Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baby Steps

Today we begin a new adventure (sad that this seems like a fun, challenging project to me)!

After two months of my life revolving around Gus's relatively random string of needs, I am finally noticing a pattern emerging to his day. So starting today and running through the rest of the week, I am documenting our day in detail. Then Monday, we will attempt...with bated breath...a schedule. I have heard that not all babies respond well to schedules, but he seems to be on a rough one of sorts now of his own making.

There are two goals to this endeavor. One: that I would actually be able to predict accomplishing anything at all other than fulfilling his basic needs. Two: that I would be able to schedule appointments with some certainty that he would not be having a meltdown at that particular time, including driving anywhere outside of my zip code.

We would also like to move him to his own room sometime in the next couple weeks, which I have refused to do thus far because he is still wanting to eat three times a night. Fingers crossed that this works. It wouldn't be the end of the world if he won't do it, his daddy seems to function very well with no schedule, but it would make my life a little easier if I could get my lovely ordered routines back in one sense or another.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm Going There

I said I wouldn't but I can't help it, I'm going there. Two words: Healthcare Reform. Now, my dislike for our current national leadership aside and my utter amazement at the convoluted process that this bill went through, there are some major issues I have with this so called 'reform.' I promise I am not going to go into everything about this that I have a problem with, but there are two things that I am so irritated about I just can't keep them to myself anymore.

As a disclaimer, as far as I understand it, this bill will not directly affect me as we buy health insurance, independently, not through an employer and we don't make a ton a money which, I believe, exempts us from the special tax to fund the bill.

A couple of observations:

1. If we elect our representatives to represent us, why would the President constantly berate Congress for not 'working together to put aside partisan blah, blah, blah...' when our representatives are voting the way we, as the people, wish them to. The president is going on a cross country speaking tour to sell this bill to the American people. This tells me the people don't want this bill and the difficulty he had selling it to Congress was reflecting this. It isn't that we don't want healthcare reform, we just don't like the form it is taking. (Something like 40% of polled Americans are against it.)

2. How is it constitutional for the government to require that we purchase a product? If you want to do it that way, take the premium out in taxes and make healthcare a government service like police, but don't try and mask what you are doing.

I am assuming that this will get thrown out in the supreme court for unconstitutionality, or maybe not, but the way this whole debacle has played out thus far worries me greatly about the direction our government is heading.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gus Vs. The Thumb

Gus spends a half hour before every nap fighting with his thumb. When he was first born, he could instinctively put it in his mouth. Now that his eyes are open, he is having major problems coordinating what he sees with what he does. He misses his mouth, tucks the thumb into his fist, doesn't realize he can't move the hand around and expect the thumb to stay in his mouth...well, a video is worth a thousand words.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Binky

After Gus was born, they moved us to the postpartum floor. Rob was settling me in the bed while the nurse went through the 'what to expect' checklist. He was situating my binky behind my head and the nurse laughed. "Is that your baby blanket?" Somewhat embarrassed, I said that it was. She winked at me and told me that she was 50 and still had hers. She was laughing because she had taken hers to the hospital when she had delivered her children too. When my mom arrived later that night, she groaned and made a comment that she couldn't believe I had brought it the hospital with me to have my own baby.

I tell you that to tell you this

I am so glad I kept that thing. I was going to get rid of it when I married, but Rob didn't care, so I decided there was no reason to get rid of it. Now, it is a life saver. I put Gus down to sleep with my baby blanket and he goes right to sleep. Then when I go to bed, I reclaim it for myself. It is the only way he will nap out of my arms and the only way he will go to sleep in his own bed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To Steal a Title From a Friend...That We May Delight Our King

Despite being sick, I am looking forward to church tonight. Pastor is starting a series on building your ministry. I am very excited about getting involved in some of their ministries. A big part of why we chose this church was their involvement in the community.

Once Gus's immune system is a little more developed, we will be starting his training in ministering to others. I am sure he won't remember this for years, but I want some his earliest memories to be of service to others. I want it to be a part of his life as much as actually attending church. I don't know that we would be doing him any favors by giving him 'religion' without also instilling the responsibility that being a child of grace entails.

Sarah Vs. the Common Cold


Is there any possible way Gus is not going to catch this from me?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hurricane Lizzi

Jami came to visit this weekend with her sixteen month old daughter, Lizzi. Now Lizzi has the sniffles and while we did pretty well at keeping her and Gus apart for the duration of the visit, she is teething and drooly and has a runny nose, manages to materialize in different rooms slightly ahead of supervision, and has a fascination with all of Gus's things.

We bought a can of Lysol.

