Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Using the Five S's to put Ivy down on Day 30.

Using the Five S's to put Ivy down on Day 30. I'm holding the camera with one hand, which should be used to wrap her even tighter to simulate the pressure she felt in the womb, but it still works!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Stomach Flu Vs. Shaw and the family. The battle, the recovery, and the lessons learned.

Bug attack. Starship Troppers movie.upcomingvfxmovies.com

Attack of The Stomach Flu.

36 Hours of Yuck Against This Bad Bug. Lessons Learned and Links Below.

Shaw finally got the stomach bug going around town.  He's almost 3 years old. If you're a parent reading this with a child who's puking everything up, is hungry, and tired, and you're stressing out with a partner, or yourself, I can relate!

We just had 36 hours of vomit, laundry, crying, worrying, doctor calls, and arguing with my wife about slightly different ideas about care and feeding at times. Luckily, or perhaps not luckily, I was on my last day of parental leave Friday, so we had both of us home for this ordeal. We didn't come to blows, and patience reigns, but there were the classic moments of struggling not to think the other had gone bonkers. And so far, we've isolated baby Ivy from the bug.

There's a ton of good info on the Web, and about 10 tons of bad info, or thoughtlessly copied info, so I'll just relate our experience here.

First. Contact your doctor so they know what is going on, or go the ER, especially if you are concerned that your kiddo is seriously dehydrated.

Second. It's scary! We found it very hard not to feed a hungry, scared kid. And even harder to feed them and see them puke it all up. 

Lessons Learned

Our final design for easy to clean sleeping area
Keep a sick log. We did not, and found we were foggy on details when we called our doctor's night time hotline after 22 hrs. The health worker we spoke to asked us a lot of specific questions. We were both tired and stressed. We couldn't remember (or agree on) when it started, and what and when we tried to feed him. Including, especially, how many ounces, and of what? For how many minutes did it stay down? What color and how much did he pee?

Stay alert for signs of dehydration. Shaw didn't pee at all for 22 hours. We didn't think much of it at first, but the hotline health worker became alarmed when we told her this, which in turn made us worry. After speaking with her, we finally just put him on the potty despite his protests, and he peed over a cup (right after we hung up the phone, of course)! We actually kept a measuring cup near the potty to measure pee...can't wait to tell Shaw this when he's older.

Find an easy-to-clean pukey-nap solution.  We used a rubber yoga mat, with a rolled-up pillow end, and two or three easy-to-wash towels as his blankets. We kept the house at 70 degrees (warm, for us). We went through three mats and maybe 10 towels in the course of the sickness; he just kept missing the bucket we had for him (thank you to our friends Laura & Abby for the tophat potty, the perfectly-sized toddler barf bucket).

Take it slow and systematic. Our doctor, and good Websites, seemed to land on 15 to 30 minutes between 1oz doses of clear liquid, preferably WATER until vomiting stops entirely. We had terrible luck with diluted juice. Water with a little salt and watered-down coconut water stayed down. Crackers and food of any kind didn't work for 36 hours. WATER WATER WATER WATER WATER.

Hose it down. We disinfected the laundry with Pine Sol and/or bleach, but forgot about disinfecting things like door knobs and sink handles for a day or so. We used white vinegar and isopropyl alcohol mixture we make at home. Here's a Readers Digest set of recipes for money-saving and effective DIY cleaners. More links below.

The Down and Dirty


It started 11:30pm Thursday night. Puked, peed, puked again, massive laundry load. Wouldn't you know it, Shaw had been having a rare night sleeping in the big bed with momma and baby from bedtime on. So, it was major King-size bed laundry time. He peed. Back to sleep with me in his own bed.


