Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pushing Through

For the past few days, LP's true Gemini nature has been rearing its head. She is a beautiful, loving angel one minute and a crying, inconsolable nudnik the next. When even a pacifier and a trip outside can't calm her down, you know there is a real problem. Our best guess is that it is her teeth.

Yesterday morning the Hoos noticed that baby girl now has four little white chicklets poking through. And if you take a gander further back into her mouth you will see gums stretched to capacity. It seems that her molars are about to make their big debut. According to common lure, the pain a baby experiences during teething could not be tolerated by a grown woman. (I initially wrote could not be tolerated by a grown-up, but considering men couldn't manage the pain associated with childbirth, this is a better gauge). I guess I can't begrudge the poor baby a few tears and some upset.

For now Orajel and TLC are being used to keep baby girl from going crazy and us sane. Soon enough she will be able to mash her food to bits using a mouthful of teeth. As someone who loves to eat, I will just have to keep reminding her that it is worth it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Laughter: Contagious, Innate, Amazing

Recently LP has added a new work/sound to her repertoire: "Ticka". I have no idea how or where she picked it up but it is amazing to both the Hoos and me that she uses this new term frequently.

She repeats the term while giggling and wiggling her little fingers in a repetitive motion on her belly. Or when attempting to tickle one of us. I can't imagine that she is actually tickling herself, but she has picked up somewhere that people laugh when you tickle them. The Hoos and I reinforce this because we crack up whenever she attempts to "ticka" us.

This is one of those moments that you wait for as a parent. In addition to the first smile, first laugh, first kiss, first hug, first tooth, first steps, and first word, but you also look forward to indicators that your baby is turning into a little person with her own personality. Not to mention signs that your little bundle is becoming substantial enough to cuddle, gently wrestle with and tickle.

I love motherhood.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Miracle

Last night for the first time in what seems like forever, the Hoos and I rented a movie and watched it from start to finish. Typically, when he recommends we rent a movie (or order it through pay-per-view) my response is that there is no way I am going to be able to stay awake for the entire thing, so why bother.

Last night I must have been in a good mood, because I relented and he brought home The DaVinci Code, a movie I have been wanting to see since before I had LP. I am almost positive that the movie came out the weekend I gave birth to her.

I don't know what I was thinking since LP was out of sorts with a fever of 102. After her usual bedtime ritual (which now includes a brushing of her pearly whites) and a dose of Motrin she still wasn't sleeping. The movie helped strengthen our resolve that once she is in bed we should just leave her until she falls asleep. This isn't a problem 99% of the time, because she just falls asleep or lays there relaxing until dozing off. So, despite some peeps from her room last night, we stayed downstairs and watching the ENTIRE movie! In ONE sitting! UNTIL 11:30!

Before getting into bed ourselves, I told the Hoos that since I had stayed up so late, it was his job to get LP in the morning so I could sleep in. Of course, for the first time since we last rented a movie, she slept until 9am!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Does this Make Me Look Fat?

What do you think of the blog's new look and title? I was getting tired of generic old "CT Working Mom" and I don't think my challenges are specific to living in Fairfield County, so it was time for a makeover. Same url: http://ctworkingmom.blogspot.com just a new outfit.

Do I Look Amused?

Last night was my company picnic at Rye Playland, a local amusement park. I always enjoy this event because I love roller coasters and fried dough (although not the poor substitute "funnel cake"). In years past the Hoos and I have attended with my brother-in-law and his family and this year I was excited to add LP to the mix. It was her first visit to an amusement park and I figured between the sights, sounds, food, and her cousins, she was going to have a great time. Plus it was a good opportunity for me to show off my beautiful baby. Of course, the best laid plans...

In the middle of the day I received a phone call from LP's day care that my new toddler had wobbled a little too much and feel and banged her cheek. I was advised she was fine, there was no cut or bruising, it was just red and even that had started to fade. She was treated with an ice pack and TLC. I figured she was angling for some extra sympathy at the picnic and decided that a bruise would be just the ticket. In all actuality she just had a little red dot below her right eye, no big deal.

After eating at Playland and making sure LP met all the right people, we headed off to the rides. The most excited kid was my youngest nephew. This was the first year he could go on most of the rides and he loved it. He drove race carts with his uncle and when the ride ended he turned to the Hoos shouting "That was FUN!!!" It was adorable.

At this point LP just loved walking around. She didn't want to be held, she didn't want to be in the stroller, she just wanted to toddle around, without worry, knowing that people would just get out of her way. Of course, they have to see her first and who really expects to be on the look out for a two and a half foot munchkin? It was definitely a challenge to keep her safe.

