Wednesday, November 26

Is It Wednesday?

I was just getting into bed when I remembered with a startle, "It's Wednesday!" I completely spaced that it was blogging night. My parents came in Tuesday night and my sister this afternoon and with all the activity, I forgot it wasn't a weekend. The Tweedle Twirp and I have already been busy with our baking as my mother watched over the Doodlebug. The stuffing, the apple pie, the pecan pumpkin pie, the glazed pecans (for the salad), and two kinds of cranberry sauces are already made. Tomorrow, Adam's clan comes over and the feasting begins. We're sticking with last year's turkey recipe, because it was such a success. Say what you like about Martha but the fact is she can cook. Of course, I invited everyone over for four, not realizing that's when the Dolphins game is on.

My family is always a hoot. My mother was upset last year because my father came up for a visit and came home addicted to The Bachelor (but only the one season). Tonight, in my quest for ever more reality TV, I had my family watching Trista and Ryan's wedding planning. Now my father says he'll watch the rest of it over the next two weeks. If my mom is unhappy about this, wait until after tomorrow night, when I introduce my father to The Newlyweds, which is playing back to back on MTV. Isn't that what family is for? Helping each other sink to ever lower levels?

An Objective Mother

Before the Doodlebug was born, I promised myself that I wouldn't be one of those mothers who says, "I know everyone says this about their child, but really my child is just the cutest thing out there." I was going to be this totally cool objective mother who said things like, "Well, my baby is beautiful to me." But then reality set in. Because the fact is, I do have the cutest baby ever. What's an objective mom to do?

The Rattle Under the Hood of the Car

You know how when your car makes a funny noise, it bugs you and bugs you, so you finally take it into the shop? But then in the shop, you can't replicate the noise so you stand there sounding like an idiot as you try to imitate the sound? That's what the Doodlebug did to me. He screamed all day Monday. He screamed all Tuesday morning. He refused to nap and would only scream. So I called the doctor. And while I was on the phone, he did scream. I admit, I felt dumb calling the doctor to say, "Hey, my baby is crying;" after all, that's what babies do: they cry. But they seemed to think it was odd as well and told me to come right on in. You know where this is going, right? On the way to the doctor's office, he stopped screaming. And, I might add, started smiling. The doctor examined my grinning, gurgling child as I tried to explain how bad the crying was. I felt like a complete idiot as the doc proclaimed my child healthy. Oh, and what do you think happened the second we arrived back home? He started screaming again. Sigh. Happily, he has since stopped yelling (the major suspect was constipation so I gave him some water and told him if he didn't move his bowels, we were resorting to prune juice, and the threat worked) and today I wisely got him out of the house first thing in the morning, which always puts him to sleep. After all, a sleeping Doodlebug is an ecstatic mommy.

What's Better Than a Scream Fest?

Ending a scream fest by using those new "grabbing powers" to pull out Mom's shirt, lean over, and puke into her bra. Let's just say, I smelled gooooood!

When He Cries, He Screams

Monday, heading home after a walk to Starbucks, I actually offered my child up to a stranger on the street. The Doodlebug was screaming--and not just his normal screams, but his blood-curdling someone-is-trying-to-do-me-grave-harm screams--and was nowhere near stopping. He'd been screaming off and on all day, and at this point, I'm walking home, trying to pretend like I don't know the baby in the Baby Bjorn on my chest who appears to be in the most severe pain of his life. Now, I'm not a mean mom. I had already tried to soothing sounds, the singing, the rubbing. But nothing was working. So I'm just staring everywhere else, like I can't hear his wails. A nice looking woman was walking down the street with a matching Baby Bjorn to mine, and in hers was an infant about the Doodlebug's age. Only this one was silent. Nary a peep. While mine is going on and on and on and on. As we passed, I asked the woman if she wanted to trade. That was a mistake because the Doodlebug apparently heard and wailed that much louder as punishment, even though I kept assuring him for the rest of the walk home that I was only kidding and that I'd keep him no matter what. Adam, on the other hand, had enough of the screaming that he might be willing to part with the Doodlebug if the price is right.

