Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jump up, jump up, and get down!

My friend Kaysha lent us her daughter's Jumperoo.

Oh, the freedom! Oh, the endless choices! Oh, the things that spin and rattle and turn and did I mention the jumping?

Nana Betty, you are going to looooove this one!

Friday, February 26, 2010

So Sergeant Pepper took you by surprise

Last Friday we began sleep training in earnest.

We'd been letting Jordan cry a bit, but we would always cave and then I'd wind up feeding him so we could all go back to sleep.

Which is all fine and good until you are doing this at 12 am, 2 am, and 4 am. Or 1, 3, and 5. And he acts like he's ravenous. And then he's getting up at 6 am not hungry.

Our pediatrician had told us we could start doing this at 4 months, but like the feeding solid foods, we held off.

So at the 6 month checkup she said, go ahead, let him cry if you are comfortable with that.

Because the letting your baby cry issue, it is a HUGE one on the mommy message boards. (And somehow my inclination is always to call them the motherboards - do computers still have motherboards?)


There are the yes, let your baby cry, you need to teach them they can self-soothe and get themselves back to sleep. Otherwise they won't be able to sleep for the rest of their lives and insomniacs are much more likely to wind up in jail. And do you want to do that to your child?

And there are the no, you're damaging their little psyches for life and they're probably going to wind up axe murderers if you let them cry. And if they're axe murderers, it's all your fault.

It's all very stressful and fraught with emotion and peril.

So we've been letting him cry for longer and longer periods.

The first few nights were hell. Hell. HELL. It got slightly better as the week went on.

But Monday morning I looked like I'd been beaten. I'm not exaggerating. I looked all battered.

Because for one thing, it's terrible hearing your child cry. Your inclination is to go fix it, make it better.

And for another, if he's crying, you're not sleeping.

And so after you've peeked in to make sure that he hasn't stuck his little legs through the slats like a stockade, then you lie there and remind each other that he's safe, he's fine, he's not actually hungry, etc.

You learn that this can go on for a shocking amount of time.

You hear him wake up, and he's all, "Hello? Hi! I'm awake. Come get me!"

And you whisper at each other, "Don't get up! Maybe he'll fuss a bit and then go back to sleep."

And then some time goes by.

"HELLO? Hi! I'm awake. Come get me!"

Much like Inigo Montoya, he repeats this. Over and over and over. And each time he ratchets it up a little.

"HELLO? HI! I'm awake. Come get me!"

"HELLO? HI! I'M AWAKE. Come get me!"


And then, if there's no response, he begins:


Pause. Waits for response.


And then you tiptoe in to pat him and he's immediately all smiley and, "Hey! Nice to see you! How the heck does one get a boob around this joint?"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Forsooth I tell ye verily

Before we moved into the District, we looked at school boundaries.

As you may know, DC public schools have a horrendous reputation, on the whole. But there are some excellent ones. We wanted to make sure that we could at least send Jordan to a good elementary school.

We figured this would buy us a number of years before we would have to contemplate moving out to the 'burbs for the schools.

Anyway, because I did the bulk of the school research, I became familiar with a lot of elementary and middle school names.

And it turns out that our phone number belonged to someone who sent their kid to Hardy middle school.

Because in the evening the phone will ring and we'll get a recording that begins, "Hello, Hardy parent." And then they announce a snow day, or two-hour delay, or whatever.

I was impressed with how organized they seemed to be.

Every once in a while when Nick answered the phone, though, he would hang up and say random things, like, "And a merry eventide it is!"

But he's like that. So I didn't pay any attention.

Until one evening, when I said something about how clearly we are on a list for people with kids at Hardy middle school.

"Hardy middle school?"

"Yah, Hardy. You know all those calls we get."

"I was thinking it was incredibly odd that they addressed us as hearty parents!"

"Hearty parents? Hello hearty parent?"

"Exactly! And I would think, why, yes, I am feeling rather hale, thank you!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One free food?

I was thinking wouldn't it be great if you could have one food that you could eat as much of as you wanted without it affecting you adversely?

Like, it wouldn't count at all towards daily calories, cholesterol, etc. The rest of your food intake would be as it always is. But this one thing would be free.

