Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not cancer.



That's the good (wonderful, fabulous) news. The bad news is that Alex is not loving the stylish plastic cone we forced upon him after he nearly pulled his stitches out with his teeth. All the pain and suffering might be worth it, though, as the wound gives him street cred. And a perpetually puppy-faced six year-old dog needs all the street cred he can get.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Who you gonna call?

Alex is out of surgery and doing okay, and we'll be able to pick him up in a couple of hours. The vet said that Alex offered a weak wag of his little stump after he came out from under the anesthesia, so his spirit is a bit rumpled but not defeated. We'll get the biopsy results in a couple of days. Surgery is no fun, but Alex is very pleased to once again be the center of attention, because going under the knife for possibly cancerous tumors certainly trumps diaper rash. CHECKMATE, baby. We will be smothering him with treats and love when he returns home.

In other news, Lion has been drooling like a Saint Bernard, woke up repeatedly last night in fits of discomfort and woe, gnawed my tender flesh during both attempts at nursing this morning, and STILL I didn't realize that his two bottom teeth were coming in until the women at his daycare pointed it out.

"Seriously?" I asked. I mean, the American Dental Association told me his teeth would start coming in at six months, and I believe in the American Dental Association, you know?

"Seriously," Ms. Michelle said. "Take a look- you'll see them!"

Huh! She was right! Two little evil white nubbins had poked right through his gums. And here I'd chalked up his sleeplessness to a stuffy nose, nearly drowning the poor boy in saline nose drops all night long.

I guess you can see why my career with the FBI never took off.

Speeaking of my investigative abilities, I freaked myself out but good the other day. I was stuffing clean towels into the hallway linen closet when I heard an eerie sound coming from the bedroom.

wooooooooooooo!

I took a cautious step toward the noise, peeking into the room.

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

My heart went cold. It sounded like a baby ghost.

aaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaa!

My eyes jumped to the shadowy corner near the dresser. And suddenly,

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, SILLY MAN?"

I yelped and grabbed the phone- for what, I don't know. To call 911 and report a ghost in my house?

"DO YOU HAVE A DIRTY DIAPER, SILLY MAN?"

Then I saw it, and my heart slowed considerably. It was the baby monitor. I'd turned on the recevier, but not the baby's end. I was hearing a baby in someone else's house. A baby who sounds like a spirit of the dead, apparently.

Let this be a warning to those of you who live in close proximity to your neighbors. None of my neighbors have small babies, so I have no idea where Silly Man lives or from what distance my receiver is picking up his howling. And I've heard even more from that house since then, oh yes! Let's just say that I am now exceedingly careful about what I say and DO when I'm around the baby monitor.

As a sign of my considerable maturity, I am fighting the urge to growl into the monitor, "Sorry, Jack...Chucky's back!"

That would be wrong, right?

Right.

Spoilsports.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

"My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet."

I was going to write about when Mike and I had dinner with some friends recently and he was trying to tell a story about Michael Moore but couldn't remember his name and he said, "Who's that crazy fat guy with the beard?" and I said, "Santa Claus?"
See? It's not as funny now.
So anyway, Alex is going in for surgery on Monday morning. He developed a lump on his leg last year, so we took him to see the vet. She told us to keep an eye on it. And we did, and we watched as it got bigger over the following months, so back to the vet we went. This time she recommended that it be removed. So it will be, on Monday morning.
It's probably nothing. I hope it's nothing.
I remember how after Lion's birth, I saw our sweet dog in a different light. He was bigger, all of a sudden. Heavier. His teeth seemed sharper, more dangerous. A creature who had only ever been soul-soothing was now extra work at a time when I didn't even have the energy to wash my own hair. This made me feel tremendously guilty, that I should suddenly look at him with anything other than the love I'd always felt for him.
Things evened out, of course. I love him as much as ever, and he's been an absolute dream with the baby. He's a good, sweet dog.
It's probably nothing. I hope it's nothing.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

IMHO

As many of you know, I research everything. I am most definitely not the person who flies by the seat of her pants (or, for you When Harry Met Sally fans, the person who flies off to Rome on a moment's notice), and as much as I wish I were a spontaneous sort, well, I'm just not.

