Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

The bib is not technically part of the costume but is part of daily baby wear.
Today was Silas's first Halloween and it was pretty busy. Wednesdays are Smiley's day off, so the two of us woke up late and then we all headed out to early voting. From there, we hit the mall to spend some gift cards and ended up buying a new vacuum and some baby clothing.

The vacuum was a tricky purchase because it cost money beyond the gift cards we had. However, our old vacuum had stopped working and I was quite honestly freaking out over the amount of fur and hair on our carpet. So that kind of balances out the spending money part.

We actually dressed up to head over to a friend's house tonight - I was wearing my kimono and Smiley was doing his phantom of the Opera costume. Silas was wearing a pirate hat and pirate shoes, but that didn't last. During the car ride, he started crying horribly. We stopped at Publix to pick up a dessert and I stayed in the car trying to see if he was hungry.

It turns out Silas was super over heated from wearing the hat and shoes and pants. I blasted the a/c while feeding him on the front seat. When Smiley got back, key lime pie in tow, I got Silas ready to be burped and then placed back in his car seat. Silas wasted no time in spiting up absolutely everything he just ate and probably food from a few hours ago as well all over me, my kimono and his outfit.

So, the pirate costume didn't make it past the car trip. Oh well. Maybe next year (except not because he'll have grown out of everything). Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh hello fall

Three days ago, the high was 80 degrees. Today, it was 66. I feel crazy cold but northern pride is between me and putting on some long johns. It's ridiculous how relative cold is and how much easier it is to get used to being cold when it happens somewhat more gradually.

Sadly, I remain in a state of overwhelming anxiety regarding my return to work on Monday. I know that plenty of moms have to return to work on a similar time frame or even sooner, but I also believe that does not diminish my feelings about it (and it really only speaks to the fact that the US should try to be a bit more accommodating to new mothers).

Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating for a return to the 50's or something, where my ONLY option would be to stay at home and take care of the kids and household and I'd have to have a martini ready for my husband at the end of the day and dinner on the table while he sits in the dining room tapping his watch if it's late. I am thankful that women these days get better options than that. But wow does it suck to not be able to make the choice I want to make.

In any case, I'm combating my anxiety by making judicious use of my Moby wrap and letting Silas sleep in that on me for a few naps. I'm also working on forcing myself to stop talking about going back to school and make it happen (I feel like I'm one of those people, always talking about how I have the best idea for a novel ever but I just can't write it down).

Upon contacting the local community college yesterday (which, in an attempt to go back to school last year, I had applied and sent in my transcripts), I found out that they had not, in fact, received said transcripts. So now it's time for yet another round of "navigate stupid websites designed to make me hate everything" to attempt to send the transcripts again.

What's annoying about this go around is that I have receipts in my email from last year with the order numbers. I called up to check on them, and the order numbers do not appear in the database. Now, sure, I only paid about $12 for the two transcripts, but still. It's ridiculous that I'll end up spending $24 just to prove that I went to another school and took classes.

Did I mention it was cold outside? Sitting here with Silas wrapped up against me is warming me up faster than a cup of hot chocolate. I love this wrap.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Let me describe what is happening by my feet. Also, Chipotle

I'm sitting at my computer and I've laid Silas down on a blanket next to me. Sherlock is curled up at his feet and Sophie is lying down by his side. They are all asleep (although one wrong noise and the dogs'll be up like rockets) and adorable. I want to take a picture but the room is of course somewhat dim and I don't want to turn on the lights and wake everyone up.

I've noticed that I've been craving Chipotle burritos a lot lately. First off, the college-side place has super mild carnitas, which I love. Seriously, I have ranted before about how nothing at Chipotle worked for me and it was basically all based on spice. This location seems to have milder carnitas.

