Thursday, May 31, 2007

Last night was hell!

Teething sucks.

MJ has the lung power of an opera star should she choose to be one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mama Day

It has been a long time since I've read a book purely for pleasure, even longer since it was a work of fiction. That's what working on a PhD and teaching European history courses can do to you. However, a month or so ago I promised myself that I would take some time to indulge my love of books and read something just for myself, with no view to writing a paper or teaching a class. The book I chose was one that was recommended to me by a woman on a mothering discussion board. It's called Mama Day. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and plan to build up a new TBR list (To Be Read, for those who aren't obsessive readers, don't already have such lists and have never used that particular acronym) of modern authors recommended to me by other people or those which simply catch my eye.

Mama Day was written by Gloria Naylor, an African American woman from New York writing about life on a small fictional island, Willow Springs, straddling the border between South Carolina and Georgia. The people of Willow Springs, and specifically the Day family, trace their ancestry back to a woman, whose name no one wants to mention, and the actions she took allowing her to obtain freedom from the slave owning master of the land. The book is a complex but comfortable tapestry of voices fleshing out two of the main characters and one voice that seems to embody the island, its history and the presence of Mama Day herself. The island and its people thrive on customs that are both confusing and alienating to people from “across the bridge.” The people of Willow Springs reject the idea of mainland living and adhere to their own traditions which are largely oral and dependent upon folklore.

On its most superficial level Mama Day is the tale of two people coming to terms with themselves and their personal histories in order to strengthen and support their relationship. However, were this the driving narrative of the story it would fall flat and hardly merit mention. What fuels this story is the tension between the mythical and the concrete, the traditional and the cosmopolitan, the heart and the mind.

Miranda Day, or Mama Day, the eponymous powerful lead character of the story is a woman who straddles two centuries, having been born in the previous one while thriving in the present. Although she is more than 80 years old she is easily the most powerful woman on the island mentally, spiritually and physically. She is a practiced midwife and personally delivered nearly each of the island's inhabitants. Although her midwifery is a large part of Mama Day's personality she is also known to have great strength and ability with “roots” and demonstrates her powers through her flashes of future events and the ability to call the weather at her will. This matriarchal figure is the last glue binding her family together and forcing her grand-niece, Cocoa, a woman who deserted her home and familiar way of life to live in New York, to come to terms with her heritage and open her past to her new husband, whatever the consequences.

I fear that a large portion of the deeper shades of meaning of this story have been lost on me because of my lack of familiarity with African American folklore and oral histories. Naylor draws heavily upon what could probably be called a cultural memory. That culture, fictionalized in Willow Springs, is what beats at the heart of Mama Day. Even with my lack of knowledge and understanding of the material underlining her work, I found Naylor's writing, largely imitating oral narration, colorful and the storyline compelling.

Has anyone else read this book? I'd love to hear other opinions, perhaps opinions of people who have a greater knowledge of folklore than I.

next up: Tracy Chevalier's The Virgin Blue. And please remember, I'm looking for suggestions.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

sleep crawling

A little over a month and a half ago I put up a post about MJ's habit of trying to roll over in her sleep. At the time I thought it was odd. Now, not so much.

We had a rough night last night. I knew it would be since she had been working so hard on trying to crawl all day and right before bed I noticed that her gums were swollen. Looks like this is going to be a double whammy week. Joy of joys.

About once every hour MJ would wake herself (and therefore me) up because she had managed to face plant into her mattress. Each time I went in there her butt was up in the air and she looked like she was digging to China. Maybe she was trying to get to her aunt and uncle in Hong Kong. What do I know?

What I do know is that this is only the beginning. She is now sleep crawling which, if she follows the pattern she did when she was sleep rolling, means that she will be a very mobile little girl inside of a week. I'd better get my ass in gear and start doing some serious baby proofing around here.

Poor cats have no idea what they are in for. Run, Simba, while you still have whiskers and the chance to get away!

Week 3 weigh in

Well, I somehow managed to lose a whopping 2 pounds this past week. Not too sure how it happened since I only got to work out twice, but hey, I'll go with it.

This means that I am now 5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight and 8 pounds away from my personal ideal.

Yahoo! Progress sure feels good.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Makeover Monday

Last week I mentioned that Google Reader was feeding my habit and causing me to read many more blogs. Well, yesterday I stumbled across Am I Going Mad or Am I Just a Mommy. (Admittedly, it was another habit that brought me there.... LOST, but that's a story for another time.) Moodswinging Mommy has a weekly thread called "Makeover Monday". I'm intrigued and think I'll play along.

