Monthly Archives: November 2011

I Was Going to Write Something Cool


Really, it was about how I realized I find men who read (like, really read as in novels/poetry, not magazines or the newspaper) to be sexy by default.

But then I started working a lot of late shifts and kept Tay home with me on Thanksgiving since I had the day off and hadn’t seen much of him lately.
I’ve also had this rash thing that started out just as itchy armpits a month before Tay’s birth, and stayed as an irritating itch until I stopped breast feeding. Afterwards it started getting worse and when the rash spread to my neck/chest/face I went to a doctor in October who thought it might be a fungus (nothing like athlete’s armpit to make you feel good about yourself, right?) and perscribed 2 creams to treat it. The creams seemed to be working until about 2 weeks ago when the itch came back with a vengeance. Since then the rash has gotten worse, spread to my arms and back to my neck/chest/breasts and I’ve managed to scratch most of it raw in my sleep. Nothing is helping.

Piet and Tay haven’t picked it up, so I’m not sure anymore if it’s a fungus/yeast. I think it could be systemic, but I have no clue what it is. So I’ll be calling a dermatologist on Monday to schedule an appointment before my armpits fall off or something.

Once I take my vacation days in December (I still have those, yay!) maybe I’ll get back around to sexy reading men.

Or not.


The Doldrums


It’s that time again.

Time for my annual bout of “I hate Belgium.”

For some reason, once a year, about now I find myself despising my current country of residence for a myriad of reasons.
Basically, whatever is annoying me, regardless of how big or small, I tend to see it as Belgium being evil and doing its best to spite me.

I left 90 minutes early for work yesterday because my bike was ready to be picked up from the repair shop and I wanted to stop for a sandwich on the way. I walked to the tram stop, got off at the grocery store ( about halfway between home and work if you go by tram), went in to the insanely crowded store (grumble, grumble, stupid Belgian socialist labor laws, hardly anything is ever open late or on Sunday so everything is always jammed on Saturdays) and grabbed a sandwich and a salad for later. Then I plowed through the packed lines of people (grumble, grumble never enough tellers and people here never move when you’re trying to get through and dammit, the self-checkout line is not that complicated but no one ever uses it but like, me and I have to climb over a store full of people to get to it), got back on the tram and picked up my bike with a half hour to spare to eat my lunch. I then proceeded to bike in circles around the station and surrounding side streets in search of a place to park that a. wasn’t too shady looking/inviting to vandals and b. wasn’t marked as a no bike parking zone (grumble, grumble, hiss, there’s never any good parking here…if they invested in a bi-weekly sweep of old abandoned bikes there’d be plenty of room to park for the bikers who actually take care of their bikes). Finally I found a questionable spot (after someone backing up the wrong way down a one way street nearly drove over me), locked my bike and prayed no one would leave old beer cans on it or call to have it removed, and went to work (where I still have to explain to people how to drink through the hole in the lid (BELGIANS AAAARRGGHHHH).

Today I went to start a load of laundry and the ant-lime tablet crumbled all over the floor right as I was putting it into the washer (stupid Belgian hard water) and then went to sort the 100 or so euro we’ve accumulated in small change so I could exchange it at work (stupid Belgian banks that refuse to take rolls of change in exchange for bills because why would a bank actually, you know, handle people’s money???)

Really, this week Belgium has made me all :

Even Tay’s presence hasn’t kept the “I hate Belgium” at bay.
In fact, he’s been constipated for a couple days, so maybe it’s genetic and Belgium is pissing him off too. On a smaller scale. Like:

He Came on a Boat to Antwerp…


Sinterklaas is coming to toooown.

Actually he came to Antwerp on his boat last weekend (or the one before? I dunno, cut me some slack, this is the first year the holiday has had any kind of significance for me beyond my enduring cringing at all the black-faced Zwarte Piets capering around the city centers and televisions).

So now the Sinterklaas movies are starting to play for the kiddies on television.
Sinterklaas will be in some schools and malls to take pictures with the little ones.
Zwarte Piets will be dancing and fooling and dropping by the schools handing out little letter cookies to the students.

While we’re talking about the little letter cookies (or sometimes there are little iced cookies too but I don’t know the dutch word for them so I can’t find an image), let me say that about now these cookies are everywhere. I’ve yet to eat any, but I imagine they’re like animal cookies in flavor, so pretty bland. Wherever you go, if you have a child with you, you seem to get some of these cookies. Even, say, if you have your not quite 4 month old baby in the dining area of Ikea. Some brightly dressed character (it was almost Halloween then, so I think it was a witch) will walk by and drop a small handful of letter cookies on your table, despite the fact that obviously my child won’t be eating those cookies unless I crush them and mix them in his bottle and even if I did, GLUTEN!!!!! So no, even if I did, he won’t be eating them unless they’re gluten free cookies, which I highly doubt.

Have you ever eaten baby gluten free cookies?

The only reason they go over so well with babies is because babies don’t know what a real cookie is supposed to taste like.
Just saying.

So, when you’re out and about in town, it’s not surprising to see hired people passing out some cookies to kids.
What I haven’t ever seen, until today, is random old people randomly digging letter cookies from their purses to hand to a teacher who was on a walk with her class of first graders.

It was just one old lady, granted, and was she ever determined. I saw the kids walking two by two, all wearing neon yellow safety vests, crossing the street with 2 teachers and a third teacher bringing up the rear and then, just behind, shuffling along at full elderly speed came a woman with a shopping bag on wheels. she hailed down the teacher and proceeded to give 2 cupped handfuls of cookies to the teacher for the kids.

