Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Miracle on Vanet Road

I like the idea of many bloggers for "Wordless Wednesday," so I think I might steal the idea. Of course, I will only be able to commit to "Almost Wordless Wednesday." Maybe I'll call it "Jr Varsity Wordless Wednesday" or "Predominately Wordless Wednesday."

I may have been smote by the broken rod, but the cosmos came around again, and Miles slept from 10:15pm until 6am. I'll let you have a moment to pick up your jaw from the floor...(moment)...let's hope for a repeat performance at least once a week from now on. And I just need to learn to go to bed at the same time. Like most moms, when the baby is asleep, you get energized to do all the things on the "to do" list: laundry, washing windows, paying bills, following up on e-mails...but everyone says, when the baby sleeps you need to sleep. I think that was coined by a man who has clearly never had children.

AND, he slept for 1 hour and 45 minutes at the ELC on his TUMMY. Who is this child? Ms. J (the Director) took pictures.


-No brainer: Miles's breakthrough performance at home and at the ELC.

On to the "almost wordless part:"

(full album of pictures found on Picasa)

Miles's first jogging stroller extravaganza.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Corporate Pumping-UPDATED

Tragic update! 10 minutes after my afternoon office exile with Medela, and my shower curtain plummeted to the floor. Karma for trash talking pumping. I have a broken shower rod on hand, but escaped any public humiliation. I need to find a replacement ASAP.

I know, you have all been waiting for this entry-my ode to Medela. Anyone who is anyone with a uterus that has had a tenant is familiar with a bevy of words that make up the "mommy lexicon," for example, Boppy, baby bjorn, pack 'n play...and Medela. Medela is top billing in the world of pumping. Much like most of the decisions Eric and I made around May 16th, my purchase of the Medela "freestyle" pump was quick and uneducated. For someone who demands primary and secondary sources when making simple decisions such as what kind of laundry detergent to buy, such hasty activity is not in my comfort zone. But, with the pitocin dripping, and the "surprise! you are having a baby tonight!" many decisions were made off the cuff (e.g. Eric purchasing a new camera in the labor and delivery room).

What does a Milky White do? I consulted with the wonderful lactation staff at the hospital, and told them to lead me to the most powerful pump. The hospital pump was great, but I didn't think that carrying around what looked like an IV pole with a gas tank attached would be good for business when I went back to work, so I opted for the ones meant to function outside of hospital walls. I chose the new freestyle because you can double pump, and the pump is not part of any sort of bag. It is about the size of a walkman. (Yes, that's right, I just threw out an old school walkman reference. Do you remember? The pump is even that sort of yellow like the old walkmans. If you were born prior to, say '89, this reference could be lost on you.) I think I could have purchased a small island in the pacific for the price of the pump, but it was a financial blow I was glad to endure.

Well, glad may be a slight exaggeration. Functionally, I am glad for my Freestyle, but glad is the furthest thing from my mind when I think of the act of pumping, which I have to do many times a day. I guess it doesn't help if you consider some of the highlights of the first week or so of pumping:

-being confined to the NICU pumping suite (and by suite I mean dark cave with chairs that reminded me of a hygienist chairs), staring at the same Dora the Explorer dolly with knotted hair and little kid marker tattooed on her face.

-sitting in exile in my bedroom at home while Miles was in the NICU and my visiting family hung out in the living room.

-and the best: pumping in my father-in-law's minivan while looking at houses to buy as I cried with fatigue, embarrassment and sadness that Miles was still not home.

Four months later, "Freestyle" and I have what I like to consider an arranged marriage. Our union did not surface out of an organic love for one another, but "arranged" by the necessities of a working mom who wishes to breastfeed.

At home, pumping isn't terrible as Eric is accustomed to the rhythmic, almost trance-like quality of the pump (and my lack of being fully clothed). He is used to being my lackey, fetching me seltzer or food. And he wants terribly to be part of the feeding process--we decided early on that breastfeeding wasn't his style--his chest is too hairy.

