28 June 2007

the greatest thing since sliced bread?

So, yeah, the iPhone. (click that link -- you will be surprised -- yum!) No, I'm not willing to stand in line for one but I think one will find it's way to me kind of soonish. A few weeks ago I dropped my cell phone three or so times too many. It started falling apart. In my hand. Little pieces breaking off. The top half hanging on to the bottom by less than a thread. I called my oh-so-much-less-than-fabulous provider, the yellow and black one, to discuss my options. My contract has been up for ages and I have loathed them for a lot longer. The ensuing customer service "experience" solidified my desire to ditch them.

In a nutshell, they told me my only option was to pay them full price for a new phone OR sign on for another two years. They knew I could walk but that didn't matter. I asked the person if they would rather lose me as a customer than let me buy a phone on my own and activate it without another contract. I used the words "lose me as a customer" and the rep still said, "Yes." Someone is really slacking in their customer retention skills.

Needless to say, I went to my nearest AT&T store immediately. For a whopping eleven bucks I walked out with a new phone, my old number, and warm fuzzy feelings all over. My sales guy was amazing and since then has even answered questions for me on his day off. He did not, however, divulge anything about the iPhone I didn't already know. He's a good soldier, too.

Now that we know CD will have his own iPhone by the end of July, what about me? It will depend on how supplies hold up since, as I said, I'm not willing to queue for one. Wow, I must be getting old. A few years ago, I'd probably be trying to figure out a way to camp out at a store. Now I'm thinking that if I killed my last phone by dropping it, should I really be trusted with one of these beauties?

26 June 2007

this blog is a toddler

Today is the second birthday of "three dogs and a baby". We are now one dog, one toddler and a baby, but it doesn't have nearly the same ring to it.

I hope we don't have the terrible twos here but it does feel like we're in the throws of toddlerhood. I have been trying to come up with a new name for this blog for longer than I care to admit and I am entirely indecisive about it, just like a toddler. (Milk? No milk. Water. Water? No water. Milk. Rinse, repeat.) I listen to song lyrics (mostly Elvis Costello) and often think I have heard a short phrase that might work. Usually someone has already used it or has an unintended meaning one could attach to it. I hope I am not saying the same thing around this time next year.

25 June 2007

a girly girl?

Could it be? A girly girl? She sure seems to like the dress.

23 June 2007

falling down on the job

more bunny

Melissa reminded me I have been remiss is posting pics of Miss Ellie. There will be more after I get home but here's one to tide you over.

She's wearing her first dress today, to Tika's wedding. That will be one big photo op.

22 June 2007

12 is the new 9 (hours)

Driving 544 miles with a 2 year old and a 9 week old takes 12 hours, especially if you hit the George Washington bridge in NYC at 5:30pm on a weekday, in a thunderstorm.

Children cry when confined to carseats for long periods of time. They occasionally hyperventilate when crying to excess. (I am an expert at this and the apple does not fall far from the tree.)

You have been warned.

19 June 2007

she sleeps

Posting this will no doubt jinx the whole thing but Eleanor SLEEPS!!!! Oh, boy, does she sleep.

Sunday night she went to sleep at 10 pm, following a five ounce bottle with CD, and I woke her up at 5:30 am, after I found myself leaking all over the bed. I pumped the fastest five ounces of my life while she nursed on the other side. She nursed without really waking up and went right back in her crib when she finished. In retrospect, I should have pumped before I went to bed but given Eleanor's history of having a bottle and then being hungry again an hour later, I didn't.

Last night was a near-perfect repeat, except that I pumped while CD gave Eleanor the bottle and I woke her to nurse at 6 am. Once again, she didn't really wake up and once again, I pumped a whole bunch. Had she not done the same thing Sunday night I probably would have chocked it up to getting her first shots yesterday but it really seems like we now have a Baby Who Sleeps Through the Night. At 9 weeks!! Since "sleeping through the night" is defined as a five hour stretch of sleep, we have ourselves an over-achiever. Making up for her brother, who didn't sleep this long until his first birthday, no doubt.

The report from her two week well-baby checkup was all good too. She weighs 6300 grams, is 61 centimeters long, and her head is 40 centimeters in circumference. A big girl all around, but all in the right proportion, according to the doc. He's not one to go over the top at all so when he said, "She looks terrific!" it really meant a lot. I never had enough confidence to view Oliver's milestones as an accomplishment for me, but as with so many things, this time around is a different story.

