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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Leo's been here five months

That’s a whole hand! (Frank used to say that when he was five years old.)

Right after this picture was taken, Leo launched a triple threat on this outfit—spit-up, poo and pee.

Life with Leo at five months:

He smiles a lot. Frank calls him “Smiley Cyrus.”
He loves to stand and jump up and down. He’s not too into sitting.
He loves rice cereal and is very interested in the food we eat. If I just want a snack, I have to hide from him.
He still likes everybody and doesn’t seem to have a preference for mom and dad. (So come visit and hold him while you still can!)
He likes to go to the YMCA play center. I don’t know what he does there!
He’s still sleeping great at night but isn’t too into daytime naps.
He hasn’t started grabbing his feet yet. I think it’s because he can’t see them over his belly.
He’s in two play groups and is the youngest in both. But there’s a new baby on the block who will join soon. A girl! All the boys will be fighting over her.

Speaking of not liking daytime naps…gotta go!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Please note our new hours

Even back when I was first starting Writinggal and I had no assignments, I treated it like a regular job, hoping that it would one day become a regular job. I would get up, get dressed (working in PJs is not productive) and go to work (even if it was just down the hall).

So my work day ended up being your cliché 8:30am-5:30pm. Except Fridays. I don’t like to do a lot of work on Fridays.

And that worked fine for the first three years. But now that I’ve got my second job it’s not going too well. It seems my co-worker in my other job demands more of my attention during that 8:30am-5:30pm time slot.

So I decided to set my alarm for 5:51am and work from 6am-7am. Then for the rest of the day I just work when I can, usually when my co-worker for my other job is preoccupied by napping or batting at toys on an activity mat. (He’s really not all that productive.)

One person said to me the other day, “But since you’re a writer you can work whenever you want. I mean, you could write at 3am if you had to.”

Not true, I thought. For one thing, I usually have to do interviews for my stories. That’s the hard part. And I’ve found that people don’t like it when I schedule them for 3am.

And second, I don’t want to write at 3am!

But I have been doing interviews after 8pm when my coworker has already left for the day. And this morning I did an interview with someone at 6:30am. Maybe I need to find more interview subjects in Europe (for morning interviews). And I’ll go for Asian subjects for my evening interviews...or people on the west coast.

So here are my new hours at Writinggal: 6am-7am; 8pm-9pm and the time between 7am-8pm is by appointment only or random intervals of time that I can sneak in.

Oh, gotta go. My other co-worker has arrived and is ready to get to work!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tummy turn-off

I know all about tummy time. I know we're supposed to do it. I know the baby "can't get too much" according to his pediatrician. But Leo spits up. A lot. And putting him on his tummy hasn't been an ideal position for such a situation.

So I’ve been a tummy time slacking mom. But then this lady in my spin class told me that she’s some sort of orthopedic such and such—something medical and related to kids. Anyway, she said that she sees kids who didn’t get enough tummy time as babies and something really bad happens to them. Okay, I’m clearly not a good listener after spin class but here’s what I got out of it: “If your baby doesn’t do tummy time then he is doomed. He won’t go to college, he won’t get a job, he’ll live in your basement forever.”

Whatever she said, it made me put Leo on his tummy every chance I got. Spit-up or not. But Leo won’t stay on his tummy. He likes to roll onto his back. Maybe that’s because whenever he does it, I squeal, “Yeah! What a good boy!” and then put him back on his tummy. And then I say, “Yeah! What a smart boy! Somebody’s going to an Ivey League school!” And then I add, “…on a full scholarship, right?”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reunited and it feels so good

Things are getting back to normal at Writinggal headquarters. I sent my laptop to HP on Saturday, they sent me a note on Monday saying they got it, sent me another note on Tuesday saying they were sending it back and yesterday around 2pm, I got it back!

I gave brownies to Josh, flaked on the brownies for David at FireDog (feared he might think I'm a stalker) but now I think I owe HP some brownies! Except for that whole "we-recalled-your-motherboard-but-didn't-bother-to-tell-you" incident. I'm still peeved about that. Plus, that would be way too many brownies. I think I will just make some brownies and eat them myself.
Good-bye, old-school desktop (which I really did appreciate having for seven days)

Good to see you again, old friend!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An outdoorsman

I've gotten a lot of advice since becoming a mom but this piece of wisdom from Jacquie Fagan might be the one that's come in the most handy: "If your baby is crying, a change of scenery helps a lot. Going outside for five minutes can make a big difference."

OMG is that true for Leo. There is nothing that going outside can't fix. I took him outside to see a neighbor the other day and he was smiling, cooing, being totally charming. She said, "Is he always this happy?" I said, "He was just screaming his head off inside!"

