Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Work-At-Home Mom Versus The Sick Baby

I had such a wonderful time last weekend. I left Michael and the kids on Friday and drove to Richmond for RavenCon. Talk about having some fun! I spent the entire weekend volunteering for the convention, a job that mainly consisted of me sitting in on discussion panels and filling out little forms on how good said panels were. I got to listen to discussions on costuming, podcasting, art, computer graphics, and web comics... all those geeky topics that yours truly just LUVS! And I got to meet an erotica writer friend of mine, Nobilis. Like me, Nobilis writes speculative fiction erotica (i.e. sci-fi and fantasy porn). Unlike me, Nobilis is tall. Freakishly tall, even. How tall was he? He was so tall that I never did see his face, but I could describe his belly button lint in detail. That's pretty frikkin' tall, folks.

But aside from the crick I got in my neck from having to look up all the time to talk to Nobilis, I had a great time. I also got to meet the world famous writer Mur Lafferty, Paul Fischer and Martha Holloway of the ADD Cast, and tons of other people I only know through my iPod or via the internet. And I stayed up late, really late! Way past bedtime late! And did I mention I actually got to talk to some other adults about things other than potty training and the hazards of preschool? So it felt like I sort of had a real life for two and a half days.

Then I came back home. Which was good, because I started jonesing for Michael and the kids after my first hour at RavenCon. I missed them soooooooo much. Cassie and Sam didn't see me at first when I came in - they were engrossed in a Barbie movie -- but as soon as they saw me they both jumped up shrieking and laughing and... ah, who the hell am I kidding? Cassie gave me a brief glance and said, "Hi Mama." Sam saw me and immediately held out her arms and wailed. "Pick up! Pick up!" And once I did pick her up, and I wasn't allowed to put her down again for twenty hours or so.

Turns out there was a reason for Sam's fussiness. She had a low grade fever with a small rash on Sunday, which jumped up to a full-grade fever with more rash on Monday, which transformed to Bubonic Plague on Tuesday. I should have known something was up when Sam didn't wake up until 11AM on Monday morning. No kidding, that baby slept waaaaaaaaaaay past her normal wake-up time, which meant I also slept until 11AM because there was no way after having so much fun that I could crawl out of bed before noon, only I had to because Sam woke up at 11AM.

But that was Monday morning. Tuesday morning Sam was up at 6ish, vomiting. By 9ish we were at the doctor's, who by 10ish told me that Sam had a fever (knew that) and the rash was probably a reaction to a virus (knew that too). Sam tested negative for strep, Bubonic Plague, and the Insidious Ear Infection, so we went home for lunch. On the way there, I stopped to pick up some groceries - rice, bannanas, ginger ale, all the stuff that sick babies should eat. Sam of course slept through this part of the trip, so I had to lug her around in my arms while I shopped. If I have biceps like Ahnold's, you know why. She woke up when we got home and had a temperature of over 102, which was up considerably from the doctor's office. We thus spent the rest of the afternoon watching Dora and fussing non-stop. Around 4PM we went to pick up Cassie from preschool. Once again Sam fell asleep in the car and she was so out of it that she actually stayed asleep when I brought her in (this NEVER happens in real life). Michael came home and took Cassie to karate while I spent the rest of the afternoon either in the our bed with a screaming Sam or in the glider trying to accomplish some work.

Ah, work. After RavenCon and meeting all those other writers/podcasters/artists, I was so psyched to get back to work. I wanted to create, man! And I am quite certain now that my urge to create corellates directly with Sam's fever. The more I want to work, the sicker she gets. By 8PM last night, Sam had a temperature of 103.6. We gave her a dose of Motrin and some Benedryl to help her sleep. By 5AM this morning, her temperature was up to 103.8. After dosing her again and getting her back to bed, I was wiped out, so we all slept late again this morning, though not as late as 11AM. Except for Sam, who did sleep as late as 11AM.

And today's work? Cancelled, naturally. Wednesday is Cassie's day home, so I've done nothing but ride the exercise bike, run some laundry, fix lunch, and watch a butt-load of Dora the Explorer. Around 2PM I dosed Sam with some more Benedryl and Motrin. She fights taking the medicine, but I've found that if I pry her mouth open with one finger and use a syringe to squirt the stuff into her mouth, I can get the medicine into her. I've done this twice and am proud to say that I still have eight fingers left.

So not much accomplished this week after an invigorating, inspiring weekend of creative thought. Except for the below cartoon. Hey, I had to do something fun today...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Obsession With Nipples

Maybe it's a breast feeding thing, but I've recently come to realize that both my children have an obsession with nipples. Well, not Cassie so much. She **had** an obsession with nipples when she was about Sam's age (almost two) but I think she eventually grew out of it. Sam, however, is in the full height of nipple obsession, which means it will be a while before I can take her bra shopping with me.

