Friday, December 22, 2006

Road Songs

We are in Albuquerque again, this time to celebrate Anja's first Christmas with her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Thirteen hours in the car is a bit much for me, but not for my little trooper. She always had a parent in the back seat with her to keep her entertained. These songs helped a lot too.

Carrot The Snowman
(obviously to the tune of "Frosty The Snowman" and dedicated to the toy snowman Anja received at her first visit to Santa)

Carrot The Snowman
Was a really happy guy
'Cause he lived with a little girl named Anja
Who really made him smile

Carrot The Snowman
Was as happy as he could be
When Santa let him live with the little girl
He was all filled up with glee

He has coal for eyes
And a carrot for a nose
But his smile is ten feet wide
And when she reaches out for him
It just about makes him cry

OH - Carrot The Snowman
Was a really happy guy
'Cause he lived with a little girl named Anja
Who really made him smile

The Gotta Go Song
(make up your own melody - I did)

Mommy has to pee
Really really badly
Mommy has to pee
Or things could get really messy

Daddy will get mad if Mommy pees in the car
'Cause we still have to drive really far
Mommy has to pee
Really really badly

That last one got the sperm donor laughing so hard that I could barely finish the song through my own laughter. Which got Anja giggling - either because it was funny or because her parents are nuts.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Little Sticky, Lots Of Sap

This via zombie. In my defense, I am a social worker. Social workers, by nature, tend to be sensitive, compassionate, empathic, sympathetic, capable of unconditional love, and loads of other crap. And usually to a fault.


53% Extraversion, 26% Intuition, 20% Thinking, 53% Judging know that sensitive mamsy-pansy sap I was talking about earlier? Yeah. Well, someone had to get it and you pulled the short straw. Now pull yourself together, crybaby.

You are quite possible one of the most sensitive people I know and I don't even know you! You care what each and every single person thinks about you. You're the kind of person who sends around a txt to everyone they know saying "i thnk ur prtty. wat do u thnk abt me? rate me frm 1-5."

That's 1 meaning "I hate you" and 5 meaning "You make me vomit when I look at you." You're still crying, aren't you?

Sure. All you want is for someone to appreciate you once in a while. Aww... Boohoo. Hold a pity party sometime. The garden's free. Lots of worms down there. Big ones. Small ones. Squishy ones.

My guess is you don't understand this test one bit. You can't imagine how anyone could be so insulting or why anyone could find it even remotely amusing...STOP THE DAMN WATERWORKS, WOMAN!

Naive is a word that needs to be branded on your forehead... Alright, now I feel bad. Sure, you do have some redeeming factors, just not many. Sorry.


If you want to learn more about your personality type in a slightly less negative way, check out this.


The other personality types are as follows...

Loner - Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

Pushover - Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Criminal - Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

Borefest - Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Almost Perfect - Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

Freak - Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging

Loser - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

Crackpot - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

Clown - Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

Commander - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

Do Gooder - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Scumbag - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

Busybody - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging

Prick - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

Dictator - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Extraversion
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Intuition
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Thinking
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Judging

Link: The Brutally Honest Personality Test written by UltimateMaster on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I was parked at a stop light the other day when a guy pulled up next to me playing his car stereo really loud. He was singing just as loud and looked like he was having a really good time. Though I can't remember what it was, his car looked like a piece of junk and he must have spent some serious money to put in such an awesome sound system. I rolled my window down out of curiosity to see what he was listening and singing along to.

It was the theme from "The Family Guy." And he was loving it.

When I was in middle school, there was a listing in the phone book for...

TITZHOFF Henauder ____________ ###-####

Seriously. We all had these little notebooks we had to carry from class to class in order to write down all of our homework. Our parents had to sign our books at the end of the week. I suppose this was to eliminate the possibility that we might forget having homework, but not the possibility that we simply did not want to do it. My friends and I all decorated our notebooks with the names of the guys we liked (many of whom got crossed out as time went by) in addition to logos for Van Halen and Def Leppard and such. I cut Mr. Titzhoff's number out of the phone book and taped it to my notebook.

Anja now has three boyfriends at day care: the one she holds hands with on the buggy, the one she occasionally shares toys with, and the one who makes sure to retrieve all of her toys which are stolen by the older kids. Sigh.

The sperm donor and I assembled this for Anja last night. It is a Christmas gift, but she doesn't know much about Christmas so I figured she could have it early. She's already managed to pull one piece off and throw it across the floor (this is a great hobby right now). Maybe when she grows up she will learn to develop baby toys that are baby proof.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Riding In Cars With Boys

The day care teachers take the babies for a buggy ride during the day. Six little babies strapped into a giant red wagon. Even the little babies get to go, equipped with their own little infant seat. The babies are then steered through the office building where the sperm donor works. Sometimes they even go outside. Several of the sperm donor's co-workers leave their cubicles during the buggy ride in order to wave at the babies.

Anja seems to like the buggy ride, although a couple of times she has nodded off during it. The buggy ride is a good chance for her to see her daddy. She is very popular during the buggy ride as she is only one of two female babies at day care.

A couple of days ago, Anja was spotted holding hands with one of the little boys during the buggy ride.

This naive mom really thought that we didn't need to address this subject for at least another twelve or thirteen years. We talked about what it meant to hold hands with boys. I told her that she probably should avoid holding hands with all of the boys because she might earn a reputation as some kind of hussy. And those cute little boys might have their feelings hurt.

She said: "A-ya ya ya ya ya. Ya ya ya ya ya. Aaaaiieeeee!! Ya ya ya ya. Ba. Ba. Ba." So I think she understood.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Truly Great Moment In Parenting

Anja has discovered solid foods. Well, not "solid". "Solid" really refers to anything that is not breastmilk or formula. But she gobbles down bananas and cereal a couple of times a day at day care, and last night she was gobbling down some carrots. In a couple of days we might try some peaches.

Liquid diets tend to produce liquid poops, but throw some food in there and you never know what you will get. So I was so delighted when I changed Anja's diaper the other day and found a different kind of poop. I yelled out to the sperm donor...

"Look honey!! She's made her first turd!!"

Ahh...the joys of parenting.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Anja Says

Ba ba ba ba ba ba. Aa-ba ba ba ba ba. Ba ba ba (claps hands for emphasis). Aaaaaaaaaaa! Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba. Aa-ba ba ba ba ba ba ba.

What? Yeah, I don't know what it means either. But it sure is fun.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks

(The following editorial has been reprinted without permission from the HC Middle School newspaper, circa November 1982)

Do You Enjoy Thanksgiving?
By Nissa B.

In two days it will be Thanksgiving. Do you ever get tired of the same Thanksgiving customs? Boy, I know I do.

Every year my family has turkey. So do numerous other families. But some families have duck or another interesting bird.

For dessert every year we have pumpkin pie. My grandmother makes the pie out of the pumpkin she bought at Halloween. Sometimes I wonder if the inside of that pumpkin is still edible after a month. But some groups of people have other desserts - mincemeat pie or sometimes even raisin pie.

Another problem with Thanksgiving is trying to think of something to be thankful for. I guess the most logical thing for HCMS students to be thankful for is that we get a five-day weekend.

(The following rebuttal was submitted to the same newspaper, circa December 1982)

Many Thanks
By Ms. G.

I was sorry to read the sentiments of one of our students who felt the only thing she had to be thankful for was five days away from school. Don't get me wrong - teachers are grateful for holidays, too. I'm looking forward to cold, rainy mornings to sleep late and to eating a turkey sandwich while I catch up on a soap opera or two. But I'm grateful for more than that. This has been a rough year for me, and I'm thankful for family members and friends who have provided loving support. I'm glad that I have a career that continues to be challenging and stimulating. I'm grateful for young friends who, as students, give me a fresh perspective on life. At this holiday time, I'm made more aware of basics to eat and a warm, safe place to live. Look more closely than just a break from school. Our lives are running over with blessings.

Ms. G. was the home economics teacher at my middle school. I never took a home ec class so I didn't know Ms. G. personally. Now, I kind of wish I had taken sewing so I could make a Christmas stocking for Anja. Anyway, Ms. G. later married Mr. M., who was the assistant principal of my middle school, and later of my high school. I remember they were both very small people. Physically. They could both be described as petite.

I agree with Ms. G. that my priorities may have been a little misplaced way back in 1982. Come on. What was I? Twelve? Thirteen? But I will defend myself. For over eight years, I worked at a job where I worked most holidays and the occasional weekend with no extra pay. Last year, when I finally got a five-day weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday, no doubt because I was pregnant and tired, I was damn thankful.

This year is much different. I think of the people who sat around my table today at Thanksgiving dinner (where, I might add, we ate the same things we did when I was twelve). My dear friend San, who I have known for half my life. I was so thankful for her this past summer when she accompanied us to a weekend-long wedding celebration in Colorado. A wedding I kind of dreaded going to. But she hung out with Anja and me while the sperm donor tended to his wedding duties. And we laughed. A lot.

My parents. To my mother who has been the comforting voice in all of the difficult moments since Anja's birth. And to my father. The one regret I have in giving birth to my child at the age of 36 is that she will, like me, never get to know her grandfather. He is declining, both physically and mentally, but he takes great delight in her smiles. Ultimately, it will be up to my vivid imagination to make sure he is always alive for her.

