Whisking is a maybe

Dear Diary,

One of the misconceptions I have about myself is that I like to bake. I like the idea of baking, and I do get smug satisfaction from saying that I have baked something, but in reality baking often makes me cry and/or throw things. I have a few standard items that I make because they are easy and require few ingredients and no other gear besides a bowl and spoon. These include banana bread, peanut butter cookies, and... hmm. That's it, actually.

When Christmas rolls around I do like to bake some cookies to make it seem like I'm a functioning wife/mother. But looking at one of my cookbooks this evening, I discovered that there are certain limits I have with what I will deal with in a recipe. For example, if a recipe has too many ingredients, I just say no. Also, there are certain instructions that I just will not do, and if I see those phrases in the recipe I stop reading right there. Here they are, in no particular order.

"rolling pin" (not going to happen)
"melt the chocolate," "double boiler" (no and no)
"finely chop" (very unlikely)
"using a pastry bag" (often a recipe will look totally doable until this point; so disappointing)
"candy thermometer" (often appears with "stir constantly," which is a definite no)
"in a separate bowl" (whoa, too complicated)
"egg whites" (goodbye)

It probably takes me more time to find recipes that meet my criteria than it would to actually follow a normal cookie recipe. But it's better than tears and broken dishes.



Sorry I asked

"What happened to your shirt?"
"I took it off."
"Because it has poop on it."
"Uh, how did it get poop on it?"
"Because I used it to wipe my butt."


Terrible photography

Dear Diary,
I really like to take pictures. Well, I really like to have pictures. But actually, I don't like taking them. I find it stressful. There is such pressure to DOCUMENT everything constantly, and my camera always sucks (I realize this could possibly be user error), and my subjects are often trying to kill each other. 
Here is a sampling of the best pictures I have of my kids together, and this is after going through about 800 pictures from the past few months.

Here are the boys listening to a terrible, terrible 70's cover band.
Here are the boys sitting in their "boat", which is actually a linen chest, which I put them in because they were driving me crazy.
Here is Edwin strangling John at a pumpkin patch.

I don't know.

Here is John attacking Edwin. This looks like a cute, fun moment, doesn't it? But actually Edwin is backing away in fear.

OK, it's not both of them but here is John screaming at a waitress to bring him more breadsticks.

There, that's better.


Captain's weblog, supplemental

Dear Diary,

At any given time, I have a pile of media on my nightstand. Literally, a teetering pile. The problem is that when I start to read something, I get tired and cannot finish it. Then I delude myself into thinking that I will finish it in just a...zzzzzzz. So instead of putting it away, I keep it out in hopes that I will finish it the next night. But the next night I usually either repeat the process with something new, or watch Star Trek: Next Generation on Netflix.

Consequently, there are about 16,562 pieces of half-read media piled up. Would you like to know what is there? I know you would.

New Yorkers. This is the biggest problem. I try to keep up with them; I do. But I usually only manage the Talk of Town and then read the fiction. Because let's face it, for every in-depth article that is relevent to my interests (rich people, diseases, profiles of celebrities, anything to do with food) there are three that are not (people I haven't heard of but should have, history, politics, dance, other boring stuff). But I keep them there because I still might read the in-depth article about that prominent Danish architect. You never know when you might be presented with the opportunity to say, "Oh yes, I just read about him in the New Yorker." You know, like during pre-school dropoff.

Parenting books. I have several, several parenting books. I usually buy one when we are having a particular problem with one of the kids, and then I do not read it. So I have ones about how to get your kids to eat (mine don't), to sleep (nope, they don't do that either), and behave (hahahaha, no.) Still, though, I have them and continue to buy them.

Self-help books on anxiety. Have we met? If not, hello, I'm Fluffy and I have a raging anxiety disorder. I don't read the books though; they make me too nervous.

Assorted other literature. Gazing over at the pile right now, I see two P.G. Wodehouse books, some Alexander McCall Smith (love), some Anthony Trollope, some chick-lit from the beach, and the confrontational title, "So You Think You're Not Religious: A Thinking Person's Guide to the Church". And ironically, what is sitting on top of the pile but a poor, neglected, uncharged kindle that has only been used to read an emergency copy of Fifty Shades of Gray (don't judge; I had to see what the fuss was about) and that also stores piles of classics that I also will never read. But at least those aren't taking up real estate on my nightstand.

And now, if you'll excuse me, Captian Picard beckons. (number one, make it so, etc.)




Dear Diary,

So, I have decided to resurrect this blog for the National Stop Neglecting Your Blog month, or whatever it is. Post Something Everyday, Even if it's Stupid month? Anyway, I'm doing it. I say that tonight, but keep in mind that I have had like TWO glasses of wine (ok, maybe three) and a dinner out WITHOUT the kids so I'm feeling pretty ambitious.

