Monday, December 12, 2011

Tobi Regresses

Tobi is becoming a very good four-legged brother to Baby Girl, but sometimes it is just too much for him.

Last Night in Bed

Me: Turn the light out it's distracting her.

Jack:  But then I can't see what she's doing.

Me (still in the dark):  She just puked on me.  It is all over my face.

Lights on.  Baby awake for another half an hour.  Luckily, she got it all over me and not on the sheets.  Only a little got on my pillow.  I turned it over.  Ahhh, yes.  Motherhood.  Now I get it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Been a While

So, I picked up the iPad today and realized that I haven't posted in a while. I looked at the date. Dec. 1. 'been a while.

Here I am with excuses, reasons a la...don't know. You fill it in.

Truth is, Baby napped in her crib today for the first time since... You guessed it, Dec. 1st.

She has been snuffling And coughing. So have I. So, we have been sleeping in bed for naps. At least I get some naps. She has been nursing for the past week non stop. Seriously. Non stop. I have had these intrusive obsessive worries that they might fall off from all the nursing. They haven't yet.

The other place she has been hanging out is in our Maya Wrap which is a great piece of primitive technology, but then, I am afraid I am going to become crippled. After three hours of shlepping her around I take off the sling and one shoulder is higher than the other.

She is in there now.

I am standing typing on the iPad with it on a shelf of our bookcase.

Fussy fussy baby. Have to go walk....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cloth Diaper Woes or Poor Baby or Rampant Diaper Rash

I thought that cloth diapered babies were never supposed to get diaper rash.

NOT TRUE.  My Baby Bean is fighting a horrible diaper rash-- brought on by what, I can't seem to figure out.  I just know that 'sposies are the only thing that is keeping it under control.

My Diaper Washing System is this:
**this is basically cause I can't figure out how to work my Italian front loading washer**

Full wash cold with Seventh Generation Free and Clear (I know it is a detergent (gasp! build up) but it is the only thing the Commissary carries.)

Full Hot wash with NO SOAP and a little vinegar.
**I am worried that this is acting as a mordant, but I have no other ideas.  I also have very hard water and the vinegar is needed to soften the diapers and stop mineral build up**

I ordered some Bummis' Fleece Liners from Amazon and hope they come soon.

Until then I think that it is 'sposies.

This makes me feel guilty because I am a dedicated Cloth Diaper Mama.  It makes me cringe to think of the landfill waste that I am creating that is never going to go away.  Each time I throw away a disposable diaper I hear a verse from one of my parent's Stoner, Hippie, Folkie friends' songs about garbage run through my head.

AHHHH, make it stop. I do love Mother Earth, I do love Mother Earth, I DO!!!!

Right now, Baby is in the buff sunning her poor tushie.  Mmmm.  Who doesn't like to roll around naked on sheep skin?

Thanksgiving Food Porn

Alisa May is one hell of a baker/cook.  The entire time she was here we were eating deliciousness that she had created.  And she shared her chocolate addiction with us.  Maybe not such a great thing.  She has been gone almost a week and I just finished the last of the chocolate that she left behind.  I am trying not to replace the stash.

For Thanksgiving we were invited to a friend's house for a potluck.  A truly American feast.  Jack wanted to try his hand at smoking a turkey and Ali was going to bake something delicious.  

So.  They did.  I held Baby and helped pick oranges, 'cause it was fun.

Ali combined two recipes.  One from Natural Living Mag and one from Better Homes and Gardens to come up with a totally decadent cake that the Italians raved about.  (They raved about our offerings.  No one else's. The other food was kind of an embarrassment to traditional Thanksgiving fare.  Embarrassing for the holiday and American cuisine, in fact.  I think that ever dessert except for the Italian pastries and Ali's cake had Cool Whip on top, and the sides were more than mediocre. I mean, how hard is it to make not tasty mashed potatoes?  Choose your fat (cream cheese, sour cream, milk, butter, all three?) and add potatoes.  My friend's mom introduced me to adding parsnips to the potatoes, and I am a convert.  It makes them so much lighter...mmmm.  Drooling.  I think we might need to have another Thanksgiving meal...cooked by ME.  Yes, I am a foodie.

The cake Ali made was a marble loaf cake with honey glazed oranges.  Oh my G-d!  And for my Food Pornies out there... a dense, moist crumb with a the richness of the chocolate balanced by the vanilla, and then this surprise of orange and honey adding the right amount of sweetness at the end.  The caramelized peel was chewy and lingered in your mouth, changing the whole texture experience from the moist, soft beginning of the bite.

