Tuesday, February 28, 2006

No longer drowning

After my desperation wallow of the weekend, things have leveled off. I've actually tried to get into bed at a reasonable hour, plus Miss M has been convinced to stay horizontal until 7 or later, even if some of the middle of the night time is snuggled up with Taxman. (Victory!)

Also helpful was a nice dinner out--an early birthday treat from Taxman--where we actually had a conversation. And multiple courses. A rare thing.

Now I can get back to my regularly scheduled worrying, which is how I am going to give birth to a kid who is already big. (Whereas I am not.) My OB is still willing to try a VBAC...it's just up to my cervix now, and it is questionable as to whether or not it realizes that the b2b is measuring a week ahead plus has a big head just like Miss M. Ack!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Not my finest hour

In the midst of some extremely difficult parenting early this morning, I admit to having the urge to throw on some shoes and a coat and jog to the nearest highway to sport a handmade cardboard sign reading: "Anywhere but here."

The official stats for the night:

Time I spent asleep: 90 minutes (insomnia, potty breaks, and the activites of our intrepid toddler)

Amount of time between 4:30 am and 5:30 am that Miss M was throwing a tantrum: about 40 minutes

Amount of time it felt like: at least 4 hours

Number of houseguests (from a synagogue youth group) awakened: I have to assume 5/5

Number of calls made to 911/the police/CPS: Zero, as far as we know, but it's still before 9.

Number of our parents we have to deal with today: Three (my dad and Taxman's parents)

The good news is that after everyone's respective nervous breakdowns, Miss M slept until 7:30. The bad news is that upon awakening and discovering that I was in the shower and not immediately next to her, there was yet another round of extreme crying.

I really don't think I am physcially capable (never mind mentally) of handling my life.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

No fooling

I really don't think Miss M is trying to stick it to us. But it sure feels that way. Her new wakeup time (pretty consistently, for a week now) is about 6:00.

This morning, in fact, it was 5:53. I nursed for close to ONE HOUR in a feeble attempt to reintroduce sleep. Didn't work, and I knew it was all over at this point: I started rubbing her back, in the hope of resettling her. She latched off, exclaimed "Back!", and returned to her post with a big smile.

But she needs the sleep. Don't we all? Ha ha! She's now taking a two-and-a-half to three hour nap smack in the middle of the day. So, effectively, my day is completely ruined because, unfortunately, it's difficult to run errands at 7:30 am. Not much opens before 8. The library never opens before 10. The nap & lunch combo isn't finished until 3 or later, which throws off the dinner/bath/bed schedule. I really might lose my mind over this. (No loss, sadly.)

How desperate am I? Well, I dusted off my second-hand copy of Ferber's Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. We are clearly not a Ferber family, seeing as how Miss M has yet to spend a night in her own room, never mind in a crib. We've had a total of one night spent entirely in her own bed. But Ferber was able to offer me some reassurance several months ago when she started hysterically sobbing in her sleep. (Theory: night terrors.) Once again, I think I can agree with his premise: because most of her sleep is completed at that hour, and there is more light in the room at 6 than there was a few weeks ago, and because Taxman gets up between 6 and 6:30 six days a week, well, no wonder she thinks it's time to get up and isn't particularly motivated to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, Ferber offers no solutions other than leaving your children to cry in their cribs (maybe with the addition of room darkening shades) and hopefully they'll figure it out and give you another 60 to 90 minutes of peace within a couple of weeks.

Oops. We'll have to pass.

I think we might start with being less lazy and making sure to get her back to her own bed after she gets her required middle-of-the-night snuggles. And Taxman will start getting dressed in another room. As for me, I will feel even less guilt about napping with her in the middle of the day. You'd think I'd commit to going to bed at a decent hour, but that's like saying no to a donut.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Today Miss M and the b2b had the hiccups at the same time.

It kind of freaked me out, but I'm not sure why.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Weekend revelations about Miss M

Favorite Winter Olympics sport: Curling. Concentric circles. Very exciting when circles are the pretty much the only shape for which you have a word. Even more exciting when one of the circles is "boo" and the other is "reh," the two colors you happen to know best.

Potential (Summer) Olympic material: Weightlifting. Not kidding. We went to Costco yesterday and bought a lot of juice. The Powers That Be in their ordering department have recognized that Passover is coming, and so the store was hugely stocked with enormous 3-liter bottles of Kedem grape juice. Not that we will be home for Passover (we move in with Taxman's parents for the week), but we use the grape juice as our Shabbat kiddush beverage of choice. Every week.

