Thursday, May 31, 2007

Why NPN needs to shut her piehole

I'm out in the yard with the kids and my next-door neighbor says hello:

Her: Did you get a haircut?

Me: Yes.

Her: Hmm. [Wrinkles her nose.] I like you better with shoulder-length hair.

Me: [Mute with fury.]

Her: Have a good day!



A fun story for Hester's future therapist

Last night was miserable. Absolutely horrible. And it was totally preventable and completely our fault.

For some foolish reason, Petunia and I thought it would be okay to schedule our first post-baby haircuts with Linda at 8:30pm last night.

You see where this is going.

Hester'd had a great day, although she hadn't slept much. I figured, "Fine, I'll feed her at home and put her into her car seat all drowsy. She'll fall asleep on the Pike, we'll get our haircuts, and then we'll come home." Easy as pie, right? And nothing she hasn't done before, too (minus the actual haircuts part). She's usually a pro on the Mass Pike, but not this time.

This time, she went from sleepy gritchy complaining to full-on screaming and sobbing the very minute I hit the Pike. By the time I hit the Millbury exit, she was so worked up she vomited all over herself, her car seat, her toys, and even the back seat of the car (I'm telling you, the girl's got range). Bad Mama that I am, I decided not to risk getting off at 495 or Framingham in search of a clean bathroom; I stayed on the road till the next rest stop. Which, in this instance, was still 30 miles away.

I wanted so badly to turn around, but Petunia was stranded in Boston. She needed a ride home.

Here's what's not fun: Watching your squalling infant marinate in her own puke while hurtling down the interstate at 75 MPH. (She was a little happier after she barfed, but not much.)

Thank goodness for the family bathroom at the Natick plaza, that's all I'm saying. I got Hester, her car seat, and her toys cleaned up, and she fell asleep for the rest of the ride.

However, she woke up again at Linda's house and BOY HOWDY was she unhappy to be Somewhere Other Than Home. She wanted was to go home. She also wanted to eat, but she was so worked up that she couldn't suck. The low point came around 10:15pm--Petunia and I were sitting in the parking lot of a Hess station trying to soothe our tiny daughter and to buy earplugs in their convenience store (if only). We finally decided that Hester would eventually settle down and that we needed to keep moving. Petunia had the rough job--she sat in the back seat with Hester while Hester screamed and barfed a few more times--and I went to my Happy Place and tried to drive safely.

We made it home okay, though considerably worse for wear. Hester fell asleep about halfway through the ride. She woke up chipper and cheerful at 5am this morning, playing with her feet and smiling at the world. I wish I could say the same thing about myself.

In case you're interested, our haircuts look great. Good thing, too. Mine's gotta last till Hester turns 10.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I was browsing the blogosphere a few minutes ago when I discovered that someone I knew in college is dating a TV celebrity. I love the internet!


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sneaking it in just under the wire

I almost forgot to mention it, but here's a great big ol'


to my dear friend (and psychic twin) JPP!

Happy birthday, lady!


A question for my tech-savvy friends

Dear Friends,

How do I transfer my photos from the old computer (an almost 10-y.o. PC) to the new one? The old one is so old that the external hard drive we bought isn't compatible. Thanks in advance for your help!



Wow, it's been a full week.

I've been busy doing the following things:

--Celebrating my 30th birthday, despite my cold and Hester's croup

--Receiving so many kind, generous, and thoughtful gifts from friends and family...

--...including a NEW COMPUTER!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy cow!

--Spending precious time with my parents

--Watching my parents become proud, loving grandparents

--Meeting JPP and her family for brunch on Sunday

--Taking trips to Newburyport, Boston, Portsmouth, and Kittery

--Bargain shopping for Hester

--Watching Hester get totally spoiled by her grandparents

--Watching Hester begin to teethe

--Watching Hester suck on her toes

--Driving a minivan and feeling for all the world like a soccer mom

--Receiving bouquets, plants, and even a tree from Green Thumb

--Watching Clary B. race around Green Thumb's yard with 4 other dogs

--Talking with Petunia every chance I got

What a lovely time.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Big 3-0

Hey, whaddaya know--I'm thirty years old today!

It feels like a triumph in lots of ways. When I was a teenager I couldn't see myself living to age 30, and now here I am: Still kicking and lucky beyond belief.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Tales From a Dressing Room, or The Best Back-Handed Compliment EVER

Clementine: What do you think? I think it's kinda cute, but it's a skort. Also it's femme-y.

Petunia: No, it's cute on you. You look good in skirts--you have nice legs from far away.


The grandparents are coming! The grandparents are coming!