OH! And to her!! The newest addition to our Thanksgiving table, sitting happily in her high chair, banging her toys and her spoon on the tray. Anja ate some sweet potatoes, some gravy, and some whipped cream for her first Thanksgiving dinner. It was around this time last year that I first felt her squirm in there. It felt as thought she were running lightly across my tummy. Just before Thanksgiving last year we found out that she was a healthy little girl (thanks be to amnio!). And we both breathed a huge sigh of relief, accompanied by a "whoopee!" because we both really wanted a girl. A year later, she is a rolling-creeping-sitting-smiling-laughing machine. I still look at her with awe - I can't even begin to believe she is my daughter.

And then there was him. Feeding her whipped cream off the tip of his spoon. If there was no sperm donor, there would be no her. And probably no me. And so I am thankful to him, for allowing me to sacrifice financial security for our daughter's well being. For giving her the late night bottles when I'm too sleepy. For supporting my decision to keep on nursing. For picking up dinner all of those nights I don't feel like cooking (which is most nights). For putting crap together. For putting her new car seat in my car. For making me laugh before I go to sleep. For taking care of our birth control issue, which he thinks is no big deal, but for me means I don't have to subject myself to the health risks of the pill and I get to keep all of my parts intact. And for countless other things.

And I am thankful for me. But mostly, I'm just thankful for the huge gift I have been bestowed. I am so blessed to have a beautiful daughter who laughs and smiles and sings all the time. And who is healthy. She and the sperm donor are the center of my world. I guess Ms. G. and I have more in common than we used to.

Oh, and I told Anja that when she wants a little brother or sister, I would just get her a puppy.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hello To Me

Greetings to my likeness over there on the right. Zombie made her for me. I think she is an incredible resemblance to me. I think she looks very therapist-like, like me in LBA (Life Before Anja). Because I probably would be listening to you while sipping from my mug of coffee. Or it may not be coffee. It may very well be tequila. Like the t-shirts say "Drink Til I Look Better", I'm going to drink until you are interesting.

Oh that sounds so rude!! But at least I'm listening.

Tongue Tied

I have never been able to do anything fun with my tongue.

(Pause while naughty friends have inappropriate thoughts)

Seriously. I can't make shapes with my tongue. I can't turn it sideways or make it into a "u". I once knew a girl who could shape her tongue into a clover. How envious I was, and how truly odd her tongue looked. I can't even roll my freaking tongue which is a bit of an embarrassment living in South Texas and knowing a little bit of Spanish. My tongue has an inferiority complex.

That inferiority complex was severely wounded once again a few mornings ago. Anja has been able to stick her tongue out for a long time. She was just a few weeks old when she would stick her tongue out at me after I would stick mine out at her several times. But I was not prepared for this. She stuck her tongue out at me a few mornings ago. And it was sideways.

I suppose this must be genetic. The sperm donor can do it. Anja keeps doing it now as if she is taunting me. "Look, Mommy, what I can do and you can't!" And she sticks out her little sideways tongue.

I'm gonna go practice in the mirror.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What To Wear???

I love to watch TLC's "What Not To Wear." This is the show in which someone with lousy fashion sense is given a trip to New York and a Visa card with $5000 in order to get a fabulous new wardrobe. Give me a marathon and I am glued to the TV. I told the sperm donor that I was going to wear maternity clothes for two years so that he could videotape how hideous I looked so I could be on the show. Unfortunately, after about three months postpartum I did look pretty hideous. The shirts were way too big and the shorts were all baggy in the butt. All of the clothes are currently in the process of being moved to the consignment shop.

So I have a job interview today (an unpromising one, but that's another story). Yesterday I was tending to some laundry while Anja was playing and, standing in my closet, I realized that I had nothing to wear. Thanks to breastfeeding, I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but that is by no means where I would like to be. And I'm proportioned differently. There's more flab. And, also thanks to breastfeeding, my boobs are at least a cup size bigger, depending on what time of the day it is. So none of my shirts fit. My own daughter has more clothes that fit her in her closet than I do.

So I loaded up Anja and we went shopping. First, let me say that most retail stores are not set up for a woman with a stroller. The aisles are too narrow. Anja has developed the ability to reach out and grab things while we are moving. It is related to the ability that drops the toys out of the stroller while we are moving. So I was simultaneously looking for clothes and stopping to either pick up a toy or remove Anja's hand from an unsuspecting skirt.

I finally found some candidates and proceeded to the fitting room. The girl monitoring the fitting room was nice enough to let us have the extra large fitting room equipped for people with disabilities (that's nice and politically correct). As I tried on my items, I kept wondering "If I were on What Not To Wear, what would Stacy and Clinton say?" Does this a-line skirt take away attention from my larger hips and ass? Does this top say my boobs are large milk devices? Does the way this material hangs de-emphasize my tummy which at one time was flat? Is it still OK to wear control top panty hose? Does anyone wear panty hose anymore?

Anja was no help in answering these questions. She sat there in her stroller and smiled at the baby in the mirror the whole time.

So I found a nice chocolate brown pattern skirt and top outfit. The sperm donor later said "I don't know what I think of brown," and I reminded him that Stacy says that chocolate brown is hot. It also helped that I already had some chocolate brown shoes at home. We proceeded to the shoe department anyway. Where we entered heaven...the boot sale.

Anja now knows that Mommy has a boot fetish. In my version of heaven, there are lots of boots. I cannot get through a boot sale without taking home at least one pair of boots. And there they, pointy heal, pointy toe, up to nearly my knees. They actually zipped up my calf easily. The sales guy said they looked hot on my legs (yeah, especially with my black shorts and Alaska t-shirt that zombie's hubby bought for me). They are beautiful, and now they are mine.

The boots cost more than the outfit. I don't care. I have no income and this interview today isn't promising to change that much. But I have my boots. I can't remember the last time I bought myself some shoes that weren't intended to comfort my little swollen feet. Or the last time I bought myself some real clothes. This from the woman who used to buy clothes just because she had a bad day at work. And there were a lot of bad days.

The only regret I have is that the boots were not available in my size in the fabulous chocolate brown color. But that's OK. Maybe when I get home, I'll put them on with some jeans, pump my boobs, and wear them to pick up Anja at day care. And then I'll feel whole again.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Anja's Discovery Story

A few days ago while Anja was napping, I found myself watching some show on the Discovery Health channel about a baby who was born with two heads. She really was. Off the top of her little head was a whole other head, with eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Not much else below that though. And they had all of this hair where their two heads met. It really looked a little gross and freakish actually. While the little girl was sitting there calmly, the other head was attempting to scream away (I don't think the head had any vocal chords). The other head also displayed the sucking reflex. The doctors referred to the second head as "the parasite" which I thought was a bit rude; if your child is born with two heads, then clearly there was another twin present so it ought to have a name. Surgery was done to remove the head but the little girl died soon afterwards.

I think Anja should have a show on the Discovery Health channel simply because she is so spectacular. Maybe it could be about how big she was at birth. So many people look amazed when I say "Well, she was almost ten pounds when she was born. I attribute it to lots of pancakes." But we could make that more intriguing, something people would be warped into once they started watching...

Anja's Story: There Were Triplets, But She Got Hungry And Ate The Other Two


Friday, November 03, 2006

One Thing I Am Not...

Is mechanically minded. I think I wrote an earlier post about how I assembled Anja's high chair. NOT!! Reading instruction manuals is like reading gibberish for me. I could probably get more out of reading an instruction manual in Japanese, but still could not get an item put together. I think I am lacking some major brain connection that allows information to travel from reading about to actually doing. Thank goodness for the sperm donor because he knows how to figure all of these things out. If he were not here, I would probably live in a house filled with disassembled crap.

With Anja in day care, I'm free to do some things around the house which really need to be done. Today I bleached the litter box. Yesterday I decided to vacuum my couches. Three cats, lots of fur. I put little towels and blankets on the couches for them to sleep on, and they all manage to sleep right next to them. And they all look at me like "I will not comply with your efforts to prevent me from dumping my fur!!" I have a housekeeper who, poor thing, probably does not have a great deal of experience vacuuming fur off of couches, so they have been looking pretty hairy.

So, in my efforts to self-soothe in Anja's absence, I decided to vacuum the couches. I have one of these fancy Dyson vacuums that the sperm donor bought on eBay. I never use it. Again, I have a housekeeper. But it has some fancy attachment which looked like it might be good in my battle against fur. But first, I had to figure out how to remove the hose from the vacuum in order to attach said attachment. So, I push here and I pull there with no luck. About fifteen minutes passes. Yes, fifteen minutes, because what happens when you have a baby is that you are granted tons more patience than you have ever known. I decide to go get the manual. I don't know why this seemed like a good idea, and thank goodness I couldn't find the darn thing because I'm confident I would not have been able to comprehend it. Finally, I squeezed in the right place and the hose came off. WOO HOO!! I quickly attach said cool attachment and press the power button to see if it works. Nothing. I press the power button again. Nothing. I press the power button lots of times. Still nothing.

I know what you're thinking. It took me about five minutes to think the same thing.