On the Road Again

Last weekend, the Doodlebug had many more firsts. His first road trip. His first time on a ferry. It was even going to be his first time at a wedding, however, during his first time in a church for the wedding rehearsal, he didn't do so well. I think he had a flashback to his last religious ceremony and was afraid something was going to be cut off his body. I explained to him that this was a Catholic church and that not only did they not cut things off, but they gave out crackers and juice, but he just wasn't buying it. So the Doodlebug and I decided to bail on the Long Island wedding and instead, he had his first train ride into the city where we met Tweeds and the Claire Bear for lunch. The Doodlebug wasn't on his best behavior, but it wasn't a complete disaster. I put him in the Baby Bjorn as we all walked from Penn Station to Chelsea Market. The Claire Bear wheeled around the stroller empty and she was just a step ahead of me and Tweeds. It was terribly amusing watching folks peer into the stroller and then look confused at the crazy lady pushing it.

We did make it back for the reception. This wedding reception was like nothing I've seen before. They had enough food that I wished I had starved myself for the preceding week. The Doodlebug came with us, as the bride and groom had considerately arranged for babysitters on the premises. Of course, the babysitters thought Adam and I were a bit overprotective. We've never left him with nonfamily members before, and it was a bit much for me. "You have Adam's cell phone number? Call the instant the Doodlebug wakes up." These women were quite nice and they were incredibly responsive to the kids. We picked up the Doodlebug when he woke up, but he was obviously overtired and the loud band music wasn't helping him. Finally, we brought him back upstairs where he patiently sat in his car carrier as I tried to put him to sleep. The babysitters kept saying, "You know we can do that." I eventually gave in, although I made Adam go back upstairs every twenty minutes to check on the baby. I would have gone myself but there was food to be eaten.

Did I mention the food? Instead of a sit-down dinner, there were many rooms of food stations. The first part of the evening was of course the appetizer stations. While Adam partook in many foods such as cheese, meats, veggies, and assorted hors d'ouevres, I parked myself in front of the oyster and clam bar, which was oh-so-conveniently located next to the caviar bar. I kept meaning to venture to other areas, but the lure of Beluga kept calling me back. The main course stations were also excellent--I did try the lamb, the pasta, and the salad, although I passed on the stir fry, the crepes, the tenderloin, the pork, and the fish--once again the majority of the time I was loading up at the sushi bar. But, of course, who cares about dinner? Who even cares about the cake, which was surprisingly yummy with a delish frosting. Who cares about the seven kinds of cake laid out, the piles of cookies, the coffee bar with liquors and port. Because really all that matters was the chocolate fountain. Yes, a whole fountain of chocolate. Three tiers of flowing chocolate just waiting for my skewers filled with strawberries and marshmallows (because I saw no point in wasting the chocolate on all the other kinds of fruit there). I was full. It was late. We had to go. But I needed just one more go at the chocolate fountain. I'm trying to convince Adam that when we get around to our kitchen remodel, we need to include a chocolate foutain in it.

Wednesday, November 19

A First Hanukkah

The Doodlebug will be almost four months at the start of Hanukkah. What's worse? The fact that he'll have no memory of this holiday and yet I'm already buying presents for him (I've almost got all eight of them)? Or that I got upset with Adam because he nearly brought the Doodlebug into the room where I was wrapping his presents and I didn't want the Doodlebug to see what I had bought him. Yes, I'm wrapping presents for a not-quite-four-month old. That way I'll be surprised when I unwrap them for him.


