Friday, April 29, 2005

The News

So Britney Spears is pregnant? So Tom Cruise is dating Katie Holmes? So Brad Pitt really was cheating with Angelina Jolie? So Ellen's mother is visiting this weekend? Somehow it doesn't carry the same attention-grabbing headlines, eh...

Still battling this stupid thrush problem. After a week, despite multiple remedy attempts, it still seems to be sticking around, so I am hitting it with the Diflucan as soon as I pick the prescription up. Breastfeeding is just an odd experience. Granted, I'm glad that I've done it and stuck with it. But every week, there seems to be a new annoyance. Last week, thrush. This week, I've had to change my shirt twice a night because of all the leakage (can't sleep in bras.) Then the other night I pulled a back muscle trying to figure out the lying-down side nursing thing.

I'm going back to worrk in five days. Got to be honest with you, not looking forward to it. Even though I've felt pretty lonely at home lately, I am still dreading handing my daughter to someone else for eight hours. It was hard enough leaving her for one night with her two doting aunts, who love the tar out of her. I have promised my husband...I am going to give it a whirl. If but for anything else, it will cement in my head that I decisively want to be a stay-at-home mom. There won't be any "what if"s regarding work or "poor me"s regarding staying at home.

In other news, Anna loves her tha fans. I've got another weapon in my arsenal to cheer her up. I put her under a ceiling fan, and she thinks it's as funny as "Seinfeld." Oh, to be a baby.

And I am totally stoked (yes, I still use words from 1988, but I know that Shelley does too) for "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" movie. Please please please let it do the book justice. I implore everyone to read this book if you haven't already.

That's it for today's news.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

High Needs

I had a great birthday on Friday. We went out to dinner, Old Navy (to buy me something to wear back to work) and Barnes and Nobles. Then we went back to our hotel room and watched "National Treasure" (decent movie, but too long and too much yak.) Unfortunately, I discovered that Mommy Brain does not turn off very quickly, and I had a horrible night's sleep. Not worrying per se, just thinking and tossing and turning. Upon returning home Saturday, I was informed that Anna had slept from 10pm to 6am. The longest ever. Oh well.

While at B&N, I bought two books- The Highly Sensitive Child (by some chick names Arons) and The Fussy Baby Book (by Dr. Sears! I actually bought a book by the man! I told you that motherhood changes you.) I've been perusing the books for the past couple of days, and it is not only ringing true, it is "The Gong Show."

I've decided not to refer to Anna as "fussy" or "difficult" anymore. She is "high needs" or "highly sensitive." The truth about her is that, if her needs are being met the way that she likes, she is a joy. She is alert, smiley and content. I do think that we battled colic for those first two months, but her underlying personality is demanding. "High needs" children need to be held constantly, fed a lot and are overstimulated easily. They also rarely nap and wake often. They require a whole different level of parenting apparently.

Anna and I went to a birthday party for a one year-old little boy yesterday. The boy's father is loud and boisterous, as is his extended family. The minute I walked in the house, I knew there would be trouble. I took Anna back to the quiet nursery to nurse and she was fine. As soon as we rejoined the party, it began to overwhelm her. I guess I am getting better at reading her cues. I saw the storm coming, so we went to the backyard and walked around for a bit. She quieted down. We rejoined the party and that was that. I knew it was time to go. It was a good thing we left when we did, because as soon as we started down the road, scream city.

I guess that I am going to need to come to terms with the fact that I wasn't given the baby that I expected. Thankfully, the book said that for every frustration, I will receive an equal amount of delight because "high needs" babies tend to become highly creative, sensitive and kind-hearted kids. I just have to wait for it.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The League of Ordinary Gentlewomen

Up: Anna slept for seven hours last night!

Down: Anna and I have thrush, probably caused by my antibiotics from the mastitis.

The thrush is not fun. It's like burning in my breasts, with shooting pains up the sides. Again, never in my life have I had so much attention focused on my boobs.

Speaking of boob-attention, I did the unthinkable today. I, Ellen, attended a La Leche League meeting. Ten weeks ago, when I was having my breastfeeding nightmare and desperately trying to glean information from the LLL's book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, wild horses couldn't have dragged me to one of those meetings. Honestly, that book made me feel like a huge failure. I couldn't master the "womanly art." But, my friend Rebekah was going to a meeting and invited me. I was in the midst of this thrush business, so I thought, "What the hey." I am open to any suggestions for getting rid of this darn infection.

