The Toothish Twoddler Tramples Eleven Month Markers!

Holy Moley, I have a twoddler! She's not quite toddling on her own, but at eleven months, Chaya is a whole different beast than any baby I might have sprung from any loins of mine (let's be honest, she pushed herself out with her iron quads). So much is coming together now so rapidly. I have a teeny tiny (crazy) person on my hands. With more and more personality every single day.




Time to figure everything out all over again! Because every month it's a whole new baby-game.



I know much of my recent palaver just invites kibbitzing. No doubt, you all have to sit on your hands to resist swooping in and rescuing me from my rabid crazed self. And I want to say, I appreciate that you silent internet forummers resist the temptation. Because, I understand the urge. Just browsing friends' baby registries provokes all kinds of detailed opinions I wish nothing other than to unleash upon the world in long form. My attendance at the Bellingham Center for Health Motherhood's Nursing Cafe is rife with newer moms just sitting on all kinds of unlearned lessons I know too well. I've learned so much. I have so much valuable whatnot to impart. Enlightenment here I come. I desperately, if nothing else, have a huge talking-to I'd love to give to my slightly younger self for navigating the earlier stages of parenthood. And I'm already rolling my eyes at my "helpful" future self's pointed opinions.

A shame we can't learn from good little nuggets of hard-won reason. But really, it's just impossible most of the time.



Reasons I am unlikely to take your very well-meaning and helpful parenting suggestions (and why you probably shouldn't take mine either):


1. Your baby is not my baby and has never had my baby's set of challenges and talents. If your baby slept through the night by two months, then I don't care how well essentials oils helped the one time she didn't. If your baby woke up one morning with five teeth after briefly fussing an hour before bedtime the night before, then I am skeptical that the amber teething necklace is what's helping. If your biggest breastfeeding concern is that you leak whenever you drink a light beer, please do not start telling me about fenugreek and plenty of water.

2. Your baby is just as bad as mine and/or differently as bad and/or worse! Your baby only sleeps between midnight and five a.m., naps midday in a carseat for an hour while you drive around, and you aren't giving me tips on how to brew stronger coffee. 

3. You don't have a baby or your baby has not been my baby's age in several years. Trust me, I barely remember two months ago. You may think you have a crystal clear memory of what it was like having a little munchkin, but do you really? Really? Are you that confident about your memory? If so, I suspect you haven't read enough psychological studies on the fallibility of memory.

4. Just like parents always learn (if they heed any advice ever at all or remember from their own childhood), many lessons need to be learned firsthand. Sure, my mom could have told me to go to law school when I was fifteen. Sure, my dad was right that maybe I looked good in long flowy clothing and artsy jewelry. Either could have instructed me on the helpfulness of outlining, keeping a schedule, knowing when to follow through on my intentions, and prioritizing a balance between life and work. And I'm sure both of them could have told me several of my prior paramours were flat out horrible ideas. But I had to do some serious living before I could realize these things for myself. And the more pressure to do the right thing, then more inclined I was to do the wrong. They demonstrated admirable restraint all told. 

5. If you told me to "chill out," my brain iced over so very much that you are now on mute. I'm sure, as above, that's really helpful advice... to nobody ever, because nobody who needs that advice is ever going to do anything but escalate in the face of that kind of pat pablum. If you literally pat me on the head, your hand is comin' off. And as for "cherish the moment..." I do, truly, I do. But that's not helpful. Sometimes the moment also sucks. And I didn't have PPD or PPA, but some moms do. The first year (decade/lifetime) is magical, but also a massive struggle. Let's skip the pleasant minimization of that ok? 

6. I've read the same website as you, and can recognize a direct quote. If it's on kellymom, I've probably memorized it. Possibly every baby sleep site. And probably Dr. Sears as well. I've also probably read twenty other "expert" opinions casting shade on or questioning the research and information sited in that first source. And then seen the fine print about every baby being different. I'm also familiar with the concept of confirmation bias. Some weird internet advice "worked" for you? You sure you actually needed it? Sure it wasn't something else? 

7. You prefaced your advice with a condescending smirk and something adorable about "first time moms." If you haven't learned humility after having a litter of children, then you obviously haven't really learned much from having children. As such, your advice is likely to be fairly useless. Also, I'm using all my energy not smashing you in your smirky, self-satisfied face, so I can't actually hear your "helpful" counsel. 

8. Your comment ended with "and we/they're/I'm ok!" Usually prefaced by having done something that I don't want to do to/with my child. So here's what I think your greater point is: (1) we all start out parenting with a list of unrealistic goals for our children, go through a few periods attempting to pretzel ourselves and our children into these little ideals, and eventually make compromises. Yes that vegan baby I was never going to feed juice to and who would sleep on the go in the ergo until she was four...? Now she only eats hotdogs and cheezits and I'm willingly forcing juice ("liquid crack") on her because it's the only way to make her poop, and did I mention we did the dreaded crib-training years ago? (2) parents these days are privy to a staggering amount of information, pressure, proclamations and official edicts that can just make it all too much to handle sometimes. We know too much. We have google at our fingertips. And doctors are probably a little paranoid ... except when they're dismissing every little concern. So yes, again, this is kind of the relieving little sister revelation to "chill out." I concede your point. 

But: How does it sound to you when somebody says, say, "I had unprotected sex with multiple partners all through my twenties and never got pregnant or had an std." Or "my father smoked five packs a day while we were roadtripping in a closed car with him... and I'm ok." There's  certain deafness to basic statistics regarding risks and results. It's the opposite of those confirmation-biased correlations we sometimes draw. Essentially "I did something risky and turned out to be in the 30/10/1% who suffers no adverse effects from having done that." Not a ringing endorsement. And we do have a lot more information now. Some of it is well-researched and worth heeding. Will my child die if I take a few risks? We can consult the statistics. Probably not, but weighing likelihood of risk together with severity if risk manifests against burden is a prettyrational approach to these things. Let no-one say I learned nothing in law school.

9. Our entire life philosophies clash and everything you stand for is abominable to me... Just saying, if none of the others quite apply, you might want to consider this option. 






So that really encapsulates a number of reasons that I may have ignored any well-meaning unsolicited nuggets in my ongoing struggles. And again, I thank you for your restraint even as I test it once again.

That said, if you know of the holy grail of sippie cups, please let me know. Preferably one that will easily transition of breastfed baby into a champion cup-o-milk drinker in seconds flat.

