Tag Archives: baby gear

I’m doing that tilty hand motion to show I get that it’s iffy.

I was better today, in a small way. You know that space I talked about yesterday, the one that’s there, waiting for me to fill in, waiting for me to look at all of these areas where I can improve and just… go ahead and improve something already?

Well, I did.

EXCUSE ME THIS TEDDY BEAR HUGS TOO LONG.

I typed a whole big justification for My Baby Is On A Leash And Here Is Why My Baby Is On A Leash Let’s Discuss Our Feelings About My Leashed Baby And Get It All Out In The Open here, but ah, fuck it. I’m not the bridge between the leashers and the leash… nots. You stay on your side of the line, I’ll stay on mine.

Medical apologizers, people who don’t know it’s them, fluff butts.

Situations have been such lately that I have not been entirely comfortable putting as much of my personal business on the Internet as I might once have been, but you know what? Fuck it, and right the fuck up yours. You know what I mean?

*****

-I had a lumbar puncture yesterday, and it was basically my least favorite thing to happen to me in about my last hundred years of existence. I was numbed, so it wasn’t as excruciatingly painful as I had decided it would be, but it was certainly one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life, which of course caused me to apologize through the whole thing, just like I did all the way through labor.

“Oh, I’m sorry my sheet is so damp. I think I might be a bit sweaty. I’m sorry about that.”

Except this time, it was more like,

“I’m sorry, I think I might throw up. Can I have a bucket, please? Thank you. Don’t worry, I’ll hold it until I can move. I’m sorry. Can I throw up yet? Sorry to bother you. Is it almost time to puke? Oh, ok. I can hold still, don’t worry. I’m sorry. Is it almost time? Uh oh. I might faint. Can you faint laying down? Am I talking really loud? Sorry. No, I’m sorry. I think I might throw up. I’m sorry. Ok. Ok. I’m sorry.”

I am a compulsive medical procedure apologizer. I can’t be the only one, of course, as I am one of the most average people on the entire planet, so I am interested in hearing from the rest of you and your theories on why we feel we are such an inconvenience to medical professionals who are just doing their jobs.

What’s weird is that I didn’t start my serious medical apologies until late in life. You know who I probably really owed an apology to? That nurse who did a throat culture back when I was 10 or so, the one whose hand I slapped right the hell out of my face. Reflex. I’m sorry.

No, but seriously, lumbar puncture. That sucked a fat fart. I’m sorry.

OH AND TO TOP IT OFF? I rewarded myself a s’mores pie, which I HAD SEEN on the McDonald’s drive thru menu all the times recently that I had rewarded myself a large diet soda for such feats as driving Phil to work and driving to pick Phil up from work and wandering around Target aimlessly, and when we got to the speaker, they said they didn’t HAVE ANY, even though it was on the menu, and I bellowed, “BUT I HAD A SPINAL TAP!” from the passenger seat into the speaker. They were not swayed. No pies were had that day.

LOOKIT HER HAIR.

Okay. Okay. I can’t take watching one more “Let’s all sit around and brainstorm about what outside force is making people not comment on our blogs anymore” discussion. Is it Twitter? Is it Facebooks? WHY IS OUR CHILDREN NOT COMMENTING?

Okay. Two things.

1. It’s you.
2. It’s you.

Allow me to explain.

Point 1:  It’s you. Are you commenting? I mean, seriously. Be honest with yourself. Are you commenting on blogs? Not just once in a while. I mean with the frequency you are expecting comments to show up on your own. I mean effort. Every day. You don’t have to. There’s no law. Lots of people don’t. Lots of people don’t, and still get comments on their blogs. That’s the way of things. But if you’re not seeing comments on yours and that bothers you and you’re not commenting on other blogs, then come on. Because, shut up. You’re not special.

Point 2: IT’S YOU. When I write a blog post that doesn’t get many comments, I don’t sit here and think, wow, everyone must have something else to do that is keeping them from my awesomeness today. I think, shit, must have written a stinker. Okay, and I also think that maybe you guys are kind of ignoring my brilliance a little, because the posts that you think are stinkers, I think are hilarious but in my old age I have come to realize that no one really finds me as hilarious as I find myself AND THAT IS FINE.

And if posts and posts and posts go by with hardly any comments, then I assume I am writing lots of stinkers and also that I am not engaging with the people to let them know I am still out there. I don’t sit here and wonder what jerkwad piece of asshole technology is STEALING MY FAN CLUB. I assume that I am WRITING CRAP and IGNORING PEOPLE who are trying to connect with me.

It’s not Twitter. It’s not Facebook. It’s not… anything.

Other people are still getting comments. I mean, lots of other people. And lots of comments.

When people don’t comment, it’s because YOU HAVEN’T WRITTEN ANYTHING PEOPLE WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT.

People don’t just SHOW UP because you keyboard-slapped out some words that interested YOU and leaned back in your chair to wait. If that’s what you want to do, more power to you, go ahead, but don’t sit around and look for something else to blame when no one shows up to listen raptly at your feet, damn.

*****

 Pen’s surgery is coming up fast, and I’m preparing by losing weight to provide a nice cushion for all of the chocolate cake I intend to consume while we’re waiting. I’ve read a lot about the surgery – well, as much as I could find, anyway – and no two accountings of it have been the same except for ONE THING. Every single recap of the surgery I have read has said that it was supposed to be a 90 minute surgery, but ended up taking 3 hours, or 4 or even up to 5. Every single one. I’m glad I read that in advance. Now I know to wear some stretchy pants. More room for extra anxiety cake. I know from our last stay in Phoenix Children’s Hospital that they have four varieties of chocolate cake alone.

*****

Remember when I used to talk about cloth diapers a lot? Well, HERE’S A BLAST FROM THE PAST.

