Update: Bugs and Violets

The Moving Bug has bitten me hard. Moving is something I’ve entertained just about since we first bought our house- we knew we wouldn’t stay- this is our “5-year House”. Well, it’s been just over 4 years, and boy howdy, I am ready to be gone!

Then I read what Allison, Em, Kathryn and Heather have just gone/are going through, and I wonder, “Do I really need to be able to walk around my dinner table? Do I really need to have a place besides the middle of the living room for a high chair? Do I really need a bathroom for me and DH that doesn’t have froggy decals in the tub and blue toothpaste smeared on our towels?” That’s a tough one. Then there is the way the interest rate on a 30-year just keep going up and up and up… Not really wanting to turn our 5.2 into a 6.5. But then I’ve been bitten by the bug, so logic and reason is really out the window.

Night before last, we went to look at a house I had my eye on- even with a realtor and all, official-like. It had a lot going for it, such as the neighborhood I want and a super big fenced (hu-zah!) yard that backs up to a greenbelt (read: guaranteed no backyard neighbor) and a gas range in a brand new kitchen. But, there were also things missing that we really want. Like wood floors and central AC- that’s more important to DH than me, but we have it now, so giving it up for a new place seems like a step in the wrong direction. So, the search and conundrum continues.

In other news, Abby and I look like big blueberries. There is violet dye all over me, my clothes, Abby, her clothes and anything we touch after she eats. Evidently, the way to cure Thrush is to stain everything in your life purple. But it’s working, and quick, too. I’m talking about Gentian Violet, an old fashioned, used for 100 years cure for Thrush that three other mama’s told me about. Aside from the fact I had to call 10 pharmacies to find it, all the pharmacists knew about it and told me it works. It does. But the price is purpleness. Serious purpleness.

You sparingly paint this purple stuff on you boobs, and then nurse your baby. The purpleness coats the inside of her mouth (and everything else too) and kills the Thrush. (I was skeptical, but I googled the stuff, and doctor’s agree it’s safe and effective)- so I don’t know why my doc didn’t mention it- maybe because the Nystatin cost $23 and the gentian violet was $2? The pharmacist said usually about three days is all that’s needed, so by Sunday, we might be normal people-color again.

There is a post today at MMW I wrote about how kids prey on their poor dads when mama is away, check it out if you’re interested.


Abby has thrush. The doctor said it’s no big deal, that I caught it early, and gave me an Rx for some medicine to swab her mouth with, and ointment to put on my breasts to keep me from getting it. Sounds fine. But now she won’t nurse.

For me, who has come all this way with breastfeeding, and finally having a successful baby nursing, this is simply unacceptable. She seems to dislike the ointment, even after I have wiped it all off, she won’t suck more than a few times without scrunching her little face up and sticking her tongue out. And she’s not too terribly happy about taking a bottle from me, either.

So does anyone have any experience with this? (Jane B, here is a good place to chime in!) Can she really give it to me if I feed her without the ointment? Is there anything else I can try instead? The pediatrician wasn’t all that helpful, just told me to give her the drops for 10 days, and lube my boobs. It’s not working!

So. I. Am. Pumping. Heaven help me.

My Not-So-Secret Love

All of my life, I have loved the written word. Vividly I can recall the exact moment in kindergarten when it all clicked and I suddenly could read. It was a miracle- The words unfolded on the page, spinning and weaving and swirling in my mind, making pictures better than anything I could draw with my crayons, and the love affair was on.

Then, I learned to write. Just the act of writing, of penmanship, was art to me. I loved the way the letters curled and curved and how different shapes could mean the same thing. I loved the command I had over how those words looked, and I wanted them to look as lovely, charming and enchanting as they sounded. Needless to say, my handwriting has never held a candle to good ol’ Wills Shakespeare, but heaven knows, I tried! (just look at his writing!)

It was later on that I discovered how different writing instruments could feel so different in your hand, and how the curl and swoop of your hand would change with soft leads, flowing India inks and charcoals… And that nothing felt quite so fine in my hand as a thick, heavy pen. And when you are young, they are pretty hard to come by- No one wants to give a kid an expensive pen. No one besides my grandma. She saw my love early, and she gave me my first set of nice pens. They were a silver Cross pen/pencil set, which I coveted and then promptly lost.

It was also my grandma who put the first fountain pen in my hot little hand… and I have been lost to all others ever since. There is just something about writing with a fountain pen that makes the words carry more weight. The ink pools in your natural pauses and the ends of your strokes, it fades and deepens, the nib slowly wears to the slant of your hand; a fountain pen makes penmanship into art. Just look at old handwritten letters and postcards if you wonder what I mean. There is a beauty to them that is lost to letters written with a Bic.

At this point, (and I’m very careful not to say I collect them), I have more than a handful of fountain pens. There are old ones, family hand-me-downs, new ones that were pretty and I couldn’t resist them, wooden pens, boxed pens, found pens, disposable fountain pens (used in German schools for teaching children to write properly, if you can believe that!) and an assortment of other darlings I have acquired over the years.

