Monday, December 31, 2012

A smattering of thoughts

First, here's the mini-summary of what's been up (now with bullets for a nice summary format!).
  • Visited the extended family out of town for a week.  Lesson learned: do not assume that just because family owns a computer that it will be usable.  My in-laws got phished and their solution to the problem is to leave the computer off, possibly indefinitely.  Also it's unsafe to assume anyone over 30 understands how to avoid phishing, and I should offer some education on the subject to the family to avoid this in the future.
  • Spent time visiting my grandma, and my kid still hasn't really warmed up to her. She was all about my grandpa though, so it rubs salt in the wound that he's gone and the kid isn't into reading with her great grandma at all.
  • My parents' house is SOLD! It will never again be my problem at all! SCORE!
  • so much with the hurting and the limited stamina.  I think this kid sits a good 6 inches lower into OUCH territory, so most things hurt a great deal.  Example of limited stamina: it's taken me over 5 hours to get the festive holiday cards ready to the point of needing stamps (which I haven't actually purchased yet) and I get so zonked every time I try to finish a task that takes more than 5 minutes.
  • 30 weeks. whoa. yipes. oh my. ohhhh my. surreal.
Now the questions for you readers who are smarter than me and more experienced at stuff than me (with more bullet points!):
  • Hypnobabies course: worth it?  I did lots of prep but no course the last time, and I felt the self-hypnosis helped with pain management a great deal, so I'm not sure if it's worth it.
  • Nesting: how much do I really need to do beyond having a place to sleep, some diapers, and some clothes (and the nursing pillow)? I feel twitchy about the whole thing but mostly it's because I know there's a lot of baby stuff somewhere in the boxes and I can't move them alone so it's rather moot me wanting to get at them.
  • Taking one class this semester: good idea or insanity?  It's 6 credits and I failed it once before (oh super duper hooray for the $30,000 mistake) but I'm not sure.  If I wait a year to take it, I lose a year of pay and gain a year of debt plus interest.  If I fail again, I'm out of pharmacy school altogether.
  • Childcare: how many hours a week do I need for a newborn outside of the hours I'm in class (it's 10 a week including the 4 hour lab)?  Should I plan for some certain number of hours or beg the "church ladies" to come help if we need it or hire a student to do child minding and a bit of cleaning (so mostly dishes and laundry)?  We have a full-time infant spot (PHEW) that's available starting 10 weeks post due date, so that rocks, but it's also the Monday after my final, so not so helpful or ideal.
Coming up (post preview):
  • Guest post on BALANCE from the spouse
  • Preparing for postpartum depression
  • Life in limbo and getting out

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

PAIL theme post: BALANCE

This is part of the December theme post series over at PAIL.  Go check out some more!

Ahh balance.  It's a great favorite word around my grad program.  One of the great aspirations is that at some point, someone will teach us about balancing life and work.  I get pretty fed up with how little flexibility we get as students if you suddenly have a moment where life has bigger needs than school, or if you have to work while in school (and that's a totally separate and venting post about how we're expected to work if we're going to get the cool jobs/internships/residencies and yet if we work, we are super frowned at for not putting enough time into school, so... anyway...).

So I am not working right now, just going to school, and that's plenty.  I did work last year and have occasionally this semester, but reasonably pregnant it's too much.

School though, it feels like it's a job, and it sure sucks up my time like it (more than just work, actually).  When I'm interning, we call it work.  We tell the kid that I'm going to be done with school when I start rotations because it will be going to work.

The spouse has a job where work comes home a fair bit and my school studying often eats up evenings.  It's not ideal but it's life.  Work is 5 days a week, ending a smidge earlier than 5pm.  School is 8am to 4pm most every day, but I study at home between classes, so I'm around the house an awful lot.  Maybe too much. Probably too much.  Mostly I like to cook at home and I'm too lazy to pack lunch and 3 snacks a day.

I spend a lot of time studying at home, the kid goes to daycare full days all the time, and it is what we're used to.  We were both home with the kid most of the time until she was about 3 months old when I headed back to school, and at 6 months old she started daycare full time.  This is to say that we've been attempting to balance things since and we still aren't terribly good at it, but we try.

