Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Happy Birthday, Lumpyhead

Okay, I sort of fell off the face of the earth there for awhile. We were in North Carolina over the weekend for Bump's cousin Erin's wedding (which is all kinds of blog fodder, but I just couldn't muster the energy to post). Bump's family fawned over the baby all weekend, he stayed up too late, and slept in the hotel bed with us. Now that we're back home, we're trying to make up the lost ground on sleep-training, and Bump and I feel awful because Lumpyhead spent last night alone in his room (But he's crying! And it's almost his birthday! You're not supposed to cry when it's almost your birthday!). We're such suckers.

Tonight's birthday party was great. We invited 10-15 people, but the only people who showed up were Nana V, Aunt Bob, Pete and Patrick. It was fabulous. The other people I invited are great, and would have been tons of fun, but I was almost glad they didn't come. The evening was "just family," the people who were present a year ago when Lumpyhead was born.

Lots of other bloggers post their baby's birth story on the first birthday, which I love, but I'm not going to do that tonight. Instead, I'm going to give the toast I didn't give at Lumpyhead's birthday party (because it was a casual party and a toast would have been awkward. Plus, I didn't think of it during the party).

To Lumpyhead!

So many people love you. Not just the people who assembled in our house tonight, but also the people who couldn't be here. Your grandparents in Minnesota, who are convinced the sun rises and sets at your command, waited so long and so eagerly for you to arrive. Your grandparents in Maine, who claim your every action is brilliant, worship the ground you walk on. Your great-grammy in Maine, who invariably says of you "he's so handsome," thinks of you every day. Your great-grandmother in Minnesota, who sadly, isn't the sharp, energetic woman she used to be, considers you her special great-grandbaby.

Your Aunt Amy in Maine wants to eat you up every time she sees you. Your Uncle Ron buys you camoflauged clothing, hangs on your every milestone, and can't wait to take you fishing. Your other Honorary Aunts and Uncles - so many and so wonderful - giggle over your pictures and ask about your progress.

And those who are no longer with us: your grandfather after whom you're named, your great-grandfather who passed just recently, your other great-grandparents long dead. Cousin Erin's mother. John. Alex. They all love you, too. They watch over you - toasting your birth, taking pride in your accomplishments, flinching when you fall. Someday, they will be those little voices in your head, urging you to make the right choices.

You're already such a little man, but still such a baby.

You're such a lucky little boy.

To you, Lumpyhead. This first year has gone so fast.

And it's been better than I ever could have hoped.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Let Them Eat Carrot Bread

A couple of weekends ago I bought some pumpkin bread at the farmer's market. Lumpyhead liked it - and more importantly, it didn't stop up his plumbing - so I bought some more last weekend. I also bought some carrot bread, which Lumpyhead liked even more, possibly because it was covered with icing. It was pretty sweet to begin with; I don't think it needed the icing.

I stopped calling it "bread" and starting calling it what it really was: cake.

When Bump and I feed Lumpyhead, we usually announce what he's eating as we're shoveling. "Do you want some pears?" we ask, before inserting the spoon. When we try to give him something he doesn't want, he puts his hands up to his face and rubs them around. He plays remarkable defense, I must say. The other day I managed to sneak in some green beans despite his obvious . . . reluctance to eat beans. Instead of swallowing them, he opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue, hoping the beans would slide off. They didn't. He eventually swallowed them. (Ha! Mommy wins!)

When he's done eating, but I'm trying to stick in a few more bites, he spits. (Ha! Mommy wears sweet potatoes!)

Then he laughs. I try to be stern about "No spitting!" but I don't think he's internalized the message.

The whole "announcing what he's eating" has worked out pretty well, and now he's expressing his preferences. He requests cake all the time. "Yogurt?" I ask.
"Cake," Lumpyhead responds, his little hands blocking the spoon.
So I'll try something else. "Blueberry?"
Lumpyhead will open his mouth and stop the hand flailing. Lumpyhead usually can be distracted from his cake crusade by Cheerios. For a little while, anyway.

I've started denying him cake until he's eaten a respectable amount of other things, but at every meal you can guaran-damn-tee that he's getting cake eventually.

So far in the Word Department we've got "clock," "cake," "carrot," (which sounds like "cah-coh," kind of a combination of "cake" and "clock." He means these) and "book" (which sounds exactly like "clock" while reaching for the bookshelves). I guess that's technically only two words which he's managed to stretch into four.

Over Lumpyhead's breakfast this morning, Bump and I were both trying to get Lumpyhead to say some new words.

Bump: Can you say mama? Ma-ma?
Me: Can you say papa? Pah-pa?
Bump: Papa? Papa. Mama? Mama.
Me: Mama? Mama. Papa? Papa.
Lumpyhead: Cake.

"And make it snappy. The both of you," was implied in the tone.

A programming note: Tune in next Friday for the second installment of A Drinking Game Challenge. I haven't figured out the scoring for "Fork You" yet, so I didn't post it today. Also, I've been remiss in trying out Random Shit and A Fan so I can't report the changes/results. I tried to get Bump to play with me this week, but he just looked at me skeptically and said "How 'bout not?"

I bet I can convince Aunt Bob to play tonight.

I'm running out of material, too. So send me your challenge!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Weekend Word Challenge

Okay, I feel bad that I don't take part in the Weekend Word Challenge that Odd Mix has going. But honestly?

You know how, when you're watching something like Olympic gymnastics, you think, "Wow, that was really cool." While you admire the skill, never ever ever do you say, "Hey, I should try that! I could do a triple yuckity yuck somersault thingy off a vault."

That's how I feel about Weekend Word Challenge and the people who submit entries. It's really cool, but I never consider getting out my old-ass digital camera and making a go of it.

I can barely capture Lumpyhead the way I want (you know, with his hair full of squash or his finger up his nose), so the idea of capturing something meaningful or artistic is completely foreign to me. I curse the shutter lag and can't figure out how to use flash when I need it and take pictures of my fingers.

