Thursday, January 31, 2008

I was looking into new ways to help promote my work (blogging, the e-books, etc) and came across Buzzfuse. The way it works is as I understand it, is a group-sharing and expanding format. They use the word “viral marketing”, but it does not have a virus that can harm your stuff (or your friend's stuff). First thing is to register for free. Part of that process is to add contacts. You can easily send an automated invite to everyone on your contact list, or target the people who might want this the most. Again, that's free. After that you add a piece of content, like a blogpost you've done that seems pretty nice. This item is then sent out to everyone else on your contact list, as a “hey, check this out” thing. They check it out, and maybe they'll agree that it's cool enough to send on to their contact list. And so on, and so on, and before you know it that one post will hit a whole lot more people than you know personally. It would inspire someone like me to make my writing better and better so that those new readers decide to hang around. New traffic, new regular readers, and who knows where that could lead one day? I'm willing to give it a shot. Couldn't hurt, right?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This morning I woke up listening to legos bang together and thanked God for a gray sunrise. There are a few benefits to having these dull, gray, peasoup fog mornings, and one of them is that it convinces my daughter that it is earlier than it really is. Today that meant that I was able to close my eyes again and bury my face in the pillow for a few more minutes. Just a few minutes. That's not too much to ask, is it, and those extra minutes can mean the difference between being forced to consciousness and a foul mood for the next twenty hours or a slow rise to acceptance that yes, I have to open my eyes and tend to my family.

I do love them. That is why I accept the forced waking when it's needed. That is also why I have yet to run away from home.

Sunday night on my way out of the NICU I had a flashback to college days. I remembered what it was like to walk outside just after sunset in chilly wet weather, walking from building to building and climbing endless half-flights of concrete steps under equally chilly flourescent lighting. The ground is wet in the manner of springtime; petunias still survive in their flowerbeds and the rain is keeping everything just ready to explode with new growth. In another week I'm going to be hearing lawn mowers everywhere we go, and smelling that heavenly aroma of newly clipped grass.

It will be February, and seem like May in the small Eastern town where I grew up. Late April, even, but surely not the middle of winter. I'm experiencing seasons again after three years in Paradise and although I surely do miss that land of no real climate and timeless season I'm learning to accept the slow progression of time again. The land wakes up, is moist, grows. The mowers come, new sounds and smells. Summer lands hard on our heads with an equally endless time of oven-like heat as we're all baked dry and dream of water. Fall brings cooler nights and our thanks. Winter comes again with rain and fog and slow gray mornings.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Once again let me thank everybody who's been adding their clicks to the Goldfish Fund. It does make a difference, and I've been sleeping a little easier by knowing it's there. I promise to come up with something really whitty and funny later on, just as soon as I get Toddler lunched, changed, wiped, and decongested. Toddler-sized colds? Not horribly awful, but very sticky. And if you don't stay on top of a small, glazed, human child, they make an awful lot of laundry that doesn't have to happen.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I have a picture of another weekend in my head while I'm writing this. I'm dreaming of a weekend when the household isn't sick, where my Toddler is the bright-eyed hellraiser that I know she can be, when there's giggling and laughing going on all over the place.

Not this hushed quiet.

Since my mom and the Toddler both have this sickness I know it's a matter of hours/days before I get it too. I will write "return to sender" on the front with a large sharpie and that should be the end of it, right? The Boy is taking a well-deserved nap right now and then I get to drive into the city to take frozen breastmilk to my Robbie. Should I stay home? It's likely. Likely that I may be carrying some germ that will survive the scrubbing in procedure at the NICU, that I might deliver it unsuspecting to my precious baby laying there.

Is that risk worth taking so that he can have the breastmilk, as he is currently on the high-strength formula that is making him gassy, constipated, and miserable, and if I don't take it today I'm not going to have the window of opportunity to take it in until next weekend? I'd rather run that slight risk to make his known discomfort less.

But please, universe, I want to go do the milk run now while the Toddler is blessedly asleep. So that I can return to find her just waking up, or eating dinner, and so that I can sit up with her fevered little body while she settles off to sleep for the night.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another sleepless night, tossing and turning and dropping off to sleep only to wake in a cold sweat from larger-than-life dream sequences. Have I been to the doctor yet? No. Should I get up off the butt and get the call made and go? Uh-huh. Can I summon the ability to do this yet?