The quest to drink, baby, drink persists with modest progress. Chaya, it appears, rocks the straw. As least as much as she's interested in just about anything. And we still have yet to find the perfect straw cup. I purchased yet another strawption. This one was a Haggen's impulse buy, but it turns out to be one of the most successful so far. By sacrificing some nifty gadgetry, the Oxo Tot Straw Cup comes with a straw from which it is actually possible to suck liquid. Novel idea! The downside is that it's somewhat broad and lacks handles. Chaya can drink from it if she pulls it towards her on her food tray and pushes over it. Or if - heaven forbid - somebody helps her. But she's deadset against using both hands to use a cup. Lord knows why.

I also made another go with the Take and Toss cups. They are pretty incredible. Easy to suck from and quite tidy. At least until they are thrown from a high chair at just the right velocity and the lid comes undone. It is easier to grip than the Oxo, but still not ideal for one hand. Chaya likes to hold it by the straw. Which doesn't always leave the straw in good position to contact the water. Occasionally, she'll drink from it though. And only mostly dribble a bunch of either water or drool down her mouth afterwards.






Another success for straw drinking has been the almighty juice box. Best feature is that Chaya can actually hold one in one hand. I also suspect that it might help a bit with her occasional constipation. At least it's either the middling amount of juice she has been drinking (watered down and mixed with virtuous veggies) or she has an idiosyncratic response to an increase in dairy. Cottage cheese and yogurt are becoming quite popular in babyland.

Downsides include the fact that when she squeezes it, juice comes squirting out. And the fact that the straw comes out when pulled on. It's messy. Very messy. As I alluded to, she doesn't drink much at a time. It takes a few days to finish off whatever of the six ounces is not squirted onto the floor.




It doesn't seem like she's apt to just take to the straw cup for a nice full serving of milk. To wit: earlier this week, she waged a semi-nursing strike. I suspect this is teething related. Chaya is a superlatively SLOOOOOOOOW teether. After many eons of false alarms, she popped the first one as June alit. The second one was quite visible and seemed to be in ardent pursuit. Alack, no. No, only last week did any of the tooth erupt. And as the swollen gums ebb and flow, so does the prominence of any tooth. I can still barely feel when I attempt such foolhardy ambitions. It "cut through" a few days ago, but she continues to behave in full drooly faucet.

And since that first tooth, Chaya has nursed ever so poorly. At least at times. It gets better and worse. But frequently uncomfortable for both of us. The last few days she's been intermittently active, moody and restless, and not particularly interested in nursing during the day. After waiting nearly five hours, I decided to pump and offer her a variety of options for her milkies - sippie cup, water bottle, and take and toss. The first sippie cup wasn't on correctly, so she dribbled a fair bit all over from just waiving it in the air. She had no interest in even trying the second sippie cup. She actually expressed some interest in the water bottle, and did take a few good gulps before attempting to turn it upside down and chew on the bottom. The straw cup was good for waiving around by the straw for a while, before taking and tossing upside down and... of course... trying to chew on the bottom.

I know, I've read Kellymom. I should nurse before meals and not let her drink too much etc. etc. And babies under one year rarely self wean and their primary nutrition source should be breastmilk.. Did we mention that the average global age of weaning is 4 years and there are still many benefits to breastfeeding past a year??



But...

I'm taking a hormonal-scrambler in order to shove my boob in the face of a perpetually disinterested teething beast of a baby who has already winded me up with some pretty hefty medical bills after a few claw-assaults. We're close to crunch time here.

I've dropped another pill from my domperidone dosage this week (50 mgs from my acme at 120). I think I'll still hold out supply, but parts of me have panicked that Miss Chai seems obstinately anti-cup. After being a bottle junkie, she now won't take milk other than on tap. And that is less interesting. I'd gotten it into my head that unless she could take a good several ounces of milk for every feed she's dropping then I must fight to make sure she gets any and all and ever feed.

And it's truly a fight. Perma-teether that she is, Chaya has maybe been in some form of mini-nursing strike for several months now. Or maybe she genuinely is self-weaning. I decided a few weeks ago to stop fighting and go with her flow. That dropped us down from 7 feeds a day to 5. And the last couple of days, she's been shaky on one of her midday feeds. I might also mention that I'm still dream-feeding her. I don't entirely know if she'd sleep through the night without my interruptions. I actually will start waiting to see soon. But I am in tandem panicked about her getting enough milk and my breasts not exploding in cloggy abscessy mastitis again.

And of course, it would all just be so much easier if she drank liquids in any regular pattern. Sure, she may well do so if she's getting less booby juice, but what if she doesn't? We'll survive. She'll survive. On hotdogs and High-C, I'm sure.

And in the meantime we march (and/or stumble in shrieks and staggers) towards a mobile walking imp of a dervish of a personality conflicting little being. Mommy is remembering all those ambitions to practice meditation and foster her positive energies... you know, those goals that people have before they become parents that were probably good ideas but kind of well... hot dogs and juice boxes!

OOOOOMMMMMM

Sleepwars: The Tubular 3-2 (cha-cha-cha) Transition

For a girl who picks up most developmental milestones pretty quickly, she's glacially dilatory on the sleep transitions and the teething nonsense. Guess she's putting all those resources into the world-conquering mobility.



Or is/was it that Mommy wasn't pushing it enough? Does the mantra about babies almost always being awake too long... about never missing the nap window... about striking fast and hard right at the first sign of drowsiness... about waiting too long being the deathnell of a good sleep schedule... was that maybe a little absolutest? Maybe targeted at younger babies?


Turns out that during a "nap transition," babies might need to be stretched a little. That babies can actually develop a "habit" of having shorter wake times. Maybe a baby will go right out if you start to sing to her, but that doesn't mean she needed to absolutely go down that instant. Who knows. Babies are hard to figure out. Miss Chaya especially. She's never given clear "drowsy signs." She gets worked up about things and fusses randomly. She glazes over and nods off if she's so drastically underslept that it finally becomes obvious. Sometimes she gets a second or third wind that could be roses-and-sunshine-energetic or overtiredness. And it changes by the day. Chaya's sleeps are like a box of chocolate - gooey, covered in crinkly paper, and prone to melting down in warm weather.






