Christmas is coming, bring on the family!

The holiday season is upon us, and we've dived in smiling, head first, arms open. With the Thanksgiving dinner behind us, we tackled our Christmas shopping Friday morning (not as early as others, mind you). We set our car radios to the all-Christmas song stations. We set out our Christmas stockings, put the wreath on the door along with a cheery yet subtle and not-too-Christmasy Happy Holidays wall sign, and set out three small trees with some Christmas lights on our front porch. As of today, almost all of our Christmas shopping is complete and half of our presents are wrapped. Buddy Boo helped me wrap some presents while sitting on our dining table. Turns out, he loves tissue paper - the crinkling sound of the paper as he smashes it between his hands is fascinating to him. Next week, we pick up our tree from the Christmas tree farm and address our holiday cards. Yep, we're pretty excited for Buddy Boo's first Christmas. Now we're not only continuing our own traditions as husband and wife, but we're laying the foundation for our traditions as our own family. It's a thought that is exciting, but also seems to have a huge amount of responsibility attached to it.

Each year, we host Christmas dinner at our house. We bring out the extra tables from the garage and extra chairs and cook a big meal for anywhere from 10 to 15 people. As a new mom, I'm wondering how the meal preparation will go this year. It's not so bad cooking a regular meal with Boo; we either take turns holding him or he sits in his bouncy seat while we pretend to put on a cooking show for him. But a meal that is a bigger production and has more specific timing involved may be trickier. I'm still trying to figure out how it will all work out.

After the dinner we usually tear into the presents. In my family, there are a lot of them. Santa would need to make several trips with a jam-packed sleigh to take over all of the gifts my parents buy for family members and friends. My parents go nuts, and I have a feeling this year they will jump beyond the border of lunacy when it comes to gift giving for their first grandson. Last year, Boo received more presents than we did - and he wasn't even born yet!

One reason there are usually a lot of presents is because, quite frankly, there are a lot of us. On my side of the family, there's me and my brother, but then there are the aunts, uncles, cousins and more cousins, grandparents, grandaunts and granduncles, second cousins, family friends whom we've called our aunts and uncles since we were babies, their children whom we've called our cousins but really aren't, friends who don't have family nearby and are staying in town for the holidays, friends of our relatives whom we grew up with, and some people that I'm not quite sure how we've come to know them but they are a part of our lives. This is my family. If you have come into our lives somehow - by blood or by chance - you are a part of our family. We're a big, loud, rambunctious, and overly joyous group. Most of my family lives somewhere on the West Coast - from Canada down to San Diego, with a couple of East Coasters and family in the Philippines and random countries like Luxembourg. We haven't all been in the same room in a very long time, and we don't all get together for Christmas, but when I was little we used to get together more often for highly stimulating, overactive laugh fests overwhelming with love. I cherish the memory of them. I hope Boo will someday have similar memories of his own.

I also hope he learns from the love of my husband's family. His family is almost the opposite of mine in many ways. The main opposite being that there are less of them. He has his mom, his dad, two brothers, two sisters-in-law, four cousins, one aunt and one uncle. That's it. I can count all of them on my two hands and a few toes. They live spread out throughout the world, but they still see each other at least once a year. Whereas my family is the heart-racing, screaming-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-from-exhiliration part of a roller coaster ride, his family is the part of the ride where you turn the corner onto more even railing, breathe a sigh of relief and ride evenly for a few moments while enjoying the view with a calm smile. I love his family dearly. They are kind, witty, hilarious, politely frank, and welcoming. Theirs is a quieter love but a grand, grand love nonetheless. I feel so lucky to know them, and I absoutely relish that Boo will also grow up knowing all of them, enjoying family time of a different kind.

Christmas will not be too loud at our place this year. I think we are expecting 14 people total for dinner. We hope to someday spend Christmas with A's family as well, since that's important to us, especially now with Boo. We hope to provide some balance for Boo, so he can experience as much of the worlds we grew up in as possible. So he can know just how much love there is in our family. So that he will always know that not only do we love him with every tiny fiber of our souls, but that there is a world of people who love him just as much, wherever he goes.


