Thursday, August 09, 2007

Those Things That Sag

I saw a mom I know at the day care today. A couple of days ago, the sperm donor asked if I had seen this mom's new set of boobs. So today I took notice. She has four sons, the youngest of which is in Anja's toddler room. I imagine she probably breastfed at least one of those. Today, her boobs looked bigger and perkier.


Breastfeeding is not kind to your boobs. Yes - it's nice at first. I vaguely recollect an old blog entry in which I wrote about waking in the morning looking like a porn star after Anja slept through the night for one of the first times. But when your boobs no longer contain large volumes of milk, they return to their pre-pregnancy size and seem more affected by gravity than ever. I remember before I became pregnant with Anja I used to be able to go out in a cute little tank top and no bra. Now I can't leave the house without a bra. It's really sad.

Anja's ENT stated I should get a medal for breastfeeding Anja for a whole year. Screw his medal. I would like to propose that if you breastfeed your child for a year, you get a free boob job. Go for two years, you get a complimentary tummy tuck thrown in as well. Have more than one child? I haven't figured out the reward for that yet. Maybe a trip to show off your fabulous boobs.

I have no idea who I should propose this idea to. If public health officials are as gung ho as they say they are about promoting breastfeeding, they might want to consider offering these incentives. I would sure sign up.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Swimmy Lessons, Ears, and The Big W

What an odd summer this has been. Rain on most days until recently, temperatures hovering in the 70s and 80s despite the heat wave across the rest of the country. It has only been the past week or so that we actually have reached our summer norm: endless heat, sticky humidity, with seemingly no end in sight. I remember last summer our city performed rolling blackouts across town to decrease the electricity usage. It was also the year we had to replace our ailing air conditioner.

In the spirit of summer, I signed Anja and me up for Baby and Me swimming lessons in June. Every Friday we would eat breakfast, put on our swimsuits, and drive to the nearby swim school. There were six baby-mommy combos (well, one was actually a baby-nanny combo) in our class taught by Coach Don. Two of the other babies were born the same month as Anja, one of which appeared to be half of Anja's size. Small baby, meet my big baby. Coach Don provided us with all kinds of water toys and songs while we worked on floating, blowing bubbles, hanging on to the side of the pool, jumping off the side of the pool, and the ultimate goal of going underwater for a couple of seconds. There was even a little slide for me to heave my nearly 30-pound child up onto, then help her slide down. Anja hated the first class. HATED. She cried through the whole class. Cried so much that we couldn't even participate. We sat on the steps going into the pool and watched all the action from there. She wasn't especially thrilled with the second class either. She cried for about half the class, then either decided that this was OK or surrendered to the fact that we weren't leaving and tried to enjoy herself a little bit. That was when the baby with his nanny started to cry.

Anja stopped crying, thankfully. In fact, she laughed and smiled her way through every class thereafter. Loved the slide, loved crawling on the top step, loved swimming in the inflatable inner tube, loved everything. I was supposed to be modeling how to blow bubbles and put her underwater, but I never could put her under the water because her mouth was open with laughter every time. She really grew to enjoy it, and I did too. She liked the other babies, I liked the other mommies (the nanny was really nice too), and we both liked the water.


Poor Anja started her bout with ear infections a little bit before her first birthday. Two infections back to back, followed by another a few weeks later. When we started swimming lessons, I really thought we were done with the battle with the ears. When she went to her 15-month well baby exam, the doctor said her ears looked fine. So I was a little confused when strange-looking wax started coming out of her ears a couple of days later, followed by an ear ache a couple of days after that. The verdict: more ear infections AND a perforated ear drum.

To make a long story short, Anja had tubes placed in her ears last week. The ENT is a nice man who tries to win her over with stickers and lollipops, but she hates him for holding her down and looking in her ears. The ENT seems way smarter than the pipsqueak pediatrician who said her ears looked "fine" just three weeks ago (Think Rachael Ray with a stethoscope. I'll keep most of my opinions about her to myself for now but just trust we won't be seeing her again. Buh bye. Add her to the list with the nurse practitioner who told me that homeopathic teething tablets were poison. Buh bye to her too).