But I digress. Anyway, as Taxman was clearing out room in our closet/pantry for the wealth of juice, Miss M took it upon herself to move the bottles, one by one, to the living room rug. A distance of maybe 7 or 8 feet, but there were many bottles. And they are heavy. She was struggling to the point where I thought that she was going to give herself a hernia, but she was having a kick-ass time, so we left her alone.

Backup potential Olympic material: High jump. About 10 days ago, Miss M actually began leaving the floor when she jumped. This was new. Now she's gotten rather good at jumping. Unfortunately this means she does it whenever the mood strikes, including when she is standing in her bed--we had previously ignored the bed-standing because it just egged her on--and in the shower. When the tile is wet. My runaway imagination is not enjoying this.

OCD tendency: Nighttime sippy cup. Since (mostly) nightweaning Miss M, we offer her water when she wakes up crying. We slowly figured out that it is easier to stash the cup in the same place every night than wander around the apartment at 2 in the morning saying, "Where's her cup?" So we leave it in the corner of her bed, between the pillow and the headboard. Taxman was hoping that she would be able to help herself to it without crying and making us get out of bed, but that has yet to happen.

Two nights ago she awoke around 11 pm. The cup was still with me in the living room, so I took it with me to offer to her. She took the cup from me and then placed it in its corner...without drinking from it. And then proceeded to flop over onto her Winnie-the-Pooh pillowcase and go back to sleep.

Oh, dear.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Six!!! (plus a Miss M Mystery)

Or seven. (I honestly can't remember.)

That would be the number of times I visited the bathroom between 9:30 pm and 7:30 am. I have reached the funnest stage of pregnancy, in which just a well-directed twitch (to say nothing of a kick or flipping around entirely) causes Ema to lurch immediately out of bed. Imagine a whale breaching, and that would sum up things nicely.

My pregnancies are a piece of cake compared to what others have to deal with, but sometimes I just feel mired in my own little puddle of misery. I just...want...three (THREE!) straight hours of sleep. Just to see what it would feel like. I might decide it's not for me after all. I would like to be able to compare and contrast, though.

The Miss M Mystery is how she got into the crook of Taxman's arm last night. She padded over to me last night at 1, and (cranky and tired from the bathroom runs) I picked her up. But she was restless, and Taxman put her back into her own bed at 1:30. The next thing anyone knows, it's 2:30; he's mumbling into his radio and about to get dressed to go drive the ambulance. Where's Miss M? Not in her bed. Um, she's right next to him. Neither one of us knows how she got there. I guess if she didn't make any noise but somehow he knew she was at his bedside...of course, she woke up from the commotion. And the trauma of my disappearing for 45 seconds to go to the bathroom. Of course.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Forced sharing

"Share" is a New Big Word around the Tired house. It is usually accompanied by the ASL sign for share. For some reason, it is rarely applied to toys, although I did manage to get Miss M to leave the TV alone long enough to catch the weather forecast this morning by saying, "Please share the television with Ema." (Her usual response when we try to watch something that is of General Interest, instead of something specifically for her, is to run to the TV, turn it off, and run away with an "All done!")

But sharing food has become a source of entertainment. It is amusing, to an extreme, to share an orange slice or a bite of cheese with Abba or Ema. Because we want to encourage the whole sharing idea, we usually go along with the food as it is presented to us--with a grubby paw and a schoolmarm-like demand: "Shure!" Today I reached my breaking point, however, when commanded to partake in a half-chewed crust of bread by my little couch companion.

"Oh, thank you, Miss M! It's nice to share."
"Ema already ate lunch."
"No, thank you. Ema is FULL!"

The prior conversation was followed up with enthusiastic noises about the avocado ("Cahdoh!") waiting on her highchair tray, and thankfully the bread sharing was forgotten. For now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Ok, it's not quite the classic image of yours truly being completely outsized by the drifts in Boston after the Blizzard of '78, but it's still a touch of winter wonderland.

(Here's our backyard playground.)

Said wonderland is melting. If we'd only had a foot of snow we could probably go to the park tomorrow, but I'm sure things will still be pretty muddy and wet. That's what 26 inches of snow will get you.


Insomnia + nighttime needy toddler + fetus earning karate black belt = 3 hours of sleep last night. Divided into two parts.

I actually do have things to blog about, but if I don't attempt to nap when Miss M does Taxman may find me in a hysterically sobbing heap when he gets home. And he has a meeting tonight, so he'll only be home for five minutes. So it's my quarterly attempt at being proactive.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Weather update

"Snowing" seems so inadequate for what is currently happening outside our house. There is a lot of snow falling, combined with a lot of wind. Just white. And now they are saying on the radio that the worst part of the storm, which was supposed to be overnight, is yet to come.

