August 28, 2010

Pierced Ears

A fun thing happened today. I have been waiting and WAITING for Elizabeth to want to have her ears pierced so that I could make her wait until she turned 5, but her 5th birthday came and went and she's been uninterested in earrings. But today we were at the mall and I saw a little girl getting her ears pierced and I said to Elizabeth, "Do you think you will ever want to get your ears pierced?" and she said "YES! When can I? Can it be TODAY?" I said I thought we should wait, mostly because I thought it would be fun to talk about it more, and also because I wanted to have my camera with me---but she was DETERMINED to have it done NOW. She is a lot like Rob, and both she and Rob tend to be good with decisions but if they wait too long they start thinking "Uhhhh....." and not wanting to do it, so we talked for a few more minutes and then I brought her to a piercing kiosk and we DID IT.

It was SO FUN. There have been these MOMENTS in parenting when I think "This is FUN!": buying baby clothes for a new baby, Rob losing his first tooth, etc., and this was another of those moments. I let her choose her own earrings, and she chose pink hearts. I chose a kiosk where I've seen two employees working together to pierce both ears simultaneously. I'd expected Elizabeth to shriek, because that is what she does if she ALMOST stubs a toe, but she said "Ouch" and that was it. They gave her a lollipop, and as we left the booth she said, "I'm lucky AND brave!"

This is SO FUN.

August 27, 2010


1. We have named the kitten. Her name is Chicken Feather (Mrs.). Both words are pronounced as nouns, rather than as an adjective and a noun; i.e., it's not CHICKENfeather, it's CHICK-ken FEATH-ther. This name came about because I wanted to name her Feather (for her plumey tail), and Paul wanted to name her Mrs. Feather (which is odd while she's a kitten, but we think she will grow into it), and the children wanted to name her Chicken (Henry's idea) and then I wanted to name her Chicken too. So! It's Chicken, or Feather, or Mrs. Feather. Or "The Kitten."

2. Rob has acquired a second goldfish. It's a grey one. Neither fish has a name yet, and when I told him I was posting this he said "Can you ask them for suggestions?" They are settling in well, and we are learning about The Nitrogen Cycle. I realize measurement of goldfish happiness is more art than science, but the first fish is now swimming perkily around instead of moping fearfully behind his/her plants, so I consider Goldfish Two a success. I tried to get a picture of him/her, but you know what's hard to photograph? FISH, that's what.

3. If you were following my silly flustering on Twitter, when Paul and I had a night out on Tuesday and I changed clothes about twelve times? I decided on a similar outfit to the one I wore to that Christmas party I was so nervous about this past Christmas. I wore dark boot-cut jeans, a black cami, a dark pink button down with several buttons unbuttoned, little fancy black sandals, and a necklace on a black ribbon. I finally felt dressed right, so apparently that is my outfit for Times of Uncertainty.

4. I'm not pregnant, and I was glad. I never thought I'd feel that feeling. When the twins were 6 months old I had a pregnancy "scare," and I was very disappointed when I turned out not to be. Just to demonstrate the depth and duration of this problem.

August 25, 2010

Cord Blood Banking

My cousin and his wife are expecting a baby, and they asked friends and family to enter to win a free cord-blood banking---and if any of us WON and didn't need it ourselves, to let them have it. I was hoping it wasn't going to ask for a lot of personal information, and it didn't: email address, plus they wanted me to say if I were expecting a baby myself or if it was that I knew someone who was expecting. Then they suggest you view some information material, but I just clicked the "continue" button at the bottom without doing any viewing. Took about a minute, tops, for the whole process. Maybe more like 30 seconds.

So! If YOU are expecting, or you know someone expecting, you can enter too! And if you enter and win but don't have anyone to give it to, and you want to give it to my cousin and his wife, I would send you SUCH a kissy care package! ...Er, not that the package would be adequate compensation for such a selfless act. I'm just saying that if you DID, then I WOULD, and it would be like how if you give to St. Jude's they sometimes send you free address labels and that's kind of happy on top of the happy feeling of giving to charity. Like THAT. PLUS, even ENTERING to win would qualify as something for the Nice Things We Do For Other People list.