I have been busy with the taking care of the two kids, having a job, and maintaining some semblance of order in my home (totally failing on that last one, by the way). Seriously, how do we parents of two or more children DO THIS? When I was pregnant with John, my second, everyone said it was really hard to go from one to two. And I would say, "Haha, yeah. I'm sure it's gonna be crazy!" And they'd look me in the eye and say, "No, REALLY. It's hard." And I'd think, OK crazy person, pass the cheetos and leave me alone. Because I didn't believe them, not really. Because how can you? You have your one perfect angelic two-year old, your home is still perfectly organized, you can shower, you can get dinner on the table by 6:30, you can sleep. Hahahahaha. Ha. Just you wait!

But you know, parenthood is hard in different ways for different people, I guess. So, what's the point of even talking about it? I feel like it's hard for me, but I have extenuating circumstances, the first of which being profound laziness. So that undoubtedly adds to my difficulty coping. But I have a really great supportive husband and family and my kids are super cute (pictures coming soon, as soon as I find my stupid g%ddam mfing camera cord), so I really shouldn't complain.

Instead, I will just update briefly, for anyone who may have read this blog before (hahahahahaha).

Edwin: 4, cute, smart, affectionate, sometimes talky-backy and messy-makey. Obsessed with Scoob and Marvel superheroes (as, I am now understanding, are most 4-year olds).
John: 14 months, cute, smart, affectionate, often shrieky, head-butty, non-sleeping-through-the-nighty.
BHE: Long-suffering husband, doting father, provider, launderer, dog-barf-cleaner-upper, generally awesome force in our house.
Me: Overwhelmed. Working part-time and staying home with the kids part-time; doing neither very well. Hobbies include: fretting.

So, I would like to keep writing here sometimes. If nothing else, I would like to hear from other parents of two children who have trouble coping. But I also want to write about things other than my kids. If I even have anything else to write about these days. Because my children, and their characteristics and care, take up much of my available brain space, which was limited to begin with.



Half capacity

Dear Diary,

Hello? Anyone? Listen. I want to write more; I do. But my brain is only half working these days; the other half is busy trying to remember to bring my breast pump, laptop, and both children when I leave for work. I know that lots of women have two children and work and get along just fine.

But I am much, much lazier and more disorganized than other women. 

Love, Fluffy


It's 11/11/11.

Dear Diary,

Wow, so it's been a while. I've been busy sucking at being a stay-at-home mom. I am really no good at it, so good thing I'm going back to work next month!

But in good news John has grown VERY CUTE. His cute is large, in my opinion. He smiles and gasps and sighs and gurgles and coos. He gazes at me lovingly and flashes the hugest smile every morning and every night. When he was first born my anxiety over his well-being prevented me from noticing how cute he is. Then suddenly one day I was like, hey, this baby is cute. And he likes me, he really likes me!

Edwin is heavily into super herores, Star Wars (though he's never seen it) and Scooby-Doo. He is not into his brother at all, and frequently requests that I put him down. He has also suggested that maybe Baby Brother would like to live at Grandma and Grandpa's.

And here is the only Halloween photo I got. Edwin is actively pushing John away saying, "Get him OFF! Get him OFF!" Can't you just feel the love?



Your late-term preemie and you

Dear Diary,

Little John was five weeks early. This classifies him as a "late-term preemie". Babies born between 34 and 37 weeks are considered late-term preemies. So he's a preemie, but he's pretty much normal size and had no major issues related to prematurity other than being totally pissed at being evacuated from the nice cushy pad where he got to eat taco bell and ice cream every day without even having to wake up to open his mouth.

Aaaaaand herein lies the problem with the late-term preemie. Will not wake up ever, will not eat for more than a minute, when he throws in the towel and falls back asleep. So, here is my day (and night):

Annoy the crap out of him to wake him up(ish).
Put him on boob (may require nipple shield, which I can never find and when I do, has cat hair on it).
Ensure proper latch.
Yay! He's latched.
Wow! He's gulping!
Go, go, go!
Crap, he stopped.
Dang, he's asleep.
Burp him, switch sides, annoy him by bothering his feet.
Do this for about half an hour until I'm reasonably sure he's eaten a respectable amount.
Pump remaining breastmilk.
Feed him said breastmilk with a bottle (or, if unable to pump freak out that my supply is dwindling).
Wash pump, store extra milk.
Swear off breastfeeding forever.
Start crying because I don't want to swear off breastfeeding.
Change poopy diaper.
Find cellphone, set alarm to do it all again in an hour.

