Friday, July 26, 2013

Don't Ask. Don't Tell.

The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy within the military has somewhat recently ended.  But have no fear - there's no worry that we have to let this nomenclature just fade away.  I've noticed lately that we can very effectively recycle this term in another arena where it is very much needed anyway.   Let me illustrate:

Don't Ask:

- Never ask a gal if she is pregnant:  Never.  Ever.  Ever.  It does not matter if this person has suddenly sprouted a basketball under her shirt.  If she hasn't said anything to you - don't ask.  Just play stupid.  It doesn't matter if your 90 lb recently married coworker suddenly looks like she has some meat on her bones.   Or if your several-glasses-of-wine-every-night friend has taken to drinking water because she's on "antibiotics".  Or perhaps your beer drinking friend who hates liquor has taken to consuming mysterious clear "mixed drinks" to "reduce her calorie intake".  Or stopped eating sushi and sandwiches.  Or is "sick" all the time. None of that matters.  Play stupid and don't ask.  You can gossip about your suspicions to other friends and then pat yourself on the back when you finally get confirmation.  But don't ask.  Never.  Ever.  Ask.

- Never ask a gal when/if she plans on having children:  I'll admit it, before having kids, I would do this.  After having kids.  I will never do this again.  It's such a personal question.  It should be added to the old adage of don't discuss politics and religion at the dinner table.   Because, perhaps that person doesn't want to have kids.  Or can't have kids.  Or has been trying to have kids and it's not going well.  It's complicated. 

- How someone is doing after having a baby:  Really?  How do you think that person is doing?  Come on.  Having a baby is a very unpleasant experience and no one is doing very well - and anyone that tells you otherwise is a liar.  Very unpleasant things are happening and will be happening for quite some time.  Would you really like to know how I'm doing?  I'll tell you, but somehow I don't think you really want to know.  Don't ask - just come over, hold the baby and if you're so inclined - bring some wine or food.  Because remember, we've been drinking water, eating salads and avoiding many of the good things in life for 9 months.

Don't Tell:

If you're pregnant:  If you're 8 months pregnant and still not comfortable telling a certain group of folks about the impending bebe - work, friends, family - whoever.  Don't do it.  Lie.  Lie.  Lie.  Even if you are clearly pregnant - just lie.  The person being lied to will know and call you a big fat liar.... but do it anyway.  It's no one's business unless you're ready to make it their business.  I'm amazed at the amount of people who clearly ask if someone they barely know is pregnant.  Unless you're 100% ready to start discussing this situation, lie ladies.  Just lie.

What your plans are for having a baby/another baby:  Remember that unpleasant experience of having a baby that I just talked about?  Probably not a good idea to ask someone who's just gone through that if they'd like to do it again.  It's like asking someone who just got hit by a car if they'd like to do it again.  Common sense.

Birth Stories:  Unless we are great friends, I ask for the story or we're having a heart to heart moment where sharing seems appropriate.  DO NOT tell anyone else your birth story.  It's like watching a horror movie.  I hate them.  They give me nightmares for weeks.  I do not voluntarily watch horror movies and I do not want to hear your birth story.  If you tell it anyway, I will nod and smile while loudly singing a song in my head to drown out everything you say.

See?  A very useful recycling of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. 

And in keeping with this new spin on Don't Ask. Don't Tell.  I'll share with you JTB's 6 month photo from February of this year:

Check out the surprise on that kid's face.  I hear you buddy.  Me too.

Yes.  I realize it's now July and that was taken in February.  But I decided to stick with Don't Tell.   And lied when people asked.  I "gave up drinking for Lent" or "tried to eat better and get back in shape after having JTB".   I even tried to get TB to let me not tell anyone.  Period.  Ever.  And just send out our holiday card this year with a picture of the expanded family.  I think people would have figured it out.  Perhaps been confused for a moment, but eventually figured it out.  But TB seemed to think that was taking it a bit too far.  I suppose he is right on occasion.

So anyway,  I'm ready to tell.  HTB will be arriving in October.  Just don't ask me what my plans are for having another one. 

And now JTB today.  With hair in his eyes.  This kid could use a good hairbrush:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Who Let Us Take Home a Baby?

This parenthood thing is hard.

