Thursday, June 27, 2013

SarcastiCarrie is a Robot

I had to do it.  I had to turn on the captcha.  I hope it's not too bad, but the spam was getting to be too much for me (and I don't even delete it...just leave it there).  By the way, I am a robot and it usually takes me two or three or more! times to get the captcha right.  I never know whether the capitals are important or the spacing.  Sometimes, I even have to have it read to me.  Then I have to go find the unmute button on my computer, turn sound on, listen carefully, type it in, etc.  Am Robot.

Since this is the most boring blog post in the history of time, I reward you with a photo spread.  I am really quite fond of these children.




Often, as I am driving in the car, I think of blog posts I would like to write.  But, alas, I don't have any voice to text software installed in my car radio, so it's just not going to happen.

One thing I wanted to complain about:  all my financial institutions and email (and blogger) want me to give them my cell phone number so I can log in with a secret code or do data recovery if I get hijacked.  Problem?  I don't text.  I don't have a texting plan. It costs me $0.20 to get a text.   So, one day, I wanted to log on to my bank from work but the work computer hadn't been used before and didn't have a cookie so my bank wanted to call my phone of record with a code I needed to use to log in, so I had them call my house, had the nanny answer the call, write down the code, then call me on my desk phone with it.  And this is supposed to make me like my bank?  I mean, sure I am glad that my money isn't disappearing from my account unauthorizedly (again), but this is not the way to win me over.

Seriously, someone had set up their auto pay on their car payment using my account (a typo I am sure because the bank decided to change everyone's account numbers one day...which was super annoying after having the same account for 15 years...much longer for many others, I am sure), but the bank would not stop the payments because it was a valid account number.  Yes, but I didn't authorize it and this is my account.  I had to figure it out myself and call the GMAC people and make them stop.  very annoying since I didn't have the account number for the auto loan I wasn't trying to service.

Let's also talk about my period, which OMG, I am getting one and after a lifetime of PCOS, this is weird.  The weaning is done and over and I am having somewhat regular menses.  And I have to say, I am not a fan.  How did the rest of you do it all these years?  This is annoying.  Every 35 days or so for 10 days, I have a period.  Then at the mid-month, I feel like I have appendicitis but it's just an egg over there enripening (always on the left).  Then it bursts out (OW, ow, ow) and then nothing for 8 or 10 days (I still have the old luteal phase defect), then BAM, another period.  It's all so....animalistic.  I have feelings at certain times of the month that make me realize I am no better than some kind of ...of...animal.  In heat.  Unpleasant.  And this whole period every month thing is for the birds.  For the last, ohhhh, 20 years, I have had hormonal birth control that stopped (or severely limited) the number and duration of periods.  This uncontrolled thing is craziness. 

So, I guess the tubal ligation is a win since I appear to be fertile like some 23-year old what with all these cycles, but it's a lose because ick, this sucks.  I have a feeling I will be back on something before too long.

Seriously, how do/did the rest of you do it?  I mean the mittelschmerz, the bleeding (that does not come on any sort of actual schedule so you kind of always need to be prepared), the more bleeding because after 10 days, you pretty much feel like you're bleeding to death.  Do you drink  heavily?  Lightly?  Do you have 3-day periods that come like clockwork and are light?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Phab Photo

No rules today.  Just fun.

This first picture, I think, looks a lot like a hipster album cover.  Or maybe the Allman Brothers.  One of those.  Either way, I think they should use this for their first album.  And then maybe re-stage it in whatever the current year is.  Maybe I will have them re-stage this photo every year for the Christmas card.


I got this photo sent to me via text with a note that said "This is a kiss you."  I thought you needed a kiss.  There.  Better?



So tiny, so unstoppable.  Since I haven't been blogging much, you should know that this baby started walking at 10 months and started running 2 weeks ago.  He was only 15 percentile for size at his one-year visit (he's fallen to a lower percentile at every visit...if that holds at 15 months, we will be discussing it).  So he's tiny, but he's such a good walked that people are constantly asking me how old he is because he acts like 18 months, looks like a 9-month old.  And here he is climbing the swing set.


And here he is where real clothes and shoes.  It's cute when they think they're people.

The other day, the child who can read asked me about Twitter.  We were talking for a while and it came out that I never use their real names on the internet and that I am a little careful about what I will and won't say.  I told them they each had spy code-names.  Chuckles was fine with his.  They all agreed that Trip makes sense, but my favorite code-name of all is Bobo.  Sweet Bobo.  And they all thought that name was stupid.  Dang those children!  Here is sweet, sweet Bobo making what he called "A Love Party".  A love party!  That's just about the cutest thing I have ever seen (except maybe the kiss you up there).


And that's the way it is.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Rules


There are rules to life.  If you don’t follow the rules, you will get burned.  Or scorned.  Or something, but it won’t be good because you must follow the rules.  {FYI - This post has nothing to do with current events and has been sitting around in semi-draft form for a while and I just caught 92 consecutive free seconds to hit post.}

 

Rule:  When you know what you are doing is stupid/dangerous, stop doing it.  I have broken that rule.  Twice.  And both times, my baby wound up on the floor.

 

Rule: The slow traffic keeps to the right.  If you have trouble with this concept, I will lay it out for you.  The right lane goes 55, the center-right lane does 62, the center-left lane goes 70, and the leftmost lane does Oh-My-God-They-Are-So-Going-To-Get-Pulled-Over.  If you want to do 57 mph, you should just get off of my highway, because I do not have a lane for you.  57 would be going along in the right lane, come up on someone, decide to pass, move to the left and pass at two miles per hour, a car comes up behind them at 62, wants to continue traveling 62, need to get left to pass, and the next thing you know, people are changing lanes all over the place and why won’t you all just leave me alone traveling 70 in the center-left lane?  What is wrong with you?  55 or 62, pick one!

 

Rule: I can nurse or I can *not* nurse but there is no middle.  Once I stop pumping, my supply drops off so dramatically that the babies usually give up because the effort is not worth it.  However, there is another rule:

 

Rule: Trip must be allowed to nurse to sleep.  This is a rulE with a capital E.  I have left him at bedtime twice during his almost 13-months of life and both times when I returned, a grandparent was holding him and unable to put him down.  Then he was nursed and put down without difficulty.  A couple of weeks ago, I handed Mr. Long-Suffering a bottle and a baby at bedtime.  This was a mistake as the rule is that Trip must be allowed to nurse to sleep.  So, now we have some weird combination thing going on where I nurse at 5:45 pm to celebrate returning from work (“Reunited and it feels so good”), give a bottle on-and-off from 7 to 8:20 pm, and then nurse Trip to sleep (ceremonially) at 8:30. 

 

Rule: Your blog, your update schedule.  You will not see a post wherein I explain that I’m not abandoning the blog or that I am creatively tapped out.  What I am is busy.  Very busy.  So busy in fact that when someone told me that she was certain I could find 30 minutes a day to exercise if I made it a priority, I agreed and said that I did, in fact, have 30 minutes a day.  I have 7:28 to 7:30 am, 5:55 to 6:01 pm, 8:03 to 8:07 pm, and the minutes from 9:45 until 9:52 when the laundry needs to come out, and so on.  I have a lot of free time during the day, but I have no, ZERO blocks of free time.  When I was running, I used to put the kids down and go out at 8:30 pm.  I was usually home by 9:15.  Now I use that time to make lunches, check homework, clean and refill bottles.  The last time I was running consistently, I was not making lunches and no one was on the bottle.  I am starting to think that my almost 8-year old is old enough to make his own lunch.  I know I was making my own lunch at that age (but my parents are from the benign neglect school of parenting and I am in the Helicopter Flight School).

