Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Anyone have good tips? She thinks the word no is funny, she runs from us when we ask her to give up what's in her mouth, or suddenly stops understanding us when we ask her to fix something (like put the books back that she threw all over the place)
I'm sure this is all normal and healthy signs of development, and I appreciate that. We don't have TV, so watching SuperNanny is not an option.

I'll tell you what we have done:
One minute timeouts
Putting toys away that she starts to throw
Reducing the number of books she has access too (so I have less books to pick up)

Thanks for your help!

Adventures in Babysitting

I didn't forget to tell you all that my husband and I partied hard for Halloween, I've just been too busy to tell you. We went out with a friend of ours, Andi, who did the footwork of finding a sitter for her daughter and ours. It was a rainy Halloween night, but we didn't let that stop us from donning costumes and hitting World Cafe Live.

The phone call Daddy received just as we sat down is the one parents dread. The sitter called to say that Tallu had been crying unconsolably, and she didn't know what else to do. My initial reaction was "Oh, fuck, are we gonna have to leave?!" My second thought was "Aren't we paying you do deal with her? Work it out, lady!" Daddy gave suggestions, and a half hour later she texted to say that Tallu was not sleeping, but much more calm.

We three parents had fun, but when we got back to Andi's house after midnight, who was up, crying, tired, and refusing to sleep? Tallulah! Andi's daughter went to sleep, but Tallu wouldn't (now the poor child was up because ours was noisy). The sitter kept her calm and occupied, reading stories, playing with toys, amd generally avoiding the front door, which set our kid off.

Having said all this, the sitter was unphased by Tallulah's behavior, and complimented us on her language skills and playfulness. She said she just needs to get to know a sitter and perhaps be in her own house, and she'd be fine at night. We still have her number in our address book, just in case....

The next two times we've gone out we've let the little one with our mothers. Tallu knows and loves these ladies, and knows the houses. The sleep issue is the same. She eventually did go to sleep, but at some unholy hour. I guess the solution would be go out more often so that she knows it's okay to sleep without us...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's New with Tallu

Here is your friend at Studio 34 in West Philadelphia after her parents performed with Unidos da Filadelfia. She's not a baby anymore, as you can see. She talks, and sometimes she says things that are in English. People look to me or my husband for translation, but often we shrug our shoulders. The list of vocabulary is expanding exponentially. Her most impressive word? "Denicious" (delicious).
She walks, she runs...sometimes away when she's doing something she's not supposed to. She's got rhythm, she loves music, and was doing a pretty funky dance at Studio 34. My favorite is her shoulder shimmy dance, which I don't have any video of, yet.
Tallu is also becoming less afraid of animals. She spent Thanksgiving in a house with five cats, then went to an apartment with one Jack Russell terrier, and to a house with one small terrier mix. She's warming up to them much quicker, though we must break her of the throwing things at the animals habit. It's not malicious, but it's still not something she should do.
Hmm...what else...still nursing and eating, still teething, still peeing and pooping. Ah, yes! Memory. She is recalling people's names when they are not around, like Abu, Eli, Nathan. She also recognizes certain people in photographs. We went to my mother in law's house, and as we pulled into the driveway, Tallu pointed to the house and said "Grandmama."
I promise to post more before the end of the year. Now that I have a toddler who uses up a lot of my energy I spend my nights sleeping. Of course, it's 6:48 am, but I had to put her back in bed after a mid- night wake up. The joy and curse of the toddler bed is that she can get out of bed and walk into our room any time she wants. But I'd rather wake up to a little voice saying "henno" (hello) at the side of my bed at 3am than to wailing down the hall.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Playground Ethics

Here's the scenario:
A mother walks into a playground with three children. The two older ones, around ages 6 and 8, run to play in the older play area, leaving mother and one year old in the younger play area. Mother sits on the bench and the one year old begins to whine and struggle to get out of the stroller. Mother tells the child to stop, and pushes the child back into the seat several times. Child relents, but still whines and cries.

What do you do?

This really happened today, and I'd love to see people's responses.

The 18-month check-up

Daddy, Tallu, and I went to the appointment on Thursday. She's a whopping 21.3lbs, and the doctor was pleased, since this means Tallu is steadily gaining weight. Of course, Tallu knows the doctor's office and hates everything that happens to her, even getting her head measured. The nurse had to measure my head first so that Tallu could see that the tape measure was not going to hurt her. Only two shots this visit, and Daddy held her (I helped a little bit), while Doc gave the needle. Tallu's vocabulary is increasing, her mobility is great, and we don't have to go back until the office gets their allotment of the H1N1 vaccines.

Very uneventful update, which is fine for a doctor's appointment.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's New with Tallu

Tallu is officially a toddler. Her great-grandparents Hull bought her a crib that converts to a toddler bed, then a full size bed. I decided that, since she is a proficient walker, it was time to move on from the crib. It has resulted in much happier mornings for both mother and daughter. When she's up for the day, she climbs out of bed, opens her door, walks down the hall to our bedroom, and says "Hi!" She's only fallen out of bed once, just a few days ago. She has woken up in the middle of the night thanks to teething, but she really likes not sleeping behind bars.

Tallu has also figured out how to climb down the stairs alone. She climbs backwards, which is pretty safe way to descend. Now that she's in the toddler bed, the gate stays at the top of the stairs during the night. There's no light in the hallway, and I don't want her falling down the stairs. The only time the gate is down is when I am downstairs for an extended period of time, and she's downstairs with me. She is enjoying her increased mobility.

