Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Crazy Foot

My foot doesn't hurt any more--now it just doesn't work. I don't know how to explain. It just doesn't bend right, and I have to limp and put most of the weight on the other foot. A few minutes ago, the actual heel hurt, but now nothing really hurts at rest. It's just difficult to walk with.

Chili con Poopy

I made us some delicious chili for dinner. I've never made chili before, so it was kind of an experiment, a delicious experiment. I used a fresh pepper, a fresh onion, fresh garlic, one can each of pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans and butter beans, about 2.5 pounds of ground beef, and of couse smushy tomato stuff. I also used twice the chili powder Mom recommended by accident (because I got in touch with her after I'd added it), but it is still incredibly delicious, and we should be able to eat it for several days. I'm trying to keep us on all fresh, homemade foods rather than buying frozen stuff.

Penelope woke up just as we were starting to eat, so we sat her in the bouncer between us on the couch. This was all well and good until I got up to get more milk, and she started flipping out for Daddy, quacking like crazy. When I got back, I picked her up and then discovered my hand was covered in poop. She was leaking out the side of her diaper and was quite glad to be changed.

Earlier I laid her in the jungle, and she started scooting around all over the place. Then she discovered the purple bird hanging in the corner. She kept "getting" it--only instead of doing it with her hands, she kicked it with her feet.

"Use your hands," I suggested to her. "Can you use your hands to get it?"

So then she grabbed her legs with her hands and pushed the legs up to hit the bird with her feet. She was deliberately aiming for the bird. She'd stick her tongue out with each try, and then she'd attempt to grab onto the bird with her toes. She was so cute. I got lots of pictures.


It's a good thing Derrick is working from home this morning because something is very wrong with my foot. He had to come up and help me get down here. I couldn't get it to bear any weight at all, and it throbbed all night, just lying in bed. I don't know what happened. Nothing was wrong until I ran around listening to music for half an hour last night. Nothing even happened then. About two hours later, it just started to hurt. I'm starting to wonder if my Achilles tendon is torn since pain is radiating out from a spot just above my heel. This is very inconvenient since I have to take care of Penelope. What am I supposed to do, duct tape her to my back? I could not even walk to the bedroom door. I was just up there sobbing in pain from trying. I hate this!

Monday, June 29, 2009

All Dressed Up

Here Comes the Bride

Do I Have Ice Cream on My Face?

On our drive from Kansas City to Oklahoma City Saturday, we stopped for McDonald's ice cream cones. After a few minutes, Derrick realized that he had flecks of ice cream in his goatee--prompting Grayson to "notice" that he thought he might have some ice cream on his face, too. Penelope seemed to find his antics amusing.

She was the one with stuff on her face at one point. She grabbed the bottle away from Derrick, like, "No, Daddy! I can do it myself!" She promptly shoved it into her eye and squirted milk all across her eyeball and down her cheeks. Miraculously, though, she actually did manage to stick the bottle in her mouth after that and hold it there herself while she finished eating. Clever girl!

Tall Enough for Lunch

Because of the crowding of the World Series and the heat of the heatwave, we decided to avoid the zoo Tuesday morning and drive out to the SAC museum instead. Robby and Grayson really enjoyed running around looking at the planes. (I think Derrick enjoyed that, too, actually.) The really cool thing is that there's one plane there that Robyn's dad actually flew.

As I said, the boys had lots of fun running around looking up. They were also able to climb into one of the cockpits and pretend to fly, something they both really loved. Grayson and Derrick also got to take a "helicopter" ride in a flight simulator. Unfortunately, Robby was just a hair too short to go, which left him broken hearted. Trying to console him, Rob suggested, "But you can go have some lunch. You're tall enough to have lunch." I felt like kind of a jerk for suggesting the flight simulator because Robby was so sad. Unlike Michael Jackson's death, however, the sadness was temporary. He perked up pretty quickly afterwards when we were all eating.

The Temporary Death of Michael Jackson

In the car on the way to the SAC museum, Derrick told me Ed McMahon had died. (At least, I think that's where we were going. It might have been Wednesday on the way to the zoo.)

I joked, "But where will they hold the funeral? They should make a commercial--Ed McMahon might be coming to your door. Then they show the hearse driving around the country." Derrick thought that was pretty funny.

When Farrah Fawcet died, things started to seem a little uncanny. Thursday afternoon, Rob, Robyn, and I were sitting around in their front room speculating about who would be next, who would be the third? Robyn and I were tossing out names, and Rob was insisting, "No, it has to be a cultural icon who first rose to fame in the 70s."

Like two hours later I was mixing bottles in the kitchen when I looked up at the TV and heard them saying something about, "This brave young man is unconscious, but in the best place he can be." To my shock, the banner headline scrolled by saying, "Michael Jackson is in a coma." I was confused. I don't think of Michael Jackson as a brave young man. The string of pictures looking nothing like each other, however, were unmistakably him.

Half an hour later while I was pumping down in the basement, both Danny and Merry texted to say he was dead. Then Grayson came tearing down the stairs and burst into the bedroom. "Sarah, bad news!" he exclaimed, a look of horror on his face.

He really scared me. I thought something was wrong with Robyn or Riley since she'd been so sick that morning. But then Grayson said, "Michael Jackson is dead." That made sense until he added an emphatic, "Temporarily!"

"Temporarily?" I repeated.

"Yes," he said gravely, nodding.

"You mean they revived him?" I suggested.

"No," said Grayson. "He's dead."

"Oh," I said, but then he added again, "Temporarily."

Thinking carefully, I suggested, "Did he flatline but then recover and slip into a coma?"

"I will ask Daddy," decided Grayson, who was getting as confused as I was by our conversation.

He came back down the stairs moments later to explain, "Daddy said that Michael Jackson is really dead forever."

"Aha!" I said.

Then he added, "Temporarily!"

I was going to ask him if he knew what temporarily meant, but then he disappeared back upstairs where he and Robby were playing.

When I finished pumping, I met Robyn in the kitchen who immediately said, "Isn't it funny about Michael Jackson!" I mean, it really was uncanny that we had just been asking who the third would be.

Neverending Photo Editing

Suddenly Penelope eats either four or five ounces every time she eats. I'm thinking I will be weaning her (from breastmilk, I mean) around six months. She'll be six months old on Thursday (which is hard to believe), and after the trip, I'm producing much less. For one thing, my schedule got irregular. I pumped six times every day, but not always at even intervals. For another thing, I drank much less than usual, and I think I ate less, too. (In fact, both Derrick and I think we have lost weight.)

I still have milk, but I don't produce nearly as much, which makes me kind of sad. Still, I guess I can't farm myself out forever. (Is that what you call it when you make yourself a cow? It seemed right when I typed it, but I'm having definite misgivings.) I've been feeling kind of depressed today, I think because I'm tired.

After I fed Penelope around 3:45, I dozed in the chair with her, so I decided just to go upstairs and take an actual nap in bed. Of course, when I put her down, she woke up. She didn't cry, but when I peeked at her (and she didn't see me) she had this huge frown on her face, one of those where she turns her mouth totally down. Then she went, "Sigh," and I thought, Oh, poor Penelope!

I decided to change her and take her down to feed her some more. When I started feeding her again, she decided to smile and grin at me. Then I realized the way I was holding her was tickling her around the armpits. She was laughing and laughing, actually laughing out loud (which she does in such a weird way). She's such a cutie. I was feeling kind of low (inexplicably) but then who can resist smiling when a baby giggles in your face for ten minutes? She's so cute when she smiles, too. She gives you this look like, Oh, you're making me smile, are you? You devil! It's working! It's such a flirty little look. The other child who I remember doing that is Katey when she would say, "Yes, you are. Yes, you are a poop head!" It's the same exact expression.

I am trying to upload all of my pictures to Kodak. There are so many, and it's taking forever. I hardly know which ones to post on here.

Penelope After the Zoo Wednesday

Obviously, somebody enjoyed herself...

