Friday, February 29, 2008

Bye-bye, stink face!


The moment he saw the camera, he broke out the smiles. What a ham!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Movin' and a-groovin'

For the past two months or so, Oscarelli has been scooting himself backwards with increasing speed. In January, he started doing baby push-ups and baby downward facing dog poses. This month, he started pushing up on his knees and rocking. Yesterday, he started scooting himself forward, FAST. And today, he started crawling. FOR REAL. USING HIS KNEES!!! He only crawls for a step (is it a step? or a knee?) and then falls back down, but he pulls himself forward using his arms with alarming speed. I could barely keep up with him today. He is just so excited and proud and so am I. A photo of Oscar's stink face while practicing his push-ups.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Don't know what you got till it's gone

Nelson has been in Tampa since yesterday afternoon and doesn't return until tomorrow evening. He usually travels about two to four days a months for work, but this is actually his first trip since Oscar's birth. I have to say, I never realized how much he does around here and how much I really rely on his help. Taking care of a baby is hard work! Big props to all the single parents out there.

On another note, Oscar and I went to brunch at our friends Jane and Chris's house and met their six-month-old son, Gideon. I know Jane from college - she's one of my old feminist cronies. Her little guy is exactly two month's younger than Nelson and gosh darn if he didn't have a serious case of the cutes! Gideon made his debut a full two months early (!!) but you wouldn't even know it to meet him. At six months he's already 16 lbs, which is perfectly within the curve for a baby his age, and he's very cute and social. He was about three and a half pounds when he was born and over six when he left the hospital just after just one month of being in the NICU. And he never even needed oxygen - he just had to wait until his sucking reflex developed.

It was so interesting hearing about Jane's birth experience - it could not have been any more different than mine. She ended up delivering by C-Section after her water broke and contractions started in her 32nd week. Were it not for modern interventions, Gideon may not have made it. And me, I had natural childbirth at home in my 39th week. We both ended up being at the right place for our births, and I feel really grateful that we had the options and access we needed to have our beautiful, healthy baby boys.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Teeth!


I never posted a good shot of our little one's pearly whites! Tragic! This one is not so bad if you ignore the prunes on his PJs, which no longer fit as of last week.






Sleeping fitfully


A few weeks ago, I posted about sleep training my son Oscar. It had been going pretty well. He was falling asleep around 7pm, waking around 11pm for a feeding, and waking again around 4:30 for a feeding, and up for the day around 7am. Sometimes he'd only wake for a nurse once, which was fantastic, but either way it was better than waking seven or eight times a night.


Then, he got sick. My poor little bunny got a nasty, nasty cold that had him so congested he'd wake in the night unable to breath through his nose. Since he is a thumb sucker, he needs to breathe through his nose to get himself to sleep and when he's nursing, so obviously this was problematic. And it freaked me out.


The kid was understandable miserable and exhausted and frustrated, and so was mom. I was clearing his nose with a bulb (which he loved) and nursing him, and putting him back down. But I'd worry about the breathing and be unable to sleep. So, I decided that because he was sick, he could sleep with us. And I'm glad I made that decision - I was able to keep a better eye on him, I could clear his nose right in the bed and nurse him right away, and because he was sick he need to nurse more often (fluids.)


Although his nose is still quite runny, Oscar is on the mend. So it is back to the crib for him and Oscar doth protest. So this week we've been back to training. I feel so bad because he just wants to sleep next to me, and that is really sweet. He cuddles in so close and always wakes me with a smile and it absolutely melts my heart. Alas, I do not sleep well with him in the bed. And, frankly, I don't think my marriage can take many more night with a human divider in our bed. So, back to the crib he goes. Sweet dreams, little one!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bitterly sweet


Before Oscar's birth, I was an avid reader. I probably read a 300-500 page novel or non-fiction book in about a week, maybe 10 days if it was a real thinker. I love modern fiction and classic fiction and book about history and books about people's lives and science fiction and short stories. I have always loved reading.

When I became pregnant, I read a lot of pregnancy books, breastfeeding books, birth books, books with themes of mothers and mothering. Towards the end of my pregnancy I had trouble really reading anything that required though so I read some light fiction. Since Oscar has been born, I've read a few books, nothing earth-shattering. Mostly light reads, and mostly in his earlier months, when he and I both spent a lot of time lying in the bed, nursing and napping all day long.

