Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Busy morning

I don't like electric breast pumps.  They don't work well for me.  What does work is using a hand pump on one side and my baby on the other side.  Doing this in the morning, I put away about 3 ounces of milk everyday (6 on Mondays because I pump another 3 awkwardly by myself in my office).  I have a whole freezer full of 3 ounce bags frozen flat and organized by date, and everyday I have a few pump parts to wash in hot soapy water and dry on the counter rack.  Except on Mondays.  Then I have 2 pumps and a least one bottle to wash, and every Monday, I am so grateful that I am usually home all day because the dish volume that most working moms have to deal with?  Yikes.  I can't imagine washing a day's worth of bottles or pumping a day's worth of milk 5 days a week.

This morning, I got to pretend to be a full time WOHM because I needed to go to campus for a couple of hours on a day that Ben teaches.  I gotta tell you, I sort of liked it.

What I liked:
Waking up before Ben and the big kids when the house was silent and enjoying my first cup of coffee with no one around to ask me a million questions.
Looking pretty at preschool and kindergarten drop off instead of looking like a sweatpants-wearing, bedraggled hag like normal.  Jack's teacher even told me I look fancy.
Running into the Starbucks closest to my house to grab a gingerbread latte instead of having to drive way out of my way to the drive thru Starbucks because it is impossible to maneuver a bunch of small kids and hot drinks out of the building.
Not having to listen to Radio Disney on my drive.
Joining the throng of busy looking people walking cross campus with determination.
Coming home to a sleeping baby who ate most of a 6-ounce bottle.

What I didn't:
Waking up at 5:40
Freezing my butt off in my dressy coat, boots and tights on the walk to kindergarten.  My Uggs, sweats, and giant North Face jacket aren't pretty, but they sure are warm.
Feeling sad/guilty when I saw how much fun the mom at Starbucks was having singing to her baby while she steeped her tea.
Not having anyone to sing along with the Hippo for Christmas song that comes on the XM holiday channel every now and again.
Parking way the hell at the top of the parking garage because everyone gets to work in the morning.  When I slip in on Monday afternoons, I always score a sweet vacated spot by the exit.
Untangling Cooper's fingers from my scarf, so I could hand him to his (awesome) babysitter.

As usual, I am being dramatic.  I was only gone 3.5 hours, and I wouldn't have had any of the guilt if I were leaving him to get my nails done or grab lunch with a friend.  The work aspect makes the whole incident feel more serious.  I love my work.  I didn't get a PhD to not work, you know?  And I have been at the office once a week since he was a month old.  It's different, though, to leave him with Ben.  As Barbara Bush told the Wellesley class of 1990, "When it's your own kids, it's not called babysitting."

All of this is just a roundabout way of saying I love my life and I'm glad I don't have to do the morning scramble for real. Now excuse me, I have a pump and a bottle to wash.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Phoning it in again

Ugh.  Why can I not get to bed before 10?  I want to.  Everything I do from the moment the last person drops his fork at the dinner table and pushes himself away from the table is aimed at getting to bed before 10, and yet.  Here I sit, on my bed but not in it nine minutes before my self-imposed deadline.  No way I will be asleep in 540 seconds, but I am so tired I had to google 9 times 6 before I wrote that.  My exhaustion?  Is not Cooper's fault.  He's conked out in the middle of his crib by 7:45 and typically doesn't make a peep until almost 3. Then he eats, spends 2 hours in the pack n play next to my bed, and spends the last hour to 2 hours before we have to get up in bed with me.  Pretty sweet.  But lately (since last week before Thanksgiving), I cannot get to bed before midnight.  Then on Sunday, Cooper surprised me with a 1:00 wake up, a mere 40 minutes after I had hit the sheets.  He was sleeping swaddled and buckled into his Rock n Play Sleeper, and he was going 9 hours some nights.  But I started to worry that I was stunting his development by making him sleep motionless, so I started putting him the crib.  He is all over the place in there, and he ends up with his legs unswaddled and his arms wrapped tight.

I am so sorry this is so boring on the penultimate day of NaBloPoMo '11.

Excuse me while I go hide my creepy freaking elf.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in pictures

 Don't get me wrong, Thanksgiving was great this year, but something was missing.  My brother Jon for one thing, who hosted his own dinner in Jersey, and my Grandpa Jack, who died when Cooper was a week old.  The table above used to be the grown up table, and he always sat at the head where the flowers are.  This year, our first without him, we were all kids together.

Clearly, the kid table rocks.
Jack at 3 matzoh balls.  Harry wore that hat all weekend-- he is very committed to holidays.

