Saturday, November 27, 2010

I'm Going There

I have a confession: I don't always fail to blog because I don't have any ideas. I have plenty of ideas that I would really like to communicate, to get down on paper/in text box, but they seem too huge to undertake or I don't know from which angle to approach it or whatever excuse I can come up with.

One of these topics is birth. It is so hard to begin to touch upon the many facets of the issue, let alone my emotions pertaining thereto. Perhaps I have more feelings than ability to express them, as is often the case. In such circumstances, I read as much as I possibly can, which is cathartic but, ultimately, confusing.

Today I read this post from the ICAN blog about the rise in unnecessary cesareans, and I've had a moment of clarity. It summarizes the root of my anger. I had a c-section with my first and only (so far) baby. I believe this c-section was unnecessary. My doctor could probably give you a handful of good-sounding reasons why I had to have a c-section. I don't buy any of them.

Here are the facts:

  • I had elevated blood pressure for the final few weeks of pregnancy.
  • I was not dilated or effaced at all.
  • I was induced for high blood pressure five days before my due date.
  • I did not respond to the Pitocin in a textbook way: contractions were irregular, even at maximum dosage.
  • The doctor artificially ruptured my membranes at 1.5 cm dilation, against my expressed wishes.
  • I did not progress beyond 2-3 cm dilation.
  • My baby weighed 9 lb 1 oz at birth.
The "reason" I ended up with a c-section, according to my doctor? Big baby, of course! Never mind that smaller women than me give birth naturally to much larger babies every day. Never mind that I had a rock-bottom Bishop score, which indicates a likely unsuccessful induction.

Are all c-sections bad? Of course not. Does the procedure save lives when properly indicated? Absolutely. I'm really glad there is such a thing as a c-section and that it does not necessarily kill the mother like it did in days of yore. And to be completely fair, I do not fault a woman who, having educated herself and been informed of her options, chooses a c-section. 

But I did not choose a c-section and I had one anyway. So what now? I want several more children and no more major surgery, so I must pray and hope for successful VBACs ever after. 

I am still angry. Not just because of what happened, but because of what came next. This is what my doctor told me in my postpartum visit, I kid you not
  • I probably won't ever be able to birth vaginally if all my babies are as big as this one.
  • I can't be induced as a VBAC candidate, so if I go past my due date, it's an automatic scheduled c-section. Yes, the "due date," a mere midpoint in a long range of possible days to give birth (50% of all births occur after the due date, including 100% of my mother's, if that matters), will now become an unfair and somewhat arbitrary deadline for nature.
  • If I have another baby within two years, it's an automatic scheduled c-section.
I am never seeing that doctor again. And now my search for something better has me more and more horrified at the state of obstetrics in our country that something like this is as common as it is. I'm not denying the possibility that the alternative to my c-section could have been much worse. But the skyrocketing c-section rates, especially among first-time mothers should mean that there is a sudden and sharp rise in giant babies and woefully undersized pelvises--indeed, an epidemic! sweeping the nation. The very notion is ludicrous. This rush-to-induce and failure-to-wait has to STOP. 

It crushes me every time I hear of another first-time mother who is induced and sectioned. Doctors trying to lighten their case loads and hospitals trying to free beds in their labor and delivery wards are seriously jeopardizing the bodily integrity and reproductive freedom of women everywhere. It's shocking to me that this does not bother some people in the least. It saddens me when others trivialize my anger by telling me (or implying) that at least my baby is healthy or that so-and-so's vaginal birth was bad so I should be glad I had a c-section.

It scares me that a second c-section might necessarily limit my family size. I'm scared that, as educated as I am, I may fall into the system's traps again. I'm scared that I won't go into labor, or that I will but will then fail to progress. And when I think about how scared I am, I get angry all over again.

My daughter's birthday is something to celebrate. She changed my life forever and every passing year of her life is something to treasure. Her actual birth, however? One of the worst days of my life, actually. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This made me chortle.