The Lied Jungle

Penelope loved riding in her Snuggie through the Lied Jungle and stayed awake for every tier of the rainforest. Grayson and I decided later that our favorite part was when we saw two little golden tamarinds climbing around one of the trees up close on the ground level. I have so many pictures from in here that finding the best ones is a challenge. I really prefer to look at all the pictures in sequence since then you get a feel for the whole experience, but I can't post them all. (I am uploading them all to Kodak, though.)

I remember when the Lied Jungle was new, the summer Laurel came up with David Charlie, Katey and Jamey (about the same age Penny is now) back in 1992. That was the year David turned three in Omaha, meaning that up until that point, Laurel had three kids two and under.

Hands down, Penelope enjoyed the rainforest more than anything else at the zoo. She did not care for the Desert Dome one bit, which makes sense when you consider her aversion to sun and wind. (I remember once when we stopped to change her on the way up. The wind was blowing, and when I took her out of the car and held her over my shoulder, she kept rubbing her face back and forth, eyes shut tight in horror. She hates sun and wind.)

A huge group of kids went through just in front of us, so Grayson didn't get to go across the suspension bridge. We all had a blast, nevertheless.

Some Classic Images from Our Trip

Wednesday was the last day of the College World Series. I joked that we'd be seeing the zoo on the same day that Texas won the College World Series but LSU ended up breaking the tie and winning that night. The stadium is right next to the zoo, so they charged admission in the parking lot, which worked out fine. (I had been worried because I thought we looked suspicious driving into the zoo lot with Texas plates.) We paid for our admission in the parking lot, then took the receipt to guest services where a woman decked out in UT gear helped us to buy a membership. (It works at Cameron Park, too, so we thought we'd just get a family pass, especially because we knew we couldn't see the whole place in one day.)

Robyn wasn't feeling well that morning. She's had a lot of low days because of her gestational diabetes, and she was too tired for zooing, so Grayson, Derrick, Pip, and I headed out around 10:45. We ate lunch in the Tree Tops restaurant, the place that looks out into the Lied Jungle. Grayson entertained us by making ketchup faces on his hamburger, and Pippy slept through most of lunch (though when we went back Thursday, she was awake). The day was overcast, and just when we left the zoo (after seeing the Lied Jungle and the Desert Dome) a huge rainstorm started. When we got home we all showered, some of us pumped, one of us peed our pants, and then we got to visit with Aunt B.

Me and Slip

Slippy Pippy and I just took a bath. There are so many pictures, but she does not seem at all interested in photo editing. We did dance with our animals, though.

So many pictures

I have so many pictures to go through! First I'm just sorting and deleting! That should take a while! Meanwhile, Pip must be tired because she's still asleep in the swing. I'm pumping again, and I'm about to wake and feed her if she doesn't wake up.

Cronan and why I don't like him

I am eating a Lunchables stacker thing I bought for Grayson because we don't have much food in the house. Also, it expires tomorrow. (That kind of scares me. It's like eating a Twinkie that expires tomorrow.) Meanwhile, I am ready to kill Cronan. First he tried to eat my lunch. Then he tried to eat my pump parts. To get him to stop, I had to make a bunch of noise that woke Penelope up, so he's on my permanent bad list.

Morning Mayhem

We are having kind of a stressful morning. After Penelope spat up a whole bunch of her 8:15 feeding, I started to wonder how long the formula has been open. I can't remember if we opened it Thursday night or Friday morning. At any rate, she had about two ounces, some of which came back to us. Then she sat happily in her swing for ten minutes and watched her stars while Mommy pumped for her. Unfortunately, it takes 20 minutes to pump, so there was screaming, lots of screaming!

I only managed to pump about 85 mls, even though it took the whole 20 minutes (to Penelope's fury). I think the major problem was dehydration, but since Penelope thought the major problem was me not picking her up, I didn't want to do anything to prolong the pumping process (such as get more water).

Anyway, after twenty minutes, I picked her up and changed her, then fed her what I'd pumped. She still seemed hungry (and gassy) so I then gave her two more ounces of formula. Now she's asleep in the swing and I'm pumping again with a Brita pitcher sitting right here next to me. I seem to be making tons of milk now.

Meanwhile, I just closed the lid on the washing machine. I've had two of Penelope's super poopy onesies soaking in there all night. Friday morning, Derrick wanted to leave Omaha at 11:30. Aunt B had mentioned coming over that morning to tell us good-bye, so I called her to make sure she'd be over in time to see us. A little after noon, she joked, "Derrick says we're leaving at 11:30, ha ha!"

But here's the thing, while I was pumping one last time at 11:15, Pip pooped all over Derrick! I mean, she always seems to poop for him, but this time, she literally did poop on him. It splushed up the back of her diaper, made a huge nasty black mess all over the back of her onesie, and even soaked through to attack Derrick's new turtle T-shirt that we bought at the zoo. It was a spectacular mess, made more inconvenient by the fact that we'd packed and loaded all of our clothes.

Throughout our stay, Robby was fascinated by the diapering process, always coming over to watch and ask questions while we changed her. But this was the first time he'd seen a poopy one. The look on his face was just priceless--awestruck, horrified, entranced with disgust. Meanwhile, Grayson called out a wipe-by-wipe account of the cleaning process.

Then Saturday night in the Garden Inn in Oklahoma City, she pooped through another onesie! This time it leaked out her leg. As soon as I changed her into another outfit, she spat up all over herself. I decided to wait to change her since it might dry--wise since moments later she peed all over herself by some mysterious method and we had only one clean onesie left in the diaper bag.

We had so much fun in Oklahoma City on our last night together. I really enjoyed getting to spend some time with Grayson on the way home since he spent most of the week in Omaha playing with Robby and Kellen.

Saturday night, Derrick took Grayson swimming (and was very happy that the pool was crowded with middle aged bikers rather than the usual mix of people who looked like extras on The O.C.). When they got back to the room, we splurged and ordered room service--one pepperoni pizza and another chicken spinach alfredo with a fruit plate. The pizza was totally delicious and since the Garden Inn there has a microwave and fridge in every room, we saved a little for breakfast. Yum!

We considered watching True Blood on HBO since Grayson was very interested in the picture on the cover of the little magazine, but when the preview began with a scantily clad woman and ended with a severed arm, we decided old SNL reruns were more our speed. (We also accidentally caught a bizarre video of one elephant eating out of another elephant's butt which--judging by his reaction--was the funniest thing Grayson has ever seen.)

I just produced another 70 mls of milk, so I'm pleased with that. I just need to remember to stay hydrated. Meanwhile, I've got to upload the floor and the pictures. (I wondered why that sentence worked out so well. It's because it didn't. You don't upload the floor. You mop the floor. By the way, would you please come over and do that since I'm not good at mopping the floor?)

While I post pictures, I'll give lots of exciting details about everything that happened!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pumping and Blogging, a Classic Combo

Wow, I'm out of the habit of blogging! Hopefully, I'm going to get back into it starting tomorrow once Derrick heads back to work and Pippity Pop and I are our happy, little twosome again. We've had such a full (and good!) week. I'm really glad we made this trip to Omaha because it's like a milestone for me, helping me to realize that Penelope will not spontaneously combust or turn into a pumpkin or anything weird if I take her out of the house and break our routine. (No telling what I might do, of course, but Penelope will be ju7st fin

I've gotten used to my pumping locations in Rob and Robyn's house--downstairs in "The Grandma Room" as Robby calls it, up in the front room on the couch where Robby watches for cars in the driveway, up in the living room at the table right next to the kitchen. Blogging is a much more fun way to pass the time than attempting to conceal as much of your breasts as possible.

(Not that I ever manage to be terribly discreet--especially because I always announce that I'm trying to be inconspicuous--but perhaps I succeed, at least, in making everyone else as uncomfortable as I am--a Pyrrhic victory at best. Last night in the hotel room while impatiently getting ready to swim, Grayson urged Derrick, "Come on, Dad! Take off your shirt and show off your manly chest for Sarah! She's showing off her womanly chest for you!" I was like, hmmm. Grayson usually seems so unfazed by my pumping, but that made me a bit self conscious--of course, he was much less interested in my womanly chest than in dragging Derrick's fatherly butt down to the pool.)

