Monday, June 30, 2008

What I learned from my June paystub.

The cost of health insurance for Howie each moth: $480
The cost of health insurance for Howie for April, even though he was only alive for 1.8 days of it: $480.
The cost of eight days of maternity leave that were apparently beyond my sick days: $1,900
The joy of getting hit with all of these on one paycheck: priceless.

Hello, Top Ramen! I've missed you! And Coors Lite--suddenly you look like my kind of bevvy!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

And baby makes three.

Eleanor 3
Originally uploaded by karijean
They are all here now. All the grandbabies. So, welcome, Eleanor--last, but certainly not least, to arrive.

Your cuteness kind of makes my teeth ache. Also--could you please smile?

Two months.

Rock 'n' roll sneer
Originally uploaded by karijean
Dear Howie,

Okay, this is exhibit A for either "I was cool before I knew it" or "Why my parents need to pay for my therapy", depending on you, I suppose. I don't know what you're going to want to be, see, do and listen to when you grow up. And that mystery is all the fun, isn't it?

What I do know about you is this: we honestly like you. Okay, when it comes right down to it, we love you with a fierceness that amazes me. But we also like you. You smile with your whole body. You like to watch everyone around you and sometimes things just tickle your funny bone.

You smile in your sleep, too. Sometimes you even giggle. I'd give several of my teeth to know what in your subconscious tickles you to such an extent that you giggle. You barely have a conscious--what could be sub it? Whatever it is, it's clearly awesome. And hilarious.

You're still the longest stretched-out baby I've ever met. You're in the 97th percentile for height. We've had a talk about those last two percent--but don't sweat it. You'll be what you'll be, and any height is fine, but don't be surprised that everyone who holds you is equally surprised that your legs just. Keep. Going. You've already grown out of the 0-3 months just based on your length--which is fine, because we have a much cuter variety of 3-6 month clothes.

As evidenced above.

Keep on doing your thing, Stretch. We love it.

Also: I love the chin. I apologize for occasionally nibbling. But seriously, kiddo. Irresistable. I should know, I've tried.

Love, your mama.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

For your enjoyment

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Suddenly, I feel rhythmless and talentless.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Originally uploaded by karijean
Some days are just... perfect.

You wake up and are done sleeping. Your son is done eating a half hour before you need to go--enough time to still get ready, but close enough that you'll be able to enjoy brunch without worrying about when he'll need to eat.

You go for a walk with some of your absolutely favoritest people in the world.

The walk is not too long, not too short. There's no need to walk fast. A perfect place appears to stop for cold drinks, and you do. And then you go home.

You get stuff done, stuff that has been itching at you like a mosquito bite under a bra strap. Your kitchen is clean. Your bed is made. You know where to find your camera charger.

The other things that induce stress are distant enough that they are worries for another day. Not today.

You make a dinner that is tasty, and you don't have to do the dishes. There are even leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

The wine you enjoy as the day ends just matches the sunset. Your legs are the good tired that says, I used them but doesn't say, We quit.

Some days are just perfect.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Both of us...

Originally uploaded by karijean
...are doing much better now. Yay modern medicine!

So, a short excerpt of a conversation.

"It's so cool. You were a baby store before, and now you're like a convenience store."

"Um. What?"

"You know, like, before you, y'know, made babies. Now you're where the baby goes to get food."

"I'm a convenience store."

"Did I say that? I didn't say that."

Monday, June 16, 2008

My sister loves me

and she knows me pretty well too, because she sent me the link to this:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pity party

The first really nice weekend--seriously, storybook gorgeous, slight breeze, no clouds--and I'm running a fever. At last measure (about 45 minutes ago) my temperature is up to 102.2. My whole body aches like it's been used for batting practice. Muscles I haven't used in a year hurt like I had an intense workout. My toes ache.

This is how I feel
Originally uploaded by karijean

Yay, mastitis!

So basically not only am I homebound, alternately sweating or shaking with chills (I asked Andrew to turn the temperature up, he said it's 73), but my boob hurts like the alien is going to pop out of that insteaed of my stomach. And guess which boob it is? That's right, the one that didn't hurt!

