Friday, December 19, 2008

The last HOA meeting I attended was over 4 years ago, when I was pregnant with Peanut. Once he was born, the meetings fell to the bottom of my priorities. Not much is accomplished at the meetings anyway.

I decided to attend this year's annual budgetary meeting. OMG. Our HOA president is a jerk (which Hubby and I already knew) as are a few of our neighbors. Things nearly came to fisticuffs between the president and a very angry neighbor. Lots of yelling, posturing, and taunts of "Let's take it outside!" were parried. Thankfully, one of our cop neighbors convinced the president to go outside and cool down.

Once that (sort of) settled down, one neighbor stood up to chastize us for not acting professionally. She was right, the meeting was conducted horrifically, but she wasn't a prime example of proper conduct, either. Yelling and calling other adults childish is childish behavior as well. Then a "pascifist" neighbor delivered a lenghty speech on treating each other with respect, blah blah blah.

One of the best suggestions came from someone who suggested we follow a set protocol for meetings and was shot down by a member of the board. "We're all adults here, we don't need a list of rules." Ummmm, yeah, we do. I guess no one there has heard of Robert's Rules of Order. I don't know if I should email the HOA and suggest them. I only know the basics anyway.

Some good came from the meeting. We will be having at least 2 more in the next couple of months. One to elect a new board and another to address the concerns residents, some of which have been blown off by the president.

I also learned that roughly 5% of the homes in my neighborhood are under foreclosure. Sad.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A lot has been going on...

Mom called yesterday and decided she's not well enough for our planned visit. We'll see what happens. She may change her mind.

Bean has a cold and is back on breathing treatments. The wheezing has subsided, but he still has spells of fast breathing. He and Bean have checkups this week. I'll add that to my list of concerns for the doctor.

Money is tight. (Well, whose isn't? I know our situation could be much worse.) My 6months of half-pay coupled with Hubby's loss of special details has really hurt. At least I'm back on full time and he should get some details in January. We're dipping into savings for overdraft protection at the end of each pay period. If it keeps up, our savings will be gone in a couple of months.

My nasty post-doc coworker is away for the remainder of the year. The work atmosphere is completely different with her gone. Our part-time employee has been chatty and singing while working. I feel bad for her when Post-doc is around. She'll never go to the P.I. to complain, but I wish she would. Some other coworkers suggested that Nice Coworker (who went to work for another lab) should have lodged a complaint against Post-doc when she left. As usual, the nasty people are free to treat their subordinates however they see fit. I like my workplace and have never had problems with my own boss, but I hate to see the way other faculty are allowed to behave over and over again. We had several post-docs and students from other labs that were interested in working with her before I had Bean. Two or three people a week would be in our lab setting up experiments with her. Now there are none.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Peanut is all about Christmas. We watched the Rudolph special last night. (What a flashback to my own childhood).

When I was a kid, I wanted a Rudolph toy for years. I asked Santa for one in several letters. I'm pretty sure Mom searched for one, but there weren't any. I saw some a couple of years ago and asked Hubby for one.

Well, I got one last Christmas, complete with a light-up nose. Except the nose was broken and we didn't feel like sending him back to the overpriced build-a-stuffed-animal place for an exchange. Rudolph eventally found his way to a shelf in Peanut's closet.

I remembered him last night during the show and got him out for Peanut. He immediately knew the nose was supposed to light up and asked why it didn't work when he squeezed Rudolph's ear. I told him it was broken and he replied "Maybe he needs a new battery. You can fix him, Mommy." I told him there was no way to get into his ear and that I couldn't fix it. We went back and forth a few times and I started to get that oh-shit-we're-gonna-have-a-tantrum feeling when I noticed Rudolph's tummy was hard and had a velcro opening. Hmmmm. With some work, I managed to pull out a battery pack, with an on/off switch. That was turned off.

Yep, Rudolph's nose works just fine. Too bad it took a year to figure that out!

Rudolph slept in bed with Peanut, was dragged to our bed when he woke in the night, and accompanied Peanut in the car this morning. I'm tickled.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Our Thanksgiving trip was wonderful. Peanut had so much fun seeing his grandparents and playing with his cousins. The drive up was great. We didn’t leave the house until about 8:30 pm, thanks to Hubby having another late nigh, but the drive was fine. Bean was out for the night after a quick stop for a bottle. We could have gone longer if Peanut hadn’t started fussing. Once he’s done for the night, he wants to sleep in a bed, not the carseat. We stopped at around 12:30 at a beautiful new Holid@y Inn. Jackpot! We didn’t get on the road until about 10 the next morning, but made it uneventfully to Hubby’s parents’ around 4pm.

We stayed the whole time at Hubby’s mom’s in her beautiful, newly renovated upstairs. Our younger niece is moving in with her two small kids, so her husband helped finish the upstairs before his deployment to Afghanistan. The house has really come along over the years. Peanut loved the setup and gleefully slept in the toddler bed each night. We purchased him a nice set of flannel jammies before the trip and they happened to match the sheets on his bed – bliss!

The weather was cool, crisp, and mostly sunny. We spent enjoyable time with family and ate lots of delicious food. Bean was introduced to bananas, which he heartily ate. He has really gotten the hang of eating off a spoon. Both boys were loved and cuddled by various grandparents, aunts, and cousins.

We came back with a bunch of clothes for both kids and several really cool birthday presents for Peanut. One toy was the catalyst for a bit of fighting between Peanut and a cousin. The toy had to disappear when Cousin was around to avoid a pre-school smackdown.

As always, Hubby and I wished we could stay. We still would love to move back to the area, but know we can’t do it now. Our debt it too high and the pay there is too low. We did look at a house that would be almost perfect. It was an adorable older home with much charm and a separate little 1-bedrdoom efficiency apartment that would be perfect for mom. But we have no jobs there and would have to sell our house before committing to anything else. And we’d have to have the debt paid off, debt that will take us at least another 3 years at the rate we’re going.

Peanut was one sad little boy when it was time to leave. He told us he wasn’t leaving, that he wanted to stay at Nanny’s.

There has been some family drama, of course. Youngest sister, who managed to get out of a DUI after last year’s hit-and-run, wasn’t so lucky recently. She claimed she learned her lesson last time, but apparently didn’t. I pray she doesn’t kill herself or someone else with the drunk driving. According to Hubby’s parents, she’s doing better now and can keep the drinking down to just one or two beers. Is there really “just one or two beers” for an alcoholic?

Oldest sister also got a DUI and was charged with possession of a controlled substance. She apparently had another family member’s bottle of pills, but claims she has a prescription for the same medication. She’s an RN and may face losing her license. Rumor is that she can drink Youngest sister under the table – no small feat.

Our nephew, who is only 6 months younger than Peanut, seems to be headed down a bad path. (He’s oldest sister’s grandson, the son of her older daughter. She was married to the asshole abusive military guy and is now living with a new asshole. And they have an infant.) I don’t think Nephew has gotten a whole lot of love from either parent and is on the way to becoming troubled. When Hubby put him in time-out for fighting with Peanut, he told Hubby he was going to “chop off your head with a saw”. Not the kind of speak you expect from a 3-year old. Niece (his mom) is notorious for ignoring him/dumping him off on other family members and now with the new baby, he gets even less attention. As usual, Hubby’s mom is the one taking care of him. It’s no surprise – Oldest sister and her alcoholic husband weren’t much of parents her, so I doubt she got the nurturing she needed. Hubby’s mom practically raised our nieces, too. But it’s still a sad situation. And I don’t understand why she had another child when she hardly seems to want the one she already had.

The trip back was a nightmare. We left around 7 Saturday night and drove until 11 or so. The kids both zonked out and did really well. We got going at around 9 am on Sunday and had heavy traffic and multiple wrecks to contend with. We expected to be home by 4 but didn’t make it until 7. We managed to get off the interstate about 40 miles sooner than usual and were able to take a back way home, otherwise we probably would have had another 1-2 hours of s-l-o-w driving. We found a fast food joint with an indoor playground that was our saving grace. We stopped for about an hour so Peanut could burn off some steam and Bean could get out of the carseat he was so unhappy with. Peanut did wonderfully, but Bean was so done with being strapped down and was vocal about the whole thing. Even on Monday he wanted nothing to do with his swing or highchair or anything that remotely resembled a carseat!
Mom has laid down a thick Christmas guilt trip. I called her on Thanksgiving and she started in on it. “I’m really upset that you said I can’t come on Christmas and talked to the doctor about it. I don’t understand why I can’t come, so the doctor wanted me to ask you to clarify…” Arrrgh. Because it’s 6 hours of driving. Because you were miserable and horrible to be around during our last visit. Because I have to work the 24th and daycare is closed that day, so Hubby has to stay home with the kids and Bean is too young to be dragged to the state hospital to pick you up. Because I want to enjoy the holiday rather than be stressed and short with Hubby, all the while wondering if I’ll have to make a trip to the crisis unit with you. Because I’m still expressing milk and will have to pump at least once during the trip and I hate pumping in the car. Because I simply don’t want you to come.