But now that Oscar is older and requires a lot more of my time and attention to keep him entertained, and plus I have Danny three times a week, I don't have much time for reading. In fact, I've been reading the same book for going on four months. Never in my life has it taken me four months to finish any book. Generally, if a book takes me longer than two weeks, it is because it sucks and I don't really like it, but I have this issue where I think all books that are started deserve to be finished.

So I've been reading Suite Francaise for months, and I LOVE it. The phrase "hauntingly beautiful" was invented only to describe this book. I love it so much and I can only dedicate a few minutes here and there to reading. I'm about 2/3s of the way through it (finally), but I haven't read a word in two weeks! It is killing me. I used to read on the metro, after work, before bed. Now I can only read during naps and after Oscar's bedtime. That is if both boys are napping at the same time, when laundry or dishes do not need to be done, when dinner or baby food do not need to be made, when toys do not need to be picked up and disinfected when animals do not need to be watered and fed, when I'm not blogging, when I don't need a shower or a nap myself or the like 100,000 other things I've got to get done. Oh, and somewhere in there I need to watch a few minutes of CNN so I can be somewhat informed, have at least one real conversation with my husband. So I think that leaves me with -30 minutes to read a week.

What I'm saying (besides that I really want to finish my damn book) is that I have very little "me" time. Now, to be honest: this post just turned into a rant about how Nelson does not help me as much as I need him to and how he must be asked to to the simplest of chores even when it is obvious that they need to be done and I literally do not have time in the day to get them done. Oh, it was angry and nasty. But I deleted all of that (three whole paragraphs) in favor of this:

My life is crazy, insanely busy and there is barely enough time in the day for me to pee, let alone read a book. And I love every second of it, and my husband, too. I'll finish it later.






Wednesday, February 20, 2008

She's so cute or Mommy's got a new job?

It's not often that Oscar gets mistaken for a girl, but it does happen, usually when he's in fairly gender neutral clothes. I don't mind - I usually don't even bother to correct people. But normally, Oscar is in very "boy" clothing so there is little chance of mistaking his sex.

When he was first born, a few people asked me if I planned to dress Oscar in all gender neutral clothing. I decided not to for a few reasons. One is that as any new parent can tell you, well meaning friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers love buying baby clothes. In fact, we've gotten so many gifts and hand-me-downs that we haven't had to buy much for our little guy. And most people do not buy gender neutral clothes for a baby they know to be a boy or a girl.

Secondly, I like little boy clothes. I just do. I love puppies and bugs and cowboys and pirates and cars and trucks and dinosaurs and I even like the little sports clothes. I don't really worry that Oscar wearing boy clothes will make him feel pressured to conform to a certain gender identity, particularly at this age. And even when he's older I don't think the fact that I put him in jeans as opposed to skirts teaches him about gender roles. I think kids learn about gender roles from their families and from TV much more than by wearing navy as opposed to magenta.
As such, I worry a bit about what Oscar will think about gender roles based on the fact that his father works outside the home and his mother is a homemaker. Nelson dose help out around the house, but I am the one who does the majority of the cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. I'm sure because I'm hyper aware of this issue we will make sure Oscar knows that there is not "men's work" and "women's work," that some Mommies stay home and some go out to work and that some Daddies stay home too.
I brought this up to Nelson a few weeks ago and he said, "But you'll be going back to work eventually. Right?" And to tell you the truth, I hadn't even thought about it. We never really discussed how long I'll be home. We've certainly discussed that my being home for now makes sense because I really want to be and because we plan on having more children fairly soon. But, Nelson's comment made me realize that he sees my being at home as temporary, until our kids are back in school, and I've never even thought about it.
I had figured on having another baby in a year or two and one or two more once Oscar is five or six. So, if we end up having four kids, that'd put my last one being about eight years younger than Oscar (I'll be in my late 30s, so we'd be pushing it.) By the time our youngest started school full time, I'd be in my mid to late 40s! Not that that is at all old, but it seems pretty crazy to think that's how old I'd be when I re-enter the workforce. Then again, who's to say that in a few years I won't be itching to get a job out of the house?
There are still a lot of years between now and when I return to work, so we certainly don't have to figure out what me working outside the home looks like right now. I'll probably only work part-time but I can't even imagine what I'll be doing. Right now, I just feel so lucky to be able to spend time at home with my little guy, and with Susanica's little guy and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Home sweet home


We've been in South Carolina for the past few days. I haven't been able to think anything to blog, so I'm posting a photo of Oscar and my mom, his Meme. Don't they look happy together? He really had a good time with her, even though a cold had him down and out our last day and half there. Every time she walked in the room, he'd give her a huge smile and reach out to her, and she made him laugh like no one else.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Victory!

