Tuesday, March 27, 2007

7 Months

Delma is 7 months old. Wow. She is a little person now, sometimes I look at her and I wonder just who she is and what she's doing in my house. She's completely weened now, so I don't have that physical connection with her anymore... When she was hungry she used to grab me and smother her face in my chest -- now instead when she sees her bottle she starts getting all impatient and cries and it makes me really sad. She's completely separate from me, if I dropped off the face of the earth she probably wouldn't notice. Josh, on the other hand, she would notice. She is such a daddy's girl already -- if he's in the room she can't keep her eyes off him. When he leaves the room she just stares at the doorway he left through. The only thing that's maybe as interesting to her as Josh are the cats. She beams the biggest smiles when she sees them, her head whips around to check them out when she hears a meow, when they come near her she screams with delight (and then looks completely confused when they get scared and run away).

I'm glad she won't remember this part of her childhood. I fear that this is how she'd remember it:

Sitting on the bathroom floor every morning when we get ready for work. Babies shouldn't have to play on the bathroom floor! It's clean, but it's weird. She gets to look up at our naked butts as we get in and out of the shower and get ready for work. I think we're going to end up being "that weird naked family."

Her hair is so long now that we have to put a barrette in it every day. We love her crazy unruly hair, but one day when Josh picked her up from daycare there was a piece of yarn tied in it on the top of her head, Pebbles-style, and they made a comment about how it always in her eyes... OK, OK, point taken. Now we put a barrette in front, but we let the rest just stay all crazy.

A couple weeks ago she developed Thrush, the poor thing. She's such a good sport about being sick that we didn't even notice it for quite a few days, until the daycare people pointed it out. All we noticed was that she wasn't eating as much as usual, and then we relized it was because she was uncomfortable. :( It's her own fault, though, she should have just told us instead of withholding information! Seriously, when will she learn??

This little girl has such a personality now, and is really asserting herself. She babbles A LOT. She has developed that adorable baby habit of screaming when you take things away from her. Throughout the day, just for the hell of it, she'll tense up her whole body, clench her right fist, and yell this weird gutteral yell. We're finally starting to realize that we shouldn't laugh every time she does something crazy like that, since we're just encouraging her and she knows it. When did she grow a brain??

One really great development is her love for music. We sing and dance all the time in our house, and she's always really responded to it. So we signed her up for a Kindermusik class and it's been a blast. We bought her some little instruments to play with at home, and it's a great way to calm her down. She can amuse herself for quite a while with her little drum, tamborine and her little shake boxes while we listen to music. I think she's going to grow up thinking that life really is like a musical, where randomly in the middle of a conversation people break into song. Because that's what we really do. And she's going to think that's normal. Ha!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

$$ and the Easter Bunny

Money and the Easter Bunny are on my mind, though not necessarily in that order. Actually, yes, in that order.

We got a Discover card recently. We always used our Mobil card for all gas purchases, and then paid it in full each month, so we never carried a balance or paid interest and we never had to use cash for gas. That worked great for years, and also gave us very clear visibility into what we paid on gas each month. But the Mobil card had no benefits, points, etc, so was sort of a waste in the world of cashback and miles and points and all that... Enter, the Discover Card. 5% cash back on all gas purchases, plus cash back for all other purchases too... So now I'm trying to use it for everything that we'd normally pay for with cash, like groceries, etc, and we'll just pay it off in full each month. I'm really excited about it, and after only one month we already have a nicely growing little cashback balance!

I also signed us up -- finally! -- for upromise, so we're earning money for Delma's $800kajillion college tuition every time we use any of our credit or bank cards, or when we use our little savings cards at the grocery store or CVS. We still don't even have a savings account ourselves, or a 529 for Del, but at least we're taking baby steps in the right direction (we have 401k's, but those don't really count since we can't touch them). I feel like we're finally learning to be a little bit proactive financially, and it's very motivating.

OK, so the Easter Bunny... Josh and Delma are Jewish. I'm converting. This past Christmas was really weird for us, we got a tree and decorated it -- out of habit more than anything else, really -- and then felt really uncomfortable having it in the house since we're not Christian and we had no clue how to justify having it, other than the fact that we like shiny things and we have all sorts of my family's ornaments and decorations going back to before I was born. Though we both grew up with Christmas and we have wonderful magical memories associated with it, we just don't know how to raise a Jewish daughter and celebrate Christmas. So we likely won't be doing the Christmas thing anymore at our house, but we'll happily enjoy the sparkly shiny twinkling lights and decorations and trees in public places and in the homes of friends and family.

So, on to the Easter Bunny. While Christmas is extremely secular, it still is very much a Christian holiday. But Easter? It is so secularized that there's almost no religious association with it out in the public forum. And it's really cute, with all the chicks and the bunnies and what-not. And it's got really great candy. And egg hunts with all those waddling, greedy little kids are really cute. Would it be so awful for us to give Del an Easter basket every year? I'm conflicted. I have a meeting with my rabbi today, I'll have to pick his brain on this one.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Happy Thursday

I love Thursdays for a few reasons:
1. I have no meetings. My Outlook calendar is completely empty on Thursdays (for now), and it makes me so happy.
2. Bagels at work. On Thursdays we have free bagels and cream cheese in our office. My love for bagels is boundless, and absurd. And then when they're FREE? Look out.
3. Free lunch. On Thursdays we have a free sort of buffet lunch thing here in the office. I love food a lot. I love free a lot. Put the 2 together... heaven.

