Sunday, December 30, 2007


Wild Man is down for a much needed nap, and I should be using the time to work on my syllabus. I haven't worked much in the past week, primarily because Wild Man has been out of school for the holiday, but mainly because I haven't wanted to. I have to admit that while my dissertation is always in the back of my mind, I have enjoyed this week free from work with my family. We've spent the mornings in our pjs, gone shopping, read books, introduced Wild Man to "Finding Nemo," taken a trip to the nearest big city to visit the Natural History Museum, and cooked lots of good things. All of this family time has led to thoughts of another baby, which has prompted thoughts of timing.

C & I are have recently decided that we will have a second child, and to be honest this was a tough decision for me. Before Wild Man was born, I assumed we'd have 2 children. I grew up with 2 siblings, as did C, and neither one of us could imagine having only 1 child. Once Wild Man was born, however, I was no longer so sure I wanted a second child. Our life is very full, with 2 careers (or almost 2) and a child; I wasn't sure how a second child could fit. On top of that, I had no idea how hard mothering an infant would be, and I simply couldn't imagine mothering an infant while mothering an older child. C, on the other hand, has always known he wanted 2 children. He has been the one starting the discussions about a second child, which is ironic considering I was the one who initiated almost all the discussions about having Wild Man. For a few months, it felt like we changed places. As I've watched Wild Man grow and change, I've come around to the idea of a second child. As much as I can't imagine mothering an infant and the rambunctious Wild Man, I also can't imagine never experiencing the joys of having an infant in the house again. But one nagging question remains (well, actually, quite a few remain, but this is the most nagging): when do we have a second child?

This has question has been so much on my mind that I actually tried to map out the major events in our life the other night. It looked something like this:

  • Spring 2008: C on job market; C gets job offer (at least I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one).
  • Summer 2008: We move.
  • Fall 2008: C begins new job; Wild Man starts new school; M frantically tries to finish her dissertation; Wild Man turns 2.
  • Spring 2009: M defends her dissertation.
  • May 2009: M graduates.
  • Fall 2009: M goes on job market, hoping to either find a job close to C's current job or to get a partner placement at C's school (assuming, of course, that we like the location of C's job); Wild Man turns 3.
  • Spring 2010: M gets job offer and/or partner placement.
What I've outlined above is the ideal situation; if C doesn't get a job and he continues adjuncting at the local SLAC, life becomes somewhat more complicated as I will feel it necessary to go on the market in the Fall 2008 rather than waiting until I'm finished with the dissertation. So, where do we fit a second child into all of this? I'm not sure. If we wait until the end of my outline--the Spring 2010--Wild Man will be 3 1/2, and C and I will be in our mid-30s. I know that isn't so old, but those ages concern me for several reasons. First, I don't relish the thought of having teenagers when I'm in my 50s--I just don't. Second, there is a 4 year age gap between my brother and me and a 6 year gap between my sister and me. I wasn't particularly close to either of them until I was an adult; in fact, my sister and I hated (I am not exaggerating) each other until I was about 18, and then we tolerated each other until I was about 22, at which time we become closer. I would say we're close now because we've bonded over other family problems, but we really don't have anything in common. If we weren't sisters, we probably wouldn't be friends.

Ideally I'd like to get pregnant with a second child when Wild Man is 2, so that they would be about 3 years apart. My niece and nephew are 3 years apart, and they are really close. That means that I would need to be pregnant in the Spring of 2009, or thereabouts. That also means that I could either be pregnant or have a newborn when I go on the market for the first time. So the ideal spacing makes other things complicated. If we wait until I have a job, we might not have a baby until 2010 or 2011, which means there would be 5 years between Wild Man and Baby 2. I don't know which makes more sense, and what really bothers me is that I don't know which feels right. I feel like we're approaching a second child so much differently than we did Wild Man, and that also bothers me. With Wild Man, we knew we were in a good place in terms of our degrees, in a good location, and ok financially, so we let emotion make the decision. We waited until it felt right for both of us. I want to be able to let emotion make this decision, but I feel like there are too many other factors to consider. I hate uncertainty, and I hate feeling like I'm not in control of my life, which is how I feel right now.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Good Day

Christmas was a good day for our family. It was quiet and low-key, which is exactly what we had hoped for. We took advantage of the fact that Wild Man still doesn't really know what Christmas means yet, and we had a leisurely morning before we opened presents. I think that next year he will be so excited that we will have to drag him away from the presents! So this year, we had a nice breakfast and played with our cats before opening presents. Wild Man wasn't too sure about ripping off paper. He kept looking at me as if to say, "But Mommy, you've been telling me not to open these boxes all week." He did, however, get a kick out of passing gifts to C and me. Actually, rather than handing them out, as I asked him to do, he kept stacking them all up, until he had a rather large pile in front of him. Then he knocked them all over, laughing uproariously the entire time. It was as if he had an enormous set of wrapped blocks to play with!

Later in the day some friends came over for dinner. Wild Man had lots of fun playing with Supadiscobaby, and C and I enjoyed talking to Supadiscomama and Supadiscoadaddy. All in all it was a really great day.

I hope everyone in the blogging world had an equally happy Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

I need a nap

I think that says it all.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

5 pages written, but where do I put them?

Writing a dissertation has given me a sense of freedom as a writer that I haven't ever experienced before. When I have written papers in the past, I have found that it is very difficult for me to write out of sequence. I generally have to start with the introduction and move through the entire paper linearly. This means that when I'm stuck, I'm stuck as I can't just work on a different section. I have consciously worked against this since I've been writing my dissertation, and it has worked. I have had a lot more success revising and have added entire sections while writing. It has, however, created an unexpected problem.

Last week I had a really great idea to apply some of Gillian Brown's ideas regarding home and Uncle Tom's Cabin to The House of Mirth. I had no idea where this would fit with the rest of the chapter, but I decided to go with it. Almost 5 pages later, I still have no idea where it will go, but I know it enhances my own argument regarding home, space, and ownership. I guess this isn't such a bad problem to have!

I love you

I've been trying to teach Wild Man how to sign for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, my older brother is deaf, so I really want Wild Man to know how to communicate with his uncle. Second, toddlers can learn how to sign before they can learn how to talk, so although Wild Man is talking a lot, he knows several signs for words that he hasn't yet spoken. Signing is a great way to help him learn how to communicate with us. As an added bonus, I get to practice my signing since I generally only sign when I'm with my brother, and C is finally learning to sign.

For the past week or so, I've been teaching Wild Man how to sign "I love you." The sign it self is fairly straightforward, so I know he can do it. He hasn't, however, done it yet, although he has shown a lot of interest in watching me do it. Last night, as C was changing his diaper and getting on his pjs, Wild Man suddenly said "Love yoooo" and did the sign. C was speechless, and my unsentimental husband was a bit choked up. I was standing across the room folding clothes, and I got to witness the entire exchange. Wild Man has said this to both of us, but before he's always been repeating what we say to him. Last night, he said it to his father completely unprompted. It was such a beautiful moment between father and son, and I'm so happy I got to share it with them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A nice surprise

C's aunt and uncle (well, really his aunt) sent Wild Man a $15 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble for Christmas. This is a surprising and unexpected gift. We do see them whenever we visit Home State, but we're not particularly close. Yetta doesn't really like the aunt, and no one really likes the uncle (he is very old-school Southern, and frankly, I'd prefer not to have to hear his constant racial slurs and misogynist statements, let alone have Wild Man exposed to them). That said, they are always included in family gatherings, and I quite like Aunt Dixie (yes, that is her name). We're both something of outsiders in the family (I'm not from the Home Town, and Dixie is the woman that Earl left his first wife for), so we usually end up in the corner chatting. We don't have much in common beyond our outsider-ness, but that actually gives us a lot to talk about. I am very touched by the gift because it shows that Dixie actually thought of something we'd like for Wild Man to have: books. We will definitely enjoy spending the gift certificate sometime soon.


My mother-in-law officially retires this Friday, and I'm very excited for her. She will get a much deserved break. That said, she told C when they spoke last night that she plans to come visit us about every 6 weeks or so. I don't know if I can handle that. Seriously. There are lots of advantages to having her visit that often.
  • Wild Man would get to see one of his grandparents on a regular basis.
  • She and I might be able to develop a closer relationship.
  • It would be nice to see family often.
  • We would have regular access to a reliable, trustworthy, and free babysitter.
I told C that if this happens we would have to have a serious conversation about guidelines and boundaries she would be expected to follow. Off the top of my head these would include
  • respecting our life choices
  • not questioning our parenting choices/decisions
  • not giving Wild Man a lot of junk food/fast food crap to eat
  • refraining from bad mouthing me to C (yes, she continues to do this even though he has repeatedly asked/told her not to.)
  • not involving us in family drama
That is just what I can think of off the top of my head. Suffice to say, such visits would be welcome, but they would also be really stressful. Maybe she'll just come every 3 months or so. . .

