!  We don’t have any boy baby clothes!  The baby needs a dresser!  Look, that desk would be perfect!  Lucy needs school clothes!’  Some of it was stuff we had always planned on doing (had been looking for a new desk since we moved in here.  Ditto dresser for me, floor lamp which is on its way, and bed mentioned in prior post.)  Some was spendy because I wanted to buy organic cotton for the kids.  Some will save my ass now that I am not pregnant but a size 10 when my other clothes are 2’s.  Some was just plain because I was bored.  This is the sort of knowledge that will save me in the future–when bored, must stay away from shops and internet.

Another un-fun thing was giving up eating/take-out.  So we really didn’t.  I tracked separately, and we ate from a restaurant several times a week.  I didn’t count it in the overall numbers because I’m not the person who cooks and therefore wasn’t comfortable telling C that he couldn’t get take-out if he didn’t feel like cooking.   I tried cooking, but I really do hate it.  That said, do I need to get over that hatred?  A-yup, I sure do.

Now that I have visited the Riot Confessional here, I want to focus on the stuff we need to do to get back on track.  Not for the 90%, but for a long-term sustainability.  Here goes:

  1. We will get the mattress and eat the trash weight if I can’t find someplace that will take it and refurbish/recycle/what-have-you.  We’re going to need a better bed no matter what, and Riot aside, it makes little difference when we get it.
  2. Full-time cloth-diapering starts today.  The belly button is healed so no more excuses.  Lucy is finally out of pull-ups at night, so that will leave the cat litter as the major trash drag.  I will be making a separate category for one-time trash weights that will count against our yearly allowance but allow us to see where we would be without it.
  3. I’ve fallen off with electricity reduction since the baby came home, but will start back up again.  I’ve gotten the dishwasher to every other day so the major drains are computer/peripherals, fridge, tv.  Will replace phone/answering machine combo with plain phone as soon as I find out how to set up the voice mail.  Will replace battery in alarm clock and unplug.  Will replace bathroom lights with cfls as soon as I find vanity bulbs and others burn out.
  4. Heat goes off as soon as insulating drapes/quilt for Lucy’s bed get here.  Will start out turning off main room heaters first, though, then move to bedrooms if we’re surviving.  Actually, we can turn off main room heaters before we get that stuff.  We can only do it with radiator valves, so I’m just hoping it actually makes a difference.  Maybe should research a little…

And overall?  I need to remember, always, that just because I’m doing more than average doesn’t mean there isn’t even more I need to do.  I can get to a 90% reduction, just not as fast as I’d like.  I’m at 75% reduction when you take out consumer goods, and that’s pretty damn good.  I just have to regroup and learn from my missteps.  Even with CG, I’m 46% below average for the year (72% for October).  If we keep on October’s track, we’ll be at 59% reduction for the year (78%reduction w/o CG.)  Not too terrible considering my serious missteps of the summer.

Not terrible, but not cause for slacking off.  I still want to have 90% reduction for at least one month this year, and then for all the rest.  It’s past the point of interesting project, after all.  It’s really about survival.  The back-patting is nice, but the ‘more’ isn’t enough.

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