Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memoriam

Tonight I was doing laundry after our short three-day trip to San Diego (post to come) and I found myself hanging up my husband's ABU uniforms in our closet. As I smoothed the wrinkles flat and felt the rough fabric under my fingers I said a little prayer for all the other women who have come before and will after, who would give anything to be hanging up their husband's uniform for him to wear the next day.

These women, the men they loved and lost, and the families that have holes in them are the reason for this day as well as the reason I am able to sit here and post this evening.

With all of our celebrating, grilling, partying and traveling for the long weekend I hope that everyone took a moment to remember that the backbone and strength of our country has come from them - those who sacrificed all they were called to give.

I honor them, thank them, and pray for the day that I will be able to thank them in person.

Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Becoming one of 'those' people

Yesterday Brooke and I were at Sprouts Farmer's Market bright and early to pick up our produce for the week (Brooke must not be mine because she likes to wake up with the sun), and when the cashier asked me what I was doing with my four pounds of organic apples I was thrilled. Even before my reply I was basking the glow of her certain awe.

"I'm making her baby food," I replied.

Then she twisted her face up and said the one thing I wasn't expecting.

"Ohhhh, you're one of those."

It wasn't followed by a goofy grin to indicate she was just good-naturedly chiding me. Just straight-faced condescension.

To say I was taken aback was an understatement. Sprouts is part of the holy trinity for organic-cooking, vegan-loving, gluten-free soccer moms all across the west (along with Whole Foods and Sunflower Market) and I didn't expect to get anything other than a friendly nod of approval at my buying and cooking choices.

Had I really become one of 'them'? And who are 'they'? Are they pod-women? Alien life-forces put here to make those who buy Gerber food and Huggies feel bad about themselves? Did I want to be one of them at all?

The answer is that I'm proud to be a part-time member of 'those' people.

I come from a Republican voting, SUV-driving, meat and potatoes kind of family. When I bring up multi-vitamins and low-VOC paint to my parents they gently roll their eyes, just as they did when I refused to eat steak as a kid. I could tell my mom checked out every time I talked about the gorgeous organic bedding and carriers that we bought for Brooke's arrival, and my Dad looked at me like I was insane when we declared our intent to cloth diaper.

The cloth diapering didn't necessarily start from a desire to save the planet. I was cloth diapered as an infant because I was allergic to disposables. In fear that Brooke may inherit my skin sensitivity I thought it would be smart to prepare for the worst, so I looked into cloth diapers. The world of safety pins, plastic pants, and leakage is a thing of the past. Cloth diapers are amazing now, and just as easy as disposables. I was sold from the first cloth diaper website I perused, and the fact that I managed to sway Corey in that direction is testament to the fact that they are easy and far less gross than you are thinking if you haven't used them.

At this point the environmental factor and the 'granola-ness' of the situation was really icing on the cake, but I thought it was silly to stop there.

With little effort or problem we have stepped up our recycling, purchased organic clothing and food when possible, hung a clothesline, stopped spraying pesticide inside the home, and we're even considering a hybrid SUV for our future car purchase.

But, before you decide that I'm about to start campaigning for Al Gore to run the world I should let it be known that our house uses cushy, soft toilet paper that probably took ten acres of rain forest to make, we use disposable wipes on Brooke's dirty little baby butt (Corey put his foot down when it came to cloth wipes), and my carcinogenic candles are burning in the kitchen right now while the dishwasher runs at peak hours filled with nasty old Electrasol and Jet-Dry.

It's true that I am making Brooke's baby food from fresh, organic Gala apples, but I also have a cupboard full of Gerber that I got on sale right before she was born. And while we love our cloth diapers during the day, hippie moms would shun us from the playgroup because we use disposables at night (the diaper rash is horrible if we don't).

And while the label still irks me, the nice part of the 'them club' is that you don't have to be a member all the time. It's not an all-or-nothing type decision as I choose to believe that every little bit helps and any smart and healthy choices you make are beneficial, no matter how many hours you let your infant chew on the rattle that fell on the floor *twice* when you haven't mopped since Monday. Not that I would do that. I mean, c'mon, I am one of 'them' after all.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Month four

Brooke’s fourth month of life flew by, although somehow the days still seem neverending. Her colic finally resolved this month, and although she is now what our research and doctors dub a ‘high-need’ baby, she is getting used to the idea that she’s not going back in the dark comfort of her gestational life and she had better get used to the world.
Right at three months she started rolling from her back to her belly, which is a bit backwards, and still hasn’t rolled the other way unless you count a few random tumbles. Her doctor thinks she likes the pressure on her belly since she still has gas issues so she has no reason to roll back, and I agree since she likes to sleep on her side and stomach too. I am constantly trying to roll her back over.
This month she has started taking naps in her crib, although she still sleeps exactly thirty minutes each time. It’s like the kid has an egg timer in her diaper because she rarely sleeps more than five minutes longer or shorter EVER. She has also transitioned from sleeping in her Rock N Play Sleeper, which was the best thing in the world for a while, but it has been hard to adjust to not being in because it was at an incline and her new sleeping arrangements are flat.
The kid sucks at sleeping, which means mommy doesn’t get much either, but we’re hoping that as she gets used to sleeping flat (and gets older and wiser) she will figure out how much fun sleeping is and will do it for longer than 90 minutes at a time at night.
This month Brooke got to meet her fantastic Godmother, who is also my fantastic Aunt, and also got to spend some more time with her Grandad and Gramma and her Uncle Mikey. Her brother Sprocket is also logging some more quality time with the munchkin and is starting to warm up to her now that she can grasp and give him treats.
Her hearing aids have transitioned into just another part of life by now, and she loves getting them put in when she wakes up in the morning and after naps. I also love listening to her Daddy read her bedtime story every night and knowing that she can hear every word.
As for the details: according to the doc at four months your growth starts depending more on your genetics and less on your eating habits so she’s making her way out of the super high percentiles and into normal baby territory. She weighs 14 pounds and 10 ounces, is just shy of 25 inches long and her head is 16.5 inches around, all of which are squarely in the mid-60s percentile-wise.
I will have to write a post about the baby things that have worked for us, and the things that have been a waste of time and money, but one thing I cannot exude enough love for is our BumGenius cloth diapers. Everyone who thinks that cloth diapers are only for birkenstock wearing hippies or smug, ‘green’ celebu-tards is completely wrong – we have NEVER had a blowout with a cloth diaper, but if Brooke poops in a disposable it is more likely than not all over her clothes. They are pricey, but overall some of the best money spent and I get the peace of mind knowing that she’s not sitting in some crazy chemical beads that are the same ones I find in my purses’ dustbags.
This month Brooke is looking forward to meeting her Granny (Daddy’s mom) and her Great Aunt who are flying out from Tennessee next weekend, celebrating her Uncle Mikey’s birthday with the family, and gaining another four pounds. I am looking forward to her being able to sit up by herself (which we are working on) and start making some consonant sounds, which she is behind on due to her hearing loss. We are taking correspondance courses through the world famous John Tracy clinic and are hopeful that we can curb her language delay. We are also researching a private school in the area that includes infant speech therapy, but we’re unsure about the $14k tuition for a four month old.
Overall, month four was a pretty good month and it only seems to be getting better. Perhaps we’ll survive this with some semblance of sanity after all.