1 yr., 2 mo. So many (mostly cute) things he's started doing recently! When our cat yowls his, "I'm all aloooone!" yowl, the baby answers! Every time!
(dining room) "Ah, ah!"
(dining room) "Ah!"
The baby has started singing. There is a noticeable tune (if no words yet). Sometimes he just sings to himself as he cruises around the room. The other day he started "singing along" with a techno TV commercial. Hopefully he has not inherited my tone-deafness. I can't tell.
All the drawers are belong to baby! This is a bit of a pickle. He opens everything! We'd removed all the dangerous stuff from our coffee table drawers, but now he's getting into everything in the pantry, too--you know, where we store lightbulbs and batteries and tape and cord and...all sorts of things I'd rather he not get his hands on! And the drawers are flush to the cabinet, which makes unobtrusive childproofing latches so not happening.
Baby wants to feed us too! Because that's just what you do, right? You pick up food and put it in other people's mouths? That's what he always sees the grownups doing....
He pushes everything around. Chairs, his toys, the playard, his cats.... He's pretty strong.
Next doctor's appointment is in two weeks, and I am biting my fingernails in anticipation. I am not at all good at waiting to find things out (like blood lead levels).
Yes, we're even mopping the walls!
I have posted snippets about this on Facebook, and I am planning on one big, giant post here with all the information (once I have all the information!). But after our baby boy was diagnosed with lead poisoning, ridiculous amounts of cleaning are part of our daily life. Lots and lots of cleaning, trying to avoid the "poisoned" areas of our house, and soon--lots and lots of painting. That's all manageable. Replacing the windows will be a bigger problem. But for now--cleaning!
It's so hard to believe he's already one year old! Forget that--it's so hard to believe it's been a year since he was born! Parents always say that kids grow up so fast, but that's not all. Everything goes faster, as if the mere act of having a baby accelerates the world's rotational velocity.
I have a big long post planned about all the things he's up to and getting into, but that may or may not ever happen. Time's short, you know.
What these photos don't show is the little girl there with her parents who kept saying, "Monster, Mommy! Monster! Mommy, monster! Monster, Mommy!" She was rather distressed that the rest of us were not reacting appropriately. I told her it was a bear and she gave me this look, as if to say, "Lady, I've seen bears in cartoons and in children's books. I have a bear. That's not a bear. That's a fuckin' MONSTER!"
Yes, there were in fact swearwords in her expression.
4th Street is single-track programming, so there are a whole bunch of panels in a row with breaks in-between. It's not quite like, say, CONvergence, where there are a ton of things going on at once and you sort of pick and choose whether you want to go to a panel or watch a movie or go to a craft room or play games and then you take a nap at some point and circle around all the themed parties in the evening. 4th Street is all about the panels, and attendees are at least 80% writer-related: editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers.
This year, Phil and the baby also went to the hotel and we got a room. During panels AKA all day long, Phil took care of the baby. I would sneak back during breaks to feed the baby, and I had my tablet with me so that Phil could email me updates like, "Baby asleep. Do not come back to the room and risk waking him up," and "Baby awake and fussing. Will hold the fort until the break," and "Oh God. Baby super-pooped. We may need a new room." I would feed baby at the beginning and the end of the meal breaks, and go out to dine with people in the middle. In the evenings, sometimes I wandered out to socialize on my own (this may seem like a contradiction, but it is a sadly accurate reflection of the way I socialize in large groups--I am more of a drifter than a joiner), sometimes I took care of the baby in the hotel room so Phil could have a break, and sometimes I wandered out to socialize and took the baby with me. It was a good dry run for WorldCon, and I'm feeling more confident about doing these things with Phil and baby in tow.
I had a good 4th Street. The panels sparked shiny thoughts. I have more story ideas to add to the list. I have new aspects of the writing craft to explore. I talked to some people, if not as many people as I would have liked. There were things different from previous years, and some of them were good, and some of them were not so much. I did not (I hope) say anything to an editor that will forever blight my writing career. (Phil: "Because you didn't talk to them. Cojones mas pequeño.")
Enjoyable things to remember:
* Seeing Mary Robinette Kowal give her introduction in both "the phone sex voice" and "the gnome voice." Yes, that is what the next two pictures are of.
* Ellen Klages auctioning things off with the authority vested in her by the finger-tentacles.
* Delicious frosted sugar cookies shaped like computers and books and cauldrons and dragons and swords and Minnesota.
* Mary Robinette Kowal, puppeteer extraordinaire, manipulating a shoe that seemed to have a complex relationship with Scott Lynch (to illustrate a point regarding body language and movement in the writer's workshop). "What did you say?"
