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One Month

gratuitous baby pic:

3-15

My life is hardly recognizable for all the changes that have happened since I posted last. Hold on to your hats, while I take you on the ride that has been my life this past month.

Firstly, I have spent more time in MA than in NYC this past month. In fact, I am writing on my mother’s laptop, drinking coffee in the guest room while EJ naps. It’s actually quite lovely and peaceful, and I’ve been up here so much that our life in NYC seems slightly unreal.

Which I suppose is a good thing, because we’ve decided to move back to MA. Starting in June, EJ and I are going to be up here full time looking for a house.

In fact, we had started poking around the market and put an offer on a house a few weeks ago. Sadly, we were outbid – the house was perfect, the neighborhood was fantastic, in the town we love best around here. But it highlighted for us how difficult it is to house-hunt from a distance. So for now, the hunt is on hold, to be resumed in June.

(But I can still stalk the MLS site. I love looking at real estate. Love. It.)

And since I have no knitting pics, I will try to keep your interest with pictures of cuteness:

3-13

Pedestrians everywhere, beware. I am back on the roads, and this time armed with a pretty, brand-spanking new mid-sized SUV. This is bittersweet – Eric and I have loved being car-free these past two years, and we recognize that there are more environmentally responsible ways to get back on the road. But the reality is we’re moving to an area that for 5 months of the year is pummeled with snow and ice, with roads that leave much to be desired, and anything less than 4WD is irresponsible from a safety standpoint. I’m pretty sure that mid-January in Central MA would eat a Prius alive.

Chompity chomp chomp chomp.

3-16
Better get used to that car seat buddy.

But it’s not all houses and cars around here. We’ve also addressed matters of the soul. We hedged our bets and had EJ baptized. Actually, Monsignor was very good to us, and performed a twofer: Eric and I are now married in the Church, and our son is now saved from the evils of Original Sin and has been welcomed into the community, destined for a life of guilt and penitence.

(Yes, I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek there. I have a conflicted relationship with the Church, but the ceremony was truly lovely, and I am very glad we did it. EJ can choose to be a heathen later in life if he’d like.)

3-01
The battle for his soul has begun.

So, my knitting is gathering dust, and our life is in complete upheaval again. I’m not gonna lie – I am so sick of moving, and of all the time and effort wasted each time we pack up, and then try to get settled again. Eric and I have moved so much that we actually have a 3 month rule. We have 3 months after moving to unpack, decorate, get settled, etc.. After 3 months, anything that’s not done is left undone. There’s no point in continuing, because we know our time is limited. So, the most appealing aspect of this next move is the idea that it’s going to be our last move for a very very very long time.

(Not to mention that we’ll be close to my family and all our MA friends. Which rocks.)

Internet Free

Check out the fabulous BSJ EJ’s sporting here – just peeking out under his chin, made for him by the wonderful Carole. We loves it.

I have been, and will be, without internet access for the next few weeks. What a strange experience it has been – Eric has been using our home laptop for work now – to be home all day with EJ, utterly cut off from the outside world, and every important piece of information I’ve needed to save over the past few years. I am utterly dependent on this hunk of metal and plastic, and finding myself without it has been very difficult and very liberating all at the same time.

It’s stinky not being able to communicate with all of my friends. Email, blogs, twitter, facebook, not to mention the internet in general, has made my housebound isolation as a SAHM kind of fun. My people have only been as far away as my fingertips, and I’m sure I’m not the only mom at home who’s been grateful for that. But, not having the timesuck of the computer, well, I’m finding I’m actually getting knitting and reading done.

What? How is that with a 3 mo old baby? That’s right – EJ has learned to nap on his own. For 2 weeks, every day consistently, EJ falls asleep and lets me PUT HIM DOWN. Hell, sometimes he lets me put him down when he’s awake. For reals. He sits in his chair. He eats his hands. He googles at his stuffed lion, and he loves listening to Harry Potter audiobooks. (Oh wait, that’s me.) I mean, I can’t leave the apartment, I refuse to watch daytime television (I mean, it’s a nice treat occasionally, but day in and day out it will drive you bonkers), there’s no computer, and there’s no one for company. After a little bit of tidying up and I’ve got a good hour or two to sit in my chair and knit. It’s been a bit of a revolution, and it’s been wonderful.

But that’s why I’ve been quiet, and why I will be for a little while more. Soon we’ll be getting another laptop, and I’ll have full use of our home one again, but until then, I’m going to allow myself to enjoy the forced time sans technology. SAHM old-school style.


That’s what I’m talking about. Word.

Good Bye Hedge Fund, Hello Serger!

Eric quit his job a few weeks ago, and Friday was his last day. This marks, without exaggeration, the end of an era of oppression around here. He worked for a large hedge fund with a slaveshop mentality, most recently imposing mandatory 14 hour days, 6 day weeks (“but you’d better not complain if it’s both weekend days, you’re damn lucky you have a job”) while cutting health benefits and compensation. This hedge fund has $20 Billion under management, not exactly working under a shoestring budget, so I find it hard for them to justify working their people to the bone and using the current economic situation as a whip.

Eric starts next week at a family friendly company, and we are both excited about his prospects there. But most importantly, he’ll be able to be home, mind and body, for normal chunks of time.

The past week or so has been a nice respite for me as well. Eric has been relishing the time he now gets to spend with EJ, which means I no longer bear the full brunt of holding him all the time. As you can imagine, this has been a win-win-win situation.

I haven’t really been knitting, but I did use my EJ-free arms to scrounge around in the closet and find my sewing machine. My first order of business was the make a supersized swaddle blanket – no more wussy swaddles for us. My next order of business is a skirt, naturally. (The Skirt, after all, is the Scarf of sewing).

In preparation for all this, I picked up Sew U by Wendy of Built by Wendy, and I must say, it is simply excellent. It is the first sewing book I’ve ever seen that has the Elizabeth Zimmermann mentality of empowering the knitter (seamstress?) to use common sense and boldly customize projects.

Love. It.

I also found a refurbished serger on sale at Overstock dot com and it arrived yesterday. (By the way, it’s like the Fates came together and determined it’s time for me to get my sew on. Don’t you think?) I can’t wait to unpack it and give it a whirl, which brings me to the question of why am I still working on this post?

There’s a serger waiting to be unpacked. I’ve been keeping an eye on sergers for 3 years now, and finally found a good one at a great price. I’m gonna get on that, right now.

(She’s lonely, and the only cure is more serger.)

He’s a G Man

I had really hoped to use cloth diapers with EJ. Everyone has their own reasons, but for me it just seems like an awful lot of (chemical and plastic-laden) garbage produced by one little baby in disposables. Wendy and Kellee gave me a training run-down over a summer breakfast at Wendy’s kitchen table. Johanna was encouraging through the comments. The resources are out there, and I know that cloth diapers have come a long way from sharp safety pins and soggy nappies.

We, however, don’t have laundry in our apartment. I am quite sure that the other people in our building would not appreciate washing their clothes in the same machine as EJ’s poopie diapers. Moreover, it’s hard enough to get all the laundry done, as bending over the machine is a little tricky with the Baby Bjorn on.

(I did look into a diaper service, but it seems there’s only one option in Manhattan – crazy, right? – and it gets only lukewarm reviews at best.)

So, I had resigned myself to killing the earth in the name of convenience when my friend Malaika gave us the super helpful and generous gift of a crapload of diapers. Packages of diapers of every kind – the whole wheat non-chlorine ones, the Whole Foods ones, Pampers, and very wonderfully the G Diaper.

Maya had mentioned them last summer, but having never seen them myself they were kind of an abstract until Malaika brought them over.

What makes them so cool is that they have the same construction as a cloth diaper (outer cover, waterproof liner), but instead of stuffing them with cotton or flannel, you can buy flushable inserts made from wood pulp. They’re fully biodegradable. In fact, you can even throw the wet ones on your compost pile, and they’ll break down in 2 – 3 months.

Awesome, huh?

They take a bit more work than disposables – the liners do get poopie (poopy?) and you have to rinse them when they do – but not nearly the work of cloth diapers, and best of all they don’t require laundry machines in your apartment.

Also? Poopie is my new favorite word.

Poopie poopie poopie.

(I may or may not be at the point of giddy delirium from extended sleep deprivation. Or else I have the sensibility of an 8 year old.)

The Baby Bjorn Bald Spot


Taken at 1:15:04 pm


Taken at 1:15:07 pm

(Times are approximate.)

It has become painfully obvious over this past week that what we have here is a Level 2 Klingon.

Level 2 you ask? While not as severe as a Level 1 (who will only be happy desperately clinging to Mom every minute of the day), Level 2s must be held by Someone every minute of the day. Sadly, in my case, there is little distinction, because 95% of the time I am the only option. And sadly for Eric (but happily for my sanity!) he is clung to 95% of the time he is home.

Makes me wish we lived closer to family, where there would be an abundance of willing arms. But this post isn’t to wax on about my homesickness. (I live in Manhattan! It’s 10 degrees warmer and 6 feet of snow less than MA! There is anything I want within a 3 block radius! I take George to poop in Riverside park and watch the barges roll down the Hudson! Or planes for that matter!)


Did someone say poop?

I’ve been thinking about my regrets about the last 10 weeks. Wondering if EJ hadn’t spent his first 6 weeks screaming and spewing sour milk, maybe we wouldn’t have spent all day and night holding him, soothing him. Maybe we would have tried baby chairs and mobiles sooner. Maybe he wouldn’t spend every night sleeping on my chest. (That’s right, not just in our bed, but on my chest. For weeks it was the only way I could get any sleep, and now I fear we have a very bad habit on our hands.)

I’m a firm believer in Do What Works, but holy god, I would love for something to work other than the Baby Bjorn. (Although, the Baby Bjorn is a lifesaver – it is by far his favorite carrier). He’s in the Baby Bjorn so much he has a bald spot where the back of his head rubs against the headrest. I wish I were kidding. I would take a picture for you, but he’s strapped to my chest (of course) and that makes taking pictures kinda difficult. Especially of him.

(The sleeping/napping/crib thing from a few weeks ago? Must have been a fluke. Or derailed by the vaccinations, because then he needed to be held for a few days straight cause he felt like crap, and there we are again, in the 24 hour holding pattern.)

I wonder how much is in his nature, and how much is a product of circumstance? Now that I know how to avoid making my milk POISON, will my 2nd child (a complete theoretical at this point – shudder) spend their first month happy and comfortable and be content chilling wherever I lay their swaddled little bottom down? Are all first children doomed to be experiments that we inevitably kinda screw up?

Anyway, this week has been a particularly tired one for me, and I’ve had to put the Endpaper Mitts on hold. It made me tired just looking at the tiny needles. Instead, I cast on (for the third time!) for a February Lady Sweater. Garter Stitch is just my speed right now. Plus it will be the first knitting I’ve done for myself in over 4 months, and right now, I need a little corner of the world that’s just for me.

This is the Brooks Farm Mas Acero I bought at Rhinebeck – the only thing I wanted to buy, and for this purpose nonetheless. (Crazy). I was worried about pooling, but it looks like it might just work out as lovely as it looked in the skein and wound up in the ball. (Fingers crossed.)

That is also the only patch of floor that is clean.

New Horizons

Stitchy’s not the only one exploring fabric love these days. I found this one in the clearance section on Fabric.com, and it’s called Knitmare on Elm Street.

I love it.

I believe it’s destined to become a nursing cover. I saw some nifty ones that have neck straps as to leave the arms free to hold baby and not worry about it slipping, and they look like it would be easy to whip one up at home. The longest part might be getting my sewing machine out of the closet and ready to use.

And while I’m nursing him, I can stare down adoringly at the cover and imagine what EJ will be like in about 10 years:

Wool pants (and scowl) included.

Super Secret Knitting

We’ve had a lovely couple of days here at Chez Pawlowski, with a cross country visit from Eric’s sister Dena and a whole family gathering yesterday.

Poor Dena has come from Los Angeles to New York to find some of the coldest weather imaginable for these parts, with wind chills below zero at times. I should feel bad for her, but it’s hard to drum up sympathy for someone who lives in one of the most pleasant climates on earth.

Even so, surprisingly, I’m not grumpy at all about being holed up in an apartment with an infant for days and days on end. I mean, it would be really nice to be able to go out and sit in a mild, sunny backyard with him once in a while – wait. I’m not even going down this path of thinking, or I’m going to start getting grumpy real quick.

One of the top searches for my site these days is “mom boobs”.

