Category Archives: Personal

Baby Blurb

The last few weeks have been busy ones for my 7-month-old daughter. It’s hard to resist the temptation to write down her every move on Facebook!

So I’ll write some of them here for quasi-posterity. If I print it out and put it in her baby book, then it’s real posterity, too. For my own amusement:

  • Baby started looking like she was about to creep or crawl in mid-August. My brother went off to college, and we said she’d probably be crawling when he came home for Labor Day. And it was true! Right after that she started army crawling, and she’s really getting around now.
  • Baby supervision is thus a much bigger job now. She would never consider playing contently on the square of her play gym now. The gym is a starting block from which she decides what trouble to get into next.
  • Trouble there is. First, the entertainment center had pretty sharp corners at the bottom that needed padding. She became attracted to every speck of anything on the floor — Mommy had to find her vacuum and broom. She fell in love with electrical cords. She made it her personal mission to get behind the entertainment center, and thus the first dining room chair fell into baby-proofing duty.  Etc., etc.
  • I was feeling her gums today and felt some sharp little bottom teeth for the first time!
  • Today was her first visit to the local library’s infant lapsit.
  • Also today she had her first little puffs to eat. I think of the five we took out of the container, up to a third of one may have been ingested. But it kept her interested while we had supper.
  • She is extremely observant. Always curious, touching everything. As my mom says, “her little hamster is always going” in her head.
  • She’s started saying d’s.
  • She’s still not big enough that I can carry her on my hip, which is inconvenient.
  • Her tiny blond hairs look like they’ve grown a little in the last month or so.
  • She’s entering the phase where she bonks her head on something several times a day.
  • For quite a while she’s been taking four half-hour naps a day. Lately, she’ll wake up from a short nap and seems to be in great need of another. I wish we could figure out how to do an hour-long nap!
  • I keep her Fisher-Price rotary telephone on the bottom shelf of her changing table. If I set her down on her bedroom floor, she makes a beeline for the telephone. Likewise, she notices if a new toy is on the floor amid her normal ones. She has a memory!
  • She has the world’s most kissable cheeks.
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On Being Frumpy

Isn’t frumpy a colorful word? Love it.

I do not, however, love being frumpy. Which I largely am — largeness being the majority of the problem.

This isn’t a post-baby frump. It’s definitely been at least post-high school, but most likely life-long. (Can juveniles be frumpy?) When I think back to my first days of college, I picture myself in this awful plaid tank top and think wow, what a square. Little makeup, if any. Hair unkempt. Generally unpolished.

And the same is true today. Truer, even. My complexion’s generally clearer, so I don’t even bother with cover-up. Don’t own any foundation. Mascara’s definitely outlived the recommended shelf-life. Hair an undefined color between used-to-be-blonde and not-brown. “Unpolished” comes back to mind, overall.

And overall, I don’t have a problem with this. I’m me. I’m reasonably comfortable in my skin. Primping feels like a waste of time, in that its effects generally wear off quickly. And I just don’t enjoy doing it. I’d rather be doing something else.

But there are times when it gets to me. Earlier this week I was at a professional conference. My attire was neat but not dress-to-impress. My makeup was non-existent — again, didn’t feel a need to impress these strangers. My hair was not in a great state, having had to rush out the door with it still damp.

A woman from a national group was keynote speaker at the conference, and she expressed interest in speaking with those of us working at the grassroots, local level. She seemed genuine about that. But when I tried to engage her in a brief conversation later in the day, it was a no-go. Quite possibly she was a) busy or b) not getting the probably-too-subtle signals that I wanted to converse.

My appearance, though, probably did nothing to help my cause. This … woman? girl? person can’t have much of value to lend this conversation. She can’t keep herself together — how can she contribute professionally? It’s hard to take her seriously.

Having a baby around does not make grooming and primping any easier. We’re lucky to both get out the door in the mornings with all of the items we need. My appearance still just doesn’t rank high on my priority scale. (Sidenote: Chemicals are also a concern of mine here. My hair looks better highlighted, but breathing in all those chemicals during application scares me. And what is makeup but more chemicals? I think part of the reason my complexion has cleared up is that I’m not putting chemicals on it.)

I’m not sure how to conclude this post — only that I’m aware of my frumpiness (frumpyness?) but not obsessed with it. Not really even worried about it. Just aware. And hoping it might disappear without me having to put any effort toward it.

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Working Motherhood, Day 3

The first day of dropping off baby was the easiest so far — in part, because it was later in the morning!

Day two was the first morning at our new regular time. After getting up for baby’s early feeding, I pretty much had to stay up for the rest of the day in order to get myself bathed, bottles ready, bags packed, breakfast and lunch made. Kind of a rude shock after our living at baby’s whim for four months!

What I didn’t account for: Babysitting isn’t just from the minute I start work to the minute I get off. There’s easily another 20 minutes each day to pay for between when I drop her off and when I arrive at work, and then the same at the end of a shift.

Baby is breastfed. Estimating how many ounces she’ll need while we’re apart  + getting it bottled = challenge. Baby was hungry on Day 2 and had to have her first two ounces of formula (which she took without batting an eye). I felt guilty.

Apparently she is crankier for the sitter than she is at home. I felt guilty.

When we get home, we snuggle in our chair, and she falls asleep pretty quick. Naps quite a bit now in the afternoons, because her cousins tire her out!

