Friday, February 29, 2008

Baby Day

I spent the first half of today simultaneously having a great time and getting a dose of some serious birth control. I babysat my friend's adorable 10 month old daughter--who was, I must say, a prefect angel and a total sweetheart. But one is enough for now, thank you very much. How does a person even carry two babies? Ozzy the Train Wreck was more than happy to help, but Nanna looked at me like, "What, another one? Really?"

My take-away from the experience: they need to invent a baby cereal that dissolves as needed in baby's mouth but does not consequently turn into quick-drying cement when mixed with saliva for baby to spread on her face, shirt, toys and other babies heads. Yum.

Samson was absolutely enchanted with our little guest, and I think it really encouraged him to get his ass in gear--about an hour after she left, Samson actually rolled up on to his side! With no help from mom! Honest! No need to worry though, he's not growing up just yet. He's still the same old Samson: at one point I gave him one of his baby washcloths to keep him busy while I did something or other and, in typical Samson fashion, he reacted as if I'd given him a pony. His eyes got huge and he smiled as big as he could and clutched that washcloth while he rolled from side to side and kicked for joy. Then he crammed as much of it into his mouth as he could. I don't think that shit flies for 10 month olds.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Son of Frankendog

So I'm sitting here on the kitchen floor next to Ozzy who looks like he's been hit by a train. Two massive rows of stitches--both with these horrible plastic drain tubes sticking out--one of those awful clown collars, and most pitiful whimper you've EVER heard in your in your life. This is one unhappy dog--unhappy, but alive. I had a real bad feeling about this surgery, so I'm very glad that he made it through. Now I get to spend the next 12 hours sitting next to him on the floor and petting his paw which seems to be the only thing that lessens the whimpering. THANK GOD the baby is down for a nap. And Max is on his way home so that we can take turns caring for the baby and comforting the dog.

Really, this is god awful. Anyone who's met Ozzy knows that he has a very special set of vocal cords, and the whimpering is just heart breaking. I know it was a really small tumor, easily removed and he should make a full recovery, he'll even be a lot better by tomorrow morning, but right now it just seems so wrong to put him through this.

They're delicious with fava beans and a nice chianti

Cooking dinner last night, Max wearing Samson in the Bjorn, getting the baked potato out of the oven.

Me: Careful, you don't want roasted baby feet.
Max: Mmmmm, roasted baby feet.
Me: A delicacy in some countries, they're generally frowned upon here.

But how about some fresh baby noggin marinated in olive oil? A new friend from boot camp says that olive oil applied one hour before bed time will get rid of the mysterious flakes that mysteriously appeared on Samson's mysterious head this morning. Baby dandruff, gross.

Just spoke with the vet, Ozzy did great during surgery, and all the lumps and tumors and such were removed and he's starting to wake up. I'm so thrilled! Ask me how thrilled I am in a few hours after I've picked him up and they've shown me how to empty and clean his drainage tubes. Doggie juices, gross.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The steak comes with extra love

Just gave Ozzy his last meal before surgery. I don't think he noticed the extra pieces of left-over steak on top; he eats every meals as if it's about grow legs and sprint away. He'll be eating at home again tomorrow night, but something inside makes me want to treat him extra special tonight. Which means I'll just be feeling a little less sorry for Max tonight when I wake up and see that Ozzy has expanded his corner of the bed to include 45-60% of Max's side. Never trust a 75 pound dog who can make himself the size of a cat.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I even had a salad for lunch

Back to Baby Boot Camp today. Paul's visit last week provided me with a good excuse to skip class, and to eat lots of tasty things that probably definitely had more points than I should be eating. But today's sunshine and Samson's good mood made it a really nice way to spend the morning--enough so that I'm even looking forward to going back on Wednesday. It will be a good way to keep my mind off the poor Oz's lumpectomy. Maybe one day, some day, I'll actually achieve my dream of not loathing exercise more than anything else in the world ever. Certainly more than superlatives.

