Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Gravlin Offspring Report

Mom Grumpy In Morning!

05:40: Dad drops phone on hardwood floor. Apologizes.
06:20: Genevieve wakes up. Mom declares it "still dark." Returns to crib.
07:00: Genevieve wakes up. Mom declares it "buttcrack of dawn," and grudgingly allows it to be "morning."

Genevieve tests structural integrity of blueberries. Finds them squishy.

No public art grant forthcoming for blue masterpiece on high chair tray.

Reports of "Werechuck" Continue to Spread

Wood keeps showing up marked with teeth. What furniture will fall next to the fearsome specter of teething baby?

All Babies Polled Find Grammy's Face Smile-Worthy

Today's Report Brought to You by the Sound "Doi Doi Doi."

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya...

Don't get me wrong, I love name stickers. I'm horrible with names, which, yes, I recognize is my fault. I could have been born with a mind like a steel trap, but even though I wasn't, I know I could improve my memory, use memory tricks, write names down, or just pay more attention. So I love it when everyone is wearing a name tag and we don't have to try and impress each other with how much we can remember everyone else's name.

I knew a girl once who introduced herself to me every time we met. I knew she knew who I was, and finally, after like the third or fourth time, I'm like, "Yeah, I remember you." She was one of those striking people who stick in your mind, so I actually remembered her name most of the times. But I appreciated the courtesy of "I don't always expect you to remember my name I told you once, so just to remove any awkward pretending, here's my name again."

That said...

Why do these stickers say "Hello, my name is..."?

Having my name there is nice. Having my stickers introduce me is a little weird. Can I skip introducing myself then?

Maybe the stickers don't go far enough. Why don't I also have a sticker that says, "How are you?" and another with "I am well, thanks for asking," "It was nice meeting you." and finally, "Have a nice day." That way, I can put them all in a column on my shirt and point to them in succession, skipping conversation and small talk entirely. An introvert's dream.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day

On this, International Women's Day, I would like to shout out to a woman who modeled what it is to be a woman for me.

A woman who is strong and independent.

A woman who believe's in God's roles for women, not that they make us any weaker or less equal, but we have been given a different job here on Earth.

A woman who loves her husband and loves her children, all dearly, and is not afraid to open her heart.

A woman who is Proverbs 31, clothing herself in strength.

A woman who is fun to be around.

A woman who loves being a woman and all God's blessings for her.

A woman who always speaks truth to me and gives me advice in things intimate.

A woman who is my best friend.

I love you, Mom.

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things." - Isaiah 40:26

"Nature to a saint is sacramental. If we are children of God, we have tremendous treasure in Nature. In every wind that blows, in every night and day of the year, in every sign of the sky, in every blossoming and in every withering of the earth, there is a real coming of God to us if we will simply used our starved imagination to realize it."

- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Babywearing and I

Having had a difficult time with starting babywearing and everyone seeming to have their own experience, I figured I'd relate mine. You know, for posterity.

Crap, I'm going to be a mommy blogger, aren't I?

*sigh* Think I could market a blog that partly talks about my baby and partly talks about my libertarian political opinions? No?

Anyway, I was planning on babywearing long before Genevieve was born. I have leanings toward being a "crunchy mama," that is very natural, organic, attachment parenting, etc. Not full on, just leanings. For example, I never wanted to co-sleep (although I was willing to recognize the extent I would go just to get some sleep) and Genevieve is not a cuddly baby, so all good. No co-sleeping here. But my mother had made a ring sling for her second child, my younger brother, and proceeded to wear all her subsequent babies and loved it. I'd heard a lot of good things about babywearing. My mother also made me a sling.

When Genevieve was first born, I was scared to do anything with that tiny little scrunchy baby. I had Mom wear her first, then show me. By the time Genevieve was four or five weeks, I thought that thing was magic. She didn't have colic, but she was a fussy newborn. She could be crying and I'd pop her in the sling and start walking and within minutes she'd pass out. I went on so many walks and my body wasn't healed yet... yeah.

Enter week six. It's like right after the first Wonder Week. Genevieve suddenly discovers there is a world outside of the sling. She would plant her hands on my chest and push her head all the way backward, looking at the world upside-down. Instead of sleeping, she'd start fussing within fifteen minutes. I went to a babywearing group. "No, you're doing it right. It's not you, it's her."

My babywearing dreams were shattered. I started using the stroller since she liked the movement and would eventually fall asleep in that. I would get mad at articles like "How Babywearing Literally Saved My Life." She could go hiking and eat at an oyster bar and have her life back and I would struggle to get the stroller up the step into the tea shop. Other moms going to some of the nursing support groups I went to would be babywearing and I would be taking up half the space with my giant stroller. I was reduced to dreaming, "maybe the next baby would let me wear him..."

I picked up a babywearing book through interlibrary loan. Aside from feeling bad since the first several chapters were on how awesome and natural babywearing was (her baby just snuggled down and went to sleep!), there was one helpful note: "Wear your baby in the position she likes to be carried."

