Hoot, Howdy, and Happy Halloween!

Hope all of your ghosts and goblins had a wonderful night! Little Liebchen decided it was easier to just say “Weh da candy?” instead of trick-or-treat, and Das Big Boy decided to play a trick on us by nearly escaping unnoticed from a Halloween party, but a good time was ultimately had by all. We covered more ground than ever trick-or-treating this year, and both kids were really able to get into the fun and the spirit of the holiday!

Excuse me while I continue to snarf down their candy.

Happy Halloween!

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Personal Best

Tonight Herr Husband and I went on a bowling double date with Rocky and the Landlord.

All you need to know is that:

1) I’m blogging from the car on the ride home.

2) Rocky is an alarmingly good bowler. Like, if they still showed bowling on channel 38 on Saturday morning, she would be the star.

3) We bowled boys vs. girls.

4) Girls won all three games. And Rocky smoked us all.

5) I came in 2nd in two of the three games, including one in which I bowled a lifetime high 119. My total for all three games was 310. I am never this good at bowling.

Here are some photos and a tiny video of our fun. The tiny video was supposed to be a photo but sometimes we you get the phone settings wrong.

Isn’t it nice to know that as parenthood goes on you can do fun things like go drinky bowling with your dear pals on a Thursday?

 

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In happier times, before the drubbing began.

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The victors.

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First strike (of several) in a decade.

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High five!


Looking for…Levity

After yesterday’s emotional post (thanks for all the love in response, gang), I thought we could amuse ourselves with another favorite type of post, in which I share what people have Googled in order to stumble upon this site.

boy need hausfrau porn: With grammar like that, boy gonna be double sorry he came to an English teacher’s blog.

baby tube feeding: I did have one of those, both nasogastric and PEG/mic-key. Neither is that fun, but you get really good at either. It might be a temporary thing, in which case, yay! Most preemies only need them for a little while. Or it might be something your child needs forever if s/he has certain medical conditions. Either way, it’s great that your child can get the nutrition s/he needs. Just be careful not to let the docs overfeed your kid through the tube. You want to preserve their appetite when possible. And please, please don’t listen if a doctor tells you it’s normal that your child is vomiting constantly. Get another opinion. Keep getting opinions until you find someone who can keep your kid growing, but not puking. Else you’ll be wiping up creamed spinach barf for years to come.

2) pictures of adults wearing footie pajamas:

Like this?

Like this?

And this?

And this?

 

baby commando crawl within 8 months:
If you’re concerned about your baby’s development, you should of course talk to his/her doctor. That said, I think most people obsess about this stuff for no reason. And crawling is especially tricky. Some babies never crawl and many certainly haven’t done it, commando or otherwise, by eight months. The question to ask yourself for crawling and other tummy related skills is: Are you giving your baby enough tummy time or are you giving in when it cries because it hates tummy time. My advice (far too late if you’ve come here about your eight month old) is to start them on tummy time from birth and let them get used to it from the beginning. And don’t force it for way too long, but don’t be a sucker if they whine, either.

Remember this outfit? Clunky boots and colorful tights? Maybe a bit hipster.

Remember this outfit? Clunky boots and colorful tights? Maybe a bit hipster.

hipster mom: This is a really good question. Am I a hipster mom? Pretty sure living in suburbia disqualifies me. But in general, I think a hipster mom dresses in clothes that look like they could come from a thrift store. She drinks fair trade coffee and is into baby wearing, probably with a piece of cloth she sewed herself. She reads things like the wonderful Tove Jansson  books to her kids (seriously, check them out). They don’t watch TV, unless it’s vintage Electric Company. She wears choppy, possibly colorful hair, big glasses, and hats. Tattoos may be involved. Quirky eye-liner is a possibility. In my suburban set, I might be a bit of a hipster mom, just like when I go back to Brooklyn, I’m a total suburbanite. In general, I think I’m best identified in contrast to my environs. Like at Dartmouth, I was a super-lefty feminist who sometimes wore a dog collar. But if I’d gotten into Brown, maybe I would have worn cable-knit and become a Republican or something (perhaps that’s taking things a bit too far).

 weaning off oxygen in preemie: It will happen. It may take what feels like forever. There will be many ups and downs. But it will, in almost every single case, finally happen. And then the days of carting around a tank and taping stuff to your screaming child’s face will fade into nothing and you’ll remember his babyhood as his babyhood, not as some drawn out medical procedure.

hausfrau tube: I thought maybe these porn seekers wanted to see women doing things with a tube, like maybe a vacuum or something. It turns out, they mean tube as in YouTube. Hausfrau porn, is of course housewife porn. I did some research. Sometimes she’s hot and bored with housework, and sometimes she’s middle aged and deliberately frumped up. I like to think I fit more into the former category (I’m definitely bored with housework), but you’re not going to find porn here. I’m sorry.

Hipster clothes for big kids: Fedoras. Ironic blazers. Vintage graphic Ts. All Stars. Flannel. Skinny jeans. Glasses. Boots and dresses.

darknipple breast girl: Is this me? I like the one word darknipple. It’s like a name for a secret agent. Or a superhero. Agent Darknipple. She comes out under the cloak of night and attacks with breastmilk.

hipster glasses: I don’t wear glasses. But this is the number one search item that directs people here, so I take pity on them and post this:

Unseen Hipster Glasses. Ironic.

These are the classic hipster glasses, but maybe we’ve evolved now to pink granny frames or something.

tanglewood with kids: It’s awesome. Do it. You can bring your children AND wine, and if you sit far enough back you can still hear the incredible music and drink in the lush scenery (and your wine) even while your children frolic about.

rescue dose beyamethasone:  Dear resident who typed this. Please go home and sleep now. You’ve spelled betamethasone wrong AND I really don’t think you should be googling this. You must have better sources of info than the general internet.

mom hausfrau tube: see above.

women post and there familie post nude:  If you must know, despite my proclivities for nudity I am usually dressed as I type these posts. And my family members are in their pajamas. Nosy hole.

how do we wean our preemie off oxygen: Carefully. S/he’ll let you know when s/he’s ready. And under doctor’s supervision, obviously. Get a good pulmonologist. If you live anywhere near Boston, go to Larry Rhein.

husband sleeping carelessly:  That sounds true. I don’t know what it means, exactly, but it sounds like something husbands would do.

michelin boy: I think you’ve come to the wrong blog. We’re a fairly slender family.

hipster glass: Am I dating myself if I still think a hipster glass is a can of PBR?

yuppie parents: I can help you with this one, too. Buy a stroller that costs more than $500. Hire a decorator to do your child’s room. Drive a luxury SUV. Enroll your children in lots of lessons. Buy them fancy clothing. (Note: I am guilty of some of these things. This is why I am trying to coin the term Yipster, for yuppie-hippie-hipster, which I think REALLY embodies me as a parent/human).

fucking hausfrau over 50 years tube:
I beg your pardon! I consider myself to be a young-looking thirty-six!

feeding on cpap: It can be done. Including breastfeeding. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

commando crawling with gastric tube: Totally doable.

photos of three week old babies: here you go:

Yup. Cute.

Yup. Cute.


You forget how small they are.

You forget how small they are.

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And cute.

 

 

 

puppet body pattern breast: I wish I could sew. There are a LOT of breast puppets on the internet, but a quick search yielded no patterns. I’m sorry.

whats a yuppie parent: see above

liebchen vom lande boob: I don’t know what this person wanted, but I think it sounds like a charming, buxom German cartoon character.

three weeks old baby: apparently this is something for which I am known.

oma hausfrau tube: My Oma wasn’t that kind of girl, thank you very much!

state of wonder review: I wrote one.

godasbig.com: Not sure what this is or how it landed you here, but I will tell you religion is something I don’t really do.

rescue betamethasone dose: see above. The jury is out on whether rescue doses actually work (or it was when I was up on this stuff two years ago). Most docs think it’s worth trying. Any possible side effects aren’t going to matter if s/he can’t get over that breathing hurdle.

three week old baby: I mean they’re cute at three weeks but get over it already. You’re as bad as the porn dudes. And dudettes. I don’t want to assume.

brockton fair 2014:  You missed it. It was awesome. You should totally go next year.

 

Hopefully I’ve helped those wayward searchers. And to those of you who look for me on purpose, thank you. A million thank yous.


Another Version of Four

IMG_3194Today marks the four year anniversary of the first time I held Das Big Boy. That seems crazy, because it seems like forever that I’ve been slogging away at my whole “Post for every day that he was in the NICU” goal. I can’t believe I had to wait a whole week to hold my little dude. [NB: he’s is bed whining for me to come back, and I’m going to do so in honor of the gratitude I feel for being able to hold him whenever I damn well please.]