Pip has been sleeping a disturbingly long time. I mean, she's still in the carseat, and I'm worried she won't sleep tonight, but we've been unpacking. Time for vegetables now, though. Mmmm!

I have so much to blog about, and so many pictures to upload!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Quick comments

Where to start? We've been having lots of fun, and now we're scrambling to pack everything up because we're leaving for Kansas City tomorrow around noon.

What have we done? Tuesday, we went to the SAC museum with Robyn, Rob, and Robby. That night, Dave, Kellen, and Elizabeth came over. Wednesday morning, we Rayburns went to the zoo. We saw the Lied Jungle (which Penelope loved) and the Desert Dome (where Grayson and I saw some awesome bats). That afternoon, Aunt B came over. Then we saw Dan and Jessica that night. Today, we went back to the zoo to do the aquarium and the butterfly pavillion. (Penelope really, really liked the penguins!) We all went over to Dave's tonight for pizza (except Rob and Jodi who were working).

That's just a rough outline, mainly for myself. When I get more of a chance, I'll fill in details about each day. It's been a great week. Grayson, Robby, and Kellen have really had fun playing together. They even caught lightning bugs tonight.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cousin Pictures

"Hey, Sarah. What's brown and pink and rolling in a big bucket of paint?"

"That buffalo?"


"Where did he get all that paint, Robby?"
"From Lowe's!"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Zoo Excitement

Last night we all slept soundly and warmly, and this morning I feel like less of a freak. Lots has happened I need to blog about. Rob drove Dave, Kellen, and Elizabeth over last night, and we all had a delightful time once I calmed down and stopped groundlessly worrying that Penelope has the plague.

Pip slept until after nine this morning! I was
totally shocked! Right now, Derrick's feeding her the milk I mixed up, and then we Rayburns are going to the zoo. Robyn isn't feeling well today, so I think we'll be going on our own for the morning. Then later this afternoon, Aunt B is coming over to meet Penny, and I think tonight we're getting together with Dan and Jessica.

Rob and Robyn are being so absolutely nice to us. (I hear Robby and Derrick up playing the "Hey, Derrick?" "Yes, sir," game.

Lately, all the answers are "that buffalo." Last night, while Derrick was downstairs with Pip, Robby was asking me, "What's covered in hair and has purple spots?" I said, "Is it a buffalo that rolled in paint?" Robby said, "Yeah!"

Bath Time with Pip and the Boys

Catfish Plantation

Who is that Helicopter Pilot Crawling Up my Froggie?

Uploading Pictures

I have some very cute pictures of everyone that I'm uploading, but I'm finding it hard to relax. I didn't think about air conditioning when I was packing, and I just don't have anything warm enough for her to wear to bed. To me, she seems sick, but Derrick doesn't think so. I feel like I'm playing Russian Roulette every time I put her to bed.

I am beginning to identify with my grandma who always wanted everyone to put their socks on because they were making her cold (boo!) and thought every baby was cold. It is really cold down here, but it's also really hot outside. I just feel like a bad mother. I don't know what to do to keep her safe, and I just can't relax because I'm worried that I'm endangering her health through my negligence.

Then when she's at the doctor, they'll want to know, "Why did you take such a little baby on a cross country trip?"

I don't know why I did it. I'm enjoying spending the time with Rob, Robyn, and Robby, but I feel so unsettled and just basically frightened all the time because I know one of these mornings she's going to wake up sick, and it will be my fault because I'm her mother and I'm not taking measures to keep her safe. But I don't know what to do.

Crazy Mommy

I'm worried that Penelope is sick, and I can't stop worrying about it. She got so cold last night, and I can't shake the feeling that something is wrong with her. Her voice sounds really raspy to me. Derrick thinks there's nothing wrong, so basically, I'm just insane. I can't stop worrying.

Today, we took the boys (and the rest of us) to the SAC museum. Penelope was asleep the whole time. I'm about to upload some pictures to Derrick's computer.

A Late Start

10:57 pm
June 22, 2009

We were supposed to leave the house Saturday around 11:00 since we were planning to get to Oklahoma City by 7:30 or 8:00. Instead, we left at four in the afternoon. (By the time we finished packing and picked up Grayson, Penelope was hungry again, and I needed to pump, so we just went back to our house since we’d forgotten our sunshades for the back windows, anyway.)

On the way to Dallas, we played with Grayson’s army men. I played Sergeant Pinocchio, who seemed a little too zany to be a helicopter pilot in the army. (When it was later revealed—by Grayson—that he was secretly a woman in disguise, no one was too surprised. Those zany women!) The surprise came when we learned that Sergeant Pinocchio not only had a crush on Sergeant Michael, but she also had her eye on Spike and Optimus Prime, and even Bumble Bee. I guess she was just desperate to get a man, but nobody wanted to date her (not surprising if you met her). At one point, everybody was trying to catch Sergeant Pinocchio to haul her/him off to a military prison for a little accident involving the latrine and some dynamite. To get away s/he was climbing all over the frog on Penelope’s carseat. She was very curious about all the goings on up there on the frog and watched with rapt attention.

By the time we got to Waxahachie, it was 7:30, time for the Saturday night dinner rush. We’d planned to eat at Catfish Plantation, the haunted catfish restaurant I first visited with my friend Megan sophomore year of high school when we were researching a column about it for the Halloween edition of The Young Press, our school paper.

We didn’t want to miss our chance to eat in a haunted restaurant, so we decided to wait. Penelope seemed to enjoy being paraded around on the terrace while we waited, and Grayson enjoyed watching the glass in the windows move back and forth, since that seemed pretty spooky. Well, Pip fell asleep, but as soon as our food arrived, she naturally woke up squinking. After I took her in the ladies room to change her, she started to scream and didn’t stop until we left. (Derrick and I took turns walking outside with her while the other ate).

Penelope just yelled and yelled and yelled at me, seeming to say, “I don’t like this stinky, noisy place! It’s hot and full of ghosts! Get me out of here!” (It is the bathroom that’s supposed to be haunted, so maybe she saw a ghost.) (Grayson watched the episode of Extreme Restaurants they had playing while we waited, so he was able to tell us all about which spooky goings on we should be watching out for.) The restaurant staff (relatives of the owners, I think) were very friendly, though.

Anyway, after that in the car, we told scary stories. Basically, I told a story about some kids who dared each other to spend the night in the graveyard and encountered a spooky groundskeeper and a ghost named Sylvia. Then Grayson told a very similar story for about two minutes before asking me to tell another story.

After that Penelope and Grayson mercifully fell asleep. We didn’t get to the hotel until almost 2:30 in the morning! Dad got us rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn in Oklahoma City, where we spent a nice, leisurely morning, playing with Pip Pop and watching Up, Up, and Away on the Disney channel.

We left at noon Sunday, which was a little better. (Derrick estimated that we’d arrive at Rob’s about 8:00, and we were only two hours late that time, a dramatic improvement.) The trip was fairly uneventful. (I mean, we drove through Kansas—what else is there to say?) After seeing how well Pip did in a sit down restaurant (i.e., not), we ate at the McDonald’s drive-thru for lunch and the Taco Bell drive-thru for dinner. Grayson and I thought we were going to die before we found a McDonalds for breakfast/lunch. (If you’re on the edge of your seat, I’ll let you know that we survived somehow.)

That day in the car, I told a “nice” story (instead of a ghost story) about some shady characters named Queen England and King Ireland and how Prince Michael and Princess Penelope uncovered their secret. (Grayson always wants his name to be Michael because of The Lost Boys. Even in the graveyard story when I named one of the boys Grayson, he informed me that he was the other boy, Michael.) After that, we pretended that our car was a spaceship. Derrick was the captain, and Grayson was the co-pilot. I played a series of neurotic passengers asking annoying questions.

