Sunday, January 29, 2006

...And Then I Threw Up in My Mouth a Little

I was catching up on my newspapers this morning when I ran across an article in the Wall Street Journal concerning the use of the female Cochineal Beetle to make red dye for some popular foods such as Yoplait Thick & Creamy Low Fat Strawberry Yogurt and Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice. As of now, companies are allowed to call the colorings carmine and cochineal (the colors derived from the ground up dried beetles) "color added" or even "artificial color." Too bad I lost my appetite for my waffles after reading this.

Thanks to the watchdogs, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and a group of people who are allergic to the insect are pushing for changes in describing the ingredient in food labels. The article goes on to mention that vegetarians and Jewish people who eat kosher are also against its use. Let it be known that this carnivore is not thrilled with the use of this product either.
But unless you research every ingredient you eat, most people won't know what carmine and cochineal are if they are printed on a label.

I realize this is only the tip of the iceberg with regard to unsavory "natural" ingredients in our prepared foods. I know the FDA allows a certain amount of animal fragments and rodent hairs to be in peanut butter and cereal. This alone is enough to make me want to start making my own peanut butter since my daughter eats a peanut butter sandwich EVERY SINGLE DAY. I've been trying really hard to implement more wholesome and organic foods into our menus at home, in spite of the cost and my husband's annoyance. Knowing that the same rodent hair and animal parts are going into the organic peanut butter we buy doesn't make me feel any better.

I guess my husband is right when he says that just because something is labeled
natural or organic doesn't necessarily mean it's GOOD. A beetle, after all, is organic.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Now With 50% Less Screaming!

What a difference a week makes! In my last post I was so frustrated with my daughter and her hunger strike/neediness/screaming, etc. On the advice of our pediatrician, he suggested that we put her back on soy formula (since we were starting to introduce whole milk) and mix it with soy milk.


It took a couple of days, but she suddenly started eating again. A lot. But only regular food--no baby food whatsoever. And she stopped screaming as much. She is smiling so much more and is walking like a fiend!!! If we weren't such bad dancers we would do a jig. I am still going to push to have my pediatrician test for allergies when we have her 1 year check up next Friday. Thanks to all of you for your understanding and advice. It was much appreciated.

All in all it was a good week. June's kids are doing much better and my friend Lori came for a few days to visit. I grew up with Lori and she now lives in Kentucky, about 5 hours from me. We have a long history of friendship, including a brief stint as roommates in college. And between the two of us, we have waited on about 2 million tables and made a million alcoholic beverages. When we are together, I always laugh at how we lapse into what is familiar for us. When we went to college together, I almost flunked out of freshman year because we would skip class and go out to eat (breakfast preferably) or drink coffee. Every. Single. Day. When we were together this week, she gave me a reason to get up and shower every day. We spent our days with the kids and drinking coffee. We spent the evenings shopping and going to coffee shops where we gossiped and solved everyone's problems but our own. It just doesn't get much better than that.

And now we are experiencing the most beautiful weekend in January EVER. It is 60 degrees and there is crazy bright sun. Our Steelers flag is hanging proudly off of our porch. The kids are napping. Life is good.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Peaches No More

Effective immediately, we are changing the name of our younger daughter. Instead of using the nickname we have called her since birth (Peaches) we have decided that it should be Crabgrass (or Crab Ass when she's really bitched up.)

Crabgrass spends the majority of her days yelling, screaming, crying, fussing, shrieking, whining and caterwalling. It's all well and good to hear this from a newborn--you even expect it. But we already experienced this with her after she was born. We also dealt with her colic. Good times. While she has never been a true Peach as her nickname would imply, she has usually been good for a few giggles and grins throughout the day. Recently, they have become fewer and farther between. Unless, of course, I'm holding her or there is company. Like her sister, she loves to work a crowd with her charm and toothy grin. At home with the rents, it's another story.

What has added to the stress for us lately has been her gradual phasing out of food. About a month ago, we noticed that she was eating less and less--even the types of food she previously loved. We figured it was a phase, so we rolled with it. We thought that perhaps teething was a possible cause for her to violently throw the food at us that we had placed on her tray. Mealtimes became horrid, especially dinner because we (I particularly) was exhausted from the constant unhappiness being expressed by her all day. If she were my firstborn, I would have had her in to see the pediatrician after about a day. I'm a lot more laid back now that I have two kids. Plus, I was unsure as to what I should say to get an appointment.

"Um, hi. My 11 month old screams at me all day and doesn't eat. And her poop is blond because she hasn't eaten a fruit or vegetable in almost two weeks."
"She's teething. Good bye." CLICK.

While talking to June on Wednesday morning, she convinced me to call the pediatrician as she could hear CG's wailing during the entire conversation. I had also realized that she had eaten NO FOOD the past couple of days whatsoever. Only bottles. Not even a Cheerio. The pediatrician was nice enough to see us immediately. After an exam, he admitted that he is as puzzled as we are as to what the problem may be. I did tell him that we are in the process of weaning her off of soy formula and putting her on whole milk. While he didn't see any evidence of a rash that would indicate an allergy, he suggested that we go back to straight formula until her 1 year check up on February 3rd. If she is still not eating and has dropped weight, then he will do an allergy test.

Herr Hausfrau and I are frustrated, worried, sad and feel guilty. We're frustrated that her constant screaming and unhappiness makes us angry. We, in turn, start snapping at each other and at the girls. We're worried because she is not eating. We're sad because we have this beautiful little girl who is just so darn unhappy for so much of the day. I even asked Herr Hausfrau last week how old he thought a kid should be before going into therapy. And we feel guilty because, on more than one occasion, we have admitted to each other that we never would have had a second child had she been born first. We also feel horribly guilty for constantly comparing her to her sister. We never had these experiences with Baby Girl, so we feel like new parents. The one thing that seems to make Crabgrass happy is if I hold her all day long. And I can't do that. So she yells. And she screams. And she chases me. I can still beat her since she's just starting to walk. God help me when she starts to run.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ask a Silly Question...

A few minutes ago I went upstairs to see if Baby Girl was awake from her nap. When I opened the door, she was under her comforter. When I moved the comforter, I noticed she had a large stack of diapers in her lap from the top of the dresser.

"What are you doing with all of those diapers, Baby Girl?" I asked, laughing.

"Because it's raining. And. And. And my dolly is sleeping.And Daddy is at work.And I really miss Gramma.Are we going to school?I want a snack.May I have aminal crackers?May I paint?Is Diego on tv? Where's Peaches?"

And then she started to cry.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hausfrau's Slice of Hell

It has not been a great week at Hausfrau House. The first part of the week was spent trapped in a house because of crappy weather with two children who HATE ME. Yes, you read right. They hate me. I'm not quite sure what brought on the attitude from both of them at the same time, but it nearly killed me. Baby Girl was in the corner a record 11 times on Monday. Before Noon. Baby Girl became REALLY FAMILIAR with this sweet corner in the kitchen next to the cookbooks. While it's all well and good that she appears to be potty trained, I would rather clean her poopy diapers than to hear the shit that is currently coming out of her mouth. She is also being far too rough with Peaches. I understand that kids her age lack control, but jumping on Peaches when she is laying on her belly and acting like a human blanket just isn't right. Especially when she has gone to the corner twice before in the same morning for the same crime.
Peaches was just her usual moody self with a dash of all-out rage thrown in for good measure. I kept saying it was teething, but I knew I was kidding myself. She has been quite angry since Herr Hausfrau installed safety latches on all of the kitchen drawers over the weekend. This was something we never had to do with Baby Girl when she was a baby. When we told her not to touch something, she didn't. Peaches will look at us, cackle, and then do it again. And again. And again. Now that the latches are on, she will attempt to open it and proceed to go postal when she can't get it all the way open. But she keeps trying, as you can see. I guess we should be grateful that she's not a quitter. She has also decided that she would like to go back into the birth canal (I guess because it's warm in there and her feet are cold from constantly pulling off her socks.) As a result, she would scream any time I attempted to go into another room without first consulting her. She refused food by throwing it back at me, and screamed like a banshee during her morning naps. For more than an hour. By 9:00 AM on Tuesday morning, I was sobbing from the stress. I haven't cried from stress since Peaches was a really new baby. A few friends called that day, but I didn't want them to think I was an utter loser for suddenly losing all control of my kids, so I acted like all was well. When Herr Hausfrau came home that night I told him that I was leaving after dinner and didn't know if/when I would come back.

Turns out I was only gone an hour. There are no stand alone Starbucks in our area. They are all in Targets, Kroger, and Meijer. I'm sorry but I can't get all snuggly and comfy with a book and a Gingerbread Latte (crack in a cup) when I am sitting in a grocery store. My other choices were the coffee shop that is inside of the YMCA down the road (riiiight) and the coffee shop that closed at 8:00 PM and was filled with giggly high school girls who have NO IDEA what it means to really need caffeine and a quiet corner. I chose the latter. It was the quietest waking hour I have had all week. While I tend to not be very superstitious, I would like to believe that the full moon caused all of this nonsense and that things will be back to normal soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The History of Keeping Up With the Joneses In The Suburbs: Chapter Three

I was looking forward to taking things easy after the holidays. While Christmas was nowhere near as stessful as it could have been, it was nice to think that the household would go back to normal. And while normal in my house consists an 11 month old screaming at me EVERY TWO MINUTES and a three year old running naked (but accessorized) around the house singing Laurie Berkner songs, there is some comfort in that.

Instead, I have been faced with a pretty daunting challenge that is taking up WAY too much of my blogging time. And that just won't do. I had no idea that trying to register my daughter for preschool would be such a herculean task.

It all started so innocently this fall when I was meeting some of our neighbors.

"Nice to meet you Hausfrau. How old are your daughters?"

"Nice to meet you Bootsy. Baby Girl will be three in December and Peaches is 9 months old."

"That's SUPER! (yes, she said it JUST LIKE THAT) Have you decided where you are going to send Baby Girl to preschool?"

"Uh, no. It doesn't start until next fall, right?"

"Yes, but you have to start applying for schools in January so it really helps if you have narrowed down the schools you would like for her to attend."

"What do you mean, 'narrow down?' Is it that hard for kids to get into preschool?"

"Oh my, YES. Especially if you want her to go to a GOOD school. It is so important for our children to have a solid foundation before they start kindergarten. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahbity blah."

I thought my neighbor was being a little overdramatic, so I tuned out, said my good-byes and went back to my yard where my husband was waiting for me with a steak and a beer.

The week before Christmas I was with my daughter at her Monday morning art class which is at a church near where we live. On the way out I was given a flier about registering for preschool on January 9. Because my daughter was already in a program at this church she would have a better chance of getting into the preschool. If I registered soon I would find out January 21 if we got in. The only problem was this: the three year old class is only two days a week, 2 1/2 hours a day.

That will not do.

Lemme tell you something about Baby Girl. Baby Girl is highly sociable and has a tremendous amount of energy. She needs to be in preschool longer than that. A lot longer. For all of our sakes.

I figured I would just call a few churches since I thought all of them have preschools and find out who offers the program that best suits our needs. Turns out, there aren't many in my area. I started to get a little worried, so I called my neighbor Bootsy, who had graciously offered to give me her opinions on the options in our town. After 45 minutes on the phone she gave me her three choices. She also was not thrilled with the preschool program at the church that Baby Girl is currently attending. It turns out we had the same concerns about the safety of the facility.

Since my conversation with Bootsy, I have been attending open houses for preschools within a 20 mile radius of our home. I have two more to attend in the next week. I went to an open house on Saturday for a church that offers a 3 day/week preschool. FABULOUS! Well, when I got there, there were 100 parents glaring at each other, sizing up the competition. Competition you ask? Why yes. That's because it is a LOTTERY to get into God Damned preschool. The Director of the program suggested that we should all apply to at least four different schools since they are all on the lottery system. Keep in mind, there is a registration fee for these preschools, and some do not refund the fee if you don't get in. I got really excited to hear about a program that is offered by the school district that is four days a week. It is a unique program that combines six kids who have special needs with six who don't. More importantly, it's FOUR DAYS A WEEK! The only problem with that program is that thousands of families apply for the 48 spots. Thousands. And the registration fee is non-refundable. I would love to know what they are doing with that money since the school is funding by us taxpayers, but I digress.

So here I sit, stressed and irritated. I feel like I am applying to colleges all over again, minus the essay. This insanity should all be over on February 1, when all of the schools complete the general registration and do their lotteries. I just wanted to put my kid in a preschool with a safe environment and a nurturing staff that has classes for more than 5 hours a week. I have no expectations that the preschool my daughter attends will help her to get into Princeton. I just want her to have fun, make some friends and develop socially on her own. I don't care if she learns to read or write while in preschool. If she does, that will just be icing on the cake.

Friday, January 06, 2006

It's A Fair Question

"Baby Girl, are you going to be a good girl for Mommy today?"

"Yes. Are you going to be a good mommy today?"

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A New Meme for the New Year!

Well, Kara tagged me to do a meme. I'm doing it, despite the fact that I am quite bitter. Why you ask? Well, she is going here and I will be here. Cleaning my house. Have fun Kara. No, really. I mean it.