Maybe I should plug in the vacuum.

And with that I commenced the vacuuming of the couches. They look a little better. They need some major work though because not only have the cats dumped fur on them but some barf as well. Sigh.

I'm off for more cleaning. Yesterday I bought some frames in which to put pictures of Anja. And I'm going to call and check on her. I miss my Doodle. I know she misses me too.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Adventures At The Drive Thru - Chapter 2

Sperm donor went to our beloved TC's a few nights ago to pick us up some dinner. Here is a list of contents from our bag:

1. My coveted enchilada plate (I can't remember if it was cheese or beef right now)
2. My little package of tortillas
3. The sperm donor's bean and cheese taco.
4. The sperm donor's steak fajita taco.
5. Some napkins
6. Little containers of salsa.
7. A straw


I don't see any beverages in that list. Do you?? The sperm donor said that maybe they thought we were going to drink the salsa.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Anja is at her first day at day care right now. The last time I checked in she was crying. So was I. This is the longest we have ever been separated. It is also the first time since before she was born that I have been alone in my house.

I'm miserable. I tried to capitalize on the opportunity for some extra sleep, but instead I laid there and wept. Even Manu the Cat is upset; he has been wandering around the house meowing which he usually does not do in the mornings.

If someone handed me six more months at home with her on a silver platter I would take it and ask for more. But when the Cadillac of day cares calls you a year after you place yourself on their waiting list to inform you that your child's space is ready, then you have to jump on it. It may not be there if you wait.

So off she left this morning with the sperm donor. Sperm donor, by the way, is thrilled. The Cadillac of day cares is located at his work. He gets to see her any time of day that he wants, just by wandering down the hall. Can you imagine what a stress buster that must be? To be able to wander down the hall after an especially taxing meeting to see your smiling daughter? That is one of the pros in a long list of pros about day care. Now, Anja gets to play with other babies and with different toys. When she gets a little older, they will help her learn to read, draw pictures, do tumbling. And she will get to make friends.

The one con on the list? (Well, actually there are two, but we won't talk about how much this is costing us) Mommy is a mess and doesn't quite know what to do with herself. I have this horrible image in my brain of my beautiful daughter playing with toys at day care and looking around for her mommy who is usually playing with toys with her. Yesterday, we were playing with her Fisher Price balls. I would roll one back and forth in front of me and she would scoop it up and put it in her lap. Then I would roll another one back and forth in front of me and she would put that one in her lap. The third ball kept rolling out of her lap (the lap is not very big yet) giving me the opportunity to take it back. But at day care, she will realize that mommy is not there and she will become sad and start to cry. This is actually happening as I type. So I feel like the worst mommy ever. I pointed at her heart before she left and told her that mommy is ALWAYS in there, then pointed at my heart and told her that Anja is ALWAYS in there. I think she might have forgotten that. She is only going to day care for half a day until I find a job (and hopefully after that too), but it's all I can do to keep from going right now.

We went to a Halloween party last night. Anja dressed as a ladybug. She was the cutest ladybug ever (although she could make a bag lady look pretty cute). I was talking with my friend about Anja going to day care and she told me that it was really hard when she sent her son to day care at first too. Then she said, "But at least she won't be the weird kid at school who eats paste." And I thought, good point. Anja will have friends, will be able to follow directions, may be even able to say please and thank you in a few years. She will have social skills. She won't stick a handful of glue in her mouth because she will have learned at day care that glue is not for eating. She will soon adjust to the new faces and the new surroundings.

While Mommy tries to adjust to the silence. It feels like my heart was put in the car seat with her. I look at my house with six months worth of accumulated clutter and I try to get motivated to do something about it. I think of all the places I go where I always think it would be so much easier to run into without Anja and the car seat. I think about going back to work and I cringe.

I'm confident there will be gallons of tears between Anja and me as we make this transition. If anything, it shows how much we love each other, how bonded we have become. It's something I think I have underestimated, but never will again.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ooo Eee Ooooooo Eeeeeeee Ooooooooo (The Twilight Zone Theme)

Anja woke up last night when she got hungry. This sleepy mom read the clock as 1:30. And in usual fashion, both mom and daughter fell asleep in the comfy nursing chair. I put sleeping Anja back in her crib and proceeded back to bed.

The clock said 1:30...again.

And so we grieve another end to daylight savings time. Boy, I hate it when it gets dark so early.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Giggle

Anja laughs like Beavis and Butthead. Now, my mother reads my blog and she is not going to know who that is. Let me see if I can find a sound clip.


Now, raise that up a couple of octaves and you have the Anja laugh. She's a tough sale though. She will smile at you willingly and often, but you have to do something really special to get the giggle. I used to get the giggle when I sang "Stars and Stripes" to her, with a few WEEEs thrown in. But now that's old. Now I get the giggle if I sit her on top of me and do tummy crunches. It's kind of like peek-a-boo, but a lot more painful. It's definitely worth it.

I'm sure that someday she will be like this. And she will laugh more than all four of them put together!!

Adventures At The Drive-Thru - Chapter 1

I really like Mexican food. I could eat it for three meals a day each day of the year. In my city, there is a certain local Mexican restaurant which has a location on nearly every corner. I won't name it in order to give it some modicum of anonymity, but us locals call it TC's. And the food is actually pretty decent. A few locations are open 24 hours. I started going to TC's when I was in college. The original TC's is located right down the street from my college campus and it was a very popular hang out for students back in the day. On Friday nights after hanging out in local bars, everyone would flock to that one TC's and the line for the drive-thru went down the street for a block or two. The sperm donor and I went to that one TC's the night we met and enjoyed some tacos. So this restaurant chain has played a significant role in my life. Food does that.

So imagine our excitement a few years ago when a TC's opened just five minutes from our house. Bean and cheese tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, breakfast tacos, margaritas...all within walking distance (although we have never walked there). The drive-thru has become a regular spot to pick up dinner. But something weird always happens at the drive-thru. I can't tell you how many times I have come home, TC's bag in hand, and said to the sperm donor, "I have got to blog about this." For starters, TC's does not advertise themselves as a fast food restaurant, thus justifying the long wait in the line. To me, if it looks like a fast food restaurant, operates like a fast food restaurant, and tastes like a fast food restaurant, then it probably is. If you go inside, you order at a counter and are given a number which is momentarily screamed incoherently. So, I don't know why the wait is so long. Then there was the little female teenage snit who worked the drive thru window and always used to say "Make sure you have your money ready when you get to the window." To which it took much restraint not to reply with "Well, you make sure to have my *&!@ food ready at the window and we'll have a deal!"

So tonight I'm sitting at the drive-thru ready to relay my order to Rosa and...well it goes something like this...

Rosa: Welcome to TC's. What can I get you?
ME: I will have a bean and cheese taco, a -
Rosa: I'm sorry, I can't hear you. What was that again?
ME: A bean and cheese taco.
Rosa: Oh, OK. (Bean and cheese taco flashes on the screen in front of me) What else would you like?
ME: I would also like a steak fajita taco.
Rosa: I'm sorry. I'm still having a really hard time hearing you. How would you like your chicken?
ME (screaming at this point and wondering how a chicken entered our dialogue): No. I said a steak fajita taco.
Rosa: Oh, OK. (Steak fajita taco flashes on the screen in front of me) Would you like anything else?
ME: An enchilada plate.
Rosa: What?
Rosa: Oh. How many?
ME: Two!
Rosa: What kind?
ME: Beef.
Rosa: Cheese?
ME: No. Beef.
Rosa: Cheese??
Rosa: Cheese???
Long pause. My total flashes on the screen.
ME: Thank you.
Rosa (as I am driving away): Was that right?

So, I get to the window and Rosa inquires about my enchiladas. I told her I really wanted beef, but cheese will do. I am handed a bag with my enchiladas and only one taco. My receipt mentions nothing about my bean and cheese taco.

I got it for free.

Stay tuned. I promise there will be more!

