Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Philatelate This

Lumpyhead was a huge pain in the ass this morning at the doctor’s office. Getting desperate, I realized I had stickers in my briefcase. Stickers! Yay! Make the whining stop!

Yes, they were 41-cent stickers. I just wanted him to take them. I would have given him five if it meant he would shut the hell up.

They didn’t work.


On the way back from the cafeteria, my colleagues and I saw two pages walking hand-in-hand.

Sheila: Awwww. . . .
Me: Ah, young love.
Andrea: How sweet.
Me: I give it three weeks.
Andrea: Two. Tops.


Lula weighs 17 and a half pounds, Lumpyhead is posting an even 25. We're accepting wagers for when she passes him up.

[correction: Bump says Lula is 17 lbs, 12 oz. He was present at the weighing; I was chasing Crankypants McWhinersteen.]

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bubbles in the Park

Hey, you know what I forgot to tell you about? Lumpyhead's birthday party. (It was in May. Boy am I on top of things.)

(Okay, I'm really just trying to talk about something else so you stop focusing on me being a big fat dumbass who drank too much at a fancy restaurant by accident.)

I've had a few photos of the birthday party up on Flickr for awhile, but never told you about them because I'm so on the ball.

Anyway, Bump grilled bratwurst and prepared caramelized onions, roasted red peppers and sauerkraut for them. He made a pasta salad full of things Lumpyhead loves like tomatoes and asparagus and zucchini.
Lumpyhead refused all of it and ate a hotdog roll.

There were four other children at Lumpyhead's party, as well as Bump's cousin Ben who we somehow conned into watching the children for the bulk of the party. I'm not sure how we did it, but I'm totally packing that kid up and locking him in my basement for future use.

(Ha. "Kid." He's heading into his senior year of college, but I still think of him as a ten-year-old. Plus I don't even have a basement.)
That's Ben on the right in the red shirt.

I baked cupcakes. With my very own hands from a box cake mix. Add a plastic tub of icing and you've got homemade love.

My parents were in town, and to my surprise they actually made things easier. Lots of fun people dropped by to play with bubbles, drink bubbly, or just say hello.

Lula dropped a Level 4 Code Brown on Bump's Uncle Fred. (He was wearing a white shirt. It used to be white, anyway. Har.)

So it took me a long time to tell you about Lumpyhead's birthday party, and it took almost as long to get the damn thank you notes written. (Yes, I suck.) We'll see Uncle Fred again this weekend, and I'm dying to find out if he's as eager to hold Lula as he was on the day of the party.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just Wondering

Plane tickets from DC to Minneapolis are currently $164. I mention this because on Saturday night, for the price of flying my entire family to Minnesota, I went out to dinner.

Okay, Bump and I went out to dinner. And Lula would have to fly as a lap infant. But the comparison is still true.

We went with some marvelous folks. I had a fantastic babysitter (yay Anne!). The food was fabulous and the wines magnificent.

But you know what I did that no one else at the table did? I got sick. Yep, in the middle of a fancy-shmancy price of a plane ticket dinner, I became ill.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t anything I ate there. I’m guessing it was something from lunch that decided all this beautifully prepared, elegantly presented, carefully wine-paired food had to go. We did eat lunch at the mall, after all.

Bump’s money is on me being shit-faced drunk. And while this is usually a winning guess, there are a couple of reasons why I don’t think it was true. (This time. For all the other times, it is totally the reason I’m horking in the half-bath.)

First, I didn’t feel drunk. While I’m sure that old chestnut about alcohol impairing your judgment has some nugget of truth, I’m usually the first to admit that I’m hammered.

Second, no one else at the table seemed even moderately buzzed. Can I be that much of a feeble lightweight? Other than a martini to begin the evening instead of the glass of wine others had, I didn’t radically out-drink anyone else. (Something I’m also usually guilty of, by the way. And I’m not counting the extra splash of that lovely oaky white that I asked for, even though the “extra splash” turned out to be a double pour.)

I am considering this dinner a last hurrah, because if Bump and I buy a new house - which we are going to have to do at some point soon-ish because we are fast outgrowing our affordable 2BR condo - we are never going to be able to eat out again. Ever.

So, is it possible that I’m a complete dumbass who inadvertently drank herself sick at the last fancy dinner out she will have until her kids are out of college? Or did I just ingest something unholy at the Cheesecake Factory in the Fair Oaks mall?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lula’s Birthmark

Lula has a birthmark on her right arm. It is a vascular malformation which covers her elbow and extends through the inside of her arm. It is large but not disfiguring, and for the most part Bump and I have shrugged it off.

When Lula developed a patch of eczema on her birthmark, her pediatrician recommended a pediatric dermatologist. The dermatologist said the eczema was no reason for concern, and prescribed a cream that cleared it up in a couple of days. He said the eczema was likely to recur, and we should just follow the same regimen.

Then he asked if we were going to have the birthmark removed.