At one point I said, “I have a question. What happens if the flight attendant catches you kissing a monkey?” (You can see that Robby and I are related.)

Derrick answered, “Then our chaplain will marry you and the monkey immediately.”

“I have another question,” I replied. “What if the monkey is already married?”

“Then you and the monkey in question will be thrown out of the ship for adultery,” Derrick replied, adding the compulsory, “At which time you will turn into a meteorite and go crashing into Mother Earth.”

As he did the pre-flight “announcements,” Grayson ended every possible contingency with the scenario “Then you will be thrown out of the ship into space where you will turn into a meteorite and go crashing into Mother Earth.”

Just as we were skirting around Nebraska City, Penelope started to cry. We got out in some weird corn field to change her. When we got back in the car, she seemed shocked to learn that she was going back in her seat and proceeded to scream for an hour.

Derrick’s noticed that she has one fussy period a day and that it seems to correspond to sunset, so maybe she has light quality weirdness like her mommy.

I’m so tired. Right now, all the Robs are in bed (as is the Riley), and the Rayburns are waiting for Penny to eat again and Mommy to pump again. We’re up in Rob’s front room by the door right now. Well, Pip and Mommy are. She’s in her swing, and I’m typing (obviously).

Tomorrow morning, we’re all going out to the SAC museum. Right now, the college world series is still going on in the same parking lot as the zoo, so we’re going to the zoo Wednesday. That’s the same day we’re having dinner over at Dave and Jodi’s, and the same day we’re seeing Aunt Bee (who is currently with her eighty-year-old sister looking at tomb stones).

I’ve got to wash some bottles out. Then I’ll pump and go to sleep. It’s nice to be here (though it was stressful getting here, and it worries me that I can’t get online to get Dan’s number).

Good night!

Dinner With Robby

June 22, 2009
10:23 pm

I’m beginning to think that Rob’s house is my new favorite restaurant. Not only is the food delicious, but the floorshow is beyond compare. Rob was working this evening, but Robyn made the rest of us a delicious dinner of spaghetti and salad.
Robby asked, “Is this a restaurant?”
“Yes,” Robyn told him, “so let’s use our restaurant manners.”
Robby helped set the table and gave each person a bottle of salad dressing.
“Oh, I want salad dressing, too,” he said sadly, running out of bottles. Loudly, he piped up, “Mommy, is there any more salad dressing because I want salad dressing, too.”
“Yes, I have some salad dressing for you,” Robyn told him, and he was very relieved.

It’s Monday night already, and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and blog. (Even now I’m not really blogging. I’m using the word processor since we can’t figure out the password to use the wireless at Rob and Robyn’s.)

Dinner tonight was really hilarious. Robby just kept asking Derrick random questions out of the blue. This started, I think, because Robby wanted another piece of bread, but his mommy said he couldn’t have one until after he ate more of his other food. After a long pause, he asked conversationally, “Derrick, can I have a piece of bread?” We all found that amusing, and Robby decided to ask Derrick a number of conversational questions, all delivered with a charming nonchalance.

Some choice examples:

Robby: Derrick, what does Mommy’s hair look like?
Robby: Derrick, what do giraffes eat?
Robby: Derrick, what color are my eyes?

“What’s with all the questions?” Robyn asked him.

My personal favorite:
Robby: Derrick, what looks like this (stretches his hands out) and has a tail?
Derrick: A platypus?
Robby: Yes! (With a huge smile)

Another good one
Robby: Derrick, what looks like this (stretches his hands out) and helps you drive a fire truck?
Derrick: A fire truck manual?
Robby: Yes!

After a question involving a duck, Derrick told a story about a time he went fishing in a pond and caught a duck by accident when the duck ate the minnow he was using for bait. I’ve heard the story before, but Robby had not.

Five minutes later:

“Derrick, can I tell you a story about when you went fishing?”

After we stopped laughing, we all listened intently as Robby told Derrick his own anecdote again. Then he spelled the word duck for us. Then Derrick got up to change Pippy’s diaper. First he ate a carrot. This led us to say, “Eat a carrot, change a diaper.” For some reason, Robby found this phrase so hilarious that he repeated it about fifty times. Then when Derrick returned with Penelope, Robby decided to play the, “Eat a carrot, eat a [insert silly thing here] game.

Robby would come up with silly things to eat, and Grayson would run over to the thing and pretend to eat it. After a while, Robby got kind of imperious about it. “Do it! Find it! Eat it!” Grayson enjoyed turning every new object into an excuse to make snarf noises at Robby’s head. (i.e. “Eat a carrot, eat a toaster!” “This looks like a toaster!” (Meaning Robby’s head) Snarf!)

Robby’s so funny, and he really found Grayson’s obliging “eating” of everything hilarious, too. (My favorite was when Robby said, “Eat a carrot, eat grass cutters.”) Robby is so smart for a three-year-old. He can read and count and spell. Earlier today, he had us all running around in circles playing pirates. Apparently, we were the pirates who can’t sit still. As soon as we’d get settled some place, he’d want us to get up and take a ride in the pirate elevator.

After dinner, Robby and Grayson watched as we gave Pip a bath in the kitchen. She really enjoyed it and seems much happier now to be squeaky clean at last.

The boys seem to have really enjoyed running around playing together and chasing each other today. We’ve mainly just been relaxing around the house today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Last Minute Madness

Right now I'm pumping and Daddy is feeding the Pippy Pop. We were so exhausted last night, but we did enjoy the barbecue chicken pizza from Papa Johns. Pip decided she wasn't sleepy until one in the morning, so we've got to finish packing.

Derrick's bringing his laptop, so I'll be blogging but maybe not as much...

Friday, June 19, 2009

A New Diversion

Penelope loved the Snuglie Derrick bought last night when he went out for formula finally at 11:30. We tried it out today while Daddy was gone shopping. I said, "Come on, do you want to ride the Mommy ride?" She really enjoyed it. But then I had a hard time getting her out of it, and I was scared to heat the water while she was with me (for obvious reasons). She's such a good baby. I hope she enjoys the vacation, and that I don't snap and finish the short journey to crazytown, and that we don't overwhelm Rob and Robyn too much with our screaming entourage.

Mmmm pineapple and chicken...

We broke down and ordered pizza because this has been a crazy day, and we've got to have something to eat. It just got here, I think. While I was upstairs bathing and shaving and showering, Derrick finally got Pip off to sleep, so she is tranquil in her swing. This day did not go the way I anticipated. At least we're not planning on a super early start tomorrow.

My Crazy Phone

I hate putting Penelope down while she's awake when she subsequently falls asleep in the swing. It makes me feel bad because she's always mad before she falls asleep and frowns the whole time she's sleeping. It makes me feel like a jerk.

Lindsay called earlier (as in my friend Lindsay, not the NICU nurse), and Penelope got so delighted because she thought I was talking to her. Then I let Lindsay talk to her, and first Penelope smiled, but then she got this puzzled frown on her face like, This isn't, Daddy! How many people do you have in that crazy little box?

Crazy little box indeed--my psychotic phone decided that I should not be allowed to talk to Lindsay. It kept making little "dooodleloodleloo" noises. It sounded like the Pied Piper was in there playing the electric sousaphone. It always made me think it was about to coo, "I'll thee a riddle! Can'st thou guess true?" But then it would just turn off. This happened like 75 times (slight exaggeration) despite the fact that I plugged the phone in.

In other news, Aunt Merry is having an eventful trip to New Orleans. She went browsing through voodoo shops for gifts and met an eighty-year-old blind man hanging around outside who said some scarily accurate things to her, then told her, "It's a blessing and a curse, Baby," and drifted off into song (possibly he's the one possessing my phone), thus proving that Aunt Merry wins the sister having the exciting week contest.


I feel stressed out and almost frantic. I don't seem to be making much milk at all today. Plenty of blood, though. I think part of the problem is that I've only eaten yogurt and five bites of soup. (Lunch didn't really work out.) I feel really overwhelmed and frightened about how things will go on the trip. I also really want to take a shower, but I can't. It's a miracle that I'm getting to pump. Quacky reluctantly agreed to stay in her swing, and now she's asleep but frowning.