It occurs to me that if I did get around to starting that serial novel like I've been promising myself I'd do, that it would provide a reasonable outlet for my drama needs right now. That pesky BPD diagnosis is pushing me for High Drama right now, and I don't want to be bothered with it. -Hey, that's actually pretty healthy of me! Way to go, me! When my subconscious starts acting like this, with the acting out in my dreams every night and somewhat in my imagination during the day, I've got to find a way to let it go before it spills over. Whether or not that's going to be in the therapists' office this time or on the Net, I don't know yet. Maybe I'll turn to my blogging for more cheap therapy.

One of the high points to having been so thoroughly therapied for so many years of my early adulthood is that I know that my particular flavor of PTSD responds well to the constant rehashing. For that I don't need to necessarily share it with the world, as long as I get it done in a safe environment. These days I can quite nicely get the work done wrapped up in a quilt with my knitting needles. And that need for high drama? Let's explore that some more from a different angle.

I can step back and look at the life changes we're going through right now. Micro preemie at the end of a highrisk pregnancy, emergency delivery, special needs toddler and special needs infant coming to join the circus, adjusting to having the family complete at this point. Those are pretty big changes. Some of them are fairly high drama all by themselves. Do I really need to upgrade that drama? Would it not be better to take that step back with a hot cup of tea and reassess my reactions?

At this point I've reached the following conclusions, subject to change at any moment. Keep looking on the upside. I already try to do this on a daily basis. Let's just make it official now. Fix firmly in my mind that this will not be forever, that the entire next year will just be an arbitary timespan that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Before I know it both of my babies will catch up to their full term counterparts, and they will hit their teen years and want nothing to do with me at all. Maybe then I'll catch up on that elusive sleep. When I feel myself spinning out of control, take a breath. The Boy will appreciate a calm reaction because Lord knows he's going through a mess of the same depressive thoughts himself. Let's not add to his burdens with concerns about my stability when he could be concerned about his children (normal, and laudable to be concerned with his children. Not necessary to make him walk on eggshells for the mother of those children who provides their daily care.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Robbie is in the neighborhood of 1565 grams at the moment. 3 pounds, 7 and 3/4 ounces. He comes home at just about 1800 grams. That means that at the rate he's been going we're looking at a come-home date of days from now. It's not in the mythical realm of "eventually around his due date". His due date of Feb 11, which come to think of it is not that far off either.

The Toddler seems to have no concept that this is going to change her world forever. We don't know what she understands, even though she "speaks" of Robbie while going through her books and toys. She knows that Mommy pumps for Robbie, that certain changes to the old routine are for "Robbie", and beyond that? Who knows.

I'm not overly concerned at this point. Robbie looks like a Real Live Boy right now, except that he's really small and tiny compared to full term babies, and when I look at them I wonder how anyone could handle a baby that large as a newborn? My reality is warped by my two tiny babies; as I said often through my pregnancy I wouldn't know what to do with a baby larger than 5 pounds. I know how to handle a preemie, extra floppy with low or practically non-existant muscle tone. I know how to shoot the medicine into their mouths so they swallow it instead of choking. I know how to deal with the endless comments on how small my child is... some days more gracefully than other days.

Let's just keep on keeping on. Keep faith. Serenity Now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Toddler who doesn't want to nap. Add a long day and you have the screamfest that started out as bedtime and ended up as a half-hour event whereupon the sobbing toddler tried to tell mommy that she didn't want to go to sleep.

I feel like such a lousy parent when I have to enforce bedtime when she's still crying. The more so because whatever words she has are forgotten in her distress. We're back to the communication of infancy. Is she thirsty? Hungry? Gassy? Is she afraid of something in the dark room or is she just too tired to remember how to sleep? Does her head hurt? Is it something else? Too hot, too cold? If she would be able to let me know this... it would be so much easier for both of us.

I'm earning my sleep tonight. Can I hope that tomorrow will mean more milk in the freezer for my little boy so far away from me? I'm starting to get so hungry again. The hunger cycle seems to come and go spiking slight increases in supply.