  • He puked every couple of hours through the night into early morning. We tried a little water. Puked it up. 
  • Morning: he held down four ounces of water for about 20 minutes when he puked it up after having another few ounces plus one ounce of watery grape juice. He slept a lot. We broke out the TV, which we watch maybe once a week for an hour or so at the most. We let him watch commercial-free streams of Curious George on Amazon, and Thomas the Train videos on YouTube. He slept, a lot. And puked, most of what we gave him for clear liquids. 
  • Afternoon: we tried a cracker and water. Up it came. He slept for a hour or so.
  • Later afternoon: he managed to hold down 4 ounces of coconut water, in 5-minute increments, but we pushed it due to excitement of him being better, and game him some watered down juice too and he puked it all up after about 30 minutes. Crying. But at least producing tears, meaning he wasn't critically dehydrated!
  • 9pm: still couldn't hold down water. Called our doctor's hotline, they asked about pee, and since it had been about 22 hours(!) they said "Get thee to the ER!" This level of action didn't resonate with us, though. We put him on the potty, to collect (har har) some more data, and he peed over a cup!!! We were ridiculously excited about this. While the pee was dark (bad) it wasn't the darkest we've ever seen. He held down an ounce of pure water. We spent thirty minutes figuring out what had transpired over the past 24 hours (Did he puke before or after the fourth ounce of water at 10:30am? 10:45am. No, 10:35am. Read: keep a log). We called the hotline back, with our new data and revised story. They said NO ER, since he peed and actually held down an 1oz of water before going to bed.
  • Overnight: I slept in his bed and he slept on the floor on a Yoga mat, with towels as blankets. He woke up once at 1am and asked for Momma...wouldn't drink. I panicked inside, but he seemed responsive, so we went back to bed.


  • 7:30am: Woke up slow, limp, groggy, wouldn't drink. I picked him to potty, he went pee, 8 oz, and while not dark and smelly, not too much so.
  • 9:00 am: He'd kept down about 4 oz of light honey water with a little salt, given in 30 minutes, about 1.5 oz at a time. Then 20 minutes later, 1/4 of a banana. Then he begged for more food, "peanut better and sausage," but passed out as I came up with toast and very light jam after 15 minutes of stalling. He had one  dry puke reflex in his sleep.
  • 11:30 am: He woke up, didn't puke. I took him to try and pee: nothin' doin'. I fretted. He went back to sleep. 
  • Noon.: Up. Toast, lightly salted and honeyed water in a bottle. He said "I think I'm getting very better." Made, by his own admission, a "monster pee" ("monster" is our word for something truly giant). Future Shaw, let it be known that your parents did NOT measure the volume of this pee.
  • Afternoon (the present moment): Clingy, weepy, fussy, whiny boy. We are all tired and poorly fed. I am being as patient as a saint (Laura's words) while I look after both kids, who are actually doing great teamwork already (taking turns being fussy. Ivy, thank you very much for passing out as soon as your brother started to lose it. Laura is editing/writing this post and doing self-care like flossing and drinking hot chocolate. Things are approaching normal.
  • 8 pm. Good dinner. No puke, but the other end is starting up with the big D.  Laura and I are exhausted,  feeling headaches, body aches, hoping we're not getting sick. My shoulders are achy from holding Ivy. Ivy is so far spared. Bed.


Diarrhea attacks, leaving scores of damaged underwear in its wake. But, it seems just a byproduct of the bug because he's chipper and eating normal food fine. We think we're through it.

Of course our brains are mush. And the entire house smells like puke and poo.

At one point this morning I was asking Laura about a hiking trail we'd been on that I was taking Shaw to, in a desperate attempt to get out of the shitting house, and she just looked at me and said some garbled language like "nergle nostradomous" and we laughed and almost cried with each other. I have to brush my teeth again.

Every day so far with two kids is making Laura and understand the desire to DO NOTHING in retirement. At least long enough to recharge until personal passions surface that must be followed once again. '

Monday, Tuesday
I got the big D. Shaw does too. I tried to go to work, ended up calling for a pick up and going from bed to bathroom only.

Steady. Shaw ate more at dinner then I though possible for his size. I'm 90% and hydrating. We will live to fight this bug again!

Resources and Links

DIY Homemade Cleaners (often better, always cheaper!):  

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Switching track pad hands to help laptop agrivated achy wrists and shoulder: Help via a cheap glove.

