Communiqués from Cowtown

Goodbye Hedonism, Hello Diaper Genie….

Mid-March. March 18, 2008

Filed under: Random Rants — nickihem @ 4:31 am

Bee was having a fantastic time at her grandma’s all week while Hub and I were thereby granted four days Bee-free to remember that yes, indeed, we both still exist and still rather enjoy one another’s company. Despite our best intentions to go hiking on the trails near our house, cook complex dinners that babies would probably hate, listen to loud music and stomp around at 2 a.m. if we felt like it, we pretty much just vegged. It was glorious. We rented an entire season of Lost to catch up on it since we don’t really watch t.v. much, spent precious time on our own individual computers playing games (and me working, luckily I like what I do for a living) and just being in the same house. Just the two of us. While I enjoyed it, it is clear that our lives were lacking something before Bee. This is what we did all the time and while it was deliciously self-absorbed, every moment of it, I would go crazy if we went back to that all the time. She gives us purpose, a reason to put ourselves aside, and a convenient excuse to sit around and watch an entire Sesame Street while eating macaroni and cheese with our bare hands. 

She came back an entirely different baby with a ton of new words, a new set-in-stone sleeping schedule, and with a bunch of new toys and clothes that her Aunt Danielle couldn’t resist buying her. In that week I swear she changed more than I express in words. She’s a lot more with it and a LOT more opinionated. She has the run of the house of grandma’s and I suspect that she recognized a difference upon coming home and waking up to the at-home routine again. 

Because yes, there is a routine. That’s because it’s winter and we are kind of at a stand-still as far as finding new and interesting things to do. And yes, so, along those lines… 

I am making a promise right here and now, for posterity or maybe just for the sake of a self-reminder that I will not spend part or all of one month of the winter in the Midwest next year. 

Hard to believe, but by this time next winter she will be even more self-aware and even more able to travel, communicate, and be my little person than she is right now. A winter trip is a viable idea—something, anything, to break the monotony. I also say this about a winter hiatus next year because I think that a little something called “cabin fever” has begun to sink in and it just happens to coincide with several days of spring-like weather followed closely by more miserable cold and sleet-type weather that forces us back indoors as soon as we were able to get out. I don’t know where we’ll go and how we’ll do this whole thing, but it will happen. Especially since we are no longer in the city where there were far more ill-weather diversions than there are here. Purdue may be a good place in terms of education and opportunities for Hub but Lafayette/West Lafayette Indiana is, if you will pardon me for saying so, a cultural deadzone. There is nothing to do. That is, at least, for a mom and baby who have yet to meet many people around here yet. I’m grateful for the cool people I’ve met and playdated with here but other than that, all winter has been an endless cycle of going to the stupid mall and the stupid pool at the gym.

 I should emphasize that I will probably feel differently about this when spring finally comes and stays but at this point, I feel like Bee is getting bored and this is a baby who usually seems vastly entertained no matter what she’s doing. 

I’m projecting. It’s me. I want to do exciting, fun, creative and interesting things in public places while I suspect she’s probably fine getting up, coloring, watching Blue’s Clues and following me around. 

Spring is almost here. Spring is almost here. Spring is almost here……


The Bee’s Anything But Thank-ish Thanksgiving Holiday Week Kick-Off November 21, 2007

Filed under: Random Rants — nickihem @ 3:25 am

I think I am just writing this entry because I need to vent. That’s what blogs are for although luckily for you, I’ve generally spared most of that kind of stuff on this one and made it a baby and mama kind of thing…


All last week The Bee had a cold that just wouldn’t quit. We went through countless paper towels, shirt sleeves, Kleenexes, baby wipes—anything cloth-like—wiping an endless stream of snot. “Welcome to parenthood” I was thinking to myself, not realizing what was in store. Had I known I would have cheerily smudged boogers for hours.

So the other night, just as we thought the runny nose was starting to go away and we three were enjoying happy evening playtime in the playroom BAM! The Bee looks jarred for a minute and massive puke, and I mean real live human puke (something I’ve never seen emerge from the Bee; it’s all been that kind gentle spit-up) issued forth. And didn’t stop and didn’t stop and kept right on a’coming. I was freaked out enough by the sight although went immediately into power-mama mode and cleaned it up without a wince but when it kept happening I got panicky and we noticed she looked just awful. When we picked her up it was like holding a rag doll and she would just lay on my shoulder and try every once in a while to look up. She had little dark puffy bags under her eyes and just…just looked like hell. If a baby can. Wait, yes, a baby can. And did.

