Tuesday, February 28, 2006


So I bought a bag of Cadbury Mini-Eggs at the drugstore last week. The Easter candy was out and they called my name. They're almost all gone. All right, it was Friday afternoon, satisfied? I've kept them hidden in my underwear drawer and I find many, many excuses to dig around in there until I find them in their sweet-chalky delight covering that satisfying little knob of chocolate. Baby's crying, well, for God's sake I need a handful. Finished with lunch? Well, just a few for dessert, of course. Have to make a phone call? What better way to calm my nerves? I'm not entirely sure why I'm hiding them either. It's not like M's a food Nazi. If anything, I'm hiding them FROM him. Oh.
Since I've been nursing I've refined my sweet tooth -- and by refined I mean given into it utterly. While pregnant, anything salty was delightful but now I eat cookies and candies hand over fist. Now there's a lovely image. Happy little nursing mother gorging herself on sweets all day long. Taking her head out of the sugar rimmed trough just long enough to breastfeed her baby. If I keep this up, though, I'm afraid I'll have to go to the dentist. I should go anyway, I know, but I've recently developed an aversion. My last dental visit was while I was about 7 month pregnant and the idiot dentist kept me tipped backwards in the chair until I thought I was going to pass out. I know I should have said something, but I have this unhelpful endurance reflex that kicks in in these situations. I tell myself, I can handle this, and this, and this, and now I'm blacking out. I didn't pass out, but I felt so crappy afterward that I am in no rush to go back. So really it's my fault, even though even a dentist know that pregnant ladies hate being upside down when you torture them with the ultrasonic tartar remover. Here's another reason I don't want to go back. My dentist dedicates a corner of his waiting room to Christian propaganda. I only noticed this last time, as I staggered out with my big belly. Or perhaps I hallucinated it, but then I thought back and he had asked me if I go to church. I hate that. I have no problem with religion. I think it's great, but PLEASE do not try to get me to join your club. I will resist to my dying breath (ha ha). It takes me right back to the 4-H functions at the Grange hall when I was eight or nine years old (small town on the Eastern Plains in CO). I was there, dressed in my skirt and sneakers with knee socks, hair braided, running around screaming like a banshee with the rest of the kids until I got cornered by an old lady who asked me whether I was saved, if I had accepted Jesus, if I went to church. I think this happened more than once, because I know once I was confused about being saved... like, from drowning, and once I lied and said that we go to that other church.... hee hee, the church of Satan. I would have more fun with it now, I think. At the time I was perplexed and embarassed and a little ashamed, which was stupid, but there's nothing like a little old lady serving pancakes to instill in you the sense that you're doing something wrong, bad and stupid. Who needs it? I think I need a little chocolate now...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Big Trash Day

It is big trash day today. We are getting rid of the futon mattress that the cat peed on. I am kind of sad, though. Matt had this futon when we first started going out. It has history, man, but alas, no longer. To the dump. To the dump it goes.
Today is Gabriel's 6 month birthday! I have been revelling in this for a week or so now. There have been many times in the last half year, I did not think we would make it this far. Silly, right? I mean, what were the alternatives? But, I remember back soon after he was born (I find myself referring to those ancient times as, "Back when he was a baby...," as opposed to now, when he's all grown up, of course), thinking that we had made a terrible, terrible mistake. I couldn't admit it at the time, naturally. But after the elation of birth passed and the fatigue and madness of the primordial hormonal soup set in, I was pretty certain I had ruined my life. And I was terrified of this child and having to spend time alone with him. I have wondered if I were tapped by the post-partum depression fairy; the days were bleak and I dreaded the nights. I felt alien to myself, having this baby who screamed the moment he was put down. I carried him constantly to avoid that sound that was like an ice pick in my soul. Things that I had always done to comfort myself, the rituals of living: a cup of tea in the morning, reading the paper, reading anything, walking, swimming, eating anything that required more than 1 hand to fix or consume, were suddenly vanished. And in their place was a responsibility the weight of which I had never imagined. I understand, I think, how babies come to be shaken, because he would not stop crying, he would not sleep, he did not love me. I know I swaddled him too vigorously at least once, thinking, "just keep those evil little hands down and SLEEP." And that is the scariest, worst place I have ever been. Teetering on a cliff, wanting to make the child do something and it won't, can't and feeling so desperate you don't care how, you just want it to stop crying because you are SO TIRED. A very wise friend said something to me in the midst of my muddle, though, to the effect: you cannot control him, you can only control your reaction to him. I found so much comfort in that. I truly felt that my child was screaming incessently because I was the worst mother ever*, even though I knew that I had done everything possible to comfort him. Somehow her saying this, even though she was miles away and for all she knew I WAS the worst mother in the world, gave me enough space to acknowledge that Gabriel is his own little person and while I am vital to his life, I do not control his being. If he must scream, then he must. And I must be able to endure it.
If it was post-partum depression and not just the "baby blues," (whatever that means) I was experiencing, I think it was fairly mild, because I was able to slog through, the baby made it unharmed, and the feelings of doom have lifted for the most part with time.
This is all to say that I am THRILLED that Gabriel turns 6 months today. He has blossomed into so much more than a little screamer. He's smiley and sunny everyday for stretches that go on and on. He does exciting things with sweet potatoes on the tray of his high chair. He still struggles to roll over, but he spins in his crib like the second hand dial of a clock. He smells like fresh laundry hung out in the sun. He blows spit bubbles and sticks out his tongue and it makes both of us LAUGH. I am so glad he's here. I did not ruin my life. I changed in inalterably, but it is better, different, stinkier, richer, tireder, cuddlier, and my own.

