Sunday, February 28, 2010

I kissed the deliveryman.

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We try to channel the energy in positive ways.

46 pounds!
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Boxing Shorts

Macy sent a cool package last week ... including these "boxing" shorts. Never assume that a child will know that other types of underwear have different names. He's convinced these are really shorts for boxing and refuses to wear a shirt when he's at home. He has worn the shorts for two straight days now, over and under clothes. I finally smuggled them out of his room to wash them. Here he is with blue, a bag of goldfish, his "trucker hat" and the shorts. And it's 30 degrees.

In other news ... we got a new range!!! It will be here tomorrow ... self-cleaning, convection, FIVE eyes with a grill option in the middle. I couldn't be more thrilled. And you can file that one under, "How to know that you're definitely a grown up."

That's all for now. As always, onward, upward, and sideways.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On 3 Month Birthday, Baby Sleeps Through Night, Vows Never To Do It Again

On the eve of his 3-month birthday, Sam W. Becker slept (in his crib) from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., waking only once at 2 a.m. for a short snack.  
When asked how he felt after a full night's rest, Becker insisted that it wasn't what he thought it would be. Complaining of wetness and an unkempt swaddle, he promised to be less lazy in the future. 
Despite the languid atmosphere, birthday celebrations are well underway in the Becker household.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Not just serious ...

... Dick Cheney serious.

Thanks friend, for that comparison. It's the flash on my camera that renders him so stoic. In real life, he laughs at anything -- even big brother assault.

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Which, by the way, is on in a great blaze of laughs at Sam's expense.  The photo below was taken just after a throwing-an-airplane-just-close-to-not-at-the-baby incident. 

In Mansfield Park, Jane Austen, who often writes things I marvel at a hundred years later, has nailed our current family dynamic:  "The younger brother must help to pay for the pleasures of the elder."
In other news, there was a visit last week from the maternals, who swooped into town bearing gifts of toys that Transform from bad guys into toasters (complete with a plug!) and baby clothes.  They took John to a hotel every night, and us out to dinner, lunch, and breakfast nearly every day.  Macy did more laundry in 3 days than I often do in 3 weeks, but I still won't let her iron the sheets, which she is wont to do.  As usual, I got approximately zero pictures of it all.  Despite my convalescence, I was able to cook one meal, which involved deer sausage, polenta, and peppers.  One meal.  Someday I swear I'm gonna be up to actually taking care of our family when they visit.  But somehow this continues to escape me, visit after visit. 

Next I would like to document two important family feats from Saturday:

  1. At approximately 12:17 p.m., I entered our local grocery store with (...drumroll...) both of my children.  Second, at approximately 12:45 p.m., I exited our local grocery store with (...drumroll...) both  of my children and all the groceries that we needed for about two hours days.  No one yelled or cried. 

  2. I went to a get-together with some gals from work, and Brian successfully got both children into bed.  One slept all night.  The other slept 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.  Only one went to bed without dinner.  Accidentally, but still.  The same one that didn't get dinner, didn't get bathed.  Not accidentally, despite it being Saturday night, when all the good people of the world bathe. 

Woot woot!

Now, that's a week that even Dick Cheney could get excited about.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


We are now a greener family after having bought a set of hybrid g-diapers. Currently we are using compostable inserts (or possibly flushable, but dude--whose toilet can handle that?), but the cloth inserts are on the way. Brilliant. Check it out:

We cannot wait to see what Sam's diapers can do to encourage our tomato plants to grow bigger and better. 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Secret

Tonight I was sitting on the couch nursing Sam and coughing when this guy pictured below here flies by me on his way to The Coat Chair, furiously digging for jacket, hat, and gloves, on a mission. Then he approaches:
MOM CAN I GO OUTSIDE AND SCOUT AROUND IN THE YARD? (all caps indicate the normal volume of his voice, which often prompts me to say, "I'm right here."

Scout around for what?


Are you gonna shoot the cats?

YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  BECAUSE THEY EAT OUR BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! POW POW POW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Should I worry?  Should I let him?  Did I let him?  It's a secret.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Him is gettin' fat.

Him's so sweet that Mama gets her pronouns confused. Eat. It. Up.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sam's Birth, Part 2 (before I forget)

Because if I forget, I may want another one, and that's out of the question.  Two hands, two parents, two kids.

