Monday, October 3, 2011

Boldy Going . . .

10:09 PM

As Bean gets older, she is constantly discovering new things. 

Isn't if funny how nostrils are so finger shaped and sized?

Conclusion:  Discovering new territory is exciting, no matter where it is found.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Almost Fake

8:17 PM

This isn't a real post.  I promise there's one out there that's coming.  Until then, there are just two things I had to share.

1 - You know it's time to shave when you are laying (lying?  this is one grammar rule I never got a handle on - don't worry I know everything else about grammar) in bed with your almost-one-year-old (good heck, how did she get that old that fast?) with your arms behind your head and she reaches up and pets your armpit as though it were one of her "touch and feel" board books.

2 - I really liked this picture/quote, so I thought I'd share (it's sort of been a theme in my life lately):

Conclusion:  Laughter is real, real good for the soul.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Extremist

6:24 PM

You know it's quite a day when I take pictures of Bean both because she's so cute when she's actually in clothes at home (let's be honest, that hardly ever happens, the being clothed part, not the being cute part):

Yes, I am starting Bean out with a chore list.  Sweeping everything in her reach is her daily job.  She's still learning, but I think it's best to start early.

and because she's so cute when she's hanging out naked (she's had a bit of a chappy bum, and there's no better cure than simple fresh air, right?):


Conclusion:  It's been a good day.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cancer

4:00 PM

So, my advice is to never get cancer.

Good.  Now that that's taken care of, here's a link to a comic that kind of sums up how I feel about The Big C.  I am posting a link rather than embedding said comic because there is some foul language (and we're not talking chickens here, folks).  This is your official F-bomb warning.  Still, it's apt.

Conclusion:  Don't get cancer.  The end.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Embracing the Double Standard

6:35 PM

We're bad parents.  I'm coming to terms with that.  But at least we're not terrible parents.  We're good about some things.  I still won't give Bean cookies.  They're pure sugar, right?  But somehow we've decided it's ok to give her ice cream.
 
 
 
 
And she loves it.  Surprising, I know.  I've never really cared for the stuff myself (lies, all lies).  It's rare, though.  She mostly eats fruit and veggies with varied protein sources.  It works out in the end.  I think she'll make it.  Sure hope so.  I really like this kid.  I'd like to keep her.
Conclusion:  Moderation in all things includes ice cream, for sure.  And good parenting is for people without an imagination.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Not My Smartest Move Today

4:26 PM

Wearing a white shirt and standing directly in front of a baby feeding herself baked beans and sausage did not turn out as well as I would have hoped.
Yup.  All five fingers on display.

Conclusion:  One can get away with so much more when one is cute and tiny.

There Just Isn't Much That Is Cuter

4:12 PM

Than little baby socks hanging next to gigantic daddy socks.
Conclusion:  Sometimes it gets overwhelming, dealing with the overload of cuteness at our house.

A Valid Point

4:04 PM

Conclusion:  You never know.  You just never know. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's Like Grass

5:47 PM

Bean has recently had her first experience sitting outside.  We don't have a lawn, but there is moss on the sidewalk, so it's pretty much the same thing.
I took her outside with me while I put laundry on the line.  She wasn't too sure of it at first, but seemed ok when I distracted her with a leaf from the ground nearby.
Conclusion:  Outside time is golden, but we look forward to lawn.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Baby In The Lead

7:42 PM

You probably guessed that Bean is eating solid foods by now.  What you may not know is the journey she has taken to get here.  LONG ago (ok, so in the past year, but it feels like forever), I read a blog post about a woman who, instead of going through the "rice cereal, then purees, then finger foods" process, just gave her baby a piece of green pepper when he wanted it and went from there, with the baby eating real food along with the family the whole time.  "I'm totally going to do that," I said to me.  I still bought some spoons and purees of foods not available here on the island (which I know doesn't make sense if my plan was to avoid purees), but I was fully intending to go with her philosophy, because it made sense to me.  She mentioned a book "Baby-Led Weaning," but books are hard to come by here and it seemed silly to send it when we're only here for such a short while, so I was sure I could go it alone.  I was wrong. 

The first food I offered Bean was mango, which seemed a delightful option to me.  It was very slippery and, while she seemed to enjoy the flavor, she could not get a hold of it to eat it no matter what she tried.  It was a mess.  So I mashed it and fed it to her with a spoon.  Then I did the same with bananas.  And then I blended up some green beans (Bean eating beans - classic, right?) and some spinach with pumpkin.  And all of a sudden, I was all caught up in spoon-feeding my baby all kinds of purees - exactly what I didn't want to do.  I even fed her a jar of store-bought sweet potatoes.  Sigh.  ;)  We tried rice cereal, but for some reason she was zero interested in its blandness. 

Enter my birthday.  My sweet mom sent me the book.  I devoured it.  I ceased and desisted with the purees.  I gave her finger-shaped and sized bits of food and watched her go for it.  She LOVED it. 