In other random thoughts:
Bravo has been playing Six Feet Under. I don't get HBO, so I've been watching the series on Bravo -- I caught it right from the beginning, and they play 3 new episodes every Monday night which I record and then somehow find time to watch during the week. Oh my god, what an amazing show. It's up to maybe the 4th season now and still after just about every episode I am so sad that it's over. Last night I watched the episode when Ruth's sister takes her friend Fiona hiking, Fiona trips and falls down the mountain and dies, and then Ruth and several women end up getting drunk and high and go down to the basement to look at the body, and all start singing "Calling all Angels." I cried, and all morning today I keep picturing that scene and getting teary. It makes me miss being surrounded by girlfriends.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

3 is the magic number

When we bought our house a year and a half ago, the inspector told us we had some mold in the attic. He said all attics have some mold, it wasn't super-serious, but we should call someone and get it cleaned at some point. He also told us our bathroom fan is vented *into* the attic, not out of the house, and that should get fixed at some point too.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when we sloth-esque first-time home-owners finally get around to dealing with some of these little issues. The mold dude looks in the attic and says the amount of mold is so extensive that remediation isn't even worth it, it would be cheaper to replace the entire roof, all the way down to the plywood. *Gulp.* Then the roofer comes out, takes one look up there and almost shits a brick. That's never good. When the roof was replaced 7 years ago, they pushed the insulation all the way down into the soffit vents. There is no ridge vent. Even though we don't turn the fan in the bathroom on, the vents are there and all that moisture has to go somewhere... So we have an attic full of moisture from our nice long steamy showers and baths, and absolutely no ventilation up there to get the moisture back out. Recipe for toxic air. Toxic air that we and our infant daughter are breathing. Next week we will be the proud (and financially strapped) owners of a shiny new roof. Then after that's done, the mold dude comes back and kicks us out of the house for a couple days so they can do some crazy enzyme fog that will eat all the kajillion evil little mold spores that live in our house.

But that's not enough. No no no. The weekend before last, the whole downstairs of our raised ranch flooded. The first time there's been even a drop of water down there since we moved in. It was some freak situation with the frozen ground and flash-flood rains... It sucked. We spent a Friday night shop-vac'ing water from the utility room floor, throwing out LOTS of (thankfully not valuable) wet belongings, and trying to sop up as much water as possible from the carpet in the family room. The next day we had guys out there ripping up the carpet, taking out any padding that was damaged, putting in fans and a massive dehumidifier... A few days later they put down new padding, relaid the carpet and cleaned it.

Then a few days later the dryer went on the fritz.

These things happen in threes, right? So nothing else in our house is going to blow anytime soon, RIGHT??? Knock on wood...

Monday, March 5, 2007

Happy 6 Months!

Delma turned 6 months last week. And what a month it was... We flew to Florida for our first little vacation, Delma had back-to-back health issues, she started eating food, I stopped pumping (and I promptly got my period!), she started sitting on her own, she outgrew her infant carrier and graduated to a big-girl car seat, and she has a fabulous new repertoire of vocal noises.

Health: Poor Del had a crazy ear infection, and a week into her second round of antibiotics she developed an allergic reaction to the Augmentin she was on. She broke out in a rash all over her face and body, then her fat little hands and feet swelled up to even fatter little hands and feet. She really handled it like a champ, though, and now she's all better (knock on wood!).

Aunt Flo: I didn't miss that bitch! After over a year with (blissfully) no period, she just had to go and show up. Damn. I'm still nursing D once or twice every day, but I don't pump anymore so during the day when I'm at work she gets formula. And seriously, after only 4 days of not pumping my body just immediately responded to the lower milk demand and decided to menstruate. I never cease to be amazed at the things my body does, the way it responds to different dynamics with the baby. Just incredible.

Food: We have been blessed with a little piggy baby who will eat anything you put in her mouth. I hope it stays that way, and she doesn't turn into some picky eater. She's liked every food we've given her, and though it's messy and a bit of a time committment, feeding her is so fun.

Talking: It only took her a couple feedings to get the hang of the chewing motion. And as soon as she started doing it, the babbling started. She loves the feel of flapping her dumb little gummy mouth like she's chewing, saying "lalalalalalalala," "mamamamamamamama," "blablablablabla," etc. She still licks and chews everything that gets near her face, but there are no signs of teeth yet. Her gut seems to have matured, too, and she barely spits up anymore. She used to constantly spit up, we had to always wear "baby armor" -- burp cloths -- over our shoulder when we held her or else we'd get schmutzed.

People at daycare are constantly commenting on what a sweet, happy, cute baby Delma is -- the people who work there, parents of other kids... She has quite a fan club. She really is a very pleasant little muffin, and it brings us such joy to feel like we're creating a home and a life for her where she feels safe and happy, where there's always laughter and singing and kisses and love.