I've been using a cheap cotton glove to force me not to use my right hand when using a laptop track pad! I can type with glove, but the cotton prevents the track pad from working when I automatically go to use it.

I'm switching because I get sore wrists, forearms and shoulders from so much computer work. Often I have to switch which hand I use for track pads and mouse moving.

This happens especially when using a track pad on a laptop with my right hand. My right wrist hurts in a repetitive stress injury way and my bad shoulder hurts from inactivity and lack of range of motion.

I've been using a pair I think I got from Ace Hardware, or maybe Agway, but they are basically like these.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gassy puking baby...is it the prunes and broccolli

It only took us a few days to put together our diet with a fussy baby. Laura has been hitting the broccoli and prunes hard, and then we read this. Thing settled down a bit with Ivy in a day or so.

From a babycenter article:

Occasionally a baby will be fussy at the breast or gassy after you eat a particular food. If you notice a pattern, avoid that food for a few days. To test whether that food really was the cause, reintroduce it once and see if there's an effect. Mothers report that babies most often object to chocolate; spices (cinnamon, garlic, curry, chili pepper); citrus fruits and their juices, like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit; strawberries; kiwifruit; pineapple; the gassy veggies (onion, cabbage, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, and peppers); and fruits with a laxative effect, such as cherries and prunes.

First hand off of baby to daddy! A magic moment

March 17th was the first hand off of Ivy by an at-the-end-of-her-rope-just-puked-on-her-again-tired-Laura. I took her outside. She was instantly quiet, like Shaw was. We talked about the sky. Then inside after a few minutes and
she fell asleep in my arms.  Magic.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Oiling wood tables and counters

I oiled our old wooden table and kitchen island recently. It had many months.

With a new baby and toddler in the house who often eats off these surfaces, I used edible organic Jojoboa oil.

I'm sure there's many other non-toxic oils that would work, such as Canola (used on metal farm tools I've heard).

Do you readers have any other suggestions for the comments below?

I put the oil on heavy, and then let is soak in for a about two hours before I wiped off the excess.

The silver lining I realized later, was that left over food bits are so much easier to wipe off! Duh, I know, but it had been a long time since I really did this in earnest with enough oil.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Long Term Test, Moto X 2nd Generation, Republic Wireless: Unboxing to long term usage reporting.

UPDATE June 20, 2015.
All good with the phone and Republic. Got a case for my Moto X 2nd Gen after the free repair by Motorola. Returned by Moto X 1st gen I was using in the interim in under 30 days and got a full refund.

UPDATE May 20, 2015.
Still happy with my phone and Republic Wireless. But, I broke my Moto X, 2 gen. phone! I dropped it without a case, on the parking lot at work, at exactly the wrong angle...my fault. I've dropped it several times before, but not at this angle and on pavement.

Now...at first I thought I'd just have to suck it up and buy a new phone. Then I searched a little and found out that Motorola, now of course owned by Google, provides a quiet repair program that sometimes does free repairs. I quickly ordered a replacement phone from Republic, and sent my broken phone into Motorola directly. After a couple of weeks. I just got it back! For a free repair! More later.

UPDATE April 23rd, 2015.
  • Cons: I discovered that there isn't unlimited data when roaming and using cell towers. There seems to be 5GB on native towers, and 25MB throttled on on native towers. See policy. I haven't hit a limit yet on the 3G, $25/month plan, but I'm close this month. On wifi (mostly work and home) it is unlimited.
  • Pros: I love this Moto X 2nd Gen phone. Fast, excellent camera. Tough and fine after three drops. 
UPDATE: March 26th. Love the Moto X 2nd Gen's battery saving technology that allows for text messages and the like to display without booting up the entire screen. And the smart display will not sleep if it sees my face, which is cool because I can set the display to sleep for 15 seconds to save battery, but still read an article without it sleeping at all. I am noticing the screen size is just a bit too big for me to one-hand click. 4.7" screens really are good for me for one handed usage, like when holding a sleeping baby. But I can barely do it with this phone and the larger screen is very good for reading and working.