I use fitted diapers almost exclusively now, with the occasional all-in-two. I have several pocket diapers still hanging around, and Phil uses them from time to time, but I plan to sort through what I have and pull those out to be sold. I might keep one or two for outings, we’ll see.

In the house, Pen wears a fitted diaper and Babylegs. No pants. Since fitted diapers aren’t waterproof, this is the easiest way. I just change her every two to two and a half hours or when she’s stinky or damp. The picture above is of all my favorite fitted diapers soaking in Rockin’ Green Funk Rock ammonia bouncer. Stinkies happen, you guys.

Here’s some stuff I know:

  • There’s really no such thing as a super trim, super absorbent diaper. More absorbent means more bulk. Your baby is going to have a big butt.
  • Also, you have to change often. That shouldn’t be a big deal. It may seem like to to those used to disposables, but when you think about it like this – how long should your baby have to wait after she has peed herself for fresh pants – it really shouldn’t be a big deal.
  • Anti-pill fleece is cheap and you can cut your own liners for babies with sensitive parts. It keeps them cozy and dry-feeling.
  • Fitteds rule.
  • Rinsing takes an extra minute but saves a lot of hassle at wash time.
  • Good diapers are expensive but used diapers aren’t gross.
  • And nothing has to be all or nothing – Pen wears disposables to bed and often out of the house.

I have a favorite diaper.

I bet I come out of this entry looking like a huge jerk with no taste.

So, if you follow me on Twitter, you are very aware (well, assuming that you follow me and give a crap, which is not necessarily the case) that my mother had been visiting up until last night.

I mostly just rolled my eyes and gritted my teeth and let her hold the baby as much as she wanted to, but there was this one point where I just snapped and I don’t think my head went back on straight for the rest of the visit.

We were getting ready to leave to go to a baseball game, and I had been walking around packing Penny’s bag and gathering everything we needed for the evening. Phil said to me, “Do you have the tickets?”

And, since I did indeed have the tickets, I said, “Yes, I have the tickets.”

And my mom jumps in and says, “Where are they?”

Is it not enough that I said that I had them? She needs to know the exact location of where I had them?

OKAY THAT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE MUCH BUT YOU GUYS. IT WAS A LONG VISIT.

I was annoyed. I was very annoyed. I was annoyed with everything I did being double checked, with being reminded of appropriate care of Penny, with the raised eyebrow and repeated requests to do things the way she thought they should be done even when I refused.

We were at IKEA at one point, looking at some shelves, and she read the warning next to the shelf – something about using the proper mounting screws for the wall type. When we got home and showed everything to Phil, she reminded him that the SIGN SAID to use the proper screws for the wall type. And again the next day. And then again when we were talking about the fact that we would eventually hang the purchased shelves. “Just remember, the SIGN SAID –.”

As if we need her to continually remind us of the sign’s instructions to hang the shelves properly. AS IF WE EVEN NEED A SIGN to instruct us to not hang shelves in OUR BABY’S ROOM in such a manner that they might FALL ON HER HEAD.

After the ticket thing, I said to my mom, “Do you realize how many things like that you’ve said this week?”

And she replied, “I realize that you’re hypersensitive.”

Excuse me?

Nothing makes me angrier (that’s just a saying, a lot of things make me equally angry or possibly angrier) than being put in a position where I have to JUSTIFY feeling a certain way. Putting someone in a position where they have to defend the fact that they have FEELINGS is not right. You shouldn’t do that.

Ugh. I’m too annoyed to even say a complete 500 words about it all.

*****

You guys, the visit totally wasn’t all bad, or even mostly bad. Yes, I was irritated a lot. Yes, I snapped at her, repeatedly. But we did a lot of fun things and got a lot of work done on Pennysylvania as well.

Remember when I asked you about my repurchasey obligations when returning wedding gifts? Well, we took the pots back to Macy’s, and I figured I’d get a few bucks and maybe we’d find, I don’t know, a throw pillow or something for Pennysylvania.

Except, when they rang the pots back through, they gave me a much fatter gift card of store credit than I was expecting. Like, “Here, have the MSRP of the pots that no one actually ever charges, plus an extra 10% because why not, and on top of that, here’s a little ‘Sorry we sold you exploding pots’ consolation money. Go nuts!”

We looked through the baby section and weren’t especially into anything we saw, probably because Macy’s sells Carter’s and we’d already completely demolished not only Carter’s, but the Kohl’s Carter’s section as well the day before.

We did, however, go back to the furniture section and locate the perfect mattress for Penny’s floor bed. My mom was insistent on buying it, telling me that maybe I should look for it at another place for a better price, or that maybe another store would charge less for delivery. That turned out to not be the case, but regardless, I had a gift card and there wasn’t much else I really had a need for at Macy’s, so I felt like it made the most sense for me to buy it. Not that I don’t appreciate my mom’s offer to buy things for Penny – I totally do. I just don’t see a reason for either of us to spend money that doesn’t need to be spent, and a gift card is basically pretend money.

With delivery charge, I ended up paying $32 out of pocket for Penny’s floor bed mattress. I think that once it’s installed in her room, I’m going to call it Martha Stewart Exploding Pot Memorial Island.

We went to IKEA the next day and it wasn’t until I was hauling our self-serve furniture off of the shelves and arguing with my mom about who was paying that she said that she was paying because she wanted to buy the mattress. She followed that with, “I wanted to buy the crib. Your grandmother bought your crib.”

So, basically, I accidentally flaunted a tradition she had wanted to continue or establish, first by not having a crib and then by paying for the mattress myself.

I feel kind of bad about that, I really do. I understand what she wanted to do now, but I don’t know that if I had known that to begin with, I would have done anything any differently. The floor bed is right for us, and the pots-I-don’t-use in exchange for a mattress scheme really saved a lot of money. My money, her money – whatever, money saved.