I’ll probably end up taking Bean to daycare on the 26th and bringing Peanut with me to pick her up. Daycare will add another hour to the crappy 6-hour round-trip drive (if traffic isn’t crazy), but according to Mom, that shouldn’t stop me from providing her with a Christmas holiday. I’ll also have to find someplace where I can discreetly pump milk, but that shouldn’t be a problem either. After all, Mom’s feelings are the only ones that matter, right? Hubby can take her back on the 29th. I will speak with the social worker first (if I can ever get in touch with her) to make sure she thinks Mom is well enough to visit.

I really, really don’t want to do this, but the guilt is winning.

EDITED: I was wrong about daycare's closing dates. They are open for a partial day on Dec 24th and closed both the 25th and 26th, so there's no possibility of Mom coming for the weekend. She could possibly come on the 2nd and return the 4th of January. I left a message for the social worker to see if she thinks Mom is well enough and eligible for a weekend pass.

EDITED AGAIN: Wow, the social worker returned my call in record time. She thinks Mom will be OK for a visit, but will discuss it with the treatment team and psychiatrist. We also talked about the last visit and how I feel that Mom will need consistent care whenever she is discharged.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mom called this weekend. She's doing a little better, but still sounds depressed. The psychiatrist changed one med and upped another which seems to be working. Mom said her goal is to be well enough to spend Christmas with us. What? Hubby and I never planned or intended for Mom to spend Christmas with us this year. After her disastrous last visit, I'm in no mood to have her visit for a long while, especially not at the biggest holiday of the year.

I told her we'd have to see how things go. There is no way she can come on Christmas anyway. Hubby is only off for the 24th and 25th, so there is no way we could pick her up before Chrismas. If she's doing well and seems stable I could maybe take Bean to daycare and bring Peanut with me to pick her up. Hubby said he would be willing to take her back the follwing Monday. I just have a bad feeling about it. I don't really want to make the drive alone (or alone with Peanut) as it's 3 hours each way. The hospital is creepy, too. There are a couple of patients in Mom's building who hang out in the foyer and are scary. Not to mention there are criminals there. One social worker pointedly told me to be careful when bringing Peanut there.

So, I really don't want to deal with the trip or with my Mom. But the guilt kicks in. After all, it is holiday season and holidays are supposed to be family time.
Bean has started to reach for things. Bean scooted/lunged across Hubby the other day and grabbed at his bottle. The following day, I was shaking his chewy rattle as I leaned over to give it to him and he reached both arms out for it. And this morning he reached up and grabbed my hair as I was buckling him into the carseat. He's been a hair-snatcher from day 1, but normally he ends up grabbing my hair while waving his arms around. This time was deliberate. Stinker.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Peanut read his first word today! He and Hubby were watching an old episode of Tom & Jerry with Spike and his son in it. Spike's doghouse had "Father" painted over the opening, and the puppy's had "Son". Peanut asked what the words said. Hubby helped him sound out "fff-aahhh-th-errrrr". Then Hubby suggested that Peanut try the other word by himself.

"Sssss-ooooo-nnnnnn. That spells son!"

Way to go, little dude!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hubby recently worked a missing child case. The child was quickly found and returned home. Unfortunately, Hubby had to notify DCF because she went missing due to neglect.

You see, the 4-year-old was left in the care of her grandmother. Who let her play outside, by herself, in only pants and a t-shirt on a breezy day with temperatures in the low 60s. Grandmother didn’t bother to check if the back gate was closed. It wasn’t. So the little girl, who was unattended for at least an hour, wandered off into the woods behind her house and eventually found her way to a neighbor’s house and knocked on their door. The neighbor recognized her, notified the authorities, and took her home. Another neighbor stated that the girl had showed up at her house earlier in the week.

Four. Years. Old. The same age as Peanut. We don’t let him play alone in our very small, enclosed backyard for more than a few minutes, and that is to run inside and use the bathroom or grab the cordless phone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Peanut,

Happy Birthday! Today you are four years old. It seems like just yesterday you were a tiny, fragile little preemie and now you are such a big boy. I can’t wait to get home from work to sing happy birthday and watch you open your presents from Daddy, Bean, and me. You were asleep when I left this morning, so I kissed the top of your head and whispered “Happy birthday” into your ear.

You amaze me with all the things you have learned. You know most, if not all, of the alphabet and can sing the ABC song with little prompting. (Although you don’t like to sing – I think you get embarrassed.) You know how to turn on the computer and which icons and CDs go with each of your games – the games that have really helped you in learning your letters. You can yank open the fridge (with a bit of effort) to grab a slice of cheese or hand me the carton of OJ (still your favorite). You still come up with cute names for things. The other day you wanted to wear your “tip top” shirt. It took a little while for me to understand you were asking for your tank top.

You are a wonderful big brother. I’m in awe of how gentle and loving you are toward Bean. Yes, you do get loud and overzealous with your kisses, but you really do love him. You’re quick to pick up a dropped binky or chewie toy and hand it back to him. You love to clown around and make him smile and giggle.

Happy birthday, Sweetpea. May you have many, many more.

I love you,

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mom will be kept as an inpatient for another 6 months.

I am so relieved.
I had hoped to watch the results on Election Day night. This year held the same excitement for me as the first one I was able to vote in. I remember sitting in Best Friend’s dorm room with several other friends, that night in 1992, excitedly watching the results come in. This time Hubby called me with the preliminary results that Obama had won. I am thrilled and hopeful he will get our economy slowly back on track, among other issues.

Instead of kicking back on the couch in front of the TV with Hubby, I was at the ER with Bean. During the previous week, one of the other babies came into daycare on nebulizer treatments. My RSV radar buzzed. Bean came down with a cold over the weekend and my radar was still beeping away. By Tuesday, he was wheezing and Hubby trucked him off to see the pediatrician. He came back with a positive RSV test and was sent home on Albuterol treatments (which, unsurprisingly, did little for him). When I got home from work Tuesday night, he was wheezing, retracting, and breathing very rapidly (80 breaths/minute). The on-call nurse listened over the phone and told us to go to the hospital. I packed up Bean and the breastpump and off we were. It’s amazing how fast they get the little ones in. I barely sat down after checking in when they called us to triage and immediately took us into the Peds ER section. He had two more breathing treatments, a dose of a steroid, and was still wheezy. He fell asleep in my arms after the second treatment and the TV remote was across the room, so I didn’t see any of the election coverage until well into the night, shortly before Obama was declared our president-elect... that was after I was able to get Bean to sleep in the crib and tiptoed over to the remote.

Bean was admitted around midnight. The poor guy was exhausted. He was so sweet, though. He managed to smile and flirt with the nurses while they changed him into a baby-sized gown (yes, a miniature version of an adult hospital gown.) He ended up staying 2 nights. His 02 saturation was great while he was awake, but repeatedly dipped into the upper 80s while he slept. The monitor’s alarm was off and on all night. By the second night he was much better, with lows in the low-mid 90s.

The Peds unit was beautiful. I was able to sleep in the room with him. I stayed both nights and Hubby relieved me during the day in between. Peanut was great through the whole thing, too. He got a little cranky with me during the day when I was home with him (he missed Daddy) but we played at the park and took a long nap before returning to the hospital to eat supper with Hubby. He was sad to go home again with only Hubby, but they said a prayer for Bean which seemed to help.

Bean is still coughing and snotting, but not at all like a week ago. RSV is some nasty shit.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The ability to gestate, birth, and then nourish a child via my body amazes me. It's truly a miracle. The fact that milk-producing structures evolved from sweat glands is mind-boggling.

I've dropped down to 5 milk-pumping sessions per day. I generally get about 10 ounces of milk at each session, with about 5-7 additional ounces at the first morning session (the girls, they do fill up overnight). I've had my share of plugged ducts, as I did with Peanut, but I've had the additional fun of mastitis and a milk blister. I've been the poster child for breastfeeding problems.

The mastitis came as a surprise. I felt fine when I went to bed with no obvious plugging. I woke up the next morning engorged, in pain, and with a fever. I denied it was anything worse than a plugged duct (even though the side of my boob was rock-hard and tender), took some Tylenol and went to work. I rode out chills and the funky out-of-sorts feverish feeling till noon and went home. I took a peak in the mirror and between the red streaks running up the side of my boob and a 101 degree fever, I could't deny it any more. I was able to get an appointment right away. A shot and some oral antibiotics took care of it. I did have the extra fun side effect of puking from the oral meds. I lived on crackers, rice, broth, ginger ale, and baked chicken for a week. I'm back into all my prepregnancy clothes and weigh about 7-10 lbs less than I did before getting pregnant - not the way I wanted to get there.