Awesome.

In any case, the super secret knitting is a pair of Endpaper Mitts for Dena’s Christmas present – no big or exciting news about it, I just couldn’t blog about them cause she would have seen it. I had hoped to finish them in time for her visit, but like most things I hope to accomplish these days, they’re taking a lot longer than I thought.

For example, it took me almost 2 and a half hours to write this post. Yup. You’d think that for that amount of time, it would be a more interesting post, but I’m just psyched I got a post up at all. I take my victories where I can get them.

Riding High

I’ve tried to write this about 5 different ways, and each time I stop, thinking that the universe is going to slap me down for my hubris. But really, I know that this has NOTHING to do with me, or anything that I’ve done, and I am just ebullient at what’s been happening.

EJ has been napping. And sleeping. And not spewing up crazy amounts of milk. (Okay, that last one’s me. I don’t eat tomatoes.)

But the napping? A week ago EJ would flip out if I wasn’t holding him all the time. This week? I plop him in the crib under his new mobile and Mom Who? Check out that cool black circle with a red dot! It’s hilarious! And mesmerizing! Like hypnosis that makes him incredibly happy and sleepy all at the same time.

Link to video of squeaking cooing cuteness. Also, EJ rips one at the end. Cracks me up every time, because obviously I am 8 years old at heart.

I wasn’t even trying to put him down for a nap, I was just trying to put him down for 2 minutes while I took care of some bathroom business and I came back into the room and he was drifting off to sleep. Seriously, this has happened twice now – Monday at nap time and last night at bed time. I could have smacked myself in the face, because he had a huge load in his pants too, and I knew I couldn’t leave him in there too long. (We compromised – I let him lay in it for about 45 minutes when he started to stir… and I don’t feel bad about it.)

Anyway, score one for my mother, who bought us the mobile over Christmas and in her infinite motherly wisdom knew that it would be a lifesaver.

Right. On.

And now that I have spoken of it, I know it will never happen again. Also, EJ goes for his first set of vaccinations tomorrow and then we have houseguests all weekend so I know I’m in for a rough couple of days. I really hope he’s feeling better by the time his visitors arrive.

Last night, in the happy time I was granted by the mobile I worked on my super secret knitting project. I still can’t talk about it (soon!) but I can gush (I’m in a gushing mood, can you tell?) about my new KnitPicks Harmony dpn set. Amazing. Smooth, strong, flexible (still talking about needles here. Knitting needles.) they make me very very happy. I’ve never been a huge fan of dpns, but I am a convert. I can see how people wouldn’t mind, or daresay even LIKE using them for socks.

So I suppose you dpn lovers aren’t all crazy. My bad.

Doesn’t hurt either that they’re so pretty.

One Handed

I have knitting – actual cool, photo worthy knitting – but it has to wait because it is super secret right now. It’s pretty frustrating, because my fingers went numb the last month I was pregnant, and I didn’t get full feeling back until about a week ago… so to finally be able to knit, have cool knitting on the needles, AND be back blogging… and NOT be able to blog about it? Right?

I should really take that back. I have a 7 week old baby. Not being able to blog about my knitting is the least of my frustrations. I’m typing one-handed right now as I hold the screaming succubus after he woke up from his twenty minute nap. That’s how long it took him to realize I wasn’t holding him any longer. Happily enough, just long enough for a PB&J and to clean up the kitchen from last night and this morning.

That’s what we’re working on this week: EJ sleeping without somehow being attached to me. Not all the time, I’m okay with most of the snuggling an infant needs*. Just one. One nap a day where I can go to the bathroom NOT wearing a baby. Straighten the apartment up. Knit without fear of poking him with dpns, which, when near a baby look more like eye-gouging, soft-spot-piercing, mini-impalers that would make old Vlad himself proud.

Last week we mastered burping. I have high hopes for naps.

*In fact I like it. He smells good, and makes sweet little baby noises, and has the nicest smiles when he’s all snuggled up with me.

The Return of B.O.B.

Remember this?

The super easy and comfy sweater I knit a few years ago and took forever to write up the pattern? Yup. I finally had the time and mental capacity to set the pattern up as a pdf download from Ravelry for $1. You do not need to be a member of Ravelry to make the purchase. :)

That is all.

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