Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snippets…

Saturday afternoon, Andrew, Lucia, and I went into Sacramento (“the city”) so I could get my hair cut. We decided to have an early dinner at a place we really like—the Tower—and, though it was slightly chilly, we were able to sit outside thanks to some heat lamps. We were very cozy, and Lucia was an angel for the whole meal. When Andrew ordered fish n’ chips, the waitress said, “That’s a great choice for a cold night.” It was in the mid-fifties. Andrew wasn’t wearing a coat. It was a lovely way to spend a February night.

Last night, we went to the grocery store for some food and baby Tylenol. As we checked out, the cashier asked what Lucia’s name was. “Lucia,” I said. “What??” the cashier said. “Where’d you guys come up with that?” I told her it was Italian. “I had an Italian friend once,” she said. “She was…very passionate.” I don’t know why I persist in telling strangers her full name—there apparently aren’t a lot of Italians around here, and it’s not a name that anyone seems to have ever, ever heard. I’m just going to start saying Lucy.

Lucia seems to be teething. I think. The source of this baby’s distress is such a guessing game sometimes. But yesterday she was absolutely miserable—refusing to nap though obviously exhausted; falling asleep only to wake up fifteen minutes later screaming; sucking desperately on her fingers and my thumb, pressing them into the right-hand side of her gums; sucking on her bottom lip; whimpering plaintively. She breastfed a few times, and I even tried to give her more milk in a bottle just to make sure she wasn’t hungry, so I knew hunger wasn’t it. By the afternoon, she was clearly in desperate need of a nap, so I sat with her in the glider and let her sleep in my arms, the only way she could settle herself. She slept for an hour and a half while I just rocked, listening to the rain outside. Poor little baby. She seems fussy today but less so than yesterday, but now I’m armed with baby Tylenol just in case.

And finally, a note on your comments: thank you to everyone who leaves comments here on my blog or sends me messages by email or Facebook about my posts. I usually don’t respond to the comments here but I absolutely love reading them, and I especially appreciate hearing your advice and experiences on all things baby. It’s always a great help (and sometimes a great comfort) to hear what other people have gone through!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Areas of Strength / Areas for Growth

Yesterday evening, Andrew and I found ourselves sitting before the deacon, discussing areas of strength and areas for growth in our relationship. It was difficult coming up with growth areas, so we found ourselves talking about how Andrew wishes I’d wipe off the kitchen counters, and how I wished Andrew FOR GOD’S SAKE! would do a load of laundry once in a while. It was difficult to nit-pick like this, because we actually don’t care about these things at all (well, Andrew probably does wish I was better at cleaning up, but he loves me anyway). However, we were forced to do so to get through that evening’s “marriage preparation” session.

I was really dreading the whole thing, unsure if I’d be able to get through it without blurting out in exasperation, “We’ve been married for over two years, and been together for six! Just convalidate us, already!” Fortunately, Andrew always manages to pull out the charm when he has to (or even when he doesn’t have to). At one point, I was discussing how much I like Andrew’s personality (an area of strength!), how warm he is, and the deacon nodded and said in a somewhat awestruck voice, “Yes...He just draws you in.” I felt for a moment that I was married to a kind of guru.

We were asked whether we came from backgrounds where sex was actively and openly discussed, at which point I nearly laughed out loud, remembering what passed for “sex ed” in our Catholic school, which can be summed up as follows: Don’t have sex. Don’t get pregnant. Fortunately, Andrew carried this answer, telling the deacon about the in-depth sex ed he got in his much more progressive prep school. He didn’t go so far as to describe being shown how to put a condom over a banana, which was probably for the best, and I refrained from telling the deacon how I was taught that kissing and French kissing were on opposite sides of the “marriage line.”

It was quite funny to talk about this with Lucia screeching right there in front of us, and it was funnier still when the deacon told us we could have the convalidation ceremony at the same time as Lucia’s baptism. “You don’t usually expect to have a marriage and a baptism on the same day,” Andrew joked boldly. The deacon laughed. Andrew’s so funny! What an amazing person! I could see him thinking.

Anyway, potential minefields—should Andrew become Catholic? will we pray together to stay together?—were minimal, and we made it through the session a) without sounding like heathens and b) without offending the deacon, who is a perfectly nice person. One more session to go.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

To Feed or Not To Feed (Solids)

Yesterday was Lucia’s four-month checkup. She’s 12 pounds 8 ounces, 24 inches long, and doing great in general. The doctor, however, told us something surprising: that we can start introducing solids whenever we want. Lucia is eighteen weeks old today, four and a half months, and I’d always assumed we’d breastfeed exclusively until six months. But now I’m debating.