I started to think that for me, it would be chocolate. But then I thought, maybe I'd get sick of chocolate if I could eat as much as I want, all the time. So perhaps a pasta dish? Or beer?

I feel like it should be the thing I eat/drink that's most terrible for me. Probably something with a lot of fat, though, since it's a freebie.

If this were real, and you could pick your freebie...but you only get one. And once you choose, that's it for life.

What would you choose? And how do you pick?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We are widening the corridors, and adding more lanes...

So as you know, Nick and I walk most of the way to work together.

On our route, it turns out there's this preparatory school that I'd passed a million times but never noticed.

I grew up in cities. But since Nick grew up in a bucolic setting, I think the idea of city schools, crammed in among offices and retail on city blocks and without any grass or playing fields, really intrigues him.

Nick saw the prep school sign one day, and that was that for him. That's where he went to high school.

For entertainment during daily commuting purposes, I mean.

He now has to sing the XYZ Prep song every time we pass it. Every. Time. Which is almost, oh, every morning.

He sings it to the tune of "Oh, Christmas Tree."

We commute during rush hour. There are always a number of people walking down the sidewalk with us.

In case you're wondering.

The lyrics change daily. Sometimes they are about academics. Sometimes they are about sports. He likes to give me details of his high school days there as well.

One day last week I was really in a hurry and was two steps ahead of him the whole way, so as we approached the building I was all, "Don't sing! You won't be able to keep pace!"

And he boomed, "On the contrary! I was in the XYZ Prep marching band! Singing our marching song only speeds me up! Oh, XYZ Prep, oh XYZ Prep..."

He began marching quickly. In a very knees up, arms out march-y way. While singing. Loudly.

He added, while pointing up, "We had to march back and forth on the roof, of course, since there wasn't much room for practice."

Two people we were passing looked up to where he was pointing.

"Did you ever lose batons over the side?"

"Batons! We lost people! You can get caught up in the marching, and forget where the edge is. Plus, the tether ball courts were up there. You have no idea how many tether ball fatalities we had."

He then resumed singing.

"Oh, XYZ Prep, oh XYZ Pret, reigning tether ball champions!"

If you think there is any remote attempt at subtlety here, you're mistaken.

Also, I just realized I backwardsed us in the drawing. But I cannot bear to re-draw. Please just imagine me in front, trying to hurry him along. Instead of walking behind, looking slightly horrified.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How to make a person bitter

Last week Jenny and I were talking about Lent.

She thought it was a Catholic thing, which is what I'd thought until last year. But she didn't believe me. So she looked it up.

This led to a discussion on how neither of us have ever done Lent, and then one of our Quadmates, who is from Argentina, asked what Lent was, which then led to Jenny, the Quad Lent expert (by virtue of having the Wikipedia page open), giving him an explanation of the Lent business.

He was intrigued about what you give up - like, what if it's something you want to give up anyway, or should it be something that feels like a hardship, etc.

So Jenny said that she had this friend who gave up something difficult for Lent every year, and then sometimes wound up giving it up for good.

Like, last year ago she gave up soda, which she drank all the time and loved. And after giving it up for Lent, she just stopped drinking it entirely. She didn't miss it at all.

"She said it's something biological," Jenny explained, "and if you stop doing something for 40 days, you kind of stop missing it, and then it's not that hard to give it up for good."

To which I had to say, "Turns out that is absolutely true. To the great chagrin of my husband."

Friday, February 19, 2010

And now we are six (months, that is)

Today you are six months old.

You had your six-month checkup a couple days ago, during which we learned that you now weigh 17 pounds, 11 ounces, and you're 28 inches long (tall?). You rarely cry, but you freaked out when they got you on that scale this time, boy howdy.

We also learned to make the appointments on your birth date or later. Because they won't give you certain shots even two days early. So we have to go back for more shots. Sorry about that, lovey.

A couple weeks ago, we started feeding you solid food. We were going to wait until six months, just to be safe on the allergies, even though the pediatrician gave us the go-ahead at four months.

