Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Career Track

I'm typing this on my old buddy, Dr. Marshall's laptop. I am sitting on the 34th floor of a fancy hotel in Chicago. It's the Society of American Archivist conference and I am here until Saturday evening. So far its been very nice and has included attending a women's collections roundtable and shopping for bathproducts at Lush.

I miss my kid, tho. And my cat.

Oh. And my husband. Him too.

The bathtub is so big I could lay flat in it if I'm not careful. Until about a month ago, Donovan was so small, we had to give him baths in a roasting pan.

Room service should really provide kitties.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Faeries? Gypsies? Black Marketeers?

I really don't know where he gets it. The cuteness, that is. His Dad is good looking and I have my moments but, honestly. I think he's a changeling.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Hello, I'm Britney Spears..."

I think I won the White Trash Momathon today--and I was'nt even trying. I took the bus to the South Side today, boy in tow, to get a very much needed haircut. I had arranged to meet my friend, Kirsten, who graciously offered to watch Donovan for me while Marla hacked away and the underbrush of my head. I met Kirsten in Starbucks and, from there, we went to Burger King. In my defense (I being the one who suggested it) we were both so hungry and it was so hot that thinking straight was definately not a possibility. From there, I went to my appointment and Kirsten took Donovan to look at pigeons. We met after at Tuscany and, after that, I went to catch the bus.

A brief explanation: the only route that connects Polish Hill to South Side is the 54C. I love me some 54C, but there are two 54Cs: the one that goes to my house and the one that doesnt. And the one that doesnt came while I was waiting for the one that does. Twice. And on Saturday, that means 3 hours worth of waiting. By the time the second incorrect bus came by, my extremely patient baby was getting ready to blow. I said The Hell With It and went to the 4th food joint of the day: Qdoba. Let the record show that this Qdoba does not have a changing table in the ladies room. I was forced to change my son's poopy diaper on one of the picnic tables outside, after which I came in, washed my hands, and made him a bottle of Enfamil in the bathroom. And then I got a chicken mango salad, called my husband and told him to pick us up there when he was done with work 45 minutes later.

In writing this all out, I think I'm going to lose the White Trash Momathon on the technicality that I did not feed my 5 month old son any french fries at Burger King. Damn!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Buck and a Quarterstaff!

One of Donovan's favorite things to do is "stand up." I put that in quotes as he's obviously too young to stand up on his own. I hold him up under his arms and his feet rest on my legs. He gets all cocky and usually breaks into this huge toothless grin. Sometimes he yells. Yesterday he put his fists on his hips and, with his head cocked to one side, he reminded me of this:

Don't you worry, never fear...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cautiously Optimistic

Mike got off of work at 6:30 today. Donovan and I met him at the store and then proceeded to Monroeville to visit Nina at the vet's. I have never visted a vet before in the here-to-see-a-sick-friend sense and, much as I wanted to see my kitten I did feel a bit odd about it. After a brief wait in the reception area they took us thru a keycard locked door and into the emergency room area. There was a little operating table in the middle of the space and people in scrubs scurrying too and fro. Nina was in a cage along the wall and, when she heard us, she perked up and started trying to roll around and meow. The poor thing has one of those cones around her neck and some sort of tube connected somewhere down yonder. They shaved off patches of fur on her neck her left front leg, around both front paws and her stomach. Despite all of that she was really alert and active and wanting to crawl up my arm and around my neck. When we realized we were just getting her riled up we closed the cage door and said our goodbyes. The vet said that, if she keeps tomorrow's meals down, we can take her home tomorrow night!

Its not quite time to order the cake and balloons--we're still waiting on the biopsy results--but it was so good to see my goofy cat being goofy again. It made me realize how long its been since she's truely been her self.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

The first half of the day was good. In fact, it was one of those strange days where all sorts of little, inconsequential things were above average. I had the Archives room almost to myself, so I was able to get alot done. I was worried that I would screw up an assignment my boss gave me but she emailed me to tell me it was "perfect." When I left to go to lunch I got to the bus stop exactly as a bus pulled up that would deposit me at Craig Street and, when I went to Lulu's, today was my favorite lunch special. While I was at lunch, I called my friend Amy and we had a great, albeit abbreviated, catch-up session. I left right as the sky was beautifully dark and threatening and made it back to campus, and cover, right before the skies opened.

Today Part 2: Mike had the day off and he took Nina to the vet. The Emergency Vet. Our vet didn't have an opening until Thursday and we had agreed that Monday was Vet Day for Nina, come Hell or High Water. Mike called to tell me that x-rays showed an obstruction in her intestines and she needed an ultrasound to see what could be done. The bill at that point was more than our bank would let us put on our debit card so out came the dreaded MasterCard. That was at about 2pm. At a little after 4, he called to tell me the ultrasound would'nt be done until about 6 so he would come get me, we would get the boy, and figure it out from there. When we had the whole family in the car, we decided to drive to Monroeville together to get whatever news there was.