March 20th, 2015: My Moto X, second generation (2nd Gen.) arrived today. I'm replacing my iPhone 4, regular (no "S"). RIP iPhone 4. You rocked! All glass and metal, from the age of Apple with Steve Job's obsessive design sense.
L to R: iPhone 4, Moto E, Moto X 2nd Gen, unboxed.

I'll report in this blog post my test results as I use the Moto X 2nd gen. as my only phone.

I'm using Republic Wireless. The Moto X 2nd gen. cost $399.00, with no contract with unlimited text, data, calls for $25/mo on 3G. This was still cheaper over a two year period then going with an iPhone 6 with AT&T, on a family plan, paying cash for the phone, by about $100.00.

I have to say, my Moto E, for $99, grew on me. What a nice little phone for the money. Feels great, built like a tank. I agree with others out there that the 4.7" screen is perfect for hand size. But not screen size...

The Moto X is bigger, but lighter and thinner. Moto E camera is weak...but for the money, again, great phone.

I switched to the Moto X because I tried it out and it seems better then an iPhone 6. I don't have any tablet computers, and my only computer at home is my work laptop (Macbook pro). So the phone is highly used for email and Web. And because it has A:
  • Larger screen for my aging, achy eyes!
  • Better camera with a flash.I take a lot of photos and video.
  • Front camera for all the grandparent Skyping. 

 Android OS Observations

Every few years I back and forth between iOS and Android, to keep up on both. I find both easy to learn to make my phone a powerful tool to work with. The iOS, for me, is just a little bit more intuitive, but no by much.

Android always pisses me off pretty quickly in one little area, the notifications. They start off swamping the user, and in a very not user friendly way, they make it hard to figure out how to make the notifications stop. I would LOVE a simple "do you want these notifications in the future" choice at the very start. iOSes notifications built into the icons for apps work better for me.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The care and feeding of a new father in the first two weeks, AKA "monitoring in the margin"

Day 20 since Ivy was born. I hit my first wall yesterday, mood-wise.

I'm through the other side now though, writing about it at a cafe before picking Shaw up at school.

Laura is has her own challenges of course.

But this post is about me as a father supporting her.


The Wall 

Really? A wall you say? But aren't you off of work for a month, paid!

So this month paid off work, courtesy of the new parental leave policy at Marlboro College, is a wonder! But it's not what it might be with no kids, or older kids. It's not "off," either. To keep my emails from reaching freakishly high numbers, I still put in about a hour a day online at my job. And that hour is increasing as the weeks past.

Back to the wall. So this "wall" is of course a "first world problem." I became tapped out, needing the kind of space that isn't really in the physical universe I now inhabit. That space of unfettered-ness, of no silly questions asked me, of no folks around who have needs they can't take care of themselves.

At the same time, I'm in the margins now, emotionally and physically, in terms of our relationship.

I was warned of this condition by a friend when Shaw arrived.  He said most all the attention will be on the mom and baby, and for good reason. And that nobody preps dads for handling that. He said to prepare to be a third, or fourth, wheel for a while. That you wife will be in love with another being, and this time, my other child is also in a hard transition and also after what non-baby love bandwidth mom has left. He said he learned to the job, love the job, and deal with the marginalization. I helped me with Shaw to hear this and prepare!

I don't want pity, or caring, supportive looks, or problem solvers. It's a job I choose gladly, and sometimes it gets hard, and it should, it's a hard job!

Most if it is fatigue from being slightly keyed up with a baby in the house. This is reported to me from other father's as being normal. A very small baby is so vulnerable that it is common to be on guard all the time, thereby making sleep hard, even if you have time in a guest room with ear plugs. Which of course I can't wear because then I can't hear the thieves, crazies and zombies with enough time to protect the family!

So I got an hour at the gym courtesy of Bubbe, and a morning cafe writing stint after closing down Caleb's Breakfast Kitchen, and I'm back to work.