Here is a list of my desired accomplishments for this week:

  1. wakeup and hour before the baby so I can get some stuff done around the house calmly and properly, not rushed.

  2. keep up with the laundry

  3. clean the kitchen before going to bed.

  4. find the time to shower each and every day. (sounds gross, yes I know, but MJ is demanding and there is very little time in my day for things that don't include her.)

  5. Go on a date with hubby. (aka CableDad.)*

*From now on I will refer to Morgan strictly as MJ and Jim strictly as CableDad. Call it changing the names to protect the innocent. :)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Who lives in your neighborhood?

After the Friday night strike of the Orchid Thief the Orchid lady phoned the police to report the theft. Apparently the bicycle of a young girl who lives a block or so away was also stolen. The police informed the Orchid Lady that they are on the lookout for an ex-convict who lives about 2 blocks away. He has been brought up on assault, robbery, kidnapping, and sexual battery charges in the past and the cops are looking for an excuse to get him. They informed the Orchid Lady that he also has had a crack habit in the past and that may account for the recent thefts.

All this talk got me thinking about who actually lives in our neighborhood. Months ago a friend of mine told me about a website called Family Watchdog which keeps track of the home and office locations of registered sex offenders and other criminals. I did a search for our address. We have two in our area.

Who lives in your neighborhood?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Orchid Thief

When I woke up this morning I was planning on having a nice quite relaxing couple of hours while MJ's daddy took her to a baby Gymboree music class. It turns out that she is not quite ready for the class and got a little freaked out by the instruments, but that's a story for another time.

As this was going to be a lazy Saturday morning I didn't bother to change out of my Pjs as I sat on the couch to read for awhile. It was a decision that I regretted when my neighbor from across the street stopped by and knocked on the door. She is a wonderfully friendly woman who has been helping me feed a recent addiction to orchids. I've never really been much of a green thumb, but a few months back my step-mother bought me a lovely chocolate orchid (the flowers smell exactly like chocolate) and shortly after that I went to the Orchid Festival at Fairchild Botanic Garden with my mother and acquired a few more orchids. Since then, with the help of my neighbor, the Orchid Lady, I have been doing marvelously well at not only keeping my little green friends alive but also getting them to thrive.

This morning, however, the Orchid Lady stopped by to see if all of my orchids, which only numbered around 10, had been stolen as well. Yes, I said, “as well.” You see, the Orchid Lady had at least 30 or more orchids hanging on the palm trees in the front yard of her house. She has what must be at least 200 or so more elsewhere around her house. Sadly, when she woke up this morning and took her dog out for a walk she noticed they had all been stolen. She came by my house to see how we fared. All of mine were gone as well. She talked about phoning the police to file a report and mentioned how she thought it was probably kids who stole them to resell them to the street vendor down the road.

Of course, we all know what will come of filing a police report. I mean, in all honesty, in a city like Miami I'm sure (or at least I hope) the police have more important issue to attend to. While I wish there was a possibility of getting my little green friends back, I know there isn't. My husband keeps saying how I can get new orchids and start my blossoming collection over again. Somehow that's not quite the point.

In a way, I feel violated. Someone walked up onto my well lit porch in the middle of the night while we were all asleep and stole from me. Yes, this is Miami. Yes, I should expect such things to happen I suppose, but for the past year we have been here I have been lulled into thinking that my neighborhood was a real neighborhood. The people are friendly and know each other. We stop to chat on the street. We have had dinner at each other's houses. Now, I know it wasn't one of my neighbors who ran off with our orchids, but nonetheless, the neighborhood just doesn't have that same safe homey feel anymore. The orchid thief ran off with more than just my flowers.

Friday, May 25, 2007

music lessons

We go to Gymboree every Friday afternoon. Morgan loves it and I'm constantly hoping to meet other mothers to whom I can relate (not yet). Anyway, it is customary at our Gymboree to have a weekly discussion topic. This week's topic was music you like to listen to with your baby. What sorts of music does s/he like? What sorts of things so you sing with him/her? etc.

As we went around the room and I hear the replies of the other mothers I knew that MJ and I were out of the loop.

“Oh, Stevie likes the 'Tinker Boxer' song.”
“Anna loves the Putumayo CDs.”
“Evan laughs every time we sing 'Five Little Monkeys'”

When they got to me my reply was, “Morgan loves AC/DC, but the early years. She definitely prefers Bon Scott to Brian Johnson. Oh yeah, and we listen to a lot of Tool and Nine Inch Nails. Those are always favorites.”

I was greeted by stunned silence and then uncomfortable laughter.

What can I say? The kid's got good taste.

