Friday, January 27, 2006

I'm not ready

My baby is growing up.

Every day there's a new word or a new something. Two days ago I pointed to a duck and said, "What's that?" expecting to hear the usual "dah-DAH!" And she said, "Duck!" I almost crumbled in a little heap right there.

Yesterday she said "more" as she signed it. She had never ever done that before, but she did it again today. (After we saw a street sweeping machine thingy. I explained to her that it was making the streets clean, and she said, "Ah kleen! More!") What's next? Is she going to say please and sign thank you? Just turn my world upside down, why don't you!

It's not like Miss M is my last child, as the roiling in my abdomen reminds me on a very regular basis. I'll get to experience these little growing up moments again. But not with her, I guess. I feel happy and sad and proud and terrified all at once.

My profound thought for the day...brought to you by the fact that we are out of flour so I could only make one batch of muffins and had to skip the brownies, too.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Stolen internet no longer....

Last night's post was courtesy of borrowing someone else's wireless connection. Vaguely icky. People probably do it to us all the time; we keep meaning to encrypt it.

But now we're back on track. For the record, it was more than 28 hours of being disconnected. (Many hours for Taxman to make fun of me, but he could use his computer, his phone, and he spent all day with people over 3 feet tall. Although Miss M was super cute today, and entertained herself enough that I got a lot of Shabbat cooking done even before she went to bed!)

When the cable guy showed up (the problem was across our building and even wider, thanks to Con Edison), I was very happy to see him. It would have been better if he had been carrying pizza as well--hey, it was 6:30--but reconnecting me to the universe beyond NPR and the local radio stations was very appreciated!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Further technical difficulties

I had just gotten used to actually plugging the computer into a router again (only when Miss M was sleeping) when all hell apparently broke loose down at our cable company. Actually, I don't know what happened; I just hope nobody was hurt. If not, there had better be some refunds coming.

All I know is that we have not had phone (VOIP), internet (cable), or TV since at least 2pm, if not earlier. I may lose my mind.

On Shabbat I am happy to go without all these things, but then I am in the zone. Taxman is with me for entertainment. I hoard copies of The New Yorker for Shabbat. I read cookbooks. I attempt to nap.


Monday, January 23, 2006

I may be sleep deprived, but I'm not stupid

Warning, vent ahead.

In my life I've owned a lot of clothes from the Gap and Old Navy. I am a casual kind of person. I like denim. I like cotton. I like clothes that don't have to be dry cleaned. I dress Miss M in a lot of (sale priced) babyGap.

But SERIOUSLY! Do I look illiterate?

I went to return a gift of Miss M's for $18.49 worth of store credit, to be spent when she outgrows her 18-24 month clothes. Gap was heavily advertising their new petite and tall sizes. Being a petite size, I was vaguely interested. I admit I was sucked into their little poster that said, "Sign up on-line to receive e-mail updates! Coupon and free shipping from!"

So I signed up, using my "extra" hotmail account left over from my single days...where all the junk mail goes. I got a nice chatty email from Gap customer service, explaining that the coupon was not a coupon for a discount but for free shipping from purchases of $100 or more. Cripes. I never spend that much at the Gap at once. Maybe in three trips. Or four, if the sale racks are particularly good to me.

But it gets better! The coupon for free shipping expired on 12/31/05. When did I receive the super-mysterious coupon code? 1/16/06. Did they expect me to go back in time to use such a bargain? I fired off an email back to customer service asking something to that effect, but to no avail. Potentially because I was using my super-snarky voice. But SERIOUSLY!!!!

Then there was the Old Navy fiasco. Two years ago I bought some maternity clothes from them, and I was hoping to just add a skirt or two to my (very boring) wardrobe. So a couple of observations from the Old Navy maternity section...