Disclaimer:  The information contained in this blog post is long and detailed.  It explains a start-to-finish birth story, so there's pain, blood, non-white-girl hip waggling, and a Jurassic-period soundtrack of half-slain Brontosaurus moaning noises.  At the end, I have a sweet baby boy in one hand and a giant beef burrito in the other.  If any of that is likely to bother you, stop right here.

Sunday, November 22, 9:30 a.m.

I am 4 days overdue.

Me: "Let's just get this over with."
B: "I'm in."
Me: "Give me the castor oil."

Poor Sam. Before he came out, I sloshed back 2 ounces of castor oil, orange juice, and some white wine (we didn't have any champagne and the midwife insisted this was a very important part of the cocktail -- nevermind that she had not yet given the go-ahead for the cocktail). I had taken the castor oil and OJ mixture when I was pregnant with John (and 8 days overdue), and it broke my water, so I was pretty sure with this one I would slide into an easy and quick second labor.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, will eventually be used as an example in an online dictionary under the entry "wishful thinking."

3:00 p.m.

My water breaks and I start having contractions that are 3 minutes apart. I am so excited! No Pitocin this time! I'd get to stay home and labor in my own tub until I couldn't stand the thought of getting in the car. That's what the on-call midwife had said when I phoned to report that my water had broken.

We call the grandparents and I email everyone I know.  We phone the neighbors to see if John can go to church and spend the night with them, assuming we'd be at the hospital holding our little angel by the time they said the first prayer. We pack his little bag (and mine) and send him over while we continue walking around the neighborhood urging my uterus to keep doing its thang.

5:00 p.m.
As we're approaching our house, B says, "Something's wrong. I hear John," and sprints toward the neighbor's house. John wasn't there. He had panicked and run back to our house looking for us. He thought we had left already and not said goodbye. He was hysterical. So we canned the church idea and went inside with him to play some games.

I sat down on the floor and got out Chutes & Ladders. Brian started dinner. John stopped crying. And my uterus stopped contracting.

We thought we'd give it some time.  I considered having another cocktail.  John calmed down, and we ate dinner. 

7:00 p.m.

I called the midwife.  She assures me that the contractions are very likely to start again during the night and advises me to get some rest. 

November 23, 7:00 a.m.

I awaken, refreshed after having slept with approximately ZERO contractions all night.  I call the midwife again.  It is Linda, my primary caregiver.  She says she has a plan and to come in to the hospital immediately "before all the good rooms get taken."

9:00 a.m.

I register and get taken to a labor and delivery room.  Linda sadly informs me that her plan involves Pitocin and something called a Foley Bulb.  I am disheartened.  Pitocin is really just the devil in the form of an IV fluid.   I have never heard of a Foley Bulb. 

11:00 a.m. 

I have an IV with Pitocin AND a Foley Bulb in place.  A mustachioed teenager who claimed to be an anesthesiologist is explaining the ins and outs of an epidural and I am refusing.  See my reasoning in a previous post.

1:00 p.m.

The bulb pops out -- that means I'm at 5 cm!  I think, "Just as expected: It's going quickly and easily."  Linda comes in to inform me that the real work is now beginning as my uterus, prompted by the Pitocin, must now take over.  This does not bother me.  I have done this before.  You just get in the tub and wait.  It's not that bad, really.

Then she tells me that the hospital has a policy that you can't get in the tub or shower if you have an IV.  Then I remember that I have left all my Hypnobirthing CDs at home.  Then I start thinking that if this goes past Linda's shift I will definitely get an epidural.  Then, right then, I know that this won't be easy like the first baby.

Linda gets me up, has me place my upper body across the bed, and teaches me how to waggle my hips in the air "not like a white girl" during each contraction.  This is kinda fun.  I sit in a rocking chair and then whenever a contraction comes, I just stand up and waggle.  The nurse comments that I'm good at this and that I seem to be handling the pain relatively well.  I inform her that I took dance lessons for 15 years.

3:00 p.m.

Linda comes in to check me and reports that what we want is about 1 cm of dilation per hour.  I'm hurting.  I'm guessing I'm at 7 or 8 based on past experience.

Linda is down there for a long time.  She's looking off to the side and sort of wincing as I calmly ask her to pleasehurryupthathurtssomethingawful. 

"You're almost a 6."

