Thursday, February 28, 2008


Well, Krista is out of surgery but still in a lot of pain and cursing at anyone who gets near her :-) She doesn't handle anesthesia or pain too well. Mom says she's getting a taste of what Krista will be like when she's in labor.

So that's good news!

And to distract myself today, I've been taking pictures of Emily and our ever-growing diaper collection.

Here's Emily with the shirts a sweet mama on diaperswappers made for her to match a couple of her diapers :-)

Here are the two Goodmama diapers that arrived today!

I only meant to get one...I was thinking of selling the ice cream diaper but it looks like Emily might have other ideas!

I had to get the frog diaper when I saw it, because it perfectly matches a shirt and yarn I bought to make an outfit for Emily for next winter:

Why yes, I am a dork. But I am a dork with an incredibly fashionable daughter :-P

Poor Krista

My middle sister, Krista, is a senior in college down at Mary Washington in Virginia. Last night, my mom went down to see her dance in one of her little mini-recitals. Krista wasn't feeling all that well, but she made it through her recital. Afterward, her stomach kept hurting her worse and worse, and in the middle of the night Mom took her to the hospital.

It turns out, she had an inflamed appendix and is in surgery as we speak having it removed. Luckily, they seem to have caught it early so there shouldn't be any issues with it bursting. When Mom called, I could tell something was wrong because her voice was very low like it is when she's been crying. She said "Krista is in the OR" and I about passed out. Since she's in college I immediately assumed she had been in a car accident or worse, but luckily it's a fairly run-of-the-mill laproscopic surgery and she should be discharged from the hospital tomorrow.

The problem is, tomorrow is her last day of school before spring break. She's missing a midterm, and the worst part is she is supposed to leave bright and early Saturday morning to go on a Caribbean cruise with her friends. The doctor said it might still be possible, we'll have to wait and see how she does in recovery, but even if she ends up going, if anything happens she'll be at the mercy of third-world medical systems. Even if she does fine, she won't be able to swim or snorkel with a surgical wound on her stomach.

I feel so terrible for her...she's been looking forward to this for ages :*( I also feel useless, because with a recently-recovered baby, I can't really make the 2.5-hour drive down to the hospital. If all goes as planned, Mom and Dad will be bringing her home (as in up to Frederick) tomorrow, and I can be of assistance then. In the meantime though, I'm just sitting by the phone, wringing my hands and waiting for an update and thinking that she's lucky it wasn't worse but boy is this bad timing for the poor girl :-(

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Extra protein

Perhaps you have heard the news reports about the northern Thailand bug-eating conferences that have been going on recently. I heard a report on the radio yesterday, and my reaction was, in a word, "yuck". I don't like to look at or be around bugs, let alone think about eating them.

What I didn't realize is that Emily, feigning sleep back in her snazzy new Britax carseat, must've heard the report too. How do I know this? I just turned around from doing dishes to discover her on the floor, munching on something. That something, based on the remaining bits I found lying around her, was a desiccated ladybug. I have snatched a dead ladybug from her clutches once before, but she managed to ingest this one before I was able to stop her.

Maybe she's just on the cutting edge of the research and is adding extra protein and minerals to her diet. Maybe it's no weirder than the raw fish I'm looking forward to sharing with Will tonight. But, considering the fact that I just had to use the "Here comes the airplane" trick to get her to open her mouth so I could remove a bit of styrofoam she was snacking on, I am inclined to think her motives are not nutritive in nature.

And I think I need to vacuum again.

I got my baby back

Last night, Emily calmly took a bottle, fell right asleep when I laid her in her crib at 9:30, then didn't wake up until 6 when daddy's alarm went off. After her morning bottle she fell right back asleep in her crib, and I didn't hear her joyful good morning squeals over the monitor until 8, just as I was getting daddy off to work. She slept just long enough for me to shower and get ready for the day, but not so long that I'll miss my weight watchers meeting.

She is back to being my sweet, perfect baby and I am back to being clean and well-rested :-) At least for now.

Monday, February 25, 2008


It sounds kind of pretty, doesn't it? Like a combination between roses, which are my favorite flower, and areola, which are probably not the most interesting or attractive part of the female anatomy, but we'd look kinda weird without them. Roseola sounds like it could be something feminine and pretty.

