Thursday, November 30, 2006

He Has A Certain . . . Zest For Living

I decided to share a clementine with Lumpyhead, and I let him carry it from the kitchen to the living room. It looked remarkably like a small orange ball, so he was pretty stoked about holding it.

I asked if he wanted to eat it, assuming he would hand it back to me. Instead he quickly took a big bite out of the thing, getting a little flesh, some juice, and a whole lot of peel. He dutifully munched away while I panicked and asked Bump what I should do and contemplated prying Lumpyhead’s jaw open because OhmigodHeAteThePeel.

Then Lumpyhead looked at me like I was the meanest woman in the world, spat the chewed up peel out onto the floor, and wouldn’t come near me or my evil fruit for a half an hour.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Visible Peculiarities: None

So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

Rather, I had that going for me at one point.

Bump was organizing files this weekend, and in my feeble attempts to “help” (i.e. throw away five sheets of paper and make him find places to file the rest of the garbage I feel the need to keep), I came across this nugget. It was in a stack of papers my parents had given me that included my baptism records and elementary school fingerprints. The document contains some immunization history, and I think it’s my visa for the flight from Seoul to Minneapolis 34 years ago.
And to think, all this time I've been blaming Lumpyhead’s hairline on Bump.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Code Brown

Lumpyhead slept until 8:30 yesterday, but woke up this morning at 6 am with a Level 4 Code Brown. I would prefer a waking time somewhere in between. Without the pantsful of poop.

Code Brown Classifications:
Level 1: Simple Code Brown, fully contained
Level 2: Code Brown with containment breach in one location
Level 3: Code Brown with containment breach in multiple locations
Level 4: Code Brown with containment breach in multiple locations, outside contamination
Level 5: Code Brown with multiple location containment breach, outside contamination of more than one layer

There are some circumstances that may seem to fall outside the classification system. For example, what if the containment breach is in only one location, but soils multiple layers of clothing/bedding/upholstery? Still a Level 2 in my book. Why? Because I’m guessing that a containment breach in just one area means the diaper shifted or was applied poorly - in short: Operator Error cannot cause a Level 5 Code Brown.

By my scoring, most large disasters are Level 4; a true Level 5 is an impressive feat. Are you Oxy-Cleaning more than one item in addition to the child’s clothing? You may have a Level 5. If the containment breaches occurred not because of diaper gaps, but because the sheer volume of diaper contents exceeded capacity, then you may be dealing with a true Level 5.

And while this morning’s Code Brown required mitigation procedures on Lumpyhead’s sheets and my shirt as well as his pajamas, if I hadn’t picked him up and held him for several minutes, my shirt may have avoided soilage. Thus a Level 4.

We have several options for stain removal in our house. For little bitty don’t-worry-about-it stains, I have this spray treatment from Melaluca that I received as a gift. It works okay, but since you don’t know if the stain is out until after you’ve washed the item, the treatment is iffy. While this treatment gets points for ease of use, results are uncertain and delayed.

We soak the majority of stains in a heavy solution of Oxy-Clean, which is pretty reliable. Bump thinks the folks at Oxy-Clean are missing a major marketing opportunity by not touting “Works Great on Human Feces!” on the label. It also removes many food and grass stains.

Zout is the BFG of stain-fighters. We usually use it as a last-resort because it may cause fading, but if Zout doesn’t get the stain out, the stain’s not coming out.

What’s in your laundry arsenal? Got something we should try?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Baby's First Booger

Well, I guess that's not entirely accurate. He's obviously had boogers before, but this was Lumpyhead's first of the Pick Your Own variety.

Bump and I are so proud.

Lumpyhead has been sticking his fingers in his nose for awhile, for no particular reason, other than they fit up there neatly. But this weekend, for the first time, he drew his finger out of his nose and it had something on it.

He happily brought the booger to Bump to show him, busily pointing to his newly mined treasure with his other hand.

