Monday, December 31, 2007

Good News for 2008!!!


I am soooo excited to be able to congratulate the recently knocked-up Calliope!!!

And in other BFP news, looks like Natalie's going to be a big sister.


(Yes, that's Jo smiling, he's so happy about the news!)

Goodbye, 2007

I'm not entirely ready to say goodbye to this year: the year our Flipper grew, and then joined us. But I am looking forward to 2008 in a way I haven't looked forward since I was a very little girl.


I am excited to report that I used the Ergo with infant insert for the first time, inspired by Bri, and I LOVE it. We have a Maya wrap and we may yet figure it out. But oh my goodness, you should not need a Ph.d in slingology to carry your kid. It is one thing if I cannot follow the video lady to thread the sling; I am notoriously bad at such tasks. I have trouble following visual directions. It is another thing entirely if my kinesthetic wife, who can do amazing things with her hands like be fluent in ASL, has difficulty.

The Ergo, on the other hand, has an incredibly easy short video right on their website that showed me how to use the infant insert. I did it right the first time, all by myself. So thanks to that, the laundry is actually being done. A necessity, thanks to Jo the Firehose (mouth and nether regions, thanks).

So yeah, that's our New Year's Eve plan, unless we venture over to our friends' mellow party for a spell. But we do have four flavors of ice cream in the freezer so I'm not complaining. Besides, the rich variety of Law & Order marathons make it clear I'm not the only one home in front of the tube. What are you doing tonight?

(Please read the post below and give me baby advice!)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Baby Questions

Happy Erev New Year/New Year's Eve!

Everything I know about TTC I learned from the IVP. Those of you who know what I mean, know I'm quite serious.

So teach me about babies.

--What are some baby sites you recommend: for infant development information, "troubleshooting" the little critter, and keeping track of things (sleep patterns, charting the height and weight, etc)?

--Anything in particular I should be expecting during this first month?

--Any wisdom you'd like to pass on from your own first weeks with (to quote the fostermoms) a Parasitic Alien Bunny?

I opened the gates, people, so bring on the assvice. ;-)

Brought to you by the Fish Face:

Fish Face

Stupid Things We Say

(I know the masses miss Co, but you're stuck with me for now. Being the boobie mama [Charlotte's term] is serious business. I'm on diaper and errand duty and it doesn't even begin to compete with her job. But I'll get her back to you. In any case, she coined a lot of the terms I'm about to share with you.)

*"Boob is Good Food." That's Jo's motto.

*Irish whiskey. That would be Co's breast milk.

*General Fusster. We call him that when he's having a cranky day (like today!). We can't be the only geniuses who came up with that term.

*The Mayor. My mom has decided Jo is going to be mayor of our city (this would be one of the cute funny things about my mom). After all, he has the Italian and Jewish vote all sewed up.

And a picture: here's the boy, drunk on the Irish whiskey.
Milk Drunk

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Dirty Underbelly

No, this post is not about Jo's belly. It is smooth and pink and clean and eminently kissable.

I find myself going through phases of wanting to write only the good stuff on this blog. Lately most of the stuff has been pretty darn good, so it's not like I'm lying, but that's never the whole truth, is it? I don't know if that's how I come across (I certainly have my whiny periods), but I'm aware of the impulse in myself.

My mom has been as awesome and caring and helpful as I have described. She has also been, um, crazy.

I posted a while ago about her idea to "host" (buy breakfast for) Jo's naming at our synagogue. I made her promise at the time she brought it up, several months before Jo was born, that she would *not* try to include my dad. We would invite him, of course, but the breakfast itself would be handled only by her with no attempt to coordinate with him. She loves to talk about how great it is to work together with him, how healing, blah blah blah, but for me it equals only drama and whining from her. She never remembers how hard it was the last time. They put on the "rehearsal dinner" for our wedding together, and she was bitching and whining from several months before right through our wedding day and the day after.

(This seems like a digression but it isn't:) In October Mom turned 65 and Nephew S. turned 1, so Mom threw a joint birthday party for them. My sister insisted that she did not want to invite my dad, although Mom encouraged her to. I am a sucker for my dad, and my sister insists she has no positive memories of him and does not care at all. The problem with shutting off one's feelings like this is that it leads one to do mind-bogglingly stupid things like: not invite Dad, but invite his stepson. Stepson B. lives near my sister and they've become friendly. Nephew S. often wears hand-me-downs from Stepson B's two-year-old. I was really worried about this misstep, but I decided to let her dig her own grave. A few days before the party, my dad called my sister and asked what "the plans" were for Nephew S's birthday. My sister felt immensely guilty (I think she had realized her mistake by this time) and told him about the party. (We still don't know if he'd heard about the party, or if he called spontaneously. He might well have just called, that is like him.)

My mom raged: it made her look bad! *She* should have been the one to invite him! Dad stopped by only briefly, but he brought his cousins. Oh, did this piss Mom off. Though she admitted that the actual time with the three of them was quite pleasant, she is *still* carrying on about how he just "shows up as a guest" and had the audacity to bring his cousins, and there are more pictures of him with Nephew S. from the party than there are of her with Nephew S. (This is because, Co pointed out, Dad spent the whole hour he was there hanging out with Nephew S., and Mom, because it was her party with her friends, was pretty much never with Nephew S. Overall, in life, there are *lots* more pictures of Mom with Nephew S., because she lives 10 minutes from my sister.)

Fast forward to my discussion with her about Jo's naming, now that we're trying to plan it. Mom begins, true to form, to insist that Dad simply must be included in the hosting. "It is only fair to him. He's the grandfather. And besides, he always just gets to show up and be a guest and I do all the work and spend all the money. And then he brings his cousins. It isn't fair. In fact, I paid for Nephew S's party, so he should pay for Jo's naming."

Yup. Never mind that it was her idea, that she offered when Jo was a mere bump in the belly. Never mind that she *had* the idea because *she* has friends in our area she wants to invite (and feed).

We told her we were paying for it, and she backed off. We'll see what happens.

(and to end the post, here's some cute -- Nephew S. meets his cousin Jo!)

S. meets Cousin J.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Today Jo blew spit bubbles.

He met his buddy Oneofhismoms, and said hi to her fetus! He is still young enough to have special fetus telepathy. He knows the sex, but he's not talking.

And, of course, he nursed and nursed and nursed. Here's a view of the adorable little wiggly feet (my usual view while he's on the boob)"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2 Weeks Old!

So our first Christmas, with twelve-day-old Jo, was magical.

Co's Christmas tradition, since childhood, has been to go to one aunt's house for Christmas Eve, and another aunt's house for Christmas Day. (They're actually her father's first cousins but she calls them aunt.) They live about an hour away. A few Christmases after we'd been together, I was invited too. Co's family knew she was a lesbian -- I was so, so impressed that she'd come out to them in the absence of a girlfriend, i.e. when she "didn't have to" -- they are Catholic, and all pretty religious. Most of the kids (including Co) went through Catholic school, and one uncle is a deacon in the church. Well, nonetheless, they were so loving and welcoming of me, the lesbian Jew. Before I met Co, I'd never celebrated Christmas before. Well, without movies and Chinese food, that is. At first it was a little weird for me to say "Merry Christmas" and be around all those decorated trees -- it just wasn't familiar -- but I've come to really enjoy it. I am overwhelmingly touched to be welcomed into another family. I just can't get over how amazing and loving it is. Maybe because I've always been on the fringes of my own family (we don't have any grandparents, on my dad's side due to death and on my mom's side due to residence in Crazytown), the idea that another family would want me and be so kind to me brings me to tears every year.

We took Jo to Aunt M and Uncle V's for Christmas Day and he was an angel. He slept in the car, and fussed only briefly when he needed to nurse or be changed. Co's cousin's 3 month old baby girl (who we didn't get a chance to meet) is a fusser, and everyone said Jo was sooo good in comparison, which made us feel very bad for the cousin. He got to meet Co's brother, his crazy uncle J., who he resembles greatly. A lot of the male cousins, along with crazy uncle J., were actually afraid to hold the baby, but all his great-aunts were eager to cuddle him. Co and I were officially freed from dish duty, which is a serious honor in that family. (The whole men hang out while women do dishes thing would piss me off, but honestly, to me it's all part of an alien culture in which people decorate trees and put lights on the bushes, so it rolls off my back.) We dressed him in the Santa suit one of my students gave me, but only briefly, since it made him shriek.

