Tuesday, February 28, 2006

He Types

Rejection, thy name is Lumpyhead.

Last night, Lumpyhead cried when Bump left the room. I was sitting in front of him, building a tower solely for his amusement. He took one look at me, cast a sidelong glance at the space Bump was previously occupying, and wailed.

This morning, I found this in the “Recent Documents” folder of the laptop:

Why Daddy is Better than Mommy
-by Lumpyhead

Peek-a-boo. Mommy’s peek-a-boo is mildly amusing. Like a primetime sitcom on CBS. Daddy’s peek-a-boo is Wanda Sykes, laugh-out-loud, wet-your-pants hysterical. Seriously, I’ve wet my pants. I’m not sure what the difference is, but that guy sure does a funny peek-a-boo.

Food. I’ve heard tales about how Mommy makes the milk, but it’s almost always Daddy who comes through with the bottle. And Daddy makes sure it’s a frosty beverage, cuz I likes my drinks cold. Sometimes, Mommy brings the milk warm. Bleech. She claims it’s “fresh-squeezed” and therefore better for me, but I’m not buying it. I want the frosty-cold goodness, and Daddy never lets me down.

Hair-pulling. Mommy makes a funny face when I grab her hair and yank. Daddy makes a funnier face when I grab his chest hairs and yank.

Around-ness. Daddy’s there when I wake up. Daddy’s there when I go to sleep (what? Sleep? I will NOT sleep!). Mommy’s there for a few hours in-between. She’s alright, I guess, but I quickly tire of her. Some days, she’s around all the time. Sigh. Not very often, at least - like twice a week - but it’s usually two days in a row. Ugh. I often look at her and think, “Don’t you have someplace you need to be, Woman?” Me and my Dadz need to hang, and you’re messing with our schedule. We can't do all our fun guy stuff with you around.

Lotion. What is the deal with all the lotioning, Lady? I mean, really? Maybe I like my cheeks and legs a little scaly. Why are you always with the infernal lotion? It makes me smell all sissified and junk. Daddy is much less obsessive about the lotion.

But in the end, it can be summed up with the peek-a-boo. Daddy? Consistently funny. Mommy? meh.
I'm proud that he can type at nine months and all, but I've gotta admit that I'm a little upset over his first essay.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Ernie Evacuates the Capitol

The Olympics are over and I didn't watch any of it (them?). None. Nada. Zilch. I complained about Medium and Earl being preempted. I feel guilty about my lack of national pride, so here's a story that makes me proud to be an American.

On June 9, 2004 Ernie Fletcher, a former Member of Congress and the Governor of Kentucky, came to town to attend the funeral of Ronald Reagan. His plane's communications equipment was broken, and as a result, the entire Capitol complex was evacuated. Good job, Ernie.

I was coming back from lunch with Aunt Bob on the Senate side, and when I saw the barricaded streets, I just assumed the funeral procession was coming through ahead of schedule. It was hot out, so I ducked into the Library of Congress to get back to my office.

I was stopped before entering the Cannon building. “I’m sorry, ma’am,” the Capitol Police officer told me, “this building has been evacuated, you can’t come through this way.”

I shrugged and turned around. At least the tunnel was air-conditioned. That’s when a Member of Congress - a former member of our Committee - caught up with me. He recognized me, and asked me if I knew how to get to a certain room in the Library from here. I did, and offered to show him, because it was complicated from the tunnels.

On the way, we met up with a Representative from the other party. I learned our destination was a room where Members were instructed to assemble in the event of an air attack.

When we got there, the room was empty. Apparently, instead of going to the designated meeting point, the other Members of the House of Representatives - all 433 of them - scattered like buckshot instead of gathering in a room dangerously close to the Capitol.

The two Congressmen were puzzled. They waited in the room for a bit before seeking out a Capitol Police officer and learning that it was a false alarm. While we waited, the Democrat turned to the Republican and said, “Well . . . I’ll flip you for Speaker.”


Friday, February 24, 2006

Milk III - Pumping All the Way to the Bank

[Part 3 in a very long post about breastmilk. Part 1 and Part 2]

Okay, Smarty. What do you do with four freezers-worth of extra breastmilk? Again, the internet? Not much help. Most women are working hard to save up a few ounces of pumped milk for their return to work. Excess milk doesn’t seem to be a problem for the internet.

I delicately asked a few friends with babies if they wanted some, which was weird. I mean, would I take someone else’s breastmilk for my baby? I dunno. If I knew her really well, maybe. One friend asked her doctor about it, who advised her against using another mom’s milk.

