pump and dump

This time last year I was not a wife.  I was not pregnant.  I was not a published author.  I was living in New York.  A year later and I’m living in Texas, married, published, with a son and a daughter.  One hell of a year, one even a horoscope would be pressed to predict.  And as different as my life is, I am in love with it.  I love Phil so much, love that the other day, at the hospital elevators, he pulled me into him and whispered, "I couldn’t be happier than I am right now, with you."  And I hit him for making me cry.  "Not that everything doesn’t make me cry, but still."  Then we kissed on the elevator ride down.  Then last night, there was this:

"I think it’s time to dump."
"Excuse you?"
"It is.  It’s time."
"Well can you shut the door!"  Phil won’t let me go to the bathroom with the door open.  Our bathroom is enormous, but our WC is claustrophobic.  And it’s my damn house.  I like to leave the door open.  He gasps at this, even when I’m just making a quick girl pee.  But this conversation isn’t about making.
"Well do you think we have to dump?"
"You only had two glasses of champagne."
"Yeah, but I don’t want to risk it."  We decide to dump my breast milk in fear that I might be soused.  "We’re getting those strips tomorrow," I say as he makes Jello Pudding eyes at me.  "What?  I’m getting the damn strips!"  The strips tell you if there’s any alcohol in your breast milk.  "Oooh, and let’s make brownies," I add, insisting we’ll bring at least some of them to the NICU staff.  After I eat half the tray, that is. So on this New Year’s Day, we’ll be getting some strips, some baked goods, and some matted frames (we’re framing our favorite children’s book covers as the art in the nursery).  I hope there’s a book out there about baking for children.  I don’t even like to bake, but suddenly I feel the desire to write a children’s book about a magic bakery.  All this talk of milk and brownies has gotten to my head.  Happy New Year.  I hope yours is decadent and delicious.


  1. great idea for art for the nursery and oh there are so many childrens books these days. Still most arent worth reading but some are great. Stick with the ones that win awards. And as to cooking one of my favorites is Thunder Cake
    by Patricia Polacco. I love love childrens books. Good thing since I am a preschool teacher but this is one most people havent heard of.
    Love hearing about your babies. I guess I am waiting for grandbabies now. With a daughter in the Peace Corps and a son just starting college I have a while to wait. Take care and give them a snuggle from the rest of us

  2. Happy 2007! Congratulations on your babies! There is another blogger who had a preemie last year he is 6 months old and perfect now. He only weighed in at a little over 1# and was born at 26 weeks so don't lose any hope at all they will be home soon!

  3. Last year was the same for me. Not married, no kids, isn't it odd how life can completely change in just a year?

  4. This time last year I was not a wife, not an epileptic, and I worked in insurance.
    Now, I'm once again a wife, I'm convincing myself once again that I'll write one day, and I peddle books at a high-school job I'm alternately proud of and ashamed of.

    I've enjoyed following your life this year. Here's to many more.

  5. Last year at this time I was living in a different city with a different job surrounded by my family and friends in the city I grew up in. Now I live in a new city engaged to my new fiancee with a new job (same career) and no family. I have made a couple of nice friends but it isn't the same. I feel so sad. I worry that he isn't enough. He would never say those kinds of those things to me. That just isn't him. Sometimes I worry it isn't enough.
    I miss everyone. We argue over stupid things and sometimes I just want to go home.

  6. A lot of people I know seem to be baking this year. Good times.

    I'm glad for all your changes, Stephanie.

  7. Wishing nothing but continued improvement for Lucas and Abigail in the New Year.

    Also wishing you and Phil a very Happy New Year!!

  8. Happy new year to you, Magoo, The Suitor and the lovely-yet-currently-nicknameless Abigail. Hopefully your '07 will have all the good of '06 and none of the bad.

  9. Your happiness is contagious :)

    We had junk food and football day at our house,no brownies, just choc. chip cookies… and are now squabbling over which movie to go see…of course, I'm the mom so my vote overrides everyone else, and it's Dreamgirls…because I want to see at least one movie that is up for awards. My children are telling me, c'mon mom let's go!!

    And before we set off into the Vegas crowd of hungover new year's revelers, I stop in to see how life is for you today in Austin…and it makes me smile :) 2007 is going to be fabulous

  10. Sarah- It's common for breastfeeding women to pump their breastmilk and, instead of refrigerating it for future use, "dump" it down the drain if they have had alcohol, taken medication or eaten something that may irritate the baby (or babies in this case).

  11. I'm so glad you mentioned 'the strips'! I had no idea such a product existed, even though I live right here in Central Texas where the company is headquartered. (For those of you interested, the strips are called Milkscreen. More info at http://www.milkscreen.com.) Looks like I'll be buying some of these, too, just for peace of mind.
    Thanks and all the best for your newly expanded family in 2007!

  12. Ever watch Supernanny? It's on now and they have twins who were preemies. Better take notes if you're watching too! :)

  13. Happy New Year!

    What a lovely idea for the nursery. I thought about doing that with the pages from just one book – Let's Go Visiting, illustrated by Julie Vivas. Her paintings are exquisite. We have a copy of this book but the pages have baby-teeth marks.