Everything I heard about mastitis sucking was true. It tore me up. It probably took me a good week or two to feel better.

Next came the milk blister. I still let Bean latch on with the nipple shield once or twice a day. He was very fussy one night (he acts like he's teething, but no toofies yet) so I put him on the boob. He chewed the heck outta me, even with the nipple. I notice a swollen area the next day and figured it would go away without any problems. A few mornings later I woke up with plugged ducts and couldn't get them to drain. When morning break rolled around I pumped again and was hugely engorged over half my breast. I looked like I had a bad bood job with ripples along the top and side of my breast and my nipple half swollen. That's when I noticed the blister, which I couldn't remove.

I went straight home after work. An hour of hot wet washcloths alternated with pumping finally loosened the blister enough to allow the milk out. I have never felt such relief.
They're like clockwork. Every Saturday, between 9:30 & 10:30 am, the church people come to our door. Usually they're the JWs. They drive me f'ing crazy because the scenario is always the same (not to mention I'm skeptical of any religion that requires its devout to recruit new members and will shun/excommunicate those who don't live up to their strict standards. Cultish, if you ask me.):


(Doorbell rings, dog goes apeshit, Bean starts screaming.) A crying baby is a great excuse to close the door, though.

Today I had them twice. Two elderly men at 10 am followed by a Spanish-speaking man and child at noon. "Do you speak Spanish? Does anyone in the house speak Spanish?"

Do they not check with each other to see which houses they've already been to? I wonder if our bilingual neighbors feign ignorance of English to get rid of them?

Our "No Soliciting" sign will be amended to include "No proselytizers". Leave me alone. I believe what I believe and no amount of annoying visits, whackadoo tracts, or fear mongering is going to convert me to your version of religion.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mom returned to the hospital yesterday, after a 3-day visit. She's back to anxious & depressed. She cried much of Tuesday and started yesterday by refusing to get out of bed. I was late to work making sure Hubby was able to get her into the car and handle the boys. They were supposed to drop Bean off at daycare on their way, but I took him instead so Hubby wouldn't risk leaving Mom alone in the car.

And so it starts again. I hope they decide to keep her as in inpatient at next month's hearing.
Peanut usually watches the animated Transformers on weekday mornings. It helps keep him in a somewhat good mood while getting ready for daycare. He always asks who the various characters are. Other than Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron, I have no idea.

This morning was the same. "Mommy, who's that one?"

Me: "????"

Hubby, yelling from the bathroom: "The brown one is Dookie. He transforms into a sewer trout."

OMG, I'm still laughing.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Introducing Bean:


This is one of the best purchases I've made for Peanut. It's a dry-erase alphabet from the dollar bin at T@rget. I went through all the letters once with Peanut then left him to his own devices. His handwriting is very shaky and he doesn't draw the lines for the letters in the correct sequence, but I think he's doing an amazing job. This was only the 3rd or 4th time he'd ever drawn letters.

Mom visited for the weekend. Hubby graciously offered to do all the driving (12 hours in all) so I could stay home with Bean who has his first cold.

Mom is doing very well. She's the calmest and most stable I've seen her in over a year and a half. Her hearing was last week and she's been placed on discharge status. She'll be monitored for two months and has to meet certain criteria, then they will work with her community liaison to place her. We had a nice visit without any conflicts. Peanut loved hanging out with her and went on both the trip to pick her up and the return trip. He was sad that she had to go back but handled it very well.

I'm concerned about where she'll be placed and need to talk with her liaison. They've discussed elderly housing - some sort of apartment or efficiency which sounds great to me, as long as Mom doesn't isolate herself. I need to find out if they offer any activities for the residents and how often they are. Mom is expecting to be kept busy, and I'm not sure if anyplace will live up to her expectations. I need to make the liaison aware of that, and make sure Mom has an idea of what she'll be getting (or not getting) - whether it sinks in or not. Mom also ran by me the posibility of moving back into her trailer with a roommate. BAD IDEA. I don't know who she would live with, the place is tiny, and the park doesn't allow rentals/roommates. My plan is to get her moved into wherever she is placed and sell the trailer.

She's supposed to get hearing aids sometime before she's discharged. This is wonderful news as they are too expensive for her to purchase and Medicare doesn't cover them. She still needs dentures, nearly a year after her set disappeared. The hospital was supposed to provide replacements, but at least that's something she can afford on her own.


Bean is such a mellow, sweet baby. He's sleeping 9-11 hours a night and falls asleep on his own when put to bed. Peanut still requires back-scratching and company to fall asleep. Even with a cold and lots of sniffles and snuffles, Bean is happy and sleeping well - his brother would have been miserable and cried most of the night. I just can't get over the difference between the two. I'm not complaining - although Peanut was difficult at times, he was a sweet baby, too, and his strong will got him through his preemie-ness to the great little guy he is now.


I'm so proud of Hubby. One of his married coworkers has an ongoing infatuation/flirtation with a girl at one of their off-duty details. Hubby has been telling him all along that he's stupid and is jeopardizing his marriage and family. Sure enough, his wife found out about the girl, and I do mean girl. She graduated from high school this year and is only two years older than his eldest child. His wife is threatening divorce and to take the kids and move back overseas to her family. The kids know something is up - eldest knows who the girl is and is pissed.

The coworker stopped by the detail last night after another argument with his wife. Hubby told him to leave and not bother talking with flirty girl, knowing his wife would most likely ask about it. In a nutshell, he's told the coworker he is a dumbass for jeopardizing nearly two decades of marriage and his family, and that if he wants to stay married (which he claims he does) he needs to cut all ties with the girl, including no longer working that specific detail. He offered to help find a replacement shift someplace else if his friend needs the money. The rest of his advice was that if the friend really thinks he and the girl have a future together, he needs to get divorced, let her grow up a few years, then give it a go.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bean is sleeping an uninterrupted 8-9 hours a night! Awesome!

He has started laughing when tickled, if one of us speaks in a silly voice, or if we make faces at him. I love baby laughs. He also laughs in his sleep, just like his big brother.
I finally tested my Taser and it sure works. Hubby got a target, which we set up in the garage. It was really cool, sparks and all. Hubby was impressed, but wanted to go a step further, so he cut the barbs off and taped the wires to his clothes, with the intent of me tazing him. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea, but went along with it after convincing him to lie on the bed so he wouldn't fall and get hurt (and after making sure he wouldn't pee). We agreed I would turn it off as soon as he told me to. Luckily, I decided to turn it off immediately after pushing the ON button. Poor Hubby could barely speak, it hurt so much. He was really happy with the results - he said it felt as bad as being tazed with one of the big police models he has for work.

Don't taze me, bro!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I've loved mysteries since I was a kid. Scooby Doo was one of my all-time favorite shows. When I was a bit older, I discovered Agatha Christie (the Miss Marple books were my favorites) and Ngaio Marsh. I've gone through spells of reading murder mysteries on and off. About a year ago I dound the Cliff Janeway books by John Dunning and worked through the library's collection. My latest find was the Gregor Devorkian books by Jane Haddam. I'm working on the library's collection now.

Haddam's tales always have a cast of several characters which could be the murderer(s). I usually can't figure out who did it or why, with the exception of one story - I figured out who, but not why. My most recent read was one of the "I have no idea whodunnit" books - I love those. The story is set in a small Pennsylvania town. Except locations in that town are based on my hometown and the adjacent town - definitely not in rural PA. At first she named a couple of places with familiar names that could have been coincidental. Then she named a street with an unusual name, about a mile from where I grew up. Later, she included a bookstore Mom and I used to love (which sadly closed). An important location was a restaurant Mom and I used to frequent on Friday nights before grocery shopping at the Grand Union across the street...which happened to be just up the road from a seedy theater - all included in Haddam's novel, right down to the curve and hill on that road. It was strange to read a novel about horrible people in a fictitious town based on the place I grew up.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We are a farting bunch in the selzach household. Hubby jokes that all the farting and burping sound like a frat house.

Peanut has recently learned the phrases "Did you hear a barking spider?" and "Did you tear your britches?" They both crack him up and must be asked any time someone passes gas.


We were in the car when Peanut pooted. He asked if I heard it (I didn't) then told me "Those were silly poots. They sound like acorns hitting the car top (roof)."

Where does he come up with this stuff? It's great!
Bean's 2-month well baby check was yesterday. He's almost 12 lbs and has grown a couple of inches. He's on the lower range of the percentile chart, but is right on target on his growth curve. He goes for a longer spell at nights - 4-5 hours then usually another 4 hours. The fussies seem to be decreasing and we have some days with almost no fussing at all. He's a very happy baby (other than the gassy spells). He smiles a ton. He also sleeps in his crib and co-sleeper! We can put him down when he's awake and he'll actually go to sleep without crying. I love the co-sleeper. He's right next to me where I can pat him or pop a binky in his mouth, but not in the bed where I'm afraid he'll smother...or never leave. We kept Peanut in bed with us for a couple of nights after his surgery and we're back to him crawling in bed with us nearly every night...not that we really mind. It's sweet to have the whole family snuggled up.