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.

the weirdgirl
Cynical Dad
Cape Buffalo
Misfit Hausfrau

Select five people to play (but only if they want to).
Is there anyone who hasn't done this?
June Cleaver Diaries
Dutch AND Wood

Guess that's six. That is why I don't do math for a living.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago, Herr Hausfrau had been married for just over 2 years and were living la vida loca in Ellicott City, MD. I was thoroughly enjoying my crazy job at a temp agency (oh, the stories). My husband however, was not having the same joy in his work. He had survived three RIFs at W.R. Grace and had enough. He was applying to graduate schools cuz thar's gold in them there PhD's. I was starting to freak out because I knew that we would be moving somewhere in 6 or so months, but I didn't know where. Would he go to Cornell? Pitt? Columbia? Harvard? Michigan? Was he going for a straight PhD or an MD/PhD? Could I find a job to support the two of us? Would we find an apartment that takes cool dogs? GAH!!!

What were you doing one year ago?
One year ago I was 34 weeks pregnant but thought I was 94 weeks pregnant. I was all bitched up and ready to get the baby out. I was probably crying because I was wearing a shirt to work that fit me fine in the first pregnancy but was a belly shirt for the second one. I was also freaking out because I knew that within a couple of weeks of giving birth, we would be putting up our house on the market and moving to Cincinnati so that Herr Hausfrau could start a new job. GAH!! Do you see a trend of freaking out? And moving?

Five snacks you enjoy:

1.Reese's Butter Cups
2.Leftover pizza
3.Red Stripe. What? Beer can be a snack!
4.Any type of fried potato product with sour cream or ranch dressing
5.Pirate Booty

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
Five? That's it? I have fantasized about being a rock star since I was seven (those of you who know me may now stop laughing). Even though my voice sucks. And I don't play any instruments. Come to think of it, that hasn't stopped a lot of "artists" from singing. That said, my catalogue of songs is quite large.

1. Almost every U2 song up until they sold out completely with Zooropa.

2. "I've Got a Tiger By the Tail" by Buck Owens (No thanks to my father's love of all things Buck Owens)

3. "Heavy Metal Drummer" by Wilco. Actually, I think I know all of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by heart.

4."I'll be You" by The Replacements.

5. "Love Shack" by the B-52s

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
If it were $1M, I would pay off my mother's debt, my sister's debt, pay off my house and save the rest. If it were more, I would
1. Donate a lot
2. Buy an island somewhere and a plane so that my friends could all fly there. I guess I would buy a pilot too since I can't drive a plane. And a house. My island needs a house.
3. Use the airplane I just bought and travel all over the place
4. I'd make sure no one in my family (mother, sister, nephews) went without
5. Make sure my kids got jobs when they were old enough and weren't awful, horrible brats.

Five bad habits:
1. My temper
2. Procrastinating
3. Driving too fast
4. Swearing
5. Correcting my husband's grammar

Five things you like doing:
1. Early morning cuddling with my girls in bed before breakfast
2. Reading. I used to be a voracious book reader. Apparently, I am now a voracious blog reader.
3. Travelling
4. Vacationing with my friends and spending time with them in general
5. Getting pedicures

Five things you would never wear or buy again:
1. Anything L.A. Gear
2. A perm
3. Gauchos. I just. can't. do it.
4. A Dell computer
5. Blue eye shadow

Five favorite toys:
1. Sirius Satellite Radio
2. My I-Pod
3. My Mac

I don't need anything else.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

11 Months Old!

I am staring at this picture of you and I just can't believe that you are almost a year old. When we left off last month, you weren't walking yet. You still aren't too interested since you can haul ass like nobody's business when you crawl. You have taken a few steps, but you aren't ready. That's OK, I'm patient. It will be pretty cool when you DO decide to walk full time. Then I won't have to Swiffer the kitchen twice a day.

You took a short break from your hunger strike and decided to engage in a sleep strike. Not cool, Peaches. Not cool. You are thumbing your nose at the conventional "sleeping through the night" ideals. You are also taking 6 minute power naps in the morning. That just won't do, Sweetie. You might as well sleep because screaming for 45 minutes to get you out of the crib isn't working, is it?

You had a good time during the holidays. You couldn't get enough of the kissing and hugging that you received. You got to spend time with both grandmothers, both aunts and your five boy cousins--all within a span of 8 days. You also had fun opening boxes and chewing on wrapping paper. What could be better?

You are starting to do a lot of fun stuff. For starts, you insist on climbing up the stairs yourself. You take a few breaks as you go up (to make sure you have an audience), but you manage to crawl up there on your own. You also LOVE to take baths. You apparently can hear the bath water running from any part of the house. You shimmy up the stairs and boogie over to the tub, where you pull yourself up and scream at the water until we put you in. And then you happily splash for an hour.

We just noticed this weekend that you are starting to dance to music. At least we think it's dancing. You do all sorts of booty shaking when we put any music on. It may be premature, but you may have inherited your father's "Wonderbread's in the House" dance gene. I also thought I saw you waving, but I can't be sure.