So it was off to the ER for the clan. We both had baby barf all over our clothes as we sat there with the blanket I am so glad we brought so that it too could get baby barf all over it as well. People started at us. We probably looked like some depraved turn-of-the-century immigrant couple with infant just landed from some 80-hour harrowing overseas journey into some foreign territory; all of us worried, scared and puke-ridden. That’s what we felt like anyway. And felt even more like as we waited for THREE HOURS to be seen by someone (anyone!) wearing a white coat.

Finally we are taken to the another waiting room where the doctor would eventually come see us an lo! And behold, what happens? I start feeling queasy. Not in that “I am surrounded by throw-up and am nervous as hell” kind of way, but in that distinct flu-big kind of way that always somehow takes me back to 2nd grade when I sense it coming on. So yes, off to the bathroom goes mom to toss her cookies. I come back and Bee’s drinking Pedialyte and grinning devilishly at the doctor who is totally taken with her, as are the nurses, all of whom coo and joke with her, much to her great delight.

I am sick as a dog. We leave with the warning to keep her hydrated (HA!) with Pedialyte and only bland foods under threat of having to bring her back for an IV if she doesn’t stay moist. God. So off we go, back home, late at night, me sick and barfing out the car door as we drive home. Lovely.

Oh wait. It gets better.

I am trying to think of a worthy metaphor here. Let’s see…trying to force a baby to drink Pedialyte is like… I don’t know. Pissing in the wind, as cliché as it is, probably sums it up best. We spent hours trying to force it on her, checking her diaper to see if there was pee (a good sign that she’s not dangerously dehydrated) and trying to force yet more of it down her. She hated us for a while. She bit my hand! She gave me a look! It was awful and yes, I cried. All of this while sick. I finally was able to get some sleep and lay down thanks to Hub who stayed home (LOVES YOU!) and now, guess what?

He is sick!!

We are a mess. We are truly a mess.

I put The Bee up in her crib to sleep a little while ago with some formula as usual, hoping like crazy she’ll hold it down. It’s been 24 hours since barf and if all goes well, there’ll be a hefty pee-pee in the morning and life will be grand once again. For her, anyway. I still feel like crap and Ry is a zombie. Every once in a while I hear him groan and heave up there. Terrible.

So, aren’t you just so glad you read this now? Hasn’t it been lovely and full of wonderful imagery that makes you just want to… I don’t know…take a bath in hand sanitizer?

Yes. So now I am finally doing the birthday pictures and then am posting this little story about our past 2 days of complete and total hell.


There is no Mary Poppins… January 10, 2007

Filed under: Random Rants — nickihem @ 12:54 am

The hunt for a nanny has begun and, I’m sad to say folks, Day One was not without its disappointments and/or complete shocks. As of now, three potential candidates have been shot down, each for particular reasons. In fact, I haven’t even interviewed any of them in person yet, I’ve only managed to have phone or online contact with them. The results are below and believe me, after the first one it just goes downhill from there. I mean like really downhill….  

  • Candidate #1- My very first choice. A student at Ohio State specializing in Early Childhood Education (bonus points there) and with Infant CPR training (double-super bonus) as well experience working at a Catholic Youth Camp for something like 5 summers in a row. Religious (I’m not, but that’s always a good thing in a nanny) kid-loving, has her shit together….I love this girl. The problem? She has no availability. None. At least not during the day from 9-6 like I need someone. Dammit. So after a brief but polite conversation with her, I moved on, crushed for sure, but resolved to find someone like her.

  • Candidate #2-  Looked great on paper… two years of nanny experience with young children…. Wonderful, right? Wasn’t thrilled that in her response she skipped an introduction altogether, opting instead to discuss her rates immediately. I was open though, after all, I figured that since she had experience as a nanny it would be only fair that she lay out her fiscal expectations. The thing is, when I pressed her for more info about the family she worked for before, she remembered something… See, what she forgot to tell me (until we had a phone conversation) was that those young children she was a “nanny” for were her own. In other words (as I asked her, slightly incredulous) she has never worked for a family, but has been a “nanny” to her own children… Yeah, Go flippin’ figure. Instead of asking her if she knew that on earth a nanny was, I simply wished her a good day, but before I could hang up she said, “if it makes any difference, I can bring my two children to your home. It would be great for your young one!” … You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought. The reason I need a nanny is so I can get some work done and seeing as how I work out of a home office, the last thing I need is 3 screaming kids instead of one. (Not that the Bee is a screamer necessarily, but you get the point…) So yeah, that one is certainly out. I think in future ads I’ll have to post a disclaimer with the formal OED definition of nanny. Lord.

