3.31.2008

Update on Abby

(I dunno why I thought she's 7...)

Hi Everyone,

Things have stabilized a little from the last time I wrote to you about
Abby.  After having a couple very difficult days early last week,
Abby's breathing improved and she has been more comfortable since.
Abby turned 12 on Thursday, March 27.  She wanted a party with pizza
and cake and she got it.  Close friends and family filled Peter and
Theresa's bedroom to help Abby celebrate.  She slept through most of
the festivities, but managed to eat a few bites of pizza and helped her
friends and cousins blow out her birthday candles.

Thanks again to all of you and keep those prayers and positive thoughts
coming.

3.30.2008

Dear People Of The World

Is it really so hard to grasp that when you buckle your child into a
carseat, it matters that the straps are tight?

We saw a kid tonight who had her straps hanging off her shoulders. Why
even bother with a car seat if you're gonna lay the straps so loose that
they look like a goddamn feather boa?

Sometimes I think, well it's enough that Val's in safely every time.
But really, it's not. Kids could die needlessly because parents can't
figure out something so important. Short of taking out billboard ads, I
dunno what the answer is.

3.29.2008

A Big Day

One of the Big Changes that's been brewing lately is that we've had to
start searching for a preschool for Val. We'd sort of wanted to wait
until she's a little older but our situation changed and we had to get
serious.

There are a few places that interested us but most of the Really Great
seeming ones don't take kids until they're 3 or they have hours that
just don't work for our norturnal family. I guess a lot of them are for
kids who have stay at home moms; the schools meet for like 3 hours a
day. Others seem to insist that kids go for all day, like 8-5 every
day.

None of those scenarios work for us. Currently Val is being cared for 3
days a week, for about 5-6 hours a day. The other two days, she's home
with us. Finding a preschool that allows for those kind of hours
limited our options quite a bit.

However, we'd been talking to a friend whose daughter goes to her
neighborhood preschool. It's relatively inexpensive and seems to be the
only place I could find (note that my search was limited to schools that
had their schedules listed on the internet) that has flexible hours.
You can pay for 15, 20, 30 or 40 hours a week, plus you can have the kid
drop in with short notice.

We visited that place today and it looks like Val will be starting there
in June. She rolled right in and started checking things out, pretty
much ignoring us the moment she realized how much cool stuff they had.
She also took the opportunity to completely forget about potty training
so we had to borrow some of her friend's pullups while we were there.

The school is quite tidy and they have lots of interesting toys, plus
lots of music and learning throughout the day. Another huge plus is how
diverse her classmates will be. Standing behind my mandate that she be
either the only kid with 2 moms or the only half Chinese kid in a school
situation, at this place it looks like she'll be the only 2 mom-ed kid.

At the end of our visit, she joined the class for an activity. The kids
were sitting in a big circle, but Val stood until a little girl told her
to sit down. So she did and for a few minutes my baby was just one of
the kids at school.

But still, I worry. As her mom, I grasp that this is my job. Right
now, I'm embracing that job.

I worry that she will hate having to nap at the same time every day. I
worry that she won't fall asleep without us holding her hand. I worry
that she'll get diaper rash if she's not potty trained by the time she
starts. I worry that she won't get enough individual attention. I
worry that there are too many kids per teacher (not that I know squat
about what the ratios should be, this is all new to us).

But I saw her today, she quickly figured out what she wanted to see and
gained the confidence to go see it. We just have to trust that
everything we've taught her to this point adds up to her being ready to
make this switch.

3.27.2008

The Job Report

Early, so early one morning this week I had this epiphany. That there
was a job within my group that I am better suited for than my current
position. It's a different direction than I was headed, but also I
think, a more interesting one and one that I think will be really good
for me in the long run.

So I talked to my boss and I'll be fully transitioning to that role
shortly. Woo!

Zeus, Part 8005

The doc says that he's a bit arthritic but his overall quality of life
is good. We got a new pain medicine for him and she only charged us for
a re-check. This is the same doc who saved his life back in 2004 so she
knows him well.

Looks like the man's gonna stick around for a while yet.