More teeth are errupting, the molars this time. First the left side, top and bottom, now the right side is starting. It still hurts.

She's also learning more body parts, and she reads to herself and her toys. Tallu is also learning to say her name, animal sounds, and PattyCake (Yeah, I know it's Pat-A-Cake, but that's how I said it as a kid, so there.) She's still wary of dogs, and she's slowly learning how to play with other children. I have to get her around other children more often...

We are starting the weaning process. Tallu is eating more, enjoying cow juice (plain and strawberry), and if we go out of the house, she nurses less. I say this, but now that she's cutting teeth, the nursing has increased a bit. What's it like nursing a teething toddler? Not as scary as some of you think, especially since she learned a while ago biting gets her nothing. Teeth are coming in new places, and I think she adjusts her pressure to alleviate her pain, which means my nipples are not as numb as they used to be. But it's nothing like in the beginning of the nursing phase.

Tallu is 18 months on the 29th. Many people have said it's time for me to stop nursing. Then again, people said that once she started cutting teeth. I'm taking a cue from my good friend in Seattle- I give her the milkies when she asks, and sometimes I will say no, like if I know she's doing it because she's hungry. I always joked that when a child can say "I want booby," it's time to stop. Now that Tallu can say "milkies" as well as sign it, AND get the milkies out of my shirt, I guess it's the beginning of the end. Besides, I am amused that she's figured out how to pull my shirt down just enough to get to the nipple, even though she hates fabric in her face...

More updates as the growing continues!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

...and Obey!

Last Wednesday my family went on a hike in the White Mountains with friends. It was a vertical ascent, rocky at times, but not terribly difficult. I like the outdoors, but I don't like these types of hikes. I'm more of a distance person-I don't care how beautiful the moutain peaks look from up anywhere, and I don't like climbing up, because that means I have to climb down. Anyhoo- what I really wanted to do Wednesday was sit in the main house, read a book or two, take a nap, listen to music, be alone. No child to look after, no husband to cater to, just enjoy quality time with me, something I haven't done in a long time.

I didn't say all that to my husband Wednesday morning. I said something like "I want to stay here for the day." My husband didn't think that was a good idea, and bargained with me: I could have Saturday AND Sunday to myself if I went on the hike Wednesday. Saturday was bullshit-I already had that day to go see a theater performance, and Sunday I (try to) take Tallu and myself to church, so I didn't see how that was much of a deal. What, I get my Sunday off after I take my kid to church? Then it's not a day off, see? None of that matters, really. What I wanted was to enjoy a few moments of solitude in a relaxing place, which I had right there under my feet. What I got was a rocky climb up a mountain, aching knees and feet, and a sweaty back, and plenty of time to think, since neither of us spoke to each other in the car or on the mountain unless necessary.

I could have said no, I want to stay here, and I'm staying. My husband would have been disappointed and upset, but I would have had my relaxing day. He would have still had his hike up White Mountain with people who really wanted to be there. Everybody wins.

I chose to go on the hike to make my husband happy, to keep marital accord. My husband is the sole financial provider for the family. He drove us eight hours to get to Maine, and everywhere else we went while on vacation. If he wants me to go on the hike, I thought, the least I can do is go. I had this great line I wanted to spit at my husband in the imaginary conversation I had with him in my head, something like: "You know, I'm really sorry that you don't value my time as much as I value yours." I thought it was such a zinger, until I realized that, by choosing to go, I was the one who devalued my time.

Ugh, I feel so stupid. No, I feel like I'm in my parent's house again. The household axiom was "When you pay the bills, you can do what you want." No bill paying on this end, so there goes my power. It is an awful way to feel, and I can't believe I've allowed myself to feel like this. Stupid and powerless, of my own accord. When did I become this woman?

ps- no, i didn't get saturday off. i did get to go to the show, however, so i got an hour and a half or so "to myself."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Scenes from Franklin Park 9/3/09

The kid in the pink jumper is Tallu. The girl in the white shirt is J, who adopted Tallu on the playground. She watched Tallu playing for a few minutes, then decided that she would play with Tallu. Everything J did Tallu tried, or wanted to try, anyway. It was very touching to see J's generosity and Tallu's willingness to trust another person.

Imagine Tallu descending this wall...she did it twice, no three times. The third time she missed the wall completely, landing on her feet as though nothing dangerous just happened. J's father was watching and couldn't believe that 1-Tallu did the wall, and 2- I let her do it. But J was doing it, so it must be fun, right?

She's been walking for three weeks, and already she's playing on the big kid's toys. An older girl suggested that she move from the other side, which was a backless bench. Children are pretty perceptive...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New York, New York

My husband and I went to my best friend from Kindergarten's wedding last Saturday in Brooklyn. It was in an old church with no A/C, vaulted ceilings, and stained glass windows. My friend and her husband, looking very much in love, wrote their own vows, and wore white. Her youngest brother is my mother's godchild, and I cried when he walked down the aisle as a groomsman. I haven't seen him since he was a boy! Immediately after the service I ran into my friend and had a chance to meet her husband, who is a gentleman! I had a chance to reunite with her mom, dad, and older brother and sister. It was an enjoyable afternoon, complete with roti, The Dollar Wine, and The Electric Slide.