Excuse me?  It's been two hours!  I start calculating the rate of dilation, knowing that Linda's shift ends at 7 p.m.  It hits me that I won't make it ... that not only will she be gone, but that I'll still be in labor 8 hours after the induction began (my first labor was only 5 hours from start of induction to baby). 

Brian calls the grandparents, who are all at our house with John.  They were just walking out the door to come to the hospital, guessing that surely we'd have the baby by then.  He tells them to hold off.  Then he goes to get some sushi. 

While he's gone, the nurse tells me that I should really consider getting an epidural.  I ignore her.  Nobody is getting near my spine with a needle.

5:00 p.m.

Linda is back to check me.  (Sidenote: Do not confuse "midwife" with "doula."  I expected her to be in with me most of the time, supporting me, and giving ideas about pain management.  Other than the tail waggle, she mostly just offered Stadol and spine needles.) 

I have gotten somewhat worked up by this time.  The contractions are coming strong and often and I can't seem to concentrate on getting through them. 

"You're still a 6."

I begin convulsing and crying and telling everyone to call that mustachioed teenager and put a needle in my back pronto.  I begin making a noise that is probably similar to what it sounded like millions of years ago when a Brontosaurus felt the bite of a T-Rex:  a low-pitched, uncontrolled, roaring groan.  Now I know that Linda will not be there to catch the baby. 

Brian calls home again.  The moms decide to come to the hospital.  They're worried.  I'm losing my mind.

7:00 p.m.

Linda comes in to check me and informs me that her shift is up and that her replacement is Soheyl (the only full time midwife I haven't met).  She also mentions that Soheyl is running a bit late and that Kate will be sitting with me until she arrives because I am now in transition.

Oh sweet deliverance.

7:10 p.m.

Kate arrives.  She is 14 and a half years old.  She pats my needle-pierced hand.  I am inconsolable. 

7:15 p.m.

Soheyl arrives.  She introduces herself.  I smell her perfume.  It's horrid.  I try to make myself feel better by telling myself that since Soheyl, like my dental hygienist, is Iranian, she will help me through this calmly and without too much extra pain, just like my dental hygienist.  Plus, many of my best students have been Iranian.  But the perfume keeps distracting me and I am not being very nice.

Soheyl, despite my thrashing, is extremely collected.  She is calm and fresh, having just arrived for her shift.  She checks me.  I'm almost a 9.  She has ideas about positions for me to get into. 

Three people hoist me up onto the bed on my knees.  They move the head of the bed up and drape me over it.  Bitten Brontosaurus noises abound.  I draw blood with my fingernails in B's arms.  Soheyl leaves.

7:30 p.m. (WARNING: This is graphic, do not read on unless you're really into birth stories)

I'm still draped over the back of the bed, still brontosaurussing, and then it happens.  The pushing sensation is there.  And I've read enough to know that if it feels like you're gonna poop then somebody better get in catching position.

So I'm yelling, "I'm gonna poop!  Go get Soheyl!  The baby's coming!" 
And B's yelling, "She's pushing!  The baby!  Go get her!  Go!  NOW!"

And the nurse is saying, "What exactly does it feel like?  A lot of pressure?"

Then she looks. 

Then she's gone. 

And for a while (approximately one minute and 15 seconds) I thought that Brian was gonna have to deliver the baby, ignoring the fact that I had clawed almost all the way into his hypodermis and immobilized him at the wrong end of the bed). 

The nurse comes back and informs us that Soheyl is on the phone.  Brian tells her he doesn't care and to GO GET HER OFF THE PHONE.  The nurse leaves again.

7:42 p.m.

Soheyl is back in all her perfumed glory.  She is ever-so-calm as she tells me that I need to get into a better position for delivery.  This is equivalent to informing the contestants on The Biggest Loser that their first challenge is to climb Mt. Everest.  In winter.  While carrying their weight-loss partners.

Somehow I manage to turn over.  In about 3 seconds, a team of baby nurses convenes on an area just to my right and another couple nurses come in and the bed is magically transformed into some strange stair-step position.  Soheyl confirms that it is indeed time to push.  Slowly, and with control.

And to me, this pushing, of all things, seems like the easiest, most normal, natural, most sane thing on the whole planet Earth.  So I do.  Maybe 3-4 pushes, and out pops a baby. 

My Sam.  He's perfect.

What happens next is just too awful for me to recollect or write about, so I'll spare you.  With both of my labors, the "repair stage" was one of the more horrid parts.  Luckily, this time, I was on Stadol, and the beef burrito was on its way. 

