Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

Christmas morning we awoke to 60 degree weather, leisurely present opening and a quick and yummy lunch out in Germantown to meet baby Blake. A few hours later found us trudging up the mountain to Keystone, eight inches of snow on the ground and the temperature gauge claiming it was 6 degrees outside. Now that's just silly cold. After some delays and brief but nerve wracking car trouble on the side of the road, we made it to the house and scarfed down some chips for our Christmas dinner. And can I just say - traveling via airport on Christmas Day? I'd like to do it every year. No lines, good moods, a happy baby - I think we may have started a new Sweazy tradition. It's been a whole lot of nothing ever since, what we do best in the mountains. The LA crew arrives tomorrow, so we're enjoying a 1st 48 marathon, crossword puzzles, trying to stay out of that 6 degree cold and yeah, more of that nothing.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Weekly wrap up

The Sweazys have been laid-up with a collecive cold, so not much blogging, more on the resting, last minute Christmas dash side. Because she's sniffly, Harlow has needed to eat. A lot. At 3 AM she was howling for attention, so Caleb stumbled out of bed to get her and while I blearily rolled over and got the boob ready. He laid her down beside me in the dark, and in the quiet, came this tiny little voice.

Ma...Mah?

Truly a sweeter sound was never heard. Especially at 3 AM.

And sweet she has been. We now have a clapping, pre-crawling, scooting, picking up the yuckiest thing on the floor she can find generally happy baby.

Unless she is being spoonfed. Miss Independent now only wants to feed herself, so it's down with the pureed food in the spoon, hello fake banana-like cereal. This new phase has resulted in her not eating as much during the day - there's only so much those tiny fingers can grab - so it's no coincidence why I've become the 24 hr. drive thru. And then I had the flash of brilliance. Monkey See Monkey Do, right?

I got me a baby food jar and a spoon and the next 60 seconds was me going to town on air plums and bananas. This pretend glop of food was nirvana in a jar, manna from heaven. This was almost exactly like my eating air hamburgers in the bathroom of my elementary school, except then I didn't have a motive for acting like a nutter. Harlow was intrigued and tentatively took a bite. I kid you not - 2 minutes later that jar was empty. I did a victory lap around the dining room, and for a very special treat, was only awakened once in the night.

Has hasn't happened since, but I then, I can't get all spoiled, right?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Gift To You

It is said that the feelings and emotions and one's general state of being is imparted into the food one is cooking. If that is true, you might actually taste some F bombs, some third degree burns and generally pissiness when biting into a piece of my homemade Great Aunt Hilda's peanut brittle. The women on my mom's side of the family have been making peanut brittle for generations. Christmas for me has always been associated with my mother stirring away, apron on, Amy Grant and Karen Carpenter on the soundtrack and Frank Capra getting a tight shot of the steaming, peanuty goodness emanating from the large pot on the stove. So it made perfect sense that I would carry on this tradition. In high school chemistry my lab partner and I made the best brittle of the class. It was now scientifically proven. Brittle making was in my genes.

My tradition of peanut brittle making played out like this. A closet-sized Los Angeles kitchen, JT on the CD player, candy thermometers encased in 300 degree brittle goo over an electric stove, said burning goo eating through my skin, cat hair, migraines, frantic phone calls and a pan of yummy smelly peanut not so brittle for my efforts. Each time my sympathetic roommate would just shake her head, suggest this be the year I give gift cards and point out the fire extinguisher under the sink. I absolutely suck at making peanut brittle and tend to make most everyone around me miserable in the process, but yet I persevere, year after year. Why? Because it is my birthright. Because it makes for a very cool gift. And because every year I make one absolutely perfect batch that compels me to return to the Schnucks for more corn syrup and replacement candy thermometers.

Now that we live in an actual house with a Barbie dream kitchen, I thought that maybe my troubles had been equipment-related. Not so much. My first batch of the season could rip the enamel off of your teeth. Then there was the burnt batch. The one that you could roll into brittle balls and maim an intruder with. And then there was the perfect batch, the golden caramel hue, the perfect harmony of crispness with buttery peanut crunch. Biting into a piece, I spied Harlow watching me from her neglectomatic. I have yet to see whether she will inherit the curly hair, the penchant for melodramatics and dreaminess, the mongloid hands. But I can say with certainty there will be a day that she will stand beside me at the stove, listening to me curse at volcanically hot goo while stirring in baking soda like a madwoman. She will glimpse her future and I hope she will choose the gift cards.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

White Christmas

I don't know about your weekend, but ours contained Christmas, a nasty cold, America'sMost Smartest Model and snow. With Caleb's nephews needing to be home in Chicago on Christmas Day ( the roadtripping could prove most perplexing to Santa), we had our family Christmas a couple of weeks early, converging in So. Ill for a weekend of baked goods, catching up and general dotage on that sweet baby. Harlow scored a new wardrobe and now officially owns more clothing from H&M than her mother. I scored a miserable cold that kept me quarantined in our rental cabin with reruns of The Hills and FBI Files (how's that for a combo) to keep me company. After a particularly rough night - me with the mouth breathing and she with the general inconsolable shrieking - Harlow woke up fresh faced and angelic only to quickly morph into snotty, sneezy crankster. So Caleb now has two demanding, phleghmy babies to deal with. The unexpected gift was that we woke up to a world blanketed in snow. We're not talking anything impressive by Chicago standards, but it was enough that it covered my boots and would most definitely spook the Shelby County school system. We made a quick trip so Harlow could meet her great grandmother for the first time, and as we headed back south towards home, the sun burned brighter, the snow melted into memory and we desperately searched for a Christmas song that did not contain the words "baby," "please come home" or Miss Amy Grant singing them.

Friday, December 14, 2007

So Illin


We're minutes away from packing up the car and hittting the road for an early Sweazy Christmas in So. Ill. My throat feels like it was raped by a cactus and the house has barely recovered from the Martha Stewart explosion of brittle making, peppermint patty concocting and gift wrapping that's been occuring into the wee hours the past couple of nights. But that's not why I am here.

Although the packaging for the brittle and patties are to DIE for but anyway -

We have a toof. Two actually. The bastards finally decided to show themselves. Well, honestly you can't really see them yet but man you can feel them. I'm sure my nipples will have the honor of doing so shortly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

ZZZZoloft


I don't know if it's the meds or the extremely creepy 80 degree, muggy December, but I can barely motivate to get off the couch let alone address the bazillion chores, tasks and Things to Do that need to be done before years' end. 8:30 rolls around and I can barely be bothered to undress before collapsing in bed. I basically gave myself permission not to write this month, and while my creative spark is still alive (mom and I are making hand puppets and the holiday baking is in full swing), it suddenly feels very important that I watch Dirty Dancing on cable or take a bath instead of being productive when Harlow goes to sleep. Oh, but it must be said that Harlow watched Dirty Dancing with me. I believe that's the second time this year. She thinks Johnny Castle is dreamy.

You know what else she thinks is dreamy? Guacamole. She has started to master the fabled pincer grasp (her technique is reminiscent of my attempts to grab the plush toy with the metal claw) She'd much rather feed herself bits of puffed cereal than be spoonfed gloppy carrots, but as her success rate of food to mouth is about 8 to 1, she's not really eating a lot. So we made the mistake of taking her to the Beauty Shop for dinner and declaring - out loud - what an awesome baby she was. About 5 minutes later she was producing this whine/shriek that could only be silenced if guacamole was in her mouth. So we shoveled it in, and I alternated between pride that my girl was chowing down on the guac and being genuinely pissed off that she was eating more of it than me.

I don't know why I'm continually surprised by her changes. She's chattier than ever at home, but get her around a group of people and Harlow becomes Garbo, silent, moody, Swedish. It's all the more jarring watching her interact with Avery who could leave an auctioneer breathless.

Oh - she had her first piece of bread today. No big reaction, no angels chorus, but I'm writing this down for posterity's sake anyway. I've neglected to catalogue that she also had her first receipt, wad of cat hair and cardboard. I'm not sure which she enjoyed most.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dancing Fool

We might not have an exactly mobile baby. She's not crawling, but that's not stopping her from getting to where she needs to go. She just stops, drops and rolls and rolls and rolls her way across the room. When she's strapped into her highchair, she can't roll her way to freedom, but she's found a solution. The girl likes to boogie. When the music starts - and we're talking hand claps to rattle shakin to white man's blues - she doesn't care. The's girl's gotta move. And no shocker here. She's got rhythm.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sleep


Let me tell you how much sleep I got last night.

I am drunk with it. I am groggy and stiff and mussed and out of sorts because I slept from 11 to 5:30 with no interruptions. And then I slept some more from 5:45 to 7:30.

If I didn't feel so weird I'd be giddy. And then there is the explanation of why I got so much sleep.

