Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sleep, glorious sleep.

I know what you’re thinking: Surely he didn’t really pull his diaper off...

Twice, friends. Twice.

We’re going on Day 8 - or as I like to call it, “ARE WE DONE YET?” – and things are slowly getting better. Sure he still hollers for 45 minutes (each and every! I'd be a liar if I didn't say that I occasionally worry about how long this is going on but I can't figure out any other solution) and he seems to have decided that 5 am is a perfectly acceptable wake up time BUT! he’s sleeping a solid nine to ten hours and that, dear readers, is progress. He’s still struggling to put two and two together with self-soothing though. I spend the bulk of his evening wail willing him to find his blankie (the one he’s CLUTCHING IN HIS HAND) but hysteria does funny things to a kid. Aside from the aforementioned diaper ditchings, a few nights ago he got so furious he flipped himself over. Apparently this was terrifying. He went flat-out berserk for about ten minutes until he realized that sleeping on his tummy was actually kind of nice. So nice in fact, that he slept for almost 11 hours! (Unfortunately I was up every hour to make sure he was still breathing.) I was hoping that he’d found a new way of comforting himself but last night it was back to business as usual. (The blankie’s RIGHT THERE, kid!) But there is sleep. Was it worth the $350 we paid for the fancy sleep trainer? I’m pulling out the double hockey sticks for this N-O. That said, a friend of mine considered dialing up Dr. Weissbluth (the foremost expert in infant sleep), she was so miserable. Dude charges $1,000 for a freaking phone consultation. Sleep deprivation leads to desperation, that’s all I have to say.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Objects in photograph are not as sleepy as they appear.

Dear Sleep Training,

They said you were tough. That you reduce grown ups to tears and can fell a non-sleeper in three days flat. I was pretty nervous when my folks sprung you on me but now that you're here I just want to say one thing: I am totally kicking your ass!

You think you're so smart with your "bedtime routine" and refusal to let me get overtired. Please. I had teeth at 3 months! I can do anything! Heck, I can work up such a rage I'll PULL MY OWN DIAPER OFF! See that? I just screamed so loud I freaked out the cats. I'm working on finding just the right pitch so they'll attack each other. I figure I'll have it mastered by Sunday.

Cry It Out? You're in my house now, motherfoofer. Cry It On!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Stories are coming.



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And I thought feedings took a long time before...

Weaning. Yi.

Thank you all so much for your support with, well, everything, but especially the weaning. Truth be told I was a little afraid of talking about it. It's come up a few times with random mothers/neighbors and - yeesh. They always leave me feeling like crud (I'm working on the whole non-swearing thing) and usually end with a round of frantic pumping. I was convinced that his tongue tie was the problem but we took Will to the Ear, Nose, Throat doctor yesterday; turns out that his tongue tie is very minor (no surgery required) but he does have reflux, which is what has been causing the weight issues. He's now on baby doses of Zantac (trying to get the shit - stuff - down him is like wrestling a greased pig) and we have to keep him upright for 30 minutes after each feed (super fun at 2:30 am!) but it's totally treatable. Unfortunately, trying to get my milk production up at this point isn't as easy. Right now we're doing both - he gets 5 oz. of formula four times a day, followed by as much boob as he'll drink (as best I can guess, around an ounce), plus the boob for middle of the night feedings. This way I know he's getting enough food but he also gets the boost of boob. I don't know, it's the best system I can come up with. Sometimes it works (he wants both!) sometimes it doesn't (WHERE'S MY G-D BOOB, MA?!) but I'm trying.

Parenting - bah! (What sound does a sheep make?)

The Onion is genius (Just pretend I wrote it.)

This is particularly funny when read when your child is crying. Say, at nap time.

I Can't Imagine Why Anybody Would Want To Stop Crying

By Emmet Henson
April 9, 2008 |

Life has so many wonderful experiences to offer. Like sleep. Or ingestion and evacuation. But I find life offers few opportunities more rewarding than screaming like a maniac until your voice cracks with the strain, so that the entire universe can share in your distress. That's what life is all about, right? The sheer exhilarating thrill of nonstop crying at the top of your lungs. It's such an important part of why we are here—why would anybody ever want to do anything else?

