Friday, October 31, 2008


This is our absolute favorite holiday, so Happy Halloween everyone! We can only hope that SB embraces the festivities as much as we do.

Certainly, she did pose for the shot like a champ. Though we did get some judgemental looks from passers-by as we set the scene.

But we think it was well worth it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ode to Poopy Towel

When mad wailing is the flavor of the day, every day, any place or object that offers a brief respite from the tears is a welcome relief. For Otter, that magical place is her changing pad. No matter what sadness has befallen her, Otter will giggle, coo, smile and play. As her father recently pointed out, "My girl is only happy when she's on her back."

The nature of this love is a mystery to us. Perhaps its the knowledge that this is the place she comes to be cleaned and dried. Perchance it's the smell of something familiar. Whatever it may be, we don't question it (or spend to much time thinking about its implications for the future). Why look a gift horse in the mouth?

So with no further ado, here is our Ode to Poopy Towel...

Sung to the melody of "Young At Heart"

Fairy tales do come true,
It can happen to you,
On Poopy Towel...

When you're cranky and blue,
Life is better for you,
On Poopy Towel...

When you're flailing and sad,
And you're mad at your dad,
When you pout and you stare,
And your life isn't fair,

Whatever befalls us,
You can find solace,
When you spend some time on Poopy Towel.

When you're dirty and wet,
Then it's time that you get,
On Poopy Towel...

You can have lots of fun,
While the changing is done,
On Poopy Towel...

You can talk, you can laugh,
For an hour and a half,
You can gurgle and coo,
While we clean up your poo,

Whatever the season,
You'll find a reason,
Just to spend some time on Poopy Towel.

When the time comes for bed,
You would much rather head,
To Poopy Towel.

Though I rock, and I sway,
You prefer to just play,
On Poopy Towel...

You will cry, you will weep,
You will not go to sleep,
You will drive your mom mad,
And spit up on your dad,

If you could write a letter,
You'd say life would be better,
You you could just stay on Poopy Towel.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Father's Day

I know that it's way early for Father's Day, and in fact, I rarely actually commemorate the event, snobbishly deeming it a Hallmark Holiday.

But my father is ill, and in bringing him Otter as an offering, I hope it will speed his recovery.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Otter: 2 Months; Great Grandma: 96

My grandmother turns 96 on October 28th. With so many birthdays under her belt, it's become increasingly difficult to find presents. I mean, how many sets of dominoes and pairs of slippers can you get someone before they realize that you're either going through the motions or completely out of ideas? Add to that my lack of gift-giving skill (I'm one of those people who regularly thinks of the perfect present to give someone, only to forget it 2 minutes later) and the dilemma becomes virtually insurmountable.

But this year, we decided to give Grandma a baby.

Sure, it took some advance planning, 9 months of heiferdom, surgery, 8 weeks (and counting) of interrupted sleep, and a 3000 mile trip, and not that we're counting - but come on...admit it - we had the BEST gift there! Which is a blessing. And a curse. I mean, we are SO screwed for next year...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Leaving On a Jet Plane

The alarm went off at 5am. Gathering our luggage, enough for a month stay, we left for our 4-day visit to New York.

We are now officially "those" people - the ones with child seats, diaper bags, blankets, bottles and more suitcases than anyone can possibly have a use for. SB was going to fly the friendly skies.

Or not.
As we entered the terminal at LAX, we quickly came to the realization that we were going nowhere fast. It was like Disney Land, just without the rides and the fun. There were lines to get into other lines. We finally made it up the escalator to security, only to see another line snaking its way through the hallway, actually doubling back through the room. Not to put too fine a point on it, we were screwed.

And then I realized something quite liberating - we are now officially "those" people - the ones with an infant, who need extra help and time and consideration when making their way to the plane. Approaching the TSA officer, I put on my saddest face and inquired if I, traveling with a 2-month-old, had any chance of making my flight.