Yesterday we took him to Midwife Apple to weigh him. It was so nice to see her: she delivered him, and she was enchanted by him. She said I was a natural (yes, I'm glowing) and how nice it was to see us a little family. Jo weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 1/2 ounces, and since he should be back at birthweight (8 lbs, 5 oz) today, he's on track.

Update from today: when he is "quiet alert" (one of the phases of newborn consciousness) he will imitate us sticking out our tongues and opening our mouths. He is brilliant, don't you think? ;-)

Here he is in his adorable hand-me-down hat from baby Gus. Co calls this picture "Little House on the Prairie J."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Jo's Early Weeks

Our days have been, for the most part, a blur of Jo eating (and eating and eating), us eating while the other holds Jo, and us trying to sleep. And changing Jo. Like, every 5 minutes. It is good we are no longer using the Insane Chart from the pregnancy planner to keep track of diapers. (The lactation consultant was impressed with the chart, but the pediatrician, God bless her, said she would put it in the circular file.)

We've had a steady stream of visitors: my mom's been in town since Jo was born, and my sister came down this weekend with her husband and Nephew S. Nephew S. is now a toddler, so we had a glimpse of our future, and it was sobering. The recycling bins, the glass candle holders, the cups of pens and pencils, the dog toys....ho boy.

Fortunately, Nephew S's favorite toy is an empty seltzer bottle, so he was easy to please, especially in this household.

Jo has also been visited by his "Aunties" L. and R. (Co's friends), his "Uncle" B. (fostermama's dad), my Cousin J. (he's a year younger than I am, and he brought the best present ever: socks that fit!), his Great-Aunt R. (on Co's side) (who came all the way from her neighboring state; the geographic distance is only about an hour, but the psychological distance, my friends, shows true dedication). Auntie L. made him a beautiful rainbow-patterned blanket. Great-Aunt R. made him a sweater and a blanket.

Aunties W. and J. came by the day after we came from the hospital and brought the best gift ever: Lunch!!

My dad came into town very briefly. I was sad that he was in Germany while Jo was born (and annoyed that he kept reminding me to be "mindful of the time difference" when calling him; like I had any idea what time it was or day it was, humph). But I feel healed by how sweet he was with baby Jo, and he and stepmom (she does not feel like a stepmom, but the other name for her is, alas, unbloggable; and we've come to a detente over the years) showered him with gifts. (Which, alas, and typically, since the divorce is how Dad has tried to express his feelings.) I'll be posting a picture later on of Jo's substantial stuffed animal collection, which they added to; among the other highlights are a Hmong children's outfit from Thailand and the most adorable finger puppets from Ike@ (the one near their house in Germany, that is). They were in Thailand a year and a half ago, right before our attempt to visit the bank that brought us Jo, so I was really touched that they were planning for his arrival that early.

Due Date Buddy stopped by briefly, so Jo finally got to meet his BFF, Baby L.! (They look alike, don't they?? Jo is the one on the left in the doggy onesie. Natch.)

Today we are going to Co's family for Christmas. We'll see how many relatives we can manage, what with Jo's busy boob schedule.

Happy Holidays to all, or to quote Chicory and Shelli: happy Tuesday and Chinese food.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Milk Monster

Jo nursed today. All day. Constantly. He wouldn't let me hold him, he wouldn't let my mom hold him, he just. wanted. boob. (The kind with milk, that is. My mom and I are quite ample in the boob department.)

Thanks to MermaidGrrl's, Bri's , and Sacha's honest posts about nourishing their ravenous little milk monsters, I know this is normal and that he won't be like this every day. The IVP is really the most amazing community and I can't imagine facing the task of parenting without you amazing women. (Which is not to say I couldn't use some reassurance. As could my poor Co, the cow.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Life in the Hospital

The continuation:

Once Co was deemed well enough, she was transferred from Labor & Delivery upstairs to Maternity. All along, we had decided we would spring for a private room if one were available, so I could stay with Co and Jo. The only private room available was the deluxe -- ouch. But we took it. Up we went to room 441.

(I'm still not 100% sure what made it deluxe, because I never saw the non-deluxe rooms; I'm told the food was better [and it wasn't terrible!], I think it was bigger, and there was a separate family waiting room *only* for the two deluxe rooms, which ended up being just us since the other wasn't occupied. I would never have paid for that on purpose but it was an awesome perk; my mom and stepdad spent a lot of time at the hospital, which was incredibly helpful, and/but having a room next door they could hang out in? Priceless. Well. I could tell you the price. But.)

I will say, with a room that big -- and it was huge -- why couldn't they have put in a second bed?? There was a pretty hard fold-out chair -- more comfortable than it looked, or maybe I was just that tired -- for the partner.

We were thrilled to be out of labor & delivery and set up in our new "deluxe" quarters. We'd heard from a number of sources that the maternity nurses at this hospital weren't as nice as the labor & delivery ones (and we loved our L & D nurse!), but we didn't have that experience (with one exception that I'll get to later). The problem was the parade of medical professionals. They came to check Co's vitals, which was acceptable. They came to take Jo, repeatedly, and that was not acceptable, but turned out not really to be a choice. They wanted to do a CBC on him, because he was born 22 hours after C's membranes ruptured (rather than 18 hours). They wanted to do a blood culture, for the same reason. They did a PKU test, which is state law, but taking him away from us for another hour wasn't necessary. They checked bilirubin. He had no signs of fever, jaundice, or anything else. It felt like every time we settled down, someone came to take our baby. It was an awful feeling. The nursery was only around the corner, now that we were upstairs, so I would go and check in, and he'd usually be returned to us right away when I stuck my nose in. The nursery nurses clearly didn't return babies immediately when they were finished. (I'm not complaining about them, per se, because I imagine they had a lot to do and most of them were nice to me; I'm just complaining about the system.)

A quick note: I know we could have refused some of these procedures, and I called our midwives to ask about whether/how to refuse, but their advice was that since we were trying for an "early release" (the hospital's term for under 48 hours), and since the odds were likely that the tests would prove him to be perfect (which they did), it was better to let it go.

One of the times he was taken, I think for the CBC, they told us he would be gone for an hour maximum. At the 90 minute mark, I got up to fetch him once again from the nursery, only to meet the resident (I think he was a resident?) who kept stealing our baby in the hallway. He explained that while they were trying to find a vein in a less than 24 hour old infant, he became cold, so of course he had to be put under the warming lights. My mom (who heard from her family waiting room), came out and said, if a baby is cold isn't it better to wrap him up and put him in his mommy's arms? The resident hemmed and hawed and finally conceded that mom had a point but the nurses had their protocol. I went to the nursery, where I found my boy sleeping sweetly, buck naked, under the stupid warming lights. The nurse he could "probably" go back now and handed him over.

We saw two of the staff pediatricians, one man who seemed to be "family" and thought Jo looked great and all but promised we could go home the next day. Then the next morning, a different ped. was on call, who looked at Jo's chart and said he hadn't peed enough. This was at eight or nine in the morning; he was just over twenty-four hours old, and he'd had one wet diaper. Well, said Co, isn't it true that you should expect as many wet diapers as days of life? Yes, said the doctor. Well, said Co, this baby was born yesterday at 7:31 a.m., and he has peed once. Isn't that right on track? Well, yes, admitted the doctor. Okay then, she said, if he pees two more times by 4 or 5 o'clock (i.e., the time she leaves for the day) I'll let you go home tonight. Of course, that wasn't fair to Jo's clock at all, because he had almost twenty-four more hours to produce two pees, and she was only giving him eight. While she was there, she changed his diaper; Co thought she saw a yellow streak, but the ped. said it was clean.

The lactation consultant had been working with Co when the ped. came in and she listened to all this without a word. Then after the doctor left, she fished the diaper out of the trash and showed us how to tear it open to see if it was wet (the P@mpers are really absorbent). Sure enough, the diaper was wet. So the LC recorded that diaper on his chart, then helped Co through a mammoth nursing session that all but ensured another wet diaper. Which he did produce shortly, though the doctor backpedaled later and said one more wet diaper was enough (the one being the one that LC recorded). So we were freed between six and seven that evening.

