Maracas and Moth Balls

toy boxIt’s Monday morning and I have a very busy day of work ahead.  As I sit here putting together my to-do list for the week and listening to my co-worker clip his nails (G R O S S), I’m thinking about Punkie.

As a rule, Punkie hates Mondays.  But this Monday morning, he was happy.  He grinned and played and giggled all morning.  It was totally adorable and it made my heart feel 2 times bigger than usual.  I hope he avoids his Garfield ways for a long time.

I’m also thinking about our chipmunk problem.  We have a large collection of chipmunks who are determined to live under our house.  They’re causing property damage and frustrating me primarily because they know how to avoid my have-a-heart-trap while still eating the seeds I use as bait.  I asked my long-suffering husband to buy some moth balls because I read online that chipmunks can be deterred by the smell.  My husband put some moth balls outside on the ground around the chipmunk tunnels and WOW, that’s a strong smell!  Wowee!  You can smell moth balls all through the first floor of our house.

And I’m wondering if that will hurt Punkie.  None of the articles I’ve read to-date talk about the risk vs benefit of mothballs and your baby.  Where are all the articles about moth balls?  It’s not like Punkie is going near them, but . . . the smell.  Oh, the smell!

But it doesn’t seem to bother Punkie.  He wants to play with every toy we have.  He emptied the toy basket over and over and is so focused on the task.  It’s super cute, in my totally biased opinion.

And his favorite toy of all time is a maraca.  Yes, a maraca.





Baby Intuition

I have some weighty work-related issues on my mind this week.  Obviously, I can’t talk about those in a blog post, but they involve ethics and competing forces.

When I picked Punkie up at day care yesterday, he was content.  When I walked in, he was calm and “chatting” with one of the ladies in his room.  I picked Punkie up and greeted him and he was fine.  His daily “how he did today” note said he had a great day and was especially happy and smiling all day.  We began the drive home and he was quiet in the back seat.

During the drive, my mind wandered to my work issue and I felt the stress creep back in.  And Punkie began to cry.

He cried for the rest of the drive home.  He cried while I was unbuckling and talking to him.  He cried while I sang to him and rocked him.  He cried while he ate his banana and blueberry puree.  He cried in his Jumperoo.

He settled down only after he was seated on the floor with his toys and after I laid down on the floor next to him to relax.

I’m wondering – what did I do that upset him?  I didn’t really DO anything wrong – I talked and sang to him and we did our evening routine.

Can he pick up on my stress like a satellite dish?  Is there such a thing as baby intuition?

If so, that would be very bad news.  I am kind of a stress monster.  My job is stressful and my non-husband/non-Punkie family life is stressful.

Is Punkie doomed to stress-monsterdom?


Astraphobia, a Fear of Thunder

magsThere’s a thunder storm outside my window.  I have a pile of documents to review and revise and a to-do list that just won’t quit, but there is a storm.  And it makes me feel sad and anxious.

I might be more easily distracted than usual because we aren’t sleeping well these days.  Lately, Punkie wakes up 3 or 4 times a night.  We’re not sure what’s going on there, but we’re considering sleep training methods for the first time.

But what’s on my mind today is Maggie.  She was my best friend for 16 years, and I lost her when I was 5 months pregnant with Punkie.  That was 10 months ago and thinking about her still brings real tears to my eyes.  I loved her so much – she was my family.

Maggie was a gorgeous, mellow, and intelligent yellow lab.  She and I went through a lot together – law school, bar exams, too many moves to count, new jobs, a marriage, a divorce.  Career burnout.  Depression.         Recovery.             New happiness.

She was my rock.  There were some days when I don’t think I could have gotten out of bed had it not been for the fact that I had to take care of this beautiful creature who loved me unconditionally.

Maggie was terrified of thunder. Thunder was one of only three things that scared her – the other two were garbage trucks and fireworks, which seem understandable to me.

For 16 years, every time the thunder rolled in, Maggie would shake and cry.  If I could, I would rush home to comfort her.  If I saw storms in the forecast, I would close the curtains and turn up the radio and hope she couldn’t ‘t see or hear the storm.

I used to love storms as a kid.  I would sit on a porch or in the garage and watch the lightning.  But now, after so many years with my friend,when I see the first flash of light, I think “MAGGIE!” and my heart jumps in my chest.

I miss her.  I wish Punkie had been able to know her.



Nerds Rule!

I make no secret about the fact that I’m a nerd.  I’ve always been a nerd.  Who knew that all these years later, being nerdy could be celebrated.