 

Rule: Big business is not managed to make you (me) feel good about yourself.  It is there to make money, and you are merely an asset.  Further to that, I had an interesting exchange with my BFF:

Soooo, I just had my performance appraisal for 2012.  Most demotivating meeting in a long time.  I got a 3 (on a 1-5 point scale where 5 is good).  That’s Fully Meets Expectations.  During this meeting where I was rated average, I was also praised repeatedly for the 7 miracles (only one of which was turning water into wine) I performed in 2012…which is one per month worked since I was out on leave for 5 months.  And then I was told that I was a 3, because we expect miracles from you and our expectations for you are so high.  (And normally, people who are in a new job are rated a 2 because they are learning and not yet up to speed and here they debated back and forth whether to give me the 3 or the 4 and settled on the 3 because I did what they expected!)


Now, that’s demotivating.  But hey, I was praised for my miraculous works.  That’s something.  BFF, having the most awesome sense of humor, sent me the following I hope it shows up because it's the most-perfect Dilbert for the occasion):   http://search.dilbert.com/search?p=R&srid=S3-USESD02&lbc=dilbert&w=Alice%20Performance%20Review&url=http%3a%2f%2fdilbert.com%2fstrips%2fcomic%2f1996-10-13%2f&rk=13&uid=426697452&sid=2&ts=custom&rsc=JzkwqlNBrWFhu6Pf

 

 

Rule: All politics is local.   Real estate may all be about location, location, location, but it’s really all about the School District.  To that end, we have a levy coming up and I have a yard sign.  I am not anticipating any vandalism or theft to or of my sign as the only people opposing the levy are the elderly and they are not known for egging houses with pro-schools yard signs.  Election Day is May 7th.

 

Rule:  Bad things happen to good people.  Good things happen to bad people.  You only need to worry about yourself.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A November to Remember

November is not over yet, so I bring you more photos.  This time they are courtesy of my cell phone camera and are a truly random selection of my life.

There is a crazy-ass detour that goes under, over, around and through (ever since they condemned my favorite bridge).  Someone mocked up a fake road sign and placed it along the detour (thanking our governor for it as well).



What? Like you don't take a photo of your odometer when your vehicle goes off of warranty.


If you've ever been a nursing mother, I present this photo as "The View From Here".  Oh yes, that baby is nursing, yes he is laying on the My Brest Friend Pillow (dumbest name/best product), yes that is a TV remote control.

This photo is called "Waiting for Cake" a/k/a "Now We're Cooking on a Light Bulb".

This is a photo of a kitchen table I might want.  Our growing family will require a new kitchen table.  We think we want a bench and chairs.  We aren't sure.  What do all of you think about kids and benches (the bench will be against a wall so no one should fall off the back of it)?

Windshield wipers make me nervous and agitated.  So normally, I will not turn them on and just use Rain-X instead.  Obviously, I was not driving when this photo was taken so I did not get a choice about keeping the wipers off, so I spent my freak out time trying to time the photo to get the wiper in the picture.

The "Come and Be Blessed Cuts" barber and beauty shop.  Because, why not?

This is what I like to call a sketchy van.  You see that van?  It says "Caution Kids" and also "Mobile Fun".  Further, it has hand prints in house paint in primary colors. It looks like every cliche don't take candy from strangers van you've ever imagined.

I mentioned someone who wanted to be a hamburger and fries for Halloween.  This is the diaper box that is now immortalized in costume.

 For his birthday, we got Bobo a "doll house".  I did not actually want to kill my m-i-l by getting him a pretty pretty princess doll house, so I got him a fire house/fire station.  It's from KidKraft.  <$70 from amazon.  I highly recommend it.  Right now, it appears back ordered, but there are some fancier versions.  Anyway, the doll house, has a bathroom and in the bathroom is a toilet (and a urinal on the wall).  This is awesome and the best thing ever at my house.  Potty (hee-hee). 


Passive-Aggressive Notes from inside the Potty at work.  Also, please note the inappropriate use of quotation marks (unless these are "air quotes" and refer to the person writing the note you-know-who-you-are).



Finally, I leave you with proof that Chuckles is a perceptive child.  Nice to see that it ranked a "good" from the teacher.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's still November and I still feel guilty

Where is this misplaced guilt coming from?  It's not like you pay me.

Anyway, this post is a total cop-out, so you get that for which you paid plus pictures.

Here is Bobo.  He is my worker bee.  He is not lazy.  He likes to do work.  With tools.  "Daddy?  Do you need to change the oil in  mommy's car and rotate the tires?  I can hand you wrenches."  He also likes to rake up leaves and sweep the front porch.  I encourage such behavior.


This is Trip.  He was laying down and now he's sitting up. He looks pretty pleased with himself.  Hi Baby!


All three children have their faces toward the camera whether they are actually looking or smiling is beside the point.  Their faces are toward the camera!  Also, my kids are sitting in a big pile of leaves (that Bobo raked, no doubt).  I am a cliche.  Bobo has had a hair cut since this photo was taken.  However, Chuckles has not.

Here is Chuckles.  He is swaddled in his new blanket.  He is also a Packers fan.  Somewhere I went wrong with this child (whose parent-teacher conference had no surprises but just makes me yearn for third grade that much more).  He gave up his old blanket to Trip because Trip appears to sleep when surrounded by Chuckles's old, stinky blankie.  Awesome.  You can have all the Packers stuff you want provided your brother is sleeping (and sleeping some part of the night not attached to me).

Lastly, this is Bobo.  He will be 4 on Friday.  He's come a long way.

Bobo, Roughly Four Years Ago


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's November so Guilt Dictates that I Post Something at Some Point this Month

I am never at a computer during downtime hours because I am usually reading stories, wiping counters, or holding a baby who would much prefer to sleep in my arms than, well, anywhere else.  it's nice and snuggly and wonderful and I will never get these moments back, but uhhh, it's exhausting and I don't accomplish much.  But if the lowest accomplishment I have in my life is my sons, then I am rather successful despite the fact that there are dust strata on my chair rail.

I leave you with something I wrote for a different purpose, but you'll get the idea anyway.


Dear Santa,


I have been a _very_ good mommy this year. Please bring me sleep. Also, I would like 2 more hours in each day for a month so I can catch up on filing monthly statements and sorting the mail. I'm not on the naughty list. I'm nice. Just ask my kids. No don't ask them. I'm mean to them. But only so they'll grow up into responsible adults. Maybe ask my mother-in-law. No, wait, not her. She still doesn't understand the whole grandson as a butterfly {Halloween Costume} thing. Ask my mom...she'll vouch for me. Wait, maybe not her...since I may have implied that she's crazy {which she is}. I'm sure you can ask someone who will confirm that I have been nice this year. Maybe my husband?  Perhaps not, since he is sorely neglected (even moreso than the houseplants since I have actually tended to them).  The lady who waxes my eyebrows will corroborate my nice story.

In conclusion, Santa, you're my best last hope.

Love, Carrie

=======   That Butterfly Thing never came to fruition.  Bobo had wanted to be a butterfly.  Then a pirate.  We were all a-go with the pirate until the day before his class party when he decided he wanted to be a hamburger.  And I said fine as long as I wasn't involved with the costume change.  Let's just say he went as a hamburger and fries and I wasn't involved so let's all praise the nanny who used construction paper, duct tape, scissors, and a diaper box to take 15 minutes and make Bobo's world.  {Note:  he removed the box at the first opportunity because it was not so comfortable for walking and sitting, though he did wear it for trick-or-treat.}   I'll have you know that my other child who can speak also changed his costume the night before but I wasn't involved in that either so it was fine.  He switched from a Green Bay Packer {where did I go wrong?} to a police officer {a costume we already had....be still my thrifty heart}.   I thought Trip was going to go as a zombie but that was me who was a zombie after no sleep ever OMG killing me, but I guess we started co-sleeping and then some stuff happened and now he only sleeps in my bed part-time and in his crib the other, so he no longer sleeps in the car seat and I don't know what happened, but EVOLUTION.  He was teh itsy-bitsy spider-man for Halloween but he fell asleep in teh stroller while trick-or-treating so maybe he was actually Rip VanWinkle.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Other Stuff is Happening!!!