Thank You

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for:
-Life. Glorious, hideous, beautiful, surprising Life.
-My son, who is our life.
-My husband, who is my soul.
-My great-grandmother, who deserves to be in a category all her own as she turns 101 years old next month.
-My family. I love them all dearly. Each and every one.
-My friends. Supportive, encouraging, honest, silly, sassy, special. I am so lucky and I love them all.
-Our dogs
-Our house
-Creative differences
-Strong women
-Italian shoes
-Laptops and Wi-Fi
-Seafood. Better yet, seafood pasta
-Eco-friendly residential & commercial builders
-Organic farmers
-Beautiful beaming burping babies
-New York City
-Hot cocoa with marshmallows on cold winter days
-Small business entrepreneurs
-The Pacific Ocean
-Hybrid cars
-Cardigan sweaters
-Whole Foods Market
-Places where you don't have to wait in line for an hour for Sunday Brunch
-People who are smarter, more traveled, and better read than me so I can learn from them
-Happy hour
-The promise of the future
-The beauty of the past

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Turkey, turkey. turkey

One of the top ten songs that freqents my mind randomly throughout the day is Adam Sandler singing his Thanksgiving song from an SNL skit. You know the one.

Tomorrow is Buddy Boo's first Thanksgiving. His squash awaits (he likes squash!), while A and I are eagerly anticipating the monsterous Thanksgiving Day meal my mother traditionally creates. We'll be spending the day tomorrow creating two dishes we've never made: Herbed Bread Stuffing with Mushrooms and Sausage and Brandied Caramel Apple Crumble. I was going to start the prep work tonight (lots of chopping involved with both dishes), but suddenly it's 7pm and I find myself instead in my jammies, eating a banana, writing this blog, watching Ken Jennings continue his insane winning streak on Jeopardy while simultaneously doing the bills and eagerly awaiting the new episodes of Lost, The West Wing, and The Apprentice. There will be no prep work done tonight.

We haven't put much thought into this being our son's first Thanksgiving. We're more focused on his first Christmas. I don't think he'll appreciate Thanksgiving as much as he will next year, when he can partake in more of the turkey day eats. At least with Christmas, there are twinkling lights, crinkly noisy wrapping paper, bright colors, snappy songs, and presents to be opened and enjoyed - as well as the good eats. We're totally stoked for Christmas this year.

I think as parents we probably have to pick and choose which holidays to really fuss over, and which to let slide just a bit. Otherwise, I can see how some families go mad over the holidays, instead of enjoying them as much as they could. This is how I see our first holidays going: Thanksgiving-small deal; Christmas-big deal; New Year's-small deal; Valentine's Day-small deal; Easter-semi-big deal; First Birthday-DAMN big deal (the theme has already been chosen and the menu and decor are being planned...I, I mean, We can't wait!); Memorial Day-BBQ deal; July 4th-BBQ deal...and so on.

Ann Coulter is on television now. I must go and berate her now with my husband. How this woman continues to get booked on shows, I'll never know (except that she is so ridiculously uninformed and stupid that she makes for good television).

This is much more productive than getting meals ready for tomorrow :-)


Baby group anxiety

Today, for the first time in almost two months, I attended the Baby & Me group at our hospital. Buddy Boo and I first started attending the 0-4 month old group when he was about a month old. We attended every week until I went back to work. No matter how tired I was or what kind of a mood Boo was in at the time, we went to the playgroup. Today was the first time we attended the 5-8 month group, and I was admittedly very nervous.

For me, there's a lot of anxiety attached to these type of groups. I almost turned the car around to go home halfway there. There are a lot of pressures being a mom (kind of like being President, according to Idiot: "It's hard work. I'm under a lot of pressure." Half of this country would like to relieve you of that pressure, sir. But, I digress). These groups are supposed to be a safe environment for moms of all walks of life who believe in all types of parenting. Yet it's hard not to compare yourself to other moms, to compare your baby to other babies, and to question your way of parenting when you are in these groups. It's inevitable, and sometimes, even though I know I will be so grateful for going afterward, I am filled with anxiety on the way there. I'm plagued by pointless questions: Who will be there? Will I be surrounded by the militant SAHMs who are appalled that I went back to work? Will I be the only one there who doesn't have set nap times for my baby? Nobody likes to stand out, and as a new mom, I definitely don't like standing out in a group full of what I deem to be are competent, with-it moms and their perfect children.

