Nine Months


Weight: 21 lbs
Height: 28.7 inches

Delphine has now been out longer than she was in, and she seems to be taking well to the outside world.

She is growing famously, but sloping gradually towards the 75th percentile (she started off at the 95th). She's still proportionate, although more a chubby baby than a skinny baby. She's very strong and I'm pretty sure she'll be walking by her first birthday. She has been crawling for a few weeks now, and she loves to stand up, holding on to a table or chair, whenever she can get away with it.

She vocalizes with consonants ("blah, blah" or "dah dah") sometimes, and has just mastered the fine art of the raspberry. I don't think she'll be talking particularly early.

She still only has the two teeth on the bottom, although Blake thinks he might have spotted one on the top today. The first two came in in November, so the next batch is overdue, but me and my nipples are okay with that.

She's still nursing a couple of times a day, in the afternoon and evening, and through the night. In addition, she's eating pretty much everything except the big choking and allergy hazards. I just started her on (cows') milk yesterday, but she still hasn't really figured out either a bottle or a sippy cup, so most of it ends up on her shirt. I'm hoping once she figures out how to drink milk she'll ease off even more on the nursing and maybe I'll actually ovulate again! That would be good.

I took her to Florida last week to visit my in-laws, and we had a great time, although it was far from the vacation I had imagined. I thought she was over separation anxiety, but when we were in Florida she didn't want to be in anyone's arms but mine for the first three days. I think that's reasonable; we were in a completely new environment, I can see why she would want to experience it from a place of known safety. Anyway, by day four she happily went off to visit neighbours with my father-in-law, and on day five she played in the pool with my mother-in-law without a peep.

I wondered for a minute whether she's too attached, since she is on on near me all day and night most days. I felt kind of weird in Florida when I realized that she naps on me and sleeps with me. On the other hand, everyone comments on how alert and composed she is, how relaxed and quiet, and that's got to be at least somewhat because of how secure she is in my constant presence and love.

More things

First, Delphine is sitting next to me in her high chair eating cubes of canned pear, using the Pincer Grasp. One, grown-up human food, two, the Pincer Grasp. This is so cool!

Later I will find out that she has eaten only 20% of the pear, and has dropped the rest between her legs where they will adhere to her pants when I take her out of the chair.

Second, I'm still having some biggish thoughts about that thread I talked about before. I made an alarming 180 on that topic and I have more thoughts about it but I don't want to subject the Suspects to any more of my mental masturbation, so I'll do it here.

I started off the whole thread with a long weepy post, laden with more rhetorical questions than a Carrie Bradshaw column, about what I should do differently in order to be a proper feminist, where I went wrong, and so on, all with the subtext of how dare you judge me unless you have walked a mile in my moccasins?! So everyone talked about that for a while, about the circumstances which lead women to make the choices they do, about the chicken-and-eggyness of the fact that women are usually the ones who make less money, and so on.

But everyone's situation is different, and everyone can rationalize the choices they make, and as I thought about it it became less about individual choices, and more about whether it's appropriate to disapprove of a particular choice. I decided that it is appropriate; what I said in my next post was:

The second-wave feminists did a great job changing the laws so that you can't discriminate based on whether you think someone you hire is going to have a baby, so that you have to pay men and women equally, and so on, but that's not enough. But once you have changed the laws, what more can you do? You have to create a social climate which encourages the change you want, and in this case that means judging women who do the traditional thing, criticizing them just a little. Making them take a harder look at their choices and see if there isn't something they could do differently, a more feminist choice they can make. Maybe they will decide that there isn't, but at least they will have thought about it.

A real life example: I was having a conversation with a friend a while ago, and I expressed disapproval of women who change their names when they get married. My friend said "I'm going to change my name!" and I told her I thought she shouldn't. Is it any of my business? Not really, no, but there I am having the opinion anyway. I can't change my general opinion because one friend is doing something out of keeping with that opinion.

And maybe my friend will encounter three or four more friends who agree with me, and maybe a newspaper columnist or TV character, and maybe she'll think a little more about changing her name, and decide not to, because me and the other three people and the newspaper columnist expressed our opinions. Or maybe she's thought about it and will never change her mind, but at least she's been exposed to this other point of view, and has considered it.

It's like gossip; I've read that gossip is how we share and refine our values and sense of what is right and wrong. Talking about how other people live their lives is a vehicle for communicating our ideas about how we think we should behave. I guess you could start a conversation with "So, Ellen, what are your general thoughts on housekeeping?", but it's a lot more compelling to say "Did you see the state of Linda's house?" Or "Did you see what Jodi was wearing?"

Or "Can you believe Jenn quit her job after the baby came?"