After they left today, I dumped all the toys in the sink with some bleach, threw everything cloth that she had touched into a hot load in the washer, and Lysoled everything she could possibly have touched. It has given me a crash course in baby proofing our house. We have quite a bit of work to do in the next couple months. I am amazed at the vast reach of these miniature hurricanes we call children and the awesome power of their destructive force.

Now we need to leave the house for a little bit so it can air out a tad. Do they make a Lysol that doesn't smell like, well, Lysol?

Monday, March 15, 2010


Gus has eczema. Having dealt with this all of my life on my own skin, I know how to take care of it. The doctor said 2-4 times a day to wash his face off and reapply the ointment, which, incidentally, he hates. He always screams bloody murder when we do his lotion, and doesn't seem to understand my explanation that it is so he won't be itchy.

Last night, my cousin Jami came up and was lotioning her baby's face at the same time I was performing Gus's nightly torture ritual. Apparently a sixteen month old doesn't like lotion any more than a one month old does. Rob, sitting on the couch listening to the chorus of screams, visibly getting more and more tense, commented that he was getting a hotel for the night.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What Now?

Four years ago, I took a trip to Phoenix to visit some friends. One of them had two small children and was cloth diapering. Now I had no idea people still did this or that there were versions without pins and rubber pants. She was buying hers off eBay and playing with patterns and her own designs and having a small child to put them on, able to make on the fly adjustments. I came home, told my husband about it and started sewing a couple to try on my niece, who was potty training at the time. They worked great and some people at the base saw them and asked me to sew a few for them. I sold some off and on for three years, mostly to parents of toddlers.

Then, when I got pregnant, I pulled out the small pattern my friend had given me and sewed twenty or so for my own bundle of joy. I took them to the hospital only to realize that he couldn't wear them till his cord fell off. So I waited a couple of weeks until the cord fell off and with great excitement, put them on him and waited. An hour later, his entire outfit was soaked. I wondered if I hadn't put it on tight enough so I changed him and waited again. Same result...

Turns out my long skinny newborn doesn't fill the leg holes well enough and I couldn't get them any tighter. Back to the drawing board I went, or rather, to the computer to see how other mom's making these at home were designing theirs. What I found was very depressing...

Three years ago, encouraged by the fact I was selling these, my sister and I hatched a plan to set up a manufacturing facility to produce these in bulk to sell to large retailers like Target, who have a reputation for selling green products and a track record of not being evil like another large retailer who shall remain unnamed. I couldn't understand why these had not been marketed on a large scale before.

Three years ago, there were maybe two or three companies that marketed machine fabricated cloth diapers and the designs weren't that great. Fast forward to the present and there were at least fifteen awesomely designed products that would go from birth to potty training, reasonable priced and mass manufactured in the US. So I could work on my design and still proceed with the business, but the stuff that is out there is great and I really have no suggestions for improving the products. You can buy them through online retailers or small, independently owned 'green' shops, and the products are reasonably priced. I am a little bummed that my business idea has swarmed the market and am left a little lost as to where to go from here. The question I do still have is why doesn't anyone offer them at a Target or Babies 'R Us? It seems like this is a really great opportunity missed as something like 15 to 20 percent of babies are cloth diapered.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sarah Vs. the Black Thumb

I have a terrible track record with growing things. But I love the idea of gardening so much that I attempt it every year.

When we first got married, I had houseplants...sad, short lived houseplants.

When we moved to Alabama, I got gardenia bushes and azalea bushes that I planted in pots and put in the house to get big enough to face the outside world. My cats ate one of the azaleas and I killed the rest through overwatering.

Then we moved back to Indy and I had a second story apartment whose balcony I filled with potted plants, which I managed to kill through neglect stemming from frequent road trips.

Then we moved to the house we are in now where I discovered bulbs, which apparently, are Sarah-proof. I also managed to successfully grow two fruit bearing tomato plants. I got about 20 cherry tomatoes off a plant that probably should have given me over a hundred tomatoes and a grand total of two yellow tomatoes.

Last year, I got some really huge basil plants whose leaves didn't taste at all basilly and an insane amount of lettuce and of course, my bulbs (which I thought I had dug up) came back up being fairly hard to kill. We also got a really great crop of green onions which I had planted the previous year, but had never come up. Apparently the days to maturity on that particular variety is 380.

Last fall, while digging up our sad little garden, I promised Rob no gardening fiascoes this year. Then a few weeks ago, while grocery shopping Sarah and I passed a center display filled with seeds. Tiny little packets of vulnerable seeds, full of promise. I literally could not help myself. I wasn't going to tell him, I was going to plant them and watch his amazement as everything sprouted at which point it wouldn't be a 'gardening fiasco' now would it! He helps me unload the groceries, so I pulled the seed packets out to tuck somewhere out of the way until planting time, but I missed a packet. He unloaded the bag, held up the seed packet and said "Honey, what is this?"

