Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Miracle! Blanket!

So, a funny thing happened after I lost all that weight after Em was born. I gained about five back. That's not a lot, but I have NO IDEA how it happened. I am going, going, going all day--none of it really hard, but I almost never stop moving, except for when I sit down to nurse Fleshloaf. Picking up the house, doing laundry, dishes, cooking, playing with a toddler, going for walks, *ellipticalling (which I've only been doing for three days, so I guess it doesn't really count), not to mention burning an extra 500 calories a day feeding an infant. So where did this five pounds come from? I MUST KNOW.

*What do you call it? "Working out" sounds so braggy, not to mention false, given the extreme low intensity of whatever it is that I'm doing. It's not running or jogging. There needs to be a word. "Ellipticalling" is just too much word. Hm.

Spawn has been, well, SPAWN the last two days. I can't make up my mind whether to discipline her or comfort her because I can't tell if she's whining from the 85 teeth she has coming in or if it's because she's a toddler and needs to learn impulse control. Well, some situations, it's obvious which is which. But most of the time I have no idea if she's acting up or if she's in pain.

I think it should be illegal for children to get any teeth until they're fluent in their native language. I also think it should be illegal for children's arms to be long enough to reach their diapers until they're old enough to potty train. I have several other ideas waiting in the wings if those ever pan out.

I have noticed lately that anything in our upstairs bathroom always ends up smelling like onions. I have no idea why. Our bathroom doesn't smell like onions. There isn't a vent or anything coming from the kitchen cupboard where I keep the onions. And while I cook with onions almost every day, all the cooking smells seems to concentrate in the stairwell and nowhere else.

I do not appreciate toweling off in the morning with the equivalent of a giant, fuzzy onion skin. This mystery must be solved.

Finally, I must tell you about the Miracle Blanket that arrived in the mail today. I've put off getting this thing because I already know how to swaddle, and it's $30. I also wasn't sure if it was made for a child as robust as Emmy. Girl has some meat on her. And she grows about an inch a week.

But... swaddling is a total pain in the butt. Especially in the middle of the night when I can barely see straight, much less perform origami tricks on an angry squid.

Fleshloaf is not the kind of kid who just sits there and takes it. All these books say things like, "Once your baby gets used to the process, he will start to calm down at the mere sight of the swaddling blanket." To which I say, "Pbbbbt." Fleshloaf screams and grunts and squirms, and it's nearly impossible to swaddle her tightly anymore. For me, at least. And she keeps kicking loose, something Grace couldn't do regularly until she was almost three months old.

So I decided to try this thing out. Boy howdy, I wish I'd bought fourteen, and I wish I'd done it a year and a half ago. It's amazing. And a much less painful process than using a regular blanket. If you are expecting a baby, I command you to buy one. If your kid hates it, I'll buy it from you.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Screaming Spawnlet

"Fleshloaves" is my new favorite word for my children. "Spawn" was getting so tired. Or maybe they could be Spawn (The Child) and Fleshloaf (2.0).

Killing time until I have to feed Fleshloaf (and it is SUCH an apt name; the little beast is enormous, having gained about 5 pounds already). I will recount a funny story about Spawn. Because I know how much you all care about my preshus chilluns.

She has these alphabet flashcards she carries around the house like a security blanket. Each letter has the word, a picture of that thing, and then the word in Spanish. Forty-seven times a day, we read through it together, and I make sound effects to go with the word whenever possible. More on that in a moment.

Well, "D" is for "dog," of course. She has recently learned "woof" (well, "ff," actually; it took me a while to figure out) which means she has stopped saying "dog," and instead struts around the house going, "ff, ff, ff," every time she sees or hears a dog.

So, we got to "D," and I was trying to get her to say "dog." Don't want her to forget her words, as if I have much control over it at all. I pointed to the dog picture and said, "Grace, what's that?"

And she very proudly pointed to it and exclaimed, "Mamaaaa!"


So these flashcards are idiotic. No, they're not. They're a great toy, but some of them just make you go, "Huh?" We have cow, dog, goat, horse, and... jacks, violet, quack (with a picture of a duck saying, "quack"; tell me that's not confusing), and x-ray. You try making a sound effect for "violet." And what kid under the age of three is going have any clue what jacks are?

But her vocabulary is just exploding, so they're accomplishing something. She has well over 50 words now (that's an estimate, but I've been keeping a tally because I know the pediatrician is going to ask at our next appointment, and once again I'll look really dumb for not know the answer to yet another question on development, and more on that later), and I think she learns at least two more every day.