The one fun part about being in the hospital was that Due Date Buddy was there. As we shared with you all, she went into labor on Saturday the 8th and gave birth on the 9th. Because of some complications (that are now resolved, she and Baby L are home and healthy) she, her husband, and the baby were still all hanging out in the hospital by that Thursday and Friday when we were there. So we got to visit with them (which completely befuddled the staff, who chastised us for being in each other's rooms during non-visiting hours and didn't really know what to say when we all produced armbands). It was really amazing to have actual friends/peers around.

So, the one nurse I will call out (I would even do it by name but she never offered it), I will call her Evil Nurse: there was a rule at the hospital that you couldn't hold the baby in the hallway, you had to wheel them in the plastic box. I did not know about this rule (I think it is stupid, but initially, I didn't even know about it). So I left the room carrying Jo to introduce him to Auntie Due Date Buddy, and got chastised and sent back for stupid plastic box. At some other point, Co decided she really really wanted a shower (her first since the birth). We couldn't find a towel in the room, but after searching finally found one. But of course then forty people paraded into the room to ask if we wanted professional baby pictures or bring food (well, that was okay) and whatever else, and one of those people was a nurse who collected some extra bedding. Including, it turned out, the precious towel, because it wasn't in the bathroom after everyone left and we couldn't find it anywhere. When you are functioning on little to no sleep everything is a bigger crisis then it needs to be, and for both of us, the obstacle of procuring another towel seemed almost insurmountable. We both had this crazy, well-bred little girl idea that the nurses call button was only for bleeding-to-death emergencies, and the idea of standing up and walking to the nurses' station made us both want to cry. Of course, having not just given birth, and being clothed, I got up to go. I was holding Jo, and I knew about the rule by then, but I couldn't bear putting him down in the box and hearing him scream until I could settle him again. So I snuck out to the nurses station, which was really just steps away, I figured I'd say "towel" and disappear. But Evil Nurse took one look at me and started yelling. I got kind of teary and said "I know, but we can't find a towel and she really wants a shower and..." but I didn't really get a word in edgewise between her shrieks of disapproval. So I gave up, and retreated back to our room, explaining to Co that I would go back without Jo now, since I had found a nurse but I didn't think she would bring us a towel because she was too busy reprimanding me to ask what room we were in. Unfortunately, Evil Nurse came in with a towel and probably heard my whole complaint. I thanked her and she just left brusquely. Not too long after that, I went to fetch Jo from the nursery after yet another of those infernal procedures after which he was missing longer than they said he would be. I knocked on the door, as I always did. There were several nurses inside. Evil Nurse turned her head, saw me at the door, got a look of distinct displeasure on her face, and waved me away. It was the only time at the hospital that I was ever turned away from the nursery, and it scared me to death to think that my behavior had influenced someone who had power over my son. Seconds after I returned to the room, he was wheeled in by a different nurse. Clearly he'd been ready to go, but Evil Nurse wasn't going to turn him over to the likes of me.

A final note is that my mom and stepdad W. were really amazing, wonderful supports. They brought us snacks and V*tamin Water and whatever else we asked for, caravaned us home and made sure we got Chinese food for dinner. Even though my mom married W. just a few years ago, his warmth and kindness, especially around this life event, have really made him feel like another parent.

Friday, December 21, 2007

You Know You're a Mom When....

...today there was a bib attached to the back of my skirt. With Velcro. For I don't know how long.

It's a good thing I do not actually leave my apartment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Family

My mom and I were having a conversation about how soon my elusive father is coming to visit. She fusses about him but they get along in the end.

"Maybe it will be nice to be together", she said finally. "After all, we're both his blood grandparents." (I think she said "blood" to differentiate from the steps.)

I pointed out that no, in fact, neither of them are Jo's "blood" grandparents. She was startled, and said, "Oh. I actually forgot."

Birth Story

I must say, I have always been somewhat disinterested in birth stories. I skim them in writing and tune in and out when they're told to me. I must admit, I find them more interesting when there's conflict; I am an English teacher, after all.

But now I find myself actually wanting to tell Jo's birth story, because it was such an amazing and inspiring process to witness.

And I want to write about all these pieces of our early days with Jo, before they are less fresh: his birth, his days in the hospital, bringing him home at last. So I'll try to get those posts out between feedings and cuddles (of both Jo and Maggie).

------------------
So Co's water broke at 9:30 a.m., but she wasn't sure that was what had really happened. So she called Midwife Apple, who told her to come in (we live around the corner) and verified that yes, it was ruptured membranes...giving Co 24 hours to get to active labor. Midwife A. told Co to keep her acupuncture appointment that afternoon, since that could help stimulate labor.

Co called me at school, and in a state of shock (I really was beginning to think it would never happen!) I left early and met her at the acupuncturist (a sweet dyke with a 17 month old). When we called Midwife Apple...she said it was time for castor oil. Co took one dose at 5pm. We started watching Superbad (no, we still haven't watched it), and she had a few contractions (and some other, um, effects of castor oil). But by 7pm nothing serious had happened, so Midwife A. suggested a second dose.

This time it worked. We started watching Special Victims Unit (mmmm....Mariska...) in the living room, while Co sat on the birth ball through contractions. Then we decided to make cookies, a planned early labor project. But the contractions were coming between 2 and 4 minutes apart, so I made the cookies while Co gave instructions. During this period, the doula called (we'd been in contact throughout the day) and said "It sounds like it's time for me to come." I wouldn't have asked her to come at that point, but I am so glad she took control and made that decision. She was totally right. I was able to support Co emotionally through contractions, and let her squeeze me, but the doula had all kinds of better ways to support her physically as the contractions got harder and harder. And she was less scared than I was.

Labor went on all night. I checked in with the midwife every few hours. She told me I would know it was time to go to the hospital because Co would seem different; she would be saying "I can't do this" or asking to go to the hospital. I was skeptical, because I know my stoic Co. All that changed when she hit transition (we didn't know, of course, that it was transition at the time) was that she was crying a little bit. Around 4:15 a.m., when I asked Co if she wanted to go to the hospital, she said "Maybe it's time." (She told me later that she was afraid to go to the hospital because she was afraid to hear that she was only 5 or 6 cm dilated when the contractions were so intense; in fact, that was probably transition and she was probably about 8 cm or more.) We met Midwife A. there around 5:45 a.m. We immediately went into triage, where she listened to Flipper on the fetal monitor (he was doing great)...and discovered that Co was fully dilated. She immediately unhooked her and said she'd finish the monitoring in the delivery room (the hospital requires 20 minutes of monitoring at arrival).

So we were whisked off to Room A (oh, the random details I remember), where Co pushed for an hour and fifteen minutes. For the last few minutes (twenty? thirty? I really have no idea) we could see Flipper's dark hair emerging. I could touch his head. I cannot describe the intensity of that feeling. The doula pointed out that the first time Co actually said "It hurts" was when Flipper was crowning. She is really amazing.

I had told Midwife Apple that I wanted to catch Flipper, so she guided my hands into place at a certain point, and then all of a sudden out slid Flipper and he was in my arms and then I placed him on Co's chest. God, he was so beautiful. Co said, "Hi, J.!" The doula took wonderful photos of our first moments as a family. I got to cut the cord.

Shortly after the cord was cut, the delivery nurse took him over to the warmer thingy in the room to suction him. There was a lot of fluid in his various orifices (I saw it coming out), and he was what they call "grunty," not crying loud or consistently enough. So after a little bit, they actually took him up to the hospital nursery. I went with him, but wasn't allowed into the nursery, and was told him I couldn't see him again until Co was transferred upstairs to the maternity ward. Then, maybe he would be returned to us.

This, of course, was my worst fear, and the 90 minutes until I saw him again were among the hardest in my life. I was on the verge of tears. Co kept suggesting I call people to announce his arrival, but I just couldn't. R., the delivery nurse, was really sweet, and she encouraged me to go up and check on him again. She said there was no reason I wouldn't be allowed to see him. The nurses let me right in, and there was my sleeping angel boy, ready to be returned to his mommies. I literally wept with joy and relief.

I'll leave off there, next post about our stay in the hospital.

Things I Know About Jo (and an update)

1. He HATES wet diapers, and shrieks as soon as he pees. But he is content to hang out in the poopy ones until Mommies smell something.

