November 2008

We at are thankful for your support this year.  We greatly appreciate your comments and your suggestions, and hope you continue to share them with us.

Enjoy the holiday weekend with your family.  We’ll resume our regularly scheduled posting on Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratefully yours,

Fitz and Duff


Posted by Duff

I don’t want to know. Not because I don’t care about you, or that your truth doesn’t matter. I’m really doing you a favor. Because if you tell me more details than I can handle, whomever has to deal with my processing -well- process, is going to be upset with you.

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. And while I sympathize with you, I’m way too quick to empathize. Let’s just say that if my husband was the pregnant one, I’d have couvade.

Whatever. Everyone gets sick. Has an uncomfortable medical procedure from time to time, kicks a fresh mouse corpse on his way to the bathroom to the amplified purring of a very satisfied housecat. (See, you didn’t want to know that. But my husband will be happy to describe the resistance.)

Once you’re a mom and you’ve seen diapers and spit up and what inertia can do to a pediatric suppository, your tolerance for these things increases, your panic over “I can’t handle this” vaporizes amid “I must handle this now and I just did and now it’s done and we’re all still here.”

But before you have a baby? (Or really, before you have your next baby, because every birth is different), you really don’t want to hear childbirth stories with any unpleasant terminology or the remote hint of discomfort unless you ask.

I specifically remember eating the blissful cake of ignorance at my baby shower, while two women standing on either side of me dueled horrific birth stories. Tales of gore and hours of agony, or attempts to soothe not working. Of things that seriously did not seem possible to me.  “Oh, that’s nothing. And then they brought a bulldozer in and I’ll tell you, you really feel that in your eyeballs.” Both, by the way, had smiles on their faces. They didn’t seem at all ruined by the torture. Both went on to have more children.

But I was suddenly a wreck. I put my fork down and my lip quivered. Another very kind soul rubbed my shoulder and said, “You can do this, you know. And you will. Women like to exaggerate when it comes to birth. Everyone’s had it worse than the next person.”

“How about you?” I asked.

She looked me right in the eye. “Well, it hurt, sure. But there are people to help you deal with that. I got there too late for an epidural, but the bonus was, it went really fast. But what you need to know is, I did it. I’d do it again. And you will do it. And you will see why women want to do it again.”

If I didn’t love her before, I loved her then. And I thought of her words at the time when they would help me, and they did. And she was right.

I got there in time for the meds, but I didn’t get them before it hurt. But I can honestly tell you, I’d relive it to relive the moment of meeting The Dervish. I am often nostalgic for that day, for that most fleeting and precious of experiences, and even for the steps that came before that meant the wonderful anticipation of a brand new person, the feeling of absolute relief and euphoria from having gotten where we set out to arrive.

I have approximately 25 weeks to think about doing this again, and I would appreciate if you would let me live in my sweet cocoon of remembrance – of a wonderful delivery – even if the record shows it being more difficult than I recall, I am happy to think of staring at my tingly feet while The Dervish had her first bath, and that’s the way I’m keeping it.

If you ask, I’ll tell you some truths in addition, but know they weren’t enough to sideline me.

Dressing an unwilling and expressive toddler, wrestling her into a carseat and walking her safely into daycare on a Monday morning when she’d prefer to remain in her pajamas and play with her dollhouse – that had me winded and scared, 843 days into motherhood. That day I would not like to repeat.

But I am looking forward to a brand new birthday.

Posted by Fitz

You might remember that, last week, our family was besieged by the flu.  I won’t bore you with some of the more graphic details, but I will tell you this – it was one of the most important weeks of my life.

I’m sure that sounds certifiable, but let me explain.  See, The Bean had never really been sick before.  Until last week, I never knew that she could still smile and be downright cheerful in between stomach spasms.  I never knew that she would still say “Mama!” every time I walked into the room, even though she felt terrible.  I never knew that she would want to take every nap – and there were lots – with me by her side.  I always knew how much I love her, but it was illuminating to see how much she depends on me to take care of her.