And by the by, the oranges were from our garden.  We picked them right before.  See?

It felt earthy and romantic.  And Naples got a point.  You can't pick oranges off the trees in your garden in New York.

Jack's turkey was incredible too.  The meat was so juicy it just fell off the bone.  He made a rub for it out of herbs and slathered it on the night before.  He put a little cayenne in the mix so it has just the slightest bit of heat.  Oh, and true to family tradition (mine, not his) he left the bag of giblets in.  Not intentionally, but we each took our turn at violating that poor bird, to no avail.  I finally found the bag after the cooking was done, shoved deep up the pupick.

We carved it at home so we could keep the carcass for soup.

That is where I come in.  I made the BEST matzoh ball soup that I have ever made with that stock.  The smoke flavor just rounded out the whole thing.  I also got a ton of extra stock that is in the freezer.  I didn't use my Auntie Jan's tip for making stock because I don't trust our oven...but it is an amazing trick. If you pop the entire roasting pan, carcass, drippings and all into a low oven overnight BEFORE you make stock, it makes the most flavorful soup you will make.

It was really hard not being home.  Especially for Baby's first Thanksgiving.  It is my favorite holiday.  I am glad that Ali May was there with us.  It was more of a celebration.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sleep Story

I don't understand Sleep Training, especially Cry-It-Out.

I am going to rephrase that.  I think that Cry-It-Out is cruel.  And I think that people who tell me I need to let my child cry and cry and cry are mean.

People tell horror stories of their babies screaming for hours, vomiting from screaming so much, becoming traumatized for what?  To give the parents a story to tell of their hard-hearted valor?

Yes, if you let a baby cry long enough, eventually she will exhaust herself and fall asleep alone, scared, and in need of YOU.  The only thing your baby really wants or needs is YOU.

We went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving and as it happens with babies and Americans, we were asked that dreaded question...

"How is she sleeping?"

This question was posed to me by this big burly, bald American guy who  cooed and oooohed and snatched my baby from me as soon as he saw her.  I was just beginning to like him.  He had good energy and Baby Girl was happy, cozily snuggled in his arm.

"How is she sleeping?"  Why, Why WHY do people need to know? It is one of those questions that exists only to judge or to start giving unsolicited advice.  They really don't care.

Now, she is sleeping fine.  She wakes up every hour or two to cuddle, nurse or be resettled but is still getting 10 hours of sleep a night.  It is ME who isn't sleeping.

So, I answered.  "She is doing ok.  She is changing her patterns now, so it has been a bit trying."  I felt that was appropriately, neutral, truthful and vague.

"Well, you just have to let her cry it out.  That is the only way.  They need to learn to self soothe."

"Beast!"  (thought I).

"Our son cried for an hour and a half straight.  It was awful but its the only way.  You just have to keep each other strong."  A woman nearby nods her head in agreement.  "They need to learn to self-soothe..."  

By this time Jack had joined the conversation.  I could tell he was biting his tongue.  (Good, it was still early in the evening and the big man was holding our daughter.)  We looked at each other.

I nodded and did what Jack calls the Anna-I-am-not-really-listening-to-you nod.  The man was satisfied. I turned to Jack and asked him to change Baby's diaper while I got food.  Perfect, and saved by the Baby, again.  I have realized that children are the perfect excuse to get out of ANYTHING!

Back to Sleep:

I am pleased to announce that Baby Girl has decreased her nightly wakings from 5-6 to 3-4.  Improvement.  Not ideal, but better.  We are trying to stick to a bedtime routine that looks like this:

Dinner (J & I, not Baby)
Read two books

It is the same as we have been doing since she was born, but we added the books.  She is nearly 4 months old, time to start reading!

Jack has her well conditioned to be rocked, bounced and shushed to sleep, (Thanks to the Happiest Baby on the Block), but now my little 7 lb bundle has turned into a 12 lb squirmer and it is MUCH more physically intense to rock, bounce and shush her.  Jack is fine, he can dead lift an inordinate amount, it is harder for the post-partum weakling.

Last night I tried to sit with her in the rocking chair and rock her to sleep.  Baby wanted NONE of it.

So, we begin re-conditioning her to a less physically intense (for us) go-to-sleep method.  I think rocking in the rocking chair is a better option and anything is a better option than Cry-It-Out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No Cry Sleep Solution. I am crying.

