Friday, December 31, 2010

On The Last Day Of The Year

I have had a perfect day-the perfect way to end what was probably the best year of my life.

You know how sometimes you plan to do something, and your plans don't work out? If you're me, you then try not to get annoyed, while desperately trying to salvage something of the day. So Christmas Eve afternoon turned into one of THOSE days. We were on a street corner in the city, plans dashed. We had just visited a large and lovely church, and although I am not religious and this church was not my own religion, there was a quiet spirituality in the air, and I lit a candle in thanks for the wonderful year we have had. While I did it, I also said a short prayer for a man sitting in a nearby chapel by himself. He looked so alone, so sad. Anyway, shortly after that, we were outside, plans in disarray, when all of a sudden this bus went by.

The bus was headed in the direction of a neighbourhood near ours, and there was a stop right in front of us. We were a long way from my neighbourhood, but inspiration struck, and I checked the sign at the bus stop. Sure enough, the bus route wound it's way past some of the most impressive sights in the city, before heading toward our neck of the woods. We hopped on the next bus, and for about a buck, we got a delightful tour of the best parts of the city. It was an amazing find. Equally as good was the discovery that the bus dropped us right near this cozy little restaurant we've been meaning to try, where we had a charming Christmas Eve dinner.

So this morning, we rolled out of bed early to go collect a fresh houseguest from the airport. After leaving her luggage at the house, we wandered our neighbourhood and picked up supplies for tonight. Then we hopped on the bus, our new scenic tour bus, and took her around the city. We had planned to go to this restaurant I've wanted to try, but when we got there it was closed. It was in a neighbourhood we used to live in, so we wandered for a bit. We ended up at this gorgeous dim sum place that was incredibly inexpensive, delicious, and beautifully decorated, with kind staff to boot (Miss M threw her spoon from home on the floor, and the waiter thoughtfully brought her another one AND RAN HER SPOON THROUGH THE DISHWASHER!). At the end of dinner, instead of regular shaped fortune cookies, they had long round ones with hollow centres, and the fortune was rolled up like a scroll inside. Mine reads:

Happiness is a healthy mental attitude, a grateful spirit, a clear conscience, and a heart full of

Happy new year. May 2011 bring much happiness for each and every one of us, and a magic scenic bus on those days when it feels like we could use a little help.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Miss M at 9 Months, and at 11 Months and Change

Dear Miss M,

I wrote this first bit a few months ago, intending to finish it later, and well. . .you are a busy baby, and time flies! So without further ado, here is a snippet of your life at nine months:

I have slacked off a bit in writing you these monthly updates--hopefully, you won't mind. With life being as full as it has been these recent months, I have chosen to spend every spare second with you, rather than in documenting your progress. It has been a delight to spend time with you, and by taking this new, crazy job, I have had more time than I ever imagined to enjoy our life together. But first, let's talk about what we've done together in recent months:

First, we moved out of our beautiful, newly renovated house. You had the most perfect nursery there. It was simply gorgeous. But we decided that you would have so many exciting and wonderful opportunities if we moved, and after all, it was just a room. So we packed it up, and we moved to a big city a few hundred miles from our home.

When we got to our first new city, we went to the zoo right away. You had a nice time, even though it was very hot in the city. We soon discovered that it was going to be that hot EVERY DAY, which was something new for all of us. We were lucky, though, because our new building had a swimming pool. When we first took you in to swim, you weren't so sure about it, but you soon took to the water like a little duck. You LOVED the pool, and we tried to take you swimming in your little reusable swim diapers as often as possible. You weren't afraid to get your head wet, and often dunked your own face in the water. You kicked your legs mightily, splashed and played like you had been swimming for years. You absolutely loved "motorboat, motorboat," and would giggle hysterically as we went faster and faster. You made friends with a little girl just a couple of months younger than you, too, and we'd all go to the pool together. One day, the two of you even showed up in the same swimsuit!!! We have the pictures to prove it.

You soon adapted to a new routine in our new city--you loved to be out and about, and we could take you just about anywhere. You just love to people watch, and see what's going on in the big world around you. Unfortunately, that natural curiousity about the world also meant that you didn't love to sleep. Naps were a rarity, and although you'd slept through the night for two whole months before we moved, once we did move, you stopped sleeping well. It happened at the same time that you learned to roll over, which was right after we moved. Coincidentally, this is also when we transferred you from the bassinet to your beautiful crib. But, you were having none of it. I was in training all day every day, in a packed classroom for hours on end with few breaks, and I really needed to pay attention. So, we brought you into bed with us in the hopes that you would sleep better. It worked! You've been in our bed ever since. . .and you are something of a bed-hog.

While we were still in the U.S., you progressed very rapidly. You learned to sit up one day, and literally a few days later, you learned to crawl. As soon as you figured out crawling just a little bit, you'd mastered it. A few days after that, you were crawling in textbook perfect fashion, and you are FAST!!! We have to keep an eye on you, because you are independent and fearless. It seems like you've been trying to crawl since you were born, and just waiting for the moment you got strong enough.

Shortly after we moved to Europe, you got a bit stronger, and were finally able to stand. You've been standing for weeks, and you are now starting to let go of whatever you have pulled up on. You are quite pleased with yourself when you let go and are able to remain standing for a few seconds before you fall. You seem to know that it's an accomplishment. I have read in my books that the hardest part for babies when they learn to pull themselves up is getting back down on the ground, but not you. As soon as you learned to pull up, you figured out how to get down right away. You push off from whatever you are holding and pop down on your bottom into a sitting position. It is a riot to watch. I MUST get some video of your technique!!! You are getting good at taking a few steps to get closer to whatever you are holding onto, but you are not yet cruising around holding on to the furniture. We know it is just a matter of time, however.

A few days ago, you learned how to clap. It is a delight to watch, especially because you are so pleased with yourself when you do it. You laugh and smile so much, and are such a happy child. I feel so lucky, so blessed, to be your mother.

You are sleeping particularly poorly of late, and I think it must be related to learning to stand, and your first attempts at walking. You have been having screaming fits in the middle of the night, which do not wake you up. I am the only one who can comfort you--you want no part of daddy when this happens. If I comfort you, you settle back into sleep within a few seconds, but if daddy tries to comfort you, you wail on and on and on until I come running. It is the only time you are like this, and we are a bit perplexed by it. Some nights, we wake countless times, while others, it happens only two or three times. It is very odd, and my mother says that I did not do this as a child. She also has noted that you are very loved and very well taken care of, such that she cannot imagine what is troubling you in your sleep!

You have gotten to be a good little eater. We are getting about 25 ounces of breastmilk into you a day (we are still nursing mornings and evenings, and I pump at works so that you can have bottles while I am gone). You have never had a drop of formula, and have never been sick, which I am very proud of. It's been a lot of work to keep up my milk supply for you, with all of the moves and new jobs and changes, but I like to think you are worth the hassle of it. I won't even whine to you about all of the time I've had to spend pumping in bathroom stalls when there has been no other option, or pumping for five minutes on a break from the classroom, because I've been given no more time than that. It's been crazy, but we've made it work. You hate rice cereal, by the way--oatmeal was a big hit, but you would never eat the rice. We haven't given you rice in months, you hate it so much. Daddy opened a new box of cereal the other day, only to find that you were refusing to eat. He couldn't figure out what was wrong, until I got home from work and looked at the box--it was rice! Unfortunately, we've had trouble finding baby oatmeal here. Hopefully we will track some down! You also love applesauce, but your most favorite food of all is pears. You adore pears, and will eat giant tubs of them. You like all other fruits, and pretty much hate all vegetables. We are still trying, though. Chicken, sweet potatoes, avocado, and pasta stars are all up next. It's a bit difficult, though, because you like routine, and you aren't all that interested in finger foods yet--you prefer your meals pureed and on a spoon, thank you very much! Still, we are slowly trying to get you to put cubes of banana and little baby rice cakes into your mouth yourself. You DO need to learn to feed yourself, after all!

You are starting to amass a stockpile of toys. You have a talking Elmo (from my mom, your grammy), a talking frog (from grammy), and assorted musical toys (also from grammy--are you sensing a theme? Grammy must be trying to get back at mommy for something!). I just gave you a set of blocks, and you are particularly enamored with those. You especially like knocking them down when I build towers for you. You constantly crawl around with a block or two in your hands. You also constantly fall on them, and since they are large and plastic, it must hurt, because you sure do howl when you do so.

And now, at 11 months and change:

We just had a magical first Christmas with you. Your Grammy and Grampa came over to spend it with you. Grammy mailed box after box in advance of the holiday--a Radio Flyer horse, a basketball hoop, a stuffed ladybug, a ride on trike, and blocks, just to name a few of your gifts. Santa brought you a musical instrument set, a toy that uses air to blow balls up and around a track while it plays music, a musical workbench complete with drillpress and hammer (Santa knew daddy would love that!), blocks, books, and a toy house front with a little talking door, mailslot and more! You haven't stopped playing since then. We clearly needed more toys for you, but we were waiting for Christmas, and it is fun to watch you play with all of them. It was delightful to watch you try to open things--you love paper, and would rip off small pieces, then hand them to me. Eventually, we'd get the package open, and then you'd play with whatever it was. It took us two days to open all of the presents, and there was one left over for yesterday. The aunties were all very generous, as well, and sent you more wonderful toys and beautiful clothes. You will be the best dressed baby this season (as you always are--the aunties love to shop, as does grammy!). You got the cutest little red peacoat, among other things. Santa knew that your family was going to be very generous this Christmas, so he donated in your name to charity, through your local newspaper at home. The newspaper published a little poem Santa wrote to you, along with the amount of his donation in your name. Mommy will preserve that for you. Santa left a copy of the poem in your stocking, as well.

You have grown by leaps and bounds over the last two months. We realized that you were sleeping poorly because at around 10 months, you finally got your first tooth--a center bottom one. A short time later, the second one came in. They are a bit crooked, but you are very cute with them. You only nipped me a few times with them as you nursed, before learning that I don't want you to do that. Of course, you continued to do it for a bit, smirking and giggling as I told you no--clearly indicating that you knew better! But you've stopped, thankfully.