I’d like to think it turned out okay in the end, though, because she did buy out almost the entirety of IKEA and even though she was paying, she stuck very closely to my vision (over the top) and tastes (poor) for the room. She did draw the line at the carpet with the broccoli on it, but nothing is really stopping me from going back to get it.

Here’s a small taste of what is being installed into Pennysylvania over the next week or so:

Additionally, we got several different sets of shelves. There are some picture rails that we’re putting at low-ish points around the walls, to display board books within Penny’s (eventual) reach. Also, three plain square LACK shelves that will be hung high above the changing table, in view of the bed. I’m planning on putting some large photos of the dogs and Phil and I on those.

We grabbed another kind of shelf unit thingie that has six cubes of space in it (MY DESCRIPTIVE POWERS ARE VAST!), and that will either be hung low or placed on the floor and anchored to the wall. Small, safe toys and other items will be placed in the cube to help keep her room organized and give her a sense of everything having its own place. We’ll rotate a few toys in and out of those areas.

OH, and another thing – a clothes hanger in the shape of an octopus, like to hang a bunch of clothes to dry instead of a clothes line. I’m going to hang that from fishing line above her bed and use it to make a mobile. I’m not especially crafty, so it will probably consist of six pictures of Phil doing thumbs, a spoon, and some marker pictures drawn on toilet paper squares. I don’t know. I’m a big picture person, not a details lady. Let me know if you have any ideas about what to hang.

We also hit Target and got some deep purple sheets for her bed, as well as a sort of floor-rocker. One of those kid’s video game chairs, kind of? It’s like a rocking chair with no arms or legs. For now, we’ll keep it next to her floor bed for us to sit on to read to her or, more likely, read Twitter on our phones while occasionally insisting she fall asleep RIGHT THIS INSTANT. My mom snagged an owl-shaped pillow, and I grabbed another carpet – a rag rug that I’d been looking at every time we went to Target. I don’t have any place in mind to put it yet, but it was on clearance for $7.50. So. It was almost silly not to buy it.

I tried to put it on the floor in the living room, but Sheldon laid on it for a while and then tried to carry it away.

So. Construction of Pennysylvania is underway. Let me know if you have any fun ideas in obnoxious colors.

*****

Hey, remember when I said we went to a baseball game?

LOOKIT MY BIG FAT BABY, YOU GUYS.

Oh, the baseball game. Penny won the “My Parents are HUGE IDIOTS” Award for that one.

How did I forget how LOUD a professional sporting event is? You guys, she screamed and cried in terror every time the crowd roared, or they played walk up music, or ANYTHING HAPPENED AT ALL. We were looking for the exits by the second inning. And then? She fell asleep. She fell asleep and slept through a good inning or so of the game, and when she woke up, she was normal. Completely unbothered. As if the whole start of the game had never happened. A total 180. That didn’t stop us from leaving at the top of the seventh, though (the Diamondbacks had clinched all that needed clinching the night before, so it wasn’t especially suspenseful). Good thing we left when we did, as there was a power outage just minutes after we got there, followed by the Diamondbacks laying down a 15-1 asswhupping on the Giants, which would be totally awesome if I gave half a crap about either team at all.

*****

Anyway. Good visit. Good progress made on Penny actually having a space in our house, instead of just laying wherever we find room to put her down, with her belongings scattered willy nilly about the place. Good baseball game (courtesy of Operation Homefront AZ and Sanderson Ford Seats for Soldiers). Good… diet soda I just finished drinking. Good thing I’m going to the doctor this afternoon to attempt to start the process of addressing incredibly difficult post-partum anxiety. Good… uh… hey, I got into Pottermore! That’s pretty good.

*****

OH, I remembered what I wanted to ask you! Can you recommend some prints to go in Pennysylvania? I mean, it might be tough for you to match my discerning and elevated sense of style and decor preferences, but I have faith in you, Internet. I am looking for some awesomeness for the upper walls. Have you seen anything? Ideas for things to hang from the octopus tentacles to make an acceptable baby-stimulating mobile are also welcomed.

*****

PS. Penny has a tooth. A tooth-let. A harbinger of tooth.

PPS. I know you don’t think I went all week without some new diapers coming in to this house. Also, this one is on the way. Fun diaper stuff coming soon, if you’re into that kind of thing! Lame-ass diaper stuff coming soon, if you’re not into that kind of thing!

PPPS. OH ONE MORE THING ABOUT MY MOM. I would make baby observations, like “She isn’t rolling yet,” or maybe we’d see a baby walking around and I’d say, “I can’t wait until Penny can walk,” and my mom would jump in to DEFEND PENNY, going, “She will!” As if I’m maligning my dud of a baby. I KNOW SHE WILL. She’s not going to go to college unable to do anything but put her face into the carpet and shriek out her indignation. I’m just SAYING.

New crouton, floor beds, potential hippiery, and gift obligational awkwardness.

1. I am extremely slow with changing the link over in my sidebar blog roll – well, it’s only one link, so it’s more of a blog crouton than a blog roll – so I figured that the people who don’t read this site through a feed reader have probably stopped checking. But I just changed it! Which doesn’t mean you should stop visiting Not Bagels. It means I got off my lazy butt. Well, no. I stayed on my lazy butt while I changed the link.

2. There are still spots open for The Blathering! (This is my roommate. We’re both sadly excited to spend depressing awesome nights away from our babies. We’re looking forward to sleeping. It’s going to rule. In a bummer kind of way.) Why don’t you come to The Blathering? If you don’t want to go because you don’t do bars and karaoke and nightlife and cocktail dresses, that’s not a good reason. I’m shooting down your reason. I don’t do those things. I’ll bring Settlers of Catan for us. Looks like I’ve poked some holes in your defense. See you there.

Unless you do like to go out for drinks and dancing and ride mechanical bulls. Then guess what? That stuff will be happening, too. Looks like you’re SOL on reasons for not going to The Blathering.

