Monday, August 31, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I am so unhip it is a wonder my bum doesn't fall off

So yesterday on NPR's "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook , (airs locally from 10-noon with an encore from 7-9pm), the guest was a woman who has written a book about how to raise kids according to your values even if they are in opposition to today's media-intensive lifestyle. She has three teenagers, and she talked about how parents need to pay attention to what is popular in order to parent effectively; in other words, if you want to keep your kids from listening to music with misogynistic lyrics, you have to pay attention to the lyrics so you know which songs to forbid. She also said that because of all her work paying attention to pop culture, her kids' friends actually think she's cool.

All this is to say that if I'm going to have to know what is cool when Jack and Nora are teenagers, I'm seriously screwed. Do you see up there where I recited the host and schedule for NPR's "On Point"? I did that from memory. I can do that with the entire rest of their on-air schedule from 6am-10pm. And did you know that the 9-10am hour of "Weekend Edition" is a repeat of the 8-9am hour?

I did.

Bonus unhip points to anyone who recognizes my title!

Friday, August 21, 2009

We interrupt this birth story to say...

Have you ever noticed that babies can be quite comfortable even though their necks look broken?

Broken neck

In that picture, Nora is not, in fact, lying sideways in the car seat. Her feet are at the bottom of that photo. I know.

In other news, this was going on in front of our house today:


It was very exciting, albeit loud - sometimes to a scary level. Jackhammers, you know. And it was also entrapping, since that digger is at the end of my driveway.

Still, it made for some light entertainment.




In that last one, he's making "zshoooozsh" noises, because his arm was the... white bendy thing on the end of the water utility truck in the photo behind him.

Man, it's a good thing he's so cute sometimes, because he's almost three. And he acts like a three-year-old.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nora’s Birth Story: Part The Second

And where was I? Ah, yes. Vomiting. Or rather, NOT vomiting, thanks to my trance, assisted by my magical hypnobirthing CD. This greatly encouraged me, and I was very optimistic about making it through the entire labor drug-free. So when Nora’s due date arrived, I was ready. My bag was packed. (Well, my bag was metaphorically packed. I didn’t actually pack it till several days past her due date.) (I hate packing.)

Sadly, despite the due date’s being CLEARLY MARKED on the calendar, Nora was not ready then. When she still wasn’t ready a week later, I was once again forced to choose between the hypnobirthing philosophy of non-intervention and what I secretly really wanted - to get that baby the hell OUT. I was pretty damn miserable by the end, there, so when I had my last regular appointment on my due date and the nurse practitioner told me I was – wait for it – ZERO CENTIMETERS dilated, it was not too difficult for her to convince me to schedule my induction for eight days following. So I did, even though by rights and birth plan, I should have insisted upon waiting until the last possible minute. But, damn. Zero centimeters! I couldn’t work with that!

I spent the next week curb-walking, eating eggplant, and weeping. The first two things were supposed labor-inducing activities, the last was just what one does when one is a bajillion-months pregnant with a toddler at home. One weeps. On Saturday, three days post-due, Andrew and I took Jack to the park and while we were there I thought I felt the start of something. I had somewhat regular contraction-like twinges for an hour or two, and we even made a few phone calls to figure out where Jack might be spending the night. But then they passed, and there was much weeping and rending of garments.

Fortunately, I only had to make it five more days, but you will have to wait until Part the Third to find out whether I did or not, because my time is up. (Spoiler alert: I made it.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sticker charts: Socially condoned child-bribing

Latest post up at

Jack is almost three. (Insert your own “where-did-my-baby-go” comments here.) He’ll be three in October, just over two months from now but, aside from one successful peeing incident three months ago and a couple of earnest attempts, there has been no progress on the potty-training front. If anything, there has been backsliding, because Jack expresses a total lack of interest where he used to consent at least to sitting on the potty and/or toilet to see if anything would come out.

I have to admit that we were not trying that hard either, especially as my pregnancy progressed and I got larger and less able to deal with… anything. By eight months, I was lucky to make it through the day, so I was not about to fight with a small person about sitting on a toilet seat.

Read more at!

Read more at The Bump!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nora’s Birth Story: Part The First

I never wrote Jack’s birth story, because while I like to read other people’s birth stories, I just didn’t feel like I wanted to share Jack’s. Perhaps it was too private, but I think it’s more likely that I didn’t know how to tell it ironically and match the overall tone of my blog. Besides, at the time I was still laboring under the delusion that I was writing a blog about my time in grad school, and a birth story didn’t fit with that theme.

But now that I’ve given up on the grad school theme, I’m quite interested in sharing Nora’s birth story, if only because of the sharp contrast with Jack’s. You see, I went into labor on my own with Jack two days after his due date, and he was born 22-27 hours later, depending on whether or not you count the initial, essentially painless hours. With Nora, I was induced eight days after her due date and she was born five hours later. I KNOW. I was happy about that also.

For both births, I planned to use hypnobirthing to get me through without medication for as long as I could stand it. We took a class when I was pregnant with Jack, and I gave a lot of lip service to how I was really going to try to get it to work, but I always made sure to add that I would have an epidural if I needed one. I also decided that if I had to have Pitocin at any point, I’d definitely get the epidural.

Now here’s the thing. Looking back at my labor with Jack, I have to admit that I did not, in fact, really give hypnobirthing a try. Andrew and I had all these scripts he was supposed to read to me to help me go into my relaxed state, but we did not use a single script. I tried to relax, but I hadn’t really practiced that much, so when my labor stalled out at six centimeters, my doctor said she wanted to start me on Pitocin and I said, “Sounds great! Epidural, please!”

Now, according to our birth plan and the hypnobirthing philosophy, I should have said I wanted to try natural methods before resorting to the Pitocin. But although I didn’t admit it to myself at the time, I was looking for an excuse to have the epidural. My somewhat half-hearted attempt at hypnobirthing wasn’t cutting it, and I was tired and in pain and there was no end in sight.

I don’t regret having the epidural. My labor with Jack was long and difficult, and I ended up pushing for three hours, nine hours after getting the drugs. I don’t know how it would have turned out had I not been able to rest in the middle, and, of course, the main thing is that Jack arrived hale and healthy. I did, however, regret not giving hypnobirthing a genuine try, and I wanted to do better the second time around.

So this time, I practiced. We didn’t end up rehearsing with the scripts very much, but I took time most days listen to the hypnobirthing CD and practice putting myself in a trance. I did my breathing exercises at night and in the morning, and eventually got skilled enough to put myself under without the CD. I even got to practice under stress one night when I woke up due to nausea; after throwing up for about forty-five minutes I wanted to stop so I put on the headphones and made myself relax, and I was able to fall asleep. Very promising.

And with that, my fifteen minutes are long past, so I’ll have to wrap this up later.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's a backhanded INSULT

My third sister (fourth sibling), hereafter known on this blog as "Mad Dog," her family nickname as a teenager (HILARIOUS to those of us who know her, it is ironic and yet... not. This is impossible to explain on the blog, sorry) said I could post this story even though it is rightfully hers.

Mad Dog was out with her three boys (currently 7, 2, and 1) and a stranger stopped to admire them. He particularly admired the 2-year-old, saying, "Wow, you sure are a gorgeous little boy. Your father must be really good looking!"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Photo update

In other news...

Jack likes the pool



and Nora likes her mobile.