Monthly Archives: January 2012

Various Parentius


I totally made that second word up.

This is what happens when I have an interesting topic I want to write about but can’t think of an equally interesting title.

Anyway, parents.


There are so many of us and so many different styles/approaches/attitudes/instincts/etc. that emerge as we care for our children.

I think back to my first “real” group of two year olds in the day care I worked at back home and I immediately think of two little boys, very close in age. They were both a bit small for their age, both had blond hair and blue eyes. They both had two kind, caring, involved parents who were well educated and intelligent.
One child was severely high-strung and spent a lot of the day clinging to one of us. He absolutely would not nap for the first half of the year and we practically did the dance of joy when we finally got him to where the lights went out for nap time and he would doze for 20-30 minutes without wailing inconsolably for his mother. The head teacher had it worked out with this boy’s mother that he’d only attend for half a day because he simply just couldn’t get through a whole day of day care without falling apart at the end.
The other little boy was social and friendly. One of his little girl classmates developed a huge toddler crush on him and he let her drag him around and play dress up with him and sit next to him during snack time. He fell asleep easily at nap time and was often there from quite early in the morning until 5:30 in the evening. This little boy happened to have asthma and occasionally his nebulizer had to be sent to the day care with him.
He also had no left hand.

The parents (especially the mother) of the first little boy covered him in hugs and kisses and pet names and made up cutesy names for everything (from when he got lotion put on his skin to his pajamas). He was obviously the thing they treasured most in the world and even more obviously he was still there baby more than their little boy.

The parents of the second little boy gave hugs and kisses, but they also encouraged him to potty train and to do things all by himself. They persisted in his using his prosthesis, even though he sometimes grew very frustrated with it. His father refused to buy him velcro shoes because he felt he needed to learn to be able to tie them himself.
I had to remind his father that no 2 year old child can tie his shoes yet and most of them had velcro shoes because it gave them the autonomy to put their shoes on all by themselves. They had a multitude of reasons to hover and baby their child, but they didn’t. He was their boy and he got no extra pampering from them.

That was seven years ago.

Now, as a parent myself, I see a multitude of different parents around me.

I know of a mother who has recorded every feeding and every nights’ sleep her baby has had since the day he was born. She’s precise down to the minute.
Doing something like that never even occurred to me, aside from keeping track of how many bottles a day Tay was eating when he was 2-3 months old because he was way too hungry and we were tracking bottles to be sure the satiating version of his formula worked (which it did, he went from sometimes 6 bottles/day to 5 or sometimes even 4). But tracking his sleep? I’m lucky I remember to shower and poop half the time since Tay was born.

I see the mother whose culture says that breastfeeding her baby for a minimum of a year is the best thing for him. She’s reluctantly weaning him off her breast now (he’s almost 9 months old) because in Belgium a mother can only get time off daily for breastfeeding up until 9 months. Her mother lived with her and her husband for the first 6 months of her son’s life so she didn’t have to even enroll him in daycare until he was almost 8 months old. He threw up the other day and she freaked out and called the doctor. Because he’d apparently never thrown up before and it scared her.
My son has had reflux since he was born. He threw up breast milk constantly and formula even more constantly. His stomach only started settling down when he began eating solid foods. Tay vomiting all over me is nothing new.

I know a father whose son was 10 weeks premature. He hears stories of other babies crawling at 9 months, or my son, who is almost crawling at 6 and a half months and is starting to occasionally pull himself into a standing position. He hears how huge my boy is and how mild-mannered he is, only crying when he’s hungry or sleepy, how he sleeps through the night most of the time and he reacts with sadness, answering that his son is one year old and all he can do is sit. He either can’t or won’t understand that his son is, for all intents and purposes, 9 and a half months old, rather than a year. His frustration and disappointment are clear when he complains that his son is fussy and doesn’t sleep very well at night.
I’m frustrated that Tay is in the 90th percentile weight-wise. But I’m not frustrated with Tay for that. I blame myself for being obese when I got pregnant. Plenty of studies show that obese mothers have a greater chance of having obese babies and so I’m trying to be extra vigilant and make sure my son eats nutritious food but also doesn’t over-eat. You all probably think I’m over reacting about this, and maybe I am, but my son does not say no to food. He eats everything that is put in front of him. At the daycare the standard meal for 6-12 month olds is some soup, vegetable and potato puree and meat puree. Once they added soup to his meals, we noticed he was throwing up a lot more and sometimes not finishing his bottles at night. He needs the nutrition in his milk much more than he needs soup, so we asked that he not get soup and now he’s no longer throwing up or only drinking half bottles. It’s great that my son loves all his fruits and veggies, but he doesn’t seem to understand when to stop eating and that’s a dangerous habit for a young child to get into.