2. His arms fly up involuntarily -- sometimes it is just one arm -- in a gesture Co calls "Fight the Power."

3. He weighs 8 lbs, 1 1/2 ounces (birth weight was 8 lbs 5 oz), is 20 1/2 inches long (19 1/2 at birth) and has a head circumference of 35.9 cm. These are the 28th, 40th, and 24th percentiles, respectively. (Yes, we just got home from the pediatrician. I am particularly pleased with the low percentile on the head circ, having had a number of basketball-headed male students. We'd still love him and all.)

4. He is the cutest boy in the whole world.

----------------------

Pediatrician: She gave him a clean bill of health and said we shouldn't worry so much. She actually apologized for being mellow; I was delighted because that's exactly what I want in a pediatrician. (A brief digression: my own pediatrician, who delivered me at home, was also very mellow and low-intervention. My mom brought me to him in a panic when I got my first rash, and after he examined me he said solemnly, "Ah, yes. I know that rash. That's the 'vervase' rash." My mom repeated this and started to ask questions about it before catching on: "vervase" is Yiddish for "who knows?" Also funny is that his name is M@yer Eisen.stein, leading me to believe as a small child both that I had been delivered by the mayor of our city, as well Ein.stein.)

We had our first admiring comments from people on the street and the waiting room (oh. my. God. the waiting room was full of sick children; why would I take my baby there??). We also got our first official Neighborhood Drive-by, in the waiting room, but the woman also admired him properly enough so that I didn't feel too resentful (she said I should lower the handle of the Snugr*de from the "carry" position back to the "in the car" position now that he was inside).

One woman kept offering me a seat (as I said: *full* of sick children) while I was standing to make an appointment, and the nurse let me use their little nurse file room to put him in his snowsuit and arrange him in his carseat. As opposed to the people who watched while their phlegmy toddlers tripped me with toy cars as I tried to leave, balancing purse, diaper bag, coat, and carseat. (To be fair, the nice woman seemed to be there for a well baby visit, which could affect her mood; and I may yet be in the place of Phlegmy Toddler Parents. "If your slate is clean, then you can throw stones...".) (I don't quote musicals nearly enough in this blog. If you can identify that one, I'll be impressed.)

Birth Story soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cuteness

I am working on some long posts about the experience of bringing Jo into the world, and having him in it, but here are some quick snippets:

*We are using a box of alcohol pads we had in the house to care for his umbilical cord stump (which Co, adorably, calls his "umbie"). Why did we have them in the house? They came with the Follistim pen. There is poetry in that. (If you can find rhymes for "follicle.")

*Co calls him "boychik" (Yiddish for "little boy") all the time and it just melts my heart. She got into the habit, of course, from me and my mom, who have been calling him "boychik" since the anatomy scan. (And I also use the name for Nephew S.)

And a request: we're picking a photo for a holiday card/birth announcement. My dream is to stage a photo in his cute Br**klyn onesie, sitting next to Maggie. But, barring that, are there any of the flickr ones that folks think would be good? Leave a comment here and/or on flickr.

More soon.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Flipper Is Home

So, we got home from the hospital with our boy a few hours ago. More later, of course, about the birth experience, and the hospital experience, and the being moms experience. But the short version is that everyone is healthy and happy (and exhausted).

Here are some pictures of Flipper, henceforth known as Jo (following the Lo and Co algorithm; his first name begins with a J). (If you are a name freak like I am and want to know his real name [or if you're just a freak], Email us. Flickr friends, you'll know soon enough because we'll be labelling his photos with his name.)

This is him lying in the same position he was born in, which Midwife Apple called a "nuchal arm":



Here's a close-up of his sleeping face, which is mostly what we've seen of him:



And here is possibly my favorite picture so far, wearing his going-home outfit with his eyes open looking at Mommy (Co; I'm Mama):



He says "eh eh eh eh" a lot, and something that sounds like "lalalalala." He is perfect. He is everything I have ever dreamed of and wanted.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Quick Update

Castor oil did the trick. I think she's avoided the pitocin.

It's 4:30, and we're headed to the hospital within a half hour. C is an amazing trooper, impressing both the doula and the midwife.

More when there's more to tell....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Finally Some News!

I had a lot of posts planned to keep me busy.

But I just got a phone call that C's water broke.

Oh. My. God.

She is NOT in labor. She has, according to Midwife Apple, 24 hours to get into active labor. So she's going to keep her acupuncture appointment (it's at 1pm) and I'm going to meet here there (unless she goes into labor before then, in which case I'm going home immediately).

One of my colleagues has been insisting that Flipper will be born on Frank Sinatra's birthday (that's today)...I work in the town he's from, and Flip does have the Italian heritage.

I'll update as soon as I can. Our guest posters will be leaving a comment/comments on this post (or a subsequent one) when there is news to share.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Lots Of News (but not THAT news)


*So we successfully made our appointment with our lawyer. We signed wills, as well as all of the other documentation that approximates marriage: health care proxy, standby guardianship for each other, durable power of attorney.... We also signed standby guardianship for Flipper (mine, of him) and the form that gives me the right to make his medical decisions. It's good to have that taken care of!

When my best friend from college got married, as part of the ketubah signing, she and her partner displayed the sheafs of documents they'd had to prepare to approximate marriage in their state. Signing all those papers made me think of that moment. I felt simultaneously annoyed that heterosexual people can sign a single license and automatically be granted all these rights for a fraction of the cost and energy; and lucky that we live in a state and a city where we can cobble together something like a marriage, as well as second parent adoption.

Our lawyer is really thorough and sweet (if any local folks need rec's, we'll be happy to pass her info along). Her firm moved their offices from the building associated with King Kong (where we actually saw a guy dressed up as King Kong on our first visit) to a much more convenient locale downtown.

*We both got our Social Security cards and driver's licenses in the mail with our new name. Yay! I wanted to post a picture, but given the privacy level of this blog, all you'd see is those Corinthian columns. So, uh, imagine the columns.

*Co got acupuncture. If you know Co at all, you know this is entirely not in character. But she enjoyed it. She'll post about it.


*We put up our tree, and it is very pretty. Right now my mom and my wife are making latkes in the kitchen, and we're listening to Chanukah music. I love this season.

*Due Date Buddy had her baby. Her husband actually called us last night at 2 a.m. to drive them to the hospital, since they were having trouble getting a car service. So we've done our trial run! We just heard that the baby was finally born at 4:51 p.m., via C-section. I know that's not what she wanted, but the good news is that baby and mom are both healthy and resting.


*My mom gave us the most exciting Chanukah present: a new camera!! We had decided to buy one (I was amassing gift certificates) because our old one has issues. It's this one, just a few steps ups from the PowerShot A530 we had. It's more pixels, and has significantly less delay when snapping shots. I'm very happy. (Being my mom, she also gave us three books: It's A Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons; How To Raise A Jewish Dog; and Born To Kvetch.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Welcome...

...to new "baby blogger" CCB!

Good Things

*This place just opened up around the corner from us. When we are about to have a baby. I love this city.

*I got less mileage out of teaching Homo erectus this year. I guess that is good. But I found myself missing the giggles.

*One of my students gave me a gift for Flipper, a really warm winter outfit that we've packed as his going-home duds. So sweet!!

*Another of my students wrote this in her journal:
This entry is written just for you Lo! [The kids call me by my first name.] I can't wait until your baby arrives. I am so happy for you. I know you are going to put all your love into him (or her) and I want to wish you luck, happiness, and love. I will miss you when you leave but, I know you will be taking extra care of your special baby. I hope the baby will become strong and smart just like you. I want you to know this comes from my heart because I never write letters like this so you are a special exception.

Please note that I teach 7th grade. I am more likely to hear "F you" than "I love you" from the kiddos on any given day, and all that "changing the life of a child" cheese is something I have to take on faith. So, these moments are especially touching.

Initially I was a bit sad that I was leaving these fabulous kids for two months, since I would have been happy to give up time with the group I had last year. But I am so, so glad these cuties are the kids to welcome Flipper.

*The snow from yesterday has melted, but it is wintry cold (like Cali, something about the cold weather makes me feel more alive). And Co made her very delicious escarole soup with meatballs.

*We have an appointment with our lawyer to finalize some legal documents on Friday. Maybe we'll make it, maybe we won't.