So, I contacted a milk bank. Human milk banks are few and far between, overworked and understaffed, so getting in touch with them required some patience. After a rigorous screening process that included blood work and two interviews, I was given a donor number and was approved by the WakeMed bank in North Carolina. They promised to send a cooler as soon as they could.

In the meantime, Aunt Bob and Peter and Bump and I had nothing frozen in our houses except breastmilk. Ice? Who has room for ice?

Two weeks after my approval, we went out and bought a cooler to donate to the milk bank, because we couldn’t wait any more. We had rearranged all four freezers enough times to know there was no way we could fit another bag of milk in. And the boobs kept pumping out the goods.

Since then, we've donated over a thousand ounces to the milk bank. Bump handles the shipments, because the cooler weighs a ton. We pack the cooler with newspaper and hard-frozen milk (ice is a no-no because it’s actually warmer than the milk. Besides, who has room in their house for ice?) and Bump takes it to FedEx for overnight express delivery. At the bank it’s pooled with other milk, processed, treated for bacteria, and sent out to babies who need it. The whole thing is kinda neat.

Even better, the bank sends the cooler back with containers for milk, so we don’t have to use those gdmf CSF bags anymore. (Oh, and we discovered that the Lansinoh bags are better, anyway. Double-zippered, they’re easier to use and they hold as much as twelve ounces each.)

The downside? Because of medical privacy, the bank asks us to black out any identifying features on pre-frozen milk. So all those painstaking hours spent labeling the bags with Lumpyhead’s name now only makes the process more complicated. Before we ship, we use a marker to black out his name on the gdmf CSF bags. The one reminder of why I’m going through all this hassle - Lumpyhead's name on the bag of milk - must be removed before we send it off.

Still, I feel like I’m doing a good thing with the milk donation. And I’m doing what's best for Lumpyhead, through the whole unpleasant pumping saga.

I only have to pump three times a day now, which is a blessed relief from the every three hours nonsense. I'm not sure when I'll stop, but I get the feeling my body will tell me when it's time. I’m producing only about 40 ounces of milk a day, instead of the half-gallon I was getting before, so I'm assuming I'll taper off to a level where stopping makes sense. (Is it called "weaning" when you're not actually nursing?)

I no longer have the appetite of a bear in the fall, which I chalk up to the slow-down in milk production. I expect those lost pounds will find me again soon. If anyone knows a good recipe for breastmilk ice cream, shoot me an email.

Milk II - My Pump, My Pump, My Pump My Pump My Pump

[This is Part 2 of a very long post about boobs. Part I is here.]

Lumpyhead is a sloooooow eater. I would present these chest rocks to him, and he would leisurely nibble at one for a half an hour or so. Then he would fall asleep and leave me stranded with one partially relieved orb and another I could use to mill flour. When he detached, the full nipple shield would douse us both with breastmilk, leaving us wet and sticky. I would still have to use the pump to stop the throbbing.

Eventually, we gave up on the booby rasslin’ altogether. I knew I would have to pump when I went back to work anyway, and bottle feeding meant that Bump and visiting grandmothers could feed the baby - which made them all very happy.

So I’ve been pumping exclusively pretty much from the start.

Um, if you’ve never done it, let me tell you that pumping sucks.

I never got those late night bonding moments with the baby. You can say, “Sure, but you didn’t have to get up every time to handle late-night feedings!” Go ahead, say it. I’ll respond with, “No! But I had to get up for late-night pumpings!” Yes. Where’s the motivation there? There is none, except that sleeping with throbbing hooters is like sleeping with a full bladder next to running water.

And up until last month, I had to pump every three hours. Yes. Three. Attempts to stretch out the time between pumpings resulted in plugged ducts and mastitis. I went nowhere without the breastpump. It was annoying.

Almost instantly, production waaay outpaced demand. I was pumping twice as much milk as Lumpyhead could consume. That woman in the hospital video with the four ounces of milk? I scoff at her lactation ineptitude! (okay, not really. I was bummed that I could no longer pump into four-ounce bottles without fear of overflowing. Let me tell you, an overflowing breast pump receptacle redefines “mess.” You know how when you go ice fishing, and you finally break through the ice with the auger and it sends water sploshing all over your boots? That’s what overflowing a pump container is like.)

And what exactly does one do with extra breastmilk? It’s not like there are recipes on the internet or anything.

(I’m gonna take a minute to let the people who are still scratching their heads over the ice fishing reference catch up. With us now? Good.)

Freeze it, you say? Oh, we froze it. I now curse those stupid Medela CSF bags that we used; what a pain in the ass they were. We sealed them with packing tape (because they are poorly designed) and painstakingly labeled and dated them and put them in our freezer. Soon our freezer was full.