Tallu had fun, too, though not at the church. She stayed in Long Island City with her godparents- her dad's best friends from high school and their ladies. Tallu swam in the pool, ate lots of food (including chicken nuggets and fries), and had the constant doting of her four godparents, and a Jack Russell terrier who let her stay in his house.

We expected Tallu to be asleep when we picked her up around 9:30, but when I arrived at the apartment, she was chomping on some nuggets. I chatted with the adults for a while, then decided to take her to my grandparents' home (my mom lives there with my grandma and aunt), so she'd fall asleep. She fell asleep in the car, but woke up when Daddy tried to lay her down. Luckily for us, our six year old nephew was there with my mom. Tallu was delighted to have someone else to play with, and Daddy and Moddy tiptoed out while the cousins played (at 10:30 pm!)

Our evening of child-free fun continued in LIC, hanging on the balcony, looking towards Midtown, listening to a story of our friends' three week cross-country honeymoon, breathing the air, and not hearing so much as a whimper from a baby. We concluded the evening with a run to White Castle, returning to my grandmother's at 3 am! My mom said Tallu finally gave in to sleep at 12:30, with my nephew close behind.

Tim and I were so glad to have the afternoon together, glad to have Tallu bond with her godparents. They, in turn, loved having her to themselves. My mom, aunt, and grandma were thrilled to see Tallu walking, and my husband and I enjoyed seeing our nephew and his mohawk!
For a moment I really missed New York. I wish we lived closer to those ties, for ourselves and for Tallu. We have established ourselves elsewhere, however, and we will have to make new ties, form new alliances, so that we can have that same safety net where we are now, which we are doing, it's just that i don't feel guilty asking my mom and Tallu's godparents to care for her in our stead.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

About last night

I gave Tallu a bath last night with no problem. She wouldn't let me put her diaper on for a half an hour. She's yelling, screaming, turning, shuffling her naked booty across the bed, laughing at me the whole time. I'm exhausted, she's exhausted (had a 15 minute nap), the fight continues. I'm reasoning with her, but all the while my blood pressure is rising. She was dangerously close to the edge of the bed, and I told her more than once that I was going to let her fall. The problem here is that we're house-sitting and the bed we're sleeping in is a good three feet off the ground. I let her fall, I'm going to jail. Thank God she moved herself away from the edge every time, because in those moments I really don't know that I would've tried to stop her from falling.

I did call for help, but my husband, exhausted from a long's day at a hot work site, was asleep downstairs. I stopped fighting, and let her crawl around, to give myself time to calm down. Her lower back was red and she kept scratching it, which may be why she wouldn't lay down for the diaper change. I slapped some anti-itch balm on her, put the diaper on standing up, and we came downstairs, like nothing ever happened.

When I get that frustrated with my child I try to remind myself that she's a baby, and she's not old enough to piss me off on purpose. I chose to have her, and even if I have no patience left for her, I'd damn well better find some. It would've been great to have been given a break at that moment, but there are millions of parents who don't get a break in that moment, yet still they keep their wits about them. I thank God every day that I've been able to do what's best for her in those moments of distress, and I pray that I never take my frustration out on any of my children, 0r anyone else's.

Monday, August 17, 2009

She walks alone

This video was taken around 7 am, before we went to church Sunday morning.

This clip is after church, at Tallulah's grandparents' home. I tried to catch her hitting herself in the head with the plastic bottle, but caught something equally amusing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

What's New with Tallu

Here's a list of what Tallu's doing these days:

Walking- she'll hold your hand to walk, she doesn't trust herself yet (even though her uncle caught her walking by herself on camera while the family was hanging out at the pool at our Hilton Head vacation home. We think she was so distracted she had no clue that she was walking.)

Talking- she says no, thank you, please, water, pah (that means "up"), daddy, daggy (that means "doggy"), moddy (that means "mommy"), down, cup, juice, hi train, bye train (the regional rail passes our house), hi, bye, wow, plus the usual baby gibberish (in which we grown-ups with children are supposed to be fluent).

Eating- still nursing, but also doing better with eating solid foods. She likes guacamole, waffles, pancakes, beans, rice, blueberries, bananas, hummus, french fries, chicken nuggets, and whatever is on daddy and maddy's plates.

Pool time- she enjoys being in the water and is not afraid, which is a good thing.

Comprehending and responding to English- i am amazed at how much she understands me. If I tell her to go to Mommy and Daddy's room, she goes. If I ask her to give her Daddy a goodnight kiss, he gets one. If I ask: "Did you make poopies?" she grunts.

Teething- the saga continues...working on teeth numbers 8 and 9.

Dog Familiarity/Similarity-she is much less afraid of dogs. She is still very frightened of the vacuum cleaner, to the point where she starts whining if she even sees it.

Body Familiarity- she knows where her eyes, nose, and mouth are. She blinks her eyes when she says eye. We are working on the ears next.

That's all I can think of for now... ah...the pic is from our time in Richmond, VA at the Capt. John Smith Park. It was our break from the 12+hr drive from Hilton Head, SC home. Great park- if you find yourself in Richmond, take a trip to the waterfront, and cross that ghastly footbridge, which runs beneath an interstate overpass.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Vacation Haiku

What is vacation?
A new place to do the same
No rest for mommy

I'd love for someone to sned me away to a spa for 48 hours after I wean Tallu. Alone. Nowhere far- I hate flying. Oh, gotta go, the kid is up from nap. I'm back on duty.