I never thought I’d devote this much mental energy going over the merits and drawbacks of feeding my baby something as bland and boring-sounding as rice cereal, but I can’t stop thinking about it—and I can’t make up my mind what to do. I’ve heard a lot of different advice from different friends, and have read a lot of different things online, and each person and site seems to offer good arguments—for both sides. One might suggest that I should follow the recommendation of our doctor, who we like very much and who has been seeing babies for twenty-seven years. But he gave a suggestion, not an order, and so it’s up to us to decide what’s right for us.

On the one hand, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the six-month mark for this very reason, ready to take a little of the pressure off of breastfeeding exclusively. If Lucia were a better nurser, this wouldn’t be an issue; but her breast-rejection episodes are frequent and consistently stressful for me (more pumping, trying to heat bottles with a crying baby, feeling rejected, etc. etc.). We always manage in the end, of course, but it would certainly be nice to have a little relief, even if it starts off just a little at a time. And the feeding-obsessive in me would love to have yet another way to make sure she’s filling her little belly.

On the other hand, she’s so tiny. She’s not yet sitting up on her own, and she just seems too babylike for solids. Besides this, I’m afraid that introducing solids will tax the breastfeeding further, making her even more unpredictable than she already is. I certainly am not ready to wean her or anything like that, and I worry that introducing solids will put us on that path prematurely when my goal was to breastfeed for a year. And an irrational part of me feels like starting solids before six months is a cop-out somehow, a kind of failure. Ridiculous, I know, but who said mothering-emotions always make perfect sense?

Maybe we’ll wait until she’s five months—two more weeks—and start up then. Maybe we’ll push on to six months. I really don’t know what to do.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lucia's First Weekend Trip



I think we have a city girl. We took Lucia to San Francisco this weekend for Valentine’s Day—her first taste of a big city, and our first weekend trip with baby in tow. It was a rousing success, and Lucia seemed to love it. We drove down Saturday morning through thick fog, which cleared once we were in the city. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny, and instead of going right to our hotel we decided to explore the Marina neighborhood and have lunch. Lucia napped almost the entire way down, then began screaming as we searched for a parking place. When we found one, I nursed her in the car, and then we found an outdoor table at a deli and had sandwiches. Then we walked around, enjoying the city atmosphere, passing countless other babies in strollers and generally feeling like we were back where we belonged. It was wonderful.

Next we drove down to the water and walked around a bit. I nursed Lucia again as we looked out at the boats; then we took a long walk toward the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s something about successfully nursing my baby on the go that makes me feel powerful—as though I can go anywhere, do anything. I’m not sure why. But it was so satisfying to be able to do this. Lucia’s not the most reliable nurser—it’s anyone’s guess if she’ll nurse with gusto or decide at that minute to start a mini-strike—but all the breastfeeding stars aligned this weekend, and it was perfect.



Determined to enjoy a meal at our favorite restaurant, the Nob Hill CafĂ©, we drove from the Marina to Nob Hill and killed an hour playing in the park and walking around, daydreaming about living in one of the charming apartments on Taylor Street. We put Lucia in her Baby Bjorn—facing outward for the first time—and she couldn’t have been happier. We’d planned to get dinner to go and eat it either in Huntington Park or back at the hotel—but we decided to tempt fate and eat right there, with Lucia. It was our first dinner out with her, and she couldn’t have been a better baby. She sat peacefully for a while in her stoller, then fell asleep, waking only when we finished the last bites of our meal. We almost felt like real human beings again, enjoying a Valentine’s Day dinner in a cozy, candlelit restaurant—albeit at the baby-friendly hour of 5pm.



By the time we checked into our hotel in Union Square, it was nearly bedtime. First, though, Lucia and I waited in the lobby while Andrew went to park the car. Here, Lucia really came into her own. We sat on an ottoman in the center of the bustling lobby, doing our favorite routine—“Who’s standing?! Who’s standing?!” as I bounced Lucia on her babyfeet. She smiled and squealed and failed to use her “indoor raptor voice,” attracting attention and oh, what a cute baby! smiles from everyone nearby. And she was well aware of the attention, lapping it up, clearly relieved to be seeing people besides Andrew and me for once.

Bedtime was easy and swift—a baby spa (bath) in the sink, a nice warmed bottle of breastmilk, some rocking, and then a pleasant drifting off to sleep in the darkened room. While she slept, Andrew went out and got us some junk food from a convenience store, which we ate in one of the two double beds while watching the Olympics at a low volume. Then we left the crumbs behind and slept in the other bed. This constituted a big night out for us. And we had a really good time.

Sunday, awakened by Lucia at the early hour of 6:30am, Andrew took Lucia out in the Bjorn to get pastries for us. Then we attempted naptime (limited success), and then checked out and walked to the Ferry Building for lunch at Taylor’s, emboldened by our successful dining-out experience from the night before. Alas, it was not to be, and we had to tag-team our lunch while taking an insanely fussy Lucia away from the other diners. We were sitting outside and it was really sunny, which I think made her uncomfortable. Sensitive little baby!

Eventually, it was time to head home. We were tired but happy—happy that Lucia liked the city, happy to have gotten back to SF after almost five months away, happy to have managed a weekend trip at all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Teething?

My once-smiley baby, my once-good-napping sweetheart, has taken a turn for the difficult this week. She’s consistently refused to nap, and she’s been fussier than usual—she just hasn’t been her squealing, good-natured self. She’s also drooling buckets and gnawing on everything that crosses her path, so I’m wondering now if she’s teething. I went out today and bought several teething accoutrements—chewy rings, vibrating rings, teething beads—so we’ll see if she likes them. I don’t see any teeth coming in, so this is really just a shot in the dark, but it’s like a switch went off with her mid-week.

I’ve done little the past few days except struggle to get her to nap. I succeeded for about one hour today—she fell asleep in her stroller during a walk, and then I wheeled the stroller into the laundry room and put the dryer on. Success. She fell asleep on our way home from Babies R Us, too, and is currently sleeping still strapped into her car seat. But it’s a far cry from the nice two-hour naps she used to take in the morning and afternoon.

Andrew and I are setting out this weekend on our first overnight trip with Lucia—we’re going to San Francisco tomorrow until Sunday. I’m excited to introduce Lucia to her first big city; hopefully she won’t gnaw her way through it. I think we’ll be fine, pushing her around in the stroller, potentially getting take-out from our favorite Nob Hill restaurant to eat once Lucia’s asleep. We haven’t been to SF since before the baby was born—I’m excited to return.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Who Needs Naps?

Lucia, once a stellar napper, is now on day two of an afternoon nap strike. Yesterday, she napped for no more than half an hour, and only under duress. We had a screamy, whiney, hysterical evening with our little Fusskins. Today, she napped fine in the morning…fell asleep in the car as I returned from meeting a friend for lunch…and then refused to nap at all from about 1pm on. I rocked her, bounced her, fed her, fed her some more, left her in her crib, put her in her bouncey chair, and still nothing. She keeps looking at me and grinning, wiggling about good-naturedly, but in about one hour I know full well what we’ll be in for. Sigh.

I’m tempted to blame her sleeplessness on the brownies I’ve been eating, but blaming her moods on foods is how I’ve come to find myself eating a diet free of dairy, broccoli, tomatoes, and citrus, so I’m loathe to eliminate anything else without any hard scientific proof…

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Baptism Class

Last night, Andrew and I had to go to a class to prepare for Lucia’s upcoming baptism. We were annoyed with this from the get-go. The class was scheduled from 7:30-9:00pm—way past Lucia’s, or any baby’s, bedtime. I’d called the coordinator, a humorless woman who I knew immediately was childless, to try to beg one of us off, but she emphasized that it was vital that both of us be there. She suggested we just get a baby-sitter. When I explained that no, our baby is only four months old and, furthermore, we don’t have any family here, she said, “Well, doesn’t she have a little carrier or something?” As though she were a little cat.

When I saw this woman in person, my intuition was proven right. She gave a thin smile to Lucia. “Cute. Almost makes me want one of my own,” she said. She was close to seventy years old.

Anyway, we and about twenty other people then sat through a mini-religion class taught by the deacon’s wife. Bits of religion classes past floated up from the depths of my memory, but I’d forgotten most of what she was asking and telling us—what happened during Pentecost, what is grace, what are the seven sacraments, what’s original sin, Eve’s sin is why women have pain in childbirth, etc etc. She shared several stories of how the Anointing of the Sick miraculously cured people she knew of their ailments, including her own osteoarthritis, and encouraged us to receive this sacrament frequently.