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stupid, stupid name

I have a doctor's appointment today--my annual check-up. Thus, I've been researching various forms of birth control since I know my doctor is going to want to take me off of the mini-pill now that I'm not breastfeeding so much. In my research, I ran across this article on moms ingesting their placentas to stave off the "baby blues." I don't know what I think about the placenta ingesting, but I do know that I think of the term the "baby blues." I think it is a stupid, stupid name. It trivializes and dismisses what most women experience after giving birth. I do not think that all women experience post-partum depression, but I do think that all women suffer from the drastic changes that occur in their bodies as a result of giving birth. I recently read an article (I can't remember where) that more accurately explained what happens in a woman's body. We are not, in fact, hormonal after giving birth. We are the opposite of hormonal as our bodies literally suffer from a complete lack of hormones. All the hormones we've been accustomed for 9 months suddenly stop to be replaced by newer, but drastically fewer, hormones. This is exacerbated by the lack of sleep that we experience after child birth. I could go on and on about this, but I will only make myself angrier. Suffice to say, to call what a woman experiences after giving birth the "baby blues" is inaccurate, dismissive, and just plain stupid. I know the emotions that I experienced (both good and bad) could not be described by that term. I wish people, particularly doctors, would stop using that term because I believe the term only encourages women to deal with their emotions on their own rather than seeking help. We believe "Oh, I only have the baby blues; things will get better," when in fact many women could be suffering from something much more serious.

200 Posts

I have made it to 200 posts, which seems like something of an accomplishment to me. I've been thinking a lot about why I blog and how this blog has evolved over the year and a half that I've been blogging. I started blogging as a way to motivate myself to get more work done. I wrote in my first post that I wanted to use the blog as a way to brainstorm and journal about my research and my writing. While I have done that on occasion, I quickly noticed that the blog became more of a journal for me (albeit a very different form of a journal, as I am surprisingly aware of that this will be read every time I post). I was 6 months pregnant when I began blogging, and I was in the middle of revising my dissertation proposal. C was finishing his dissertation and preparing to go on the job market for the first time. Needless to say, our life has changed drastically since then.

Since Wild Man's birth, I've blogged most often about my life as a mother, first to an infant and now to a toddler. I have blogged less often about my research and my writing, although that topic has become one that is increasingly on my mind. So, for now at least, I will continue to blog about what ever is on my mind, as I do find the blogging that I do is helpful to me for a variety of reasons.

Here's to another 200 posts. . .

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sleeping on the floor

Wild Man continues to experience some separation anxiety in the middle of the night, but we're dealing with it. No one in our family is sleep deprived, but it is rare that any one sleeps straight through the night without waking up at all. We can't figure the latest problem out, as Wild Man is making progress in other areas with sleep. He takes all of his naps in his crib now, which is a huge accomplishment for him and for us. In fact he is sound asleep in his crib at this very moment. He does, however, routinely wake up at 1:00 hysterically crying. C goes in there (we've decided recently that he will take the middle of the night wake ups, and I'll handle the early morning ones since I can't seem to sleep past 7:00 anyway). He leans over the crib and hugs Wild Man, who almost immediately lies himself back down and pulls at his blanket. C rubs his back for a few minutes, and Wild Man is generally asleep in about 5 minutes. C, however, cannot leave the room. Every time he gets close to the door, Wild Man wakes up and cries. As soon as C steps away from the room, Wild Man calms down and goes back to sleep. Generally C has to stay in there until Wild Man is sound asleep, about 30 minutes. So C has taken to lying down on the floor to wait him out. Now, my husband can sleep anywhere at anytime. I really wish Wild Man had taken after him in the sleep department, but unfortunately, he seems to have taken after his light-sleeping mommy. C inevitably falls asleep on the floor of Wild Man's room, so I've gotten into the habit of trying to stay awake so I can go in and get C. I mean, I really don't want my husband to sleep on the floor all night. Plus, I don't want Wild Man to think he has to have his father sleep on his bedroom floor every night. Last night, however, I was exhausted from grading and writing all week, and I'm battling a cold. As soon as C left our room to help Wild Man back to sleep, I feel back asleep myself. And I didn't wake up until I heard C returning to our bed at 7:00 this morning. Yes, that's right, not only did I sleep for 6 hours straight (I can't remember the last time that happened), but C slept 6 hours straight on the floor of Wild Man's room. When that sunk in, I was torn between laughing and apologizing. I feel bad, but I feel so much better after that great night's sleep!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Talking up a storm

Wild Man is talking up a storm, as my mother would say. Most of the time C & I struggle to understand him, and often he just jabbers away, without really saying anything. He says quite a few words on a regular basis, and here are a few of them.

baberry = blackberry, which is his newest favorite food
Meemee = Mommy
tee = tree
bana = banana
mo = more
peese = please, which he also signs usually unprompted
tan yooo = thank you, which he doesn't say unless prompted
Luwu = Lulu, which is one of the many nicknames for our cat Minnie
Pur = Pearl, our other cat, also known as the cat who plays with Wild Man
soo = shoe
atside = outside

On top of talking so much, he is also beginning to understand a lot more. When we tell him it is time for dinner, he goes to his high chair, for example. It is really amazing to watch him process all of these things and start to figure out the world. As C said the other day when Wild Man began saying "baberry," he is just beautiful.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Turtle Night Light

While we were visiting family over Thanksgiving, C's mom, whom I'm going to start calling Yetta (this is the name she has her grandchildren call her, and in case you were wondering, no we're not Jewish.), gave Wild Man a book; she does this frequently, and she always chooses beautifully illustrated books and often goes out of her way to attend author signings and always writes something to Wild Man in the book. I love books, so I treasure any book she gives him. I do put most of them away until I think he can really appreciate them, but we often take them out and read them to him. We do not, however, let him play with these particular books. When C showed me the book, he immediately showed me that it was signed by the author. I said something like "Oh, how cool. We have to be sure to put this in a place where Wild Man can't get to it." Yetta, who was in the room, said "Just be sure not to exchange it like you did that turtle night light I gave you at your wedding shower." I was so taken aback that I quickly responded "We never exchange books unless they are books we already have, and I don't exchange things unless I tell the person who has given me the gift." It didn't occur to me to respond to the implicit accusation in her statement; I was more concerned with reassuring her that I would never return anything so special. I promptly forgot about the statement until it came back to me yesterday while washing dishes. I suddenly recalled the statement and turned to C and asked "Did your mom really say that?" He burst into laughter at the randomness of my question, but he said she did, in fact, ask that question. He said she had mentioned it to him separately during the visit and he had to ask her what the hell she was talking about.

Here is what the hell she was talking about. In the month before C and I got married some 7 (yes, that's right 7) years ago, Yetta's friends (whom I had never met) threw me a wedding shower. Yetta gave me a very nice gift basket, which included a linen handkerchief embroidered with the date of the wedding and my initials (well, my married initials; she ignored the fact that I was going to hyphenate my last name), some perfume, a pretty slip (yes, it was weird to get lingerie from my future mother-in-law), and some body lotion. She also gave me a turtle night light as a separate gift. It looked something like this, but it was much brighter and much uglier. I had seen the light before on shopping trips with her, so I knew it was inexpensive and that she had bought it at a Wal-Mart. She didn't spend more than $10 on it. I assumed at the time (and still assume) that she thought I'd like it because I have a turtle. Well she was wrong, so I asked her if I could exchange it for something C and I needed more than a night light. She said yes and didn't seem at all upset. And then out of the blue she brings it up over 7 years later in connection to a gift she got for Wild Man. As I said, I didn't respond to the statement at the time because I was more focused on the book, but I really want to call her and say "What was that about?" Has it really bothered her for 7 years, or did she suddenly remember it? Am I really expected to keep a gift that I don't like and won't use to make her happy? Isn't it better that I politely asked her if I could return it for something I thought would be more useful (I have no idea what I exchanged it for--it was 7 years ago!)? Or is this simply another example of my ungratefulness? I have no idea what to think.

I am, however, seriously tempted to buy her a turtle night light for Christmas and see what she does with it . . .

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dissertation Frustration Continued

In recent weeks, I've made considerable headway on my Wharton chapter. I have about 30 pages written, and at the sentence level, it is well written, if I can say that without sounding pretentious. I have even managed to clarify my argument and figure out how this particular chapter fits into the rest of my dissertation (which, of course, has yet to be written). I met with my advisor on Monday to ask some professional sorts of questions, and I gave her the first section of the chapter. I didn't want her to read all of what I had for several reasons. I wanted her to read this section to make sure my argument, which I finally felt like I had clearly articulated, made sense. I didn't expect to hear from her for a few weeks, so I made plans to continue working. Yesterday I checked my box at school and discovered that she had found time to read this section and had made extensive comments. I opened the packet with excitement only to want to throw it across the room. She made several good suggestions, which I've spent the better part of today adding, but she also questioned my reading of Homi Bhabha, although she didn't question my use of him. She instructed me not to worry about this, but to continue writing, telling me we'd deal with it when we got back to the chapter as a part of the larger dissertation.

