Saw a bumper sticker that says 'remember who you wanted to be'

For me, that was being a mom. I guess I'm finally what I wanted to be when I grew up.


Sadness, Or No Wonder We Got Good Parking

We trekked up to the magic pool today, only to discover that they're now on non-summer hours. I wondered why parking seemed a little too easy.


Now that we've got the details for Val's baptism worked out, I'm finally looking at gowns for the big day. And holy crap, that's some ugly ass stuff. I don't quite get why the outfits can't be modelled by actual kids, instead of being hung in some really creepy ways, on racks that make the accompanying bonnet look like it belongs in a horror movie. Or why they need to feature scratchy materials and recommended accessories.


I guess we can't dress her in a really nice little dress from her regular wardrobe. Or can we? The church where we're doing it is pretty liberal (having 2 moms who don't really attend church regularly sort of made that necessary) so really, we could probably put her in a sporty white tie-died onesie and be done with it.

But somehow I don't think we'd get away with that either. So it's off to find the best of the wurst.

Val's Favoritest People

The Train
Originally uploaded by torturedmommy.

In the last couple of weeks, Val has finally come to realize what we've known all along: that Sam and Riley are about the coolest thing since sliced bread. When she's awake and they're nearby, I'm chopped liver, it's all about the girls.

The best part? They're into her, too. Today she fell asleep in the stroller, giving me a chance to read a bunch of books with the girls. Until Val woke up and the girls went over to lean into the stroller and say over and over again "Hello, baby! Hello!"

It's the cutest damn thing.

That Was Huge
Val woke up at 4 am today. As usual, my nursing internal alarm woke me up about a minute before she did. Only this time, when she got up, she squealed a little, over there in the dark, sucked on her finger and went back to sleep.

Ahhh, the bliss.

Though I've been off work forever, I realized today that if I'd had to go back any sooner, like at 12 weeks like I had originally thought, I'd probably have given up on breastfeeding by now. And even though I'm modest as all hell about it, I'm grateful that I have this time with her now to get that all established before I have to go back to work.


More Fun Than You Can Handle

I played in this 3 on 3 tourney today with some excellent players who just happen to be my friends. Our team gelled right away and did some amazing stuff. My shot returned to slightly more of it's former glory, I even scored more than a couple of times!

We played 4 games: won 3 and lost 1 in an overtime shootout to make our way into the final game. But one of the players on the other team speared herself pretty badly and they had to withdraw, forfeitting the game.

So we won. Which is pretty awesome, but the best part of that is definitely not winning by forfeit, but doing so well together in the 4 games leading up to it.

Seriously, I couldn't have had more fun today. My teammates kicked ass and our opponents were terrific. I'm totally exhausted in a really great way.

Woo! And now I really need a shower.


Val's visit to the pediatric cardiologist today was a lot better than the last time we went. She was very calm for all the tests, enjoying the views of the mobiles hanging above her while they put 8000 wires on her for one test, then just 3 for the second. Her heartrate was normal on the first test, and as a bonus she got weighed and measured.

Get this -- she weighs 12 lbs, 10 oz -- 5 freaking pounds heavier than when she was born! And! She's freaking 25 inches long! She's grown 5 inches since her arrival in this world. Holy crap, our kid might actually be tall.

Anyway, the Big Test with the ultrasound went okay, too. Val admired a different mobile and kept trying to grab the nice doctor's ultrasound wand (hello, wand!). Once again the doctor couldn't hear the murmur and it's continuing to shrink! It's once again too small to measure and is officially less than a milimeter long. Last time it was about 1.5 mm, so that's progress.

We don't go back for 6 months, and will have to go back until the thing closes. But we're on the right track and really, that's enough.

A Good Question

SA: I wondered why you wanted the kitchen. Me: In my house? SA: I meant in your hotel room, but yeah, in your house, too. Me: Um, because we use the fridge? (I guess this makes our kitchen largely ornamental)

Just A Few Things
Yes, I fully admit that this is the summer of nothing all that meaningful, at least when it comes to this here blog. Oh well, at least the kid in the pictures is cute.