 We were doing really well.  Baby was sleeping 6 hour stretches.  I was getting up once at 1:30 AM to nurse and again when Jack got up at around 5ish.  We'd go back to bed and sleep til around 7:30.  Things were great.  She was spending the first stretch in her crib and sometimes when we felt like a cuddle, she'd come into bed with us for the morning leg.

Then I noticed that she was taking shorter naps.  I thought I was being smart when I ordered Elizabeth Pantely's No Cry Sleep Solutions.


Bad Idea.  Baby Girl stopped sleeping.  It was crazy.  Last week she just turned from being Good-sleeper-make-Mama-feel-smug Baby to Won't-sleep-more-than-an-hour-at-a-time Baby.

I am tired.  I need my sleep.  I know all moms are reading this and sympathizing (or feeling smug...yeah, yeah I was there).  I really need my sleep.  I don't stay up late.  My Vata self needs to be in bed by 11:00 pm and get at least seven hours.  I would host parties in high school and college and go to bed with a houseful of people.

I LOVE to sleep.  I LOVE my bed.  When I don't sleep, I get crabby.  The monkeys in my head begin to act up and I start hating things. I get forgetful.  I don't eat well  and on and on and on.

Yesterday, I completed the logs that are recommended in the book.  I found that Baby is napping 3 hours of the recommended 4-5 for her age.  Last night she slept 10 hours out of the 12 that she was in bed...BUT she woke up every hour and a half. She is lucky.  She sleeps.  I am awake nursing, rocking, shushing.

The problem is not SLEEPING, Pantely says.  It is staying asleep. How right she is.  Baby sleeps one sleep cycle, and is awake and then needs help going back to sleep.  According to Pantely, I might be responding to her too quickly and actually keeping her from sleeping.

Today we have implemented a new nap plan and will start a new, improved nighttime sleep ritual.  I am trying to get her down for three good naps.  The first, I wear her down in the sling.  Then I transfer her to the sling.  She slept for 10 minutes in the sling and another 20 in her crib.  Jack (he was home.  Car troubles.) put her down again for another 40 minutes.  Hmmm.  Then for her noontime nap we read stories and lay down together.  Jack napped.  Baby napped.  My arm fell asleep.  She slept for 1 hour.  It is already 3:30pm and she has only slept for 2 hours and 10 minutes of her allotted 5-6 hours.  Oh boy.  Now comes the gamble for the early evening nap.  Do we risk it and throw bedtime off??  ARGGHHHH!!!!!  I don't know.  I just don't know.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Forty-two year old Man Child

Our landlord's son lives upstairs from us.  He is friendly, helpful and speaks great English.  He speaks such great English because he likes to practice on the captive audience of his father's American tenants, us.  He thinks my name is Anne, despite many direct reminders that it is in fact, Anna.  I have an issue with that.

It is always a great debate when something goes awry in the apartment.  Do we call Alfonso?

The checklist goes:

  1. Do we have anything to do in the next forty-five minutes to an hour?
  2. How bad is it?  Can it wait til he leaves for  work tomorrow? (catching him on his way out can shave a good twenty minutes off the interaction.)
  3. Do we have a good 'out' prepared?
  4. Can Baby be employed as a reason to have to cut off his monologue? (this has proven, unfortunately, to be totally ineffective as he regularly ignores any reference to needing to put Baby to sleep, change her, etc.)

The person sent on the mission to make contact is decided by the high tech, marriage-saving game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.  The Home Team, stays back, watching the clock and preparing for a reconnoissance mission.

When asked about the safety of a squeaking, squealing and wildly careening ceiling fan, we were regaled with a lecture about the complex workings of a "frictionless" motor.  The intent, I believe, was to assure me that the fan wouldn't leap out of control off the wall and into Baby's crib.  I am not convinced.

When asked if it was ok to mount shelves into the tiled kitchen walls we were offered a commentary about the ingenuity of European storage solutions.

When we asked about the new recycling system--we were trapped outside the apartment with a sleepy, fussy baby while Alfonso stood on his soap box and told us about how the citizens who elected the communist government was getting "what they asked for" (recycling???) and it "serves them right."  He then went on to talk about how his father taught him not to be afraid of the ocean by throwing him off of their boat when he was six. (???)

Alfonso is not married.  He has a friend-who-is-a-girl.  I am not convinced that he isn't gay.  He has a cushy job as a bureaucrat and is obsessed with decorating his apartment.  Yesterday I went upstairs to give him the rent and was trapped while he asked my opinion about whether he should reupholster the base of his couch white to match the newly redone pillows.  He had been shaving and had a little goatee of shaving cream dangling from his chin as he gesticulated and talked.  It stayed on his face, much to my psychic attempts to make it fly off and land on his white pillows.

