Thought of the moment:
I’ve been sickish the last few days with a clogged nose and a sore throat. You know what I DIDN’T need to clear my sinuses? Projectile vomiting grapefruit juice through them for a half hour straight. I can breathe easy now, but I can smell only stomach acid. Awesome.

Bonus: you know you’re pregnant when you finally finish throwing up said grapefruit juice, return to bed to see the unfinished cup sitting next to you… and want to keep drinking it.

Last night I received my laptop cord replacement and finally was able to come back online. I was greeted with this:

It took me five hours to catch up on that shit. I feel asleep sitting up in bed last night with my laptop resting on my belly.

Naturally, just before this happened I was complaining that I had nothing to write about and no motivation to sit down and journal. For the first time in ages… I felt blank. Once this happened? It was like a rainstorm of creative energy, editing inspiration, things I absolutely could not do. And now I have an epic backlog of things I want to write about, but there is no way I can possibly put them all down because the entry will not only end up being 21 pages long, but will be epicly boring and no one will ever want to get through it. I’m going to have to settle for some sort of bullet-point set of updates and then get into shit gradually as it becomes more relevant again.

First topic: Mom
I called 911 and had mom taken into hospital by ambulance about six hours after that last update about her, where she initially appeared to be doing better. In the evening she became lethargic and confused. Kind of… ‘goofy’, for lack of a better word. She couldn’t hang on to things and was dropping medication, her TV remote, her cane. She was practically narcoleptic and was falling asleep and waking up in 2-10 second cycles. I took her blood sugar and all was normal, so I ended up gathering her meds and calling an ambulance.
The hospital experience was a nightmare. An absolute nightmare. The doctor on call in the ER treated us both horrifically. Without doing any tox screens or blood tests he decided she had overdosed on narcotics and hooked my mother up to Narcan to flush her system of all her medications. The medications she REQUIRES to function.

I was kept from seeing her for over an hour, in all likelihood so I would not interfere or attempt to stop this treatment, and when I was finally brought in and told what was going on I demanded proof of this so-called “overdose”. I’d personally handled all her meds that day, and the day prior, and knew for a fact that she’d had significantly less than she did normally. The only answer I ever received from the doctor was, “I don’t need proof. Just look at her!”. He claimed that her violent hallucinations were “improvement” following the Narcan IV. Nothing I said would get through to him and he would take no other suggestions. When I asked about why she was breathing so raspy and not getting enough O2 he shrugged. SHRUGGED. When I asked why they hadn’t investigated that part he walked away.
When she screamed from the pain of a full body spasm and started crying from her frightening hallucinations, the doctor yelled back across the ER, “You’re not getting any of your drugs here, missy!“. My mother later said she remembered this part, and tried for over 20 minutes to get him to come back so she could retort, “I’m 64 years old, asshole, don’t call me missy!”.

I ended up staying by her side until about 4:30 in the morning, terrified to leave; scared that once I left they’d do something even more awful to her. No one paid any attention to her breathing problems or the underlying cause of these issues until about half an hour before I went home… they were all too focused on proving that she was a 64-year-old, severely physically disabled heroin addict.
Except, once again, without ever doing a tox screen.
I finally went home once she was beginning to pass out from exhaustion and some other nurses had convinced the doctor to order a portable chest x-ray to look at her lungs. It seemed like maybe – just maybe – things might actually be going somewhere.

I tried to nap at home, unsuccessfully, and ended up coming back just a few hours later to ensure she was being treated fairly. I was only gone for a little while, but by the time I returned she had been transferred to the ICU. The sight that greeted me was horrifying: she was restrained with long ropes that tied her limbs to the bedframe, hooked up to several IVs and a large, noisy machine that forced air into her lungs. She was unconscious, but disconnected from the Narcan and finally feeling some relief from the hallucinations and the agony the ER had put her through. I sat next to her and cried for hours. I had no answers to what was going on, or what had caused her symptoms, but she seemed to be stable… whatever that meant.

For the first time since childhood I was really afraid my mother would die. All I could think about were all the things I still needed from her: what about all your stories? What about all your knick-knacks? What about everything I have to know?

Fortunately her condition improved dramatically once the ICU had her and she was taken off the Narcan and put on IV fluids and a mild sedative and antipsychotic until she stabilized. Everything got better from that point, and the kindness the ICU nurses showed to to both her and I during the remainder of her stay was desperately needed and greatly appreciated.

When my mother regained consciousness in the ICU a day and a half later, my brother and I sat with her and talked about what she remembered of the experience.
She said, “When I was seeing things in the ER it was the most frightening and intense hallucination experience of my life… and I once did 100 days straight of LSD and then took Peyote on top of a Mexican temple!”

In the end we still don’t really know what happened, only that for some reason her kidneys stopped working and her body became extremely dehydrated. A bunch of shit happened as a result of the dehydration that led to some pretty severe problems, including her inability to breathe properly with O2 sats falling below 70%. Once she was put on breathing machines and hydrated, she immediately started improving and all it took from there was “a tincture of time” (as her ICU nurse put it) to fully recover.
The violent hallucinations, agonizing pain, body spasms, puking, and the rest of the horrific and traumatic experiences she had after being admitted? Entirely the fault of being administered an IV of high-dose Narcan for an obseved “opiate overdose”… which she never fucking needed because that never fucking happened.

Even though it’s all over, I’m still so angry. I can’t believe they treated her that way. If it wasn’t for the wonderful people in the ICU who took over for her care and immediately ceased the Narcan IV and worked on making her comfortable and stable… I don’t want to think about how much worse it could have become.

