Monday, January 19, 2009

Pay Attention to ME

Since Squawker has come home, we have noticed that Kat wants to sit on our laps. Usually when Squawker is already on our lap. And if we are feeding, changing, or just walking and holding Squawker then Kat wants us to do the same for her.

Tonight shortly after Kat came home from daycare, Squawker started crying. At the top of his lungs. Kat, for no apparent reason started the same. Screaming, crying, flopping on the floor - acting all drama queen. Is this a sympathetic reaction? One crying baby deserves support from his big sister? Really - I don't know if I can handle that every time Squawker cries.

Breast Feeding

One of my observations from the hospital is the pressure to provide Squawker with naught but breast milk.
A not so subtle phrasing of the question, “You plan on breastfeeding, don’t you?” in a tone that suggests that the reason there are high school drop outs and hooligans in juvie is because their mothers didn’t give them the advantage of breast milk right out of the chute.
(Let me state for the record that what Wife is doing for Squawker is none of your business. Frankly, as a husband who cannot lactate to save his family’s life, while it is my business I don’t have final say.)
The pressure right away to commit to nursing was immediate and relentless. You would think that the magic ingredients of mother’s milk will allow children to solve the worlds problems and be fantastically successful in a life dedicated to whatever that child sets their mind to. Why, a child raised on breast milk would likely NEVER be audited by the IRS.
As I look back through history it becomes easier to see who was and wasn’t raised on liquid inspiration. Churchill (mixed 1:1 with scotch), FDR, Galileo, Mother Teresa, Vilfredo Pareto, Mozart, the Beatles (well, not all of them), Planck, Douglas Adams – all CLEARLY nursed the liquid power of inspiration.
The likes of B. Madoff, Hitler, I. Amin, Khan, Dahmer, E. Bathory, Stalin – the most awful disgusting cretins to have ever been born - could never had tasted the goodness of their mother’s breast.
Keep in mind we want Kat and Squawker to be successful. We want them to graduate from college (maybe be microbiologists or quilters), have a good credit rating, own a home, and raise a happy family. If that is what they want.
But does there need to be the pressure and the censure on the mother? Why not give the parents factual information and encouragement, then respect the choices that they make? I have seen blog articles (motherhooduncensured and mamatulip) where mothers have been harassed by other mothers for not breastfeeding. Airlines have been both scorned and praised for allowing mothers to breastfeed on the plane.
By now, I am not sure where I was going with this post. (I think I wanted to link Madoff with Hitler, Bathory and co.) I would just like to see a bit more tolerance and respect for other people’s view points and privacy.

[Lame ending – feel free to submit your own in the comments.]

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Little Squawker

I don't really recall where I was the first week after Kat was born. She was born on 7/1 and we went home on the 3rd.
I think I spent the first couple of weeks freaking out in the garden shed or pacing in the woods behind the garage. I mean, really, I barely resemble a responsible adult and now I have a daughter?
This time around, I can tell you where I have been since we bought Squawker home. On the couch, holding him.

Last night, while Wife got the bedding ready, I was on the couch. Holding Squawker and occasionally feeding him. I probably held him for a couple of hours, in the bend of my elbow. He snorted alot and wiggled once in a while.
Today, because Wife is a hurting unit (her hips and back are causing her to limp and waddle and make horrible faces), I have been holding Squawker pretty much all day.
This morning, I swaddled him and wrapped him in a blanket and fed him, then burped him and let him nap. Wife showered, pumped, ate, pumped, organized, pumped, napped, pumped and, (because the pressure builds) pumped.
While she did all of that, I took the time to get to know Squawker. He doesn't talk much, but that doesn't stop him from getting his message across. That message is that he wants to be HELD. He wants to feel the rise and fall of a human chest with the thumpy-fump of the heartbeat. He wants to hear the wheeze and snort of a congested parent calmly breathing to soothe and relax him. He wants this attention and security NOW and non-stop.
The only thing I have been able to set him down in is my beanbag chair. I wait til he is asleep, then I put him in the middle and squish both sides of the beanbag to nestle him firmly within. This gives me enough time to grab some carrots and water and take a much needed bio break.

During one of Wife's hot baths (since she has had to forgo the really hot baths for about 10 months now) I suddenly realized that I wasn't sweating profusely, causing a damp feeling on my side and arm, but rather, Squawker could also be called SOAKER as he had peed his way through his diaper, onesie, swaddle wrap and blanket to soak my shirt and pants leg. Gee, what a feeling. I definitely DON'T remember his sister doing that to me. (She did POOP on my once, tho) Then I got to change him for the first time since his briss. OOOWWWW!!!! that looks painful!
After a quick lunch that Wife made, I was back on the couch, reading a book and holding him against my chest/shoulder. I pretty much held him like that until Mom and S/Dad brought the Kat back from G'ma's house.
And THAT bit of drama is another story entirely!
Then I either held or rocked Squawker for the rest of the evening while keeping his big sister from stepping on him.

