Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mama Bean thinks about Advent differently now

Now that I'm a mom, I mean.

It's only been a few years that I've even paid attention to Advent as a season, versus solely focusing on Christmas day. As a kid, the only connection I made between the little waxy chocolates I got to eat one at a measly, waxy time and the magic number of 24 was that, if I started eating on December 1st, I got one per waxy waxy day until Christmas day, when there were much better things to eat. (Srsly, those supermarket Advent calendars have the worstest chocolate ever. I know, what a "first world" thing to complain about, but like, save your $3 or whatever and give it to the third world rather than subject people you care about to eating those things.)

My awareness of Advent coincides with my awareness of Lent and all things having to do with the Liturgical Year of Awesomeness. I love that every Sunday can be included in a broader celebration, instead of coasting with boredom from Big Holiday to Big Holiday. I love expanding the joy of Christmas from one day to several weeks, each with their own particular spiritual focus on what Christmas means, the people involved, its place in history, etc.

Plus, there are candles!

Last year, I was just barely coming out of the Delirious Early Days and juggling the new demands of Major-Family-Holiday-with-a-Sought-After-and-Coveted-Grandbaby, so I wasn't thinking much about anything, let alone Advent. I'm surprised people got gifts last year. But this year I'm much more able to engage and celebrate properly. And I found my Advent thoughts this week centering on Mary, because I feel like I can look through her eyes with a little more understanding, now that I've welcomed a baby the way she welcomed a baby. (Well, not exactly the way she did - no angels, no manger, etc. But you get my drift...)

The whole thing about Advent is anticipation, right, this growing expectation of this really Universe-changing event that's about to take place. And the first week is traditionally focused on Hope, the hope for a saviour that permeated culture back then in this very intense, taste-it-on-your-tongue kind of way. But Mary wasn't just pregnant for the four weeks of Advent; she'd been pregnant since early Spring. She'd been anticipating and expecting and hoping while simultaneously knowing that this child, her child is the very Messiah everyone's so desperate for, for almost ten months. She just hoped and hoped and hoped all the way to Bethlehem.

I have anticipated and expected and hoped things for my child through forty weeks. I am doing it all over again for the little Sprout in my tummy now. I can imagine, in a small way, the internal light of hope Mary carried in her mind, and heart, and soul, and tummy. It's just this totally different, totally unearthly, yet fully earthly and normal and natural kind of love. That's the love of Christmas! I mean, times a million, considering the end result of Easter. But the love of Christmas starts with the love of a mother. And I get that now, because I am a mother. And it really changes the way I approach Advent, and the way I'll consider the next twenty-some days. I cannot imagine carrying a child knowing he's destined to die. Where is the hope in that? And yet. Carrying a child knowing he's destined to save the world...

The somewhat abstract concept of Jesus arriving in the world as a baby now has very concrete, very real memories and touchstones for me to hold in my hands, and my thoughts, and my heart. I know how small he was, how light and fragile. I know what it was like to nurse him (albeit, aided by a glider, nursing pillow, pump, nipple shield, fridges and freezers and bottles - but she probably had receiving blankets, right? So it was totally the same thing...) I know that his poop smelled just like everyone else's! And I will add to this knowing, in the coming years, imagining Jesus learning to walk, saying his first words, tying his own shoes (sandals,whatever!) Learning to read. Discovering the world. Discovering God.

Ultimately, I think I simply feel closer to the story, I feel like I've moved up from the back seats into the real deal, with dust on my feet from the straw in the manger. I know what a baby is, now. And so I can know what Jesus was, and what that means, in the Big Picture, about what he did for me. From where I sit now, that Advent candle looks a little brighter, a little warmer; it looks and feels like Love.

Merry Advent, everyone...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mama Bean remembers with gratitude

“For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mama Bean doesn't quite know what to do with her weekends

I have a different perspective, now that I'm a parent, about weekend plans, particularly when it comes to alone/me/without-Bean time. I try to be careful about how much I plan on these activities, because weekends are important rest and leisure time for both PB and I, and I don't want him to feel abandoned too often. Being that our work schedules and stuff are so busy during the week (and the lingering effects of our time in Cowtown when the weekend was just an extension of the work week and we never spent any time together) we've really come to cherish our unencumbered time together on those two precious precious days. (Well, I'm speaking for him, but I think he cherishes this time... I'm assuming he does.)

Everything is just so much easier when we can do it together. Saturday mornings are pretty awesome, because I don't have to do the whole morning fetch/feed/change/dress routine alone - PB can make the bottle while I fetch Bean from his room, or one of us brings baby and bottle to the other of us still dozing in bed, and we have a little family lie-in. It's all a little more relaxed. I don't have this desperate feeling that I must pee/brush teeth/wash face/put in contacts/fix hair/warm milk before Bean's noises get really insistent, because there is another adult on the premises who can do at least some of those things for me, while I do the things that are really my responsibility alone. (I'd like to see a game show for married people, or on Minute to Win It, where one person has to put in another person's contacts...)

Even when all of a Saturday is just running errands from store to store, at least I'm not clipping into car seat, getting cart, clipping out of car seat, wrangling beast in cart, keeping beast amused without chewing or tossing everything I put in the cart, unloading goods, returning cart, clipping back into car seat ad nauseum by myself. My big, strong husband is there to share the duties. I hope he forgives me when I save up errands through the week just to blitz them all on a weekend.

However, weekends are also the biggest block of time either of us has for scheduling activities best performed solo. For PB, at this time of year, that becomes the only days all week when he can maybe go out hunting or shooting or whatever. For me, it's mostly about shopping or crafting or similarly girly activity. I recently started a weekly prenatal yoga class on Sunday afternoons, which is gonna be awesome(!!)

So, here's the thing that really prompted this post. I lately find myself dithering about inviting friends to join me on these outings, because most of our friends are also parents, and I imagine their weekends are similarly dedicated to doing things with their spouses, and I don't want to tear them away from that with my oh-so-tempting offer to shop or whatever. And I also don't want them to feel awkward about accepting an invitation if it means leaving their spouse abandoned with the baby, if that's an issue in their relationship.

And basically this is simply not something I would have bothered to think about before Bean.

I mean, often during dating or marriage-without-kids, there are very specific efforts to do things sans spouse, to Have Your Own Life, whatever that means. There are repeated articles in all the right magazines assuring us that, as independent modern feministic women of power, we have a right and obligation to pursue individual interests outside of our primary relationship (and we must be comfortable with our partners doing the same, but not too much, in case that means he doesn't love us enough or is having an affair or some such rot.) And, to be honest, having My Own Life really fell by the wayside long before Bean came along, and I've been stumbling in my efforts to get a hobby (any hobby!) because, again, all the right magazines tell me that's what healthy mommies do. Before becoming a mother, I wouldn't have considered, "Ooh, should I ask Suzie to the mall, since this is weekend time to spend with Bobby?" but now I find myself wondering, "Hmm, should I ask Suzie to the mall, since this is weekend time to enjoy Bobby Jr. with Bobby's help?"

Maybe I'm just projecting my values onto my friends? We did have that arid time in our early marriage when weekends were meaningless, and moving to the PVC was just a gift of this absolute luxury of time with each other. And during that arid time the whole reason we were working so much was to make enough money for ends-meeting, not anything extra, so hobbies really didn't mean anything. And again, moving to the PVC has been a gift of the luxury to actually buy the stuff you need to have a hobby. So maybe I'm just assuming thought processes for my friends that don't really exist.

But I also think it's pretty universal that caring for children is easier in teams, and given the reality of at least one, if not both, parents working outside the home, that teamliness doesn't generally get to happen in a concentrated fashion during the week. So I don't think my projecting is entirely baseless. Anyway, this is just another thought process that didn't run through my little mind before babies, and it's been interesting to notice the pattern. I don't think it's becoming a problem yet, but I realize it could lead to being a bit isolated if I let it get out of balance. Also, everything is about to change after Sprout arrives. PB's schedule will totally change from the crazy-super-packed-extravaganza-of-crazy-super-packedness it is now, as he becomes a SAHD again. And we'll have two babies to chase around, while wondering what this mythical "free time" is and whether we'll ever experience it again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mama Bean is fantastically horrible at sharing

Papa Bean says I should have failed kindergarten. I blame being the youngest, and being spoiled, and being a princess. He's the oldest, he learned to share from 20 months of age, and never stopped. He is the perfect person for selfish little me to be married to, not because he's taught me to share better, only because he's already good at putting up with it. haha.

Actually I think he has made me a better sharer.

Is that a word?

Here's a Halloween story about how good at sharing I am. We didn't give out candy this year, because we've had so few kids the past few years, it just didn't seem worth it. But we did buy candy - the next day, half price :) That's just how we roll. I bought 125 pieces of Hershey's candy (Reese's PB cups, O'Henry, and Reese's Pieces) 125 pieces of Cadbury candy (Wunderbar, Caramilk, Crunchie, and Crispy Crunch) and a dozen minipacks of Swedish berries. I'd been craving them. (Oooh, and we got an extra two packs!) Then I came home and dumped the candy into a bucket, and divided it equally into two boxes. As in, one caramilk for you, one caramilk for me, one o'henry for you, one o'henry for me, etc. So that each of us got exactly the same number of each chocolate bar. Because I am the best sharer in. the. world.

That's sharing, right? LOL.
But it's really just the best solution for us, because otherwise everything gets messed up. I eat candy slow - by the time I finish one peanut butter cup, PB's had six. I eat Reese's Pieces one at a time, PB a package at a time. I mean, we've got to add in to the general complexity of this issue my particular food neuroticals. I eat chips from biggest to smallest, saving extra flavour-covered ones for last. If we've got one bowl of chips, PB's utterly indiscriminate eating pattern totally interrupts my totally reasonable and not-at-all-crazy method! I eat m&m's in colour order, yes, I know, they aren't flavoured, they all taste the same. And yet. Brown first, then green, then yellow, then orange, then red and blue. That's just The Way It Is.