Needless to say, Anja's ear problems have put a halt to our swimming lessons. Which makes me quite sad. I think about the other babies in our class sometimes. After our last class, we had lunch with another mom and baby. This mom had three daughters and had been constantly breastfeeding children for about eight or nine years and said she was desperate the wean the youngest one so she could get her boob lift. I laughed and tried to imagine breastfeeding children for that long. Lately, I kick myself for having weaned Anja at all, knowing that we could have avoided this whole ear infection saga if she still had a little boob juice. I think about the little boy with his nanny, who cried through every class after the first one. He got so mad, his little face got all red. Either Dad or Grandma would come to class and watch and he would cry and reach for them. I think Coach Don finally suggested to the nanny that she come with baby boy alone. They weren't at the last class we attended. I plan to go to the swim school soon to see if they will work a deal with me considering the circumstances of our absences. We will be back.

And in response to every body's question "Is she walking yet??" Well, sort of. She will take four or five little steps at a time, and the sperm donor and I kind of pass her back and forth to get her to practice. She walks like a zombie with her arms stretched out in front of her. I can picture her saying "I want to eat your brains!!" She likes to stand in the grass and take a few steps. On the Fourth of July, she fell down and went boom trying to stand up on her own and busted her lip open. I think that shot her confidence. She'll get it soon. She has significantly more poundage on her than most babies her age and I think that makes walking a little more challenging. She would also rather sit around and look at books. She may not walk very well yet, but she knows lots of words. She is my mini-me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Body Parts

Anja is learning her parts. This is due in large part to this cute little flap book that asks where certain parts are located, only to reveal them underneath the flap. So, the belly button is under baby's shirt, the mouth is behind baby's cup, and so on. In the book (and this is very important to remember), baby's hands are in the bathtub and you say "Where are baby's hands?", and you pull down the flap to reveal they are behind the bubbles.

A couple of times a day, Anja and I review what body parts she knows. We start with the belly button, since that was the first one she learned. So I say, "Show me your belly button!" And she lifts up her shirt, then has to turn up her very round tummy in order to see her belly button. This is followed by lifting up my shirt (or the sperm donor's shirt) to make sure we still have belly buttons too. Then I say "Where are your eyes?" And she points to one of her eyes. A couple of times, she has used both hands to point out both of her eyes. Next is "Where is your nose?" And she sticks her finger in her nose. And I remove the finger and place it on the tip of her nose. The past couple of days she has lifted up a foot when I have said "Where are your feet?"

I've been showing her where her hands are the past couple of days so we could extend this routine by another part. Yesterday I asked her for the first time, "Can you show Mommy your hands?"

And she didn't lift up or point to a hand.

She just said...


Because in the book, baby's hands are behind the bubbles.

I laughed so hard I almost fell over.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Separation Anxiety Defined

Separation anxiety is based on a baby's inability to use glue. Because if a baby around Anja's age could use glue, then he or she would happily glue themselves to their person of choice. If Anja could use super glue, she would paint it all over the front of me, then sit in my lap. So then I couldn't get off the floor. Because any time I get off the floor and don't take her with me it seems the world might end. She's a smart baby - she knows I can't get up easily with over 26 pounds of baby sitting on me.

I'm going to go hide the glue.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Go Baby??

Anja doesn't show a whole lot of interest in what is on TV. The TV is usually on, mainly for noise and occasionally for actual entertainment. On weekend mornings I put on cartoons. I remember Saturday morning cartoons being a big part of my childhood. Imagine waking up at 7 a.m. to watch "Superfriends"! Followed, of course, by Looney Toons. I had a black and white cat named Charles when I was a child, and I was convinced that when Charles went outside to do his business that he was actually going to California to be Sylvester.

The one show that Anja will actually pay attention to is "Go Baby!", a cute little 5-minute long program on the Disney channel which comes on every morning at about the time we have to put on shoes and socks to go to school. The show profiles the adventures of digitally-animated Baby, a little African-American boy baby as he goes to a farm, takes a bath, plays music, and even visits the moon. There are a total of eight episodes, and we have all of them recorded on the DVR. Occasionally, Baby is visited by Sophie, a precious little Asian baby. They coo and gurgle, wave and say hi and bye, and crawl around, all of the things Anja does. So it's no wonder that she will sit for five minutes to wave and dance with Baby and Sophie.

You know, all of these programs are made by adults so there has to be something to entertain the adults too (and yes, the sheer joy of watching my daughter wave and smile at the TV is wonderful, but I need some grown-up entertainment too). In one episode, Baby takes a bath to get ready for his play date with Sophie. He washes his feet and his hands and then his hair. Cue cute song: washing our hair for Sophie, washing our hair for Sophie. I think this episode is responsible for Anja learning how to wash her hair. But there, in the middle of the bath, arrives Sophie! Ready to play in the tub with Baby! And I know that they are innocently making bubble shapes, but I didn't realize that it was okay to teach my baby that she can go ahead and take baths with the opposite sex. How old was I the first time I bathed with a boy??? 21????

