Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Baby's First Slumber Party!

My good friend Amy and her daughter Stella Dot breezed thru Pittsburgh on their way to Cleveland for a wedding, which meant that our 2 year olds got to meet one another! Amy had prepared Stella Dot for the trip so that she knew Donovan's name as well as the name of his mom and dad and what city we lived in. I, on the other hand, totally let Donovan get blindsided: "Donny, LOOK! Surprise!" Which was fine. When they met they were definitely not sure about each other but, within about an hour, they were thick as thieves and it was joy to watch them play together. Stella Dot is a sweet, smart little girl who, as any child coming out of such a well stocked genepool, is also cute like the bug. See for yourself:

The jumping on the airmattress was the best. I'll be smiling about that for days.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dealing in Dirt/And Stealing in the Name of the Lord

You know the song, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, right? The version by the Temptations? There's one part where they're all trading off lines and the alto guy sings, "And Mama, bad talk going around town saying that Papa had three outside children and another wife" and the bass guy chimes in with, "And that ain't right."

I'm happy to say Mike's got our kid saying, "And That Ain't Right." While Mike was changing the kid's diaper tonight, I could hear Donovan on the monitor: "And that ain't right! And that ain't right! And that ain't right! Meow!"

I'm the one who taught him to meow.

Cha Cha Cha!

Today was supposed to be the day that I led a tour thru the cemetery that focused on Suffragettes. I pretty much busted ass to get it down on paper in time for the 2:45 tour time. That being said, here I sit, still in my pajamas, at noon. I woke up to the sound of rain and the rain is still coming down. It's really supposed to hit hard at about 3 so I cancelled the tour. The lady who won it at the charity auction was NOT HAPPY and I can't say I blame her but I hope she'll take me up on my offer to reschedule.

So instead of the inlaws coming over to entertain the boy its me and me alone. Maybe its because this week was so fraught or maybe its just the rain but I'm not the best toddler cruise hostess today. I just can't come up with anything to amuse him or myself. I did get out a couple of New Year's top hats to amuse him. It was 80% fun and 20% of me screaming in my head, OH MY GOD STOP CRINKLING THAT PLASTIC STOPITSTOPITSTOPIT!!! There was also a small percentage, probably part of the 20%, dedicated to sweeping up the glitter.

Now Donovan is in his crib for naptime and his Baa Baa Black Sheep just segued into Frere Jacques. Last night Mike washed the kids face, which the kid doesn't like. Ever since he was a little thing, Mike and I have sung a song to him while we wash his face to keep him from shrieking and last night, for the first time ever, he sang along! The best part is, the song is a very bouncy version of La Cucarocha that ends with a falsetto "cha cha CHA!"--and Donny sang that part as well!

So now: clean the house for the LUPEC party tomorrow or sleep? It is perfect sleeping weather...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life During Wartime

Today was my day off, courtesy of G20 closing down a stretch of buildings on the CMU campus. I had a huge list of things to get done and I did pretty well. I got probably 80% of the Fall Weeding done--I did that first thing while it was still wet and dewy out so when it was over I was filthy, filthy dirty. After a shower I went to the cemetery to do some more research and map out my new tour. Its going to be a problematic one--3 of the folks I want to talk about are waaaaaay over there in section 19 which screws up my flow. I'm glad I took the time to go over and walk it thru.

I caught a 61 from Squirrel Hill and then the 54C from Craig Street in Oakland. As the bus neared the bridge into Polish Hill there was a wall of cops in riot gear blocking part of the road--plus a cop car blocking the bridge. Luckily that cop had a little sign language exchange with the busdriver(translation: "You need to drive over this bridge?" "Yes, sir, I do." "Wait--let me move this big black cop car out of your way.") and I made it back home. The trouble is I had to leave via that same bus route in an hour to get the kid at daycare. At this point there were a variety of eyewitness reports coming in via Facebook ("teargas at 34th and Liberty" "cops are breaking into houses looking for protesters!!!!" "overturned dumpster in street") and it became pretty obvious that the bus would not be coming by to pick me up. Luckily Mike got to leave early so we ended up having a nice earlier than usual evening together. Mike's old boss from Pulp was in town to report on G20 so the two of them went to Gooskis while Donny and I played with fingerpaint and imitated Brisbane. Donovan got so much paint on himself that I had to strip him down to his diaper. Turns out that while I was drawing water to soak his clothes in the sink, he was in the front room putting his big rubber rainboots on the wrong feet. That's quite a look with a diaper and a paintcovered torso.