  • Fucking fantastic. The good news: my disability check came FIVE WEEKS after it was supposed to. Woo! The bad news: my bank sent me a letter saying they're putting a hold on it because apparently the funds in the check weren't there. Fucking awesome. Now I can bounce some checks, while I'm at it.
  • Let's get this over with. Two things fall into this category: 1. taking the dogs to the vaccine clinic for their bordatella vaccines tomorrow (because the bassets are seriously loud and this makes communicating with other humans a bit challenging) and 2. taking Val to the cardiologist for a follow-up appointment tomorrow.

    So if you find yourself talking to Jesus or any of his lovely friends tomorrow, please ask him to continue to heal the hole in Val's heart. Or just send good thoughts, or bake a pie, or well, I don't know. But let's get that pesky murmur out of the way, shall we?

    Because I hate hate hate the baby cardiologist. I've said it before and it's still true: there should be no need for such specialities and certainly no need for my kid to go there.

  • The lack of sleep is really catching up with me. I knew it would eventually but sheesh, I've been a walking zombie lately.
  • After far too much effort, we have set up Val's baptism for later this fall. Phew. Because the details of that business were seriously starting to stress me out.
  • Rich and Angelica are going to have their baby boy VERY VERY SOON! We've been sending good thoughts over to Germany for many weeks and it's all come down to this. I can't wait to hear that the little guy has arrived!

That's it from here. Maybe when I have scads of time in front of a full-sized computer doing menial tasks that give my brain some time off (e.g. running seriously repetitive unix commands to build pages to test minor changes) I'll offer you more meaty subjects. But until then, hey, at least I'm not charging you to read this. Because I know you wouldn't pay, anyway!



When I'm in the next room and hear Val laughing at Elmo, or any of her friends from the Street, it may be the coolest thing I've ever heard.

At least until she calls me Mommy.

Just To Be Clear

By 'promise of a baby' at last year's insemination, I was merely being poetic. There's no way to know right away if you're pregnant and the sperm bank makes no promises, not even of free parking or nearby restaurants.

Well, if you count being willing to take more money from you next month, should this attempt fail as a promise, I guess they do promise that.

Just the same, it's so unreal that a year ago we made that trip and today, our daughter is here with us, smiling, laughing and doing her damndest to sit up.


Poor Pat

Patrick had not one, but two seizures yesterday. No matter how many times we see it happen, it still sucks. I think we got it under control for now but all I can say is, Pat, I'm so sorry that you were dealt this hand. We'll continue to do everything we can to make you okay, but sometimes, it's not enough.



A year ago today, we made our final visit to el sperm bank and came away with the promise of a baby. Today, that baby is snoozing in my lap and smiles every time I come into the room.


Were I dooce, I'd share every detail of last night with you. But since most of you actually know me and might be able to imagine, in your head, the things that happened happening, I will tell you this instead.

Our night began with an innocent-seeming dinner and ended with a midnight $187 visit from our new friends at Roto-Rooter that included a post-mortem discussion of proper flushing patterns for low-flow toilets.

So Much For That

Right after Val was born and I was unsure of how my hockey comeback would go, I signed up for the Saturday morning hockey classes at our local rink. I've taken these classes a number of times and though they're repetitive and don't focus on anything but skating, they've been very good for me in the past.

Hell, they're where I learned to skate. So I'll always be grateful for them.

However, this time around, I've been twice. Out of the 6 weeks that have gone by since the class started. Twice. The first time, I went to the intermediate class and found that a bit fast (That was 7 weeks post-partum so gimme a break on that one) and the second, Val got us up early so I hit the beginner class, where I got a good skating refresher course but didn't break a sweat.

In the ensuing weeks I've dutifully packed my gear the night before and each week I've not gone to the classes. The thought of putting on full gear to not break a sweat (beginner) or to just do skating drills (intermediate) surrounded by eager newbies just bores me.