* Seeing Cassius meet Connor, who is about four months older. Cassius: "It is a person my size! I must follow him! Mama, let me hold your fingers so I can walk after him!" Babies do not understand the idea of personal space. Cassius stalked Connor the entire time. I did have to explain that we do not strangle other babies upon first meeting them, however. (If you think about it, when reaching out to another person, the neck is a convenient place to grab!)
* Getting photographs of people sitting in the seats lit by spotlights. I usually have a camera with me, but at 4th Street I swap that out for a writing notebook, and it has always felt strange to attend such an enjoyable event and end up with no pictures! This year I have pictures. On the other hand, wanting to take pictures did slightly distract me from musing on writingy things, so I think it is not a thing that I should plan on doing for more than a couple of panels. But I am happy I did it. Even if I did forget the low-light telephoto lens I wanted to use (grr).
* Trying dim sum for the first time! I had always supposed it was another type of Chinese food, instead of a serving method for trying lots of different types of Chinese food. Variety-seeker that I am, I liked it very much.
* Sitting on the edge of the pool with Cassius and watching him kick his feet furiously to make the water go splash.
* Discovering that Phil left our front door at home unlocked and open for a couple of days while we were at the hotel, but nothing bad happened because of it! We also forgot to take the trash out when we left (Would-be burglar: "Ugh! What's that smell? Is there a dead body in there?"). The cats enjoyed spending time in our covered front porch (WBB: "Those cats look really well-fed. They've been eating the dead body! I'm outta here!").
* Boggling at the variety of options at the buffet that ate three other buffets (Golden Moon something-or-other?) and trying new foods like snails (They were crunchy! What?!) and frog (pretty tasty).
* Seeing Janet Grouchy in the auctioned-off golden-cream shawl that the 4th Street attendees as a whole bought for her.
* Sipping scotch and learning that (you guessed it) MRK has somehow gotten John Scalzi to agree to wearing a regency dress (possibly with bonnet) at WorldCon if certain fundraising conditions are met. There was also talk of Scalzi and Cory Doctorow doing a Rocky Horror Picture Show dress-up. This was when Phil came out to get me because the baby had woken up fussy (did I mention he was teething?) and needed Mama. Phil took the scotch; I took the baby. Phil may have gotten the better end of that bargain....
* Hearing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" (okay, but why is everyone acting like they're in agony?) and then seeing the video (brain processing overload! does not compute!).
(All my 2012 4th Street posts, of which this is the first.)
We should start going on outings! Afternoon outings, during the weekday.
I have a couple of farmers markets that I'd like to visit more frequently (at all):
I need to visit the MIA and breastfeed in public (or so I've been told).
Perhaps I could try a coffee shop? But it seems likely that he would be bored and fuss to be out of the stroller, which would be no good.
There are probably parks nearby, though the good ones would require bussing which would require the easily portable stroller which doesn't have storage space for blankets etc. Hrm.
Where else should I go in Minneapolis? Must be travelable with about a half-hour bus ride, can stay for less than an hour.
Still. Theoretically, I can go places! And I don't even have to be guilty about taking time off from writing, because it's not like I can really do any writing stuff while the baby's awake!
Let me 'splain.
I am a person of the "7 hours of sleep a day minimum, and 9 or 10 hours on a regular basis is just peachy" variety. This means I cannot do the "sleep 5 hours, wake up at 4 a.m. and write" thing that some writers do (ahem, mmerriam, ahem). Since baby moved over to his nursery, we've both been sleeping in until, oh, 8 or even past 9 in the morning, after going to bed around 9:30-10:00. If baby sleeps after 9, he really doesn't want a morning nap an hour later. If baby sleeps until 8, he may condescend to take a very short nap and then be fussy around lunchtime.
Option 1) Wake self and baby up around 7, using alarm/Phil. Attempt to continue with wake up, feed baby, eat breakfast, shower etc., feed baby, put baby down for morning nap schedule. Disadvantages: baby doesn't want to wake up that early; this all depends on me having the willpower to get out of bed; and he may still take a really short nap and just be crankier because he didn't get as much sleep.
Option 2) Wake self up early, try to use that time to write until baby wakes up on his own. Disadvantages: relies on me having willpower to get out of bed; valuable baby-sleeping time would be wasted on me having breakfast and getting ready for the day; and brain does not function ideally first thing in the morning, so quality of produced work is iffy.
Option 3) Sleep in in the morning, try putting baby to sleep earlier and using that time to do writing. Disadvantage: brain also gets tired after long day of baby-wrangling; and me shutting myself in my study to write steals away time from me and Phil.