We have to get two bags of popcorn at the movies (when we splurge for popcorn, i.e. when we don't buy two tubes of Pringles at Wal-mart on our way to the theatre.)

I'm bad at sharing. PB is a saint.

He has a joke that sharing was part of my vows. It was part of saying "I do." Apparently, what I really said was, "I do will share." Which doesn't make any grammatical sense to anyone that isn't married to one of us. Of course, this has expanded into all sorts of nonsensical phrases, like "I do will clean the bathroom for my pregnant and/or generally lazy wife" or "I do will wash the dishes with a cheerful heart" or "I do will never tickle me again upon threat of castration." These supposedly implied vows don't always come true (though we're doing well on the bathroom one heehee) but they are fun to say. I say "I do will share" all the time... but that doesn't mean I actually share.

I'm just a little pre-occupied with fairness. I want my fair share. Maybe a consequence of growing up with two ravenous teen-aged older brothers? Maybe a consequence of just expecting to always get what I want? This is the problem with my Not Sharing, after all; what I really want is special treatment. I want maybe a little more than my fair share. And I'm only gonna get that if everyone else for sure only gets exactly theirs. Did that make sense? It does in my head...

I think PB will agree I have changed (for the better!) since becoming a mom. I will share with at least one person, without hesitation, and that lucky little bastard is Bean, of course! If PB and I are both sitting with identical bowls of food, Bean will crawl to me with wide eyes and open mouth first, because he knows the odds are good. The odds are very, very good. Though all this sharing hasn't seemed to make a difference to my waistline yet... (I kid, I kid. I'm pregnant, my waistline doesn't exist anymore. It may never exist again, frankly. /sigh.)

So, let's just hope with the arrival of one more child, all my neuroticness will break down and I'll turn into an angle of selflessness :) Or, maybe we'll just be this weird family that buys four bags of popcorn at the movies... and handles the Halloween candy very, very carefully.

(Let's not even discuss how we deal with bed blankets...)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mama Bean rocked her baby to sleep last night

...and is maybe having some trouble letting go...

hence, poetry.


the weight of my sleeping baby in my arms
is the heaviest load i carry
love with the most density
responsibility (for life!)
but it is also unbearably light
time makes growth
too fast
he will never be this light again
i carry with new strength each day
for that day's new challenge
i think my grip could not be more gentle
but time will ensure my touch grows even lighter
with every passing night
then empty arms will feel heavier
than this baby ever could

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mama Bean wants to sing at your wedding

I try not to regret things. (I mean, I think my default reaction is to cry over spilled milk when it spills, and then while I clean it up, and then while I tell my husband the (exaggerated, sordid) tale (why does exaggerate have 2 g's?) and then again any time a milk-related topic comes up in conversation, and I relive the episode in my head or out loud. If I let myself, I will roll around in sack cloth and ashes while I cry over spilled milk, but I do try not to let myself.)

But here is something I regret. At the age when most of my friends were getting married, I didn't have the same confidence (or same ability) in my singing that I do now, so I didn't really put myself out there as available to sing for them on their special day. I've been a musician for a long time, I've played piano in at least a dozen weddings, but I've only sung at one, my own. I was probably reasonably confident then that I could do a good job, but I really didn't have the experience singing alone (vs. my experience soloing on piano, or singing in a choir) with a microphone in front of crowds who expect a very magical and memorable moment (holy, alliteration!) enough that people identified me as that Singer in their life who could Do The Wedding.

I didn't get that experience and comfort with microphones and really being heard as my own voice until I sang with the worship band at Crosspoint church in Iowa, under the wonderful talent and encouragement of our worship pastor, Chad Doran. And I didn't get the confidence as a soloist until I sang with the team at Journey church in Cowtown, with the wonderful talent and encouragement of our worship pastor, Malcolm MacMillan. When I think about the more important mentors and coaches in my life, these two guys definitely stand out.

So now I want to sing at every wedding I see, but I don't really see that many, because almost all my friends are already married. I feel like I missed the boat, and that makes me sad. It's some spilled milk that I can't do anything about, but I still kinda cry over it :(

I also wish I could have sung at the funeral for my neighbour, who died at work waaaaay before his time. Partially because the music that was performed wasn't really my style, nor really the style of the family in the question. And mostly because I love that family so much, and I feel like music is one gift that would mean something beyond platitudes and cliches when you're mourning your husband and father.

I guess that's what it comes down to. Not to sound all super-Ego, but I feel like music is a gift I can give that's very personal and unique and Filled With Meaning, and a wedding (or a funeral) is a wonderful time to share that kind of gift, and I missed my chance. Which makes whatever gift I did give them (dishcloths, pillowcases?) seem pretty empty by comparison. So, let it be known, if any of y'all are getting married (maybe for the second time, if I missed the first time) you let me know, and I will be there with bells on haha.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mama Bean may need to change her name

I was so much more tired with this pregnancy. That was the first sign. I hadn’t regained my period from nursing yet, so there wasn’t a period to miss, and the morning sickness waited to show up, but the exhaustion just sucker punched me. Every day, between 11 am and 4 pm (give or take three hours) I could just collapse at the drop of a hat, and remain blissfully unconscious through crying Beans and husbands for hours. I mean, I’d been generally tired since Bean was born, that’s just the way of mama-things, right? But this was weird. And so I peed on a stick to answer my questions.

My instincts had an inkling, you see, because after months of little (read: zero) interest in together time, suddenly it appeared, and that should have tipped me off (the way falling down the stairs should have tipped me off last time) that something might be up with the ovularious activities, and perhaps trigger some protective strategies against such eventualities. Are you catching my drift? But it didn’t. So here we are. Only two or three months earlier than we planned to be in this way. Which, to me, is an improvement on the six to eight months earlier than we planned for Bean to be. So.

So I was super tired. And when the nausea did appear, it wasn’t so bad, or I was better at dealing with it. I limited vomiting to less than ten incidents altogether (vs. ten incidents per week), almost all in the evening. Basic strategy involved eating a handful of food and calling that a meal, and doing that every three hours or so. Although it has passed, I still can’t eat more than a handful or two at a time. And it’s better to avoid food or beverages after dinner. And I’m still pretty tired, but not for so much of the day, and only slightly more than normal motherhood levels.

I am pretty sure Sprout will be another boy, but Papa Bean is holding out for a girl. There are two shreds of “evidence” he can cling to that something different inhabits my belly. First, my belly itself is different. My abs seem to have bunched up at the top, and it feels hard, while the lower abdomen is like fluffy mashed potatoes and my uterus is still well within the pelvis. Maybe this is just the disorganization that comes with having already pushed one out. Second, my cravings are totally altered. Last time, it was ice cream, all day, every day, yes please now. This time, all I want is steak. And dumplings. Meat and salt and yes please now. Weird, eh? So maybe it’s a girl. But I doubt it. The Y is very strong in PB’s family.

The internal monologue of the pregnancy after a first child is an endless variation on the [x pregnancy-related phenomenon]-is-earlier/later/different-than-last-time theme. I am amazed by the difference in our life circumstances alone. Last time, I was more or less unemployed, home alone with ample time for self-pity during the worst weeks of vomiting, then suddenly the owner of (new debt! and) a Chiropractic business, having spent the previous eight months unsure I even wanted to be a Chiropractor. Having just started attending a new church at that time, I was reflecting that many of my patients and church friends have only ever known me pregnant. In fact, when I get an appointment with one of those once-a-year patients, so many of them only remember me at all because I had a big ol’ belly on me!

This time, Papa Bean is in a new job and taking classes at the same time, on top of church activities, bass playing, hunting, and all his other hobbies. I am happily chiropractoring in my happy clinic with happiness. I picked up a hobby of my own, and will soon be taking guitar lessons. And I have a busy little Bean who keeps me constantly occupied with bottles, meals, naps, diapers, protecting the CD shelf, etc. Plus, I’m awakening to a new, inner urge to Make Home. To be a HomeMaker. Friend K and I were discussing just the other night this new aspect of parenting, and thinking back on the memories of home we carried forward from childhood, and how foundationally important that sense of place becomes; my heart and soul as a mother tell me this is my job, that I am building a nest here for my nestlings, and, as with Everything Else, it’s beyond not-just-about-me anymore, it is deeply and necessarily about them. And soon there will be two! But oh how my (lazy) head (and tired hands) argue with this, and sap my energy to fulfill the urge. However, it’s not going away, so strategies will have to be devised. I fear this little chopped up mid-century house is conspiring against me, but I will push valiantly onward.

Because of the busyness and new circumstances and Bean and all the rest, I don’t have the navel-gazing luxury for this pregnancy to rest anywhere near the forefront of my mind. It mightn’t cross my mind for a whole day. It’s taken weeks just to find enough minutes to write a dang post about it! I certainly don’t have the running commentary of worries and concerns and things-that-aren’t-safe-to-eat-when-you’re-with-child buzzing in my ear, because there’s enough other buzzing going on. It gets saved up for bedtime, when I realize, crap! I ate unheated sandwich meat for lunch. And then I go to sleep, because even if it really is that Big Of A Deal, I can’t keep my eyes conscious any longer. It makes me feel like I’m less excited, somehow, because I’m less obsessive (?) even though I know that’s not true. The excitement is just much calmer and less edged with anxiety and really just much more internal. I didn’t count down the days until the first trimester was over and I could broadcast the news on facebook. I haven’t sent out any sort of email of facebook announcement at all, in fact (talk about failure to update my status! lol) I haven’t been telling every patient in the first thirty seconds of their visit with me. There is no megaphone attached to this pregnancy.