Shutter lag

No fill-in flash

I'm so hapless.

Maybe Odd Mix can give me a remedial pat-pat on the head and come up with a Weekend Word Challenge that would fit my photos ("Hapless"? "Mommy's a Moron"?). That way, I could take part!

I'm such a loser.

But if you're not as big a loser as I am, you should totally check out the WWC. And submit. Submit!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I heard on the radio this morning that about as many people voted for the next American Idol as voted for President in the last election.

When I heard this, I nearly crashed my car.

Seriously? Seriously America?

Patriots died to bring forth on this continent blah blah blah and we're more willing make our voices heard for a tv show? One on Fox, no less?

It makes me want to punch someone in the face.

Let me say up-front that I'm not an Idol watcher. (Although there is a promo for Idol in which Simon whatshizname says "There's only one American Idol" and I'm all, "Wait a minute, haven't there been like, five?" So now that bugs the shit out of me.) Because I don't care who the next American Idol is, maybe this is sticking in my craw more than if I was strongly rooting for [that guy] over [some girl] or vice versa.

Mid-term elections are coming up. Historically, voter turnout is lower in non-Presidential years, so I keep thinking that fewer people are going to exercise their civic duty in November than voted for something that doesn't matter at all.

The next American Idol won't cut your taxes or provide nutritional assistance or run the Centers for Disease Control. He or she won't negotiate treaties or control the Strategic Petroleum Reserve or appoint Supreme Court Justices. (You: Hey, the next American Idol also won't fund a war or get a hummer in the Oval or tap your phone without a warrant, Dumbshit. Me: Duly noted.)

I'm desperately clinging to the following two thoughts:
1) No American Idol voters need to register or be of legal voting age.

You just need a phone and an opinion, right? So here's hoping there are millions of tweeners out there faithfully using their parentally funded cell phones to text message their votes to Fox. (Can you text your vote? My ignorance on these matters is showing.)

2) You can vote more than once.

Here's also hoping those tweeners and other Idol voters keep frantically dialing over and over again to ensure that their favorite is the winner. I'm pretty sure NPR was referring to the number of votes, and comparing that to the number of Election Day voters, because it must be impossible to determine how many unique Idol voters there are. (Do you have to pay for the call? Please please please tell me you don't have to pay for the call. Because the thought of more people paying to vote for a pop singer than showing up at the polls for free might just send me over the edge.)

Or there's this thought: maybe NPR got it wrong. It was just their "odd/funny/happy tidbit" right before hitting you with the day's news, so maybe they didn't really mean it.

Right? Right?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Product Review

The most useless childproofing item we've purchased?

These corner protectors:

You put them on the sharp corners of furniture to prevent the baby from smacking his little head open when he falls on things.

Except they're stuck on with flimsy double-sided tape. Lumpyhead goes around the house pulling them all off like it's his job. He refuses to bow to the tyranny of the corner protectors. Can you see the little face in the lower left-hand corner of the picture? Lumpyhead's moving in on the corner protector, and is about to give it a yank.

After he gnaws on them for awhile, Lumpyhead deposits the corner protectors wherever it's convenient. Sometimes we find them in our shoes, halfway down the hall, or in some random box.

Because of the aforementioned flimsy double-sided tape, he can pull them off without much effort. Bump and I keep putting them back on the furniture, coaxing the progressively less and less sticky (weak-ass to begin with) tape to hang on. We should just give up, but for some reason we feel compelled to reaffix them just as Lumpyhead is compelled to pull them the hell off.


Oh, and that little green ball? Goes with him everywhere. You can hear him crawling on hard surfaces with a "slap, slide, clop, slide; slap, slide, clop, slide" as his bare hand, knee, ball hand, then other knee moves across the floor. It's like he's a quadruped with a peg leg.

It's a good thing, actually. It means he tends to do things with his left hand, as his right hand is always clutching the green ball. Bump wants him to be a lefty pitcher, and this is one way to get Lumpyhead proficient with his left. It seems more humane than tying his right arm to his side, anyway.

Monday, May 22, 2006

You're Always a Weaner at Pedro's

I'm officially done.

I'm so happy about it, I could do a little dance. [little dance] There, I just did.

I'm not sure if it's technically called "weaning" because Lumpyhead never really nursed, but I'm no longer dealing with that effing breastpump. (Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly nice pump, but I'm glad to be free of the thing.)

So, I guess now I can expect the mood swings, full-on postpartum depression, and weight gain. I'm ready. Bring it. I can drink caffeine with impunity, and no one is dependent on this body but me. Woo fricken hoo.

I'm going to have a guilt-free martini tonight, and not worry about waiting however many hours before pumping again. We're going to a wedding this weekend, and it will be the first time in a year that I don't have to pack the Medela with its power cord and battery pack and car adaptor and shields and valves and storage bags and bottles and wide-mouth converters. It's fan-flippin-tastic.

Lumpyhead still has a huge hoard of frozen milk, but I'm not sure if we'll feed it to him or send it to the milk bank. He's old enough for cow's milk, and I feel he's gained nearly all of the benefits from mother's milk he's going to get. When he was younger I believed strongly that what he was getting from me was best for him, but at this age I'm not so convinced. He's getting most of his nutrition from solid food now. Three-month-old frozen milk may be arguably better for him than cow's milk, but I can't believe it's significantly better. The babies who rely on milk from the bank probably need it more than Lumpyhead does.

I wonder if Lumpyhead has an opinion. I mean, the milk is his, so if he wants it, he should have first claim.

I want him to plump up a little - I fear he's still in the lower percentiles for weight and height because his bottom issues kept him off solid food for a while - so if I could give him melted butter in a bottle I would do it. I'm not sure if cow's milk has more calories than breastmilk, or if we should give him formula, or if his growth is just fine and I should stop worrying about it already.