Well I look neither feminine nor pretty right now, because my baby, as it turns out, has Roseola. She got a high fever on Thursday, a higher fever on Friday, then Saturday and Sunday she seemed a bit better, although she still had bouts of fussy clingyness. Today though, she is definitely feeling bad again, and she's covered in an itchy red rash, poor baby. She hasn't been sleeping much at all, so that means I haven't either. Will has been out of town, so it has been up to me to hold the poor fussy girl all day every day, so I haven't showered in awhile. Will came back from his business trip to Orlando today, and I usually try to gussy myself up a bit when I go to meet him at the airport, but today he was greeted by a frizzy-haired, sunken-eyed stained-shirted wife and a spotty, listless baby. I'll bet he wishes he was still in Orlando.

There are bad things about the Roseola...first and foremost the fact that my baby is sick and suffering which makes me feel terrible. I blame myself (of course, because I'm a mother and so am subject to mommy guilt) because 2 weeks ago I started hitting the gym pretty hard, so Emily ended up at the gym daycare for an hour or two while I was working out. The gym felt like a luxury; a remnant of my past life when I would spend time there 6 days a week and my body reflected it. It felt good to recapture a bit of that feeling. But looking back, it seems like I was needlessly exposing my baby to illnesses just so I could go play :-( It was also most unfortunate that Emily got sick while Will was away, so even when I was so exhausted I couldn't take anymore screaming, I had to because there was no one else to do it.

There are good things too though. Roseola is something you get once and then in most cases you are immune to it for the rest of your life, so it's building her immune system and this is the only time she'll have to deal with it. Because of that, it's something adults don't usually get, so I can stop worrying that I will catch what she has. Likewise, when we have more kids and they end up with it, I won't have to worry that Emily will get it again. It's also a disease for which there is no cure or therapy, so I can stop feeling bad that I should've taken Emily to the Pediatrician on Friday (instead of just calling for advice) and it would've saved her some misery. Even if I had gone in on Friday, there's nothing they could've done, plus they probably wouldn't have known what she had because the dead giveaway for Roseola is the rash, and she didn't develop that until today. If I had taken her in on Friday, I probably would've freaked and taken her in again today when I saw the rash develop.

It's also a good thing in a way that Will wasn't here the last couple nights, because instead of both of us being exhausted and frazzled, I am exhausted and frazzled while he owes me bigtime! If Emily sleeps like crap again tonight, Will is going to take a sick day and take over responsibility for the girlie for 2 hours or so tomorrow so I can get a nap, and that sounds just fantastic to me! Again, I am nothing if not an optimist!

So hopefully after tomorrow, Emily will be feeling better, I will be feeling better and life will be settling back down again. Oh, and the electrician FINALLY called me back, and they're coming to install the light fixtures tomorrow. Plus, amazing superwoman that I am, I was able to get the house clean and keep it clean through all of this, so that pretty much checks everything off my "getting life under control" list. Now actually FEELING like my life is under control, that is another story.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Mailbox - replaced
Microwave - present and installed
Exercise - performed regularly
Various appointments - scheduled and on the calendar
Bills - paid
Light Fixtures - arrived, call placed to electrician to have them installed
Eating - above reproach until yesterday :-( getting back on the horse now
House cleanliness - hmmm...will have to work on this
Life - slowly getting back under control

Too little too late

I have never been a punctual person. I tend to always be 5-10 minutes late, or "fashionably late", as those of us who can't drag our sorry butts anywhere on time call it. Neither am I one of those people who are perpetually 30 min-1 hour late though, and despite my own lateness, those people annoy the crap out of me. I know a couple people like this, and I think it's just rude. Any lateness is rude, but I at least try to get places on time. To be half an hour to an hour late ALL THE TIME, you just have to not care.