I was telling my husband a while back that I really hope Punkie is a nerd too.  I think it’s the best way to go.  I didn’t really have any peer pressure.  My friends were busy, as I was, studying, reading books, and memorizing the dialogue in 80s movies.  To be honest, I don’t even know what the cool kids were doing with their time.  Did they party? Did they drink or shop lift?  I have no idea.  I was busy keeping shenanigans off of my permanent record.

Bill Gates was a nerd . . . I think he owns Seattle now.  Hell, he might own the entire State of Washington.

As a nerd, I honed some good skills – I developed a work ethic.  I figured out how to be liked just enough so I didn’t suffer on Freshman Friday (the Seniors would throw Nair and perfume and who knows what else all over various Freshmen).  I learned how to study and keep an open mind.  I participated in a lot of after school activities, which helped me identify the things I liked doing and the things I didn’t ever want to do again.  I learned to accept that I’m not a model and I will never look like one – to accept myself the way I am.  I learned how to tell self-deprecating jokes.

I ran across this article today:

It’s nice to have one’s instincts confirmed by science.  I’ve always liked science.



The Shoulder

I stopped at day care to see Punkie today.  I had a small chunk of time at lunchtime to spare and I thought, hey, I’d really like to see the little guy.  That toothless grin can really brighten my day.

I walked into day care and he was playing with a toy and staring at another baby with his back to the door.  I talked to him and he didn’t turn around.  I put my hand on his shoulder and said hey, Punkie, mommy’s here! And he didn’t turn around.  I picked up an enticing looking toy and shook it at him and touched his head and said, hi Punkie – how are you?  He didn’t turn around.


It wasn’t until I picked him up that he acknowledged that I was there and the smile was kind of lukewarm, if I’m being honest.

I guess he doesn’t miss me during the day.  I can take that guilt off my plate.

We played for a while – he was in a good mood.  He wanted to see everything and do everything and shake every rattle in the room.  He wanted to pull the sock off another baby’s foot, and he wanted to grab my glasses and pull my hair.

The ladies at day care call him Busy Bee – he has what the sorority pledges in college used to call “swivel head.”  He’s constantly aware of who is around him and what’s happening, with his head going back and forth all day.  I assume it’s for a different reason than the sorority pledges (they were required to greet all the sisters with some kind of greeting or face a dire consequence).  That is, except when mommy is there talking to him – then his head doesn’t swivel.

When I left, he played it cool – he just swiveled the other way without a concern.

I wish he was happier to see me.  Maybe it’s my ego (that sad, anemic ego of mine) that wants him to pine for me during the day.  Although, I am actually very glad that he’s content at day care.  It wasn’t long ago that I was feeling crushed under a tower of guilt for leaving him at day care all day.

Six Month Check-In

Punkie is going to be six months old this week.  I can’t believe I managed to keep that charmingly tiny person alive for six whole months.

Of course, my husband deserves a lot of the credit – he does all the things people complain about their husbands not doing.  He changes diapers, feeds, cleans the house, cleans up after blowouts, wakes up at night.  He does everything but breast feed.

And with all of that team work and assistance, I’m finding myself in a funk.  I am exhausted.  This past week, I’ve felt mostly numb because I’m so tired.  Is this how motherhood is supposed to feel?

On paper, my schedule is entirely doable.  It doesn’t leave time for things I used to do for fun before the baby was born.  And Punkie seems to be waking us up at regular intervals most nights now, and my days seem to be starting earlier and earlier.

I’ve declined to go out after work a few times and, each time, people have told me to get a good babysitter.  Honestly?  I don’t appreciate it when people make assumptions about me or my commitments.  And it’s not any of their business.

  • First, I’m breast feeding, so there is a limit to how and when I leave Punkie with a baby sitter, or anyone else.  I pump all day at work to have milk for the next day, but we nurse in the morning and the evening.  I’m just not able to pump enough to cover the evening too.  And, if I skip nursing in the evening, my milk supply will decrease and I’ve already been having trouble with a gradually decreasing supply.
  • Second, I’m tired.  Given the night off, I would/should choose a nap over dining out or going for drinks.  How am I going to enjoy a night out while I’m sleepwalking through it?  If I get a babysitter, maybe it should be so I can sleep.
  • Third, I miss Punkie while I’m at work.  Even though I’m exhausted and in a funk of numbness, I want to see the little guy after work.  Of course I see him in the morning, but then he goes to day care and I go to work and I don’t see him for 9 or so hours.  If I go out, I won’t really get to see him until the next morning (or at midnight when he invariably wakes up because he’s sick all the time lately).

