Friday, August 31, 2007

Orphanage update

So we decided to go down to two days a week in day care, from three. And we re-hired our wonderful nanny for the third day. That all starts next week. So NATURALLY, I was up all night worried about Did We Make The Right Decision, etc etc. Of course it didn't help (well, it did, but you know...) that H had a fabulous, wonderful, great day in day care. Loves his teacher. Happy as can be. So tired out from crawling around all day that he fell asleep in his high chair at meal time. So I'm all, maybe he does love day care! Maybe we should have stuck with three days! Remorse! Regret! Wah! Maybe our wonderful nanny is actually not as great as orphanage care! All that stuff about she will give him one-on-one care and take him out into the community and stuff? Who cares! Winter is coming anyway.

And I really should not make sentences that begin with "see the thing is...." when I have not slept well and have not had coffee yet, but I think the thing is that my work just kind of sucks right now. If I had, say, coworkers, and projects and stuff I would love having H just across the street from me and go snuggle at lunch and such. Heck, even five days a week might work if I had that. But I really just have an office there right across the street from the orphanage. I'm a student, and no one really knows what to do with those. My two advisers? One has moved away to another university and the other one is so so busy that it's not even worth talking about. One hour a month is what I get there, no water cooler stuff, trips to the coffee shop, hellos in the hallway. There are a few students I see from time to time but we are all working independently. So it's really awfully lonely and not like "going to work" at all. It's really just dropping him off and then going to sit by myself in an office.

I know that this is the way it "is" at the dissertation-finishing time. But still. I think that's why it's so hard, feeling like an office fraud and subjecting not just myself but baby too to boring confined time in small spaces.

Dude, there's always something, isn't there?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nora's first 5 things

While perusing the lovely ramblings of the folks over at 10things (it really is lovely), I am inspired by their commitment to being grateful. Here is my attempt at sharing the love, starting with five things. It's not that poetic, dude nice ten things, here's five. But it's a start. And I'm grateful!

1. My bubba, of course. Holy crap, where did all this LOVE come from? That thing, about having a child is having your heart walk around outside your body? Yeah, that. And sometimes I'm all, is it love, really? Really? It's like, do I love my arm? Well...hmm...but would I kill to protect it? Yer darn tootin. Roar.

2. The shower. I fully exhale every morning in the shower, quite possibly the only time all day. Sometimes I take long showers in the middle of the night.

3. Rain. Can you sense a whole water thing going here? But really, it's perfect. Except when there are floods and tsunamis and such, too much of a good thing etc etc. But in my little sheltered life? The greatest thing ever. The smell. The bundling up. The accompanying cup of tea. The happy sighs (you know they are real) of the happy plants with full bellies. Just a big yum.

4. My sister, who constantly challenges me to be a better person through her example. This is the quote she signs her emails with:

"If her past were your past, her pain your pain, her level of consciousness your level of consciousness... you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion, peace." ~Eckhart Tolle

So yup, I do that, sort of, after I b*tch about my in-laws for awhile. That counts, right?

5. My Tweezerman tweezers. Because, and you may know what I mean, but really the world would be a very, very different place without hair removal products. I think that's all I have to say about that.

Five more coming soon, promise. And one will be "when I figured out how to post portrait images on Blogger and not just *^%$ landscape ones." Help!

I finished Harry Potter 7!!

Of course, in Harry Potter fan-land it's like a million years late, to be finishing this. I mean, I waited a whole WEEK to order it, didn't wait in any lines or anything. I had a hard time getting into it, to be honest. But I did it! And I even liked it, toward the end. And if I were a Times reviewer I would be so proud of myself if I thought up the words "lumpy" and "clunky" to describe the book (I agree, by the way). And it's so funny how no one talks about the end. There was all this hype, and I know there were spoilers out there (including my father, grrr). But for the most part there was silence after it came out, like no one wanted to ruin it for anyone else. People are just so darn nice.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Of dal and job applications

Check out this developmental milestone:

Posted by Picasa

He doesn't actually like Cheerios that much, incredible feat of pincer grasp notwithstanding. What kind of redblooded American baby is this? However, we did go to Indian food last night, and he had just about the best meal of his whole life. Dal soup, and raita, and the inside of a samosa, some chickpeas, some naan bread. He was bouncing up and down in his seat and so so happy. It was really cute. Almost cute enough to wish I had a video camera. Which we wouldn't have had anyway since it was a spontaneous trip. But if I HAD had one then we would have missed the whole thing fussing over the right light or trying to get him to pull my hand into his mouth to feed him faster or whatever. So ha, it's all inside the YouTube of my brain, getting cuter already.

