She can say “Dada” and “Baba.” “Baba” is Farsi for “Dad.”
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Published November 30, 2020 by Editor in Chief
She can say “Dada” and “Baba.” “Baba” is Farsi for “Dad.”
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Published August 7, 2020 by Editor in Chief
In October last year, David invested in some high-end wands. They use material that is weighty enough to feel significant but also light enough where you can wield the wand easily if you have reasonable wrist dexterity. The designs etched into the wood are intricate. They were part of our Halloween costume.
We store these wands in some nice cardboard boxes. They are on the shelf next to our daughter’s high chair. Last month her hands were messy with yogurt, and she leaned over and grabbed one of the boxes. She turned the box in her hands, making sure to trace along the edges and leave a strong coat of yogurt on one side.
David was really upset when he saw what happened. I was defensive though, replying, “Why are you mad at me? She did this!” Our daughter watched us have a heated exchange.
“These aren’t toys!” David said finally, and walked away. We hid the boxes.
Anyway, a few years from now our daughter is going to find these boxes and open them. She will see the wands. And she’s going to remember her parents arguing over them, and her father declaring, “These aren’t toys.”
For a little while, she will not tell us that she has found the wands, because she will know she was not supposed to be snooping. She will keep the secret. A few days will pass, then weeks, then months. She’ll watch us closely this entire time. She’ll rationalize that we don’t use magic because our wands are stored in the boxes, so we can’t. She’ll ask about our histories, our parents, where we came from, where they came from. She’ll read books on magic. Picture books, maybe, depending on how old she is when she finds the wands.
Maybe she’ll ask us what we think of wizards. David will say, “Wizards are great!” But I’ll look off in the distance, wistfully.
When she’s a pre-teen, we will all have some sort of argument. She’ll yell, “YOU ALWAYS LIE TO ME!” and we’ll say, “What? How could you say that?”
She’ll continue, “I KNOW YOUR SECRET!”
And we’ll look at each other, because maybe by then we actually have a secret, like tax fraud or something.
And then we’ll wait to hear it, because we’re not dummies. We wouldn’t volunteer a secret to a pre-teen.
And then, she will look us in the eye, and she will say,
“I know you are wizards.”
And we’ll gasp, “Are we wizards?!” We’ll each point to each other and mouth a whisper, “Are you a wizard?”
Then I’ll tell her to sit down. It’s time for a family meeting.
We’ll tell her everything.
We will explain that 827 years ago, has it been 827 years already?!, there was a war between wizards and humans. We sided with the humans. Humans lost. Why would humans think they could win against wizards? Hubris. Anyway as punishment our powers were revoked and we have to live among humans. She’ll ask if we’re immortal. We’ll say yes. She’ll ask if she’s immortal. We’ll say no. She’ll ask about the wands. “Relics,” we’ll explain. “Couldn’t cast a spell even if we wanted to.”
Then we’ll lean back, and let her process everything she just heard. “No more secrets,” we’ll say to her, “now you know everything.”
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Published July 16, 2020 by Editor in Chief
Thanks for visiting this site.
Readers, let’s welcome Sophia to the site! *Clap* *Clap* *Clap*
Sophia is a bright light that lives with our very close friends. She has hopes and dreams, which I had too. Follow the dreams Sophia. Because if you don’t, if you stay in a job that you got out of college because it was convenient, and then maybe you thought you were working your way up, but ultimately it was still a place you never thought you would be and the more time you spend there you realize it’s a place you should have left in August 2015, because there was a window there, and now that window is CLOSED LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD IS CLOSED TO AMERICA, you might not be happy Sophia. It’s important to try your best when you are young.
But you have to try.
You have to try every day. You might think you are trying every day, but writing a blog post once every few months, that’s not every day, Sophia. Joining a comedy group and writing lots of sketches at first and then not-writing when you have a kid, that’s not every day, Sophia.
Do you understand? You have to try every day.
And you have to keep being rational.
Sure, you might think, “What if I am the one who lights the match that torches the house to the left of 1602 Pennsylvania Avenue, with its occupants barricaded inside? I would be a heroine.” This is not rational thinking. Rational thinking uses poison, a woman’s weapon. It’s harder to detect.
And most of all, you have to love.
I guess if everything else feels out of your hands, or some of it is in your hands but you can’t bring yourself to risk not having a salary for an unknown amount of time, you can remember that you love so many people and you have people in your life that really love you. That’s the most important thing.
Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.