*A different friend, also very wise, pointed out: no matter how bad it gets, you are always a better mother than Britney Spears. And you know what, she's right. My baby ALWAYS gets strapped into his carseat. Where he screams his head off. But I always do it. I am a better mother than Britney Spears. It's become my new mantra.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I am somewhat bummed that I cannot watch the Olympics this year. I'll admit to being dorky enough to watch ice skating (men & women) and dancing, downhill skiing in it's infinate incarnations, bobsled, luge and any other sport where the commentators get all snarky when they see people falter or wobble or wipe out. I have no patience with curling or hockey; not a big team sports fan, I. I suppose I watched it as a child and imbued it, as the announcers and sentimental back-story pieces suggested, with some sort of national pride and good vs. evil subtext. When really it's just a bunch of people in spandex doing idiotic things like plummeting to their deaths on sleds, skis and skates. Still, I yearn a little to watch whatsername do that weird standing split on her skates, and whoever to wreck-up but good on the luge run. I get all misty eyed when the national anthem plays. I am a big pile of pudding. Sigh. But no, we are not re-installing the cable until M graduates. It was his idea. And since he is by far the biggest sports and TV watcher in the house (if not the western world) I think it was rather a big step for him to take. And I will not be the one to bring us down. If he didn't get his MBA because I reconnected the cable and he got too distracted by snooker on ESPN, well, I would never forgive myself.
By the way, M wants me to acknowledge, and I do with glee, that it was he, yes, he, who got my link list up and running. I'm so pleased. I feel like a real blogger now, oh boy. In reality though, in that big blogging world olympics, I'm the person you never see on TV, eliminated in the first round now sadly packing her bags to slink back to podunkville. There are a lot of people with amazing sites, excellent writing. All of it. Go read those. Still, I'm having fun. And if no one's reading, all the better. I can be just as dumb as I want. And I am.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

