Sunday, August 31, 2008


This week marked Alice's 2 month birthday and her first immunization. Now our pediatrician agreed that we should follow the delayed shot schedule so Alice is only poked in the leg once each month rather than several times every other visit. Alice was a real trouper and only cried during the injection and swiftly recovered enough to give the nurse a smile. However right after the shot Alice went from this baby:

To this baby:

Poor sweetheart. She has been very sleepy and grumpy for the past few days which we were told to might happen. Also Alice has learned how to modify her cries. Instead of a faint sob we get a full on scream followed swiftly by an angry wailing. Her main complaint seems to be when we don't hold her upright during an attack of gas pains. Thankfully we don't have any colic symptoms (inconsolable crying for hours) but I do miss my cheerful babbling baby. I hope she feels better soon.

Actually the Doctor said I could try giving up all dairy for a while and see if that changes Alice's behavior. I am so bummed about this advice. I LOVE cheese...but I love the kid more. Whatareyagoonado?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Alice found and lost her best friend

My longtime friend Dr. Joanna kindly bought our Alice a mobile for her crib. I want to thank Joanna again before I tell this story. Her gift was much appreciated.

I waited a bit to put up the mobile while Tony and I established that the crib was for sleeping. These days Alice is consistently sleeping in 4-6 hour stretches. On Wednesday I desperately needed to distract the kid while I used the bathroom so I decided to introduce the mobile.
As a mother my heart was not prepared for the abject joy that spread across my baby's face when the mobile animals started to turn above her head. She followed each stuffed critter and was shocked when it appeared again in each rotation. As soon as the music stopped she became terribly excited and seemed completely sure that Mommy was going to start the whole happy process again. This delight just increased each time I wound up the spring inside her toy. I took a video of the last few turns when Alice had time to chill out a bit, but you can still see how delighted she is by the whole affair.

Two days later after we came home from a long string of appointments and errands. Alice was in a fussy mood and I was starving. So I put Alice in her crib and turned the mobile's crank. Instant baby laughter and smiles! Just as I turned to walk into the kitchen to prepare my own lunch I hear "PING!" and the music stops. The F***ing spring broke. No more mobile.

I look into the crib and my angel is smiling beatifically up at me seeming to say, "Mommy, please make the happiness start again." My heart tore up into tiny pieces just looking at that sweet expectant face.

Happily Alice also likes it when I swear loudly at toy manufacturers, so she was entertained either way.

P.S. Babies also love ceiling fans, though it is a more reverent and cooing sort of love. Tony wonders if Alice thinks the ceiling fan is her baby vision of the divine.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This is just to say

This American Life recently did a story about the Poem: "This is just to say" by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Many poets make parodies of this poem which is not really an apology at all when you read it. In fact it is a prime example of jack-assery if you think about it. The contributors at TAL all did their own funny versions of a pseudo-apology poem and they were great, you should give it a listen in the TAL archives under the show name "Mistakes were Made".

Tonight Tony and I read a post by our buddy Cathleen who is a fine English scholar and lovely mother to three brilliant kids. Her husband Daniel has taken on the massive task of teaching tact to little children. The funny. Oddly reminiscent of a certain poem.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Alice hates Cracker Barrel

Oh my freaking goodness.

On Friday our little family rushed to the DFW area for Bob's funeral. Around 8pm I needed to nurse and change Alice. In the interest of expediency we pulled over in Waco at a Texas Roadhouse parking lot. Aside from curious Friday night teenagers looking into the car window at the baby it was a reasonably swift process and we were back on the road in 20 minuets.

On the way home to Austin on Sunday Tony and I were weary from a sad weekend and decided there was no need to rush home. We needed, nay deserved the treat of taking Alice to a restaurant for a relaxing lunch. We even chose a place with plenty of comfort (fried) food rather than a fast food joint. Thus we arrived at the Cracker Barrel with a sweetly sleeping baby nestled in her carseat.

