Tuesday, December 14, 2010

two weeks in photos

letting it all hang out on thanksgiving

from left to right: grandpa tom, fletcher, random scary old lady, great-grandma katie

walker, making it work

daddy loves sleepy baby

video games tire him out

an oops photo that i have decided is "artistic"


does his cap fit yet? maybe not.

yum. cat.

whoooaaa, dude

a drink after a hard day's work


Monday, December 13, 2010


I can't help being jealous of Fletcher, in the best sense of the word. He has no concept of "what other people think." He is exactly what he is, and he has no reason to ever pretend or lie. When he smiles, laughs, or looks happy? He's happy. We should all be so open and unafraid.

He's more than six months old now, and I believe he's learning cause and effect. When he drops the toy from the highchair... it falls. He's probably learning which of his actions will create a response from his father and me. It's possible that he cries now for things that he WANTS but doesn't NEED.

Whenever he cries, I try to give him what he wants, and some people on the outside might think that I'm a first time mother who is spoiling her baby. While there is a critical voice lodged in my head that says I'm doing everything WRONG, I feel strongly on this. I feel confident on this.

I have limits and I trust my limits. I will not give my baby anything that could possibly hurt him, no matter how much he wants it. I will not take him out of his carseat when we're in the checkout line at Wal-Mart, even if that's why he's crying. I will not always come to his aid when he wants to reach a toy, because I know it's important for his development that he learns to move and crawl.

But if he wants something – be it attention or distraction, comfort or nourishment, or help falling asleep – I'm going to give it to him if I think it's in his best interest. I'm obsessed with babying him. He won't be a baby for long.

He sits on his own now, for minutes at a time. He's going to figure out crawling soon. Andy picked out his first "little puffs" finger food that dissolves. He's growing up, and every day my eyes sting with the overwhelming pride I feel just looking at him.

Maybe someday he'll stick his hand in the snow and cry, and I'll be the one who rushes over to cuddle him and take him inside. I'm going to baby him as much as I can. And maybe I'm going to hope that my little apple falls a bit farther from the tree.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I'm driving along in the dark last night, on a narrow road made bumpy from all the semi-trailer traffic it gets. There's a gentleman ahead of me driving 30 mph in a 40 zone, so I zip on past him. A short distance ahead, I reach the patch of road where there are no houses, no industrial park, no streetlamps to light my way. That's okay; I know this road really well.

Then my headlights go out.

It's pitch black, as in I can't see the road, can't see the side of the road, can't see frigging anything. I don't know if I'm going off the road or into the middle of it.

I'm hyperventilating. I'm pushing buttons and pulling levers with wild abandon. It turns out windshield wiper fluid on a frozen window does NOT help in this situation.

I look in my rear view and note that the geezer is still driving so slow that his (functioning) headlights are an awfully long way back.

An oncoming car flashes its brights at me. Part of me thinks, "Crap! That person thinks I'm a ditz!" The other part of me thinks, "Turn those brights back on! I'm blind, here!"

I finally reach a four-way stop, blessedly lit with streetlamps, and I pull over. It takes two full minutes to find my hazards (maybe I am a ditz) and then I wait impatiently for my husband to arrive.

When he does, it feels like my Superman has come. My car is still demented and neither of us knows what's wrong with it, but it doesn't matter as long as I have my hero. I follow his car home, where I am safe.

But then, this morning the service rep on the phone says that I probably had one light burned out for some time now and just never noticed. Right. Everyone thinks I'm a ditz.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

more breastfeeding woes

There are many things I would tell doctors if I could afford to tell doctors anything.

That sounds a little like a tongue-twister. ("Quit chuckin' my wood!")

Like so many others, I am currently a patient of Dr. Google. She is a doctor whose knowledge is half informed and half misinformed, and her accepted form of payment is time.

She is similar to those doctors who have gone to medical school in that I sometimes receive helpful tips, but usually I walk away unfulfilled, head full of random words, puzzle pieces not quite fitting together.

My most recent visit to Dr. Google involved a spider's web of symptoms that may or may not be related. No diagnosis fits. The topic was breastfeeding.

List of symptoms! It's like being pregnant again! Only not. Don't get excited.
1. No more let-down reflex with the breast pump. This started in October.
2. Burning sensation in breasts. Is it a symptom? Or a result of the torture I put them through every day (see symptom No. 1)?
3. Less milk. Is this due wholly because of symptom No. 1, or only partly?
4. Crabby baby. Is it a personality change? Is it a problem that Dr. Google has not diagnosed, such as ear infection or constipation? Or is it related to the breastfeeding situation?

Dr. Google went on and on about thrush, mastitis, plugged ducts, and more. None of it fits. I simply may be broken. Don't tell my doctor, but I may seek out the help of a real lactation consultant if my chest bursts into flames.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I wish confidence came naturally, like love. Instead, I need to hear that I'm doing fine as a mother. I need someone to tell me that it's okay when my presence doesn't comfort him when he cries. That I'm not a failure when I can't fix it. That I'm not a mess for crying with him. That nothing is wrong with me when he won't nurse. That he still loves me when all my efforts make the crying worse. That the anxiety everyday when I leave is still acceptable.

I'd like to hear that it gets easier, comforting a baby who can't tell me what's wrong. But I don't want to be lied to.

