Friday, March 30, 2007

Two Worlds Colliding

I don't usually go into the office at all on Fridays, but I had some things to take care of; so, instead of penalizing LP and sending her to day care, I figured I would bring her with me. LP has been to my office before, but never on days when I actually plan on accomplishing anything. Today I even brought my laptop in with me.

Some outcomes of our adventure:
  1. My cube looks like it got hit by a tornado. Any file, folder piece of paper or CD within arm's reach of LP is now on the floor. Mind you, things on top of my desk or small sized file cabinets are fair game since she can pull her self up to search and destroy.
  2. LP has a big head. My daughter is adorable and very mild-mannered. She is a joy to be around. You don't have to believe me, but she heard this several times over. In fact, she turns and smiles when receiving compliments.
  3. We significantly lowered productivity. LP was enough of a distraction to me (she somehow maneuvered past the paper boxes I used to block off the entrance of my cube and ended up in the cube next door - several times) but she was also an attraction. A constant flood of people came by to look at her. Which wouldn't have been bad if they wanted to watch her, instead they just gawked - lowering my productivity as well.
  4. The lactation room is even more useful when you have an actual baby to feed.
  5. I did actually accomplish a few things. There were a few items that I needed to address today and I actually managed to cross them off my to-do list.
LP slept on the way home and we even stopped to do our grocery shopping. I rewarded LP for her excellent behavior with a piece of a banana as we walked from the store to the car. I put the fruit on the car seat while I loaded the groceries and promptly sat on it. Maybe it is karma telling me to keep the baby out of the office.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Salute to the Stay-At-Home Mom

Happy Birthday, Mindy!

My sister-in-law, Mindy, is a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). As I have said previously I don't think I could be a full-time SAHM, so I have great respect for anyone that tackles and succeeds at the challenge. Mindy somehow manages to take care of my two nieces, J & K, and my brother and maintain her sanity.

J is an adorable 3 year old with bountiful amounts of energy. 8-month-old K is a typical infant discovering the world and probably trying to think up ways to stay out of her big sister's path. Not that J is destructive, she is just everywhere, like any other 3 year old. In addition to the two girls, they also have a veritable zoo with several cats, a couple of dogs, birds, a bunny and a handful of fish. In addition to managing this menagerie of people and pets, Mindy recently decided to start her own pet-sitting business. I honestly have no idea how she does it;I have my hands full with LP, the Hoos, and an animal-less household.

Moms of all shades - from SAHMs to Working Moms to whatever in between - continue to amaze me. Our capacity for ingenuity, flexibility, and achievement is unlimited.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Red Alert

I wasn't going to post a blog entry today but then fate intervened. While pumping this morning, the fire alarm went off at work.

So there I am, sitting in a locked, private room, listening to this horrendously loud alarm and folks filing out of the office, thinking to myself, "Do I really want to exit the building?"

The Cons:
  • The lactation room is on the fourth floor of our four-story building. If I was going to evacuate I was going to have to climb down the stairs and then back up.
  • I was having a really good pumping session (i.e., 5 ounces and it kept coming!) and if I stopped the chances of the flow continuing after we were so rudely interrupted were slim to none.
The Pros:
  • Did I mention I was in a locked room and if it was a real fire no one was going to know where I was?
Decisions, decisions...I was hoping the alarms would stop while I decided. But, no. I put the girls away, put my milk containers in the fridge and calmly walked down the stairs. So tomorrow if LP is a few ounces short, maybe she can have some consolation in the fact that mommy is a goody-two shoes, following the rules of the fire drill.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The 59th Street Bridge Song

When I was growing up I would spend a lot of time in the car with my dad. In order for me and my brother to go to day camp, my dad worked at the camp and it seemed to be a really really long drive from our home. To make the time pass (and probably drown out our whining) we listened to a lot of music. I distinctly remember Bruce Springsteen and Simon and Garfunkel. Why am I bringing this up today? Because the opening lines of S&G's 59th Street Bridge Song are circling in my head.

"Slow down, you move to fast..."

It is not that I am moving too fast, rather, I feel like I am moving too slow and LP is leaps and bounds ahead of me. Last night I found her climbing the stairs! She would put her hands a couple of stairs up, lift one leg and get a knee up, then the other knee, slide her feet in a bit, stand and repeat. She was on the second step before I could even run out of the kitchen to stop her.

On an intellectual level, I know that kids develop every second of every minute of every day for the first year(s); on the emotional and practical level this just seems surreal to me. I stopped evolving a long time ago and now I am expected to adapt and change and be prepared for something new and different that I didn't even think about 5 minutes ago?! Wow, this parenting gig is rough.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Real Moms

I read the definition and I still don't really get what meme means...but I was tagged (as in 'tag- you're it') by Karen to come up with my own contribution to the definition of a real mom.

Real moms...aren't embarrassed to conduct the "diaper smell test" in public. Frequently.

Your turn, Maya.

Baby Yoga

Could this look any more uncomfortable?

A Resolution

During the two or so months I have been blogging (both reading other blogs and writing my own) I have noticed much discussion about the guilt surrounding being a working mom. As of right now I resolve to stop writing about feeling guilty for working. This should be easy enough because I have determined that the majority of my guilt does not stem from working.

