Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to the drawing board

I am sitting in my bedroom with the baby while strange men explore my attic and basement. No, that's not a cute euphemism. It's the rat guys. They're here to kick some ass.

Much to my surprise this morning I got an email from the rescue group saying yes, they could take the dog back, and if I want I could bring her Sunday. Agh! Now I'm all conflicted. But even they asked if I've worked with a trainer yet; so I decided to contact a dog trainer friend of mine, and let the rescue group know I would try this first and then be in touch. Much like with the breastfeeding, I feel like I at least need to try. I emailed the trainer and told him the situation - older chihuahua, baby, acting out. We'll see what he says. He may very well say that there's not much point in trying, or he may want to meet her. Anyway, I've accepted that this is going to be a bit of a roller coaster no matter what. But she's my responsibility so I need to make the best decision here and not be impulsive.

My play date yesterday was fun - it was interesting to see this other baby at 10 months and see my future. I can't imagine Bumpus crawling, pulling himself up, actually playing, making lots of sounds...but it's coming, oh boy is it! I think he's squirmy now - ha. Lord help me. I see a lot of chasing and bending over coming up. Hopefully the fun of an active and interactive baby will make up for the exhaustion of it.

It's funny because I think back to the newborn days and how hard it was - the breastfeeding issues, the cranky evenings, the not being able to put him down for a second, and it fills me with dread; but I have to remember that at the time it wasn't that bad. I wasn't depressed, or exhausted, or fed up. Most of the time I was thinking how it was a lot easier than I expected. So let's hope the future has a similar outcome.

It's dawned on me that most, if not all, of my systems improvement ideas for next year's event are not good ideas. It sucks because I so want to improve things - the Japanese concept of kaizen, continuous improvement - but I think re-orienting the registration and not having the merchandise on display would probably in fact cause far more problems than fix them. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? However using a better credit card system is definitely a good thing. So at least I can say I fixed one problem.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

First play date

Today is Bumpus' first play date with a sweet baby named Eden who is a few months older and the child of one of my book club ladies. It will be interesting to see him interact with another baby - I'm sure he has at the drop in babysitting place, but I've never witnessed it. He can't sit up yet so his "play" I imagine will be pretty limited, but at least he grabs things and understands the concept of toys now, which is a very new thing.

I am awash with ideas for my event next year, based on things I saw at the event I just played. They had this awesome IPad-based registration system using the Square for credit card payments. They also didn't have all their merchandise displayed on a giant table but instead had mannequins with their t shirts which I assume you could get at the registration table. I love the idea of consolidating the merchandise like that; it could seriously cut down on the sheer amount of volunteers that I use every year. But will people be less likely to buy something if they have to ask for it? If it's not displayed in piles in front of them where they can rummage around and try things on? Probably. And hurting sales is the last thing I want to do. I would also have to have very trustworthy workers to use the Square device, since if it gets lost or stolen or the transactions somehow get screwed up, there goes my living for the year. This is why I currently have the customers fill out a form with all their credit card info that I then process when I get home. But by the time I get home cards have expired, been canceled, been maxed out, I can't read people's handwriting, etc. And people just hate writing out their information. There's got to be a better way.

Still no takers on the dog. I don't know why I naively thought it would be easy to re-home her. The rescue where I got her has not written back; maybe they're no longer operational. It has been four years, after all. I think the best tack to take is to leave it out there that I'm looking for someone to adopt her, but accept the fact that it may take a long time, if it ever happens. In the meantime I am trying to adjust myself to the idea of keeping her permanently, and making things as safe and manageable around here as possible. I do love the little stinker, after all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Second Thoughts

Had a rat specialist over today. As expected, rat mediation (?) is not cheap. To seal up under the house and the attic and guarantee the work for five years the cost is $1400.  I talked them down to $1200 (probably didn’t hurt I had my adorable babe in my arms at the time) and am waiting for a call to see when they can start.  There is a radio show I’m listening to right now about the hanta virus spread by rat feces and I’m sitting here itching to get this situation sorted. If there’s one thing I know, it’s you don’t mess around with rodent droppings. Especially not with a baby in the house, no sir. The good news is, no new droppings this morning. I’m sure the dog barking and me stomping around all day has made them realize “oh crap, the people are back”. Still I can’t leave things untreated. They’re still out there.

*Warning, back pedaling ahead*

So far all avenues to have the dog adopted out have failed – and every rescue person I’ve talked to has begged me to keep her, that there is little to no chance she’ll be taken in by anyone and will likely be killed. It’s just her age. Nobody wants an old doggie, and that’s the sad truth. I had started this quest with the idea that she’d have a better life with someone else…but now I’m questioning that logic. Unless someone steps forward, I’m thinking that indeed being locked up in the office all night and yelled at by me is actually a better life than being murdered. And just so you don’t think I’m being an idiot, I think the risk to the baby is extremely minimal. I was spooked when the dog nipped at him, but she didn’t hurt him – I don’t think she could if she tried, being as she has no teeth, has never bitten anyone that I’ve seen, and is 1/3 his size. She and the baby can very easily be kept separate, no problem. I pretty much always do that now anyway – just when he was on the floor on a blanket I let her walk up to him with me right there and that’s when she nipped because she was startled that he reached out to her. What happens when he’s a toddler I don’t know…but let’s face it, she may not make it that far. I know I’m seriously back pedaling but until a nice person agrees to take her in I don’t feel comfortable parting with her – and nobody may agree to take her in. Giving her up to be killed just isn’t ok with me, sorry. I’d rather spend my life keeping her and the baby apart than have on my conscience that I sent her to her death because she became “inconvenient”.