Tips for supporting me as a new father

  • Try and understand and relate to the my experience by asking questions, lots of questions, until you build your own understanding of it that is accurate. But don't try and fix it. There's nothing wrong, the challenges is in how to handle the challenge.
  • Encourage hydration, passionate work, and exercise - especially long walk/runs that help sleep.
  • Continue to support those breaks with a little time off where I can do what I wish, with whom I wish, unfettered.
  • Give me a hug now and then, but not in a pitying/sad/caring way, in a supportive/strong/teamwork way.
  • Help make sure not all our interactions are around stressfull baby support issues like instructing, reminding, hounding, list providing, scheduling, laundry, cooking, etc. Keep throwing in some positives!
  • Continue to find together the secret father tricks that make the baby quiet down (like going outside, or walking around the house) and hand off the baby when you can.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Butterfly Museam Visit! Magic Wings in MA

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Museam, awesome as usual, and warm and humid.

"The Lepidoptera source in Western Massachusetts,
featuring an 8,000-square foot indoor conservatory
home to nearly 4,000 exotic and domestic butterflies
in a tropical environment."

Photos here

The Care and Feeding of a New Mom, aka, "patrol the permimeter and secure protein."

Here's my short list of things I learned over the first two weeks of "patrolling the perimeter and securing protein," after Laura gave birth to Ivy in our house. 

This time, recovery is all about extra eggy French toast. With Shaw, it was ham and eggs Laura wanted. I'm cooking a lot, focusing on fish, meat, broccoli and salads. Lots of yogurt, eggs, bread, potatoes, yams, are in the house. Our Meal Train started, so we've got food dropped off by wonderful folks a two or three days a week.

Lessons learned, recipes and a shopping list are at the end of this post.

Eggy French toast and ham

The try is actually an old backing pan covered by a napkin, no need to buy more stuff!
Gluten free Cod fish sticks, and I even like them (tons of Parmesan cheese).

Spinach mashed potatoes and  Teriyaki salmon - Omega 3's are key before and after prego

I've been supporting my wife and new daughter in the baby cave for two weeks now at our house now.

I'm also bro'in down with our 2 3/4 year old son Shaw, taking him to school, picking him up at noon, scheduling grandma's and friends for playdates, feeding and putting to bed.

My shoulders are achy, especially my bad one, even though I got to the gym yesterday. I didn't warm up, or i'm just getting old, but that's another post.

She was an eating machine while pregnant. Protein helps keep prego folks from being tired I hear tell....

First off, I understand why a lot of my mother's generation was spent 10 days in the hospital after a birth. My mother's friend Ginny actually has the bill for her birth, it was $36.00 for 10 days. This was about 50 years ago.

I'm not defending the heavily drugged, separated from child, put in stirrups, silliness of that time as good practice nowadays, but I get it for back then. It was a time when many men weren't doing a lot of laundry, cleaning, shopping, and homemaking, midwives weren't as trained, and so a hospital makes sense. And believe me, 10 days make sense.

Laura's body and mind are recovering from a very intense physical event that shot all kinds of adrenalin and natural pain killers through her body as her midsection did UNFATHOMABLE things to push out 9lbs of live baby. He body is drastically reforming, with major organs moving entire feet (nice play on words). Meanwhile, her body, with no turn aournd time, must repurpose as milk producing nursing machine. The midwives are right about short visits, and about the mother not being left alone too long, even if she says it's okay. She is recovering.

Many women over time have recovered and raised great kids without much support at all, but here's what worked for us for the first two kids, both times.

Patrol the perimeter and secure protein list

  • Take care of yourself. When someone is visiting her, go out, go for a walk, or to the gym. 
  • You have only this time when having a kid, so make the most of it. I'd say take at least 10 days off, if not more. You'll have hours every day to work on the computer, or other projects in or near the house, but take off from going into work if at all possible. If you do have to work, get a person to take your place as support person.
  • Hold the baby every day and make eye contact. Changing diapers is an easy way to do this.
  • Learn her appetite, shop for that stuff, and surprises. 
  • Check the house for safety. From fire alarms to door locks, to clutter one could trip over and dryer vents. Thing need to work as best as they can. Check even the car, etc.
  • Keep the house warm and quiet.
  • If folks want to help, have them help with outside the house stuff (shopping, errands).