After we were seated in a relativly secluded spot ,so that I could nurse discretely, our waiter (who had a crazy shiny grill) brought our much needed sweet tea.
* Side note: At the wake my Dad's brother gave his daughter a glass of sweet tea. She asked what was in the glass. My Uncle said "Diabetes in a cup, Enjoy!"
Lovely Alice started to stir in her carseat and I suggested that I take her to the ladies room for a change before we all ate. So off we go. Me, my organized Mommy diaper bag, and my sleepy baby who is nuzzling my neck. We enter the ladies room, and ladies...let me just say...ya'll need to see a doctor because that was a baleful stink. Alice's precious baby nose also detects the yuck and she starts to sqirm and fuss. Not only that it is loud and women are shouting "Candy! You in there?!"

At this point in my story the blame for an unpleasing ladies room ambiance shifts swiftly from the general public and lands squarely on my kid. First of all her diaper is very full. Second the onsie is seriously stained. Thirdly the changing station is an extension of the sink with a guardrail. I place Alice on the station with a plastic changing pad under her whole body. Alice finds this highly offensive and kicks herself OFF the pad and smacks her little head into the wall of the bathroom. Now she is screaming and has TOUCHED the surface of the poo station.

Alice is two months old these days so I have a bit of screamy diaper experience. Do I panic? No I do not. I swiftly put her back on the pad and hold her firmly in place. Change the diaper, clean her butt, pull off the onsie, toss it in the trash, pull her into my arms, place pacifier in mouth. Presto Chango, we have a mollified baby.

Now I think to myself that all she needs is a few moments of Mommy comforting and we can proceed to putting on her back-up onsie. As I think this a woman taps me on the back and as I turn she asks Alice, "What did Mommy do to you pumpkin? Did she hurt your feelings?" When I turned around Alice opened her mouth (presumably to reply) and her binkiy drops to the filthy floor of the Cracker frickin' Barrel bathroom. The wails tripled in volume and ferocity. I could have slapped the face clean off that woman.

I did what Miss Manners suggests when you want someone to die horribly, I turned pointedly away back to my business and ignored the lady. Much to Alice's horror I stuffed her into another onsie and put a reserve binky into her mouth. The floor binky was tossed in the trash and we packed up our gear. As I took Alice outside an older woman with a walker said to me "Is she ok? That was horrible." I wasn't mad at the woman. It was horrible.

Tony must have seen the look on my face when we came back to the table. He was super helpful and talked in very soft tones while I struggled to put ALice under my shirt for her meal. By the look on his face the people of Waco are going to think I beat him regularly for talking sass.

Anyway...the meal continues and beloved husband (who I have yet to beat) takes the slowly relaxing baby so I can eat. He even encourages her to "smile at Mommy, she deserves a smile!". I take Alice in turn so Tony can eat and set her on my leg so she can practice looking around the room. This, as it turns out, was a terrible mistake. Suddenly Tony grabs a ton of paper napkins off the table and dives for the growing poo-puddle spreading under my leg.

Underwater Alice

We had our first Mommy/Baby bath recently. My Great Grandmother raised an eyebrow when I told her that, like it might be slightly perverse from the perspective of her generation. But as I am a post-hippie generation GenX-er (I think) I had no problem swimming around the tub with Alice.

It was so much fun! She was more than a little apprehensive at the start, as she always is when her diaper is removed (kid doesn't like to make a mess on herself). It was so sweet to watch her relax slowly and get acclimated to the water. I was startled to see her little feet start an instinctive flipper kick and after a bit she was motorboatin' her way around our garden tub!

It was actually a lot easier to bathe the kid when I could get to all her bits. A welcome change from the anxious trembly sponge baths in her little tub.

This is her post-bath kimono/speedsuit. She went all Kung-Fu Panda on me for the picture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thanks Mike

Tony's family kindly offered to let us stay with them on short notice for Uncle Bob's memorial services. Alice's Uncle Mike even gave up his room so his niece could be comfortable. Mike also did us a solid fetching my sister from the airport. Alice is showing her gratitude by squatting on Uncle Mike and assaulting Aunt Jesse's hair.