So we used Aunt Bob’s freezer, too. And then her freezer was full. We used Aunt Bob’s beer fridge’s freezer. And then that was full. We bought a chest freezer from Craigslist and put it in Aunt Bob’s utility room. And then that was full.

That was back in September.


Milk I - Lactation Consultant Exultant

This is a very long post about boobies, breastpumps, nursing, and breastmilk. Sorry for the length, but I have a lot to get off my chest. (ar ar ar) Perhaps I'll split it into several posts.

Lumpyhead was never a very good nurser. He did fine with colostrum; he latched-on well and chomped happily and it didn’t hurt. Before we left the hospital, I attended the breastfeeding class with him and we showed off how well we were doing.

We went home, and then my milk came in. He no longer latched well. He would attach, then fling his head from side to side and squeal. It hurt. More importantly, we worried he wasn’t getting anything to eat.

Lumpyhead’s bilirubin count was borderline high when we left the hospital, so after a day of boob wrestling with no results, his bilirubin levels became unsafe. His pediatrician ordered him to the hospital for phototherapy.

While the phototherapy stay was stressful for Bump and me, Lumpyhead didn’t seem to mind. He would spend two-and-a-half hours under the lamps, then get a diaper change and a feeding. The nurses gave us formula for him, saying that phototherapy was the one time they actually recommended formula over breastmilk. Formula took a bit longer to work through the baby’s system, so more of the broken-down bilirubin would get picked up and eliminated.

To keep him from rejecting the breast, we would start each feeding session trying to get Lumpyhead to nurse. After five or ten minutes of booby rasslin’ with me, he would get a bottle of formula from Bump while I hooked up to a breast pump.

To my amazement, the amount of milk I pumped would match exactly the amount of formula Lumpyhead would eat. We would carefully label the pumped milk and the hospital stored it for us in their refrigerator. “Put it in the freezer when you get home,” they told us. “You’ll be glad to have it someday.” I treated each drop like liquid gold.

I watched a segment on the hospital cable channel about pumping. The woman on the show handled a bottle with maybe four ounces of milk in it. I was stunned. You could get that much?

“Production will keep up with demand,” I was told. Seemed to make sense to me. Lumpyhead couldn’t eat more than 2 ounces per feeding, and that’s how much I was pumping.

Lumpyhead’s hospital stay was shorter than expected, but when we got home, there was more booby rasslin’ and not much nursing. We met with a lactation consultant, who proclaimed I had flat nipples and gave me a nipple shield. (Really? They don’t look flat to me. Okay, I’ll try this thing . . . holy crap!)

It was like a magic bullet. Lumpyhead latched on and stayed there. He looked at me like “It’s about time, Woman!” He sucked so hard his elfin ears wiggled.

We went home singing the praises of the lactation consultant. They should be mandatory, like car seats. But seeing one before your milk comes in is like giving a tampon to a boy.

Happy ending? Not quite. There's more.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Reasons Why I'm Kinda Dumb

I thunked my head against the steering wheel on the drive home because:

1. I have no free notecards from Shutterfly.

I've been using Shutterfly to send photos of Lumpyhead to my mom. I had been printing pictures on my photo printer and mailing them to her, but the postal service took like a week to deliver the prints, and it would torture her to know I sent photos but she didn't have them yet. Shutterfly is only slightly more expensive, the prints are good quality, and the pix don't take much longer to arrive than my photos did. The nice people at Shutterfly offered me a free gift: twelve notecards with a photo of my choice, I only had to pay for the shipping.

That offer expired on Monday.


2. I should be more careful with work emails.

I wrote this in an email today: "Monkeys will fly out of the Vice President's butt and shoot ten old men in the face with their monkey shotguns before [that happens]."

And then I hit send.

And now "monkey shotguns" is a new buzzword.

Granted, the email was sent to someone who realizes that I find hunting accidents tragic and have only the utmost respect for our simian brothers (especially those with firearms). And the people for whom it has become a buzzword are young and silly and find it amusing.

But it's not exactly fostering the "I'm a seasoned professional" image that I seek.

Okay, in truth the Shutterfly thing is bugging me more than the monkey shotguns thing. I was raised Dutch, after all. This is killing me. They were free. That's $9.95 that I just pissed away by being forgetful.

Yes, I know, that's less than the Unused Gym Membership.

And as Buttmunch would say, "Free shit is still shit."

But notecards would have been cool! I mean, for zero dollars, it's better to have notecards than to not have notecards, right?


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Don't Sell Yourself Short Judge, You're a Tremendous Slouch

I know lots of working moms have Working-Mom Guilt, wondering if they should quit or go part-time to spend more time with their children. And most moms juggle so many tasks - work a full day, race to daycare for pickup, drop off the dry cleaning on the way home, fix dinner, do the laundry, check homework, referee squabbles, sleep too little . . .