18 June 2007

a little like falling in love

I am not a natural parent. I have to work at it. Every. Blasted. Minute. Which is probably why I find it so exhausting. While I knew I would walk through fire or throw myself in front of a truck for my children from the moment they were born, if not before, in each case it has taken me a little while to feel at ease with my baby, to feel like I know them.

In the beginning, I have a lot of trouble talking to the baby, especially when we spend long periods without anyone else around. I have to remind myself to do narrate, to use their name, and to let them know what we're going to do together. Slowly, I find myself talking, giving the baby a running commentary on what we're doing and what is going on. Maybe it happens when the baby starts to be more interactive and show glimpses of her personality, I'm not sure. I just know it's not instant kind of thing for me.

Today Eleanor and I were doing lots of errands. We had to go to the Social Security office to get her middle name corrected, to the doctor for her checkup and first round of shots, to a shop to return some trousers that were too large for Oliver and find him more summer pjs, and check in with the painter at the house we are selling. I realized I was not at all self-conscious as I chatted with little Eleanor, walking around the shops, surrounded by strangers.

When we left the last shop it was raining, something that was not happening when we went in and that I was not expecting. As I pushed the stroller back to our car, narrating all the way, it washed over me with the rain. I knew that we fit together, just like that moment you know you're really in love.

I have forgotten exactly when I reached this point with Oliver but today it happened with Eleanor. I'm blogging it so I can look back and remember.

15 June 2007


The frozen milk stash currently stands at 45 ounces, up from a mere 13 before CD left eleven days ago (and light years ahead of the most I ever had with Oliver). That's an average of nearly three ounces added per day. I had hoped to freeze 4-5 ounces but the first few days really kicked my butt and I froze nothing. We will have to start using some of it when CD returns so it doesn't get too old.

We are going to Worcester next week for Tika's wedding. Aunt Suzy will be meeting us there to assist with the child wrangling. Depending on the weather, I will try to bring some frozen milk with me so Aunt Suzy can give Eleanor a bottle or two. I see a bit of wine or champagne in my future....

It may not sound like much to you, but to me those frozen milk sticks feel like a warm fuzzy security blanket.

14 June 2007

taking fashion cues from my son

When I bought these red shoes for Oliver I had no idea they were "cool". I was looking for something that was comfortable, water-friendly, and fast drying. Red was a bonus. He looks good in red.

Only when I took him to school did I find out they were trendy. A little research revealed they were probably a good choice for me too, but I had to wait for a sale. Thank you Hanna.

I feel like one of the cool kids now.

12 June 2007

mixed bag

There's always some bad news mixed in with the good.

Good news: Eleanor slept seven hours last night! (And I was asleep for FIVE of them! It was glorious.) I put her down at 10:15 and woke her up to nurse at 5:15. She went right back to sleep. The return to full swaddling, as well as big doses of fresh air, are good for her sleep. And for mine.

Bad news: As soon as I got back into bed at 5:30 Oliver woke up. He would not go back to sleep. What happened to my boy who slept until 7:30? I'd like him to come back now.


In light of various recent topics you would think it was not possible to gross me out. You would be wrong.

11 June 2007

little babies are portable

Oakmont #12

Eleanor has now been to her first US Open. Maybe someday she will be a famous golfer and can tell people she had "lunch" when she was eight weeks old next to the fairway on number one during the first day of practice rounds in 2007.

I was a bit worried about taking her, though we had practiced long walks in the baby bjorn over the weekend. I was even more worried about breastfeeding at this kind of event. In both cases, my worry was unfounded. She slept until she got hungry and even then she was fairly quiet and not at all disruptive. We sat down under a tree, not far from where tee shots were landing in the first hole fairway and got comfortable. [I should note that "comfortable" is a relative term here. Sitting down is still a bit of a trial, and required a visit with the doc today.]

Oakmont looks fabulous and should be spectacular on TV this weekend, as long as the gorgeous weather continues. I have a Flickr set of a trip to the course last year, a very special walk around part of the back nine with club pro Bob Ford. It was a privilege just to meet Mr Ford. To walk the course and hear him talk about it was an amazing experience. He said it would look different with all the bleachers and towers and tents and he wasn't kidding, but even with all the apparatus it is quite a sight. I have a somewhat twisted love of golf courses, especially since I have never swung a club. Someday....