Enter to win a free cord-blood banking.

August 24, 2010

New Member of the Household

We have a new member of our household:

The fish is Rob's: he wanted a pet of his own, and this is the one at the happy intersection of "he could afford it" and "we would allow it." We went out yesterday and he bought it. He had to pay for the fish, the gravel, the food, the plant, and a portion of the tank equivalent to the price of a fish bowl; I paid for the rest of the tank.

I had several goldfish when I was his age, and I kept them in a bowl. No filter. No water conditioner: I left the replacement bowl water out overnight to get rid of the chlorine. No weekly water testing. May I suggest you not say such things to a fish expert? We bought a 2.5-gallon tank and she said we could keep (a) MAYBE (b) ONE (c) SMALL goldfish in there, and that we would need a filter and water conditioner and a test kit. We got the filter (because it was part of the tank we chose, which was half-price because it was the display model) but neither the water conditioner nor the test kit. Then I went back and bought the water conditioner because rrrrrgg, but not the test kit! I draw the line!

Perhaps this is why he's sulking? Because this is all he's doing: he's not doing much swimming, he's just sort of hovering in the water. Sometimes he looks at his reflection for awhile. I seem to remember my goldfish being more active, but maybe that's because they were endlessly surprised by each other's existence. Not exceptionally bright, are goldfish.

Rob thinks maybe he should have gotten gravel instead of stones: he read that goldfish like to dig around in the gravel. I wonder if maybe the fish needs another fish, despite the fish expert saying we would need a TEN-gallon tank for two goldfish (DECLINE). We also think he dislikes the tank light: when we turn it off, he swims around more, and when we turn it back on he retreats to the shadowy end of the tank.

You cannot imagine how much time we have spent trying to figure out this goldfish's FEELINGS and PREFERENCES.

August 21, 2010


I had to scroll back through a LOT of posts to find the one I was thinking of, the one where I told you Paul and I weren't going to have any more babies and I was not, in fact, okay with that.

It seems like that sort of thing could stand to have an update, and so I will update now: that in August of 2010, close to two years later, I feel like I might be okay with that. Maybe MORE than okay with that. Maybe ready for Paul to make an appointment to have The Snip.

This has not been an easy or simple process. I fully realize how krazykakes it seems for a woman with five children to be having a HARD TIME NOT HAVING A SIXTH, especially in a world bursting with women who would kill their own mothers to have a first. I know, I KNOW---I mean, as far as it is possible for me to know, which is admittedly insufficiently far. But what I'm saying is that I know enough to cringe when I talk about it, because I can at least IMAGINE how it would sound to someone who had none, or one, or anyone who had not as many as they wanted but fewer than five---and I can only hope that the feeling of "wanting a child" is strong enough and clear enough that we can empathize with each other over THAT, even if it feels like I'm the woman sitting on a pile of gold and whining for another bag of coins, while other women are sitting on the bare, coinless floor. Or some other analogy that makes more sense.


The first stage---a long one---involved having tears spring to my eyes any time I thought of it, which was many times a day. I felt as if the sixth child already existed, but that I was not being allowed to take that child home. I felt desperate, like I had to convince Paul not to let our child be LOST, or something. A person's LIFE was at stake, and Paul's whim was KILLING IT. Like that.

The second stage---even longer---involved feeling like I UNDERSTOOD that we PROBABLY would not have any more children, and that I SHOULD be content with what I had---but I still HOPED Paul would change his mind, and I still thought he SHOULD change his mind, and I still felt like it was wrong that he would get to make this decision when really it wouldn't be that big a deal to have just one more.

The third stage involved feeling as if there might be SOME upsides to not having another. It WAS kind of nice to be able to get rid of the clothes Henry outgrew, rather than storing them. It WAS kind of nice to be able to buy a 5-opening frame and put the five newborn pictures in it, without thinking about having to start all over if there was another child. It WAS kind of nice to all fit in a 7-seater minivan. It WAS kind of nice to see the caboose on things such as playpens, choking hazards, and potty training. But if Paul changed his mind, I'd still go with it because I'd rather regret having than regret not-having.