So Boo and I ventured to this new group with many unknowns. As always, I am very glad we went. The older group is a smaller group (I suspect because many of the moms have gone back to work full time by this age and don't all have flex schedules). There was E and her sweet daughter Baby L, whom we first met in our birthing class. J, her husband R, and their early developer son Baby A, whom we first met in the younger playgroup. A man, his mom, and a set of rambunctious and adorable twins. A full-time WOHM, her husband and their son. Finally, there was our group leader.

As I arrived late, I opened the doors to see smiling faces and hear welcoming greetings from everyone. I felt better instantly. Gym mats were on the floor, and I realized why they were needed as soon as Boo and I sat down and he lunged for the toy I just placed in front of him. This was definitely a different group from the one we used to attend. These babies now had real personalities. They were crawling, climbing, sitting, reaching, screeching, and playing games. I looked at Boo, sitting up all by himself, eating his teether toys, reaching for Baby A's stacking cups and smiling at Baby L, and I realized that I had a different baby now too.

There was a gentlenes to this group that I didn't always feel with the earlier group. People were more apt to ask and answer questions honestly than to simply brag about their baby's newest accomplishments, as they were apt to do in the younger group. There was a general feeling of support and encouragement. Perhaps it is because not only are our babies growing up, but so too are we as parents. We no longer feel the need to impress others as much. We know our babies better and understand that no other baby in the room is exacly like our own. We have learned to embrace parenthood with all its bumps, bruises, and glories. We now know it's okay not to know. We're more comfortable in this new skin, which is no longer new but feels like an old comfy coat that we've had for ages and never want to part with.

The parents in today's playgroup, above all, were nice. They were friendly, and they made me feel welcome. They made Boo feel welcome too, and I relished watching him watch the other babies and attempt interaction. He's not quite at the "Hi, my name is Boo can I pat you on the head?" phase as some of the older babies are, but he's fascinated when they come up to him and initiate communication. I love that. Baby A really wanted Boo to wear one of the stacking cups on his head like a hat, and Boo seemed intrigued by that. I love watching him take everything and everyone in, and then try to crawl over to join the party or laugh back at a smiling face.

For Boo's sake, I'm going to try to go as much as possible. Maybe every playgroup won't always feel as warm and fuzzy as today's, but I know with each visit Boo will learn something, and see something or someone new. Each visit will help me feel more comfortable in my role as Mom, and help Boo find his place in the world. Or at least, learn playskills that will help him on the playground years from now.


Lions, elephants and dinosaurs in our midst

As far as a baby's speech development goes, Buddy Boo is in a fascinating and interesting phase: the ROOOOOAAAAR! Phase. From the time he gets up to the time he falls asleep at night, he fills the day with high-pitched squeals, roars, and sharp inhales that can sound very much like sounds that would come from elephants, lions or (what I imagine would come from) dinosaurs. The variance of these sounds is intriguing. The pitch, length and vowel-sound used often depends on his mood and his purpose. If he just wants our attention, he often makes a high-pitched squealing sound. If he is amused by something, he may make a dinosaur roar sound. If he's feeling mischievous and just wants to play (which, we've come to realize, is most of the time) his eyes light up, his mouth gets wide, and from his little body comes a sound that is not quite lion-roar, not quite elephant-roar, and not quite Toucan - it's an odd mixture.

This phase is quite amusing for A and I. Boo is so incredibly adorable when he attempts to communicate this way; he's a silly baby just being sweet and playful. Yet this is also simply part of his amazing journey of speech development. Every sound he makes has a reason now, and each day, we are all getting closer to understanding each other. It is truly incredible.


Pumpin' through to the weekend

It has been a very long week. I have had 14 meetings, one conference call, wrote several articles, made hundreds of calls, rebalanced my quarterly budget, trained a new employee, have started the hiring process for another (yahoo! help is on the way!) and had the usual numerous last minute additions to my schedule. Right now I am pumping. I wonder how much longer I can keep pumping at work. Too difficult to schedule in. Plus, I'm way too stressed out to get any decent amount of milk pumped. I need to budget for a massage therapist to come to work on my shoulders once a day. I'm just trying to make it through to the weekend, which is almost here, and Boo can have two days of straight nursing. And maybe I can decompress a bit. Oh wait, even on the weekends I still need to pump late at night after Boo goes to bed, so I have enough for him during the week.

