Sunday, April 30, 2006

And so it begins...

I know that I should have taught Miss M to go for a nap without nursing. For some reason, she'll go to bed awake at night, but was never inclined to do so during the day. So I just nursed her to sleep instead. I was home, didn't have anywhere else to be, and it was an excuse to lie down for 20 minutes (at a minimum).

But today I was up against the wall. Taxman had to leave at 1:45, just about 20 minutes after we got back from a shopping expedition. Baby AM was hungry, and being extremely vocal about it. Miss M, despite almost falling asleep in the car (why did I stop her???), did not pop off easily. She came running out before Taxman was out the door. And I just had to let it go.

She played and read to herself while I nursed (and nursed and nursed) AM and caught up on the past two episodes of Gilmore Girls. When Taxman got home at 3, he promptly swept her up and attempted to get her to sleep. There were tears, but now all is quiet; I assume they are both napping. Of course, I don't want her to sleep past 4 or so, because if she is up after 8 tonight I might lose my mind.

But there are two bright spots in the following week: This is the week that our lovely friends from synagogue will be taking turns cooking dinner for us and Taxman is taking a paternity day on Thursday, so that we can avoid being home when our cleaning lady comes. (And as a special bonus, our building's water will be shut off all day Thursday for maintenance.)

Just maybe Miss M will nap before Thursday. I really hope so, because with the middle of the night tantrums, she desperately needs it. Don't we all.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Trembling in the wilderness

The silent screaming will begin in 12 hours. That is when my mother will depart from our little corner of the universe. And Miss M will have only two adults to supervise her running, jumping, eating, coloring, sliding, swinging, reading, playing, bathing, and general merriment.

Until Monday morning at 8:00.

Then it will be Just Me.

All words of wisdom appreciated.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Public Service Announcement

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006 is FREE CONE DAY at participating Ben & Jerry's scoop shops.

Sadly, this year I won't be able to get there...although we were paying customers today. First new shoes for Miss M, then a visit to the groovy guys from Vermont. And now the cow is out of the barn; up until today, Miss M was convinced that Tofutti was ice cream. Then she had a sip of Taxman's vanilla milkshake, and the illusion was shattered forever. Baby AM, would you believe, slept through the proceedings, peacefully nestled in his Peanut Shell (hot dot flip). Life as a newborn can be so good and so deprived, all at once.

Not a skim milk cow

True with Miss M, and still true.

Baby AM left the hospital a week ago at 7 pounds, 3 ounces. This morning at the pediatrician he was 8 pounds even.

Amazing stuff. No wonder Miss M wants it back in her life at night.

P.S. It was a long pre-dawn this morning, so I am a bit hazy. It's clear that I was talking about me, right? As the cow? As in breastmilk? Just checking.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Raging post-partum hormonal bitch in da house

I promise I will get to AM's birth story someday, but the whole point of the blog is to get out what's in my head. (It's got to be cheaper than therapy. Plus I can do it at 11 pm.)

After Baby AM arrived, I thought I was doing so well. Despite the c-section, I was feeling much better than I had after Miss M's birth...on fewer pain meds, no less. And this time I had all kinds of annoying little side effects too--swelling in my right ankle from all the IVs I had during labor and the first day after the surgery, a blood clot under my staples that had prevented the incision from closing all the way. (Is this too much info? It is pretty gross. But Taxman, the Rescuer, has taken on the charge of changing my gauze. I refuse to look at the hole in my abdomen. Ew, ew, ewwwwww.)

My head seemed to be ok too, comparatively. With Miss M, I was a mess from the second we got home: a nervous first-time mommy, sobbing at the drop of a hat, freaking out about everything.

I thought I was out of the woods. I was still worried about being close to Miss M, who, in her exuberance, I thought could do some damage to my incision. But overall I thought I was ok.

