Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kick Kick Kick

Friday we went to the beach. Saturday we were lazy and stayed in. And on Sunday, we went to a party with a pool!
Here's evidence of Ada's first dip in a pool.A big thanks go to Rick, Heather, Ba and Rich for humoring Ada's love of the water and her persistent pleas for being tossed. So where's mom? Hanging out poolside, literally, cuddled in the shade with baby Iain. Moral of the story: It's important to have relatives that will pick up the slack when you aren't able to do it all.

Thank You

Thank you to Rick for evicting Iain from our room so we'd sleep better...when in reality I just ended up on the couch most of the night and got less sleep than before. He meant well... or wanted the bed to himself... or maybe he was just looking for a 2am cuddle session with Ada since Iain woke her up from his new bunk in the dining room outside her door.

Thank you to Rick, again, for putting my cell phone right next to the bed with an alarm set for 8 am to make sure I got up in time to get Ada off to daycare. Too bad he set it for 8 pm instead and didn't turn it on quiet mode. Ada saved me by coming into our room at 7:50 anyway so I was up before 8am... and 8pm for that matter.

Which brings me to thank Grandma DD for calling my cell phone next to the bed at 7:07 am out of concern that I needed something since I called her twice last night and didn't leave a message. She couldn't have known I had finally gotten Iain calm, quiet and sleeping right next to me on the bed when the phone blared. And what would have suggested that a new mom would be sleeping at 7 am anyway? That's crazy talk! (Sorry for cursing at you DD...)

And while I'm being thankful... thank you to the garbage truck that woke us up two days ago by driving down the alley at 6:30 am while we had the windows open to catch a breeze on the only non-humid day in a month. Thanks again to the garbage truck for repeatedly banging the dumpsters to get them thoroughly emptied out and stirring up their stench so that it would waft downwind, into our bedroom window as the sweet smell of rotting refuse. Not only were we left deaf from the banging, but we had no desire to breath through our noses ever again.

Thanks also go to Rick for running late, and to Iain for deciding to eat right when it was time for me to go to knitting night on Monday. I got to knitting 45 minutes late, ate dinner while nursing Iain again, and didn't even get my knitting project out of the bag before it was time to go home.

Thanks to Iain again last night, while I was out to dinner with friends, for crying for 45 minutes straight before Rick had to tell me to come home to help. Iain only managed to distract Rick enough to overcook Ada's dinner to the point of ruin and cause him to miss her overflowing poopy diaper and its ensuing rash. Poor Ada. Fixing the wrath of that diaper became my first priority and was plenty good punishment for trying to have another night out. If the garbage truck didn't make me permanently deaf, Ada's screams just might have done the trick.

And, what the heck, I might as well thank a few more places... to Piece pizza restaurant for being too busy to accommodate my little family for our friend Bob's birthday dinner on a Friday night during a torrential downpour. To that same storm for closing our local Stella's Diner on Saturday morning with water damage and preventing me from having my current favorite breakfast meal including a chocolate shake and a hobo skillet. Then I give thanks to our new favorite burger bar, DMK Burger, for also being too busy to host our family on a Saturday night. And finally, to Chalam Balam, the local tapas place, for being closed on Tuesday nights after I had talked it up to my friends and was craving the sangria.

Moral of the story: You can always find things to be thankful for... especially when you use sarcasm.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Me Gusta La Playa

That's Spanish for "I like the beach".

Well, actually, Ada likes the beach. I'm not as fond of it since the beach involves sand and in the case of Lake Michigan, really, really cold water.

Lucky for me, Aunt Heather came to visit for the weekend and sacrificed herself for Ada's sake and took one for the team. I surely wasn't going to don a bathing suit and take her swimming five weeks postpartum. Not a chance. Here's Ada saying "Come on Mom!"

Cold but happy. Well, at least Ada is happy. I think Heather is just hoping she can feel her toes again someday.Ada will eventually learn to put her sunglasses on right-side up...