With a schedule cleared by necessity, I spent a lot of time stroking The Bean’s hair and looking into her giant, soulful eyes.  Her need to be with me – and snuggling! – at all times was so different from our normal pace and schedule.  Taking care of her and providing her as much comfort as I could was a sweet reminder of how much I wanted to be a mom and how grateful I am to have this girl in my life.

So, while The Bean’s grandparents called many times over the weekend with tones of worry and sympathy, I just settled into the couch a little deeper, held my Bean a little tighter, and enjoyed the snuggle time while I had it.  Today my Bean is up and about, walking (!!!), and playing like her regular old self – she wants me to pick her up occasionally, but it’s usually a ploy to get me to take her to the fridge so she can rip the magnets off and toss them on the floor.   She has probably already forgotten the luxurious time that we spent together, but I never will.  It was certainly one of my defining moments as a mother, and I can’t wait to tell her about it someday.

Posted by Duff

I find it really hard to believe that I have an almost 2 1/2 year old. The fact that she conducts herself like a real (if combustible) person hardly seems to be my doing. It’s miraculous that she can feed herself, insert commas into her speech or remember where she put something last week.

How did we get here?

 I know I read a few books. Asked a lot of questions at the hospital, at the pediatrician’s office, on various phone calls to various moms at various hours.

I just have a really hard time remembering how we got from birth to today. What the things were that I was supposed to do and not supposed to do actually were.  And in just this brief span that feels more like The Way It’s Always Been and tends to be a lifetime in the field of medicine,  especially dos and don’ts, I’m sure a few things have changed.

Someone who has never been pregnant said to me yesterday, “You’re pregnant? Well, then don’t eat mushrooms.” When I asked why, she told me they’re fungus. I know they’re fungus. But I still wasn’t sure that was bad, as long as they were legal, intended for consumption mushrooms. And I don’t eat mushrooms anyway – I don’t like them – so I didn’t Google it afterwards (though I googled peppermint tea because it’s all I want to drink and then I found out that someone once felt contractions from drinking it and so I put down my cup of peppermint tea and gave myself a psychosomatic contraction).

I feel like the only things I remember are “don’t let an infant get too hot or cold” (and the associated panic that goes along with trying to determine how someone who can’t speak feels when I still can’t tell if The Dervish, who can speak, is too hot or too cold) and “don’t use regular wipes at first, stick to soft paper towels and water.” (Do they still tell you that?)

When The Dervish was a newborn, I was really, really quick to turn on the light and change her diaper any time she awakened at night, and before I fed her. As is common with breastfed babies, she needed a change mid-feeding. So I changed her twice. She screamed twice. I panicked twice, when once would have been less taxing on both of us. But she couldn’t tell me how wrong what I was doing was for her, and I refused to get it.

Now The Dervish can tattle on what (or who) ails her. She is still telling me about someone who bit her three months ago. How on earth does someone figure out what’s bothering a newborn? How did I?

Oh, that’s right, I didn’t. I was really, really bad at figuring out what was wrong, despite the bottle/burp/…um, what are the other two ‘B’s on the “4 ‘B’s” checklist?


It is difficult to write a blog entry when your baby has been vomiting since 4:00 a.m.

I had the best intentions of writing a light hearted, witty post for you ladies today, but life has gotten in the way.  In the past two weeks, The Bean has had an ear infection, an allergic reaction to her amoxicillin, a high fever, and now vomiting.  We feel thrust back into the days when we truly knew nothing about parenthood, and I find myself calling the doctor more often than they’d like. 

It’s scary when you’re kid is sick and you don’t know how to handle it – even when you know in your heart it is probably just a bug, your brain tends to leap to much more serious places.  I know that The Bean will be fine and back to her cheery self in just a few days, and I know that illness is one of the most normal things about toddler-hood.  It doesn’t mean I have to like it, though!

Make sure you Lysol everything in sight today, ladies.  There’s something going around.

