December 16, 2004

Extended Absence Greeting: On

Between the loss of my grandfather, and now my Father-in-Law's illness, I just don't have the heart to write in this blog. I plan to be back, but... you know.

Whatever happens, I will let you all in on my plans. It's just that this has been a really, really rough year for me and my family, and I really, really need to focus on them, and on me.

I have a two year old daughter who will need to learn that things are different with her Papa, now. I have a husband whose heart is breaking, as he looks at his father, a man who has always been so hearty, lying so helplessly in a hospital bed; looking fragile for the first time in his life. My Sister-in-Law is beside herself, trying to get our Mom, one of the world's strongest women, to take care of herself; to eat, rest, shower, and breathe some outside air. I have my Mother-in-Law, who properly refuses to leave her husband's side, and who is screaming and crying inside. You just have to look in her eyes to see it. I also need to consider my SIL's husband and son, who are being rather shorted while she focuses on our parents. (If I can get there, and relieve her, then those good lads will get more time with her.)

They need me. And I need to be there with them.

I promise that I shall do my best to make sure that I don't tap myself dry. I'll be sure to play with my baby, rest my head on my husband's chest, take a hot bath at the end of the day, eat right, and take my paper journal with me. I'll be finishing my needlework, too.

So, don't feel that you, my dear readers, are unimportant to me. I love that you take time out of your day to stop by and read my little rants. I love writing, and truth to tell, my muse never really leaves me alone. It's when I'm ready to hang it all up that the fickle bitch starts hanging out by my bedside, waking me in the night with thoughts and inspiration.

All I have to say is that my particular demi-goddess of inspiration had better bring the Good-Luck and Smiling-Fortune Fairy with her when she stops by, or I'll be posting pictures of my brand-new muse-skin coat.

Merry Christmas with much love,

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posted by Linda at 06:39 PM : Comments (3)

December 15, 2004

Prayers, please?

It seems like this year has been one crisis after another. I hoped the tide would change at Samhain: when the year-wheel turns for pagans. But it didn't.

My Father-in-law had a major stroke, yesterday. He's in pretty rough shape.

Can you pray for/meditate on/well-wish my family, please?

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posted by Linda at 04:22 PM : Comments (3)

December 07, 2004

Life, Laughter, and Farewell

We really goofed last night. Little Miss' Christmas present arrived from Amazon. Her Daddy intercepted the package before we got home, but left it sitting on our bed. Unthinkingly, we let her toddle up the stairs per normal (she likes to brush her teeth before and after dinner -- I'm doing something right), and she took her usual come-catch-me detour into our bedroom.

I heard her gasp. S. cursed softly. We followed her in, to see her standing by the side of our bed, hands clasped under her chin, eyes alight, agape with delight. Hokey Pokey Elmo stood there like some pagan priest, absorbing the adoration of his most devoted acolyte.

I'm not exactly sure how we got her distracted without a lot of screaming and tears, but we somehow managed. Elmo is now hiding deep in the recesses of our closet. We just hope she forgets about him over the next couple of weeks. Fortunately, she never saw her birthday present, hidden in the other deep recesses of our closet.


I love the Yuletide season more than ever. I have my daughter to thank for that. It was one thing to observe traditions I grew up with because they feel and smell right, and another thing altogether to introduce them to her. I love watching her face light up at the sight of Christmas lights, snowmen, and yes, even Santa Claus.

It won't be long and she'll be looking forward to the month of green-and-red-and-white right by my side, asking to bake gingerbread, and bugging Daddy about decorating the tree.

(I think it won't be long before my poor husband just disappears sometime around Thanksgiving, to re-emerge somewhere in the middle of January.)

December is both more joyful and stressful for us since she was born. Not only do we have the joy of Yuletide, but we also have her birthday. Despite the fact that she was born exactly two weeks before Christmas, we decided to make sure that she gets two separate events. It doesn't seem fair for kids born around the holidays. I get a birthday party in August, and later celebrate Yuletide; why shouldn't she have separate celebrations, too?

So, on December 11th, she will have her second birthday party, complete with Nemo party favors (if I can find them) and a Nemo novelty cake. She'll celebrate with her immediate family, including S.'s parents, her Auntie and Uncle, and her cousin. Grandma is taking care of the balloons, and we're picking up the pizza. We'll have the party at Grandma's house, because it's the most centralized spot for family gatherings.