Moral of the story: Some kids love water...even if it is really, really, really cold.

And here I am after finally being convinced that I should prove to Heather that the water isn't really that cold. (I totally lost that one. It's really cold.)

Ada wasn't at all happy when it was time to leave since she really loves the water. We bribed her with ice cream and then never even went to get ice cream due to storms and scheduling issues and being way too exhausted.

For any beach outing, I recommend you go early, think of a compelling reason your child will want to leave, and use baby powder to dry out the sand since baby powder is less of a mess than sand is in your house.

Moral of the story: The beach can be a lot of fun as long as you are prepared.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baby Iain FAQ

Now that we have Iain, we are getting the same two questions from most everyone we see or meet.

After the pleasantries of, "Oh, he's so adorable!" and "Congratulations!" come two questions:

How does Ada like him?/What's Ada think of him?


Is he sleeping well?/Are you getting any sleep?

If the conversation continues much longer, the topic of "Is this it or are you planning to have more kids?" follows shortly thereafter.

Maybe we should challenge ourselves to try to come up with more exciting answers or a different way to answer each question just to see how creative we can be and what possible replies we can invent. Right now it goes something like...

"What's Ada think of him?"

And we say a variation of...

"She seems to like him. She just kisses him and goes on her way. She doesn't pay much attention to him and only gets mad if Rick is holding him and not paying attention to her. She did get mad and short out his bouncy seat by throwing water on it while Rick was holding Iain and we weren't watching, but that's about it."

Rick's thinking of replying with...

"She thinks he's the devil reincarnated because she put a crucifix up to his forehead yesterday and babbled something and we think it was 'demons out' but we're not sure."

"She gave him a black eye the other day, but it's okay because he peed on her blankie."

And I'm thinking of saying things involving less aggression...

"She thinks he sucks. He can't play, walk, talk, have tea parties or play with Barbies yet so she just ignores him."

"She thinks he's lame. All he does is eat, sleep, poop and cry. I think she'd rather have a puppy."

The truth of the matter is that she doesn't interact with him much. She's too busy having fun and he's too busy eating, sleeping, and growing. She'll occasionally come over and hold his hand while I change his diaper but that's about it. Life goes on for her. We'll see how that changes once he gets older.

And when someone asks "Are you getting any sleep?"

"Yeah. Why wouldn't we be?"

"Why? Do I look like hell?"

"Of course. It's not like he needs to wake up to eat or anything?"

or Rick's favorite...

"Actually, once you have a baby, there is this hormone in your body that makes it so you no longer need any sleep. All those other parents that complain of being sleep depraved are lying. It's really no big deal."

But really, we are getting a good deal of sleep. He wakes up every 3-6 hours at night for a quick bite to eat and then falls right back to sleep. I can't complain and am hopeful that he'll be able to sleep an 8 hour stint in the next two or three weeks when he is a bit bigger. We'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, we'll keep fielding the standard questions and trying to come up with more exciting answers.

Moral of the story: Sleep and sibling response to a second child are hot conversation topics. At least they are easy to talk about, unless you aren't getting any sleep and your older child is rejecting your new bundle of joy.

On High Alert

I thought our house was childproof for the most part. Now, I'm pretty sure that it isn't even close. What made me change my mind? How about watching Ada play with a bottle of my prenatal vitamins from the top of my dresser and get them open in a matter of seconds. We quickly took them away from her but I was startled by Rick's comment that that's the second time she had opened the bottle. Okay. Then why is is still playing with it and how can we make it less accessible?

I was reminded of the vitamin incident the next day when doing laundry. While loading clothes into the machine, a prenatal vitamin dropped out of the pile where she had removed the lid of the bottle the previous night. Not a good sign, but a good sign at the same time since that means she didn't swallow it.

We try to keep a close eye on her, but it isn't easy and it doesn't take long for her to get into things to the point where they are dangerous. And we are so much more distracted by the new baby that it leaves her a wider window of time to get into trouble.