On the first day of her 44th week (so like mid-June), Chaya was fighting her morning nap. This had become a not-so-unusual event. As I mentioned, it's often hard to tell whether fighting the nap is a symptom of overtiredness or undertiredness. Her reaction to beginning the nap routine can vary dramatically from day to day regardless of otherwise identical circumstances. Usually, if I'm doggedly patient with my lullabying, she'll fall asleep in my arms. Sometimes, like that morning, patient persistence involves stemming any reaction to her attempting to climb me and grab onto my earring and/or throat (I swear she will vulcan nerve pinch me into unconsciousness one of these days) while hooting "HUHUHUHUHU" (her, not me) about two seconds before she either (1) starts to cry, or (2) passes out in my arms.

BUT, I just was not in the mood. As I'd started to do the prior week, I decided that it wasn't the right time to force a nap. To heck with it, it was time to try a longer window of wakefulness in the morning. The books all say 2 - 2.5 hours. I'd started going up for 2.5 hours between the occasional 2 hour window when she was ill or had slept poorly. But Andrew was home. If it all blew up in my face (or worked out right), we could bring out the big guns: AN EARLY BEDTIME! (DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN)

I have detested the damned morning nap for several weeks to months now. Always a half hour. Just enough of a time suck to make the third nap painfully awkward. I've pined for a schedule that somehow sidesteps the awkward jiu jitsu involved in getting Chaya down for three naps as she gets increasingly wakeful throughout the day.

 But an early bedtime? That's a daunting thing.

Yes, I have to admit, I'd been avoiding the real push for a nap transition because I was afraid of hitting thatearly bedtime milestone. After the switch to daylight savings, we had this wonderful window in which Andrew could come home and have dinner with Chaya before putting her to bed. It removed so much stress of will-he/won't-he-get-home-in-time to put her to bed. It meant that he got to see plenty of her. I abhor being the person making a judgment call that daddy doesn't get to see Chay-chay that evening because Everett traffic sucked a bit too much. Some part of me was holding out hope that Andrew would be commissioned for his exciting secret project in El Segundo for a few weeks, so I could get down to some serious baby nap and early bedtime adjusting.

But daddy was home that day, and thus the commute was not a factor. If we had to put her down at 5:30 p.m., well so be it. If she woke up the next day at 5 a.m., then obviously she'd just have a nice three nap day.

And thus, the experiment began. I kept her up three hours. And she slept. Forty-five minutes. Not a half hour. Not an hour. That teetered on the edge of promise and disaster. So we waited for the second nap. The real test. I often have kept her up for three hours between the second two naps, so this was less unprecedented. Kept her up just shy of three hours and down she went again. This time she slept for an hour and a half. There was no longer any time for a third nap. Not by a long shot.

And so, it was time to bring out the early bedtime. And so we did. We had our entire nightly routine an hour earlier, leaving Chaya to fall asleep about four hours after she woke up.

The most amazing thing was that an early bedtime led to a longer sleep. Chaya woke up later the next day than the day before. I didn't sleep nearly at all, so fully convinced she'd be rising in a tither any second and so mentally stirred up at the possibilities and schedule oddities that may arise if the transition stuck.

The next morning (Sunday): Her first nap of the day lasted an hour and a half. Then another nap for an hour. I was starting to feel a little cocky. It was a whole revelation. All this time, Chaya just needed longer wake times! We'd space her naps out, slowly stretch her wake times so she'd be able to still have daddy-daughter time.



Nice thinking of course, but the course of true baby never did run smoothly. The next-next morning (Monday) she was up early and unhappy. Possibly writhing with baby gas. Probably not teething. Because it's only teething that one time that already happened.

The next few days were a little in upheaval. We were out on Wednesday avoiding the cleaners. Chaya slept uneasily in a foreign crib. Chaya was highly fussy on Monday and Tuesday. Friday, we were set to spend the midday in Mukilteo. And I might have wussed out a few times, opting for shorter wake times in order to have the option of a third nap. Keeping her up longer risks losing the third-nap window without necessarily leading to better naps. And we hadn't really sussed out what to do if Chaya had a two-nap day while Andrew was off working.

Thus the first three days reverted to three nap days.

Then Thursday, Chaya made the decision for us. After a middling first nap, she slept until 1:45. This was perhaps the most conceivably awkward timing on her part. There just wasn't time for a nap, but it also meant a bedtime that far pre-dated Andrew's returning. I tried twice to get her to fall asleep in her nursery. I tried to walk her to sleep for a catnap to bridge to dinner time. It didn't work. And eventually, I put her to sleep ten minutes before Andrew (who naturally had been stuck in bad traffic) got home.

In a sense, it was a relief to know that it just wasn't worth trying by that point.

On Friday, we stumbled into freakishly good BBQ-going luck. Chaya slept in (for her - this means 6:20 instead of 5:30). Then she took a looooong nap. It fit us in just perfect stead to drive down to Mukilteo (me throwing a bag's worth of baby toys over my back and onto Chaya's head every five minutes so she would momentarily be distracted from wailing before inevitably dropping the toy and recommencing a bored ten month old howl of indignation), meet some coworkers, throw the baby at THE BIG BOSS, see some projects, and head back just in time for Chaya to be ready to pass out in the car.



On Saturday of her 45th Week, she got up earlier again. I thought we were abutting that awkward boundary 'twixt 3 and 2 naps yet again. But we carried on with longer wake times. And indeed, she had a long first nap and a mid-range second. We put her to bed an hour early. And she woke up on Sunday #2 at exactly the same semi-early time. But her morning nap was short... would it be a three nap day? Another awkward twilight zone nap day and early bedtime?

Never a dull baby moment.

She lasted until 2. Early bedtime.

Monday #2, an extra fifteen minutes! All the way to 6 a.m.! (or 5 a.m. if we don't include daylight savings, which must never, never, never ever end please god). Then took a long nap. Then another one... Then... she fought bedtime like the Dickens (if Dickens were a wriggling pile of worms hopped up on Red Bull and ketamine), then woke up on Tuesday #2 at 5:10 a.m.!!! Took a short nap, then a long one... stretched her beyond her abilities so Andrew could put her to bed, which led to a massively overtired baby unable to actually fall asleep until nearly her regular bedtime... and she woke up on Wednesday #3 at 5:30 a.m.!!!






And on we merrily stumble. There is no way of knowing what comes next. Will she adjust to an earlier bedtime too, too well? Will we be able to gradually shift her schedule back so that she'll wake up later? Will Andrew ever see his daughter again? Will Chaya dig the idea of dropping a nap that she'll just rush on to the infamous 2-1 nap transition? Or will she be back to four naps in a matter of days?