My parents visited last week to celebrate Dad's 70th birthday (holy crap) and to meet Bean. Grammy and Peanut were best buds the whole time. Grampy and Bean really hit it off, too. Both of them look wonderful. They've lost weight and are back to exercising regularly. Dad doesn't look or act 70. Step-mom surprised him with a lunchtime party at their favorite restaurant and the waitress thought the bakery made a mistake on his cake - she couldn't believe his age. I totally lost it after they left and spent the afternoon crying...arrgh, I'm tearing up now. I miss them so much. I wish Hubby and I could get our finances together so we could move back near his family. The kids would be near half their grandparents and we'd maybe be able to visit my parents more often. It would even be a driveable trip.

Mom continues to do well. She'll probably be released after her hearing next month. They told her it will take 4-5 months for the process to be complete. Once we know the decision I'll talk with the social worker and find out where they plan to place her.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm alive and well. Tired, but well. Bean is a little chunk and weighs 9 lbs according to our questionably accurate bathroom scale. It's such a difference to have a term baby. He still has a lot of fussy/gassy spells. I've eliminated chocolate in case that's the culprit (I was eating A LOT of it). He goes for longer spells between feeding, but wakes up with the fussies even when he's not hungry.

Breastfeeding has pretty much failed again. I didn't have it in me to have him on the boob for an hour out of every two around the clock. I'm pumping and producing nearly a half gallon a day. It's crazy. He does comfort nurse on me once or twice a day with the nipple shield, usually in the evening when he's awake or fussy and I'm ready for bed.

Peanut is recovering from his new ear tubes and adenoidectomy. Today is his second day post-surgery and he's doing a lot better. The day of his surgery was rough. He cried and moaned like clockwork about an hour before he could have a dose of painkiller for each dose. He's only had 3 doses of it today and is back to eating and drinking without too much fuss. He's getting better about taking his meds, but hates the antibiotic so we have a struggle for each dose.

Hubby returns to work this week. I'm wondering how I'll survive all those nights taking care of Bean alone.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'm exhausted, but very happy.

Bean is doing well. On Monday he was up 2 oz from his weight at hospital discharge. The pediatrician said everything looks good and when he found out we were having difficulties nursing, he sent in the lactation consulatant. Yes, they now have an LC on staff and she's awesome. She had another patient, so our visit was short, but she had some very good suggestions and we saw her again on Wednesday. She spent an hour with us and is so nice. I like her better than any of the other LCs I saw with Peanut or in the hospital and she really takes her time. For now we're using a nipple shield - it's the only way Bean will latch on and I'm pumping several times a day to keep my supply up. I'm not sure he's getting enough from nursing - he's on me almost constantly and always seems hungry, so we supplement with expressed milk a few times a day, too.

He's cute as a button and still likes to be held for much of the night. Hubby and I are taking shifts for the nights. He's starting to wake up for brief spells during the day. I love to look at his little eyes.

Peanut is handling his new brother very well. He's gentle and likes to kiss and pet the baby. He has a bit of attitude with us, but that's fairly normal. He's still sleeping in his bed. He woke up the other night while I was nursing Bean and flopped onto the couch next to me and passed out. Once Bean was done, I put Peanut back in his bed with no problems!

Peanut did give us a big scare this week. He was running through the house and tripped and fell against his step-stool. I saw it with my peripheral vision and heard the thunk when he made contact. I knew it wasn't going to be good. He cut his face next to his eye and bled like a stuck pig. He freaked out and Hubby yelled at him for running around - I don't think he realized how hurt Peanut was. Hubby was able to stop the bleeding with an icepack and compresses...all the while Peanut was crying and screaming for us not to touch him. After a couple of phone calls to the pediatrician we decided to bring him in, even though the triage nurse didn't think it would be necessary. Sure enough, he needed stitches which they don't do in office. After an hour there, Hubby had to take Peanut to the ER. Luckily they got him in really fast, were able to use numbing gel instead of shots, and Peanut got 2 stitches (which he thinks are bandaids). He was not happy about it and repeatedly pushed the doctor away.

We think Peanut may be going through a growth spurt. He's been clumsy and seems taller. Poor guy. His reward for getting stitches was a cool kiddie pool. Once he has the all-clear to get his face wet, he'll get to play in it.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I've been having feelings since last week that labor will happen soon...well, it did!

Bean was born at 10:38 am on June 5th after a very quick 3.5 hour labor! Hubby has nicknamed him ButterBean since he's got a bit of chunk. He's adorable and we're glad to be home.

My water broke just before 7 am on Thursday as I was getting ready to leave for work. I felt sort of crampy down low in my pelvis in the night and into the morning, but wasn't sure if it was anything important. I was supposed to see the OB at 9:15 anyway and decided I'd wait and ask her to check my cervix. Hubby and Peanut were planning to go to Sea World. Peanut had been asking to go for the past couple of weeks and it was the first day Hubby was free to take him. Peanut was so excited about it and I felt terrible bursting his bubble.

I didn't have any audible pops this time, just a wet sensation. I'd been so juicy anyway (TMI, I know), so at first I wasn't even sure if it was amniotic fluid or just the regular pregnancy mucous. I peed, got a fresh pad, and soaked it quickly. I told Hubby what was going on and we decided to take Peanut to daycare and head to the hospital. Hubby got Peanut up while I fed/watered the animals and got some last things together. I helped dress Peanut while Hubby showered, we explained he needed to go to daycare because we thought the baby was going to come and headed off in the car. By 7:30ish I was starting to feel contractions.

We dropped Peanut off around 8:15 and I was beginning to get uncomfortable contractions to the point where I couldn't walk during them, but wasn't in serious pain. We told the office and teachers what was going on and left his carseat and bag just in case a friend needed to pick him up. The teacher who lives in our neighborhood offered to take him home with her if necessary - she's such a sweetheart. He was such a trooper until it was time to leave. He cried so hard as we left. His teacher was great and held and comforted him.

We made it to the hospital shortly before 9. The contractions were getting painful. By the time we got to triage I was having to breathe through them. I was 4-5 cm dilated. The OB checked me once I moved to a labor room (the most uncomfortable walk of my life with some big contractions) and I was at 7 cm. The contractions were coming on fast and strong and I had a hard time breathing through them. Once I lay on the bed I felt a little better - I could relax and tolerate them a bit more. I was ready for the epidural but wondered if I'd have time to get one.

A short while later I began feeling like my abdomen was shaking during contractions and I had a lot of pressure. I was ready to push. The nurse had me roll back onto my back (I was on my side after Bean had some dips) and I was ready. I'm not sure how long I pushed, maybe 30 minutes. Wow, the urge is incredible (I was almost completely numb with Peanut and never felt it). With the help of the bed handle things I finally got into position for really good pushes and I could feel Bean moving down the birth canal. Finally he was out!

His Apgars were great - 9 I think. After his wipedown and checkover he latched on for a good 20 minutes!

Hubby went to the nursery for Bean's bath while I had lunch. We later moved into a room on the mother & baby hall. Luckily the other occupant was getting ready for discharge, so I had the room to myself for the first night. (The second night will make for a future post.) Hubby later brought Peanut to meet his little brother. He went over to Bean and told him he loved him and he is his bestest buddy (so cute). He thought Bean's hair tasted funny when he kissed him and wouldn't kiss him again until today!

Hubby and Peanut went home and Bean and I got to know each other. The nurses took him for a couple of hours so I could sleep, then brought him back to feed around midnight. Nursing has not been easy, so we're supplementing with pumped milk and a little formula. The second night was tough - Bean wanted to be held almost all night, so I only slept about 3 hours. He's sleeping better at home and Hubby was a great help last night letting me sleep for about 4 consecutive hours until I needed to get up to attempt a feeding and pump. Sometimes Bean latches on pretty well, but he falls asleep and never nurses for more than 5-10 minutes at a time. Other times he won't latch at all and either falls asleep, even with lots of back scratching and stimulation, or he gets upset and squalls. He's a little jaundiced, so we want to make sure he's getting enough milk.

