Spilled Milk

I cried over spilled milk.
One recent morning I had just spent 20 minutes attached to the medieval torture device that masquerades as a human milking machine. I do this most days three times a day because I am obviously a masochist, but also because my melted brain thinks this is worth it for the nourishment of my offspring.

I poured several ounces of this precious substance, which might be thought of as time X pain, into a bottle, and as I was pouring it in, it occurred to me that it appeared to be seeping out.


In my morning bleary, I had not screwed the bottom of the bottle on correctly. NOOOOOO!!!!!!!! I lost four and a half ounces.

I couldn't even figure out what had gone wrong at first, and every attempt to find the cause seemed only to exacerbate the problem.

Seeing my milk wasted, I started to wail, which eventually devolved into a sad mammalian whimper. When he thought the coast was finally clear, Brian came into the kitchen and offered me a hug and a reassurance that all was not lost, and that I would make plenty more.

My boy is what is called a "hearty eater." At four months, he eats between 18 and 22 ounces while at daycare, which means while I am away from him, I hook myself up to that ungodly machine in a vain attempt to keep up with his demand.

"That sh*t is like gold!" This is what my sister said. And it's true. I keep thinking about Dune and the great value of preserving and recycling human sweat. Pumping for a giant, fat baby is kind of like living on the desert planet of Arrakis and needing to provide sweat/water for your baby's nourishment.

Yes, yes, I already supplement with formula. I don't have a death wish. But sometimes your brain, maybe from lack of sleep, gets tied into a pretzel, and you begin to think that your self-esteem is tied to being able to provide sustenance for your baby. It's kind of like when I used to play Monopoly. I would get so tied up inside trying to purchase certain properties that I missed the point of the game and wound up going bust because my brother had bought up everything else.

By the way, this is one of the reasons I am anti- game night.

Another thing about pumping: I do so once in the morning and twice during my work day. At work, I secret myself inside the cold, lonely HVAC closet and hold evil plastic cones to my chest while a machine sucks out my soul. Then I must engage in the delicate business of moving my human gold born of time and pain into a plastic bag. I measure and examine the quantity closely to determine whether I should feel okay about myself or feel like only half a human. I do this in our kitchen area as coworkers walk by on their way to the bathroom or to make copies.

Occasionally, while I am delicately pouring my breastmilk from the breastshield/bottles into a storage bags, my coworkers will sidle up and start chatting with me. At first, I found this horrifying. I felt as if I had been handling my own stool sample while these people were trying to make smalltalk. I would just stand there, clutching my breastshields and bags of milk, and try to look casual while holding my container of force-oozed human product.

"They don't know, right?" I asked a coworker.

"No," she said, "They have no idea."

My sister told me about how she had to use a sink in the room in which a group therapy session was taking place. At first it seemed unbearable. "But towards the end," she said, "I would just walk right in with my bottles of milk and be like, 'What?!?'"

Max has made wonderful and exciting (to us) progress in the past few weeks. He now laughs, touches his toes, and rolls over from back to belly. In fact, we must now put him to sleep on his belly, because if we don't, he will spend hours trying to roll over and touch his toes.

What a cutie! Now if he would only sleep for more than four hours in a row....

Our little stomper!

NYC Tornado Terror

They had predicted rain for Thursday, so I brought my umbrella.
A flimsy little number that folds up to fit inside your purse. As I descended the subway steps at Rector Street, I looked up one last time. The sky was awfully gloomy. I was glad I was prepared.

I emerged 30 minutes later from the Prospect Avenue station in south Park Slope and opened my umbrella as I walked up the stairs. It was drizzling.

It was drizzling, but it looked like it had rained pretty hard while I was underground. I walked the three or so blocks to Max's daycare, and what I had at first thought had been a storm was now looking like the aftermath of a hurricane.