Taxman put on his clunky Timberland boots and made his way to shul this morning--we're less than a block away--just in case they needed a warm body to make 10. And now he's off with several of his EMS buddies in an attempt to clean off an ambulance. (If only the storm were over. Or lighter.) At least they don't have to try to dig out the entire parking lot because the ambulance has chains. Taxman has already announced that he is going to work from home tomorrow, even if his office is open (unlikely). This is a Big. Deal. Early February is not crazy tax season yet--that's late February--but it's certainly a time of year when You Show Up. No vacation, no doctor's appointments, you stay home sick only if you are really sick. So it must be pretty awful out.

The good news is that the forecasters are predicting 50 degrees for Thursday. We should definitely be able to have the car out by then.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Instant karma

I mean Weather Karma.

Mother nature figured out that we are several weeks overdue for a major, major snowstorm, and it's coming. Tonight. We dragged Miss M out after Shabbat to stock up on food for the week. Because tomorrow is all about watching her play in the snow--once it stops--rather than worrying about how to get the car out and down to the grocery store.

Hope all my Northeastern bloggy friends are hunkering down with their cocoa and shovels.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Random observations

From the "I'm not sure what to make of this" department:

Miss M has taken to trotting off with whatever snack I give her in a cup or small plastic container (for convenience) and promptly dumping it onto the couch. She looks at the container, says "Eh-tee!" (Empty!), and then eats the snack from its new location.

The headscratching part is that a dog we know does something similar. After being given a treat, he retreats to the nearest rug or carpeting to eat there.

What's the attraction--the moving locations thing? Is it disturbing that I've even noticed this and made the comparison? Not sure.

From the "Bad Ema (and Abba!) in retrospect" department:

I was going through Miss M's teeny tiny clothes (0-3 months) in an attempt to figure out what we need to get for the b2b. The short answer: outfits with pants, because we really didn't dress her in all that much. Just onesies. Which makes sense, because she was born in the summer, runs hot, and most times outside she was smushed up against me in a sling.

Oh, but the bad parenting part was the fact that among all of her 0-3 month clothes there were just two pairs of socks. Which, if I recall, were constantly falling off. So did she have cold feet for the first weeks of her life? What did we do in the car? (Taxman is a BIG fan of the air conditioner.) Did we just throw a blanket over her lower half? This all goes back to my theory that babies need little neon signs that light up to tell you what's going on with them....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Just please, please don't judge me!

I have no idea what the hell is wrong with me.


All I know is that I am hosting a playgroup (moms included) in a couple of hours, and I am nervous. This happens to me every time I do this, so I hate hosting.

After Miss M went down for her nap, I cleared the living room floor--and it's never clear unless it's dark outside--and vacuumed up the accumulated cracker/cereal crumbs. I reorganized the toy boxes this morning, which Miss M thought was great fun. I still have to line up the books nicely on the shelf.

All of which begs the question: WHY?

Do the toddlers care? I seriously doubt it.

Am I really worried about what these other moms think of me? For the record, one of them is a very good friend--she's seen my house in chaos and me in pajama pants, so it's not about her, clearly. But the others? What could possibly happen? Will Miss M be blackballed from the group because her mom keeps a sloppy living room and her parents don't buy her fancy toys or expensive electronic contraptions?

Maybe I am afraid I will be uncovered after all as the neighborhood parenting freak. (Oh wait, I'm still nursing, even though I am very pregnant, so I am the clear winner thus far.) We don't have any electronic toys because we find them obnoxious. Plus, I don't want to constantly be telling her that she can't play with things on Shabbat because they play music or light up. We already say no to a million things: "No, you can't crush your stacking boxes." "No hitting, please." "Please take your hand out of the trash." "No more cookies." We take a break from her beloved Signing Time videos and Laurie Berkner CDs on Shabbat by telling her (the shame!) that Alex, Leah, Rachel, and Laurie have gone on vacation. (Hey, at least someone gets a break!)

But I digress....

We have a ton of blocks, legos, stacking items, books, push toys, and shape sorters. Plus the Learning Tower (a steal at $135 + free shipping) so she can play in the sink now and eventually help with baking and cooking. She never complains! Which isn't to say that she doesn't play with the kitchens or little pianos at someone else's house, but it's certainly not enough for me to go out and buy things that won't fit into our apartment.

Why do I feel like I have to justify my Ema-ness?

