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.... 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


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 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


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... 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


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.)