Posted by Duff

I’ve probably mentioned before how much I enjoy relaxing. And by relaxing, I mean sitting, stationary, doing and thinking very little. Not worrying. Not anticipating anyone’s next move or want, and being okay with it. I am really good at enjoying relaxation.

It’s just that I suck at in engaging in it.

I expected, with this pregnancy, like with my last, that I would be exhausted. Falling asleep at my desk at work, or on the couch mid-story with The Dervish. Instead, I have found myself lying in bed, awake, a lot. This time, I can stay awake, I just can’t get up once I let myself sit.

 When I do sit, I do it simply for the relief of being stationary, which is apparently how Mystery Child would have it. Somehow,  I get winded from speaking, even though at 14 weeks, there is little evidence that I will ever show. But I still can’t give in to rest the way my body wants me to.  And I suspect I’m not the only mom who feels this way.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a vacation day and scheduled two doctors’ appointments. I had a three hour window between the two of them, during which I planned to recline, whether sleeping or not, and just be. I looked forward to that day.

But upon dropping The Dervish off at daycare, I had a free half hour, so I went grocery shopping, suddenly moved to cook dinner – and from scratch – for the first time in three months. As I left my morning appointment, I decided to fit in an errand.

And when I got home, my now two hours of rest turned into a sink of dishes, 2 loads of laundry, meatloaf prep, de-cluttering, and fifteen minutes of lunch and daytime TV before leaving for the afternoon appointment. On the way back from that, I picked up The Dervish.

That night, I actually slept the whole time I spent under the covers.

I caught a nasty cold the very next day, have since spent most of my at-home time sitting on the couch. “Come ‘ere, Mommy,” says The Dervish. And she is surprisingly understanding when I invite her to bring her toys over to me, and is willing to run laps around the dining room table, barefoot but wearing the hat and mittens she shuns outside, and return to me, exhilarated, for a hug.

She has the same cold, but it hasn’t slowed her down an iota. If it weren’t for MC, I’d have no excuse.

Posted by Fitz

Lately, I’ve noticed that my working days all start and end the same.  It doesn’t matter where I’m going or what kind of job I’m doing that day, who I’m going to see, or what nifty suit I have on.  Each day is strikingly similar.

I wake up, scramble to get ready as fast as I can, and head out the door – usually well before The Bean is awake.  I actually try to leave before she’s awake, before I can be pulled in to cute hugs, conversations about what she should wear that day, or a toddler who prefers to throw, rather than eat, breakfast.  I’m in a race with myself to get out of that house before I morph from my career self into Mommy, and the adrenaline doesn’t stop rushing until I’m at my destination with a big cup of coffee.

During the day, I don’t think about The Bean very much.  I feel like that isn’t a cool thing to admit, but it’s easier for me to focus on the work rather than wondering if she’s having a good day at daycare.  I push through the day, accomplishing things and relishing – yes, that’s relishing – even the most insubstantial conversations with my coworkers.  I feel alive on work days, even when I don’t like what I’m doing.  It’s a reminder that I am smart and valued for something other than my made up songs (which, in fact, are fabulous). 

Then, around 3:30, my mind starts to twitch.  Thoughts about things like laundry, doctor’s appointments, and dinner start to creep into my mind, helping me to completely lose focus on whatever I’m doing.  I’m antsy until I can scoot out the door, and am pretty much worthless to my colleagues.

When I’m finally on my way home, regardless of my mode of transportation, I am in an immense rush to BE HOME.  I don’t want to be on the Metro North train that is slowly chugging its way through every single stop on the New Haven line…not on the Amtrak that is delayed in Providence yet again…and certainly not stuck in traffic on I-95.  I just want to be in my house to give the Bean a big hug and play with her before she has to go to bed.

When I’m working, I always feel like I’m in some sort of race.  To get there, to finish work, to get home again…the past month since I’ve started has been a total blur.  What I’m realizing, though, is that I only feel like I’ve won the race when I’m home again.  My family is the greatest prize I will ever have, and I’m so grateful for them.

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