msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
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« March 2005 | Main | May 2005 »

April 13, 2005

Doggie or Duck?

I think things are looking up. No major snot this morning from Julian's nose. A bit of fussing and whining, but not nonstop like the past few days. He still has trouble laying down to sleep without massive infusions of cold medicine to unstuff his nose...in fact, he is sleeping on my back in his Kozy Carrier right now.

At 12:30pm he was still climbing all over me and totally fired up in bed, with raspiness and snot-rattling every time I tried to lay him down. Ashley comes over at 2:00pm, so I made the executive decision to put him in his KC for yet another nap, since that's the sure-fire method of getting him asleep in less than 5 minutes. This time it took about 3 minutes, tops. I put him in his KC and then sit on an exercise ball and bounce gently. TKO in no time! It pretty much kills my back to wear 23 pounds on my back while sitting in a chair typing for an hour, but oh well. Good thing I come from sturdy German/Norwegian stock, that's all I can say.

Cute Baby J story that I actually remembered to include here:

Julian Baker, Master of Communication

The other morning Julian woke me up to pee at his usual time, about 7:00am. Usually he stays up after that, but he is so tired from being sick and not sleeping enough that he fell back asleep on the toilet *while* peeing. I carried him back to bed and laid him down next to me, since I was exhausted and sick too.

He barely opened his eyes, struggled to his knees, and gave me the sign for "milk" (opening and closing of the hand). I pulled him in and nursed him, and he sighed with contentment. He started to go back to sleep, but then heard a bird loudly peeping outside the window. With his eyes closed, he unlatched just long enough to announce to me, "DUCK!" and then went back to nursing himself to sleep.

So yes, we have three words now: DOGGIE, DADDY, and DUCK. Mama, I'm not sure about. He doesn't really ever use it to refer to me, it's more like an amusing sound he makes from time to time.

DUCK came about during a walk on the Los Gatos Creek Trail the other day. Thee are tons of birds in the Creek and the big groundwater recharge percolation ponds nearby, especially ducks and Canada Geese. Little Man was pointing at ducks as we walked by, so I told him "DUCK", and, duck being a single-syllable D-word, he picked up on it right away. Then we passed some geese, and he said "duck!" and pointed to them excitedly. Hmmm, well...'geese, not ducks', said the taxonomist in me, but J wasn't too jazzed about the word goose. OK, OK, close enough. More ducks, which he correctly identified. Then some coots, which were also labeled as ducks. And the final insult...a pigeon flew up, landed near our feet, and Little Man proudly proclaimed it a "duck!". Not one to rain on anyone's parade, I decided to just go along with it. "That's right, DUCK!", I said. What the hell.

Here's the formula then:

Animal with 4 legs = DOGGIE

Animal with 2 legs = DUCK

I've tried to clarify the situation, using complicated terms as BIRD. I have pointed out repeatedly that horses and lions and all kinds of other animals have their own names and are not all DOGGIES, but he just looks at me like I'm nuts. *He* knows what's up. Doggies and Ducks, that's all there is to it! What part don't I understand?

He is not only walking now, but running! Never mind that he hasn't exactly mastered walking yet, and still falls down all the time... big, dramatic cartoony falls where he practically does 360 degree aerial somersaults. I keep looking around for the banana peel on the floor.

BOTH legs fly up in the air most of the time, and sometimes he'll almost click his heels together before he falls down. It's really very funny. And he has somehow managed to avoid any major trauma up until now, knock wood. He'll fall BOOM with his head just millimeters away from some sharp furniture edge or corner of the wall, and I sweat bullets. But what can you do? I can't exactly round off every single surface in our house. We're as childproofed as you can possibly be. I just hope our lucky streak continues. Cross your fingers for us.

Ogre Mother has been making an appearance lately. I don't like her at all. I wish she would go away.

Ogre Mother takes over when I'm feeling very stressed, sick, tired, or D: all of the above. When Ogre Mother is in the house and Julian starts up his nonstop crying/whining routine, it matters not that Julian's Real Mama knows that he's just feeling miserable/sick/tired. Ogre Mother needs that crying/whining/fussing to STOP RIGHT NOW. CUT IT OUT. NOW. or else she will go berserk and start throwing dishes and screaming obscenities and beating the other occupants of the household.

