Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Is anybody goin' to San Antone,

or Phoenix, Arizona?

So says the song. We're leaving for San Antonio tonight around 2am. Even if Rita hits Port O'Connor (look it up if you don't have every bitty town in Texas memorized . . . what, you don't have every bitty town in Texas memorized?!) we're going to be experiencing 100+ mph winds in our neck of the woods. That's enough to put us at risk for some severe discomfort, especially if our ash tree falls on our house. The power is most certainly to be out Friday through . . . well, who knows. No power means no air conditioner, not to mention no fridge. Both are pretty indespensable lately, so we're packing up some diapers and toys and visiting Nana's.

A direct hit is still possible, as well.

Of course we're taking the Wi-Fi router to my parents' house, so we'll be online over the weekend. San Antonio will receive some stormy weather courtesy of Rita, but nothing worse than a typical stormy weekend, and nothing worth shutting the city down, so we'll be just fine.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Past, past, past

It's just about 3 hours past C&D's bedtime. That's 9:30pm to you civilians.

It's dark except for the light of the laptop. Carmen is in the bed on her back. She is flapping her arms, stomping her feet like a Fire on the Mountain clogger, and singing, gurgling, and blowing raspberries. (David is asleep in the other bed; thanks, kiddo.) So I am here, deciding that after swinging, rocking, going potty, swinging, rocking, and swinging some more, she can just roll around on the bed to her heart's content and hopefully get whatever's making her antsy out of her system (I wonder if it was the chocolate I ate today?). And I'm trying very hard to keep a straight face. I need a nap, a snack, and I really need to pee, but I also need to laugh. I will in the morning. This girl is crazy.

Yesterday I walked with her up and down the street for an hour. I tied her up in the mei tai, pulled out the phone, and just hoped I would bore her to sleep. For about 20 minutes of that hour she released her energy by singing "Aaaaaaaaah. Aaa-aaaa-aaa-aaaaaa-aaah!" so that the whole street could hear. When the neighbors drove by they were careful not to honk like they usually do; I must have looked like a mama on a mission. After she sang herself to sleep I walked for 20 more minutes to make sure the sleep stuck. It did. For a couple hours, anyway. Did I tell you this girl is crazy?

Hard to admit that she has two bottom teeth now; the second appeared over the weekend. I guess they're growing up, after all.

In other news, David thinks peek-a-boo behind the corner is ab-so-lutely hilarious. Can't wait to play hide-and-go-seek.

She stopped flapping, but she's still talking, and she's 180 degrees opposite of where she was before. Maybe I should try again.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

When Somebody With No Teeth Smile At You

Lost all of this week's pictures. Seems that our 512MB memory card might be a little wonky (I'm hoping that's what it is, and not the camera!). Too bad, because the card had video of Matt holding David's hand while we took some tentative, wobbly steps. And of course, David hasn't done it again lately.

David is rocking on all fours, and Carmen is doing something like "Upward-Facing Dog." No crawling, but it's obvious they are enjoying the fact that they can push themselves up. Locomoting is still very puzzling, however.

A second tooth appeared in Carmen's mouth yesterday. David is still yummy in that toothless baby way. At Whole Foods on Friday, a woman teased David to make him smile. At first he hid behind the wrap, but when he did smile, he gave her a nice, big one. She laughed and told me, "That's the only time when somebody with no teeth smile at you and you think it's cute!"

Went swimming today. Met our usual friends then entered the therapy pool for some hard-core splashing. Both C&D tried to drink the water. "Who needs cups?" they said. Carmen splashed hard enough to get water all over Matt's glasses and began her characteristic (these days) screeching when she noticed the pools were too quiet with everybody minding their own business. Both still kick, and both tried paddling a bit with their arms.

Later this week we should get the 60+ bibs we ordered on eBay this weekend. We have several bibs, but only a few of them fit Carmen's neck without looking uncomfortably tight. So we found a lot of 60+ bibs of various sizes and conditions, and we're going to go treasure-hunting when the box arrives Wednesday or Thursday.

Next is socks. We don't have any that fit (C&D are wearing 12-24 mos.). With all their tummy time, some socks are in order to protect their soft little toenails. We're going to get the brightest, stripeyist, craziest socks we can find. This next developmental stage is going to be much about their feet, we should celebrate it! So we're looking for colorful sock lots. Oh, that just reminded me. I need to go check on my bid!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Remember this

I need to remember this. Fiona is out sick today, and Matt is at work.