And it was actually fine and quite helpful. Most of the women there were normal, down-to-earth women who just like to hang out where there isn't any stigma of whipping out your boob. There were maybe two women that gave me cause to raise my eyebrows. The first such woman was breastfeeding her three year old. I'm sorry, but it's just a little strange to me to see a child running around playing with the other kids, then from time to time, waltze over to lift up his mom's shirt to nurse. But whatever floats your boat.

The second woman went on a co-sleeping tangent for about ten minutes. I do not co-sleep, personally. It would probably be a lot easier to do the nighttime nursing thing, but a) I have not been able to comfortably figure out the whole side-nursing thing yet and b) neither of us gets any real rest sleeping together. I know that it is probably very sweet and bonding to snuggle next to your baby all night. But I am a better mother when well-rested. If I was even slightly on the fence about this, hearing the other women's sleep dilemas pushed me back over onto my non-co-sleeping side. One co-sleeping woman had an eighteen month old that still woke up to nurse FOUR times a night. FOUR. And I was complaining that Anna wasn't sleeping through the night at six weeks! Rebekah and I both raised our eyebrows at that one.

Rebekah and I have had an interesting experience with this whole motherhood thing. We have been complete opposites at every turn. I struggled with infertility; she had an oopsie. I had a great pregnancy, great birth and a heck of a time with a colicky, fussy baby. She had an exhausting pregnancy, traumatic birth but a dream baby who has been sleeping through the night since two weeks. I have lost too much post-pregnancy weight; she is trying to get more off. I was always Miss Managed Medical Care Non-Granola/Attachment Parenting; she was all herbal, all natural and Bradley Method home birth. Well, I am now attending La Leche League meetings, researching slings and finding Grapefruit Seed Extract to smear on my breasts; she is starting to see the benefits of medication and the medical establishment. I guess it just goes to show how much motherhood rocks your world. To quote Julia Sweeney, "And God Said 'Ha.'"

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Up, Down, Up, Down...

It is amazing the effect that sleep deprivation has on me. Last week, Anna practically slept through the night every night. I had a great week. I was in a fine mood and accomplished a number of tasks that I had been meaning to get finished (thank you notes, etc.)

This week, however, Anna has woken up at least twice a night. My husband, though not his fault, has been snoring like a bear all week due to allergies. I have been sleeping on the couch a great deal of the time. Have you ever been so tired that you can't sleep? That was me last night. I laid on the couch at 5am and cried. Partly, I was delirious. Partly, I started panicking because I only have a week and a half left before returning to work, with no signs of getting any more sleep than I have been. Even last week's sleep gain, with the five hour nightly stints, is not going to suffice for me to get through a work day with my brain intact. I am feeling a tad depressed today.

Also, I have not been eating enough. I know I'm treading on thin ice here, because a lot of women have trouble getting the baby weight off and don't want to hear this (and I apologize)... but I have lost too much. I am back down further than I was when I had morning sickness, which was pretty low. I have never been a big eater, but it's never been this bad. With the lack of sleep and constant baby tending, I sometimes forget to eat during the day. Lately, I've started getting a bit light-headed. (Shame, shame, Ellen. I know. Don't scold me.)

Plus I have another plugged duct, which I am petrified will lead to another bout of the dreaded mastitis. Crap. And this morning, I noticed one developing in the other boob, as well. Double crap.

When I am in a better mood, I will tell you all about the surreal experience that I had yesterday at an Arkansas wild animal safari.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


[Warning: Sappy Baby Post Ahead]

I feel like all I've been blogging about for the past 10 weeks are the woes of motherhood. So I thought I'd write about the other side of motherhood, which in all honesty, is so much more enveloping than the frustrations. The love part.

I really love being a mom. I've wanted to be a mom for as long as I could remember. Once, when I was a camp counselor, I was playing in the pool with a bunch of fourth grade boys. Actually, I was trying to sunbathe and was being constantly interrupted with, "Miss Ellen! Miss Ellen! Watch this!" (followed by loud wet cannonballs) and having water noodles dumped on me. One of the other girl counselors was watching me and said, "You are a mom who just doesn't have kids yet." That always stuck with me. When I started having trouble getting pregnant, I thought, "Well, this just figures."

And I love Anna. Sometimes I look at her and wonder how it's possible to love someone so much. I love every part of her. I love her fingers, toes and bellybutton. Her fuzzy hair. Her cries. Her smiles. I know every mother thinks this, but I really think I have the most beautiful baby in the world. I now understand that mother bear instinct. I can't bear to even imagine something bad happening to her. The thought makes me physically wince.

She really is the best thing to ever happen to me. She's the best gift I've ever received. In fact, she's so far above all the other gifts, they look like rotten toadstools in comparison (not counting my husband-- he was a good gift also.)

So I guess I finally understand all those dumb cliches about motherhood.

Sorry if this was too sappy.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


My 30th birthday is next week. I ran into an old friend of mine at Wal-Mart today, who I dated one summer back in college. As he left, he said, "Happy Birthday!" I was shocked that he remembered, but then recalled that he has a near-photographic memory.

Anyway, as I was driving home, the thought occured to me that we dated over ten years ago. Ten years? TEN years? Was I really that old?

Yes, I have decided. I am that old. I feel old. Not "old" like "poor over-the-hill me." Just older. Older is a good thing. I'm not really complaining. It's just strange.

I started thinking about other things happening lately that have also made me feel old. So, here is:

"Ellen's List of Things That Make Her Feel Old"

1. Having a baby, obviously. I am still sort of in disbelief, though. Sometimes I wonder, who would give me sole responsibility of another tiny being? Again, not complaining. It's just strange.

2. "I Love The '90's" on VH1. Puh-lease, I thought, when I saw it for the first time. That was like yesterday. Then I saw the "I Love '91" episode. Har har, I laughed, they think grunge is old. But then I realized, that was fourteen years ago! I went to my closet that afternoon and finally put all my flannel shirts in the Give Away box.

3. A girl that I used to babysit (I remember when she was born) asked me if she could drive over and babysit Anna sometime.

4. Snoop Doggy Dogg. When gangsta rap first came out, it scared the tar out of me. Snoop Dogg included. I just watched some program on E! where he was coaching his son's football team. What?! And I read that the Green Day guys all have wives and kids.

5. 40 year old women. 40 used to be so old. I now have 40 year old friends. And they aren't old at all. They shop at the Gap, for pete's sake.

6. My mom is starting to remind me of my grandma, and I am starting to sound like my mother.

7. ....

...I had other things to add to the list, but I forgot them. Again, another sign that I am old. Also, I am tired and need to go to bed. Old old old.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Good Week

It's been a good week. Someone told me once that colic was like a switch that gets turned on and off. And I am really apt to believe it. I remember the day that she first started being colicky. It was week two (which is classically when it starts), and I was home alone with her in one evening. The power kept going off at the house, and I sat in the dark with her screaming. It was not fun.

Well, this week, it was like the switch flipped off. She still fusses, but I feel like I am dealing with "normal" baby fussing. She is smiling and cooing at me. She is responding to us more. She still doesn't like to be put down, but she's been like that since the minute she was born. But she doesn't seem to be hating life anymore. Sweet relief.

And can I say that my husband rocks? He sent me flowers today, for being "a good mother." And he is going to take me out on a grand date next Friday for my birthday, complete with dinner, a movie and a hotel room for the night. My sisters are going to babysit overnight. A full night's sleep! And I've decided that since I'll be pumping my milk out, I am going to try the new Coke with Lime that night. Caffiene, here I come! (It's the simple things in life...)

Anyone recommend any movies? I have no idea what's out right now.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

And Again!

She did it again last night! I was telling my sister how amazing I felt after getting five hours of sleep, and she laughed and said, "If I only got five hours of sleep, I'd be complaining about it all day." Such is the life of a parent, I suppose.

I don't know if it was the increased sleep for both of us, but Anna and I had a really good day yesterday. She was moderately content the whole day, and only cried for an hour in the evening. The whole day was pleasant. Maybe the colic is dissipating.

Anna and I went to a Moms And Tots program yesterday. "Program" is a little strong a word. Basically, a bunch of moms get together at the community building, cover the room in toys and lock all the doors so the kids can't escape. Then the moms sit in a corner and drink coffee. I was a little nervous, because I still have the Imposter Mother Complex. I had a great time, though, and fit in well. These moms weren't supermoms at all. I didn't get the feeling that any of them made their own baby food from all organic fruits. Their children have probably tasted sugar. After I left, I thought, "Hey, I could fit into this mommy world." I even prevented a two year old from dropping a basketball on Anna's head.