Yesterday was not a good day for lots of reasons, and this particular lengthy comment made it worse. To be honest, I didn't read the comments in much detail because I was upset. I have worked hard to get to a point where I'm writing everyday and where I'm not feeling disillusioned with myself and my project. To make things worse, I spent the better part of yesterday in a series of department meetings. In one meeting, in which this year's search committee gave a presentation on the candidates they plan to interview at MLA, a senior faculty member made a comment that I didn't understand during the question and answer part of the meeting. I raised my hand and asked for clarification, and he responded to me in a very snippy way. I wondered if I perhaps should not have asked that question. A few moments later another faculty member, who had had her hand up at the same time I had my hand up, was called on, and she said "I wanted to ask the question that M already asked." She spoke to me afterward and told me my questions was completely valid and not to worry about the cranky Senior faculty member.

The point of that lengthy digression was to say that I didn't have much time to devote to the comments, and thus, I felt a vague sense of unease and panic regarding my dissertation all day yesterday. C and I had a long talk about it last night, and he encouraged me not to get discouraged and to follow my advisor's advice. He reasoned it couldn't be a huge issue if she told me not to fix it now but to move on. He said, "Don't lose your momentum, M. You're making progress. Keep it up." So this morning I sat down and carefully read my advisor's comments and she didn't call my reading of Bhabha into question as she suggested it needed to be more nuanced. It seems I didn't address one point that would strengthen my own argument. So after spending yesterday in a total panic, I realized that my dissertation doesn't suck but that I needs some fine tuning. I managed to move on and get through another complicated section today about domesticity and money. With any luck, I will still be able to finish this chapter by the beginning of next semester and start on the next one. I anticipate, however, that dissertation frustration will be a recurring topic in the blog.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sleep, Blissful Sleep

Sleep has continued to be an issue with Wild Man. For some reason he doesn't seem to want to be alone. He will sleep soundly from about 7:30 until 2 or so, and then he wakes up in a complete panic. He goes back to sleep fairly easily, but as soon as either C or I leave his room (I have stopped nursing him in the middle of the night unless he is sick) he wakes up and cries. Sunday night I sat on the floor of his bedroom floor for 45 minutes before he was sound asleep. Needless to say I was tired yesterday.

Last night, however, Wild Man slept from 7:45 until 7:20 this morning. I went to bed around 9:30, full anticipating that I would be woken up at some point. I woke up at 3 and thought, "That's odd; he hasn't woken up yet." I then promptly went back to sleep until almost 7, and then I was in a bit of a panic. I mean, seriously, this is way unusual behavior for my kid. Convinced something had happened to him, I tiptoed into his room and saw his sleeping soundly, on his tummy with his butt up in air tightly clutching a blanket my mom made for him. Since I was awake, I decided to take advantage of the quiet and have some "me time." I made a pot of coffee, fed the cats, and finished reading a book. By the time I was done with my coffee, I heard Wild Man talking to himself on the monitor. I walked into his room, and he was still lying on his tummy. He saw me and said "Hi, Mama!" It doesn't get much better than that does it? Immediately after he insisted on greeting C with a "Hi, hi, hi, hi Dada!"

Monday, December 03, 2007

When is M going to stop breastfeeding?

So I promised some info on the recent Thanksgiving trip, and this is the statement I want to start with. C (and my older sister) heard this statement several times during our trip to Home State, and I, the one who breastfeeds, didn't hear it once. My friend Sarah pointed out that I likely didn't hear it because those asking it realize that the question would irritate me, and she is correct. Following her advice, I'm trying to see the people who put this question to C as aware of my feelings, but admittedly, I'm having a hard time with that. First, why do so many people care? I mean Wild Man is only 13 months old--is it so offensive to our family to see me breastfeed my 13 month old that they have to ask C this question not once, but several times. I'd also like to think that if this question were phrased in the right way that I might not get angry. My dad, for example, asked my sister: "How long do most women breastfeed?" which is very different than the above question. If he had asked me this question, I would have been happy to have a conversation about what Wild Man's pediatrician recommends and what the American Association of Pediatrics suggests. But he didn't ask me this question. My mom, in her ever so tactful way, did ask me a related question: "Do you mean you don't give him a bottle at all any more? I'd think that would be an easier way to get him to sleep than letting him nurse . . ." I ignored her because, really, what else was I supposed to do?

But all the questions have got me thinking about when we will wean, and I can't come to any decisions. I have a lengthy (about 8 days) research trip coming up this summer, so I know I will have to wean by then. But beyond that, I don't want to think about it. Furthermore, I'm not under any illusions either--I want to keep nursing my son. I think he would be fine without it, but I wouldn't.

But the bottom line is why do so many people care about my breasts?

I've been tagged!

Kate, at a k8, a cat, a mission, has tagged me with the 7 random facts meme. It's a good thing too since I've been a bit of a blogging slacker lately. Here goes . . .

1. My first name is mispronounced--thanks to my mother. She insists that one vowel should be pronounced as another vowel. While it makes for a prettier name, I'm constantly correcting people and then explaining why I pronounce my name as I do. In fact, I often misspell my name just so I don't have to tell people how to pronounce it!

2. I am dyslexic when it comes to right and left. I know the difference between the two (I swear!), but I constantly say right when I mean left. Surprisingly I have a great sense of direction, but I'm not always the best person to give directions.

3. I once shoved a button up my nose. I was 3, and my older sister thought it would be funny to give me a tiny button to play with. I promptly shoved it up my nose. In fact, I remember the sensation of putting the button up my nose. I got it so far up there that my mom had to take me to the emergency room to get it out. As I recall, my sister got a spanking as a result. Perhaps that explains something about our relationship.

4. My sister tried to trade me for a bike to the little girl down the street. My mom tells this fabulous story as often as she can. My sister, who was 6 at the time, came home from school and promptly went to get the infant M out of her crib (I was maybe 4 months old). My mom caught her as she was walking out the door with me and, reasonably, demanded an explanation. My sister calmly explained that her friend down the street had offered to trade her brand new two-wheeler for me, as she didn't have a little sibling. My sister said, "I already have a little brother, and I need a new bike." Luckily, my mom saved me. I don't know if she ever got that new bike. . .

5. I have always known sign language. My older brother is deaf, and I learned to sign as I learned to talk. I can't imagine not knowing how to sign.

6. I long to live in a big city. I never have mind you, but I have visited many. I am aware of the disadvantages, but I am a city girl at heart.

7. I collect Paddington Bears. I have about 10 (which isn't so many, now that I think about it!). I love them, and every time I travel to the U.K. or I know someone who does, I either buy another one for myself or ask my friend to get one for me.

Now I will tag: Lilian, Amy Reads at Arrogant Self-Reliance, Harrogate and Solon over at The Rhetorical Situation (I miss you guys!!! Why aren't you blogging?), and Jennie over at My Handful .

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.

3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Back in the Loop

We returned yesterday from our lengthy Thanksgiving trip. Our flights were actually uneventful, and we were even able to get on an earlier flight, which meant that C & I didn't have to entertain Wild Man in the airport for 3 hours. Wild Man was so excited to be home, which surprised both of us a bit. He ran around the house for hours, chasing the cats and playing with his toys. All day long he would stop what he was doing and break into wonderful giggles! It was so sweet. C & I are equally glad to be home. It is much easier to take care of a toddler in our own home. Both of Wild Man's grandmother's have lots of breakables and neither home is baby proof. I'll write more about the visit later, but now I'm off to get caught up on my own work.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ladies' Night Out

Last night, Supadiscomama and I had an impromptu Ladies' Night Out--well, it was impromptu in the sense that I called her at 11:00 yesterday morning and invited her to join me to attend a dance performance I really wanted to see. The performance was fun, although not quite what either of us expected. Afterward we had drinks--my first cocktail (I'm not counting wine!) since I got pregnant! It was so fun, and I've decided I need to do that more. Wild Man and C were completely fine without me, and rather than making me a little sad, that knowledge actually makes me feel empowered. I am so looking forward to my night out with my best friend and my sister during our Thanksgiving trip!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Next week, C, Wild Man, and I are traveling to visit our families for the Thanksgiving holiday. The past few days have been incredibly stressful (including quite a few tears for me) for both of us as we try to negotiate with our families (well, primarily C's mom and sister) a visiting schedule. Every time we visit our families, we go through this process. We try to split the time as evenly as possible, but as I've discussed before, my family is laid-back to the point of passivity while C's family likes to plan things months in advance. C & I generally sit down and decide what nights were staying with whom, and since Wild Man's birth, we no longer move back and forth every night. We stay with one family half the time, and with the other the remainder. In my mind, this means that the days that correspond with those nights are reserved for which ever family we're staying with. Unfortunately, C's family (again, primarily his mom and sister) don't agree. Once he shares this schedule with them, they inevitably say "I want to do x on x day," regardless of whether it is a day earmarked for my family or not.

The planning for this visit has been particularly tense as my mom actually wanted to host Thanksgiving dinner this year. In the past, when we've been in our Home State for holidays, we've tried to get our two families together for the holiday dinner as it is easier than having 2 dinners and it makes it less stressful for everyone. Despite the tension around planning, our families actually get along together fairly well (at least when they're in the same room!). My mom, however, is not a big "party person," so she prefers to let C's mom host. This year, however, my mom wanted to host for a variety of reasons, the most of important to her and me is that I haven't eaten a holiday meal in my natal home in over 8 years. She was more than willing to have C's entire family over, and even 2 family friends who are always included in their holiday dinners. This, for whatever reason, was unacceptable to C's mom. She couldn't wrap her mind around this, so she went ahead and made plans to have Thanksgiving dinner at her house. Although both my mom and I were disappointed, we agreed to have dinner there. Then my sister unexpectedly announced that she and her 2 kids were flying in for the holiday. I was ecstatic, and my mom still has no idea as my sister wants to surprise her (for the record, I think these sorts of surprises are a bad idea!). The catch: my sister wants to have Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house. Totally cool with me, even though it means that C, Wild Man, & I will have to attend two dinners. The problem: C's mom is totally obsessing about what time my family is eating and making it very clear that she cannot move the time of her dinner either up or back to accommodate anyone--not even her grandson's schedule. So we adjusted. My family is eating very early, and we will only be spending about 2 hours with C's family as we have to account for Wild Man's nap and bedtime. Frustrating yes, but not the end of the world (admittedly, I'm saying this after I ranted and raved for about 30 minutes to my sister). In the end, my m-i-l is only hurting herself by refusing to compromise.

Now that I've gotten all of that out--I found it oddly cathartic to put all of that down in a logical, rational way, avoiding all the torrent of emotions I've been feeling about the visit. I am looking forward to a lot of things with this visit.

Wild Man gets to meet his maternal cousins for the first time.

C & I get to see our niece and nephew for the first time in almost 2 1/2 years.

My entire family will be under the same roof for the first time in almost 2 1/2 years--minus my brother-in-law who couldn't get time off for the trip.

I get to see my niece's latest hair-do in person (she's 13, and her hair has been 5 colors in as many months!).

We're taking Wild Man to a Famous Park that I loved as a child.

I get to eat at my favorite restaurant in the whole world.

I'm going out to dinner and who knows what else with my best friend (the woman I've known since we were 8!).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Umm, What do I do with this?

*I've deleted this post because I've realized I spend a lot of time griping about my mother-in-law, and I really don't want to be the sort of daughter-in-law who does nothing but gripe about her m-i-l. I'm sure I will gripe again, and I'm sure I will do so in the blog. For now thought, I'm going to try to focus on the things about my m-i-l that I like, such as her generosity, her love of travel, and her love of books.

Something to be thankful for. . .

C, Wild Man, and I have been planning a trip to our Home State for Thanksgiving since September. Such trips are always stressful as our parents live about 35 miles apart--too far apart to make traveling back and forth daily convenient but too close together to not see both in a single visit. The week becomes complicated as each family jockeys for time with us. Our families handle it in different ways--mine is so non-confrontational and passive that it is seriously annoying, and C's just makes plans for us. I just got some news that will inevitably add to the stress of the week, yet it makes me very, very happy. My sister, who lives on the West Coast, and her two kids are going to be visiting as well. I'll miss seeing my brother-in-law, as he has to work, but I'm really excited to see my sister and my niece and nephew. I'm really thankful that she decided to make this trip. It has been almost 3 years since my parents, my siblings, and I have all been together. It should be a very exciting visit!


Um, so does anyone else find it ironic this story (which I've been following very, very closely) a bit ironic, given our country's stance on torture and the treatment of "suspected" terrorists? I sometimes marvel at the hypocrisy of our government. . .

Saturday, November 03, 2007

My Little Chicken

I had to do it. I had to put Wild Man in his Halloween costume long enough to get some pictures. Surprisingly he seemed to like the tights. In fact, he wandered around the house in just the tights for about 15 minutes before I managed to get them off. He looked a bit like the Strong Man from carnivals.

*Warning: per an agreement with C, these pictures will only be up for a few days.

*Sorry if you missed the photos!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween in the hospital

I had intended to break my policy of not posting pictures of Wild Man and post of picture of him in his Halloween costume—a cute yellow chicken outfit that my mom bought for him, complete with orange and yellow striped tights and orange chicken feet slippers. Unfortunately, Wild Man never got to wear his costume. Instead, we spent Halloween in our pajamas, snuggled together in a hospital room, desperately wanting to be home. Wednesday was a very, very long day for our family.

It started out simply enough. C was up and gone by 6:30—he teaches at 8:00, and as he commutes an hour each way, he is typically gone by 6:30 two mornings a week. Wild Man had woken up at 5:00 to nurse and had promptly gone back to sleep in our bed, and when I woke up at 6:45, he was still sound asleep. I got up, surrounded him with pillows, rearranged the baby monitor to an optimal location, and started my morning routine. By 7:30, he was still not awake, so I began the process of waking him up. Like me, Wild Man does not wake up easily or happily. After a few minutes, however, he was up and happily chasing one of our cats, calling out "Purrie" as he ran after Pearlie. We ate breakfast and were out the door a bit earlier than usual. Before taking him to school, we had to go by the doctor's office so he could get his 1 year vaccinations and a flu shot. He'd had his check-up the Friday before, but the clinic was out of flu shots. If he had gotten his vaccinations that day, he would have had to wait a month to get the flu vaccine (something about a potential reaction if the MMR and flu vaccines weren't given on the same day), so his doctor advised waiting until the clinic had more of the preservative-free flu vaccine in. Wild Man happily played in the waiting room until we were called back. When we were called back to an exam room, I began taking off his jacket as the nurse explained the shots to me. I immediately asked if the flu shot was the preservative free one. As the nurse and I discussed this, Wild Man walked over to the corner of the exam room and played quietly with is toy MP3 player (it plays "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" over and over, and he loves it). The nurse explained that she didn't have the preservative free shot, but that she would go double check to see if they had any in.

As she got up, Wild Man stood up from a sitting position, lost his balance, and fell to the right, hitting his head on the wall. The nurse walked out, he cried a little bit, and I bent down to pick him up, calling him by his name. This isn't the first time he's taken a tumble in the doctor's office, so I knew what to do to distract him from being upset. I walked him over to the full length mirror on the wall and tried to get him to look in the mirror. He was silent and unresponsive. I looked at his face on my shoulder, and my perfect little boy's eyes had rolled back in his head and he was a pale shade of blue. I called his name several times, and when I got no response, I carried him into the hallway, screaming for a nurse. Three nurses and a doctor were by my side in seconds. One nurse took him from me and lied him down on the floor. By now he was completely rigid and arching his back. Another nurse held his head while the doctor tried to listen to his heart. After what seemed like hours, but I know was only a minute or two, he relaxed and seemed to go straight to sleep. The first nurse, a wonderful woman named Katy, carried him into an observation room, and the doctor began to give him some oxygen. The third nurse hooked his finger up to a pulse ox machine to measure his oxygen levels. His color improved immediately, and the doctor began quizzing me. The nurse who had been in the exam room with us helped me answer the questions, and I told the doctor what I just described here. The doctor explained that Wild Man seemed to have had a mild seizure, the biggest of indicator was how he had gone immediately to sleep (and my little guy, who is a light sleeper, slept soundly for 20 minutes will the doctor and nurses poked and prodded him). She reassured me that he had never stopped breathing, and I could see for myself from the pulse ox machine that his oxygen level never went below 98%. She said, let's keep him here for a while and see what he does and then decide what to do. She left, and Katy stayed with me. I was finally able to think for a minute and said, "I need to call my husband." My cell phone wouldn't work in the building, so they let me use the phone at the nurse's station. Katy stayed right beside Wild Man as she could see I was uncomfortable leaving him alone.

I got a hold of C just as he was leaving his first class. I told him, "Everything seems to be fine right now, but Wild Man had a seizure in the doctor's office. I need you to come home now." He simply said, "I'm leaving now; I'll be there as soon as I can." That was the extent of the conversation.

I returned to Wild Man's side, and watched him while Katy filled out some paperwork. I repeatedly asked her, "He is just sleeping, right?" She continually reassured me, and she didn't leave me until he had finally woken up and was snuggled in my arms. She returned every 5 minutes or so to check on us and to ask more questions. Wild Man soon began sticking his hand down my top, so I asked Katy if I could nurse him. She went to check with the doctor and told me I could. After that, Wild Man seemed like his normal self. He wanted to get down and get into things, but as the exam room was far from baby proof, I tried to occupy him in other ways. The doctor returned to examine him again. She looked at every inch of his head, and asked me again and again where he hit. I had to tell her the truth. I was talking to the nurse about the flu shot; I didn't see precisely where he hit. She asked about a bruise on his cheek, and I said that is old—he likes to slide down the sliding board head first, which is where the small scratch on the top of his head is from. I told her several times that as far as I could tell there was not a mark on him where he hit his head about 40 minutes earlier. She said, "I don’t think we're going to find an explanation for this, but I want to admit him to the hospital for tests to rule everything out." She then went on to explain that sometimes babies' brains "misfire," her word. Apparently at key developmental changes, like 12 months, there is so much activity in a baby's brain that the brain sort of short circuits. As she explained all this, C arrived and began asking so many questions, which I was glad of. By then, I couldn't think anymore. I just wanted to hold my little boy in my arms and never let him go. In the next 15 minutes, we were packed up and headed over to the hospital.

Another wonderful nurse named John explained the tests to us: blood work, a CT scan, and an EEG. He assured us that he'd make sure everything was done as quickly as possible. He wanted to take Wild Man to another room to draw blood and insert a hep lock, in the event that he needed an IV. He said that one or both of us could go with Wild Man, but then he said that generally it is more upsetting to the baby if a parent is present as he would have to be restrained. I said, "Please do what will be least traumatic for him." He took Wild Man from me and said they'd be back in about 30 minutes. C hugged me, and I was finally able to cry. Wild Man, however, has a set of lungs, and as soon as I heard him crying from I have no idea where, I got out of the room and walked down the hall. Coincidentally our very good friends had their baby the night before, so I walked down the hall to visit them. They were wonderful as they distracted me with all the details of their birth. Their little girl was in the NICU due to some complications, so they were as stressed out as I was, if not more so. After 10 minutes I walked back down the hall, and 10 minutes later, a nurse brought Wild Man to me. His right arm was covered in a maroon sock, and he was not happy at all. He wanted to nurse again, and I knew he wanted lunch, which I asked about. He didn't have time to nurse or to eat anything as a radiology tech came to escort us down to radiology for his CT scan. C and I were both able to be in the room with him, and this was the second most horrifying experience of the day—almost as bad as the seizure itself. The tech, who was very nice and had gotten married on Wild Man's first birthday, basically had to tie him to the machine. He screamed the entire time, while we feebly attempted to comfort him. C sang "The Wheels on the Bus" over and over while I rubbed his toes. When the test was over, we had him out of the machine before the tech even left her control room. We took him back to the hospital room and waited for the next test. The lunch they brought him was nothing he was going to eat—and he is not a picky eater. Luckily I had his lunch that I was going to send to school with him with me, so we fed him that. He was happy for a little while, eating peaches, cheerios, and chunks of chicken. Then another tech came in to give him the EEG.

Someone, somewhere has to invent a better way to give a baby an EEG. Wild Man had to have 26 individual wires attached to his head. By this time, he was cranky and exhausted. He simply wanted to take a nap. After 15 minutes of trying to get him to lie on his back and hold still, C looked at the tech and said, "I'm sorry, but you're going to have to get over seeing my wife's breast. She's going to kneel over Wild Man, so he can nurse. This is the only think that will calm him down right now. While he nurses, you can attach the wires and run the test." The tech, a 50-something woman, looked a little shocked, but agreed. C sat on the edge of the bed and helped me keep my balance while I nursed Wild Man. Once she got the first half of the wires in place, the tech told me we could turn Wild Man on his side, putting us both in a more comfortable position. Wild Man eventually fell asleep, making it much easier on the tech to run the test. In fact, he slept for the next 2 hours, waking up just as C returned from a trip home, with clothes for all of us and toys for Wild Man. We spent the night and most of the next morning at the hospital.

All of his tests came back good. There is no explainable reason why our little boy had a seizure, and there is absolutely no indication that he'll ever have another. By Thursday morning he was, however, quite cranky—he simply wanted to get down and play. C and I did the best we could to keep him occupied, but he wanted to be in his own space. He kept calling out "Purrie," which meant he wanted to chase Pearlie around. When we finally got him home, he proceeded to pull out every single one of his toys, eat a huge lunch, and take a 2 hour nap. We spent the afternoon at the park, where he played on the swings and went down the slides—although we made him go down sitting on his bottom.

Neither C nor I have ever been so scared in our entire lives. I never, never want to see my son like that again. We've spent the past two days showering him with kisses and hugging him as much as he will let us. The saddest part of this whole experience is that my fearless Wild Man has developed some stranger and separation anxiety. I had to sit with him for 30 minutes this morning at school before I could leave him. I called about 30 minutes later to check on him, and he was, as I suspected, happily playing with his friends.

I'm sorry for the enormously long post; I think I needed to get all of this out to let it go in some strange way. I love that little boy more than I can put into words.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I am . . .

I am Anne Elliot!

Mama(e) in Translation posted this Jane Austen's Heroines Quiz, which I had to take! Persuasion is actually my favorite Austen book, so I'm quite happy with this assessment, although I do think I'm somewhat more outspoken than Anne. Which Austen heroine are you?

Monday, October 29, 2007


I have 45 minutes before I go pick up Wild Man at school, and I've decided to use the blog to try to work out what I think is my latest good idea concerning my Wharton chapter.

The point of this chapter is that Lily Bart suffers because she has no space (both actual physical space and metaphoric space) to her self; more significantly, she has no sense of home. This isn't a very original argument, admittedly, as Wharton scholars have become increasingly interested in architectural theory recently. It makes sense as Wharton is seen as the founder of modern interior design, but I digress. The argument about Lily and space is convoluted by various interpretations of Lily's level of (self) awareness, her desire to marry, her need for money, and her desire for independence. My argument is on the verge of becoming different because I am not going to argue, as so many people have done, that she doesn't marry because she isn't in love. I don't actually think Lily is very concerned with love, at least not romantic love. I mean, why would she be? She has no positive relationships to draw on as role models.

Arguably every married couple in the novel is unhappy. Her mother was disgusted by her father's inability to provide enough money to maintain the lifestyle she desired. Judy Trenor uses other women to keep her husband occupied, perhaps justifiably so, as Gus Dorset is the biggest boor in all of Wharton's fiction (and she has a lot of them). The Dorsets hate one another; George is too consumed by his dyspepsia, and Bertha is too consumed by young bachelors. Lily's aunt has mourned her husband for decades, but only because she believes that is the proper thing to do, not out of any real sense of loss. The Brys and the Gormers do seem to have genuine affection for one another, but then, they are united in their desire to improve their societal status. The relationships all hinge on money, and none of the women are any more independent for having married well.

The common interpretation is that Lily doesn't marry because she is in love with Lawrence Selden--every time I teach this novel, my students all agree that this is the case, and they are not alone. Lots of critics argue that Lily is at least infatuated with Selden, and that Selden is the only man in the novel with the power to save her. I see lots of problems with this interpretation. First, Selden is no catch. Like Lily, he is poor. As a man, he can deal with poverty in different ways. He can work (he is a lawyer) and still be considered respectable; further, men are expected work, even men of Lily's social set. Selden also has a past; he had a lengthy affair with Bertha Dorset, which everyone in their set knows about. Second, Selden is a hypocrite. He judges Lily for going to the opera with Rosedale and Trenor, as he believes she is basically prostituting herself, but he conveniently forgets that he had a sexual relationship with a married woman, who gave him expensive gifts. Further, when he sees Lily outside of Trenor's house late at night, he assumes they are having a sexual relationship and feels slighted by Lily. He holds Lily to a different standard than the one he holds himself to. Third, Selden takes advantage of/has access to spaces that Lily can only dream of. He has his own flat, he can travel alone, and he can actually find his own "republic of the spirit." Selden can have all sorts of dalliances, and when he chooses to marry, society will overlook those dalliances. Lily, however, must live her life like it is an open book in order to ensure she remains marriageable. I think Lily successfully does this for a number of years, but by the time the book opens, she has been "on the market" for a decade. She is chafing under the restrictions of her social set, and she is feeling rebellious. I have yet to decide if Lily can actually name these feelings because I'm not certain how self-aware she really is. I think she is aware enough to realize that she wants something more out of life, but I don't think she can name her what it is that she wants or that she knows how to lead a different sort of life. I want to argue that Lily's desire for independence trumps everything else. She does not want to marry; in fact, I think that she unconsciously does things to render herself unmarriageable. Unfortunately, Lily has no other options in life as she has not been trained for anything else. She must marry if she is to survive in her society. But she realizes that marriage will not ensure the personal freedom she desires; granted marriage will ensure a certain amount of money, which will buy Lily a certain amount of freedom. It will not, however, ensure that she can make her own decisions about her life as she will always be beholden to her husband. Thus, Lily cannot bring herself to marry because doing so will force her to give up what little independence she has. Somehow I have to figure out how the notion of public and private affect all of this, and then I have to build the argument around space. If Lily were of a different class, space wouldn't be such an issue. My entire argument, then, hinges on money, class, and gender. So no problem, I should be able to figure this out in a week or so. . .

Looking for some creativity

I've spent the day taking care of what I call busy work, and thus, I haven't gotten any real work done on my dissertation. I graded papers, went to the library, printed out articles, finished reading several articles, organized my notes, and tried to choose an anthology for the class I'm teaching next semester. I am in the need of a creative burst. I had one a few weeks ago after a very useful meeting with my advisor. I immediately got a horrific cold, and then I had a house full of family in celebration of Wild Man's birthday. I need to get this chapter written. But that is proving easier said than done. I have figured out what I want to say--or at least the crux of my argument; now I have to figure out how to organize it and say it. Tomorrow's mission is to simply start writing again. I wrote about 20 pages within 2 1/2 weeks, so I just need to get back to that point again. I am, however, convinced that I haven't done enough research, so I keep hearing this little voice in the back of my head saying, "You should really read X before you start writing." I have to learn how to ignore that voice.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

No, No

Wild Man has a new favorite phrase: "no, no." Last week amidst all the chaos of a family visit and his birthday, he started saying "no, no." I'd like to think he was saying "no, no" to being out of his routine and having every part of life disrupted, but then I think I'm projecting what I wanted to say on to him.