But then you started lunging - and I am not exaggerating - lunging at whatever we were eating or drinking. And then staring at us and smacking your lips.So let me tell you, you were so excited, so very excited, to eat! Food!
You were less excited about the taste of rice cereal. You much prefer it with water. Your dad tasted it mixed with formula, and you'd think he'd taken a bite of poo.

That's when we tried mixing it with water.In other news, you continue to amaze and delight us in every area except the sleeping.

I realized yesterday that I should never be told state secrets. Because after sleep deprivation, I'd crack in a second. I also realized that if I could trade being water-boarded once for days upon end of too little sleep, I'd do it.

It doesn't make me love you any less, but it does make me very tired and irrational.

But now my friend, now begins the sleep training. You pretty reliably take two naps a day, and we have you on a schedule, more or less. Except for the waking up at night. Now we tackle the nights.

You're not going to like it, but it'll be good for you. Down the road, I'm probably going to say the same things about Brussels sprouts.

Although I say that kind of stuff regularly to your father, to no avail.

Ah, well. Clearly didn't stunt his growth.

Lately you've started putting your head on my shoulder and wrapping your little arm around me while I'm holding you. It's better than drinking rainbows and being kissed by unicorns, it's so amazing.

You are so much fun to be around, and even though you can't talk, you get funnier every day. You giggle, you laugh, you wiggle and kick kick kick your legs in delight.

You love being held, and we all love to hold you. You love the rattles your nana Betty gave you. You try your best to taste everything within your reach. You don't love snow, and I cannot say I blame you.

You smile at the world, and the world smiles back at you. I find it extraordinary. I find you extraordinary.

I feel so lucky to have you as the center of my world, little boy.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Killing me softly

Two cookies, chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels, and contemplating a Snickers.

I am up against a big deadline at work. Hence the ridiculous amount of carbs and sugar.

Plus lots of coffee to mitigate the lack of sleep. Because the boy, he has been waking up and waking up.

I stagger around all tired during the day. I get my work done, but barely, and by the skin of my teeth (whatever that weird expression means).

Then at night I hurry home in time to play a little, nurse the boy, and put him to bed.

We eat. I shower. Or don't. I go to bed and stress about how many hours I might get before Jordan wakes up the first time. Which delays the falling asleep. The utter lack of control over my amount of sleep - hell, over my everything - has me kind of worked up.

But the lack of sleep, cripes. My kid is killing me softly, one night at a time.

I didn't used to have quite as many wrinkles. Or bags under my eyes. Or such a short fuse.

He wakes up. I hear him, and I get all resent-y. Until I see his sweet little face and remember how much I love the shit out of him.

But boy am I tired and grumpy every morning. And the cycle repeats itself. Hurry, stagger, hurry, sleep.

And honestly, I just feel like I do a crap job at everything anymore.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another one of those hindsight is 20-20 situations

So back when I had the PPD and was just completely exhausted and resentful and overwhelmed, I almost handed our baby to a complete stranger.

She was young and pretty, and stopped to say hello one day when Jordan and I were waiting in front of the house for Nick to lock up.

She said, "What a cute baby! I'd love to babysit. I live right next door."

As she said this, she pointed at the building next to ours.

And I swear to you, I reached down for him, and was on the verge of flinging him at her and shuffling away as fast as my C-section might allow, all, "Hereyougo, thankyouverymuch!"

Nick stopped me mid-baby-lift and said, "That would be great! Why don't we get your number next time we see you?"

I promptly forgot all about her.

But we've since met most of our immediate neighbors. And the other day, Nick remarked on the fact that we've never seen that woman again.

"What woman?"

"The complete stranger that you wanted to give Jordan to."

Oh. That woman. She looked sincere, as I recall. And she had on a nice outfit.

Good thing I didn't hand the kid over.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Being home

On Valentine's Day, I asked Nick to tell me three things he likes about me.

He listed about 20. And then he asked me to do the same. One of the things I said got stuck in my throat, it made me so emotional.

I said that I love the fact that I know he's never going to leave me, never going to let go of me.

It came out of nowhere, that sudden burning hot throat close and rush of tears.

I know this sounds unromantic, so let me assure you that I had already told him all kinds of schmoopy things like about his sense of humor, his sweetness, his masculine ear hair, his child-producing loins.