When things are balanced well, we cook a big meal on the weekend and eat it for a few dinners and maybe a couple of lunches.  Most nights we retrieve the kid about 5pm and start bedtime at 7:30 or 7:45 (earlier if we're on the ball about it).  If the kid is being beastly and refusing sleep, then we take turns attempting to placate her or at the worst, contain her until she conks out.

When things are balanced, we have one night of kid activity, one night a week where I'm out at a meeting/study group/whatever, and one where the spouse is.  We're trying to eat together at the table and hopefully the same thing, but it isn't working well.  Maybe some day.

The trouble with balancing things is that they don't balance reliably.  A big week in exams for me or a big week at work for the spouse and it's a mess.

Balance... the goals are simple: spend enough time to get by in school and at work, spend enough time at home so we are cohesive and whole people, spend enough time out so nobody goes insane from the stress.  In practice, we fake it.  We don't often fold laundry aside from hanging clothes that wrinkle and shouldn't.  We load the dishwasher together as a game after dinner.  Sometimes we eat much later than we'd like because we were grocery shopping after child retrieval. While it's kind of cute when the kid is being a little sleep-deprived zombie, we pay for it dearly in extended bad behavior the next day.

I try really hard to set aside some time most if not every day to put away the screens (since most of my books/notes are digital, this means no studying).  Once a week we do Family Movie Night where all screens except the TV go off and we all watch a movie together (and generally we try to start as close to 5pm as possible so we can hopefully get to bed at a reasonable time).

The best way for things to balance well is when we divide and conquer.  I study, the spouse and kid grocery shop.  I sort and maybe fold the laundry during a study break, the spouse and kid put it away.  The hard part is that we'd rather do more things together, so we wind up doing that and it takes up any chance we have of getting ahead of things.

One of our sneaky tactics for seeming more balanced is to not give specifics of "adventures" to the kid ahead of time unless we are 100% sure something will happen.  Recently we went into the city for a shopping day with a holiday lights tour and a movie, but we announced it the day before as just an adventure the next day, so there would be no disappointment if we didn't get to do everything as planned.  This gives our slow adjuster time to be ready to do something out of the ordinary but prevents days of sulking due to disappointment if something she got really excited about doesn't work out.

In my fantasy of how things works once I'm working, we do a good division of labor around the house (we both cook 3 days a week and leftovers on the other, someone washes while others dry and put away the laundry, etc) and have enough time to spend hanging out being a family.  Hopefully there will be something like regular jobs for the both of us so we can keep a predictable (if irregular) schedule.

How does the kid handle it?  She's used to it so she doesn't ask a lot about it very often, but periodically we get the "Can't we take the day off and stay home? Why do you have to go to work?  Why do you have to go to school?" fussing.  We both say it's so we can pay the bills, so we can survive as a family.  I'm not sure it flies but we try pretty hard to be convincing, and then do some fun distracting thing within a few days.

How does it all work out?  I'd say we muddle through, doing the best we can.  Isn't that how life usually goes?

"That's what you've been doing with your free time"

In the spirit of full disclosure, I haven't been productive with my break so far.  I survived the semester and I have loafed since then.

Well, I haven't actually loafed around at all.  I have embarked on a craft project of near-epic proportions.  It takes up half my dining room table (but it's a tiny table, so it spills onto the piano).  I'm building snazzy paper baubles to decorate with, some for us, some as gifts, one as a memorial gift to a friend who was very close to our mutual friend who passed away this year.  The process has to this point been 3 days of getting set up to do the creative part of all this - I sliced and diced paper, hole punched stuff, made a heap of tiny glittery confetti, hacked things up and put stuff into organizers so the kid can help without dumping vast quantities of beads all over the house.

I've been meaning to do other things, but I got tunnel vision and with the varied parts, it's been quite the elaborate production.