We see our regular pediatrician tomorrow and I'll ask about the nursing. I'll call the lactation consultants tomorrow or Tuesday if things don't get easier. I really want to nurse Bean without the hassle of pumping, but I'm up for it for now.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hubby and Peanut had a very long trip to the ENT's office yesterday. Our old doctor has left the practice, so they are down to one ENT and a nurse practitioner. The boys were there for approximately two hours just to have the air pressure test (I don't know what it's called, but they check the eardrum) and a consult with the ENT. She took a look, declared that the tube-free ear still has fluid and the other is hanging onto its tube. She verified that he needs a new set of tubes and the adenoids out. Thankfully, she didn't yank the remaining tube, I guess since he'll be in for surgery soon anyway. (A friend had both of hers removed without anesthesia as a young child and vividly remembers the pain.) They wanted to schedule the appointment at the office, but Hubby asked if we could wait until after the baby is born. They're supposed to call next week and we'll see what we can arrange. I'm not looking forward to bringing a newborn to the surgery center, but I want to be there and I want Hubby to be at the birth (with our luck it would all happen at the same time if we didn't wait)!
3.5 weeks to go until the due date. Woo Hoo! Some friends from work hosted a baby shower this week, BEFORE the baby's arrival. Very different from last time.

I met one of the other OBs from my doc's practice. I never made it that far last time. He was very nice and I felt comfortable with him. He teased me a bit since we didn't have the baby's room ready - I liked that he made jokes and was personable. I'll meet the other doc this week.

The baby's room has mostly been rectified. Hubby and I spend several hours today rearranging the office to fit the guest bed, then moved the baby stuff into what was the guest room. The crib is mostly together, but we misplaced a part and couldn't finish it. Oops. We were worried about how everything would fit into the office, but it actually looks good. We're still going through stuff and weeding out what can be yard-saled or donated. Hubby assembled the side-car bassinette and it's in our bedroom's corner waiting to be used. We want to have the baby close to us in the beginning, but would like to avoid the whole sleeping in our bed deal if we can. And it will be safer for those times when Peanut ends up in bed with us.

By pure luck we saw the shuttle go up today. Hubby flipped to the NASA channel just as it was lifting off. I grabbed Peanut and we ran outside in time to see the "Space Shovel" go.

Friday, May 30, 2008

We're getting calls from collection agencies again. No, we're not in default on any debts. The first asked for someone with a name similar to Youngest SIL's name. Her first name is unusual, but spelled similarly to a more common name. They asked for CommonName OurLastname. Hubby stated several times that no one by that name resides with us.

Another call came last night, this time asking for the abbreviated version of her first name. Hubby explained that he has a sister with that name but she lives two states away and we have no contact with her. We don't know her phone number.

We're pretty sure they're looking for her. We heard via Good SIL that Youngest is having a lot of money problems. She and her partner separated last year and her partner moved out a few months ago. It sounds like she's trying to live a two-income lifestyle on hers alone. Her partner made a very good salary, so I'm sure it hurts. We also learned that Hubby's mom had to make back tax payments on her old house - the one she deeded to Youngest SIL when she divided the land among her kids. Apparently, Youngest never paid the taxes on it. Nice.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

One of Hubby's unsolved homicide cases, the one involving a dead baby, was solved! We assumed the mother would never be found, but a DNA match was made a couple of weeks ago. The kicker is that the Mom is a middle aged woman with other kids. She didn't want her family to know so she hid the pregnancy from them, gave birth to a live baby, and put her in a trash bag in a dumpster. I don't understand how anyone, especially someone who already has children, could do such a thing.
Four more weeks till my due date. Woo Hoo!


In big Peanut news....he's sleeping in his own "big boy" bed! We bought a comfy twin mattress and box spring set last weekend, and what a difference it has made. If we only knew the key to getting him to sleep was a soft bed, we would've done it months ago. We decided to go with a mid-priced pillow top mattress. Peanut tested it out in the store and declared he wanted it, so we got it. He slept through until 7:30 or 8 am the first night, came into our bed at around midnight the second night, and has slept until somewhere between 5 and 8 am for the past week! We still have to do the all-over scratch routine and one of us lies on the floor until he falls asleep, but he's going to sleep within 15-30 minutes and isn't fighting it so much. I'm relishing the quiet nights as they won't last much longer!


Mom called again last week. She sounded a little better. She wasn't doing the gasping thing nearly as much and again was very interested in how we all are doing. She wished we could visit, but doesn't want us to make the long trip with my due date so close. She promised to call again this week.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Yesterday was the date in my pregnancy with Peanut that he was born, so I'm now more pregnant than I've ever been. Six and a half more weeks to go! Hubby has a boat load of special details lined up over the next couple of weeks to help with expenses while I'm on partial pay during my parental leave. (I don't have enough vacation time to get full pay this time.) He keeps joking that I need to wait at least 2 more weeks before going into labor so he can work his scheduled hours. Of course, we're really hoping this pregnancy goes to full term.

Peanut's pictures from daycare are in! He looks so cute. He has a goofy face in one of the poses, but the others are adorable. I'm glad we're finally getting happy pictures instead of ones with tears.

I talked to Mom late last week. She actually called me to wish me a happy Mother's Day and see how everything is going. She's still a mess and is doing the gasping breathing thing, but I'm happy she wanted to call. We had a decent, but short, converstation. I hope they get her on the right combo of meds soon or that the depression and anxiety start to burn themselves out.

I had a really nice conversation with my aunt. She also called to with me a happy Mother's Day and wanted to know how we all are. She said she wished I was hers so she could come for the birth. She's been like a surrogate mom for me (she took care of me as an infant when Mom was institutionalized back then). I'm so lucky to have her and Stepmom in my life. I told her to come anyway, that we'd love to have her. I hope she does.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hubby and I are working in earnest again to get Peanut to sleep in his bed. We started Sunday night and so far he's gone to sleep fairly easily in his bed. This involves multiple bedtime stories, piling his favorite stuffed animals and blankets into bed, and scratching his backsidestummyearsheadshouldersarmsandlegs. He has stayed in bed until somewhere between 1 and 3 am each night - not too bad!

The key was to tell him his animals want to sleep in his bed. Who knew?


It's love bug season in steamy FL. Peanut recognizes them on sight, as does any Florida resident - the freakin' things are everywhere. He noticed a, ahem, pair on the ground the other day.

"Mommy, are those love bugs?"


"They stuck together because they love each other."


"Dat's why they love bugs."

Today makes 33 weeks! Everything looked good at my OB checkup and I had another negative fetal fibronectin test. Only 1 more test to go, and after that they won't stop early labor. I'm still having frequent contraction and they often hurt a bit in my pelvis and lower back, but so far they seem to be non-productive. Fingers are crossed that we go to full term. In 3 days I'll be at the date I delivered Peanut.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Peanut’s daycare had picture day today. They wanted to take his pictures as soon as he got there, so I stayed to avoid a melt-down.

He is such a ham! He chatted with the photographer, bounced around, smiled a lot and was generally silly. But every time she aimed the camera at him, he would turn around or cover his face. She was eventually able to distract him with bubbles (very smart woman).

At one point she asked him to say “Chuck E. Cheese.” His reply: “I can’t.” So she asked him to say “stinky feet” at which point he got into a rambling dialog of how he was clean and his feet smell clean (he had a bath last night in preparation for said pictures). Up until bedtime last night, he would hold out various limbs and ask Hubby or me to smell how clean he was. I was even asked to smell his bum but declined that offer. I think she got some good shots and several really silly ones.


Peanut and Hubby accompanied me to my OB appointment yesterday (31 weeks)! They were able to hear the baby’s heartbeat which Peanut seemed to enjoy. The OB asked if Peanut wanted to hear his heart, but he preferred to use Daddy as a guinea pig. I think he was afraid the doppler thingy would hurt.

The boys went on their merry way and I went to the hospital to have the fetal fibronectin swab taken. I was expecting to be out in an hour or so…and was there for about 3. The nurse had me change into a gown and hooked me up to the fetal monitor, pulse ox, etc. (I wasn’t expecting all that.) It turns out I was having contractions EVERY 2-3 MINUTES. Not productive labor contractions, but frequent ones, nonetheless. A couple huge cups of water later and they were down to every 7-8 minutes. The baby’s heart tones were great and the swab came back negative, so I was cut free. The doctor decided to have me repeat the test every week until I’m at 35 weeks, at which point they will not stop premature labor if it starts.

Holy crap! I get Braxton-Hicks contractions irregularly throughout the day, but I had no idea a non-laboring uterus could be so busy. It does happen, according to the nurse, but it was scary. She recommended I up my water intake to roughly a gallon a day – the Florida heat can be brutal on pregnant moms.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Peanut went for another ENT checkup this week. He still has fluid in the left ear (the one with no tube) and although his hearing is normal, he doesn't hear as well on that side. The other tube is still hanging on. They'll give 6 more weeks for it to come out. The good news is they can remove it in the office without sedation. The LPN said they can manage that in kids with one tube, but never with two. It must hurt, but is quick, so the kids don't expect it. However, once they've gotten one out, there's no way the kids will let them back for a second one. If they do the removal, I hope he won't freak out the next time he goes in (like he's done at the pediatrician's in anticipation of rectal thermometers and shots).