How do women do this for months on end? I wonder if I will miss pumping at all when I do stop. Will it be odd? It does give me a sense of attachment to my son even though I am miles away at work. I always wonder how he is doing and what he is doing when I am pumping. Is he eating at home at the same time too? As much of a hassle as it can be trying to pump two or three times a day while at work, it gives me a sense of satisfaction that for those 20 minutes at a time, I am doing something that directly affects my son's well being. It helps me reconnect with him while we are apart.

Done pumping now. Back to the grind. It will end in a couple of hours. Then I can go home and just be Mom for 48 hours with my son.


A mom's diet, a son's diet

Today I ate & drank:
-small o.j.
-small 1/2 decaf nonfat with whip :) mocha
-part of a lemon poppyseed muffin
-Izzy all natural blackberry soda (non-carbonated, sugar-free but fantastic!)
-part of a small Charleston chicken salad
-one slice of pizza margherita
-one chocolate chip cookie
-chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce
-french fries with ranch sauce
-not nearly enough water

My diet has never been, shall we say, an example of perfect health. I'm healthy enough, but I have never been strict about what I eat. If I want something, I'll have it. I really don't care what the news says about what the latest "off limits" food is (eggs were great, then they were bad, now they are great again; it's all cyclical), or the latest diets. I love food. Let me say that again: I LOVE FOOD.

When I became pregnant, I realized that all of the yummy food I was enjoying was also being enjoyed by the growing being inside of me. So I started eating more fruits and vegetables. A few months before I got pregnant I switched to decaf coffee. But I also ate cake and/or ice cream every day. Really, every day. At the time I thought it was normal ("No, I don't have any weird cravings"). After Buddy Boo was born, I bloated up like a tugboat bath toy, flub, flub, flub. My face expanded to the size of my ass, which also decided to take a month-long stretch sideways. Yet somehow, that didn't deter my appetite. Cheeseburgers? Yes. Tiramisu? You betcha. Pasta with cream sauce? Oh yeah. And of course, chocolate. Who has time to think about eating healthy when you have a newborn that demands your attention around the clock, and when you need more nutrients because you are nursing? Forget about exercising - I used to love to go jogging but haven't been since my fifth month of pregnancy. Our jogging stroller is the one baby shower gift that is still in its box. Next to the fridge, of course. Thank goodness for breastfeeding. I somehow weigh less than I did pre-Buddy Boo(can someone tell me how much weight gain happens post-breastfeeding? starting to wonder about that now...but I digress).

So as A and I try to impart our values, habits, etc. onto our dear son, I wonder how we'll tackle the healthy eating issue. So our son may not have veggies or fruit with every meal. Not all of his fruits and veggies will be organic. He may eat chicken nuggets and fries every once in a while. Perhaps we'll have pizzas ordered in for Friday night family nights. He most definitely will have cake and ice cream...just not every day as I did for ten months :) I hope, and I think, that he'll be okay. We hope to raise him to have an appreciation for food, to know that most things are great in moderation, and that food is a wonderful part of life to be enjoyed but not abused or refused. We can't eat perfectly, but we can eat happily and healthily.

Now all this writing about food is making me hungry. Later!


Sir Laugh A Lot

I love Saturdays. We get up whenever, hang out in our pjs as long as we want, do some housework, play with Buddy Boo all day long, maybe run some errands, and there's even time on Saturdays to make a big yummy dinner. Today was an especially great Saturday. Today was Laugh A Lot day, and Boo was Sir Laugh A Lot. He was in the best mood all day long. Giggling at the dogs. Laughing with his whole body when we made faces at him. Playing peek-a-boo games with us and mimic games and you-make-a-funny-noise-then-I'll-make-a-funny-noise games. He was unstoppable, and really, who would stop a lovable silly baby like that? Not us. He's also been sitting up a lot, and a lot better. He's found his toes and thinks they are funny too, which in turn cracks us up. When he sits in our lap he sits up straight without leaning against us and then he'll lean forward to try to grab whatever is in front of him, and the he'll try to crawl out of our lap (or at least, propel himself forward using the force of his arms and sometimes a foot or two) if something he wants is farther away. A and I watched him in amazement all day. Then it hit us: we really have to babyproof our house, SOON. Oy vey. We're not ready!