So, U-Pick Baby Boogers. I'm so glad I have this blog to document these important milestones. Hope your Thanksgiving weekend was equally eventful.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

An Update (Finally. Not That I Have Anything of Note to Say)

Work is crazy. I’m huge. Akutaq is doing Tae Bo* all the damn time.

Bump and I are staying put for the holidays. Several years ago, we instituted the Christmas rotation - Minnesota, then Maine, then DC - and refused to travel for Thanksgiving (except for that time we went to Turkey, because, duh, when else would you go to Turkey?). The first year we Thanksgivinged in place we told both families we weren’t coming home, but they were welcome to come to DC. They all took us up on the offer, and Bump made Thanksgiving dinner for 14 people in our tiny apartment.

The next year, we told them we weren’t coming home, but left out the part about them being welcome to come to DC.

We don’t really have our own traditions yet. Bump’s local relatives always invite us to join them for Thanksgiving, and sometimes we do. When I was pregnant with Lumpyhead, Bump and I had a quiet dinner alone, and afterward we cautiously rejoiced when I didn’t throw up. Certainly the best DC Thanksgivings were “Orphan Thanksgivings.” Because the travel window for Thanksgiving is short and there are so many Hill staffers on small budgets, Washington is full of Thanksgiving Orphans. Someone would organize a potluck meal attended by a random assortment of people our age, with lots of wine, some football, and a predictable descent into drinking games.

No one there longed for their families, or if they did, they didn’t show it. In our view, the people celebrating Thanksgiving with their families were the suckers stuck sitting across from Crazy Aunt Gladys who spits when she talks. We were playing Tic-Tac-Beer with the cute intern and still got to eat turkey.

Remembering those holidays makes me miss gatherings of distant friends: those people in your address book you rarely see but who always make you say “we really should get together with them more often” on the way home. It seems we barely have time to get together with our close friends now, and I’m unwilling to substitute my limited time with Lumpyhead for a few hours with cordial acquaintances.

Thanksgiving will just be the three of us this year. Bump is planning the menu and timing it around Lumpyhead’s nap. Someday I’ll teach Lumpyhead and his sister the rules of Tic-Tac-Beer, and who knows, maybe it will become part of our family tradition.

*Honestly, could that guy be any scarier? [shudder]

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Snakes. Why Did It Have To Be . . .Snakes

So, after the Raisiny Toe Nibbling Scratch and the Curious Wearing of the Hat of Wrong, Sunday night had more to offer.

Bump came up from the laundry room and announced, “There’s a baby snake in my laundry basket. That or a really big nightcrawler.”

Now, the fact that Bump was not squealing at the top of his lungs at this point is a great credit to his self-control. Bump does not like . . .critters. (He hates picnics because he feels like you’re just eating out there among the bugs, and really, why would anyone in their right mind choose to do that? While you can justifiably throw creatures out of your house, if you’re out there in their territory, you can’t really complain if they come crawling up on your blanket now, can you? We don’t do a lot of dining al fresco.)

We have lived in our apartment since September 1996. The most interesting laundry room incidents to date involve lost quarters and a stolen space heater. I couldn’t believe there was a worm in the laundry room, so I went down with the camera.

My brother raised nightcrawlers for bait when we were kids, and I think of worms as friendly creatures. I thank them for aerating the soil when I see them in the garden, and take their presence as a sign of healthy dirt.

Can you see it between the laundry baskets? I was pretty sure it was the biggest nightcrawler I’d ever seen.

Then I thought it might be a little scaly for a worm, and maybe its head was a little too pointy. So I moved the smaller basket.

Yeah, definitely a baby snake.

Bump joined me in the laundry room as I was trying to convince the snake to slither into the trash can. When Bump walked in, I asked him if I should take it outside instead, and he quickly affirmed it was a much better idea to take it outside.

So I brought the laundry basket and baby snake up to the landing and dumped it out onto the sidewalk, where it slid away to be eaten by a mongoose or something.

What? Are there no mongeese/mongoose/mongooses in suburban DC? Well who the hell thought there would be a FUCKING SNAKE in suburban DC, huh? (I have no idea what natural predators snakes face, I just guessed at the mongoose thing. I’m even too lazy to look up the plural.)