De-Lurking Day

So thanks to Stacie I now have the ability to see how many people check my blog each day. Even cooler than that, I can tell where they come from (Dave and Chinatsu, you're not checking nearly often enough! lol). This new found ability has left me wondering. Why is it that when I get at least 40-50 visits per day and the average length of each visit is 3-4 minutes, I never have more than 4 or 5 comments on any one post?

Now I realize that I'm not the most scintillating author and that the majority of what I write is certainly interesting only to a very small viewing public, but with so many repeat visitors I can only think that you actually like reading my posts. So, if you're out there and you're reading this but don't usually post a comment, take this as a “De-Lurking Day.” Hell, take it as a De-Lurking weekend. Come out of the woodwork. Say hello. Say you like my ramblings. Say I'm a boring bitch. I don't care what you say (provided it's not raunchy, and even that might be acceptable if done with taste lol), but say something.

Call it an ego thing.

And, thank you SilverNeurotic for giving me the idea for this blog holiday. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

baby personality test

I found a baby "personality test" on a mothering board this morning. As a lark I took it to see what insights it would give me into my daughter's future.

What can you expect for your baby? She will be very popular. She will not have any problems making friends. She is fun, optimistic, and full of energy. She may not be the most organized person but she thinks well on her feet. She likes to see everyone get along and may meddle in other people’s relationships in her attempt to keep the peace. She is outgoing and not afraid of meeting new people. In school, she is likely to be in the drama club, on a sports team, or involved in the yearbook committee. She enjoys gossiping and takes pride in the fact that people trust her to tell her their secrets. She likes to give out advice even though her advice is not always the best. Even though she is very popular, she is very insecure. She likes to be praised by others and will seek out people that give her attention.

She will likely pursue a career working with people. She would be miserable if she had to work in a cubicle with nobody to talk to. She may be indecisive when picking a career. She may try more than one job before she settles on one she likes. Career choices may include waiter, journalist, teacher, nurse/health professional, flight attendant, or sales representative.
~taken from

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

food preferences

Things Morgan likes to eat
  • bananas
  • avocados
  • sweet potatoes
  • pears
  • green beans
  • cereal
  • carrots
  • celery sticks
  • her feet
  • her toys
  • her clothes
  • the straps on her car seat
  • Simba's ears
  • my hair
  • my fingers
  • anything else in reach
Things Morgan doesn't like to eat
  • watermelon

Go figure.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

getting ready for summer

My future's so bright, I gotta wear shades!

Week 2 weigh in

When I woke up this morning I dutifully got on the scale to see if there had been any change in my weight. Amazingly I lost 1 pound. I say 'amazingly' since I haven't exactly been the poster child for good eating this week. We had pizza for dinner at least once and I'm sure that cake my step-mother made for Morgan's 6 month birthday wasn't diet.

Next week I will go back and get a body fat % reading and new measurements from the gym.

Monday, May 21, 2007

pierced ears and pink clothes

A few days ago there was a post up on A Mom, a Blog and the Life In-Between about the Curious Case of the Evil, Ear Piercing Cubans responding to a post elsewhere in which people compared piercing a baby's ears to genital mutilation. Obviously the phrase “different strokes for different folks” applies here. While I think it is absurd to compare piercing a baby girl's ears to mutilation in any form (although I may be biased here as I am heavily pierced myself and have never felt mutilated), I certainly would never do it to my little girl. This is not a moral statement and it is not an assault on the practice of piercing. I just personally would never do it. I feel MJ deserves the right to make that choice for herself and that was the comment I made in response to the post, the first one in the list of replies.

When I went back a day or so later to read other comments the tone of each was basically in agreement with the original author: How absurd it is to make such a lopsided comparison. One comment in particular, however, bothered me. The poster described a story in which she encountered a baby of a fellow worker dressed in a white t-shirt and overalls and exclaimed, “He's so cute.” It turns out that the baby was in fact a girl, something about which she was later informed, prompting her to reply, “Really? well maybe she should get her ears pierced. Or not dress her like a boy.”

That statement really annoys me. I was going to reply to it on the original blog, but as my response was forming in my head it began to sound more like a rant and I thought here would be the better venue.

As many people know I am fairly adamant about not having MJ dressed in pink. Personally, I don't like the color and I see no reason to dress my baby girl like a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. This is a lot easier said than done since it seems that many manufacturers of infant clothing generally only make pink for girls until past the age of 12 months. I have gone out of my way to make sure that MJ has clothing in purple, green, black, blue, orange, red and any other color I can find only because I think that the 'pink = girl' equation is absurd. It is my own belief that the tendency of mothers to dress their baby girls only in pink stems from a (possibly) subconscious fear of having someone think their girls are boys.