Reports from the various scenes say that the majority of both the police and the protesters behaved themselves. The protesters proved me wrong by breaking some windows--I was really hoping they'd be better guests than that--but it sounds like, once the dust settled, all was well.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's installment in which I am, sadly, back at work.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On Behalf of Pittsburgh, I Apologize/Helicopters

Tomorrow starts the G20 here in Pittsburgh and I'm sorry to say that the city isn't handling it very well. I'm pretty embarrassed by the fact that we are busting civic ass to look good for the dignitaries but are not extending even a percentage of the same consideration to our other guests, the protesters. I understand that security measures must be enforced and that we need to be vigilant about threats. I don't think that gives us the right to treat people with less than respect even if we don't agree with their views. So, Protesters of the G20, thank you for making the trip to Pittsburgh. So many of you have made long journeys to make your/our voices heard. Considering how you've been treated, I wouldn't blame you for not wanting to come back here but I hope someday you will. By that time, hopefully, the Salem Witchtrial mentality will have blown over and you'll see us for the strange but friendly people we mostly are.

But I bring up G20 to say that Donovan has been in hog heaven with all the helicopters. Helicopters and planes are two of his favorite things so this is like a trip to the zoo for him. Can that be considered a silver lining?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Alliance for Infants and Toddlers

I just got off the phone with the very nice folks at the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers. As a resident of Allegheny County, Donovan is eligable for free speech and play therapy as well as the services of a nutritionist. THIS IS WHY I'M ALRIGHT WITH PAYING TAXES, PEOPLE. This is a great program and its FREE. And the idea behind it is solid: address early problems early on and save money in the long run. How many people who did'nt get help with learning delays or disabilities get tangled up in troubles they can't get out of?

Sorry for the soapbox moment but, you have to admit, the Alliance is a great thing!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wherein I Convienently Forget that Alot of People Have Real Problems.

Today was Donovan’s appointment with the Developmental Specialist at Children’s Hospital. I’ve been sort of looking forward to this appointment because, obviously, the specialist will laugh and say, “Oh, we get kids like him in all the time! Nothing wrong with him! Take him home and have a nice day!”

Which is almost what she said.

We got there at 8:45am and while this office is still in Oakland and not at the fabulously swank New Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville, the place was very nice. Of course, because I‘m a terrible person, the first thing I did upon walking into the waiting room was look at all the kids and try to figure out what was wrong with them. We had a few minutes to wait and Donovan spent a lot of it communing with the fish in a very large and lovely fishtank in the lobby. I should have gotten some photos of that.

ANYhow, we met with a doctor who was very nice (and very YOUNG tho I won’t hold that against her). The four of us spent about an hour or so together while she watched Donovan play with various toys. She asked us a lot of questions and the first time she stopped to take a breath, she said something along the lines of, “Well, we want to get him therapy either way, if he’s autistic or not.” When she finished talking she asked me what I thought and my response started with, “I was kind of hoping not to hear the word ‘autistic’ today.” I think she spent the rest of her time trying to talk me off the ledge but, really, I only felt better after she had me fill out some questionnaires. It felt very good to check off all the things Donny does (makes eye contact, responds to his name) but it felt even better to check off the things he doesn’t do (smear feces on the wall, injure animals or younger children, break things). As she went thru those questionnaires, and as she filled out one of her own with us, she seemed to recant the autism mention. She did’nt entirely rule it out but she seemed to be going out of her way to calm me down. We need to set up a follow up appointment in 3 months. In the meantime, we’re going to sign him up for early intervention speech programs and "play development."

So it was good news, I guess. I wish I could feel better about it. I'm sure I will but not yet.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Strange (but not bad) Days

Anyone out there familiar with where the planets are right now? What are they doing? Who's in retrograde and what's conjuncting where? I'm in an odd/good space at the moment in which alot of little buds of my pre-baby life are starting to crack back open. Some of it is very, very necessary (work and career stuff) and some is just nice (socializing and marriage stuff) other aspects are kind of funny (why do I have a huge tube of Queene Helene Original Mint Julep Facial Masque? Where did this footsoakmassager thing come from? Oh well, guess I should use them...)

I did, in fact, just get done soaking my feet in said contraption while reading some guidelines on digital preservation methods--I'm giving up going to a cool party for a sweet lady to get work stuff done so I figured I'd pretend to be at a dayspa. You know--the type that has archival topic white papers interleaved with back issues of Glamour and Cosmo. While I'd feel better about myself if I finished the paper, I have a little bottle of prosecco waiting for me in the fridge. Its going to be a very long and busy week with lots of stuff to do but I'm feeling pretty good about it. And not too guilty about it taking time away from the kid.

