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September 2007

Proud Lucy

Lucys_first_collarI'm working on an essay about the ways Lucy is preparing us to be parents. The list keeps growing making it a super long post so I'll start posting one at a time.

Lucy Baby has taught me to be careful about bragging her up. I mean it is amazing how smart she is but just when I get too braggy about her, I'm stunned speechless by something else she's done.

I think I mentioned her escape artist phase? I came home from work one day shocked to see her sitting on the front porch panting. I think she saw me coming and ran home to beat me. Matt fixed what we thought was the problem. A week later, I was putting my key in the door and she rounded the corner of the yard and looked at me like "Hey! What's up?" Um. Why are you out of the back yard?! We eventually got this situation under control. We thought. 

I was at the neighbor's house paying my last respects to her husband who was dying of cancer. A group of us sat around making the kind of awkward conversation you make while pretending not to hear the horrible sounds of death approaching in the next room. Someone asked me how little Lucy was doing. I proudly said that she's finally stopped getting out out of the yard. There was an uncomfortable silence.

"Well ..." My neighbor started, "actually, come take a look." I followed her out to the porch, there on her freshly seeded lawn were a hundred little Lucy-sized paw prints. "Also, she's been getting into my pond. And I'm concerned that if she ruins it, it'll be expensive to fix."

"I'm so sorry!" Because what else do you say?

"And our neighbor has been complaining of a raccoon getting into her pond and leaving big muddy foot prints."

A little brown "raccoon" named Lucy.

Vienna: facts and feelings

Europe_2005_back_up_disk_069When Matt and I talk about our trip of a lifetime to Eastern Europe to visit my parents, I sometimes wonder if we're describing the same trip. I mean, we were both there at the same time and were pretty much together 24-7 but we remember very different things. I, for instance, don't retain historical data. I just don't. I'm not sure if I forget it immediately or if I just never processed it in the first place. But between the two of us, we put together the facts and feelings of most of the experiences we had.

Europe_2005_back_up_disk_068 So, for example, Matt can tell you all about Prince Eugen of Savoy and what he did with his army and how many square feet this amazing castle is with and without the greens included. Me? I remember the horrible bathroom attendant who wouldn't let me go to the bathroom. There were six open stalls and she wouldn't take my Slovak money, my Czech money or my United States currency. It was schillings or see ya sister. I had to go so bad after being on the train for so long I was willing to way overpay her in any of the currencies I had but "No!" Imagine that being said in the strictest Austrian accent. I haven't gone off on someone like I unleashed on this Bathroom Gesto lady before or since. So while Matt remembers all the details of the Belvedere Castle in Vienna, I remember the bladder infection I got due to that vile woman, a memento from Vienna that stayed with me the rest of our trip through Europe.

Baby Daddy confirmed

Babychichi3d_2 This is the picture that made Baby Chi Chi really real for us. In the first few sonograms I believed the doctor when he said what he was pointing to was a human being but I also felt guilty for thinking my bambino looked like more of an otter than a baby. I know it's a funky picture. It's one of those 3D ones, but if you click on it to enlarge it and stare at it like an M.C. Escher print, you can see his eyes, nose, lips and little hand. My favorite part of this picture is that when I first saw it come up on the screen, it took my breath away because those are totally Matt's lips. The technician had the wand thing on my belly when I saw it and sucked in my breath: "Oh my God! Matt! Look at his lips! This IS your baby!" Her hand paused as she glanced back and forth between us. I'm cracking up, Matt is shaking his head, she's still not sure what to make of it so I assure her with this: "It's funny because I don't sleep around."

Parenting Styles

A friend of mine was lamenting his son's sudden lack of interest in breakfast. My friend, raised on a dairy farm, firmly believes a good breakfast is essential to starting out the day. So he was dismayed to find his son stopped wanting to eat breakfast. After talking it over, my friend realized it was because his son doesn't think they have enough time to eat and it's too stressful to hurry. A-ha! My friend found the root of the problem. Totally different parenting styles. But what do you do about that? I was mulling it over and realized Matt and I could have the exact same scenario playing out at our house.