That explains why a nice loving mama like me actually put her screaming boy in his room, closed the door, and let him scream bloody murder for 5-10 minutes the other day while she washed a few dishes and took a little tour of the yard. It was all Ogre Mother's fault. She couldn't take it. And the Real Mama didn't want any dish-throwing or obscenity yelling or beatings to happen, so she put J in his room for safekeeping until she could wrestle the Ogre Mother back into her cave and make her go away. Sigh.

Happily, J didn't seem to suffer any permanent trauma as a result, except that he had hiccups from crying so much for ten minutes straight. But methinks he would have been crying anyways. Real Mama felt awful. But it was better than letting Ogre Mother have her way.

The only reason that I telling you this is that there is a Code of Silence that mothers typically never break. I am just realizing this Code exists. It's somewhat sinister. Basically, the Code says that you must only talk lovingly about your offspring, and proclaim loudly at all times how wonderful and miraculous motherhood is. What you don't EVER do is tell people that you almost lost your mind today from the kid screaming or biting or whatever normal horrible thing that all kids do to drive their mothers absolutely bonkers.

True, motherhood IS wonderful and magical. But there are also times when your adorable child drives you insane and you fantasize about strangling them, giving them away to passing strangers, or maybe just slapping them silly. I really think all moms have these fantasies and are horrified by them...luckily not all of us act on them, though sadly some do. I always joke that I'm about to sell Julian on eBay for a $0.01 starting bid ('cause I'm geeky like that).

I confessed to some other moms in playgroup today that I put Julian in his room and let him scream for ten minutes when I JUST COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. And every one of them had done the same at some point. But were any of them talking about it? Hell NO! As far as I knew, I was the only mom losing her shit last week and everyone else had picture-perfect storybook kids and nothing but smiles and giggles. Wrong!

So I'm blowing the Code of Silence. I don't think it helps anyone. All kids drive their parents crazy sometimes, and all parents feel like they are going to lose it at some point. Can we just admit that and find better ways to deal with it? It doesn't make any of us bad, just normal.

What else in Julian news? Let's see...my previously unfussy eater is now picky about everything that I put in front of him. Probably just this stupid flu making yet another aspect of my life incredibly difficult. He will still eat eggs and string cheese. But everything else is hit or miss. I'm just really glad that he's still nursing, because at least I know he's still getting some good nutrition. The downside is that he's nursing like a newborn...every 2-3 hours the milk sign comes out, 24 hours a day. Ninety percent of the time I don't mind, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, but sometimes I really wish he'd eat some mashed veggies instead, know what I mean?

His bottom molars are all the way through the gums, the top molars are halfway through, and we're almost there with his canines, both top and bottom. The end is in sight, as far as teething.

Come May, I'm done with my job. The HELL with that job. I'm so sick of it and so stressed out by it, I just can't wait until it's over, honestly. Maybe my big fear will come true and I'll turn into a vegetable with nothing interesting to say to anyone if I don't work a corporate job anymore, but I doubt it. With large daily doses of NPR I think I can avoid that. I think Stay At Home Mom has to be better than Bitchy Stressed to the Max Mom. I know everyone in this house would agree.

OK, that's it for now. Except that I'm now selling the fabulous and indispensable Ergo baby back carriers for $89 (standard retail price), and making my own wrap carriers (for littler babies) out of lovely soft and durable 100% hemp summercloth. Hand-dyed in beautiful colors, with little details you can't find in other carriers. Sixty-nine bucks. My own design! I'll post something more when I can. My next venture.

April 08, 2005

Sometimes being Mom SUCKS

The Universe is playing another sick joke on me. Just as I wrote yesterday about how completely crappy and exhausting the last 2-3 weeks have been, but now things are looking up and Baby J is not sick or teething so hard anymore....yeah, guess what happened?

It started out fine. We went to El Quito Park yesterday afternoon and played in the sand, slid down the slides, climbed on a bunch of stuff, got some good swinging in...had a rollicking good time. Then when we got home I suddenly felt completely nauseous. I couldn't even make or eat dinner, I just laid on the couch and watched Julian run around and play while I turned nastier shades of green. Dan is out of town on business, so he wasn't around to commiserate with me or pat my head or anything.