Romantic statements abounded, I assure you.

But back to serious.

It took me a lot of work to realize that I spent most of my life worrying about my dad leaving us.

It wasn't until recently that I realized I had abandonment issues. And saying this I feel like I sound like everyone in therapy, all abandonment issue-y. But it is true that even when you get old enough to understand mental health issues, when your dad keeps trying to leave this world for good, it sure sets you up not to expect men to stay.

I'd always liked women more than men as human beings. Always had very close female friends and no male friends. Men were for dating. Women were where you put your trust, where you found your emotional support.

Makes for deep, genuine, healthy relationships with men, no?

I embarked on relationship after relationship threatening to leave. I was all, "Yeah, I'm here now, but don't get too attached, because I might leave."

And in that way, I coulddn't get too attached. Because that way, they wouldn't matter enough to hurt.

Of course, some of them did actually really matter, and I was ultimately devastated.

But when I met Nick, he felt like home. Not home where I'd lived, on guard, always vigilant, ready for crisis.

Because I'd chosen a lot of men who felt familiar - in that keep-you-on-edge kind of way.

Not like that.

Home like home where I wanted to live: Solid. Warm. Safe. Relaxed in the realization that he had my back. And would never, ever leave.

I tell you very candidly that I didn't even know that was what I was looking for. And as my mid-30s became my later 30s, and I was constantly reminded that the chance of me meeting my One became slimmer than my chance of being hit by a meteor, or whatever it is, I expected it less and less.

And then I met Nick, and he was and is my home, felt clogs, mallard prints and all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

In which I dispense random advice, even though you didn't ask. Alternate title: Love and trench mouth

I was thinking, during the past snowed-in, no-heat week, how important it is to marry someone you really like as a person. Someone you can hang out with for hours and days on end, and still enjoy.

I mean, of course you want to stab them sometimes, and you might hate them intensely in random moments. But overall, you not only love them but really really like who they are at core.

You know, back when I was single and going on multiple Internet dates a week, and totally fed up with miserable dates with people like the crazypants journalist, I wrote a post ranting about how people should get married in their 20s and stick it out.

And I believed it fervently when I wrote it. Even though I'd have been divorced three times or more if I had gotten hitched back then.

I was so glad, when I met Nick, that I'd had all the life experiences (and therapy) that I had. Because I was finally able to be a solid, healthy partner, and work towards a solid, healthy relationship. One that I believe will last (assuming no random stabbing).

I really wanted more time when we got married to just be married and enjoy being the two of us. And of course we had many things, but time was not one of them.

And now we have Big J, and he is the brightest sunshine in our lives.

But it is also kind of like living through war. Not in an air-raid!-under-the-table way. But in a way that no matter how desperately tired and beaten down and cranky you might be, you always have to be in position to respond.

Probably the thing that makes it not like war is that you're facing someone you love more than anything, rather than fighting an enemy. And also, nobody is deliberately trying to kill you.

Although some days it might feel like they are.

And for that, my friends, my best advice is: find the best trench buddy you can. That way, even if you get trench mouth (though honestly, I'm not quite sure what that is) at least you got it from the person you most want to share everything with.

On second thought, maybe best just to not share toothbrushes. Unless you really are stuck in a trench. And you only have one.

Right. So anyway, big hugs and happy Friday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The hair, always the hair

I got my hair highlighted this afternoon for the first time since October.

I was considering being a brownhead, since it was so grown out. However, the problem is that my normal hair color, as far as I can tell, is a flat kind of mousy brown. But I still have the blonde skin. My hair kind of needs to be blonde to brighten up my face.

And so I'm reblonded.


What I'm considering, and I'll have to dig up photos to post, is cutting my hair super short. And dyeing it platinum. I had it that way for several years and I loved it.

Although the last time I did this was in W's first term. A long time ago. I worry that by now I'm too old, and should just be more conservativey.

Also, if I regret it, it's a year of ugly-inbetween-no-style before it grows out enough.

I discussed it with my stylist, who is all up for chopping my hair this spring. Or not.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

And the snows of yesteryear are right here. In case anyone is still wondering.