I wanted to bathe her tonight, too, but now with the burn, I'm not sure. But I mean, she spat up all over her head today, so I don't know. Derrick is currently out running a million errands. When he gets back, he has to mow the front yard. Thinking of everything that has to be accomplished makes me want to cry until I'm dead.

Penelope is so sweet. She wanted more milk earlier, but I had to put her down to heat the water. She got furious and screamed and cried. I worried that she was in pain. Then I offered her the bottle and she wouldn't take it. At that point, I started crying. Then I realized she did want it but hadn't realized it was there. Tears were streaming down her face and mine.

Once she started drinking, she looked up and saw I had been crying. She stared into my eyes and wrapped her hand around my finger. She held my hand and stared into my eyes the whole time she was eating. She's so sweet.

I've decided the Gerber clothes my sister bought are mislabeled and are really 0-3 months because 3-6 month stuff is way too big for her yet, though we did just move her into the twelve pound diapers.

All I ever do is complain, huh?

A Stressful Day

Poor Penelope! We had such a nice time this morning. After we ate our vegetables, we read Old Macdonald for forty minutes, and then we danced in our jungle for at least 30 minutes. Then suddenly, she spat up A LOT. (I think it happened because she got really worked up and excited after learning she could spin the parrot thing herself. And she had just eaten four ounces.) The thing that made it seem so crazy was that she was flat on her back, looking up, so it was falling back on her face. I know they always say Back to Sleep, and we always do put her down on her back, but it seems to me a baby could choke to death that way.

She was so upset as I cleaned her up with a washcloth and she gave me a huge, enormous frown when I suctioned her nose. I don't think this has anything to do with last night's incident. I hate that she has that pink mark on her tummy. The spots on the arm and leg faded completely because we put ice on them so quickly. I wish I had known sooner about the one on the tummy. It's about as big as the tip of my little finger, but the whole spot isn't pink. There's a white E that takes up most of it. Only the perimeter is dark.

Meanwhile, I hope things ease up a bit for me before our drive to Oklahoma City tomorrow. I feel like I need to be wearing adult diapers. I am so frustrated. It can't be anything wrong with the C-section since the bleeding is only periodic. I guess I'm just out of whack hormonally. Since she's been born, I've had the WORST PMS--as in I become hypersensitive, terrified, and completely irrational the two or three days before I start. I never had that problem before. Mom bought me so many nice clothes for the trip. I'm scared to wear them. I'm ruining everything I touch, including the furniture. This is awful. She's eating more than I can pump a day now anyway. Maybe I should go back to the gynecologist and see if something can be done about this.

Baptized By Fire

Penelope has no mark on her this morning, except the one on her belly. (We held ice on it for an hour, too, but we didn't start until an hour after it happened.) Here's the weird thing. It's a small pink oval with a perfectly formed white E in the center. It looks like she was branded by a signet ring.

Derrick joked, "Maybe she's Queen Elizabeth reincarnated!"

I was like, "Oh, I hope not!" She's imperious enough as it is! If it finds out she's Queen Elizabeth, there'll be no living with her!

Later I joked that it was John the Baptist (the second Elijah) saying, "Will you please baptize your baby already? All right! Fine! I'll do it myself!"

Pip heals so quickly. Maybe the mark is a messed up sideways W for Wolverine. (She does have adamantium claws! Unfortunately, they're not retractable.) She scratched up her face so horrifically yesterday. When she got burned, she cried so hard and rubbed at her face for a long time. Her whole face was red from crying and burst capillaries and claw marks. (We trimmed her nails again last night after the accident.) Today, all the marks on her face have completely healed. That happens every day. Maybe all babies are like that.

It was so scary. I always feel I'm protecting her by keeping her over my shoulder and behind the microwave door, but that's not the case. Derrick hadn't even opened the door all the way. The instant he grabbed the handle of the mug, the water exploded out of the top, over the crack in the top of the slightly open door, splashed all over them conming down, and went as far as the median counter behind them. The mug was full, and he estimates that over 3/4 of the water exploded out like that.

He usually puts it in for one minute, but he did it my way and heated it for two. But see the thing is, I don't ever really heat it for two. I put it in for two and then take it out around 57. I feel like I'm saving time that way (and have a tendency to overcommit). If I ever get distracted and leave it in for two, I let it cool off for a few seconds before opening the door.

But nothing like this had ever happened to either of us before. (I've had it explode but not inside the microwave like that!) I always hold the water far away from the baby and use a fork to break the surface tension, but he didn't even take the mug out of the microwave when it violently errupted. Imagine if the cup had exploded, too! Imagine if it had been me with my shirt off and Penelope over my shoulder--her entire back and my bare breasts would have been scalded. This was a thankfully mild warning NEVER to have the baby in the kitchen while you microwave the water.

I think we're going to buy a bottle warmer.

It shouldn't leave a scar. Derrick got the worst burn because it hit his hand immediately when he touched the mug. Pip got it after it had rocketed up through the air and come down, and she was shielded from most of it by Derrick (who also got it on the face and upper body). He was cradling her in the crook of his arm, and he turned to protect her as much as possible the instant that it happened, but it happened pretty fast. I wish we'd known abou the spot on her tummy sooner, but at least it's only light pink now, and it doesn't seem to bother her. I carry her over my shoulder, belly in, and she doesn't seem to mind or be in any discomfort. Derrick's burn looks awful because he and I were busy holding ice bibs on Pip, but only his hand shows a mark (and she wasn't even burned by the water that touched his hand--hers came from a greater distance). He says it doesn't even hurt now unless you rub it a certain way, and then not much. Of course, her belly is infantly more sensitive than his hand, but she doesn't seem to even remember what happened. She was very cheerful and talkative this morning.

She was actually pretty cheerful last night. We dosed her once with infant Tylenol (because they said it was okay on the phone). We have some from when she got her last round of vaccinations. The Tylenol makes her so loopy--like scenes you see in movies where people are tripping on mushrooms or acid. She was so cute while Daddy was at the store last night. She kept smiling at me when nothing was that funny. She thought every face and noise I made was funny.

We only gave her one dose last night. She fell asleep around 11:30 and woke up this morning at 7:00 in a bright and happy mood.

If it does leave her permanently marked with an E, we'll have to think up a better story than, "Your parents are idiots." Maybe we should start, "So there I was in the kitchen getting your bottle ready, when who should show up but Voldemort..."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Traumatic Night

While I was pumping at 8:00, Derrick was holding Pip. She got hungry, and he went in to heat some water for her milk. Long story short, the water exploded all over both of them. We know to be careful with microwaving water because it can explode, but all he did was touch the mug, and it exploded up out of the microwave all over them. We called the ADC After Hours line. They said to apply cold compresses and dose with Tylenol. She didn't seem too concerned because it wasn't blistering.

Well, I had stopped pumping right away to get her some ice, which we had wrapped in bibs. She had a burny place on her leg and one on her arm, after about an hour, the one on the arm went away, and the one on the leg faded to a very light pink place, very small, hardly even noticeable unless you're looking for it.

Then when she woke up (she fell asleep quickly while drinking the milk), and I changed her, I found another red spot on her tummy we hadn't known about because it was underneath the onesie. I feel so stupid for not checking right away. Derrick said it was just her arm and leg, but he hadn't thought of checking underneath the onesie either. We were both so horrified.

I offered to get milk before I started pumping, and I wish I would have. We both felt so terrible. When I brought the ice, the frown on Penelope's face was so horrifying. I feel really bad for Derrick because, of course, he is upset that he hurt her. It could have happened to me, though. I almost always have her with me when I get the milk ready. It's never done that before, though. This has been horrible.


I just got word that Will was born! (Or I just saw the e-mail, anyway.)


