The Pouch

No, not the Kangaroo Corner adjustable fleece pouch, which sometimes carries my baby. This one carries my cell phone, wallet, lip gloss, keys, and, on certain occasions, DS Lite. You might recognize it as a "fanny pack," and this week it came to into the public eye when I wore it during the taping of my work podcast, EGM Live*, and my colleagues decided to make fun of me for wearing it. Such a "mom" thing, they said.

I argued with them. This is the most fashion-forward pouch they would ever have the fortune to behold. This is a designer pouch the likes of which their nerdy gamer fashion senses would have no ability to appreciate. This pouch has a mesh pocket designed specifically to hold a cell phone. It has a picture of a baby riding a rainbow on it, for cryin' out loud! It's not a fanny pack--it's a hip pouch, and I mean hip in the, y'know, hip sense! Because I'm a hipster. (Get it? Anyone? Is this what trying too hard sounds like?)

But deep down, I knew they were right. My Tokidoki for LeSportSac utility belt may be very sleekly designed with the most darling pattern this side of Harajuku, but it's still basically a fanny pack. And that is a mom thing. (Actually, in my family, it's more of a "parent" thing, because both my mom and dad wear them.) So yeah, I've joined the mom ranks, and I've done it proudly. Here's the picture I posted on my work blog:

That's what my fanny pack looks like, and I wouldn't wear it any other way.

But I'm staying far, far, FAR away from the mom jeans.


Muffins Muffins Vignette

There's a muffin shop right next to my building, and the proprietor is a petite Vietnamese woman with an incredible ability to multitask efficiently. She can prioritize tasks like no one I've ever seen; rarely do you have to wait while she fills lengthy orders. She's really good at getting people who just want OJ or coffee in and out while two others might be waiting for sandwiches, for example. Lots of people come and go without even having to tell her what they want. They walk up to the counter, she picks out their favorite bagel or donut, they pay her, and everyone gets back to business quickly, no nonsense.

I've been going there for years, and though we don't know each others' names, we chit-chat about this and that while she's making my coffee or sandwich. I know she was in a boat for 9 days when she left Vietnam in the '70s. I know there's a Vietnamese supermarket in the Tenderloin where she says I can get all the ingredients for the awesome spring rolls she makes. If I remember correctly, she hasn't been back to Vietnam since she left. It didn't sound like she wanted to go, either.

Her shop, which is nothing more than a hole in the wall, seems to contain an entire grocery store. You can get hardboiled eggs and cottage cheese, spaghetti and meatballs or a ham sandwich, bananas, oranges, cheese danishes... Once, as she made my sandwich, she kept offering me stuff to put on it. "Tomato? pickle? pepper?" I wanted it pretty plain. "Not even a little cilantro?" It was one final attempt to add some dignity to my sad turkey sandwich. I took her up on that one, and it made all the difference in the world. She has a sign that used to say "No change without any purchase" that has recently had the word "any" whited out so it sounds a little better. I have wondered who or why she made that edit. Was it one of her customers who suggested it? Or her teenage son who works in her shop during the summers?

The other day, I was waiting for my order, and I mentioned that I'd had a baby. I brought it up only because I realized I hadn't talked to her about my maternity leave, being pregnant, or having a baby.

She came out from behind the counter with a big smile and looked me up and down. I realized at this point, and not a minute sooner, that this was the first time either of us had stood side by side without the big refrigerated display case counter that fills most of her little shop between us. Before that, I'd never seen her legs. Throughout nine months of pregnancy, she'd never seen my body below the neck.

"You were pregnant?" she asked.

We both had a good laugh.


Awesome breastfeeding links

OK, I'm ready to rewrite my post about Lakeline's awesome breastfeeding posts. I like her blog, because it alternates between excellent posts about breastfeeding/parenting issues and sports. She wrote three articles about the reasons more women in the U.S. don't breastfeed.

The first reason: Our "prudish, puritanical" culture
The second reason: working
The third reason: bad medical advice

I've been affected by all three of these, and it's really nice to see someone else put it into words.


What I did today

I am finding myself unable to post "real" blog posts, so instead I'll just write the simple stuff so I can write something rather than nothing.

Today was a wonderful day. I woke up pretty early, around 7 am with Alex. We hung out in bed for a short while, dozing off and on until he fell back to sleep. He looks so adorable when he sleeps. Tutu arrived early and we made coffee and ate breakfast together (well, I ate and she drank coffee). Nick joined us, and I had Alex in the Ergo baby carrier, the latest "babywearing" contraption I've obtained. I tell you, eating breakfast as a family rules!