There. I've said it. And it's true. Now that I've spent all this time actually playing hockey, it seems I can't go back to just skating. I'd rather spend my locker room time with my own team, rather than the eager newbies mentioned above.

So instead of a slow comeback filled with much conditioning and analyzing of my game, I did what I always do: went right back into it even if my ass is still slow. Because playing the game at a slow pace beats the hell out of being bored on a Saturday morning.

And with that, as soon as Party Baby decides we can all go back to bed, I'll roll over once again and miss the class. I have a game tomorrow night anyway. I need my rest.


One Other Thing

Val and her friends from the Street.
Originally uploaded by torturedmommy.

The girls got some really suave Sesame Street dolls and Riley was kind enough to share them with Val before we went for our walk.

All The News That's Fit To Print
From around here, isn't a whole hell of a lot. I've had a bunch of kinda mundane stuff to do this week and have managed to keep myself busy without doing anything exciting. But here's a rundown of the boringness, if you're interested:
  • Slept more than usual in the afternoon because I keep staying up way too late after Val goes to bed.
  • Took a few walks with Susan and the girls to her local park, which is nicer than anything in my ghetto-ass neighborhood.
  • Along the way, continued to be amused by the girls.
  • Was continually amused by Val's antics. Her world now involves a lot of talking and laughing, which is just awesome.
  • I put together a team for a 3 on 3 tourney next weekend. We're called Welcome Back Kotter, in honor of my triumphant return to the ice.
  • All the walking and the hockey is starting to pay off. I'm losing more weight (slowly) and my transitional shorts are getting seriously big, though my red pants are still a ways off.
I think that's it, except for seeing World Trade Center all by myself while Andrea worked from home and hung out with Val. When it first started, I thought, I'm not sure I'm ready for this. And I'm still not sure but it was really well done.

Andrea's been kind enough to watch Val while I take myself to the movies every week or so. Those 3 hours to myself have helped me preserve my sanity and I couldn't be more grateful. Last week, I saw Talladega Nights, which was seriously more funny than I should admit to.

If you made it to the end of this, you might have a little too much time on your hands. But thanks for listening.



In preparation for getting Val a passport, I went to the Vital Statisticks office today to get her birth certificate. That's right, it doesn't come automatically once you give birth. Nope you have to go down and get in person AND pay $17. Huh? I went through all that childbirth business and I don't get the first copy as a freebie?

Anyway, I scooted down there prepared. The hospital had given me a form, which I'd managed to not lose. I filled it out before I went, which worked out awesome because there was a hugeass crowd of other people filling out their forms. Once I finally scored a parking spot, I dashed in and got in line before the form filler-outers were done.

I paid my damn $17 and sat down to wait for the certificate. While waiting, this little girl next to me and instead of paying attention to her really young little brother, she got all up in my space, trying to block my view of Val. Wtf, sister? Pay attention to your own peeps! She crawled on the floor, her foot dangerously close to Val's head, so I had to move the car seat up to the chair next to me. Eventually, she asked me about Val but it was all in Spanish so I couldn't answer. Not that I wanted to, I just wanted her to stay away from my kid.

Eventually, a nice woman waiting in the line started looking around and calling out names because it was impossible to hear the woman handing out the certs.

I picked up Val's cert and was insanely pleased to see Andrea and my names on there as we expected it to. Andrea's listed under 'father' but it says 'parent' next to her name. I can live with that.

Boy, I sure made a short story long. But there you have it, our kid is legit. And we've got the Official Paper to prove it.


And So It Goes

Every once in a while, like now, I miss our Gus like crazy. Though I know we did everything short of crazyass surgeries that would have compromised his dignity, I suppose there's always a part of me that will wonder if we could have/should have done more.

Even though I know in my heart that by keeping him at his house, comfortable, for as long as possible, we did the best we could for him. That doesn't stop me from missing his goofiness like crazy.