I've also been thinking a lot about non-school things and while my head is sore in that "I've just studied for 16 hours for the third day and while I can tell you details about this drug/condition/treatment regime, I cannot tell you what I'd like for dinner, so just order take-out or whatever" sort of way.  Mostly I've been thinking about time and what we do with it and if it matters all that much what we do with it.  Today I was considering if ornament making is really a good use of our tiny evening time or if we should do something else.  The answer is clear: until I'm all done, the kid will participate.  She actually has quite an eye for designing these doodads.

Recently the spouse has been around the house an abnormal amount, but yesterday was a normal work day.  Today I got a "so THAT'S what you've been doing all day!" comment... which suggests to me that I've been "wasting" time.

I then thought some more about "you'll never get this time back" and how mad it makes me.  Picking out shiny pieces of paper and asking the kid to put them into a pattern, pick some beads, and then seeing that little smile when it's assembled and ready to hang up? Yep. I'd like more times like this.  Going from 95+% potty trained to less than 50% in one day (and for 2 subsequent days)? No thanks, I'll skip that time.

Yep, maybe the dishes and research project and studying for next semester are more important than crafts.  Maybe making cookies and getting them shipped in a timely manner is more important that crafts too.  Maybe that nap I'm not taking is more important.  But it's my time and I'm going to use it in healing ways right now.  My time will dwindle very soon when the semester starts and while we're very busy over the spouse's vacation time around the holidays (and be non-existent when Little Monster gets here).  It's soothing for me to make all this stuff and the kid likes it and so does the spouse (even with the hints that I've gone off the deep end).  The dishes will keep.  My free time will not.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Really excellent moment

Scene, sometime last weekend, during Family Movie Night:

It's the weekend, we decided to order pizza delivery, and it arrives.  The spouse answers the door, the kid grabs the cat, I monitor the cat holding while the spouse disappears into the kitchen with the pizza.  Eventually I convince the kid to free the cat and proceed into the kitchen to retrieve some pizza.

There's a suspicious paper bag labeled French Fries on top of the pizza boxes, so I investigate.  Calamari!

Me: "You got calamari! And it's not even my birthday!  You're the best."
Spouse: "Well, we are watching The Little Mermaid, so I thought it was fitting."


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The hardest moment in parenting

Tonight (yet again...) is a bad night in which the bedtime wrestling match is worse than usual. It's so frustrating to have this great kid who is totally different and just awful when you try to get her to sleep (in her room, alone).

We adults don't sleep nearly as well if she shares our room, so we insist she sleep in her own room.

What makes it so hard? Aside from intentionally peeing on her bed so if there aren't new sheets she gets to sleep in our room, it's the guilt. We hoped for this child. We had sleepless nights worrying and waiting for her to arrive. It feels ungrateful to insist on this of all things. Why shouldn't we just let her sleep on our floor? I mean, aside from me getting up and having to try not to crush her 3+ times a night, her need for many lights that make it harder for me to sleep, and the hacking cough that wakes me extra often if she shares with us. We are clearly putting ourselves first by not letting the kid sleep in our room. It's hard to avoid feeling terrible for being selfish, even when it's selfishness that's key to survival.

This weekend we went to see a free movie at the theater as part of a kids' day at the movies deal. All the families with more typically-spaced kids, especially the ones with a pregnant mom and barely walking toddler just hurt my heart. It was a punch in the guts to see them and realize it was impossible (or very highly improbable) for us to ever be there, with a normal family that just happened. I had on my green-tinted glasses, I envied that reality so much. Seeing very pregnant people still has that profound ache to it, where I think it will never be me... and yet, I'm waddling pregnant right now.

Sometimes I think I expect too much from the kid because she's so great most of the time. I think I don't l let her get away with much either because she's it and I feel like a super failure when she's out of line or because I worry I'm over-indulging her all the time and I have to reign that in whenever possible.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Finals! Arg!

Tomorrow is my first big deal final.

Am I prepared? Nah.

Do I care? A little bit. 

I should care much more than I do, since I ought to be making some attempt to fix my awful GPA (well, and taking 4 credits of fluffy electives might be helping with that...) but knowing that I have very adequate grades in all my classes is not motivating me to study at all.  One final I have to get more than 40% to pass the class and more than 70% to get a B, so... nap wins!