It was really hard to keep a straight face.  Really. He is really helpful and sweet.  And despite all this I
kind of like him.  Jack is still undecided.

Last night the man-child threw a party.  The last time he threw a party our bedroom REEKED of weed.  Hmmm.

Last night they seemed to have laid off the ganja, but were (Ali swears) tap dancing to Walk Like An Egyptian.  Now, gentle reader, humor me.  The thought of people tap dancing to Walk Like an Egyptian is wacky enough, but for some reason, the image of a bunch of 40 year-old Neapolitan Bureaucrats tap dancing to Walk Like an Egyptian is absolutely ridiculous.

The sound of  high heels dancing upstairs on marble floors to horrible American pop music at 3:00 AM is just indescribable.  When one has to listen to it after half the night has already been taken up by a restless is unbearable.

enter the dilemma.  If one of us goes up to confront a dancing, drunk Alfonso...he might never return!


Monday, November 14, 2011

In Anticipation of a Reunion II or Tobi's Newest Love

Typical Ali.

Just when we had given up on her.  Just when I was beginning to wonder if we should begin to contact someone to start looking.  Just as we were going out to get some pizza... we walked out of our front door and right into Ali.  Of course.  Totally unpredictable, but reliable all at the same time!

Ali looks great.  She just came from a week of harvesting olives up in Northern Italy.  Hard work.  She went truffle hunting too.

She found some.  They are in my fridge.  Dinner tonight.

We let her in to drop off her backpack and she joined us as we went to get pizza, regaling us with the story of how she has learned never to put change in anything but an espresso machine in Italy.  She told us how the pay phone ate through six euros while she was trying to call us to tell us she would be late.  She told us how she found everyone from Florence very rude and unhelpful, but she loved the Neapolitans.  They helped her find us.  (Good for them!)

We had our pizza and then snuggled on the couch for the first in what will be a long series of catch up talk.  

I brought out a notebook that I had found that had a long letter that she had written me from Boulder.  We read it and laughed and laughed!  But it was kind of sad too.  A window into our former lives, our younger more innocent selves.  It is cliched but it is true.

We marveled at how last summer was our 10th High School Reunion.  It is happening the day after Thanksgiving in New Paltz.  I sorry I can't go.  We talked and talked.

Ali is planning a trip on horseback from Boulder to Argentina collecting love stories for a book.  She wants to go to Spain on this trip to learn Spanish.  I will write some emails soon to see what I can arrange for her there.

Baby Girl was put to bed.  Jack went to bed and finally,

I went to bed beaming.  She in still sleeping in the next room.  So is Baby Girl.  My heart might burst!

I was nervous about her coming.  I was worried that I might feel uncomfortable or unsatisfied with my life right now.  That I might feel like I stopped the adventuring too early when I had a baby.

I don't feel like that at all. I LOVE my life.  I love my husband.  My husband who I know was so happy to see me so happy last night.  My little precious baby.   I am proud of my house.  I am proud that I can offer her a hot shower, clean fresh-smelling, soft sheets to sleep on---in her own room no less!  I am proud to talk to her while I nurse my baby whose name is an homage to my two best friends ever...Ali May and Alison.  My dearest Alis.    

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In Anticipation of a Reunion

Every five minutes I go out onto my balcony and stand with one hand on my hip and the fingers of my other hand raised to my eyes to shade them from the sun as I gaze down the street. I am waiting for Ali May, one of the dearest friends I have ever had. Jack keeps on watching me as I get up from the couch and go outside. I just can't wait to see her. It has been nearly three years since I saw her last and that was only briefly, a quick drink at Gourmet Pizza in New Paltz, NY.

Ali May moved to Boulder, CO our junior year of high school and it just about broke my heart. I haven't had a friend like her since. I wonder if I ever will.

So, I am waiting for her to visit me in Italy. In my house with my husband and baby. Wild, isn't it? We have only spoken a couple of times. The logistics of how she is going to get here are characteristically vague. But I know she will come. Once, she walked over five miles to get to my house in a rainstorm at night. That is Ali. She will arrive. That is why I love her. She is totally unpredictable, yet completely dependable all at the same time. I miss her so.

I always wonder how our lives would be different if she didn't move away. How we would have been able to support each other through the battles we each fought in our late teens and early twenties? But life is like that isn't it.