It Makes Perfect Sense

That if you're a wee baby and you get up at 6 am to eat, afterwards, when your little belly is full and you're happy, you'd lay here hitting/kicking both of your parents, playing with Andrea's hand as if it's the coolest thing ever, and of course, not sleeping.

I mean, what else would you do?

Freakin' Awesome

Finally, I got a letter from the lovely people at the 3rd party place that's handling my disability. The CA state portion of it was supposed to start July 11. There was supposed to be no waiting period between the first type of leave and this type.

Now, in my crazy fucked-up world, that means that there will be no waiting period. That the checks won't randomly stop, say for A GODDAMN MONTH. BUT apparently that is what it means. At least with the wise people at 3PP.

So today, over a month after it's supposed to start, I get this letter saying that my new leave does start July 11. Hi? It's August 15.

It's a good thing we'd tucked away some cashola for this, otherwise I'd really be stressing. So I'm fortunate in that this is, for me, a huge annoyance instead of the difference between making the mortgage and not.

But really, it doesn't seem fair that it works like this, not when I did everything I was supposed to.


Well, Shit
Played 2 games tonight and probably didn't suck too bad, even though we lost both of them (subbing for one, regular team for the other). Each time I play I find myself doing something that I hadn't been able to do the week before, so my slow comeback continues.

Except that in the second game, I managed to pull my groin. Talk about something I hadn't done last week. Ow, ow, ow.

Good thing I can take Advil again, now that I'm not pregnant.


The woman who taught our HypnoBirthing class has sent me a couple of spam-ish emails since we took the class. The first one was about some midwives week or something and today's was an announcement about her last HypnoBirthing class of the year -- "tell your pregnant friends!!"

I had such mixed feelings after getting this email from her. Well, not really, because it was spam and that's Not Okay with me. But on another level, it was just hard to see the words about the program, knowing that in the end, I wasn't able to have the kind of labor we practiced for.

In the end, I emailed her and asked to be removed from her list. I also explained, in very vague terms, how my labor had gone. But it was hard, remembering how goddamn optimistic we'd been during that class and reconsiling that with how it had all worked out. In the class, she'd talked eagerly about how important it was to focus on what could go right with a birth rather than what could go wrong. And I assure you, we did our very best to do just that, but in the end, when every goddamn thing does go wrong and the fate of your wee baby depends on a highly medicalized experience, focusing on anything but whatever it takes to get that baby out alive, healthy, is the only thing that matters.

So now, when I read about HypnoBirthing, I feel a little sick to my stomach, a little piece of faraway mourning for the great gap between what we hoped for and what happened. I choose to believe that had my labor started spontaneously, I might have been able to pull it off without drugs but in the end who knows?

Just the same, I'd rather not be on that mailing list anymore. I don't really need to relive this every so often.

Are You Serious?
Today we were at our league's introduction to hockey day. I got to help coach and had a blast watching all the nice women try out my favoritest sport. Afterwards, a couple of friends were outside making the most of the really cheap gear sale and I wanted to go out there to help them, or at least to see what all was for sale.

I was holding Val and heading out when a woman I've known incidentally for a few years came up to me with her arms out and said 'give me the baby.' Now, this isn't a woman I know well and she's certainly not part of our circle of friends. What, exactly, made her think that I'd hand her my beautiful daughter, even if someone else's kid had spit up on her earlier in the day? Looking deep within myself for an excuse other than um, sorry, you'll never get the chance to hold this baby, try someone else's, I said no, that I'd missed her while I was coaching. The woman stood there, touching every part of Val she could get her hands on until I figured I'd waited long enough and we headed outside.

I seriously do not understand why people who hardly know us or who we've just met ask/insist on holding/touching OUR DAUGHTER. Who is not their daughter. Do other people just hand their kids off to people they don't know? Am I just being more protective in that regard than most? I refuse to say overprotective because I don't consider this overprotective.

The one thing we got out of our ill-fated breastfeeding 'class' was a very simple statement: that as first-time parents, we will invariably do some things that can only be attributed to first-time parents. And that it's okay, totally okay to be that way because we ARE first-time parents.