Maybe a neighborhood cat will hiss at it and scare it, or even attack it and bring it half-dead to the unsuspecting owner as a gift. Maybe the snake will be collected with the wet leaves on the ground and pulverized into mulch. Maybe it will be swept into the sewers.

Look, all I’m saying is that there was a mutherfucken snake in my mutherfucken laundry room, and while I handled that shit right quick (look at me, defending my family’s soiled socks from the terrifying threat of nature), it creeps me out more than a little bit.

Because (Bump stop reading now) Baby Snake equals Mama Snake, and Mama Snake don’t bother having one baby at a time, if you know what I mean. I’m picturing the storage unit beside our laundry room as some sort of staging area for Arlington Snake Invasion 2007.

Maybe this snake was just one of many sent out on Sunday night to gather information on our capabilities. Right now, it’s joining its brothers and sisters to analyze the data and bring their evil plan one step closer to launch. They’re probably even grooming their own candidate for the 2008 election.

Alternative titles for this post: "Why Sarah Will Never Come to Visit Me Again," or "Why Bump Is Never Returning to the Laundry Room Without His Trusty Snake Fighting Equipment"

Oh, by the way, this is Bump’s Trusty Snake Fighting Equipment:

Bump returned to the laundry room with grocery bags and a pair of tongs. I promised I wouldn’t make fun of him, but I have no idea what those tongs were for. First, I’m pretty sure the snake was too small to be grabbed by a pair of tongs, and second, that sumbitch was fast. There’s no way we slow-reflexed, squeamish citydwellers were going to be grabbing it with some glorified tweezers.

The keys were my contribution. We usually just leave the door ajar when we go to the laundry room, but I was certain it would be an incident like this that would lead to a post entitled "How My Husband and I Locked Ourselves Out of the House. . .

"In the Rain . .

"While Our Baby Slept Inside. . .

"With His Crib Surrounded By Snakes . . .

"Who Were Aggressively Seeking Contributions for SnakePAC08"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sunday Turned Out To Be A Very Bloggable Day

After the Raisiny Toe Nibbling Scratch, Lumpyhead actually donned the Hat of Wrong.

While he’s usually reluctant to wear anything on his head, lately Lumpyhead has been asking Bump to put the armrest covers from one of our chairs on his head. The armrest covers were Lumpyhead’s nemesis for awhile - every time he would spot them in their regular position he would claw them down. They could be on the floor, in the chair’s seat, or in a crumpled heap on an end table, but god forbid they be on the arms of the chair.

Now, they only serve one purpose: headgear.

When Lumpyhead walks around the house with the armrest covers on his head, we think he looks like a little Pharaoh.
“Oh look, here comes Amenhotep.”

The Hat of Wrong has been floating around the toy bins since I put it on Baby Tad. On Sunday night, Lumpyhead decided he wanted to wear it.

He would leave the room to check himself out in the mirror in the hall, laugh at his reflection, then return to the room.

That hat is so bad, a 17-month-old recognizes it as ridiculous.

If the armrest cover is a Pharaoh headdress, the Hat of Wrong is an Amish bonnet.

Bump: He looks like Kelly McGillis in Witness.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Series of Possibly Unwise Decisions Led to Why My Upper Lip is a Little Swollen

In the past, that title might have been led to an interesting story. Like how I got into a bar fight or tripped after drinking too much. Sorry, not today.

When Lumpyhead gets bored at mealtime, he likes to pull his foot above tray level in his high chair. He often tries to put food between his toes, but because he hasn’t mastered fine motor skills yet, he usually drops the food on the floor.

On Sunday I thought it would be fun to indulge him, [Ding! Possibly Unwise Decision #1] so I helped him put the raisins he was eating between his toes. He thought it was funny. So did I, honestly. He looked like he was getting a pedicure.

Yes, he ate the raisins after they had been stuck in his feet.