This breastfeeding thing really chaps my ass. The politics of it (SIX MONTHS! you MUST GO SIX MONTHS!) and the looks you get when you use a bottle (so much that I feel compelled to mutter about pumping while giving it to him in public) to you should be ashamed if you DO nurse in public, and you should be ashamed if you DON'T nurse in public (I am of the latter, mostly because it's a very messy affair, what with the spraying and all). Why do we, women and mothers, do this to ourselves? Why are we so judgy, without knowing all the details? So much so that I am breastfeeding in electric-shock pain, and I still feel guilty about thinking of quitting. I have this mammoth supply that other mothers would kill for, I tell myself, don't let it go to waste.

So instead, I dread the feedings. Bonding? Ha. Aside from when he curls up on my chest as I burp him, I can't say I feel particularly bondful while breastfeeding. Probably because I am gritting my teeth until the pain recedes.

Feeding had just started getting better before this happens, so this is probably the fever talking. I'll get through this course of antibiotics (yay, emergency room on a weekend!) and reevaluate. But today? Today has just sucked.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Originally uploaded by karijean
We went on a walk tonight. I wanted to experiment with taking pictures of something other than le bebe.

Ah, what fodder I can find.

When they say "transitional neighborhood" this is what they mean.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I know I've given up when...

...I meet the painter at the kitchen door, wet spots down the front of my shirt absolutely impossible to hide. And I don't care.

It's freeing, really.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Taking em where I can get em

I was working on a long rant rant rant about breastfeeding (hey, there's a new idea!) but frankly, it IS getting better, so it's more a rant in retrospective a.k.a. "Why did no one warn me it'd hurt like a roach clip on my nipples?" (don't worry mom, I don't ACTUALLY know what a roach clip is... ahem) But again, it's hurting less like a roach clip and more like, oh, a mild electrode.

We take the small victories.

What is being home alone with a small baby like? That sums it up in a nutshell: we take the small victories. I try to make myself acheive one small thing a day. Yesterday I put frosted film on the window in the shower. That took the entirety of Howie's afternoon nap, and then it was time to feed and then it was time to recover and then Andrew was home and they day was done.

Lee pointed out that it's not actually necessary that things get done while Howie's LESS THAN SIX WEEKS OLD, CRAZY WOMAN! (I think she put it more politely) But on Monday Andrew got home from work and asked how my day was and I looked at him and realized not only had I not put on clothes but I hadn't left the recliner since noon except to pee--or change Howie's diaper, which, if I could have done without leaving the recliner, I would have. I mildly hated myself.

So now I try to set myself one thing to do. Just one. Frost the window in shower--great. Cut back the vines on the front porch--awesome. Last week, I replaced the seventies knobs in the built-in cabinets with cheapie ones from IKEA.

It's still tough. Maybe because Howie hasn't been interactive. He'd cry when he needed to eat or was sitting in shit (and really, wouldn't you?) but that was about it for his communication. Other than that, he'd sleep on my chest and although that is awesome all on its own, it's also really lonely.

This week, though, we turned a corner. He smiled. He smiled when he meant to. He smiled because he wanted to. He smiled because something made him smile. And he made sounds that were something other than cries or pre-cries--happy sounds, contented sounds, sounds that were about something other than food or poop.

This is no small victory. Making it this far is like winning the marathon. I can do this!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

That other project

Originally uploaded by karijean
Remember that OTHER project we were working on? I know, the peanut is slightly distracting, but if you recall, I in a fit of NESTING TIMES A MILLION decided it was SUPER SMART to gut one's kitchen six weeks before one gives birth?

Shocking absolutely no one, the project--which was SUPPOSED to be done before Howie entered this world--ran over. By like three weeks. So here I am, home with a newborn, and workers are all, "Mind if I come in and sand drywall?" To which my answer was "BYEEEE!" as I escaped out the back.

But, as Jon Stewart says, not only must all good things end, but so must those that are shitty and tedious. And the results? ARE HOTT. THERE ARE TWO T's, THAT'S HOW HOT THEY ARE.

Want to see the destruction to completion? There's a slideshow of views from the mudroom, and another slideshow of views from the dining room. Or you could just look at all of the pictures of the kitchen.

For the curious: all surfaces (except the floor) are courtesy of IKEA. All appliances are from Sears. We go big around these parts.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mother's Day

Originally uploaded by karijean
Yeah, it was a while ago, so what?