My problem, however, has been exacerbated by having a baby. If I'm leaving her behind, I have to get all of her food and diapers etc. set up for whoever will be watching her. If I am taking her with me I have to collect an incredible number of food items, toys, pieces of clothing, diapering necessities, bottles etc. into the diaper bag before I go anywhere, not to mention getting Emily changed and into clean clothes, bundled up, buckled into her carseat and out to the car. My own personal appearance usually falls by the wayside. I have been experimenting recently, giving myself ample time to get ready and trying to see how long it actually takes so that I can know in the future "I have 40 minutes until I have to leave, it's time to start getting ready now". I have discovered that there is no such thing as ample time when you're getting a baby ready. This morning it took me well over an hour just to collect up the necessary items and get Emily out of the house. Last Friday, I started getting ready to leave at 10AM for a lunchdate at noon. I arrived my customary 5 minutes late.

Later that day, I dropped Emily off at my mom's house, picked Will up at work, and we drove to Baltimore to have dinner at Lebanese Taverna. We were approaching downtown at 5:24PM, but because of traffic we got to the restaurant exactly at 6PM, precisely on time for our reservation. We went in, sat down at a table for 7, and proceeded to wait for the rest of our party. Luckily we had cell phones, and we quickly realized that our friends would not be there for awhile. We ordered and ate and had a wonderful belated Valentines day date at a big empty table for 7. Afterward, we continued on to the 1st Mariner Arena to meet our friends (who had arrived in Baltimore at 7:20PM and ended up eating at McDonalds) to see the Blue Man Group.

I saw that as quite a victory on my part. I had to start getting ready at 10AM in order to get Emily taken care of and get to my 6PM dinner reservation on time, and our friends who have no kids missed dinner because they were an hour and a half late!

We all made it to the show though, and although I had been looking forward to it, I can't say I really enjoyed it. The Blue Men were amusing, and many of the things they did were amazing to listen to and look at, but for the most part the show consisted of a large band playing original songs with terrible lyrics. It was loud and annoying honestly, and I didn't understand why I was getting so irritated. We left before the encore so that we could escape the parking deck before the rest of the crowd, and in the car Will reminded me of something I had forgotten. I hate concerts. I can handle them if it's a band I know and love and can sing along with, but for the most part I hate the noise, the crowd, the dirty crowded bathrooms and the cheap beer spilling everywhere. I had gone into this show thinking I was going to see something more like a play...I didn't know it was in an arena until a day or two before. I had expected something in a theater, a sketch show maybe with some music and an intermission.

Oh well. Even if I didn't enjoy it, I was on time and that's something to be happy about!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Trip to Rochester

There are two things I can count on happening every time my mother-in-law comes over to babysit Emily. #1, she will suggest that I duct tape a comforter to the hearth, and #2 she will call her parents up in Rochester, put them on speaker phone and let them talk to Emily. I have been around for one or two of these phone calls, and it breaks my heart. They sing to her, they ask her questions, and they are beside themselves with joy when she makes a noise back that they can hear. They had never met her, because Grandpa Deyle had a stroke earlier this year and has been too fragile to make the trip down from Rochester. With a baby, we did not even want to consider driving 6+ hours up to Rochester, and every time we tried to coordinate a flight up there it never seemed to work out. Either Grandpa was still dealing with his ORSA, or we were not available etc. Will and I were getting desperate to introduce Emily to her great grandparents, because they are definitely not in the shape they once were, and we couldn't imagine the guilt we'd feel (on top of the sadness) if one or both of them were to die without meeting Emily.

So this weekend, my Mother-in-law chartered a plane, and we flew up to Rochester to surprise them. We rolled up to the airport at 7AM, just as it had started snowing.

Our plane:

Emily all buckled in and ready:

Will and his mom:

I felt fairly awful on the flight, which was an embarrassment to me because I usually pride myself on being a hale and hearty air traveler. My nausea cleared up about halfway through though, leading me to believe I was feeling sick not because of the flight but because we had risen at 5AM, crammed down breakfast and scurried around like crazy getting Emily ready. For the second half of the flight I was able to enjoy having enough air to breathe on an airplane for once, and being able to watch the altimeter in the cockpit as we descended.

After a wonderfully smooth and quick flight, we were in Rochester and despite some (inevitable) snafus with the directions, we were at the grandparents' house before we knew it.