Option 4) Sleep in, and resign self to losing morning writing time. UNACCEPTABLE!
Perhaps I shall have to give all these different options a shot and see what works best. Dividing my writing time into two sessions--one for writing and one for editing, submitting, etc--had been working well, and I want to keep it up. Maybe I could just use the early morning or the evening session for the non-writing stuff if I feel groggy. As baby gets more autonomous, I could also theoretically do some of the non-writing stuff while watching him.
And I do have stuff to get done. Boy do I ever.
Archive trunk stories: 3
Archive trunk novels: 1
Submitted stories: 6
Stories in need of edits: 13
Stories to submit: 2
Reprints to submit: 16
Novels to submit/revise further and then submit: 1
Novels in progress: 2
Didn't realize I still had 6 stories out--that's kinda cool! Maybe I'll get responses back on some of them soon? I know one of the markets is backlogged and plans to clear out their slush by end of July, another habitually takes years to respond, and I have no idea how or when Worldcon plans on responding to their writing contest submissions.
Those two stories to submit are both D-grades, so they get in line behind everything else, even behind submitting reprints out. I try to keep C-grade and above polished stories constantly circulating until they find a home.
I got a "released from slush because we're full" notification on another story today, but I think I'm dumping it into the edits pile instead of the submit pile. I need to strengthen some myth parallels and add more horror elements. Then I can send it to places that would like that sort of thing, instead of mucking about with "all genres" literary magazines.
None of this counts Circus of Brass and Bone, the behemoth that I'm constantly in the process of writing and revising and publishing and revising again. I am within sight of the end, and I can't wait to get there! I'm about five episodes ahead in the writing, but the editing and recording and publishing isn't keeping up. The other two novels-in-progress are both backburnered until I finish the whole thing.
It also doesn't count my day job, which occasionally takes up all my writing slots.
Do you see where the big logjam is? Edits. ::whimper:: Somehow I have to find time for that in my writing schedule without taking away time from Circus of Brass and Bone, and still managing to keep up on my critiques and submissions and market list and writing a solicited short story and cleaning up my website and keeping up with the 26 other items in my "Action Needed - Writing" file. Right now edits are prioritized below everything except the miscellaneous items, but maybe they shouldn't be? Except I think the other things are still more important.
Option 5) Wake self up very early, use that time to write. Wake baby up around 7, using alarm/Phil. Attempt to continue with wake up, feed baby, eat breakfast, shower etc., feed baby, put baby down for morning nap schedule. Try putting baby to sleep earlier and using that time to do writing. Disadvantage: INSANITY.
One of our cats, Fu Manchu, has taken to jumping into the playard's diaper-changing basket in the morning when I set the baby in the playard and go upstairs to shower and get ready for the day. This is probably because the baby usually cries when I do this, and Fu Manchu finds it important to keep an eye on crying babies, and also when the baby has Fu Manchu to watch, he cries less. But there may be other reasons....
6 mo., 0 d. Hard to believe it's already been half a year since I had the baby! Time flies when your baby's keeping you busy. I'm amazed by how much and how fast he changes (and I'm not talking about his clothes and diapers, though that's also impressive). And I'm amazed by how much I love having a baby, especially given how uninteresting I found other people's babies. To quote parents throughout time: "It's worth it." Not in some distant, nebulous will-it-all-be-worth-it-in-the-end way, but in the right here, right now sense. It's a job that I really love, that I'm happy to wake up to every morning. In some ways it's more demanding than anything I've ever done before; in other ways, it's the easiest thing I've ever done. Even if he grows up to be a distant adult or a troublemaking teen, the rewards of the right-now are worth the work of the right-now. One of the lessons of parenthood is to live in the present moment--while, of course, making sure you have everything ready for whatever the next moment may demand.
( Read more... )
The next update of Aswiebe's Market List will be after 12/15/2010.
Permanent link to this newsletter in the archives: http://www.aswiebe.com/
I never realized just how much time taking care of a baby took. I mean, mostly they just sit there, right? And only cry if they're hungry or wet?
(Anybody who has had a child is now laughing their ass off.)
Add to that my continuing to have a 10-16-hour/week "day job" that I can do from home, and I'm having to seriously think about the line between "realistically lowered expectations" and "copping out in the face of adversity/time constraints." And when you're the one who might be deceiving yourself about what can be done, it's hard to see exactly where that line is, when you should be pushing harder, and when you should be relaxing in the embrace of the inevitable.
I'm not going to continue making this the point of my editorials (bo-ring!), but I expect it will be something I'm wrestling with for quite some time to come, especially as the demands on me shift month-to-month as my baby ages.
