Cool Kids

One thing hipsters are supposed to have lots of are cool, artsy friends, right? And one thing hausfraus are supposed to have lots of are couple friends.

Well, the Hipster Hausfrau has lots of cool, artsy couple friends who work together on exciting projects: see MoPa, Beejer (a better writer/editor duo I have yet to meet, and I hold out hope for a joint project one of these days), and Team Oren.

This is a still because I'm too cheap to upgrade to a video account on WordPress. Get off your lazy tushy, click the link above, and go watch it on YouTube!

Team Oren has just released the hilarious FRENTS, a polished, smart and damn funny web series that you (yes, you) should be watching, discussing and promoting.

Ben and Melissa co-wrote it, and Melissa directed it. I’m as in awe of the product as I am of their working relationship. How many of us could work from home with our partner? If they’re game, I’m going to interview them for a future post about how they make it work.

Blurry feet are a nine-month milestone. As is unbelievable cuteness.

In other project news, my child is officially (doctor agrees!) working on his two bottom teeth; you can see the little bumpies, and the pediatrician has prescribed Motrin to help with the fussing/food refusal (yes, we had one of those terrible refusing-to-eat-both-in-tears-agh!-let’s-go-to-the-doctor days yesterday, but today seems better so far). This was how my only child chose to celebrate being nine months old! But by evening he was happier (thanks again, Motrin!) and we snapped this quick phone photo.


Seven Happy Things

1. Our fancy new washing machine arrives today (could I be any more of a Hausfrau? Yes, because Herr Husband has asked me to reserve at least one load so he can take it for a spin. That sounds dirty. But it’s gonna be steam clean!)

I'm all ready for my first load!

2. Das Baby is cutting his first teeth! Yes, this leads to a lot of fussing and a return to crappy eating (or at least I hope that’s why he’s eating crappily), but I can feel the rough bumps on his gums and they’re just adorable! Herr Husband and I are practically giddy to have him reaching such a typical baby milestone.

3. The paint colors in our living room (Benjamin Moore Guilford Green) and dining room (Behr Lost Atlantis) turned out beautifully.

4. Tomorrow, cable, internet and phone will be installed at Das Haus, making it that much more livable.

5. All of the downstairs boxes are unpacked in the house, with the exception of the books. Those of you who have been to our previous homes know that the books are quite an undertaking. Those of you who know me know that I love nothing more than setting up our books. Any suggestions for organizational systems?

6. Herr Husband washed all of our stemware. All of it. We own enough stemware to open a bar. Excessive stemware is what happens when you marry your college sweetheart and you were both drunks in college. Everyone wants to get you a drinking vessel as a wedding present. Due to breakages, we now have five non-alcohol or coffee related drinking glasses. But if you want a glass of champage (flute or coupe), red wine, white wine, or a martini, you’ve come to the right place. Except for the fact that we have a baby and hate martinis.

Heck to the yeah!

7. Das Baby had his six-month infant follow-up appointment yesterday at Children’s Hospital Boston. It’s a morning of developmental tests that assess his cognitive, social, emotional, language, medical and physical development. Obvs, as a preemie, he’s at risk for all sorts of maladies, delays, and stuff. So yeah, I was really nervous. Even though he seems great to me: happy, curious, and completely adorable, I also know that these aren’t clinical terms and that I’m not actually an expert (ok, actually, I do kind of think Im an expert, but I also like external validation). It goes without saying that no matter what problems he does and may have, we love him more than anything and can care for him. But I wanted to say it anyway.

And then, YAY: At this time, they have no concerns about his cognitive or social-emotional development. His fine and gross motor skills are within the normal range (all assessments are done for his 6-month corrected age, rather than his 9-month time-on-earth age). Yes, he’s tiny, and the resulting lack of muscle mass could cause motor problems going forward. (He’s off the charts small for a 6-month old, but his head is already 9-month size, which makes him totally adorable and which means his body is doing its job of feeding his brain first).