For instance, just this week I was preparing the toppings for a pizza for dinner. Ada was at the computer in the kitchen watching cartoons. Iain was in his bouncy chair as I chopped, oiled and shredded toppings. Iain decided he wanted to be fussy so I picked him up for a cuddle and not a minute later I look over to check on Ada --three feet away from me mind you -- and she is covered in clear nail polish. Yes, she did paint her toes. But she also painted her shin, thigh, wrist, her chin and a little bit of the computer chair. She saw her window of opportunity and took it. Needless to say, dinner went on hold while I set Iain back down so I could grab the nail polish remover and a cotton ball. Imagine Rick's surprise five minutes later when he comes home to Ada running toward him yelling "Daddy, Daddy" as she always does and me saying, "Don't let her touch you! She's covered in nail polish and remover." Once he had five seconds to take off his shoes, I quickly put him in charge of getting her into the tub and removing the rest of the polish so I could again calm a screaming Iain and get dinner into the oven.

Needless to say, I think there is some truth to the idea that parents need to have eyes in the back of their heads...and be able to look around corners, through walls, and have internal GPS systems to monitor their child's whereabouts at all times. Until I am issued all of those superpowers, I think I'm just going to have to try to be less distracted and do a better job of locking up, removing, and storing anything that could be remotely dangerous on higher ground. But I know that Ada is too smart for her own good and will just pull up a chair to reach things or climb up the shelves to obtain the elusive "no no" items. There is only so much a parent can do.

Moral of the story: Be prepared to be even more vigilant once you have a second child as your first child might be more rebellious, and will have larger windows of time to do much more damage.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Crusty Popeye

Ada was a Popeye baby. She tended to have one eye open and one eye closed as she watched what was going on around her.

I'm happy to report that Iain is the same way, but his Popeye look is due to a clogged tear duct, which I frequently call a clogged milk duct which is a much more painful condition and clearly not associated with one's eye. I must have nursing on the brain. His clogged tear duct goo tends to seal his eye shut. I've been trying to cure it with a warm washcloth and by massaging the inner and outer corners of his eye. My lactation consultant suggested putting breastmilk in his eye since it has antibiotic healing properties so I've tried that as well. Some days it is better, some days it's worse. It has since migrated to his other eye now so he alternates Popeye faces. Either way, he has a drippy, yellow goo on his face, but he's still really cute so I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hoping that the ducts will unclog themselves in time.

Moral of the story: Babies get goo, bumps, marks, spots and the like. Most will pass on their own given time so do just that... give them time and don't mess with them.

Newborn 101 - Déjà Vu

My, oh my, how I have forgotten the basics of mothering.

For instance:

If you leave the house for a few minutes, you need to remember to take several diapers, a hefty supply of wipes, a blanket, and a backup outfit for the baby.

If you leave the house for more than an hour, you need all of the above and a backup outfit for yourself, and one for your husband as well.

As a rule, you have to prepare for the unimaginable as it really is more likely than you'd think once you add in the newborn variable.

As a nursing mother, you can't just eat whatever you want. Broccoli and cabbage and beans are likely to keep you up at night from all of the gas your newborn will then have to pass.

Babies are like puppies. Once you take one out in public, you frequently will find yourself the center of attention.

Moral of the story: The second child is a bit like riding a bike after a long absence. You fall over the first few times and look stupid (or get covered in smelly bodily functions), but eventually it comes back to you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Who's In Charge Here?

Sunday was a lot of work. And I'm pretty sure I lost the mommy-daughter battle for who's in control, at least temporarily.

It all started with a family breakfast in Lake Geneva in which Ada had to be removed from the restaurant at least three times for bad behavior at the end of the table. Her sassiness continues to amaze and frustrate me. And she's testing her limits with both of us.

