Tag Archives: babies

Man, it’s hot. Get on it, central air!

It’s hot here.  Crazy hot.  Like 101-degrees hot, not even looking at the “heat index” that makes it feel close to 110.  Ick.

I’m sweating like a pig, which is an interesting turn of phrase considering pigs don’t sweat very much.  But alas, I am.  Partly because I come from a long line of heavy perspirators, and partly due to my own internal thermostat being cranked up because I am 12 weeks pregnant.  (Yay!)  So, I am way supah sexayy right now, to be sure.

Our central air was just not doing its job very well.  Our attic fan is going full-bore, but when it’s only got 100-degree air to pull in, there’s only so much it can do to help!  I went around and made sure blinds and curtains were closed as much as possible, especially because our windows are original to the house and thus lack any semblance of energy efficiency.  Then I figured, maybe there’s stuff I’m not thinking of, and took to the inter-tubes to get any other little tidbits of air conditioning efficiency wisdom.  Came across a couple that are helping, I think:

1) Changing the air filter.  This is a bit DUH, right?  But once I read it, I realized we hadn’t changed the filter in, oh, maybe as long as we lived here?  There were a few spares in the garage, so I retrieved one and opened the return duct grate and…. ick.  So it is changed, and I vacuumed out the whole inside of the duct that I could see, and the grate as well. 

2) Run your dehumidifier.  This doesn’t necessarily help the air conditioner very much, but it helps make it feel cooler even though it’s not really cooler.  We have one, though its bucket had become full about a week ago and I neglected to empty it.  So I did that, and it is running, and hopefully it will also make a difference.

But yes, so, I finally got knocked up.  🙂   I’m due January 23, and we have already had an ultrasound a couple weeks ago and a nice strong, fast, 160 beats-per-minute heartbeat was observed, and the baby was measuring perfectly for dates.  Ultrasounds always make me nervous because my very first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and it was discovered I was going to lose the baby on an ultrasound at 10 weeks.  I’ve had so many more ultrasounds go well since then, but that one that sucked really really bad gets me a little freaked out for each one.

We’ve basically found out gender for each of our first two kids, so for this one we’re going to keep it a total surprise.  Not my choice, but Frank wanted a surprise for every kid and I never let him get his way. 

OK, I’m going to go back to laying around and sweating, and occasionally checking the thermostat to see if the temperature has dipped at all.  Stay cool!

Say Cheese!

These days I’ve been passing a little time working in a photo studio.  It’s a fun job and I work with cool people who are mostly much younger than I am.  I’ve learned some neat stuff about portraiture, and a bit more about Photoshop, both which will serve me well as I embark on starting my own photography business.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’ve sort of had a rant building up, and working today I had one family who refreshed the rant in my brain.  They were otherwise very lovely people, a family of four.  Dad, Mom, and two kids — a boy of about 13 (and all the requisite fun and angst that comes with that age) and a daughter of about eight or nine, who was seven different ways of adorable and missing her two front teeth.  The parents were obsessed – OBSESSED – with getting these kids to smile just the absolute perfect way that they wanted them to.  But of course, the 13 year-old was, well, a 13 year-old, and the daughter was obviously self-conscious about her gappage.

These parents were militant crazy about it.  Which I don’t necessarily begrudge them — portraits at my studio are not cheap, and I know they, as every parent that comes through, wants to leave with pictures they can display and show off and that truly capture how beautiful their family is.

Luckily, I and the other photographers I work with are pretty good at pulling that off.  For babies, we know the sounds that get their attention, and that jumping up and down is almost always a surefire way to get a few smiles.  For toddlers and kids through about seven, pretending to tickle their parents is like smile gravy — and the parents always love to play along.  Shit, the parents would donate a kidney if it meant their kid would smile.  Tweens and teens nearly always can talk about video games, or the last movie they saw, and once they relax and realize I’m not as dorky as their parents are, they are usually eager to smile for me.  (Even though, yes, I’m a parent myself and in a handful of years I’ll be reduced to complete dork in my kids’ eyes.) Older kids want to be treated respectfully, and they respond beautifully to it most of the time.  The point is, there are lots of ways to get a kid, nearly any kid, to smile for a picture.  Sometimes it’s being goofy, sometimes it’s building trust, sometimes it’s being chatty, and often it’s a combination of all that and more.

But there are things that definitely, most assuredly, do not work.  Yelling at your kids to smile will never get them to smile the way you want them to.  Telling them that’s it, we are NOT going to Chuck E. Cheese after the pictures will not get them to smile at all.  Threatening them with grounding will not get them to smile, for sure.

So, here’s a bit of advice for parents.  Once your kids are old enough to follow directions, try to relax a little.  If you let your kids relax and have a little fun, your pictures will turn out great.  If you relax and have a little fun, too, they’ll turn out even better.   Try your best not to get frustrated — or at least, not to show your frustration.  It will unsettle the more resilient kids and irreversibly stress out the more sensitive ones.

