Monday, August 29, 2005

I have never understood how my house can get so messy as the result of a camping trip that takes place 200 miles away, but so it is. So with one measly day off this week to clean and the Sharebear coming tomorrow, what do I do? Blog, of course.

Just wanted to quickly say that Nutmeg had a great time in Yosemite this weekend and didn't get snatched by a mountain lion. We did see a car broken into by a bear though (we saw the car after, not during) and it was not a pretty sight. You know, I never realized our neighborhood meth heads were such considerate, gentle souls until I compared the way they break into a car to the way a grizzly does it.

Anyway, it Nutmeg got so, so dirty this weekend. And it was a time of many firsts for her. She rode in her car seat facing forward for the first time. She barfed in it facing forward for the first time, allowing her to reach the front seat with her Gerber Step 2 Beef and Barley for the first time as well.

Nutmeg has a friend already, little Eliot, but this weekend she made her own friend without my intervention for the first time. A 3-year-old girl who was camping next door to us came over and introduced herself, asked rather formally, "Will you be my friend?" and took Nutmeg's silence as a yes. Together they wandered the camp site, played with the big downed tree, and generally occupied each other so their moms could get dinner made. It was awesome and made me kind of wish we always lived in a big open area so neighborhood kids could wander into my kitchen and take over childcare duties for me.

As you can see from the pictures below, Nutmeg rode in the backpack for a couple of hot, dusty hikes. At the end of one, she bathed in an almost-dried out Mirror Lake. At the end of the other, she bathed in the icy Emerald Pool, where no swimming or wading is allowed but everyone -- even 1-year-olds! -- does it anyway because you just climbed part of a mountain, it's hot and dusty, and you're standing in front of an icy, peaceful looking pool in a mountain stream. What would you do? Anyway, Nutmeg just went in about two centimeters of water on a big, flat rock, so she was only barely breaking the rules.

Also, when Nutmeg spilled orange juice all over herself at the campsite, making it necessary for us to keep her clothes in the bear box all night, she came out with a new interjection: "Holy crap!"

Finally, I have for you a fascinating article from The Chronicle about choosing an elementary school in San Francisco, and the web of guilt, financial penury and fear facing educated parents as they pit their belief in public education against reality.

Goin' on a Donkey Ride

Mother Nature's Daughter

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Lacrimation

Since I have not had time to watch Oprah this week (except Tuesday and that was a celebrity episode) I need to come up with my own crying fix. I just turned on my IPod Mini (thanks Citibank!) and the first song does the trick:

Abuelita, by Richard Shindell.

I guess grandmothers are on my mind this week since both Nutmeg's grannies have been pining for her. I could write a long, involved post about having a child creates all kinds of new family bonds in your life and reinforces old ones, and creates whole new neuropathies of obligation and guilt. But I am in that place where I am not supposed to be blogging, so I will just leave you with Mr. Shindell's lachrymose ballad.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Curves

The Sharebear's mom just called to tell me that the Nanny is going to be quitting at the end of September because she found a full time job. I'm totally happy about this, even though it means that poor Nutmeg will have to adjust to a new caregiver. We could have fired her, but then I would have felt guilty about changing caregivers on Nutmeg. Now she's leaving, and it's out of my hands.

OK, this means we have one month to find a new person, but I really don't care. We're getting rid of one of the people who causes me the most stress in my life. Now if I could just get rid of my boss, too.

Also, I wore size 8 jeans today for the first time since, oh I don't know, freshman year of college? I took advantage of Gap's sale on jeans and got a pair from their new "curvy" line. I have never loved myself in a pair of jeans before! So, Dear Gap People, Thank you for making curvy jeans. My husband loves them too.

Oh, and while riding BART last night, Nutmeg tried ordering me to kiss her shoe. I said, "No way," so she tried, "Kissy pants," which I did. Then "Kissy sock." See where this is going? Sure enough, then she tried "Kissy shoe" again. No way!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Mommy loves me, and I love chicken, so by extension, Mommy loves chicken!