Let's be honest, babies are cute and fat and fuzzy, but they sure are boring. Cute, fat and fuzzy is all they have going for them. Older babies start to grow personalities, but they also start to grow tempers and the ability to locomote. Grace is finally at the age where she's almost completely reliable when I tell her not to touch something or go somewhere. She's learning new words every day, and she's learning to entertain. This whole parenting thing is suddenly far more rewarding that it was before. More taxing, too, but that's okay. A little challenge makes things more interesting.

So, pediatrician appointments. Every time we've gone in, I've tried to anticipate developmental questions so I can answer at least half of them instead of gawping at the nurse and saying, "Uuuuuh...?" Some of them are reasonable: "Is your child sitting up?" "Is your child walking?" And some of them are more like, "Is your child able to tap her fingers on her nose while simultaneously skipping down the sidewalk, leading with either foot?" And no matter how ridiculous the question is, the nurse always manages to make me feel like an idiot (I think it's this particular nurse; we've always had the same one for this portion of the visit).

I don't think she does it on purpose. I think this is a very boring part of her job, and she asks this same list of questions to 100 different parents of children about Grace's age every single day, and I would probably zone out, too. But I'm neurotic about some things, and this is one of them.

Speaking of Spawn, she has once again taken to waking up a couple hours after bed and screaming bloody murder off and on for the next couple of hours. Because I have my hands full with Fleshloaf, I haven't responded. It only makes it worse. One of us goes in there once to make sure she's not dying of thirst or in a dirty diaper, but after that she's on her own. Since she's not just across the hall from us anymore, it doesn't keep us awake. But I can't help but feel like a horrible mother. I have no idea what's causing this. I have no idea what to do about it. And I know that going in there and picking her up only prolongs it.

Tonight it's been especially awful. James thought it might be her teeth (oh my gosh she sprouts a hundred of them at a time; right now it's all of her canines), so he gave her some Tylenol. No help. She's screaming again. And it's not just an oops-I-fell-down scream, like she does if she thinks she has a receptive audience. No, it's full-out Satan-himself-is-tormenting-me screaming.

The first few times, it was clearly just for show; she knew that scream would get us in there, so she faked it, and then wanted to have a party. We wised up, stopped going in there more than once, she got a clue, and all was good for a few weeks. Well, now she's back at it, and this time it doesn't seem like she's doing it for show. Nightmares? Growing pains? What? I have no idea. Ugh. All these words she's learning, and she has yet to acquire any truly useful ones, other than "more." Feh.

It seems so wrong just to let her cry like this (I am not averse to letting a child cry, especially not one of her age, but people, these screams are like something out a terribly disturbing movie involving an orphanage and cannibals), but so far it's been the most effective way to deal with it. Any ideas?

ETA: She's almost 18 months now.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

And it keeps getting better

2.0 slept until 7:00 this morning.




I'm kind of mad, though. I spent all day yesterday in a cleaning frenzy. It felt really good. While I've kept the house picked up and all the important stuff clean (kitchen, laundry, toilets, myself), a lot of things--like mopping the floors--have fallen by the wayside. But I'm now past the 6-week mark and allowed to do more stuff (not that I haven't been trampling all over the rules they gave me, what with carrying around the 800-pound toddler who only JUST learned to walk), AND 2.0 has been sleeping 5-6 hours at a time for several days now. Put them together, and I feel like I can rule the world.

Not that I'd want to.

So, with 6.5 hours of sleep last night, I have all this energy and ambition and no place to put it.

Okay, been away all day.

I thought I had nowhere to put all that energy. I lied.

We put together the elliptical (this took forever, of course, but we actually did not bludgeon each other to death with the parts, which I hear tell can happen when a married couple decides to assemble complex machinery), I fed the baby, who is back to eating... sooo...... sloooowlyyyyy..... these days. Not only does she have a little reflux (layman's diagnosis made by Dr. Me, but she has all but the most severe symptoms), but she's also at the age where the larynx starts to descend. So not only is she relearning eating and breathing at the same time, but she's also arching her back in pain every three seconds. It's really super. And it means feeding her can take approximately one hundred years.

I got her settled and put her down for a nap, then started on dinner. Tarragon Chicken. It is delicious. I've made it twice now. Both times, if I remember the last time correctly, I've had to use about three times as much chicken broth and milk. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, or if the recipe is off. It still tastes very good, but it's nice to know ahead of time so you can have extra on hand.