Then there is my baby. My Pen. My beautiful, sexy, wonderful Pen.  It lives on my desk, but it has a leather box lined in white satin that it came in. I do keep it mixed in with the other pens, but it’s unmistakable. The very best pen in the whole world, the Meisterstueck 149 by Mont Blanc… If you like pens, those words will make you drool. This is the pen governments use to signs peace treaties, terms of surrender, accords and declarations. It is heavy, thick, solid, fluid, with a wide gold nib that gently gives to the hold of your hand- the ink is drawn up into the pen by hand, and there is simply not a finer handwriting instrument anywhere.

Even my kids know not to touch it… they like to look at it, and someday I will introduce them to the pleasure of a fine pen, but not yet. For now, it remains my little rediculous indulgence; A reminder of a lifelong love, and a well used instrument of my life. (If you’re interested, you can see one of these lovlies here.) *sigh*

Playroom Napalm

It has to happen every once in a while… there just comes a point where you cannot wade through any more toys, bits of toys, broken toys, neglected toys- you know what I’m talking about.

Tonight I opened up a can of you-know-what on our playroom. My unsuspecting children lie sleeping peacefully upstairs, and I go through their things like judo-mama. I’m brutal and unforgiving. Heaven help any toy that gets in my way when I do this- I toss it. Tonight I tossed the train table. Yes, I did. They never play with it- any of you who unwittingly shelled out the cash for one of these babies after watching your baby LOVE the TT at the store, you know what I mean. In a store, it is the magic, must have, will get years of play out of it toy. You bring the dastardly thing home, they never play trains again. And those Thomas trains are just about worth a college education in cash. Yowza they’re expensive. I’m holding onto the trains- figuring they might still have some play value, but the table and tracks- gone. I said I was merciless.

They might notice the table is gone. That is a big “might” though. It’s amazing- I can toss or donate an entire black giganormous trash bag of toys, and they never even ask where anything went. They don’t notice. You know what they will do in the morning? Cries of joy will ring out at all the toys they “haven’t seen in forever!”- never noticing the gaps in their treasures.

My kids, like most of us, have too much stuff. Too many toys. Too much indulgence of things. What they need is more time outside, chasing butterflies and looking at clouds. Things that don’t require a trip to The Giraffe. The best things in life are free, and all that. It’s true anyway.

Now if only there was a Napalm fairy to come into my kitchen as I sleep away upstairs. Ah, the dreams of a mama… 

Flux and Flow

What I was looking for was a picture of my kids with flowers or holding a dandelion, but alas, this one will have to do. I think it might be kind of fun to change the picture with my mood or with the seasons- maybe loosen my own constraints on my creativity? Do any of you do that? Sometimes my identity gets caught up in what's normal and predictable, and I struggle with change being ok… But always, when I do allow myself the room to experiment, it makes me a happier, better person. But I guess that really deserves it's own post.

So, I'm gonna be like Madonna (but not affect an accent). Or like Gwen Steffani (but not name my kid King- he has enough of a complex without that!) but these ladies inspire me, not necessarily with their music, but with their constant changing and playing with their look, and with their obvious love of being a girl. And I guess I need a little more of that. That, and pink sunglasses.

Opinions, Please!!

Well?? What thinketh you? I'm worried the type is a little too small, but I can't seem to adjust it larger. I like the grass though! Also, almost everyone else I know is with Blogger- does this matter? Is it harder to click over here from your site? Is it easy to change the link? Sometimes I wish I had paid more attention back in computer lab!

Pointless (My New Secret Weapon)

(Double posted at MMW today)

Motivating the Monkeys is always a tough row to hoe. However, the other night I unwittingly stumbled upon a new, seemingly endless, goldmine of motivation: Points.

The boys were lagging in cleaning up their room, dawdling as they put their p.j.'s on, and playing in the water rather than brushing their teeth. And I'm trying really hard not to yell these days, especially since it falls on deaf little ears anyway, and leaves me worn out and frustrated.

So as the Monkeys are picking up one…Tinker… Toy… at… a… time, barely making a dent in the million or so Tinker Toys on the bedroom floor, I said, and I don't know why,: "Twenty points to whomever cleans up the Tinker Toys first!" And it was as if someone lit a fire under their little bums- all of the sudden, they were moving like oiled lightening, and the room was spotless in, like, 60 seconds!

Then they were jumping and bouncing before me, clamoring about who got "the Points"? Uh, wow, I'm still a little thunderstruck that it worked- so 20 points for each of you! And they were delighted!! Then, wheels turning in my mind, I offered 10 points each for clean teeth, and another 5 for wiping the water off the counter when done- and that worked too!!!

(Whispering) Hey moms, this totally works- I have been doing it for days now, and they have never even thought to ask what in the world they should do with the "Points", or how many they have accumulated- They just love earning them! I have even doled out ridiculous amounts of "Points", like 10,000 last night for sweeping the crumbs from under the table! I think this just might be the magic mama-bullet.