Baby's first night at home

Yesterday afternoon we brought the little guy home from the supermarket, er, hospital.
Lucky for us, Mom had Kat so Wife and I could put away stuff and tend to the little guy and get his bedding put together. While Wife did the bedding thing and the putting away stuff, I sat on the couch with Squawker tucked in my arm and alternated between reading mail and studying his face. I have discovered that he scowls. A lot. Seriously, he has wrinkles in his forehead already from scowling. That is OK, this time last week he was warm. Yesterday he was rushed from a 70* hospital through -20* parking lot to get into a car that had been running for an hour to warm it up. I got annoyed with the weather, too.
Just watching his face, I wondered what were we thinking, er, what would his future be like? Will he and his sister fight as much as they can? Will he be healthy and easy like his sister? His first day I found him noisy. I don’t remember Kat yowling that much. And, as he slept in my arms, I discovered he is a noisy sleeper. He sticks his tongue on the roof of his mouth and then breathes through his mouth. It doesn’t quite sound like snoring, more like the snorting of a pig at a trough. It is pretty funny to listen to.
When we finally went to bed at 915, he wanted nothing to do with his bassinet. Or so Wife says. So she brought him to bed and she sat up, holding him. I could see he would get no sleep.
At 1230, after being woke up several times to the lights being turned on while Wife tended Squawker, I told her to hand him to me.
I put him in my armpit, loosely, after swaddling him tightly and listened. He seemed to pass out from the smell, er, calm down and fall to sleep.
It wasn’t long before I fell asleep as well. He is a very warm little bundle of snorts to have snuggled up to.
This was something that I swore I would never do. No kids in my bed to sleep! When it comes to getting everyone to sleep, tho, I made the exception and felt much better for it. It was very nice having him snuggled up to me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baby update

A few more details on the little squawker’s arrival.
Wife woke up to contractions a little after 5am. They were regular and strong.
Around 6, they broke her water.
She got her pain meds about 930 then delivered the baby just before 11.
Wife did a great job!
So far, Squawk is noisy and hungry. Wife wants a nap and he has other plans.

New Baby! (for real)

Wife went into labor at 5am at St Lukes. Baby born at 1055.
K.E. is 8.5 pounds and 21" long.
Everyone is doing well.
Pictures will be later.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Not yet. This stubborn kid doesn't want to have anything to do with us.
Doc says he will induce Tuesday nite if baby doesn't show up by then.
little stinker!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Due to overwhelming inquiries I will expand a little bit on what happened to the ferocious dog.
While Maddie may have been MY best friend and genuinely fond of Wife (as long as she got fed), Maddie didn't really trust Kat and passionately HATED anyone who came to our house. Honestly, my own Ma couldn't come in the house if Maddie was here.
If Maddie was loose and free she generally left people alone.
Last week after Wife put the truck in a ditch a friend came over to get me to see if we could pull it out.
Maddie attacked him so viciously that we felt we could no longer take chances with what she would do to Kat or the newborn (when the newborn FINALLY gets here - overdue now).
With a very heavy heart Wife took Maddie to the vet and had her put down.
Those of you who know me well will know that this tears me up as many, many, many times Maddie was the bright spot of my day - excited as all get out when I came home from whatever day I had. She was, unconditionally, my best friend.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Exit of the little dog - more ferocious than a tiger.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Late pregnancy behavior

Lets see, in the last 10 days Wife has hit me with
Re-finance the house; pay off truck; buy new (used) car; build new house; remodel bathrooms; remodel kitchen; remodel house; make her shelves.
Tonight alone we had; go buy linoleum; get estimates on windows; go get milkshakes; go home; go to Target.....
Right now (6pm) she is grocery shopping. Lord knows what she will buy because she is feeling "snacky".

There is an ice storm coming; think she will have the baby soon?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Catch and release

Today I went deer hunting. Most likely for the last time this season. I have two tags left for antlerless only in eastern Iowa. My favorite place to hunt is my MIL farm.
Yesterday I went to hunt but when I got ready to leave the house, I discovered that I didn’t have my tags with me. So I ended up gathering more wood from trees we cut down in November. I also dragged back two trunks and cut them up for wood later and loaded the truck. When I got home I found my tags and decided to try again today.
Today, I got a late start. It seems I was tired and, when I woke up, sore. When I got to the farm I dressed in my cold weather clothes and started to my favorite stands. Oddly enough, one of my favorite places is right up at the top of the hill across the creek from the house. I walked up the hill as quietly as I could and as I came to the crest I slowed down and caught my breath. As I took a couple more steps and noticed that the tree stump at the top of the hill had ears. Then I noticed that a young buck with one antler looking at me. Then another. Incredibly enough, there was a second buck beside the first, looking away, that also only had one antler. The first buck was a small bodied fork buck. The second buck was a large bodied deer that would have been a respectable 8 point if he had both antlers. As I studied all three deer through the scope on my rifle I knew that I only had a tag to legally take one deer, the one behind the stump. I took a minute to take out my range finder and distance the deer. 90 yards. I waited a bit longer hoping that the deer with no antlers would stand up so I could see if he was worth harvesting.
After a while I began to get cold. I decided to whistle to get their attention. So far, they had been oblivious to my presence. Once I whistled, they all looked at me a bit more concerned. The fork buck stood up and a forth buck stood up and walked into sight. This deer was huge. A massive body with a small basket rack. As I scoped him I really wished I had a buck tag that I could fill. He stood to the south of me, slightly uphill. He wasn’t worried, just curious. I held my cross hairs on him admiring the size of his chest and neck. Not much of a rack, but what a body! (hmm, as I type that, I realize it may have sounded odd)
By now all four are standing wondering what to do. The deer with no antlers has a pretty small body. I pass on the little deer. I bring the gun down and wave to the guys. That gets them moving.
I glassed them all, crosshairs on every one, and passed on the opportunity. Catch and release.

New Floors - Part 2

I was telling a really good friend, Buddy about our flooring and that I had never put it in before. Buddy had put in a floor like this in his guest bedroom. Since Buddy is a VERY good friend, he volunteered to help me put ours in. The instructions say that you can assume about an hour per 100 square feet. So it should take me about 8 hours. Hint; that hour per 100 feet assumes a perfectly square room divisible by 8” x 48”. Our wonderful log home had about 50 cut-outs to work around.
(An amusing side story came on Saturday. I hadn’t seen wife for a while, didn’t pay it much mind, when I walked outside and found her talking to someone on the phone. When she came in, she said that she is having hard contractions, but her water hasn’t burst. The doctor wants her to take a very warm bath and that will usually either calm things down or speed things up. WHAT!? Honey, I have until new years to get this floor done, your sense of timing is really lousy. You cannot have this baby until we are done! Oh, and we are getting freezing rain and expecting a possible ice storm that evening. False alarm, I guess she was just trying to motivate me or mess with me.)

The whole project wasn’t without funny moments. Such as we started off in the wrong corner of the room. This flooring is really a giant jigsaw puzzle without the picture. It does have a sequence, however. To start in the wrong corner is to invite disaster, mayhem, and FAIL! (be sure to go see the FAIL website – hilarious) We had been working a scant hour when we realized we were starting in the wrong corner. (Buddy says, hmm, maybe that is why it was so hard when I did it) So we have to tear everything apart and move the furniture to the other wall and start over.
In this corner, the very first piece laid has to be notched and cut for the forced air vent. Great Start! Two pieces later, another floor vent and an outlet. Next, notch around the front door. It took over an hour to lay the first six pieces. (this is why I shouldn’t build a house – think YEARS to completion) Next row, another outlet (log homes have floor outlets – no hollow walls). Next row, stairs. Next row, braces for stairs, next row, initial edge of fireplace hearth, next row, continue fireplace hearth (45* angle cuts for hearth). By the end of the first day- around 8PM – we had just over half the living room done. And the ice was building up so Buddy cravenly wanted to go home so he wouldn’t have to spend the night.
Sunday, Buddy came back! Such a good friend! We worked most of the day with the same types of notches and missteps that we experienced Saturday. And after two days, we were about 75% done.
Since Buddy had a Christmas gift exchange to go to and he had to work on Monday, he left about 4PM Sunday. That left me and (very) pregnant Wife to finish it Sunday night and Monday. Wife and I gritted our teeth and worked together, refining our communication skills since mind reading doesn’t work. (I swear, you would think she knows what I mean in spite of what I SAID! Jeez, 15 years we been married. To each other!) Once again, we found that we enjoy working together on projects. Jokes, triumphs, frustrations – all are better when experienced with your best friend for life.
We got all done except for cleaning by 6 PM Monday evening. Now I need to put the furniture back after vacuuming the sawdust and we can enjoy the new floors!
Interestingly enough, working on this project gave me a list of tools that I am going to need if Wife is serious about adding on to the house.
Another amusing story about this project is that on Thanksgiving morning, we had the Black Friday ads and were going through them. Wife pointed out a combo cordless tool kit with a drill, 3 kinds of saws, a small vacuum and a light that would have been VERY helpful for this project. PSYCH! She got me clothes, instead!