Lately I’ve been wondering again if it’s time to set a bedtime and set naps for the baby. I’ve noticed he gets really cranky after about 9 PM. Maybe I can start putting him in a crib to fall asleep…?  Obviously I can’t have him in the bed when I’m not there. Last night I had him rolling around in the bed with me after 9 and he was just cranky as all get out; until I swaddled him, turned out the light, and fed him, and eventually he calmed and went to sleep. I’m thinking he needs more sleep than I’ve been allowing him, and maybe shouldn’t be kept on my schedule anymore. Although my last attempt at the crib was a disaster, it’s been a LONG time. Maybe it’ll be like the nipple shield, where one day I find he just doesn’t need it anymore - maybe he’ll suddenly take to the crib? All I can do is try it out, right?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Thanks, all, for the supportive comments. I spent the whole day dealing with these issues. Still no resolutions, but at least possible solutions.

I bit the bullet and posted on Facebook about the dog. A couple friends said they might be interested, but I can tell by the questions they asked that it won't work out. One had to talk to her husband, another has a cat. A friend of a friend wants to know if I'll agree to be financially responsible for the dog. Ah, no. My writing teacher said all the dog rescues are overwhelmed and good luck. I emailed the rescue I got her from, whose website seems to say they'll take your dog for $300. I'll happily pay this to know she'll be safe and not turned over to a shelter and killed. I kind of hope the rescue works out. I'm afraid a friend or acquaintance may want to give her back if she doesn't meet expectations. I mean, she's a hard sell. She's ancient, she barks, she can't be around kids or dogs or cats. She may only have a few years - or even months - left, and may rack up medical bills towards the end. I need a really kind hearted person to take her on. Sigh. Luckily there's no immediate danger - I can easily keep her and the baby separated, no problem. She's too tiny to get on or off any furniture without assistance, and can be kept in the office as long as is necessary. But I'd rather resolve this sooner than later. Can't even think about the guilt. Can't deal with that yet.

My sister recommended getting a real rat specialist over here to seal up access to the house rather than getting a rat zapper. She's right, the zapper would just be a band aid. I have a company coming tomorrow, damn the cost. So hopefully tomorrow will be the last time I wake up to a house full of shit.

I was dealing with so much yukky emotional crap today I decided to just go for broke and emailed my ex to tell him I am going to sue him if he doesn't pay up by end of Sept. Of course this time he answered me right away and said he would pay me, in very pissy, defensive terms. I hope the $300 comes out of his new girlfriend's pocket. Oh snap!

Tonight I put a little water in the bathtub and took Bumpus in there with me. It's the first proper bath he's ever had. He enjoyed kicking his legs and making splashes, and of course, peeing. But with the rats and the fleas and the heat I felt so disgusting that I really needed us both to have a little ablution. We'll get there. But it's going to take a little time.

Dark Thoughts

Ok. So I wish I could do a fun "settling back in" post about all the fun things we're doing now that the last trip of the summer is over, ideas I have for next year's event, etc. But some pretty fucked up things are going on around here, and I need to talk about it.

First, as I alluded to, the house is covered in rat poop. And I do mean COVERED. After I'd mentioned that in my last post, I'd only seen a couple here and there; the next morning I woke up and got the full scope. Oh no, not just a couple. Every room in the house had enough rat shit all over the floor that I had to sweep it all up. I don't know what went on in here while I was gone, but there was no food to be had, so what the hell were they doing? The very thought of rats crawling all over everything in here, my stuff, the baby's stuff, makes me so sick I want to throw up. Yesterday I felt so violated, like someone had broken in. I couldn't get comfortable, didn't want to touch anything or put the baby on anything. It's just disgusting - and dangerous. I just saw a documentary in which a man was cleaning his basement and died of the hanta virus from rat poop, so this is serious stuff. I went grocery shopping and put an overturned colander over the fruit - and this morning found piles of rat shit again all over the kitchen table next to the fruit bowl, on the kitchen floor, and in the laundry room all over the area rug I just washed. I was afraid to call someone and have them put out traps or poison that would sicken us - but have decided to stop being helpless and do something about it. The rat zapper has been pretty effective for me in the past, so I am going to buy one today and set it out tonight when I know the dog can't get in it. I have to take control of this situation before I lose my mind. And then wash the entire house in bleach.

The other, and far more upsetting situation, is the fact that I have come to the undeniable realization that I have to give my beloved dog away. I never in a million years thought I'd be one of those people who has a baby and then abandons their pets - in fact, I've had many very judgmental conversations on that very topic. But the fact is I spend my whole life mad at her - I'm always yelling at her to shut up, stop it, etc. Yesterday I got her out of the kennel from my trip, hugged her and kissed her and told her I missed her - only to have her squat down on my antique Oriental rug and take a huge shit. Then when I was carrying the sleeping baby to put him down, I stepped in yet another pile of her shit with my bare feet. I just can't take it anymore. And finally, the last straw - baby was on the floor rolling around, dog went over to sniff him (as she always does), baby reached out to her (new skill learned over the weekend), and the dog snapped at him and got really aggressive. That was it. Now not only is it annoying but unsafe. So I have put some feelers out there to people who know her and have mentioned in the past they'd take her in a heartbeat if ever I needed to give her up; if all those fail I'll contact the rescue where I got her, and an old writing teacher of mine who is a dog rescuer. There's got to be someone out there who can give her a better life than being locked away and yelled at all day - and certainly having a baby that the dog doesn't jibe with is as good a reason as any to give away a dog. I know it's the right thing to do and honestly it'll be such a relief when she's gone. But the whole situation just sucks.