After breakfast, it was time to head south to Warrenville to drop Rick off for a brewery tour and golf date with friends. I was really nervous after having been in the car with the kids for an hour and forty minutes, to then be driving them home another hour by myself. I haven't had much experience having both of them alone and it still scares me. At least with someone else in the car we can try to give Iain a pacifier --which he won't take 98% of the time--or try to reason with Ada as to why she needs to use her inside voice in the car. Without Rick, I didn't have that sense of security or another adult to commiserate with if things got really bad.

Fortunately, when glancing at the map, I noticed we were right next to Wheaton, IL. It just so happens that I have relatives in Wheaton and Lisle, right nearby, is home of the Morton Arboretum. I debated whether to call my relatives or not and decided that I'd take the kids to the Arboretum to burn off some energy and to say that I've been there since the architecture firm I work for designed the building and it is good to see some of the design work you are trying to sell. I opted to call my relatives when we got close to the Arboretum and they suggested I come to their house, which was five minutes away, to get a free entry pass since they are members. I am so thankful that I did.
Our "stop by to pick up a pass" turned into a two-hour play session for Ada, a good spot for Iain to nurse and nap, and a nice adult conversation for me in which I got to catch up with Tip, Marilyn, their son Brian, and his son Matt. We only see these relatives once or twice a year, which is a tragedy that it isn't more frequent, but whenever we do, I'm always pleased. They are so warm and welcoming and enjoyable that our visits are always refreshing. Not to mention that they tend to feed me well and they are excellent cooks. What's not to love?
As four o'clock approached, I loaded the kids into the car for a quick visit to the Arboretum. Marilyn invited us back for dinner and I wasn't going to turn that down knowing my fridge at home was barren. The Children's Garden area at the Arboretum closes at five pm so we needed to get there quickly if we were going to see it. The free admission pass was supposed to be good for just me but the ticket woman was nice enough to let it count Ada too. It's a good thing she did because I learned later on that my wallet was actually buried in the trunk in a bag under a pile of other bags from our trip and it might very well have taken me ten minutes to find it.

The Children's Garden was great fun. Ada enjoyed playing in the stream the best. Iain slept for most of the time, minus what he spent nursing. We missed the last tram that takes you around the whole park so we'll have to go back and do that again next time.
Second only to playing in the stream was this water marble ball. Ada loves balls, and water, and well, this just made her day and kept her occupied while I nursed Iain.The Arboretum has a beautiful lookout platform high in the trees where we convinced strangers to take a photo of us. I did convince Ada that piggy should not be upside down for his big photo opportunity so she turned him right side up.
About 5:30, after taking Ada and Iain and the stroller through one of the hedge mazes and getting stuck inside for 15 minutes, we found the exit and made our way to the car. Ada picked this point in time to launch her rebellion. She didn't want to get out of the stroller or into the car. I finally resorted to force and put her into the car myself, but then she asserted her force to let me know she didn't want to be secured into her car seat and in doing so, managed to rip open the side of the bag of Goldfish crackers. I was able to grab the bag and keep it together, with few casualties, until I found a container from the trunk to relocated them into. She felt a little bad about the Goldfish incident and finally acquiesced to the car seat.
I hoped that was the end of our battle, but knew deep down it was just the beginning since she almost fell asleep on the five minute ride back to Tip and Marilyn's and was bound to be crabby. I considered skipping dinner but we didn't really have lunch so that wasn't an option. And I'm an optimist so I was hopeful that everything would be just fine. Sure it would be, right? How bad could it be?
We got back to the house as Marilyn was heating up the meal. We all sat down for grace and I thought things were going well until Ada got up from the table and started walking around. Then she picked up a few decorations from around the house and threw a fit when I took them away. She didn't eat much and spent most of the meal rebelling.
Meanwhile, my hope was that Iain would take this opportunity during dinner to kick back, relax and take a nap. No such luck. He went into gassy, fussy, hungry, cranky mode about six bites into the meal. So here I am, with a fussy baby and a sassy two-and-a-half-year-old, trying to eat a warm meal and have a nice conversation with relatives and instead ending up completely embarrassed with no control of anything. None of my discipline tactics worked with Ada. None of my calming efforts worked with Iain. I was zero for two.
Thankfully, Tip and Marilyn understand how crazy kids can be and didn't seem to judge me based on my children's behavior and lack of discipline. I'm hopeful that they will invite us back even though Ada broke a mini tea serving set just before we left, didn't help clean up the toys she played with, and moved three out of four porcelain ducks to new homes throughout the house with no intention of returning them to their rightful home. I'm optimistic that they, as parents and grandparents themselves, are also chalking this up to too much time in the car after a long weekend and a fast approaching bedtime that rendered Ada unruly. And as for Iain, well, he's four weeks old so that gives him an automatic behavior pass, or at least I hope it does.
After such a long, adventure-filled day, both kids passed out in the car. I did have to stop at the end of Tip and Marilyn's block to take Iain's car seat out and swing it back and forth a few times to settle him down. But once on the road, I didn't hear a peep. It was heavenly... until I got parked on our block and realized I needed to get two sleeping children into our house that was about 500 feet from the car and Rick was still in Oakbrook having dinner and our neighbor who typically saves my butt in these situations wasn't home. After the initial moment of frustration, panic, and being really ticked off at Rick for not being there to help me, I came to a solution. I pulled the stroller out of the trunk, loaded the kids and my purse into it, pushed it to the front door (while flashing the middle finger to the parking space that just opened up ten feet from my front door) and woke Ada up to stumble through the first and second vestibule doors as I held Iain in one arm, pulled the stroller with the other and held it in place with my left foot as my right hand turned the key in our front lock and my backside held open the door for Ada and the stroller to stumble through. Sure I could have accepted the offer to help hold the door from the four polite adults walking in front of our building. At that point I was feeling like a mom-failure and had to do this by myself, for me. If nothing else, it was to prove that I did, in fact, still have control over something and I wasn't a helpless mom in the city. I guarantee that next time I'll let them help.