We can often convince Lumpyhead to keep eating if we have a little of whatever he’s eating. The convincing factor is ratcheted up a notch if we let Lumpyhead feed us. So I ate some raisins from Lumpyhead [Ding! Possibly Unwise Decision #2], which probably means I ate some Foot Raisins, too.

Lumpyhead thought this was all very, very funny, and honestly, how can anyone resist a laughing baby?
The only choice you have, really, is to try to make the baby laugh more. And since I’d already probably eaten a few Foot Raisins, I started nibbling his toes. [Ding! Ding Ding Ding! Really, why not cut out the Raisin Middle Man and just eat baby feet?]

So while I was maniacally nibbling baby toes, Lumpyhead scraped me with a sharp corner on his big toenail.

How do you begin to explain a scratch on your upper lip that resulted from raisiny baby toe nibbling?

I’m just gonna pretend it’s not there. Stop staring, okay?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I Knit What??

A couple of weeks ago, on a night when I wasn’t too tired to see after Lumpyhead had gone to bed, I decided to knit a hat for Akutaq. I thought it would be cute to plunk a hand-made hat on her conehead after she was born; her first pictures could be in something other than standard-issue hospital garb.

I liked that while I was knitting the hat, I felt I was building a connection to the baby. She would kick or roll and I would think, “This is for you, little one.”

When we found out about Lumpyhead, I knit booties. We mailed them to our parents with a note to call us, and that’s how we told them I was pregnant. The booties were a quick project, each one taking only a few hours. Knitting them was fun, each stitch was part of a secret we were sharing. I didn’t worry about how they turned out - no one was ever going to wear them, so I didn’t care how big or small they were - I just needed to end up with two that were about the same size.

I am not an expert knitter by any stretch, but I know how to do the basic stitches and can usually limp around a pattern enough to complete a project. While I won’t learn to play bridge - much to Bump, Aunt Bob and Pete’s frustration - because I’ve labeled it an activity for old people, knitting I’m fine with.

So, here’s a dilemma: when you’re not very good at knitting, you tend to chose easy patterns. Easy patterns tend to be ugly.

The booties? Yeah, the booties were ugly. But they looked like baby booties, which was the sole point of their existence. (Heh: bootie, sole. Get it? Get it!?) I found a hat pattern in the same book the booties were in - a horrid but useful little pamphlet called “First Steps in Knitting” that I probably bought at a Walmart in Minnesota. (What’s that noise? Could those be warning bells? Naw, I'm sure it's nothing, I'll just ignore it.) I happily set off, using a pretty variegated pastel yarn that was girly and soft.

The end product was, well, dismal. The hat only took a couple of days, so at least I didn’t waste too much time on it. Instead of creating blocks of color that meld into one another, the variegated yarn looked muddy when knitted. The hat’s shape is odd, it would need a good deal of blocking to look round. It’s dimensions are . . . off. The pattern said it was sized for a newborn, but dear god, if I gave birth to something with a head that fits into that hat, I think I’d split in two.

So I did what anyone in my situation would do: I asked a talented knitter to whip up a proper hat for Akutaq.

But I think the hat I made looks quite ghetto on Baby Tad. (You know, as ghetto as a pastel baby bonnet can look.)

Baby Tad: I’m so mortified to be wearing this abomination. Remove this purported headgear at once!

(Whatever, Baby Tad. You cry “Let’s snuggle!” at irregular intervals, like you had any street cred to begin with.)

A note about the title: I was very sad to see the YKW blog go dark, but if you're looking for a little fun, go browse their archives.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It’s a Good Kind of Screwed, I Guess

I’m okay, I’m okay.

Sorry to scare some of you out there (but thanks for the nice emails of worry, I feel so important. And like such a drama queen).

Democrats won control of the House, which means my job changes significantly. We have to expand the staff, manage new tasks, and - you know - govern and shit.

There’s so much stuff I don’t know, I don’t even know how to begin learning what I don’t know.

It’s as if someone tossed you the keys to the Arizona Cardinals’ front office last night and said, “Okay, Dumbfuck, here you go. Good luck with that.” For all your self-proclaimed fantasy football prowess, I’m guessing you would have no idea what to do next.