Waiting to make our entrance:

When we walked in, Grandma looked at us, said hello very pleasantly, then went back to stirring her soup. "Someone must've spilled the beans", I thought. That wasn't the reaction we had all been expecting. A couple seconds later, she looked back up at the crowd of people in her kitchen doorway, paused a couple seconds, and then screamed "OH!" loud enough to make Emily burst into tears :-) Now that was more like it!

What I find the most amusing about that situation, is that it was obvious once we'd seen Grandma's eventual reaction that she didn't realize who we were upon first glance. To her, she had just seen a slew of strangers walk into her kitchen, and yet she still greeted us with a polite and welcoming "Hello" and went back to her business. I hope no burglars ever walk into her kitchen, she'd probably fix them tea before she realized what was going on.

We had a very enjoyable visit. It made for a long day, but Will and I agreed it was just the right amount of time. We really enjoyed seeing how happy the grandparents were just watching Emily walk around the coffee table and play with toys Will used to play with (and maybe even Nancy when she was young).

At ten after six, we piled into the rental car and headed for the Rochester airport. At twenty after eight, we pulled into our garage at home. Fantastic.

So now Emily will know who it is that's singing Mary Had a Little Lamb to her over the phone, and Will and I can feel relieved that her great grandparents have finally met her :-)


Friday, February 8, 2008

Painfully Healthy

I have been making Emily's babyfood for awhile now, but recently I have been slacking. I made a bunch of food this summer, when everything was ripe and cheap and it was easy to find locally-grown food. But as we ran out of our frozen "food cubes" from summer's bounty, I have found myself turning more and more to jarred babyfood instead of making more up myself.

So yesterday, I sat down with my copy of Super Baby Food (the making your own babyfood bible) and studied up. I have been introducing all sorts of foods to Emily 4 days at a time (to make sure there's no allergic reaction) and I try to vary the type of food I give her each day, but I hadn't given much thought to the overall nutritional balance. As it turns out, this is what I should be giving her for breakfast:

"Super Porridge" (made from organic grains ground at home in a blender and cooked into porridge)
A sprinkle of powdered kelp and a dash of nutritional brewer's yeast
1 mashed egg yolk every other day, and 1 vitamin A food cube on the other days (like carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.)
2 green food cubes (broccoli, kale, spinach etc.)
1 Vitamin C food cube, or 2-4 oz of freshly juiced fruit, diluted 1:1 with water
Vitamin drops with iron

Wow. My daughter was clearly missing out.

So yesterday I went to the Common Market and bought powdered kelp and some fruit for juicing. I had already introduced Emily to everything else, so I was good to go this morning.

I defrosted her food cubes. I juiced an apple. I sprinkled kelp and brewer's yeast. I placed all her various food containers within arms reach (mine but not hers) and settled down to feed her breakfast.

Lo and behold, she ate it! And she liked it! I was delighted that my daughter was taking so well to such nutritious food. If I just keep feeding her this way when she's little and doesn't know any better, she'll still eat healthy food when she gets older! I told myself that even so, I wouldn't be one of those mothers who forced their children to take unidentifiable health foods to school in their lunchboxes. I would still be a "cool" mom. Not lunchables cool, but I would be clever and sneak healthfoods into normal-looking sandwiches and such. But hey, at this rate maybe Emily would ASK if she could have some kelp to take for lunch (and she would remember to say please, because this was my fantasy).

I topped it all off with a dropperful of her Poly-Vi-Sol vitamins (which she also takes I a lucky mom or what?), which she must've swallowed a bit wrong because she started to cough.

And cough.

And cough.

And then she vomited up every last nutrient in a spectacular greenish fountain.

I guess she'll just have to be dangerously low on Vitamin A until we try again at breakfast tomorrow. And I'll give her the vitamins first next time :-(


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Milkmaid no more

This post is going to be about breastfeeding, and it is not going to be very funny, so if you want something more humorous and lighthearted, I suggest you go over and look at some Lolcats for awhile.

So I have decided I am finished lactating, at least for the time being. Those of you who know me personally will probably be saying "Weren't you whining about this, like, a MONTH ago? Give it up already!". Yes, I was whining about this a month ago, but shut up, this is my blog and I can whine as much as I want.