I was very very busted. I sold my 'isn't one of the most wonderful things in the world eating a huge juicy tomato like an apple, right off the vine?' He pointed out that we have never managed to get big juicy tomatoes to actually grow. So now, I am under obligation for it not to be a fiasco. I have read and researched how to make the seeds happy, the kind of water, soil, and sunlight they need. I have read about using compost and what mulches leach nutrients out of your soil. I have read about timing your garden and planning early and late blooming plants to maximize the beauty of it. I have laid out a plan for the garden and for bringing it under my dominion and subjecting it to my will. I figure I have tried the nurturing hovering approach and I ended up smothering my plants. Now I will do the confident in my plan of action, tough love approach and hopefully my little seedlings will grow up big and strong and independent. Sorry, I may have my parenting books and gardening books a little confused.

Week One progress report:
Actions: I started tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumbers and daisies last week. I have tomato seedlings two inches tall with one or two sets of leaves and cucumber shoots four to six inches long. The daisies have poked out of the soil but aren't really doing anything yet.
Attitude: I refuse to believe there is anything I cannot master with learning, hard work and determination. I will have tomatoes this year if it kills me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What a Difference a Day Made

I was listening to some old jazz today today and came across the "What a Difference a Day Made" song, which got me to thinking about days that have utterly and completely changed my life. This isn't to say that life isn't completely changing and evolving, but there are days that stick in your mind forever and whatever happened on that day makes every day afterward different.

In order, mine are:

The day of my earliest memory...I am four and I am staring out our living room window. I remember wishing that I were bigger. I said as much to my mom and she commented that I should enjoy every part of life, even the part where I am little. I don't remember much else about that conversation, but I remember the enjoying life part. I have, to the best of my recollection, done so to date. What I realized this year is that this also means not living in the past, not regretting that those days are gone. This was not a problem when I married, but before Gus was born, I had a minor panic attack about my carefree days with my husband coming to an end...rather rapidly.

The day I received the Holy Ghost. I remember it much like getting glasses...where you are finally able to see and even when you take them off and everything is blurry, you remember the clarity that you had with them. Sure you can get through life without it, but why would you choose to continually stumble over things you would have been able to see if you would just wear your glasses.

The day before Rob's eye surgery where we decided rather unromantically that we wanted to be together forever. I will never forget the amazement I felt that someone as wonderful as Rob wanted to be with me forever. I still feel lucky...

The day after our of those first day of the rest of our lives feelings...the day before felt like a dream, this felt permanent.

Then there is Gus. He cannot be described in one day. He was a long time coming and he is my answer to prayer. There was the day the doctor told me I might wake up from surgery without either ovary and the devastation that I felt and the helplessness we felt putting the matter in God's hands. The joy I felt on the day I saw his heartbeat on the didn't feel real until then. The day in the grocery store where God sent a stranger to pray an anointing on my baby. The day he was born when we looked into his eyes and saw an old soul. The first time we took him to church I cried over him and thanked God for him and had the unmistakable feeling that we were supposed to give this one back to him. Our lives all of a sudden feel like there is a lot less wiggle room, that our mistakes from here on out are not as insignificant. It is intimidating and challenging all at the same time. I'm not sure what purpose this baby was born for, but I do know God has been involved from the beginning and he will not abandon us on this, the first day of the rest of our lives. Hopefully we will not fail him either.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Virtuous Woman

As I woke up this morning, I was staring at one of the most peaceful scenes I have ever seen. There is something so beautiful about the perfect sleep of a child. Their deep breathing and little smiles and the noises they make in their sleep, his little hand curled around my finger... What do they dream of I wonder? Lights, colors, our faces, heartbeats, breasts? It was the first morning in weeks he didn't appear to be in pain and I had a quiet half hour with just him, God and I.

I have been reading Proverbs 31 quite a bit lately, looking for guidance for my own life. I was always baffled by the part about her rising early before the household. I would laugh, being the quintessential 'night owl,' thinking rather that I could stay up later than everyone else to take care of the household. Even the first month of his life, I have been so tired that the thought of getting up before I actually have to seemed farfetched. This morning though, I rose early and took care of myself. I showered and dressed without constantly reassuring him that mommy just needed another minute (not that such reassurances actually stop his cries). I fed myself, read my bible and prayed without having to time it around his crying bouts. As I heard him stirring, I went to him and talked and sang with him while I washed and dressed him and as I got to him before he was in meltdown mode, we were able to do that this morning without the usually protests and indignation. Now we are into part of the day where he fusses constantly, but the night of solid sleep and being able to take care of my own needs, both physical and spiritual, has made an unmistakable difference. It is well worth one less hour of sleep. Maybe there is hope yet that I could be that woman.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What I Have Learned in the Last Month

Being one of those people that researches and tries to be as educated about everything as possible, including having a baby, here are things I have learned from Gus about having a baby in the last month.