He tests as having a mild receptive language delay, meaning he doesn’t quite respond to spoken language as he should be by this age. The questions used to assess this were: “What happens when you say ‘no’ to Das Baby?” to which Herr Husband replied, “um, she doesn’t really do that…”  I’d also point out that receptive language issues run deep in both the Husband and Hausfrau families. If you know us (I’m not naming any names here out of fear of reprisal), you know we’re not the best pack of listeners. Anyway, this means he should get speech therapy, which I’ve been jonesing for anyway, in addition to his occupational and physical therapy. I can’t wait to see what they do in baby speech. We’ve also been encouraged to start signing with him. Any of my mama/daddy friends/followers signed with their kids? What program/book did you use? When did you start?

The overall outcome of the appointment was that he’s doing great, and that we’re doing great as parents (blush…) Does this mean we’re out of the woods? No. But I think the biggest thing I’ve learned through this experience is that there is no finish line, no moment when I’m going to feel safe and secure and like we’ve made it and he’s fine. Not because of Das Baby, but because that’s how parenting works. But because there’s no magical end point out there, I can also choose to feel safe and secure and like he’s fine at any and every given moment. It’s really about me. How very zen. Or how very solipsistic (Quick Heart of Darkness shout-out to my former students (who will soon be the subject of their very own post!)–the link between Zen practice and epistemological solipsism is something we’ve talked about before, no? Ah, life and art!) So there are no woods (except for CJTW, HJTW, and MJTW). Only life.

On my way!

And today it’s a really good life! (Knock on wood/No jinxing!)

Busy busy

Yes, it’s a busy week for the Husband Hausfraus. I’ll use photos to “Tide” you over until my next post.

Yup. We've still got it.

Get it? “Tide”?

And Das Baby, sans face hardware (no, he still needs the hardware, this is just a photo of him during a brief respite).

Adorbs. Obvs. If a bit blurry.

Does Das Baby look more like Herr Husband or Hipster Hausfrau? Discuss.


And yes, it does feel so good.

Today, Herr Husband and I will be reunited with our worldly possessions, which have been in storage since 1) being treated with toxic, bedbug killing gas and 2) my water broke. As you may recall, we were in the process of vacating our lovely but infested Cobble Hill/BK Heights (depending on my audience at any given time) apartment when I became the PPROM queen.

It really was a lovely apartment. Until it became unbearably itchy. (L-R) Gigi, Herr Husband. Not pictured: foreknowledge of insects to come.

So I left home to go to the hospital, thinking I was just enduring another bout of pregnant lady paranoia, and never returned. Then Herr Husband (and Popsi, my father) had to hire exterminator/movers to come collect our things, poison them, and put them in storage for what turned out to be ten months.

This meant that upon hospital discharge in late October I had a random collection of outfits including summer clothes and things that fit me while I was pregnant. Stress, and then lactating, quickly got me down to a weight I hadn’t seen since a) high school and b) that time I did Weight Watchers with an undiagnosed thyroid condition and lost five pounds a week, and was all, “Weight Watchers is amazing!”

I’ve done some delightful, cheapie shopping and have managed to outfit myself with clothes and shoes quite happily during the absence of my “real” stuff. In fact, I’ve been quite surprised at how little I’ve missed any of my belongings. Maybe because I’ve been just a little busy with Das Baby, and haven’t had time to do things like, oh, peruse books on literary theory, or dig through my book research, or wash my face.

Have you read "Clever Elsie"? Check it out. That is one fabulously weird fairy tale. Quite possibly written by stoners.

Still, it’s going to be fun to see what turns up today. To drink coffee made in my French Press. To introduce Das Baby to my old children’s books that I read to him while he was in utero (however briefly), and known only as Baby Muda.

Less fun is that it will be 93 degrees today. Good thing we’re at the life stage where we pay other people to move our crap.

Because of the move, it may be a relatively slow blogging week, but upcoming topics include: the delightful reemergence of former students as fostered by this blog, the overdue post on our shabby chic NH junket, and Google+ as a techie re-imagining of middle school social hierarchies.

Sittin’ Around

Holding this head up is hard work!

Hope you find some time this weekend to sit around and enjoy the sun.

And yes, that is Das Baby sitting all by himself. Current record: 30 seconds. What a rock star!

