Friday, December 24, 2010

How many Santas does it take ...

nah, I can't even make the lightbulb joke. That's just wrong.

So we did three events with the jolly dude in red, partially to see how such events are in this new area we still don't know a whole lot about (still haven't found my way to the library yet, for instance, which for me is sacrilege) and partially because, well, we could. #1: Kiwanis Club breakfast with Santa. Not bad. Food OK if unmemorable -- your bagels, your Pop-Tarts, your coffee. Santa nice enough. Beard: Fake. Arts and crafts were cute. Kiddo flipped because the bagels were "broken" (pre-sliced) and then flipped again because he asked Santa for a garbage truck but could not find one among the freebie goodies they were giving out. We explained that Santa had to go back to his shop and make the garbage truck first. Kiddette gave us a "huh?" look about the photo but put up with it pretty well.

#2: Santa train at this place. Kinda fun. Nice train, travels out for a bit then reverses back to the station. Mostly you see back yards. Santa (beard: fake) ho-ho-hos through the cars and poses for pics. Very nice about it, chats with the kids, poses as much as you want. Kiddo made sure to remind him about the garbage truck and Santa quickly pretended to jot down a note about it. A conductor handed out little plush snowmen. Kiddo and the slightly younger boy in the seat in front had a grand old time pointing out the window, jabbering at each other, jumping up and down and yanking on the garlands strung from the overhead racks. Kiddette used her big blue eyes to charm the heck out of that boy's dad, then swung around to conquer the older kids in the seat in back of us. She also managed to get into their picture. Fortunately the mom thought that was funny. Sadly the snack bar back at the museum was out of lemonade. Cue kiddo flipping (mildly).

#3: Another Santa breakfast, but this time at the local hangout restaurant. Just kiddo and me, since DH was working and I thought we could have some Mommy-and-me time. Santa (none of these guys grow their own beards, do they?) was stationed in the back of the restaurant, ready for quick photos and hugs -- and in kiddo's case, a high five. I took pictures of him with Santa, of him looking at the decorations on the windows, and at his insistence, of his toy car. He ate an entire waffle, thus proving he still does have an appetite when carbs and/or sugar are involved. There was face painting, which kiddo did not want, and decorate-your-own cupcakes, which he did. Also managed to dump half the sprinkles all over his plate, which was our cue to leave.

You'd think all this Santa-ness would be confusing, because how could Santa be everywhere at once, all month, but still be able to make all the toys? Are the elves on permanent time and a half? DH is no help on this point, because he doesn't remember there being this many Santa-type events when he was a kid. He remembers going to Macy's, waiting on line, doing the lap thing and that was it. I don't know if it's nice or a little weird that you could see Santa, literally, everywhere if you wanted, from Thanksgiving right on through Christmas.

I don't know how I would feel about that if I were a Christian. Would it be heartwarming, or another example of the crass commercial juggernaut that Christmas has become? I'm trying to imagine Hanukkah getting to that level of saturation, so I could see how I felt about that, but the idea of Hanukkah achieving total Christmas-esque domination is so laughable that I can't do it.

At any rate kiddo didn't seem confused. I guess at his age all adults are mysterious and unexplainable, so why should the dude in the fake beard be any different?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How to get your kid excited about going to the hospital

Gorge him on pizza and ice cream first. Mr. Persnickety never eats dinner anymore, and we knew he wasn't getting breakfast before surgery, so we let him eat his most favorite food before we drove up to the hotel. He was in heaven. He discovered all seven levels of nirvana simultaneously. Pizza! and ice cream! The nice folks at the neighborhood joint we got the ice cream at (mmm, they still had pumpkin) let us take our time as Mr. Nirvana savored every teeny spoonful, even though they were putting chairs on top of tables and sweeping down the floor. The girl at the counter got a huge kick out of his excitement when we ordered, telling us that was one of the perks of her job. Have I mentioned how nice people are around here?

Of course, he sugar-crashed about two seconds after we got back into the car and slept the whole way to the hotel.

If we ever do this again -- and I hope we don't -- I'd spring for a suite, just so he can sleep in one room and we can watch TV or something in the next room. Once we got him changed and resettled, we were afraid to move around too much in case we woke him.

I didn't sleep much, on account of the mattress was hard and it was an unfamiliar setting and I was worried about oversleeping and my kid was having surgery in the morning.

We each snuck downstairs to grab food for ourselves so that he wouldn't catch us. I guess we could've also fasted to show solidarity, but hey, he didn't have to drive. Luckily he didn't seem to notice the lack of breakfast, what with all the interesting stuff going on around him.

There was another couple with a young son checking in the same time we were. He was having a different type of procedure, though I can't remember what. The kiddie waiting area had these cool magnet-boat table things that fascinated kiddo, and I briefly wondered how expensive they were.

All the little curtained-off pre- and post-op rooms have little TVs in them. That is genius. Because kiddo got to watch Mickey Mouse pre-op and Special Agent Oso post-op, and it was practically as good as a narcotic. Which begs the question: If TV is so good at keeping kids in hospitals docile, why do we let them watch the stuff at home?

Anyway, the team was brutally efficient at managing kid and mommy. I took him into the operating room, they coaxed him up onto the table by showing him the neato equipment, they got the mask over his face just long enough to put him out, they suggested I give him a kiss and then reassuringly ushered me out. So clearly down to a science. I was both annoyed by it and impressed despite myself.

The hospital's downstairs cafeteria has Starbucks coffee and a huge wall aquarium. (And, DH said, pretty good omelets.) I saw a clown fish ambling about and wondered if it was there because of "Finding Nemo." Just one of those things you think about when there's something else you don't want to think about.

And then it was over. He took a while to wake up, and he was groggy and grumpy and kept rubbing his unbelievably red eyes. We offered him ice packs, but they would've blocked hs view of Special Agent Oso, so no way. He sat on the oversized wheeled recliner chair in Daddy's lap, as zoned out as he could manage to get, munching graham crackers.

And then when they gave us the all-clear to go, he spied the playroom in the back of the recovery area and threw a fit because he wanted to play with the trucks in there. So we hung around the hospital for an extra 20 minutes or so.

His eyes are still red at the edges but less so, and he hardly ever rubs them. They're turned inward a little now, but overcorrecting is common in cases like this and they might snap out a little more later. They're definitely not wandering out the way they did before. So promising, I guess.

Of course, they're going to look red in photos, so I'm not too sure how to handle the holiday card thing. Stick sunglasses on him?