Also, the pool is broken again and the house is also infested with fleas. Every time I put the baby on the floor to play he gets one or two on him. Black plague, anyone?

So last night I'm contemplating this in my rat infested house, feeling guilty and gross and like I just want to throw the whole house in the washing machine, and I started a real downward spiral. I was holding my squirming, whining baby and thinking, "I can't do this. I'm way out of my depth. Sure, I've managed the last five months, but this has been easy - just feed, sleep, change. What happens when he starts moving, talking, having to be disciplined? I don't have a clue how to be a mother. I don't know what I'm doing. I never should have done this." See how quickly I go there, when pushed by stress and exhaustion? Of course I don't really think these things, but these thoughts do float by.

But now I have to stop being helpless, think like a man, and get shit done. I have to zap these rats, make a plan for the dog and recognize that it's the best thing, and comfort my whiny baby. Time to man up!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Jiggety jig

Home, and frickin' exhausted. Air travel with a baby is truly the seventh circle of hell. My Beco carrier has dried poop all down the front, if that's any indication.

Came home to a house full of rat turds and the pool running in the middle of the night.

But all in all a good trip.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Planes, trains, and automobiles

My sister and I headed down to DC today on the train. With both of us having similar "anticipatory anxiety" issues, we were both dreading the logistical nightmare of getting two people, a baby, two suitcases and a stroller from her apartment in the Bronx to the hotel in DC (technically Alexandria, VA). It involved lots of stairs, subway rides, escalators, baby in and out of stroller and carrier, cabs, and finally the hotel, where my reservation had been canceled because the organizers had me checking in yesterday with the rest of the band and when I didn't show, the hotel gave my room away.

But as so often happens, everything worked out. People helped us with the stairs to the subway, we got good seats on the train, the hotel booked us another room, I sang, Bumpus slept.

Well, he's sleeping now. Apparently each time I left the hotel room he would start screaming. I would come up after a band break to find my poor sister pacing with my sniffing infant, who clearly was only just recovering from a major meltdown. I would nurse him, then go back down to the ballroom to sing for another 45 minutes or so, only to come back and find the same situation. After nursing him again it dawned on both of us that he wasn't hungry - he just missed his mama. Could it be? Was all he wanted was to be close to mommy? I think he was exceptionally tired, too (we all were after this crazy long day), but it was funny to think that he really just needed to see me to feel better. I know some of you out there probably think I'm nuts - of course he wants me, I'm his mother, dammit. But I guess I thought - I don't know what I thought. When a little baby can't communicate and they're just full of smiles for everyone and don't reach for you yet, I guess to me it looks like he still doesn't really know me yet, that he'll take food and comfort from anybody. Apparently not!

We solved it by having my sister down in the ballroom with me and Bumpus in the carrier. He of course fell asleep instantly and has been dead to the world for the past couple of hours. I think he will hang in the ballroom tomorrow, too. It will make him (not to mention my sister) much happier, I'm sure!

Five months

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New York, New York

Bumpus is a squirmy squirm squirm in bed next to me, so as I have become accustomed to, I will now bid farewell to the fantasy of a couple more hours' sleep and do something instead. Like blog.

Flight went ok. Parking in Lot C and getting the shuttle to the airport wasn't so bad - having a small suitcase and the stroller was totally manageable (although the shuttle driver was a TOTAL ASSHOLE, but I'm going to try to forget about that). Luckily I sat next to a nice dad on the plane who even kindly said "you're doing really well with him". When we had a repeat of the giant poo explosion followed by gallons of spit up all over my pants, socks, and shoes in the tiny airplane bathroom, I had to just laugh. What else can you do? As expected, though, because I had done it before, this time was less stressful.

Bumpus has delighted everyone he's met so far. Being my first time in NY with a baby, and my first time in the South Bronx with a baby where I stick out like a sore thumb anyway, it was interesting noting the shall we say "cultural differences" on the subway yesterday. Here I am this white hippie chick with my baby in a carrier, his little headphones on to protect his ears, talking to him about all the things we're looking at. And then there's the other mothers - all with strollers and bottles of formula, telling their kids to sit down and "shut the fuck up" while staring at their phones.

Speaking of staring at phones, this is a new phenomenon since I left here in the early 90s. I had to seriously watch my step yesterday as I nearly got run into by hoards of young people marching ahead while staring down at their phones. This is something you don't think about in a place like LA where nobody walks. But when you have a baby on you and people charge right into you, oblivious, it's a real problem.

My sister's awesome pre-war apartment is a real oasis in this hot, loud, crowded city. Today I go to meet a friend for lunch, but what I'm really looking forward to is getting back to the apartment to relax!

Off to DC tomorrow for Bumpus' first real train ride! I don't have any pics yet, so here's one from home:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

East coast bound

Tomorrow (well, technically today) I make my second cross country trip with the Bumpus. Somehow I have a feeling I won't be as anxious as last time, even though there are all kinds of new variables this time - traveling alone, having to park in a long distance lot and take a bus to the airport, bringing the stroller. While in NYC I will probably only use the carrier (can't imagine using a stroller on the subway), but in DC I think the stroller will be more useful. Bumpus can actually hang out in it happily these days, and the carrier gets hot. I am trying to cram everything into a small carry-on sized suitcase and it's proving to be very difficult. And it's dumb because I'm going to check it anyway. But I just can't deal with my giant suitcase - not with a stroller, too. Once again, I need about eight hands to handle this and I only have two (the Mother's lament)!