What a grand, glorious, happy, happy day.


Sleep and "the experts"

Buddy Boo has had trouble getting to sleep lately. Our routine was great, but like everything else in parenthood, I've learned nothing is as constant as change. My least favorite question: "Is he sleeping through the night already?" My answer is usually, "Right now he is," because I know it will change again. If he learns a new trick that he wants to practice, if he's teething more, if he's going through another growth spurt...all of the "ifs" can quickly change that answer to "Right now he is not."

After Boo was born, when sleep was a distant friend, I started devouring all of the wisdom imparted by doctors and insightful parents in the form of parenting books. I knew them all. On my nightstand ready for a quick reference check were (in no particular order): Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby(highly recommended by our pediatrician and lactation consultants), The Happiest Baby on the Block (ditto on recommendations), The Baby Whisperer (think Mary Poppins on an ego trip), Baby Owner's Manual (for kicks), What to Expect: The First Year (my favorite because it covers everything briefly), Mother's Nursing Companion (ok breastfeeding reference), and The Girlfriend's Guide to Surviving the First Year (silly and sometimes informative). My recommendation? Read all of them... or none of them.

During the first month or so of new mommyhood, I looked to any place I could for some direction. I was fascinated by the answers I got - from books, friends, co-workers, family, doctors, strangers in the pediatrician waiting room or in line at the grocery store. Everyone has their own take on "the rules." What you are supposed to do and what you are supposed to avoid when taking care of a newborn. The differing opinions in the books I read astonished me. Never nurse your child to sleep (difficult when this is what most newborns do). Always put them to bed drowsy but awake (much easier said than done). Don't rock your child to sleep. Don't use sleep aids like sound machines or driving them around town to sleep. Blah blah blah. I'm convinced that these books -and not just dealing with a crying baby- are the cause of many a nervous breakdown by frazzled new parents.

All of these books are fun reads, and they gave me some good ideas, but I don't take much stock in any of them. They weren't written specifically for me or my husband. They weren't written with my child in mind. They weren't written with our particular home and work situation in mind. They certainly weren't written to be followed word for word.

After dissecting all of the books, A and I came to our own conclusions. We did what was right for us, and for Boo.

Listen to your baby. Listen to yourself, your spouse or your S.O., your heart. You know what your baby needs. You know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Screw everyone else. Well, okay, listen to your doctor once in a while, but even the pediatrician doesn't know your baby as well as you do and the pediatrician doesn't have to be the one to take care of your baby around the clock. You do. You know. You are a parent and you know your baby.

So Boo's bedtime routine is changing. We don't know quite yet which changes will stick and which won't. He doesn't seem to like the Guess How Much I Love You book anymore, which he found comforting before. He takes three very short naps during the day instead of two long naps. He has started eating before he sleeps - not just snacking, but a full extra meal, even if he just ate an hour before. A couple of times he nursed to sleep, which is a big no-no according to the experts.

But the experts aren't home with us, loving our baby as we do. In this case, quite frankly, we are the experts on our baby. It took us a bit to realize that, but we know that now. What works for us, what makes our baby happy, is all that really matters.


Cold and flu season hits home

Ah, November. In the morning we wake to a thick covering of fog. The nights are misty. We don funny looking hats atop our heads and shiver as we walk.

We get sick. That's what we do in November.

Poor little Buddy Boo has a cold. His nose is runny, he's coughing, he can't sleep because he's having trouble breathing. And he's not even in daycare.

We broke the bedtime routine tonight because we couldn't bear it. Listening to our sweet little baby struggle. So he is asleep on the couch next to me right now. He'll probably come to bed with us tonight because I want to be there, just in case. I'm a softy, so sue me. I just want my Boo to be happy and healthy 100% of the time. What's so wrong with that?