Mommy's Dance

Penelope is awake in the swing. Daddy is working, and I am pumping. Suddenly, I looked up and realized her stars had gone off. She had the most hilarious expression on her face. The batteries are dead in my camera, or I would have taken a picture. She had this look that was a cross between forlorn and resigned. She was staring at me looking pointedly unenthused, like, Whatever. I guess they're off now. I guess there can't always be stars. I guess I'll just sit here and stare at nothing.

Then I got up to fix them. Derrick seemed skeptical because I'm still pumping.

"No, I can restart it," I insisted. "I always do this." I had to hold both pump things with one hand (so I had to squeeze my boobs together), and then I had to twist my body around to make the hosey things not be stuck on opposite sides of my water glass (which they were). But for some reason (even though I've done this twice today), I couldn't reach the RESTART button on the swing and had to lean over diagonally on my tiptoes.

I glanced down to discover that Penelope found all of these antics delightfully entertaining. She was squirming and grinning gleefully up at me, like, Aww! Mommy did a crazy dance just to entertain me! Thanks, Mommy!

In the end, Derrick had to jump up and restart the stars. The instant they came on, she reacted with smiling delight.


I wish medicine was more wholistic, as in healed the whole person, like one doctor for everything. I feel like I must seem like such a hypochrondriac. Well, I guess I am a hypochrondriac, but why do I always have symptoms? How could your mind possibly generate little pieces of stuff falling out of you?

I just feel stupid because I took Depakote for so many years, and it did so much damage to my body, but I just took it. (But then what else could I have done at the time?) It is so disheartening to know that terrible things are happening to you but you can't do anything about it.

I'm just afraid that something didn't heal right and I won't be fertile in the future. Then when I go in, they'll be like, "Well, it's too late now--you should have known." But there was a long period of no bleeding after the last bleeding, so hopefully, everything is fine.

The Weird Things

I keep finding what looks rather like the middle parts of little plastic thingys that hold the tags on clothes falling out of me. (The kind on all clothes, that you can rip off.) Little clear cylinders. It's happened four times in the past month.

I'm wondering if they're dissolvable stitches from my C-section. I called a nurse from the RWG, and she said she's never heard of that happening, but it seems likely and not to worry about it. It does bother me a little because the first time I found them was just before I started the second week of that last period. But she says if there's no pain or fever, it's probably fine.

I have some misgivings about this.

My Hair

I tried to take several pictures of my hair. Most of them, I'm including for comedy value because you can see how annoyed I'm making Penelope. She got really mad and squinked it up when I turned her around before she was done looking at the lion on the unicycle.

On the first day, the stylist used mousse and all kinds of gunk to flatten my hair down. The best pictures of the cut show what it looked like this morning, after I'd washed my hair late yesterday afternoon.


This is the reaction I got from Pip the instant I turned on her stars this morning. Isn't she a cutie? Yesterday evening, she was frowning in the swing, grumping at me because I was talking on the phone to Derrick instead of picking her up that instant.

I asked her, "Do you want to talk to Daddy?"

She was really quacky, not seeming to want to do anything except grumble at Mommy.

Then I put the phone up to her ear. She seemed puzzled. Five seconds later, the hugest smile spread all over her face. Then she got this really confused look and stared up at me as if to ask, How did you make Daddy get in my ears? She's such a cutie!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Star-Crossed Pippy

I couldn't figure out why Penelope was so grumpy this past time. I couldn't figure out if she was still hungry or too full. (She ate just over five ounces, so I was thinking full, but she kept wanting more!) Then I realized too late that her face was rubbing against my earrings when she was trying to nuzzle herself to sleep up on my shoulder. I just put the earrings on this morning, but I took them off when I realized what was going on--poor baby. (What am I doing running around the house topless in earrings, anway?)

She's such a cutie. She's waking up again, so I turned on the stars for her because I'm in the middle of pumping. She stares at them so intently, like she's studying them, like, Hmmm. What makes these so interesting? And then suddenly she gets all delighted and squirms and smiles and giggles, like, Oh, that's it! They're pretty! (It's like some epiphanic breakthrough in her research.)

My Cave

I've decided that Plato is right about a lot of things. (Next time I see him, I'll tell him!)

Maybe I just feel that way because our house is like a cave--or at least, it looks like it's been ransacked by bears.

(Actually, it's probably just that people who have no money to spend become philosophers--or jeremiads...and with that in mind, stay tuned for my next post, the impending doom of western society.) (Just kidding.)

It's awfully cloudy today, but I just started pumping, so now I feel zoned out and tranquil.

The Hilarious Article

"We found that people who reported a greater level of purpose in life were substantially less likely to die over the follow-up period."

That's a direct quote from a real article I just saw on Yahoo! News. It's not from the Onion or anything. It's a real study. You live longer if you have a purpose in life. (They add that it doesn't have to be an important purpose or a very big thing. It just has to be some goal, even reading a series of books.) Doesn't that seem kind of obvious? I mean, if you have no purpose in life, of course you'll die sooner. You're probably either ill or clinically depressed if you have absolutely no goals or desires or purpose of any kind! I don't know why that quote is so funny to me. It just reminds me of Monty Python or something--the absurdity of it. It reminds me of a line in a 306 paper (not that I assign my students papers that require them to observe listless people until they die).

Oh well. Maybe I just have a morbid sense of humor.

Yesterday, I read that breastfed babies are more likely to go to college, as compared to their siblings. But I think that if you have time to breastfeed one baby and not another, maybe you're spending more time with them in other ways. I mean, maybe you have more time or money at the time you have the breastfed baby.

I do think it's good to breastfeed, but talking to people has convinced me that formula fed babies turn out just fine and in some cases better. I'm not convinced that breastfeeding has anything to do with it. I mean, yes it gives you immunities. But I think it decreases SIDS deaths just because the mother has to be closer to the baby more often. Also, NICU babies are mostly bottle fed, and they're already sick and more likely to die.

I feel like a lot of the breastfeeding studies are a bit forced. They could probably have similar statistics about babies who drink apple juice versus those who drink orange juice. I mean, the actual numbers show such a slight variation that you could make up any two random categories and show how one group does better than the other at some arbitrary thing.

That said, I'm still pumping, for now. I'm really tired suddenly. I should probably pump again soon (though I'm not due until 2:00)

My Stupid Thoughts

Here's how dumb I am. I sit around thinking things like, I'm not so sure falling down the stairs yesterday was a good idea. As if it's up for debate!

I wish I hadn't done that, though, because my leg that doesn't have the non-working foot is now so sore! And I need that muscle group to stand up without my arms. (I mean when I'm holding Penelope. I haven't been entertaining friends with my Venus de Milo impressions again!) Both my feet actually work, the right one is just finicky, like an old car. Getting it started is the trick. (My cousin Laurel suggested that it's pleinar fasciatis. I think she's right about the diagnosis, but I suspect I'm very wrong about the spelling. What I spelled reminds me of Mussilini riding a dinosaur. I think I also spelled Mussilini wrong. I'm just too lazy to look these things up right now. Penelope has been asleep since about 10:45, so I'm really hoping this continues because we run out of stuff to do when she stays awake so long.

Fortunately, she is willing to read Old Macdonald for Herculean intervals!

I've got the dishes washing in the dishwasher. (Our dishwasher is such a pain, because you have to wash them first and wash them after since if you leave even one smudge on a plate, it makes everything filthy. We have the only dishwasher I know of that makes the dishes dirtier. It never washes out all the detergent. It's so frustrating!)

Even though I'm not really jazzed about it, I am kind of glad I started my period because it explains my recent moodiness. (Although--is that a good thing? I mean, imagine me explaining, "Yes, I'm only moody when I have my period--which is fourteen days long every twenty days." I guess it has really been closer to thirty days if you count from the first week of my last period (which I tried to pretend did not happen).

Happy Anniversary Grandma and Grandpa!

In other news, this is Mom and Dad's thirty-second anniversary. (I always add two years to my age, and then I know.) Funny how they were married in 77 and I was born in 79, then we were married in 07 and Penelope was born in 09. Timely!