It takes alot of energy to sit quietly in the back seat of your car, next to your innocent, sleeping son, as your husband drives thru the absolute worst rain you have ever been in. Ever. In your life. The torrents started when we were irrevocably on the parkway with nowhere to go but forward. Mike was silent, I was silent--I think we each were trying to keep the other calm. For not having gotten his license until he was in his 30s, my husband is an excellent driver under the worst conditions. We made it out to the vets where we spoke to the heartbreakingly young doctor who explained the surgery they wanted to do and, when I asked, told us the price. She left while I cried. Mike and I talked it over and decided we had to have her get the surgery. Then we made a blood pact of silence, never to tell anyone how much it cost. We can probably recoup half of it if we put the kid up on eBay...

ANYhow, they brought our poor tabbygirl in to see us and, bless her, she purred and did that thing where she pushes herself into me when I hold her. I had to ask for a lint roller before we left.

We just got a call from the vet that her operation went well and that, while we need to wait for a biopsy to know what the obstruction actually was, the surgery was done with no problems. In fact, when they "took a look around" they did'nt see anything out of the ordinary in her abdomen; kidneys, liver, etc. all checked out. They are going to keep her there a few days to gain her stength and see how she handles food.

Have you ever seen a cat with an IV? My cat Ivy had one once and they put it on the back of their front paw with surgical tape, just like people. Its so cute and sad at the same time.

But enough of that: I'm happy for good news. I'm trying not to fall into my usual voodoo thinking that allowing relief will ensure disaster. I'm just looking forward to sleeping with a little less worry in my heart.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Super Genius

All the books (both of them) say that you should start introducing your child to solid foods when s/he is about 4 months old. Must we? The bottles seemed like a pain at first but now, especially with the premeasured Enfamil packets, we've got it down to a science! Solid foods, what with the spooning and the spitting and the dishes and the whatnot: who's got the freakin' time?

That being said, we scored a sweet "Amish" highchair off of Craigslist a few months ago. I think, as far as furniture goes, people apply the word "Amish" as an adjective as long as its not plastic and doesn't need batteries. I don't know if the design itself is traditionally Amish or not but, considering it flips over one way to be a rocking horse and the other way to be a desk, who knows? As with most things, the seat is still too big for our delicate little baby but, if we are going to start with the solid food thing, we need to jerryrig it somehow. I was cutting fabric in my head to make a padded cushion when I remembered: a friend of Mikes gave him a babysling but we've never used it as, since his friend's kid was born, that model sling had been recalled for a faulty ejector button. Defective sling + Amish highchair and, VOILA!

Yes, I am a Super Genius.

It's rainy and cool out today. I'm excited to dress the boy for fall weather but scared he'll catch the TB if he gets rain on him.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

More Spitty Babies

The spitty baby in question this time, however, is'nt Donovan: its Nina.

Nina, short for Nina Simone High Priestess of Soul, is my cat. I got her as a kitten about 4 years ago. She was originally obtained to fill a catsized hole in my heart that opened up when I had to have my cat of 13 years, Ivy, put to sleep. While I got her as a replacement she insisted on being her own, goofy, loving self and I fell in catlove all over again. Ivy and I had a special bond that was very deep. Its the same with Nina but different. Where Ivy was an imperious, queenly thing, Nina is Gilda Radner to Ivy's Greta Garbo. Plus, Nina spoons with me when I nap.

Then the baby came along and Nina was delegated to middlechild. No more taking the cat back to bed for 10 minutes of spooning before showering and going to work. No more scooping the cat up to kiss her and swing her around right when I get home. Can't pet the cat too much--the fur will get all over the kid. Can't let the cat sleep in the bassinet (even tho its cute) cause the cat might have germs. Nowadays, all Nina hears is "No!" I know things have changed and so does she.

So is this why she can't keep any food down? Part of the day she acts fine and the other part she's crying in the basement because spitting up distresses her so. We are trying not to take her to the emergency vet because that's a several hundred dollar commitment right there. We tried to call our vet to make an appointment for Monday but the answering machine said you can only make appointments between Monday and Friday. Every now and then I hear her poor stomach grumble and it breaks my heart.

Poor spitty baby.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Such a Perfect Day

The usual routine is this: Mike takes Donovan to daycare and I go to work. After work, I pick up Donovan from daycare. Daycare is near where Mike works so we usually meet him there and we all go home together. Sometimes Donny and I have an hour or an hour and a half to kill. Sometimes the kid and I take the bus home but usually not.