It will be interesting to have the baby in the place where I (primarily) grew up. I wish he was old enough to be interactive with it (see, this is where mommy lived when she was your age). Lately I've found myself wishing a lot that he could enjoy things - all the cool
places we can go and stuff we can do, but it's all lost on him because he's just a baby. He can't play yet. But when I think that I try to remember to enjoy the time now - he's easy and full of joy and innocent. It's like my parent friends tell me - every age has unique advantages and disadvantages. So I'm just trying to enjoy today.

Having a few pregnant friends and reading blogs of recently pregnant women is like walking down (recent) memory lane. Oh lord, the sickness! The progesterone suppositories! The fear of miscarriage! This time last year I was pretty much glued to the bathroom floor with a small piece of cardboard from the Mad Men season 3 DVD box in my hand. With the searing heat, and the unused pool outside my bedroom window taunting me. The summer of '11 is for me officially The Summer That Never Was. But it was the summer that grew me a healthy baby boy, so I guess that's something!

Bumpus had another huge poo explosion in his bouncy seat again this morning. I have tried to wash it to
little avail. Anybody want to buy a used bouncy seat stained with my son's excrement? 10% off!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Doing the hula hula dance

Last night I drove down to San Diego for the birthday party/dance event of an old friend. I knew she'd be shocked and touched that I made the effort with a baby, and she was. It was her 40th, and having just been there and having felt a bit "meh" about the turnout for my party, I knew it would mean a lot.

This girl is an interesting case because seven years ago she had a baby on her own...from a relationship with a married man, who was immediately out of the picture. Somewhere in the last seven years the story has changed to the daughter being the result of a rape, which is just too hideous to comment on. Then when I saw her a few months ago with Bumpus, she said she was so glad I did donor conception because she's now telling her daughter that that's how she was conceived, too. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this...but I guess it's better than telling the girl she was conceived from a violent attack! What she'll do if the dad ever reappears and sues for visitation rights I don't know - but I suppose the odds of that happening are too low to consider really.

The guy who sued me twelve years ago was there. I wonder what he thinks when he sees me with this baby, which he has a couple of times now. I'm sure he's made many a snarky comment. But you know what's stronger than a snarky comment from a bitter ex-friend? A happy, glowing mommy with her adorable baby that everyone wants to hold. Bam.

Speaking of snark and negativity, I have decided to take my stoopit ex to small claims court for the $300 he still owes me from the $700 I lent him to fix his car back in 2010. I have texted him and Facebooked him about it to no avail; apparently he has a new girlfriend now so no longer feels the need to keep in my good graces. Well, I'll be damned if I'm going to let him get away with it, so I am going to start printing out records of everything I have and file before the deadline passes (apparently two years is the statute of limitations, which we'll hit in October). It's time to start thinking like a man, right? A man would never put up with this bullshit, so I won't, either. To court we go!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Life with Bumpus

I figured it was time to do another “slice of life” post, since I know for me these are the things I will want to remember one day: what was it actually like, on a day to day basis, to live with a baby? Things change so fast around here I can barely keep up.

These days there is plenty of “roll around the bed” time in the morning. And the rolling is getting a lot more elaborate – he’s rolling front to back, back to front, and sometimes continuously. If I don’t keep a close eye, he can end up in an entirely different quadrant of the bed than where I left him just seconds ago. I know I keep saying this, but I MUST develop some arrangement so he’s not unattended in the bed anymore; any day now I know he’s going to take a header off the side and then I’ll never forgive myself. But anyway, back to the schedule. So I’ve recognized he needs new kinds of stimulation now, so I try to set up toys and blankets and things just out of arm’s reach that he can try to grasp or at least have fun looking at. He’s only just started to reach for things, grab hold, and sometimes even get them into his mouth. It’s very tentative right now. Kind of reminds me how the nursing has progressed from day one – I used to have to shove my nipple full on into his mouth and he would eventually start weakly suckling at it; now he just rolls over, curls up his legs, squeals with delight, and grabs hold of the boob with both hands, shoving it into his mouth and sucking so hard I think my whole body is going to pull 
inside out. Amazing the difference a few months makes, isn’t it?

So some day he will be grabbing everything and putting everything in his mouth, and that will be a whole new phase. But right now he mostly just stares at interesting objects while in a push up position, and then lets his head collapse onto it if he gets tired. He still gets frustrated on his belly until I come flip him over…and then he immediately flips onto his belly again. He less and less likes to lie on his back. It’s all about curling up into a ball and putting his toes in his mouth, rolling to his side, and finally ending up spread out on his belly.

Eventually we both get sick of lying around in the bed, so I put him in his bouncy chair while I have breakfast/futz around on the computer. Again in the bouncy chair you can see the vast difference a few months makes – in the beginning he could only sit in it a few minutes, and just lounged there, still. Now he actively bounces until I think the thing might flip over, and squeals with delight at the toys and lights on the activity bar. He can stay in it for hours, although he usually starts whining and then crying if he’s sick of it. I try to catch it at the whining phase, though. Believe it or not, very little actual crying goes on here anymore. I think it’s because he has a slow fuse – he can whine with displeasure for a good half hour before working up to a full on cry, and I’ve usually long dealt with the issue before the crying starts. And “the issue” is nearly always just a need for a change of venue: “I’m sick of this – what else can we do?” Right now he rotates between the swing, the bouncy chair, the bed, the glider (for feedings, or periods of holding him sitting up at the end of my lap, while he plays with his toes), and the new thing, lying on the floor on a blanket with some toys strewn around. I guess this is my made up form of “tummy time” which as you know I never really did, officially. I try to get out of the house most days, even just to go to the back yard. Yes, he does get bored – even if he’s bored in his swing inside, he’ll not be bored outside, because there’s so many new things to look at and new sensations. Lately it’s been the best thing ever to take him outside in the swing where he’ll sit contentedly for nearly hours, almost always napping at some point, while I swim or sit in the hot tub. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to swim at all this summer – not knowing if I could have him sit somewhere outside for long stretches. But hooray, he’s just at that right phase of development where he can just hang out.