Andrew was hanging in there through all of this. Then we watched a video about baptism, circa 1980. Oh, my goodness. I don’t know whether the participants in this video (and I feel almost 100% positive that it was a VHS tape, though I can’t prove it) were failed actors or overzealous parishioners, but they overacted their way through a baptism ceremony so atrociously that I, at one point, had to fiddle with Lucia’s diaper bag to keep from dissolving into a laughing fit. When the priest in the video asked the plastic-frame-bespectacled father why he was here today, the father answered with what I can only describe as a demonic grin, “I want that Elizabeth have what we ourselves have been blessed to have had, faith in God!!” Attending the baptism of his daughter was clearly the highlight of his existence thus far. Also, English seemed to be not only not his first language but also not his second, third, or fourth.

There was a veritable crowd of people attending baby Elizabeth’s baptism in the video, and they gazed upon the goings-on with, I’m afraid, vacant, cult-like stares and possessed smiles.

The video ended after twenty minutes; and, not much later, we were home. But Andrew has been scarred, and scared, by the whole encounter, really his first encounter with, as he says, Big-C Catholicism. (The marriage class was small beans compared to this.) Today at lunch, with a haunted, doubtful look on his face, he tried to articulate why the class freaked him out. He wasn’t really able to, other than to express his reservations of whether we want to introduce this influence into Lucia’s life. And I can see where he’s coming from—the prim, sexless religion teacher speaking of miracles; the retro video with the rapt, cult-like baptism crowd; the talk of Pentecostal flames and tongues (I’m not even sure why this came up); the equating of missing church on Sunday with excessive pride.

I get it. It’s off-putting to someone who hadn’t been exposed to it on a daily basis for twelve years. I, on the other hand, once carried a “wooden nail” in my pocket during Lent to remind myself that we ALL crucified Jesus. This class, attended by regular people obviously doing it for the same reason we were—to get the papers signed and have a baptism, already—was small potatoes. Baptizing Lucia is not going to suddenly propel her into that weird, churchy environment. I reminded Andrew that the fervent Catholic video (“I await eagerly and anxiously to help in any way in which I can, if I am blessed to do so!!” declared a godparent) is just one part of all this, one drab, out-of-touch element that I hadn’t crossed paths with for going on twenty years now. The rituals—the traditions—the grand, gorgeous cathedrals in Spain—that’s all part of it too.

I don’t think I’ve convinced him. Perhaps I won’t. Maybe you’re either from a family that buries St. Joseph in the yard of a house they hope to sell, or you’re not. Maybe there can be acceptance of a lapsed-Catholic wife desiring to have her baby baptized—but I wonder if, in the end, there can be no true understanding.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Raptors

It’s been a long weekend. Andrew left at 4:30am Saturday morning to fly to Miami for the Super Bowl, so Lucia and I have been on our own for two days and, now, going on two nights. We’ve fared okay. Lucia is an amusing and generally pleasant companion, making me laugh with her newfound ability to make raptor-like screeches. She seems thrilled to have found her voice—and it’s a loud one. Tonight, though, as I talked to Molly on the phone, her cute screeches took on a sinister whining quality, and she began thrashing in her bouncey chair, and I could see that she was morphing into Fusskins before my eyes—a transformation as dramatic as the Incredible Hulk’s. So our evening was chaotic, as I stupidly tried to make myself a carmelized onion dip to soothe the unhappiness of being by myself (I got as far as carmelizing the onions and gave up), heat up and eat my dinner (I wound up eating lukewarm stew standing up, bouncing Lucia as I ate), and get her to sleep. Which she is now. For now.

Today was a day that left me bone-weary—and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. No crafty object, no piece of writing, no interesting photograph—let’s face it, not even a decent piece of toast. (A hungry Lucia cut short my required toast-toasting time this morning, leaving the bread not hot enough for spreading peanut butter, resulting in a mangled, clumpy, wholly unsatisfying breakfast.) Late this afternoon I drove her to a park in Roseville I’d never been to before, planning to kill an hour with a nice walk, but got freaked out because the park was deserted—everyone was, presumably, home watching the game. I walked for a while but finally left when I saw an older man riding a bike around and around the playground area. A mom quickly left with her two kids. I followed her out.

The most productive thing I did today was walk to Trader Joe’s to buy more peanut butter once we got back from the park. Then, loathe to go back home, I took Lucia to this weird discount store by Trader Joe’s, just for somewhere to go. I love a bargain as much as the next person, but this is the kind of place where you just know from the get-go that no treasures are hiding. As we walked the aisles, the disapproving look on Lucia’s face was priceless—“Mama, where are we?” she seemed to be saying. She was not amused. We left quickly.

Then Fusskins arrived with a rending of sleeper, our chaotic evening began, and it’s not even 9pm and I’m about to pass out. Nothing to show for this day but a peacefully (for now) sleeping baby, and a whole mess of laundry. Regardless, we made it through the weekend, thanks to a nice lunch out with Beth and Nate on Saturday and, somehow, a piling up of seconds and minutes and hours today.

There’s a lot to be said for suburbia—okay, there’s one thing to be said, and that’s SPACE—but I really missed a city today. Walking aimlessly through TJ’s, and then that crazy store, everywhere deserted while the world watched the football game, I really felt like the last human being on earth. Well, me and Lucia. The last two. How did this become my life? I found myself thinking as I walked home, Lucia gazing at me appraisingly. There’s so much more I want to show her—so much more we could be doing together than setting out with the sole purpose of buying peanut butter—and I kind of felt like making raptor-screeches myself, the gist of which is this: Please, please, get me out of California.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Introducing...Our New Volvo




So we decided to buy the 'expensive' car, the 2006 Volvo V50, the one requiring a car loan. We deliberated all weekend and through Monday, finally coming to a decision Monday evening. We decided we'll keep this car through any moves we may make; and, since it has just 18,000 miles on it so far, it should last us for years, through lots of baby-stuff hauling and probably even another kid. Andrew made a valiant effort to haggle, but CarMax held true to its no-haggle pricing policy. We went for it anyway.

It's a pretty great car--as brand-new as a 'pre-owned' car can get, nice black leather interior, no leaks when it rains. It feels good to drive it, like we've taken some sort of step into an adult world we'd been previously shut out of. We haven't yet christened the car; that will take a while. Vern has earned his name--after 160,000 miles and several years of sporting a THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT IS NEITHER bumper sticker, I should hope he has. We'll see what adventures we embark on with our new car.

And yes, we've somehow become even more suburban than we'd been before now that we have a station wagon. We'll surely spiral into some sort of suburban vortex when we drive our baby in a station wagon to a big box store and load up the back with bags. Oh, and I'll be wearing sweatpants. Not yoga pants--sweatpants. It's only fitting. I'll have to go buy some at a big box store.

Letter to Lucia: 16 Weeks



Little Lucia,

You’re sixteen weeks old today—four months—and it still seems crazy that we’ve had you for such a short amount of time. You’ve eclipsed everything else in our universe in so dramatic a way that it never fails to surprise me—no, shock me—to see you out in the world, where you look so incredibly small in your carseat. At home, to me, when we’re together all day and all night and my every thought is focused on your well being, you seem larger than life.

You are now blowing spit bubbles with gleeful abandon. You’re so good at it now that you sometimes spray spit everywhere, smiling all the while. You’re also starting to chew things—especially your hands—but also whatever blanket or sleeve happens to be near your mouth at any given moment. And the drool. Oh, the drool. You’re a champion drooler.

You take great pleasure now in having me stand you up on my knees. “Who’s standing? Who’s standing?” I say excitedly, and you seem excited, too. You manage to support yourself for a couple of seconds at a time before your little knees buckle. Your legs are getting strong; when you lie on your back, you kick so vigorously that your entire bottom half leaves the ground. And you’re still rolling over from tummy to back. These form your current collection of tricks.

Your napping is going well—two naps a day, morning and afternoon, with a little snooze once Daddy gets home from work—but your once-stellar nighttime sleeping has been derailed a little bit. Perhaps you’re growing; whatever the case, you’ve been waking up two times or more each night now, wanting to eat. I’m tired again. I’d gotten cocky, had been going to bed at 11pm just like the old days; I have to get back to going to sleep when you do. I hope this is a stage that will, once again, pass.

You’re about twelve pounds now, have outgrown the sink where we give you your bath, and are pushing out of a couple of your three-month sleepers. You’re becoming even more alert than before—you no longer scream bloody murder when I take you for walks; you seem to like looking around. Your expression, however, is always sober. Whereas at home with me and Daddy you’re all smiles and shrieks, when we’re out in the world you give everyone and everything a wary, appraising stare.

We have another challenge coming up, you and I: our first full weekend alone. Daddy’s going to the Super Bowl, so we’ll be on our own for two and a half days and two nights. We fared fine the last time he left; so we’ll see how this goes. Your Fusskins evenings are few and far between now, and we have our routines and rituals that keep the days under control; but it’s the bone-tiredness I’m dreading most, when an entire morning and afternoon has gone by and…an entire evening awaits. I’m sure we’ll be fine, little one.

Four months. You’re officially done with the “fourth trimester” now—and you’re on your way to getting to know the world.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Tale of Two Evenings

Here’s a little game. Let’s see if you can guess which of the following Sunday evenings Andrew and I experienced this week:

Evening #1

We’re invited to a black-tie Grammys party in a suite at the Staples Center. Andrew rents a great tux, I get a sexy new dress that is not in any way conducive to breastfeeding, and we fly to L.A. for the night. We drink champagne and eat glamorous snacks and see Bon Jovi live, singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” right along with him as we gaze down at the stage below. We smugly congratulate ourselves on having such a spectacular evening out.

Evening #2

We spend most of the day car-shopping, and then car-deliberating, and spend the evening in Roseville. Andrew attempts to make a Dungeness crab bisque while Lucia, aka Fusskins, whines constantly for approximately four hours. It’s the kind of whine that’s exhausting simply to listen to. We’re so tired and frustrated that we decide to wait to have the bisque until after she’s in bed. Putting her to bed is, of course, a trial, with lots of screaming. By the time we eat dinner we’re nearly comatose from hunger. Soon we, too, fall asleep.

Answer:

Evening #2! We actually were invited to that black-tie party in a suite at the Staples Center, but obviously it was impossible to go, though we wondered whether Lucia would have been welcome if I’d worn her in a sequined sling. Of course we wouldn’t trade Lucia for a night at the Grammys, even for a live Bon Jovi performance. But it was just funny to watch the show on TV while all the whining was going on and think wistfully—yes, wistfully! just for a second, wistfully—that we could have been there.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Car Searching

Don’t get me wrong: we love our Vern, our 1997 Volvo sedan who’s been part of our family since we moved to California. But now that I actually leave the house and want to do things with the baby, it’s getting harder and harder to get by on one car. It’s not that big a deal to drive Andrew to work, but it seems to throw off our morning schedule of playtime, feeding, and naps, upsetting her before we’ve even taken a bite out of the day. So we’ve decided to add another car to our life.

It’s probably high time to do so. Vern has almost 160,000 miles on him, which, in Volvo miles, is still fine. And though he runs just fine, he does have his problems. Here are just a few:

We can’t open the driver’s side back door from the outside.
The interior light is hanging, literally, by a wire, dangling precariously over the carseat.
The driver’s seat cannot be moved forward or backward.
The car leaks when it rains.
The AC doesn’t work well enough for us to survive NorCal summers.

We devoted this weekend to car shopping, focusing on used Volvo station wagons. We started off gung-ho and excited; but now, with a few cars to choose from, we’re gun shy. We found a really nice, nearly new Volvo V50, with 20,000 miles—nothing in Volvo miles—but it will require a car loan and monthly payments. We found a much older Volvo that we could pay for in cash; but it’s seen better days, to say the least. We found a couple in the middle, requiring a car loan but a smaller one.

And so we’re torn. Having never had a car payment, we’re loathe to add one to our budget. But having had a very old Volvo, which does require a certain amount of upkeep, we’re also loathe to add unpredictable repairs, possibly large ones, to our life. A cheap car means we can just sell ourselves car-less when it’s time to move back East; a nicer car means we’ll probably try to keep it and drive it cross-country when we leave. A nicer car will allow us to do that, if we want to; a much older car might send us car-shopping yet again once we move. And who knows when we’ll be moving, anyway? Maybe we should get a $1,500 clunker that just can get Andrew back and forth to work.

My head is spinning. We’ll see what happens. On a side note, Lucia was a little angel while we car shopped, spending almost all of Saturday stuck in her carseat with nary a fuss. It was sunny and warm all weekend, and she was barefoot for the first time—I think she liked it. She kept pressing the soles of her little feet together. And I, of course, was happy to be able to gaze at her precious babyfeet whenever the car talk got too taxing.