3. People ask me a lot where I find all of my in law stories to read and be outraged about, and I will tell you my trick. Find a really active set of forums somewhere – any kind, but ideally some that cater to ladies, for the most part. Wedding forums, or pregnancy forums, or really, anything. Then just do a search on one of the included message boards for “MIL.”

Baby name forum?
“MY MOTHER IN LAW WANTS TO NAME MY BABY.”

Wedding forum?
“MY MOTHER IN LAW CANCELLED MY CATERER AND REPLACED IT WITH LONG SANDWICHES.”

Pregnancy forum?
“MY MOTHER IN LAW BURST INTO THE DELIVERY ROOM AND CHECKED TO SEE IF I WAS DILATED.”

Anything. Anything at all. Any kind of topic. Whatever you can think of, there’s a forum for it. And if there’s a forum for it, there’s someone talking about how their in laws RUINED IT.

A current favorite, though? Grandparents.com. It’s got parents-in-law AND children-in-law on the SAME MESSAGE BOARDS. It’s GLORIOUS.

4. Here’s my baby:

She’ll be moving in to her own room sometime in the next few… a while. My mom is coming to visit and we’re going to work on putting together her room, both because I need something to do other than pretend to be totally into it when my mom wants to stand around and gush about Penny (not a gusher, myself) and also because Phil is not especially interested in baby bedroom creation.

We’re doing a floor bed. I think we have pretty good reasons for choosing the do a floor bed, the main one being that we won’t have to buy a crib. Second main, I guess, is all the benefits of and reasoning behind doing a floor bed make logical sense to us.  I haven’t yet decided if we’ll do a crib mattress or toddler bed mattress for the floor bed, or just go ahead with an adult twin. If you’ve done a floor bed, what did you go with? Any tips? I’m kind of nervous about where to put it in the room. I don’t want her to roll between it and the wall, but will she be heavy enough to really wedge it away from the wall with her body? I’ve never seen a picture of a room with a floor bed in any place but a corner, so I assume it works out.

Any first hand floor bed experience is greatly appreciated.

5. With all the cloth diapering and the floor bedding and the intent to skip rice cereal and purees and instead follow a baby-led weaning style of introducing solid foods, sometimes I feel like I might be turning into a hippy. I mean, if someone had told me they were doing all of those things, before I had my own kid, I’d definitely think they were kind of a hippy, in a harmless way.

But all of these things, when I’ve looked into them, have just really made logical sense for us. Note how I’ve italicized selectively so that the wild Internet understands that our choices have absolutely nothing to do with their choices in any way. Anyway, is this how people become hippies? I thought you started out hippy and made your choices based on levels of crunchiness (which, by the way, I HATE – I mean, the word crunchy used as a descriptor for these types of things, mainly because I think it’s stupid). But maybe the road to being a hippy is paved with adorable cloth diapers and floor beds.

For me, though, I think what it actually comes down to is that I hate spending money on things I don’t like or personally need. I don’t need a crib, thus, floor bed. I don’t eat baby food, therefore, Penny can eat what we eat and like it. I don’t wear diapers, so… okay, I like the diapers. So I spend money on them. THEORY HOLDS UP. Not hippy, just cheap.

6. Also my baby:

7. Your opinion requested, but not a reality, rational, or fact-based opinion. A FEEEEELING opinion.

We got two cast iron enameled casseroles as generous and lovely wedding gifts. I loved them. Okay, actually? I loved that I owned them, because they made me feel like a lady who might some day make something that would require that very specific type of cooking vessel, instead of just dragging out the biggest pan I can find and using it for everything. And one time? I used them both to make soup, because I am a lifelong container misjudger and started with the small one and moved to the big one.

But Arizona isn’t really a place where you make a lot of soup, or make anything that needs to sit in a very heavy pot in a very hot oven for a very long time. I guess other people probably do, but I don’t. So, in the time I have owned them, I really haven’t used them too much.

Reading Princess Nebraska the other day, I found out that they have been recalled, because the enamel can crack and send BURNING HOT SHARDS flying at you. So, I can take them into Macy’s for a full refund, in the form of store credit, I believe.

Since they were gifts for the wedding, I feel obligated to replace them with something similar, since the givers intended for me to have cast iron enameled pot thingies, and had chosen them off my registry, in fact, where I had CHOSEN THEM FIRST, myself. So I should take them back and replace them with other heavy pots, even though I didn’t use them too much. Because maybe someday we’ll move somewhere cold (PROBABLY NOT, WE’LL BE IN ARIZONA FOREEEEVVVEEERRRRR) and I will need them. Maybe I will grow into a lady who uses those kind of pots, just like I grew into a lady who only has 1 out of every 5 or 6 dinners turn out inedible, instead of 1 of every 4 being good, 2 being edible, and 1 going straight into the trash.

Or maybe, I could cut myself a break, and just stick to the spirit of the gift and get something kitchen-related. Sheldon did just eat our good slotted spoon.

But, like I said above, I am going to start working on Penny’s room, and I bet that Macy’s has one or two cute things that we could use. Or I could put it toward her floor bed. But the gift givers did not BUY Penny a present, they bought presents for Phil and I. They didn’t know about Penny (or that Penny was 10 weeks underway at the wedding). But Penny-room-items are what we need, though at the time of the wedding, we DID specifically request, via registry, these pots that I actually never use.

So. Internet. If you end up having to return a gift, do you feel (note – FEEL – because I KNOW I can do whatever the hell I want) obligated to replace it with something similar? Would the fact that it was a gift from a registry that YOU CREATED, thus something you SPECIFCALLY ASKED FOR, have any effect on your response?

Understand that I will absolutely do whatever the hell I want when the time comes. I just want to know if anyone else has ridiculous feelings of obligation tied into the whole gift return/exhange business, and since I am the most average girl in the world, I AM SURE YOU DO.

Should I live in fear of someone coming over and saying, “Hey, where’s that 2.5 quart casserole in cobalt blue that I got for your wedding? I’d love to SEE IT!”