Cooper was very adored

Jack is totally scared of this dog-- super ferocious, huh?

The kids slept in these comfy beds (Ben slept with Harry)

Don't let him fool you-- Cooper only napped in this thing

He slept on the sofa bed with me.  Also, Harry is still wearing the hat-- commitment, huh?

Cooper ate his bib for Thanksgiving dinner

Couch nap

Harry showing Bomma his magna-tiles skills

Jack and my dad having a moment

Love the hat

More adoration

Caught him looking right at me


Cooper and my mom
As soon as we got home, Ben and the boys got to work decorating
Serious business

Jack was grossed out by the insides of the turkey we made on Sunday
Harry (Potter) was fascinated
Ben got way up there, huh?
He's baaaaack

Sunday, November 27, 2011

So annoyed to be up so late AGAIN

Stayed up way too late working on my turkey stock for a soup we pan to eat on Tuesday.  No meat on that carcass, let me tell you.

I swear I will write a real post soon.  Tomorrow-ish.  But until then, Cooper in a sweater onesie:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Almost late again!

We had a wonderful time in Des Moines-- the kids were great; the food was great; we loved seeing the fam.  I swear I will have more details soon, but tonight, I stayed up too late with Ben drinking wine and cooking our Thanksgiving redux for tomorrow.  My little turkey-sized snuggly alarm will be waking me in a few hours, so I will leave you with pictures of Jack messing with all the radio gadgets in my grandpa's den:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Perusing toy catalogues

Okay, yes.  The kid is eating pancakes with syrup (and not even real syrup; he's got the HFCS-laden kind in the lady-shaped bottle, the kind he calls Mrs. Butterface)and a bowl of chocolate chips for lunch, but except for Mrs. B it's all organic, and I made him force down an apple carrot crusher and an applesauce.  Win?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day!

If you are reading this, know that I am in the front seat of my minivan listening to Justin Bieber's Under the Mistletoe album at my 5 year-old's request.  In other words, I am SO FUCKING COOL.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Under the wire

It's 11:33.  Cooper is making noises in his room, and I just want to turn the monitor down and sleep, but I won't because I am not a monster. We are finally packed, and I even gave myself a pedicure, something I didn't think I would ever find the time to do again.  Those first few days after Cooper came home from the hospital, I was panicked about someday regaining normalcy.  But here we are, 10 weeks later (on Friday), having couch dates after the kids go to bed, cooking real dinner, and painting our toenails (not Ben).  Thank goodness.  I spent my day with Jack and Coop running errands, including a delicious reunion with Trader Joe's-- we have been going to a little local store instead and enjoying amazing local meat and a staggering variety of produce grown within 50 miles.  I like it because we can get normal brands there, too, but the mainstream stuff is way marked up.  Today, for example, I paid $8 for Tampax, but I also got some giant organic yams from like 10 miles down the road. I must sleep.  There's a 5:30 alarm with my name on it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Babies: You have to wash them?

I have written before that I have been unambitious with Coop's grooming.  I have also been complaining often about his wretched acne.  Then, yesterday, I started washing his face.  Cuh-razy, huh?  It's totally helping, by the way. I would show you a picture but this is the only one I took today:
and you can't really see the improvement.   Trust me, he looks way less staph-y.

Today really got away from me.  It started nice: a new dress and a grown up meeting.  Then Ben (who drove me to the meeting and picked me up because he and Coop were on their way to a coffee date) got a hair cut, and Coop and I ducked into a delicious bakery for some decaf and a pastry.  Then Ben and I did some holiday shopping (we have been squeezing our shopping in while the big kids are at school).  I forgot half the crap I needed at Target, so Harry and I went back there after he got home from school.  We did laundry, made some dinner, refereed some fights, worked from home, cleaned everything up, put our kids to bed.  The usual.  I said it started nice, which seemed to imply that something happened to make it not nice, but that's not true-- a good day all around, but a quick one.  How is it almost December?

Speaking of December-- we are buying Cooper some Christmas presents, mainly so Harry and Jack will think Santa came for him.  But Hanukkah?  I don't totally want to buy him 8 more days of stuff he doesn't need.  Is it terrible if he gets things like pajamas and Robeez?  Will the big kids understand?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Writing this blog when I should be pumping

Because I don't like to pump without my baby on the other side-- it's so hard to get a let down. BUT, I gotta tell you, it is also really hard to be competent at work when you only go into the office for a very ,very few number of hours each week. So the minute Ben got home from class today, I gestured in the direction of the seeping baby in the swing and ran out the door. Which means I have to pump.

