Poor Stumpy

February 28th, 2008

Today Violet went for her longest car ride yet, to IKEA. She was angelic.

The pediatrician surmised that her stomach woes are normal gastro-developmental stuff, but in the week since that appointment we’ve seen her distress increase, and now she has caustic diarrhea and a bad diaper rash. (Steve is actually trying to comfort her as I type this.) I know that’s a lot of information (again), but imagine you are tiny and don’t know what’s happening, and your butt burns like hellfire every time you poop, which is often (it’s pretty much what you “do”), and your gut spasms and aches in between. There is a lot of crying, a lot of pain. No, I am not eating any strawberries or spicy foods (no curry breastmilk) … but yes, I am worrying about some kind of sensitivity. Meanwhile, Vibble turned three weeks old today, and her umbilical cord stump still hasn’t fallen off. This is troublesome for three reasons: (1) it could get infected and needs to come off, (2) she needs a real bath because OMG she STINKS, and these sponge-baths are not cutting deeply enough into the layers of sour-milk smell, and (3) the nickname “Stumpy” is going to stick soon. Anyway, time for another pediatrician visit.

Aside from these worries, Vi is doing really well, growing A LOT and starting to focus on things (faces) and stay awake part of the day. Her sweet disposition makes her smotheringly kissable.

Some new photos:

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]


February 21st, 2008

Stevel is on his way home from the airport right now with Grandma #1 “Mama” Nease. Several days of obvious Violet digestive distress with excessive spitting up bordering on vomiting have left Stevel and I tired and looking forward to a pediatrician appointment tomorrow. Her eating habits are anything but consistent. I keep worrying that my A-cups are to blame. It’s not much of a buffet. But we bought a breast pump. Is this too much information? Only if I post it on the Internet.

One of Ours

February 16th, 2008

Steve’s mother sent over these photos of Steve’s sister, Debi, as an infant:

[1] [2]

Violet-as-infant looks a LOT like her Aunt Debi-as-infant!

Violet’s YouTube Debut

February 16th, 2008

To view Video Violet, click here.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day the same way we celebrated Violet’s one-week birthday—sitting around our house talking about how cute our baby is! We are quite under her spell. Do not have babies, people. It is very painful, and now she controls us, and we are happy about it. She is like a cult leader, really.

I’m feeling much better. Today I am wearing clothes I haven’t worn in nine months. I feel so normal. Whew.

Baby Q&A

February 12th, 2008

I think I e-mailed most of the Internet, but in case you haven’t heard, there is a new family member at No. 6. Here are answers to some of the questions we’re being asked:


Name: Violet Bella LaVietes
Born at: 7:23 a.m., Wed., February 6th, 2008
Weight: 6 lbs., 15 oz.
Length: 19 and 1/4 inches


I’m going to start you out with some blog entries from Jeremy Sr. posted during the process:

Start here (Stevel messages Jeremy on iPhones)

Temporary Housing

First Visit (with link to a gallery of more shots)

The pièce de résistance (also with a link to more shots)

Our Album from No. 6 (I recommend clicking on “Start Slideshow”)


It’s tough to judge these things, it’s all so relative, every woman’s experience is different and IT COMPLETELY SUCKED. What they tell you about how it is all worth it? That is crap. I mean, of course I would go through anything, now that I’ve met this kid, to be with her, but how—HOW—does that change the nine months of puke, exhaustion, and depression, or the extreme pain of labor and recovery? It doesn’t, and I’m not sure how this phrase, “You’ll see; it will all be worth it” came to mean, “This pain is not so bad.” I feel misled. I wanted to DIE and then be reborn so I could DIE AGAIN.

Then again, there was a lot Stevel and I didn’t know in the name of remaining willfully naive. Because while some people might find comfort in knowing what to expect, such knowledge tends to bring only dread for us. Anyway, I was in labor for 32 hours, starting at 11 p.m. (meaning I hadn’t slept since the night before and hadn’t eaten since dinner—these were two things I would not get to do again for 32 hours). We spent the night passing contractions. Having never felt contractions, I can liken them now to the orange-juice-concentrate equivalent of the diarrhea cramps I got one time that were so painful I passed out on the toilet and woke up on the bathroom floor. I know some of you are offended by foul language, but FUCKING OW.

In the morning, Stevel called the O.B., who advised us to stay at home as long as I was comfortable. Even though we had passed that mark hours earlier, we remained at home until about noon. In the hospital, we were given the last available birthing suite. Busy time for deliveries. Our room was nicer than most hotel rooms I have stayed in, which is good, because we proceeded to spend a lot of time in there. The view out our window was beautiful: We could see the roof of our house, the playground of the local elementary school, and snow-capped mountains in the distance.

