Just When You Thought It Was Getting Better
Val had her first projectile vomiting episode last night. All over Andrea. She'd hardly eaten all day so when she started grooving on american cheese, I went with it and gave her as much as she wanted. Apparently, that was Not Wise.

I was out playing hockey, carousing, while Andrea was getting the brunt of Val's illness. I sped home once I saw the IM saying OMG VAL JUST PROJECTILE VOMITED ON ME. COME HOME NOW.

That's one IM nobody wants to get.

When I got home, Andrea had Val all cleaned up and was ready for me to take her while she showered. I feel so bad that I wasn't there, that Val felt that bad and of course that Andrea got doused by our baby.

Val has once again learned to sleep through her coughing. It's heartbreaking to hear it, to watch her flip around trying to get comfy while we know all we can do is wait for her to get better.

Meanwhile, I'd like a nap, too.


Flying Home Was A Real Pain In The Ass
Or, Dear Phyllis, TSA agent at Terminal 4 in Phoenix,
Phyllis, I'm sure you meant well today when we met. But when our daughter's baby bag, my breast pump and the bag we keep her milk in got flagged at your station and you rushed in to grab them for further inspection with a little too much glee, I should have been worried.

Like the other times I'd travelled with the pump, I expected our bags to be flagged for further search. I didn't mind that one bit.

However, when you started going through EVERY FUCKING THING in Val's diaper bag, the milk bag and my breast pump, I started to get annoyed. But fine, for whatever reason, items in those bags were flagged and you need to make sure they're not going to cause harm. I get that.

However, Phyllis, it was NOT NECESSARY for you to start telling me, about each FUCKING ITEM, how I could present it differently to the TSA agents 'next time.' Not to the tune of at least 10 minutes that started to become humiliating. Let us not forget that when you're going through the gauntlet of TSA security, there really isn't time to get out every little container of peaches, every straw cup with water in it, the bag of ice keeping Val's milk cool, my breast pump parts or the Children's Tylenol. There's just not.

Phyllis, I was mildly annoyed with your inspection and lecture series but when you found Val's straw cup that had some water in it, well that was my final straw. You asked your supervisor if my baby's water was okay and he said yes. You said you'd hand the offending cup to us outside of the security area.

Fine, whatever. I could dump it out or not, it didn't matter to me. I just wanted to get away from your constant banter and from your hands all over my stuff. But NO, you didn't leave us, you didn't just hand the cup to us and let us go.

YOU FOLLOWED US OUT OF THE SECURITY AREA, I think, saying that you were planning to take Val's cup into the bathroom. What? You asked where our gate was and kept walking. As if we were fucking criminals because we brought peaches and a straw cup. For our baby.

Finally, we told you to just dump it out. We just wanted to get away from you. I still don't understand why you followed us or why you felt you had a right to lecture us about the presentation of our items. I can tell you this, you really made me feel like shit for no good reason.

I just wrote something a little more formal than this to the TSA. I'll let you know what I hear back.

Live From Phoenix
I hadn't mentioned to the three of you that we were headed to Phoenix this weekend for a hockey tournament. Why? First and foremost, because I've been ridiculously busy at work and haven't had time enough to do my work, let alone blog. But also, because Phoenix hasn't been a great town for me in terms of this tournament. Until this trip, I'd never won a game here and I've done some ridiculously stupid things while here, things that ultimately could have cost me a lot.

But that's another story. One that I just won't ever share here.

So, the team decided to give this town another try. The guy who runs the tourney does a great job (imho), teams are reasonably balanced and hey, there's beer after the game.

We lost our first one, though it could have gone either way. I'm thrilled to say that yesterday, we WON. My first Phoenix win and man it felt soo good. So much so that instead of saying good job in the handshake line, I could only say 'thank you' to my teammates. Because that win erased some of my personal ghosts in this town.

Today, we had to win to get to the finals. We played a kickass game, we really did. Everyone gave it their all but in the end, the other team's ringer (seriously, this woman outskated every single one of us, scoring all 3 of their goals unassisted) bested us. I figure, hey, we did great against their regular humans.

One member of their team talked shit to all of us in the handshake line, saying 'you suck' and stuff like that as we went by. Seriously unsportsmanlike, yo. And PS you just won so how about you focus on that instead of being rude?

They also talked a bunch of shit about us afterwards (apparently, I didn't hear it) and were making noises about meeting us in the parking lot. To which I say OH FFS, please just go and enjoy your win already.

But we made it out of the parking lot sans incident. Once in the car, Val (who has not been feeling well the last two days) went bananas, crying, screaming, crying so fucking hard she couldn't catch her breath. It scared the shit out of me and all I could think to do was drop Dena and Walt off at their car then get her to a hospital.