Back when I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to nurse my baby. I envisioned nursing her for 1 year, then I figured I'd tell everyone Emily wasn't nursing anymore but secretly still nurse her right before bed or upon waking in the morning just for the closeness. I imagined nursing confidently in public places (with a nursing wrap on of course), having a freezer overflowing with frozen breastmilk so that I could go out for errands or to the gym whenever I pleased, and I would have so much milk that I could even donate to a milk bank if I decided I wanted to. I would do all of this without flashing my chest groceries to a single person. Oh, and I'd be back into my pre-pregnancy jeans after 2 months, maybe 3.

Needless to say, it hasn't quite turned out this way. Emily has been a very difficult baby to nurse. She wasn't born with a cleft palate or any other defects that would make it hard for her to physically nurse. I did not have any issues that would prevent me from nursing. I had the desire to nurse and the commitment to stick it out during those first few difficult weeks and make it work. It's just that Emily has a terrible attitude towards nursing.

At the very beginning, the doctors wanted to make sure she got lots of food so she wouldn't get more jaundice then she already was, so they made us supplement her diet with formula. I hated it, and I was terrified she'd get nipple confusion and not want to nurse anymore. But once my milk came in and her bilirubin count went down, it seemed all systems were go. I was stashing away a bottle of milk here and there. I was terrified every time the power went out that my frozen milk would defrost and spoil. My modesty, however, had gone out the window when the nurses walked into my room 2 days after Emily was born and said "Let me see your nipples". Ok.

On top of that, Emily flat-out refused to nurse with anything covering her. I'd try to nurse her in public, and the limbs would flail, the nursing cover would go flying, and everyone would see my bits. The same thing happened if I tried to cover her while guests were at my house. My Father-in-law saw me half-naked way more times than I ever would've hoped (that number of times being zero). I was heard to say things like "Only 48 more weeks of nursing!" and "I can't wait until she's eating solid will save so much time and I will not miss being stapled to the couch for 45 minutes out of every 2 hours one bit".

Fast-forward to month 3, and Emily had started up an endearing new behavior. About every third time I'd try to nurse her, she'd throw an almighty fit and flat-out refuse to calm down until I gave her a bottle. It wasn't reflux, it wasn't because she was too hungry, or not hungry enough, or too distracted, or to cold, or the room was too bright, or any number of a hundred things we tried to "fix", it was just that she didn't feel like nursing. Ok, no sweat, I had some bottles of frozen breastmilk, when she threw a fit I'd defrost some, feed it to her, then pump and my milk supply wouldn't suffer.

But it did suffer. I tried taking Fenugreek all day, hooking myself up to the pump for extra sessions, drinking extra water, I even considered getting drugs from Canada to help my milk supply. But all that happened was that I felt exhausted and irritable all the time and slowly my stash of frozen breastmilk dwindled.

In October, we all flew to Chicago and I was freaking about what to do milk-wise. What if Emily freaked on the plane and wouldn't nurse? I brought some breastmilk, but what about on the way back? I spent weeks worrying about what to do, and finally decided we could give her a bit of formula while she was there if she needed it. We introduced formula a couple days ahead of time to make sure she'd take it, and let me tell you! The feeling of freedom I got from dumping the rest of an unfinished bottle down the drain instead of desperately trying to force it down Emily's throat because it had been painfully rendered from my body and dammit, Emily WAS going to get those antibodies and nutrients! We only ended up having to give her 2 bottles of formula while in Chicago. But it was fairly impossible to pump as much as I needed to there, and once again, my milk supply suffered.

When we got back, Emily's appetite just flat out exceeded my best efforts at milk production. She was eating some solid food by then, and I hoped that would fill her requirements that I couldn't. It didn't, and a bottle of formula per day became the norm. She continued to have her fits occasionally, except now she scratched and pinched and had teeth. No matter what expert's advice I tried, she'd laugh at me and just bite me more. It was like trying to nurse a woodchipper.

A missed pumping session here, an especially hungry day for Emily there, and by December she was getting 2-3 bottles of formula a day.

