For those who find changing table comedy a viable genre

I found this whilst cruising the parenting blogosphere.

The days are getting nice, and now that S(s)pring has officially started, my students have basically abdicated all responsibility for their educations. One of the hazards of teaching freshman comp seems to be that you begin to make the same errors that freshmen make. For example, I capitalized "spring" the first time through. Why? Because freshmen think it's a proper noun.

I'm teaching a unit about "identity," now, and thinking that the kids would be into it. I'm using bits from this guy's book. Any NYU folks might know it.



one toke over the line


It has been a challenging couple days, and by days I mean nights. The days have actually been relatively blissful and carefree (read: naptime galore), but the poor babe somehow gets gassier at night. My mama was in town and aside from cleaning the kitchen, preparing food, and doing the laundry, she taught me an important lesson: I can leave the house! I can and I will! We went all manner of places from the botanical gardens (North Carolina is lovely this time of year, for all parties interested in a visit to warmer climes, ahem, ahem)
to the grocery store (which I think freaked out my mom a little. Farmvillians are not used to the dazzling heaps of organic produce and imported luxury products available in metropolitan Greensboro). Speaking of groceries, damn. I thought I had an appetite before, but basically I can't go five minutes without shoveling some type of food into my mouth. I am psyched about being able to eat all those all those off-limits-during-pregnancy foods, like Brie and smoked salmon and sashimi. Actually, who am I kidding? I'm not that classy--it's all aboot the cookie dough.

My mama's visit also enabled me to shower slightly more regularly. Plus she did major relief efforts at those rough 2am and 5am fusstimes.
We also had another set of guests. Sunday afternoon, Tia Margarita y Tio Luis paid us a visit. I told Rowie that Meg and I are buddies from back in the day, like 26, 27 years back, but he didn't seem too impressed at the potential for longevity of human friendship. He just wanted to be cuddled.
Which leads us to the current state of affairs, one day shy of the completion of Rowie's third week oow (out of womb). What an amazing three weeks it has been!


Easter Funday

This is what Easter is all about...anthropomorphic food. Today, Liz, Granma S and I did lots of cooking. We made BunnyBread and FrenchOnionSoup. It was about 70 degrees F and now that spring has officially started, I had to mow the lawn for the first time. I looked up as I was mowing, saw Liz and Rowie watching from the screen-door to the kitchen and...wait a minute...I think I saw a movie about this.

The neighbor kids were out helping their folks in the garden again. The bad news is our first (and basically single) effort at beautifying the property blew away in a rain storm the other night. The tulips we planted a few weeks ago lost all their petals.

Rowan has been pretty good. He's gotten the gas bad, however, and has taken to inconsolable screaming. So we're combining some baby massage and Mylicon (thanks, cousin Eliza) and Ro is getting by okay.

Below, Liz and I wonder why Ro is not screaming.

"Oh, right," said Rowan. "I forgot to scream for a minute there. I don't know what I was thinking."
"That's cool," said Papi. "You can pick up where you left off."
"Yes," said Mama, "I was waiting to see how your scream ended."
"Okay," said Rowan. "Now, where was I. Oh yes,..."

This morning we went to the farmer's market nearby. They have some good stuff. Local milk, bread, eggs, vegetables, etc. We packed Rowie into a carrier we got courtesy of Rick and Gail B (Thanks guys!) and carted him around the bazaar. I tell you what...everyone loves a baby.

Passerby 1: He is such a cute baby. How old is he?
Me: 16 days.
Passerby 1: I'm going to cry! (Passerby 1 flees, visibly emotional)

Here, Rowan pretends to be a sack of potatoes.

Jeez, what else? Uncle T headed back to Illinois this morning after appearing with a piece of flooring cut to fit a broken threshold. He showed up, cut some notches, affixed said piece of flooring to the floor, and left, refusing all remuneration, thanks and/or gratitude.