Carmen didn't want to nap and was tired-fussy. So I put David on my back with the mei tai, and held Carmen in my arms, and just spent a good half hour walking in the shady spot in front of the house, back and forth, back and forth. I am wearing my Majamas (a nightgown that doesn't look too much like a nightgown) and my yellow TdF cap because I haven't had a chance to fix my hair this morning and it is, predictably, standing on end like a rooster's comb.

I'm glad the neighbors are all busy today.

And yes, Carmen fell asleep.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Labor Day Pictures

Pictures from the little angels on Labor Day. This is the park between the Williams Tower and the Water Wall. The Water Wall was actually working today, and C&D saw it. Both babies looked less than thrilled to see it, but I would have enjoyed having it as a background. Well, another time. I'm not sure why David's little shirt isn't buttoned at bottom; ask Matt. I think maybe David was hot or something.

When he got home from work Matt got to help David walk today. Before that David figured out every baby's favorite game: Throw Something &Make Your Mother Pick It Up & Bring It Back to You. David's variation involved throwing a hard plastic toy on our hard wooden floor while Carmen was sleeping. You can guess that even with the white noise on and the door shut, Carmen wasn't sleeping for much longer when that game started.

Then Carmen played a game of her own: I Want Whatever Brother Has In His Hands Or Mouth. Earlier in the day, when Carmen snatched a book out of his hands, David just let her have it and moved on to something else. This evening, though, he protested and tried to snatch whatever Carmen had taken right back. Carmen, of course, pulled harder.

Oh-oh. I didn't think that game would start so early.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


The babies tried their hardest to refuse to sleep today. Last week Carmen fell asleep in the car with the babies' favorite rattle. When the car stopped and she woke up just enough to realize she had been sleeping, she started shaking the rattle furiously, her eyes still closed.

Today was like that. All day. Fiona commented that C&D must be very determined children. They might not nap, but with such determination (read: stubborness?) they should do well in life.

The cat also learned a little about determination today. He was napping with one eye open while David played on the rug. David, sitting up, tried to get the cat's attention. "Uuuuuugh," David said. "Uuuuuugh, eerrrrrrrruuugh!" The cat's ears twitched and he watched David from small slits of eyes. David starting bouncing, waving his arms, and shivering with excitement. I held David's hands and pulled him up to standing . . . and he took a step. And another one. And another one. In a few seconds he had ambled over the three feet to the cat. Toby's tail twitched. He looked at me, then at the baby. David stepped on the cat's furry foot and the cat ran around the corner to hide. David stared at the place where the cat had been, then at the corner. I tried letting him walk back to the rug, but David, temporarily defeated, just sat on the floor.

Later he tried cruising around a laundry basket. He was practicing for next time, maybe.

I should talk to the cat about determination.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day

Went to the Water Wall today--and the fountain had been turned off! What a bummer. It's a nice place to vist every now and then, not just for enjoying the fountain itself but also because it's nice to watch the social scene that surrounds it.

Because it was early in the day we did enjoy a short sit in the grass. Pictures coming later. I don't think the babies will let me post them tonight. I need to make sure we all sleep well. Long to-do list for tomorrow.

From the CDP:

Dear friends,

September and October are the peak months for births in the US. There are many pregnant women at the Astrodome and many women with very small babies. The situation is so critical they are mixing formula with water from buckets using zip lock bags (account from Mrs. D., one of Nadia's clients, who just came back from volunteering at the center).

We are placing a call to see who would like to help pregnant women at the hospital and immediately afterwards to help with the baby and breastfeeding. (Please let me know also if you speak another language, especially Spanish).

We are contacting local hospitals and the Houston Area Perinatal Collaborative to inform them we may be able to provide volunteer help specifically for mothers who are alone or in precarious situations. People are also sleeping anywhere they can, in chairs, etc., with the lights on day and night. Let us know if you could also potentially offer temporary shelter to pregnant or nursing mothers -

We are contacting some of the public agencies we work with on a regular basis to see how we can help coordinate some of that effort. They trust us for the quality of our work. As you know, everyone is overwhelmed right now, and this will have to be a sustained effort. Anyway we can help with a piece of it makes a big difference.

[Contact info withheld. Ask me if you are interested in helping, or if you know someone who can!]

The mission of the Community Doula Program is to educate and nurture expectant youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods, by cultivating peer Doulas from the communities served.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Botany is For Babies, Too . . .

. . . at least, where allergies are concerned.

I was thinking about Carmen's sensitive tummy today. It hasn't been so happy, lately. I thought about the pears she ate earlier in the week. Her tummy didn't seem to like those much.