Feed Das Baby

Parents have to feed their kids. It’s a non-negotiable responsibility, like keeping them (marginally) clean, giving them a place to live until they’re eighteen, and teaching them that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is sheer genius but Twilight is what’s wrong with America.

From March until two weeks ago, feeding Das Baby was absolute hell.

First, a brief history: Because Das Baby was born early and tiny and had massive breathing problems, he was fed by IV for the first few weeks of his life as they gradually increased his tube feedings. Babies generally develop the ability to suck, swallow and breathe around thirty-four weeks gestation, and that’s when preemies will start bottle feeding.

The first time I gave Das Baby a bottle. Also pictured, CPAP, his lifesaving and wildly uncomfortable breathing equipment.

At six weeks old, Das Baby got his first bottle. He haused it. Babies with breathing issues can have difficulty eating because they have to choose to breathe or eat. They always choose breathe. Not Das Baby. He chose eat, which to us was a sign that he was truly our child. It was also dangerous because he’d hold his breath while eating, sometimes until he passed out and turned blue. But we worked on that, and got him to drink responsibly. By the time of his discharge, he was taking half of his food by mouth and half by a naso-gastric tube, which Herr Husband and I learned to insert ourselves. Das Baby and I also also worked on nursing while in the NICU (I actually have pictures of that, too, but I won’t post them for fear of alienating my current reader(s) and drawing perverts to this blog.

At our first visit to the pulmonologist, Das Baby was put back on fortified breast milk. This means that I pump my boobs to make milk (I do not have any photos of my being milked by machine, so don’t ask) which then has formula(booo….)  added to it to raise the calorie count, so that Das Baby gets more calories per ounce of milk consumed. The pulmonologist also said that if Das Baby couldn’t come off of the tube feedings soon, he would suggest a G-tube, which is the surgically placed tube that goes straight to the tummy.

So we got Das Baby off the NG tube. Because the pulmonologist had raised the amount of oxygen Das Baby was getting, it was actually pretty easy. We then entered a brief period of feeding bliss.

Then the squirming while eating began. Das Baby would vigorously shake his head from side to side while being offered the bottle, as if to say, no, no, no f-ing way! Unfortunately, oral aversion in preemies is common, especially if they’ve had breathing apparatus for an extended time (like their whole lives). So we called the pediatrician, who said that it was normal preemie reflux, and that we could try meds if it got worse.  Then Das Baby wouldn’t be held while eating, so we had to start feeding him in a swing or bouncy. This was worse, so we put him on Zantac, then Prilosec. Then he started screaming and crying sometimes while eating. And sometimes gagging and projectile vomiting. Reflux, we were told. Then he started refusing some meals. Reflux, and he was still gaining weight, so we shouldn’t worry. Then his weight gain slowed. Reflux. Then stopped. Unfortunate, but reflux. Herr Husband suggested several times that we should stop the fortifier and see if that helped. But the doctors wanted him to get more calories, not fewer, and I was afraid to go against their advice. If it were the fortifier, they said, we’d see it as a lower GI problem.

You'd be crabby too if eight times a day you were being force fed a food that upset your stomach. (And yes, typing that does make me feel like a terrible mother!)

Then in early June, we finally saw the feeding specialist we’d been waiting since April to see. “Has anyone ever considered an allergy?”  We decided to try a dairy free formula for Das Baby and a dairy-free diet for me. For those of you who know me, you know there is no greater sacrifice I could make than cheese, yogurt and ice cream. This, I tell you, is a mother’s love.

It worked. He’s still not putting on weight as fast as we’d like (and is still down from a month ago), but he’s eating. Feedings take twenty-five minutes instead of an hour and twenty-five minutes. He doesn’t gag and vomit. He doesn’t cry. I don’t cry.

Seriously, it’s a miracle. I feel like I have my life back. If you had given me a choice between having him off of oxygen and having him eat better, I would have picked eat (again with the picking eating over breathing. What is it with this family?) That’s how bad it was.

Happy days are here again! Also, go Sox!