(A little trick my mom taught me: brine the chicken in a few cups of water mixed with a small amount a sugar and a little more salt. I usually let it sit for a couple hours. Or, if the chicken is frozen, I pour a couple cups of the solution into the bag and put it in a bowl of cold water to thaw (we buy chicken breasts in large packages, and then I freeze it in smaller Ziploc bags). I used to have trouble keeping chicken breasts from drying out, even if I was very careful not to overcook them. Now they're extremely tender and juicy every time.)

Then I fed the baby again. This time it only took fifty years. Then I finished dinner, did the dishes, and started lunch for tomorrow. We were going to go to my mother-in-law's for the day tomorrow, but she's ill and wasn't up to cooking, so she cancelled. We decided to bring food to her. Didn't want to deal with that at the crack of dawn tomorrow, so I did most of it tonight.

So that six and a half hours of sleep really did get put to good use today. Makes for a REALLY boring entry, though. I'm trying to write more often, even if I don't feel like it, even if I'm having trouble thinking of funny things to say. It makes for a few more mundane entries, but it also keeps me from going a month without writing and then forgetting how to do it entirely.

Breastfeeding hooooonger has kicked in. The weird thing is that I went several weeks with a normal appetite before it started. I don't really feel hungry in my stomach. Well, I do, but the hooooooonger is something else. It's in my whole body, from head to toe. I can feel this way just twenty minutes after eating a meal full of protein and fiber.

The worst is sweets. I do not have a sweet tooth, never have. But all of a sudden, all I can think about is chocolate and cookies. I've been very good about resisting, but it hasn't been pleasant. It used to be that if I was craving sugar, it really meant I needed protein, and fast. Now pretty much all I eat is protein, and it's not helping. Grah. There's got to be something I can do about this. I am NOT going to get flabby again.

While I don't recommend trying not to gain weight during pregnancy, I am very thankful that I didn't. I wasn't horrifically overweight before, but I was well above where I wanted to be. More than that, I wasn't able to do things that used to be easy for me, and I didn't have energy, and it was hard on my already crappy knees. I hate feeling that way. So now I'm down to a pretty good weight, and I am not going to squander this chance. It's the one good thing about hardly being able to eat for nine months. I just hope these food cravings go away; if they persist, I will eventually succumb. Gah.

On that note, I think it's time I tried out the elliptical. I haven't had a chance to yet. Here's hoping I don't break a leg. We all know I'm capable of it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The skies parted, and the angels sang.

I fed Em last night at 11:15, put her down around 11:45. Usually when she eats at lightning speed like that, it means she'll get violent hiccups the moment I put her down or shoot a fountain of spit-up all over herself and her crib and start crying the second I fall asleep. Nope, last night, she went to sleep immediately. I went to sleep around 12:15. And she did not wake up until 6:00. I fed her, then went back to sleep until 8:30. Hallelujah, I feel like a person today. And, as usual, I didn't even realize I hadn't been feeling all that person-like for a while.

This new personhood business enables me to notice things I didn't notice before. Like the fact that Grace is developing a sense of humor and a need to entertain the people around her. The girl LIVES to make us laugh. She does this thing where, if we laugh at something--whether it's her or something else--, she'll throw her head back, close her eyes halfway, and let out this really cheesy laugh. It's the dorky-sounding laugh you make when you're breathing in. I don't know if that makes sense. I need to get it on video because it's priceless.

I didn't know sense of humor developed so soon. Now, she's not making jokes or doing anything sophisticated, but she's already learning that some things are funny, and she's learning that she can keep doing them, and we will keep laughing. Until it gets old. It hasn't yet, but I'm sure it will.

It's a bitter lesson to learn, my dear. Learning what is funny is much more fun than learning what's not. Especially when you tell a really long, pointless story with a flaccid punchline, and everyone mouth-breathes at you in confusion when you're done, except for that one guy (usually your older brother) who has to snark, "Hey, good story!" Not that I have any personal experience.

I've been stalking my elliptical as it makes its way across half of Indiana up to eastern Wisconsin. And it is taking its sweet time. It sat at the sorting facility in Beaver Dam for two days. I do not know what it was doing there. I'm sure there's some reason that it had to go 130 miles past its destination and then sit there for two days. Maybe there's only one sorting facility in all of Wisconsin, and that sorting facility is somehow closer to the southeast corner of Wisconsin than, say, any sorting facility in the Chicago area. Maybe Walmart just really likes to spend a lot of fuel trucking 300 pounds of exercise equipment and extra 200 miles. Maybe it was tired and had to rest. I do not know.