In another episode, Baby is sitting in a garden. There is an apple in a tree nearby and we have to help Baby pull the apple off the tree so he can give it to Sophie. Sophie arrives in the garden, is delighted with the apple, and takes a huge bite out of it.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Maybe that whole Garden of Eden thing got mixed up in the retelling??

The outer space episode is trippy. Baby and Sophie wear onesies and space helmets. Apparently, you can crawl on the moon but you can also float if you want to.

But Anja loves it. Yeah, sometimes she will glance at Little Einsteins and sometimes peer at Pooh, but she knows that when we sit on the couch after getting dressed and Mommy starts fiddling with the remote that it's time for our show. And she smiles and waves and laughs while I put on her shoes.

And that is priceless.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

My Mother's Day

Anja has been sleeping through the night for about three or four months. All the experts say that solid foods don't help babies sleep all night, but she didn't start doing it until she ate three solid meals a day. I've been sleeping through the night, with usually one trip to the bathroom, for about the past month. When Anja wakes up, it usually means something is wrong and it really jolts me. She woke up at about 2:00 this morning. I gave her some teething medicine because there has been more drool the past few days and she is due for more than four teeth. Then she woke up at 4:00. Usually when she wakes up like that, I take her into our guest bed and sleep with her in there. But this weekend there was someone in our guest bed, so I put her in bed with the sperm donor and me. Which Anja was really excited about. She kept waving to Daddy and crawling all over him. I gave her a little bottle to calm her down. Then she couldn't decide which parent she wanted to sleep on. She would cuddle on Daddy a little, then cuddle on me, then cuddle on Daddy,and so on and so on. She finally lay down next to me and started to doze and I dozed shortly afterwards. But in that short period in between, as I lay in the stillness of the night listening to my daughter snore, I realized that this was my Mother's Day and that, despite groaning at 4 a.m., I was going to wake up next to the two most important people in my world.

Money can't buy that kind of gift.

We all slept in until about 8:30 this morning and we got up and made some pancakes. For Mother's Day, Anja (with the help of her sweet day care teachers) gave me a picture of herself standing at day care, complete with a little frame. The day care has a ballet bar low to the ground for the babies to practice standing. Directly above the bar is a mirror in which they can admire themselves. And there stands Anja, standing at the bar in her little Bohemian hippie shirt I bought her at the Gap, looking in the mirror. After our pancakes, we played with some toys for a while, took a long nap, then went to the mall to buy Mommy's new panini grill!! The sperm donor made us some awesome paninis for dinner - way better than the ones you pay ten dollars for in a restaurant. Today is also my wedding anniversary, so this day couldn't have been more perfect.

Thanks to Martina McBride for letting me borrow this song. I didn't actually ask permission, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind. It shows how lucky I feel to be Anja's Mommy.

In My Daughter's Eyes

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the
world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me gives me
strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wishful Thinking?

I hope, in light of the tragic events that unfolded at Virginia Tech a couple of days ago, that states start to take a serious look at their mental health laws. In most states, an individual cannot be compelled to receive mental health treatment unless they have made a direct suicidal or homicidal threat or an actual attempt (and, keep in mind, that if that act of aggression is towards another individual, the legal system becomes involved - not the health care system). Which essentially means that I can't lock up some annoying relative in a state mental facility just because I'm tired of him. It also means that you can wander the streets of this country, acting as crazy as your mind compels you to act and nothing can be done if you don't want it to.

This poor young man was clearly ill. It was in his writings and his behavior. The signs were there. Kudos to the people who tried to get him help, who offered to take him to the counseling center on campus. To the professor who even took his writings to the authorities and was told, because it's true, that nothing could be done legally. He was detained once by police but was, as so many are, not sick enough.

People can be mentally ill, can be completely out of touch with reality, and not be dangerous. Statistics show that only a small minority of individuals with mental illness are dangerous; the incidents of violence within the mentally ill population are actually less than within the general population. This young man could have had some relief from those inner demons that tortured him. I have been working with individuals with mental illnesses for over a decade, trying to help them get well and to find the resources which would also help fight the fight. So this incident is a slap in the face. Because this young man could have been helped if the laws were different. A doctor, a judge, a lawyer would have been able to see how ill he was and ordered him to treatment. And he may never have been able to finish that English degree, but he would have felt less tortured. Imagine if he had been helped before he became dangerous.