I got a funny call from the butcher today-- he was letting me know that the special snowflake organic turkey farm doesn't have anything smaller than 12.5 pounds, which means we will eat a turkey that is exactly Cooper-sizefor our post-Thanksgivng feast. HA! I hope we don't get confused, what with the turkey hat and all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

As long as all the kids are up by 7, we might as well go out for breakfast when there are NO LINES

He looks like a pocket full of sunshine, but holy cats he was loud. We had to tell him like 65 times to use an inside voice. Notice we don't say use your inside voice because HE DOESN'T HAVE ONE.

Such a good baby. He was sleeping so soundly that I left him in his carseat even though carrying him around in that thing goes against my parenting philosophy.

Such a good breakfast eater. He ordered his own food (french toast and bacon) then stole Ben's biscuit and my pancakes and ate them all.

Ben read him the jokes on his place mat-- clearly the funniest jokes EVER>
Breakfast was the high point. Harry and Jack were horribly behaved for the rest of the day. Harry could not stay off the floor at the grocery store. Jack kept sticking his hands out of the cart and grabbing stuff, and he cut his fingers on an apple sign. At the mall, Jack tried to eat a mascara at Sephora. Harry whined until our ears bled. Jack climbed through racks and tried to destroy clothes at Ann Taylor. Just generally terrible. Like they've never been in public before. Also, I looked cute at breakfast-- sweats and a messy bun but actual make up! But by the time we hit the mall at 4, my sweats were sad and my bun was really, really, really messy. Not mall material for sure.

We spent most of our day trying to occupy the kids so we could sneak upstairs and watch the last Harry Potter movie. It's that good.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cooper had a friend come over!

Cooper's friend Riley, who stars in his own blog Hello Up There, came over to play today, and I forgot to take pictures until the very end of his visit:

Which is a shame because R and C and two cute babies.

We went to college with Riley's mom, Jenn, and even though we haven't seen her in 12 years, it was like we just saw her yesterday. College friends are the best.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Except for scholarly pursuits which I prefer to avoid and procrastinate, I am very good at meeting deadlines. I thrive on deadlines, actually, because I like to get whatever it is I am supposed to do done so fast-- I like to be first, in fact. That's why I usually take the whole family for flu vaccines at the end of August, right around the time our pediatrician's office gets a boat load of FluMist-- you know, the vaccine that kids huff?

This year, we were preparing for kindergarten and a baby at the end of August, and flu vaccines slipped my mind. I remembered in the hospital when I got a pertussis vaccine the day after Cooper was born. I was all set to get a flu shot, too, but the whooping cough shot hurt like a mother, and I could not handle the idea of another stiff arm at that exact sleep-deprived second. Fast forward to Cooper's well baby appointment the other day. Seeing the nurse come in with a tray full of needles jogged my memory, and she gave me a flu shot right there at my request. I went home an badgered Ben until he had his yearly physical and got his vaccine (and he totally asked for the FluMist, but his doctor's office was out of it-- Ben HATES shots), and I realized that H and J were still flu-vulnerable.

I called the pediatrician's office to make an appointment for Mist, and the receptionist told me that yesterday they were having a vaccine clinic, and I could just bring the kiddos by after Harry got home from school.

I told Ben about my plans over breakfast, and he raised an eyebrow. "I told you they're out of the mist," he said.

"At your clinic," I told him. "Not at the kids' clinic."

"Gee, I'd love to go with you and all three kids to test that theory, but I have to teach."

When Cooper and I were trolling Target later in the morning, I threw 2 Green Lantern guys in my cart along with some clearance pajama pants, patterned tights, graham crackers, and a couple of shirts that might disguise my fat donut-- you know, ESSENTIALS. I figured if Ben was right, I might need some bribe toys.

On the drive across town, the boys kept asking me if they were getting shots, but I assured them they just had to huff some live flu-- no biggie. It took us over half an hour to get to the doctors office because there was a state high school football game at the college stadium and throngs of people were crossing the street in random places like school-mascot-blanket-wearing zombies (I have never seen so many people in blankets), but H and J were in good spirits. Cooper was half awake in his carseat, spitting out his pacifier and then whining for me to reinsert it and wearing his new turkey hat.

The good news when we got to the office was that there were only 2 groups of people ahead of us, a mother/teenage son duo and a mother/toddler/preschooler trio. Bad news? Lots. The clinic was set up haphazardly in the second floor waiting room, so no privacy. There were 6 nurses on hand, but they all clustered around one patient at a time. The two kids in front of us were freaking the freak out at the top of their lungs. And, of course, Ben was right. THE CLINIC RAN OUT OF FLU MIST A MONTH AGO.