Um, it's snowing. Uh-gain. And still.

It's the same damn thing everyone is saying. There isn't a whole lot more to say. Except holy crap, is this a lot of snow!

We look out the window first thing in the morning.
It's very blowy outside.
The snow performed a swirly dance.
And left lace on this window.
And now, in lieu of cars, we have powdery white mastodons silently sleeping on the street.
It's lovely and peaceful.
And also really fucking annoying in a hard-to-walk-blow-straight-up-your-nose-if-you-poke-it-outside kind of way. Enough with the neiges d'antan already.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Saturday snowmageddon (sn)outing

We examine the snow situation. Determination 1: very snowy. Determination 2: must leave the house.
We shovel. And shovel. And shovel.
We suit up.
We go on an adventure!
We are kind of over it, but we humor Mama by posing for a picture. We refuse to feign delight, however.

Aaaaand wow am I a full-on mommyblogger.

I think the last time I was snowed in I spent the day playing drinking Jenga with my housemates. And then at 3 am Maude and I ran around the block naked but for boots and hats. It might've been on a dare. But it might've been for self-amusement.

Because, you know, there was a lot of nakedidity in our lives back then.

It turns out that when everything is snowed under, and a car comes down the street with headlights on, hiding behind a snow-covered bush gets you pretty much nowhere.

As I recall. Age and motherhood takes a toll on the memory, you know.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

How to be embrace the fact that you never gave up on profanity

1. Live in a house with radiator heat.

2. And also one old boiler that supplies all hot water for the house, including aforementioned radiators. (Note: foreshadowing!)

3. Wait for Snowmaggedon DC 2010! Biggest snow of the year/the decade/the ever! Lots of snow! Freezy fucking freezing!

4. Suddenly notice that it has gotten progressively colder in the house.

5. Realize that not only does the thermostat register coldy-cold, but in fact, radiators are no longer radiating.

6. Ask husband to fix the situation. Have full confidence, as not only is he handy, but he's remedied this before.

7. Be told by husband that the pilot light for the boiler, the goddamnedsonofabitchemeffing boiler, is off and refuses to go back on. And the boiler guy, whose number husband apparently has on speed dial, cannot come over (see #3 Snowmageddon). Until Monday.

8. Swear profusely. Repeat this step as often as necessary. Also maybe stamp feet. For warmth. And emphasis.

9. Ask neighbor, who is over hanging out, to borrow space heaters.

10. Pray that the power doesn't go out.

Fuck fuck fuckity fucking goddamn fuckaliciousness fuckity fuck! For example.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Snow! And dragon wrestling!

I was really wishing I could live-blog from Safeway, where I waited in line for over an hour with the rest of the milk-, eggs-, beer-, miscellaneous food-needing world. Mainly because I needed some entertainment.

The bulk of my waiting time was actually in the beer aisle, and this woman in front of me and I considered furtively opening beers and drinking to pass the time.

However, we did not.

And now I'm home - my office closed at one because of The Big Snow!

So for those of you stuck inside without adequate entertainment, I offer you a baby wrestling a dragon. Not to boast, but Big J's got some great moves.

Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Because who doesn't hear "blizzard" and think "penis," really?

So if you know me, you know that I take any and all inclement weather completely personally.

And so now I am all, what is this blizzard bullshit snow and snow and snow? And, really, on the weekends, goddammit?

Because snow is kind of fun once. Ooh, snow! Fun pictures! Look at the pretty trees, all covered in white!

And then after that, if it doesn't shut down my office, I am over it.

Yes, it's lovely and magical and no two snowflakes are alike and blah blah blah. I know. Whatever.

So on Tuesday, Nick emailed to say they were predicting 6" of snow.

And I thought two things: 1. Excellent! This will surely shut down my office! And, 2. That's more snow than the average length of penis in the US!

The visual I had was of all these men prostrate in the snow, poking their penises in to see if they were longer than the snowstorm.

Anyway, if I had a penis, that's totally what I'd do.

I said this to Jenny. Who didn't know about my list of all the places I'd put my penis if I had one. So I told her about that as well. So she wouldn't think this was completely bizarre-o out of the blue.