When we got back to our hotel, I threw the car into park and ran around to get Val out of her carseat. She calmed down eventually and the Tylenol we gave her kicked in enough to where we could go to the team dinner. But dealing with that put it all into perspective -- that other team or any other team can do whatever they want. Val is more important than any of it.

Right now, she just woke up and Andrea's trying to get her back down. I'm looking forward to getting home, but other than my kid being sick I've had a good time. And I buried a few ghosts so I can't complain.


I likes!

I likes!
Originally uploaded by gadgetgrrl.
I'm so damn proud of myself for scoring Val this litle play garden off Craig's list. As soon as we got it out of the car she went crazy. She looooves it. Woo!

And also, she went to bed at a normal hour last night, followed by 8 consecutive hours of sleeping. Praise the Jesus.


About Our Weekend
I went into Friday absolutely exhausted. I dunno if it was the excitement of Val's party, then her birthday, or that her hours have been kinda screwy but seriously, I was ready to collapse last week.

So when Friday came and with it, the promise of sleep, sweet sleep on Saturday and Sunday, well, my ass went and laid down. We all slept until 1:30 pm on Saturday. Yes, even the child. She is a considerate little one. I felt worlds better.

I sauntered up to get my hair cut before we came back down to our hood to see Sesame Street Live. Now, we'd been to Disney on Ice and after that, I was fully prepared to be annoyed and bored. But holy shit, Val was CRAZY IN LOVE with Sesame Street Live. She was mezmerized by the monsters and even threw down her own Elmo doll to clap with great vigor for one number.

It was totally worth the price of admission to see her so damn happy.

Especially since it included the monsters doing the Hustle and Bert wearing a disco suit.

Sunday night, my maroon team played great but lost again. Sigh. Afterwards, Val fell asleep on the way home so we did our 'baby's sleeping' routine, where I go in first and hush the dogs, then leave the front door open so Andrea doesn't have to mess with it on the way in.

Fine, until later when Val woke up and I was putzing around in the living room while Val carried her stacking cups to and fro, making this cute little clacking noise on top of her chatter. Great, fine, until I looked at the front door and saw that it was open.

And my baby was on the front porch by herself.

And our front gate was wide open too.

After I peed my pants a little, I ran and scooped her up, carried her back inside. Later, I took a moment to process what all could have happened had I not noticed (best case scenario, she falls down our front steps and cries, so I hear her and come to her rescue, worst case scenario, she doesn't fall down the steps, rather she gets down without incident and toddles down the street where god knows what could happen) but in the moment I was just glad as hell she kept making her noises. And glad as hell that she's not left unsupervised for any length of time.

So, the bad mother of the week award goes to us.

To follow that one up, Val decided to stay up being funny until the wee hours of the morning. Now I'm so damn exhausted that I'm skipping hockey tonight.

Hopefully there will be no excitement tonight and we'll all get to bed at a decent hour. Because I've been counting the minutes until I can sleep since the minute I got up today.

Why Am I Awake? Because, it seems, my daughter has forsaken all reasonable bedtimes and wants to stay up all night. The upside is, she's not angry or anything, she's really being quite funny, laughing and roaming around.

Yes, she was roaming around because after an hour of trying to get her to sleep, Andrea needed a break. So roam Val did, giggling and pulling things out from her badass new toy cabinet thing. They're trying again now, I'm hoping it worked because the exhaustion is starting to get to me, too.

But hot damn, Val is a funny funny kid.


Because You Can Never Have Too Many Montages

Val's First Year (or most of it)
Montage! Fuck yeah!

On One Year
Did I blink? Because somehow, our little baby girl is now a year old. Today, she's sporting a bitchin' birthday shirt and tonight we'll have a quiet dinner of her favorites -- mac n' cheese and grapes.

A year ago right now, I was fully dilated and Val made no sign of entering the world via the usual path. My epidural was cranked way high, we were all exhausted and I just didn't see how Val was going to dislodge herself. Two hours later, I had a brand new baby and a c-section to recover from.

Even then, as our 'plans' for her birth went awry, I knew that it really wasn't the birthing experience that mattered, it was everything that came after that counts in the end.

Seriously, I was right.

Being Val's mom is the best thing I've ever done. Parts have been hard, mostly the breastfeeding, which has gone from being difficult to just a pain in the ass. But still, we have made it this far.

And today, I can say that my daughter never had a single drop of formula. Because I was able to provide her with enough breastmilk to get through the entirety of this first year.

At first, I wasn't so sure I'd breastfeed for very long. It wasn't ever something I wanted to do. Not a single one of my parenting fantasies had ever included breastfeeding at all, let alone for an entire year. But then Val was born and I got stubborn. No way I was going to shell out a bazillion dollars for formula when I had breastmilk for free. Even with whatever we've spent on pump parts and other random breastfeeding accessories, it's still a crapload less than formula would have cost. And I like to think that the reason Val's made it through her first year with only one bad cold (and one fairly mild one) is because of my milk.