I feel a similar way about ear piercing. I have no problem with it. I won't do it to her because I think that she should choose to do it herself. I understand that it is also a cultural thing in some instances. I also understand that many mothers simply like it and therefore do it. I have no problem with any of that.

What bugs me is the assumption that it is my responsibility to make sure other people know my baby is a girl by outfitting her with the trappings of "female". Why should I have to I get her ears pierced so that you know what to call her? Since when are jeans and a white t-shirt the exclusive property of the male wardrobe anyway?

Just because I don't put my child in pink frills, or put headbands on her, or put stick-on bows on her head does not mean she looks like a boy. Why is it that no one asks the mother of a boy in a plain white onesie if he is a girl? The assumption always is that if the baby isn't in pink or doesn't have pierced eras the baby is male. How much sense does that make?

What I don't understand is why our culture requires us to outwardly tag female babies in some way to prove to strangers that they are, in fact, female. Why not say that any baby not wearing trucks or footballs must be a girl? It is an equally absurd assumption.

There is an easy solution to that problem, people. If you are wishing to compliment a baby of whose gender you are uncertain, simply say, “What a cute baby!” Simple and to the point

a twist of fate

So after my dose of vitriol on Friday fate has decided to make a monkey out of me.

I had to bring my little car into the shop this morning to get new tires and have a general overhaul. The difficulty with that, as any mother knows, is trying to figure out a way to keep a child entertained for numerous hours while waiting for the service to be completed. Thankfully a friend of my father's offered me the use of his car for the day. Morgan and I went to the garage this morning followed by my aunts in the second car.

The catch? The borrowed car is a Suburban. Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful for the use of the loaner, but the irony of the situation has not escaped me. Nor will I forget it later when I have to spend $100 to fill that monster (nicknamed Big Blue).

Being that I am so used to driving a little '93 Camry, this car is an entirely new experience. It's HUGE. No wonder SUV drivers are so oblivious of other drivers on the road. How could you see them around that monster?

Anyway, for anyone out there who dislikes SUVs and, even worse, Hummers (again, something to add to my list of things that sound dirty but aren't) as much as I do, check out FUH2.

Friday, May 18, 2007

road rage

I am sick to death of overprivileged, cell phone talking, SUV driving women. Wake up, bitches, you are not the only people on the road!

Why is it that the person driving the Porsche Cayenne who nearly runs you down as she flies through the unnoticed stop sign is inevitably a woman on a cell phone? Never mind the environmentally unfriendliness of the car she has chosen to drive but must she always be on the freaking phone? Come on people! I'm sure that whatever you have to say can wait the 15 minutes it will take you to reach your destination and no longer be driving. Do you really feel you are so important that you can totally disregard traffic regulations and nearly run down a woman in a MUCH smaller car complete with baby in the back seat simply because you are on the phone? Let me break it to you gently. In this day and age nearly everyone has a cell phone. Having one does not make you important. Talking on one while driving, however, makes you an inconsiderate asshole.

Inevitably these road hazard SUVs are of a Porsche or Mercedes (Latin for 'bribe' by the way. Look it up. merces, mercedis) make. I mean, really, how ridiculous is it to have a Porsche SUV? I'm sorry folks, I don't care what kind of pepper you name it after, it is still just an SUV, not a sports car.

I realize that presently there is no law in the state of Florida banning drivers from driving one handed because they are talking on the phone. There are no regulations for hands free devices. I'm not an activist. I'm not trying to petition for such a law to exist, no matter how good an idea I think it is. All I want is (obviously impossible) for drivers to have some sort of consideration on the road.

This afternoon on my way back from Gymboree I was nearly hit by a woman (black Porsche Cayenne) who ran a red light. Naturally she was on the phone. Naturally she did not care at all for the fact that she barely missed smashing into the rear left side of my car (with baby in the back). Two days ago I was being tailgated (again a black Porsche Cayenne) while driving on I-95. The woman was so close to me that I couldn't see the nose of her car in my rear view mirror. She was so close I KNOW she would have seen Morgan in the back seat had she not been on the phone. None of this, however, was a concern to her as she tailgated me at 65 miles per hour since her SUV and deep and meaningful conversation marked her out as a much more significant person than either myself or my baby.

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of the SUV to begin with. However, should an affordable hybrid SUV ever be developed I'd buy it in a minute just to shield myself and my child from the Ford Excessives the pollute the roads. Those gas guzzling monsters apparently do not come equipped with rear or side view mirrors. Or if they do the owner's manual expressly forbids using them while the car is in motion. However, my personal dislike of SUVs aside, today I will direct all my anger and venom at the inconsiderate and oblivious cell phone talking soccer moms* who clearly believe that whomever they harm on the road is inconsequential as long as their own kids are safely strapped in the back numbing their brains on seat-back DVD players.