15 minutes later (after feeding the car seat through the x-ray machine the wrong way - apparently it goes upside down), we were making a mad dash for our gate, where we scored a free aisle, and got to pre-board.

Wow - everyone is really nice to "those" people... Maybe there are benefits to having kids.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


On Monday, Otter had her 2 month exam. Granted, she's a week or so shy of actually being 2 months (send presents to our house, 10/26) but I guess I'm just splitting hairs. Here, in a nutshell, is what happened:

1) She got measured - 22" now.
2) She got weighed - 8 lbs, 10 oz. I was quite impressed, but apparently Otter's a bit too slim for our doctor's liking and we need to fatten her up.
3) Her head got measured - 14" now, though I think we got cheated a bit - the weird bump at the back didn't get included.
4) Her eyes, ears and lungs got examined. She did not like this.
5) She got her first round of vaccines. She cried. But then again, she cried throughout the entire exam, so this wasn't all that different. But, in her defense, she got over crying WAY faster than that 2-year-old we saw in the waiting room. Take that, toddler!

Now, we're due back in 30 days for more weighing, measuring and shots.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Many Incarnations of Otter

Some 5 years ago, after we'd promised to love each other more than cheese, taken a million pictures and danced our first dance as husband and wife, my brand new father-in-law took the stage and sang a song he'd composed for Bree and me. In it, he applauded our love and called on everyone to celebrate our own, special language.

Indeed, Bree and I do often create our own terminology, which might be confusing to the non-initiated. And Otter's arrival has created a whole new category. So to avoid any unintentional confusion, here is a brief outline of terms used, their definitions and etymologies.

Otter - noun - our daughter. Like the animal. She looked like one when she was first born and makes an otter-like noise.

Poopy Otter - 1) noun - poop; 2) adjective - what she is when she poops.

Ottered - to get pooped on. As in, "I just got ottered." - Yes, we actually need a term for this.

Pukey Otter - adjective - what she is when she burps. Which happens - a lot.

Chicken Otter - adjective - hungry Otter. She does this weird pecking thing when she's hungry.

Franken Otter - adjective - She went through a stage when she would just hold her arms out in front of her, a la Frankenstein. She's a bit more graceful now, but it still happens sometimes.

Cranken Otter - adjective - Cranky, crying, tired, unhappy Otter. Happens every night.

Poopy Towel - noun - the towel we change her on. For some reason, this is her happy place. While we are disturbed by her choice of locale to giggle and coo, we don't question it. Just thank our lucky star that at least she's happy here.

Until she isn't.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nuts for Mutts!

The day finally arrived - October 19th - and Team Fozzie-Blob took to the hills of Pierce College on our 5K walk raising money for New Leash On Life, the dog rescue that saved Foster and nursed him back to health.

It was a gorgeous day as we set off. As per our promise to all our generous donors, Otter donned her "My Big Brother is a Pit Bull" onesie, and 'walked' with the rest of us. We're proud to say we didn't take any short-cuts. We're more proud to say we raised over $1100 for the dogs! And though we have no actual proof of this, we have reason to believe that at 7 weeks, 5 days old, Otter was the youngest fund-raiser there. All the unborn fetuses don't count ;)

Thanks to all who helped us out. We can't wait to do it all again next year! In the meantime, please check out our photo stream for the rest of our pictures from the event.

A Brief Return to Normalcy (Kinda, Almost)

This Saturday we had a turning point of sorts. Throwing caution to the wind, Bree and I packed up the Otter, grabbed enough supplies to keep baby fed, clothed and diapered on a deserted island for about a month, and headed into the wilds of the Calabasas Farmers Market.

Otter slept blissfully in her bjorn, while people chatted with us about her cuteness and smallness. They congratulated us. We felt happy. We bought a squash, some greens and guavas, which tasted of wild strawberries. Moving through the sunshine, surrounded by farm fresh fruit and vegetables and, most importantly, people, life seemed lighter and happier. Almost normal, in fact.