Because Caleb didn't. Harlow had a really weird day yesterday, the kind we always chalk up to teething. Her naps were practically non-exist and she refused most solids and was generally just kind of cranky. After she went down at her usual 8, she woke up at 10 PM, tired and hungry, so I fed her and she went back down. Or so I thought. She talked to herself.

For the next 3 hours.

We listened to her chat until 11:00 when I thought she had fallen asleep. So I did the same. Turns out she was just getting started.

I don't know what was so important that needed hashing out until almost 1 AM, but Caleb hung out with her in the guest bed where he was punched, kicked and gabbed to death until the wee hours. This morning he's surprisingly chipper. I'm deeply grateful.

And Harlow? She's still asleep.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bloggy Bonus II

I have no idea when this originally aired, but I have to watch this about once a day. It gets me through the ba-night.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

These Dreams

It's the end of the world. There are not many of us that haven't been taken by the disease, the one that has mutilated the entire human race into leagues of rotting zombies that bear telltale holes in their hands and feet. We are the walking dead, bearing the stigmata but with no hope for salvation. A leader has sprung up among the damned. You know him by the figure of the Virgin Mary he keeps with him, the closed eyes, the hands closed in prayer, the sword he has rammed through her side and uses to drag her through the streets when he leads the pack onward to nowhere.

These are the kinds of dreams I have on a NORMAL night.

One of the side effects of zoloft is "vivid nightmares." This I took almost as a challenge as I've endured epic sagas and violent massacres and terrifying movie-worthy plots since I was a child. I'm used to it. However. At 3 AM, just after she nursed, Harlow started screaming. Her hands clutched to her head, she screamed and screamed, clearly in the throes of a terrible nightmare. My whole body was flooded with adrenaline but I just sat there, kissing her, trying to soothe her until she finally nursed and fell back asleep. It was a long time before I did. Was it the medicine doing this to her? Was it a coincidence? It's impossible to know but I'm incredibly nervous about continuing onward with the meds.

Speaking of, there's no shortage of spooky in taking this stuff*. Besides being a Nancy Reagan kid, there's a reason I didn't take drugs like everybody else in college. It's monkeying around with your brain. Now even though its legal, it's no less unnerving. It's like someone hung a Please Pardon Our Dust sign on my frontal lobe. There's something clearly going on up there but I'm just having to wait until the grand unveiling to learn exactly what.

* Although the stats claim that millions of Americans take some kind of anti-depressant or SSRI, I've been hardpressed to find folks who openly talk about it. I think maybe as depression is still viewed as an imaginary affliction, perhaps that's why it's seen as taboo to discuss the treatments. So see me as a guinea pig for any of you considering trying it out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

8 months old


Well howdy, eight month old lady!

You are the lover of raspberries - in solids and with your tongue. Speaking of that tongue, I'm worried that you will forget how to use your hands as your tongue seems to function as an appendage, curling up toward your nose, searching the wind for the scent of your prey, perhaps? You love to wave at people...and at animals and shadows and lint and light fixtures. You are an indiscriminate waver yet surprised when people wave back. Strange women love to wave at you and invariably tell you you have gorgeous blue eyes and the longest lashes they have ever seen. Then they start in with the whole modeling thing and I have visions of you and a 50 year old Tyra Banks barking at you to be FIERCE and I get the heebie jeebies.

You've been saying ma ma ma ma a bit. Mostly da da da da and EEEEYYYYAAAAAAATHESOUNDOFSOMEONETRYINGTOSAWMYLEGOFFWITHABUTTERKNIFEIFICAN'TNURSEATTHEEXACTMOMENTIWANTO. You usually save that one for night time, when the ladies at target can't hear you scream. We've had a rough month, you and I. The separation anxiety seems to have passed for now. You will allow others to hold you. And apparently you read my blog because exactly 2 nights ago, you started sleeping better. I'm really hoping this has nothing to do with the Zoloft I'm taking because I'm really enjoying the one feed a night down from the 6 or 7 we had going there all month. Of course, my boobs don't know what the hell is going on, but who's complaining?

You seem on the verge of something big as you apparently needed to stock up for the winter. You are standing - with help - but once you are up that is all you, baby. You can roll something crazy, and now that you can hang on your belly for a bit, maybe you might start crawling. Not that I am in any rush. Just saying.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Crazy For You

There's this great little bookstore that I like to visit from time to time. Its shelves are filled with all the unproduced screenplays and TV pilots and spec scripts and short stories I 've written, along with the partially completed novels, abandoned plots, outlines upon outlines and scribbled crap that should never ever see the light of day along with the wish list of works that I know I'll never get around to. Like this one called Crazy: A History of Bitches, Saints and Your Ex-Girlfriend. It's all about how women get slapped with the crazy label as casually as you'd call them blonde or a Gemini (also known to be crazy).
"Why did you break up with her?"
"She's crazy."
"Did you see Ellen break down on TV the other day?"
"Yeah, she's crazy."
"What did you think of Hilary in last night's debate?"
"Uh, crazy."
"That woman is breastfeeding her toddler."
"She's CRA-zeee!"
"Britney?"
"Crazy."
Ok, this one might actually be true.

I always bristle at this label because it's usually patently unfair, usually a projection on the observer's part, and just cruel. But then sometimes they are right.

This past week was spent doing my favorite things- traveling, eating and hanging out with family - and I am hardpressed to recall moments where I was actually enjoying myself. I was so tense, so sleep deprived, so miserable that it was hard just to get through the day. Of course, I didn't want anyone to know so I put on my happy face and tried to be normal. Even staring at the ocean was no longer peaceful. The waves seemed to be a pretty good indicator of my mental state - choppy, chaotic, and unceasing. In addition to no longer sleeping well at night, Harlow started screaming right about the time our meals would arrive at restaurants, so going out to eat felt more like a task to be endured than a pleasurable experience. I was already in a black mood when we left for our last dinner Saturday and finally I just couldn't handle it anymore. Harlow started shrieking, I started crying and there I was. The lingering stress of her broken leg, the attack and robbery at the store, the perpetual feelings of failure, illness, the traffic jam of unwritten stories in my head, the lack of sleep, the dark circles, the heinous diet and complete lack of exercise all added up to one big crazy lady sobbing at an Italian restaurant and stabbing at arugula with her fork. I've struggled with depression and low self-esteem before, but never have I felt so completely rock bottom, so completely pointless. It's difficult writing these words because I'm so painfully conscious of who will be reading them - my family who I have scared to death with all I've shared over the past few days, old friends who I've been shutting out by not returning calls for fear of revealing how messed up I feel, and new friends who I'd like to introduce to the old me, the confident, smart, pretty, interesting girl who I hope still exists under all this emotional bullshit.

And then there is my daughter. This is her baby book, my attempt at chronicling her first days, her milestones and triumphs, her defeats and her challenges. My hope is that one day she will be able to read these words and peer through a window at her new self, her new world, her new parents. And that's why I'm choosing to include this. I want to get back to the task at hand, which is being a mother and trying to be the best one that I can be for her. I'm tired of junking up this blog with sad, poor-me tales of woe when I really should be telling you about how when Harlow eats, she gleeks so impressively it's like the dancing water fountain in front of the Bellagio. How she is working on crawling and has blonde hair that dusts the tops of her ears and still has no teeth. There are many moments of the day when her light shines through the fog and suddenly I am me and better. But most often I am numb and sad and utterly joyless. I don't want to look back on her first year of life as sheer misery. So I'm making some changes, I'm taking some meds, I'm announcing to the world that currently I'm a little crazy but I'm working my way toward normal. As normal as being a mother can allow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nola

I've been feeling a little crazy lately, crazier than normal. When the crazy spikes, so does my desire to get the hell out of a dodge, so its never been unusual for me to just jump in the car and drive. Caleb remembers this well from the first time I called him from a Mexican restaurant in Palm Springs, explaining I just needed some air and hey wouldja look at that I'm in the desert. I don't have a desert to escape to anymore, so I chose the next best spot. My dad had bought a van to take down to Florida over Thanksgiving, so I had my getaway car and a destination. New Orleans beckons the crazy, clutches the looney-tunes to its powdered sugar busom, so I coaxed the hubby into a family roadtrip to the happiest place on earth - happy if you are half out of your mind, craving beignets and looking for answers in the tattered deck of a con artist psychic.

