REJECTION

I arrive to pick up ZGirl from daycare. At the end of the day with just a hand-full of kids left, they are all together in the big room. I peek around the corner on the way past to get her bag and caught her eye. She doesn’t smile back. I continue on figuring once she notices I’m no longer at the door, she’ll come looking for me.

I gather her things and return to the doorway. One of the caregivers has picked her up and is standing there. ZGirl is still somber, quiet. I reach for her, but she doesn’t reach back. I gently peel her away from the woman holding her and just as I have her rested on my hip, she begins to cry and wail and reach out…

…for the caregiver.

I hand her back, smiling, wounded. ZGirl stops crying. We talk about her day. Everything’s been fine.

I reach out again thinking this time she’ll reach back. She doesn’t.

Again, I take her back into my arms and she cries and reaches forcefully away from me. I hand her back, not wanting her to be upset when we leave and watch as she not only stops crying but curls up in the arms of the caregiver and averts her face.

I still smile, hiding the hurt as I pretend to look at her journal entry for the day, blinking back tears.

EXORCISING THE FEAR

Fernando Schnabl lost his wife and five year old son when Flight 447 went down in the ocean earlier this summer. Did you know that he and his daughter boarded an earlier flight because of their fear of flying together “in case something happened”?

The fiery accident on New York’s Taconic Parkway took the lives of a 9, 7, 5 and 2 year old.

A local family’s two year old died after he drowned in the pool.

What happens to you when you read or hear about these tragic accidents?

Physically, I seize up in terror. I can feel my heart pound. My throat tightens up. I fight back tears. And then my mind does something so horrible that I can barely function: I imagine ZGirl or XBoy in that situation. Like right now, I’m doing it.

And that’s why I must write about it. It’s been happening a lot recently. It started one night shortly after the crash of 447 as I was just on the verge of falling asleep when suddenly the mental picture of my daughter’s lifeless and tiny body floating out there alone and cold came to me in searing imagery …I started to hyperventilate… even now, trying to describe the morbid thoughts, I am fighting to control myself, to breathe.

I must purge these thoughts. I have to find a way to banish these visions that send me to the bathroom retching in fear. I must face these mental demons before they consume me. My husband wants to go to the beach next year. A few months ago, I would have anticipated the chance to finally take a vacation. But now I have become so paranoid that all I could do was answer, “We’ll see.” I don’t want to get on a plane with my children. I can’t explain what is going on in my head to Mr. DD. He would only tell me that I’m worrying needlessly; enabling what was once a non-existent phobia.

Is this normal? Not just to fear the worst, but to imagine the worst? I feel paralyzed and that in some way, it’s a sick mind that allows imagery of such awfulness.

OH SNAP!

If you were wondering if while shopping for fall and winter clothes you should go ahead and get that size 18 mos onesie? Take my word on this: don’t.

Onesies are THE DEVILLLLL once a baby is capable of standing and walking on their own. At this stage, I prefer the bag ’em and tag ’em form of dressing when it comes to the thrashing, screaming, feral girlchild.

LOVIES

On the way to do some school supplies shopping (SWEET MOTHER OF PEARL!!! SCHOOL STARTS IN LESS THAN A MONTH) I had a horrible thought cross my mind. ZGirl has developed a crush on a stuffed animal, a Ty plushie given to her as a gift. Of course, that’s not the horrible thought even though it is a whole lot of pink and purple rolled into one and IN THE FORM OF A UNICORN!

Yes, I’m shouting. Too much coffee.

The thing is, we only have one of them. I need to be like Serenity who wisely has three of her son’s lovies in her possession.

XBoy’s “lovies” ended up being all of the cloth diapers we bought to use as burp clothes. I’m sure at one time we had a couple dozen of them about, of which one by one they would disappear. I remember one being left intentionally on the shopping mall’s tile floor covering a puddle of slushie XBoy had dropped when he was probably around three because at three years old we have to carry our own goddamn drink and then spill the entire contents all over the damn floor where someone could easily slip and sue the mall management. I actually had one of the shop workers call maintenance but after waiting for five minutes with an inconsolable toddler, I decided that losing the burpie, which was much easier to see on the floor than a melting pile of banana slushie, was simply cutting my losses.