Basically so far I've "learned" this:

1. Chaya acts tired after being awake for a couple of hours. She also gets bored, frustrated, angry, etc. etc. Mostly, she just needs to re-set after too much exertion or activity. That means more being held and sucking her thumb than it does immediately going down for a nap. When she is like that, she can also fall asleep without a huge fight, but it often means less sleep. Despite all the insistence that keeping your baby up longer is absolutely the wrong thing to do in order to get a baby to sleep longer... well there's always an exception to the rules.

2. She still definitely gets overtired, but it takes longer than I think. As always, yawning, looking away, and the classical drowsy signs rarely apply and crop up at random throughout any waking period. And, as always, there's no consistent rhyme or reason for why one nap is short and another long.

3. The sleep experts are actually helpful en masse, but it's usually best to mix and match to suit your baby.

4. Screw "drowsy but awake." I'm all about singing her to sleep. I know she can put herself back to sleep, and does when she wakes up at night.

5. There's no clear connection between how much Chaya fights falling asleep and how well she sleeps. There may even sometimes be a bit of a bigger nap per bigger fight, but that's also hit or miss.

6. Sleep begets sleep, but only to a point. If Chaya naps too well during they day, she naps less well at night.

7. Meanwhile, Chaya is less interested in nursing and I'm offering at less insistent frequencies. Perhaps it's her discovery of almond butter and yogurt. Perhaps it's some ephemeral "teething" discomfort as the first one slowly debouches into prominence. Perhaps, it's just that she's getting older, more active, and liking solids better. Who can say. I don't have nearly the success nursing her to sleep recently, so I'm glad she can be lullabyed. It also means our eating schedule around naps was already changing around a bit.

8. There's still no clear consensus about getting a baby onto a schedule versus going by wake time. But probably Chaya can be awake between 3-4 hours without going totally ballistically overtired. And there's some advice that if a baby is on a semi-consistent schedule, you can slowly push it back over the course of a few weeks (Like, say, when DST tragically meets its end). This remains to be seen.

9. The extra time between naps (especially with a little less nursing) is very freeing, although it also increases pressure to keep a very active baby occupied. Not only am I ready to get out and do more, but it's kind of necsesary. Mommy is terribly boring.

10. It's ridiculous that her early risings wear on me so much, since I have been getting up before Andrew recently anyways (that damned alarm is so startling that I think I'd rather just be up and out of the room). But they really do. Almost as much as those painful battles over three naps. But really more, because I just don't get any down-time to steel myself for a fussy little creature and her all day carousel of assisted stumbling around the kitchen island in between tantrums. It would be lovely if she'd get some more sleep and meet the day bright eyed and dampy diapered.

Hallmarks of Having a Ten Month Old (You Might be a Big-Babe-Slave If...)







Time gets wonky when you're raising a manic pixie dream baby. The first day of parenthood flows like sotten molasses. 




The first week feels like years. The first month is a minor hop-skip-and-jump over eternity.

 But then, the engines start revving. You scale the parental Alps to peak at a few months. 





Then you slam straight into six.






 And then all the sudden you're mopping up mascara rivulets at little baby girl's PhD graduation. Holy whatsit, how old is my child? How old am I? What day is it? Where is my flying car and sassy robot housekeeper?

Ok, we're not there yet, but time flits and flutters about enough that you might need a little checklist to recall where you are.  





A ten month old is an interesting creature. Not quite an infant; not yet a toddler. I guess they're like pre-toddlers? Twoddlers?? 

There are a few surefire symptoms, though, that might help give you a clue if you happen to have one of them. 

A few quick ones include: 

Body By Baby-Pacing:

They're vergingly mobile in ways that you don't even want to fathom (hazard seeking missiles that they already are)



Verging on the precipice, they long for nothing more than the absolute perfection of their mischief. And that means walking, climbing, and spelunking. And you are on the hook. Once upon a time, you had horrible back problems from the havoc wreaked on your pelvic floor during delivery (well hopefully only if you're the mom - I don't know what happens in the delivery room to wreak havoc on daddy's pelvic floor, but it's best not to imagine).

Now, that's all healed. And instead, your back is permanently twisted from (1) helping baby run-stagger marathons around the kitchen island all day, and (2) sitting a frustrated and probably injured baby on your dominant hip when she needs a reboot. My left arm is getting ripped and I'm starting to really get the teenage hip-jut out. Did I mention Chaya often wants to be held for hours on end, but strongly believes that using a baby carrier to "hold" her is cheating.

Yes, even my little munchkin has a little bit of separation anxiety now. It's really sweet when she protests as I leave the house or wants mommy and only mommy in the morning. But it's also kind of exhausting when that carries over to wanting to be held by mommy without being put down for a second during a bad teething/tummy/sleep day.

Oh yeah, so you know how in the television show House, M.D. it's never lupus... except that one episode where it actually was? With Chaya it's still never teething... except that one time where she went and popped out her first little fang. There's another one quite visible under the gum, but it's been threatening to pop for nearly a month now. This girl teethes at a glacial pace. I'll still arbitrarily blame teething for any manner of maladies, though. Regardless of what they are, they occasionally require a lot of kitchen laps with a thrashing baby clinging to my neck and sliding down my hip.







Having a purse (pocket/car/bag/chair/floor) full of "toys"





They are toys. Not trash. Not refuse. Toys. A chopstick. An empty gum wrapper, the nipple of a bottle, shreds of parchment paper. Empty tubes of lipgloss. A ziploc bag. A paper cup. A tragically masticated roll of toilet paper.


Toys.

Amassed by a canny mommy and strewn about the curtilage like so many rose petals at a coronation.

This is my version of "nesting" - like a gull pecking at a dumpster, I immediately case a space for anything that might hold my little pumpkin's interest for a spare minute. Or, if I'm truly fortunate, maybe five minutes. If a candidate holds even the slightest glimmer of viability, it goes in the purse and gets a desperate audition with the big baby somewhere along the road.

I have actual toys in my purse as well. And my car. And the cupboards. And pretty much anywhere you could imagine. Actually, I really don't have much other than toys and a spare diaper in my purse. Most of the time I have a wallet in there too, but not always.

Diaper bags? For amateurs and maybe for travelling.



Curating your own museum of beverage containers






Chaya nurses less and less, and eats more and more. This is great since I want to wean off the domperidone pretty soon. But she's not always getting enough liquid when she nurses less. She's not dehydrated, but she does tend to get - er - stopped up. I am convinced that I will find the perfect cup to encourage her to drink. And that this drinking will help the flow go. And that I'll have more faith that once she weans, she'll ever have liquids again. Because that's kind of important to me.