Nutmeg at lunch today: "I love chicken!"

She fed herself chicken stew with a spoon and asked for seconds, twice. This is a girl after her grammy's own heart.

Sadly, the last two nights have been bad nights, in which Nutmeg wakes up and wants to nurse at about 3:30 a.m. Since the rule at our house is that morning starts at 5 a.m., this is not allowed.

(I must pause to read "Green Eggs and Ham," be right back)

So anyway, on bad nights, between 3:30 a.m. and 5, Nutmeg alternately cries and slams herself down to sleep again, and if her landing pad happens to be my neck or skull, so be it. It's hard to understand how a 20-pound toddler can push me to the edge of the mattress so I have to put my foot on the floor to keep from falling off, but it's possible. During this time, putting her in her crib, so Epu and I could be comfortable, would just result in nonstop howling instead of intermittent crying at varying levels.

This morning, I was squinting at the clock watching 4:57 turn to 4:58 to 4:59, just waiting, waiting for 5 a.m. so I could feed her and go back to sleep. It's hard to understand why we go back to this after a week or two of sleeping pretty much through the night. Maybe another tooth.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Nutmeg and Mommy

"booger paper"

Cutie Pie

Some cute things Nutmeg has done lately:

While playing with her BFF Eliot today, tell him, "Careful, baby. Careful, Eliot. Careful!"

Sing her first attempts at songs. She likes "Goodnight ladies," to which she will sing "Byebye Mama," or whatever other lyrics seem handy. But she only gets the repeating lines, she never gets to the "we're going to leave you now" part. She also has been breaking out into a chorus of "doo-dah, doo-dah," all weekend.

About five minutes into a car ride, call out, "All done driving!"

While sitting in her booster seat, which is now next to Eliot's booster seat in our kitchen, say, "Snookie seat!" (Eliot's mom calls him Snookie sometimes.) Where Eliot????"

Carry her toy train to the bedroom, calling out, "Nightnight train!" and, with assistance, put the train to bed in her crib.

I could go on like this all night.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The details, the devil

Sometimes it's just the dull throbbing of life that wears you down. It doesn't help that I am so over where we live. This week we woke up one morning to our neighbor knocking to tell us the Subaru's window was smashed. This morning I picked three little pieces of glass out of Nutmeg's carseat before putting her in it. Thursday Epu brought home the framed Brett Favre autographed jersey that we were so excited to get in order to auciton off for my brother's fundraising push. The signature is totally illegible. I don't know what kind of pen he signed it with, but the ink totally bled and faded. It's so disappointing. We already had to give our regrets to one of Nutmeg's baby friends because we already committed to a camping trip when they're having his first birthday party. Then, sitting at work Friday, I realized that -- duh -- Eliot's birthday part is the same day we are supposed to be driving to the central valley with my parents for a semi-family wedding.

This of course is all over the background noise of trying to make 1.5 incomes cover all our regular expenses plus the nanny, over struggles with our homeowner's association, over putting together nightly dinners and the constant, energy-sapping surveillance of a small child. Parking tickets, grocery lists, laundry upstairs and downstairs, overdue library books, find a new dentist. And on and on.

What I don't understand is, our lives are relatively simple. When we were DINKs I thought, how do people with kids manage it when running my own life is so overwhelming? Now I wonder, how do people with four kids, two full-time jobs, two dogs and a big house to maintain keep their heads above water? How about the people with special needs kids and elderly parents to look after.

I guess you play the hand that's dealt you. On the upside, I went in for my annual checkup and the doctor came in and said, "You look great for the mom of a toddler!" I'm not sure if she meant I should have looked fatter or tireder or more disheveled or what. But hey, I'll take it. And tell me, am I the only person on earth who actually enjoys going to the doctor for a checkup? For one thing, I left Nutmeg home with her dad this time, so I got to read the whole paper in the waiting room. Then a nice nurse tells me how nice my weight and blood pressure are, and another nice lady -- not my regular doctor, but still -- and a medical student fuss over me, inquire extensively about how I'm feeling, and tell me that the site of last year's hideous 4th-degree carnage looks just fine. OK, then they stuck a speculum up me, but if exclude that 2 minutes of the whole occasion, it's more like having a nice cup of coffee with caring friends, really.