    If you thought 2006 was crazy, just wait 'til you've got those littl'uns home. Oh my goodness. Aren't you lucky they have digital cameras now? I spent a fortune on film during my kids' first years.

  14. For baking with kids, I find inspiration in Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess. She has a chapter called, simply, "Children".

    There you will find lovely photos and recipes for childhood favorites. You'd swear the peanut butter/chocolate bars were made with crack cocaine because they are that addictive. I like to cut them in tiny squares, wrap each one in waxed paper and put them in the freezer.

    Then you can have 6 or 7 with out feeling like a glutton.

    Cook with your kids—forget the mess. This year my 12 yr old daughter and I hand-dipped 8 dozen cherry filled chocolate candies. She is an excellent candy-maker!

  15. "My learn to cook book" by Ursula Sedgwick is a classic (great dog & cat illustrations thoughout, and step by step instructions for things like baked bananas & chocolate mousse plus a framably fun cover), though it may be out of print.

  16. There is a book about baking for children. I couldn't tell you the name of it off the top of my head, but I'm a culinary student and came across it at Border's while babysitting. Well, it's a simple, neat recipe book for baking.

    …so it does exist.

  17. I am so amazed at your ability to write so eloquently at this very stressful and exhausting time in your life. When my first baby was born I was so tired that I remember trying to sip a cup of coffee and completely missing my mouth I was so uncoordinated. This was ONE baby – born at term but there is still no way I could have managed to make the time or have the inclination to be so creative. This is not a criticism, just an observation. Congratulations and hope that your little angels are home with you very soon.

  18. the best "cookbooks" out there are by Laurie Colwin. Down-home comfort cooking. Cooking for family and friends, with love. Gathering people around the table. The joy of butter. The simplicity of cornbread and gingersnaps and a dish of vanilla ice cream.

  19. What a fantastic idea for children's room decor. I wonder if Martha Stewart or any of the designers/ chefs you like have Children's room ideas you can adapt.
    For the book covers, you want Caldecott Award-winning books. Most definitely.
    A Tree Is Nice and anything else illustrated by the wonderful Marc Simont is awesome. Classic, in that 1950's/ 60's style. Can't be beat.
    M. Sendak, of course is wonderful as well. A nice one- (Caldecott honoree) is Mr. Rabbit & the Lovely Present. Sweet. The Ruth Krauss/ Sendak combos just are just too much!

    As for the cooking, walk into any Sur la Table or any Williams Sonoma, etc. and there are sections upon sections of children's cooking, and I know from having worked with cookbook people that kids' cookbooks are supposedly on the rise. So you should be able to find something for sure.

    Good luck and feliz año nuevo! I miss the vasilopita bread with the coin in it and this new yrs I also forgot to get under a table and eat my 12 grapes at midnight! (one for each month, it's a tradition)

  20. On New Year's Day this year, to start a tradition, my son (6.5) and daughter (4) made "New Year's Day Popovers" (their name for it) from Mollie Katzen's Pretend Soup, a great kid's cook book. Something for you to look forward to with lovely Abigail and adorable Lucas! Happy New Year!

  21. Happy New Year to You and Your family. Also, reading about the strips for the breast milk? I'm 16 weeks and getting ready now, could you maybe post something about where you go them? I have never heard of that before and would love to get them.

  22. off topic-but i was bummed that your 20/20 debut was interrupted by saddam's death announcement. will they play it again-without special news breaks?

  23. Happy New Year to you Stephanie, and your wonderful family. I just want to start this year off letting you know how much I enjoy reading your writing. I thoroughly enjoyed your book and am looking forward to your next book. Although something tells me there will be several more books in your future.

    All my best, to you and yours.

    PS. Your blog is part of my daily routine, so I look forward to many more years of reading it! :-)

  24. What a wonderful year, eh? 2007 is going to be full of such happiness for you and your family…you can just feel it!

  25. And it looks like the babes' lives are progressing well and quickly too. From the pictures, it looks like they're both off oxygen? If so, what great news! The baby steps will be getting bigger and bigger each day now. Congratulations!

  26. The babes are beautiful!! Their progress is just amazing to watch through the pics. I thank you for sharing them with us. Any word on when they'll be home with you and Phil?

  27. as a children's book editor, i am so smitten with your nursery decor, of course.

    as far as a magic bakery story goes, try "the bake shop ghost" by jacqueline ogburn, illustrated by marjorie priceman!

    good cookbooks: "pretend soup and other real recipes" and "honest pretzels" — both by mollie katzen.

    good luck stephanie!

  28. It took me weeks to get through your archive, bits at a time.

    Thanks for doing what you do. I envy your life, in the sense that I hope mine turns out as yours has. I am where you were about a year ago… except sometimes, exactly where you are now.

    I'm so glad you have kept writing through all of this. Good luck with the little ones… many blessings to the Beers/Kleins.

  29. I just checked out the new pix of Abigail and Lucas, and they seem to be doing beautifully. They look like they're so full of personality already. Can't imagine where that comes from! :o) They're just precious.

  30. Betty Crocker's cookbook for boys and girls at amazon.com. I had a coworker that framed ten pages from the original, although there is a new edition with the same illustrations out now. It's beautiful, retro and the colors are so vibrant. Good luck with the babies– they're beautiful. Not Magooish at all.

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