By god, I will find the Holy Grail of sippie cups. Some day, Chaya will not just sip but slurp and guzzle from a damned cup. In the meantime, I'll spend a minor fortune attempting to nail it.

So far she's flirted with the following:

(1) A Nubie No-Spill Super Spout and Grip with handles and a soft plastic nozzle. She's had this one since five months old and occasionally drinks from it. Possibly by accident. She seems to mostly get liquid from it when she's in a reclined position. More often she favors the valve for intensive chewing.

(2) A Boeing themed sipper with a hard plastic nozzle that her daddy brought home from his super top secret mission to their El Segundo site (seriously, I have no idea, but perhaps they are engineering the perfect sippie cup?? If so, they have a ways to go). It pours water really quickly. Her favorite thing to do is upend it and bang it on the floor until there's a massive puddle. There's a theme here (prolepsis!)

(3) Another munchkin brand sippie cup with a similar chewie spout as the nubie but without handles. Ok, I found this on the trail by our house and thought she might like the variety. Her favorite thing? To drop this repeatedly, since it's kind of hard to hold. Then to fling herself about in a desperate attempt to escape the bonds of her seat.

(4) A Munchkin Click Lock with a weight at the end of the straw so it can be tilted. This thing is impossible to suck water out of. I've turned myself blue attempting to do so. She enjoyed chewing on the straw for a while and... then updended it and banged it on the floor. This continues whenever it comes back into rotation.

(5) One of Andrew's water bottles. Actually, this is one of the more successful drinking apparati so far. She goes through phases in which she allows somebody to help her by holding it to her mouth. And she enjoys pushing the stopper in and out.





(6) A regular house cup. She's fascinated by this and enjoys putting her hand inside to play with the water. Then she tries to lap up the water. Then she turns it upside down, chews on the bottom and starts banging it racuously until she drops it on the ground and falls into a rage.



(7) A "Doidy cup" - So apparently this is totally awesome. The cup is a regular open cup with little handles and a slant. It's cute. The idea is that the "unique slant lets children to drink easily as they can see the contents without thrusting their heads forward and downwards. They also learn to put the cups down properly." And it can be started as soon as three months. Chaya tries to lap water out of it. Then chews on the rim. Then turns it upside down. Then bangs it to a thorough cacophony before probably dropping it and falling into a rage. When empty, it makes a great floor-toy. I also bet that when she's college-aged and wanting to drink to excess, that will make a pretty awesome cup for such skewed debauchery.




(8) Dr. Brown's bottles. We only have a few of these left after buying a few dozen back in the early days. They still have the preemie nipples. I don't even know if she'll drink from them or not at this point. She did when I had mastitis, but that was a while ago. When she crawls across rooms to wrest Sebastian's bottle from him, she usually only chews on the nipple and expresses no interest in the formula inside. I suspect if we gave her a bottle, she'd upend it and bang it on the ground until she dropped it and became irate. Just a random guess.

(9) Some Take and Toss straw cups. She hasn't tried these because I can't get the plastic straws through the plastic lids.

(10) Some fancy bottle we got for our baby shower that has never been opened. It's still upstairs.

(11) Other babies' Nuk Learner Cups. Babies are sippie cup sluts. They swap their fluids like little libertines in one big orgy of nozzle-chewing and flailing infant arms. It's a good cup. Every one of Chaya's friends has one. She's tried several. I don't think she actually drinks from it either though. 



(12) An Apple & Eve Fruitables Berry Berry Juice Box - Yeah, I went there. She's not super interested in the juice itself. Perhaps because it is only half liquid sugar and half some veggie stuff. That said, she has used that straw to taste it. Now, though, she wants to pull the straw out of the box an play with that, then grab the strawless box and squeeze juice all over the floor. I've been slowly making my way through the juice box that we opened together.


Oh well. One of these days...

Holding two conversations at the same time... all the time.

I'm desperate for adult conversation as often as not. I get my fix bloviating on the internets about politics/science/philosophy/religion/nutrition/gender-issues/whatever-else-often-belies-that-humans-have-tendencies-towards-evangelicistic-asshattery-but-also-deep-thoughtfulness. But I also just like having conversations with those who visit.

There are usually two ways these conversations go for the people around me:

1. They are immune to the presence of a little baby and just barrel through despite the increasing efforts of Miss Chaya to garner attention from "new" (and therefore more interesting) person.

2. They are stunned in a tractor beam of baby cuteness and fall into babbling parentese.

Either way usually involves a sort of stichomythic pitter patter of my two conversational selves. Most of which go something like this (imagine interlocutor either continuing on unphased or totally mute staring at cute baby):

- Uh huh (to the interlocutor). Yeah, that's interesting, tell me more about ____. What did you mean when you said ______

... BLLLLLLLAAAAAAARG (raspberry)

- right, of course.

- Do you have a LION!?! ROAAAAAAR momomomomomo.

- But I was wondering about what you said the other day when _____

- Do we want a sippie cup? No? C'mon. Just a li' ... ok, we can throw it on the floor...

- (in a sing-song voice that obfuscates which individual i'm speaking with) Uh-huh. Yeaaaaaah. I can seeeeeee that.

- HUHUHUHUHUH HUHUHU


- So a lot like that passage from Augustine's Confessions where...

- Oooooooh pooop baby, poooop, c'mon, you can do it! Oh sweetie poooooop. 

And so on. 


Never Using the Bathroom The Same Again:


Ok, the days in which I can sneak into the bathroom and leave a self-contained baby alone in the minefield of havoc are coming to a close. Between her absolute talent for finding peril, and her occasional separation anxiety, Chaya is not really somebody to be left alone. 

I remember telling Andrew that I'd made it to the store only to realize that I'd forgotten my purse, so I just used the bathroom and left. Struggling through a mien of perplexity he finally asked "where was Chaya?" I was, of course, wearing her at the time. Sometimes she comes with me in a stroller. Most often, I just give her a toy and hold her on my hip. Occasionally I let her just crawl and wander around the bathroom, but then it gets into the awkward situation where I'm either struggling to distract her from various attractive nuisances (toilet paper, plunger, whatever else you never realized is not baby proofed). 

Even when I do actually manage to solo it, I have fallen into the habit of leaving the door slightly ajar. Just in case there's a crash and a howl requiring rapid action-mommy action. Because the way I'd be leaping into said action, a closed door would likely leave me concussed. Sometimes I do use the bathroom, say, during a nap or when I'm out on a date with my husband. But I still never quite feel alone. 