Eleanor went along on the aforementioned doctor visit this morning. We took the opportunity to weigh her. She's 13 pounds on the official scale. At the same age, Oliver was 11 pounds, 2 ounces. He got to 13 pounds when he was three months old. I try not to compare them but with things like this, where we have such precise records, it is inevitable. Eleanor has been reminding me that she is not her brother since the beginning of the pregnancy. I keep telling her I get the message but she doesn't trust me on that yet.

10 June 2007


It was a pretty good night. Eleanor had a bath and went to sleep around 9:45pm. She cried once about 15 minutes later but went right back to sleep. I didn't hear from her for about 5 hours. She nursed on one side only so I pumped the other, around 3am! She woke up again around 5:30. Nursing was interrupted by a very loud THUD from next door, as in Oliver's room, not the neighbors. He fell out of bed, only the second time since moving to the toddler bed in January.

When I went in to help him he was shaking, not something I have ever seen him do. When it became clear he wanted breakfast instead of more sleep it was also clear that Eleanor wanted the rest of her breakfast too. We all piled into the big bed. Eleanor finished nursing and Oliver got over his rude awakening.

We made another sojourn into Squirrel Hill, but only as far as Starbucks for a snack. We left later and it was warmer, and I was sweatier as a result. Oliver once again enjoyed seeing the dinosaur at the Children's Institute. Did I mention that yesterday? Today he sang his dinosaur song most of the way, when he wasn't yelling, "Dinosaur, where ARE you?" or singing "Happy Birthday" to the dinosaur (or sometimes to the sausages). He was happy to come home and shoot a few hoops. After spending the first few days concentrating on his dunk, he's now sinking them regularly from three or four feet away. When you are two, that qualifies as an outside shot.

They are both asleep so I'm going to go get a shower. It seems we are hitting our stride with this solo parenting stuff.

09 June 2007

calgon, take me away

Does anyone else remember those Calgon commercials? Screaming children, barking dogs, other noises -- until the bathroom door closes.... I know, I'm dating myself again.

Tonight was one of those times. Oliver had a melt down of epic proportions at bed time. My bruises should be gone by the time CD returns home. It came out of nowhere. We had a relatively good day, considering it was day six of no daddy and day two of no school, due to Friday being an in-service day. It was a wonderful no humidity, no clouds kind of day so we spent the morning walking to Squirrel Hill, about a mile each way. Eleanor slept in the baby bjorn and Oliver sang songs and waved at everyone. We all got some fresh air and I got some much needed exercise so it was all good. Oliver took a 2+ hour nap so the meltdown was a big surprise.

At the same time as the meltdown Eleanor was having a poop, also of epic proportions, since she had not pooped in over 122 hours, thus breaking her previous record from last week. I wish I had weighed her earlier in the day, after she fired a warning shot in the form of a skid mark, to let me know what was coming. She's up to 12 pounds, 13 ounces, which seems like a loss since last week. That was after the poop and in just a diaper. I had been weighing her clothed last week. I refuse to worry about it. She will go to the doc for her first round of shots in a little over a week so we will get a more official weight then. I can just observe the little fat rolls on her thighs until then.

The sleep problems got worse earlier in the week but did get better last night. On Wednesday night Eleanor nursed hourly, all bloody night. Last night she only got up twice. I can live with that. I'm starting to think anything more than three hours is a great night.

The support and encouragement from the west coast is just overwhelming. I think I hate iChat. Is there anything worse than a dangling, unanswered IM? (that's a rhetorical question) My mood will no doubt improve when WWDC is over. It would be slightly better if the SteveNote was webcast live and I could play bingo.

08 June 2007

basketball jones

Aunt Suzy must have heard Oliver was in danger of being sold on eBay while CD is away. She sent this Oliver-sized basketball hoop.

Some new sod (and absence of pachysandra) are visible in the background.

This is photo #100 in the New House set on Flickr, a good one to end with.

06 June 2007

one more for the misery column

Just when I thought the post-partum issues were behind me...little did I know. A classic problem has reared its ugly head, again. Breastfeeding is hard enough without it being really, really painful to sit down.