ps. It's not entirely surprising that I hate exercise so much. See what I had to deal with as a child? Do you see any bespectacled chubby girls in those commercials?

pps. Found this while writing the last post (re. the dead pheasant). Have been messing with dog ever since.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Entertain Thy Self

Samson was lying on the living room floor on his fuzzy blanket this morning--I'm a genius, see, I've been training the dogs to KEEP OFF of this one fuzzy blanket and to KEEP THEIR NASTY GERMY DOG TOYS OFF of this one fuzzy blanket so that Samson can have a nice little place to lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling or eat dog hair or do whatever 3 1/2 month old babies do when they can't roll over or sit up. Um. And let me tell you, there is NOTHING that Ozzy wants to do more than lay on that one fuzzy blanket. And there is NOTHING that Nanna wants to do more than place her disgusting slobbery tennis ball or dead pheasant on that one fuzzy blanket. It takes great control of every fiber in her being to place the disgusting dead pheasant half an inch from the blanket and not on the blanket. She's such a good dog.

I was reading this article in Parents magazine--you know, the one that contains nice orderly lists of all of the things I'm doing wrong? And nice four-page layouts of all of the things my baby should be doing at this age but isn't? It wasn't an article as much as a brightly colored ad for various baby products I need in order to be a good mommy. It was in the form of a time line on what to do during the day to keep your baby happy. And there were at least three different activities that called for baby to entertain himself, amuse himself, and hang out solo, and there were little captions about how important this skill is and how if your baby doesn't master this crucial skill immediately, he will most likely grow up to become a serial killer or a dog kicker or a republican.

Samson's big on NOT being alone. He can spend a few minutes here and there entertaining himself while I feed the animals in the morning or fix lunch, and we have a very specific routine that buys me about 20 minutes, allowing me to take a shower and, if I'm very lucky, wash my hair. But all this self-entertainment is kind of like some wonderful dream, one where my baby plays contently in my spotless living room, my impeccably groomed pets at least 12 inches from his fuzzy blanket, and I am folding laundry UNINTERRUPTED for THIRTY WHOLE MINUTES.

So of course this article-advertisement made me feel incompetent and I decided that today Samson would play BY HIMSELF in the morning, the time during which I am usually lying on the floor next to him, endlessly shaking jingly jangly toys above him and encouraging him to reach and grab (he's getting soooo good at grabbing, by the way), or inflicting the cruel torture of tummy time upon him, or reapplying a sock that has been expertly removed. I'm also singing dumb ass little songs to him about zebras jumping on beds and where the hell is Thumbkin and an itsy bitsy spider who crawls up to Samson's nose over and over again. It would probably be quite amusing and more than a little pathetic to be a fly on my wall.

Instead of all that fun togetherness, I gave Samson a pacifier, put his softer than god's toilet paper giraffe in his arms and made sure there were at least 800 toys under his arms and at his fingertips, easy for even the most sedentary of babies to grab and shove in their mouths. Then I sat on the sofa, about three feet away from him and began to fold laundry. Everything was awesome for about four minutes and then his squeals of delight started to morph into moans of discontent. Anyone who's met this baby knows that he can go from zero to sixty in no time flat, so once he started furrowing his eyebrows, I knew that this experiment was going to end badly. The horrible whiny fussing started, and I did my best to ignore it and fold laundry while Samson figured out that we was going to have to AMUSE HIS OWN DAMN SELF so that he could grow up well adjusted with a high earning potential. But oh the howling. Ozzy looked up at me with eyes that said Why aren't you doing something to make it stop? And Nanna looked up at me with eyes that said WHY AREN'T YOU DOING SOMETHING TO MAKE IT STOP??? And I crawled over to Samson and sang him the song about the zebra jumping on the bed and all was right with the world.