I mentioned that it was a busy time for deliveries. We think this may have affected the length of my labor, because my contractions never became regular on their own, and it was late at night before we had a nurse who was dedicated to our case enough to get aggressive with the drug (Petosin) needed to stimulate contractions. Up until that point, we had wonderful nurses working with us, but the nurse assigned to our room changed several times, and we were left alone for hours at a time to suffer and puke up bile and watch the plasma-screen TV. Once I was given an epidural, though, and, like I said, a nurse was dedicated to our situation, things rolled right along. It was just a LONG, painful wait for those things.

Although the labor was rough, the actual delivery was a piece of cake in our case. Aggressive Petosin combined with the epidural meant we could let the labor go until the baby was nice and low. Twenty minutes of pain-free pushing and she was out. I was amazed that I could see her come out. I didn’t expect that. But there was the bloody little head.

She was whisked to the inspection station (Apgar score: 8 at 1 minute, 9 at five minutes) and determined to be a healthy newborn. Meanwhile, my O.B. assumed I would want to see the placenta up close. YUCK. Yuck and BARF!

You can take an online tour of the hospital’s birth wing here if you want.


OK, there is good and bad to follow the birth. First, the good. The two days in the hospital were sort of wonderful. I was in a lot of pain, yes, and we were beyond sleep-deprived, but it was just the three of us, hanging out, with no responsibilities. Nurses took good care of us. I was given good medications for pain. Friends wandered in and out to visit a little. Steve was able to walk the three blocks home to get anything we needed and to check on the cats. There was a snack room, and, of course, meals were brought to me. Best of all, we found ourselves enamored with our little baby girl. Glow, glow, glow.

Here at home, we continue enjoying our time together and also continue to enjoy showing off Violet to friends. Last night was the first long night; some stomach distress kept her (and us) up. But she is otherwise an easygoing, content little baby thus far. We’re managing to keep the house together, thanks in part to food from friends and a team effort between the two of us.


Although I feel great mentally, I have decided that “episiotomy” shall henceforth be the vilest word in the English language. If someone is being an asshole, I will think of that person as an asshole. If someone is being a douche-bag, I will think of that person as a douche-bag. And if someone transcends all assholishness/douche-baggery, I will think of that person as an episiotomy. In the rare case of someone being even worse, I will think of THAT person as the-first-crap-you-have-to-take-after-having-had-an-episiotomy. I feel bad in some ways even complaining about my two stitches, because I know I am the pansy sister of someone who birthed a 10 lb.-2-ounce baby through the canal (how many stitches, again, Cher? [shudder]). But oh my God, the PAIN. I want back the drugs they gave me in the hospital SO BAD. (Now I am just allowed to take Ibuprofen—NOT GOOD ENOUGH.)

That said, I am feeling great otherwise. I’m quite moved and happy. She is a dream.


Yes, for now, and for as long as her system, the boob-juice, and my sanity are compatible. So far, it’s going well. She is a good little milk-leech.


He seems enchanted with it. He is wonderful with her and cites a hormonal instinct kicking in that is protective and that he described as, “I like this thing.” They seem somehow already to be alike.

It is perhaps the most moving aspect of this experience so far for me to see him as a dad.


No. Once we had settled on Violet (Steve’s idea—my only direction was to find something with a “V” in it to go with the “V” in “LaVietes”), we just explored different middle names until we found one we both liked. My only stipulation was that the middle name not be something that turned “Violet” into an adjective (like Violet May).

As for the nickname, Stevel and I secretly called her that for months before the birth. It was Stevel’s reading of her initials—VBL. Here is a short tutorial:





People, she is SO TOTALLY SWEET. She makes a lot of cute, little sounds, like squeaks and coos, and sometimes she snorts. She does NOT like to have her clothes removed—e.g. for diaper changes or baths. Whereas hunger brings a cry, these things can cause shrieking. She likes to be held, prefers to sleep in someone’s arms. And speaking of arms, hers are generally in motion, or stretched straight out or up. Forget swaddling them inside the blanket, because she’ll work her hardest to get them OUT. She is, in general, a squirmer. Steve found it funny that the movements of Violet-on-the-outside feel exactly like the movements we used to feel through my abdomen as perpetrated by Violet-on-the-inside (aka “Kicky”). Finally, she is very healthy, as confirmed today at her first doctor’s appointment.


Linus does not seem to mind her presence one bit. He does retreat when there is shrieking, but otherwise, he lives life as normal. Stevel is careful to give him some chest-snuggling time every day. Mia does not like it. She tries to keep a cushion of space between herself and Violet, and when she discovers Violet in a place where she herself has been working toward getting to (e.g. the spot on the bed where Violet’s sleeper-thing is), she is visibly disappointed to find a baby there. Her irritation, combined with Linus’ continued stalking of her, means she remains a poop-and-pee terrorist in our home. We are, as always, trying various litter-box solutions and incentives. Meanwhile, we in some ways dread Vibble’s crawling phase. Don’t you?