When we took him to the doc this week he had gained 18 oz. That's over a pound! In a week! So, something is going right, I guess. But it's so stressful. I never realized how committed I really am to breastfeeding. I'm hoping that if I can just push through, he will wake up and get it and I won't have to pump or use a bottle or a nipple shield or do any of this ridiculous stuff. I'm not opposed to formula; I know that he`would be perfectly healthy on it. But I loved breastfeeding Edwin. It was easy, convenient, and it made me feel needed. Also, what if there was some terrible disaster (earthquake? hurricane?) and I couldn't get formula? My anxiety can't handle that possibility, so I'd really rather breastfeed because I'm crazy like that.

So, here he is. Mr. John Hopson Windover, late-term preemie:




He broke the lease!

Dear Diary,

John Hopson Windover was born on August 12 at 3:33 pm, weighing 6 lbs 1 oz! He was five weeks early but is fine and only had to stay in the NICU a few hours for observation. He is cute and sleepy and occasionally hungry, but mostly sleepy, so I spend a lot of time annoying him so he'll wake up and eat.

I have no pictures because I can't find the stupid cable, a situation I hope to remedy soon. Edwin has been very sweet to his brother. We have only had one punching incident, but it was totally an accident and John slept right through it.

My labor was 11.5 hours from start to finish and wow, was it boring being in the delivery room all that time. Good thing there was an Anthony Bourdain marathon on tv and a chatty nurse. Anyway, labor was long and boring until I finally got to 9.5 centimeters, when it became fast and very, very painful. Thankfully delivery was quick. Oh, don't get me wrong, I had an epidural. But it didn't take on my left side and I didn't want to top it off because I wanted it over with and when you feel like you are being ripped in half that really helps you to push harder. Et voila!

We are so happy he's here! He is sweet, and though I never expected a preemie, I was ALL DONE with being pregnant so it all worked out. The BHE thinks John's pretty cool too.



The bad roommate

Dear Diary,

Here’s what Baby Brother has been doing inside my belly: “Move over, bladder, I’m trying to do my neck rolls! I can’t spread out my yoga mat; who left this rib here? Let me just kick it out of the way… umph, it won’t MOVE, WTF? Ooooooh, I want ice cream! Right now! Yes, I know I am pushing your stomach up into your throat with my legs, just eat it and suffer the consequences, woman! Hiccup, hiccup, hiccup.”

It’s kind of like having a bad roommate, and your lease is up in a month. You’re just trying to get through the next few weeks with no drama but he is driving you SO CRAZY leaving his empty diet pepsi bottles and knitting needles between the couch cushions and cooking weird things that smell bad and making that annoying “choo choo choo” sound when he walks into a room. And, you know, you kind of like him and you’re sure you’ll be friends once you’re not living together anymore but ugh you cannot stand another MINUTE with him in your space, oh my GOD!

So that’s where we are, Baby Brother and I. We just have to get through this next month. I just have to smile and put up with the empty diet pepsi bottles. He will move out and get his own place right next door. I’ll let him keep all the stuff he “borrowed” and I’ll even give him half the security deposit, even though I’m the one who'll get stuck moving all his stuff out and cleaning the whole apartment.



34 weeks

Dear Diary,

First of all, Edwin is surly. Here is an exchange we had last night. We were all settling in to watch some Pingu. Edwin with his milk, I with my lemonade, and the BHE with his whiskey (hey, at least one of us should be able to enjoy a stiff drink now and then.) So I said, "Hey, we all have our beverages!" And Edwin said, "Mom, they're just drinks." They grow up so fast... into 14 year-old girls.

Second, I started getting paranoid that my doctor's sole goal in life is to give me a c-section. (Don't worry, the BHE talked me down from this particular ledge.) But let me explain my crazy. The hospital where I'm delivering has the highest c-section rate in the state. When Edwin was born, the cord was around his neck and his heart rate kept dipping and the doctor was like, "we might have to go down the hall..." And I was like oh no we won't and I pushed that baby out toot sweet. But there was pitocin involved. At some point I was given pitocin to, and I quote my OB, "get this party started."

Now, my memory of Edwin's birth is fuzzy. I don't know what happened when. I was only in the delivery room for about 3 hours and I was terrified the whole time so it's all kind of a blur. But I started wondering whether they gave me the pitocin before or after his heart went weird. Because there are c-section conspiracy theorists out there who say that some doctors push pitocin to deliberately put the baby into fetal distress so that they have a reason to do a c-section so that they can get home and watch CSI.

Now I'm not a home-birther type or even a natural childbirth type. But this issue had me all worked up and paranoid and I started telling the BHE we should just have the baby at home in the kiddie pool. But then the BHE reminded me that no OB is going to deliberately put my baby in distress and then chase me with a scalpel. And that they gave me the pitocin AFTER his heart rate went wonky. I even saw the doctor in question today and told him I was freaked out by the whole experience last time and that I definitely did not want a c-section and reminded him that he could just tivo CSI if everything takes too long. He reassured me that everything should go smoothly and he understands that I don't want a c-section and to please relax, insane pregnant person.  