05 June 2007

yawn, yawn, yawn my sleepies out

The title of this post is taken from one of Oliver current favorite tunes, "Shake My Sillies Out". Raffi is not my favorite but I found "Shake" on iTunes so we have it and I'll oblige when he asks for it, which is nearly every day. It's so much cuter when he asks for "Baby Oooga" (Baby Beluga) though.

I'm doing lots of yawning now. There isn't much sleep happening for the grown up at our house just now. For the last two nights, Eleanor has been looking for that late night bottle with her dad and it hasn't been happening since he's in California, gearing up for WWDC. She has been generally fussy and wanting to nurse frequently from about 8:30pm onwards, until 11pm when she pulls up a stool at the milk bar and refuses to leave. We go to bed and keep switching sides until she crashes, about two hours later. It's hard to say if she's satisfied or just tired and giving up.

As a result of all this fun, I'm not pumping as much as I expected in the morning, I'm very sore, and I'm exhausted. My action plan includes going back on Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, the magic herbs when I was nursing Oliver. I took them by the handful about four times a day and they worked wonders. I started out taking them as soon as Eleanor and I came home from the hospital but after a week I had plenty of milk and stopped, noticing no decrease in my milk supply. Now, however, I think I need them.

I hope my body is able to adapt to the new schedule, and soon.

03 June 2007

pumping without pressure

CD is abandoning us leaving tomorrow for the annual pilgrimage to WWDC, a 12 day trip this time. I survived his last trip of six days and will surely survive this one as well, though probably not without at least a little help. Having an extra adult around from 6-8 pm was extremely beneficial for all of us last time.

There is one small bonus to CD's departure. My frozen stash of milk is likely to expand significantly from the paltry 13 ounces currently squirreled away.

CD likes to give Eleanor a bottle each evening and I like the extra sleep it affords. In order to accomplish this I have to make sure I pump 3-5 ounces of milk each day. I generally have extra in the morning so at the feeding around 4:45 am Eleanor takes one side only and I pump the other. If I didn't, milk would shoot across the room....and we really don't like to waste it! I do the same at the next feeding, usually between 7:30 and 8:30 am. Getting five ounces has been surprisingly easy, at least to me. (The difference in milk supply this time around is striking. I never leaked a drop last time. It was as though I had exactly enough and no more. This time I have leaked, copiously, on many occasions. Each time I'm annoyed, but also secretly, at least until now, very proud of my superpower milk making capabilities.)

It's no doubt a hold-over from last time but I still get a touch of "performance anxiety" when I know I have to produce a certain amount of milk via the pump. I pump the most milk when I'm reading a magazine or book, not watching the bottle and counting every drop that lands in it. Not only will I be able to pump without pressure for the next 12 days, every additional ounce I freeze results in even more security. I know that I can pull out an ounce or two if I don't pump enough, or I can be away for a little while (a date with CD, perhaps?) and she won't starve, or I could get sick for a little while (not outside the realm of possibility given the lack of sleep) and she would be fine.

I would rather have CD around for the next 12 days than have a big supply of frozen milk, but I'm choosing to look for a bright side for a change. (Stay tuned for our regularly scheduled bitching...likely to return after a few days of flying solo.)

CODE BROWN update: Grunting....we have lots and lots of grunting! I am smelling odors and hearing sounds that make me think we may finally have a poop... a mere 113 hours since the last one. Of course, Eleanor could just be teasing me. I was sure the last diaper change would be "the one" and I was wrong.

and one more CODE BROWN update: Woo Hoo! She wasn't teasing me. I have never been so happy to see a poopy diaper.

Last update: The first poop was reasonable. And the second? I need a shower.

02 June 2007

count UP to code brown?

This is one of those TMI posts, one that will surely embarrass my daughter someday and one that "non-breeders" should probably skip. Run along. Nothing to see here.

Eleanor is now at 96 hours without a poop. Tuesday night she had a rather spectacular one, but nothing since then. Yesterday I woke up thinking, "She will poop today. She couldn't possibly go this long without pooping." I spent the whole day prepared for a volcano of poop, or at the very least, a TAE. I went nowhere without extra clothes, diapers, and wipes. Today we just didn't go anywhere, and warned all who passed through our front door that "she could blow at any moment." Needless to say, none of our visitors were inclined to hold her.

She's perfectly happy and doing everything else she should. The doc says not to worry. Excuse me while I go down another handful of raisins. We're hoping for some sort of "trickle down" effect.