Aunt Jesse, so silly

My sister flew into TX for Bob's service and did her Aunt-ish duty teaching Alice how to be silly.

Dad meet Aice

Though we were gathered for a sad occasion there were some happy moments. Here is my Dad meeting his Granddaughter for the first time. She is wearing a dress from her Great-Grandma (Dad's mother).

Uncle Bob

Last week I was napping with Alice when my Dad called to tell me that my Uncle Bob was killed in a car accident. My sister and I spent almost every summer of our pre-teen years at Uncle Bob's house whooping it up with our cousins Lisa and Kevin. Uncle Bob has made me countless ice cream floats and PBJ sandwiches over the years.

Bob was a good guy. He was an Air Force pilot and in his later years a Drama teacher. I can't recall Bob's memory to mind without imagining him laughing at some prank or pratfall. Bob was big on teasing and tickling. He seemed to have a policy that a kid couldn't be truly happy unless they were squirting milk out the nose. Truthfully Bob was much gentler with nieces than nephews. He called us sweethearts and always had a welcoming grin and hug for a shy kid.

My Uncle and Aunt managed to raise two of my very favorite human beings. Lisa and Kevin are world traveling adventurers and their accomplishments gave Bob the chance to laugh his way around the whole world before he passed.
His funeral was packed with old friends and great stories. Bob left early but he made the most of his time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Insensitive white girl

My buddy Leanne recently told me that she is pondering posting on her blog about the Green Movement and Racial (capital R) politics. Her points were very engaging and I won't elaborate because she might decide to post her thoughts in future.

This is a tricky subject. We all know that online comments can anonymous, unkind, and an author's intentions can be misconstrued. Her hesitancy to post inspired me to reflect on times in the past when I have been called a racist.

One particularly memorable time was during an attempted beat-down by girl at Hopi High. She wanted to beat me up for being the only lonely little white girl in our school! A bit unfair I thought.

Another time I was on a anti-racism PBS show for teens and we were all asked to respond to a question about seeing racial color. Some girl said that it is wrong to notice anybody's skin color. I said that I certainly notice skin color, and hair color, and eye color, and the number of heads a person has, because these things are descriptive and obvious to any casual observer. But I qualified that I try to examine my pre-conceptions and not let my own ignorance mandate my behavior.

The other girl stood up and called me a racist bitch. End of PBS taping! The moderators made the two of us have a teen crisis intervention. Here was the nugget of truth I gleaned from the intervention. The girl who yelled at me was a stupid girl.

Here is another racial incident. I was in a sculpting class at the Illinois Institute of Art and I mentioned that the clay we were using was "Skin Toned" and a hispanic dude glared at me and said "The phrase is 'Flesh Toned', not everybody is white like you chica."

He had a good point there. That one was my bad.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fashion Show! Fashion Show! Fashion Show at Work!

Happily Alice is over her fever and feeling pretty bouncy. She was well enough to attend a baby shower hosted by Tony's work companions for one of his colleagues. This was a great occasion to pull out one of the many outfits Alice received from her Great Grandma Bette and of course we had to document the occasion before she outgrows this jumper.
Girl likes to work it. Our baby seems to enjoy getting prettied up for formal occasions.

Though her patience has it's limits.

The actual event was a little overwhelming for the kid, as it was in a sports bar. She cuddled against me for much of the time though the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations (aka: Carol) used her baby whisperer skills to lull Alice into a drowsy cooing mood. Carol has a method of placing babies in her lap supported by one leg crooked over her knee and gently swaying the kid without freaking her out. It was a most useful skill.

After the party Mom, Dad, and Alice put on our sleep sacks and hunkered down in bed with chicken fried steak (thanks to "The Hills" takeout) and watched "the Wire". You's the best show on television (that one's for you Becky).

