Friday, March 26, 2010

The fact that it has been over two weeks since I've posted, while not unusual, reflects how insane life has been recently. These days I often marvel that every moment in the day is packed with activity, from my alarm in the morning til I pass out in a stupor of exhaustion at night. I had always heard women say "there just aren't enough hours in the day!" and thought Pssssshaw. That's ridiculous. There are plenty of hours in the damn day!

But now, my friends, now I GET IT.

We had a lovely visit from Grandma a few weeks ago - my mom stayed with us for a few days so I kept Carter home from school (yes, we call it school) to bond with Granny (I don't actually call her that, but the notion of 'Granny' conjures a vision of an ancient, withered, toothless old hag, and that really amuses me, since my mother is the furthest thing from this). I definitely had to put the mommy smackdown on my mother a couple of times during her stay - for instance, when I would call her and discover that Carter hadn't slept in three hours. "He's not tired! I tried to put him in his crib, but he cried!" Me: "Yes, I told you that he has to fuss a little before he falls asleep. How long was he in his crib??" "Oh, a long time - three minutes!!" THREE minutes??
Or the time I called and she told me he hadn't had his second bottle, because he didn't "seem hungry" even though he hadn''t eaten in three hours. I insisted she give it to him, at which point he ravenously gobbled it up.

Mind you, I am not complaining. My mother is wonderful and I loved having her here. I just find it amusing that a woman can raise three kids and then be totally at a loss when it comes time to be Grandma. How quickly we forget...

More updates to come...there is simply to much to say to be able to get it all down in one post.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On

I am really batting a thousand in the mommy department lately.

The other day I accidentally bit Carter’s finger – I was kissing his little hand and PRETENDING to gnaw on it when he suddenly stuck his finger in my mouth. Chomp! Screaming ensued. Nice.

Then, that evening he was sitting up on a blanket and we were reading a book, when he suddenly fell straight backward, right onto his hard plastic Happy Apple toy, making a disturbing clonking sound with his little head. Nicer.

THEN I was pumping a couple of days ago when I looked down and realized that I had accidentally left the tissue I had used to wipe out the bottle (I had taken it from the drying rack) IN the bottle, so all of the milk I had just pumped was totally soaked up. NICEST? No, it gets even better!

Today I left my breastpump at home and didn’t realize it until I sat down at my desk at work. I had to turn around, drive all the way back home (25 minutes), pump my massively engorged boobs, and then come all the way back to Burbank again.

Can I blame this collection of idiocy on mommy brain? Or could it just be sheer exhaustion? Perhaps more sleep training is in order. The 2am dreamfeed just ain't cutting it anymore, kids.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Yes, More on Food

I have no idea why I find it so gripping to blog about my child's every bite of solid foods, but I do, so bear with me.

For the past three days, Carter had peas and rice cereal (I must admit that the fact that I did the same foods for three days was less for allergy detection than for the fact that I frankly had no time to prepare anything else for him to eat). He ate a few bites each time and then looked bored, but his disinterest could be attributed to the fact that he currently has his umpteenth cold (again, curse you, daycare!). Last night I gave him avocado again, and that went over pretty well - more of it ended up in his mouth than on his bib. Hot damn! Success!

This morning I tried oatmeal - I ground up some organic oats in the coffee grinder that I bought just to use for baby food, then cooked the resulting powder into a porridge on the stove and mixed a couple of teaspoons with breastmilk.

...and he gobbled it down! Hallelujah! I've learned that he doesn't quite understand that he needs to open his mouth when I hold up the spoon in order to get the food in, but if I actually place the spoon between his lips he'll open and swallow. Sometimes he'll grab the spoon and gnaw away, and then I'll have to grapple with him for awhile in order to get it back and put more cereal on it - and he's a STRONG little boy. Takes after mama - small but wiry!

Last night I managed to get it together to prepare green beans for him to try today. I steamed organic beans on the stove, then ground 'em up in my Munchkin Baby Food Grinder (it was hand-me-down from a mommy friend and this was the first time I'd used it...I think I'm a fan). I spooned the resulting green sludge into a Baby Cube, and off it went to daycare this morning.