Ok, tangent about meat aside, I've been craving the heck out of Chipotle. I think that it stems from the fact that I don't have a ton of time to prepare meals for myself during the day - well, that's a bit misleading. Silas sleeps a lot still, but I can't always predict when he'll wake up exactly and sometimes I lose track of time of how long I've sat with him while he sleeps. In any case, I don't have time to prepare much and those burritos have a mega-ton amount of carbs backed up by beans and meat for protein and so my body figures, what the heck - we'll get it all at once.

I discussed the possibility of going on a Chipotle burrito a day type diet, but I don't think it'd work out. Pricewise, if a burrito was the only thing I ate, it wouldn't be ridiculously budget busting, but I think I'd need to have a few more calories than the 800-900 or so they provide and that costs money. Also I'd get tired of them. And other reasons, I'm sure. But at the moment, they seem like a great choice.

You would think this would mean I'd figure out a way to make them at home. I mean, seriously, they're not reinventing the wheel in terms of food prep. But I guess it seems daunting. I'm going to hit the internet and look for a replica recipe.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Breastfeeding as insulation?

So since I've been pregnant, but especially since I've started breastfeeding, I've noticed that I don't respond to temperature quite like I used to. When I was pregnant, I felt overheated a lot, which made sense. I had extra weight to carry around, extra blood rushing around in my veins and a tiny little kicking baby insulating my internal organs.

The breastfeeding warmness is a surprise to me.

I've lost most of the weight and that little inside baby is now an outside baby, but I still find myself more often than not on the warm spectrum of things. For example, I used to be the one adding extra blankets for Smiley to kick off during the night and now I kick off blankets and can't sleep unless the room is below 76 degrees (side note - thank goodness it's started to get cool here in FL because our energy bill would be ridiculous).

I suppose it's the process of making milk that leaves heat as a byproduct? Maybe? In any case, it oscillates. Sometimes I feel ready to strip down to my birthday suit to cool off and other times I feel like I am my normal amount of cold. It's just one of those odd little things I never thought of until now!

In other news, I still don't have a noveling topic - yikes! But I think Silas will be going to the park today for the Dog-O-Ween event. I'll try to take pictures and probably fail because that's just how I work.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oh gosh, it's almost November

Two things happen in November - the first of which is that I go back to work and it's going to suck. The second is that it is once again NaNoWriMo time and that means writing a novel (50,000 words or more) during the month of November. A good friend encouraged me to try it two years ago and so I did. It was fun. Then I did it last year as well.

Now, I'm going to do it again, but I don't know how in the world I'm going to win it. All of the little times that I dedicated to writing are kind of being dedicated to taking care of a baby. And what makes matters worse is that I won't get to spend all day with Silas; I'll be at work, so I'll want the evenings to be with him more often than not. My lunch break will probably be spent visiting him and my regular breaks at work are likely to be my pumping times. Ugh.

Did I mention I don't know what I want to write about anyhow? Last year I made some stuff up about vampires and it was hilariously bad. I also made a prediction that mummies were on their way "in" but alas, vampires are still popular and mummies are still in the shadows. Darn. There goes my career as "popular monstrous creature predictor."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Another Tale Of Sleep Deprivation

Quick - ask me to pronounce "deprivation" - there's a good chance I'll completely screw it up; I have been messing up words left and right and my only claim to education is an English degree, so it's darned embarrassing. I mean, if I were awake and aware enough to be embarrassed.

The other week, maybe two or three weeks ago, Smiley and I went to Target and I picked up some shampoo and conditioner since my current bottles were running low. When we got home, I put them in our shower and promptly flipped my current bottles over to make sure I was getting every last bit of cleansing liquid from the current bottles.

At the beginning of last week, my then-current bottles finally ran out and I took them out of the shower when I was done, ready to seamlessly switch over to my new choices next shower.

Now, maybe none of you guys are dirty hippies like me, but I typically (even before baby Silas!) like to wash my hair every other day. I have terribly fine, thin hair and if I wash it daily, it just goes as greasy as a piece of Pizza Hut pizza by the end of each afternoon. Not a good look.

