Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cradle cap

Baby T has a raging case of cradle cap.  The scaliness that had been afflicting her eyebrows (!) with yellow flaky skin has cleared up on its own, but I'm hoping the stuff on her scalp will clear up faster if I follow internet advice to shampoo daily.  Normally, I believe in not over-washing babies (as one of our old pediatricians said when I asked him how often to wash C, "she's not dirty, is she?"), but Baby T has a really scaly scalp.  I just shampooed her and gave her scalp a good scrub with a baby wash cloth.  Some of the scales seem to have come off, but it looks like it's going to take quite a few days to get it to all come off.  I also bought some baby oil to treat her scalp, just in case the baby shampoo doesn't do the job.  (Up until today, I had only the haziest idea what baby oil is for.)        

In happier news, our car is back from the shop and I managed to get some groceries.


Here's some of what's happening:

  • The car is in the shop right now for its 100,000 mile maintenance as well as some repairs.  We hope to get it back by the end of business today and do some grocery shopping.
  • Yesterday, my husband and the kids built a robotic arm from a kit.
  • D, Baby T and I walked to a deli for coffee for me and then we walked to a playground.  It was windy and in the 40s, so we didn't stay very long, but there was a token visit.  There is some stuff within walking distance of our duplex (a BBQ place, Burger King, a deli, a greasy spoon, Cinnabon, the grocery store, a donut place, a playground, etc.) but it's a mostly depressing neighborhood. 
  • My husband put the Jumperoo together for Baby T.  She can't really jump in it yet (her feet don't quite touch the ground), but she can bounce a little.  She likes it OK for short visits, which is all we need.  We're all (especially D) a bit envious that there isn't a Jumperoo in our sizes (although I tell the big kids that those bungee cord trampoline things at the fair and the mall are a close approximation).    
  • Last night was the beginning of our big switch-over.  My husband moved Baby T's Pack N Play out of our bedroom and into his office and we slept alone, but with both doors open so we could hear Baby T crying.  I woke up at 4AM but went back to sleep until just before 7, at which point I fed Baby T until about 7:35AM and put her back to sleep in her SwaddleMe.  So far, so good.
  • The concern had been that if we moved Baby T prematurely, she'd have to get pretty loud before we heard her and she'd wake everybody in the building up before me.  That doesn't seem to have happened.  
  • I also will not be doing night feedings in our bedroom, so as not to wake my husband unnecessarily.  
  • We should probably repeat the experiment of having Baby T sleep in another room for a couple more nights before assembling the crib, at which point I get to start using the pretty crib sheets I bought before she was born (woohoo!).  We also need to do some minor rearranging of baby equipment (for instance, the diaper pail needs to move to the office).         

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Supporting breastfeeding

I was just reading the following over at The Fearless Formula Feeder's blog.

I am passionately in favor of better breastfeeding support.  But I believe the type of support that matters is NOT making sure that everyone really, really thinks women can and should breastfeed and telling women about all the harms their children will suffer if they don’t–I had plenty of that the first time around, and it caused nothing but failure and guilt.  Real support is making sure the professionals who are around new moms and babies (nurses, pediatricians, LCs, and OB/GYNs) know the mechanics of breastfeeding and can quickly and effectively recognize and treat common problems (latching issues, tongue tie, thrush, whatever).  How about toning down the first type of support and devoting more of our resources to the second for a while?
 I agree completely.  There's too much breastfeeding "awareness" and too little actual help and information.


It's all a blur, but we had a very busy Christmas Eve.  We did our last minute grocery shopping, secured a bigger tree (it's a potted juniper that the friends who delivered it would like to plant in their yard), decorated it, wrapped gifts, cooked dinner (fresh salmon, pomegranate seeds, chick peas, veggies, fried mushrooms and a large but very good bakery pecan pie), did a scriptural reading, did oplatki, ate dinner, opened gifts and had pie.

We are always a bit more at loose ends on Christmas Day.  We went to Mass at the Catholic student center and the kids worked on their toys.  C has already assembled a LEGO lighthouse (with an excellent light feature) and D has been enjoying the Middle Eastern architectural blocks we got for him.  Baby T is pretty easy-going during the day time, but she goes into a feeding frenzy in the evening, probably because that's when my milk supplies are at their lowest.  My husband made Thai meatballs for dinner for Christmas Day, which we had with some surprisingly good brown rice.    

Today we awoke to outdoor temperatures in the mid-20s (thank goodness our heating system is finally working).  D and I walked over to Burger King to get me some coffee and then went to the playground for a short visit.  Then we went to the grocery store to get vanilla ice cream, as that will be very good with the apple dumplings we hope to be making with company tonight.        

