Monday, February 26, 2007

Translation, please

This evening, as we were sitting down to a nice meal of rice with broccoli and cheese, Starbeans pointed to the counter and said, "Wa-oo! Wa-oo! Wa-oo!" For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what he was talking about. He usually says, "Bah! Bah! Bah!", "Tuh! Tuh! Tuh!" or "Cah! Cah! Cah!" and I say, "Yep, you're right - that's a ball [or a truck or a car]."

But this time, it took me a few blinks to figure out what he wanted. I almost thought about trying to ignore him or just saying, "Yep, uh-huh!"; but then it hit me - he was pointing to his sippy cup. So I handed him his wa-oo and he immediately downed a big swig, finishing off with a big, satisfied "Ahhhhh!!!" Apparently, the kid was thirsty.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Note to self:

When chopping onions within arm's length of a toddler who is "helping" you, don't let them touch the onions, even if they want to. The toddler will inevitably rub his onion-y hands in his eyes and all hell will break loose.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

You tell 'em, Wendell!!

There is nothing more absurd, to give an example that is only apparently trivial, than the millions who wish to live in luxury and idleness and yet be slender and good-looking. We have millions, too, whose livelihoods, amusements, and comforts are all destructive, who nevertheless wish to live in a healthy environment; they want to run their recreational engines in clean, fresh air.

The Unsettling of America
The Art of the Commonplace - The Agrarian Essays
Wendell Berry

Wendell, Wendell, where have you been all my life?? I don't know if I would have been ready for you 10 years ago, but it would have been nice if you could have telekinetically transported your wisdom to my teenage brain from Kentucky to Stanwood, Washington. I would have listened, I promise.

Reader, if you want to have your mind blown over and over and over again, read this book. One of the main things I like about Wendell Berry, aside from my affection for the fact that he is similar in age to my paternal grandfather (mid-70's), is his shockingly simple and obvious observations on culture and history. His essays are so well-written that it seems like he is stating something that I should have known, but didn't. Things thought about in muddled fashion; theories brewing in my brain; answers only partially grasped; the path traveled these past few years; the importance of asking questions normally tossed to the wayside by the Public: all these things, he states so simply. this book.

He didn't get jealous

But he was all over me for milky every time she had her bottle.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Oh, honey

Think of me, if you will. Tomorrow I will be caring for a 7 month old, my sweet toddler, and trying to be quiet for a husband who just started working from 10:30 PM - 7:00 AM. Goodness. I am interested in whether or not the little one will spur jealousy in Starbeans. Heaven knows he gets jealous the instant Squeeze and I hug; he stops in his tracks, squeals an indignant shriek and comes running to break up all the fun. Then we pick him up, Squeeze says, "Group Hug!" and we all snuggle faces and smooch, with his chubby little arms around our necks.

The question is: What will he think when I'm holding a real-life baby?

Off subject, today he said both "onion" and "egg". That's my boy! I would say his vocabulary is stretching into the realm of 50-60 different words. He hasn't pieced anything together other than "Nigh-nigh Dada" and actually, tonight, "I love you" - but it was more like "Eye-you". (We knew what he meant.)

He also says, "Bel-buh" for belly-button and will poke his finger in there saying, "Ow! Ow! Ow!" whenever the subject is brought up. He saw my belly-button today and pointed at me saying, "Bel-buh! Bel-buh! Bel-buh!" Even though I usually understand him, sometimes it takes me awhile to orient myself to what he is saying. "Yes, Starbeans - that's my belly-button," I said, "Oh, ouch...don't poke your bel-buh...that hurts! Ouch" (which inevitably came next).

He is also wild about pinching his nipples simultaneously and pointing at a scratch on his knee, saying, "Ow! Ow! Ow!" The things he gets into...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

A scent remembered

A particular smell can oftentimes bring me back to a certain time (or era) of my life. It serves as a vehicle that brings me into memory, acting as a back-drop for mostly-nostalgic daydreaming and remembrance.