long weekend

Well it sure was an exciting long weekend here at chez kazoo. We did our taxes. And because we are poor, we get loads (to us, anyway) money back, which we will squander in our typical manner: food, beer and baby gear. A rare snowfall dusted the "peaks" surrounding the Bay (sorry, I am from Colorado and referring to anything under 12,000 ft as a mountain makes me snicker, just a little. I am a homesick little snob). Still, everyone was in ecstasies to go up and see the snow. We drove up to the east peak of Mt. Tam to find approximately 2 mm of slush remaining under the trees. No matter, this was gleefully scooped up into muddy slushaballs and flung about by every single person with a Y chromosone hiking along the trail up to the top. Fathers, sons, boyfriends. M tactfully demurred as Gabriel is a little too young to play along and would cry, pitifully, if snow melted down his neck. It was a beautiful day, clear with a view across the water into the city. Back at the parking area, someone fashioned tabletop snowmen wreathed in cedar and manzanita. Quite festive really. Last night, M whacked Gabriel's head into the door frame while wearing him in the bjorn. I report this because 1) the child is perfectly fine, though there were tears and a goose egg and 2) when G was 3 weeks old I did the same thing while carrying him in my arms and have felt revoltingly guilty ever since. So now we're even. I'm a petty sort.
And finally, I think Gabriel is teething, really this time. Why? The last two mornings he has vomited on me directly after feeding. Shockingly, copiously, Exorcist baby style, leaving me blinking, soaked to the skin in puke. Only when he's done, instead of the head spinning around, he sticks out his tongue and blows a raspberry. So he's not sick, I'm thinking, just swallowing a bunch of drool, which increases, I'm told, before the teeth poke through. A surfeit of commas, there, I apologize, sort of. Syntax be damned, patch words together with commas, make speech.
Anyway, that's our weekend, in a nutshell. We also tried out highchairs and decided that applesauce is yummy, but there is no drama in that. Thank god.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Last night after I put lil' G to bed, I went to my yoga class. It is my one escape of the week. Naturally, I both long for and dread it. Long for it because it's fun to sit in a class of grownups with no weeping children, dread it because I am extremely lazy at heart and really just want to curl up on the couch with a book and a glass of wine. Hmm...
In any case, I put on my new periwinkle blue cashmere sweater that I got for Christmas and went. I am not really the cashmere "type" if there be such a thing. But the sweater is lovely and I haven't worn it once since I got it for fear that someone would spit/vomit on it and there would then be dry cleaning/woolite involved. So, to my grown-up class I wear my grown-up clothes. I park my car and saunter down the darkened street. Past the Adult Superstore* with its display window featuring lingerie-clad models, dirty board games and, most interestingly, a pump for increasing width and length. I gather. Though I feel compelled to look every time I walk by, I do it by a sideways glance. I don't want to be accused of, you know, prurient curiousity. Sharing an entryway with the sex shop is a lawyer's office. I do not know what kind of law they practice in there, but I would think twice, myself, personally, before paying anyone in THAT office by the hour. And right next door is the yoga studio, a haven of hardwood floors, gauzy curtains and just a whiff of incense. You know, if I lived in an honest to god city, the proximity of these somewhat disparate enterprises would hardly give me a moment's pause, but it merely serves to underline the oddness of life in this particular suburb. There used to be a big military base here, and has, accordingly, enough tatoo parlors and check cashing outlets to satisfy the most desperate sailor. Now that the base is closed the town is both shabby and tacky. It suits me really, though I have no tatoos.

*why is "adult" the euphamism for sex, I wonder. Adults have sex, I suppose. Adult movies, adult themes. Then you get to "adult education" offered at the community college. It does pique my interest, though I've looked at the catalog and can detect no hanky-panky. Unfortunately.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The easy way out

Gratuitous baby cuteness. I've started 3 posts and pooped out on them all. This here blogging is WORK, I tell you. So in lieu of words, I share with you... Gabriel, in all is chubby, yummy-smelling adorability.
He is wearing a onesie that a dear friend sent from Paris. I thought to include a clever caption, such as, "someone went to Paris and all I got was this lousy T-shirt," but the photographer flinched, cutting the proof, and the punchline, right out of the picture. And now I have said too much. A demain.

Monday, February 13, 2006

shopping yoga

Feeling a bit frumpy today. It's a warm day, begging me to break out the tank tops and sandals, but for some reason I'm bopping around in my post-partum baggies. I mean it's nice that slowly, slowly these rags are losing their tenacity about my frame, but right now, ick. And shopping is kind of a nightmare these days. It's all about the stroller. This is what I get for railing against them in my pre-baby life. I hated strollers. Felt hunted down by them at the mall as their drivers pushed ridiculously big kids around and over my toes if I wasn't fast enough. Ah, well that'll teach me, right?
I bought one pair of jeans about a month ago and have been wearing them non-stop. Suffice it to say that trying on clothes with a baby in a bjorn is difficult. And if I hadn't been such a dedicated yoga student (ha) I don't think I could have done it without both of us toppling over. I did the tree pose of my life, for BOTH of our lives really.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

the back pack wars

The bad-writing fairy has visited, I see. That last post was a bit of a jumble, for which I apologize. Dogs, babies, friends, school, the chaos that churns in my head sprawled out for all to see. I guess that's fair.
In other news, I'm searching for a baby backpack. It's time. I took a walk to the drugstore a couple miles down the road with Gabriel in the Bjorn the other day and seriously considered removing him and camping out for the remainder of the day on the streetcorner while my back recovered. In 5 short months we've witnessed an evolution in baby transport gizmos. First with the Mobywrap. Amazing invention. Gabriel wrapped up next to me as snug as a little bug. He slept! And slept some more! But then after 3 months or so, he wants to look around and does not, thank you very much, like to be turned forward in the sling. So out comes the B-jorn, which was M's fave all along. Little more structure and the kid loves hanging out and looking at the world. So now I'm looking at the Ergo, a soft backpack type thing and the Kelty/Deuter/Macpac frame contraptions. I know the one that I want: ergo, I will buy. But I think M. likes the idea of a sturdy frame, good for long hikes, etc. Maybe we'll get both, eventually. I definately carry the baby more and so I say my choice counts for more. This is how fascist regimes get started though.

Friday, February 10, 2006

baskerville hall

We are currently hosting Niles, the world's largest doof of a dog. A pitbull. I never, ever in one million years would have ever consented to inviting a dog of this breed into my house to roam about and knock things off table tops with whips of his tail while my baby plays on the floor, until I met Niles. He belongs to S (from Merced, and not to be confused with S from New Zealand), my second medical school friend (first being S-NZ, of course). In our first year at school we bonded over the fact that 1) we didn't know what the fuck we were doing and 2) in the midst of shiny happy extroverts, we hated parties, socializing and talking to people in general. I sensed this about her immediately and decided that we must be friends after one lab spent sharing self-deprecating anecdotes when we were, I think, supposed to be figuring out which end of the stethescope to stick in our ears. Afterwards, I stalked her and asked her to lunch. Almost like a date. Because even a hermit needs ONE like minded friend. S-NZ is the absolute opposite. She exudes sunny warmth, can chat up anyone and make them feel like they are the most interesting person in the world. A hermit is lucky to have one friend like her. Anyway, studying with S and S made it all bearable, that and packs and packs of sugarless gum and countless diet cokes. We chewed and sipped until our borborygmi could empty a room during an exam. During our first year of Anatomy studies when we studied at S's house Niles would sneak up on the bone box and steal away the plastic bone replicas. We turned in a box with a few gnawed edges, true. Niles is friendly and eager-to-please though. A little pushy when it comes to affection; if you're not giving him any, he'll rest his 20lb head on your lap until you pet him. And if you're sitting on the floor, he'll plop down as close to you as possible and stick his nose in your ear. He is a neutered male, which puts my mind at ease. The awful dog attacks you read about invariably feature the, ahem, intact male pitbull. I took S-Merced with me to the pound when we were looking for a pooch of our own. It's a sad fact that the majority of unwanted animals are pitbulls or mixes thereof. As we walked around the awful stinky, loud room where the dogs were housed, I kept coming back to this quiet little pit-lab mix with the brindle coat. She looked so mournful, yet wanting to lick my fingers through the chainlink. S convinced me that this was just the dog we were looking for. And, you know, she was right. Fili is the sweetest dog, so submissive you want to kick her, so enthusiastic for a walk or a pat that she nearly pees herself. Just neurotic enough to give the cat a run for the money.
So should anyone be concerned, Gabriel is not left to frolic with the hellhounds unsupervised. We are always very close at hand, especially when Niles is about. But both dogs seem respectful of the baby and sense that they are not allowed to play. Fili is determined to get in a lick or two from time to time, but you can hardly blame her for that.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


My husband, the mysterious M, read my blog last night. I'd invited him to read it on several occasions back when I started it, but he never seemed that interested. Last night, though, after a lengthy discussion regarding communication and connectedness (it sounds so much more grown-up when couched in these terms) he decided to read.
And afterward, he turned to me with a kind of hurt look on his face and said that anyone reading it would think he's not a very nice guy. And you know what, he has a point. Not that he's not a nice guy, because he is, he is. But that I have written down incidents that do not cast him in the bestest of lights. Why have I done this?
I think I have been seduced by the relative anonymity (funny, as blog is read by mom and a very select group of longtime friends) of the medium and used the forum as a diary. And what do you do in a diary? You complain. You bitch and moan and write from the crankiest part of your soul. The part that doesn't get enough air, thank god. And so M who is not here all day long becomes a whipping boy for all of my frustration and despair when my head is melting and the baby's crying. It's not fair, but I blame him for this, this, situation in which I find myself: bored out of my skull, domestically challenged, maternally inadequate.
And yet so not the full picture. I have chosen to be at home for this precious little slice of time that even now is slipping away so quickly it makes my heart stop. That baby is my very life. And that husband is the only one I'll share it with.
I love you. You know that. Duh!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

