Mr. Petty Was Sooooo Right

For the past three nights I have experienced a series of contractions, usually between the hours of 9:00 and midnight. Thursday night I had a whopping TEN CONTRACTIONS in one hour, which one might go so far as to call, false-labor. Being that I'm completely paranoid to be an inconvenience to anyone, especially my doctor re: false alarms, I just sat on the couch, watching  my boyfriend  Anderson Cooper 360 until the contractions passed, which they eventually did. Damnit

I've never waited to go into labor naturally and frankly, it sucks. With Archer I had an induction date at 11pm on a Sunday, which man was that a long Sunday... but at least I had some idea when the birth would take place. It was a relatively mellow experience until the Pitocin set in and then fuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccckkkkkk!!!! 

Do I recommend an induction? Absolutely not. Do I recommend waiting to go into labor naturally? Again, absolutely not. (Apparently, when it comes to childbirth, there is no easy way.)

This time around there will be no Pitocin. That's my plan and I'm sticking to it. I don't have Preeclampsia this time around. My blood pressure isn't a dangerously high 170/110, which it was this time last time. (Scary shit, right?) 

Still I'm not without some complications requiring medical intervention. 

I've been told that the second I feel like I'm going into labor I must rush to the hospital thanks to positive screenings for Group B Strep, which I also had when pregnant with Archer so I wasn't exactly surprised with the results. Group B Strep is a bacteria harmless to the mother but has the potential to do harm to a newborn as it passes through the birth canal, which is why antibiotics are to be administered four hours prior to birth to insure a healthy infant. You can read more about Group B here, here and here

My doctor is afraid that because my last labor was so short (I was in active labor for less than three hours) and because this is a second baby (second labors go much faster) I'm going to give birth in the car on the way to the hospital if I don't act fast when the contractions start, which puts me in a bit of a predicament -- when do I know if the contractions are for real, yo? And how long can I wait to be sure? What if it's TOO LATE OMG!?

I'm so confused. 

I wish it was like on television, where in the low-light of the bedroom I'd wake up like a shot, clutching my basketball-belly, brushing aside my perfect Betty Draper hair, turning to my sleeping husband, whispering, "honey, it's time." To which he would quite dramatically bolt out of bed in his striped flannel pajamas and escort me, in my monogrammed robe to the hospital.  

Call me crazy, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen. 

In the meantime, because I have no choice, I'm waiting. Trying to do what I can to keep my mind off everything -- meeting friends for coffee, watching bad romcoms, which I hear are supposed to naturally induce labor by way of their mind-numbing stupidity, and praying for some kind of clue (water breaking would be nice) that all these contractions are not for naught... That sitting on my ass waiting for Godot will eventually end with something excruciating and/or embarrassing. 

Water breaking in public? I'd absolutely take that. Gut-wrenching contractions? So long as they're not sporadic, I'll take them happily. Because labor, childbirth, sleepless nights with an infant? All of that's EASY PEASY compared to the great wait, which let's be clear, is most definitely without argument, the hardest part.


The (Bloody) Show Must Go On!

Something I was not aware of, the "bloody show" and/or "disengagement of mucous plug" seldom happens with first pregnancies. Something I am now well aware of? It absolutely happens the second time around, which, ew

38 weeks pregnant (41 lbs gained) and counting down...


Also, does anyone know if three-year-olds can smell the arrival of new babies? Because mine certainly has been acting uh..  "unique" lately. 

A Poll For All Persuasions!

Oh, you guessed it, lovers, it's time for a poll. But this poll aint political so feel free to participate no matter your persuasion. Dem-cats, Repub-cos, Indies, Lib-tars, Greens, etc. This be a baby poll, mofos and everyone's invited. 

droppin' it like its hot

When will she* be born? (Date/Time)



Hair Color? 

If it helps, I am due October 12th. Archer was born one day early  but I was induced so, yeah, maybe that isn't so helpful. Never mind. As per today I am 1 1/2 cm dilated and the baby's head has dropped which means my waistline is at my vagina so I am no longer able to sit down or wear pants. And I will title my new memoir?  "Standing, Naked From the Waist Down." My doctor thinks I'll go into labor in the next week but he's an optimist so eh.

A few more clues for your viewing pleasure:

Hal as (a pouty-lipped) baby, circa 1974: Born 7lbs 8oz, 21 inches

Me as a (thinking) baby circa 1981: Born 8lbs 1 ounce, 21 inches.