When I was pregnant, I researched nutrition and natural childbirth and car seats and cloth diapers, and which stroller was safest, and which crib wouldn't attack my baby in the night. Since Lion's birth, I've researched things like baby sign language and vaccinations and and how to get your baby to stop biting your nipples while nursing (because SERIOUSLY, my nipples have been through ENOUGH, thank you). I enjoy research. Good thing, given my profession.


While I like to rely on books and articles written by reputable people, I also love a plain old first-hand account, the kind found on blogs. Even if the information isn't really useful to me, I'm endlessly fascinated by the ways other people do things, and why. I just like to know. Because I'm NOSY, I guess.


Here's what I'm using/doing/thinking about these days:


1) www.babyplays.com

BabyPlays has been described as Netflix for toys. You go online and place the toys you want on a wish list, then the company ships them to you (sanitized and guaranteed lead-free) with a pre-paid return shipping label. Keep the toys for as long as you want, then drop the box off at any UPS location when you're done. Once BabyPlays receive your toys, they send the next batch from your wish list. Ideal for people who don't have a lot of storage space (that's us) or who don't want to shell out a lot of money for toys that will only be played with for a short time (also us). My mother-in-law got us a three-month trial membership and it's kind of fun. I personally wouldn't spend the money on it myself, simply because I grew up playing happily with measuring cups and canned corn, and Lion can, too! But it's been a nice gift, and Lion does seem to enjoy some of the things we've gotten. So far, so good.



2) Bum Genius cloth diapers

When I got pregnant I decided that I really wanted to use cloth diapers, but I was a little afraid of them, too (maybe I was flashing back to my infancy and the time when my father pinned the cloth diaper to my tender skin?). I needn't have been. After lots of research I decided to go with Bum Genius diapers, which operate much like disposables, though of course you don't throw them away. We have to use disposables when he's at daycare, and we also use them when we're going to be away from home for a long period of time, but we're using the cloth at home. They're easy to use, super-soft on Lion's bum, and cute to boot. On the down side, these probably wouldn't be very convenient for those who lack a washing machine in the home, and the up-front investment can be a bit hefty. But we're definitely going to get our money back several times over, and even more if we have more kids. Recommended.

I have some more reviews, but it's taken me several days just to write this, so I'm publishing as is. The baby calls.

(Speaking of babies, could you imagine living here in the DC area and going into labor on inauguration day? Holy cow. Better put the waterproof sheets on the bed and read up on home birth.)

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

You've missed my traffic posts, haven't you?

People. It took more than TWO HOURS to get home from work last night. This is a drive that normally takes around 30 minutes.

Sure, hair-yanking commutes like that are rare, but they still happen more than I'd like. I was pregnant last time, with a very small bladder capacity, and I cried several times before I finally made it home.

Last night I only cried once, so I'll consider that a victory. But this time, instead of longing for any one of the four toilets in my house, I was eyeing the little green numbers on my dashboard clock and wondering how long Lion would be able to wait before I could get home and nurse him.

I work three days a week now, one of which is a half-day. I try very hard to time it so that Lion gets as much nursing time as possible, and as few bottles as possible. I nurse him right before I leave for work, so he has a full stomach when I drop him off. Leaving work on time is a priority so I can get home for the next feeding. I pump every 3-4 hours at work to maintain my supply and to have enough milk for Lion's next stay at daycare.

Anyone who thinks it's easy to be a working, breastfeeding mom has never tried it. I'm happy to do it, and I'm glad I can make it work- but it's challenging, and I can only imagine how much more so it must be for those who work full-time. I now understand why there is only one other breastfed baby in Lion's daycare.

Anyhow, I was figuring I'd be home by 6:00 last night, and that obviously didn't happen. Mike was defrosting frozen milk as I slowly inched past one accident, then a second, and was no more than one mile down the road when another ambulance came screaming past.

Then, just as I was finally crossing the last intersection before my street, a truck rear-ended a car right in front of me.

You might read this and assume that there was ice on the road, or that we were having a blizzard, or even a rash of earthquakes!

But no, it was only raining. Granted, rain makes the roads slick, and it was dark, but haven't we all learned how to drive safely in those conditions?

And despite all this- despite the multiple accidents and injuries and car wreckage all around us- there were STILL people tailing me, weaving from lane to lane, blocking intersections and refusing to let people merge, and participating in general driving assholery.