  • Candidate #3 – This one just takes the cake…. Law student, 5 years of babysitting and nanny experience, already gave me a resume and list of references (instead of just giving me a casual response to my ad) trained in infant CPR, oldest of 4 children… you name it, this girl had it. Before I decided to give her a call, I thought I’d type her email into the “search by email” function on MySpace, and guess what I found?… Her pictures looked like they had all been taken at bars. One of them had her with most of her chest bared, two fingers in a “V” alongside her mouth with her tongue out. Another featured her touching tongues with a fellow female reveler. A few of her other pics featured her in almost no clothes looking oh-so-slutty for the camera. In her “about me” section she talked about being a “wannabe stripper” and we won’t even discuss her blog…

Needless to say, the hunt continues. I just checked MySpace on a whim but you’d better believe that every nanny gets a thorough checkout that way, indeed. I guess candidate #3 just figured no one but her friends would ever see that…  I guess in this world today it’s damned easy to find out what someone is really like before you hire them.


Pullin’ My Weight…. January 6, 2007

Filed under: Random Rants,The Bee,Weighty Issues — nickihem @ 8:25 pm

To be honest, when I was pregnant (and god, doesn’t that seem like it was eons ago already!) gaining weight was actually kind of fun. I mean, I didn’t go crazy with it or anything, but I certainly packed on a few pounds. Okay, so by a few, I mean like 55. And yeah, so okay, I guess I did go kind of crazy with it. The thing was, this was around the time that every celebrity and their sister had been knocked up and voila, six weeks later they were back into a size 0. Amazing! Could it really be that easy? Were pregnancy pounds somehow different than your average run-of-the-mill pounds?  

Now I’ve never been one to follow the lives of celebrities really, but my ears always perked up when I would hear about how so-and-so gained 60 pounds and it melted away shortly after birth and so, being the idiot (or uninformed optimist) that I am sometimes, I figured this would be possible for me too. I told myself that as soon as I’d recovered, I would just start walking everyday and eventually build a running schedule. Bam! Simple as that! It seemed like, at the moment I was devouring that second Pat’s cream-filled donut, that even without a personal trainer, I could be back in a bikini within a couple of months. After all, I kept telling myself, pregnancy weight comes off easier than real weight, right? 


Okay, so I was optimistic for the first two weeks after having The Bee because I started losing weight like crazy. Within three weeks almost 20 pounds was gone, as if by magic and quite predictably, I was ecstatic. What I didn’t realize was that this wasn’t pregnancy weight necessarily, but water weight. There’s a huge difference between the two and needless to say, I started to get a little frustrated after losing pounds with no effort for a few weeks only to have the scale stop dead in the high 150s. It really hasn’t budged throughout this month either and believe me, I’ve been trying. Every night I step out for a very brisk hour-long walk and during the day I make sure to only consume around 1000 calories. I couldn’t do this while I was nursing (which if I could have kept doing it for longer that would have been another excellent and easy way to keep the pounds off). At this rate, it looks like I might expect to lose around 1-2 pounds per week and my fanciful dream of wearing my old clothes is just going to have to be deferred for another several months.  Stupid celebrities….

Okay, better yet, stupid me for holding them up as examples of a normal post-pregnancy experience.

Well anyway, I will keep pluggin’ and stick to my speed-walking. To make things easier I spoiled myself and bought an iPod shuffle to inspire me to walk. It has kept me on track, I must say. Instead of listening to music (which being a cheapskate I don’t want to pay for seeing as how I already forked over $80 for something that’s the size of a Triscut) I can download all kinds of podcasts for free. This American Life and all my other NPR shows are all available and thankfully, most of them are about exactly an hour long so I can both time my walk and forget that I’m walking. I heart NPR.   

Besides, listening to something with all of my attention helps me block out the fact that other walkers in our oh-so-hoity-toity neighborhood give me the eye…. You see, they all have actual outfits specifically for walking fast and me, well, let’s just say that between my giant old hat, frumpy but warm attire, and pants that were designed to suit the fashion needs of late-term pregnancy I look kind of like this:  


While they look something like this:


Then again, who cares? Like I’d ever wear velour anyway. Since when did it become acceptable for women to judge one another on the clothes they wear to work out in when it’s like 35 degrees and 10:30 p.m.? 

Okay, so I’m just looking for reasons to bitch about working out and am skirting the most obvious one… I want my pounds to melt away as if by celebrity-magic dammit! More on the weight loss efforts later.