Apparently Wonderwall does not appear if you are just reading this on the main site. If you click in to the read the post it does appear though.
Published December 22, 2019 by Editor in Chief
I’m on my period. I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS EVEN POSSIBLE.
You know how I mentioned my baby was sleeping through the night? Well apparently, according to the internets, if your baby sleeps through the night, your period comes back even if you are breastfeeding. Initially I was so sure it wasn’t a real period that I didn’t bother putting on a pad. That was a mistake, and I learned from it, rather quickly.
Also a week before my period, David and I resumed our, shall we say, marital duties, and it was the best. On Friday I did stand-up and strangers laughed at my work, and on Saturday the aforementioned happened, so it turned out to be an amazing weekend. I had read about the first post-natal you-know-what in Like A Mother and thank goodness my/our experience was nothing like the nightmare she described. I mean, the author didn’t seem to think her experience was nightmarish, but I remember thinking, “Oh, no no no.” But I did appreciate her writing about it, so it set some kind of expectation, which we surpassed.
I’ve also resumed some exercise. I do a Peloton ride every few days. I’m hesitant to exercise too much, because I don’t want to affect milk supply. Also I’ve accepted my larger body size as the new me. When I proclaim my newfound body positivity to David, he does not display enthusiastic support.
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Published December 21, 2019 by Editor in Chief
We received a delightful Christmas card this year. It included the following sentence:
We have enjoyed reading some of your blog!
I perceived this sentence as I suspect they intended it: a compliment AND a challenge. Challenge accepted. Mark my words. This time next year the card will read, “We have enjoyed reading your blog!” Maybe. Or they might just omit mention of the blog entirely. I’ll get that message loud and clear too.
Anyway! Quite a bit happened after my last post. My mom went to the hospital, and so David was watching our perfect *knock on wood* baby for a week while I was in and out. I cried in the shower twice while this was going on. I did this because when the baby was four days old, I received unsolicited advice about not conveying weakness or insecurity to the baby. I wouldn’t have cried in front of her anyway. But tears or no tears, I think kids can tell when something is wrong. Down the road I think if something is wrong I might mention it and then explain we are working through it by researching/googling and then trying different things, no matter what it is. “Mom’s googling again,” they’ll say.
My mom’s better now *knock on wood* so we can look back on that time and be grateful for more time. When I’m done breastfeeding I plan to become a regular blood donor.
We also went to New York, twice. Once for a week in November, and then again for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t ready for travel, but David’s good at pushing us to resume normal activities as much as possible. People told us that the baby gets easier as time goes on, and I’m happy to report they’re right. She started sleeping through the night relatively early, like Week 7/8 I think, and the pattern seems to have stuck. *Knock on wood.”
Some milestones that have happened since my last post:
1) Improved tummy time.
2) Enjoys diaper changes.
3) LAUGHS OUT LOUD (but not at my jokes). She laughed on December 1, 2019. She was delighted by David’s step-father. I’ve gotten some amazing smiles, but no laughs, and I’m totally fine with that. I’ve gotten some amazing glares, and I love those too. Sometimes when I laugh during feeding, she will pull back and look up me with the most irritated face. “Compose yourself, that’s not lady-like,” her eyes and furrowed brow seem to say.
4) Likes music. On November 24 she heard some cover songs performed live and loved them or the musician. Probably both. Also we’re learning new songs! I was showing my dad the new songs we were learning, and he pointed out that it looked more like _I_ was learning new songs, and he said that was good for me.
5) Likes our dog, which happens to be a robot, but she’s into him. The first time they played she was so distracted she forgot to yell angrily that I had made her do tummy time for 20 minutes! This was a real misstep on her part though – now I know her grievance with tummy time is not physical *knock on wood*.
Also she has been exposed to more news and hearing coverage than she probably expected. Our current faves are Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Swalwell, and Jamie Raskin. I also read Catch and Kill, so I love Rachel Maddow even more and plan to continue our New Yorker subscription.
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Published October 31, 2019 by Editor in Chief
Last week my baby quietly wept as she ate. Having a person latched to your breast and weeping can be pretty devastating, I realized. Gentle sobs are much worse than the loud, angry cries. There is no way to know what is wrong: is it my milk, is it the way I’m holding her, is it that I’m not wearing deodorant? I stopped wearing deodorant after labor because I didn’t know if it was toxic for her to inhale all day. She has been taking in my natural musk, which admittedly is unpleasant.