And have I ever told you that every time Nutmeg takes a drink of something, she looks you in the eye and goes, "ah!" as in, "wasn't that refreshing!"

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Land of Make Believe

Nutmeg plays pretend now. At first, her daddy introduced her to pretending that her Lego Quattros were various things: a fire engine, a cup. She loves to pretend to drink out of the Lego cup, and this morning she asked for a bowl and spoon when I was unloading the dishwasher and proceeded to relish a pretend meal.
Another big game lately: She puts her baby doll in her high chair, and, with help, straps her in, puts on the tray, and provides her with nourishment in the form of Cheerios.

Also, Nutmeg's Uncle Ken is training to run a marathon. He's participating in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's Team in Training and has to raise $5,100 in order to go to the Honolulu Marathon. Want to donate? Here's his page:
http://www.active.com/donations/fundraise_public.cfm?key=tntiaKKirby

If you donate after reading about it here, let me know, and I will match your gift up to a total of $500. No Mom, I don't mean you.

Oh, a book review: I just finished "The Plug-in Drug" and highly recommend it to other parents. Everyone has heard that TV is bad for kids, but when it comes to specifics, we usually mumble something about the speed of the images coming at kids, or the content -- especially the commercials. This book confirmed my concerns that it's not the content of television that harms kids the most -- it's the process. Written back at the end of the 70s, the book examines the difference between the pre and post-television generations, something that's harder to imagine today that pre-TV "kids" are all collecting senior discounts. I found the interviews with teachers who spanned both generations most revealing. They commented that the TV-raised kids didn't play pretend as much, didn't intiate activities, just sat back and waited for the teacher to provide the content. Of course, study after study finds that kids don't read as much when TV is available. I was surprised to see that it applies even to bright kids who like to read. And perhaps most worrisome, the author believes that children whose free time is filled in by television never learn how to take control of their own time, have stunted inner development, and remain infantalized in many ways.
And this was written before the VCR, Teletubbies, or -- my favorite tool for family avoidance -- the in-car DVD player.
The whole thing firmed my resolve that Nutmeg should not be watching any TV or videos at all, at least until she's in school. I feel bad that she will not get to watch Sesame Street, of which I have such fond memories, during those years. Oh well, Sesame Street is still a gas when you're 6 or 7, or 26 or probably 67, for that matter.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Nutmeg the Kid

Nutmeg is turning into a kid before our eyes. Today, in the car on the way to and from the Bay Area Discovery Museum she sang songs. Not like, she sang the whole song. But on the way there, with Kay and Eliot in the back seat along with her, we sang "Old MacDonald," and she actually requested a couple of animals at the appropriate place, although her choices were questionable. On this farm, she wanted a birdie, a dog, a cat and a bear. I told her I didn't see the real profit potential in this kind of livestock, but she wouldn't listen. Then she made the animal noises at the appropriate time.
Then, on the way home, I noticed her saying, "Don't you cry," and moving her arms back and forth. She was singing "The Wheels on the Bus," all by herself. Just to prove she knew what she was doing, she switched from "Don't you cry" to "I love you," the next refrain.
And I should mention that on Thursday, after the Nanny left, Nutmeg actually said, "Mommy, I love you." Honest to god.
She's sleeping now, after another trouble-free bedtime. People, don't let anyone tell you your baby won't be able to put herself to sleep if you always nurse her down as an infant. She will, as long as you hire a nutty Taiwanese crone to take care of her a couple days a week.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Lactating? Don't follow this link.

Just sent a donation to Unicef. It was the only way I could move on with my day after seeing this picture in the New York Times. The baby in the picture is the same age as Nutmeg. I can't stand it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Don't you hate your voice on the answering machine too?