He still wakes up a lot at night (and by “night” it usually means early morning when most normal people are already awake – don’t mock me). Last “night” he was awake from 7 AM – 9 AM just rolling and cooing and screaming away. I was desperate for some more sleep and found myself wondering, as I often do during those times, how wonderful it would be if there were a magic pill that would make your child sleep. Well, I guess technically there is, but we won’t go there! Eventually he did settle down and went back to sleep for a couple more hours, and today I got up as I have for the last (nearly) five months; not so much ready to get up, but having given up on the hope of getting any more sleep. By ten or eleven I usually just say, “well, I guess I’d better just get up,” and that’s it. I have not once felt fully rested – but luckily I’ve only had a handful of nights of having gotten nearly no sleep at all (and most of those nights were in the beginning). Don’t think for a minute I don’t treasure and appreciate the reality of not having to get up for something, like a job. I think being able to sleep as long as I want has made the difference between enjoying Bumpus’ babyhood and being a sleep-deprived monster.

He blows bubbles. He spits up. He pees. He poops. Although he poops a lot less suddenly than he used to – sometimes now he’ll only poop once a day, or even less, whereas before he was pretty much a pooping machine. However yesterday we had one of those comic parental moments – he had a massive poop explosion all over his bouncy chair, so messy I couldn’t lay him down on anything, so I just put him on the bare bathroom floor in an attempt to change him…but of course he was squirming and rolling all over, and yes, managed to get poop ALL OVER himself. I’m glad at least I caught his hands before he put them in his mouth. Nearly an entire pack of wipes later I managed to clean him and the floor completely. God, I hope this doesn’t happen on the airplane next week! I will bring extra wipes and blankets just in case.

So this is life with Bumpus these days. It’s all about changing the venue and keeping him interested. Life is SO much easier now that he is easily entertained by toys and seats and things – I still don’t quite know what to do with myself when he’s content on his own for an hour or more; I’m still in that newborn mindset that he has to be constantly ON me, always feeding, or crying, or needing something.

Friday, August 17, 2012

That moment

So last night came the moment that for so long I had intensely dreaded, then felt ambivalent about, then finally looked forward to. It was the moment when my old nemesis, The Friend That Unintentionally Makes Me Feel My Life is Shit, tells me she is, at long last, pregnant.

I had been sporadically checking in on her status, sometimes being afraid to ask, since I now understand how intensely private this stuff is (and as month after month passed with no news, I became more reluctant to ask). But I knew after "several" failed IUIs they had been planning an IVF cycle for June (100% paid for by their kick ass executive insurance, grrr) and I imagined it had a good chance of succeeding, since all her labs had always been good and she was ovulating normally.

I had to ask, and her response was funny to me. Just very matter of fact and low key, and then she immediately started talking about all the new TV shows she was looking forward to in the fall schedule. So, no tears, no emotion, no long drawn out tale of the agony of getting to this point (as would have come from me, in her shoes). But she's a very different person than me. I'm not going to say she didn't suffer in her infertility journey...but if she did, she did so silently. But this is her way - as one who is used to things just always working out, she never doubted that this would just work out, too. Which is a great attitude to have, but out of reach for most of us.

Still I have to say how pleased I was that I was genuinely thrilled about her pregnancy. And I'm so glad I just ate my jealousy of her and never let on, because sure enough it's gone now that I have Bumpus, and imagine how rotten it would have been had I let the friendship go because I just couldn't deal with my feelings? I'm pretty ashamed of how I felt about her, and the vitriol I spewed here, but I think I deserve the same deference I would give anyone else in this situation; I was a person who had been horribly disappointed in life, who worked and scraped and struggled for everything I had, and was terrified I'd never get to have a family. Throw in a close personal friend who's always been handed things on a silver platter, and in a particularly vulnerable moment, it's a recipe for disaster.

But here we are a year and a half later and I have this practically perfect little baby, and now she's going to have one, too, and we'll get to raise our kids together, and I'm very excited about this. I don't even have any weird feelings about her husband being a great dad (probably) or their amazing expensive house. Because my life is pretty darned good, and I fought for everything I have, and I earned it, and I'm proud of that. And now we can all put away childish things and move on to the next adventure.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

These are the days

My mother used to complain of always having a feeling of "impending doom". I believe most people feel this way, or at least people with any kind of depression or anxiety. I feel like this less and less as I re-wire my brain away from depressive thinking. But lately things have been so pleasant that I don't mind admitting I occasionally think, "ok, something f'd up has to happen now, right? Someone's going to steal the car, we'll get sick, the house will cave in from termite damage, right? Right?"