And the fourth stage has just begun: a feeling that, actually, even if Paul changed his mind, I might not want another child at this point. A feeling that things might be good the way they are. A disinclination to start over again. A feeling of fear about accidental pregnancy, rather than a feeling of hope. A feeling that five might already be plenty to handle. A willingness to consider Permanent Options. A feeling of gladness to have the "they're all in school" moment visible on the timeline ahead. A willingness to look forward to grandchildren instead of children of my own.

So. I realize that this schedule might be wildly different from person to person, and that ALREADY HAVING FIVE CHILDREN certainly factors into it, but that's been my schedule: desperation, unhappy resignation, seeing an upside, and, finally, possible contentment. (I think if I had one child, or two, I probably would have stayed in unhappy resignation with occasional seeing an upside.)

I'm posting this in part because I think it's unwise to send Paul to the doctor on what could be a passing mood, and I want to be sure I know how much time has passed since I started feeling like it might be nice to be done with birth control and babies.

(Do we predict an accidental pregnancy this month, or what?)

August 20, 2010

Dear Miss Manners

My self-centered father-in-law, who has been on the ever-fascinating journey of Learning About Himself for at LEAST thirty years now and who calls every year or two to explain how all the crappy/negligent ways he's acted as a father and grandfather are totally not his fault---says he's going to call us in half an hour. These calls---mercifully infrequent---are filled with long pauses I have to fill or else he'll get progressively more morose and sulky, and long, college-student-like, self-awed explanations for why other people are to blame for his dissatisfying life, and Amazing Insights into why he is the way he is, and weird paranoid remarks about the things he thinks people are saying about him, and all the admiring things he claims his therapist says about him, and all the ways in which he continues to be a Student of the Universe.

The question is: What would Miss Manners say was the correct amount of alcohol to consume before the phone rings? I realize this is not her usual m├ętier, but I think of her---and you---as someone I can turn to for ALL THINGS.

What Happened After What Happened After the Brownies

Well, and now there are requests for a part three to follow part two, but...there's not much. Paul is the one who made the calls to our parents, and I was asleep: not only had we been up most of the night, but I had a post-surgery itchiness reaction to the anesthetic and got a nice big dose of benadryl in my IV. My mom answered the phone and was VERY SURPRISED that the baby had been born, and she told me later she was SO RELIEVED to not have to fret all through the labor (she had a very bad first labor and had been fretful all through my pregnancy). Paul's mother wanted him to start making calls to a bunch of other people, which we thought should be HER job. Paul couldn't get his dad and so left a message on his machine, and we didn't hear anything from him until he called three weeks later with a lot of dumb excuses about why he was so late acknowledging the birth of his first grandchild and wanting me to comfort him about how it was okay and not his fault and so on (YES I AM STILL MAD).

I do remember my grandparents called later that day. We'd named the baby after my grandpa, and I KNEW he'd be pleased and had been looking forward the whole pregnancy to having him know, and he was INDEED VERY PLEASED. He choked up a little on the phone, and my grandma was on the other line and she said something like, "Boy, you sure made your grandpa happy!"

To backtrack a little, when I was still in Recovery, my OB came in to talk to me. This paragraph will contain some medical stuff, not too gross but it involves A UTERUS, so if you're squeamish you can skip to the next paragraph. She said that after she'd made the horizontal incision, my uterus tore diagonally up from one end of the incision, so now the opening was two sides of a triangle instead of one small straight line. The uterus is...not supposed to do that. She said the uterine wall was very thin and fragile, and that if I decided to have more children I should be aware of the increased chance of uterine rupture during pregnancy (fatal to both mother and child if not immediately handled, and in the best case scenario involving an emergency hysterectomy), and that I should have c-sections: she thought the thin uterine wall (and the weird triangular scar, where it would be weaker) could probably withstand a pregnancy, but not labor contractions.