It was something Bump and I never considered. I figured someday she might realize she hated it and demand its removal, but that choice was hers to make. I also assume she may want to pierce her ears at some point, but I am not going to do it for her.

End of discussion, right?

Here's the wrinkle: apparently for Lula’s type of birthmark, laser treatment before one year of age is more effective than the same treatment later in life.

Here’s the catch: the laser hurts.

Our first reaction was “It will hurt her? HELL no.”

I am less and less sure of my unequivocal rejection, the more I think about it. What if, when she is eleven, she demands the birthmark come off, only to find she can have it only partially removed? She will be convinced that earlier action could have completely erased it, and she will have yet another reason to hate us for ruining her life.

Or she'll live her entire life not caring about a silly, insignificant birthmark on her arm. And the brilliant, beautiful, self-assured woman she becomes will roll her eyes at all this maternal dithering.

Or she'll be haunted by the constant question "What's that on your arm?" and have it removed out of pure annoyance. In the meantime she'll be uneasy about short sleeves, strapless gowns and bathing suits.

(Right, because all women and girls without birthmarks are extremely confident about bathing suits.)

As you can tell, I'm torn on the issue. Removal is cosmetic, so insurance probably won’t cover it. That’s pretty far down on the list of important factors, but it is a factor. It is likely to cost between $2,000 and $5,000 to have it removed.

Bump and I were told that the way we handle Lula's birthmark will influence her opinion of it more than anything else. The doctor said he’s seen huge birthmarks that don’t bother their wearers at all, and tiny imperceptible ones that emotionally cripple their owners. The bottom line is that if we’re casual about it, she’s not likely to care about it either.

If the birthmark were on her face, we would be more apt to have it blasted. But it's on her arm, for heaven's sake.

There’s no guarantee it can be completely removed, even if we act now.

Technology is advancing at a remarkable pace; the lasers used today weren't even considered five years ago, and in three years they will probably be totally obsolete. When Lula is old enough to make her own decision about it, the "before one year" condition may no longer exist.

Removing the birthmark hurts. She will cry. I will have made a choice that causes her pain.

Or I will have made a choice that causes her pain when some pissy nine-year-old calls her Red Arm.

She will undoubtedly be self-conscious about her body, because all girls are. Wouldn't that phase of life be easier for her without a big ol' birthmark on her arm?

If I think she is going to want it removed eventually, isn't it better to subject her to the procedure now, when she's not likely to remember the discomfort?

Would I want it removed, if it were me? I can't really say, because I wasn't born with a birthmark. I have other obvious physical imperfections that really don't bother me.

Is this like being born near-sighted, which I would fix if I could? Or like being born with brown eyes, which I hated as an adolescent but is not something that needs repair?

For now, I'm still leaning toward not having it removed. But I am scheduling a consultation with the doctors who would remove it - should we decide to go that route - just to gather more information and ask some more questions.

Would you put your baby through a painful procedure for a purely cosmetic reason?

Not that I'm going to do whatever you tell me, but I'm interested in your thoughts. (Because, ooooh, opinions from the internet. . . it's like your bossy cousin, your busybody neighbor, and your annoying colleague wrapped into one, only with less authority and more dumbass.) Just keep this in mind: What if we have her birthmark removed and Lula is the Chosen One to save the world, only the prophecy says the Chosen One has a red right elbow, and she can no longer prove that she’s the True and Rightful One because we went and had her birthmark removed? Well what then, Internet? Huh? What then?

Monday, July 16, 2007

It's Like They're Siblings or Something

Okay, fine. Lumpyhead and Lula do not look exactly alike. But you gotta admit there is a resemblance.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Speaking of Stinky

Yesterday I got on an elevator with a guy who had obviously just farted.

It must be satisfying to let a good one rip when you get on the elevator by yourself in the basement. But what a bummer to have that satisfaction turn to embarrassment when someone else joins you on the second floor.

I would have congratulated him, or at least given him an awe-struck, "Dude, what did you eat?", but I couldn't stop giggling.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sniff the BAY-bee! (Don’t Sniff the Baby)

Smelly baby, smelly baby
What are they feeding you?
Smelly baby, smelly baby
It’s not your fault.

We sang this to Lula in her early months because she farted a lot.

We have since changed the second line to “Why aren’t they bathing you?

Yeah, so my kids don’t get baths every day. Sue me.

The sad thing is, Lumpyhead would take four baths a day if we let him. He loves playing in the water and splashing around, but woe to anyone who might suggest bathtime has come to an end. If he’s having a rough day, the tub reliably shuts him up, but you have to weigh the screechy complainy tyrant that will show up at the end of the bath against the blissful sweet boy you’ll have for those few fleeting minutes.

Lula’s bath schedule is even more sporadic, and combined with her chubbiness, she often smells funny. Luckily for her, I’ve already named her on the blog, or I’d be introducing you to Lumpyhead’s sister: Stinkyneck.

