Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Big Boy Seat



Jack graduated from the
Car Seat to the Big Boy Seat. I can't imagine it, but one day he will grow out of this seat, too! In the meantime, the Big Boy Seat makes for much happier stroller rides -- there's more room, and he can look all around.

We might actually fall asleep...

If we weren't watching TV so intently:


This baby has suddenly discovered laptop screens. Will the adults curb their netflix habit? Not sure yet.

Now Jack is laying in the co-sleeper, going "ooh! ooh! hooh! cooh! hmm! awoo! ooh! ooh! hawoo!" (mom estimates the rate at 2-3 Hz)and jumping up and down a horizontal position (about 1 Hz). It's so cute that Greg and I have trouble stopping our laughter for long enough to actually pick the kid up and sooth him back to a sleepy place.

It amazes me that babies can't fall asleep easily! If I had the opportunity to sleep whenever and wherever I wanted to, I'd hardly ever be awake.

New Haven, I don't love you right now

Here I was, all prepared to write a post about how glorious maternity leave has been in New Haven, with its walkable streets, coffee shops, yoga studios and farmer's markets. New Haven is a fun town, and we live right in the heart of it, just 1 block off of the main stretch of upscale shops and restaurants. I often appreciate this convenience. There isn't a day that goes by where Jack and I don't spend some time enjoying New Haven. I've been waiting to write this post until I get a chance to take some pretty pictures of our goings on in the great urban outdoors.

Well, I'm a little pissed.

In the last two months, we've had the following crime events occur:
  • My husband's shoulder bag was stolen at 5pm from our back porch (behind a gate), while we were inside for a few minutes
  • I witnessed a man engaging in, uh, shall we say what *should* be a private sexual activity, in the ally by our house
  • Three muggings, one with a gun, all in broad daylight and within two blocks of our house
And now:
  • Someone stole my photo editing software in an Amazon package from our front porch (also behind a gate)
These recent items can be added to a long list of crime events that have occurred within water-balloon throwing distance of our windows, the likes of which include:
  • Someone getting shot up in broad daylight, 50 feet of our front porch
  • Another instance, of, uh, private sexual activity being conducted in public
  • Other packages getting stolen during broad daylight
  • Stuff getting stolen from our garage and backyard
  • Christmas cards being removed from our mailbox
Which is not to mention the variety of unsavory day to day goings on, like the regular visitations by homeless people who jump over our fence to relieve of us of our recyclable cans and bottles, the screaming teens and adults that seem to walk by our window every night between the hours of 2 and 6am, the ambulances and fire trucks (we're within a mile of two, yes TWO, hospitals), and the generally obnoxious partying Yale undergrads, who occasionally do stupid shit like throw glass bottles into our driveway or blast the music through hours during which all decent folks are sleeping.

Which is also not to mention the tremendous amount of crime that occurs within a mile of our home. Not only do we know our cops by sight, we've even been interviewed by the same reporter on more than one occasion.

Having my photo editing software stolen feels like a last straw. I certainly can't pay visual homage to a city I enjoy when that city steals my homage-giving equipment out from under my feet.

New Haven, I don't love you right now. I don't even like you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Morning Smiles

The rain in Connecticut continues, and Jack and I are all a puzzle about what to do today. It's nice to get out, and we've been enjoying this New England fall weather to the max -- glorious days that were just invented for long walks with Baby... a veggie box overflowing with produce, crisp apples, and heirloom tomatoes so sweet that I have a vague inclination to serve them with strawberries (I am barely resisting the temptation of whipped cream). The rain reminds me how lucky we normally are, to be spending our last days home together in the vibrant and walkable town of New Haven.

I've been without photo editing software for two weeks and it's driving me crazy! Thank goodness for Greg's iphone, which takes great videos (my fault that the first half is out of focus). Here are some morning smiles:

video

Monday, September 27, 2010

If you think...


... that you can make it the four blocks to the mailbox and back with the Baby in the Bjorn (hah! that's funny!!) before it starts to rain heavily, you would be wrong. Actually, you would be me, purchasing a bubble mailer for 70 cents in the Yale bookstore to hold over the baby's head while power-walking back to shelter.