When your spouse stays home and you go to work, the result is I-Don't-Do-Enough Guilt. It's even better when coupled with Daddy-Is-Better-at-This Suspicions.

When I get home at night, I play with the baby while Bump makes dinner. Bump typically runs errands and does the grocery shopping during the day, so there are lots of things that get done for me. When I do stupid things, like go to work without bottles to pump into, Bump brings them in. Bump also gets up when Lumpyhead wakes up at night.

I feel like a fraud when I categorize myself as a working mom. I guess I think of working moms and single moms as the same animal, those harried superwomen who do everything while their lazy husbands watch the game. (I also kinda think, "That's a little bit your fault, Lady. Get Sir Sofa Loafer to help out a little more, eh?" Unless, of course, you're truly on your own, in which case I think, "Damn. I could never do that. Never ever ever in a million years. You're friggin ah-maze-ing.")

I feel much more like a guy in the 1950s than a modern career mom. I worry I am the clueless dumbshit Dad who "gives Mom a break" by feeding the children Hostess cupcakes for dinner and forgetting to bathe them.

Several Saturdays ago, I needed to return some clothes and took Lumpyhead with me so Bump could sleep. I packed the diaper bag and set off, bursting with New-Mama pride. Strangers made googlie eyes at my darling bundle. Children craned their necks to see the pretty baby.

The Trainee behind the register was implementing a hostile takeover of Old Navy's East Coast operations (okay, that's a lie, but it was taking a reeeeally long time) and Lumpyhead started to fuss. Never fear! Mama has a bottle! Lumpyhead quieted while Trainee set his sights on the Midwest.

Lumpyhead finished the bottle by the time the Trainee achieved hemispheric domination. I completed my transaction, and Lumpyhead spit up. All. Over.

And there was no burp cloth in the diaper bag.

I had to ask Trainee for a tissue, and he produced the scary kind of paper towels that ancient Egyptians wrote on. But I managed to stop the dripping, and went home and cleaned the baby up for real. The other errands I had planned for the morning stayed on the To Do list.

This kind of thing does not happen to Bump. Maybe it's just a matter of having more practice taking the little guy on errands, but I was a hapless mess. I make up little excuses, like "he's a guy, so it's easier for him to lug around the car seat" and "he's tall enough to see over the car seat when it's in the shopping cart" but I know errands with the baby can't be easy for Bump either. This is why I have Daddy-Is-Better-At-This Suspicions.

I feel like I've usually got pretty good sensors for what Lumpyhead wants - when he's hungry, angry, in pain or just complainy. When he rubs his eyes and yawns, he's sleepy. (Pretty remarkable, those sensors, huh? I mean, who could guess that, other than his mother?)

Last night Lumpyhead fell asleep at 9 o'clock. This is noteworthy for a boy who usually won't sleep until after 2am. I hoped that this could be the start of a new schedule, and not just a late nap. Because Lumpyhead wakes up the minute his head hits his crib, I decided to hold him to try to keep him sleeping.

Our front door squeaks, so when Bump came home from pool at 11:30, Lumpyhead woke up (crap!). Then he went back to sleep (yay!). But Bump realized we hadn't gotten the mail.
Baby: [eyes flash open]
Me: Crap.
I put Lumpyhead down in our bed, and he rolled over and closed his eyes again. (yay!) Then Bump came back in.
Baby: [eyes wide open]
Me: Crapitty crap crap crap!
While I pumped, Bump changed Lumpyhead's diaper, and decreed that there was no way the baby was going down for the night yet.

Well, no. But before the door woke him three times and you changed his diaper, he really seemed like he was ready to go down for the night. Mutter, mutter.

But I tried a little longer to persuade Lumpyhead he really wanted to sleep. He rubbed his eyes and looked spacey, complained loudly, and would not be convinced. Bump did the dinner dishes, which had sat out all night, because I didn't have it together enough to even accomplish that.

At 12:45 am, I admitted defeat and went to bed. Bump stayed up with Lumpyhead, who went down for the night around 1:30 am.

It was a banner night for I-Don't-Do-Enough Guilt.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Empty Nesters

Bump's Uncle Fred and Aunt Barbara drove down from Baltimore today to see Lumpyhead, and took us all to lunch.

I still think of their boys as Bump's 8- and 10-year-old cousins, and am always shocked when I see these young men looking ready to prowl for chicks and drink from a beer bong. They're handsome and polite, bright and talented, self-assured and healthy - all the things I want for Lumpyhead some day.

