For You, the Special Person

June 29th, 2008

Violet went to her first movie today, WALL-E, on the Disney Studios lot in Burbank. She slept through all but the last five minutes, which she watched with mild interest. It’s a great movie. Go see it soon, and then you’ll know what I mean when I say to you, “Directive.”

It’s been a week of firsts. Violet had her first taste of baby rice cereal, a mixture of ricey powder and milk. Her doctor had warned us she might find it “unfamiliar.” Indeed, with no expression on her face, she rejected it as a foreign substance. Day 2, same thing. We’ll see about day 3.

She continues to roll over onto her stomach and prop herself up on her elbows. She is usually quite pleased with this for about five minutes. Then she starts to fuss with increasing volume until she is flipped back over by a tall person. She also loves to be held up “standing,” although she’s quite a dreamer; her feet will have to be a lot less like little dinner rolls if she is ever going to use them for standing on. She also continues sucking on the same two fingers that Steve was known for sucking on when he was little. Every day she seems more and more like him in subtle and overt ways. (Her eyebrows and ears are really filling in.) The little Steveling.

Most characteristic of this stage with the kid are the sounds she makes. She takes great pleasure in the sensation of making noise with her mouth. There are many variations, but my favorite is, “Ooooooooh!” Overall, personality-wise, she is a baby who seems to enjoy just being alive most of the time. A smiley one.

My nose is still bleeding and crusting and bleeding again. Thank you all for your advice, I’ve tried a lot of it, and it’s helping. And yes, Cheri, I will stay away from the scary ER.

I’ll leave you with this lovely found poem from our restaurant menu today; may you learn from it and feel happy: The important thing …

Request for Nasal Advice

June 23rd, 2008

My nose has been actively seeping blood for six days. The insides of my nasal passages seem to have left behind on the plane from Detroit any desire to be normal. I’ve tried some great products, thanks to friends’ advice, but nothing seems to be working. I’m losing pillowcases and shirts, not to mention every time I cough, a giant clot flies from my mouth. Gross, yes. Yes. And uncomfortable. Anyway, any ideas?

An Informative Piece for Pubescent Girls Who Have or Will Begin to Menstruate

June 23rd, 2008

In fifth grade, the boys and girls were separated for an afternoon. While the boys went to Mrs. Stillman’s room to ask questions like, “What does ‘rubber’ mean?,” we girls gathered in Mrs. Leonard’s room to meet with the school nurse to watch Julie’s Story and hear the answers to questions like the one Michele Steve asked: “What happens if the string falls off?”

But in 2008, we need to add an important new chapter to this lesson: How to Properly Google a Man. No woman should go on a date without a thorough Google, as I learned too-late in Savannah after an unfortunately POST-date search-engine session revealed that the guy I’d gone out with that evening either (a) had two kids and a wife and wanted to move to Australia to become a golf pro, or (b) was weird enough to claim to have two kids and a wife on some golf bulletin board in order to get tips on how to move to Australia and become a golf pro. Either way, sketchy, no? (He had a very unusual name, and some of the details in the bulletin-board post confirmed it was indeed the very same guy.)

Anyway, I’ll be teaching Violet to do this as I coach her about being mindful of the image she presents of herself online (try not to mention your boobs or poop more than three times per blog entry, for example). After the obvious networking sites (MySpace, FaceBook, Classmates, etc.), it becomes all about keywords. Here’s how you do it:

[1] Remember to try alternate spellings of his name, including obvious nicknames (e.g. “Steve,” “Stephen,” “Steven,” “Stevie”).

[2] After this it becomes all about keywords. Try his name and the name of his company, or his name and his hobby (For example “Steve LaVietes” and “Rock Band” brings up a link to this).

[3] Skim relevant return articles thoroughly in search of additional keywords. If at the bottom of an article in his office newsletter about his latest game of basketball with the accounting dept. team there’s a quote in which he mentions that he had to skip post-game celebrations to feed his chihuahua, Google his name and “chihuahua.” Then Google his name and “accounting,” his name and the company name, etc.

[4] Don’t limit yourself to the first three returns. Skim the first 10-20 returns the search engine spits out. Never know.

[5] In the network sites, be thorough. Click on his friends (esp. the female ones), and read comments he has made to them.

[6] If anything sketchy pops, but you still want that date, you can always check your state’s sex offender registry. I mean, that’s what it’s there for, right?