Kay taught Nutmeg to play "Ring Around the Rosie" today. She loves it, especially the "fall down" part. Kay came by to help out while I was talking on a Webcast panel discussion. When I was on the panel, I felt like I was making really smart points, and I felt tan and blow-dried and thought I looked pretty good in my lavender turtleneck. Tonight Epu and I watched the Webcast, and I was saddened to see I looked pallid and pissed off and my hair looked bad. When I mentioned this to Epu, he said, "Purple is not a good color for TV."

Thanks for the support, hubby.

Here's something I do want to thank Epu for, and if you try it you'll be thanking him too: Oatmeal Cream Pie Ice Cream. We were without any chocolate sauce for our vanilla ice cream the other night, when Epu proposed mixing an Oatmeal Cream Pie into it, a la Cold Stone Creamery. He did, and I must tell you, it is unexpectedly delicious. We made it again tonight with the same delightful results.

Things Nutmeg can say but not do: "Blow bubbles" (in the pool), "drink wine," "drink beer," "drink coffee," "grind coffee."

And the best word we heard her say today? That'd be "keyboard."

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Blogger trouble

To the person who commented they were having trouble viewing the whole of my posts on IE lately, I noticed that problem too.
I don't know what's causing it, but one solution I found is to change the size of the window by hitting the middle box in the upper-right-hand corner of the window. Sometimes if you make the window bigger or smaller, the problem goes away.

The grinch family visits the commune

Last night we went to hang out a co-housing community where a former co-worker of Epu's lives with his wife and daughter. We had never heard of co-housing and found it to be fascinating and freaky at the same time, and I thought, somebody should write an article about this. Then in this morning's Chronicle Magazine, lo and behold.
Basically it was an apartment/townhouse complex with an intensively communal neighborhood association. Things we liked: There was a "common house" with a fun kids room, a rec room for parties, a restaurant-grade kitchen, and -- get this -- two guest bedrooms with baths upstairs for visitors. Your dues include several weeks' worth of use of the guest rooms per year. There was also a craft room and a pool and hot tub. And apparently they have some kind of childcare or kids' classes.
But it went beyond all that. Epu's friend had sent out an email saying he reserved the rec room for this game night, and that we would all chip in for pizza. But when we got there, besides friends, there were also a bunch of kids from the complex and a couple of parents playing a game, and a boy attacking the bags of cookies someone had brought.
Turns out Epu's friend had opened the invitation to the entire cohousing community, which means that our pizza was paid for by the recreation committee, even though only a handful of people from the community actually came. Over a game of Scrabble, I learned that one of the moms I was playing with had recently given a talk on astrophysics here in the common room, to the delight of residents. And, I learned, they cooked communal meals in this room twice a week.
Yikes.
"It's an intentional community where you expect to have a relationship with your neighbors," Epu's friend's wife told me. It's like a retirement community for all ages, I remarked to Epu later.
On the way home, Epu and I talked about how it was all a good idea, but that neither of us could possibly survive in such a set up. Funny, if I went to a two-week camp or writer's retreat where everything was set up like this, I would probably totally bond with the residents and have a wonderful time. Or even if the shared facilities were a club down the road from my house.
But live here? Oh no. We need our privacy, and, even more importantly, we need the freedom to avoid people we don't like. Because in a community of say, 25 families, what percent do you think is going to be likeable? Maybe 30%? The way I see it, you can't choose your co-workers, so at work you have to establish cordial relationships with a lot of people who you would not choose to socialize with. Then, on Friday night, you can go out with your friends and make fun of them over a few beers, and forget about them all weekend. Living in a place like this, you'd have to maintain those cordial relationships almost all the time.
But hey, for nicer people than us, who actually like other people, great idea, cohousing. I totally approve.