Both girls were breast fed. In fact, I just weaned Sam about two months ago. I had planned to let the little fart wean herself, but she had already passed the point that Cassie stopped (18 months) and was not really nursing any more so much as chewing my nipples to death. I think she saw that last before bedtime nursing as a delaying tactic. She would chaw away and rather than drift off to sleep, keep herself awake by thrashing around in my lap, occasionally bashing me in the head with her flailing arms and legs. I got tired of this after a while and decided that since she wasn't going to peaceably wean herself, I'd just have to do it for her and so I cut out that last nursing cold turkey.

Needless to say, what followed was a couple of weeks of Sam grabbing at my breasts right before bedtime, demanding to be fed. "Nurse! Nurse!" she'd scream. My solution was to hand her to Michael, who's nipples are too hairy for Sam to chew on. Mine however, are still fair game, and Sam takes every opportunity to point them out when she sees them. If she sees me in the bathtub, Sam will point and go, "Nipples. Nurse." That is the quickest way I know of for her to end my bath. I can't get dressed fast enough, especially if I see her jaws open up to clamp down on my recently reclaimed nipples. Not that I think it will hurt if she latches on -- god knows she killed off all the nerve endings in my nipples long ago -- but I honestly to feel like dealing with the thrashing and beating that came to accompany those last nursing sessions. I mean really, do I need to be beaten black and blue by my toddler?

Sam is also fascinated with her own nipples, much the way Cassie was at her age. She will pull off her shirt to show them off at odd occasions. Again, makes it a little hard to go out with her in public places. And she will point out nipples if she sees them anywhere she goes (like if she sees a shirtless man in a poster or advertisement). Cassie used to do this. I remember one time sitting in zen meditation at home, with my Buddha figurine on the floor in front of me. Cassie walked up to the figure, looked at it and then pointed at the bare side of its chest to proclaim, "Buddha! Nipple!" And that killed that afternoon's meditation, you can be sure.

Cassie is also the child who once ran through the bra section of a lingerie department in a J. C. Penny's, screamaing, "Boobies! Boobies!" as she snatched bras off the rack. To this day, I still cannot walk into J. C. Penny's.

But Sam's latest fascination is not with anything on my chest, but rather with the small brown mole on my left arm. I've had this mole for as long as I can remember, and both kids are obsessed with it, to the point of driving me crazy. They like to poke and prod at it, even though I've told them not to. Sam in particular likes to grab at it and shout out, "Nipple!" "No, no," I say. "That's a mole." "Nipple!" Sam insists. I live in fear of the day when she'll try to latch on. If you ever see me walking around with a toddler fastened onto my left elbow, you know what happened.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Baby Names

I have no idea what to write today, but since I actually have a few moments of free time, I thought I'd do a blog entry. So this is one that's been floating around in my brain for a while... all the nick names I've had for the kids.

Nick names for Cassie:

Cheeze Butt (because when she was an infant, her poop looked like pimento cheese, without the pimentoes)


Sassy Cassie

Sassafrassa Cassa-lassa


Princess Bucket Head (because we had a toy bucket that we played with in the bathtub and sometimes I'd put it on her head and say it was a crown; it fit perfectly too)

Brownie (for her brown hair)

Little Miss Stinkpot (because she smells all stinky when she wakes up in the morning)

Booger Babe (for when she has a cold)

Farting Beauty from Patootie (because I got really tired of playing princesses one day and I needed something to break up the monotony)

Little Baby Screams-A-Lot (back when she had colic)

Nick names for Sam:

Sam I Am (a play on Samantha Ann)

Sammy Am (a play on Sam I Am)

Da Yellow Kid (she had jaundice when she was born)

Twinkie (again, refers to the jaundice and later on her blonde hair)

T. Willie Winky (a play on Twinkie)

Cuddle Bug (because she always liked to cuddle)

Bruiser (because she can also be a little thug)

Thuggie (see above)

Little Miss Piddly Farts (because I'm her mom and I can call her that)

Blondie (how did I get a kid with blonde hair?!)

Lumpkin (for those moments when she flings her self on the ground like a lump and refuses to move)

Chunky Baby (because she was so rolly-polly for so long)

There are plenty more nick names for the girls. I make up new ones all the time. It's a habit I get from my dad. He had quite a few for me and my sister - Rumpus McGoon (me) and Rumpus McBean (Carolyn), Helly Jelly Belly (me), Carolina Moon (Carolyn), etc., etc. I'll add more names to the girls' lists as I remember them.