But with the addition of baby Silas to the household, I'm not ashamed to say that sometimes I don't wash my hair until every third day. (Hey, when you have a minute or two to clean up before the baby starts screaming, you prioritize. If my dirty hair has offended anyone, I'm sorry).

Again, unless you're used to thin, fine hair, you might not know that when I do go three days before washing it, sometimes the shampoo won't exactly sud up like normal. Sometimes you have to shampoo twice, because your hair needs it and not because the bottle suggests it. So, I was not at all surprised when on Wednesday last week, I jumped into the shower and grabbed my new bottle of shampoo and found that it didn't sud up at all the first time.

As I was rinsing out the first shampoo, I vaguely noticed that my hair felt different than it normally did with the shampoo brand I was using. But it wasn't enough to force me to stop and think about the situation. I just rinsed out the shampoo and reapplied another round. This time, it still didn't bubble as I scrubbed it in. Now, you people with your fancy "full nights of sleep" or even "just four hours at a time sleep" might have stopped and checked your shampoo at this point to make sure all was well, but I chalked it up to my hair possibly being exceptionally dirty and I rinsed it out and used my conditioner and promised myself I'd wash my hair before three more days passed.

Three more days passed before I washed my hair again. I got into the shower, fully ready to wash my hair well, and applied the first coat of shampoo. Again, no suds. And that feeling of something being off was finally enough that I checked my bottle of so-called shampoo. For those of you playing "Guess the Mystery" at home, yes, when I was at Target last month, I picked up a bottle of conditioner instead of shampoo. For those of you who know I'm pretty blind without my glasses, I never noticed the darned word "conditioner" on the bottle the few times I've used it.

And for those of you who've wondered how my hair looked so dirty and yet incredibly soft and conditioned, now you know. I've been conditioning my hair twice, if not three times, every time I wash it. Whoops.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Well I Guess It's One Way to Deal With Spit Up!

Silas has entered the phase of his life where he spits up. Often.

It is said that as long as the baby is happy, then spit up is a laundry problem and not a medical problem. So far this holds true for us. I don't mind reusing a burp cloth or blanket a few times before resigning it to the hamper, so I rotate through several blankets a day, giving each a chance to dry up and then using the next corner for the next time.

In order to make sure I am not without a cleaning material, I tend to leave a blanket in each of the places I'm most likely to be spending time - our computer room, the living room or our bedroom.

Today, Silas spit up three times in fairly quick succession, which I cleaned up using the same blanket. I put that blanket slightly hanging off of his carseat and grabbed a new one to use. When I glanced down later, I saw Sherlock tentatively licking the spit up spot. I sincerely hope this does not lead him to develop a taste for baby. I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Moving all the furniture

Today we moved my favorite nursing chair into the bedroom. I'm not sure yet how this will work out. It's my most comfortable place to nurse, so logically if I need to nurse at night (as Silas will be in our room for the foreseeable future) and I want to sit in it, I can easily. At the same time, now I can't nurse in my favorite chair in the living room while watching reruns of Monk.

It's probably for the best; what would have happened when I ran out of episodes of Monk?

But more to the point, it gets the chair out of the living room and we're planning on remodeling in our living room... soon...ish. Basically we're going to take down the fireplace.

This might be one of those cases where "we're" means Smiley will take down the fireplace and I'll provide support.

This might also be one of those cases where "support" means I'll nag him to finish the project so I can go back to nursing in the living room in my favorite chair while watching reruns of Monk.

We'll see how it goes.

I am pretty excited though. A lot of times, Smiley and I have remodel ideas that differ slightly though not significantly, but enough that we need to compromise often. Getting rid of the fireplace is fine by the both of us. We've never used it, although I did shove some candles in it and burned them, once. Then the hearth area got stacked up with Stuff. Then Smiley moved his weights in front of it.

Once the fireplace is gone, we'll have extra space. I know that extra space = extra Stuff, but hopefully that will be kept to a minimum. Instead, we'll do some built in shelves for storage and for the TV and gaming systems. Of course, it'll be hilarious to see how much time goes by before I blog about the end of this project.