Today I didn't want to collapse into the routine. Mike had the day off so we met on Craig Street, picked up the boy, picked up some fried chicken and had a picnic on the rim of the Mary Schenley fountain in Oakland. The fountain is right on the edge of Schenley Park, which is where we decided we wanted to take a walk. Donovan was content to sit in his stroller while we ate and, once we where done, we loaded the boy up into the front facing baby carrier and started over the bridge to the Park. I should add that, after about 2 weeks of backbreaking heat and humidity, tonight was balmy and luxuriously comfortable. I was hoping we could walk thru the garden at Phipps Conservatory but, in a move reminiscent of the Giant in the Oscar Wilde story, the gates were locked: Hmmph. We did get to visit the little lily ponds, at which point Donny immediately demanded a bottle. After he was fed, he became his usually happy self and I finally got an almost photo of that sideways smile:

We also got to visit my favorite fountain, which is this almost shoulder-high bronze basin on four bronze legs. It reminds me very much of the Rider Waite Tarot Card the Ace of Cups. This might have been a nice photo of me and the boy if I had remembered to remove the soiled burpcloth from the front of the carrier:

After our photo ops, we walked back to the car, loaded everything up and headed home. The boy got a bath and a bottle, after which he was so sleepy he didn't even need to be swaddled. He's asleep in his crib splayed out like a frog on its back.

I hope you had a great day as well.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Freedom and Pining

Mike has three days off of work in a row. That means that he can spell me off as far as picking up the kid at daycare. And that means that I can actually go downtown right after work, just like I used to do when I was footloose and babyfree. I need to do some serious clothes shopping, some recognisance mission shoe shopping and also run up to the furniture section of Macy's just to see what's what.

I was supergeeked this weekend when I realized I'd be able to get some shopping done but now two things are clouding my enthusiasm. First, I balanced the checkbook and, brothers and sisters, we are broke. This childcare thing: WHEW. Second, I'm really missing the boy. I went with Mike to drop him off at daycare and got to play elevator with him a little before I left. He's got such a great, unbridled, gummy smile--how did a misanthrope like me end up with such a happy boy? Finally, irony is paying off!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Escape From Tunic Mountain

The office is in the room next door to the nursery. Whenever we put the boy down for the night, I take the opportunity to go online and do whatever while I wait to see if he really and truly is going to go to sleep. That is, in fact, what I'm doing right now--its earlier than usual for him but we had him out with us all day, starting with church at 10am, thru lunch and various varieties of shopping until about 4pm. We normally have him sit with us at the dinner table--we pull his carseat stroller up between us--and tonight he was so sleepy he fell asleep sitting up like that. Right now, he's psyching me out, making little noises that could either be "I'm cooing before I go to sleep," or "I'm winding up for the mother of all screaming sessions."

The shopping today was necessary and good. Mike got a new pair of shoes. He gets shoes with the same frequency that the children in the "Little House On the Prairie" books got shoes, so its always a big occasion. I am smack in the middle of my own personal midlife crisis which involves clothing: when I wasn't looking, clothes changed. Waistlines have both dropped and risen, fabrics are strangely stretchy and thin and the currency of the realm seems to be tunics. As a big gal, I can't quite rock the tunic. Tunics on skinny girls are swingy; tunics on big gals are muu muus. Imagine my surprise when, amid the tunics and the sleeveless tops I found a black boucle wool top. Sort of a bolero jacket, sort of a cape, sort of the stuff of my dreams. Sure, I won't be able to wear it until November, but I can wait. It was just nice to meet myself amid the racks at Marshalls. I do have taste, albeit odd, and I'm happy I found time amid motherhood to reinforce it.

Mike just came up with a bottle for the boy. The fussing has begun...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Mysteries of Polish Hill. And Babyclothes--Lots of Babyclothes...

Word on the street is that there is an organic apiary in Polish Hill. I looked all over those Internets, hoping for a website and the closest I came was mention of J&B Apiary as a participant in The Farmers @ Firehouse Farmer's Market:

in the Strip District. The one bus that goes thru Polish Hill (the 54C) also goes thru the Strip, so I decided today that Donovan would have his first ride facing forward in the Baby Bjorn Carrier. Yes, today we would celebrate my son's manly neck muscles and their prowess in holding up his horribly huge head.

It was odd walking around, not seeing what my son was doing (smiling? drooling? getting ready to shriek?) but it was superdreamy not having to lug the carseat stroller on and off the bus. I used other people's reactions to Donovan to let me know how he was doing. As usual, many strangers had to comment, but that was good: "Oh! He's so alert!" "He's smiling! Yes he is!" I can only imagine what Donovan thinks of all this.