Hearing I'd have c-sections for all future pregnancies, I felt two things: one, a twinge of weird/sad "So, I'm never going to..."----like when I realized I was really NOT going to go to medical school or be a trial lawyer. It's not that I wanted to go to medical school or be a trial lawyer, but it's weird to realize that it's an experience I'm not going to have, along with many other experiences I'm not going to have. And the rest of it was a FLOOD of relief: NEVER going through the labor part again, ONLY going through the c-section part, WHEW WHEW OH NOW I CAN LOOK FORWARD TO THE NEXT BABY INSTEAD OF DREADING IT!

So, with all the other babies, our families knew when the c-section was scheduled. For the second one, my mother-in-law sent an email AFTER WE'D LEFT FOR THE HOSPITAL, with a list of people she wanted us to call after the baby was born. I'm really glad I didn't see that until we were home from the hospital, because we had already been really clear that our plan was to call both sets of parents and that's it.

Bringing the baby home was exactly as weird as everyone always says it is: there's that much-documented feeling of "Seriously? You're just letting us...take this baby home with us? You're not sending a nurse with us to make sure we do it right? OMG WHAT IF WE DON'T DO IT RIGHT??" We were nervous driving, and I remember we got home and we put the baby's car seat on the floor and then it was like "...Now what?" There's the familiar house with all the familiar things, but now there is a BABY in it, and presumably this baby is going to NEED THINGS, and REGULARLY, and now there is no nurse coming in to make sure he's been fed and changed enough, and now there is laundry and meals and dishes to deal with instead of just the baby and a perfectly clean hospital room. And where will I sit to nurse him? I don't know what most new mothers do in the face of this, but what I did was take a narcotic pain killer and a nap.

August 19, 2010

What Happened After the Brownies

Rah commented on my Brownies = Labor post, saying "Okay now please tell us the rest of the story, about when Paul finally came home and when you eventually went to the hospital, and how it turned from water breaking into a C-section."


Let's see. I called the OB's office as soon as it opened, and no one got back to me for AN HOUR AND A HALF. I was a little cranky about this, but because I STILL wasn't having much in the way of contractions, and because at the time we lived about a 5-minute drive from the hospital and there was a bus that went practically from our front door right to the hospital every 20 minutes, I was more THEORETICALLY annoyed than actually annoyed---and plus, I was eager to know what the next step would be. It turned out to be "going to Labor & Delivery to see if your water really broke or if you've just been steadily peeing your pants for the last four and a half hours."

But---Paul had the car. And he wasn't back yet. (Time check: it was 10:30 a.m., about 4 hours after he'd left for the office, with a 1.5-hour commute.) I called him at work and he said he'd leave in another hour and a half. Three hours later we were at L&D---and indeed, my water really had broken. I was still barely feeling the contractions, which were about every two and a half minutes according to the L&D machine. But no dilation and no effacement, so they sent me home and said to come back either when the contractions got more serious or at 6:00 p.m. (12 hours after my water broke), whichever was earlier.

As we were leaving, we heard someone calling us and it was one of the other couples from our childbirth class: she'd had her baby the day before. (Of the six couples in our class, FIVE had their babies before the last class.) I was VERY ENVIOUS, because she was already DONE.

At 3:30 p.m., my contractions finally started hurting. (This is now 9.5 hours after my water broke.) I kept a journal, so I have here my description of what they were like at this point: "I can't 'relax into them.' They HURT. They give me a feeling of needing to get away. They feel as if you're sitting on your leg in a way that's going to tear it out of the socket if you don't move right away---but there isn't any way to move." So. Several hours of that, and then it was 6:00 p.m. and we went to the hospital and checked in. I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced.

Next, seven hours of the new experience of laboring in a hospital, not really knowing what to do or what to expect. I tried the tub; I tried fentanyl (it didn't do anything for the pain but it stopped me caring about it), I tried walking, I tried changing positions, I tried breathing, I tried focal objects, I tried the labor ball, I tried the rocking chair. I felt like I was sampling at the cafeteria of labor options and that nothing was really working any better than anything else---but the fact of having things to try was distracting and helpful.

At 1:00 in the morning (this is now 19 hours after my water broke), I was at 4cm and I got an epidural. My blood pressure went very low (I wrote down "70s over 40s") and I threw up and then got a shot of something (ephedrine?) that helped bring my blood pressure back up, and then I had my own nurse sitting in the room with me and I had a blood pressure monitor checking me every few minutes automatically. I felt great: no more pain, and I even drowsed.