We weaved our way over to some rides that LP could go on with an adult. First stop was the train. It is a very slow moving ride that basically takes you on a short loop. I figured this was just the right speed. Well, with this whole new walking thing, LP doesn't really like to sit still. She likes to be moving and grooving and the entire two minute ride was a struggle to keep baby girl from jumping ship.

Not one to give up, we moved over to the merry-go-round. Again, a kid friendly ride that I thought LP would love for sure. We sat in a little carriage (she wasn't allowed to go on a moving horsey), strapped in and began the slow circle. After a few revolutions, LP was done. After trying in vain to remove the seat belt, she managed to pull one of her legs out from under the strap. She grew increasingly unhappy (much to the amusement of the un-related bystanders) and was thrilled when the ride was over. I have to say I wasn't disappointed it was over either.

Hopefully this experience hasn't ruined amusement parks for LP forever and next year she eagerly gets on the rides she shunned!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Word to Your Mother

Now that LP is walking in earnest (where is "earnest" anyway?), our next challenge is to get her talking. She makes lots of sounds and definitely lets it be known when she wants something, but there aren't really any clear words beyond "Hi". And she says "Hi!" into the remote control, using it as a telephone, so I am not sure if that takes points away. As parents, we are prone to exaggerating our children's successes (further amplified when you become a grandparent).

My first strategy for getting her to talk has been attempting to get her to mimic sounds. She makes a sound and I repeat it back to her and we go back and forth several times, then I change the sound and hope that she follows my lead. This works sometimes. My greatest success occurred the other night when we were watching the Yankee game and I shouted "Go Yankees!" and pumped my fist in the air. She responded "GAAAAAAAAA!" and put her arm in the air as well. To me "GAAAA" is close enough to "Go!" that it counts.

Another word we think she has mastered is "fish". This is a great source of pride for the Hoos, an avid fisherman. We don't have to tell anyone that she says (okay, whispers growing into a demanding shout) "ish, ish" when she sees the bag of Pepperidge Farm goldfish and insists on a handful.

Last night I thought we had reached another major milestone in terms of word association. While LP was having her bath, I said "Where's Daddy?" and she immediately pointed at the Hoos. He was tickled and we were both thrilled. We probably should have left it at that, but no, the Hoos had to push it, "Where's Mommy?" The first time she pointed at the Hoos. The second time she pointed at herself. I think she just knows that Mommy is the one that responds to any cry of need, she doesn't really need a name. Sigh....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Oops - Wrong Mirror

I am a voracious reader. I always have been. I could read at least a book a day if given the opportunity. I was the only kid at sleep-away camp that used to be thrilled with packages of books instead of snacks. Without lots of time on our vacation I still managed my way through three books: In Her shoes, The Illuminated Soul and The Art of Undressing.

I also enjoy magazines. The problem with magazines is that they are such quick reads. Once through (a half hour, tops!) and really they are done. Unless you are desperately bored. Then you go back and re-read everything and maybe even review the advertisements closely. I recently met my match - a publication I actually find completely unreadable.

Using my e-rewards points, I ordered a subscription for Working Mother. I figured it was free and I could always use more reading material. The first issue was in the stack of mail our neighbor collected for us while we were on vacation. "Yay," I thought, "something new to read."

The title should have been a dead giveaway - who considers themselves a "mother"? I am a "mom". Mother is accurate but way too formal to fit me. And that pretty much sums up the whole magazine. As far as I can tell is geared toward high-powered women who are older than me, work harder, and have more money. I couldn't relate to any of the articles and even after skimming the first few I decided to just close the magazine. I still have 11 more issues to get through and I already know that this subscription is wasted on me. I am thinking I might leave it in the lactation room at work. That is a place where you are always looking for something to distract you from the task at hand.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Relaxed, Refreshed

Well, we are back from our week-long vacation at Cape Cod. We stayed on a lake in the lovely town of Centerville which has a really nice beach (Craigville Beach) and excellent homemade ice cream. We had never been to the Cape before and enjoyed it very much. The good news is that we were mentally prepared that this vacation would not be about sleeping late, because otherwise we would have been sorely disappointed. Anyway, as a sign of a good, relaxing vacation, I don't have much exciting to report.