1. Umm, design department? Weird shades of brown and tan are NOT the new black. There is a reason why women, at their most oddly shaped and vulnerable, body-wise, like black. It doesn't matter that spring is eight weeks away. WHERE IS THE BLACK?
2. I don't want jeans that ignore the fact I am pregnant. I WANT OVERALLS! Comfort over style. I couldn't find overalls that fit during my first pregnancy either...getting annoyed here.
3. I would be out of my mind to think about plunking down $34.50 for a skirt that already makes my ass look big. I am only 29 weeks along, and I know from experience I am only going to get bigger. Buy my pre-pregnancy size indeed.

I would be much more coherent if Miss M had been sleeping better, but around here you take what you get.

Rant over....

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Finally joining the ranks of civilized bloggers

While Miss M was sleeping I managed to figure out Haloscan (easy, easy) and BlogRolling (not quite as easy, but not hard).

But then she woke up before I could do anything more interesting....

Friday, January 20, 2006


Miss M's new favorite spoken word, apparently, is "down." Or "DOWN!" to be more accurate. She uses it all the time. When I pick her up from someplace interesting (the edge of the street, the floor of a public bathroom, our apartment hallway--which is a great place to lie down, apparently), when I try to strap her into the stroller, or when she falls down, either accidentally or on purpose. In the last context, "DOWN!" is slowly replacing "Ah-boom," which is kind of a shame, I think. For two reasons: first, "Ah-boom" is really so much cuter; and second, "Ah-boom" sounds nothing like "DAMN!"*** (Unfortunately, "DOWN!" issuing from Miss M's mouth can make no such claim.)

***I really, really, really try very hard not to curse in front of her. Or Taxman, because it bothers him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

SAD for toddlers?

Can toddlers be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder? This is my pondering for the day.

Today is a day much like Saturday. (The day of the very early and very long nap.) Very grey and very rainy, and, as a special bonus, incredibly windy. I had decided during the 3am bathroom run that it was very unlikely we were going to leave the house today because a) we have that luxury and b) Taxman's dry cleaning can wait. And I hate those plastic rain covers for strollers. I am constantly checking to make sure she is breathing.

Miss M rallied at 7:30, knocked on the bathroom door a lot while Taxman was in the potty, ate oatmeal and melon for breakfast, watched Sesame Street, got her talons (uh, toenails) cut, played with blocks, colored with crayons, colored with markers, had a snack, boogied to Laurie Berkner. An ordinary day.

But two "off" things. First, she requested to nurse during Sesame Street. The mid-morning nursing has not been popular around here for a few months. She did nurse, half lying, half sitting, and with her attention mostly on the letter of the day. P, in case you were wondering.

Then she got whiny and asked to nurse again at a quarter to 12. I thought maybe she was hungry again, so I asked if she was. More half-crying, so I asked if she was sleepy. She then signed "sleep," and kept signing to nurse. I wasn't expecting her to want to nap for another hour at least, but we trundled off to the bedroom...and she's been out cold for an hour and a half.

Somehow I feel like if we had been out and about, or even if it had been sunny instead of gloomy, that she'd just be going to nap now.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Fright night

Last night as I was nursing Miss M before bed, I noticed that I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions. She nursed for quite a long time (more than 30 minutes), and I had at least five in that time period.

Braxton-Hicks contractions are normal at 28 weeks. I know this. I also know that the uterus can't be stimulated by nursing for a while yet. But don't think that I wasn't a little freaked out.

After Miss M went to bed I lounged on the couch with my hands on my belly. More contractions. I drank a lot of water. More contractions. Interspersed with increasingly frequent bathroom runs.

I finally went to bed and tried desperately to relax. No dice. When Taxman came to bed an hour later, I told him what was going on. I knew it was probably nothing...when I was 27 weeks pregnant with Miss M I had a similar incident: a full morning of frequent Braxton-Hicks. I had called my OB and, to be cautious, he had me come in for an ultrasound and an IV. Not only was I not experiencing preterm labor then, but I was almost two weeks late in delivering her....3 months later.