Children of Men

I got the February 2013 issue of Country Living (their white issue!).  There are many interesting interiors with lots of white, neutrals and dark brown or black accents.  Anyway, one of the ads at the back of the magazine caught my eyes.  It's for a 22" long poseable collectible baby doll (not a toy, they hasten to remind you).  I found the ad 50% sad, 50% disturbing.  From the ad copy:

  •  She turns toward you with a look of pure love!
  • Touch-activated to look up at you as you hold her in your arms
  • ...Chloe responds to your touch!
  • Few things are as precious as the first time your baby responds to your touch by turning her little head towards you with the most trusting, unquestioning love that only a baby can give!
  • Feel her soft RealTouch skin, wiggle her little toes, smooth her delicate wisps of hair, and experience  that special bond that only you two share every time she looks at you.   

Thursday, December 20, 2012

First day of vacation

Here's some of what's happening:

  • This is the kids' first full day of vacation.  We invited a family with four kids over and rolled, baked, decorated and ate gingerbread cookies.  The recipe calls for chilling the dough for three hours, so this project requires some premeditation.  We also needed to pull out some cookie cutters from the playdough box and wash them up.  The kids' favorite cutters were (I think):  bells, snowmen, reindeer, stars, angels, teddy bears, camels, gingerbread men, tropical fish and owls.  We also had a squirrel and a doggy, I believe.  I own a lot of cookie cutters.        
  • This was the first time we've used my new non-stick pastry mat and non-stick rolling pin.  I didn't do much rolling (I was mainly running the oven and organizing everybody).  The other mom reports that the mat worked great but the non-stick rolling pin wasn't that impressive.  I screwed up and bought a non-stick rolling pin with silicone handles, rather than a silicone rolling surface.  The mat has circles showing various crust dimensions for tarts and pies--very helpful.
  • We'd like to do apple dumplings as our next playdate project.  
  • My husband and the kids have been watching Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010).  It's about prehistoric French cave paintings and it's really good.  Our ancient ancestors were very artistic.    

Easy Bake Oven

There was a big to-do over a 13-year-old girl who persuaded Hasbro to make a boy-friendly Easy Bake Oven for the benefit of her 4-year-old brother.  Very sweet, of course, but I share the grinchy thoughts of the mother of one of Joanne Jacobs' commentors:  "We have an 'easy-bake' oven.  It's in the kitchen.  Here, I'll teach you how to make dinner in it!"  A real oven is no good for an unassisted 4-year-old, of course, but a 4-year-old wouldn't be able to use an Easy Bake oven by himself anyway.


I was just listening to the Monday Dave Ramsey show.  There was a caller whose wife had co-signed on a $20k+ car five years ago for a SIL.  The SIL had just stopped making payments and the caller wanted to know what to do.  There was still $20k+ left on the car loan after five years (???) and the interest was 20%.

Man, poor people are surprisingly good eating.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Old shoes

Here's some of what's happening:

  • My husband and I are watching Barton Fink.  I'm kind of a sucker for movies where the theme is artiste-discovers-he's-not-all-that.  See also Bullets over Broadway and Adaptation.  
  • We packed up our photobooks and my husband got them mailed out.  I also did my last Christmas internet orders, although we still have some stuff to buy in town.
  • In less pleasant news, we're starting to think that we had several Christmas presents stolen off our balcony.  UPS says the items were delivered some days ago, but we haven't seen them.  'Tis the season for ripping off little kids' toys, I guess.  Somebody thought The Grinch That Stole Christmas was an instructional video.  (Amazon is being very helpful, by the way, even though it isn't their fault at all.)        
  • I have lately been going to bed at a normal grownup time (11-12PM) and waking up at 6AM with no 4 or 5AM wakeup.  I feed Baby T (whether she's awake or not) and then find it's too late to go back to bed.  I've been putting Baby T back to bed and then helping get the kids ready for school.  What I'll do during Christmas break with that early morning time, I have no idea.
  • It sounds like we're going to be hosting a gingerbread cookie making party soon!  C also wants to do an apple dumpling making party.
  • The kids' school is doing a used shoe drive.  Our shoes get worn out, so we didn't have any to donate, but that issue seems not to have stopped other families.  Yesterday, C and her classmates were pairing up and rubber banding donated shoes.  "Some people don't know the meaning of 'gently used'," said one 5th grade girl.      

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Photobooks and gingerbread house

Here's some of what's happening:

  • The cafeteria closed after lunch today.  *Sniff*  I guess we're going to have to cook again, eventually.  
  • In happier news, we have almost another week of the campus Starbucks being open.  They'll be closed about 1.5 weeks for the break.  
  • Yesterday, my husband and I finished editing the photobooks that we give out to our adult relatives as their Christmas present.  We did one photobook with few (but large) photos for my grandma, paperback copies of that for C and D, and then a bunch of photobooks with lots of smaller photos.  He picked up the photobooks today and we'll try to mail them out on Monday.  We have a number of very nice photos with each of the big kids and Baby T.  I sorted through well over 1,000 photographs to get the ones I chose. 
  • It looks like Christmas cards are going to be going out late if at all.  
  • My husband finished his grading Thursday.  His new 8-cornered academic hat for wearing at graduation is very fetching--it looks like something you'd wear at the Unseen University.  
  • Last night the kids saw a gingerbread house kit at Walmart and were enchanted.  They each paid $4 for it and they put the house together this afternoon.  The roof broke, but construction was very enjoyable and the house wasn't bad tasting, either.  (Careful with the hard candies, though--those feel like they could cause expensive dental work.)  I'm planning on having a wall later tonight, maybe with some chai.    
  • The big kids are almost done with school.  
  • The spammers are really out in force.  Get your own blogs, you virtual tapeworms. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012


We told C she wouldn't be able to touch Baby T at church, due to all of her touching of germy surfaces and people.  C wanted to know, "Why does daddy get to hold Baby T?"

Friday, December 7, 2012


I was doing some Christmas shopping at Barnes and Noble and found myself buying a copy of Consumer Reports' kitchen issue.  I liked this:
But given its susceptibility to staining and scratching, marble isn't for everyone, cautions Jonas Carnemark, a design-builder in Washington, D.C., who is certified by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.  "Designers talk about patina, but you have to remember that's just a fancy term for scratches and stains," he says.
Quartz for me!  (By the way, I was just looking at the Caesarstone site and was surprised to discover that 1) it's an Israeli company and 2) their factory is owned by a kibbutz.

Paper lanterns

C has been in a paper lantern-making frenzy.  She made a long string of small one for our eventual Christmas tree and she hung several over Baby T's car seat.  (I removed those.)  

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Here's some of what's happening:

  • The repair guys came yesterday.  They're waiting for a part and they will allegedly be coming back today for the final repair.  This has been taking literally weeks.  It hasn't gotten cold indoors, but it's not a good feeling knowing that 1) the heat is not working and 2) the outdoor temperature is in the mid-30s.
  • Baby T has been doing a lot of smiling.
  • She said something yesterday that sounded like "A-goo-gah!"  Today, when she was crying and wanting to be picked up she said "Ma!"  I know this doesn't mean anything semantically at her age, but I don't think I've heard consonants from our kids this early.  
  • Baby T had a feeding at 11 PM last night and then after 6 AM.  Good job, Baby T! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Good news, bad news

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Everybody but Baby T has been having respiratory trouble and has their own antibiotics (my husband has finished).  D had a chest x-ray and they found a spot of what might be pneumonia on his lung.  C, D and I are all on antibiotics, and D has an inhaler.
  • However, I'm starting to feel better (I'm supposed to have a sinus infection) and the kids made it to school today.  
  • Our heating still doesn't work.  The repair guy appeared this morning, took our heating system to be checked, and then disappeared.  I haven't seen him since.  That's pretty much how it's been for weeks now.  The landlord's office employs repair people for whom maintaining these apartments is their second job, which explains why it's so difficult to get anything complicated done.  Also, have I mentioned that the property management staff is all 20-somethings?  Also, I have other items I would like to have fixed, but the heating is so important that I don't want to distract them from the most urgent business.  [THEY'RE HERE!  HALLELUJAH!]
  • Good news:  it's not that cold.    
  • C has permission to type assignments in class, as she finds it difficult to handwrite long assignments.  We will be setting her up with my netbook, which is a nice size and weight.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Baby T socializes

Baby T has been doing a lot of smiling lately.  She also copies us when we make big open mouths at her.  This evening, she also said "ma-ma" or something similar.  Now, I know that "ma-ma" at her age has no semantic content, but I wasn't expecting to hear her use consonants so early.    

Sick Sunday

Here's some of what's happening:

  • My husband is the only one who got to church this morning, as I had a fever last night, C was feverish yesterday and D's temperature is marginal.  Hopefully everybody will be clear to go to school tomorrow.  It's HARD to make up 5th grade.  
  • I made a very rare visit to the family medical practice yesterday (so rare, in fact, that I had a huge pile of papers to fill out).  The doctor diagnosed me with a sinus infection and so I'm starting a 10-day course of antibiotics.  And not a minute to soon--I had a 101.9 temperature the evening after my appointment.
  • C microwaved her first Chinese take-out while I was feeding Baby T this morning.  *Sniff*  I'm so proud.  
  • C also made some more stuffed dates this morning and cleaned up pretty well.  
  • D has been reading The Chronicles of Narnia and is currently on The Horse and His Boy.  
  • Baby T continues to resist the swirling bacteria and viruses--tfoo tfoo.  
  • Our outdoor temperatures are in the high 70s, making our non-working heating fortunately moot.  Unfortunately, the warmth has made our local insect life more vibrant IYKWIM.  Last night, I was doing Baby T's 4 AM feeding when I noticed a medium-sized roach on the wall.  I got up my husband and we hunted it down.  You'd think we'd be safe from these incursions in early December.