I'll be accepting bets for the timeline. See me for the odds.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ok One More Serious Post

Haven't been terribly funny lately, I know. I've been getting steadily more upset as my maternity leave dwindles down to just a few weeks left. I know that some moms don't even have the luxury of maternity leave like I have had and I know that some moms look forward to getting back to their job.

But not me. I just want to take care of my baby and be there for him and be his mother. That's how it's supposed to work. That's how it was supposed to be, when I imagined my life when I was younger. I know some people might think it's stupid, but I always knew raising my children was the job I wanted.

I also want to go to nursing school so I can have a career after that, and I think Smiley and I will work that out somehow, but I know that no matter what, I do need to go back to my current job as planned for at least some time.

So, while I am happy, I am also sad and it's really cutting into my ability to write anything amusing. Sorry about that.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Expressive Eyebrows! And cosleeping

I think someone has replaced my baby with a Mr. Potato Head. Silas has very expressive eyebrows and I love watching them change throughout the day.

There are the relaxed eyebrows, which he wears for most of the day - because those are the ones he wears while he sleeps.

He also has a reserve of angry eyebrows, concerned eyebrows and suspicious eyebrows. The angry eyebrows come out when he sucks on a pacifier and realizes he is not being fed from it. They also occur while I am trying to burp him. If he's still hungry, he'll headbutt his hands and arms until he manages to latch on to them and then out come the angry eyebrows!

So when he is nursing and first latches on, it's usually with concerned or suspicious eyebrows. These quickly change to neutral or sleepy eyebrows once he is assured that he will get to eat.

I suspect that soon he will have his eyes open more and broaden his facial expressions as a whole, but for now, I'll enjoy watching his eyebrows.

 Also, I've taken Silas into the bed with us, despite my talented sister-in-law doing a commercial explaining to not do that. It's not that I haven't weighed the risks; it's just that I don't go to bed drunk or on drugs and I'm not a heavy sleeper, so I'm not worried about smothering my baby. Plus, I don't have extra fluffy blankets or pillows.

And the most important part - he sleeps so much better. We got our first three and a half hour sleep stretch when he was lying in bed with us. I think that's worth it because he was happier during the day and so was I!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Feeling Sad

I was holding Silas today. It was almost time for him to eat and he had started fussing a little, rooting around and sticking out his tongue. He was making some sounds and I asked him jokingly if he was trying to talk already. I told him that I'd be around when he started to talk.

That was a bad thing to say, even to myself. I remembered (as I will myself to forget as often as possible) that I won't be able to stay home with him and that there was a perfectly good chance his first words would be spoken to someone without me or Smiley there. A sad thought, but I pushed it to the side because there's no point in crying over hypotheticals.

Still, it had set a mood for me, and unfortunately the next step was for Silas to hammer the sadness home. As his fussing increased, I got set up to nurse him in my favorite chair. He quieted down, perhaps anticipating what would happen next. As I held him up to my chest, however, he did not latch on as he normally would.

Instead, he paused, making no noise but his face turning bright red and then he started wailing - a desperate, loud cry that frankly shocked me with its intensity. I stared at him for a moment as he cried again, the pleading note in his cry horribly evident.

In that moment, tears gathered in my eyes and then started falling. I rocked him back and forth for a moment to calm him down before attempting to latch him on to nurse and his cry subsided fairly quickly as he reassessed the situation, headbutt me a few times trying to coordinate his head and then latched on to nurse. His eyebrows quickly turned from serious and concerned to happy and calm.

But for a few minutes while I fed him, I continued crying. It was one of those moments where it was obvious - even now, at just over a month old! - that sometimes, I'll be there for Silas with exactly what he needs and it still won't be enough.

Sometimes, I feel frustrated. I think as a new mom, and especially as someone who wants to have children, that I can only share the good parts - that sharing the bad parts of having a child only opens myself up to the attack that "you wanted to have kids so deal with it." Which is true, and I will deal with it, but life is full of choices and sometimes, occasionally, I want to talk about the bad parts of a decision.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Silas's Birth Story

Well, it's just over a month out now, and I still haven't posted anything here as a birth story. I think I'll do that now.