Parachute. Ingrid Michaelson. Listen to it.
Don't believe the things you tell yourself so late at night
And you are your own worst enemy, you'll never win the fight
Just hold onto me, I'll hold onto you
It's you and me up against the world, it's you and me

I don't need a parachute, baby, if I've got you
Baby, if I've got you, I don't need a parachute
You're gonna catch me, you're gonna catch if I fall
Down, down, down.

Monday, November 29, 2010


You hear all the time that all things change and you can't avoid change. Nowhere has that been more obvious to me than with my baby.

There's nothing I could love more than him, which is why it is so jarring to wake up one day and his personality is barely recognizable. The sound of his voice is different. The way he laughs is different. His cry is different. The way he nurses, his appetite, his reactions are all different.

When I tried to communicate how lost I feel, Andy said, "Do you think I came home from the gas station with the wrong baby?"

It could be a growth spurt. It could be his (two!) teeth. It could be the natural way these things go. The same thought kept occurring to me today -- this could be the way things are now. The crying and apparent anger and unhappiness might be more than just holiday confusion and teething. This could be the baby's personality for the foreseeable future.

After spending half an hour crying for no obvious reason, something he never used to do, he's now sleeping, and I'm breathing deeply and finding anchors -- comforting things that haven't changed, that I can count on to stay the same.

My love for my baby hasn't changed. If anything, I love him more in his time of need.

My love for my husband hasn't changed. If anything, it's stronger in my time of need.

My home is still here. My job is unchanged. I am still me.

For better or for worse. In the laughter and the tears. I can't promise I won't break down and cry whenever he does, but that's okay. We're a family and we have each other.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ten things that didn't suck but now they suck just a little bit

10) Office Lunches. Free food isn't worth going ten hours without the baby and having to add another session with the breast pump to my work day.

9) Pumping. It used to be easy. But the twins have caught on that this isn't natural and this contraption isn't really a baby. Now they must be beaten into submission. Twice a day. And sometimes on weekends. Especially on holidays.

8) Holidays. I'm new at this. Eventually I'll figure out how to haul a baby, diaper bag, breast pump with car adapter, boppy pillow, teething gel, toys, blankets, and spoon feeding supplies to six different places in three days plus a trip to Wal-Mart during the busiest shopping weekend without forgetting the baby's jacket or, you know, having a meltdown.

7) Shopping. It used to be great to browse around, especially at Christmas. Now there aren't words dark enough for how much other shoppers at our Wal-Mart suck. The gift I have for repressing my feelings among these rude, inconsiderate, clueless strangers will fail one day soon, resulting in a volcano of cart-crashing rage.

6) Teeth. They are so not worth what it takes to grow them.

5) Toys With Catchy Music. Get it out of my head. Get it out of my head!

4) Cats. If the baby's blanket is on the floor, a cat will be on it. If the baby's toy is on the floor, a cat will be playing with it. If neither of these is the case, the cats will be on the kitchen table, on the kitchen counters, or in the kitchen sink, doing their damnedest to get cat hair on every single surface.

3) Driving. We don't really fit in our cars anymore. Even without my family and the required bags, my back pain has gotten to the point where I despise sitting anywhere, especially my car.

2) Showering. It was one of the best parts of the day. It would relieve some of my back pain, it was relaxing, it was great to be clean. Now it takes twice as long as I dash in and out of the bathtub to rescue the baby who has found some new crevice to roll into and smack his head.

1) Independence. Andy and I always were independent of each other, with nearly opposite schedules, and it worked fine. Now, sometimes it's like being a single parent.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

six months old

The official six month photo:

And the runner up:

Not long ago, six months old sounded a long way off. When the grandparents-to-be talked about how neat Christmas was going to be with a baby in the family, it sounded like a distant, hazy future.

It's here. I really am a mother. He really is a big, healthy, beautiful baby boy who's been here a full six months and changed our lives in all the best ways.

We sang "Happy Half-Birthday To You" for him, and I tried to freeze him, the image of his soft hair, round cheeks, and little nibbled fingers, to save in my memory forever.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

confession of a potty-reading virgin

For me, toilets have only ever served their designated purpose for bodily functions. I never saw the upside to sitting on a cold bowl of excrement for any amount of time longer than absolutely necessary.

Today I took a book into the bathroom with me. I wasn't even going number two.

There was relief there that had nothing to do with the toilet. It was quiet in there. There was no pressure of conversation, no one who needed me or asked me for anything. I could read, like, four pages uninterrupted.

The bathroom is a vacation spot. Who knew?

Thursday, November 18, 2010


We've had a rough night.

Having a baby is an education. One finger at a time, I've had to loosen my grip on my sense of order.

Sometimes, I have to give up and let him roll around in half-buttoned pajamas. He won't let me tidy him up, not without hysterical motion and fussing.

Sometimes, I have to give up and let him wear clothes marked with drool, spit-up, milk, and baby food all day. Changing him is futile.

Sometimes, I have to accept that he's going to squeal and complain in McDonald's, no matter how many other diners we might be bothering.

I've had to accept a home filled with clutter. A routine so unpredictable it shouldn't be called a routine. A horrible night that until moments ago had no explanation.

I have to accept that there is nothing I can do to stop the pain of that tiny, sharp little tooth now poking up through his bottom gums.