The rain didn't perturb Jack in the slightest; he fell asleep two blocks from home.

Speaking of water falling in droplet form, it's official: I cannot watch a movie involving any kind of parental / birth scene without bursting into heartfelt sobs. Until a few months ago, I had only shed tears during three movies: E.T. (I was 3), Schindler's List (obvious), and the opening scene of Up! when the lead characters couldn't have a child (I was going through infertility, myself). Don't get me wrong: I'll cry at the drop of the hat, in public, if it involves my own life. But I couldn't make myself cry at a movie or a book if I wanted to.

Now? Let me tally it up, in two months, I've doubled my count: Star Trek*, 9 Months**, Jack and Sarah***,and The Duchess****. The mere threat of a family being pulled apart or some sentimental lyrics in a song are enough to make my throat catch and my eyes burn. Seriously, is this permanent?

Now we will return to our regularly scheduled program of dancing with Jack in the kitchen while making chicken enchiladas and pretending to be hormonally competent.

*Am referencing the 2009 film, which, coincidentally, is a fantastic action flick. But I wasn't crying over the Borg or Klingons or even that poor Romulan misfit who lost his wife.... no, it was the two scenes involving the mothers of Captain Kirk and Spock that did me in.

**Most bizarre on the list. I offer no excuse

***The mom DIES, come on!

****Yes, Victorian period pieces do often involve tragic romances, but this particular historical tale involves a maternal bond so strong that... well, it made me cry. Told ya.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No Photos

I swear, Jack is conspiring to prevent Greg and I from ever going on a date again. We're rescheduling the babysitting trade with our friends -- wish us the best for next weekend!

Notice how there haven't been any photos lately? That's because Jack reached 2 months old, and my two software trials (30 days each) expired. I finally coughed up the $$ and ordered some photo editing software tonight; it'll be here on Wednesday, so photos will be returning soon.

Jack is doing better today, though he still has a fair amount of congestion that we can't seem to help him with (the bulb syringe isn't doing anything). He still wants to be held all the time, and I don't blame him (who doesn't want to be cuddled when they're feeling low?).

Upcoming posts (for my reference more than anything else):
- Baby Gear
- Halloween Costume
- Jack Carriers
- More On The Vocal Front
- A Good Book

OK, time for this mom to get to bed... while son snores loudly, just inches away :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Point 4


It's been one heck of a week.

1. I got sick. I had a sore throat on Saturday, which progressed to a head cold that lasted until Friday.

Google assured me that by continuing to breastfeed, Jack would receive lots of good antibodies. Well, see point 4.

2. Jack got his two month immunizations on Tuesday. The actual shot was quite upsetting to all of us, but we survived. After nursing, he zonked out for a few hours. All seemed well. Then, at about 4pm, he started crying. And crying. And crying. And crying. He cried pretty much straight until 8pm (visions of encephalitis from the DTAP vaccine dancing through my head), at which point he was suddenly happy.

Then Wednesday came, and he had a few intervals of upsetness. Then Thursday came, and he had another rough day. This kind of behavior is very unusual for Jack -- he certainly cries, but it is usually short lived.

We thought he was having a bad reaction to the vaccine, until, well, see point 4.

3. Greg and I planned a babysitting trade-off with our friends. They would watch Jack on Saturday; we would watch Julian on Sunday.

This fell through. Uh, well, see point 4.

4. So here we are, at point 4, the news: Jack got his first cold! We didn't realize that his crying was due to the cold until his congestion kicked in late on Thursday. There was no denying it: poor fella had a very stuffy nose.

Thursday night was tough for him; I finally got up at 4am and kept him vertical to help the stuffiness. We used a bulb syringe on him with saline drops; he hated that (it left him screaming), and I'm not sure it improved his stuffiness that much. The best thing we did was to have Greg take him in the shower; the steam really cleared up his nose, and Jack loved being in the running water.

The worst of it was over Thursday night. Mostly, he's grumpy and wants to be held a lot. Assuming he caught what I had, he's had a heck of a scratchy throat. Now, personally, when I have a scratchy throat, the last thing I want to do is yell at regular intervals for hours and hours... but, y'know, we all deal with general malaise differently.