Here is the hat that came with Alice's sleep sack:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fever and a new skill

Tonight Alice is running a slight fever which makes her want to be snuggled and allowed to sit quietly with Mom and Dad. She doesn't have the energy to fuss so she has learned to give me this look (see above) when she is ready to eat. It is a very sweet, slightly heartbreaking, new method for letting Mom know what's up.
For concerned Grandparents out there the fever is very slight and is being watched carefully by her somewhat over-anxious parents.

We learned to sit up today (with some help)

Goodbye Green Sack, Hello lovely Present!

Last night was the last hurrah for my favorite sleep sack. This green number makes Alice's hair seem very red and she loves to punch daddy in the face with her covered fists. However our pumpkin is too tall for the green sack and we gave it a fond farewell with these chameleon-esque green sheets. Can you see the baby or is she totally camouflaged?
Here's a hint, she's under the big "A" for Alice, which was made by the very crafty (and very kind) Bethany. Thanks Bethany!

Isty-Bitsy Spider

Check it out. I walk into the garage to switch our laundry and who should be hiding behind the door but this big fella...Yiieee!
Tony armed himself with thick shoes and a big vase before banishing this beast from our home. We had a long debate about squishing the spider, but logistically and ethically the spider's size seemed problematic. So he has been forcefully escorted off the property as of midnight tonight.

Monday, August 11, 2008


One lazy Sunday in my second trimester Tony and I came upon our first Austin estate sale in a fairly posh neighborhood. Since we had recently purchased a new home the two of us were in the market for found treasures to fill our new space. The home was a modest one but it was filled with amazing family heirlooms. Not furniture or flatware but tons of family pictures dating back a century, wartime journals, lovingly kept Christmas trinkets. It made me so sad to think that there was no one left in this family that wanted these treasures. I didn't buy anything because the items seemed too personal and private. Tony thought I was silly because someone will need to buy these things or they go to the dump.

This is why I was delighted to read my friend Leanne's post Scouting where she assisted this clever lady make fine use of forgotten treasures.

Parenting Skill #248

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trust issues

When Alice was first born I marveled that I could stroke her eyelid without her flinching. She had never experienced something unpleasant touching her naked eye and it seemed a symbol of her unblemished trust in me and the world at large. I wondered at the time how long this particular innocence could last.

Of course seven weeks of life have taught Alice the useful skill of shying away from potentially pokey face grooming. Particularly the nasal aspirator, she can smack that thing out of Mommy's hands. Right now the kid has baby acne and cradle cap on her ears (but not her head oddly enough) so bathtime requires extra frustrating steps.
My Alice has traded some of her unknowing trust for some worldly patience.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Carry me away

I have been searching for a baby carrier solution since before Alice was born. The Ergo is supposed to be the greatest baby tool in creation but the infant insert just pins her to my chest like the filling in a taco. So it is useless to us until she is six months old. We have the ole' snuggli from 1978 that is great but growing a little tight on Alice's bum, and it is hard on my neck. Here is Alice in her first snuggli jaunt with daddy:

So recently we have moved on to the Bjorn.

Today was a banner Bjorn-y day. I figured out how (with the help of a borrowed Baby Bjorn- Thanks Cathleen!) to negotiate a laptop with my feet, catch a falling binky and re-inserting it without looking, and eat "lunch" with one hand while simultaneously playing stick with the cat using the other. This was the first time in almost two months since I have played with the cat. I was so thrilled by my new skill set that I played stick for over an hour and the kitty actually got tired of me and abandoned the game in disgust.

However, I caught the kitty snuggling with his stick later in the afternoon so I think he was secretly pleased by the attention. The above photo looks like it was staged but I swear it is candid.

So the Bjorn was great for streamlining my day and lulling Alice to sleep. You know what I like to do after Alice is lulled to sleep? Put her down in the crib. However, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to dislodge myself without waking the baby. Alice is especially sensitive to the sound of snaps unsnapping and the best I could do was wiggle free and set her down gently. This was not conductive to actual sleeping, as you can see.

I knew it.