Food Ort is Your Most Prominent and Prolific Accessory:

I think my little baby has a budding eating disorder. A bunch of makes makes it in or near her mouth. A bunch more comes right back out. It's kind of like Christmas when we take her out of her seat - an untold trove of goodies
It sheds from her clothing, hands and hair like little baby fair dust all over anything she touches. And if I don't hug it right into myself directly, I'm likely to roll in it when I'm on floor duty (all the time - do people still sit in chairs these days?)

And, yes, I'm learning too much from my baby. First instinct when I happen upon a crumb in my hoodie or elbow crease? To eat it. Though, unlike her, I usually manage to keep it in my mouth.

...

These are only a few symptoms of course, but if several apply, I'd check your home for ten month olds.

Burden of Baby-Proof - A Plaintive Parent's O(h-my-)nus Begins







Well it's beyond the time you knew you shoulda started on your grand baby-proofing journey (I hear the Mirena IUD works wonders when combined with a vasectomy and a few appropriately fitted condoms...). 

Baby is mobile. Not that sort of loud grunting toilsome mobile. Not the sort where you can hear her tromping and straining to army crawl across the expanses. Not walking yet, thank god. But stealth crawling like a teeny tiny cheetah. And boy can you learn a lot about how tenuous the separation between our lives and instant death really is just by following the little one around the house for a day. Babies seem to have hazard radar.

And so, after all that diligent preparation, you find yourself woefully ill-prepared? No worries. There's time to catch up.



1. Buy a kit. Actually, you probably did this before baby even started crawling. I'm sure that you've hit the lowest common denominator and covered most of the exposed plugs (by now, you've probably even moved a lot of your electronics out of the really exposed areas. The kit will also have several bumpers for pointy furniture edges. Some latches for the doors. A few of those awful things you put over doorknobs to render them inutile. Some "appliance locks" which confuse and terrify you.

2. Realize the bumpers for pointy furniture don't stay on the corners of anything. Deem them teething toys, after baby co-opts them. Call it good.

3. Eschew the doorknob destroyers. that's a ways off, knock on wood.

4. Consider the safety latches, feel overwhelmed at how many drawers and cupboards you own. Realize that screwdrivers and mangling furniture is involved. Panic. Put that off as well.  Fear the latches that keep the toilet and other appliances closed. Why do you think they'd just lead to accidents? Promise you'll keep the baby gates (when they exist) and all the bathroom doors closed at all times.




5. Instead of installing safety latches, move all of the heavy objects and hazardous materials out of the lower shelves onto the topmost shelves that you can barely reach. Fill bottom shelves with towels, wrapped and sealed foods ("toys"), and actual baby toys. Call it good for another few months.

6. Baby gates! You probably ordered those a while ago too. In fact, they're mostly stashed behind the sofa. Baby has crawled on them repeatedly. She's even climbed up the stairs to bat at them from a taller vantage point.

7. Think about trying to put them up when baby is napping. Misunderstand instructions and believe wall-screwing (oh my!) is involved. Panic. Beg your husband to help out.

8. A week later, not wanting to feel like a nag, but starting to think that putting baby at the far end of the room and running to the bathroom to get a headstart is not ideal. Find it still a little awkward to bring baby into the bathroom with you, since she inevitably still tries to climb up on you in between attacking the plunger and the toilet paper. And lose stomach for the wails of recrimination involved when baby is placed in the nefarious Plastic Maiden (i.e. "her bouncer") when mommy heeds the call of nature. More pointedly request that husband "at least" do the one bottleneck that leads to the stairs and baby's future Jack and Jill gymnastics. Insist he needn't do all three. Attempt to stop him again after he's well into the second one a wee bit past bedtime. Thank him profusely, but tell him to go to bed. Leave the third and most complicated (but least necessary) one for some future date. 





9. Discover that baby gates are the best baby toys ever. Spend several hours on the opposite side of baby feeding her freeze dried blueberries while she cage dances. Help baby step over the little door threshold. Thank the lord that there is now something sturdy and non-pointy that baby likes to climb.

10. Move furniture. Heavy furniture goes in front of wires. Tape down bubble wrap on the mantle place. Tap cords shoddily down in a way that just attracts baby. Keep moving furniture. Use an old baby hat to tied a cabinet shut.

11. Decide that the death machine rocking chair and swaying bouncer are good for baby's balance.




12. Follow your baby around at (almost) all times. Say inane things like "careful!" and "is that a fun thing to climb?" between "Hmmm how can we get you away from that without a massive temper tantrum... how about this piece of trash? Would you like a nice safe piece of trash?" 

13. Realize that the Amish had a good idea getting all wires and cords out of their lives. Amish baby proofing must be significantly easier.

14. Get yourself into a thorough snit fit over the internet outrage (mostly by men you notice) against the mom whose baby climbed into the gorilla pit. While ranting about this off-the-charts insipidity, hear a loud THUD and baby sobs for the twentieth time of the day.

15. Feel relief that baby doesn't seem that close to standing. Declare a momentary break and spend your days following baby around retrieving her from deadly situations. Consider investing a bale of bubble-wrap and a nice comfortable baby leash.



Baby-Mamma Chronicles - Extracting the Me from Mommmeeeeee (or is it maaaaahmaaababaalaaamaaa?)

But enough about Chaya. Let's ditch the thinly veiled parental narcissism of obsessing over one's "flesh and blood" and just go straight for ME. And maybe a little my boytoy. But mostly ME.




A few weekends ago, the (W)right family was at the park when "serious conversation" leapt upon us with more spring than our little can-can girl's wildly pumping gams.



It sprawled with as many tentacles as a mutant cephelapod, but a few topics got me thinking: Andrew had started urging me to do more "me" things (as in "me-Adella"/"you" and less "me-Andrew"/"serve me" things). Get a massage. Go running. Take a class. Heck, take a week away and go visit my sister. Have something that was mine. It came from a good place. He'd been talking about his big races. His away-rides. His me-time. He felt odd that I didn't have the equivalent. He wanted to make sure I was taking care of myself. And/or he's always viewed feminine sentiment as a bit of a pathology, so my frequent Venusian behaviors do worry him more than a touch.

In a sense, he struck a pretty common theme in our relationship. Andrew defines himself by what he does. I define myself by the relationships around me. By my sense of place in a community. And by the internal thoughts and ideas that I have. I've never really had the same emphasis on external activities. It's alien to him to think of a self without these. So my amorphous activity-based identity has always been peculiar to him. But it's become more of a contrast in this last year.

My initial reaction was mildly defensive incredulity. Obviously he didn't understand what it was to be a mom. While he can put on and take off daddy-hat, ME is written write into "mom-Meeee" (ok, MY is written into Mommy, which might imply the more possessive nature of all this mothering). For him, Daddy is just an additional thing he is among several other things. Chaya's an additional relationship he has in his life. An important one. But relationships always recognize contrasts, boundaries, separation. It's not like that for me. Chaya is my me.


I've always been fiercely resistant to categorization. I've been a _____ (dancer, attorney, Johnnie), but also... and except for how I'm not... I mixed freely among cliques when I was younger. I've always held one foot out of the water. Until now. I have never felt so fully subsumed in an identity as I am "Chaya's mommy." It's the fulcrum through which all of my previous talents and passions, and quirks are manifest.

One problem with this though: I don't feel like I'm really all that great of a "Chaya's Mom" Not really. There just aren't metrics for that, for one. And if there were, well...

  I'm usually good at what I do. I was a pretty darned good dancer. I was the Outstanding Graduate in the East Asian Studies Department. I was top percentiles in Law School. Other attorneys actually have praised my briefs, and I'm famous for my work as the secretary of the WCP. Hell I used to make award winning fruit baskets as a produce clerk, and was a top scooper at the salsa factory.

I'm too neurotic to let that get into my head and inflate my ego, but I certainly took a kind of pride in the occasional fawning and markers of success at any rate.

 As mom, I don't know. I'm somewhere between "treading water" to "bobbing along passably." I have yet to get my special framable Summa Cum Mom plaque, believe it or not. Sure, Chaya looks to me when she's grumpy, and only I can sing her or snuggle/rock to sleep. (Why is it on days that Chaya's moody, fragile and underslept, her favorite consonantal string is mamamamamamamamama... mom... ma... maaaaamaaaa? When she's happy, it's babab or even papa) But that's largely because I do it all the time. Chaya's an awesome little beast. She would thrive with any half-decent caregiver.

 I'm sometimes a little jealous of the moms with velcro babies, of those whose kiddos have genuine separation anxiety. Babies who cry when other people hold them, and who get jealous when mommy holds other babies. Chaya gets overwhelmed in new situations, but after that, she's a little flirt. I imagine some part of me is afraid to let others care for Chaya because I don't want to discover that she'll forget me. That I, mommy, am disposable. That some other Alpha ape-lady will try to steal my monkey baby!

And of course, Chaya will grow up. Right now, she mostly needs somebody to give her the basic essentials and restrain her from leaping headfirst off the couch. But eventually, she'll need role models, not just guides and guards. I'll need to keep in touch with myself as she becomes herself. And someday she'll be off to conquer the world. I kinda need to stay in touch with the non-Chaya ME, for Chaya's sake.

Ok, so all that percolated after our initial conversation...

And I got to thinking, I'd best devise a plan to make sure I manage this me-ness!

ACK!

WHO AM I???



... Then my second thought was, well actually I am still here. But in specific ways that contain the potential for expansion as the little one grows up.


Things that I think of as quintessentially me: 

1. Writing - It's always been my way of processing the world around me. And engaging with it. And manipulating it. And laughing at it. Whether it's blogging, writing briefs, or taking notes as the Secretary/Poet Laureate of the WCP, it's an essential thing for me and my sense of self. I am trying to make sure to at least keep the blog semi-active, even if it's all baby-poop, boobies and naps all the time. As Chaya's naps start to hit longer paces, I've been able to find some down time by occasionally ignoring all the things around the house I'd like to do. It's not quite the morning discipline of writing for an hour after first waking. But it's a start.

2. Research, Esemplastic Epiphanies, and Analyses - This is a complement to the writing. I'm damned good at synthesizing large swarms of raw data into cohesive wholes. It's dragged me into a bit of a quagmire with babydom, since I'm compulsively aware of all the information out there and constantly tinkering with it to ongoing uncertainty.

3. Supporting others - I'm neurotic and self-centered and thoroughly introverted, but I also am an empathetic person. I am able to hear other people, support and affirm their experiences, and help them forge through the inner chambers of their murky minds. I also am able to reach out from my own experiences and relate instead of supplanting. I find myself becoming that sort of figure through the various moms groups, especially as an advocate for women struggling with fertility or lactation issues.

4. Fitness - This one has really fallen by the wayside. Although I still eat quite well and have maintained a slimmer and semi-toned figure, I am just at a nadir of fitness. My abdominals are jelly. My toosh has been vacuum packed into my milky bosoms, and just generally I'm not all that strong. And that's a little weird for somebody who has been in pretty peak condition for at least ten years prior. So that one isn't quite there, but I am still in decent shape. I'm hoping in the future to get back my abs o'iron.

5. Whimsy - It's in my sense of humor. When I'm putting effort or conscious thought into dressing, it shows up there quite a bit. I love sparkles and splashes of colors. Fun and playful babble. My massive sock collection. I like to subvert expectations. Sometimes with a sere irony that skids past the minds of most, and sometimes with a facile pablum of sing-songery. You're never too old for make believe. Sometimes I wish I shared this more with Chaya, but I think I still do somewhat. I hope.



And then, aside from that, there are things that I still do that were my ME-things. And some that I don't.



Things I do/did "for me":

1. Writing - see above

2. Crosswords - word puzzles. Word play. This is totally the leisure activity that has survived babypocalypse. It's easier than most immersive activities, since I can put it down and re-assume without losing a beat. And with the synapses misfiring left and right, I suppose it's palliative to have some badinage still beating about my battered aphasiac brain.

3. Reading - Much of my life, I could fling myself down the rabbit hole of good literature and only re-emerge several hours later. Possibly completely changed. Certainly dazed and startled about having debouched back to "reality."This has fallen by the wayside recently. It's something that requires my undivided attention and I don't have a lot of that these days. But I do read aloud to Chaya several times a day. I have many of her books memorized, and chant them to her at random with pantomime and gesture. I'm really looking forward to when she is older and I can share my favorite children's stories with her.

4. My strange form of cooking and playing with food - I don't exactly do "fine dining," but given my particular style of eating, I certainly have learned my share of idiosyncratic approaches to cookery. My favorite Saturday activity used to be cutting and preparing vegetables, firing up the slow cooker, and making yogurt. I'm currently channeling these impulses into baby food and occasionally making more interesting meals for my hubba hubba. I'm afraid to use my larger food processor. It's loud and messy. but my immersion blender is fairly awesome.