Monday, October 02, 2006

How To Assemble A High Chair

1. Get box cutter and a screwdriver.
2. Place baby in play gym.
3. Open box and remove contents. Look at contents with awe and wonder.
4. Assemble high chair toy as directed in Step 1 of instructions.
5. Show toy to baby.
6. Read Step 2 of instructions. Look at contents again.
7. Tend to fussy baby who got stuck in gym while rolling over.
8. Read Step 2 again. Look perplexed.
9. Say an expletive.
10. Ask sperm donor for help with Step 2.
11. Play with baby.
12. Watch as sperm donor assembles the rest of the high chair.
13. Play with baby.
14. Look at assembled high chair with awe and wonder. Thank sperm donor for showing you the difference between inny parts and outty parts.
15. The next day, put batteries in the toy you so masterfully assembled.
16. Put baby in high chair. Don't forget to adjust the straps on the seat!
17. Show baby the toy you put together for her.
18. Take lots of pictures.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Conversations II

She squirms in the night
I listen
Wondering if she will awaken
A couple of minutes go by
And she is silent
Then so am I

She squirms in the night
I listen
I hear her cry that says
Mommy, I'm hungry!
I go sleepily to her
She nurses in silence
When she is finished
I lay her down next to me
She plays with her feet
Fascinated with the toes
That are now covered with pajamas
She rolls over and goes to sleep
Then so do I

She squirms in the morning
I watch
Her breathing quickens
Her eyelids flutter
She is dreaming
One last dream before waking
Her lips move
She dreams of eating
What a wonderful dream!
She rubs her eyes
Slowly they open
She looks at me and I say
Good morning, Doodle!
Did you have sweet baby dreams?
She smiles
Our day has begun

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Anja's Ode To Her Tummy

There's no place I would rather be
Than on my sweet little tummy
My mommy puts me on my back
But I want to be face down and flat
On my tummy I can see
Everything there is to see
I play with toys and make some noise
Then lower my head to go to sleep
My mommy says that back is best
She worries I won't get any rest
But, oh, sweet Mommy, don't worry about me
For on my tummy is the place for me!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I love to watch "The Price Is Right." I like to try to guess the prices and I think I'm pretty good at it. Someday, I want to be a contestant on "The Price Is Right" (although I realize I better hurry because Bob Barker isn't getting any younger). Yesterday, I saw the first episode of the 35th year of the show. They were giving away all kinds of things: a Cadillac, a Corvette, trips. Someone won $1000 on the wheel. They even played Plinko. How I long to play Plinko and win up to $50,000. I always know which number to pick so I can win more Plinko chips.

The show was wonderful until the showcases. A second showcase featured a Viper, a very beautiful and expensive car. I want to know how cute Vickyann knew to bid $89,500 on that showcase worth approximately $89,700, therefore winning both showcases and the largest take ever in "The Price Is Right" history (over $141,000 in prizes!). All on the first episode of the 35th season.

I smell a rigging going on.

The sperm donor and I were accused of rigging the bouquet toss at our wedding reception. One of his co-workers caught the bouquet; her fiance caught the garter just minutes later. They got married two weeks later. Everyone was screaming "RIGGED!! RIGGED!!" But it was pure coincidence. And they were both very athletic people, able to reach and jump farther than our other guests.

But I don't think I saw a coincidence on "The Price Is Right" yesterday. Which is really disappointing to me. I'm a little jealous too. Vickyann also won a van, a trip to some fabulous destination, and a hot tub. I still want to be a contestant someday. And when I am, I vow not to be one of those contestants who looks anxiously into the audience, seeking for a sign from the sperm donor or another loved one about what the right price is. I'll just know.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Hmpf: the sound one makes (ok, the sound I make) when there is simply no other response.

So, I mentioned in a previous blog entry that Anja the Bed Hog and I usually end up in the guest bedroom around 5:00 a.m. to finish off our slumber. That is when she wakes up for seemingly no reason at all and I am to tired to shush her back to sleep in her own crib. (And yes - I do worry that I am setting some kind of precedent here, that she will always wake up and want to come to bed with Mom. But you know what? All kids eventually sleep through the night in their own bed, whether they be 6 months old or 3 years old. Whatever.)

Back to my story.

I had also mentioned that our guest bedroom was the room not being serviced by our brand new $8000 air conditioner. Which was not the air conditioner's fault. A couple of years ago, stifled by the heat in our own bedroom, the sperm donor added a second vent. The air conditioner repair guy told me that the sperm donor "stole" the air from the guest bedroom. Which was not always the guest bedroom. It was just the extra room. There was a bed in it which no one ever slept in unless they were too drunk to go home AND allergic to cats (the cats not being allowed in the extra room). The computer is in that bedroom, but we have a laptop so why leave the living room if you don't have to. I always used the room to wrap presents at Christmas because it had a large space of floor onto which I could place all of my wrapping supplies, keeping my dream alive of someday having a gift wrap room. Anja's room used to be the guest room. When I got pregnant, we stuffed the contents of the guest room into the extra room and voila! A new guest bedroom. Which still no one would sleep in. And sure it got hot, but we didn't care because we were never in the room. That is, until Anja started waking up at 5 a.m. and the two of use started sleeping in there.

So, yesterday we spent another $800 to have our air conditioner system redesigned, with all of these service lines put in so that the WHOLE house could be cool. Three men stomping around in the attic for a few hours, banging around and leaving flakes of ceiling all over the floor.

You know where this story is going, don't you.

Anja woke up shortly after 7:00 this morning. In her own crib. In her own room.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Five Months Old And We Are...

Two white bumps were observed below Anja's gum line during the weekend. Those, accompanied by gallons of drool, her hand in her mouth constantly, and general crankiness, have led us to the conclusion that she is...


Yep. There they are: two bottom front teeth poking out. Needless to say, Anja is a bit unhappy about the whole development. These drops have proved to be liquid gold. I gave her some of the drops yesterday after we had maximized the benefits of the cold teething ring and the frozen washcloth. Within twenty or so minutes, she was babbling about who knows what to the bunny rabbit on her sock rattle. A few minutes later and she was asleep.

Ahh. And so we napped.

Now I wonder if those drops will work on the cat.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My 9-11

I blame the media for my mood today. The rain isn't helping. The TV is all 9-11 this and 9-11 that. I'm not insensitive. I have a lot of sympathy for the people who were directly affected by the events on that day. I have sympathy for everyone who was indirectly affected, which is everybody who, American or not, sat there that day and watched all of it on TV. I just get confused by a message which implies that we need to move on with our lives while we are continuously bombarded with images that never let us forget. I have to move on. I could write a book about what has happened in my life since 2001 - it would be very thick and have some very sad chapters. But I have had to go on and find my own happy ending.

Someday, years from now, Anja is going to come to me after having read about 9-11 in her history book. I am sure that her history teacher will make a big deal about the largest terrorist attack on American soil (said with hopes that there won't be another). I will tell her about my memories from that day. That it started out like any other morning: get up way too early, go to work. I will tell her how I was somehow compelled that morning to lock the car doors for my drive to work, something I had never done and rarely do today. How work was proceeding as usual, all of us rushing around to get some things done before physicians showed up. How my co-worker, Howard, walked in late, as usual, and said that a plane had crashed into one of the towers at the WTC. And how we all wondered how such a horrible accident could happen, that something must have gone terribly wrong with the plane. Then another co-worker, who had been watching TV with our patients, came running in and exclaimed that another plane had hit the other tower. And that's when we knew something was horribly wrong. Then there was the Pentagon, then the plane crash in Pennsylvania. Everyone was glued to the TV, watching images that would be seared in our memories forever. Everyone included our patients, placed in a hospital for psychiatric problems that stemmed from their own traumas. We watched people run for their lives in the streets of New York. We watched as people, hand in hand with a co-worker, jumped to their deaths from high up in the WTC towers. We watched the towers collapse. We were stunned. We were speechless. I went to the gym after work because I didn't know what else to do; there was nobody there. At home, there was nothing on the TV but the images; images that seemed so unreal. The sperm donor and I knew we should stick a movie in the DVD player, but we couldn't. We were stuck.

I will tell her how our lives have changed. How we try not to be a paranoid nation. How we have been educated about elevated security levels. How, as a hospital employee, I was inundated with training about managing large scale disasters and exposures. How we became a nation at war with a leader we are not sure we can trust. How we have become a nation who cannot even take a small tube of toothpaste on an airplane so that we may freshen ourselves up before we meet a loved one who we have not seen in years.

Anja will be five months old tomorrow. I remember she was taken to the newborn nursery shortly after her birth for her little newborn exam, the sperm donor right behind her with camera in hand. I lay on the operating table in an opiate-induced fog, doctors sewing my uterus back together. I remember my doctor saying "Someone call the nursery and find out how much that baby girl weighs." A nurse went to the phone and a few seconds later exclaimed "Nine pounds, eleven ounces!" And I cried. What a big girl. What a big beautiful girl. We have a picture of her on the newborn scale, which clearly reads 9-11.

She is my 9-11. She is the symbol of how I have gone on with my life.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Bed Hog Does A Tripod

Each morning, at around 5:00 a.m., Anja ends up in bed with me. This is the time at which she inexplicably awakes: she is not hungry, she is not wet. She is just...awake. I could stand at her crib and shush her back to sleep, but all this sleepy mom wants is to go back to sleep herself. So I grab Anja, her blankie, and her pacifier and go to the guest bedroom. We go there to avoid the sperm donor's alarm clock. Unfortunately, the guest bedroom is the room not currently being serviced by our brand new $8000 air conditioner (a whole other blog entry), but at 5:00 a.m. it is pretty bearable. I place Anja as close to the wall as possible, lie down next to her, and we are both back asleep within ten minutes or so. When Anja wakes up, however, she is not as close to the wall as she once was. She is now on my side of the bed, and I am nearly falling out of the bed.

Anja is a bed hog.

This all started when we were on vacation. Anja refused to sleep in her portable crib so one of us would sleep with her in the bed in a very small bedroom. Even though the bed was a double size, I was nervous about her sleeping in it by herself. Imagine this room design: wall, dresser, unused crib, bed, wall, all with very little space in between. One night, the sperm donor and I both slept with Anja in the bed, the two of us on each side and Anja in the middle. When I awoke in the middle of the night, I discovered that the sperm donor and I only had a small space of bed and Anja was sleeping peacefully in the shape of a cross. I had my back leaning against the portable crib - thank goodness, because otherwise I would have hit the floor. After that night, the sperm donor went to sleep in a different bed. I would have done the same thing had I not been the one who lactates. On the last night of our vacation, our hotel room had two queen beds; I let the bed hog have one all to herself.