The Old Man Report

Zeus is getting around a little better, my guess is that going to spots
is not that good for his old bones. The hard part about that is that
he's a little too quirky and a little too fragile to send to any of our
friends houses (read: it would take a really good friend to want him as
a houseguest right now) so we're stuck sending him to spots when we go
out of town. So he goes there and comes back really tired.

I think what this means is that we can't take any long trips when we
don't have a dogsitter available. It's just too much to ask of the old
guy to be that stimulated for more than a couple of days.

In the meantime, we're taking him to the vet tonight just to make sure
we're not assholes for not putting him down yet. He does seem a lot
better now that we've been home for a week or so. He's also enjoying a
lot of extra snacks. Sometimes that's enough.

3.24.2008

A Better Day

Now that I've made peace with needing to make a change at work, I
started poking around. And found a writing job at my same company. So
I applied, let us all cross our fingers that they're interested in me
for it.

I hate the uncertainty, but am really stoked that there might be a good
spot for me to move to.

Update on Abby

The news on Abby is not as positive as the last time I wrote to all of you.  Her condition has declined over the past several days.  She is now having difficulty breathing and swallowing.  Yesterday was a very tough day, but she did bounce back a little last night.  The family continues to appreciate all your support.
 
 

3.23.2008

Thank You, Easter Bunny

We had a very nice easter today. Val got to be part of her 2nd easter
egg hunt, we had a great nap together, a nice easter dinner and then I
learned the hard way that Susan's clock is 20 minutes slow. I was a bit
late to band rehearsal and I almost ran out of gas.

I've been practicing quite a bit lately because we're preparing for both
a concert for the whole band and a seperate small ensemble concert. So
every time I get my horn out to go, Val says 'band practice' and waves
goodbye. When I return, she's been known to pick up her little piano
and a backpack to pretend to go herself.

Short answer is yes, I'm still in a funk. I realized that the last time
I felt so physically wiped out was when I was depressed. Sigh. But
I've got a plan to deal with the work stuff. Though I've tried to put
it off, I just need to switch groups. So I'll start working on that
tomorrow.

If I hadn't been at my company for so long, I'd probably just try to
find a new job. But it's been almost 4 years now so I know not every
group features the level of drama (and more recently, unkindness) that
I've been dealing with. Drama is tolerable, unkindness is not. And
I'm just done with that part of it.

Hopefully the other crap that's up in the air right now will all work
itself out and we'll be back on the upswing very soon.

In the meantime, we had a very nice easter.

3.22.2008

People, Seriously

We just ran into a woman who turned her 11 month old's carseat around to
forward-facing because her legs got 'too long.' I did point out that
you can fix a broken leg but not a broken neck but she just looked at me
like I'm an alien.

People. Do your homework. Rear-facing is safest. Links to video and
articles are soon to follow.

Better

Retail therapy helps just about everything. We took a trip to the mall
tonight. Had some not-that-tasty food court food, afterwards Val met
the little potty for the first time. It amused her quite a bit.

I found the Pump.kin Patc-h jeans I'd been trying to find since last
winter for her. Lucky for us she's just now out of the 6-12 month
version she'd been wearing so it hasn't been that urgent. But hey, I
found them so she's ready for fall.

Yep, I know it's March. There's no shame in buying ahead. Especially
if he outing helps my mood.

3.21.2008

Low, Low, Low

Let's be honest here, things aren't at their best right now for me.  My job still sucks, in fact in some ways it's even worse because I'm finally starting to get that it's just not going to improve until I switch groups or companies.  It's too bad, really, because I like the actual work I do, it's just that the bullshit that surrounds that work is getting ridiculous.  Of course that's probably saying too much so I'll leave it at that.  In a word? Sucks.

Outside of the job thing, we've got some Other Shit going on that I can't be more vocal about just yet, plus facing the very real possibility that our man Zeus is about to leave the building.

The Zeus thing is a little harder because we're sort of used to cancer.  Cancer in dogs makes the end rather obvious.  Zeus seems to have what I think are little strokes or something that's making his limbs not work all that well.  But naturally he's enjoying the hell out of all the extra food he's getting so for now he's hanging with us.  We do have a vet appointment for next week to see what the vet thinks of all this.

It's all combining to put me in A Mood.  Unfortunately for Val (and my immediate circle of homies), that Mood has made me rather unpleasant to be around.  So the award for the day's suckiest mom absolutely goes to me today.  Val and I have just watched TV since she woke up from her longass nap.  I've done my best not to lose my patience, after all she's not even 2 yet and shouldn't be expected to listen well all the time.  But given my Mood, it's been really hard to hold my shit together. 

Sorry kid, not every day is the best.

3.20.2008

Tricky Little Bugger

The thing about beagles is that they want to eat. All the time. So
even though Zeus is 15+, blind and seriously hard of hearing, the man
can still chow down. And generally the way we've determined when to put
a dog down was based on a few things: do they seem happy? Are they
still having a decent quality of life? And the last one, are they still
eating?

Well, the Z man is limping around a bit (expensive pain meds seem to
have no impact) and not as chipper or limber as he used to be, he's
still eating like there's no such thing as weight watchers for dogs or a
physical limit on how much one little dog can eat.

We're at that point where we have to figure out how to define what's the
best criteria for measuring his quality of life. In the meantime, we've
started giving him more cheese and other tasty bits at meals.

3.19.2008

And We're Back

Other than almost missing our flight from Knoxville (with a K) the
return home was largely uneventful. Val mostly entertained herself for
the duration of both flights. Some of this entertaining involved her
talking to herself, and not always in her Inside Voice. This inspired a
couple of glares from the woman across the aisle. Glad the Child-Free
Baby Haters are still around.

I learned a valuable lesson: get a seatbelt extender for the carseat.
That made things super-easy and I emerged without one additional
scratch!

Andrea went to pick up the dogs while I unpacked a little. I whipped up
a 3 item dinner while she was gone. Go, us!

As usual they were really tired, Zeus most of all. He limped in and
they all went right to bed, not even bothering to beg for our 3 item
meal. I realize that we're coming to the end of the road with him.

3.17.2008

Very Nice

Turning 35 today was just a really nice day. Val had another fantastic
day chasing around her uncles and their girlfriends, she even had an
early easter egg hunt just for her! She was hounded by paparazzi as she
hunted, with 2 uncles, a grandma and 2 mommies caught every egg find on
camera.

But oh right, it's my birthday. We had lunch at Kry.stal which is SO
not Whiteys. But hey, now I know. The highlight of the meal was Val
spontaneously saying Mommy, love you over and over and kissing me.
After lunch we went Krog.ering while Val got to drive the Nascar
shopping cart. We had another mellow afternoon around the house and a
lovely dinner.

I was absolutely shocked and thrilled and overwhelmed to find myself
opening a Wii after dinner. I mean, wow, holy crap and suh-weet (tea)
all in one!

Val ran around after dinner shouting that she's IRISH! IRISH! IRISH!

We head home tomorrow and dare I say the trip has been a success.

Here's the trip by the numbers:
Number of airplane seatbelts maintenence had to cut so I could get the
tightly-installed carseat off: 1
Number of bruises I got from that effort before they came with the
knife: 5
Number of minutes it took to get a solid install of Val's seat in
Grandma K's van: 2. That is not a typo.
Number of times we admired the badass features of that van: about 30
Number of minutes I watched Borat: about 40. Which was both more than
enough and not enough.
Number of extremely well-timed farts that made me laugh huysterically:
1
Number of days I got to sleep in: 5
Number of books I read start to finish: 1
Number of awesome memories we'll take from this trip: countless
Number of words in Val's sentences: 5-7
Number of really nice birthdays I had while we were here: 1.
And the best stat of all...

Number of wet daytime diapers we had to change while we were here: ZERO!
That's right, 0. Nighttime and pooping are other, slower-to-resolve
issues, but get this - we are bringing back home a ton of clean diapers
we didn't use.

The journey home starts with lunch at Sonic, then a long flight. I
couldn't have had a better time.

3.16.2008

Big Visit

We've been hanging out with my birthmom and her family since Thursday.
It took a longass plane flight to get here, one that taught me a
valuable lesson: if you are using the GoGo Kidz with your Marathon
carseat, that plus the little manual holder on the back creates enough
room that unbuckling a tightly-installed seat from the plane seat is
nearly impossible.

I say nearly because it took me about 10 minutes of panicked wrangling
that resulted in 3 bruises, a number of scrapes and eventually, airline
maintenence coming on board and cutting the seatbelt strap off so we
could just barely make our connecting flight.

I installed it loose on the next flight, I just couldn't think of what
else to do. So much for being Safety Mom.

The good news is, installing the seat in Grandma K's van took all of 2
minutes.

Val is being fawned over by a set of grandparents, 2 uncles and their
girlfriends. She's having a blast, going a million miles an hour around
the house. She even whispered to me, Grandma house, fun.

She's also only had wet diapers at night since we left home on
Thursday. I'm so freaking impressed.

We've been sleeping in as much as possible. It's hard not to like
that. Every day has involved a trip to the Waffle House! Now that's
what I call a vacation.

We come back Tuesday and will be back into our regular lives on
Wednesday. In the meantime I'll turn 35 tomorrow. Only 24 1/2 years to
go until 401k withdrawl!

3.13.2008

Update on Abby

Hi Everyone,

Sorry it's been awhile since I've updated you on Abby.  In this
case, no news is good news.  Abby remains stable.  The cancer
continues to affect her vision and speech, but she can certainly make
her feelings known!  She continues to have a good appetite.  She's
still being cared for by friends and family at home.  She got outside
one recent warm day for a little time in the sunshine.  She enjoys
listening to music and enjoys having activity going on around her. The
family has gotten into a routine and is doing ok.  For those of you who
have provided meals and all sorts of other kindnesses, the family is
incredibly appreciative.

Thanks again from Abby's family for all your thoughts and prayers.

Jane (friend of Abby's family who's been keeping us posted)

3.12.2008

Hello, My Name Is Not That Bright

A while back, Val took a header off the bleachers at Belmont and threw
her arm out of it's socket. At the $1200 ER visit the doc mentioned
that having this happen once could mean she's prone to having it again.
In other words, be careful with this kid's arms because next time may
not resolve itself as smoothly.

Fast forward to tonight, where I get the fucking brilliant idea to hold
her arms and have her do a flip. So she does and as she comes down out
of that flip, I feel her arm snap a bit.

Fuck fuck fuck. I've taken a stupid chance and helped Val hurt herself
again.

She cried a little and I thought, that's it, we totally have to go back
to the ER. She's hurt.

She asked for Nemo, aka the boo boo buddy in the freezer. Fortunately,
it seems we got lucky again, all joints are in their appropriate
places. Phew.

You've got my word on it, no more flips.

In other news, she grabbed a (new) maxi pad tonight and told me it went
on her butt, which was messy and needed clean up. She then put it under
her butt, for illustration.

In other other news, she said her first compound sentence today: "do
this, and do that" while moving the ice pack from one foot to the other.

3.11.2008

Doggie Nights

Pat had a seizure just now, I'm not sure how big but it wasn't
noticeable for us to hear it. We just heard the aftermath, where he
saunters around the house trying to bite everything in his path. The
other dogs aren't too fond of this behavior, and this time it got him a
good scratch on the cheek.

We came out in time to hear him getting into it rather loudly with
Rainie. We gave him an extra pill and waited until he came back to us.

What I've realized is that 2 out of our 3 dogs have biting issues.
Pat's are situational, just when he's coming out of a seizure. Since
most of his seizures happen late at night I'm not too worried about him
having a meetup with Val while he's in that mood. But still, on paper,
we have a dog who bites.

Then there's Zeus. He's getting a lot more crotchety these days. He's
always hungry, perhaps even moreso than he was in his relative youth.
But now he's mostly blind, so he tries to eat everything that crosses
his field of vision.

So we've had to teach Val that you can't hold food anywhere but over the
table because he might bite you, or as Val says 'bitechoo.' I hate that
she's had to learn this about a dog in our family but all we can do at
this point is teach her, remind her and do our best to let Zeus enjoy
the rest of his days.

3.06.2008

Val Skates, Part Too

Tonight, most of Val's entire posse was able to go skating with us.
Sadly, Soosan couldn't join us since she's managed to throw out her
back. We warmed up with a dinner at Giovanni's, then headed to the
rink.

Val was more than ready to skate. She shouted skating! Skating! all way
into the rink from the car. It struck me as sort of amazing that this
little girl who sits rear facing in the car and who was wearing a diaper
was going to ice skate. And then I was ridiculously proud.

When we first put her skates on, she stood right where Andrea asked her
to, holding onto the bench. Then it was time to hit the ice and I was
amazed again as Val walked in her skates over to 'out there!' (aka, the
rink itself).

Skating was the same combination of holding her while she glided (glid?)
and sometimes, her moving her feet like she was running. But her
balance steadily improved as the night went on.

Every time she was out, the posse gathered around her, giggling at her
antics and giving her inspiration to skate more. She is indeed a lucky
girl, to have so many people who felt the same pride, the same joy at
this little girl in skates as we did.

By the end of the night, she was walking around in her skates like she'd
been doing it all her life. I could not be any more proud of her.

3.04.2008

They've heard our case

From: "Geoff Kors, Equality California" <email@eqca.org>

March 4, 2008 

Dear Supporter,

I am writing to you from the California Supreme Court, where I just had
the privilege and honor of witnessing history in the making.

For the past three hours, the highest court in the most populous state
in the nation engaged in a spirited discussion. Our lawyers debated with
those who oppose our equality about whether we should or should not be
afforded the same rights, obligations and dignity that heterosexual
individuals have.

Equality California, and each of you as our members, was brilliantly
represented by Shannon Price Minter, Legal Director of the National
Center for Lesbian Rights. I cannot put in words how fortunate we are to
have such amazing legal counsel, including attorneys from NCLR, ACLU,
Lambda Legal, Heller Ehrman, LLC and the Law Office of David Codell.
Shannon argued passionately and persuasively, as did Therese Stewart
with the City of San Francisco and the other attorneys representing our
community.

Shannon and Therese eloquently made the case that domestic partnership
is not equal to marriage and does not conform to the California
Constitution's mandate of equality.

The State tried to argue that this inferior, separate and unequal status
is somehow sufficient, that providing us with less-than equality was
somehow actually equality, and that discrimination could be justified by
tradition. Then, the right wing, anti-LGBT organizations did their usual
hateful and mean-spirited song and dance, arguing against all evidence
that we are inferior parents and should be denied our rights. Shannon
and Terry did a terrific job rebutting the arguments of the State of
California and the right-wing groups.

If you did not watch the broadcast, an archive will be available online
at www.calchannel.com.

The core of this case is about whether we, as LGBT individuals, should
be allowed to marry the person we choose, or whether the government gets
to make that decision for us. It is about whether we will finally be
afforded true equality under California law.

For the past 10 years, EQCA has worked tirelessly to advance our rights
to the place they are today. Sometime in the next 90 days, the
California Supreme Court will determine whether we are entitled to true
equality and whether we will each have the freedom to marry the person
we love..

Based on the arguments made today in court, I am very hopeful for a
joyful summer.

Warmly,

Geoff Kors
Executive Director
Equality California

------

I don't dare hope for this to actually work...

In honor of the rapidly-approaching due dates of some of my readers, I finally got off my ass to write this:

Guide to having a baby

No matter how much you prepare for having your baby, no matter how many books you read, there are a couple of things that remain true. First, a baby will somehow emerge from within you. Second, the amount of things you've read beforehand becomes completely irrelevant the moment something doesn't go according to plan.

Many people will tell you the second bit, and of that many I'm willing to bet that a lot of them will say that with a smug air about them. Good for them and their smugness. We're still allowed to prepare as best we can.

This is my testament to the confluence of what we'd read beforehand and how things actually go. Somewhere between those two things, a baby did finally emerge. (Note: if you are planning a homebirth, I wish you luck, easy labor vibes and all that but nothing I write below will help you, beyond the occasional mild chuckle.)

The first and most important thing to know about the hospital is actually two things at once. First, you have the power to ask anyone to leave your room. This power extends to nurses, random people you don't know who are wearing medical costumes and your own parents.

There's a huge caveat to this: even though you've spent some quality 1:1 time with your OB all these months, it's the nurses who are there for you while you're actually laboring. Some are better than others. If you're really lucky, you'll get the Best Nurse Ever and deliver during their shift. If you're not so lucky, do consider carefully if you want to get the annoying/evil nurse switched out. Because there aren't always that many nurses to go around so you might be stuck with that one anyway.

Okay, so back to my first point. I'll say it again because it's still true and it's still important.

You have the power to ask anyone to leave your room. Whether it's the nurse who wants your vitals That Instant or some sort of technician or your own parents, that doesn't matter. This is your Big Day and even though all those people have told you that it will not go the way you want it to, you're 1. still entitled to hope that it will and 2. entitled to have your laboring/birthing room be filled with the people and energy that you want.

You also have the power to refuse an IV, pain meds or anything else. To a point.

The second important thing to know about the hospital is that if a bunch of people you don't recognize come RUNNING into your room with any variety of medical equipment, you have lost both the power to kick anyone out of your room and the power to refuse whatever they need to do to you at that point.

Yes, this happened to us. Because of the running and because the staff had been so considerate of our wishes earlier in the day, what with the asking people to leave and having IVs removed at our request, there was enough trust established that we took them and their fancy medical equipment seriously.

The other thing that helped us out was the homework we'd done in advance. You know, the stuff we read that everyone poo-pooed. I'd also listened to every person who would tell me the story of their child's birth, good and bad. So when some of those things happened, I remembered that oh yeah, this happened to that family and look, their kid is just fine. Andrea had done a fair bit of this homework with me so we entered the hospital as a united front. She was my support and my advocate, she knew what we wanted and didn't want and she also knew when to let the staff take over. We were lucky enough to have our dear friend (DBFF) Susan there with us for most of the labor and delivery.

We did have other folks kindly offer to join us for the birth but we used rule #1 and said no thank you. Do not for one second feel obligated to say yes to ANYONE who wants to visit you during any part of your hospital stay. Even if that person is me.

Obviously you will want something different than your partner and a DBFF there with you but I can't stress enough how great it was to have a team there to support me. Even though I kept trying not to think about the fact that for the time being, everyone in the room was really interested in my crotch.

Speaking of crotches, the nurses have a great fondness for 'checking' your crotch while you're in labor. It is not the most pleasant thing in the world and like almost all things you can refuse the seemingly constant requests to get between your legs.

Disclaimer: yes, yes, I know the whole point of labor is to dilate. But really, those nurses do not have to check every goddamn time they come in the room.

Despite all of our homework, our greatest failing when it came to preparation was that we didn't have a plan for a c-section. Oops.

I was so confident that even though my baby hadn't dropped an inch, somehow she'd free herself from my pelvis and emerge after one push that we had no contingency plan.

Oops.

So I urge you, right now, talk to your partner/support person or people about what you'd do if there was a c-section. Does your partner go with the baby to wherever the baby is taken? Can your support person stay with you while that happens?

In my case, Val was whisked away to the nursery by herself while Andrea stayed with me in the OR. At that point I was scared shitless and shaking like a leaf (FYI, you can totally shake during a c-section. Apparently this is not uncommon but it still freaked me out since I was not expecting either the section or the shaking. Despite the shaking, my OB managed to sew me up nicely and my scar is a rather petite straight line.) so I asked her to stay with me.

On some level I will feel guilty about not sending her with Andrea for the rest of my life. No need to tell me that it was okay, I will still carry this guilt no matter what.

Susan did go with her and watched from the window while she was bathed and whatever the hell else they did. My parents also showed up at that moment even though I'd asked them to wait for us to call. So the three of them were watching Val the whole time.

It took forever to sew me up but finally we left the OR and went to the recovery room. Where I met Val for the first time and told her it was okay for her to be a figure skater if she wanted to.

Yes, you can hold me to that. I meant it. But I'm thrilled that today she reads her hockey book and says HOCKEY PLAYER! over and over.

Anyhoo, back to the recovery room. The overeager Lactation Consultant came bursting in, trying to insist that I try to get Val to latch on that instant. She wasn't crying, I was exhausted (and seriously reluctant about breastfeeding) so we kicked her well-meaning assvicing ass out of the room. Only to have my parents barge in 2 seconds later, when we were trying to meet our baby for the first time.

I had the nurse kick them out, too. Twice.

The LC didn't bother us again that day, and when we were in slightly better shape the next day, Andrea went out to find her and fine-tune Val's latch. Waiting until I was really ready to talk about it made all the difference in the world. Another thing that would have helped was if we'd brought the breastfeeding pillow to the hospital.

I'll say it again, BRING YOUR BREASTFEEDING PILLOW TO THE HOSPITAL WITH YOU.

If your LC just does not click with you, call a friend who's breastfed her own kids instead. Seriously. It seems that LCs all have this agenda that consists of only one way to breastfeed and anything else is bad.

That's bullshit. You and your kid will figure out the best way to establish a breastfeeding relationship. Don't let anyone tell you different. And don't be afraid to kick the LC out of your room when she starts assvicing too much. Because they all seem to launch into this 'assvice about every goddamn thing' mode after about 10 minutes. They all also contradict each other all the time. NO MATTER WHAT YOU'VE READ ON THE TOPIC, YOUR LC WILL CLAIM TO KNOW BETTER. Do not try to argue with them, just smile and nod.

Then kick them out of your room and figure it out from there. Hopefully she's given you some advice that helped get things going better.

When You Go Home

The hospital is required to see that you have a carseat. You have to show it to them, but they don't actually show you how to use the damn thing. So we ended up taking Val home with straps that were way too loose.

Don't fuck this up. Your kid should be strapped in snugly, like this:

Every time. "Harness tight at shoulders and hips, chest clip at armpit level, correct seat for weight and height."

This is how not to do it: Note the looseness of the straps around her hips. If we'd had a wreck, that looseness could have been enough to throw her from the seat altogether.

Thank God we have Susan to tell us how to put her in properly and to help us install our seats properly. But if you don't have a Susan, take a second to read this information on how to install and use your carseat properly.

Because if you fuck this up, your kid could die in a crash that they should have survived. Take the time to get it right.

Once You Get Home

Have some help lined up for that first day. You may need some medications picked up and if you don't have support there, you may be left home alone with your brand new baby for a couple of hours when you're in possibly the worst shape possible to care for them.

If your c-section is scheduled, get your meds BEFORE you go into the hospital. Get some diapers while you're getting your meds.

Breastfeeding

I won't lie. I was not very excited about breastfeeding. I knew it was the best food for my kid, but really, just thinking about how it all has to work was quite daunting. Not to mention the amount of time you end up spending with your boobs out. Add in the blatant agenda that every LC I met had and the smugness of the breastfeeding community and I felt doomed before I started.

But I was lucky. Val latched on right away and it only took a wee bit of fine-tuning to get her squared away. And I was more lucky to have an experience breastfeeding mom as my DBFF.

So find some support, someone who doesn't use the word lactivist or belong to the la lec.he league to help you through those first days.

Commit to breastfeeding for the first 3 weeks. I know it's easy to give up during that time, that's when it's the hardest, but at the end of those 3 weeks, you and your kid will have mostly figured it out. It's all gravy from there in a way.

I was totally reluctant, I was convinced we'd formula-feed and use cloth diapers. But once Val arrived, I became committed to giving her the best I could, and that was my milk. Don't think about the societal implications or anyone's agenda, just think about what's best for your kid.

So that's my overview on having them kiddies.

3.03.2008

Mouse: 1, : Us, 1

Well, Andrea responded to our mouse crisis by running out and getting a
bunch of good old fashioned mouse traps. She laid them out in a
strategic arrangement (I.e. Places where the dogs and Val can't reach)
this morning.

So tonight, I get home and let the dogs roam into Val's room with me,
thinking somehow that presence of giant-to-a-mouse dogs would scare the
mouseses away.

Apparently that strategy worked, because they ran right to where a trap
contained a dead mouse! Woo.

Except that the mouse was brown. And the mouse I'd seen was black.

Fuck.

Andrea came home and disposed of the now-deceased brown mouse and our
quest for the mouse I saw continues.

Eek!

There's a mouse in our house. How did It get here? How do we make it
go away???