papi returns

I've been regrettably absent from the pillow fort recently, and am pleased to be back. my semesters are ending soon. this week is it for guilford and i only have two weeks of classes left in durham. after that, i'll be what the mfa system was designed to produce: an unemployed writer. why did they design a system that leaves writers unprepared and unwilling to work in the gainful world? it is the writer's natural state.

actually, i'm excited about the fall because i'll be returning to school, at uncg, in their english lit phd program. i've slipped your yoke again, sallie mae--my loans go back into grace! muhahahaha!!!!! i plan on reading rowan lots of what i'll be reading--renaissance british poetry--so it's a sure bet that when he grows up and rebels, he'll make lots of money and read nothing but nonfiction (and nothing creative, please).

with spring getting going, the kittens have more bird-friends to watch in the yard and they can typically be found looking on with earnest, ardent--even lustful--desire in their sharp kitten hearts as cardinals, bluebirds, and all other manifestations of fowl scoot around the lawn.

lemmy thinks she should be allowed to go outside, so she spends part of each day directing our attention to the kitchen screen-door, hoping that this time, despite all precedent and reasonable expectation, we'll throw it open for her so that she can finally get free of our suffocating bourgoise domesticity. plus there are like four strays who i think taunt her from beyond the window glass.

we've just had more visitors, and i want to send a special shout-out to my brother who met and charmed his charming nephew and was (i think) equally charmed by ro. brother sam showed up in a stylish canary-yellow pontiac sunfire, no doubt fresh from some southern replicated autobahn. then he swept in bearing awesome baby presents--musical, educational, devotional--he made the weekend really great.

just look at these

as i said, today is the last week of class at guilford, and today was my final class. liz baked cupcakes and i took them in. the students were relaxed (knowing we were all done) and asked me what kind of slang i use.

student: have you ever heard of using "mad" like saying i have "mad" assignments to do, or like "that's mad sick."
me: i've never heard of this. is that what you guys call proper grammar?
student: it's like saying "hella," but on the east coast.

they also asked me where i was going "for the summer." oh, to be eighteen. anyway, in re cupcakes, find my favorite cupcake below:

rowie has been (as already reported) really smiling a lot and managing the gassy stomach better over the past week or so. one of his favorite places continues to be the changing table.

he's growing out of some of his outfits too (and i've caught a phantom underline). he has a doctor's appointment coming up, and i'm psyched to see how much he weighs now. what i'm not psyched about is vaccinations. we're getting dr. sears' book and will likely delay/alter the delivery of the vaccines. nowadays they start them at 2 mos, and load up like 6 different vaccinations at one time. it seems like common sense says that's a lot for a baby's system . just drinking different water affects him--what about 6 shots worth of vaccine?

this is the sunset through the trees.


why do we have these condom-like hats on? maybe we just like skull caps, or maybe we're about to rob babies-r-us. maybe we're dressed as "pawns," or maybe we have a newfound appreciation for prop-based improv comedy. or, maybe we cut the bottoms off our sweatpants and put them on our heads so we'd look like divine comedy dante or maybe that's just how we roll.


how do you spell relief?

Phew, those last posts were written when this here pillow fort was in the throes of a very tenuous situation of a stomach nature. Poor Rowie had a couple tough days there, the worst of which occurred in Farmville (sorry mama & dad!), but the past few days have been much easier going. I have several theories as to why:
1. The well water in Farmville done him wrong.
2. The homeopathic colic med we purchased done him right (thanks for the rec, btw, T-squared--we couldn't track down that exact product but managed to find one with very similar active ingredients. I also might try fennel tea when the next attack rears its head).
3. Or perhaps--sigh--my cutting out dairy has helped. Not to sound like a martyr or anything, but it has been a rough week without ice cream or cheese. I guess it'll be a rough year without ice cream or cheese.
4. I think this one may be it: Rowie loves him some guests! We were graced by both Auntie Carrie (who was here Wednesday through Friday) and Uncle Sam (who stayed from Thursday to Saturday). Everyone contributed nicely to the spoiling of the Ro--Carrie prepped him out in some Princeton logo garb and some adorable duds from BabyGap, as well as bringing an awesome book, and Sam contributed to his nephew's musical education with some tune-ful toys I'm sure Mercer and I will soon be humming along to, as well as bringing a nifty rainforest-theme visual display for his crib.

In terms of non-baby related news: well, after giving the matter some thought, I guess I haven't done anything non-baby related recently. But here's a sequence of photos I took yesterday morning. Recently, Rowie has enjoyed waking up early and hanging out in bed with me (and Mercer, too, when he's not working).
Oooh, and a vid-jo too! Here's one of him smiling at Papi:


guess this is why i had a boy

Apparently, women who eat more are more likely to bear sons.

lovin' from the oven

Well, I have been trying to keep abreast of worldly happenings, despite being able to get my news in 27-second bursts between feedings and meltdowns, courtesy of Big Ro. Apparently given last night's events in Pennsylvania the show goes on for the Dems, and political eyes turn to NC, which Obama is expected to win handily. And--my dad put this one on my radar--does anyone else find this story a little unsettling? Wait, let me get this straight: well over 400 kids are removed from the only families and community they've ever known because of the suspicion that underage girls could be pushed into marriage? The entire thing stemmed from a 911 call--the caller was never identified. Of course I find the whole idea of forced marriages deplorable, particularly when they could precipitate power imbalances that could lead to rape &/or domestic abuse, but to my knowledge none of these allegations have even been substantiated. When I worked with the foster care system, a lengthy process preceded removal of kids from their families: a claim would have been made, investigated, substantiated, and then the whole thing would've gone to court. Instead, all these kids were removed at gunpoint by cops--without an examination of individual cases. I think this is yet another example of the state acting on its rigidly-drawn, relatively intolerant, middle-class assumptions and discriminating against people society deems weird.

Anyhoo, sorry for the diatribe--I am mildly delirious from fractured sleep. In the last week, Rowie's digestive system has decided to rebel. We were in Farmville visiting Grandma & Grandpa and Aunt Hannah when the worst of it struck, so I figured it could be the well water, or perhaps the fact that I accidentally guzzled some water from the basement dehumidifier (long story). But back in Greensboro, the trouble shows no sign of waning. I have given up dairy, which sucks. Is Rowie colicky? I didn't really know how he compared to other babies fussiness-wise, but folks have assured me that this isn't standard baby fare. Mercer and I both gave our poor parents a run for their collective monies, so I guess it's just payback.

I feel like a negligent mom just noting the negative, so I'll add that Farmville was very fun, and in his non-upset times Row was super interactive and smiley. Auntie Quiche came down all the way from Baltimore for the weekend! It was great to see her and give her the grand 8-minute tour of Farmville. She was dually impressed by the fact that all the count schools are clustered together, as well as the SUPER--nay, not regular--WalMart. We had a little get-together for my parent's friends, former colleagues, etc. on Sunday. It was supposed to be a drop-in type thing from 2 to 4. I made neighbor Ann's awesome pound cake and mama and Kesha collaborated on the latest million dollar Pillsbury winner. At 2:30, not a soul had arrived, and I started formulating explanations to Kesha about how we are actually community pariahs, when cars started pulling into the driveway. Phew! My dad grabbed a bottle o vino and quickly wrangled all the men in the room into one section of the room. I'm not sure what they were discussing, but I did hear mention of millipedes. How masculine! Sadly, we missed Papi, who had to stay in Greensboro to work. I returned to find him clad in pajama pants, the house singularly foodless.

We have an exciting spate of visitation ahead--I'm off to the airport to pick up Carrie in a couple hours, and Sam is coming tomorrow. I hope Baby Ro dons his happy pantaloons.