Don't get me wrong—I like squirming, drooling, and sporadically attempting to focus on colors and shapes as much as the next guy. But of all the various activities one can choose to pursue in life, crying is tops as far as I'm concerned. In my opinion, I find nothing is more fulfilling than a good steady holler. It takes no experience to begin, and within moments, all one's needs are instantly met! It's my favorite part of the day.

Heck, I'm crying right now!

I suppose some people might enjoy wasting their days with sleep or gentle cooing, but not me. No, sir. Not when there's all that fantastically loud crying to do. In fact, I love crying so much, sometimes I wish I could be awake 24 hours a day, just to hear the crying I miss out on hearing when I am asleep. I mean, I assume I cry in my sleep, too. Whoa. There's a strange thought: What if I stop crying for a moment when I'm asleep? That would be tragic.

Yes, there's nothing like a good, healthy, air-raid-siren-style bellow to renew one's red-faced passion for living. What you want, I've found, is to pitch your voice at about the decibel level of your standard jet engine and then hold it as long as possible before taking in air. That's the sweet spot right there. That's the ideal volume for a good cry—the kind of crying that isn't so much melancholy or sorrowful as it is a full-throttle roar of earsplitting shrillness.

It's so easy. Getting started can be as simple as being startled by your own hand.

In my opinion, anyone who isn't screaming his lungs out is just letting life pass him by. You'd think, after seeing how happy crying makes me, people would follow my example. But all around me there are tall, shadowy figures who seem to actively avoid the most pleasurable part of existence. Everywhere I look I see them: standing behind my stroller as they walk around town, or leaning in over me in my crib and making faces. Whole loads of people, not crying. Don't they realize what they're missing?

Look, I'm not a purist. I understand there are times when it might be perfectly acceptable to stop crying. Like when something is placed in your mouth for you to suck on. Or when somebody jiggles you for 40 seconds. Both are perfectly understandable and justifiable reasons to stop crying momentarily. But to be completely silent for more than, say, a minute? That's just crazy.

Take my parents, for example. If it wasn't for my tireless efforts, they'd sleep through the night! Can you believe it? I don't think it's because they're too old—I suppose I don't know how old they are exactly, but I can't imagine it's any more than, say, one. They've still got plenty of life in them. Yet they hardly ever cry, and when they do, it's usually softly, in the middle of the night, and exhausted-sounding. What happened to their lust for life? Don't they realize that every moment they waste sleeping, fiddling with the car seat, or holding picture books in front of my face is precious time they could be screaming their heads off?

How can I get them to embrace life and really make the most of wailing like a mythical banshee for hours on end?

I just don't understand these people—and not only because I have yet to grasp the concept of others as separate selves outside of me. Don't they know that all they'd have to do is take a good deep breath, let her rip, and the air would be filled with glorious noise? They can't be having a good time just sitting there, grinning slightly, and communicating through facial expressions and this bizarre series of coded grunts I have yet to decipher.

What do they spend their time doing? Comprehending spatial relations? I'd die of boredom in a minute. They must've been young once. Surely they can still remember the good times they had, splitting the very air with sonic knives of nigh-unendurable intensity. I would hate to think that someday I might be so jaded and cynical as to turn my back on wriggling and panting for breath, using every ounce of my being to emit a general, undifferentiated distress signal to all within earshot.

Spending entire days without crying? Why, it goes against the very thing that makes us human.

God, I hope I never become like them.

Economy, schmeconomy, mama's got a Gap bill to pay...

Hey, have you all seen this? As far as I'm concerned, this is the only good thing Bush has done in... ever.

The closest I could get to a crib shot

People, you are not going to believe this: Will is actually asleep - in his crib - for his nap!

So far it's only been ten minutes but... TEN MINUTES! In ten minutes a person can pee! Or make toast! And eat it fairly successfully! In ten minutes a person can read their email and consider responding! (Jenn, Davis, Maureen, Mary, Noelle, Bernadette, Missy, Nadia, Chin, Aimee, I haven't forgotten ye!) Ten minutes make a person feel like a person, if only for ten minutes.