We rolled into the French Quarter Sunday night, and baby girl was wild with excitement. She was probably just thrilled to be out of her carseat, but I like to think that she, too, has her mother's gypsy blood in her. She squealed and waved to every passerby and eagerly grabbed at every piece of fried New Orleans grub within striking distance. Monday morning began at Petunia's, a pink gayer-than-gay breakfast spot featuring deafening showtunes, singing waiters, lots of men checking out my husband, and, naturally, homemade sausage. An 80 year old tarot card reader regaled me with tales of her peeping Tom before giving me a bland, general reading - though she kept asking me about the "blonde" I work with. (Andria is your aura burning?) Apparently we knew each other in a former life. I finally got to visit Faulkner Books only to learn that I had just missed the Faulkner writers conference the day before. The owner thanked me for shopping there and for not buying into the bad press. Come to think of it, I didn't see a single looter or war zone anywhere. The rest of the day was spent wandering around cemeteries and shops along Magazine Street in the Garden District. We ogled the giant mansions, coveted the cool boutiques and chowed down on fried chicken at Jacques-Imos to make it all feel better. Oh - that pumpkin pie gelato complete with pie crust at Sucre didn't hurt either.

Monday we got our requisite beignets at Cafe du Monde, watching men in clown makeup smoke cigarettes and a hustling trumpet player hold long-ass notes for applause. Then - a trip 7 years in the making - we drove out to Odd Fellows Rest cemetery. I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering how I managed to get the geography of Crimson House so messed up and if my story was even salvageable. More shopping and eating took the edge off. We had an incredible lunch at Lillette - sizzling,lemon-oregano shrimp in their creepy shells, a buttered brioche parma ham sandwich with buffalo mozzarella and leyer lemon. After such a yummy meal Caleb seemed a little more amenable to the idea of pulling up stakes and moving closer to foodie heaven. Dessert were truffles snagged from Prince Michael chocolate on the way out of town. We said a sad goodbye to New Orleans as we pointed the minivan toward the Redneck Riviera. I have a feeling I and my crazy train will be back soon.



Friday, November 16, 2007

Guts

If love is a battlefield, parenting is an IUD*-laced Shiite/Sunni turf war in Iraq. While the best advice I've ever received about parenting is to simply trust your instincts, I've somehow made it my mission to read every forum on natural vs. drugs, co-sleeping vs. cribs, crying it out vs. attachment parenting et cetera ad nauseum, and anything my gut is trying to tell me is silenced under the deafening roar of furious, outraged, self- righteous parents on either side of the fence. It's like wading into unmoderated presidential debate that doesn't have the grace to stop the bickering when the election is over. Parents are mad as hell and clearly not going to take it anymore online.

One side berates the other for being too fringe for the sake of the trend while the other sniffs back about being right with such a certainty that it makes me awed and not a little jealous. I have been urged by my family, friends and my own inner voice to stop reading, stop seeking out information and its resulting tug-of-war as it usually sends me spiraling into depression and uncertainty. But I can't stop. Knowledge has always equalled power in my book, and I think that maybe if I just look up one more thing online or read between the parenting lines in this forum, I will find that little holy grail that will exonerate me of my shame, free me of my guilt over letting her cry or feeding her constantly throughout the night or one of the myriad other offenses we've committed as clueless, desperate parents.

See - Harlow was ramping up to be a great sleeper. We live in the US of A, and it's our god given right to have babies that sleep through the night at 12 weeks. For us, it was down at 8 up at 4 or 5to eat and then right back to sleep. Every morning I said a thank you to the god of babies for being merciful. Breastfed babies are notorious light sleepers and lactating moms are hormonally altered not to enter the deep sleep cycle, a funfact I learned somewhere online - but Harlow hadn't gotten the memo. We had a few weeks of baby girl blissfully asleep in her crib with a 5 AM visit to the bed where we'd all wake happy and refreshed. And then we took a trip out of town and the schedule changed permanently. She quickly went from waking once to an average four times at night, and nothing would soothe her. Not dad, not mom. Only the boob. So I went back to the books and the internet. She was waking like clockwork, and according to the Baby Whisperer, this was the result of "accidental parenting," one of the more insulting, potentially damaging expressions to ever be levied on a parent. We had been given a perfectly easy child but through our repeated fuck-ups, we now had a needy, desperately panicked child who could no longer soothe herself. Way to go, mom.

We tried for a couple of nights to let her cry it out in a "controlled" method as advocated by our pediatrician. We let her go balls-out crying with no intervention for 40 minutes. This resulted in frayed nerves all around and more self-flagellation when we discovered she now skipped the whine and went straight to blood curdling scream if I was 2 seconds late popping a boob into her mouth. Then there was the "pick up/put down" method of Dad soothing the baby by picking her up and holding her until she stopped crying. Then she was put back in her crib - never, never the bed according to this one expert - and picked right back up if she cried. This actually went over ok - I mean, I got to sleep for once at Caleb's expense. In fact, I was so refreshed I actually got to read a little before I went to sleep the next night. I read all about how incredibly damaging it is to an infant's central nervous system to let her cry it out and how babies are truly designed to co-sleep for at least the first year. I mean, it should be obvious to anyone who does some research and actually gives birth that a itty bitty baby needs to be curled up with their parents at least in those early months, but she was actually sleeping really peacefully in her crib. Why shake things up? Unless I was supposed to keep her in the bed even though she was happy in the crib.

I read on. When western society became prosperous, bigger houses with additional rooms were built. For the first time since the dawn of civilization, babies were being scooted down the hall to sleep in their own room. As time marched on, the nursery design business boomed, moms went back to work and were coached that their independence was of the utmost importance. The baby needed to be taught from an early age to be independent, too, so none of that co-sleeping nonsense. Do you want your kid sleeping with you until they get their drivers license? The writer was horrified at what she had observed. Terrified, vulnerable parents were being taught to ignore their child's biological needs in exchange for a gleaming convertible crib and 8 hours of sleep.

I wanted to shoot myself. How dare I want sleep? 11:30 came and baby girl started screaming. I couldn't get her in the bed with me fast enough. She slept wonderfully that night, except when she'd wake and immediately scream for the boob. I slept on the edge of the bed, awakening every couple of hours with her to Elvis Costello's This is Hell in my head. Sure, lots of parents have it worse. Particularly those who have chosen to breastfeed and co-sleep. The other day I hung out with friends who have rigorously scheduled their children's sleep schedules, let them cry and bottle-fed them from birth, and everyone in that club sleeps really well. Their kids are well adjusted and happy. I see them and wonder why all the drama. And then I look at myself. I was bottle fed and left to cry it out and I am an anxious, perpetually nervous mess. Is my sleep worth my daughter's mental health? Parenting is supposed to be, always has been hard. But it's getting hard to cherish the rewards when all I want is my daughter to go to sleep so I can read more and find more answers.

I'd love to hear what my gut is saying but its staying mum.

* edited to say that I was going to change IUD out of its current Freudian-slippy form to IED, but I really like the mental image a battlefield littered with birth control options brings to mind.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Give and Take Cont.

What is going on with this year? The give and take, the yin and yang, she's up she's down strikes in typical Monday fashion. Started the day off learning my mom, the healthiest person I know, had been taken to the ER and spent the day there being poked and prodded after experiencing intense pain in the could this be a heart attack variety. It wasn't a heart attack or any of the scary words thrown around today, which is great, but she was discharged not knowing what it was, so there's the rub. Ended the night with Harlow gleefully drinking from a cup AND a bottle with me darting in and out of the room like it was no big thing. I'm drinking a rather large glass of wine to celebrate. And to medicate.

Cutest Banshee in the World


I'm starting to figure out how the system works. These babies are designed to give while they take take taketh away. My little seven pound peanut was the sweetest thing I'd ever seen and then there was this explosion of girth and rolls and suddenly peanut was babysaurus and I mourned the tiny creature who was no more. But hey - this new version smiles and seems to look right at me, like she KNOWS me. And that roly poly babydoll suddenly started moving and flinging herself off furniture and she scared the shit out of me, but look at that head control! And all the while there was this underlying easygoingness, this hey man, I'm cool, you're cool, so let's go shopping, let's eat out at a restaurant or go visit your friends because I'm just gonna chill. And regardless of all that recklessly fast, unsettling change, that cool, that baby Fonzie I'll call it, stayed the same. Until a couple of weeks ago. The day after the robbery if you want to get specific and read way too much into it. Suddenly Fonzie gave way to this holy screaming terror, this shrieking banshee that terrified customers at the store ("She sounds like she is in so much PAIN") not to mention her clueless parents. Suddenly none of the tricks worked. No pacifier, no daddy, just "I will scream like someone is repeatedly stabbing my leg with a fork until I am in mama's arms." The books are no help. On separation anxiety, it counsels to treasure the sobbing, blood curdling screams because in a few short years she won't give two shits about mowing you down with her car if it meant getting to your wallet on the way to the mall, so treasure this time with your little one. WTF?? How could somebody you've gotten to know so intimately change so fundamentally with no warning? Seasoned moms to whom I've posed that question just smile and look at me with a mixture of pity and triumph. What does that smile say? Silly mama, the one constant about babies is that there is no constant. It's the kind of advice I hope I'll be able to casually offer one day to a future quivering, clueless mom. Right now I must content myself with the knowledge that when she's not signalling the coming apocalypse with her bellowing, she makes the cutest little babbling sounds. Like dadadadadada. When she claws at her daddy's face to force him to deliver her to mama, I think he takes the dadadada to heart.

p.s. Toof, you are officially on my shit list. I don't blame you for not showing up yet. Buddy, you are going down.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cat watch your back

Is it wrong to fantasize about the slow, painful death of your household pets? The ones that howl outside your door at 6 AM on a Saturday morning? When you finally went to sleep around 2?