I am sitting in my grandparents' house, exhausted from a long weekend in Gloucester, MA, where Tallulah decided to take a vacation from sleeping through the night. Thursday and Friday nights she woke up around 2, and since we were all sharing a room, I put her in bed with us and nursed her back to sleep. Saturday night was...ugh...

Tallu woke up at 2:30 am Sunday morming and decided that everyone should be awake. Dad and I tag teamed her: nursing, rocking, nursing, rocking, sippy cup of warmed milk, toys on the floor; all ineffective. She screamed, she cried, she giggled, she wiggled, but she did not sleep. We were in a house with eight other people and one six month old baby. We gave in at 5 am and drove her past Rockport and she fell asleep on the way home, and on the way to the bedroom. It was an invigorating nap; she jumped up and was revving to play.

My husband was driving us home in a few hours, so for his sleep to be interrupted was dangerous for all. We did manage to return to sleep- at 6:30 Sunday morning, after driving and cathcing a glimpse of sunrise. We would have preferred to miss it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Worst. Appointment. Ever.

Let's rewind to Tallu's last visit. Her doctor warned me that at around 15 months there is a developmental shift. Babies stop tolerating what was once commonplace. She said appointments would be pretty difficult after this, and I was to never come alone to another visit. I told this to my husband, but Tuesday night my husband started talking about some meeting he had for work the next day. I don't live near any family, and my friends who live nearby have jobs or children of their own, so not much help there.

I took Tallu to her 15-month appointment on Wednesday. We arrived at 9:10 am for a 10:30 am appointment (I thought the appointment was at 9:30), but it was easy enough to return home (we now live four long blocks away). The receptionist and I had a good laugh at my vague memory.

The fun ends there.

Everything was as Dr. M said. Tallu yanked the measuring tape from around her head. She crawled away when I laid her down to measure her length. Surprisingly, she did sit for her weigh-in, but that's because she had to sit on the scale. But she did the chicken dance when the nurse took her temperature (thermometer went in the armpit).

Then the doc came in for the chat and statistical analysis. Good news is Tallu is growing. Bad news is Tallu gained a whopping ONE pound as of the last visit, bringing her to 18 lbs. Tallu is not much for eating, but she'll milk me until I pass out. The doc told me to introduce her to whole milk, and combing carbs and fats (bread and butter, crackers and cream cheese). Her brain needs fat for proper development. She certainly looks healthy, but in a diaper she reminds me of a "starving ethernopian," as the South Park boys would say.

Now that I'm feeling like a maternal fuck-up, we have to get down to business: vaccinations. Tallu received two shots. The first one Dr. M administered as I held Tallu in my arms. Dr. M put the needle in Tallu's thigh and injected the vaccine. Tallu screamed, wrapped her little hand around the needle, and pulled it from her thigh.

I'll give you time to re-read that...

Dr. M was afraid Tallu had stuck her hand as she removed the needle. I was afraid she didn't get the vaccine and we'd have to do this shit again. Thank God, neither scenario played out, but Tallu gave herself a two inch scratch with the needle. There was another shot to go, so we tried a new tactic: I held Tallu's arms, while Dr. M injected Tallu in the other thigh. That worked, but the damage to my psyche (and I'm sure my kid's psyche) was done. I left the appointment embarrassed, dejected, and enraged.

Embarrassed because I did exactly what the doctor told me not to do, and my child was completely uncooperative. Dejected because I can't figure out how to get my kid to eat- Lord knows I try three to five times every day. Enraged because my child hurt herself and it was all my fault. I was cursing my husband in my mind the whole walk home, but I recognized that I couldn't be angry at him for leaving me to go to the appointment alone. He has a real job, and can't take a few hours off to accompany me to every appointment. I was pissed at myself for being incapable of controlling my kid and keeping her safe, which is my job.

Her next appointment is in October, and it is essential that I find someone to help me with her next time. Who will be able to help me, I don't know. I also have to figure out how to improve her appetite, lest the doctor call the authorities on me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hard Knocks

Tallu celebrated Memorial Day by getting a busted lip.

We were at our friends' home for their bbq Monday. Their son and Tallu were playing in the kitchen, where a shiny balloon was on the floor. Tallu wanted the balloon, but her little friend, who is seven months older than her, didn't want her to have it. So, he kicked it out of her way. Unfortunately, Tallu was diving head-first for the balloon as it moved from under her, and she ate the floor. There was blood, there were tears, Daddy cleaned her up. I felt bad for letting her hit the floor, but I caught everything at the last second. (At least I saw her fall, and I saw why she was bleeding.) Yes, she did go back and play with her little friend a few minutes later, and we did stay for hot dogs. We had another party to attend, and by the time we got to that one, Tallu's top lip was swollen.

Tallu played with her cousins from Wisconsin and NJ Memorial Day weekend, too. Her cousins are 3, 2, and 18 months. None of them drew blood. I can hear my husband now: "You should let this go. Children get hurt playing all the time." I'm trying very hard to let it go...

In other, happier news, Tallu had her first bike ride this weekend. Her dad bought a bike seat that sits in front of the adult. I stayed home while they biked around the neighborhood. He said she had a great time. I worried the whole time they were gone, but I had to remind myself that Tallu's dad can be trusted to keep her safe :-) They both wore helmets, he obeyed all the traffic laws. They both came home in one piece.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I figured since I have some time before church I'd say a generic, blanket Happy Mother's Day to all you maternal-type peoples out there! Tallulah is gated off in the parental bedroom, while I am down the hall typing. She's actually sitting at the gate playing with some junk mail. Shows you what an attentive parent I really am, huh...