But corporate pumping has a different flavor. I have an office with a door that locks, phew! But I also have a ceiling to floor window looking out into the hallway right where the back door to the hallway is located. Tante Kari came to the rescue, though, and donated a long curtain and rod that I use while pumping. It looks like my office is the corporate shower stall. So, visual privacy has been established. BUT! that darn pump makes a heck of a lot of noise. I cringe every time I press the "on" button, knowing that if I can hear people next to me and behind me in their offices tippity tappity typing, they can probably not only hear the pump motor, but also the milk hitting the bottle. (Too graphic?) I already dislike the act of pumping (it gives me a strange feeling in my is this nervous feeling I get when I eat too hot oatmeal in the morning. Strange, I know), and it is cumbersome and for me, takes a long time to get little results. Plus, I always have to finish with hand expression (Now too graphic?) because it works better than any machine. So, the whole process is quite a trip.

Speaking of trip, the trip from my office to the freezer is always a joy ride, too. I try to be quick and discrete, but I always feel like I have lights flashing on me that say, "HERE SHE IS! Those bottles are filled with freshly expressed breast milk that she recently pumped while topless in her office!" You know, I have a lot of faith in that curtain rod. It is not hard mounted in the wall. It is a spring-loaded, expandable shower curtain (see link for visual) that has been known to slide down the wall with the weight of the canvas curtain. Luckily, never mid-pump, but can you imagine? It would be like walking down Amsterdam's Red Light district. I just imagine I would drop to the ground and crawl under my desk in shame.

One final note in my pumping thesis--bottle cleaning is the pits. I really, really hate doing dishes. I'll swim knee deep in laundry no problem, but dirty dishes gross me out (and that is even when I am cleaning up my own soiled dishes). As stated before, I am not a huge volume producer, so I pretty much use 2 oz NICU volume feeder bottles I was given while he was in the hospital. I would say I have about fifty of them floating around the house. Well, every time I pump I have to clean the pump parts as well as the 2 oz bottles that I just transfer into my Born Free bottles in the fridge. It gets old REALLY fast. I have started keeping a sudsy bowl in the sink with hot water and all natural soap, and toss the parts and 2 ouncers in there, along with any stray nuks that land on the floor. Then I do one massive clean each night. I know, what about a microwave sterilizer? I am not a huge microwave fan, and do not microwave anything but glass. The truth is, hot, soapy water is just as good as a sterilizer or even the dishwasher. The convenience is lacking, but there are fewer chemicals.

So, that's the skinny on pumping. Speaking of skinny, I do have to acknowledge that I think breastfeeding has contributed tremendously to my body's ability to look like it did a year ago. Notice I did not say "get into shape" because, well, I am not.

Much like a fair bit of my pregnancy, I don't "love" breastfeeding, but am amazed by the process and the fact that our boy has thrived so well--see video proof.

Warning: I have some sort of lapse in judgment, or maybe a slight baby "tic" and mimic a monkey screech at one point. Apologies. I couldn't figure out how to edit it out. It is truly hysterical to hear yourself interact with your own baby. Hysterical...and slightly pathetic.


-A quick gratitude for FALL!!! Georgia is gorgeous right now. (Even if it wasn't, I couldn't get out of town as all of our gas stations are EMPTY).

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Residual hormonal currents

Almost everyone who Miles encounters has something to say like, "wow! he looks like a boy!" "He is such a little man." "What an old soul." "I am sorry to say, but he takes after his Dad." Perhaps it is the natural comb over, but I wouldn't be surprised if Mee-less (Eric's preferred pronunciation) starts sprouting a a 'stash. Well, I guess a soul patch would be more apropos. It makes me laugh when people are apologetic in Miles not looking a lot like me. Let's break this down:
1. Miles is a boy. I kind of prefer that he looks like Pappi. Androgyny isn't terrible in a baby, but there is something reassuring when people quickly tell that he is a boy.
2. I think Eric is the bees knees and the mercury in the cuteness thermometer cracked when I met him. So, if our baby looks like Eric, I am pretty confident we have quite a cute nugget on hand...lazy eye and all.
3. Perhaps his exceptional male body can explain why I experienced a category 5 testosterone hurricane at the Farmer's Market.