Sleeping is now our least favorite thing. We're trying to incorporate a "sleep ritual," as all the books recommend. It's a lovely ritual. It involves a massage (for the Doodlebug, although, really, I'm the one who needs it), a reading of Goodnight Moon, and two or three songs. And sure enough, the Doodlebug will drift off to sleep. For about one hour. And then he's up. With a vengeance. For hours. Take Monday night, for instance. At about 6 p.m., the Doodlebug was getting extremely heavy eyed. Big yawns. Droopy eyes. So we begin our ritual. He's pleased with the massage. Entertained by the book. And drifts right off to sleep during the songs (which I like to think is because he thinks my singing is soothing, although I have a hunch it's more that he realizes if he's asleep, it'll stop me from singing any more). I tiptoe downstairs. Adam and I have an evening to ourselves. Yeah! I finish making dinner (chicken cumin with black beans. Yummy!). We curl up on the couch, pop About Schmidt into the DVD player, and start eating. We get fifteen minutes into the movie when little sounds begin squawking from the monitor. "Eh. Eh eh eh. Eh." We freeze, waiting to see if it's going to pass. Things get quiet, and we begin eating again. And then it comes. The full out "Waaaaa!" Pause goes the movie, and up I go. After another twenty minutes of heavy eyes, yawns, and droopiness with a heavy helping of pinky sucking and tummy rubbing, we're back in movie/dinner business. Down I go. Finish eating. Get into the film. And there it is again. The tiny cry of an overtired Doodlebug. This time, I give up, and I go upstairs to pick him up. I bring him downstairs and within three minutes, he's sprawled across my body fast asleep. As Adam says, the Doodlebug just hates sleeping on flat surfaces. When the movie's over, I don't even try to make it upstairs. I put him in the Pack N Play, and within moments... he's awake (that was a surprise ending, wasn't it?). Adam and I gave up on the whole bed idea and put him in the swing, in which, again, he was asleep in minutes. Of course, his other favorite sleeping position is in bed with us. When he was a newborn, it was adorable and sweet and I loved, well, probably every other second of it. Now, he flails and snorts and grunts with some strength behind it, which means no sleep for me. But he's a happy Doodlebug. And I guess that's what counts. For now, at least. (Just a week or so ago, I swore, "I'll never let my son cry it out in order to sleep"--otherwise known as Ferberize. Now, I can see a point in the not so distance future where I invest in a pair of ear plugs and sweat it out.)

More Kiddies!

Christine had her boo, otherwise known as Zachary. And Grant now has a beautiful daughter and he gets to bypass the 'round the clock feedings. Congrats to both!

And He Only Gets Up Half the Time at Night

Adam has reached a new low. I was sitting in my office, updating this very blog, when I heard a strange noise in the living room. When I investigated, I discovered that Adam had fallen asleep in front of his computer, and I was hearing his semi-snoring deep sleep breathing! He's always fallen asleep in front of the TV, but the computer? What has fatherhood done to him?

Nano Nothing

I so rarely admit defeat. I tend to not take on challenges unless I know I'm going to finish them. However, this year, Nanowrimo has gotten the best of me. I'm not going to finish. I know there is still a week and a half left, but there's a canyon between 13,000 words and 50,000 words. And while writing those 13,000 words has been great fun--and I plan on continuing to write--there's just too much going on. The Doodlebug obviously takes up most of my time and what few waking coherent (okay, semi-coherent) hours I have left, I need to spend on my freelancing work. But I'll still finish a novel in the next year. Mark my words. That's one challegne I'll meet.

Newborn No More

The next time I update this blog, my little Doodlebug will have lost his "newborn" status and will simply be "infant." On Sunday, he is three months old. Three months. Unbelievable. We went to visit friends who had a baby on November 12. He was so incredibly tiny! And amazingly, he was bigger than the Doodlebug when the Doodlebug was born. But the Doodlebug looked like a giant next to Baby Dylan. When I held Dylan, he fit in a nice tight ball right on my chest. The Doodlebug hasn't been a nice tight anything since he learned if he head butts us at just the right angle, he can knock out a tooth while barely denting his own head (his own head, that I might add, is developing bald spots from lying down in the same position no matter how many times we turn him in other directions). But my Doodlebug is still (with all due respect to other parents out there) the Cutest Baby Ever and he's only getting more handsome by the day. But does he have to grow so fast?