Fred and Barbara's youngest son is away for the weekend, visiting a college he may attend in the fall. Their oldest is a sophomore at Vassar, so Fred and Barbara are empty-nesters this weekend.

Fred and Barbara fawn over Lumpyhead, gushing over his giggles, his new teeth, his baby skin. It makes me wonder if when Lumpyhead goes off to college, will I long to have him back at this age? Barbara remarked over lunch that their lives will soon be returning to the lives we just left behind. They will no longer wait up worrying about the boys making curfew. Their weekends will no longer be crammed full of soccer games and the spring musical and Scout camp.

While I doubt Fred and Barbara are going to start filling their evenings with poker games, tequila shots and Grand Theft Auto, Barbara's point is still valid. They're leaving parenthood behind just as we're running full speed into parenthood's brick wall.

We had a nice lunch at an unstuffy restaurant that's surprisingly kid-friendly. Bump and I went there a lot before Lumpyhead was born. Fred and Barbara were happy to hold Lumpyhead and help keep him quiet while Bump and I ate.

I know the time is coming when Lumpyhead will no longer need us. I know that moment is coming far too fast. While I miss our old lifestyle - back when we got plenty of sleep and ate out a lot and long weekends meant a quick trip somewhere - our new one has rewards of a different nature.

Lumpyhead babbles now. He'll be crawling soon. He smiles when he sees us.

Someday, he'll leave for college and Bump and I will wonder how to fill our time.

Before then, we'll tackle toilet training and learning to drive and rebellion and cute girls and, and, and. . .

. . . and I will enjoy every minute. I swear. Even when I'm sleep-deprived and almost out of patience and feeling completely clueless.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

It's a Loverly Loverly Day

Spring is in the air.

And up my nose. I’ve been sneezing like a mofo all damn day. This bodes badly for an allergic spring. I was so worried last year about not being able to take shots or allergy meds, and then so pleased with myself when I didn’t need them.

A break from allergic rhinitis isn’t the only nice preggers side effect that’s wearing off. My hair is still falling out by the fistful, which it’s been doing since September. It wouldn’t be so bad if not for the inch-and-a-half long hairlings that now stick straight up off the top of my head and make me look like (even more of) a moron.

My forehead looks like a teenage boy’s (who would be pretty fricken psyched about these hooters, I’ll tell you what. I’m not wearing the three-day old helium balloon look yet, but I’m looking forward to that.)

Gone are the fingernails I could use to tighten screws.

My milk production is slowing down (is that TMI? sorry), and I’m feeling all bummered out.

Hey, it could be worse. I could need an anoplasty.

Poor little Lumpyhead.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dr. Ass-Cue

We finally have an explanation for Lumpyhead's poop difficulties; he has an anorectal malformation which will require surgery to correct.

Lumpyhead has been going for long periods without poops, only to unleash, unhappily, over a stretch of two days or so. Turns out his little bunghole is too small.

When he was younger, we called his bottom his "little icing tip" because poop would come out in a tiny stream you could use to decorate a cake. We figured it would get bigger. It did. But apparently not big enough.

Over the weekend, he was straining to poop while his diaper was off, and I noticed that poop was coming out of a tiny pinhole about a half an inch away from his anus. That spurred us to go to the doctor. Yesterday, Lumpyhead's pediatrician diagnosed an anal fistula and referred us to a pediatric gastroenterologist and a pediatric surgeon.

That's right. My son literally ripped himself a new one.

We had our first consult with the surgeon this morning, and she'll perform surgery in the next month or so to make Lumpyhead's anus larger and repair the fistula. The surgeon's name is Dr. Askew, which I think is funny. It's not pronounced like "off-kilter," but rather with the emphasis on the first syllable. She seems very nice, and inordinately competent, so I feel bad about making fun of the name, but come on.

I'm trying to keep the mood light (otherwise I will probably lose it), so I keep making jokes about Lumpyhead's upcoming surgery. Ass cracks, if you will. Lumpyhead might grow up to be a jerk, but we can always tell him he's not a big enough asshole.

He needs butt surgery? Bummer.


Anyway, have at it. Please post your best anus joke, or I will be a jiggling bucket of nerves for the next four weeks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I Am Both Blackhearted and Cynical

I hate Valentine's Day. Sorry, Heather.

Single Friend, who sees Valentine's Day as another way for the coupled-up world to kick her in the crotch, is so bitterly cranky today I don't even want to say hello.

New Relationship Friend is a ball of twitchy goo because she's not sure if she should have gotten New Guy a big gift, a little gift, or nothing at all. What if New Guy gets her a big gift and all she got for him is this puny-kinda-funny thing?

Long-Standing Relationship Friend rolls his eyes. "What a load of crap. If Significant Other needs a manufactured day to let her know that I love her then she really doesn't get what I'm all about."

