Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son


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Easing Back In

Hello, internets. Miss me?The radio silence you’ve been enjoying has been made possible by:

  • a Bean who is getting smilier and more fun every day
  • a Mama who is way less depressed now that she isn’t in pain all the time*
  • more weather worth walking around in [Ha! Except then it rained all week and I still didn’t get this post done!]*only…I seem to have injured myself with only a little pumping, and the weather got chillier, and…the vasospasms are back. I have stopped pumping and they seem to be fading. I figure I’ll try pumping again when I’m healed up, but if that’s how it’s gonna be, then I guess it will be formula when there comes a time that I can’t always be nursing him. ‘Cause I ain’t going down that road again.

But I miss you, and it’s raining, and the Bean is asleep in the ergo, so I thought I’d tiptoe back by accepting these nice awards from Kaitake:


The rules:

1. Link back to the person who bestowed the awards on you (yup).


2. Tell us 7 things about yourself, for each of the awards (total 14 things):

Good heavens. Fourteen things. But I do so want to be both stylish and versatile…. I may have to draw from current events.

1. I’m from North Carolina. My accent was never terribly strong, and what I had of it was beaten out of me in college, where almost the only thing left to give someone trouble over was the region of the country she came from. I regret its loss very, very much. I get very pissed off when people say stupid things about the South, especially when it’s that smarmy aren’t-we-all-so-awesome-because-we’re-liberal-Northeasterners B.S. that some folks will try on me because I don’t have an accent and because all Southerners are bigoted and backward, right?

2. My first year out of college, I worked for City Year, part of Americorps. At our national conference that spring, I shook Bill Clinton’s hand after he gave us the most generous and moving speech; was deeply disappointed by John McCain, who phoned in his appearance in a way I found very disrespectful; and went to hear a state senator give a surprisingly good talk to in a small classroom. Although I agreed with what he had to say and thought he’d said it well, I was bothered by a lazy rhetorical flourish that relied on the expectation that rural people are backward, and, as I try to when possible, I came up to him afterwards to tell him so. We had a good talk, I thought, and he seemed to see my point. …which is why I was so disappointed when, years later, this happened. Barack, we talkedabout this!


[Whoa. It’s days later; I have no idea what bee was in my bonnet when I started that. Someone must have crossed me, and now you bear the brunt of my irritation. I won’t delete, as the tirade above certainly tells you more about me than whatever cutesy facts I’d come up with to replace it. Ahem.]

3. In case the above cast any doubt, I loved and continue to love my college. Sugar and I met there, when she was a sexy senior and I was a bright-eyed first-year with waist-length braids. (I shaved my head second semester. As you do.)

4. Lists apparently give me thinking-block. My preferred form of OCD is categorizing.

5. …which is why my “favorite” household chore is laundry. Secretly, I even love that our wee-tiny, totally not-allowed-in-our-building, hooks-to-sink/drains-to-tub washing machine is so small that I have to subdivide my normal categories into smaller loads. (Hot pinks only! Lights/cold! Blue things with buttons!)

6. I am not a good housekeeper. At all. But I am a good cook. If you were coming to dinner for the first time, I’d probably make a lamb tagine and Lebanese couscous, unless I was in the mood for chicken and biscuit. If you are a vegetarian, we’d probably have pasta alla norma. If you are a vegan, well, you probably aren’t friends with me, on the grounds of my terrible boorishness.

7. I have a degree in writing and even a little book-ella, with photographs by Sugar. (Please don’t give away our secret spidey-identities.) I found pregnancy profoundly mentally debilitating but am now starting to feel like thinking again, which might turn into writing again. Last time the ol’ noggin was functional, I was reading Illness as Metaphor and thinking about infertility in literature. I got as far as checking Hedda Gabbler out of the library and carting both around for months. Then I lost both of them. The library has now been paid and I’m ready to start again. If you think of other examples of infertility — at least strongly implied — in literature, especially canon-stuff, please tell me.

Okay, that took almost a week. On to current events.

8. Can I say again how much more fun I am having with the Bean these days? He smiles, he laughs, he shows a marked delight in Evita and Patti Lupone in general. I’m starting to figure out the napping situation, thanks to some good advice about putting him down earlier and some accidental discoveries about the wisdom of letting him fuss a little. It helps that he can see his mobiles now, so I don’t feel quite as guilty putting him down when awake.

