Is that a word?  The masculine form of ‘diva’?

Anyway, that is what Miles is.  As we strolled through the local greenhouse this afternoon, viewing rows upon rows of the flowers and plants in which Miles’s mama’s soul DELIGHTS, Miles soon began to fuss.

Because there were no people.  Only plants.  And plants do not respond to cute babies.

As soon as we walked back to the front where there were people to fawn over him, Miles perked right up and smiled and laughed and kicked his little legs and waved his little arms.



7 months ago!

There was one particular little beautiful, sweet and funny baby born in the world who came to live in our house. Yay!  I hope he will suddenly realize tonight that such a BIG BOY can sleep all the way from 8 to 6 without WAKING ONCE. But even if he doesn’t, I will still be his mama and won’t set him on the curb as I am wont to contemplate at 2:30 and again at 5 and again at 5:47 in the ack emmas.  And I will even still continue to give him all the little things he needs in his daily routine to stay happy and on an even keel throughout the day.  Because he’s my 7 month old little guy.

Also, another yay:  I purchased all the clothes I will need for the coming ‘Summer of the Plump and Matronly Shape” for $32 at Goodwill today.  Goodwill plus:  cheap clothes so that you don’t have to feel bad about buying clothes that you won’t wear for longer than the one single summer of the Plump and Matronly Shape.  Goodwill minus:  apparently ILLITERATE people who cannot read the sign that says NO MORE THAN 6 GARMENTS in the dressing room and who park their shopping cart full of cheap, cheap clothes right in front of the dressing room and proceed to try on EVERY BLESSED THING for 20 minutes while meantime I’m waiting to try on 3 things that would take me about 90 seconds.

What a friend we have in…Cincinnati?

Our neighbors are early 40s occupational therapists with two young sons. Any time we have any interaction with them, they seem quite nice and normal and friendly.  But, that is about it.  They often have cookouts…in fact, they are having one tonight…but they have never invited us and they have never made any friendly overtures of any kinds apart from telling us how much nicer we are than the several owners who lived in this house before us.

Not that I think they should invite us to their parties but seeing them cooking out tonight with their friends and their friends’ kids, I just felt, well, left out and lonely and friendless.  Because we don’t konw anyone here.  We don’t have any friends.  There are a few people I have met whom I would like to call friend, but my relationships with them are just budding.

I know it’s our own fault. We don’t have a church. We’re not outgoing. We don’t ‘join’ things.  It hasn’t taken us this long to find a church before (I guess we are being too particular) and we don’t have anything like at graduate school where you meet lots of people who enjoy the same focus you do. 

We are both reserved people (I know this admission will shock you) and so it’s hard to just plunge right in and get to know people; we are hangers-back types.  And it’s hard right now with taking care of Miles and working and Troy working on his CPA. Our ventures out as a family are brief and pretty much occur around Miles’s naps but I know that Baby Miles just loves to see people and I feel like I need to provide that for him.  I’m trying to find Mom groups in the area but it is slow going.

I don’t know. Usually I don’t think much about how alone we are here but now with Miles…and just tonight, after interacting with some real live people today (ok, it was my midwife and Miles’s ped…but I happen to really LIKE both of them)…I’m feeling like we really do have to do something.

Something that, preferable, falls outside of Miles’s naptime!

High needs? Surely not MY baby…

According to Dr. Sears, who is the ultimate child and baby authority for me since he says ‘trust your instincts’ instead of creating lots artificial schedules and plans, etc, here are 12 signs of a high needs baby. Now, granted, I would reckon that most babies exhibit many of these at least some of the time but in general, I would guess if they are consistent, defining features of your child or infant then probably that child or infant is high needs.