But then we (finally) came home. Thursday night, we managed to extricate ourselves from Taxman's parents, now a merry band of 4, not 3. Friday morning (after what could only be called a nap, not a night's sleep), our little boy entered the, uh, covenant. Somehow I managed to wear fake hair and pantyhose and heels and a suit, partially motivated because all of my pajama pants were in the laundry. Only kidding!

After sending our parents home, Taxman and I were finally alone with the two kids at about noon. Miss M went down for her nap. I got to thinking about how different the two-kids experience was from what I had expected. And I proceeded to Lose.It. Taxman came across me and said, "What's wrong? You look like you lost your best friend." Thus began the waterworks.

I had been thinking that Baby AM (in his guise as the b2b) would be the interloper, arriving to interrupt the great thing I had going with Miss M. I was so worried about her, how she would deal with my absence during my hospital stay, how she would react to her brother and the changes in the family dynamic. But as it happened, she was incredibly resilient. During my four days away from her--she came to the hospital once--she asked for me only twice. She had plenty of love and was the (exhausting) center of her grandparents' universe. Unfortunately she came away with associating my mother-in-law with "nack!" (snack), but we'll wean her away from that, hopefully.

And I, in my early-onset senility, forgot The Thing about newborn babies. You love them. You can't help it. You smell that sweet head and look at those tiny hands and you love them. You cheer when they latch on to your breast. You instictively want to protect them.

But now where did that leave Miss M? And me? I was afraid to get near her, in my physically precarious state. Every time I nursed her, I had to hold her legs to make sure she didn't knock into my incision. I was trying so hard to make time to be alone with her, to read to her or supervise her drawing, but somehow I would wind up snapping at her or having to tend to Baby AM in the midst of it. So the #1 person in my life was now...what? Number 1a? Number 2? (I seriously don't know if I can blog this without getting teary.)

Then came Shabbat. Taxman's parents came to us. At my invitation. (What the hell was I thinking?) Actually, I had intended it to be a break for my mother-in-law, who I knew would not have time to put away her Pesach dishes. My plan was to buy takeout and eat off paper plates. But then..."Oh, we have all this food left. We'll bring it." And so they did. So now we are even more indebted to them. And this has put me further into a snit. Somehow the same little quirks that make them cute in their house drive me batty in my house.

I overheard the following between Miss M and Taxman's mom:
"Miss M, don't spill your sippy cup on the rug." (Pause.) "Miss M. That's not nice." (Pause.) "Miss M, don't spill your water on the rug." (Rinse, repeat, for about two minutes.) "Do you know what you will have if you spill your water on the rug? A mess." (Me, to myself, "A wet spot." This is one of about a dozen reasons she never drinks juice, only water.)

Frankly, I can't have discussions like that with her. She gets one or two chances and then the offending item gets removed and we go on to another activity. Life's too short. As is her attention span, so....

Then, while she was eating dinner, Taxman's mom fell into the trap that we have been warning them about since Miss M started solid food. Meals are not a time for games. Meal time is for eating, playtime is pretty much all other times. We have sounded so supercilious when we say this, but I think the point was finally made. Why? Because Taxman's mom felt compelled to sing "Pease Porridge" for half an hour to a demanding despot of a toddler. Finally, I just bit the bullet and said, "I've got this. Just ignore her. If she's hungry, she'll eat; if not, she's got two more minutes to smush that banana around her tray before dinner's officially over."

Think I am fried enough? Wait, hang on! Now my mom is coming! Tomorrow! For! a! week! Cripes.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Safe? Yes. Easy? Not so much.


He's here. Ta-da! Friday afternoon, 7 pounds 12 oz, 21 inches. He looks exactly like Miss M did as a newborn. It is bizarre. Kind of like giving birth to the same kid twice, in a way.

mc, don't feel obligated to read the rest until July. (Or at all. You know what I mean, right?)

I am so toasted. I was sprung from the hospital today (technically a day early, but I was climbing the walls, despite a swanky private room), and it has been (of course) about 12 years since I slept, so I will present this birth by the numbers, to be filled out in future posts.