I know I needed her those years. Not just on the phone and by email, but curled up next to me in bed so I could whisper my deepest fears to her in the safety of the dark. I know she needed me too.

Ali and Jack are the two people in my life who can get me to do just about anything. In high school I was defenseless against them both. "come on, Anna!" they would say. I had to go along.

On one of the first warm days of the spring we had to ditch school after lunch to go skinny dipping in the Peterskill on the Mountain in May. The Peterskill is frigid on the hottest day in August. In May it was bone chilling, make you gasp and lose control of your muscles cold. But what a day it was!

I frequently had to sneak out of Ali's house with her to make a bonfire in the woods and join our friends there. A whooping, hollering, laughing, singing, wishing night-- finally falling asleep with our closest girlfriends. Our slender, innocent teenage bodies, shivering, huddled together with our feet stuffed into the same sleeping bag. Waking up with the sun rising--drying the dew on our

Little did we know how perfect those evenings were.

My mother always used to tell me how lucky we were to have such a close group of friends. After I graduated high school and moved to Spain, I became painfully aware of how special my they really were. I have yet to have a friend like Ali.

As I get up again to look down the street toward the train station, I say a little prayer for the little baby girl sleeping in my arms. Please let her have a friend like Ali May. A friend who she can think of and get comfort and strength from even if there are thousands of miles between them and hundreds of days since they saw each other last.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Puking in the Tub

I thought I was going to die yesterday.  Don't get too alarmed.  I think that I am going to die whenever I have a migraine.  I was SO sick yesterday.  And man oh man.  Does it suck to be sick when you are alone with a baby to take care of.  

My Happy Place
As I tried to stay as motionless as possible in bed going to my happy place...trying to stave off nausea, spinning room and head pain, I thought about how migraines compared to labor pains.  Hmmmm.  Actually, it only took this long.  Hmm.  Give me labor.  I hate having migraines.  I hate feeling nauseated.   And at least you're in labor for a reason.  An amazing, wonderful reason.  Migraines just suck.

But my Baby Girl was Awesome!  She lay in her crib perfectly content as long as I reached over every few minutes to wind up her mobile.  She didn't fuss when I ran to the bathroom to puke and she didn't get disgusted at all when I puked with her in my arms.

I know if she could have she would have gotten me water and an ice pack for my head.

Then she was an absolute angel and napped with Mama until Daddy got home.

Lucky me.  I choose labor.

Why I Hate Naples (most of the time)

Unassuming Assassins
If anyone ever had the nightmarish thought of what the world would be like if a bunch of five -year -old narcissists were allowed to run free-- they would find Naples pretty close.

Rereading that sentence, I can't imagine who might have that thought.  Maybe a frazzled Kindergarten teacher left with a classroom of 20 kids coming down from the sugar blast of the 'end of the year' party?  Doesn't matter.

Come to Naples and you will have that thought.  You will think...who raised these people? (wolves--not wolves, they would be better organized)
Who are these people?
How have they all not died in a one million car pile-up on their sorry excuses for highways? (that is harsh, but hell, it is NOT easy)

So, why the wrath?  Well. Jack just came in here ranting and spewing negative energy and the F bomb all over the place.   So much so that I had to open windows and light incense.  He was trying to get to the gym (nice, I have laundry to fold and floors to clean) but there was some ***hole who parked his car in front of our driveway.  You have to understand, he didn't just park US in.  He parked everyone in the entire building in.  He must have come out to move his car because after five minutes or so Jack stopped leaning on his horn.

The Source of the Tissues

This might seem benign, I mean simply being parked in, but for us it is just another straw--one more drop in the bucket.

We have people who pitch their garbage over our garden fence into our garden.  Our crazy old neighbor, whose terrace, comes out over the far side of the garden pitches her garbage into our garden too.  Used tissues, there are always used tissues flying around my garden.

But the worst, the absolute worst is the driving.

Driving here is a gamble at the best of times.  I have been caught in traffic for HOURS just because these people can't merge.  They can't merge because they are a bunch of developmentally arrested narcissists who think that whatever THEY have to do is much more important than what YOU might be doing.  So much more important is their arrival that they are entitled to create lanes where there aren't, drive on the shoulder, cut you of on the right or the left, or do whatever they hell they want to ensure that they get in front of you.  I mean ZIPPER people, Zipper!

Many foreigners joke about the driving here in Naples, but the reality is stark.  It is NOT funny.  It is dangerous. I am forced to drive around with the most precious thing in the world in the back seat of my car in the midst of these sociopaths.  Yes, they are sociopaths because they are totally oblivious to the effect that their reckless driving can have on others.

So, yes, being parked in.  One more reason why we hate it here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How I clean my bathroom without wasting a nap

I'm not wasting a nap.
As any new mom will tell you, nap times are precious.  Never will an hour fly by so quickly as when you are showering, sleeping, cleaning, trying to have that moment with your DH, ____ (insert activity that is hanging over your head waiting to be done, here) ______.

When Baby Bee was first born, and I was relatively clueless or still holding on to the urge to do it all, I would try to stuff a laundry list (punny) of chores into a nap time.  I would vacuum, unload the dishwasher,  fold laundry and then get frustrated when she would wake up just as I was sitting down with my (now reheated) cup of tea.  It took me a couple of weeks before it dawned on me: DON'T WASTE A NAP!

Now, we are all happier.  Remember: If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy.

I designate Baby's morning nap (the one she is SURE to take) ME TIME.  That's when I sit down and try to have my tea.  I will check my email, blog, whatever it is that I want to do.  Sometimes I shower.  Sometimes I bathe.  I figure that whatever else needs to get done can wait until she is up.  That leads to the title of the post...intriguing, no?
My pretty clean- in under fifteen minutes bathroom. 
I have figured out how to clean the bathroom in less than 15 minutes.  I sometimes do part of it with Baby in the sling and sometimes I do all of it with her in the sling.  Sometimes, I do it while she naps, but it takes only 15 I don't waste a nap!  Here's what I do.

Tools:         *denotes green option
Paper towels, Clorox wipes, or micro-cloth towel*
All purpose cleaner in a spray.  I use vinegar, water with a splash of essential oil*
Washing Soda, Borax, or Baking Soda *
Toilet sponge or brush (I think toilet brushes are disgusting.  I use a sponge)
Swiffer (w/ wet wipes or microfiber towel*
Vinegar (optional)


Have all tools assembled

1. Dump some of the powder into the toilet and pour vinegar or spray into bowl, let it sit.
2. Vacuum
3. Don gloves
4. Spray mirror, shower, bath, (bidet), toilet (pay special attention to hinges and inside rim).
5.  Wipe down, rinse if desired
Yes, a picture of the toilet and the ever useful bidet.
6. Using toilet sponge wipe inside of the toilet bowl. Flush.
7. Clean around the edges of the room on hands and knees with spray and towel.
I am of the mind that some people want a clean floor and some want to use a mop. This is my concession.
8. Attach Swiffer wet wipe to Swiffer or microfiber towel* and wipe yourself out the door!

y se fini!

Tobi Channels Sylvia Plath

Tobi is SO distressed that he can't join us at dinner.  This is where he sulks.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tobi and The Killer Green Fluff

 Once there was a loyal and valiant dog.  He was strong and lean with sleek, black fur and a long tail.  He was vigilant and dedicated.  Tobi held the high honors of Protector of House and Keeper of Treasure. Tobi's appointment was the most important in the House.  There was Feeder of Food and Thrower of Frisbee also Maker of Dirty Diapers--all very important, but Tobi knew (though he would never admit it so as not to make the others feel bad) that HIS was the most important job.
Tobi performed his duties willingly and thoroughly.  His favorite job was Protector of House.  Each morning, after the Persian blinds were raised, he would assume his post at the wide, glass balcony door and watch as the people of Lucrino went about their business.
Now, Tobi had heard that the people of Lucrino had many faces.  At times they could be friendly and generous but they could also be devious thieves.  He had his beloved people and the addition of a new baby to protect.  He made sure to scare away all people who came too close.
Tobi, in his infinite doggy wisdom, had decided that it was safer and perhaps more effective to just scare ALL passersby away instead of wasting time discerning their motives.
Tobi made a spy hole in the screening that covered the garden gate. Then with hackles raised and voice booming he would ambush the unsuspecting pedestrians. Truly dedicated and willing to go the extra mile for his people, Tobi would follow the now terrified passersby up to the edge of the balcony--leaping over the step in between and finally, front feet up on the railing he would shout warnings to their backs (now on the opposite side of the street) to always be wary, Tobi was on watch!  
It was a State Secret that Tobi had one more job.  It was Killer of Killer Green Fluff!  He knew that this fluffly, scrunchy, green matter lurked on the inside of most of his soft toys.  Tobi was not sure why his People kept on bringing Green Fluff into the house but they did.  (He loved his People, even though they were pretty dense sometimes.)
 Each time that Tobi detected fluff inside one of his beds or his toys, he would begin the process of planning its demise.
You see, Green Fluff is a devious matter.  It lurks deep inside a doggy bed collecting all the lovely scents, providing warmth and comfort until one day it will snap and...Tobi never was sure what it would actually do, but he was sure it was something bad!
Tobi would pretend to love the Fluff.  For weeks he would pretend that he didn't know the hidden dangers.  He would occasionally thrash and throw the dog bed about as he gathered important intelligence about it.  Then one day, totally unsuspected by the Fluff (or his People) he would make his move.  

REPORT: This morning, after nearly nine months of gathering intelligence on the Killer Green Fluff in his dog bed, Tobi made his move.

Killer Green Fluff conquered once more! and the home front is safe... for now.  He has noticed some mysterious noises coming from that canvas duck...

Pouring in Lucrino

I am writing in the midst of a torrential rain storm.  Thunder, lightening and cascading rapids flowing down the street outside my door. I can't see the ocean and it is just across the street.  
The ocean is just beyond the low building.
I LOVE RAINSTORMS!!! It is the same feeling as a good blizzard.  I love being safe and warm inside while the weather gods have their day.  It is a good excuse to cozy up inside and not do anything, like fold sheets or diapers. I am writing this instead of folding sheets.  I can see how blogging might affect how clean my house gets.  But there are always more sheets to fold and another floor that could be vacuumed.
Jack got up this morning with Baby and headed to the gym.  At work he is entitled to two hours a day at the gym, but he rarely gets to take it.  For some reason the small amount of work that they actually do at his shop always ends up on his desk.  Therefore, gym time eats into family time.  What with him getting his schoolwork done and getting to the gym on the weekends...we don't really get to spend a lot of time together.
I don't like that, duh, because I love my husband. He is my best friend and favorite person to hang out with.  We don't get to hang out that much any more.  Maybe now that Baby Bee is taking a bottle we can begin to institute date night.  I would like to see him more.  I think that he is desperate for alone time when he gets back from work.  I am desperate for some alone time when Baby is finally in bed for the night.  Instead of spending time interacting, we sit in the same room and I knit or write and he reads the news on the internet or catches up on football(soccer for the Americans).
It is incredible how much having a baby affects everything.  I understand what people say about waiting a little after marriage.  I mean... Baby has brought us so close, closer than we have ever been.  She requires us to be on the same page and really support each other, but at the same time she can be a wedge that pries us apart.  Figuratively and literally.  She often spends a good part of the night sleeping between us.
We are supposed to meet friends of ours out for lunch.  But I balk at bringing Baby Bee out in such awful weather.  Driving in Naples is treacherous enough without adding flooding streets due to garbage clogged storm drains (I am assuming they have storm drains), low visibility and wet roads.  Maybe we will make our excuses and spend some time together instead.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Overbearing Mom?

I am cowering in the rocker in the nursery. My breasts are aching and leaking. I am trying to resist the urge to go rip my baby out of my husbands arms and nurse her. He is giving her her first bottle and I am a mess. This post is am exercise in distress tolerance and I am using the skill of distraction. ( that there is some dialectical behavioral therapy for favorite modality)
Who wouldn't want to cuddle this every two hours?
I know that the only reason we are trying to start Baby on a bottle is for me. I need to be able to be gone longer than two hours. This is ironic cause I have no idea where I'd go by myself for three hours. Depressing thought.
Could...gasp...I even be off the hook for a nighttime feeding once in a while? I guess.
But I love nursing. I think it is pretty darn cool that I have fed her every two to three hours for the past three months. Wow! I love holding her and looking down at her looking up at me. I also love that this is exclusively my experience.
But it is time to share.
Jack just walked in. Success!(?)
She just took about an ounce and a half. Apparently, the milk was coming out too fast for her. He has milk spots down the front of his shirt. Ha, join the club. We'll have to change nipple sizes.
Wow. The look on his face was priceless. "it feels good that I can be an important part in her survival other than just moral support." what can I say to that?
I guess this is the first of many steps that I will now take. Letting go. Letting her grow up and away. Sometimes, a lot of the time I wish I could keep her like this. It is amazing how you just don't get it when you don't have kids. Then one day you have a baby and you get it. Remarkable.
Ok. I am off to nurse my little girl.