Today he still has a couple left: his Burpies. One that is is absolute favorite. Probably because it has gone through the washer and dryer so often that it is now as fine as tissue paper and almost sheer.

It took a couple dozen of those bad babies to make it seven years. With that revelation, I knew that one beanie baby wasn’t going to make it through ZGirl’s formidable years as a toddler. So the hunt is on for one retired stuffed animal. I’ve already found a couple and will be swooping in on ebay to get them when the time is nigh.

Why couldn’t she have developed a penchant for a roll of toilet paper or a plastic shopping bag? Those, I have plenty of.

LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS

pittOne of the magazines in our reception/waiting area is Wired, which I would best describe as a Rolling Stones magazine for the techno junkies. Augusts’ publication has Brad Pitt on the cover…wearing a blue tooth ear piece and next to it in itty-bitty print it says something about how HE can barely pull that look off and you aren’t him(oh, so true, people). I couldn’t figure out how Pitt could tie into Wired so I went to the article inside (of course it was for the article ‘cause Pitt’s face is not the purty IMHO) titled: How to Behave: New Rules for Highly Evolved Humans.

The article is basically a bunch of tips for people like you and me that spend an abnormal amount of time blogging, tweeting, flickring, facebooking, etc. Within those tips are tinier little tips, like these:

  • Don’t follow more people than follow you.
  • No more than 20 tweets in 24 hours.
  • Don’t use a photo of your child as your profile picture.
  • Don’t type BRB. Just go and come back.

By the way, Brad Pitt, star of Inglorious Basterds, is providing separate and bad advice within the column, which is actually kind of funny.

Anyway, one of the topics of the article/column is “Meet Online Friends in the Real World (Beware: It Will Be Weird)” by Mathew Honan. And this is interesting shit, so don’t skip over this or blow me off just yet.

Nancy Baym, who studies online communications at the U. of Kansas talks about what can be an awkward shift from internet friendship to a real world one.

“With all his snappy posts and ripostes, you may have come to think of him as quick-witted. But what’s fast in message-board land can feel slower than dialup in a face-to-face exchange. ‘Sometimes good online socializers are shy in person,’ Baym says. ‘Their medium is the written word.’

This made a lot of sense to me especially later when I was talking to a gal I’ve become friends with at work. She’s outgoing and hysterical and she doesn’t come into my office nearly enough throughout the day to alleviate my boredom. Just today we were talking about boobs. She claims she has pancake boobs – you know what I’m talking about – which she was lamenting when I suggested that she go to her S.O.’s class reunion and wear something to show off her boobage to make HIM look good. She said, “It’s too much trouble shifting them around to make sure I don’t look ridiculous in case it gets cold,” and then she made this motion with her fingers as to how one nip might be pointed this way and the other that-a-way and added some sound effects for good measure.

…I guess you had to be there. I mentioned facebook to her to which she responded with a blank look on her face. “I don’t get it. I have a SIL that sits in front of the computer all day doing that shit. What the hell could she be getting out of it?”

Herein is my point. It appears that a majority of people who seem to have a more difficult time, how should I say this? Socializing, do quite a bit of blogging. I read dozens and dozens of blogs and at one time or another there has been some admitting to being shy. It’s why I veer away from meetings with other bloggers. Why even though I have a few phone numbers stored in my cell phone, I don’t call anyone. I don’t want you to realize how abysmally dull I truly am in real time. When I headed up north for the ConFab and met Molly, Alexa, and Jennifer, I felt like a fraud and an actor. While my blog is hardly spellbinding, it definitely paints a much flattering picture of me than meeting me in real life.

I think that’s probably true for 99% of those who blog religiously. We are terminally shy and looking for some kind of outlet. So to many like me, blogging is actually kind of like Bizarro World for us shy, under-worldly creatures. There’s probably a funny, thoughtful, smart, insightful person inside of me somewhere, but since she rarely makes an appearance on my blog, I’ll just warn you to lower your expectations if we were to ever meet in person. My little nook in an unused room suits my personality quite well.