This time, I feel like it’s a bright, fuzzy secret I’m holding behind my hands, deep under the fluffy mashed potatoes of my belly. I feel like I want to keep Sprout all to myself for as long as he (or she) really is all to myself. This is probably partially a byproduct of knowing this will likely be my last pregnancy, as we’re only planning to have two children. he tenor of this pregnancy is quieter and softer and a little bit secret. I’ve got one Bean, outside of me and growing like weeds, and time rushes faster faster; I didn’t know, last time, what it meant for pregnancy to be precious. What it meant that these are the only nine months they are physically joined to you, and then they rip out your heart to carry around with them as time hurtles them further and further away from you. I hope the world won’t begrudge my selfishness. I’m holding this one inside me, a little more quietly, but with no less excitement, and no less love.

Sprout is predicted to arrive mid-March. We’re at 16 weeks. I don’t think I’ll be changing my name to Mama BeanSprout, or anything like that, but the thought crossed my mind. This time, for sure, I am enjoying every minute of pregnancy hair.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mama Bean is feeling a little isolated

Let's just blame it on hormones.

Although, isn't "hormones" just another form of "hysteria"? Which is to say, isn't it just another H-word created by the Patriarchy to explain away the fact that women have emotions by blaming it on the fact that we have a uterus. Only now we know it isn't the Collective Uterus' fault directly, but rather the impact of these nefarious chemical messengers of emotional doom that rise and fall and trip us up with their never-ending cycle of volatility and instability and feeeeeeeeeliiiiiiinnnnggg.

As if men don't have hormones. As if men don't have a higher concentration, and are more innately influenced by the more volatile of the hormones in question. As if someone out there hasn't already dedicated their Womyns' Studies PhD. doctoral thesis to the ways all the Universe's problems can be directly attributed to testosterone. And not my testosterone. Not the Collective Uterus' testosterone. You. know. whose. I. mean.

But this post is not meant to be a feminist screed against patriarchal words that are meaningless. This post is meant to be about how I feel a little alone, and a little down, and that's making my days a little long. Or maybe the long days come first.

Maybe I'm just a little depressed.

Isolation is the hallmark of depressive onset for me. I don't have to feel sad, I would probably rate my overall satisfaction with life fairly high for awhile yet, but I do start to feel cut off from people, and then I convince myself it's because people are purposefully cutting me off, and then I feel like I deserve to be cut off, and then I decide I will embark on self-imposed exile because that will just make everyone happiest. Including me, obviously.

So, let's truck out the old getting-over-myself toolbox and identify triggers and stressors, etc. Papa Bean is back at work full time. I've increased my hours one day a week, so that I'm there over lunch, for a full day, which feels impossibly long and tiring and FULL. We leave Bean in wonderful, loving, fun care four days a week that is nonetheless not us, but someone else (who is wonderful, loving, and fun, but you get my point.) When I'm not at work, Bean is not in care, but PB is at work, and I am alone with the baby. Which is the root of my isolation. And tada! I've solved the mystery, I'm. So. Smart.

And somehow I imagine this is going to be better, let alone manageable with another one? Because that is the plan, to grow by Sprouts and bounds, of course. And I tell myself this will be SO GREAT because they will play with each other! Leaving me free to... do what?

Commit myself to the housework I so diligently complete now?
Pursue my numerous hobbies and talents?
Advance in my super fulfilling, ambition-driven professional life?

Play with pre-adults for even more hours of the day?

Be alone with my thoughts?

Well this isn't a very productive line of inquiry. I just figured if I'm going to wander around in an isolation fog, I might as well bring the gloomy haze to the blog. Because, after all, this is where I fill in the words between, behind and around the status updates. So that's what's going on right now, and as with so many of these episodes before, no doubt it will pass in two weeks.

Hormones. Hysteria. Feelings. Depression. This too shall pass.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mama Bean has a tip for new mamas

Instead of using the vitamin D drops for infants, I suggest using the vitamin D(3) drops made for grown-ups. It's the same stuff, but more concentrated (so you give baby less at a time) and it's unflavoured, so no added sugar, colourings or flavours.

We started out giving Bean the infant/toddler vitamin D. We bought the generic brand, because name brand was $3 more per bottle. The recommended dose is 1 mL/day, which contains 400 IU of the vitamin. When Bean was brand new, 1 mL seemed a HUGE amount of liquid, as we were struggling just to get 30 mL of actual nutrition down his gullet. He didn't seem adverse to the taste, but he knew it wasn't breastmilk, and he didn't just slurp it down. I'm not sure why they choose to make it sweeter (like a thousand times sweeter) than breastmilk (or formula, I imagine). I don't think that actually makes it more palatable to them (nor would the strange fake banana flavouring, which I happen to love, but babies don't know what real bananas are, let alone fake ones...) and we worry so much about putting extra sugar and additives in their food otherwise...

Then, it always made Bean gassy or burpy or generally spit-up-y, so he would promptly lose those 30 mL we'd so painstakingly installed in his digestive system. Even when we waited, in between feedings, he'd still find a couple tablespoons of delicious baby-puke to spread liberally upon my lap. And the effect might even last until the next feeding. It was frustrating, to say the least. We were not terribly consistent with his vitamin dosing in those Delirious Early Days, because it just seemed to add to the Delirium.

We visited a healthfood store in Cowtown over Christmas, and noticed a bottle of D3 drops without the baby-friendly packaging. These drops have 1000 IU per 1 mL drop, so to get the 400 IU for a baby, you only have to give 0.2 mL. The stopper is conveniently marked at 0.2, 0.5 and 1.0 mL. It was more expensive for the bottle, but we're getting five doses for every one dose of the infant-type. And then I found out D3 drops in a regular supermarket drug department are even cheaper than the baby brands, AND more concentrated so you get more doses per bottle, and it's just the bargain of the century!

So, the dose is so small, and tasteless, little two-month old Bean didn't even notice us put it in his mouth, he just swallowed it down like so much drool. Even now he doesn't really notice the drop of liquid, so much as he wants to chew on the dropper. And I get to feel frugal and clever every day I give it to him. And I am much more consistent now about actually doing that every day haha.

However, I did notice the drops are supposed to be refrigerated, which I haven't done for these eight months, so I'm worried the vitamins have been degraded by heat and/or light and I'm just giving him worthless vitamin D metabolites. So if you do get these drops instead of the infant drops, check if chilling is necessary. (Is chilling recommended on the infant ones, too? I don't have a bottle anymore to check...) Anyway, just a little tip I wanted to share, because it was a daily annoyance that we found a way around, and maybe other people who are daily annoyed by the same issue would like to make the switch.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mama Bean sings a lullaby

We are very blessed that Bean has the temperament to be put down for naps/sleep while still awake. When he was very small, up to about four weeks old, I would nurse and then rock him to sleep, or Papa Bean would rock him down for naps. But when we discovered the Swaddle, we stopped rocking. All the Baby Pundits said he would "get used to it" and "be spoiled" or "expect it all the time" which didn't sound like fun, so we started swaddling as our primary sleep cue, plus a soother, and he was quite amenable to then falling asleep by himself. Sometimes we'd even strategically angle the blanket edge over the soother to hold it in his mouth, which is sooooo contrary to all the SIDS punditry, please don't hate us, but it worked.

Not that I think swaddling and soothers are the answer to sleeping babies. I think Bean's just a chilled out relaxed little dude, and we did something consistently, and he rewarded us. Nice little Bean. We even did some of that "sleep training" stuff, and let him cry, or we'd go in just long enough to give back the soother, and then let him cry, and he would go back to sleep like the lovely, accommodating baby that he is. Nice, nice little Bean.

Even giving up the Swaddle wasn't so bad, especially when the weather started to heatify and muggify into a real Prairie Valley summer. Then the problem became his tendency to roll over onto his tummy and forget how to roll back, so he wakes up crying. (But, if he somehow stays asleep on his tummy, he will sleep for ages and it's lovely. Weird.) We put rolled up blankets and pillows and padding around him to keep him from rolling around, but it doesn't always work. And now, more often than not, he's just playing with the stuff, tossing it around (and out of) the crib so that he's twisted 180 from where we laid him down, with a pillow over his legs, a blanket under his left side, and two blankets twisted over his right hand. Again, SIDS infractions galore. But he falls asleep by himself, and wakes up happy (usually) and I just count my blessings every day (about three or four times, between naps and bedtime...)

A friend of mine had a baby about a week before I had Bean, and she is similarly well disposed to falling asleep by herself. They follow the sleep training thing, and they swaddled, and their chilled out little dudette is lovely and accommodating also. But we've noticed another similarity. Neither baby is particularly cuddly. Bean doesn't really like being held close, he doesn't lean his head or body into mine, and he definitely doesn't fall asleep while I'm holding him. Only when he's really really tired can I sometimes trick him into sort of falling into me while I'm holding him, and sometimes when I carry him up the stairs to bed, he'll start sucking on my shoulder, but that's really more about what he knows is coming next. I didn't want to "spoil" him, but I didn't realize that might mean giving up rocking him at any time, ever again, so help me God. I wonder if there's some sort of in between...