  • Tea tree oil reminds me of the excitement of reading through The Return of the King at work 4 or so years ago. I had mysteriously contracted ring worm (we think it was through our frequent visits the Humane Society) and was treating it through topical treatments of tea tree oil and garlic pills (which cleared it right up). The smell of tea tree reminds me of Minas Tirith, kingsfoil, the Battle for Pelennor Fields, the Rohirrim, Eowyn striking down the Nazgul king, and feeling dreamy on a winter's day.
  • Tazo Cinnamon Tea reminds me of reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin. The book takes place on a wintry planet and I read it during winter whilst drinking deliciously cinnamony tea. The very smell of it makes me think of sitting with my feet up in a section of empty cubes; savoring my tea, my book, and my break.
  • Witch Hazel makes me feel like a brand new mother again: I was using this to help heal my sore perineal tissues right after Starbeans was born. Think babies, baths, and the fresh excitement of new motherhood.
  • The scent of my high school gymnasium never fails to make me feel like I am 17 again, climbing up the ladder in the taping room with Eric Jones through several stories of boilers to the roof of the gym - the Christmas lights, feeling the excitement of being with my crush in such an interesting location, and my freezing cold feet (from going barefoot). [As the oldest of 5, I've been back to that gym for many games, baccalaureates, and graduations since leaving high school.]
  • Brewing coffee in a percolator brings me back to general youth - elementary & junior high - and church functions. Mingling adults, small talk, and wondering about the prepubescent cute boys.
  • Mingled perfumes: you know what I mean -- the very public smell of freshly cleaned bodies and spritzed-on body sprays, all mixed together. It is being young and at church; looking at ladies' hair, the freshly shaven faces of men, little kids running about.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cuteness Alert

Starbeans calls Gumby, "Dah-dee!"
(always with the exclamation point).

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hindsight is 20/20

Every once in awhile, I take myself on a little Guilt Trip down Memory Lane.

I gave birth to Starbeans on the Nurse-Midwife unit at HCMC in Minneapolis. About half-way through our pregnancy, after reading a lot (and ditching our OBGYN), I leaned toward wanting to do a home birth; but Squeeze wanted a hospital birth for the first time, since we had no idea what we were doing. It made sense at the time. Our birthing experience was excellent: amazing. I would recommend the midwives to anyone.

However, after delivery we were moved to the OB unit: the midwife unit was shut down for cost effectiveness, because there were only two of us there that night. I understood, but I also felt a bit like I was being sent to the wolves. I suppose it isn't entirely fair to judge the OB unit and its nurses in this way, but in all honesty, that was my base feeling.

I do have a few complaints, including being told by one of the nurses, an older woman, "We'd ask you that you don't sleep in bed with your baby"; having to fend off a Hepatitis vaccination less than 24 hours after birth (because newborns really need the Hepatitis vaccine, instead of target populations like health workers, prostitutes, and heroin addicts); and the constant interruptions, making sure both baby and I were still alive [sarcasm intended]. I understand the reasons behind these actions, but...I still don't like 'em.

Now here we get to the part that can make me cry (if I think about it long enough):

I had no idea what to do with a newborn. I didn't know what to do when he cried or wiggled around and snorted; Squeeze didn't either. We were exhausted from the lack of two nights' sleep, feeling like zombified husks of ourselves. Since the nurse had told me not to sleep with my baby and I like keeping the peace (see: ENFP), coupled with my complete inexperience, I wasn't really sure what else to do. I tried rocking the bassinet back and forth, but that didn't help. I may have tried to lay him next to me, even against the wishes of the Dread Nurse, but wasn't really sure what to do with that either. I was tired. Exhausted.

I may sound like a complete dope, totally unprepared for motherhood, instincts gone awry. I'm not sure really what I was. However...

One of the nurses had said, "If you need us to come and bring him to the nursery, so you can sleep, just press this button." So (and this kills me) - I did.

"Oh - great," said the nurse, "I was going to come in and check his vitals anyway." She also, for some reason, needed to completely undress him - so as he was wheeled from our room, I could hear him wailing all the way down the hall. I was in the bathroom; sore, bruised, and bloodied, sitting on the toilet, smelling raw flesh and blood [the scent I equated with him at the time] and bawled my eyes out. It was the kind of weeping that came out of the marrow of my bones - deep, wide, and suffocating.

I sat there and cried by myself, foolishly thinking that Squeeze was asleep on the pull-out armchair. He wasn't, and soon I felt a comforting hand on my back, Squeeze telling me that I had made the right choice - what else could I do? I needed to get some sleep so I could take care of him tomorrow. His compassion was strengthening, even if I knew our reasoning was completely whacked out.

Through hindsight, I understand that we were inexperienced. We honestly didn't know any better. I know that Starbeans is not tainted or tarnished from that experience, nor will he even probably think much of it (until, perhaps, he has his own children). Its negative effects are mine alone. I also realize that I will be knowledgeable and prepared for our next baby: understanding and experience will be mine. I will do everything within my influence and power to orchestrate a home birth. I want to be in the comfort of my own home, empowered by my own decisions, surrounded by my family, and free to recuperate on my own (in my own bed).

Sunday, February 11, 2007

This, that, and another thing

I don't have anything cohesive to say, so this post will be stream of consciousness...