And now it has been en route to our local store since 12:10 this morning, which was 16 hours ago. Maybe there are a LOT of other Walmarts between there and here. I do not know. But I am impatient and irritated. And it's supposed to be gross and cold here the next two days. Climbing the walls is not great exercise, even if it sounds like it might be.

Time to go make dinner. I can't believe both children napped at the same time for an hour straight. I think I hit the sleep jackpot today. Hopefully, unlike Hurley on [i]LOST,[/i] my luck is not about to take a turn for the worse.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Let me explain something here. I don't find it funny that some people don't want kids. I have no problem with that. Frankly, if more people were honest with themselves about their readiness for parenthood or their lack of desire for children, we'd probably have a lot fewer miserable families out there. Ten years of waitressing may have made me a little cynical, but I saw way too many parents who *never should have had children, and way too many sweet children who would probably grow up to be criminals or sociopaths. Not that I think surprise babies are all doomed. James and I had TWO surprise babies (yes, we DO know how that happens, thank you!), and we love them both to pieces. Of course, we did want kids; it's just that we were planning on waiting a leetle bit longer.

Neither do I find it funny that there's a significant number of people out there who hate me and my progeny just for existing. Well, it's funny in a black humor kind of way, but it's not something I can laugh at lightheartedly. You don't have to like kids or want to be a parent (heck, I didn't like kids until I was in my 20s, and I'm still a little befuddled around most children). But such bitterness is really disturbing. It must be exhausting to hate such a huge segment of the population.

*This was VERY poorly phrased. I hope no one took it the way it appears. I do not think that any of these kids should never have been born. I do, however, think that the parents of many kids are not cut out to be parents. And I'm not talking just subpar parenting. I mean the people who take their children to a restaurant, seat them at a separate table, ignore them the whole time and expect the waitstaff to parent them, then explode when the children finally act up enough that it does bother them. Which is even more of a shame because they're teaching their kids that the only way to get attention from mom or dad is to misbehave. And they're teaching them that negative attention is a good thing and that the way to handle adversity is to become enraged. They're teaching them that continually giving into one's natural selfishness is a perfectly acceptable way to live.

No, what I find funny is the warped logic on this forum. Example:

Breastfeeding is disgusting! Ew, human fluids!

But cow's milk? TOTALLY OKAY.

Also, anyone who depends on the state to feed their children is scum. Nevermind that formula is insanely expensive, and breastfeeding eliminates the need for it.

If you absolutely must nurse your child, do it at home. We don't want to see it. Or hear it. It's too noisy (and bottle feeding TOTALLY isn't).

But I'm going to tear you apart for being dumpy and frumpy and never leaving your house once you have children. (do they not know that it's sometimes MONTHS before a baby can eat any faster than 30-60 minutes at a time, and that babies need to eat about every 3 hours?)

Oh, and parents are selfish for never volunteering (but still, don't leave your house with your kids or to nurse your kid; we don't want to see them or THAT) or donating. So, in the 1 remaining waking hour you have that isn't spent at work or feeding your kid, you should volunteer or you're selfish.

Parenting is easy. Stop whining. You chose to have kids, so you're NEVER EVER allowed to complain AT ALL (have these people never complained about their jobs or housework or husbands or wives or girlfriends or boyfriends?).

Oh my gosh I would kill myself if I had kids. The sleepless nights, the constant attention children require. What a nightmare.

Stop whining. And look decent for a change. You look so tired and bedraggled. Gross.

My other favorite: It's irresponsible to have children because they're a drain on the economy and environment.

First, what kind of workforce will there be in 30 years if no one has any more children? Forget Social Security (a failing system anyway, and you're insane if you think it'll be worth anything by the time we're old); what able-bodied people will be left to support an aging population of childfree people? None. At least some of the CFers are consistent in that they think the human race should die out. I disagree, of course, but at least they're consistent.

Second, adoption is great, and it's a terrible shame there are so many parentless children out there, especially in such a wealthy country. But it's prohibitively expensive, even if you don't go through an agency, even if it's done directly from birth parent to adoptive parent. And foster care is wonderful (hi, sister!), but an emotional roller coaster.