Maybe we'll work on self-amusement next month.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

But who's counting

Here's me one year ago this week, hanging out in an Irish pub in Ennis, County Clare.

Notice the lack of Guinness in my hand. That's right, one year ago this week, I peed on a plastic stick that would change my life. Unlike all those plastic sticks I had peed on just cause, well, you know. Who doesn't like to pee on stuff. Becoming pregnant was lots of fun for me (ahem); I had a very easy time of it. We made it on the first try, no morning sickness, no scary test results or bed rest or anything like that. Other than being so far from our friends and family for the first 6 months, it was a real cake walk. Even the distance thing wasn't so awful, I found a real great support network in Dublin that continues to be a part of my life back in the states.

Nothing can really prepare you to go from this to this. Read all the books you want, go to all the classes, bug your friends and read the blogs and adopt an exceedingly needy dog and you still won't be ready to be a first time parent. Thankfully, they're too cute in the beginning to get rid of, and by the time the cuteness wears off and the sleep deprivation sets in, you've already bonded so you have to keep them. God is very sneaky like that.

I've been a mom for 112 days and 5 hours. I'm pretty sure that's longer than the time the people in Lost have spent on the island. I won't even try to count how many diapers or bottles that is, although I thinks it's 2,417,236 and 1,284,702 respectively. It's one hell of a lot of spit up, buckets of tears (baby and mommy tears both--the baby tears are tastier, according to Ozzy), and an awful lot of bouncing and jiggling (maybe that explains the copious amounts of spit up?). 112 days and 5 hours of totally awesome. One year of having Samson in my life, and it has been fantastic. Even the emotional roller coaster bits, the hormonal changes, the extra 35 pounds. Let us celebrate this amazing year with a new batch of pictures and a giant ice cream sundae.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The rest of the story

OK, yes Ozzy has a malignant tumor on his hip. But the vet is real confident that she can remove it without any complications and that it hasn't spread. While he's under, they're also going to remove the tumor on his third eyelid, the fatty tumor on his ribs, the benign lump on his chest, and the two small but getting bigger skin tags on his regular eyelids. And they'll clean his teeth while they're at it.

So after the vet explained everything to me and it became clear that this was most likely not a life threatening episode, I showed my true colors and began to obsess over just how much money this is going to cost us. I love my pets, don't me wrong. But I loved them so much more when they were young, cute, and didn't get mortally ill every other Tuesday. (Keep that in mind, Samson. As long as you're cute, young, healthy, and relatively soft and fuzzy, you're in.) Ozzy is ten this year, and that's like, 400 in dog years, so it's not too surprising that he should start to show some wear and tear. Guess I should have bought that extended warranty.

But none of this really bothered me, not even today's astronomical vet bill for the cats' regularly scheduled dental cleaning (and Milhouse's unscheduled tooth extraction--now he has one less weapon.). Why? Two words.

Rock. Band.

I am so totally and utterly hooked, and I tell you what, I look damn fine jamming out to Weezer and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with Samson strapped to my chest in the Baby Bjorn.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day Yesterday

It's been respectfully requested that I hurry up and blog already so that yesterday's depressing post can get moved down out of view. Out of sight, out of mind. So please to enjoy this lovely video. And yes, it is the girl from the Juno soundtrack. Yum!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Can I just have one dog without cancer? Just one? Please? Stupid Ozzy's stupid lump is a stupid malignant tumor. So now he gets to eat whatever he wants, sleep wherever he wants and fart as often as he wants until he makes a full recovery.

Stupid tumor. I'm so sick of this crap. CRAP.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You Vet Your Life

Have I mentioned lately how much I like difficult things? I'm a huge fan of impossible tasks, or at least doing stuff that involves military-style planning and a small army to get them done. And I like to do these things alone. And when they don't go smoothly, I get pissy and blame other people. Yeah, I'm a real doll.

So my day today appeared to be calm, not too much running around or getting dressed, just a leisurely lunch with my mom and my brother Paul who's visiting from Brooklyn.