8:00 p.m.

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John                                                                   Sam

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I sense a disturbance in the force.

Black Goldy has appropriately been renamed Luke Skywalker and has acquired a "No Fishing," grinning shark accessory, and we have three humidifiers running, one of which has a Vicks Vaporub insert. My Pappaw used to eat Vicks Vaporub and he lived to be a nonagenarian.

I haven't slept, people. But Sam is outta my bed.

In other news, I contracted a cold which I passed on to John, and now his asthma is acting up.  He's been home from school all week alternating nebulizer treatments with hot steamy showers.  Yesterday we took a trip to the chiropractor and all got adjusted in an attempt to prime our immune systems.  Mine has taken a hit lately.

Yes, he's wearing a summer outfit while the nation suffers through brutal winter storms.  It's a USA soccer jersey, used in place of PJs as we await the World Cup, summer 2010. 

Which I really don't give a flying flip about but woo-boy the Winter Olympics are coming up on Friday and this is one girl who loves her some figure skating.  Now that's a reason to stay up at night.

So, last night Sam slept from 10 p.m. to midnight.  Brian got up and pinched him so he'd cry and I'd have to come in there attempted to give him a bottle.  He cried and refused the bottle.  Finally after an hour and a half of torture, I went in and took over and boobed the poor child, who wasn't even hungry.  Then he slept until nearly 7 a.m.  He would've slept longer (normally he sleeps in until 9 or so), but I'm on a mission to get him in bed before 10 p.m. (a now two-week long ordeal).  Especially since we're getting a sitter on Friday night.  It's so much more fun to come home at 9:30 p.m. -- you know, after you've done something exciting like go to the mall to buy new underwear -- and have the children asleep.  I dream of this.

So now you're wondering something like, "Why has she not slept?" since you've of course added up all those lovely hours that the baby was in his crib last night.

You know that book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff?

First, there's the coughing issue -- just John and me for now, but it goes on all night.  And then when the coughing stops and it gets quiet, there's the imagining-that-the-baby-is-crying issue and incessantly going to check.  Then you get in the nursery and you realize not only is he completely silent, he's too silent.  So you touch him with your ice-cold hand, and he stirs.  Then you worry that he'll really start crying, so you stay in there for awhile and do some yoga stretches on the floor.  Next the dust from the hasn't-been-vaccuumed-since-Macy-left rug gets you coughing again.  So you go in the bathroom and hose your nose with a NeilMed Isotonic Sinus Rinse Bottle.  Now you can breathe out of your nose and you're feeling sleepy, so you go back to bed.  And guaranteed if you go back to bed, someone's gonna start coughing.

But in the morning, there's that dimple, and isn't it all just almost worth it?

Mostly I feel that the Light Side of the Force is winning.  Thanks, Luke.
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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

After this long, luxurious bath ...

Mr. Sam stayed in his crib ALL NIGHT!!!
We only had to get up four times to keep him in there.
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Monday, February 08, 2010

What the children did while I barfed

Look how long John is!

Look how bald Sam is!

You get one virus and people start posing with Leapfrog dominoes and losing hair.
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They both do it

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Red Shirts

Subsequent to this photoshoot, Management successfully applied Virgin Coconut Oil to Little's between-the-eyebrows cradle cap, with overnight success.
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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dear Sam:

Management regrets to inform you that a surcharge will be applied to your bill for services rendered after CHILDREN SHOULD BE ASLEEP TIME.  Unfortunately, this extra fee is not due to some higher calling such as ManagementNeedsToUnloadTheDishwasherAGAIN (thank you very much Mr. Bosch and your lovely 22-year old serviceman who happily came to our home just before Christmas and was dismayed to find management sound asleep on the couch, and later in a precarious nursing position which caused some awkardness, nevermind that he should've stayed in the kitchen, content to holler back and forth with the adult in charge of the home), but rather, is caused by Management's need to procrastinate various household chores by viewing inane reality TV shows, updating Facebook, and reading the same novels repeatedly by candlelight in a bathtub full of lavender-scented Epsom Salt.

Please understand that we continue to hold  your needs in the highest regard and of course enjoy our daily service to you.  We only have your interests in mind, and feel that this additional charge reflects the desire of our workers to increase their productivity during peak hours of customer need.  There are other customers, you know.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.


Your Committed Management Team

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Monday, February 01, 2010