Then…. there’s the other side of the coin.  The parents of the babies.  Most of the time, they hover and coo and apologize profusely when their baby isn’t the Gerber baby 100% of the time.  We love these parents.  They keep their babies happy, and safe, and they are ten shades of thrilled when their beautiful baby makes us look like photography geniuses.

Of course, not every parent is as easy to work with.  There’s the moms that decide feeding their baby after the shoot is wiser than feeding him before the shoot.  There’s the parents that don’t consider naptimes when they schedule their shoot and, halfway though, say something like “he’s usually so happy, he must be tired, usually he’s napping right now.”  And then, there’s the glaring example of stellar parenting we witnessed recently:  a couple came in with their baby, got her set up for the shoot, and then DISAPPEARED FOR A HALF HOUR.  Without a word, they left and went to get lattes and left their baby in the hands of people they’d never met before.  The photographer started taking pictures, turned around to ask them something, and they were gone.  (The shoot did not continue any further.)

For the two-and-under set, the hints I can offer are simple.  Bring in a child who’s been fed (or even bring snacks with you – I’ve had more than one parent feed their kids Cheerios or Gerber puffs in between pictures).   Make sure your baby isn’t tired or sick.  Then once the shoot begins, pull out all the little tricks to get your baby to smile.

Oh, and if you really want a latte, get it ahead of time.

I hate thinking of posting titles

Even when I know exactly what I’m going to type out, the clever words rarely come for a title.  And if I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to type, well, forget it.

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering of late.  Frank and I have both been wondering if we want to have another baby.  By the time Lane was Jake’s age, I was already pregnant with Jake, after making the deliberate decision to have my IUD removed.  Frank was on board, and we were excited.  These days, the idea of trying to get pregnant has us both looking for the nearest fallout shelter.  Mostly, I waffle on the idea.  I love the idea of having another baby, but am generally freaked out by the reality of adding another body to the madness.   It probably doesn’t help that Lane’s never been the easiest kid on the block, and Jake’s steadily gearing up for the terrible twos (mostly by finding writing implements and leaving his mark on any inappropriate surface at his eye level).  Lane is so interested in babies right now, and breastfeeding, and playing Mommy to her baby dolls, and I know she would be beyond the moon over a new, real baby.  But that’s really little justification for conception.  🙂

And even though the idea of pregnancy sends me into heart palpitations right now, who knows how I’ll feel a couple years, or months, or even weeks from now.  For a long time after Lane was born I couldn’t imagine adding another child to our family.  I just couldn’t even create the mental pictures of what it would be like, of how I could love that baby as much, of why would I want to mess with the perfection that is my beautiful daughter?!?  But then one day, I could.  And a few months later I was pregnant with Jake, and he’s just completely awesome.  So, it will probably happen.  Maybe once Lane starts kindergarten in the fall and the quiet:chaos ratio improves a bit in my favor.

The other big thought-provoking subject for me is what I’m going to be when I grow up.  I’ve toyed with the idea of starting my own photography business to do portraits, or to becoming a birth & postpartum doula, but both require the whole working-for-myself thing, and at this point of my life I’m not feeling the energy to be super entrepreneurial.  I also keep coming back to the idea of going to school to become an RN.  There are loads of programs around for people who already have college degrees; you go to school for about 15 months, give or take a couple depending on the program, and you have another bachelor’s degree and you’re an RN (once you take the certification exam, of course).  And there are a number of schools with programs in reasonable driving distance.  And, I definitely find myself leaning toward state schools for the affordability factor, which reduces my choices to Brooklyn or Binghamton.  Or Long Island… but who in their right mind wants to go to Long Island every day?  There’s also a private college only a few miles away with a program, which would certainly lend itself best to the juggling act that being in school full time would require.

So no decisions there, but I may get started on those prereqs in the meantime at the local community college.  If nothing else, I love taking classes, and can you THINK of a cooler way to spend your time than by taking Anatomy and Physiology I?

Trekkin’ around the state

It’s been a whirlwind few days!

As I mentioned previously, Lane went to Buffalo on Monday.  My dad was here visiting for one night with his fiancee from Sunday to Monday, and as they were preparing to leave, Lane started saying she REALLLLY wanted to go to Buffalo with Grandpa Jerry.  Well, he’s retired, and she wouldn’t miss anything more than a few days of preschool and a dance class.  So she went.  By all reports they had a blast.  Tuesday was an off weather day in Buffalo so they hung out at home and watched movies, and Wednesday they went to the Buffalo Zoo.  (I am happy to report no polar bears died while they were visiting.)

Then, Jake and I drove up there on Wednesday afternoon and got there about 9:00 p.m.  Thursday was general hanging-out-with-relatives, and my dad took Jake to see choo-choos (my dad used to work on the railroad).