And the weather is so nice that now we go outside any chance we get. I think I might even pitch a tent and have him sleep outside.

Add that to the list of reasons I'm glad we don't live in North Dakota.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A peek into the future

The following conversation takes place in the halls of a high school in the year 2024 when Leo and his friend John will be 16:

Leo: "Hey, man. You know what I found the other day? That picture of us when we're wearing those matching green outfits. Look!"

John: "Dude, put that away! I thought you burned it. Why did our moms do that to us? My dad calls those outfits 'leotards.'"

Leo: "And why did we have our initials on them? We were such dorks. Ooh, here comes that cute cheerleader, Elise. I better put this away."

John: "It doesn't matter; she would never like you anyway."

Leo: "Not true. We used to be an item. I've got proof."

John: "Yeah. When you were like, five months old and you were still wearing leotards."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Crash of 2008

Sure, people in Houston (including my parents) don’t have electricity. And then there are those folks who are losing all sorts of money in the financial market. But I’ve got serious probs over here at Writinggal Headquarters too!

My beautiful laptop—command central for everything WG—crashed last night.

I raced it over to the folks at FireDog (in Circuit City) to see if it could be resuscitated. The computer dude, David, said, “It doesn’t look good.” I petted my computer like it was a sick puppy. “You’ll be okay, little guy. We’ll get you fixed.”

David took the whole thing apart, hit a bunch of buttons and at one point I think he even put those shocker things on it and yelled, “CLEAR!” but it wouldn’t come back to life.

I figured I must have just worked it too hard. Must have written too many stories.

Not so, said David. The mother board was fried. That didn’t sound good. After determining that I was just ten days out of my one-year warranty, he figured out why my MB was dundies. HP had recalled it! And they didn’t bother to tell anyone. “They don’t announce these things,” he said.
I’m so glad I found FDD—Fire Dog David. He told me I could send my computer to HP and they would fix it for free. I called HP and they confirmed. And while I was on hold with HP, David saved all my WG files to a DVD for me. Hurray! My story that I just started on school bus commutes? I’ve got it! The piece I just completed on turkey leftovers? In the DVD. The interview with the girl who does Krav Maga that I have to turn in by tomorrow? All mine. And of course I was able to retrieve all my pictures of the first four months of Leo’s life.

So now HP will have my computer for about two weeks. And for a girl who just lost her computer, I sure have a lot of computers lying around here. Neighbor Josh loaned me a monitor so I could use it with my old desktop CPU (takes me back to Writinggal 2003). Big shout out to Josh. Hey, you should meet Fire Dog David.

Then I’ve got Frank’s laptop which is fine but you have to click the mouse 20 times for it to work. I’m serious. Twenty is the magic number.

This morning when I was trying to set up shop again it reminded me of being without electricity. You’re so used to just doing things automatically that you forget what requires power. For instance, I went to go listen to an interview I had done but I didn’t have the right software on these borrowed computers. And then when I did load the software I realized that the monitor I was using didn’t have speakers. I found our speakers but couldn’t figure out how to plug them in. So it’s like when the power is out and you say, “Oh, it’s so dark in here! I guess I don’t really need light to blow dry my hair though…oh, wait.” And then you go around flipping on switches like you’re on electricity autopilot.

I don’t know about you and your disaster but mine has really put things in perspective: I still have my stories and for that I am grateful. Maybe I CAN survive with XP instead of Vista. Maybe it's okay that I only have one USB port on this computer. And at least I can plug in my hair dryer.

(A View of Ground Zero)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Leo Wears the Pants in This House

Frank braved a consignment sale all by himself this weekend (he says I give up to easily). He came home with all these "manly" clothes for Leo like plaid shirts, jeans and pants. I think he wants Leo to dress more like his daddy.

I put some cargo pants on Leo yesterday and he suddenly aged two years. He looks like a little man!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bringing in the Big Bibs

We started giving Leo Rice cereal last week. We soon learned that standard bibs weren't gonna cut it.

Thanks to the person who gave us these giant plastic bibs with a trough on the bottom. They're good for now but we may need to get him a pancho soon.

Blue Tooth Group

I haven’t worked in an office for awhile so to me, this whole Blue Tooth thing is weird. When I see someone with their tiny cell phone attached to their ear, I think, “Do they know that’s still on there? Did they forget to take it out?” I even said that to a friend of ours who works with Frank: “Are you expecting a call?” I asked him. “You’ve still got your phone on your ear!” I figured he would be grateful that I alerted him to it. Instead, he just kept it attached.

Frank told me later that everyone he works with keeps their Blue Tooth on their ears. The whole day! How troubling.