It should be noted, and taught to our daughters, that Googling doesn’t cover everything. On the Internet we can be whoever we want to be, instead of who we really are. The thing is, though, the savvier you become at using the Internet to do little background checks, the likelier you are to find information about someone that doesn’t quite sync up with that MySpace page (e.g. On MySpace, he says he’s 16, but he is listed on the Board of Directors page for a major corporation … hmmmm).

Isn’t this terrifying?

Please, girlfriends, if you have anything to add to this lesson, post comments. (Please, Dad, keep it to under nine paragraphs.)

Violet Expands Her Horizons Beyond California

June 17th, 2008

The trip was great. Violet is a dream on a plane at this age. When not asleep, she is grinning at the passengers around us until everyone is in love with her. She’s quite adaptable to eating and having her diaper changed on planes, on the floor in an airport terminal, anywhere. She sleeps soundly in the Baby Bjorn for hours. She did have some fussiness this weekend, but my sense was that she was pretty affected by changes in time and routine this trip. Jet Lag for Baby. She had trouble falling asleep a few times when she was clearly exhausted. But she’s recovering just fine here today.

I’m so happy I got to see my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Enjoyable visiting, couldn’t get enough. My grandparents look wonderful and are making progress on the final paring-down of all the stuff they’ve accumulated over the years to make their move into their retirement community in Florida complete. My cousin Elyse talked to me about how things are going with college and her boyfriend of four years. She’s content, enjoying her independence and future possibilities. Olivia is a graceful, intelligent, and observant beauty. Audrey Hepburn, minus any ambition to be noticed. Lillian is instant buddies with anyone who wants to GO OUTSIDE, for any reason. She entertains herself reading otherwise, and she, too, is intelligent and beautiful. Seth was off at Basketball Camp, so, regrettably, I missed seeing him. But we had a large group for Father’s Day, and I soaked in my family and enjoyed the small-town walkability of Howell. It was more than enough to balance the uncomfortable flights.

But enough about me, here are some photos!

Grandma took a little spill at the sand dunes today. Broke her coccyx.

June 13th, 2008

Today I had my sixth doctor’s visit, including that fun day at the ER . This time, I think we’re getting somewhere. My doctor feels fairly certain it’s a case of inflammation in the connecting tissues around my coccyx bone. Basically, arthritis. Treatment involves anti-inflammatories for two weeks and hot baths twice a day. I asked if a heating pad would do the trick, and the doctor said, “Why? Are you too lazy to take a bath?” So there’s just no getting out of it, I must take my baths, DOCTOR’S ORDERS.

The kicker is that this coccyx-bone inflammation? It’s not common with my stats. Specifically, the doctor said he hasn’t seen someone my age, with the size baby I had (small), and with the short delivery time (about 20 minutes), have this issue. My sister said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you’re just not really built to have babies, after all.” No. But to make milk? YES. Without getting into details, I’m quite the surprising success at that.

If the anti-inflammatories don’t work, an X-ray would be called for, but he is very, very sure it’s not a fracture and that I’ll be just fine in two weeks. Which would be GREAT. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it more than a few hundred times, but I am in PAIN.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen “Napoleon Dynamite,” you probably don’t get that title. Also, your life is just a little less rich with laughter than it could be.

And now Vibb and I are off to Michigan. AKA the Mitten State … and if you’ve never seen a field of ripe mittens, you haven’t lived!

Traveling Violet

June 12th, 2008

We got back yesterday from three days in San Francisco. Violet’s first (and second) plane ride was a success. She was a dream. Really, there were only two things that affected us in any negative way with having her along:

[1] Carrying luggage and gear for a baby on a trip is sort of like that scene in “Spaceballs” where the guys are hauling the princess’ luggage across the desert.

[2] Violet dropped a massive diaper-bomb while we were on a walk, miles from our hotel. We managed to change it, employing teamwork and agreeing that her little outfit had taken one for the team and could not be salvaged. So Violet got a carefully orchestrated diaper change, wipe-down, and new outfit on a park bench. She was fairly agreeable.

The highlight of the trip was our hotel room, which ended up having a spectacular view of Union Square, the city beyond, and beyond that, the bay. The weather was gorgeous. We enjoyed a dinner the first night at the Cheesecake Factory, a restaurant I typically avoid because of its long lines and so-so dinner fare, but the SF one overlooks Union Square (and it was time for more Godiva cheesecake, it was JUST TIME).