She's getting a Little People Doodle Pro for her birthday. She loves to draw. She's already been through three sets of (washable!) crayons in the last four months. I have enough toddler art to wallpaper a bedroom, and don't think that some primal Mommy part of my brain hasn't been fleetingly tempted. Of course I have the most accomplished, talented, charming, and beautiful child on the planet. My saving grace is that I only say these things to myself, and post them on my blog so my regular readers can laugh at me.

We ordered The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland for her. She will most likely get it for Christmas. (Unless I get suicidally tired of The Tigger Movie before then.) As far as the Elmo movie goes, I have one name to offer as adult rationale: Mandy Patinkin.

You may well ask the reason behind this sudden welcome for the red plush demon who was previously fair Pawnee range fodder, and all I can say is that she stands almost three feet tall, has big blue eyes, and the most infectious giggle I've ever heard in my life.

Two years. Two freakin' years. Ethne, Briar -- you guys remember when I was still gestating her? Sweet Mother Goddess. Two years. Now she's talking in sentences, and running and climbing; and just the other day she walked up to S., (who was napping on the couch) to poke him imperiously, "Wake up, Daddy!" She's starting to pick out her own clothes, and decides what she wants for breakfast.

Two years later, and I'm as crazy-in-love as ever.

Last night, she tilted her head just-so, and I saw my grandmother in her face. I had to look away and blink hard before I went over and kissed her.

This brings me back to a subject I've been avoiding for the last several days, just because I'm still raw. But my grandfather's funeral was beautiful, I'm told, and my father walked away with a sense of peace and completion.

This is a very awkward segueway, and I'm still not positive that a post about the joy of the holiday season with my daughter should include a description of the final farewells we paid my grandfather, but he loved Christmas too, and was one of those men who kept the spirit of the season in his heart all year.

Grandpa was the one who showed me how to put ornaments on the tree. I learned my first really juicy curse word while watching him string lights on the eaves of his house. (Grandma was pissed. She tore strips out of him in Czech, and all he did was stand there and laugh.)

It also turns out that Grandpa was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He never talked about it much, and I'd forgotten about the strangely beautiful lapel pin he would wear, but my father reminded me when he said that he buried Grandpa with it. It seems that my grandfather was a real hero; one of those generous souls who help others without making mention of it. He never expected or received any fanfare. It was enough just to make sure that he left the world a little better than he found it.

In the end, he did get a measure of the honor he deserved. The cemetery was closed, thanks to rain, but Dad told me that after the eulogy was delivered at the church, the Marines stepped proudly forward.

They saluted their elder brother, and played Taps over him. They took the flag from his coffin, and folded it with loving care. Then they played the Marine Corps Hymn for him before presenting the flag to my father. Then, quietly, the officer in charge told my family that it was an honor to be there, and that men like my grandfather were his personal inspiration.

It was all my father could do to maintain his composure. My mother later told me that my father's chin came up, his shoulders squared, and even red-rimmed, his eyes were dry when he thanked the Marine and returned his salute.

There's a lesson in this. A life well-lived is its own reward. Honorable men and women will be remembered with honor when they are gone. The best thing we can do is to give of ourselves selflessly, without thought for reward or recognition. If we can do that while loving and guiding a child, then we can be sure that the future will be brighter, for they will be inspired to carry on in their grandparents' footsteps.

I'll do my best to make sure that The Miss knows that she comes from a long line of principled men and women. I will strive to be like them; to be worthy of their legacy. Then, hopefully one day, she will feel the same tug in her soul, and will proudly say, "My grandfathers were generous, honorable men, and my grandmothers were women of beauty and strength. I want to be like them."

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posted by Linda at 08:36 PM : Comments (3)

August 12, 2004

Note to Self: Breathe

Aug. 13th UPDATE:
The good news is that she's fine, now! Whatever she did to her elbow rectified itself before we could get to the Dr.'s office. (The visit with the pediatrician could be --and may yet be -- a whole post, in itself.) She was still sore last night, and had a restless night, but I let her sleep in late this morning, and when she woke, she appeared to be mostly recovered.

I, on the other hand, feel like I haven't slept in a week. I think I want to stop and get beer tonight. And cigarettes.

Thanks to those who sent prayer, good vibes, and virtual hugs.