Yet another post about my boobs has been brought to you tonight by One Tired Mama. While I got away with relatively light toddler wrangling, I cooperated with the Boy and got a massive amount of paperwork and scheduling done. We're getting closer to D-day. Delivery. The Small Boy will come home.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Three pounds, three ounces. Today we settled down in the rocking chair for kangaroo care. The nurse positioned Robbie on my chest and drew the privacy screens close. Immediately he started fussing. Arching his back, throwing his head around. If his lungs were capable of it he'd have screamed to bring the house down. I figured out what he wanted.

I laid him down flat on my inner arm, cradling his head by my elbow. He opened his eyes wide, looking all around for the circus. Poor child, there was no circus. No party, no balloons, no elephants or clowns. Just his mama and his Gram. He still had to check though. After several minutes of looking for them Robbie figured out that they weren't coming. He closed his eyes again and let me position him back up on my chest where he fell asleep.

While I was gone his sister ran around the house. She poured rice from her sensory table into my shoes and destroyed one of my tapes. She tried to ignore me completely for the next two hours. Remember when I used to call her a little puppy?

Some things, I'm afraid, are just a natural for young mammals. At bedtime she brought her milk to me and climbed into my lap with her blanket. We snuggled. We cuddled. Then Mommy tucked her in and kissed her goodnight.

My two babies are sleeping now. I'm all relaxed again, with a cup of tea and a belly full of pizza, icecream, and the promise of midnight chocolate. That hopeless feeling I had the other night? Gone for now. The little newborn on my chest, fingers not much bigger than a mini birthday candle, his face pressed against my skin. That's why I'm driving myself nuts with this pumping. This is why I'm doing all this to keep whatever milk I have left coming. For him. Because this will help him continue to thrive, will lessen his reflux, will strengthen his immune system. Sure, it might save some pennies as well. As long as that's still secondary to all the other benefits.

Friday, January 18, 2008

One of the neat things that happens in a slowing economy, when people are being more careful in how they spend their money, is that lenders have to compete more for business. If, for example, you are looking at a Florida Refinance of your home, you can visit a website that brings multiple lenders together to offer you a bunch of different offers. One stop shopping with the benefit of your fuzzy bunny slippers. You don't have to call each one individually and listen to fasttalking customer service reps trying every verbal trick to get you talked into signing with them. I like the online method; it takes so much emotion out of a transaction. I can look at stuff objectively with the criteria that I choose foremost in my mind. So easy to be sweet-talked into options that really don't apply to your situation. And if my experience is only with car insurance which can be easily changed twice a year, think how much more important it is to get exactly what you're looking for when refinancing your home!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I wonder why I'm still depressed, and then I go to pump. I just spent the past hour pumping, one side at a time so that I could collect the milk in the same graduated nurser bottle. I like doing it in those, because the shape is narrow and makes my output look more than it is.

One hour, for 10ml.

Are there mothers out there who know how that makes me feel right now? I try and I try and I'm getting up twice a night all this past week because our schedule this past week has me going sometimes four hours between pumping. For what? 10ml. Oh, sure, this morning I got 18ml in a bottle. That's not making me feel much better. I know this is the best thing for my boy and I can't convince my body to give up the milk. He's probably getting two days of breastmilk a week now before they need to break out the formula again. I know it won't hurt him- he'll thrive on it like my girl thrived on her formula. You remember, the $15/12.8 oz can formula?

I don't know if this is the point at which I'm going to hang up the pumping horns.

I want to cry it out, but I don't think I should give in to it because I start being afraid that if I start crying tonight I won't stop. We've got to get up early tomorrow. I have to drop the Boy at work, and drive into Fresno to get Robbie's birth certificate. My little boy weighs 3 pounds this week and I want to have the chance to try and nurse him once before I lose my milk completely. I don't even know anymore why this is so damn important to me. I just know that it is, and that this is why I'm so freaked out at losing the supply completely, and I'm going to bed tonight scared and afraid.

I still lay in bed praying for the milk to increase. For one more miracle to happen for us even though I'm sure I've used my lifetime's supply of miracles. I don't deserve any more miracles. I should just be happy that I have two living children and a good marriage that can survive two preemies and my depression.

Tonight it's dark and cold, and I feel more alone than I've felt in months.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This morning started in one of my favorite ways. The Toddler has a large rubbermaid tote in her bedroom where we toss her legos and blocks, and when I went in to get her up for the day I found her sitting inside it burying her toes underneath the blocks. What a sight! Then she just had to wear a hat while getting dressed. Why is this? I don't know.