For the most part, "no, no" is pretty cute. It certainly was on Sunday when we visited AcadeMama and Baby E to exchange birthday gifts. After Wild Man and Baby E ate some of E's bumblebee cake, they ran around the living room in their diapers saying "no, no" to each other. It is also cute when he sees our cats doing something they aren't supposed to and he tells them "no, no!" It isn't as cute when he tells me "no, no" at bath time or bedtime, when I'm trying to put on his shoes, change his diaper, or get him dressed, or when I'm trying to discipline him (as much as you can discipline a 12 month old!). Yesterday he decided it would be fun to try to climb into our turtle's aquarium (yep, we have a turtle; in fact I've had her since I was 16). As I repeatedly pulled him away from the aquarium, he shouted "NO, NO!", which I could only interpret to mean "No, Mother, I actually would really like to sit underneath T's aquarium despite the fact that you clearly don't think it is safe." Some days I really wish he could say things like that.

Sliding face first

My son, my Wild Man, who is 1 year and 5 days old, is a daredevil. He has fallen in love with the sliding board. Furthermore, he has fallen in love with sliding down the slide face first. On the playground at school, he gleefully climbs up the slide (it is toddler-size), but he doesn't sit on his bottom once he gets to the top of the slide. Nope, not my Wild Man. Instead he simply lies down, stretching his body from the top of the stairs to the top of the slide. He then slides down face first, landing happily in a pile of sand. He then picks himself up, laughs uproariously, and does it all over again. This, of course, means that one of his teachers must be at the slide the entire time his class is on the playground. It also means he is covered in sand by the end of the day. I swear he is going to compete in the X Games one day!

It is good to have friends

I am dealing with some family stuff right now that I don't feel comfortable blogging about. I do, however, want to say thanks to Supadiscomama and Harrogate for taking time out of their day to listen to me and to make me feel better about life in general.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Separate Spheres

My mom, my brother, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law are all visiting for Wild Man's birthday. I'm really ready for some separate spheres. Thankfully they all go home tomorrow. I have enjoyed their visit, but I'm ready to have my house back.

Wild Man's Birthday

I'm planning a longer post, but I did want to say that Wild Man's first birthday was a resounding success. He had so much fun at his party that he took a 2 1/2 nap when we got home! I can't believe that he has been in a life for a year. That seems both so short and so long at the same time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Following Suit

I've been motivated by Anastasia and Kate's pyramid schemes.

By the end of the calendar year, I will send a tangible, physical gift to each of the first five people to comment here. The catch? Each person must make the same offer on her/his blog.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ann Coulter

It makes me happy when Ann Coulter says something that makes people realize what an intolerant idiot she really is.

Stupidity abounds around the world

When I saw the headline, "Mom sues after IVF brings 2 babies instead of 1," I thought to myself, "This can't be right." I read on and learned that yes, a woman is indeed suing the fertility specialist for implanting 2 embryos in her uterus instead of 1, resulting in her giving birth to twins rather than a single child. I really, really want to scream at this woman. She surely realized the odds of having multiple children when she underwent IVF. I don't know much about Australia, but surely her doctor told her about selective reduction if she only wanted one child. I would imagine a woman who had to conceive through IVF would be thrilled with 2 children rather than 1, but then, I am imposing my feelings on a woman I've never met. This story pisses me off for a number of reasons.
  • Is the doctor really responsible for what most people who know anything about infertitily and pregnancy realize is a possible outcome?
  • How are these girls going to feel when they learn about this case when they're older?
  • Can't we take responsibility for our decisions rather than trying to blame and to seek compensation for said decisions from others?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What is going on in this country?

This story, "Noose Targets Columbia Professor," falls under the category of "What the hell is wrong with people?" Thanks to Harrogate at The Rhetorical Situation and Anastasia for bringing this to my attention. I really want to craft a well articulated response to this, but in all honesty, I'm really getting sick of this sort of yellow-belly crap. Why exactly do Americans believe we have the right to go into other countries and tell people how to run their governments when we clearly are unable to teach our own children about basic human respect? Perhaps I should word that question another way. Has our government's belief that "America" has the right to dictate how other nations govern led our citizens not to value one another's basic human rights?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mama(e) in Translation Returns

Lilian at Mama(e) in Translation is back in the blogging world after a fairly long (or at least long to me!) absence due to a recent move. Welcome back, Lilian!

Trying to get work done

After a great meeting with my dissertation director on Monday, I've been struggling to get work done for the past few days. I have a horrific cold that I've caught courtesy of Wild Man. I literally feel like my head is underwater. I've managed to read some articles, but that is about it. In fact, yesterday I stayed home, and rather than work since I couldn't focus, I did housework. Yep rather than work on my dissertation, I ironed, vacuumed, and mopped my kitchen floor.

I'm hoping to feel better tomorrow as I need to get some work done in the next few days. Lots of family are descending upon us next week, so I know I won't get anything done while they're here.

Wild Man's Birth Story

I wrote this a few days after Wild Man was born, and I've decided to post it in honor of his upcoming birthday. I've added a few sections (marked with asterisks) recently. I remember this day so vividly. I still don't think I really know how close we came to a c-section. C and I have talked about it a few times, and he always tells me we were close. I asked him again last night, and he looked at me a moment before answering. Without giving me any details, he quietly said that he had never been so scared in his life. He said, "I was watching the monitors while helping you get through the contractions. I didn't like what I saw, and I know the doctor didn't. I think we had about 5 minutes before I got pulled out of the room to sign the paperwork for a c-section. I know one of nurses had brought a bunch of forms into the room. I was really scared." He never told me that before. Thankfully we avoided a c-section, and Wild Man and I were both fine. I would happily go through all of the stress and uncertainty again for my beautiful son. I am also very, very proud that, despite the numerous interventions we experienced, that we still had a positive birth experience. I am also proud that despite the fact that I was indeed given medication (to slow down my contractions and give the baby a chance to recover from the contractions) I did fulfill my wish to go without pain medication (although I did receive a local just as Wild Man crowned as I had already torn and needed an episiotomy).

On Friday, Oct. 20th, C & I went to my regular check-up at 9:20 expecting to learn that I hadn't made any progress at all; after three weeks of contractions, I had yet to go into labor. We discovered I was dilated to 2 centimeters and 80% thinned out. When the doctor checked the baby's heart rate, it was in the 180s, which concerned her as it had been in the 130s for 4 weeks. So she put me on the fetal monitor in the office. After 20 minutes she checked me again and the baby's heart rate had not gotten more regular. It was fluctuating from 170s to 130s. She wanted to monitor me for 20 more minutes to see if the baby's heart rate would drop to the 150s for at least 5 minutes in a row. Unfortunately, his heart rate continued to fluctuate, dropping as low as 80 for over a minute. So my doctor decided I needed to be induced right away, and we headed to the hospital. We were both very concerned and nervous, as we weren't sure what to expect and the doctor made it clear that if necessary we would have a c-section, which neither of us wanted. We called our good friend, who was acting as our doula, and asked her to get out things from our house and meet us at the hospital. We told her to take her time because we expected the induction to take a while.

*I remember walking out the back entrance of my doctor's office. The sky was bright blue, and a cool breeze was blowing. I was trying so hard not to cry. I had done enough research that I knew what to expect from an induction and a c-section, but I wasn't emotionally prepared for either. C hugged me before we got in the car and reassured me everything would be ok. On the way to the hospital we each tried to contact our families; I was only able to get in touch with my sister who, like C, tried to reassure me. She volunteered to get in touch with our parents for me so that I could focus on myself and the baby. C called his mom and learned that they were taking his dad to the hospital as well. His dad, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer in April, was having trouble breathing, and his doctor wanted to monitor him for a few hours.

We got to the hospital at 11:00, and by 11:10 I was in an exam room being monitored. The baby's heart rate had steadied and was around 130s for about 20 minutes. The nurse reviewed our birth plan and told us what we would still be able to do and what we wouldn't, since we were having an emergency induction. She assured us that we would still be able to have an unmedicated birth, but that I would just need to be monitored more closely. During this time the nurse had started an IV, and I had to go to the bathroom really badly. Since the baby's heart rate seemed to have evened out, she let me get up to go to the bathroom. When I got back, she hooked me back up to the monitors, and the baby's heart rate had dropped again. By this time (about 11:45), my doctor was in the room, and things started happening very quickly. Before I really knew what was happening, my doctor was breaking my water and inserting a catheter to put saline around the baby, in an attempt to regulate the heart rate. Luckily both of these things worked, and I was moved to a delivery suite.

* Everything happened so fast in this 30 minute period. I went from calmly answering the nurse's questions to being told that they had to break my water immediately in an attempt to regulate the baby's heart rate. I still remember the warm rush of water and the look of extreme concern on my doctor's face when she told us that their was meconium in the amniotic fluid. I didn't have time to think about much else as my contractions started almost immediately. I experienced my first strong contraction as the nurse and C wheeled me from the exam room to a delivery room. During all of this C spoke to my sister who volunteered to fly in immediately to be there when we got home from the hospital. I realized how concerned C was when he asked her to come as soon as she could.

The contractions started immediately and became regular very fast. In fact, the contractions became regular so quickly that I was never given pitocin. My doctor came in about 45 minutes later to check me, and I had progressed from 2 centimeter to 5 centimeters in a little over 2 hours. By this time the contractions were very intense and very close together; my doula and C were doing all they could to keep me focused on my relaxation exercises, but I was having a hard time. I wanted to get up and move, but every time I changed positions the baby's heart rate changed. The nurse kept checking on me, and each time I would ask if I could move. She let me switch from my left side to my right side, but I couldn't get out of bed. As the contractions got more and more intense, I told C I couldn't do it and that I needed the medication. Luckily both he and my dola recognized that I was in transition and encouraged me, telling me that I could do it. He was so wonderful; he never wavered, despite his own concerns about the baby. All of a sudden I felt like I needed to push, so my dola got the nurse. She checked me and I was 8 centimeters, in a little over an hour. The nurse told me to get on all fours in the bed and encouraged me to gently push to bring the baby down further. The contractions got so intense and were right on top of each other. All of a sudden C wasn't beside me; my doula was still there, but C had moved away to talk to the nurse. I was vaguely aware of the conversation, I didn't really understand what was going on. I later learned that the baby's heart rate was not tolerating the contractions at all. My doctor was in the room by now, and she let the nurse and C run the show while she watched the monitors. I learned later that she told C that if the baby's heart rate didn't even out in the next few minutes we would need to do a c-section. The nurse suggested giving me a medication to slow down the contractions, and although my doctor didn't think it would work, she agreed. I reminded them all that I didn't want any kind of medication, but the nurse reassured me that this medication may enable us to have a vaginal birth. While the nurse gave me the medication, the doctor checked me again; I was 9 centimeters (only 3.5 hours from when the doctor had broken my water), but the baby had also turned posterior, which explained why the contractions in my back were so horrible and why the baby'sheart rate wouldn't stabilize. The medication made me shiver severely, but it slowed the contractions down enough to let the doctor turn the baby. Once she turned the baby, the heart rate stabilized. By this point, I was completely unaware of what was going on, as I was desperate to push. Everyone kept telling me not to push, which is the most difficult thing to do. I heard the doctor tell me "I'm going to try to turn the baby now," and all I really understood was how painful that was. She finally said I could push, and the baby tolerated the contractions from then on, with his heart rate staying in the 130s. I started pushing at 3:40, and Wild Man was born at 4:13, just about 5 hours after we had arrived at the hospital.

Friday, October 05, 2007


I just wanted to let the blogging world know I am still alive. I've been frantically working all week in an attempt to meet a self-imposed dissertation deadline. I haven't quite met it, but I'm close. I have a meeting with my director on Monday, and I want to send her a substantial portion of my Wharton chapter. Of course, with this deadline looming, Wild Man decided to have several meaningful conversations about life at 1:00 in the morning this week. He is moving classrooms at school, and while he loves the new room, he is a little stressed out by the changes, which has led to some sleeping difficulties. I'm proud that I've been able to get as much work as I have on so little sleep!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Legal Progress for Breastfeeding Mothers

I posted about Sophie Currier's attempts to get time off during her medical licensing exams to pump for her infant daughter. I am happy to say that a Massachusetts appeals court ruled that she be allowed the time away from her exam to pump.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Support the Jena 6

I've added a link to Color of Change's website in support of the Jena 6. Please click on the link and sign the on-line petition urging the Jena district attorney and the governor of Louisiana to free these young men.

Separate Space

It is 8:26 in the evening. Wild Man is sound asleep in his room, and I am sitting in my office getting organized for tomorrow. I don't think words can truly express how happy I am to have my own work space again. Granted, it is a space I share with C, but as we actually work quite well in the same space, I don't mind sharing it. The office is truly a Wild Man-free zone, as we keep a baby gate at the door at all times (this is primarily to keep Wild Man out of the cats' litter box, but it serves a variety of purposes!). I no longer have to worry about him tossing my books about everywhere, and I can actually leave paper on the floor. We're very happy in our new home, and I'm very happy with my office. I actually worked from home today rather than schlepping everything to my office at school, and I got more done than I do when I'm on campus. This is a separation of spheres I am in favor of!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I'm currently experiencing a strange sense of relief. Tonight for the first time in 11 months, Wild Man went to sleep without nursing and with what C described as a minimum of fuss. Tonight, for the first time in 11 months, I was out of the house past 7:30. I wasn't home to put Wild Man to sleep. I have been dreading today for weeks, ever since I found out there was a lecture that I really needed to attend tonight. Not only was it in one of my areas of interest, but one of my committee members organized it and specifically asked me to attend to meet the speaker. I couldn't--and didn't want to--say no. Knowing how worried I was about being away from home at bedtime, C volunteered to give up his weekly softball night so we didn't have to arrange for a babysitter (although Academama very kindly offered to watch Wild Man for us!).

When I left this evening, Wild Man was in the bathtub, and I essentially snuck out so he wouldn't miss me too much. I was a bit upset, but I needed to do this--as much for him as for me. He needs to know how to go to sleep without me. I called C as soon as I left the lecture, and for some reason, my cell phone was fading in and out. All I was able to determine from the phone call was that Wild Man was not upset but he also was not quite asleep. When I got home 15 minutes later, I found C in the kitchen unthawing breastmilk for Wild Man's bottles. Wild Man fell asleep sitting in C's lap about 5 minutes after I called, and C was able to transfer him to his crib without a problem. He did, indeed, fuss a bit earlier in the evening, and he drank all the milk I pumped earlier today. But he didn't scream himself to sleep, he didn't cry for me, and he wasn't traumatized. He's been asleep for over 2 hours now, which indicates that he'll be down for a while if not the whole night. I'm a little sad that I didn't see him right before he went to sleep, but mainly I'm relieved. This allows me a lot more freedom than I've experienced since Wild Man was born.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Make-up and Wild Man

Wild Man and I have a "grooming" routine every morning. He plays in our bedroom (rearranging books on a bookshelf or chasing the cats under the bed) while I get ready in the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom. In the past few weeks, he has become seriously interested in watching me blow dry my hair and put on what little make-up I wear. The day he started reaching for the blow dryer while it sat on the sink was the day I started pretending to do his hair and make-up. I pretend to put mousse on his hair, and then I actually do blow-dry it. He loves feeling the warm air in his face, which totally cracks me up. A few days after we started this routine, I noticed he was intently watching me while I put on mascara and a bit of blush. So I broke out a spare (and make-up free) brush and swept it across his cheeks. Wild Man threw his head back and giggled. Now, every morning, I give him the full treatment--everything that I do to my face I pretend to do to his, and he loves it.

Yesterday morning, C witnessed this routine in its entirety for the first time; he'd seen me do Wild Man's hair, but not do his make-up. My normally liberal husband was a little taken aback. He point blank asked me if I thought the routine was a good idea. I point blank asked him why he asked that question. He said it seemed a little odd. When I asked him to elaborate on odd, he couldn't. I then pointed out that Wild Man has no idea what make-up is or why I wear it but C doesn't. I then reminded him that Wild Man has stared at C with the same intensity when C shaves. I think Wild Man is just trying to figure out what it is we're doing. I don't think it has any gender/sexuality implications. Wild Man doesn't even know he is a boy, for crying out loud. My dad used to cover my face in shaving cream and give me a razor (minus the blade) and let me shave my face while he shaved his; that didn't have any adverse affects on me (although I have no idea what such adverse affects this could have on a little kid). I said all of this as I mimed applying mascara to Wild Man. When I was finished, Wild Man toddled off to pick up his newest toy: a truck that he picked out himself.

The conversation made me realize something: my husband has some gender hang-ups. Although he didn't say it, he was clearly thinking "boys don't wear make-up." Wild Man has carried my purse around, played with dolls, and tried to put on my shoes. None of these activities bothered C. But he was troubled by me pretending to put make-up on Wild Man--or was he bothered because Wild Man clearly enjoyed it--although I think he enjoys my undivided attention more than anything.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wild Man

I'm tired of referring to S as simply S. It isn't remotely descriptive, so from now own he will be "Wild Man," which is what C and I routinely call him. As he is now toddling around everywhere and into everything, the nickname fits him.

Family phone calls

And the chaos that will be my son's first birthday has already begun. Between the two of them, my mil and sil called us 8 times this weekend with questions about S's birthday. My mil wanted to know about: the theme, the decorations, the food, and potential gifts. My sil wanted to know if she could make the cake, the invitations, and the food. My mil has repeatedly asked if we need her to bring anything--mind you she and my sil are driving 1,400 miles to attend the party. What is my family doing, you might ask? My mom and brother are flying out to spend the week with us, and my brother has bought S a "birthday boy" shirt. My mom has started buying copies of my favorite childhood books to give S. As usual C's family wants to be overly involved, and my family is being low-key--which his mom interprets as uninterested. I have no idea how I'm going to survive their joint visits.