Since the weather has been so balmy (not snowing) I have taken you for a lot of walks. You love to be outside and tour your kingdom (neighborhood.) It really seems to calm you down when you are cranky. It's a good walk for me since it is hilly. We'll keep at it until the weather gets too cold, or I drop three pants sizes, whichever comes first.

I've been making sure that we do some snuggling each and every day. I mean real snuggling when no one else is around to bother us. I know you won't want to do it for much longer, so I am getting the love in while I can. It goes so fast.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

I stopped making New Year's Resolutions several years ago after realizing that I had never succesfully accomplished a single one. Shocking, I'm sure. That said, it has felt really strange to not have any type of goals or aspirations of any sort with the ringing in of the past few New Year's.

I decided yesterday that perhaps I should rethink the whole resolution thing. I should be thinking in terms of a "To Do" list. If I keep the items on my list small, I may actually achieve them. Here goes:

1. Drop off dry cleaning every other Tuesday. I'm serious--this is really hard for me to remember. Now that I no longer work outside the home and wear things that require dry cleaning, I just don't do it. I don't realize that I should until Herr Hausfaru starts pulling out my father's old bowling shirts from the back of the closet that are NEVER OK to wear at work.

2. Take the car into the shop to have middle brake light repaired. Again--sounds simple, but it isn't. I took the car in for a tune-up in October and told them to change the bulb. It seems it is a wiring problem that will cost God knows what. Also, it will take weeks for me to prepare myself to drag both children to the Nissan dealership for a morning of car repair despair since the closest dealership isn't open on Saturdays (WTF?).

3. Work my way up to 100 stomach crunches a day. While it is all well and good that I go to the gym at the crack-ass of dawn, it doesn't seem to be helping me at all with my mid-section. I figure if I work my way up to 100 crunches over the next few months, the mushroom that magically pops out of my stomach when I try to wear anything more form fitting than a muu-muu will go away.

4. Take my vitamins. I absolutely suck at taking pills. I take two medications faithfully at night before going to bed so that I will not eventually die, but other than that, I can't be bothered. However, I will start taking one of these when I give my daughter one with her breakfast. Better than nothing, I suppose.

5. Get a babysitter on retainer. The teenagers in our neighborhood have been quite busy this school year. Sucks for me! We weren't even able to secure a baby sitter for New Year's Eve beacuse they were all BUSY. Excuse me? Just what the Hell do you need to be doing on New Year's Eve, young ladies?

Ahem, anyway, I am going to strike a deal with Lindsay across the street. While she is quite busy with her AP courses and her dance squad competitions, she is ACROSS THE STREET. And Baby Girl loves her. So I am going to talk to her about scheduling set evenings from now until she starts college (in the fall) to babysit the girls. Herr Hausfaru and I really need to start getting out more than the three times we've been out since we moved to Cincinnati in APRIL.

6. Stop spending time with people I don't like. In the November 2005 issue of Vanity Fair, Marjorie Williams wrote an essay entitled, "A Matter of Life and Death." She wrote the following,

"I think cancer brings to most people a new freedom to act on the understanding that their time is important. My editor at The Washington Post told me, when I first got sick, that after his mother recovered from cancer his parents literally never went anywhere they didn't want to. If you have ever told yourself, breezily, that life is too short to spend any of it with your childhood neighbor's annoying husband, those words now take on the gleeful raiment of simple fact. The knowledge that time's expenditure is important, that it is up to you, is one of the headiest freedoms you will ever feel."

This paragraph has really stuck with me since I read it. And while I don't have a terminal disease now, I could tomorrow, and I would hate to think that I wasted one more minute with people I don't care to know because I am trying to be nice or make someone happy.

Here is the article if you want to read it.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

We Are Going to Go to Hell If We Don't Find a Church We Like

I was quite pleased with myself that we explained the true meaning of Christmas to Baby Girl this year, BEFORE Herr Haufrau decided to muck it up with the whole Santa thing. She happily put out a plate of cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and we started Christmas morning by singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and blowing out a candle on a nut bread (cut me some slack--I baked 17,000 cookies for the holidays. I was NOT about to make a cake too!)

At any rate, Baby Girl has really taken to the story of Jesus this week and he has become a frequent contributor to her playtime. Baby Girl took her smallest Elmo and dubbed him to be "Baby Jesus" and regularly recreates the baby in the manger scene. Mary is played by Tina the Giraffe and Joseph is portrayed by Chuckles the Giggling Baby Doll.

Things took an unfortunate turn yesterday after Baby Girl inspected her, um, results from her trip to the bathroom and said, "WHOA! I just pooped a Baby Jesus and a Big Daddy!"