Erich: "Do we have any more Kleenex?"

Susan: "I dunno."

Erich: sighing "I put you in charge of ONE THING--

Susan: sharp intake of breath, ready to protest

Erich: ". . .the house. . .and you don't even know if we have any Kleenex!"

I guess this is one of those "had to be there" things, but I lol'd. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh Snap

Totally forgot to put something up yesterday. NaBloPoMo fail! Sigh, something so easy, failed so easily.

K, over it. At this exact moment, I'm caught in the vicious cycle of tired. I'm tired enough to crash, but there are tasks yet to be completed. But I'm too tired to do anything. But I don't want to go to bed and leave too much for the morning. (I'm a night owl, btw.) So I stay up. But nothing gets done. And now I'm too tired to do anything AND I'm too tired to go to bed.

This happens shamefully often. I only ever remember that I love to sleep when someone or something is demanding that I get up in the morning. When will I ever learn?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ode to a Special Lady

This post is both overdue and underdue. There is one very special lady in my life without whom I wonder how I could function.

My mom and I have always been buddies, and I never outgrew needing to talk to her and get help from her. Does anyone, really? I feel blessed that she's in my life and that we live so close to each other.

In the past year alone, she's helped me organize my house after moving in, she helped me remove wallpaper and paint several rooms. She helped immensely when Lily was born with household chores and baby-holding so I could take showers and feel human. Her house has been available for me to be a little lazy when I need a break. She feeds me and takes me shopping. She watches Lily whenever I ask.

She's a peaceful mediator when Lily and I are getting on each other's nerves. She's a sounding board for me and my scattered thoughts. She puts my baby to sleep. She even helped with bedtime tonight. She never asks for anything in return.

My mom is the bomb. I know Lily will have a pretty great mom in her adulthood some day because I learned from the best. A thousand thank yous are not enough. Even so, THANK YOU, MOM!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pray for Me

While you're at it, you could pray for Erich and the other men of my family as they head to nowhere to sit around a fire to drink beer and call it "hunting."

What this means for me is that while I'm used to Erich traveling, it's never over a weekend, and never EVER when I have to play organ. I'm already tired, literally and figuratively.

Thank the Lord I have family in town! I'm going to need all the help I can get.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Can't Think

I can't think of anything to blog about today. And that shall be my topic.

For starters, I have a headache. It's a kind of perfect storm combination of sinus congestion/can't breathe through nose, tension, and sense of impending doom.

"Doom" may be an overstatement. But I'm finally realizing that Thanksgiving is in one week and Christmas is in five and a half weeks, and that's just not right. I have short-term to-do list items piling up that I want to get done this week. Meanwhile, our gift list grows every year, and I am already completely out of ideas. Add to the Christmas list people who have birthdays right around then and whose birthdays we've missed and, well, we just added to my headache.

I wish I had a flair for gift-giving. Maybe I just need more practice. More than just thinking of the right gift, I need to know when to let go and accept whatever may happen next: the recipient already has or doesn't like the gift, for example. I get paralyzed enough when shopping for myself; shopping for 19 people plus birthdays completely levels me. Every year I think it's going to be fun, and every year I wait just a little longer than I should to start getting it under control.

So there's part of the "doom" quadrant of my headache. The other part is I have to play organ this Sunday, and Erich is going to be off at deer camp. I've never had to figure out a whole Sunday morning of organ-playing with kid sans husband. Not to mention the practicing I need to get done beforehand and the housecleaning that needs to be done before the arrival of BIL and roommate on Tuesday. Wait, Thanksgiving is next week?? REALLY??

The sinus congestion is just super annoying, and the tension is from sleeping wrong and perhaps (but I hope not) too much knitting. But ugh, the doom. Can I just skip to the hot chocolate and pajamas part of Christmas?

So, sorry I have nothing to blog about today.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I'm going with a NaBloPoMo prompt today:

How did you end up where you're living right now? What factors will help you choose the next place you live?