But then I remind myself, "no, this is how life is supposed to be. Things are supposed to just work. Things are supposed to be pleasant and enjoyable. You're not supposed to just suffer one calamity after the next." It reminds me of what I think whenever I'm driving up a stretch of hill on a really hot day. Remember when we were kids and the sides of the road would just be littered with overheated cars, steaming away? And now you almost never see that? That's progress. Because today, with advanced technology, things just WORK. It's the way life is supposed to be. It's what we've been working towards for hundreds, even thousands, of years.

I went to a really lovely wedding over the weekend. The drive there was one of the most hellish of my entire driving life - freeway jammed due to major accident, side streets jammed also, 115 degrees the whole way, nearly three hours for what should have been a half hour drive. I arrived all pissed off and frazzled like everyone else. But the wedding was fun and emotional and full of good friends. I stayed until nearly 1 am when I'd planned to go home by 8. And guess what? There were no overheated cars on the sides of the road!

This week my job is to swim in the pool and meet friends for lunch. Yup. That's it. Because I suffered through another event and now I get to enjoy the spoils of it. And I feel no* guilt about that.

*a little

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The backlash

It dawned on me last night that I am right in the middle of one of the many phases of running an event for a living. Now that the insanity of the post-event stuff has nearly wrapped up, it is time for The Backlash. As in, despite the event having been a huge success, despite all the kinks being worked out and it getting smoother and smoother every year, invariably the complaints and general negativity come swooping in anyway. Sigh.

So, in the last two weeks, I have been told: it sucks that there were no food buffets (at last Friday's gig), the parking was all screwed up and everyone was overcharged (at a baby shower last weekend), at an event last weekend in Denver everyone was talking smack about my event and complaining about it (at a wedding yesterday), the runner up to my beauty contest wrote a weird blog about it (online), and one of my musicians has decided my event is "beneath" him and he feels like a "whore" playing it (ummm...if playing for 1000 adoring fans makes you feel like a whore, then I don't know what to tell you). So, this is what I get to deal with every year in the weeks following my event. I think I've gotten pretty good about not taking it personally, and understanding that we all criticize events after we attend them; it's just par for the course. And god knows I've said downright cruel things about friends' events that I would be mortified to find out got back to them. So I understand, too, that many of these things were not meant for me to hear. And they weren't said about me, they were said about the event. There is a difference between the two (although I do forget that sometimes).

In the end I'm laughing all the way to the bank, so do I really care? Nope!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Slow news week

This is a random post full of randomness. Mainly things I've been posting about on Facebook. You know things are slow around here when all I can blog about are regurgitated Facebook posts!

One thing that happened is one of the many tour groups I used to use for my international tours sent me an email about a brand new Peru tour that combines Machu Picchu with a trip to nearby Easter Island. I looked at the dates and prices and started calculating in my brain when this fall I could go - totally forgetting I have an INFANT. I had to rouse myself from my reverie. Oh right, I can't do things like that anymore...for, like, a LONG time. I felt myself folding up this dream into a little square, putting it in an envelope, and tucking it away on a shelf. See you next decade!

Yesterday I got a message from one of my hall of fame board members, telling me that our president has resigned, one month shy of our event, and "does not want to be contacted in any way". She (the messenger) and I have been trading calls the last couple of days. I have been dying to hear what the heck happened - although I think it has to do with all of us voting down his desire to be the event's MC. So he resigns and leaves us hanging. Ugh, men and their stupid egos! I think this is a good development, but it does leave our group in a bit of a quandary - nobody wants to be president, so what happens now? It is half on my mind to be president and whip this thing into shape, although any logical person would say, "f them, cut your losses, your son is your priority now." This is true, but - I just want to fix this thing! Just call me St Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes.

One thought I keep having is "this is my son's childhood". Not that he'll remember these days, but this is it - his childhood, a time he'll look back on his whole life, has begun now. Weird, isn't it???

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Impressions on Breastfeeding

I noticed with great interest several posts on my Baby Center app last night heralding the end of National Breastfeeding Week. They said they were sick of being made to feel guilty for formula feeding their babies.  And I say, amen.  Yes, as one who’s exclusively breast fed this little one (well, except for that first week), I say, leave the formula feeders alone!

You know I’ve had a contentious relationship with the concept of breastfeeding from the beginning.  Obviously I’m not against it – how can you be? But I am against the politicizing of it. And I’m against the religious-like fervor people tend to have about it. Fact #1 – I was formula fed, and this was in the early 70s when formula wasn’t that great, and grew up to be a perfectly healthy, strong individual (as did nearly all of the nearly entire US population that was formula fed in the 20th century). Fact #2 – if breastfeeding is so perfect and awesome for our babies, why do we breastfeeders have to supplement our babies with vitamins for the first six months?  Fact #3 – if breastfeeding is so perfect and awesome for our babies, why do breastfed babies tend to lose weight early on (but make it up later) whereas formula fed babies never have this problem?

I believe some of the hype about breastfeeding being “better”, but not all of it. I think once you start listing advantages, they start piling on – one minute you’re talking about better immunity (ok), but then the next it’s higher intelligence? Nobody’s ever proven that. Again, I was formula fed and I think I’m pretty smart.