Also, for an odd coincidence: a rather bitchy nurse who was rude to me in the ICU (the only one from the entire ICU experience, fortunately) who was there on mom’s release day looked very familiar to me. Upon leaving the hospital I asked her if she worked in the area’s other hospital. She looked very suspicious as she answered, “Yes”. At that point I immediately recognized her, but said nothing other than a pleasant, “Oh, okay, you just looked familiar” and then got into the car.
Mom watched the exchange quietly, and once the nurse walked away she asked me, “She looked like you caught her in something. Do you know her?”
“Yeah, she was Curtis’ bitchy nurse after his surgery.”

Second: Marika
Yesterday was Marika’s last day here. She’s moving in with her boyfriend. I haven’t written about any of this publicly, and part of that is because I’m so conflicted about it. I really don’t want her to go: she’s not prepared, she’s not capable, and I’m worried sick about her running into millions of problems both in domestic life and in her relationship as a result of this choice. But she’s also a member of this family, and there’s really no stopping any of us when we get like this, nor is there any real benefit in trying to talk her out of it. Even her own mother (once she finally spoke to her) had the same response, and that’s saying something.
So we all do what we can to support her, while also letting her know that while we love her and will help her, we don’t approve of what she’s doing. She has this idea in her head that moving out “on her own” will solve all of her problems and make her life perfect. She’s also been trying hard to burn her bridges behind her so that any and all other choices seem more unappealing, thusly elevating this one to a God-like status of ultimate perfection. It’s not only ridiculously transparent, but it’s also very painful for Curtis and I to endure. We’ve worked so hard to provide stability and love for her for two years, and made so many sacrifices for her (without regret, don’t get me wrong, in no way do I consider myself a martyr and have anything but the utmost love and care) only to have her do a complete 180 in the last four months of being here once she realizes this other “adult” life choice is on the horizon. Suddenly the house isn’t “comfortable” and she had a flippant, weird attitude with us the kids, she picks fights, she doesn’t do her work, she’s unmotivated and disrespectful and… I don’t even know. Despite it all I love her and stay patient, communicative and respectful… but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. Being mentally aware of the reasons why she’s doing it doesn’t help ease the pain, either.
It’s stuff like this that reminds me why we have voting, drinking and driving regulations that push those responsibilities to late teenagehood or early adulthood. It’s not because we’re not physically capable, it’s because we make choices like this when we’re 16 and think we’re simultaneously invincible and brilliant.

In the end, I’ll be here with open arms if it all falls apart and we’ll take her back without a single smart remark. She’ll always have a home with us, no matter what.
I love her, I just don’t want her to get hurt. And selfishly I want her here with us, because she has a place in this home and it’s not the same without her.

Third: Dad
Recently, dad and I had a lot of strain in our relationship when we disagreed on how to handle some of Marika’s more recent antics. It doesn’t help that when she’s mad at me she goes to him to butt in, and when she’s mad at him she’ll come to me to butt in.
The difference between us is that I’ll readily provide her with unconditional emotional support but I refuse to get involved: I believe that solving problems, having confrontations and dealing with arguments and disagreements is her responsibility… not mine. I will support her, and I will be here for her to hold her hand, but I will not jump in and pick up her shit for her.
Dad, on the other hand, will. And he will do so in the biggest, most craziest and unnecessary, “I AM A BIG POWERFUL DAD WHO LOVES HIS LITTLE GIRL” way that makes me sort of thankful that he never pulled that kind of stunt when I was a teenager because I would have absolutely flipped my ever-loving shit at him for it. This is one of the ways Marika and I are fundamentally different: I was much more of a loner and preferred to solve my personal problems without parental interference (or knowledge, if I suspected they would interfere). I was fairly private and extremely introverted, my brother is similar, and Marika is everything but. She takes after her mom in the drama queen aspect (and readily admits this, so it’s not like I’m saying something particularly awful or never-before-spoken) especially if she has a captive audience, and dad is always willing to be that audience… whereas I have very, very little patience for her theatrics.

He has developed a pretty powerful inferiority complex over being denied access to her through most of her life, and now that he’s here he has a tendency to go overboard trying to make everything better – even when it means splitting his devotion between us. I’m not angry or jealous of the attention: I’m a big girl, Marika is 16 years old, and if he tried to do that kind of thing for me I would be pretty freaked out, but it pisses me off that he gets involved in sibling arguments when he really doesn’t need to. It seems like all of our recent spats have resulted in him either at my door or on the phone trying to convince me not to be angry with her because she’s too emotionally fragile to handle it. I just… ARGH. STOP. GO AWAY. THIS DOES NOT INVOLVE YOU.

Part of the problem is that he and I parent very differently, and have very different styles and ethics when it comes to problem-solving, which complicates things when we’re co-parenting the same person at the same time (but not really). I’m actually a much stricter parent than he is, though Curtis’ and my parenting style emphasizes communication and personal responsibility, while dad is much more open to being both an exclusive caretaker and a buddy. I’m not up for constant rescuing from personal crises, and my parenting teens philosophy is more devoted to the idea that teaching independence, responsibility and trust are absolutey pivotal in having a functional adult life. I’m not a whip-cracking “tough love” authoritarian by any means, but I will not take your shit, nor will I do your shit.
He also raised two only children rather than sets of siblings, and unintentionally missed out on large chunks of our young/adolescent lives, which contributes to a lot of that divide. He feels guilty and wants to be daddy dearest, and I have none of that emotional baggage. I’m not opposed to making Marika do emotional or physical dirty work if it means she learns a valuable lesson. Dad, for the most part, is.