Maybe that's not true and she's just naturally healthy but given the effort I put into providing her breastmilk, I'd rather think that's what did it.

But who knows.

Waiting 10 years for Andreatan to decide that she also wanted to be a mommy is the single smartest thing I've ever done.

And also, we are lucky. No, we don't have a lot of family around to help out with Val, but we do have some amazing friends who we hold dear, and who count as family in our books.

Now that a year has passed, I can say with some degree of certainty that we could not have emerged from this first year as sane as we have without the help we've gotten from Susan and Bill. Susan walked me through many many hairy breastfeeding moments, IMing me support in the wee hours of the night when things seemed un-doable.

Sorry this is so jumbled. I guess the disjointedness of this post speaks to the disjointedness that is parenthood.

Happy birthday, baby girl.

Among Many Other Things About Today..
It marks this:


One Year Later
A year ago today, I was in labor. Crazyass, seriously not fun labor that lasted for 31 hours from the start of 'meaningful' contractions until Val's arrival. In the time that's followed, I've thought about that awful day a lot, how parts of it changed me (yes, yes, having kids will change your life) about how much I loved that grilled cheese sandwich Susan got for me.

About how much it hurt, way more than the foofy hypnobirthing instructor would have ever had me believe.

I guess, in some ways, about how strong I am.

I also remember how once the contractions kicked in, I couldn't feel Val moving very much anymore. Even before the epidural, I think the excitement (i.e. the pain and activity) of the day took that connection away from me. Once all the drugs came on board (like on a choo choo train, all abooooard!) I became even more removed from Val. We didn't really get to connect until a couple of days later, when those drugs started to wear off.

You could say that we're connected now. You could also say that day was the hardest day of my life. I'm stronger for having gone through it.

Afterwards, I was grateful that our desire for a drug-free labor and birth was not overshadowed by the thing that really mattered -- having a healthy baby. That even though the much-maligned 'cascade of interventions' began, then kept going throughout my labor, the end result was a beautiful, healthy baby girl. In the end, who really cares if I had a c-section or not, as long as Val was okay? It could have been so easy to forget all about that and stick to our guns about what we wanted or didn't want, risking the lives of both myself and Val in the process.

But here it is a year later, and tonight it is only appropriate and right that I'll be donning my beloved red pants for a hockey game while my baby girl watches.


The Bestest Elmo Cake Ever

The Bestest Elmo Cake Ever
Originally uploaded by liz2d2.
Val's party was a great success. Really low-key and fun. Lots of little kids, balloons that made a weird noise, sandwiches, sunshine, playground action and most the people who love Val the most. We had a really nice time, I hope everyone else did too.

The best part? This totally amazing cake that Susan made for Val.

It was absolutely perfect. Better than I'd dared to hope. So amazing I can only say thanks. We are indeed blessed to have a friend like you.

WTF Part Three: The Wrath Of Car
Remember last week when this not-so-great driver almost backed into me twice at Santana Row? And then later, he turned out to work with me?

Well, today, me and Bubbles were rushing out for some post-lunch coffee, making the trek to my car when this guy blows the stop sign at the end of the row were were crossing. We figure he's actually stopped so we go to walk in front of him when HE FLOORS IT and almost runs both of us over.


Only this time, he's aiming for both of us instead of just me. Makes sense, since he thought I was Heather anyway.


Your Life Will Change
Before Val was born, a thousand people said this to us. Most often, this came from sort of grizzled folk, people for whom I'd gather parenthood wasn't something they necessarily chose to take on. They'd say this, shaking their heads at all the freedoms we were going to lose because of this tiny person, lamenting the losses we'd now face as a result of being parents.

Even then, I thought they were full of shit.

Yes, of course our lives would change. We anticipated sleeping less (that's very much proven to be true), doing more laundry (also true) and having more toys in the house. So far, all true.

I don't think we fully grasped how much our lives would change. But not because, suddenly, it's a lot harder for us to go out boozing all the time and having orgies. Because believe it or not, that stuff wasn't part of our lives before Valerie's arrival.

Yes, our lives have changed. But not one single bit that's changed is awful. You get used to being tired. You buy more detergent. You find more places to store toys.

What's changed the most for us is things I never would have expected. I stand up to people who make stupid comments about me, about my kid. Things like "she's ornamental, isn't that funny?" No, actually it's not. Yes, I'm aware that we've been friends for years and years, dear man, but it just hit home -- you're a racist. Nice knowing you, pal. My half-Asian daughter does not need to think for one moment that her parents would willingly subject her to someone who finds speaking about her that way funny.