Still, here I am, an exclusive breastfeeder, and I enjoy it. I’m glad, grateful, indeed, that I’m able to do it, that it works for us, and that my baby is nice and healthy and gaining the right amount of weight. But as I predicted, it is a bit of a pain in the ass. I will say though, now that I’m in it, I would amend that statement to read feeding your baby at all is a pain in the ass. I’ve often wondered how much more disruptive it would be to always have to get up in the middle of the night and mix up bottles of formula – far worse than just rolling over half asleep and sticking a boob in baby’s mouth. When you’re out and about, to have to have enough formula on hand, keep it the right temperature, etc. Always make sure you don’t run out (horrors). But then there’s the breastfeeding bit. One thing I didn’t anticipate was NEVER being able to wear any clothing that can’t be taken down from the top – or conveniently pulled up in a way that won’t leave you naked in public. Most people may not think about this issue, but for me, a dedicated dress-wearer, it’s a real problem. About 75% of my wardrobe is currently unwearable. I tend to wear the same stretchy tank tops and low-cut V neck T shirts over and over. I’m going to a wedding Saturday and can’t wear anything nice, or vintage, because I have to wear something I can breastfeed in…so here we go with the same stretchy jersey tops.

Then there’s the pumping. Oy. Pumping is a constant source of stress for me. I can see how it’s great for working moms who are away from their babies all day and need to a) keep their supply going, and b) express enough milk for the daycare times. But what the heck do you do when you’re home with your baby all day, but also have to pump? Every time I strap the thing on I find myself in an absolute panic, terrified that just after I pump myself dry the baby will be hungry, and it takes a couple of hours to get a supply going again. So far I’ve managed to avoid this by distraction tactics – pump, and then jump in the car for a couple of hours of errands. But I have a couple of things to pump for this week and I’m having a hard time – tried to pump this morning, but I had just fed the baby so I got literally nothing, and had to just stop. And I know from experience that the day is now shot – he’ll be eating a lot later, and my supply is crap after the morning has passed.

At my four month appointment last week the pediatrician said I can start introducing solids at six months, which I figured would be the plan. Six months is now only about six weeks away. I cannot WAIT for this development. I don’t know how Bumpus is going to take to food, or when – just because I can start at the end of September doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily take to it, and I will certainly continue to breastfeed for many months after (assuming I can, and he wants to). But just the idea of the pressure of me being the baby’s sole food-giver being alleviated somewhat makes me so happy – I don’t have to have that terrible, cave woman fear of “what if he’s hungry and I’m all dried up?” that I currently have all of the time (especially when I have to pump for something). The idea of, “here, eat this mashed banana while I pump” makes me very happy.

Lately he’s been feeding differently than before – he’ll often suckle a little bit and then pull off and stare at me, and then try again, and pull off and stare, etc. I often worry if this means I’m drying up…but this has been going on for weeks and he’s gaining weight, so he must be getting something. What does it mean? Is he just waiting for the let down?  (The Let Down is the name of my all moms emo band, btw). Is he connecting the fact that the boobs are part of my body? Is he distracted by things around him now? Who knows? But it is odd.  He’s also super fussy at the boob, squirmy and constantly pulling off like he forgot how to do it. I am dreading this on the trip to NY/DC in two weeks. A fussy, squirmy baby who’s constantly arching his back, squirming, and whining while you desperately try to feed him is no bueno on an airplane.

So as much as I’m kind of looking forward to someday stopping, I know a big part of me will miss it. One of my favorite things in life is to get home from a day out, strip down to my undies for comfort, and hang out with the baby on the bed, just feeding and watching him roll around and explore. I try to do this most days as a nice little cool down after a bunch of errands. Breastfeeding is definitely a good bonding experience – but I posit that it wouldn’t really matter if he were on the breast or if I were cradling him with a bottle; it’s the closeness that matters.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Too darned hot

We're having a bit of a heat wave here in SoCal - not a monster one like we had a few summers in a row a couple of years ago, but temps ticking into the high 90s - low 100s. Occasionally during the day when I feel unusually cranky or lethargic I try to remind myself, "oh yeah, it's frickin' hot". A certain amount of agitation is bound to go along with extreme heat, no matter how good the circumstances otherwise.

Today I called back an 89-year-old friend of mine who votes in the hall of fame thing I'm involved in; she was confused about the voting process, and I was motivated to tell her about the screw up with the nominees...and discovered that this lady had an even different list than the incorrect one on the website - and had already voted for two people who I had removed for very specific reasons. Good Lord! This is going to be a HUGE disaster, and my reputation is on the line, even though I did everything right. At the next (and last, before our induction dinner/dance in Sept) meeting, I will try to see if I can get a recall going. If not, I'll just have to suffer the consequences. I can't imagine the frustration when the people who bought $70 tickets from me because I told them they were nominated discover they got beat out by people who weren't even supposed to be nominated! Believe me I will tell everyone what happened, after resigning. Right now I feel like the four years I've spent on this board has been a total waste of time. Kind of like ending a bad relationship, really. Can't believe I have to pump like a maniac and leave my son with a sitter all day & night to go to this stupid induction dance, ugh! So that had me all pissed off all day.

Fortunately I had several Anthropologie gift cards to blow so I went and bought $130 worth of stuff for $20. Bam.

I declare tomorrow Pool Day, followed by Beach Day Friday. Tonight I took my new pop-up tent out of the box to test it out before Beach Day - it literally leapt out of the box and attacked me, while I frantically tried to read the directions on how to fold it back up. It stood there in the dining room mocking me until I got enough rage going to pounce on it, wrench it back into a little circle and beat it into submission. Take that, tent!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pulling it together

After the temporary freak out of my last post, I rallied and made it all happen. It was a ton of work - and hard work, physical work, in the hot sun, but I can't tell you how much better it feels to have a house that is in order and not full of over spilling recycling bins and boxes. I had to haul them all out to the shed, and put away all the furniture from my party. I never realized how important things being in order is to me - probably a holdover from my OCD/anxiety days. But especially with a baby, it's super important to be organized and neat. And clean, as my baby's dirty hands from lying on my dirty floor, now indicate.

