Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Right before our eyes

Nate is changing every time I look at him. His face is turning older, and he's doing something new every day. I'm going to have Stewart take a bunch of photos and video this weekend to catch what's left of my little baby!

He plays with is toes all the time now. He is CONSTANTLY pulling whatever's in his hand into his mouth. He eats lunch and dinner - carrots are his favorite. He stays awake in the stroller now, for quite some time.

He really studies the world. When new people are around, or we're in a new place, he furrows up his brow and really stares for a long time. It's a little embarassing when people are trying to get him to smile at them, but he does things in his own time.

He's still loving his mobile - I can park him there for 10 minutes and he just grins up at it the whole time.

It's actually a little hard to play with him right now - the only thing he's interested in is shoving everything into his mouth.

We're taking our first plane trip this weekend to visit Stewart's sisters and their families. Much cooing will ensue, I think.

Last night, Nate slept for the first time in MONTHS. 7:30 to 2:30 - 7 hours. I'm not holding my breath for tonight, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. He's starting to nap for longer, too - sometimes up to an hour.

Boy, this is dull. I'll get my humor back after a few more nights of sleep, I promise.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I'm so sorry Nate

There are things I must record for posterity. It's not my choice, Nate, it's my responsibility to all of my fans.

Last night while you were having a bath, you took a wee (as usual). But this time it arced right into your face. You were pretty startled and blinky, and the wee stopped immediately. Once you'd recovered, you finished your wee in the tub.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Note to Nate

If you're so tired that you can't lift your head from the mattress to cry, and instead warble limply into the sheets, I am not coming to get you. You are warbling at the wrong Mom.

Monday, January 16, 2006

National SYODT week!

Welcome to National "Suck Your Own Damn Thumb" Week. Nate is so used to chewing on our thumbs that he hasn't mastered his own yet. So I have cut off his supply of thumbs. I know he can stop anytime he wants to, but he hasn't wanted to, so I have to bring the hammer down.

Yes, I can hear you all: why do you want him to suck his thumb? The orthodonture! The embarassment! The issues! Blah! Blah!

I. Don't. Care. The kid needs a way to soothe himself, and he won't take a pacifier (see my previous 117 posts), so the thumb it is. And with my new policy of only taking parenting advice from people whose children turned out well (Hi Bess!), I'm doing what I think is right for him. You show me a 15 year-old who still sucks his own thumb (in public, anyway) and I'll go ahead and just cut Nate's off now.

Other things going on here:

Nate can now grab his toes and play with them. He tried to pull his foot to his mouth tonight and it sprang back down - looks like he inherited our inflexibility. Stewart can't even cross his legs (really!) and I haven't been able to touch my toes since, well, ever. You can see why my figure-skating career never went too far.

He's rolling over pretty easily now - back to front. Evidentally this is harder than front to back, but he can't seem to pull that one off. When he's on his belly, and unhappy about it, he puts both legs and arms in the air - he looks like a very unhappy baby parachuting from a plane.

He had his first taste of sweet potatoes tonight, mixed into his rice gruel. Did I mention we'd started him on cereal last week? He didn't seem particularly put off, or particularly ecstatic. I can't suppose that anything masks the taste of that rice gruel. It's like concrete. It takes me 5 minutes to un-cake it from his face in the bath. I've started feeding him naked - it's just easier.

Sleeping is still pretty lousy, but getting better. The cereal may or may not be helping. This whole parenting thing is pretty nebulous, so I'm never sure if what I'm doing is having any effect. But he's still alive, and all extremities are still attached, so I can't be doing too badly.

Wow, I've already turned into one of those realistic parents! I shrug my shoulders in the face of criticism! I chart my own course! Go me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Four-month update

I'm too tired to be witty. Straight-up stats:

My boy weighed in at 16 pounds, 3 ounces today, and he's 26 inches tall. That puts him at 75th percentile for weight (down from 90th at his 2-month checkup), and 75th - 90th for height (same as his 2-month checkup). So he may be average, and he may be tall, but I'd be surprised if he was short.

Doc says his eyes will might turn green, but they probably won't ever turn brown. I like that.

He took his four shots like a champ, just like at his 2-month appointment. Cried, then I nursed him, and he was back to normal. He's sleeping more than usual tonight, which I hear is normal, but that's the only real side-effect.