Still, they both bathe far more often than I did on maternity leave.

Lula after one of the many regular baths she got from her grandmother in Maine. I think she’s been bathed since then. Maybe not. Eh, whatever.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Back to the Old Grind

Maternity leave is over. At least until I have another baby.


Okay, that wasn't funny.

It was wonderful to be away from work. (Duh. Does anyone ever say "yeah, it was nice to have a big chunk of paid time off to spend with my family, but I really think those hours could have been better spent at my desk playing freecell.")

I know there are people who genuinely fear their position in the office will be undercut while they are out. I worried about that a little back in May, but now that I'm on the other side I can see it was an unfounded concern. I don't think I missed anything of great import, and if I did, I don't care.

Monday was my first day back, and it was hard. I tried to think of the last seven weeks as bonus time, all frosting, so I shouldn't pout about going to the office. But it was still a tough adjustment to go back to work.

Lula is sleeping well (and by typing that I have jinxed it and she won't sleep through the night again until she's twelve) and doing great. Bump has things under control, and I think it is easier for him now than it was when I went back to work in March.

I'm not worried about my family when I'm at the office, I just miss them. I wonder what they're doing at various stages of the day. I'm sad that I can't hear Lumpyhead laugh or smell Lula's head.

Five days 'til Saturday.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Seen on Craigslist

Okay, when I saw this for sale under Baby & Kid Stuff, I almost had to tell you about it. Except, I thought, I'm sure that kind of post has been done dozens of times, and it is probably boring. But I still think it's funny.

Can you believe someone might be looking to unload an item like that?

And how much must that parent's inlaws HATE him? You know it was a gift. No one buys something like that for his own child.

So I was gonna keep that to myself, because it is probably not that novel, but then I saw this listed under Garage Sales, and I had to tell you about it.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Snoozer Loser Is Everywhere

Hey, remember my friend Tom, who was here in DC performing at the Kennedy Center last March? I invited you to his dance-thingie. Oh, maybe I forgot to invite you. Sorry. I meant to.

Anyway, he lost his violin.

Then he got it back.

Today, Bump called me from the car (because he had sent me to the store to get snow peas, and I came home with frozen sugar snap peas. For I am a dork) to tell me Tom was on the radio.

Our friend Jaimie is in Athens on vacation, and he said some international news outlets even picked up the story.

Tom says Regis and Kelly discussed it, and it was the harshest thing he's heard about this whole ordeal. Man. When Regis and Kelly are rough on you, that's gotta hurt. (If anyone can find a link to that, by the way, will you send it to me?)

Here's a picture of the Snoozer Loser himself, with Bump, Lula and Lumpyhead, taken when Tom was in town in March. Sorry for the low resolution, Bump's mother took the photo with Tom's camera, and Tom sent us a print. I meant to request a digital copy of the photo (along with the photos of Tom, Aunt Bob and me at the Kennedy Center) but I never did, and now I think I'm out of luck, because I imagine the pixels are on his still-lost laptop.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

No Learning! More Junk Food!

Bump and I try to limit Lumpyhead’s television watching. We typically don’t let him watch during meals, and often use videos as an incentive to get him to eat. We offer “More Thomas if you finish your bread,” barely disguising the desperate “please please please eat you skinny, skinny child” in our voices. Lumpyhead has latched on to They Might Be Giant’s “Here Come the ABCs” as a new favorite, and spent most of last week begging for it.

One morning Bump told Lumpyhead “No ABCs until you finish your donut,” then wondered how we would talk our way out of that A-Plus Parenting quote. I didn’t bat an eye when he said it, and had I been asked my opinion on the matter, would have just nodded vigorously.

“He’s on vacation!”
“He’s too skinny!”
“He already knows the alphabet!”

Um, I guess none of those are terribly convincing. Maybe I shouldn’t have just told the whole internet.

Monday, July 02, 2007

We're Back

We spent a lovely week with Bump’s family in Maine, once again managing to visit during a heat wave. It seems that I’m still a great big baby when it comes to temperatures around 90 degrees with no air conditioning, and I have forced Bump to agree to get a hotel room next time. It is wonderful to spend time with his family and all, but the no-AC thing is a deal-breaker.

They keep telling me “it usually doesn’t get this hot,” but I am no longer buying it. I endured a second consecutive Maine vacation short-tempered and sweaty, and expended a great deal of mental energy wondering what the hell is wrong with these people. Jesus.

Other than the heat, the week was fantastic. We visited Bump’s grandmother and Lumpyhead squealed with his cousins. We went to the beach and ate corn dogs and the children went on kiddie rides. Thanks to grandparental babysitting, Bump and I saw a movie (Evan Almighty - meh), went out to dinner (Joseph’s - surprisingly good), and spent an evening playing video games and drinking beer at a little bar that had Gritty’s on tap and air conditioning (I don’t really need to comment on that for you, do I?).

Lumpyhead didn't mind the heat. But then, he had a lobster hat.