*Please don't mistake me. this is not a rant against soccer moms in general. In fact, I hope to be one someday.

Feeding my habit

Since becoming a SAHM I have found myself frequently 'trolling the blog world. However, I restricted myself to checking blogs only two times a day. Once in the morning (that is, if Morgan takes a nap) and once in the evening. Why bother looping through all the blogs I'd like to read if there isn't going to be anything new up on them.

In steps Google. Now Google may be slowly taking over the cyber-space world (and in the 21st century that really means taking over the whole world) but since their products are so damned cool I don't consider them an evil empire, like say Disney World. Google Reader is the ultimate enabler. It is a widgety thing (technical term) that I added to my Google homepage and gives me up to the minute updates on any blog to which I subscribe. Now I know when the sites are updated and I can 'troll much more efficiently.

What does this mean in the long run? Basically it means that I'm reading a lot more blogs now. So, if I've been posting on your blog or you've been reading mine and you'd like me to add you to my blog roll (presently rather meager) drop me a comment and let me know. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tough Day.

"Do you mind if I just rest here for a moment?"

6 month stats

We've just returned from our six month pediatric appointment. Miss MJ is certainly growing and her love of food is showing.

She is now 26 1/2 inches long and weighs 18 lbs and 12 oz. That puts her around the 70th percentile for height and the 80th for weight.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

fun with forms

I have discovered a new way to make Morgan laugh. Unfortunately it is unintentional.

As with any martial art, studying kickboxing requires learning certain choreographed movements called forms or Kata. When I go to the studio on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I learn the steps to these forms. I practice them at home in order to improve before my next session. Since the play mats that I have put down in Morgan's room are perfectly suited to doing yoga or other floor exercises I have been practicing my forms on them. Morgan is always my audience. This morning I discovered that watching Mamma do forms incorrectly is cause enough to laugh hysterically in Morgan's world.

The final step (at least, as far as I have learned) in the form I am currently practicing requires a 270 degree turn into a squatting position called the Horse Stance. Well, unfortunately for me but fortunately for her, I am not very good at completing this turn gracefully. The matter is further complicated by the fact that the play mats have letters and numbers that pop out of them. As I was practicing this turn my foot rather gracelessly caught on a 'Q' and over I went. Miss Morgan was well out of harm's way but she was close enough for a front row seat to a Mamma tumble. She thought that was hysterical.

My friend Jeff warned me awhile ago that his boys always find it funny when he gets hurt. Guess Morgan has the same sense of humor. Maybe I should bring her to my kickboxing class and see if she finds that funny.

All hail the celery stick!

A few weeks ago I read a post on a mothering site about giving teething babies a cold stick of celery to gnaw on. (Here is my shout out to Caroline, aka twogreencars, who suggested this to me. She has a website selling nursing necklaces and jewelry with therapeutic properties.) Apparently the celery juices have analgesic properties and gnawing on the celery will help relieve teething discomfort. Admittedly, it sounded a bit odd to me to give a baby celery. I mean, really, most adults don't even like it.

Anyway, I figured it was worth a shot. A few days ago I gave her a piece. Now, I don't know if what they say about the celery juice is true or not, but she certainly loves to have the cold stick in her mouth. It can keep her entertained for 30 minutes at a time and during that time there is nary a whimper to be heard. It sure beats out any teething toys we've tried. Call me a believer.

So, anyone out there with teething babies, if you haven't tried it already, take a piece of celery, wash it well, cut the end on a bias (but not sharp enough to gag on) and hand it over. Hope it works for you too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

May Day Challenge

Well week one of the challenge is over. I weighed in this morning at exactly the same place I was last week, but that doesn't bother me since the pair of shorts I put on this morning are a bit looser. Before I got pregnant they were quite baggy on me. Two weeks ago they were snug. This morning they fit. So there is progress, it just isn't showing up on the scales.

Monday, May 14, 2007

4 generations

For Mother's Day Morgan and I took a drive with my mother up to visit my grandmother. It was very cool to have four generations of the women in my family at the same brunch table. Unfortunately, I was not smart enough to have a picture taken of all four of us, but I did have the foresight to get a picture or two of MJ with her great-grandmother.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

photo contest

Stacie at the Twinkies is holding a spring photo contest. I've submitted a picture of Morgan. The prize is a children's book. Be a friend and vote for my Munchkin.