A Busy Morning

Just as Daddy was leaving for work, the Pippy abruptly woke up--I think because I made the mistkae of talking to him. She was patient in her swing, looking at her stars for about ten minutes. But then she peed. I made her some milk and noticed she was a little stinky from peeing all over herself this morning, so we went up to dance with her mobile while I looked for her bath stuff--unfortunately, I found everything before she was ready to stop dancing. So we went back and danced a little longer, and then we took a bath. She really enjoyed splashing me this time, and she didn't scream at all until we were almost done drying off. We have so much stuff to get ready for the trip I may pass out from terror. Also, I seem to have started a period, so let's hope it doesn't last two weeks like the last one!

Milky Thoughts

Breastmilk is so beautiful. I mean, when you pour it, it's so creamy and white and lovely. I've tasted and smelled both the milk and the formula. The milk is sweet and has a light, refreshing taste. I think the formula is kind of nasty, but Penelope has no preference. She also likes formula.

I'm not sure when I will wean her. Maybe when she starts eating solids. I'm not sure when Dr. Nichols will want to start that kind of thing, given that she's three months younger than her age. I don't think we're going to be able to get her breastfeeding--at least, not without more of an intense, daily struggle than I feel is necessary. Lately, she always wants to stick her fingers in her mouth at the same time as the bottle. This morning, she was hungry, and she wouldn't get her hand out of her mouth, but then she yelled at Derrick for just putting the bottle in her face and not giving it to her, unaware that she was the one making it impossible!

Derrick suggested attaching the supplemental nurser to her fingers.

"That's not a good idea," I said. "Then we'll give her the idea that milk comes out of her fingers!"

He laughed, saying, "She'll be so mad at herself all the time!"

When I changed her diaper this morning, she somehow secretly peed again during the diaper change, soaking herself, my hand, and everything in the general proximity. I carried her downstairs in just a diaper. When I was putting her in a new onesie, I sat her up on my leg to try to get her head through the hole more easily, but she slipped off in this weird way because she was squirming. She didn't fall, of course. I had a good grip on her, but she tipped forward diagonally before I reigned her back in, and that made her really, really mad.

I think she was scared at first, but then she realized that she was hungry and nobody was giving her any milk.

"Did I hurt her?" I fretted.

"No," said Derrick wisely. "That's not a pain cry. That's a mad cry. She's just mad."

As if to prove it, Penelope started viciously yelling, "Mah! MAHHHH!" over and over again at that point.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More About Glasses

Yesterday, Derrick said to me, "How did I get these little smudgy things all over my glasses?"

Today, he figured out what they are--toe prints!

An Eventful Day

Lots of stuff has happened today. About 11:00, I fed Penelope the vegetables I had just pumped, and then we went up to dance with her animals on the crib mobile. The trip down was lots more exciting because I slid down the last three stairs. Somehow, I landed on my knees, back upright. I'm not sure how that happened because Penelope was on my shoulder, and I was holding onto her with both hands. Neither of us was hurt, but she did spit up all over my shoulder and then quack her displeasure at me while I wiped off her face. I think the gist of her remarks was, "I didn't like that ride, Mommy! Let's not do it again."

Just as I'd calmed her down by walking her around on my shoulder, Grandma arrived ready to whisk me off to get a haircut and find a dress for Ryan's wedding. Of course, she had to whisk slowly because I had to shower and pump before we left. She asked to hold Pippity while I took my shower but I made the mistake of telling her about our exciting trip down the stairs just after handing Pip off.

"Oh, no!" Grandma exclaimed. "Poor Penelope! Poor Mommy!" Picking up on the vibe of alarm, and seeing me walking away from her, Penelope burst into tears. I quieted her down and then turned her over to the Woppity again.

When I returned, Penelope was over Grandma's shoulder, wide awake and following me with her eyes as I came down the stairs. Then one minute later, she was asleep. I guess she was trying to make sure I wasn't trying to pull a fast one on her.

Anyway, Daddy moved his computer into the living room to watch the Pippy and we headed out to the mall for haircuts. I felt kind of frumpy and confused at Visual Changes (the way I always do because I only get my hair cut like every hundred years, and I don't know how to explain what I want--mainly because I don't know what I want). Then it got worse when she asked me to hold my glasses because not being able to see what's going on makes me feel even more out of it.

Anyway, I was trying to explain myself (because if you look at me, you know an explanation is required) by saying that I'd had a baby recently and didn't get out much. About that time my glasses spontaneously fell apart in my hands, which was most awkward. I tried to play it cool and answer her chatty questions adequately, all the while wondering what I was going to do with my one-armed glasses and being desperately careful to keep a tight grip on the little screw while remaining nonchalant (not that nonchalance was really the vibe I was giving off).

Then Mom ended up being seated right next to me ten minutes into my cut, and I immediately blurted out nervously, "My glasses fell apart!" the instant I saw her. The proof was in my hands. Mom's hairdresser, some charming guy with purple hair who'd been working there for 22 years was very interested in this development, so I did my best to explain that the screw had fallen out. The other side was pretty wobbily, too. I've had those glasses since 2005 (actually maybe fall 2004). They're just a cheap pair of frames without a nose piece, but I usually opt to get contacts instead of replacing them--only during pregnancy, my eyes were always swelling shut when I tried to wear my contacts (I attempted to explain this to them to, for some reason).

Usually, I just fix the glasses by screwing the screws in again with my fingernail, but that method leaves them permanently wobbily (and today it was too late for that). (It also makes little grooves in my fingernails.) The girl cutting my hair said there was an Eyemasters in the mall and that they'd probably fix them for me. Meanwhile, I had no idea what was going on with my hair, except that she seemed to be getting rid of conspicuous amounts of it, handfulls at a time.

I tried to keep a not-freaking-out expression since I didn't want her to worry I didn't like my hair (which I couldn't see). I couldn't see my face either, which was mainly why I was nervous about my expression since my default expression is often TORTURE. (I don't know why that is.) Five minutes later, I piped up, "Mom, you don't mind stopping at Eyemasters after this, right?"

My hairdresser burst out laughing. She was like, "She'll say, No, I don't want you to be able to see!" (She was younger than I was, I think because she said she didn't have kids (like it was obvious) but she had nephews and kept talking about her parents, who live in El Paso (where she used to live).)

Anyway, by the end of the haircut, I looked like someone dancing on the side of a sarcophagus. I guess there are worse things to resemble than a hieroglyph. I mean, it's a nice cut, actually, but she was like, "Try to put your glasses on. Do your best." It was kind of ridiculous. Because there's no nose piece, my vision was much more impaired that you expect (plus the remaining arm was also really loose). I got kind of a Magic-Eye vision of myself. The hairdresser seemed to think I was very funny.

I mentioned that to Mom, and she was like, "Oh, you are very funny. You're a great conversationalist."

I was like, "Uhm...yes, but that's not the kind of funny I mean. I wasn't trying to be funny." Of course, on her way out, Mom saw the woman who cut her long hair off for the first time two years ago. She was like, "Oh, Sue! Hi!" And then she did this crazy dance and the hairdresser leaped back in alarm. I was thinking, What is Mom doing? But then my girl informed me, "Wow! Your mom just fell backwards over that stair!"

I was like, "She did? I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I wondered what she was doing." Then while she was putting hundreds of clips in my bangs and taking them out again for no apparent reason, I saw a tattoo on her arm and said, "That's a cool tattoo. Is that an angel?" I was trying to be extra nice since I was worried that my face was screaming I am disgusted with the way my hair is turning out and would be happier having a root canal.

She was like, "It's a butterfly." She seemed to find that exchange hilarious for some reason and reminded me, "Of course, you're the one who ripped your glasses apart because you were so nervous," which seemed irrelevant. I was like, "Well, they're really old glasses. They're just very loose."

So then she started telling me a story about how one of the rhinestones had fallen out of her glasses (which she was not wearing) that morning at Walmart just after she picked them up. They would have fixed it, but nobody could find the stone, so she was going to hunt for an earring after work.