And while it looks like he has the Davis height, he's got the Wagner appetite: he had his first rice-cereal tonight, and he downed it. By the end of the small portion, he was actually opening his mouth for more whenever the spoon got near him.

AND he took a bottle today. Like a champ. Like he hadn't been acting like it was burning acid we were trying to pour into his throat for the past three months. Geesh.

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Learn from my mistakes

I have several friends who are about to have babies. I want to tell them things. I want to take them by the shoulders and shake them and insist that they listen to me, so they do not end up making some of my mistakes. But I've pledged to never be one of those people. I will not judge the choices other people are making as parents, because this is hard and complicated and there are no right answers. Except my answers - those are right.

So I say nothing on the phone or in e-mail or in person. But this is my blog. And I can say anything here that I want to say. So, Jonathan, and others, please heed this:

Let your baby have a pacifier. It is good and holy and Nate will not take one because I waited too long to give him one. Why did I wait too long? Because "they" scared me about nipple confusion, and my milk not coming in.

Hear this: I have now talked with over one trillion women and NOBODY knows ANYBODY who had nipple confusion. Babies are not stupid. If they want milk, and they suck on something which provides no milk, they will scream and holler until you give them milk. Likewise, if they DO NOT want milk, and they suck on something which provides milk, they will scream and holler until you take it away.

Give Squirmy a paci, okay? Okay.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Monthly Newsletter, Month Four

Dear Nate,

This marks the first month that you have been punished. You are grounded, son, and you will be until you give me more than 3 hours sleep in a row. As Dr. Phil explains: you are the one who got yourself grounded, and you can un-ground yourself if you want to. Why are you choosing to be grounded, Nate? Why are you choosing to torment me? (If you're reading this in 20 years, Dr. Phil is all about personal responsibility and the choices we make. We choose to be unhappy or to be fat or to be whatever. You're choosing to be hungry in the middle of the night four times a night. Like clockwork. I have some issues with your choices.)

It all started innocuously enough, with the happy celebration of your three-month birthday. All of the books tell us that our babies go from being horrible newborns to lovely, well-behaved babies at 3 months! 3 months will be wonderful! 3 months is when all of the bad stuff turns good! Either they're lying to keep us from smothering our newborns, or you're just ornery like your parents. Because you went from sleeping 7, 8, or even 9 hours a night to being up 7, 8 or even 9 times (I'm exaggerating a little. It was more like 4, 5, and 6 times. Like that's much better!)

After four or five days, I called the pediatrician for help. Heidi said that growth-spurts are common at 3 months, and after a week you'd return to normal. Well, it's a month later and you're still torturing me. Every 2.5 - 3 hours, you're up like clockwork eating. I cannot fathom it. Be glad you're still alive, son.

And simultaneously, people are nudging me and implying that you're a little too skinny! (Except great-grandma Nanny who wonders if I should be putting you on a diet. You can't bother all of the people all of the time in the same way.)

The truth is that I think you're perfect. Not too skinny, not too chubby. Except your cheeks, which are so chubby that when you smile, your face is wider than it is tall. It's absolutely adorable.

Here are some of the good things you've been doing:

You turned from front to back a few times, and once from back to front. You haven't done it since a few weeks ago, but I know you could if you really wanted to.

You could also grow hair if you wanted to. You just don't want to. Actually, you've got this blond fuzz, and I think it's growing a little bit! You still have your monk's hairline along the back - totally hairless where the back of your head rubs on the mattress, with a thin layer of hair below. And don't forget your blonde cowlick that stands straight up. You're all over the place!

You're starting to laugh a little bit. I can sometimes force one out of you, and force is the operative word. You laugh in spurts, like I'm punching you in the stomach. You've giggled out loud a few other times, and that's just music to our ears. I got you laughing in the bath the other night, and Daddy could hear it all the way downstairs. You're ticklish under the chin now, and Daddy can get you to grin when he tickles the bottom of your feet and your ribs. Your cousins call your Daddy "the best tickler ever" so I suspect you're in for a lifetime of being tickled.

You're starting to love the big-kid stuff now - roughhousing with me on the bed, being thrown up in the air, and being flown through the air. I hold you in my arms, and "drop" you a few inches, and you grin from ear to ear. You're even starting to anticipate our next moves - if I throw you up in the air a few times, and then look at you, you're clearly waiting for me to do it again. Pretty smart baby!