While I resume thinking about destroying my cat, here's a cute picture of the cute kid.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Procrastination Nation

My readership of 3 knows what happened last week, right? I just don't have the energy to do the details. Scary man attacked me with my chlid in my arms. Store got robbed. Man got caught. Man is in jail. Man is in karma jail. Mama and baby are hanging in. Both are a bit crazy. I'm trying not to read into Harlow's INTENSE separation anxiety as anything more than just the stage she's in, but the constant screaming if she's not physically attached to my body can't help but make me wonder if she's picking up on my whacked out energy. I am tired. I am sad. No, I was sad and now I'm angry. I'm a sad/angry/all is forgiven I am compassionate motherfucker is going down ping pong ball. But you know why I'm really angry? Motherfucker had to go and f up my writing groove. Seriously. Writing takes work and discipline and all I want to do is eat chocolate and take baths and watch Lisa Williams talk to people about their dead loved ones on TV. I mean, that kind of counts as research, right? My novel is all about psychics..well, the novel that I'm not supposed to be working on as I made an agreement with myself that I would be working on the other one. Definitely not the werewolf story. Or the dance movie. Sigh. I suppose if I'm gonna procrastinate, it may as well be by working on other stories.

And to all of you that have called and written and sent a prayer out into the universe for me, I want to say that your thoughts, advice and love have filled me up and make me feel floaty....when I don't feel like punching a hole through a wall and eating a small city. A small city made of chocolate.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NaNiWriMo

The posts have been sporadic enough, but now I am officially taking a month off as NaNoWriMo is once again upon us. National Novel Writing Month fires up every November, as does my belief that THIS will be the year I'll crank out The Book. But now that I've cashed that grant money and put my intentions out into the interweb, I feel like this really could be it. Of course, now I have to figure out which novel I want to do...

Of course, if Harlow does something outrageously cute - which, let's be honest - is highly likely - I'll most definitely report it. Unfortunately she brought the Black Death into our home, which has resulted in impressive feats of vomiting and other bodily functions I'm just too classy to mention. Of course, this didn't stop us from debating who had the worst sounding puke noises. (Me!) We've been languishing at home, sipping Gatorade and generally feeling miserable. With the light fading and All Hallow's Eve upon us, I did manage to crawl out of bed and wrestle Harlow into the world's cutest bunny outfit. About 4 months too late apparently.

Monday, October 29, 2007

1807 Recap

There's a lot I missed this weekend. Memphis has the unfortunate tendency to cram all of the cool things one could possibly want to do in a year's time into the one month fairly guaranteed of good weather. The River Arts Fest. Charles Baxter's reading at the Galloway Mansion. The costumed tour at Elmwood. Lots of Halloweenish fun.

But being away was worth it. It was a seven hour haul to Indiana, the weather was bone-chillin damp and the accomodations shockingly expensive, but a goal long in the making finally came true Saturday - I got to photograph my first wedding. When we were met at the gate by a grizzled old coot in beard asking about our business, I managed to squeak "i'm the photographer." Inside it was I'M THE PHOTOGRAPHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The squeakiness wasn't just the usual insecurity. One of my flashes had decided to stop working the night before and I was missing a crucial piece of my monopod, but thanks to the patience of my sweet husband, flashes were fixed, wine was drunk, monopods readied. But my nerves were still shot, which in hindsight was really sad as these were the nicest people/distant relatives-by marriage in the world.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Just before sun down we arrived in Paoli and spent an hour at the wedding site, watching all the preparations and scouting for locations. And can I just say? Who knew southern Indiana was so freakin gorgeous? The couple chose to marry on the property of a lovely if not eccentric B&B owner (feeding Harlow under a stuffed barracuda next to a deerhead adjacent to a naked mannequin wearing a tophat will be ranking as my #1 most interesting place to nurse) Lots of folk were milling around, decorating, singing, preparing the wedding day feast. I half expected a barn-raising to commence with all the hollering and burlap and possums in abundance. Oh right, the possums. Minutes after we arrived a concerned gentleman implored us to move our car as the B&B owner would be shortly be "releasing the possums." Strangely he did not seem to be concerned about our safety or that of my car as I pictured a river of possums rushing, Pamplona-style, toward the driveway. No, it was just one measly rehabilitated possum being returned to the wild as its caretaker and several guests discussed the misunderstood merits of the beady-eyed, evil, its-a-possum-people possum. Having never met the bride and groom, I was surprised to find them in costume the day before but their enthusiasm was contagious. They excitedly pointed out their programs that showcased a charcoal sketch of the bride and groom with their basset hound. Dogs howled and cats ran underfoot. Chickens dashed about the yard, chased by little girls in rope curls and galoshes. I couldn't wait to see what the actual wedding day would bring.

We checked into the French Lick Resort, a sprawling hotel built in 1901. Back in the day, a mineral spring was uncovered in the region. It was bottled and marketed as cure-all "Pluto Water," and droves of the rich and infirm flocked to the area, necessitating the construction of an elegant hotel that now boasts a bowling alley, an ice cream parlor and a recent addition of a casino in the shape of riverboat. You know, because it wasn't classy enough.

The day of the wedding was cold, overcast and damp - forboding for a bride, awesome for a lazy photographer who doesn't want to deal with pesky shadows on people's faces. We all bundled up - I ultimately ran around in a sweatshirt underneath a ski jacket and was still chilly, and I wasn't wearing muslin and or a costume bought off ebay. Baby girl was wrapped up in every blanket we brought, but she was so taken with the trees and the cats and dogs that she didn't seem to notice. Teh day quickly flew by; drinks appeared before the ceremony started, so the guests and bride and groom mingled and joked and drank while I tried not to be too conspicuous with my paparrazzi-worthy lens. My dad let me borrow his 70-200mm zoom, an amazing lens that allows in a lot of light and features an image stabilizer to counteract camera shake. I got so comfortable with the lens - as comfy as a 10 lb. body an d lens can be - that I shot a ton of images on it, ignoring some of my wider lenses as the colors popping up in the finder were just gorgeous. The only problem was that my vision had seriously started to blur around the time the ceremony started - I had already been shooting nonstop for 4 hours at this point - that I failed to notice that the IMAGES were also blurry. Somehow I had managed to hit the one button you don't want to touch - the image stabilizer. Then there was the breakdown in communication when I chased after the bride and groom to their carriage while the wedding party made their procession! Realizing my mistake I sprinted back to the ceremony and managed to catch the flower girls just as they were finishing their walk. Bummer. Between the shaky images and the missed moments I was on the verge of having a meltdown, but Caleb handed me some homemade stew and brew and things seemed better. I managed to shoot enough enough non-shaky proofs that I think the bride and groom will be pleased. I hope.

1807

I have TONS of catchup posting to do...but in the meantime, here is a random sneakpeek of pics from my crazy, most unusual weekend!


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bowmonster


Halloween has come early for Harlow.

I give you...Bowmonster.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Good Intentions


Harlow .7 as her daddy calls her this month, up from the .6 version last month, quite simply, rocks. She's been fun, delightful, mellow baby doll, but now we have the sitting up, and the world has changed for all of us. I'm already fuzzy on the first day it happened. She'd been using the cast an anchor of sorts, and when we got to LA sans cast, Harlow decided she was tired of staring at her feet and wanted to check out the rest of us. Ok, so she promptly stuffs her feet into her mouth at any given chance, especially while she's sitting up, and this usually results in her falling backwards, bonking her head, crying, and then sitting up. Wash, rinse, repeat. But she's just insanely cute these days, batting those big drag queen eyelashes, raising her arms in a victory pose and working on a proto-wave, and the babbling! I've gotten a nah-nah, a meh-meh and -oh yeah - ME-OW. I hesitate to say it was her first word, mainly cause I'm still kinda freaked over its presentation, a very adult sounding mee-ow as I was blathering on about "what does the kittykat say?" Of course she hasn't said it again and no one believes me, and when she busts out with Mama in the next few months I'll be just fine with that going down on the official record.