I feel the most guilty for being a person with my own needs. Ninety-nine percent of the time LP's well-being comes above my own. This is apparent when I go an entire day without peeing; or when you consider that I still wear a hideous nursing bra on days when I am not in the office or change into one immediately after getting home from work; or when you can't help but notice that LP's wardrobe is much more attractive and extensive than my own.

Yesterday, in an attempt to remedy some of the wardrobe issue, I left the Hoos and LP in the car while I ran into a Talbot's outlet. I love to get a bargain and when in the right mood I can spend at least an hour going through sales racks. I spent a grand total of 15 minutes inside this huge store. When I got out, LP was upset and the Hoos was ready to get going.

As I strapped a crying LP into her car seat, I kept telling her: "I'm sorry mommy was selfish and wanted to get some new clothes. I should have considered that you would rather be anywhere than sitting in the car on a nice day and done my shopping at a different time." I spent the car ride back home sitting in the back seat playing with LP. At least I got two shirts and a new skirt.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Nice Try

Today I tried to be one of those creative moms. You know, the ones that have great ideas for arts and crafts projects and fun activities for inside the house? I'm not very good at it.

While at the store this morning I decided to buy chocolate pudding to use as paint. I gave myself my first mental-pat-on-the-back (POB) of the day. It seemed like it would be a new, simple thing to do that would require minimal effort.

After unloading the groceries, I stripped LP down to her onesie and put one of my old t-shirts on her. POB #2 for thinking of keeping the kid clean.

Then I realized I had no canvas for her to paint on (minus one POB), so I scoured the house until settling on the brilliant idea of cutting open a paper bag and using that. POB #3 for being innovative.

My fourth and final POB was for putting a towel on the linoleum kitchen floor to minimize the clean up.

I plopped LP onto the towel, dipped my finger into the pudding and showed her how to brush her fingers on the paper bag to paint. It is a good thing I used "edible paint" because no paint made it onto the paper, but a lot made it into her mouth (and on her legs and anywhere else that wasn't covered by the t-shirt). In fact, in order to maximize the amount of pudding that made it into her mouth, she started licking the bag where I had a put a small pile of pudding to ease the painting process.

At least it made for good pictures.

The Second X

I am convinced that the second X chromosome that women have plays a role far beyond biology. I think it contains information that makes women more efficient, better multi-taskers, and more aware of the things around them.

The Hoos is a great husband and father. He is probably more helpful than most husbands. Once every few weeks he goes on cleaning sprees where he feels compelled to vacuum, mop, etc. Still, he needs reminders to take care of some of the basic things that I think should be obvious.

As an example, last night after nursing LP, I handed my sleepy little girl to the Hoos to bring upstairs to her crib. After taking her upstairs he proceeded to get ready for bed. While he was going about his pre-bedtime routine, I:
  1. Put up the dishwasher.
  2. Took the laundry out of the dryer, folded it and put it away.
  3. Transferred the day's expressed milk to freezer bags and brought it down to the freezer in the basement.
  4. Checked my email.

When I was done, the Hoos was still in the process of getting ready for bed. He told me that if I had left the laundry he would have folded it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My Inheritance

I talk to my parents everyday. I usually call them shortly after LP and I walk in the house. The other night we didn't get home until 7 or so because we were paying a shiva call to a friend who had lost her mother. About 5 minutes after we walked in the house, my phone rang - it was my father. My mom made him call because she was concerned that she hadn't heard from me. The point - my mother is a worrier.

Last night as I was laying awake (all night!) in bed listening to LP cough and breathe, I reminded myself that I couldn't help it because I had inherited the worrying gene. My poor little girl is fine, she actually slept through the night. And me? I am getting used to propping myself up with caffeine and willpower.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Eye Roll

So I thought I had a good night's sleep last night, then I just noticed (at 12:30pm after being at work since 7:45) that I am wearing BROWN trouser socks with my black shoes and gray pin-stripe pants. Lovely.

The real problem was that I didn't pick out the socks last evening when I laid out my outfit, rather I fumbled for them in the dark this morning because the Hoos sleeps later than I do. I have no explanation of why it took me half a day to notice.

I am now sockless.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Never Enough

Today's Washington Post includes an article about 'mommy guilt.' It states that mom's today are constantly rearranging their lives and their schedules in order to spend more time with their children, but are never satisfied that they are actually spending enough time with their kids.

According to the article, moms are spending more time primarily tending to their kids every week than ever before (14.1 hours as opposed to 10.2 hours in 1965). Apparently mothers in the 60s spent more time focused on housekeeping. I have already blogged about how housekeeping is not my highest priority, so that hypothesis holds up for me. Regardless, even though more time is spent focused on the family, women are still questioning themselves and their decisions and wondering how they could spend more time with their kids.

Why are we so hard on ourselves? I am very fortunate to have a flexible schedule and spend two workdays a week home with LP. Sometimes I ponder if day care is actually a better place for LP to be 5 days a week. There are other little crawlers to play with, there is plenty of open space and bountiful amounts of Cheerios. On our days together there are errands to be run, laundry to be put up and meals to be prepared. And yet, I still feel that LP prefers it because she is with mommy. But really, who knows?