Here's a video of her, just a couple weeks into her "learning to eat solid food" process:
She now eats all kinds of food, and she's getting all kinds of fast and efficient.  She has also made some glorious messes.  I love watching her explore food this way.  She has become a first-rate beggar, too.  Anytime there is food being eaten anywhere in the house, she gets very quiet and alert, like a predator sneaking up on an innocent . . . small helpless thing.  She watches us every moment there is any kind of food in our hands.  She smacks her lips.  And if the food is not offered to her in a prompt manner, she gets the most sad/demanding look on her face that you can imagine.  It awesome/frustrating.  It has cut down on my open cookie intake (of course the hidden cookie intake remains intact). 

Even without teeth (still, not a single one), she is a force of nature.  Bananas?  Easy.  Gone in mere moments.  Melon?  That's a snap.  Broccoli?  A little more challenging, but still delicious and worth the effort.  Star fruit is a new favorite.  Crackers and cheese and ham and chicken and pasta and all kinds of delicious things are all a part of this new life.  It has definitely made me more aware of my own dietary habits, this sharing with a tiny person.  It's friggin' awesome.  Here, I'll show you:

 We quickly learned that bibs are over-rated.
But avocado is not.
It's important to have vision and determination.
Only suckers need teeth to eat apples.
Spoons are harder than they look.
And yes, you can get awesome fat rolls from eating prunes.
We are pretty excited to see how much she will enjoy teeth.  Just think of the things she'll be able to do.  I mean, if she can eat pizza now (yes, yes she can), steak isn't that far off, right?  Also, we look forward to getting to Utah in the season of corn on the cob - oh, how I'm sure she'll love it. 

Conclusion:  Independence begins early in this house.  Happy Independence Day, all.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Who Planned This?

5:05 PM

When a battery in a smoke detector is low, it just goes off every ten seconds or so.  You know, smoke detector loud.  And shrill.  And scary.  I may have known that.  I probably knew that.  It's a good idea.  Unless The Universe decides the battery is low an hour after the baby goes to bed.  In her room.  Right above her crib. And the ceiling the detector is attached to is so high that your 6'6" husband can't reach it standing on a chair (And, let's be honest, every pillow in the room, which is many.  Safe, right?).  Then it's a terrible idea.  Just sayin'.

Conclusion:  Whoever said to change the batteries every six months may have had a point.  And/or a once sleeping baby.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Attached At The Hip

7:26 PM

So, here's the low-down on the ho-down (I really feel like putting a "w" after "ho," just to make it match, but then it would spell "how" and that wouldn't make any sense).  Apparently I'm sort of an attachment-parenting type.  This is not something I planned on.  I remember discussing birth plans with a friend of mine, waaaaay before Bean was twinkling in my eye, and being completely flummoxed when she asked me what parenting methods I planned to use.  Um, how should I know?  That was, like, light years away.  I had spent years deciding just how I wanted my birth experience to be (sort of like little girls who plan their weddings for decades but fail to consider the realities of a real-life marriage).  Turns out, it was just as important, if not more so, as considering choices like epidural? hypnobirthing? midwife? hospital? and t'ings o' dat sort.

While pregnant, I did start to sort of investigate stuff like that.  One website had a particularly strong impact - Hathor certainly has a forceful way of putting things.  Most certainly an attachment-parenting advocate, she renders all other ideas as essentially ridiculous, at the very least disdainable.  I specifically remember her pointing out all kinds of "detachment-parenting," which included strollers.  Well, when you put it like that, of course I don't want any part of it.  She did get to be a little much for me and I had to unsubscribe to her feed before Bean came on the scene, if only to save us both from the intense scrutiny I felt like it put me under (Sure, sure, it's just a website so the scrutiny was self-inflicted.  No matter, it had to stop).  Still, the phrase "detachment-parenting" has stuck with me.  I didn't start out looking to use a sling to make a statement or to fulfill any hippie fantasy.  It just made more sense to me and fit in with my style and ideals.  And I have loved it.  So has Bean.

Then I got the heat-rash-from-hell and had to reconsider.  After some to-do, we gratefully received a stroller two weeks ago from Wonderman's ever-generous sister.  I thought that I was being so pragmatic and was neatly eating my humble pie, when I realized that I had actually been quite selfish.  I got the stroller just for me and assumed Bean would love it since she used to love the car - same concept, sort of, right?  I honestly barely considered how she would feel about it.  It just seemed like an alternative mode of transport.  No biggie.

Alas, turns out that after six-plus months of this attachment-parenting mumbo-jumbo, it actually works and babies get attached.  Also, it seems that right around six months is when many babies begin to deal with separation anxiety, even babies who have been "detachment" parented all along.  Needless to say, there were many, many tears when we introduced the stroller, only partially abated when Wonderman danced in front of the stroller making silly noises and pulling funny faces (Have I told you what awesome buddies they are?  I love it).