Food!! Babies!! Two of my favorite things, together at last!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Mother's Room Revolution

I have the grand distinction of being the only manager on our floor of the building without an office. Now, as of nine months ago, there were two of us managers without offices - then, lo and behold, right before I left for maternity leave, the (very annoying) other guy got the last available space: a teeny-tiny cell barely the size of my apartment's walk-in closet. Upon discovering this in my hugely pregnant, very hormonal state, I bitched, moaned and was generally very cranky. Friends and co-workers were outraged on my behalf, insisting that I storm into my boss's office to demand my own space. Unfortunately, the problem with this approach was twofold: 1) there was, quite simply, no more space to be had and 2) if there was space, they sure as hell weren't about to give it to someone who was going to be out for 20 weeks. Thus, I am still sitting in a cubicle, and without the luxury of a door, three times a day I schlep my Medela down the hall and into the "mother's room" to pump.

When I first arrived back from maternity leave I was horrified that the term "mother's room" could even be applied to the atrocity that presented itself when I first anxiously wandered in to get the job done. The room was miniscule, with smudged white walls, two stained brown armchairs, and a dirty floor littered with ancient Parenting magazines. Old Harry Potter posters were crumpled in the corner, a PowderPuff Girls pop-up was stuffed behind the door, and an empty, decaying banker's box balanced precariously on an armrest. One solitary, retina-burning flourescent panel beamed down from above.

THIS was where I was supposed to pump my liquid gold?? I was aghast.

Not only did the conditions of the mother's room leave something to be desired, there was also a traffic issue to contend with. I learned that there were five lactating women in the building using the room with no discernable schedule for its use, so often one would round the corner, see the red "occupied" sign on the door, and be forced to wait her uncomfortably-engorged turn.

My mission was clear - a pumping room makeover must be done!

I wasted no time. Two of the my fellow pumpers were mommies that I knew well (one of whom had been using the room in this condition for months without complaint), so I enlisted their help. First we put a sign on the door, requesting the names and contact information of the other women using the room. Once we had this info, we quickly worked out a schedule to accomodate everyone's preferred times so that no one need ever wait in the hall with angry, milk-filled boobs again. Then I emailed our building manager and expressed our collective dismay over the poor conditions in which we were forced to express the precious fluid with which we feed our hungry babies (cue violins).

And with that, the mother's room revolution began!

Within 48 hours, the space had been swept, mopped, and painted. The chairs were cleaned and the magazines, posters and box trashed. The building manager sheepishly apologized for the room's state, and informed me that she had "ordered items" to improve it. These mystery items have yet to arrive, but I am hopefully anticipating a clock, and possibly a table lamp. After all, staring at your boobs under flourescents can't possibly help with let-down.

The success of my project reminded me of how much I enjoy being the squeaky wheel, and how much fun it is to get incensed about something. Should my career in television not work out (god willing) I am grabbing the nearest soapbox and heading straight for Capitol Hill. I hear the entire Republican party shaking in its collective boots.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blast from the Past - Teaching Edition

In my early to mid 20's I spent five years as a substitute teacher in the Pasadena Unified School District while simultaneously half-assing an "acting career," if this term can be applied to regularly waking up at ten and spending five hours sitting in the Barnes & Noble cafe reading US Weekly, sipping tea made from a teabag I'd dredged from the bottom of my purse because I was too cheap/poor to buy one, while waiting for my phone to ring in hopes that it would be my agent with an elusive audition, the anticipation of which would then inevitably send me into a tailspin of crippling anxiety for several days until I'd showed up, grinned like a hyena, slated my name, done my business and the whole thing was mercifully over. To say that my temperment is unsuited for show business is an understatement - or perhaps I just didn't love "my craft" enough. Quotations are necessary because that is one of the most grating phrases that self-important aspiring superstars use when describing their careers...just ask the crew down at B&N cafe.

My mother was recently rooting through her old emails from that time, and came across the one I'd sent her below. Before forwarding to dear ol' mom for her amusement, it was originally written in a burst of creativity and sent to a writer friend in hopes of stimulating future creative pursuits and thereby relieving me from the miserable slow suffocation of artistic ability/self-esteem/faith in humanity that was my life at the time. Who knows if it worked, but I eventually started this blog, and hey, that's something.

Today my mother wrote "Thought this would amuse you - how different is your life now??"

You said it, mom.