5. Musical Immersion - Nowadays that means playing music in the house, singing to Chaya, and occasionally grooving in the kitchen. It used to mean dancing, which I love but which was already becoming a late night activity when I was gravitating towards early mornings. I also honestly find social dancing more diverting with strangers. Part of the fun and excitement is the unknown and the utter fantasy. When you become too familiar, that goes by the wayside.

It also meant and will mean attending concerts, the opera, and singing at the Taize service or in some other community setting.

There was also performance which related to music. I feed off the connection with a partner, but also the vibe of a room and feel such a rush competing or performing dance. I really do miss that. Teaching and competing was very satisfying that way.




6. Walking and other forms of physical engagement with the world and my body. There was a phase in which running was a big thing for me. I still take a walk with Chaya every day, despite her occasional cavils. And I like to charge up the high grade areas. But not quite like when I walked several hours a day at my desk. Or ran. But even if running is "easy," it's not that easy. I can take Chaya in the stroller, sure. But then I need a shower. And before that I need to change. And probably nurse her on either side. And stretch. It's involved. I may try to get back into it with Andrew at least on the weekend. And when she's a bit older, I think I will look into getting back into

7. Spirituality. I'm a cliche for my generation. I tend to find a deeply spiritual experience in all things. I find all religions to hold a kernel of truth. I embrace the inarticulable and believe that no true belief can be held without struggle and doubt and paradox. But I found something really meaningful in my occasional excursions to the Taize service with my dad. And the holiday rites we share.

So there's all that. I'm still here. I could be more here. But I'm still here.



We are so related...




Another familiar refrain that came up in our conversation was Andrew and I having things that were ours. To an extent he's always regretted that we don't share more things in common. I take this mostly as his emphasis on activity versus being. And also a bit of guilt/regret that he feels he has to choose between "time with wife" and "time doing my things." But of course, noting back burners a shared few things like a baby. Or subsumes it.

I mean, my first response was "We have a baby we're raising together. Chaya is our thing!!" But I get it. We still do date night, but I may find it even harder to stay out for long and have my phone out plenty. And I don't want to waste a great spouse because I'm flooded with baby-momma hormones that will evolve and make room over time if only I let them.



So, the things we do/did/have done together:

1. Netflix. Seriously, dude, a shared marathon of a tv show is a big thing. You have the inside jokes, topics of conversations, a shared laugh or tear. It's incredibly communal. We watch marathons of shows together after Chaya goes to sleep. It's drab. But it's grounding.

2. Walking and talking. Not Andrew's favorite thing, walking, but we always have had a bond in motion. It takes a while for his head to spin down from work/cycling, and for my gibberish to coalesce into a nice desultory chitter-chat, but it happens when we walk together. I like that we do this together on the weekends.

3. Ballet. We both danced once upon a time and for a good while we went to the PNB together. It was a really special little thing to share, but it's a long day trip, so certainly not this year. And I probably won't be comfortable being away that long for a little while longer. But perhaps there are events in town.

4. Dancing - As I said, in many regards, I enjoy dancing more when I'm single (and in shape, but that's a different thing). And my other challenge with this is that I have tended to gravitate naturally towards an earlier schedule. With the baby, that is magnified intensely. Sure, I could let somebody else put her to bed (after she's weaned a bit more anyways), or go out after Chaya's down for the night. But sleep! I need sleep! I'm usually ready to crawl into pjs and zonk by 8. But of course, if there's a good tune in playing on the radio... and the man is near... I think if we could find a few things during the day, it would be lovely.



5. Running/Working out - I'd like to get back into this. And it would be fun to have a standing running date with the hubba-hubs.

6. Exploring and Traveling - Not as much as some of the others, but we have done our share of continent trotting.



PHEW

So at any rate. Wherever you go, there you are. You might be covered in prune puree, washing yourself with wetnaps and unable to form coherent sentences that don't involve baby poop or nonsense syllables. But there you are.

In some ways, I am developing a course of expected re-discovery. First off, some day I'll stop referring to myself in the third person. And this will simplify life a lot. Working in all those "me" and "I" constructions should help, right?

But really. I'm planning to wean. Myself. From the transcendental umbilical cord.

In ancient writings, the word “wean” meant “to ripen” — like a fruit nourished to readiness, its time to leave the vine… Weaning was a joyous occasion because a weaned child was valued as a fulfilled child; a child was so filled with the basic tools of the earlier stages of development that she graduated to take on the next stage of development more independently.
— from The Baby Book by William Sears. MD and Martha Sears, RN, p. 187


The thought is that around a year Chaya will hit a point where she'll have fewer, more predictable naps. Ok, Chaya will never be predictable per se. But I think it's a little more reasonable to scootch her towards a schedule at that point.

 And at the same time, when she's a year old, she'll have satisfied the AAP recommendation of "at least one year" of getting the larger part of her nutrition from breastmilk. It's an arbitrary milestone. But at that point I expect to start cutting back the domperidone in earnest. And letting her wean down as that occurs and my supply diminishes (this assumes the situation stays static until a year - a few razor-baby-teeth and we might reconsider formula or pumping). I'll hold onto those night feedings to the last, but the day feedings would certainly be less missed and add a little more portability (since she can't nurse on the go) and predictability.

And that will make it easier for me to plan a few things. Which will mostly kill my excuses and force my out of my (sometimes uncomfortable) comfort zone of all things baby.

Maybe that means more trips to the doctor and dentist. Or the highly needed PT (my achin' back!) But it also means I will gradually start letting myself spend more time away from Chaya at a sitting.  Maybe work my way up to an hour or two at a time.  A lunch out alone while Andrew watches the baby.  And then occasionally a day trip even. And I'll work my way into leaving her at the daycare or with friends while I do little "me" things.

When I stop nursing, I've promised to celebrate the tough road by buying myself (1) a new wardrobe (for those smaller boobies that don't need to pop out easily), and (2) a gym membership (to handle those extra hundreds of calories I've been munchkin in for Miss Chaya's booby juice). She'll have a chance to catch all those fun bugs at daycare that she missed this year!

Of course I say this as every day, it gets harder and harder to want to lose a minute. But gosh darnit. For Miss Chaya. I will. Eventually. In a couple of months. Really...




I'm sure she won't forget me immediately. And hopefully none of those Alpha monkeys are hanging around on the porch too closely to swoop in on my little monkey baby! Because once I get into my cardio kickboxing, well meaning mommies who get too near to my baby are gonna be in trouble.