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    Wednesday, August 31, 2005

    Count Down to Departure

    Two days left until we fly to San Francisco. Normally, while I look forward to seeing my family and friends, I dislike the whole traveling thing. Arriving at an airport 3 hours in advance to stand in line to check-in, then stand in line for passport control and security screening, then stand in line again for another passport check and security screening to enter the boarding area, and finally stand in line to board the plane. Then, yippee, we are cooped up in economy on an airplane for 10 hours only to, you guessed it, stand in line again at border control and customs in the USA. And thanks to Mr. P being Dutch (which you can say leads to all this traveling in the first place) we must stand in the LONG ASS foreigners line even though I have an American passport. But wait, we are not done. After answering 50 questions at border control, and having Mr. P fingerprinted and photographed, we proceed on to grab our luggage (which often has been hauled off the conveyer belt and set on the side since we have been in the damn line so freekin long) to only stand in line again to get our rental car. Finally we are off, driving away from the airport, towards SF and the Golden Gate Bridge, where, if we are really lucky we hit commute traffic heading north towards Marin and Sonoma Counties! Usually we leave our house at 8:00am Amsterdam time, to arrive at my mother’s house (40 miles north of SF) at 6:00pm California time. This does not sound bad, except when you consider that is 3:00am Amsterdam time. All in all a trip of approximately 19 hours.

    However now, since Pumpkin will be joining us on this adventure, I am DREADING the traveling bit. How am I going to survive 19 hours of traveling with a 3 month old? And to top it off we arrive the Friday or Labor Day weekend, when everyone heads north out of SF just about the same time we also will be driving north over the Golden Gate!

    But it is all worth it. I can not wait to see my 87 year old grandmother holding her first great grandchild. I can’t wait to see Pumpkin with her grandparents, to introduce her to her aunts and uncle. I never imagined having a family so far away from my own. To have given birth to my daughter so far away from my mother, to not have her there to see her first granddaughter in her first hours of life. It is very hard to have gone these three months without them here, without them being able to see Pumpkin grow. I know I will survive the traveling since I am so looking forward to our arrival, to seeing my family.

    The problem really is if I will survive leaving them yet again.

    Shit, now I am crying…

    posted by Laura @ 10:16 AM   2 comments

    Monday, August 29, 2005

    Was This Weekend?

    The fact that I no longer work outside of the home has changed the significance of weekends for me. Prior to the birth of Pumpkin it was two days of R&R where Mr. P and I either lazied around the house or went out shopping during the day and visited friends and family in the evening. Now I look forward to weekends because Mr. P will be home, but my job does not stop for the weekend. Pumpkin still wakes at 7:00am, she still needs to be fed 5 times a day, her diapers still need to be changed and she needs to be given attention and stimulation. Don’t get me wrong, Mr. P definitely pulls his load on the weekends, and we each get one morning to sleep in. But on busy weekends like this one, the lack of a break becomes obvious to me.

    Saturday started slow enough, I took the morning shift so I was up at 7:00am with Pumpkin. Later that morning we took a walk to the street market and around town, stopping of course at all the baby shops. That evening we attended an engagement party. This was the first time we went out in the evening to a party and put Pumpkin in bed at someone else’s home. Needless to say the evenings of leaving the house for a party with just a gift are over. We had disposable diapers enough for major diaper failure every hour, bottles enough to last till the next morning, pajamas, a sleep sack, travel crib, Baby Bjorn and baby monitor. It was more junk than we would take for a weekend away when we were ‘pre-baby’. However all our preparation paid off. Pumpkin slept wonderful and we were some of the last people to leave the party. I spoke to adults other than Mr. P about things other than Pumpkin. I almost forgot I was mommy for a few hours.

    Sunday Mr. P took the morning shift and I got to sleep in till a blessed 10:00am. Ah the joys! However I had to jump out of bed to start packing up the diaper bag again with more diapers and bottles than at all necessary. That afternoon we attended our very first “family day” hosted by Mr. P’s work. While it was a very enjoyable afternoon, and I had many moms to hit up for advice, the mere fact that we were there reinforced that our lives have definitely changed. We are a family, and such events, involving petting zoos, playgrounds and party games are now part of our weekends. Discussions about high chairs, diaper contents and introducing solids have replaced discussions about late night drinking binges and the resulting hangovers.