I'm worried. The Miss woke up crying this morning. She's favoring her right arm. Considering that she's been demonstrating signs of right-handedness, it's a concern when she will not raise that arm to embrace her doll or favorite stuffy.

She's holding the sippy cup in her left hand, only. When she sits, she drapes her right arm across her lap and occasionally grips the elbow.

Karen and I found a reddened spot on her elbow this morning when we were looking her over. It hurts her when we bend the arm. Mostly, she just wants it to be left alone.

She was fussy at times last night, crying for no apparent reason. In retrospect, it was when she was being jostled around in play. I also remember that she had no interest in handling her own fork last night (it wasn't anything I noticed at the time because, well, she's a toddler). But when you take it all into gestalt, something's up.

Karen's keeping a weather eye on it for me. She'll let me know how it goes. I'm hoping Little Miss only strained something, and that it'll be fine before long.

But in the meantime, I get to worry.


11:25 a.m., MST:
I talked to the babysitter a little while ago. The Miss is still favoring her elbow. At Karen's suggestion, I called the pediatrician, and they want to see The Bean. It seems that little ones can get a type of "nurse's elbow" in which it dislocates and pops back in, or partially dislocates...because she's using the arm, it may not be dislocated at the moment, but they suspect that's what's happening. They want to check her out in-office, and then show me what needs to be done just in case it happens again.
Dislocation? "Happening again"?

I am not reassured. Where are you today, beloved husband? I've been trying to reach you by phone, and I just keep getting your vmail by cell or by your desk phone.
Please call me? I need talking down.

11:40 a.m.
He just called me. I feel better, but now the g*d*m*f* clock is crawling.
Tick, you bitch! TICK!

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posted by Linda at 04:23 PM : Comments (2)

August 10, 2004

And we're back in three...two...

Not a lot of activity on this blog of late. Actually, glancing back, I haven't been doing much in the way of original posting all year long. I have become, as Den Beste so archly observed, a "linker".

Oh well. Maybe next year will be better. Samhain is less than two months away; we'll see if the coming year is more prosperous and less hectic than this.

I'm not really apologizing.

Despite the dearth of posting 'round here, I haven't surrendered the fight. It's just that I ask myself what is the point? I haven't convinced anyone else to change sides. Trying to do so just results in flying spittle and wildly hurled accusations of this-and-that. No one else will ever convince me to take their position. If anything, all the reading and research and discussing I've done over the last couple of years has just refined the fact that I am a right-leaning libertarian. (Go visit the Political Compass if you have no idea what I'm talking about.) I love this country so much that I shall work to preserve it, starting within my own community.

And I'm voting for Bush.

Because I think John Kerry is a fuckwad who is in no way fit for office.

And I believe that democratic ideals are memes that should infect the world, and that we've done a Good Thing in Iraq and in Afghanistan. I also believe that this is all just the Beginning, and that we have to continue moving forward to defang or destroy theocratic authoritarian regimes that breed terrorist mindsets from learned fatalism. It's a measure of how we've hurt al Qaeda in particular, and terrorist groups in general, that they're creaming their jeans in the hope that they can hit us again.

Besides that, I'm sick of politics. Either you have vision and can see that the War on Terror is waged to save our lives, or you can get all pinched and constipated and start spittle screaming about Bushco/Halliburton/Lies + Died/Idiot Cowboy Imperialist Motherfucker Who Must Somehow Die.

I hate that bullshit, and I'm sick of arguing with people who think that Bush is the worst thing that could ever happen to us. He isn't. Period. The End. The worst thing that could happen to us is the loss of Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We the American People stand more of a chance of losing individual liberty if communist-sympathizer Kerry and his EUroweenie fellating buddies get into office.

Before anyone screams about the Patriot Act: during past wars, certain civil rights were stripped in order to protect the people. Civil War? Abe Lincoln? Habeus corpus? Anyone? Bueller? Ok, what happened as soon as the Civil War was over? The rights were returned? That's right. Here. Have a milk bone. World War II: domestic POW and incarceration camps. What happened after the war was over? The people were released and recompense paid? Very good. Here, have another. Good boy.

9/11? Gitmo? Wow. Peole held there get to pray to their particular deity, they eat good food, they bathe daily, they have secure quarters, and they get to exercise, read, etc. Wow. What's been happening out there? Select people have been freed, and the others are being reviewed case-by-case? Holy shit. All we're doing is keeping them from trying to kill their guards? How...brutal of us.