I think Miles's manly visage leaked out some residual testosterone on his way out of the canal, and it flowed through my veins with vengeance at the Farmer's Market meat counter. When I was pregnant, I knew my hormones bungee jumped from high to low, but since giving birth, I feel like I have been exuding tolerance and glee...until the meat counter. I cannot chalk it up to being pregnant, so I am just going to assume it is residual hormones. I didn't enter the market in a bad mood; I had spent a great morning (4am-8am) cooing and playing with Miles over warm milk (him) and Anise flavored lactation tea (me). I had one of my favorite breakfasts: banana with melted natural peanut butter. After Eric got up and put on his Dad hat, I knew going to the market awarded me a little "me time".

On to the surge: I approached the meat counter toward the breakfast sausage and ground meat end. There were only 2 other people at the counter, so I imagined securing my meat wouldn't take long. The worker approached, and I point to the couple who was there before me giving the unmistakable sign for "they were here first." I waited patiently as the guy picked out 6 long chicken necks. As if you couldn't guess, about 7 additional "parties" of people approached the counter, but down toward the chicken breast area at the other end. I was still at the ground turkey end, waiting patiently as the only other counter worker started helping all the newbies. I stood firm at the ground meat end knowing that if I moved down, I would just be creating problems: like when people lane change over and over on I-85. So, the chicken neck guy proceeded to get chicken feet, and some unidentifiable part of the chicken that required more cutting. Finally, my turn! I got my ground turkey, and then asked for some chicken breast and chicken thighs, which were located down at the end with the melee of people. I walked down to the other end, and the guy asked if I wanted boneless--I said "yes please!" And then it happened: Some young lady mumbled under her breath something sort of "at" me.

I looked at her and said: "Excuse me?"

Salty Carnivorous Lady: "You know...there is a LINE!!"

I pounced. A primeval verbal leap: "Thanks lady, but I was waiting over 5 minutes down at the other end, before you even GOT to the counter. Next time you police the meat counter, you better check yourself." What's worse is that I felt my head shaking back and forth and even waved my pointer finger. Better that than the "bird" I guess. (And "check yourself?!?!" What does that even mean?)

And then the guy at the counter backed me and said, "She was already there."

Well, the woman wouldn't even look me in the eye, didn't apologize, and just sort of crawled back into place at the counter. She was shocked. Perhaps she was puzzled by my ridiculous appearance: such vile venom oozing from a woman with a new mommy haircut, pearls, sweatpants and keen shoes. I was a hot mess, but I bet most of you new mommies can commiserate with the, "as long as the milking station is not exposed, I am completely presentable for public." I have no idea what came over me. I was fierce. I am relatively non-confrontational, and rarely do something so brash and slightly rude. Perhaps my iron was low and I was protective over the meat, or maybe the weeks of sleep deprivation bubbled into some unavoidable attitude.

So, Salty Carnivorous Lady: I am sorry.

Headline: Miles found his hands!

This week has been full of non-baby stress and deadlines. For some time, the sound of Miles sucking on his Nuk could put your heart back into a normal rhythm, but it has been replaced with a new amazing sound: Miles sucking on his fists. Yup, he found his fists and although cannot quite get the "thumb," likes to lick on his little sausage fingers.

No pictures or videos this time. Lo siento mucho. But, I am including a link to my new favorite commercial. Eric and I sing this to Miles now. "Oh those boys are much too much!"


-I am thankful for our reserve of babysitters. One of the troubles of relying on friends to sit is that if you go out with a lot of them, there is no one to watch the baby! Eric's school is the perfect place to find a reliable sitter. This Saturday night, Eric and I will be out with friends and we are hiring our first High School Sitter! She is a senior, and her mother is one of the childcare workers at Miles's ELC. As much as we love bringing Miles with us everywhere, sometimes it is nice to have a night out without the baby, and we also are trying hard to get him into a regular nighttime schedule and reduce the inconsistencies of our active schedules.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Dirty Nugget

I AM CUTE!!!!!