In the midst of all my work drah-ma, I neglected to elaborate on one of the more exciting things going on….Bobo started preschool. He goes to a local church two days a week for 2.5 hours. According to him they don’t do anything there and just stand and stare at the wall for the entire time, but if you ask him what color play-do he used, he will tell you red and that they had little cutters for it.

This is exciting for many reasons. The first is that they are expected to handle all potty-related issues independently. What follows in an in-depth analysis of the potty training in our house. If that kind of thing grosses you out, skip down past the baby picture. Well, we have been potty training ….for ohhhh, I don’t know….over a year. Poop potty training has been 100% successful for about a year...both of my big kids were poop trained long before pee trained so what follows is about pee. He was doing very well, then he slipped, but a new baby was on the way so we kind of muddled through. When that settled down, I offered a bubble mower as a reward for daytime dryness (nighttime has been dry pretty consistently since he was 11 months old.). He earned his bubble mower by staying dry for 10 consecutive days. He played with it for 2 days, then was wet.

He needed to go 10 days dry again to earn it back, which he did after a month or so. Now, when I say “wet” I don’t mean he emptied his bladder into his pants leaving a puddle of horror on the carpet. I mean, he released 6 drops into his pants (and then stopped! I wish I had control like that). So, he dampens his underpants, but his pants are dry (meanwhile he is dancing and saying he doesn’t have to go potty). He lost the bubble mower again, and hasn’t had a 10 day stretch since. I think we are 4 days into a positive bubble mower season. This is a battle of wills at this point. When the potty alarm goes off, and it’s time to go potty (not me saying it’s potty time…much less personal with an alarm he gets to turn off all-by-himself), he will defiantly tell you he has no pee, but when you eventually get him on the toilet, there is a racehorse’s pee. I don’t know if he can’t feel it or if he is just that defiant. Either way, maddening, so I am hoping the gentle power of preschool peer pressure will help things along. He goes potty before school and then when he comes home so I don’t think he will be going while there….I am just hoping seeing other kids do it on their own will help (or maybe the gentle stigma given to kids who wet their pants).



(Insert palate-cleansing baby photo here)

Also, regarding preschool, we are waiting to see whether Bobo contracts illnesses (which we know he will) and whether he will fight them off on his own and not wind up in a spiral of horrible illness (which we hope not). If you’ve been reading for a while, you know what I mean. If you haven’t the Cliffs’ Notes edition is Bobo is not at day care because he contracted all illnesses that entered the building and each illness spiraled into something that landed him at Urgent Care on a Sunday morning with antibiotics, eventual ear tubes, opportunistic infections, a blood infection, chicken pox, developmental delays, and a suspected immunodeficiency (which he does not have). He was just “allergic” to day care.

So this exposure to other kids has me a tiny bit worried. He has had a few colds since leaving day care (maybe 5 in the last 2 years). He fought each one off on his own and has not been on antibiotics since leaving day care nor has he had a sick visit to the pediatrician and his development is typical for age and not delayed any more. I figured since preschool is seriously short and not childcare (clearly based on the small number of hours), that most parents would keep sick kids home, but the pediatrician disabused me of that notion. He said that parents need a break and send marginally healthy children regardless and that we can expect Bobo to pick up illnesses, but that he might not downward spiral if we let him rest and keep him home when he is ill and maybe he’s just older now. We wait and see. If it’s bad, we will withdraw him from preschool. And then, we’ll try again next year when he’ll be 4 (almost 5). I am not letting myself skip ahead to what happens if he still gets sick come kindergarten. One thing at a time. Don’t go looking for trouble. Etc.

Speaking of sick kids and things, I am shocked that I have a baby who is almost 6 months old who has never so much as had Tylenol let alone amoxicillin. Amazing to me.

Trip is a happy baby who thinks sleep is for chumps. He reminds me so much of Chuckles. So much. His face looks a lot like Bobo, but his long, lean body is more like Chuckles. His sleep (or lack thereof) is also much like Chuckles. He also has the determination of Chuckles. He is not crawling but managing locomotion nonetheless. He wiggles, wriggles, writhes, pulls, rolls, and gets that choking hazard of a toy. Or those wires behind the TV. We are entering the babyproofing stage. In some ways, I am thrilled that Trip is like Chuckles. Chuckles is a great kid. But Bobo was much later to walk than Chuckles and consequently had better balance and judgment when he learned. I have far fewer baby photos of Bobo with a scab on his forehead, nose, chin, eyelid, than I do of Chuckles (and not just because I took fewer photos of my second born). It would be nice if Trip was a little older when he learned to walk. I guess I hope he gets good at this rolling and crawling stuff so that he can get where he wants to go without needing to walk.

Trip’s 6-month visit with the pediatrician is coming up since he is only about 10 days away from being 6 months old. In some ways, the time has really flown by (in other ways, notsomuch). The 6-month visit is a big one. I had started Trip on solids at 4.5 months. He is not a fan, so we don’t really do that anymore. I know at 6 months, the ped is going to want him to eat more food, but you can’t make them. I would like him to eat more so that she stops waking me up overnight so he can snack. If the disrupted sleep weren’t’ so painful (MY EYES!), I wouldn’t worry about it, but OMG, I am so tired.

Also at the 6-month visit we will re-measure his head since he hadn’t shown any head circumference (and hence, brain) growth since birth. He seems to be developing fine to me, so I don’t think there is anything wrong with his brain, but part of me worries because he hadn’t grown (he was measured by several people since those measurements can be a little off and all 3 people showed no growth or only marginally growth) and there was a soft marker in one of those ultrasounds earlier this year related to the way fluid would drain off of his brain, though I am not sure if it would have made his head smaller or larger.  He is also supposed to do follow-up hearing testing because of his NICU stay.  I think he’ll also need to see an Occupational Therapist and a Developmental Specialist for an evaluation because of his NICU stay. I don’t expect anything is wrong with his hearing or development. These are the guidelines for best practices; however, most post-NICU information focuses on the premature infant – not the 8.5-pound bruiser known as Trip. Anyway, the 6-month visit should be a big one. I wonder if he’ll be getting any shots that day. Last time he got shots, he slept really well. Then I felt guilty that I enjoyed the good sleep (he slept much of that time in my arms, so it’s not like I got a break to drink wine and update my blog).

Onward! Forward! Upward! And always twirling, twirling, twirling toward the future.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Welcome to the Machine

I’ve been thinking a lot about my little hissy fit over my job.


Seriously, I have a job. I should be thankful.
That said, my family will not be in a bread line if I don’t work (or if my husband didn’t work). One of the adults in our family needs to work obviously, but which one it is is immaterial. I make marginally more money per hour worked, but he works more hours and gets shift differential, Sunday premium, and occasionally, they actually pay his overtime. So six of mommy, half-dozen of daddy, as it were.

I really enjoy my current job. Leaving my kids in excellent care every day and going to a job I like is not difficult. Leaving my kids every day to go to a job I don’t like and don’t need…that would be… harder.

Through some creative network usage (you know, my network of inside informants), I’ve discovered that my job reassignment (aka, demotion) is not personal. At least not personally directed at me. I’m going to tell you a story.

I work for a very nice man named “Tim”. Tim has been at the company his entire career since he got out of college. The company has been bought, merged, bankrupted, rebirthed from the ashes, bought again, merged again, etc. It’s a dynamic industry. I am pretty sure I worked for the same company three times in three separate jobs for seemingly different companies that are all one big happy family now thanks to the power of Mergers and Acquisitions.

Tim’s boss is “Timothy”. (Seriously, they have the same name…for the sake of simplicity, I could have changed their names to something different, but I think it adds to the realism to keep their names the same…plus there is often confusion about who said what. “Your Tim? Or my Tim?” “Do you mean Big Tim?” “Wait, Tim Who?”).

Timothy has also been at his company since he got out of college, but it was a different company than the one at which Tim worked. Same company now. Lots of animosity among and between the different factions. When K-Mart and Sears merged or Daimler and Benz did, I’m sure there was a lot of the same thing going on. Or heck, when AFL and CIO merged.