And I finished Anna's baby scrapbook the other day. Before you start crying foul that I've actually had the time to do a scrapbook, I should preface it by saying that I really did the whole thing before I had her. I just had to drop in the photos after she was born. Scrapbooking is relaxing for me. I don't do the Creative Memories type stuff (which I have nothing against.) Mine are just a bit more avant garde. I like matching up different colors of paper and playing with fonts (I have the spiritual gift of Font Recreation. If you show me a font, I can recreate it by hand.) Anyway, now that I am finished, I feel a little restless to have something else covering the kitchen table. A close family member of mine is planning on adopting from China fairly soon, so I am thinking of starting one for her. The baby will be a girl, so at least I know my color palette.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Anna slept from 11pm til 5am! Woo HOO! I feel like a new person.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Things That Seem To Soothe A Screaming Anna

-loudly singing "Hooked On A Feeling" (the Ooga Chocka version, not the wussy version)

-swing (approximately 2 minutes)

-bouncer (approximately 3 minutes)

-drinking a strawberry daiquiri and then breastfeeding (please don't call DHS on me)

-bath (approximately 10 minutes or until water gets cold)

-staring at a light bulb

-walking around outside (unless it's raining)

-pulling her legs up over her head until she farts

-"100 Most Metal Moments" on VH1. (for some reason, she was pretty happy yesterday during all five hours of the heavy metal show, as well as the Metallica documentary)

Friday, April 08, 2005


The colic seems to have stepped up a notch this week for some reason. At first I thought it was the shots, but I don't think so anymore. Tonight, my sisters and I tried to go out for Thai food with Anna. That lasted a whole of ten minutes before we asked them to just wrap it up to go. I knew better.

I know that everyone is probably sick to death of me boo-hooing about my colic and lack of sleep "plight." I do feel like a big wussy actually. There are a heck of a lot worse things happening in the world. But honestly, with a colicky baby, your world seems to shrink considerably. I went to work this morning (sans Anna--her father watched her) to pick up some papers from my boss. I work with quite a few baby-crazy women and they were all disappointed that I didn't bring the baby. "How is she? How is she?" I found myself at a loss for happy, chipper baby talk. "Fussy," I said. Not what they wanted to hear, but phooey on them.

I am finding myself torn. Part of me is ready to go back to work, just to get a break. To have an adult conversation NOT concerning the color of poop. But then I stopped by the sitters today to drop off some paperwork, and I left with a knot in my stomach. I don't care how much she screams, I am going to miss her terribly during the day. She is her happiest in the morning, and I am going to miss all of that everyday. I will miss her fuzzy head and big blue eyes. And we just figured out breastfeeding, but I'm going to have to go back to that dreadful pump during the workday.

It's just hard because, as much as I often feel clueless with this motherhood thing, nobody knows her better than me. I can tell the difference in all her cries. I can comfort her better than anyone else. I know the diaper rash cream that works best on her butt. I can almost guarantee that I have been the only person to pick lint from between her toes. I can even tell by the sound of her poots whether it was just air or juicy, and thus needs to be changed.

I guess every working mother probably goes through this...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I think I hit a point today. I think that sleep deprivation may be driving me insane. I just realized this afternoon that I am desperate for sleep. Anna is crying in the other room and I just had to leave, because I honestly wanted to yell at her, "Why?! Why can't you cut me some slack and let me have a nap?!"

Anna is still eating every two hours on the dot, except for a brief period of four hours from 10pm to 2am. Not two hours from when she last ate, but two hours from when she started her last feed. People say, "Well, nap when she naps." Except that she doesn't nap. And when she is awake, she is generally pissed off. Around 4:00 this afternoon, I realized that I was about to fall over from lack of sleep.

I guess it's hitting me now because, somewhere in the back of my mind, I saw the eight week mark as a sleep oasis. Like maybe she'd be sleeping through the night by this point, or at least taking regular naps.

I'm also feeling a bit desperate because I am returning to work in three weeks, with no sign whatsoever that I will be getting any more sleep at night. In fact, by breastfeeding now, I have made it a bit more difficult on myself, because Jason can't share the feedings after I go back.

There has been a bit of discussion over on some blogs about difficult babies versus easy babies. It's taken me awhile to admit that I have a difficult baby. I don't feel particularly angry about this; rather, I have found myself accepting it as a fact and that's that. Last night, at 3am though, I found myself plea-bargaining with God. "Come on, God...cut me a little slack here. Please just let her sleep until 7am this time..." No dice. She was up again two hours later.

Well, I guess I've let her cry for long enough. Don't want to damage her psyche, Dr. Sears.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


One thing that has happened in the past eight weeks, is Jason and I have caught up on our television series watching. Not very noble or ambitious, but there's not a whole lot else to do besides feeding, soothing and burping. We watched the first two seasons of "Monk," first season of "Arrested Development," and I have rewatched quite a few of my "Simpsons" and "Futurama" DVDs. Jason got sick this last weekend, so went and bought the third season of "24." As soon as he brought that thing in the house, I said, "Damn that man."

I swore I would never watch that show again after it overtook my life about two years ago, with the first season DVD. Argh. I'm back off the wagon and totally addicted to the life of Jack Bauer again.

Here is why the show is so addictive and so maddening at the same time: it does not play by the "television show rules." "24" will kill off main characters at the drop of a hat. "Hey!" I cried after a very, very main character was killed in the season ender of the first season, "Not fair!!!" But deep down, I applauded. You really do not know what's coming.

But, I've discovered, "24" has it's own set of rules, which I sat and deciphered during Anna's 3am feeding last night. Here goes:

1. There is one person in the CTU office (Counter Terrorist Unit, for you non-watchers) that is up to no good. However, at some point you will find out that they are actually up to good, and not a bad guy after all. They are just being sneaky for some reason.

2. If you are making a decision, at least three people are going to question your logic and/or mental capacity. Even if it is just ordering cream for your coffee.

3. The President's plot line is boring. A time-filler to catch the viewer's breath, I suppose.

4. Never trust the ex-wife.

5. Bad guys are pretty gullible and can be talked into anything. Idiots. Do they really think that Jack Bauer is suddenly anti-United States? Duh.

6. If you are noble and selfless, you will probably die. And most likely in a fairly awful way, such as with boils all over your internal organs.

7. Your past indescretions will come back to haunt you. (i.e. Don't have an affair or do heroin.)

8. Never trust the Russian spy.

9. All protocol goes out the window if you are in a time-crunch. Rushing into virus infested hotel? Doling out suicide pills? Holding an 18 year-old scared girl for interrogation without a lawyer? No problem. Ordering cream for your coffee? Well, we need to have a meeting to discuss your mental capacity there.

10. You, too, can get shot in the hand, neck or arm and be back at work in the CTU office in an hour's time.


Anna had her shots yesterday. So she's been very needy today. And she has a new cry that I haven't heard before. It sounds sort of like, "Maaaaaaaaaaaa...." Very pathetic. So far, she has a hungry cry (very pathetic, also, although I've been told that it's cute and sweet), colic cry (not cute and sweet at all), tired cry and the Purell Alcohol Hand Sanitizer on the Bum cry (the likes of which I have not heard since.) And now the whiny, don't-feel-good cry.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Well, that little turdlette has been nursing since noon yesterday, no problem whatsoever. I cannot tell you how relieved I am. I feel so much lighter in spirit than I did just several days ago. I even nursed in the backseat of the car today! I just can't believe it.

Let me just say, though, that I now understand the "sore nipples" concept that most breastfeeders speak of. My nipples feel like they are being pried off with pieces of glass. It just proves, in my mind, that Anna simply did not get it, for those three weeks that I fought with her. I never felt anything remotely like this back then. It was more like a slight pinching feeling, as opposed to this "jaws of death" feeling. Not that I am complaining. I am just happy happy happy that she is latching and sucking.

And I am not sure if this has anything to do with the fact that she is now nursing, or simply that she is hitting the so-called "magic" eighth week on Sunday, but she has been great for the past two days. No projectile vomiting, relatively little spitting up, no green acid poo, and she has been much less colicky these two nights. Maybe she's finally getting enough hindmilk? Who knows. She is even smiling at me.

I just feel such a sense of accomplishment (even though I am giving all props to God for this one.) I feel like I should get a diploma or something. Or a "Major Award," to quote the dad from A Christmas Story. Maybe instead of a giant glowing sexy leg lamp, I should get a giant glowing sexy boob lamp. Har har.