After the getting dressed she snuggled on my lap and ate breakfast. Isn't that a wonderful followup? Smell of cute toddler in the morning, soft warm head nuzzled up under my chin, warm body pressed up as close under my armpit as it was phsyically able to go. When she was finished she wiggled her way down to play. So long, Mom, I love you but you're cramping my style today.

The little one is doing well, he's just over three pounds now. Every day brings us closer to a family of four. Better load that car seat now, just in case. Am I ready? Am I really ready to bring him home? About as ready as any new mother is when her body goes into labor. This homecoming will be sudden, with very little warning, and I've got to get ready for it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where other climates get snow, we get rain. Where they get rain, we get fog. And yes, this means that it's foggy outside again. Peasoup fog, of the sort that I only dreamed about whenever I used to read descriptions of London's weather. It's so thick right now that I could cut it, only around an hour past daybreak can I see the tops of the houses just across the street. Earlier I couldn't even see that far.

I'm trying to get my routines in place this morning. A few of them that are designed around helping me get my mind ready for a day. Make the bed. Unload clean dishes from dishwasher and reload with dirty that have been soaking in the sink. Swipe the kitchen floor with a cleaning wipe. Dump the used coffee grounds from the Boy's morning pot. Dish out the Toddler's breakfast as much as possible so it will mean less steps when she finally awakes.

Monday, January 14, 2008

As my mother calls it, “The Robbie Report” is as follows: he now weighs 2 lbs and 10 oz. He is on room air, although it's being fed to him via cannula. This is a good sign. I've also now changed two diapers. Two diapers, in 6 weeks of life. It's reasonable to expect that this is the last time I'll ever be so lucky. Especially as neither of those diapers were dirty ones, they were “only” wet.

How am I doing? Today I decided not to call the doctor, in favor of getting the midmonth bills triaged and written out. Fun. The best part of the month for every household that lives check to check, right? This is the day where you almost have a nice chunk of change in the checking account and have to figure out which bills get paid and how much can be paid on them. After the fiasco with the electric company last summer this is nearly at the painless spot it was at a year ago; there's only one bill left that I am still trying to catch up on. Unfortunately I can't just pay the whole balance off at this point. I wish I could. I really wish I could. Then it wouldn't make my stomach all jittery. Unfortunately, that's not an option right now. So I'll put up with jittery stomach and work on my knitting. Or my blogging. Or staring at my boobs willing them to produce more milk, like, NOW.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Is it not incredible that one minute you can feel so defeated, and the next moment everything comes back into perspective? The world is not a horrible place, and although this winter has been gray and dull and damp more often than not there really will be a whole year full of bright sunny and clear days in front of us.

I don't know why I feel this burst of hope. Underneath the sadness is still a very real and hard load to shoulder. It's the knowing that it won't last forever- I remember that this will not last even though I can't see an ending to it. I know there will be sunshine again even though I don't believe it will ever return. This is one of the reasons I like the spring so much; the ground melts and flowers come back. Grass shoots are brilliant in the mud underneath my feet and new life is whispering that all is not lost. Do not give up hope. There will come a new day for you, for me, and the depression will not be this bleak forever.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I just feel so sad. I don't know why, other than that it's the product of my depression, hiding away in the back of my brain for so many (?) months. I don't count the situational depression, because I've got a fair grip on that. I mean the pervasive sadness depression that just is. It doesn't go anywhere, it just springs up one morning out of nothing and lays a blanket over my emotions and thoughts.

Guess it's time again to call the doctor, to get on some meds that will help lay this sucker down for the next few months/years. I don't want to be on them forever, and indeed it's when I'm going longterm on something that I run the biggest risk of waking up and having them stop working.

My baby? He is still well. My supply? Starting to taper back off. The past three days haven't helped; no chance to pump regularly, no contact with the new baby other than a brief phone call, and I've been stressed by sudden evaluations and the re-emergence of Female Issues that normally don't happen when you're pregnant.

My Toddler? Still cranky. She's tired and this evening we couldn't even try to feed her anything resembling a meal. Too tired to accept anything, including her beloved peanut butter. We ran out of store-bought bread so I baked, and the homemade bread was not the familiar texture or taste so it was flung aside with a wail. By "fling" I really do mean fling. With the violence you'd display if someone shoved a venomous snake in your face. Same with the sippy cup at first. Almost with the poppysicle. I started with the poppysicle then, moving slowly to a piece or two of the peanut butter alone on my fingertip. There were graham crackers in the pantry, so we tried them. Success! Graham crackers for dinner it is! Not long after that she calmed down enough to drink her milk.