Anyhoo, your little friend Tallu is growing up. She's using the walls, chairs, and adults to stand up and walk around. She's not taking steps without assistance, but that's fine with me. She's also loving her sippy cup and watered down juice, and eating anything that's on someone else's plate.

Tallu also does not lay still for diaper changes anymore or much else. Her pediatrician said at her last visit that I am no longer allowed to come to any doctor's appointments alone (Tallu's too fussy, which is exactly where she should be developmentally). We got her ears pierced two weeks ago, and she fights to let me clean her ears. It's very frustrating.

With that having been said, pretty much everywhere we go, I am complimented on Tallulah's even temperment and well-behaved-ness. (It's Mother's Day, let me make up words, okay?) A woman said to me "Whenever I see a well-behaved child I always compliment the parent because that is her hard-work coming through."

Church is in an hour, gotta get both of us ready to go. Peace of the Lord be with you.
I'm out :-)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

How very inappropriate, thank you

I'm on a writing roll, since my husband has taken the reins of watching Tallu, and since I will be blogging for an upcoming arts festival. I've gotta get in the habit of writing more often, so you all get the benefit of me posting three times in one day. You also get the benefit of my political incorrectness, as I have spent the last week watching the original Bad News Bears, Richard Pryor Live, and simply being Samuel Green's daughter.
This picture is of Tallu and her dad on a tractor at his grandparent's house, which is a 12 acre farm. It hasn't been a farm in many years, but it's in the process of becoming one again. When I saw her on the tractor this memory came to mind.
My maternal great-great grandfather was white (so miscegenation seems to run in the genes...)
My dad loved to kid my mom about my grandmother and her siblings working on her white grandfather's plantation. Dad would cackle every time he said this, and he said it a lot, and I would giggle to myself (more because my dad's laugh was contaigious, not because I wanted to laugh at my grandma, plus the mental image was funny.) As my husband put Tallu on his lap, I could her Dad cackling in my ear. I smiled to myself and thought, oh lord, this poor child is gonna be running through these fields picking weeds and shit like gramma!
I ran into an acquaintance, Gil, just outside the supermarket yesterday. A woman walks past us, but stops when she sees Tallu in the stroller. The lady looks down at Tallu, then to me and says: "Is that your baby?"
"Yes," I respond.
"She's mixed, isn't she," stranger accuses. I affirm my daughter's mixed-ness. Madame Clairvoyant continues, "Her father's white, isn't he?" "Yes, he is." Conversation over. Lady walks on to the supermarket. I looked down at Tallu and said, "Sorry, kid, for the rest of your life people are going to be asking you that question."
Gil was taken aback, and asked me if that happened often, and if it bothered me when it happens. I said it doesn't happen often, and that it doesn't bother me, because her father is, in fact, white. I said to him: "Hell, I know who her father is. We're married, in a loving relationship. It's cool."
When I related this story to friends (both of whom are white) at dinner that same evening, they asked if that happened often, and I had to admit it doesn't. What does happen is people- black people- will stare at Tallu, then look at me, then stare at Tallu. That pisses me off more than the question. What I want to say is "Don't stare at my child. You got something to say, speak up, punk. Otherwise, move the fuck on, cuz we ain't bothering yo stank ass! Don't be mad cuz we're both cuter than you!" But I don't want to infuse Tallu with that chip-on-the-shoulder attitude. So I just make direct eye contact with the starer, blank-faced.
I have not been asked if she's mine, or how long I've been a nanny, as my friends said their friend was asked about her child. A stranger even asked the mother if she was sure she was the child's mother! (I'm still waiting for that question to come up. I should start carrying around the picture of Tallu's placenta on the hospital tray, just in case someone does ask for proof.) Then the husband said: "It's 2009. Seriously. Are we still having this conversation?"
Yes. Yes, we are.

Cruising for Moms

Tallu and I were walking down Germantown Ave a few weeks ago when we ran into a mom and daughter who looked around our ages. The mom (I'll call her Lana) and I exchanged pleasantries, gushed about how cute our daughters are. The next words from Lana's mouth stopped me:

"So, do you wanna get together sometime, to talk and for the girls to play?"

My head was spinning between the heat and this being the longest conversation I'd had with another human being all day, and I heard myself saying "YES!" The next thing I knew we were exchanging cell phone numbers. We spent a good portion of the afternoon together at the lawn next to our local library, where another mother and her two older children stopped to play. Lana struck up a conversation with Jill, while I sat back, ate my banana, and watched Tallu crawl on the grass. I didn't join their conversation, because I was tired of networking- collecting one stranger's phone number was enough for one day.

I did see Jill at the free day of play at that cafe. I said nothing because I was there to play with Tallu, not pick up moms. A week later I saw Jill at Mt. Airy Day- we were in the same food line- and we acknowledged each other, introduced ourselves, and said we'd hope to see each other again soon. Meanwhile, after much phone tag, Lana and I did meet up yesterday. We had a great time, our daughters had fun playing with each other, and I've invited them to join Tallu and I at the zoo and the Please Touch Museum.

So, what's the difference between Lana and Jill? Here's the ugly truth. Lana is a young, newly-married biracial woman, staying at home with her 19-month old. Jill is homeschooling her children, and is an older, white mom. I came a conclusion that I would have more in common with Lana than Jill based on visuals. Is that fair? No, it's not. But that's what I did.