Bad Writing

I just spent the last hour and a half skimming a very poorly written critical work on Edith Wharton. I skimmed it because the topic of the book is relevant to my research, but it was incredibly hard to read and even harder to understand. I've been reading in my study carrel in the library, and I'm sure I've annoyed quite a few people each time I exclaimed about the poorly structured argument and awkwardly framed sentences. What intrigues me is that the book was published by the University of Alabama, which is a fairly reputable press. I can't help but think if this person can get published then surely I can get published.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


First I want to thank everyone who commented on Monday's post, "Unprepared." As many of you predicted, the lunch-time temper tantrum was an isolated incident. S happily nursed at lunch every other day last week, and two days he nursed himself to sleep. I placed my sleeping boy in his school crib, and he proceeded to take an hour and a half long nap both days. That makes me feel good because he rarely naps so long when his teachers rock him to sleep.

In a some what related topic, I've been asked by at least four people in the past week when I plan on weaning S. None of these people are good friends, none of them S's teachers, and none of them should really care how long I nurse my son. Why are people so fascinated with breastfeeding and pregnancy? Why do said people care so much what I do with my breasts?

Monday, September 10, 2007


I just returned to my office after having my daily lunch date with S. Every day I head over to his school to nurse him and to hang out with him for a while. Our ritual is simple; I arrive, and he is generally waiting for me anxiously. We get into our spot, and he nurses on one side. He generally gets distracted by all the activity in the room after 10 minutes or so, and we go play for a while. After a while, we head back to our spot, and he nurses on the other side, usually for about 5 minutes. We play for a few more minutes, while his teacher sets up his lunch. I place him in his high chair and watch him eat a few bites before I leave. It is a routine I have come to depend on. I really enjoy seeing him in the middle of the day, especially now that he is at school for 7 hours a day. Seeing him and spending this time with him assuages some of my guilt. It is difficult to manage sometimes because I often get into a working groove and have to interrupt it to go see him, but I am not ready to give that up.

I was completely unprepared for his reaction today. He was fussy all day yesterday, so I wasn't surprised to hear that he'd been fussy this morning. As I picked him up to walk to the rocking chair we generally sit in, he started to cry. The crying quickly escalated into a full scale temper tantrum. It was clear that he didn't want to nurse at all. I gave him a few puffs to get him to calm down, and then his teacher warmed up his lunch. I sat with him as he ate his lunch, and he was much, much happier eating leftover roast beef and diced tomatoes than trying to nurse. He even offered me some of his pineapple. I stayed as long as I usually do, and when I was leaving, his teacher asked if he nursed at all. When I said no, she said he may be starting to wean himself, at least off of the lunch-time nursing session. I suddenly realized as tired as I am of sore nipples (8 teeth make a difference), nursing bras, nursing pads, and pumping, I am not ready for him to day-wean himself. I left his school, returned to my office, and wanted to cry. I've been trying to think of all the reasons why he didn't want to nurse that I can--he was too hungry and wanted solid food, his teeth hurt and he wanted something hard to chew on, etc.--but none of them make me feel any better. My little boy is growing up fast, and some days that makes me very excited, especially when I witness his new accomplishments and watch him figuring out the world. Today, it makes me sad. I just want him to want to snuggle with me a while longer.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Jena Six

I want to know why the story of Jena Six isn't being broadcast on all the news networks. I'm somewhat ashamed that I haven't heard about it before. Thanks to kate at ak8 a cat a mission for posting a link to the story. The Group News Blog writes about it much better than I could. I've lived most of my life in the South, and I've witnessed some horrible examples of racism. I have, however, never seen anything like this. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised, and that is what really disappoints me. Why do our national leaders continue to ignorantly assume that race is no longer an issue in this country?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mothers and Stress

British researchers have found that mothers who prefer to cradle their children to the right may be at risk of depression, according to this article. I haven't read the entire study, just the snippet on MSNBC, but I have to wonder about the validity of the findings. First, the study only included 79 women, and they weren't interviewed. Rather they were asked to hold their infants and then complete a survey. I tend to hold S with my left arm, but that is because I'm right-handed. Holding him in my left arm, allows me to use my right arm to get things done. Wouldn't it make more sense to find out what sort of help new mothers need when they feel stressed out?

Monday, September 03, 2007

First Female Beefeater

Finally, a female Beefeater! I so wish we could go to London to meet her!

They're back!

The crazy, wonderful, and always insightful bloggers at The Rhetorical Situation are back. These guys are always good for a laugh, and as odd as they are, they also always make me think.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Breastfeeding discrimination

This article is about 2 months old, but it made me so angry that I had to post it. Why do the powers that be, in this case the medical examiner's board of Massachusetts, make it so hard for mothers? I still think it is outrageous that there have to be laws to make it legal to breastfeed in public. Thanks to Lilian for posting the link to the article.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

"The Last Kiss"

I recently watched a movie called "The Last Kiss," and I've been thinking about the implications of one's last kiss since. The title refers to the last kiss a person has—as in, the last person you'll ever kiss. The premise of the movie is fairly cliché: a couple, who've been together for 3 years, get pregnant unexpectedly; they decide to have the baby but not marry; the man begins to feel trapped and has a one night stand with a younger woman; his girlfriends find out and dumps him; he immediately realizes he's made a huge mistake and tries to get the girlfriend back. By the end of the film, he succeeds, but I didn't feel like that was much of a happy ending. So here's my question: do some men get so freaked out by the "permanence" of marriage that they would knowingly sabotage a relationship? Do some women? The films genders the answer, as it suggests that women are always ready to commit while men have to be dragged kicking and screaming down the aisle, which I certainly don't believe.

I realize the theme of the film is supposed to be that people get scared, but true love can conquer those fears. I also get that part of the theme is to forgive those we love. But the idea that one needs to have one last fling before committing to one person for life has never made any sense to me. I asked a friend about this one (admittedly a male friend, so I guess I gender the issue some what myself), and he equated it to a prisoner on death row having his last meal. As you can imagine, I didn't like that analogy—my friend equated marriage with a death sentence. I understand being scared about the lifelong commitment, but I don't understand responding to that fear by being unfaithful. But then, I don't get being unfaithful either. Unfaithfulness has affected my extended family a lot in the past 5 years, and C and I have talked about it a lot. Both of our siblings had affairs; my sister's affair ended her marriage (although the marriage had been in trouble for a long, long time), and she's now married to the man she with whom she had the affair. C's brother's affair lasted at least 2 years, and somehow he and his wife were able to work through it. They have a strong marriage now, and I’m happy they stayed together (and I believe my sister-in-law is a much better person than I am). While I think both of our siblings were wrong, I judge their actions very differently. I can forgive (not that I've been asked for forgiveness or that I believe that my feelings matter at all in the separate situations) my sister, but I found I much harder to forgive my brother-in-law. I think my sister treated her ex-husband horribly and that she should have found a different way out of her marriage, but she had the affair out of loneliness and desperation. C's brother had an affair because he felt trapped—that is precisely what he said to C. I've even heard him say that his wife "trapped" him. Well, I was at that wedding, I don’t remember anyone holding a gun to his head during the ceremony.

So I don't get hurting someone you love because you're afraid. I've honestly never thought that C is the last person I'll ever kiss. I'm in love with my husband, and I fall in love with him over and over again all the time. But I'm the last person to romanticize marriage. Marriage is hard work, and I really don't think most people realize that. Despite my liberal views on most everything, I have to admit that I'm fairly conservative about marriage. I believe deeply in the vow I made to my husband—and not from any religious or moral sense either. I made a promise to him that we would be together for life, and I will do my very best to keep that promise. I'm not saying that I don't believe in divorce. My mother divorced my biological father (that's a story for another post) when I was 5, and I believe that was the best decision she could have made. My dad, who is technically my step-dad, is 1,000,000 times a better dad that my BF, whom I haven't seen n 19 years and have no desire to see. I also think my sister made a smart decision when she divorced her husband, but I also think (and she agrees as we've talked about this) that she would have been wiser not to have an affair.

So back to the movie. I'm still trying to figure out why it bothered me so much, and I think I've got it. The boyfriend confesses all to the girlfriend because he can't deal with the guilt (I hate that by the way—don't confess and destroy someone else because you can't deal with your own guilt, especially if your relationship is salvageable). He makes several grand gestures, and she ultimately forgives him. That she forgives him so easily is what bothers me. Despite everything I've just written—and do believe—about the commitment of marriage, I consider infidelity the one unforgivable thing. I do think it can be overcome and the relationship can become stronger; my brother and sister-in-law are evidence of that. But the movie makes it seem as though some flowers and groveling are enough to make everything all better, and that bothers me. But then, as I notice the post has become much longer than I intended, I have to remember it is a movie, and movies tend to do oversimplify it. But I do think the concept of "the last kiss" is odd and promotes the idea that women only want to get married and men never want to get married.