Moral of the story: Toddlers can't be controlled. Expect them to behave badly and embarrass you on occasion and do your best to take it with dignity. That's the best option you've got.

We returned to Tip and Marilyn's for dinner. Ada was tired, but I was hopeful that she would make it through dinner and sleep on the way home. We hadn't eaten lunch since we had brunch at 9:30 and snacks in the car.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Secrets of the Second Child

Through all of my research before having Ada, I learned a lot about having a baby and what to expect. Once she was here, I realized there was a lot that people don't tell you about having a baby that I really would have liked to know. Now that we have a second child, I really wish I would have found out a few things beforehand so I could have better prepared myself, at least mentally.

For instance:

You do hear that labor tends to be faster with the second child. That's at least a nice bonus assuming you aren't the exception to that rule. You don't hear that labor and delivery might be more traumatic this time since the novelty of the first child has worn off and you're more grounded in reality instead of off in la la land.

No one told me I'd have to train my daughter to use her inside voice so as not to constantly wake the baby. We're working on that now.

Even if you think you are settled into a good routine and have a handle on parenthood, having a second child shakes everything up and dumps it upside down. You're sense of control all goes out the window and you have to start over. That cheaper by the dozen theory might be true if you ever make it to a dozen. For just two, the idea that it is more of the same is complete crap.

You'll meet new moms again, but you'll connect best with those who also have a second child since the first-time moms still have that deer-in-the-headlights look about them.

If you nursed your first child, depending on how long it's been since you last nursed (in my case, a year and a half), you'll likely have forgotten the proper techniques and should refresh your memory or ask the nurses for pointers before assuming it's like riding a bike and having your newborn damage your nipples. This tip could have saved me two weeks of toe-curling pain.

I didn't know that, if you nurse again, you're chest is likely to get even bigger than before and your original nursing bras won't fit. And if they do, they'll be so stretched out from the first time that they don't offer all that much support. Be forewarned that if you share this knowledge with your husband, he may keep knocking you up solely to see just how big they can get.