Then she went to sleep. And me? I'm sad. So I'm having some water, some bread and butter, and trying to go to bed now. I don't even have much faith that I'll sleep. Is it possible to be too depressed to sleep?
While searching around in my copious (hah!) spare time, I looked into new glasses. My mom's frames broke earlier this summer, resulting in an odd fix with a spare arm off a way-different pair. I'd like to get her a new pair of glasses this spring, as a "thank you" that comes long overdue for everything she's done around here in the past year. Come to think of it, my own glasses could use an upgrade. I've had these since 2004 or so. Remember the superglue incident of my first pregnancy? Great Discovery: which offers glasses very cheaply. They can do it because they only offer the frames that they manufacture. I don't care who makes my frames as long as the price is right.
Have you heard the news story about how phone companies have ended wiretaps not because of faulty warrant info but because the FBI didn't pay the bill? I mean, they can tap anyone they feel like (apparantly) but if they're late on the bill it's a case of "no tap for you!"

There is just much political stuff out there. What happened to the days when I could bury my head in the sand and be blissfully unaware of current events? I want those days back. I want my ignorance back! But no... I found that it's a lot easier to keep mildly aware of these things. I get the email daily digest from two papers, and even though I don't always have the time to read them it does take less room than two daily papers. I browse the headlines, I read the articles when I have the chance. If something annoys me I can fake ignorance of it for a while. If something strikes my interest I can keep current on it.

It's like the church issues that we're getting mailings on every Sunday. Our diocese broke away from the main church -I think, because I'm deliberately keeping fuzzy on it- and the church I go to did not break away, and now we're in some sort of limbo land. South America is involved at one portion. It was brought up at meetings, and church councils, and surveys and letters came out and there was a vote. Or several votes. And my position continues to be that I do not want to know. What the heck is wrong with wanting to just go to church every week? I do not want to get involved with beaucracy and church politics. I just want to attend in peace and be mostly left alone. I realize that attitude brings it's own set of responsibilities; that I give up my right to complain about future paths this church will take or how money gets distributed, and all of that- I can accept that. Just leave me alone to keep my head in the sand.
Now that the Boy has his license, we're one step closer to eventually getting a second car. But where to start? He says we'll just get a clunker that can get him from one point to another; I think we should get a car big enough to carry the two kids plus their gear plus a passenger or two. Yeah- me, a soccer mom with minivan and two kids? We've even got a fence around the backyard here. Bring on the station wagon!

One place to explore car leasing is a site that lets you search by various options. Stuck on a certain make or model? Search by that. My favorite is to search by budget. If you know you're limited by what you can afford, don't even let yourself see those options when you're doing serious shopping. If you don't see it, you don't get tempted to sign for a car you can't afford. And wouldn't it be really neat to have a car show up at your house, delivered? Ah. The benefit of the Net. To be able to do so much from the comfort of the fuzzy bunny slippers.
Where does all this guilt come from? Lately I feel so off, like there's more I should be doing. I want to keep the house spotless, be totally involved with the Toddler, and drive up to see the baby eight hours a day. I can't; it's physically impossible to do and be all these things at the same time. It's driving me nutty.

About the only thing I can do to alleviate all of this is to pump milk for the baby, try to love the Toddler, try to squeeze in a few chores and a load of laundry around the edges. This is where those routines are coming in handy. An added bonus: when it's written down in black and white I know when something is starting to become an unreasonable expectation. For someone with the inability to let stuff go, with the risk factors for a mild case of OCD, this is a blessing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

There's another article in my newspaper about weight loss and gain and the struggle that much of the population is struggling with. So many people don't know what is really healthy for them. Our perceptions continue to be slightly warped by our own reality. Advertisements, tv, magazines, the skinny neighbor who should wear more clothes before she gets pneumonia... all these things contribute to not knowing. Then you add in the food pyramid and fad diets, weight loss experts, diet pills. Who knows? Some things work, a lot don't work, some work some of the time and then stop leaving you with rebound pounds. And then there are the people who just can't lose the weight that they need to lose for health reasons. They suffer from so many issues and no amount of dieting or exercise is helping. If you've absolutely got to lose that weight and keep it off and nothing else works, consider a lapband procedure. It's reversible, unlike stomach stapling or procedures that alter the physical structure of your insides. Sometimes you just have to go with what works for you.
My Robbie was transferred across town earlier this week, and ever since I've been fighting the depression again. I don't know just why; the move wasn't bad, as such. It was good. It means that he's stable enough to be transferred to an equal care-level facility due to need for his space in the feeder/grower unit. I would say "bed space", but technically that's not true. He was not moved from the bed. The bed went with him. The transit made him fussy and cranky. He lost two ounces. Which is not a huge thing for a lot of kids, but when he started out so small this is really a big deal. I'm stressing over gas prices again. In specific, gas prices as they relate to the increased driving, having to visit my boy in the NICU on weekends, not having much of a choice about that whole issue...

Plus we're getting sick. The Boy already is sick. My mom's fighting it, I'm ignoring it, and the Toddler appears to be unaffected so far. We'll see how long that really lasts.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The second to last job I had before staying home to be a mother was over in Torrey Pines. It's a place famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) for golfing. I must admit that I'm far more into the miniature golf game than the "real" golf. At least I used to be. Lately I'm starting to really come to terms with the features that draw people to fight over getting the best golf tee times. Part of it is the skill. There's something almost magical about being able to take a breath, center yourself, and make the little ball go from here to there and land as close as possible to the goal. Meditative, even. It makes me feel a yearning for this game as a good way to reclaim my own peace. In the middle of the busy day, when toddlers are screaming and newborns need tending and constant vigilance, where does a parent find their calm? I know it's easy enough to lose that calmness, but how do we find them again? And once you take up a hobby that allows you to have that, isn't it only normal to need the appropriate gear to go along with it? American Golf is a great site to visit to find out the courses near you, to give the gift of a game to a friend, or to find accessories.
Yesterday in class the Toddler played with markers, leading to a close encounter of the purple kind. It is moments like this that lead us to fully comprehend her habit of brushing her right hand back from her nose and around her ear, not caring which item is currently in that hand or what kind of mess will be created. This is the behavior that leads to a peanut butter facial every evening. This is the sort of thing.

I love my little girl, never more so than when she's doubled over with laughter. And if her nose is purple? So what? There's soap in the house. Or it will eventually wear off. She's two. This is a normal thing. So be it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's no use crying over spilled milk.

Last night I pumped a fairly decent amount. Got up to put the milk away; I had enough in that little bottle for one more addition to the freezer stash. I don't freeze it until I have half an ounce in the bottle, because it looks so depressingly small at anything less than that. I mean, if it doesn't cover the bottom of the bottle by more than a few drops, what's the point? It'll melt in the car on the way up to Children's, no matter how much ice I pack around it.

So I was standing up from the chair and my balance slipped a little and I dropped the bottle. The lid was not on. The milk went down, sideways, got my skirt wet and a little of the chair.

When I think of all the work it takes to get that much out (just about a quarter ounce, which is slightly more than a teaspoon for those of you who need a comparison to fully feel my pain) I could have cried. I mean, really. I sit there with the pump for about half an hour on both sides just to produce enough drops to make that. And then I lose it all. It's a very sad thing.

Either I was feeling relaxed at the time, or I've been learning to let go of my supply issues. When this happened I was able to instantly shrug it off. This morning I'm feeling the pain of it though. This morning I'm really noticing how much that was in the larger scheme of things.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Did you ever wonder to yourself how you ended up living out bizarre cartoon sequences? During a failed attempt at naptime, my daughter smacked me in the head repeatedly with a small yellow duck. The first time it was accidental. The remainder of the time it was to hear the squeak.

If you like this story, support this site through learning more about one of our featured products found on the lovely sidebar. Who knows? It may save me from the Duck.

More stories will be forthcoming if this child ever eats her dinner and goes to sleep.
This is a day to organize. To plan ahead. To do... something. I forget.

Do you ever have those sorts of days? They start with good intentions but go downhill so incredibly fast. I maybe should be asking is there anyone who does not have those sorts of days. It seems to me that it's one of the prerequisites to humanity. Especially when you've got little ones who delight in throwing all your careful plans to the wind.