We'll ask his pediatrician, I guess; the one-year appointment is right around the corner. In the meantime, Peter is busy making plans for all his soon-to-be-released freezer space. He's thinking about getting a side of beef or a whole pig.

I'm not kidding.

Oh, and you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a picture of that damn billboard. I googled for a good twenty minutes. I finally stole it from here.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

IKE, Confessions, and A Happy Ending

I haven't been reading Julia for all that long, but now I visit her site often. Her compelling writing has completely sucked me in, she has the Minnesota connection, and then there is her kitchen. Sometimes, I visit her site just to look at her kitchen. So spacious. The craftsman style chandelier. The bright, sunlit space. Swoon! The ample storage. The desk. Is that a playroom for the child, right next to and visible from the kitchen? I must go lie down.

Sarah's kitchen is impressive, too. (Although the video of Rob destroying it made my heart stop. Well, the part where he destroys it made my heart stop. The rest of the video made me giggle like an insane bridge troll.) I'm secretly hoping that when I see Sarah's kitchen in person, it won't be quite that fabulous. The double wall ovens. The sensibly laid-out work triangle. The cleanth! Is there a fainting couch nearby?

I would post a photo of our kitchen, but come on. The randomly strewn crap all over, the pantry items that take up counter space because we don't have a damn pantry, the rug that may or may not be a biohazard by now . . . you understand, don't you? Bump manages just fine in our kitchen, but I've developed an unhealthy case of Internet Kitchen Envy.

And I don't even cook. It's sad, really. It's like coveting someone's garage when you don't own a car.

But I do have Elvis. Poor, neglected Elvis. Elvis is the kegerator we bought when Buttmuch and Scrubly lived with us for a summer. I rationalized the purchase by calculating that if we drank two cases of beer a week (which we easily did, especially with four people in the house), Elvis would pay for himself within three years. In the meantime, we would have cold, draft beer goodness in our very own home. Our friend Eric suggested we should hard-plumb lines to every room of the house. He was joking, but if I could have figured out a way to do it, I would have.

Now in this imaginary picture of my kitchen that I'm not posting because, come on, you would probably not even be able to see Elvis. He's currently wedged between our liquor cabinet (a skinny Ikea bookcase that houses dusty bottles and other bar crap) and a pot rack. We would have to do some serious Moving o' Shit to replace the keg in him. The empty keg that has been in him since before I got pregnant.

It's so heartbreaking. Tragic, even. If there were a social services department for kegerators, I'm sure that last paragraph would launch scores of agents running to my house to remove sweet Elvis from my neglectful care. I'm the Britney of kegerator mommies.

But! Lumpyhead is no longer shunning me. I'm not sure if I've died or repented, but he seems to recognize that I exist. Maybe it had to get worse before it got better. You know how they say that the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference? When I got home on Tuesday night, I received full and complete indifference. You've heard about the triumphant return home of the go to work parent, when the baby is all smiles and crawls frantically to the door? Yeah, I came home to a baby who looked at me disinterestedly for a moment, then immediately returned to bored fiddling with his toys. Crushing.

But when Bump and Lumpyhead came in for lunch today, the baby actually reached for me. Reached! Smiles and cuddles! Hooray! Who wants a pony? Ponies for everyone!

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Drinking Game Challenge - Game 1

Welcome to the Inaugural Edition of The Drinking Game Challenge. In a previous post, I asked people to send me a list of the random stuff sitting around them, and I would craft a drinking game using those items.

What I didn't mention is that whatever lame-ass game I came up with, I will try to play it, provided I could find the items in your list. So, here goes.

Michele sent me this:
a half-filled coffee mug
a book of stamps
anti-bacterial gel in a pump bottle
a desk fan
some post-its.

While she didn't mention what the coffee mug was half-filled with, I'm gonna guess it's coffee. I'm not sure if the stamps are the sticker kind or the ones you have to lick, but I'm gonna guess sticker kind, because I don't think the post office even sells the licky kind any more.

I'm also assuming you have 1) beer or some beverage with which to play the game and 2) at least one other person to play with you (because drinking alone indicates some kind of problem, I guess).

The Random Shit and A Fan Game
Make sure the face of the fan is relatively clean. Too much dust on it will interfere with game play.

Select a player to go first, then he or she (let's say she) will:
1. Affix one stamp to the fan.
2. Dip another stamp in the coffee (dip the non-sticky side only, dumbass, or the stamp won't stick) and affix it to the fan.
3. Place a dollop of anti-bac gel on another stamp (again, non-sticky side. Do I really have to specify that?) and affix it to the fan.
4. Stick one post-it note to the fan.
5. Dip another post-it note in the mug contents, then stick in on the fan.
6. Dollop another post-it with anti-bac, stick it on the fan.

After the items are prettily arranged and relatively evenly spaced, all players toast the first player and take a drink while they admire her work.

Game Play:
Beginning with the Sticker/Arranger, each player selects an item in turn. You cannot choose an item another player has claimed; everyone must have his or her own item. The Sticker/Arranger turns on the fan, and everyone drinks until their item is blown off.

Begin another round with a new Sticker/Arranger, who sticks/arranges, chooses first, and turns on the fan. A player may select the same item he had last round, but only if no one before him has chosen it.

Continue at least until each player has the opportunity to be the Sticker/Arranger/Fan Turner On-er. The Fan Turner On-er can select the speed at which the fan will run (if the fan has more than one speed). You can use new stamps and Post-its each round, or use the same ones, adjusting your choice if necessary to accommodate lack of stickitude.

Advanced Version:
After selecting your item, declare whether you think it will blow off first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or last. If you are correct, assign that number of drinks. (e.g. You said your item would blow off second. It does. Assign two.) If you're wrong, drink the difference. (You said you item would blow off last. It blows off second. Drink four.)