For instance:
He believes she’s too emotionally fragile to take on the responsibilities and expectations I give her.
I respect that she’s emotionally fragile, but believe that the best way to handle this is with constant support, love, trust, communication and at the same time to NOT take on her life responsibilities for her and instead hold her hand and help guide her through them. I feel it’s more productive to encourage her to keep working toward her responsibilities in a reasonable way (without being too overwhelmed), rather than abandon them and end up sitting around doing nothing but feeling sorry for herself. Part of this is also her unique personality: if she was the kind of kid who needed that isolation, it would be different… but she isn’t, she needs to stay busy and have some challenges she can achieve to feel like she’s being productive and meaningful.
When she becomes frustrated, upset, or has conflict with people Dad wants to swoop in and rescue, because (and he admitted this openly) it results in the instant parent gratification of having your child express their unending love and admiration for you. That’s much more pleasing and validating than having them pissed at you, slam doors and cry about how unfair you are. I’m much more willing to take that kind of challenge on, because I’m okay with being the bad guy for a little while. Dad isn’t, largely due to all that guilt and insecurity about not being there. And as much understanding, love and compassion I have for him regarding those issues… it’s also really fucking annoying. That baggage very easily gets in the way of my problem-solving with Marika and encouraging her to work out conflicts with me (or anyone) by facing them head-on instead of what she wants to do with them; run, hide and then recruit other people to fight her battles for her.
Life is hard, life is full of conflicts, and the sooner you learn to deal with them, the better.

Dad’s major internal conflict over these situations is that while he doesn’t want to get too involved when I’m “parenting” her, and end up undermining my authority with his own, he’s also her father (and my father) which just turns everything upside-down in a million ways.
He can’t parent me anymore, and I greatly resent any of attempts to try, but he can fight with me… except when he does we have to take on these weird and uncomfortable positions of co-parent and dad/daughter at the same time; acknowledging each other’s position in her life while also being at odds with certain issues or techniques. Throw in all the communication issues and complicated history that dad and I have on our own and we’ve got a real party. It’s like a fucking emotional circus.
Curtis once said that, as an observer of our inter-family conflicts, it was a little like watching people play that game where you drop a baseball bat, catch it in one hand, then everyone else piles their hands above yours one after the other to see who gets the top spot. “Except,” he added. “Once you get to the top you all grab for the bat and hitting each other with it”.

I ended up having a rather large confrontation with him the other day that ended in happy tears and lots of good communication as we sat in his apartment with a box of tissues that we passed back and forth.
It didn’t start out too well, and originally began with an uncharacteristic phone argument between him and Curtis over Curtis’ discipline of Marika following her broken promises and flakiness resulting in our kids once again feeling abandoned. Curtis was pissy, Marika over-reacted and came to dad for rescue, he swooped in and called Curtis to complain about how unfair he was being, they got mad at each other and somehow ended up hanging up the phone on each other at the exact same time, each of them beliving themselves to have been the instigator. It was actually kind of funny once it wasn’t so fucking infuriating. Given that neither of them would talk to each other following this conflict (dad because he’s too pissy, and Curtis because he’s intimidated by my father and doesn’t want to fight with him), I ended up walking over to his house and knocking on the door. Dad answered with a scowl.
I waved my hands in circles, “I’m here to perform a magic trick,” I said.
His expression softened. “What’s that?”
“I’m going to make everything better in just 45 seconds.”

45 seconds turned into 45 minutes, but it was both productive and enlightening. When it gets down to it, dad is a really good communicator and is very in touch with his feelings. Once he starts talking, he’s very willing to admit flaws, vulnerabilities and his triggers and it makes a big impact on how easily we understand each other. He just needs to get through a lot of defensive anger before he’s able to get into it, and getting to that point is really just a matter of being able to sit quietly and let him be heard. In the end that isn’t that hard, it just feels hard when you both have something REALLY IMPORTANT to say and you both feel like you have the REALLY MOST IMPORTANTEST thing of all.
It’s fortunate that I’m patient with this particular communication problem, because if I wasn’t we’d probably end up throwing things at each other.

Fourth: Kids
The kids have been supremely annoying the last little while, which may or may not be related to the fact that Curtis and I have been alternating sick days for about two straight weeks. Tempest seems largely unaffected, as always, but Xan has a perpetually runny nose and his asthma has started kicking up again. We have him on Flovent three times a day, which is helping, but he still seems pretty miserable. He acts out for our attention when we’re feeling lazy and sick by being a little bugger and performing as many annoying and infuriating antics as he possibly can in a day’s time. He also torments Tempest, and in turn she torments him back, which ends up forcing us up from desperately-needed rest to run around separating them and cleaning up their messes.
In a single evening the kids managed to tear apart their room four times, spread Lego around the livingroom, break several expensive toys, lose others, Tempest may have broken Xan’s big toe by slamming it in the bathroom door. When we finally got everything calm and were able to take the rest of the evening out to ourselves to relax and be grown ups for a measly two and a half hours, we returned to find that not only had Xan convinced my mother to let him stay up until midnight eating candy and cereal, but he’d also taken apart an entire feather pillow and spread it all over the bedroom.

Curtis has really gotten the retro gaming bug lately and rented Kingdom Hearts from the library. Tempest absolutely adored watching him play it and after a while it became a kind of fun evening activity for them while I was knitting and whatnot. After beating the game a few days ago, he went and got Kingdom Hearts II and started playing that one. We just passed the point this afternoon where they reintroduce the Sora character, who was an adolescent in the first game and has now grown into a teenager.
Tempest asked, “Why is his voice different?” which ended up prompting a three hour discussion about puberty. Having the sex talks with a child who is autistic spectrum is both easier, and more difficult.
Easier because she just wants the straight-forward facts and no gooshy stuff, so I can speak to her the same way I’d speak to another adult (or a teenager at least) without any worry that it’s ‘too mature’ for her.
Difficult because she asks really blunt questions, and sometimes I’m not at all prepared to answer them in a manner that’s appropriate for her age. She has a tendency to become ‘overeducated’ about topics very easily and then has no way to figure out how to use this or express knowledge in appropriate ways, nor does she have any sense of personal space, comfort zones, body policing, etc.
She’d ask me stuff like, “Why does a boy’s penis get bigger in puberty? By how much?” and she wants exact dimensions. And then she wants to know what the comparison between Curtis and Xan’s penis is and exactly how my breasts look in every tiny way so she can understand how hers will look when they develop. Why do I have to call the outside of my vagina a vulva if it’s all connected, and what colour will my pubic hair be? She wants to know the details of a sexual act between Curtis and I so that she can understand why people would want to engage in it, an then wants to know what it feels like. But describe it in a way that uses no ‘feeling’ words so she can easily understand. I mean… what? I am totally unprepared for this kind of conversation and am often left at a loss for words when trying to figure out ways to translate those ideas into something appropriate to teach an autistic seven year old.