I am entirely mystified. And vaguely appalled.

Update: It was entirely fine. The kids had fun because it doesn't take much to amuse them, and there was a lot of library playing going on, which was cool. I was actually able to chat more than usual--being in our house is at least relaxing in that I know Miss M's trouble spots so I don't have to be 110% attentive. I've come to the conclusion that this playgroup (our second in Miss M's young life) is a better fit for me than the first. So hopefully next time I won't have a nervous breakdown before we host it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Bookish 6th graders, all grown up

If you're a reader--or were, back in the day when you had the time/energy/inclination--there have been a few great discussions over at Phantom Scribbler about books. For adults, for kids, for cooks, for first dates (worth reading the post & comments, trust me).

Some amazing memories over there. It's odd to imagine that if all of her pixies had been hanging out in the library together in 6th grade that our lives might have been changed; so much of my identity for so many years was wrapped up in the fact that I always had my nose in a book, always solitary but never really "alone"....but if I had been surrounded by a group of people who were like me, I really have to wonder how--or if--I would have been reshaped. I honestly can't say one way or another because it would have been such a different kind of life.

(Actually, a lot of books that we were talking about over there I'm sure people read before 6th grade; I just happened to choose 6th grade as the year I desperately wanted to do over in my life. Socially, it was terrible. I know it doesn't work this way for most people, but junior high school was such a relief because switching classes every hour, to a different teacher and different set of students, was a revelation. I found my geeky grind friends, and we were all dorks together; I'm still in touch with one of them--hope she's reading!)

I hope one day my kids have such fond memories and strong feelings about books. I'm really desperate to instill that, but feel kind of stymied by the fact that Miss M is inclined to rip paper when it is presented to her. (Thank goodness for board books!) I am very excited for the day when she can handle a little plot; it is coming, but awfully slowly.

The name game

This post brought to you by Postcards from Buster.

We are not sure of the gender of the baby-to-be. We have our guesses, some more educated than others. All of this leads to an enormous problem: the name of the player-to-be-named-later.

Miss M's name was pretty much lined up from the time I was about 20. A college friend had a sister with that name, and I fell in love with it. It is pretty and fairly uncommon and is meaningful to us, but it's not strange or so unique that people have never heard it before. Taxman, luckily, was pretty easily convinced. (Although if he hadn't been, I probably would not have been above trumping his thoughts with my three-and-a-half day labor.)

If we have a girl again, there are a ton of pretty, not overly common Hebrew names that we'd be happy to use. English cognates (important to Taxman for "official purposes") are relatively easy to find.

A boy, though. This is the subject of debate. After going through two Hebrew name dictionaries, there are about 10 names (out of thousands) that neither of us hate. Or have bad associations with. And don't have weird meanings. And sound ok with our last name. And, so we've been told by my Israeli sister-in-law who knows these things, would not make him the subject of ridicule in school. Unlike about 99% of Ashkenazi Jews, I am not in favor of naming my kids after beloved, dead relatives. For me, each new person should get a fresh start, free of associations (good or bad), and go from there--this is just my opinion, please don't get insulted.

There one name in particular that Taxman really likes. I like it too; it would have been Miss M's name had she been a boy. The thing that's keeping me from signing on this time is that I feel like in the past two years, it's become a very popular name around these parts. And here is where Taxman and I diverge in opinion: I don't want to give a name where our kid is going to have the same moniker as of lots of other kids. Taxman is baffled by this argument. He agrees that a name should be meaningful to the parents (and possibly, by extension, some of the rest of the family), but who cares if there are six other boys named Adam, for example, in a class?

I can't exactly explain why I feel this way. My name is not weird or unique by any stretch--although it is commonly used as a nickname, it is my actual given name--but I never really had to share it in school, and that made me feel special, in a way. My last initial was never tacked on my paintings in first grade because there were two other girls with that name in my class.

But it's just such a gut reaction on my part that I can't defend it in a meaningful way. So Taxman thinks I am being crazy or reactionary or difficult.

Anybody in the blogosphere have any thoughts on this?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Vegas is astounded

The bookmakers are shocked (shocked, I tell you!), but not nearly as flabbergasted as One Tired Ema and Taxman.

Miss M, for all intents and purposes, slept through the night. In her own bed. One night after the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad night. If I may borrow a phrase from Phantom, this one is definitely being submitted to the Journal of Irreproducible Results. Tonight there will be trauma from the very start because Taxman is putting Miss M to bed; I will be (exultant!) at my book club meeting.