So, my fear of blending in with all the other mommies with strollers?  Not a concern.  I became the mommy wearing my baby in a sling, pushing an empty stroller.  You know how I love to embrace the ridiculous, right?  Yup, nothing like a crazy white woman to make the Dominicans stare.  So, we've tried to break Bean in slowly.  Some trips in the stroller, some in the sling.  Sometimes managing half a trip in the stroller and coming home in the sling (Um, how grateful am I for a sling that packs small?  Uber for sure).  Every day Bean gets a little bit better about the concept of strolling.  Today she did A-MA-ZING.  She was so calm the whole way.  Two trips to campus and back.  Instead of crying, she just made that little extended "uh" sound that so nicely exhibits the bumps in the road (of which there are many around these parts).  When she did get a little tired and hungry (do I have to confess to my negligence here and tell you how I kept her out way longer than I should have and naps weren't really on the radar, nor was nursing for quite a bit of the time we were out [for all my rantings about public nursing, you'd think I'd make it a point to do it when I had the chance!]?), she just whimpered lightly and then fell fast asleep.  It was glorious.  I gave thanks for the relatively quick adjustment period and began to make all kinds of future strolling plans.

And then tonight I realized a few things about heat rash (Well, the realizations have been building, but the final and most important was tonight at bath time).  1 - Mine did not even come close to disappearing with the introduction of the stroller.  2 - Now that Bean can sit up and so I sling her on my hip, instead of belly-to-belly, none of her body-heat is touching where my gross rash even is.  3 - The heat rash that I've been noticing on her back (right above her diaper so it kinda looks like diaper rash but it actually stops where the diaper begins so I've been pretty confused by it), IS CAUSED BY THE GOSH-DARN STROLLER.  Seriously, on what planet is this fair?  She gets warm in there, but I didn't think it was that warm.  But that is the only thing that has changed within the time frame of her rash development.  So, now I'm torn.  Do I sling it despite the heat, except for when I want to go grocery shopping or to the pool?  Or do I just try to pack an ice back wrapped in a blanket behind her and maintain our strolling success?  Will the rash that I have (Which is only dissipating a bit now with loads of steroid cream) re-rear it's horrendous head?  Whose rash takes precedence?

Conclusion:  There is no "Easy-Parenting" style.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

You Never Know

8:01 PM

Last night as I got into bed, I noticed the moon glowing so-brightly-it-was-almost-eery through our window, and I commented on said glowing to Wonderman.  His response:

"Yeah, I was just thinking that tonight we'll find out if Bean is really a werewolf."

A pause of bemused silence lay pregnant between us.

"It would be cute, but terrifying," he said.

It would indeed.

Conclusion:   She's probably not a monster, but she's bound to be funny with genes like his.
It's true, I totally put in a gratuitous Bean-shot.  It's to show off her good genes and to celebrate that we now have a camera and to show that she has enough hair for little clips (they are mine from back in the day right after I was bald, remember?).  Hooray!

The end.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stroller, Take One

5:04 PM

Well, there are probably lots of things to say in some long post that I'll write later, but tonight I am just going to say that right at 6.5 months, when Bean is really starting up on her separation anxiety, is maybe not the best time to switch from a sling to a stroller.  It's been a long day.

The end.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Warning

7:14 PM

Today I woke up to a severed horse's head in my bed.  Speaking figuratively, of course.  You may recall my discussion of courage a while back.  I have continued to wear large and dangley earrings, and Wonderman has continued to, well, wonder at my brazenness. 

After my shower today, I put in a pair of large plastic hoops - you know the kind, it was the type that made me wish I had pierced ears in the 80s.  They are not just large, but also zebra-striped, which just adds to their awesomeness.  As I put the soft plastic back on the post I thought out loud to myself, "Bean will probably think these are great toys, placed in reach just for her," and then continued on to put the second earring in.  I had been wearing them for perhaps ten minutes before her grabby little hands reached upwards.  I knew her intentions when I both felt and heard her warm breath in my ear.  Luckily the back was so soft it was super easy for her to pull out and start chewing on.  No harm, no foul.  So I switched earrings. 

I put in a pair that was not small, but not garish by any standard.  They were on fish hooks.  I've worn them lots and lots of time since Bean came on the scene.  They were my safe choice.  Then, while I leaned over Bean this afternoon, the term "safe" was erased from their description.  She caught hold and pulled mightily very, very quickly (before this she's always been a fairly slow, gentle, and exploratory grabber of earrings).  She pulled the jewelry quite out of my ear.  It hurt a little, but nothing serious.  That is, until I saw the earring.  The hook was completely bent in a very un-fishhook like manner.  I realized at that moment that her strength is ever increasing, and it was sheer chance of angle that allowed her to merely bend the hook rather than tearing my earlobe clear through.  Sigh.  I surrender.  Looks like it's a decade (depending on the number of children and their spacing, of course) of dowdy earring for me, coming up. 

Conclusion:  David is not the only little person to face off with a giant and win.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Baby in the Mirror

8:31 PM

This has nothing to do with my hippie card.

At least once a day, Bean and I look in the mirror and I say some version of this:  "Do you see the baby in the mirror?  Look at the baby in the mirror.  That's such a cute baby in the mirror, huh?  Can you say 'hi' to the baby in the mirror?"  After repeating the phrase "baby in the mirror" that many times, about 98% of the time I end up with the chorus from this song in my head:
It's not a bad song.  In fact, it's kind of a good song.  It's inspiring and all.  I still don't love having it in my head all day, every day.  I'm not exactly sure how to acquaint Bean with her mirror self without getting it in my head, however.  And so it continues.