While Herr Husband might hope that the lesson here is that I should listen to him more often, I think the lesson is actually that I should listen to Das Baby. It’s not that the professionals who take care of him were wrong, but they didn’t know. They hadn’t seen him eat. So when it comes to the next issue, I’m not going to assume the professionals know because they’ve seen a thousand babies like Das Baby. Because no baby is exactly like Das Baby, and no one knows Das Baby better than I do.

Crime in My New Town


This post is a bit of a cheat, because I didn’t do most of the writing. It comes from the newspaper of my new hometown, and it’s from the crime section.

Some things I want you to notice:

1) The titles, which give you a clue about what is to come. I particularly like “A Failure to Communicate,” which is more short story than police incident title.

2) These events are actually connected. See if you can discern how.

3) The incredibly balanced tone of “A Failure to Communicate,” which assigns little blame to the so-called “Man from Lowell.”

4) The blotter differs from that in the town in which I grew up, in which the notes are about people who are arrested for DWB (Driving While Brown), or about people who call the police to claim something has been stolen only to discover they moved it around their house.

5) The crime in my new town is quaint, just like the town itself. (Except for the fact that people got hurt. Sorry!)

A Failure to Communicate

A 49-year-old Lowell man received a citation for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle and failure to wear a seatbelt after a miscommunication with the police on June 22 at 9:45 a.m.

A police officer stopped traffic on Central Avenue to make way for another police officer who was responding to a call with his lights and sirens activated. The Lowell man, who was driving a van, tried to swerve around the stopped traffic. The police officer tried to flag the Lowell man down, but he was looking at the driver of the stopped vehicle. When the Lowell man finally stopped, the officer yelled at him to roll down his window. He opened his door and, according to the officer, made some indistinguishable sounds. The officer asked if he could speak and the man shook his head. The officer commenced writing questions for the man, which he answered. The officer advised him that he had committed violations. In the course of the conversation, the man indicated that he was having abdominal pains, so police escorted him to Beth Israel Needham.

The image of the man grunting from abdominal pain, and therefore unable to speak, then writing notes back and forth with the officer who finally takes him to the hospital is the best. thing. ever.

Three Needham Police Officers Injured by Man Wielding a Barbecue Fork

By Scott Wachtler

Three Needham Police Officers were injured during a scuffle with a man who allegedly threatened to kill the officers with a barbeque fork.

Mardochee Chevalier was arrested Wednesday on four counts of Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon, including a barbecue fork, and shod foot. He was also charged with Disorderly Conduct; Resisting Arrest; Threats to Commit a Crime and Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended License.

On Wednesday, June 22, 2011, at approximately 9:32 a.m., a Needham Police Officer was monitoring traffic on Great Plain Ave in front of the Needham town common when he was approached by a motorist who told him that the operator of another vehicle had exited his vehicle, leaving it abandoned in the travel lane, then running towards the hardware store on the corner.

The officer observed an individual, later identified as Chevalier, holding a steel rake over his head, about to strike the window of a stopped passenger car on Chestnut Street.

Chevalier allegedly saw the officer and dropped the rake while approaching him. He handed the officer an ID, and then pulled a large barbeque fork out of his back pocket, moving towards the officer while holding the fork in a threatening manner above his head.

The officer was able to get Chevalier to drop the weapon after repeated orders. Another officer arrived and during attempts to arrest Chevalier, he allegedly resisted by kicking the officers with his heavy work boots.  Other officers arrived to assist in handcuffing Chevalier, and eventually they were able to do so, but he continued to actively resist attempts to restrain him by allegedly kicking, punching, and spitting at the officers.

Three officers sustained injuries at the scene during the efforts to restrain Chevalier and they were treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Needham Medical Center.

Note that Chevalier was not charged with robbery or larceny, indicating that he PAID for the rake and barbecue fork which he used to attack the car and assault the officers. You should also know that he has a history of wacky weapon crime: a machete in Worcester, and a folding knife at a barbecue in Framingham (perhaps that was when he got the idea to commit his next crime by barbecue fork).

I know it’s actual legal language, but I also love the “shod foot” reference.

I don’t love that officers were injured, so I’m not mocking that. And I’m not mocking Chevalier either. Mostly because I’m afraid he’ll come after me with a pogo stick or something.

Hooray, suburban living!