Meanwhile, Significant Other wouldn't mind a little "you're special" reminder every once in a while, even if it's stuck between absent-minded ass scratching and a burp.

It's my friend Fundy's birthday, and he's busy complaining about how it's the worst day to have a birthday ever. You can't get a table at a restaurant, all your friends have "plans," if you're seeing someone the day can't be about you, if you're not seeing someone you get to be all bummed out on your birthday . . .

Cripes already. No wonder I hate Valentine's Day.

Okay, reasons to enjoy the day: (or, the only things keeping me from rushing out to the suburbs, finding Sarah, and forcing her on a three-day drinking bender with me)

1) Nana Vicky sent us a Valentine's Day care package last Friday. It contained many fabulous hand-made and decorated sugar cookies (all gone as of Sunday), some heart-shaped marshmallows (half of which we ate with chocolate sauce, the other half to be used in a how-many-can-you-fit-in-your-mouth-at-one-time contest - which sounds dirtier than it is), and two outfits for Lumpyhead, among other items. Like some awesome chocolates.

2) Valentine's Day is a good reason to drink champagne, even if it's cheap champagne.

3) Tomorrow: sale chocolate.

4) Bump.

Hey Bump, I love you. Glad I squeezed out your progeny.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Go Sawks!

Lumpyhead is forever losing his socks. If he's not pulling them off to suck on them, he's kicked them off. We're always looking down to find one or both of his socks missing.

I don't think he hates wearing them, it's just that pulling them off is so blasted fun. We've tried several different brands, the only difference seems to be the number of seconds it takes for Lumpyhead to remove them. Old Navy socks are off in about two seconds, and then are easy to kick off because they're all stretched out. Target socks stay on for about ten seconds, but Lumpyhead rubs his feet together twice and they're gone. Baby Gap socks? There's no point in putting those on his feet - might as well just throw one on the floor and stick the other one in his mouth directly from the drawer.

Oh, and forget about shoes. Lumpyhead cannot be distracted from the deliciousness of shoes. If you show him a toy, he'll forget about his socks for awhile, but if there are shoes on his feet, nothing is more interesting.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Great M&M Caper

To recap: Bump was eating the M&Ms one color at a time.

I re-introduced the missing colors. It looked like this.

Was Bump confused? Suspicious?

Neither. I blew it. Bump caught me red-(and orange M&M) handed. The next day I came home to this:

He's such a dork.

But a loveable dork.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Patrick's Birthday Party

I’ve described Patrick as Aunt Bob’s 3-year-old, but he doesn’t officially turn three until tomorrow. He had the first of two birthday parties this morning, with the children from his preschool as guests.

My office was closed today as a reward for the crazy hours we’ve logged this week. Bump and Lumpyhead were on the guest list for Party I: The Preschool Edition from the get-go, and since I was off today, I crashed the event.

Eight of Patrick’s eleven classmates, their moms, and one sibling attended the party. Bump, Lumpyhead and I walked into controlled chaos: nine three-year-olds and one fourteen-month-old were hurling toys, shrieking, and flicking cupcake icing under close maternal supervision.

I met most of the moms, and all of the kids, but can only remember a few of their names. The mothers were bright, hip, and unflappable. A couple of them were pregnant. The children were polite, cute, and age-appropriately rambunctious.

As I surveyed the destruction, I sized up these other mothers. We were the same demographic, for the most part; they were probably a lot like me.

But I felt nothing like them, these assembled mommies from a nice preschool. They all seemed so serene in the face of the unfolding madness, so blissfully happy in their mommyhood. They exchanged precious anecdotes about children, babies and pregnancy. They chatted sweetly while hawkishly monitoring toddlers and cheerfully averting disasters.

I felt the strong urge for a good, stiff drink. But it was 11:30 in the morning, so I kept the sentiment to myself.

By 1:00pm, the guests had left and Patrick’s gifts had been opened and recorded. Patrick was down for a nap, and Lumpyhead was asleep in my arms.

Bump brought me a vodka and grapefruit juice.

Aunt Bob sat down for a beer before going back to work.

And as the four of us sat around and snarked over our drinks, I realized I belonged at this party after all.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Deficits, Schmeficits

Yeah, so that whole "I won't be blogging much"? Turns out that was a great big lie.

So, the federal deficit for 2006 will be $423 billion dollars. Kinda makes you feel better about your checkbook, eh?

The deficit I'm worried about, though, is Bump's sleep deficit. These long days have turned me into a total absentee parent. I get home from work at midnight, play with Lumpyhead for maybe an hour, then go to sleep. Bump told me he had a long nap with Lumpyhead on Monday afternoon, but I'm afraid he's going to end up sick unless he gets more sleep.