Conclusion:  The King of Pop continue to reign.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Strollin'

7:23 PM

First off - strollers.  We bought an umbrella stroller from some friends who were leaving the island so we would have "something," just in case.  I tried it out a few weeks back.  Bean loved it.  Until she got absolutely sun-fried.  I wisely saw some pros and some cons (the decision to use it came about because I needed to go to campus and help out with a fundraiser and needed more movement than the sling would give me but wouldn't have anywhere to put Bean, so I figured it would work to just have her hang out sitting in the stroller for a while.  That part of it worked like a charm.  So did the quietly strolling her to sleep while we waited for Wonderman to finish his business up on campus so he could walk home with us).  Still, the flaming red skin kept at bay all further thoughts of strolling.  Until I got the heat rash from hell all down my front after wearing her in the sling through a long, hot day (I mean, everyone with boobs gets at least a little boob sweat, right?  The sling takes that to the Nth degree and then gets it running all down my belly and then holds it there).  I realized that another semester (in the summer) here without a stroller might not go well.  I contacted my sister-in-law who had offered us her jogging stroller clear back in December (I turned it down, holding firmly to my hippie ideals and thinking I didn't want to "deal with" a stroller), who told me she had kept it, just waiting for me to want it.  Ooooh, that made me feel angry? sheepish? GRATEFUL.  Anyway, it's on its way (with a camera in its pocket - hooray!!!).  It's big and bulky and folds down to a very small size (i.e. about equivalent to the size of Rhode Island).  It's exactly what I imagined I would never own.  But it's exactly what I need (just today as I walked home with a sleeping baby in the sling and about 30 pounds of groceries in my hands I thought, I really need a stroller, even if it's just to put the groceries in - they can make the 20 min. walk home seem so much longer).

I'm already having separation anxiety, just thinking about putting Bean in a stroller instead of a sling (this has made me wonder if attachment parenting in my case is more about me not being able to be separated from Bean that about her needing me).  I can't imagine having her that far away from me for that long, that often.  I am, quite literally, very attached to her.  I also have a strange sense of pride when I get asked "You don't have a stroller, do you?  I've never seen you use one."  I also know that I get recognized because of my beautiful sling and the adorable baby with the aqua-colored sunhat walking all over town, if not for my own stunning beauty.  Once I get a stroller, I'll just blend in with all the other mommies.  The American mommies, anyway.  Very few Dominicans use prams, as they call them.  They don't wear their babies, either.  They just carry them.  That seems difficult and wildly impractical to me, but it is the way of things.  Anyway, I'll only have my own good looks to set me apart, and in the tropics in the summer time, even those get muddled a bit.  Sigh.  Here's to the ladies who stroll!

Conclusion:  Humble Pie isn't nearly as good as dutch apple or lemon meringue, but apparently it's quite nutritious.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cause and Effect

5:39 PM

Guess what?  It turns out that I only have time to keep up with reading all the blogs I've added to my reader or to post on my own blog.  Should you be someone who notices when something shows up here, you are aware of what my choice has been lately.  Sigh.  Can I blame part of that on my lack of a camera with which to take adorable pictures of my sweet love, Bean?  She is my inspiration and all.  That's at least part of the problem.  The other part is just me being swamped with reading other people's stuff.  Not only do I do it for educational purposes, but I also have a group of imaginary virtual friends, see.  They're real people, but I like to imagine they're my friends.  They are awesome.  My sister says to comment on their blogs and we can become real friends, but I am not very good at that yet.  I've made a few forays out of my lurking corner, but no fast friendships of eternal consequence have emerged.  Still, I feel obligated (wildly curious?) to know how things are going on their side of the world.  Plus I have to know what my sister/cousin/aunt/college roommate is posting.  It's all pretty important.  Anyway, here I am.  And I'm having a bit of a crisis.  Wonderman says I'm going to have to turn in my hippie card.  There are a few issues at hand.  Updates coming soon.  Probably.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bean Ts, Live!

6:40 PM

Bean has grown enough to fit and fill her Bean Ts that my sister made.  It's a pretty adorable combination, if I do say so myself.
















I had to post so many pictures for two reasons.  1 - They're too adorable to choose just one.  2 - These are the last pictures that got taken before my camera broke and so may be the last pictures of Bean or of anything for quite a while.  Sigh.  So, now my posts will just be silly rants and descriptions and no cute pictures.  Like, I have more to say about cloth diapers.  I'll say it soon, but when it's not accompanied by a photo of a sweet baby with cloth on her bum it's not nearly as appealing.  Alas, it is all I can do.

The end.