South Park Stan

Bits and pieces of every child’s personality resemble a cartoon character or two. These characters are, after all, often fashioned after real children. This weekend, our sweet Buddy Boo resembled not sweet Charlie Brown, not na├»ve and happy-go-lucky Sponge Bob, but rather the sometimes smack-talking yet innocent Stan on Comedy Central’s South Park –for reasons other than the smack-talking :)

We came to this realization when we went to visit with our friend ML who was in town for the week with her baby, little Miss Mary. Buddy Boo hadn’t napped well in the morning, and was probably overwhelmed as it was. Then little Miss Mary wakes up from her nap and with bright beautiful eyes and a mischievous grin she started reaching for Boo, giving him loving pats on the head, squealing in excited delight. She is an absolutely adorable six month old baby girl – so cute and playful. Boo was curious but not his usual “Hey, another baby, let’s play!” self. He was tired. Actually, no thanks to us, he was likely overtired because he passed out as soon as we left. He just ate. And so he proceeded to spit up. At first, there were the usual dribbles here and there. No big deal. Then there was a nice splat on their carpet, followed by more splats over my shoulder, and a fabulous grand finale of one big vomit onto my jeans and their carpet. We felt terrible, but we also thought it was odd. He hadn’t spit up like that for weeks.

Later that night, it hit us: he had Southpark Stan syndrome. On the show, every time Stan’s girlfriend would come up to him, said his name, or just appeared near him, Stan would throw up. Perhaps this was a precursor to the bashful and nervous boy our Boo would become around girls later in life. Perhaps it was just coincidence. Either way, when we discussed the possibility of our little Boo throwing up around little girls, it made us giggle in a we-shouldn’t-laugh-but-it’s-kind-of-funny sort of way.

Our little Boo. See Girl, Vomit. Girl Touches Boo, Vomit. Girl Talks to Boo, Vomit. It’s a bit amusing when you think about it that way (or perhaps we’re just warped parents). Maybe tomorrow he will do something to remind us of Elmo, or Kermit the Frog, or Winnie the Pooh, but for at least the next few days, we’ll celebrate his resemblance to South Park Stan (again, just the spitting up part – not the random cursing; that’s probably just a few years down the road, eh?).


In a blink

A dear, dear friend of mine once told me that with every milestone her daughter reached, it made her a little sad. Milestones bring something new, but they also mean having to say goodbye to something we as parents barely get a chance to get used to, much less enjoy. In all honesty, I thought it was an odd comment at first. I had just given birth a few weeks beforehand. Weren't milestones to be celebrated, written down in baby books, photographed, videotaped and talked about endlessly?

Five months into this beautiful trip called parenthood, I now understand. As soon as Buddy Boo reaches a magnificent milestone, another one threatens to come charging around the corner to bully the new great experience out before the celebration can sink in. And in all honesty, it is a bit sad. Do I really remember his first real smile? He smiles all the time now. When was his first real laugh? I remember how old he was, but I can't remember the exact moment. When did he first find his hands? The way he gnaws at them and tries to grab everything in front of him, it feels like he's always known he has control over his hands.

This is one of those things that everybody tells you, warns you will happen, that is actually true (unlike the many other smile-and-nod-but-immediately-disregard pieces of advice): enjoy every moment, because they grow up in the blink of an eye. I was at a fundraising gala last night and someone repeated that phrase. It was perhaps the 567th time I had heard it, but lately I have truly been feeling their words and nodding in agreement. And yes, my friend HL was right: it is a bit sad.

Boo had his first taste of solids other than rice cereal tonight. Sweet potatoes. He devoured them with a devilish little grin, wide eager eyes and happy hands. When A took the food out in its single serving bottle he said "he's not going to eat all of this." Well, Boo almost did. We got a bit frightened though and stopped him before he could gobble the last two bites. What it was that made us scared, we have no idea, because there's nothing written that says a baby can't finish one serving of baby food during the first feeding. We both held back, even though he pretty much ate the whole thing. It was almost as if those last two little bites represented the final steps into another phase that we just weren't ready for, but Boo obviously was.

That's another amazing thing about all of these milestones: babies reach them whenever they are ready, but they don't bother to ask us parents whether or not we are ready. If they did, I would venture to guess that most babies wouldn't be crawling or cruising until they were two or walking until they were three. Nothing really prepares you emotionally for the next stage, and there is always, inevitably, a next stage.