Recipes and shopping list

I tend to simplify recipes, mostly from The Joy of Cooking and major recipe sites on the Internet. I cook fast and focused and I love it. It's one of the few times I'm in control of almost everything I want to be, and can experiment with lots of variables while in "flow."  
  • Keep a water bottle by her bed full at all times.
  • Keep prunes around. She may...need them. 
  • Eggy French toast. 3 eggs, 1oz water and 1oz milk. Scramble. Soak bread 10 minutes flipping in eggs. Cook in butter. Pore extra eggs over top of toast right after you put it in the pan. Side with ham or sausage and real, Vermont, Maple syrup, if she wants it. Strangely, Laura didn't want any syrup at all this time.
  • Teriyaki Salmon and spinach mashed potatoes: Get salmon, put in a baking dish with some Teriyaki sauce on top. Bake 400 until done. Half potatoes, boil until soft. Mash with butter and milk. Put in lots of spinach while it's hot, mix.
  • Fish Sticks, gluten free and I even liked them! 
  • Yogurts from the discount grocer by the case for Shaw. Throw some high fiber O's in and there's no dishes. But CAUTION..."Fage's," separate fruit containers are trouble since he just eats the fruit...get fuit on the bottom!

Monday, March 16, 2015

The perfect kid job?

Sanding, or really "dirting" the ice on the walk way
Dirt + Throwing = Awesome job for Shaw. And he even is old enough to have totally understood when I said that "the dirt needs to only go on the ice where we walk."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Day 12: I have a problem. Does Ivy have a problem? Laura has a problem.

Shaw and I had a dance party tonight after dinner to old Elvis and CCR. We threw clothes at each other as I had taken most of my clothing and thrown it on the floor of our office/guest room for a massive organizing mission. Most if it was in my closet anyway, on the floor.

I have a problem with clothing. But we'll get to that later.

This week we've stabilized a bit and arrived at the common challenge of SLEEP. Every parent of young childen's major subject. It's a moving target, and all we know is that we are all off our natural schedules. Whatever you slept like before kids, you're probably not doing it with kids.

Ivy sleeps most of the day, and nurses every couple of hours all night with Laura. We're cosleeping so she just rolls over, but still, it wakes her. I slept with her and Ivy for the first few nights, but quickly realized, and I did with Shaw now that I think about it, that there is NO point in me being there and getting woken up all night. I can't help, and I'm not needed.

One us does need to be awake during the day though, so I've been in the guest room until last night that is...

Last night I went out to dinner with my mother, and we were all exhausted by 9 and found that he ENTIRE family was in the big king bed. Shaw had snuck out of his room while I was putting him down and we didn't have the energy for a meltdown.

Shaw is great with her, he curious, mostly gentle, and thinks of her often in terms of showing her his drawings, or trucks, or helping change diapers.

With us, he regressing, and easily melts down for "momma." This time, we didn't have it in us to try and keep him in his room. So it was a pile up in one bed!

He lay on one side of Laura and Ivy on the other. Laura's problem was that Ivy wanted to nurse, and Shaw literally snuggled up next to her and reached his hand up every time she looked at Ivy and gently pulled it to look at him. Message understood. Let the fight over momma's body parts begin. It must be complex, good, and bad, and in the middle, to have one's body wanted by babies, kids and adults, all for different reasons. But that's another post, or 20.

So we just all crashed together.

I didn't sleep hardly all, but everyone else seemed to have an okay sleep. I was up every few hours, too hot, too cold, being kicked by Shaw, and then the wireless weather station ran out of batteries and started beeping at midnight. By 6:15, dark, Shaw was up. I distracted him by teaching him how to go though all my family photos while I took a shower. The day

Ivy is pretty easy. She's an "appendage' as Laura calls her. This is the time with Shaw that I remember being terrified of three things, and it's happening with Ivy too.