I would also like to say that obviously, a c-section is fine if the baby is in serious danger. Do what you gotta do, duh. But it just seems to me that sometimes the doctors will suggest a c-section when it's not exactly an emergency and some women are like well, OK, let's just go ahead and do that. I just want my doctors to know that I am not one of those women. Because I am WAY MORE scared of surgery than of pushing a baby out.

OK, enough about that. Here's a picture of Edwin pretending that this hose sprinkler thing is his microphone. In front of a party full of strangers.



It's not the heat, it's the... no, it's definitely the heat.

Dear Diary,

Heat wave. 100 degrees. Feel like a big hot fat walrus. Except, that walrus is probably more comfortable than I am right now. Complaining! I am doing it.

On the other hand, this pregnancy is basically OK. No stretch marks, no swelling, no 'beetus, reasonable weight gain, etc. I can't complain too much. Lots of people have really sucky pregnancies and lots of problems and I feel very grateful so far not to have those, knock on wood and all that.

But I can still complain about the heat.

Love, Fluffy


The week in review

This week, Edwin:

 - got a black eye from jumping off the front porch steps
 - flushed a pair of underwear down the toilet, at my parents' house
 - climbed on top of our mantle and "dropped" a ceramic candle holder on the floor
 - dumped a glass of water onto my laptop
 - refused to put on pants, ever, and continually ran out the front door pantsless

And now I know that yeah, "terrible twos" is actually a thing. Also boys are insane and they literally (literally) bounce off the walls.

(He's still cute, though.)


30 weeks

Dear Diary,

I'm 30 weeks pregnant now, which is awesome because yay, our baby will be here soon! And also scary because wow, our baby will be here soon. Not prepared in any way. No room, (eh, he'll stay with us for a while and then we'll figure something out) no crib, (Edwin is still sleeping in it as a toddler bed) no clothes that weren't Edwin's. In fact, no nothing that wasn't Edwin's. I'm giving him a complex and he's not even born yet! I am considering buying a mei tai baby carrier thing. But I haven't yet. I think I'm in denial? Anyway, my wonderful friends are throwing me a shower this weekend so I'm sure he'll get a few outfits to call his own. And he will have a different name than Edwin and a different birthday, though even that is no guarantee because he's due Sept. 13th and Ed's birthday is the 16th.

Anyway, we went to the beach! And it was fun and Edwin actually enjoyed it (unlike last year when he was a total weenie about the sun and the sand and the water and pretty much everything beach-related). But his favorite part was skee ball. He asked to play skee ball constantly, even though he would lose interest after about 3 seconds.

OK, picture time.

Here is Edwin waiting for some fish n chips.

Here we are on the beach, enjoying some sandy goldfish crackers.

Here's Ed and his dad, beach combin'.

Here's Ed eating a cupcake, which has nothing to do with the beach at all.



She should win a prize

Dear Diary,

So far, I have received fewer annoying pregnancy comments this time around. I think the judgy/inappropriate people prefer to prey on first-time pregnant women; they are easy targets, all nervous and naive. Second time around, people know they can't get away with as much nosy questions and unwanted advice.

Although I have received fewer comments this time, the comment I received yesterday was by far THE WORST I've ever received. Yes, even worse than when a coworker told me that if I don't take my prenatal vitamins, my baby won't be healthy and I won't be able to eat any junk food.

I was in the kitchen, getting some coffee. (OK, I was really buying raisinettes out of the vending machine. OK? I eat junk food, so sue me.) A coworker comes in. We will call her Rude Nosy Cow Alice.

Alice: Are you EVER going to get big??? God, look at you! You're tiny! How far along are you?

Fluffy: 28 weeks.

Alice: Is everything OK? I mean, is the baby OK???????

Fluffy: Yeah, everything is fine. I'm just... small? I guess?

Alice: But this is your SECOND! Are you sure there's nothing WRONG? I was huge at 28 weeks!

Fluffy: [What can you say to this? I had no idea what to say, so I just sort of stood there smiling and kind of shrugging.]

Why do I even go into to the work kitchen at all? Haven't I learned not to go in there ever? That most annoying things happen in the work kitchen, that the most annoying people linger there and accost you with bizarre food habits and misplaced concern about the health of unborn children?

But I need my coffee and raisinettes.



26 week update and cheating on medical tests

Dear Diary,

26 weeks of the pregnant. I feel like a McMansion, but according to pictures and other people I don't look nearly as big as I feel.

Ratio of appetite vs. tolerance for food in my stomach: unbalanced

Patience for toddler shenanigans: scant

Number of Busytown Mysteries episodes I let Edwin watch this week so I could get a nap: MANY

Number of naps I was actually able to take: NONE

The weather in City B: unbearable and being a total douche

OK, I don't want to complain too much. I generally feel pretty good. Edwin is generally hilarious and fun to be around. So instead, I'll tell the story of how I cheated on my glucose tolerance test.