On our last night there, LP was wandering around the house. She was always in our sight and it had good, laminate floors so she was really walking from room to room. All of a sudden, the Hoos hears her playing with something in the front bedroom. A room we didn't use. He walks in to find her playing with a broken lamp. A lamp that we didn't hear fall and break and that wasn't broken before. Fortunately baby girl is unhurt.
We contemplate the broken lamp, trying to figure out how it got that way and finally determine that we must have pushed it back on the nightstand to keep it out of LP's way, thereby placing it closer to the blinds. A good, stiff wind must have kicked up while we were out (natch), knocking the blinds into the lamp and the lamp onto the floor.

What to do? What to do? We already spent an arm and a leg to rent this house, we certainly don't want the cost of this lamp to come out of our security deposit, especially if we weren't even responsible for the damage. So, like any true scaredy-cats, we hop in the car and drive to every home store in the greater-Hyannis area looking for a replacement. From K-Mart, to Linens and Things, to Home Goods, Pier 1, Marshalls, Macy's (bet you didn't know the Cape was so built up. It just so happens that Centerville is the ideal location for surf and shop). Apparently off white, cylindrical, 12-inch high lamps are out of style.

We find another lamp in a closet in the house and replace the broken lamp, which we wrap up and throw out. The next morning the Hoos calls the owner and relates the story (minus all of the nutty running around). She understands, especially since it is incredibly windy the morning we are preparing to leave, and tells us not to worry about it.

Anyway, as nice as it was to be on vacation and not think about work, there is something really nice about returning home. Too bad I have 150 emails to go through...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It was Mrs. Peacock - In the Study!

This week several research reports have been released that I think state the obvious. I am just glad that they were not government-funded studies that funneled dollars away from more important things.

First, did you know that women wield the decision power in marriages? If you didn't you are either a. single; b. living under a rock; or c. a very stupid man. However, Iowa State University sponsored a study on this topic, observing 72 married couples to see who carries the most influence in a household. I guess I am glad that there is now "scientific proof" to support what I already knew. Actually, on a more serious note, the study notes that women are better in problem-solving discussions, constructing more powerful arguments in support of their view thereby convincing their husbands to concede. It is good to see that people are moving away from the moronic ideas that during a serious discussion women either cry or withhold sex in order to get their way.

The second study, which I believe was released today, reaches the conclusion that working moms prefer part-time work. A whopping 60% of working mothers (12 percentage points more than in 1997) have come to the conclusion that working part-time is better than working full-time.

Once again, the most interesting part of the study is not the part that made headlines. The data on how moms rate themselves as parents is far more telling in my opinion. SAHM and part-time workers give themselves high marks, where full-time moms rate themselves lower. College educated mothers also rate themselves lower than those with some college or only a high-school education. We continue to be too hard on ourselves, setting a ridiculously high bar. I think full-time workers are used to an office environment where they are used to being rated and setting goals that are to be checked off a list. Give yourselves some credit! You are setting a great example for your kids - showing them how to create a work-life balance.

Maybe next week the media will uncover a story that people prefer sunshine to rain...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Does This Look Good to You?

Do you ever wish you could invent something so you could be independently wealthy and do whatever the heck you want? The Hoos is constantly trying to come up with unique products that we could patent and make megabucks off of. For the first few months after we had LP he would ask me if I had discovered any essential item that didn't exist but would make my life easier. He never really liked my answers - you mean insta-nanny isn't really feasible?

Suffice it to say I am not exactly the inventive type. But I am certainly jealous of those who are and often think to myself, "Darn it! Why didn't I come up with that?" when I see something new to the market and in demand. Like those disposable placemats that stick to the table in restaurants and keep baby relatively germ free and sort of contain the mess.... Today I received a new item in the mail that might make me want to smack myself for not thinking of it. It isn't a complex piece of machinery, but it definitely has the potential to be transformative.

Up until now if the Hoos and I were trying to decide whether to eat something in the fridge we would conduct "the smell test". If that proved inconclusive we would question each other and attempt to ascertain exactly how long said item has been in the refrigerator. More often than not we would chuck the item instead of eating it. This was wasteful at best and at worst had the possibility of being catastrophic if we ate something maybe we shouldn't have.

Enter the daysago digital day counter, this handy little digital timer that you stick on stuff in your fridge to keep track of how long something has been in there. The timers also came with a sheet outlining the USDA's guidelines for Food Storage. I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I'm not dead after all of the leftover chicken I have eaten more than two days after preparing it. The counters track up to 75 days and restart at 00 after that (you can also restart it on your own when you move it to something new); hopefully nothing has been in my fridge that long. On second thought, does curry paste go bad or does it just gets more pungent with age?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Not Exactly How I Remember It

There are two types of vacations - the type where you go somewhere to do something (e.g., Paris, London, Costa Rica) and the type where you go somewhere to do nothing (e.g., the Bahamas, Florida). No matter what kind of vacation, one of my critical requirements is that a vacation be about sleeping in. To people on vacation without kids (i.e., me up until this point) the thinking is "The Louvre will still be there at 11 am, no need to be there when it opens. Let's sleep late and eat chocolate croissants as we wander our way over there later."