Well screw that.

I decided that today would be a great day to bring the cats to the vet for their annual check ups and their vaccines in preparation for their teeth cleaning appointments next week. Not so horrible on the surface, except for catching, caging and transporting two furious 14-ish pound cats. And let's not forget about the baby.

Since I was already going to the vet, I might as well bring the dogs just to get their intranasal bordatella vaccines so that they can go to doggie day care tomorrow while we're all having lunch at Greene's in the city. They were just in last month for their respective lumps, so we know that nothing's wrong with them.


The vet noticed Ozzy's new red eye spot--it's been there about 2 days and I've applied my new "watch and see for one month before freaking out and going to the vet" philospophy to it. After looking at his eye, the vet announced that Ozzy probably has a tumor on his third eyelid, a common condition in dogs with unpigmented eyelids. Since we were there, the vet might as well check out the new lump on his rear end--another "wait and see" test for me--and that one had to be sent out to the lab for further diagnostics.


Let me just add that my mom rocks for not letting me take on such tasks solo. Even if she did lock herself in the backseat of the car with Samson, ha ha.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Baby Boot Camp, or Oh, Walking Lunges, How I Hate Thee

Samson and I started Baby Boot Camp today. Because, you know, I like it when my legs ache and my arms feel like jell-o. And Samson likes to watch me huff and puff and get red in the face while I curse the nice instructor lady under my breath.

Wow, I have gotten really out of shape. I knew this was going to be hard, getting active again and maintaining some sort of physical routine. And as hard as it was this morning, I really did enjoy it. This crazy awesome Spring weather didn't hurt either. Every time I start a new fitness routine I'm reminded how good it makes me feel. I say to Max, "Max," I say, "the next time I complain about feeling down in the dumps or I get the blahs, remind me that I like exercise, remind me that it makes me feel better about my self and the world." Or maybe it's just the sun and fresh air.

And somebody better remind me of that tomorrow when I can't climb up the stairs or lift my own baby.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Off My Game

First it was that super catchy "Doing things is what I like to do. Yes!" commercial for Dunkin' Donuts. I thought that perhaps it was the funniest commercial I'd ever seen, and surely the catchiest. Can't get the damn song out of my head, not that I care to. Then it was the Fritalian ad, truly hilarious. Clever, right on the money, and again, can't get this jungle out of my head, which, really, is fine by me. Even Max picked up on something at the end of that commercial, "Hey! That's John Goodman!" Which it is. Bravo, Max. Good ears.

But it wasn't until I was cruising around on the interwebs tonight when I read TOTALLY BY CHANCE in some random article that all of the music for this genius ad campaign is by my beloved They Might Be Giants! I totally missed it, never even occurred to me. I can only blame Samson for depleting me of all of the necessary energy used to make these kinds of associations. Or to resist impulse purchases at the grocery store. That's his fault, too.

Check out all of their wicked awesome jingles here. Especially Alarm Clock Catastrophe and Get Your 8 Year Old Out of That Tree. Genius!

ps. I love TMBG. We all know that. But they have some pretty stiff competition if they want to knock my current number one commercial out of the winner's circle.

Friday, February 08, 2008

You're lookin' fancy and I like your style

Last night, while doing the dishes together.

Max: (singing) I gotta rock and roll all night and party everyday.
Me: Did you just say, "I like to rock and roll all night and party everyday?
Max: No. I said, (singing) "I gotta rock and roll all night and party everyday."
Me: So it's like something you have to do? Like a principle thing? Like, (singing) "I must rock and roll all night and party everyday?"
Max: I don't understand what you're saying.
Me: (singing) I'm required to rock and roll all night and party everyday.
Max: No, it's more like this is just the way it is. I've got to rock and roll all night and party everyday.
Me: So it's like it is what it is. You've got to rock and roll all night and party everyday.
Max: Yep.
Me: singing) I might rock and roll all night and party everyday.
Max: You're weird.
Me: (singing) I'm seriously considering rocking and rolling all night and partying everyday.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The gas we pass

A few posts back, Scott made this heartwarming comment:

"...this blog is probably one of the best gifts a mother can give her future son."