Even better, do you have any stories about awkward gift returns? Have you ever gotten something so awful/tacky (my pots were neither, I’m just EXPANDING) that you had to immediately return, donate or throw it away? Has anyone ever come over and asked to SEE the gift that you returned/donated/threw away? OH GOD, WHAT DID YOU EVEN SAY?

Didn’t write it, in the middle of reading it, got rid of it, trapping the Internet.

I know I said I’d write about diapers over the weekend, but I didn’t do that. I don’t really have an excuse for myself. Sometimes I tell the Internet I’m going to do something and then I don’t do it. I should feel more ashamed than I do, but I’m incorrigible. I was hanging out with my kid and also Phil. We didn’t do anything crazy. I just didn’t write about the diapers yet. I will. Of course. Because, ha.

The truth is that I also kind of got overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by my diaper collection. Yet as soon as I finish this post, I will go back to working on some other writing, the kind that people pay me for in dollars, not silence, to squirrel away funds in my PayPal account for more diapers. So.

*****

A while back, Swistle mentioned liking this young adult book called The True Meaning of Smekday, and I added it to my “to read” shelf in Goodreads. Then? One day? IT JUST SHOWED UP AT MY HOUSE. Because that is the kind of thing that happens when you’re friends with a lady like Swistle.

(When I was first on bed rest? Swistle sent me some brownies, and not only were they fantastic, she also sent along little plates with them, because she’s thoughtful like that. And you think that’s the end, but no – she left the Target clearance sticker on the plates, because she and I are kindred spirits of the orange sticker – I swear, I have orange-sticker-seeking laser eyeballs when I walk through Target. And she understands that. I feel like Swistle and I are the same people in alternate universes that are entirely the same, except in hers, the me/her can handle five kids, while in mine, the me/her is in a constant state of shrillness over just ONE kid.)

Anyway, Swistle sent me that book and within one chapter, I was totally charmed by it. It’s a cute book, and it’s funny. I feel like some of the jokes might go over the head of the youngest of the YA book reading age range, but not over the heads of adults. There’s a lot of humor that is based on the writing style of the author, which I can appreciate, and I don’t know how to compare myself to a published author without sounding like an asshole, so let’s first all accept that I’m an asshole, and then I’ll go ahead and do it so it’s not a surprise. Anyway, the writing style and tone reminded me, in some places in the book, of my own writing and style and tone, which probably enhances my enjoyment of the book, because I am my own biggest fan. Because I’m an asshole.

I haven’t even gotten to my point yet. So I was reading along in this book and it’s charming and entertaining, but the age of the main character – 11 and a half – takes a huge bite out of the believability for me. So I mentally adjusted her age to 14, and now this book about an alien takeover is much more realistic.

This is just like the other day when Phil started telling me a story about how he was trying to take a shower but the water was too hot because this is Phoenix and the water comes out of the ground hot (which is what leads to a sweaty toilet embrace), and I was waiting for the conclusion to the story, but that was it. This is just like that. I thought there was more of a thing when I started typing this part of the post, but I was wrong. Water comes out of the ground hot, doesn’t get cold. End.

*****

Volunteering for things is really big in the Air Force, probably in all of the military, but I don’t know about that. Just this morning Phil forwarded me the flier of a volunteer opportunity he is going to join – making little beanies and blankets for children in Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where Penny recently stayed.

And I know that this particular opportunity doesn’t apply to most of you, but should you ever get a chance to participate in some kind of children’s hospital volunteer event, I really, really urge you to do it.

When Penny was in the NICU, she was provided with a couple of little hats, hand-knitted by volunteers, which was so sweet. But on top of that, and what still gets me, is that there was this senior citizens volunteer group, and they worked with the NICU people on scrap booking. And Penny had been in the NICU for a day, maybe a day and a half, and this group had asked for her name and got to work. And they made this sign that said PENNY, with cut out letters, matted on several pink and purple pieces of paper, and there were “girly” stickers, like a high heel, and there was a little wooden bird attached – I would look, but I’m not sure where it is right now and I feel like such an asshole about it. Anyway, they hung this little sign that said “PENNY” from her monitor, the one that kept track of her heart rate and O2 sats, that we stared at ALL OF THE TIME. Her name was written on a little white board next to her isolette, with her weight and her nurse’s name, and that was fine, but every kid in that NICU got a scrap booked sign of their name hung up next to their bed.

I guess that sounds kind of lame when I write it out, but that, plus the hats, plus the people who pushed a cart of complimentary hot coffee and other drinks around for families at Phoenix Children’s, plus the ones who brought around games and books and all of that, it really sticks out in my mind. I mean, my kid was in the hospital twice – one 8 day stretch and one 5 day stretch, very sick both times, and I distinctly remember the efforts of these volunteers.

I just think that if you get a chance, you should. I know that the whole point of a volunteer opportunity is to be selfless and do something without reward or thanks or whatever, but I know I personally am a person who is a little more encouraged by results (see above re: asshole), so I’m telling you. It matters to people.

*****

Dear Medela, GTFO.

Hey, so, I returned the rented Medela Symphony we had picked up after Penny came out of the hospital this last time. We got it because she needed to be on high cal formula for a while, and it was easier to keep track of her intake using bottles. So I could pump and add some formula to the expressed milk to bring up the calorie count of that as well, but I’ve never been able to pump too much. So mostly, Penny got formula, plus I would pump enough to make sure that one to two of her bottles each day was breast milk, with the added benefit of keeping up the supply for her eventual, hopeful return to nursing.

And you know what? It just didn’t work out. I’ve never been able to pump too much. Some women and pumps just don’t get along too well, you know? So it’s not like I was building up this enormous freezer supply while doing this. Enough for her to get one bottle a day, most days, as well as maybe put an ounce or two away in the freezer.