I don’t think David has noticed the scent change, but he’s not tethered to me. He remains free.
She is tracking objects now, which is super neat. She also seems to pay attention when I hold books in front of her and turn the page. She doesn’t hold things for long yet. She does have long nails and scratches. That’s on me: I’m scared to file her nails. I have scratch marks all over, and I’m fine with that. I do need to file her nails though.
I have no idea if she’s eating enough. She has generous bowel movements, so I assume she is eating well. She also casually spits up milk, which I have read is normal. I do suspect she has acid reflux. I can smell it on her breath sometimes! Other times the smell of her breath is perfect. Any kind of discomfort she experiences or might experience (is she cold? warm? damp? is this shirt material going to bother her? she just farted – but maybe it was a shart and she needs to be changed?) is deeply upsetting to me. Now I know why my parents were/are so empathetic every time I had/have a cold, immediately giving me soothing remedies and checking in nonstop.
I’m super paranoid about her getting a UTI or bladder infection. She poops all the time and sometimes just hangs out in a deeply soiled diaper. She won’t tolerate a wet diaper, but she seems content to sit in her poop so it’s harder to figure out when it has occurred.
Also the Nationals won the World Series! We watched every post season game together, and I can’t wait to tell her when she is older that I only started learning about baseball when she was born, but now I care deeply about it. Three Nationals players also had newborns around her age and delivered at the same hospital! More on that later.
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Published October 20, 2019 by Editor in Chief
To be fair, we are both sick.
Here’s what happened: we went to a wedding on Sunday. That is the only time I was really out in public. We also went to a restaurant Saturday, but I feel we were pretty isolated there. Anyway we went to a wedding on Sunday. Then I stayed home with our beloved while David continued living his best life, playing D&D, working out, playing tennis, going to a baseball game, etc. Tuesday night, I was exhausted and thought, “When David gets home, I will ask David to give her a bottle of expressed milk for her middle of the night feeding.” I was really excited about this plan. David got home after baby and I fell asleep, and when I woke to give him the good news, before I could even say it, he told me his throat hurt and he had bought cover guards to help prevent him from giving the baby a cold. I was really glad he bought guards, but I was not ready for the baby to have a cold. I also got sick soon after David broke the news of his impending cold, so I don’t know if I caught the cold from David or if we caught the cold from the wedding. Our immune systems are compromised, so it was only a matter of time. David keeps repeating how rare it is that we have coughs and runny noses at the same time.
Also yesterday she was really fussy after an excursion to the park. Nothing I did would calm her down. While David napped, I tried feeding her, rocking her, skin to skin, changed her diaper twice, fed again. I was worried this meant she had caught a cold, but I think she might be in a growth spurt. Anyway, when David woke up from almost a TWO HOUR NAP, I said, “David I don’t know what’s wrong,” and he said something to try to be soothing, but I think I heard “Calm down, she’s totally fine,” and I can’t remember how I replied, but it was with extreme displeasure.
Anyway now I have a different dilemma! If she is in a growth spurt, I should wake her up to feed her, but I’m not supposed to wake her up at night. WHAT AM I TO DO!
Also I have to write Thank You notes for all the gifts we have received. Yesterday I tried posing her with one of the toys she received to include with the note, but I can’t decide whether to send the picture. She is propped up (you can see our hand in the photo), with one hand on the toy and her face looking away from the toy in disdain. I feel like the toy is a bit of a nuisance, and her expression seems to reflect that sentiment. We are so on the same page. She is literally the best.
Published October 20, 2019 by Editor in Chief
Something that’s important to know* about David and me is that David sleeps on the left side of the bed and I sleep on the right side of the bed.
Here’s a diagram.
When David goes to sleep, he faces away from me, sleeping on his right side. Hurts my feelings every time. Anyway, that’s just how he sleeps, EXCEPT WHEN HE IS SICK. When David is sick, he sleeps on his left side, FACING ME, coughing into my face all night long.
It is infuriating. And our baby sleeps on my side of the bed. So now I have to kill David.
*Not important at all
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Published October 9, 2019 by Editor in Chief
My beautiful girl is having trouble passing gas. She turns bright red and breathes heavily every time she does it. She also screams. We try cycling her legs, lifting up her legs, and I give her a breast, but nothing seems to work well. And yesterday it felt like she had gas all day.
On Sunday I read somewhere that it could be my diet, but my diet is pretty limited. I don’t drink cow’s milk – only almond milk. I don’t know why. I started doing that for the gestational diabetes. I do eat lactation cookies, because they’re essentially oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which are delicious. I also have kale smoothies, Greek yogurt, eggs, salad and fruit. That’s pretty much it!