Maybe it will all change as he gets a little bigger. Certainly, they just become more and more cognizant of interpersonal dynamics, and the importance of the child-parent relationship. Maybe some of what's so hard in the Delirious Early Days is that they are so utterly dependent, and you're doing every possible thing to keep them not only alive, but comfortable and warm and cozy, and it's completely thankless. Because they have no fricking clue, right? So you're just doing and doing and giving and giving and they don't care. They only know how to neeeeeeeed. But then they hit that two to three month mark, and start giving (non-gas related) smiles. And their eyes clear up a bit, so they look like they can really see you, and recognize you, and know that you are the centre of their tiny, comfortable world. And every interpersonal milestone in the first year or two is really about you the parents. Making strange with people that aren't you, reaching for you for comfort/out of preference, learning to call you mama and dada, etc.

And somewhere in there, hopefully, having some hugs and some cuddles and sweet, quiet moments of trust and love. I'll just keep waiting.

Regardless of whether he likes it or not, after his bedtime nursing, I hold Bean in my lap and sing him a lullaby. Even when he bending over my arm to reach for the nail clippers on the table. Or climbing over my shoulder to scratch the chair fabric. Or just generally trying to get away from me. (If he's fussy and crying I put him in his crib and sing through the crying, because I'm trying to be consistent, and really, I think this exercise has become more about me than him. Motherhood is twisted; I embrace that.) I sing him a song I call Bruce's Song*

When moonlight falls across the hills
and through your windowpane
You'll close your eyes, and say your prayers
and think about your day

Did you laugh enough, and play enough?
Did you show the world your smile?
Did you catch the light, with both your hands
and hold it in your heart?
Well don't worry 'bout that now
It's time for your lullaby

*I wrote the song for my best friend, when she was pregnant. She doesn't know this, and has never heard the song, because my grand plans to record it on a disc of lullabies has not happened. Yet. But it could! One day... don't hate me, K...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mama Bean has to get Papa Bean a really good birthday present

At our weekly breastfeeding support group, we have a little discussion period, and one time we were asked, "What have you learned about yourself since becoming a mom?" Most of the answers centred on the way a child necessitates an almost immediate loss of putting your self first. It's not that self-interest goes out the window, that the pull of selfishness isn't there. It's just that it always ends up second to the needs of the baby. Because they are so utterly helpless, and they really do depend on us for absolutely everything.

The needs are greater, in a Maslow's Hierarchy kind of way, at the beginning - those foundational basic and safety needs of food and cleanliness and a warm place to sleep. My nightmares, at that time, focused on catastrophic inabilities to fulfill those needs. "What if we were in a car crash in the middle of a storm, and I couldn't keep him warm enough, and I didn't have enough food or water, and my breastmilk dried up, and he just cried and cried from hunger until he fell into exhaustion, and we all die?" Or, after the Haiti earthquake: "What if that was me? How would I keep him protected from the sun? How would I change his dirty diapers? Where would we get water? Could I keep feeding him?" You know, basic mom fears.

As he gets older, it's assumed you've got those bottom-of-the-pyramid things covered, and increasingly we're responsible for those higher emotional and self-actualization needs. How exactly do I help my nine-month-old self-actualize anyway?

Anyway, that day, I didn't have any deep answer to the question. I'm sure I've learned things about myself since being a mama, most of them something along the lines of "I had no idea I could DO [insert parenthood related activity - change ten diapers of day, clean yellow poop off three outfits in a row, absorb liters of breastmilk and spit-up into my clothes, without batting an eye or "spitting up" myself...]" And I have learned all the right lessons about leaving my selfishness at the door, and taking extra food at dinner because I know some of it's going to go into my mooch of a son's tummy instead of mine. And I have learned all those other nice things about how I didn't know I could love someone so much, etc. I mean, babies! Gawd! They're just so gall-darned ADORABLE!


Here's the immediate thought that popped into my head when I heard the question: since becoming a mom, I have learned how much my husband loves me. Which doesn't really answer the question, since it's not something I learned about my self. But it's something I've learned related to my Self and Immediate Well-being, not to mention my Heart. Or my Soul.

My husband loves me A LOT. More than I ever thought I knew, and I thought I had a pretty good idea. I have learned, more than anything else about my own personal capacity to love and care for another, little tiny human Beanlet, that I absolutely, positively married the perfect man for me. I have learned what partnership means. I have learned, from him how to love Bean more selflessly, how to live life more patiently, and how to feel everything more fully.

In those first Delirious 24 hours, when we were getting up every three hours to boil the water and pump the colostrum, and fill the feeding syringe, and he was holding Bean while I positioned myself in the chair, with the feeding pillow, and arranging the nipple shield, and then holding the syringe and slooooooowly pushing the plunger down, as we coached the tiny beast to suck more, and faster, and harder, and stay awake for crying out loud! and please please just take a little more you're doing so well, 20 mL already (20 mL! How long does it TAKE to drink 20 mL? An eternity? Oh, sure, only an eternity at 2 o'clock in the morning...) and then changing the tiny diaper, and putting all his tiny clothes back on, and we did it all as a team, sharing the load, sharing the immense weight of uncertainty and worry that we somehow Were Not Doing Enough - I tell ya, my eyes were opened. To a whole new Papa Bean. And even though we learned plenty of lessons about what love is during our previous eight years together, it was like a totally different level of the pyramid, y'know?

That's a good man, right there :)

I don't think you have to have a baby to experience this with your spouse. I think I just realize, now, that this is the undercurrent of marriage, this constant growth into stronger, more loving partnership. When you live life together, you don't just keep falling and falling into love. You walk around, side by side, dealing with shit. Dealing with life. And you share it, good bad and in between. There's a lot of in between. And in the process, you see each other in new and deeper ways, and then, then you fall deeper into love.

Listen to this song, and don't worry if it makes you cry. It totally made me cry.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mama Bean has a garden update - with pictures!

Before I was a mother, when I met people who are poorly socialized or behave maladaptively, I would probably think a little less of them, or think I don't want to be around them more than I have to be. Or if I were forced to spend a great deal of time with them, I might save up mocking stories about them to laugh about later. Because I can be cruel and judgmental just like everyone else. Now that I am a mother, I find I just wonder, "How do I parent to avoid this in my children?" What do I have to do to raise up little people that become big people who aren't jerks, and aren't weird? (I mean, in a maladaptive way. Lord knows I'm plenty weird, but I get along in the social world alright, with only tinges of Awkward, occasionally. Occasionally often. Moving on...) And I realize that most of these people have lovely parents who didn't do anything "wrong" and that it's not About Parenting. But I still feel the monumental Responsibility of it all. And at least I'm not spending as much time remembering cruel, mocking anecdotes, right? Motherhood will make me a Better Person before we're through, as God as my witness!

I don't know why that thought just popped up. I'm having a listless, melancholy day. I am tired. I probably should be taking a nap as Bean naps, but then I can't fall asleep at night, no matter how late we go to bed (which lately has been quite late, thus the tiredness in the first place.) So. Anyway, I didn't come on here to be morose. I wanted to share the drama that is life with a garden.

Did I mention it was a rainy spring?

Last year we planted seeds and seedlings on May Long Weekend, like everyone else, and then we had a freeze on June 5th. It was a sad lesson learned. We vowed to be more cautious this year. So we didn't plant May Long. Anyway it rained that weekend. And then it rained two days out of three for the next three weeks. So when it was finally kind of dry enough to sort of plant some things, it was two days before we left for a vacation to Cowtown. So I just shoved those seeds in the ground and hoped for the best. But we only planted half the plot, and not everything we had planned made it into the ground. Anyway, another sad lesson learned, or maybe just a completion of the same lesson. Many seeds can take colder temperatures, even potatoes planted deep - certainly peas, and lettuces/spinach, carrots and beets. I should have planted those as soon as the dirt could be worked. Next year!

Here's what made it into the Big Garden:
Section 1: ruby queen beets, nantes touchon beets (nantes have a blunter tip than imperator type carrots) and red cored danvers carrots (not sure if these are imperator or not)
Section 2: improved long green cucumbers, another type of smaller pickling cucumber whose package was given to Bean to chew on and now I don't know what they were called. Gardening with kids! Yay!
Section 3: stoplight beans! royal burgundy bush beans (red-ish?) improved golden wax bush beans, and tendergreen improved bush beans.
Section 4: sugar snap peas (edible pod) and little marvel peas (shelling)
Section 5: longstanding bloomsdale spinach, early great lakes lettuce, fordhook giant (white stalk) and rhubabrd (red stalk) swiss chard, buttercrunch lettuce, and sweet basil.
Sections 6-12: some cabbage transplants, struggling butternut squash plants, grass and weeds. Oh, and a random green bean plant from last year and sprung up as a volunteer! We'll be planting a vetch-based green manure in this section to control the weeds and restore some nutrients to the soil.

top left: greens (lettuces, etc. crazy chard in the centre), bottom left: stoplight beans, centre: peas, top right: cucumbers, bottom right: great beets needing thinning, patchy carrots.

What didn't make it:
Onions, which were to be interplanted with the carrots and beets - Section 1, the root ~fiesta~
Zucchini or the white marrow (like white zucchini) I picked up on a whim
Tomatoes (save some plants for Russian giants a patient passed on to me, which are planted in our front flower bed)
Thyme or sage (thought they were perennial, but nothing came back)
Kohlrabi, also picked up on a whim

Our basement growlight worked great for the early seedlets. We started soy, but didn't plant it out in time, and it died while we were on vacation. The giant pumpkin, acorn squash, and cantaloupe did survive, and are planted in our Little Garden out back. One acorn squash plant has flowered brilliantly, and I've been pretending to be a little bee, hand pollinating diligently. The giant pumpkin has so far only sent up male flowers, which is very disappointing. It's looking to cross-pollinate with another plant, but unfortunately, only one survived from the basement. So that whole project (which is really Papa Bean's baby) may be a wash this year. Anyway, here are some pictures!

top left: giant pumpkin wants to take over the world! bottom left: female squash blossom (saying that always get Fat-bottomed Girls stuck in my head) centre: pumpkin tendrils, top right: leeetle bebe acorn squashlet, bottom right: more spirally vinedrils of doom

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mama Bean and Papa Bean are winners

Papa Bean has a personal conviction that the words "one" and "won" are pronounced differently. Even though they're homonyms. (Or are they?) Arguments of homophone or homograph notwithstanding, let's agree, for the purposes of this post being funny, that these two words are pronounced the same way. Unless you're Papa Bean. Then, "won" is said as in "won ton" or even, somewhat, the named Juan. Try it in a sentence!