I'm getting really excited about my parents' visit this weekend. They'll be here Thursday through Monday, and I can't wait for them to meet baby Hester. It was amazing to watch my brother turn into an uncle, and I'm sure it will be just as amazing to watch my parents turn into grandparents. Babies are magical, for real.

Things are mostly in place for their visit, too. The wheelchair has been ordered, the minivan has been reserved, and plans are in place for some fun day trips. I had to wrangle the details out of them, though--when I asked my mom what she wanted to do while she's in town, she said, "I just want to sit in the hotel room and hold my baby!" Honestly, I hope she likes Hester as much in person as she does over the phone/computer.

Tonight I'll be cleaning like a fiend so that I can enjoy my birthday tomorrow night (when I'll turn THIRTY!); I have to organize some things and do a little deep cleaning before the 'rents show up. Other than that, I plan to use the old "the baby's only 4 months old" excuse for any lapse in housekeeping. (And by the way, the only excuse better than a baby in general is a baby in the NICU. Nothing gets people off your back faster than a baby in the know, just FYI.)

If you want to tell me about the first time your child met your parents, I'd love to hear your story. Obviously, it's timely, but also I'm PMSy right now and all kinds of mushy. Toodles!

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Hester hearts solids

We confirmed it over the weekend: Hester is big into her solid foods. Now she eats peas as well as rice cereal. And for real, she tries to spoon-feed herself. The kid's a supergenius!

If she can feed herself at 4 months, maybe she can make me a cup of coffee at 6 months. Sweet!


Friday, May 18, 2007

Completely unasseptable

If your child has a barking cough that followed a fever, runny nose, and general malaise, do not say to me, "How's little Hester doing today? Ugh--I'm glad my kids have never had croup."

Guess what, genius? Your kid gave it to her.


Croupy baby

Tiny Hester is sicker today. She's got a nice cough now and eating makes her scream. I have her jacked up on infant Tylenol, but she's miserable. My poor precious baby! I hate seeing her suffer and not being able to help. It reminds me of when she was in the hospital, only this illness is more acute (though less serious, thank god). The worst part is how it hurts her to eat--I actually cried with her as I tried to feed her this morning.

We've canceled all of our weekend plans, including my 30th birthday party at the sculpture museum and a walk in memory of Baby A. Instead, I think that Hester and I will be taking lots of baths and that all 3 of us will try to catch up on our sleep. I'm disappointed to miss out on the walk and the party, but I really want Hester to feel better.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Some firsts

In addition to some fun firsts (first time in the swing at the playground, first solid food, first time feeding herself with a spoon), Hester had a not-so-fun first today: her first sick visit at the pediatrician. It had to happen sometime, no?

The poor kid has croup. She doesn't have the barky cough yet, but she's been eating poorly and acting strange all week. She caught it from my work kids; two of them have been miserable all week as well. Yeah, it's been fun around these parts.

Poor baby Hester!

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Yay for equal marriage!

Petunia and I were married legally 3 years ago today.

Equal marriage makes a world of difference.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Our first Mother's Day

Our first Mother's Day was truly wonderful. Petunia and I went all out for each other, and many of our friends and family remembered us as well. That part was surprising and unexpectedly sweet--it was great to hear the words "Happy Mother's Day" from everyone. We were so happy to celebrate each other and our miraculous little daughter on Sunday.

We also celebrated Ariana on Mother's Day. We spoke with her that evening and learned that she loved the package we'd sent to her--thankfully, she received it on time. We also got to say "Happy Mother's Day" to Hester's first mother for the very first time. It was a blessing beyond blessings.

Happy belated Mother's Day to all.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

It's Provider Appreciation Day all over again

Yesterday afternoon I had my surprise state licensing visit, and boy howdy was it ever a surprise! My licensor came at naptime and I thought he was my neighbor coming over with more hand-me-downs for Hester. Seriously, I was shocked to see him. I'm glad I run a pretty tight ship: My license was renewed for another 3 years without incident and I didn't get a single noncompliance. What a relief.

And now today is Child Care Provider Appreciation Day. If you know a child care provider, show her/him some love! I celebrated by putting my feet up and drinking an iced latte while the kids watched Sesame Street all morning.

In my dreams, y'all.

Actually, I hosted a birthday party for 7 children complete with balloons, child-decorated party visors, and cupcakes. Sigh. At least Hester got to attend her first-ever birthday party; she got green frosting on her eyebrow. That should count for something.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

A nice morning

Today I had one of those mornings that made me remember why I ever wanted to start a child care business in the first place. I schlepped all 5 kids to the playground; we played there all morning and had a picnic lunch beneath a shade tree. Hester played by herself on a blanket for a while, and then I put her in the grass for the first time. She even got a couple of grass stains on her romper--not bad for a 3-month old! The big kids ran laps around the ball field, blew bubbles, picked dandelions, and ate lunch with gusto. Hester fell asleep outdoors on her blanket with the warm breeze blowing across her tiny body. Lovely.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The prettiest sedum in the world

Petunia gave me this sedum last year in honor of Mother's Day.