Wednesday, November 12

Censoring Yourself for Readers

This article nicely sums up how I often feel about my blog. It's not my mom, I'm worried about, though. It's... let's just say, others.

Doodlebug Tricks

What's better than a bath with your son? Two baths with your son because he, um, defiled the first one. Bath time has become a joy because the Doodlebug has discovered the joy of nakedness. Our boy is happiest when he's got nothing on. Miami Beach was thrilling for him because I let him romp in just his diaper. Today, when he got fussy and I couldn't calm him down, I finally put him on the changing table (his favorite place in the house), took off his diaper, laid a blocker across him so he couldn't pee on me, and let him sit there bare-butt for ten minutes. It was magic. Adam is concerned that our son's preference for his bare butt on latex could prove to be problematic in the future.

A Nano Behind

So, I'm way off on my Nanowrimo goals. Of course, while in Miami Beach, I got a much better idea for my novel, so I started over (and no, I'm not an idiot--I'm counting the old novel parts as part of my word count. I'll cut the irrelevant stuff out later). However, I simply don't have the same time (duh) to write as I did, and my word count is falling behind. I'm hoping to get a few good naps out of Doodlebug so I can book ahead. Or else I'll just have to have a few evening marathon sessions once he's gone to bed for the night.

Martini Memories

The wedding I attended in Miami Beach was great on many, many levels. The bride was a good friend from high school. The ceremony was short, sweet, and romantic. The food was delish. I got to see high school friends I haven't seen in years (sorry, Willie, that I didn't recognize you!). The music was rockin'. I got to dance with my lovely cousins Milo and Annie. Okay, okay. I know these are all nice. But, you're thinking, there's got to more. And there was. There was the Holy Grail of weddings. There was... a martini bar. Oh, the martini bar. Those of you who have been reading since before my baby days know how I feel about the martini. The martini is perfection in a glass. It must be a true martini, meaning gin, never vodka. Dry, but not extra dry. And olives. Maybe even extra olives. I knew about this martini bar ahead of time. And I planned for it. Because when you're a mom, drinking is never an impulse decision. So I loaded up my mother (who babysat the Doodlebug while I was at said wedding) with pumped breast milk and formula--enough for about five days of food for the Doodlebug. I packed my breast pump in my purse for the infamous pump 'n' dump. And I entered the reception where I had my first martini since January 4 (not that I'm counting, although I will say that I found out I was pregnant on January 5). It was heavenly. I couldn't wait for my next one. Because I was prepared. However, I didn't count on the fact that the one martini was going to make me lightheaded and tipsy. And after an additional half a glass of toasting champagne, I was done drinking for the night. Whoo hoo! Party girl had a whole drink! One friggin' martini. I am so out of practice. The plus side is that one drink does not a pump 'n' dump make, so the Doodlebug got his first taste of a real drink. I hope this toughens him up.

The Doodlebug's South Beach Experience

We took the Doodlebug to Lincoln Road Mall... and he fell asleep. We took him on a walk to see the Art Deco buildings on Ocean Drive... and he slept. We went to the beach so he could have a good view of the Atlantic... and he slept. He went to the rehearsal dinner at the Crab House... and he slept. I walked him by the house I grew up in... and as we passed it, he slept. He went to lunch at the Rascal House... and, surprise, he slept. All in all, I think the Doodlebug really liked South Beach.

My Little Boy Is Growing Up

I packed away the Doodlebug's newborn clothes. All those outfits that he was swimming in are simply too small now. How is that possible?