I do wish we hadn't forgotten the leftover pizza in the hotel fridge. Maybe the maid got to eat it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting for one thing to go right over here

Kiddo has a tiny cough, not the sort of thing I would remotely worry about normally, except his surgery is in two freaking days and we already postponed it once because he had a (much more noticeable) cough. Worse than waiting for your kid to have surgery? Preparing yourself mentally for it for two months and then finding out you have to wait another month anyway. Really just kind of want to get it over with.

He also had a fever a few days ago, although that's gone. So just the issue of, does he have a real cough or is he OK for anesthesia? Making things worse is that he's figured out he gets to schlump on the couch and watch more "Phineas and Ferb" if he stays home sick, so periodically he fake-coughs and says he can't go to school because he's coughing. We are never, never letting this kid see "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

The whole apparatus is primed to go. Grandparents are ready to drive up. We have a hotel room booked near the hospital so we can get there on time. I have the day off from work. I have a monster truck ready for him as a post-op reward. He just needs to be OK for two more days and then he can cough -- or fake-cough -- all he wants. Although he still isn't getting to watch extra Ferb, because he's getting a little too TV-obsessed lately.

Curse you, Phineas and Ferb, for being so funny! And curse Doofenschmirtz, too. Also Perry the Platypus.

I guess it's a little hypocritical to freak about his TV watching time when I have every intention of going downstairs and catching up on Stewart and Colbert till I fall asleep on the couch. But then I don't throw a tantrum when the TV gets turned off.

Still waiting to give poor Pigeon a proper burial. The emergency vet (who, incidentally, sent a nice condolence card, doubly nice considering they'd never seen me or my pet till that night) said their standard procedure is to mail the cremains to the house. Convenient or creepy? Celia already voted creepy. I voted they're 40 minutes away from my house and if I walk back in there I'll start sobbing again, and I dislike crying in front of people. Otherwise I'd watch Nicholas Sparks movies.

I hate "cremains." It sounds so stark. Like a lame attempt to put a tactful spin on a gruesome word. "Ashes" is better, if not completely accurate.

At any rate, I got some bulbs to plant over her in the yard. Ironic, really, since all she ever did was eat my plants. But it seemed like a nice touch. I kind of need the ashes, though, before I can plant anything, and I very much hope the ground doesn't freeze before I get a chance to do this.

Bad week, please get better.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The carrier is empty

But I can't quite bring myself to touch it yet, or put away the food and water dishes that still have food and water in them. At least we can leave the bedroom doors open now, since there's no worry an ailing cat will seek out a substitute litterbox.

By the numbers: 14 years, 7 homes, 2 states, 5 jobs, 1 marriage, 2 kids and any number of car rides. I drove her back and forth between my first (and second) apartment and my parents' house countless times. I worked nights and was physically unable to wake up early, so sometimes I drove us down after work -- at 2 a.m.

We drove her down to Florida when we moved because I refused to bring her on a plane. (Although I reversed course on that when we moved back, because that was the year four hurricanes hit the state one right after the other, and I'd already moved back to start my job, so I flew down and got her. Nice how I left DH there but came back for the cat, right?) We let her run loose in the car because hey, 14-hour trip, and she bopped around and eventually settled on the back of the back seat, that little shelf under the rear window, and stared at the cars behind us. We only ate fast food that trip, because we needed to be able to bring food back to the car.

So I guess it's appropriate that she died in the car, on the way to the emergency vet, radio off, moving quietly through the dark. I had a feeling she was gone, but I kept driving, just in case.

She never liked traveling much, especially not in the carrier, but she liked being places. She knew every hiding spot in my parents' house. Her first trip to my mother-in-law's house upstate, she saw a bug outside and leaped straight up to grab it, attaching herself to the screen door three feet up. (I still wish I'd gotten a picture.) She liked the high living room windows in my second apartment, the huge living room/dining room in our third apartment, the year-round balcony in our Florida apartment, the sunny living room spots in our New Jersey condo. In the new house, she'd claimed the big window in our bedroom as our own and was apparently taunting the neighborhood dogs from it. Plus our bed. Always our bed. Frequently on top of me. The only times she was evicted were when we had a newborn in the room, and she did not like that whatsoever. Anytime I wasn't holding a child was fair game for lap time.

She liked to play fetch and hunt bugs, and then eat them, even though they didn't agree with her. She destroyed nearly every couch we ever owned, plus a recliner, the sides of our mattress and several patches of carpet. She also destroyed about half the knickknacks I owned when I first got her, along with all the plants. Including an aloe, normally unkillable, just by knocking it over repeatedly until it gave up. And I'm pretty sure she scared the iguana into a premature death, because she loved the heat lamp on top of his tank and kept hopping up there to warm herself.

She was also sweet and friendly and loved being petted by whoever. Even people who didn't like cats, liked her. Which says something.

We knew for a few years that the kidney failure she was suffering from would eventually kill her. But we could never get a firm read on when, or which medications meant something and which were meaningless, or which tests were necessary and which were padding the vet's apparently bottomless pockets. She wouldn't take pills. She wouldn't eat special kidney-diet food. The only thing that ever did anything was injecting her with fluids -- a fun time, really, I'd recommend that to anyone -- and it got more and more difficult to do, what with all the scar tissue on her shoulders.

Don't for a minute think I'm claiming to be Saint Pet Owner here. I'm not. Minus the kids, minus the jobs, with an ounce more free time or sleep, we would've taken better care of her. She got so emphatic about not being medicated that I quit, well before I should have. I got tired of waiting for her to die, which is a horrible feeling to have. I'll never know how much longer she would've lived if we'd done everything right.

As it is, her last conscious memory may well have been being medicated one last time, because she went limp right afterward. I hate that.

But at least I never had to make the conscious decision to put her to sleep, which was my deepest fear all along. I didn't want to choose to do that to her.

There are worse ways to go, I think, than a quiet ride in the dark. 

Goodbye, Pigeon. I'll miss you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Trick or treat and treat and treat and treat

Wow. Seriously. 15 bags of candy. They just kept coming. DH spotted cars lined up around our complex, so we're figuring people were coming in from outside because it's a nice easy sidewalked kind of walk with lots of houses. Our last place, if we went through two bags it was a good night. Here it's Trick or Treat Central.

It was nice though (even despite DH running out twice for more candy). Because I love Halloween. I dress up. I put bats and spiders in the windows. I watch Charlie Brown. This was the greatest holiday when I was a kid (you get to wear costumes! People give you candy!) and I hope it still is for kids today, so I want to do my part.

Especially for my kids, even if our trick-or-treater was still coughing. Possibly from asthma, we're now told. Hooray and I'm sure that won't affect the rescheduled surgery at ALL. But at any rate, he seemed at least well enough to take a spin around the block. Kiddette had an attack of the teething, so she and I answered the door together. (Her: Princess Kiddette. Me: Black and red brocade dress, pink witch hat.)

Here's a gender quiz for you: When someone answers the door holding a small girl in a pink princess dress, who will react to her, 1. girls or 2. boys? Really, you need an answer key on this? The boys went right for the candy. The girls, no matter how old or young they were, went "Awwwwwww" and "She's so cute!" and "I love her dress!" and "Aw, did you go trick-or-treating?" Which just proves that girls always check out other girls' outfits, and boys have no idea girls exist until puberty.

The kids were mostly in costume -- OK, teenagers, if you're too cool to dress up shouldn't you be too cool to do this at all? -- and mostly polite enough to say "thank you," which is about all you can ask for. Many of them openly approved of our candy choices (that would be all chocolate, all the time). I saw some Elvii, a couple Hogwarts students, some '50s girls, at least one flapper, a bunch of fairies, a few princesses, a ninja, a Spider-Man and the cutest little ladybug girl, whose dad was apparently filming our entire exchange on his smartphone. "Say 'trick or treat'! Now say 'thank you'!" he coaxed without ever taking the thing away from his face. I thought about demanding he produce a release for me to sign, since he was using my image and all, but then figured negotiations would really drag things down and the next batch of kids needed candy.

The parents were generally cool, coaching the kids on politeness and waving to me from the street, but I have to say, I think some of them weren't getting the point of the whole thing. You're not supposed to be driven from house to house. You're supposed to WALK. Boo hoo, it's cold. Wear a turtleneck under your costume and suck it up like I did. Was I cold? Yes. Did I get a ton of candy? Hell yes. The good outweighs the bad, kids. Also you should probably burn some calories before you scarf down all the Reese's.

Honestly, parents, land the copter for one night. It's a safe neighborhood.

So, things we know for next year: Buy more candy. Have a little more fun with the decorations (which were on the sedate side). Film the parents and see how they like it. And don't even try to have dinner until at least 9.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

And decaf can go take a flying leap

because kiddette is all weaned and the only body I will be abusing with whatever I ingest is my own. Huzzah and get me a size small, cream, two sugars. And hey, toss some Kahlua in there while you're at it.

She more or less decided she was done on her own. She was eating less and less, for shorter and shorter periods, while simultaneously inhaling whatever solid foods we offered her. And sippy cups. She loves sippy cups. She especially loves whacking them on the kitchen table. So we were down to the final two -- the morning and the night feedings -- and she really didn't seem that into it, and I was feeling sick and about to start antibiotics anyway, so I just put her in the crib without feeding her and she went to sleep no problem. The next morning, I took her out of the crib without feeding her, and again no problem. And like that, the year-long commitment was over.

(Note: I do not recommend ditching the last two feedings at once. Shutting the factory down early only confuses the production line, and then the factory's a mess and the janitor has to work overtime.)

I feel a little sad about it, since nursing is such an easy way to get in cuddle time, and also get caught up on your reading. But I'm also looking forward to going out for dinner and letting someone else put her to bed. Also drinking at my sister's wedding. Looking forward to that.

It's a huge commitment in terms of time and effort (if you're pumping, anyway), but it's totally worth it and I'm glad I did it.

I will say, though, that I'm still endlessly annoyed by the lack of breastfeeding or breastfeeding imagery in pop culture. The only time I can even think of seeing it done is in "The Hangover," where it was basically played as a tit shot. Otherwise, every single time you see a birth -- from "9 Months" to "Knocked Up" to "Frasier" to whatever -- you never see the baby eat. Everyone's cooing over the newborn and seriously, the newborn is thinking, "Dude! I just got born and I'm starving! Which one of you guys is bogarting the milk?"

It's part of a larger desire, I think, to go "la la la la" whenever the topic comes up, because people are grossed out by it or think it's actually a sexual thing or are, I guess, afraid *they* will find it a sexual thing or have this crazy notion that breastfeeding means whipping it out and shining a great big spotlight on it so they can't avoid seeing it even with their eyes closed. Sure, honey, nurse your kid -- nowhere near me. (Even Barbara Walters. Thanks, Barbara Walters. You're a big help.)

But women pick up on that attitude, and that lack of societal support, I think, contributes to the relatively low breastfeeding rates in this country. Says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "The most recent CDC data show that 3 out of every 4 new mothers in the U.S. now starts out breastfeeding. ... However, rates of breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months as well as rates of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 and 6 months remain stagnant and low." See the full report here. If breastmilk is clearly better than formula -- and every study or article I've read on the subject says yes -- then shouldn't people be backing up that conclusion with action, or at least an attitude adjustment?

Also, seriously, I'm back down to my pre-pregnancy size 6 and it's not because I joined a gym.

Anyway, to my original point: I found this site and thought it was neat. I had no idea you could even find this many images, or that they would go back centuries. Such a nice idea to compile them.

But still glad I'm done. Now for the wedding, should I visit my old friend whiskey sour, or just head right for martini land?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Unintentional psychological study

Kiddette at 1 looks just about the same as kiddo at 1 -- short brown hair, big blue eyes, round cheeks, serious face. (Though kiddo's eyes are now brown-gray, and I was a little sad when they changed.) When kiddo was her age, people assumed he was a she. Always. He could be wearing bright blue dinosaur truck monkey motorcycle tiger train corduroy overalls and people would still walk up to him and go, "Oh, she's beautiful!" My MIL gave us a onesie that said, "Before You Ask, I'm a Boy!" I don't remember anyone reading it.

Kiddette and I were running errands yesterday and since it was Sunday and who cares, she was wearing some kiddo hand-me-downs -- a gray Mickey hoodie and a red henley-type top. And sure enough, everyone said, "Hi there, buddy! He's so cute!"

I'm not too sure what to conclude from this. Kiddo's eyes are a little bigger than his sister's; did that make him look more feminine? Kiddette tends to look more serious and studious than her brother did; do people think of that as masculine?

Is pink -- or the lack thereof -- that much more noticeable than blue?

What's weird is, I would've described his face as looking boyish, just about right from the start, and hers as looking girlish. I can't understand how people would see it otherwise.

I guess I could completely screw with everyone's heads and dress them both in green.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A fine week, really

So right about now kiddo should've been at the hospital, getting prepped for surgery, except he has a sinus infection and the doctor called it off two days ago. I appreciate his conscientiousness, but after psyching ourselves (and kiddo) out to be ready for this all month, it's aggravating to have to wait another month. It's almost a letdown. Plus side: The hotel rate went down. Minus side: I have to worry about the increasingly noticeable eye turn for another month.

Also: Kiddette got sick -- in fact, all the babies in her room got sick -- I've been hacking up a lung all week and I think my co-workers are annoyed I came in to work even though I saved them from having to do my work (post-nasal drip, incidentally; I broke down and went to the doctor yesterday), and I got one pre-printed rejection card from an agent about my novel (Dear Author, You suck. Sincerely, Us.) and another rejection letter about a short story. So a banner week was had by all.

This is in fact the second time we've postponed the surgery -- they originally scheduled it for Yom Kippur and we said, Uh, no. Date #3 is a week before Thanksgiving. Hoping things go well enough to have a good holiday.

One tiny bit of happy news is that I quit pumping at work. Kiddette is well on her way to weaning and I am not killing my shoulder anymore carrying that stupid thing around. Just in time, because I think the covering was starting to disintegrate. They don't make those things to last, do they?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back to School Night

It is a little odd for what is technically a day care, even though it functions like a school for the older kids, to have a Back to School Night. Since we're paying for the kids to be there in the first place, and I'm not really expecting kiddo to learn much right now beyond "biting bad" and "sharing good!" so anything on top of that is just a fabulous extra. On the other hand, some of our other parent friends were talking about their preschoolers' Back to School Nights so maybe it's not so odd these days. But my boss still went into a giggle fit over it when I asked to leave work early.

A lot of other parents showed up, which was nice, and the director and kiddo's teacher (who I like a lot, actually, she seems good for him) kept going out of their way to praise us for it, as in "We know your child will succeed because you're here!" Rah rah for us, but you'd hate to think the parental bar was set that low. Hey, maybe we were looking for free cake. You don't know that. (Note: There was no cake. I'm just saying.)

Apparently they're doing a letter a week with the kids, and they've already started on penmanship, and they're learning colors in English and Spanish, which all seems fine. And all the kids are doing great with circle, because they're being asked to sit still for a long time and they're doing it. Which yeah, is probably the hardest thing they're learning. And kiddo is even sitting on the potty there, apparently more willingly than he is for us.

One mom was talking about how her daughter tells her about everything they did that day and about all the other kids, and I forget the point she was making, but the rest of us were going "huh?" because our kids tell us squat about their day even when we ask them directly.

"Kiddo, what did you do in school?"


"What did you learn?"


"Who did you play with?"

"I dunno."

I expected this in high school, but not now.

His teacher made a point of telling us during the presentation how great he was doing, twice, and called him her "little man." Which is sweet, and he is a charming kiddo. And he did have some issues when he started a few months back -- some pushing, some hitting, some stealing food from other kids -- that we chalked up to a rocky adjustment, and that seems to have stopped. So likely she was just being reassuring. But both DH and I have done the teacher's pet thing in our own academic careers, and it's not all that enjoyable, so I think both of our radars pinged. Just something to watch for, I guess. It's great when your teacher loves you, but not when your teacher loves you way more than the other kids.

Still, a good night. Except for the chairs. The tiny, tiny chairs. I can't believe none of us broke the chairs. DH swears sitting on one threw his back out. My other boss said Back to School Nights get better as the kids get older, because then the chairs are bigger.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Franklin Goes to the Hospital

is just one of the books that my mother sent our way to help explain to kiddo what's going to happen to him next month. DH and I secretly loathe the Franklin TV show, on account of it's so treacly sweet my gag reflex kicks in. Although the obvious Canadian accents are kind of funny. But the book seems OK. Except for the part where Franklin doesn't want an X-ray because it'll show he's scared inside and not brave. I'm pretty sure an actual kid is not going to be thinking along those lines. More like, "I don't wanna wear the apron! Moooooommmmmm!"

Kiddo is fascinated by the books. (There are two others. One involves stickers.) I've explained to him that he'll be going to the hospital just like Franklin and the doctor will fix his eyes. Which he seems all right with. He had his physical today to get the all-clear for the surgery, and now we know he's in the 75th percentile for weight and height, shocking us not at all because Daddy is 6-foot-2. We also know that he is not cool with tongue depressors, unless there's a lollipop in it for him after.

The surgery is set for the hour of Ungodly Early in the Morning. Probably better to get it over with, and easier to keep him from eating beforehand, but harder to get to the hospital on time. We might have to get a hotel room in the area the night before. Slightly ironical, since that's more or less the area we used to live in. I guess we couldn't crash at our old place overnight, since the new owners might get irked.

He said out of nowhere this morning that his eye hurt. I think that means the surgery is the right thing. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Do I have to hand in my secret blogger ID card?

On account of I haven't written in a month or so. But I've been painting/unpacking/keeping the kids from running off a cliff/planning kiddette's first birthday party/attemping to find an agent to sell my novel/working on a short story/catching up on Stewart and Colbert/you know, sleeping. And shoot, those diapers don't buy themselves.

Anyhow. Party went splendidly except that there were barely no children there, because kiddo caught a cold the day before and it scared them all away. So now we must have a separate party with actual children at it, which I suppose we should've planned on in the first place, instead of trying to make our relatives deaf with the screeching and the switching on of toys. But the next time we have that much leftover birthday cake in the fridge, I am tossing it in the trash right away and of course I am lying because mmm. Cake.

Amazing that she's a year old. It's always more amazing with smaller kids because they get so much more done in a short span of time. I age a year and I get an extra wrinkle or a gray hair. Kiddette about triples her weight, develops a hairstyle, learns to eat from Mommy's plate (she likes risotto, we discovered tonight) and starts to think about walking. And she can kind of pet the cat without causing injury. To the cat, I mean.

Kiddo had a rough patch at school but seems to be doing OK now. His surgery is next month. I carefully broached the subject this morning on the way to school to see how he'd take it.

"The doctor is going to fix your eyes. How do you feel about that?"

"No want doctor fix my eyes. No want go doctor's office." Pause to watch the trucks go by. "Go doctor, then go school?"

"No, we're not going to the doctor today. That's later."

"Just go school?"

"Yup, just school today."

And then he lost interest. So that could've gone worse.

My parents sent us a bunch of "let's go to the hospital!" type books to help explain what surgery is like. They seem OK. I think I'll give it another couple days, then show them to kiddo. In the meantime, I found several helpful sites; this one goes over the process in detail and tells you what to expect. And now I know he might cry slightly bloody tears afterward, and that would be normal. I'm sure you're grossed out too. This nice family wrote a book about their experiences with it, which seem to have been positive. There also appear to be YouTube videos of actual surgeries, which there is not a snowball's chance in hell that I will be watching.

His eye turn is to the point where other people notice now, so it looks like now is the right time. Still an unsettling thing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The knife after all

So after visits to two different pediatric opthalmologists over two years, we've finally heard the official word that yes, he needs surgery. Scheduled for October, and we have to run around and do crazy things like get him a physical less than 30 days beforehand but not too early, because I guess his physicalness could change in a month. And if he's got the sniffles, they cancel. And he has to fast for eight hours beforehand. Which, if you've met my son, is impossible. We'll have to sneakily eat breakfast behind his back that morning, cause if I have to sit in a hospital waiting room for an hour while someone cuts into the muscle attached to my kid's eyeball, no way am I doing that on no food.

Would anyone notice if I snuck a flask into the hospital?

The p.o. said it used to take one blink for kiddo's eyes to snap back into focus, but now it takes longer. And watching him more closely this week, sure, I see it. His eyes are more consistently off balance. I used to tell him, "Hey, focus!" but clearly that's not going to cut it so I'm not bothering.

We were in the waiting room at the p.o.'s -- and I must say, the office at their more northerly location is way nicer, offering a TV, kids books and more than two inches of free space (I'm being unfair; they're remodeling this other one) -- when a couple of women came in with a younger boy still in the infant car seat, wearing glasses, clearly with the same problem kiddo has. So about a year old, judging from the seat and the way he wasn't quite standing on his own yet. Already in glasses. I can't even imagine. How did they keep the things on his head? We couldn't make kiddo wear a patch for more than five seconds at a time, even a patch with cool soccer balls on it.

So his entourage (mom/aunt?) let him loose to crawl around the floor, and kiddo found that hilarious, seeing it all the time as he does with his sister. He crawled over to join the other boy, and they spontaneously created a game in which kiddo would crawl away and the other boy would follow. After kiddo's appointment, we passed the other family on the way out of the building, and the two boys bonded again over the fact that they'd both picked the same cheapie plastic motorcycle man out of the prize box. Too cute.

I knew the surgery was coming at some point. That's been clear to us from the start. I'm not happy about it, but I'm not lying awake nights, either, mostly because I've been sleep-deprived for three-plus years now and *nothing* is keeping me awake nights short of a bomb or a crying child. We'll just have to see how this goes.

But hey, the other p.o. said that aside from his strabismus, his vision is perfect! Um, thanks?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dress Like a Pirate Day

So our day care, which is also a school but really day care, does fun things with its classes like Pirate Week. An entire week of fun activities like Treasure Hunt and Make a Pirate Picture Frame and Sprinkler Day, which seems slightly unrelated to the rest but hey, it's hot out. And Friday was Dress Like a Pirate Day.

Never mind the fact that I'm not actually sure 3- and 4-year-olds are ready for pirate chic. Or for the real-life pirates who were in fact fairly bloody people. If I wouldn't bring my kid on Pirates of the Caribbean yet, should I be dressing him pirate-ish?

But hey, new town, first time in a formal school (day care) setting, new friends, he's been a little slow to adjust, bring on the pirates, maybe he'll like it.

Two problems. One, last year was the first year we actually bothered to dress him up for Halloween (if you've ever seen this kid on sugar you'd understand), so we don't have a backlog of costumes for him. Two, where do you find pirate gear in July?

Answer: Nowhere. Unless Babies R Us happens to have some early Halloween stuff in the back and will sell it to you for full price.

You may be cringing. I was cringing. I don't buy Halloween costumes. I make them. Thrift stores are my friend. One year I found a giant inflatable shark, attached him to my shoulder and went as a shark attack victim (we were living in Florida at the time so it was funnier. Um, in that sick way). Another year DH and I wore a dress and a tux, added horns and creepy makeup and went as demon prom dates. He even made me a corsage of black roses. (And now I can say that yes I did wear that bridesmaid's dress again.) So the very notion of shelling out for a pre-fab costume, especially one too hot to wear in July anyway, was bothersome. But we figured, it's a backup option in case I didn't find anything else.

Yeah. The closest I came was a pj set with a big shark on it and a pirate ship in the background.

Somewhere in all this I realized, we've become those parents. The micromanaging ones. The neurotic ones who would spend $30 on an unnecessary costume just so their kid wouldn't feel left out on freaking Pirate Day. Geez, next we'll be hiring him happiness consultants.

Anyway. I decided the best compromise was, he'd wear the pj shirt and use the floppy skull-and-crossbones hat and sword from the costume. Pirate-ish and no heat stroke. Which seemed to suit him, although he'd rather tote a Matchbox car around than a sword. We even got him to do his pirate impression.

"Kiddo, how does a pirate go?"


Apparently they made telescopes out of paper towel rolls, got temporary tattoos and had a fine time. And I still have the option of bringing that costume back to the store. So let's call that a win-win.

Next week they want the kids to come in dressed like cowboys. Honestly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Do chipmunks eat plumeria?

Because dammit if my plumeria in a pot gets eaten I will go after Chip and/or Dale and I will have my revenge. I saw the little bugger sniffing the pot the other day. I've had that thing for three years, ever since I got it at the Philly flower show. I did not in the least think it would survive, let alone bloom. Plumeria (aka frangipani) were among my favorite aspects of living in Florida and I do not want this one to die.

So here we are in what might be reasonably considered "the country." Or as country as North Jersey gets. Mountains all around. Farms all around, with yummy yummy apple cider doughnuts (and also produce). Horses. Occasional country music. Quiet. Peaceful. How quiet? Both the supermarkets close at 10 (and the cashier I was chatting with, after frantically rushing to grab everything in 10 minutes, commented how great it was for parents that they're open that late. I noted that I was used to 24-hour supermarkets). 

So far I've attended a craft fair (very nice) and a vintage rummage sale (so-so) and otherwise unpacked and rearranged and we've bought things like a lawn mower and a grill and a spade, which we did not own before since we lived in a condo and had no yard. I love love love having a yard. It's nice and flat and there's space for kiddo to run around -- which he does -- as well as a garden bed that was just sitting there, waiting for me.

Not that I know in the least what I'm doing. Plants in pots I understand. Like the orchids currently scattered around the house, all recent acquisitions. (The nice lady at Lowe's gave me one half-off. How cool is that?) But plants in the ground I'm a total newbie at. Also I missed the early part of the planting season because we didn't close until May. So this year is purely experimental. I just threw plants in the bed to see what they would do. Conveniently my family, knowing me well, gave me plants. So I have a rosebush and a moonflower; some marigolds; a clump of Johnny-jump-ups; some lavender that lived in a pot on my balcony and, against all odds, survived last winter; a couple of tomato plants, some basil and some oregano. And that still doesn't really fill the bed, but I think I'll leave things be and see how they grow.

-- Incidentally, that bit about how marigolds repel rabbits? Bogus. This one *ate* the marigolds. I saw it hopping away from the scene of the crime. I shall name it Hasenpfeffer!

At some point we will need to figure out things like lawn care and how to trim shrubs. But our neighbors don't appear too anal about their landscaping, so I don't think we've become a blight on the street just yet.

The sky here at night is unreal. Nothing but moon and mountains.

I still can't quite believe we did it. We sold our place -- for a decent amount, if not quite what we paid for it -- and got the house we needed. And now I have a nice size master bathroom and a little corner sitting area in the bedroom, from which I am writing this post. It feels almost as strange as moving to Florida in the first place.

Well, not quite as strange. Florida greeted us with giant roaches.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How not to sell a house

This one's for you, Realtors!

1. Don't call the seller to say you're running two hours late on a showing.

2. Don't call the seller to say you're not coming at all.

3. Show up at the seller's house without making an appointment first, beg your way in anyway, then casually reveal later your "client" is your daughter.

4. Get so chitchatty with the seller you fail to notice your client has let the seller's small child out onto the balcony.

5. Stay home sick, but send your clients over anyway to roam a stranger's home unescorted.

6. While running an open house at a different unit, tell a random unescorted person to go check out seller's unit, without calling seller's agent first, just for kicks.

7. Get so distracted by cooing over seller's cute baby that you forget to give seller your card.

8. Make it exquisitely clear you'd rather deal with husband seller than wife seller, from returning phone calls to introducing yourself. Because wife seller, obviously, is brainless idiot who makes no money.

9. Bring in snotty out-of-state clients who know nothing about (still-pricey) North Jersey market and snottily declare, "If I had to live here, I'd kill myself," before ditching agent while he's in the bathroom.

10. Bring stairs-allergic clients to a unit with two sets of stairs.

aaaannndd finally:

11. Make lowball offer that sellers spend days negotiating to a halfway decent offer, get outbid by a better offer, throw an e-mail tantrum at seller's agent in which you declare sellers are not trustworthy and you found your clients a way better deal in the same complex anyway, so nyah nyah. Then call seller's agent days later to explain deal was not so good after all, and what's the status of the seller's deal again? Definitely under contract? Oh.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Driving down Route 80 today ...

... saw a woman in sunglasses barreling past in her SUV, toss a cigarette out the window. I pulled up to her and mouthed something nasty through the window, but since she was incredibly absorbed in her cell phone conversation, I don't think she saw me.

And Happy Earth Day to you too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, dear kiddo

I'm still trying to figure out this whole kiddie party etiquette. Which little friends do you invite? All of them? Some of them? The ones whose parents you like? The ones whose parents you actually know by name? How many adults? Any adults? Is there something fundamentally wrong with getting the kids all worked up, filling them with sugar and sending them home? And if you put a minimal amount of cheapie plastic in the goodie bags, are you being eco-savvy or just chintzy?

Anyway kiddo's third birthday party was over the weekend and I think it went well. In that the kids seemed to be smiling and such. We used one of those kiddie play places with the crazy padded indoor jungle gym-like contraptions, where the guests all run around for a bit and then do games, then have the inevitable pizza and cake and get tokens for the downstairs video games on the way out. We're now veterans of these places, having been to a few kiddie parties. They're a pretty good idea, in that the party is more or less planned for you and the kids are stampeding around a place that is not your house. (We had the grownups and a few of the kids back to our place after; every toy in the house ended up on the floor and DH's laptop was mysteriously non-working the next day.) Some are better designed than others; if there's no barrier between the play area and the spectator seats, you're a little too much in the action. If there aren't enough seats, you're left standing uncomfortably waiting for your kid to hurtle down the slide for the 25th time. There's never room for a stroller. Apparently infant siblings are not invited to these parties.

I needed hands free for my decaf coffee (I'm pretending it's real coffee, dammit!) so kiddette promptly went into her sling, which promptly prompted some to ask whether that was one of the recalled slings. (Told you.) I kept my sling rant to a minimum. Kiddette, not especially interested in the conversation, proved my point by peacefully dozing off.

I hope I was a decent enough hostess. I didn't actually know all the parents involved, and casual conversation with strangers is not my strong point. But then you spend most of your time at these things watching your kid anyway.

Kiddo ran around like the maniac he is, though seemed a little overwhelmed by being the center of attention. They even skipped the parachute. By the time the food came around, though, he was back to normal. He even blew out the candles on his own (unlike last year, when he tried to grab the candle on his brownie and I blew it out for him).

High point of my day: I'd just put a skirt on as we were getting ready to go, when kiddo saw and said, "Mommy a princess!" Too. Cute.

Now only about five months to go before we have to throw another shindig for kiddette. At least she won't be wanting a Thomas cake.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Still slinging

I'm a little annoyed about the Consumer Product Safety Commission's sling warning. Not because it's unwarranted -- three babies dying in one year is alarming -- but because it's not making any distinctions. The sling that keeps coming up in news reports by way of example is this one -- and I have to say, I breezed right past it when I was sling shopping because it looked chintzy. I've used this one and this one, and they've both struck me as being pretty well made and durable. I feel like the warning is lumping all slings together as being dangerous, which may be overstating the case.

The key to using a sling properly is the sizing. If it's too small, the baby doesn't have enough room; if it's too loose or hangs too much away from the mother's body, the baby is more likely to slide around or fall out. Reputable sling sites emphasize this and suggest you whip out a tape measure to be absolutely sure you're ordering the right one.