(In equally surprising news, I did not have to use the bathroom between 11:30 and 3; but at 3 I realized that I was probably getting dehydrated, so I had a drink and was up again at 4:30 & 5:30.)

During the 3:00 potty break, I checked to make sure Miss M was breathing. All clear. At 4:30 Miss M demanded about 5 seconds of face time from me, then Taxman, and proceeded to put herself back to sleep--in her bed--without so much as a sip of water. (That was EIGHT hours from the time she fell asleep.) Until 6:30, when she trotted over and wanted to nurse. Thank goodness that kept her entertained for half an hour, because she was not going to go back to sleep!

Sadly, after the 4:30 arousal, even Taxman caught the "when is she going to wake up again" bug and claims (note: he was definitely sleeping at 5:30) he did not have quality sleep after that. But still.

A miracle in our time.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The good, the bad, and the ugly


I finally gave in to the temptation (I had been saving it for Taxman's busy season, when I will truly never have access to a decent grocery store except for late Saturday night) and ordered from Fresh Direct. Basically it is a full service grocery store without a "store"--unfortunately no kosher bakery, but a kosher butcher, produce (which I didn't order, because it was expensive and I am really picky), huge dairy section, fish counter, organic stuff. I didn't even explore the whole site because it is enormous. The first order took longer to place than I expected, but then I equated it to moving to a new town and going food shopping for the first time....as you learn your way around things go faster.

Overall, I was completely impressed. On the site they say they can only guarantee yogurt and other dairy products (other than milk) dated something like 12 days in advance, so I didn't go crazy. But all of the yogurt we got was dated 5-6 weeks off. They don't have every flavor that Stonyfield Farms makes, but they do have very competitive prices in the dairy case.

I got to choose my delivery date and time, and the order came directly to my door. It wasn't until I was unpacking the boxes--in my sweats and bare feet!--that I realized that this is truly worth every penny of the delivery charge. Had I gone to our favorite grocery store, I would have a) needed our car, which was 30 miles away, b) paid $3.50 in tolls, c) had to contend with parking on the way home, d) needed to manage to get everything and everyone upstairs to the apartment, and e) had the x-factor, Miss M. (Sometimes she is fine at the grocery store, but often about halfway through she signs and says "All done!" and wants to get down.) Oh, and you can change your order after you place it! For a Tuesday afternoon delivery, we were able to futz with the order until 11pm Monday night...and we did, because Taxman said, "Did you not remember that I don't really like the blueberry yogurts?" Alas, I had not, so at 10:57 we exchanged them for strawberry. Nifty!

We're definitely ordering from them again! Because who wants to go food shopping at 10pm? NOT ME!


Miss M's night sleeping has gotten ridiculous. A month ago I was so excited because she was nightweaned and waking once at around 3, coming to bed with us, and falling back to sleep.

Now she has replaced requests to nurse with requests for water or just plain screaming. Multiple times. I have returned to my lovely state of not being able to fall asleep because I am anticipating her first wakeup (around 12:30am). A special kind of insomnia for the insane.

Last night she was up and crying at 12:30, 1, and 1:15. At 1:15 I really could not get out of bed again, so Taxman took it. Well, first, Miss M got out of her bed and trotted to my bedside. I hugged her and told her I loved her and that Abba was going to take her back to her bed and she should go night-night. And she proceeded to wedge herself between the bed and the night table and tried to dig her toes into the carpet; when Taxman picked her up...oh the screaming. She did settle down pretty quickly, but then Taxman took one for the team and slept on the floor right next to her, with a stuffed Eeyore as a pillow, to act as her personal bouncer.

There was another wakeup--but it was self-soothed--at 4 something, and she stayed in her bed until her morning nursing at 7.

We have no idea if this is more separation anxiety (a possibility, given her age) or what. All we know is that we feel like crap. Two schools of thought on how to deal: 1) that she should be in our bed from the start to cut out the middleman; 2) move her to her own room so she can't see us when she sits up in bed. Personally I don't think that will eliminate the screaming and will only make our neighbors repeat their year-old advice about Ferber. (No, we weren't Ferberizing incorrectly, or at all...we were allowing Miss M to cry in arms.) Or we can just continue muddling through and being exhausted beyond description.


What I think my weight gain will be at the OB's on Friday. I have a feeling that now, at three-quarters cooked with the b2b, I weigh as much as I did at 40 weeks with Miss M. A special shout-out to Taxman, who thinks it's fun to bring me a Krispy Kreme donut and say, "You know, you don't have to eat it." Seriously, who the hell is he kidding? (It was yummy!)