I am hopeful that with the weather improving we will spend less time cooped up in the house and more time outside exploring the world. Of course then I will wonder if she is seeing enough written word or getting enough stimulation just by sitting outside or going for a walk. It has to be more educational than exploring life behind our couch...

Les Zombies Et Les Loup-Garous

There is a song by Raffi called "Les Zombies Et Les Loup-Garous" literally translated to The Zombies and the Werewolves. When I first heard this song and read the English translation in the liner notes, I thought it was a little scary for little kids (although it does have a fabulous tune). Now I know that this song is actually targeted at parents, since today the Hoos and I feel like zombies thanks to our little werewolf.

The poor baby's cold has just gotten worse. Last night she actually let the Hoos stick the aspirator up her nose - and she smiled when he was done suctioning. She actually sought out the aspirator at one point (I think she wanted to chew on it). We put the humidifier on last night as well.

Regardless, this morning the howling from the nursery started at 4:15. And went until 5:30. Our response: lowering the volume on the monitor. She wasn't really crying, and there was nothing I could have done at that awful hour that wouldn't have made it worse. She would have just started crying if she was awake and saw me and then I would have not only been awake, I would have been awake and out of my nice snug bed.

Today, I am not only exhausted but I feel selfish for making LP suffer alone. And the Hoos just called to tell me that she is miserable this morning, shooting double barrels every time she sneezes. Spring arrives tonight. Hopefully the good weather brings good health and sleep. I don't think I could survive (mentally, emotionally, or physically) otherwise.

Monday, March 19, 2007


When LP has a cold, the Hoos and I automatically go into "problem solver mode". We try to come up with ways to alleviate her congestion and make her comfortable with the end goal of having her sleep through the night. Last night we decided to take the low-tech approach and put towels under the head end of her mattress to elevate her head and to use baby rub on her chest which would hopefully give off pleasant vapors that would keep her nasal passages open.

She woke up at 5:45. And was upside down in her crib, which meant that her head was angled down, instead of up. To take this further, she wasn't getting relief and we weren't getting any sleep.

After trying to get her to go back to sleep in her own crib, I gave in and brought her into our bed. When just being close to mommy wasn't enough, I further gave in and nursed her. Since it isn't easy for a sleepy, snotty little munchkin to find the correct spot from which to get milk at 6 o'clock in the morning, I have a lovely hickey on my chest.

Of course, nursing wasn't the cure-all I had hoped. Even though she was happier, she certainly wasn't sleeping. Instead she wanted to play. The Hoos was less than thrilled when she started poking his nose at 6:30. This was still better than her efforts to play "Bonkers" with me. "Bonkers" is this great game the Hoos made up where you lightly head-butt each other. I am sure the flaws of this game are obvious and I won't detail how enjoyable it was when LP initiated this 'game' at 6:45.

Today will revolve around caffeine, Tylenol and thoughts of an early bedtime.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Branded a 'Breeder'

Last night we went to my brother-in-law's house. My oldest nephew decided to put on a show for all of us at the end of the night and before dinner he gave everyone a beautifully handwritten, personalized invitation to the event. He customized them by putting a relevant drawing on each one. For example, my sister-in-law is a math teacher, so her name was covered with different math symbols. The Hoos and his brother like to fish, so they both had fishing scenes. My invitation had a swollen belly on it.

Nevermind that this kid has known me since birth (as his Uncle's girlfriend before officially becoming his Aunt) and he only has one cousin from me and the Hoos. I am forever associated in his mind with being pregnant. This is also the nephew that came to visit us in the hospital the day after I delivered LP and the first thing he said to me was, "You still look fat." He was right, I did still look fat. He was just being honest.

Anyway, his show ended up being a fantastic display of gymnastics. It was really very good.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Whirling Dervish

When I was a kid we had this little octopus toy. You would stretch his arms (or are they legs? I guess they are technically tentacles...) and they would shrink back to normal in a few seconds. Today I feel like this poor creature whose name I don't even remember.

The plan all along was that today was going to deviate from my typical Friday schedule of working 3 hours from home. I was supposed to go to the office for a meeting and LP was going to go to day care. Since the meeting was not until 1 pm I was going to take the morning to run errands by myself. Of course, this didn't happen.

It snowed. Again. I should have known, because today we had a meeting scheduled with our branding consultant. This is our fourth meeting with them that has been complicated by cruddy weather.

Anyway, LP's day care is closed. Since the roads looked okay and relatively empty, my initial plan was to scrap my lazy morning and instead hang out with her and bring her to the office in time for the meeting. I figured there were enough hands willing to watch her while I participated.

Then I get word via email that a co-worker's mother just passed away. This is never good news. Since I live close to my grieving colleague, I am volunteered to order some food platters to be delivered to the house. Usually this is a quick phone call. But today nothing is simple. While I attempt to keep LP from destroying the house or injuring herself (please tell me why little kids like to eat paper) I call several bagel places to see if they can deliver today. No one can. After circling back to the office, we place the order for delivery tomorrow morning.

While I am in the midst of placing the order, my cell phone starts ringing and my call waiting beeps persistently. There is still the meeting at 1. And LP is refusing to nap, even though she can barely keep her eyes open. Fortunately, the call is from the office telling me to make the meeting a conference call since they don't want LP and me on the roads.

But nothing is ever that simple. I misunderstand and make the entire meeting a conference call after calling the consultant from home. When I talk to work again, they let me know that they aren't planning on leaving early, so the consultant might as well come in to meet with them in person. I should still take the call from home. Three phone calls later, I finally get LP to lay down in her crib and I think I have the meeting all worked out.

Let's see what happens this afternoon.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


According to the American Heritage Dictionary, awesome is defined as:
  1. Inspiring awe: an awesome thunderstorm.
  2. Expressing awe: stood in awesome silence before the ancient ruins.

Motherhood has many incredible, life-changing moments. Yesterday, I felt so full, that I can hardly describe it.

We had two days of fantastic weather this week. On Tuesday after work, LP and I took advantage of the 50 degree temperatures and took a stroll around the neighborhood. It was a route we traversed dozens of times last summer and early fall, but this time it was different. LP was alert and turning her head from side to side. I felt less like a moron than usual as I talked aloud and pointed things out to her: "See the squirrel, baby girl? He is trying to carry that big acorn." We had a great time. And I am almost positive she kept asking me "What's that?"

Last night, instead of taking a walk, I decided to lay a blanket down on our front lawn and sit with LP to let her interact with nature. This is really the first time she has sat in grass, felt a dead leaf crunch in her hand, or destroyed a crocus with a pump of her fist. She pulled the edges of the blanket in close to her so she could touch more of the grass, grabbing a few strands at a time and holding them close to her face. To keep her from trying to put anything in her mouth, we played a game where I would swat her hand away when it got close to her little lips and tickle her. I bet her loud giggles could be heard down the whole block. Actually, I hope those giggles were heard through the whole neighborhood. I wish I could bottle them and listen to the hearty sound whenever I need a pick me up. Or tomorrow when we are expecting 3-6 inches of snow.

It was awesome. For both of us.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Did Someone Say Free Coffee?

As previously discussed, I am a sucker for "free" stuff. Then again, who isn't? As a public service announcement, I wanted to alert everyone to the fact that tomorrow from 10-2 Starbucks is having a "Free Coffee Break". Not as good as Ben and Jerry's free cone day, but tomorrow the buzz is on them! Woo-hoo!

On a related note, I am becoming one of those consumer complainers. Previously, the Hoos would sic me on the customer service departments of the phone or cable company when we were pissed about something. I would "get my b*tch on" and vent, and other than feeling a little better (at the expense of a poor rep) nothing would come of it.

Recently, I have learned how to channel my powers of persuasion for good.

It all started a few months ago when the Hoos broke our Swiffer Wet Jet due to some bizarrely over-zealous mopping. Somehow he managed to break off the metal handle. I wasn't around to witness it, but it was annoying, especially since I had just purchased refills for the pads and liquid cleanser. In response (after rolling my eyes at him), I did what any other working mom with oh-so-much free time would do: I wrote to Swiffer and described my problem. Within a week they sent me a coupon for a FREE replacement. Those things cost $20! Needless to say, I was hooked.

Other recent successes include coupons for free Hefty Bags after one leaked chicken juice all over the meat drawer of my fridge and the free baby gate from EvenFlo because of the useless breast pump. Are the free bags worth the hour I spent disinfecting our entire fridge? No, but I would never get that time back anyway. And the fridge probably could use a monthly scrubbing. Was the horrendous pumping experience in Phoenix worth the free baby gate? Again, no. I am still kicking myself for not just bringing the freaking Medela pump with me. However, the baby gate is useful and now in place after we found LP standing up in front of the stairs earlier this week attempting to reach the Hoos' ratty slippers

Yesterday I shipped our baby monitors back to Graco because they stopped working for some reason. I have no idea why, but the little indicator lights just went dark. Yes, even though our house is slightly larger than a postage stamp, we still need a baby monitor to listen in on LP. I anticipate that they will be sending us new monitors in no time.

The Hoos asked me what exactly I say to the customer service reps when I call in order to accomplish such magic. The conversations are boring. I am just honest. "This used to work, it doesn't now, what can I do?". Even better, I fill out customer feedback forms on the company's Web site. It doesn't take that much time and I feel like I am performing a service. I mean how often do you think people actually call the 800 number on the bottom of the box? If I didn't call the representatives would just be twiddling their thumbs all day.

I guess it is true what they say - you do catch more flies with honey. And you might even get free coffee.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Good Housekeeping

Nothing quite impacts your housekeeping like an infant. First, our living room seems to have exploded with “stuff”. As soon as I put LP’s toys and books away in their boxes, little curious hands find a way to pry off the lid and sprinkle them back across the room. Of course, nothing holds her attention very long, so soon enough everything that was once neatly put away and/or on a shelf somewhere joins its little inanimate friends at the party on my living room floor.