Number of hours of labor: 71
Number of doulas involved (consecutively, not together): 2
Number of OBs: 3
Number of Passover seders attended: One-half
Number of nights my (sainted!) mother-in-law tended to Miss M overnight so Taxman could be with me: 4
Number of phone calls, car rides, showers/baths, and generally un-chag-like things that happened from Wednesday through Friday: about a million
Number of catheters: 2
Hours on an epidural: about 12
Hours on Pitocin: about 6
Final dilation: 10 centimeters
Number of hours of pushing: 2-3
Favorite pregnancy intervention EVER: a sweet spinal before a C-section (the only good part of a C-section, really)
circumference of my sweet baby boy's head: 36 cm
My OB's assessment of my sacrum, now that he's seen it: "REALLY narrow"
Amount of time it will take me to remove all the glue left over from various pieces of tape, IVs, EKG leads, etc: I hope I get it all before he's a year old. Seriously.

But oh, is he precious.

Good night, New York!

(Now where is my Percoset?)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


From 10 days of dialup!

Thank you to the anonymous contributor of a wireless network. The one advantage to apartment living...

Not that I will necessarily be posting much; things are vaguely hectic.

Zissen pesach to all, and please keep your fingers crossed for an easy and safe arrival of the b2b.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Yes? You in the back...

I've got a few questions.

I took 20 minutes to myself on Saturday night and read Jack Hitt's article in the New York Times magazine about abortion in El Salvador.

In El Salvador, it is illegal to have an abortion. For any reason. Rape, incest, unviable fetus, mental/physical welfare of the mother. Never mind a broken condom. So up to this point it's looking similar to what's in the works in South Dakota. (Thanks again to Phantom for helping us digest that.) Except that in El Salvador, they will arrest anyone in sight who they suspect of having an abortion, search her vagina for evidence, and potentially imprison her and anyone who "helped" her for a long, long time. Oh, wait, this also includes medical professionals who suspect that women have had illegal abortions and then don't report them, as the government requires. (The extra-funny part is that there is some semblance of doctor-patient confidentiality.) Everyone is suspect: women, doctors, nurses. Family members and friends get interrogated. Just another day in paradise.

Basically, this article scared the crap out of me because some U.S. states are getting pretty close to this.

So here are my questions:

1. Why, exactly, can't a woman make decisions about her own body?
2. Will a government or church make more moral decisions than women about women? (*cough*)
3. I don't want to get into a discussion of the parity of human life...the "when life begins" question. But I was thinking about the following: Approximately 20-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, through no fault of anyone. Being pregnant is, as far too many of my friends will attest to, no guarantee that you will have a living baby in nine months. In El Salvador, they seem to be banking on the 75% chance that a person is going to emerge and live. So what about people who knowingly infect their partners with HIV/AIDS, for which there is no cure? Hell, what about plain old STDs or even the flu--which can have fatal complications? Anybody else sense a bit of a moral quagmire?
4. What about when a woman's life is very much in imminent danger? An ectopic pregnancy, which will never be viable, can cause the fallopian tube to rupture and internal bleeding. Nope. Not good enough. In El Salvador, the woman is monitored, and only after the fetal heartbeat can no longer be detected are doctors allowed to operate. (Oh, this can cause terrible pain beforehand.)

From the article...
One doctor, who asked to remain anonymous because of the risk of prosecution, explained that there are creative solutions to the problem of ectopic pregnancies: "Sometimes when an ectopic pregnancy comes in, the attendant will say, 'Send this patient to the best ultrasound doctor.' And I'll say, 'No, send her to the least-experienced ultrasound doctor.' He'll say, 'I can't find a heartbeat here.' Then we can operate."

5. What would happen if all the medical professionals refused to cooperate with the authorities? Not that I think it would ever happen, but it might be interesting.