Archer as a (sleeping) baby circa 2005: Born 7lbs 2 ounces, 19 1/2 inches long.

The winner will receive a signed copy of Rockabye, a copy of THE "Push Mix" aka my (and Hal's) rockin' delivery CD (It's really good, I swear. No Enya), a hand-painted Archer masterpiece for you to hang on your fridge, a DVS onesie set (in your choice of girl or boy) and a Starbucks gift card for all you sleep-deprived people. Oh, and I'll also throw in some almonds, if you'd like, which are a delicious snack, an (unused) pregnancy test that expires in 2010 and Mr. Potato Head's left arm. And you thought these gift baskets were luxe. 

Winner to be announced (duh, obvy) upon delivery so you have until then to cast your ballot! Good luck and may the force be with you (and my nether regions.) 


*Unless... um, yeah...

Also a HUGE congratulations to my beloved Kendra on the birth of her beautiful daughter, Kaia Reese, born yesterday at 4:10pm, 7lbs, 13 oz 21 inches long. And Happy Birthday to Meredith, whose birthday was ALSO yesterday and a big congratulations to HER on her second pregnancy, which was also unplanned, but this time no need for a letter


A huge thank you to all of you who participated in the online baby shower. Your posts were beautiful and inspiring and most of all, made me giddy with excitement for this new baby. My love and gratitude to all of you. 

What The Others Have Taught Me

***Updated with a Lucky Winner Below!!!***

A guest post by Rita Arens: author of Surrender Dorothy and editor/author of Sleep is For the Weak

You may have heard about this little book project I started back in 2006 with a few e-mails to women whose writing I admired. It ended up snowballing and snowballing, and at some point I started to daydream it could actually happen -- I could actually put together a book that would help other parents the way the blogosphere had helped me.

What may not be as obvious is the way the project came about. It came about as I lay on the floor of my 18-month-old daughter's room, holding her hand through the crib slats and willing her to go to sleep. I moved her to a toddler bed for my comfort, not hers, as my arm kept going out of socket in that uncomfortable position. I had a permanent dent in my chest from leaning over that crib rail with my hand on her tummy. I didn't know why she wouldn't stay asleep. I'd tried everything. I was so frustrated. I needed a fantasy. I needed something to take my mind off how very frustrated I was with the whole parenting thing. And my job -- my job was NOT going well. I was taking a self-esteem beating on a daily basis at that job (I don't work there anymore). I didn't want to work AT ALL, but I had to, because we needed the money to pay the mortgage. It was probably the worst working experience I've ever had, and that's saying a lot, as I've had probably eight full-time jobs so far in my career. Sleep Is for the Weak grew out of the lowest point in my life. NOTHING was going right. I think I conjured it up just to have a daydream, just to believe in myself again. Maybe I was the world's worst mother who couldn't even get her toddler to sleep or the world's worst employee who didn't understand web services or foreign keys in databases, but I was still a writer with a lot of perseverence and a fair grasp of how to use Excel to track projects. I needed a win. I think if I hadn't needed it so bad, I never would've stuck with it.

I also needed you guys. I needed the blogosphere. I needed to read about other people whose kids wouldn't sleep or whose jobs sucked or who weren't having any sex or whatever. Misery loves company, and my lands, was I miserable.

My college friends were still partying a bit. They've calmed down now, and I've since grown closer with those acquaintances or budding friends who had children. I learned to find the people I needed, but I also needed the bloggers before I got to that point. My maternity leave stretched out like an empty calendar as my friends and family had to go to work and mind their own children and attend to their own lives while I stared at the screaming ball of baby in the boppy seat for eight hours in a row.

I wish I would've known Bec then. When I read Rockabye, even though our lives are very different (when she had Archer I was still flying all over the country promoting potassium-based water softening crystals and learning to walk in heels), I so identified with Bec. This passage from Rockabye pretty much sums up why I did Sleep Is for the Weak:

I'm glad I'm here. I miss my old friends and stealing drinks from rich schmucks desperate for attention. I miss short skirts and sweat-stained bras from dancing. But I am not really that person anymore. I have a new skin ... stetch-marked and scratched, thanks to Archer's unclipped nails. The problem is, I haven't really figured out how to have fun in my new world. I am desperate for a social life that doesn't require flying out of town for the weekend. Dance clubs I can get into. Mom's clubs? I don't even know where to stand in line.