I have no idea how she wiggles towards me in her sleep. What is even funnier is that I don't even sense that I am moving with her. But I do believe the tendency toward bed hogging is genetic: I love to sleep diagonally. Always have. What I love about my king size bed is that I can sleep diagonal and the sperm donor doesn't even notice. Unless he happens to be sleeping diagonal too.

So this week my bed hog learned how to do a tripod. What the hell is a tripod, you might ask. That's what I said to the pediatrician. A baby does a tripod when she sits supporting herself with her hands. One butt + two hands = tripod. Anja is pretty pleased with herself, but she can't stay up for too long. After a minute or so she is on her elbows. Give it a little while longer and she would be on her face if one of us was not there to catch her. I bought her an Aqua Duck so she can try to grab the little fish while sitting in her tripod.

She's sleeping now, exhausted from a day's worth of development. I'm going to catch some sleep myself before she knocks me out of bed.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Our Favorite Word

Ptooee (pronounced p-too-eee): the sound that is made when a pacifier is spit from one's mouth.

She cracks up every time I say it.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Not That There's Anything Wrong With It

(Warning: this post is not for the easily offended)

Today, Anja was playing on her tummy when she put her head down on the floor and started chewing on the carpet. I told her not to be a carpet muncher.

Then I realized what I had said.

So I told her that I was fine if she decided she was a lesbian and that her life partner and the baby they adopt from Korea will be lovingly accepted into our family.

Whew. Good save.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Diaper Song

(To the tune of "Time Warp" from Rocky Horror, because Mommy is a little freaky like that)

Let's change your diaper again
Let's change your diaper again

Because it's always filled with pee
And the occasionally poop
You put your hands in your mouth
And pull your knees in tight
And Mommy does her thing
And she will do it many many times today

Let's change your diaper again
Let's change your diaper again

She really laughs at that one.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Songs For Anja

The Milk Song (to no particular tune whatsoever because I made that up too)

Mummy's milk is yummy in my tummy
I get to have it many times a day
My mummy makes it just because she loves me
The mummy's milk that's yummy in my tummy

Silly Baby (to the tune of Blondie's "Pretty Baby")

Silly baby
I fell in love with you
The moment I saw you
For the very first time

Goofy baby
You make me laugh and sing
My silly baby
Goofy baby
Silly baby

One very silly thing...the night we returned home from vacation, Anja was on the bed with the sperm donor and me. She has been grabbing at things (people, toys, my hair) for a little while and on that particular night she grabbed her own finger. The sperm donor was very amused, the whole "pull my finger" thing. What was especially amusing was the really concerned look on her face that whatever or whomever would not let go of her. That is what cracked me up. I know you shouldn't laugh at your child's expense, but she won't remember it.

She has since figured out that she can let go. Sigh...I was kind of hoping she would hold on forever.

The time is 1:20 a.m. She's back asleep and my boob is still hanging out. The sperm donor is going to say "Ack! You're an insomniac! It's the Zoloft!" No honey - true muses write when the inspiration hits!

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Return

Coming home from vacation always seems like such a letdown. Sure, there are things I my cats and my own bed. During this vacation, I have missed a certain level of privacy because Anja, the sperm donor, and I have shared a room for the past three weeks and a bed for the past week when she refused to sleep in her Pack 'n' Play. So I'm happy to put Anja back in her own bed in her own room. But I haven't missed my isolationism (which I am now motivated to change). And I haven't missed the heat.

Now, the sperm donor is back at work and Anja is taking her mid-morning snooze. And I'm blogging.

Welcome home.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Point Me In The Direction Of...

Yes, I know...the Partridge Family sang "Point Me In The Direction of Albuquerque". But we are leaving sunny Albuquerque before the sun even rises tomorrow morning for the mountains of Colorado. Anja will be the fourth generation of my family to grace the steps of our small cabin. It is the most peaceful place I know...the mountain air which grows somewhat cold at night, the smell after an afternoon rain, the view of snow on nearby peaks...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Vacation.

Anyway, I'll be without internet access for a couple of weeks, unless the nearby Starbucks has wireless access. We'll see. The sperm donor and I may just take time wandering the mountains, Anja in tow in her Baby Bjorn.

While I'm gone, you can check out some Foamy.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Nice Little Self-Esteem Boost

Your Power Level is: 67%

You're a very powerful person, and you know that all of your power comes from within.

Keep on doing what you're doing, and you'll reach your goals.

via zombieswan

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Last week, I visited a psychiatrist to be evaluated for postpartum depression. I am normally a really private person so for me to be out in the open about this may come as a surprise to some. I figure I don't have a huge following on this blog: if I know you then it doesn't matter to me if you know about this, and if I don't know you then please realize that postpartum depression is a really common problem and I think it's OK to put my story about there.

First, a few facts about my mental state...

1. I'm lonely. I mean really lonely. I spend most of my day interacting with a 3-month-old. The loneliness started when I quit my job. If you suddenly quit a position in which you spent 8 hours a day talking to others, then you too would be amazed how lonely it is to be at home alone. The sperm donor was home the first couple of weeks after Anja's birth, but the loneliness really kicked in after he returned to work. The loneliness was especially bad the first month of Anja's life; she was just this little newborn whose life consisted of eating and sleeping. I feel a little better since she has started smiling; we are capable of interacting with each other in her own way. I know I don't have to feel like this. I could call all of the friends who said they were going to come over to the house after Anja was born, bring lunch, and hang out but never did, but, quite frankly, I have neither the interest nor the motivation to do so.

2. I'm exhausted. I used to work an emotionally draining 8-to-5 job; now I work 24-7, without weekends or holidays.

3. I worry. I worry constantly. I worried my whole pregnancy, starting with that damn triple screen which indicated my child was at elevated risk for having Down's Syndrome. I worry about Anja all the time. Initially, I worried about breastfeeding. Then I worried about her sleep. Then I managed to convince myself that she was having these abnormal movements; I even managed to score an urgent appointment at the pediatrician's office for that, and the doctor said she would evaluate Anja for reflux, I think just to ease my nervous mind. Anja doesn't have reflux; the last time she spit up was last weekend. Luckily I came to my senses and cancelled the x-ray. I worry at night, my little ear glued to the baby monitor no matter how low I turn down the volume. So I don't sleep a whole lot either.

4. Being a new mom is so overwhelming. I thought about hiring a doula after Anja was born and I decided against it; now I wish I had. We had no help after we all came home from the hospital and neither the sperm donor nor I had a whole lot of experience with babies. And despite all of the baby care classes we were completely naive to how to soothe her, how to keep her awake while she ate, how to swaddle her, etc. etc. I had never felt more incompetent and inadequate than I did when she was a newborn. There are very few people who tell me I am doing a good job, and I'm unable to tell myself. Things are much less overwhelming now: I know what fussy hungry looks like and how it is different from fussy tired. I know what is in that diaper before I even open up (and sometimes, I don't want to open it!). I know how to hold her attention. I've learned a lot in the past three months, but sometimes I still feel really overwhelmed.

It was after the wacky visit to the pediatrician's office that I called my therapist. That was the point I realized that I was having many more anxious moments with Anja than enjoyable ones. I have been seeing a therapist for a few years, but I had not seen her since Anja was born. I know now that I should have started seeing her again the minute after Anja was born. That night, I sobbed in her office for nearly two hours. She said that she knew I was the worrying type, but clearly things had gone overboard, and that something needed to be done. As luck would have it, her husband is a psychiatrist and she made arrangements for me to meet him. He was quite jolly and didn't wear any shoes. He explained the risks and benefits of getting treatment and explained how I could take medication and still breastfeed without affecting Anja very much. I walked out of his office with a prescription for a tiny dose of Zoloft. I have taken it for about a week and I'm not sure I have noticed any effects, especially now that we are on vacation and I have the sperm donor and lots of family around.

According to the Postpartum Resource Center of Texas, approximately 10 percent of women will experience postpartum depression at some point within a year after delivery. That is on reported cases, so please realize that this number is probably higher. Postpartum depression is NOT the baby blues. Generalized anxiety disorder occurs with the same incidence. I think it is unfortunate that the only public exposure that postpartum depression receives is from cases such as Andrea Yates. I was given a list of counseling resources at both my first prenatal visit and my postnatal visit, but no one ever told me what to look for. I work as a mental health professional, and yet, I was in complete denial about what was happening to me. Some may oppose my decision to pursue a pharmacologic solution in addition to my therapy, and that is fine. I feel the effects of my depression and anxiety on Anja's development could be far more devastating than a little bit of Zoloft.

As I said earlier, we are on vacation now. I am getting some extra sleep and it helps me relax more. Anja is enjoying meeting her relatives, studying their faces with great interest. The true test will be after we return home in a couple of weeks and the sperm donor returns to work. I am hopeful.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I Can't Understand You With Your Hand In Your Mouth!

Anja has started talking. A lot. I'm not entirely sure what she is saying but it must be terribly important. And I said a few posts ago that I would not suppress the creation and expression of independent thought, so I just let her talk on. She tells everybody, and she now has a big audience because she is meeting all of her new relatives. She is a bit rude though, because I try to talk back to her and she interrupts me.

I just hope that before she embarks on her career in public speaking that she takes her hand out of her mouth.

The thumb appears to be reserved for nighttime, but the rest of the hand is fair game during the day. It could be just one finger, it could be an attempt to stick the whole hand in there. Sometimes she sticks too much hand in there and she gags a little, which really cracks me up. Sometimes she inverts her hand and sucks on her pinkie finger, a la Dr. Evil (I'm sure she is saying "I think I'll call her mommy."). But most of the time her hand is in her mouth, she is also talking. A lot. I took of picture of her talking, one hand in her mouth and the other holding her little foot.

Adventures In Breastfeeding

After two days in the car, we are in sunny Albuquerque. Anja did great in the car. Breastfeeding does present a bit of a challenge on the road though. After two moderately successful nursing sessions in the car in which we were a little cramped for space, we stopped at a McDonalds in Muleshoe, Texas. There were several people in the restaurant, so I chose a booth in the corner. There were a couple of older ladies with a little boy in the booth behind me.

Here are the musings in Muleshoe...

"Look! What a precious baby! I think her mommy is going to feed her. That's called breastfeeding. Your mother breastfed you."


It's no wonder why moms don't always care to nurse in public. The ladies did come to our table to admire Anja, which I thought was nice considering they didn't have the decency to KEEP THEIR VOICES DOWN WHILE TALKING ABOUT ME.

Our next adventure came the following day. We were maybe 50 miles from Albuquerque when Anja started fussing to eat. I had not pumped any milk, so I had no bottles. Stopping would take a minimum of twenty minutes, and we were all eager to get out of the car. So what did this acrobatic new mom do? I took off my seat belt, sat on my little nursing pillow to elevate myself, and plopped my boob into the car seat. I sat in the most uncomfortable position possible for fifteen minutes while my darling daughter nursed happily away. She promptly fell asleep and stayed that way until arriving at her grandmother's house.

I'm amazed how much I take for granted the comforts of home...the nice rocking chair, the ottoman my feet often share with the cats, the radio with a remote control, the little lamp I use to nurse her at night. She is far better than I at adapting to our new environment and I am thankful. As long as I can provide her with what she wants, she stays happy.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The List Continues

I am always irritated at the sight of parents in a parking lot or in the grocery store (or anywhere), hand in hand with their toddler, walking at their own adult pace, with the poor toddler running behind with his or her short legs, almost struggling to keep up. I always feel a little sad for that toddler, because it is clear to me that the parent is more preoccupied with where they are going than where they are or who they are with. I imagine it is probably clear to the toddler as well.

So the list of things I will strive to never do as a parents continues...

When I am walking somewhere, with my daughter's hand in mine, I will travel at her speed. I will not make her run desperately behind me (unless, of course, it is raining, in which case I will probably pick her up and run). May her speed teach me that I should slow down and appreciate the world around me as she learns about the world around her.

I had more to say, but the cat sitting next to me just made some wierd barfy noise. The job of parenting never ends, even with the felines.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mommy, How Do You Spell Puny?

pu·ny: slight or inferior in power, size, or importance

Anja and I like to watch the baby shows on TV. All of those shows like "Bringing Home Baby," "Runway Moms," and "Maternity Ward." I avoided watching those types of shows during my pregnancy because headlines like "Mary has gestational diabetes and her baby may have two heads" convinced me that Anja may have two heads. These shows are actually more interesting to me now that I know a thing or two about pregnancy and childbirth (and even though I had a c-section, I did attend approximately 12 hours of childbirth education). What Anja and I especially like is when the birth weight of the baby is disclosed. Anja was 9 pounds 11 ounces at birth, placing her at the 95th percentile. What this means is that 95% of babies weighed less than Anja at birth. We refer to these other babies as "puny." So, when the baby's weight is disclosed on television, Anja and I say, in unison:

"Puny baby."

We do not refer to premies as puny. That would just be rude. We also do not refer to babies who are ill at birth as puny. That would just be mean and heartless. And twins: certainly it is hard to reach your maximum potential when you have to share a room. But healthy babies are pretty much fair game. On one show, a nurse stated excitedly that the infant boy who had just been born was so big that he would have to go directly to a size 1 diaper. He weighed 8 pounds 14 ounces.

Everybody together now:

Puny baby.

A few days ago, I was mulling over the posts on the La Leche League message boards and stumbled on one from a new mom who had questions about nursing her son who was large at birth. She was having problems getting him to latch on correctly. She was also concerned because a lactation consultant told her that nursing her son would be like nursing twins, and she did not know if she could maintain enough milk for him. His weight at birth? That little boy, born the day after Anja, weighed...

12 pounds 10 ounces.


Seems the table had turned.

I didn't tell Anja that she was now the puny baby. I figure I don't need to start giving her reasons to go to therapy when she is an adult just yet. But I did respond to this mom and we emailed a couple of times about how fun it is to have large babies and how most advice you receive from a lactation consultant can be thrown in the garbage.

I suppose the moral of this story is that what comes around goes around. This is an important life lesson for Anja to learn. However, until she is old enough to comprehend this important lesson, the two of us will continue in our search for...

puny babies.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Baby Store - For Anja By Mommy

(To be loosely sung to the tune of "The Big Rock Candy Mountain")

Well Mommy went to the baby store
She said "Man, I want me a baby!
With big blue eyes
Dark brown hair
Little fuzzy ears
And moonman toes
Yes, I want me a baby like that."

And the man at the baby store
Said "We don't sell any babies
With big blue eyes
Dark brown hair
Little fuzzy ears
And moonman toes
You have to make a baby like that."

So Mommy went home to Daddy
And said "Daddy make me a baby
With big blue eyes
Dark brown hair
Little fuzzy ears
And moonman toes
I want to make that baby!"

And Daddy said "OKAY!!!!!!!!!!!"

And then just a few months later
Mommy got herself a baby
With big blue eyes
Dark brown hair
Little fuzzy ears
And moonman toes
Mommy finally got her a baby!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Blue Jean Baby And Porn Star? Oh - They're Still Sleeping

The sperm donor was sweet enough last night to give Anja a bottle at midnight, giving me the opportunity for some extra sleep. For me, however, this nice gift meant that I missed the opportunity to feed her. Therefore, I continued to make milk and store it in my expanding boobs. Sometimes I think to myself that I should use the handy breast pump before I go to bed, but usually I'm so tired that I just don't care. So when I got up to pee at about 5 a.m., I looked like I had just purchased a mighty fine boob job. Or better yet, I looked like a porn star. A porn star who was in some pain it seemed, so I sleepily proceeded to the kitchen, assembled the handy breast pump, and went about my business. Anja was starting to smack on her thumb about that time. I am beginning to realize that chomping on one of her own body parts may mean that she is hungry. I offered her the other side, and, a half hour later, I was no longer my porn star persona. I had become the woman you see in Africa on the National Geographic specials, with her breasts sagging down to her knees. Anja appeared to have gone back to sleep, but her eyes bounced open the second I set her in the crib. So I took ahold of her, her blanket, and her pacifier, and headed towards my bedroom.

Shortly before Anja was born, the sperm donor bought us a new king size bed and an awesome Tempur-Pedic mattress. I have visions of a small dark-haired girl with giant blue eyes, just old enough to crawl out of her own bed, who walks into my room and says "Mommy, can I sleep in your bed?" At which point, I will scoop her up and plop her in the middle of my awesome Tempur-Pedic mattress, right in between the sperm donor and me. But I don't put her in bed with me very often now. I am all for co-sleeping with your infant; my close friend does it with her twins all the time. But I just fear blankets and sheets and pillows and a new mom who really enjoys sleeping without up to nine pounds of baby inside of her. But, this morning, with the sperm donor out on his Saturday morning bike ride, I figured I could get Anja back to sleep in the big bed. And I did, shortly before 7 a.m. I awoke to the sound of poop filling her diaper. Lovely. It was 10 a.m.

I can't remember the last time I slept until 10 a.m. Extra lovely.

We got up, cleaned her diaper. She ate, and then I dressed her in her very first pair of jeans. I got me a little blue jean baby. They are a little bit big, but as I always tell Anja: when you are a baby, you can grow into your clothes but when you are an adult you can only grow out of them.

Friday, June 30, 2006


Anja perfected the art of sucking before birth. She was even born with the little sucker's blister that breastfed babies get; it's a little callous in the middle of her upper lip. My OB suggested that Anja was probably sucking on her hands when she lived inside of me. And why not? Big baby. Small space. Where else were her hands supposed to go?

Anja first experienced the pacifier on Mother's Day. At that point, the sperm donor and I had endured about a week of Anja being VERY fussy in the evenings. Not as bad as colic was described, though I feared it would turn into that. She would cry, would be almost inconsolable. The only thing that would soothe her was to walk around the house with her, so the sperm donor and I would take turns doing this. Eventually she would fall asleep for the night. On Mother's Day, we tried to go out for some gelato. The little gelato place was crowded with other families doing the same thing, and she fussed the whole time. So we got our gelato to go, and headed home...the long way...because we knew she would fall asleep.

A friend had suggested we try the pacifier, stating from her own experience that it might quiet Anja (the key word, I suppose, being "pacify"). So, when we came home from the gelato place, I pulled out all of the pacifiers I had received from various sources, found one that looked as though it might fit in her mouth, washed it, and stuck it in her mouth.

Silence is golden.

I later read that newborns often become fussy in the evenings because their little brains are trying to process all of the stimuli they have encountered during the day. The pacifier seemed to slow the world down...she would suddenly just relax. Now we use the pacifier mainly as a sleep aid. Anja resists sleep, especially naps, like the plague, so a little pacifier time lets her relax enough to close her little eyes and drift off to sleep. I try to avoid her actually sleeping with it, but she usually takes care of that: I go creeping into her room to pull the pacifier out of her mouth only to find that she has already spit it out and is happily, although somewhat noisily, sleeping.

But it seems the pacifier is going to be replaced.

At night, I sometimes hear Anja sucking on her hands over the baby monitor. She sometimes sounds as if she might be awake, so I go creeping into her room only to find her all squirmy with her hands in her face. And her eyes closed. Usually, she actually wakes up within thirty minutes or so. But this morning I walked in and found her sucking on one little part.

Her thumb. I've got a thumb sucker. She's very cute, sleeping away with her thumb in her mouth. I took a picture of it before I woke her from her nap this morning. And I'm okay with that. I visualize a little girl in her mommy's lap with her thumb in her mouth and that is a vision that is very precious to me.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I'm A Little Bit Somber

Today, June 29, is the tenth anniversary of the day the sperm donor and I moved into the only home we have ever bought together. I remember the movers dumped all of our boxes into one room, even though I had, in my o-c way, labeled each and every one of them. I remember this house seemed so big then. I think we only had furniture for the living room and our bedroom. A couple of hand-me-down beds from my great aunt and suddenly we had guest rooms. I never envisioned at that time the little beauty who would live in one of those rooms today.

After we finished moving our few belongings into our home, we took a couple of helpful friends for dinner. When we returned home, my mother called, stating that my grandmother had just died. She had suffered a heart attack the week before. When we arrived at my grandmother's home, there were fire trucks and police cars all parked along the front of her house as though there was complete chaos inside. After the law enforcement left, my grandmother's minister came to the home, led us in prayer, and things calmed down. This was probably the worst day of my life. I remember returning to my new home, where I had neither toilet paper nor an assembled bed, and fell asleep on the couch with tissues in my hand, while the sperm donor slept on the floor next to me.

In the years since her death, I have come to realize how dear my grandmother was to me, something I wish I had truly realized while she was still alive. When I was a child, she would come to my house and we would have tickle fights. She was "Big Rascal" and I was "Little Rascal". I used to spend a week with her every summer and I remember she would always dress me up and take me to lunch at the Hemisfair Tower. One summer, I was ill for most of the week I spent with her, and I recall being so upset because we could not do anything fun. When we spent summers in Colorado, she would tell me about the mountains and the rocks (I recall from her memorial service the minister said "Amy loved rocks."), and I didn't care much then, but apparently I listened because I still remember it when I see those rocks. Now I am the one collecting the rocks on hikes and saying to the sperm donor "Here. Carry this." She kept every picture I drew her and every paper I wrote. She used to mail me Garfield cartoons from her newspaper every week. She signed all of her cards "GM". When I was in college, she would let me come over and do my laundry. When the sperm donor and I got married, we stored the top of our wedding cake in her deep freeze; later, she and her sister would say it sure tasted good.

Yesterday, I walked Anja around the house and showed her some pictures I have up of her great-grandmother, including the one of her sitting at the head of the dining room table which now sits in my home. I hope that wherever my grandmother is, that she can see little Anja - see her smile, she her laugh, see her as she studies herself in the mirror I bought for her crib, see her with her little thumb in her mouth. I know she would be proud.

I love you, GM. I miss you a lot too.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

HEY! Who's That Baby In My Gym???

My mother bought a play gym for Anja. The play gym has mainly been useful to put her in so she can kick her legs and swing her arms. I think she is still appreciating the amount of room she has since leaving the womb. Anyway, yesterday, she looked into the mirror and stared at her reflection. For a really long time. Of course, she doesn't know it is her; at best, maybe it's just another baby. But she kept staring at herself, then she smiled at herself, then she stuck her tongue out at herself.

And me without my camera. I'm hoping for a repeat performance later today.

The same baby also makes appearances in the car it seems, so we have determined that she really wants to be friends with Anja. I think that maybe she is one of those annoying people at the actual gym who is always there when you are there, no matter what time of day.

In regards to current headlines...put yourself in this scenario. You are an attorney in Iraq. Saddam Hussein calls you and says "Hey man. It seems I'm in pretty desperate need for an attorney right about now. You game?"

Run for your life!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Am I Dreaming??

Anja was put in her crib to sleep at 11:00 last night, just before overtime started in the Dallas-Miami game. Sperm donor gave her a bottle at about 12:30.

When did she wake up again to eat?

I know you are at the edge of your seat.


She slept through the night. For the very first time.

One would think that mom got this fabulous sleep, but I woke up at 4 thinking "She's going to want to eat soon." Then I woke up at 5-ish, thinking, "Doesn't she want to eat?" Then I woke up at 6:30, thinking "She's going to be starving."

And she was.

Now she's enjoying her mid-morning snooze. Soon, we'll eat again, get dressed, then go to Target to buy diapers and a Starbucks!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

And One More Thing About Breastfeeding, Then I'll Shut Up About It...For Now

It would sure be nice if the government, in its effort to promote breastfeeding, could also highly encourage retailers and other businesses to provide comfortable spaces for moms to nurse. As a friend of mine once said: I wouldn't eat my lunch in a public restroom, so why should my baby??

Friday, June 16, 2006

Breastfeeding 101

The United States Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a public service campaign to promote breastfeeding in first-time mothers. Current statistics indicate that 70 percent of first-time mothers initiate breastfeeding, but that only 33 percent are still doing it when their child is 6 months of age. NBC News reported that the primary reason for that drop is because mothers return to work, and while I agree with that....well, here's my two cents.

From the minute I learned I was pregnant, there was no doubt in my mind I would breastfeed Anja. The benefits were far too many to count. The sperm donor and I went to breastfeeding class at the hospital where Anja was born. I think the woman who taught it was high on crack. Seriously. She spent the entire 3-hour class talking with a smile on her face and her eyes closed. It was almost as though she was singing dreamily about breastfeeding. So we learned the basics: how to latch the baby, how to hold the baby, how long to nurse the baby, how to know the baby is finished, what the waste products of breastmilk look like, why to breastfeed at all, etc. There was nothing covered that I had not already heard or read. Crack woman made it sound like it was so easy; you just pick up the baby, hook her on the boob, and, abracadabra, she eats. No problem. Right?

I asked to see a lactation consultant from the minute Anja was born, which was at 8:45 on a Wednesday morning. In fact, I asked before they even wheeled me into the operating room. Said lactation consultant finally showed up the next afternoon, and was about as helpful as a little toe. Meanwhile, I can't latch poor Anja on because I had just had a C-section and was connected to an IV, a catheter, and a pulse ox. And she keeps falling asleep while eating. Here's a mental image: me, Anja, the sperm donor, and my mother, all hovering around my boob, trying to get newborn Anja to latch on and eat. Little toe lady said Anja is supposed to nurse for 30-40 minutes. First, her stomach is about as big as a quarter. Second, she keeps falling asleep. "Breastfeeding is so easy," the crack woman sang. Right.

Anja has never really had the normal yellow poops of a breastfed baby. Hers are green. Various shades, some quite pretty. I mentioned this to the pediatrician at our 2-week check-up, who said it was because of my diet. But Anja was growing at the 95th percentile, so whatever. Later Anja started choking and wheezing and sputtering every time I ate. What was this?? Crack woman mentioned nothing about the possibility of my daughter choking to death while eating off me. A call to a lactation consultant revealed that my milk came out too fast for Anja to keep up with. That's when I learned that if you ask three lactation consultants one question, you will get three different answers.

So the bottom line was that my milk came out too fast for Anja, so she would fill up really quickly. Unfortunately, she would fill up on the skim milk version of my milk rather than the half and half. If you know anything about the science of breastfeeding, this will make sense to you. I've spent the past several weeks trying different strategies for Anja to have more half and half.

Sometimes I sit in my nice glider nursing chair listening to my daughter sputter away and I think to myself "I could just pump everything out and stick a bottle in her mouth. Or better yet, get formula." But I don't because I made a commitment to her. It has been a commitment that has brought many tears wondering if she is getting enough to eat. I can be the persistent type. But I can easily see why other women would give up.

I am in debt to the La Leche League website. Their message boards have showed me that though my problems are relatively minor, there is a lot of empathy from other moms. Many of us posting are new at breastfeeding, and I for one am thankful for the experienced moms giving suggestions and support.