Those thirty-two people would probably still be alive.


Every nursing bra. Every nursing shirt. Every tube of Lanolin (what?? Maybe 5 of them lying around the house?). Every soothie pad. Every nursing book. Every little tiny annoying piece of TWO pumps. Every milk storage bag. Every boppy pillow (I have 2-1/2 of them).

It's time for a bonfire because I don't need them anymore.

Hee hee!

Anja had only been nursing in the mornings for about the past two or three weeks. Then she woke up the morning after her spectacular birthday party and didn't want any milk. That was a first. That child had never refused a boob in her face. I changed her diaper so she was comfy. I made sure her nose wasn't stuffy. Still nothing. Made her a bottle and she was perfectly happy with that.

Next morning, same thing. And I asked my precious now 1-year-old daughter, "Don't you want your milk anymore?" And she shook her head "no." Honestly. She shook her little head.

And I decided that was my cue it was time to stop.

The funny thing is that I was all worried about how to bring those final nursing sessions to an end, fearing that she would freak out and beg for the boob. I read the message boards about weaning on La Leche League's website to get ideas. But, in the end, she was the one who made the call. Which I think is exactly how it should be.

I have mentioned before that this is bittersweet. I long to wear normal bras and have the occasional glass of wine. But I feel a little part of me is empty after spending the past year working so hard to provide sustenance for my daughter. I have been watching the Planet Earth series, so I had been referring to her as my little cub, as though she were baby bear to my mama bear. This is a transition, as much of parenting is - one she was ready for before I was.

Enough of that sad sappy crap. I'm going to go look at my calender to schedule the bonfire. I've got some bras to burn!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Year In The Life

Today we celebrated Anja's first birthday. Her birthday was actually two days ago, but we had the big party today. On her birthday, the sperm donor and I both took off from work and our little family went to the local zoo. Anja could not see some of the animals from her stroller because of the wall to prevent people from falling into the animal dens, but she did point at some very colorful birds, a large cat, and the elephants. Maybe she recognized the elephants from her baby animals book. But I think she enjoyed being pushed around someplace new on a pretty day with her silly parents gushing all over her and singing funny birthday songs.

I think she took a cute pill during the nap before her party today because she was all smiles when both grandmothers entered her room upon her wakening to change her diaper and get her dressed. She smiled and waved at everyone, played with her toys for everyone, and let her grandmothers help her walk. She didn't even freak out when everybody sang to her, then watched her cram large pieces of cake into her mouth. She even helped open her presents. The sperm donor and I were so thankful to have so many nice friends come by and were especially excited that all four grandparents got to come. I think Anja has decided that whatever this birthday thing is, it is definitely pretty cool.

I sat here in front of the computer on the night before Anja's birthday with plans to write her a letter, something she could read when she is older so she would know how she has changed my life. And I found myself speechless. I am in complete awe of my daughter. Being a mother for the past year has defied every expectation I had during pregnancy. I have never known so much joy and, at times, so much fear. I melt every time she smiles. It is impossible for me to have a bad day with the two people I love the most both saying "hi" to me first thing in the morning.

There is only one thing which can sum up the past year for me. When the sperm donor and I took our child birth classes, we were told that we could bring music to play in the delivery room. We had wanted to create a little playlist and even bought the equipment to project the sounds of the Ipod across the room. But as the date got closer and the possibility of the c-section became a reality, we just never got around to finding the right songs. But the radio was on in the operating room that day and even though my memories of that whole day are a little fuzzy I remember clearly the song that was playing when she was born. A little diddy by Foreigner that went something like this:

I want to know what love is
I want you to show me

And the two of you have shown me about love, about forgiveness, about patience, and about the power of family. Because, together, the three of us can do anything. And for that, I am eternally grateful and blessed.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Weaning Begins

This poem was stolen with love from La Leche League. Kind of like the formula from Babies R Us yesterday. Which was a complete accident. Really. Anja was in the stroller and not in the shopping cart because it was easier for her to have a snack in the stroller. Really. The formula was in the bottom of the stroller and the pacifiers were on the top. The diapers were in my hand. I didn't realize the formula was STILL in the bottom of the stroller until after I put Anja back in her car seat and was preparing the fold up the thing and put it in the trunk. Really. It was a huge oops. And I know I should have gone back inside. But one does not realize how much time it takes to take out a stroller, take out the baby, put baby in said stroller, attach toys and snack, grab diaper bag (which contains wallet), and lock the car. I look at it as a gift from Babies R Us in exchange for all of the business I've given them. Or perhaps it's payback for the glider rocker that didn't arrive until five days before Anja was born, about a month late.