Check back with me about all that on Tuesday or so...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


What am I doing blogging at work? Blowing off some steam so that my head doesnt explode: I spent part of my lunch hour online looking up info on Pre School programs and I had two great big 2x4s of reality hit me upside the head:

1. Donovan won't be in the Little Friends program forever
2. Most preschools end their day at about 1pm

WHAAAAAT? So what the hell are we supposed to do?

In listing those two realizations above, obviously I have always been aware that Donovan would outgrow Little Friends. I was also aware that Pre School would be a different set up for him. But never until today did I ever stop to think what that might mean.

We've got some serious thinking to do.

...And Some Milk in a Dirty Bottle

I did something last night I don't think I've done before: I had a Mom's Happy Hour. I've had drinks with other moms before but those were moms with whom I already had a relationship or rapport. This time I went out with two gals from church, one with whom I've been friendly but not social and the other is in the covenant group at church that Mike and I go to but I obviously did'nt know her well because when I was told she was coming with her kid I had no idea who Jenn was talking about.

At any rate, we got kicked out of Kelly's because Karen brought her wee bitty in-a-sling baby with her. It worked out fine as we just crossed the street to the Red Room, which is very schwank and does not enforce a No Babies policy. Despite being a bombastic loudmouth I'm actually pretty shy and can get myself worked up about social situations. This actually went nicely and I think I behaved myself for the most part. The conversation was a nice balance between talking about the kids and talking about different things. I think it went well and, hopefully, we can do it again sometime.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dinner and Bubbles

At dinner tonight I tried the Buffet approach. It worked surprisingly well.
Of course, Donovan will always reach the point of not wanting to eat any more. Then it turns into, "Here: YOU eat it. YOU. EAT THIS. EATITEATITEATIT!!!"All the while Donny is refusing to eat, Brisbane sat on the chair next to me, meowing and begging me to feed him again. Because twice in one hour can't possibly be enough:Here are a couple of photos from Monday when Donny and I hung out with Mike's folks while Mike was in Detroit. Mike's Mom is a a bubble ninja with an entire arsenal of bubble making implements and a secret recipe for bubble liquid that includes generous doses of glycerin. Don't try this at home:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Warning: Possible Graphic Overshare

My vacation days at work are renewed the month I started there, which is April. I can carry 22 unused sick and vacation days forward into the next cycle. Taking a 3 month maternity leave in 2007 meant I had all 22 days to take forward into 2008-9. Thus, I started with 44 vacation/sick days.

I have a feeling I've already used them up.

When I went to wake up Donovan this morning he had been sick in his sleep. Today was the day that I was going to take him to daycare on the bus and then go into work myself since Mike is currently on a plane coming home from Detroit. By the time I went to wake up the kid I was showered, in work clothes with everything packed and ready to go. One look at the poor bebe and off come the work clothes, on go the hazmat clothes and away we go.

How often can I thank my coworkers for covering my ass before I start to sound like a complete user?

Anyhow, the kid is now asleep in our bed. I just changed the sheets and blankets in his crib. Luckily, his stuffed animals were unscathed as he threw them out of the crib before the deluge. Here's hoping Mike gets home soon: the cupboards are bare and I'm hungry.

Oh. And I missed my husband. Beyond his being the vehicle to fetch my breakfast, it will be good to see him again.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I Blame Genetics

Mike is in Detroit right now at a jazz festival. I'm sure said festival has some sort of official moniker but, if my brain was a whiteboard, the portion where jazz info should go would be the part where someone used an inappropriate cleaner and now the marker ink doesnt stick. Which is odd because I've been married to a jazz expert for 13 years now. I do know that Charles Mingus had a cat that could poop in a toliet. Or was that Thelonius Monk?

ANYhow, Mike is off in some jazz version of hog heaven until Tuesday morning and its been just me and the boy since Friday morning. And I've got to say, not to jinx it or anything, but Donovan has been a very good boy. Yeah, there have been some whiny bits and some civil disobedience Hell-No-I-Won't-Go-Upstairs sort of tussles but all in all he's been a joy to hang with. Its sad to think that I may be benefitting from the fact he misses Mike. I'm guessing that's whats been going on because he's been super affectionate--very clingy, lots of kisses. My favorite thing is that, when I'm holding him, he'll put his hands on either side of my face, look into my eyes and then very slowly muss up my hair. This usually happens when we're waiting for the bus. Luckily, motherhood has severely curtailed how much I actually care about what I look like in public.

Earlier today I was skimming the Sunday paper while Donovan played around on the piano. I got this feeling that he wanted me to look at him. When I did, he had this big smile on his face and then he very excitedly played the piano. With the side of his head. Of course, the more I laughed, the more he did it with that same damn smile on his face.

My kid is a nutjob and somewhere, out in the aether, my Dad and various generations of Benfords are giving each other Attaboys.