I ended up opening YouTube and Google and finding a number of diagrams and BBC documentaries to help answer her questions visually. She was especially interested in early embryo development, and what egg fertilization and sperm look like under a microscope. This can be partially contributed to our recent microscope find; I bought the most fantastic set at Value Village for about $13 along with several retro games from their epic “post Christmas” haul of board games that lined their entire back wall, floor to ceiling.
When we brought the set home I realized it was identical to the one I received for Christmas one year as a young teenager, which cost my parents about $180.
We set it all up on the kitchen table and I gave Tempest a short lesson about how to handle all the objects, and Xan a short lesson on not touching anything (because trust me, it’s better that way). On the first night we looked at cat hair, a stray cat whisker, pigs blood (from a pork roast Curtis was preparing), spit, yarn, fuzz we found on the ground, dirt and compared Tempest’s hair to Curtis’ beard. All of this was fascinating, but nothing was as impressive as Curtis’ suggestion: breastmilk. I expressed a drop or two onto a slide and the results were really quite stunning. It was so cool I ended up taking a picture through my macro lens.

So if you’ve ever wondered what colostrum looks like under a microscope magnified 900x, here’s your answer:

It is jam-packed full of stuff, more so by millions and millions than any other substance we looked at. So cool.

Fifth: Me (and baby)
This baby is freakishly strong. Were all my babies this strong at this stage of pregnancy? Did I just forget what this is like? I feel that this child is demonstrating a truly abnormal amount of strength. Her legs are so spindly and bony they can’t possibly be able to push and kick so hard it brings tears to my eyes – at 25 weeks – right?
Baby (who has recently come to be known as “Fuzz” due to a very, very old and not particularly funny inside-joke) has started responding to pokes and prods by kicking back, turning toward light or Curtis’ voice, and doing backflips and knee-jumps at all hours of the night. My belly looks like some sort of animal nest, with constant moving and wriggling just underneath the skin. I’ve tried to take video of it a few times, but have been unsuccessful. Every time I quiet down and start watching, baby stops and listens to the suspicious silence.
* As an update to this, I was finally able to take video last night. Link at the bottom of this entry.

She has a very different personality than any of the others, and it’s very clear already how unique she feels. She’s very picky about her space, and whenever I lean forward to grab something, or tailor-sit with my legs crossed, she’ll push hard against my hip bone or my ribs until they move away. She has zero tolerance for having her space invaded, and quickly becomes rather aggressive about it. The other kids weren’t nearly as finicky about it, but with Fuzzbaby I’ve been awakened multiple times a night after having turned onto my side (which then pushes into her) and feeling her put what seems like an excess of 10lbs of force against the bed to try and get me to roll on my back. How is it that she’s capable of this at a mere 24/25 weeks? And I have 16+ weeks left? Jesus.

A week or so back I was laying on the couch with Curtis watching him play a game and knitting when the baby suddenly started vibrating. And by vibrating, I really mean vibrating. It felt like someone had put a cell phone inside me and was calling it. I have never experienced anything even remotely like that in all of my pregnancies. I actually got up and looked around to see if I was sitting on a phone, or the Wiimote or something… but no, it really was coming from the baby. Curtis didn’t believe me when I told him, so I grabbed his hands and made him feel. Sure enough Fuzzbaby started vibrating again in a matter of moments and it freaked him right out. How the fuck are fetuses capable of this? What is she even doing!?

A series of unfortunate events and unsynchronized sick has led to us not having sex in two weeks. I am fucking dying here. Every time I feel great, Curtis feels awful. Every time Curtis feels great, I feel awful. And the rest of the time we both feel awful. And then there was that time that we got half way through foreplay when I suddenly THREW UP EVERYWHERE.
Because that’s a turn on.
“Darling, your kisses are so hot that it makes me want to vomit uncontrollably”.
I spent the next 25 minutes washing my mouth out with soap and crying. Curtis is such a trooper and is totally unfazed by this kind of thing, but I was so humiliated I could barely look him in the eye for the next two hours. There’s nothing like being in the middle of naughty time and having barely two seconds of warning to epicly ruin the evening. After the drama had passed and I was left sitting on the bed pouting, Curtis gives me a hug and says, “Well, look on the bright side: it didn’t happen while you were riding me!”.

I’m getting really good at this throwing up thing. And by good I mean I’ve learned to angle my head in a way that usually prevent shit from coming out my nose. It deeply disturbs me that I’ve spent so much time puking my guts out this pregnancy that I actually had the opportunity to fine-tune my method.
I am an extreme emetophobe, to the point that no matter how many times I’ve thrown up (and it’s been about 200-300 times since week six – without exaggeration) when I reach that point of no return I start violently shaking, and then crying. Due to the hyperemesis, that can translate to panic attacks many times a day, almost every day, for months. You’d think I’d get more accustomed to it, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. At times it has freaked me out so bad my throat seizes up and I faint. It may sound extreme to a lot of people, but I’m [by no means a rare case].