Probably tomorrow (or today, since most folk seem to read in the mornings) I have to go in for an ultrasound to verify that the weird (moderate to severe) stabby pain is really round ligament pain.  On the upside, an OB who took my weird stabby pain seriously enough to look into it when it didn't go away in a week! (Downside: also recommended I take something that it says in my chart I'm allergic to... Reading: expected of doctors, apparently not required, but I knew that)

I'm pretty sure it's just really bad round ligament and/or hip/back pain, so that's a big improvement for me too.  then I realize that if it's this bad now, March will be just thrilling.  Sorry in advance, spouse!

Today I enjoyed a carb-fest because I am fairly convinced that I'll fail my glucose test and those results should be in tomorrow.  So maybe I'm not actually improving in being less freaked out, just freaked out about things that are statistically more likely to be true.  It continues to seem to me like the other shoe must be out there and waiting to drop, and it would be so much nicer if the shoe lands on something that's manageable rather than something that isn't (say infant death for example, or a clot for someone that ends poorly with significant damage).

At any rate, it's very hard to study while being pummeled in places that hurt (wow is Little Monster a busy fetus).  By about 9pm I am totally unable to stay upright it hurts so much, so I've missed my study group two nights in a row (boo).

And now, a return to my notes and finals and all that jazz.  I will probably be awol for a few days since I've studied even less for the rest of my finals (and my new neighbors' dog(s) keep barking and waking me up so I need extra naps). wooooooot.

Things to fix part 2: toys everywhere

One of the big things we are doing an awful job around here with is putting things away.  Currently there are about 100 plastic building blocks on the floor in the living room, a dozen pencils, heaps of books, a naked DVD, and assorted socks.


I think there are a few solutions to this constant problem. 
First, there will be fewer toys.  We have a garage and many of these toys are going out there in a weekly or biweekly rotation.  They almost all have containers they belong in already so this should go smoothly enough.

Second, there will be a reward if all the toys are picked up at the end of the night.  The star chart to earn a reward has been very successful in the past and I'm never quite sure why we quit doing it (oh, it's laziness and cheapness... hmm... at least one of those I can fix). 

Third, the plastic building blocks must go and only be used occasionally and picked up immediately after use (same for those log house things with the pointy stabbing roofs).  There will be no mulit-day building projects unless they are on a table.

Most importantly, there must be buy-in from everyone that the toys need to go away every time we are done using them.  The giant pyramid sculpture was not made by the 4 year old, so if you play with the toys, you must put them away.  Hint hint.

The cat will also need to have hir own toys, because most of the killer small toy pieces scattered around the house ended up distributed by insane cat antics.  Maybe some nice soft sparkle balls...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Things I think I'm doing right as a parent part 1

I figure if I am talking about what I need to fix as a parent, I'd better balance that with things I think are going all right in parenting the kid.

Consistency.  When I say, "If you do this, then that will happen" I mean it and it happens.  When I say no, I mean it.  If I'm not sure about saying no, then I don't, because I really want NO to mean something narrow and specific (not some jumbled up "you might convince me if you bug me enough" or "I actually mean yes but I don't want to admit that because it wouldn't make me look good").  This burning desire to really be consistent comes from growing up with rules that changed every other week (at least) and yes often secretly meant no, while no meant "convince me" or "OF COURSE I MEANT NO" or something else entirely.  As near as I can make out, consistency is about the only thing you really need to perfect as a parent.  Everything else you can improve on but if you start off without consistency, you have lost and may never win again.

No means no is also a big deal, because I really value genuine interaction between people.  If no doesn't always mean no, it's impossible to get an overly aggressive love interest to back off.  If no means something besides no, like "if you stick around and wear me down, I'll eventually say yes" then it's dangerous territory.  This lovely article talks about why playing hard to get is a terrible idea.  I'm very thankful that when I was pursued by a man and decided I wasn't interested (because he was married and at least 15 years older than me, probably 20), and I said no, he listened, probably because I never played hard to get.  It's a dangerous game and I've known a lot of women who've played and lost because of it.