Piet was playing “objective parent” a few days ago and mentioned that if Tay is a bit slower in anything, developmentally, it’s his social cognition skills. As of right now, Tay doesn’t really seem to register strangers or show any hesitation or trepidation regarding new/different people he encounters. I mean, clearly he recognizes Piet and I and reacts appropriately when we pick him up at daycare or come to get him in the morning when he wakes up, but he shows no hesitation whatsoever if we hand him over to a stranger. He’ll just as readily sit in someone’s lap he just met as in his oma’s lap, as in his daycare worker’s lap.

And while I completely agree that our child does not neccessarily get the concept of “stranger” yet, I found myself trying to justify Tay’s lack of separation anxiety and lack of anxiety when presented with a strange face.
Because he’s my son and my son is perfect and nothing about him is “slow” at all, dammit.
Even if I know it is and even if it isn’t abnormally slow.

I know all babies develop at their own pace and each set of skills develops differently. I guess I’ve just been spoiled so far because Tay has been pretty quick with all the rest of his developmental milestones, especially the gross/fine motor skills.

Since I began babysitting at the age of ten I’ve had an idea of the sort of parent I want to be and how I want to raise my children. Now I’m finding it very interesting to see what my tendencies are and what kind of parent I am becoming as my first child grows up.

Tay hasn’t figured out how to scale his crib bars and set the house on fire or anything yet, so I assume we’re doing a good job of raising him so far.


No Camera = No Pictures :(


We’ve lost our camera.

My camera, actually. My little dinky, cheap Sony digital camera that Piet teased me for buying when I went to Pittsburgh on my own a few years ago. The camera that’s outlasted Piet’s fairly expensive Nikon as well as Piet’s dad’s loaner Nikon. The camera that’s taken quite a few of our pictures of me and Piet and now Tay.

Last week a small moving van side swiped our car and Piet took pictures of the damage and the camera shared the fate of so many things my husband touches: it has been misplaced who knows where and it’s quite possible we won’t find for a long time, if ever.

So Tay’s rocking back and forth on hands and knees, and the funny way he is sticking his tongue out constantly and his (disturbingly more frequent) pulling himself up to stand in his crib will go unrecorded for the time being.

Much to the dismay of his Mama.

We’re In Trouble Now


My baby is about 6 and a half months old.

As anyone who reads this blog or follows me on Facebook knows, my son has been physically precocious for pretty much that entire 6 months. He was steadily, frequently holding his head up within a week or two of being born. He started rolling over at 13 weeks old. He was sitting up steadily on his own at 19 weeks. He’s spent this last month honing the sitting skill, pushing himself up on his toes while on his belly (it sort of looked like a weird downward facing dog position, struggling baby style), and babbling.

Yesterday he began getting onto his hands and knees and rocking back and forth.
I expect he’ll be crawling very soon.

But that’s nothing.

I put my child in his crib tonight in order to hook up Piet’s laptop for skyping and when I came back in, Tay had pulled himself up on the side bars of his crib and was standing.


Which, I mean, adsjljhosde!!!!

And also, dammit, now we have to lower the base on the play pen and crib, to avoid the inevitable head first plunge onto the hard laminate floor.
Like my back doesn’t hate me enough already when I pick up my 22 pound (10 kilo) son.

So crawling? Highly likely, very soon.
But apparently walking won’t be too far behind?



This is me right now.

The days I get to sleep past 6 am are few and faaaaar between and it feels like no amount of unbroken sleep can make up for it. Even when I have the opportunity to sleep in a bit, my self destructive brain wakes up at 4 am because it simply expects to have something wake it up.
This means I lose consciousness somewhere around 10 pm. I mean, literally I can be sitting there, having a conversation with my husband, but not actually be awake for most of it.