So, Tim works for Timothy, and they do not particularly get along. Several other people not named Tim also work for Timothy. There are greater and lesser amounts of animosity between them depending upon which predecessor company is involved. Fun aside, one predecessor company dominates the managerial/VP ranks. Neither Tim nor Timothy came from that company. Timothy hopes one day to move up the ranks and needs to ingratiate himself with those in power. Tim has no desires to move up. He is happy as a mid-level manager (or functionary as I joke with him…Tim and I get along well).

I’ve been at this company for 5 years (and two weeks…I just had my service anniversary).  Hitting 5 years means I should get another week of vacation, but I won’t because of some accounting shenanigans, which mean I’ve been getting the extra week all along. Score! If you don’t work for a giant, faceless corporation, this might not seem like a big deal to you, but trust me, vacation allowance is better than gold. It’s like ammo after the break down of civilization).

During the 5 years, I have held two jobs. I have had positively glowing performance reviews for 5 years. We get rated on a scale of 1 to 5 which is forced onto a bell curve during a several hours-long managerial meeting of backstabbing and jockeying (I took a 2 in my department last year, it’s your turn. You can’t give him a 4, he got it before…if you give it again, he’ll expect a raise, or a promotion!). 1 is “you’re on a performance improvement plan and on your way out the door” and 5 is “walks on water/turns water into wine”. You will rarely see a 1 or a 5. Out of the 5,000 or so people in our little department, I think we only give out 5 of each (I'm sure the distribution is set by 6 sigma or whatever trendy thing is in fashion now). I have gotten 3 or 4 every year. In fact, I have gotten a 4 more than once. It’s almost unprecedented. Many people go their entire careers as a 3 every year.   I tell you this not to brag but to set the scene for the next part.

Timothy has been trying to wrest me away from Tim. I make Tim look good. Since Tim works for Timothy, you might think I also make Timothy look good, but apparently not, since I sit in a remote office location far away from him. Timothy thinks he needs to make his subordinates looks bad so that he can look like someone who manages people and gets them to improve. Or he wants to look like a much-beleaguered manager just doing his best with what he has. Timothy wants me under his roof making him look good, and he’s been waiting for an opportunity to bring me into the fold, so to speak. As there is now an opening in his building closer to him and there is a trained person who can immediately take over my job**, he got his wish. Poof. So, off I go to the other side of the factory and more importantly, away from Tim, where my loyalties lay (or is it lie, I never know and explorer keeps crashing on the GrammarGirl website…I know, I know, use Safari, but the deniers of Information Technology won’t let that happen).

Since I am kind of a go-along-to-get-along, albeit sarcastic, type, I think Timothy thinks I will actually go along with this. What Timothy doesn’t realize is I will quit my job, if I want to. How does it look when a manager loses a good employee due to his random acts of management? How does it look when he forces a productive employee out just so he can even some score? Would his bosses ever get the true story as to why I left? Or would it be presented as something like “personal reasons”?

So, I’m cruising our internal job postings board. I’m calling my contacts out in the wider industry. I’m calling people I know in the company to see if there are jobs that are open but aren’t posted. I’m tuning up my resume. I’m not really prepared to take on any new role right now. I sleep in 2 hour increments. It’s a heck of a time to try and learn new things. I wouldn’t want any new job at all, even if it was a great promotion and opportunity for me. I would not voluntarily seek out a new job during the infant-parenting red zone. I don’t want to go job interviewing with a breast pump slung over my shoulder. But here I am contemplating doing just that.

So, I might sound like someone who wants to be static and have no professional development at all since I just want to be left alone. But it’s not true. As I have gotten better at my job, I’ve written some programs to do some functions automatically for me. This has freed up time for me to improve other areas and work on projects I find interesting or vexing. Mostly, I like to be left alone to make things better.

** Apparently, this is not some kind of retaliation for maternity leave, but more a by-product of there being a body who can fill my current job and there not being a body to fill the new job. We’re just interchangeable cogs or bodies to them. If I need to take it to HR and have a little hearing of my case, though, you better believe I will play it up like retaliation for my maternity leave.

I showed this to Tim.  He thought it was funny (but also sad).  I didn't show it to Timothy because I am seething and I don't think he would appreciate my sense of humor.

+*+*+*+==*+*+*==8=*+*+

I am shy. Painfully shy. When I was a kid, my mom and sister used to tease that I had telephonophobia, or fear of someone other than the person you are trying to reach answer the phone….and then you have to ask them for the person you want. I die. So awkward. I still feel this way. Cell phones have helped a lot since most people answer their own phones. And nowadays, you rarely need to talk through a secretary to get the person you want at work. But still, calling someone on the phone seems like such an imposition. Here I am ringing at you to drop whatever you are doing and pay attention to me. Clearly, I think I am more important than whatever you are doing.

So, I overthink every phone call I make. I wonder whether it is highly likely the other person is doing something important, and then I don’t call because, of course, they are doing something important. I don’t call the nanny if I think the kids are eating or awake or getting ready for school or about to come home or probably going potty because I wouldn’t want her to have to take her attention away to talk to me. I won’t call the doctor’s office first thing in the morning because I am sure they are busy getting caught up on the messages from overnight or lots of people are trying to call and I’ll have to wait on hold or they will hustle me off the phone quickly to get to the next person. But then I won’t call at lunch because they might be eating, and I won’t call after lunch because that’s when they return their calls and I don’t want to call at the end of the day because they want to go home. And on and on with every phone call I make. Wouldn’t want to bother anyone.

This has not held me back as much as you might think. I still make phone calls. I inhale deeply, feel the pit in my stomach, and dial 9 for an outside line. Since I rehearse the call in my head over and over before I dial, when someone finally answers, it usually tumbles out as “HithisisSarcastiCarrieIamcallingbecauseChucklesLong-Sufferingneedsproofofshotsforsecondgrade. Couldyoupleasefaxthemtohisschoolthenumberis fivefivefiveoh123.” I’m sure people love that.

However, I volunteered at Chuckles’s school to be the corporate liaison to beg ask for donations that we can auction or raffle off to raise money for literacy initiatives. I face constant rejection. Some people say no. I make cold calls. I try to get a connection with people via small talk. I am growing as a person. And the growth hurts. But I am doing it. Trying to improve myself and my skills. I pointed this out to Chuckles. He had no idea I was shy. I guess I put on a good game face. I told him I was doing something hard for me because I thought it was important and I was doing it to help him. As he is ridiculously painfully shy himself, I think this meant a lot to him. I think he knows how much I am sacrificing to do this. He has great empathy. I think it’s also good role-modeling at how I am doing something difficult, and with practice, I might get better at it (not bloody likely, but he doesn’t need to know that). Just sitting here, thinking about the phone calls, my stomach is going all wonky tense nervous.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Pity Partay

The mini-reorg at work has started.  I am still employed, but the new job I got is such an awful fit with my skills and personality that I almost wish someone would buy me out and give me severance.

My boss's boss called to tell me the "good" news.  All I could manage was "Mhhmmm" and "Uh-huh" and finally "OK, bye".  I hung up and burst into tears.  I'm not one to cry much at work, but this is just such a supremely bad fit that it feels awful.  Also, the person who gets the job that I love and am good at is the guy who filled in for me during my recent maternity leave so now I wonder if I hadn't gone and taken 5 months off if this would have even happened.  What a crap lot of emotions happening!

So, anyway, I cried on and off in my office for the next couple hours (while still doing an awesome amount of work for the job that I love).  Since my office is in a small building in a remote part of the factory grounds, I didn't see anyone except the young woman in the office next to me.  She was very understanding.  Then I went through the entire box of tissues on my desk, went to my car and went through those, so when she went out to lunch, she stopped and brought me back a very pretty cube of Puffs.  And I won't be sitting next to her thoughtfulness any more.  Damn her for being so awesome and making this even harder.