And even still, I refused to use one with kiddo until he more or less had head control, because it made me nervous. I started earlier with kiddette, for the sheer practical reason that I needed my hands free to corral kiddo. But I always stuck a small blanket under her head and neck to give her extra support, and I glanced down to check on her constantly, listening for her breathing.

Mothering magazine awhile back published a guide to babywearing that more or less sums it all up -- the different types, the pros and cons, some specific products to try out. And it specifically warns to make sure the baby can breathe properly. Among other things like, don't cook with the baby strapped to you, or bend over without holding the baby in place. As though you needed to be told that.

Here's what's frustrating: Apparently some people do need to be told that. I have absolutely no desire to trash parents who lost their babies, because that isn't right. But if you're going to carry your baby around strapped to you with a piece of fabric -- that's fabric, not armor -- you have to exercise more than the usual amount of common sense.

It reminds me of the Bumbo seat recall of a few years back. Seems some parents were leaving their babies in these things on top of tables and other such elevated surfaces, and then the baby would arch backward out of the seat, fall off the table and fracture their skull. Right. So why would you put your baby on an elevated surface for any reason, no matter what they're sitting in? We have a Bumbo. We used it with kiddo. We're using it with kiddette. On the carpeted floor. Like the instructions said to do.

Look, it frustrates me beyond belief how often products designed for children are cheap pieces of crap. But knowing that, I'm as careful as possible about what we use and how we use it. And maybe some people just grab whatever off the shelves and figure it's fine without reading the instructions, or researching it. Parenting = research. It just does.

There are apparently industry trade standards in the works for slings, and I think that's a good idea. All I know is, the next time kiddette and I venture out sling-style (she sits upright now, making things easier), if I get a fish-eye from someone about it, there will be an unpleasant scene.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The things she carried

On the left side: One five-ton breast pump, masquerading as a large black briefcase, likely not fooling anyone. One Coach bag, proving that I do in fact possess some sense of style and at least one purse that is not designed to hold diapers. One tote bag full of kiddo's lunch, kiddo's diapers and kiddo's backup outfit in case the diapers are overwhelmed. On the right side: One small hand, preventing kiddo from picking a direction at random and running off to play in traffic.

My left arm has been feeling weird for the past couple days. Think the pump is killing it?

It's more or less the same morning routine as before -- get up, get fed and dressed, get kiddo fed and dressed, get out the door, drop him off at daycare, get to work -- with the addition of a hungry kiddette who also needs to be fed and dressed, and is in no hurry to finish feeding. Ever. This is not helping time-wise. I have a mark I'm trying to hit and I keep missing it. I'd rather get in to work earlier and leave earlier, but when other small beings are involved the equation gets tougher.

But then I stubbornly refuse to skip breakfast or resort to sugar-bomb pastry crap, so that takes a little more time. Fortunately kiddo is pretty happy with Joe's O's and fruit every day, so I don't have to overthink anything. And I've been eating my regular yogurt/fruit/English muffins/tea meal for about my entire adult life. Boring? Sure. Easy? Yay.

Every day is a race: How fast can I get in? How much can I get done? How fast can I get home? How many times will I get stuck in traffic on the Parkway? (Curse you, Parkway.) How many seconds after I walk through the door will I have to feed kiddette? How much playtime will I get in before double bedtime? And how much of one "Daily Show" episode will I get to watch before conking out on the couch?

I already knew this would be the case. It's just that the second child means more coordination, more energy, more strain on the left shoulder. Seriously, if my arm keeps bothering me I'll have to get one of those little dolly things. Stupid pump and its stupid five tons.

The nice thing is watching kiddo and kiddette interact. He flops down next to her on her mat; she smiles up at him and reaches for his hair, his nose, his hand. He gets right in her face and laughs. She gives him a big toothless baby grin. I still worry he'll accidentally squish her, but at least they like each other. For now.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Back to work, you

So this is the part where I guess I should cry and wail and tear my hair out about the fact that I am leaving my precious babies in the hands of another while I head off to my drudgery job, but I'm just not feeling it. Sorry. We do have a pretty good situation, in that kiddo goes to a day-care setup we like with other kids he likes playing with, and DH telecommutes so it's him with kiddette all day and not some stranger. And I have a certain amount of flexibility in my work hours and can do some things from home, so between the two of us we'll figure out a schedule that works for both of us. Also I like my job. And frankly I think a lot of women feel compelled to do the wailing/tearing hair out just because they think they'll look like a bad/uncaring mommy if they don't, like racking themselves with guilt is how they prove they really, truly love their kids. I really, truly don't feel compelled to prove my mommy-worthiness to anyone except my kids, and as long as they're happy to see me at the end of the day we're cool.

The first day went better for me than for kiddette -- she's a bit needy and spent much of the day on Daddy's chest. He even stuck her in the Bjorn and kept working, which helped a little. But even still, here was the scene I walked in on: kiddette on the play mat yelling; kiddo in his room, in time-out; DH cleaning kiddo's dinner out of the carpet with a snarly look on his face. At which point I said absolutely nothing and walked over to retrieve kiddette. Dinnertime is going to be trouble. We'll have to see how the next few days go.

I have to say, though, the weight loss has been easier this time. I'm still not where I want to be, which is around 120, where I was before kiddo. But I am a little over 130, which is where I was at before kiddette. So I fit into my pre-pregnancy size 8 work pants, unlike last time when I had to run out and buy size 12, then size 10 pants just so I had something to wear. It's nice feeling like I'm sort of within shouting distance of my old body. And I bought some new clothes anyway, because shoot, wouldn't you?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Overheard in the post office

Kiddette and I were on line when two little old ladies entered behind us and their "cute baby!" radars immediately pinged. "Oh, how sweet, she's looking at Mommy, how old is she," etc. Then one started to tell the other about her granddaughter, whose name is Danica.

"Oh, is that Hungarian?" the other asked (I'm assuming the grandma was Hungarian).

"No, it's for a race car driver," the first explained to some amazement. They spent several minutes going back and forth about the interesting race car driver.

So which is funnier, that someone thought so highly of Danica Patrick (despite, or because of the Go Daddy commercial?) that they named their child after her, or that even after Danica Patrick's full media onslaught of the past couple years, two little old ladies had no idea who she is?

Anyway, the postal worker at the counter and I were amused.


... Aaaand happy to report that I have completed my Jane Austen project, just in time to head back to work and lose all leisure reading time that does not involve "The Wheels on the Bus" or "Red Light Green Light." Celia will be less pleased to know that I liked "Northanger Abbey" but did not love it; I think I just enjoy Austen's heroines more when they're smart and self-possessed, not wide-eyed and innocent. I did laugh at how "Northanger" makes fun of Gothic stereotypes, and there are a couple of passages in praise of novel reading and of writing that appealed to me. But my favorites are still "Pride and Prejudice," "Persuasion" and "Emma," in that order.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Actually I don't know if scalpels are used in strabismus surgery. Maybe they use something else equally sharp and horrifying.

We went for our second opinion this week. Kiddo was pretty well-behaved, I must say. We read a Highlights together in the waiting room (infinitely more interesting than Rachael Ray on the TV) and after we headed to the examining room, he was perfectly happy to play with the toys in it while hanging out in the big chair. He answered the opthalmologist's questions like a pro. Even after getting his eyes dilated, he shrugged it off pretty quickly and bopped around the rear waiting room -- clearly designed for dilated kids and bored mamas, with more toys and a few magazines -- not even trying to escape and run wild through the place, which he's been known to do. The opthalmologist was impressed, calling him both smart and mature for his age. Excuse me while I bask in that for a minute.

Of course, he also said kiddo absolutely needs surgery. Excuse me while I freak.

He said 25 percent of kids with this problem grow out of it more or less on their own, and the trick is figuring out whether the kid you're looking at is in the 25 percent or the 75 percent that need intervention. He also said he doesn't think patching ever works and he's had kids come to him after patching, vision therapy and glasses but he's never had to redo a surgery. And that the parents most against the surgery in the first place tend to be happiest with the results.

It's a half-hour procedure, they put the kid under for it, he's been doing it for years, etc. and yada and yikes.

I can't argue the fact that kiddo's eyes are worse. And obviously patching only worked for a little while, and you can't patch an eye indefinitely unless your name is One-Eyed Willie. And boy, there was absolutely no hesitation on the doctor's part; about five seconds into the exam he was talking surgery.

So there's the second opinion. The pediatrician recommended yet another specialist if we wanted to explore the issue further; do we try for a third?


Better writers than me have already weighed in on the late lamented Mr. Salinger, but I thought I'd note that I just reread "Catcher" a couple months ago and liked it all over again. Holden's such a screwed-up kid, but you can see the wry, caring adult he might actually become if he can manage to survive to adulthood. I especially like when he offers to buy the nuns a drink, which is both kinda creepy and a nobly failed attempt to be as sophisticated and gentlemanly as the adults he hates.

I think I'd like to be the catcher in the rye too. Except I'm old enough to know you can't always save people from themselves.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Strabismus: The Sequel

For the longest time we thought kiddo's eyes were better. The patching seemed to work. It was almost like the visits with the pediatric opthalmologist were a formality.

Yeah, that didn't last.

So his eyes are worse. To the point where someone besides us might notice the wandering eyeball if they watched him closely enough. Sometimes he seems to do it deliberately, push them in opposite directions to get a rise out of us, and then he looks a little like a lizard creature. Which kills me, because he's a pretty adorable kid.

And the doctor's verdict, so far, has been, and I'm paraphrasing here: "Huh. Looks worse. See you in three months."

I cannot believe there's nothing else we could be doing right now. What are we supposed to do, sit back and wait for it to get bad enough to require surgery? Because that seems to be the doctor's strategy. And surgery doesn't always work. And also: It's surgery! He's not even 3 yet.

So I'm taking him to another specialist for a second opinion, because I'd like to feel like we really did exhaust all other options.

Periodically I meet another adult who clearly has a variation on what he has, and it's incredibly disconcerting. You can't tell whether they're looking at you, so you can't watch their face for social cues. Makes conversation difficult. I always want to ask them about it -- have you always had it? did anyone try to treat it? how does it affect your life? -- but of course that would be crazily rude so I don't. And then I feel like a jerk, hoping my son doesn't turn out like them.

On the plus side, he seems to function pretty well with a wonky eyeball. He loves being read to, and is starting to figure out the words in books (by having them read to him over and over and over and over and sigh). He can focus on his toys or his food or that godawful "Super Why" show with no problem. Just sometimes, when he's tired or cranky or when he feels like it, he unfocuses.

I hope the doctor tells us something useful.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I hate to eat and run, but the kid sure doesn't

This time around on the baby train, I've definitely expanded my repertoire of semi-public  places to nurse in. I don't know if it's because I'm more laid back about the whole thing or because kiddette is hungrier than her big brother was (which I find hard to believe, considering his monster appetite). For instance, I discovered handicapped fitting rooms in department stores work nicely, because the stroller fits in them and there's a seating area. But it does bring up the Miss Manners question: "So, Miss Manners, does a hungry baby get dibs over a disabled person looking to try on a blouse?"

I was using just such a fitting room recently when I heard a knock on a door -- couldn't tell if it was my door -- and a woman poked her head in, saw me (didn't see much else, I'm quite discreet), apologized and backed out. I heard her wheeling something away and muttering something or other about trying the store's other set of fitting rooms. And I thought, Oh dear Lord, I just prevented a woman in a wheelchair from using the fitting room legally designed for her use. And I felt horribly guilty. And also annoyed because if regular fitting rooms were bigger, I could've used one of those; if there were another sort of private-ish room I could use in the vicinity, I'd use that; if people weren't so weird about mothers nursing in public, I could just grab a bench near the food court and no one would blink an eye, and I wouldn't have to worry about, say, getting the cops called on me at Target.

But I finished feeding kiddette and put her gently snoozing body back in the stroller, then opened the door to see the same woman from before. And I was hugely relieved to see she was pushing ... another stroller. I told her we were done and she was welcome to the room. We chatted briefly, exchanged our daughters' vitals (age? weight? serial number?) and then kiddette and I headed out. I have no idea whether the other mom wanted the room to feed in or just to try stuff on in, but it's a bit of a moot point.

Still my etiquette question remains. What if it had been a woman in a wheelchair? Because normally I get all kinds of peeved at non-disabled people who use disabled fitting rooms and restroom stalls and parking spaces. But if there isn't another space available to use, what's a mother (and wailing baby) to do? You'd think, as more women breastfeed and do so for longer periods of time, that this issue would pop up more often. 

In case you were wondering what other wacky places I've nursed lately: Church. Precisely one minute into the baptism we were attending. (In the hallway, not the pew.) Hungry little stroller jockey, isn't she?