This is where I am not quite sure what happened, but the GIST is that my cervix was swelling as it dilated, which was giving us crazy dilation measurements: for example, I got to 6cm, but then "went back" (not really, but the swelling made it like that) to 5cm. At 9cm, it had been just over 24 hours since my water had broken, so the OB said the next step was either pushing or c-section. She came back two hours later and I was at 6cm, so they prepped me for a c-section and the baby was born 28 hours after my water broke.

They had the baby station right near my head so I could look at him right after he was born. I remember he was such a surprise to me: I'd expected him to look FAMILIAR or something, like MY BABY, but he didn't look familiar AT ALL. I was glad I saw him right after, or I might have worried he wasn't mine!

You know what the most stressful part of the c-section was for me? When they were wheeling me to the operating room and I was watching the fluorescent lights go by over my head. HOW MANY movies and TV shows have shown that exact from-the-bed angle, with nurses leaning in and the lights flicking by overhead and the bed passing other medical people in the hallway? So it made me feel like I was in a dramatic movie/show, and that made me stressy and upset. But once the table was in the OR everything was okay.

I remember being in Recovery and I wasn't even eager to see the baby yet, I was so busy feeling TREMENDOUSLY HAPPY AND RELIEVED that I wasn't pregnant anymore and that the labor part was DONE. And I felt content to enjoy the anticipation of seeing the baby, and also I was busy eating delicious, delicious ice chips as often as the nurse would let me have them. I also felt very excited because we were going to call our parents and they were going to be SO SURPRISED that the baby was HERE: we hadn't told them our plan to NOT call during labor, and this was still two full weeks before my due date.

August 18, 2010

Current Giveaways on the Review Blog

I have THREE reviews with giveaways running right now, and as I mentioned before it's part of my review agreement to link to them here, so here's what there is:

1. The Just My Size clothing review, in which I photograph myself in the fitting room in spite of a scolding from a store manager. This one has a $500 giveaway, and you leave a comment telling me how cute I am (or how cute the clothes are, whatevs). What's weird is that when I did a review with a $200 giveaway there were 617 entries---but on the $500 giveaway, it's at 373. My guess is Review Fatigue.

2. The second of twelve Kellogg's posts, with a $100 prize. This week you leave a comment about summer fun.

3. Today's new review, about Juicy Juice---which, as it turns out, is in fact made of JUICE. (I'd thought the name "Juicy Juice" made it sound suspiciously like it WASN'T really juice.) This one has a giveaway of $100 plus a juice prize basket, and you leave a comment about your favorite kind of juice.

August 17, 2010

Brownies = Labor

This past weekend I was making brownies to bring with me to see my brother and my sister-in-law and my sister-in-law's sister and my niece---and boy do I love being able to say that! It is so nice having them close enough that I can be all, "Oh, yeah, just driving over to see them this afternoon!"

Anyway, so I was making brownies, and EVERY TIME I make brownies I think about being in labor with my firstborn. The day before he was born, I woke up and my water broke. Paul went to work anyway, because it was 2 weeks and a day before the due date and everyone had been "FIRST BABIES ARE LATE!!" and so he had some work project he really felt like he needed to wrap up before taking 2 weeks off. (My feeling, by the way, is that he was also panicking.)

I was only having tiny twinges, not even anything I'd call a contraction, so I put a couple of dishtowels in my pants and puttered around, tidying up and putting the last few things in my hospital bag, and changing my towels repeatedly and doing laundry so I'd have more towels. It was still a few more hours before the OB's office would be open (I could have had her paged, but it didn't seem like there was any reason to), so I thought I'd put together some food for Paul to eat at the hospital. I made sandwiches and packed baby carrots and granola bars, and that's when I decided to make brownies.