I texted my BFF the following:  "The mini re-org came down & I am unattractively crying at my desk (bldg is empty so it's OK).  I want a bat, some Beastie Boys, and an old printer.  Oh well."  She replied with supportive words, so I followed it up with "How long is it appropriate to cry at work b4 u stop feeling sorry for urself? Im getting that cried too much headache & thirsty feeling."

So, I am done crying now.  I have to figure out a game plan for what to do because taking the new job is not really much of an option.  It is such a bad fit that it wouldn't even be funny how bad it would be.  (Imagine me having to interact with people every day...and sit in an open-style cube farm with others.  The solitude-loving introvert in me would go crazy having to be near people at home and at work.)  My husband said to send a meeting notice to my boss, my boss's boss, and the potential new boss to discuss career path (and send it right before I go home for a holiday weekend).  I made my wishes and preferences well-known prior to the re-org so I doubt they'd listen.  Does anyone have any better ideas?

Monday, August 27, 2012

In Which I Go Off the Rails or Seven Essays with No Theme

We should call this post: In Which I Go Off the Rails or Seven Essays with No Theme



Trip sleeps in a car seat. Or I should say used to sleep in his car seat. His first month or so home from the hospital he slept in his crib (just like his brothers before him), but he spit up so often and awakened himself coughing and choking (and soaking wet about the neck and head) that we quickly (Is a month really quick? – Ed.) realized he needed to sleep in a more upright position.

After his rough start with issues breathing, I wasn’t taking any chances with his breathing. So, enter the car seat. I put some sheets over it to protect it from any errant expulsions from Trip and we all lived happily ever after getting as much sleep as one can hope with a baby in the house. Until last night.

Trip has been rolling and commando crawling during floor time. He does baby-crunches and he has been doing his Pilates 100s every day for a week now. Just last night before bed (Monday), I told my husband that we should put Trip to bed in the crib. At the last minute, we decided to start tonight (Tuesday) because I am not going to work on Wednesday and if the sleep is not forthcoming, I would prefer not to be operating heavy machinery. And at 3:45 this morning, Trip wiggled out of the car seat (and onto the bedroom floor but really once his legs were out, he only went down about an inch, so I am not worried (much) about that). And so, into the crib he went after that feeding. The best laid plans….

Updated: Oh what a disaster…in the crib lasted 3 days. I’m now putting him into the car seat (buckled) to sleep because I cannot handle the vomiting in his sleep at the 45 minutes of sleep at a time all night long, and oh my, how awful. Will be asking the pediatrician about the reflux at the 6 month visit.

********

My husband is scheduling a baptism for Trip. If you have been reading the blog for a while, you know I am deeply conflicted by this. I fall somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist on the belief spectrum, but I am socially Protestant. I have read the children the Bible cover-to-cover (actually it’s the children’s bible) a couple of times just so that have a basis of reference (it was my first time reading it too). But if they ask if the stories really happened, I pretty much just shrug and tell them to ask their father, or I say that no one really knows or that some of the things probably happened and others didn’t (and so on). They have never asked me if I believed, and I have never offered an opinion on deities. I will not be involved in the baptism, per se, but I can plan a heck of a party for afterward. The End.

********

Chuckles started 2nd grade. He has 5 adults in his classroom of 24 students. There is the teacher (the only male 2nd grade teacher and Chuckles is very happy to have him), a student teacher (who is friends with our nanny), an instructional aide, and two one-on-one aides for students with special needs, but they are adults in the classroom (more eyes and ears).

Due to funding cuts (and some stupid state property tax caps that the voters put into the state constitution), the budgets at the school have been slashed by millions of dollars. The teachers’ union (not affiliated with one of the national unions) has been really good about working with the district to make non-instructional cuts. And the local taxing unit voters have approved property taxes in excess of the cap for our schools, but the budgets keep getting slashed. The PTO has taken over a lot of the extras to keep classroom budget money in the classroom.

But still, cuts are necessary as the state funding formula looks at demographics and says that economically depressed areas are going to get more funding, so our district keeps sending more money to the state and getting nothing back in return. And now, it’s personal. They’ve cut recess aides. The kids will still have some recess, but the afternoon recess will be canceled unless the classroom teachers want to take the kids out themselves. That used to be when they had their planning periods and when the instructional aides had their breaks. But the district tried to PC-doublespeak it when they sent out the notice: “This change will actually add flexibility to the teachers’ schedules because they will be able to provide breaks as needed, rather than at scheduled times.” Ugh, emphasis mine. I have a PTO meeting tomorrow, where I am sure we will discuss paying the salary for recess aides.

******

Speaking of school…studies have shown that literacy is important, but that students who have a strong foundation in math have better outcomes (in what, I don’t know and I can’t find the study citation). For some reason, our school is using ThinkMath, which my husband and I find maddening. I guess there are people who are actually afraid of math. I have never heard of anyone being afraid of reading, but somehow math has been elevated to some kind of bogeyman status by people. So, ThinkMath and Everyday Math are supposed to be good for people who are afraid of math (and afraid of teaching math, I guess.

I would prefer they just taught math (here is how you add, subtract, carry, borrow, etc). But I am sure some curriculum specialists have decided that kids need to know how to “estimate” and “break problems down”. It’s not that I don’t do those things (I do…all the time), but that I first learned how to do the problems the “right” way, and then as I got better, I figured out how to do the math faster and easier. I can add, subtract, multiply, and divide quickly now by breaking problems up into smaller parts, but I feel that you need to learn the longhand ways first before you can learn the cheats. And I don’t think the cheats make any sense to you as to why you’re doing them until you learn the regular way. As an example, they are doing addition of two-digit numbers. So, 47+38. Now, I would like those up vertically, and say 8+7 is 15, write the 5, carry the one, 4+3+1 is 8 and the answer is 85. But they teach it this way:

40+7 = 47
30+8 = 38
70+15=85

It’s not that this is wrong…it’s that it’s slow and since the kids haven’t learned carrying yet, they don’t even know why they’re doing it this way. Also, the ThinkMath lessons are so time-consuming, many teachers don’t teach math every day (which is ridiculous). They don’t have time for math every day because Indiana mandates a 90-minute reading/phonics block.  I don’t have a problem with the protected block, in theory. But in practice, it’s a disaster for fluent readers. In the early grades, the focus is on the 6 core competencies (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension).

If you have a student who is in a lower grade, but already reading fluently for content, the time is essentially wasted. Yes, teachers should differentiate instructions, but I have found this is very hard to do in a standard single-grade classroom when the state standard says that all children must be fluent by 3rd grade. If the student is already fluent, are you going to put your limited resources there? Probably not. I don’t really have a problem with standardized testing. You need to know where you are to know where you need to go. But, at a certain point, there are students who are not well-served in this kind of classroom.

We have tried pull-out reading for Chuckles, enrichment in the classroom, etc. However, all of that enrichment is in addition to the regular classwork, so he felt punished by having to do extra (and the lessons he was working on were not put up on the smart board in the classroom so he never got a turn to use the smart pen…which felt like punishment as well). I thought they should replace the regular reading program with another program altogether (not just for him but for the other fluent readers as well….with about a hundred kids per grade, they could put 5 of them in a reading group together).

Apparently, there are certain lessons, tests, worksheets that must be done by every student regardless of reading level. It was a little….anger-inducing or stabby-making. I am trying to advocate for my kid but the state standards (which I now say with disdain in my voice) are inflexible (the rage-maker). In 3rd grade, there will be an entire class of advanced reading and math, so I am just waiting for 2nd grade to end to usher in the new golden era of 3rd grade. (If 3rd grade does not live up to my expectations, I do not know what I am going to do so I am not entertaining that right now. We don’t have a ton of options in the suburbs. The local private schools are all religiously-affiliated (which would be OK) and they all advertise that they adhere to state standards (ack!)).