P1010505

P1010509
Not the world’s greatest pictures, but I love this thing.
9. The Bean’s room is still very much a work in progress, particularly when it comes to decoration. Why, yes, the man in that print is smoking a cigarette. Positively wholesome compared to most of what’s on the walls in there. That room has been the repository for art that I like but either don’t want our guests staring at during dinner or don’t want to see when I’m trying to go to sleep. Which is to say, it’s mostly me naked and/or work that is overtly about death. Cheerful!
10. We’re having a lot more fun doing tummy time these days, thanks to the Bean’s greater head control (which he developed despite having virtually no tummy time until recently, which makes me wonder just how necessary it is, but anyway) and my giving up on forcing him to face-plant on the floor, which seemed cruel, boring, and a guarantee of a crabby baby. Now I lie most of the way down and put him on my stomach. Cute! (And I don’t have to lie on the floor, staring at the herd of dust buffalos under the furniture, which is kind of a drag — see #6.)

tummy time

The mobile Sugar made, which hangs over his bassinet, is fuzzily visible in the upper right.
11. We have rain-sound white noise on so much of the time now that I’ve started dreaming of monsoons. Think Apocalypse Now. Also, I have to pee. All the time. The continual actual rain outside is more of a problem, not least because I suspect that the Bean has inherited my (and my mother’s) air-pressure-related migraines. There have been at least two days when a blistering headache on my part has coincided with strangely pained, inconsolable wailing on his, much improved by a dose of infant Advil. Poor critter. I was so happy knowing he couldn’t have endometriosis and so naggingly worried about the likelihood of asthma, but I never thought about this one. At least he’s also got my ability to move his eyebrows individually. That’s some compensation.
12. He also has my (and my father’s) simian crease on his left hand. I get strange looks when I glow with pride over this point of resemblance, but I have always loved sharing this with my dad. It’s like we’re part of a secret club most people don’t even know exists. My father, who is a geneticist, used to show his students pictures of our hands — a good reminder that soft-markers are not diagnoses.
Left Hands
13. I keep meaning to write my birth story for y’all; I don’t know if there’s a statute of limitations on that sort of thing. Even though I basically got the story I wanted — healthy baby, vaginal birth, an epidural that was nothing but wonderful — I spent a long time feeling really messed up about parts of it. Ashamed is the closest word, I think. In a way, Dr. Russian’s later display of bitchery was a relief in that it suggested that maybe her behavior during labor wasn’t my fault, per se.
14. The one I’ve been keeping from you: I need to change the subtitle of this blog, as I’m now down to just the one vagina.

I nominate the following bloggers for these awards: You. You Over There. You There. And You, Ya Lurker.


9 Comments

40 Weeks: Pregnancy Roundup

Hey, can we pretend I posted this yesterday? When I started writing it? Thanks.

The Bean is doing better, by the way. He’d gained 4 ounces — FOUR OUNCES! — on Monday, and the LC was great and not dippy and gave us more things to do. We’ll see the ped and her again tomorrow.

Happy Pi Day! I hope you’re celebrating appropriately. Sugar has been doing so much work around here since the Bean was born (and before, but let’s not get carried away with the past…) that I don’t have the nerve to ask her to get out her rolling pin, but let it be known all across the Wide Interblags that she makes the best pie there is. (Which is not to be construed, Sugar, as an answer to that horrible trick question you posed some months back, “Do you think my pie is better or my mother’s?” I still have enough sense to realize that either answer would violate one of my two central rules of conversation: 1. Never Denigrate The Cooking Of The Person Whose Food Is In Your Mouth; 2. Never Insult Somebody’s Mama’s Cooking.) Although I know that only — what is it? 5%? — of babies arrive on their due dates, I did like the idea that the Bean might have Pi Day as his birthday, with Sugar’s pies in place of cake. Evidently he had other ideas. Already.

Even though he’s been here for nearly two weeks, I’m still surprised that I’m not pregnant anymore. It all happened so quickly (rather unlike my writing of his birth story) — no Toni Braxton contractions or other warnings, except for the Very Bloody Show — and the whole business of having another person come flying out of one’s nether regions I found so surreal. I can’t say there’s much I intended to do while pregnant that I didn’t get to — we did the photo shoot on what ended up being the last possible day, but it got done — but I nevertheless don’t feel…done. (On the other hand, I feel glad that I didn’t have more time to obsess over the end of the era or to build my labor anxieties any higher.)