Women of all across the spectrum need a community that reflects them. That day I decided I needed to reflect the melanin. Frankly, I do have a diverse community of young mothers I can call on, and meeting Lana and Jill reminded me: I don't need to cruise the streets for young moms. I have them in my cell phone, on Facebook, in Philly, in NY, in Seattle. I just need to reach out to them more often.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Free is a four letter word

There's a place in NW Philly where parents can bring their children to play, as the grown-ups have coffee, read the news, and update their Facebook status. The new location opened yesterday and it was free to the public, so Tallu and I went to have fun.

It's a great concept- one open room, tons of wooden toys and oversized plush animals, a cafe with healthy snacks for big and small, plus coffee for the big. I took off Tallu's shoes, found a spot in the room that was not swarming with kids, and set her down. I was not far behind her, because she is 13 months. I kept wondering if I was being a little overprotective. She was free to roam, but I was there to swoop in if she was in harm's way. Like when one kid nearly ran over her little fingers with a push toy. Or when she started crawling in the midst of women who were drinking coffee near their children. Fortunately when the food ran out, the crowd started to thin. I don't think I'll be attending anymore free indoor events for children with Tallu, not until she can be the child on the pushing end of the toy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Suicide threats are always to be taken seriously. If a mother threatens to kill herself and her children, and you can get to her, please go to her. Call 911 once you've arrived. Thank you.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Recap of the last 26 days

Howdy, y'all!
I am writing from a new location. We have moved two miles away into our new home. No more apartment! We have no upstairs or downstairs neighbors, no lackluster landlords, no overcrowded parking lot and overflowing garbage area! The three of us are exhausted, but my husband is most overworked. God bless him, he's done so much these past few weeks: sanding and sealing floors, packing and unpacking at all hours of the night, painting, working a paying job. I've been helping where I can, as have friends and family. Tallulah has been a typical baby, adaptable yet unflexible.

Tallu had her one year follow-up at CHOP just before her first birthday. She was not as cooperative for the X-Ray, but Dr. Flynn was very pleased with her hip and told us he'll see her in a year. The staff was thrilled to see their little baby, and couldn't believe how she's grown. They were upset that the next time Tallulah comes in she will be a walking, talking little girl!

We celebrated Tallulah's first birthday in our new home. She and I made it to the party! It was a very low-key celebration, given that we were still in the midst of moving into the new house. Her godfathers and aunts from NYC came to celebrate, as did three of her five grandparents, her cafe family, and her NE Philly friends, and her daddy's drumming buddies, and a sweet-tempered dog!

The next day was the pediatrician's appointment. More shots- the last prevnar, the first mmr (measles-mumps-rubella), and chicken pox. I have to fatten her up a bit, so we're letting her eat real food. Her ear was looking off, so the doctor prescribed amoxicillin. We were concerned that she may be allergic, but the doctor said Tallu had to prove she was allergic. Six days later, Tallu had a rash all over. She was never uncomfortable or itchy. We went back to the doctor and, since her ear looked better anyway, the doctor said we could stop giving her the medicine. The rash is gone, and I think we can consider her allergic.

Besides this, Tallu is adjusting to her new home. She's crawling, pulling herself up to stand, and taking steps around tables, etc. She loves the Muppets, is afraid of dogs, and likes the playground.

Consider youself filled in on the goings-on with Tallu :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Next time, I'm bringing my ear plugs

We are moving to our first home at the end of this month. I was going to type 'our new home', but I can't say that, after having scrubbed decades of dirt from the living room walls. This job was made more tedious and frustrating by my lovely daughter, who howled like a banshee for most of the time.

I tend to her needs- feed her, change diapers, dance around for a few minutes. She'll calm down, then I explain that I have to get back to work. I set her down in the playpen with some familiar toys. Her butt barely hits the bottom before she's pulling herself up and wailing. The next time I go work at the house, I will get some video of the histrionics and post. It's unbelieveable. Actually, it's plain fucking ridiculous.

All she wants to do is move around the house. I'd would love to let her, but the paint is chipping, and we're positive it's lead paint. Until we put new paint on the walls we can't let her crawl around the house. I know she doesn't understand why she has to be confined. I realize she doesn't know how obnoxious hearing her cry for hours is. I do understand the frustration; I'm annoyed, but I'm not an asshole. I just want her to shut the fuck up...

Okay, now I'm an asshole!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What to do?

Are there any stay-at-home moms reading this blog? If you're out there, I need some suggestions on what to do with my soon-to-be one year old during the day. Free things to do with Tallu :-) Thanks!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Baby on the grow

Tallulah is enjoying the freedom of mobility now that she's crawling. The crawling has reduced Tallulah's frustration with me leaving her in the dining room while I work in the kitchen. It has also allayed my fears that 1) she would never crawl, and 2) that the hip dysplasia was the cause of her not crawling yet. My mom witnessed the crawling tonight, which she loved.

Milady also loves sitting up when it's time to lay down for a diaper change. This has increased my frustration with her because diapering has suddenly become a battle of will. In order for her to sit up, she must turn from her back to her stomach, stretch her legs into a split, then push herself up with her arms. It's great technique. I just wish she wouldn't practice it while I'm trying to change her diaper. Mom opted not to witness the diaper change, but she got a good laugh about it as I explained what my husband was probably going through at that moment.