ROCKET MAN – I THINK IT’S GONNA BE A LONG, LONG TIME

When XBoy was a newborn, we couldn’t wait to see what every week would bring as far as his developmental milestones go. I kept the book given to us by our pediatrician about what to expect each month next to the crib and would read about the month he was in and what to watch for, and of course the following month in anticipation. I followed the book’s suggestion down to the T. I documented when he rolled over; when he sat upright; when he crawled; when he first walked; his first words; etc., etc.

As for ZGirl? I opened the book a couple of times to remind myself of when I could introduce solids and what kinds, but we didn’t push it. We jumped over the rice mess and went straight to my broccoli chicken tortellini from Pizza Hut, which she loved, at six months. I don’t really recall when she started crawling. A couple of months ago? Five months ago?

I can tell you she started walking, if you call 3 or 4 steps before she collapses into my outstretched arms, walking, a week or so ago. She doesn’t say mama or dada, but the other day while at daycare she pointed to the wall of paper stars and said, “tars”. I have on my phone a video from my husband of where she repeated “uh-oh” with perfect enunciation. That was a month ago and she no longer says it. She looks for XBoy when we say his name. She crawls at break-neck speed to the bathroom when we say it’s time for her bath. She points to interesting, and sometimes not so interesting, objects.

As far as I know, she’s an average baby with average milestones. I do wonder about the talking, but I think I worry since XBoy was an early talker. He was (and still is of course) a very clever toddler. I even have a video of him at about 18 months counting to 20.

I guess it comes down to that while I eagerly anticipated every new development in XBoy, including the thrill of packing away outgrown clothes, I struggle immensely with ZGirl’s changes. I have a digital picture frame in our bedroom that hasn’t been updated since January. All the pictures are of her during the first five months, and as I watch the images of a newborn I barely recognize slide and morph on the screen, I can feel myself sinking into such a funk that I blink back tears.

The first two months after she entered our world were hellish. It seemed as if we never slept, but obviously we did. I would crawl into bed in the middle of the night dreading the fact that in two more hours I would have to be up again to nurse her. On more than one occasion, I remember collapsing into my pillow in tears and saying to Mr. DD, “What have we done? What were we thinking??” and before he could even attempt to sooth me, I had passed out in exhaustion.

That memory is burned indelibly into my heart since of course, we had moved heaven and earth to have her here and at my darkest I had almost wished it not to be so.

It’s now that she sleeps easily from 9 – 7 that it makes that time feel like an eternity and a half ago. Was it really THAT bad? Looking back, no, and if I could – if WE could – I would do it again.

Each day little bits of babyish floats away into the ether. She is rounding the first turn into toddlerhood in her personality, which is both feisty and fearless. She is developing a crush on a couple of stuffed animals. She hides under the blanket awaiting a game of peek-a-boo. She screams in furious indignation when we try to pluck out whatever foreign object she has secreted away into her mouth, and when she’s tired, she seeks us out, lifts her impossibly small arms up to us in a silent plea to be picked up and held, and when we do, she curls up into our arms – only briefly – before pushing back away with those arms to look into our face and smile as if to say, “I soooo have you wrapped around my finger…SUCKAH!”

And she does. She has us ALL wrapped around her finger. It’s ridiculous to imagine the three of us are at her beck and call, but we are. XBoy will even stop playing a video game to attend to her blatant calls of attention.

The relationship those two have is…oh god…it’s so hard to put into words. It’s reciprocal admiration at its finest. He will read books to her even though he HATES to read. She screams in excitement when he enters the room. The other day, she nearly pushed herself out of my arms while in the pool, just to reach out to him. I originally had feared that their age difference would equate INdifference, but I couldn’t be more surprised or elated by how well they have bonded.