  1. She stops breathing often for no apparent reason, I'm told it's "normal." But I can't help thinking that one of these times, she'll really be dead. Literally, if you are listening to her sleep, she suddenly, and completely, stops breathing. As one of my daddy friends said, "I just lay there in the dark trying to think how I was going to wake my wife and tell her our daughter was dead." And then suddenly, they start breathing again! 
  2. Is she mentally all there? All she does is twitch her limbs, make faces and seem totally confused and disoriented, for the few minutes a day she seems actually awake. Then she passes out for hours, usually strapped to Laura in such a way as to make it almost impossible to see if she's even alive amid the fabric and her body. Is she okay? How do we know?
  3. Laura and Ivy are aliens. Laura's body is so drastically readjusting, spurting milk and changing shape daily, she must not be human. Her organs are literally moving several inches back to their original location. Ivy is a gurgling mess of writhing skin. Sometimes bloated like a frog, sometimes not. She shits different stuff daily, sometimes as projectiles into a fresh diaper before you can get it on! She makes horrific faces and sneezes regularly since she can't breath through her mouth. He skin is molting like a lizard and it changes color like one too. 
I just keep breathing and it seems to keep working out, but it's dicey at times.

The grandmothers are tag teaming and it's great. I pick drop Shaw off, and mostly pick him up at school.

Shaw's little Waldorf school up the road he goes to every morning.

We've been sledding after school until 1:15 and cranking the heat for Shaw in the car until he passes out for a nap. I've feed Laura, go back to work, and a grandmother or two is often around to help with chores and kids now that we're through the first few days of the baby cave.

Laura is sleeping during the day often, but going for more walks and doing more stuff around the house. Ivy had her first bath.

We shovel whenever possible, he's obessed with shoveling.

Back to my problem  for once (or twice) - clothing.  I hate my clothing, or really, most clothing in general. Actually, the concept of clothing really, and its needs around looking good and clean. And I hate that I don't have a butler to give me new clothes every day, so I can trash them and start over each day, and still look good.

We made it through all of them. I threw out half. Mostly stuff I'd had for years. I have way too many socks!

No matter what I ware, I usually have a classic green Tilly hat T3 most seasons, and hopefully a white Tilly hemp medium brim this summer. Black belt, camera bulging off it, black backpack full of electronics and stuff. 

If I could I would wear:
  1. A black very light wool suit, leather business shoes, with a different tie and shirt picked out from a set of pressed and folded (not by me) ones. It's so simple, and it looks so good. But my office isn't that dressy and I can't afford it since I'd trash the suits pretty quick with food stains, rips, and forgetting to take them off when I get home. It's a dichotomy, because I love looking great dressed up in fine clothes, especially dark suits, but I just don't fucking care most of the time.
  2. Summer:  Carhartt Men's Washed Duck Work Shorts "12-ounce, heavyweight, 100% ring-spun cotton," stained, dirty, and often damp from a recent swim. A random tee shirt or button down for sun protection, unbuttoned, untucked.
  3. Winter: Worn and often dirty 501 Levi jeans (although I'm noticing Levi's aren't what they used to be!), ragged tee shirt with untucked, unbuttoned flannel button down shirt and a leather bomber coat made of thick pig skin, with a robust metal zipper. 
As it is I muddle along, struggling to keep my clothes organized and to come up with a bullet proof plan to wear the same thing every day - and failing. I'm homing in on black jeans and a button down at work. But I just HATE thinking about it at all! And I hate worrying about what I'm wearing, especially about getting it dirty or stained, or being dirty or stained. Smelly, I avoid...so I've got that going for me. 

Tonight Shaw was tired out from the clothing war, I let him fall asleep in the office/guest room with me sometimes and I did tonight. He likes to be in the same room with me working on the computer.

He almost melted for momma, but I stayed calm, held him, got him some water, and he passed out by 9pm. He goes down late when he has a 1 to 2 hour nap, but I'm hoping he sleeps till 7!

