Saturday, July 31, 2010

Elegant Baby

There is a rich choreography that happens at night in our house. Our sweet girl twists and turns to expose her hands and feet. The elegance and grace continues, as she deftly lifts her hands and feet in the air. First, the hands come up and wave about, then the feet come up together, high in the air.

Then she farts.

It happens usually at 2am, usually it does not wake her up.

The other thing she does that cracks us up, is whenever you set up a certain yellow highlighter, she goes for it.

With her forehead.

Once she has head-butted it, she can relax, but not until then.

She never reaches for it with her hands.

Friday, July 30, 2010


This week we:
- Got a library card.

- Made it through a half dozen books on two different days.

- Signed up for an Infant Sign Language class.

- Fell asleep in the carseat on the way home with NO TEARS.

It was hugely successful. We love libraries.

Friday, July 23, 2010

In case you had a bad week...

Just remember we love you. Call if you need anything. And come over for a snuggle if you like.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Finding Magic

Today was a big day.

Emmah and I went into the city to meet my workmates and talk to my boss. It was her first train ride, her first experience in the city, her first time in a revolving door, and she took it all in with big wide eyes.

We got onto the train and she lay her head on my chest and just watched out the window - mesmerized. And just like me, she started to get sleepy after 20 minutes, so we napped together as the train rocked back and forth.

Everywhere we went people smiled at us. One man held the door open and said "Your baby is so cute, she brings a smile to every one's face who sees her!"

But today was more than just an adventure to say hello to our friends. Today I finally had the courage to tell my boss that my life is different and that all that I thought would work will not work. I finally got a chance to admit that this has been harder than I could have ever imagined. I finally got a chance to say that I am not superwoman. I finally got to verbalize that I want to be a good mom and raise a happy child. I finally told someone that I need more help than I have, and that I cannot do more than I am doing right now.

My dear friend Gina once sent me an email from a website called "Peaceful Daily" - I liked the email, so I subscribed to the emails myself. This is what Friday's email was:
July 16, 2010
Finding Magic at Home

At the last minute I did not have a tip for today, so I asked my 6 year old daughter, Topanga, if she had a tip for me. Her exact words were, "stay home and you will find the magic."

A part of my heart broke because I thought maybe she was saying we didn't stay home enough. Then I decided not to overanalyze it. Maybe she is just an angel with a message! I am after all a stay at home mom, who likes to think I don't have a crazy busy schedule. Who knows maybe it was directed at me. I am looking forward to the next month at home with my kids doing what I love most ...nothing! Maybe we should all take Topanga's advice and stay home and find the magic!

Peace, Love & Happiness,


What Sandy did not understand was that those words felt like validation at a moment when I was completely obsessed with the task of today. I cried at the idea of that her daughter, that young girl, was speaking those words directly to me, because my girl cannot yet speak for herself. It felt weighty. It felt like a sign.

Today, I did not stay home. No final decisions have been made. No plan is set.


I know I will have more time. More time to watch the wonder on my baby's face to discover new things. More time to introduce her to new people. More time to nurse her and cuddle her. More time to have her know that I am here for her.

And that being here for her is the most important job in the world.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Three Months Old Today

Things I want to remember:
- How you sometimes after a nap, you open your eyes and smile when you realize you are in my arms.

- How you laugh when you see the fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

- How much you love books already.

- How you gaze up as we walk under trees to look at the contrast between the leaves and the sky.

- How your rolls have rolls.

- How I can see my reflection in your eyes.

- How warm you are while you are nestled against my breast.

- How you watch the kitchen door to see when I will come out to play with you.

- How your mouth looks like a little triangle when you coo.

- How you are now too big for me to nurse you and hold you with one arm while wandering around the apartment.

- How your hair is soft and downy, and now is a faint halo of fuzz around your whole head.

- How you laugh when we show you how the light switch works in the bathroom.

- How you grasp my shirt while you are nursing.

- How excited you are when we put you in a sitting or standing position.

- How you take your tiny hands and put them on my face while I talk to you up close.

