I just have to shout this to the blogosphere: I just downloaded I am a Bird Now by Antony and the Johnsons. I'm only three songs in so far, but even if the rest of it is terrible, I have to say, damn this is really amazing.


I love the "Lazy Sunday" video as much as the next guy. But this article in Slate is some of the dumbest shit I've ever read: "The popularity of the Narnia rap might augur a reawakening at SNL—in fact, there are already T-shirts that parrot the song's catchphrases. It's more significant, though, for what it says about the state of rap."

I'd spend some time explaining why this article is fucking stupid, but we gotta bounce out of here for X-mas. Hopefully you're smart enough to recognize it for yourself. I've seen a lot of articles over the years lamenting how hiphop was so much better back in the good old days, I just figured the folks at Slate were smarter than that.


Merry Christmas.

For real, enjoy this shit because you know it's just cold and darkness from here until President's Day. Make merry, motherfuckers.


Lately in the WuKids house we have been having a lot of potty talk. Simon is showing a budding curiosity in all things potty, be it the body parts that produce the potty-filling products or the potty itself. It's pretty much all talk; there is no accompanying action, such as Simon sitting on the potty and using it. Still, I am trying to keep my hopes up that all of this talk might eventually lead to a 3 year old who can piss and shit in a toilet.

Part of my job, as I see it, is to shed a positive light on the potty, so that he might one day be interested in becoming better acquainted with it. This crusade for positivity can result in some ridiculous statements on my part. "No, Simon, the toilet is not yucky and gross. You would never want to put your toys in there, and you should never, ever put your mouth on any part of it. But it's not gross. It's normal and... and wonderful."

As I learned this morning, my campaign for positive potty talk can also be trumped by his young logic. Witness our conversation atop the changing table. He had just beckoned me to his room because of a poopy diaper, or so he said.

Me: This is not a poop. This is a pee pee.
Simon: Pee pee is yucky?
M: No, it's not yucky. Everyone does it.
S: It's stinky and gross?
M: No, it's normal to go pee pee.
S: It's very, very gross.
M: No, Simon, pee pee is normal. Everyone goes pee.
S: Everyone is gross.



Ina May Gaskin ---midwife, author, and hippie extrordinaire--- has a phrase she likes to teach woman in preparation for their labors. She especially likes to say these words to women whose babies appear to be whoppers. She says, "You're going to get huge." She claims that this simple phrase can often help a woman dialate even beyond the regular 10 cm, because it lets her visualize/internalize/focus on the opening up of her pelvis and cervix. I think that's cool.

Lately, her magic phrase has been popping into my mind, but not in its original context. When I look in a mirror, whether at my face or my body, I cannot believe the changes that are taking place --- already! Only 12 weeks down, and already my thighs are twice as Rueben-esque as before, and my chin is slowly but surely growing a twin. Looking at myself these days, I wonder, what am I going to look like after 6 more months of this? The answer is resoundingly clear:

You're going to get huge, Laura.



Here at camp Hartrich we are sick like dawwwgs. Ill, son, ill. Our house is in COMPLETE disarray, and we really can't be troubled to lift a finger because if we have to be sick, then our house is going to feel the pain to. Happy holidays!

Merry Christmas, Suckers

I've just completed my homemade gift for everyone to enjoy: Frankincense, Gold Fronts, and Myrrhder, a holiday themed DJ mix. Download at your leasure:

Part I

Part II


I'm in a band called Jitney, which now has a blog of its own. You can download all our songs there, we have a new one I highly recommend. It's called "Steel Pony".



I don't necessarily shower every day during the winter. Can't really explain why, that's just how I rock it. BUT, yesterday I didn't shower and this morning for some reason the cold water isn't coming out. I've heard of the hot water not working, but the cold water? Damn. So now I'm gonna stink the shit out of everyone near me. I haven't smelled this bad since my best friend was a piece of paraphernalia.


