From the desk of…

Dear world,

I am Otter. I hold the exalted position of “The Baby” in the Law and Motherhood household. It is a position laden with heavy responsibilities, such as smiling at people, being coy, and getting into everything my limited reach will allow. I am busily trying to figure out my world, and encounter new aspects of it every day.

A few days ago I encountered “pot roast”. In it’s pureed form, it is by far the best baby food I have ever tasted. I really enjoyed the mixture of carrots, potatoes, roast beef, celery, and broth. It seems to have helped me sleep a little more at night, I think it keeps my tummy fuller, longer. (My tummy is rarely ever completely full, as it is a demanding tummy.)

I am working really hard on crawling, but I still refuse to endure the indignities of “tummy time”. I was told by various sources that I needed that dreaded time to strengthen my back muscles and learn to crawl. Well, I have replaced the back strengthening with some crazy arm antics, and have decided to make the crawling move from a seated position. It is a little tricky, but so far I can get both hands on the floor, and up onto one knee. I usually fall over before I can get the other knee into place, but I am confident I will soon master this technique. When I do, it will prove once and for all that tummy time torture is not something I need to endure. Maybe one of you could tell my mom?

I have a lot more work to do today, I plan on eating the phone when my mom isn’t looking, in addition to jumping in my jumper, mastering that foot transition, and playing the “drop it, pick it up” game with mom, so I should probably go. Please remember to tell mom I don’t need tummy time, as soon as I get that foot thing figured out. I keep trying to convince her, but every time I do, she just looks at me and says “shush shush, it’s okay” or “Ungee? Agoo?”. I am beginning to think she has very limited language skills.

In GITMO with Elmo (The sleep deprived contest)

I am heading into the middle of my second year as a stay at home parent, and I am getting comfortable with my role as universal kleenex, vomit target, and bodily function disposal device. I enjoy having the chance to play with my kids and help them develop their own unique personalities. I believe I am getting good at helping them understand the world. Most of my days are good, or even great.

However, the sleep deprivation coupled with the increased need for patience and cheerfulness is wrecking havoc on my system. I am so tired by the time the afternoon comes around that I am desperate for sleep and quiet. Instead, my afternoons usually consist of playtime with singing, chatting, questing, and crying children. I have to come up with creative ways to entertain said children, assist them with their homework, and begin to prepare for dinner. It is loud and interactive, it requires great patience, and it in no way resembles sleep.

I told my father last night, I am in GITMO, with Elmo. I am being subjected to repeated and intense sleep deprivation, much like I might experience if I were being questioned in violation of the Geneva Convention. However, I am required, in this sleep deprived state, to be cheerful, and inventive, and energetic, much like Elmo.

Now I agree that actually being in GITMO with Elmo would be much worse than what I experience. In fact, it would likely be much worse than anything I am ever likely to experience.

Regardless, it is a challenge to grasp and cling to my creativity and patience when I am woken at all hours of the night, every night, for months, with no pattern or schedule in sight. It is the biggest challenge of my life to stay cheery, and restrain myself from snapping at my kids, when I am more tired than I have ever been.

So, in honor of the sleeplessness experienced by all new parents, I propose a new contest! The winner will receive a $50 SpaFinder gift certificate, good at over 4000 spas. Go get a massage, or a facial, and try to regain your sense of peace!

How do you enter? Simply leave a comment (with a contact email) sharing your own sleepless story below this post! Any story of sleeplessness will do. You need not have children, your children can be grown, you can have thirty children, any story will enter you for the prize.

I will place all the contact emails in a hat on the 14th of December, and will pluck out one lucky winner! (Okay, Monkey will pluck out one lucky winner, she loves having the power to award a prize.)

Good luck and I look forward to hearing your stories!

Look what I am a part of:

I realize that my blog, while titled Law and Motherhood, is more often than not about motherhood. That is due to the fact that practicing law while being a practicing mommy is frickin’ hard. Fitting in a law practice around diapers, swim lessons, nursing, and active involved parenting is like trying to cram square pegs into round holes.

However, I did finally manage to complete my first complaint, and file it (with some help from local counsel.) Today I got the following email:

Help us take back the Endangered Species Act.
Donate today.

Dear Misty,

The Center filed six lawsuits this month challenging Fish & Wildlife Service decisions on endangered species – decisions that were tainted by corrupt political appointees of George W. Bush.

Our suits follow a September notice of intent to sue over 55 species that were subject to high-level political interference by Bush bureaucrats ignoring science to serve industry interests. We filed notice, we’re filing suit — and this is just the beginning. The suits are the first phase of a national campaign aimed at reversing illegal decisions to remove protection for more than 50 endangered species and 8.7 million acres of land.

Help us keep up the pressure as we fight to take back the Endangered Species Act from politicians and their industry cronies!

Our goal is to raise $250,000 from members like you by December 31st. Once we do that the money will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a special challenge grant. Click here to make a gift now and help us move these cases forward. Together we can secure crucial protections for the imperiled wildlife the Bush administration wants to sacrifice.

As the Center’s Michael Senatore put it, “These are some of the most endangered species in the United States. It’s outrageous that federal scientists were blocked from protecting them by political appointees in Washington, DC.”

We need your help now to mount a legal challenge to the inactions and abuse of our endangered species laws by the Bush administration.

Please make a donation today. Your gift will go twice as far, because it will be matched dollar-for-dollar. And that’s great news for animals and plants on the brink of extinction.

Thanks in advance.


Michael Finkelstein
Executive Director

Guess what? I am a part of one of those six lawsuits! Yes indeedy! I have a dash of law mingled into that motherhood!

I never want to be touched again.

Seriously. Ever.

After days of insatiable nursing beginning in the haunting hours of the night and continuing in earnest until the rest of the house wakes up, I never want to be touched, by anyone, ever again.

By the time Otter is finished with his 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. nurse, I am ready to push all creatures as far away from me as possible and flee to a land where I am the only sentient object for miles.

My bones begin to feel as though they want to leap out of my skin and run away.

Of course, I can fall back on my wealth of patience and energy to get me through this trying time…. oh wait… I have no patience, I have no energy!! I haven’t slept well in months, and I have slept incredibly poorly over the last week.

I’m a Mommy on the Edge people!!!

No rest for the wicked…

Okay, it’s been days since I have had more than a handful of hours of sleep at night. Otter is waking up at four a.m. to nurse, and last night, he was up all night. Either he is in a growth spurt, or my life is about to get very interesting.


Well, to continue the fun of Thanksgiving…

On Friday we went to Suzie’s for the night, and enjoyed watching the children run and play. We put all three girls in sleeping bags in Elise’s room for bed, and they were quite happy with their slumber party. However, Monkey came into the living room about Ten p.m. in tears, saying “Mommy, Lydia is asleep and Elise is asleep and I want to be asleep but I can’t fall asleep!” I made a little nest for her in Lydia’s room and tucked her in. She was out almost immediately.

We went to a bouncy gym with the kids on Saturday. What a genius idea that is, a huge warehouse full of large bounce castles, mazes, and slides. It was an instant hit with the children, and they ran around like fiends. Even Otter enjoyed a little bounce.

After the gym we grabbed some yummy southern BBQ and headed back to Jack’s for a quiet evening, a delicious pot roast, and packing. Otter chose to spend Saturday night not sleeping at all, so I was a joy for the long drive home on Sunday, but even so, it was pretty mellow. Otter and Monkey were both a little cranky, but really, what can one expect from children cooped up in a car at the end of a family trip?

Well… Sir Cranky Sleepless Hunger Fiend is crying again, so I am off a’milking.

300, Virginia Beach, and pumpkin poo.

Happy 300th Blog Post! Thanks to everyone who has thought me interesting enough to read. I can hardly believe I have come up with 300 things to say!

I hope you all had a happy thanksgiving. We drove up to Virginia Beach to spend the Holiday with our Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins. It was a lovely journey, beginning on Wednesday at 9:45 am, when we all got in the car with our luggage, snacks, and baby jump system and began the 6 and a half hour trek to VA. The trip in was amazing, Otter didn’t cry much at all, Monkey didn’t complain much at all, and Lee and I were gazing at each other in wonder as we realized we actually enjoyed a long drive with our children.

During my crazed pumpkin pie making I had whipped up a pumpkin custard for Otter to eat while we made the epic journey. I loaded it into a little pink tupperware container and packed it into the diaper bag. We stopped at Taco Bell for lunch (yes it is the only place we can get anything resembling southwestern mexican food in the East), and I opened the container to begin feeding Mr. O.

Lee took one look at the brown, gloppy, swirled custard, and said “You can’t feed him that, it looks like poo”.

I looked down at the custard, “but it’s not poo, it’s custard, and we know that”, said I as I scooped some up in his little spoon and started to feed him his lovingly handcrafted holiday custard.

The problem was, it really did look like poo. It looked a lot like poo. In fact, it looked so very much like poo that I couldn’t feed it to him, so I threw the custard out and gave him a packet of Mum-Mums. (That was a waste of an hour and a half of culinarily expressed love.)

We continued on our way, stopping for gas at a lovely little dive right next to an amazing sunset. Both Monkey and I went snapping away at the sunset with our cameras (She received my old one when I bought the SLR). Collectively we must have taken a hundred pictures. I had more fun photographing her than I did photographing the sunset.

We got on our way again, arrived around dinner time and settled into Aunt Letitia and Uncle Jack’s comforting hospitality.

On Thursday we went over to Lee’s cousin Suzie’s house, and played her favorite game, “Exhaust the Children.” She oohed and ahhed over Otter, and threatened to gobble up his thighs a few times. He really took to her, and enjoyed watching Monkey run around with Lydia and Elise, her cousins.

Afterwards we went back to Jack’s and Letitia’s for a delicious turkey dinner, with all the fixins, and pie. Lots of pie. There was pumpkin and soy pumpkin pie (courtesy of me), Pecan pie (courtesy of Suzie), and Apple pie (courtesy of Ruth). All of them were yummy, and even my separate pie stomach was taxed with the effort of tasting them all.

The trip was very pleasant, and I have more to share, but currently a certain young man is telling me to hurry up and nurse, so more later!

Misty baked a peck of pumpkin pies.

My new dear friend Susan came over today and held my hand through the creation of three pumpkin pies, one non-dairy pumpkin pie, and a pumpkin custard. The cheese pumpkin I had picked up was so large it made all the above, plus had about three to four cups of cooked pumpkin left over. I sent it home with Susan for pumpkin bread. Mmmm…. pumpkin bread.

How did I do? See for yourself:

Two crust pumpkins adorn the dairy pie.

A crust Monkey hand print adorns the non dairy pie.

The three pies destined for Thanksgiving:

The custard is sitting on my island waiting for dinner to be over so we can all consume it. It is also soybased, so the young man may partake of the sweet goodness.

Mmmmm… pumpkin custard.

The pie making was a lot of fun, and we experimented with honey, or all sugar, or half brown sugar/half white sugar, so each pie is a little bit different. The smell in my house is amazing now. I made cinnamon crust cookies with the left over crust bits, and Monkey and I munched on them while we watched the pies cool. Let me tell you, I have never been so glad to have two ovens. We made each pie separately, so it took from about 10:30 until about 2:30 to bake them all, using two ovens. Tee hee. Now let’s hope they taste good.