It’s making certain marital activities virtually impossible.

And oddly enough, exhaustion makes me want to eat more. I don’t know if my body thinks that more calories will give it more energy or if I’m just kind of seeking some sort of comfort through food since I can’t seem to get it through sleep. It’s making my current attempt at weight loss more difficult, I know that much.

I’m also cranky and emotional (when I’m not glassy-eyed and indifferent) and generally impatient with life. Part of this has to do with how exhausted I am and how sapped I feel, but another part of it has to do with the winter and the fact that it’s always so grey and chilly and dreary outside. And a large part of it has to do with my job. Two years ago when I took the job, the early mornings/late evenings/working weekends thing was no problem but now? Now I’m pretty sure it’s like 40% of my exhaustion problem. It’s just not a compatible schedule to have with a spouse who works and a 6 month old baby.

In summary, I feel like that pathetic, dull grey, useless nub of eraser on the back of an old school number two pencil; completely worn away to the point where even the tiniest amount of pressure has my edges scraping painfully over whatever I’m being jammed up against.

I don’t even feel the urge to cry anymore. I just go from distracted and forgetful to rabidly irate in milliseconds.

I’m sort of hoping there’s a solution to one of the factors in this equation and I’m going to try to do something about it next week. I just hope it works. Otherwise I might just have to chew off somebody’s face.

Baby’s Sick Day


Tay is sick today.

The kind of sick where he snots everywhere and has a fever, but as long as he’s dosed with baby ibuprofren every 6 hours, he’s basically completely normal.

Totally, babblingly, smilingy, playingly, nappingly, scarfing down two pots of peaches in one sitting normal.


I was tapped to be the one to leave work and come home to take care of the little man, so I took the opportunity to dress him all adorable (twice, did I mention the snot everywhere?) and take some pictures. And since I’m here, not doing chores and not totally exhausted like I usually am on a day when I wake up at 5 am and work a whole shift, come home, do some grocery shopping, maybe a load of dishes and then plan dinner, I’m even posting them on the same day.

Go me.

HAI DERE! Do I look like a sick baby?

No really, look a little closer

I'm the happiest sick baby EVER

Now come give me a big snotty kiss

And let me take a bite of that camera cause two pots of peaches wasn't enough

What do you mean, no gumming the camera?

Pfff, I laugh at your silly rules

Or I sneeze. Sometimes I sneeze at your silly rules.

Fine, if you're going to put the camera away, I'll just chew on this instead.



This is How You Remind Me


I have a highly associative mind.

Songs take me back to very specific times in my past, smells can strongly effect my emotions, colors and images often become enmeshed with people and places in my life.

Point being, there are strong currents of symbology symbolism running through both my conscious and unconscious memories, emotions and perceptions.

I find myself constantly thinking of and attracted to stars when it comes to my son. Any time I see a blanket, onesie, toy etc. with stars I want to buy it for him because when I think of stars, I think of my baby. When we finally have a house with a room to decorate just for him, I plan on theming it with stars. I’m not sure how this association was made, aside from that we bought him a little fleece blanket at Target when he was 2 months old and I constantly used it to swaddle him and draped it over his crib. We still have it around although it’s small now for him so it’s mostly just for decoration, but I still love it and how much it makes me think of Tay.

When I think of my husband, or more specifically, our relationship, I think of the color purple. I was blogging under the name Lilacspecs right when we began talking to each other and so he often got me cards with purple flowers on them and the first jewelry he ever bought me was amethyst because he knew I liked purple.

For myself I’ve taken to thinking of butterflies, for several reasons although most of them probably come out sounding a bit melodramatic so I hesitate to list them, but I do associate with the way butterflies never sit still very long on one spot and also how they begin as one thing and emerge as another. Also I find myself attracted to symmetry and find the shape of butterflies visually pleasing, especially in combination with the different colors and patterns on their wings. I also associate myself with the color green.

Anyway, those are just some examples, and I was trying to figure out a way of jamming this all into a tattoo I plan on getting for my birthday. It was impossible to do it in a tasteful way, so I’m going to go back to what I was originally planning for the tattoo. But in the meantime, I was looking around a department store today and spotted a silver bracelet and three charms: a butterfly, a star and a small purple bead wrapped in silver wire.