You also started walking at about 10 months. At first, you cruised the furniture, but within a few weeks, you were letting go, and now you are very steady on your feet. At 11 months, you started running, even. You can bend down and pick something up, then stand and walk, without holding on to anything. You are fast, fast, fast! We have to be careful to latch the baby gate, because when you see it open, you are like a flash, and it's right near the stairs. You are also learning to go down those, on your belly, and up them, as well. You are quite good at that, but lose interest after about four stairs.

Since getting your teeth, you have finally learned to nibble on rice cakes, and you'll eat a little bit of them. You still have little interest in feeding yourself--you'd much rather play with the food. We struggle to get enough into you, as you are so busy and interested in the world around you that you'd rather than stop to eat. For a long while, it was breastmilk, oatmeal, apple and pear sauce for you. But, we've finally struck upon some other foods that you like--yogurt, cottage cheese, pretty much any fruit (peaches, bananas, blueberries, etc.--even pumpkin and sweet potato, mixed with other things!). You don't like pasta much--you eat whatever it is mixed with, and spit out the pasta. I think it is a texture thing. You are no longer drinking so many bottles--if we get 15 ounces into you, we are doing well. You still nurse morning and night, although that is tapering off, too.

You've grown to love bathtime. You started standing in the tub, which scared me, but also made me realize that it was time for tub toys. Thankfully, I thought ahead and bought a supply before we left the US. Once we brought those out, you focused on playing, and stopped trying to stand up.

You hate sitting still to have your diaper changed, and fuss when we make you hold still. Ditto for being put in your snowsuit, although you love to be put in the Baby Bjorn and taken out for a walk. You are incredibly well behaved when we take you out and about, and everyone comments on that. Since you were born, you have loved to be on the move. It doesn't matter how late we have you out, either--you remain good natured. You are very social, and love engaging with people. When we are on the subway or in restaurants, you always try to catch someone's eye and smile at them. They can't help but smile back, and you love it when they do.

You are still a peanut. You are in 9 months sized clothing, but we still have some 6-9 month, and even some 3-6 month items that fit you, depending on the brand. We try to get as much food into you as we can, but you are just not a big eater, and it makes me worry about your weight. I finally packed away the smallest baby clothes in your wardrobe, even thought some of them technically still fit, simply because I was tired of the labels reprimanding me! I know that you are hitting all of your developmental milestones and hitting them early at that, and you are happy and pleasant almost all of the time, so there is nothing to worry about. But still, as your mother, I can't help fret over your weight.

You have a few words--mama, dada, and hi. Daddy taught you to shake your head "no," as well, and you do it indiscriminately, mostly to make us laugh. If I shake my head "yes," you respond by shaking your head "no." It is quite funny, and you do it with a big smile. You also wave "hello," and "goodbye," including to yourself in the mirror in the morning when you first wake up. It is hilarious. You started waving weeks ago, but have gotten really good about it in the last week, responding to anyone who says "hi," "bye," or waves at you. You love to wave at strangers, too. It is just adorable. You've also learned this week how to cluck your tongue. I'm not sure how or when this came about--grammy did it to you, and you did it back, so it's possible you learned it from her. That's certainly where you learned to blow raspberries! Which, I should mention, you do when you are finished eating. You refuse to eat any more, and blow raspberries so we can't possibly get another bit in you. You do it at two points in the meal--when we finish up with the "main course"--ie, oatmeal, signaling that you are ready for fruit, and then when you are done with your fruit.

Grammy enjoyed every minute of you while she was here, and took piles of pictures of you. We are going to make her a book full of photos of her trip. She left this morning, and was quite sad to go. She said she doesn't get enough time with you, and she is right. You adore playing with her. Although, you clearly have a preference for mommy at certain times, which was a bit of a surprise to us. Since you have been just with daddy and I for the last few months, we didn't realize that was the case. It is lovely to have you reach out for me, and lay your head on my shoulder when I pick you up. You fell asleep in Grammy's arms a few days ago, though, and I think she was in heaven.

While she was here, we did a bus tour of the city. You slept through the entire thing. You just love white noise, and were oblivious to the city traffic and the woman providing live commentary throughout the trip. I kept checking on you, laying there in your Baby Bjorn on daddy's chest, to make sure you were okay. You still are not the greatest napper in the world, taking two short naps if we are lucky, so I was surprised to see you sleep for so long. Grammy clearly tired you out, because you are taking another long nap right now. You also fell asleep yesterday for a second time while we did a tour of one of the city's big sites. You were a delight in the restaurant at lunch, waving and smiling at another family across the restaurant who had a baby the same size as you. It turned out that their daughter was just six months old, although the same size as you!

You usually don't go to bed until after nine, and sometimes it's after ten. We try to get you in bed before then, but you are too active, and crawl around instead of falling asleep. It just doesn't work. It makes it hard for me to get anything done at night, because I play with you until bedtime, and by the time you fall asleep, I am exhausted and go to bed, too! You sleep fairly well, though, and don't wake up until 7:30-8am. You still sleep in bed with us. We think about transitioning you back to your crib, but you completely freak out when you wake up alone in it, and right now we are taking the path of least resistance. We know you will sleep by yourself eventually, and right now, we are all getting plenty of sleep, so we aren't messing with a good thing. You love to snuggle with me in the night, and when you do awaken, I can quickly get you back to sleep within minutes. You are lovely when you wake up in the morning--all smiles when you see us. You just have the best little personality. We enjoy every minute with you.

For your first birthday, Auntie R is coming to visit, and we are planning a big trip to another city. It is going to be spectacular, I think. It's a little over the top, actually, and I can't promise that all of your birthdays will be like this, but perhaps!

I love you fiercely, my dear child. You are such a gift, and I am so thankful for you. I think back to last Christmas, when I was massively pregnant and uncomfortable, the house unfinished, the future uncertain, and I can't believe how much has changed for all of us. It's hard for me to imagine my life without you--that it has been such a short time is unconceivable. You are just SUCH a gift, a dream realized and luxuriated in every minute of every day.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hello Again

Has it really been two months since I posted? It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but I guess it has been. I haven't been writing, I haven't been reading, I haven't been anywhere near the computer. I must say, I've missed this--all of it. I've been busy living, though, and something had to go, and it was the internet. But I'm back. I need the outlet!

Life is busy. Miss M is fabulous, and I spend every spare minute with her, just soaking up her supreme babyliciousness. Every day, she grows and changes and expands her world. It is just tremendously satisfying to experience. Being her mother has satisfied something deep in my soul. But more about her and all of that in another post. I need to get other stuff down today--so much other stuff that I don't even know where to begin!

The job alternates between being utterly cool and making me feel like a huge loser. I guess that's to be expected--I completely changed fields, and there is obviously a learning curve. Some days I am on top of the world, and things just snap into place. But some days I just feel so irrelevant. I spent a decade working on important stuff, and could easily find ways to make myself needed. The work I'm doing now is important, but not in quite the same way, and I am not yet the one people turn to when they need someone for the tough stuff. It's weird. Growing pains, I guess. I know I'll get there--I remember it was like this a decade ago, and I know I'll work my way through it.

And it's not all bad, not by a long shot. There are days, hours, moments of bad, but there is plenty of good, and a pile of cool in between those. And did I mention the amazing baby? Even if work totally sucked, I do have her. It doesn't suck. For instance, last week I went to a cocktail party after work, one that I wasn't particularly interested in attending. I had a bit of trouble finding it; it was in a quiet building lacking signage, behind an anonymous door featuring a man with a clipboard and a guest list, and up three flights of stairs. It turned out to be an intimate affair featuring free-flowing alcohol and fancy finger food. I barely looked around upon entering, so disinterested was I in attending. So much so, in fact, that I nearly smacked into Kevin Spacey, who was immaculately dressed and as charming as you might imagine. But then, actors are generally on, aren't they?

But that wasn't my only brush with fame this week. I'm currently sitting here watching a movie as I write this, and as it turns out, I ran into one of the movie's actors in my neighborhood grocery store today. He apparently couldn't find the bread product he was looking for. I would tell you who he is, but you know how crazy I am about security, and you'd know where I lived if I mentioned it. Suffice it to say that makeup helps men out on camera as much as it does women. He looked thin and pasty and old today. It's funny living in a big city, as opposed to our former little town. These are just the sorts of things that happen--famous people are out, living their lives.

I don't have a good seque into breastfeeding from there, so let's just jump, shall we? I am still breastfeeding. Miss M will be a year old in a few short weeks, and that was my goal in the beginning. Anything more than that is gold. I am so proud of myself that we made it thus far, despite the moves and the career change and the utter chaos. That said, I can't wait to stop pumping at work. When I started the job, I realized that pumping in my office would be impossible (glass walls). The bathrooms are cold and feature multiple stalls--no privacy. They ended up building a "lactation room," but it's a single bathroom that they put some chairs in, and worse, men use it to go to the bathroom. There are a few men who clearly don't like to poop in stalls, and go out of their way to seek out this location to use it for that purpose. So gross. And it's near the garage, so it's totally freezing. I hate it, but there is NO good place to pump in our building. I am down to pumping twice a day at work. Oh, I can't wait to not have to pump at work! Miss M still is very attached to nursing in the morning, at night just before bed, and while she sleeps, if she wakes up. I think it will be hard for her to let go of, but we won't do anything cold turkey. I'm going to stop pumping at work in a few weeks; we'll see what happens with my milk supply after that.