Like a chump, I forgot my camera in GBO when I was in the 'Ville, so Grandpa is gonna email me some pix fro the weekend, which I vow to post posthaste. 'Cause don't nobody like a post without pictures!

New and improved, a post with pictures! Grandpa S. & Aunt Hannah, four wise women, Aunt Quiche and me, and Grandma S., all with the cutest accessory around.


local couple tests dishware

Well, we here in the Pillow Fort have enjoyed a busy couple of days. Rowie and the cats are cohabiting swimmingly. As evidenced by the pictures below, he seems to be starting to notice their presence. They have been noticing his presence for some time now. His presence can be pretty difficult not to notice, given the occasional volume of said presence. However, Rowan is currently so exhausted by life that he is napping it off in a sling, waking every so often to offer bits of commentary. Mercer has been busy studying seventeenth century picaresque poesy, first year student annotated bibliographies, and double mochas, and I have been spending my time coming up with names to ascribe to our son given his current condition (i.e. Robinson Poosoe, Tootankhamen, Pooter Rabbit, and, my personal fave, Gaseous Clay).

We had a much-relished visit from Grandma & Grandpa B. this past weekend. As always, they arrived laden with snacks. Friday night the gang attended a poetry reading in which Papi was participating. Rowie made it through several very noisy jazz sets played by endearing high school-age musicians and a number of readers before waking. It was also his first bar experience. Whoooo!
(Insert random backyard sunset pic here)

I had my big postpartum checkup yesterday. It seems all systems are go. I weigh ten pounds more than did at this time last year, but hey, who's counting? It was actually great seeing the midwife again. Plus, after going faithfully to the practice once or twice a week, I found myself missing seeing Sanjay Gupta's smiling face on the waiting room TV on a regular basis.

We had a bit of excitement today: Rowie's small-screen debut! As a health department employee, I often receive random requests regarding media representation. The most recent request asked for a department employee with young kids to have dishes tested for lead, the results of which would be broadcast on the local news (one of those What Dangers Lurk in Your Abode-type stories). Despite the fact that we knew our plates were lead-free, having been tested using a home kit by my very lead-aware dad, we volunteered: why not? However, news team 2 (I actually don't know what channel it was, but the folks were very nice & entertained Rowie successfully) filmed our shock! and horror! to discover that our plates--which I got from a great-aunt--do indeed contain lead. Apparently, those at-home kits are kinda bunk. The reporter asked if, despite the fact that unless the plates were damaged and/or chipped they probably weren't leaching lead into our foodstuffs, we'd continue to use 'em. I said yeah, we'll probably just take the risk. J/k!!!

This is how I feel right now. G'night!


the kid is [not] my son

Despite having been warned by Tokesha (who assures me that she is a fan of the KIPF brigade) that blogging is totally white of me, I figured I'd resume posting. Actually, reviewing that list, I realized just how white I have become. I mean, I totally like Netflix and farmer's markets! In high school, I was maybe 4 percent white, judging from the list. Now come to find out I could be fully 72-ish percent white, as evidenced by my penchant for natural medicine, sushi, and making people feel bad about not going outside. At least I totally hate irony. Even my poor innocent baby seems to be white by virtue of having two last names. Mercer & I discussed the whole "what if Rowan decides to combine names with a future partner who also has a hyphenated last name" scenario and decided it'd be cool to have great great great grandkids with like 64 last names. Let the next generation figure it out! Muhahahaha.

Rowie is napping, so I suppose I ought to be taking advantage of this brief respite by folding diapers or wiping down the kitchen counters. So irresponsible! Actually, there are pretty much two sure-fire ways to get the baby to sleep (however briefly). Number one involves copious amounts of milk, until, dazed and slightly cross-eyed, he somehow detaches his mouth and plunks his head down on le boob. The second sleep solution involves dancing. Anything loud with a beat will do, but somehow Michael Jackson seems to have the most immediate narcotic effects. So yeah, we have been revisiting Thriller. As Mercer so succinctly put it, "how could anyone so batshit crazy produce such a badass album?" I concur, my friend. Though I gotta say The Girl Is Mine is pretty ridonkadonk.

Oooh, I hear the stirings of Rowan, and sadly I am a crumb and have no new pictures to post due to failure to download 'em onto the computer. Next time, Gadget!


One Month Old!

It's been a long month for baby-angel, but he's made it to another milestone...Rowan E is 1 month old today! We made a coffee cake in celebration.

Here he is, the binx (bibi) nearby, sacked out on the couch. One thing about Rowan...he makes any outing a special event, so spend a lot of time on the couch. Sometimes (like last night) we have lovely sushi-picnics in the front room.

It's been rainy and generally crumby in Gboro for the past few days, but last week was warm and springlike. We kicked it in the back yard, where our garden is starting to come in: broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and plenty of weeds.

We're carrying Ro around in the sling whenever we go out. Yesterday, we tried to get some ice cream at Enid and Boccaccio's (or whatever it's called). Liz remembered the place from Boston, but they also have outposts in NC. Desgraciadamente, they were closed, as were a couple other ice cream places we threw hopeful glances toward.

We think that Ro looks quite a bit like me. Of course, that debate goes on. However, I think we can all agree that Audie and I share a cunning look...

...while Rowan yawns the most like a tiny lion...

...or maybe a little tree leopard...

His sleeping pattern is getting slightly more predictable. He's usually down by 9-9:30 p.m., up and fussy by 4-5 a.m., and then placid through the morning. However, last night, he had a late night and didn't get to sleep until 11 or so. S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y-...NI

Ro has received met many dashing friends: Elephante, SoftHorse, Lionfriend. Unfortunately, the cats also want to make new friends. I caught Lemmy putting the moves on SoftHorse...

...as Liz put the moves on Wafflemania. Speaking of wafflemania, our revolving door bed-and-breakfast will be back open for business after nearly two weeks without a guest. In the next couple months we'll have visits by Uncle Sam B., AGMs and Auntie Lee-lee, Auntie Mau-mau, Gram and Gran B, and, finally, Great-Gran-B. So, Rowan officially has a busier schedule than we do.

...finally, a little note for you fans of oxytocin. A recent NYT Magazine article included an interesting claim. Check out the misinformation (the profile starts out, and it's like "okay, she has a p.o.v." but then it's like...really? Have you not gone...one step beyond?).


warrior one!

I got to feeling like I had been shirking in my blogging duties, so here's an obligatory update post. We've had some pretty exciting times lately here in Kittenland, aka Greensboro, and by exciting I mean lots of 4am barfing. 4am barfing ain't what it used to be. Now it involves a different kind of scene: an infant, a changing table (Rowie only pukes on the changing table--I have yet to figure out why. However, he also really enjoys the changing table). Anyhow, Rowie and I just returned from baby's first yoga class. I had my reservations: what if he screams the whole time? What if he poops midway through? What if he can't pull off a perfect warrior two? But it was a very relaxed scene, and even if he had gotten hungry/pooped/cried, such things are bound to happen when you're dealing with tiny folks with no socially-mediated hangups.
Rowie has also been enjoying tubtime, as predicted by me (Mercer isn't a big fan of the water, so he has secretly hoping for an aquaphobe of a son). But he seems pretty soothed & calm when he's in the water. He does not, however, enjoy hairwashing. But who does, really?
Mercer and I both have some semi-big professional news. Mine is just that I have shifted positions within the Dept. of Public Health. It's a little tenuous, as the position is grant-funded and thus subject to the whims of the CDC/political influences/syphilis-contracting trends of the greater GBO area, but it's more within the realm of my grad studies. And I'll let Mercer share his oh-so-exciting professional news--plus, I think Rowie is starving. Don't want to deprive a boy of his milk fix.