The bad news is that if he still has fluid, we'll be looking at another set of tubes plus adenoid removal. We'll have to find out more about the surgery. She said the kids are usually fully recovered in a couple of days. My big concern is anesthesia. The tubes were done in less than 5 minutes under gas. I don't know how much longer the adenoids take and if that requires more anesthetic.

I just want my little guy to be healthy and safe.
Wow. I'm 30 weeks into this pregnancy.

So far, things seem to be going well. Of course, the closer I get to the time when Peanut was born (33w3d) the more I worry about pre-term labor. I've noticed more frequent Braxton-Hicks in the past few weeks and a more frequent need to pee, but nothing really worrisome. The OB and I discussed the fetal fibronectin test at my last appointment and I think I'll ask her to do it at my appointment coming up this week. We also talked about what signs to look out for. Had I known better last time, I would have seen her/gone to the hospital the day before Peanut was born. That was the day I left work early feeling very uncomfortable and with the big red flag feeling of "How am I going to get through 6 more weeks of this?" Apparently being very uncomfortable or feeling a lot of pressure, even without contractions, often happens before a pre-term birth (something the birthing books I read never mentioned). I don't have the horrendous swelling I did with Peanut and hope that is a good sign.

This baby is just as active as Peanut was. I love to look down and see my big belly move with kicks. I think Peanut even felt a kick or two last night! He's usually not patient enought to keep his hand on my belly.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Am I unreasonable in thinking that my 3-yr-old who has only been potty trained a few months isn’t ready to wipe his own butt? He comes home from daycare maybe once or twice a week with soiled undies. Hubby and I assumed he had an occasional accident, although he doesn’t have poop accidents at home.

I was driving home with Peanut one evening and out of the blue he told me his undies had poop in them and he needed clean ones. I asked why the teacher didn’t change his dirty undies. No answer. So I asked which teacher went to the potty with him. The reply: “I go by myself.” Hmmm. One of us usually sits with him when he poops at home. He can go by himself, but requests company (and the door must be shut ALL THE WAY, no noise, and no talking. Until he initiates a conversation, usually in whispers.) We always wipe his butt for him. I’m not sure what kind of mess he would make if left to his own devices. When asked to wipe himself, he refuses and it's not a battle worth fighting.

I brought it up the next day with one of the other teachers since Peanut’s teacher comes in after I drop him off. Apparently she teacher accompanies the kids to the potty in the mornings, but has them go solo in the afternoons. Once the kids are out of diapers, the teachers are limited by law as to how much contact they can have with the kids' private areas, so they are expected to quickly learn to clean themselves and receive little or no help.

When he moves to the next class, he will be expected to go completely by himself. I understand the teacher has a class full of kids to watch, but I also expect her to be observant enough not to let my child sit in soiled underwear all afternoon. Is it so much to ask that they check the kids after they go potty?

Can 3-4 year old kids realistically be expected to thoroughly clean themselves after pottying? Will they wash their hands without reminders and supervision?
Why are so many maternity tops and dresses so low cut? I think they look fine in the store, then I wear them to work and worry I’m flashing too much skin. Thank goodness for cami tops that can be worn underneath.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Summer has arrived. Spring went by in a flash. One day the temperatures were bearable and the nights were cool, the next we were into the mid 80s with "lows" in the 70s. I guess, that still is Spring weather, though. In the middle of Summer the nights stay hot as well. We're already getting the crazy afternoon storms. One thunderstorm last week knocked out our power. Peanut was scared by all the lightning and thunder but loved eating by candlelight. According to one news station, our area had nearly 2000 lighting strikes in 15 minutes. I wish Spring would hold on just a little bit longer... I love opening windows in the evenings and going for walks.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hubby and Peanut had their first overnight (sort of) at a friend's house. Hubby and his friend used to work together and when the friend got married we all started hanging out as couples. They have a son who's Peanut's age and an infant daughter. The boys (big and small) enjoy playing with each other, so Hubby and Peanut were invited overnight. The little boys slept in a tent in the livingroom until the big boys realized they wouldn't be able to play the Wii without waking them. They were shuttled off to Friend's Son's room and snuggled together in bed. Everything went great until Peanut woke up at midnight crying for me. They arrived home around 1 am. Peanut woke briefly, snuggled next to me, and was out for the night within 5 minutes.

It's nice to be loved and missed.
My parents visited for the weekend. As usual, we had a great time, but it was much too short. Peanut was shy with them for all of about 10 minutes until Grammy got him smiling. He dragged her off to his room to show off his toys. He spent a good bit of time wanting her to hold him - I'm so glad they had some good bonding time. Both Dad and Stepmom were able to feel the baby move. Stepmom didn't see me at all when I was pregnant with Peanut, so it was extra special for her.

We had a nice, lazy weekend together with a couple of nice evening walks and a visit to a local park and gardens. Sunday was difficult for all of us - they left around lunchtime to catch their flight home. Peanut did OK until he woke up from his nap. He cried so hard for his Grammy and Grampy, then I cried, too. We both told each other not to be sad and agreed we would be happy. Snuggle time on the couch helped us both feel better. I still get a twinge every time I use the guest/Peanut bathroom - it smells like Dad's cologne.

They plan to come back in August to see the baby and celebrate Dad's 70th birthday. I'm already looking forward to it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Overheard between Hubby and Peanut:

“Can I have some chewing gum?”

“Sure. But only chew it. Don’t swallow it. Spit it out when you’re done.”


A few seconds later…

“Can I have another one?”

“Did you swallow it?”


“Open your mouth and let me see. Where is it?”

“In my tummy.”

“Don’t swallow it means don’t put it in your tummy.”

“Can it go in my leg?”

“No. Only in your mouth then spit it out when you’re done.”


Putting Peanut back on a potty schedule has drastically reduced pee accidents. Yay!
The outcome of Mom's hearing was as expected - she'll be held for 6 additional months.

I asked Mom what was going on and she said she’s feeling a lot of guilt over being in the hospital and her inability to help when the baby comes. I spoke a few days later to the doctor who reiterated the same. Mom is anxious, depressed, and feeling helpless. Oh, and our visits stress her out, too. (I had already guessed at that). She’s brought all this up in therapy and mentioned how Gramma used to do the same to her. Gramma was a pro at guilt-tripping (and was likely bipolar).

So now I’m feeling bad. I know that Mom’s illness is hers alone and my life really has nothing to do with it. But still, it’s hard not to feel a tiny bit shitty that our visits get her into a tizzy and that my pregnancy has contributed to her decline.

I’m also relieved. Her original release date was about a month before my due date and I can’t imagine dealing with her and a newborn. I can imagine her calling me multiple times a day, unable to cope, wanting to move out of the group home, and wanting me to take her to the hospital. I can picture me, a newborn, and Mom sitting in the ER for 4-10 hours waiting for a bed to open, all the while her begging/griping at me to leave, that she doesn’t really need to be there, doesn't want to be there…

(I have an unspoken rule: if I take Mom to the hospital, she’s not leaving until she’s been evaluated.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My talk with the boss helped. Post-Doc has been much kinder to Nice Coworker. The lab has been downright peaceful. She still mutters under her breath and gets a bit preachy, but it's so much better.

I think she has mental issues. Seriously.

She told Nice Coworker that she yells at her because "My work is flawless. I hold myself to a high standard and expect the same of everyone else. So I need to yell at you for you to perform to my standards."

Apparently she and another employee talk about Nice Coworker and me in their mother language. She's convinced that I understand them and have been eavesdropping on them. I'm a stereotypical monolingual American. I can pick up a few words or phrases (mostly dealing with law enforcement) but do not understand them.

It just gets better and better!
Beware the Ides of March!

Today is the 14th anniversary of when Hubby and I started dating. It's a date he arbitrarily and jokingly picked. We started hanging out with each other sometime in February of 1994 and transitioned into a more serious relationship. Neither of us thought the other was interested in dating at first although we were both attracted to each other.

We first met during the fall semester of 1992. I was a sophomore transfer to the university we would graduate from; he was a junior. We met in a Cell Biology course. Most courses in biology had fewer than 30 students and were taught in lab rooms. We sat at opposite benches, facing each other. We both noticed each other early on, but didn't realize it until after we were dating. I was still in contact with my high school boyfriend back home (although the relationship was dying a slow death) and he was living with someone. We only spoke to each other once or twice during the semester, but the class was small enough we could ovehear each other's conversations or would get involved in larger conversations with other students. That's how I learned he was with the other person and was into martial arts.

Oddly, after that class ended, we didn't see each other again until the spring semester of 1994. That was amazing considering our university only had about 3000 students and the biology department was obviously much smaller. Most of the biology majors knew each other by sight if not by name. We never passed each other in the hall or bumped into each other at the library or a party.