The teacher thanked her, although she looked a bit daunted.
I don’t think they’re allowed to give kids cookies from stranger’s pockets in the schools here.

And part of me thought the whole thing was very sweet.

While the other part of me found the whole thing disturbingly similar to how Jack Nicholson always carried bacon around in his pocket for the dog in As Good As It Gets.

Not an Ambi-Turner


Tay can’t turn right.

He rolls, oh yes, he’s been rolling for almost a month now and seems to have finally figured out how to roll from his stomach to his back, but only to the left.

Which means he runs out of space pretty quickly, especially in his playpen. About 3 rolls and he hits the side and starts screaming bloody murder because OHMIGOD MOMMY I’M STUCK HERE AND I CAN’T TURN RIGHT. RIGHT IS BAD. HALP! HAAAAAALP!

I guess he’ll have to figure it out eventually…

Or else he’ll just have to become a male model.

Pregnancy: What’s Left Over?


This may or may not be tmi for some of you. After giving birth and having a seemingly endless stream of strangers have their hand probing your cervix, it becomes difficult to see the boundary of what constitutes too much information.

Anyway, this post is pretty much going to be about how pregnancy seems to have changed my basic body chemistry. Apparently for good, or at least until I’m pregnant again. I guess you never know until you play human incubator how it’s going to go.

First off, let’s talk about my hair.
My hair used to be insanely think and uber curly. Really, to the point where I could use some of the products typically used for African hair. I was totally going to write African-American there until I realized I’m talking about pretty much anyone of African descent. Well, not including North Africa I suppose.
Anyway, it was huge and curly and all I ever had to do was comb it out, spray some gel and scrunch it and I had great mane of curly hair. Granted it took all day to dry and if I blew it dry or got it cut too short it looked like a shrubbery had taken over my head, but it also took no effort to look like I’d put a lot of effort in.
Now it’s probably half as thick, with just a tiny bit of wave in it. It’s a lot more manageable and I go through so much less shampoo and conditioner that it’s quite economic, but I’ve never, since I was maybe 10 years old, ever had to “do” anything to my hair. Now I have this sometimes limp, flat hair and I have no clue what to do to make it look nicer. I have no idea how to style my hair. At all.
I may try to learn eventually, but I think I’ll wait until Tay has outgrown the stage where I tend to get mashed food or spit in my hair if I make the mistake of leaving it down where he can get a grip on it.

But hair? Hair is only the beginning.

My ass is now huge.
I’ve been overweight for several years now, yes, but I carried most of it in my waist, boobs and arms. I’ve never had to worry about my butt.
Until now. A few weeks ago I went to try on my winter coat (which fit before I got pregnant, obviously) and I was worried it wouldn’t zip over my waist or chest.
It zipped fine over those but totally not over my hips and butt.
I still have no real conception of how much extra space my ass is taking up behind me. Piet and I went to the Ardennes last week and while we were getting breakfast in the hotel, Piet went behind me to get to the table. I turned and my ass nearly took out the glass of juice he was holding.
This I’m hoping to remedy (along with the rest of me, which is still carrying most of my baby weight) by not eating like an asshole and also by biking to work every day that it isn’t below freezing or too snowy.

The last thing I’ve noticed (so far…I may think of more eventually) is the thing some of you may want to skip over cause it’s about my uterus. Go ahead…you can leave, I’ll wait till you’re gone.

Okay, so, my uterus freaking hurts now.
Before I hardly noticed my cycles or indicators of certain times of my cycle. I barely noticed any extra goo when I ovulated and rarely felt any cramping and I only got cramps maybe 2 days before and the first two days of my period. And yes, the cramps hurt, but in a dull, achy way, kind of like when it rains and your old sprain or break starts acting up.
But ever since I started getting my period again, argh.

I get sharp pains when I ovulate and sharper pains during my period. It’s really like I can feel my uterus contracting during my menses. I imagine that’s from the C-section and the scar tissue, which makes me really strongly consider opting for a VBAC when we decide to have more kids.
But I doubt the C-section had anything to do with the amount of…um…runoff I’ve been getting during the time I ovulate. While we were trying to get pregnant, I read about the luteal fase and how your body produces more discharge and that’s what you should look for as an indication your ovulating but I couldn’t ever pinpoint it without using a pee-stick. Now, man, who needs a pee-stick? Things get a lot more discharge-y than they used to.

I know. Gross, right? don’t forget I did let you opt out before I got all show and tell with my post pregnancy luteal fases.

Anyway, I guess I should just add this to the list of “stuff they never tell you before you get pregnant” that I compiled back while Tay was still gestating. I’m just hoping I can get a little bit of curl back on the n ext go-around.

And a little less junk in my trunk.

Four Months


I can’t believe it’s November already.

Time for winter to settle in.
Time for me to go back to work.

And Tay is now 4 months old.
One third of the way through the first year of his life.

He no longer rolls incessantly from back to front because now he’s too busy trying to sit up all the time. He knows what a bottle means and stops fussing when he sees Piet or I bring one into the room. He’s successfully eaten carrots and pumpkin and semi-successfully eaten zucchini (he liked it but it bound him up a bit). Today he had broccoli and apparently liked that too. It took him less than a week to figure out what a spoon was for and now he opens wide for anything we want to try giving him.

He’s already wearing clothes for 6 month-olds, cause well, he’s half mine and there is not a single petite gene in my pool, which is where his appearance seems to be splashing around in right now.

He babbles constantly and smiles sweetly and giggles infectiously and is so easy to just hold and snuggle.
Every month that passes reminds me of how thankful I am that he is a part of our lives.