Last night I actually started falling asleep at a decent hour when I suddenly bolted upright with the onset of a panic attack. I felt the panic before I felt any nausea, but had a feeling that it might be a precursor to being sick so I ended up cautiously making my way to the bathroom just in case. Turns out that was a really good plan because moments later I started projectile vomiting so suddenly and so violently that I had almost no warning, and had I not already been sitting in front of the toilet I would have ended up coating my walls with it.
I ended up being violently sick (and by violently I really, truly mean violently) for a half hour. I swear to god I barely had two cups of grapefruit juice before bed but I must have thrown up twenty. I hate vomiting. I hate it more than anything. I absolutely cannot deal with it at all. When my kids get sick I practically have to leave the house. Curtis and I have a deal about me dealing with explosive poop and him dealing with vomit, because merely knowing about it is enough to send me into a shaking, quivering mess. The last time Tempest felt ill and told us that she might need a bowl I started seeing stars. Curtis ran me to the bedroom with a pair of earplugs before he got her a bowl because the reality is that it’s easier to clean up her puking on the couch or the floor than it is to clean up the mess of me fainting into a table while I attempt to flee the room.
Why yes I will accept my Mom of the Year award, thank you.

This pregnancy has been a nightmare due solely to the hyperemesis. If that part didn’t exist I’d be feeling absolutely amazing.
Right now I’m carrying toiletpaper rolls in my purse at all times in case of pubic vomiting (so I can have something to wipe my mouth and nose) and am living with a constant fear that this will not go away once baby is born.

Knitting projects of the last few weeks. The first is a set of three different types of baby socks, all sourced from the same PDF download.



And the hardest by far, “Chevron lace”:

I kept the ribbed and ruffle for Fuzzbaby and gave way the chevron lace as a baby shower gift.

A skirty soaker, made with soy wool.

While taking photos, D’Argo decided he was far more important and came to interrupt.

Purple booties:

Saartje’s booties:

I’m still working on Tempest’s helldress. Some days ago I attached the sleeves into the bodice and started on the skirt, which meant I’d managed to get the furthest I’ve ever been into this project and as a result I was feeling pretty badass. Initially the skirt seemed very challenging; it alternates cable swatches with feather lace sections that grow in width every other row, but after a while I started getting a sort of rhythm to it and knitting it was not only fun, but a breeze! Hooray, I’m actually enjoying this dress again!
Then the next morning came… and I risked trying it on her to see how it would fit. The bodice, knitted at the largest size and measuring right on target according to the pattern notes, was way too tight for Tempest’s chest. It could get on and off her just fine, but the stitches were so stretched that it resembled loose crochet. Devastated, I realized my only option was to rip it apart and start all over again. It took me two hours alone to dismantle it, and once that was done and I was left with nothing but the sleeves I just put the project down. This dress will be the death of me.

RIP too-small dress, you were the best I’d ever been:

If anyone is a Ravelry user and wants to read some of the knit diary I’ve had on this project, you’re welcome to do so by [ clicking over ]. I’m trying to gain a few more “friends” on the site so I can track more projects and get more ideas for my own knitting inspiration (I love looking through other people’s favourites), so unlike Facebook, I’m willing to friend random readers so request away. Curtis is also on Ravelry, though he rarely updates his project pages.

Photos of the Day:
Photographer lady friends all met up for a “photo social” last month and after seeing me bring my knitting with me I was asked to lead a photographer crafting night some weeks later and teach some of them how to knit, or help others refresh. That ended up happening at photographer friend Nicole’s home two nights ago, and went from 7pm to nearly midnight. It was really, really fun and not only did I manage to have a really good time in a normally very uncomfortable position (talking to people) but I also made some new acquaintances in the local photography circle.
Nicole and I are both pregnant, and she also just found out she’s having a girl, so of course at one point in the evening we all piled into her en-suite studio so we could have some photos of us together. Two of them were posted on Facebook today, and I think they’re adorable so I’m reposting them here as well.

(Despite appearances, we’re actually the same size (in belly, at least), I’m just laughing in one of the images and clenching stomach muscles makes your belly suck in).

Nicole is 30 weeks, I’m at 25.

Video of the Day:
Fuzzbaby kicking me at 2am, taken at 24 weeks gestation. I love that I can see kicks now. These obviously aren’t as substantial as other ‘kick’ videos out there taken at 35+ weeks where you can make out limbs and details… but it’s still cool. πŸ™‚

Quotes of the Day:
While we were driving in the car and listening to the radio, Queen’s “Another one bites the dust” came on. Tempest heard all of one line of singing before perking up and announcing, “Hey! This is the same person who sings ‘Loverboy’! I love this guy!”. She grooved for a few minutes before asking, “Do we have more songs by this guy? I want to hear all of them.”
Curtis and I shared a look of pride. Our 7 year old loves Queen.

Curtis is crocheting a baby hat for Fuzzbaby, and accidentally started pulling the yarn from the wrong end of the ball so it ended up tangled in a huge mess. I offered several times to help him out, as I’ve become excellent at detangling in record time, but he was being stubborn and insisted on doing it himself. It took him over 40 minutes to get through the knot.
Curtis: “There, finally! That took FOREVER.”
Me: “You should have just let me do it!”
Curtis: “You can shut up.”
Me: “I’m really good at it, you know.”
There’s a long pause.
Me: “Untangling yarn, that is. Not shutting up.”
Curtis, pondering: “I wish you were really good at shutting up.”

Links of the Day:
GOP plans to redefine “rape” – Because raped and sexually abused women already don’t have enough obstacles between them and their recovery… to coming forward… to finding peace and recovery… I just have no words for this fucking disgusting shit.
A rare newsreel of Helen Keller and lifelong companion and teacher Anne Sullivan, demonstrating how she learned to ‘hear’ – This is so amazing, and touching. As she demonstrates how she learned to speak her first sentence, “I am not dumb now” I teared up. Apparently this footage was taken just a few years before Anne Sullivan passed away. Poor Helen, I can’t imagine how devastating it must have been to her to lose a companion that literally opened her to the world.
24-hour view of the sky – 24 hours worth of brilliant sky photography (including 11-hour star trails) stitched together as a fisheye-style round photo showcasing every hour of the day simultaneously. Amazing.
Boston-area woman gives birth to her first… a 13lb baby – And she did it NATURAL. In the HOSPITAL. This woman gets a medal. I love how chill she is about it in the interview, like it was no big deal at all. Fantastic.
Is breastfeeding advocacy anti-feminist? – A fantastic essay by Katherine Dettwyler, author of the infamous ‘natural age of weaning’ studies that we all know so well. This article takes on the cultural and feminist history of breastfeeding advocacy, and takes a look at the misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the movement as anti-feminist by parties which devalue reproductive success (or aspirations) as inherently lesser… which, when you break it down, is truly the anti-feminist view. Are things that only women can do more unimportant than male-defined success (ie. career and sexual prowess)? Is an aspiration for reproductive success (ie. raising a family, breastfeeding, being heavily involved with your children) a “sacrifice”, or somehow a downgrade from what we culturally consider a good, stable lifestyle? How does this reflect on feminism? What does it say of feminists who believe that reproductive success, a largely female venture, somehow doesn’t count next to success defined by male ventures and power? An excerpt: “Many feminists have devoted much of their time arguing against the first proposition (and rightly so), claiming and going on to prove that (at least some) women are capable of, and interested in, traditionally male productive activities, and deserve to have the opportunities to pursue them if they want. At the same time, some feminists have accepted – lock, stock, and barrel – the second proposition, agreeing with the general male view that only the things men do are important, and that the things only women can do, because of female biology, are unimportant. Anything that detracts a woman from pursuing success as defined in a male way, is viewed as oppressive by these feminists, because women’s contributions as the reproducers of the population, both biologically (through birth) and culturally (through child-rearing) are devalued in traditional Western cultural belief systems.”
This article perfectly articulates the argument (and the criticisms) of the breastfeeding advocacy movement, and what the real goals and ideals are. A fantastic read, though it can be heavy reading as it’s a little scientifically inclined and if you aren’t used to reading papers it might seem a little dry.




  • melly4924 says:

    Im sorry about your mother, for some reason some ER doctors can be really rude and cold. I love all your knitting projects, Im still on making scarfs haha

  • bluealoe says:

    Your posts, even the bullet-point update ones, always have SO much in them that I never know quite where to begin in replying.

    The experience with your mom sounds absolutely horrid. I mean, hell, one look at your mom would tell you she’s no heroin addict! Have you looked into reporting that doctor? Because if he’s treating patients that way, he shouldn’t be practicing at all.

    I’m glad she’s okay now. Give her a hug from me, please?

    About Marika, all I can really say is that I respect you tremendously for letting her go even though you don’t want her to. I can see the appeal of going to a new place and starting “fresh”, but that really doesn’t solve any problems. Is she going to keep up with her schooling?
    As a sidenote, I am SO glad I’m not raising a teenager.

    Co-parenting a teenager with your own father has got to lead to all sorts of weird issues. How to have a healthy dad-daughter relationship while also being co-parents…yikes. The swooping-down-and-rescuing trick has got to get old fast, though at least he acknowledges it.
    And strangely, the description of arguing with your dad has made me miss my own dad so damn much. I even miss the fights we had. Argh.

    A three-hour sex talk with a seven-year-old? Wow. At that age I think I was just barely aware of sex, and not because my family was secretive or anything. I just wasn’t interested in it, though I spent hours reading trivia books and learning obscure facts. Sex just wasn’t fascinating enough for me.

    Stupid question, but you’re producing colostrum now? I thought that it didn’t come in until just before the baby was born.

    Speaking of the baby. it doesn’t surprise me in the least that she’s so strong. She’s your and Curtis’ daughter, after all. πŸ™‚

    Right now I’m carrying toiletpaper rolls in my purse at all times in case of pubic vomiting

    PUBIC vomiting? That’s quite a feat….(it’s really unfair that the words public and pubic are so close to each other)

    *squees* The socks and booties are amazing. I especially love the purple ones. So delicate looking!

    The pictures of you and Nicole are lovely. Your smile is just so cute, and you look like you’re having a lot of fun. πŸ™‚

    Excellent links of the day. The breastfeeding article was fascinating. I think the most important part are the lines “women have a right to instrumental support for the choices they make and denying women knowledge about the consequences of their choices is profoundly non-feminist and unfair. That’s really what the feminist movement comes down to; that whether a woman wants to pursue traditional male or female roles or both or none, that she has the support to do whatever they chooses. Hell, that goes for anyone, not just women.

    Okay, I think I’m done. This is the longest comment ever! *hugs* Love you, HBS.

    • admin says:

      mom: I was going to post an update to this soon saying that after we got some of the records from the hospital, and getting second opinions from two other doctors, I’m planning on pursuing legal action. Apparently he didn’t even follow standard procedure for addicts, which is to SEDATE THEM first due to the torment of high level narcan withdrawal shit. I’m so fucking pissed.

      Colostrum: your milk doesn’t come in until some days after baby is born, but your breasts start making colostrum at some point during pregnancy. You may not leak it, but you can express it. It also depends on every individual woman, and whether or not you’ve breastfed before. I’ve had milk on and off since age 16 or so (remember the meds?) so I tend to get back into the groove very quickly. I still had milk when I conceived (even though Xan had weaned over a year prior), but it abruptly dried up about 3 months into pregnancy and the colostrum started coming about a month or so after that.

      Tons of people have pointed out the public/pubic typo, I just keep not correcting it. πŸ˜›

  • twirlgrrl says:

    D’Argo is SOOOOO beautiful.