We should also consider the biological contributions that LP makes to the house. While the quantity and quality of spit-up has reduced significantly since she was born, there is the occasional call for a wet paper towel to blot up curdled milk. I also have started swiping my foot (in a sock!) over trails of drool on the hardwood floors, finding myself too lazy to actually get a towel to wipe these up. On a related note, LP is only nursed and allowed to sit on our comfy couch. Made of some sort of sueded material, it appears to conceal spots.

To make matters worse, LP also has this knack for finding any crumbs, lint, or tracked-in dirt. If the random detritus doesn’t find its way into her hair or onto her clothes, it ends up in her fingers which quickly move toward her mouth. I am not a slob, we are not messy people, but there is no way to keep a spotless home when you live in it. If I could find a way to use my little human vacuum cleaner for good (i.e., cleaning) we might be in business, for now it just kills me that I am constantly trailing after her to pick ick out of her hair or to rescue who-knows-what from her gaping jaws.

Lessons in Delegation

Learning how to cede control is difficult for every type-A. When I left on maternity leave, I had to carefully create status reports and files for each of my open projects so that they could continue to move forward in my absence. Because I was temporarily leaving to become a mother, I didn't really care much about what happened to these projects while I was out. In fact, for a few of them, I was happy to let them go and make them someone else's responsibility.

When I returned to the office, it was a little awkward to figure out what was in what state and determine where I was needed. As it turned out, several things had permanently shifted to someone else's plate. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing, since I returned to work with 25% less time to accomplish things (and a lot less energy). I was also disappointed to find out that some things I was hoping would just go away forever hadn't moved beyond my last status report, as they were eagerly awaiting my return.

Now that I work from home two days a week, I am again finding it imperative - and yet still difficult - to delegate. There are some things that I just know I can get done more efficiently and effectively if I just do them myself. These aren't high profile things, they are simple things, but getting someone else to pick them up requires a process and several emails or phone calls. However, I try to remind myself of Lesson 1: the more I pass stuff off, the more opportunity it provides for others to grow and develop and the better it is for my firm. If I was the only person that knew how to do certain things, they wouldn't let me ever go on maternity leave again (just kidding!).

Outside of work there is also a need to delegate, but I have a much much harder time letting go when it comes to LP. I want what is best for her, and I take my job as her mommy very seriously. Of course, I depend on the help and support of others to learn how best to care for my daughter, but I still believe that the Hoos and I, by virtue of being her parents, are given sole (shared) responsibility for her protection and well being.

For instance, day care. I am very appreciative of the care they give to my little angel. However, I also know that they are not just caring for her, they have several infants in their charge. That means they have to try to standardize things, like nap time and feeding time. When LP transitioned to her new room last week, we were surprised to learn that standard nap times were 10 and 2. Well, LP (fortunately) doesn't even wake up until 8:15, I can't see her agreeing to sleep again in less than 2 hours. Lesson 2: Learning to delegate means letting go. It isn't my problem if LP doesn't want to nap at 10. So the other babies will sleep and LP will continue to crawl around (since you know she won't just lay quietly in her crib) until she wears herself out closer to 11.

Lesson 3: Letting go doesn't mean giving in. I admit it, since LP started eating finger foods for dinner it has made my life easier. I can prepare the grown-up dinner while LP sits next to me in her high chair merrily feeding herself. This gives me 10 extra minutes of two free hands. For this reason, I understand why day care would want to encourage a 100% transition to hands-free feeding. However, for breakfast and lunch even if I give LP some finger foods to feed herself, I still spoon feed her at least one thing to ensure she is eating enough. Again, it isn't my problem that they have several babies to feed at once. My only munchkin in that classroom is what I most care about on the planet, if it is more time-consuming to spoon feed her, that's okay. I am paying them to take good care of my baby and I am the one that defines the level of care.

Lest you think I don't like LP's day care, let me reassure you, I do like her day care center and her teachers. I know that they personally care about my little girl. Think of it like a bowl of Chicken Soup - Campbell's from a can isn't homemade by mommy. It will still make you feel better, but there is nothing like the real thing.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Like Mother, Like Daughter

LP doesn't really look like me or the Hoos. She has my eyes and the Hoos' consolation prize is that she has his fingers and toes. Physically she does look a lot like my side of her family tree, actually, she mostly resembles my Dad - but cuter (no offense, blondy).

This is not to say that she doesn't have other traits that remind me of myself. In fact, the personality characteristics that she shares with me are more astounding than the physical ones. For instance, once she started crawling it became obvious that the girl has a shoe fetish. She will wiggle her little legs all the way across a room if she sees a pair of shoes on the floor. We have learned to put our shoes on the stairs to keep them out of her reach. Of course, this means that she is now attempting to climb the stairs. Crazy, right? She has only been crawling for two weeks and she already wants to climb the stairs! For the shoes!

She is also a huge flirt. She gets this from both sides of the family. When surrounded by a crowd, she doesn't scream, or get scared. Instead she makes eye contact with each and every person. At 9.5 months old I already know that LP could sell sand in the Sahara. It doesn't hurt that she is adorable. Hey, she come by this honestly too. I can only imagine that she will inherit the family modesty as well.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Free - HA!