Bedtime comes, and she tries to buck sleep. I think about keeping her up, too — once she goes to sleep, then our relaxed time together is over until the next afternoon. I let her cry herself to sleep tonight and was a little disappointed when it worked!

I got coffee this morning without having to drag the baby with me. I felt guilty.

So far, it seems like a lot of “working” motherhood is about feeling guilty.

(On the plus side, my job is going well.)

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Now I Am A Working Mother

Today I sent my child to daycare.

Okay, it isn’t exactly daycare — it’s her auntie, who lives six minutes away, and her two little cousins. And it wasn’t even all day. It was four hours.

But it was the first four hours of me becoming a part-time working mom. I explained to baby, as she sucked away on her pacifier in the back seat of the car, that this will be a regular thing now. She’ll go see her auntie — or once in a while her other auntie, or maybe her uncle — four mornings a week and play and have a fun time while Mommy goes to work. Mommy will come back for her after lunch.

She’s four months old. She’s still figuring out that I’m Mommy and that this big place with ceiling fans and mirrors is Earth. So I know it is far more difficult for me than it is, if at all, for her. See the previous post on this subject.

Mommy has gone back to her old job for a while, cataloging and scanning at a museum, so it’s nice that the learning curve is minimal. What I wasn’t expecting was the challenge to working that part of my brain again. It felt a little intense at first!

Another thing I didn’t expect was the awkwardness of the transition between being work-me and being Mommy-me. As I walk in the door at work, I turn off my Mommy thoughts and turn on my museum thoughts. Then, at the designated time, I turn off the one and turn on the other again. And ne’er the twain shall meet. Like I’m two totally separate people.

Maybe that’s a good thing, though. Wherever I am, I want to be all there.

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Silence: Is That the Sound of the Baby Sleeping?

Oh, I was mistaken. The silence has disappeared.

My 3-month-old daughter had been falling asleep while eating up until the last week. She has now started changing up her routine and eats, then plays, then gets tired. At that point she wants to be rocked to sleep.

I’m a snuggling fan, so generally I’m okay with “rockabye.” But sometimes I’d rather not — such as at 4 a.m.

And of course I want her to develop good sleeping habits. I want her to be able to self-soothe and magically get put in her crib and fall asleep.

(Allegedly that is possible.)

(Still no silence.)

Is this really possible? If so, is it also realistic? And if both of those, how?

The parent educators at my newborn class said you really can’t spoil a baby under 6 months old. True or false? Is 3 months too soon to start letting her cry herself to sleep? And how do you do it — just really set her down and let her cry?

And cry, and cry …

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Portobello Mushroom Burgers, and Updates

Thanks to Emily for suggesting portobello mushrooms as an entree. I saw some at the store today and took a  shot at this recipe for Portobello Mushroom Burgers with herbed mayo, spinach and cheese. They were pretty good — maybe a B+. They would have been better on the suggested hard rolls — I had regular hamburger buns on hand.

Have freezer meal, on-the-go breakfasts, or granola bar recipes to share? I’d love to hear about them.

Some updates:

  • Took a stab at microwaving yesterday’s frozen Breakfast Casserole Bites. They reheated reasonably well — removing the foil liners was kind of annoying, though.
  • The lasagna never made it to the freezer…
  • On last week’s goals:
  • 1. Take the baby on at least two walks.

    2. Try out our cloth diapers, starting Monday afternoon after our newborn class.

    3. Serve a veggie with every supper this week.

    4. Make a batch of twice-baked potatoes to freeze.

    5. Clean out the fridge.

    6. Order a smaller garbage bin.

    7. Only two trips to the coffee shop this week!

    8. Research laundry detergent recipes.

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Filed under Links of Interest, Personal, Recipes, Saving Money

The Intrigue of ‘Real Food’

A friend who saw my request for vegetable recipes (thanks!) recommended the blog 100 Days Of Real Food.

I have to confess that I haven’t even looked at the recipes yet — the concept of the blog as a whole has me too distracted.

The blogger and her family are committed, to perhaps oversimplify it, to eliminating processed foods from their diet. Their personal rules throw out refined grains, refined sweeteners (including sugar), deep-fried and fast foods, and any packaged item with more than five ingredients listed. The goal is to focus on “whole” foods.

I haven’t read too much about their reasoning, assuming health would trump anything else. What could be better for our bodies than foods the way they’re (pesticide-free) grown naturally? There’s always another chemical being determined to cause cancer; I’m certain there are things we eat every day we don’t yet know about that contain chemicals or are processed in a way that is a serious hazard to our health. Take the recent pink slime controversy, for example. I’m pretty sure eating ammonia can’t be good for you.

They point out that “real” or “whole” foods are not the same as “natural” or “organic” foods. “Natural” and “organic” foods can still be processed and refined. Also, “real”/”whole” foods are not necessarily low-fat or low-cal. I like that. It makes sense. It lines up with what people have done for millenia. (That’s kind of my gold-standard as I learn to care for a baby —  a mom in the Middle Ages didn’t have a watch telling her to feed her baby every three hours, but civilization kept going. For my husband, “If it’s so serious, why don’t they call it meningitis?”)

The idea sounds great, but of course it is totally foreign to my eating and buying habits. And, as the friend who recommended the blog pointed out, “real” food is not as budget-friendly as processed food. If I really believe it’s so wise, though, shouldn’t it be worth the overhaul? Or at least a partial overhaul? Especially with a brand-new little life in my hands?

(Sip of Diet Coke.)

I’m kind of at a standstill.

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