  • Today, Starbeans saw one of the cats on the counter while I was in the other room. I could hear him shouting, "Dow! Dow! Dow!" from the distance. Atta boy!
  • Every once in awhile, when it is time to change his diaper, I can say, "Starbeans, come's time to change your diaper" and he'll come demurely, even lying down on the laid out diaper. Most of the time, that is the trigger to run in the opposite direction wildly (as well as looking really cute).
  • Squeeze spent the weekend replacing our bathroom sink. Along with that chore came: patching up the wall, priming, and re-painting. He did a dandy job! Our bathroom looks much bigger now with the pretty little pedestal sink vs. the old nasty cupboard-style sink. Good riddance.
  • Starbeans created his own sign for "sharp": he holds out his left palm and touches his left pointer finger to it, saying, "Ow...ow...ow". He does the same thing with butter knives (when he can get ahold of one).
  • Just this past week, I've had Starbeans helping me in the kitchen. He likes to pour the contents of measuring cups into bowls, stir, and pretend to wash dishes. It is really nice, actually. He is extremely entertained by it; I have time to get some work done while keeping an eagle eye on him; he's learning how to help; we can spend time together instead of him getting bored (and complaining) on the floor by himself. We have both really enjoyed it!
  • Squeeze is finally transitioning into a full-time position at his workplace. I've been waiting a year and a half to be able to stay home; working part-time has been good for me/us in a lot of ways, but I am so very ready to focus on our child(ren) and home. [Not pregnant.] Only one more week to go, then I am freeeeeee. Goodbye Cubeland (forever). You've been good to me, but now it is time for us to part.
  • Did you know Zsa Zsa Gabor has had 8 husbands? I googled her this weekend, for some reason.
  • I killed mildew on our bedroom window sill this weekend with 12 drops GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) to 1/2 cup water. Thank you, Better Basics for the Home. Incidentally, GSE is also a natural antibiotic.
TTFN, internets.
To bed with me!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Not enough T-I-M-E

I've got 6 library books waiting for me...
No blogging tonight!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Laugh out loud (at 4 am)

While lying in bed in the wee morning hours last night, I started thinking about how my maternal grandmother gave all her grandchildren flashlights for the Christmas of 1999. She never specifically said that they were for Y2K, but I always had my suspicions.

The year before that, we all got world maps and atlases. The year before that, giant black beach towels with exotic flowers & foliage: males and females alike, no matter of our age. My aunt said that she always bought whatever was on sale at the drug store.

She and my grandpa don't leave the house much anymore, unless someone comes to get them. All of her presents are bought through her daughters now; so, while very nice, they've become a little less exciting: books, table clothes, sheets, baby sets, etc.

Sometimes I miss the 'old days', but time marches on. Soon, I'll be the one sending Happy Hanukkah cards for birthdays or Halloween - not unlike my great-grandpa (her father). Maybe it runs in the family!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

'An Ode to My History' by a. borealis

This weekend I read through many of the letters I wrote to Squeeze over the 4 years we were dating (ages 19-22). I wasn't as much of a dope as I thought I was; for the most part, they are articulate and well written, with interesting content (aside from the "I miss you", "I wish I were with you", "I'd rather be with you right now" bits - which were numerous).

It was like a walk down memory lane. Some things, I knew exactly what I was talking about. Other sections were like a jog to my memory: I had totally forgotten about them, but could recall the events or situation while reading about it. Still, others were completely forgotten: I read it, then wondered what on earth I was talking about, or like a story, forgot the ending. It was fun!

I especially enjoyed one of the first notes I wrote him, asking him "not to go for me" because "it would ruin the potential for a very bright friendship" and thanking him for an enjoyable evening of wrestling. Yes: we wrestled wildly the first night we hung out (I remember picking him up with my legs in an airplane hold and throwing him into his closet door). We were 19.

The other one I enjoyed (perhaps the most), was a very dramatic letter written on December 31st, 1999: I was at my parents' house for Winter Break; we had been "broken up" for all of December and most of November of that year. I say "broken up" because Squeeze doesn't even remember this as truth (in his mind it never happened, because he never truly wanted it to be over). We still saw each other, though not as regularly, and this letter was me saying, "Enough." It hurt too much to see him; I was accepting our fate and sealing the deal: I didn't want to see him anymore. We were married 8 months later.

Ain't love grand??

Friday, February 02, 2007

My first meme: ABCs

meme (mēm) n. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

This meme came from Mama C-ta. I've never done one before, but thought I'd finally give it a whirl. Wheeeee!