*I have been playing with my new toy almost nonstop, transforming my cassettes into mp3s. And driving Co just a little bit nuts (she appreciated my Beatles phase a lot more than my musicals phase). My cassettes mean a great deal to me, and I have been mulling over a post about the topic in my head. Coming soon...

*Co is working on a post, as brilliant and sensitive as her posts always are. She's having trouble with wireless though (she, unlike Chicory and I, does not like "borrowing" wireless) so you will have to wait for her wisdom.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Generosity

A few days ago, this came in the mail:

Quilt Handmade by J.

This beautiful quilt was handmade for Flipper by J. I am both touched and awed.

Also, here is a picture of the beautiful sweater that Melody made. It is, apparently, her first baby sweater. You bloggers are incredibly gifted, and incredibly generous.

Sweater Handmade by Melody

My principal gave me several items of babywear that declare our mutual love for the city we both live in (my school is not in that city). Here's Maggie modeling the bib:

Maggie in Bib

Today at services, our rabbi gave us an etrog left over from Sukkot (an etrog in December is shriveled and sad-looking, below; the picture in the link shows what they are supposed to look like). There's a folktale that if a pregnant woman eats an etrog, she will have a fragrant baby.

Etrog in December

Due Date Buddy's parents, who consider themselves Flipper's adopted grandparents, generously sent us several items from our registry, including a baby monitor. I set it up, putting the base in our bedroom where Flipper will be sleeping at first. When I put batteries in the handset, standing in the kitchen, I got some feedback as though I were standing to close to the base unit. If you have seen our apartment this will not surprise you. (But seriously, it will be nice to have a monitor in case we ever do want to let him sleep and actually leave the room.)

My mother, who is not unlike me, called last night....just to check. Heh.

(This post counts for Thankful Friday.)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Asterisks

*No bullet points from me. Bullets are violent, and make me think of Crash, which I just saw the beginning of again because a colleague is using it in his Race and Ethnicity in American Cinema seminar (my school is almost as cool as that makes it sound).

(Also, I don't know the code. But really, I like asterisks better.)

*I spoke to my dad yesterday, and he said he is going to be in Germany from December 8-18. I have been feeling pretty soft on my dad recently since he gave me this for my birthday. But, um, what?? (He does travel a lot for business, but this is pleasure.) He has not been terrifically involved with my nephew, but I worry that this is because Flipper is a 2nd grandchild....and/or because he is not biologically related to my dad.

He sees Nephew S. fairly frequently, but only because one of my stepmother's sons happens to live nearby my sister; when they're in that neck of the woods to see her grandchildren, they stop by to see S. There is no reason for my stepmother to want to come to our neck of the woods. (She's not mean...she's just emotionally blunted. If I were ever to point out to her that she makes sure her own family is taken care of and neglects my dad's, she would point out -- accurately -- that his family is his job. She doesn't have the emotional insight to see that he is the type of man who lets women take care of family [my mom is still closer to many of his family members than he is] and that since she had an affair with him while he was married to my mom and my sister and I were old enough to know about it, it is in everyone's interests for her to play a role in keeping the family together.)

*More entertainingly: yesterday, the kids (my students) were asking about Flipper, and one of them asked if he will be white. I replied that my partner was white. This, of course, begged an obvious question; Little Miss Sophisticate, the fashion plate of my homeroom, asked, "Do you know the sperm donor?" Wow. I said, "Uh, no, it was a mail order thing." She nodded knowingly. Holy crap, I don't think I could have said the word "sperm" in front of an adult when I was 12.

Today, in the other homeroom, one of the kids asked, "Does the baby have a father?" I was more prepared this time, and I answered that, of course, you know it takes a man and a woman to make a baby, but we don't know the man, and the baby won't know the man (well, when he's 18 he can, but I digress, and I didn't with the kids). The student looked a little confused, and I said something about how you can just order it. I guess this made sense to him. Ironically, it is perhaps a bit easier to discuss than, you know, that other way babies are made.

*And on that note: at my shower the other day, a colleague with two adopted children said that two years ago, her then-sixth grader came home and said, "Mom, you and Dad are lucky you didn't have to do you-know to get us." Um. Yeah.

*Finally: I started the Stone Age today. (Quick, say Australopithecus afarensis five times fast!) I have turned everything over to my replacement. Any day now, boy...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Showered

(Yes, I stole this post title from another blog. but I can't remember which one. I think it was Possible Maybe.)

Here's Co's belly at 39 weeks. To me, she looks pretty big, but most folks don't believe she's due in a week:

39 Weeks Belly Shot

Charlotte wants updates. The warm fuzzy update is that my job had a shower for me today. It was really fun and I was extremely touched. There was a cake with blue writing and plastic footballs, and they invited Co to come (to my surprise! it was all a surprise!) and everyone admired her belly. They made a betting pool for when she'd give birth.

No significant changes here, however. Yesterday's midwife visit went well but there are no indicators of when Flipper will be joining us.

I am feeling increasingly ready. (Yes, I'm impatient, but that's not necessarily the same as ready...) Our bags are partially packed, and I picked up supplies like arnica, lip balm, Luna bars, Gatorade. We have everything we need for labor, and for Flipper. We set up the P n' P where he'll sleep. Yesterday we went to a local crunchy baby store and The Sling Lady helped us try some on; we were please to find that we felt comfortable with the Maya wrap, and it fits us both. Tomorrow I start the next unit with my kids, the one I want to be able to start off before I go.

So whenever you're ready, little guy...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dream Interpretation

A couple nights ago, I dreamed that I was swimming in canals with Maggie, the dachshund. It was sort of like we were in Venice. I got ahead of Maggie at one point and realized I was being chased by a shark. (Now, I love sharks and don't fear them really, but whatever...) I managed to get out and was yelling for Maggie to hurry up and waiting for her to come by so I could snatch her, but she couldn't out-doggie-paddle the shark and it ate her. So, I had to use rod and reel to catch the shark and open its belly, and rescue Maggie, who was fine if annoyed, kind of a la the woodsman in Little Red Riding Hood.

Okay, I think there are many ways in which this dream can be interpreted as a generalized impending birth anxiety dream.

So, there you have it. A not very enlightening post from Co.

And no, Lo, I'm *not* in labor yet.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Did Kafka Ever Change His Name?

We spent the day standing on neverending lines at Social Security and the DMV, in order to finally change our names. Exhausting, but now complete.

Any advice on where to change them next (and in what order) is welcome.

We did have lunch at Junior's. Yum.

Thanksgiving, with Due Date Buddy's family, was fun and full of big bellies.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sending Love

People who deserve so much better are having a hard time. Go give them some love.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Teenagers, Gender, and Impatience

When I come home right after work (I'm a teacher), I share the subway with hordes of middle and high school students making their commute. Overheard today: "Every time you see a rainbow, God is having gay sex."

Huh.

At my latest Hebrew tutoring gig this evening, a group of sixth graders, one of my students was fondling her cell phone. After a few minutes I realized she was continually texting while she was working. I asked her who she was texting. I was pretty much assuming it was, you know, her BFF Jill (the first time she texted I thought maybe it was her mom...but not when it became constant). She smiled sweetly at me and replied, "My boyfriend."

Oh.

-----------------------------

My great-aunt told me she is working on an afghan for Flipper. I was very touched by this, especially since neither Co nor I have any living grandparents, so she is one of a very few links to that generation. She made us a gorgeous afghan for our wedding. A few days ago she emailed me to check on the due date. I replied that he was due Dec. 6, and she wrote back, "Oh, no! I thought it was a girl! I'll have to start over!" (Apparently she had begun a pink afghan.) I assured her that we absolutely do not mind a pink afghan.

My mom called tonight because my great-aunt is still, apparently, extremely worried about giving Flipper a pink afghan. Together they came up with a workable plan that alternates blue and pink; through mom, I sent the okay for this.

I can't imagine why she thought Flipper was a girl; I've sent her at least two emails specifying that he was a boy. Great-Aunt made a blue, pink, and white afghan for Nephew S. because she wasn't sure of his sex (though my sister did tell). So why did she assume the *wrong* sex for Flipper?

Co thinks maybe she figured that since we're lesbians, it had to be a girl. Where would the Y chromosome come from?

-----------------------

I vacillate between wanting a little more time before Flipper's birth, and being impatient to meet him. I do want to get my students a little farther; I want to be the one to start the Stone Age unit; really, there is *no one* else who gets excited about early hominids the way I do. The good news is that my replacement is lined up (she currently works as a paraprofessional in my classroom) and it's been approved that I can use my buttload of accumulated sick days to take off about two months to stay home with Co and Flipper.