Spain won the 2010 World Cup.
The children won many toys at the carnival.
Mama Bean won the husband lottery.

Feels funny doesn't it? Like your mouth is working overtime for no good reason. Because you could just say "won" like "one" like a normal person.

Pioneer Woman posted a little joke recently that goes like this:
11 was a race horse. 22 was 12. 1111 race. 22112.

Get it?

I didn't get it either.

It means this. One-one was a race horse. Two-two was one, too. One-one won one race. Two-two won one, too!

Cute, right?

Buuuuuuuuut if you're Papa Bean, the joke doesn't make sense! Because "1" and "won" cannot be punned!

:( for PB, n'est-ce pas?

Anyway, this post is really just an extension of our offline life, in which I constantly mock him for being silly about this. Every time he says "won" I pretend I can't understand him. "The children did what at the carnival?" And if he's not really paying attention, he'll actually repeat himself until he figures out I'm just giggling at him. Which just makes my day, because I get to hear him be goofy all over again! And then sometimes I'll make a joke about wanting won ton soup. But he doesn't laugh.

Just like he can't laugh at PW's cute horse joke!

Poor PB. Good thing he's so darn cute!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mama Bean fills her soul with whole sky

As a prairie girl, my eyes are used to seeing a lot of sky. When everything around you is flat for miles and miles, you get a pretty good sense of what the word horizon means. The horizon is the straight line between the Blue and the Green and Yellow. These are the primary colours of the prairie: Sky, Grass and Grain.

I need the big sky. My eyes don't merely drink in the blue, they swallow it and digest it and fill my soul with the light (or the dark, or the hazy dusk or foggy dawn...)

I grew up an hour away from the Rocky Mountains, with a half hour of foothills in between, but there is still plenty of sky to be seen on the fields around Cowtown. Still, the land of my youth has major terrain compared to the ironing board that is the Prairie Valley. I didn't know big sky like the Big Blue Sky I know now.

When I lived somewhere low, in a true valley carved by the Mississippi, on the southeast border between Iowa and Illinois, I missed the sky. I didn't know that's what I missed - consciously, I missed my then-boyfriend (not-yet-a-)Papa Bean, my family, my friends, my house (the only one I had ever lived in to that point), my stuff, and having a car (though not necessarily the Jeep I left behind. I just really missed having a car. My automobile is like my third leg. My third super-horse-powered leg.) But subconsciously, I was weighed down by lack of sky. In retrospect, as my mind wanders the streets of my college town, the buildings seem to press down, the leaves on the great big oaks seem laden and heavy. Of course, I'm remembering the streets in the muggy days of summer, which were the heaviest days in every climatological and psychological way. And what I don't remember is much sky - I don't have a clear sense of what it looked like, it's character, it's friendliness. I just didn't see enough of it, over the hills and houses and river and trees to really get a Soul Meal out of it.

(This is all framed, naturally, by the depression I was going through at the time. That being said, it's not like I was miserable in Iowa, I had a truly excellent three years there. And it's not that Davenport was ugly or anything. There was plenty of other beauty to be seen, the Mississippi for one thing. Incredible. And if I'd never lived there, I'd maybe never have seen Chicago, and that would be a travesty. Let me tell you one day about what happens to my soul in Chicago...)

When I'd visit Cowtown in the summers, I didn't understand why the place seemed suddenly so damn sunny. Now I know it's because I was under the sky again, the true blue sky of my youth, and it was weightless and freeing and full of sun like no day could ever be in the Quad Cities. (On the Iowa plain is another story. The sun is plenty bright, and the sky plenty big out there, I know.)

But now I live in on a frying pan. A very large, very shallow, very flat flat flat pan of mud and flood and Flat. Flaaaaaaaaaat. The sky here, my friends, goes on for days.

Here is what prompts my waxing on poetically about the sky: on my drive home I travel due west on a sideway that widens out with open fields on both sides, just before I turn north onto the highway, and I can see the Whole Western Front for two or three minutes (longer if I slow down, which I am often moved to do.) Every Tuesday and Thursday evening, I drive into the sunset. For one or two glorious weeks of the Spring and Fall I am driving when the sun actually sets, and it is so fricking beautiful I don't even have words.

This Spring, it has rained almost every day of May. It is depressing and maddening for so many reasons, most related to the garden. I look at that post about what we were planning to grow, and I get angry at the sky. Yes, my beloved prairie sky. Because it won't shut it's trap and stop spitting on me! And then I want to give up gardening altogether, because before I worked the earth, I didn't give a crap about the weather beyond an interruption to my outdoor plans for the day. I didn't have anything invested in whether it rained four weeks or four days. Now, I care with my hands and my feet and my stomach. My stomach! Oh, and my wallet, which is going to have to pay for all those vegetables I planned on eating for free.

But the sky apologized the other night. Underneath this big prairie expanse, I really see the rain, instead of just hearing and feeling it. As I drove home under a melting pot of grays, I looked out at that Western Front and saw The Rain. Like an errant stroke of slate coloured paint just dredged straight down to the horizon, the perpendicular straight edge of soggy green. And because I could see so much sky, I could see this isolated downpour in the grand tableau of grey and blue and purple. I could see the fluffy cotton balls of cumulus* clouds, white bodied with silver fluff shadows, right next to the rain paint-stroke, like some cosmic force-field was keeping the storm from spreading between cloud banks. And just behind the storm, the sun was still shining. I know this because those cumulus clouds were glowing, lit from behind, and flaming with the palest gold on the edges. And I could see layers of stratus clouds stretching out in different directions to the south, where the rain had already been spent. I swallowed that rainy sky and let it settle deep behind my eyes, tired from work, tired from Bean waking up too many times at night, tired from artificial light at home at work at the computer. And my soul felt full.

Apology accepted, Sky. I love you forever.

*(yes, I had to look that up, because I missed the climate unit in high school science, because I was too busy taking IB science that ignores the weather unit. The actually useful to my daily lie weather unit)

**(yes, I need to start carrying a camera in my car for these evenings. I also get a pretty good glimpse of the Eastern sky on my way too work Monday and Friday mornings, although my sleepy fuzzy brain doesn't always fully comprehend how pretty it is.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mama Bean can't be bothered to be completely crunchy granola

For the first eight months of Bean's life, we didn't have to buy any wipes. We were given a bunch of refill packages at our baby showers, and we already had a box of two from before he was born. Why? Apparently wipes (alcohol-free, scent-free, every-gosh-darn-thing-free) are useful when you're hunting, so Papa Bean bought some for his single excursion of 2009, but only used a few of them.

In addition to using cloth diapers, we also wanted to make our own washcloth wipes that we could wash and reuse. When the refill packs ran out, I carefully prepared the Internet's recommended mixture of baby wash, calendula oil, and tea tree oil. They smelled really good, and washcloths wipe up poop so much better than disposable wipes. They just grip or absorb or something - we find wipes tend to smear everything around before finally getting things cleaned up. I think it's because wipes have more fluid and soapy stuff. I made the washcloth wipes damp but not soaking.

So we like using the washcloths, but I don't like making them. I fold them to fit into a normal wipes container, which will hold about 25 of them. So every 25 wipes I have to make a new box. At anywhere from 1 to 5 poops a day, that's a box every 5 or so days. It's more work than I expected. So was cloth diapering, but I can handle the diaper work. I don't want to handle the wipes work. With diapering, I can tell myself it's cheaper for us, and it's good for the environment, and that makes it worth it. Washcloth wipes are good for the environment, especially since we just add them to the diaper laundry, but it's not necessarily saving us that much money. I was using up our baby wash, and essential oils really quickly - just lucky that I happened to have both calendula and tea tree oil on hand, but it would be expensive to get new bottles when they ran out, which was going to be pretty darn quick.

Rather than get defeatist about it, I had the best intentions to brainstorm ways to make it less work. For example, I could make a big batch of the wipe solution (like, two liters at a time) and then it'd be easier to just pour out 2 cups for each new box. Another important factor (impediment?) is only having 30 appropriate washcloths on hand (You know, the cheap, thin dollar store variety. They are the perfect texture.) If I stocked up to like 50 or 75 cloths, I could have three boxes folded and ready to just moisten and be ready. But then I'm wrangling 50 or 75 tiny pieces of flimsy terry cloth in my laundry. And that just don't appeal!

Okay, so I am defeated after all. We bought a package of refills (We buy in bulk because we is cheapos!) because we're headed to Cowtown for a visit and wedding, and we're going All Disposable while traveling. And then the box of washcloths petered out today, during big smelly dumps of Epic Stank-times, and that was just so exceedingly frustrating. (I know, I know, if that's the least of my problems...) So I think we're gonna give up on the washcloth experiment for now.

The other important lesson of the day: don't loosen Bean's poopy diaper, and then go looking for a washcloth. Have the wipe In Hand and Prepared For Duty. Because otherwise, little Bean hands are going directly into giant, stank-fest Bean poop, and then - well, then it's bathtime in the middle of the day. Yippee!!