The weaning has begun. Anja started it. She decided that she would rather sleep at night than nurse. Then she decided that she would rather play in the evening before she went to bed instead of nurse. So now she only nurses in the morning and at dinner and gets her bottles in between. And I'm kind of eager to get rid of that before dinner nursing because she's pretty hyper and that is when she likes to play with me with those little teeth of hers. My goal is to have her completely weaned by Dr. Z's graduation party in May so that I can pour myself a margarita out of the machine and drink the whole thing. Then I will probably promptly pass out after over 18 months of pregnancy/nursing-forced sobriety. Oh well.

But I like this poem. For as relieved as I am that breastfeeding will soon be over, there is heartbreak too. Her weaning is symbolic that she doesn't need me like she used to. I am no longer her only source of sustenance. I remember when she was teeny (well, teeny for her) she would nurse for a really long time and I would sit and stroke her hair and her ears and study all of her fingers and her toes, just amazed that she was mine. When she was a little older she would play peek-a-boo with me: she would stop nursing to stare up at me and would not go back to nursing until I looked down at her. Needless to say, these little games made nursing last a long time, but it sure was fun. I'm going to miss the morning nursings the most. It's our morning snuggle after several hours of not seeing each other.

But I'm ready for weaning. BRING IT ON! There's a girls night out in the works when all of this is over.

Wean Me Gently
by Cathy Cardall

I know I look so big to you,
Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.
But no matter how big we get,
We still have needs that are important to us.
I know that our relationship is growing and changing,
But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,
Especially at the end of the day
When we snuggle up in bed.
Please don't get too busy for us to nurse.
I know you think I can be patient,
Or find something to take the place of a nursing;
A book, a glass of something,
But nothing can take your place when I need you.
Sometimes just cuddling with you,
Having you near me is enough.
I guess I am growing and becoming independent,
But please be there.
This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,
Please don't break it abruptly.
Wean me gently,
Because I am your mother,
And my heart is tender.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Meme

Dr. Z. posted this 3-word meme not too long ago and I thought to myself, "Hmm. That looks fun, but I just don't want to think that much. Answering questions in 3 words: no more, no less? I think I'll go watch some TV." Lx commented today that no one else had completed the meme. Which, to me, sounds a bit like a challenge. So while the litter box sits soaking in bleach...

1. Where is your cell phone? On computer desk
2. Boyfriend/girlfriend? Hunky sperm donor
3. Hair? Disliking new cut
4. Your mother? Alive in Austin
5. Your father? Also in Austin
6. Your favorite item(s)? Anja, sperm donor
7. Your dream last night? Hmmm, no recollection
8. Your favorite drink? Limey, frosty margaritas
9. Your dream guy/girl? Sperm donor? Check.
10. The room you are in? Messy spare bedroom
11. Your fear? Sperm donor hurt
12. What do you want to be in 10 years? Happy, healthy, wise
13. Who did you hang out with last night? Anja, sperm donor
14. What are you not? Lean fighting machine
15. Are you in love? Absolutely for sure
16. One of your wish list items? Girls night out
17. What time is it? Now? Eleven twenty.
18. The last thing you did? Soaked litter box
19. What are you wearing? Pants and shirt
20. Your favorite book? Depends on mood
21. The last thing you ate? Yummy Shipley's doughnut
22. Your life? Filled with joy
23. Your mood? High on caffeine
24. Your friends? Diverse and fun
25. What are you thinking about right now? Writing three words
26. Your car? Gold Honda Accord
27. What are you doing at this moment? Straining my brain
28. Your summer? Still in planning
29. Your relationship status? Married eleven years
30. What is on your TV screen? Quiet empty screen
31. When is the last time you laughed? Watching Anja play
32. Last time you cried? Sanjaya still there
33. School? Never, never again

Kind of hard when referring to husband as sperm donor.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

You Learn Something New Every Day

For years, I have wondered what the purpose was of the little metal plate below the faucet in my bathtub. And now I know.

It's a mirror. For babies. So they can check out how cute they are naked. Anja loves to look at herself in the bathtub mirror. She is very cute. The sperm donor and I think she looks like a little Buddha because of her round tummy.

And while she's doing that, Mommy is singing this song to the tune of Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie." We have dedicated it to the Flashy Quackers.

Oh ducky when you flash like that
You make me want to crawl after you
Swimming ducky
Swimming ducky
Swimming with my duckies in the bathtub

Oh ducky duck
You know I like to go swimming with you
Swimming ducky
Swimming ducky
Swimming with my duckies in the bathtub

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Class

I thought of this book as I was driving home the other night. I started a writing class, so for the next three weeks I am meeting with a group of people who are also struggling to find a way to express themselves. I mentioned in a previous post that my grandmother kept a scrapbook filled with everything I ever wrote. I mean everything. I used to write stories when I was a child. I am an only child, so I developed very extensive characters, perhaps in hope that they would become real to me. I took a creative writing class in high school. I think I may have been going through a dark period at that point...lots of depressing poetry and a first-person account of dying in a car accident (on which I received an A, thank you very much). She also kept all of these papers I wrote in college. And then I didn't really write in a creative fashion until I started this blog, even though my mother and grandmother would say "You should write again." Anyway, I received this giant book as a Christmas gift from my mother. And there were many things in that book about which I had forgotten. I actually wrote a children's book once. About a cat and a pie. I read it to Anja a few times, but she is too busy with crawling and standing to mess with any books right now.

So receiving this giant book was perhaps the motivation for signing up for this class. I've never viewed myself as a writer, although I have been a person who writes for years. Our assignment for this week is to write about a photograph from our childhood. We wrote about the photo for a few minutes in class, but, as usual, my mind got way in front of my hand and the result is a bit like what happens when you rear-end someone - everything stops without much warning. But I have a week or so to finish it up. And maybe I'll turn it into a poem - I actually have lots of ideas but I need to stick with the assignment before I get all carried away.

I hope maybe I'll start writing more in the near future. And more beyond this blog, although this is a good testing ground. I have found a struggle in being something more than a mom. Maybe this is something I can call my own.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Our Tribute To Barbaro

Barbaro the Horse died last week. For those of you who are not die hard equestrian fans, Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby last May in dramatic fashion. Two weeks later while running in the Preakness Stakes, Barbaro broke his leg, an injury usually considered to be a fatal condition for a race horse. Barbaro's leg was pinned back together and all were optimistic. However, complications soon developed and, last week, his owners decided his time had come.

I have to be honest here. I have never been a horse fan. I can count on one hand the number of times I have sat upon a horse. I never owned a stuffed horse. I never wanted a pony. I don't think I have even fed a horse a carrot. I went to some horse races once and I won a few dollars, but I was bored: the races only lasted a few seconds and the periods of time between races seemed to last an eternity.

Anja was just over one month old when Barbaro was injured. I remember we were driving around one day and we heard a story on NPR about the surgery to repair Barbaro's injured leg. NPR reported that Barbaro returned to his stall after his surgery and ate some hay. I found that really amusing and commented to Anja that after I had major abdominal surgery to deliver her I was taken back to my room and given clear liquids. For the next several days, I would look at her and say "He ate some haaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy" and she would smile. Every time I said "haaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy" she would smile. So we named the toy horse in her play gym Barbaro. Later I attached little stuffed Barbaro to her stroller so she would have something to play with while we went on walks outside or to the mall, rather than grabbing at everything around her. Barbaro still sits there, hanging from her stroller strap.

I still don't think I will ever become a big horse fan. But I don't think I will ever forget Barbaro. Lots of people have paid tribute to Barbaro for his beauty and his speed. I want to thank him for letting my little baby smile at his story and for letting her play with his little purple likeness.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In The Star Trek Universe...

You would serve in starfleet as a Lieutenant. Your current assignment is in Security/Tactical.

Any of the following positions could be available on a Starship:
Security Systems Management
Weapons Officer
Torpedo Room Officer
Chief Weapons Officer
Security Chief

Behind every mission is the need to feel safe. Security personnel are always the first to arrive, and the last to leave. They understand that danger can come from any direction and are always prepared for the fight that may never come. Through this dedication, loyalty and attention to detail they give us this feeling of safety. We all appreciate this because underneath it is hope. The hope that we should all learn from our mistakes, face our fears and live long enough to appreciate the beauty the universe shows us every day.

Live long and prosper...take the Star Trek Personality Test

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I Pump More Than Gas

So, I'm back at work a few days a week. That's a whole other blog entry entirely which I will soon get to, but for now it does meet my three basic criteria of a job: not very hard, not very long, a good deal of money. Anja goes to her day care while I am at work and I pick her up when I am finished at about 2:00.

