Monday, July 30, 2007


It's days like these that I can begin to understand why a girl may grow up to write treacly pop songs, shave her head and forget to wear underwear for a week.

We're trying hard not to be such freaks over the well being and safety of our child. But you take a pontoon boat, 45 degree water, high altitude sun and near non-stop images of my child sinking like an adorable stone to the bottom of Lake Dillon and we let that parental freak flag fly. To Harlow's dismay, we took full advantage of the life jackets on board, cramming her into a heavy knit sweater and then stuffing her into an inflatable jacket so confining it made her arms stick straight out at the sides, so she kinda resembled a rainbow colored 747 ready for takeoff. She couldn't bend at the waist, reach her hands to chew on them - much less do anything but blink or scream - so scream she chose. I can't say I blame her. I spent most of the trip functioning as her shade, holding up a large windbreaker to block any and all sunlight in the vicinity. And then there was my 11 month old niece, doing baby gymnastics in her father's lap just to taunt us. It wasn't until the Cristal and Wheat Thins got passed around that we started to relax. Because you can't be that classy and stressed at the same time.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I'm happy! I swear! Here are some things that make me happy!

1. Tonight's pre-pre-birthday dinner at the anti-foodie Mecca, Benihana

2. Saturday's pre-birthday dinner at Automatic Slims.

3. Colorado and Harry Potter for my birthday.

And happy pics!


This was our first baby:

Murphy was found in Highland Park, a rougher burb of LA (you've got street cred, Jen!) and a fitting home for the 4 mo. old scrappy, sweet boy who was scooped up wearing a collar so tight it was about to choke him. The couple who found him fell in love but couldn't keep him, and after random emails made their way across the internet to me, Caleb and I picked up our feisty, pukey-in-the-car bundle of love and brought him home to stay.

And there was much love, and fighting with cats, and working with trainers, and chasing squirrels, and charming passersby, and nearly getting a doggy agent and the moving to Memphis and trying to kill the UPS guy and lunging at people on walks while I was pregnant but promises that no matter what, we were a family and he was loved and the growing denial that something was wrong but nothing was going to change. And then Harlow happened.

We had been warned that your pets become just that after the birth of your child, just pets, not the sweet baby that you rolled around with and took 1000s of pictures of in stupid hats and bored people at dinner parties with stories about how CUTE he was at the dog park (except you can get away with those stories in LA because no one has kids - they have dogs, too). But what I was not prepared for was how fast the change happened. How Murphy went from beloved pet to walking allergen, to a nightmare of sharp claws and shedding fur and behavior problems. The problems had started before we had moved - the rising aggression, the lack of respect on his part, the rising neglect on ours, but then there was the baby, and suddenly, here was this dog who tried to kill whoever rang the doorbell and wouldn't stay or behave on a leash who was constantly ignored. A BORDER COLLIE who had nothing better to do than herd the cats because he wasn't being taken on long hikes and exericed properly.

So it really should not have come as a surprise when he tried to bite the kid at doggy day care. The kid was fine, no skin was broken, but my heart was. Murphy is a good dog. We were warned by more than one trainer that due to his intelligence and stubborn streak that he was not the easiest dog for first time dog owners. But we didn't care. He made us really happy. We were a great fit as we were avid hikers and dog park aficianados and had access to kickass doggie day care. And now we have none of that, and it makes us sad because he is sad. He still gets morning and evening walks, but it's not the same. We are trying harder, looking into agility classes and working on commands and just simple time spent. But the bottom line is that we do not have the time we used to, and Murphy is suffering because of it.

Screw Polka Dots

You know what?

Stacey was right.

Screw the polka dots.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


An interesting funfact I've picked up from those evil, evil parenting books is that when babies cluster feed, i.e. demand dinner on average every 1-2 hours for, ooh, what, the past week or so? It's in preparation for a growth spurt - which could be physical (and I'm sorry sweet babe but really? You? Needing a growth spurt?) or a mental one, as if they are preparing for a developmental milestone. With Harlow crazy for hunger this past week and to my eye not appearing to need much in the way of poundage, I got all excited wondering what she was going to be pulling out of her tiny bag of baby tricks. Rolling over? Pulling up? Teething? The teething thing has been on our minds lately with the sudden manifestation of howling banshee shrieks when she's hungry, but today when I was feeding her next to a Missouri soybean field - more on that later - I swear I saw the tiniest white fleck on her gums. There's no mistaking that there actually IS something tiny and white on her gums, but if it is a tooth remains to be seen.

Milestone recaps of the week:

1. She cannot be contained. She's been sitting in the bumbo, building that core and neck strength, and now she can (briefly) pull her self up by her neck when she's in her stroller.

2. She giggles. Usually it's at the ghosts that hang out in the ceiling, but today, she looked right at me and giggled. Twice. And I didn't even do anything funny. Being the eternal straight man in my romantical pairing, I rather enjoyed being the funny one for once.

3.She met her uncle, cousins and cousins' cousins.

Caleb's family reunion was this past weekend, so we had our first roadtrip up to Southern Illinois, and Harlow could not have been more fabulous, sleeping and hanging out in her seat like a seasoned veteran. Aunt Lara had told us how excited the boys were to meet their cousin, but privately I had my doubts. How excited could a 5 and 7 year old be about a baby? Apparently massively. They could not get enough of her. They hated it when she was asleep because it was less time they got to spend with her. They fought over who could hold her, competed over making her smile, brawled over who could carry her carseat. And the first thing Thomas said when he laid eyes on Harlow?

"Wow. She has a lot of muscles."

The ride home was a little trickier, not because of Harlow but because I was feeling charitable and offered to drive part of the way home so Caleb could hang out in the back with the bebe. We munched on m&m's, laughed, talked politics, and listened to the sweet song Caleb improv-ed on his guitar to his daughter, when he realized we - or I - was lost. We had driven about 30 minutes in the wrong direction because like the cliched girl driver I have become, I just assumed Caleb would tell me where to turn. So that kinda messed up our feeding schedule, which brings us to lunch next to a soybean field off the interstate somewhere in Missouri. Which leads me to my top 10 favorite places I've breastfed so far:

10. The aforementioned soybean field.
9. BBQ Fest
8. Inside a private plane
7. The backseat of a moving car doing donuts around a gas station.
6. The beach
5. India Palace
4. The Lodge in Giant City, underneath the giant elk head
3. in what used to be my old bedroom at my parents' house
2. Mothersville

And my #1 Favorite place I've breastfed?

1. A restaurant called Booby's.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Rockstar Babies

When my husband is not playing the part of sweet, studly baby-raiser, mower of grass and putter of things on high shelves, he can often be found with a guitar in hand or with pen to random scraps of paper, breaking off little pieces of song that put my writerly notions to shame. It's been a tough year with a new town, a new job, a new baby, and a new CD that needed some love and care whenever he found the thirty minutes of free time to devote to it. And last Saturday night all that sweat and angst paid off as he released his badass CD into the world at Otherlands in front of devoted fans.

It's a shame Harlow wasn't really in the mood to celebrate.

The little lady has been seriously cranky as of late. I know we are the last parents who deserve any pity as she has been -and still is - a sweet, mellow baby doll. But the cranky has come from nowhere we can determine. Teething? Is it something to do with that rash on her leg? Memphis?

The likely culprit from those polled?

It's her personality emerging.

But what if we liked her personality before?

I finally found a window of time to get my hair done last week, and after about two hours of blissful head rubbing and trashy magazine reading, I got a frantic phone call from Caleb. He was in the attic, the one place he thought he might not be able to hear our baby screaming while her Nana tried to coax her to take a bottle of mom juice. 7 minutes later, I sprinted through the front door and swept up my red-faced, tear streaked exhausted little screamer and peace reigned throughout the kingdom. For a bit. The screaming seems to be centered around feeding - the timing, the amount, the force of the letdown - all of which are mysteries wrapped inside the enigmas that are my boobs. I think it's time we go back to Breastfeeding 101 at Mothersville.

I also think it's time to clean off the dried poop on my leg.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Why is Harlow crying?

Is it because she is preparing for her first ever swim lesson?

Is it because she has already fallen in love with the sugar white sand, the sound of the ocean, her Nana and Pop's undivided attention and will be leaving soon?

Is it because her mother looks like she should be working the pit crew for Formula Un?

Florida was warm, caloric, grandparentastic and over way too fast. Like the rockstar baby she is, Harlow smiled, ate and napped on the plane and turned on the super wattage for Nana and Pop who were beginning to wonder if their grandchild was perhaps a reincarnated narcoleptic. Caleb and I managed to steal a few blissful soaks in the ocean - as blissful as keeping one eye open for bull sharks can be - and had a lovely dinner out with Lauren and Tommy. Sans baby. For the first time ever. We got a nice soaking our last afternoon there, and the ocean got really still and tangled up with algae. It kinda looked like the earth underwater.

Back at home, Harlow has decided that things would run much more efficiently if she told us what she wanted, so she has been using those brand new vocal chords to coo, la, gah, screech and what we can only guess is a pretty good Stephen Hawking impression. She turned 3 months old a week ago, the date that the fourth trimester ends and things start to "get easier." As much as I like to deny that I am a superstitious person, the very fact that every baby book I've read has insisted things get better after week 12 meant our super sweet, easy , mellow baby was getting ready to reveal her true nature. Which, apparently, is still very sweet and mellow but with a couple of Glenn Close-worthy I WILL NOT BE IGNORED freakouts when dinner was not ready fast enough. That was new and the staff quickly took note.

Ooh - last night? 9:30 PM to 5:30 AM. And right back to sleep until 7:30. Hell. Yes.