Strategy Note:
If you are the Sticker/Arranger/Fan Turner On-er, you can press things to the fan as firmly or lightly as you wish. However, other players will be able to see that you seem more dedicated to making one item stick over another. You may fake it if you are able, but other players chose their items only after all items are affixed.

This game may be difficult if everything flies off the fan immediately. Please understand that I have no idea what I'm doing. I'll let you know how it goes, and post any adjustments that may be necessary.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Shout Out to the Good People at Draft Day Suit

If you don't already know, some of my favorite people and other bloggers I like have gotten together on a sports blog: Draft Day Suit. Good stuff. You should check it out. Plus, the new banner over there rocks.

And the newest contributor - if he ever gets his shit together and puts up a post - is Bump! Yes, Lumpyhead's dad is now part of the blogosphere. You may have noticed that he left his first comment on the last entry. (He made fun of me and my pack-ratting ways.)

I'm going to try to get him to post here, too. I have no illusions that we'll become a cool tag team like Dutch and Wood, Heather and Brian, or mo-wo and p-man, but perhaps Bump can be convinced to do a guest post every now and then on Lumpyhead.

Anyhow, in honor of the Draft Day Suit posse, here's a post that's kinda about sports. You can see the sports angle if you tilt your head and close one eye and twist your mouth into a weird shape.

We play a lot of games in our household - drinking games, poker, other card games, board games, word games, etc. They usually involve beer, but sometimes we just play for fun.

This might sound silly - or maybe you think I'm flat-out lying - but, I don't care if I lose. I get a lot of enjoyment from playing. Sure, I feel bad if I make a bone-headed move that results in a loss, especially if it's a partner game and I let my partner down, but otherwise, I lost? I came in dead last? Eh. Let's play again!

It bothers me even less when I feel the eventual winners deserve it. Maybe they employed a better strategy, or had better cards, or are better bullshitters than me. Maybe they're smarter than me. Or maybe they were just lucky. Whatever the case, good for you! (okay, now I just sound stupid. But it's true!)

I don't love to win. In fact, sometimes I feel a little guilty when I win. I want everyone to have fun, and if someone in the group gets pissy about losing or is obnoxious about winning, it's hard to have a good time. If letting someone else win will keep the peace, I'll throw a game in a heartbeat.

I used to tease Bump that he was overly competitive. (Then I met his friend Erik, who makes Bump look like a Montessori school principal on sedatives.) Bump admits that he hates to lose.

Is there any difference between being competitive and hating to lose? I suppose there are those people who love to win, but I bet they hate to lose more than they love to win.

Maybe competitiveness comes down to this: Would you rather sit on the sidelines for a team that wins or play for a team that loses?

I would rather take part and go down hard than sit idly by while those I'm associated with win. I imagine someone truly competitive would prefer to be part of a winning operation, even if they didn't directly contribute to the victory other than being the practice dummy. What do you think? Which would you prefer, and do you consider yourself competitive? Do others call you competitive?

I make one exception to my laissez-lose policy, which brings me to softball. Again, if we lose? Eh, so what. We're outside (getting bitten by mosquitos in the sweltering DC heat) getting exercise (lumbering around some bases while drinking our weight in beer) and hanging out with cool people (who like me, because see? They're wearing the same shirt as me!).

But if the players on the other team are a bunch of dicks, it's a whole new story. Then I really want them to lose, which means I have to play to win. It doesn't happen very often, because the person in charge of scheduling is quite good at weeding out the tools, but when it does: Watch Out. I'll throw at your head (I'll probably miss because I'm drunk and don't have very good aim to begin with) with intent to do harm. I'll sincerely wish for some misfortune to befall you so I can laugh about it. I'll also make some snide remarks about the size of your unit and how disappointed your wife/girlfriend/glory hole buddy must be all the time.

If you're a jerk, I will want to beat your sorry ass to a bloody festering pulp.

Competitive? Me? Oh no, I'm not competitive.

Unless you're an asshole.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Let's Go to the Videotape

I'm still feeling pretty feeble about the whole "can't figure out how to burn a damn DVD" thing. We have four hours of Lumpyhead video and a Costco-sized stack of blank DVDs, but lack the appropriate technology to complete the circle.

Here are my options:
1) Get a new computer.

We should get a new machine. The current desktop is probably ten years old and runs Windows 98 for heaven's sake. But we're limping along okay, so we don't need a new computer except for DVD burning. Plus, I'm cheap.

2) Buy one of those DVD recorders.

A low-end model costs $100-$200 at Best Buy. We'd need a firewire cable too, so tack on another $30. It's cheaper than a new computer, but seems like a big pricetag for an appliance with one use.

3) Use Aunt Bob's Mac.

Free. But I really don't want to be that annoying.

4) Record to VHS tapes.

I did this last night. My parents and Bump's grandmother don't have a DVD player yet, so we'd have to do VHS for them anyway. After many, many hours wrestling with 20-year-old technology, I managed to make two videotapes.

This is how I spent my evening:
Assuming I was just a couple minutes away from having things set up, only to be so very, very wrong.
Cursing more.
Flailing with cords and menus. [Dammit! Where is the TV remote? Not that one, the one that came with the TV; the universal remote doesn't have the menu buttons. Fine, I'll just use the buttons on the front of the TV. Fuck, that is cumbersome.]
Checking the footage I thought I dubbed from the camcorder only to discover I was taping the WB. [The double-you-fucking-bee? WTF? Wait, Everwood?]
Watching at least ten minutes of WB programming, because, you know, it sucks you in.
Wishing I had those ten minutes I spent watching Everwood back.
Half-heartedly cursing.
Getting really tired but remaining stupidly committed to finishing this tonight. [Because the VCR isn't ordinarily in the bedroom and it's sitting there in the middle of the room now and I want to get this done and out of the way as soon as possible.]
Realizing that now I'm just being stubborn. [This has been a to-do item since January, and you have to finish it tonight? Yeah. What of it?]
Digging out the manual for the VCR, because, {gritted teeth} goddammit.
Just going to bed already, even though the VCR was still going in the bedroom. [Only to be constantly jolted awake by Lumpyhead squealing on the tape or the TV making this buzzing electronic interference sound.]
Again with the cursing.
Finishing the project at approximately 2:20am.