That's my opinion. So again: I'm voting for Bush.

Moving right along, because I'm sick of presenting the arguments why, after careful consideration, I'm supporting the man (if you have questions then Read. The. Fucking. Blog. It starts here. Follow the archives up to the point where I moved to Munuviana, and then read everything here. Follow the links and trackbacks. That's a great deal of the evidence that supports my position. Then, THEN I might debate with you. But if you can't be bothered to look at my sources, then screw you.)

Am I angry today? Not really. I'm just sick of the idiocy, and I'm eager to go vote in the Primaries.

Yes, it's been a crazy year. Life. Work. Finances. Politics. It's hard to juggle it all and do it well. Considering that Family is more important to me than cyberspace, and also considering that I need my job to support my family, this blog is waaay down low on my list of priorities.

In other words, I like my husband and daughter best. It's OK. You'll get over it. Ask your closest companion for a hug. There. That's better, isn't it?

Speaking of the Li'l Miss, she's been in an extraordinarily good mood lately. Happy Baby with a vengeance, she's speaking in phrases: "I 'kay," "Daddy do," "Nana, mine," "Mama, book," "Sassy kitty cat m'ow."

She still doesn't say "love you", but she does blow kisses and she throws herself into our arms for huge squirmy, giggly hugs. She loves the babysitter's cat, Sassy. ("Sassy! Kitty cat! M'ow!") After seeing how gentle she is with the furpal, and with Karen's encouragement in my ears, I've begun a gentle campaign to reintroduce a cat to our household. But, due to spousal wisdom and insight, it's already backfired. My husband holds the very reasonable position that if there's to be a cat for The Bean, then she needs to be capable of caring for it: feeding, watering, catbox cleaning, et al.

It means that the house will probably be fur-free for the next couple of years, at least.

I was dressing her for bed last night in the pink pajamas that make her look like a fairy princess. She extended one foot so I could put the sock on, and I did what I always do: I kissed each perfect, pink toe. She giggled, "Mama," and it hit me. She's already growing up. I paused and studied her face. She becomes more of a blend of me and her father with every passing day. In four more months, she'll be two.

When we snuggle in the big rocking recliner at night, it isn't for rocking and lullabies anymore. It's for rocking and reading. She picks out four books. I read them to her, and we examine the pictures. She names the things she has the words for. I give her the names of other things. Her vocabulary grows daily.

The babysitter tells me that every morning, a little after breakfast, my child wanders toward the child-sized recliners in the living room. There she sits, curled up, reading to herself. She often stays there for a good thirty or forty minutes, just paging through, pointing and naming things.

We want to encourage that. So...when we're a little ahead of the money game, I want to get her this. It'll match the living room furniture! She can sit on it for years to come.

Her father has spoken of the day when he can take her to a coffee shop, and sip coffee while she enjoys milk and a pastry. I'm looking forward to the day when we can quietly share an hour or so, each quietly absorbed in a good book.

In the meantime, we have other milestones to reach. I had an email exchange with the manufacturer of her crib, yesterday. It seems that all I have to do in order to convert the crib to a toddler bed is remove the drop rails, and if I so desire, replace them with a toddler's bedrails. The manufacturer said it doesn't matter which brand of bedrail, just make sure it fits snugly against the mattress. (Of course!)

We also have to get her completely weaned from bottles. She only has one a day, and that at bedtime while we snuggle and read. She won't like it, but the bottle is going away this weekend, and she'll have one of her sippy cups instead.

Her father has begun teaching her a few (socially acceptable) phrases for bodily functions. The groundwork for potty training is being laid. A potty chair will be the next piece of gear to come into the house, probably within the next three weeks. I'll keep you all posted on that adventure.

And finally... the hiring manager for the job I mentioned is taking resumes for two more days. After that, we'll see if I make the first cull. After that, we'll see if I can remember how to interview worth a damn. After that, we'll see what he decides, and if I get offered the job, well... I'll let you know if I still cast a reflection in the mirror after having accepted a promotion in Big Technology.

Until later, then.

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posted by Linda at 06:10 PM : Comments (2)

June 21, 2004

Three Years, Today.

Three years today, my love.

It rained that day, as it rains now. We took our vows on the Mountain, in the sacred circle, with those we loved best nearby. "Flesh of my flesh/Bone of my bone/I here, thou there/And both as One, forever."

