Saturday, May 28, 2011

Snug Tuck Pillow = Possible Fail (Updated)

Update (Monday, May 30, 2011):

Sunday morning, early, I received an email from the lady making my pillow. She wrote to let me know that the fabric I had chosen was out of stock (this is the same thing the women in the forum I read had to say as well, but I'm just telling you that it's the same story, I'm not drawing any conclusions. Really. I'm not) but that it would be in on Tuesday; would I like her to wait, or go ahead with another, similar fabric? I wrote back (because I was up with the baby and had my phone handy) that she could wait until Tuesday, and if the fabric I requested was available, please use that, and if not, go ahead with the other. So. We wait and see. I'm sort of holding my breath here. I really want my pillow!

Original post (Saturday, May 28, 2011):

Dammit! I got all excited and ordered this seemingly totally rad solution to our co-sleeping situation... and the darn thing is MIA. I ordered it on the 12th, and the website says it should ship 8-12 business days after your order is placed.

It's been just about that, and here I thought I was being patient, when really, it appears that most people wait a lot longer, and I probably will too. I found some people online with not a lot of good things to say about the Snug Tuck Pillow People Customer Service Experience. Apparently the company has a hard time keeping up with demand. Other than the initial confirmation of my order, I haven't heard from them, and there has been nothing to indicate that there's a problem.

I'll keep waiting, I guess, but I was pretty excited about trying this out. Now I'm starting to wonder. The thing was not cheap, either.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I've joined SoundCloud!
Yeah, don't get all excited, I only have one thing to upload (and I still haven't done it yet, maybe later), and I don't expect to have any more. However! All the elements or planets or whatever aligned themselves perfectly and I have one performance, of which I am very proud, to share with you.

Later, yes, later.

I can't remember if I talked about it at the time and I'm too lazy to find out, but in December, when I was 32 weeks pregnant, I performed in a little workshop/recital at West Hollywood Presbyterian Church. I had worked on and performed La flute de Pan by Jules Moquet before and I wanted a second crack at it, so Patty, my flute teacher, allowed me to do it again. She doesn't usually let students do that, but I'm just going to come right out and say it: I am no ordinary student. If you are currently a student of Patty's and you're wondering why Irene gets special treatment, well, I'll tell you: I get special treatment because I'm special! Deal with it. And did I mention I was 32 weeks pregnant? Learning something brand new from scratch wasn't going to happen. I had been fooling around with the Moquet at home by myself, and it was easy enough to put together. It's a beautiful piece and I love playing it... so I did it again (only the first movement, "Pan et les bergers" - "les bergers" means "shepherds"), and I'm so glad.

The winter workshop/recital was full of lots of great performances, and Patty's students (mostly kids, but a few of us adults; as one of the adults, and one of the most advanced players, I went last. I've had the honor of going last for several years now) all played really well. I was also in a couple of ensembles (one of them, the Hallelujah Chorus, with me on bass, was kind of a train wreck, and it was totally my fault, but we won't talk about that now), but I was a little nervous about my solo, as usual, and, as you read on, as was to be expected.

I don't have a good track record when it comes to being prepared in advance. I think I've told you before that I love to play, but I'm often not very motivated to practice (though it's funny: once I get started [this is pre-baby] I can sometimes do it for hours. Or sometimes not. I don't have a lot of discipline. I wish I did, of course I'd be a much better musician, but I don't). My history, when it comes to recitals, is to "learn" my piece, oh, pretty much the week before. Of course I'll have worked on it before then, and I know where the hard parts are, but full-on mastery doesn't come until they very last minute, and as you probably know, "full-on mastery" doesn't respond well to last minute preparation. But, that's the way I do it, knowing very well that it makes for miserable lessons and a tear-filled dress rehearsal. Apparently I'm a glutton for this kind of punishment. I will also never change.
This is why I am a. not a professional musician, and b. I forgot what b. was going to be. <--Mommy brain!
Oh, the tear-filled dress rehearsal! Patty employs a young pianist named Mark Abulencia, and he's amazing - he's extremely talented as a performer, but where his talents really lie, at least where I'm concerned, is his accompanying. The guy can read minds, and can tell when a flutist is floundering, making shit up, and about to skip a whole measure or two (or, ahem, three). He's saved my butt many times by repeating the last bar of the music, slowing my too-ambitious tempos down, covering up my stupid breathing, and following me when I'm re-writing the music. And he does all that and sounds beautiful at the same time. He's also a sweetheart. My dress rehearsals (usually an hour in Patty's living room the day before the recital) have been the same since high school (Mark hasn't been playing with us for that long but I've had this pattern since then. Yes: I am a slow learner. Where have you been?): I walk in, usually before the player before me has finished, and start putting my flute together to quietly warm up. Patty, involved with her other student, avoids looking at me, which instantly puts me on guard. I know that I am ill-prepared, I know she knows I'm ill-prepared, and I know she knows I know... oh, you get it. And so I work on attaining the proper attitude to cover up my total lack of confidence. I usually come up with "combative," which is a really charming personality trait, and which works until I start to play, screw something easy up, and then it turns to "fearful" and "tearful."

There is sometimes quite a bit of cursing at these rehearsals. In between the tears.

Anyway, yes, I did all that this time. But please remember that I was also 32 weeks pregnant. I was big. I was having serious breathing problems, and it seemed like the only "easy" solution was to push the tempo. I have no idea what the ideal tempo for this movement is; maybe I should've found that out ahead of time. Pushing the tempo meant then that my fingers (and brain) had to keep up so that my stupid lungs wouldn't explode. And Moquet (or can I call him "Jules"?) didn't really help me out. Properly prepared, the phrasing probably would be fine for another, non-pregnant flutist, but I was not that flutist. So there was that to listen to, my weird breaking of phrases, and it was annoying, and it was worrisome, and then it was my turn to play, which is why I'm writing this long-ass entry in the first place.

I know that I will play my flute again. I know that I will perform again. I know that the baby and I may get to play duets when he's old enough and that I will hopefully be able to to teach him to love the flute as much as I do (and if not, he can do whatever he wants). But this recital, at the end of my pregnancy, felt like a big one. It felt like my last recital as a non-parent. Any playing I do after that will be as a parent. And I don't know, that felt serious to me. I wanted to sound good, dammit.

And you know what? I totally did. I am so proud of that performance. I have never ever played anything so well. I've never felt so powerful as a flutist, so in control. I knew as I was playing that it sounded good (if maybe a little sloppy, maybe a little too fast and a little out of tune, a little wacky on the breathing). It was nowhere near perfect. But it was really, really good. I don't know if I was playing for the baby (unnamed at the time, but now maybe you see why we named him what we did), or saying goodbye to my (long gone) childhood, or what, but I felt like something was happening, there, and I loved that moment of playing, and look, that's not always the way I feel about performances.

Patrick recorded it for me, and I have it on my iPod. When the baby was about 2 weeks old, I was playing music while feeding him, and it came on. It wasn't the first time I'd heard it but it was the first time I heard it since having him, and dude: I cried. My own stupid playing made me so happy.

After I played the Moquet, I then had to join my fellow flutists and play the Hallelujah Chorus (on bass, as I mentioned before). Someone else counted it off, and I stepped off a cliff. I think what happened is, I wasn't looking at the music (after my performance my brain was all scrambled), and so I played the first bar from memory... and that was as much of the music I had memorized. Oops!

So we started again... and the same thing happened.

Dude: how embarrasing! Still, once we got back on, I think it sounded okay. Playing the bass is fun, but I don't do it very often, so maybe I lack that bass player sense of responsibility and weightiness. I don't know. I only know I screwed it up.

I'll upload the Moquet later tonight and post it for you. Like I said before: it's not perfect. But it's the best I could do, and it was good enough for me to be very proud of.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Today is Tuesday.

Today has been a much better day at work than yesterday. Thank you very much to those of you who contacted me via email or Facebook to tell me to hang in there. I was really tired yesterday, and I know that had a lot to do with it. And... though even I think this is mostly B.S., there will be a full moon tonight. For some reason I always get a little overly emotional at this time of the month. --> Keep reading:
And no, since we're sharing everything here today, I did not get my period. Yay!
For those of you wondering, there are non-baby things that I think about, and in fact I had something in mind just this morning, but unfortunately for you, I've since forgotten what it was. I do recall that I intended to write it down before I, you know, forgot it. Huh. Should've gotten on that sooner, I guess.

A minute ago I got an email from the baby's daycare that we need to schedule our "parent/teacher" conference soon, which is funny, because I speak to his teachers two times a day when he's there as it is. What more could we have to say to each other? This is actually the second email, so hey, maybe I'll call them up (though I know those emails are automated) and schedule something.

I ordered a Snug Tuck pillow for our bed last week, and I am going crazy with anticipation. Since we early on went against everything I thought I believed in regarding sleeping with your baby (I was against it until 3 weeks after his birth, when I realized we'd all get a lot more rest if I just let him in with us. And I don't even nurse in bed! And waking up to that sweet little face is something I will never give up!), and he's starting to try to roll over (I am so proud!), and I think Patrick would like to sleep with his head facing the right direction again one day, I started investigating bed rails. You can go ahead and do a search on Snug Tuck pillows and you will find a hundred blog posts exactly like this one (well, maybe not exactly) so knowing that what I have to say about the product (which I haven't even received yet) is going to be exactly like everyone else's comments... well, who wants to do that? Not me. Once it comes I'll post a photo, and a hopefully unique review.

(Snug Tuck pillow: a large bolster like pillow that attaches to the mattress on top of the fitted sheet to prevent baby from falling on the floor. Not squishy so baby won't, hey, get squished. Because a squished baby would be bad, right? I mean, I'm a new mom, but yeah, I think I'd prefer an unsquished baby. They're totally customizable, fabric-wise, and seem like the best solution. They get lots of loves on blogs and in mommy forums [full disclosure: I hate those forums! The information might be useful but they use so many annoying acronyms and cutesy sayings! "DD" for "darling daughter? Gag me. Just type the words! And who calls their daughter "darling daughter"? I don't know, they're not for me. I read somewhere that companies employ people to go in and correct the grammar on online reviews; I wish someone would do that with the way those people write in the forums [or here on this blog, yes, I know, shut up].] I looked at other guardrails and didn't like how hard they were. And, when J. eventually goes to his own bed [crib? what crib?] it will easily go with him. And the cover is washable. Mine is organic cotton, in a color I think they call "natural." It looks beige. Whatever, I just want it to arrive!)

There's an excess of parentheses and brackets in that paragraph. Oops. You know, somebody called me a "mommyblogger" today and I found that kind of annoying but I guess it's what I've been doing, so who am I to be annoyed? Maybe I'd better write another letter to Stewart Copeland soon.

Okay, so, I've exhausted all my words for today, I think. Gotta go make some more.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Week 1 of being back to work was easy.

But today, day 1 of week 2? I am in need of some encouragement.

I'm tired. I miss my baby. Yesterday was a lazy day, but then in the late afternoon, we realized that we really needed to go grocery shopping, so Patrick and I took J. to Wal-Mart (not my favorite store, but they literally have everything we need; they make it so hard to go anywhere else). Their food selection is pretty good. They have lots of Kashi for me and Morningstar Farms for Patrick. I think that trip kind of messed up the baby's wind-down time in the evening because he was fussier than usual (he usually isn't fussy at all!) at bedtime. I was already feeling worn out so it was hard. Maybe I'm going to (finally) get my period soon because I was feeling that kind of tired.

I still am, actually. Our night-time feedings (usually two, between 12:30 and 2:30) turned into three, and I don't know, I think he could tell I was tired. And then instead of sleeping until 4:15 (like he did all week!) he woke up again at 3:30, hungry!

Today at work? I just miss him. I'm jealous of Patrick for getting to be with him all day, while I have to pump (I tried to go for it 5 times instead of just 4, since he's being fed 5 times at home or in daycare, but man is it harder. I mean, I have to work, too! I think I'm going to have to get that 5th one in at home, which sucks because I want to be with him when I'm home, not hooked up to the pump). I know he deserves time with the baby and it's so nice that he can do it, but... I want to be home, too.

Blah. I'm so lucky I only have to work 4 days a week! It's too bad they're loooong days but I have to remember I get to be home 3 days a week. I get that extra whole day that most people don't.

I can do this. Right?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Back in the saddle

I'm back at work today.

I'm not thrilled about it. After being a full-time mom (for three months), getting up at 4:15 a.m. to feed the baby, take a shower and get on the freeway by 6:15 was not fun. I had no idea, when I got pregnant, that I would adapt to being home all the time so well (and with a minimal display of my previous lazy disposition).

I'll be honest: at 9 o'clock last night, after I put the baby down for bed and I was getting my stuff ready for this morning, I didn't want to go to sleep. I (cried) told Patrick, I don't want to go to bed because that means it'll be tomorrow sooner. But I did go to bed, snuggled up with my little cutie, and we got up at 12:30, 2:30, and 4:15. He's almost on a consistent schedule, but I was surprised he woke up at 12:30 (he usually makes it to 1:30). And then, when it was time to leave? I cried before I put the car in reverse to get out of the driveway (and again, when I transfered from the 91 to the 710. And again, when I got off the freeway and made that left turn towards work. And again, when I pulled into the parking lot).

In an effort to find something good about this, I have come up with the following Pros about being at work (the Cons I assume you can guess):
  • I can go to the bathroom alone, and whenever I want.
  • Shit! I knew there was another one but I've forgotten it already.
Since coming in at 7 a.m., I've pumped twice (for a total of about 10 ounces of milk; not bad), read about 200 out of 567 emails, realized that I forgot the names of two of my co-workers, eaten lunch, gotten two "we're doing fine" texts from Patrick, called him once to see how he's doing, and printed out 5 photos of the baby for my bulletin board.

It'll be okay. I know I'm not the first woman to regret leaving her baby. That said: it still sucks.

Wouldn't YOU want to be at home with this cutie?