Now I'll try and sleep at 10pm. I had an hour nap today from the horrid night before, almost didn't get up by 5pm, and of course now I'm not able to sleep, when I can.

Now, if I could only eat better...well...ok, LESS... and exercise more, my shoulders wouldn't hurt so much, and I'd feel a bit better. Is it really that simple...diet and exercise - it can't be! There must be another answer, a pill, maybe a chant, grail, code...

But, all and all, it's so wonderful to have a tight community, grandparents, and the solid support of a steady, albeit low, salary with benefits in a job I love. I've got 2.5 weeks left of my paid daddy leave too - time is on my side for a bit. 

Seems a formula for tolerable chaos, and time for our little family to learn to keep sticking together and support each other, as we roll with the endless phases and challenges that seem to be what life is about for me now.

What do you think?

Products in this Post I Recommend

I have tested and heartily recommend:
Also, I'm looking for a reliable link to black Levi 501's that are not thin crappy cotton that I sometimes get from Levis. Any help?

Maybe these?:

Mom visits and turns 75!

My mother is here for a couple of weeks, "Bubbie" to Shaw.

She was 75 years old Tuesday and she went sledding...and volunterily rolling!

She didn't want any sort of party, but I did get her to go out to dinner with me, and at a fancy place, which is not her style. I'd just finished a big part of a side contract doing some development in Schoology.com and wanted to celebrate as well.

Warm dates, bacon, goat cheese, and cabbage salad.

VT beef and chickpea somethings and chicken,

We went to Duo in Brattleboro - Great meal, even she agreed, although she said it was ridiculous to spend that much money ($95 for two, with two fancy drinks, two apps, two entrees and tip). We had a good waiter, and picked good mixes of food. I agreed about the money, except when you are 75 years old for your birthday.  A table next to us also had a bunch of her peers having a birthday party, she of course went over and met them all, and we shared cake and singing.

Her best friend Ginny brought her from the airport a few days ago, and we had take out with Grandma Betty who my mom is bunking with. They are doing great trading time over the baby and Shaw and living together.  But that's another post...

And of course, swimming in quick order a few days ago. She's a fish.

And so is Shaw now, almost.

Oy! Says the Jewish mother

First pediatrican visit. Compare and contrast with midwives.

Ivy went outside for the second time!
First time in the car and car seat though. Hospital is 3-minutes away. She fell asleep most of the trip and in the seat when we got home for 2 hours.

At the Pediatrician's Office

We went to a 10 day pediatrician appointment. Mary the midwife has been coming every few days as well to inspect, must be on her 12th or so visit including before birth. She advised to wait at least two weeks to go to pediatrician office, as long as everything is fine.
There's an interesting tug of war between midwives and doctors.
Measured at home

Home midwife check-ups ever few days.

Our first midwife with Shaw said not to bring the baby into a pediatrician's office, unless there were issues from her home checkups, or our concerns for 6 weeks!

Her resoning was sound, there are too many sick folks there for a little baby to be exposed to needlessly!

The pediatrician's say, they need to see the kids early to catch stuff and get them in their records.

I say, pediatrician's should make one house call per new patient, when they are two weeks old. Then the baby comes in to the office at the two month old mark.

If they want the business, they need to do this one house call.


We went in at two weeks with Shaw, also good with us. With Ivy, they of course said, "come back in 4 days for a quick weight check, we need to check them when they get back to their birth weight."

The midwife said that's silly, she's been weighing her. But of course the info is shared automatically, has to be faxed. We'll look back on this time in 20 years with horror in terms of information management.

I don't think we will go back in four days. The midwife will weigh her, and we'll let them know the weight.

The pediatrician was fine, reassuring to have a second opinion ,she cleaned out Ivy's belly button, which still has some blood, and she said it was a "deep one" and to keep it clean with Q tips. Of course the midwife said,  don't need to clean it, it's made to take care of itself.

We'll make the calls between the two approaches. Use each one for it's strong suit and for balance. So far, all healthy.