One of the things I didn’t get to was ever doing the meme below. I never intended to do it regularly, as I am more than capable of boring you with petty complaints without a bulleted list (you’re welcome, internet), but I thought I’d do a full-pregnancy version around my due date, as a means of distracting myself from obsessing over my fear of induction. And here it is my due date, so what the heck. Feel free to let your eyes glaze over and skip to the picture at the end.

How Far Along?
40 weeks “pregnant”; two weeks postpartum (in 7 hours).

Total Weight Gained/Loss?

At delivery day (well, 14 hours before, when I was last on a scale), +33 lbs over what I consider my normal weight; a bit more over my weight at my first OB visit.

Two weeks later, +22 lbs over normal. (I swear it was more like +18 earlier this week, but today I’m in my trusty maternity corduroys, so that’s probably a more fair measurement, since I wore them to every OB appointment after the weather turned.)

Maternity Clothes:

Pretty much the same pair of Noppies corduroys since halfway through the second trimester or so. And ZOMG the Bella Band. The sine qua non (pants) of this whole experience. However: if they can make a band that holds my pants up, why, oh why can’t the same company make tights that last more than 3 steps without cascading to the ground? And, for the millionth time, why doesn’t anyone make a warm maternity coat? Thank heavens my tiny mother unaccountably had a (hideous) down coat that was big enough to squeeze around me, even at the end.

Sleep?

Sometimes, thanks to my best friend, the down body pillow. And, at the end, a sofa cushion behind my back, my dad’s old down camping jacket under my hip, and a heating pad on top of the other hip. And a cat under one arm. How Sugar even fit in the bed is a mystery.

Postpartum, I haven’t been having such exuberantly crazy dreams — the weirdest one that didn’t involve a hemorrhaging miscarriage (of which there were many; thanks, brain) had me taking George W. Bush to the pig races at the NC State fair and (I felt so dirty when I woke up!) accepting a plug of tobacco from him after giving him some betting tips. Instead, I am back to my childhood trick of night terrors, complete with hallucinations of the Bean in various poses of doom in the bed and plenty of incoherent yelling at poor Sugar. (“CAMERAS! I had TWO cameras!!! WHERE IS HE?????????”)

Aches and Pains?

Yep. Back from early on; hips at the end were pretty brutal. Let’s not talk about the part of labor before the epidural just right here except to say MORE OF THE SAME.

Postpartum, hips were a mess for a week — I felt like I was made of two very different sized lego people, with a small top half and a hugely wide bottom. Lurching galore. Now they’re pretty much back to normal. Pelvic floor still a little weird when I walk more than a block or so, but mostly I am okay now. Which is a good thing, because the ibuprofen was starting to make my stomach pretty unhappy.

Symptoms:

Not so bad, as these things go. Terrible congestion the most consistent. Acupuncture was awesome for that. Bad acid reflux after 28 weeks or so, until Dr. Russian introduced me to Prevacid, with whom I will be having any future babies. Dizziness. Yucky heart palpitations and shortness of breath in the third trimester.

Medical Concerns:

A whole lot of freaking out about things that never caused any problems: that month of first trimester spotting, low PAPP-A at nuchal, fears of incompetent cervix related to mullerian anomalies, terror over prospect of birth with two cervices and vaginas. But everything was actually just fine, even the septum.

Movement:

The first thing I was sure wasn’t just gas came while we were at the beach in October. Sugar and I were lying in bed with her hand on my belly, and she felt it, too. It was weeks before she could feel it again, but I love that we felt the first one together.

By the third trimester, some of it was pretty uncomfortable — rib kicks and especially the cervical head-butts.

It’s strange now to feel something inside and know it has to be me.

Food Craving:

MILK. Some transient ones in the first trimester, most notably beer and, on one bizarre day, fish sticks. Lots and lots of protein, including one or two small meals in the middle of every night. I never thought getting up to eat could feel like a chore. Thank heavens for ricotta cheese on toast.

In general, I ate like a four-year-old. The Bean is 80% hotdogs and tatertots.

Food Aversions:

Coffee and tea both made me feel terrible, even after only a half-sip, in the case of coffee. Salmon seemed desperately gross. Later on, cereal and yogurt made me feel sick, but I think that was an acid thing.

