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August 26, 2011

Is it just me?

I can't figure out if other people think all new parents know everything about babies or if it's just me.

I do have a head for trivia. I collect random bits of info and store it away, like a squirrel wanting to be fat and happy through winter. As a matter of fact, just yesterday I was telling a relative that newborns are nose-breathers, that's why they sneeze so much. I did say I had no idea when they learn to also breathe through their mouths, but at four months old, I'm sure it's the nose-breathing and not hay fever.

On the other hand, people keep asking me really specific questions about her developmental timeline.
I had a friend ask if she recognized her name yet. This was a few months back. After I said oh god no, she wanted to know when the babe would be able to. I don't know.
The first few months, everyone wanted to know if she could see across the room yet. I don't know.

I said before pregnancy that I wasn't going to be the type to read parenting books. My husband threw that back in my face as I read baby books during the pregnancy. I guess he didn't get the distinction. I meant I wasn't going to read the how to books, the ones that say if this, then that, with parenting styles that have names. I did want to be prepared, in general, for what to expect. You know, like the Boy Scouts.
So, I read a few pregnancy books, then a few baby books and a couple of breastfeeding books. Apparently, this has made me an expert. (Seriously. The lactation consultant at the hospital was surprised my "technique" was spot on.)
I always assumed we were being much more laid-back in our approach than most modern day, neurotic parents. Turns out, we're more like the kids who took the SAT prep course.



I guess it's paying off. We haven't ruined her yet.

August 25, 2011

Setting the bar low

We were at a wedding over the weekend. My husband was one of the groomsmen. He began his slightly tipsy speech by saying "The groom hasn't always had the best taste in women." There was a collective pause as everyone held their breath. One of those exes was AT the wedding. He totally saved it; I don't remember exactly what was said, but it was very nice.
I was talking to him later about that moment and he repeated something he's said before: you gotta start out negative and then you go positive and it's that much better.
So, is that what you've been doing for the last 15 years then?


(We tease out of love. Okay, at first it was just me and my husband kind of hated it, but now he's used to it and dishes as good as he gets. I would never, ever say something horrible about someone I didn't know or didn't like, but if I love you? Better cover your soft underbelly.)

August 22, 2011

Black bean, corn & sweet potato enchiladas


I am not a food photographer. Clearly. But I do love to eat. And cook. This is a super simple dinner, suitable to make ahead for the freezer or throw together on a weeknight.
I'm not a vegetarian (hello, bacon), but I do like to make meatless meals, both for cost and environmental reasons. And sweet potatoes are chock full of good stuff.

Cut the kernels off an ear of corn.
Dice half of a medium sized sweet potato. Saute for a few minutes to give it a head start. Mix with the corn, a can of black beans and about half a can of diced green chiles.
Warm your corn tortillas in a skillet or in the oven. Spoon the filling in, roll and place in baking dish. Continue until you run out of filling.
Pour sauce over enchiladas. I like Trader Joe's salsa verde, but use whatever you like. Sprinkle with grated cheese. I used colby jack.
Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes, until all golden and crunchy.

I think sour cream is crucial and a salad is nice too. That wasn't too hard, was it?

August 19, 2011

On my high horse

I know you've been waiting with bated breath to find out our parenting choices. Do we cosleep? (no) Do we breastfeed? (yes) How about diapers? I'm so glad you asked.

Using disposables was never an option for me. If I'd even thought of it, the Hypocrite Police would've been on me in an instant. So. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started doing serious research.
Cloth diaper aficionados really love their all-in-ones and pocket diapers. Which sounded great, if overwhelming, but too spendy for me. (It's not just the environmental factor at work here; we're poor.) I eventually landed on prefolds with Thirsties Duo covers.

First, I'll give you the cost breakdown. We currently have 36 infant prefolds (a mix of Indian and Chinese) and 6 Size One covers. We will have 24 premium prefolds and 5 or 6 Size Two covers by the time we need them. We also have a large wet bag and two small wet bags for dirty diapers and wipes. I made a stack of cloth wipes from an old flannel nightgown. This should be plenty to get us through potty training and our next kid. All told, that's about $325. For everything.
Constrast that with an estimate of disposables costing $70 per month. That's $1600 if you potty train at two. For just the one child. We're set to break even next month.
Washing the diapers does add a bit more, but we haven't seen a huge increase. Our water bill went up, but there was also rate increase over the same time period. Our elecric bill has been dropping since we don't need to turn on the heat, so it's hard to say how much more drying is costing us. (I would really love to line dry, but we have no yard. And we live in Portland, where it rains even in the summer.) So maybe, maybe it's costing us an extra $15 per month for laundering.