I wish you all could meet ZGirl. To meet XBoy. To see how years of bitter disappointments and failures have accumulated into such a sweet, sweet outcome. One that I’m proud of in that we persevered when it seemed we could never clear the hurdles of multiple miscarriages, male factor, poor ovaries, money, time, time, time…

Time. It’s hurtling us all too quickly into the future. It seems recently I’ve been sitting on that rocket of time and while my arms are wrapped firmly and lovingly around both my children, I sometimes stop sniffing the sunshine in their hair to turn and look with melancholy on what is behind me. When I turn to face what’s in front of me again, ZGirl and XBoy are just a little bit bigger and not holding on quite as tightly to my arms.

T.K.O.

Since it seems not only self-indulgent, but a bit asshole-y to privately ask you this (and even though you probably expect nothing less from me), for those of you who still have T.K.O…more or less with the tko.typepad.comlink associated with it, would you mind updating your link, purty-please?

Boy. That didn’t sound at ALL self-indulgent or asshole-y, did it. *eye roll*

LADYBUG PICNIC

I did a ladybug theme for ZGirl’s birthday. By “theme”, I mean that the plates had ladybugs on them; her invitations were ladybugs and the cake was a ladybug. After that, I got lazy and just bought red accouterments.

I tried to get a ladybug cake pan, but they were sold out. Instead I saw a cake pan for sports balls (I feel as if I need to qualify that statement with the “sports” adjective as I’m going to be referring to my baby girl’s cake here), and decided that it would work better. Each half circle could be a small ladybug. The perfect size for a one year old to mash up.

2009 006Here’s the counter space I was working on. I don’t get how any one can bake neatly.

I was a little disappointed in that the instructions claim I should only need one cake mix to fill both halves. Not quite enough. If I had to have a perfect (sports) ball, I would need to mix up two. Again, no biggie since I wasn’t depending on feeding a bunch of people with the cake.

2009 004I outlined how I wanted the icing to be applied and then mixed my colors and started with the black filling in the face and the line down the middle. Then I came in with the red. I decided at the last minute not to make the dots on the ladybug out of icing and instead went with the mini oreo cookies.

2009 007The eyes were made with mini oreos, as well. I just scrapped oreo icing and piled them up on one cookie to make them bulge a bit, then smeared a bit of butter cream icing on them and dabbed that into blue sprinkles for the irises.

2009 008ZGirl seemed to enjoy it. Briefly. What you won’t be able to see is that after she demolished it, she suddenly banished it to the floor with a few well-aimed swipes of her hand. I swear she was bitch-slapping it.

2009 014That’s my girl.2009 049

TODAY

timeToday is the last day I will ever be pregnant.

Today is the last day I will feel the kicks and turns of a baby from the inside.

Today is the last day I will be the mom to one child.

Today is the last day I will wish to be over soon before I start hoping the tomorrows never come.

Today was a year ago.

The tomorrows still come.

Each one faster than yesterday.

FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU; FOOL ME THRICE, SELL THE SOB BEFORE THE FACTOR WARRANTY GOES OUT

Last February, we traded in our SUV for a brand new Toyota mini-van (because suddenly we’ve become OLD!). A few months ago, several lights on the dashboard came on and while I tried to google the reason for it (because doesn’t google have the answers to everything?), I ended up scheduling an appointment with the nearest Toyota dealership for a diagnostic. We’ll refer to that trip as Appt #1.

On a Friday afternoon, after scheduling time off from work, I drove 45 miles to Appt #1. After sitting in their lame-o waiting room for about 40 minutes, the service manager came in to tell me that the oxygen sensor was out and needed to be replaced. Unfortunately (you will see that word too many times in this post), they had to order the part and schedule an appointment to put it in: Appt #2.

On my way home from Appt #1, while driving 70 mph, I notice the hood of my van shaking and shimmy-ing. I pulled over to find that while the safety latch was engaged (thank God!), it wasn’t closed. I called the service manager and told him about it, and he seemed duly apologetic.

Appt #2 also was scheduled Friday afternoon. Again, another 45 mile trip to the dealership. Another 45 minutes in their waiting area watching ceaseless updates on M.J.’s death. The service manager came in to tell me that they replaced the sensor but UNFORTUNATELY, when they hooked up the van to make sure everything was A-OK, they discovered the second sensor was out. Of course they did NOT order more than one, since apparently having a sensor go out on a vehicle with only 13,000 miles on it is unusual.

