Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn

SB partied from 2:30 - 5 a.m. last night. We ignored, we let her "cry it out," we replaced the pacifier, we turned on the mobile, we rocked, we comforted, we patted her back. We failed. She finally passed out from sheer exhaustion.

She's either teething (which we've been saying for the past 4 months to the tune of zero teeth) or about to make a developmental milestone (my own theory that I use to comfort myself through the sleepless nights).

At this point, she'd better greet me with a toothy smile and say "I'm off for my afternoon jaunt, mummy. Can I get you anything while I'm out?"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Welcome Back, Sophie!

After a week of not really looking for, and as a result, not really finding Sophie the Giraffe, I had to admit defeat and accept the fact that a replacement Sophie was necessary.

I had naively assumed that in a world obsessed with image and material wealth, a posh, expensive rubber toy giraffe with a fancy name and a fancier French pedigree would be easy to find. And I was half right. Finding places that carry Sophie was an Internet search away. Finding places that actually have Sophie in stock was a different story. Either the demand for giraffe teethers is incredibly high or incredibly low. The result was the same - Sophie was on back order virtually everywhere.

Living in LA, we decided that a trip to one of our numerous chi-chi baby boutiques would be more productive. We set out with high hopes and great expectations, both of which were quickly dashed. One store owner looked at us with utter confusion. Another suggested an alternative - a plush bunny with a plastic teething ring in his hand. This would not do.

Fortunately, the universe intervened and blessed us with serendipity. The May issue of Los Angeles Magazine arrived, advertising the best LA baby boutiques right on its cover! One phone call later, the last Sophie was on hold for us at The Little Seed.

We arrived at lunch, and were greeted by a lovely sales associate who was more than a little disappointed that we actually showed up. Apparently, she had put dibs on Sophie for her daughter who is turning EIGHT but loves all things French. Had we not claimed the teether, Sophie would have become just one more gift for the tiny Francophile's birthday celebration - one that includes a limo ride around LA's French-inspired locales. Yes, a limo. For an eight-year-old.

Hopefully, Sophie II will be raised with lesser expectations.

My Baby's Butt is Green!

Back in the day, our ancestors discovered that certain food-stuffs contained vibrant pigments which could be used to dye a variety of things. Indigo and henna spring to mind. Apparently spinach is quite effective too.

As what goes in must also come out, I found out about spinach's unique qualities during a diaper change. Much like a henna tattoo, though far less attractive, Otter's business end has been the recipient of some naturally derived colorant. And let me tell you - the stuff's tenacious.

After multiple scrubbing proved ineffectual, I called on Bree for help. Assessing the damage, he shrugged. "Ah, it's not that bad. I guess it'll come out eventually."

"But my baby's butt is green!" I protested.

"That would make a really good title," he said.

image by austinevan

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Double Celebration!

Happy Birthday Bree!

Happy 8-Month Day Otter!

We celebrated by going to our friend's kid's birthday party, where Otter announced the beginning of a new developmental stage - stranger anxiety. Her timing was a bit unfortunate, as most of the family had not seen her, and everyone wanted to hold or at least touch SB. She returned the compliment by frowning dramatically, complaining, and trying to pull all the table clothes off the tables.

After the party SB further showed her maturity by refusing her second nap and staying up for over 7 hours. Surprisingly for all involved she was actually in a decent mood for all of it.

Now if she'd only sprout some teeth...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

MacGuyvering It

As I've mentioned all too many times, providing for SB's nutritional needs while working full time is, at best, a humbling experience. On numerous occasions, as I had layer after layer of dignity peeled away like so much old onion skin, I'd believed that I had fallen as far as I can go. Yet every time I become reconciled that I've (once again) hit rock bottom, the universe conspires to pull the floor out from under me. It is a "Screw you, you are not in charge, bitch," on a cosmic scale.

My latest fall even further from grace can be blamed squarely on my forgetfulness. After carefully washing and packing away my bottles, I went off to pump only to realize I'd left them at home. Problematic, since I had the implements necessary to pump with but lacked the bits needed to pump into.

After a brief panic I started going over my options - go to the end of the day without pumping? Impossible. Pump into disposable coffee cups? Really beyond weird. Use the breast milk storage bags I always carry in my bag? YES! Oh, wait. In a needless bout of "organizing," I'd taken them out since I "never use them." I went back to panicking.

I ran to my friend who is always the voice of reason in my baby-related mishaps. After listening to me, she came up with the next best thing - zip-loc bags. I headed off to the kitchen to search, and quickly realized this was a waste of time. Granted in an office where plates and napkins are often hard to come by, finding storage bags is about as likely as walking into the kitchen with the expectation of scoring some gold bullion.

My next plan of attack was the commissary. It has an actual, working kitchen after all, so I didn't think a storage bag or two would be that outlandish a request. I was wrong. But in their kindness, the staff did give me two giant plastic bags (the kind you put veggies in at the supermarket). I was in business again.

It was an hour later that I finally settled onto the floor of our audio booth with my pump, my bags and 2 rubber bands my friend had donated to the cause. As I sat there, attaching two pump valves to a plastic bag with some elastic, and thinking "Ok, now I've really hit rock bottom. This cannot possibly get any worse," a knock came at the door. "We have to use the booth to do a recording," I was told.

Seriously? After moving my whole MacGuyver operation once more, this time to our lead director's offcie, I'll never question the universe's dominion over me again.

Images by Mykl Roventine and Clearly Ambiguous

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crime of Fashion

There are some very questionable outfits out there for babies. My theory is that since infants have no control over the crap evil parents choose to put on them, they are the perfect target for trying out all those hideous ensembles we'd be far to embarassed to wear ourselves.