Although I am not pumping as much as I once was, my period has not yet returned. T. has started talking about #2, but I am not there yet. I'm clearly not there physically yet. But I'm not there yet mentally ,either. I'm physically just wrung out. Between the year plus that I spent eating well and taking care of myself while I was pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and then the last year of breastfeeding, I'm just exhausted. I want my body back to myself for a bit. I want to be free for a little bit. I just need a time out. And I'm not sure about juggling with a second child. We are managing with one, but two feels like it might be chaos. T. is home with Miss M full time, but it's still not easy--I'm still washing plenty of dishes and doing laundry and errands, errands, errands, and working and playing with baby, and shopping for gifts, and preparing for visitors and. . .it just feels chaotic now, and I worry about handling it all with one more.

That said, I certainly want another child. Our family doesn't feel finished. I don't really want Miss M to be an only child. We are tabling the discussion for now. We'll see how I feel in a few months.

Miss M is sleeping fairly well. However, she is in our bed still. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it is completely and totally working for us. We're all getting sleep. She settles really fast when she wakes in the middle of the night, if she wakes at all, that is. She goes to be between 8 and 10 (depending on whether she's taken 2 or 3 naps during the day--three results in bunny Miss M!), and sleeps until 7:30-8am. But, she also likes to snuggle close to me all night, and she is a little furnace. Or, she lays perpendicular, and I get kicked in the face. I love that our nights involve actual sleep, but I would also like to reclaim my acreage. Or at least stop getting kicked in the head.

I know there are people who have sex all of the time, and are parents to small children. Those people are not me. I know it's from the breastfeeding, but sex remains fairly uncomfortable, even when I'm not so exhausted that I actually am up for it. The body really is miraculous in the way that it manages resources. Mine clearly does not want to be pregnant again right now! I am hoping that my hormones bounce back to normal when breastfeeding slows further in a few weeks.

I am super excited about Christmas, because we have company coming. It's going to be an over-the-top affair, I'm afraid, because everyone has been sending enormous boxes of presents. More on that later.

For Miss M's birthday, I also have an over-the-top celebration planned. I will tell you all about it, but probably after the fact, because I am exhausted, and going to bed.

Seriously, I am so tired.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Second Act

Aside from a few posts I have managed to squeak out over the last few weeks, I have been away from the internet. With the big move, the new job, the second new city in four months, a new routine, and the crappy internet that I am inflicted with until my real internet is installed (in two MORE weeks--damn European utilities!), blogging and blog reading has been all but impossible (oh, and I don't have a cell phone yet, which is how I was reading blogs, for the most part, which has complicated matters further--curses to the European utilities and banking industry, again). I must say, I have really missed this community. I promise that I'll be catching up on reading and commenting in coming weeks, as the dust settles around my new life. I hope wonderful things are happening out there.

As for me, I truly feel as though I am in the harbor of my life as I have entered this second act. I have this amazing baby that continues to thrill and astonish me every day (there will be an upcoming post all about her). I have a wonderful husband, who has been lovely and accommodating, even though this move isn't nearly as easy for him as it's been for me (it's hard to meet people in a new city when you are the man home with the baby). We are living in a gorgeous place, where I have a cozy, proper office that looks out over a garden, from which I am typing right now. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the roses are even still blooming here. It is a magical time in my life.

That's not to say that everything is perfect (the non-perfect parts, too, will be the subject of an upcoming post). But it is very, very good. I feel like the struggle and strife and difficulty of the last few years has finally given way--like it all finally paid off. I feel like I went through all of that turmoil so that I could get here. Sometimes it takes my breath away, how lucky I am. When I nuzzle soft fuzzy baby hair, when I hear her giggles, when I wake to her giant grin. . .I just think of how blessed I am. On top of that, to have tried for almost 18 months to get a job that I hoped would be fabulous, and then to get that job, and find it every bit as fabulous as I had imagined it would be--there is something so powerful about that. I am so proud of myself that I stuck with it, that I worked hard to get somewhere, and that I actually achieved all of this. To be living in a European city is also such a gift (even despite the recent terrorism warnings). Yesterday, we strolled for hours through parks and city streets, stopping occasionally for cappuccino or pastries or gelato, and it was just magnificent. We didn't do anything terribly unusual--it was rather ordinary, in fact, but it was beautifully, enjoyably ordinary in a way that I cannot even put into words. I feel like I am living whole again. I guess that is it--I feel whole, for the first time in a very long time. In fact, perhaps for the first time ever.

As we meandered down a quiet wooded path yesterday, through an enormous park, I commented to T. that it feels as though it's been years since we left our home in New England, since I worked at my old job, but it's been just four months. These have been the longest shortest four months of my life, by which I mean that they feel long because we packed so much in, but they just flew by--dissolved. Since mid-June, we have lived in two different major cities, I have gone through three different sets of training, we have met two different sets of people (and still continue to), we have finished a major renovation of our house, we have packed up all of our things and moved hundreds of miles (twice!) and through it all, we had an infant who grew and changed and thrived despite the chaos. Looking back, it seems impossible that we jumped off that cliff and trusted that we would fly, but we did, and I must say, the views are just amazing. It feels so good to soar.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Morning Drama

I was reading something a while ago, and it said something along the lines of "everyone's baby eventually rolls off the bed." And I was like, "oh my--not mine!!!" Because, you know, I am super neurotic, and I would never let anything like that happen.


So this morning, I turned around for a second to dig out the ointment because Miss M has a diaper rash all of a sudden (her first, which is a whole other story). I turned back only to see her turn and giggle at me as she hurled herself off the side of the bed. She didn't just roll off--she dove!!! I managed to get my hands on her legs as she was going over, which broke the fall a bit, but she still landed head first. Luckily, the bed isn't very high and the floor is well padded.

I think she was more scared than anything, and she started wailing. I felt horrible, of course, but all i could think was "she's got a head injury or a neck injury." I put her down immediately so I could check her out, which only made the crying worse, because of course she was find and just wanted to be cuddled. In hindsight this seems a little crazy, but I was freaking out that she'd really hurt herself. She was fine 60 seconds later, but it took me a bit longer to calm down.

The toddler years are going to send ME over the edge!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Postcard From Europe

You know how you can't fit much on a post card? That's kind of like what this post is going to be like, because I am tired and feel like I am coming down with something.

But still, I wanted to update, because it's been FOREVER!!!

We had a blissfully uneventful trip over. Miss M. was a delight on the plane--she fell asleep just as we took off, slept for a few hours, then was awake for a few (and flirted with the man next to her the whole time), then slept again. I think the key was ensuring that she had the pacifier in during every bit of takeoff and landing, and making sure we had a bunch of toys with us. I found pacifier clips on Amazon that can be used to firmly attach toys to carseats, and they worked like a dream while we were in transit.

The last few weeks have been a blur of starting a new job (again), unpacking, and exploring our new city. My employer found our housing, and we have been delighted with the quality and location. It's the kind of neighborhood I've always wanted to live in, too, with loads of fabulous amenities nearby. We are having a blast here. Miss M is just delightful--crawling at the speed of light, pulling up on everything (and, a week and a half shy of 9 months old, letting go--she is anxious to walk, and determined. . .I really did get the restless child that I was, much to my chagrin). She makes a beeline for all the things we don't want her near: stairs, electrical cords, sharp corners on furniture, dead spiders. She laughs and smiles all of the time. . .except when she doesn't get her way, in which case, she fake cries. When I call her on the fake crying, she gives me a shit-eating grin, as if she just knows she's been busted. She is a delightful handful.

So, things are good. I find that I am. . .happy. . .here. It feels so odd to say. As months pass, and I continue to shed my old self, I have been recognizing just how toxic certain aspects of my old life were. It is so refreshing, so much fun to start over. I knew it would be good for me, but I truly had no idea how much I would enjoy this. I thought it would be hard, I thought it would be a challenge, and it is both of those things at times. But it never occurred to me that it would be so much FUN to move to a new place, live in a new country, try a new profession, work with new people. Every day is such a joy. I feel so blessed, to have this husband, this baby, this job, this LIFE. It feels so good, and it is nice to finally feel so good. I think I became so beaten down for so long in my old life (and principally by my old job) that I no longer recognized that life could be this good. I am so glad I made this leap of faith.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

And We're Off!

Waiting to board the airplane now. . .baby's first flight!!! Hopefully, this will go well. She's eaten and taken a little baby Tylenol. Wish I was in such good shape. . .ran out of time and didn't get a chance to pump! So uncomfortable!!!

May be a bit before we have internet once we get there. But, see you soon on the other side of the pond!

And We're Off!

Waiting to board the airplane now. . .baby's first flight!!! Hopefully, this will go well. She's eaten and taken a little baby Tylenol. Wish I was in such good shape. . .ran out of time and didn't get a chance to pump! So uncomfortable!!!

May be a bit before we have internet once we get there. But, see you soon on the other side of the pond!

And We're Off!

Waiting to board the airplane now. . .baby's first flight!!! Hopefully, this will go well. She's eaten and taken a little baby Tylenol. Wish I was in such good shape. . .ran out of time and didn't get a chance to pump! So uncomfortable!!!

May be a bit before we have internet once we get there. But, see you soon on the other side of the pond!

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's a Rollercoaster

I am alternating between being blissfully happy and completely losing my shit, sometimes in the same 5 minutes. I am a little disappointed in myself that I feel this way, but in my more rational moments, I know this is probably normal on the eve to a move to a completely different continent. Aside from the obvious stress, my to-do list contains about a million things left on it. Like, canceling my cell phone contract (their website is suspiciously absent of information on how to do this; I know that we should be able to do it without a fee, but the details are lost on me). It's mostly just little stuff, but boy, there is a lot of it.

We aren't moving to Borneo-sorry to my commenter-I would have loved someone nearby! We're headed to Europe. Don't get me wrong-I'm ecstatic about the assignment, in a big picture sense. It's just that right now, I am utterly mired in details, and the drudgery of moving again. Oh, and every time I think of traveling with a baby, divine though she is, I get a little overwhelmed. I have visions of a screaming, pooplosions, lost luggage...aaahhhhh, so relaxing, this new life!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Has It Really Been Three Weeks?