My poor, poor baby.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


The reason it took me so long to accept the necessity of the first haircut rests on gender. (Note that "so long" is a relative idea. He's not even six months old yet. But he's a hairy little monkey.)

The color of his clothes aside, cutting his hair was the first step into the world of boy vs. girl, instead of just "child."

If he had been born a girl, we would've solved the problem with headbands and barrettes and colorful little pigtail bands.

Instead, he's nice and trim and, suddenly, boyish. I didn't realize it until it was gone -- for the first five months of his life, he was genderless in my eyes. I didn't really see a boy. I just saw my baby.

Now I'm thinking more about sociology than I have since my second year in college. There are a lot of "what ifs" in the raising of this baby -- this new, fresh person who has so much shaping and learning yet to do -- but mostly I'm wondering if a person could stay without gender association even into adulthood. The society that would allow this, that would not have differences in the treatment and expectations (or even recognition) of either gender, is probably impossible. But I am beginning to think that gender is wholly created, not inherent in any way, which has an endless number of implications that I may not be ready to delve into.

In related news, the Paycheck Fairness Act was just blocked in the Senate. I haven't yet found a reason why.

I can't erase gender, but I hope I can instill a sense of equality.

Monday, November 15, 2010

the first haircut

The pressure was on, and it got to the point where I didn't want him to be bothered by his long hair poking in his eyes.

It was the hair he was born with. The hair he's always had. The hair that made him famous.

And it was time.

He's cuter than ever, in a sort of Pugsley Addams kind of way.

But he looks just a little less like my infant, a little more like my little boy.

I can handle this. Really.

Friday, November 12, 2010

advice to new moms

At a recent baby shower, we were asked to write down a piece of advice for the expectant mom. I casually filled up the card with lightweight things like "enjoy every minute of your maternity leave" and "sing to the baby."

I regret it now. I've had a chance to think through the question and determine one important bit of advice to new mothers. Then it was made all the more important to me after reading this perspective.


Childbirth and all its powerful hormones will do crazy shit to you.

Okay, that's a fact, not advice. The advice part is to accept that this is happening to you and forgive yourself for it, and to seek help when you need it.

I'm not just talking about being emotional ala crying during TV commercials. The confusing hormones that course through you during pregnancy are heightened – taking even more control over you – after.

I remember a part of me acknowledging that the way I felt was not right or natural or logical, but there was nothing I could do but sink into this emotional pool. It may have had a role in making me feel so desperately attached to my baby that I could barely breathe any time I left home without him.

Does anyone really understand how the mind works? Add in body chemistry, and things get crazy. We don't give chemicals, natural or introduced, enough credit for what they do.

I started birth control pills at a young age to control primary dysmenorrhea, and for years I wondered if that was the cause of certain changes in my personality, libido, and the way I felt in general – like a complete leveling out of extremes. Just feeling less.

I didn't notice a change when I finally went off the pill ten years later, but once I was pregnant I was back on that roller coaster of emotional extremes. I had never felt so fierce as I did during the first weeks or months with my baby, and I am so thankful to have had that experience. Even the unexplainable tears. While breastfeeding continued (and still continues) to propagate certain confusing hormones, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I know how lucky I am to have this.

But if I, who did not have postpartum depression, still felt and continue to feel the odd control of such body chemistry, what must it be like for the half of new mothers who do get postpartum depression? How must it affect the quarter of the population suffering through any other mental disorder?

I'm not an expert of anything. I just know that I'm lucky. And I know what to write down at the next baby shower. Take care of yourselves, new moms.

Oh, and if you're buying a nursing bra while pregnant, opt for stretchy elastic. There are changes ahead.

Also? Ignore all advice. Including mine. Every mom and every baby and every experience is different. Own your own way.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


When going through our most recent photos, I couldn't help noticing a theme.

We're all really tired, apparently.

I busted out some of the six month toys he received in the baby showers or shortly after he was born. He's completely surrounded in colorful plastic. He's adding more playfulness to his all-I-want-is-for-it-to-fit-in-my-mouth phase, so things are going to keep getting more fun.

He's reached every milestone there seems to be for a five-month-old. I read that six-month-old milestones include sleeping less -- taking a few naps in a day, totaling three or four hours of sleep.

Our morning routine has been off this week and I can't help panicking that it isn't going to work anymore. If he isn't going to sleep in the morning when I leave for work, then he's going to have to scream to get the attention he wants, as he did today. And Andy is not going to sleep.

It isn't Fletcher's fault or anyone else's that we need to work. I have to remind myself of that in the morning when I turn away from his smiling, eager face and leave him.

Recent videos:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Things could be worse. I could be Lloyd Christmas.

To the fates who get their jollies by conspiring against me:

Are we having fun now? Is this what you wanted?

You cracked my windshield at a cost of almost $300. Because, you know, it's glass. It's not like you can just make glass from sand. It's not like auto insurance should pay for auto damage. Er.

You apparently rotted my (and my husband's) teeth at a forthcoming cost of almost $300. Because, you know, by having perfect teeth for 28 years I was just begging for you to intervene.