Turns out the "pears" were actually gala apples, and the apples had been mislabeled as pears. Gala apples are a little tart. Poor David! No wonder he made such faces! Sorry, little dude.

In either case, be they apples or pears, an unhappy tummy may mean that we have an apple sensitivity on our hands, which means that we also have to be careful with the other things that apples are related to: strawberries (which, coincidentally, she reacts to), cherries (reacts), almonds (don't know because I haven't tried), plums, peaches, and, of course, those darn pears. All of those things and more are in the rosaceae family. See, botany is for babies, too!

Hrmmm. An apple sensitivity would explain a lot, if it were true. Testing is inconclusive at this early age, so all we can really do is avoid those things and see what happens when I add them into my--or Carmen's--diet.

In a way, I hope that's what it is. I'd like to be able to have my finger on all of the foods that bother her; right now there's still some uncertainty because I have to slowly test one food at a time. On the other hand, how can a kid be allergic to apples? How unAmerican! Allergic to peaches? How unSouthern! Hopefully by identifying the problem now, we'll save her from a lifetime of apple (or rosaceae) allergies and she'll be enjoying apple pie with the rest of us a few years down the road.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Better Subjects, Like Pictures

David has been having a hard time getting to sleep lately. He doesn't want Matt to put him to sleep; instead he fusses until I can put Carmen down, and falls asleep with me. As I lie next to him, he'll nuzzle close and flop a little hand on my stomach. I love that little hand.

Today at Onion Creek I sold my first mei tai to Shelby of Anala Goat Company (Shelby is Houston's favorite goat milk supplier). Shelby bought it so you can take her granddaughter with her around the farm. I hope the two of them like it.

Then we went grocery shopping and on the way home nearly got rear-ended by a Jeep that didn't stop at a light until the very last minute. Even with a super-safe car, I'm liking driving around here less and less now that I have babies in the back seat.

Ick. Let's move on to better subjects, like pictures. Let's just move in chronological order, okay?

A couple of weeks ago we settled C&D down for Happy Seven Month-day squash. Carmen liked it pretty well,
but David preferred the tablecloth (the back of a drawing from work!).

Both babies, but especially David, think my Tour de France cap is very funny. We have taken to wearing it and playing peek-a-boo with it when we're looking for a laugh.

The other day I needed to do something in the kitchen and wanted to keep David busy while I worked. I considered giving him a carrot to play with, but I was a little tired of carrots. I gave him a dried apricot from the co-op, instead. He very much liked it, and found out that he could even play with it hands-free! After he turned it into a mushy pulp I replaced it with another one. It's an expensive habit (because they were organic, unsweetened, and unsulphured, of course!), and I have to watch carefully because he could gag on a piece (ever choke on a too-big bite of steak?), but, by golly, he likes it so we'll do it again.

David's eyes teared at the taste of pureed Asian pears and he held his tongue out until the puree glopped on this chest. Like a good sport he did take several more tastes with his spoon.

Carmen ate his portion, instead.

SuperCarmen preparing for takeoff by doing a little warmup flapping.

Carmen likes dried apricots, too, and decided to alternate between tasting hers and decorating the blanket with the sticky mess. Next time I'll keep her and her apricot in the high chair.

David has always appreciated his reflection, but Fiona noticed that he seems to talk most to his distorted reflection on the bathtub faucet. At Ikea last week we found a mirror made up of 16 smaller convex mirrors. Like the bathtub faucet, but bigger and better!

At the end of one day earlier this week, I left C&D on the floor while I got up to get some grub. I returned to David making what I can only call "manly noises." See if you can translate what he's saying:

Last week on a conference call with work I found out that I will probably be dropped from the budget in FY2006. I was expecting the news. That means another transition for us all, but more on that, later, when more details are settled.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina's Babies

We check the news several times a day, keeping track of how many evacuees, how many victims. We cannot believe the collective ineptitude and complete lack of planning exhibited by governments on both the local and federal levels. What a bitter, angry disappointment. At the same time, Houston with very little federal assistance has absorbed, sheltered, and fed about 100,000 new residents without a blink, and with the snap of his finger our mayor (aren't I glad I voted for him!) has opened up our largest public facilities. The power of the people, indeed.

I sent this to some people already, but mamatoto has some brilliant ideas on getting children out of dangerous situations safely. See one, do one, TEACH one!

Pleas for infant formula continue. People can dismiss breastfeeding, but . . .