For us, that manifests itself in being pretty goddamn selective about who holds our daughter. The criteria is somewhat amorphous, but basically, it's our tightest circle of friends. If you're not in that circle, if it doesn't seem automatic to you that we'd pass her over, we probably aren't going to. Be offended if you like, but that's not the intent. It's simply to keep our comfort level about Val's well-being as high as possible.

That said, seriously. If you've JUST met someone, do you honestly think they're going to hand over their new baby to you within seconds of meeting? Or if you've never really known you, is it really okay to try to rip a baby from her mother's arms?

You'd have to be way different than we are to think that's a reasonable thing. And obviously some people are way different, they do find those actions acceptable and I'm sure other parents willingly hand their kids over. But we don't, and we won't. I just need a little inspiration here -- what do I tell people when they ask to hold her (right now I just make excuses, like "she just woke up" or "I missed her") but it's the moments just after the refusal, when they touch her. Or for the strangers who touch her face, her feet, her arms, without asking me first.

What do I say to these people that will stop them from touching her without coming off like a real asshole? Maybe a simple 'please stop that' would do. But just in case I don't have the nerve to be that direct, got any suggestions?


A Long Night

Last night, Val grew quite irate at something we couldn't figure out. She decided to test her new-found LOUD lung power with a new set of cries that had Andrea and I on edge and had Rainie running in to beg us to stop the insanity.

That went on for a while until Andrea used her magic baby whisperer skills (honed on Riley, aka the baby who hated going to bed. These days Riley is the Toddler Who Lays Down Nicely At Bedtime) and wrestled Val to sleep several times. She'd get to sleep, only to startle herself out of it and rage the rage again.

Meanwhile, I was feeling like utter crap again, second time ina week. I think I'm learning a couple things about my new post-partum/lactating body. First, that I *must* eat a shitload of protein or I feel like crap. I didn't eat right at all this week and more than once, found myself feeling exactly like I did while pregnant: sort of hungry and super-nauseous. Were I ever to get pregnant again, I would do everything in my power to eat as much meat as possible. Because these days, steak cures all my ills and it probably would have then, too if I'd been able to eat it (or one of it's tasty cousins).

The other weird change is gas. The power of this new post-baby gas is something fierce and it's absolutely unlike any other gas I've dealt with in my life. In other words, it hurts a lot more and takes longer to, uh, resolve itself. It feels so different from what I know, I keep convincing myself it's some weird disease or tumor. Until it uh, resolves itself and then I remember. It's just gas.

So last night, I was feeling the full brunt of this ridiculous gas pain while Val was having her visit with Mrs. Mad. Andrea was kind enough to take care of Val so I could moan quietly and with great emphasis in the other room.

Today, Mrs. Mad has left the building and I'm feeling a lot better.

In other good news, some money came into our house today for me! No, not my goddamn disability check but a rebate from the new router we had to buy the week Val was born. Woo, a check, made out to me!


So I'm Told

Allegedly, my disability check will be cut and mailed next Wednesday. It'll have 4 weeks worth of pay in it. Which, as a lump sum, is nifty, but when you consider that it's A MONTH BEHIND, well, that just sucks.

The Good Old Days

The last couple of nights, we've found ourselves hanging out at Susan's until the wee hours of the morning. Fussing over Val, talking about exciting stuff like the plot lines over at Sesame Street, breastfeeding and strollers.

It's like being in college, I said. Minus the boozing and the whoring.

So now it's 3:30 am and we're both still awake. I'll be tired again tomorrow but grateful for the visits. Because I have to admit that sometimes, the days at home get a little long. I'm starting to really get what I suspected all along - that yes, I was meant to be a mom, but not a stay-at-home one. It's not the lack of adult conversation that's tough (the sidekick makes at least intermittent IM discussions possible) it's filling the days with enough activities to pass the time till Andrea gets home and our day as a family begins.