Don't Eat Angry

6:29 PM

Have I ever told you how . . . um . . . active Bean is?  She is always moving.  The bigger she gets, the harder she is to hold on to.  Especially since with bigger comes stronger.  Bath time wrangling has become a serious sport.
Strangely, so has nursing.  Sometimes she is calm and it is the sweet, quiet, relaxing time that you read about, well, I don't know where.  I've read about it on a whole variety of blogs.  There's probably books and stuff that talk about it, too.  Maybe reading about breastfeeding isn't really all that common.  It has become so for me.  Anyway, sometimes it's all sweet like that.  Other times it's an adventure.  She talks and growls while she eats.  She flaps her available arm and leg about (This is one reason that covers and I are not friends.  The waving material acts like a flag and actually draws more attention to us.  Bean has yet to comprehend modesty and discretion).  Often it's not her flapping limbs about, but using them to try to climb up me.  She's even hit my collarbone with such force that's she's bruised me (just barely and just once, but still)! 
Also, notice the gripping of the shirt.  That is the hand Wonderman and I used to call "The Modesty Hand" because she would put it up over her face while she ate, which also covered up any part of me that could possibly be showing.  Now it gets called "The Immodesty Hand" because she uses it to grab my shirt and pull it as far out and down as she can. 

Not related to wrangling of any kind, I would just like to make sure you notice the awesome difference in skin color between the two of us.  I know she's mine because I was there when I birthed her, but she isn't quite as obviously (to the untrained eye) mine as she is her father's.  When I had my hair in braids, a friend of mine described my appearance as "ethnically vague."  As much as I identify myself as "white," Bean and I definitely appear to be of not entirely the same ethnicity.  Weird. 

Conclusion:  True love is much more than skin deep.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Goal-Making

6:28 PM

Remember how I told you I wasn't really into the whole resolution thing?  Yeah, still not.  Let's be honest, I'm not even great with setting goals for myself (which may be a reason for my general appearance of laziness and undisciplined nature).  However, I have set a goal which I thought was going to be a breeze, but is turning out to be a tad challenging.  It has to do with hair.

Hair?  Really?  I can hear you now.  Don't judge me.  Hair is a big deal in my world.  First off, let's just say that for someone who has lost all of her hair - twice - and who understood, at least intellectually, that she would lose some hair postpartum, I had no idea how hard it would be to see my lovely locks abandoning ship.  Seriously, there is hair everywhere.  Bean has at least one hair on her onesie somewhere or in her fist pretty much all the time.  I try to get them off her and keep them all in one place, namely the round file, but those hairs, they are tricksy.  Anyway, the losing of my hair has caused me some minor trauma. 

Still, before the trauma really hit, I was already making a hair plan.  It's been a delight to have hair again, really it has.  This minor trauma has been nothing compared to the complete baldness I experienced not-really-all-that-long-ago.  So, I certainly revel in my ponytails.  However, I also have not had a specific style since, um, I'm not sure.  I think when we got married it was in a specific-ish style.  That's almost three years.  Right now, it's just been growing for two years.  It's lovely, but untamed to say the least.  While I live in paradise, that is no matter.  It is in a ponytailer of some kind essentially all the time.  I have been planning a post-island trip to the salon almost since we got to the island.  Originally I was going to make it a postpartum trip (don't all new mommies need new hair?). 
 This is my postpartum hair.  I am very very good looking, no?

Since I got the chance to come back to the island I decided to postpone.  With the postponing came a plan.  I want to donate it.  This may be the only time I have such long hair that is completely untouched by chemicals of any kind.  My sister donated her hair, and I've tried to do everything she's done pretty much since I was born.  It's the curse and the blessing of the little sister, I suppose. 

Here's the thing.  It's not long enough yet.  I don't know how long it will take to get long enough.  I already have started having visions of cutting my own hair into a cute, tousled short style.  I actually think I could do a decent job of it (I've cut my own hair before, you know).  There's a chance we'll leave the island in five weeks.  There's a chance we'll leave in five months (cross your fingers for the months option, really, hair aside it will be SO MUCH better for us). 

Here's how long it was just over a year ago, right after I found out Bean was coming:
Here's how long it is now:
Can I survive the wait?  Did it grow extra fast with Bean brewing, or did it just seem thicker since it wasn't falling out?  Will it actually grow faster now since I'm not supporting another life form, or slower since technically I guess I still am with breastfeeding and all. 

Update:  I thought I had to have 14 inches to donate.  Turns out I just need 10.  That makes it seem a little more do-able.  Still, if I'm within walking distance of an American salon in the next month or two, heaven only knows how strong I will be. 

Conclusion:  I've been right all along.  Goals are lame.

It Takes Courage

5:54 PM

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.  
~Ambrose Redmoon

Wonderman thinks I am brave.  I suppose I am.  See, Bean developed a very strong grip quite some time ago.  Often, when I am holding her, she grips my hair and pulls down on it.  I think it gives her a sense of security.  Here in Dominica, my hair is not nearly so available, as it is almost always pulled up and back.   You would think that would leave Bean with no security.  This is not true.  She is content to grip my earring and pull down to gain her sense of well-being.  An easy solution would be to forgo grip-able earrings, but they're not nearly as cute or fun.  Beyond cute and fun, big earring have sort of defined me for most of my pierced life.  If I'm not quite ready to give that up, does that mean I have not fully transitioned to "Mommy" yet?  If I give up earrings, do I give up on me?  Heh.  What started as a light-hearted post now seems all tortured and angst-ridden.  Meh.  I just like me some bling.  Is that so wrong?
(Is it mind-boggling to anyone else how such a gorgeous child can have such a silly picture taken of her?)