I'm teaching Tallu to branch out in the communication department. I can't stand the crying or whining, so I told her that when she wants to be picked up or taken out of a toy to raise her arms and say "Up." I also told her that she doesn't have to cry when she wakes up in the morning. I showed her the monitor, which sits atop her crib. "When you wake up in the morning, just call me," I said. "Say 'Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom', and I'll come to you." She's doing pretty well with the arm-raising, and we will keep working on the verbal.

Tallu can now clap her hands. She does it when you say "yay" or "clap." She also gives kisses. My favorite are the ones I don't have to ask for, and the ones that don't end with my cheek between the little ivory razors in her mouth. They're pretty wet, but I still love them. It makes me think she actually likes me!

The biting is a bit less, now that teeth numbers 5 and 6 are erupting. I still have to give the firm "no biting," and end the feeding, but not as much as a week or two ago. I'm beginning to get the question about when I'm going to end the breastfeeding. A friend reminds me that her two children stopped shortly after they turned 1. My mom suggested I start two nights ago when I mentioned a quick bite Tallu took that day.

It's easy to answer my mom - I told my mom that what Tallu needs to learn is that if she wants milk she cannot bite me. I have no reply for my friend, however. Maybe that's the best answer, because I really don't know when Tallu and I will decide to end nursing. She's healthy thanks to the milk I provide for her. Hell, she's even clapped during a few nursings. How can I stop now?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mommy Abuse?

Tallulah bit my leg so hard on Tuesday morning she broke the skin. I now have two little puncture wounds to the left of my knee cap. I reported her to the local authorities. An officer came to take a report, but took one look at Tallulah and refused to believe someone so adorable could commit such a heinous act. The officer then asked Tallulah if she wanted to press charges against me for making a false statement. Tallulah shook her head no (one of many new tricks she's learning), smiled and waved bye to the officer. Then she scratched my neck as a warning.

I was nursing her before her nap on the same day. My nephew (who is visiting us from NYC for the week) sat by me on the couch, and brushed Tallulah's head. Five seconds later she realized what happened and started crying. She bit my nipple, turned and bit my arm. When I moved her to my shoulder, she bit that, too. My nephew woke her, but I get attacked? That's bullshit!

I quit my job to care for her. I used to get up in the middle of the night to feed her. I even suck the snot out of her little nose to clear it, because she refuses to let me use the aspirator on her. And this is the thanks I get? I'm on edge, I tell ya. I never know when she's gonna strike, and it's so distressing. I really do feel like I'm being abused. I know she's just a baby, but I can't help but feel like she's doing this on purpose. How do I stop the biting?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Can't Sleep? Post on the blog!

It's 1:13 am. I am exhausted, but I feel like I should post an entry. Tallu's cutting another tooth on the top row. The top two aren't completely down and she's starting with another one! I've given up on the teething tablets, mainly because I like the extended relief of ibuprofen. I feel badly that she's suffering, but I'm so glad she will have no recollection of this experience.
The good news is Tallu's making good use of her teeth. Wednesday she bit my nipple, my bottom lip, my cheek, and my left shoulder. I'm becoming more observant during her nursing sessions, watching to see when she's finished eating so that I don't become her chew toy. Baby teeth are like jagged razors, and the jaw strength is superhuman. This will sound crazy, but I think I'm afraid of her!

More good news is that she's eating solid foods, and she's less messy about it. We've added yogurt to the menu. The consistency took some getting used to, but Tallu definitely likes it! I get a whole milk yogurt. Last week's flavors were blueberry and apple, and tonight she ate pear. The serving size is one container, but she never eats a whole one. I'm trying not to feed her too much yogurt at dinner, because I want her to have her warm milk before bed. I'm frightened of Razormouth, but I'm still required to nourish her. A friend asked if I was still planning to nurse her for a year. I have a month and a half to go (can you believe it?), so I don't want to quit now. I'm not sure how long I want to go after that. I'm glad that she's better with solid foods, though I must admit the only time I give her a meal is dinner, some Cheerios if she gets whiny between nursings, or Zwieback toast, or some prunes.

Lastly, when it comes to food, the girl knows what she doesn't want. I handed her a prune today. She threw it on the ground. So we walked to the kitchen, and I grabbed the box of Zwieback. Tallu and I reached into the box at the same time. She ate her toast, and I ate her prune.

It's 2:11 am. Wake-up time has been about 6:45 the past two mornings, so I should get to sleep.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Fair Trade

We've been looking for a house for about a year. Shortly after New Year's we looked at a house in the East Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. It was everything we wanted: a fixer-up that's not in condemnable shape, close to public transportation and near the downtown area we like, and affordable. We knew we'd be foolish to let this house go to someone else, so we put in an offer, cheesy note about how much we loved the place included. That was on a Monday.

On Tuesday our realtor called to say the other party's realtor wanted to know if we were amending our offer. This house was at the high end of our range, and to amend our offer was pushing us to the max. Then Tim asked me the following question: "If I put in a higher offer, would you be willing to go back to work for us to afford this?"

I've been an apartment dweller my whole life, and no my parents didn't own the one where I lived as a child. I love being home with Tallu overall, and wouldn't trade this time for anything. But I'm so tired of dealing with landlords, of the impermance of apartment living. I'd love for Tallu to live in a house, with stairs, and a dog, and a backyard. So I thought for a moment and said, "Yes." We amended our offer, and hoped for the best.