Friday, November 4, 2011

If the dog vomits under the bed...

and nobody sees him eat it...

65+ pounds of energy and love
Last night we were all piled into bed.  I was in Mommy Sleep (do I need to define this?) Jack was dead asleep.  It was the middle of the night and Tobi, our big, black, rescue Lab began to cough something up under the bed.  I am not sure if Jack was awake.  I think that he must have heard it -I mean it is hard not to hear a 65+ pound dog do anything, especially vomit under the bed.
Both of us immediately began the first round of the silent, unspoken game of chicken that we play during the darkest hours of the night.  When Baby Bee was still pooping in the middle of the night, it was Diaper Chicken.  When Tobi was still puppy enough to need to go out in the middle of the night it was Puppy Chicken.  Now, it has reverted to Dog Vomit Chicken.  The rules?  Basically, who can pretend to have slept through said offensive noise longest.  I have to say, my neurotic tendencies make me a weak player.  Jack can sleep through pretty much anything. Seriously, the guy regularly slept through mortar attacks when he was in Iraq.
Poor Tobi.
Pre-Baby I would have leaped out of bed and stuck my nose way too close to whatever had just been purged to determine what it was and if my dear furry baby was OK.  I would have cleaned it up in the dark and spent a couple of minutes petting his troubled tummy.  Then, getting back into bed I would have worried about the possible implications of what he had eaten.
Bring on Childbirth and Motherhood.
Last night Dog Vomit Chicken ended without a winner or a loser.  We both stayed in bed.  I was awake and listening.  When I heard telltale lapping sounds.  I rolled over and went back to sleep.  Thanks for taking one for the team, Tobes.
Poor Tobi.  I figured A: if he threw up again I would check it out and B: if it was still on the floor in the morning- please not on my slippers--I would see the offending piece of foreign substance he had ingested and we'd go from there.  Poor Tobi.

This morning there was nothing there.  And Tobi appears as chipper as ever.

A Cup of Tea

Every morning I make a cup of tea.  I love tea and I love the ritual of making it.  My morning routine begins with juggling my daughter in one arm while I make my tea with the other.  There it sits, too hot to drink on the table so off I go to do something as it cools.  Inevitably, I end up drinking cold tea.  It happened again this morning.
I sat down to check my email as I nursed Baby Bee.  That led me to begin searching out other military wife/mom blogs. By the time Baby Girl fell asleep in my arms and I put her down, my tea was cold.  Now I am drinking microwaved tea.  Not ideal, but it happens.  
When we found out that we were moving to Naples, I envisioned mornings out and about with my daughter (I was almost 8 months pregnant when we arrived) in the stroller.  We would go to the cafe, where everyone would greet us and the barrista would serve up my "usual" with a smile.  I would sit and read or journal while Baby slept.  Then we would say our 'arrevidercis' and I would go to the fruit stand, butcher, grocer and buy food for dinner.  Basically, it was my morning routine from my years in Spain transposed on Italy plus Baby.  Not bad.  Do I do it?  No.  I make myself tea and get distracted as it gets cold.  
Actually, sitting down to write this forces me to think why we don't go out on our enviable European jaunt.  Hmmm.  I wonder if there are any good reasons at all?
1. We do a food shop at the Commissary each week because it is generally cheaper.
2. Baby Girl is the result of attachment parenting and doesn't really like her stroller (more on that in another post).  She ends up in the Baby Bjorn or Maya Wrap and I end up pushing an empty stroller as passersby give me looks.  I don't yet have an interpretation for the kind of looks they give me, but they are looks.
3. If I do go out it means I have to get out of my comfy-cozies and actually pour, stuff, wrassle my post-partum body into something that resembles an outfit. I currently have only three pairs of pants that fit, well four but those are maternity jeans and who wants to wear maternity jeans 3 months post partum.  
4. I don't actually like coffee.  I like tea.
5. The typical cornetto (croissant) breakfast is not going to help remedy reason #3.
6. I am LAZY! I am a homebody.  

Nope.  No good reasons.  I will make a commitment here to getting off my tush and going to the cafe at least one morning next week.  I will start with small feasible goals.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

About me

The Itinerant Homebody, aka Anna, is a homemaker constantly on the move. I spent my single days traveling the world as a performing artist. Desperately ready to put down roots and reuniting with the love of my life, I got married. The occupation of love of my life? A sailor.
Last year found me in Virginia Beach; this year in Italy. Here I will write about my life as I discover how to make a home and make my art---wherever my family happens to go ashore.