After we got home, put the sleeping Nut in her crib and settled on the couch for a little snuggly reading at around 10:30, my cell phone rang. It was Bert, stuck in Redwood City at her ex's house after her car broke down (she had just given him a ride home from the airport). I changed out of my shorts (suburbs were hot, city coooold) and drove half an hour to get her, took her to her apartment across town from us, and arrived home at midnight.
As I climbed into bed with my sound asleep husband (what, you thought he would wait up?) I thought about my own network of friends, patched together with the chewed-up gum of mutual experience, sense of humor and circumstance. I imagined having to take an hour-plus round trip for someone in my co-housing complex, just because of a credo of mutual assistance. Well, it would be nice to have people to fall back on like that in this era where we live so far from our flesh and blood families. But the thing is, half an hour of chatting in the dark car with Bert was pleasant enough to make the whole trip not so bad, because -- despite the tangled path we took to friendship -- we picked each other. There is no assigned seating in life.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Men blog from Mars, women blog from Venus

Me: Snurf!
Epu: What?
Me: My friend just made the nicest post on my other friend's blog!
Epu: (gives me a look just like Uncle Bob's in Urban Cowboy when Sissy's bull ride prompt him to say, "They ruined that bull.")
Me: We're doing the Internet all wrong, with all this hugging and crying and support. Aren't we?
Epu: Well ... I definitely never cried at someone's posting.
Me: (imagine Epu reading Slashdot with a hanky in one fist, whispering, "I think the new Apple mouse is a sell-out to Windows too...)

Friday, August 05, 2005

The In Blogs

If you're in this unfashionable little corner of the Internet, you probably know how this feels. They're laughing, all those girls at the popular table. You feel paranoid that they're laughing about you, until you realize that that means they would know you exist, which would actually be kind of exciting. Because not only are you not in the in-crowd, the in-crowd doesn't know about you, and they never will. And I'm not talking about the high school in-crowd that you could feel superior to and hate and feel confident knowing that by the 10-year reunion they'd be fat, overly made up and never have left your town. I'm talking about popular girls you love, popular girls who are the stars in the plays you try out for, or the moms at baby swim class who are already BFF from the last two sessions. I'm talking about the BlogHers.

Ever since this conference happened last weekend, the women whose blogs I read have been raving about how fun it was to meet each other and stay up late drinking tequila in one another's hotel rooms. And how they were already best friends forever from all the late-night instant messaging sessions, but now that they've met and picked each other up at the airport and held each other's hair while they puked, they're BFF-plus eternity.

And for the first time, it bothers me that I know all about these women's lives, and they don't know about me. I read many posts about BlogHer with the narcissistic hope that one might link to my article or mention, "Gosh, that article about BlogHer was so good that I wish I could hang out with its author and be super-double-BFF." But nope. Of course not, because old media, even when read on the newspaper's Web site, is so 20th Century.

It made me start to wonder if I wanted to pump up my site's popularity, although I don't even know how. But that's not a very good idea, because I've seen the pages and pages of comments that popular blogs get, and you better believe that I would be compelled to read every comment I got, even if there were hundreds. And if I had that kind of time, I had better be working on my nah-vel (oh yeah, whatever happened to that?)

I just want to be popular among the in crowd. The masses can go blow (which is why it doesn't help at all to think that way more people see my work in the newspaper than read even Dooce on a daily basis). And don't imagine that it looks better than it is in the in crowd. I've been in it on a few rare occasions, and I gotta tell you, it's all that.

Here are some of the many blog entries about the in-crowd at BlogHer:
http://mightygirl.net/2005_08_01_archive.html#112328538517295854
www.fussy.org (August 3)
www.dooce.com (August 2)
http://finslippy.typepad.com/finslippy/2005/08/blogher_blogme.html#more
http://www.suburbanbliss.net/

On the other hand, it's awfully cool to be able to eavesdrop on the cool girls and see what they talk about when none of the common people are around.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Insert heartwarming moment here

I got so worked up over my supreme maternal sacrifice that I forgot to share what happened today: Nutmeg is totally over me.

