Thursday, June 26, 2008

Now I Know. And Knowing... Is Something.

Okay, I am fully convinced that free range eggs are superior. To be clear, I am speaking of eggs coming from chickens who do whatever chickens do when they aren't being minmaxed by their corporate overlords. "Access to the outdoors" either means "a small doorway is left open for a few minutes a day" or it means "the kind of old fashioned chicken coop you're picturing in your brain, overly influenced by reading Charlotte's Web one too many times." The thing is, you cannot possibly know which it is without personal access to the chickens.

And I have moved to the absolute edge of outer Mongolia, so much so that there is one farm stand REALLY close to my house, and several farms within ten minutes of driving. There's even a dairy nearby where I can order milk. Delivered by a milkman. In glass bottles. Gosh, any minute now someone's going to come down the street whistling.

(If I sound bitter, it's not because I don't like Mayberry, because I do. We've eaten corn and fruit from that farmer's stand. We love the wildlife in our yard. I just hate having to schlep over an hour for really good Indian and Ethiopian. And while shopping online has its charms, I like looking at stuff before I buy it. Sue me, I'm a suburbanite.)

Anyway, despite all this proximity to produce, I only know of one place that sells eggs that will let me see the chickens. It's 45 minutes north of here. Now, I buy a half dozen eggs, make biscuits with two of them, and forget the other four until they hatch inside the fridge. Little satanic hatchlings, judging from the sulfur smell.

Only an idiot would pack up an infant and drive 45 minutes for six eggs, four of which will probably go bad before they can be consumed, for a minor bump in nutrition.

I'll let you know how they taste.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WFMW: Cradle Cap Solution

Here's my no-fail cradle cap removal method. First you have to buy a special shampoo at the store called T-Gel. This doesn't smell like baby shampoo, because it's NOT. The T stands for Tar. Pick up a fine tooth comb while you're there.

If you are intrigued rather than mortified at the idea of putting tar-in-shampoo-form on your baby's head, you're ready for the next step. Once you get home work some oil into the baby's scalp. Baby oil is of course the first choice, but I've used olive oil too. Massage it into the cradle cap and let it sit for a while. Better still if you do this in a steamy bathroom.

Strip down you and the baby and hop in the shower together (with the T-Gel and comb). When showering with the baby remember he is VERY slippery, especially once you start rinsing out the oil. When you change your grip on him make sure your other grip is already tight. It doesn't hurt to get dad in there too for an extra pair of hands. Tell him to MAINTAIN FOCUS.

I suppose my cradle cap removal plan could be done in a baby tub, but I think the shower steam is part of the magic. I also usually cradle the baby in my arms so his head is back and let the shower water do a really good rinse on his head, which is harder to do in a separate tub.

Now, put the T-Gel on his head, careful to keep it out of his eyes, and lather up. Next, use the comb to work under the layer of cradle cap. It should be flaking off really easily. Let the stubborn parts soak up some more tar while you work on easier parts. There should be gross little flakes all over. EW. Sometimes it's such a mess I have to rinse and re-apply the T-Gel.

This shouldn't hurt the baby, btw, just keep the shampoo out of his eyes. It's not runny and I've never had a problem with it. One cool thing with the water and T-Gel is it turns the cradle cap really white so you can see where it all is and go after it.

My little guy had a fully covered head of cradle cap and after one of my special treatments (it took 3 applications of T-Gel) I got rid of all of it and it didn't come back. Hope this helps!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tools of the Trade

Every trade has its tools. Every worker relies on these tools to complete their jobs. Carpenters have hammers and drills, painters have easels and brushes, I, as a stay at home mom, have my own tools of the trade.

Meet Jose.

Dodge Durango, Gas Guzzler, Carrier of Cargo, Deliverer of Children.

The boys named him Jose. He may be big, but he’s a city-car, not a commuter. We mosey about in Jose and he rarely ventures more than 20 minutes away from home base.I rely on Jose. A lot. More than I want too, lately.