A: Available or married? Married (6.5 years)
B: Best Friend? My husband, but I treasure my kindred spirits.
C: Cake or Pie? Pie, as long as it isn't overly sweet
D: Drink of Choice? Water, please!!
E: Essential Item? A nice-sized bag to be able to carry around all my other essentials [daybook, water bottle, pen(s), camera, chapstick]
F: Favorite Color? GREEN [it's just so lovely]
G: Gummi Bears or Worms? In the day, I would have said Black Forest gummi bears - but now, it takes me weeks and weeks to get through one package.
H: Hometown? Stanwood, WA - going back 4 generations on my mother's side [but I only lived there from ages 14-18]
I: Indulgence? Sleeping butt n^ked on clean sheets.
J: January or February? January - winter is still fresh at that point; things start getting a little old by February.
K: Kids & names? One child; male; 18 months; online, known as "Starbeans"; in real life: Sneg (just kidding...)
L: Life is incomplete without? Good books, good food, good sleep, satisfying conversation
M: Marriage Date? August 12, 2000
N: Number of Siblings? I am the oldest of 5: three brothers (27, 24, 21) and one sister (18)
O: Oranges or apples? Current obsession...APPLES. I love Cortland, Braeburn, and Cameo the best - it seems that my favorites are tart, crisp, and mildly sweet.
P: Phobias/Fears? I like spiders in theory & for their role in the ecosystem; but unfortunately, seeing them in real life gives me the creeps.
Q: Favorite Quote? As much as I read, I cannot think of even one [am I pathetic?]
R: Reason to Smile? I had waffles with apple sauce for breakfast this morning - they were delicious.
S: Season? Autumn - crisp days, sunny afternoons, brightly colored leaves, smoke-scented air.
T: Tag three people! Nah.
U: Unknown fact about me: Once, in 9th grade, I clotheslined my neck on the volleyball net diving after a ball in P.E., giving myself a terrible rope burn that stretched across my entire neck; those who didn't know me thought it was a hickey.
V: Vegetable you hate? Uhmm...not applicable
W: Worst habit? Forgetting to eat until I am way too hungry [& then getting wacko-crabby from it]
X: Xylophone? Ring-a-ling-a-ding-dong
Y: Your favorite food? Anything with tons of vegetables.
Z: Zodiac? I'm a libra...but I don't really know what that entails.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Cat problem: solved

Does anyone ever have people leaving comments that are in no way related to the post? Check this out. I don't get it. There I was, wallowing sorrowfully in the fact that my cat is peeing outside of the litter box; and I have one person telling me that it was a "great post", while the other one says how he has recently moved and misses his old 'hood. By the way, I know do not know either of these people.

Now, A-Lo and Aravinth - if you are sincere in your comments, my apologies. They just strike me as outlandish and bizarre. Perhaps people are just trying to get their names out there? This is most definitely not the blog to do that, as only a handful of people look at it per day. Maybe they thought they were commenting on a different blog? Whatever the case, it is just so we-ird.

As for Lester, the offending feline, we came to a suitable solution. When we go rural, hopefully by this summer, he will become an Outside Cat. He'll have his own little cat house by the front door and can pee wherever his little heart desires. This will also solve the issue of our self-induced Feline Mania, as we will be booting out Lester's side-kick, Toots, as well; they can snuggle together in their cat house at night and hunt mice together by day. And we'll have 2 less cats in the house! The other two, Lit Bay and Little Bud (I know...I know...ridiculous names) are virtually harmless and much more manageable.

We have realized that is it totally insane to have 4 cats under one roof. What were we thinking? We weren't; or at least, we were not thinking of a future with anyone else to take care of aside from ourselves and the fur balls. Adding a child into the equation changes the entire situation. As another blogger once said so well, "I could have written pages and pages before they [her children] were born; but now, they are just pets." Yes mama, with a capital Y! I like, enjoy, and feel affectionate towards our cats, but I'm not longer willing to slave for them. Done.

For clarification, Lester's main peeing problem is this: he has chronic urinary tract infections that only stop with a raw food diet. I can handle that. Part II of his peeing problem is that he likes to urinate on anything sitting on the floor in our basement: plastic bags, laundry baskets, blankets, etc. Every once in awhile that problem comes upstairs, which is twice the annoyance; but thankfully, has never happened on the carpet - it has always been on the vinyl or wood floors.

Once (and this is insane), when Starbeans was first born, I was lying on the living room floor, admiring my newborn. Lester walked by and stopped by my head; I saw him out of the corner of my eye and I thought his legs were positioned strangely. As I sat up, I saw that he was squatting in a peeing position and literally peed on the floor where my head was. This is not a joke. Right on the floor: as in, he would have peed on my head if I hadn't of sat up. What the...? So, we have definitely have problems.

If anyone is interested in a raw food diet for their pet, check out Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Dr. Pitcairn. It is a really good book: we've used it a lot. It is packed with recipes and is a good source for first aid, up-keep, dealing with health problems, etc. Pitcairn strongly advocates a raw food diet and spits tacks about dried food - and it makes sense: if you think long enough about what goes into dried cat/dog food to keep it from rotting, it'll give you the heebie-jeebies. Check it.