- Abra Staffin-Wiebe
Things Shiny or Useful
* Boosting writing productivity: http://thisblogisaploy.blogspot.com/
The East India Press Short Story Contest is looking for fantasy short stories (and new authors for the press).
Your story can take place in any time period, and can take place anywhere, even on on another world.
You also have the option of placing your story in the world of Farland's new masterpiece, Nightingale, using its fantastic system of magic and taking any advantage of the rich setting he has already created. (Sample chapters will be available soon.)
The basics: due 03/01/2012, no fee, max 2,500 words, prize $1,000 plus publication and novel submission opportunity.
( Read more... )
I'm not looking forward to winter this year. I don't like the cold (or the heating bill), and I'm especially worried about keeping the baby warm enough. And there's a thick layer of leaves in our backyard that need to be raked up--when there's not snow on them.
But the snow is so beautiful. Just seeing it makes me think of Christmas carols, and hot chocolate, and snuggling under blankets with cats.
Cassius at 2 months
He's grown really well. He's in the 90th percentile for height (about 24.5"), weight (13 lbs), and head size. He's almost too long to lay width-wise in the playard, and he's pretty much outgrown the <3 month onesies. The receiving blankets are too small for him now, as are a couple of hats and the tiny baby socks that never stayed on anyway. I've started packing away newborn things that he's outgrown. Shocking!
He survived his first cold and didn't run a fever, unlike his father. He even found the snot-sucker bulb amusing instead of terrifying.
We had a terrifying scare when Phil slipped at the bottom of the stairs and dropped the baby about 3 feet. Cassius hit his temple somehow (Phil says he landed mostly on his back), and was scraped and bruised. One trip to the emergency room and one CT scan later, and the doctor told us he looked like everything was fine.
A few days ago he had his 2 month checkup and was given the looks good--along with a barrage of vaccinations and a dose of baby Tylenol. He was a little feverish for the next couple of days, but baby acetaminophen kept the temperature down and hopefully helped with the muscle discomfort from getting injected.
Even if he did hate the flavor. I don't blame him. Artificial fruit flavors are pretty nasty, and babies have no reason to like them--no positive associations with the fruit. Artificial breastmilk flavor would probably work better. I had to do the stealth administration of painkiller by dropping it in while he was engaged in actual nursing. Droppering it in while allowing him to suck on a finger wasn't going to do it. That's the usual method by which we give him his vitamins, and he really hates them too--enough to launch him into vomiting and screaming fits if I don't administer it when he's a) really hungry, and b) somewhat groggy from sleeping. Well, he really hates the multivitamin. He's okay with the extra Vitamin D.
Developmentally, he's about where he ought to be, I think. He recently discovered his hands. There has been less random flailing and a lot more sucking on his fists and batting at the dangly toys on his bouncy seat and his mobile. He smiles in response to all kinds of things, and he makes it very clear that he likes us and when we play with him or talk to him. He "talks" with little gurgles and coos in the appropriate conversational intervals. When I sit him up to burp, he mostly supports his own head, but he certainly doesn't have head control yet. He has enough that I can hold him upright against my chest, at a slight incline, and not worry too much about his head flopping around, but he still needs support.
He is a mostly happy baby. He starts fussing when he wants to eat, and that can escalate faster than I can get settled with him. He also fusses about wet diapers. He may fuss if he gets overtired. And he sometimes fusses just because. A couple of days ago he would not stop crying and nothing worked to soothe him, but that was a first. Usually feeding or bouncing or rocking will do it. He eats, he poops, he plays, he eats, he sleeps, and sometimes he vomits up the entire contents of his stomach.
In a strange way, I have more "free" time now than ever before. When I'm feeding him, it's time to read on my Nook or perhaps watch stuff through Netflix. When I am soothing him to sleep by bounce-rocking him on the bouncy ball, it's time to read the internets...or ebooks on Calibre. It's very relaxing. Playing with or cuddling him is happy-making, as well as necessary to keep him from fussing.
I'm doing well. Every day, I definitely eat, shower, wear clean clothes, get enough sleep (one way or the other), keep up with the internets, read fiction, and get a little something done around the house. I usually cook dinner. I frequently get a few sentences of writing done. I've lost all of the 45 pounds I gained while pregnant. I'm far from back in shape (for one thing, that will require rebuilding my abdominal muscles--for another, I was at a high weight point from previous medical problems when I got pregnant), but I can at least fit into my two largest pairs of jeans. Yay, non-maternity clothes!
