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.