We had lots of plans for our Sunday, a day that kinda felt like fall and showcased the first yellow and red leaves in the nieghborhood. But baby girl went to bed with a nasty cough and woke up with her very first cold, making for very nervous, tired, not at all hungover parents from the 10 year college reunion the night before. There was some vomiting (her) and some crying (both of us), a discussion about the ER and then, wouldn't you know? We ended up at the ER, but with a different patient. Poor Caleb set out for his long run and returned home winded, spooked and bright red. Poor thing was covered in hives and the epi-pen was nowhere to be found. So we piled in the car and raced to a hospital that would not be downtown. By the time we saw a doctor (and I am extremely happy to report that our wait time was about a 1/78th of the previous one) the hives were fading and we were sent home. So it looks like no more beef or pork products for Caleb for the time being, which, by default, means we can no longer reside in the BBQ pork capital of the US. So it was nice knowing you all. I hear the Tofurkey capital is lovely this time of year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halloween

Somehow it's already October 17 which makes me incredibly sad as my favorite month is almost half over. Why is it my favorite month? Besides being the gateway to autumn (ahem, this is your cue to stop climbing into the 80s, Memphis), it is, obviously, home to the most amazing holiday ever. Halloween, according to lore, is the one night of the year where lonely spirits can return to the earthly plane in search of a body to inhabit. Now, I'm sorry, but between families sitting down to eat turkey over a football game or venturing outside to win candy at the cost of your mortal soul? There's just no contest. October is the month of looking over your shoulder, of watching Bela Lugosi nuzzle the neck of a luststruck innocent, of haunted houses and carved pumpkins and way too many naughty nurses. It is the month of sloughing off the hardened shell of adulthood and believing - just for a minute - that there really is something waiting for you on the otherside of the door. (By the way, I am absolutely loving that it is storming outside as I write this.) So the question has come my way:

What's Harlow going to be for her first Halloween?

I'm not embarrassed to admit that one of the first things I did upon learning I was pregnant was calculate how old my sweet babe would be (7 months!) on her first Halloween. 2006 would be our trial run. With Harlow in utero, we had moved to a big, spooky house that was perfect for decorating and situated in a neighborhood that promised tons of kids in costume. I donned a big goldilocks wig and sparkly dress pulled over my new bump (I was Ms. BabyMama 2006), bought bags and bags of candy and got ready. Four hours later, the Sweazys were ruined on Halloween in Memphis. It started off ok, cute kids with polite parents and sassy kids with moms and glasses of chardonnay (I personally dig this version of trick or treating). And then came the kids with parents who BOTH demanded candy. The 19 year olds who looked in disgust at your Milk Duds. I'm sorry, but you are 19 and standing on my porch, dressed like a gang member with some dirt on your face - your costume, I presume. You are 19! You should be on a date! Not on my porch taking candy meant for children! Then there was my favorite of the night - the lady on her cell phone who shifted her Newports to her other hand so she could paw through her bag, look me in the eye and ask "Is that all?" When I said yes, she huffed and explained that it was for her 11 MONTH OLD. And who would I be to deny the tender infant his Snickers? Maybe I'm naive, but the majority of the parents were shockingly rude, not making eye contact and failing to say thanks let alone encouraging their children to interact. I mean, isn't the underlying idea of Halloween - sending your children to strangers' doors with a task to retrieve candy - supposed to foster confidence and independence? I guess in today's world, I as homeowner bear the brunt of suspicion. I'm the stranger at the door. But shouldn't that warrant me at least a thank you? When 11 o'clock came, we understood why most of our neighbors turned out their porch lights and failed to get into the spirit. We discussed carding kids at the door, putting a You May Not Be Taller Than This Sign to trick or treat. Being Those People Who Give Raisins. But truly it was all just depressing. Halloween weekend will find me in Indiana photographing a costumed wedding (the theme - 1807), and I think on the actual holiday we'll just turn off our porch light, turn on Turner Classics and snack on some discount drugstore candy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Anniversary



Two years ago today I officially became the luckiest person in the entire world.

Tonight we're gonna eat some dinner and see a movie to celebrate, but these things truly fail to capture just how staggered I still am to have snagged the most loving, generous, sexiest parent/ husband ever.

Caleb Sweazy I love you so.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

La La Land Part 2

So like any awesome dream when one minute you're getting ready to makeout with the charismatic, tall, handsome guest judge from Top Chef and the next the baby's crying to be fed and you're up and then you eagerly return to the dream but it has vanished like smoke - so are my memories of our trip. Little fragments. Of course what stands out is the food. French macaroon ice cream sandwiches at Milk. Delicious cookies and scones at City Bakery. The most amazing fries at "slow" fast food joint Oinkster. Blueberry ricotta pancakes at BLD. My favorite salad trio at the newly madeover Joan's on Third. An insane burger at the York. Huge, yummy salads al fresco at Cafe Midi, complete with a writer pitching a story to a producer - coincidentally pitching a story based on an article I had read before and not doing the bang up job my interior monologue was convincing me I would do. What also stood out? The traffic, in a oh my god its managed to get worse. Seriously. Out of control bad. So, no, mom. LA did not win. This time.

Have I mentioned how amazing Harlow was on her journey back to her homeland? She was fabulous on the plane, aside from the week-long pooping hiatus ending midflight, but Daddy got to change those diapers so what-EV, she couldn't be happier about being in the dirty, noisy city. She cooed at buses, laughed at all the luggage carts whizzing by, breathed in the smoggy city and smiled. Of course, my parental paranoia kicked in our first night end as her nose started to run and she started making strange, wheezy gasps. Ultimately there were no asthma attacks. Not that I was worried, of course.

So we did the expected, hanging out with friends, eating, partying. Well, caleb did the partying as I stayed home with the baby so he could play some shows and among other things, conduct a taco truck tour of the city. But being the sweet, generous boy he is, he stayed in so I could have my first real girls night out - in the heart of cheesy Hollywood, no less. I even got to go see a movie, but that's because he had to stay in and memorize his lines. Yeah that's right. It's a long story, and in the interest of time, superstition and being secretive because I can, Caleb walked out of lunch with some friends with a feature film audition. Only my husband. After his audition he joined me and Harlow poolside at the Roosevelt, and we toasted to a surreal, lovely last night in town. But I wasn't too sad to go. My psychic said we'd be back.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

La La Land

Tamales were eaten, the baby was kissed aplenty, drinks were ordered poolside at the Roosevelt and on the rooftop of the Peninsula, even iconic Angelyne was spotted driving down Sunset in her pink corvette. It was a lovely, leisurely simultaneously exhausting trek back to the place where we fell in love, made a baby and decided to abandon it all in the name of sensible cost of living and averaging over 14 mph on the freeway.

How I miss it so. But then, I'm kinda happy to be back. My head is confused.

It certainly seemed the universe was begging us back to LA. We scored a beautiful home 4 houses down from one of our dearest friends in the world - a free place mind you, that normally houses a 9 month old child. So there was a crib and a highchair and babyproofness galore. There was also no indication from the sparse balinese design and nary a plastic lump of baby crap that children - 2 of them - actually lived there. We were inspired and ashamed to have already become "those" parents we swore we'd never become. The only hitch - and it was a big one - was that the room we slept in was rather receptive to the elements, those being the 50 degree temperatures and the local ant population that was extremely enthusiastic about some yet undiscovered bonbon in my suitcase. For her part, Harlow decided that she would rather stay on Memphis time - the entire length of the trip. So it was up at 5:45 and down around 6:30 which made for some hectic and exhausting circumnavigating the city, trying to cram in as much as the day - and Harlow - would allow us. But I should say more about the house before I move on. It was built in the 1920s by one of Disney's original Imagineers. You know why he got the job? My guess is because he was the type of person who scored a half-acre lot in LA (yes, you read that right) and built a freakin miniature train around the property. A miniature train! Just like Silver Spoons! (When I mentioned this to our friends while we were giving them the tour of the house, Michael turned to me and said it was funny I referenced that show as his father directed pretty much every single episode. Hee. Small world. The very next day at lunch our friend the casting agent went on a rant about a certain actor from said show whom she had just read for a part. World? Just got even smaller.)

We had a couple dinner parties at the Highland Park pad, the highlight being the takeout Indian food from one of old fave haunts. I literally ate so much it hurt, but a good hurt. It set a nice precedent. Mornings were typically spent having tea on the backyard deck with our friend and neighbor Jen before jetting over to another old haunt in the city, the trip usually crafted around a particular dish and the friend who lived closest to it. I think I'm gonna model all future trips this way.

I'm gonna stop here and get in bed as Harlow has now decided she missed LA and wakes frequently to tell me.

Coming soon: Fabio, our old apartment gets a makeover, and Caleb makes out with Jennifer Aniston


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I should have ordered the burger

6:30 Dinner at Bosco's. The 22 year old waitress calls me hon. Harlow won't stop fussing. I'm really thinking I should get the salmon. The pressure is on. I surprise myself by going with the ahi tuna.

6:42 Duck spring rolls. Not as good as the ones at Do, but they still vanish off the plate in seconds.

6:58 The Tuna arrives.