You sent Fletcher to a specialty doctor – whose super helpful advice brought the red, bumpy lesions back to his skin tenfold – at a cost of almost $400. Because, you know, why would we want to continue our original method, which was working? No, let's get yet another prescription, watch Fletcher turn into a lobster boy, and then pay out the nose for it. When are doctors going to be like everyone else – NOT getting paid hundreds of dollars when their 10-minute diagnosis doesn't work? Where's the refund policy?

Plus, it's not like insurance should be covering this. I mean, it's not like it's a health problem. Fletcher's probably just messing with us.

Fates, I can see how this is hilarious from your lofty distance. I can also see how this post could be construed as a request for even more ridiculously expensive surprises. I am tempted to dare you. But I'll probably just shake my fist at the sky and walk away slump-shouldered and empty-pocketed.

Screw it. I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU, FATES. Because, you know, eventually you're going to get bored with me. And think how exciting life will be in the meantime. Maybe tomorrow I'll be robbed by a sweet old lady on a motorized cart. I didn't even see it coming...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I don't pull my hand out of the alligator's mouth until I get bit.

I'm scared of the Internet.

There's been a big twitter/blogosphere explosion today, in the circle I follow anyway, regarding online plagiarism. I won't attempt to recap. This story won't be the last of its kind and, as links to links to more links show, it isn't the first.

I got sucked in and disappeared into the mists of the linky web, lost in the horror stories about stolen words, stolen heartache, stolen photos, stolen lives.

From the first moment I used my name, my husband's name, and worst of all my baby's name in this little corner of the Internet, I've been terrified of everything I've willingly offered up to whoever wants it. All of my family's private photos and personal information is gathered here in one accessible, searchable place.

I'm not worried about being plagiarized. But I'm terrified of identity theft. So why am I doing this? It isn't because I'm naive. I'm not brave. I'm not even rebellious.

I drive as fast as I can get away with. I procrastinate until I can't anymore. I have a nasty habit of assuming bad things on the news won't happen to me.

I don't pull my hand out of the alligator's mouth until I get bit. Then I'm careful, cautious, smart until the statute of limitations on my memory is reached.

But I can't delude myself on this one. My baby's safety is potentially on the line, and I continue to balance on the edge of action. Do I stop everything? Change everything, though information is forever available to someone with enough time and energy?

YouTube. Facebook. Twitter. Blogger. The office website. Old school websites. Bylines and news clips. CCAP. Our lives, up for the taking.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My husband is awesome and I am insane

I've always known that my husband is awesome. I've never been able to put it into words exactly why he's awesome. I just know that he is.

"It's my birthday," I thought to myself today. "I need to come up with a birthday-themed post for the blog." It was nearing the end of the day, though, and I still didn't know what I wanted to say about today. About aging. About gifts. About parties and excess cake and you're-only-as-old-as-you-feel.

Then I read this post by Single Dad Laughing. And I started crying. This article really has nothing to do with my birthday except... I realize that there is nothing I want or need for my birthday except the family I already have.

When I began the article, I was thinking the usual things: "Okay, another article by an urban, 'sensitive' guy who's pretty good at reading between the lines when it comes to women, and I wonder if I should be offended that all women are being lumped into one category and all men into another, and oh-shut-up-Lindsay-you-don't-have-to-be-so-PC-about-everything-it's-just-an-article..."

I thought to myself that he has a good point. He's probably right. If men did act/speak differently (i.e. stop giving us cues that tell us these "perfect" women are what get your attention), then we might not have so many issues with trying to become perfect.

AND THEN IT HIT ME. *cue tears*

I am married to a man who doesn't do this! Holy crap! He doesn't give cues that these "perfect" women are what he wants. He doesn't crane his neck when a pair of nice legs goes by. He doesn't allude that he wants something other than me, whether the topic is appearance or personality or behavior.

And more than that? He tells me ALL THE TIME how he loves the way I look. All those personal, secret flaws I have that seriously bug me? He loves them. He thinks I'm beautiful. When I accuse him of pandering to me (in the vein of "Yes, dear" and "No, those pants don't make your butt look big"), he sincerely tells me that he isn't. And I think he's telling the truth.

I'm not the only woman who feels like I should do something about the way I look. I should do something about the way I cook/clean/take care of the husband. I should buy all these self-improvement magazines because there's so much I could be doing differently and if I were better and just a little closer to the ideal, wouldn't our little family be that much better off? I want to be what someone else wants me to be.

My husband just wants me to be me.

Holy crap!

I'm married to someone so awesome!

But... what if I'm not worthy of such a great husband? What if, by letting me know that I have worth, he's proven that he's a much better spouse than I am, because I may not be letting HIM know his great worth?

Aha! A flaw in the article by Single Dad Laughing. WOMEN ARE INSANE.

* * *

I'm not going to count the days and weeks of Fletcher's age in my post titles anymore because, frankly, I can't count very high.

I had it pointed out to me that my professional bio on the office website probably shouldn't state that I live with my husband and baby because, well, he isn't going to be a baby for long. But I'm leaving it the way it is. Because if it says that Fletcher is a baby, then a baby he shall be, because EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET IS TRUE. Right?