It is so hard to say goodbye to the baby you know so well each time he changes and grows into the child, the person, he will become. Sometimes my emotions teeter-totter between wanting to hold on to the moment and looking forward to the next; I think that I can't wait to hear Boo say "mama," "dada," and "no, dog, no" but then I know I will miss who Boo is now. We'll miss trying to make up stories about what we think he is saying during his endless nonsensical babble. We'll miss watching his features focus fiercely as he attempts to speak our language. We'll miss our baby who will someday no longer be a baby.

So I'm becoming the overzealous mother I somehow feared but knew I would become. I write everything down. I take a zillion digital photos. I break out the video camera for the big moments I know the photos won't fully capture. I talk and talk about every milestone to anyone who will listen. I write, I write, I write. In hopes that someday I can remember all of the different phases of Boo that I had to say goodbye to, so that grown-up Boo can know just how amazingly beautiful and incredible he was in all of those phases. So that when I do blink and Boo is suddenly headed to college, I can look back and see a clear, full picture of the perfection that is Baby Boo.


The Boob List

I love breastfeeding. I love the fact that my son can get all of the nutrients he needs during the first 4-6 months of his life solely from my breastmilk. I love the amazing ability my body has to produce this liquid gold.

However...as with every thing of beauty, there is also a consequence to be paid. I'm in a list sort of mood right now, folks, so here is a list of some of the things I miss because I am breastfeeding:

1. Eating as much seafood as I want. I love seafood. Love it. Could eat it everyday. Twice a day. I'm not kidding. Shrimp is my favorite. Oh wait - lobster is pretty fantastic as well. So are scallops. Anyway, it hasn't been too hard to keep to eating less than 12 ounces of seafood per week, but I miss not having to wonder as I prepare to order: have I already eaten about 12 ounces this week or not? (sigh) Seafood pasta is my favorite.

2. Wearing any top that I want to without having to worry about whether or not it would work with a nursing bra and also be pump-friendly. When you are breastfeeding, you have to think about accessibility: the baby's easy access to the boob. You also have to think about the type of material and style the top is, because anything too thin or too low won't work with a nursing bra. If anyone knows of a great strapless bra that is wireless, please let me know!

3. Drinking whenever. This also hasn't been too hard to work around; usually if I have a glass of wine or a beer I just wait until the little guy is asleep for the night and I know he won't nurse again until the morning. However, it would be nice to be out with friends and not have to think about whether or not I'd need to nurse within the next two hours.

4. Eating whatever I want. Similar to the seafood but less of a pain is the fact that you can't just eat whatever you want, regardless of whether or not it's considered safe to eat while nursing. Buddy Boo gets fussy/gassy if I have too much dairy (thank God I was able to reintroduce at least some dairy back into my diet) or too much citrus (my one glass of o.j. in the morning seems to be okay).

5. Not having leaking/engorged/cracked/bleeding/itchy boobs. Sorry, but you breastfeed, and all of these are possible. Fun, fun.

All in all, I am glad I made the choice to breastfeed Buddy Boo. Every once in a while, though, I do miss the days when my boobs were just...well, my boobs.


Baby Talk

My son's voice is the greatest sound on the planet. When he babbles, I melt. When he laughs, my eyes tear up with love.

This morning I brought Buddy Boo into bed with me when he woke up at 5, since I just wasn't ready to face the day at that hour just yet. He lay next to me and rolled into me, just kind of staring at me and smiling. He's in this phase where he uses his hands to explore everything - the dogs, his rice cereal, my face. Inevitably a tiny finger goes up my nose, into my ears, my eyes, a tiny hand grabs hold of my hair. I think his favorite thing to do is to put his whole hand over my mouth (even at this young age, he's trying to get his mom to shut up already).

As we lay there, he would gently let a sound out here and there, and then he would giggle. His giggles rock my world. They fill my entire soul with happiness. And the smile that accompanies those giggles is worth more than anything in the world that I can think of right now.

Buddy Boo's dad has been out of town for a conference this week and returns home today. Hooray! I swear Boo misses his daddy. The other morning he rolled over to where his dad normally sleeps and just uttered "a-ba-da-ba-da. a-da-da-ba-da-da" and stared into the empty space. I know A misses Boo - a lot. I can't wait until we see him tonight and smother him with hugs and kisses. Boo is also big into giving sloppy kisses right now. It's very cute. And surprise, surprise, that also melts my heart.