1. Intense: He was pretty intense but it is better now, maybe because he knows his needs are listened to
2. Hyperactive/hypertonic:  his little arms and legs are constantly in motion in the carrier and frequently his little muscles will tense up like he’s got too much energy and has to release it somehow (hypertonic)
3. Draining: oh. yes. indeed.
4. Feed frequently: our ped always asks how often I nurse him and I always tell her I really don’t know, however much he wants. Of course, she needs a number to put on his chart so I always make something up for her.
5. Demanding: oh. YES. when he was younger he would get sooo upset if let-down didn’t happen fast enough; he would scream and cry and twist. he was so angry. And let’s not even talk about being in the carseat.
6. Awakens Frequently: *sigh* you know what I have to say about that
7. Unsatisfied: I wouldn’t say this about him
8. Unpredictable: I wouldn’t say this either. Usually we’ll get into a pretty good, predictable pattern…until the next new development occurs and we have to start over and find a new groove but I would think every baby is like this…
9. Super-sensitive: only falls asleep out of sheer exhaustion if his environment changes at all. sleeps very restlessly anywhere other than his room
10. Can’t put baby down: this needs no comment
11. Not a self-soother: no, not really, poor little thing (this is especially sad in the car seat)
12. Separation sensitive: as either Troy or I are usually with him, I can’t say about this. he does fine w/ my mom. In general he is really outgoing and LOVES people

Miles has evened out over the past 7 months. The horrible screaming and crying has gone and for the most part he is a happy little guy as long as things are the way he needs them to be.  (I know that most people probably think that I am just over-reacting to having a child for the first time but those of you who have spent a significant amount of time at my house and helping me care for Miles do know that I am not making up his intensity. ahem.). 

An interesting note I came across while reading The Fussy Baby was that babies who have rough starts tend to be more likely to have higher needs.  I am really interested in learning if this is a trend across the board or not…

A couple times people have remarked to me that ‘boy, he sure has YOU trained’. This is frustrating to me since a) these people don’t have kids, b) these people don’t have MY kid and c) it implies that I am not ‘in control’. The truth is that the concept of ‘control’ has no role in a parent-child relationship (self-control is different; i’m talking about domineering or domination of your child) and certainly not with an infant. Later I will be a figure of authority but even that is different.  There is nothing ‘out-of-control’ in figuring out what your particular little human being needs and fulfilling those needs with every tool that you have available and to the best of your ability.  That is called responsible parenting and some babies, like little Baby Miles, just need more than others. 

Sometimes I wish he wasn’t so high maintenance but then I realize that he can’t help it, it is just who he is and all in all, as we all learn more about each other and living together and life, things will get easier to cope with; maybe not easier but maybe we’ll all have more tools to work with as time goes on. (I hope)

Crazy Bag Lady

Um. So.  You know about my obsession interest in gardening and that awhile ago I started seeds to plant in said garden (which, by the way, I found out this week that the last day of frost is not till MAY 15 and THAT IS TOO LONG AWAY and anyway it’s been close to 80 all week so how is that even possible???).  After miserable failure in seed starting last year, this year I tried a new technique in which I started only about a half a dozen in the same container and then put the container into a gallon size ziploc bag and set it them on the window sills (of which I have many, fortunately).

NOw that the seedlings are big and getting ready to be put into the ground (Hi! May 15th!), I have taken them out of the baggies and put them into flats. But what to do with the baggies, which are damp and slightly soil-y from the dirt. Solution: the clothesline!  Yes!  Because I want to do this technique next year and because I will not throw away perfectly good baggies that I will USE next year, I hung them all on the laundry line to dry out so I can store them in my shed.

I know. I am an embarrasment to my neighbors (or would be, if any of my neighbors had any sense).  And I would pretty much suppose that I am probably the ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD to hang gallon ziploc baggies on the laundry line.  And YOU KNOW ME!  How special is that? Very special, that’s how.

Second Earth Day post! (can I do that?)


I recently read this article about how green funerals are becoming more popular and it reminded of a few years ago when I broke my ankle and one of the books I read during my convalescence was Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (which I HIGHLY recommend as a fascinating and entertaining read, as long as you are not squeamish about cadavers and decomposition and stuff like that).