Just the other day, TB and I were feeling pretty confident about our baby caring skills and giving each other some high fives about what a good job we've been doing.  We even decided to go back and look at some pictures of our first few days at home.  We ran across our video of JTB's first bath and smiled lovingly at the computer monitor as we pressed play.

Our smiles quickly turned to shock.

Poor JTB.

We stared in disbelief as we watched our videoed selves from just two months earlier, give the most painful bath to a week old baby.  Nails. On. Chalkboard.

The poor kid had no clothes on as we fumbled around finding washcloths, baby soap, towels and getting the water to exactly the right temperature.  He was then wet down with an obviously too cold washcloth as we took our sweet time washing every little crevasse of him.  His poor screaming self was flailing around, face getting red and with no acknowledgement of that fact from his parents.  We even took turns switching out who bathed him and who recorded and took pictures.  We smiled at the camera and asked the other if he or she "captured that".  What in the world were we even trying to capture?  The poor guy was miserable and we were far from getting a cute first bath moment captured on film.

Our present day selves were yelling at the computer monitor to "hurry up!!!"  or "wrap him in towel" or "he's cold you idiot, put some clothes on him!!!".

As the video ended we looked at each other and silently took back our high fives.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Potty Talk

Public bathrooms. 

Those two words are simply cringe worthy.  Everyone hates the public bathroom, and for good reason.  They have to be the grossest place on earth.  But honestly they don't have to be that gross.  I can't imagine people's home bathrooms get that dirty (aside from the bathroom of a college aged boy....).  Certainly the public bathrooms get used a bit more frequently than a home bathroom, but it seems that people lose all sense of manners while using the public facilities.  My personal preference is to avoid the public bathroom at all costs.  I will "hold it" and as soon as I get home, make a mad dash to the closest bathroom in the house.  TB often got used to me sprinting to the hall bathroom when I'd arrive home from a work trip - his kiss hello would come after, I had an emergency to attend to.

Unfortunately, pregnancy didn't agree with my avoidance of public bathrooms and I spent A LOT of time in them.  A LOT.  If a public bathroom is the grossest place on earth, then having to vomit in a public toilet has to be one of the grosses things you could ever do.  It was a delicate balance of making sure I barfed in the toilet, but not getting any where near the toilet.  Awful.  Simply awful.

After much thought, I've determined that public bathrooms get so disgusting for several reasons.  All are avoidable if people would just remember some basic manners.  I've listed my top "issues" which I ran across in the public bathrooms.  Hopefully this will create some awareness - you can be luckier than me and avoid a bathroom where these unfortunate incidents have occurred.

1.  Improper Aim:  There were several times when I was sure, just sure that I had accidentally walked into the men's room.  Ladies, how in the world do you get pee all over the floor and seat?  Some people may still "hover", but most facilities have the paper seat liners and if they don't, you can just use some toilet paper.  No need to pee on the floor.  And if you accidentally pee on the seat - clean it up!!

2.  No Flushing:  Flushing the toilet should be as automatic as tying your shoes.  I just don't get it.

3. Put the Seat Down for Heaven's Sake!:  Ah, the unisex bathroom.  Airplane bathrooms are the worst, unisex bathrooms and the notorious improper male aim compounded by the turbulence on the plane leads to pee everywhere.   Boys are gross and I don't want to share a bathroom with thousands of strange boys much less boys with bad manners who never put the seat down even though you are well aware there is a girl in line for the bathroom right behind you.  End of story.

4.  Abide by your Gender: Imagine being 9 months pregnant, going out to dinner, having to pee 5 times during dinner and realizing the restaurant only has one ladies room.  Ridiculous in it's self.  But then on pee number 3, standing outside the door for 10 minutes because someone is already in the bathroom.  Then, when the door opens, a dude wearing a t-shirt one size too small comes walking out of the bathroom while still buckling his pants and giggling when he walks past you.  What a jerk. There was a perfectly available men's room.  I did not want to share a restroom with this man, please refer to point number 3 above.   I gave him dirty looks over my entire dessert.

I'll soon be traveling again and I look forward to not using the public bathrooms.  Although I have noticed that the baby changing stations in public bathrooms can be fraught with some similar problems......I anticipate a post regarding changing stations at some point in the future.

And I leave you with a few of our professional baby photos of JTB at 1 week:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Our Village

They say it takes a village.