5. Speaking of which, Greg's sick, too.

In place of our much anticipated alone-date, we had a Jack-date. I made tomato and mozzarella panini and a nice big salad with avocado dressing. We put Jack in the stroller and walked the 2 miles to the St. Ronan Dog Park to have a picnic (this park is in fact Jack's namesake. It's where Greg and I met, so we decided to name him Jack Ronan). Jack slept and us two adults had a lovely time, scratchy throats and all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Toys

Jack has recently discovered a new mood: boredom. We are starting to use props to entertain this little fella. In the beginning, existence was the entertainment; now, Jack needs things to look at.

He's still pretty easy to satisfy, though. Like most babies, Jack's favorite objects involve contrasting patterns and faces. This smiley face toy cheers him up fairly quickly:


video


The Raccoon, on the other hand, doesn't do much for him. And the jury's still out about Jacques the Peacock -- Jack likes the back (which is black and white), but the colors aren't exciting to him yet.

Jack Talk

Jack is an expressive baby. He has all sorts of sounds and moods...here are a few of his moods: fussy, sleepy, happy, excitable, calm, interested, bored, and interactive. In the video below, Jack is happy, and excitable, and interactive. He wants us to pay attention to him.

video

Jack and I often have long, meaningful conversations; the most common topic is nursing. Here's how they typically go.

Jack: Mom! "meh!"

Rachael: Yes, Jack?

Jack: Mom! Mom! I'm hungry! "meh!" "meh!" "neh!"

Rachael: I hear you, baby. I'm coming...

Jack: I'm sooo hungry! "nehhhh!"

Rachael: OK... 10 seconds

Jack: Milk please! Please!! I think there must be no more milk "nehhhhhhhhhhh! arrgghhhlegurle"

Rachael: Be patient. Almost there.

Jack: Oh no. Is the milk gone? Is it really gone forever? chin starts to warble

Rachael: See? There's the milk. I told you there would be milk. Have you ever not gotten milk?

Jack: snarfle, snarfle, gulp, snarfle, gulp, gulp

Rachael: Better?

Jack: I don't feel so good. cough, sputter

Rachael: I told you not to drink so fast...

Jack: Uh-oh. I think I'm going to spit up. "eh! eh! eh!"

Rachael: thump, thump, thump

Jack: urp. Wow. "hoo..." I'm sl- yawn -sl-sleepy... blinky eyes

Rachael: I love when you curl up on my shoulder.

Jack: Mom, you smell like milk. gurgle

Rachael: Jack, you smell like cheese.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I forgot the conditioner

A week ago today, I took a shower like any other shower. Except... I forgot the conditioner and didn't notice until I was fully towel dried. It was so strange. I never forget conditioner. My pretending-to-be-curly-but-really-just-frizzy hair does not permit such forgetting... my hair feels like tangled straw without conditioner. Shampoo. Rinse. Condition. Rinse.

My mind gets fuzzy without sleep. I do things like try to convince a table of four women that we can split a $40 check with 4 20's and 3 10's. Or I put the paper towels in the refrigerator and orange juice in the cupboard. Or I lose my wallet in my own bag. AGAIN. I'm a scatterbrain in the best of times... add maternal hormones and subtract sleep, and I feel a fraction of my former self.

Still, Jack is showing us that he can sleep through the night. This amazing little boy had four awesome evenings: 4.5 hours, 4.5 hours, 5 hours, and 6 hours. 6 hours!! Then Greg and I messed up his nap schedule on Saturday and I was up at 1, 3, 5 and 7am this morning. We didn't do so well with his naps today, either, and Jack is still awake (an hour past his normal sleepy time). Tonight is anybody's guess. Tomorrow, I prioritize his naps and hope that it saves me some sleep of my own.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh Holy Hell

Someone... please explain this to me...

I'm not in the habit of leaving Jack unattended for more than a few minutes. Today, I was desperate... I needed to do something work-related. I needed my old laptop (a PC), my new laptop (an Apple), my cell phone, and both hands free. That means, I needed the dining room table.