I'm behaving like a crazy person with more than one personality. How does this happen? I'm simultaneously sure, totally sure, that I can't stand working more than the half-assed part time I put in now. Totally sick driving in to the orphanage this morning, dread, can't do it, no way, not anymore. I'll be poor, understimulated, anything. ANYTHING to avoid this Monday morning dread. And then I go into work and apply for a full-time postdoc. What?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

That was so, like, 1980s

Wow, just coming back from nearly a week without internet because our service was down. Remember those days? I didn't have email until college (1991), and then I had to go to the computer lab on campus to check it. And then there was dial-up, what a treat that was! And now I'm all cranky because my high speed is down for several days. And I can't even use dialup as a backup since we have internet phone too. It was a few days in the dark ages, I tell you. I was wanting to call the phone company and rage away, and I'm normally quite the mild-mannered doormat type of customer. Hoo boy! But now it's back, in the nick of time.

At any rate, I'm still leaving my bubba at the orphanage, and still hate it. Is that what motherhood is, just picking things you will hate less? I don't like leaving him there, but I also don't want to stay at home. I guess staying home would be worse for me, or I wouldn't keep doing this day care thing. But man on man, I don't like it. This morning he sobbed when I left. Rip my heart out, why don't you? But to be fair, when I went to visit him at lunch he was all like, I'm busy, mom, what's the big deal, trying to beat on the tupperware with a block here, give me some space, yeah here's a hug now can I get back to it? Where's my 8 pound baby???

In other news, we are preparing for a short visit from my mother-in-law and her sister. It is a tense family time since she has just left her husband of 30 years. I've never witnessed a divorce close up and boy does it suck. I know sometimes it's best, but it seems pretty destructive from where I'm standing, like how could anyone possibly recover.

Some eye candy:

I know! I'm one of those mothers that posts pictures of her kid all the time. When did this happen (and I don't even know how to rotate the flippin thing)? But look at him! He can CRAWL! And he has a tooth! And pull himself up all fancy like.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Always a sucker for a video montage

Like many others I compulsively read PostSecret. What a great idea for an online thingy. His latest is a mini-movie, and it's really interesting, makes the secrets come even more alive. The one that says "Everyone who knew me before 9/11 thinks I'm dead"--that's a pretty big *(&^ secret. I might have some secrets, but that's pretty big. That's the basis for a whole novel, right there.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sexy food photog

I read a few food blogs, like this one, this one, and this one. There is some seriously sensual food photography going on out there. In a nod of tribute to those who make me drool even over things I know I would never like, I have taken a moment to photograph some of the food in my life today, a la sexy food blogs. Mostly HH's bubba food. Which is not very appetizing at all (don't tell him that, he likes it fine) but looks okay with the sexy food lens:

And don't even get me started on the squash:

And here is my bubba almost almost almost crawling and definitely knowing when there is a camera around to ham at. We are going to CA for a few days with ALL the grandparents and even a set of great-grandparents. I hope I get to hold him, just a little bit....reminds me of that whole letting go thing that's going to happen to all yall's babies but NOT MINE, no sirree bob.

And no, I don't vaccuum my floor enough. Even when precious bubba is rolling around on it, bless him and his iron immune system.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

My Blog is Listed at

My Blog is Listed at

What I used to take pictures of before cute baby

My 17 pound cat trying to fit into a shoebox. And succeeding, really quite gracefully, for the most part.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I may just survive day care

OK, so he's still alive. He cried when I left him there today but really overall he seemed not to have a bad time. And they fed him. And secretly I'm sure he's their FAVORITE BABY because how could he not be, really? And they really are very nice, and knowledgeable about kids. And I can visit him any time I want. At any rate we are switching to two days a week, that will help.

I received a copy of Blindness this weekend, how cool is that? Now maybe I can put down Harry Potter, which I am trying hard to get into but failing.

Friday, August 3, 2007

In which she thinks research will save the day but ends up being stuck with her own instincts anway

I'm researching the benefits of day care. I really need a reason to think what I'm doing is a good thing.

There is the thing about stay at home moms having the dream job.

Here is one conclusion from the British Medical Journal:

"Studies on disadvantaged populations in the US show that out of home daycare before the age of 5 years benefits children's intelligence quotients, school performance, and behaviour. Long term benefits include higher socioeconomic status, fewer births outside marriage, and decreased criminal behaviour. Benefits for mothers include positive effects on employment, fertility, and interaction with children."

But, see, I'm not a disadvantaged population. I'm ridiculously advantaged, for better for worse, certainly overeducated.

When this daycare spot came open, it was like gold. There are two year waiting lists for most of the child care centers in Seattle, so it was take it or leave it. And everyone, EVERYONE, encouraged us to take it. We were lucky to get it! A great opportunity! And obviously I'm a proponent of day care, conceptually, or I wouldn't have put myself on the waiting list. All this business about socialization and convenience and reliable care, they said. A babysitter can break her leg or quit, and you have to deal with their schedule.