I also had a very sweet, very frank conversation with my brother about life stuff and relationship stuff of which I will not violate his confidence by divulging the details here, but it make my heart sigh, in that good way.  He’s a good egg who just needs to sort out his priorities a little and really realize he’s more grown-up and mature than he gives himself credit for.

Then, Friday, the kids and I headed for the Albany area, where we visited with my friend Amanda and her new, perfect little baby, and where Frank rendez-vous’ed with us.  We stayed there last night, and then went to my friend Cari’s daughter’s first birthday party, where we also saw other friends we hadn’t seen in awhile, being caught up in the whole moving-into-our-house-and-getting-it-spiffied-up whirlwind, as we are.  But there are tentative plans to get together with the other friends in the next couple weeks, and for Amanda to visit at some point in November, so we’re getting caught up, socially, which feels good.

And now we are home, and I’m sitting on my own couch, and I’m relishing that we don’t have to travel anywhere until Christmas (unless we choose to do so otherwise, before then).  Not that we won’t be busy – we have a dining room that needs wallpaper stripped and a coat of the “tomato bisque” paint I bought before Thanksgiving, among a couple other rooms that need painting.  But after our last two busy weekends… bring on the paint.  🙂

My birth stories

Patty is participating in a contest where you share your birth stories, through this blog. Well, I love my birth stories, and I love contests, so why not?!? Here are the birth stories for both Lane and Jake’s births. Enjoy! (Just note, they aren’t terribly graphic, but they are a little graphic… so don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

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It’s all out of love

I like to visit fark.com – in general I’m a nice person, and Fark isn’t always full of nice people (OK, rarely) – but I find the discussion threads so interesting. What’s awesome about it is that there are people from all walks of life there — in the last couple of weeks I’ve been in discussions with ER doctors, psychologists, toxicologists, other moms, people involved in the writer’s strike, and a guy who’s trying to figure out a subject for his dissertation. (Of course this is what they claim, I have no way to know for sure… but I tend to be a smart cookie and these people certainly talked a good game.)

Some of the threads are just hilarious – like this one about Wikipedia. The rampant and intentional spread of misinformation had me in stitches.

Some spiral downward pretty quickly – like the ones that debate race, gender issues, circumcision, breastfeeding, religion, or politics… I steer clear of those. OK, maybe not the breastfeeding ones. 😉 But I tend to focus on the fun threads.

There was one recently that focused on boogers, and I mentioned that I have, in desperation, used my mouth to suck snot out of my son’s nose. He had a bad cold, and the bulb syringes I had simply did not form a good seal on his nose. He needed to nurse, and I was desperate to calm him. So, yeah, it was gross but I did it without hesitation. And after having to do it a couple more times, I went and bought every type of bulb syringe I could find in hopes of finding one that would do the job easily and without making his nose bleed. Luckily, I did find one, and I haven’t had to suck snot since.

Now granted, there are a lot of single, kidless, basement-dwelling people on Fark. People were shocked. Shocked! Swore they could never do something so gross.

But at the same time, probably a half-dozen parents also said, yeah, they’d had to do it too. One guy talked about how he jerry-rigged a turkey baster to do the task.

It may stand as one of my favorite Fark threads. Intellectual discussion actually abounded over boogers. Awesome.

Seriously though, and this is approximately how I tried to explain it to the noobs at Fark. Nobody thinks they would ever have to do something so gross. My son was about five months old when the need arose. He was small and helpless and hungry and upset and he could barely breathe through his sobs and I was desperate to help him. It truly is amazing what you will do for a little person in your lap, who is the embodiment of all your love and life and devotion.

Sleep, sleep! My kingdom for some sleep!

This is really starting to take its toll.

I’ve mentioned previously, my daughter is a night owl.  Often she isn’t asleep until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m.  Rare is the night she’s asleep before midnight.

Bedtime is a struggle and it gets me keyed up.  By the time I’m ready to fall asleep, Jake (the 10 month-old) is up to nurse.  I’m clearly not getting enough solids in him because he’s up way too much to nurse, in my foolhardy opinion.  But these days he’s only mildly interested in baby food, preferring foods he can feed himself.  But those end up more on him than in him.  And the cycle continues.

So, I’m up with him, as I’ve said, somewhere between two and a hundred times a night.   And then they are both ready for the day around 11:00 a.m., which is late enough for me to get a fair night’s sleep usually, but not nearly enough to feel well-rested, especially since Jake’s up so often.

I probably really need to just yank Lane out of bed at 8:00 a.m. a couple mornings in a row and get her shifted to a different schedule.  I just so do not have the willpower to get myself up to do it… and the cycle continues.  I really shouldn’t have the audacity to bitch about it when I could probably fix it with a little effort (and a lot of coffee).

Regardless, I’m tired.