He’s a very important tool in my trade. Without him, there would be no summer half-day sports camps, cello lessons, theater classes or trips to the resevoir, the dog park, ice cream shops, coffee stops and general errand-running that include boring things like well, groceries, appointments and dull trips to the hair-cut place.

The thing is, this tool is great, but lately, I've had to use it. A lot. And it's tiring. Oh drop Drama off at Cello, drop the boys off at their camp only to turn around and pick up Drama again and then get the boys, because the times are staggered so that there's only an hour between each class. Then there's the errands, the appointments and the things I need to get done between the morning chauffering and the afternoon chauffering, because yep, Drama has theater and Turbo has swimming and Mom has discovered that all these 'things' mean she spends more time getting in and out of the vehicle than she does doing anything else. Think of it. Two four-year-olds, a spastic 7-month-0ld puppy and an eleven-year-old. Just getting into the truck takes 20 minutes.

I actually left the house this morning before my husband left for work. This of course, was an adjustment. I had to show him how to lock the door. He's never actually worked the mechanism before.

And it's not going to get better.

Which is why from July 11 to August 18th (the first day of school) Mom and Jose are going on their own personal shortened vacation, and the children will be stuck doing what most of us did when we were kids in the summer: whining about how bored they are. I figure it's the perfect time. Summer camps will be out, and we can focus on the REALLY FUN THINGS like painting Drama's room, reading some good books, and shopping for Back To School Clothes. There will be one month of No Organized Events Unless Related to Back To School shopping.

This sounds awful to some parents, but to me and Jose? It's four o' clock Coronas on the common green time.

I figure it's JUST enough of 'doing nothing in the summer' time to make school appealing.

Not that I'm counting the days down or anything like that.... not yet anyhow!

Another Confession..

My beautiful boy was born with a head of silky brown hair. The middle strip was the most luxurious, but he definitely had a full head of hair. As the weeks have gone by, his head got bigger, but he didn't get more hair, so it looked thin and stretched. The mohawk stayed, though, and given Daddy's college mohawk, we were all much amused.

But then it started to fall out. Worse, the reduction in hair revealed the final stages of cradle cap. Given Mama and Daddy's chronic dandruff, we were not amused.

The second worst thing is that when I peel off the bits of cradle cap, I'm finding seven or eight strands of his baby hair stuck to the dead skin.

The worst thing is that I'm removing the skin so I can keep the hair in a teeny envelope for his scrapbook.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Playing God

If, after reading my last post, you were worried about the little mama bird returning to her nest, I have to admit I was a little worried too. But later that afternoon I spotted her sitting there, all tiny and maternal. There's something about watching a bird sit on its nest that warms my heart. I'm sure it's because I attribute human emotion to her.

I imagine her in a state of hopeful, optimistic anticipation. She may not be having baby showers or painting nurseries, but there must be some love for her eggs in that tiny mama bird's heart, right?

I noticed this morning she wasn't on the nest, so I took a peek in, and here's what I saw.

An interloper!! The big white speckly egg looks nothing like the mama bird's own eggs. So where did it come from? A friend of mine at church told me about this bird. It never builds a nest. It just watches for other birds to build nests and then lays its eggs in with their eggs and lets a surrogate mama feed and raise its birds. Most times the smaller original birds won't get as much to eat as the baby bully bird, and will die. There's a term for this whole situation: Brood Parasitism.

Brood Parasitism is the only way the bully bird reproduces. It's not like she's an extra lazy version of her species. She's just figured out how to free up more time for foraging for food, flying around, and basically - make a living/surviving. And guess what? It's working for her. While the bully birds are thriving, the little mama birds are on the decline.

So which way is the right way? Do I let the bully bird's egg stay in the nest? Does her baby have less a right to be cared for than the original babies? It would seem that even in nature not all moms are able to care for their own young. Some of them have to go out and work while someone else raises their babies. Does it make me a hypocrite if I remove the egg that doesn't belong? Or do I let the little mama bird get tricked into neglecting her own babies?

Why must I be having all this bird drama???

No where did I read anything about where the father bully birds are during all of this.