If Matt's in charge of making sure our kiddo gets breakfast the scene will be something like this:

Matt will get up plenty early to allow himself time to make and drink some coffee in peace. Then he will wake our kids up, giving them time to get ready while he finishes making breakfast. He'll just whip something up without recipes or having to go to the store. Then they will have time to eat together, enjoy their breakfast and get going on their respective days.

With me in charge, I imagine it to look more like this:

Me, having woken up at the last possible minute, standing at the bottom of the stairs looking completely disheveled screaming "We have to leave now! Chop fucking chop!!!!" And I will make up for the guilty feeling by promising myself to have a breakfast menu planned and set my alarm clock early "from now on."

Ego boost

I gave in to Lucy's pleading green eyes and took her on a little walk tonight even though I'm still recovering from our recent Incident. The one that ended up with me getting x-rays on my wrist and a "nothing we can do about that" nod toward whatever I pulled underneath this mass of baby. So we're walking along, trying out her new leash, the kind that goes over her nose so she can't pull. She does not love her new leash. But I do. Until these two little boys charge at her. "Oh, a puppy!" And they get all up in her face before I can warn them. She's nervous and barky with them. We eventually get things worked out and they play nicely for a bit before one of the little boys looks up at me and asks:

Are you pregnant?

Yes, I am.

That was my first guess. My second one was that you've been eating a lot. And I mean, like, a lot.

Because you can

Last week on NPR I listened to an interview with BBC correspondent in Tehran for the past 3 years, Frances Harrison. She said conditions have gotten worse, particularly for women, under the current Islamic government. For a brief period, she reported, women were allowed to wear colored head scarves. And sandals without socks. But, since a crackdown in April on dress codes, police have been filling buses with improperly dressed women. I decided to put more color into my clothes. Because I can. So if you have a scarf hanging in your closet you'd like to wear more often, an audacious piece of jewelery you worry is just "too much" - wear it. Wear it because you love it. And because you can.

Nursery Nightmare

Patience is running out. Imagine my surprise when I checked my registry at the Babies R Us site and found that I am now co-registered with a guy named Christopher in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. Also, according to Babies R Us, we are having a girl named Alyssa and her room will be pink and purple and decorated with Care Bears. Ummm. No.

Even better, the time Matt and I spent wandering around the hell that is Babies R Us, debating what we really need and carefully selecting items to add to the registry, was totally wasted. Cool. So last night we were trying to remember what we picked.

Matt: Well, there was some cute stuff by the front. And then something all the way in the back. And the stroller deal. That took a long time.

Me: And then there was the three mattresses you picked because we got frustrated trying to figure out how many coils a baby mattress should have.

Matt: So, we can probably just pick one next time.

As a fan of the 80s, I have nothing against Care Bears but that's not what I have in mind for Baby Chi Chi. I don't want his room to be all one thing either. But this is the general theme:

Malawi_elephant Malawi_alligator Malawi_hippo



Fashion dispute

Babyleg_flame These baby leg warmers are the cutest things ever. AND they have some for boys too! I was telling Matt all about them and how I was going to get Baby Chi Chi a pair.

Wait. You're getting our baby leg warmers? What for?

Oh, well they're really cute. Plus, they keep their little legs warm so you don't have to pack a whole new outfit for when it gets chilly, you can just throw on these cute little leg warmers and it protects their knees ...

But you want to put leg warmers on our boy baby?

Yeah! They have these little ones with flames on them.

For baby flamers.