Conclusion: Some things are worth risk, and only the risk-taker can make that judgment.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Playing

10:20 AM

So, since you know me so well, you know that I love to play with stuff.  Words, mostly (I was lamenting just the other day to Wonderman that I'll probably be that mom the Bean rolls her eyes at with some regularity because I make so many lame puns and think I'm hilarious.  Sad, but not sad enough to stop.  Poor Bean).  Parody also makes me smile.  Here's two fun things that do just that.

1 - You know how I was talking about me becoming an activist?  Turns out there's a better word for it.  I'm a LACTIVIST.  Awesome.  I think I need a t-shirt.

2 - You know I love my sling?  I know Beyonce' is  a little over-parodied, but I couldn't help myself.  It made me laugh.  Maybe it will make you laugh, too.
Conclusion:  As serious as I am, I can't take myself too seriously.  Nor can you.  Unless I'm threatening to punch you, then maybe I'm serious.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Belated

5:47 PM

I'm a little late for National Breastfeeding Month - it was in August.  I guess I was just occupied with gestating and surviving the heat.  Still, I'd like to revisit one of my favorite moments from the celebration.  I saw this video on a few different blogs.  Now it's on mine.


Conclusion:  To everything (turn, turn, turn), there is a season (turn, turn, turn) and a time to every purpose . . . under heaven.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why I Love Wonderman, Revisited

5:27 PM

Tonight as he was holding Bean, he looked at her and said, "She has more chins than a Chinese phone book."

(Can you hear me laughing where you are?  Cuz I still am.)

And just to share a random photo from tonight that makes me smile:


I love that they already are buddies, aka partners in crime (I don't love that Bean seems to love TV, but what can you do?).

Conclusion: I can't imagine my life without these doses of belly-laughing.

Hair Care

4:50 PM

Combing and brushing are WAY overrated.  Because sometimes when you do it, you look sillier than when you started.  And maybe you look like Adolf Hitler:

It's a risk you run.

Conclusion: It's best not to tame a wild thing.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Modesty

7:32 PM

So, a friend of mine (mid-sentence aside that has nothing to do with anything, but I just realized that I start a lot of posts, sentences, emails, and all kinds of semi-important things with the word "so."  It might be annoying, but I'm not sure I'm ready to stop) recently posted on her blog about her experience with high school PE.  It, of course, made me think of my own experiences, some good, some bad.  With the good came thoughts of Miss Buckley (a former weight lifter and Miss Universe [or something equally exciting] contestant, if the stories are true) and water aerobics.  It was my first introduction to the pursuit, so I had no idea of its connection to little old ladies.  Miss Buckley was anything but.  The seventeen girls in the class (and one lone boy who we all thought was strange until we realized maybe he was more wily than strange) were anything but.  The music we aerobic-ed to was for those who were anything but.  I loved me some water aerobics.  I still would, were they an option in my current situation, but there are no instructors here and I don't quite feel up to doing it myself (the instructing or just the aerobics). 

Anyway . . . as I pondered nostalgically the days of the water aerobic, I remembered my awkward attempt at taking a social/political stance.  We all wore swimsuits.  We all showered after class.  Not being in individual stalls, we all wore swimsuits in the shower.  I remember thinking to myself, "Self, this is silliness.  For certain boys don't shower in anything but the nude when in a locker room.  No one here is going to look or care if we just shower how showers are meant to be taken.  This is less comfortable and less effective.  Why are girls so silly?"  The next day in the shower, I proceeded to take my suit off and really shower.  My goodness, the stares of shock and horror were sharp.  I never did it again. I'd like to think today I'd be stronger in my stance against such silliness (which is strange, since in general I support all kinds of silliness; the principle is different, I'm sure).  However, I also realize now that in fighting the silliness, I was making 16 other girls uncomfortable.  At what point would value of their discomfort outweigh my own (as well as the importance of what was actually logical)? 

As I navigate my life now (my goodness, could that have really been half a lifetime ago?), I realize that I have always had a strange relationship with modesty.  I'm all for covering up what should be covered, except for when it's silly.  Back then is was a swimsuit, now it's a nursing cover.  I'll tell you what, the nursing cover (or lack thereof) is an issue that deals with a lot less skin, but seems to provoke even more social dander.  Still, my reasoning is the same.  It's less comfortable, more difficult, and less effective for me to nurse with everything, including Bean, covered up.  The social ire, of course, ruffles my feathers.  Turns out, instead of a nice, obedient (oppositional defiance aside), sweet and appropriate girl, I was meant to be a political activist.  It probably was my life's calling, but I missed it to be a mommy.  Putting it that way, I'm glad I did.  That's not to say a little activism won't creep up now and then, especially as it relates to being a mommy.

Conclusion:  Standing up for what you believe in takes more than gumption.  It takes diplomacy.

Daddy's Girl

6:41 PM

Have I ever mentioned to you how much I adore my husband?  It's a lot.  And the reasons to adore him just keep adding up. 

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:
Conclusion: Nice guys don't just make great husbands, they're good dads, too.

Friday, February 4, 2011

On being discreet

5:05 PM

This blog post has been on my mind quite a bit the past few days. 