This used to be the kind of thing where we could shake our heads sadly and say, "Well, in America we don't have to worry about that anymore." That age of innocence is over, and I am not sure where to go from here.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Worlds collide, NYC edition

This week has been, uh, interesting in Brooklyn. (Not our borough.) On Tuesday evening, police arrested a 75-year-old man Chasidic man in Borough Park who was cellphoning-while-driving, then refused to pull over, the works. According to witnesses (other members of the Chasidic community) he was "manhandled" during the arrest. Two younger men tried to intervene on his behalf; they were also arrested. This sparked rioting in the 66th police precinct, with lots of bonfires and damage to two police cars.

There's been a lot of fallout from this. A very high ranking officer, who came to the scene, was later accused of using profanity, which may or may not have included an anti-Semitic epithet. Orthodox leaders, in a breakfast meeting (debriefing perhaps?) with the police commissioner, praised how the riots were handled, but there is a lot of grumbling elsewhere that it was allowed to continue for hours basically without repercussions...whereas protesters at the overwhelmingly peaceful and nonviolent 2004 Republican National Convention were arrested at the drop of a hat.

So it's been a little bit of a minefield. To tell the truth, I catch such small snippets of the news that I barely paid attention to this one. Until...

Wednesday afternoon I was listening to the radio, a popular "Top 40" station that I don't even like that much (although it's often good music to exercise too, back when I did such a thing). Miss M was in the mood to "dance!" and I couldn't stomach another go-round with Bert & Ernie, so we compromised on Z100, because they usually play Sean Paul at least once an hour. Nobody can make her shake her little booty like Sean Paul. So as I am listening, I hear a "shout-out" to the (I kid you not) "Chasidic community in Borough Park," with best wishes for a peaceful day from the DJ. It was sweet, in a totally bizarre, misguided way. Because, I've got to tell you, the chance of anyone from that community listening to Z100 at any time is approximately nil.

Then the DJ played a "King without a Crown" by Matisyahu, which is a crazy story in and of itself. Basically, lost young Jewish soul finds Chabad, then plugged it into reggae to express himself. He's in his mid-20s, has a recording contract, and is performing to sell-out crowds in small-to-medium venues...with songs that are spiced with phrases like "We want Moshiach now!" He makes videos. I can't tell you how much I wish I knew what the mainstream "Brooklyn" crowd thinks of him..because, like I said, this is not the crowd that listens to Z100. Would they play him on OU radio?

Such wonderings! I had better slink away before the other NYC moms decide I have to be banished for listening to Z100....

Thursday, April 06, 2006


The last day the b2b could have shown up without any possible Passover interference was yesterday.

Whoever said that the power of positive thinking could overcome obstacles clearly never ran into my body, which has a mind of its own. I was positive...right up until my OB appointment, when I was told that not only was nothing happening, but the Jewish doctors in the practice (2 of 4) will of course not be available for the second half of next week. Not that I think it will matter, given how cozy the b2b is with the current living conditions.

A revelation: My thin line between depression (last night: no dinner and an unsatisfying sobbing session) and stress (mainlining chocolate) is apparently the small bag of peanut butter M&Ms that I bought this morning at CVS. Did I mention I am officially up 40 lbs?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Reverse the curse! and other foodstuffs

So because I blogged about Miss M's fusspot tendencies of the past few days, she proceeded to eat the most normal dinner, with absolutely no coaxing, I've seen in a while: chicken, rice, steamed zucchini & carrots, followed up by the rest of the red grapes we had in the house. Seriously, we go through fruit so fast you'd think there were five people living here, not two adults and a toddler. We're a 12 banana-a-week family, and I have one once every three to four weeks, usually as part of a peanut-butter-and-banana-on-toast.

Then this morning she "helped" me to make banana-oatmeal pancakes, then ate three of them, several spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt, and an entire kiwi. I had to physically restrain her from snagging another pancake from my plate as I tried to eat breakfast myself.