The Real South Beach Diet

The food. Oh, the food! Joe's stone crabs and hash browns. Pastrami sandwich and pickles from the Rascal House. Black-and-white cookies. And the best? Key lime pie for breakfast on Sunday. And Monday. And, oh yeah, Tuesday. (And despite what Adam says, it made perfect sense: some people eat Golden Grahams Cereal, I eat graham cracker crust. Citrus is perfect for breakfast, and instead of O.J., I had key limes. And many drink milk, I had cream, albeit whipped. Key lime pie, the ideal breakfast food.) Ah, the food of Florida.

Travelin' Doodlebug

So, the Doodlebug took his first vacation. Preparing was something else. I was so stressed out remembering to pack everything of the Doodlebug that I was practically out the door before I remembered I had forgotten to pack my own underwear.

We went down to Miami Beach so I could attend the wedding of a high school friend. Adam couldn't go to the wedding, because it was at five o'clock on Sunday, and he had an 8:30 a.m. class on Monday. However, I was nervous flying down alone for the first time with the Doodlebug, so Adam came down with us on Thursday and left on Sunday. The Doodlebug and I came back on Tuesday (my folks baby sat during the wedding). The flight back was rougher than the way down, because on the way down we flew during the Doodlebug's normal bed time, so he slept solidly on most of the flight and then all the way home to my parent's apartment. That combined with the six drunk twentysomethings behind us on the plane, and no one even noticed the few minor screeches the Doodlebug made. On the way home, though, it was a 1:30 flight so we flew right through prime fussy time. I think it was a real turning point in my metamorphosis to "mother." Despite the crowded plane and my complete and utter inability to carry a tune, I leaned into the Doodlebug's car seat and started singing "Close to You" in an attempt to quiet him down. It actually worked. I did, however, refuse to make eye contact with anyone around me after that.

Yad Sdrawkcab

Ekam a yreuq ta elgoog. Tsuj rebmemer ot epyt ti ni sdrawkcab.

Wednesday, November 5

Well, I Think He's Picture Perfect

This morning, like good suburbanites, the Doodlebug and I took a trip to the mall so we could go to Sears to get his first portrait taken. I always thought those posed pictures were lame, but then I got a bug up my butt that we needed a formal picture of the Doodlebug. A nice black and white to put up in the living room. Well, once again, I think it's lame. Okay, no I don't. It's just sour grapes because everyone else gets cute pictures of their babies in ridiculous poses, but not me. It was like the photo at Beth Israel on his second day of life all over again. My baby wants to be an original. No copies, please. Because our smiley, cheery, happy, morning baby (I scheduled the appointment at 9:30 a.m. to capitalize on his happy time) immediately began screaming the minute we had him propped up for his photo. No matter what I did, he'd be frowny. I even told the photographer if she could catch the elusive pouty face, I'd buy it up. But even she couldn't get that lower lip on film. Finally, the very patient photographer said to me, "I don't think this is going to happen today." Sigh. Of course, the moment we left, he plastered a great big grin on his face. And he looked so cute, I just had to buy him a new toy. That kid totally knows how to play me.

Runaround Fish

Sunday was the New York City Marathon. Boston, of course, doesn't have complete race coverage, but they do show the highlights in the afternoon. My friend Fish decided to try it out this year--it's doubly impressive for him because not only does this mean he's running 26.2 miles, it means he's quit smoking, something I didn't think I'd ever see (a fish without a cigarette is like a woman without a bicycle or something like that). I'm sure if he had known about it ahead of time, he'd be paranoid, but I was able to track his progress through the race on the Web site. Because all the runners wear chips, you can follow their splits. I dutifully watched the highlights program (no sign of Fish) and read all the race info to help motivate me to the gym. I'm completely pumped to run the marathon this year, although I have such a long way to go until I'm ready. I need to be back to a twenty-mile-a-week running base by June, which is certainly doable, even though my huffing and puffing at a simple three-mile jog makes me feel doubtful at the moment. Anyway, Fish finished with just over twelve-minute miles. My goal for next year is to simply finish, although (to show that Adam's business speak has had some effect on me) my stretch goal is under thirteen-minute miles. In my peak, I was running half-marathons at 11:30. So I figure 12:45 for a full marathon could happen if I can get myself back into my peak shape. Right now I'm more in my pear shape. But I'm working on it.