Her first graduation

Today she graduated from Gymboree level one. The requirements were that she can sit up on her own and she is 6 months old. She'll be six months next week.

Jim wanted to know if his presence at this graduation gave him a get out of jail free card to a later one. Considering she's my child she will probably graduate from far too many schools.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Judgment of Mothers

I'm constantly amazed at how hard mothers can be on each other. It seems to me that some women feel the need to compete for the “best mother” award with every other woman they see or speak to who has a child. I find this an incredibly distressing trend. Ladies, why are we so hard on each other?

I subscribe to and read a few parenting boards. For the most part I find them interesting and helpful. It is always a comfort to hear that your child is not the only one who does some incredibly strange things. I have become quite close with one group of women with whom I've been chatting for over two years. We branched out and formed our own message board about a year ago. I offer this information to demonstrate that I don't think all mothers are hostile towards each other. However, more and more I am becoming disillusioned with some of these mainstream sites. I frequently see mothers attack other mothers for some of the silliest reasons. This seems to me completely out of character with the purpose of these boards, to be support groups. But then again, perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps it's not about support. Perhaps it's about coming out on top.

I have encountered some really bizarre criticisms in my short stint as a mother. I have had women (and mind you, it is almost always women, other mothers, who make these statements) ridicule me for my diapering choices: “Why on earth would you want to wash your diapers?!? That's so silly. Disposable diapers are so much easier.” I've been mocked for wearing Morgan in a wrap: “That just looks so uncomfortable. Why don't you just get a stroller and be done with it. It's so much more practical.” My answers to those sorts of derisive statements? “My daughter is nearly 6 months old and has never had a diaper rash. Why wouldn't I use cloth diapers?” “Actually, I have a stroller. I just find it easier sometimes not to have to pull it in and out of the car for no reason.” I won't even get into the comments I get on my natural birth in a tub, although admittedly the ones I got before the birth were much more harsh and judgmental, telling me things like I was putting my unborn baby's life in danger. I know I've already complained on this blog once about people telling me I need to let my baby cry if she's ever going to learn to go to sleep on her own.

Those are some of the issues I have come across in real life. On line is an entirely different world. Perhaps it's the anonymity of message boards that allows women to feel that they can rip into other women's parenting choices. Whatever the reason may be, I find that the attacks on parenting styles tend to me much more severe on line than they are in person.

A few examples: I recently read a thread on a board in which mother asked for advice on how to freeze homemade purees. Do you think anyone offered her advice or information on this topic? No, it was much more important to chastise her for feeding her child pureed foods when everybody knows that if the babies can't pick up the food for themselves they shouldn't be eating it. The other morning another woman posted that “tummy time” was invented by parents who drop their children into contraptions 24/7 because they need to be reminded to flip their babies every now and again. The implication, of course, was that if you put your child in any sort of “contraption” then you are a bad parent and must remember to put your child on the floor for tummy time, kind of like flipping a comatose patient to prevent bed sores. I was disgusted by that statement. There is, of course, the ever present hostility of, “Don't talk to me about breastfeeding!” and “giving the baby formula is the same as feeding her plastic.” The list goes on: If you use a stroller it obviously must mean that you don't love your child enough to hold him or her all the time; if you don't have your child sleeping in your bed with you they will grow up to be needy and unfulfilled.

When did it become the right and, seemingly, the obligation of women to tell other mothers how to raise their own kids? I have news for you. If my child is independent and likes playing in an exersaucer and I don't allow her to do so, that, my friends, is not responding to her needs. If my baby does not want to be carried in her Maya wrap today, forcing her is not responding to her needs. If my baby wants to eat “adult food” and can't quite manage the manual dexterity to eat finger foods, refusing to allow her to eat purees is not responding to her needs. If she does not sleep well next to me in bed and I insist on keeping her there anyway, I'm not doing it for her, I'm doing it for me.

I wish mothers would lighten up and be more supportive of each other. Mothering is a hard job. It requires a lot of long hours and difficult decisions. Why must we rip into each other instead of offering support? I think we should all take a moment and congratulate a mother we know on the good job she is doing. Offer your fellow women support, not criticism!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Wonder Week my a$$

Not a day after I told a friend that I hadn't had to get up in the middle of the night last night happened. Morgan is working on 6 months now and I think we are hitting a Wonder Week. She was up and HUNGRY at 11, at 1, at 4 and again at 6. We finally got out of bed for the day at 7:15 when she had her breakfast, about a tablespoon more cereal than she usually has, and she was still hungry.