"I hope they can fix my glasses," I said.

"Oh they can," she said. "Or if not, you could get new frames in an hour."

"Yeah," I pointed out, "but if I come home with a haircut and new glasses, my baby won't recognize me!"

Just then, a lady who had been next to me during my shampoo strolled by and said, "Oh, that haircut is so flattering to your face. It makes you look like a whole new person!"

Amusingly, the hairdresser also said, "Thank you!" (because obviously making me look like a person is a feat anyone should be proud of!).

I thought it was awfully kind of that woman to say how nice I looked. She herself was close to seventy and looked nine hundred times better than I did. She gave off the vibe of being very rich and put together and gorgeous and sophisticated. (Of course, it would be funny if she were actually 42 or something!) I think she made a point of being so nice because she overheard me saying that Penelope was born at 25 weeks, which (from her reaction) obviously meant more to her than it did to my hairdresser (who doesn't think of things in terms of gestational weeks since she's not at that place in her life yet).

Anyway, then I left, and the hairdresser told me, "Careful! Don't you fall down the stairs like your Mom!"

"I've already fallen down the stairs once today!" I told her.

"Well be careful on your trip!" she called to me (because Mom and the other guy had been talking about the wedding).

I met up with Mom at the front of Visual Changes, and she couldn't find Eyemasters, but then I saw it. She was like, "Hmm...odd that you can see it, and I can't!"

"Yeah, well, I'm more desperate!" I explained. I looked like some zany character from a Miro painting at that point, or like I was trying to impersonate one of those split Picasso faces, being both the profile and the front angle at the same time.

That was really the boon of the afternoon, getting my glasses cleaned and tightened on both sides with a real screwdriver! (They've been wobbling around for at least two years now! It was so exciting!)

Mom's generosity spree continued when we went to Macy's and bought two dresses--one for the wedding and another I can wear to church (which reminds me--it is high time we have Penelope baptized! I think we'll start taking steps in that direction after the trip). I almost screamed in horror in the fitting room because my breasts looked like something out of a B-horror movie from the Fifties. (They came from inside the bra!!!!) The veins looked horrific (but then at home I realized it was mostly the lighting in the dressing room, which is not kind to my ultrafair skin).

When I got home, Penelope seemed suspicious at first, but then I took my shirt off and started sticking out my tongue at her, and she was like, "Mommy!" with a big smile. Derrick vocalized for her, "I know those boobs!" (They look much less scary in our own bathroom mirror).

Anyway, snickeydoodle is awake, so I'm going to cuddle her for a minute!

Monday, June 15, 2009


That's what Penelope said when I accidentally cut her finger. It didn't bleed, though. I barely cut it. Still, I felt terrible. I only had time to write that blog entry (maybe 15 minutes) before she woke up. So she was awake with just a fifteen minute interlude from 10:40-2:30. Usually she naps a bit longer between feedings. Not only was she awake, but she was also mad that she wasn't asleep. Then she got all riled up and spat up all down my back. Then she peed all over the place. Then she got the hiccups.

Finally, I decided to cut her nails while she was still awake because every time she dozed off, she kept clawing her face apart and waking up. But then she wasn't cooperating (to say the least), so I ended up scratching her skin accidentally. By that time she was furious (also owly and unwilling to admit she was sleepy!

I second the, "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

Two Surprises

My first surprise came this morning when I picked up Penelope and felt something wet on my body. I had just changed her, so I fretted, "Did she pee on me?" Then I realized it was milk. Finally, my nipples are leaking. (I think it happened because I hadn't pumped in eight hours and I was holding her over my shoulder, partially on my breast.)

Later, after I fed Penelope her vegetables, I was in for another surprise--poop! Aside from a surprisingly vocal minority on the internet, I highly doubt anyone enjoys being surprised by poop, but I noticed a suspicious smell coming from my adorable little daughter and had to check it out. Sure enough, she had a really weird diaper. Usually all the poop goes to the front, but this time, it was smushing out all over her back--probably because of the way I'd been holding her while reading Old Macdonald.

The surprising thing is, she normally poops every three days. But suddenly, she has pooped every day for the past three days. I wonder if that's a sign her bowel is maturing or something. (Maybe it's also because she's eating a lot more. She eats like a crazy rhinoceraus!)

We've had a lovely morning together, though. Last night, her onesie got poop on it, so we changed her into a caterpillar one, but today that got poop on it, so now she's wearing her Carter's strawberry romper since I didn't feel like pulling anything else over her head. She's being so cute. We chatted for a while. Then we read Old Macdonald for about twenty minutes. (That's when I discovered that the farm seemed to be coming to life, complete with olfactory delights.) After I changed her, we went upstairs so that I could put away some laundry (onesies to grow into that Mom brought over) and Penelope could dance with her mobile.

She loves that mobile so much. I wish I could get better pictures. The camera makes her so suspicious. It's funny because it's just a wind-up mobile, nothing fancy. But she really loves to dance with it. She gets really into it, and she smiles up at all the animals smiling down at her. She gets especially animated when giraffe comes around. It's so funny--I really hoped she would like that giraffe. He's so smiley. He sold me on that bedding. I had completely different bedding in mind, but then when Mom and I went to buy it, I saw that smiley giraffe on the mobile in Babies R Us, and I thought, Who couldn't be happy when looking at such a smiley giraffe?

I remember after Mom and I got done there, she took me over to Manny Hattan's for lunch, and Derrick was able to meet us there. I was so excited, gushing about the smiley giraffe, eager to finish my lunch so I could run out and show him how smiley the giraffe was. Funnily enough, giraffe is her favorite toy (the stuffed one I bought later that matches the bedding). It is probably because he's the one who dances with her in the jungle. Plus, he's so smiley. I find him very endearing myself. If everybody were as smiley as that giraffe, the world would be a cheerier place.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Squinkle Toot's Little Trick

Mommy went upstairs and took a nap for an hour this afternoon. When I came down again, Daddy was just getting Pippy to sleep. Apparently, she'd been awake, eating 5 ounces the whole time I had been upstairs. Nevertheless, after just a few minutes in the swing, she woke up crying. I picked her up and walked her around the kitchen while we were getting our dinner ready. Then I sat her down in the chair to eat my dinner.

That was my mistake.

Suddenly, when she realized that going to the kitchen wasn't a prelude to making her a bottle of milk, Penelope went ballistic. She was like, "NOOOOOOO!!! I'M SO HUNGRY I'LL DIE!!!!!" She screamed and squinked and thrashed, so Daddy brought us some milk. As usual, waiting for it to heat seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.

Once it was finally ready, she ate it for like two minutes and then started playing with the nipple.

"You don't seem very hungry," I said to her.

She grinned up at me knowingly around the nipple, like Haha, Mommy! I tricked you! I'm not hungry at all, and you fell for it! Haha, Mommy! Now you're cuddling me! I win!

(It's so flattering when someone gets that delighted by your company.)

I took the bottle away, and she grinned and laughed with me for several minutes. Eventually, she did finish the milk. She was just finishing it up as Aunt Merry called to tell Mommy about her first evening in New Orleans--spent doing pool races with thirteen-year-olds hiding from the birthday girl at a slumber party. Merry tells the best stories. She's so hilarious.

We're watching Samantha Brown do the things we can't afford--and drink the liquor we can't hold. I don't know why you can't get Passport to Latin America on DVD. It's so funny--I'm daydreaming about going all these exciting places with Penelope, and yet I'm so nervous about breaking our routine to go to Omaha.

Vocal Warm Ups

Daddy just asked Penelope, "Are you going to be a singer like Aunt Merry?"

She sang to him in reply. She's gotten really, really vocal all of a sudden--like her vocalizations are much more sustained and creative.

The Monster

At first Penelope wasn't so sure she wanted the Monster to wash her face, but then the Monster gave Mommy a big, wet kiss on the lips, and Mommy was so delighted that Penelope decided the Monster was terrific!

Duckie Towel