Bad Mom, Good Mom does more justice to this topic than I ever could.  Go there to read up on topics related to G&T and HA education.

Updated:  We went to Back to School Night and met the teacher.  He seems energetic, nice, and young (Only 34!).  Cautiously optimistic.  He wants the kids to take responsibility for themselves.  That is one area that Chuckles sure could use some advancing.  So, if he gets nothing else out of this year than personal responsibility, I am happy.  Plus they're doing timed tests.  I love timed tests and have used that successfully at home with Chuckles so he can have a goal and work toward meeting it.  Yippee.  Timed tests.  Personal responsibility!  And secret challenge words on the spelling test that earn candy!  Woo Hoo.  Challenges!  Consider me happy until proven otherwise.

*******

Bobo starts preschool in two weeks. My baby! All grown up! He is not the best listener and direction-taker ever so this ought to be interesting. Plus he is not cooperative at the potty, which will now need to be independent. This ought to be…fun?

*******

So, about this Akin fellow. I don’t want to address his dumbing down of rape, because really…that’s just asinine. However, he is basically saying that he does not believe in abortion, ever, under any circumstances. That is not a position I support or want legislated (as a libertarian, I don’t want much legislated), but I can see the position on abortion (not the one on rape because like I said, asinine) and realize that it is a legitimate position for someone to have. If a person thinks abortion is murder and that murder is wrong, then abortion is wrong. I get that. I don’t agree with it, but I get it.
******

I guess I saved my hot-button topics for the end…the Boy Scouts. I said the following on AskMoxie:
“My 7yo just finished up his Tiger Cub, and I truly hope he sticks it out and makes his Eagle Scout. There may be other organizations that offer things for the youth, but there is nothing else out there with the name recognition of the Eagle Scout. There might be other scouting organizations out there that have an equivalent, but it won't be instantly recognizable as the EAGLE SCOUT is. If my son wants to go to a service academy some day, he needs to have the Eagle Scout.

I'm an atheist (though societally Judeo-Christian) and I can see myself agitating for change from within (when my kids are older and I have time to assume a leadership role in the scouts). I don't want to discriminate against any family who would want to join to perform acts of service for the community.”
That was me on July 19th. Well, over the weekend, merely a month later, I signed up to be the den leader with my husband because waiting for my kids to get older is not an option any more. I’ve decided to put my butt where my mouth is (or something like that). Our first act was to get the other leaders on board. We have decided that we are not going to exclude any families/children based on the sexual orientation (LGBTI - I just learned that there is now an I on the end of that…new to me…stands for intersex in case you are not in the know, as I wasn’t) of the parent(s) or child(ren). Now, we can begin agitating for change from within. First our den, then our pack, then our council, then the WORLD.

Pinky, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Gee, Brain, where are we going to get lederhosen at this time of night?

********* Peace, out.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to Work

So, I went back to work.  It's been nice - catching up with my colleagues, socializing around the proverbial water cooler, earning money, getting out of the house every day, having time to myself in the quiet in the car as I drive to work, at my desk, and while pumping.  Mrs. Marie has also been sending me texts and photos of the children daily, which is wonderful.

If I was at home, I would not be staring at a sleeping baby...I would be running away quickly and quietly to go screw around on the internet or brush my teeth.

It's been less nice in some other ways - leaving the kids, functioning on little sleep, traffic, pumping.

But all-in-all, I am happiest when I am working (in a flexible job that I have heard is fairly high-stress but that I don't let bother me). 

I was due for my mid-year review when I got back and was told to keep up the good work, so I shall.  It is nice to return to work and be told how much people missed me.  One notoriously gruff older gentleman at work hugged me he was so happy to see me.  And the hug was friendly and fatherly not icky and harrass-y.  I mentioned that one to my boss who was shocked because that guy is not a hugger (or even a smiler).  I think having tamed the lions gets me extra credit at work. 

Plus I have my office decorated with photos of my kids.  I figure if people have to contend with my maternity leave, they should be allowed to see what I was off doing. 

The picture that decorates my file cabinet.

Most of the men at work have grandkids the same age as my kids (it's pretty much all men at work...there are a handful of women of various ages who also think my kids are cute).  Many of them have daughters who work or don't or who have daughters-in-law who work or don't.  Really, for a heavy industrial environment, I have found it to be pretty family friendly.  Picture a coal mine, an oil refinery, or a smelter.  Does that seem family friendly to you?  And yet, I have found it to be true in most of the places I have worked.

Can you believe he starts SECOND grade in a week?  I cannot.
But based on how he looks here, I can understand why all those 7 year old girls keep calling my house.

Right before I went back to work, I went to the basement and pulled out all the bottles and nipples I had.  I found one single nipple of one kind that someone gave me when Chuckles was a baby.  We never used it so I just kept it in the box.  It turns out, that nipple was the winner.

Anyway, on my first day back, Trip took his first bottle (2 ounces) like a trooper using that random nipple.  By the second bottle, however, he was like, "Really? Two in a row? Where is that milk lady?" But he took most of the 2 ounces.  By the third bottle he was pissed.  But the next day, he took all three (using that random nipple).  And so it has been.

But I couldn't relax knowing that we only had one nipple. What if something happened to it? So, I went on a quest.  I hit many many stores and no one had it.  Well, it's a NUK.  And it's discontinued.  Of course it is.  I ended up finding a supply of them on diapers.com.  I realized if you are willing to throw enough money at a problem, you can make it go away.  I didn't know anything about the nipple other than standard width, NUK, Made in Germany, and orthodontic.  So, I bought slow and medium flow and put them both on bottles and compared the drip rate to the winner nipple at home. 

And this guy? He's starting preschool this year.

The winner is:  NUK, orthodontic, standard width (not wide width Trendline), Medium Flow (for 6+ months).  Trip is 4 months so that was a surprise, but he's taking it and is fine (and now taking three 4-ounce bottles).

In the interim, we introduced "solids".  Rice cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula, green beans, and squash so far.  We're going slowly.  The pediatrician said he likes to wait until 5 months for breastfed babies, but I couldn't wait if that was all Trip was going to eat.  I could stop the solids now, but why?  He'll be fine.

I call this picture "Oh, you think so, do you?"

So, that's what's going on.  I'm not sleeping because Trip's not sleeping.  I don't think caffeine was affecting him but I gave it up (again) to see if that would help (so I win either way...if giving it up helps him sleep better then I won't need the caffeine and if it doesn't help then I can use it while he doesn't sleep...win-win-win).  I'm pumping enough for his three 4-ounces bottles for now.  I have a lot in the freezer from maternity leave*, and I'm getting an extra bottle about once a week to put in the freezer.

Everything I do, I do it for you.

I get three weeks of vacation a year.  I used one day prior to maternity leave, then I took 19.5 weeks off so I have 14 days left.  I am taking one day a week for the first 5 weeks (first day or school, PTO meeting day, preschool orientation, etc).  It's a gradual return to work for all of us, and I am happy I can do it like this.


* In case anyone ever wants to know how I wind up with a freezer stash of milk...it's like this.  Every day (once you feel up to it) after the baby is born, you double pump after the first morning feeding.  You get to decide when "morning" is.  It started as after the 11 am feeding the first week and worked its way earlier over time to 6, 7, or 8 am by the end of leave. 

I try to be done pumping within one hour of the start time of the previous morning feeding so that I have enough time to make more milk prior to the next feeding.  I do this every day (seriously, every day...I think I skipped 6 days).  It induces a slight oversupply and gives you a freezer stash.  I use Lansinoh double zipper freezer bags.  Lay flat to freeze, then put those small bags into Ziploc gallon freezer bags in the deep freeze.  I fill one giant bag at a time and just label those #1, #2, etc.  That way, when you go to use the milk, you don't need to hunt for the FIFO date on the little bags.  You can just use any milk from bag #1 (then #2, and so on) to get the number of ounces you need to make up the bottles. 

She followed this plan with me...and see how happy I am!