So if I want him to stay a baby forever, why do I love watching him grow? Why am I happy that he has made such great progress with spoon feeding? Why do I get excited each time he lays on his stomach and raises his little baby butt in the air like he's just *this close* to crawling? I shouldn't want him crawling. The house isn't ready. I'm not prepared for a tiny MOBILE creature who puts everything in his mouth. This is going to have disaster written all over it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm Too Sexy For My Diapers {5 months old}

Here is the official five month photo, featuring Huggies Denim Diapers and baby's new quilt, handmade by cousin Taylor...

However, a different photo caught me. Lately, his eyes blow me away.

Or perhaps I should leave it to the professional. This photo is courtesy Songbird Photography.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

21w 3d stress

[To preview the photos from last weekend's photo shoot, visit Songbird Photography]

I remember a time when leaving work early meant getting some shopping done, a leisurely dinner, and sitting down with a book or a good TV show. It might be 20 plus years before I experience that again.

Trying to cram my work in before 2:00 p.m. today was a feat. The mad dash out of the office was followed by an idiot who had the nerve to drive the actual speed limit (preposterous!), followed by a half-assed attempt at five-minute-nursing (its effectiveness is in the same league as speed-dating, I think), followed by hopping into the car with baby for a drive to New Berlin.

Then came the appointment with the dermatologist, which was so full of long medical terminology that my brain went, "La, la, la, la, la, can't hear you," just like the immature wheel of cheese in the Cheez-It commercial. (Side note: Why do so many brands spell words in the product name incorrectly? Soooo annoying to me.)

The result of the appointment was that Fletcher is fine, er, maybe, because they want to see him again in two months after using yet another prescription.

Since becoming a mother, I've developed a nervous tic for whenever I'm handed a prescription. Gah! Prescription! Pharmacy! Wal-Mart! Gah! Not easy, not anymore.

So we went to Wal-Mart. A billion hours later, we came home. Baby flat-out refused to sleep, so... bath time! Time to be super duper careful cleaning him up, then use all these crazy creams we have for his skin! Yea, er, fun!

Finally, he's clean and he's freshly coated and I'm unfolding the diaper and... and... and... yes, you mothers of boys, you know what came next. Pee everywhere. On his chest, in his mouth, up his nose, in his eyes, all over his hair. Pee pee pee pee pee. Back in the bathtub. Only this time, Mommy thinks, "Hey! I'll rinse his face with water!"

It turns out babies aren't so good when it comes to water in their mouth and nose. Fletcher tried to breathe the water and, not knowing what to do, FREAKED OUT BECAUSE HE'S DROWNING. This was followed by me, FREAKING OUT BECAUSE HE'S DROWNING.

I pick up a soaking wet baby and try to get him to breathe-please-oh-please-cough-up-that-drop-of-water-oh-god. I'm soaked. He's screaming. And the screaming continued for a nice half hour before finally he gave up and fell asleep.

Um. I'm stressed out.

In lighter news, I got to experience the parental joy that is dressing your baby up as a cute little animal for Halloween.

I always did love tiny cows!


This cow stands on two legs! A blue ribbon at the fair, for sure!

This is what the boys do at 5:00 in the morning when Mommy steals some sleep.

The five months present!

P.S. Thank you, Dieball, for nicknaming the baby "Fletch-a-Sketch." Just. Awesome.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

20w 6d hoarding

Why do people hoard?

Why do I despise clutter in one area of my life (knick knacks etc.), but collect with wild abandon in another?

Fletcher and I spent almost the entire day on our own. Even if I hadn't spent a large portion of the day trying to keep him smiling, I wouldn't have been able to finish the project I started.

One corner of my bedroom was home to a mountain of papers. Every receipt I've generated since my first credit card. Every bank statement since opening my very first account. Every bill ever received. Every insurance statement and hospital form. The wedding paperwork. Home-buying paperwork. Manuals for every electronic device ever purchased. Every oil change I ever had. There's even an overflowing file of "keepsakes" -- every card ever received, every wedding invitation and program, every shower invite, movie ticket and date memento.

It's a mess.

I lost a half hour trying to find the shredder I'd never before used. I filled an extra large Kohl's shopping bag with the shreds of half the receipts I've collected. Half. That was after stepping inside the bag to make room.

Poor Fletch, it turns out, is terrified of the shredder, so it was just as well that I barely got started. Andy had a similar experience with his electric shaver.

They say things have to get worse before they get better. Let's hope Andy will be understanding when he comes home to find the living room lost behind stacks of papers... the evidence of a lifetime of stashing.

Each unnecessarily saved paper tells the story of the beginning of my independence through adulthood.

And it's all a bunch of crap, to which I wish I could just set fire and be done.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

20w 4d vicarious

I want to sleep as he sleeps

I want to find pleasure in the ability to reach

I want to feel the textures I touch

I want to know less and see more

I want to wake up smiling

Saturday, October 9, 2010

19w 6d interview

There's something special about baby feet. The new blog header is Fletcher-feet-inspired.

Fletcher continues to surprise us with his strength and growth. I met Andy's two-month-old first cousin once removed (we googled to find out the correct term for the relationship), and couldn't help noticing that she was quite different from Fletcher. When she was unable to lift her head on her own, I realized how amazing it was when Fletcher was lifting his on the day he was born. Will the hyper development continue, or will it plateau?

I conducted an interview with Andy today:

What do you think is baby's cutest body part?

Second cutest?
his baby belly

What do you think is his best baby word?