If any of the six (or so?) people who read this blog don't already keep up with A Little Pregnant, there is a half a post about Spam* if that weren't priceless enough, the comments about people's childhood food memories are hysterical (if a little bit gross). As my mom, who clearly remembers feeding me peanut butter on toast when I was way under a year old, says: "It's a miracle we didn't kill you." And we never had Spam! Or anything remotely close.

*Extra props to Julie for the Charlotte's Web reference. This was absolutely my favorite childhood book, and definitely on my "Top 5" list of all time. On a vaguely related note, whenever I read a memoir piece by Roger Angell in the New Yorker, I am slightly weirded out. E.B. White was his stepdad! He called him Andy! I think in my head E.B. White is such a mythic figure that it is difficult to process that he had a real life (in Maine!) and a family. Not that I don't enjoy Angell's writing, just I think I prefer his pieces about baseball. I'd rather leave E.B. White as "the man behind the curtain."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Omnivore to toddler in one easy step

Serves me right.

Moxie posted a question on her blog about introducing solids to babies. I responded with our experiences--which mostly jived with her response--but then added a note at the end basically bragging that our intrepid toddler was, for all intents and purposes, a fine eater.

Last week, Miss M ate whatever I put in front of her. Nothing unusual appeared; let's face it, with Taxman eating three meals a day at the office Monday to Thursday and my "condition" (ahem), I don't do a whole lot of innovative cooking. (Truthfully, I've been eating a lot of cold cereal and peanut butter sandwiches.) But she was happy to chow on her usual fare: scrambled eggs, fish sticks, pasta, baked chicken.

Then came Shabbat. Admittedly, we pushed her dinner a bit late and took her to shul. Not sure what I was thinking. But the three of us sat down to a meal together for the first time in a week, and she proceeded to gulp down her kiddush grape juice and challah. Then she ate...steamed baby carrots. The main course was turkey meatloaf, something she has loved in the very recent past. Like two weeks prior. But she refused to even have it sit on her fork, anxiously brushing it off the tines and dangling the bits over the edge of her high chair.

The weirdness continued at Shabbat lunch, where she basically ate steamed zucchini. After two bites, she rejected a plateful of pasta and sauce. And, of course, she was horrified by the reappearance of the meatloaf.

And since, she has refused to eat a scrambled egg, which I had already made, and said "No!" to multiple offers of fish. French toast, which I thought she'd go mad over, was basically snubbed until I let her drown it in syrup.

Things kind of peaked yesterday. She had peas for lunch. It was supposed to be a scrambled egg and peas on the side (a formerly favorite combo), but she ate only the peas. And an orange. But still. Then for dinner she wanted soup. Luckily, I had a serving of soup in the freezer. What kind? Um, split pea. But she happily ate two bowls of it.

So the food tally is: last week, omnivore; this week, lacto-vegetarian. (I think there would have to be some sort of seismic event for her to give up her beloved mozzarella string cheese, which I have to restrict to once a day.)

The parental tally is:

One Tired Ema: puzzled and very tired.
Taxman the Abba: very puzzled and also very tired.

See, this is just another reason for me to get to the hospital ASAP. For at least two days this would be a headache for someone else. Pesach should be quite a kick, too; her snack choices will be whittled down to by at least half. No bread, crackers, pretzels, Kix, no corn or peas at meals! Quel disastre!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Two Mondays

Tax season with kid(s) is like having two Mondays a week. Monday is Monday, and Sunday is Monday, too. Either that, or it's like starting the week with a Wednesday and going back to Monday on Monday. (But that makes less sense.)

To wit: I am carless and 100% in charge of Miss M.

Although Taxman argues that Sunday is not Monday, because he leaves for work a little later and gets home before Miss M goes to bed, the midsection of the day feels like Monday to me. Even worse, there is no 9:00 Sesame Street! But the programming on the Food Network is better, i.e. not infomercials, so in a sense it balances out. Every once in a while Miss M is all about Rachael Ray.

Thankfully today was a park day, because you can't beg, borrow, or steal a playdate on a Sunday. Everyone else is too busy running errands! Argh.