Even though Bec is I think eight years younger than I am (EGADS), I maybe had delayed adolescence or something. I was very much still into the party scene at 29 when I got pregnant. I had a really big culture shock. I wasn't ready to embrace denying my entire personality to be...Mommy. I didn't even like the way that term sounded. I know -- it's horrible. But it didn't fit with my self-image. Now it does -- I've grown into it after four years on the job. But in that transition period -- God, you just need to know you'll find yourself again on the other side, that you don't have to be a Puritan to have children, that there is a way to have adult fun and be a responsible parent at the same time. It's just different, and the difference can be overwhelming in those first few hazy months of motherhood.

Keep blogging, world. You have no idea how much your words are needed. There are still those coming after us who will need us the way I needed all of you.

Rita Arens


Ed: If you haven't already purchased Sleep is For the Weak I recommend that you do so, here right this second. 1. Because it's an incredible collection of essays written by your (and my) favorite bloggers. 2. It's damn good, which is to be expected when you have an allstar cast of writers on the team. 3. Supporting your fellow mama-bloggers is majorly cool, especially when they are as balls-to-the-wall inspiring as Rita Arens, and if you aren't familiar with her blog, Surrender Dorothy, I highly recommend you add it to your google reader right after you purchase the book

Also! We're doing a Sleep is for the Weak giveaway here at GGC, so to win? All you have to do is answer the following question: How many hours do you sleep at night? One lucky reader will be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of the book. Good luck!


**Congratulations to Not So Domestic Goddess for winning the signed copy of Sleep is For the Weak! Please email me so we can get your book out to you asap! And thank you to all of you for participating!

Still Rockin'

Perhaps you've read Rockabye or maybe you haven't. Regardless, you're probably sick of my mentioning it but a girl's gotta promote her ish, if for no other reason than to afford her $1500 maternity ward co-pay. So in order to convince you to buy the book, if you haven't already for your viewing pleasure, I have a few fresh Rock links to share with you including three short excerpts (here, here and here) featured on Work-it Mom last month and a kick-ass review, here written by uber-cool rockstar mama, Lindsay Maines in the Fall issue (now on newsstands!) of Brain, Child magazine. 

Thank you for your time, kind readers. You will now be returned to your regular scheduled blogging. 


Shower the People You Love... With Memories and Mega Rad Prizes!

Holy smokes, I'm having a baby shower! But not just any shower. A fancy-pants online blogtastic baby shower with none other than friend and partner in dot com crime, Kristen Chase of Motherhood Uncensored, who like me is closing in on D-day with a baby girl as well. Congratulations, Kristen!

If you want to participate in the GGC/Motherhood Uncensored Shower of Awesome, go here for details and while you're at it check out the five incredible OMG gift baskets that could be yours if you join in the festivities! I kinda wish I could participate if only to be included in the oh-so-chic prizes. Perhaps I will start a new blog and get in on them that way. God, I'm smart. 

A great big wet kiss to these lovely and amazing ladies for hosting such a grand event and including me in the festivities. I really am one lucky lady. 

(Not to mention a very pregnant one.)


P.S. I'll give you a thousand trillion dollars if you can tell me how to get my kid to poop on the potty. I've been trying with no success for six-months now and am desperate for advice from parents who've been there. Because me? I'm totally failing

Show and Tell

When Archer started school back in January, he was barely able to say his name. He spoke mainly in gibberish. The odd word thrown sporadically in the mix, the odd peanut in his linguistic box of Cracker Jack. He had about twenty-words, then. Maybe less than that, which at two and a half was considered abnormal, worrisome.

We started him at school two days a week. And then three. After about a month, Archer started attending school full-time, the youngest in his class of three-year olds and boy, was it obvious. The other children had established friendships in the months before Archer started school so Archer had a hard time finding his place for those first few months, acting as a sort of little sibling to his older, more well-spoken classmates.

Show and Tell happened on Thursdays. I knew this because every Thursday all of the children in Archer's class would arrive with their hands full of favorite toys or homemade swords made of wrapping paper dispensers. No one had told me about Show and Tell for obvious reasons. Archer was unable to "tell."

So for seven months, Archer sat on the rug as the other children introduced their objects with pride. Gleeful in their descriptions of such treasure. Archer listened to the children share and when they were finished, he clapped.

"He loves Show and Tell," his teachers told me. "He's always the first to sit down on the rug, waiting for it to begin."

Archer was the class spectator, the "little brother" of the school, one who was mostly an outsider because of his inability to communicate. He needed and received special attention because of his speech delay, and although the kids were kind to him, he never quite found his place and it broke my heart to see him sitting all alone. Smiling but alone.