I followed this plan with Bobo and ended up stopping pumping at 10 months and he was still on 100% breastmilk at 13 months (from me when I was home and from the freezer during the day).  It works well for me.  YMMV. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Why I Hate School

The Supply List for 2nd Grade with annotation by me

1 Pk. Crayola Crayons (Box of 24) OK, that’s reasonable enough.


1-Bottle of Elmer’s White Glue 7.625 fl. Ounces Kind of specific about the brand/size but I bet that’s standard

1-Pink Pearl Eraser OK

1 Pair of Scissors, 5", pointed tip Hmmm, I think ours are 4.75” long with a round tip...for safety

2-Zippered FABRIC School Pouches that will hold supplies, 3 hole with grommets 10"x 6" where in the h-e-double hockey sticks am I supposed to find this?  Is it possible they expect I will be making this myself from fabric and notions...those things are called notions, aren't they? or are they dry goods?  Oh, heavens. 

6-2 pocket solid color (no pictures) folders (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 blue, 1 green, 1 black & 1 purple (Be sure pockets are on the bottom of the folder (horizontal), not the sides & with the 3-holes punched on spine to store in a binder, i.e. Mead) Alrighty…this ought to be cheaper than Transformers folders...I like the addition of a black folder.  Black, like my heart after reading this list.

1 Yellow highlighter OK, but you better speficy whether you want fine tip or broad tip because chances are I will buy the WRONG one.

1 Box of 12 Erasable Colored Pencils Erasable?!?!?! Do they make such a thing?

1 Ruler, 12” Plastic, inch & cm. Metric is the wave of the future, I hear.

1 dozen #2 pencils I will only buy them in yellow and they must be Ticonderoga brand. Ha.

1 box brand baggies, Sandwich size I bet they don’t even want baggies. I bet they mean Ziploc (and not just regular zippered bags but name brand because every other supply list for the entire school is for Ziploc brand zippered bags)

1 box brand baggies, Gallon size (for headphones) Seriously, he has one pair of ears and will be issued one pair of headphones and he needs a whole box of gallon size bags

2 Large Boxes of Kleenex Tissues Kleenex?!?! We’re a Puffs family or Kirkland or Target.

1 Container (small 25) disinfecting wipes, Clorox or any other brand Okee Dokee.

2-1" inch 3-ring binders (with clear front insert) white colored I think I can find that in the supply closet at work filled with a printed PowerPoint presentation that someone thought was much more important and useful that it actually was.  I pity the reprographics intern who had to collate that worthless presentation that I will now be chucking.

Please limit supplies to those listed above. Also, please check quarterly to see if any supplies need to be replenished. How & when am I supposed to check this? I mean, I am at work when the school building is unlocked. Thanks.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm sure it will all work out in the end

Trip does not take a bottle. I am going back to work in two weeks. I’ve been a little nervous and worried since he’s already on the small side. I believe the old saying is that babies should double their birth weight by 4 months (definitely by 6 months) and triple it by a year. If they are exclusively breastfed for a year, they don’t always triple it by a year (but come close), but breastfed is much more likely to double by 4 months. Trip is not going to double his birthweight. He was 8 lbs 9 ounces. He is 4 months old today and is about 15 pounds (which is about 4 pounds lighter than Bobo was at 4 months).


Anyway, Trip does not take a bottle, so I am worried that he’ll starve to death or (almost as bad) reverse cycle when I go back to work. So, we’ve been throwing away hard-won breastmilk like crazy trying different bottles, different people, different nipples, positions, temperatures, etc. I mentioned the lack of bottle-taking to my mother-in-law who said she could do it, no problem. The nanny and I both laughed because, really, we’ve tried it all. But even though we thought she was a little…na├»ve? we were secretly hopeful that she was right. If she could do it, she could teach everyone else and I could return to work without fear of never sleeping again ever OMG.

So, we went on a family vacation with my in-laws and left my m-i-l with a bottle while I went out of earshot. When I got back, I heard unmistakable wailing, but that’s par for the course with the bottles so I wasn’t immediately concerned. Then she came out and said I should take the baby and feed him. She said he took a little and was quite proud of herself. I looked. He took a quarter of one ounce. She said, no, he was taking it. He took some. Yep. A quarter-ounce. I asked her how it went. Her answer was that he started taking a little, realized what was going on, got fussy, started squirming, wiggling and arching away from the bottle and that’s when she dropped him. Alrighty then.

====
I wasn’t blogging back when Chuckles was born. He didn’t take a bottle reliably; he reverse cycled. I was a wreck and a first-time mom and whatever. It all worked out and he’s a great kid who often sleeps through the night now that he’s 7. What I want to mention is about that new yahoo CEO. I think she’s a little nuts for saying she’ll take a couple of weeks off, but before I had Chuckles (my first), I did something similar (though much less public than she’s doing). I took a 9-day maternity leave. I had promised work that I would only take a week, but I had an emergency c-section and found it much harder to brush my teeth and dial the phone than I ever thought I would. I was the only engineer where I worked and someone needed to approve products and designs. It’s not exactly a function you can get a temp to do. Most customer inquiries could wait a week at the most, so I wasn’t overly worried but much more than that and we’d start to jeopardize delivery. Anyway, so I took 9 days completely off and then worked about half-time while caring for my newborn until I went back to the office full-time at 11 weeks. I did it. I survived. However, I would like to point out that I have taken 20 week maternity leaves for the next two kids (though I do email and keep up on what is going on…I have a new job with a different/bigger company now so my absence isn’t as keenly felt). She can do it if she wants. And she will probably have paid help whereas I was working and caring for the newborn. Sounds OK to me.

===

But if you do have any advice about bottle-taking, I will accept it (we've tried mimicking the nursing process and being as polar opposite as we can...warm/cool, different nipples, people locations, facing forward...we're going to try a sippy cup next week...today's bottle was given while he was laying on the changing table looking at himself in the mirror, but it still took an hour for him to take 2 ounces).  The only thing we haven't tried is a different beverage though I do have some formula samples I could use if anyone thinks that would help.  I'm also going to ask the pediatrician about solids at 4 months (are we doing that this time around?  What's the going theory on solids nowadays?) so that we have a back up way of feeding him if necessary.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I'm still here

My blog is much-neglected, but my children are not.

Trip still does not sleep through the night.  I am a zombie because I have one child who doesn't go to bed until 9, which means by the time I get the dinner dishes cleaned up and some other things done in the kitchen and checkbook, I'm not stepping into the shower until about 10 pm.  I have pared my shower down to no shaving and a 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner.  By the time I brush my teeth and floss, it's pushing 10:30.  If I try to read for a few minutes before bed, it's 10:30 before lights out (and 10:31 before I'm asleep). 

Then, I am up at 1 or so to nurse Trip, somewhere between 2 and 3 with a child who either has to go to the bathroom or just wet the bed, again at about 4:45 to nurse which sometimes becomes morning.  Some days it's a little better.  Some days a little worse (like when the 1 am nursing turns into a 2 hour ordeal because of the spitting up and choking).  Basically, I am very tired.

There is drama in my non-nuclear family but let's sum it up with....ARE YOU ALL FRICKING INSANE?  I mentioned here once that we're the designated guardians in case of death for 10 children (5 families) and I speculated that the reason is because we're good parents, stable, and capable.  Well, those are the same reasons that people feel the need to be completely pathetic around us.  Because they know that we aren't going to allow anything bad to happen to their children so we will take on extra responsibility to make sure that their kids are OK.  So, you want to be immature and irresponsible and ditch your kids when you're at a party or the mall....it's ok because SarcastiCarrie and Mr. Long-Suffering will make sure little Brayd'n gets a vegetable and a fruit with his lunch and doesn't get kidnapped.  We might even quiz Tay-leigh on her letters to make sure her mind is exercised.  And frankly, I am exhausted.  But the kids are alright. 