And though I have no doubt that my return to work will suck suck suck and that I'll miss Val's talking, laughing, cooing, smiling and even the pooping, a little part of me will be glad to get back to the place where it's only grownups and air conditioning.



In case you were wondering, the need for tums does not fully go away with the arrival of a wee child.

Where I've Been

Well, for starters, my sidekick puked and I couldn't stop it from scrolling rampantly. That translates to only being able to send IMs and a wee bit of web browsing. Unfortunately it also meant a couple of phone calls I didn't mean to make to people I really ought to erase from my address book. Um, hi. No, we're not speaking. Let's hang up now and forget this ever happened.

And then. My parents came to visit Val. And I guess, me too. The last few days have been a whirlwind o' fun, many tasty meals, and a lot of not being home. We also got Val's almost 3 month pictures taken and if you ask me, they came out awesome. Check Andrea's flickr for proof.

And then. I got sick. Sore throat, runny nose, fever all day Thursday and Friday. This culminated in me going to bed really early Friday night, sweating my ass off, then feeling well enough to start off Hockeypolooza 2006.

And then. Due to a weird end-of-season scheduling thingie, we wound up with 4 co-ed games in 2 days. I played them all and sort of didn't suck. Not only that, I subbed maroon for a total of 5 games in 3 days.

Like a tournament. Except I'm still in San Jose and I'm not in shape for it. But my transitional shorts are a bit looser now.

I have one more game tomorrow before I get a little rest. This is the best kind of tired. It beats the hell out of pregnancy tired, because that kind of tired includes no hockey.

And then. I got some letter from the people handling my maternity leave extension asking for my doctor to fill something out. Fine. Ran around, got that filled out, faxed it in. I'm still waiting on my first check. Which I was supposed to get a month ago.

Good thing we're rich, otherwise I'd be stressting about making the mortgage right now. Oh wait. We're not.

And then. I went to the magic swimming place with my parents and Val today. We met Susan and the girls there. Got an unexpected susprise when Val fell asleep in my mom's arms and I got to play with the girls, Riley first and then both. It was terrific.

And then. Val discovered Sesame Street. We watch many shows, none of which she gives a rat's ass about. But The Street, well, that's full of primary colors, contrasting colors and furry monsters that make her laugh, smile and wave her arms with glee.

Elmo is even sort of growing on us.

I'm off to enjoy some painkillers and some rest. Did ya miss me?


Farewell, Sweet Ben
I'm sad to report that my parents said goodbye to their sweet beagle/basset mix Ben the other night. He joins some excellent company there on the other side of the moon and the sad silence at mom and dad's house speaks volumes about what he added to the family.


That Was HUGE
Because I'm told that these things must be documented, Val celebrated the arrival of her grandparents with her largest poop yet. Out the sides, up the back, it warranted an unplanned shower and an impromptu load of laundry.

I'm thinking she's feeling a bit lighter now.

The Adventures Of Party Baby
I was awakened at 6ish a.m. today to Val's usual suite of demands -- clean diaper, then an early morning snack. I obliged and she started to fall asleep like usual, until I put her down on her little sleep wedge between Andrea and I.

That was when the party started in Val's little world. She spent the next hour flailing about, smacking Andrea, then me, then Andrea again. She laughed repeatedly at a joke that only she knew about and kicked off her blanket about 10 times.

At that point, I was totally exhausted and fell back to sleep while the Baby Party raged on next to me. Eventually, Val fell asleep and we both slept till noon. Thank God for still being on maternity leave. And for babies who party in the early morning light.


We Went Swimming

Val trying to warm up.
Originally uploaded by torturedmommy.

And Val got very very very sleepy. She still has mixed feelings about Ye Olde Pool, but she continues to not hate it so that's good enough for me. She also looks super cute in her suit.

Just Tired
Not much to share right now, I'm just kinda wiped out from not sleeping enough, having Big Fun with the twins the last couple of days and a baby who has been slightly less cooperative than usual.

She's still cute as hell, though.