I guess you could assume that everyone has been exposed to the feminist viewpoint, that everyone has thought all their decisions through and is satisfied that they are in keeping with feminist ideology, but that doesn't seem like a sensible assumption to make. I suppose it's arrogant to see yourself as the feminism fairy, sprinkling your political ideas wherever you go, but if you think your political opinions are correct, why keep them to yourself? At the least, by talking about what you think you are exposing your ideas to the scrutiny of others, so they can potentially be discussed and improved upon.

The problem with trying to apply general, one-size-fits-all ideology to the career/baby situation is that it's a complicated choice, with roots in the degree you chose in university, your career path, the role models you had as a youth, your husband's career path, your income, your environment. There are too many variables for the feminist choice to always be the right choice. But if feminists make it generally known what choice they favour, maybe young women will choose paths earlier in life which make that choice possible later in life. Isn't that what it's all about?

Another great baby journal

I was desperately clicking around The Usual Suspects trying to find a place to pimp this journal, until I realized, duh, that's what I have a weblog for.

So, go read Dooce. She just had a baby (no, like, two weeks ago) and she's fucking funny and I love her already.

But I do need to come to terms with the possibility of some grumpy single person shooting me a disapproving look as I bounce a fussy baby in one arm while I reach for a gallon of milk with the other arm, as if my baby has no business being in a public place. I was once that grumpy single person, and I feel her pain, the pain of sleeping more than eight hours a night, the pain of eating a warm meal with two hands, the pain of chugging two double vodka martinis without fear of poisoning another human being. And I want to say to the grumpy, single me of several years ago - the grumpy, single me who kept up with her eyebrows and had her nails professionally manicured every two weeks - I want to say, FUCKING WHORE! And then I want to choke her and beat her with a wooden club.

So Many Things

It's Thursday at 6:14 pm. Blake should be home soon, because he went into the office early. In the meantime, I'm sitting at the computer reading the forum and nursing Delphine, who is in a crusty mood today.

She got the cold that I had, or maybe she got some other, unrelated cold, but either way she's coughing and has a snotty nose, and for all I know has a sinus headache like I did yesterday. She's generally behaving sensitive; little things are setting her off in a way that they don't normally. Poor thing.

She's crawling, though. Properly crawling, on hands and knees, not creeping on her belly. Sometimes she still creeps, when she's on hardwood and wants to go fast, and she's gotten really good at it; she looks like a crocodile when she's going at top speed, little limbs splayed out to right and left, her whole torso twisting from side to side.

I'm off to Florida to visit my in-laws next Thursday. I'm only there for five days, until the following Tuesday. I decided I'd only go for a few days because I don't really like Florida, am not really interested in shopping or sitting in the sun. What I didn't consider when I made the decision is that with Florida comes three full-time babysitters (my mother-, father-, and sister-in-law), meaning it will be as much of a vacation from mum-duty as any mother is ever likely to have without actually having to be apart from her kids. And I could really use the break. I don't think five days will be enough, but it's too late to change now; next year I'll go for longer, and count my blessings.


So over on the board there is a thread going which has me thinking. It is a thread about whether women should stay at work after they have kids, or stay home. More accurately, it's about why more women stay home than men, and whether each woman is obliged to get back out there in the work force, and whether you're letting down all womankind if you don't.

I started off okay, not feeling particularly defensive. It was me who pretty much started the whole thread because I took objection to someone who posted about how she judges women who drop out, and how they should feel responsible for the fact that employers don't like to hire young women, and how they should worry that they won't be able to get back into the workplace. I think those three points are lame, bullshit and not her concern, in that order, and so I called her on it and we had a big conversation and it was all fine.

And then someone else posted, and her tone somehow set me off in a way that the original poster hadn't, and I did start to feel really defensive, but I couldn't figure out why. I know that my decision to stay home with Delphine was the right one, I am completely comfortable with it; it would be ridiculous for me to go back to my job I didn't particularly like, and put Delphine in someone else's care, a notion I am not at all comfortable with, just to attain some political ideal. I explained that to myself in my head, I explained it to Blake out loud, but still I was bothered.

Then this morning it came to me. I'm not defensive about choosing to stay home, I'm defensive because I don't have a career. If I had a career, I would be working out a way to continue to pursue it, because I would love it and want to get back to it. But I didn't have a career, I just had a job. And I'm ashamed of that.

I would like to have a career, the kind of career that involves joining professional organizations, mentoring, being mentored, going to conferences, going to training courses. Being important, having a career path, moving into management. I think I should have a career; I am smart, I am organized and disciplined and committed. I feel like I've let myself down, and yes, that I've let women down, by not having one.

I still don't know, though, whether I screwed up in my last job. I didn't love it, and I consciously chose to make it a job instead of a career. Was the fault with the job, for not being lovable, or me, for not finding a way to love it? Should I have sucked it up and learned to love it, dug in and worked hard and learned new things and sought promotion? I had a couple of chances to move into product management that I kind of blew off because I knew I didn't want to do the extra work, because I didn't care enough.

So do I make myself care about any old job, or do I look for a job that I actually care about? And how? I still don't know. I hope I figure it out before the kids are in school, because I really would like to start my career then.