The Farmers Market in question was small but very nice. Not that I bought anything--I have this thing about not being able to spend money when I have it--but there were flowers and be-U-tee-ful, shiny peppers, lots of tomatoes and herbs. No apiary, however. Dear Apiary People: I am your neighbor and I would like to give you my money. Please come out. I won't hurt you.

Not only was today a good day but yesterday was excellent as well. Donovan and I got to hang out with Sheryl at Whole Foods and at home and then I got to go to Kelly's with Sheryl and our friend Caroline. Caroline is in town from Bad Oldesloe in Germany. She is the mother of two very sweet and funny girls and, as a mother, she took it upon herself to send boxes of baby clothes and toys home to Pittsburgh to bring over when she was in town. The swag was definitely good and I am going to share the German wealth with Amy and Stella.

Yesterday, I noticed the lovely and fairly expensive babyclothes store near Whole Foods had closed. I'm sorry to see it go but, really: no one could possibly make a living selling baby clothes. Trust me, it gets to a point where you can't give them away. Its a thriving underground. To paraphrase Amy, don't cut down anymore babyclothes trees! Renew, Reuse, Recycle!

That means you, soon to be Aunt to a Nephew, Ann Marie...

Friday, August 10, 2007

This Just In:

My $155 breastpump won't work.

I have a nasty feeling that last post of mine was just too tempting to The Fates.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Breastfeeding: Sheesh...

Yesterday was a crazy day--Donny was really fussy in the morning. REALLY fussy. Despite the shrieking and the crying of real tears we got him dressed in his Jimmy Sommerville Back Up Singer outfit and took him into daycare. I went to work where the craziness continued in workmode: new people to train, new paperwork to fill out about the new people, crazy patrons who don't understand that we don't have Wonkavision in the archives and cannot send them their chocolate bar immediately via their television. In the middle of all this I got a call from daycare that Donovan had a fever and could I come get him, please? I called Mike, left work early, caught the 500 to Eastminster, met Mike, packed up our hot, sweaty little Jimmy Sommerville Back Up Dancer and went to the doctor. Doc said give him Tylenol for Babies. We left the Doctor's to a torrential downpour. Oddly, the Doctor's office, if you take a left, opens up into a Boston Market, so we had dinner there so the rain could stop. When we finally got home and got the boy to bed I realized: I had'nt pumped at all.

Today I had to go in early for a meeting that turned out to be good despite being 3 hours long. I went to lunch late and came back to a leak in the Archives room. Luckily, the leak only dampened empty boxes but it still pissed me off and required much moving of furniture and supplies. In the middle of all this, day care called to say the their power had gone out and could I come get Donovan, please? I called Mike to let him know, tried to find the powers that be at the library to let them know I had to go mid-leak (*snort*) and, failing to find the powers that be, I told the women who are really in charge. I caught the 500, got the kid, hung out at Goodwill until the rain stopped and Whole Foods reopened, met Mike at Whole Foods and we went home. Home to where there was no electricity and the clock in the kitchen said the power went out about 6 hours earlier. I ate the pasta salad I'd gotten myself for tomorrow's lunch and then fell asleep and dreamed about Tears for Fears (?!). Woke up and realized: No pumping today, either.

When I think of the money I've spent buying pumps, renting pumps, buying nursing bras, much less the fact that I've been driven to drinking makes me grumpy...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

2 Donovans

Donovan is named after Donovan--meaning, my son is named after my Dad. Dad is still around and kicking, thank you. He is a first time grandparent at 82, a fact that he finds so amusing/befuddling that he likes to mention it to strangers in the doctor's office.

The Original Donovan (OD) came back home from a rehab facility this weekend--not in the Lindsey Lohan sense but in the needs-to-gain-some-strength-back sense. He'd been in the home for about 2 months after a fall at home. Our monthly visit with the boy coincided with Dad coming home.

Having worked at a rest home in my youth, I had some trepidation about coming home. Dad is now confined to the ground floor of the house with a hospital bed set up in the dining room, which is now his bedroom. Bedroom complete with 3 china hutches. It was pretty hard to see him use a walker, eat while wearing a bib, and have trouble getting around. That being said, he's still him and it was nice to hang out with him and watch him fuss over his grandson. Mike and I have managed to make a very happy baby who, if he's fed and rested, will babble and smile incessently, which is just perfect for out of town grandparents who are happy to stare at him for hours.

My Mom tried to talk me into leaving Lil' D there for August. I don't think he would have minded.