Third, have you SEEN what kinds of people are having hordes of children? Again, maybe ten years of waitressing has made me cynical, but based on that experience, I conclude that for every one child raised by good parents, we have five raised by inattentive, neglectful, indulgent, or abusive parents. We NEED more responsible people to have more children, or it really will be Idiocracy in a few decades.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I LOVE my minivan, BTW

Hi there! Same story as last entry: alive, kicking, Em still not a super awesome sleeper (but she is getting better), put away champagne glasses.

Believe it or not, I have had a decent social life over the last few weeks. And I'd write about it, except sleep deprivation has robbed me of my memory. Pretty much the only thing I can remember is the stuff I do every single day: feed children, change children, reprimand or cheer the larger one, burp the smaller one, count down the minutes 'til naptime, then miss them when they're sleeping (that's how I know I still love them).

I sound so sad. I'm not! Really! I'm trying to be funny, but it's just coming out as whine whine pathetic whine whine.

Okay, so having two children this small is really tedious. There is no doubt about that. I am sick of diapers. I am sick of picky eaters who can't yet feed themselves. I am sick of nursing a baby for 5-7 hours a day. I am sick of reswaddling an enraged baby in the middle of the night (she DOES turn the most lovely shade of purple, and the face! it is hilarious!). Almost every day is exactly the same. And that sucks.

But! It was the same story with Grace, and after just a few months, it was suddenly fun again. So I know that will happen, and I just have to wait and appreciate the good things that we do have in the meantime.

Like the fact that Em is getting fatter and fuzzier every second. I think all babies look like some animal or another. Grace looked like a koala. Em looks like a hedgehog.

I am getting my very own elliptical machine in about a week. The weather has been gorgeous, and we've gotten out for a long walk every single day this week (except today, which was miserable, and I refused to even look out a window until the smelly garbage HAD to go out because I couldn't stand it any longer, and James was busy). Carrying an 11-pound baby and pushing a 25-lb toddler at the same time is incredibly good exercise. Especially if there are hills. I also hacked apart a gigantic downed tree limb that got frozen in the snow all winter. I felt very proud after that. Like a lumberjack wonder woman. That was Wednesday, and I'm still sore.

I finally got to meet an internet friend and her little one, and despite my fears of totally dorking out and lots of awkward silence, I had a great time. And she left, and I was sad because all these really cool people live everywhere but here. But we're talking about the good things, right?

I stumbled across this crazed childfree website, and I was *mad at first, but now it's become a new source of endless entertainment (which I need, since Em likes to take foreeeeever to eat), so long as I skip the topics that I know will make me angry. But seriously, if you want a good laugh, and you have a pretty thick skin, find a militantly childfree website and go nuts.

(*One of them mentions me by name and castigates me for my name starting with "Mrs." The hilarious thing is that half of these people have names like No_Kids_4_Life and Happy_and_Childfree, and what? I'm a loser for having a name based on family I DO have, and your name based on the family you WON'T have is any different? Oh, right, it's DIFFERENT because having my name start with "Mrs" means I'm a mindless moo whose identity is entirely bound up in her husband and children. Good to know! I'm sure James will be happy to know this.)

I have cooked several meals over the last couple of weeks (most of the rest of our meals have been sent home with us on Sundays from our lovely church people). After Grace was born, the idea of this terrified to me. I am not the Queen of Getting It Together While under Stress (do you remember any of my crazed entries during finals weeks throughout college?). When I'm this tired, everyday tasks become insurmountable hurdles. It's a miracle James and I made it through college without getting scurvy. But this time, I have made real food. I have concocted dishes off the top of my head that actually tasted good. There have been vegetables! And herbs! And spices!

Now I just need to start playing the piano and brushing up on Hebrew again. Then I'll know I've got it together.

Okay, there was more, but I just realized it is time for feed the little squid again. Yay for abrupt endings!

Friday, March 5, 2010

After a minivan, all I need is a bad haircut

Since I've dropped off the face of the Earth, you're probably all assuming I'm dead. Well, put away the champagne glasses, folks. I'm alive and kicking. It's just that every moment of my day is occupied by small, needy humans.

I cannot WAIT until Em naps reliably. Right now she alternates between comatose narcolepsy (at the most inconvenient times, of course) and FOOD FOOD GIVE ME FOOD NOW HOLD ME I NEED TO BE HELD AND YOU HAVE TO SHUSH IN MY EAR JUST RIGHT, WOMAN OR I WILL START ROOTING LIKE MAD AND GIVE MYSELF SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME. Not colicky or anything, just really hungry. And ALERT. Grace was so sleepy for, oh, a month. She was a much better nighttime sleeper by now. I'm pretty sure Emmy is going to be a little pistol. A fat little pistol. She gained two pounds and two inches in the first two weeks alone. And since Monday she's gained 8 ounces. No more tiny baby here. She's a bruiser.

Poor Grace has no idea what's coming in a few months when Em learns to walk. If she's leaning against my chest, she can already push herself to standing. And she can do mini pushups, too, if she's on a slight incline. I think maybe I have no idea what's coming in a few months. Early walker? Please no. Please please please no.

At her first appointment, they found a heart murmur. Our pediatrician reassured me that it was probably nothing, but she was going to schedule an electrocardiogram. I am an idiot and picked today, Friday, for that appointment. Which means I won't hear about results until Monday. I really, really don't think it's anything. Em is still bright red most of the time, she's alert, eating well, everything is good that wouldn't be if she had a real heart problem. (but still...)

When she first mentioned it, I was not stressing at all. In fact, all week I've been completely fine with it. It's barely crossed my mind. Then there was mild panic this morning. Hello, Crazy Hormone Surge! I was wondering when you would show up! I'm over it now, but I anticipate it returning at least once between now and Monday.

The Madison Children's Hospital is really nice. I mean, I want to stay there. Maybe they have a maternity ward. The sonographer was a guy in his 50's or so. He looked very stern and seemed a little standoffish, but then with Em he was so sweet and gentle. It warmed my hormone-addled little heart.

The Child gets better every day. She's almost back to normal. Very little whininess, and she's now walking quite well. Still shaky and prefers crawling, but I see her gradually coming to understand the benefits of having both hands free to bring me presents. At least thirty-six times a day, she'll walk up to me with some treasured object (a can, a shoe, a piece of carpet lint) and say, "Ah?" as she holds it out to me. And then when I take it she stares at me expectantly, probably waiting for me to eat it. I have consumed at least a thousand floor Cheerios in the last three months. And pretended to consume even more horrifying objects. Everything is food. Thankfully not the baby... yet.

Speaking of which, she is fantastic with Emmy. There's the occasional toddler over-zealous petting (bashing) and grabbing (yanking), but it's not malicious. Em is like a cat! Except she can't run away! She's most delighted by her fuzzy hair. I like holding Em's head up to her face and watching her dissolve into giggles.

We are buying a van. All my reservations over this vanished in the last week. James's coworker let him take it home, and that was the end for me. There is nothing like sweet, sweet freedom to do what I want during the day and to have a vehicle that makes it easy (well, as easy as it gets) to strap two children into their car seats. How did we do it so long with our little sedan? How did I heft a 30-pound toddler into the middle seat of such a tiny little car? While pregnant? I do not know.

Do not hate me for this, but I am now ten pounds lighter than I was before I found out I was pregnant with Em. This weight includes my giant nursing bazongas (sorry, Dad, if you're reading this), so I'm going to say I'm fifteen pounds lighter. And I'm a little irritated, to be honest. Nothing fits. My cute jeans are falling off me. I'm not yet small enough to be in pre-Grace clothing, and I still have the strange stomach pouch, so even my loose pre-Grace clothing just looks weird. Like I have a very sad little fanny pack under my clothing. A smashed, child-sized fanny pack.

Also, they do not make pants for people who have had abdominal surgery. I do not remember have so much trouble after Grace was born, but that might be because I had a whole lot more to lose and still fit into a lot of my comfortable maternity yoga pants. Everything has a seam in the wrong spot. Or it's so loose it chafes on the super sensitive skin that extends from my incision up to my belly button (my incision site is actually numb, so that's not even the problem). Or it's a wee bit too tight and has a button or zipper in the wrong spot. I have found one pair of pants that I can wear comfortably. And they are a terrible mixture of mint and lime green. Like if your 70-year-old grandma came to visit from Florida and accidentally spilled a mojito on her lap. Shut up. They were a dollar at Walmart, and I was desperate. And I have looked for other clothing. It just doesn't exist.

Note to self: Learn to sew. And develop a sense of fashion. And ambition. And a good business sense. I do those four things, and I could be rich!

Finally, thanks for the well-wishes and compliments on Emmy in the last couple entries. I, of course, know she's the most beautiful baby in the world, but it's still nice to hear that she's cute. However, is it wrong that I think Grace was a lot cuter? Em looks less like her every day; in fact, I think she's starting to look more like my side of the family. Apparently, James's side has all the really cute genes.