Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Day in Pictures

Today I hosted mommies and babies for a Halloween themed playdate. We all dressed our little "Springpeas" up in costumes for the occasion and I decided to make an autumnal themed dessert for the ladies. I considered a lot of options, from simple to exotic. It should come as no surprise that I settled on a recipe culled from the goldmine of the Pioneer Woman's website. She called it Pumpkin Cake with Whiskey Cream. Of course, since I was dealing with a bunch of lactating moms with differing theories on the acceptability of alcohol consumption by the nursing mother, I decided to delete the alcohol and go with a staider, less controversial version. Here is the link to the original recipe: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/10/pumpkin-cake-with-whiskey-whipped-cream/. It came out deliciously if I do say so.

Sofia was dressed up as an adorable little flower. Lucky for me, it was one of the few remaining costumes available at The Children's Place (on sale for $11.50) after I balked at spending $27.99 at Gymboree on a questionably cute butterfly costume. She was so cute and flower like that this monarch butterfly who happened to fly into the house was completely fooled and spent quite a few minutes trying to score some pollen.

The Monarch Butterfly is Presley, Cindy's adorable little munchkin. At the top, we have Grant as Charlie Brown, Joshua as himself, Sofia as the flower, Mattia as the Strawberry, Presley as the Butterfly and Briona as the superhero Wing Nutt, protector of babies everywhere.

Chunktastic Me

Here's a fun one. For some reason, only now when I am starting to regain a glimmer of my former shape (albeit, a slightly hippier, stretch markier version of that former self) can I get any enjoyment out of my pregnant pictures. At the time when I was pregnant I did not feel beautiful in any way. Now, I can't say I look at them and think they are beautiful. But I do get a certain thrill in looking at myself and knowing that Sofia, tiny little adorable precious Sofia, was in there. She was her, even then. She liked to sleep in; often not waking up until after 10 in the morning, which she still does. I know because she would be eerily still until then every morning. Then she would start kicking athletically away until 2 or so in the morning. I knew her before I saw her and she was mine from the very beginning. So what's a few stretch marks in the face of that?

My Favorite Shows

Thought for the day...
Like many well-paid actors and actresses, I happen to have a fairly elevated opinion of myself. Its just that I am right to have such an elevated opinion of myself and many famous people are just, well, stupid. I am smart and interesting and well-informed and if anyone did know who I was, your damn right I would be famous. That's right. But in the world of nursing, when baby gets put in a corner, baby is usually a new mom who doesn't want to put her kid in daycare, and the corner is usually a spot on the night shift. Weekend night shift. How am I supposed to become famous on the night shift?
I was at Kohl's last week and I found an Dirty Dancing Christmas tree ornament, which was a plastic figurine of Johnny doing the lift pose with Baby in her pink dress. Hilarious. I almost bought it for my sister Val, she so would have enjoyed it. However, it was priced at 16 dollars and I was like, just how far are you willing to go for a joke, Lauren? 16 dollars? That's like, 2 lattes at Starbucks. Sorry Val. The lattes won.
And by the way, if I had to describe my philosophy of life in 5 words, it would be
1. scattered
2. hopeful
3. unsure
4. interested
5. curious
Every time I am working the night shift and the 97% of Republican night shift nurses I work with start to get to me, I retreat into my own dark little corner of Keithiness. By that, of course, I mean that I go into my comatose ventilator-dependant patient's room and turn on MSNBC, which replays Keith Olberman's show several times throughout the night. If any of my comatose patients ever wake up (haha, they never do that) and say that they saw God while they were in there, and they describe him as being passionately Democrat with predominantly gray hair and a penchant for purple ties and talking smack about George Bush, we'll all know why. Or will we?...
My other favorite show is Suze Ormond. She is a financial wiz who talks about retirement, dealing with debt, investing, work, and purchasing stuff. She has a great segment called, "Can I afford it?" which I wish I could download into, like, my head. That way, whenever I wanted to buy something, I would be like, Can I afford it Suze? And she would say, "How much do you owe on your house? Is your student loan paid off? How many car payments do you and your husband have? And then she would say no. I used to watch Suze every Saturday night on CNBC at 9 PM, or later on at midnight if I didn't make the earlier show. However, now that I work weekends and for some reason, tend to be very busy during those times and unble to sneak into my comatose patients' rooms to watch it, I feel a deep echoing void in my life. Suze, someday, Sofia will be able to go to daycare and I will be able to come back to the land of the living. Then we can be together again. Now don't you go gettin' canceled on me, ya hear? She always ends her show by saying, "Remember...People first, then money, then things. Now you stay safe."
And that's it. Those two shows are the sum total of my favorite things to watch. No Survivor, no ER, not even Gray's Anatomy. God I hate that show. I watched it for two seasons and then I was like, wait a second. Is this General Hospital at night? Are there any other possible cheesy variations on the "Dr. McDreamy" theme? Can that girl get any skinnier? I bought some Gray's Anatomy scrubs last time I went scrub shopping. When I wear them I always worry that some sexy doctor is going to come along and we're going to fall in love and then have tribulations. And I don't want that to happen because I'm really quite happy with Hugo. He's so untribulationy. Come to think of it, I'm probably pretty safe. Ever notice on shows like Gray's Anatomy that the nurses are relegated to side characters and unimportant extras? I have news for you. The nurses are the HEART and SOUL of the hospital. We do 98% of the work that those shows are always showing the doctors doing. Why are doctors so interesting to the layperson and nurses, not so much? Alas, I fear that this will have to be a question for another day. Now you stay safe...