Today I'm flying. So far. For me it comes down to routines and lists. I've always been on the compulsive side. This is directly related to having the inability to ever let anything go. I've worked on it and been in therapy for this, and although some things are easier than others I freely admit that during moments of stress and exhaustion all the old habits come back. Routines help me start and end the day- every night the dishwasher gets run and the sink is empty/nearly empty. Counters are normally cleared and ready to receive a whole new crop of Stuff in the morning. Every morning I sit down and start by checking email over breakfast. It's when these routines fall out of sync that I start losing my brain- and once it's lost it can be several days before I feel back on track with myself. I think it's having those routines that has let me survive motherhood, and it's those routines that will help me do well with having another little teeny one with all the associated doctors, specialists, therapists, and social services involved.
I remember way back when, when the company put out their quarterly meeting videos. It was a big deal for us. We'd all be able to sit in; I could put the phones on automatic (although hardly anyone ever did accept the automated voicemail system). They sent out for lunch. Fabulous. And then there was the video link itself. Movie time! I didn't even mind the blatant corporate imagery, the motivational aspect that was so embedded into it.

Of course not every company does that sort of thing. Some don't go with live video. Some go with animated motivational stuff. These short cartoons teach things like customer service skills in a fun way. Marastar is a company that specializes in these short video cartoons. One of the things that makes them truly special is that they include humor as well as the basic skills and gentle reminders to your staff. If you're the one in charge of planning company-wide meetings and training sessions, consider cartoon humor as a good way to motivate people. It does make an impact. Personally, I felt much more motivated by our quarterly movie and lunch than I did by the coffee mug or service pin. With a little thought behind the planning, you can spark something fresh in your team. This of course has to be based on the people who work for you. If you've got a bunch that can be fired up by a logo on a mug you might want to consider a different sort; the sort who bring a spark of humanity back into the workplace. We've long suspected that drones don't really accomplish much. If you can engage the person, instead of the contracted business services provided by a human-shaped entity who is just there for the paycheck, that's a great first step to making a business that will last longer than 5 or 6 years.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Have you ever had a day where, when you left your toddler with someone so that you could run and do a critically important thing outside the house, they decided to channel a tornado instead of a sweet little cherub? We had such a day. A day that ends with parents returning home and wishing for a moment that they could turn right around and leave again. Let me rephrase that- I can't speak for my husband, the father of this child. I can only say that my first instinct was to turn on my heel and disavow any and all knowledge of this child.

But I do love her, and I am a good parent, and I will admit that I knew something like this was imminent. I picked up the mess and tried to get the rest of the house into something like order. I changed her into a clean nightgown and convinced her to eat part of a half of a peanut butter sandwich. She drank a few sips of chocolate milk. Eventually, she suffered me to hold her and I informed her that she was going to sleep and when she wakes up tomorrow she will turn into a mild-mannered and polite child again.

I wish.

So many things I wish tonight. I wish that she did not have these mild delays and sensory issues, as well as a resistance to napping and resting during the day that leads inevitably to a meltdown of epic proportions. She's going to be three in only a few short months. Isn't she supposed to be talking in sentences now, and potty-training, and doing more to communicate her needs and desires than this incessant eh-eh-eh sound coupled with a smattering of real words? Isn't she supposed to follow directions more consistently than not?

I need to be more grateful for small things. Like, she's not sick. Like, this is a language/communication delay and she's in treatment for it. Like, this is just a really horrible day for us. It will pass.

In the meantime, I think I need a hug.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I held my baby again today, after I found him. This kid really needs to stop moving around, getting out on his own, changing locations without warning me first... See, I arrived at the NICU this evening and innocently went to his room. Instead of the familiar isolette in space "b", there was an open warming crib containing a baby about three times the size of my baby, with a thick mess of black hair. Also, the name tag indicated it was a female baby.

Turns out that Robbie got moved to the feeder/grower unit late yesterday. This is what happens when I miss a daily call over there. Fortunately I found my baby fairly quickly. This is good for all our blood pressures.

He's not quite three pounds after all, despite my hopes and positive thinking. But it's not that far off. I did get to hold him a long time, watching him sleep. That tiny little body held in my arms. He's getting better at holding his body temperature. Granted, we didn't have him outside the isolette for very long, but it was still a very positive thing. He slept most of the time. Was a bit cranky at being moved and semi-woken.