What else? We have a little candy dish in the dining room with M&Ms in it. Bump has been methodically eating only one color at a time. It's a little OCD, but it's kinda funny to come home and see that all the orange ones are gone. Then the reds.

My plan: buy a pack of M&Ms at work and slip a couple of the missing colors back into the bowl. This will either: 1) drive Bump nuts, 2) confuse the hell out of him, or 3) convince him he's not doing a thorough job when attempting to make a color extinct.

Or he'll be on to me immediately.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Can't You Feel 'Em Circling Honey?

"Remora Baby!"

Lumpyhead has become a face-sucker.

He'll grab Bump's head by the ears or mine by the hair and attach his little maw to our faces. It's both icky and cute and the same time.

Bump loves it. He calls them "baby kisses" and doesn't mind getting smothered in slobber.

I lean more toward the bleechy side of the ledger, but I'm usually too busy trying to unwind my hair from his tiny balled fists to worry about the yuck factor. Once my hair is free, I can usually detach Lumpyhead from my cheek or chin, then towel off.

Maybe we need to feed the child more.

Monday, February 06, 2006

So Please, Give Generously

NPR is holding a pledge drive. I just can’t bear to listen to familiar NPR personalities sound like they’re on the home shopping network, so I’m left with the barren radioscape that is Washington, DC.

DC is Clear Channel’s bitch, so I have my choice among several radio stations that will bring me crapulent pop music sandwiched between a gang of chirping morons. It makes me want to gouge my eyes out.

Yes, I’m old.

I feel like once I’ve made my annual donation, I shouldn’t have to listen to the pledge drives anymore. I don’t want a coffee mug or a tote bag, I want a secret passcode that gives me my radio back.

I’m always mildly horrified by the NPR extortion, reminding me how important they are to me by withholding programming. And the blatant “shorten our next pledge drive by giving today” tactic astounds me. Is that even legal? Is “Make a pledge today or the bunny gets it” next?

I have a Sirius radio at home, which I could take in the car with me if I’d just remember it in the mornings. But I can barely get out of the house in shoes that match, so that seems like a pipe dream.

Which leaves me stuck listening to Steve Inskeep browbeat me into submission.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Hell Week

I'm stuck at work today, and will probably work all day tomorrow. Next week is typically the busiest week of the year for our Committee.

This means a) I won't be blogging much, and b) I won't see much of Lumpyhead.

Blog? Whatever. But I miss Lumpyhead already, and it's only going to get worse. Last year I was pregnant during the crazy time, at the start of the "money" second trimester. I was no longer puking every day, I wasn't uncomfortably large, but I was big enough to warrant special pregnant lady treatment. As I've said before, politicos fall all over themselves for babies and babies-to-be, so a pregnant lady might as well have a "worship here" sign on her shirt (except she'd get kicked out of the House chamber).

I look forward to spending all day with Lumpyhead on Saturdays and Sundays, and feel a little cheated today. I resist going to sleep on weekdays, even when I'm exhausted, because I feel I'm cutting short our time together when I sleep.

So I miss the little guy. And Bump's not getting a break. And it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Korean American Staff Lunch

I attended a luncheon hosted by the Embassy of Korea yesterday. I usually don't get invited to free lunches because lobbyists have figured out that staff on my Committee don't actually have any power. Darn.

I was invited to this luncheon soley because I'm Korean. I went because my friend Travis - who is also an adopted Korean from Minnesota - wanted me to. This is the second "asian thing" I've attended at Travis' request, and I honestly feel a little weird about it. I'm being invited to something not because of my position, my skills, or my friends - I'm being invited only because of how I look.

Travis sees it as a neworking opportunity - he's a much better networker than I am - but I wonder why I would want to network with people who have self-selected on a basis as flimsy as appearance. If you want to argue "heritage," then fine, I think you've got a point, but then I really have no business being invited.

Another reason I find these things creepy? They make me think about things like racial identity, which is something I typically don't spend much time on. I think the world would be a better place if no one thought about race again, ever, but that's probably a long way off.

Also, the people I meet at these functions expect me to speak Korean. They expect my last name is my married name. They ask point-blank if I'm adopted. That's weird, right? Do you usually attend lunches where the second question you're asked is whether on not you sprang from your mother's womb? Yeah, me either.

Maybe I just got stuck beside a particularly rude woman. Come to think of it, she was a total social dimwit. This was her exchange with Travis:
TSD: Are you full-Korean?
Trav: (casually) I'm not sure.
TSD: You're not sure? [I can't do the inflection justice. Imagine Travis had just said "Sometimes I like to eat babies."]
Trav: (stunned)
TSD: How can you not be sure?
Trav: (graciously) I'm adopted.
TSD: Oh. [again, the inflection. Imagine the previous line was, "Terrorists killed my dog."]