He's right. A lovingly and thoughtfully crafted chronicle of Samson's first few months--the trials and tribulations, the milestones and overwhelming emotions. The anecdotes, the pictures, everything. Hopefully, Samson will look back on this blog one day and smile as he reads through this tastefully written account of his early days, full of cute and adorable and not so much embarrassing.

Until now. This post will blow all of that out of the water.

My son farts. Yes, we all fart, and little babies do so much involving bodily fluids I think farting is the least of our worries. But it's the way this kid farts, the SOUND BARRIER BREAKING LOUDNESS of his farts. He's a teeny tiny little boy and he farts like a grown man, like a frat boy, like a professional wrestler.

It. Is. Freaking. Adorable.

Especially since they're odorless. Just really, really loud. I can recall one night when he was about 3 weeks old, still sleeping in our room, and his fart woke me out of a dead sleep. Louder than Nanna snoring, louder than the squeaky floorboards his farts are.

Future Samson, I ask your forgiveness. I tried not to write about this, and I got through three months without mentioning it on the blog (unlike your father who has told every guest we've had so far, "You should hear him fart! It's really loud! He farts like a MAN!"). But tonight before I put you to bed, after your massage and during your bottle, you let one rip so loud that the cat came running from the other room to see what all the hubub was about. The dog lifted her head and looked at you, concerned and scared. Were you about to explode? Should she take cover?

And you never even opened your eyes.

I'm sorry, but it had to be done. You're just too cute, and it's just too much a part of who you've been so far for me to leave it out of these entries. I'll make it up to you by getting you that hover bike you've been asking for.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

This little piggy went to a meeting of the Sock Liberation Underground

Don't tell the Sock Police, but I've been letting Samson hang out sans socks the past few days. Only with the heat cranked up to a bazillion degrees, but it seems to make him very happy. Also being pantsless. This kid is going to be one of those patently naked babies.

All of my bragging about Samson's sleep habits have finally bitten me square on the ass. He's still sleeping for long stretches, about 10 hours or so, but he's been getting BEYOND CRANKY at around 6:30 pm, and putting him to bed seems to be the only solution. Well, the only one that won't get me in trouble with Child Protective Services. So he's waking up a lot earlier, and I'm sorry but Mamma doesn't get up at 4 am for longer than it takes to change and feed a baby, swaddle him and put him back to bed and promise god that I'll start volunteering and donating and living a more pious life if only he lets Samson sleep for 3 more hours PLEASE GOD just do me this one solid.

His crankiness in general has been way more contained this week by preemptive naps and walks in the fresh air. I'm careful about how much I complain about the weather after my year in Dublin, but can I just say that I CANNOT WAIT until winter is over? It's been sunny and clear since Sunday and it's supposed to remain this way through the weekend! Whichever candidate can promise me less rain and more non-rain can have my vote. And a thousand dollars of Samson's college fund.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Let me count the ways

Turns out we've been using our car seat incorrectly since, well, forever. I'm glad that I had breakfast with Ira and that he pointed this out. I'd always heard that something like 80 or 90 percent of people use car seats incorrectly, so I'm not too shocked to learn that I am among them. The odds are simply stacked against me. But like every other little thing that tends to add up, I'm feeling pretty down on myself as a parent this week. It doesn't help that Samson is still in his crying all the time phase (although it's getting better; frequent naps help. And drinking.). It makes me wonder, what else am I doing wrong? Overfeeding? Too much TV? Too much heat? Not enough fresh air? Not enough reading? And of course, the whole failure in the breastfeeding department thing. Sigh.