This article at supports my theory that coco butter does crap-all for preventing stretch marks. The complete blanketing of my stomach was proof enough for me, but this sweet validation isn't bad:

Monday, August 4, 2008

The poo is on the Other Parent

Tony and I have decided to institute a once a month free day for each of us. Basically one person takes over total Alice patrol for the day and the other skips off into the wilderness. Being a gentleman Tony let me go first. He suggested I go buy myself something pretty or see a movie. However, I chose to take three non-consecutive naps, take out the garbage, clean the kitchen, take a shower, and do the weekly grocery shopping. Ahhh Freedom!

While I was out Tony experienced a diaper explosion the likes of which neither of us had ever witnessed before. Now I am the only parent who has ever been projectile vomited on and I have been on the receiving end of many an overloaded diaper before, but apparently Alice believes in parity. Though I have been marked often Tony has been marked worse.

I came home with an armload of groceries to Tony in his bathrobe and Alice drained of energy (and everything else) in her cradle. All he said to me was: "I have to go clean out the tub." Yikes.

Tony totally deserves to go see Batman on his day off.

FYI: Check out this fantastic poem about Batman

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Alice n' Joe

alice_joe, originally uploaded by preposthumous.

Today we were visited by our great friends Joe, Tom, and their lovely Mother. This is a most excellent family. I recommend them highly.

Alice was delighted by Joe's beard. At first she just stared at his furry visage but then she suddenly dove in and franticly rubbed her face all over his chin. Joe accepted the mauling with great serenity.

Friday, August 1, 2008

4 soiled onsies, 3 vomits, 2 sobbing fits, 1 glass of wine

Today was my six week check up with the lovely Dr. Hart. Today is the first time I have held a baby during a pelvic exam.

It was quite a feat trying to figure out how to go through the whole Dr.'s office process with a fussy newborn. Alice usually feeds and then naps around 9am and she was grumpy about the change of venue. We were ok feeding and burping in the exam room during the lull waiting for Dr. Hart. However as soon as I changed into my exam gown and put Alice in her car seat we hit trouble.

My girl hates her being in her car seat post feeding (it constricts her tummy) and Alice regestered her displeasure by giving me a series of warning screams and then vomiting down my cleavage. So when Dr. Hart came into the exam room I was in a disposable gown, covered in vomit, and holding a sniffling baby.

Hence the suggestion that I just hang onto Alice during the exam. It worked out fine. Alice even calmed down enough to have her picture taken with Dr. Hart.

On the way home Alice fell asleep. I was so grateful for this lull in baby peeps that I indulged in a drive-through cup of iced tea. An iced tea that I have since come to regret...

See the kid was already off her schedule and desperately needed a nap but for the life of me I couldn't get her to stay asleep! This is how it would go:

Step #1: Lull Alice to sleep with motherly affection and various baby devices (binky, vibrating chair, NPR, rocking chair, prayer)

Step #2: 10 minuets pass, Alice awakes with a sudden bloodcurdling shriek

Step #3: Alice's big blue eyes dart around like she is speed reading and her limbs flail all over the place.

Step #4: Alice dissolves into exhausted sobbing

Step #5: Diaper fills way past capacity and another onsie goes the way of it's brethren, into the poopy bag.

Step #6: Alice begins furious wailing at indignity of being changed.

(Repeat Step #1...cycle continues)

We had an especially insane instance of Step #5 around noon which led to our first Mother/Baby shower.
I was almost fully dressed and she was covered in poo. It was pretty crazy holding onto a slippery angry baby (with the help of many baby towels) and negotiating a safe water temperature with my feet, but we got the job done. Also Alice expressed no faith in my ability to keep her safe during the bathing procedure. I like to think that I put some of her fears to rest by not dropping her or scalding her once, but I doubt it.

It wasn't really an unpleasant day for me because an unhappy Alice is still very sweet. But I feel for the kid. I don't know if the caffeine was really to blame but I am going to steer clear of mocha lattes for a wee bit just in case.

Interesting side note. As soon as Tony got home Alice was passed out and sleeping like an angel. Tony hunkered down right next to her for a nap. The two of them are so alike it blows my mind.
Case in point:
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