Conclusion:  Sometimes what gets labeled "progress" isn't actually progress at all.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blow-out!

8:05 PM

Tonight seems like a good time to discuss my experience thus far with cloth diapers.  Why tonight, you ask?  Well, tonight was my first experience with a true blow out.  I mean, there was poop everywhere.  From what I hear, waiting three months to get one of those is nothing short of a miracle.  A miracle that I have attributed to my use of fancy-pants (really). 
She does look fancy, right?

Anyway, I don't even remember when I decided to use cloth diapers.  It was probably around 9th grade, when my favorite t-shirt said: "If you hurt the trees, the birdies won't have anywhere to sit" and I thought I was all kinds of environmentally aware.  Basically, the thought of all the waste that comes with disposables was hard for my little hippie heart to handle.  Of course, I didn't focus on the details (i.e. poop), because that would make it too real. 

I got older and my friends had babies.  Some of them used cloth diapers and shared some information regarding both the benefits of cloth diapering and the modernization of the cloth diaper.  I was hooked.  Once I knew Bean was on her way, I started researching for real.  I chose the Rumparooz One-size pocket diaper and spent what felt like a small fortune on a starter set.  They came and I oohed and ahhed over the cuteness and convenience.  I pre-washed, stuffed, and stored them, and then waited anxiously to have a baby to put them on.  Then the "anxious" took another turn.  I was nervous to use them.  What if they didn't work?  What if I couldn't handle the poop?  What if I had wasted all that money (even more than most folks, we really don't have money to waste)?  What if . . . .?

I didn't take the diapers to the hospital.  I figured meconium was a great reason to use disposables.  Then I realized that Bean had a tender little stump that the cloth diapers would cover.  I had just been worried about irritation, but I learned that keeping it dry was paramount, not easy to do when cover with damp cloth.  The first night home, Wonderman and my mom went to buy a pack of disposables.  I felt defeated, as though I had abandoned my ideals.   Would anyone know?  If they knew, would they judge me after I had ranted and raved about the importance of cloth diapers?  I felt like such a failure (over-emotional much?  especially just one day after giving birth?).  That package of diapers was my first experience with diaper-changing of any kind in literally decades (Wonderman did all the hospital diapering and my baby experience was almost non-existent).  It was so easy.  Just wipe and toss.  I felt guilty, but I loved (as much as you can love anything related to diapering) it.  Plus, the diapers were so tiny, I wasn't coming anywhere near the huge garbage cans full of just diapers that I had seen my neighbors putting out on the curb.  I was in a good place.  Bean's stub continued to hold on.  We bought another pack of disposables.  Part of me cringed, the other breathed a sigh of relief. 

The day her stub fell off, I was nearing the end of a pack of diapers, and I realized that my moment of truth had come.  I was tired and stressed and she wasn't sleeping well and I missed my husband and I was by that time terrified of what the switch to cloth would entail (more work on changing and more laundry that had to be done).  My mommy (remember, I was staying with my mom and Bill while Wonderman went back to the island for school?) reassured me that it would be ok if I waited a while.  Another package of disposables entered my life.  I honestly don't even know how many we went through before I decided I was ready to jump in and try cloth.  I told my mom, and she bought me another pack of disposables - I could sense her lack of faith.  She said it was because there was a big storm coming and it was better to have them than not.  How wise her words were.

I remember the first cloth diaper I put on Bean.  It was purple.  And soft.  And so cute.  And it leaked within twenty minutes of me putting it on her.  She was laying on her side to nurse and urine just poured right out onto my lap as though the diaper had been a spigot and not absorbent at all.  Not what I'd call an auspicious beginning.  I switched it for another.  It also leaked, this time in back.  Again I tried.  Again it leaked.  100% of the tries ended in leakage.  I was grateful to retreat to the Pampers (I must say, if disposables must be in the mix, I prefer Pampers to Huggies.  Huggies left gel balls on Bean's bum.  No good.  Target's store brand also worked quite well for us). 

I did more internet research.  Rumparooz had rave reviews all around, that's part of why I bought them.  I contacted the company and got some good advice.  More importantly, I reviewed the sizing info and realized that while Bean was a newborn, she wasn't technically newborn size.  I increased the size, which allowed for an increase in insert absorption power.  I still remember the sense of accomplishment I felt after using solely cloth diapers for a week.  I have had essentially zero problems since.  Once in a while there will be a tiny bit of leakage because I, in my negligence, have left Bean in a diaper for too long and it just can't hold any more.  When she wore tights to church, they wicked the moisture nicely so I always had to toss tights in the wash.  Nothing serious.  The diapers were miraculous.  I had none of the blow-outs that my new-mommy peers were experiencing.  I had a baby with such a cutely-clad bum.  All was well. 

Until tonight.  I heard her working on it, as I often do.  I teasingly talked to her about the good job she was doing and the hard work it was taking.  I was also doing this while reading my email and not looking at the baby beside me.  When I did glance over, I saw that she was literally soaked.  It threw off my whole night.  I'm not experienced in the emergency bath.  I forgot half of her bathing supplies.  I got poop everywhere as I undressed her.  The washing machine leaked water all over the floor during the emergency load (this is not because of my bumbling, but it did add to my sense of bewilderment).  I'm just grateful beyond words that none of it got on the couch she was on (thank heaven for the boppy).