Black Eyed Peas

Can I just say I love where music is going now? We got the Black Eyed Peas CD and it's all over the place, it's funk, it's hip-hop, it's metal, it's pop. And it's pretty much all good. I'm so glad to get some new music in the house, I was feeling pathetic and unhip listening to classical radio all day. (Although for all I know, Black Eyed Peas are pathetic and unhip; that's how pathetic and unhip I am.)

Anyway, I'm feeling pleased with myself because I looked up The Apl Song and figured out that the stuff which isn't in English is Tagalog. I guess if I were smarter I would have listened to the English lyrics and caught the reference to the Phillipines, but hey, with Google you don't need to be smart. Tagalog sounds cool, it's all bubbly and flowy. I'd like to speak it.

Massive Attack

I visited my friend Ellen the other day. Ellen lives in the 'burbs, so you have to go all the way to the end of the subway line, and then take a bus to get to her place. So when I go, I put Del in the BabyTrekker and she dangles there, making googly eyes at all the other riders.

Ellen was surprised when I arrived with Del in the 'Trekker; she's having trouble hauling Dexter around in the Bjorn because he's so heavy. I bragged that Delphine is 22 lbs, and that I can carry her because I am so tough! I am He-Woman!

But the next morning I did the math, and I realized that while Delphine has gained 12 lbs since she was born, I have lost 22, so between us we mass 10 lbs less than we used to. I'm actually 10 lbs-worth weaker than I used to be.

I made a mistake: I weighed myself last Friday at Morgan's place - 207 lbs; and then again at Ellen's on Thursday: 210 lbs. I knew as I was weighing myself the second time that I shouldn't, that it would be meaningless whether the number went up or down, but I did it anyway. And sure enough, I was disappointed when the number was higher, even though the difference in scales, in time of day, the small amount of time between the two weighings, all conspire to make the difference all but meaningless. And yet still I was disappointed.

And it goes against the whole point of this Calorie-Control Initiative, which was to control calories, not lose weight. Somehow I let myself start to enjoy the weight loss, to wist for numbers (195! 185! Lower!) or dress sizes (16? 14? 12?!) that I can't control instead of focusing on the one I can control, the number of calories I eat. And that's a recipe for grief.

I've decided I'm not going to cut down any more (I'm at 2100 cpd) until I've talked to my doctor. For one thing, the USDA is pretty vague about where in the 1600 to 2200 range a not sedentary but not athletic type like me fits, and for another I'm still nursing so I need more calories than I otherwise would. My final concern is that when I get pregnant again I'll need to modify my intake up, and I worry that I'll gain huge amounts of weight if my metabolism is all fucked up from going down too low and then back up again. So I'll talk to my doctor and get her opinion before I go any lower. I have an appointment for a physical in early March.

Sick Day

I'm taking a sick day. My head hurts and my nose is stuffed up and my throat hurts and I'd love to go to bed, but when I do all my symptoms get worse. So I'm taking a sick day.

There's not a whole lot of difference between a sick day and any other day when you're a stay at home mom and it's the middle of winter, but it is distinguished from all other days as follows: I am wearing sweats instead of real clothes. I did not do my hair. I am not going outside, not even for choir practice. I will not be feeling guilty about any housework I do not do. I will eat for comfort (hello, soup).

The bad news is that I still have to do laundry, although I don't think I'll fold it, and I have company tomorrow evening so I'd better get better today so I can catch up with all the housework tomorrow. The other bad news is that Delphine does not honour my sick day and still needs changing, feeding, playing with and cuddling at the usual times. She is the worst boss I've ever had; I haven't had a day off since May 10. The benefits are good, though.

Bought: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Soothing Relief Anti-Itch Moisturizer

I tried to cheap out on hand lotion (as I have already established, I do not like to spend money on personal care items) and bought a huge bottle of Jergen's moisturizer for five bucks, but it wasn't doing the job. My hands get desperately dry, they crack and bleed and the skin gets thick and coarse, and this winter is worse than ever because I'm washing my hands all the time, and it's so damn cold. The cheap lotion is about as effective as a ... something ineffective, anyway, so I girded my loins to spend twelve bucks on a bottle of sterner stuff.

The first thing I picked up was a bottle of Eucerin because their advertising had convinced me they were hardcore enough to take on my hands. I was about to head to the cash when I noticed the bottle of Norwegian Formula, smaller, for the same price. I'd heard good things about from actual people (rather than ads), so I made a last-minute decision to get it instead.

When I got the bottle home I noticed the child-proof cap, surely a good sign. It must be powerful stuff if you have to protect your children from it. I read the label on the back: "Apply to affected area not more than 3-4 times daily." Well! Another good sign! And it has Lidocaine; I'm thinking this was twelve dollars well spent. I have yet to see whether it cures my poor miserable hands, but my hopes are high.