You gonna make some trades there, Bigshot? Where do you start? Were you just planning to call Alan Faneca and Orlando Pace, assuming their home numbers would be in the rolodex on the desk in your office? Hell, you don’t even know where your new office is, much less what is in there. Do you know what sort of salary cap issues you’re dealing with, or the terms of the current contracts? Does the players’ union have something to say about this transaction?

While you’re spinning, I should ask if you plan to keep the coaching staff, or bring in new people. Who are you going to bring in? Your brother-in-law and that guy from Accounting who consistently places in the top five in your office fantasy league? What about that dude who seems to have a knack for getting a good draft position? You know, the one who always names his team something borderline-offensive. Helpful hint: You might find that all the reputably good coaches already have jobs. What makes you think they want to come work for you?

You'll need to look into media contracts, the ad budget, stadium revenue, and recruiting prospects, for starters. And the cheerleading director, who got your number somehow, wants to know if you’ll consider expanding the squad by four.

While for some people this is very exciting, I would describe it as terrifying.

Oh, and I should remind you that in the middle of the transition and turf claiming and first-time stumbling, I’ll be having a baby.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Holy Shit

I'm so screwed.

Erection Day

Heh heh. God I'm an infantile jerk.

There was this very odd man at the polls, complaining loudly about how he was going to miss his bus. It was the 75 bus, from Columbia Pike, and it left at nine o'clock. I know these details because the dude kept repeating them.

At first I thought he just had a very loud mutter, then I thought he was angling for someone to let him cut the line, then I came to the conclusion he was nuts.

"I'm gonna miss my bus. It's the 75 bus, and I have to catch it on Columbia Pike. It leaves at 9. If I miss it, I get into work a half an hour later."

Finally, a poll worker smiled at Batshit Bus Guy and said, "But at least you get to vote." It quieted him for about 45 seconds.

"I'm gonna miss my bus. It's the 75 bus. I'm gonna miss it because I'm waiting in this line."

Lumpyhead voted with me and Bump, although he got much more attention when he was voting with Bump. "Awww, look at the baby." "He's helping to push the buttons." "He's the youngest voter we've had today."

No one noticed when Lumpyhead voted first, with me.
I think Lumpyhead gets more attention when he's with Bump. I can't decide if it's a guy thing (eh, mom with kid, no big deal. But dad with kid . . . let's see if he drops it), a race thing (Asian woman = invisible), or a resemblance thing (while Bump is clearly Lumpyhead's dad, I'm starting to think I could pass for the nanny. The guy taking the exit poll remarked on how much Lumpyhead looked like Bump while I was filling out the survey).

Or maybe it was because the voters in line could see Lumpyhead over the voting machine when he was voting with Bump.
It could also be that Bump took the photo of Lumpyhead and me discreetly, while I was busy futzing with flash and standing in the middle of the room taking the picture. But I think I got a better picture, and really, isn't that what matters?

I Got Yer Poopy Fog Right Here

When Nonlinear Girl said that she missed getting an "I voted" sticker, I offered to send her mine. Unfortunately, I realized she would get it a few days after Election Day, when it might be odd to walk around wearing an "I voted" sticker. Also, the sticker I got today said "I voted in Arlington" which probably wouldn't do her much good, either.

So, this is the best I can do. Here's your sticker, Nonlinear:

As we took this photo (and I took part in the exit poll), Batshit Bus Guy hustled by. "His vote counts, too." Bump reminded me. I don't know if that made me feel better or worse.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Those Darn Insurgents

On Friday evening I caught an All Things Considered piece on the war and the election. It profiled Minnesota’s First Congressional District - my home district and where my parents vote - which covers the entire swath of southern Minnesota.

You can hear the whole story here. It runs a little over eight minutes, but you gotta at least listen to the part where Michele Norris talks with Pat Scoggin, a resident of a Rochester retirement home.