the odyssey

Gabriel and I had a risky 3-part errand to run yesterday and I am pleased to report that we made it, with only minimal fuss.
Part 1: Drive to ATM. Too lazy to unhook baby from carseat so carry now extremely heavy infant carrier with our own baby Huey to walk-up ATM. Get cash.
Part 2: Drive to police station. Decide babe-in-arms might charm desk officer into retrieving my background check (yes, background check), and so schlepp baby in. G obligingly slumps against me in the very charming manner of his. Pay $20 cash and obtain report. I have no outstanding warrants in V-town. Yippee!
Part 3: Drive to school. First to Financial Aid. No one there. Next to clinical ed to turn in application for rotation for next year, complete with background check. Suffering delusions that I am competitive, I entertain thoughts of applying for Emergency Medicine residency programs next year. The only way I can even laughingly consider this is to apply for a tryout rotation at various fancy teaching hospitals. So keep your fingers crossed. Back to financial aid, someone there, can't help me. To the bursar I go, nicest woman on campus, but there has been no mistake, I will be getting no student tax benefits for this year. Oh well.
All of this we did and without tears, from either of us. I feel I should get Gabriel a fine token of my esteem. Instead I fed him peas. And, he liked them...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Gabriel has a musical mobile over his crib. It plays jingles by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach while these googly eyed neon animals twirl overhead. This device has saved my sanity as Gabriel has been entranced by it daily since he was two months old. Its secondary purpose has been revealed over time. I've remarked for a couple months that I usually have to change him after he's been looking at the mobile. Almost without fail, I lay him down and turn it on, and then the real music starts. I had hoped that these little tinkly tunes would somehow imprint a love of classical music for life. Instead, I fear he will associate Mozart with having to crap. Oh well. I suppose that's useful too.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Stroller woe

I tried another outing with the &^(*#$ stroller and the @#*& baby. There were tears and much distress by mile two. I strapped on the baby bjorn, plunked Gabriel in and pushed the damn thing back to the car. Even harder on back. Oh well. Soon he will sit. Soon we will backpack it.
That is the sum total of our excitement for the day. Everyday there comes a moment when I feel like my brain's oozing out my ears. Sadly, I chose to sit down at the computer during one of these "episodes." I'll try better tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Not much

A rather dreary day. Rain. We did manage a walk during a brief break in the clouds. The sun came out and nearly blinded us reflecting off the oily asphalt. Then more rain.
I have been on a half-hearted search for a new car seat to replace the "infant seat" which my (admittedly) large baby boy has outgrown at 5 mos. The rain makes me do crazy things, like go to Walmart. But I've looked at every other conceivable place in town and not found the panoply that I feel necessary to chose the perfect, safe, comfy seat. Walmart proved a disappointment in car seat selection, but a real winner in freakish people watching. A workman sprawled rather lewdly on the floor in front of a refrigerator unit near the checkout while his partner chatted animatedly on his cell phone. I got a dirty look from a woman as I paused briefly at the exit to throw a blanket over Gabriel's head to protect him from the light sprinkle. I'm not sure why, but I imagine she was appalled I brought a baby out in this weather. Aside from informing her she needs a life of her own, I wanted to say, sheesh, lady it's 50 degrees out. He's not made of spun sugar, for crissakes! Anyway, after the Walmart, um, experience, I went to Target and just bought a car seat willy nilly off the shelf. I'll try to stuff it in the back of our rather cramped Saturn and hope it works.
Winter in California is strange for someone who grew up with four discernable seasons swirling about her annually. For one thing, everything comes to life in winter. The rains start in November or so and everything turns green. The hills transform from golden brown to luminescent emerald green in a matter of days. Trees are laden with citrus fruit that falls to the ground and rots because everyone's got too many, anyway. Bulb flowers that elsewhere herald the arrival of spring start pushing up, rather indecently, really, around New Year. Early daffodils and crocus are abundant. The apple and cherry trees are in flower. It's like Spring, but without the harrowing passage of Winter, it seems an unearned bounty.
I don't know why I adopt a moralizing tone relating to the climate. It's not like it can work harder to better itself. It's simply easy beautiful hereabouts.