I didn't especially want to call my doctor. It was very late, and I had pretty overwhelming evidence that they were not real contractions. (I could lie down. When I was in real labor, I was in excruciating pain when I was horizontal, so I spent a few nights sitting on my birth ball.) Frankly, the worst part of it was realizing that if I did call my OB and he did want me to come by the hospital that we had no plan for our sleeping sweet girl, short of me going alone. Taxman's parents, who have been her only babysitters, are abroad for the week. Even if we did have a high school or college student on our occasional payroll, it was the middle of the night.

So now I am thinking that we should make arrangements with our close friends who live across the street that in dire emergencies they should be our middle of the night contacts. (We'd obviously do the same for them and their toddler.) Miss M would, of course, flip out if I were not there in the middle of the night, but during the day she knows them and loves them. So there would be screaming, but by the light of morning I think she'd be ok.

But I digress. Ultimately, after several more glasses of water, and the appropriate number of visits to the bathroom to compensate, I was able to get to sleep. Today was back to normal. I am guessing yesterday was a combination of too much running around, not enough rest over the weekend, and not drinking enough water.

Hopefully that will be all the pregnancy excitement for now, and I can get back to concentrating on how to convince Miss M to stop hitting me while she's nursing. She did it tonight, and she was abruptly trundled off to bed after being warned. It is just testing limits--she has been a little rough with me while not nursing as well--but I certainly don't want this to lead to weaning. On the other hand, I can't allow her to beat up on me. In a few months I'll be holding and nursing someone else as well, and hitting me/her father/her sibling just can't be acceptable behavior. Sigh.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Oh, I didn't mean to do it...

Back when Miss M was exclusively nursing and I was slowly admitting that someday I would allow her to enjoy solid foods, I promised myself that I would never use food as a bribe or part of a game.

Ha! What am I doing now? Getting Miss M to eat her oatmeal by plopping a dried blueberry on each spoonful as she eats it (by herself, though, so that's good). Every three or four spoonfuls she tries to pick the blueberry out without eating the oatmeal, but that is not part of the Ema-Miss M breakfast contract. I am not fact I am happy to report that it works with yogurt too.

Lately, I've found myself at the library a couple of times a week in search of recipes, so Miss M gets a snack to keep her quiet for five minutes. But I am swearing off Shabbat guests until the kids are about 11 and 9, so the library won't be as necessary for a while.

And of course Miss M got sesame pretzels last week when I had to take her to my OB appointment. She's fine in the waiting room, but gets hysterical when I am being examined. The snack kept her quiet, to a point...we almost had a choking incident while I was getting my Rhogam shot, though.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

More fun than oodles of dirty dishes

Blogging, that is.

Actually, Taxman is driving his brother (the aforementioned sleepover company) to the airport, so I am home with a sleeping Miss M and a computer that can actually connect to the Internet. As soon as he returns he will have to settle down to work, so the dishes can wait.

So I wanted to karma: do other people believe in this? (If so, what the heck did those poor people in Seattle do?) I was so thrilled earlier this week when it was in the 50s and sunny. I spent part of one afternoon and part of one morning chasing Miss M around the park. (Fun but exhausting when it is getting harder to bend over and clamber up the slide after her.) But in the back of my mind, I knew there would be some sort of karmic debt exacted from us for such nice weather in January--three feet of snow in March, average temperature of 12 degrees in February, that sort of thing. Anyway, we may be partially in payback mode right now because it's been raining, with varying degrees of howling wind to accompany the raindrops, for 24 hours. It might be cold enough overnight to start sleeting. Fun! But it would finally justify Miss M's boots.

Thankfully, today was the first day since Monday that I did not have to go anywhere or have an overwhelming list of cooking projects. Miss M, after a pretty darn good night--up once, at 4am, but promptly soothed with a trip to Ema & Abba's bed and so quiet in her sleep I forgot she was there!--slept until after 8:00, which justified skipping the one block walk to synagogue. (The advantage of going to a 7:00 service is that it is over by 9!) To tell the truth, I was inordinately sleepy, probably because I was not being pulled in 40 directions. Even Miss M seemed to intuit the idea that on a day like today, the best thing to do was go back to bed. We expected her to nap late, as she often does after a good night, but she seemed tired and signed to nurse and was napping by 11:30....and slept for almost three hours. (Yes, I am very jealous. We had lunch guests coming so I couldn't climb into bed for more than the 20 minutes I was nursing her.)