Not that I can stay frustrated for long. Did I mention the giggles? OMG, the GIGGLES. Seriously, I'm almost sad to put him to bed, because then there's no more giggles until the next morning. How do I survive?!? I know, I know, if that's the least of my problems... yeah, life's pretty sweet :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mama Bean has clearly been absent

Good. Grief.

(As a too-early-in-a-post-to-have-an-aside aside, this is my newest speech idiom. I say it more often than is humanly possible. And I don't even feel like breaking the habit, because it's so much better than saying for EFF's sake (without the 'eff' y'know?) all the time. I guess I have to start watching the potty mouth around the Bean, so eventually I'll be saying things like Crikey! and Drat! or

For the first few weeks, I was keeping this mental list of all the things keeping me from posting, but now I don't really have a great handle on it. I know there were a series of visitors - my parents, Papa Bean's youngest brother and his girlfriend, then Papa Bean's parents. During the visits I started to lag on my RSS feeds entries - I used to clear it by bedtime every day which, in hindsight, is so totally ridiculous I don't know what was wrong with me. I had upwards of 500 new items to peruse before I finally started clearing some feeds that I just know I'll never be bothered to actually read. It's not so much that I don't still really enjoy or care about all the sites I've subscribed to. I think it was more a lesson in how much excess time I was spending trying to stick to an arbitrary standard (clearing my feed) that really doesn't change anything meaningful in my life's function or purpose.

Then I had a wicked low back spasm that just completely laid me up for three or four days. I couldn't sit, I couldn't stand up, I could barely lay down comfortably. I was cuddling up to ice so hard I got freezer burn patches that are still tender and bruised (oddly enough.) I took a Monday off from work. I didn't even turn on my computer for at least two days, and then only to clean up my email. And that was another good lesson. As internettingly connected as Papa Bean and I may be, I think I'd lost some perspective on the difference between my on- and off-line lives. I will always contend that online life is every bit as real as my offline one but offline has that important distinction of being physically and temporally Immediate and Present to my physical and temporal circumstances. Online everything is removed in both space and time, that's just the facts.

I needed to remember this now, because with every day, Bean gets bigger, smarter, and more Immediate and Present in his own ways. I want to spend all his waking hours making him smile and giggle in that impossibly adorable way that I didn't even know existed before him. His waking hours are longer now, and that's just going to keep me away from the computer for now. After experiencing how much a physical problem kept me away from fulfilling his most basic needs (I could barely nurse him, let alone bend to change his diapers, or lift him from the crib) I know I can't let online issues keep me from him anymore. It's not good for either of us. I go through giggle withdrawal.

Finally, our life tippled through another wave of change, as Papa Bean started a new job. He has been on parental leave for the past six months, and would have stayed stay-at-home-daddying if a supreme job opportunity to work at the college where he's taking his pastor schooling hadn't come up - with an ASAP sort of start date. He's still an IT guy, and as an employee, his tuition will be paid. How awesome is that?! We have arranged for child care to start in August, when his parental leave would have been exhausted, and that is when he will start full-time. For now, he works part-time around my clinic schedule. Part-time, he makes essentially the same amount as he was making from parental EI, and with an excellent new benefits package (plus the tuition thing, did I mention the tuition thing?) which is good.

Since I went back to work, I haven't really been with Bean alone on a regular kind of basis. At work, I was away from them both, and when I was home, Papa Bean was generally always around. He was the one on parental leave at Home With The Baby, see. So this part-time working thing is a new world for me - it's just me and Bean when PB's at work, and just PB & Bean when I'm at work. It's like we're both part-time stay-at-home parents lol. This is now the primary factor in my decreased 'puter time. I don't know what that means for blogging right now. I definitely have missed it, and regularly have post ideas float around during my long commute or night-time nursing. With each new day sans posting, the unreasonable pressure I put on myself to Get On With It Already weighed down my motivation somehow, and I'd just go randomly wander through my RSS instead. But I'm back now. I'll try not to disappear again... (Thanks to everyone who encouraged me that I've been missed. I truly appreciate you!)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mama Bean posts two weeks of links on Sunday (good grief) - May, 16, 2010

I know, I know, where have I beeeeeeEEEeeen? If I told you, I'd have to kill you. Well, not really. I'm just busy working on several impossibilities right now, namely: 1) adding hours to the day, and 2) cultivating a money tree in my backyard. I trust you understand. However, these endeavors will be fruitless. Unfortunately, this will not necessarily free me up to blog more, as the failure to lengthen my days is a key issue. Perhaps the solution lies in efficiency? But I'm a mama; efficiency fell by the wayside sometime during the end of the 2nd trimester of pregnancy...never to return again?

- Do you remember learning how to swaddle a baby? What's that, you've never done it? Well, this is how it's done, in 47 easy steps! And while this particular post may seem like an exaggeration to the uninitiated, I assure you, it's not.

- I love Zooey Deschanel, I love her music with She & Him, I love her dancing in this video for In the Sun. It makes me think of Feist a little bit. Happy + Love. Please enjoy and smile.

- This is a cute little chart of what various intoxicants will make you do in various situations, such as being at a party, or being near the phone. For example, with alcohol, in the bathroom you will puke. Or, with PCP, near the cops you will attack them with a dead bird. I mean, this is stuff everyone knows, right? But it's handy to have it in a little chart like this!

- Sunday's coming! The ultimate parody of your average mainstream large church service. It's funny because it's TRUE.

- These folks loved Sunday so much, they turned an old church into their home. I think it's a very beautiful re-purposing, but some commenters feared intimacy might be a little awkward, with so many stained-glass saints watching. And Pastor Jim prefers churches to stay as churches.

- This is how science works. Really. Magnets really are metal with pieces of gravity in them! Duh. Unfortunately, it's a tumblr site that doesn't update by RSS. Check back regularly for updates. The funniest updates of your life.

- What if they made action figures of the Bronte sisters? It would be awesome, that's what.

- I read an insane amount of celebrity gossip. It's silly, like, I'm sure some of my time shortage could easily be resolved by curing myself of this addiction. Oh well...I mostly read Oh Know They Didn't (the neverending pit of gossip, there is no way to read it all, just let it wash over you in all its trashy glory) and Evil Beet now, but Pink is the New Blog really introduced me to the online world of gossip. However, Trent evolved, I didn't grow with him, and stopped reading. But this is a cool post about a song Kelly Clarkson wrote in response to the whole Ryan-Tedder-wrote-the-same-song-for-both-Kelly-and-Beyonce debacle (cf. Kelly's Already Gone v. B's Halo. I like both songs, and I like them for that catchy little four chord hook Ryan gave to both of them...)

- How to mow your lawn without mowing your lawn. It really is the best idea ever.

- A little NYT infographic on the privacy rabbit-hole that is facebook. There's a repeating cycle of privacy hysteria that circulates on the web - facebook's not safe, twitter's not safe, blogs aren't safe, the internet is full of creeps, throwyourmodemAWAY OMG!!1! Of course, this is not the solution. As Neil points out, a new concern is the potential for lock-in. If this is how the world communicates, this is how we must communicate if we want to be in the world. But how to be safe? How to teach my children to be safe? It's daunting, as the graphic demonstrates.

- Cleopas and his friend did not "see" Jesus, on the road to Emmaus, until they were ready to see him. Here's some interesting commentary on the purpose of the delay in opening their eyes. I found it uplifting, the last paragraph in particular.

- The National Doodle Day raises money to help neurofibromatosis research by selling doodles during NF Awareness Month. This doodle is by Gillian Anderson's (Agent Scully, drool) daughter Piper. Apparently, she's old enough to be in art school now. Which makes me feel old enough to be like a grandmother or something. Check out the other doodles in the series, too.

- Who knew South Koreans take football so seriously? It's mind-boggling, the coordination required to make this work. Makes the Wave at hockey games seem so...juvenile :)

- Remember this video of new Photoshop's content aware feature? Well, here's an amusing little spoof of it. It's really well done, right down to the script and voicing.

- I have 205 links on fbook right now. The very first link I ever shared was a short film called The Tribe, narrated by Peter Coyote. It was freely available on youtube when I linked it, but is now only available privately. Here's the official website. I'm sad I can't access it anymore... The second link I shared was pictures of Michael Stipe and Thomas Dozol's apartment. The third link I shared was a poignant video allegory of The Instruction Manual of Life. Every time I watch this clip, I see something new. For example, the letters on the cabinet he builds around 4:19 spell out bullshit. Never noticed that before. The fourth link I shared was a cute short film about young love. And the fifth thing I shared is a spoof of Nickelback's Rock Star called Worship Star by Shekelback. If you know anything about Christian contemporary music, you'll find it as hysterical as I do. I posted that video a year ago. Cool.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mama Bean had a wonderful first Mother's Day

I spent multiple minutes of my Mother's Day wondering where the apostrophe goes. Is it Happy singular Mother's Day? Or Happy all-the-mothers-in-the-world Mothers' Day?? I, personally, think it is more appropriate to say Happy Mothers' Day to all the moms every where in space and time, but apparently the powers that be (Hallmark?) have determined Happy Mother's Day is how it is. So... now I've spent multiple minutes of everyone else's time recounting the process. Excellent...

I mostly just want to talk about the absolute bestest part of my first Mother's Day, which was right at the beginning. It was the part of the day where my Fruity O's ended up all over my lap.

Papa Bean went early to church for band rehearsal. Normally we wake up at the same time and go in one car (to conserve gas? The church is, like, five minutes away *shrug*) but we went to bed really late, so I stayed in bed, although I didn't really get to sleep much later. I mean, I wake when Bean wakes, y'know?