On the other hand, remember family vacations when you got up at some horrible hour to beat the crowds? When I lived in DC and would take the metro to work I would look at tourist families in disgust, "Why are you people up and out at 7:30 in the morning? The museums aren't open yet and you are in the way!"

Now I am starting to understand. Kids like to be entertained, babies don't know the weekend from a weekday (LP actually gets up EARLIER on weekends than school days), and you will never sleep past 8:30 am again. Might as well embrace this fact and avoid the crowds.

PS: I think this should work everywhere except Disneyworld. Everyone is up early there, probably better to go at night when everyone else is too exhausted to move. Or, better yet, don't go at all!

Monday, July 9, 2007


I think I have been watching too much "The Next Food Network Star". Actually, I don't even really like any of the contestants left, so I am not sure why I watch. I think it is because I would love to have my own cooking show. I am not pining to be a reality TV star, but I love to cook, I like to 'fake it' (fancier chefs might use the word innovate, but I just make it up as I go along) with what I have on hand and make something new and interesting.

I am so far gone in my delusion that I have already mentally developed a pitch for my fabulous TV show. I am going to try out my pitch on this blog to get it out of my system. Just in case, consider it copywritten...

Title: From Scratch

Concept: Helping people new to the kitchen - newlyweds, new grads, new singles, new home, new to the suburbs with crappy take-out - get started stocking their pantry and developing some standards to fill their recipe box.

Standard Episode:
Scene 1. Meeting the soon-to-be gourmet. Discover what type of food they like and investigate their kitchen to discover what they already have on hand.
Scene 2. The grocery store. Introduce newbie to some staples. For example, if someone really likes Italian food, purchase onions, garlic, peppers, tomato sauce, pasta, olives, cheese, some key seasonings, etc. Not just items for one meal, but items to get them started creating exciting meals every day.
Scene 3. The gadget store. Again, help to stock the kitchen with some key items that they may not have. Keeping with our Italian theme, a col lander, a lasagna pan, a sharp knife.
Scene 4. Back in the kitchen. Put together a meal, with small tangents along the way of other ways to use the same ingredients.

I know, I am nuts and I have too much time on my hands. A girl can dream, right? Especially a girl that loves stability, is risk averse and way too bland to go on TV. Anyone want to play me in my television show?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I made myself a hair cut appointment for tomorrow afternoon. The Hoos gets his hair cut every four weeks or so and I am lucky if I get mine cut every six months. It is time.

Since becoming a mom the texture of my hair has changed. And not just because I don't actually spend any time with it. It is curlier (even when it isn't so incredibly freaking humid!) and drier then it used to be. Even when pulled back into a ponytail, these little curls rear their ugly little heads and poke out - not along my neck line, which is at least semi-normal, but along the side of my head. Trust me, not so lovely.

I am now contemplating what direction to go with my hair. This article talks about the mom tendency to go short. She makes some good points, it is harder to go without showering when you have short hair (bed head anyone?) and wearing a hat can make you look like "Dad" instead of "mom" from the back, but I am still not wholly convinced.

Back when I turned 21 I cut all of my hair off. It was shorter than my boyfriend's hair (the Hoos had a ponytail for a few years in college, hard to believe, but I have the pictures that prove it!). I wanted to look older. Since then I have had short hair several times, although I did grow it back nice and long for my wedding. By the time my honeymoon rolled around (December! In Canada!) I had cut it all off again.

The Hoos has made a point of telling me that I don't look good with short hair, and talking with our mutual hair dresser to discuss how I would look with short hair (he assures me she is in agreement that I don't have a "short hair face" whatever that means). Perhaps a compromise is in order - a shoulder length and shorter do that would force me to resist the urge to go ponytail? Here's hoping that whatever I end up with makes me look better than the fuzzball head I have going on now...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Get On Up!

It's coming! No, not Christmas - LP walking! During the last few days she has started to take more tentative, but deliberate, steps. And not just when we stand her up and coax her to "come to Mommy!" but on her own, when she sees something she wants on the other side of the room. She starts toward the object of her affection on her two feet before getting wobbly and returning to the crawl position.