I don’t know about you, but when I get access to my debit card again, I think a new bracelet might sound like a pretty good idea.
I just have to convince my husband to let me buy something shiny for no particular reason.

To Sleep, Perchance to Sleep, Dammit!


The Sleep Conundrum; what I’ve come to call my child’s loathing of the act of falling asleep.

For as easy as Tay has been in pretty much every other aspect of babyhood (boob, bottle, spoon, who the hell cares Woman, just feed me faster before I reach over there with my fat little grabby hands and do it myself, GIMME FOOD and your checklists and benchmarks and developmental milestones? Screw that timeline, I’ma do it all early. Sometimes months early. I pity the fool who said babies couldn’t hold their head up and look alertly around the room at 2 weeks old, been there, done that, play on playa*), the one thing that he’s been difficult with since day 3-ish is sleep.

The child hates falling asleep.
With the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.

Once he’s asleep, he’s fine and typically sleeps a good 8-9 hours through the night, but the actual process of falling asleep can be, at best, exasperating.

Napping has also become a bit of a trial lately. For the past week or two, Tay’s late morning and sometimes his afternoon nap have often only lasted 30 minutes. Which means he wakes up with enough energy to stay awake for an hour or two, usually until his next meal, but he’s cranky and fussy and clingy the entire time because he’s so tiiiired…but not tired enough to lose his battle against falling asleep.

And it sucks because when he’s had a good, solid 90 minute nap he wakes up smiling and bright eyed and full of fun. He’s a complete pleasure to be with when he’s slept well. He plays and bounces and looks at books and babbles.
But after a 30 minute crap nap he’s desperate looking and very clearly just wants to scream “please, please, just hold me because my face is going to slide off my skull and I don’t know whyyyyyyy but I hate it and noooooo sleep will not solve anything because sleep is a tool of the devil and please for the love of all that is good in this world, put that laundry down and PICK ME UP NOW!!!!

So when he starts yawning and rubbing his eyes I cradle him in my arms, give him his pacifier and thus begins the wrestling match between me and my 6 month old that eventually results in him succumbing to the demon we call slumber.
Because as soon as his eyelids get heavy, Tay arches his back and screams and cries and I hold him against me and rock him and stroke the side of his face and hum. And he calms down and his eyes slide shut and he starts to drift off…
And realizes he’s drifting and tries kicking and back-arching and rolling over and more screaming.

And so it goes, sometimes for 5 minutes, sometimes for 20 until he finally falls asleep enough to put him in his crib. And by enough I mean enough for him not to immediately wake up and start crying ass soon as his body hits the mattress. I try to put him down slightly awake because I know he needs to learn to fall asleep on his own, but since he struggles enough falling asleep with help, I admit, I’m pretty lax on that one. I just hope he eventually stops fighting sleep, or Piet and I are going to be in a lot of trouble when he gets old enough to get out of his bed on his own.




*yes, my little uber-white baby sometimes speaks gangsta in my head. That’s just how he rolls….
Stop looking at me, swan! (click here if you don’t get the reference cause you’re a total loser, or Belgian)

Six Months Old


Half a year has passed since the removed Tay from his oh so comfortable spot in my womb.

This is one of those momentous ones, I think, and yet somehow, it’s no more moving than two or three days ago when I was sitting and trying to think of something to blog about and could only repeat over and over in my head how beautiful my baby was. How perfect his chubby little hands are and how soft his cheek is. I don’t think a day has gone by where I am not in awe of this heart-meltingly adorable child my husband and I have created.

And oh, what a big boy he’s becoming. He sits just fine by himself and has taken to lunging forward in an attempt to get onto his belly. When he’s on his belly he’s able to rotate himself 360° and occasionally even scooches backwards a bit. In less than a week his “aaaah”s have turned into babbles.
He squeals and giggles and puts his arms up to be held.
He’s ticklish and thinks funny faces are hysterical.
He thinks Rex and Luna are magical and only has eyes for them when they’re in the room.
He’s social and friendly and makes frank, direct eye contact with the children in his daycare and total strangers in the grocery store.
He’s the non-pickiest eater I’ve ever seen, scarfing down leeks, beets, chicory, endive, spinach, carrot, pumpkin, parsnip, celeriac, artichoke, apple, pear, blueberries, peaches, prunes, banana, quince and most recently, cod. He can sit in his high chair and gnaw on a baby cookie although we’re still waiting on his teeth.
His bouncer is his favorite place to be (thoguh I doubt that’ll last once he really starts crawling) and he very clearly despises going to sleep most evenings. He would rather hang limply in the bouncer staring exhaustedly at his crib than actually be put to sleep.