I love a bargain. I come from a long line of bargain hunters. A few years ago, my mom even got Kohls to PAY HER to buy a cashmere sweater set. Anyway, yesterday we received three deliveries of "free stuff" at our house. We got two visits from FedEx and a visit from UPS. The mailman also came, but he didn't bring a package (even though we are actually expecting one containing, yes, even more free stuff).

First, UPS showed up bearing Sesame Street books that we got with our Pampers Gifts to Grow points. This is a program implemented by Pampers to make you feel as though you are not getting totally fleeced by them. By entering a crazy code from each package of diapers or wipes you buy, you accumulate points that you can exchange for "free" stuff. Never mind that in the 9.5 months of LP's existence we have spent more money than I want to calculate on Pampers products. The smartest move that company ever made was to give hospitals free newborn Pampers in the maternity ward. Now every new mom says "Well, they must be good if the hospital uses them." Darn it! I can't resist the inane logic, even though I know better. Plus, they really do seem to work.

Shortly thereafter, FedEx showed up with free Kiwi brand shoe inserts. Because I participate in Harris Poll's online surveys, I occasionally get mailed products to test out. The inserts look cool, and sound cool, but even after cutting them I can't really get them to fit into any of my shoes. Still, these were genuinely free, unless you count my opinion as valuable...hmm....

Later on in the day, LP and I were shocked when another FedEx truck rolled up in front of our house. This purple and orange clad man left a big box in front of our house. In fact, it was the "free" baby gate we got from EvenFlo in exchange for my cruddy breast pump. Please ignore the fact that I paid $37 for the pump and $6.50 in shipping to send it back to them. I got a $45 baby gate delivered to my house for "free"! Awesome! Except, the Hoos is now complaining that it is a weird beige color instead of pretty white which would better match our home...

Friday, March 9, 2007

Girl's Got Skills

Prior to my current job, I was a Senior Marketing Product Manager for a publicly-traded company with a fairly recognizable name (that is, they paid an advertising agency and several PR firms, and advertised during the Super Bowl to try to become a household name). And no one in my family or circle of friends knew what I did for a living. So much so that my cousins took to calling me "Chandler" because it was a running joke on Friends at the time that no one knew what the poor guy did, they just knew he made a lot of money.

I worked really hard at that job. A former colleague and I were just commenting that it was the sort of place where you took care of your projects as quickly as possible because you needed to have a partially clear plate when the next project got lobbed at you from out of nowhere. Needless to say, it was a challenging work environment.

I am now hyperefficient. While I have never been a procrastinator, it just isn't my nature, I now consistently work myself out of work. When people ask on a job interview what is my greatest weakness, it really isn't BS to say that I need to be challenged. When we were in college, it would drive my boyfriend at the time (the Hoos) crazy that I would start on a project as soon as it was assigned, even if it was the first day of class and the project was due on the last day.

While the product management gig probably spoiled me for future jobs (honestly, it took a long time to get used to the drastic change of pace once I left), it really helped prepare me to be a mother. When else do you need to do 10 things at once? And be on the look out for ambushes from any direction?

You Want Details?

Yesterday my father complained to me that my blog entry was boring. By boring, he meant “not enough about LP.” The minutiae of a baby’s day is infinitely more interesting once you become a grandparent.

I can sort of relate. For the first few months of new parenthood, friends would be afraid to call. They didn’t realize that I am not good at being cooped up. I was starving for the nitty gritty details of life outside of the confines of my home. When the Hoos would say to me, “You don’t want to hear this” my protests were sincere– I wanted to hear it all. After grilling folks about their day-to-day lives in excruciating detail, they would ask about a typical day in my life. I had nothing. Nurse, nap, nurse, nap, pace the house while trying to sooth, nurse, nap, take LP out for a walk, nurse, nap. Oh, and change her diaper and my clothes every 45 minutes or so.

If you think that is boring, nowadays it is much worse, because we are so predictable and LP has a schedule. The most excitement we have to report today is that I gave LP a whole mini-pancake with her breakfast and she nibbled at it until she finished it. The big deal here is that I didn’t have to break the pancake into little pieces.

Today, after that long introduction, instead of trying to be witty or engaging (hey - it hasn't worked so far) , I will just post a photo of LP for your enjoyment. She is tearing apart my kitchen. Apparently, the Hoos used to do the same thing when he was her age.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Spring Forward

Yes, it is Daylight Savings Time again, time to Spring the clocks ahead an hour. For parents of infants this change has pretty much no impact on sleeping. In fact, it probably has a negative impact, as I will go to bed later and wake up at the same time. As you might expect, LP has no concept of sleeping in - although she does like the idea of staying up an hour later, I am sure.

I also need to point out how bizarre it is that an act of Congress can actually change time. How weird is that? I am not interested in a debate over the origins of daylight savings, but I think it is so strange that the government can decree the changing of the changing of the clocks (much to Microsoft's chagrin).

Anyway, there are many positives related to the time switch. First, the Hoos will no longer be able to say at 7pm when it is pitch black, "We used to be just starting a softball game at this time." Mind you, he is referring to the co-ed company softball team we were on at my first job out of college when we lived in the DC-area. We moved out of DC four and a half years ago and I haven't worked at that company in over seven years.