So far it's a no-brainer. But what about actually using the things? That's where the drawback is, right?
I was actually pretty surprised at the skepticism I was met with when I said we were doing cloth. It wasn't so much cloth diapers themselves, but the washing. People tilted their heads and got that well, we'll see how you do look.
Munchkin was too small when she was born to fit into her diapers, so we used disposables for the first couple of weeks. (And no, I didn't feel that guilty. A combination of sleep deprivation and knowing it was only temporary, I guess.) I can tell you that using disposables was not any easier than using cloth. Even my husband agrees, despite his first few awkward folding attempts. And I think that was probably due more to her size than the diapers.
He is reserving final judgement until she starts solids, because the breast feeding, it makes the washing so easy. We throw dirty diapers into the wet bag. When a cover gets dirty, it goes in too. We use a spray bottle of plain water to wet the wipes and they get thrown in the bag as well. Every 2 to 3 days, I do a load of laundry. I dump the whole bag into the washer and run a rinse cycle. Then I add a scoop of Charlie's Soap and wash on hot. The covers get hung to dry and the rest go into the dryer. There's not even any folding, though I do stack the diapers to put away.
We have not had any blowouts and this is a baby that saves her poop for days. We haven't had to strip the diapers yet either. The only thing is that the leg gussets on the covers have a tendency to stain, but an afternoon of sunshine gets them white again.


I can be honest with you, Internet. I do not get why everyone thinks this is so hard. I have a really hard time not sounding judgy and cavalier when talking to friends that use disposables. These are the choices I've made that work for our family. Your choices are yours. I truly believe that. But. There are valid reasons to choose disposables over cloth, but the percieved difficulty of cloth is not one of them.

I'm going to distract you with picture of tiny baby in said diapers while I dismount.

August 16, 2011

Let me sum up

You've probably surmised that I recently had a baby. I've always wanted to be a mom, despite my grandmother recently telling me that I apparently once said I wasn't sure if I wanted kids. This was at the same age I loved me some LM Montgomery and remember wanting six kids and to live on a farm. I've actually been pretty ready the last few years, but things, you know.
The pregnancy was great. I dealt with things like extreme fatigue and pregnancy induced gingivitus, but overall, I loved being pregnant. I wanted to wait until I was showing to take belly pictures, with the result that I took only one, the week before I gave birth, at the request of my sister-in-law.
I do not look 37 weeks pregnant.

Knowing that first babies are usually born after their due dates and since I was also measuring small, I was sure I'd be going over the due date. Even after my midwife sent me in for an ultrasound at 38 weeks and the ultrasound department sent me to Labor & Delivery for a non-stress test. Everything looked great (except for the fluid loss), so I was convinced the nurse was joking when she said I might be having the baby today. She assured me she wasn't, and then I did.
Pre-pregnancy, I was considering natural childbirth. I didn't know what to expect or what I could handle. As we got closer, I became more and more convinced that was the right way to go for me. Finding out I'd have to get a catheter kind of put me over the top. So when the doctor told me he was inducing me, I was worried that was right out the window. Though there were a few things I'd like to have been able to do differently, I had a great, med-free delivery.
The best piece of advice I recieved was that when you think you can't take any more, that's when it's pretty much over and time to actually have the baby. And it was true for me. Those last few contractions hurt like a monkeylover, but that adrenaline really does help.
What I'd like to pass on, the thing nobody bothered to tell me beforehand, but then were all oh, yeah, of course not was the fact that no one leaves you alone in the hospital. You'd think that they'd let you get some sleep after your long labor and delivery, but no.

This is what turned out to be the last calm, quiet moment.



I hope that isn't a sign of things to come.



August 8, 2011

Just the random musings from a day in the life of a quirky mommy

Who the hell starts a blog in 2011?
I do, apparently.

I thought about starting a blog last year while I was pregnant. I wanted to be able to have a record of the experience, but it seemed really weird to be documenting it for zero people. I guess I was too lazy to get a book and you know, write a real journal.
It must seem less weird now, because here I am, blogging to nobody. For propriety's sake, I'm going to pretend someone is reading. More than one someone, even.

I'm not planning on making an effort to conceal my identity, but I'm not going to reveal a ton of details, either. Let's just say I find it easier to be honest if I don't know you know you. And to a certain degree, my blogging persona will be a persona. I may omit or exaggerate facts, just for the sake of a good story, though usually I find the truth is funny enough. Or tragic. Whichever.

This can be a totally one-sided relationship - I'm cool with that, though I would like to get to know you, too. We'll take things slowly though, shall we?

Also, the title of this post wanted to make me stick a fork in my eye.