Water was coursing down the sloped streets like tiny gutter rivers. There were leaves and branches and trash strewn everywhere. And a formidable, old tree had been toppled over, now lying nearly horizontal from someone's front yard into the street. What had happened?

The women at the daycare said the storm had been very strong and very brief. It had all been over and done with in maybe 10 or 15 minutes.

Max and I walked along 5th Avenue to the grocery store. Awnings were down. More trees had fallen, whole slabs of sidewalk pulled up beneath them, cars crushed under the weight of their thick trunks.

What the f*ck?

I started to notice conversations. Everyone seemed to be united in one single conversation: The sky turned green; rain poured down; the wind was incredible; trees fell; cars were crushed, streets were blocked.

Every other street we passed had downed trees splayed across the road like large, fallen soldiers.

But then again, there were streets that appeared to be almost untouched It was very odd.

The next day, I took a walk around our block and took some pictures:

It reminded me a little of the movie "NYC: Tornado Terror." Brian and I actually watched a DVD of this movie some months back. You can tell by the trailer how truly awesome this movie is. I think the parts Brian liked most of all were the "inside City Hall" shots, which were ridiculously goofy.

There's a part when the protagonist calls 911 and says something like, "We have an emergency here. I'm in midtown. Near the train station." Mwhahahaha! I am guessing that NYC: Tornado Terror was actually filmed in Canada by people who only know New York City through watching Seinfeld and Diff'rent Strokes.

In baby news, Max found his toes last week. It's kind of cute, but kind of annoying, because all he wants to do all day is play with his toes. In fact, he wants to do it all night too, and it is disrupting his sleep, which makes me very tired. Toes: The toys you can never take away (except in cases of gangrene).

Here are some more shots from that same evening:

And here is my latest baby-dress-up masterpiece:

Baby of Arabia


Life has been a little rough since I went back to work.
I have had it pretty good, with very warm and understanding coworkers and the transitional concession of getting to work from home two days a week. But Max is now waking up multiple times during the night, and I can no longer sneak in a nap in the afternoon, and I am always tired and worn out. I feel like I am perpetually walking around with a gloom cloud over my head. I know it will get better, but for now, I'm feeling lousy.

I've had tons to say, but I just haven't managed to write anything down. I know nobody likes to hear nothing for a while, and then get issued a tome for a blog entry. It goes against the very purpose of a blog. But I would rather just write this out so I can stop constantly blogging in my head. So here are three vignettes from the last week.

Max's first day of daycare was Monday. Brian's sister had been watching him before then, and he was getting plenty of hugs and kisses and attention.

On Monday morning, Brian and I packed up our son's supplies, strapped him into the stroller, and walked him several blocks to his new school. I felt like we were dropping him off at college.

We handed him over to the nice ladies at the daycare. They took turns remarking how "solid" he felt, and how big he seemed for his age. Max appeared to enjoy the attention.

Brian and I took turns kissing our 15 week old son goodbye. Max stared off into space. As I turned to leave, I wept copious tears, and continued doing so all the way to the subway and then sporadically during my workday.

At work, people saw my wet, bleary eyes and asked if Max had gotten hysterical when we left him.

"No," I said, "He didn't even seem to care. But it felt worse than if he had cried. I felt like chopped liver."

Here is a picture of Max on his first day of "school." I took it with my crappy camera phone. Sorry for the poor quality.

In the mad dash to get out in the morning, I was in the bathroom blowdrying my hair and Brian was performing oral hygiene tasks while checking in on the boy, who was mellowing in his swing. From the other room, I suddenly heard Brian say, "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!"

I didn't hear crying. Had he dropped the boy on his head? Had the boy appeared to be asleep, but was now unresponsive? I ran out of the bathroom in a panic and saw Max sitting in the swing, smiling mildy, face covered in blood.

What the ...! Brian, who had been crouched over him, turned around. He looked startled and apologetic. Blood was spilling out of the corners of his mouth.