I took sprigs of rosemary from my bouquet, and tossed them as offering to the spirits who presided.

Nine months later, I told you that I carried your child under my heart. Nine months after that, you were there when they pulled her from my womb, and you were the one who held her first. Eighteen months later, and the Wheel has turned yet again to this, our anniversary.

You are my rock, my shield, my lover and my priest. You are my best friend, and everything I want, everything I need, is manifest in you.

I love you.

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posted by Linda at 07:32 PM : Comments (2)

February 18, 2004

Light. End of tunnel. Hmmm...

Linda opens her eyes after uttering a very fervent prayer, and smiles hopefully.

Remember when my husband got laid off at the beginning of last month, and how he's been home with The Bean ever since? They've had tons of fun together; she's made huge strides developmentally, and they're madly enthralled with each other as only a father and daughter can be.

Yet, our checking account can't stand the strain of being a one-income family. So, while job-hunting, he's been hoping for one particular position to open up with the county. When the position posted, he fired his application and resume right off. This is a job with the same team he was with, and he'd love to work with them in a more secure position.

This job would be a boon for my little family. Better benefits are offered, as well as more pay. We'd be able to sock a little money away for a rainy day, instead of always robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Well, they just called him. Interview. Friday. 9 a.m., MST. Damn glad to see that he'd put his hat in the ring.

Can anyone out there spare a few good vibes/prayers? Please? They'll be returned threefold. I promise.


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posted by Linda at 11:49 PM : Comments (6)

January 29, 2004


Since my husband has been home with the baby, we've seen a small explosion in her development.

In the last week and a half, her vocabulary has expanded. She calls him "Dah-doo," and watches everything he does. I'm still just "Ma-mom."

She's becoming talkative. "Do," is her way of letting you know she wants something. She'll point to whatever it is. When she wants a story, she demands, "Book. Do." She usually takes your hand and puts the book in it, then stands there expectantly. As soon as you start reading, she'll either try to turn the pages at her own rate, or climb over the book, and into your lap.

"Uh-oh," indicates that she just dropped something. She'll points to it, or tries to climb over the furniture to get it. "Duck," refers to her bathtime pals. "Duck. Do." This tells me that she wants me to play the "Duck Overboard" game, wherein I make the two rubber duckies dance on the edge of the tub before tossing them into the air. She thinks it's pretty funny when they splash down. We'll repeat this game until we're both soaked. "Jooce," means that she's thirsty. "Cup," refers to the sippy cup. We're debating whether "Ba-ba" refers to her bottle, or is a general all-purpose descriptor. After all, she's pointed to me and said, "Ba-ba."

She whispers to pretty things, reaching out delicately with the tip of her finger to explore them.

She knows "Hello," and "Hi!" She waves, plays peek-a-boo, and kinda/sorta blows kisses. She mixes that up with peek-a-boo.

Her confidence with walking is growing. She'd rather hold on to someone, but lacking that, she'll motor straight across the floor to get something she really wants. Most times, if she's eager, she'll just crawl, but we're watching her grow impatient with that.

She likes going places. In the morning, she and her Daddy will hang out for a while, and watch Noggin. Then, after her mid-morning snack, they'll go out for a while. They go to Target, or the mall; yesterday, she got to see Grandma at work. Last Friday afternoon, they came to see me. Monday, the two of them went to the grocery store. (She likes to play "masthead" in the shopping cart. In other words, it takes her about thirty seconds to turn around (despite the seatbelt) to kneel, facing the direction the cart is going. It doesn't matter how often you turn her around; she'll do it again. What a nutty little kid.)

After errands, they come home, and the afternoon involves eating lunch, getting her to nap, and playing together.

I've been watching their bond grow over the least several days. My husband tells me that he's at peace with the idea of being wrapped around her little finger, and it doesn't bother him to be scolded, "Dah-doo!" I've seen her pause in play to look around for him. She'll run to him and plant butterfly kisses on his face. Her face lights when he seizes her, kisses her back, and tosses her in the air. I've seen his serenity when he snuggles her close, and she presses her little face against his neck.

She also does things like yank his shirttail up, to stick a saliva-slick finger in his belly button. That really isn't his favorite game, but she scolds him if he tries to pull his shirt back down.

She's good at entertaining herself. We have no idea what's going on in her head, but sometimes she bursts into laughter for no apparent reason. She's told herself a couple of knee slappers recently, judging from the gales of giggles.