A little background here. At my first glucose tolerance test (when I was pregnant with Edwin), nobody told me how drinking 50 grams of glucose on an empty stomach first thing in the morning can make you feel like you're going to pass out and die. So I was a little taken aback by that, and when I mentioned feeling like I might pass out and die when my OB came into the room, she waved me off and basically said, "Well, DUH."

So this time around, I started dreading the glucose test. It was an irrational amount of dread, as in I dreaded this test more than I dread the pain of childbirth. I considered refusing it, but I didn't want to be labeled a difficult patient. I'm sure they've already flagged my file "UNSTABLE", and I just don't want to make any more trouble. So I went, and brought the BHE and Edwin with me.

First of all, it took me way longer than 5 minutes to drink that crap. I was drinking it pretty slowly, and trying to entertain Edwin at the same time. I was also sipping from a water bottle the whole time, thinking that maybe this would help me not feel so sick. After about 15 minutes, I had maybe two or three gulps of stuff left, and Edwin had to go to the potty. So I took him to the potty (wait, I forgot that I am an adult there for a second. I took him to the bathroom). While we were in there, I checked around for hidden cameras (Because I don't know, I guess part of me imagines that maybe my OB practice spies on you in the bathroom to make sure you don't cheat on your pee test or your glucose test? That's normal, right? No? OK.) and then I dumped the rest of the crap down the sink.

Then while I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting my hour to process all the delicious delicious glucose, the nurse saw my water bottle. She said, "Are you here for your glucose?" I said, "Yeah." She said, "You're not supposed to be drinking that." I said, "Oops." (Did you know that you aren't supposed to drink water? I didn't know that. Really, I didn't.)

Anyway, I didn't feel sick during the test like last time. And what this means is that I am selfish and care more about my physical comfort than I do about finding out whether I actually have gestational diabetes. Also, I passed. Because of course I did, because I threw the test. So I guess if I really do have gestational diabetes and have to push out a 10 lb baby, it will serve me right. But at least I didn't feel sick during the test.



What are the chances?

Dear Diary,

What are the chances that a pregnant woman has never had chickenpox, and never been vaccinated? Slim. And yet, I am that woman. What are the chances that this vulnerable pregnant woman would then go to a party and unknowingly hug someone with shingles? Twice? Very, very slim. And yet, I am also that woman.

Long story short, I've been exposed. My OB sort of said that my risk of infection is small (since it's not like I was massaging her festering sores or anything). But then he said that if I did get sick, the baby would be fine but it could be VERY VERY DANGEROUS for me because I could get varicella pneumonia and die. Thanks, doc! That's JUST what I needed to hear.

Well, at least this worry will trump all other pregnancy worries for the next (wait, let me count) 18 days. Oh, unless I get sick with the pox during the incubation period and then die of pneumonia.

Also, Edwin has only had diarrhea like maybe once in his life (after a too-much-chocolate-pudding situation). He is very regular. Until this, the third day of no diapers when he developed a case of the 'rrhea. Let me just tell you, changing poopy diapers on a 2.5 year old is no fun. Cleaning up diarrhea when your 2.5 year old didn't make it to the potty is EVEN LESS FUN.

Someone, please tell me I won't get varicella pneumonia and die? I'm not liking my odds here. Kthx.



In the work kitchen

Dear Diary,

Sharing a common kitchen with coworkers annoys me under normal circumstances. Add pregnancy to that, and I’m ready to kill anyone within 2 feet of me in there. Personal space issues aside, people just don’t know how to act in a work kitchen. Here’s a tip: Get in, get out, no loitering. More specifically:

DO NOT comment on other peoples’ food. And definitely do not grab someone else’s Tupperware to inspect their breakfast and ask whether that is turkey bacon, and how did they cook those eggs?

Do not block a free microwave by standing in front of it and frosting a cake. (wtf?)

Do not spend a disproportionate amount of time washing one small piece of Tupperware and one plastic fork (FOUR MINUTES OH MY GOD IT’S CLEAN ALREADY, MOVE ON)

Do not stand in the middle of the kitchen to eat your yogurt, when you really have no other reason to be in the kitchen. That’s what your desk is for. Unless you sit next to me and are a loud yogurt eater, or a yogurt container scraper. Then no yogurt permitted.

Do not talk to yourself while you decide what kind of snack to get out of the vending machine.

Also, do not hum.

Trust me; I really, really couldn’t care less about your diet. So stop talking to me about it.

Yes, we all know the coffee machine sucks and that they don’t replenish the paper towel supply quickly enough. Do we really have to mention it just to have something to say?

Don’t get me started on the strange things people bring in from home to heat up in the toaster oven. Just spring for a lean cuisine, k?