TV in the bedroom? Old, which is probably why it's making that awful noise. VCR? Not as old as the TV, but com'on, it's a VCeffingR.

I feel like such a dumbshit. Later I'll compose a post on stone tablets and try to figure out how to upload it to Blogger. Cripes.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

$50,000? That's It?

Bump and I are watching the Twins-White Sox game, and Johnny Miller and Joe Morgan just announced that Major League Baseball donated $50,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Bump and I were both like, "That's all? That's all you could come up with MLB?"

Has Major League Baseball come upon such hard times of late that it can't afford to give a cause like breast cancer more than $50 grand? What, you haven't been getting enough money from ripping off taxpayers for publicly funded stadia?

Because, seriously. How much did those pink bats cost? The wristbands?

Okay, a bat costs what, $150? $200? (you have to paint them pink, after all.) If you've got one bat for every player on the active 25-man roster (or two for just the hitters, 14 or so on the team - let's say 30 bats) times 30 teams = $180,000.

Somebody please correct me. Somebody tell me that a pink bat in the majors will go for only $12.60. That pink wristbands, when purchased in bulk, cost only 50 cents a pop. That Johnny Miller and Joe Morgan got it wrong, and only the Twins donated $50,000. MLB donated 30 times that. Somebody tell me that, please.

I won't start on how perhaps baseball's audience may not be the most strategically targeted awareness campaign. I think awareness is incredibly important, anywhere, anytime, but the whole thing strikes me as about as sensible as raising awareness for testicular cancer at BlogHer.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But are most 18-50 year-old men watching the game, seeing the pink bats and wristbands, then turning to the women in their lives and saying, "Hey honey, when was your last mammogram?"

Okay, I'll back off on that point. If only one person does that, it's worth it.

But, Major League Baseball: $50,000? Come ON. Seriously. That's weak.



I get it.

You’re just not that into me.

But I love you. Truly. More than I’ve ever loved anyone else in my life.

One day, you’ll understand. You’ll realize that I love you unconditionally. No matter what you do, no matter how you’ve acted, I’ll be there to help you out. I’ll sacrifice anything for your happiness.

Maybe someday you’ll let me hold you for as long as I want. Maybe someday you won’t shun me for another.

But until then, I’ll wait.

I won’t get over you.

You’ll always be the most incredible person I’ve ever met. I strive to be a better woman because you exist.

I know - deep down, even though you don’t express it very well - you love me, too.

(Happy Mother’s Day, Lumpyhead. Your momma thinks you’re the greatest.)

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Drinking Game Challenge

Peter and I once made up a drinking game using styrofoam cups and the extra buttons from my travel sewing kit.

We were attending a wedding in a rather remote spot. We had beer, but there wasn't much around to do, so we made up this game. It was a variation on Quarters and was called, cleverly enough, "Buttons." It went like this:

Arrange six styrofoam cups in a pyramid - Row of 3, Row of 2, Row of 1 - with the sides touching.

Bounce the button into one of the cups. A valid throw must bounce in front of the row containing three cups.

If the button lands in one of the three cups in the first row, you drink once.
If the button lands in the row of 2 cups, assign one drink.
If the button lands in the last cup, assign two drinks.

Shoot until you miss, then pass the button to the next player.

Buttons became quite popular, as there was nothing else to do. At one point there were at least twenty people playing this stupid game.

We made do with what we had; we only had styrofoam cups. (I have no idea why we had styrofoam cups.) Quarters knocked the targets over. Nickels did, too. We didn't have enough dimes. Buttons worked. We played it again later at home, but it lacked the thrill it had at that wedding. I guess you had to be there. (Or maybe it was because at home we had real shit to play with, so we didn't need to use styrofoam cups and some sad ass buttons to play drinking games.)

I like to think I have a knack for coming up with drinking games using random items on hand. In order to test this theory, I'm issuing a challenge: send me a list of random items you have sitting around your kitchen, office, desert island, or wherever you are. I'll design a drinking game using those items, but I reserve the right to include other common things one might expect to find in an office, home, or desert island, okay?

You can leave your list in the comments, or email me at [lumpyheadsmom at gmail dot com]*.

Hit me.

*(Does that work? The write-out-the-email-address instead of using the @ and the period? Because, damn am I getting a lot of spam.)


I feel I need to clarify something about the last post: I don't think it's depressing to forgo a party for my son. I offered to stay home with the baby while Bump went to a friend's birthday party alone - we could have bundled up Lumpyhead and all gone and just left early. But we're working to establish a sleep schedule and agreed it was probably best for Lumpyhead to stay home.

However, once the baby has gone to sleep (thank god, maybe he's not doomed to be a moron) and you're sitting in a quiet house, one drink away from a good buzz, and it's 8:30 on a Saturday night and you've been invited to a party but you're not there, it makes you feel . . . well, lonely, I guess.

When the new sleep schedule means even less time together during the week, and the baby doesn't seem to dig you very much to begin with, it's hard not to overcompensate by spending every available minute on the weekend with your child.

I'm struggling to find balance, I guess. I know that I need to carve out time for things I enjoy - things that aren't related to work or parenting. I just wish this time didn't come directly out of my time with the baby.

I'm feeling this distinctly because last night I played softball while Bump and Lumpyhead stayed home. (Softball in the pouring rain. We won. It was . . . wet.) I got home in time to hear the last few minutes of bedtime crying. So I got some free time yesterday, but at what expense? I passed up the one hour I get to spend with Lumpyhead at night. I miss him.

I'm trying to decide if it's worse to feel left out of the fun or feel like a neglectful parent. Should I just plan to do things only when the baby is sleeping, so I don't feel like I'm missing out?