Jack was happy and playful, so when he woke up from his morning nap, I put him on his exercise mat. I lined him up so that he could see himself in the mirror, like I always do. He was pretty psyched about the whole arrangement. Here's where I put him:


His mat is in one room, and the dining room table is in the other room. So I sat down at the table and kept an open ear. I could hear him happily cooing and playing along. Then, he started giving a few short yells, like "mom! come see!".

So I went. And this is what I saw:


This is what he did:


I would swear someone walked in and repositioned him, except that I was sitting by the only entrance to the house. And the dogs are not home today. How, how, how did this happen? Did he roll? Did he scoot? Did he grab a ring and pull? The mat material is very slippery and the rug is rough -- was this a weird issue of competing friction and kicking feet? Last night, Jack arched his back in a way that he could have fallen out of my hands. I am still feeling horrendous about that, and now this. I swear I'm not letting this kid out of sight until he's 18.

Seriously. Jack, you are officially increasing in mobility and I'm freaking out!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy 8-Week-Day


Greg says that Sunday was Jack's 8-Week-Day,
not 2-Month-Day (2 months just sounds too old!).

This month... this month, I am amazed at how Jack is already becoming an independent little person. He has decided likes and dislikes. We notice that his cries and sounds are becoming much more complex. He's learning how to entertain himself. He can anticipate things in short time periods (like, sees me getting ready to nurse him and calms down before he gets the milk). In the first month, he was this tiny, helpless thing that wanted us all of the time; now, he is becoming a complex creature, and he's doing it all on his own.

We are excited to see Jack grow so much so quickly. We also can't help being a little sad, too. Of course there are many more changes to come, however, his easiest, cuddliest newborn days are over. I am devastated by the thought that I only have four more weeks of maternity leave remaining. These have been some very special days.

Here are some of the things that have happened since Jack's last milestone post.
  1. Turns his head towards our voices and can see us when we're a few feet away.
  2. Smiles when he sees us and in response to funny noises ("boo boo boo!" is a favorite) or tickling.
  3. Likes looking at his black and white picture book, at his mobile, at objects that we move in and out of view, and at anything with a pattern of light.
  4. Perfected the art of side-lying nursing (mom breaths a sigh of relief, particularly at 4am)
  5. Swats at things in front of his field of view and grasps items that are placed in his hands
  6. Drool has started, and so have "real" tears (one of them rolled down his cheek three days ago! I about died)
  7. Baby acne = a thing of the past (finally!)
  8. Mullet = full force.
  9. Head control; major head control... can be held with one arm without any worry, and we've started placing him forward facing in the carrier (with caution and an available hand just in case he jolts forward)
  10. Got through the six-week growth spurt. Barely. Led mom to several emotional freakouts (sleep deprivation) and a massive increase in milk supply.
  11. Takes a pacifier and a bottle
  12. Doesn't like mom's boob quite as much as he used to, and comfort nursing seems to be a thing of the past
  13. Gotten much more active and will spend up to an hour on his exercise mat or in his co-sleeper, kicking his feet and swinging his arms
  14. Loves looking at "that baby in the mirror"
  15. Learned how to coo (more of a soft "hoot") when he's happy and has begun expressing himself with all sorts of new sounds; his regular vocabulary includes: "hoo", "ooooh", "grrrgle", "eh", "heh!", "haaaee!", "huh", "uh", "mmm", "hmmm", "ur!"
  16. Discovered his yelling voice and found it to be most effective when head is immediately next to one of his parent's ears
  17. Learned how to talk back if we make funny noises to him
  18. Began wearing cloth diapers again and has graduated to size 2 disposables
  19. Overcame some serious GI troubles, got on an infant probiotic, but still hasn't kicked the thrush
  20. Discovered his fist and achieved enough control of his extremities to get it into his mouth. Sometimes.
  21. Celebrated his first holiday, spent some time on the sailboat, and settled into a little person that we recognize and love.
  22. Ditched some of his 0-3s and started on 3-6s; weighed in at 11lb 2oz as of 9/9/10
  23. Pooped, peed and spit up all in the span of 5 seconds; impressive. (Also learned how to projectile vomit, though fortunately that has been a rare event).
  24. Started sleeping less. A lot less, and at the wrong times.
Good work, Jack. We're nostalgic for your tiny, newborn helplessness, but we are proud and amazed by how you are developing. Keep on growing, buddy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mosh Pit