I was peevish and short with him. I told him that it’s difficult for me to get time off from work. Oh, we can do it on Saturday if you want. Well, shit. If I had known that…my bad. So I scheduled Appt #3.

He handed me my keys and I walked out to get my van. I made sure the hood was shut and opened the sliding door to put my purse in the back (the world’s LARGEST purse, which is why it goes in the back). When I did, there was ZGirl’s car seat, unhooked and slid to the side. Goddammit! I muttered, and stomped back inside to find the service manager.

When I told him about it, he found the service tech and I overheard the tech say he couldn’t figure out how to get it back in once he had removed it (they had to take out the front seat of the van to reset the sensor or some such bullshit, and the carseat was in the way). The service manager came out with me and helped me get it all tightened up again. While I could have done it myself, I thought he should instead.

Appt #3’s scheduled date arrives and I again make the trip south. I still have some semblance of humor in spite of everything and as I hand the keys over to the service manager, I say, “Make sure the hood is down; the carseat is installed; and the part is fixed.” *insert ‘ha-ha’ here to take edge off of the sarcasm* I brought a magazine with me for the waiting room and settled in. Of course, about 30 minutes later, the service manager walks in. He looks grave, and my face flushes with annoyance: “I’m so sorry to tell you this but UNFORTUNATELY we ordered the wrong part. We’ll have to re-order and reschedule you in (Appt #4??? No fucking way!).”

Don’t bother, I tell him. It’s been one error after another here and now I’ll just take it to The Metro (100 mile trip) to get this stupid part fixed (since even though my husband could do it, it would void the warranty). If you had just ordered two, we’d be done by now.

We had no idea that both sensors would go out and then we’d have the cost of returning the extra part.

Well, don’t you now still have the expense of returning an extra part since it’s the wrong (motherfucking – what I wanted to say) part?! Not to mention my extra expenses for lost time at work and gas and my own personal time?? He apologized meekly some more; asked if there was anything they could do and I kicked him in the crotch and on his way down, I judo chopped him in the throat. Not really but in my mind’s eye…

Since then, I’ve had Appt #4 with a dealership in The Metro. It required not only 200 extra miles on my van as well as a full day off from work. I combined ZGirl’s doctor appointment with the trip so I had her along, which meant I brought XBoy along to be my buffer when ZGirl started getting fussy, but I also convinced my mom to join me and turned the day into a shopping spree where I ended up buying a new light-weight stroller that just about sent Mr. DD down to the courthouse to file for legal separation! Wheeeeee!! Good times, y’all.

Not only that, but in the past few days, I’ve received not one, but two phone calls from the first dealership (Ernst in Columbus, just FYI to you googlers looking for a reputable dealership: this is SO not the place). The first was to see if I was satisfied (??) with the service; the second to follow-up on the fact that I was most definitely NOT satisfied with my service. And to add insult to injury, the second caller had the nerve to excuse every mistake the dealership made:

  • The hood was left open because one guy checked the engine but a second guy who didn’t know about the first guy is the one who parked your van and doesn’t check the hoods of every car he drives. (It’s still the first guy’s fault!)
  • We can’t hook up carseats because of the liability involved in case there’s an accident. (So I’m supposed to believe that while your service tech is inept to the point he cannot simply latch back up again the latch he UNlatched, he’s qualified to remove AND put back in the driver’s seat??)
  • We couldn’t have known that your van would have needed two sensors and cannot keep in stock every possible part. If we had ordered two sensors, we would have had the expense of returning it. (Granted, it was the vehicle’s “failure” in the first place, it was the dealership’s when it came down to them ordering in the wrong part, which they still had the expense of returning – and like I give a shit what their “expenses” are??)

Finally I just railed into her by saying, “Don’t you dare call me after you find out that I’m displeased with the service I received and then make up excuses for their errors. You can call me and apologize; offer me free products (I could really use some mud flaps and Mr. DD likes to use genuine parts – a.k.a. oil filters); and even send me a check to reimburse me for the gas used for Appt #3 and #4, but don’t you DARE tell me how I don’t have the right to be upset and make up excuses for the ineptitude that dominates your dealership!!

The only defense I will offer is that Earnst doesn’t just service Toyota’s. In other words, I should have gone to a dealership that is strictly Toyota in the first place. In the 15 years Mr. DD and I have owned and driven Toyotas, we have never had to make a visit to a service department for any work before this. Not once. So to make four trips in two months pisses me right off.

You know what sucks even just a little bit more? I’ve now noticed a rattle in the back passenger door. Aaaaaiiiiiieeeeee!!!

RACING EBAY VAN TO SPECIALIST FOR ADHD

I’ve been pretty irritated with my husband lately. Actually just on the weekends. He’s been racing* every weekend for the past 4, which goes against what I thought we had agreed to when racing*season started: he’s races* one weekend; I get to do what I want the next weekend. Easy, right?

When I whined to him about it, he told me I “need to get a hobby.” So tonight when I sat down at my laptop, he asked what I was doing. My “hobby”, Mr. Observant.

* as in radio-control electric car racing

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I have been dealing with a nightmare on a simple $15.00 ebay purchase. I found the seller (who won’t respond to my emails or send me my mofo purchase) on another site via google, because some people are stupid and use the same username all over the web. If it wasn’t for the fact I used my husband’s ebay account, I would be all over that bitch like a fly on shit. My husband says that’s harassment. I say it’s internet justice.

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Speaking of crappy service, wait until I tell you about my foray into warranty work on my vehicle. It’s a comedy of errors compounded by two survey phone calls. The last survey caller even had the gall to make up excuses as to why the dealership screwed up not once, not twice, but three goddamn times. I just don’t have the energy to talk about it now.

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More service problems: I took a two hour drive down to The Metro to see a specialist for ZGirl. Long, long, LOOOOONNNGG story short? She’s fine.

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What people who don’t have children with ADHD don’t understand is that a child who suffers from ADHD isn’t just one who is “overly active”. XBoy’s ADHD is not manifested in physical over-activity. It is him being constantly on mental overload. Like having a power plug with every outlet being used plugged into ANOTHER power strip. That’s XBoy’s brain.

For a “normal” child, you can tell them, “It’s bedtime. Please get ready for bed.” and off they go. Fifteen minutes later, you can walk into their room and they’ve changed, completed their nightly toiletry, and might even be in bed.

It doesn’t work that way with XBoy. If I tell him to take a bathroom break, sometimes he’ll get up from the living room couch walk into the hallway and then turn to his bedroom. From the time he heard the request to the time he’s walked to the hallway, he’s forgotten what he’s supposed to do, maybe due to a distraction of a toy laying on his bedroom floor.

To get him ready for bed, it’s simple commands that have to be repeated a couple of times before the task gets completed. The nightly conversation goes a lot like this:

Go take a bathroom break, please (follow him into the bathroom, and lean against door jam).

Lift the ring, please.

Flush, please.

Put the ring down, please.

Wash your hands, please – use soap.

Shut off the water, please.

Dry your hands, please.

Brush your teeth, please.

Put away your brush, please.

Shut off the lights, please.

Go get dressed for bed, please (follow him into the bedroom).

Put your clothes in the hamper, please.

Get into bed, please.

Each command must come separately or else after the first one, you may find him 15 minutes later playing in the bathroom sink with a hairbrush and q-tip and water pooling up not only on the counter but the floor as well.

We are tired of it. He’s certainly tired of it. Unfortunately, we can’t leave him to his own devices. There are times, more often than not, that in the morning, we can tell him to get dressed for the day and we’ll walk into his room ten minutes later and find him standing there buck-naked and playing with his Star Wars action figures. If we ask, “What are you doing?!” he’ll respond, “I’m just playing!” as in “duh! what does it look like I’m doing??”

So yeah. If a friend tells you that their child has ADHD, don’t just think it’s a kid acting like a rabid weasel on meth.