If you are nursing, you'll likely produce more milk and leak way more than you ever did the first time. Your milk might also let down as soon as your older child cries since your nursing instincts can't always tell which child is crying, they just respond.

You make a lot of mom friends with the first child so that they will all cook you dinner when the second child arrives since you won't have time to cook, or do much of anything for that matter.

If someone is kind enough to send you flowers with their congratulations and well wishes, the flowers won't last as long as they did with your first child since you'll likely neglect to devote the proper time to care for them as you are sure to be more distracted.

With the first child, you are clueless and want your relatives to stay to help as long as they can--for the most part anyway. With the second, they assume you know what you are doing and don't need them as much when in reality, you probably need them even more. You just don't know it yet.

And the real reasons you take less photos of subsequent children isn't that you love them less or that the novelty of a new baby has worn off. It's likely because you don't have time to pick up the camera, you don't have a third hand to hold it with, mommy brain makes you forget it, or you don't have any more room in the diaper bag to take it with you when you go out. Not to mention the fact that, in order to take a picture, you have to get both kids to sit still long enough to focus the shot and snap the shutter or hope that your older child doesn't run away while you pose the baby on a blanket in the shade for his photo shoot.

Moral of the story: You can't prepare for everything so try to stay calm and do your best.

Ada's Back!

After 10 days of camping with Rick's family and friends, Ada was returned to us last night in one piece. You don't realize how much a toddler can change in ten days until you send them away. Wow!

See for yourself...
She's tan. She's more blond from being in the sun. She's grown -- or at least she looks bigger than I remember. And she has this healthy glow about her from being outdoors --and probably from not being sick since she spent the trip on an antibiotic for a sinus infection and an antacid for reflux, which is now the latest diagnosis as to why she's been having incidents of coughing followed by throwing up. She didn't get that scrap on her chin until after she got back and went on a walk with me. She ran when I said stop and was too busy laughing at mommy having to chase her down the street in flip flops that she lost her footing and skidded across the sidewalk on her chin. Not a move I would ever recommend.
While she was gone, she learned a ton of new words and started to string three words together. She isn't talking much around the house but I think that's just her way to get a bit more attention around the baby. She didn't even seem all that upset to see that he is still here. But she is really connected to Rick again and follows him everywhere. I made sure when Grandma DD left this morning to have her tell Ada "bye-bye" and explain that Ada was staying with Mommy and Daddy. She was acting a bit cold to DD for fear that DD would take her back home after she just got us back.

It's rumored that she was a great little camper, only getting car sick once which resulted in her throwing up on Aunt Terri's DVD player. Oops! She did slip off her air mattress to end up in a heap of blankets at the bottom of the tent a few times -- they were on a hill so that is to be expected. And she quickly learned a love for the lake and boats and all things Grandpa Rich as he became her Daddy replacement for the duration of the trip. She really loves the men in our family.

Moral of the story: If you ship your child off for more than a week, prepare to see measurable changes in them upon their return.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Transit Success

Public transit with an infant turns out to be better than I expected. Yes, I was hotter than a Cayenne pepper on the walk there. Yes, the stairs were a lot of work -- I could have opted for the elevator but I'm a bit of a wuss and elevators scare me a little, really just getting stuck in them scares me. And I was pleasantly surprised that the El cars had working air conditioners so they made the heat much more bearable. It also helped that I was able to get a seat since we rode at non-peak times. I will say that I got a few funny looks when I got down to the Chicago Loop since it is mostly filled with commuters and they don't expect to see babies in slings in the downtown area.

One observation I made while being downtown and riding the El with an infant is that the city is really loud. I mean, REALLY LOUD! With the El tracks and trains in the tunnels, the cars, trucks and taxis, the honking, the buildings bouncing the sound around, the people chatting on cell phones, street musicians, and obnoxious teenagers singing in the streets, I was worried that I should have made Iain wear those big noise cancelling headphones the airplane navigators wear on the tarmacs. I did plug his ear with my finger when the Red line train pulled into our stop in the underground tunnel because I felt like a bad mother if I opted not to. It's no wonder Rick is less than good at hearing me these days -- especially when he admits to turning up his Ipod to tune out the noise of the city. He's going to need to see an audiologist at 40 and get fitted with a hearing aid.