If they do ask, sometime, what they can do with all their "Points", I plan on taking them to the dollar store and letting them choose something. It's magic, and from the generosity of my overflowing heart, I share this with you! Shhhhh…. it's a mama secret!

Rant: Boob-Nazis

Ok, I know equating breastfeeding lunatics with a political group who terrorized and practiced genocide on a mass scale is hardly fair, but it gives you a fair idea of how strongly I feel about the groups of mothers who advocate only one way of parenting, birthing or feeding your children as correct. Grrrr….

I'm talking about the women and select medical or lay childbirth and breastfeeding support that try and espouse that their way is superior to any other. Who tout (loudly) that unmedicated childbirth is better in every way, and every case than any other method, that breastfeeding exclusively until your child is eating corn-on-the-cob and can tie his own shoes (alright I'm exaggerating, but I'm hot) is the only responsible means of feeding your child. Grrrr…..

This is an ongoing problem among mothers- and I hate it. Absolutely despise it. The thing is, I have the perspective of seeing the issues of childbirth and breastfeeding from both sides. I've had my babies both medicated with wonderful epidurals, and natural, feeling all the glorious burn. I have had terrible struggles with breastfeeding, I have pumped more than a 1000 hours in my childbearing years so far, had infants who cannot nurse, sick infants who require special supplementation, breast surgery, and finally an infant who nurses beautifully. Other than a nursing baby being much more convenient than pumping, none of these things is better than another. None of them are badges of motherhood or of my feminity or my womanhood.

I don't need or want someone with an agenda, political or social, trying to tell me what is best for my particular family, or why what I am doing is wrong. The presumption of many of these groups is that "If we educate you, you will understand and agree we are right"- To me this kind of arrogance is astounding. It is also unbelievingly presumptuous- to believe there is one way of doing something (giving birth or feeding your baby) insults my intelligence. It questions my stewardship over my children, and assumes I am ignorant and uninformed. That is a mighty big assumption, ladies and gentlemen, to make about any mother who doesn't make the same choices as another. I resent it.

There is a thread in the comments on MMW right now that got me all fired up about his. I tried to stay out of it for a while, and I tried to be civil. But now I'm steamed. Folks, there are as many "right" ways of loving and caring for you children as there are mothers. Unmedicated birth with a midwife is in NO WAY superior to a hospital birth with an epidural. (And don't start throwing links and statistics at me- I'm aware of them and have read a great deal-it doesn't change how I feel at all about allowing others their freedom to choose for themselves.) Breastfeeding until your child is two may help your child's health, but there are a thousand other factors that build a child as well. And frankly, I'm ready to kick over that Column of Superiority with women waiting to "educate" me.

Just say something to me when I pull out a bottle for Abby- it might be breastmilk, it might be formula. Say something.
I dare you.

My Rose Colored Glasses

Ta-da! I did it! Now I know you all were expecting some sort of rhinestone encrusted Elton John jobby, so don’t be disappointed. I’m crummy at this digital photography thing (give me an SLR any day!) and I didn’t get the rhinestone heart on the left lens to show up well. Oops. But it’s there, you can see it. I guess it’t the right lens in the picture! For me, these are flaming flamboyant! And who doesn’t love the world better looking through rose-colored glasses?

Cheap Sunglasses

My daughter is bringing out something surprising in me: I am softening towards things pink and, maybe, just maybe, I am enjoying, a little bit more than I used to, being a girl.

Yesterday, I wore a pink sweater to church- a big deal, since my wardrobe consists mostly of black, white and gray. I also wore heels, a pencil skirt and my hair up- what gives? I actually felt kinda pretty. Oh, and the topper- pink rhinestone sunglasses I got at the dollar store! Oh-yeah! What’s happening to me!?? It was fun, and many of my friends complimented me- I think they were just coveting the sunglasses, but whatever. (Oh and the sweater came from Stephen King’s Thrift Shop!)

I’ve always wanted to be more adventurous than I am. To have the courage to be less than ordinary. My wild curly hair has kind of forced a crazy look on me, but I always wanted to be more Carrie than Charlotte. So now that I have a daughter, I am aware of how I feel about being a woman and mother is going have a direct bearing on how she learns and see’s herself. It is also causing me to re-examine my own relationship with my mother, and try and cull the good things worth keeping, but that’s another idea for another day.

It’s not that I want my daughter to think she has to be made-up and in a pink rhinestone sweater to be feminine. Not at all. But I’m thinking I have been kind of lopsided in my femininity- my intellect is nurtured, by creativity is nurtured, but I often neglect the parts of being a girl that can be fun, too. I can read Goethe and Dostoevsky, run my own business, be woman of faith, a mother, a wife AND sometimes sport pink rhinestone sunglasses. Here’s to breaking down our own barriers, whimsey and being well-rounded!