So I'm cruising through the morning. I fed the Beanlet all relaxed and lazy-style in bed, so comfy and warm. Then we changed his diaper. (It's just better doing this after nursing. We used to change his diaper right out of the crib, but then he always pees during or shortly after eating breakfast, so now he gets his clean diaper afterwards.) Then I did my morning routine, got dressed in a new shirt from Old Navy, and poured myself a lovely, colourful bowl of Fruity O's. I had a whole ten minutes to eat breakfast before loading up the Bean bucket and leaving in time to arrive early at church.

But Beany Burrito Bum was cranky pants and didn't want to sit in the Command Centre while I ate. So I thought I could eat with him on my lap. Fatal error, friends. 3, 2, 1 cereal in my lap. All over the new shirt, all over my jeans, all over the Bean sleeper, and the floor. No more cute new outfit debut, no more ten minutes to eat breakfast, no more early to church. Happy Mother's Day! *woo hoooooooo...*

As K says, "Those mother's days where the kids make you pancakes apparently take a while to show up."

The question became, how to orchestrate clean up. I mean, who or what do I address first? Get myself dry while Bean cries? Get Bean dry while my jeans slowly adhere themselves to my thighs? Wipe up the desk and floor before the sticky sugar-cereal uber-milk spreads itself into the nooks and crannies of my laptop? (This is an exaggeration, thank goodness the milk came nowhere near my computer.) Is there any efficient way to get it all done and still make it to church, albeit late?

The sticky clothes had to go first, so imagine (or not) me performing the rest of the clean up essentially in my underwear. I rediapered Bean-butt, and even put him in a cute onesie and overalls outfit in the hopes that late church was still in the cards. But he whined and fussed and cantankered through the whole process, so I just put him back to bed. And yes, cranky pants went back to sleep...eventually.

Then I started laundry, wiped down the desk, gathered the fallen Fruity O's, moved my computer mat outside to dry, took a shower, and redressed myself. I'm not looking for snaps or pats on the back for this - it's what anyone would do, right? But here is what I thought as I did it (and they are essentially the same realization):

1) I'm a better parent when I have Papa Bean around to lean on. Tag team. Coordinate. Share the load.

2) I. don't. know. how single parents do this.

So the start of my Mother's Day basically made me realize how much I appreciate and love my husband. Which was a pretty good start to the day actually. It makes me happy to celebrate our partnership and be grateful for him. For one thing, I wouldn't be a mother without him. And I wouldn't be the mother I am without his support. So, yeah, it was a good first Mother's Day. I'm sure that's what Bean had in mind all along, right? Right? Little stinker...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mama Bean is a baby-related liquid manager - Volume 1: Starting fluids

I call myself The Fluid Wrangler. I see myself as a giant walking sponge, dispensing, diverting, disposing of various bodily liquids at every turn. It's practically All I Do. I thought I could just write a little post about it all, but I have now determined it will take weeks to describe it all. What a grand adventure! I know, we're all pumped...

The very creation of a baby starts with fluids. I was going to call this Volume 1: Sex or Volume 1: Seminal Fluids (haha seminal...) but then I realized what sort of Google traffic that might bring and thought better of it. But seriously, when I became awash in baby fluids during those Delirious Early Days, and pondered my new Wrangler status, I did have to laugh when I realized we'd been "wrangling" baby-related fluids from the get go.

Despite understanding the concept of semen since Grade 4 sex ed, it was still surprising in a fairly disturbing way to discover sex is messy. Like, there's fluids involved. Sticky, mucus-y, impossible-to-clean-in-any-sort-of-easy-way fluids. (Ack! Why am I writing this? My brother reads this blog. Gah! But but but I just feel like any complete list of mommy-relevant fluid management responsibilities must begin with this important, y'know, Beginning.) This state of affairs has created this tiny, pragmatic voice at the back of my head whenever together time is considered, particularly as it pertains to venue. Throwback-to-our-reckless-youth In-the-car-style Passion? Tiny voice questions if we'll be able to get that out of the seats. Run-of-the-mill On-the-bed-style Lovings? Tiny voice wonders when the sheets are due for laundry. (I don't know.) Ever-so-steamy In-the-shower Intimacies? Tiny voice: "Perr-fect."

Frankly, the stickiness of sex is a strong argument for abstinence to me, but I am admittedly squiggy about this (see tiny pragmatic voice above...) I'm just saying maybe we should be honest about this with our youth and young ones. It's about the Birds and the Bees and the Clean Up. I remember this rhetoric growing up that you shouldn't have sex until you're emotionally ready, whatever that means. You were supposed to be ready to talk with your partner about your feelings and all that. But I say, you have to be ready to talk with your partner about wiping up semen. Ready to do so maturely, and with a substantial amount of good humour. If you can't do that, you are not ready.

In all seriousness, management of these particular fluids is an integral part of parenthood for all couples, most painfully for those struggling through infertility, which is a HUGE issue - something like 1 out of 8 couples, right? The costs of this Fluid Wrangling - emotional, financial, marital - are enormous. Which underscores the enormous silver lining of the whole sticky mess, that is, that out of that mess come babies.

And out of those babies come, well... that's for next week ;)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mama Bean blames That Smell on Bean. Not beans. The baby...

Bean farts quite a bit, so most of the time, That Smell really is his fault. But you know, adults fart, too. Less audibly, perhaps, but more stink-ily. But it doesn't matter anymore, because whatever the smell, wherever we are, whoever may be around, that smell is now automatically blamed on the baby.

It's like a reflex. "What's that sm-" "It'sthebaby. Drop it. [whispering] Don't embarrass him..."

It's just easier this way.

Easier for our marriage. Easier for our friends and family. Easier. for. me.

I've often wanted to admit this on facebook - "Mama Bean just blamed a stinky fart on Bean, but it was really her. teehee" Except that's not anything people on facebook want to read. So I'm putting it here instead.

Of course, now that the truth is out, it won't be as convincing when I divert the blame. We'll have to get a dog or something (hint hint.) Well, and eventually we'll teach Bean to blame that smell on a sibling. A male sibling. It's just uncouth to blame it on a sister. My brothers never blamed farts on me. (Silly them...they were mine teehee. Again, nothing I would broadcast over facebook.)

Bean is neither physiologically able to control his farts, nor verbal enough to defend himself against my false accusations. Even when he is both sphincterly and verbally able to assert his autonomy, I will still blame That Smell on him. I can do that, I am The Mother.

Ultimately, Papa Bean will get old, and all farts and burps - gaseous emissions in general will be attributed to him. I don't remember a time in my childhood when my dad was not The Default Farter. In fact, I think this encouraged him to become less discreet about his emissions, because really, if you're going to get blamed for them anyway, you might as well fully claim the ones that are, indeed, yours. Papa Bean's a little prissy about his gases right now, but I trust age and repeated accusations will mellow him in this regard. He will accept his fatherly role as The Default Farter with grace and forbearance.

I have to consider these things in advance. It will not bode well if I have no one to blame That Smell on. Because, people, That Smell is always my fault.

Shhh...don't tell anyone. And if anyone was Bean.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mama Bean has been poking around the blogging vaults

Elizabeth Esther is being open and honest and frank about her depression. Her post reminded me of something I wrote a few years ago when I was walking through a period of "deadpression." I'm re-posting it here as an invitation to join the conversation. Mental illness is a common reality, for both genders. The unique issues of being a woman and being a mother while living through an emotional disorder deserve discussion. (Holy unintentional alliteration...) Not all mothers have access to a positive, supporting community in their offline lives, which makes online access a real blessing. Please consider heading over to Elizabeth's blog and giving her some virtual-ized love. Here's my post from April, 2005:
I am tired of this, too, you know. I am more tired than I thought possible. I am tired of living this way. I am tired of sharing tiny parts, being factual, showing photographs, moments of sadness frozen in two-dimension. I cannot keep hoping this will serve as the appropriate invitation, taht you can choose to then enter, choose to then be involved, choose to come see my growing despair. It is not working, I have come to a place of nudity.

I am broken. The word "sad" does not even begin to describe. It is a disservice to the millions who suffer from it, let alone my own emotions, to call it sadness. Even depression cannot begin to capture. And I am so tired of it. I am so tired of trying to romanticize it, as though I enjoy this separated reality. Enjoy sitting on my couch, the mechanical buzz of fridge and dehumidifier, furnace and fish tank, so totally incongruent with the moving, bright, active world I can see outside. The wind blowing the tress, the cars scaling the hill, the people walking to school. The separation is constant; even when I walk out into that wind, scale that same hill to teach my class in a few minutes, there will still be the buzz of my mind, the incessant swirl of insecurities, the emptiness of my heart.

It's not that I can't function. It's not that I don't have As in all my classes, or eat the same food, or wear the same things. It is none of these things, and yet all of these things that are affected. I will smile and laugh through a day. I will experience conquest, success, achievement. But it is all edged with desperation, tinged with imperfection. You ask me, do you know what you are looking for? If I did, wouldn't there be some purpose to the pain, some direction to my days?

I am tired of waiting in this tower for rescue. There is no one coming. The crux of the problem, the rub, is that very exhaustion. I have no fight to want to get out of here. No energy to resist. No hope of resolution. I am simply tired."
And some further thoughts from a relapse in April, 2006:
I'm climbing my way out of a depressive episode. It was slightly sub-major, and it was an episode, and it has passed. One of the most depressing things about depression is the prognosis of the disorder. Once you have one episode, you'll more than likely have another, and once you're had two, you'll basically be having them for life. And while I may have only sought treatment for the episode a year ago, which was arguably the worst ever, I'm pretty sure it followed a long line stretching back to early adolescence. So I should have been more wary, more careful, more aware.