Friday, October 17, 2008

My sister is gonna kill me...

Here is a picture of my nephew Nicholas.

His baby photo is a testament to the tragedy of early childhood obesity.

His parents were guilty of some of the most gratuitous acts of overindulgance that can be perpetrated on a child of his age.

He was diagnosed with childhood diabetes at a very young age.

He appeared on Oprah, screaming "More maymos Mama, More maymos" leaving millions of fans bewildered as to the meaning of the word, Maymos, and what its caloric content might be.

His happy-go-lucky appearance in this photo belies the tragic array of symptoms experienced by infants suffering from his level of obesity...

...Just kidding about all that. Here he is with me looking fit as a fiddle at the age of 5 (we were wearing our Aunt/Nephew matching outfits that day).
Val: please don't disown me. I found that picture of Nicholas as a baby and I couldn't resist. His before and after shots will surely give mothers of pudgy babies the world over hope that their porkers too, will one day grow into slender little men and women.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sofia Bedazzled

A "piercing" scream

OK, I just took Sofia to the mall and got her ears pierced. Am I...
A. Mean
B. Vain
C. A bad mother
D. All of the above?
She did very well. I premedicated her with baby Tylenol. I asked the girl if we could do both ears at once and she graciously called her manager up in the other store and they did it together to accomodate my request. Sofia let out a piercing scream when they did the deed but she was fine within about 30 seconds. I had a bottle ready to stuff in her mouth and she appeared to have forgotten the insult very quickly. Meanwhile, my stomach was upset and I felt like I was going to throw up for the rest of the afternoon.
By the way, she looks adorable with her cubic zirconia studs and I have vowed out of guilty conscience to buy her a pair of real diamond studs when she's old enough to appreciate them to make up for my cruelty today.
I was emphatic earlier on about not getting Sofia's ears pierced, so why did I change my mind? Well, it basically comes down to keeping up with the Jones'es I'm afraid. Some of the other mommies in my playgroup had their babies' ears pierced and it looked so cute. Also, my sister Val told me that she regretted not getting Kaitlin's done because she is 9 now and she really wants her ears pierced but she keeps chickening out when they get to the mall. So, really, I have saved Sofia from that dreaded apprehension later on. And now, Sofia and Gianna (her closest cousin) can compare their Jezebel adornments whenever they hang out.
When my network administrator/husband/personal photographer gets home from his day job, I will have him take a picture of the new glamour-baby and post it for everyone to see.
P.S. Mom, don't answer the poll at the beginning of this posting. I already know what one you will check.