I believe I chronicled our house hunt here, here, and here. To summarize, this house felt the most like home and was the closest to the complete package that we could get in our budget. Every project seemed doable, and they would be if we had the time and money to do them. Many unforeseen problems that always seem to happen with houses have tempered our joy of living here, but we're generally happy.

There are some factors in which this house is not ideal in the long run:

  • It has three bedrooms, but they're on two different levels (one being the basement) and on opposite corners. This works okay with one child and maybe two, but not for long.
  • The layout is a bit weird. I'm going to spare details on that because I don't want to go to complaining territory. Suffice it to say I can see why certain traditional layouts stand the test of time for family function.
  • There are too many huge projects which might not be worth doing for how long we want to be here and for how much we could stand to gain on attempting them. Our main bathroom will need to be gutted; it's unlikely we'll ever take down the horrible paneling in the basement, but horrible it most certainly is; these windows, they're a curse. Etc.
  • One-car garage. Actually, for us right now, and probably forever, no-car garage. Bleh.
So, my next house, in five years or so, must have:
  • Budget-friendliness! Of course.
  • Move-in readiness. We're just not fixer-uppers.
  • Four bedrooms, all on the same floor and away from main living areas.
  • Two-car garage.
  • Good location, whatever that will mean at this unspecified time in the future.
  • No mice, ever. 
  • And on my "dare I hope?" list: a true master suite, kitchen with lots of counter space and a pantry (what a dream!), big back yard with a nice deck.
So, that's my wish list. My dream list would be much, much longer, but that's not the point. One thing I've learned as a grown-up is to think about what would be the least it would take to make me happy and then shoot a level or two higher than that. Life is too full of disappointments to have unrealistic goals.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Since Lily's still too young to say the darnedest things, I will share one of my favorite Erichisms:

It's tired in here.

It's too tired in here for a substantive blog post tonight. One of these days I'm going to tell you all about laundry (REJOICE!), but I keep waiting till it's too late to do the topic justice.

I kind of like laundry. Be forewarned.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We're All Clean

Today was the family baby shower for my sister, Anne. I think it was a pretty fun party!

Okay, enough about the party. What's so cool about this whole pregnant-sister thing right now is that Anne's baby (girl, of course) is due, depending on how you calculate, on January 11/13 of next year. Lily was due January 11/13 this year. She made her appearance on January 8.*

What does this mean? It means for me observing Anne, this year is memories of last year and for Anne observing Lily, this year is prediction for next year. Of course, every baby, every mama, and every experience is different, but being that we're sisters who share the same parents and similar body types, our experiences are indeed quite similar. And did I mention she also had two losses prior to this current pregnancy, the first being a late first trimester loss and the second being very early? Just like me! Not exactly the same, but very similar.

So often I look at her and say something like, "Oh yes, I remember starting to feel more sure I was really having a baby by late summer," or "I think I was unable to wear my rings by this point too," or "I know I was wearing Crocs pretty much exclusively by this point in the year." I can't really describe why this is so thrilling, but it is.

And one thing I remember about this time last year was starting to get pretty excited! The excitement was tempered a bit by being overwhelmed about what still needed to be done. But the only emotion that carries over to this year is pure excitement. I love all my nieces and I can't wait to meet the newest one.

*Footnotes are handy. I MEAN, it's still hard for me to say "was born." Yes, she was, in the technical sense that in one moment she was in and the next she was out. I promise I'm not going to open this can of worms right now, but to me, a cesarean "birth" is only technical. Or, to put it another way, Lily was born, but I didn't give birth. I'll shut up now.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I'm just tired of whining and complaining. I feel like I've been doing a lot of that lately.