It is part of the sickness that the depressed state holds a certain seductive power. It is alluring, attractive. It is easy to remember how easy it is to feel bad. It is soft and comforting, this nostalgia for the quiet of living behind that emotional shield. Of retreating again, and holding the world at arm's length, the frosted pane of distorted perception protecting me. Isolation dulls the edges, quiets the noise of activity and people and conflicts and emotions and, yes, even the joy, in the most delicious silken way. I can taste depression, like dark chocolate, and after a bad day, or stretch of bad days, there is nothing I want more.

Mama Bean is not domesticated

My mother is very good at keeping house. When I was growing up, she did it all while working full-time. I don't know how. I inherited none of her talents, it seems.

Granted, I am a youngest child, only daughter after two much older brothers. I was/am a Spoiled Princess who didn't do chores. Take it up with my brothers, I'm sure they'd love to tell you aaaaaall about it. They were quite active domestically, splitting their efforts between outdoor chores (mowing, shoveling, raking) and indoor (vacuuming, dishes, bathrooms). Mom did everything else: cooking, laundry, gardening, washing/cleaning, floors, etc. And etc. Plus paying bills and balancing the books. Et. Cet. Era.

She must have kept track of it all in some sort of mental household calendar, because she just seemed to know innately when it was time to do such and such activity. It was all a mystery to me. For example, when I moved out, I had no idea how often I was supposed to wash my towels or sheets. (How often are you supposed to wash your towels and sheets?) (Yes, Aunt Leila, I've read your worksheets. Thank-you.)

My mom took the time to make hot breakfast for my brothers. Well, the oatmeal would be hot at 6 am when she cooked it before heading on her one hour public transit commute to work. Then it would sit in the pot and congeal until my brothers woke up to eat it. We like to joke about how traumatizing it was, oat-jelly molded to the pot, enough that the boys didn't like oatmeal well into adulthood. But, seriously, she could have left them to pour cereal and milk in a bowl, so, jokes aside, it was pretty awesome of her. (What about my breakfasts? Well, I woke up and ate with my dad, who would drive me to my sitter's house on his way to his work. Due to a peculiar obsession with my regularity, I had to eat oat bran. Every day. No sugar. This was truly traumatizing; I envied my brothers their oatmeal blobs. Moving on...)

I used to do my own laundry, sporadically, sometimes, if my mom didn't get frustrated with the mountain of clothes on my floor and did it for me first. As a consequence of my inconsistent performance, I used to wear a lot of stuff more than once (or twice or seven times or until it was crusty with dirt and sweat...) before washing it. Frankly, I'm amazed I had any friends. Clearly, I am not fit for domestic consumption.

But I want to be. I mean, I'm never going to be Martha Stewart, but I can be something reasonable, something Clean and Reasonable and Friendly. I can be something my children one day describe on their blogs as pretty good at keeping house, right?

This is why I took up baking. Baking feels very home-maker-y. I wear an apron. Doesn't that toooootally make sense? Yup. If I feed them enough cookies, they won't notice their sheets were only cleaned twice a year...

I will not succeed if I rely on a magical mental chore list. My brain doesn't work this way. I need a written out, detailed and precise Household Activity Roster. I need it to no longer be written in non-permanent marker on my mirror, and instead on hard copy paper, somewhere prominent and readily consulted for direction on What To Do Next. I need to be creating this paper version instead of blogging about it...

What chores do you do Each and Every Day? I've listed dishes, and an evening tidy up. And we don't even do this. We do dishes when they've covered all the available counter space. We tidy up when people other than the people who actually live in this house are coming to this house, imminently, in the next fifteen minutes, say. Otherwise, our only daily activities seem to be creating mess - making laundry, making dishes, making objects that at some later time will require restoration to a once again usable state.

My Activity Roster is divided into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. I did not include essential duties like changing diapers, or feeding Bean and ourselves. These are things that must happen in the moment they must happen. I think of chores as things that must happen when I find an appropriate chunk of time to perform them. For example, a bowl of cereal gets spilled, it must be cleaned up right away. This is not a chore, it's just a necessity, and you drop other activities in order to complete it. But washing the kitchen floor, that's a chore. It doesn't have to happen right now (except it kind of does need to happen right now, because it's dusty and sticky...) but it does have to happen Eventually and with Regularity.

Anyway, this is not ground breaking stuff to anyone but me, because I am domestically inept. But I'm working on it, so I feel the need to write it down :P Maybe in a month, I'll evaluate how well the experiment is going. Or, maybe I'll just go make some more cookies...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mama Bean plays well with others

Elizabeth Esther hosts this blogging party called the Saturday Evening Blog Post. Other bloggers are invited to share their favourite post from the past month (or two). Please feel free to head to her site and join the fun! I linked to this post about the Trials and Tribulations of finding appropriate nursing apparel.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mama Bean posts links on Friday - April 30, 2010

I thought I went all crazy with the links last week, but I didn't at all. I just went crazy one day, because I had been largely away from my computer during my parents' visit. So, here's what I came up with...

- It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that my position on the Christian spectrum is on the progressive side of things. That being said, I'm conscientious that my blogging on the subject not be exceedingly polarizing, because...I don't know. I want to be Switzerland. My participation in the online Christian community is fairly broad and varied. I read people that live in other areas of the spectrum, when they have reasonable, intelligent, love- and grace-filled things to say, even if I disagree with them (on doctrinal issues, etc.) We agree on fundamentals, y'know? (I don't go crazy. I don't read things that are just going to piss me off, b/c my internet time is precious, not to be wasted on unnecessary anger.) But I often approach those sites that are a little removed from me with my defenses up, expecting to disagree, anticipating at least an internal argument to satisfy myself. John Piper is someone I approach this way. And consistently he presents a biblical, persuasive position that I agree with. It's enough to make me question my position on the spectrum, or at least try on hats from other points of view... This is an example. I'm always frustrated with pat(ronizing) answers along the lines of, "We're just little humans who cannot understand, so we shouldn't trouble out little heads about it." Because, let's face it, things do trouble us, our hearts and our little human minds. Somehow, when Piper says, "We're working with infinite realities that our brains are not capable of managing on our own" I don't have that knee jerk frustration. When he follows it with, "You can't learn one truth from God and then manage it with your brain" I don't get any sense of being patronized. The rest rings true; "You have to constantly submit every thought that you have about God to other thoughts about God so that God manages your brain. Otherwise you will take a truth and distort it in some sinful way." This is important for me to remember, because I can so easily get caught up in blogs, and tweets, and status updates, and forget to "be thoroughly biblical. Test everything by the Bible." It is good for me to find places, online or off, who remind me of these things, from whatever their position on the spectrum. (Huh, I probably coulda made that its own post...)

- Of the variety of Christian content available on the internet, I think I am most pleased with the new space for Christian humour and satire. These types of conversations were a little more suppressed before the web came along, at least as I perceived it, growing up with the internet being fairly new and then exploding during my key developmental years (i.e. adolescence and early adulthood.) Here's an example. It's funny, without being cruel, or un-Christlike. Plus, after posting it on fbook, I was prompted by Scott to learn more about Mars Hill, both Mark Driscoll's, and Rob Bell's. Good times.

- After an internet hiatus, I can always trust to welcome me back to the World Wide Wacky with fun, viral blurbs and videos. Here's a video of a magician appearing to sit on thin air, for an airline promotion of how comfy their seats are. A little research reveals, as Demetrio pointed out on fbook, that there are metal rods built into the legs of his clothing, supporting a small plate under his butt, and another support going up the back of his shirt, no doubt. But it's fun just to imagine he's floating :) Here's a website that will convert any URL into a site programmed during the early 90s. If you ever had a geocities page, this little trick will bring back many fond memories. Here's a series of pictures of gummi bear surgery. All the cool kids did things like this to their gummies, and I trust you will all appreciate the intricacy of execution involved here. (Click on the pic to embiggen it.) Finally, here's a video of the Best Salesman Ever demonstrating the drumming capabilities of a cute little keyboard. As he says so succintly, this IS Rock 'n' Roll.

- Interesting news from PepsiCo that they've changed the crystalline structure of salt. Chemistry is crazee, y'all! I *heart* it :P Apparently, we eat salty snacks so fast, the salt doesn't have time to dissolve quickly enough for us to actually taste it, so a bunch of the salt hits our stomach untasted, and thus unnecessary. This new salt dissolves quicker, so we taste it more fully, so they can use less of it, without changing the overall flavour of the snacks. Cool beans! Brother D tried to incite a fbook protest against GE foods, but I had to remind him salt doesn't have genes, so they can't be engineered. It's just little ions that can be reorganized for more tastiness - huzzah!

- I can't even remember what bloggity trail I followed to this site, but I'm so tickled by the find. It's a site selling cloth diaper components, so you can sew your own. If I ever figure out how to use a sewing machine, maybe I can make my own diapers, if we ever need more than the set we've got. (Although that seems unlikely. Both that I'll learn how to sew or that our current supply will become insufficient.)

- Here's a satirical take on the typical Academy Award winning movie. Genius.

- We've got a weekend of rain ahead for the Prairie Valley. Given the valley's tendency to flood, sometimes days of precipitation like this makes the residents squirrel-y. However, the winter was light on snow, the thaw was reasonable, and the rivers didn't trespass too badly past their banks. April was gorgeous and sunny and dry. Almost dusty. Allergies have been acting up every which way. So the rain is quite welcome. We took a chance on this delicious tea at the supermarket today; Tetley Green Tea with Lychee and Pear (decaf, for the nursing mama.) I plan to enjoy it all weekend loooooong...