So, I am a really bad blogger lately. Currently, my days look something like this:
•wake up around six; hit snooze until 7.
•Rush around like lunatic trying to get ready and out the door for 8 am bus to work
•Work until around 4:30 (which is SO TOTALLY EARLY compared to my old job. Why don't I have any free time?!)
•Run around all day at work. Spend every spare minute pumping and/or frantically trying to arrange details of our upcoming move that are technically work-related, but somehow don't really fit into my workday.
•Run for the bus home; just barely make it-arrive home just before 5
•Play with Miss M. until she seems tired/feed her/talk to her/play with her some more/do SOMETHING about dinner (takeout, anyone??!)
•Nurse baby to sleep when she gets fussy (bad sleep habit, I know!)
•After baby is in bed, run around apartment like lunatic/surf internet, ordering things, going over to-do lists, researching, cleaning apartment, doing laundry, etc, until I fall into bed around 11
•Wake to sound of crying baby 56 times in middle of night; comfort her briefly until she falls asleep (yes, another bad sleep habit-but it's all about survival right now, and she goes back to sleep in seconds when comforted and not at all if ignored)
•Rinse, lather, repeat...

Weekends involve more time with baby, but also more time running around. So, blogging has fallen off my radar. Things are going well overall, though, other than the utter insanity of dealing with a second major move in a three months. Things are inexplicably better with T. Part of it, I think, is that I've stopped needing the fenugreek, and I've noticed that I am a LOT less irritable. I was INSANELY irritable while taking it. I haven't seen that as a side effect, but that was my experience. It will be good to finally get settled and find a good babysitter. We haven't had a date without the baby in months, and we really need it.

We leave next week for our new city, where we will spend the next few years. It is crazy to be moving again. We've made some great friends here, and it makes me sad to leave them so soon, but since they were only here for training, they are leaving soon too. I guess that just gives us one more place to want to visit on vacation!

I've just seen the pictures of our new townhouse, and it is pretty fabulous. I could have never afforded such a great place in a large city on my own, but it's one of the perks of the job. I'm pretty excited about it.

And now, must race off again! I scheduled a meeting for tonight, because I just couldn't fit it in anywhere else. Sigh. I'd rather be playing with Miss M.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


When we decided to have a baby, I knew that there were things about my relationship with my husband that would change. I also knew that there would be things that would be hard. We'd been together for fifteen years before we had the baby. As our union became a true family, the dynamic between us would be different.

Similarly, I knew that there were a pile of things that would be hard about taking this new job. After all, we moved 500 miles so that I could get training, knowing that we would move internationally when I finished training. We didn't know at the outset exactly how much training I would get, or exactly how long we would be here. We moved to a place that neither of us was familiar with. I changed fields, so I am learning entirely new skills every day. I have new coworkers now, and will have new ones again in another month or so when we move again. T gave up his career to become M's full time caregiver, so there is the loss of how he has defined himself professionally, as well as the transition from professional with his own business to staying at home full time with a baby, which we all known can be wonderful, intense and isolating all in the same day. We've left our familiar support network of friends and family.

Much of this has been joyful and easy. Some of it, though, has been hard.

Our relationship continues to evolve, both in relation to having a baby and with regard to all of the other changes going on around us. The evolution is not always for the better. I am short-tempered sometimes. I am tired, particularly when I've had a number of long days in a row, and Miss M hasn't been sleeping. I am quick to become irritable with the fact that T can't be bothered to rinse out the bottles after he feeds them to her, or take out the trash when he has been home all day, or leaves wet towels from the pool on the living room furniture. It makes me crazy. He will become sullen and quiet when I tell him Miss M needs to be strapped into her carseat all of the way when we go out for a walk with her, that it's not safe otherwise. He'll tell me bitterly that I suck the fun out of everything when he proposes going out for burgers, and I point out that will only make him feel poorly and ruin his sleep. Some days, it feels like we either bicker, or there is a gulf of silence between us.

I know this is just a transition phase. We have a strong relationship and a long history together, and there has been a lot of change for us over the last nine months. I adore him, and he makes me laugh. I know that we can work past all of the stupid stuff, and that our lives are in a really good place right now overall. There are plenty of nice moments among the irritating and difficult ones.

But lately, our marriage feels--for the first time in a decade--like it really takes effort to make it work. I am used to speeding along on autopilot and having everything slide along smoothly. I'm not used to this. I'm not used to it being hard.

I underestimated how much of an impact transition upon transition upon transition would have on us. It's one thing to have a baby, or move, or take a new job, or go from running a business to taking care of a baby. But doing all at once is infinitely more challenging.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Miss M at Six Months and Change

I am a little late with the monthly update, but things have been quite hectic around here, and every spare minute has been spent enjoying time with Miss M, rather than documenting that time. . .

Dear Miss M,

We continue to be thoroughly enchanted by you. You are the happiest of babies, always smiling and giggling. When you wake up in the morning, you lay quietly, waiting for us to also awaken. When we do, you give us a big smile as soon as you see that we are looking at you. Sometimes, if you are in our bed, which you ARE most mornings these days, you will grab on to my pajama top and nestle in close so that you can nurse. You are getting SO strong, and can pull yourself over to me. It is quite cute.

You have not slept well since we moved here. About a month ago, we were at wit's end with your sleeplessness, and we let you sleep in our bed with us--something we said we would NEVER do! Sure enough, it helped you sleep, which in turn meant that we slept. You've been there ever since. Oh sure, we try to put you to bed in your crib. But sometime during the middle of the night, you are sure to awake crying. You roll all over the place, and wake yourself up rolling onto your tummy. It scares you to wake up alone, and you cry inconsolably until you realize we are there with you. As soon as we pick you up, you are happy, and you go right back to sleep once placed in our bed. You love to snuggle with us, and can often be found with one hand on daddy and one on mommy.

You are incredibly active these days. You roll ALL OVER the place. You sometimes try to crawl, but can't quite do it, and this frustrates you and makes you cry. Still, you are able to move everywhere by rolling like a whirling dervish. It was quiet, a little too quiet, a few weeks ago, and when I peered out from the kitchen, you had managed to roll yourself over to the big glass windows and were gnawing on the bottoms of the vertical blinds. Yuck!

You love to be out and about in your stroller. You are curious about the world around you, as you have been ever since you were born. I have never seen a baby who is so interested in everything, but you are. You love to look around. You are fascinated by trees, and just like daddy, you love to people watch. We are having a terrible time getting you to eat, because you just don't want to stop for a minute. It takes an hour to get you to drink 4-5 ounces from your bottle. I have no idea how much you drink when you nurse, because while you are more attentive, you are also more comfortable nursing, and you often fall asleep.

This month, just before the 4th of July, we started you on "real" food while we were visiting my mom, your grandma. Rice cereal. . .you didn't love it. We get a bit into you at every feeding, but you just aren't crazy about it. After that, we moved on to green beans (you hated them and cried with every spoonful. . .you made the best "this is terrible" faces). I thought that maybe there was something wrong with the green beans, but I tasted them, and they tasted just like green beans. We gave up on those after a week. . .maybe in a few weeks we'll bring them back. Then, it was peaches, but you didn't really care for those, either. We tried bananas next. Nope, not those, either. Finally, we hit the jackpot with applesauce. Slowly, we are getting more into you.

At your six month doctor's visit, you were in just the 5 percentile for your weight, although you were in the 55 percentile for height, and the 75 percentile for head circumference. We joke that you are going to be skinny and smart. Still, it worries us that you are so thin, and the doctor wants to see us again in six weeks. We are sneaking cereal into your bottles to try to add some extra calories. We can't tell if it's working.

We love to play with you. You love books, your rubber giraffe, your binky, and the little soft stuffed doll that grandma gave you when she came to visit you this month. It is the perfect size for you, and you love to chew on it. You love to chew on everything, actually--the tags on pillows, your blanket, daddy's shirt, your toys, your feet. In fact, while trying to take your passport photo yesterday, they had to take it twice, because you stuck your foot in your mouth just as they snapped the picture. And everything makes you laugh. We just love to listen to you laugh. It is the happiest sound on the planet.

Each day, we look forward to the new little things that you do. You now pass things from one hand to the other. You can sit up, supporting yourself on your arms. In the last few days, you have started to make a clicking sound with your mouth. You have also started doing something that we find absolutely hilarious--DANCING!!! A few nights ago we were at dinner with friends, and you heard some music and started rocking back and forth, and then laughing your head off. It was so funny. We've been able to replicate it since then--yes, you dance when we play music. It is just the greatest thing ever. We have no idea where you learned this from.

In another month, we will move to a foreign country. It will be sad that you won't get to see our friends and family as often as you might have otherwise, but there are so many amazing experiences that you will have instead. We can't wait to explore this big world with you.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Things I Have Learned In The Last Month

1. When given no other coice, it is possible to pump in five minutes. It is also possible to pump with this sort of abbreviated pumping schedule for weeks on end, and keep supply in reasonably good shape.

2. Fenugreek really works to improve supply, and quickly!

3. Alas, a baby who sleeps well for months on end won't sleep well forever...particularly once she discovers it's much nicer to snuggle in mommy's bed than sleep alone in her crib.

4. South of New England, the cockroaches grow to be the size of small dogs.

5. It's fun to be a student again. Usually. Sometimes it also feels like living under a semi-hostile dictatorship. No cups without lids, 10 minute bathroom breaks, no whispering...ugh.

6. If you don't unpack, you don't have to repack two months later when you learn you are getting sent abroad much sooner than you have anticipated.

7. Grandmothers don't like it much when you tell them you are taking their grandchild to a large city in another country, and it doesn't help to remind them that at least it's not [insert country you find frightening here].