Well. . .okay, I'm not done whining and complaining about everything I could possibly whine and complain about. But one thing is getting the boot from my plate of worries. I will, like a baby-toddler learning how to play fetch, grab it from the tray in front of me, rotate my torso to extend my arm outward, and drop that little sucker straight onto the floor. And I will calmly watch it go splat. Bonus points if a dog comes along to eat it up.*

I'm done worrying about this kid's sleep habits. No matter what I do or don't do, whether I feel in control or not, whether I'm subscribing to the ideas of some author/guru or relying on my instincts alone, this too shall pass, and I'm finally ready to embrace that. I'm going to stop stubbornly ignoring how strong are the implications of two new teeth, many new words and a cold all in one week when it comes to falling and staying asleep. It's just hard, and we suffer, but we survive and it's okay.

Call it an epiphany, call it a nice night out with good friends and good beer, call it a timely rush of oxytocin--I'm feeling a bit at peace right now, so I'm just going to roll with it.

*My parents' wonderful dog, the eight-year-old yellow lab Lucy, was recently treated to a Lily cast-off. But she's so obedient, so subservient, that she did not take the rejected food until one of her parents gave her permission. I don't want a dog (right now) because no dog can live up to Lucy.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Don't listen to my husband.

When your baby's tummy is exposed, and you place your mouth on the soft expanse and proceed to blow air so as to create the sound of flatulence, that is known as a poost. If you do the same, on a smaller scale, perhaps to someone's cheek, with lips puckered (not wide open), such an act is termed zerbet.

Poost and zerbet can coexist, and, indeed, they are related. There is an important distinction, however, and we must never call a zerbet what is most clearly a poost.

The cardboard tube found giving shape to your paper towels or wrapping paper is known as a do-do. That is "do" pronounced "doe." For when one places one's mouth in one end of the tube and makes sounds like a trumpet, one says "do-do."

One most certainly does NOT say "doo-doo," for such a scatological reference is loathsome and most undesirable.

Do not listen to my husband.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I have so many things I want to make regular habits. Such as

Knitting - I'd like to always have a knitting or crochet project going. I go in bursts on this one. I'll make a few things and eventually get overzealous, at which point my tendinitis kicks in and I have to set it aside for a while.

Going to bed early - Ha, yeah right. Often attempted, rarely achieved.

Getting up early - See above.

Drinking water - Water is so boring right now. So, I've replaced it with Diet Coke. This is Not Good.

Reading the Bible - Sometime in my life, I will have read the whole Bible from cover to cover. I'm following the 2-year plan in my Lutheran Study Bible, usually a week and a half's worth at a time every month or so. You could say I'm doing it, but it's not exactly a good habit right now.

Practicing piano/organ - Totally slumping here right now. Hard to do with a baby, awake or asleep.

Exercise - Was doing spectacularly until mid-September when I got sick, then Lily got sick, then her sleep habits went down the crapper (pardon my French), apparently permanently. I miss exercising.

No candy - The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Organizing the house - My occasional baby steps don't seem to make a dent.

I don't think there are enough hours in the day to always do all these things. But they are the things for which I strive. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

Erich, what shall I post about today? He replies: well, you could complain about Lily or brag about me OR brag about Lily. Or you could talk about the weather. OR you could do some very light political commentary.

Hm. I guess I'm finding my niche, eh?

Well, I still can't think of a topic for the day, so here's all the randomness going through my head right now.

I don't care what anyone says or chooses to worry about, 70 degrees in November is magnificent. I look forward to more days of mildness. I don't like having to bundle up myself and a wiggly toddlerish being just to go out. Frankly, Lily doesn't even have a warm coat. They don't really work well with car seats, so I'm going to see how long I can go by just keeping her in sweaters and piling on the warm blankets when needed.

I cannot WAIT to have a minivan. We're at the point where we could buy one now, but it's just better if we keep saving the money till we really have to pull the trigger. Getting around town is okay in the (old) Buick Century, but it's so worn out and uncomfortable for longer trips. I don't care if minivans scream "mom!" I am a mom and minivans are darn practical. And I want one.

Lily's sleep patterns are shifting. A week ago, she was still not even considering sleep until 10:00 or 11:00 at night. Last night she was down by nine and slept (with a few interruptions) until 7am. Tonight she started acting super sleepy by 6:00 and I got her down by 7:30. This is great, but I'm nervous about how early she's going to be up for the day tomorrow. I'm not a morning person and can't change my wake time as suddenly as she apparently can.