This is very exciting, but also very scary. I am not sure why, but I know that everyone says "Once they start walking your life will change forever." She already crawl anywhere she wants, and stands up to reach things over head, and climbs the stairs (always supervised!) so I am unsure how much more of an impact this will have. Yes, I am naive.

Actually, my biggest concern about her walking stems from the speed of the walking and the stamina - and lack thereof. At some point I am sure my little bundle will shirk the stroller and want to walk instead of sit (although I can't imagine why since I would love to have someone else do the work while I enjoy a leisurely ride). This will likely mean that our usual two-mile, 30 minute stroll through the neighborhood, will have to be replaced with a 30 minute walk around the block. Not the end of the world, but for a New Yorker like me, the pace may take some getting used to.

As soon as LP has crossed over to 100% walking instead of crawling I will report back so that all of the other moms out there know what they are getting into. If you have a walker, please enlighten the rest of us on what we should be looking out for. That way you can laugh at me when I post a frazzled picture of myself all frazzled from chasing my little rump roast around.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Lucky Me

LP has decided (or at least it appears that she has made a conscious decision) to not poop when Daddy is around.

Friday, as we trekked up and spent our first day in the Green Mountain State, LP did not dirty a diaper. Coincidentally, we spent the entire day together a family. The Hoos started to get worried and even considered purchasing some prune juice. There was no need. On Saturday, as soon as he went out in a row boat with his brother, LP decided the time was right to poop. The Hoos spent an hour and a half out on the water and I got to change two nasty stinkers.

Later that evening I brought LP into the tent to coax her into sleep. Just as she was finally getting relaxed and laying down, an unpleasant odor filled the tent. Again, I am the only one around and therefore have to change her. Of course, I yell for the Hoos to come and take the offending diaper away, but this is after the diaper has been removed and the bottom sanitized.

Sunday was the same story. We spent the day in the car together driving home. Nothing. As soon as we get home, and the Hoos is occupied outside, LP relieves her bowels. TWICE.

I am not sure how I won the poop derby. It is not as if the Hoos does a bad job of changing LP's diapers. In fact, he is probably more gentle than I am when trying to hold her still while exchanging the dirty diaper for a clean one. Since tomorrow is a holiday and we will all be home I am going to test my theory. And I am going to make sure the Hoos changes every diaper.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Great Outdoors

After two days in the woods, we have returned from our camping adventure.

Somehow all of our gear fit into the car. We have one kid - and a small one at that - and I feel like we were really cramming the stuff in. I have no idea how my brother-in-law and his family fit all of the stuff they need into the car and still have room for their three kids. To be honest, I don't care how they got it all in, I am just thankful that they did, because not only is my sister-in-law very well prepared, but my niece is amazing, taking LP off of my hands for small periods of time so that I could actually accomplish things and help.

LP loved being outside and getting dirty. Fortunately we had rented a camp site with a lean to (pretty much a covered wooden stage) which was a perfect place to let LP crawl around. She had a great time and didn't even attempt to eat too much "organic" material.

The first night we got LP to go to sleep around 10:30 in the pack-n-play. She woke up screaming screaming crying at 12:15. Did you know that noise carries very clearly when you are in the woods in the middle of the night? We were very concerned about fixing whatever was bothering LP, but probably more worried about keeping her quiet and from waking the entire campground. Eventually after much rocking, cajoling, some orajel and some Tylenol she fell back to sleep. Of course, she feel asleep in my sleeping bag with me. This meant that instead of sleeping comfortably on my sleeping pad in my sleeping bag, I slept on the three inches of cold, lumpy ground in between the pack-n-play and the nice, cushioned pad. LP slept soundly and well, I moved around a lot.

The second night was a vast improvement. LP fell asleep at 9:05 in the pack-n-play. At 9:10 it started to rain. The rain was an improvement over listening to people talk at other campsites (rain in the woods on a tent is VERY VERY loud) and it was also a relief because no one would hear LP if she cried. You guessed it, she didn't cry and I had to wake her up at 8 the next morning. Fortunately the tent was waterproof and we all stayed warm and dry and got some sleep.

The picture above is from Sunday morning. Now you know what I look like after 48 hours of not showering. Be thankful the blog technology has not been upgraded to scratch and sniff yet.

Will we go camping again? Sure. Would we do it with someone younger than LP? Probably not. Did we have a good time? Definitely. The company was good, the weather was great, and the attitude was care-free with no one talking or thinking about work the entire time. THAT is what a vacation is all about.