Then January came. And Emily decided not to nurse anymore. Ever. Every single time I tried, I got the same reaction she had started at 3 months. I was fairly inconsolable for a day or two. If she woke up at exactly the right time and was still sleepy enough, I could still get her to nurse first thing in the morning though, and I set to pumping. Some mothers pump exclusively the whole time. Maybe I could even get my supply UP now that I had to pump so much anyway. But being home with a crawling baby who doesn't like to nap during the day does not lend itself to endless hours spent attached to a breast pump. I only usually managed to get in 2 pumping sessions a day, one in the morning and one right before bed. At night everyone would go to sleep and I would sit bleary-eyed in the office and pump for half an hour, then creep as quietly as possible into bed so as not to wake Will. The amount of milk I got was less each time, but I was terrified to skip a pumping session, lest my milk supply go down even more.

And last night, as Will got into bed and I settled Emily into her crib, Will asked me if I was coming to bed. I said "No, I have to pump". Will said "Awww...we never get to fall asleep together anymore. I miss it". I realized how much I missed it too, but my mama instinct kicked in. My baby needs my milk more than my husband and I need to fall asleep at the same time. I went to pump for half an hour anyway. I got about 1/2 Tbsp of milk...all I had made in a 24-hour period.

So I have decided this 9 months of torture is over. And despite how hard it has much I've had to struggle at every step, I am extremely sad about it.

The thought of putting away the pump until our next baby comes along should be a huge relief, but it brings tears to my eyes. Defrosting and feeding Emily the last 2 bottles of milk I have in the freezer that I have been ferociously guarding for who knows what eventual use is next on my agenda, then putting away my nursing bras and tanks that I have lived in for the past 9 months. The thought of ridding the house of the last vestiges of a lactating mother and her nursling make me weepy.

I hated nursing! It was a constant fight and an omnipresent stress. Since Emily has scaled back her nursing sessions I have experienced a wonderful surge of I forgot I ever had. And I should count myself lucky we made it this long. Some women would like to nurse but can't nurse for one reason or another. Some women stop on purpose after 3 months or 6 months. And some women have no desire to nurse at all. Only 11% of moms still nurse their babies at 6 months.

But I feel guilty for not trying harder. I feel sad that Emily and I won't have those nice nursing moments anymore, even though they were few and far between. Nursing has been a constant, since the first minutes of her life. She has started crawling now, and walking while holding onto the couch and feeding herself cheerios, but nursing is the first major thing she has STOPPED doing.

Those of you who know me also know I usually plan things, and then they happen, simple as that. I am incredibly lucky that that is the case, believe me I realize that. But I guess I haven't been prepared for disappointment so I feel cheated that something so important hasn't gone as I had planned.

So I am going to go pump now, then boil my pump parts one last time, pack it all up, and put it away until I'm getting ready to go to the hospital to have my next baby. I'll feed Emily the rest of the milk from the freezer. Then, because I believe in looking at the bright side of things, I think I'll go on a three-day bender, because it has been a year and a half since I've gotten good and drunk!


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bowls and Balls

Sunday was the first time I have been in the country during the superbowl since before Janet Jackson showed her goodies on national television. There is a week-long newspaper management seminar the first week of February every year that Will and I usually attend, and it's in a different place every year (usually in the Caribbean). So usually we watch the superbowl in a beach bar being broadcast out of Puerto Rico with nothing but cell phone and insurance commercials in spanish. We would have been watching it from Aruba this year, had we not decided that neither leaving Emily behind for several days nor taking her with us on a trip to Aruba were good options. So I decided since we were going to be at home this year we should have a superbowl party, since we have missed out on that experience for the past few years. I am nothing if not an optimist.