Oh, and she kept checking her crackberry. During lunch. I can't tell you how much I hate the rude blackberry user. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have a blackberry. I use it, but I consider myself a recreational user.)

The rude blackberry user is so ubiquitous on the Hill. Maybe it's because so many people are self-important. "Look how vital to the operation I am! My office has provided me with a special emailing device, so I'm never out of touch."

Dude, your boss knows you're replaceable. She knows you think she can't live without you, but she's just letting you believe that so she can continue to pay you slave wages. You're a sucker.

It's like during the anthrax scare, when everyone wanted to be on cipro to show how important their job was.

[Talk about timing! The office annunciator just went off. It was a only a test. How bad would I feel if during an actual emergency, I was making fun of cipro?]

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Weight, Weight, Don't Tell Me

I throw away $16 a month on a gym membership. The House of Representatives started subsidizing Gold's Gym memberships a couple of years ago, so I joined.

I went pretty faithfully for awhile. I wasn't committed to dropping pounds, but wanted to get in better shape, and if I lost some weight, it would be a nice bonus. I stopped going before I was pregnant (so I can't blame the laziness on that) and I haven't darkened the gym door since.

Last weekend I considered putting my membership to use. Our plumbing had backed up. It wasn't an emergency kind of backup, so we decided to wait until Monday to call a plumber. I was gonna go to the gym to use the shower.

The thought of getting on the treadmill before hitting the locker room never once crossed my mind.

There are a couple reasons why I'm not concerned about my Unused Gym Membership.

Reason #1: I could throw away $16 a month on dumber things. For example:
  • I don't get designer coffee any more. I got off the caffeine wagon when I was pregnant and haven't gotten back on. (The alcohol wagon, yes. Caffeine? Oh no, caffeine is the Devil's beverage.) That daily buck-fifty alone is worth twice the UGM.
  • I don't hit happy hours any more, where I could throw away $16 on two drinks (or less).
I realize I should be making every penny count, being on one income and all, but I'm not really thinking about cancelling the UGM. I waver a little when I aggregate the UGM over the many months my card has sat stagnant on my keychain (geez, that's over $300. We're starting to talk about real money, now.)

Reason #2: Shooting all this milk from my chest has really melted away the lbs.

I'm not telling anyone to buy the line about "nursing will help you get back your pre-pregnancy figure." That's crap. Pre-pregnancy figures don't return without surgery.

But . . . burning extra calories a day + the absence of oral contraceptives = rapid weight loss. Add "drinking in moderation" (as opposed to what I used to do) and you've got yourself the prescription for a 60-pound weight reduction from the day Lumpyhead emerged. I'm down to my college weight. Of course, everything has shifted to different places.

Added Bonus: I can eat like a linebacker.

Bump decreed that my body has decided it's done losing weight, and now wants me to maintain, so ramped up the appetite. I can consume comical amounts of food and still be hungry.

Big Down Side: none of my clothes fit.

I hate to shop. Shopping for clothes is like some sort of punishment. Plus, buying an entire new wardrobe is not really in the budget - the total UGM wouldn't cover more than a couple cheap suits.

My colleagues are not charitable about my clothing. This ridicule is much-deserved, as Bump will often ask gently if I'm really wearing that. If I manage to escape the house without Bump's critique, I'll get it at work. Over the past five months I've actually been told:
"You look like you're wearing your mom's suit."

"Those pants are waaaay too big for you."

"You really can't wear that any more."

"Fuck you, you skinny mini." (from the woman who's always on a diet. I actually hear that last one a lot.)
These comments spur me to acquire clothing that doesn't look silly. I know this because when I come to work looking even slightly foolish, I'm told, quite candidly, that I look like a clown.

So back to the UGM, which I'm not cancelling. I like to think that on the great "someday," I'll start going again. Someday when I decide to turn this new skinnier-but-flabbier me into a MILF. Someday when I no longer equate "every minute not at work" with "time to spend with Lumpyhead."

Besides, $16 is worth the peace-of-mind that I've got an alternative place to shower.

In the end I didn't use the gym shower. I just went to work on Monday kinda stinky. I don't think anyone noticed; I was wearing new pants.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Don't Mess with Mr. In-Between

I think of myself as a "glass half full" kinda gal. (I just typed "gal." I'm so sorry.)

I try to focus on positive things and find a happy spin on bummers.

Optimism isn't about how the economy is doing or consumer confidence going up or if I feel secure in my job.

This is optimism: