Friday, January 23, 2009

free to pee, you and me

It's time for a "diaper free" update, don't you think? I've been composing this post in my head for what feels like months, now, and I don't know whether it's heartening or totally discouraging that not much has changed in that time.


When I was first reading about going diaper free, the book I read was full of pictures of cherubic infants, sitting by themselves on their wee pots, so happy to be peeing and pooping in this hygienic manner. The more I read, the more I loved the idea of it -- the babies WANT this! They can tell you so! -- and loved the idea of a truncated diapering commitment. Come to think of it, I loved the idea of a lot of things before Auden was born, like co-sleeping and making all my own baby food. And well, you know, it's all subject to change.

We burst out of the starting gate, eager to see if it really worked; we were mighty vigilant in those early months. We would let Auden hang out on the floor in just a cloth diaper with no cover, and would check on him every few minutes to give him a pee chance. If we took him out, we'd put a cover on him, but I was fairly obsessed with not letting him sit in a wet diaper EVER, so it took up a lot of what little mental energy I had. I was always thinking about it. We would give him pee chances at home, in the grocery store, the bushes, the park, the grass next to the parked car... I mean, we really gave it the ol' college try.

Then we moved, and he learned to crawl, and all was lost.

Okay, not all. But let's just say I've revised my expectations of being totally done with diapers by nine months. Ha! Nine months! Ha ha ha! Where did I get that number?

Instead we've relaxed and decided to work with what we've got. Which is an active baby who would rather play than give any helpful cues. Except for early morning farts -- then I know it's go-time.

I admit I've gotten lazy about the whole thing -- especially now that it's winter and Auden is usually wearing a bazillion layers, which is enough to dissuade me from offering regular pee chances -- but one thing I remember from the book was the emphasis on gentleness, and that goes for the parents as well as the baby. There's no sense in getting stressed out about it. I've talked to other folks who are doing it, and we all agree that you either do the work now, or you do it later, but either way you're going to do the work. I'm hoping that more work on this side of the Terrible Twos can only be advantageous.

So here's what we do:
  • For pees, we offer him a chance if we think of it, especially if he's just eaten; offer him a chance if we go to change his diaper and it's still dry; offer him a chance to go in the shower or the sink if he ain't havin' the potty; and let him stand up to pee, like a big boy. (We also let a "no" be a "no" -- there's nothing like trying to force a baby to relax and pee while he's writhing and pulling your hair. So what if he goes the second you get that diaper on; you tried.)
  • For poops, we hold him against our stomach, clench our muscles, and grunt (warning: if you do this it will also make YOU have to poop. You and your baby will synchronize your poop schedules. It will be weirdly gratifying).
  • Yell "hooray" and clap like maniacs whenever we get it right.
On the down side: we used to catch a pee whenever Auden woke up, it was the one sure bet. Now he eats after naps instead of before, so that's off.

On the up side: we've started signing with him, and I think he's catching on. It's hard to say, though, because no matter what we sign, he waves his hand the same way. The same wave as hello and goodbye. Poor kid's going to think everyone has to go potty all the time.

Maybe once it warms up we'll let him run around with no pants and redouble our efforts, but for now I'm happier if I'm not thinking about it like we're training for the Great Diaper Free Marathon of Aught Nine. I don't mind saying, though, that I had to interrupt writing this to get him up from his nap and feed him, several minutes after which I handily caught a pee. Hmph.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to make a huge batch of baby oatmeal and buy a lottery ticket.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

at last

Robin: I have to post these pictures on my blog before Obama day is over.

Jason: Obama day is just starting. We have at least four more years of Obama day.

I feel downright patriotic. Happy Obama Day!


Friday, January 16, 2009

send in the st. bernards

You know, with the casks of whiskey around their necks?

Because our furnace crapped out sometime during the night, and although I reached our landlady at 7am to tell her so, it's now 10am and no word. It's -12 degrees outside, people.

Our upstairs neighbor was nice enough to let us hang out with her for a couple hours -- apparently her side of the furnace is working just fine -- but she had to get on with her day, and I had to put Auden to sleep for his morning nap.

Yesterday, in lieu of going out for a walk, I bundled Auden into his stroller and just walked him around the house. Which is kind of funny if you've seen our house, because it takes all of 20 seconds to walk from one end to the other. But the wind chill was like 4o below, and there was no way I was going around the block. I did the same thing today, except it kind of feels like we actually are outside.

So, for the moment he's sleeping, and Jason and I are under the covers in bed, waiting for a phone call. This is so Not Cool.

It's frigid. It's ARCTIC.



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

we are small

I finished the pieces I'm showing next month at the Cedarburg Cultural Center's You Gotta Have Art group show. It's a good thing the theme is miniatures, because I don't have the elbow room or the time for big projects. (I have all these huge, unfinished, pre-baby paintings and it's just killing me to watch them languish... and to recall that I used to have the wherewithal to experiment on canvases the size of semi-trucks)(Okay, not that big. Motherhood has made me prone to exaggeration).

But anyway! Like I said before, this is a scale I can handle, and I'm quite pleased with how these pieces came out. I sold several pieces like this on Etsy, so I'm guessing people who buy art like this scale, too.

I painted the butterflies directly onto the glass, then, after they were dry, laid them face down on a collaged background.

I love how the paint looks on the reverse side, so smooth and strange and not like paint. But the painted side looks cool, too:

I didn't give much thought to smallness beyond the dimensions of the artwork -- the pieces in the show can be no bigger than 25 square inches -- but I guess I've been fascinated by bugs and birds and other little things for a long time. I like it that they remind me how small I am, too, in comparison.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

domestic tranquility

While Jason is spending a few days with his family, I'm holding down the home front and doing the baby wrangling on my own. It's decidedly less scary than the day that Jason went back to work and my mom flew home when Auden was just four days old, but I still needed to psyche myself up for it. My strategy is this: BE LIKE A SHARK AND KEEP MOVING. Here are some highlights.

The good:
  • Auden actually cuddled with me for a few minutes after his afternoon nap today. Anyone who has seen this kid in action knows how rare this is.
  • I made a delicious tofu moussaka for dinner yesterday, some amazing chocolate no-bake bars (per my mom's recipe... Fenna + energy = fennergy!) AND still had energy to work on some collages after Auden went to sleep. I rock.
  • A positive visit to the doc on Monday, who gave permission for Auden to eat just about anything. Suddenly, he's showing marked interest in Veggie Booty, oatmeal, and crackers.
The bad:
  • I'm feeling a wee bit cooped up in the house, running out of ideas and configurations of toys.
  • Also, endlessly picking things up and being on crankiness management/damage control.
  • The flip side of cuddliness is clingy-ness.
  • We miss papa.
The ugly:
  • Because of the sudden increase in, um, Veggie Booty, there have been some unscheduled blow-outs of distinct barnyard quality around here. Oof.
But on balance I'd say we're doing pretty well. We are both fed and clothed and the house is not a disaster. Tomorrow: art museum!


Monday, January 5, 2009

parents, great and grand

The joy of spending the holidays with our families is now tempered with grief. Auden's great-grandma, Benita -- Jason's grandma, his mother's mother-- passed away yesterday. She was 88.

I am humbled; suddenly and acutely aware of how precious our days are, and our relationships. Isn't this always death's reminder?

I want to honor her life and her passing with gratitude: for her life and her courage, for our parents, and for the inevitable threads that weave each generation together and carry us forward.