Also, those Blue Tooth people always look like they’re talking to themselves, or worse, like they’re talking to me. I’ll see someone coming towards me saying, “I can’t believe it!” and I’m all, “What can’t you believe? That it’s really me? That it’s Writinggal in the flesh? Are you like a major fan? Do you want my autograph?” And they just keep walking and talking into the air. So embarrassing.

Well, now I’m one of those people. And I’m gonna get totally into it. I’m gonna wear it all the time—maybe even in the shower. And I’m gonna talk on it as often as I can. I can’t wait for people to think I’m talking to them when I’m really talking to someone way more important. I just wanted to prepare you so if you see me with it you won’t say, “Hey, you’ve got something in your ear!”

(Even Leo thinks it's weird.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Things overheard at the pig pickin' 2008

Quotes from my Grandma from our recent trip to North Carolina.

I realize that a lot of them revolve around food. That's kind of all we talk about.

Elsa, I bought you this gallon of skim milk because you said you liked skim milk! Be sure to drink it!

That’s like going around your fist to get to your thumb (commenting on how Frank drove out of a parking lot).

What? You just went to the doctor and found out you weigh 200 pounds? I can’t believe it! That’s terrible!
(2 minutes later)
Here, have a pig sandwich and some brownies and ice cream.

Elsa, you want the skim milk on your cereal too? It’s gross. It’s like blue water. I thought you just liked to drink it plain. You better drink it because I bought a gallon of it!

What are you eating, Elsa? Is it your lunch or your dinner? Well which is it?

Claire broke up with her boyfriend? Well that ruins the poem! And his name was Jay so that rhymed with lots of things!

It doesn’t look like you’re gonna finish that skim milk. I wish I hadn’t bought a whole gallon of it. I think it's gross. (Aside: I drank a lot of it but on the last couple of days I had to pour some in the sink. Did the same thing with the orange juice. Shhh!!)

Well, this breakfast is pitiful. All we’ve got are waffles, sausages, eggs, grits, cereal, toast, jam, biscuits and bacon. But you’ll just have to make do.

Of Leo: I declare he is a perfect specimen!

And here, an example of a trick question from grandma:
Do you like yogurt?
If I answer “yes” then this will happen:

Well, what kind? I’ll go out and get you some. I think I have a coupon. Will you eat this kind or does it have to be a certain kind? What flavor? Oh, you don’t like strawberry? Why don’t you like strawberry? I’ve got to hurry and get to the store because Elsa said she HAS to have yogurt.

If I answer “no” then this will happen:
Oh, you are so picky! You don’t like anything. How do you not like yogurt? You won’t even eat a little bite of yogurt? I can’t get yogurt because you hate it! I don’t know what you’ll eat!

So when I was faced with that question I thought about the two possible outcomes and instead said, “I don’t know how to answer that.”

I called Grandma when I returned home to tell her we made it. She said, “I’m almost done drinking all that skim milk you left!”

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Poopy Parcel

I knew I would do some gross things as a mom--clean up throw-up, wipe butts, pick boogers--but I didn't think I'd ever be mailing my baby's poop off to some researchers.

But that's what I did today. And I might be doing it for the next 15 years!
You see, Leo was recruited to be part of a long-term study called TEDDY to determine what environnmental factors may cause children to develop Type I diabetes. He was tested in the hospital and he apparently has a gene that puts him at higher risk for getting the disease. There are only a few testing sites in the US and the main one is here in Atlanta.

We agreed to do it because it would mean extra monitoring of Leo to see if he is trending towards developing diabetes. Plus, we might help these nice scientists figure out the cause. Then I won't feel so bad for not donating at Walgreen's.

So now Leo is called a TEDDY child and we have to go to the study's headquarters once every three months to get his blood drawn and his weight and height taken. They will also ask me a bunch of questions about what he's been eating.

And once a month I have to mail in his poo. After he's four, I only have to do it once a quarter.

He was cooperative now but I'm not sure how it will work when I need his poo at age 15.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Leo's been here four months

And one week:

Spitting up has decreased
Drooling has increased
He has lots to say: ooh, ah, wee, huh, etc. (he doesn't say "etc" but rather he makes sounds that are similar to the first four listed)
He can sort of sit up with his hands in front of him on the floor
He prefers people to hold him and walk around versus sitting in one of his baby seats like swing, bumbo, bouncy
He loves to be in the Bjorn facing outward
He sleeps for eleven hours at night and about four hours during the day
He can roll from tummy to back and can roll onto his side from his back (but not all the way onto his tummy)
His favorite book is still Leo the Late Bloomer but he's starting to like Amelia Bedelia too
He's developing an interest in television no thanks to daddy
He loves new faces and will let anybody hold him (as long as they are standing up and walking around)
His three month clothes are too tight. He's wearing his first six month onesie in the picture above.
He's sporting pants!