So I hope the US Department of Health and Human Services takes this into consideration. I have had to educate myself about breastfeeding; I have had to find my own answers. I also have a master's degree (indicating some modicum of intelligence) and internet access. But not all women are me, and they get scared and the process becomes intimidating, and they quit. I strive to still be doing this in four months. Again, I made a commitment to her.

Anyway, someone's hungry. Gotta go whip out the boob again. And at her two-month check-up yesterday? Still 95th percentile for height and weight; the doctor said she got an A+. Something's working.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Day 9-11 Took On A Whole New Meaning

Do I still have any readers out there?? I suspect not. Give me a break - I'm a mom now. Blog?? What's a blog??

On April 12, a couple of really nice doctors cut a small hole in me and pulled out a very big baby girl. The whole experience was a bit surreal. The c-section was a possibility. A few days before her birth, a sonogram revealed a very large baby. My doctor wanted to induce labor that day and see how I progressed. I freaked. That day??? I mean I know I had been pregnant for nearly 9 months, but have a baby that day???? Was she kidding????? The little coral outfit I bought for her coming home didn't fit anymore and she wasn't even born yet! My glider nursing chair still hadn't come in at Babies R Us!! That day??? The sonogram showed that Anja was big, but was fine, so we waited out the weekend. I'm convinced she had no interest in coming out anyway. I remember bits and pieces of the surgery: I remember the nice anesthesiologist who kept leaning over my face to give me the play-by-play of what was happening. He always appeared in my vision upside down. After every thing was over I realized that I was really thankful that he said "Oh look, they already started" instead of "OK. They're going to start now." I remember that the nurse took my glasses away before the surgery started, so when my doctor brought Anja over for me to see, she was just a blurry blob. I kept throwing up after the surgery, so I'm not even sure how long it was before I saw her up close, got to hold her. Looking back, it feels as though it was a really long time.

When she was born, she weighed 9 pounds 11 ounces. And 21 inches long. She wasn't petite. At the pediatrician's office a few days later, I was told she was the size of a 2 month old.

She wasn't petite but she sure is beautiful. I have a little song I made up for her about how I went to the baby store to buy me a baby with big blue eyes, dark brown hair (she has lots of it!), fuzzy little ears, moonman toes, and an extra chin, but the guy working there said they didn't sell babies like that, so I ran home and told Daddy that I wanted a baby with big blue eyes, dark brown hair, fuzzy little ears, moonman toes, and an extra chin, so that's what I got. She is starting to smile with regular frequency too; she likes the funny noises we make and she likes when I tell her that I put a clean diaper on for her to poop on (a la Triumph). And she likes when I tell her about how the injured prize-winning horse limped back to his stall after surgery and munched on some hay. She coos too; we move her chin around when she lets out a big long vowel, and it sounds like she is trying to say words.

I'm tired most of the time, so blogging is dead last on the list of things to be done. I'm just finally getting her birth announcements out to unsuspecting friends who figured we would never be parents. I have blog entries planned in my mind, mostly formulated at 4 a.m. feedings - check back weekly, I'll get them out.

Oh, I know; someday I'll get around to changing the ticker.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The List Begins

Over the past week, many students have walked out of local high schools to protest immigration reform. There are critics who propose that these students are simply looking for a day off, but considering the number of immigrants living in our south Texas city and the fact that they have offspring, I highly doubt it. These lucky students are being rewarded for their expression of free speech with three days suspension. I thought we were supposed to be teaching children how to develop and express independent thoughts and ideas, not just become drones in a society where others tell them what to think. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I highly doubt that too.

Also during the past week, parents residing in a local school district appeared at a school board meeting wanting to ban Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, an assignment for their high school age children. I have never read this book by Atwood, though I have read other works of hers, but it apparently offers a fairly dismal (and fictional) look at the future, especially in the treatment of women. This is certainly not Atwood's first adventure into this theme (check out Oryx and Crake). Apparently, some parents did not find it appropriate reading for their teenagers.

I think everybody falls into a trap of things we say we will always or never do as parents. I am not a fan of absolutes, but these two situations seem to merit some "nevers."

Things I will never do as a parent:

1. Suppress the creation of independent thought.
2. Suppress the expression of said thought (yes - I'm aware of the meaning of the term "consequences of your actions").
3. Protest a book that my daughter is assigned to read. Someone thinks it is a good idea, and that person is probably right. I don't remember any of my high school English teachers pushing the limits on required reading, though they were all good teachers. Well, that lady who taught my British lit class when I was a senior was a bit stiff. I did not read any meaty stuff until I got to college.

I just wanted to put that out there. For now though, I have a mean case of carpal tunnel syndrome in both of my wrists - one of the many joys of pregnancy that will hopefully go away soon.

Did you check out that ticker up there? More on that coming later.

When David Caruso Speaks...People...

It is my observation that people who watch crime dramas on TV tend to fall into two groups: The "Law and Order" group and the "CSI" group. I have always been a "Law and Order" fan with the general rule that if I do not see the crime I do not watch the rest of the show. I also tend to fall asleep before the final verdict is read. Lately, the sperm donor and I have been watching "CSI Miami" because we're both too lazy to see if anything good is on television on Mondays at 9 pm. This has really created amusement for us both because of David Caruso, who plays Horatio. I think Horatio is one of the main detectives for the CSI group; I don't know for sure because I generally quit paying attention after Horatio delivers his tone-setting line, which sets the theme for the entire show. Here is how you apparently set a tone for a certain situation:

1. Horatio always goes directly to a crime scene, where he is more often than not met by a hot female detective. So make sure you are always met by a hot member of the opposite sex when you arrive at your dramatic destination.
2. Make some astute observations about the situation. Always ask the hot member of the opposite sex for his or her opinion.
3. Before you state your tone-setting line, put on your sunglasses. This is essential. It doesn't matter if it is day or night. This draws attention to yourself, makes people listen.
4. Always pause mid-sentence for dramatic effect. If you are David Caruso as Horatio, you would say things like "This is what happens...when worlds collide" or "A dead body...can have that effect on you" or "In Miami...there is a new breed of criminal." If you're just you, try "The covered with cantaloupes" (sorry - local news story) or "I would like...pasta for dinner." You attract attention by putting on the sunglasses, you keep it with the dramatic pause.

The sperm donor and I await this line with great anticipation. Then break down in horrendous laughter and rewind it over and over on our DVR. Try it. I wish someone would develop a web site of David Caruso voice clips; maybe that's my next calling.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The End Of The Road

Pre-Hyptnotized Peter

What Office Space character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Here I sit at the desk where I have parked my professional belongings for many, many years. I say "parked" because I don't actually work out of this office; I'm usually running around a hospital unit, coming only to the office to check e-mail, grab a phone number, or pee (yes, my office has a bathroom). I hate this computer. A year or so ago I typed in "ADHD support group san antonio" into Google, because I knew such a thing existed, and a link popped up which looked accurate, but of course was not. And it had to be porn with a ton of stuff linked to it, so that I now am inundated with countless pop-ups for meeting singles and party poker. Since I am part of a larger network, I'm not allowed to download pop-up blockers and the computer help desk people sigh every time I call begging them to clean it up.

I think the computer needs to go the way a la Office Space.

Anyway, I have brought home two suitcases full of stuff from my office. The housekeepers here look a little annoyed at how quickly I can fill up a trashcan. All of the little Elvis pictures (from a desk calendar I received as a gift a few years ago) are down from the bulletin board and have been posted in random places on the unit where I have worked, mainly because my supervisor went onto one of her little mole-hill-into-a-mountain terrors not too long ago about unnecessary things on the walls. There is only one box remaining on my desk, waiting for someone who can carry more than ten pounds to take it to my car. I suspect I have a parking ticket on my car because I had to turn in my parking lot badge today and I refused to park in visitor parking.

Speaking of my supervisor, I did not realize she would not be at work today so I didn't say "so long and thanks for all the fish" yesterday. But, neither did she. The night shift staff was a little emotional this morning as they left work and said their good-byes. A couple brought some presents for Anja. One of my co-workers made me a giant cake; seriously, I think this thing is seven inches tall. She is worried that the middle layer of cheesecake is going to ooze out when we slice it, but I put it in the refrigerator a few hours ago, and I'm confident it will be fine. My co-workers are working on a scrapbook for me - they have all made their own page with comments about themselves, Anja, and me and put their photos on it.

I have been pretty detatched from my job for a couple of years; my pregnancy has only intensified that. My co-workers look utterly surprised when they realize I have no plans of returning. Working with people who are chronically mentally ill can be draining in its own way, but working with people who seem unable to separate their professional and personal lives is a whole other kind of drain. The patients occasionally say thank you, they seem genuinely pleased that I have been able to help them, and it is for them that I have stayed in this job for so many years. Many of my co-workers, however, work very long hours and gripe about it the whole time, but never take any action to change their circumstances. And don't think I haven't said, "Gee, if you're so unhappy, why don't you just leave??" And a couple have for better things. Now it is my turn to practice what I have preached, and it is less about leaving someplace where I am unhappy than it is about moving on to better things.

So, goodbye job. Goodbye co-workers. Goodbye patients, because it is them I will truly miss the most. I'm off to start my new journey.