If only it were that easy.

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Feel free to pick a topic, any topic, and advice away. Sorry about the schizo title.

YOU’RE INVITED

So it would happen that I had another birthday. Specifically, I had another 39th Birthday. Like anyone else, I get one birthday a year. It’s just that not everyone gets a redo of their 39th. No, I will not share how many “redos” I’ve had as that would certainly defeat the purpose, now wouldn’t it.

I didn’t take the day off for my birthday. Instead I carted 3 dozen donuts to the office to share with the rest of my “fellow” employees. Personally, I don’t get the whole, “it’s my birthday, so let me vie you with treats” thing. It was bad enough doing that in elementary school, but really? I want someone to make ME a cake. Hell, I’ll take even a friggin Ho-Ho.

Who am I kidding? It doesn’t have to be a special day to have a Ho-Ho.

2009 001ladybugcompleteopenSpeaking of birthdays, I decided to make ZGirl’s birthday invites. Thank god she only has one First Birthday because after this, I will only be responsible for sending out fill-in-the-blank cards and only need to invite the number of kids equal to her age. In other words, next year will be a snap. But this upcoming one? Well, it’s turning into a 3-ring circus and that’s SO not the theme (this year).

Instead, I decided to go with something typically girly and cutesy: ladybugs. I figure the black and red can do double duty in its symbolism (hell, devil, eternal burning pit, etc.). The not-so-funny thing is is that I despise ladybugs. In the fall, they camp out in the billions  dozens in the uppermost corners of our 18’ entry-way ceiling. By spring, there are none left. Here’s a hint: they didn’t ALL fly away AND they’re the perfect size for a baby practicing her pincer grasp. ‘Nuff said.

So yeah, I made the invites. While browsing etsy, I was inspired by one particular design and figured I could make them for less money (you know, because I don’t have a job and all). While it does look like I cut them out after a drinking binge (and maybe I did), I just play up the roughly cut edges as proof that, yes, they are indeed hand-made.

My original intent was to use black cardstock for the body, but I couldn’t find cardstock locally that was as stiff as I wanted. I then found sheets of thin foam, which worked perfectly. It cut so easily (like butta’!) and I didn’t have to worry about it warping after handling it a million times. If you have as inkjet printer, I wouldn’t recommend velum paper which I used. The ink won’t stick well, specifically the colored inks. I had to hunch over 14 invites and outline the red letters on EVERY. ONE. OF. THEM. to make them more legible.

I would also advice you against “sugar glitter”. That stuff is so fine that I swear I still see it floating in the air when shafts of sunlight punch through the never ending gloomy weather of Nebraska. For a moment, I’m like “ooooooh….prettyyyyyy” and then I imagine breathing it in and dying a horrible glittery clogged airway death.

Also, to get the even ovals, I used word/publisher’s auto shapes to make templates. Probably the smartest thing I did for this project. I made sure to adjust the wings so that they weren’t just the oval cut in half, otherwise they wouldn’t overlap like they should.

So, there you go. If you happen to be in Nebraska on the 18th, stop in. We’ll be serving up bräts and burgers and might even go so far as to start a bonfire and do up some s’mores. Which reminds me! “Dear husband, when you go to the grocery store would you please buy some large marshmallows for the s’ mores?” “Why, dear wife? You have two bags of mini-marshmallows in the pantry.” Do you think there would be anything left of a mini marshmallow if you held it over an open flame for any length of time besides a dollop of goo the size of a q-tip?

Boys are stupid.

If you were starting to worry, no this is not becoming an advice blog, because seriously? Me giving advice?? Bitch, please. You’d get better advice after dropping acid and yelling your questions into a tree with a family of raccoons living in it, …but I don’t advice trying it. Raccoons, while cute, are nasty varmints and can seriously fuck your shit up.

THE PERFECT BABY SHOWER GIFT WHEN YOU HATE BABY SHOWERS

If you are like me, you dread shopping for baby gifts. However, unless you have absolutely no fertile friends, nieces, cousins, sisters, etc…which I would then say you have lucked out by becoming a solo explore and researcher on the most northern point of the world, well then, you’ll have to find something to give the belly-rubbin’ gestator that proves that you are not completely  socially graceless. I’m here to let you know that there’s a way to do this without having to do the Walk of Pain into Babies-R-Us or down the baby aisle in Target. 

Here’s a list of items we  in the DD House have discovered to be perfect gifts to give AND get that are both practical and unusual and won’t be sent to Goodwill when the baby has outgrown it in two days:

thermos1) Thermos– ZGirl hasn’t adjusted to accepting a bottle that isn’t warm. I’ve tried the bottle warmers you can plug into your car’s lighter, but it never warms up what’s inside enough. What works great when I will have ZGirl away for the house for a while is to make up a couple of bottles with dry formula and then bring along a thermos full of warm water. If you are kooziegoing to buy a thermos, get a quality one, like what you find in camping equipment. Obviously this works for cool drinks for the toddler on the go.

2) Koozies – Once the bottle is warm (or cold), keep’em that way. Purchasing bonus is that koozies also hide the fact that Mommy might be throwing back a 12 oz of something other than soda.

lamp3) Lamp – You say “Duh!”? Surprisingly, the one place couples forget to put a lamp is on the changing table (if one will fit), so you may have to scope out the future nursery (or just ask). If the changing table won’t fit a  freestanding lamp, check out a clip-on lamp. That lamp over there on the night stand next to the crib? It will be utterly worthless at 2:00 a.m., when later at 6:00 a.m. the next changing exposes that there’s residual poop on the changing pad and/or up the baby’s backside. I would even go so far as to get one with a magnifying glass, which is great for sliver removals and clipping finger- and toe-nails.

dimmer4) Dimmer Switch– Now a dimmer on the wall light-panel is nice, but defeats the purpose of keeping baby in a semi-snoozing mode during a diaper change in the middle of the night. Instead you can get dimmer switches at a home improvement store that connects to table lamps (dimmers will not work on lamps that use fluorescent bulbs). Purchasing Bonus? You can send your husband on this errand. Make sure to write it down, draw a picture and set a budget first though to avoid him coming home with a cordless drill.

nightlight5) Night lights – Pretty self-explanatory but commonly overlooked.

spats6) Plastic / Wooden Kitchen Utensils – If the expectant mom is the type of person who spends any amount of time in the kitchen, get her a set of some brightly bowlscolored spatulas for chewing, or a metal set of measuring spoons for noisy clinking, or some wooden salad servers to bang on pans. Also good for kitchen play is plastic nesting bowls in fun colors for sorting play.

machine7) White Noise Machine– I don’t know what possessed me to buy a white noise machine in the first place when ZGirl was born, but by God, it’s been a lifenight saver. The one we have can either be plugged in or run on batteries, so if we were to ever stay overnight somewhere, at least it will bring some sense of familiarity to strange surroundings. Ours has been running non-stop for the past 11 months and 2 weeks. The Purchasing Bonus on getting this item is you might be able to pick up some related relaxation items at the same store (meditation tapes, scented candles, bath oils, etc.) – not that I am advising you to “just relax”, but a glass of wine always goes better with a candle-lit whirlpool bath.

As I wrote at the beginning, these are all things we have about the house that we cannot imagine going without. While a gift card will never be rejected by the recipient because it is the epitome of practical, but let’s be honest here and admit that all those “oohs” and “ahhhs” as they pass around a gift card might be a bit…erm…forced. Don’t forget to write a brief explanation in the card as well, just in case your friends start thinking it’s time for a baby-shower intervention.

A HIDDEN TALENT

I had another post all lined up until I saw these pictures my son took with my Canon EOS. While it’s a pretty-dummy proof digital (I also have the 35mm version), my son apparently doesn’t need the the help. Maybe it’s because I have a hard time overcoming the innate part of me that thinks everything should be squared off while he just puts the camera to his eye and snaps the picture just as he is, just as the subject is. Of course, anything my son can do that doesn’t involve the mind-numbing Nintendo DS or the Wii is genius.