Morning sickness?

Yes, but mild as these things go. No vomiting; only nausea. Worst around week 6. Best cures for me (besides getting out of the record heat) were raspberry candies, raspberry syrup in my water, sour drinks, spicy food (especially the salsa verde from our local taco place), and ZOMG coca-cola. Grandma was completely right about that. And since I wasn’t using my caffeine allowance on coffee….

Sex:

Opted not to find out the Bean’s; glad we waited (although I would have put my money on boy if forced).

As for the other kind, yes.

What I miss:

Sleeping on my stomach once in a while. Beer (I sipped Sugar’s wine sometimes and had my own a few times towards the end, but she doesn’t drink much beer). Sitting in the hot tub at the beach.

My OBs gave a pretty short list of forbidden foods — deli meat, soft eggs, sushi, factory- or store-prepared salads and dips (like packaged hummus), lox and the like…and maybe some other things? I can’t remember, so it can’t have been that bad. Except for the soft-cooked eggs. God Almighty, how I missed them. I’ve had at least a dozen already.

Baby preparedness:

HA HA HA. Ooops. Thank heavens for Schroedinger’s newborn clothes stash and Shelli’s pack and play, or we would have been SOL upon return from the hospital. I thought I had 3 more weeks.

Best Moments?

Tough to choose, but a few:

  • Driving in the car with Sugar after getting the “good first beta” call, when we were the only people (outside of the clinic) who knew.
  • Telling the friend who launched herself over the table to hug us.
  • Seeing our happy extended families when they were here for the wedding.
  • Feeling the Bean kick for the first time, with Sugar’s hand on my belly.
  • Lying in the hospital bed (AFTER the epidural, thank you), listening to the Bean’s heart on the monitor.

And one category I’m adding, Stupidest Decisions:

  • Forgetting about not eating prepared dips. One of the only times I threw up all 9 months.
  • Various over-estimations of my physical prowess, from the time I royally messed over my ribs getting out of a chair to the time I rendered myself unable to walk after getting carried away with walking to and from the food coop.
  • Going home from the OB’s after she said I was 4 cm dilated and completely effaced.

One of these days, we will make the move to wordpress and post various belated pictures (as passworded posts; no intention of taking the blog as a whole private). For now, here’s a face-less picture of me at 37 weeks, 5 days. I thought I still had 3 weeks to go, but this turned out to be as big as I got.

37 weeks 5 days


8 Comments

Items From Our Catalogue

Item: This post is coming to you from my dismal office, as I wait an hour for the next bus to ferry me to the train station, the first step of my 2+ hour commute. It will be even longer tonight, because I missed the early bus. I had (somewhat irresponsibly) let class out early so I could catch it, and then I spaced out and missed it anyway. Is this “pregnancy brain” (gag) or ordinary incompetence?

Item:
I have become too lazy/dull/generally pathetic to participate in my own meme. Will this be in the DSM-5?

Item: You should check out (and submit to, in all senses of the word) starhillgirl’s very fun new tumblr blog, Lunch. Make your lunch famous on the internet! I’m going to pull a fast one and call my Thanksgiving Sandwich entry my Come And Eat post for this time.

Item:
I made half as much sweet potato pudding this year, since Sugar had requested a savory sweet potato dish. I should have made more pudding — it was gone in a day, and I only got one sandwich out of it. The savory option is currently dying a quiet death in the back of the fridge.

Item: All that frantic eating seems to have led to another growth spurt. Internets, I am certifiably enormous. I am back to running into things every five minutes. I am in denial about the fact that turning sidewise to slip by objects or people has become comic in the extreme. (Imagine it — I, not un-wide, approach a narrow passage. I pause, turn 90 degrees, thus rendering myself twice as wide, and proceed to shove my way through.) I would say picture to follow, but I think we can all agree that said picture is more likely to actually happen if I don’t make any promises.

Item: While spending a very nice weekend with friends outside of Boston — and the fact that I can call the weekend very nice, despite how much of it was spent dealing with a teething toddler, a sudden lack of heat and hot water, and an obstreperous landlord ought to give you some idea how wonderful these friends are — I discovered that I could cleverly heft my (considerable) self out of their comfortable but very low armchair by pushing down on its arms and hovering my butt in the air such that my legs swung perfectly underneath me. I was very proud of being strong (and short) enough to manage the feat and performed it more than necessary.