I'm amazingly still breastfeeding. When Anja was born, I was determined to nurse her until she was six months old then transition her to formula. She is almost ten months old now and still sucking milk out of me - thankfully, it is neither as many times a day nor for as long as she did during her early months. I figure I'll go for the gusto and go for a year. What's two more months compared to the past ten??

Anyway, it is probably pretty obvious that Anja can't suck milk out of me when I'm at work. Inherent in any extended separation from her is the need to pump before I explode and provide my surroundings with a giant milk bath. Fortunately, the clients at my new job take their 30-minute lunch break right at the time when I need to get rid of some milk.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that most employers do not offer new moms a nice pumping room, complete with the LaZBoy chair and TV. I know my new employer does not. I'm not even sure the hospital I was working at before Anja was born did, but it was a hospital where a couple of lactation consultants worked so I'm sure some arrangements could have been made. I am OK with pumping in my car; as long as I have a book to read and some fresh batteries I can pump just about anywhere. But lately, it has been a little cold outside so last week I went in search of warmer surroundings.

My new job site is very small. Last week, I carried my pump into the administrative offices and explained to a receptionist that I needed a private room for about twenty minutes to pump my milk for my precious little daughter. First, she offered the private restroom. Which was nice - it had a chair (aka toilet), a table to put my book on (aka sink), as well as an electrical outlet so the pump could work a little faster. Unfortunately, I was forced to point out to her the obvious reality that someone might need to go to the bathroom while I was in there pumping away. Ohhhhhh, she said, good point. So she led me outside (in the cold and rain), around the building, to another entrance where a small lunch room is located. She explained that there was a small room off the lunch room I could use which accommodated my request for privacy. We had to take this journey twice because she forgot the key the first time. The second time we walked in the cold and the rain she stopped to talk to the administrator. Did I mention I had thirty minutes? But we finally arrived at the promised destination which turned out to be a storage closet with no chair, only a small light, and no electrical outlet.


So, I'm back in the car. I can wear a coat. If it is extremely frigid outside, I can always run the engine. I'm fascinated how something so natural can be made so difficult. This brought quite a bit of discussion on the La Leche League message boards last week. I'm proud to be a breastfeeding mom. I just hope someday that breastfeeding moms and the people who witness them will be able to overcome their embarrassment and shame and feel comfortable with the whipping out of boobies and babies simultaneously.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Songs For The Cat

Manu's Song
(Lyrics written by Manu the Cat, music inspired by Mommy. Please visualize performing cat and laughing baby.)

I'm doing a little dance for my Anja
'Cause I am her little Manu
I'm doing a little dance for my Anja
'Cause I am her little Manu
Cats aren't s'posed to dance
But I like to dance
I'm doing a little dance for my Anja
'Cause I am her little Manu

Anja Had A Cat Named Manu
(to the melody of "Mary Had A Little Lamb")

Anja had a cat named Manu
A cat named Manu
A cat named Manu
Anja had a cat named Manu
Whose brain was very small

Well, come on. Any cat who "willingly" dances can't be too bright.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Heard It On The Radio

I was driving to work when it came on the retro lunchtime hour...

I guess I shoulda known
By the way u parked your car sideways
That it wouldn't last

See you're the kinda person
That believes in makin' out once
Love 'em and leave 'em fast

I guess I must be dumb
'Cuz U had a pocket full of horses
Trojan and some of them used

But it was Saturday night
I guess that makes it all right
And U say what have I got 2 lose?
And honey I say

Little red corvette
Baby you're much 2 fast
Little red corvette
U need a love that's gonna last

I guess I shoulda closed my eyes
When U drove me 2 the place
Where your horses run free

'Cuz I felt a little ill
When I saw all the pictures
Of the jockeys that were there before me

Believe it or not
I started to worry
I wondered if I had enough class

But it was Saturday night
I guess that makes it all right
And U say, "Baby, have U got enough gas?"
Oh yeah

Little red corvette
Baby you're much 2 fast, yes U r
Little red corvette
U need 2 find a love that's gonna last

A body like yours (A body like yours)
Oughta be in jail (Oughta be in jail)
'Cuz it's on the verge of bein' obscene
('Cuz it's on the verge of bein' obscene)

Move over baby (Move over baby)
Gimme the keys (Gimme the keys)
I'm gonna try 2 tame your little red love machine
(I'm gonna try 2 tame your little red love machine)