I am also thrilled that I will be able to take LP for walks in the evenings (as soon as the temps get out of the 20s!) on weekdays. Last year we met some of our neighbors this way and it helped me lose my pregnancy weight, so I am eagerly anticipating integrating this back into our schedule.

Finally, daylight savings means spring is on its way. Followed shortly thereafter by summer and our first vacation in two years! After banking as much vacation time as I possibly could for my maternity leave (insert nasty thoughts about the U.S.'s lack of good maternity leave policies), it will be nice to actually use paid time off for fun.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Perky, Perky, Perky

I have never been a coffee drinker. At barely 5 feet tall, I would reject it, claiming that it would "stunt my growth" (too late!). However, when I was pregnant the uncomfortable sleep of late pregnancy required an antidote of caffeine in order to function.

Like lots of new moms-to-be I did all sorts of Internet research and determined that a daily mug of hot chocolate was in order. Apparently hot chocolate has minimal amounts of both real chocolate and caffeine. I began looking forward to my daily dose of hot cocoa delivered by the funky machine at work.

Once I had LP, I suddenly developed a craving for iced coffee. Because I was nursing I was constantly thirsty and some hormone triggered something in my sleep-deprived brain that said "I've got a fever that only an iced coffee can fix!" More cowbell! Anyway, it didn't hurt that Dunkin Donuts has a drive through since 1. I didn't want to bring LP into close contact with strangers until she had her shots and 2. it took me a while to build up the arm strength to carry her in the baby carrier (talk about awkward!). The once or twice a week trips to our local DD for a medium, iced decaf, light and sweet with skim became a major excursion for us during the six to eight weeks that we were confined to the house and local neighborhood.

Now that it is winter, I can't really order an iced coffee. It is embarrassing and silly. So every once in a while I will get myself a medium decaf from a local bagel place. Mostly following nights like last night when my teething little LP starts making cranky sounds at 3am.

On a positive note, thanks to my medium decaf hazelnut vanilla with skim and loads of sugar, today should be a hyper-productive day for me at work!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Knock, Knock: Is Anyone Home?

I just got off the phone with the Hoos, and we are both steamed with LP's day care.

First, last Thursday when I picked LP up I noticed she was missing her shirt. No, she wasn't topless, but we typically dress her in a long-sleeve onesie topped with a shirt of some kind. This is both to keep her warm and to hide her love handles. This was the first time she was wearing this particular long-sleeve hoodie, as my boss had just given me six bags full of hand-me-downs from her granddaughters. The Hoos liked the shirt so much, he called me at work that morning to tell me that it might be his new favorite outfit of LP's. Fortunately, the shirt was found and the Hoos picked it up this morning when he dropped our munchkin off.

However, the shirt turned out to be the least of our worries. When you have a child in day care, the weekly cost of care is just one of the expenses. You also have to provide food, utensils, wipes, diapers, labeled and ready to serve bottles and the like. Everyday we get a report telling us when and how long LP napped, how much and when she ate, and how many diapers they changed (accompanied by a neatly circled "wet" or "bm"). There is also room on the form to tell us what LP needs more of and a space to give us more detail about her day.

Personally, I am always looking for more detail on baby girl's day. Apparently in the older infant room they "do" more, so I am anticipating more information and notes.

Anyway, this weekend we made a special trip to Target to stock up on LP supplies, since Thursday's note indicated that more wipes were in order and we were running low. When the Hoos dropped LP off today it was his first time bringing her to her new classroom. As he emptied her bag (stocked with the wipes, bottles, finger food, and an extra clean blanket and sheet), the new teacher, Gina, asked if had brought more jarred food. When he told her no, we didn't know LP needed any, Gina ran down to the old classroom to see if they had forgotten to transition Muffin's bin and supplies. She returned with a lone jar of fruit - apparently the extent of LP's stock.

What the heck?! Is it too much to ask for a little bit of a head's up? Did no one notice that the baby was out of veggies and running low on fruit? Arrggghhh! Good thing I did buy some jars of diced fruit and pack a few slices of American cheese so that LP has something for lunch. I know she won't starve, but what a pain in the neck!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Can't Take My Eyes Off of You

LP is officially crawling all over the place. It is simultaneously amazing and exhausting.

For example, last week we moved our coffee table out of the center of our living room. It has six shelves built into it on which we stored books and coasters and the like. LP had a tendency to roll over to it and attempt to pull stuff off of the top shelf. Instead of watching her pull something heavy onto her head, or attempt to pull herself up on a shelf and bonk her head on the top, we hid it in the corner of our living room between our couch and loveseat. There is a narrow space between the couches – perfect, apparently, for a little tush to crawl through.

The other day I was minding my own business, attempting to do some work from home, when I look up and notice that LP is playing with these wooden blocks my sister-in-law bought the Hoos. This is only an interesting observation because they were stored under the coffee table. It had somehow escaped my notice that my little rump roast had crawled her way over to the corner, wriggled herself in between the couches, retrieved the blocks and backed out – while holding the blocks.

LP also likes to visit Daddy's shoes and slippers, which he removes and leaves by the front door. Either there is something about the scent of feet that she finds alluring, or she misses the Hoos. In either case, I am hopeful this is something she outgrows quickly.