So, thanks Uncle T! We expect even more visits soon: AGMs? Uncle Sam? Eh? Eh?


attack of the job-procurers

My last post was cut short by the wails of a ten-day-old. As I resume posting, I have a thirteen-day-old slumbering near my belly, making sweet but slightly disconcerting coos. Mister Ro had a trip to the pediatrician's office today. he continues to put on weight like gangbusters. He's 8 lbs now--ever so much more rugged and sturdy than a mere 7 pounder.

What else is going on here in Greensboro? We are mourning the losses of one Ms. Sosler (who, incidentally, is to be congratulates for her tremendous job-procuring feats--go on Dredre) and one Little Brother. Fortunately, T will be returning in a few days, only to fly back to Illinois again! Alas and alack. But I'm sure we will enjoy a smattering of additional guests over upcoming weeks, starting with a visit from Grandma S this weekend. we'll just have to wait and see who materializes! Oooh, and incidentally, you didn't hear it from me, but Dre is not the only job-procurer dear to my heart. In the past several weeks, Tokesha, Alyssa, and Carrie have all found gainful employment as well. I am damn lucky to have such wonderful and talented friends (read: friends who can support a wee nephew whose parents are in perhaps the least lucrative fields ever: public health & poetry).
I need to download some more pictures--the ones contained in this post kinda have nothing to do with the content of the post itself. However, the young mister sure does enjoy his bouncy seat, courtesy of Jane. In other news, yeowzas, we got the L&D hospital bill today, and alls I gots to say is I'm glad we have insurance. They charged 3 grand for the delivroom/labor and over 250 for drugs, even though I didn't use any. Sum total for Ro and me: over 5 grand.
The Yin and Yang kittens, never ones to avoid a sunny spot, have been spending hours each day curled up on the sunporch.
We looked in the local paper this past weekend to check out Big Ro's birth announcement, and the only name listed was mine! Poor Papi gets no recognition. Actually, that's the way it was at the hospital as well: Rowan was listed under my name for everything. Merc has turned to the bibi (thanks for the Eurotrash version, Taisuke) for comfort.


Cliches T.K.O. Editors

This link from the VQR blog appeared on my alumni listserv today. The writer set out to prove that "authors submit poetry to us covering clich├ęd topics that there’s just no way we’re going to print." Instead, he ended up proving the opposite. The most impressive and durable of poetic cliches--darkness--appeared in 3.9% of overall submissions and in 17% of published VQR poems!

The blogger concludes, "The moral of the story is that talent transcends topic." This is obviously (and I guess, necessarily) self-serving. Maybe preconceived notions of "What Poetry Is" run deeper in the average editor than many would like to admit. There are certainly "comfort zones" out of which editors don't like to move and that the typical reader is not interested in.

This also reminds me of my suspicion that it is not the best idea for all editors of lit journals to be practicing poets/prosists themselves, but I guess that's the system.


resb, back by popular demand . . .

Or at least the demand of one of the few people I know who is equally baby-obsessed.

It has been a dreamy couple of days, sunshine punctuated by a brief but violent thunderstorm and lots of muted indoor time. We (who am I kidding--when I say "we" I mean "Rowan") have had two very special surprise guests.

First, from the wilds of Pennsylvania (okay, Philly), the unstoppable shower-loving, cold-hating Aunt Dredre. Poor Andi drove down half the east coast Friday, got in Friday night, and left this morning to drive all the way back up. What a trooper! We didn't exactly party it up old skool, but we did play a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit last night that lasted almost til midnight! Phew.

Yesterday Dre and Rowan and I picked up Uncle T, who took a break from his scholarly pursuits and beer & darts leagues to fly into Greensboro for a visit. Of course the first thing he did was hold his nephew. Then he cleaned the kitchen and the cat litterbox area.



Dude, you're interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to link to current news and forgot about this one: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,337232,00.html? How could you? PS Dag, I can't believe I just linked to FOXNews.

The WTF News Roundup

Thanks, CS, for the pediatrician-related link. I love coming across quotes like the following: "I felt like my pediatrician was saying she knew more than I did." (That said, Liz and I kind of question medical wisdom from time to time.) Anyway, maybe I just haven't been paying attention to the news as much as I should, but it seems that cnn.com keeps scooping The Onion.

...in the "where's Doc Brown when I need him" department
...another MySpace miracle
...this would be funny if it weren't true



first off, we in the pillow fort want to thank taisuke, brenda and nayou for the "ups." both liz and i really liked reading their blog as we approached rowan's due date. it was like a sneak preview of what we were in for. plus, they are cool.

we also realize that some of you may actually know our kittens lemmy and audie, and that those of you who know these kittens may be saying to yourselves "baby's are well and good, but this blog is called KITTENS in pillow forts, not BABIES in pillow forts! what of the furry babies? what of tabbys, torties, and tuxedos?" well, here's your answer...

...they've run for the hills or, at least, the washing machines.

we all went to the pediatrician today and confirmed that rowan is growing like a madman. while we were in the waiting room, there were two other babies--a 1-yr-old and a 2-yr-old. the 2-yr-old yelled "ba-by," ran across the room, and hugged the 1-yr-old out of nowhere! she embraced the "baby," she looked into the "baby's" eyes, she attempted to give the "baby" presents in the form of pediatric brochures! she wooed, wined and dined the "baby"! it was almost unbearably cute. then, after his appointment, having been lauded by nurse and pediatrician alike and drunk on baby-worship, rowan passed out on a tummy-time mat.

for the rest of the day, rowan slept (more or less). i helped to judge some writing award at guilford college, and read essays from "first-year writing," i.e. Comp 101. one essay was about the closeted gay life of harry potter's albus dumbledore. another was about two (i think) tokugawa-era japanese generals. there was another essay on toni morrison's the bluest eye that, for some reason, ended with a typed transcript of several verses of reo speedwagon's "dreamweaver." but the essay that really took the cake was about...UNICRONS! no joke. unicrons.

we've just been lifting our little 7 1/2 lb weight all day long. and giving the raspberry to the paparrazzi.

possibly the most labor-saving news of the day is that rowan is now the proud owner of two one-piece, PVC-free, Soothie brand pacifiers (which seem to be working like a charm!) mama may actually get some sleep tonight...

also, sadly, grampa and granma b leave tomorrow, so liz, rowan and i will be all alone for the first time. eep! but we have more visitors on the docket. uncle t comes to visit this weekend, and we have possible guest appearances from auntie dree-drees and auntie carrzzz (sorry for the nicknames...i'm getting punchy....)

gravida 1, para 1!

Yay! Yay! Yay! That's about as articulate as I get these days--my brain is suffering from some serious sleep deprivation, but I feel way too hepped up and excited to care. Mercer & I wrote a little about the birth experience. I feel somehow lacking in documentation of this whole time but too floaty and unfocused to write a ton. The birth was so amazing though--I can honestly say that now, from nearly a week's distance. I realized I was in labor at the grocery store and 12 hours later was projectile vomiting and making detached-from-the-human-race noises. Mercer said it was half the Exorcist, half the most incredible thing he had ever seen. And then the birth's over and all the things they don't tell you about start happening--if you don't know what I'm talking about, I won't go into it on a semi-public forum.

But all this is of no consequence. Evolution must be doing its thing: how else could I feel so intensely in love with someone I have known for less than a week? It's so funny looking down at him and recognizing the movements he made in utero--the dreamy swimmer's arms, the wince-inducing heel kick. Both the nurse who came out to the house yesterday and the pediatrician today mentioned how relaxed Mercer and I seem as new parents. I don't feel particularly relaxed, but I'm glad we're throwing off that vibe. The pediatrician assured us that Rowan is flourishing--he asked if Mercer is a fisherman and hid some lead weights somewhere on Rowan 'cause he's doing so well in the weight gain department. He's back to birth weight already. See? I'm already one of those annoying parents who brags about her child's every accomplishment.

Well, this is gonna be a boring post: no new pix uploaded yet, but I'll get around to it in a bit.


RESB Day 5

For the past few days I've typically woken up (frequently) in the nights and squinted over to see Liz sitting in a ramshackle lotus position, head nodding, feeding hungry Rowan. She has been an ace mama, and Rowan has been a demanding hotel guest. Last night he did a better job of sleeping (at one point, an hour and a half straight through!) and Liz got some semblance of rest. Today, the boy was sleeping like a log and seemed more alert than usual when he was awake.

So we had lots of fun today. Gran and Gram B are still down in NC, and we all cooked pancakes for breakfast. In the afternoon, Liz and I took Rowie out for a walk in the Moby sling, and he seemed to love it. He fell right asleep.

We also had a visit from Smart Start, a program that comes to your house and checks out the baby, consults on lactation and answers questions new parents have. The nurse who came was awesome. She had worked as a delivery nurse for sixteen years, and finally left due to the increase in birth interventions that she was seeing. We told her our birth story, and it was great to recall it all again. She checked out the Row, and we got more good news--he's already gained 6 oz. since leaving the hospital! If he keeps on going like he is, he'll be back up to birth weight in no time.

After Granpa S asked about the name Rowan, I did some quick internet research and found out that there is more to the name than Mr. Bean and Black Adder. The Rowan Oak or Mountain Ash has traditionally been a charm against witchcraft and magic, particularly in the form of the "flying rowan," or rowan which grows not from the ground but from another tree or cliff. The tree appears in Frazer's The Golden Bough and in some English ballads. "Rowan Oak" was also adopted by W. Faulkner as the name for his family's homeplace.

Tomorrow will be another exciting day. We're going to the pediatrician to have Rowie weighed (again) and checked out. Then...who knows.


Rowan E S-B Day 1-4

We first met this little guy last Thursday at 10:58 a.m. after a night of expert laboring by his mama. Liz did an amazing job all the way through the labor. The labor itself was the most unbelievable thing I had ever seen and I was so glad that I had the chance to be a part of it. And then Rowan was born, and that became the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. Seeing our baby come out into the world made all of the stress and changes of the past months worth it. The delivery created this disjunction where the previous hours in the hospital room and the previous months of preparation vanished. Suddenly, we had this little boy right there with us. And suddenly, beyond doubt or uncertainty, it felt natural that he would be.

The midwife (really, all the midwives at the practice) was wonderful, and all the nurses and staff at Women's Hospital were great. Rowan came through the birth healthy, weighing 7lbs, 7 oz (about 3.4 kg...I had to google "metric conversion" for that one). They took all the initial vitals/measurements right there in the room, so we got to spend some time with him before he went to the nursery. They have this great program in NC that collects cord blood from the placenta and puts it in a public "bank." Then the stem cells are used for research and medical treatments. We were really glad--Liz's placenta had a high count and will be used for some sort of good. The alternatives in American hospitals are expensive private cord blood banking or the hospital disposing of the placenta. I don't think they let you take it out of the hospital.

Here is Rowan in his fetching hospital whites. We asked that he not get a bath right away so that he could absorb the vernix into his skin, and not have his smell washed away immediately. The hospital honored this request, but put a little sign on his crib that said, "Use gloves when you hold me, I have not had a bath." I think that phrase should be on a t-shirt.

Rowan had a big fan club already assembled. Granma S came to hold him...

As did Aunt Hannah...

...Granma B...

...Granpa S...

...and Granpa B. After two days, he and Liz came home, and we had a birthday party!


run for your life (with apologies to b-nut for biting her catch-phrase)

last night there was a big storm and a tornado warning in g-boro, so instead of tromping the halls of harris teeter, we stayed inside and watched 28 weeks later.

what did this film add to the post-zombie/t-virus genre? not much. all the characters are there: the good-hearted doctor, the sassy g.i., the loved-one turned killer. it had some decent breaking-into-the-hideout moments, but did nothing to further the medium.

okay, this is not a genre noted for brilliant plotting, but the holes in this piece were way...big. for example, a man just sneaks into the hospital room of the only survivor of the virus using a janitor's key card. (he gets infected.)

of course, the blurring between survival horror video games and post-zombie flicks is nearly complete. i can almost see the darkened foot of the stairs where the character would find KEY CARD and ascend to the cut-scene where the first zombie gets up from bed.

so, why am i writing at such length about 28 weeks later? b/c this boy is late for his appointment. egregiously late.

i was looking at the election returns this morning and i noticed something i'd never noticed before...guam has 9 electoral votes. are they a commonwealth? n.c. has their primary on may 6 and it's starting to look like it might even matter.


Wao, Oscar!

Dag, this was a good read. I guess I'm not the only one who thought so--it dominated the top 10 lists for '07. Diaz blends Dominican history, macho swagger-talk, and dork culture references like it ain't no thing--and it all works (Trujillo! Boobs! Mordor!).

Tonight's gonna be another exciting one for politicos out there. I'm gearing up for hit- reload- on- the- NYT- website- every- ten- seconds mode.

A new baby name has entered the ring: Ryuutarou. Mercer likes it because it means "son of the big dragon." I like how he automatically assumes that he's the big dragon! Who's the biggest dragon, me or Mercer (this is a rhetorical question--attempting to answer it fo'reals could cause a domestic dispute)?

I guess we're going grocery shopping now. We went a couple days ago but lost track of what we were supposed to get & bought multiple tubs of ice cream and other such items instead.



yesterday lizzie and i planted some tulips that she had bought. they started to bloom after sitting on our front steps for about a week. it seems like its getting warmer again. up to 70 (F) today. we got the trowel and shovel out and dug up a couple patches on either side of the walkway to our front door. we had a good crew helping us (two little boys, 6 and 4, who live next door and are quite helpful--no union smoke breaks or anything!)

so, we're quite domestic these days. and desperately trying to remain patient. today was our original induction date (pushed back), but we have a non-stress test and midwife appt this afternoon. hurry up, boy!

we've been making baby-boy preparations. the car seat is finally installed, the hospital bag is (almost) packed, the kittens have had this whole baby thing explained to them numerous times, and we have plenty of cookie dough frozen in anticipation of a horde of sweet-toothed grandparents.

in other news, filipino inmates are really good dancers.


Saturday morning cartoons

. . . not really. I'm just sitting at the kitchen table pondering the pros and cons of mopping the house, but I figured I'd blog about it first.

So we took these pictures the other night. Mercer has since shaved his head. Which is probably a good thing, because the baby might've got skeered if Mercer had hair and then suddenly didn't. But maybe tiny babies don't care so much about such things anyhow. Turns out Mercer and I had similar hair-induced shock experiences growing up: when both of us were about two, our moms decided to get perms, and we both freaked out 'cause in our toddler brains, mom had straight hair, not curly, so the curly hair lady wasn't any mom of ours. Of course a decade later my mom used this as evidence that I in fact hated perms; consequently, I was the only straighthaired girl in school in 1991. My hair was so straight I couldn't even get my bangs to feather. This, in fact, may be the source of my current PTSD: growing up permless in the small-town South.

Here's the baby scoop. We're about a week past the due date at this point and were initially scheduled for induction Monday night, but we didn't really feel good about inducing at just over 41 weeks so we are now scheduled for induction next Saturday night. I hope the baby decides to emerge before then--I'm feeling very anti-induction. I know mentally the due date's just a guesstimate window of when labor could begin, but it's still hard not to think about dates and lateness and most of all to be patient. At the same time I kind of feel like the more time that goes by when birth cold be happening the less imminent it all feels. I'll be an incubator forever!

Every time I listen to my IPod on shuffle, songs I didn't know existed come on, and then I can never find them again.