The Sprout Has Emerged

Anathea had Maya! Babies are sprouting all over the blogs! Yeah, Maya!

I've Got Ten of These Things?

The Doodlebug has found his hands. And they frequently make their way to his mouth, where he sucks vigorously and surprisingly loudly. However, what he does is shove his entire fist into his mouth, which of course doesn't fit. So he's mid-suck and out the fist falls, with plenty of drool everywhere. He's really happy leaning against someone's shoulder because then he can prop his fist between the shoulder and his mouth for some really quality sucking. What I'm trying to get him to understand is that if he just uncurled that little fist, he has perfect mouth-sized fingers. Ten little bite-sized digits. (I'm all for self-soothing if it means my pinky gets to unprune. If he wants to suck his thumb or finger, good for him. As they say in my mom's group, no one goes to college sucking his thumb. And if you happen to be the exception to this, I don't want to hear about it.) Every now and then, the finger will get close, but he'll just bypass it for the side of his hand. I even tried to unfurl his hand for him to show him how it's done but to no avail. Our child is just, well, special.

The World Series of Boredom

On Saturday I went to the gym. I only had an hour till the gym closed, so I got on the treadmill. Man, am I out of shape. I ran a 12:30 mile for three miles and I thought I was going to collapse. I did the rest of my run at a walk. I listen to my Yepp while I work out (and I desperately need to put new workout music on it), but I always glance at the TVs above the treadmills, just because they are there. One of them is always tuned to ESPN and I couldn't believe they were showing the World Series of Poker. Wow, I thought, there must really be nothing going on in the world of sports. After my workout, I get home and as I'm opening the door, I say to Adam, "You wouldn't believe the crap that's on ESPN. They're showing the World Series of Poker!" Adam said excitedly, "I know! I'm watching it. It's awesome!" Let's hope my son turns out to be more interesting than my husband.

Another November, Another 50,000 Words

Quiz question: you have three freelance jobs, two of which are due in the next week. You have a ten-week-old son who needs near-constant attention. You haven't been to the gym in a couple of days. You have a few hours of freedom because your husband will watch your son. What do you do first? Answer: Duh, you go to Diesel Cafe to start your Nanowrimo 2003 novel (and then waste more time blogging about it).

It occurred to me on Friday night that Halloween meant the next day was November therefore it was time to start my next novel. I don't know why this came as a surprise to me given this is my third year of Nanoness. Friday night, the Doodlebug and Adam both fell asleep at 8 p.m. as I tossed and turned all night trying to figure out what I was going to write about. I thought about blatantly cheating and continuing last year's novel. Last year I hit 50,000 words, but really only wrote half a novel. I could have finished it (Nanowrimo is all honor system and I figure as long as I write 50,000 words, I'm good) this year, but realized the rules are right: you have too much invested in a previous novel to really write more crap. Besides, as much as I want to finish last year's novel, it would be too limiting to work on it now. I need freedom to go off in a total new crap direction. Anyway, I woke up the next morning after fitful sleep (not helped by the four feedings the Doodlebug demanded) with nothing other than a name (somehow I knew my main character was Amanda). I arrived at Diesel to meet up with a couple of other folks who wrote last year, and amazingly was able to eke out my 2,000 words based just on having the name Amanda. Unfortunately, this is the novel that will have to go into a closet until a number of people have died. Right now it may be a blubbering mess, but it's a blubbering mess that hits a little too close to home for some folks. But, if I can somehow maintain my daily quota of words, it'll be a fun one to write.

I have to say, it feels so good to be working on something new again. I've been tinkering with some older pieces, doing revisions, and I love doing that, but it's nothing like creating something new. I don't know how I'll manage it on an ongoing basis, but I've got to keep writing. It's a high like nothing else.