The last few weeks of my pregnancy were the worst part of being pregnant. Though I don't recall it quite as clearly as when I was there, I remember texting my mom almost daily to complain about pain. I had sciatic pain and my right leg would often be the recipient of the shooting pains while I was sitting down.

I was also uncomfortable in general. Sitting, standing and sleeping took a special effort and walking had dissolved into a light shamble. Ok, fine, it was a heavy shamble.

However, as September rounded the corner and me with a due date of 9/24/12, I knew I had to be patient in waiting for my little baby.

At Smiley's workplace, his coworkers were telling him to expect me to go late; as a general rule, first time moms tend to give birth at 41w1d or something along those lines. Don't quote me. But the important part is, they go late. I think we both started mentally psyching ourselves up for that.

At my workplace, my coworkers were convinced that I would go early. Coworkers I hadn't known well would stop and ask if I were alright as I tried gamely to shamble from desk to bathroom and back again several times a day. I assured everyone they would be seeing me until September 24th or longer, if needed. They laughed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Furniture Rearrangement - Mini How-To

It's no secret that Smiley and I have roommates - his sister and her husband live with us. Having roommates not because you need them but because you want them there is a great experience. If we're lucky, one of my friends might be staying with us for a few months next year as well.

We have a 3bed, 2bath house, so I know some people might be starting to count rooms and wonder if we're crazy.

I mean, yeah, a little.

But we both grew up in large families and in houses where rooms were occasionally (or always) shared, so having people around is a normal state of life for us.

So in lieu of this arrangement, Smiley and I are trying to rearrange our bedroom in a way that what is currently the computer room can become the guest bedroom/eventual nursery. This involves having to put our computers in our room. This seems like an impossible task at the present, mostly because right now our room is bursting with Stuff.

Basically, the best way to figure this out is to build a scale model. Here are my steps:

How To Rearrange Your Furniture in the Best Possible Way - For Now
This method works great for anyone who has ever sat there and said "no, actually, I want to see how it works with the couch on the other wall."

This method is great to suggest to anyone who will have you moving furniture in the near future. Heck, you can do this for them - it'll still be less effort on your part.

This method is not needed for those who are excellent at rotating 3D objects in their heads. Go clearly picture your room's furniture all rearranged without my help. You disgust me.

Required items: tape measure, paper, pencil. Imagination. 

1: Measure the room, the doors, the windows and any closets. Mark down all measurements on a piece of scrap paper.

2: Make a scale model of your room with those measurements. Depending on the items you have in your room, an inch = a foot scale can work fairly well (so, each foot of room space will be represented by an inch). You can use a large piece of cardboard or poster board to draw your room. Make sure to put in the windows and doors!

3. Measure all of the furniture. Err on the side of too large here; this method will not work if you guesstimate an inch or two short on everything and end up trying to smash a bedframe between two night stands. Personal experience.

4. Make scale models of your furniture out of a separate piece of cardboard or paper. You can be as detailed as you wish, but the only important parts to note are the front and back of an item when it makes a difference (for example, you most likely want the head of your bed against a wall instead of in the open space). (But I won't judge. Do you want you gotta do.)

5. Rearrange it! Now you can easily rearrange your paper model until you come to a design that works for everyone. Again, it might seem like a time consuming way to do things, but unless you REALLY like dragging furniture around, it is worth it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Nesting Instinct

I'd be lying if I said that my nesting instinct only came out while I was pregnant. I've always enjoyed rearranging furniture and organizing items and decorating. I've always been hampered by a few things though.

The first thing is that I've never really owned furniture. Even right now, in our house, my husband and I own probably less than half of the furniture. To our names, we have an armchair (generously donated by his parents), a bed (generously donated by the trash), a mattress topper (generously donated by his old roommate) and a dining room table and chairs (generously donated by his sister). There a few other items, but the general gist is that there's not much to rearrange.