* UPDATE: It only lasted ten minutes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Houston, we have liftoff.

And by "liftoff", I'm talking teeth, peeps. TEETH. TEEEEEEEETH!

I have so much more to yap about - my first audition in over a year, the Rock of Love finale (I smell a fix!) - but someone woke up four times last night (teeth?) and mama needs a hot bath to make it through. Tomorrow we see a specialist about Will's tongue tie (Did I mention he has tongue tie? He has tongue tie) and I suspect a snip is in order. I can't think too deeply about that... or about the fact that this weekend we're starting sleep training. On a 3 month old with teeth.

Pray for us.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My tatters are torn.

Birds are singing, the babe is in his father's arms, and my boobs are aflame. Must be Spring!

Boobs. Yes. For a variety of reasons we've decided to start weaning. Kid's a bit on the puny side; apparently Mother's Milk ain't cutting it and no amount of feeding, pumping, or lactation consulting is going to remedy it. We've always supplemented a bit but on our pediatrician's recommendation we started adding formula daily when Will was 2 months old. I was hoping that it would add some much cherished chub to the lad but a few days ago we went to a breastfeeding clinic and discovered that he's still a fleaweight. The lactation consultant actually urged me to consider weaning. When a lactation consultant - a woman whose sole job is to keep you breastfeeding - recommends moving to formula, it's probably a good idea to listen. Unfortunately for me, it's hard not to drink the Kool-Aid when it comes to "Breast Is Best". There's no way not to feel smell failure when it comes to weaning prematurely. That said - and I admit this at the risk of the entire La Leche League showing up with pitchforks and breast pumps - I can't help but feel a tiny bit relieved at the thought of quitting. Breastfeeding has never been the soft focus, Hallmark experience I expected. Not that I don't love it... but I sort of don't love it. There's a lot less fuzziness than I thought there'd be, and a lot more yanking. A lot less caffeine and booze too. Then again, is squelching my baby's IQ really worth a latte? (Some days, absolutely, yes.) Anyway, the whole situation leaves me feeling torn. Perhaps motherhood is just one long exercise in that.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Oh brother... (but how cute would my baby be, speaking Mandarin?!)

For tots on the Harvard track, being smart, incredibly verbal and potty-trained before the age of 2 is just not good enough. Junior must possess that extra something if he's ever going to wear crimson.

Kids can tap their hidden talents at miniMasters. The Tribeca center offers classes in Suzuki violin and guitar, sculpting, painting and illustration. Their French and Mandarin programs help prep-school-kids-in-the-making become little "global citizens" (a term the ongoing schools love to bandy about). The diaper set can enjoy babyMuscles and gym rock classes, which are set to live music, before embarking on loftier pursuits.

SAT tutoring not included.

For more information, visit

Monday, April 7, 2008

An oldie but a goodie

Did somebody say "customization"?

If you had a dollar for every onesie with a "clever" saying spotted on any given day, you could buy a new Bugaboo. That "Got Milk?" tee stopped being funny circa 2005.

Bowery Baby wracked their brains for some new adages to add to the local stroller set. Now, their online shop boasts more than 20 expressions, printed on cotton onesies and T-shirts, that display your baby's real inner thoughts (Chill with this alphabet thing; OPEC Rules!).

If you think you can do better, create your own witty phrase – the site offers custom options for parents with the gift of prose. Because no one knows your irreverent kid like you do.

Available online at

Le awesome.

40,000 Not-Very-Easy Pieces

British artist-writer Graham Rawle resisted the idea of printing Woman’s World, a new novel about a possibly homicidal cross-dresser that consists entirely of phrases clipped from sixties women’s magazines, in collage form; he was concerned it might be taken for “a novelty rather than a novel.” He needn’t have been: Jean Doumanian decided to produce the movie without even knowing how the book had been constructed. Below, Rawle dissects page 209.

1. “I think the word there was originally part of a title for a feature in [the magazine] Woman’s Own. Above it was a picture, the lower part of which showed a drab wallpaper background. When cutting out the word, I decided to include a fragment of it because the scene describes such an interior.”

2. “One of the problems with using only found fragments to assemble my story was finding multiples of people’s names, which were repeated many times throughout the novel. I decided on Mr. Hands for my antagonist because the word hands is easy to come by in adverts for nail polish, soap powders, and the like. The name also describes his licentious, groping nature.

3. “Much of the material comes from romantic short stories featured in every women’s magazine at the time. Unfortunately for me, most of these are in the third person. Since my story is mainly written in the first, all of the pronouns had to be changed. Once I’d factored in punctuation marks and line breaks, there could be a dozen elements within one sentence.”

4. “Throughout the book, the word woman generally appears in some bold or decorative script or, as in this case, in color. It was probably the most commonly used word, so there were lots to choose from.”

5. “The word forty happened to be sitting on the top of my numbers file as I was pasting down the words, so I stuck it in. It also added a nice graphic element to the page.”

6. “It was fun trying to find a printed number for every page of the book. A bit of tinkering was often required. Here the 209 is intact as part of a telephone number.

7. “Little dogs can get overexcited and work themselves up into a lather, or, in this case, a ‘rich, creamy lather’—a phrase I found in an advertisement for beauty soap.

8. “The line I had in mind ended with something like, ‘…;whose resemblance to Sylvia Syms was extremely remote.’ Having previously categorized my found material into specific subjects, I searched my ‘measuring and distance’ category for the word remote but instead found the phrase ‘…could be measured in nautical miles.’ Much better.”

9. “Celebrity-endorsed beauty products were common in 1962. I think this bit came from an ad for a moisturizing cream used by British screen actress Sylvia Syms, which said something to the effect of: ‘Look over there. Isn’t that Sylvia Syms, star of stage and screen who keeps her skin so young-looking?’”

Friday, April 4, 2008

3 months! (Give or take)

- There's definitely some magic in month three. Will is laughing up a storm and doing his best to master the art of conversation. ("Hello, Will!", "Ah-go! Zlighoxicbaaaaah!", "Hello, Will!" "Ah-GO! XLIDLSHIGHAAAAAH!!!") These exchanges are usually followed by a torrent of drool. Look out, ladies!

- Tummy time still suuuuucks. I've tried hunkering down next to him, surrounding him with toys, singing, clapping... You name it, he ain't buying it. After a few minutes of screaming, followed by several pathetic, bobbleheaded push ups, it always ends with a major squall (and lots of licking of the mat. Everything goes in the mouth these days). We have found one thing that extends tummy time a wee bit; the one thing guaranteed to grab his attention and hold it indefinitely (if you consider five minutes indefinite). And that thing, quelle surprise, is the g-d television. If there was any question that this is my child, just put him in the same room as a TV and watch all doubts disappear.

- Teething... Oh people, TEETHING. Do I even need to describe our nights now? Will is teething earlier than the average bear which means no over-the-counter pain relief (4 months and up) which means no relief, period. We've been using some homeopathic teething stuff (camilia herb) that seems to help a little bit, but I suspect it's wishful thing more than anything. We've tried every single teether on the market but, like all things soothing (pacifiers, swings, NAPS), Will-ful wants nothing to do with them. We even tried refrigerating a wet washcloth for him to chew after a friend's recommendation but he just tentatively tongued it for a few minutes. This leaves us with nature's oldest pacifier - me. Needless to say, when you're nursing to sleep, nursing to soothe, and nursing to freaking nurse, nursing gets old quiiiick. (How long does it take for those first two teeth to come in, anyway?)

- Will MAY have said his first word, depending on your definition of "word". Is it his first word the first word he says or the first one he understands? I'm absolutely convinced he was saying "mama" a few weeks ago, and I have my completely unbiased chiropractor to back me up. ("Is your baby saying mama?!", "Uh, it sounds like it a little...", "No! That child is saying mama! He's crying and looking dead at you and saying mama!") Unfortunately the excitement of "mama" has fallen by the wayside and been replaced with the much less verifiable "uh-oh". Matt says that unless Will knows what he's saying, it's not a word. I say, if it sounds like a word, it's a WORD. And since I'm the one with the sore boobs, I think I win.

- Speaking of sore boobs, this popping on and off booshit is really getting old.

- A word to the wise: When untested, store brand diapers are on major markdown, THERE'S PROBABLY A REASON WHY. I don't care if being peddled by a major retailer (ahem, Babies R Us, ahem) or that they're only $15 a box (versus $40 for our old stand by, Seventh Generation). Trust your gut and stick to Pampers, unless you have a hankering to change your sheets twice in one night. (Does anyone have a guaranteed no-leak fave? Or a place for cheap diapers online? Alas, Costco requires a car.)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Who needs the boob when you've got a bunny?

Even I know this is a bad idea...

So we've all heard that Madonna is remaking Casablanca, right? Oh. Well, Madonna's remaking Casablanca. And guess who starring in it? MADONNA! 'Cause who needs Ingrid Bergman when you've got Madge.

And in other news, it's the moment we (and by "we" I sure as shit mean "me") have all been waiting for: in next week's Rock of Love Brett Michaels finally appears SANS BANDANNA. (On a related note, last night I had a dream that I was on a date with Mr. Michaels. He was angling for a hummer, which I wisely refused to give. Good to know that even my subconscious knows better than to sexually service a man in a wig.)

I'm finally making it out of the house

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Michael J. Fox's motto in life is, "Acceptance is the key to everything". Remind me to stencil that over the crib.

Mom came to visit this weekend and let me tell you, having family around was great. It was like having our very own House Elf! Dishes got washed! Food got made! Best of all, at 6:30 every morning, baby got handed off to grandma so mom and pop could get some sleep. Not that grandma seemed to mind; those early morning hours are when Will busts out the Hardcore Cutes. It must be some sort of survival instinct, blinding parents with adorableness when they're at their bleariest.

Will's sleep is what it is. Definitely getting better (Longer stretches! Occasionally sleeping separately!) but teething seriously sucks. He gums everything within reach (everything except a teething ring, natch) and drools like _____ (insert funny drooling thing here). Of course the whole Cry It Out thing now seems even more fraught. Sleep training is hard enough, but sleep training while teething seems cruel and unusual. The last few nights have been particularly rough - waking up every hour, crying in his sleep... He's got two little bumps where his bottom two teeth should be. Hopefully they'll be coming in soon and put an end to his pain. My pain, however... (Two words: tits and teeth.) I've already had several talks with Will about his new favorite breastfeeding technique, which involves a sharp turning of the head whenever something requires looking-at. Unfortunately he doesn't yet grasp the concept that my breasts doesn't necessarily move along with him. I know some gals go for that sort of thing but my nipples DON'T STRETCH.

Speaking of stretching, money's gonna be even tighter now that Will's officially been accepted to pre-pre-school. Yep, our 3-month-old snagged himself the last spot in a class that doesn't start for a year and a half and we couldn't be happier. And by "happier" I mean "I can't believe we've stooped to this". We're just waiting to hear about our financial aid package - vital, considering the tuition. Back when I was nannying, I witnessed the absurdity of New York's pre-school process first hand. Applications for the coveted 92nd Street Y (you know you're in Manhattan when a YMCA can be prestigious) were only given out one day a year, and only over the phone. People would actually take off work to call. The application wasn't much different than the ones I filled out for college: letters of recommendation, interviews... essays were required. (Seriously. Seriously.) I spoke to mothers who actually hired tutors to prep their children. For pre-school.

Granted, some of the schools I saw with this kid were pretty spectacular. My favorite was housed in a tony Upper East Side townhouse. A large marble staircase led to a wall of French doors which opened to the school's organic herb garden. The school smelled delicious (due to the fresh bread the children baked every day) and the walls of the lobby were lined with second graders' watercolors - of the Hindu god Ganesh. Considering that the cost of an NYC pre-school is roughly that of an Ivy League college, a fresh muffin on arrival is least a parent should expect, I guess.