7:30 I feel hot. My face feels really hot. Burning hot. My head is starting to throb. I had a glass of wine. Just one, right? Wow, my head really hurts. No, this does not stop me from suggesting we go to Sweet for dessert.

7:55 Sweet! We're at Sweet. Except I have a powerful hankering for coffee. Anything to stop this headache. I talk to a pregnant girl and tell her about Mothersville, all the while wondering if my face looks as tomato-ish as it feels. I need to sit down.

8:10 Caroline confirms that yes, I am as red as I feel. Caleb tells me I look drunk. I'm too dizzy to come up with a snappy retort. My heart is racing. I told the waitress decaf, right? Caleb looks concerned. I'm starting to have trouble breathing through my nose. I am concerned, too.

8:30 Oh my god I am red. Like painted with a red sharpie red. So is my chest. And my back. And my left foot? What the hell?

8:32 I take a benadryl

8:33 Wow. You could fry an egg on my face. Yet all I want to do is get in the tub. Ooh, stomach is making scary noises. I get on the internet. Allergy to wine? No. Let's google "flushing, red, headache"

8:45 Scombroid fish poisoning.
8:46 No, that sounds way too exotic.
8:47 The symptoms match mine exactly.
8:50 I call Bosco's. The manager keeps insisting everything was prepared in olive oil. But it's the good fat, right?
8:51 Ladies and gentlemen, I give you scombroid fish poisoning.
8:52 Oh wow. Scombroid. This sounds so fancy. I read further. It's from tuna that's been left out too long and then cooked but all the creepy crawlies have left their mark. Oh god I want to puke. Oh wait, I see it's coming up on the list.
9:00 Still red.
9:15 Hey, now we're in the pink family!
9:20 Ooh boy. Head and stomach haven't gotten the benadryl memo...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Six months old...almost


Dear Harlow,

The word on the street is that your cast is coming off on Friday which makes us both excited and kind of nervous. The cast has kind of turned into a defacto womb; as long as your leg is inside it, my mommy logic tell me you can't get hurt any worse than you did. I also wonder if three weeks with a dumbbell strapped to your leg has given you super bionic baby strength, that you'll mean to roll yourself over and wind up braining yourself with your bionic foot. Cause that would kinda be funny. I have to say that I'm ready for the cast to be gone. If one more person turns to me with big eyes and says "That's the smallest widdle cast I've ever seen," I will take said widdle cast off your leg and beat them with it.

I've been a bit crabby. I think you've noticed.


I'll admit I was also worried that along with your femur, I managed to break your spirit. You've been kinda crabby, too, and yes there is the matter of your broken bone and that rash and the congestion and the bug bites and the general staring at the ceiling while your leg healed, but hey, why did you have to seem so sad? Were you worried, like me, that the injury was gonna slow you down? Yeah, turns out we were silly monkeys.

You are super baby! You are laughing and shrieking and singing just to see how far you can throw that voice of yours. After deciding that yes, cast tastes good, you are rolling around with that sucker willy nilly, stomping on my feet with it (payback, I suppose) and even using it as an anchor so you can sit up. How about that? You are sitting up. Kind of.

I won't go into the poop. I'll save the poop post for another day as soakng your loaded pjs in the toilet have made me a bit weary of the topic, but I will say that never in my life did I think I would talk so much about another human being's poop as I do yours.

Sweet potato poo.

Ew.

Anyway. On Saturday you turn six months old. You will be in Los Angeles, the city where you were made, so in a way it'll be a homecoming for all of us. There will be hikes and Indian food and multitudes of aunts and sweaters in the evenings and farmers markets and Silverlake and Malibu and pinkberry and just a little bit of that magic that lured your mom and dad into its glam little web. We hope you like it, too.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rest




Grandpa John and Gramma Patti visited this weekend, allowing Harlow some face time with folks who could spoon feed her grownup yumminess (to date: bananas and sweet potatoes!) and shower her with affection. Babydoll was literally screechy with happiness. So was mama when she got an hour and a half to hop in the car sans baby and run some errands. Finally allowed some grownup time, the first thing I do is revert back to my teenage self and head straight to the mall. For some reason the burbs (and not downtown) are snagging all the good retail - like Sephora - so I drove out to Wolfchase, still puzzled that Cordova is not the sleepy, countrified little burg I encountered as a teenager but a nightmarish sprawl of chain restaurants and jorts. But I got some new makeup and briefly considered jumping into the mosh pit forming in front of the Chick Fil-A before speeding back home. Caleb folks also pledged to babysit, so we had a rare night out. Of course, neither one of us could tell the other we were dog tired and would rather curl up with a book or a blog, so we rallied at 9:45 and saw the 9:55 showing of Eastern Promises, a film that reinforces why it's never a bad idea to read reviews and stay current with film before heading out to see one. (For the record, I liked it. I just could have done without the throat slashing, teen sex slave hemorraging, typical Cronenbergisms of the Cronenberg film we elected to see. Maybe Superbad wouldn't have been so superbad.)

As for Miss Harlow, after two weeks of supine living, the little lady is back in true form. Cast? Not slowing this one down. Two days ago I noticed that she was starting to move her bad leg around, and by move around I mean swing up in the air and send it crashing back down. While this caused much teeth gnashing for her parents, she didn't blink. She has rolled over on it, folded in half on it, grabbed the end of it, and by the end of this evening, she was stuffing her cast-ed foot in her mouth. I think it's safe to say she's feeling better. So am I.

Friday, September 21, 2007

We don't need no stinkin casts


To be filed under the seemed like a good idea at the time folder...

So here's a plug for breastfeeding. Sometimes breastfed babies go a week without pooing. When said child is in a cast up to their hip, this is a very good thing. We made it about a week before the long overdue poo decided to show up, and despite the most careful of changes, a little of the poo made it on the cast. As it's been yet another week and no poo, I'm thinking it stuck around for sentimental reasons. But anyhow, Harlow now had a not so daisy-fresh cast. What is a mom with some time and craft supplies to do?

Flames. It was gonna be brilliant. Yellow-tipped red marker flames running down the back of the cast like she was a retro hot rod. I got my red sharpie and went to work.

I immediately realized I had made a huge mistake.

I waved away concern and kept coloring, trying to ignore the voice in my head that kept saying, insistently, that pure wishing I could draw did not make it so and no, these did not look like flames. Fears were confirmed when a customer I was ringing up started staring at Harlow's leg and with a pointed finger asked me if I knew blood was pouring out of the back of her cast.

Thank goodness for Martha Stewart craft tape.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Get Well Soon



One of the nice things about getting hurt is that it's one of the few motivating forces we have left to inspire people to send mail. A big ole sack full arrived on Monday for the recovering champ. She found the cowboy stickers for her cast to be particularly tasty.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Food! Glorious Food!


It's like that old cliche with God and the shit that happens to you. According to lore and bumper stickers, he has a formula worked out for each and every one of us on just how much we can take before we're ready to gas up the car, put on some diapers and hit the road to beat the crap out of a love rival.


For anyone reading who has more than one child or is struggling with illness or grief or Britney's ill-fated comeback, the following might seem laughable. If so, then I'm thrilled to have cheered you up!

I didn't know about the whole breastfed baby taking a bottle time-window imperative. In fact, I'd pump and Harlow would take a bottle at two months just fine. So I didn't know I would need to keep this up, that one day she'd just decide that nope, not having it, no bottle only boob for me. But this was a speedbump. We regrouped. I jumped on the internet, I bought bottles. I bought slow flow nipples because breastfed babies supposedly like to work harder for the milk. I bought fast flow because they like them to mirror the letdown. I bought em long, I bought em skinny with drop ins. I bought a bottle that looked just like a boob if mine were blue and smelled faintly of China. And the thing they all had in common? None of them worked. She'd latch on, start to work away. Not breathing, I'd give Caleb a hopeful smile from my hidden perch around the corner and then psych! Boob, please.

And the naps? From 3 hours to 20 minutes? What can anybody get done in 20 minutes that's appropriate to talk about on a baby-themed blog? And in addition to her not wanting the bottle, she wanted even more of me. I tried to feel flattered. For weeks her feeding times have narrowed and narrowed to where I felt like I was suddenly nursing a newborn again. Except this newborn didn't want anyone holding her but me. No Nana, no Aunt Lindsey, even Dad was becoming suspect. Again I hopped on the internet. Nothing on five months old and separation anxiety. My time away evaporated. With zero schedule in place, we couldn't be sure when hunger would strike and holy hell would break loose because the magical boob was off trying to get some cardio or take a bath. So we formulated a plan. We were gonna hire some babysitters, maybe some students from Rhodes needing some extra cash. Girls with a high tolerance for fussiness, unlike Harlow's parents. I was gonna pump everyday. Harlow was going to try a bottle everyday. New people were gonna be around and help feed her and I was gonna get a little more time back.

And then I went and broke her leg.

The karma gods must have been listening. Now she needed me that much more. On top of the guilt and sadness of the pain I'd caused her, there was now a terrible but undeniable component. I felt smothered. Work was insanely busy, and running back and forth between the store and the house to nurse only ratched up the tension. Sunday, instead of being able to relax, I was just done. Poor sweet baby was itchy with a rash, congested, and did I mention the broken leg? And she just wanted her mama. Mama just wanted to hop in the car and drive far, far away.

Instead, she made a phone call. The answer she got? Rice cereal.

Harlow had her first gloppy, bland but real slurp of people food last night, and if you call literally trying to grab the bowl from my hands so she could eat more a success, then we have a successful eater on our hands. I think it turns out she's been kinda hungry all this time. To look at her, you wouldn't guess. But with my doctor's blessings along with the boob's, she had some cereal for lunch and dinner, and lo and behold, she hasn't needed to nurse round the clock. She had her first hour long nap today in weeks. We put her down at 8:30, and with only the most minor of protests, she's been asleep for 3 1/2 hours straight.

SHE. EVEN. TOOK. A. BOTTLE.

I love rice cereal. I want to elect it president, and marry it and have its self-feeding, gloopy babies.


But it makes me feel bad that I didn't figure out how hungry she was sooner. Worse, it also makes me sad that this signals the beginning of her no longer needing to be so dependent on me, and that irony is a mean, stupid bitch.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

So how was your Monday?

Monday, as Mondays are wont to do, started off badly. Harlow's eczema was getting worse, and finally admitting to myself that my daughter had inherited my dreaded, lifelong affliction, we headed out for an 8:30 AM appt. at her new pediatrician's office. Except, I got turned around and phoned ahead that we'd be running a few minutes late. I was parking my car when I got a phone call from the doctor's office. They'd cancelled my appointment because I wouldn't have time to fill out the paperwork. I walked inside 60 seconds later and filled out the paperwork, which took me all of 2 minutes, beating the other 2 patients who had 8:30 appts. No dice. I was rescheduled for 11:30, so I shuttled us back home and tried to make the most of my time. When we finally went back, I was pissed to learn they had scheduled me with a different doctor than the one I had specifically requested. I was disappointed that my replacement just didn't seem very helpful. With a little black cloud hanging over me, I went back home. I can't even remember why my mom was over. She just saw me, read my energy level, and immediately asked what she could do. She went to work on the kitchen. I had Harlow in my arms and was headed upstairs when my mom asked me a question. Deciding not to be rude and conduct a conversation behind the kitchen wall, I turned to head back down the stairs when suddenly there was no stair under my feet. I fell, and my daughter flew out of my arms.

I replay that moment over and over. In the days immediately following her birth, I literally had panic attacks while wondering what hard surface in the house was going to be the babykiller. The concrete kitchen floor terrified me. The entry was suspect. But in my gut, I knew that when the moment happened, when I tripped or fell, I was not going to drop her.

And there was my baby face down on the carpet. (Thank you, carpet.)

My mom came running as did the cats and the dog, and for what seemed like the longest frozen second, we all just stared at her inert body on the floor. Then suddenly I was flinging animals off the landing while my mom scooped Harlow up and held her up for inspection. She looked stunned, then worked her mouth in this peculiar way, and my first thought, bizarrely, was that her teeth had been knocked in, and then I realized she didn't have teeth and then suddenly she was wailing, and my body flooded with relief because she was crying. She wasn't dead. At that moment I was so grateful to still be nursing her, and she latched on desperately, calming a little but probably not helped by the trembling body against her. My mom called the pediatrician who advised that after 30 minutes if she was still crying uncontrollably, we should take her to the ER. I took Harlow over to the big green chair where we curled up and waited. She was still teary, but soon she stopped and smiled and cooed and everything seemed to be fine. And then I would move her and she would start wailing again. Something was definitely wrong, but for some reason I was more scared of going to the ER then waiting around for her to magically get better. I made the dreaded phone call to Caleb and we left for Le Bonheur.

When I was eight years old, I went to Le Bonheur for a herniectomy. My memories of the hospital were of cheery, bright staff, cherry flavored anesthesia ( I got to pick) and a magical room that was stocked floor to ceiling with toys, one of which I got to take home. When I carried my daughter into the waiting room at 2:45 PM, the first thing I saw was people. Everywhere. Crammed into the waiting area, splling into the entry way and to the parking lot beyond. My stomach dropped to my feet. We waited to sign in. For the line asking for "ailment," all I could think of was "dropped." The dramatics paid off as the triage nurse quickly asked to see Harlow. That was the only quick that would happen that day. Four hours later, I'd had time to check out my fellow parents in misery. I was starting to understand why hospitals were overcrowded. None of the kids waiting for care seemed to be in a state of emergency. Their parents, who most likely didn't have insurance, did not have anywhere else to take their kids. I was torn between feeling incredibly sad for these people and extremely pissed that my potentially broken child was having to take a backseat to a cough. Finally a nurse came out to address the crowd, explaining that all the beds were full and for the time being, they could not admit anymore patients until others were discharged. The saddest thing? No one reacted. It was a room full of people used to being disappointed. Unexpectedly, just a few minutes later, Harlow was taken back, and then the night just got harder. The 2 hours that followed are too raw for me to write about in detail. Suffice it to say, there were many attendants, many needles poked repeatedly into my daughter's skin and lots of jostling and prodding that caused her to make sounds I never want to hear again.

I think six or seven hours had passed before Harlow was wheeled down to radiology, her body dwarfed by the giant hospital bed. At this point, we had started to feel pretty confident that her head was ok but something was definitely not right with her leg, evidenced by her not using it at all. They took the x-rays and we were sent back to our room where we smiled and kissed our baby girl who, miraculously, was smiling and laughing after hours of no sleep, needles, and that whole being dropped thing. The doctor strode confidently into the room and announced that Harlow was fine. He had looked at all the x-rays, and he did not see anything that bothered him. Caleb and I looked at each other.

"What about the leg?" one of us asked.

"What about the leg?" he replied. Caleb and I looked at each other again.

"The leg. The leg that is hurt. The leg that everyone who has come into this room and looked at her and said yep, something is going on with that leg, leg." I felt my face go hot with anger. "Didn't you order an x-ray for her leg?"

"Um, of course I...did," he said as he backed out of the room. Caleb and I looked at each other in shock. Finally he jumped up and marched out of the room. He came back in seconds later, ready to punch a hole through the wall.

" I just heard him say get exam room 7 ready for radiology immediately."

So it turns out that the doctor had not ordered the xray for the leg and that "immediately" at Le Bonheur translates to about 2 hours. An extremely pissed off nurse (pissed at the doc, not us) explained that there was a literal sea of stretchers waiting for xrays. So we waited.

We finally got sent back down to radiology for more xrays and then Pissed-Off Nurse came to see us in our exam room.

"It's broken." She said something about a hairline fracture and seeing it under a magnifying glass it was so small, but all I could hear was broken. I broke my baby. The only thing that gave me comfort was that she had beat the doc to the announcement. When he finally showed up to explain the injury, we gave him a "yeah, heard it." He was clearly bummed that he'd been robbed of his moment. He explained that she had sustained a buckle break that would take 3-4 weeks to heal and that she would need a cast for the duration. And then lo and behold, he apologized. He said he was sorry for not ordering the xray when he should have, and Caleb and I both took some comfort in that accountability could be found even here. I was still extremely pleased he was denied his moment.

The ortho resident worked up the cutest cast you'll ever see, and we finally got to take our baby home. She's on the mend, and Caleb and I are working our way toward it. She is extremely bored, and she constantly voices her displeasure at being trapped on her back or shuttled back and forth from swing to stroller. But if not for the cast, you'd never know anything was wrong. All I care about it?

She's home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bad Mother

I shit you not - I had been working on a blog post called Bad Mother. It was all about how Harlow's face looked like it lost a fight with our cat because her nails looked like the prop double for Edward Scissorhands. And then there was the decision to take her temperature. In her ear. With the wrong thermometer. How did I know? When it suddenly slid deeper into her ear canal and Harlow started screaming bloody murder. Sunday was all about careless mistakes, crying, self-flogging, and a big thank you to the universe for her intact ear drum.

And then came Monday.

It's late. I'm beat, and right now, I don't have the reserves in me to write about truly the worst day of my life. But several of you have asked about the cast. Yes, it's the cutest, guilt-inducing accessory you've ever seen. It's already responsible for the pony in the garage. So for now, the cast. For me, painkillers.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Rock N Romp

So much ground to cover, but too much Photoshop to play with...

Here are some groovy pics from another hot as balls but super fun Rock N Romp.