    Unfortunately all the running around during the weekend was too much. Insomnia, which I often suffer from when stressed or too wound up, bore its ugly head last night. In the past, if I had a night like that consisting of only a few hours of decent sleep, I would call in sick to work. Now, my work is there no matter what. If only Pumpkin was as easy as my former boss:

    “Sorry honey, you need to take care of yourself today. Change your own diapers; make up your own bottles; entertain yourself for the day, mommy is tired and really needs to sleep. I’ll be better tomorrow. Oh and if you have a chance can you throw the laundry in the washer, bleach the kitchen counters and vacuum the house?”

    posted by Laura @ 8:18 PM   0 comments

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    More Diaper Talk

    Before Pumpkin was born Mr. P and I decided to be environmentally conscious and use cloth diapers. I am not a “tree hugger”, though being the product of hippies I do come closer to that label than Mr. P. We recycle just like any good earth citizen should. We support measures to preserve open land and we donate monthly to WWF. Beyond that we do not go out of our way to be “environmental”. However the mere fact that most babies go through approximately 5,000 disposable diapers before they are potty trained, and that said diapers take ages to biodegrade, disturbed me. I could not consciously leave my daughter a world with that much more waste than necessary. So cloth it would be.

    When we told family and friends of this decision they looked at us as if we had tentacles protruding from our heads. They told us to our faces that we were nuts; that no-one uses cloth diapers anymore; that we would not make it a week before changing to disposable. Yet unlike some of our other pre-birth declarations which fell through, such as not giving Pumpkin a pacifier (yeah, well, she really needed it – or I at least needed the peace), we still are a cloth diapering household.

    What many people do not realize is that cloth diapers have come a long way since the days of special folds and pins. There are many systems out there that make cloth diapering almost as easy as disposable. We chose the Bambino Mio system, which consists of a rectangle cloth diaper simply folded in three, a plastic lined, Velcro closable diaper cover and a biodegradable nappy liner which catches all the poops and can be flushed down the toilet. Yes I do have to do loads of wash all the time, but when you consider that I wash sheets, towels and other whites with them it is not that many more loads. We do use disposable though outside of the home though, when traveling or visiting people, since it is not too nice to lug loads of wet diapers around.

    So to all those who told us we were nuts, and that we would never continue it, I say hahaha. Now as punishment for your doubt and lack of faith you need to come change a particularly disgusting poopie diaper which Pumpkin made special for you.

    I do speak about poop an awful lot don’t I… poop, poop, poop…

    posted by Laura @ 12:14 PM   2 comments

    Monday, August 22, 2005

    Yummy Curry

    Should I be concerned that when changing Pumpkin's poopy diaper I think:

    Ummmm, I want Indian for dinner tonight.

    The diaper contents did look very similar to a nice Chicken Korma.

    posted by Laura @ 11:44 AM   2 comments

    Saturday, August 20, 2005

    Ask Me Anything

    Trey at Daddy, Papa & Me posted an "ask me anything post" and I asked him three questions. So as the rules go, I now need to post it here.

    Here is how it works:

    • Ask me 3 questions.
    • Any 3, no matter how personal, private or random.
    • I have to answer them honestly. I have to answer them all.
    • In turn, you post this message in your own blog or journal and you have to answer the questions that are asked of you.

    So ask away. In a few days I will compile the questions and post all my answers.

    posted by Laura @ 8:51 AM   1 comments

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    Dancing Queen

    Every day I strap Pumpkin into the Baby Bjorn and turn up the CD player to dance. We sway and move across the room, singing along to the music. Her eyes look wide about and up at me, giggling, as I dip her and bounce her about. Her favorite CD right now is Wildflowers from Tom Petty, but we also regularly dance to U2, Queen, Talking Heads, and a even few country CDs (come on - they are just so fun to dance to!).