Dad's attempt to get Jack into the hardcore music scene early:


video

Thursday, September 9, 2010

L'shanah Tovah



Welcome to year 5771! We celebrated Rosh Hashanah with apples and honey, for a sweet new year. Greg wanted to give Jack a little taste of the honey, but unfortunately that will have to wait until the acidity of Jack's GI tract has improved (botulism). In the meantime, Jack received his sweet new year tidings through the filter of my milk.


The Jewish New Year focuses on new beginnings, and ours were of trivial form -- the hope of better sleep. Jack snoozed for 5.5 hours on Tuesday night and for 4.5 hours on Wednesday night. He's still getting fussy while nursing, but it's more of the "eh! eh!" variety than the all-out-howling that he was doing before. Meanwhile, he has been sleeping almost continuously through the day. Today, he was awake for 1-2 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening -- the time in between was spent nursing, sleeping, or in blinky-eyed contemplation. Jack hasn't slept this much since the days after he was born. Was this rough patch a growth spurt, and have we gotten through it? I can only cross my fingers and savor this newfound energy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We got so tired


We got so tired during tummy time that we fell asleep:


Now for the good news. Mom happens to be wide awake this morning, because babe slept from 9:30pm-3:20am.

!

!!!!!!

9:30pm-3:20am!!

For the second time in 7 weeks (actually more like 12 weeks, if you count my getting-up-every-two-hours during the later stages of pregnancy), I slept for five whole hours! From 10:20-3:20! I feel like I slept 12 hours -- what a difference.

Jack finally settled in for a long nursing session last night. It happened while I was on the phone with my friend Jessica. Maybe my voice calmed him. Maybe he felt the good nursing wishes Jess (due to have her 3rd child in 6 weeks) was sending our way. I happened to be sitting in a dark room -- that could have helped, too. Whatever the case, Jack was very calm and nursed slowly for a good 40 minutes. His little belly was full of milk, and I think that made all the difference.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We still try




For the first four weeks or so, I had no real wish to escape the housewife duties. I preferred nothing over spending time with Jack. Then I got a little antsy and found myself craving some alone time. Jack stayed with Dad, and I got to go out.


For the first six weeks or so, Greg and I had no real wish to escape domestic evening life. Craving a date? We just brought Jack with us! To restaurants... on walks... in the backyard with a nice dinner... over to friends'... we took him everywhere, and our "couple time" was enriched by his presence. Jack made our time together more romantic, and so we always wanted him with us.


These photos are evidence of a turning point. A few nights ago, I made a tasty dinner and we took Jack out onto the sailboat (not sailing!! Greg just needed to weatherproof the boat in preparation for the never-actually-caused-incliment-weather-in-CT hurricane). I packed the picnic up all nice and tidy. We drove to our destination. And then proceeded to get bit up by bugs while alternating the baby-bouncing act and spilling food all over our laps. It wasn't a bad evening, but we both craved something a little simpler.


So, it's been seven weeks, and we decided to go on a date, alone, this coming Friday.

Unfortunately, there's a kink in our plans. I took Jack to the doctor today, because our breastfeeding issue is becoming more serious. The doctor thinks we need to cut out bottles for a little while. Whatever is upsetting Jack (and we still don't know what it is), it's not upsetting him with the bottle. He nurses just fine from the bottle... the milk flows easily, and it flows at whatever pace Jack wants it to. We only give a few bottles of expressed milk a week, however, the doctor believes that even if bottles aren't the cause of the nursing problem, they're probably making things worse.


I think we need to give it at least a week -- if not longer -- of happy nursing before trying a bottle again. Considering that Jack nursed 8 times since this morning and had a meltdown during 3 of those sessions, we've got some work ahead of us.

Maybe Greg and I could have a super quick date :) Out for dinner in less than two hours! (Our favorite restaurant -- to which we've taken Jack several times -- is just a block away, so it's not out of the question!)

Dazed and Confused

Jack's dazed and I'm confused. Or I'm dazed and Jack's confused. He doesn't want to nurse. Or, he does want to nurse but gets frustrated. Or he doesn't want to nurse and I get frustrated. Or something.

See what I mean about the whole dazed and confused bit? I think the sleep deprivation is getting to us.

Jack has been getting very upset in the middle of nursing sessions, and we can't figure out why. He throws his head around, yells, squeals, and arches his back. He gets really worked up and it takes a lot of calming down before he'll try again. It's been going on for 4-5 days now. He takes my milk just fine from a bottle. It doesn't happen every nursing session and it's usually the worst when he's the crankiest (tiredest). Some ideas:
  1. Maybe the thrush (which we both still have) is giving him mouth pain
  2. Maybe nursing is causing his GI tract to get going, and that hurts
  3. Maybe he's upset because my milk comes too fast (which it does at various points)
  4. Maybe he's upset because my milk comes too slow (which it does at various points, too)
  5. Maybe he wants comfort, not milk
  6. Maybe he's got a bit of reflux
  7. Maybe he's cranky because he's hungry
  8. Maybe he's cranky because he's tired (hungry-->tired = vicious cycle)
  9. Maybe he likes the bottle better than me. :(
It was so bad last night (he wouldn't take any milk from me), that Greg gave him a bottle of milk I had pumped. It was so bad early this morning (he woke up at 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6am...), that I brought him into bed with us at 3am to calm him down.

I called a local La Leche League support person. She believes it is a combination of my overactive letdown / oversupply (milk = too fast, lactose = too much) and his growth spurt (6 weeks is often a tough time). She feels quite certain that he is wanting to control the flow of milk and getting frustrated when it doesn't come at the speed he wants. Basically, she thinks he's cranky. She also felt very sure that if we give it some time, we'll get our lovely, easy-as-pie baby back.

I'd like to believe her. I also feel like it's got to be more than that. I swear he already went through his growth spurt, right at 6 weeks, when he wanted to nurse all the time. Now, it's not exactly that he wants to nurse all the time... it's that he thinks he wants to nurse but doesn't like what he gets. I know that the overactive letdown is upsetting to him (imagine sipping away at a latte and then having someone dump a whole cup into your mouth at once), but we've had that issue from the beginning.

I hate that he doesn't want to nurse consistently, and it's so sad when he's hungry but can't get what he wants. I hope that this problem is temporary.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mobile



Jack likes hanging out in his co-sleeper a bit too much. In fact, he likes it so much that we have trouble putting him to sleep. This bothers me. I never know whether his quiet time is good for him, or if we're depriving him of needed interaction. Often he'll be content, all alone, for an hour or morebefore drifting off. Sometimes he'll kick his feet for a while until he gets tired. Most of the time, though, he just stares at the mobile above his crib:


It's kind of cute. He's already learning how to entertain himself.

The mobile (from this shop at etsy.com) is fantastic. It is very light and so it sways easily. The shapes are oriented parallel to the ceiling, so that he can see them with his blurry newborn vision. It's a pleasant mobile. Frankly, I'd probably be as entertained by it as he is!

I'm fascinated that Jack has such strong preferences about when and where he lays down. For instance, he hates going into his car seat (the car seat also happens to be his stroller). It makes getting out of the house a stressful guilt-fest: he always yells sharply until he falls asleep, and he won't fall asleep in it unless it's moving. The seat can't be that uncomfortable, because he'll stay asleep longer in the car seat (2-3 hours!) than in any other position. Strangely enough, he loves his swing . Both are at a semi-recline and cradle him with rocking motion. What gives? (The car seat issue is really confusing to us). Furthermore, he has a specific tolerance for his playmat (about 30 minutes), but he'll hang out much longer in his co-sleeper. He doesn't fall asleep easily in the co-sleeper, but he'll zonk out right away in our bed. His tolerance for various situations is quite reliable.

Still can't believe this little guy has likes and dislikes already!