A sad, sad day for mothers in America

Today was a sad, sad day for America. I have been trying to understand what has happened, but I can't. How could the majority of you vote for an administration that has created a world where fear, oppression, hate, greed and evil govern and infest our daily lives? You have voted to ride the ignorant bliss train for four more years instead of facing the truth and working to heal our country and make things right.

Who are you America?

I blink, and I blink, but all I see staring back at me is a stranger with empty eyes, a heavy heart, and a lost soul. You are desperate for answers but you mistakenly turned to the smirking man in the van with a bag full of candy and lies because he is there eager to feed your fear. You are so scared that you let the Fear Administration hold your hand as you cast your votes. Who are you, America, and how did you get this way?

You have voted to turn back the clock, instead of moving forward. So go ahead. This is your chance. This is your administration. This is your president. If anybody can do it, this president and his axis of evil administration can. They're good at turning back the clock, taking away the rights decades of women and men before us worked so hard to achieve, destroying our families, our natural resources, our economy, our hopes; they're really great at watching out for themselves, and boy, they love to do that. And when they leave you behind, as they have thousands of children, women and men throughout this great country of ours, then perhaps you will no longer be blind. Perhaps you will feel the sting of reality. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Eleven states passed measures that would alter their state constitutions - their CONSTITUTIONS, for Pete's sake! - to make marriage only between a man and a woman. First of all, was this really necessary? If you voted for this and we know each other, then perhaps I don't know you at all. Do you also oppose my inter-racial marriage? Do you also oppose Freedom, Liberty and Justice for ALL? We allow men who beat their wives to stay married, we allow people who just met to get married, we allow murderers to get married - but two people who love each other very much and have been devoted to each other for decades but just happen to be of the same sex? Oh no, you want to impose your IMmoral values on this very private matter and say "Sorry, but a wife-beater has more rights than you do."

Who ARE you, America?

This is a blog about new motherhood, and if you are wondering what all of this has to do with my son, then you are, quite simply, an idiot. It has everything to do with my son, my family, my role as a new mother. What you told him today with your votes, America, is that we should live in a world of fear and greed. That his freedoms are ensured as long as he is a white, Christian, wealthy, selfish, greedy, hateful and oppressive man. That is what you have told my son, America. I will not raise him with those "values."

Many of you - the majority of my friends and family most definitely - are sharing my anger, my pain, my sorrow. You can foresee the road ahead, and like me, are terrified. Some of you - some friends and family included - are on the opposite side of this matter with me, and that's ok too. I want my son to understand the value of standing up for what you believe in, and if you disagree with me, then let's hold an intelligent debate. I want my son to value the power of his voice, to know his actions can affect change, and to be passionate about his rights, his beliefs, and also his country.

I believe in you, America. I may not recognize you now, but I know your spirit is still strong. I know we will find a way to right the wrongs of the past four years, and the wrongs that are inevitably to come in the next four years. I know we will move forward because we have to. We may have taken two steps back, but eventually (2008?) we will take a giant leap forward. For my son, for your daughter, for yourself. We must find a way to move forward.

PS - to those of you with Halliburton stocks or oil stocks, congratulations! Your evil empire stock rocketed today! Enjoy your greedy, dirty, fattened wallet. Perhaps you can find it in your dark heart to donate some funds to the thousands of poor children who come from low-income families that have been left behind and neglected thanks to Idiot's No Child Left Behind Act.


Twas the Night Before the Election...

...and all through the house, Buddy Boo is stirring in his crib threatening to wake up, Crazy Dog #1 is tormenting Crazy Dog #2, dirty dishes have piled up where just a few minutes ago there were none, a pile of work calls to me from the kitchen table, and my shoulders and back are grimacing in desperate need of a massage. Tense, perhaps, from the fear of what could happen on election day...and night. I know I will be glued to the television until that last vote is counted. Brokaw, Jennings, Rather, Blitzer, Stewart - I watch them all. If we had a wall full of televisions I know that A and I could easily have a screen for each station we wanted to keep an eye on.

We really should get the day off from work tomorrow.

A and I voted as soon as we got our ballots in the mail. Now to everyone out there who hasn't yet, GET OUT AND VOTE!!!!