Where’s the tutorial for pureed Elmo?

Has anyone noticed how confusing it is to feed a baby solid food? One source tells you to make sure they eat rice cereal at least once a day, another source tells you to avoid it altogether because it’s hard to digest. But the last source said it was easy to digest. Well, which is it?? I hate playing Russian roulette with my child’s digestive system.

By the way, I think it actually is hard to digest. I fed Collin a ton of it when he was sick because I wanted him to get the antibodies from the breastmilk that I used to thin it. He got constipated, and I mean constipated. I guess everything in moderation, right?

I’m trying to make baby food from scratch, but it’s difficult to do, as we’re in a studio apartment and there is no escaping the roar of the blender. The blender (along with the vacuum, a hearty sneeze, or just about any loud sudden noise) has always had the power to send Collin into a full-scale panic that requires ten minutes of singing, bouncing, and peeling him off my head before eventually resorting to Elmo. Oh Elmo, you red, squeaky beast. I have such a love/hate relationship with Elmo. Collin really doesn’t care for childrens’ TV shows except for Elmo. We’ve had to scale Elmo back a little because I was unsettled at just how much Collin was actually watching. For the most part, we keep Elmo on stand-by for the times we really need Collin to shut up already be distracted with something, but I still feel like Sesame Street should charge me for babysitting. Don’t judge me, how else am I supposed to take a shower??

I find it kind of cute /ironic/ payback that Collin loves Elmo like he does, as I remember hearing stories of my own Sesame Street obsession when I was a youngin’. Ahhh, life has a funny way.

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Discovering The Napless Wonder

I’ve been sick all week, and thankfully I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the head cold tunnel. Unfortunately, my son is just now showing signs of feeling unwell, which suggests we’ve got a long way to go before we can skip merrily out of the house and declare ourselves recovered. I hate when Collin is sick, I hate it worse than when I’m sick. So far, the worst symptoms he has are what can only be described as Pain-in-the-ass-itis. Basically, he doesn’t want to be put down, but he doesn’t want to be picked up and removed from his toys. But he doesn’t really want to play with his toys, he mostly wants to sit around on the floor and whiiiiine. Oh, the whining. It is enough to make me a crabby, whining person, myself. His whine is something he does with his whole body: sitting rigidly and staring at you with a huge frown on his face and this drawn-out half-cry that DOESN’T STOP.

I think the biggest cause of the whine is the fact that he will not nap. I guess feeling sick is reason to stay awake until you are reduced to a heap of blubbering baby. The past two days, I’ve had to bundle him up in boots and a snow suit (Maybe a little over-kill, but it’s cold and we’re sick over here, m’kay?) and walk him in the sling until he passes out from sheer exhaustion. Then we get home, and I pass out from sheer exhaustion, and the next thing you know, you’re hearing Collin whiiiiiiiiine all over again. Now, being as my nose has been doing its own rendition of a human leaky faucet, leaving me chained to a tissue box all week, you would assume I would remember to bring tissues when I take Collin out for a walk. No. I’ve forgotten both times, and kicked myself the whole walk as I became a mucus fountain. But back to the nap business, I feel like setting up a tent outside our apartment and charging people to look at him. “Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and witness with your own very eyes…The NAPLESS WONDER!”

"This is the baby’s nursery…we just happen to live here."

When I left my life in Southern California behind to move in with  Husband (who was not yet Husband), we shared a tiny bedroom in a tiny house-type thing on the property of a Hindu temple. It was a small, but beautiful existence. The room was already packed with years worth of Husband’s possessions: mainly art pieces, musical instruments, and mountains of junk that had been fished out of Goodwill bins and dollar stores. Add my cargo to the mix, and there was only enough space to walk a trail from the bed to the door. We needed a bigger place.

So, we moved to a bigger bedroom in a bigger house, with a bigger closet. We marveled over how much space we had. “Hey, we can even use this old van bench as a couch! Great!“ Soon, we got married, and acquired even more stuff. After a while, it began to feel a little cramped. We needed a bigger place.

So, we moved into a studio apartment. It was perfect; right on a wildlife sanctuary. There was a separate space for the bed, and a nice kitchen that even had a dishwasher. Husband and I had our own closets (He gave me the big one. Love you, baby). We had our own shower, never had to worry about anyone sneaking our food or using our dishes and leaving them to rot in the sink. We were even able to get a cat of our own. It was wonderful. Pure bliss. Then, I got pregnant.

“Hmmm…how are we going to make this work in a studio apartment?” We asked ourselves. Well, we didn’t want the stress of a move while I was expecting, plus we were trying to save up as much money as we could…so we decided to make it work. We embarked on The Big Purge, tossing almost everything we owned to make room for the changing table, the rocking chair, the co-sleeper, the diaper genie, and piles and piles of clothes, blankets, burp cloths, toys…you get the idea. It wasn’t easy throwing away so many mementos of our newlywed days, our only time together as a family of two. It wasn’t easy throwing away pieces of our youth. But, we did it. We had to. Eventually, we grew accustomed to it, and it got easier to say goodbye to the things we loved to make room for the thing we loved even more.

The purging process never stopped, by the way. Just tonight, we got rid of our desk to make room for a play space for Collin, now that he’s sitting up by himself and trying to crawl. When people find out how we live, I’m often met with a blank stare of disbelief. “I don’t know how you do it.” Is often uttered. Frankly, I don’t either, sometimes. It depends on when you ask me. On a good day, it’s cozy and fits our attachment parenting style, anyway; for example, we would co-sleep with our baby even if we had all the  space in the world for a crib. However, on a bad day, I feel claustrophobic and worried we’re about to burst from the seams of this apartment; Like, someone will show up at our door, and I’ll open it, only it won’t be me standing there, it will be an avalanche of baby gear burying my visitor alive. It can be hard to never get away from the baby, especially at night when he’s asleep, and you’re tip-toeing around so as not to wake him up, and it’s your only chance to reorganize or clean something.

Let me tell you something about organization: it is KEY to living in a small space and staying sane. And just when you think you have everything perfect, you need to reorganize all over again because the baby just grew out of a bunch of clothes, or a bag of toys showed up and you have no idea where to put them. I am in a constant state of sorting: does this fit the baby? Does he really play with that? Will that ever be used? Whatever doesn’t get put to use immediately goes- either in the closet (if there’s space) or to Goodwill. There is just no room in here for stuff that isn’t being used.

I am an optimist, and I like to look at our time here as a learning experience. We humans (Especially we Americans) love to cling to stuff we don’t really need or use. I’ve had the privilege of breaking myself of that habit. How many people get to say that?

Discovering Halloween

I hope all my friends, family, and readers of my blog had a stupendous Halloween. Ours was pretty exciting, it being the first Halloween Collin has spent on the outside of my body. Being the over-excited mom that I am, I had to hand-make Collin’s costume, and four hours with a glue gun and a pile of felt later, he was a lion. I’m pretty excited about how it turned out, and how almost-too-adorable he was in it, though not so thrilled about how easy his mane was to tear apart with little baby hands and stick all over his flypaper skin (what is it about baby skin that makes it so sticky? Is it the layer of drool?) AND his eye (!!). He didn’t seem bothered at all by the costume in his eye, but I was incredibly bothered. I had big plans to extract it as soon as we got home, but by the time that happened, he was in full put-me-to-bed-RIGHT-NOW meltdown mode, and trying to mess with his eye at that point would have meant certain death for my ear drums, and possibly a call to the cops from a neighbor to report what would surely sound like a screech owl killing a family of squirrels.

Our good friends J & V and their Baby S joined us for the festivities, and I have to say, the best part of the night had to be the irony of the babies’ costumes. I didn’t even notice it until V pointed it out, and then I howled with laughter (I’m still howling). Her baby was a cow, mine a lion, a perfect Halloween costume version of their personalities, as well as the way they interact with each other. Like a cow, Baby S would be more than content to sit and eat all day long, stopping only to deposit a mountain of poop. She is gentle and sweet, and loves to sit back and observe her surroundings. My baby, the little lion, paves a path of destruction wherever he goes and anything within reach gets chewed on, especially including little innocent baby cows.

Probably the most amusing part of Halloween was all the childhood character stripper costumes. There was Stripper Snow White, Stripper Little Red Riding Hood, Stripper Alice in Wonderland… you get the idea. What is it about symbols of childhood that makes mostly young women (though there were a few wrinkly strippers out there) decide it’s a good idea to teeter around all night on sky-high heels and freeze to death in a next-to-nothing mini whatever? You know the first thing they are doing when they get home is putting on their sweats and crying over the blisters they got from pretending they were comfortable in stripper shoes all night. Whenever I see a stripper version of a Disney character, I only imagine that character down on her luck with nothing to do but work the pole for money. Maybe prince charming left her for a younger princess, and now she has found herself alone in the castle with a handful of hungry kids, and the jerk won’t even pay child support. By the way, I can poke at girls who dress like strippers for Halloween because, a lifetime ago, I too used to use Halloween as the one night a year to dress like a stripper. Oh, how times change.