    This scene is strangely reminiscent of when I was a little, and my mother would dance with me to the likes of The Doors, Santana, Janice Joplin, Grateful Dead and Credence. These artists are now a staple of my CD collection and I can’t help but think that listening and dancing to those classics in my youth lead to my appreciation of them and other great musicians now.

    So will my little Pumpkin be listing to U2, Queen and Tom Petty when she is 28? Will she dance with her baby like I dance with her? I can only hope my mother’s love of great music will be passed on through me to her and on to the next generations to come.

    So internet, please chime in here. Do you dance with your children? What music do you dance to? Do you remember music from your youth, and do you still listen to it now?

    posted by Laura @ 1:36 PM   3 comments

    Monday, August 15, 2005

    Hot Mama

    I am flattered, really I am. A bit baffled and shocked but flattered none the less.

    To the man whom whistled at me today as I walked down the street.

    Me, pushing the big red pram with the baby crying, who had not a smudge of makeup on my new mommy face. You know the woman with spit-up stains on her shoulder who just 12 weeks ago looked like she had swallowed a beach ball (You don't believe me, look at this photo).Me, who two and a half months ago squeezed a 6lb baby out from between my legs and who though I do fit into most my pre-pregnancy clothes has a belly still far from toned. Yes, that's me.

    To you, I say thank you. You made my month!

    posted by Laura @ 2:03 PM   6 comments

    Only a Mother Could Love That Diaper

    Pumpkin, I hope when you reach puberty and decide that your mama is the most embarrassing, annoying, un-hip person you have ever met, that you read this and realize just how much I love you.

    This morning, when I got you up from your nap only to discover that you had taken the most god awful nasty algae green pasty crap, I did not recoil in horror (at least not for long). No, I continued to talk sweetly to you as I peeled your shit covered pajamas off your body, and opened the diaper from hell. Still smiling I then started to wipe the pasty shit off your back, your stomach and of course your entire diaper area. Now this was no normal shit, this one covered your body (and now my hands) with the maximum sticky power. Perhaps this is what my fellow blogger Papa Large would coin a T.A.E.. Diaper wipe after diaper wipe left your ass, only to reveal that the green paste was still there! You thought this was funny, actually hilarious. You smiled and giggled as mama tried to detach the nasty diaper sheet from the cloth diaper and then the cloth diaper from the completely covered plastic cover. I actually do not think there was a square centimeter of diaper or diaper cover left untouched.

    Finally I got you cleaned up (though I had briefly considered submerging you completely in the sink) and proceeded to dispense of the algae green diaper and diaper cover into the soon shit covered diaper pail. And what was mama thinking this whole time as she patiently disposed of your not so solid waste?

    If only I had the camera here. Then I could truly share this diaper with the internet.

    But lucky for my readers, the camera sat downstairs and I was too covered in shit to go and get it.

    posted by Laura @ 10:39 AM   3 comments

    How Pathetic am I?

    Last week I bought a new diaper bag. Nothing extraordinary, just a courier style bag that can be hung easily from the pram. What is sad is how excited I was about this bag. It has no amazing bells and whistles, it is certainly not the top of style, yet I was so excited about this bag that I spoke about it for days! After the purchase I immediately headed to the nearest cafe where I ordered a café a lait and proceeded to transfer everything from the old diaper bag to the new. I must have looked so pathetic to the other customers, this mom, sleeping baby in pram, obviously ecstatic over this newest of purchases. Thank goodness none of my old colleagues could see me now. I could just see their knowing looks, the rolling of the eyes. “Oh what has she done?”

    I think the reason I am so excited about this silly bag is because it is the first thing I have bought for myself (if a diaper bag can be considered something for me) since Pumpkin was born. I did not count the two transitional pants I purchased as something for me, since I would have no need for them once I could fit my old clothes. I recon I need to buy one less onsie for Pumpkin and instead buy me something every once in a while. Perhaps then I will avoid being the crazy mom sitting in a café drooling over her diaper bag.

    posted by Laura @ 9:24 AM   0 comments

    Sunday, August 14, 2005

    Excerpts

    This is when you know you have been together a while:

    You know where I am now?