I talk about race more. I ask parents from different races questions about their race, about their children's races, how they find a place for their kids to feel at home. Whether it's schools or playgroups we're talking about, I now have this sort of odd license to ask things about race that I never would have dreamed before. I'm still wielding that license with great care and hope I can continue to do so as Val grows. She deserves that caution from me.

I'm ever more the playground vigilante. Your kid puts his hands on my kid? I'm not waiting to intervene, I'm there, removing my kid from the situation. But I'm not an idiot, I'm not looking to confront parents if I don't need to, I just want to move Val to a safer place.

My women friends and I talk more about our periods/bodies/fertility than I'd ever thought possible.

My fellow breastfeeders and I talk about breasts and the milk that flows from them more than I'd ever wanted to.

So, almost a year later, that's what's changed. More talking about race, less talking about playground incidents, more listening to other parents talk about things that might apply later.

I do not, for one second, lament the things I have 'lost' as a result of being a parent. Sure, we'd all like more time and privacy on the toilet but that's a small price to pay for the sight of a grinning wee girl.

Oh yeah, and we're working towards less cursing. Because as funny as it was the other day when Val leaned over and said 'Oh shit,' we'll probably want to put the kabosh on that before she hits preschool.


Last weekend we stopped by Santana Row to get some toffee crack. Andrea waited in the car with a snoozing Val while I ran in. Parking was sort of at a premium so I was stoked to find a pretty good spot, beating another guy who was sorta trolling for the same spot.

I'm sauntering towards the crack dealer, minding my own business when that other guy passes me, spots himself a space near me. Rather than look behind him he throws his car into reverse and FLOORS it, zooming RIGHT TOWARDS ME so fast that I leap out of his way like a giant, ungraceful frog.

And then, when I think I'm safely out of harm's way, he ZOOMS AGAIN, forcing me to leap a second time. When he's finally at a place where he can see me, I make a rather grand WTF gesture as his horrified wife notices me and nudges the guy.

Who sees me for the first time. I recover enough to verify that I didn't actually need a poise (though it was close), then headed on my way, a bit shaken up.

Today, I'm at work, minding my own business, walking back to my desk when I hear 'Heather.' You may know by now that my name's not Heather. But since Heather and I work in the same group, are both women and wear shorts to work, to some, it seems, we are the same.

I introduce myself to this guy, wondering wtf he needs. Finally, I get out of him that HE's THE GUY. The guy who nearly ran me over.

Of course you are. And of course you work here.

But he did apologize and for that I'm grateful. Even if I'm not Heather.

WTF Part Too
Just now, I was absolutely minding my own business, pumping for what I pray is one the last few times. Reading my book, la la. The woman I share the room with had emailed me before I headed over there, she was done for now so I wasn't expecting any interruptions.

And then, someone knocked on the door, scaring the (figurative) crap outta me. Even more frightening was what I heard next, A MAN saying he'd come back.

WHY? WHY? WHY? Would A MAN need to come back to the pumping room?

Later, I saw a guy with a cart full of light bulbs roll up to the room. Oh. Is there anything wrong with doing that sort of shit after hours, when unsuspecting pumpers have left for the day? Really, could we please?


That's where I've been -- being busy. My New Responsiblities at work are sucking up much of the time I would have been telling things to the three of you. So, fine, for those 5 minuets a day you would have spent reading me, you're doing other things. Like maybe, peeing or getting coffee. So it's really not all bad, is it?

We're getting ready for Val's party. And realizing that we've been total lameasses about actually sending out the fancypants invites that we bought. Oops. Might wind up being a really bitchin' party for like 3 people.

At least we're nice. And there will be frisbees.

I'm also getting a little sad about our baby turning one. There's no mistaking it, she's a toddler now. But where did this year go? And why can't I stop pumping? That's another, less exciting story, which is short. I have a plugged duct, most likely from my thwarted attemps at weaning. Fucking sucks, and hurts. Jealous?

I thought not.

Along that front, Val had cow's milk for the first time this weekend. From a straw cup with her dinner, like the big kids. She seemed to groove on it, or at the very least she didn't keel over or whatever's supposed to happen if you give the leche de cow too early. She also did just fine with peanut butter, paving the way to a beautiful world of pb&j sandwiches.

That's all the news from here.


The pizza that made for kind of a lame dinner on Saturday? It does not taste any better at lunch on Tuesday.

Last night, the A-Team 2 played our second game of the season. We had 9 people show up, the other team had a full bench but no goalie. They were super nice, many of they players were brand new at this hockey business. We scored a few goals, then tried to work on our passing and stuff like that.

After 2 periods, our goalie figured we had it won so he left to go see his wife and another guy had a game on the next rink over. So we finished the game with no goalie and 7 on the bench.

And I had a blast, a total blast. It reminded me why I love this sport so damn much. And yes, there was no drama, just hockey.

If I do say so myself, I deserved a game like that.