Free Range.  We let the kid be a kid to the top of her abilities.  We let her test her boundaries and abilities.  Shortly after she could walk, she went to the playground, and she started to climb up to the top of the tower, so we let her unless there was an actually dangerous spot.  As she got bigger, we changed from hanging around on or near the playground to sitting on a bench nearby, reading a book or chatting.  We have always set her down at events and let her run around unless she's being actively disruptive.  We encourage her to talk to nice strangers and meet new people, although we have covered what a bad stranger would act like, and that she should scream if someone grabs her and always tell us if someone asks her to keep a secret.  We send her out to ride her bike on the sidewalk alone around our block.  Before we moved, we sent her outside to play in the 7 acre yard alone because she knew the rules about where to go (not into "the wild" near the creek, not within 5 feet of the electric fence, not on the road or too close to it).  When she starts school, I expect her to walk to her bus stop for kindergarten and then to walk to school the next year since our district pools kindergarteners and elementaries are grades 1+.  It's only 4 blocks so she will walk in whatever weather, short of very and dangerously cold, when I'll consider driving her but will probably just get her another scarf.

Yep, it freaks me out not to attempt to control her every move.  I worry sometimes when she falls down that she's really hurt, and I want to swoop in and scoop her up, but I don't.  If she needs me, if she's hurt, she'll let me know.  When we go to a museum or the zoo, I let her frolic about unless there's a reason to keep her close (like it's crazy busy and she'd get lost fast).  Then she wears her backpack with leash.  If she behaves herself and stays close, she gets to take the leash for herself.

I figure it's better that I'm worried than that she is.  I want to be teaching the kid to be independent, successful, and confident that she can solve her own problems.

Part 2 coming sometime after finals!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Name game

Names are such a weird thing to think about.  I find that I can't stop thinking about baby names.  It would be easier if we knew which variety of baby is expected, but we don't, so that's life.

We're stuck in a loop of about 5 names that we sort of like, pretty well but not super well.  We like my grandma's name but a hurricane shared her name not so long ago, so it's probably out (bummer).  Then there's the weird thing with matching to the kid's name or not, and not to any pet we've had in at least 10 years, and being sure the initials are acceptable and don't spell BARF or something else awful, and that we're not stealing someone else's long-selected perfect name.

I am terrible at waiting. Terrible.  You'd think that after years of waiting for child 2, and the pins and needles I'm still waiting on, I'd be used to it.  Nope, I just try to fill the space.  I stepped back from a lot of things so I'd have more time to be focused on school, and I feel less focused because I've got plenty of free time and I'm using it in ways that aren't that constructive.  It gives me time to ponder things and obsess about things and blog about them.


I feel like the only resolution to the name game will be meeting Little Monster and considering carefully which name fits hir.

Since we're stuck in this "considering names" loop, I have to learn patience.  It's unlikely to be successful but I'm going to try.

It's an honor to name something, to create a burgeoning identity with a name.  We didn't get to name the cat since zie was in a shelter first for several months and probably knew the name zie was given.  I haven't gotten to naming my computer yet (I should do that!) but my iDevice has a name, the car has a name, and it's weird that there's no name for this occasion.  It seems like I'm already a bad parent that I can't settle on a name.

So.  Name suggestions for either Little Monster (of the female variety, since we have a very nice male name left since the kid isn't) or the laptop?

For the laptop, I've considered naming it after a kind of apple (which it isn't), or something else vaguely computer related, or a fairy tale character name.  Whatever it is, it needs to be suitable to be shouted loudly when I'm scolding it so it's clear to everyone who is in trouble (because right now there's sometimes a response to my computer shouting like "I wasn't doing anything!" or "Do you mean me?").  I'm not sure if the computer has a gender, but it could.

Suggestions welcome.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

PAIL Anniversary post!

In consultation with the spouse, we've concluded that I have a very distinctive accent from a very specific (fairly unpopulated) part of the world, and anyone who's ever heard me would know immediately where I'm from and who I was, so no audio-log.

Since no video/audio, here's a Lego rendition of me with my backpack as created by the kid.

BUT. Question answering!