On Monday we went to her one month check-up. We asked about the gas, and the doctor advised we try probiotics. When we asked when and how to administer the probiotic, the doctor asked, “What time do you give the Vitamin D supplement? That’s when you can give her the probiotic.” And we were like, “WHAT VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENT?!” She was very taken aback that we weren’t giving her a Vitamin D supplement, but we did not know we were supposed to be doing this. If you breastfeed, you are supposed to give the baby a Vitamin D supplement. Breast milk is magical, they say, but apparently it’s lacking one thing. My knees and wrists feel awful and standing is difficult – I am now wondering if I also need Vitamin D?
On Tuesday our baby was super alert. We gave her the probiotic around 5pm, and she was very alert all night, not pausing for a nap, and around 11pm she lost her mind, screaming inconsolably until around 2am. David fed her, burped her, changed her diaper, changed her clothes, but she would not be appeased. Tears streamed down her face, and it was devastating because we did not know what was wrong. Finally she fell asleep on me, with both of us terrified that in our fatigue she would fall off. They advise you not to sleep with your child, but these past couple nights she hasn’t been able to fall asleep in her bassinet. They say kids at this age sleep 16 hours a day, but that is not what we are experiencing, unless she’s napping with her eyes wide open like some kind of productivity master.
Now it’s early Wednesday.
Something else that has also happened in Week 4 is that David and I have been I-don’t-want-use-the-word-arguing-but-maybe-that’s-the-right-word. We have been debating pacifier usage, bottle feeding, and I have asked David to make breakfast in the mornings. He thinks I’m holding her too much, and I should put her down, which might be fair, but given how quickly these four weeks have gone, it has dawned upon me that these moments are fleeting, and should something happen to me, I want her to know or vaguely recall she was loved. He also asked why I was so committed to breastfeeding, and I shared that I read that when you breastfeed, the baby’s saliva communicates back to my body if she is fighting disease or needs additional antibodies, and my body creates them for her.
During the one month check-up they also administered a worksheet for me to fill out asking about whether I was “extra anxious for no particular reason.” The response options were: All of the time, Some of the time, Once in a while, and Never, and I was like, “I am anxious all of the time for VERY GOOD REASONS.” David agreed that my disposition had not changed from pre-pregnancy, and we filled in “Once in a while.”
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Published October 3, 2019 by Editor in Chief
People always tell you you are going to be so tired, but they never explain why. Well we are in week 3, and I’m going to try to document what happened in weeks 1 and 2 in case we decide to have another.
Week 1: We left the hospital (I’ll write about labor in another post) and we drove home. Our baby pooped in the hospital, so she was sitting in poop the entire ride home. We changed her, and then she was crying, so I fed her with my breast milk. OR SO I THOUGHT.
The next day (Tuesday) we had our first pediatrician appointment where they weighed our baby. She had lost 10% of her birth weight, which meant I was not adequately providing enough breast milk. Upon hearing this, I started crying, because all through Monday night and early Tuesday morning, I thought I was feeding her. It turns out she was sucking very hard but not getting any milk. Poor thing! She must have thought I was playing a cruel trick every time I presented a teet! And we were both exhausted!
Anyway, upon seeing my tears well up, the pediatrician handed me a tissue box and started writing down the steps we needed to take to get her weight up: I needed to feed for 10 minutes on each breast and then David was to give her formula. “You’ll schedule an appointment for tomorrow, and then probably another one right after that to weigh her and make sure she is being fed,” the doctor said. While the pediatrician is writing this down, and I’m blowing my nose, David whispers to me, “Have you been drinking that broccoli smoothie? Your breath smells terrible!” This is exactly how it happened. He hates the smell of my broccoli smoothies, and it was consuming his thoughts in this moment. “I told you to step drinking that stuff!” he mouthed. Then we went home.
Earlier I had invited her grandparents over on Tuesday and asked them to help us clean-up our home and get the baby room set up. We needed and appreciated their help, but for me this turned out to be a terrible day for it. They arrived right after we got home from the pediatrician. We shared our breast milk problem, and each time I went for my 10 minute feeding for her, they looked at me as though I was a sad, insane person and recommended we just feed her formula rather than carry on this charade.