Little red corvette
Baby you're much 2 fast
Little red corvette
U need 2 find a love that's gonna last

Little red corvette
Honey U got 2 slow down (Got 2 slow down)
Little red corvette
'Cuz if U don't u gonna run your
Little red corvette right in the ground

(Little red corvette)
Right down 2 the ground (Honey U got 2 slow down) U, U, U got 2
slow down (Little red corvette) You're movin' much 2 fast
(2 fast) U need 2 find a love that's gonna last

Girl, U got an ass like I never seen
And the ride...
I say the ride is so smooth
U must be a limousine

Baby you're much 2 fast
Little red corvette
U need a love, U need a love that's
That's gonna last
(Little red corvette)
U got 2 slow down (U got 2 slow down)
Little red corvette

'Cuz if U don't, 'cuz if U don't,
U gonna run your body right into the ground (Right into the ground)
Right into the ground (Right into the ground)
Right into the ground (Right into the ground)

Little red corvette

My friends and I used to love this song when we were - what - twelve or thirteen? But we didn't get it. We were young and naive. I think our knowledge of sex at that time we gained from multiple readings of Judy Blume's Forever. So we didn't understand this song. But my friend, Jean Anne, had a sister who was much older than us. She was in college and she had this boyfriend who I think was named Mark and was very cute. She explained "Little Red Corvette" to us so, once we got over it being gross, we knew we were cool because we were in the know.

So there I was, driving to work, singing quite loudly about trojans and gasoline and little red love machines and remembering all of this from my middle school days, and dreading the day that Anja hears a song like this (it will probably be by Puffy-Poopy-Diddy-P). I don't know how long it had been behind me, but I sure jumped when that ambulance honked at me to get the hell out of the way. It even had it's lights on and the siren blaring (a sure sign of how loud I sing). Oops.

But I always find it amusing how a song triggers memories. Today I've had Kiss' "God Gave Rock And Roll To You" in my head, almost to the point where I need to hum "The Girl From Ipanema" to get it out. I once heard a story on NPR (which I can't seem to find on their archives) which instructed you to hum the melody to "The Girl From Ipanema" in order to get an annoying song out of your head. And it actually works. Anyway, the Kiss song brings back lots of memories too.

The babe stirs...

You Know You Do

How many of you parents have during bathtime shampooed your little one's hair, shaped it into a mohawk, and sang Wayne Newton's "Danke Schoen"?

Danke schoen, darling, danke schoen,
Thank you for all the joy and pain.
Picture show, second balcony, was the place we'd meet,
Second seat, go Dutch treat, you were sweet...
...I recall Central Park in Fall,
How you tore your dress, what a mess, I confess, that's not all...

You know you do.

Old Man Winter

The city is covered with ice on this January day. The sperm donor is working from home, the day care is closed, and this now working mom is home too. Earlier, I thought it was snowing (as it is north of here), but the sperm donor explained to me that sleet is composed of pellets and snow is composed of flakes. It's all white to me.

Once this ice storm clears up (not any time soon, according to the local news), I would like to declare an end to winter. Anja has seen more winter in her nine months than I have in my thirty-something years. Towards the end of our holiday stay in Albuquerque, fourteen inches of snow dumped in my in-laws' back yard. There were the sperm donor and his mom, all bundled up, shoveling snow from their driveway. The snow does not shut down their city as completely as the ice does here. The sperm donor's aunt had a small holiday party at her house, and the sperm donor's mother drove us slowly and cautiously there and back in her all-wheel drive without one slide.

I'm not a winter girl. This south Texas girl is all about spring and summer. I get cranky if I don't see the sun for a few days. I would rather sweat than shiver. Being cooped up in the house waiting for the ice to melt is about to make me crazy. But I have to admit - the snow in Albuquerque was quite beautiful. I had never seen that much snow in my life. The scenery really did look like all of those photos of winter I have seen in magazines and Sierra Club calendars. The snow on the ground looked like a fluffy warm velvet blanket, until you got closer to the street where it became a dirty slushy mess. Each little tree branch carefully balanced its spoonful of snow until the weight was too much to bear. The snow covered neighborhood was very quiet and peaceful.

But it wasn't enough to make me want it full-time. SUN!! I declare you come out!!!


It is a nice day to lie around and read books. My precious daughter is napping on the bed next to me. She slept all night last night (a rare occurrence) so maybe she likes this weather. I think I'll catch up on some blogs that have been running in my head.