Item:
Pride ever goeth before costcochondritis, as it turns out.

Item:
This is plenty bad, but how much worse it would be without Dr. Russian, who was on call last night when I left a tearful message with the answering service, after a day of increasing agony. “Take the percocet!” quoth she. Good doctor, that.


7 Comments

Remember This Game

Hello from the calm before the cooking storm, chez Bionique. My mother is here, which has forced us to begin to make inroads in the junk filling the “spare” room (of course, no room can ever be truly spare in a New York apartment), at least to the extent that the aerobed can be jammed in there. Tomorrow, I will wear myself out cooking Thanksgiving dinner, as I love to do. I am still trying to decide which sweet potatoes to make: Sugar prefers them savory (being sufficiently sweet enough on her own, I reckon), but while I like them savory, I LOVE cold leftovers of sweet potato pudding, gobbled on its own or as a dense layer in the “Thanksgiving sandwich” I look forward to all year. (A Thanksgiving sandwich is turkey, sweet potato pudding, cranberry sauce, gravy, and any other leftovers you care to stick in there, all cold.)

Besides sweet potatoes of one or more kinds, we’ll have turkey (we are not vegetarians, only lesbians), cornbread and pecan dressing, biscuit, maybe some mashed potatoes (lest we die of carb deficiency at table), a few pies, a non-wheat dessert (the surprisingly lovely almond cake from IKEA? candied pecans and baked apples?) and whatever other oddments occur to me in the next 24 hours. (Gravy, ice cream for the pies, and other such condiments are implied, of course; and cheese, bread, nuts, and pear paste to build the appetite. Can’t be too careful.)

The Dane-stralian family will be bringing green beans, cranberry sauce, and their very scrumptious nearly-3-year-old. I’ve been a boorish hostess and made it clear that no orange nonsense is welcome in cranberry sauce at my house, thank ye. Another friend is bringing a mushroom dish that apparently cooks for nine hours. I reckon we won’t be TOO hungry after.

Meanwhile, what are YOU making (or eating) for Thanksgiving?

I thought perhaps it might be nice to play our old Come And Eat game this weekend, with posts about what you eat at Thanksgiving dinner or what you eat instead or what you do with the leftovers — or what have you, my dear, benighted, unAmerican friends. (I admit that those of you with antipodean addresses are likely too high on the coming of spring to need a big feast to cheer you on, but the rest of y’all in northern climes must be dreading the dark, too. Nothing like a few thousand calories shoveled down in a single sitting to take the sting out of the coming of winter and/or prepare you for hibernation.)

So. Come And Eat, would you? Sign up below with the address of your food post, any time this weekend. Please paste the address of a particular post, not just your whole blog, so folks know where to comment.


13 Comments

Perfect Moments

Hey, y’all. Chez Bionique = still reeling. Happy, befuddled, occasionally panicking…never a dull moment, as they say.

Symptom watch includes mild (but not so mild that I wouldn’t take an Advil under other circumstances) cramping, some fatigue, and — I’m going to count this — the biggest MFing cold sores I have had in easily 15 years. As in, where did the left side of my upper lip go? Yuck. Dr. Baby Factory says no taking anything, even L-Lysine. (Confession: I took some before I asked. I guess I’ll not take any more. Probably.) Your miracle cures welcome.

I don’t think I’ve ever managed to participate in Weeble’s Perfect Moment Mondays, but Sunday had a couple of moments that bear recording, I think.

Here is Sugar, under the triumphal arch near our place:

A Piano At The Plaza

Piano courtesy of Play Me, I’m Yours

My father is a pianist. He played Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Bach every night of my childhood. Some of my favorite baby pictures are with him at the keyboard, in a carrier on his back or pounding the keys beside him like a real hambone. He put neon green stickers on the ends of an octave’s worth of keys to teach me their names; I don’t remember ever not knowing. For reasons related to the crippling shyness that characterized my early childhood, I never took lessons, so while I can play a little, not much, really. (Let’s not go any further down that road, lest the crying start.)

Even when we were first “dating” (misnomer for typically lesbian reasons), I was comforted to think that Sugar’s ability to play represented a kind of redemption on that count, that there would, after all, be someone to play for our children.

Which brings me to this:

RIMG1199

Yes, I surely did go out and by the pricey kind only when I already knew what it would say. What of it?