Paige Thompson wrote:
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2005 14:29:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Misadventures of a Substitute Teacher

I began thinking of the bizarre cast of characters with whom I work daily in my subbing assignments. I was in the shower at the time and it was a somewhat unsettling experience to be intensely pondering my students while sudsing up, but anyway...

Just had to jot some of this down (accountability bites!) before I completely lose concentration and go back to the Cheeto-eating, Law and Order rerun-watching, creatively void Paige.

Bizarre Security Lady---I have been working at Muir High School for almost four years and I have no idea what this woman's name is. Picture the most ancient, withered, hairless, sinewy little black woman you ever saw, with a voice that manages to be simultaneously shrill and gravelly as it crokes out over her ever-present radio (which I imagine she will be clutching until her dying breath). She for some reason adores me and I am always greeted with "Thar's mah beeYOOtifull substitoot! How you doin', hunny?" after which she clutches at me like a drowning child in a way that manages to invade my personal space while somehow remaining perfectly charming. She exists in a near-constant state of intense agitation as she hobbles around campus squawking at anything in her path. I adore her.

Tracy--Also at Muir (which, incidentally, is probably the only school in California that has been consistently written-up in various newspapers at both the state and national levels as an example of just how awful our educational system is--half the kids are from single-parent homes, one-third in foster care, and I would personally estimate about 80% crackbabies and a good 95% currently on drugs of their own choosing--though perhaps that's just horribly elitest and/or racist of me...apologies), this woman is like the Samuel L. Jackson of high school security. She is take-no-shit, all muscle, ass-kicking intense with badass braids and a perpetual look of dissatisfaction. In other words, the coolest bitch ever. She, fortunately, also has an unexplained fondness for me (or maybe just pities me--I'll take what I can get) and constantly comes to my little white-girl rescue, warning all kids in my classes that "This here's my baby--do NOT mess with my baby or else ...." She has two daughters at another school in the district and occasionally becomes strangely tender and tells me about their homework and such.

Marvin--Also security, but at Wilson Middle School. I was subbing here on my first day in this district, when students began chucking chairs across the room at each other. I called security and behold, Marvin! The most enormous, hulking black man you've ever seen, yet the words "puppy-dog" more aptly describe him than anyone I've ever known. Also teaches the afterschool music program and harbors a dream of becoming a music producer, which he has been telling me about for the past four years. He found out that I did musical theatre, I sang for him one day after class and henceforth he will speak to me of nothing else. Usually I just call him into my room to hang out and intimidate students while we secretly discuss music, movies and so forth. I suspect he secretely wants to date me and use this to my advantage for frightening children into submission.

Damn, these are just the security folks! There are far more characters I know (caucasians too, lest you think me racist..) but I just wanted to get something down. I really have no intention of actually writing a script about subbing, but I just wanted to get my creative juices a-flowin' and you are the unfortunate recipient. Enjoy.

Monday, March 1, 2010

To Oat or Not to Oat

Yesterday morning we attempted oatmeal instead of rice cereal, and to my surprise the Little Roo wasn't particularly enthusiastic about it. I LOVE oatmeal and eat it on a near-daily basis, so I thought for sure a love of the oat would be in Carter's blood. Not so. He took a couple of spoonfuls, most of which ended up straight on the bib (sidenote: Hot damn, I love bibs! Since C has never been a big spitter-upper I had never really appreciated them until now. Now I want to shout the glories of the bib from the rooftops. Praise be, bibs!), and then kind of squirmed about in his chair until we set him free. Fortunately I don't think it was a true oat loathing (so don't take it personally, Mr. Quaker), as I tried rice cereal afterwards and he didn't seem particularly interested in that either. However, afternoon was a different story - Carter scarfed his avocado down yet again, and this morning I had the green diaper to prove it. Delightful.

Today I'm trying peas. Last night my husband and I attempted to make my own organic pea puree - after spending 45 minutes shelling, steaming and grinding we had about two teaspoons of green sludge consisting mostly of pea skins. Wholesome Baby Food (the mecca of baby food recipes) said to simply squish it through a strainer. I did so, and was left with approximately a quarter-teaspoon of green pea water. Finally I chucked the whole project and decided that if Earth's Best is good enough for Whole Foods, it's good enough for me, and I'm going to give him the jarred peas I had on reserve.

Stay tuned...