We have to distract her from using the furniture as a jungle gym. Have you ever seen a cat play "Alligator"? It's when a cat will walk on the edges of all the furniture to get around a room, never once touching the floor. It's as if they think alligators are down there. Yeah. Well, she'd play that game too, if we let her.

We thought we had the house child-proofed. Ha! Silly us. I just didn't think that she'd start walking and climbing at the same time. Objects are placed on ever higher shelves. Her father came around the corner the other morning, while I was drying my hair, to find her with one foot planted on the top of the baby gate. She was bound and determined to get to me, going so far as to throw a fit when he lifted her away.

Tantrums have a new intensity. She gets frustrated with her abilities. My husband told me that on more than one occasion in the last several days, he told her no, and she slapped him. His discipline involves seating her in the middle of the floor, away from the toys, with the object of the tantrum being taken away for a period of time.

Believe it or not, it takes her very little time to pull herself together. Usually, within ten or fifteen minutes, she's playing and snuggling again. (Disciplining her is harder on us, I think. It's difficult to resist the urge to kiss fat tears away.)

Also, the time they spend together settles their boundaries. The fact is that she's more apt to listen to him, now. When he scolds, she listens. When I scold, she tries to wheedle me. This has resulted in a new solidarity between us. "No," is final, and we back each other up.

Also, it's built new empathy between us. We each understand where the other has been coming from. For the last year, he's let me lead the way in terms of her care. Now that he's the primary caregiver, I let him lead the way, and I try to do things to make it easier on him, like dressing and feeding her in the mornings, so he has time to wake up with a shower, get dressed, and eat something. We've been sharing tips and tricks in dealing with her. In fact, he's getting a lot of insight into the way she thinks. At this crucial stage, his clear-eyed perception is invaluable to me, because I'm often blinded by my love for her.

I'm not jealous of their relationship. To the contrary, this is exactly what I've been waiting for. My close relationship with my father made me eager to see theirs develop.

Nor am I left out of the mix. As far as she's concerned, there are still things only Ma-mom can do, such as the bedtime ritual. She likes the way I read aloud. She runs to me, and snuggles, and plays. Our play is different, more passive, but it still fills a need for her.

I just can't believe how much she's changed and grown over the last two weeks. Karen was an excellent caregiver, and we can't wait until we're back in a place where we can afford her again. Yet, the time B. has spent with Daddy lately has yielded some of the most profound, amazing changes to date.

I truly believe that we may have a gifted child on our hands. The thought is exciting, but means that S. and I have some decisions to make in terms of her education. The thought of her light being choked in the public school system dismays us. Private schools around here are mostly religious. As Pagans, we aren't really interested in watching her receive Catholic or Baptist-flavored instruction. We both need to work full-time to survive, so homeschooling while she's young is out of the question. Besides, we feel that she would benefit from interaction with other children. In passing, we've mentioned hiring private tutors, but the expense is a concern.

What we'll probably do is send her to public school, but spend hours in the evenings deprogramming her, and taking responsibility for teaching to think for herself. We'll be the ones to foster her natural curiosity. I see pitched battles on the horizon with our school district. We're in an area infamous for its arrogance and unresponsiveness.

Really, in the end, it doesn't matter what price we pay to make sure that she is challenged to reach her full potential. The point is that this sweet, affectionate, playful, and brilliant little girl deserves every advantage we can give her. She can't see it right now, but we're devoted to her, and will do whatever it takes to see that our child has a good life in which she can excel according to her lights.

At home, right now, her Da-doo is helping her discover what those might be.

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posted by Linda at 06:34 PM : Comments (0)

January 23, 2004

Galstaff's back

My handsome half is blogging again, and writing all about the fun he's having with our B.

I want to go home and play with them.

Soon, my pretties. Soon.

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posted by Linda at 12:18 AM : Comments (2)

January 16, 2004

They're only now figuring this out???

"Nearly Half of Crib Deaths Tied to Sleep Position"
Via Reuters:

Findings from a European study suggest that about 48 percent of crib deaths are attributable to the baby sleeping on its front or side. Sleeping in a room other than the parent's room was linked to 36 percent of cases, and 16 percent were linked to bed sharing.

They're only just figuring this out in Europe? Or maybe Reuters, as usual, is behind the times? Gods, I was told thirteen months ago to position my baby on her back when she slept, at least until she could reposition herself in the night.