Babyrama this weekend. Amy (due to deliver nowish) and I were evidently feeling very ambitious and well rested when we made our plans for Saturday. Our agenda included maps to several locations in Portland and a few more stops on the way home. We forgot to budget in the fact that we are both hella pregnant and would probably need something more sustainable to eat than the sample cupcakes at the Mom Show. Thank God for the delicious Beaverton Bakery cookies from the NW Kids booth. We managed to avoid any noteworthy meltdowns and rewarded ourselves with lunch/dinner at Red Robin, extra bottomless fries, thank you.

We left home at 8 to be among the first in line to the Mom Shop put on by Portland Mama's Inc.  A little overzealous, we beat the rest of Portland by about 42 minutes. We could've gone to Farmer's Market, just feet away, but we determined it was too far of a walk and instead opted to wait on the floor. Forgetting that what goes up must come down. That was a fun spectacle. For others. The reason we wanted to be so early was to get one of the goodie bags. The contents of the bags were the only disappointment of the day. It was mostly just coupons. The event itself was cool. Meeting local, creative women and checking out all the stuff was fun. One highlight, even though I glared at Amy a couple times throughout, was the Baby Boot Camp workshop which I so was not planning to go to. It was "hands on" so I was surprised to find myself in the plank position on the ground at this expo. But it did give me some good ideas for stuff to do at home when baby comes. There were an exceptional number of really thin, super well dressed women there. This really made me feel rad lumbering around in my overalls. And is possibly the reason I willingly walked over to the Baby Boot Camp booth.

Then it was off to BabyWorks with a quick side stop at Saint Cupcake. Delicious. And the tables outside with the pink cupcake fringed umbrellas will make your heart smile.

BabyWorks was all I'd hoped it be. I'd discovered it online when I was first trying to decide between cloth vs. disposable diapers. I've been super impressed with the customer service and couldn't wait to check out the shop. The woman helping us, Adina, was awesome and so, so patient with our questions. So, so patient. There was a lot to choose from. I'd done my homework and poured through the catalog several times so I thought I was more prepared but once I walked in the doors it was like. Oh. Shit. There are a lot of ways to deal with baby poop. How on earth will I pick the right one? I made a little sampler set to see what works best. And, honestly, I leaned on the cute factor on a couple of my Dr_seuss_coverselections like the Dr. Seuss diaper cover. I am already going to need another lesson. Or maybe some sort of a seminar. I unsnapped them to wash them and can't remember how to put them back together.

I had my 4 fitted diapers, 19 prefolded diapers, and a set of 5 covers on the counter. I was wondering if I was overdoing it. Adina gently told me that amount would probably get me through the day, but I'd need to do laundry every day. The day!?! He's going to go through this many in one day? Am I going to do anything besides feeding and changing him? Okay, so that was a mini-meltdown. But looking at all the adorable baby things perked me right up. I did refrain from buying them, so far, but I ask you, how cute are these?

Babyleg_flame  Robeezdragon

Babyleg_argyle_2 Robeezpeace 



Down at the Walgreens

Sure swimming is good for my brain and my body but my favorite part is the things I observe and overhear in the locker room. And since these days it takes me twice as long to do anything, I am really getting some good eavesdropping done. The time of day that I go puts me in the locker room right in between the end of Geriatric Aerobics and the start of Kids Day Camp. It's fun to watch the Betty and Ednas give way to the Brittnea and Emmas of today. The older women seem to have nothing but time and a sense of appreciation for their bodies. The younger girls are in a rush to get to the next thing and are so self-conscious it almost makes me cringe with my own memories of being that age. Me, I'm just enjoying being in the middle. Which makes me wonder when exactly is one considered "middle-aged?" One thing I'm not at all angsty about it my age. So far the constant in my life has been each year improving on the last.

So, the other day, I'm towel-drying my hair and listening to this conversation:

"I hate the ones with clouds."

"Yes, clouds are boring. Flowers are bad too."

"Would you be interested in trading?"

"Wellllll ... do you do the 500 piece or the 1,000?"

"Oh I have some of both. Right now I'm really into the circle ones. You can get those down at the Walgreens. They're all the same size."