Monday, September 03, 2007

It's Labor Day


I can say without hestation that it's been a lovely, low key holiday weekend. I think it may be my fave Labor Day weekend ever. Well, there was the sailboat trip to Catalina and but then the seasickness and the seven hour return trip, and the news of Princess Di's death. Okay, this weekend, you win. Cocktails on Friday, and we actually stayed past Harlow's bedtime. Whoopee! A fun, productive day at the store on Saturday. Dinner involved prosciutto, figs, goat cheese and the world's most perfect food - naan. I finished a book and was asleep by 10:30. Yes, that qualifies as a lovely Saturday night. Sunday, oh the Sunday! Brunch at the Beauty Shop with my buttermilk biscuits of bliss. A brief blip in the food buzz as Harlow's nefarious, invisible toof decided to poke around. Orajel was applied, happiness reigned! Caleb played an excellent show at the Heritage Festival downtown. There was a great turnout; we were just so excited to see people out and about on Main Street.

We popped into Circa, the new wine bar for apps. As it was one of the new fancy, sleek establishments downtown, I was a little concerned by the appearance of our particularly windtossed, sunsoaked, corndog-stank selves. And that we were pushing a stroller the size equivalent of a Hummer. But the staff could not have been friendlier. The hostess even offered to take us around back so we could wheel her in without any interference, but we opted to sit by the empty bar. Our waitress asked us if we were planning to see the Lion King at the Orpheum and when we said no, she handed us only five or so menus - if we had said yes, we would have scored the Lion King menus that they had prepared specifically for families out getting some culture. So don't be fooled by the sexy decor - they are family friendly. As I didn't see the menu, I'm not sure how family friendly the prices are. But what I did like was the Sundays in September menu - a really yummy sounding made-for-date-night tasting menu with several wines and dessert at $45 pp. We split some crepes and a salad, and I even nursed the bebe with nary a weird glance. We drove around downtown, totally surrendering to our fantasy of finding a lot where we could build a sleek, modernist Greenhouse with a rooftop garden and indoor rope swings, and then there was the requisite visit to my fantasy building in the Pinch district where I would have a first floor card shop and live on the second and third floor...and play with the indoor rope swing and rooftop garden. We even stopped by Harbor Town which is looking suspiciously more and more like the panhandle of Florida, and we scored some insanely delicious cookies from Miss Cordelia's. I couldn't help but be excited by the fact there were people other than white folk strolling around, riding bikes with their kids.

And then we come to today. Today gets my vote for one of my favorite days ever. Why? I got a 2 hour massage. I have been in the stupidest, most ridiculous pain over the past month, and I got to lie flat and have someone politely but firmly ask the golf balls that have been hiding under my shoulder blades and neck muscles to get lost. If you are a Mothersville mama, you will be happy to know that Miss Tammy Jo lives right around the corner from the store or can come to you.

And when I got home? I got a pretty exciting phone call. I found out that I am the runner up for a work in progress grant for my novel, so I'm getting a check in the mail and most importantly, some much needed encouragement to keep writing, keep writing, keep writing.

Did I mention that as I'm typing this, my cat is walking back and forth along my back? Thank you, Shiatsu Kitty. Thank you.

Labor Day

Theories floated for the reason we celebrate Labor Day, before the googlage:

excuse to play nothing but 80's music for 3 days in a row
excuse to drink beer and make fire for the meat
a reverent reflection of the physical and mental energy expended by the women of the world who, you know, LABOR to bring forth children from their own bodies

Turns out its a holiday to celebrate those who work, by not working. And drinking beer and listening to eighties music. Nary a mention of that whole expelling a human being from one's lady bits.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Baby's in Print


Breaking news!

The babydaddy's getting famous on me. Caleb "Calvin Celeb Enter Your Fave Spelling Here" Sweazy is featured in Friday's Playbook section of the Commercial Appeal!


If you are around this holiday weekend, be sure to check him out this Sunday at the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival downtown. He plays at 3:15 and might very well possibly rock your socks off. Well, the metaphorical ones, because it's still too damn hot for socks.

Show info at calebsweazy.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Seriously? Where did my time go?


With all the manic window display sketches and flickr boutique studying and power point presentations (no joke) in preparation for Mothersville's spa day, my poor little blog has been getting the shaft. So, to recap:

I still have a baby. She has lots of rolls. She fell off of the couch on Friday and lucky for me and my marriage landed on the boppy pillow and not the hard, noggin-busting tiles. I am really, really glad for those rolls.

Harlow is just a few days shy of five months. She doesn't know that she has a few months to go before its time to start crawling, walking, or standing, but I'm not going to be the one to tell her. She puts the roly in roly-poly. She's interested in checking out the world while upside down and especially NOT while in the car seat. The pumping has gotten easier. The bottle feeding? Not so much. Warm, soft, nuzzly mom or plastic? I don't see the problem here.



She really digs her exersaucer, spending the majority of her time gumming the poor Albi the dragon to death. But he's racist, so I figure he deserves it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bring All Your Dreams Alive

So I have another baby.

It’s been keeping me up at night. It’s making it hard to update this blog regularly, let alone fold some laundry or remember to feed the pets. But it’s worth it.

I’m a bidness lady!

I’m so thrilled to announce that in the glorious tradition of English major mamas with negligible retail experience, I’m the newest co-owner of Mothersville, a natural parenting store in Cooper-Young. I’ve recalled here how much the store came to mean to me in the foggy early days of postpartumpalooza. The Wednesday playgroup welcomed me and my snoozy baby with open arms. Then there was the owner Andria, nine months pregnant and still showing up to work every morning. Picture the wit of Hugh Laurie without the acid, the ratatat comebacks of a Nora Charles, the cool blonde of a Hitchcock heroine - AND a completely nonjudgemental attitude when it comes to Parenting 101, and you'll understand why she maintains such a loyal following. There was her plea to the universe for help, and the stunning realization that one of the coolest, most unique stores in Memphis - I'll be honest - one of the few reasons I was happy to have moved to Memphis, period - was going to be taken away from us. So, with a lot of thought but with a much stronger gut reaction, I decided to jump into the fray. I know it couldn't have been the easiest decision for her to take on a partnership with someone she is just getting to know, let alone someone with the spastic energy equivalent of a Scrappy Doo. (I do eventually simmer down. I promise!) But as I remind her every five minutes, I'm truly excited to help usher Mothersville into its next incarnation.

Which will be a Xanadu rollerskating themed boutique! Breastfeeding on skates. Disco balls and boobs. Hell, Michael Beck is from Memphis. We can totally do an in-store appearance.

It's gonna be magic.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Some serious catching up to do

Monday marked the anniversary of my gorgeous niece Avery's arrival on the planet, but because Monday parties are lovely in theory but trickier to arrange around work days, the Subers, Andersons and Sweazys converged in the Lakeland on Saturday for some cake eating (her first ever), present opening (she's already a seasoned vet) and allergic reactions (Caleb's). He managed to finagle his second allergic reaction in 2 months - there were hives, women clucking and a hectic doctor visit, and then the man went and managed to play a show later that evening without even incorporating his extreme discomfort into his stage patter.

Avery took the liberty of using the party to announce her first word. I promise to get the video footage uploaded so you can witness the moment yourself. In the meantime, here's a hint. George Carlin would approve. And as my sister swears on the tape that that word is not used in their house, apparently he taught it to her as well.

Grandma Sue stayed the weekend with us, so there were dates to be had! But in order for their to be dates, I had to pump which, unfortunately, has become a problem over the past several weeks. Three visits to Mothersville and various shields and membranes and tubing later, I got it working. I don't know what did it, but there was milk for the baby and Matt Damon for me. And we had dinner! Sans baby! We cruised over to Spindini and had some excellent wine, some not so excellent toasted ravioli and some pretty decent pollo parmigiana. I was just psyched to see the place packed on a Sunday night.

Which brings us to last Monday - and another giant milestone that slipped by quietly and unnoticed.

It's been a year since we moved here.

One whole year of misgivings and extreme doubt and la craigslist surfing and sad emails and wouldn't you know it? I was too busy with projects and baby wrangling and new friends to even notice.

And before I dive into what has gotten me so preoccupied as of late, some baby recaps:

Harlow took a spin in her first exersaucer. It creeped me out to no end to be purchasing something with the words Baby Einstein on the box, yet, at the end of the day after she played in it happily for 45 minutes, I was considering redoing the entire house so that it is one giant Baby Einstein obstacle course.

No toof, no proof - YET - I swear that child is teething. It's the gumming everything within 2 feet, the buckets of drool, the waking up 3 times a night and the tiniest shadow of a bump that's got me thinking.

4:13 AM

Dear Baby,

Please stop waking up.

I know you are capable of sleeping through the night.

You've done it before.

Seems like weeks ago.

When you woke up at 1? And it's now 4:13? And I've watched every minute tick by in between?

That felt like weeks ago too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hopeless



Yep. Still a crappy baker.




At least I have an adorable sous chef.

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