We also knew to avoid putting fluffy things in her crib; my husband was encouraged to quit smoking because it could increase the risk of SIDS; and we were sternly warned against drinking and co-sleeping. (Not that it ever happened, anyway.)

B. was in a bassinet for the first two weeks. After that, we moved her into her crib in her own room, and used a baby monitor when she was sleeping. I just could not sleep with her in the same room as us. I was tensed; poised to respond to every little noise. To this day, my sleep is lighter than it was before she was born. Part of me stands watch, as it were, just in case she calls out for me.

This bit in the article got to me:

Maternal alcohol use was identified as a significant SIDS risk factor, but only when the infant shared the bed all night, the researchers report.

What kind of irresposible, trashy bitch does that? Drinks and then sleeps with her baby? I know it happens, but still, the whole thought of rolling over onto my baby, while sober, even is what turned me off to the idea of co-sleeping. I think I've had four drinks since B. was born. Each time, she was spending the night at Grandma's, because the thought of sleeping so heavily that I can't hear her tears at my heart. It's the image of her standing there with a real need, tear-streaked and miserable, all alone and uncomforted in the wee hours, that gets to me. I could never do that to her.

Never mind getting drunk, and smothering my very reason for being.

My mind just ran through a whole gamut of responses to the very image of a mother who could get drunk and endanger her tiny, helpless baby. Phrasing it carefully, the impulses are less than pacifistic.

Life with a baby becomes a titch less worrisome when your little one learns how to roll over in the night. I remember being really worried about it, the first time I came in to check her, and saw that she was on her tummy. I was so concerned that I called the pediatrician. His response was delightfully sensible: "If she got herself over, she can get herself back, or holler for you if she gets in a bind."

Today, she sleeps with 'Raffe and Winston. 'Raffe is a plush giraffe with a rattle in his butt. I picked him up when I was 13 weeks pregnant. Winston is the bear her father and I made for her at the "Build-a-Bear Workshop". (Did you know that they give you tiny little plush hearts to bless, and make a wish on, before they insert it in the toy? I digress.) She sleeps on her tummy, with her butt in the air, and turns somersaults all night long. When she gets up in the morning, her hair resembles the head feathers of a fledgling grackle. She usually wakes up with some sort of statement, or a giggle.

I sleep a little better, now. I only check her a couple of times during the night. I keep the monitor next to my head, just in case.

I'm so blessed; so rewarded in my little girl. It just tears at me to think that there are people out there who could have such casual attitudes toward their own children.

Life changes when you become a parent. Selfish behaviors have to die. It's all right to do adult things, but before you do something, stop to consider whether or not your adult fun might endanger that tiny little person who depends on you for protection.

If it endangers them, and you do it anyway, then you're a selfish piece of shit who doesn't deserve the blessing of a child.

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posted by Linda at 06:05 PM : Comments (0)

December 31, 2003

One Small Step...

I just got a call from the babysitter.

To tell you the truth, seeing her number flash on the caller ID on my workphone made me catch my breath.

As it happens, B.'s had an ear infection this week. It hasn't been fun. We've run the gamut from high fevers, to restlessness, to crankiness, to flushed-cheek playfulness, to hold-me-Mommy/Daddy clinginess. She's been a sick little girl, and I've been fretting over her for days. (I've forgotten everything my spate with the shingles tried to teach me about worrying too much. You look into your child's eyes, see the misery, the flush of their cheeks, and feel the unnatural heat radiating from their small, helpless bodies, and figure out how not to worry. Tell me your secret. And I'll smile politely and still worry anyway.)

Last night was hellish. Poor B. was up and down roughly every half hour until about 1:00 a.m. She, her Daddy, and I are all tired today. Her temperature spiked upwards a little bit during breakfast this morning. Still, I had no choice but to come to work.

So, when Karen called me, my mind immediately jumped to the worst: her fever is up; she's on another crying jag, where she just wants me, and Karen can't calm her; dear Mother Goddess, has she gotten hurt; something's WRONG...

But no. I'm happy to say that my panic was completely unwarranted this time.

Karen was just calling me to say that our little baby girl is embellishing on her accomplishments. She took seven unassisted steps from the coffee table to the couch, and is looking to go some more.

Linda dashes a relieved/happy/proud tear away, and goes back to work.

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posted by Linda at 06:16 PM : Comments (6)