I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Brian looked at me looking and him. I deduced that the horrified look on my face must have signaled to him that something was even more wrong than he had first assumed. We were experiencing meta moments richette off each other as we tried to gauge what was going on by the mortified expressions on each other's face.

"I was flossing," Brian said, "and I leaned over to kiss Max. I guess my gums were bleeding."

"Maybe you should floss more often."

"I have. But this time I was flossing and I heard something sort of pop." He didn't realize what had popped until he saw blood all over his son's face. I am just happy the mess was easily retifyable and that Brian is not actually a vampire trying to suck his own son's blood. The things a mother worries about!

Max still dislikes bathing. Because the fight with him is too much for us, he usually gets forcibly bathed about once a week.

Last night, he was on my lap, leaning back, and I noticed a whole lot of crud in his neck fold. So I insisted on a bath.

I tried the wash pod again, hoping it would make him feel more secure. I filled it half way with luke warm water. I sat it on the bathroom floor, and Brian came in with Max clad only in a diaper. Brian said, "Here we go, kid," and undid the diaper, handing it to me.

I had been thinking how full and heavy his diaper was when I heard the splash. I looked up. Brian had Max in a vertical hold. Max was hanging over Brian's arm, looking thoughtful, while explosive poop was shooting out of him all over the floor. It was ridiculous. We stood there, mouths agape, frozen, not sure what to do. Every time we thought Max might be finished, he would rev up and let go another round of violence.

My heart suck. I spent 15 minutes on my knees sopping up soupy, electric-yellow baby poop off the bathroom floor. And walls. And door. Funny, when Brian first took off the diaper, I allowed myself a little prayer hoping Max wouldn't poop in the tub. I guess I needed to cover my bases a little better.

Lastly, here is a video Brian took of Max drooling on everything, including his new Sophie the Giraffe toy, bought for him by my very wonderful friend, Erin (and recommended by my wonderful friend, Betsy).

I wouldn't say the short movie is plot driven. More like an arty German film. But I think it expresses accurately a certain zeitgeist.


I guess the return to work is getting easier.
Or, at least, I'm feeling more normal about being at work.

But, when I am not at work, I am a horrible, ragged nerve. Before my maternity leave ended, Max was sleeping at night about four to five hours in a row. I was really hoping he would soon be up to six. But, instead, he regressed. When I started working again, he began waking up every hour or two.

Being at work isn't so hard. But mornings, when I am just a giant set of throbbing, bloodshot eyes roving blindly throughout the apartment, are the most difficult. And evenings are hard too, because, by the time I get home, I feel like a medieval patient who has just had a gallon of blood let. Max babbles and wants to play his "standing-up" game, but I am no fun.

I keep hearing about this rise of bedbug in New York City. The other morning, I was on the train, heading to work, when I felt a skin-crawly sensation on my scalp. I tried to be discrete and just tousle my hair a bit. But the sensation didn't go away. I tousled my hair some more. I scratched a little. Tousled. Scratched. I was no longer discrete. Bedbugs? Could I have bed bugs? What about the baby? Oh, what hell would we have to endure to rid ourselves of these vermin.

I felt itchy all over. I felt disgusting. The skin on my scalp was crawling. People were starting to notice I was an itchy, gross mess.

I scratched again — and I felt something wiggling beneath my fingers. I pinched it and brought it into view. In between my thumb and forefinger was a large, wriggling ant.


I flicked it away in shock and disgust. But not before I caught fellow passengers staring at me quizzically. So I didn't have bed bugs. But I had been noticeably scratching my head until a giant ant turned up. That probably looked more disgusting, right? Who walks around with ants in their hair? It is something I associate with people who make a practice of sleeping on the ground. Did I look homeless? Or, worse, strung out?

My friend Susan's mom maintains she is relatively new to quilting. But she made Max this amazing blanket. With subway map fabric! I want to steal it.

Here is Max examining the quilt:

And here is Max enjoying the quilt:

And here is Max enjoying his fingers: