Soldiering On.

More lazy bullets! If it helps, you can pretend that there is some sort of overarching narrative stringing these things together, with segues and everything. I won’t mind.

• I hadn’t thought about the fact that technically, my white flag of surrender counts as a post for the purposes of NaBloPoMo. So I guess I’m still in this thing. I have been feeling guilty about posting so much blatant nothing, here, but you know what? Screw quality! Maybe if I can learn to ease up on my perfectionism in general it will stop taking me hours upon hours to excrete write ONE PAGE of my poor book.

• I had a brilliant idea for an invention the other day—and unlike my previous inventions (hotels, journalism), I am fairly certain this one hasn’t been thought of yet: Stick-on epaulets! As the mother of a refluxy baby, I usually have a patch of spit-up on the shoulder of my t-shirt. This means that whenever I want to run an errand or otherwise look presentable, I have to change. Or DO I? With stick-on epaulets, I can cover that milk stain AND transform an ordinary t-shirt into something Fancy! Potential backers, feel free to offer me large sums of money now, before I take this thing public and you kick yourself for not getting in on the ground floor.

• While I dislike his politics, Saxby Chambliss has a truly delightful name. I’m trying to get it to catch on as an exclamation, a replacement for “bless my soul!/I’ll be damned!” and similar folksy phrases. “Well, Saxby Chambliss!” I said to Scott just moments ago, “I do believe we’re out of paper towels!”
Go on, say it: SAXBY CHAMBLISS. Nice, isn’t it?
Better yet, I was thinking “Saxby Chambliss” might have a place as a secular holiday greeting. It would look lovely on a card:
Saxby Chambliss to you!
And imagine Tiny Tim waving his little crutch and crying out “Saxby Chambliss, ev’ry one!” Doesn’t that fill you with the spirit of the season?

• I suspect that if Simone wins Baby of the Week this time it will be purely out of pity. She looks pathetic, though the Maalox/Aquaphor mixture seems to be helping her skin a bit. I know rice cereal is supposed to be the least allergenic thing there is, but I am wondering whether her eczema has gotten worse since we started putting rice in her bottles, so perhaps we’ll stop that for a while?

• I am working on judging THE ELVER AWARDS, and am very impressed with your creativity. It will be difficult to choose a winner, and I think I am going to have that song in my head for the rest of my life, barring head injury. I just came up with a new verse myself:

Oh I wish I were a little barnacle
Yes I wish I were a little barnacle
I’d go grippy, grippy, grippy
Underneath a pirate ship-py
Oh I wish I were a little barnacle

My baffling sea-creature obsession continues.


  1. Lee Anne says:

    Thanks for making me laugh about Saxby Chambliss! I live in GA, and am sooooooooo tired of his ads. Dec. 2 can’t come soon enough.

  2. Stephanie says:

    The greeting card is hysterical.

    Don’t rule out an allergy to rice. I was allergic to rice cereal as a baby. My baby is starting solids now and so far has been allergic to everything except sweet potatoes and oatmeal. When I called the phone nurse, she kept saying, “I’ve never HEARD of a baby being allergic to green beans.” Mine was.

  3. Marti from Michigan says:

    I was allergic to green beans when I was a baby 57 years ago Stephanie (above)! It does happen. I was also allergic to milk, and apparently my mom was not keen to breastfeeding, so she had to buy soy milk for me when soy milk was really scarce back in the early 1950s.

    Just a little concern about Simone’s reflux and seeming allergy to rice – – I am wondering if she could be tested to see if she is wheat gluten intolerant. All 4 of my grandkids have it and we did not know until they all started having continued reflux problems as well as hives and severe eczema. They apparently inherited it from their dad, who never knew he had it! It’s not celiac sprue, but is wheat gluten intolerance. Now they all eat wheat gluten free. Corn and rice don’t seem to bother them, but anything wheat does. Have to read those labels really carefully because wheat is slipped into just about everything. I myself am even eating wheat gluten free about 50% of the time, and it actually helps my very sensitive stomach better, even though I was tested and am not wheat gluten intolerant.

    Thank goodness for living in an era when there are SO many alternative foods! I even had to learn to bake with a wheat gluten free flour mixture for my grandkids. Worth it though, with no eczema, hives or tummy problems.

  4. SarahJ says:

    Your posts are phemonenal. I am honestly shocked that you are seeing these as “blatant nothing”–I am loving every one! So you should definitely lay off the perfectionism. :) You are an awesome writer, with skill and perspective way beyond your years—it’s hard for me to believe you are as young as you are! I love your stuff. Don’t stop.

  5. Margaret says:

    Haha, ok Saxby Chambliss officially took the spot as my favorite random subject post of yours, replacing the Anderson Cooper/cat post. Good job!

  6. gumbo says:

    My husband was in the kitchen when I yelled Saxby Chambliss and he came out with one nipple covered in ham and the other covered with a slice of cheese. He thought I said “sexy sandwich.”

  7. babelbabe says:

    Your posts make me so happy.
    I love the Saxby Chambliss, and I think you’re a songwriting sea-creature-obsessed genius.

    Btw, my 3yo is having blast making up verses, but they are all along these lines:

    Oh I wish I were a little something something. (whichever something that has caught his fancy at the moment)
    Oh I wish I were a little something something..
    I’d go slippy slidey bidey (or some other combo of already-made-up lyrics)
    Then I’d laugh at you and run, (in other words, no rhyming OR sense)
    Oh I wish I were a little something something.

    You know. Utter gibberish. But HE laughs. So that’s all ok.

  8. Mandee says:

    The internet is a small, small place.

    I come home from a fundraiser for my former neighbor and boss, husband of my 5th grade teacher and father to two of my great friends to find that you have turned him into a new holiday greeting–which he would love by the way. I may have to share this with him once December 2nd is over.

    Glad your white flag was temporary.

  9. Anna in IL says:

    Food allergies suck, but they can be managed. Yes, eczema is a classic sign. If you think that she is missing the solids, try a different thickener; they make lots of baby cereals. I think my kid grooved on barley. And, add an allergist to your list of specialists. It’s amazing what they know sometimes.

  10. Christi says:

    No, no, no, Alexa….you have your invention idea BACKWARDS. You need to have the epaulets ON while at home to provide the perfect catch-all for the reflux. Then you simply REMOVE them (and the reflux!) before you leave. Thus, you don’t have to change and don’t end up leaving the house with reflux (and its inevitable stink) hiding (unsuccessfully) under your invention.

    Feel free to rewrite your business proposal without any worries. I won’t ask you to kick some of your millions my way when your invention goes global….and it will, I promise you.

  11. ann says:

    Yay obsession with sea-creatures!

    Oh I wish I was a little orca whale,
    Yes I wish I was a little orca whale,
    I’d be squealy, squealy, squealy
    While I ate a little seal-y,
    Oh I wish I was a little orca whale.

  12. Laura says:

    Saxby Chambliss IS a fabulous name. But can it beat Valéry Giscard d’Estaing? Now that is a name. It’s like a world tour or a six-course meal. VAL-ery…gis CARD…d’es TANG. Oh mama.

    I named a dog this once. Didn’t suit.

  13. Maritsa says:

    I read a very funny comment on Jezebel recently, in which the commenter pointed out that “Saxby Chambliss” sounds like the name of a Harry Potter villain.

  14. cc says:

    Alexa – love your blog and beautiful baby girl! :) You should post a compilation of all the great verses of the ‘lectric eel song after the contest – that would be an easy out (and wonderful gift to us!) if you run out of other things to post :) With all your witty sea-centered verses and everyone else’s too – must be a mile long song-ful of fun!

  15. Susanna says:

    – well Saxby Chambliss if I don’t need some of those epaulets myself!

    – so glad you are soldiering on. the troops need you. we don’t care if you use bullets.

    – @Cee, comment #16: what? why?

  16. Katy says:

    Ummmm. . . is Cee up there joking because I’ve had people put rice cereal in my child’s bottle in hospitals? A lot. Usually to prevent aspiration. Did I miss something there?

    Anyway I wanted to say that my child did not do well with rice AT ALL and we did great with oatmeal.

    Also, Saxy Chambliss is great.

  17. Carmen says:

    Oh, Saxby Chambliss; I wish I had made up the epaulet idea! (I hope used the Semi Colon correctly!)

    I posted all of the song entries on my blog for people to print out… didn’t want to steal any thunder, but I thought maybe you had enough on your plate what with inventing new wardrobe and holiday greetings, and trying to keep up with baby, all the while digging disconsolately at Mount Washmore.

    Alexa, I love you, and the Internet would be a sorry place without you!

  18. Sharon says:

    What a glorious seasonal greetings card!

    Re the epaulets, why are you not wearing a muslin or two on your shoulder(s) at all times? Although I’ll admit the epaulets do sound a bit classier ;-) and I agree with Christi at comment 11 as to when they should be worn.

    If Simone’s eczema is a recent development it might be a good idea to get some allergy testing done.

  19. bellevelma says:

    Hi. Waving a flag here about the eczema. Just to say it was my son’s first sign of food allergy. About 40% of eczema is related to food allergy. So if it continues, or gets worse, or doesn’t go away, bring that up with the pediatrician and push for an allergy appt. Not sure where you live but there are some amazing pediatric allergists if you ever need one. Hoping you don’t, but if you ever do, send me an email and I can point you to some of the best.

  20. Floyd says:

    So I live in Georgia and despite politics, you have to admit that Saxby Chamblis is a name MADE for a southern politician. And I’m on board with making a common part of the english language.

    Well, I’ll be a Saxby Chambliss! (instead of monkey’s uncle)

  21. MsPrufrock says:

    I think the epaulet idea is a fabulous one. Just think of the decorative possibilities – avian embellishment a la Brandon Flowers, tassels, doll parts…the mind boggles. I say anything works as long as it takes away the look of fresh baby vomit.

    Incidentally, if you come up with any other ways to conceal baby sick on clothing, please do let us know. I don’t know if my kid was the only refluxer to have bad aim, but that shit went everywhere – not just shoulders.

  22. twangypearl says:

    Ah, you cheer me so.
    And, can I just say:

    Oh I wish I were a lady seahorse
    Yes, I wish I were a lady seahorse
    My mate’s tummy could be bumpy bumpy
    While I lay around like a lumpy lumpy
    Oh I wish I were a lady seahorse.

  23. courtney says:

    I’m glad someone else appreciates Saxby Chambliss’s ridiculous name as much as I do. I’ve also been replacing the titular name in the Ben Folds Five song “Alice Childress” with “Saxby Chambliss” & singing it incessantly for the past couple weeks. it’s basically replaced the real version in my brain now.

  24. Kristin says:

    My son developed terrible eczema all over his face around 4 months old (at that time completely breastfed) which started to interfere with his nursing because his face obviously itched so much and he was so uncomfortable all of the time. This despite copious amounts of aquaphor, cetaphil, some expensive doctor recommended moisturizer that I can’t remember the name of anymore…applied 8 or more times a day. The skin on his cheeks was just flaking off. He looked like he had been burned.

    I finally went to a baby dermatologist and got a prescrption for a steriod cream and it was the smartest thing I could have done. Happy baby, happy mom. We only had to use the prescription when he had bad flareups, and the rest of the time the excessive moisturizing did the trick.

    I am a firm believer in using natural remedies as much as possible and I did also talk to multiple doctors about the food allergy / ezcema link. I was willing to cut out all of the possible triggers from my diet. None of them thought it was likely in a baby completely breastfed (it’s possible the food you are eating could affect the baby, but I don’t think they’ve proven that for eczema). Then I talked to my mom and she said, oh yeah, you and your sister both had that when you were babies. And my husband talked to his dad, who said, oh yeah, you and your brother both had that when you were babies…oh yeah, eczema runs in families.

    So, I don’t know if it runs in your family (we all grew out of it by age two or three), but if so, there may not be a lot you can do to prevent it. It may just be something Simone has to live with for awhile. I guess if you’ve only been feeding her rice related foods and her eczema is terrible, there’s a pretty good chance it’s not food related.

    Besides the prescription steroid cream and massive amounts of moisturizer, the things that help Will are: humidifier in his bedroom, all cotton clothing (including what I am wearing if his face will be resting on it), bathing every other day (somewhat controversial in the dermatology field, but it works for us), and basically accepting that winter is going to bring out his eczema no matter what we do. That hot, dry, indoor air is horrible. Oh, and we love the Aveeno line of products for eczema–the oatmeal bath stuff is amazing.

    I hope she feels better soon!

  25. Liz says:

    i’m sure you have excema remedies ad nauseum, but i am seeing a baby with truly awful excema, and her mom saw immediate improvement with witch hazel, and also a switch to soy formula. it was truly amazing how quickly the skin cleared up! good luck with your little shoulder barnacle. :)

  26. Jerilyn says:

    Hi Alexa!

    Two thoughts for you…

    1) I’m no expert on eczema, but I think I remember you posting about California Baby Calming Shampoo & Bodywash several months ago. I tried this product with my baby and have found it to be incredibly drying to her skin and scalp now that the temperatures are dropping. We’ve stopped using it and have switched to basic Cetaphil cleanser for baths. It’s too early to tell if Cetaphil is a winner, but California Baby is WAY too drying for a baby’s skin in a MN winter. It’s fine for summer, but no good in our zero humidity arctic seasons!

    2) As a chronic perfectist myself, I decided one of the best things I could do for my daughter was to give up my sadist perfectionist ways and be a role model who strikes a balance between quality and progress. I don’t want my little girl to grow up watching me a) punish myself by having to everything perfectly or b) punish myself for procrastinating so many tasks because I didn’t have time to do them perfectly! That isn’t the kind of life I want for her, so I’m determined not to show her that example. Every task in life is not worth an A+ effort, so I say let’s cut ourselves a break and put in a B+ or even C effort once in a while (and not feel guilty about it)! I’m positive a C level effort by Alexa beats the pants off an A+ effort by just about every other human on the planet!!

  27. samantha says:

    My mom used to care for a lady who’s exclamation of wonderment was “Well, Heavenly Days McGee!” Saxby Chambliss totally reminds me of that.

  28. Diane says:

    Seinfeld made a career out of nothing. At least your “nothing” is interesting and fun to read (I’m not a Seinfeld fan). You have a fascinating way of looking at life. I’m glad you’re back (or rather, still here). And there is NOTHING wrong with bullets. Look up Herb Caen – he made a career out of bullet items.

  29. abby says:

    Love the “Saxby Chambliss” greeting. Should make those who miss traditional greetings melt with seasonal joy.

    Anyway, onto my it’s-a-broken-record-topic: my kid is a poster child for rice allergies. Then again, she’s a poster child for everything allergies. I’m sorry that Simone is going through this, though. While misery loves company, I’d prefer that we had no company in this (or any allergen-related) case.

  30. Trope says:

    Our kiddo had an awful reaction to rice cereal (more in the gastrointestinal vein) and we never tried it a second time. He has gone on to eat almost everything else without batting an eyelash or a tube of butt paste. I would not be afraid to discontinue it and try something else.

  31. Mrs. Moose says:

    On the rice cereal: move on to oatmeal and try giving it to her not in the bottle. (I’ve read a bunch of negative stuff about putting it in the bottle anyway) Just an idea. The rice might be the usual starter, but I’ve heard of more and more kids lately having poor reactions to it.

    And on the post for for the following day – the comment about “I wouldn’t be able to handle that” – I know it probably came out to you badly, but I doubt that’s what they meant. I’m sure they were going for more of a “You’re so incredible” sort of comment. I can totally see myself making that comment to you, but I never would have intentionally insinuated that you were callous. :)

  32. Suzanne says:

    Oh, I wish I were an angry lil’ squid
    Yes, I wish I were angry lil’ squid
    I’d go squirty, squirty, squirty, and make the ocean dirty
    Oh, I wish I were an angry lil’ squid

    Oh, I wish I were a little baby seahorse
    Yes, I wish I were a litte baby seahorse
    I’d go neigh-y, neigh-y, neigh-y, as I frolicked in the wavies
    Oh, I wish I were a little baby seahorse

    Oh, I wish I were a bout of diarrhea
    Yes, I wish I were a bout of diarhea
    I’d go squirty, squirty, squirty until all your chones were dirty
    Oh, I wish I were a bouth of diarrhea

  33. Maggie says:

    Holy Saxby Chambliss in a birchbark canoe with chocolate jimmies and a lobster bib!

    I <3 Saxby Chambliss. He is as awesome as his name encourages.

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