Old music (Baroque and earlier) is good for the soul. Especially in the fall, for whatever reason.

I'm taking baby steps to change this, because it's all I can do, but every room in my house still feels like I'm either packing for or unpacking from a move. I still can't be fully excited about the positive changes in the kitchen/living room/dining room because it's still not DONE and I keep forgetting to call our guy to find out when he's ever going to come finish the job. It does look so much better, though, and someday I really should do a proper post on the project. That would feel wrong when I could be using all that time to be making it all more livable.

Pause to appreciate the irony.

I'm so glad Erich is home all week.

I have to fold and put away laundry.

My baby is heavy. Also, my back is sore.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why Kids Need Dads:

Because I would not and could not do this with any regularity:

But I suspect it's really good for building character.

And a whole host of other things as well. Because this kid gets thrown around and inverted by her daddy, she's used to a little bit of roughness. She belly laughs. She bonds with her daddy.

A mother's gentle, loving touch is one thing, but nothing can replace a good daddy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

10 Months

The kid is 10 months old.

I've been posting more, so it seems repetitious to recount all the major things she's doing right now, but here's what I can think of:

  • She understands a LOT more than she can communicate. It seems like she knows a lot of words.
  • In that vein, she knows two signs, which are usually accompanied by spoken words: "milk" ("mee mee") and "diaper" ("die die. . . peh peh"). I think she has fun doing the diaper sign and will sign and say it even when she's totally dry.
  • She's got a destructive streak. She'll pick up an object and slam it against something else and softly smirk. She also studies things very closely, often in a methodical way, like her engineer father.
  • We may be coming out the other side of the tunnel, sleep-wise, but for the record, I never said this. No sleep jinxes allowed!
  • Her smile has evolved again. When she's very excited or telling a joke, she crinkles up her whole face with a wide smile and usually a hip bounce as well.
  • Speaking of smile, she's got some upper teeth coming in. They look really close to popping through and she's writhing in pain a lot, but I won't be surprised if it's another week or two. This child's teeth don't like her.
  • Everything is for climbing on or crawling to. Bravery increases as she lets go of things while standing up more and more often.
  • Once she discovered she can take bites with her lower teeth, she started liking solid food more. She likes a lot of things, especially apple and her old favorite, rice.
  • Her hair, where I once cut it, is growing out again. And I mean OUT. It's pretty tough to tame. Her shortest little hairs on the back of her head are very curly.
Eight to ten months ago, caring for this baby was like having to do 200 simple arithmetic questions per day. Exhausting, but relatively simple. Now it's like having to do only 10 problems, only now they're Calculus. And I never TOOK Calculus.

To add a dash of another metaphor, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I used to long for the day of predictable naps, more sleep at night, and increased interaction. Now I kind of miss the days when I didn't have to chase a wild animal around the house and continually baby-proof my life.

I wouldn't trade these last ten months with this kid for anything. She is a complete joy (no matter what I might say in the more challenging moments)!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Weekend. Week end. Week beginning. Let us hope this coming week is easier than the last. It shall help immensely to have both parents at home.

After an exhausting and frustrating week followed by an exhausting but fun weekend, I don't have much to say.

It's All Saints Day (Observed). I am remembering the saints who have entered eternity this year, especially Louise B. and my grandmother, Eleanor G.

Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest--
The promise of salvation,
The place of peace and rest--
We know not, oh, we know not
What joys await us there:
The radiancy of glory,
The bliss beyond compare!

Within those walls of Zion
Sounds forth the joyful song,
As saints join with the angels
And all the martyr throng.
The Prince is ever with them;
The daylight is serene;
The city of the blessed
Shines bright with glorious sheen.