My mother arrives in a little over a week, with Steve’s mother right on her heels. My dad and Pauline will be here in March. Steve’s sister comes in April, mine, in May. Meanwhile, our friends are making their introductions. She has already met many of them (including David, Jeremy Sr., Scot, Sarah-Architect, Silas, Jeremy Jr., and Brian), and we hope to host more in the coming days. She is one of the crew, for sure. Local friends, please feel free to call or e-mail if you want to meet her.

Steve is off of work for two weeks, with the week after that being a transition week in which he will work from home some and be on and off. He has a lot of accrued vacation time, so he may take off more later at some point.


We went on Saturday to Right Start on Wilshire, about six blocks from No. 6. Not only did we want to start her shopping as soon as possible, but we decided we needed (a) a swing, and (b) one of these things, since we both kept getting up to look into the bassinet to see how she was doing or to admire her.


I know, right? And I have no idea. They are so round and sweet, and they are nothing like either of our ear-shapes. What’s funny is, Stevel and I were so tired and out-of-whack in the hospital, we have been comparing notes, because we remember—and have no memory at all—of different goings-on from that time. I do have a vague memory of being in the hospital bed not long after the birth and feeling my hair being lifted. I turned to find Stevel inspecting my ears. He explained that he was trying to figure out where her ears came from.


No way! Vibble has already slept through some Rock Band and has shown some rock preferences. Likes: B-52′s. Dislikes: David Bowie (she flinched repeatedly in her sleep during this song as if distressed). Since she heard a lot of Rock Band through the womb-wall, it stands to reason she shouldn’t mind it too much. Meanwhile, with her new swing in the living room, everybody’s rockin’.


February 3rd, 2008

Today is the (Canadian) wedding day of Jeff and Megan. Wish we could be there, but even more than that, wish you all the happiness in the world, guys!

Why I Love Tom Petty … and You Should, Too

February 1st, 2008

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year, from Stevel, was the DVD “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” the documentary of the career of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I’m not exaggerating when I say watching this DVD brought me GREAT ROCK JOY. Not only is it extremely well put-together so as to be entertaining in that way that makes it hard for me not to tell you everything that happens in the story of this most talented and focused group, and not only is it a nice history of rock n’ roll itself, it’s also about TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS!

Now, I do love John Mellencamp, and I adore the great bands of my earlier youth—the Cars, the Bangles, Pretenders, Seger, come to mind, snob me if you must, Indie Lovers, but the radio-rock moved me, OK—as well as some of the great bands of now; it’s a good time for rock yet, with the White Stripes, Spoon, the Shins, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and so many others. But no one—NO ONE—has had my fandom in the palm of his scrawny, Southern paw since SECOND GRADE like Tom Petty has.

It all started with Mrs. Bleyer, my second-grade teacher (she was old, so I’m going to assume a “God rest her soul” is due here, for the great woman she was). Mrs. Bleyer was a kind, wonderful woman. She had a cardboard refrigerator box in the back of the classroom with a door and windows cut into it. There was a desk inside. On your birthday, you got to sit in there all day.

On your birthday, you also got to pick something from the Treasure Chest. This was a large cardboard box in the shape of, well, a treasure chest. The aging Mrs. Bleyer had to lift it down carefully from above the coat rack to give you a view of the delights inside. In retrospect, these were likely things she got for free at McDonald’s or curbside on summer evenings after her neighbors’ garage sales had ended. But to a second-grader on her birthday (or, for a summer baby, his or her pseudo-birthday), it was the raddest collection ever. EVER.

September 27, 1982. From the treasures I selected: A folder. The kind you put your papers in. But this folder was cut in the shape of an LP coming out of its record-case. And on the record cover was a picture of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I don’t think it was one of the actual albums. Just a publicity thing? Don’t know, don’t care. LOVED IT. I doubt I had ever heard of these guys. I have no idea if I even heard them soon thereafter, or if years passed or what. All I know is, an entire chamber of my heart was forever thereafter devoted to these pale and lanky men holding guitars and looking so very, very rebellious.

I know the sexiness of Tom Petty is debated. Some call him snaggly, some call him dopey. To me, he is the epitome of sex appeal. And it all goes back to the Treasure Chest. Something was determined in a developmental part of my impressionable, little brain. It was fandom. I was digging my My Little Ponies. I was digging 3-2-1 Contact. And I was now destined to dig—DIG!—The Heartbreakers and their soulful leader.

Do yourself a favor and get ahold of this DVD. Borrow it from us if you are local, list it on your Netflix. I guarantee your enjoyment. And listen to some Petty today. Appreciate the awesomeness of that art form so often forgotten in our admiration-at-large of the finest arts of humanity: ROCK.