The second hampering is the items. The stuff. Though we don't have much furniture, my husband and I are both stuff-collectors. I'd like to say he's worse than I am, but the truth is we just have different niches. He has a lot of technology. I have clothes and costumes and books. Both of us have a hard time throwing out items that could be useful to someone, someday, somehow.

So there's a lot of Stuff that could be rearranged but due to the amount of stuff, there's not a lot of rearranging options.

Then there's decorating. Decorating is also hampered. First and foremost, I don't have the discretionary income needed to buy vases or pictures or anything that cannot be used in a, well, useful way. Second, we need all our space for The Stuff. There are no open surfaces that could use a decorate vase filled with decorative beads and maybe wrapped with a decorative ribbon, because it's covered in everything else.

But, oh. The nesting urges still hit, and hard. I'll spend a day rearranging the closet just to try to fit more stuff inside. I'll move our roommates couch at a 90 degree angle to try to open the living room. Once, I put decorative beads into a vase and wrapped it with ribbon. I put it on our dining room table. Later that evening, when our friends were over and we went to play a board game, someone took the decorative piece and kind of shoved it onto another surface.

They weren't being rude. There was just no point to having it there.

Yet, somehow, there's a point to having a pair of nail clippers on my desk, and a vial of perfume that I received as a gift, even though I only use it to anesthetize wounds because it is alcohol based. And a basket of papers that might be important, but aren't important enough to go into my "important stuff" drawer.

If you can make sense of my mind, I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Every dang time!

Every time I sit down at my computer to type, I bring the dogs with me in the room so that Silas can sleep somewhat undisturbed. Sophie immediately starts sniffing around as though there will be some sort of food somewhere on the ground. In particular, she starts sniffing around Smiley's computer chair and desk with a ferocity that suggests my dear husband must have buried a body under the floorboards.

I mean, normally, I can just be all like "Sophie!" in a stern voice and tell her "no scrounging" and she complies. But when it comes to the area around his desk, she doesn't even give me her "I'm sorry" eyes for a half second before she's back to sniffing around. Some day, when we find a body or something under there, I'll apologize to her.

I think night time with Silas has gotten better. Mostly, I think I might have learned to just go to sleep while I'm sitting up and feeding him. Usually I'll stay awake until he's done eating and then put him on my chest to burp him and that's usually how I'll wake up. The alternative is putting him back in his bassinet.

Putting him back in his bassinet is like throwing a china plate against the wall and hoping it doesn't break - what I'm saying is, it's impossible to do. No matter how fast asleep he seems, no matter how boneless his arms are, the moment he touches the bassinet, he starts making little noises. These little noises become bigger noises and often are accompanied by an episode or ten of spitting up, despite my best efforts to burp him several times during feedings.

And then, before long, the noises become protests which become half cries and at that point I know I need to pick him up or the full cry will start.

Every. Single. Time.

(I feel compelled to note, if you haven't already, that this is through the eyes of my sleep deprived brain. I think that I actually fall asleep at some point and wake up to the fussing.)

Anyhow, today marks his 4-week "being alive" anniversary. Smiley and I have taken care of a baby for nearly a month and he hasn't broken yet. I think, just maybe, we might be able to pull this off.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Brought Silas to work today

I brought Silas to meet my coworkers today - he was wide eyed, awake and alert throughout the whole visit, and behaved like he was the best baby ever.

I told my manager that if I got permission to plunk him in a bassinet next to my desk, I'd be there tomorrow to work. I'd even put the bassinet under my desk, to hide him from distracting my coworkers with his massive cuteness.

My manager didn't seem thrilled at the proposition.

But if I understand the laws correctly, they have to give me time to use my pump at work and theoretically, I could just feed my baby directly instead instead of going through a middleman/machine. I mean, he totally only fusses when he's hungry. There's no way this plan could go wrong.