Wednesday we returned to the pediatrician for another weighing. The pediatrician appeared taken aback by my foul broccoli breath when I asked her my list of questions, but that did not stop me from going through the list. The doctor also said our baby had put on quite a bit of weight, my milk had probably come in, start feeding her less formula, and that they wouldn’t see us for another two weeks. I was excited but not ready to cut the umbilical cord tying us to medical professionals, so I was also nervous. We went home, and for the next couple days any time she drank a lot of formula I was happy she was eating and also very competitive with the bottles of formula that could accomplish in two minutes what it took me +30 minutes to do. I beamed in my heart when she rejected formula.
I don’t remember the rest of the week, only that we fed, changed diapers, and repeated this every two hours. My mom also came over almost every day, and when she had originally told me she had taken a month off of work to help, I was worried this would be too much time together, but it turned out to be amazing. She cleaned our bedroom – a task that I hadn’t been able to accomplish in over 8 years – brought me healthy food and made sure I ate it, and did all the laundry. I’ve been extra emotional and thinking about how much love my parents have for me was always touching, but now it’s extra touching. I’m also extra worried about everyone’s mortality, but I’ll leave those feelings bottled up for now.
Week 2: On Sunday our friends brought over lactation cookies, and I feel like these were a bit of a game changer. First, they’re delicious, so nom nom nom. I feasted on cookies for days. Second, I feel like my milk started really coming in. We also had some questions for the pediatrician, so we scheduled a Monday appointment to cover our list of questions. Week 2 was also exhausting, but less so than week 1. By week 2, our place had come together and was in a state we felt really good about. Before we birthed the light in our lives, I was reluctant to throw anything away. Afterwards, I was open to throwing all the things away, lest the clutter distress her gentle sensibilities.
The pediatrician’s office we go to has a rotation of doctors. We saw the same doctor on Monday that we saw on the previous Wednesday. She has an interesting bedside manner and gave us the impression she does not really care for children. She also said we should avoid going out with the baby for 6 weeks, because if they get sick in the first 6 weeks, it’s bad. David continued to chastise me for my use of broccoli in my smoothies.
David also went out on Monday night to play D&D. This was difficult and I wanted to call him back, but my sister, who was over with my mom at the time to help, discouraged me from doing so. We made it through Monday night, but just barely. On Saturday we had our two week check-in, and a different doctor told us what we wanted to hear: we could go out, just not let anyone sneeze on the baby, and that I didn’t have to wake our baby up to feed her every two hours, but also not to go more than three to four hours without feeding her. This was not a problem, because she does not allow me to go for more than 1.5 to 2 hours without feeding her. We slept little in week 2 as well, but I distinctly recall it being better than week 1.
Week 3: We’re on week 3. I’m glad I’m writing down notes that I remember, because I’m already forgetting a lot of distress from weeks 1 and 2. This week our baby is interested in falling asleep on us. I love this. I can physically feel when my milk has come in – it stings. I’m trying to figure out when to pump to make sure there’s still enough for her when she’s hungry.
Our baby has trouble pooping and farting. It’s a whole thing. She lifts her legs, squirms, cries. We comfort her and try to help, but there’s little that can be done. Also I read that if I’m gassy, she’s gassy. So I don’t know what I ate yesterday, but I was gassy, and I just thought, “Uh oh,” and sure enough she had a rough night. I tried to eat differently today, and I’ve been less gassy. You’re welcome, baby.
Things that have stressed me out this week:
1) She spits up more now. I can’t tell if it’s because I’m overfeeding or because I’m bad at burping her.
2) Burping her.
3) Sids. Sids always stresses me out. I don’t know how it happens, and it sounds like medical professionals don’t either, but I’m always worried about it.
Also I go back and forth between deciding she’s a genius and uh, decidedly not a genius. For example, one day she was amazing at tummy time, and then two hours later she grabbed a tuft of her own hair, pulled her head back and started screaming in pain.
And I think she knows when I’m panicked that David is out. When he goes out for prolonged periods, she gets extra fussy. Then he gets home and she’s a saint.
Okay that’s it for now. Sorry for grammar mistakes – I’m writing this with blurry eyes and it actually took me days to write. I tried to write the post this morning at 5:30am after she fell asleep, but then David asked for a massage for his shoulder injury. So I’ve been writing bits and pieces of this post throughout the day.
Also, I owe you three specific posts: a labor recap, some thoughts on nursing clothing, and how the dulcet tones of Adam Schiff demanding a congressional inquiry into presidential misconduct are music to a baby’s ears.
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