I never thought I would be excited to dig out the milk films that have taken up residence in our Dirty Nugget's neck folds. (Aunt Studs can be thanked for the Nugget nickname.) But what does it mean? a) I am still producing milk, and b) Miles is consuming enough to prepare him for the harsh Atlanta winters (read: sarcasm). There is so much more to discuss (read: me engaging in a one way, biased conversation with my blog readers), but the mounds of laundry that I need to scale to get out of the family room seem slightly more pressing. I do have to leave the house for my first haircut since Miles has been born, and don't think a nursing bra and spandex leggings are deemed appropriate fashion. Although, it is my house "uniform" of choice.

Headlines/topics to come:
  • Miles found his hands!
  • Bubbles, Bubbles everywhere. Our own Michael "Boo-blay"
  • I want to up! Corporate pumping
  • Miles vs Hugh Hefner: who has more girlfriends?
  • Mrs J: daycare director extraordinaire
  • 11pm-5:30am of silence. One time is enough to keep the dream alive
  • The hunt for cute baby boy clothes: boycott Sponge Bob and Thomas the Tank Engine
Requisite pictures from the recent visit with Opa and Grandma. I have decided that I am going to start uploading our volumes of pictures on a Picasa album, and only post a few of the best. Feel free to explore on your own.

Labor Day:

Grunkle and Aunty M part II:

Opa and G-ma:


I am thankful that my cousin and his girlfriend were able to safely evacuate New Orleans and spend some time zipping around in golf carts in Peachtree City and chill with us in Chamblee. Eric and I had a lovely visit with them, and in a matter of months, Miles will have another playmate! (In fact, there are a few playmates on the way...NOT siblings, yet...)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I won!

This will be quick, but I had to share the news that I won some eco-friendly paper plates and accouterments from Chinet! Google Reader allows me to lurk on a lot of blogs (mostly green mama blogs), but I rarely post on those that aren't "owned" by close friends or family. Well, I actually commented on Green Baby Guide's blog regarding their post on Chinet, and won the giveaway! (I actually bought Chinet for our labor day party this past weekend).

We have a ton of pictures and even videos to post, but that will have to wait. The chaos in our lives continued this past weekend as we had a lovely visit from my in-laws-and immediately put them to work. We:

-installed 2 new toilets (the old ones proved to be older than my in-laws!)
-cleaned the roof of the house
-cut down a tree
-built a new walkway with stone and steppers
-finished the compost pile
-mowed with our dandy eco-friendly push mower!
-built a vent system in our shed
-got all new triple pain energy star windows installed in the whole house
-cleaned the house
-assembled a fire pit
-had a huge labor day party
-had a photo shoot outside with the family

And by "we" I mean the mean the majority of the labor was done by my father-in-law and Eric. We got a lot done, but are paying for the insanity in our schedule with a cranky baby. Miles had an awful day in childcare yesterday. He didn't want to eat, refused his Nuk (now THAT is a shocker), wouldn't sleep, and was tooting up a storm. I am sure my stress leaked straight through to his bottle. It is so true when they say babies can sense when things are "off." He is like a barometer for stress; when our lives spiral out of control, he sends out the alarm through crying and loud gastric booms.

In other news, Miles is turning into a flirt and just loves cooing and smiling on his changing pad--I'll provide some picture documentation later. He still loves to gaze at ceiling fans and bright lights, but the sight of a pretty lady is starting to enchant the little dirty monkey.


(I have neglected this part of my posts, and I have certainly had much to be grateful for in the past few weeks.)

-I am thankful for Mother's Milk tea. Okay, to me, it tastes downright "vomitous" due to the overwhelming anise flavor, but it has accelerated my ability to produce enough milk for Miles. I highly recommend cutting the flavor with a splash of vanilla flavored soy milk.