- How you coo and coo when I kiss you.

Thank you, my dear, for changing how I see the world and for changing my whole life.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Things you need before you have a baby:

1) A fantastic group of friends and family to support you.

It takes a village to raise a child. It really does. And phone calls and short visits from friends and family are not enough. You need constant support and your child needs to feel part of a community. I have fantastic friends and a loving family, but I still feel like I need more. Maybe there is no such thing as enough help, you could always use more.

I now believe you need:
3 adults full-time for the first 3 weeks
2 adults full-time for the first 8 weeks
1 adult full-time for the first 6 months to the first two years, depending on who you are.
2 good babysitters, one for the daytime and one for the evenings - for when you need a break.

Anything short of this and you will be exhausted and you will wonder if you can handle it all.

2) A very loud bathroom fan.

Babies love white noise. They will love it. And bonus, you can enjoy a nice relaxing shower regardless of how fussy your baby is with whomever is watching them during that time. I have this.

3) One year of your salary in savings.

Just in case you need more time than you thought. I do not have this. I would do anything to figure out a way to have more time.

4) A therapist.

Because the pressure and anxiety of trying to be a modern mom is formidable.

I start working from home tomorrow, and I could not be more anxious about it.

(This is obviously not a current photo of the little girl, but it is one of my favorites, and I love the expression on her face... a little anger, a little rebuking, and a lot of attitude. Don't worry cute face, we'll figure this out!)

Sleep Myths Debunked

If you are someone that is planning to have children, if you are like me, you will read books about how to make your child sleep. Because, if you are like me, you LOVE to sleep, sleep is your favorite hobby. And, if you are like me, once you have your baby, you will discover that there are myths and misnomers in said books and in the lore around babies.

MYTH #1: You can put a baby to sleep awake.

In many books, there is this mythical baby that you can put down to sleep full and awake and they will drift off to a peaceful sleep on their own. In my research, this baby does not exist. I know of NO ONE that has a baby that does not need to be nursed, rocked, bounced, or patted to sleep. I thought I knew one once, but months later his mom revealed to me that the baby sleeps in the bed with them. That does not count, if you have the baby on your body, the baby will sleep, this is not what the books are talking about. What they mean is putting the baby down in a crib awake and walking away. If you do this, babies cry.

MYTH #2: Sleep when the Baby sleeps.

Now, I LOVE to sleep, but I am not a baby. There are many, many times when I can wake up, feed her, snuggle her, put her back down, and crawl back into bed and go to sleep, but there are also many, many times when I wake up, it takes me 2 hours to go back to sleep and then I have exactly one hour of sleep before she wakes up again. Also, during the day there is no way to tell if she will sleep for 20 minutes or 3 hours. There is nothing more frustrating than laying down for a nap and having the baby wake up 10 minutes later, most often I would rather just not sleep.

MYTH #3: Sleeping in a family bed is wonderful.

Babies are not quiet sleepers. I would LOVE, love, love to create a family bed. My sweet girl loves to snuggle, I LOVE to snuggle, but there are problems: our bed is too soft, we have a love of lots of pillows, and we sleep like flailing dead people. AND our baby jerks about, farts, cries out, and snorts in her sleep. I might enjoy the occasional nap with our sweet girl, but sleeping together is out. At least until she is old enough to hold her own with us in our death-trap of a bed.

MYTH #4: Sleep deprivation makes you cranky

Sure there are plenty of times when I feel annoyed and tired, but most of those are when my baby is sleeping and I am not (like now). Really, I love waking up with her. I love how happy she is to see me, regardless of the hour of day or night. I love that I can comfort her so easily. I love that we stare at each other lovingly until she falls back to sleep. I love to wake up dying to nurse her and then crawl back into bed later, relieved, knowing she is full and ready for a few more hours of Zzz.

I know from watching my other friends and family that sleep is a top issue in the first few years. I am prepared for this to be a long roller coaster. But in the meantime, I will try to enjoy the warm cuddles, the soft breathing, and the limp release of my sweet, sleeping girl.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Baby Fat

A funny thing happened - my girl got big!

She started out a nice, normal, 8 pound baby - but she lost over 10% of her birthweight and had everyone (me) a little panicked when she slid to 7 pounds. But that was then, this is now:

At her two month appointment, she jumped from being 50 percentile for both height and weight to 75 percentile for height and 95 percentile for weight.


Now, I do not think we are overfeeding her - we have not actually changed the amount that we feed her since she was 5 weeks old, and she'll be 3 months next week. I just think that she, like me, can appreciate a nice roll or two of chub on a baby.

She actually has always looked very round, even when the whole of pediatric medicine was up in arms at her weight slide when she came home from the hospital. Exhibit A:

Now one might gaze lovingly on that sweet round baby and think "Cute!" "Chubby!" but then look at her compared to my aunt's hand, that was no fat baby... just elegantly round in all ways.

Now, what started first was the cheeks. Oh how they grew...

(This is my sweet thing just over 1 month old)

But then this happened:

Chubby legs sprouted where long, lean ones had lived before. I became obsessed with the cuteness of the little rolls during bathtime and have a whole collection of sweet photos that are not safe for the internet. I may blow them up to life-size and line the hallway with them.

And this week, her cousin who is six weeks older came for a visit.

That's right, they are the same size! So my girl will for sure outpace her cousin in weight and height this coming month. Hand-me-downs are now going to flow in the opposite direction!

But as I begin my new "get back to normal" fitness routine, I will relish in my sweet baby's face and rolls. The pediatrician says that there is no such thing as an overweight baby at this age. So let us all remember a time when one could have multiple chins and rolls around every corner and not worry about it! Ah, to be a baby again...

And while there may be some side effects, like having to google "my baby smells like cheese," I wouldn't want her to be any different than she is right now, smiling, laughing, cuddly, and sooo cute. I love you, baby!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How to scare a new mom to death...

So Charles was sick while we were in Chicago. I was sick when we got back. I had hoped that our sweet baby would escape it all due to the miracle of antibodies in breast milk.

Not so much.

Monday I put her to bed as usual, but around 11:30 she woke up crying in a strange way. She was hot and limp. I tried to nurse her while she was still swaddled and the milk just ran out of her mouth.

Panic set in.

I unswaddled her and realized that she was REALLY hot and extremely lethargic, with a dazed look on her face. I got her to the changing table, took her temperature:


The rest is a bit of a blur - I called the pediatrician who said to take her to the emergency room immediately. I called my husband at work and there was no answer. I called his best friend that works at the same site and there was no answer there either. I started driving saying "Hi Toto! How are you?" because there was no sound. And my baby hates to drive at night... she always cries. The silence was suffocating.

I got to the hospital safely, care of two cars that were in front of me the whole way - going the speed limit, driving me crazy, but keeping us both safe. Thank you God for those two cars.

I ran in and the care began... triage, tylenol, tests, and lots of crying. I cried and cried while they tried to put the IV in. I was so relieved that we were there and they were taking care of her and so scared that something terrible was wrong. She cried too... cried until she was hoarse. Poor baby. Sick and tortured.

They admitted us for observation and I nursed her all night. I just didn't want to put her down and find her like that again. In the morning she was better...smiling at us and the nurses. Oh, the nurses were so great. They could see the terror under my perma-smile and they nursed me through it. They were so kind.

Nothing unusual came back - and they decided it was probably her first viral thing. And she has been coughing and sneezing with a low-grade fever the rest of this week - poor baby.

This was my introduction to the fact that I cannot keep her safe. Not in the way I want to. I have to let her be sick. I have to let her cry. I have to let her live. But the temptation is to keep her here, wrapped up in my arms forever, my baby. I will try to protect you my dear. I will try harder to protect you - all the while knowing this was just the first time. There will be more for both of us. But I will pray that God keeps you safe. I will pray that you continue to grow and flourish. And I will pray that I can protect you as much as possible.

Oh, my poor baby.