The whole time I was making them, I was in this DAZE of "OMG BABY COMING! OMG BABY COMING!" And I was SO happy and relieved, because labor had started in the EXACT way I wanted it to: I'd been very nervous about false labor and false alarms and going "Should we call? I don't know. No, don't call. But maybe we should?," but when your water breaks you are IN LABOR and no one has to ask you questions about whether you know about Braxton-Hicks contractions. (Although, as it turns out they DO ask you if maybe you actually peed your pants, but then I could say "Not unless my bladder is large enough to soak all the towels we have in the house.")

Also, I was so glad to have some time to THINK and PUTTER: no rushing off, plenty of time to put out extra cat food for the cats, and buy that day's newspaper (we had a newspaper machine in our apartment parking lot---I didn't, like, go to the STORE with towels stuffed in my pants) (and also, it turned out to be useless since the baby wasn't born until the next day), to shower and wash my hair and shave my legs.

And I was almost GIDDY about being on the early end of normal instead of the late end. And that I had bought the car seat THE DAY BEFORE. And that now we were going to miss our last two childbirth classes (bad weather had caused several to be delayed) (one of the classes we missed was on c-sections, which I ended up having, so that was too bad but I don't think a class would have been much help anyway).

There wasn't anyone to call, because we'd decided not to let anyone know anything was happening until the baby had arrived. (We didn't want people visiting or fretting or, in the case of my mother-in-law, getting miffed because we weren't calling often enough with updates on how things were going.) So to me it felt like entering this sealed CHAMBER of labor: it has begun, and it won't end until a baby is born, and everyone we know thinks I'm going about my usual day but it is NOT USUAL AT ALL!

Since I was making brownies while in this happy daze, it's gotten completely linked: every time I make brownies I remember the happiest part of labor.

August 13, 2010

Nice Things We Do For Other People

I donated blood yesterday, which is something I used to do all the time, and then I got pregnant (pregnant women can't donate blood), and then I just completely got out of the habit. And when I'm out of the habit, it feels impossible to get back IN the habit. But I went back in time and made it one of my New Year's Resolutions, and once I get back into the system it's easy: I just mark my calendar every 8 weeks and go do it (and if I forget they are SURE TO REMIND ME), and it's a happy sort of thing to do and makes me feel happy, and the people there praise me and give me pizza and brownies, and I get a chunk of time away from the house and children, and losing blood makes me feel slightly lightheaded in a pleasant way, and I schedule it at kid-dinnertime so I get a night off from that.

...Oh, and someone who needs blood gets some, so it's win-win.

I also like it because we've all got our little list of Nice Things We Do For Other People (donating money or items to charity, doing events for charity, volunteering, etc., etc., etc.) and this let's me put something on my list---a list that is right now somewhat lacking in volunteering and charity runs.

The part I don't like is this: it takes 5 minutes for the blood to go from me to the plastic bag, but it takes an hour to an hour and a half to do all the PAPERWORK and QUESTIONS and READING INFORMATIONAL MATERIALS. I TOTALLY GET why it has to be done every time, I TOTALLY get it, but it's tedious nevertheless. No, I still have not lived outside the U.S. No, I still haven't been in prison. No, I've still never taken medication for baldness. Yes, it still happened that 15 years ago I donated under a different surname. No, I'm still not allergic to iodine.

One major improvement is that I can answer most of the questions on a computer now, instead of having someone ask me each and every one including the long ones such as "Have you ever lived in any of the following countries:...." I'm sure this is a relief to the workers, too.

Would you like to tell me something on your Nice Things You Do For Other People list? I think that might be fun, since sometimes these things are kept modestly private (very few opportunities to say "OH HI GUESS WHAT, I WROTE A CHECK FOR $50!!"), and also it would be neat to get ideas.

August 12, 2010

Old Comment Form

I keep forgetting to mention I switched back to the old, non-embedded comment form because the new one was being such a witch with a b. So if you've been having trouble commenting (and sister, you are NOT ALONE), try it again.

This morning Henry brought me the roll of fishing line to re-roll (I wonder how many hours of my life I've spent re-rolling threadlike substances because I can't seem to get organized about putting them OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN), and he kept stepping on it as I was rolling it so feeling a certain resistance as I pulled was familiar. This is why it wasn't until the rolling LIFTED THE KITTEN OFF THE GROUND that I realized she'd gotten herself tangled in it. She was tangled in a non-life-threatening way, but I still felt panicked enough to CUT the string off of her rather than spending time untangling her. Ack! Kittens!