Jack sat on a chair picking his nose and looking scared.

Cooper ramped up the fussing, probably because his turkey hat is hot and he was zipped inside his fleece carseat bunting AND covered with a blanket.

Harry stood next to me chatting merrily. "Oh," he said, looking at the kids in front of us. "I hear a baby crying. Is our baby crying?" He peered into Cooper's seat. "Not really," he said. "I think Cooper just wants his pacifier. Oh! See that little girl over there?" He gestured toward the girl in front of us who was sitting on her mother's lap, her jeans pulled down to reveal her thigh for her vaccine. "She's crying. Oh! Mama! I think she's crying because she's getting a shot." He looked proud of himself for figuring out the mystery. Then he whipped his head around to look at the girl again. "She's getting a shot?" he asked. "She's getting a shot! Does that mean I'm getting a shot?"

Jack stopped mid-pick to stare at me, both of them waiting for an answer but pretty sure they already knew what I was going to say, tears accumulating in their accusing little eyes.

Cooper picked that second to spit his pacifier onto his blanketed chest and start to scream one of those silent-for-a-minute, red-faced screams.

Things did not, as you might imagine, improve when it was finally our turn.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Whole lotta nothing

Yesterday, I solo-parented from the time all 3 little cherubs opened their blue eyes between 5:45 (Cooper) and 6:15 (Jack) until the last one (Harry) went to bed at 8:30. Normally, that kind of a day would leave me stressed out and stress eating, but when Ben came home from class? I was happily enjoying my second work out of the day and thinking about the snack of Wheat Thins (since our last Costco trip, all my snacks begin with Wheat Thins and will for awhile) and a honeycrisp I was about to enjoy. I didn't call him to complain about the kids a single time, and I even raved about how wonderful they were until Ben actually got bored hearing about it. Super Twilight Zone.

I think I figured out the secret to my at-home happiness: make a huge to-do list and get everything done. Also send at least one kid to full-day school.

Seriously, I always loaf around eating too much when I have 14 hours of kid-time stretching in front of me. Yesterday, I did a ton! hen Cooper woke up at 5:45, I started to just feed him lying down like I normally do, but I realized if I sat up and grabbed my pump, I could get that out of the way before breakfast. Check. Then, I worked out before we walked to school. Check, again. After drop-off, I let the TV babysitter hang out with Jack and did a ton of actual work on my computer. The TV babysitter hung out with us on and off until lunchtime, with plenty of Jack playing happily beside me and Cooper and his Boppy hanging out on my lap with my computer. And I squeezed in a viewing of last week's Too Fat for Fifteen between spring course prep and a ton of emails. Check and double check. After lunch, Jack bundled up and went outside to play, and Cooper took a nap in his swing while I cleaned 3 bathrooms. Jack came in and helped me fold some laundry (3 loads, which sucks because I do laundry everyday-- how do we end up with so much? Usually it's only 1 or 2, but a couple times a week, our whites accumulate into a load, and I spend a few minutes matching small and tiny socks. But since laundry has become a regular part of my day, I maybe spend 15 minutes tops on it, so I shouldn't complain), and I got dressed and did my hair and makeup. By 2:00, Jack and Cooper (who pooped through one outfit and puked through another) were both having a snack downstairs, and I had literally nothing else to do and no to-do angst.

We picked Harry up from school, and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening until 6:45 bathtime began doing nothing. Playing silly games, laughing, trying to see who could make Cooper laugh the most (Harry). I Googled myself. Harry perused the latest issues of my alumni magazine. Jack took a snoring nap sitting up on the couch.

I cannot believe how relaxed and yet accomplished I felt by the time Ben got home. I also decided that by the time the kids are pubescent, we need a bigger house because I don't ever want to enter or maintain their bathrooms. Ew.

These were the only pictures I took today (and they are only 3 of a series of shirtless couch pics):

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I just want this baby weight to melt away. Today would be good. Right now while I sit on this couch with coffee and some graham crackers would be great. I am sick of the donut of fat that surrounds my waist. I am sick of my hips stretched too far to fit in most of my old jeans. (2 pairs fit great, but I still have a fat donut to contend with). I am sick of the Bio Oil I have to smear on my sagged out skin (and I have started buying it at Costco, which is a super bummer). I have worked out everyday but one since we bought the elliptical, but I am so. hungry. all. the. time. And sometimes? It is not a fresh fruit and veggies kind of hunger, you know? I still walk Harry to school in dumpy work out clothes everyday, but at least I come home and get dressed in actual clothes, too. And I am wearing the workout clothes because, you know, I have actually come from working out, not because elastic is the only waist band I can stomach. I think I need to go to Lululemon and upgrade my workout clothes because I totally look like that mom in the morning, especially since I am growing out my bangs and sporting lots of bobby pins , or I need to get up early enough to work out and get dressed before I go to Harry's school. The second option? Not happening as long as I spend the hours between 3 and whenever the big kids wake up snuggling with the most snuggly baby in the word.