By way of proof, I offer you skants, the product of that unholy union between skirt and pants. Mind you, my mother wore skants to my wedding, but those were actually nice. Seriously. I can't believe I just said that.

But back to baby skants. Back when Otter was born, some friends (who shall remain nameless, so as to protect the guilty) bought us a set with a perfectly cute shirt and matching bottoms that just couldn't commit to being one thing or the other. Before you crucify me, I am extremely greatful for their generosity.

My question is, why? Why make them? Why buy them? Why (knowing how I feel about them) did I put them on Otter? Rest assured, SB looked very sweet from shoulders to waist, and perfectly ridiculous from there on down.

Guilt-ridden, I've taken up knitting, and am trying to create a baby version of this sweater. Hopefully, I'm not creating a new reason for the fashion police to crack down.

Sophie Goes For a Walk

When I was little, my mom had a plush toy named Cheburashka. One day after playing outside, I returned home sans toy. When my mom asked me where he went, I told her Cheburashka went for a walk.

Sophie is a giraffe. She is made of soft rubber and squeaks. Her horns are perfect for sucking and chewing and she has bravely stood up to an array of abuse, from gnawing to being mercilessly bashed against the table with little more than a squeaky whimper. She's been subjected to peas, baby barf and crusty sweet potatoes. She's had to take numerous baths to undo the damage and one day I found her head inexplicably wedged under Otter's little chair. Well, apparently Sophie had suffered her last injustice and this weekend joined Cheburashka in his jaunt around the world.

At first, Sophie did, quite literally, go for a walk. Yesterday, as we strolled along our neighborhood streets, Sophie was once again the hapless victim of Otter's abuse. All went well until this morning when I realized that Sophie was nowhere to be found.

We turned the house upside down, checking every conceivable corner and several inconceivable ones. Though I continued to maintain that Sophie had not been thrown overboard, I agreed retrace my steps from the previous day.

Unlike the previous day, it was about 100 degrees outside. I began walking, admiring our the spring flowers while keeping my eyes peeled. Ten minutes later, I realized I was walking up the wrong street. My enjoyment of my neighbors' plant life was beginning to wane. Retracing my steps and course-correcting, I quietly cursed myself for taking such a long walk on Saturday. As I surveyed the neighborhood ground, I had to admit it was marked by a distinct lack of anything remotely giraffe-like. The Valley sun beat down mercilessly. I was starting to hallucinate.

Returning home in a sweaty delirium, I continued to cling to the hope that in some ironic twist of fate, while I hiked around the neighborhood, Sophie would have been found in the most obvious of places. Oh how we'd laugh. But it was not to be. Sophie is still MIA. My only consolation is that I seem to be much more distraught by this turn of events than Otter.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

No Accounting for Taste

We all know the saying about assuming, and most of us have had it proven true too many times not to know better. But despite our best intentions, we invariably find ourselves going back to our old ways. Or at least I do, anyway.

Motherhood has proven to be an open forum in which to test and fail swimmingly at my various assumptions. Let us recap:

I had always assumed (for reasons that are unclear even to me) that I would have a hard time getting pregnant. Fortunately I had backed up this claim with years of fervent contraception. Once I stopped, I found out I was woefully mistaken.

I was sure that once knocked up, I would quickly resemble the broad side of a barn. Thankfully, here too I was wrong - at 8 1/2 months I looked like I was hiding a basketball under my clothes.

The baby weight came off, and quickly. Strike three. But I'm definitely not complaining.

As to Otter herself, it's been an endless stream of being proven wrong. How much she eats, how she sleeps, predictions about her teething, sitting up, rolling over or just generally breathing have often been incorrect. And now, with her foray into solid foods, the margin of error has increased a million-fold.

Take, for example, the seemingly arbitrary acceptance or rejection of food. That any new food is greeted with suspicion was actually the only thing that did not surprised me. That she likes prunes, did. Now comes the quiz part of the program...

Listed below are some foods that have been offered to the girl. Pick out the 2 that have been categorically rejected:

Broccoflower (the mad, bastard lovechild of broccoli and cauliflower)
Green Beans

But wait, you say. I see at least 4 that I'd never eat...

Here's a hint - I recently tasted one of the offerings that was wholeheartedly embraced. It tasted like my lawn had been mixed with sand and put through a blender. Yummy.

(answer: broccoflower and cantaloupe)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oh, And You

I've always understood that once a baby entered the picture she would instantly be the center of attention. And I'm not so naive or so vain as to have expected anything else but, truth be told, the degree and speed with which I became a footnote in my own life took me a tad by surprise.

I won't bother enumerating the times my parents have called to ask if "she's doing anything new." A reasonable question until you realize that their last call was one day prior. More recently, I've been talking about my parents coming out to visit. Understandably, they're chomping at the bit to see Otter, whom they haven't laid eyes on since she was 2 months old. (For the record, they haven't seen me in that long either, but I digress...)

In trying to work out the timing of the trip, I made what I thought was a splendid suggestion that they come when I have some time off from work.
"But we could just hang out with Otter while you're working," said my mother.
"Well, I kind of wanted to see you guys too..." I said.
"Oh, you see us all the time," she responded. Yes, it sounded that sad and lame.

This past weekend I realized that the SB has pulled the last of my staunch supporters over to her camp. The Bay Hill golf tournament was coming to a close and Bree, the resident golf enthusiast was watching intently. Otter was hanging out, watching vaguely as Tiger Woods was making his final charge for a victory. As she sat in her dad's lap, Tiger came from behind and won. Bree was ecstatic.

"Otter and I have just shared our first sports moment," he said. I pointed out to him that the girl had zero idea of what had transpired and moreover, she'd "watched" golf before.

"But I just watched Tiger win with her," Bree insisted. "Oh," he added after a pause. "And you."