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I am still alive. I have been so insanely busy, and running on so little sleep, that blogging has been impossible. The schedule with the new job has been easy in terms of work hours, but the social schedule here has been intense. Miss M is still not sleeping through the night, either, so I am a wreck. I am having a blast, but wiped out. The job is great, Miss M is divine, and T is great. Things are good. I should know in a few days how much more training I will need, and where the company will be sending me next. It's all very exciting...and oh so exhausting!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We are in our new city, and more or less moved in to our new place. It's a decent place-big and airy, with nice furnishings. Since we are here only temporarily for training, we moved into a furnished place, and we are so glad we did. It was no more difficult than check into a hotel, and it came pretty well stocked (there is even a pastry brush in the kitchen!).

We made one tactical mistake. We waited to transition Miss M from bassinet to crib until we were here. She has also started rolling over onto her tummy every chance she gets, and seems to have forgotten how to roll back. She tries to crawl (but can't), and then screams her head off. She woke herself up approximately 407 times the first couple of nights, rolling all over the place. I wondered if we would ever sleep through the night again. Mercifully, last night she rolled all over the place, but did not wake up, and we all got a good night's sleep.

I have started my new job. So far, so good. I got home at 5:15 last night! I have commuted and worked such long hours for so many years that it was kind of a shock. We went out to dinner, and as we walked back, I commented on how nice it is to be able to do things with T. during the week. I am so excited to be able to spend more time at home, which the hours of job will hopefully allow me to do.

So all in all, things are good!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Well, one end of the move (out of our house) is officially over. We had a going away party, which was fun. I said goodbye to family and friends, which was hard. We cleaned out the house, put stuff in storage, threw stuff away, donated, and packed for what seems like forever. I am so glad to be done with it, although it was so all-consuming that I feel like I didn't get a chance to say a proper goodbye to my old life, if that makes any sense. When you are moving, it is easy to occupy yourself with the small stuff.

We drove a good bit of the way a few nights ago. Miss M was cheerful for the first seven hours in her carseat, but the last two hours were a screamfest. I felt horrible, so horrible that I stopped at a rest area not far from my mother's house (our destination at the time) just so I could take her out of the car seat and hug her. That's all she wanted, and she cried again when I had to strap her back in. We've spent the last few days at my mom's, where Miss M was spoiled by grandma. Tomorrow, we drive a few more hours, then move into our new place. I can't wait to see it (we rented sight unseen, because that was all I could deal with at the time).

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Tonight is my last night in my own bed in my own house. The movers are coming tomorrow (a day early-don't even get me started!). It's Miss M's last night in her bassinet, as we will be transitioning her to her crib after we move. It's our last night in this room where we created her...our last night in this room where my water broke, where she and I spent much of those early months, coccooned in from the winter weather and the world. Our last night really living in this house, where this amazing life with her Miss M. began.

The pace has been frenetic, so there's been no time to reflect, which might be a good thing. My grandmother came by today, to see M. and to take pictures, and to give her some things, and it struck me that this isn't just saying goodbye to our house and our favorite places. It's not just "see you in a while, to our friends and family. This might actually be the last time I see my grandmothers. It may be our last time with certain family friends and godparents, ever. Some of them are getting older, and/or are in failing health. It all makes me terribly sad.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

5 Months

Miss M. Is five months today. She is currently laying under her baby gym, vigorously moving her legs, talking, and trying to yank one of the toys low enough to stuff it in her mouth--all while pooping her pants, it seems from the noises she is making. Ahhh, the life of a baby.

Five months ago, it was hard for me to ever imagine a time when parenting wouldn't be scary, a time when she would get bigger, a time when she would interact with the world around her. When I first would lay her under the play gym, she would just lay there and stare. I couldn't imagine that she would play with the toys on the baby gym. But, that day is here. It's amazing to think of how far along her development has come. In no particular order:

-Miss M can roll over both ways. She started being able to roll from front to back a few weeks ago. It's still a bit hard for her, as she has trouble pulling the arm underneath her out from beneath her after she rolls.

She chatters away a lot. In the morning, she gets louder and louder until we get up with her.

She is a happy, smiley, giggly baby. We just adore her. Yesterday we took her to get her passport, and she gave the photographer a big smile. She is going to have the cutest passport photo.

She has started to teeth in ernest over the last few weeks. Everything goes in her mouth, and she is increasingly fussy. She'll stop screaming if you rub her gums, though. But, I hate putting my fingers in her mouth.

She has started trying to stick her fingers in her mouth while she eats. Nope, that doesn't work.

She has a new love for her swing, which she was never really into before.

We've started sitting her in the Bumbo chair, which she likes-especially outside on the grass. She is fascinated by grass, and leans over the chair to run her fingers through it.

She was sleeping through the night very reliably until teething started. Now we are up once a night for a long feeding.

She JUST went into the 3-6 month clothes. She is a peanut. She has a gorgeous wardrobe, though, thanks to generous friends and family and a treaure trove of both new clothes and hand-me-downs. Dressing her is SO much fun!

She finally discovered her toes, and will chew on them if they are bare.

She likes to be carried around the yard so she can look at the plants.

Daddy likes to nuzzle her with his beard, and it makes her smile. She laughs out loud when he holds her and yells "choo choo," and then jiggles her while making a chugging train noise. It's hilarious to watch. She squeals in delight, whoch makes my heart happy.

She started petting the cat (before he left to go live with grandma). It was amazing that she knew to pet him, and even more amazing that he didn't even seem to mind when she yanked on his fur a few times.

We have to move her out of the bassinet when we move next week. She is officially too big for it. She creeps up during the night, and ends up with her head against the top.

In short, she continues to totally rock.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday, Rated

Saying goodbye to puppy...bad

Finding empty clomid packets in pockets of suits unworn since last winter, just before taking them to the cleaners, then looking at giggling Miss M...very, very good.

Poorly attached diaper allows pooplosion to cover newly washed down comforter and duvet cover...bad

Discovering husband packed food and pictures together in insealed containers, then stored in garage for the winter, resulting in mice onfestation and destruction of family pictures due to mouse pee...very bad.

Sorting crap in humid 90 degree weather...bad.

Sorting crap in humid 90 degree weather while heat is on because new furnace is being installed today, and plumber needs to check operation...very bad.

Saturday is kicking my ass.


As excited as I am, there are hard parts. I spent this morning sobbing, because today my much beloved dog will go and live with a friend. She (the friend) is a total dog person, and loves my dog, so it will be a good fit. I know this is what is best for my dog-she would hate moving to the city, and would hate flying to be with us. Still, it's hard. She's been with us for a long time, and I will miss her terribly. She has been a wonderful protector and companion, and I love her dearly.

The cat already went to live with my MIL. That's not as hard. He's a good cat, and was originally hers, and I'll see him again next week. I think it's easier with him, because his absence isn't as noticeable. My dog is huge, and her absence from the house is so very noticeable when she is not here. The house becomes strangely quiet, and it FEELS like someone is missing, if that makes any sense.

My last day of work was fine. I lost it and cried on a few people (oddly, not even the people I'll miss the most-they were the first people to say goodbye). I don't even know why I cried, because I'm so happy to be free of the job. It's the sadness over the end of an era in my life, I guess. It's knowing I won't be doing this thing I've loved for so long. A client sent me flowers, and I got lots of little gifts. It was sweet. The flowers from the former client mean the most, though, because I was with them through a tragic time in their life, and it means a lot to me that I touched them in an important way. It made me cry when the flowers came. And, I'm crying as I type this. Endings are always hard for me, even though I've been planning this one for a very long time, and am so looking forward to our new life. It's hard to let go of what has been your existance for so long, no matter how tough times have been and no matter how ready you are to move on.

We decided to have a going away party (well, T. agreed to have it-AT OUR HOUSE-the night before the movers come, and THEN told me about it. I am going to be a complete mess, saying goodbye to everyone. I don't know what I was thinking!

It is absolutely pouring out... Weather to match my mood.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Last Day

I am having this weird reality check right now. For more than a year and a half, I've planned, studied, prepared, and waited to get a job I've long dreamed of. For more than six weeks, I've known that a) I got that job, b) I was leaving my current job, c) I was renting my house, and d) I was moving to a city 500+ miles away. But I compartmentalize really well, and I've been caught up with the minutae of packing/moving/sorting/cleaning out/taking care of baby/finishing work/changing insurance and thinking about wills and reappraising things and looking for tenants and on and on an on. . .caught up in all of the details associated with changing jobs and moving. It JUST hit me, as I was standing at the kitchen sink rinsing out bottles, what a HUGE undertaking this all is. It JUST hit me. It is a HUGE change. For the longest time, it's been something that was going to happen, maybe, at some very distant point in the future. But all of a sudden, that day is really here. It's here. Tomorrow is my last day of work. The movers come in a week and a half. In less than two weeks, I will not live here any more, in my beautiful, newly renovated house. In less than two weeks, I will drive away from this house, and I don't know when I will be back. It doesn't seem real.

I have a packed day tomorrow. My office isn't quite cleaned out. I need to tie up a few loose ends. A client wants to meet first thing in the morning to talk about the status of a matter, and the new person isn't up to speed yet, so off I will go to do that. There is one last lunch out with colleagues. I am quite sure that I will run out of day before I will run out of things to do! (And don't even get me started on what a pain it is to find good tenants, and how much time I am spending answering questions and trying to appropriately screen them so we end up with some quiet, neat person who pays their rent on time).

Everywhere I go, I am suddenly struck by it maybe being my "last time." I think "this will be my last time shoppping here," at the grocery store that so conveniently is on my way home from work. "This is my last time buying baby things" at this little store I like so much. "This is my last time" I will sit in "x" type of meeting. "This is my last time" I will see this person. "This is my last time" I will do this task. It isn't sad, exactly, but it IS weird. I've lived this life, this path for so long, I can only think about my new life in the abstract. It's like, I know that it is going to be there, but it's hard to wrap my mind around.

But I just keep thinking, I am giving up something so that I can get something. I am giving up this house, this job, this place so that T. and Miss M. and I will be able to travel and explore and experience new people, places and things. I am letting go of the old so that I may change and evolve and grow. I just have to have faith that the things that we are running toward are at least equal in value to the things we are leaving behind. And I do have faith that this is the right decision, and that it will all work out just fine.

I just have one tiny, crazy fear. It's really, really crazy. I am so excited to move, so excited to start this new job, so excited for this new chapter of my life, that I am terribly afraid that something is going to happen to snatch it all from me. Mostly, I worry that I'm going to die, and not only will I miss the great happiness of starting off on this grand adventure, but my daughter will have to grow up without her mother (and I worry that I won't get all of the insurance coverage in place before that happens). Isn't that truly insane? But this is what I do. . .when there are plenty of perfectly good issues to worry about, I skip over those and go for the crazy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekend Recap

The world continues to spin, and time marches on at a dizzying pace. The movers come two weeks from today. We made progress this weekend, but not as much as I'd have liked to have made. I have four more days of work left, and I am scrambling to get evrything cleared out there, too.

We showed the house for the first time this weekend. They are eager to rent from us, but my Spidey sense is telling me that they are not tenants that we want. They seem really neurotic and high maintenance. I would post some of the ludicrous questions that they asked, but they were so crazy and specific that I'm afraid they might stumble across this post if I did. CRAZY questions, needless to say. I don't need the hassle of crazy tenants. Plus, they are ready to move in immediately upon our departure, and I am suspicious of people who have that kind of availability. So, we'll keep looking. There has been a lot of interest, generated no doubt by the fact that there are few houses for rent in our area, let alone on the price range we are offering, and still fewer willing to allow pets.

And now I'm off for my last week of work.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Moving Along. . .

I am exhausted. I have been chairing a committee for a local nonprofit, and today was my last "official" act--throwing a fundraiser. I ran around all day. T. had to work, so I brought the baby with me. She was absolutely perfect all day--she hung out in her stroller for most of the day, smiling and giggling at everyone. I think she LOVED the mental stimulation of being outside. She is zonked now! My legs ache from all of the running around, though.

I have been putting off listing our house for rent, simply because I'm dreading dealing with it--the taking of pictures (there are piles EVERYWHERE right now!), the phone calls, the showings. It's pretty much the last thing I want to do. But, it must be done. I just listed the house on Crai.gslist a half an hour ago, and within 10 minutes, I'd received two different phone calls about it!

T. and I agreed on a price before I listed it. It's a fair price, and covers all of our expenses, and it's well within the price range for houses for rent in our area. It's gorgeous space, too. The renovations have turned out really nice. The custom kitchen went in this week, and I love it. I would have been so happy living here! I must be crazy. . .Once I started getting the calls, T. said that he didn't think we were asking for enough money, but I think it's a good price. Hopefully, we can find the right people to rent it.

By the way, to answer the question about which brest pump I am using, I have the Med.ela I love it, love it, love it. It is tiny and light and works really well, and I don't even use the highest settings on it. The pump literally fits in the palm of your hand, and you can throw it into any bag you want. The parts are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. You can sterilize them in the microwave or dishwasher, ALL of them. There are bottles that attach right to the pump, and it comes with a little separate refrigerated bag and freezer pack that fits 4 bottles. It's made pumping totally easy, and totally portable. I went to the store and picked up some of the other pumps, and they weighed SO much more that I spent the extra cash to get the I haven't been disappointed. It was worth every penny.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Basement Strata

I am a more serious packrat than I remembered. Truthfully, I have been long casting a blind eye toward the towering piles of boxes in my basement. I found boxes full of stuff from grad school. High school!

It has been like revisiting my life, layer by layer. Prom pictures...reply cards to our wedding...letters from college friends and the ghosts of boyfriends past alike. (Letters! Can you imagine recent college grads writing each other LETTERS today?!).

Truthfully, I kind of wanted to save the letters, but a) I am tryong to de-packrat, b) it seemed sort of wrong to keep letters from old boyfriends (no matter how hilarious), and c) some of them referenced conduct that I wouldn't want my daughter reading about (yes, I am a "do as I say, not as I did" parent. Or maybe, "don't ask, don't tell.". Or, just utterly into revisionist history, or all of the above.). It was fun to go through the strata. Now that I am in the harbor of my life, with amazing baby and husband, it was like walking down the corrider of other lives that Might Have Been. Some of the letters were truly fabulous. There was a hand-drawn non-Valentine's Day card from one guy that was cut into puzzle pieces, which is exactly the kind of quirky surprise that I still enjoy today. (He used to be a funky and alternative Ph.D candidate, but he turned up for one of our last dates with really bad shoes, and that was the end of it. He no longer seemed cool or alternative, which was frankly the only attraction. And no, that is not the only guy I rejected based largely on footwear. I still maintain that shoes say a lot about a guy, and I'm sticking to that!). There was a very funny letter from a college boyfriend that asked, between the lines, whether there was any sort of future for our relationship shortly after college-and I know that I missed that question when I originally got the letter, but it's there plain as day (but,nope, even if I'd seen it then, there wasn't-loved hanging out with him, but our entire relationship was based on our mutual collection of partying friends, his friends who were dating my friends...and partying...although, he was hysterical, and I should really see if I can find him on We stayed in touch for a few years, until he moved. I'm not always so good at keeping in touch..). There were pictures, too...ah, the memories, and that '80's hair!!! Hilarious.

It all reinforced that I have ended up in exactly the right place. I am where I am supposed to be, and so content. I have 15 years of history with T., and as I dig back through the strata of our lives, it feels rich and heavy and meaningful to me. We have created such a good life together, and no one else could ever compare. He is my rock, my partner in adventure, my universe. I am so, so blessed.

Now if this cleaning-out phase would just hurry up and be over. As much fun as bits and pieces of it have been, it mostly sucks. I found a favorite sweater yesterday, and moths had eaten it. Moths! Blech. I hate cleaning and sorting and planning and thinking, and oh yeah, endings. I wish I could fast-forward through this Ending phase to our new Beginning in the new city. I wish I could wave my magic wand, and have everything neatly sorted and organized and DONE.

We had a family going away dinner last night, and someone asked if I'm nervous, etc. She kept asking, in fact, all different ways. I'm not, and that's how I know that this is the right decision for us. I think people expect me to be apprehensive. Honestly, I'm not. Not even a little. I am still beyond thrilled about all of this (except, I wish I'd cleaned everything out about a decade ago). The only thing that is giving me anxiety is the fact that the movers come three weeks from tomorrow, and I have SO much left to do. I am FREAKING out about that. Of course, no one offered to help when I said that, which bummed me out. I hate having to ask for help, but I've had to. I've been begging peope to come sit with the baby so I can clean things out. I am tapping out all of my resources, though. I think I'm going to run out of people who are willing to help, before I run out of needing help, and that sucks.

And, I'm suddenly down to only two more weeks of work. I did my last few "official" acts on Friday. I don't have much else scheduled now, other than cleaning out my office and handing over files. I'm not really sad. I will miss people, and I will miss certain functions, but I've had a good run, and it's time to move on. I got hung up on Friday on something, and ended up waiting around for forever. I was working with a colleague from another entity, who has become a good friend over the years. It was one of the things I'll miss--shooting the breeze about everything and nothing while waiting around on something that's kind of a big deal, but feels like no big deal because you do it day in, day out. I will miss that. Still, it was perfect that I got to do one of my last official acts with him, because he's been there for me professionally through thick and thin. Together, we've seen a lot of shot go down, and in this job, that creates the kinds of bonds that you don't often see. I'm sure I'll find that kind of camraderie in my new job, too, given the type of work that I'll be doing, but I'm going to miss relationships like this one. I hope old friends like him will come and visit T and I when we move.

Three weeks. THREE WEEKS!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Things We Do For Love

I'm currently standing in four inch heels in a bathroom stall in a public building, with my dress around my waist and my bra off, so I can pump. Oh, the glamorous life of a working mother. There were just no other options, and I really had to pump. I guess I should be thankful for modern technology--i.e., the speedy, light modern pump that fits easily in my bag and is done in 10 minutes in a pinch, and the fancy cell phone that let's me blog with one hand.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Four Months

Miss M turned four months old over a week ago, but I am behind in every aspect of my life right now. I love to see how she is growing and changing every day. I regret that things are so busy right now, because I am missing so many little things. On the other hand, in a month we will be in a new city and things will (hopefully) begin to calm down a bit. This craziness is short-term, and in the long term the changes we are making now will mean that both T and I get to spend more time with her, and that she will have amazing opportunities as she grows up.

At four months, Miss M continues to be a happy, smiling child. She has a gentle, beautiful soul. I just adore her. When she wakes up in the morning, she lays quietly in her bassinet (still haven't transitioned her to the crib...), then gradually begins talking to the crib card animals that are above her. She speaks louder and louder, until we get up and get her. When she sees us, she breaks into a huge grin. It is just awesome.

Miss M can roll from front to back. In fact, she still hates to be on her tummy, and promptly rolls onto her back again if placed on her tummy. She is very close to rolling from back to tummy, as well--she can get all the way over, except for the arm that is underneath her when she rolls. She hasn't quite figured out how to pull it from beneath her, and will quickly flip back onto her back after almost rolling over onto her belly and licking the playmat (no idea why she licks it, but she does EVERY time she almost-rolls over).

She can hold her bottle with both hands. She grabs at her toys on the swing and playmat. She tries to put everything into her mouth, and has lurched at me a few times while I've been holding her and latched into my jaw, sucking away. I call her Vampira.

Miss M babbles away at us. She laughs out loud at things like throwing the stick for the dog. She pets the cat, who can't seem to get enough of her even though she pulls at his fur at times.

She is just a joy.

As we enjoy every moment with her, thoughts obviously turn at times to whether/when we build our family. I will turn 38 this summer. It wasn't terribly easy to make it happen the first time. If we want to build our family, we can't wait too long. On the one hand, I never thought that I would have a single child. It was always childfree, or more than one. I nver saw just one as an option I would want to pursue.

But now that she is here, I can envision a life with a single child. We enjoy her so much, and it is so easy to just focus on her. The idea of chasing two yound children who are going in two different directions sort of scares me. It sounds exhausting. On the other hand, it also sounds fun.