Around the throne of David,
The saints, from care released,
Raise loud their songs of triumph
To celebrate the feast.
They sing to Christ, their leader,
Who conquered in the fight,
Who won for them forever 
Their gleaming robes of white.

O sweet and blessed country,
The home of God's elect!
O sweet and blessed country
That faithful hearts expect!
In mercy, Jesus, bring us
To that eternal rest
With You and God the Father
And Spirit, ever blest.

--Bernard of Cluny, 12th century

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Next Up: Garbage Bags

I was recently blessed with the beginning of a slight glimmer of a tentative hope that I could start to be satisfied with my bodily shape and size. Not ideal by a long shot, but sustainable and improved from previous months.

Nothing can snuff out that tiny flame more effectively than trying on new clothes, specifically pants. Sure, I went to only one store where I've never had much luck in the past, but that didn't keep me from being disappointed. It seems like whenever I find clothes that fit, I get them because they technically fit and not because they look particularly good on me. But that is the exception: I can never, ever find good pants that fit.

And I'm pretty sure I never will. Whining to Erich, I told him I would just start wearing paper bags. He suggested plastic as it would help me sweat more. I concur; garbage bags it is. Slimming black. He also offered heavy-duty shrink wrap. As IF. I would not wear heavy-duty shrink wrap instead of pants. It would be my shapewear, for sure. I have such a helpful husband to help me figure out my wardrobe woes.

But seriously, I need help. I have so very many clothes of the following categories: warm weather, cold weather, in-between. Of each of those, there's pre-pregnancy (skinny and fat, but mostly fat), maternity, and postpartum.

I'm happy to say postpartum clothes are now too big. I'm still wearing the tops, but they're increasingly tent-like. Maternity is RIGHT OUT. I was still wearing some of my dress pants, but the last time I wore them, they looked ridiculous, so all maternity clothes are officially done. (I have a ten-month-old. I guess it's good I'm not wearing maternity clothes anymore, right?)

So that leaves pre-pregnancy. And since I hadn't worn any of those clothes for about a year and a half, I don't even remember what I have. And from what I've found, it's unpredictable as to what will fit. Most of it doesn't since everything just fits differently now.

I guess I need a completely new wardrobe, but I lack two things: time and money. Oh, and ambition. Plus, I have that feeling that once I finally figure out how to dress my body AND I have some decent clothes that fit, I'm going to find myself pregnant again and have to start all over. 

Makes the garbage bag option seem more and more viable. I wish saris and muumuus were more socially acceptable. Never mind; I'd still probably have to shop for them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Post that is Not a Post

No exciting blog today. The hubs, the BIL, the Baby and I are going to southern Indiana, and coming back the same day.

We're crazy, but we wouldn't miss youngest BIL as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast for anything. Break a leg, Andrew!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

No Whining

Making a point to post every day presents the danger of this blog becoming a place to do nothing but vent and whine. And while I could definitely come up with something to vent and whine about every day, I don't want that for this blog.

Therefore, I will not:

  1. Even bring up the topic of sleep and how no one's getting nearly enough of it around here. 
  2. Remind everyone that I know it will get better, but that doesn't really help me when all I can think to do is literally ram my head into a wall.
  3. Even THINK about complaining that Erich seems to travel all the time and wonder why I ever complained about his absences BL (before Lily).
  4. Mention that the sight of my house, everything out of place and still unfinished from having some work done a few weeks ago, makes me want to cower in a corner and sob a bit.
Whew, we can all be glad I'm not going to whine about any of that.

Instead, let's enjoy some pictures of autumnal beauty from before that cyclone came through and blew all the leaves off the trees:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trick or Treat

Halloween was Sunday dinner at my parents' house. We went for a brief walk and called it trick-or-treating.

Lily was a ladybug.

All three of us.

(I apologize for my appearance. I probably should keep my mouth shut and stop seeing things that no one else does, but I find it hard to believe that I'm that fat. The sweater and pants are both way too big, so let's blame the clothes. I keep meaning to shop for myself, and it keeps not happening.)

Alice! This kid is a champion smiler.