I've never understood this. If the road is solid breaklights for miles ahead, where exactly do you think you're going? How much time do you think you're saving? Why risk an accident, or injury, or MANSLAUGHTER, to get to your destination one minute sooner?

We are all frustrated in conditions like those. We all want to get home. But your time is not any more important than mine. Your LIFE is not more valuable than mine. I'd wager that your boobs are not about to explode, but I'll still let people merge as needed, and I'll still stop at a green light to keep an intersection clear, you and your honking horn be DAMNED.

In Florida, we could drive the speed limit on any road, at any time, and no one tailed us. We could slow down on a tow-lane road to look at a gator baking in the sun on the bank of the river, and no one honked. People used turn signals, obeyed speed limits, and, most shocking of all, waved happily when allowed to go first at a four-way stop.

Driving can be pleasant. I know this now!

Augusten Burroughs had a great idea for teaching bad drivers a lesson. Those of you who have read Possible Side Effects may remember how he and a friend used to punish rude drivers by flashing enlarged photos of hard-core porn. Every time I picture the shock on the drivers' faces, I laugh myself silly.

Unfortunately, I don't have any enlarged pornograhic pictures. But maybe I could just lift my shirt and flash my near-bursting bossoms. That might be punishment enough.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year! This is about my sinuses and such.

Yes, folks, it was another rarin', rockin' New Year's Eve in the Liz-Mike household!

We started the party a bit early this year, spending the night of December 30th in a stale-smelling hotel room in Florence, South Carolina. Florence was almost exactly halfway home for us, and this particular hotel was pet friendly! More importantly, it was budget-friendly, which is AMAZING considering our lovely view of the empty pool and Interstate 95. The hum of the semi-trucks provided great ambience, the comings and goings of other hotel guests kept the dog growling all night long, and the damp room sent my willful sinuses into a complete state of rebellion, leaving me with a raging infection that made me feel like I'd been pummeled in the face.

I was thinking that pushing through and driving the 12 hours with a screaming baby in the back seat would have been preferable to spending the night there, but my judgment may be impaired due to my still-aching molars.

Miraculously? In the hotel, the baby slept like... well, a baby.

In fact, Lion was an absolute dream during our travels. He slept a lot, spent time gazing out the window, nursed happily in whatever parking lot we managed to find, and maintained his look of amazement as I read Hop on Pop fifty thousand times.

Forgive me, but after the first twenty readings I had to start ad-libbing and using fake accents.

ALL FALL
Fall off the wall.
This is what happens when you don't listen to your mother.

RED NED TED and ED in BED
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

PAT SAT
Pat sat on hat.
PAT CAT
Pat sat on cat.
PAT BAT
Pat sat on bat.
Pat, were you held back a lot in school?

THING THING
What the hell is that thing?
I do not want to hear
that freaky thing sing.

BACK BLACK
Brown came back.
Brown came back with Mr. Black.
Mrs. Black is calling her divorce attorney.

Lion was a hit with the family. He absolutely loved the beach- squishing his toes and fingers in the wet sand, putting his salty, sandy hands in his mouth, the birds, the sun, everything. The only thing better than watching him was watching my father, who grew up on Daytona Beach and was Lifeguard of the Year once. I let him carry Lion onto the beach and touch his toes to the sand for the first time. He is a very proud grandfather.

And once again, Mike and I perused real estate listings and talked about moving. Oh, I know. CALL MY BLUFF, Internet! Tell me to put up or shut up!

Just... do it quietly, would you? My head is still throbbing.

Since I was in the back seat with the baby, Alex got to ride shotgun and was the calmest he's ever been on a road trip. Huh- all he ever wanted in life was to ride in the front seat! We put him in charge of the iPod. Maybe that's why Who Let the Dogs Out was played repeatedly?


Just call me DJ Alex, yo.

Anyhow, we got back home on December 31st, I went to bed at 8:00 with a warm compress on my face, and Mike had to kiss the dog at midnight.

Don't look at me that way. Jealousy is so unbecoming.

So tell me how your New Year's was either better or worse than mine. It will make me feel better! And remember, making shit up is completely acceptable around here.

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