Of course, mind you, her first tooth is still trying to make an appearance and that has her all on edge too. She has been incredibly fussy and clingy in the afternoons after her naps. Ah yes, and this week the napping routine has changed as well. Last week we were on a steady diet of 2 two hour naps a day. As of this week we are back to 3 or 4 half hour to forty five minute naps.

Here, for your edification, is a brief description of the side effects of the so-called Wonder Weeks:

[S]he may cry more, be more fussy and need more comforting. check.
Some of the babies lose their appetites. Oh no, not Morgan. She is a Cable after all.
Some babies who have been sleeping well may take more time to go off to sleep and wake more often. double check
Some young children who have been happily exploring their world may become more clingy, and become upset much more easily. check. "Don't you dare put me down, Mamma, or I'll scream."
They may show an increased need for body contact with their mothers. see above comment.

So, what I'd really like to know is: Who is the sadist who decided to call these difficult, fussy, wakeful and clingy weeks wonderful?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

May Day Challenge begins

Last night I went to the gym and got my new measurements and body fat percentage. I thought I wasn't going to be able to get those until tomorrow and therefore not be ready for the challenge starting today, but here I am.

As of yesterday I'm still 15 lbs over my ideal pre-pregnancy weight, but my body fat percentage has gone down by 2.2% since the beginning of March. I think this bodes well for success in this challenge.

Here are my goals: I want my body fat % to be down around 19%. It is currently 22.5%. I want to lose 3-5 inches off my hips so I can fit into all of my old pants and skirts. I'd also like to lose a few inches off of my waist and thighs. I plan to do all of this through healthy eating and exercise. I am a diet failure and won't subject myself to that sort of torture. The 15 remaining pregnancy pounds can go or stay as long as my muscle mass increases and I get more toned.

My biggest weaknesses are savory foods like french fries and pretzels. My goal is to cut them out of my diet. Dr. Pepper is also my archenemy when it comes to empty calories, but I know better than to think I can give him up. I have stopped buying all kinds of desserts and have stocked my fridge with fresh organic veggies. the freezer is also stocked full so that I have no excuse for coming home from the gym and saying, "There's nothing for dinner in the house. Let's just order a pizza."

My workout plan is the same as I have been doing for the past few weeks. I go to the gym to lift weights on Monday and Wednesday nights with my personal trainer. On Tuesday and Thursday nights and Saturday mornings I go to the kickboxing studio to work out. Working out five days a week may sound excessive, but I always feel better when I'm done and nothing promotes a good self image as much as self confidence.

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ahhh, the sweet (potato) smell of success

Please pardon the out of focus picture, but it harder than you would think to feed a baby and snap a photo at the same time.

Well, the potatoes were a hit. At first she wasn't quite sure what to think of them and kept making some rather entertaining facial expressions. After each bite she got a rather pensive look on her face as if to say, "well, now. What have we here?" and then would open her mouth to get some more. It took 2 days before I could say for sure that she was enjoying herself, but now there is no doubt.

Yesterday we started on avocados. Same routine as before. At first she was a little horrified at the taste and/or texture of the fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable) but now she loves it.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Our first thunderstorm

For any of you who have never been to Miami during the rainy season let me tell you we have some serious thunderstorms. Last night was one of them. It hit just at about 8 pm, which really could not have been more poorly timed as that is Morgan's bedtime. Both Jim and I were sure that we were in for along night of repeated wakings and a lot of frightened crying. Not so. My girl pulled through.

For about an hour and a half the thunder was so loud that it actually shook the house and set off multiple neighborhood car alarms; the lightening flashes so bright the house glowed with an eerie blue light. In spite of all this Morgan slept through it all. Of course, that is, until the storm was over and the house was quiet and dark again. Then she woke up. Figures.

However, the important thing is that she made it through our first real thunderstorm. This little practice run was just in time for the onset of hurricane season. Let's hope we don't have to test her out with one of those storms.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Fluke? or intentional?

For the second time this week I woke up to the sound of the mobile hanging over Morgan's crib. This happened once before a few weeks ago, but at that time I was convinced that she had hit the button by mistake. This week I'm not so sure.

I find it hard to believe that she is purposely hitting the on/off switch on the mobile but I'm not sure what else to think when she turns it on herself and then happily chills out by herself in her crib for 15 minutes. I figure the real test will be if she turns it on more than once in a morning.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

just keep swimming...

Today was her first day in the pool. At first she was a little hesitant. I kept her in my arms as I got in the water and she clung to me very tightly at first. Then as she realized that I was not going to let her go she relaxed and started enjoying herself. I bounced in the shade in the shallow end for a few minutes making "ba-boom, ba-boom" noises. She loved it and started her happy kicking and flapping. Then when she was more comfortable I held her away from me and she "swam" through the water kicking her feet. Her favorite part of the swim, however, was when I stood her on the step. She found it was much easier to stand in the pool than on dry land.