We did a little shopping, a lot of walking, some hotel room hanging out and napping. I’m recharged, and just in time to turn around and fly to Michigan on the red-eye tonight with Violet … because once you’ve done Baby’s First Trip, you’re like, Baby’s SECOND TRIP, let’s get on that ASAP.

OK, here are Photos from the LaVietes Family Vacation to San Francisco 2008. Click on “View Slide Show.”


June 9th, 2008

Tomorrow morning we’re flying up to San Francisco for two nights in a nice hotel, just the three of us. We need some us-time, and Steve and I have always enjoyed walking around that town. And eating lots and lots of chocolate!

To appease you while we are gone, here is a shot of Violet doing her new trick: “Look, I can grab my OWN FOOT!”

And Now Your Moment of Zen

June 5th, 2008

New photos are up!

Dear Spirit Airlines,

June 5th, 2008

I’m traveling soon on your airline, because you alone had a direct flight to Detroit at a time that worked for me, and I’m bringing an infant. Most airlines want to know in advance about this sort of carry-on item. I assume you do, too.

But perhaps you don’t. I tried for three days to reach you via the phone number posted on your Web site. I tried every menu option but was always disconnected.

Undaunted, I decided to send a message through your Web site’s Contact page … to, as it were, “e-mail” you. Apparently, however, this option is much like the ole’ nickel-glued-to-the-ground trick. The drop-down menu for something called “Location” contains no options, and clicking on “Send” earns me a pop-up explaining that no, I may not send without choosing a Location.

Oh, Spirit Airlines, you can play hard to get, but I will persevere. As I persisted in tracking you down, I encountered tale after tale of woe on the Internet. You have been a bad, bad airline, it seems, and many broken-hearted ex-passengers in your wake have been compelled to blog of their anger. Despite all of these stories about what an awful airline you are, I persisted in tracking you down, plugging away with my searches until I located YOUR POSTAL ADDRESS, whereupon I SENT YOU A LETTER. It may be 2008, but perhaps you are an old-fashioned airline. I can respect that. And you are worth 42 cents in my book. Maybe not much more, but FORTY-TWO CENTS, YES.

So, again, please hear my heartfelt, feelingy feelings, which are these: I feel I must let you know I am traveling with an infant.

Looking forward to flying your unfriendly skies very soon,
Kristan LaVietes

Flippy the Flip Flopper

June 2nd, 2008

Vibble rolled over last night, from her back onto her, well, stomach? She had her arms under her and her legs all drawn up, so it was more like on her knees and elbows … and face. She wasn’t upset about it, and just kept trying to move herself into a more comfortable setup for a while until we helped her out. Then we put her on a big blanket on the floor, and while she didn’t manage to do it again, it was clear she was trying, repeatedly rocking herself up onto her side and straining.

She’s also perfected her inchworm technique, scooting with her knees and rear. Yesterday afternoon I put her under her play-gym on the floor and took a two-minute shower. When I got out, she was three feet from the play-gym and SO PLEASED with herself. She inchworms in her bassinet now, and in the morning she is usually scrunched down at the bottom of it with her knees bent up against the footboard.

I can’t believe it’s already time to start childproofing. And that the days of sticking her somewhere to do my thing while she smilingly coos to herself and STAYS PUT are over. But I can hardly wait for her little brain to connect the possibilities of the movements with things she sees and wants to get to. So far, it looks like these will include the TV, me, Stevel, and mirrors. She has zero interest in the cats so far. But oh man, wait until she learns to remove her own clothes. It’s really a good thing we live in a warm climate here.

Saturday at No. 6

June 1st, 2008

Stevel has been for a walk with Vibble. Laundry’s going, cats are settling in for their daily 12-hour naps.

I’m not feeling any better, really. Since the ER doctors ruled out anything of concern, I’m just taking Ibuprofen for the pain and waiting for whatever it is to run its course. I think it must the thing where the nursing hormones upset the uterus. I’m also losing a remarkable amount of hair right now, which I’ve heard can happen because of hormones related to pregnancy and early motherhood. Bottom line, self-diagnosis-wise, is that this whole baby-having hormones thing has, from the start, been toxic for me. No more having babies.

Cheri’s visit was such fun, and now that I don’t have it to look forward to anymore, I feel a little bit sunk. But there’s a lot of great stuff coming up very soon, and I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, a message from Cheri today reports that Dani, on her way into the big old city of Pittsburgh for a plastic surgeon follow-up appointment, announced her astonishment at the traffic—”So many cars, like, 22 of them!” Oh yes, she is so ready to come to L.A. one day.

And now, your daily Vibble.