The Yummiest...

Apparently, its like, even better than a mango (those of you who watch Oprah already know what I'm talking about).

It contains everything a newborn infant needs to grow and develop, and it changes as the newborn becomes an infant and then a toddler so that it always delivers exactly what the child needs at that time.

It provides antibodies and immunity to the child to protect from disease while the child's own immune system is still immature.

It helps mom to lose the weight even if she still consumes far more Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby than is considered necessary and prudent.

It fosters a bond that lasts forever between mother and child.

It gives girls with an A cup that curvy look for the first time in their lives.

It costs nothing.

It gives a mom who happens to be a night shift nurse an excuse for having her baby come into the ICU at 10PM for a "goodnight feeding".

It functions as an automatic "restart" button whenever the baby is upset about anything, has just gotten vaccinated, or is just plain fussy.

It means never having to go down to the kitchen in the middle of the night to prepare or warm a bottle up.

It knows no class or socioeconomic status; its a gift every mom can afford and has access to.

It may result in a decreased risk of breast cancer for the mom later in life.

...And last but not least, it gives closet exhibitionists an excuse for "whippin' it out" in public.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dads are Different

Lovin' that baby daddy...

Here is a far from exhaustive list of why new dads are very different from new moms.

1. When the baby cries they seem to drift into an even deeper sleep than before. Its like a lullaby for them...

2. When they dress their little baby girls they somehow manage to take a whole closetfull of adorable outfits and combine two of the most unmatched, not meant to go together things to produce a truly original look.

3. They give the mother of the child a heart attack by carrying the baby in one arm, just assuming that the baby is not going to throw herself backward.

4. They give the mother of the baby a heart attack by playing games that the mother wouldn't dream of, such as throwing the baby up in the air in a very un-fun appearing way....and the baby loves it.

5. When they are taking care of the baby they just throw a bunch of toys on the bed and put the kid on the bed in a way that, if the mother did it, would be certain to produce outraged screams...and the baby loves it.

6. They are conveniently at work whenever the baby gets her shots at the doctor's office, so the mom gets to deal with the trauma, and they just get to comfort and cuddle the baby later on when they get home.

7. When the baby poops, they go through an entire package of baby wipes in cleaning her up.

8. While the mother makes a point out of putting a new outfit on her every day, the dad sees no reason, if the outfit isn't visibly soiled, not to put her back in the same clothes from yesterday; sort of the same way that he views his own wardrobe choices.

9. Bottles are left wherever they happen to be when the baby finishes them.

10. Dads prize baby gadgets above all other things and will carry the baby monitor around long after the mom has discovered that, when the baby really means business, she can be heard anywhere in the house without a baby monitor.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Helpful sites for Earth-Friendly Moms

Here are a few links to some great sites for those of you who may be interested in alternative diapering solutions.

THis site is where I have purchased all of my cloth diapers except one, an ill-conceived all-in-one diaper that Target sells on its web-store that I decided to try. It was called a Bumpkin and I don't recommend them. They are expensive, bulky, and take forever to dry.

Rhea Bush, the owner of Sunshine Diapers is based out of Gainesville but she sells all different kinds of brands and ships anywhere. I found her to be an invaluable resource in navigating all the options and brands of diapers available these days. I highly recommend the Kissaluvs for newborns and the Thirsties all in one diapers for older babies. I even got some old-fashioned pre-folds (the things that a lot of people use as burp cloths nowadays) for her to wear at night with a diaper cover. When I was about 30 weeks pregnant, Rhea allowed me to come over to her house where she conducted a tutorial on cloth diapering, complete with a Winny the Pooh model to practice on, at her kitchen table.

I also recommend the Charlie's Soap available at Sunshine Diapers for use as a cloth diapering detergent. I use it on all my diapers as well as Sofia's clothes because it has no additives or scent. Apparently, most commerical detergents have a lot of that stuff and it decreases the absorption of the cloth diapers as well as contributing to rashes and irritations of babies since they have sensitive skin. Its VERY cheap and works well on all laundry. Also environmentally friendly (of course).