Returning home, Bree and I made a squash salad and some pasta, patting ourselves on the back about how cleverly we had arranged it all. It seems that the arrogance gods were watching, and the were not happy. At approximately 8 pm, Otter had had her night snack, got changed into pyjamas and we were ready to settle her down and sit down to dinner ourselves. She had other ideas.

Otter screamed at the top of her lungs, shattering glass and eardrums; she kicked at me, and frankly anything within kicking distance; she was hysterical. Meanwhile, Bree and I took turns walking, shaking, shushing, turning on the vacuum and the vent, rocking and singing. All to no avail.

10 pm - I feed her again; she gets sleepy. I put her down, hoping she's really tired now and Bree and I can finally eat. We reheat the food. We sit down. She starts to cry. I curse myself for being so naive.

11 pm - I've been singing that lullaby about the mother who keeps buying her baby sub-par birds, rings and animals over and over again for what seems like hours. Mother assumes all her gifts will break, turn over, or otherwise fail to perform, but keeps on buying them anyway. Her pessimism and obstinacy in the face of failure depress me. I keep singing anyway, since it's the only song I can still process over the earsplitting cries of Otter.

11:30 pm - I consider suicide.

12:00 am - Having deemed suicide too time consuming, I've kept singing. And either because she's exhausted or hates the song too and can think of no other way to escape it, Otter not so much falls asleep, as passes out in my arms. I hobble to the couch bleary eyed. I'm beyond hunger, but I'm going to have some of my thrice-reheated pasta, dammit. And that glass of wine. I earned a drink.

"Normal" life seems miles, no, galaxies away.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Now that Otter is staying up for an hour here and there, we've run into the dilemma of what to do with that time. We've tried...

Dancing (both to modern alternative, and some 40's era swing)
Looking at kitchen gadgets (no interest there)
Looking at our toys (minimal interest in that)
The Bouncy Chair (rousing failure)
The Swing (initial success, which lasts about 2 minutes, followed by rousing failure)
The Play Mat (we LOVE us some of that music with animal sounds)
The Mobile (here we hit PAY DIRT! How do you get this thing to run 24/7?!)

I also contend that we are taking tummy time seriously. That's where you plop your helpless infant on her belly, and watch her kick futilely and try to lift her gargantuan sized head on her reedy, weak little neck while making the saddest whimpers, all in the name of developing gross motor skills and muscle tone. Suffice it to say, Otter hates tummy time and screams that gargantuan head off after about 10 seconds of it. But I am being a good, responsible mommy, dammit, and forcing her to suffer like she's supposed to!

Tuesday Mornings

Tuesdays are a special day, not only because they mark Otter getting another week older but also because it's bath day. Much as her ancestors during the Middle Ages, Otter doesn't partake in the joys of cleansing every day.

Baths sound like a lovely activity. Soft soap bubbles float, steam rises from the warm, welcoming water, the scent of lavendar fills the air, sumptuous towels lie nearby, waiting to gently dry and warm the bather. On the other hand, there's Otter's assessment of the whole thing...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Poopy Otter Song

Our lack of any social life coupled with the need to try almost anything to get Otter to stop crying has borne some unexpected fruit. We've gotten creative in our old age...

The Poopy Otter Song

Sleeps all day, cries all night,
Locks her legs, puts up a fight.
Hates the bath, can’t do math,
Hopefully she’ll turn out right.

Oh Poopy Otter, so glad we got her,
But we’re not really sure we want another.
Oh Pukey Otter, who hates the water,
Please don’t say you want a little brother.

The dog is sad, she drives him mad,
If she were food, wouldn’t be too bad.
Cries every day, from 6 to 8,
Until she’s swaddled by her dad.

Oh Chicken Otter, you teeter-totter,
But you won’t fall ‘cause you’re caught by your mother.
Oh Sleepy Otter, our only daughter,
We would never trade you for another.