I came home for lunch from work today, as I often do in an attempt to catch The Nanny selling crack from the back porch and using Nutmeg as a lookout, or whatever it is she does when we're not there. Instead, I walk in and hear Nutmeg and The Nanny engaged in happy conversation while she's on the changing table.
Nanny: "tai chou le!" ("too stinky")
Nutmeg: "tai chou le!"
Nanny (giggling with delight) "hao chou!" (really stinky!)
etc.
And I listen with pleasure, knowing she didn't hear me come in, and thinking that despite all my complaints, big and small, about this woman, she really enjoys my daughter, and vice versa. Which makes up for a lot.
I sit down and eat and they come into the kitchen. Nutmeg makes a beeline for my lap, as usual, but she does so smiling, not crying as she sometimes is when she sees me midday. She nurses for about 30 seconds on each side, as The Nanny puts on her jacket in preparation for their trip to the park.
I ask Nutmeg if she wants to go to the park, and she says, "go go go!"
And she sits up and squirms to be let down. Normally, when I come home at lunch, she clings to me like I was the last raft off the Titanic.
The Nanny holds out her jacket, and she toddles toward the Nanny's open arms, says, "Hug!" and gives her a hug. Gets her jacket on, and walks toward the front door.
"Tell Mommy zaijian (goodbye)" the Nanny says, and Nutmeg calls out, "Bye bye mommy! Go go go!"
Without looking back. And they're gone.
Sure, I may have choked up a little bit. But honest to God -- I just felt so proud of my little girl, and relieved that (hopefully) our lunchtime melodramas will now be replaced with this lighthearted kind of scene.
Of course, these kids, they have no sense of context, while we grownups are sludging through nothing but context, day in, day out. Today was not at all noteworthy to Nutmeg. I was thinking, why couldn't I have videotaped this Very Historic Moment, and she's thinking, "Go go go!"

Nutmeg owes me a tropical vacation

I decided not to go to the DR. At first I thought I was going to say yes, but as soon as I started planning on that, this sadness just descended on me and I thought about starting the weaning process with considerable dread. Which makes me think, I may not be doing the right thing.

So I did a few online searches on "breastfeeding toddlers." At www.parentingweb.com and at La Leche League, I saw confirmations of what Nutmeg's pediatrician said, that she's still getting antibodies from my milk. And I have to note that this is a child who has hardly ever been sick so far, while so many of my coworkers complain that their whole families are sick all the time. Of course, the main thing behind that is likely that Nutmeg is not in daycare.

I also found this on parentingweb: "Because your nursing toddlers needs are being met, she will feel better about herself and thus tend to accept discipline more easily. Nursing eases frustration and smooths over many of the tough transitions that a make up a toddlers life. You may find that your nursing toddler rarely has temper tantrums or, if he does, that they are easily "tamed". "

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits.html has more facts and figures on the benefits for toddlers in terms of illness, allergies, etc.

But still, I wondered. 15 months is still a good long time to nurse. When I first talked about taking this trip, Epu asked, well, what's the average time babies breastfeed? I guessed 4 weeks. Well, I found one article that said the average length in developed countries is 8.7 months per woman per lifetime, as in, I nursed my first baby 4 months, my second for 3 months and my third for 1.7 months. So anyway, Nutmeg has already gotten much more of the boobie juice than most babies get in the West, for sure.

Last night I was thinking, why won't someone just tell me what to do? There are other things going on in our lives, work issues, issues with our homeowners' association, that I haven't gone into here, but suffice to say that I've been faced with too many decisions lately and I felt like I just couldn't make this one. Even though it's what Bert would call "a Cadillac" problem: Do I take an awesome vacation or do I enjoy months more of cozy bonding with my darling baby?

Anyway, I went to the bathroom and noticed Dr. Sear's Baby Book sitting in there, as usual. Aha! Maybe Dr. Sears would tell me what to do.

Well, you can guess what the Guru of Attachment Parenting says: "Avoid weaning by desertion -- leaving baby to go on a getaway vacation."