Mother's Day has been hard. For years. No one who hasn't had problems getting pregnant can adequately understand the sort of visceral pain that Mother's Day can be. Wait, that's a lot of negatives. Suffice it to say, I can try to describe to you what the dread is like, leading up to it, what the ads on TV, the sales in the stores, the cards at the grocery store, your friends' and family who are mothers, what the actual day is like, what the compilation of all of that does to you, but unless you've been there, it's all just words.

I did pretty okay with it, personally speaking. I think, anyway. By that I mean, I functioned, I talked about it, I didn't burst into tears at every JC Penny ad. Especially the ads about jewelry because do people really do that? Give diamonds for Mother's Day? But there would be times when it just hurt.

Especially, oh, especially the Mother's Day after my miscarriage. So many other people close to me, pregnant, and not me.

So maybe I expected this Mother's Day to be EXTRA SUPER DUPER AWESOME. I was finally in the club! I would learn the handshake and hear the secrets and make the oaths!

Andrew gave me the sweetest card ever, short and to the point, from him and Howie (I bet Howie picked it out), and a gift certificate to a massage (which, oh, I can't wait to use it!). And I love him for it. But it felt odd, unnatural, not quite comfortable yet. Maybe because I was such a new mom (seriously, Howie was like two weeks old at that point.)

But honestly, my favorite part of Mother's Day*? Was giving the gift we'd made for my mom.

Earlier that week, my sister and I had realized we had nothing for my mom for Mother's Day** and I said, "Well, I win, because I gave her a grandchild." Lee thought for a minute and said, "Hey, so did I." I looked at her. "For that matter, so did our brother."

Three new grandbabies, three words in "Happy Mother's Day"....

Mix in digital photography, email, Walgreens online photo submission, a three-way photo frame from Target and you have my mother's Mother's Day gift. Not bad for thinking of it on a Tuesday before Mother's Day.

My mom--remember, this is when she was visiting her newest grandbabie and about to buy a house and decide to move out to Oregon--lurrrrrved it. She loved it so much, she made a slightly larger version for my grandmother (making these great-grandbabies). And I have to say, I'm pretty proud of it.

But that's my favorite thing about Mother's Day 2008. Not that I was finally a mother, like some pinnacle I'd reached as if it was a milestone to be checked off. Rather, now that the painful part of Mother's Day is gone and I can finally see the day as a chance to give my mom something silly and sweet to savor for the forseeable future without the reminder of pain. And that feels good.

Now, if anyone has amazing ideas of what to do for Father's Day--I'm all (virtual) ears.

* It was at this point in the blog post that I officially got fed up with typing "Mother's Day" because every single time, I'd not capitalize it and have to go back and capitalize it--and I had the argument with myself about capitalizing but realized that if I decided not to capitalize it--mother's day--to make myself happy I'd have to go back and uncapitalize all the "Mother's Day"'s I'd already typed and that would piss me off even more.

Welcome to the inner workings of my personal issues.

**Yup, did the same thing there, and had the same argument with myself.

Monday, June 02, 2008

One month after.

I want to blog about something non-Howie, merely to show I can. Instead, my days (and nights) are filled with the sounds and images of the little man. Don't let anyone tell you different--staying at home with the kid is a test of your willpower (will I get anything at all done today?) and your sanity (will I talk to anyone who answers back?). And yet, given the opportunity to be separated from him I get cranky and uncertain and control-freaky.

We're navigating our way around each other right now, learning each others' likes and dislikes. Him: likes the mei-tai baby carrier, sleeping, and boobs, dislikes being put down, any delay in getting boob, and poopy diapers (a LOT). Me: likes are the mei-tai baby carrier, napping with a sleeping baby, and those little sounds he makes when he giggles in his sleep, dislikes are that "ehhhh ehhhhh" he makes that isn't quite crying when he's not being held, breastfeeding (yes, it still sucks--ha. ha. ha.) and poopy diapers (a LOT).

I feel pathetically grateful when there is a social event outside of my house, and at the same time I feel pathetically unentertaining when I'm there. I have nothing to contribute to conversations beyond what Howie's done recently and what I saw on "John and Kate Plus 8" yesterday (OMG did you see the episode where they flew to Utah?), but I want to see other people and maybe have a beer and it's so FUN when I do. Even when it's grey and drizzley.

So eventually I'll have something to write about that isn't centered around a pre-verbal ten pound grunting being, but today ain't that day.