    I love those last booties!

    My babies both did that vibrating thing. I have tried and tried to figure out what it was, but I’ve never found a good explanation. It’s the weirdest feeling, isn’t it?

  • fieryminge says:

    That experience with your mom in the hospital sounds horrifying both for you and your mom. I don’t know that I would have been able to handle that without strangling someone. I hope she comes out of the whole experience without lasting effects.

    I think it’s smart of you to let your sister do this. Sounds like this may be one of those things she has to put herself into in order to learn the big picture lesson. I most certainly can relate. And the best thing you can do is just support her and be there if/when she comes running back. I moved out of my parent’s house at 18 and straight into the arms of a guy that was NOT the right choice but I tried to make it work as best as I possibly could. Even though things were rough, I never went back to my parents for living support/help. It worked for me and I feel stronger as an adult knowing that I’ve worked myself up to where I am now. But from reading your journal, it sounds like your sister has some intense things going on. It’s a hard balance to let somebody go but still be supportive, but you’re doing the right thing.

    I commend you and other parents that have children with Autism or a disability. I’m not a patient person at all and I although I know that over time I’d learn to grow and deal with it day by day, I do not think I would be able to handle it. That said, I too had some of the same exact questions about sex that she does like exact measurements… I didn’t quite grasp the concept. I began learning about sex ed in school at the age of 8 but my mom explained it all to me at the age of 5 (and from there then began to explain how my dad wanted but she didn’t like certain sexual acts and discussing their marriage/sex life). Then being young and playing with Barbies/Kens/dolls that were not anatomically correct and seeing the drawn pictures in my sex ed books it was all kind of misleading. I never wanted to ask because I was embarrassed and confused. I took to looking at encyclopedias and anatomy books. I kind of made my own conclusions about things. Then when I was about 10 or 11 I discovered my brother’s porn collection and learned a lot more than I needed lol. I don’t recommend that route for Tempest. But I can sympathize with how confusing it can be to not know exact specificities and not have the answers. Do you guys have an anatomy book or encyclopedia with an overlay section, like one is the skeleton, one is the muscular system, vascular, and the top one is the outside naked body? That might help her a little.

    I love the Saartjes booties. I think the buttons look perfect πŸ™‚ That dress seems so frustrating! You have more determination than I would in picking it back up and continuing it time after time. And I read your project notes on it, I think that I would also make it a little big at this point just because I wouldn’t want Tempest to grow out of it quickly after all you’ve put into it. Oh, and I added you on Ravelry (pinkllama)

    • admin says:

      Tempest’s first experience with hardcore sex ed was picking up an encyclopedia of the human body at… 5? 6? And reading through the chapters on human reproduction. She came in after reading it and asked me “What does sex look like?”, which prompted our first official sex talk. She was far from flying blind, obviously, as we continually drop anatomy lessons and basic information throughout our kids’ upbringing… but that was the first time we’d formally sat down and talked about sexuality.
      She’s incredibly smart, but part of that smart is that it races ahead of her developmentally so she has a tendency to learn all this information that she can’t really process. It leads to a lot of the irregular questions, like one that assumes almost no knowledge of a reproductive system followed by one that assumes a scientific-level of study.

      I’m not that patient a person, and I’m far from perfect… parenting an autistic spectrum child can be really really hard. I don’t think we’re born perfect at it, we just learn as we go. If it happened for you, you’d have the same expeirence: everyone’s learning.

  • admin says:

    Re: Extra money/wonderful knitting

    You have a point… I know that it’s perfectly *legal* because I remember the whole copyright issue with patterns and how copyright can’t legally extend to what someone makes because that’s *their* work. It just seemed somehow uncool to do, you know? But you have good points and I hadn’t considered it that way. If had the time and resources to make a bunch of extra stuff, I might end up selling it on the blog. πŸ™‚

  • bookofruth says:

    Extra money/wonderful knitting

    Do you have an etsy shop? Your knitting is top notch and pretty original. I bet your stuff would do well on etsy.

    • admin says:

      Re: Extra money/wonderful knitting

      I do have an Etsy shop, (for photography) but I can’t sell my knitting for several reasons:
      1. I’m using patterns created by someone else
      2. The patterns I’ve made myself are largely inspired by someone else’s pattern, which is why I use them for personal use only.
      3. I have pregnancy induced carpal tunnel, so my ability to knit is come and go.

  • re: Marika: I can’t even imagine being ready to move in with my boyfriend when I was sixteen. That should be a pretty steep learning curve!

    re: Fuzzbaby movements: I loved hearing about this. I was that baby with both space and sound. My mother would try to use her belly as a resting spot for anything; books, coffee cup, even just her hands, and I would let her know in no uncertain terms to get off my space. Also, she worked in an office with a rather noisy typewriter and each time she’d get to the end of the line it would make a ‘ping’ noise. And I’d elbow her. Hard. She made a game out of it; typing faster and faster just so that I’d elbow her. My elbow was always discernible through her belly and to this day, by feeling both my elbows, she can work out which elbow it was. πŸ˜€

    It’s definitely still a part of my personality…I get very grumpy if I don’t have some time to myself every now and again.

  • crustyshoes says:

    I was hoping to see you update about that dress. It’s too bad you had to rip it out, it looked really good. Hopefully the next version will be the last version!

    The video of the baby kicking is so neat. I really want to know what it feels like to be kicked from the inside.

  • robynz says:

    I had a dream earlier today about your kids getting lost in a mall parking lot… It’s so weird, I rarely dream about people I know, but I dream about you and your family often… So the first thing I did when I got up was check your journal.

    I’m sorry to hear one of your brood is trying to leave the nest!