He's still cute, imo.

Dear Diary,

I just realized that it's been a while since I've posted any photos of Edwin. This is partly because I do not have an efficient system for taking, downloading/uploading/storing photos. I have a crappy camera, ancient laptop, no smart phone-type device, and little interest in sitting in front of the computer for hours trying to download crappy pictures (my camera sucks and every picture I take is terrible). I know, poor me! I am just not technologically savvy, it's never gonna happen. I'm too cheap for all that and besides, I'd rather complain.

But here are some pictures anyway.

Here is Edwin seeing the sonogram pictures of his baby brother, who he already finds, like, totally boring.

Dyin' eggs.

Findin' eggs.

Lookin' handsome.

Love, Fluffy


I will never have to put tights on a toddler.*

Dear Diary,

We had the BIG SONOGRAM today, and it's a total bro-fest up in there. When I first found out I was pregnant, I really hoped for a girl. Pink! Ribbons! Ruffles! Tutus! But for the past few weeks, I had been thinking it would be cool, and in some ways easier, to have another boy. So I am really happy (I would have been happy with a girl too, duh.) And now that I know, and have seen him (totes cute, natch) I just cannot WAIT for him to get here in September.


*Unless, of course, one of my boys wants to wear tights. Which I'm totally cool with. Whatever floats your boat, dude.



Dear Diary,

I wrote this little stupid piece and submitted it to Urbanite Magazine. They rejected it so I'm posting it here because it's my blog and I can post my crappy writing if I want to. So there.

“Mommy, I’m scared.” My two-year old son reaches for me. He buries his head in the crook of my neck, his tiny hands grasping my hair, his breath quick and shallow in my ear. He is terrified.

“What are you scared of, honey? There’s nothing to be scared of,” I say. He holds on tighter, his feet trying to find traction on my torso. He’s desperate, desperate to get closer, to feel safe. Each time I ask him to tell me what he’s scared of, he holds tighter, he buries deeper, he breathes faster. As if giving his fear a name will bring it nearer, make it more real.

“No witches in here,” he whispers. It’s a statement; it’s a question. He’s trying to assure himself, but he wants me to tell him. Tell him there are no witches.

“No, honey. There are no witches in here,” I tell him. I’ve just read him a story and turned out the light. He requested that I lie down with him for a little while, a request that I always indulge. I think of my father, who would sit with me at night, when I was scared.
“Pretend you’re a piece of spaghetti. Or a bowl of jello,” he would say. A silly game, I thought. I didn’t know then, why he would say this. That this silly game was my father’s attempt to calm a nervous child. Trying to find the magic words to calm a child's fear.

I know this now, as I sit with my own son, trying to find the magic words. There are no witches. But it is real, the fear he feels. I can feel it in his breath, in his grip. I can feel his heart racing. It doesn’t matter what it is, witches, dragons, bears. A child or an adult. Fear is the same. I know it. I know how it feels. And it breaks my heart a little, that he knows how it feels too.

I know that through his life, he will have fear. Of things real and imagined, things large and small. I know that. Someday he will have to learn to comfort himself. I won’t always have the magic words to calm him. But right now, I do. So I stroke his back and sing, feeling him slowly relax his grip on me. He is breathing deeper now, feeling safer. There are no witches.



I'm so out of the loop

Dear Diary,

It has been three years since I had a baby. In baby gear trend time, that is like a whole generation. I have no idea what the new trends for baby gear are today. Not that I follow baby gear trends, but sometimes products come out and you're like, why didn't they have these when I had my baby? Like muslin swaddling blankets. Where were these when Edwin was born? I'm sure they existed, muslin is not some high-tech fabric, but I never saw them and now they're all the rage.

You moms who have had babies recently: what item of baby gear is new and amazing that I must must have? I'm not planning to buy a bunch of crap for this baby, but if there is something out there that is really great and will make my life easier (I'm very, VERY lazy), I'm willing to drop some coin. Thanks.

Love, Fluffy


What Edwin did today

 - grabbed scissors, ran away with them

- dumped a whole bag of lentils out in the pantry, then methodically dropped them one by one into the attachment slot in the vacuum cleaner

- dumped an entire bottle of chocolate milk down his front (not intentional, still annoying)

- took a bite out of an intricately folded origami box (isn't that paper, like, toxic???)

- yelled "NOOOOOO! MIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!!!!!!!!" at the checkout girl at Ikea when she tried to scan the bag of frozen meatballs next to him in the cart

 - instead of napping, jumped on his bed singing "We Will Rock You" (also, took all his clothes off and then put his pants back on backwards)

And now we're having another one of these things. Thing One and Thing Two.



Kid likes the rock

Dear Diary,

15 weeks and feeling better... most of the time. Still in somewhat disbelief of the whole situation. For the past week I've been like, "Jeez, why is my stomach sticking out so much? I look pregnant or something!" Oh, wait...

Edwin is hilarious. He spends a lot of time playing air guitar and singing "Burning Down the House". He knows all the words; it is a little unsettling. I'm not one of those hipster parents who only let their kid listen to music with a favorable review in Pitchfork. He listens to plenty of annoying kid crap, trust me. But he heard the song played by a cover band at a festival once, and he has been singing it ever since. So we let him watch the video, which he now requests several times a day. The kid is just really into the rock. Every time a song comes on the radio that he likes, he wants to know, "Who's dat singin'?"

He is also.. two and a half. So I spend a lot of every day just trying to stop him from breaking things and injuring himself. I often wonder how the hell I'm going to keep him in line when I have a baby attached to my boob all day. Maybe by then he will be more... sensible? Right? Have I mentioned that I am planning to leave my job and stay home after the baby is born? Unless someone wants to provide me with free childcare 3 days a week? Anyone?



Delicate condition

Dear Diary,

Not much new here, except, oh yeah, I’m pregnant. Yes. I am, once again, in a family way. It’s very exciting, and I am very fortunate. Having said that, I have also been very sick and miserable. And this is my blog, so I get to complain about it for a while!

The sickness set in right around 7.5 weeks (I’m now at about 12 weeks; wow, I’ve been feeling like I want to die for a whole month!) In fact, I can tell you exactly what I was doing when I started to feel sick. I was waiting in line for my hot dog and french fries (don't judge). And all the sudden, nooooooooooo, I am not wanting that hot dog. Recoil! Recoil in disgust! And since then I have been curled up in a ball trying not to barf. (I have evening sickness. I also had that with Edwin. Nighttime is definitely not the right time around here. I get into bed around 8:00 and whimper, occasionally asking the BHE to bring me toast. I remember telling him several months ago that if I get pregnant, his quality of life will plummet. I was right!)

What is interesting is that in the weeks before I discovered I was pregnant I was ravenously hungry. I could not eat enough. In fact, I gained about 10 pounds during that time. For me, that is a lot. So it all comes out in the wash, I guess. I was getting in my calories while I still could. Though, not that I don’t get in the calories now. I do eat. In fact, I eat a lot. I just feel terrible before, during, and after. And I only want to eat food that is bad for me (this is not a big change from normal circumstances). This is very difficult with a toddler in the house. How can I instill healthy eating habits in my child while I am eating swedish fish and smart food popcorn for breakfast? I’ll tell you how. I have to hide it. Anyway, here is a list of acceptable foods:

french fries (but not if they are seasoned, omg, vom)
egg mcmuffins
special k protein bars
more coke
more toast
peanuts, sometimes
yogurt, sometimes

Foods that can go to hell:

anything that resembles a normal, healthy meal that a reasonable adult might eat

So, this situation is taking up all of my time and energy. I am no trooper when it comes to nausea. I don’t handle it well at all. I have been functioning only on a very basic level. I do go to work (though rarely a full day). I do take care of Edwin when I have to, but he has learned to put on his own socks so he is pretty much raising himself at this point. However I do not clean, cook, grocery shop, or do laundry. So our house right now looks like it would if the BHE and Edwin got an apartment together. Ha, that would make a funny sitcom! If I didn’t feel like barfing.

Also, Edwin wants to name the baby Ponyo.



Sign I've been watching too much Dateline

Me: If I ever die suddenly under suspicious circumstances, make sure you cry a lot so that they don't suspect you murdered me. But don't cry too much, either. They'll think that's suspicious too.

BHE: OK. I'll try to cry just the right amount.


Killing time

Dear Diary,

I love my job. I don’t mean that I love what I do. I am a technical writer, which means, as I like to say, that I am technically a writer. Because it’s rare that I have to craft a sentence from scratch. I usually spend the day editing some technical jargon into somewhat understandable prose. Or, typing a bunch of codes into a table. Or, fixing other peoples’ crappy formatting. That sort of thing. I feel grateful to have a job, one that is flexible and not too stressful. I have no problems with the company that employs me. I’ve been here a long, long time, the people are nice, and there are great places to eat lunch. Seriously, the lunch options are endless and varied. What I’m saying is, if you work with me and read this post. Please don’t get me fired. OK? But sometimes I get bored and have to waste time. And here are a few of the ways I do that.

- Our company has an employee directory that includes home address. Sometimes I like to look up peoples’ addresses on zillow.com and see how much their house is worth. Better yet, see when they bought it and for how much. Truly fascinating. Spoiler alert: everyone has a bigger house than mine. Except for the young whipper-snappers who rent apartments.

- I stare out the window for inordinate amounts of time. I am on the 6th floor and have a birds-eye view of several parking lots and alleys. I keep hoping that some day I will see someone get robbed and be the star witness at a big trial.