I wasn't a mother back then, and it was breaking my heart to be in the middle of the long bureaucratic wait to reapply to DSS. Petunia was more patient about the wait, but she understood and honored my anguish.

Petunia's big on symbolism, so she chose this particular plant because it would bloom around the time we expected our homestudy to be approved. She thought it would give me hope to see the passing time reflected in the growth of the plant. She gave me this sedum on Mother's Day and I cried in her arms. With tears in my eyes, I planted her gift in the little garden beside our house.

Petunia is a kind and wise woman.

I loved that sedum the moment it went into the ground, and I marveled at how tall and strong it grew during the summer months. When it finally flowered last fall, I knew we were close to becoming parents. As I closed up the gardens last November and mulched them with fallen leaves, I gave the sedum lots of extra padding. Of all the beautiful plants in our gardens, the sedum was my favorite.

Winter soon arrived and, as you know, Hester herself arrived with it! Then the snows started and they didn't stop till April. In the busy-ness of those winter days, I forgot all about the sedum sleeping peacefully under its mulchy quilt. When the spring bulbs finally burst forth several weeks ago, I was shocked to see the tiny Biedermeier bouquet of sedum peeking up at me. Somehow, I'd forgotten that sedum is a perennial.

Since then, I look at Hester's sedum every day. It spread to a different part of the garden--more symbolism, see?--and it's healthier and lovelier than ever. Better still, my beloved Hester Willa is here to enjoy it with me. When she's older, I'll tell her all about her Mumzy's kind and thoughtful gift. I'll let her know that every time I see a sedum, I smile and think of how our little family grew.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My Army brat roots are showing

Last night Petunia and I puttered around the yard after the kids went home. When Hester got hungry, we pulled a lawn chair onto the sidewalk so that I could feed the baby while Petunia planted lobelia in our front garden. As we talked in the twilight, many of our neighbors happened by. They all stopped to look at Hester.

"Look how big she's getting. Congratulations again, ladies! It's just wonderful!" said one neighbor. "Isn't she just beautiful? Look at those cheeks! She's such a gorgeous little baby," said another neighbor. Our friend and neighbor Green Thumb held Hester's hand as we grown-ups talked grubs, sunflowers, and lilac festivals for a half hour or so. A little later we caught up with the 11-month old little girl across the street. "Could Hester use this summer outfit?" her mother asked, proffering a 3-6 month purple daisy 2-piece romper.

Honestly folks, my heart just about exploded from all the kindness. The neighborliness. After a childhood on the go, I never thought that one day I'd live in a place where my neighbors know my name, my dog's name, and my daughter's name. Where people snowblow sidewalks for one another. Where folks leave big bouquets of spring flowers or bags of summer produce on each other's porches. Where the newspaper carrier brings the paper into our enclosed entryway, and where I chat with Tom the Postman at least a couple times a week. It's unbelievable, truly.

And then there's this:

A bright red baby swing hanging from the huge maple tree in our backyard. A tangible symbol of so many hopes and dreams fulfilled beyond my starriest imaginings.

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Sweetness and light

It was an amazing weekend: I watched my brother Orca turn into an uncle and his girlfriend Beluga turn into an auntie. It happened so suddenly and so permanently. It's magic, truly--Hester brings grace and wonder everywhere she goes.

Also, Hester went to the aquarium for the first time on Friday. She loved it there. My brother held her in the front carrier, so I got to see her eyes light up when she saw the fish. For a baby who likes lights, art, and animals, the aquarium was heaven. I thought her eyes would pop out of her head at the sea dragon tank. Also, the sweetness of Hester and Orca together still makes me want to cry.

Honestly, words can't tell what this weekend means to me. My heart is so full.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Just a quick PSA: If you're LGBT and a first-time preadoptive parent, you might want to check out the Transition to Adoptive Parenthood Project at Clark University. Petunia and I initially got involved because it was something to do while we waited for Hester, and now we're about to have our 3-month post-placement follow-up. We're social science nerds, so we're into this kind of thing. Just a heads-up!


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Turning 30

To preface: I look older than I am. For reals. I've always been an old lady.

But not anymore, baby: I'm turning 30 in 3 short weeks. Yippee!

It's about time.