And on the subject of my difficulties "adjusting" to leaving him there, the counsel I'm getting is that "it will get better" and "give it time" and such. I will have to "let him go" sometime. But you know, I could adjust to illness, or war, or even widowed, heaven forbid. The human spirit is amazing, but our ability to adjust doesn't always mean we should. And I've had no problem "letting him go" to be with our wonderful babysitter, or with my mom. Bunch of crap, this letting him go stuff, if you ask me. He's eight months old for heavens sake.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I left my baby in an orphanage, again

I left him there again. I put him to sleep and then left him there. I came back a couple hours later to check on him, and he was lying on the floor screaming his brains out. Nobody comforting him, holding him, nothing. The teacher said he's having teething pain. Except that he STOPPED CRYING when I picked him up and hasn't cried the rest of the day. Because there's no way I was going to leave him there screaming. I'm not saying she was wrong, he is 8 months old and no teeth after all, so it's bound to be a correct statement one of these days that he has teething pain. But how can you let him just lie there and cry?? My precious bubba?

But she did feed him, things are looking up in that department. Crap. Maybe the world will change and I won't have to take him back on Monday. Maybe staying home will become wonderfully stimulating and just be enough. Maybe my advisers will give me a PhD because I'm cute and just generally deserve it and I won't have to actually finish the projects.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I left my baby in an orphanage

Oh my heavens, that was hard. I cried, he cried. He only slept for a few minutes all day. I was a basket case. I am completely overwhelmed at the administrative hell that is having a child in day care. Labels on every container with first name, last name, date (including year!). Food and milk must be thrown out in an hour if not finished. Must tell day care teacher details of everything, things I am fuzzy on myself and just wing most of the time. Involves way too much planning. And the evil cackle of processed and prepared foods at a low whisper in my ear: "you can use will be so easy...just use us...he won't"

And the waste! They only use disposable diapers, of course. So I have become a Pampers mom overnight. They change them every two hours, no matter what. The changing table must be wiped down THREE TIMES after every use, and of course the staff washes their hands all the time. More paper towels.

The staff are nice and calm, etc, but really the best HH will have is 1/3 of his teacher's time.

And the crying babies! Everywhere. Somewhere a screaming baby, at all times. And the poor staff, underpaid and overstressed. And I'm just contributing to it, to someone else being poor so I can go to work.

And you know what I did during my work time? My precious work time that I left my precious baby to have? (Ask me. The answer is really good.) I checked a table that someone else prepared for me, one that is supposed to go into a paper to be published in a scholarly journal, and found some ADDITION errors. And because of the politics of the tension between research staff and students (me) I must be very nice and thankful for every scrap of time I get from my adviser's staff. So I spent way too much time crafting a sweet email, like, I'm sure it's ME who can't add, but maybe you could please double check the numbers when you have a spare moment please and tell me how I've messed up, even though addition is obviously WRONG, you are a lovely lovely person and I'm so thankful for you, thank you for bearing with my being so DUMB etc and etc. That's what I did during my time away from my perfect baby.

What? Where are the happy hours and frivolous lunches with coworkers? The TEAM? The quote adult interaction unquote? The jovial water cooler jokes? Plates of brownies in the coffee room? The righteousness that I am contributing to The Public's Health with my Very Important Research? Where is all that?

And did I mention the eating? His teacher "reassured" me that he would "lose weight" once he started walking. Do 8-month-olds need to lose weight? Just for reminders:

And then at lunch she asked if she should start with half of what I brought him and I said sure (because of stringent food-throwing-away rules good to start with half), but keep going if he wants more, and give him as much applesauce as he wants (a big jar of grownup applesauce lives there for him, he loves applesauce). So she gave him half the food and four tablespoons of applesauce and stopped, even though he was screaming. And I came in to check on them just after lunch to find a screaming baby. She said she didn't give him the second half of the food because she thought that's what I wanted (what?), and didn't want to give him any more applesauce in fear that he would "eat half the jar." Jeepers, my baby is in the 92%tile and he eats until he's full. That's pretty much that, and I'd very much like to keep it like that. Food shouldn't have to be so complicated.

("eat half the jar".."lose weight"..give him only half the food...let my baby scream when he's hungry...grumble grumble grrrrr)

To her credit, she did seem to revise her image of him from overfed blimp to baby with good appetite. She is very nice, for real. And they did seem to bond a bit by the end of the day. But having had a "failure to thrive" baby early on (maybe I'll post those pictures when we know each other better, loose skin and chicken legs and visible ribs) I'm pretty stoked about my baby's appetite and our ability to help fill him with nutritious foods. Which I bring into the day care in this bag so how can they NOT be nutritious? Really.

I have to do all of this again tomorrow. Crap crap crapola.