It has become apparent that nap time will be the key time to accomplish things on my work-from-home days. I find solice in the hope that she will take longer naps since she will tucker herself out from scooting all over. Let's just hope I don't need naps during this time too!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Such a Good Girl

For the first time in months, the Hoos and I invited people over for dinner last night. We were looking forward to it and had a great meal planned. We timed the invite so LP would be fed and content when they arrived. Of course, every memorable evening needs some drama. I thought I got our excitement out of the way when I caught frozen butternut squash cubes on fire in our new microwave. I have no idea how this happened - or why - but apparently frozen butternut squash from a bag is not supposed to go in the microwave. And I wouldn't try to heat up apples this way either.

But, no, flaming fruits and veggies was not enough. About 10 minutes before our guests were supposed to arrive, after kissing LP, the Hoos turned to me and said, "Does she feel warm to you?"

So, we get the ear thermometer. 101...hmmm, not good, but the thing isn't exactly accurate, we use it more for gross measurement. Then, we bust out everyone's favorite - the rectal thermometer. 101.8! What to do, what to do?! Well, we decide that some baby tylenol is in order. And we rationalize together that teething must be the cause. It has been about 2 months since her bottom two teeth broke through and she has been drooling a bit more than usual.

The tylenol seems to work and we have a relatively relaxed dinner of roasted cauliflower, tilapia with herbs, and coos-coos. Before dessert I nurse LP and put her to bed. All is well in the Hoos household and we enjoy the rest of the night with our guests.

Shortly after they leave, I go upstairs to check on our little beauty. Before stepping into the room I peek in through the door and I see some movement. My little angel is quietly laying awake, on her side, rubbing her eyes. I have no idea how long she has been like this, or how miserable she is, but it kills me. My little baby girl suffered in silence so mommy and daddy could have some grown-up time.

We gave her more tylenol and orajel and put her back in her crib...and checked on her way too many times that it probably distracted more than comforted her. After the Hoos convinced me that it would be silly for me to sleep on the floor of her room (just so I could be close if she needed me), we all went to bed. And my good little girl slept until 7:30. What more could a mommy ask for?

Friday, March 2, 2007

Smell Ya Later

I am definitely one of those people that needs to shower to feel awake in the morning. I just don’t feel right lounging around in my PJs all day. I am astounded, actually, to see teenage girls out during the day in their pajama pants, acting as if it is the height of fashion. No, it is disgusting. Anyway, even when LP was a newborn, I found a way to shower every day. Sometime I would lay her in her crib and take a 2 minute shower. As she has got bigger I came up with new strategies to ensure I could shower. Most recently I have been strapping her into the bouncy seat, which has a permanent place in our upstairs bathroom.

This morning was like any other Friday. I am working from home, so I slept in a little bit. That meant that I missed my opportunity to shower before LP woke up. No problem, I figured I would strap her into the bouncy after we both ate breakfast and that would be that. Well, I strapped her into the bouncy and made it through most of the shower, but just as I was about to put the conditioner in my hair I hear LP mewling. When I open the shower door to check on her, there she is – suspended from the bouncy, still connected around her waist, holding herself up with one hand. Apparently she stretched out to the side to reach something and couldn’t quite get the leverage to right herself. After righting the situation (and drenching my bathroom floor – hey, why should my basement be the only room flooding on such a rainy and miserable day?) I was able to finish my shower.

Now I am thinking, with LP being more mobile, how exactly am I supposed to shower when we are home alone together? It seems cruel to leave her in her crib, wide awake, with the side up; I can’t just leave her to crawl around without me being able to keep am eye on her. The best answer can’t possibly be that I have to forgo an extra hour of sleep in order to get up and get ready before she wakes up, can it?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Breakfast of Champions

Typically, LP gets her first food of the day sometime between 8:30 and 9 when she arrives at school. We know that at some point she will have to have breakfast before she leaves the house in the morning, but currently I leave for work around 7 and see no reason to wake her up to nurse her before leaving. Chances are she would then be wide awake and daddy would have to entertain her while he got ready for work - not an ideal situation for either of them.

Anyway, last night we tried to get LP to bed a little earlier than usual. Since she is in the process of transitioning to a new classroom at daycare she has not been napping as much as usual (45 minutes instead of 2.5 hours), so we figured she would be ripe for some rest by 9. While we managed to have her out of the bath by 9, she still nursed until 9:30. And I have the feeling she would have kept going if I had let her, but after 10 minutes of her playing peek-a-boo with my chest (1 minute on, 1 minute off, repeat) I figured it was time to carry her up to her crib.

Now the dilemma, if we start actually getting her to bed earlier, does this mean she will be hungry earlier as well? Will the Hoos have to readjust his schedule to give LP a bottle before bringing her to school? The Horror!

On a related note, the Hoos says that LP seems to know when they arrive at school in the morning. When he goes to get her out of her car seat she starts waving her hands and wriggling to get the arm straps off. So, either she likes school, or she is psyched to get some chow.

Also, I need to gloat. I watched Lost in its entirety last night. No TiVO or DVR required, just a little willpower. And no, I did not watch it through closed eyelids, I can describe the scenes in detail.