But who has a village these days?  In the literal sense, the "village" is long gone.  We no longer live in small towns where you're surrounded by the elders in your family and community.  Where those people are available to give advice, teach or lend a helping hand.  TB was told by some of his Indian co-workers that when a woman has a baby in India, she often goes to live with her mother for several months.  I suppose the Indian culture has held onto the village concept a bit more than we have here in the western world.  With all the responsibilities most of us have these days, the idea of going to live with our mothers for several months is not logistically possible, not to mention that I suspect a great many people wouldn't want to live with their mothers again.....  Even taking family aside, most of us are slightly nomadic these days.  Moving many times in life for school or work can make it hard to become part of a village.

TB and I are definitely classified as part of these modern nomads, having lived in several cities and states both before we met and after.  We've both become good at making friends and connections in each place we've lived, have stayed in touch with many of these people and can call many of them life long friends.  Although our Christmas card list has become quite extensive, it's safe to say that the list is not cohesive. It a mix of several different groups with many similarities and many differences.  We don't have one large network of friends and family who all know each other- it's a patchwork, in a sense, of people from all over the country.  A wonderful hodge podge of folks - but hodge podge nonetheless.

I think it's easy to feel like you don't belong to a village when your network is similar to ours.  I remember putting together our wedding invite list several years ago and thinking how interesting it was that we were sending invitations all over the country to several different "groups" of people - many of which had never met anyone from other groups.  It made me wonder if we were really connected to any group of people or if we had spread ourselves too thin.

Then I remember how humbled I was the weekend of our wedding.

So many people from all aspects of our lives took the time out of their busy lives to come celebrate with us. From family we hadn't seen in many years, to new friends, to coworkers, to childhood friends.  I'll never forget walking into the Hermes Bar at Antoines, Brennan's, Pat O's, the St. Louis Cathedral and seeing faces from all corners of our lives.  I realized that this was likely the only time in our lives that all the important people in both our lives would be in one place at one time.  And an amazing thing happened as the weekend wore on, different groups of people were mixing and mingling.  By the end of the weekend, it had gone from a hodge podge group of folks, to one cohesive group - all in New Orleans for one common purpose, to help us celebrate (and perhaps experience the French Quarter....).

I've been humbled once again.  Since baby TB's arrival, we've been overwhelmed by kindness from our friends and family - many of the same people from our wedding and many new people we've met since that time in New Orleans.  From all the meals that have been dropped off, to our neighbor mowing our lawn, to the kind notes and thoughtful gifts. 

As we've started this new part of our lives, we've been reminded again and again over the past few weeks that we do indeed have a village.  It might not be the type of village that we traditionally think of, but a wonderful village that suits us perfectly.  Our village.

Our village 3 years ago today

Monday, August 13, 2012

TSA Owes Us A Baby Gift

My adventures on the road began to get even more interesting than normal once I became pregnant.  I quickly figured out where all the bathrooms were in the airports and buildings I frequent, I spent more time in the airplane bathroom than I ever hoped, a bit of vomit in unfortunate places,  I learned not to wear heals late in a pregnancy and most importantly - I got to know the TSA agents on a very intimate level. So much so, that some of them at the smaller airports started to recognize me.  With all this time spent together, I really thought they'd get baby TB a gift - perhaps even a card.  But I still seem to be waiting.  You may ask why I spent so much time with the TSA during my pregnancy.  Oh, just a little thing called a full body pat down.

The full body scanners have been in use for a while and although I find it a bit disturbing to go through them on a regular basis, I honestly don't have much time to think about it and the thought of a pat down was never very appealing so I just ignored the weirdness of it and went through the machine.  Until I found out I was pregnant.  I figured that I went through the machines 2-4 times a week and perhaps it was time I stopped.  Just in case.  For at least nine months.  For nine months I was touched and rubbed down by TSA agents all over the country while I declined to go through the scanner and asked for a pat down in stead.  The TSA spent the most "intimate" time with me, next to my OB, over the past months - hence why I thought they should get us a card in the very least.  What I found most interesting about this process were some of the responses by the TSA agents when I asked for the voluntary pat down.  Some of my favorites:

At the Baltimore airport: 
Me:  I'd like a pat down please
TSA Agent:  (looking at my face, down to my stomach, back to my face)  Oh.  OK.  I'll call Barbara.  You'll really like her, she's the best one at the pat downs

Hmmmm.  The best?  What does that mean?  More thorough?  I'm not sure I want a more thorough pat down.   And shouldn't you all be really good at your jobs?  And I'm not sure I want to "like" the person who's touching me in front of all these strangers at the airport.  I'd like to get this done, no chit chat and then let's get out of here.  End of story.

At the Sarasota airport:
Me:  I'd like a pat down please
TSA Agent:  (looking at my face, down to my stomach, back to my face)  Oh.  OK.  I'll call Susan.  She used to work at the jail and really knows what she's doing.  She used to do full cavity searches on all the female inmates.

Are you kidding me?  This is not a cavity search.  I don't want 'ol Susan to get a little over zealous and think she's back at the jail.

At practically every airport, every time I asked for a pat down:
Me:  I'd like a pat down please
TSA Agents:  (looking at my face, down to my stomach, back to my face)  You do know this is safe for pregnant women - right?
My internal dialogue:  Oh.  Pardon me.  I didn't realize you have extensively looked at the research with this technology.  Or is that just what your TSA manual tells you to say?  And wait.  There is no research on pregnancy and the new airport scanners because that would be unethical.  And I'm sure in 10 years when they figure out there are some adverse effects, you will personally be responsible for the medical bills because you said this was safe.  Is that right?
My actual response:  (no verbal response, roll of the eyes and then diligently took my place in line for my pat down) 

These were such unpleasant experiences that I suppose I'll just go back to the invasive scanning machine once I start traveling again.  I just can't take a chance on Susan in Sarasota and her full cavity searches.

And on to more baby photos!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Baby Tarbutton Has Arrived!

Similar to this post when the Tarbutton family was last expanded - we have a new addition to announce!  A baby TB was born on July 19th at 3:09 PM.  He arrived a week early, but right on time according to grandma Shinnick's prediction.  He looks like neither one of us - unless we hold him at a distance, squint our eyes and try really hard - then we can see some of TB in his eyes and nose..  But then again that's probably a stretch.  Regardless, we think he's a pretty darn cute kid even though we have no idea where the cuteness comes from.

We've been overwhelmed by all the congrats, gifts, phone calls and messages - thanks to you all.  Baby TB is lucky to have so many people excited to see his arrival and watch him grow into a full sized TB.

The Button Life posting was a little lax during the pregnancy and although it was a relatively uneventful pregnancy in terms of my well being and baby TB's health - there were definitely some blog-worthy moments.  I have notes (because I love notes and lists) and plan to update during my maternity leave.

In the mean time, a new baby means lots of obligatory photos - so I'll leave it at that for this post.  Enjoy!

He really is ours... and we wanted to make sure no one stole him....

Father/son love

Our exit from the hospital - it looks like I could use a lesson or two in holding a baby.

James may be just a bit too little for posing in front of the gigantor chalkboard from Grandpa Shinnick - but we made it work.

Our first bath....

was not a happy time.

A sweet sigh of relief when it was over

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Seems like a bit of monkey math.  I think it can be best illustrated by this:

You got it.  Our little family of two will soon become a family of three! Sometime around the end of July.  We're unbelievably excited and can't wait to meet the little guy.

From here on out, I'll try not to turn the blog into baby land and keep some random musings on life scattered here and there - although I'm sure you'll all get a healthy dose of baby TB.  BUT..... a few things you will not see on this blog:

1.  A picture of a positive pregnancy test:

You'll have to take our word for it.  I'm not keen on displaying a stick which has been soaked in my urine for all to see.  I can read.  Trust me.  It said "pregnant".  I will not deny that one of those pictures exists; however it's cryptically filed away and categorized on our home computer.

2.  A picture of my insides:

- Kudos to everyone who posts pictures of ultrasounds, but I'm not comfortable posting a picture on the interwebs of my uterus.  Personal preference here.

3.  Absolutely any pregnant photos of me.  At all.  Not even one.:

- Call me vain, but I'm not interested in having pictures of this time in my life.  Considering the icky way I've been feeling, I'm sure I'll remember these 9  months well.  I don't need photos.  I've heard people talk about the preganancy "glow" and I call BS on that one.  I'm not so sure what's "glowing" about the overwhelming urge to fall asleep anywhere you can find, the urge to vomit most of the day or your normal clothes not fitting correctly.   If you really must see evidence of this pregnancy, you'll have to come visit and see it in person as there will be no photographic evidence.

And by the way, it's a boy :)