My big achievement for the day? I got to wear a dress. Because Miss M napped so early--before I got around to picking from my sad Shabbat maternity selection of clothes--I wore a dress for the first time in almost 19 months. I even spent a minute looking for a regular bra to celebrate the occasion, but I couldn't find one. Ack!

Ah, the Taxman cometh. I must run....

Thursday, January 12, 2006


One pink shoelace! (The real justification for having a cleaning lady is that it forces us to straighten up every Wednesday night.)

Still missing: My ability to have two coherent thoughts in a row.

Still not working: Our wireless card. Thank goodness Taxman brings his computer home every night.

I have come to the conclusion that I just don't have the stamina, physical (my heels hurt from standing up so much today) or mental, to think through, shop for, and cook two discrete shabbat meals. I never do it anymore--we are all about yummy leftovers--except when we have sleepover company. But really, the only such company that we've had in the past two years (at least) are Taxman's relatives. So if they have to eat the same grilled vegetables or kugel twice in two days, I guess I can live with it. Plus, eventually we will run out of room in the fridge, because half of the second shelf always looks like we just held up a Stonyfield Farms truck: Fat-free natural for Taxman, Organic lowfat for me, and YoBaby for Miss M.

But I digress...

(Okay, I have to add that the only reason I was able to keep on top of the manaical cooking was that Taxmax did not one, but two sinkfuls, of dirty dishes without complaint. Plus made the appropriate yummy noises as food was coming out of the oven.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Technical difficulties

This morning Miss M beat Taxman to the living room by a few seconds and heaved the portable computer from the couch to the floor in order to get to what she really wanted: the phone that beeps.

Our external wireless card may have been damaged in the process. I just lost a post and don't want to risk it again.

If you'd like to know why we don't re-toddlerproof the living room before we go to bed, well, so would we. Arrrrggghhh.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Eating my words

Last night before Miss M finally went to sleep, under the direct supervision of Taxman, we had two repeat viewings. Oddly enough, she waited several minutes in bed in the dark, then trotted out to the living room and picked up a book, as if bedtime had only been a temporary setback to her evening plans.

Then she appeared at my bedside at 1:30 am. (Probably partially my fault...on the way back from a bathroom run I rearranged her because all of her midnight bed-wanderings had her looking like she could take a header from her bed at any time.) I stupidly did not put her back in the toddler bed, but allowed her to snuggle, which resulted in a night during which I repeatedly had to fight back from the edge of the bed. Something was making her very restless...but I couldn't figure out if it was teething, cold-related stuffiness, or something else.

Ema pulls a MacGyver

I've mentioned Miss M's obsession with shoes and shoelaces before. At long last the inevitable has occurred; I can't find her shoelaces, which she always removes and tries to put around her neck--therefore I am constantly taking them away and stashing them out of her reach.

This morning I had a long list of errands to run before 12:30 (nap), but was frantic at the lack of laces. So I used twine. I can't decide if that makes me quick-thinking or irresponsible.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Not complaining, just weirded out

Miss M, previously the worst sleeper in our ZIP code, has been essentially sleeping through the night.

Sometimes a snort or two (or a need to be flipped back to her tummy) at 3 or so, but really just going to sleep, after a nice long nurse, essentially BY HERSELF and then going and going and going until about 5. Then she wakes up crying, but stops as soon as she is cuddling with Ema, sometimes nurses, sometimes not. And then more sleeping until 7:30, 8, 8:30, or even (this happened yesterday!) until 9! We are clearly between teething episodes, but still...

I can't quite figure out what's going on. What happened to my child? Is this an alien changeling? Is there an 18 month growth spurt? Taxman says she is making up for all the sleep she missed in her first year and a half by being awake and screaming.