Genevieve insisted on being carried facing out. She would fuss if she was turned in toward shoulder or chest or cradled. But the quickest way to calm her down was to face her out, and then apply bouncing, or bouncing to Irish music as needed. But babies don't have much head control and you weren't supposed to face them out until 3-4+ months. There's also some "controversy" where people argue that forward facing can cause hip dysplasia and overstimulation, although generally people now agree that it doesn't cause hip dysplasia (although might not be good if your baby already has it) and you can turn your baby toward you in the event of overstimulation.

So I waited until then and revisited my local babywearing group that had a lending library of many different types of carriers.

This time I walked out with an Infantino Wrap & Tie Mei Tai-style carrier that had a forward-facing option. It's discontinued, but you can still pick it up on Ebay. I loved this carrier so much that I went and purchased one before I had to return the lending library one at the end of a month. Genevieve would sit in it for long periods of time (usually until she got tired and needed a nap), happily looking around, kicking her legs, and smiling at people who would talk to her. She became my companion on trips to the library or grocery store and it seemed like the world opened up. When she would start to get fussy at the end of a wake period, I would strap her on and go on a walk and she would calm down and enjoy the scenery.

Through the lending library, I was able to try several different carriers and finally decided my favorite was the Beco Gemini. It was comfortable and easy. I put it on my Christmas list.

Meanwhile, Genevieve got older. She learned she could turn her head, she learned how to track moving objects, she learned that things existed beyond her range of vision and how to find them. Gradually, I was able to carry her on my hip. She still wasn't very elegant in front-face-in and would keep trying to look around, but she didn't cry. I could carry her how I wanted. I tend to fall prey to the idea that Genevieve won't change, she will always be fussy or needing constant entertainment or bad at napping or having to be worn face-forward. Babies aren't like that. Babies change.

I got the Beco Gemini for Christmas and broke it in trail-walking with Genevieve on my back. I wore her to the library facing out in a little warm bear suit. She got sick and I carried her around facing in since all she wanted was to be held.

She still has a hard time napping in it. Some babies just pass out or sit contentedly. Genevieve has to be able to see what's going on. She has to be really super tired to fall asleep, and then she doesn't sleep for long. But she's fallen asleep in the ring sling and once on David's back as he was moving his sister, which was pretty cute.

So, all in all, my baby who hated being in the ring sling became a babywearing baby after all. And I love wearing her around.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I think I'd look great with Vulcan ears

I wish I was a Vulcan. Cool. Dispassionate. Not given to emotions. Logical. Awesome pointy ears. I know I'm a girl, and that's precisely why I want to be Vulcan. Have you ever broke down crying when your boss yells at you? Being a girl can suck.

I've noticed a new wave of emotions since having a baby. It could be hormonal, I suppose. I had normal girl hormones before and pregnancy is like adding five new ingredients, turning up the heat, and stirring the pot rapidly. Childbirth is where that mixture explodes and your body and hormones may be similar to the ones you had before, or you may carry an eternal aversion to vinegar and a higher propensity to get canker sores and cavities. I'm still sorting out the damage. (Men. Be thankful you are men.)

So I'm not sure if my body is trying to kick start back into normal gear and keeps hitting me with these random emotional spikes, or I am the new owner of a set of supercharged mom emotions, but I keep crying over the littlest things.

I went and watched the Warcraft movie within a few weeks of Genevieve's birth. It's a high fantasy movie based on the high fantasy computer game World of Warcraft. So there are orcs, but they aren't Tolkien's orcs. They do tend to be violent and bloodthirsty, but they are a strong tribal society valuing family and clan and the honor of a good fight. One of the orcs is pregnant and her and her husband go with an invading force, and when they turn against the wrong of their fellow orcs, both her and her husband are killed. The baby, still very young, was in a basket on his mother's back, and, Moses-style, he is cast into the river to save him. And he makes all these little baby noises that I knew now being a new mom and I almost started crying in the theater.

I heard a story of missionaries in China during the Boxer rebellion and when they came for them, the mother hid her six-month-old daughter with a note on her explaining what had happened, went out, and was executed. The baby was found alive two days later, but I cried thinking of the baby all alone, nobody to hear her cries or feed her or change her diaper.

I got mad watching Maleficent and seeing the incompetent pixies give the baby princess carrots to eat by plopping them in her bassinet and then all sleeping that night, deaf to her cries of hunger. FEED THE BABY!

This happens with startling frequency. A baby lives in my heart and so my heart bleeds for babies. I already had this weird protective streak that although I didn't want children for the longest time, something would stir in me whenever I heard of them being hurt or abused or their innocence stolen and childhood ended long before they actually grew up. It's a noble sentiment, but I hate breaking into uncontrollable tears. I hate crying. I hate the weakness of emotions.