This is a company that sells a brand new type of "hybrid" diaper, one which I think I am going to switch to for trips and outings since it has a much smaller environmental impact than the traditional disposable diaper. It consists of a cloth diaper cover with a flushable insert that apparently takes only 5 days to decompose (as opposed to the 200-500 year disposables) since it goes into the septic system and not the landfill. Landfills are bad places people. Send as little trash to them as you possibly can, because nothing really biodegrades in those places. Yuck. It is very affordable and was brought to my attention by a fellow night shift nurse who is thinking about having a baby. Here I was, getting all ready to "evangelize" to her about cloth diapers and she ended up schooling me on a totally new option. Go Teresa! Some of you might remember Teresa from my story about the patient who came into the ER with the dead cat under her that wasn't discovered until she got to the ICU. http://fatuglyrhino.blogspot.com/2008/08/in-unlikeliest-of-places.html Please read all about it if you have time. Absolutely HI-Larious! And totally true too. All the good things happen while I'm on maternity leave...

Alas, neither of these sites offers any good comic relief like that which is available through kellymom.com (see http://fatuglyrhino.blogspot.com/2008/09/helpful-resources-for-new-parents.html). If you've ever hankered to see a lactating man, check out that post.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Salted Caramel Signature Hot Cocoa from Starbucks

OK, SERIOUSLY! It isn't fair! I still have about 5 sticky pounds leftover from my pregnancy (OK, I admit it, those 5 sticky pounds had nothing to do with my pregnancy and everything to do with caramel turtle waffle bowl sundaes from Dairy Queen and jelly donuts from Dunkin) and the entire commercial world seems to be conspiring against me to keep me from losing those pounds! Last week I went in to Starbucks (Sofia insisted; she frequently does) to get a nice staid, minimally offensive regular coffee with just a teeny tiny splash of half and half, no sugar or anything, and what was I confronted with? A whole tray of FREE samples of Starbucks' new line of gourmet hot cocoas. The hazelnut, I could resist. Mocha? No problem. But roll out something called "Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate" and we've got a problem on our hands. I LOOOOOOOOVE salty caramelly things (see above, caramel turtle waffle bowl sundae). I don't know how I am supposed to resist things like that, especially when I'm in upstate NY, feeling crappy, and walking around Lake Placid on a cold autumn day. I gave in. I had one. It was divine. Now its all I can think about. On our way to the airport the other day, we stopped at Starbucks so I could get another one. Even though I only ordered a grande, they had conveniently run out of grande sized beverage cups and upgraded me to a complimentary venti instead. Just twist my arm why don't ya. I guess I'm just going to have to get used to these size 10 pants for awhile.
Check out my pics from our trip, taken by my talented photog sister Val. http://valspictureperfect.blogspot.com/2008/10/sofia-little-lady.html

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

First airplane ride with baby...

OK, here's my checklist for the big long weekend trip that will involve, gulp! A three hour flight from Orlando to Albany.
Sofia's clothes.
Sofia's tubby stuff (towel, baby shampoo, baby lotion, baby soap)
Socks for Sofia (its COLD in New York right now!)
bibs for Sofia (she is eating solids now, makes a mess)
Food for Sofia
A few toys
Sofia's new coat that I got her at Old Navy for the trip
Sofia's carseat (getting checked at the airport)
The camera bag (there's sure to be lots of excellent photo ops of Sofia)
Sofia's baby health kit (with clippers, thermometer and, of course, nose sucker)
Breast pump
Sofia's sling
A pair of jeans and a few shirts for me
A pair of jeans and a few shirts for Hugo
Some socks (its COLD in upstate New York!) for both of us
Ativan for me; enough for before and during the flight, with a special post-flight "decompression" dose
WOW. Who could have thought that Sofia (all 15 pounds of her) could need so much STUFF and Hugo and I could get by with so little?
(I'm freekin out)