And exclusively pumping is so stressful. It’s so by the clock. You can’t just hope she naps and do it then. It’s got to be regular. And sometimes your baby needs you during those times and there’s nothing you can do about it because you’re pumping. And if you do wait until she’s asleep, then the time that you would normally use to do things like dishes and laundry and showers and peeing gets taken up by pumping. Plus? That Symphony is no effing joke. Pain. Lots of pain.

I’d been through the whole thing before, the pumping and formula, when Penny was brand new and it took 6 weeks for her to learn how to nurse, and I was glad to be past it, because breastfeeding was just easier. Feeding the baby was no longer a two hour process of bottle, feed, pump, store, and things could get done and everyone was happier.

So I started pumping again with the idea that we’d get back to those easy times, but I realized after only a couple of weeks that it just wasn’t going to work. Going back to that stressful, clock-watching, supply-worrying time was just not on. It was making me resentful and cranky, and it’s just not the relationship that I want to have with Penny with regard to feeding.

So I took it back to the store with a couple of weeks left to go on the rental. I nurse Penny in the morning when she wakes up and in the evening before bed, and I don’t expect that will last too much longer, because both of those nursing sessions are followed up by a hefty bottle. It’s not even enough for two feedings, the supply. It started ticking down when she got sick and too weak to nurse properly, and I just don’t have it in me – I’ll be honest, I just don’t WANT to do what’s necessary to restore and keep it up.

Once those feedings are no longer happening, we’ll dole out the very small freezer stash, one bottle a day, until it’s gone. I’ll stretch out the breast milk as long as I can, but when it’s done – a week? two? Maybe a month? – that’s it.

I’m not saying this because I feel like I owe the Internet an explanation, or because I need your approval. I’m just saying it. There’s a lot of stuff wrapped up into this decision, with guilt and “best for the baby” and “best for our family” and “best for me” and all of that all at once.

But that’s what’s happening, and I am at the same time TOTALLY OKAY and REALLY DISTRESSED about this decision, but rationally know that we’re all going to live and it’s not the end of the world. It’s possible to feel really terrible about the right choice, I guess, but it’s hard to say that I feel TERRIBLE because I know I’m making the right call. But there are also flashes of terrible.

Over the course of Penny’s existence, I’ve talked about breastfeeding here a few times, and there have been two lines offered up in the comments that really helped me to get to where I am right now, not in terms of abandoning breastfeeding but more about how I got to be okay with it.

1. Formula is food, not rat poison.

2. Breastfeeding never, ever has to be an all or nothing thing, either in terms of exclusivity or duration. Some is GREAT.

If you were the one who told me either of those things, feel free to credit yourself, because I repeat them to myself and expect to repeat them to others, a lot.

*****

HOW TO CAPTURE A WILD INTERNET

1. Set up one of those weird wooden box balanced on a stick with a string tied to it contraptions.

2. Bait the trap.

3. Yell, “HEY INTERNET! This baby is in a Bumbo on an elevated surface and there’s no adult in the frame of the picture so she is obviously COMPLETELY UNSUPERVISED even though that doesn’t make sense because then who is taking the picture but sense doesn’t matter because that UNSUPERVISED BABY is in a Bumbo on an ELEVATED SURFACE!”

4. Wait for the Internet to run into your trap with pointed sticks and those torches you always see angry mobs carrying.

5. Pull string, trapping the wild Internet.

6. Enjoy your wild Internet.

7 things you need to cloth diaper that aren’t cloth diapers.

First, two points:

1. I put the words “cloth diaper” right there in the title twice so that I wouldn’t sucker any of you people who are SO NOT INTERESTED IN CLOTH DIAPERS SHUT UP ABOUT CLOTH DIAPERS into reading words that don’t apply to or interest you in any fashion. So. If you proceed past this point and complain, you will be pointed at, and then laughed at. Because, come on.

2. Let’s address the word “need” here right off the bat. I’m using the word “need” in the way that normal people use “need.” You know, in a basically standard but non-completely literal sense. The way that people who don’t have blogs get to use the word “need.” Okay? I’m using it in the non-blogger fashion. I know that YOU didn’t neeeeeed any of this stuff and that I’m just ridiculous with all my highfalutin baby gear, and YOU just neeeeeeded a running stream and a couple of rocks. I’m sure there’s a medal waiting for you in Heaven, the Spartan Sector. Really. But I’m using “need” here as in, “I’ve found these items necessary, and you might as well.”

Moving on. Seven things you need to cloth diaper that aren’t cloth diapers.

1. A cloth diaper safe butt cream.

While rashes do tend to appear less often with cloth diapers than disposable for MOST (I hate you, Internet, for making me qualify every damn thing ever) kids, they do still happen. And you can’t put A&D or Desitin or Triple Paste or whatever ass spackle you like best on your kid when she’s wearing a cloth diaper. It will not cause you extra hassle, it will not be a difficult situation, it will ruin the diaper. Well, not ruin if you’re willing to go through an elaborate process of boiling and washing with Dawn over and over and over, but — yeah, ruined. Don’t do it.

Personally, we use coconut oil. It’s a solid oil with a low melting point, so you scoop a little out of the jar and it melts right on your fingers. Then you apply it to the buttular area. It’s a good skin protectant and will help cure minor rashes as well.

When I was out looking for coconut oil, I found this:

This is not what you are looking for.

There are a lot of options out there. You don’t have to use coconut oil. If you do, though, some of them have no smell and some will conjure up images of tropical vacations and baby butts. So. Your choice.

2. Fleece liners.

Fleece liners to go inside of your diapers because of exactly the opposite of what I just said. Sometimes there are rashes that tropical fruits (nuts? what?) cannot cure. And you will need/want to use the heavy duty butt cream. So you’ll need to either put your kid in disposable diapers until the rash cures (which is a bit backwards, if you ask me, which you didn’t), or you can put down a fleece liner to keep the cream off the actual diaper. I use Bummis.