How old do you think he'll be when he says his first word?
ten months

What will his first word be?
daddy -- he's halfway there already

When is he going to take his first step?
nine months

When will he be crawling?
eight months

Footnote from Andy: "I'm not trying to rush my baby."

Friday, October 8, 2010


Angela has been blogging for two months and already she's posing, literally, the most difficult question that exists. Asking for gardening or baking tips just isn't her style, not when the world at large still hasn't come up with a satisfactory explanation for the meaning of life.

How do you have faith? (How is it possible to feel certain about whatever it is you believe?) And for those who don't buy into "God," how do you find satisfaction in a life void of faith?

Let me start with the conclusion and work backward: You don't create faith by yourself. We humans? We're just not that talented. We were created to NOT be that talented. We were created to STRUGGLE with faith.

If you've ever taken a philosophy class (and had one of those great professors that pushed and pushed and pushed until your breath was huffing and the only answer left to give is "I guess I don't exist!"), then you probably know what I mean when I say that the human mind has limits. And language has HUGE limits. There are emotions that have no words. Explanations that have no words. Occurrences all around us that go unknown. It isn't too difficult to imagine that in the great fabric of this life, we are only able to see and know a few of the threads.

Now God, he's the pinnacle of the unknown. First our limited minds and then our limited language make it so that we can't get a real grasp on what he is, what he does, or for heaven's sake WHY. (Note: I absolutely hate that we call him "HE" when gender has no place at all in the concept of GOD.)

I was raised WELS Lutheran. For those who don't know, they're the strict ones. They look at the Bible and feel that every single word is the "God-breathed" truth and no rule ever, ever bends. This is the LITERAL branch of the Lutheran religion.

(Another sidenote: Who decided which "books" of the Bible were God-breathed and which weren't? A room full of men hundreds of years ago, according to The Da Vinci Code. I love books/movies that make me question my faith, and I think God does too!)

Anyway, for Lutherans it's all about the TRINITY. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost. So God the Father is up there looking all mighty (like Keifer Sutherland or maybe Bruce Willis). He created the world. Now he hangs out there watching everything that goes on here and answering all our prayers with "Yes," "No," or "Later." (What must THAT inbox look like?)

Then there's God the Son, our pal Jesus (Christian Bale or maybe Leonardo DiCaprio). He got to hang out with us confused humans for a while, then he went and DEFEATED DEATH, which (kind of like a Disney movie) was the magic hocus pocus needed to save us from damnation, Hell, our sins, ourselves. Awesome. No more sacrificing animals to get ourselves to Heaven.

But then there's the holy ghost. Kind of the odd guy out (played by Zack Galifianakis), what does the holy ghost do? Play solitaire?

I was told that he is all about FAITH. He creates it, he brings it, he makes it possible for us dumb humans to believe something so outrageous, even when it goes against our so-called good sense.

In order to receive this gift, you have to ASK and you have to HEAR.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard this or thought it myself: I don't have any reason to go to church. I already know everything the pastor says.

I know this makes it sound all cult-y and brainwash-y, but the more you hear it, the easier it is to keep your faith whole. I think it's because it makes you think more about God in your day-to-day life. The more you hear his name and the words in the Bible, the more they pop into your head at random moments... and it's helpful. It's peaceful.

But you have to ask for faith. You have to want it, and work on it, because it DEFINITELY will go against your common sense.

The bigger question from Angela's post wasn't so much how do you believe in God, though. It was how do you believe that you're believing in the right faith.

No one knows absolutely if their faith is right. If they say they absolutely know, then they're full of sh*t. I'm biased toward WELS Lutheranism because it does make sense to me -- you can't only believe some of the words in the Bible, you have to take them ALL literally. (Another sidenote: Lutherans aren't so stupid as to take parables as true stories, etc.)

But just like there's always a tiny voice in your head that says, "What if God is a fairytale?" that voice might say, "Maybe the Muslims have it right!"

And that is good. GOOD. Because if you're allowed to question your faith? You aren't in a cult. You're in a conversation with God. And he LOVES that.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

19w 4d eating

What must it be like to have only ever eaten one thing? How jarring must it be to discover a second, all new taste and texture?

This was our first rice cereal attempt last weekend. Tonight, thanks to a tip from Andy's coworkers (and learning as I go), Fletcher's feeding was a success!

Tip No. 1: When mixing breast milk and rice cereal, add in some baby applesauce. It appears to have improved the taste.

Tip No. 2: Load the spoon, then hold the napkin under baby's chin, then wait a few seconds for him to hold his head still. THEN tip the spoon into his mouth.

We're learning.

one of the many hats he never had a reason to wear

The latest video: baby squeals.

Friday, October 1, 2010

18w 5d blogging

I just added my blog to the waiting list for BlogHer, and I find myself wondering how serious I am about this blog.

I'm a marketer. The fact that I didn't start this blog with the aim of marketing it, and so I see its marketing flaws, bothers me out of habit. The title isn't catchy and it didn't translate to my Twitter account. Half the posts are photo albums, not insightful or designed to illicit response. Most of the time, I don't even write as if I have an audience because... well, there are only five people on the planet willing to admit that they "follow" these posts.

If I were very serious, I would have to start making changes. First, I'd need a short and catchy title. Then, I'd need to do some networking, delve into all aspects of social media, do some small advertising through AdWords, and once I find some visitors I'd need to fill my posts with links to my other posts to keep them clicking. I'd have to stop lurking at the other parenting blogs and start commenting with links to my blog. Actively try to be funny, throw in some controversial topics, dwell on tragedy now and then, and I'm set.

I'm not going to do that, because I'm not serious. Not in the make-a-living-with-my-blog kind of way. (And I'm not judging people who do make a living with their blog – just the opposite.)

I don't want to have to study my posts before they're published to optimize them for maximum pageviews. I don't want to edit out the long and boring posts that I write, because I may want to go back someday and remember what a day in the life of baby Fletcher was like, even if no one else cares to read it.

That's the crux, I think. Do I care if no one else cares to read it?

I'll always think wistfully about what life would be like if people – strangers – actively cared about the writing I do. Anyone who ever dreamed of being a novelist has wondered. But this blog isn't my ticket to fame and fortune, and I don't want it to be.

* * *

This week, Fletcher had his four-month checkup. His weight is average for his age, whereas his height is off the charts. Why do parents get excited when they find out their kid is special in some way like this? As if we didn't already know how incredibly special he is?

He was a trooper as he was given more shots and oral medication. The nurse was shocked by Fletcher's strong gag reflex, and I have a love-hate feeling for the hilarious face he made every time she put that medicine in his mouth.

The doctor wants us to take Fletch to the children's hospital to see a skin specialist about his cradle cap and eczema and some funny bumps under his scalp. She also wanted us to apply another special cream, but at a cost of over $100 for one tube I raised my eyebrows at the pharmacist and wheeled my squeaky cart elsewhere. I wonder what kind of bill we'll get for the children's hospital.

Fletcher's next doctor appointment is the day after Thanksgiving. I can't believe the holidays are coming. I can't believe I'm going to blink and Fletcher will be six months old.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

18w 4d album

Today, I'm catching up on the photo album.

my family





pajama party

strike a pose

the men of the house


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

18w 3d Letters from Lindsay-land

Dear Anxiety:

Leave me the eff alone. Just this once. PLEASE.

I can't handle you, not today. It shouldn't be this hard; I shouldn't hate Wednesdays like this. So what if the baby is at Grandma's house and my night with the baby is cut a little short due to driving there and back? Why do you treat that as an invitation to crawl around under my skin, making me itch and squirm and want to scream?

You are useless. You serve no purpose. Nobody wants you here. Go away.



* * *

Dear Anxiety's distracting, evil accomplice, Exhaustion:

We know each other very well, don't we? We're almost friends, I'd say. Or maybe family, since I certainly didn't choose you.

I can't hate you, not really. Because my baby was the one who introduced us, so.

But could you just not be QUITE so debilitating? Could I have a little personal space, a little room to breathe? Could I at least be able to concentrate long enough to do things like match my socks? It would also be really nice if I didn't have to scour my brain for the instruction manual on how to open my eyes again after each blink.

I'm begging.

Maybe if the baby would stop inviting you over so often, I wouldn't be so put out with you. But the baby has reverted to eating every two hours. Literally. I'm a bit drained. And your little vacation in Lindsay-land is starting to feel like a permanent move-in.

I can't ever be put out with the baby. I love him more than I love myself.

I just can't say the same for you. Sorry.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

4 months old modesty


There, I had to get that off my chest.

HEH. Heh heh.

Last night I dreamed that I was in a bad car accident. It was a very bad dream, and not because I was disabled (my legs were chopped off at the knees. ugh.). The worst part, what I couldn't stop thinking about in that hospital bed, was that I couldn't take care of the baby. Namely, that I couldn't breastfeed him. I think I even asked the doctor if I could continue to use the breast pump, even though I was on unsafe pain medication, just so I would still be able to breastfeed once I was out of the hospital and off the meds. I remember hoping that I'd be released before all the frozen breast milk was used up. It was a rather involved dream, you see.

I feel very strongly about breastfeeding. I didn't anticipate that. In fact, for a long time before having Fletcher, I was sure that I would not breastfeed, and the main reason for that was modesty. And it just seemed "weird."

I was never around babies growing up, let alone "breastfeeding," so the concept never meant much to me. As kids, we laughed at the word "boobs" and then grew up viewing them in a sexual light. Feeding a baby with them? Weird, gross, not me. After all, there are plenty of TV commercials out there for baby formula. Breastfeeding commercials? Zero. It's like something out of the stone ages.

Then I became pregnant, and suddenly I was hearing it, reading it, seeing it. I was asked by medical personnel who wanted me to answer, "Yes." So I said, "Maybe." This wasn't just my decision, it was Andy's too -- and we decided we'd "try." I don't think we saw a very high probability for success, though. Something about it sounded hard. Again, modesty came into play. Am I really going to be that lady that whips it out at the Wal-Mart?

As I got closer to meeting my baby-to-be, something changed in me. Hormones maybe? I wanted to breastfeed. Suddenly, being a good parent and successfully breastfeeding were the same. I know the inaccuracy of that, so why do I still feel that way? There is absolutely nothing wrong with formula feeding, my brain knows this. Fletcher would be fine -- better than fine. I'm sure he'd continue growing as healthy and strong as he has been. So why do my bad dreams revolve around not being able to breastfeed?