Rats with Rhyming Names

Here at WuKids, we try to avoid posts that center around the unbelievable cuteness of our son, for a couple reasons:
1. If you've ever met him, you already know.
2. There are far too many instances of profound cuteness to document.
3. You, our readers, may, possibly, I guess, if you happen to be completely callous, get sick of our blathering over his cuteness.

But sometimes a documentation of extreme sweetness cannot be avoided.

Exhibit A:

We are borrowing this book (and its corresponding audio-tape) from the library. We heard the following passage:
"Horace and Morris and Dolores were friends --- the greatest of friends, the truest of friends, the now-and-forever-I'm-yours sort of friends."
Simon immediately looked at me and said, "Mommy and Daddy sort of friends?" While I knew it was certainly one of the cutest things he's ever said, I couldn't be sure of its meaning. Did he mean Nate and I were good friends to each other, or good friends to him? Either way, goddamn, my kid is the cutest ever!

Then, later, after hearing the same passage, he said to Nate, "You the greatest of friends to Mommy?"

That cleared it up nicely.

How do you like that? My two year old can identify great friendship, and he sees it between his parents. This may well keep me feeling warm inside throughout the frigid winter.


Welcome to the fold, Adam.


Someone help, please

Seth Rogen is a funny man. He was Ron in "Undeclared" and Ken in "Freaks and Geeks", but when I looked him up just now on imdb.com it told me he was Ricky Danforth in Donnie Darko, a movie I've seen many times, but who the fuck is Ricky Danforth? Can someone clear this up so I don't have to go to the trouble of popping the DVD in? Because, you know, that would really inconvenience me.


Another Mammoth Post from Everybody's Favorite Blabbermouth

Last night, after leaving our firstborn in the hands of a brilliant democratic campaign planner, Nate and I went to the hospital, where we were given a tour of the birthing facilities by the World's Most Exhausted Nurse (bloodshot eyes, stumbling through the halls). We made stops at the registration desk, emergency room, triage, labor and delivery rooms (L&D), and alternative birthing center (ABC).

Overall, the 30 minutes spent walking through the hospital corridors just reinforced my dream of having a homebirth. This dream will not be realized, however, because, in this country, such an option is only available to those with sufficient funds. Here in Chicago, the best known homebirth organization, Homefirst, accepts very few insurance plans. I called and requested that they send me a summary of costs if one wanted to pay out-of-pocket. They kindly and quickly complied. I received a 3 page list of figures, and stopped adding them up when I reached $6000. So I don't actually know how much it would cost, total. But it's a lot. Too much.

I also called The Farm to ask how much they charged. They used to invite women to come there to deliver for free, but with rising hospital costs, they've had to start charging $3000, to offset those rare instances when they do have to take a woman to the hospital.

Maybe because it was so much less than Homefirst, I thought $3000 sounded like a very manageable amount of money. I started scheming about how I could raise the money to have my Farm birth. I could get a job at Joann Fabric, now hiring! Or! I could solicit my church community to hire me to do odd jobs! I could charge $10/hour, and I would only have to find 300 hours of work, cleaning a house here, babysitting some rugrats there. And I was pretty much counting on people having pity on me, the round-bellied girl cooking their family dinner, and being moved to give donations above and beyond my hourly rate. Yes! I could raise this money! I was all set to send out a message on the Wellington listserv, drafting my plea in my head.

Then I cooked an unusually ambitious dinner while my mom was visiting. Salmon, rice pilaf, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. It took maybe an hour. By the time I was done (even with Nate doing half of the work), my feet and my back were aching something fierce, and I was rethinking my plan for working my way toward a homebirth.

So, it's the hospital for me! What is so wrong with the hospital? I don't know... it's just so.... institutional, huge, unfriendly, wirey, machine-filled, and hospitally. I wasn't surprised by much last night, but here were the most disappointing discoveries:
- No eating allowed for the mother, even in the ABC. This is one of the dumbest, most frustrating hospital policies, based on the minute chance that you end up having a c-section under general anesthesia, then end up vomiting and aspirating. Even the nurse who gave our tour admitted that the risk of this happening is very low, and she even added that the evidence behind the practice is "not very scientific." Still, they enforce this starvation policy for every laboring woman, even those having normal births in the birthing center.
-The "home-like" ABC rooms? Pretty much exactly like the L&D rooms, just with a few colorful pictures thrown on the wall. Oh, and a queen size bed instead of a twin. Still, a lot of machines and wires everywhere, cold hard floors, and the chaos of the hospital just beyond a thin door. Not quite as relaxing as home, in my opinion. Also, a bit disappointed by the lack of a pool or large tub. There is a tub, but it looked smaller than the one in our apartment. I'm not sure if I could fit in there now, let alone when I am huge with child.
-There seemed to be a million reasons why they might need to transfer you from the birthing center to a labor and delivery room. Laboring too long? L&D! Any hint of meconium in your fluid? L&D! Not walking around enough while in labor? L&D! Whining too much? L&D! I asked the nurse if she could give me a ballpark estimate of how many women who start their labor in the ABC end up delivering in L&D. After waffling for a few seconds about how it is on an individual basis, and she couldn't really say, and it's different for everyone, she finally spit out the figure 50/50. My heart sank.

On the drive home I felt defeated. This alternative birthing center business is the best option I have, unless we go the unassisted route, which, let's face it, is just for crazy people. I may be a hippie when it comes to birthing philosophies, but I'm no crazy hippie. Still, I struggle to see the ABC as a good option, when, to me, it could clearly be so much better.

I know I have to get over this. I have to do some mental weight lifting so that I can be strong and push through this disappointment. I know the scars from my last experience may be casting an unnecessarily harsh light upon another birth in the hospital. Also, I have reason to believe that my caregiver this time will be more compassionate and reasonable than my last doctor. And not everything about the tour was gloomy. The nurse did explicitly say that I could labor and push in any position I wanted to, as long as I was in the ABC. That's a good sign, I guess. In the end, it will be up to me to stay positive, hopeful, and confident throughout my pregnancy and my labor. It's important to keep the 'reward' in mind.

Because, while I certainly don't want to minimize the importance of the labor experience, and while I think our medical system does a bang up job of fucking with the beautiful and holy affair that birth should be, in the end, I just want another forehead to rub.

Last night before we put Simon to bed, the three of us crawled into our big bed. Simon by the wall, Nate in the middle reading Beautiful Bananas, and me on the edge. I lay on my side, left arm resting on Nate's chest, right arm stretched out past him, reaching to Simon. He let me rub his forehead and play with his hair the whole time we read. This is all I want. Another forehead to rub. Another miniature hand to hold as we cross the street. Another little person to know and behold in the most intimate ways. In that moment, as I touched his soft skin and golden hair, I knew that to have him in my life, I would go through my hellish labor, and worse, a hundred times. When this baby comes, I know I'll feel the same, regardless of what happens in the hospital.


The post directly below this one is being kept at the top of the page beyond it's normal life cycle due to the fact that unlike most posts here, it is both well written and meaningful. Please read it if you haven't. New posts can be found below it.

Sisters Just Don't Understand

This weekend I had a lengthy conversation with my family, centering around my bittersweet birthing experience with Simon and my hopes for a more holistic, peaceful experience this time. The discussion was meaningful for me, as it was the first time I felt like my family gained some understanding of why aspects of Simon's birth were so hard.... hard to endure and hard to accept. Almost everyone listened to me, expressed their regrets that I had struggled so last time, and extended their wishes for a better go round this time.

Interestingly, my sister seemed to have the hardest time understanding my story and my point. She tried valiantly to mask it, but her true feelings were pretty apparent, just as they were over two years ago, when the wounds from my complicated hospital birth were brand new and tender: essentially, she thinks I should stop complaining. I had a healthy baby, and what injustices done to me by medical professionals could possibly matter in light of that fact? I was, initially, surprised that I could meet such opposition from the only other person in the room who had given birth vaginally. In hindsight, maybe I shouldn't have been.

My sister and I are different in many ways, and our perceptions of birth are no exception. Here allow me to note, briefly, our birth stories.
With Simon, I was induced after being diagnosed with preeclampsia. I labored for about 24 hours and finally delivered after having an iv narcotic (at the insistence of my doctor) and an episiotomy (despite my very clear request, "Please do not cut me"). Because of my condition, I lost many of the options I wanted to exercise during labor. Losing options is one thing ---I can accept that the restrictions I endured were for the safety of me and my baby --- but losing dignity is quite another. Throughout my hospital stay, I felt routinely disrespected. One of many examples: I didn't see my doctor until it was time to push, but she did find time to call me at several points to reprimand me for being too difficult and to badger me into taking drugs.
Now, I lied about my story being brief, but my descriptions of my sister's really will be. They might look longer, but, remember, there are two! I wasn't there for either, but to the best of my knowledge, this is how they proceeded: With her first, my sis had a picture-perfect hospital birth. Halfway dilated before she got there, her labor proceeded so quickly that the nurses had to convince the doctor that she really was ready to push and he really should come NOW. No drugs, just an episiotomy, but no big deal according to my sister. Her second birth was a whole different thing, as she was carrying twins and went into labor several weeks early. One twin was ready to come out; my sister was fully dilated when she reached the hospital. After over an hour of trying not to push, she was wheeled in for an emergency cesarean, because the other twin was laying sideways, wedged up under her ribs. Only a miracle of modern science would've brought that baby out alive, and that's exactly what happened.

Perhaps our distinct birthing stories will shed a bit of light on our different views of birth...

I think birth is a natural process and a rite of passage for many women. I believe that under the right circumstances, most women, if they so desire, can give birth vaginally and without foreign substances. I believe that women in labor can experience strength, empowerment, and joy. I also believe that a woman's birth experience can have a significant impact on her spirit.

My sister believes that labor is but a means to an end, but not especially meaningful in and of itself. Good or bad, it can be easily forgotten as soon as a healthy baby is produced. She also believes it is a risky business, and that doctors only use interventions when necessary.

My sister believes that any woman who wants to give birth naturally should be able to do it in the hospital. Any woman who is strong enough, that is. Any discomforts, distractions, or disrespect dished out to her can be overlooked, powered through.

I believe that most hospitals are not conducive to natural birth. I don't have any on hand, but statistics support me on this. I think something like 30% of women in American hospitals deliver their babies drug-free. And while I agree with my sister that women can overcome the challenges presented by a hospital birth, I don't think they should have to. I think they should be supported by sensitive and competent individuals, made to feel powerful and capable, and allowed to move through their labor as they see fit.

I have to stop myself here, as I could go on and on. Also, I feel like the points I've already listed are unfairly vague. Each deserves further exploration, in my opinion, but I know not everyone is as passionate about this topic as I am.

Of all our disagreements and misunderstandings, the one that irritates me the most is that my sister thinks that because I have a lot of negativity about Simon's birth, I must be disappointed in myself. Not so, my friends! Honestly, I'm quite proud of how I handled it all, and certainly proud of what I accomplished. My negative feelings are in no way directed toward myself. My anger is toward the hospital system, which makes it so hard for women to give birth naturally, and, more specifically, toward my doctor. I've often had daydreams wherein I kick her in the face before she is able to slice open my perineum.

I only hope that, if I had the chance to do it, I would. Good and hard. A better birth experience is what I deserve this time, and a nice nosebleed was, at the least, what she deserved.
I had one of the strangest dreams I've ever been able to remember last night. It was about a drumbeat. I mean that in a literal sense, just a drumbeat, and a really simple one at that. It was the drum machine part from a Stetsasonic song, I can't remember which one. Butwhat I want to know is what does it mean?