I promise I am not complaining. To tell the truth, I am kind of proud. We overcame all sorts of obnoxious advice and comments, including from medical professionals and relatives, about coddling her, nursing her at night, and generally responding to her versus letting her just cry and figure things out for herself. And now, after many months to the contrary, we are finally at peace at night. Well, everyone except for me. I'm still up, peeing and freaking out about the months to come.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Change of heart

Had I blogged earlier today, it would have focused on how cranky I was. Miss M has had a cold, which I am pretty sure she will pass to me because a) I followed her around mopping up her snot for two days and b) she has spent a lot of time coughing in my face, literally. My sleeping has been worse (if possible) because of her illness; she has these coughing fits while she is horizontal. She doesn't necessarily wake up, and Taxman doesn't wake up either, but I lie there, listening to her hack away for a couple of minutes, followed by a couple of minutes of soft snoring, and then it happens over and over again. For about an hour. At which point I have to get up and pee again.

Then this morning Miss M was driving me crazy. We try to leave for at least an hour when our cleaning lady visits, to give her a chance to clean at least part of the house, then we come home and mess up that part while she cleans the rest. (Oh, and we have a mother-daughter nap, too.) Anyway, trying to get her dressed and me dressed in our wintry clothes and both of us out the door without her untying and unlacing her DOUBLE KNOTTED shoes or playing with the cleaning supplies was a challenge for One Tired (and super Cranky) Ema.

But then she took a super long nap, which gave me a chance to rest and then actually sit down and eat lunch like a mentch. So this afternoon she was good company, and we thoroughly enjoyed the Banana-oatmeal Hot Cakes I made for dinner. (We like it with vanilla soy milk and vanilla soy yogurt, which is how we made this for the first time--it was before we put Miss M back on dairy.)

The true turnaround, though, was that tonight was my book club meeting. Two whole hours to be among adults (well, and a newborn, but all she did was nurse) and talk about books and dogs--relevant to the book!--and muse on marriage and relationships and grief. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than therapy. Or a spa day; I could probably buy a year's worth of book club picks (they must be available in paperback) for the cost of a massage! Not that I'd object to a massage, though.

Why Gaining 30 Pounds is a Hysterical Fantasy

When I was pregnant with Miss M, I gained 30 pounds. Actually I was up 32 by 40 weeks, but by the time I delivered I had lost two. I was paying a lot of attention to what I ate, made elaborate fruit and cottage cheese plates to eat at work, and loved my prenatal yoga class.

This time, although I don't think I am eating much more and I am hauling around or pushing the stroller of an almost-27 pound person a lot, somehow every calorie is sticking. Admittedly, the concept of regular meals is a bit beyond me. Sometimes breakfast is a yogurt and a cup of tea, during which I constantly repeat (to the whine of "gogurt!" and the exclamation/sign "hot! teeee!") "No, Miss M, this is Ema's yogurt. You already ate yours," or "Yes, Ema is drinking hot tea." Then at around 11 I realize that 90 calories isn't really a good start to the day for a pregnant woman and I put peanut butter on whatever happens to be handiest and eat that. The grazing kind of happens for the rest of the day, and usually ends with some kind of healthy-ish dinner.

The downfall seems to be my awful sweet tooth this time. I have been drinking juice (a big no-no according to my doula and my doctor). If I open any type of candy I have to finish it. Taxman, just trying to be sweet, has brought home booty from the office vending machines, but I will absolutely swallow an entire Snickers in about 20 seconds. That can't be good.

Oh, and also not helping is that we recently discovered this: In a Crunch, which I think is even beating Oatmeal Cookie Chunk and Mint Chocolate Cookie. This is serious. As is the rumor that a kosher Dunkin' Donuts is coming to the neighborhood. Just a rumor, but talk about good news/bad, bad, bad news for a pregnant Ema with an extreme sweet tooth.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Back to the grind

Yesterday was the first day of the real 2006 routine. Taxman was out the door at 8:00 am and back at 8:00 pm, so his quality time with Miss M was reduced to 20 minutes in the morning and the bedtime phone call, where she did say "Hiyee," sign "Abba" to me, and sign/say "I love you" to him before attempting to hang up on him.