The arrivals from our childbirth class add to my impatience, though their due dates were all significantly before ours. The three couples left are all December dates.

Of course, I have no control over the situation, and in reality we probably have *at least* two weeks to go. Probably more like three or four. So my sense that he could come any day is misplaced.

I just can't wait to see what this little guy looks like and hold him in my arms.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Moments: Funny & Touching

I have a student with Asperger's Syndrome in my class. He is high-functioning and good-natured (as opposed to the student with the syndrome I taught last year, who was cranky and obstinate; different facets of the spectrum). His major trigger is when things get chaotic, which they did at lunchtime yesterday. He fled the room in tears, and I went after him. I checked a few of his typical retreats, and not finding him, I gathered he'd gone to the bathroom. When I went into the office, the office manager/guidance counselor/basketball coach (that "title" speaks volumes about our school!) wasn't at his desk. I gasped out, "I need a man!"

The director and assistant director burst out laughing and both responded, "I never thought I'd hear you say that!"

(The child was located and calmed quickly.)

****************************

This morning's Shabbat services at my shul included the Bat Mitzvah of the daughter of two women. Our congregation has no lack of queer parents, but the children tend to be significantly younger. Indeed, it was the only the congregation's second queer Bar/Bat Mitzvah. And charmingly, it was quite like every other such event I've attended...overdressed relatives, and giggling overdressed teenagers (I suppose, when you are 13, where else can you wear elbow-length knitted multicolored gloves?).

This is the third week in a row I've made it to Saturday morning services. A friend teased me, "Oh, upping synagogue attendance around a simcha! (happy event)" and sure, that's part of it. Another part of it is that since our trip for my nephew's first birthday, we've really cleared our schedules. I am enjoying the calm, and the opportunity to strengthen my religious commitment, that has resulted.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hospital Packing Advice

So, obsessive organizer that I am, I'm making up our hospital packing list. Here's what I have, put together from childbirth class and my pregnancy planner. Any advice? Items you found invaluable?? Please read desperate annotations.

--pillows
--hot/cold pack
--snacks (what kind??)
--flexi-straws, cup with straw
--lip balm, preggie pops
--camera!!!
--my phone book
--money for vending machine
--reading material for Co (I'm assuming this suggestion is for afterwards??)
--comfy going home outfit for Co
--several nightgowns
--robe and slippers
--nursing bras
--3-4 pairs of underwear
--toiletries for both of us
--my bathing suit
--change of clothes for me
--phone & charger
--diapers (they don't give you diapers??)
--nail clippers
--blankets (for Flipper)
--clothing for Flipper (how much??)

Thanks, people. Holy crap, we are having a baby.

Nervous

What does nausea mean? You know, at like, 37 weeks? Which is full term?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Adorable Z.

Here she is...my precious little "niece" Z!

Running with Maggie in our across-the-street park (yes, Maggie is the green tube sock):

Z. & Maggie in Prospect Park

Rolling in the leaves, also in the park:

Z in the Leaves

And I saved the cutest for last -- Z. plays the "paw game" with Maggie:

Z Plays the Paw Game

Random Thoughts Roundup

Here is one way I know I am old: while "station-surfing" in the car, I am more apt to land on the station with "Fresh" in the title, or even the one that bills itself as an Oldies station, than the one with "Z" in its name. Sigh.

-----------------------

My best friend from college, A., (the blog is her wife's) visited this weekend with her delicious 2 1/2 year old daughter Z. Z. was taken with Maggie (she lives with two much larger dogs, so I think Maggie's diminutive size was the hook) and spent much of the visit attending to her: moving her bed around, including putting it up on the futon, bringing her treats, and nuzzling her. It was extraordinarily cute.

Co took the camera with her to Due Date Buddy's shower, but A. got some awesome (and, because they don't show the face, bloggable) pix. I'll put them up when I get them emailed (ahem).

-------------------------------

My mom has secured a subletted room in our neighborhood so she can be on hand to see, and help out with, Flipper. She has it pretty much through the month of December, and then can likely use the place for a few days here and there. She's been very involved with my nephew, since she and my sister live ten minutes from each other, and I'm touched that she is being so proactive about being involved with Flipper as well.

------------------------------

Co and I both anticipated (before Nephew S. was born) that it would cut us to the quick when people made comments about how much Nephew S. looks like "the family." Now that this is a reality -- he looks just like my sister as a baby, and therefore, just like my father as a baby -- it doesn't bother either of us in the slightest. I love how much S. looks like my family, but I am not at all bothered that Flipper will not. I know that he will be fully accepted into my family regardless...my dad is obsessed with familial connections (he brought pictures of himself as a baby to S's first birthday party, as my sister requested, and actually took pictures of S. with the pictures propped up next to him) but I still think he'll be loving with Flipper. and my mom? Well, as I said, she's already rented her room.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Little Friday Humor

Co has begun to organize some music for labor CDs (a process kick-started by our meeting with our doula yesterday). She downloaded some special music, like the theme song from the T.V. show Flipper....and a song by this guy called "Le Sorcier Du Flipper."

Yes, people, that's "Pinball Wizard" in French. It is too, too funny, even if you are not a francophile. And I am.

(For our other child, she downloaded his version of "Maggy May.")

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Question

I am trying to think of more than one question so I can couch this one, but what the heck. I am going to go ahead and post about lochia:

what kind of post-partum pads do we need? Are regular old sanitary napkins enough or do we need something special?

Thank you for playing.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pregnancy Update

Co is doing well. Just a few days ago she noticed that her feet are starting to swell. And she has bouts of feeling as though a human being were trying to claw his way out through her pelvic floor. But such is pregnancy. Honestly, I hope hers continues to be this uneventful. Knock wood.

She is working on a major deadline, and on occasion staying up after I go to bed. She came to bed one night this weekend at 3 in the morning, and whispered to me, "I'm not even tired! I have all this energy! Is that normal?" I responded, "Yes. You're supposed to be using it to nest!!"

But in fact, earning money is her way of nesting, and a valid one at that. Besides, I am nesting enough for the both of us. I bought baby detergent this weekend. I am in my glory.

In other news: due to superstition we are not having a shower. We are both okay with this, but (I at least) have pangs when I see others getting the attention and, it must be said, the loot, while I scramble around picking up free diapers off cr*igslist. I have set up registries, and I hope that after Flipper is born, people will, well, use them. (Which is SO IN NO WAY AIMED AT ANY OF YOU; this is my venting space, so there I am, venting.)

But one thing about not having a shower: when people give us baby gifts I am literally bowled over and brought to tears. It is touching enough when we receive hand-me-downs from my sister, and loving blogger friends, and even random cr*igslist strangers. So far we have received a womb sounds bear and a set of baby music CDs from my colleagues, and today we got in the mail the most beautiful hand-made sweater from an awesome blogger. We will post a picture. It is gorgeous.

P.S. The dresser in my last post is from this site. Their thematic furniture/linens collection (listed on left of screen) are mostly gendered (Boys Like Trucks??), but a few of them are fun are useful for both genders.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Make Room for Flipper

Today, at long last, was our handyman appointment. (Actually, the original handyman cancelled, and I called people from cr*igslist ads until I found someone with availability today. I have been waiting too long!!)

So, we played what Co calls "Flipper Tetris" and moved things around so that a) we could set up Flipper's dresser/changing table, and b) made space for his P*ck N' Pl*y in our bedroom. We actually ordered it, along with some sheets, B*rt's B**s baby products, newborn wipes, and a baby healthcare kit...the entire order was virtually free thanks to some gift certificates we earned with our credit card. I am a big fan of such programs.


I also went to the grocery store for baby laundry detergent, so now I can officially start the fun part of nesting: bringing stuff up from the basement and setting up Flipper's little area. I'm superstitious about doing it, but I am also dying to do it.

So here is Flipper's dresser, perfect for our little dolphin boy. It's a gift from my mom. (My dad gave us the giant stuffed dolphin.)

Because Oneofhismoms wants to know...

I saw this meme on several blogs, but I figured nobody cared what I have read. (Okay, I admit I created the "What Lo's Reading" link; I figure books sometimes spark conversation, and indeed they have. But what I have read in the past?)