That night the realtor called to say congratulations! We've done the home inspection, been approved for a mortgage, and the closing is February 26. My husband can't swing a mortgage on top of our other bills alone. I've enjoyed being at home with Tallu, but part of being a good parent is doing what's best for your family. My going back to a job that pays is what's best for all of us right now.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Tallu is becoming a bit more independent. She has figured out how to sit up from laying down, she crawls backwards, and she scoots on her butt to move forward. Tallu is also very flexible, like most babies, and will stretch her little arm and fingers to get what she needs if she doesn't feel like scooting to what she wants. I'd like to thank our living room for the sudden burst of mobility. I moved back the futon and coffee table, creating more floor space. There is no carpet in there, so I laid out some blankets. Tallu travels all over the living room, and I purposely stay on the furniture as much as I can. This way she has plenty of room to move, and I don't get tempted to reposition her or push a toy back when it rolls just out of reach. Plus it cuts back on biting- if the boobs are on the other side of the room, there's no temptation to have a nip, and then a chomp.

I did not look up the crawling business, thanks to motherly wisdom. Why upset myself, right? Tallu will do what she needs to do when she's ready, like she did with sleeping in the crib.

Words of Wisdom

Last night, after putting Tallu to bed, my husband returned to the bedroom with an epiphany: "Fuck that cry it out shit!"

Most eloquent. And true.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Update on Tallu

Tallu is ten months old. She's stopped biting during nursing, and is still sleeping through the night in her crib. I no longer have to climb into the crib to nurse her to sleep. Tallu is still not crawling, but I discovered yesterday that she can skoot herself on her butt to move around. She loves Cheerios, cherries, sweet potatoes, and prunes, but is not interested in drinking anything other than milk. The doctor says her iron levels are a bit low, so I have to give her the liquid vitamins in her food.

Speaking of food, Tallu has decided that she wants what's on our plates now, not that wussy Cream of Rice cereal! She snatched a chocolate chip cookie from me a few days ago. Last night I fed her some of my pizza (caramelized onion and apple, with mozzarella, no sauce). She paid for that this afternoon, starting around 2pm, and I learned a valuable lesson: Tallu and pizza are a bad combination. I'm sure the BM was painful, what with the screaming and straining, and I felt so bad that I'd caused it. But I was a good cheerleader, telling her to let that poopy out, and that she was such a big girl to go through this awful thing, but that she would have such a good nap afterwards, which she did. I nursed her for about two hours, and gave her a few droppers worth of water, massaged her back and her thighs. She woke up at 7:30pm much happier than when she fell asleep around 4pm.
(I saved the diaper for my husband to see- it was solid and dense, not what you want from a ten month old. He asked if I was going to take a picture of it. I declined)

Although she's not crawling, Tallu is standing and pulling herself to stand. A co-worker of my husband says I can't let her skip crawling, as there is critical mental development that occurs when babies learn to crawl. I have to look that up. She's working on sitting up by herself. I don't know what milestones are when, frankly. I'd also like her to work on waking up a little happier, but for now, I am grateful she sleeps in her crib for the whole night. At least I have some time alone. Unfortunately it's in the middle of the night, time I'm supposed to use for sleeping.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Back in the crib

I looked at Tallu's mouth today. It looks like her two top front teeth may be errupting, which would explain her middle of the night wake-up. I gave her medicine and she's asleep in her crib. She did have some trouble getting to sleep, but thank God it was nothing like last night. I wish I could say I'm going to bed too, but I'm listening to the monitor and watching TV, just in case she freaks out again

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy New Year

I've waited seven days to write this post, for fear that if I wrote too soon I would jinx it.

Tallulah is asleep. In her crib. Since 9pm.

She started doing this last Monday. Last Saturday she woke up in our bed at 4am. I tried putting her back to sleep for almost two hours, and finally gave up and put her in her room to play. That didn't work, but I went on strike, so her father had to tend to her. Her dressed her and they went out for a drive. She slept for twenty minutes. When I woke up at around 11 am, Tallu was still awake, giggling and playing. Sunday was the last night she slept in the family bed.

I was going to write that she's been sleeping through the night, but now she's up and crying. Her father is now walking her up and down the hallway to put her back to sleep. So, until tonight, she was sleeping through the night.

How do I get her down for the night? Here's the routine. Tallu has dinner- some solid food. She plays and, depending on how dirty she is, takes a bath. I plug in her humidifier, turn on her rainforest nightlight and put her in the crib. She starts to cry. I climb in the crib and nurse her. (Yes, I CLIMB into the crib!) She falls asleep, I climb out of the crib.

My mom laughed when I told her that I have to climb into the crib with Tallu. She asked if the crib was strong enough to hold the both of us. Yes, the crib is sturdy enough to hold the both of us. I'm not sleeping there for the night. I figure there are plenty of babies who have that last bottle of the night in the crib, so why can't Tallu have her last booby of the night i n the crib?

The baby monitor is a horrible invention. I was up for hours listening to it, making sure no one had broken into our house and was chillin in her room, or making sure the whimpers didn't turn into full on crying. The good news is that no one has broken into her room. The better news is that I am not waking up in the middle of the night needing to nurse, so we've managed to night-wean. So, Tallulah is starting to eat solids, she's sleeping in her crib, and the all-night buffet is closed. I think my husband is very happy to not have his face kicked in the middle of the night, and to have his half of the bed again. I am trying to get used to having my half of the bed to myself.

Tallu's crying an awful lot. I guess the stroll didnt work. So much for this post...