5 Comments

Come and Eat Update

Hi gang,

Seeing as how several people have signed up recently on last week’s Come and Eat list, how about we just have that one run for two weeks. I’ll post a new sign up on Sunday or Monday.

Meanwhile, if you want to play (please play!) write a post about a meal, and put a link to that post (better than to just your blog’s main page) on the Come And Eat list here.

Starting next week, it’ll be weekly. For reals.

xo
Bionic


8 Comments

Come And Eat

My mother’s favorite verse in the Bible is John 21:12. It’s after the resurrection, and the disciples are fishing. A man on the shore calls out to them, hears that they are not catching much, and gives them some advice — Try putting the nets on the other side of the boat. The nets fill up, the disciples realize the man is Jesus, and they begin to shout and carry on. Peter jumps into the water to swim to him. And Jesus says to them, “Come and eat breakfast.”

Don’t worry, my non-Bible-thumping ones. I’m not going to start sermonizing regularly. (For one thing, Sugar would have a fit. For another, I’m an Episcopalian, and we know our limits. Ours is not to preach but to polish old wood pews, to wring our hands over “tradition”, and to try not to spill our martinis on the needlepoint pillows….) Take comfort: the Bible-thumpers are clucking their tongues over my lowercase “him” above — I like Jesus better as a son of man than as a son of God, sometimes. I am an equal-opportunity offender.

Come to it, that verse might be my favorite, too. It gets to the heart of my beliefs about human connection: that the best way to show (and to build) our love for each other is to break bread. This idea is hardly unique to Christianity, I realize, nor to religion.

So, please: come and eat with me.

I’d like to invite you to last Sunday’s dinner. It was a quiet affair, at home in our cluttered apartment. I’d rather cook and drink wine and talk to you than wipe down the backsplash; I hope you don’t mind. I started cooking a little later than I meant to, so we’ll all have to sit around and talk while the food finishes. Sugar made a pie, whose crust she almost wouldn’t let me take pictures of, because the weather is damp and the dough was testy and she was afraid you’d disapprove. But I know you’ll see that pie as more perfect because of the fingerprints left from her mending the dough. (And I assure you, it tastes just fine.) The pie is made of rhubarb — which always makes me think of Sugar’s grandmother, who grows stalks taller than she is — and strawberries for the coming of summer and peaches from the freezer, a last-minute improvisation when the strawberries and rhubarb didn’t fill the shell.

imperfection

summer is coming

filled in with peaches

You’ll meet my most long-standing friend, who sat on my mother’s pregnant belly as a baby and started crying when I kicked her. She’s still threatening to get me back for that, but I say it was fairly dealt: she SAT on me, after all. Our mothers were close during their pregnancies and her mother watched us both as babies, so we are built of some of the same food. (These days, I take some comfort in the knowledge that none of that would have happened if my mother had been able to get pregnant when she’d first wanted to. No Bug in my life? Impossible.) I can’t believe that after being separated as young children, we’ve ended up living three blocks from each other, hundreds of miles from our various early homes. Womb Buddy’s talking about moving away, and we’re trying to talk her out of it but mostly trying to feed her well while she’s here, make sure the bonds of shared food stay strong.

RIMG0597
Israeli couscous with broccoli rabe — I don’t know how this is supposed to be cooked, but this is how I cook it.

And now, if you’d like, it’s your turn. I’ve read some beautiful posts about food and eating together on your blogs recently (to say nothing of my ongoing delight in starhillgirl’s requests to log my lunch) which inspired this attempted meme. Add your name and blog to the Mr. Linky list, and write a post about a meal this week. The ways food bonds us are multifarious, so your post can be pictures of a meal you made, a favorite or new recipe, a shared croissant with an old friend at a coffee shop. It can be wordy or just a picture.

I’ll write one of these every week and invite you to do the same, like an edible version of Mel’s (late, lamented) Show and Tell. Visit each other’s posts, please, and write comments to let folks know you’ve come to the table. If you’re writing about kids or babies — and I hope you will, because I believe feeding children is about much, much more than just making sure they don’t starve to death — put a * after your name, in case ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) folks aren’t in a good place for that. (Tip o’ the cursor to Calliope’s excellent suggestion at her Photo Friday project.)

(This is my first time using Mr. Linky, so maybe leave a comment, too, in case I didn’t do it right.)