Afterwards we took a shower to get the chlorine off of her and she enjoyed the water spray on her hands and face. We will definitely be swimming again soon.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Picture Ho-in' it.

I have some friends who had a baby exactly four weeks after Morgan was born. Every week or so MJ and I take a drive up to visit T. and his stay at home daddy. Here are some pictures of the two of them "playing".

And here is Miss Morgan "reading" her kitty book with her favorite kitty.

That's my girl!

There is no doubt in my mind that MJ will be taking some of my music tastes with her as she gets older. My girl was VERY excited to listen to the new Nine Inch Nails CD when it came out. She does this really cute, terribly excited bird flap with her arms when I put it on. Then she starts cooing and "singing" while bouncing up and down as fast as she can on her little bottom, arms flapping the whole time. I'll work on getting a video of it.

That's my girl!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Feeding Miss Morgan

I've decided to make my own baby food. There are a number of reasons for this decision but the top of my list is knowing what is in the food I give to my baby. Sure there are plenty of baby food companies that make cute and convenient little jars of food in all flavors, but do I know for a fact that there is nothing but veggie and water in those jars? Do I know that there is no extra salt or sugar added? No. So, move over Martha Stewart, here I come (minus the insider trading). I plan to purchase only organic fruits and veggies (most likely from Fresh Market although today's purchase came from Gardener's Market) with which to make her foods. There will be nothing to them other than the produce of the day and a little formula to help smooth out the texture. Wholesome Baby Foods has some great tips on how to make homemade baby food and what things to try at which stages.

As a Mother's Day present my mother gave me a nifty (did I just use the word “nifty” in a sentence?) little contraption called the Magic Bullet. (There's one for my list of things that sound dirty but aren't.) It is basically a mini blender, designed mostly, it seems, for making mixed drinks but will puree veggies nicely. This morning I set out to test said contraption by making a sweet potato puree.

There is quite a bit of debate, it would seem, among mothers as to whether one should feed a baby pureed foods. Some seem to think that a baby should only eat solids when she can pick up her foods in her own hands. MJ is no where near having the coordination to do such a thing but is she ever interested in food. Not only does she grab for whatever I'm eating, but she watches food with an intense curiosity and will open and close her mouth when she sees someone eating. MJ has demonstrated over and over again in the past weeks her intense interest in food so I felt no need to wait longer.

When I made the sweet potato puree I made enough to fill two ice trays. Each cube of the ice tray works out to about an ounce of food. I have, at the moment, no idea how much of this Morgan will want to eat, or if she'll even like sweet potatoes at all. However, I intend to start with two cubes of food (thawed out in the fridge and mixed in with a little formula) and see how she does. Although she has mastered the art of eating cereal with a spoon, in fact she wants to manipulate the spoon herself, we have never tried anything but brown rice cereal so the different taste and texture may freak her out at first. As always I will have her bottle standing by at the ready for when she gets frustrated and too hungry to want to play these stupid games anymore. I'm a little gun shy about allowing her to “finger paint” with the potato like I did with the cereal only because I just know that orange goo will get EVERYWHERE and we are a house without a dog to act as a wet-vac.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

leaving comments

I'm making it a requirement that if you want to leave a comment on this blog I have to accept it first. I'm getting sick of anonymous comments that I feel I need to delete.

For those of you who do not know how to leave your name on a comment:
1) select "other" as a posting option
2) leave your name

It is very easy.

May Day Challenge

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I recently put up a post about my desire to regain my old self. Part of that, but certainly not all of it, is losing the last few baby pounds that are still hanging on. I've got about 10 lbs to go before I'm back to the weight I was at right before I got pregnant. I've got about 15 lbs to go before I'm back to my idea weight. Well, today I came across May challenge to lose weight. Needless to say, I'm all in.

If you are interested in participating in this blog event, click on the button above and read the full details. However, in short, starting May 8th, that is a week from yesterday, lasting until September 8th the challenge is to lose your desired amout of weight. I'm going to set my goal at 15 lbs. This is a bit misleading however as my main intent is to decrease my body fat % and gain back some of the muscle tone I lost during my pregnancy.

Every week there is a weigh in on Tales from the Scales and I will update my progress here. Unfortunately I will not be getting my new measurements and body fat % until Wednesday, the day after the challenge begins. I guess that means I'll have to have two separate posts about it.

Wish me luck.