It’s not like I couldn’t ask my husband to watch Punkie while I go out.  And I could always ask my mother to watch Punkie if the two of us want to go out.

That’s not the point.  The point is that I’m in a funk and I am exhausted.  If I need to make a change, it’s not to “get a babysitter.”  I need some sleep.

I tried to schedule a nap this weekend, but I think my husband thought I was just being dramatic.  I wasn’t being dramatic – I think it was more about me being kind of desperate.

How do single, working-outside-the-home parents do it?*  I’m barely hanging in and I have a partner who does so much.

*I won’t even try to compare myself to a working-in-the-home parent because I’m sure I shouldn’t compare myself to people who are doing something I haven’t done.



A while back, I wrote about Wegmans, which I called “the greatest store on Earth”:

And I’m pretty sure some folks at Wegmans checked out that blog because I saw some unusual activity on that post via WordPress Stats.  So I’m talking to you, Wegmans folks.

I raved about how much I love the special parking spots for people with small children.


Hey – what the hell, Wegmans?

On Sunday, I drove to my usual parking area and – WHAT? The spots are gone.

At the suggestion of my husband (who was responding to my strongly voiced opinions), we drove around the most congested parts of the parking lot just to see what was going on and it looks like you moved the spots without warning or notice.  To spots that are farther away from the doors.  Also, the new spots are scattered around so, every time I want to park in one, I will have to cruise up and down multiple aisles in the most congested parts of the parking lot just to see if a spot is open.

That’s not convenient at all.

I don’t desire to (i) fight with parking lot warriors in the busiest part of the parking lot and (ii) play an extended game of Frogger with the baby on the way to the front doors.

So, this blog post is a partial retraction – I still love you, Wegmans, but, as of the date of this post, I’m forced to say you are a very good store on Earth.



Live for the Weekend

I spent a lot of time with Punkie this weekend.  I enjoyed it so much.  He really is an incredibly loveable guy.

I am shocked by how fast he is changing.  It seems like he figures out how to do something new almost every day.  He is bright-eyed, and he jabbers at all in a constant stream of baby talk.  Every time he “talks” to me, I just love him more.

He isn’t quite crawling yet, but he covers a lot of ground by rolling.  He rolls everywhere, but just in the one direction because it hasn’t occurred to him yet that he can roll the other way too.

It’s just a matter of time, really, until he’s crawling.  This weekend, we were playing on his play mat and he was working very hard to crawl – he yelled with frustration after a while, but he did bust out some forward-motion progress.  He wants to crawl in the biggest way.

Which brings me to this – OH MY GOD, WE HAVE TO BABY PROOF THIS HOUSE!  Can you see the outlet in this photo?  It’s a death trap.  Punkie is aiming his body right at it!









I’m thinking about taking a day off from work to baby-proof.  I don’t know when I’ll be able to do this otherwise, and it seems like Punkie is progressing far faster than I am in this area.

We have to secure the television, lest it fall on his head. And install baby locks.  And baby gates.  And door knob covers.  And outlet covers.

It’s time to lock this place down.

He Hates Monday

Poor Punkie – he really hates Mondays.  And teething.  And being tired.

He’s Garfield.


Last night, Punkie didn’t sleep very much.  It’s hard to say what was bothering him.  He woke up 3 or 4 times earlier in the night and allowed himself to fall back asleep pretty quickly.  If it were teething pain, I think it would have kept him up longer and we probably would have felt the need to give him some Tylenol.  I wonder what was bothering him.

Then, he woke up for a long stretch at 3:00AM.  I think THAT was his teeth.  We gave him some Tylenol, but he was hopelessly wide awake by that point.

Punkie and I finished the night snuggling and trying to catch a little more sleep on the couch together, Punkie in the cushion* and me using the side of the cushion for a pillow.  Essentially, Punkie whacked me in the head and pulled my hair for 2 hours while I tried to sleep a little.

When my husband came downstairs to join us after the whacking-and-hair-pulling-nap, Punkie didn’t give him the usual big, toothless grin.  He really doesn’t like Mondays and he was off his game from the rough night we all had.

When my husband dropped him off at day care today, Punkie cried big tears.  Poor guy – I wish I was there to comfort him. It’s days like these that I feel especially bad for not being there with him.

I called his day care room to check in on him – they said it was rough going at first, but he took a long nap and drank a bottle and is now doing great.  I hope that’s true.  I didn’t hear him yelling or crying in the background.

*I reviewed the cushion in a previous blog (