This time, the timing was right. Creepy (aka Shithead) boyfriend broke up with me right after Valentine's Day. Hubby was in a casual relationship with someone else (not the person he had been living with). Hubby would make passing conversation with me before class. He invited me to go for a motorcycle ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway and I was hooked. I invited him to a "love sucks" party that a friend had after she was also dumped around the same time as me. Hubby and I began to spend more and more time together, he got up the nerve to kiss me, I asked him to my sorority formal and that was it. He did go through a typical guy freakout of the "We're spending too much time together and I can't handle it" variety which pissed me off since he was the one calling me almost every day! We backed off and within a week or two he was calling again.

We survived my semester of undergraduate research in the Northeast and Belize, me going to grad school while he moved back home as a teacher (his support helped me so much in dealing with the stresses of a grad student as well as living with the crazy roommate), and me moving here for my job. We broke up for a few months (I was tired of the long distance deal) and he decided to get a teaching job here. Teaching sucked, he decided to go to the police academy at night, and as soon as he was done, he quit teaching and became a cop. Now we have Peanut, one on the way, the pets, and the house. It's all good.

I love you, Hubby.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Well, the shit hit the fan in our lab. Of course, Post-doc decided to go medieval on the other person's ass when I wasn't around (as usual). A couple other employees were in the lab and witnessed the verbal assault. While Nice Coworker (the victim) and I were discussing what happened, one of the other employees overheard and agreed the situation truly was That Bad.

So far, Nice Coworker (NC) has been blamed multiple times for things she didn't do. As in she had no part in collecting the samples in question and had no part in some plants that were slightly damaged by a pesticide. Yet somehow she is fully to blame. These sorts of accusations have been going on for a couple of months and NC stated she was able to handle the situation. As of this last incident, she's not so sure, is having stomache pains at work and is starting to consider looking for a new job.

What I also learned: Post-doc gives her a hard time over taking full lunch breaks (that we are provided BY LAW). Post-doc expects her to stay late and finish projects/prep materials for the next day even though she leaves at or shortly after 5. As in "I need this for tomorrow and expect it to be ready when I get here" (which generally is 15-45 minutes late). NC is salaried and receives no pay for extra hours. Post-doc hints at or even asks NC to come in on weekends. NC hasn't taken the bait on that.

I let things settle down and mulled it over for a couple days then went to the boss and filled him in. I didn't feel good about doing it, but NC deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. We all do. She doesn't deserve rants, lectures, condescending talk or to be yelled at.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Spring has arrived here in our part of the world. The azaleas and trees are flowering. The scent of citrus blossoms is heavy in areas near groves. Mockingbirds are singing and ospreys are nesting. Oaks have put on flushes of brilliant green new leaves. I still miss the “real” spring season of the North, but spring is lovely, although more of a transition than an actual season.

Mom’s hearing regarding her healthcare status is today. The initial plan was to recommend her discharge in May (after her 6 month involuntary order was up). I spoke with her on Sunday and she was having a bad time and reported that she would be staying in longer. A call to her social worker confirmed that the doctor has changed her mind in the past couple of weeks and will now recommend that Mom stay another 6 months. She is concerned for Mom’s safety if Mom is released. I trust the doctor’s judgment. Ultimately, the decision rests with the magistrate and lawyers, but they generally follow the doctor’s lead. I’m sad she’ll remain in the hospital (a depressing place), but relieved that they’re taking her case seriously. I’m also relieved that she won’t be released a month before my due date.

The pregnancy seems to be going well. I still worry all the time and have fears of another premature birth, but I’m trying to focus on the good. I think I’ve gained less weight than I did at this point with Peanut (as evidenced by photos – my face isn’t round like last time). I think I was already starting to retain water at this point and have no swelling now. I hope that will hold off for a while. I was miserably uncomfortable last time.

Peanut is still having lots of attitude interspersed with sweetness. He’s been wetting his pants over the past few days and Hubby and I aren’t sure what’s up. He peed himself 3 times yesterday (not a bladder full, but enough to soak through to his pants). Hubby put him in the extra thick training pants last night and he had another accident so Hubby made him wear a diaper to bed. Peanut cried and cried over it. I’m not sure I agree with putting him back in diapers (which could backfire), but Hubby was really frustrated. Two of the accidents happened shortly after he asked Peanut if he needed to pee. We were letting him tell us when he needed to go, along with occasional reminders. I guess we’re back to making him go potty at regular intervals.

I made it to the breastfeeding class over the weekend (I missed out on it with Peanut – he was born a couple days before the class and I was too exhausted to go). I already knew most of the info and felt a little weird – I think all the other women were first-timers. We did watch an amazing video of newborns wiggling, scooting, and rooting to the breast – with little or no help. I got teary eyed watching all the little ones and thinking of how different my situation was.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I read on another blog (I think it may have been Incoherent Ramblings of a Punk in Suburbia, but I’m not positive) that two-year olds may be terrible, but three-year olds are assholes. It’s true. Peanut is generally a sweet, affectionate child, but man, he often has a rotten attitude.

We’re apparently revisiting the time of tantrums. He’s honed his tantruming into a fine art. We visited Dinosaur World a couple of weeks ago. I knew I was in for trouble when he started dozing on the way there. He’d close his eyes, head bob, and pop his eyes open and ask “Arewethereyetarewethereyet?” This went on until indeed, we were there. We stayed and played for a couple of hours. He held my hand near the scary T. rex model. He dug in the boneyard sand. He loved the scary, designed-for-older kids playground and needed minimal spotting from me to make sure he didn’t fall off any of the 5+ foot-high equipment. I gave him several warnings that departure time was looming, gave him a final “last time” on one of the rickety climbing things, then told him it was time to go. Ohmygod. He screamed. He balled his fists and went rigid. And screamed even louder. I had to carry/drag his little banshee ass outta there. He cried and yelled for another 20 minutes of the ride home until he finally succumbed to sleep.

We had a repeat over using the potty a couple mornings ago and again that night over brushing his teeth/putting on jammies.

I’ve also been called “crusty booger” and “You crack…crack of BUTT” (OK, the phrasing on that was hilarious).

When my tired, acid-refluxy, hormonal pregnant ass is ready to sell him to the Gypsies, he says: “I need to give you another hug and kiss. And kiss my baby.” Twice.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I get a phone call at work. I hear:

“Tell Mommy what you told me.”

“I (muffled) Daddy (muffled).”

“Say it again, please.”

“I oooo Daddy ace.”


“He said he’s going to poot in Daddy’s face.”

“Yeah. I gonna poot in Daddy’s face.”

“Oh.” Giggle, giggle.

Apparently the two of them were sword “fighting” and Peanut pointed his finger at Hubby and said “I gonna poot in your face.”

Later in bed, Peanut made good on his threat.
We spent a lovely 3-day weekend camping at a beachside state park. The campground was in a beautiful wooded area. The temperatures were cool and comfortable which kept the bugs to a minimum. Peanut loved the campground’s playground. Even a big face-plant onto the playground mulch, which resulted in several scratches, didn’t keep him down for long. He loved digging in the beach sand and looking for stars at night. We met several other folks with campers similar to ours and had fun hanging out with them.

Peanut also informed us of a new term: fire bees. Fire bees are the glowing things (sparks) that fly up out of a campfire. Too cute.

We managed a quick trip to visit Mom (only an hour from the park). We picked up some pajamas for her on our way (because the 2 sets she went to the hospital with are long gone). Then we took her into town for a pair of flip flops. She has a nasty infection between two toes and doesn’t think it’s getting any better. She’s on antibiotics and an ointment. I spoke with the doctor and ward nurse who think it’s slowly healing.

I’m really pissed about her clothes disappearing. Apparently she didn’t receive all the stuff we brought a couple weeks ago for her birthday, so I wrote up a list describing in detail everything we brought. I understand that other patients steal and that things get lost in the laundry, but we’ve sent her somewhere around 20 pairs of socks and underwear and multiple outfits. The nurses hold any candy we send and she either doesn’t get any or the bags are mysteriously half-empty when she does get some. I've mentioned the lost items a few times to the social worker and a nurse and always get the same answer: it happens, label everything. I know, and I do. The problem, though, is that for a patient who has mental issues (which sometimes express as paranoia) not feeling secure about your things makes your frame of mind even worse. Mom's stuff disappearing stresses her out - a lot. She has little control over her days and she clings to what little control and privacy she does have. I may try to address this with the hospital administration once she's released, but I really don't want to go there while she's still in. I doubt it will matter anyway, but at least I'll feel like I've done something. I also want to make them aware that some of the staff are rough with patients, especially the older, less mobile ones. Again, it's something I'd prefer to do once she's out.
As I’ve mentioned before, I loathe W@l-M@rt. They discriminate when advancing employees into managerial positions, put small local competition out of business, block employees from unionizing (often by dissolving departments), and sell cheap crap. The Selzach family shops there as a last resort when we can’t find an item elsewhere or when we have a late night emergency and it’s the only place open. I also don’t like much of their clientele. Their reek of cigarettes and beer says it all.