He's a great baby, adorable, healthy, developing normally. I'm pretty confident that he'll grow to be a great kid and a great teenager and a great adult. In spite of me and my faulty car seat ways. But he's going to have to work a bit harder to survive his bumbling mother and her crippling self-deprecation. Not to mention the shards of broken glass that I leave everywhere and the burning hot pokers that I stick in his eyes.

And the loud sneezing. Musn't forget that.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Samson: Month Three

January started out cold and wet, and month three started out with one angry baby. But the Week of the Furious Infant gave way to more of what I've become accustomed to--a lot of laying around, looking at things, eating hands, a few hard-earned smiles. Samson's two month check up involved being stuck with all sorts of horrible needles and lots of screaming, plus a weigh-in of 12 pounds 11 ounces (by the end of the month, he had reached 14 pounds 5 ounces). LDB came to visit for a few days, and Max went on his first post-Samson overnight business trip. Bedtime remained steady at 9 pm, sleeping through to 8 the next morning.

Then everything changed.

According to my all-purpose online baby development resource, at eleven weeks: "Your enterprising youngster is well on his way to mastering the concept of cause and effect. He’s already learned that his cries evoke a response from you and other caregivers. He’ll now begin to vary his cry to signal different needs".

Samson has one need and one need only. He asks only that you hold him. Hold him and engage him and entertain him and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T PUT HIM DOWN. Oh, the crying. The screaming and howling and whining and crying. If that's what they meant by beginning "to vary his cry," then they're NUTS. Way not to warn me about my soon to be intolerable baby, iVillage.

Of course, when he's receiving proper attention, he's cute as a button. Lots of smiles, his first couple of laughs even (!) and his first attempts at screeching (greeeeeeaaaaaaaat). He can officially grasp some objects in his hand or hands and successfully hold on to them for extended periods of time, shake them, and cram them into his mouth. This to me is the giant milestone of month three. It was so wild the first time I put the green rattle that Maggie sent us in his hand and he held on to it and shook it. It was like he'd made this huge leap from being a newborn to being an infant. I remember it like it was just last Tuesday. Oh wait, it was just last Tuesday. What a great birthday present.

He still sleeps a good 10 hours or so at night (THANK GOD) but his bedtime has gotten progressively earlier. He's now asleep by 7:30 or 8, which means he wakes up a little earlier, too. And I tell you, 6:30 am is a lot better than it could be. I want to complain about having to get up so early every day, including weekends, but he's usually so happy to see me that I really can't.

January saw lots of trips to the dog park, countless excursions to Grandma and Grandpa's house, and one new exciting addition to our routine: playgroups. Samson joined two regular weekly playgroups and seems to be loving it. As much as a three month old can love lying on the floor with a bunch of other three month olds. As much as a three month old can love anything.

There were other things that happened during month three, bad things. Shameful things. Like when I was clipping Samson's fingernails and accidentally clipped the top of his finger. OH THE HORROR! THE TEARS! THE SCREAMING! And that was just me. Month three also saw the first usage of TV as baby sitter. Go ahead, judge me. I deserve it. But if it means I can have five minutes to make coffee and feed the dogs, TV is welcome in my home anytime, thank you very much. To take the associated guilt down a notch, I bought a Baby Einstein video, so at least Samson's TV time is educational. Right?

All in all, month three kicked ass. Samson is definitely developing into a real live baby, and even though I really enjoy this move from newborn to infant, I kind of miss the fleshy little bundle that used to lay swaddled in my arms (we dropped the swaddling around week 12 and moved up to sleep sacks). I barely recognize him in the pictures from his first two weeks at home, so scrawny and small and absolutely perfect. If this is how it feels to look back after three months, I can't even imagine how it will feel after six months. Or a year. Once again, to those people who keep telling me to "cherish every moment," I say you suck, but you're right. It's hard for an impatient person to learn to enjoy the present as much as it deserves to be enjoyed, but I'm trying my hardest.