But now I have been tagged, sort of, so here you go.

The Instructions:
1. Bold what you have read.
2. Italicize those you started but couldn’t finish.
3. Strike through what you couldn’t stand.
4. Add an asterisk to those you’ve read more than once.
5. Underline those on your to-read list.
6. ? for can’t remember if I ever tried to read it or not.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights*
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses (I read one chapter in a high school class)
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a Memoir in Books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex
Quicksilver
Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West* (I read the sequel too)
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian: A Novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel
1984
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility

The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn*
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (This is on my list to read, but I don't know how to underline)
Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present (I used parts of it when I taught American History, but I have never read it all the way through)
Cryptonomicon
Neverwhere
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Beloved
Slaughterhouse-Five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake: a novel
Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Lolita
Persuasion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an Inquiry into Values*
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

More Good News!

Click on over here to meet baby Hudson!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friends for Flipper!

Check out the excellent news here and here!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Quotables

My student: "Did your wife have the baby yet?"

(I have never actually used the word wife with them; I said partner.)

Co: "I can feel both of my children, one through my abdomen, and one through my ass."

[Maggie likes to sit behind her while she works, between her butt and the back of the chair.]

Bio-Moms, Take Note

A month or two ago, Co ordered a maternity/nursing nightgown. When it came, there was a teeny matching onesie that came along with it. Co thought it was cheesy; she'd actually avoided the nighties that advertised this option, and thought this one didn't have the onesie. I thought it was precious and exclaimed over how cute it was and how delighted I was that she'd made the mistake and I couldn't wait to take their picture together.

For my birthday, Co gave me a nightie with a matching onesie for Flipper. And, it turns out, it wasn't easy. There are lots of mother-daughter and father-son outfits, she told me, but mother-son doesn't exist, and mother-gender neutral is hard to come by. But she found one.

Because, she told me, I'm the mother, too.

Is she best or is she the best??

Monday, October 29, 2007

Counting Down

I am now 33, the age I will be when Flipper is born.
Next time I see my family (my mom, my dad, my sister) it will be because Flipper has been born.
Next time we change the Brita filter, we will have a newborn (or knowing us, perhaps a toddler...).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Grover Friday

Here is our contribution to the Grover party, thanks to an old S*same Street book where he is still featured prominently:

Grover & Ernie

And in the spirit of cheer, here is a funny meme from Sophia (I omitted some of the categories because of my low-profile on the blog):

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car): Rainbow Saturn

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie): Coffee Chocolate Chip

3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Purple Dog

4. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink): The Blue Coffee

5. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers): Joseph Lloyd

6. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy): Lavender Dark Chocolate

7. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ): Ruth Norman

8. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Skende Seattle or Katteff Kansas City (I had two fifth grade teachers)

9. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower): Autumn Lilac

10. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”): Grapefruit Shirtie

11. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree): Oatmeal Weeping Willow

12. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”): The Reading Snow Tour

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Accomplishment! & Our Weekend

First off, if you haven't already done so on this blog or another, please read Cali's story (at her blog or someone else's) and donate to help. I would not ordinarily donate -- let alone ask someone else to -- for another's IVF, but this is an extreme situation, and an extremely amazing person. Cali is a rockstar in the blogosphere, because she is one of the kindest, most generous, authentically caring people I have ever come across. (To wit: she is in this heartbreaking situation in part because she was trying to donate her own eggs to help another woman realize her dream.)

In other news:
We chose a pediatrician (which means I got to strike through the first item on our to do list on the sidebar). She was recommended to us by the ever-helpful LaGiulia, and we really feel good about her. PHEW. Now we don't have to sneak Flipper in to the vet's office.


We went up north for Nephew S's first birthday party this weekend. At one, his new skills include eating by himself (rather than being fed) and standing (though not quite walking). The party was a lovely event; my parents in the same room is always a risky proposition, but they both behaved beautifully. Since we won't see them again until Flipper is here (gulp), my dad gave us a ginormous stuffed dolphin that will be perfect for taking growth pictures of Flipper. (I'd post a picture, but we have yet to shlep him in from the car.) My mom gave me a copy of Confessions of the Other Mother.


We gave S. a drum, which he seems to like. Though he will drum on just about anything...

We also got a chance to peek in on Jude, Jen, & Gus. She has grown so much since we last saw her! (In August)



Beckett
We arrived home a little late to see many bloggers at the local meet-up, but touched base with a few. These cuties are Pepito and Beckett, two of the cutest little tykes you ever did see.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Please, Please Do What You Can

I don't have a lot of words today, so I'll make this short:

Please go here and here to read Cali's story. And then go here to help her. I don't know anyone who deserves it more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Latest Stats and the Case of the Haunted Breast Pump

So, I had another MW appointment today. They have a nursing student interning with them for the next month or so, so I got to watch a very green, very enthusiastic prospective future MW in action. I was asked if I minded her sitting in and doing some of my exam, and I didn't mind. I never minded having student teachers sit in my classroom either. Prospective whoevers have to learn somehow.

So, my latest stats...
Weight gain in past 2 weeks: 2 lb
Total weight gain so far: 25 lb
BP: 110/68 (lower than last time's 124/68 which I'm sure was exacerbated by my sobbing episode)
Fundal height: 34 cm
Flipper's HB: 160 (I suspect it was on the higher side because he was showing off his Donald O'C*nnor-inspired dance moves)

I found out that the mysterious pain on my upper right side, which is sometimes in the front, sometimes in the back, is probably just because my rib cage is expanding and some muscles might be irritated. Or else, it's a chain reaction of Flipper pressing up on my uterus, pressing up on my liver, or something like that. Nothing to be alarmed about. Just another one of those things.

And one of my neighbors, H., noticed for the first time today that I'm pg. When I confirmed it, another neighbor, J., with whom I'd been talking for about 5 minutes, said, "Really? I had no idea." I am totally showing now--8 months pg and all--but yup, people are still just noticing.

It turns out that H. is a doula and teaches hypnobirthing, so she asked me about where I was taking childbirth classes and delivering. I think it's funny that a doula/childbirth educator JUST noticed I was pg. I see her several times a week at least. It's funny that I've never asked her about her career before, too.

My neighbor, J., said something really sweet, about how she feels like a child can really solidify a couple's relationship and she thinks it's great that Flipper will have 2 loving mommies. J. has an adorable son of her own, who likes to open doors for me and Lo (that is, he likes to ask us for our keys and literally open the doors for us with the keys). He also is a big Maggie fan. Who isn't?

In other news, our car got sideswiped a little while ago on the highway and the jerk in the truck who sideswiped Lo drove off, without pulling over to fill out an accident report or exchange insurance or anything. The damage was substantial enough that it needed to be fixed--not some little ding or dent. So, we reported it to our insurance company and are using our collision coverage to pay for it. I wondered if I'd been stupid to report it to my insurance. Maybe the total damage would be $500 or less--equal to my deductible--and then I'd have wasted my time and alerted my insurance to a reason to raise my rates for no good reason. But it's less irritating now that I know how costly the damage was. The repairs will come to almost $1500. After our $500 deductible, that's almost $1000 that our insurance is kicking in. I know this could mean our insurance rates will go up, but I've been a loyal customer with this company, with no accidents (knock wood), for 7 years now, so I am glad that I don't have to cough up that extra $1000 myself.

The collision described above happened when Lo was driving home from buying our haunted, used breast pump. I guess the car gods looked down on us and said, "So, you want to save yourselves $150 by buying a used breast pump, huh? Let's just see how expensive we can make that pump for you!" So, yes, saving $150 is now going to cost us our $500 deductible plus having to rent a car this weekend to go to the party celebrating our nephew's first birthday and Lo's mother's 65th birthday, which is in a location several states away. Our insurance company *will* reimburse us a bit for the cost of renting a car while ours is being repaired, but I think it's still going to cost us about $165 to rent the car over the weekend, even after the reimbursement, since we're driving it so far and we're going to have to make up the difference added by the mileage and such. (And no, kenneling the dog + taking train/bus would be equally or more expensive than renting a car, so that's not a good solution.) Stupid, haunted breast pump!

Monday, October 15, 2007

MW Appointment

I can't believe I have another MW appointment on Wednesday. I feel like I just had a MW appointment, because... um... I did.