Well, I was looking for someone to tell me what to do. And there it is.

Besides, just about every source I read said that weaning should happen when the mother, or the baby, or both, are ready. And neither of us is ready. I realized that I was looking forward to a slow weaning process, something that Nutmeg and I would talk about when she's an older toddler. I know this makes me a freak to most Americans, but so be it. I also realize that this means I'll probably have no break between nursing Nutmeg and my next pregnancy, whenever that should happen. Oh well. I'll have plenty of time to try LSD and overdose on tuna when the kids are in college. (Just kidding, Mom!)

And hey, ironically, it's National Breastfeeding Week. I guess somebody's trying to tell me something, hopefully not the same somebody who keeps electrocuting Boy Scouts.

And guess what else? I got plagiarized by a bunch of blogs: http://www.newmediamusings.com/blog/2005/08/plagiarism_in_t.html

This is the second time (that I know of) that my writing has been plagiarized, and I have to say, it's always flattering. Yes, I'm that desparate for flattery of any kind, that I *like* being plagiarized.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Lopsided priorities?

Although my breasts have never weighed heavily on me, the subject of breasts is weighing heavily on me these days. One reason is because of my friend's difficulties, which I mentioned before. But another is because I'm considering weaning Nutmeg by the end of this month.

The reason I might wean her is not because I think that toddlers shouldn't be nursing. I think they should, and I always intended to nurse Nutmeg at least until her second birthday, unless she was one of the few babies who lose interest on their own. The WHO recommends nursing until age 2. And I love nursing Nutmeg, and the pediatrician says she's still benefiting by getting antibodies through the breastmilk. Which would help explain why other people's toddlers are always sick and ours almost never is (the main reason is that she doesn't go to daycare).

The thing is, my friend Bert has invited me to go to the Dominican Republic with her for a week. She used to be in the Peace Corps there, and has lots of local friends that we'd be visiting, so it would be a really neat opportunity as well as a fun getaway. My parents happen to be coming to town around then, and they said they wouldn't mind helping Epu take care of Nutmeg if I go away.

I'm not afraid Nutmeg wouldn't be able to cope without me for a week. She was separated from her father for four days on our recent trip and she barely asked about him at all. She'd be with her daddy and grandparents and I think she'd be fine. But I just don't know if we are ready to wean. And there's no way I would put her through going a week without nursing and then let her go back on the breast, only to have to do it all over again later. Besides, there's no way I'm going to pump while in the DR.

Maybe I should take a vote. Do you think going on a trip is a dumb reason to wean a baby? There are so many decisions and worries facing our household lately, that I feel like I just can't decide anything. Especially something like this. The worst part is, if I were to stop nursing at the end of the month, I should really start eliminating feedings now.

There is one other reason that weaning now would be nice. I've gotten totally lopsided. My left side has all but shut down production since we have always favored the right. And how long do I really want to walk around with the opposite of a BLT, as they called it in Rocky Horror Picture Show?

OK, and a break from my handwringing to report something really awesome happening in our lives: Hazel's BFF (best friend forever), Eliot, is going to join our sharecare situation one day a week. For months, I posted ads for our nanny and met other parents who never ended up joining our share, and I stressed over the fact that I was paying more than we can afford for solo care on the days the Sharebear doesn't come. Now we'll have sharecare both days, because Eliot's mommy is going back to school and has classes all day on Thursdays. They get childcare without having to look for it, we both save money, the Nanny earns more, and, best of all, Nutmeg and Eliot get to play together all day once a week! As Nutmeg says all the time now, "Yay!"

Parenting, Take Two

This morning Epu wants to take Nutmeg into the bedroom to get her dressed, but she wants to go outside and color on the porch with chalk. She whines, and he starts pleading: "How about if I bring your clothes out here to the living room."
"You're letting her boss you around, honey," I tell him. "Don't give into her when she starts fussing."
So he tries again: "Honey, I know you want to go outside right now. But who cares?"
There we go.