Through it all, Iain was a trooper. He was well behaved at Rick's softball game and even humored us while we sat at a bar and had dinner with the team. And he was a great excuse for us to leave at the decent hour of 10pm so we wouldn't be out too late. I will say that it would have been really nice to have a chair at the softball game since nursing and holding an almost 10 lb baby for 7 innings isn't my idea of fun. Thankfully, Rick held his bag of gear-- which was ridiculously heavy and included way too much stuff. Having a newborn again, I've reverted to bringing too much stuff "just in case" and Rick didn't think to leave his dress clothes and umbrella at work to retrieve the next day so we weren't traveling light. With two blocks left to walk home last night, I finally gave in and asked Rick to hold the bag and the baby as my lower back was done. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to going next time when I can drive down in the car, bring a chair, pack the kids and their stuff into a stroller, and not have to lug all of our crap all over the city.

Moral of the story: Having kids in the city really makes having a car a necessity. You can get by without one, but having one makes getting around a lot easier.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Newborn Public Transit

After listening to a thumping noise in our car for a few months, and a previous attempt to get it fixed failed, our car is in the shop. Something about bearings and an axle needing some love. Had the first dealership fixed it when we told them to, it would have been a lot cheaper, but they didn't. Unfortunately, this new dealership fixed it, but they broke the anti-lock break sensor in the process and now we are without a car for another day.

Normally, that wouldn't be much of an issue. And it really isn't an issue since we don't have anywhere critical we need to be. Unfortunately, Rick expected to pick up the car tonight and be able to transport Iain and I to his softball game so we could be the coolest spectators on the field. He left his gear here assuming he'd be able to get it when he got us. Now, he's stuck on a conference call and I'm charged with putting the baby in a sling and ridding the El downtown, with baby gear and Rick's softball gear in tow. Which immediately prompts several questions?

Bus, Train, or Taxi. Bus will take longer. Taxi might not pick us up and I'd have to take the car seat and I don't really know what the rules are for having a baby in a taxi but I've never put Ada in one and I'm not excited about trying it with a two-week-old. Train it is.

Sling or Stroller? Stroller would be better for my back, but if the elevators at the train station are out of order, that leaves me folding up and carrying a 22+ lb stroller up two-plus flights of stairs during rush hour. Not going to happen. Sling it is.

Change Clothes and Apply Minimal Makeup or Go As Is? It's hot. I'm stinky. But I only have 3 outfits that fit, two are dirty, and I'm wearing the third. Changing isn't really an option. Makeup, on the other hand, can be quickly applied as long as the baby gives me five more minutes of sleep.

Wish me luck. Surely this will be an adventure that becomes much more than just a few questions regarding logistics.

Moral of the story: Just getting out of the house with a newborn is a BIG task and equally big accomplishment.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Compact - Halfway!

I've made it halfway through my year of The Compact. I'd say it is still going pretty well. The reality for me is that I don't really buy much to begin with. This whole exercise has just stopped me from buying clothes and shoes and makeup and perfume and nail polish really. It has made me much more cognisant of what I buy and where it comes from. And it makes me much more creative in justifying why I've made a purchase that may be borderline against the purpose of the Compact. Like the manicure and pedicure I got just a few weeks before having Iain. It's probably against the Compact since it uses nail polish and other resources that aren't the best for the environment, but I really "needed" it and it helped me to relax and momentarily feel pretty -- even if I did end up taking off the nail polish on my hands within a few hours since I picked a color that looked like white out instead of a nice, neutral, natural color. That didn't help my argument any.
And while Rick has been off work for two weeks to help with the baby and just get a break, we've spent a lot of that time shopping because Rick finally had time to get a few things that we "needed" --or that he's been wanting for awhile now but not had time to find as of yet. The question is, did we "need" them? Not really. But he wanted them and I didn't disagree since he isn't doing The Compact and I'm happy that they are helping us get our house organized. For instance, he bought a new carpet runner for the hallway to make Ada's incessant runs from one end of the house to the other be a bit more muffled --for a stretch of eight feet at least. And he finally found a DVD cabinet that will fit his extensive collection and have room for our board games too. This seemed like a better solution than having my distant relative custom make one in his garage out of all new materials.

Then there are my contributions to his buying spree. While at Ikea we got a salad spinner for $4. We were going to splurge on the collapsible one from Bed Bath and Beyond but it was $30. I considered this a "need" as far as The Compact goes since I keep having to throw out salad greens we get from our CSA because I am not good enough at cleaning and drying them so they don't go bad. I'm working on it but the spinner will surely help. I did try to convince him that he "needed" a santoku knife while we were at Ikea, but he didn't fall for that one. It isn't something he needs at all since he didn't know what it was, and we have a set of knives including a chef's knife (they are interchangeable) so "need" didn't even factor into the decision in the slightest.

While at Ikea, we did "need" to eat and Iain "needed" a nap so we made him a makeshift space at our table and enjoyed a nice lunch without breaking any of the rules of The Compact.Then Rick wrapped him up like a burrito and we went on our merry way.
The only other thing I can think of that I bought this past month was a pair of sunglasses for Ada. She "needed" them to protect her eyes since she was going camping with Grandma Ba and Grandpa Rich in Wisconsin for 10 days. I also bought her sunblock. And I feel no guilt for buying either one.
Moral of the story: After six months, The Compact gets to be second nature and becomes mildly annoying as you wait for the end of the year to arrive. But it's a worthy exercise and offers much insight into your consumer habits.

Busy, Busy, Busy

These are from a few months ago. Ada loves to play with the computer -- mainly just to push the power button whenever I'm in the middle of a big project at work. In an attempt to save my sanity and keep her occupied, I removed the batteries from our wireless keyboard and let her go to town. She had a blast and I got to clean the kitchen. Lucky me! If only we could all go to work in our underwear -- we'd save on our work wardrobes but I think that might cause a bit of an issue with Human Resources...She is also obsessed with Rick. Constantly needs to be near him and is now being accepted as his shadow. She insists on "helping" him with everything -- or at least being between him and whatever it is he is trying to get accomplished. Clearly this is the reason kids are so cute -- so that we can't really get mad when they try to "help" and render us totally unproductive.

Moral of the story: The older they get doesn't necessarily mean they are more helpful.

Squirt, Squirt

Iain got the doctoress straight out of the shoot.

He got Rick twice over the past two weeks.

And he finally got me this morning. I made it two weeks and a day before he peed while I was changing him. And the best part is that I knew it was coming...

As soon as I took his diaper off I was thinking, "Wow, I've made it two weeks. This is too good to be true." And then the waterworks started. Luckily, I was prepared and had a cloth diaper in hand ready to put out the fire. Unfortunately, the changing table cover got the brunt of it and is in the wash.

I guess I never really thought much about how different it is to change a boy versus a girl. When Ada peed, it went up her back and soaked her outfit. When he pees, it goes airborne and takes out anything in its way. I'm thinking I liked my odds with Ada a bit better. I keep thinking maybe there is some logic in the Pee Pee Teepees, but I can't help imagining them to just shoot up in the air like a sprinkler we had when I was a kid. It was a clown head that you attached to the garden hose and he had a hat that would shoot up into the air when water squirted out the top of his head. It just seems that the Teepee might prevent the stream from arcing across the room, but I'm not sure it really solves any problems. It just might redirect the ensuing mess to a smaller locale. Hmmm...

Moral of the story: Stay alert when changing all babies as you never know when they'll need to go and you're bound to have a mess on your hands, literally.