I literally couldn't pull myself up off the couch. I was watching a Discovery Channel show by Thomas Friedman about why Europe hates us (um, because we are a bunch of arrogant, warmongering, polluting, resource-sucking, unilateralist bastards? Well, not me personally, but you know what I mean). Then I tried to get up off the couch to take Julian to bed at 9:00pm, because he was getting tired and it was way past his bedtime, but I was just completely knackered. Every time I moved I felt like throwing up.

Finally heaved myself into the bathroom and gave him a quick rinse, put his jammies on, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and got into bed. Apparently I wasn't the only one feeling sick. Julian woke up almost every hour to scream piteously and demand nursing and peeing until about 5:00am, at which point I lost my mind and stopped responding to him. I just put the pillow over my head, curled up in the fetus position and let him cry. It only lasted a minute or two, then he fell asleep curled around my head on the pillow like a cat. After that we slept uninterrupted until 8:00am. Oh, and I was FREEZING all night long, in spite of two blankets and the heater on 67 degrees, which is hot for this house.

This morning has been horrendous. Julian has been crying and screaming and has fluids squirting from his eyes, nose and mouth. I made us both some oatmeal with blueberries and some chamomile tea. We both feel like utter CRAP, apparently. Except I've got no Mama taking care of me. Boy, it really sucks to be the Mama when there's sickness going around.

Oh Jesus God, the phone is ringing. If the baby wakes up I am going to kill someone, I really am. Why oh why didn't I turn that thing OFF?

And I have a nagging voice telling me how I am now behind on the stupid mockups that I am doing for Nameless Yahoo! Division, but you know what? Screw it. I am SICK and this job is history in a month anyways.

Oh God noooooooooooo, he's awake! I can't believe that we're going to go through this torture again, only DAYS after the last round ended and life was looking up finally.

Wait, IS he up? He was coughing, but I don't hear the screaming cry that normally comes afterwards when he wakes up from illness after only 30 minutes of napping.

The PHONE again! I HATE THAT PERSON, WHOEVER THEY ARE! See how crazy this makes me?

April 07, 2005

Work SUCKS

Work SUCKS. Like an IDIOT, I signed up to help out a big division of Yahoo! (which shall remain nameless) with some product mockups, and it has turned into the project from HELL. Sucks up every spare moment of the day, and I don't even get any of those to begin with. I'm up every night until midnight-1:00am working on this crap. AAARRRGGGGHHHHH!

So yeah, that's why you haven't heard from me lately. The only reason you're hearing from me right now is that Julian is taking an incredible 2.5 hour (so far) nap, and I just said fu-- this, I'm going to make a teeny, tiny, very short journal entry just to let people know that I'm still alive.

Strangely enough, now that I've decided to not do web design work anymore, the job offers and inquiries are pouring in. It's completely ridiculous. I had 4-5 recruiters contact me just last week. The Universe is seriously playing with me. I even interviewed a nanny today just to see what was up, and she was great, but it would cost over $900/month just to have her come over 2 days a week, and I'm not ready or able to part with that much cash. I mean, what would I be working for, just to pay the nanny? And if we go on a vacation or leave town, I still have to pay her, even if she's not working. Hey, I know...she still has to eat, even if we decide to take off somewhere, but yeeesh.

Julian is walking and seems to understand most of what I say. He is also eating like a champ all of a sudden...waaaaay more than he ever has in the past. Total developmental burst!

We had a very VERY rough patch for about two weeks right when Ashley the Babysitter was on vacation in Costa Rica. J had TEN new teeth coming in all at once, including four molars and four canines. You will hear parents moaning and groaning and bewailing their very existence when even ONE molar or ONE canine makes its appearance, so pity poor me with FOUR molars, FOUR canines and then two other teeth to boot all coming in. Actually, pity poor Julian, but hell...he won't remember this dark period and I will. Plus THEN he got a cold and couldn't breathe or sleep. Tylenol was my only friend, it relieved his pain enough for him to sleep, and for me to regain a tiny shred of my sanity after a full day of nonstop whining and crying and fussing and hitting me in the face, and a full night of wheezing, restlessness, coughing and crying.

Glad to say THAT seems to be over for now, and my smiling, fun-loving boy is back. It was apparently all pain-induced, poor baby boy. And can I just say THANK GOD I am still nursing this baby? Because that was his and my only comfort throughout that horrible sick-teething spell. It made him feel better and it made me feel like I could do something for him rather than just look into his red-bumpy, inflamed mouth and suck snot out of his nose with a bulb.


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