1) What country do you live in? If you feel comfortable sharing, what state or region as well?

I'm in the US in an area where it snows in the winter, although there's no snow yet (boo).  There are no big mountains either (phew).  My blog belongs in the central time zone because it's a happy medium.

2) What is your favorite “ordinary moment” of the day?

I really like when the kid (age 4) gets home after daycare and comes running in to tell me something and is all MOMMY! GUESS WHAT!  It's fairly similar when I'm fetching her from daycare but she has to show me a dozen things before we can leave, or "just one more game" or some other stalling tactic.  Her nonstop chatter in the 30 minutes after daycare is excellent and entertaining.

3) What is the first thing you do with your little one in the morning?

Ahem.  Often very little with the kid, since I currently am not sleeping terribly well at night and so stay in bed until after her usual departure time for daycare.  Little Monster and I exchange pokes when I'm woken up at about 3:30am every morning (or I poke in response to kicks and get kicks back).  On mornings where I'm up before the kid goes to daycare, my major project is reminding her to keep moving and doing her next task (get out of bed, get downstairs, get your clothes on, no your underwear first, get your socks on, zip your coat) because otherwise she wouldn't move for about a half hour and then she'd probably go looking for some random thing without putting clothes on at all.

4) What has infertility changed the most about you?

I'd say I'm less trusting of biology than I was before.  I used to think that eating healthy and exercise would fix everything and now I don't trust that biology will do its thing accurately at all.

5) What do you wish people knew about pregnancy or parenting through the ALI journey?
All that stuff that happened before the pregnancy/adoption, that doesn't stop hurting just because  the journey has changed.  It's long-term, life-altering stuff that goes down and it's never undone (so I would say you can't "resolve" an ALI journey, because that implies an end when it isn't really).  I think of it like if you've been a soldier, you are never a civilian in the same way you were before being a soldier.  It changes you forever and is a part of you forever.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A moment in paranoia

My strategy to "stay busy and not think about it so much" has worked to a point, and it is now.  I've been writing up a storm between papers and blog posts, so I've got a few days' posts scheduled out but I AM SO FREAKED.

That's pretty much it.  It's been a year since that last missed miscarriage and I'm so nervous about what I'm doing being pregnant (not that it was specifically in the plan since I was pretty ready to be done trying at least for a few months, but thought, "oh whatever. We're moving and we barely see each other so the odds approach zero of getting and staying pregnant for any length of time." and life laughed).

And I still feel lousy, which either makes me very nervous or very glad, depending.

At the moment I'm coping with having treated a pre-migraine with caffeine and now my heart is all aflutter and I hate it. to sum things up, while I kinda feel like a legitimate pregnant person (sort of) rather than someone just waiting to miscarry, it's still scary.  Plus my head just is not in the game for finals.  Not in the least.

And now it's time for study group, so that will be amazing.  I'm so under-studied, and I'm not sure how it happened exactly.

And where is my snow? How can it be December and there's no snow?  CURSE YOU, CLIMATE CHANGE!

Things to do differently part 1: picky eater

I figured that, as it looks now like we've got a pretty good shot at having an in-arms baby in the relatively near future, it's time to consider what parenting Little Monster will look like as compared to the kid.  I also figure this will be a multi-part series because it might help me focus a bit.

The kid is a very picky eater.  I mean very.  It isn't that she won't eat things ever, it's that she has about a dozen or so things she will eat.  Some days she just has milk for lunch at daycare because there's no catering there.  At home, we cave.  We let her choose what parts of our meals she's eating or if we're having left-overs, she gets something special all for her.  She's always been a skinny mini, but since she eats adequately across a week, we've let it go.

As a very small (size and age-wise) consumer of solid food, the kid ate everything.  She was interested in it all.  Then two things happened, when she was about 15-18 months old: I quit cooking her kid food (something mushy at the time) for consumption at daycare, and then we moved and were exceedingly broke.  Vegetables aren't cheap, so they got moved out of regular consumption.  The new daycare was much more of a "french fries count as a vegetable" mind than the previous one, so we wound up with a situation where real vegetables went out of regular consumption all at once.  If avoidable, this would be a food thing to avoid doing.