Ever so slowly a personality is shaping itself and making itself known through every day events.

My baby, my boy, my son.
My chest tightens every time I try to put into words how epically, blindly, consumingly I adore you.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to properly explain it, but I’m sure as your life goes on, I’ll continue to try.

How Does This Week Hate Me? Let Me Count The Ways


This week didn’t start off too badly. I worked Monday and Tuesday evening, found some great pajamas for Tay on sale on my day off on Wednesday and even found myself a decent sweater at half price.

That’s pretty much everything that went right with the week.

Yesterday I opened, so I was up at 4 in the morning, biking to work at 4:30 and worked until 1:30. Afterwards I stopped at the grocery store to get some stuff for dinner and then came home. It was only a couple hours later when I was leaving the house to pick up Tay that I put on my coat, put my hands in my pockets and realized my wallet was gone.

Trying not to panic, I searched my coat, my backpack, the floor around where my coat was, my pants and anywhere else I could think of where my wallet might be.

No wallet.


I called Piet, let him know what was going on and that I had to have had my wallet at the store cause I used my debit card to buy the groceries, but somehow, between there and our house, my wallet must’ve fallen from my pocket.
We called the grocery store to see if anyone had found anything, but no one had, so that was that. I lost my identity card, both Tay and my insurance cards, 3 different debit cards and a credit card, the key card to the daycare, and worst of all (cause everything else can be replaced), a gift card to the store we buy a lot of our baby supplies in (it was for over 90 euro).
It also meant I had to stop all my debit/credit cards, get passport photos for a temporary ID card, and file a report with the police in order to have the documentation to replace all the lost cards.

Obviously, I was pissing vinegar and shooting death rays from my eyes for the most of the evening.

Which brings us to this morning.

4:30 am.

Biking to work again, in the dark, cause 4:30 isn’t even the ass crack of dawn, it’s buried somewhere between the cheeks.
I didn’t see the stick on the mostly unlit bike path until it was two late and I ran over it, doing substantial damage to the gear attached to my rear wheel. Said gear snapped off and tangled in the spokes.

Said bike was clearly no longer mobile and too heavy to carry the rest of the way to work.

I went to grab my cell phone to call Piet only to realize I’d left it on the charger at home.

Which is probably best cause had I heard his voice I likely would’ve burst into tears.
But instead I chained the bike to the nearest pole and walked the rest of the way to work. Once there I realized without my bike I couldn’t go to the police station on the way home and further realized that without my wallet I had no means of getting money for passport photos anyway and without my phone I couldn’t reach Piet to maybe get the money out for me.

With all this on my mind (as well as wondering how the hell I was going to get to work on Monday…again having to leave the house at 4:30 am) I got through the day and decided I’d simply go home, try to calm down, call Piet from there and maybe pick Tay up early to spend some time being happy with him.
I was sitting on the tram, waiting to go (and hoping no controls happened on tickets cause mine was in my wallet and I had no money to buy a new one and now no other way to get home) when the driver anounced that the route that goes to the stop I need to get home wasn’t accessible and anyone on that route would have to get off and either take a tram to the city center for a bus or take a bus from the station (none of which stop very near our house).

So I caught a tram to the center, went to Piet’s office, and once he came out, started bawling because really, the day couldn’t get too much worse outside of a fatality or the house burning down or losing a limb or something.

Piet did what he does best; got on his phone, made some calls and began to fix the situation, while I stood there sniffling and wishing I could somehow punt the deity of bad fortune right in his stupid head.

In the end Piet lent me his bank card, I was able to get the photos, file the police report, get the needed papers and Piet and his dad will go collect my bike to take it to a repair shop this weekend. I’ll also be able to borrow my mother in law’s bike for Monday.

I’m just hoping that nothing too bad happens tomorrow, since Tay will be turning 6 months old and I don’t want that fairly momentous occasion to be tarnished.

Get back Evil Eye