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December 26, 2010

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We’ve moved!

December 20, 2010

The blog is now at – hope you’ll join me over there!

The Culprit, Unmasked

July 24, 2010

Last night around eight o’clock, we heard a trilled “yoooo-hooooo…knock KNOCK!” at our front door, which was open due to the oppressive heat and humidity (Lorelei was just a few degrees shy of fusing to my chest in her Björn). Through the screen door, we spied a middle-aged woman and her companion, a dead ringer for Phil Jackson in the Bulls era – except that this guy had a decidedly beaten-down air about him.

“We don’t mean to bother you,” said the woman, “but we used to live here before Lisa” – the woman I bought the house from in 2007 – “and we see that you’re putting on an addition! Two stories, huh?”

“No,” I said, “just one.”

“Really? Just one?” She was skeptical.

“Really – I swear.” Her intense gaze started to make me feel a little nervous, like maybe it was in fact two stories and I had my facts wrong. She’d be a brilliant CIA interrogator. Phil hung back a step or two behind her, looking uncomfortable. I think he spends a significant portion of his life feeling uncomfortable.

“Do you mind if we go out there and poke around a little?” I looked back at the massive piles of debris in our chewed-up backyard, which included a window (now broken) the guys had removed from our original bathroom, a section of roof gutter, and a few stray sawhorses. Everything was buried in calf-deep grass and weeds.

“Sure, have at it,” I said. This is why I was a terrible lawyer – the idea that she or Phil might meet a gristly, litigious end tripping over a half-hidden circular saw didn’t occur to me until later on.

“Thanks – by the way, what do you think of the wisteria?”

“The wisteria?” I asked, clueless.

“Right here,” she said, affectionately fingering a tenacious, fast-growing vine that has been the bane of my existence since I moved in. It officially lives on a trellis next to the front porch, but that’s merely its home base. Every day it shoots a few new tendrils straight out, wrapping itself around our front railing, our gutters (slowly prying them away from the house in the process), and our mailman. It grows faster than I can beat it back. It attracts great swarms of wasps. It is, in short, a horticultural nightmare.

Until now, I hadn’t known it was wisteria and thought of it only as “that damn vine.” I keep meaning to get rid of it but I’m afraid it might retaliate against my family or cats in some fashion.

“I just love wisteria,” the woman said. “I planted it when I lived here.”

So you’re the one who brought this scourge into our lives!

“Has it flowered for you?”

“No, but it’s, uh, quite a presence.”

“Well, enjoy it,” she said. “Come on, honey – let’s go take a look at the addition. We’ll be back when it’s finished to have another look around.”

Despite the heat, we’re now keeping the front door firmly closed from here on out.

Lactation Fun

July 2, 2010

There’s a whole lot I didn’t know about babies until recently – such as the fact that newborns drop a fair amount of weight right after they’re born.

At her two-week checkup on Tuesday, Lorelei had not yet made it back up to her birth weight, so the pediatrician told me to set up an appointment with one of the hospital’s lactation consultants. After the trauma of “Check Your Latch” Linda at the hospital, this was not something I was eager to do, but letting my baby wither away like a character in a Brontë novel was not an option, either.

Back at the hospital, Linda had foisted two phone numbers on me. “The first is the voicemail for the lactation consultants. We check it every day at 7 am. If we don’t get back to you, or if you’re having a milk emergency, you should call this direct line instead.” Eric and I were both a) wondering why on earth they encourage you to leave a message if they don’t plan to get back to you and b) highly amused at the notion of a “milk emergency.” (“That must mean there’s either no milk, or way too much milk,” Eric said, eyes wide with horror, undoubtedly picturing nipples spewing an unstemmable white tide, like open fire hydrants.)

With some misgivings, I left a message on the voicemail, and Linda herself actually got back to me the following afternoon. “When would you like to come in?” she asked, clearly glad to have another new mom in her clutches. I told her I could do anytime the following day and asked what times she had available.

“Oh, we don’t set up a time now,” she said, cheerily. “Call and leave a message on the voicemail tomorrow morning when you get up. Ideally, you should call before 7:00. Someone will get back to you with a time – and if you don’t hear back from us, you should call the direct line.” Monty Python’s Flying Circus has nothing on the Portsmouth Hospital Lactation Team.

In any event, I finally managed to nail down an appointment for 12:30 on Thursday and was told to bring a hungry baby (I assume they meant my hungry baby rather than any old one I found kicking around in a stroller downtown). The lactation consultant was late. Hungry baby began to wail. The “lactation room” was occupied, so we retreated to an unoccupied room in Pediatrics one floor down. She told me to go about my business nursing Lorelei as I normally would, but that she had to weigh her first.

“We’ll leave her fully clothed so as not to traumatize her,” she said, “since she’s already hungry. Well, look at that! She’s already gained quite a bit of weight since she saw the doctor!” I had to break it to her that the apparent weight gain was most likely due to the fact that the baby was, um, fully clothed. “Oh, right,” she said, disappointed. I settled into a chair and, as instructed, started to nurse Lorelei, who by now was so hungry she was eagerly gumming my shirt, her own fist, and anything else that came into range.

Unbeknownst to both me and the lactation consultant, the room she chose for us in Pediatrics was the place to be at lunchtime on Thursdays. In the course of 20 minutes, we were interrupted by:

1. Someone who urgently needed the room’s bed wheeled out into the hallway ASAP;

2. An unknown person who hurriedly closed the door with a cryptic “Sorry – I work here”; and

3. Larry (“He’s one of our IT guys,” the consultant noted.)

It would have been too much to hope for any of these people to knock before entering. “I’m so sorry,” the consultant said, finally taping a “do not disturb” sign on our door. “But it’s great that you seem so comfortable with the nursing process.”

Half of Portsmouth – including Larry the IT guy – has now seen my boobs, I thought. Let’s chuck all pretense of modesty out the window, shall we?

As far as the consultant could determine, there was no smoking gun as far as Lorelei’s sluggish weight gain was concerned – we think it’s largely due to the fact that she slept, rather than ate, for several days after we got back from the hospital. She left me with some helpful tips on positioning, as well as some comments on the fine network of veins I was sporting (undoubtedly meant to be encouraging, but they had the effect of making me feel like a well-marbled steak).

Fingers crossed that Lorelei is back on track with her weight gain. Larry and I have simply got to stop meeting like this.

Songs About Preggos

April 8, 2010

As I was lamenting to Eric, there are so few of these. Perhaps that’s not surprising. Eric claims this is because nothing rhymes with preggo except “Eggo,” but I think more sinister forces are at play (and, speaking from experience, I can firmly attest to the direct link between pregnancy and frozen waffle consumption – that song is just begging to be written).

Looking online, I found:

1. The lyrical Ice Cube classic “Laugh Now, Cry Later”: Bun in the oven, it belong to my cousin…

2. The Funkoars’ “And Now For Something Completely Different”: I don’t want no bun in the oven… (followed by a utterly unprintable line detailing his contraceptive measures)

3. Jethro Tull, “Living In These Hard Times”: Another bun in the oven – oh, what to do?

Maybe a better course of action would be to adapt old classics for the preggo set:

Tom Jones
Well, she’s all you’d ever want
She’s the kind I like to flaunt and take to dinner
But she always knows her place
She’s got style, she’s got grace – she’s a winner
She’s a preggo
Oh, whoa, whoa, she’s a preggo

Jimi Hendrix
I wanna take you home
I won’t do you no harm, no
You’ve got to be all mine, all mine
Oooh, foxy preggo

Lionel Richie (ideal for those expecting triplets)
You’re once…twice…three times a preggo…