"I'm afraid he's going to be that kid," I said to Hal one day after dropping Archer off, earlier this year. I had watched too many times him wandering alone in the back of the playground, too shy to join the other children in play.

I recognized in him, myself when I was his age. Soft spoken and sensitive, unsure of how to participate in peer-activity without feeling like I was interrupting. Uninvited. I was always so envious of the children who so easily approached each other, confidently asking, "can I play?"

Archer's speech improved dramatically over the months. From two-word phrases to complete sentences to literally hundreds of words and seemingly overnight.

When the new year started, back in July, Archer was the only child not to move on to the other class. Archer was at least a full year younger than his classmates and so, had no choice but to stay behind in the "threes" class which would mean all new children for him to meet. I was upset at first. I loved the kids in his class and was afraid that their leaving would make Archer feel left out, held back: alone. I was afraid that him being the only child behind, he would feel isolated. Different.

But something happened I did not expect. The new year of school started and when it did, Archer embraced his new status. He was the local. Fearless and confident and excited to flex his big-brother muscle. He got to be the one who knew first where to line up and where the peg-boards were kept and where to sit and when to be quiet. He knew how to work the dump-trucks in the sandbox outside and everything else the new children did not.

I watched from the window as the other boys and girls went to him with questions, scooting over so he could sit down next to them, when it was time to line up on the wall.

"Here, you can sit here, Archer."

"No sit with me!"

"I want Archer to sit on my side!"

Later that day, when I went to pick Archer up from school, his friend, a little girl, started to cry.

"I don't want Archer to leave," she said, whimpering.

Without hesitation Archer handed me his lunchbox and went to hug her.

"It's okay," he said, pulling away slowly. "I'll see you in the morning, kay bye!"

I don't think I said a word to him the entire car-ride home. I was too busy examining his face in the rear-view mirror like I would a stranger. Who is this little boy and when did he become someone else?
Somehow my son had transformed from silent, dependent outsider to communicative, dependable leader in a matter of days.

I was trying to explain Archer's speech developments to my mother recently and came up with a pretty spot-on analogy. "It's like if one day your dog decided to talk in complete sentences after doing nothing but bark for three years."

And it's true. For parents of children with developmental delays, it can at times seem highly unlikely that our children will ever catch up. So when they do catch up it feels surreal. Relieving of course but also strange. Maybe because when we wait long enough for something it becomes easy to forget what it is we are waiting for.

Oh, yeah. This. I was waiting for this.

Last week, Archer's teacher told me to "please remember to bring Archer's Show and Tell next Thursday."

"First Show and Tell of the year!" she said. "And every Thursday from now on, if you could have Archer bring something to school to share, that would be great."

"Really? Are you sure?"

I felt like crying. She might has well have said, "now your kid can do everything the other kids his age can do" after I'd been told so many times "your kid is pretty far behind. Way behind. Two years behind..."

Suddenly, last week, Archer wasn't behind. I had known it for a while, of course, but for some reason it never hit. Not like it did last week. Not like it did this morning when I told Archer to find something special to bring to school for Show and Tell.

"Show and Tell day?"


"Stay here, Mommy. I'll be right back!"

About a minute later, Archer came running down the hall into the living room, his Brobee and Tutti dolls pressed to his chest.

"Okay! Time to go to school, do show and tell, let's go in da car."

So we did.

And just like every other child in his class, Archer walked through the preschool door this morning with his treasure.

After seven months of sitting cross-legged on the lettered carpet, watching as the other children shared their various items, waiting to catch up, to participate, Archer's name was called. It was his turn. So he stood before his peers with his toys, able as everyone else, and he showed AND told. He told.

And when I picked him up from school, he was still telling. He told me that he had done show and tell and that it was real fun and he did "a good, good job." He told me that he wanted to see his friend Jackson at the park later and that when we got home he wanted to have cookies and milk and went pee-pee on the potty at school and that the music on the radio was fortissimo.

And suddenly it was my turn to sit and say nothing, to marvel at how beautiful the sound.


The Difference is This

It's weird to feel ready for a baby. Emotionally, I mean. I didn't feel that way with Archer at all. I felt confused. Excited but confused. Lost. Unprepared for a changed life. Unsure of myself as a mother, woman, human being. I felt like a child. I was a child. I had no idea what was coming but I knew it was huge and I waited, my heart in my throat, for my whole world to flipped off its axis. For everything to change.

I knew I was in for the emotional makeover of my life. Everyone, including myself, was telling me so.

All pregnancies are different, and I'm not just talking about weight gain. Becoming a mother is for many women, the time most matured. I aged ten years when Archer was born. Suddenly the things that should have always mattered, did. And the things that once consumed me blew away like red balloons.

"Growing up fast," I soon found, had nothing to do with High School girls wearing halter tops and piercing their belly buttons. Growing up fast is what happens when you have a baby, no matter your age. I have a feeling that had I waited until my 30's or even my 40's to have kids, I would have felt the same holy-shit-I'm-a-woman-now-shock that I did at twenty-three.

Hal, Archer and I: 2005

This pregnancy, quite contrary to my first has been one with few questions, less doubts and perhaps, most shockingly: no fear.

People ask me every day, "are you ready?" and the truth is: I kind of am. Something I don't know if I should admit. Because shouldn't I feel frantic, right now? Scared? Nervous?

God, I sure was with Archer.

There is nothing like a first pregnancy. Nothing like the unknown. The first dive into the pool... But there is nothing like a second pregnancy, either. Jumping into the water, semi-used to the temperature. I feel like I can swim so much faster now that I'm not shivering. I feel like I can swim all types of strokes.

Archer may have made me a mother but this new baby has made me a fearless one. And that is something just as special.

I'm not a little girl this time. I'm a confident, ambitious grown-up who has, in the past three plus years surrounded herself with people I highly respect. A million miles from where I was at this point in my last pregnancy. Utterly friendless and afraid that everyone was right when they told me that motherhood would exhaust me of every dream -- the opposite of the truth, I soon learned.

Of course, there's a good chance that I don't have the faintest idea what is about to happen (Clearly I don't, because who does?)

There's a good chance that I won't be able to work much these next few months. That my goals to turn in a script by Christmas and a book by next summer are unrealistic. That personally shopping a pilot with a newborn baby strapped to my chest is highly unlikely.

People spend a lot of effort trying to tell others how "impossible" it is to everything. I don't believe that's very helpful. Or true. What is possible is up to me. Up to all of us. That being, said, I am clueless as to how I will cope. Change. Learn. Fail. Succeed. I do know that right now, It's a huge relief not to feel afraid. Of labor. Of having two children-- another person for me to love more than myself. It's a huge relief to know that I am capable. That growing my family means growing my fire, my heart, myself.

I'm ready for this new person. This new life. Even if it means working harder, sleeping less... I can't wait to do it all. To struggle and fight and learn and love and grow and push harder. I'm ready to make new messes and find new ways to clean them up. I'm ready to bleed all over myself in a thousand different ways. I'm ready to catch fire and run full-speed to the nearest lake. I'm ready to admit to myself and everyone who asks, that yes, I am ready for this baby. I'm ready for all of it.

Bring it on.


The Accuracy of Ultrasounds

Now that the baby layette has been de-tagged, washed, folded and put away, I'm starting to wonder what the odds are of an inaccurate ultrasound. Because... uh...  This babe's wardrobe is hardly (not even close) unisex. 

Dear, Misha LuLu, I'm in love with your children's dresses. Please sponsor me so I don't go broke purchasing your entire line. 

I gush over dresses like the one above (a gift from my mom... thanks, mom!) and then lie awake asking myself... "What if she isn't... a she?"

Crazy, right, but judging from these comments, it isn't so uncommon. 


The Trying to Dress Like I'm Not Pregnant Handbook

**Updated with winner, below!**

I don't do sweatpants. Not that there is anything wrong with sweatpants, I just made a decision long ago that becoming a mom wouldn't strip me of style. Shallow?  I prefer to call it "old fashioned" because back in the days of yore, people dressed well. Better than the whole lot of us. Even the poorest of the poor wore petty coats and linen dresses with bonnets to match. People took pride in their appearance. Men and women of all ages looked "respectable" and therefor demanded respect. Clothes have always had a huge effect on the person wearing them and an equally potent effect over passer-bys

Just look at one of the many makeover shows on television. My husband, who has made his living working in (reality) TV for the past four years, perfectly exemplifies WHY dressing well changes lives. Not only for the women who get made over but for the families whose bills these makeover shows pay. Whether they realize it or not, "going from drab to fab" is what puts food on our table (and cute-ture on our soon to be daughter, who will probably grow up to hate fashion, clothes and me for dressing her up like a doll every day of her infancy and childhood). 

See??? Dressing well changes LIVES! 

My last pregnancy I wore heels right up to the day my doctor told me I was to be bed-ridden for the remainder of my pregnancy. And this pregnancy, although I have opted for flats (and the occasional wedge), I have been choosy with my footwear, wearing flip-flops only at the end of the day when my feet are too swollen to fit into my "cute shoes." Fashion over function? Indeed. Looks over comfort? Absolutely. Although, comfort is entirely relative. (I feel much more comfortable in ankle boots than I do in sneakers.) 

I decided long ago that motherhood would never stop me from overdressing. Which I totally do, but only because everyone else is underdressed. Obviously. 

This pregnancy I have managed to wear 90% non-maternity clothes, thanks to some of the styles at stores like Anthropologie. Two good pairs of maternity jeans are all I've really needed to complete a look I would normally wear sans bump. Throw on a long flowy top from A-Po,  a simple black wife-beater from the dude's section at Target, some kooky accessories and BAM! Instant materni-chic. 

I even bought a pair of trendy gladiator sandals this summer (with cankle camo in mind) which I've been happily rocking on a daily basis. That is, until Tuesday when I came home after an afternoon of walking the Elay streets only to find that removing my shoes was a total no go. 

My feet had somehow managed to grow around my shoe straps. I had to pull apart the folds of foot flesh to get the damn things off. 

Don't believe me? 

Oh, believe this mofos. Believe this!

I posted the above photo on flickr as soon as I snapped it, hoping to lend some much needed comic relief to a friend because there is nothing more hilarious than a pair of sad, ugly, deformed feet. Am I right? Then I realized that this particular photo needed to be seen by the masses. Because sometimes a girl needs to be laughed with. And then laughed at for her silly need to dress unpractically , knowing quite well that her body does NOT care about trends, no matter the occasion. And especially not at 36 weeks pregnant. 

My body said sweatpants and flip-flops. My brain said "No fucking way would I be caught dead..." and here I am paying for my wicked (and inescapable) inner fashion-witch

Oooh la la!

And now I have no choice but to point out the obvious: my lack of pedicure. 

Please note that the last time I had myself a mani-pedi was over a month ago which means that contrary to the tone of this post, I'm not completely high-maintenance.  I may put way too much time in outfit-planning but my feet look like that of a High School point guard with athlete's foot so there you go! I absolutely will not write the "Pedicure Addict's Handbook" ... And I'm okay with that. I really am. 

I'm also okay with the handbook I write daily in my head: Trying to Dress Like I'm Not Pregnant by: Rebecca Woolf; a practical look at a woman's unpractical obsession with maintaining a somewhat impressive wardrobe, regardless of how much fetus she's packing. 

Because charming as it might not be, this is who I am. 

The title might not be as catchy as Michelle Lamar's refreshingly comedic The White Trash Mom Handbook (St. Martins, August 2008) but it'll suffice for now. 


Want to win a signed copy of Michelle Lamar's hilarious, no-nonsense, every-mother-needs-to-read-this book, "The White Trash Mom Handbook"? Just tell me what you would name YOUR handbook and why by Monday, September 15th either in a blog-post (send me the link and I will link your post, below) or in the comments. One winner will be picked at random. 

Good luck! And please, for the love of what's hilarious, go pick up Michelle's book. It's a breath of fresh air, laugh out loud funny -- a delightful read and reminder for mothers everywhere to embrace our inner white trash. 

And while you're waiting for your copy? You can checka checka Michelle's blog, here


Congratulations to Stacy! Her handbook? "How to Catch Frogs and Make Mudpies (without ruining your manicure): The Girly-Girl's Guide to Raising a Son." Please email me to claim your prize and thanks to all of you who participated!" 


Things That Go Bump in the Night

closing in on 36 weeks

I'm not sleeping very well these days for obvious reasons. My gigantic enormosity, being the main one.

(These days, I look at men with huge beer guts with real curiosity as to how they sleep at night because a beer-gut is very similar-looking to a third-trimester pregnant belly, except it's not as temporary, which leads me to wonder how these dudes function 365 days out of the year? How do they shave their downundas? Tie their shoes? Bend over to pick up fallen kites? How do they sleep!? I mean, seriously? Look at this guy?) 

I sleep with six pillows to Hal's one an am still unable to find a comfortable position. It's hard to sleep with a five and a half pound moving creature in your belly, not to mention the unpleasant truth that the eight-month-pregnant body was not designed with sleep in mind. 

Between the peeing every thirty-two minutes, (averaging about six pee wake-ups a night) the heartburn, (averaging about 10 Tums daily) the dehydration that probably comes from peeing so much (every time I get up to pee I have to down an entire glass of water) and the random baby kicks to the spleen, (or whatever organ it is her foot is kicking) sleep is not for the pregnant. 

Which brings me to my theory (besides the obvious reasons listed above) as to why pregnant women are up all night long til' the breaka-breaka dawn:

Our bodies are in prep-mode. The end of pregnancy is hardcore training for the marathon of sleepless nights ahead. Isn't it so nice of our bodies to look out for us like that? Taking all chance of sleep away so when our babies are born we can totally be like, "Sleep? What do you mean, sleep? I don't sleep. Who sleeps? What is sleep?" 

The only difference between waking up to pee and waking up to feed, rock, calm a wailing baby is that instead of chugging three glasses of water at 4am (some of us*) can chug three cups of caffeine! Ole!

Not to mention that unlike our beer-gut brothers in the unable-to-tie-our-own-shoes 'hood, we also get to wear concealer under our eyes on mornings after sleepless nights, which, yeah... God bless concealer

bedding (in the background) by Anthropologie. 


*this is one one of the few perks of being a formula feeder. 

Good Days, L.A.

In lieu of Archer's back-to-school tomorrow, I've just posted my Top Ten Destinations for L.A. Families (and visitors) over at Straight From the Bottle. Because after almost six weeks of research, I feel like I can safely recommend some awesome to the natives and their restless spawn. 

Number #4 on the list? Noah's Ark at The Skirball Center, which we checked out with some friends on Saturday. Check it

Archer and his friend Jack hold hands in the Skirball Gardens

Hal and Archer interact with all sorts of  interactiveness

Hal chases Archer at Noah's Ark, Skirball Center

For more on The Skirball and other awesome kid destinations, go here. Happy daytrippin', friends.'  


August. September. October.

Just back from a lovely two days at Crystal Cove with Archer and my parents:

It was a beautiful end to our five-week mother-son-before-the-baby-comes time together and even though we had our kooky days, I wouldn't trade our time for anything, because, rain or shine, it was all about us. In sickness and in health. And I needed that.

I needed to hold Archer's hand in the pony-ride ticket line and ride the Griffith Park train fifteen times in a row, listening over and over as Archer pointed out power lines.

"Look, Mommy! Anoder power line so cool!"

I needed to sweat under the blazing sun at Disneyland, to regret taking him on Pirates of the Caribbean because it was too scary. (I should have known better. Now I do.) I needed to watch him introduce himself to boys and girls at friend's birthday parties.

"Hi. My name is Archer. Come on, o'er here! Play with me."

I needed to chase him screaming down the beaches of Santa Monica, half-crying, clutching my belly, sprinting as fast as I could until I found him hiding behind the farthest lifeguard tower. And then I needed to lecture him on why we don't run away from pregnant mommies with shitloads of stuff in their hands. I needed him to cry just like I needed to kiss him on the face and tell him "it's okay. I love you. Let's be friends again. Follow me..."

I needed to tell him I loved him a hundred thousand times and listen to him make up his very own lullabies for the baby.

"The one in mommy's tummy I sing song?"

I needed to hear him say that he has a baby in his tummy, too.

"Di you know that, Mommy? I have baby, too."

I needed to draw Saturn for him and read The Space book a thousand times and remind him to wash his hands. I needed to applaud him for building "the biggest tower ever that I've ever seen!" out of LEGOS. I needed to watch him learn to climb the wall at the park.

I needed to spoon him under the window of a cottage on a great hill overlooking the sea, his little hands pulling my arm over his waist, playing with my fingers.

view from our bed at Crystal Cove

All of this because I needed to watch him grow-up. Become my big boy. A big brother. I needed to watch him every second to make sure I didn't miss something. I needed to memorize the way he walked, played, fell asleep. The way his hands felt in mine, his sandy feet against my knees.

So that when he's old enough to understand, I'll be able to tell him about the month before his sister came and how we spent it just the two of us... And how special and beautiful it was... most of the time. How special and beautiful it always is... most of the time.

I feel ready, now. For him to go back to school, go back to his friends, five days a week, six hours a day...

I'm ready to get back to work while I still can. I've been unable to get much writing done this last month and am eager to get back to the coffee shop and my current projects, at least for these last few weeks of freedom until the baby makes her appearance and totally screws up my schedule makes it difficult to do much of anything besides being a mom.