Another benefit of fleece liners is that while fleece is not waterPROOF, it is water RESISTANT and also pulls moisture away from its surface with pressure. So, if you have a kid who is especially sensitive to being wet at all, as in will shriek at the merest hint of dampness, fleece liners can help you extend nap time by providing more of a dry feeling.

You do have to change cloth diapers more often than disposable because they don’t hold the moisture away from the skin as much as disposable does, and I definitely don’t advocate delaying diaper changes, but naps. Come on.

ALSO? Fleece liners are… ahem. Non-stick. Not so much for breastfed baby business, but when your kid starts being a little more solid in her production? A fleece liner will allow you to shake the mess off right into the toilet. So. There’s that.

3. Cloth wipes.

If you’re going to cloth diaper, just go for the full buy in with cloth wipes. If you’re cloth diapering for cost benefits or environmental benefits, it’s a no brainer. If you have other reasons, you should still use cloth wipes because of the convenience of just throwing everything into the laundry together. Phil has finally converted over to cloth wipes, not because he wants to, but because I just didn’t bother to keep track of his disposable wipe needs and he can never remember to keep track himself. I’m happy he switched because I have fished several disposable wipes out of the washer, and that is ridiculous.

I got my cloth wipes on Etsy. They’re cute. You can also cut up receiving blankets or baby towels or t-shirts or use cheap baby washcloths. Whatever. Get some cloth. Wipe butts with it.

4. Squirty bottles.

Cloth wipes need to be wet. You can do this in any of a thousand different ways. Wet a wipe in the sink whenever you need one. Keep water by the changing station. Keep damp wipes in a plastic baggie or in an empty disposable wipes box or go fancy with a wipe warmer. We use squirt bottles. Sometimes I squirt the wipe, sometimes I squirt Penny’s butt, and then yell “BUTT PUCKER! BUTT PUCKER!” until she starts smiling like a loon.

Loon.

Your squirt bottles could have water in them, or you can buy concentrated wipes solutions in all kinds of scents from places like Etsy – here’s a good shop. A lot of diaper brands also sell their own line of butt wash as well. Personally, I make our cloth wipes solution. There are recipes all over the Internet, but it’s basically mostly water, a touch of baby soap, and some kind of oil.

I even have a travel squirty bottle for the diaper bag, but it’s empty now because a few days ago we came home and there was this ENORMOUS YELLOW JACKET on the door knob and I had to jump in bravely and squirt him away.

5. Toilet sprayer.

A toilet sprayer attaches to the toilet and is super easy to install. It sprays. Not everyone uses one of these, but we do. Some people dunk and swish their diapers in the toilet, some people have utility sinks, and some people don’t rinse at all, especially for exclusively breastfed babies. Penny is exclusively breastfed so we don’t strictly need to rinse, but… ah… sometimes you just want to anyway. Rinsing can help prevent staining, and maybe just also make you feel better about that diaper sitting until your next washing.

In the future, into solid food, again, still not strictly necessary, but you WILL need to rinse off/scrape/clean your diapers in some way before they go in the washer at that point in your kid’s digestive life, and we’ve decided on a sprayer. We use the BumGenius one, but there are others and you can even rig up your own if you’re talented with with hardware store type activities.

6. Cloth diaper safe laundry detergent.

Everyone has one they swear by, but to be honest, it comes down to what your water is like and what your wash routine is like and some other kind of magic invisible factors that lead to a lot of trial and error. Pick the wrong detergent and you will have the “stinkies” (actual thing!) or problems with repelling, which is pretty much exactly what you don’t want with a diaper.

Right now, we use Charlie’s. It smells terrible (cat pee) in the bottle, but smells like nothing on clean clothes/diapers. What should you use? No earthly idea. You’ve just got to screw around with it until you find what works. This may be the first one you try, or it may involve a lot of angst and Internet searches. Good luck to you, intrepid launderer.

7. Bags

You’re not going to want to use one of those fancy diaper pail jobbers because the last thing you really want is a plastic sausage casing of poop-filled diapers you intend on using again. Yeah, good idea. Wrap it in plastic. Let’s keep it fresh.

Anyway, you need bags. You can get a hanging bag, which I think is pretty cool – FuzziBunz makes one, and it’s just like an old fashioned, non-automatic diaper pail straight out of 2002, without the actual can. Personally, I use a Planet Wise  pail liner and had every intention of buying a pail to line, but I didn’t. The bag either sits in the laundry room or the bathroom, depending on situations. It’s a great bag, though. Super sturdy and well made and does great in the wash. When Penny fully moves into her own bedroom (when I put my bed in the living room), I will probably get a pail, because it seems disrespectful to her to go into her room and throw gross diapers on her floor.

I also have two travel size bags as well. I don’t care for them, because they have drawstrings and I’d rather have zippers, and they also haven’t held up too well in the wash. I don’t care for mine, but I do care for the smaller bags in general. We keep one in our bedroom at night so we don’t have to get up and walk to the non-pail, and obviously I carry one in the diaper bag when we go out. This is another thing you can buy on Etsy if you want. Go for zippers, though.

So. Aside from, you know, cloth diapers, those are the things I use for cloth diapering. If you’ve got something else to recommend, I’d love to hear it, because I’m in that early stage of parenting that basically totally revolves around my kid’s butt.


Being good at things, a thing Phil does wrong, and dalmatian underpants.

I was thinking today what it must be like to be really good at something you really enjoy. Or maybe not even really good. How about just good enough to acknowledge that you’re good at it. Whichever. I’m pretty sure that the Venn diagram of things I am really good at and things I really enjoy are two distinct circles completely separated by an ocean of apathy and mediocrity.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate that you can enjoy things without being good at, and of course there are virtues in being good at things you don’t necessarily enjoy. I just think that maybe being really good at something you really enjoy adds a little bit to life in general.