It's his fault that I am so fat, you know. But I think I can forgive him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby's first vaccines

Cooptastic officially weighs more than the organic, free-range, grown-just-10-miles-away turkey we ordered for our post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner. (Cooper is 12 and half pounds. We like to make Thanksgiving again when we get home from my grandma's so we can have turkey sandwiches for days and perfect our basting skills in case we ever get to host a holiday). He's also really tall and has a fairly small head. And acne so bad the doctor wondered for a few minutes if it might be a staff infection.

His vaccines gave him his very first fever. Ben and I argued for awhile about how much medicine to give him because concentrated infant drops have been phased out, meaning infant meds are the same concentration as children's meds and are dispensed with a syringe, not a dropper. SO the doctor's instructions to give him the whole dropper if he developed a fever were no good. We called the after-hours nurse, but she did not believe us, insisting that we had children's meds or ibuprofen. Finally my dad told us how much to give the kid. Phew!

I always hate those first vaccines-- I am worried they are going to break my baby. I am totally and completely pro-vax and trust our pediatrician's judgment, but it's scary to go in with a happy, healthy, intervention-free baby and intentionally make him sick. Yesterday, I went to campus for awhile, and Ben had a tough time with Coop. He doesn't really like drinking milk from a bottle, but he will do it grudgingly most Mondays. Yesterday, he just screamed and refused. I have an amazing freezer stash but not much opportunity to use it.

First shots, first fever, first booger, and a new skill for Cooperiffic. He's starting to become a grabber. But, he doesn't know how to let go. He clung to this monkey for a long, long time:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Big brother

The director of Jack's preschool stopped us to coo at Cooperthis morning on our hurried way inside. I was a little annoyed because we were late, late, late, late. So late that I had just honked rudely at a woman with all the time in the world who was idling in front of me waiting for a close parking spot and then swerved around her, honked at another car who was pulling out (from a handicapped spot-- people park at will in the handicapped spots every morning which is supremely shitty) and whipped around the crowded circle drive to park on the street. So late that I didn't even have time to be embarrassed about my sad, stained Old Navy capri yoga pants and bulky sweatshirt emblazoned with Harry's elementary school logo. I did, though, have time to pause with regret for just wearing my nursing tank underneath because Cooper cried the last 5 minutes of our drive, and I leaked like a milk fountain. SO PRETTY.

Anyway, she cooed at Cooper, who smiled like he always does when people pay attention to him (NOT VERY OFTEN AROUND HERE), and Harry beamed. "Such a proud big brother," she said. And you know? He really is.

My favorite big brother thing he does is narrate his activities to Cooper. We took a page from the Kevin Henkes book Julius Baby of the World and told him that he needed to talk to Cooper a lot so Cooper could be as smart as Harry. He takes this task very seriously and constantly tells Cooper the names of things. He'll say "This is an apple," brandishing a honeycrisp dangerously close to Cooper's little face. "We humans eat them," he'll explain. That's the part that part that slays me. He doesn't think Cooper is a human! Ha! He always wants to carry him and kiss him and just generally spread germs over him.
It's lovely.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A great weekend

As you could probably tell from my posts from the last 2 days, my brother Jon came to visit us from New Jersey. We had such a good time. I am really, really tired, though, because we stayed up late (like 11:00 pm late-- cuh-razy, huh?) Ben set the light under our microwave to come on every night at 10:30 so we could have a kitchen night light, and the last 2 days are the first time I have ever been awake late enough to see it.

It was a wonderful weekend-- my mom came up on Saturday and we got to hang out with my brother Ben, too. Jon even showed me how to use my KitchenAid mixer, which my parents got us for a housewarming gift. I really wanted one and was happy to have the counter space for it, but it was strangely intimidated by it. No more! It is super easy to use and worked really well on the apple bread we made, which was really, really thick (also, I am totally addicted to Penzey's spices).

We had a great time, and we miss Jon already (and OMG I am so tired, as is Jon I am sure because Harry and Jack ran downstairs to beat on his door every morning at the crack of six).