I want to do some work in the garden this weekend, but I don't know when or how I'll work it in. Can I weed in the dark?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Random Shit Thrown Together to Create a Post

As I was commenting on Aunt Bob's site yesterday, I realized I had a lot of stuff to talk about. Of course, as I sat here looking at the blanky whiteness of the new post screen, I was all "hmm. . .Lumpyhead blah blah sleep blah blah no nap blah blah hates mommy blah blah." (Booooring! Almost as boring as blog insecurity. Instead, I will try to make my life look fabulous and then lord it over all of you. How about that?)

So . . . Stuff You Missed Out On Over the Past Week Because You're Not Me (also: Ha Ha, You're Not Me)

Aunt Bob's Kentucky Derby Party
Juleps = deelish

Also, children everywhere. WTF? When did that happen? (she asks, knowing full well she's contributing to the trend)

During Aunt Bob's last Derby Party, there was a freak out-of-nowhere rainstorm. All the guests grabbed something and ran inside. Within two minutes the entire backyard had been moved indoors, and the julep bar was up and running in the little guest room. I imagine it's what a good logistics officer in the military can make happen on a regular basis, except we did it for boozy, minty goodness over shaved ice in silver tumblers, not patriotism.

Bump and I won half the horse wagering. Hooray! The other half went to a woman in a fabulous hat. She obviously had the best hat at the party, so I'm glad she won something.

I would have spent more time mingling with the other guests at Aunt Bob's party, but 1) juleps = deelish so more juleps = intense deliciousness and excusemebutIneedanotherone; 2) I was so busy shoving food into my mouth that I couldn't speak without spraying little half-eaten bits of miniburger or pecan tart crumbs on whoever had the misfortune of conversing with me; and 3) we had to leave early for a friend's birthday party.

Because of Lumpyhead's sleep difficulties, though, Bump went to the birthday party alone and I stayed home while the baby slept. Can you say "depressing"? Ugh. (oops, less than fabulous. I'll try again.)

Five Pound Bass Season Opener
Our softball team played its first game, which we won, and plenty of beer was had by all. We had nineteen people on the team, which, honestly? Is too many. And nineteen does not include Lumpyhead and Aunt Bob's Little Guy.

The nice thing about 19 people on the team? There's always someone to watch the babies. The bad thing? I always feel like a total heel when I ask someone to watch my kid so I can go field or bat. Even when it's Aunt Bob or Pete who do it. Because nobody comes to softball to babysit. Nobody.

You missed the following exchanges at the softball game:

Pete: Do you want some snacks?
Aunt Bob's Little Guy: Uh-huh
Pete: Okay, sit down.
[ABLG sits in his folding chair under a parasol, eats snack]
Laura [to another teammate, longingly]: I wish I had someone who would bring me snacks. "You want some snacks?" they would ask, and I would say "Yeah, I want some snacks," and I could just sit down and have some crackers in a baggie. That would rock.

It would rock. But no one lets ABLG have any beer. That would suck.

-Tangent: A Trip to Trader Joe's
One day last week, Lumpyhead would only eat finger food. Nothing from a spoon. Spoons were for sissies, that day. He doesn't feed himself, yet (he throws very well though, thanks for asking, which is related to the not feeding himself note) but would only open his mouth for non-spooned items.

I decided to take him to Trader Joe's to buy some Veggie Booty, which the Internet told me was great stuff. This was a big deal, the Outing with Mama. I've been gun shy since the last disastrous solo outing (Which was how long ago? Damn, you complain about some weak shit, Woman) but I decided it was time to buck up and try again. It went quite well, considering that I was out of the house for a total of 35 minutes, tops. (Still! Success! Bump got a little break, I managed not to be a complete hapless mess, and I even came back with dinner. Dinner. . . that Bump then had to cook. ("Break"? That what you call a break? You suck.) But still! Success!)

Well, sort of a success, because Trader Joe's doesn't carry Veggie Booty, apparently. They do have Pirate Booty, though, so we took that. Lumpyhead loves the Pirate Booty. Maybe more than Cheerios. And I worry. Because Pirate Booty is made from corn and rice, and anything we put into Lumpyhead that's not fruit or vegetables makes me worry about constipation, and rice? oh my god. So I worry. But we still feed him the booty, because he loves. the. booty.
-End of Tangent

We took toys and snacks to the softball game for Lumpyhead, including Pirate Booty.

ABLG, upon spying the Pirate Booty: Is that popcorn? (eyes sparkling)
Me: Well, sort of -
ABLG: (brightly) Popcorn . . . my favorite!
Me: Would you like some?
ABLG: [Nods vigorously. Gets Booty. Is unimpressed.]

Let me say for the record, I know popcorn is not ABLG's favorite. Not by a long shot. And I tried to warn him that it wasn't really popcorn in the first place. But he was fishing for an offer, because he's too polite to simply ask if he can have some of Lumpyhead's snacks, and it was just too damn cute. Plus I've never heard the enthusiastic "my favorite!" from him before.

(Okay, that was cute, but maybe not fabulous. The softball team is undefeated, though. Don't you wish you were me?)

Cousin Ryan Visits
My cousin Ryan lives in Minneapolis, but was in town for a work conference earlier this week. He came over to our house for dinner on Sunday night and was able to meet Bump and Lumpyhead for the first time. I asked Aunt Bob and Pete to come over for the cocktail portion of the evening, just in case I ran out of stuff to talk about. Both Aunt Bob and Pete could hold at least a three-minute conversation with a tree stump, so they were my safety net. I didn't mean to disinvite them for dinner, but dinner is usually served after their Little Guy's bedtime, so I figured they wouldn't be able to spend the whole evening with us.