Also, don’t get me wrong this way, either – I’m not saying I don’t like my life or getting all Eeyore and saying I’m not good at anything. I’m good at plenty of things. And I like plenty of things. It’s just that Column A does not share any items with Column B. I don’t think that affects life negatively. I just think that being good at something I enjoy doing would probably affect life positively. Do you know what I’m saying?

I just wonder what that’s like, that’s all. And I’m not wondering in a sighing, wistful way where you’re supposed to feel bad for me and my miserable, unskilled ways. I’m wondering. Like people wonder about things. The normal way. Like, “Hey. Japan. I bet living there is different.”

*****

Speaking of getting all defensive about people’s assumptions about how I feel about my life, I’ve been spending a lot of time getting all defensive about people’s assumptions about how I feel about my life.

Look, Internet, post-partum depression is a crazy serious thing. Crazy serious. And there should be all kinds of support systems in place for women who are suffering from post-partum depression and all women who have had a baby should be made aware of those support options and we should all know what signs to watch for and we should all know that it’s okay to speak up.

But look. Sometimes I don’t want to preface my irrational rage with, “I don’t have PPD but GET THIS GODDAMN BABY OUT OF MY FACE.” Or, “Look, I’m not depressed, but I need to go in the bedroom, turn off the lights, and not hear any human made sounds for, like, the next 45 hours.”

PPD happens to some women, but it doesn’t happen to all women, and I’m kind of a little sick of having every action and mood change and eyeball twitch viewed through the lens of “lady who just had a baby.” I was prone to random fits of rage and leave-me-the-hell-alone-itis BEFORE Penny came along. Why would it all suddenly be baby hormone related now? Was I supposed to turn into some nurturing ball of sunshine as soon as they lifted that shriek box out of the big ol’ garage door they surgically installed into my belly area, thus anything NON-sunshiney must be some kind of dangerous aberration?

If you spill your coffee on someone and she snaps at you and you say, “Oh, wow, PMS, huh?,” you’re being a LITTLE BIT UNFAIR. The same goes for suggesting my every emotion is a flapping red flag the size of my enormous underpants, surely indicating the onset of PPD. “Your face is really red and you’re screaming a lot of words I didn’t even know existed. I think you need to consider that you might need to be checked for PPD.”

I think YOU need to consider that a tiny person KICKS ME IN THE GUTS all night long, refuses to sleep out of gut-kicking range, and only ever stops long enough for me to fall asleep before delivering another kick, aimed with deadly accuracy right at my surgical garage door. Maybe I am just LEGITIMATELY CHEESED OFF.

I’m going to come kick you in the garage door all damn night and then calmly, so calmly as though I’m afraid you might explode, tell you that you’re probably only mad because you got your hair cut today, and that you should seek help, because it’s not normal to be kind of furious after you didn’t get any sleep because I kicked you in the garage door all night. Stop being ridiculous.

*****

BEFORE YOU SUGGEST THAT I SWADDLE MY BABY, you should know that Penny stopped enjoying being swaddled about a month ago.

AND YOU SHOULD ALSO KNOW that I swaddled her anyway last night.

She cried, but then she slept for almost four hours, had a short wake up for feeding and changing, and slept for another four hours. She laid between us in a tiny No Blankets Land and nary a kick was felt.

All hail the return of the swaddle.

*****

SWAAAAAAAAAADDLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEE!!!!!”

*****

So, you know how they say that once you’re married (or you live with someone), that’s when you really start to notice the little things? I think they even sometimes advise that you live with someone before you get married (some of they advise that – other parts of they do not, and I make no judgement as to which part of they you may be nor note which part of they I am, but I was pregnant at my own wedding, so, you know). Because, as you probably know, it’s really hard to see the little things when you’re just dating – getting all niced up before you see each other and going out to some third location that is not your home or his home. Once you live together, you’re not always niced up and all the little habits come out.

The theory behind saying this is that once you live together, you’ll see all these little things – weird habits or annoying traits or strange methods – and these will be the things that you will have to decide if you can LIVE WITH FOREVER. Something that was cute when you were seeing each other on weekends is suddenly the WORST THING EVER and underpants on the floor are going to drive you to divorce.

Anyway, this is all preamble to say that living with and being married to Phil has shown me something that he does completely wrong. Are we going to get divorced over it? No. Are we going to fight about it? No. Well, not really. I mean, I do tell him that he does it wrong and he disagrees, but it’s not really fighting because he has no evidence to support his case.

It’s not even something that’s going to drive me crazy. It’s just that we’ve been together a little while now, and I’ve had the time to notice this method of his and plenty of time to inform him that he’s doing this thing totally incorrectly, and even more time, now, that is allowing me to tell YOU that Phil does something completely incorrectly.

Phil opens soda cans wrong. Observe – my can and his can.

HE HAS NO FOLLOW THROUGH!

No follow through, you guys! He brings me a can of soda, pre-opened for my enjoyment, and I get a mouthful of can-tabber-thing. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s incorrect. And not good.

On the up side, I can always tell which open soda is his and which is mine. Mine is the one you can drink from, and his is the what the hell.

*****

At the risk of being that parent who might need to maybe dial it back a bit, HOW HILARIOUS IS THIS DIAPER?

It’s pink. It’s fuzzy. It’s dalmatian print.

I laughed when I got this diaper in the mail, I laughed the first time I put it on her, and I laugh every time I go to change her diaper and find it under her pajamas.

Oddly enough, though, it – and another pattern I bought with it that is equally as fuzzy – is the best diaper we own. She wears them overnight. They have bamboo inserts and they don’t leak and keep her feeling dry for hours and hours. They’re squishy and soft on the inside, too. I call them her Luxury Underpants.

Come on, though. IT’S RIDICULOUS.

*****

“I’m not only the Swaddle Club for Babies spokesperson – I’m also a client.”