    No, where?

    At that store.

    Huh?

    That store on the way back from Gilroy.

    Hum?

    Didn’t we stop at a store on the way back from Gilroy?

    No, I don’t recall…

    The one with all the stuff…

    Oh, you mean with all the fruits and veg?

    Yeah!

    That was Yosemite.

    Oh, yeah! With James.

    Wow. That I knew what you were talking about.

    Strange…. What I am thinking about now?

    T&A

    Yup!

    We visited that store over 4 years ago…

    posted by Laura @ 2:45 PM   0 comments

    The Photo Shoot

    Yesterday we took the family photo for the in-laws 35th wedding anniversary. I think this is a wonderful idea, and it is about time that the photo from the 1980’s hanging on their wall gets replaced. Mr. P actually has a perm in the photo! A PERM I tell you! And you can only imagine the awful 80’s clothing he is wearing. They are just too awful to put into words!!! So this time he showed up for the photo with freshly cut (non-permed) hair and a tie. However his brother and brother in law were clad in their normal T-shirts and jeans. Of course this lead to a bit of ribbing from them, and will mean that his tie will be the topic of conversation 15 years from now just as the perm has been to this point.

    As with any family moment, this one was not without drama. The idea was to have all three children, their significant others, and the grandkids (Pumpkin and Lil Man) in the photo. This was planned by Mr. P’s sister over a month ago, and an appropriate date was chosen so all parties could be there for the photo. So yesterday, mid nap, we woke Pumpkin up and loaded her into her car seat. We then drove 1 hour to meet up with everyone at Mr. P’s brother’s apartment. We were the first ones there and shortly after we walked in and sat down, Mr. P inquired after his brother’s girlfriend who was strangely not there.

    Bro P replied: “She does not want to go”, obviously more than a little annoyed.

    I took this as she was just in their bedroom pouting, and gave Mr. P a look of question. So we changed the subject. Soon Sis P arrived with her boyfriend and Lil Man. She too enquired about the missing party.

    Again Bro P replied: “She does not want to go”

    Then I understood. It was not only that she did not want to go, but she was NOT going. Sis P, normally the type of woman who will tell you exactly what she thinks, actually restrained herself and surprisingly did not react to this bit of information. Perhaps she did not find it worth the energy. The tension in the room was obvious, the ensuing silence almost unbearable. Thankfully we had to head to the portrait studio soon thereafter.

    So the photos were made, and I am sure they will turn out great, but the fact that someone is missing from the shots will be glaringly obvious when we present the photos to the in-laws next weekend. How selfish can someone be? She has been a “member” of this family for over 4 years now, yet she rarely will come to birthday parties or other family events, and to not be part of this photo is rude and offensive. How must Bro P feel about the fact that the woman he loves cares so little about his family? It is like a slap in the face. This photo will hang in the in-laws living room for years, Mr. P, me and Pumpkin; Sis P, her boyfriend and Lil Man; and then Bro P, all alone. I can only hope that soon she will be missing from Bro P’s life as well as the photo, he sure deserves better.

    posted by Laura @ 11:53 AM   0 comments

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    Zzzzzzzz.....

    I am now onto my 3rd cup of coffee today. Needless to say, this is not my normal coffee consumption. No, this is an “I’m so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open” coffee dosing.

    Mr. P and I have been extremely lucky that Pumpkin has been sleeping through the night since she was 6 weeks old. This means that for the last 5 weeks we have been able to sleep a blessed 8 hours a night without interruption! Granted we are in bed at the early hour of 11:00pm (if not earlier) and up again at 7:00am even on weekends, but that is such a vast improvement to the every few hours we were woken at in the first 6 weeks. However it seems my body had been spoiled by this near return to normal sleep.