So how was your Saturday? Do anything fun? It's raining here. Again. After not raining for enough months that I thought it would never rain again, it's raining. The ground is turning a brilliant emerald green; beautiful.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A friend of mine, older and diabetic for many years and suffering the foot problems that many diabetics get at this point, went to her doctor the other week and learned that he wants her to start wearing wool socks. 100% wool socks. No elastic, no "fillers". Just wool socks. Something about breathability I guess. Now, I know wool or cotton socks are wonderful things. Personally, I don't go for wool. Cotton, though, makes me drool from time to time. This friend was talking to my mom and wondering where on earth they expected her to find these socks- with no elastic or fillers. Simple, my mom says. Just ask Mary to do it. She knits socks, is currently into knitting socks, and would be happy to do it.

And I am happy, of course. I love the opportunity to sit down and knock out a few more pairs. It's the chance to perfect my technique. Also the excuse to buy new needles. I picked up a set of wood double-points for this project, and the wool, and I have to say that I'm completely sold on the combination of pure wool and wood. A drawback for me in working with socks thus far is that there is inevitably a point at which all my stitches try to escape on a tight corner. The wood needle is "sticky". The wool is also sticky. The two sticky things are making the socks easy to work. Easier to fold into my purse and expect to stay together.

If only the sleep that eludes me could be trapped like this wool on the needles. I could catch it and force it to stay on my brain, and then I would lose a portion of this zombie-like wandering through the rest of the next day. So far this week I'm choosing to look at it as a tailor-made opportunity to pump. I needed to start pumping at night to increase supply. Well, here we are. I'm awake, so I pump. And while I'm pumping, let's work on balancing the breastshield against my bent knee so that I can have both hands free. Then I can keep working on lovely wool socks.

Multitasking. Is there anything a mother can't do, when she's motivated enough?
As y'all know, apart from my previous life as Mary Poppins (professional receptionist, admin, and all-around "fixer" of certain researching things) I trained in library science. Which isn't just a tight-lipped person with wire-rimmed glasses, a tight bun, and the ability to SHUSH people wordlessly. I wanted to go into something like corporate record management, which is a big fancy term for Librarian to the Suits. Technology changes at record speed. These days a corporate librarian almost needs to start with a minimum of a Masters, and loads of extra IT classes. She needs to know what it is, how to fix it, how to categorize it, and how to maximize for the user base she will ultimately support (and all without mussing her hair or wrinkling the suit).
SFTP Server, SSH Server, data, metadata. How do you keep everything going and secure in a world that increasingly demands security? At the same time as demanding access from anyone, anywhere, anytime -as long as they're authorized? It's enough to make someone rip their hair out. I couldn't keep up with it, though I went through school with people who did and who dreamed of this as their highest goal. And even though I fell off-track in the quest for this type of position, I still keep up with things. Maybe it's in my blood at this point? I dream of simplifying my home network and tech responsibility even though it's limited now to just this family. I browse technical journals and sites to keep current on one-stop solutions for businesses- and I wonder often at how soon I can win a lottery to afford one of these to play with. Someday. When the kids are grown and in school and I go for that masters.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

So it's another new week. A new year. A new chance to blog about my boobs. Again. And if you feel that this is getting redundant, it's at least as normal as blogging about who has a crush on whom, or who's the latest hollywood celebrity scandal, or who is sleeping with a sheep.

The three seasons of Ballykissangel that the Boy gave me for Christmas have now been watched, some in the middle of the night pumping sessions that I've started to incorporate into our lives, the others with the rest of the family. It's been a challenge, the mid-night pumping. The boobs are grudgingly being convinced to give up more and more drops of milk. I'm still nowhere near to filling those little 4oz bottles, but half an ounce every 2.5 hours is feeling pretty damn good to me. Mostly. It's good, because little Robbie is now out-eating me. He was on formula again yesterday when the Boy and I went up to see him. Perhaps it was the knowledge that we had brought him more milk. Maybe it was something else. He came to us to be held and the first thing he did after opening his eyes and taking a good long look at his daddy was to throw up.

Every baby is different. Every mother is different. Every breastfeeding attempt is going to be different. If I can just keep supply up, if I can just make it last until Robbie comes home, it might turn out well this time. Maybe he'll latch on. I'd really like to make this work. Anything is possible.