So the thing that set me off yesterday and continues to make me cry whenever I relate it to anyone was a stupid .gif on Facebook that was clearly meant to be funny. You could say it "triggered" me. It looks like and old-style painting of a woman stirring her pot on a stove. She moves like a paper doll and lifts her spoon out of the pot. And then, out of the pot, comes a little hand, chubby, fingers spread, reaching, searching. The women then uses her spoon to poke the hand back in the pot.

I stared in shock as the .gif replayed, the hand continuing to reach, the woman continuing to cook. It is supposed to be funny, I tried to tell myself. A woman cooking a baby is supposed to be funny. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. I know I have a problem with over-analyzing everything, but HOW is this funny? Is it the flagrant disrespect for human life that is in imagining a helpless infant being literally cooked alive? Is the baby reaching out for help, or are we pretending that the baby is actually somehow fine despite the flames under the pot and the baby is just reaching playfully? How many times has my own baby lifted her chubby little hand, fingers spread, to my face to touch it?

Every time I've recounted my horror at this .gif, I've started crying. I'm crying now. It makes me want to cry out to God for forgiveness for our country as we've allowed ourselves to forget that babies, even ones not yet born, are lives, souls, people.

Bah. I hate crying. Even when the situation seems to deserve it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

We're sorry. So sorry.

Michael Moore posted this on Facebook. I know because friend of a friend or something.

1. Hello rest of the world! My fellow Americans are asleep right now so I thought we could talk privately and maybe I can explain what happened yesterday.
2. Hillary Clinton won the election on Nov 8 by 2.8 million votes over Donald Trump. Which is to say, she lost. You are correct, this is not a democracy.
3. Back in the 1700s, in order to get the slave states to join the USA, the founders gave those states "extra votes", letting them count their slaves but not let them vote.
4. So yes, it is ironic that this racist idea called the Electoral College has, 225 years later, ended up benefiting the candidate who spewed racism hate.
5. Trump is not president until he's given the oath of office at noon on Jan 20th. So we will continue to fight and hope to find a legal, nonviolent way to stop this madness.
6. Ok, people are starting to wake up in the US. I wish I could give u better news. As bad as it seems, I'm sorry to tell you, it will be worse. We are a broken country at this point.

There seems to be a lot of stupid in this and it bugs me so much that I want to address it.

1. Obviously you know that posting it on Facebook in English hardly makes it private from your "fellow Americans" so the whole framing of the post is just a story you're telling yourself. Got a lot of the rest of the world following you on Facebook, Moore?

2. Clinton did not win the election. She got more votes. And no, it's not a democracy. It's a Republic. "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury." It's purposeful.

3. I don't know of the validity of this. I would think that since it's population based, it would be current to today's population? Anyway, just because something has bad origins doesn't mean it's a bad idea. The slavery part aside, that doesn't mean the electoral collage is bad.

4. Ironic. And irrelevant.

5. What are you going to do? I know leftist think that Obama was the best thing since sliced bread, but you know some of us felt like the world was ending under him and we didn't throw a hissy fit. I hope you think he is bad enough to rip the country apart over, because denying our laws and process and a valid election (Russia may have tried to change your minds, but they didn't reopen the investigation) would destroy our civilization.

6. It's funny that you think the rest of the world is sitting around with bated breath being like, "Will Clinton, the defender of LGBTQs, abortion rights, and everything good in the world manage to make a comeback or will the evil racist narcissist Trump get into the White House?" Because, point #1, you aren't actually talking to the rest of the world, you're telling a story to America. And this is a Facebook post... you have plenty of space to spell out "you."

But the one idea that really strikes me wrong is the idea that the rest of the world cares. The rest of the world is somehow comprised of bleeding heart liberals who are appalled at those right-wing Republican Trump voters. Ah yes, we, the kind and gracious leader of the world were corrupted from inside. We are no longer worthy of you following us.

Maybe there's a few countries like that. I don't know which ones they are. But a lot of the world doesn't give a crap about LGBTQ rights and abortion rights and whatever is in the liberal agenda for today. A lot of countries are very racist. They treat women as second class citizens. They practice female genital mutilation. They kill dissidents and protesters and journalists who publish articles disagreeing with them. And LGBTQs. I'm sure they're all torn up about it.

Don't get me wrong, the US drives me crazy sometimes. I think taxes are just short of theft and our basic rights, including the right of association, are being quashed. We're reaching the level of thoughtcrime with our PC patrol of speech.

But this is one of the best places to live if you are a woman. Or a Christian. Or black. Or Jewish. Apologizing to the other countries for that?

Most of them probably only care what's in it for them. Can they pay enough money to buy out Clinton? Can they "make good deals" and have Trump give their evil a blind eye? We're sorry, we're sorry, some people are against trans people using the bathroom they want. Think that goes over in Saudi Arabia? They're all tore up about it.

Syria and Iran and Ukraine probably care. The US has their fingers really deep in those pies, so it does directly influence them. I wonder who they actually rooted for.