August was about Archer so that September can be about me so that October can be about her...

thirty-five weeks

October. I can't believe how soon it's going to be October.


Formula Fed Up

Ah, the trials and tribulations of formula feeding... My head is spinning from the options and opinions and I'm pretty much sitting here stumped on the formula front. I'm seriously at the point where I'm researching wet nurses. (Are there any lactating Angeleno readers who want to breastfeed my daughter for me?) I'm only half kidding.

Seriously, though, and maybe it's just me but formula seems a lot scarier this time around. I think it has to do with the fact that I spend a great deal of my life on the Internet. I find Google to be the enemy in most cases, especially when it comes to researching something as political as baby formula.

I've decided to go Organic this go around which means Enfamil, the formula I fed to Archer (while I supplemented with breastmilk the first six weeks-- something I plan to do again this time until my milk gets all bloody and disgusting) is out. Even Similac (which now makes an organic formula) is out. Similac Organic formulas are high in the wrong kinds of sugar, for one, and for two, the smell makes me gag. So negative on that, ghostrider.

So! I have two options and I'm hoping that some of you might have some experience with either/or both to help me decide.

1. Earth's Best Organic (regular and soy)


2. Nature's One: Baby's Only Organic (regular, lactose free and soy)

Baby's Only Organic Formula seems to have the highest ratings, although many people are saying that its lack of DHA and ARA is an issue. Baby's Only Organic says it does not include DHA because and I quote the following from their DHA FAQ:

"The organic infant formulas, Similac Organic®, Parent’s Choice Organic®, Earth’s Best®, and Bright Beginnings Organic®, all use fatty acids treated with hexane solvent, acid, and bleach. Below is a description of the manufacturing process submitted to the FDA:

“The oil is then separated from the dried biomass by hexane extraction and centrifugation and/or filtration, followed by winterization. The hexane phase undergoes additional centrifugation/filtration to remove solids then the winterized oil is heated and treated with acid. Subsequently, the oil is treated with caustic, centrifuged, bleached and deodorized.” 2
Nature’s One® shares some of the same concerns addressed by the FDA when these oils were first submitted for approval. For that reason, the oils have been excluded from the formulation of Baby’s Only Organic® formulas."

Uh.... Okay. So... That means I don't want DHA? And this is when it gets REALLY confusing. Baby's Only Organic makes their own DHA supplement (derived from egg phospholipids) which is a natural derivative that works in the same way as chemical DHA. Although apparently, according to Baby's Only, a DHA supplement isn't necessarily recommended:
"The current medical literature is very conflicting when it comes to the necessity of adding DHA & ARA fatty acids in a formula fed infant’s diet. Unfortunately, there is no clear and concise answer. It is for this reason that many healthcare providers will recommend that formula fed babies receive a minimum of these preformed longer chain fatty acids in their diets."

It wasn't until reading all of that (and getting more and more confused) that I read that Baby's Only markets themselves as a "toddler formula" for political reasons:

"Baby’s Only Organic® is labeled a toddler formula because Nature’s One® believes breast milk is the best organic choice the first 12-months of life. After breastfeeding, parents can continue providing organic nutrition using Baby’s Only Organic® dairy formula."

Yes, breast is best. I know, I know. But what about those of us who can't breastfeed for twelve (or even two) months? HELLLLLOOOOO, are you trying to confuse us? Tell us NOT to buy your product? Ugh.

Earth's Best (pictured above) seems to be a favorite as well although I keep reading about their "bad customer service" and the fact that their formula keeps changing its ingredients (wtf?). It's also owned and operated by Horizon which apparently isn't all that organic.) Oh, yeah, and I've been told that it smells bad, too, so that's not a plus (Baby's Only is supposed to smell and taste best, according to parents.) Earth's Best does, however, contain DHA (although I don't know if I want DHA now that I read its made with bleach or whatever) with no need for supplemental packets and they seem to present themselves as an infant formula so that's nice of them to not make me feel like a complete and udder failure.

So basically, I'm like... Uh.... Uh.... Uh... I have no fucking clue.

Obviously I want the best for my babe which is why formula shopping is so frustrating. I know that most of my earth mamas are sole breastfeeders, but if any of you have any experience with either of these two formulas (or if there is another organic formula I don't know about) I'd love to hear your take.

That is, unless my brain explodes in the next hour, which is extremely possible.