I have to say, we probably tolerate the choosiness about food more than strictly needed because we suspect the kid has at least a mild version of the food sensitivities I've got, and I was a picky eater, but I picked the things that didn't make me sick.  Since a large part of the things the kid is choosing not to eat are things I can't eat, we try not to push her to try it more because we'd like to avoid very bad reactions like I have had (think allergic reaction involving the emergency room).  When she was about 15 months old (or younger? I don't remember anymore...), we figured out she had a cow's milk allergy, but it went away at about 24 months, so that's a factor in letting her get away with avoiding some foods (ok, so lots of them).

The other thing we do wrong in feeding the kid is not eating at a table.  It takes her a long time to eat and in our general hurry to get through the (very extended by a deliberate but slow pace) evening things to do, we haven't made an effort to have everyone's meals ready simultaneously and the table available.  If we were all at a table with everyone's food ready at the same time, it would be an easier sell to get the kid to try new things and retry things she's declared she now hates.

Plan of attack for Little Monster: there will be no special kid-friendly meals, no matter what.  Little Monster will probably start off solids with table food that might get mushed up, or we might just go with full-on baby-led weaning with gagging allowed.  We're eating meals at the table starting now in practice for Little Monster's arrival and that will continue, come what may.  If we get in an awful financial spot again, we'll figure out a way to keep adequate food at least 2 meals a day by monitoring what's consumed at daycare more closely and we'll try hard to maintain a dinner schedule that includes vegetables as often as possible.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sibling rivalry

Last night we had our first spectacular melt down where the kid went on about how we never play with her and we only buy things for the baby and sob sob sob. Here's my account, live as it played out.

The kid started off the bedtime fiasco with a round of first giggling while shining one of her 3 flashlights in my eyes. I took it away, turned it off, and gave it back twice, then told her that if she blinded me again, it was gone for the night. Then, once she'd lost that one, she blinded me once with the second flashlight. At this I left because I was done with shenanigans. And then she gets that flashlight taken away too, then the lantern after kicking it around.

Then the sobbing and trying to turn on lights. Eventually the spouse got her to say she was upset about us not playing with her ever or doing anything nice for her ever or buying anything for her ever and can't she just have the week off from daycare please? To be fair, today she wanted us both to play and I was studying while the spouse cleaned. Yeah, it's no fun, but she opted not to help clean and spent a lot of time whining that she was SO BORED.

There are a few things that make me crazy about the nightly refusal to go to bed. First there's the "I'm afraid of the dark!" thing. It's town. She has a nightlight and a glowing ladybug and a street light just out the window (plus usually the lantern and 2 flashlights). It's never dark. It makes me crazy that she refuses to use any words until she's sobbing and then I can't make out what she's saying so it makes little difference what is said. Then there's the myth that a routine will work. The more we try for a routine, the more creative her "get out of routine" schemes are.

Now the spouse is singing her all the songs from her colic days, when walking her and singing was the only way to stop the howling from 9pm until 2 or 3 or later. Amazing how she remembers and stops her ruckus to listen to those songs.

I am not looking forward to even more of this "you ignore me and pay attention to the baby all the time" blech. Not one bit. Knowing that it's inevitable doesn't make it any less awful when it gets here.

And now she's taking a turn singing. Either we should have thought of singing as a way to (maybe) coax sleep before now, or it's a great stalling technique. I never know how much to assume she understands with a big vocabulary like that, and also night and day behavior when in public and at home. Maybe it's conscious manipulation and maybe it's not.

So maybe the singing silly a Capella songs together is more cute than just about anything else ever. I just really wish we could move this up an hour so that everyone could get to sleep on time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lentil Soup

Here's a first: a recipe post.  I imagine this won't happen again unless we do some more crazy experimental recipe creation and it turns out well.

