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.


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


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.


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.