Ryan was a bit quiet at first, but seemed comfortable and confident. He's from the crazy side of the family (that would be my side - both maternal and paternal. Nuts.) but is remarkably normal. And funny. Before Aunt Bob and family left, ABLG had a near-accident in the living room, so we had incontinence to joke about for the rest of the evening. "Poopy wants to come out"? At parties? Always a hit.

On Monday, Ryan sent me this email:

Thank you so much for last night: Bump is an amazing cook and a great guy to boot. I'm not trying to move in on your territory, but if he ever wants to switch things out, well, I'm just sayin' is all... and you mix a damn good martini-it's probably best that we don't live anywhere near each other or I'd be checking into Betty Ford!
How sweet is that? Nothing like your gay cousin trying to move in on your husband. So there. Somebody wishes he was me.

Now that I think about it, my cousin is handsome and successful. Maybe I should watch out. Anyone in the greater Twin Cities area know a nice guy we can set Ryan up with? I'm looking at you, Electricyoak. H? Any ideas?

Finally, a matter of housekeeping . . .

I need a new name for Aunt Bob's Little Guy. I've used his actual name a couple of times - no fair searching old posts to find it - but Aunt Bob doesn't use it on her blog so I want to use something else. I called him The Chicken for the first few years of his life. Nana V used Chicken as a term of endearment, and ABLG loves to eat chicken (that may, in fact, be his favorite. Or maybe pepperoni and cheese) so The Chicken seemed like an obvious blog name. But now that he's older, it seems derogatory, like I'm calling him a scaredy cat or something. So I need something else. Muppet, maybe? Suggestions? What you got, Internet?

Monday, May 08, 2006

And the Winner Is . . .


My mother sent us a projection alarm clock - it beams the time in red numbers onto the wall or the ceiling. Her friend had one and she loved it, so my mother ordered one for me and my brother. She is enamored with being able to see the time in the dark.

I didn't tell her that we didn't need it. I have an alarm clock that works fine; the cable box in our bedroom displays the time, visible in the dark; and when my contacts are out, I can't see the projection anyway. But we put the thing on Bump's side of the bed and told my mother we were using it and liked it.

Lumpyhead, however, loves the projection alarm clock. Even when he's so cranky the movement of his own hands makes him cry, the red numbers on the ceiling fascinate him. He will always smile when he sees the projection.

This morning, I turned out the lights in our room so he could see the red numbers. "Do you see the clock?" I asked him.

"cuhcck," he said. "cuhcck."

I took him back later, and he said it again.

Not "mama" (no surprise there). Not even "daddy," "papa" or "dahdah" (kind of a surprise). Not "hi" (where the smart money was).


My mother is going to flip out.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Have You Ever Had a Whitehead on Your Eyeball, Mary?

Sleep training is progressing. We've had some ups and downs. Last night it took Lumpyhead nearly an hour and a half to go to sleep (downer). Tonight it took just over an hour (eh). Naps remain erratic, difficult, and sometimes just don't happen (downer). Night wakings are still happening (downer) but don't last very long and Lumpyhead has been going right back to sleep (upper!).

I've read nearly all of Weissbluth and Ferber, and I'm now convinced that Lumpyhead's midnight to 10 am sleep schedule has created the night wakings. He's also probably chronically overtired.

Weissbluth says, "Going to bed too late and getting up too late seems to set the stage for frequent night waking." Wow. Way to get my attention, Dr. Marc. What's next? Is the child in one of your many blockquoted examples/stories named Lumpyhead?

And I was disheartened by the nap situation, but Weissbluth also says "during a retraining period, it's easiest to establish good night sleep and easier to establish regular morning naps than afternoon naps." So I'm feeling a little better. Plus, Lumpyhead is asleep right now, face down with his little rump in the air, and it's cute.

But I still think Weissbluth is an alarmist prick.

So I'm reluctantly resigning myself to the idea that Lumpyhead will soon be on a more conventional schedule (meaning asleep before I get home at night and awake at the ass-crack of dawn). Previously, I was adjusting all the sample schedules in the books by an hour or two, you know, because my baby is such a natural night owl. I also liked not having to race home from work to see my child, and I think Bump prefers not having to wake up at oh-dark-thirty.

No longer, it seems.

And if you think I'm bitter about the whole non-preferred parent role I've been assigned, wait until you see me after a week of getting home too late to see Lumpyhead at all. I'll really be bitter then. Or at least whiny and pouty and annoying.

Speaking of whiny and pouty and annoying, I have developed a stye on my right eye. In addition to making me whiny and pouty and annoying, it looks kinda creepy. No wonder Lumpyhead likes his daddy better.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I'm Not the Person I Think I Am

I've read some things about the magazine Cookie, and I was sure I hated it. Hated everything about it. Hated everything it stood for and everything it wanted to be. Hate.

Then I saw a copy at the doctor's office. I didn't make it past the third page before my eyes glazed over with lust. Glossy! Pretty things I can't afford! Must! Attain!

And now I'm considering getting a subscription. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe I should just go to the doctor every month. The $15 copay each time is probably worth avoiding the embarrassment of having this magazine sent to my house.

Another reason I'm not a very nice person?

Lumpyhead seems to have caught Teo's cold, and I'm finding it hard not to think bad thoughts about Germy McColdgiver. But to be honest, both Bump's and my inside-the-head voices are screaming "Two weeks! Teo has had this cold for two weeks, and now our precious tadpole has the plague! We should never have brought him over for a visit."

Am I alone in this? When your child gets sick from an obvious source, do you blame the previous victim (even though you know that building up immunities is good for your child)? Instead of thinking "ooh, poor baby" about the other kid, do you mentally scowl at her for her unclean ways? Do you feel as guilty about it as I do?

I did the same thing with my sister-in-law's family when Lumpyhead got sick at Christmastime, so it's obviously not a reflection on how much I love the poor Typhoid Marys.

So the little guy has a runny nose, and is sounding slightly hoarse. Of course, he could be hoarse from screaming all the damn time, and his nose could be running because he's teething, and poor little Teo is being falsely accused. What do I know? My boy doesn't even like me.