After more than a week of "freedom," it was an adjustment. My access to the car was gone, which was just as well because it was 33 degrees and sleeting all day. I even renewed our library materials on-line instead of bundling up and walking the three blocks to return them. (Apparently G-d intervened and Miss M gets another 3 weeks of Raffi's Corner Grocery Store.)

But for Taxman it was really back to the grind. The problem with January is that it is the prelude to the real tax season (February 1st to April 15th). So in addition to all the work he normally has to do, there is the stress of knowing that the real test is coming. It's sort of like a medical procedure coming down the pike that you are dreading. Of course, the fact that The Firm was closed between Christmas and January 2nd made him realize that for him there is really no such thing as a true vacation for him any longer. The computer and the BlackBerry come everywhere with us. His clients were open last week, so he had to be available. The poor guy took a work call on the road as the three of us were bopping to Laurie Berkner. And this year April 15th isn't even the true stressor, because my due date is earlier that week. Although if it were up to me, the absolute last day I would be pregnant is April 4th. (Anybody listening to that request? Hello?) I really don't want to be in the hospital during Pesach. Really, really, really. The kosher food situation is bad enough there.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Dramatis personae

Instead of going through the extended family (mine smallish, complicated, and scattered; Taxman's bigger, pretty straightforward, and mostly local), I'll begin with the characters under our roof and deal with others as events warrant.

Me: One Tired Ema. I'm 30, a bookwormy geek. In my former life--how I describe life before my daughter was born--I was a writer and editor for various rather dull publishing houses.
When I was 22 I earned an advanced degree that I never used, but it was fun to earn (I got to read a lot). I've been an insomniac forever; it abated only in college, when I was completely exhausted and going to bed at 2 in the morning anyway. When I have the time I love to cook, usually nifty vegetarian things because I can rarely wrap my mind around the proper kosher substitutions. (Note to all you Food Network recipe writers: Do you have to put prosciutto in everything?) I watch too much TV. As a housekeeper I am mediocre at best. I like my humor sarcastic. But I have my soft spots, too, and Taxman just has to squeeze my hand the right way (wrong way?), and I have been known to weep all over him.

Taxman: A math geek. Devoted to me, his baby girl, his larger family, his job. It's a good thing he can fall asleep in six minutes because he goes to bed late and gets up early. (He is all about the Shabbat nap, though!) For fun he is a volunteer EMT....somehow he gets all the kid calls, which suits him just fine. He is amazing with children and with people in general. Sometimes I wish I had his social skills, but I can't really even fathom it; I'm too much of a loner.

Miss M: The absolute sparkle of our lives. Spunky, vivacious, willful, imp in overalls, really. Eighteen months old and ready to take on the world.

The spring baby-to-be (aka the player to be named later): A wholly unexpected surprise. We're still processing this one. Poor Miss M has no idea what's coming, although she has taken to lifting up my shirt, pointing to my expanding belly, and signing baby. Talk about abstract vs. concrete! Frankly, none of us has any idea. Stay tuned for what is sure to be an interesting ride...Tandem nursing! Babywearing for two! Two in a room? Three in a room? Four in a room? Will we get a goldfish?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Turning over a new leaf

The new year is upon us...but I don't do resolutions. My new year started a few months ago anyway. I will be having a hard time remembering that it is 2006 every time I write a check or fill out a form, but I can easily blame that on my consistent sleeplessness.

Although I don't think of this blog as a resolution, I'll look at it as an outlet for my thoughts. My daughter has had her own webpage since about her sixth month of gestation, but I've never felt comfortable invading her space, as it were, with my own rantings and ravings. Besides, my mother-in-law, the most devoted reader of her exploits, lives close enough that she sees me rant and rave in person on a regular basis.

My daughter is already a toddler, but sometimes I still feel very new at this project blithely called "motherhood." I don't quite believe I am part of the institution yet, so I'll come here to question myself and trying to figure out what on earth I am doing...before someone gets hurt.

Tomorrow comes the cast of exciting!