Moving on from this pity party....if you think I am tired, Mr. Long-Suffering has it worse.  He goes to bed at 10:30 with me, and he's up for the day at 4:50 to go to work.  He has a mandatory 6:30 am shift-change meeting and he needs to have reviewed the shift reports from afternoons and midnights and researched issues before that meeting so he can present.  He also hasn't had a day off in well over a week.  It's vacation season and since the factory runs 24-7, the shifts that people take off need to be covered.  Voila.  He worked about 70 hours last week.  He'll probably do closer to 75 this week.  But then, he gets a 3-day weekend so woo hoo.

I checked my analytics.  My two most-popular posts continue to be a Peach Bellini Champagne Punch Recipe and my ever-popular Fiber Supplement Review (I'm #1 in #2!). 

I'm using maternity leave to try new recipes (I usually cook dinner mid-day when things are calm and then re-heat it for dinner).  This enchilada sauce recipe is good, tastes authentic, and is easy.  I made the enchiladas with poached chicken thigh meat, but that was so time consuming (to de-skin and remove from bone and shred...if I do this again when I go back to work, I would use precooked grilled chicken or boneless skinless chicken breasts).  Chicken thighs had been on sale for something crazy low like 48 cents/pound so I bought about 10 pounds and then had to make chicken dishes.

I made this Cat Cora Thai Chicken Salad with Cabbage.  It's basically a Thai Peanut Cole Slaw.  It was tasty.  I have this theory that if I have all the ingredients for a recipe in the house, we'll probably like what comes out of it since that means we like the stuff that goes into it.  I had all the ingredients so there you go (except the cabbage but we do like cabbage, I just only buy it when it's on sale....I bought pre-shredded cabbage).  And I used chicken thighs that I coated in corn starch and cooked in a pan with some oil (basically fried chicken).

I made this Rachel Ray Apricot Chicken.  Again, I had all the ingredients in the house.  We liked it alright, but we should just call it homemade Sweet-n-Sour Chicken because that's exactly what it tasted like (admittedly, I had added a couple of cloves of garlic and a yellow bell pepper to the recipe but the vinegar and the preserves are what made it sweet/sour...maybe omit the vinegar?).  I am still looking for a good apricot chicken recipe that is sweet and not sour.  So many of the apricot chicken recipes called for Russian Dressing and onion soup mix.  That sounds gross to me (and I don't have the ingredients in the house).  If you can direct me to a good/sweet apricot chicken recipe, I would be most appreciative.

Are there any recipes you'd like me to try?  Leave a comment.

I've been buying super cheap cuts of beef and doing various things with them in my pressure cooker too.  I have time so labor intensive is not an issue right now, but in the future this won't be the case so send link to recipes accordingly.  I still stir fry all kinds of things but I am tiring of my usual sauce (Soyaki that I buy at TJ's).  I made heuvos rancheros with vegan chorizo the other night.  We also make homemade pizza on Friday (I just started the kids on making English Muffin pizzas...I found some great whole wheat muffins at the store so I am comfortable with them making pizza).  Also, I have quite a bit of ham in my freezer (but no ham bone).

Chuckles and Bobo have been taking swimming lessons.  Bobo very politely refuses to do anything they ask.  Blow Bubbles.  "No, thank you."  Do big superman kicks.  "I don't feel like it."  Put your head under water.  "I'm too cold/tired/hot for that."  It's maddening, but that's pretty much how my entire day goes.  Chuckles was the same way at 3 except I was better at manipulating him to do what I wanted.  Nowadays, at swimming, Chuckles swims off under water and comes back 45 minutes later and tells me he went in the deep end, learned to tread water, got some rings off the bottom, and has good form in his backstroke.

Oh my....it's late.  I have to go.  Goodnight.  Look for me on twitter at 4am!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hot Dots & Tots

So, if you aren't following me on twitter, you totally should be because that is where I am microblogging these days.  Why after 6 years would I abandon my blog?  Well, I'm not abandoning it, but at 140 characters per post, I can tweet while nursing.  So, if you see a tweet from me, you should know that I am topless (well, half topless).

Moving on.  My mother.  Oh, my mother.  Technologically challenged, self-centered, shopaholic, hypochondriac mother.  She told me she thought she had measles.  This is the same mother who went to the ER for some kind of phantom fever she was sure she was having (despite not owning a thermometer).  The ER visit was after 3 trips to various other doctors who prescribed antibiotics for ...what?  Nothing, that's what.  Eventually, I diagnosed it as hot flashes (plus seasonal allergies).  She said she doesn't have allergies.  Uhhh, apparently, you do. 

So anyway, she thought she had measles.  I told her to stay away from my home where an unvaccinated infant lives and see how it goes (though truthfully, I didn't think she had it because she always thinks she has something.  She says, "I have a virus.").  Look it up, ma. See what the symptoms are...oh hey, the internet says people born before 1957 pretty much don't get measles these days.  You're safe, mom.  But she was convinced. She went to the Minute Clinic, and the nurse practitioner said, "Could be measles.  Let's do bloodwork."  Here's where I get a little foggy on the details since my mother is not the greatest witness in the history of time, but eventually blood was drawn and the preliminary results came back positive.   She was all "see, I told you so...what else could it be?"  And I was all like,  "You didn't have a fever, you didn't feel bad, you're not miserable. Are you sure?" 

So, then the State Department of Health called me and needed to know when we had seen her and our vaccinations statuses (statusi? stata?).  Turns out, she had been at Chuckles's school for Grandparents' Day (conveniently held during a book fair!) and exposed hundreds of people to whatever she had, so a full-on panic ensued at the State.  The school was notified, emails were sent home, kids who had immunization waivers were excluded from school pending final lab results or the end of the incubation period. 

And so my  mother was loving the attention being paid to her and her celebrity illness status...until it started inconveniencing her.  She was quarantined.  She couldn't leave her home.  She couldn't see her grandchildren.  I banned her from my home.  She couldn't go out to eat.  I was not going to allow her at Chuckles's birthday party.  The weather was nice.  I told her to sit outside in the sun and enjoy the calm.  She had to wear a mask when she went to have blood drawn for the final test results.  She called me in tears because, "I feel like a leper."  (Grow a pair, mom.  Your quarantine is for the greater good.) 

The final test results came in and NO MEASLES just as I had said initially.  She was relieved, and I was smug because really!  Measles? 

I am hoping this cures the hypochondria, but I'm not sure.

As I mentioned above, Chuckles had a birthday.  He turned 7.  I got him an Easy Bake Oven.  they only come in pink these days, so i got a blue one used off of the internet.  it didn't have instructions or a box so Chuckles doesn't know it is marketed toward girls.  all he knows is he's baking cookies and heating mac-n-cheese on a lightbulb.  and he gets to eat those cookies (provided he shares with Bobo).  Stupid gendered marketing of something that can clearly be for anyone.  everyone eats & everyone needs to know how to follow directions, measure, and cook.  there's a lot of math with the easy bake oven (3/4 tsp this, 15 minutes of that, etc).  I was really glad I had stocked up on 100 watt lightbulbs before their manufacture was outlawed since I needed a light bulb for the oven.

I am wearing non-maternity jeans right now.  It's not awful.

Trip is a good baby.  There is no such thing as a bad baby.  He's different from his brothers.  He spits up.  Kind of a lot.  He wakes at night, eats, and then does not go back to sleep as the others did.  he sleeps in his car seat at night.  he's different.  he has wicked baby acne & has been battling diaper rash since hospital discharge.  but, he rolls (seriously every day he thwarts tummy time by either flipping over or falling asleep...on his tummy OF DOOM).  He smiles those gooey baby smiles.  he grows (size 2 diapers and 3-6 month clothes at 7 weeks).  Trip is a good baby.

Bobo is a threatening 3-year old terror.  He has learned that his greatest weapon is peeing his pants on purpose in protest.  It's awful.  He doesn't sleep at night and gave up napping during the day, so we got rid of the binkies because we figured sleep couldn't get any worse...and it hasn't...it was just so awful to start.

and that's where i have been.