I have told T. that I think we should enjoy this first year with Miss M., and not make any decisions until she is a year old. I'm not anxious to be pregnant again, or to start trying again (not that we even could-we're still breastfeeding full time, and plan to do so indefinitely, and I'm not currently ovulating). But it's there, in the back of my mind.

As T said yesterday as he changed her diaper, and I marveled over how amazing she is, she is so fabulous that it would almost be a shame not to have another.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Food For Thought

The baby is four months old, which is hard to believe. I feel like I'm living in a world where time is flying by in hyperwarp speed. I spend every spare second with the baby, but those times fly by (and there is still little packing going on!). The nights feel over in the blink of an eye. I barely get to the office these days, and then it's time to leave. Time is just melting.

Miss M. Has slept through the night for 4 of the last 6 nights, and was up only once each of the other two nights. You would think I'd feel somewht rested at this point, but I do not. It occurred to me today that my diet is probably the problem. We have been living on takeout. Not fast food, but still...not as healthy as I eat when I cook. It's been helpful to be able to just pick it up and eat it, but I think we're going to have to give it up. I bought a bunch of stuff to grill, and made this amazing pasta last night with tomatoes, garlic (which is not the baby's favorite, so I really had to tone it down!), olive oil, fresh mozzarella, basil, and olives. It was yummy, and fun to cook. I can't even remember the last time I cooked from scratch! Today for lunch is fresh mango with lime squeezed on it. Hopefully, a revamped diet will give me some energy back!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Someone (hi Manda!) Reminded me that I haven't updated with my MRI results. Indeed, they came back just fine. It was a HUGE relief to get that call from my doctor. I haven't posted because things are just crazy busy. T. and I are running around like lunatics, trying to wrap up professional obligations while seeing as many people as possible while sorting, packing, weeding out. The movers come five weeks from yesterday, and I am sorely behind. It is ridiculously difficult to clean out the basement while also watching a baby! Thanks heavens for good friends and wonderful family, who are lining up to hang with her over the next few weekends so we can try to be more productive. I am stressing a little about getting it all done, needless to say. And I keep losing things...just can't find Miss M's social security card, which I put in a "safe place" so I wouldn't lose it. Argh!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stress of a Different Flavor

I've been so busy worrying about, well, everything else, that I forgot that I need to have an MRI today. It's just a followup MRI to verify that this thingy in my abdomen that they think is nothing is in fact nothing. It appeared on a scan I had last year, and they think it's just a quirk of my own anatomy. I was supposed to have the repeat scan six months after the initial one, just to confirm that the thingy was the same and not growing or anything, but my doctor knew that I was trying to get pregnant, and told me to keep trying. She said that if I wasn't pregnant in three months, we'd do the repeat scan then, and otherwise, we'd do it after I had the baby. I've read the radiology report myself, and it actually made the repeat scan sound optional. My doctor recommended it, but didn't think there was any rush.

I've been doing everything I can to bank milk in advance of the MRI, because I have to pump and dump for two days due to the contrast (which is radioactive, I think). We should have just enough milk stored up, with a few extra "just in case". It's been hard to bank milk while also feeding her through a growth spurt. Fingers crossed that we have enough milk to get through the next 48 hours.

I am really stressing this morning about the MRI. I don't want to have it done. I hate having to have the contrast. Even though I've had it before, I always worry about having a bad reaction (because I'm neurotic like that). I also hate having to go in that little tube of a machine. I'm not claustrophobic, but it feels very confining, and it's so loud. I know they have MRI machines now that aren't all closed in, but I also know that my hospital doesn't have one of them yet. Sigh. I am dreading this appointment.

And then there is the nagging little worry that maybe the scan will pick something bad up. I am trying to be positive, but I can't help but have a little anxiety over that. Things have been so good, with the baby and the new job. It makes me worry that something is going to come along and ruin everything. I am such a worrier.

Okay, happy thoughts now. Writing this has unloaded all of the bad thoughts, and it's going to be just fine.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Procrastination

I spent a few hours yesterday sorting/tidying/throwing out. I was shocked by HOW LITTLE I accomplished. There are boxes and boxes and closets and cupboards and basements full of things to be sorted, sold, thrown out and given away. I have no idea how I'm going to get all of it done. Oh, and for the next two weeks, I am completely busy with work, on a project that I can't get out of, so there will be little sorting/packing/throwing out going on until that's done.

I have to schedule the movers tomorrow, and we decided that the latest we can schedule them is SIX WEEKS FROM TOMORROW. Six weeks isn't a very long time. It's going to fly by. Ay-ay-ay-eeeeeeeeeeee.

The good news, I suppose, is that I have our housing sorted out. We'll have a furnished two bedroom two bath place while I'm in training. Everything will go into storage on the company's dime while I am in training. So essentially, once we get throug the next six weeks, life will be a lot easier, because it will just be a matter of moving our personal stuff in, and showing up for work.

I'm sure it will all get done somehow. I think.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sudden Sadness

Tonight it really hit me. . .I'm leaving this place--this very safe place, where I have finally created a happy life for myself. In six weeks or so, I won't live here any more. I'm not leaving for a week or a month or a year. . .I may not live here again for decades. I may decide not to ever live here again (but I can't quite even contemplate that, frankly).

It all came raining down on me as I was stopping to pick up dinner for T. I stopped at a place that's near our house. I haven't been there in a few years, but noticed recently that they were open late, and seemed to sell take-out. It used to be just an ice cream place, and I didn't particularly like their ice cream the last time I stopped by (and seriously, how do you screw up ice cream?). Inside this time, I discovered they had a decent selection of dinner items and reasonable prices to boot. I picked up a wrap for T., and as I pulled away, I was mulling over all of the things I could remember the building housing over the years. . .a convenience store for the longest time, a few other unmemorable things, the ice cream place. . .and I realized that I have such history here.

As much as I want this new job, as much as I'm excited for it, I am also giving something up to get this other thing I want. I can't have both. I am giving up family holidays and birthdays and and endless parade of people who are willing to come and sit with Miss M. for an hour while I do errands. That is scary, and it is sad, and it makes me second guess myself. We are really going to be on our own.

I know it will be fine. I know that this is a good choice for us. But in these quiet moments before I go to bed, I am feeling a little overwhelmed.

Friday, April 30, 2010

What IF?

Or, How Infertility Affects Your Finances. . .

I am nearly 38 years old, and I just recently had my first child. I was only 34 when we started trying. Like so many women, I had a feeling that something was not quite right after a few months of trying. Neurotic, Type A person that I am, I started charting as soon as we started trying, and I discovered a very disturbing trend. I always ovulated much later than all of my books said I should. But my doctor, unfortunately like so many gynecologists out there, told me to keep trying. She said she wasn't concerned about my late ovulation. She still wasn't concerned when we got pregnant, then miscarried. My age didn't worry her at all. My rail thin frame didn't raise any eyebrows, either.

After my second unsuccessful pregnancy, I felt conflicted about what to do. I liked my doctor, and wanted to believe her reassurances. But, there was something eating away at me. It was one thing to deviate a little from the textbook Day 14 ovulation. But I couldn't find anything that said it was okay to regularly ovulation on CD 22 or later. I wanted a second opinion, so that at the very least, the nagging doubt would go away. I was reading a lot on my own, and I just felt like my doctor was missing something. I decided to consult a reproductive endocrinologist.

I was lucky, for two reasons. First, I have great health insurance through my employer for which I contribute a pittance. This insurance is so good that it provides full and apparently unlimited infertility coverage. Even better, it doesn't require a referral to see a specialist. Second, I had been researching on my own, and discovered that the source of my problems might be that my BMI was a tad too low, causing late ovulation, which was in turn resulting in rotten eggs (which was in turn causing the miscarriages). I began a campaign to gain some weight (a mere 10 pounds), and looked for an RE.

Had I needed a referral, I might not have ever seen the RE. I probably would have chickened out, rather than face the scorn of my doctor, who clearly didn't think there was anything wrong with me. Had I not had such great health insurance, I might not have been able to afford to ever see an RE. And had I not had the ability and tenacity to both research and advocate for myself, I might never have gotten to the bottom of my problem at all. If I'd left myself in the care of my old OB, I might have merely been subjected to endless rounds of Clomid, which was her knee jerk reaction to my problems, as it is for so many gynecologists.

Instead, I consulted with the RE, who confirmed that I was too thin. My weight gain campaign was already underway, and I got pregnant during what was supposed to be my "evaluation" cycle. I have a healthy baby girl now. Given how proactive I was with my own reseach, might all of that have happened without the RE? Sure. I was already trying to gain weight on my own. But would I have known what my IF problem truly was, and why it was happening, had I not seen the RE? No, I would not. After all, I was under my OB's care for a few years before I got to the bottom of it, and without that RE's confirmation, I would have had my suspicions about the cause of my miscarriages, my late ovulation and my wonky cycles, but I wouldn't have been confident in it. I would have been even more worried for the future than I am.

So it is with great trepidation that I leave my current job, and its gold standard health insurance. I know that it will be at least another year before I will be ready to make a decision on whether to build our family from here. At that point, I will be another year older, pushing 39. At that point, I will work somewhere else, with health coverage that sounds as though it may not measure up (and really, how many plans can measure up to my current health insurance? It's amazing coverage). If we decide we'd like to have another child, will my body cooperate? And more importantly, will my insurance?

Those are just two of my fears. Once I switch insurance, will I get the care I need? Should I stay where I am? By pursuing my career dreams, am I compromising my personal dreams regarding my family? What if that's the case? Will I have regrets? I can't know the answer now to any of those questions. I worry that I am making the wrong choice, that once again I am sacrificing personal happiness, and the happiness of my husband, at the feet of my career. This time, though, the angst is caused not by the job, but by the quality of the insurance coverage on offer.

To learn more about infertility during National Infertility Awareness Week? Visit Resolve. You can also read more What If's by visiting here. They will both inspire you and break your heart.