Image by cwbuecheler

Ma Vie Sans Frommage

Four years, 8 months and 5 days ago, I stood before family, friends, and our Internet-ordained pastor and spoke my wedding vows. Along with tender readings about everlasting love and nearly-dead brides by Poe, I said the most heartfelt promise of fidelity of all:
"I will love you more than cheese."

This should give you an appreciation of my love of cheese, if nothing else. And consequently, you will certainly understand the seriousness of what I say next.

I am now living a cheeseless life.

Not just cheeseless, but completely dairy-free. Sort of like a vegan, if you overlook the occasional consumption of meat.

To borrow a phrase from Pushing Daisies, the facts are these:

Apparently babies poop in a rainbow of colors. Some of these colors are considered "normal" (even though to the average person they're anything but), others, less so.

Otter was pooping green. Not just green-ish. Full on Forest Green. Scary.

After extensive research, we unscientifically determined that this was due to her intolerance of proteins found in milk. (Cow milk, not people kind.)

And, since she "eats" what I eat, that translated into no dairy for me for the foreseeable future.

And thus, I became a label reading, food avoiding, asking about prepared food ingredients, "Can you really bake without butter?" (the short answer is no, nothing good) kind of chick.

I also realized that I gravely underestimated the variety of foods that contain dairy. Milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream and cream are the obvious offenders. I also must refrain from chocolate, most baked goods, onion rings, chicken nuggets, certain breads (they contain "whey protein," whatever that is) and caramels. Caramels, dammit.

And have I mentioned that my favorite Sunday night ritual of cheese plate has been replaced by me picking sadly at the accouterments while the others at the table taste and invariable comment on the goodness of the star component...

If you add into consideration the fact that I should also avoid over-eating soy products, tree nuts, and caffeinated items, my dairy free existence is even more pathetic.

But I'm hanging tough. If this doesn't prove devotion to the kid, I don't know what does.

Image by cwbuecheler

Monday, October 6, 2008


So I've been running this mom racket for nearly 6 weeks now, and have seen some amazing highs and some dark hours (in the literal and figurative sense, which usually run concurrently) that could kill even the most buoyant of spirits. And it seems that though a little more frazzled for wear, we will eventually emerge out the other side.

But I still have questions about how this all works. Namely...

1. What really goes on at those Mommy & Me classes? Does everyone just sit around with their non-interacting babies and congratulate themselves on being so proactive in their children's development? Much like the ceremonies of the Masons or the Elks, M & M is veiled in mystery with a hint of superiority.

2. Why do some mothers think that because they breastfeed at home, they can whip out their boobs any old time to give Jr. a snack? Don't get me wrong, there's a degree of whippage that I'm responsible for, but it's in my home, and not in front of my father-in-law, and usually after I've asked any non-husband, child or dog people in the house if it's OK with them. REEAALLY hard to keep talking to you in the middle of IHOP while you're flashing the entire dining room with a baby attached to your nipple.

3. Why do I suddenly find myself referring to myself not only in the third person (which is an offense in and of itself) but as "mom"? WTF?

4. More importantly, how do I stop?

5. Where does my day go? Seriously, how do 12 hours tick by and all I have to show for it are two loads of laundry, unloading the dishwasher, and the occasional blog entry?

6. Why is there so much laundry? SB doesn't wear that much clothing.

7. How does a creature as small as Otter produce that much poop?

8. And why do I know so much about baby poop? I'd heard people talk about it as if it held the secret key to the universe and wondered how they'd gotten to that point in their lives. Now I wonder how it happened to me.

9. How did people ever manage to raise babies before the Internet? I'm doing Google searches every day for some new weird thing that SB is going through.

10. Finally, how do babies know to learn to smile just as you're nearing your wits end, and once again endear themselves to you just in the nick of time? Why does a smile from Otter (or even that hilarious, exaggerated frown she's now practicing) garner instant forgiveness for all of the crying and screaming she was just engaged in?

Image by tj scenes