Part of organizing my event bins turned out to be very lucrative - as often happens when I go through the bins, I discovered a hidden packet of credit card slips from the first night, which included most of the walk-up weekend pass holder payments. After processing them I came up with a whopping $6000, which officially moves me from the "it's going to be another tight year" category to "I might just be able to breathe this time". Which is huge.

In light of this information I decided to convert part of my new life insurance policy to "cash value". It's expensive as heck to do this but could be quite useful later on in life, and my life is always about guarding against future calamity. Because when you make your living off one event a year, you just never know.

Bumpus has finally taken somewhat to the carseat/stroller. As long as he's fed and not particularly agitated, he doesn't cry in the carseat anymore (except today when he woke up hysterical, terrified of the drive through car wash we were in - poor little guy!), and I can actually use the stroller now, which is great considering how uncomfortable baby wearing would be in this heat. I am going to get my hair did tonight and am taking him with me as no sitters were available. My hope is he'll sit peacefully in the stroller. If not, we'll just deal with it!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

It's all too much

I'm having one of those days where I just feel totally overwhelmed. I'm allowed, right?

Here's a list of what's going on.

Bumpus is rolling. A LOT. Which means he's not content just lying on his back - he has to flip over, at all times. But then when he's on his stomach he gets frustrated so I have to flip him over...only to have him flip right over to his belly again. Last night he had me up practically all night doing this over and over. This, and peeing all over the bed, and then pooping all over the bed, and then spitting up all over the bed. I changed his diaper three times; normally I don't change it at all. It was a rough night. And makes me wonder how much longer we'll be able to co-sleep, as much as I love it. If he's going to flail around all night every night I don't know if I can do it.

My house is piled high with boxes from the event that STILL need to be gone through and put away. With all the crap I still have to do, I see continuing to live like this for at least another week.

I have no clean clothes, no food, and no clean dishes. I am out of food for all the animals; the office positively reeks of dog piss from locking her in there every night, even though I put doggy pads down, she often misses, and now I'm out of those, too. All of the garbage cans are literally overflowing. Everything is a mess and dirty. I would kill for a housekeeper right now.

After spending weeks on selecting nominees for this hall of fame group I belong to, and hustling to get these nominees' info to our web designer so they can be posted so the board members can start voting, discovered by accident today that all of the info on the web is all wrong, and people have already voted. It's a total disaster. I'm considering throwing up my hands and resigning from the board.

I have TONS of declined or invalid credit card slips to follow up on - which means calling the customers at home and asking them to recite their credit card numbers over the phone to me, which as you can imagine, makes them very happy. And just for the record, no, there is no way to run credit cards during the event; they have to be run once I get home. It's a real pisser.

The woman who shot my event video footage this year, who got a hotel room out of me ($500), several of her friends in free, and partook of the food I provided for my employees, has informed me that her hard drive has crashed, possibly taking all of my footage with it.

Yesterday someone left a long, whiny message on my machine telling me to move my event off of Labor Day because it's going to conflict with this other event in town that he goes to. I am aware of this event, but didn't think it would be much crossover. I still think this, but it does have me a little worried.

I keep telling myself that everything will get done, everything will get put away and organized, that normal life will resume and I'll be able to focus again. But right now everything is chaotic and messy and it has me very concerned - it's just making every day life very difficult. Now is one of those times when I could really use some frigging help, you know?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Settling back in

Bumpus had his four month checkup/shots today. It went much like the two month appointment. A lot of waiting around, a lot of "I hate this I hate this I hate this" playing on an endless loop in my brain, the baby turning bright purple and screaming when the shots happened, but then immediately forgetting about it as soon as I picked him up. One more of these two month-spaced appointments, then I don't have to bring him in again until March, then not again for another year. Love that. Even driving down the Kaiser portion of Sunset Blvd gives me anxiety. Reason # 5,486 why I should NOT have another baby.

I have not had a chance to rest since the event. There's a lot to do still - I am making my way through a giant stack of credit card orders (LOTS of declines this year, which sucks), I still have over $10,000 in checks to write and mail, and my dining room is full of boxes that have to be sorted and inventoried before being retired to the shed for another year. I figure it will be another week before I'm even close to wrapping things up.

Unfortunately I have to take Bumpus to the child care place tomorrow night as I have a singing gig; same deal Monday night. I am facing the unpleasant reality that I may have to start enlisting strangers to watch him - I've worn out my favors, my usual sitters aren't always available, and the day will come when it won't be practical to drag him out of bed at night to take him over to the child care place. Everything will change when he has a bed time, doesn't want me to leave him, and isn't as portable as he is now. But I know as with parents in general and single parents in particular, child care is going to continue to be a thorn in my side. If only we could leave little kids at home alone like it's the Depression again!

Bumpus is outgrowing the smaller of his onesies. Today he weighed in at 13 1/2 lbs. He has chunked up quite a bit in the last couple of weeks, and loves to lie on his belly with his head up, just looking around. It's hard to say how well he's sleeping - I know he wakes up a lot, but I long since stopped checking the times when he wakes and now just stick a boob in his mouth while half asleep.

I often wonder if I'm doing him a disservice by not setting up a schedule at this age. I know that he could have a bed time, feeding times, and nap times at this stage...but it's still a bit of a free for all around here. It's mainly because I don't have to set a schedule - there's no work schedule he has to conform to, and it'll be years until he goes to any kind of school. Does he need more structure at four months old?