Still, she is now clean and sleeping soundly while just on the other side of the room colorful fluff laundry dries, ready to wrap her bum in cloth (I do love the colorful part of the endeavor, both on her and on the line).  I've never been so worried about her diapers before.  I certainly hope this was a one-time deal and that the cloth diapers will step back up and guard me from all such things in the future (I checked the sizing - technically she's still on the right setting for her weight.  Maybe that's what needs to change.  Maybe this was just bad chance).  That's not too much to ask, right?  Anyway, I am all in, as we're now in a foreign land where good disposables are difficult to find and more than pricey to purchase.  It has to work.  However, I may be more aware about taking emergency supplies with me.  And about putting even more of her bathing supplies all in one spot.  Or maybe now that I've been through it, it won't seem like such a big deal ever again.  Time will tell.

Conclusion:  Pride goeth before the fall.  Also, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing again.  And again.  Even with setbacks.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Bean Ts

6:41 PM

So, I don't know if you know, but I have an amazingly talented crafty seamstress sister.  She made the funnest present for Bean's Christmas.  All Bean-themed.  Can I just show you?
 Ok, let's get closer so you can see how not-just-adorable they are, but also witty.  My sister is the greatest.  Can you guess what these are?
 Cool Beans.
 Beanie Baby.
 Bean Bag.
 Magic Beans
Jumping Beans.

Oh my goodness.  These little onesies are going to make me smile every single time she wears them.  I love inside jokes that are just inside me.  I have a smile all the time and no one really knows why.  These will be like that.  It's like when I spent a year going by a completely fake name (mostly just because I could) and every time I told someone my fake name, I smiled.  I knew it was funny, but they had no idea.  Heh!  Is that weird?  Heh! 

Conclusion:  Laughter is good for my soul.  And my belly muscles, and heaven knows they need all the help they can get these days.

Slingin' in the Rain

6:28 PM

So, I mentioned earlier (this is normally where I would post a link to the "earlier," but it was just the post before this, so I'm just not) that I love my sling.  Now I have pictures to show you how great it is:
 I know that kind of looks like a boobie-shot, but it's also representative of how cozy it is for Bean.  She falls asleep on walks ALL THE TIME.  It's sweet.  And sometimes a godsend since she's not a great napper.  If all else fails, go for a walk.  This is basically the Dominican equivalent of taking a fussy baby for a car ride.  I am the family car. 
 Can you see what beautiful material it's made out of?  It makes me feel kind of fancy just wearing it.  And the long tail part that you can't see is lovely and feels like a totally chic scarf/accessory of some kind as it floats gently in the breeze.  It also works wonders as protection from the rain (for Bean, not so much me) and extra sun protection.  The site where I found it said the tail can be used as a nursing cover, but we all know I've sworn off those.  Meh.  So far, so good.
And this one had to be included because I feel almost exactly how I did when I was taking belly shots of my pregnant self.  She already is so big I cannot imagine how she ever fit inside me.  She is also a lot of fun and I am glad she is outside me.

All this being said, I have to confess, I have already wondered if I made a huge mistake by not bringing a stroller with me.  One of my favorite moments recently came when I mentioned to a friend (and mother of a small baby) down here that I didn't have a stroller.  She just looked at me in silence for a few moments, with a look of what I always imagined a stupor of thought to be, then it turned to a slightly horrified brow-wrinkle. 

"You don't have a stroller?" 

I laughed at her mainstream reaction to my crazy hippie ways.  But inside, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.  Bean (as mentioned before) got a burn her first day out.  She has gotten heat rash a few different times on her face and chest.  You know, where she is pressed against me and we both sweat and sweat.  And sweat.  She is a very effective heater.  I learned this when she was inside; turns out she also warms me well from the outside (and, like I keep telling myself, it's not even hot yet - eeek!).  She is no light-weight (Wonderman and I, both being good-sized, solid people, have made a solid baby).  Carrying her makes it oh-my-goodness so much more difficult to carry anything else.  Grocery shopping was tough before, with all the walking and no-car-having.  Now?  It's an adventure, to say the least. 

Still, when I talked to another friend, and avid stroller-user, about all the places she can't get to with her stroller, I felt great (and maybe a little superior, because I'm lame like that) about being able to strap Bean to my chest and go wherever I want.  I haven't yet gone on any of the hikes or island adventures, but I am pretty sure I could, and I like that.  Turns out, I'm not positive that all the baby-wearing hippies imagined said baby-wearing in such a warm place.  A stroller may come in handy sometimes.  Meh.  I still figure strollers are for sissies (I can say this because we've looked at our finances and there is no way we'll be able to get a stroller down here anytime soon [because, ps, a stroller that can handle our "off-roading" situation would cost a fortune], so it will be a trial by fire, I'll be wearing Bean no matter what).  Good thing I love my sling.

Conclusion:  All roads have their challenges.  Embrace your choices and move on.