The party went quite well even though Will and I are out of practice as hosts. We used to entertain a lot before Emily was born but I have been hesitant to attempt hosting a party while having to care for a baby at the same time, but the food was good:
And Will played an excellent bartender:
I was surprised how many people were interested in the game, I didn't have most of my friends figured as football fans but everyone was pretty excited about it, which always helps. I enjoyed talking with my female guests as they periodically slipped out into the kitchen to get some snacks. We did realize that we need more seating in our living room, this is at the beginning of the night, before everyone had even showed up:

Another good thing about staying behind from the trip this year is that we were able to attend the Mardi Gras ball in Frederick. Usually this is a stuffy debutante ball hosted by the Frederick Women's Civic Club (a bunch of old ladies) but this year it turned out to be much more fun. In 1998, the first year I attended, one of the princesses wore a strapless dress. The old ladies were scandalized, fans were aflutter, monocles were dropping left and right. At least I assume so, based on the fact that by the time I was a princess the next year there was a rule that your dress HAD to have sleeves, and had to be approved by a member of the club before it could be worn to the ball. This severely limited my choice of dress, and I ended up having to wear a dress I didn't really like that 4 other girls also had.

But this year it was much more fun, and there were no dress limitations. Maybe it's because I can drink now, maybe it's because Will's cousins and sisters are getting older so we have more people in our age bracket to associate with, maybe it's because the old ladies actually chose a decent DJ, but we actually had a good time. I even saw one of the aforementioned ladies freak dancing with a high school boy to Sir Mix a Lot. That's the kind of grandma I want to be!

Now Tina is "out", she has been properly presented to society, and can begin to receive gentleman callers. At least that's the way it would be if we were in a Jane Austen novel and not the only place in the tri-state area that still has debutante balls almost 200 years later! That hussy Tina has already had 2 boyfriends before being properly presented though, so I seriously doubt any nice young man of respectable position will consider her now. She did look very pretty though :-)

Dancing with her dad, the former King Proteus:

Dancing with sister Margaret:

Sara, Will, Tina, Margaret and Brad:

Will, Sara (in her $17 dress), Margaret, Brad, cousin Ceci and Ben:

Ceci and Ben:

Glowstick origami:

The siblings goofing off:


Monday, February 4, 2008

Can you really put a price on the safety of your child?

Safe Start Baby childproofing company can. And that price is just shy of $2000.

As a Christmas present to us my mother-in-law is having our house babyproofed. It's right up her alley, because she is extremely careful about child safety. In fact, if she takes a look at my fireplace (which boasts genuine foam fireplace guards purchased from a well-respected childproofing catalog) and tells me one more time that when SHE was raising babies in this house she duct taped a comforter to the hearth just to be extra super careful and I should do the same thing, I am going to duct tape a comforter to her head. Nevertheless, the thought of spending days changing outlet covers and bolting bookcases to the wall myself makes me yawn in irritation, so last week we had a consultant come and write down every.single.thing that could be done to make our house 100% safe for a baby. They send an estimate after that, and you choose what things you'd like them to do and what things you think you can do without. I truly believe you could babyproof a lion's cave for less than $2000, so what does that say about the dangerous pit of despair we must live in?

I spent some time today crossing things off the list like "Swivel latch - 16 - $32.00" "Swivel latch labor - 16 - $104". Yes, they charge $6.50 to install a $2.00 piece of plastic...16 times. I am not a person to be free with someone else's money (unless it is a business' money, in which case I view it as the best way to travel), so I pared the list down to what I believe is a good balance between things I REALLY don't want to do and a cost that I don't see as being TOO exorbitant. But hey, I guess everybody gots ta get paid. And I'm sure their insurance is through the roof.

So tomorrow, the babyproofers will descend on my house and make it fit for baby habitation. I think I'll need to host a lot of playgroups here to make it worthwhile, but really, who can put a price on the safety of your child? I find that statement to be INCREDIBLY misleading. It insinuates that by not spending this money you are putting your child in direct danger, whereas what you're really doing is buying peace of mind. What are the chances that your child will ever try to insert his or her chubby little finger into the outlet in the master bathroom? You never know of course, but as we don't plan to allow Emily into the master bathroom unsupervised until she is old enough to know better (and after tomorrow we will have childproof doorguards on both the master bedroom and bathroom doors) I feel it is a "safe" risk to take. But based on the title of my post (which many people like to throw around when it suits their purpose) I am being cheap by trying to save money and making my child less safe.

It is a very nice thing that my mother-in-law is doing for us though, and necessary too, as Emily has made a mockery of our attempts at childproofing so far: