Saturday, March 26, 2011

Boob Emergency!

Lactating Mothers of the Internet, I beseech you. We have an issue over here.


My little man has EIGHT teeth in his tiny little mouth. I am still nursing exclusively; and since my body has adjusted to Hendrik's feeding schedule - and since we are NEVER APART - I haven't been pumping at all. He nurses four times a day at present: twice in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once before bed.

He gives very distinct hunger cues these days - mainly, he becomes whiny, crawls into my lap, and grabs at my shirt. He's pretty direct. He nurses very quickly - maybe fifteen minutes total per day - so I thought we'd go on peacefully until 12 months, at which time we'd wean to cow's milk.


It's only been two days of this, but one bite is too many in my book. I've tried the standard: remove him, tell him sternly "NO BITING!" and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. He gets terribly upset (because I am terribly upset); but as soon as he calms down and we try again, he is biting me again.

Is he trying to tell me something? Is he ready to wean? He's always been a bit ahead of his time - could it be time to move to cow's milk at ten months and one week?

Any advice would be most appreciated, ladies! I've been giving him about three tries before I finally remove him and tell him his meal is over. I'm concerned he is not getting enough nutrition, but so far he seems unfazed. Help?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

House to Home.

I wasn't in the picture when J bought our current/very soon-to-be former home. I only know the transformation from photos, so it's hard for me to appreciate the sweat equity my husband put into this place. He's got a love/hate relationship with this gorgeous Manayunk rowhome; the magahony inlay, original hardwoods are second-to-none, but old houses have lots of baggage. And raccoons, apparently.

I've lived here for just over four years now, and each year I've fallen deeper and deeper in love with our home. But as J said to me recently, the conveniences she offered at ages 25 and 28 are vastly different than the ones we're in search of at 31 and 34. We need space; fresh air. Lord knows I feel a pang when I think of leaving Main Street behind, but we don't exactly frequent the bars and restaurants like we did in 2009; and frankly the Starbucks is just making us poor.

I wanted to share with you just HOW VAST the change was, and how much of a visionary my husband is. Consider what he purchased back in 2004:

The living room then.

And later.

And now.

The kitchen then.

And later.

And now.

The bathroom - my GOD, the bathroom - then.

And later.

And now.

I mean, don't you seriously want to marry him a little right now?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Everything's Bigger in Texas.

JC, what am I doing with this nouveau blog design? I feel like I am in blog limbo. Blimbo, if you will indulge me. And in this blimbo, I must find my bloggy path, or perish trying.

Very dramatic, this blogging. Obvi.

So, we're back in Iladelph. Only it feels bizarre; this house isn't really ours anymore. Our new home really isn't ours yet. So we wait. I am trying to suck the joy out of every moment here in Manayunk. The last weeks of single parenthood before Hank and I become full-time Texans. Real life is also a little blimbo-y, but I feel remarkably calm about it all.

(Also? Mouse turds. I mean, like, three. And they could have been old. But still. If I was feeling sentimental about leaving, I just need to remember the horror of this day. Peace out, Yunk. Keep your damned raccoons/squirrels/mice and any other hybrid creature you might throw at me and let me be on my way to Big D.)

(Where, at our new home inspection, the exterminator told J that field mice were "HUGE" in Texas. Did you just picture rodents of unusual size? I did. But what he meant was "RAMPANT." Fuck me, I can't win this battle. I am waving the white flag, you cheeky little rodents. I might as well invite you to tea, you bastards.)

(See, everything is BIGGER in Texas.)

What else can I tell you? I used the spa gift card I received for Christmas today at this spa in Chestnut Hill. I adore a good Swedish massage. Consider the things we demand of our skin and bones; a professional rub-down is a necessary luxury in my book.

I indulge mostly on vacation, and perhaps once or twice a year at home. Through our travels, I've visited spas all over the world, as well as one very questionable backroom in Chiang Mai, Thailand that J and I still recall with abject terror. Laying on the table today, I felt grateful for each of those trips, and for my dimpled thighs. I wondered why I've been so hung up on my mangled-by-baby frame, because the things my body can do? Nothing short of miraculous! And to have my health... Well, it's downright disrespectful to worry about a few extra L-Bs and some cellulite.

(Of course, I did fit into my skinny jeans today. I managed to lose 6.5 pounds in the last 2.5 months through a very specific regime of Nutella on whole wheat mini-bagels and caramel macchiatos.)

And that's alls I got, kids. I'm off to snuggle up with a glass of vino and some HGTV, and to ponder the important existential questions in life, like what should my next blogging adventure entail?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nine Months.

I often wonder how I'll color the past - ten, twenty, thirty years from now.

What will I say about you, sweet boy?

Mom-Mom is notorious for her anecdotal tidbits about each of her kids. I was a genius - GENIUS! - who spoke at the tender age of six weeks. (More precisely, she said "Goo!" and then I said "Goo!", which may have been a grand and lucky coincidence; I have been labeled brilliant by your grandmother ever since.)

Of course, I was also kind of an asshole. I tossed your Uncle Mike out of his bassinet the very day he came home from the hospital. Nevermind that I was only fourteen months old; to hear Mom-Mom tell it, I was jealous and quite obviously scheming to annihilate this tiny usurper. Anything that has gone wrong in Uncle Mike's life can undoubtedly be tied to this moment in time.

Uncle Ryan - lest anyone ever forget - never crawled. One morning on a family trip to Colorado he stood in his crib; seconds later he was walking at just seven months old. Always quick, that Uncle Ry.

So as I watch you grow and think and overcome every day, I hear my future, impeccably smooth-skinned-sans-Botox self chirping about the aspects of your personality that just always existed.

It's no wonder he's got his own travel show on Discovery; he always wanted to move. Even when you picked him up, his legs were always kicking - in frustration, delight, amusement, what have you.

It's no wonder he's joined the air force; he was always fearless. Flying was in his bones. He was always a delight on planes.

It's no wonder he's an Olympic gold-medalist marathoner; that boy was born running.

Sweet baby Hank, this is the month you became an experienced air traveler (your second, third, and fourth flights!). This is the month you got your seventh and eighth teeth. This is the month you started saying "DADA," and then never shut up about that dude.

This is the month you stopped nursing overnight. (This is NOT the month you slept through the night. I will remind you of this forever.)

This is the month you called me "Nommy." This is the month you were upset as Dad changed your diaper, and you cried out for me; "Nommmyyy! Nommmyyy!"

This is the month you took your first steps. My God, son, you make us so proud.

This is the month we marvel at you from afar. I catch you walking tentatively across the room (six consecutive steps may be your personal record). We watch you meticulously remove every pot and pan and tupperware container from the cupboards. You do this so intently, we call it "work" for you and wonder what thoughts are percolating in that ever-expanding brain.

This is what they're talking about. They tell you it goes by in the blink of an eye, but mostly it seems to last forever. And then one day you realize you're holding a tiny little boy.

An adventurous, obstinate, curious, enthusiastic, athletic, brilliant, frustrating, gorgeous, miraculous little boy.

We love you so much our hearts may burst.
Mommy and Daddy


The HomeValleyians are truly in transition. Right now Hendrik and I are splitting our time between Philadelphia and Las Colinas, Texas. We're staying in a warm, cozy corporate apartment about 15 minutes from J's new place of business. It's quite spacious: two bedrooms, two full baths, a separate dining room; a sunroom that doubles as our "office", even a veranda. Perhaps 900, 950 square feet?

It's lovely, really. It's easy to keep tidy (a cleaning lady helps that cause as well). The washer/ dryer is located in the kitchen, so it's no bother to throw in a load of laundry while Hendrik scales the furniture and chomps computer wiring. And just a few miles from here, MacArthur Boulevard offers a variety of restaurants, supermarkets, book stores, and DRIVE-THRU Starbucks. (Mecca, much?)

Despite J working anywhere between 60 -70 hours per week, Las Colinas feels like an extended vacation. There's a man-made lake a half-mile from here, where Hendrik and I sun ourselves on the waterfront. There's a basketball court and several small playgrounds where H can enjoy his wood chips. There's a community pool, though thankfully it's not quite hot enough to use it yet. (I don't think you're ready for this jelly, Texas.)

But most importantly, there's us. Our little family, having an adventure, making a life. Enjoying real quality time together. Feeling no pressure to be anywhere but in the present moment. Sure, we're stressed - simultaneous house-buying and selling will make even the most laid back among us STABBY - but we're happy.

We feel at home here. It doesn't negate the dread and deep sorrow I feel when I imagine walking through our Manayunk home that last time. Saying good-bye to Montel, Hendrik's monkey friend who adorns his nursery wall. Bidding farewell to grandparents that will no longer be able to casually drop by; swallowing the guilt knowing that months may pass before they hold their grand-baby again.

So we focus on the happy, the good, the new.

Change is a welcome, necessary bitch, eh?

Friday, March 11, 2011


Oh man, you guys.

Teeth. Still.

To sum up: Houses. Inspections. Starbucks. Packing dates. Loading dates. Moving dates. Plane tickets. Flights. Starbucks. Faux-first birthday parties. Graduate school applications and recommendations. Gymboree. Starbucks.

And snafus. There are also many, many snafus on a daily basis.

But mostly? Starbucks.

My baby walks! And talks! And disobeys! And is still the kid at Gymboree with lightning quickness and early onset ADD. Don't worry; I have vowed to him to post a Nine Month Update before he turns TEN MONTHS OLD - holy shit! - in six days.

He also eats computer cables, and computer batteries. They're delish! I've managed to capture the wheels turning in his head as Mean Mommy scolds him, bless his little heart. Disclaimer: the pouty lip in this video will melt your heart.

You've been warned.