    Last night Pumpkin woke at 4:30am. I am not sure why, perhaps it was the heavy rain storm, or loneliness, or just the need to mix things up again. Whatever the reason be, it meant that even though she did fall back to sleep (only to rise again at 6:00am) Mr. P and I were unable to fall back to sleep. That means, in place of the normal 8 hours sleep, I have had 5 ½. In the first weeks after Pumpkin was born I would have LOVED to get a strait 5 ½ hours of sleep. In fact the first time Pumpkin slept more than 4 hours I could have danced a jig had I had the energy I was so happy. Yet like I said, my body has now been spoiled by her sleeping through the night. So here I am, 3rd cup of coffee in hand trying to be grateful that I did get that much sleep, I mean we could still be doing night feedings. I am sure that as future payback for me complaining now, child #2 will not sleep a night through till well after his or her 2nd birthday.

    posted by Laura @ 12:37 PM   0 comments

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Babysitters

    In two weeks Mr. P's parents celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. In honor of this event us "kids" are taking them out to dinner and presenting them with a family portrait. While this sounds all nice and fun, it presents a new challenge to Mr. P and myself: babysitters.

    When we were planting seeds to grow Pumpkin, we assumed that Mr. P's family would be our first resource for sitters and friends would be second (my family being a 10 hour flight away eliminates them from the running). Since giving birth to Pumpkin we have yet to really use the sitter service. Considering that all Mr. P's adult family members will be at this dinner, we had to move immediately to choice two, friends. We began with the couples with children (one whopping couple), then when they were unavailable, we moved our way through the list of friends based on proximity to our home and their relative responsibility. Although we began calling a month in advance, the date being in August proved to be a major stumbling block. It seemed everyone was traveling. Finally as the list was getting shorter and shorter, we found available sitters! I should be relieved, right?

    We had them over last night for a trial run, introducing them to the bedtime routine so we do not just throw them into the deep end unaware. They seemed comfortable and I trust them with Pumpkin completely, yet I can't help but dread leaving her. In the past eleven weeks I have only left her with her father, and only then for a few hours. This is going to be much more difficult. I do not know what I imagine going wrong, but I know that the entire dinner my head will be at home.

    How was the first time you left your baby with a sitter? Did you enjoy your day/night out, or spend every 10 minutes calling to check in? Any suggestions for this nervous ninny?

    posted by Laura @ 8:10 PM   0 comments

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    11 weeks

    Eleven weeks ago today my life changed completely. Eleven weeks ago Pumpkin entered my world after a gruesome two days of labor. And though I will hold those 52 hours over her head every time she does something to piss me off for the rest of her existence, I would do it over again and again to bring such a beautiful creature into my life.

    Parenthood is not at all what I expected. I had this magical fantasy that my baby would be born and everything would come to me, that I would become "mama" and know just what to do with this tiny creature. Reality check time! My husband, Mr. P, and I walked out of the hospital, Pumpkin tucked snugly into her car seat, with shit-eating grins etched on our faces and a utter fear deep in our guts. We felt no older, no wiser, since she was born. Neither of us felt like adults. Wasn't this the moment we were to become "adults"? Much like the day we got married, or signed our mortgage, that magical transformation into perceived adulthood never happened. Here we were, proud owners to a brand spanking new baby, wishing we could find that damn users manual.

    There were many moments, especially after the home nurse left and Mr P went back to work, that both Pumpkin and I held a crying competition. She crying for the sake of crying it seamed, and me because I had no idea how to make it STOP! Exhaustion, coupled with the overwhelming task of taking care of a newborn crippled me for weeks. I put way to much faith in books, and listened too much to what everyone was saying was "right" and "wrong" when it came to raising a child. Only when I took a step back and realized I had to raise Pumpkin my way did everything fall into place. That is not to say that Mr. P does not get panicked phone calls at work anymore, or that I have thrown those books out. It does not mean I know what I am doing, but only that I have learned to trust my judgment. And Pumpkins smiles are enough to tell me I am doing it right (almost as if I had that users manual after all).

    posted by Laura @ 4:40 PM   0 comments