I'm generally relaxed and happy and very much in love with my baby. Life is good, as long as I remember to just go with the flow (of milk, other bodily fluids, etc.). Just go with the flow, search for the pattern that emerges instead of trying to force one, and always prepare one step ahead.
When he's awake and not eating, we play. He can go in the little swing and we play the laundry game. The laundry game involves exciting narration and description, dancing laundry, peek-a-boo, exploring different textures, tickling laundry monsters, and eventually laundry folding. Or he sits in his boppy pillow on the couch and gurgles and coos and smiles while we play with his hands and feet or play the blanket game. The blanket game is when we play peek-a-boo by tossing a light baby blanket over his face and pulling it off, then tucking it under his chin and letting him kick it all the way off. While chortling. There's also tummy time, on the couch or on Mama or Daddy's chest. He doesn't lift his head up yet (well, he did once), but he'll wiggle his arms and legs and he seems comforted by the cuddling. The item he likes most right now is his bouncy seat.
* We stop going back to bed sometime between 10 AM and noon. I either skip breakfast or eat at the waking around 6 AM.
* After feeding and changing, I carry his bouncy seat up into the bathroom, and sit him in it while I shower, get dressed, and prepare for the day.
* Then we go downstairs and settle on the couch. I take care of my hair and generally try to do something on my computer until he demands to be fed again, which is usually a 15-minutes-later thing.
* I eat lunch, settling him into the big swing near the dinner table. He doesn't like the big swing so much, so I have to eat fast. Mr. Wiggly the caterpillar helps keep him distracted.
* While he's awake, we play, or I try to clean or do computer stuff in between distracting him.
* His next nap is around 2 PM, he goes down for his afternoon nap, for between one and three hours. This is when I do my work-from-home projects or (theoretically--I've been working a lot instead) write.
* More playing/cleaning/cooking.
* Then Phil gets home and he mostly takes over baby duty, playing with the baby between feedings.
* Sometime between 10 PM and midnight, Cassius gets tired enough to go to sleep. Then we go to bed.
* He may have a long sleep, four to five hours. After that, he only goes an hour and a half to three hours between feedings (or, forty minutes to two hours twenty minutes of sleep). It takes about forty minutes to change, feed, change, and soothe him back to sleep. Time between feedings is counted from the beginning of each feeding. And this continues until sometime after 10 AM.
And of course there are the tiny little baby posts from the last month (which I am regularly updating on G+). Oh, and more pictures!
( Read more... )
Apparently, what *I* need to do is click through the online payment portal to an entirely different page where I can change the invoice/account number manually to match the paper bill I received.
This is not something that I logically expected to have to do, nor is it intuitively part of the payment process.
So now I have to request copies of the canceled checks from the FSA/HRA administrators, so that I can fax them to the providers, so that I can prove that, yes, they *did* get paid.
All because nobody included inputting/checking the account and invoice numbers as part of the step-by-step paying a claim process.
Strangling, I tell you.
I will exempt the nice customer service lady who was able to figure out what was going on and tell me how to prevent it in the future.
(I am of course happy to have good insurance, despite the hassles. Boy am I ever happy.)
Phil has quarantined himself. He is now essentially living in the attic--sleeping, eating, and staying up there day and night. With, you know, the television, his laptop, and the gaming system. Poor guy. Although it is also the *hottest* room in the house, so it's not all fun and games.
But we really, truly, fingers-crossed hope the baby doesn't get sick. Phil did take care of the baby on Saturday, including giving him a bottle, but hopefully the baby didn't catch it then.
Next, the most recent baby-stuff accomplishment--the nursery! Painted by Grandma Staffin and Phil. (I had baby-watching duty.) To understand how awesome an improvement this is, it is important to note that the room used to have walls of a Pepto-Bismal pink with a lime-green ceiling.
I theoretically plan on stenciling sea turtles and sea grass as a border above the stripes, using this turtle stencil:
Life with baby is better these days. It's been a month. He's sleeping for longer stretches, he's fussing less, I can put him in the swing or in the playard to be amused by the mobile for 10 minute intervals. He's figured out the breastfeeding thing, I've figured out the diaper-changing thing, and we've figured out the vitamin dropper thing. And at this point I love him and find him adorable, which really helps--in part because he's started being responsive. He coos and smiles and makes silly faces, he looks for me when he hears my voice, and he's happiest in my arms. He still has some intestinal fussiness. He still wants to be held most of the time when awake. But we're starting to get a more regular schedule (most days) and I'm starting to be able to get other things done. Today I emailed work and said I could start doing projects again. We'll see how that goes.
( Tiny G+ updates from the last while )