Okay, if you can’t or don’t want to listen, Ms. Scoggin closes her interview by saying, “But I don’t like so many people being killed over there, it’s just terrible. And I just wish they could get rid of those darn insurgents.”

When I heard this, I laughed out loud.

Not because Pat’s sentiment is ridiculous (even though it sounds a little ridiculous), but because Pat could be channeling my mother. The accent, the inflection, the simplicity of opinion - it was like my mother had joined me in the car.

Let me defend Pat for a minute. I’m sure she had a variety of ideas on why the social and political climate in Iraq fosters an insurgency and what factors need to come into play for violence to end. We just didn’t hear them. Or maybe not, but for a Minnesotan woman of a certain age, “that darn” anything is about as colorful as language gets. Those are strong sentiments you hear Ms. Scoggin uttering.

What I’m trying to highlight is that, if you’ve got a limited number of expletive options in your arsenal, you have to use what you’ve got. “Those darn insurgents” is the Little Old Minnesotan Lady equivalent of “those goddamned cocksucking douchefuckers.”

This is also my way of telling you that I’m so preoccupied by tomorrow’s outcome, I find it difficult to concentrate. Ordinarily I’d say that elections don’t change my life that much, but this one could profoundly impact my world. I'd ask you to keep your fingers crossed for me, but I'm actually not sure which result is better.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Halloween Recap

I didn't get very many good pictures of Lumpyhead and Aunt Bob's Little Guy on Halloween, which I'm mighty bummed about.

They were ghosts. Aunt Bob made their costumes.One reason I didn't get any good pictures was because Lumpyhead really wouldn't wear his costume for very long. Another reason was that I kept trying to capture the Christmas lights we put under the tulle, and I never could get the lighting/flash/no flash thing right.
Two years ago, I made ABLG a chicken costume, and he was probably the cutest thing I had ever seen. Unfortunately, I missed most of the fun because I was pregnant with Lumpyhead and spent the entire evening perched on the side of my bathtub. Aunt Bob and Eebie brought The Chicken over to my place, where I gave him a cuddle and some candy, watched him strut around while my heart melted, then swiftly returned to vomiting.
But how cute was he? So cute.
Last year, Lumpyhead was a lobster. ABLG was a chef, and carried around a pot to collect his candy. He would get very upset, however, if anyone suggested he might cook his trick-or-treat companion.
(This would be a great picture if it weren't for the Bud Light. Yes, I drank a Bud Light. The lapse in judgment was captured on film digital media. I'm embarrassed about it. Let's move on.)

Watching the parade of children who come by Aunt Bob's place is really fun. Even more fun is sitting on a bench, having a beer and some warm appetizers while little goblins and princesses chirp "thank you" after being prompted by their handlers.

Less fun? Chasing after a running toddler while trying to prevent him from bolting into the street, tripping over a tulle cape, or strangling himself on battery-powered Christmas lights. He didn't understand the whole "put on this funny outfit and people will give you candy" racket. Maybe he'll be more into it next year. (Yeah. Next year. When we're also hauling around a 10-month old. That'll be great. Great.)

But even less fun than that is puking all night and taking a short break to receive a pity visit from the World's Cutest Chicken.

So, this Halloween might not have been as much fun as last year, but it was much, much better than the year before that. I've got my fingers crossed for next October.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Proof My Husband Loves Me

When I was pregnant with Lumpyhead, Bump sent me into work every day with healthy snacks like carrot and celery sticks, whole fresh fruit, or little containers of cottage cheese.

Each morning I would have to ‘fess up if I hadn’t eaten yesterday’s snack to avoid creating a snack backlog. Of course, if the previous day’s snack was still in my fridge, it didn't mean that I had gone hungry. It meant that instead of eating my carefully packed nutritious nibbles, I had gone to the vending machines and eaten two bags of Fritos.

Now Bump is a little too busy in the mornings to worry about what I’m eating at work, which means I don't have to sheepishly report that I ate two Hostess apple pies.

But yesterday, he sent me into work with . . .

a bowl of fruit salad

and Easy Cheese.

I'm pretty fond of Bump, too.