Obama soundly swept the Potomac Primary yesterday. Oscar, Danny, my brother, and I all bundled up and walked over to the elementary school on the corner and cast our ballots. I voted for Obama, like I've known I would since I heard him speak at the Democratic Convention almost four years ago. But, I have to admit, I feel a little sad that I did not vote for Hillary. I know opinions are her are as split as the ends of my hair (it's been five months since my last hair cut), but I like her and I always have. I like that she addressed the health care crisis in our country as First Lady, albeit unsuccessfully; I like that she's the only First Lady to ever have her portrait painted wearing a pants suit; I love that she's a mom and her ideas to support working families and mothers. I think this country would be far better off under her leadership than it is under the present administration. However, as much as I feel like I've been waiting my whole life to vote for female candidate for president, Clinton just does not inspire me like Obama does.

I'll support her if she gets the nomination - and Texas and Ohio are huge states with lots of delegates where she still has double digit leads - but I just want a president that makes me feel proud and inspired. I want someone different. I want it to be Obama.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Words to live by

"Friendship isn't just baby showers and pet sitting, it's being there to hold you up when you need it, give you a break when you need it, and meet your needs - when you need it!" - Anne, via Tiffanie

LTR: Oscar, Tiffanie, and Anne

Monday, February 11, 2008

Slightly less Super Tuesday

The Potomac Primary is tomorrow - D.C., Virgina, and Maryland will be voting for their Democratic or Republican presidential nominee, and I can't wait. I thought our primary would be kind of lack luster after Super Tuesday, but Super Tuesday didn't decide anything for the dems, so I feel like my vote counts just a little more.

So far, my family has received two GOTV (get out the vote) calls - one from Clinton and one from Obama. To Hillary's credit, her call came in first on Saturday. But, unfortunately, I have no idea what was being said because the pre-recorded call was entirely in Spanish. In all fairness Spanish was a good guess on her campaign's part because the area that I live in has the highest number of Spanish-speakers per capita in our whole state. Alas, we are not among them but good for her for trying to GOTV in my majority minority community.

Yesterday, we got a call from the Obama campaign. Actually, my brother got a call from the Obama campaign, but I fielded the call. It was a live person calling from the Obama headquarters in my state. The woman calling was really nice and I could hear the bustle of other GOTV callers in the background. She called to remind my brother to vote in Tuesday's primary. She then asked (very politely) who we would be voting for and I told her all three voting adults in my home would be casting ballots for Obama. She was thrilled of course, and told me Senator Obama would be speaking at an even near my home on Monday (which I already knew) and offered to personally drop off some yard signs on her way home.

I've made my share of GOTV calls so I can tell you this was a great one, on both ends. She was polite and enthusiastic and I was responsive and glad to receive her call. I'm kind of sad she didn't call for me, but my guess is they were trying to get out the youth vote (my brother is 25) and I don't count in that demographic.

Weather permitting, I'm taking the boys (Oscar, Danny, and my brother) to their first political rally today to hear Obama stump for a spot on the Democratic ticket and I can't wait to feel the electricity first hand. And I'm not above exploiting the extreme cuteness of Oscar and Danny to get a better seat and maybe even meet the rock star Senator myself.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hot diggity dog!

I never really talk about my pets on this blog, which is kind of interested because if I started this blog two years ago, all I would have talked about is my pets. So by way of introduction:


Meet Sophie (a.k.a. Beak, Beaks, Clarence, Clarence Beaks, Needle Beak.) This is actually my brother's dog. She's a min pin and the lowest dog on the totem pole around here, so I decided to do her the honor of being the first dog listed. Beak has many unredeeming qualities, including pottying on the floor and barking at nothing. She also pretends her foot is injured when she really wants a treat and loves cheese crackers and her dad, but no one else. Unless he's not around, then she loves her Aunt Jenni and Uncle Nelson (but don't tell her dad.)

This handsome guy is Nebo, our beta male. He is just above Beak in the pack order. He is a Shepherd mix we adopted two and a half years ago. Valentine chose him from about five dogs at the shelter - she went bananas for him. Nelson did not want him because he was a barker in his kennel, but when we read his story about how he'd been rescued from a shelter where most of the animals had perished in a hurricane, and that he'd never had a real home, we had to take him. He's very nervous and has only ever let seven people pet him, but when you are in with Nebo he's the sweetest, most gentle, loving dog you could want. He's a bit overweight and pretty lazy, but we like him that way. He often smells of grape jelly or breakfast sausages. I have no idea why.

This pretty lady is Valentine (a.k.a. the Momma, the Horse) and she is top dog around here. We got her just a few months before Nebo. Nelson didn't want her either because she was a spazoid in the kennel, but she reminded me of a dog I had when I was a kid so I just had to meet her. And when I did, she leaned up against me because she knew I was supposed to be her mom and that was that. Valentine is a clown - she is silly and goofy and always trying to get the other dogs riled up. She would be outside 100 percent of the time if we allowed it. She's not the brightest bulb, but she's the one who'd take a bullet for us, no question. She's also our most outgoing dog, so if you are a guest in our house you can expect to find the Momma's head on your lap. As top dog, she "leads the charge" when there is someone at the door, always gets to go outside or upstairs first (before Beak and Nebo), and gets the first treat. She has been know to shred pillows, books, and magazines when left to her own devices.

Last, but far from least, is our shitty kitty, Audrey. She's queen of the castle and makes sure everyone knows it. Valentine may be top dog, but Audrey really runs the show around here. She chases Nebo and Beak, alternately beats up on and loves on Valentine and Nebo (and me), walks on the table, has ruined our wicker chairs and loses almost as much fur as the three dogs combined. We rescued Audrey from Nelson's parents farm maybe five years ago. She came and lived with us (illegally) in our 400 square foot apartment. Luckily, Audrey is a small fry, weighing in at about seven pounds, so the apartment was perfect for her. She only really likes Nelson and our guests, but that's okay by me because Valentine and Nebo worship the ground I walk on. It's a lot of pressure to be worshipped by dogs so having the cat adore me too would just be too much.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

And in this corner!

Above: Oscar tries to immobalize Danny with a move known as "leg scissors."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I interrupt this regularly scheduled post...

**Please excuse the typos - the spell check function on blogger is not working for me right now!

I have literally four posts brewing right now, in various stages of editing. I couldn't decide which one to finish and post today. And then, I got a great phone call. A beautiful phone call. A phone call that brought tears to my eyes.

It was from my former boss, a woman I admire and respect, and am really proud to have worked with for three and a half years. I was formerly a fundraiser at a non profit. My last job was at a start up organization, so all the fundraising was from scratch. Fundraising is a hard and thankless job, and even more so when you are starting from nothing. Granted, we had a nice chunk of institutional support, but our challenge was diversifying our funding base (this is the fundraising challenge for most non profits.) We had to find prospects, build relationships with individuals and foundations, go on countless meetings to convince the powers that be that our work matters, and bust our butts for some measly grants just to break through. Because, someone has to give first - someone has to be that first foundation or individual that makes giving to your organization the cool, hip, forward thinking thing to do.

And you do all this exhausting work, squeeze out lots of little victories and little dollars all in the name of trying to get that big victory, those big dollars. And, for the organization I left eight months ago who's fundraising program I helped to build, that victory came today to the tune of a $250K grant from a very prominent, very hard to court foundation. That one grant is larger than all the grants we got last year put together. A stunning victory.

My former boss called to thank me for all the work I had done, for those first grants I helped bring in the door that paved the way for the big one. I feel really touched that she called and I feel really proud of the work I did. They deserve this grant - they will do good things with it that will make this country a better place and I'm glad to share their victory today.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The elusive teeth


This is as close as I've come to a photo of the teeth, and it took me about ten shots to get this close. You can just barely see them peeking out from behind his lower lip. I'm going to try for a better one this weekend.