So then she was all,"Yeah, but by Nick's age, the novelty would've worn off, so you probably wouldn't be all that interested in putting your penis in random places."

"But I meant like me, now."

"Oh, well, if you could suddenly have a penis, that would be awesome! Don't you think?"

And I was about to agree until I realized it's the kind of awesome that would most likely lead to your husband divorcing you.

I haven't asked him. But don't you think?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I myself dabbled in pacifism once. Not in 'Nam of course.

From: Lisa
To: Nick
Sent: Wed, February 3, 2010 10:30:04 AM
Subject: small victories

I just had a huge poo and then as I was washing my hands this woman I loathe walked into the stall I had just used.

From: Nick
To: Lisa
Sent: Wed, February 3, 2010 10:45:21 AM
Subject: Re: small victories

Jordan had the same wicked smile you get this morning when I was wiping poo off of his back, my hands, my shirt...It runs in the family.

From: Lisa
To: Nick
Sent: Wed, February 3, 2010 11:37:13 AM
Subject: Re: small victories

Boy, I wish I could poo on her.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I’ve been sizing you up and stuff. Watching you live life large enough for the both of us.

As you know, I have a girnormous boy.

Everyone comments on how big he is. Strangers, guessing his age, are always surprised. They always exclaim at how big and healthy he is.

They say things like, "He must be a good eater!" and "So big and strong!" and "What a big, handsome boy!"

And of course I agree. But I know his size is seen as a positive because he's a boy.

Whereas Baby Bird's experience with her daughter has been the complete opposite - and I know it's because she has a girl. (A deliciously adorable one at that.)

In a similar vein, Wendy wrote about having a little baby girl and thinking about size and body issues, even this young.

But this is how the world is. It doesn't surprise me at all.

When I was pregnant, I was really thinking about how it would be to raise a daughter. Because food is less complicated for me than it used to be. But it's not uncomplicated.

But I have a boy. A big healthy boy.

And you know, I have to say, I was initially surprised at how many strangers are interested in babies. Me, I'm always accosting people with puppies. But babies?

Both men and women seem to go out of their way to peer in at the baby. I get all kinds of random comments.

I'm used to it now.

But in the beginning, when people would say how big Jordan is, I'd kind of feel the need to explain.

So early on, I was waiting for a light with him in his stroller, and this woman asked his age, and then of course said some version of, "He's a big boy!"

I replied, "Yes. My husband is enormous."

And then - and I suppose this was to explain how he has generations worth of big genes, I added, "And so's his father."

And in a moment that in retrospect is kind of like Tori and the breast respect, I realized that she might not know I meant Nick's father.

And then the light changed.

And off we went.

Monday, February 01, 2010

You got your momma's taste but you got my mouth

I moved back to this area from California ten years ago this fall.

I got to town with no job, and moved in with my parents while I looked. And then I found a job, which turned out to be an easy commute from their house.

Ultimately, I lived with my parents for a couple years.

Truthfully, I'd have kept living with them until I got married, if we lived somewhere that that was socially acceptable. And I wouldn't have been able to afford to buy a condo if I hadn't lived at home and saved money.

But really, I enjoyed their company. It was nice to see them all the time. And, quite frankly, I worried about my dad. I wanted to be there in case.

I did, however, have to constantly defend it when I met new people. Because people think you are weird if you live with your parents as an adult.

And I am weird, it's true, but that was the least of it.

Eventually I bought a place in DC, and moved out, and still saw them on weekends. The distance was good; the nearness was also good.

I'd still sleep over sometimes, like on nights when Betty and I stayed up till 4 am watching episode after episode of the Sopranos. Or Six Feet Under. Or playing double solitaire.

Really, I just plain liked hanging out with them.

I wasn't embarrassed about it. I grew up with us moving and moving, with my family as the only constant in my life. Apparently because of this, Foreign Service families tend to be extremely close.

However, about the same time, the son of old family friends moved back in with his parents to save money while in grad school.

I think that maybe being a guy, it was harder for him to explain.

Because when asked, he would tell people that he was temporarily living with a middle-aged couple in Bethesda.