We recently picked up a few items at our neighborhood retail hell. I noticed a little girl picking candy from the display at the back of our lane’s cash register and thought little of it. The cashier noticed that the girl had opened a pack of gum, put it back, then joined her mother in the next lane over. So the cashier pulled the gum out and handed it to the mom telling her that she had to pay for it since it was opened. As soon as our cashier went back to scanning our stuff, the mom slipped the gum back into the display. So the cashier again told her she needed to pay for it and received dirty, glares from the mom. She gave up and totaled our purchase.

WTF? If you ignore your kids and they break or damage something, you’re responsible for it, period. And when you get busted for being a sneak, don’t get a ‘tude with the person doing their job. Discipline your child, while you’re at it…or better yet, pay attention to what your kid and her sticky fingers are doing.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My infrequent and shoddy blogging has become even more infrequent. I do the vast majority of writing during lunch breaks. We've had several new people join the lab, so my once private office is now shared by several coworkers. Privacy no more.

We have a great group of people in the lab...except one. She's condescending and rude to those she deems "below" her on the pecking order. She has a PhD, which does give some superiority, but she's a post-doc: a temporary employee. Post-doc positions are transitional: a job for a post-graduate before they move on to a permanent position, usually as faculty or in industry. So, she's more highly educated than the rest of us schlubs (except the new-new post-doc, and his arrival definitely ruffled some feathers), but two of us apparently have more experience in our research area than she does. It makes for interesting dynamics.

She leaves me alone, I think because I'm the senior person in the lab and work on an unrelated project (although I have helped on various parts of her project over the years and am pretty familiar with the applied stuff. Not so much on the molecular work.) But she's rude and sometimes downright nasty to two of the other employees. I don't know if I should step in. I supervise their time, but their work is delegated to them by our big boss and the post-doc. Some I'm a supervisor-light. I've debated bringing all this up with the big boss, but I'm not sure if it's my place. I'm also pretty sure post-doc has taken several days off without reporting the time (OK, I know she didn't report the time and doubt she made it up over weekends, but can't prove it) and don't know if I should address this with the big boss, too. If it was any other employee I'd confront them and then give the boss a heads-up. Since she's not under my supervision, I don't want to be the lab rat (haha, get it?) Big boss is a fairly stress-out and busy guy, so I don't want to add bullshit to his responsibilities.

She's been here for over a half year and has little to show for it. I think the big boss has figured that out and is leaning on her to produce data for an upcoming meeting and paper. Bottom line is I think she doesn't have as much knowledge as she claims to and covers by doling out her work to the other employees and by being absolutely disorganized. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I've been feeling Bean moving for about 4 weeks now. The movements have become more definite in the past couple of weeks. I love feeling the little bumps and nudges.

Every now and then Peanut decides to talk to the baby. He'll say "Baby!" to my tummy, then go on his merry way.

Peanut's big news: he's mostly potty trained! He's been wearing undies all day for 2 weeks with surprisingly few accidents. We did put him in a pull-up for the long trip to visit Mom, but he used the potty anyway. He's good about telling us when he needs to go. I ask every now and then if he needs the potty, but the answer is always a no.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Peanut went for a checkup today. I saw that Hubby called while I was out of the lab and returned his phone call. I could barely hear him over the crying in the background. Hubby asked if I knew this appoinment involved a shot. I didn't. It was either Hep or Hib, I couldn't quite make it out and it had been roughly 20 minutes since the shot. I did clearly hear sobs of "IIIIIII want myyyyyy mommmmyyyyyyy."

I want to go cry now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Traffic has been horrific. I really shouldn't complain - I wasn't on the interstate during yesterday's huge pileups. Things could be a lot worse. With the interstate still closed, traffic is diverted onto local roads - my usual way into work. I've been creatively using various backroads, so this morning's commute wasn't too bad. I was 30 minutes late yesterday and still was the first one in (other than the boss who lives a couple miles from work).

Fog and smoke were big problems again this morning, so the alternate route I hoped to take was also closed down.

We're catching whiffs of smoke inside the building - enough to make my throat itchy. I'm glad I'm not working outside today.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

When Peanut gets upset or frustrated, he often kicks or hits. This results in timeouts and a frustrated Mommy who yells. He kicked my stomach as I was trying to settle his squirmy, bouncy, loud, and overtired self into bed. I lost it and yelled at him. He rolled over onto Daddy’s pillow, buried his face, and sniffled “I sad because you yell at me.” My not-so-stellar response was that he could be sad all he wanted, but that didn’t change the fact that he kicked me and KICKING IS BAD.

Hubby came into the room and told Peanut why it was so bad to kick Mommy in the tummy: because Mommy has a baby in there.

The gears whirred. Peanut sat up in bed.

“You eat the baby?”

“No, I didn’t eat the baby.”

“Open your mouf. It’s dark. Turn on da light so I can see.”

“You can’t see the baby that way.”

“Do I have baby in my tummy? Daddy have baby in his tummy?”

“No, sweetie, only Mommies can have babies. And the baby isn’t in my tummy, it’s in a special place called my uterus.”

Now he’s all about “his” baby. He talks to and hugs my tummy. He really wants to see the baby, but I’ve tried to explain that it will be a long time before the baby is big enough to be born.

I hope he’ll be such a sweet boy when the baby arrives.

I’m praying this will be an uncomplicated term pregnancy.
To my neighbor:

Thank you for bringing my mail. It’s not the first time I’ve played musical mail with the neighbors. Our mail carrier is well known for her mistakes – as she drives down the street you can watch the folks in her wake checking their boxes and trading letters. I realize it’s a pain to get home from work and have the hassle of taking letters to someone else’s house. Sometimes I’m lazy and do it the next day.

When you said you’d had it “for a little while” I guessed a week, two weeks tops. It was right after the holidays, after all, and everyone is busy and stressed this time of the year. I thanked you and you left.

I looked it over: one piece of junk and an envelope from the state hospital. I tore into the envelope and found contact information for Mom’s social worker and doctor and an informational booklet on the hospital. It seemed odd to receive it now. So I looked at the postmark: November 17. November fucking 17th - 6 weeks ago, two days after Mom was transferred.

You had a packet for me, from a hospital (clearly shown on the return address) and you didn’t bother to bring it to me for 6 weeks? What the hell is wrong with you? I can only assume you had a family emergency or major illness. Thankfully it wasn’t paperwork requiring my signature in order for Mom to get treatment. Thankfully it wasn’t a request for financial information or else Mom would be charged the full monthly amount.

Are you so busy and important that you can’t take 5 minutes to do a small kindness? Hell, you could’ve just driven over and stuck it in my mailbox – no exiting the car required.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

We visited Mom at the end of last week. Hubby and I had a rare day off together so we packed Peanut and the dvd player into the car and made the 3 hour drive to the state hospital. Mom was happy to see us, as we were happy to see her.

She's crazy. There's really no other way to say it. I've never seen her like this before. She's paranoid (although some of it probably is for good reason as her clothes and other items regularly go missing). Her glasses were recovered, but her watch and dentures are long gone. She's convinced the nurses, staff, and other patients hate her. Who knows? Some of the staff probably are Nurse Ratched types, while others are probably OK. She also thinks she's possessed. She's still doing the weird gasping/breathing thing which started after she was transferred. When she hyperventillates, they put her in time out. According to the psychiatrist, the breathing thing is a manifestation of anxiety (which I had already assumed) and she feels that Mom can't control it. I'm not sure that punishing her with time outs is the best way to deal with it, but her gasping disturbs the other patients when they are in class or group therapy. She said she's only been outside a couple of times in the 6 weeks she's been there. She's only allowed off the unit with a staff member and they're chronically understaffed. That angered me. Even at our local hospital, there was a secure courtyard that all patients had access to at least once a day.

She's still convinced that she'll be in the hospital forever. At this point, I'm feeling that way, too.
More from the mouths of babes:

Peanut and I are lying in bed snuggling before getting up (we did lots of that this past week as work was closed for the holidays. I dread going back tomorrow.)

"What's dat smell?"

"Is it stinky?"


"It's Mommy's breath."

"Mommy, your breaf stinky. You need to brush your teef. Your mouf is dirty."


We're in the mall parking lot and a car rolls by - I'm surprised we couldn't actually see the cannabis smoke coming out. You could smell it from a mile away.

"What's dat smell?"

Hubby and I simply crack up.

Peanut is lying in bed the day after Christmas, fighting sleep as usual.

"Santa bring me presents. He come when we sleep. I want to see him. He come back?"

"No, sweetie, he only comes at Christmas. Remember, you saw him when he came to school. You can see him again next year."

"We go to Norf Pole to see him. We take our sleigh. Mommy, Daddy, Lily, and Kitties go. We wear glubs (gloves) and jackets. It cold at Norf Pole."