1. Sometimes babies cry for no reason and there is nothing you can do about it. Sometimes they cry for hours and there is nothing you can do about it...for hours.

2. You wanting them to sleep in their own bed is a nice theory, but if the baby doesn't agree you better have a good set of earplugs, a heart of stone, and no desire to sleep. Or, alternatively, you could be a man and have an amazing ability to tune out the sound of a baby's screams.

3. You wanting them to sleep at night is a nice theory, but if the baby doesn't agree you will learn to love stores that are open 24 hours so that you can sleep all day or see No. 2 above

4. You can go without sleep or food but not both (learned this in college but have definitely gotten a refresher course the last few weeks).

5. If you are cloth diapering, you will do laundry every other day whether you or the baby like it or not.

6. Zebra cakes only get you so far in fulfilling the need for food.

7. Your spouse volunteering to spend time away from you will seem like a really romantic gesture when he keeps the screaming child with him so you can sleep.

8. Someone else's poop on your hands isn't nearly as gross as you thought it was.

9. Someone else throwing up on you isn't nearly as gross as you thought it was.

10. There is something endlessly entertaining about watching a baby sleep.

11. You really can cry from happiness.

12. Sympathetic rocking and bouncing when someone else is holding your crying child makes you look like a loon, but is uncontrollable.

13. When you find that one thing that makes their face light up with a toothless grin, you will do it over and over and over again until they want to do something different even if that means you clap their hands together and swoop kisses on them for an hour. I find that it makes me grin too.

14. Stretch marks really aren't that bad.

15. Being organized really really really think you are going to get more done than you will in actuality.

16. It really can take an hour to run to the store for milk, it is better to ask hubby to pick it up on the way home .

17. Find a really great Chinese place that delivers or you will end up having Zebra cakes, crackers and coffee for dinner more than you will admit to other people.

18. Hairy ears are really cute if you aren't considering the person as a potential mate.

19. Even though you may hate vacuuming, you will do it every day if it puts your kid to sleep.

20. There are really only five household chores that really need to be kept up with, the rest can slide a little: laundry, dishes, taking out trash, keeping the living room picked up, and feeding the furry creatures.

21. Allow three times as much time as you will think you will need to do anything...and get used to being late.

22. Crying because your one month old is 'so big' also makes you look like a loon but people tend to understand.

23. You can, living in a house with multiple mirrors, manage to go a week without ever looking in one and not realize it. You can also leave the house and not realize until you are somewhere that you have slippers on and you forgot to comb your hair but at least the kid is wearing a really cute outfit and has his hair is combed!

24. You have deeper levels of love than you thought. I thought that I loved my spouse with every fibre of my being, but I have never cried because his belly hurts, I have never gone a week without sleep because he needed to be held, and I have never panicked over every minute that passes because it is one less minute I will have with him. I'm not saying it is more than what I feel for Rob, but it is completely different and the magnitude and depth of it takes my breath away. It is like the first time you feel the Holy Ghost in you and your previous conceptions of love are blown away, not made insignificant, but you realize how much more of you there is and it enriches your existing relationships. Hard to describe but I thought I would try...

25. You realize the true meaning of words. Like when your parents said "You were a colicky baby," colic, which you have heard is terrible and exhausting, really is terrible, exhausting and mostly heartbreaking because this baby is obviously hurting and there is nothing I can do about it. And then there is people telling you that childbirth is painful, which may be the biggest understatement ever, but there really is no way to convey that to another person with words. While this is what I have always wanted to do and I am so happy to finally be on that path, there are things that I never blinked at before, I am suddenly terrified of. The gross magnitude to which I underestimated innocuous sounding words like 'childbirth' and 'colic' leave me scared to death of other dreaded stages like 'terrible twos' and 'teenager' and 'free will' and 'independence.' And from what I can tell, none of these things utilize skills picked up in previous trials. I don't think my rock and walk skills will help much with terrible twos. I do have hope that we will figure it out when it comes and in the meantime I am trying not to borrow trouble or think about it too much.

Books lull you into thinking that you can have and raise children with competence and dignity. What I have learned in the last month is that this is a lie.