  • gardenmama says:

    Re: your mom – *boggles* It’s my understanding from talking to a friend who is an ER doc that if an older person comes in who is disoriented, the first thing they look at is dehydration and standard protocol is to hook up an IV and rehydrate. Kidney function naturally declines as we age, even without additional health risk factors like your mom’s diabetes. I can’t believe how horribly she was treated and hope that she escapes without any long term side effects πŸ™

    Re: vomiting – at least you have a sense of humor about it, at least after the fact. I don’t have panic attacks about it, I just hate vomiting. Are you not taking anything for it any more, or is it not working?

    Re: Marika – the best thing you can do is take her back and not say “I told you so.” My parents had every right to say I told you so, but when I called them to come rescue me, they just did it and never said a word about it. Now that I’m a parent, I appreciate so much more how hard that must have been for them.

    Re: baby – yay for alien baby kicks you can see from the outside! Hopefully she won’t be so eager to get into the world that she actually rips out through your abdomen πŸ˜‰

  • Don’t you just love knitting wee baby things? They’re so cute and go so quickly. I’m getting to that age where my friends are starting to have their first kids, and I’m loving being able to make little baby booties and hats πŸ™‚

  • crunchynurse says:

    Children and music

    My 8 year old aspie son loves Bohemian Rhapsody. I credit Guitar Hero, and Rock Band. He also loves the Beetles, Van Halen, and Aerosmith. Yes, we are proud. πŸ˜‰

  • It’s stuff like this that reminds me why we have voting, drinking and driving regulations that push those responsibilities to late teenagehood or early adulthood. It’s not because we’re not physically capable, it’s because we make choices like this when we’re 16 and think we’re simultaneously invincible and brilliant.

    I’ve read of several studies lately which prove that, despite the old thinking that we’re “fully developed” by the age of 13 or 14, teenagers are not fully neurologically developed yet – thus explaining the “selfishness,” the difficulty forseeing consequences, etc, etc. (Main reason why seeing teenagers tried as adults in court makes me furious.)

  • reme says:

    I added you on ravelry after reading your dress diary. Yikes, what a trainwreck! Sorry to hear you ended up having to frog the thing. I am amazed you’re still going to work on it. Such fortitude!

    • fallingwthu says:

      I agree, one thing about knitting or crocheting is that you can put it down, think about it, and figure out your best way to complete the design. I had a dress that I completed for my middle child and it’s nice but the buttons are too small for the button bands but it requested just two to hold the shoulder straps together. I frogged it back and decided to go with three buttons instead of two. Thing is, you can modify any design to fit your child. Nothing wrong with that.

      Heather, I feel your pain, I have frogged many garments over and over again just because I WANT IT DONE!!!! You my dear will get it complete. I know you will.

      To be honest, the sleeves alone is worth the price to pay for the pattern. I might try it sometime.

  • ajlinda says:

    you carry toilet paper in case of pubic vomiting? ewww TMI, LOL

  • autumn_robot says:

    When I was pregnant with my son, I remember him vibrating too. It really is a weird sensation.

  • Wow, that was an epic post! I was wondering if you’d gotten your power cord and just had nothing to say, or if you were still waiting on it. Now I know.

    Not much else to add, just wanted to comment on the epic-ness of the post. You have a lot of crap going on! I hope everyone gets better (physically and emotionally).

    Oh, and also wanted to say… the breastfeeding article was interesting. I really hate the attitude that the only way for women to be successful is to do “man things.” I’ve been told to my face that being a stay-at-home mom would be a waste of my intelligence. By another woman. Of course, I’ve been told the same thing about being a teacher. Also, what is up with the idea that we should bury inconvenient scientific facts so people don’t feel guilty? Bleh.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve had similar things said to me. I’m gifted in math/the sciences and was heavily recruited by the business school, economics department, and chemistry departments at my university before I decided to major in Art History with a minor in chemistry. I’m now almost graduated and seriously considering having a baby (I’m married, another unusual thing, I got married halfway through my undergrad) and not pursuing a career for at least a few years. I’ve had people say or imply that my major/life/career choices are a waste of my hard work and intelligence, that I should be doing something more “useful” than art history, or that I’m wasting my youth by getting married. I’m happy with the choices I’ve made in life, I don’t feel the need to follow society’s “planned life path”, and I’m not sure why it’s their business. If they want to major in chemistry and go to medical school, the door is just as open to them as it was to me.

      Sorry for the soapbox, I just hate being told that I’m making the wrong choices/wasting my intelligence because I am interested in math and science but don’t want a career in those fields.

      • admin says:

        I don’t see ANYTHING wrong with pursuing knowledge for the sake of pursuing knowledge. Why is that we only value intelligence and curiosity if we can apply it to make money? That seems kind of backwards, imho.

        Also, on a personal note, I’m with you on this. The only thing I wanted to go back to school for all these years was english lit. But I have no intention of “using” it in anyway except for personal enrichment.

  • Mattea was like fuzzbaby. SO strong. Even after she was born the nurses and doctors all commented on her being the strongest baby they’d had in years.
    Now she’s still pretty strong and has quite a temper.

  • jenrose1 says:

    re: your mom: Terrifying. Mine went through medical fuckery and malpractice when I was 14, and I was sure she was going to die, and it was the worst feeling in the world.

    re: Marika: You are such a good mom and sister. I’m just hoping she doesn’t end up pregnant in the next year. Y’know?

    re: Colostrum microsope: Win! That’s amazing.

    re: vomiting. I’m with you on that one, I hate it, hot hate, it’s a huge reason I haven’t gotten pregnant again so far. Grapefruit juice tends to react violently with a lot of medications, it blocks receptors in your liver and makes the concentration in your blood much higher. Could that be part of the problem? Grapefruit, specifically, is contraindicated with many meds. I don’t remember which you’re taking offhand, but I’d be checking for that.

    Those belly pictures are awesome! And I never have had the patience for knitting.

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