So, what if I am throwing away my opportunity to have another child? Ah, but what if I am not? I don't save the good china for holidays, and I won't give up this wonderful new job opportunity just because the health insurance isn't as good. I have to live my life, after all, insurance be damned. The RE consults gave me some confidence that I can handle my IF in the future. It feels scary, but I just have to hope that it will all work out in the end. But what if I didn't have to make a leap of faith on this one? What if health insurance treated infertility for what it is: a medical condition just like any other.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


That last post was mostly about me trying to boil down to its core a disagreement with my MIL, so that I could attempt to figure out how to deal with it. The long and short of it is that I'm still avoiding the entire situation, because it's just more than I feel like dealing with right now. I am overwhelmed with other stuff, namely a project at work that needs to be completed before I leave, moving hundreds of miles away, and starting a new job.

I gave my notice yesterday. I've been at my job for more than eight years, and it's strange to think that I won't work there any more. I didn't know what it would be like to give my notice at a job that I have long loved and worked so hard at and sacrificed so much for. But in short, it was pure joy to tell everyone that a) I am leaving, and b) where I am headed. I wasn't sad at all. That's how I knew that it is really time for me to move on. I have absolutely no regrets about leaving (well, I haven't started telling my clients yet--some of them are going to be VERY upset, and that's going to make it harder). I think it might almost have been harder to leave if I was going to be working somewhere else around here, but it's such a clean break, knowing that I am leaving not only the job, but the entire area, and going to a job that I have long desired.

I still have about five weeks left of actual work, and then I have about two weeks of vacation time that I'll use up at the end. It will go by fast, though. I have wanted this new job for so long, and worked so hard to get it, that it doesn't feel real that I actually HAVE it and that this day is actually here. I keep reading and rereading the emails from the employer, to make sure it hasn't disappeared, or that I'm not imagining it. It's sort of like continually peeing on a stick once you know you're pregnant, just to see that line appear again and again and again. I am just. . .happy. Really, really happy. I have a wonderfully supportive husband, the best baby ever, and the job of my dreams. (Now I constantly worry that something bad must be about to happen to us, but that's a neurotic post for another day.)

The response from my work friends and colleagues was amazingly positive and supportive. The head of my company said lovely things and was incredibly gracious and supportive about my departure, even though it leaves them in the lurch a little bit. People are excited for us, about the new job and the move, which will in time involve living abroad. People think it's really cool that we are making this crazy leap of faith from our nice, comfortable life here, and doing this thing that is completely different and new. Colleagues have said such kind things to me about my work, and how much they'll miss me.

I have been caught off guard, however, by the response from personal friends and family. It has been somewhat muted. The "congratulations" are there, but aside from my mother, people have a distinct lack of enthusiasm about our new life, although they aren't saying that, exactly. They are sad to see us go, which I completely understand. I don't know why, but I just hadn't expected that people would be so open about how they felt, and their reactions are making me feel a bit guilty. One of T's best friends stopped by last night with a bottle of wine, a man who is normally peppy and full of enthusiasm about life, and the conversation was sort of. . .melancholy. It makes me second-guess our decision a tiny bit (but honestly, I then revert to being really excited--after all, there are all sorts of new-fangled technologies out there that will help us stay close, like email, and Skype, and big birds that fly through the sky and take people wherever they want to go).

My mother is excited for us (although I'm sure she'll be sad to see us move far away), and said that she understood what it was like for me to have worked so hard to get something that I wanted so much. She's able to separate herself and her own feelings about us leaving, and just be happy for us because this decision makes us happy. My sibling is also excited for us, and has already sent me a list of preferred destinations. I really appreciate their support--their ability to set aside their own feelings about how this decision impacts them, to just be happy for us.

I think the thing that has made this so easy for me is that I do have a rather large family. I look around, and I see the choices people have made for themselves, and I have loads of good examples of what I can expect my life to be like if I stay here and take another job here. It would be a good life, a happy life, no doubt, but it would pass by in an instant, and it would be very much like what my life is like now. Life here is familiar, but not especially interesting or unusual. I live in a rather ordinary place where people live rather ordinary lives. Good, but ordinary. This new job will truly be a different way of life on so many levels, and will give me and my family the opportunity to do extraordinary things. There will be hardship and difficulties, as there always are in life, but there will be opportunities and challenges unlike anything we could experience here in our little town. I am scared to leave, but I am more scared to stay. I don't want to wake up in twenty years and wonder where the last two decades have gone, or felt like life passed me by. I want to seize it up and live the hell out of it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Any Suggestions?

I just drafted a long, ranting post about something that happened today. It was incredibly cathartic to write it, but it needed to be erased. Yet, I still have no idea how to handle the situation.

Here it is in a nutshell: I ended up in a heated discussion with someone today. During the conversation, I was pushed to my limits, and therefore spoke the unvarnished truth about a third person, which deeply offended the person I was speaking with.

I feel like the other person involved in the conversation does not respect me or my decisions, and has generally been rather unsupportive of our little family in recent months. I am angry with this person, because of this. The truth-speaking probably would not have occurred but for the fact that things have been bubbling under the surface for months.

The person called me back and left me a voicemail asking me to return the call. From talking to a third party, I know that this person claims that they were "joking" during some of the parts of the conversation I found most offensive (I don't think this is true), and that I responded inappropriately by saying what I did (although what I said was 100 percent true, and this person knows that). I didn't call back yet.

I'm not sure how to handle this. I find the person impossible to talk to when there is a difference of opinion, because it's like talking to a wall. I am wrong, this person is right, the end. Oh, and it's a family member, so I can't just avoid the situation forever, which is what I'd really like to do.

This has made me really tired. Off to bed I go, but if you have a great way for me to smooth this ugliness over, I'd love to hear it.

Happy Things Big and Little at 3.5 months

It has been a fabulous week.

Miss M. had a shots-only appointment this week. She got the DTap and polio vaccines, and she got weighed. She is up to 10 pounds, 10 ounces--still a peanut, but gaining nicely. She did just fine with the shots, and barely even cried. There was just one little yelp from her when they injected her, and then she was find--no sobbing, no tears, at least from her. I, of course, was in tears. I am so pathetic. She was terrific the rest of the day, but fussy the day after. Thankfully, she bounced back quickly and seems just fine now.

There were lots of cute moments with Miss M. this week. While I am working, Miss M. obviously drinks breastmilk out of a bottle. She held the bottle and fed herself twice this week. It makes me a little sad that I didn't get to see it for myself, but on the other hand, if I were here to see it, she wouldn't have been drinking from a bottle!

When she sees us coming at her with the pacifier, she opens her mouth wide to accept it. At about five this morning, after she'd been fed, I was desperate to get a little more sleep. She was happily laying in her bassinet sucking on her hands and talking to herself. When she saw my hand reach over with the pacifier, she took her hands out of her mouth and opened wide. Ahhh, sweet bink relief. . .she dropped back off to sleep immediately.

Last night, another precious moment: she fell asleep while I was nursing her at around 7. I left for a quick burrito run, and when I got back, T. had put her in her bassinet upstairs. A short time later, she was fussing, so I took my dinner up to my bedroom. As soon as she saw me, she immediately stopped fussing and started beaming at me. I just hung out on my bed next to her as she lay in her bassinet. While I ate my dinner, she stared at me smiled at me, and didn't make another peep except to talk to me. It is so cool that she recognizes us, and that we can make her happy simply by being present. It is even cooler that she can communicate to us that she doesn't want to be by herself, and that we can satisfy her by being present. I just love it.

I also discovered a budding love affair with books--specifically, Dr. Seuss. While reading her Green Eggs and Ham this week, she was giggling and screaming in delight every time I turned the page. She loves the crude illustrations peppering the pages of GE&H. I would've never guessed that such a young baby would respond to a book.

She is also grabbing things with pretty good accuracy. T. said he saw her put her bink back in her mouth herself this week. She is regularly clutching the toys that hang off her bouncy seat.

Miss M. also is exhibiting a taste for television, unfortunately. We put her in her bouncy seat with her back to the television, and she almost turns herself upside down trying to watch the news in the morning. It's funny to watch, and kind of disturbing, actually. Who knew boob tube addiction started so young?!

We did have one little moment of panic this week. The day after she had the shots, she was fussy, but when I got home from work, I found her happy and smiling. T. was feeding her the rest of a bottle when I first got home, and I realized (later) that he hadn't burped her. When I went to feed her a while later, she started SCREAMING. It was horrible. After a period of unabated screaming, I noticed that a strand of my hair had become tightly wrapped around two of her toes. (I have no idea how or why this keeps happening, but it does.) Unfortunately, this time the hair was tightly wrapped and digging into her toes. T. tried to help unwrap the hair, but she was screaming and writhing in pain, and it was tough to get off, as it was knotted around her toes in a way that made unwrapping it impossible. It wasn't clear whether she was in pain from the toes, or from gas. T. got nervous, and wanted to take her to the hospital (hello, new parent freakout overreaction!).

Surprisingly, as upset as I was that she was so uncomfortable, I stayed calm, and pointed out that her toes were pink and appeared fine below the point where the hair was, such that perhaps we could work to remedy this ourselves. After a bit of trying to work at the hair with tweezers and baby nail clippers, I told him to hold off while I tried to calm her down a bit, and turned her over so she was facing my shoulder. She didn't get any calmer, but with her feet flipped over and upside down, T. was finally able to get the hair off her toes.

Just as he said he'd removed the hair, Miss M's screams reached a crescendo, and she let out a huge poopy fart, and a giant burp. And then, sweet silence, and she immediately fell asleep! She's got a little mark on her toe from where the hair was, but is otherwise apparently no worse from the wear. . .such a weird thing to have happen.

Finally, we have a start date for my new job! I'll be moving and starting the new job at the end of June. We are mostly really excited, and partially freaking out. There is so much to be done before we go. The next eight weeks or so are going to be CRAZY.