He just said to me, “I need a hug.” I don’t care if he’s working me. Swoon.

Anyway, one of the many things that sucks about the NICU is that you have to get permission to hold your kid, and doing so, especially when they’re teeny and need breathing support, is complicated and kind of scary. One of the things that’s awesome about the NICU, like life changingly awesome, is the nurses. I learned so much from them: not only how to place a naso-gastric tube in a baby, or change the diaper on a two-pound newborn with the flipping abilities of an Olympic gymnast, but how to love in the face of fear, how to have confidence in myself as a mother, how to fight for my child, and how to bathe a baby. Hey, unlike most parents, I wasn’t scared to give DBB his first bath at home, even though he was still on oxygen!

Boob is easily twice the size of baby.

Boob is easily twice the size of baby.

I still remember when D, one of our amazing primary nurses, asked me if I wanted to Kangaroo DBB. For those not in the know, Kangaroo care is when a parent holds a diapered baby on her naked chest for skin-to-skin contact. It yields amazing results for the babes (better oxygen saturation, increased tolerance of feedings, etc.), and obviously for parents, too. So when D asked me on DOL seven if I wanted to Kangaroo DBB, I was thrilled. Up until then, I hadn’t been allowed to hold him, as he’d been too fragile, first on the dreaded Oscillator and Nitric Oxide (not to be confused with nitrous oxide, aka, laughing gas, aka whippets), then on the regular ventilator. He’d only just been extubated to C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure, Columbia Presbyterian’s method of choice for delivering breathing support to preemies–it allows them to do the work of breathing, but makes it easier by keeping their airway open with, well, air. Your dad may also have one to help with sleep apnea, or snoring. My dad would probably want me to tell you that he has no such thing.)

With his CPAP on. We used to LOVE the few seconds it was being changed so we could see that teeny face!

With his CPAP on. We used to LOVE the few seconds it was being changed so we could see that teeny face!

Anyway, DBB had returned from the brink of death (and I mean this literally, not flippantly), but he wasn’t exactly a picture of health yet. So I was surprised when D asked if I wanted to hold him. “Are you serious?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m serious,” she replied.

“Are you sure? Is it safe?” One of the things that sucks about the NICU is you are afraid that your own yearning for your kid could hurt him.

“I see a baby on room air (note: this wouldn’t last–as you all know, DBB would go on to need some sort of 02 support for 14 months.) CPAP who’s tolerating his feeds and needs his mom as much as she needs him.”

I looked at Herr Husband, “Is it ok if I hold him first?” I asked. Keep in mind that other than birthing Das Big Boy and pumping enough breastmilk for quads (according to the nurses), Herr Husband had done just as much as I had on our journey to this point. More, maybe, if you consider that he fed my every dietary whim and emptied my bedpan seventy-six times a day and night while I was on hospital bedrest.

“Of course,” he said.

He's still awesome and cuddly.

He’s still awesome and cuddly.

I needed no more urging. I closed our curtain, stripped down to my nursing bra, sat in the chair, and waited for D to unravel DBB’s million cords, pull him from the incubator, and place him on my chest.

“Look how comfortable he is,” she said.

He felt like a kitten. Perched on my left breast, which was at least double his size, he clung to me with his little nails. He turned his face towards mine and nestled in. Like all babies, preemies lose weight after they’re born and DBB was at his lowest ever (external) weight of two pounds that night. I marveled over his tiny fingers and toes, and sang to him, and told him how amazing he was and how much I loved him. He opened his eyes to look at me a few times, and then closed them again. His head, my mother insists, was the size of a clementine, although I think it was more like a navel orange. He had the sweetest little old man face. His warmth blended into mine and, as with so many of the major things in our lives, it felt like both an instant and an eternity. The first time I held my son. I was so nervous that my arms ached after D returned him to his isolette. I’d been afraid to move for fear of sending his oxygen saturation plummeting or jostling him and making him uncomfortable.

One of several return trips to bed before he finally fell asleep. I was extra good at not begrudging them tonight.

One of several return trips to bed before he finally fell asleep. I was extra good at not begrudging them tonight.

I’ve forgotten a lot of the anniversaries this year: the anniversary of when my water broke, of when I ran out of fluid for good, of when I hit twenty-five weeks and we knew that life saving measures would be taken if he were born. But I remembered this one. It’s one that does my heart good, just like holding my boy does to this day.

So much

So much

for which to be thankful.

for which I am thankful.


Things About Which I Argued With My Children Today

This is the day I earned with that previous smug post. Nothing major, just majorly crabby children. Luckily, it was capped off by a fun dinner with Dr. G. and her kiddos at which my brood magically behaved, so by day’s end I was no longer considering running away and joining the circus.

Here is a partial list of the topics of our arguments today. Please imagine everything the children said as having been uttered in the whiniest, most demanding, grating little voices possible.

1) “I don’t want fruit goop. I don’t need to poop.”

2) Spilled milk. Yes, there were cascades of tears over spilled milk.

2) “I want to spill my milk again.”

3) “I want to come.” Little Liebchen wanted to come with Das Big Boy to the pediatrician. Because that’s what babies love–trips to the doctor.

4) General difficulties pinning four year old to table for medical exam.

5) Toddler throwing herself to the floor because I kept trying to give her the wrong sippy cup.

6) “I want to have a wingding.” No known reason, but DBB wanted to have a tantrum just because.

7) “Boob milk. No nap.”

8) I won’t wear shoes to pick up brother.

9) I want to get down and run around even though I’m not wearing shoes.

10) “I don’t want to talk about a school. I want to talk about the railroad crossing.”

11) “I don’t want to come inside. I want milk. I don’t have to pee. I want privacy in the potty.” Commence intense whining wingding that lasts for an hour.

12) “Mom, you are so going to get another blister.”

13) “Mom, you are going to die from your blister.”

14) “I want to have a wingding,” part II.

15) “I don’t want to read Goodnight Moon. I want to talk about garbage trucks. I love stinky garbage trucks. I one a garbage truck. I two a garbage truck. I three a garbage truck. I four a garbage truck. I five a garbage truck. I six a garbage truck. I seven a garbage truck. I eight a garbage truck. Eeeeew. I ATE a garbage truck!”

16) And finally, a scene:

The Husband Hausfrau’s are indulging in a bit of HBO DVR. The TV room door opens.

DBB: I want to watch TV.

Husband Hausfraus: It’s time for bed.

DBB: Who’s his name? (pointing at TV).

HH: That’s John Oliver.

DBB: I want to watch John Oliver.

Hipster Hausfrau, smelling defeat and trying to take pediatrician’s advice about not making bedtime about playing in bed, but likely missing the whole point: Ok, come cuddle for a minute.

HH, after a minute: Now it’s time for bed.

DBB: I want to watch John Elephant.

Let's say goodbye to this day.

Let’s say goodbye to this day.

 

At dinner, Dr. G. and I discussed how as a preemie parent, watching DBB fight for his life and not being able to hold him and all that horrible stuff, I thought I would always be grateful and never be irritable. But it hasn’t turned out that way. Dr. G. pointed out that if it had, I probably wouldn’t have been a very good mom. And I suppose that makes sense; perspective is important, but too much of it makes it hard to operate in the daily sphere. Good reframing of my crankiness, Dr. G. Thank you!

Good night, sweet readers. May you fall asleep with more ease than DBB, who is still running around upstairs, likely pretending to be John Elephant.


Hay!

Don't let Little Liebchen's face fool you; she loved the hayride. She was not, however, impressed by the dude who took our picture.

Don’t let Little Liebchen’s face fool you; she loved the hayride. She was not, however, impressed by the dude who took our picture.

As in hayride. Today we fulfilled a fall promise and did one, to the delight of the whole family. The last time we went to charming Drumlin Farm, we were told there was no one around to drive the hayride tractor, except that there would be a hayride for a birthday party. That sucked, because as soon as we finally convinced Das Big Boy (to whom we had pledged a hayride) that it was ok that he wasn’t getting one because the farmer wasn’t there, the birthday party hayride went rumbling by. We managed to contain the tears, but barely. And I just felt bad for the little dude. Disappointment sucks when you’re four, especially when it’s coupled with a seemingly inconsistent injustice.

But today, we managed the hayride, visits to the animals, some frolicking and a picnic at Dairy Joy.

Then we came home and didn’t leave the house again because, let’s face it, we’ve kind of been overdoing it and everyone is exhausted.

 

Including me. So here’s a photo essay of our day.

She stole my chocolate milkshake.

She stole my chocolate milkshake.

Owl!

Owl!

Drummin' at Drumlin.

Drummin’ at Drumlin.

 


Big Win

Remember the craft fair I mentioned in yesterday’s post? Well, I won something at the silent auction. And it was an actual win, because I got the prize for less than market rate.

Das Big Boy and Herr Husband on our impromptu bowling date today. DBB has excellent aim, but his speed seems to defy the laws of physics. It's an incredibly long wait for his ball to get to the pins. But he got two nines and a 10 (three throws candlepin) today, and he was SO excited! It was adorable.

Das Big Boy and Herr Husband on our impromptu bowling date today. DBB has excellent aim, but his speed seems to defy the laws of physics. It’s an incredibly long wait for his ball to get to the pins. But he got two nines and a 10 (three throws candlepin), and he was SO excited! It was adorable.

Here is our imaginary conversation (you’re in italics; I’m in regular print):

What could it be?

What does Hipster Hausfrau need?  I ask you, indulging yet again in that annoying habit of catechizing you and referring to myself in the third person. I do this to my poor children all the time.

Wine? You posit, demonstrating your in-depth knowledge of me.

No, like really need. I always have wine.

A bit of time to herself, maybe with a massage?

Yes, actually. I do. Please mention that to Herr Husband. But that’s not what I won.

To organize her life?

Ding ding ding!

Yes! I won two hours of professional organizational services! People might wonder how it’s so hard for a stay at home mom to keep her house in order. I’m going to steal a line from Rocky: “I’m busy raising people!” And it’s true. That’s my focus. So some days I have a really clean house and most days I don’t, and then there are places like my desk and my pantry which are always terrifying. But I have a million schools and appointments and meetings and errands and play dates to run to, and when I’m home with my kids I like to do projects and play and read. My house has endless laundry (as problematic when it’s clean and waiting to be put away as it is when it’s dirty), dishes galore, and lots of papers to manage. And I’ve always sucked at organization. I was the kid in elementary school whose teachers would finally give up and dump her desk to make her clean it. And we’d always find like four disgusting old sandwiches in there.

Also, I’ve just realized that I should be embarrassed at preschool drop-off, not because of my outfits, but because my car looks like chimpanzees are squatting in it.

Wait, you’re saying, if you don’t know me that well, I thought you were a hipster HAUSFRAU? And you’re right. I do make that claim. But in a sassy ironic way that means I’m a mom and I cook decent food (when I feel like it) and I grocery shop and manage all of our lives, but if you’ve come to this blog looking for tips on home organization, I think you might be as shit-out-of-luck as the folks who come here looking for pictures of women doing unmentionable things with vacuum cleaners.

Another photo from yesterday's day of bliss, intended to demonstrate the cuteness that is LL and distract you from the mess of my house.

Another photo from yesterday’s day of bliss, intended to demonstrate the cuteness that is LL and distract you from the mess of my house.

So anyway: I’ve only got two hours with the organizing lady. Where should I target the assistance? There’s the pantry. There’s the wine glass/kids’ craft supplies storage cabinet (yes, those items currently cohabitate). There are the toys in the kitchen. Then there’s my closet, and the top of my bureau which is littered with costume jewelry and random crap. My desk is scary, but I feel I have to do that myself because it’s a lot of papers, many of which can likely be thrown out, but some of which are essential to that book I’m supposed to be writing.

What would you do if you had minimal physical organizational skills–it should be noted that I am excellent at time management and scheduling–and two hours of a pro helping you? I’d love for her to develop some systems I could keep up, but our expectations of my abilities should be extremely low.

Please note something amusing: years ago when I was a teacher, I was an organizational tutor for a high school student. Much of this work involved helping her manage her time, but I once helped her develop a new organizational system for her bedroom. My mother thought this was the funniest thing ever. So I guess I’m a professional organizer, too. But unlike the one whose services I have won, I am not a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). In fact, I’m pretty sure if I tried to join there would be massive protests. Like sit-ins, with everyone in their own neatly aligned storage bin. Does anyone know anyone in NAPO? I want to go to his or her house. And squat in it. Except they’d notice me right away (unlike the chimps in my car, who could go undetected for months).

I’m not posting pictures of my mess because I fear your judgement. And I can’t post a picture of my outfit because it’s the same one I wore yesterday (you were warned). So you got kid pix instead. Lucky you.