The three cousins. Alayna actually was trick-or-treating.

My cousin, Nathan, wife Anna, and baby Jacob were there! Jacob was the cutest pumpkin ever.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No Credit Taken

Erich and I are very much the parents of one child. Fortunately, we know it and are pretty self-conscious about it. As such, we take absolutely no credit for Lily's many wonderful traits. Conveniently, this frees us from taking credit for her many less-than-desirable traits.

Lily is what many would call a "good" baby. She only cries if she is physically hurt, she loves people, she plays with toys the way they're meant to be played with, and she generally has a very even temperament. Our mothers tell us that Erich and I were the same way as babies, so it's not very shocking that we have such an agreeable child.

Tonight, because Erich is out of town, I took my overtired baby to an election party because I needed a break. She was a complete doll. I could tell she was extremely tired: The staring eyes, the yawns, they give her away. Yet people expect a baby to turn fussy and become a terror when she's getting close to bedtime. So when they know she's super tired and THIS is what she's like when she's sleep deficient, people start laying on the compliments. I acknowledge my luck and move on.

Absolutely nothing I do as a mother makes her this way. And you know what? She challenges me. I struggle. The reason she was so overtired in the first place was that she only napped for one hour this morning and utterly refused an afternoon nap. She did act super tired for about three hours, but for whatever reason, she never would sleep. And I confess I lost my temper.

So no matter how "good" my baby is, I don't have the easiest time in the world. And that makes us normal! If I survive till she's two, she'll probably be quite terrible by then. And I will not be surprised. And I will not accept any blame!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Lily has a very interesting relationship with hair. Not the hair on her head, which is an exciting mess in itself, but hair on other people's heads.

She has always loved feeling different textures with her fingers, but I believe she finds hair hair to be the ultimate supreme texture. I know it's a thing with babies that they like silky textures and will stroke them to soothe themselves. Lily? Give her some grit and she's happy as a drug addict getting her fix. You can see it in the way her eyes slacken and her head drops as soon as she has her hair.

Having long hair is key. My hair comes just past my shoulders in the front and whenever I hold my sleepy baby close to nurse or rock her to sleep, her free hand goes straight for my neck area. She gropes around until she can find a handful, a strand or clump to clutch in her fist. With the ends toward her thumb, she presses her thumb against the fistful of hair as if she's clicking a button.

Besides the fact that I'm the only lactating human in the household, this is another reason I'm usually the only one who can help get Lily to sleep. Erich, for all his luxurious curls, does not have grabbable strands of hair which hang around his neck. And if I should happen to have my hair tied back on a given day? Well, that situation needs to be remedied quickly because this strong little kid's grasp can and will start pulling apart my 'do to get the precious combination of silky and gritty textures between her tiny fingertips.

Lily's need for hair is right up there with her need to suck. She will usually only hang onto a pacifier if she's going to sleep or is particularly tired. If we happen to be out when she's getting ready for naptime, she will absent-mindedly grab for hair. When hair is not available, she will press her thumb print rhythmically against the edge of a fingernail. If she doesn't have someone else's fingernail available, she will sweep her thumb against the fingers of the same hand.

And so we now understand one of Lily's idiosyncrasies. Just one of those things that make her unique. But! Would you have guessed that this manner of fidgeting is somehow genetic? Indeed! Her father has the exact same fidgeting mannerisms. He used to absent-mindedly scrape his thumb print against my fingernails until I made him stop because it felt creepy. He gravitates toward gently feeling textures, especially textiles, with his fingertips.

Isn't that weird? I mean, Lily's habit is mildly weird enough without the genetic component making it slightly weirder than mildly weird. That's JMVVHO (just my very, very humble opinion). The end!

ETA: Erich reminds me that his brother, Lily's youngest uncle had a hair fetish for years and years. He mainly liked to stroke it. Erich feels textures. Marry those two traits and you get Liy, feeling the texture of hair. Alles klar? Too bad, I'm really done now.