I have one every 2 weeks these days. I can feel that EDD coming up on us fast and furious.

Lists

As Co explained, we have a lot to do. As you all explained, we may not finish it all before Flip is born. But I just want to point out how much we HAVE done:
--Doula selected and deposit mailed in
--Childbirth class has just two classes left
--Pediatrician interviews scheduled (We made one interview with a doctor we think we'll like, and then a backup appointment we hope not to have to keep; the practice of pediatrician #1 was recommended by trustworthy local bloggers)
--Names legally changed
--Lawyer chosen, and wills drafted
--Co's new desk ordered
--Car repair scheduled for this week

Here is what we would like to get done before Flipper joins us:
--Names changed at least with Social Security (Co is concerned with getting his right name on the birth certificate; there's a local SS office with late hours so we should at least be able to get the application in)
--Wills signed (We just need to go over the draft and contact lawyer)
--Call super to do minor home repairs
--Get handy-person to move some furniture around
--It would be great to schedule a 1st home study and start gathering 2nd parent adoption documentation

The hospital tour may not happen, unless Co decides as we get closer that she'd really like to see it. I feel like we'll be able to find the place.

We have everything we would like to have for Flipper's arrival except for his bed/P*ck N' Pl*y, which we plan to order at 36 weeks just so we're fully prepared. I guess we should get some swaddling blankets too (we have regular blankets). (Everything else we can just hope we get as gifts :-)

I'm tempted to put this list on our sidebar and cross out the obstacles as we overcome them. Anyone want to email me code for strikethrough?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

MW Appointment and Me Being Whiny

So, I had another MW appointment... with MW Apple.

Flipper's HB is good: 130.
My BP is fine--higher than usual, but not high.
My fundal height was right on target.
My weight gain was fine: 3 lb in 5 wks which brings me to 23 lb (although it was really 4 lb and she let me subtract 1 lb for my shoes)
Flipper is head-down, which is great. I'm not really surprised, because I don't see how he could keep kicking my ribs like he enjoys doing if he's not head-down. But, still, a huge relief.

Of course, despite all this, I spent the first 20 minutes of my appointment sobbing uncontrollably. I hope that midwives, like R.E.'s, are not thrown by this kind of emotional display.

MW Apple was very nice about the whole thing. I am just a big ball of stress. I was feeling very overscheduled. There just seemed like so much stuff that needed to get done FAST... medical appointments (MW and endocrinologist), doula interviews, childbirth education classes, pediatrician interviews, a hospital tour, finalizing our name changes, scheduling a home study, signing our wills... Some of that stuff we've finished recently or at least started, and the rest still needs to be done. We also needed to buy me a new, very small work desk so we can move my work station to our living room/dining room so our current home office can begin metamorphosing into Flipper's room (not that it's totally becoming a nursery yet... we just don't have room and he'll be sleeping in our bedroom at first anyway). We need to make some home repairs and car repairs. Meanwhile, I have tight work deadlines, am dealing with new work software that is needlessly driving me nuts, and am *hoping* I earn enough to afford me a 3-month maternity leave, but we'll see. I also really need to finish reading a couple of parenting books before Flip gets here, too.

Difficulty sleeping hasn't helped. Leg cramps, backaches, and anxiety have all been making it hard to sleep through the night, and that hasn't been making me feel better.

I've been taking long walks every day with the dog. Exercise and eating well are probably the only good things I'm doing these days.

So, anyway, this is the most boring and whiny post ever, but ... I've just been feeling like there isn't enough time in the world to get everything done that needs to get done. And feeling that way isn't helping me focus and make progress toward getting it done either.

But, since that appointment, I've been feeling better. Lo and I hammered out some compromises so I don't feel so overwhelmed, and that helps. I am also trying very hard to limit unnecessary social activities ... kind of taking the attitude that if something CAN give in my life, I should let it give because I can.

Anyway, that's what's been up with me.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Midnight Fetus Party

Last night I was up in the wee hours worrying about all those things that keep you up in the wee hours. I was lying with my arm around Co, hand on her belly (as has become my habit). And I felt Flipper kicking! I whispered Co's name, but she was asleep.

So, Flipper and I had some private time, while he kicked and rolled around, before I finally fell back asleep.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

On the Upswing

This has been a stressful week for several reasons, but it's over now, and I'm enjoying the long weekend.

The good news: I went back to court, and our name change is official!! Thanks to JT for this site so we can get to work on the laundry list of places to change it.

And: I am godmother to a hedgehog. Does it get any better than that?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Famine

Okay, thanks for the advice, although Lo is the one who asked for it.

If you have a response to the original question--what must-have items do we need in our apartment from day 1--and haven't yet commented, please do. Otherwise, it seems like the comments are beginning to venture off on tangents. And some of them have wigged me out a bit.

I am not a multi-tasker. That's Lo. I like to take on one major life thing at a time. Right now, I am mostly focused on preparing for childbirth and earning enough money to have the luxury of a 3-month maternity leave. Lo is focused on getting our home Flipper ready. So, see, that's where we're at.

I will get to breastfeeding, I promise, and I will do so before too long. You don't need to remind me that time is running out. Goshdurned ticker!!!! How it mocks me!!!

In the meantime, please don't go on about breastfeeding to me until I ask... especially if what you want to say could be perceived as scary by a hormonal, stressed-out host organism with a creature living inside her who is currently trying to kick his way up through her rib cage. Wrong direction, little guy. You'll figure it out eventually, I hope.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Feast

This Saturday we went to Co's hometown, where her brother still lives, to meet up with him and his wife and go to the local Italian-American festival. It was a late celebration of his birthday and he wanted us (me, really) to experience the amazing Italian food in the area. Now, it was really, really good; but I was nonetheless amused that virtually every booth declared its quality to be the same as the city where we live. And had just driven 90 minutes away from to attend this festival.

I feasted upon (now, keep in mind this was over five or six hours): sausage and peppers, tomato salad, rice balls, clam strips, cannoli, plus we shared a pizza fritta (fried dough with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese), a bloomin' onion, and mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat. Yum.

*****************

The other feast in my life is my baby bargains. Co eluded to my cr*igslist addiction, but didn't fully explain its scope. I now regularly stalk the list in three different cities (I have willing friends/family in two others besides my own). I have picked up the aforementioned breast pump ($100 for this, people), a nursing pillow for $5 on the street, and tomorrow's pickups: this swing for $25 and a h**ter hider for $5. It's become an obsession. I'm not much of a clothes horse, so I have never enjoyed the hunt for clothing bargains. But now? I get it. We have registries, and I take delight in removing items as I get them for free or cheap.

Recently I realized, looking at all the toddler toy/clothing posts on cr*igslist, that this doesn't have to stop with baby gear. That put a smile on my face.

***Interactive feature: what items would you recommend we *must* have in the house for Flipper's arrival? (Include the smallest things, like pacifiers, bottles...I know we need dipes and wipes!) We're not having a shower, due to the complementary superstitions of our respective cultures, but I don't mind leaving a few items on the registry for baby gifts once he is here, safe and sound.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Photo Friday: Fingers

So this is probably one of our weirdest Photo Friday endeavours. (Well. Maybe not if you consider the dog in the bra shot.)

I set out to take a picture of finger puppets, showcasing both Co's and my fingers. The puppets are mine from childhood; in the apartment I lived in as a toddler, I am told, I used the kitchen pass-through as a stage for my finger puppets.

Then Maggie jumped up on the futon and became a part of the shoot. So I present to you Ernie, Grover, and Maggie Mae:

Finger Puppets

(I'm got Ernie on my finger, and you can see my misshapen thumb. "Hammer thumbs" remains the top search term on this blog, so here you go, finger voyeurs, another reference and another peek. Yeah, we're lesbians who made a baby, but what's the real freak show? My thumbs!!!)

**************

Last week, the Photo Friday theme was buttons, and Co commented that she was surprised I hadn't participated. "You love buttons," she pointed out. Um, I do? I replied.

Oh. THOSE buttons.

Yeah, I have a pretty extensive button collection. Somehow I didn't make the cognitive leap. Here are some highlights:

A little 80s humor:

No Nukes...

Old political buttons. The one on the left has taken on a whole new meaning. I'm curious to see if anyone recognizes the one on the right:

Political Buttons

And just for laughs:

Funny Buttons