Lost all four legs in string accident please help bless you

August 11, 2010

More Kitten-Naming, and a Cat Cold

Over on the review blog I have a 12-week thing going on where each week someone will get a $100 Visa gift card. Part of my agreement is that I'll mention it each week on this blog. So bless you, you're going to get to hear about it and hear about it and hear about it! But: there are 24 reviewers doing it, and each of us is giving away $100 per week for 12 weeks, so possibly this will be worth it for 288 of you. (The rest of you will be extra irritated.) The first of the twelve posts is up, and it's about the morning breakfast routine so that's the kind of comment you leave, and it's what I wrote about, and there is a picture of the kitten trying to attack Arthur on television.

Kitten-naming continues. I chose Maggie, but it turned out the children hated that name (I associate the name with Maggie Smith, but they associate it with Maggie and the Ferocious Beast). Then I decided on Phoebe, even though it totally breaks my kitten-naming rules, but no one else wanted to use it.

Then Edward suggested Hungary, which he found in the boy name section of the baby name book (as the country of origin, but he didn't know that), and I said, "But that's a boy name" and he said "Yes, and she's a boy," so I think we are going to need to revisit some conversations. But anyway then he looked in the girl-name section and he found the name Dexter, so I think I need to give him a different baby name book.

Her tail is very long and plumey, so I idly looked up "plume" and found that a plumed hat is called a bonnet, and I thought Bonnet was a PERFECT name for her: name-LIKE but not a name; connected to her appearance but not in an obvious way. Now I have to strong-arm everyone else into agreeing. I've already sent Paul several emails at work saying "Bonnet. BONNET. Bonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. Et."

Mouse has caught the kitten's cold, but she has it much worse. I think she's probably going to have to go to the vet, but I've never had to bring a cat to the doctor for a cold so I'm not sure what the "calling point" is. I hate to spend $50 to hear, "Yep, it's a cold all right."

August 10, 2010

Happiness Throughout the Land

There was one week of hissing. It was especially pitiful when Benchley was saying "Mrow? Prrrroww?" and the new kitten was hissing in reply.

Then there was one week of passing each other in the hallway indifferently. Maybe a sniff or two, but no friendliness.

And now there is this:

And I am SO GLAD! Because part of the reason we GOT the new kitten is that Benchley wanted so badly to cuddle and play with another cat but Mouse was having none of it, and the vet said sometimes a kitten would help with that. And then we got a kitten and it seemed like just another major rejection for poor Benchley. But now! Oh, there is happiness throughout the land!

August 9, 2010


I started the day 3 hours earlier than usual, with one of my recent "Wake up at 3:00 and be unable to get back to sleep" nights. Do these happen to you? For me I'm afraid they're a genetic inheritance from my mother, along with a seemingly endless interest in having more children.

I'm PROBABLY growing my hair for Locks of Love. This started as Meaning To Get My Hair Cut, and then turned into Trying Unsuccessfully To Schedule An Appointment, and then turned into Well, Now It's Long Enough To Put In A Bun So Never Mind. One of my physical upsides is that I have thick, fast-growing hair, and so it seems like a good idea to take advantage of an idea that combines so well with my natural disinclination to do anything with it.

But I say "PROBABLY" because it's also making me feel crazy (so! tangled! and ouchy!), and I can just see suddenly getting it cut off when I'm half an inch short of 10 inches, which is close to what happened accidentally last time: I hadn't even thought of Locks of Love until I saw the pieces on the floor and said, "Hey..." and the stylist measured and they were just under 9 inches long.

I got SO MUCH done yesterday. I'd gone out to the store after lunch, and when I got back it was 3:00, also known as The Soggy Gross Dregs of the Weekend. Paul and I looked at each other over the heads of our roiling mass of loud, talkative, argumentative children, and we realized we needed to either start drinking or take action. We took all five outside, and I gave them all haircuts on the steps, and Paul played with whichever four weren't being sheared. The two older kids took showers after their haircuts, and I gave baths to the three younger kids. Then I scrubbed the tub. Then I made muffins. Then I paid a couple of bills. Then I wrote some Postcrossing postcards. Then I filled my pill-a-day container. ...Okay, I'm running out of things to say I did. But it felt REALLY ACCOMPLISHED at the time.

Elizabeth wanted her hair SHORT, and I wasn't sure what to do. One, because it's just FINALLY getting long enough to do stuff with, and two, because it's also been getting tangled and difficult, and three, because I don't know how to do shorter girl haircuts: I can cut boy hair, or I can trim girl hair, and that's it. So we compromised on MEDIUM: it was shorter enough to please her, but long enough to keep me from feeling discouraged. I nearly got into trouble with "making it even," but I managed to make myself stop.

August 6, 2010

Kitten Naming

Okay, so I am mostly caught up on blog reading now, and I read on only ONE SINGLE BLOG that Proposition 8 was overturned, so I am mentioning it here for those of you who, like me, get most of your news from other people's blog posts.

In other news, our kitten is still nameless. We have a hard time naming our cats. One of our biggest hurdles is that I really enjoy thinking about and choosing names (duh?), so I don't like to CHOOSE because then it will be OVER.

Also, Paul and I come from different Naming Backgrounds, which is roughly as complicated as coming from different religious backgrounds. Paul's family names their cats based on fur color or Disney movies, so for example a black cat is named Licorice and a golden cat is named Butterscotch, and a cat whose fur doesn't bring a noun to mind is named Milo. I come from a family that names cats using quirky human names, which we then later regret because a decade or two later those names come into fashion and we want to use them for children but now feel like we can't. Examples: Keegan, George, Oliver.

I also want to avoid any name that sounds like it's from our runner-up baby names list, because combined with my well-documented interest in having another child I think it looks pitiful.

Our goal is to instead choose the sort of name that is neither commonly used for people (or about to be) NOR based on the cat's appearance. So Agatha is probably out, but we're considering Marple; and Penguin is out but we're considering Pigeon; and Oreo is out but we're considering Daisy. I consider nickname-names fair game for pets, so Maggie and Bonnie and Birdie and Dolly and Flossie and Gussie would all be fine. But we crossed out Ramona and Eloise and April and Ginger.

Paul suggests:

Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn
Bronze Thunderpaws
Granite Firefur
Hardcastle McMeow

And of course the last three are BOY NAMES, so Paul is not much help. Paul also likes Juniper, but withdrew it when he found out it was thisclose to being on the Top 1000 names for girls in 2009 (and I bet you fifty bucks it makes it for the 2010 list).

So far the kitten is affectionate with people (likes to sit on laps and will hop up), but is standoffish with the other cats. She's not as playful as the average kitten, nor as wild; she walks around like she's a grown-up. Her fur is half black and half white, and she has a tail that is longer and fluffier than I'd expect, almost like a feather boa (who's famous for a feather boa? Mae West? others?). When she purrs, she sounds like she's going to sprain something. I think her face looks birdlike, probably because of her bird-of-prey eyes. Also, she's an Aries and enjoys tuna.

August 5, 2010

Quick, Before We Lose Internet Again!

Oh hi, hi hi hi, I'm here! I have been photographing my clothing try-on sessions and getting scolded by Wal-Mart managers, and then right after I finished working on that post and got it posted, we lost our internet service. We have been living like savages. SAVAGES! It's like when the power goes out and you go, "Well, hey, I guess since I can't use the computer I'll do some laundry...CRAP!"

And meanwhile I was DYING because WHAT IF SOMETHING IMPORTANT HAPPENED AND I WASN'T THERE TO DEAL WITH IT??? Like, it turned out that I was supposed to have included in that clothes-trying-on giveaway (FIVE! HUNDRED! DOLLARS!) that you can get extra entries by blogging or twittering a link to the contest, but I didn't realize! because I can't access the rules until after the post is posted! and by then I couldn't fix it!

Anyway, I'm likely to be in and out until we get this *mumble mumble some computery jargon* figured out, but I am still occasionally on Twitter via my cell phone, now that I've remembered I CAN.