But last night the bedtime howling only lasted 45 minutes, so I've got that going for me (yay). Three nighttime wakings (boo), but Lumpyhead was back to sleep in less than five minutes for each of them (yay). Naps are still a challenge, though, according to Bump (boo). Serves him right, Mr. Favorite McBabyLikesMeBest. [crosses arms. pouts.]

(Disclaimer: I almost didn't post this, as I realized that Bridgermama posted something about sick babies and Nonlinear Girl posted something about magazines recently. But I wrote this myself, I swear. I didn't steal it from either of you.)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Signs Point to Yes

We achieved Ferberization last night. After nearly two and half hours of crying, Lumpyhead fell asleep in his crib. It was miserable, but not nearly as miserable as the Hour of Horror a few nights ago.

Lumpyhead put up an impressive show of crying. He went from a steady, solid WTF?! WTF?! WTeverlovingF?! wail to Dude, this sucks complaining to a resigned Man, I guess they don't love me anymore slumber.

He woke up twice during the night, I went in and patted him, and he fell back asleep before I could go back in at the one minute mark. I'm calling that a blinding success, and I'm sure trumpeting about it will ensure we'll have no such luck tonight.

With regard to the nighttime waking, I think we combined the Man, I guess they don't love me anymore lesson with You're only getting Mommy - not Daddy - so what's the point in staying awake for that?

Because Lumpyhead? Could give a rat's ass about Mommy. Daddy is awesome. But Mommy? Meh.

Lumpyhead usually brightens when I come home, which is nice, but he obviously prefers Bump. Last night we both went in to comfort Lumpyhead during the Ferberizing, but it was Bump's shirt that Lumpyhead clung to with his tiny death grip. I would blame the Night of Horror for turning my son against me, but he's been firmly in Bump's camp since long before that.

Lumpyhead is starting to exhibit signs of separation anxiety, but only for Bump. If Bump leaves the room, Lumpyhead will reliably register his displeasure. I can leave the room without so much as a shrug of indifference from the boy. No ill effects result from taking Lumpyhead out of a room that Bump is occupying, but god forbid Bump decide to go take a leak.

I'm beginning to understand the phrase "I was in labor with you for __ hours and this is how you repay me?" Only my version goes something like "I was sober for nearly a year and your Dad gets all the love? I'll have you know he was busy drinking beer while your lungs were forming - those lungs you're now using to protest being left alone in a room with me, you ungrateful little shit."

I don't think my version is going mainstream any time soon.

See this, Mama? It's my right foot. R.
R is for Reject.
And Repudiate.
And Rebuff.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

An Imaginary Beer Tasting

Sarah answered my question of "Why does the third beer taste so much better than the first?" by 1) doubting the question's premise and 2) inviting me over to test it. In the interest of full disclosure, I also asked this question of Dad Gone Mad, but he changed the subject instead of answering my question, so Sarah definitely wins the title of Question Monarch.

I plan to prepare tasting notes, so I can empirically prove that the third beer is tastier than the first. Using a complex rating scale, I believe we can measure just how much tastier the third beer is, particularly if it is consumed within the same hour as the first.

Here's how I envision the tasting will go:

Beer One: Clear amber color. Strong nose. Bright malt flavor with a faint hop finish. Refreshing effervescence.
Overall score: 7.5

(Color Commentary: Beer One has "refreshing" going for it, which will be difficult for Beer Three to achieve. Early leader in the clubhouse, Beer One.)

Beer Three: Beery. Has bubbles. Is awesome.
Overall Score: Gobs

Summary: "Awesome." Beer One surely couldn't say that.

So there you have it, Beer Three will win by Gobs Minus 7.5. Take it to your bookie.

Now I wonder if Beer Six tastes better than Beer Four. . .

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nice One, Dumbass

My friend Alex complimented people by telling them "you're a great American."

It was a little odd, but Alex totally pulled it off. It was cute when he said it. People always responded well to being told they were a great American, especially in DC.

I adopted it occasionally, usually when drunk.

During a wedding weekend, some friends and I were sitting around the hotel pool. It was lovely, looking out over the lake. There was bar service, and the bartender went out of his way to make sure we were taken care of.

"Thanks," I told him, after he delivered yet another round of drinks. Then I added, "You're a great American."

He looked at me funny.

The lake we were looking at was Lake Ontario.

We were in Toronto.

I'm an idiot.

I tipped him really, really well.

Monday, May 01, 2006

We've Called in Reinforcements

I’m reading Weissbluth. We’re getting a copy of Ferber.

We’re establishing a Bedtime Routine, which we didn’t have before. The current plan is to achieve a solid sleep schedule, then transition Lumpyhead to his crib.

My take on Weissbluth thus far? Bleh. “Sleep is important to your baby.” No shit.

Actually, he’s kind of pissing me off. I mean, we’re trying really hard to get the baby to sleep. If we “fail,” Lumpyhead’s doomed to be a moron. I don’t need the added pressure, honestly. Plus, now I’m worried we’re doing it “wrong,” which is a ridiculous worry. I realize the choices we make for Lumpyhead are the right ones. Some doctor who wrote a book may know what studies show, but Bump and I know what’s best for our child.

I shouldn't be so negative, because the book is interesting, and some of the points are helpful. But I was definitely stressed out this evening when Lumpyhead's nap kept getting interrupted by the telephone. (Oh my god, he's not getting enough REM and now he's doomed to be a moron.)

We bought Weissbluth because Ferber's book is being revised and won't be in stores until mid-May. I wanted to start reading something - anything, I guess, because this book has a foreword by Cindy Crawford. Cindy effing Crawford. We're now looking to former swimsuit models for book reviews? Really? Is this becoming a thing? I must make sure Lumpyhead gets more sleep, because if he doesn't, he'll be asking swimsuit models for book recommendations someday.