I was all stressed out about getting to work on time because it was our last day of deadline. The day wasn't busy, per se, but there were just a lot of little things to deal with. At about 11 am, I had to go downstairs to the Peet's in my building to get a very strong latte, after which I lectured our intern on the importance of proofreading for a good 5 minutes until I realized I'd been talking for 5 minutes (at least) about the importance of proofreading. I caught myself and apologized, admitting to everyone that I was high as a kite on some very strong coffee. Then I told them that proofreading was, all the same, really important, especially when you change a file after the copy-edit stage, dammit! (On my way to Peet's I ran into my cousin, Katy. I took 5 minutes to chat with her and catch up, because I hadn't seen her since before the baby.)

For lunch, I had a leftover burrito. (This is an accomplishment worth noting only because I managed not to eat the whole burrito for dinner last night.) We had a fun discussion at lunch about gaming message boards and the strange type of person who posts on them. And I'm using "strange" as a euphemism, here.

The next few hours were the most stressful of my day, because it's when a few rogue files can throw off the whole production schedule. In this case, it was a couple of reviews and the Table of Contents. The TOC is a page that will make you want to shoot yourself. The aforementioned intern has the bad luck of being responsible for that page too, and he got another lecture about it, but not from me (thank god). Even though we'd had 99% of the book signed off, we still managed to get our last pages done mere minutes before the FedEx deadline for shipping the proofs to the printer. But once they were done, I started the EGM "slow clap." (The "slow clap" is a tradition at my work they developed while I was out on maternity leave. When someone does something good, one person starts clapping, slowly. Others join in. The clapping speeds up. Before you know it, the whole corner of the office is clapping (even people in other departments, even if you don't quite always know what you're clapping for). It's fun/funny and always raises spirits.) Then, I left work a few minutes early, because everything was done! (All this, and I didn't even get to mention the Rascal that someone had at the office today that was the source of endless hijinks.)

I came home to find Alex asleep on Tutu's lap (he's so lucky!). When I picked him up, he awoke, the happiest baby on the block, for sure. My mom headed home, and because it was still light out, I took Alex for a little walk in the Ergo carrier. He whimpered a little, maybe because of the carrier, or the cold (though I did have a hat on him), or the sights and sounds of the city. But we were only out for about 20 minutes. We got home and sang some songs together ("Ole ole, ole ole, ole ole, ole ole, feeling HOT HOT HOT!"), then Nick got home and we all had dinner. (Eating dinner as a family rules, too!)

Then we put Alex to bed, I caught up on some TV and email, watched the Ergo demo video, flossed my teeth (twice :), and blogged. And now I'm going to listen to some little baby breaths before I go to sleep.


Am I losing my mind?

I wrote a great post, full of links, entitled "Awesome Breastfeeding Links." In it, I linked to three articles over at Lakeline's Thoughts. I remember very clearly writing it, checking the links, publishing it, and getting emailed a notification about its publication.

And yet, the post doesn't appear to exist.

I mean, I knew I was sleep-deprived, but this is truly mystifying. I didn't dream it, because my dreams are never that vivid. (Though my dream last night that Tom Brady wanted me to have his children was memorable, to say the least.) It's not in my drafts. The email notification is not in my inbox. Either I thought it was published, but my Firefox hung (which happens) and I am conflating that email notification with some other blog email notification. Or...well, that's the only possible explanation. Which bothers me, a lot. I am really not one to blame technical glitches. I know they exist, but I pride myself on being aware of them and rectifying them immediately. I don't like being surprised that a post I thought had been published for days, in fact, doesn't even exist.

I intend to "re"publish it, but first I need to take a moment to just stop and say...



Post-Partum Hair Loss

I've heard from other mothers that their hair got really thick and luscious during pregnancy. I didn't experience this. My hair felt pretty much the same as it always does. But now I'm experiencing the post-partum hair loss I've also heard about. I guess it's just one of the millions (it seems) of hormonal changes you experience during and after pregnancy. My hair is falling out in handfuls! What my friend the Senior Health Editor says is that many women feel their hair is thicker during pregnancy because your hair doesn't fall out when you're pregnant, so instead of losing a few hairs every day and having them continuously replenished, your body hangs onto it all. Then, a few months after giving birth, that extra hair starts to fall out. I've always had a lot of hair, so I seem to have built up an astonishing amount in the last year, and I'm discovering that shedding it is a somewhat terrifying activity. I'm not kidding--the amount of hair I'm losing is frightening. The bath drain gets totally clogged after a single shower. My clothes are covered in hair, so I'm constantly picking things off myself in an OCD-like manner. I find my hairs all over Alex's clothes, too, and in his fingers or (horrifyingly) mouth. Let's just hope I'm not actually going bald!