The positives do outweigh the negatives. It's free. It's always ready with no prep time (when I'm the caregiver, anyway). It's always the right temperature. It's better for the baby's immune system. It bonds us. It reduces my risk of breast cancer. It suppresses menstruation (no period since August 2009! Amen!).

The negatives, it turns out, just aren't all that negative for me. Physically, I'm no Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model with these saggy things, but I never was. The nursing bras are the opposite of sexy, and that's okay. For someone who rarely wears makeup or jewelry, who does not collect shoes or handbags, whose clothing can all be described as "comfortable," this isn't such a big deal.

The definition for "homebody" is a person who prefers to remain at home, rather than participate in social events elsewhere. Yeah, that's definitely me. So the modesty situation is kind of moot. I know some people nurse in front of others while using a "wrap" or cloth to cover up, but I'm not there yet. When we visit other people, I pick a bedroom and that's where baby and I will hide every few hours for feeding. Everyone has been very understanding about this routine, and it's nice for me to count on having this time with the baby.

When we're shopping, out to eat, at a nursing home, etc. it gets more complicated, but the breast pump (with a car adapter!) has been a lifesaver. No whipping it out at the Wal-Mart.

I titled this blog the way I did because I am obsessive in nature. I was obsessed with becoming pregnant, obsessed with the pregnancy, and now I'm obsessed with this poor over-loved baby. I have to believe it's better than neglect.

I cling to the time I have left for breastfeeding him, and dread when I'll have to wean. Why the obsession here? Is it purely selfish -- a tangible/quantifiable way to feel like I'm a good parent when that stupid tiny invisible voice suggests I'm a fraud? A way to keep baby close to me, a part of me, though time unavoidably marches on?

Congratulations, baby. You've stolen many hearts in your four months with us. Do you think you could slow down a little bit? You're growing so fast.

official four months photo

From "Heavy In Your Arms," a song that puts me in the mind of obsession. Or maybe it's just that it won't leave my head, no matter what tricks I use. It's permanently embedded. It has taken over my brain like a virus. I give up. By Florence + The Machine.
My love has concrete feet
My love's an iron ball
Wrapped around your ankles
Over the waterfall

I'm so heavy, heavy
Heavy in your arms
I'm so heavy, heavy
So heavy in your arms

I was a heavy heart to carry
My beloved was weighed down
My arms around his neck
My fingers laced to crown

I was a heavy heart to carry
But he never let me down
When he had me in his arms
My feet never touched the ground

I'm so heavy
Heavy in your arms

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

17w 2d parents

he's still tanner than me

baby has more style than both his parents put together

When the routine is broken, in a way that separates me from the baby, I am a scattered, emotional, confused WRECK. There's no logic to it. Nothing is wrong with the baby. Nothing is wrong with me. But I. Am. Screaming.

Since the end of my brief maternity leave, I've been a willing slave to an unvarying schedule. The exact timing is dependent on Fletcher, of course.

In the morning, I wake him up by 5:45 a.m., unless he chooses an earlier time, as is usually the case. Today, for instance, he woke at 3:00 and 5:00. After the second feeding, I stayed in the nursery, dozing on the spare bed there until about 6:10 when we continued as usual to a diaper change and the next step of our morning... hanging out in the bathroom. Fletcher has his own thick blanket to lay on, a receiving blanket to tug and chew on, and even a rattle now to reach for after rolling to his stomach.

After the bathroom portion of our morning, we head downstairs where he sits in his feeding chair with (another) receiving blanket and Freddie the Firefly, a favorite toy. I assemble the clean bottles and pump parts from the day before, in between play sessions. Then there's another diaper change and another feeding, this time with the lights off to coax him to sleep.

The morning routine is about two hours, and then I head to work.

I arrive home during my lunch hour from about 1:00-1:40 and spend the time feeding him and exchanging smiles with him and sometimes giving Andy a chance to catch a nap because he's probably running on four-to-six hours of patchy sleep. Leaving during my lunch hour is harder than leaving in the morning, probably because Fletcher is wide awake and he sees me walking out that door.

Then from 6:00-7:00 p.m., I get one precious and tiny hour to be a family with my husband and son. Often, that hour is used up with eating, dishes, and feeding Fletcher. But it is the most significant hour of my day. After Andy leaves for work, Fletcher and I have two hours (during which he eats often and possibly takes a nap) before we begin our bedtime routine -- the occasional bath/outfit change, putting on lotion where he needs it, diaper change, getting myself ready for bed, and finally the last feeding of the day around 9:30.

This is my whole life.

And on a day like today where I can't go home on my lunch hour? I. Am. SCREAMING. And I don't really understand why.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I perceived parents before I became one, especially my own. There's a lot that can't be explained to you until you become one. There may have been a time when, somewhere in the background of my thoughts, I wondered why parents in general don't give a little space, let go a little bit.

Now? I am never letting go. I still may wonder why, but the compulsion to hold tight to my son until the end of time is overwhelming... and I have to accept that I'm standing one step higher on the ladder toward becoming my parents. That doesn't have to be a bad thing, right?

P.S. -- The broken day is made easier when you have an awesome husband who emails you photos to soothe your sore heart. Especially photos like this one, that show what baby and daddy are up to this afternoon:

little surfer, little one, made my heart come all undone