In her book, she wrote about a type of cremation in which the body is, essentially, freeze-dried and then shattered into dust, which is in turn then interred in a cardboard box. The cardboard box disintegrates and, instead of the body having to go through the whole long, tedious process of disintegrating and decomposing over a matter of, well, lots of years (how long does it take, bones and all? hmm, Wikipedia failed to give me any concrete length of time on that one), the body is already tidily broken down into useful elements. The VERY BEST PART is that these elements are SO useful and nutritional (can I say that in this context?), you can plant a tree or a shrub or whatever you want in the place of interment, which essentially means, if I remember my science stuff correctly and the whole balance of matter thing, that your remains will be part of a TREE or A SHRUB or WHATEVER-IT-WAS!

Isn’t that cool?  I so want to do that. It is awesome!  I want to be a birch tree. Or maybe a rhodedendron bush. (Troy already knows this, by the way) And there was some reason she said that this was better than cremation ecologically but I can’t remember what that was so you better just go read the book yourself.

And that is my SECOND Earth Day post.

It’s not easy being green?

Ah, Earth Day!  A day on which I get to mount one of my most favorite soapboxes; to wit, conservation.  Naturally parismonious by nature, fretting about conserving precious resources is a DELIGHT for me.  BUT. I live in the mid-west. Mid-westerners are not, perhaps, in general the most conservation-minded people.  So I have compiled a little list of things for Mid-Westerners to do that won’t stretch their conservative yet unconservationist little souls too terribly much. (Yes, I know I’m preaching to the choir here but I do at times need to vent to like-minded individuals)

1. Take your own bags to the store. OR, ask to NOT get a bag when purchasing things you can carry in your two hands. The clerks will look at you aghast and ask if you are SURE, but it can be done.

2. Buy a rotary push mower. No, it doesn’t leave your yard looking like you used your John Deere but you won’t emit yet more exhaust, you won’t need to buy gas and best of all, it’s QUIET.

3. Open the windows. Seriously. My neighbors?  They have ALREADY been running their air conditioner…people, it’s not even hot yet.

4. Use a laundry line.

5. Take a hike.  Ok, not everyone lives close enough to amenities to make this feasible but wouldn’t it be nice if future communities actually returned to this concept?

6. Plant a tree.  Provides shade!  Cleans the air!

7. Recycle.  It can’t get much easier than getting a bin and not even having to sort your recyclables, but the woefully small number of people in my neighborhood who actually manage to do this is discouraging.

8. Buy products that are earth-friendly. Buy products that come in recyclable packaging (and what is with all this packaging, anyway?  it’s so irritating)

9. Drive a car, not a behemoth.  Remember when we were growing up?  When Mom, Dad and 2-3 kids all fit into the family sedan and we didn’t ‘need’ minivans?  Trade in that Escalade for the fuel-efficient car of your choice. 

10. Turn off the water. when you’re brushing or shaving or washing the dishes (oops, maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t have a dishwasher?  not sure…).  Buy a valve for your shower so you can stop the flow while you are soaping up.

11. Buy it used.  Ok, so I can think of some things you WOULDN’T want to buy used, but in general there’s lots of stuff that you can buy that won’t contribute to the consumerist juggernaut. (and, on a side note. if you see something at Goodwill? and it reminds you of me? i would NOT AT ALL be offended if you gave it to me as a gift.  ahem.)

So these are just piddly little things, I know. There’s lots of other things that can be done, some taking more effort and money than others.  But for those of us who go throughout the day trying really hard to minimize our impact, it would be really nice to have EVERYONE pitch in so we wouldn’t have to fret and work hard and feel utterly hopeless because, really, what difference can one household in Our Fair City make to offset the other hundreds of thousands of households who aren’t doing anything.

ok, off the soapbox.

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