1 lb lentils (I had brown ones but red would be tastier)
1 quart broth (we used beef but veggie would be good too)
2 c apple cider (if you can, I'd say make that 1.5 apple cider and half a cup apple cider vinegar)
2 c water
2 yellow apples, cubed
1 onion, diced
6-8 cloves garlic, diced
1 c dry textured soy protein, rehydrated according to directions (TVP from Bob's Red Mill is what I used)
1 c pasta, uncooked
Bacon, to taste (or use bacos so more soy)
Cheese or sour cream to garnish

I'd add if making for spice-tolerant folks, and if I'd had these around:
4 oz (or a little can) tomato paste
1 baking potato, cubed
1 stalk celery, diced (with leafy part in spice bag)
1 carrot, diced
2 bay leaves (in a little bag to remove when cooked)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin

Rinse and sort lentils (remove rocks).  Boil 1 cup water and pour over soy protein in medium bowl, set aside for 10 minutes after stirring in some seasonings of your preference (I added a dash of onion and garlic powders, and that 1 cup water is from the package, your mileage may vary).  Add ingredients to large pot, excluding soy protein, bacon, and pasta.  Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.  Add soy protein.  Cover.  Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and ensuring there's still liquid on top (add more if needed).  Check to see lentils are tender and adjust seasoning.  Add dry pasta and increase heat slightly.  Boil for 3 minutes less than time directed by pasta (I picked elbows that normally cook 7 minutes, so I cooked them 4).  Cut heat and let stand uncovered for 5 minutes, then serve with bacon and dairy garnishes (optional).  Great with some nice warm bread or even in bread bowls.  I picked cojack cheese plus some salt to go with my bacon.

This was a remarkably sweet lentil soup, so the savory bacon went really well with it, but if you added the tomato paste and vinegar it would be awesome without it too.  Next time I'll probably add the juice of a lime or a lemon to cut the sweet.

Feeds the two soup-eating adults for about a week, so about 12 servings.

Nom nom nom nom soup weather.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mid-winter festive paper greeting exchange!

Some time ago, I mentioned that SRB had a brilliant idea.  Here's the drill: if you'd like to get a festive holiday card from me, click this link here and fill in your mailing address.  Then I'll email you mine in return (or comment saying you don't need it) and we can swap festive fun holiday cards (or not, I'm easy)!  There might even be a cute picture of my cat in the card.  The kid chose some very glittery ones so there will surely be glitter.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Finals! Eeeep!

There comes this time, twice a year, when I question my sanity a little bit.  Then I remember how much I loathed writing final papers and revising them and hauling around stacks of research, and while studying 15-20 hours a day isn't any fun, it is SO MUCH MORE FUN than papers. 

My finals traditions are similar to and probably more entrenched than holiday traditions.  I watch all of the Lord of the Rings movies back to back, first with no commentary, then usually the director's commentary, then the design commentary, and then the actors' commentary because it's my favorite.  I usually make bread at least once (from scratch), and often also a pie or two, and I think there will be cookies and snack mix again this year.  A friend is deployed so I'm going to send ginger cookies.  I wonder if they'll arrive before the end of the year.  No idea how long it takes to mail things to Afghanistan.  I also make sure the festive holiday lights get put up so my late night studying is by twinkly lights so I remember that there is an end in sight.  Someday I'll just have the two board exams to take and then I'll be done (unless I decide to get licensed somewhere else too and then it's another state exam... oy...).

Last year my doctor had me eating the gestational diabetes diet so I didn't gain too much weight, so there were no goodies for me.  Then the Wednesday before finals, I discovered I'd lost the pregnancy (during a review session no less) and had the d&c Friday.  Wednesday night I made a really excellent festive holiday snack mix with a s'more theme and a sweet sauce on the cereal part of it.  If I find the recipe, I'll post it.  I ate a good portion of it that night because WHY NOT.

So far I have survived and watched The Fellowship of the Ring.  Then I watched UP and after I cried, I took a nap... so no more sad movies.  Just gruesome ones.  Maybe I'll throw the Die Hard movies into the rotation.  On the something something side, my next OB appointment is on the anniversary of one of those rotten days from last year.  Nothing like making this more scary than necessary... wheeee.

And now, back to the regularly scheduled infrequent updates.  To everyone studying, best of luck.  This is my favorite finals themed song.  I think the kid knows all the words by now.