Your personality is just starting to show itself, and you already have one quality that I really like and admire: you are fearless. When we do something that startles you, like making a loud noise or flying you through the air, your eyes get big and wide. And then you grin. And we do it again, and you grin again. That's a great quality, and I hope it stays with you.

You are also recognizing the songs I sing to you. Your two favorites are You Are My Sunshine, and Let's Go Fly a Kite. I sing other songs to you and you sit and listen patiently, but when I sing one of those two songs you grin when I'm only a few words in. Hopefully you'll get your Daddy's beautiful singing voice, but I have my fingers crossed that you'll be able to remember the words like me. Your Daddy can't remember the words to anything! But it's fun when he's singing, because he just makes up the words as he goes along.

You celebrated your first Chanukah and your first Christmas this past month. Everyone was so happy to spend time with you - Gigi and Grandpa, Grandma and Pepaw, and all of your Aunts and Uncles and Cousins. The showered you with gifts!

Your hands are still in fists a lot of the time, and you really like to hold on to things. Anytime my hands are near you, you grip onto one of my fingers. I love it when you do this - your hands are so warm and soft.

I took you to ger your eyes checked when you were just past three months, and the doctor said that you were the strongest three-month old she'd ever examined. You still love standing, and we barely need to support you!

We found out a few days ago that you're going to need a little operation on your hand to take out a bump. This is what being your Mom and Dad is all about - handling the big stuff as well as we can. All of our friends are thinking about you right now, and sending good thoughts our way. I can only hope that when I'm writing your five-month newsletter, everything has gone perfectly and you are well and whole.

I can't wait to see what the next month brings for you, Nate.

Much love,

Wednesday, January 4, 2006


Nate's got a little lump in his right hand, and our fabulous, wonderful pediatricians sent us to Children's Hospital to get it checked out. Never, ever go to Children's alone. The sights are so sad. Everywhere you look, there's a little one in a wheelchair, or with an IV.

Nate's problem is small, but they want to operate and remove it. It's a ganglion of the tendon sheath, and if he was an adult they'd just drain it, but the babies tend to move and scream and generally make life hard on the doctors. I couldn't care less about the surgery part, it's the anesthesia that makes my heart clench. I don't care if they take off his whole arm, just let him be alive at the end of the surgery.

I'm taking him for a second opinion next week, and if they agree the surgery will be on February 1st.

On a more fun note, Nate played with his toes for the first time tonight. It's such a classic baby move. The problem was that every time he reached for them his foot would move out of the way. Conflicting interests.

And how's this for coincidental:

Ages ago (10 years?!?!) I worked at People For the American Way with a woman named Kendra. She was super and fabulous and funny, and I really enjoyed her company. I even participated in her wedding. As things go, we fell out of touch about 5 years ago when she and her husband headed off to law school.

Late nights nursing have me thinking about the past (and about the bills, and college tuition, and what I ate for dinner, and flossing, and you get the picture). I googled her a few days ago, and found her at a law firm in New York. Sent off an e-mail, and actually heard back. More than that - she and husband are here in DC! Along with baby boy, 8 months.

We pick up the phone and spend some time catching up. Make a date for our kids to sumo wrestle (hers was 10 pounds 13 ounces!). Then, in the elevator at Children's Hospital two days ago, her husband is standing right next to me.

I'm still shaking my head over this one. Five years of no contact, back in touch for two days, and meet up in an elevator at a hospital? (And no, he wasn't stalking me. Their boy was having a bit of tummy trouble, but he's okay.)

So that's a benefit of nursing - meeting up with old friends. Right now, it's about the only benefit I can think of. Off to sleep for two hours before the boy demands more liquidy-goodness.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Forces of evil

When the doctors ask why I've lost my eyesight, I will answer thusly:

"They scared me about SIDS."

I'm letting Nate sleep on his stomach for the first time, right now, as I'm typing this.

Yes, I said it. Yes, I did it. He's sleeping on his stomach. Come and get me! Burn me at the stake!

He's been taking these crappy 30 minute naps, and we're both frazzled. So since he's almost 4 months old, can somewhat turn over, and is strong as a horse, I'm letting him sleep on his stomach.

Big talk, huh? Of course, I'm hunched over his video baby monitor, squinting at the stupid grainy screen, watching his chest move. But still. I'm making progress. And he's sleeping!