- Sometimes I like to walk to the art supply store up the street. I am not an artist, but I like to pretend.

- When the weather is nice I often take a stroll to the courthouse garden, which is lovely. You can often overhear a juicy lawyer conversation.

- I hide out in the library across the street quite a bit. And I’m not the only one—there are always other coworkers in there.

- There is a movie theater in our building. I KNOW. I’ve worked there almost 10 years, and not once snuck out to see a movie. But I’ve definitely considered it. Just knowing it’s an option is enough. I wonder if they would let me buy candy and popcorn without seeing a movie? That would be great, to bring popcorn and a box of milk duds to my desk.

- If there is a coworker who I don’t like or seems creepy, I like to search for their name in court records for any past convictions or lawsuits. What? It's public record, and I like to know what kind of people I'm sharing the coffee machine with, you know?

- When I run out of time-wasting options, I sometimes do actual work.



Grass greener, etc.

Dear Diary,

We have a small, very small, very very very small house which is small. 1200 square feet (I can't remember if the listing said "bungalow" or "cottage", but "cozy" was definitely in the description). Storage is one of the biggest problems. Not just because of the no closet situation, but also because there is limited space for storage furniture. I know, we're lucky to own a house at all, there are people far less fortunate, blah blah. I just have a hard time remembering that when I go to my friends' houses with huge walk-in closets and rooms where you can actually take three steps without running into a dog or a piece of furniture. Point being, I have house envy of everyone else.

But here is something interesting. Last night I went to a neighborhood book club meeting. The meeting was at my neighbor's house, which is the exact same model as our house (there are four of these houses on our street, and they are by far the smallest. I learned that our houses were built in 1933, while the rest of the neighborhood was built in the 1920's. So they just stuck these smaller ones in between the bigger ones, as an afterthought.)

Where was I? Oh, right. My neighbor's house. It's bigger. I mean, it's not bigger; it can't be. It's the exact same house. But it feels SO much bigger. And nicer. And prettier. Granted, she doesn't have two giant, smelly dogs but she DOES have two pre-teen sons (which is kind of like having two giant smelly dogs, right?) So how does her house seem bigger? And nicer? Is it just because I have poor-me complex and think that everyone has it better than I do? Or is she more skilled at arranging furniture? She even seems to have more furniture than we do. BUT IT STILL SEEMS BIGGER. How is this possible?

This is why I can't go to anyone's house, ever. Even one the exact same size as mine.




Dear Diary,

I cannot compose a proper blog post these days because my brain is not working properly. But let me share this, in case you haven't seen it: http://whenparentstext.com. It is amazing. AMAZING.

And it does make me wonder how the whole texting thing has changed how famlies communicate. I don't text with my parents, but if I did, I wonder if they would be this funny? Probably not.



Christmas is coming! The cornish hens are getting fat.

Dear Diary,

After a few days of hiding in the closet and sucking my thumb, I have finally come to terms with my Christmas obligations. I started to get things done, much like a normal, functioning adult would do! I did Christmas cards (though I didn't order nearly enough of them, so only a select few made the cut. Sorry. Also, because of a shipping snafu with Walmart (yes, Walmart) I had to GO INTO THE STORE to get them. And I vowed after that trip to never, ever, set foot into a Walmart again. God, what a horrible place.) I even mailed them! I made bourbon balls for my coworkers! I shopped for all the presents and even wrapped them. Like, before Christmas Eve. And I finally did the grocery shopping for Christmas dinner.

Christmas dinner has been a source of much fretting and panic for the past couple weeks. What to make, how to make it, why is life so hard, etc. I first decided on a beef tenderloin. But that's kind of expensive. Then it was going to be ham. But let's be honest here; nobody really likes ham. I mean, do they? And how much ham can you really eat? It's so... uniform. At least with turkey you have a variety of parts to choose from. So then it was turkey. Then, capon. (Yeah, I don't know what that is either, but I briefly considered it after discovering the Safeway had only 24 lb turkeys left and it's only dinner for 5. But whatever a capon is, it was like a million dollars.)

Finally, in a last-minute panic at the Safeway freezer section, I decided on cornish hens. One for each person! Isn't that a great idea? I know! I'm not that crazy about them because they don't tend to have much flavor, but I'm going to baste them in white wine and butter and you can't go wrong there. The novelty of them should provide some distraction from a possibly disappointing taste.

So, everything is somewhat under control. It will be a magical Christmas, at least for Edwin. I swear I didn't spent that much money on his gifts but there seem to be an awful lot of them. And in a brief lapse in judgment I bought him a harmonica and a recorder. Those are the kind of gifts you buy for other peoples' kids, who live miles away and not two feet away from your face.

Merry Christmas!