Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Flutters and A Finale



There is only one word that can describe 2008.

Change.

Exhilarating change. (Okay, that was two words. So sue me.)

Not unlike the anticipation and apprehension as you wait for a rollercoaster ride to descend into its cyclonic whirlwind. The butterflies that playfully swirl around in your abdomen as you await what is to come. And then once you are released, it all happens so fast that can hardly catch your breath. In a flash, it's over and you have this stupified grin plastered across your face.

It was like that to the infinitieth power.

2008 began with a glimmer of hope. I had just handed in my ticket and boarded the p-word rollercoaster. I was excited yet fearful. Uncertain of what to expect - if anything at all. Would the ride stop before it had even started? Would I ultimately be disappointed and leave empty-handed as I had in the past? Or could it be the ride of a lifetime that I would never forget?

I had so much at stake emotionally. Having been burned twice before, it was hard to put my chips on the table. To let go and find the strength from within to believe. To not expect another setback. I knew there were no guarantees. The fear and anticipation escalated the further along I went. I just had that much more to lose. And I was that much more attached to those butterflies in the pit of my stomach.

But somewhere along the way, I did find sweet release from the pressure. I did shed layers of angst to find unadulterated happiness. I'm not sure at what point this happened because before I realized it, the joyride was over.

My son was born. And I'm still trying to process everything 5 months later. The day I gave birth was the greatest day of my life hands down. I can't wipe the smile from my face. Each day is a new learning experience. A new memory. Not that everything is always sunshine, wine and roses. Quite the contrary. But I must admit - even in the toughest times - I have the greatest reward I could ever dream of.

2009 is beginning with great promise. Although I'm unsure of what the future holds, I feel like we have much opportunity and much to look forward to.

Sadly, I know not everyone is starting the new year with the same outlook. There are people out there - possibly even some of my readers - who also bet big. But instead of hitting the jackpot, they may have lost their fortune. Some who are still waiting in line to board the rollercoaster, watching others repeatedly cut in front of them.

My greatest wish for 2009 is that you may depart the free-falling drop tower of IF and board the p-word rollercoaster without fear of loss.

I wish everyone could feel those butterflies free of consequence.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Roly Poly

HFMD is still wrecking havoc in our household - fever is over but diarrhea still runs rampant, pardon the pun. There's nothing like waking up at 2am to pffft...squirt. He even has a gash on his nose from the midnight thrashing with those Freddie Kreueger talons of his - which Mommy is afraid to cut too low. But my little trooper never ceases to amaze me. Even while feeling like crud, he can still gather the strength to accomplish a new milestone.

Nate can officially roll both ways.

On Saturday night, I placed him down on the floor on his back for playtime. Playtime consists of me making absurd faces with equally ridiculous voices that prompt uncontainable squeals and giggles. After some toe-touching exercises, he suddenly whipped himself around, landing right onto his belly and nearly hitting his head on a nearby TV tray. Once he discovered that he was on his loathed stomach, he cried out for assistance in readjusting his position.

Yes, this is an important milestone. As is tummy to back rolling, which he has been able to do since October. But Nate is inconsistent with these activities. Sometimes he will roll like a pro and other times he will be stubborn as an ass and lie there whimpering as if he simply cannot move himself and how dare I challenge him this way. It's almost as if he just needs to reassure himself. To prove he can do it at least once to refute any doubts regarding his abilities. Then, with an inexplicable, flagrant disregard for his competence, he seemingly loses interest and is on to the next new mission - whatever that may entail. A touch of ADD, I assume?

In all actuality, I am somewhat relieved by his fickle nature. I can still leave him unattended on his blanket or playmat to throw some clothes in the wash or answer the door and return to him in the same exact position. As long as this is an option, I shall retain my freedom.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

I wish I could say I had a fabulous holiday and that Nate's first Christmas was everything I had hoped for and more. Unfortunately, it was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

I woke up on Christmas morning to an overwhelming sense of joy. My first sight upon awakening was my two loves laying beside me, peacefully asleep. Despite an absence of mistletoe hanging from the stucco above, I planted a kiss on DH's cheek and Nate's forehead. It was then that I noticed Nate was hot to the touch. He was outfitted in a fleece sleeper so my first instinct was that I overdressed him. I nursed him and took his rectal temperature during his morning diaper change.

101.4. Poor little guy had yet another fever. Hadn't we had enough of this a few weeks ago with those dreadful sinus infections?!

I mixed some Tylenol with breastmilk and fed him a bottle. As he drifted back off to sleep in his swing, DH and I exchanged gifts. Blu-Ray player for him. Beaba BabyCook for me. I was delighted about my present but my happiness was short-lived as I was reminded of my sick baby.

When Nate awoke, he still felt warm but seemed to be in decent spirits. In other words, he was not wimpering in agony or showing signs of distress. We opened his gifts but there was little enthusiasm on his part. No smiles. No laughter. He was lethargic and generally disinterested in his surroundings. He would examine each gift for a few seconds before looking or turning away. It was evident that he was not himself.

I gave him another dose of Tylenol before heading out to see family. He slept for the hour-long car ride and woke just as we pulled into the driveway. I brought him inside and took his temperature again. 101.2. I was hoping for better after 2 doses of meds. He opened presents from Grandma and Grandfather with the same general malaise he had shown earlier. As more and more family arrived and the children became more boisterous, it didn't take long for a total meltdown to commence. After being passed around from person to person like a hot potato - despite the warnings of his current condition - he had had enough. The annoyed griping amplified to deafening screams in record timing.

I spent the majority of the party upstairs in a quiet bedroom, trying to soothe him while simultaneously watching reruns of A Christmas Story on TBS. While he was obviously hungry, he was rejecting the breast in favor of hibernation. During his naps, I would rush downstairs to greet neglected guests and stuff leftover hor d'oeuvres in my mouth. Trying to hold a conversation with someone was a lost cause. A not-so-funny joke. My attention was concentrated on canceling out the hullabaloo to hear Nate's distinct cries.

The sky grew dark and the guests cleared out. Nate still had a fever. I gave him a bath, thinking it would cool him off and lower his temperature. Instead, it was up to 102.4. My heart was pounding as I called the urgent care center. All sorts of scenarios ran through my head on the way to our appointment. I imagined spending the night in the ER with a baby so feverish that a seizure could erupt at any moment.

When we arrived, they took us back almost immediately. His fever was now up to 103.5. My heart sunk. The doctor examined him. Ears, nose and chest were clear. But his throat was sore and blistery.

Diagnosis: Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Expect high fever and sore throat for 3-5 days, followed by diarrhea and body rash.

Treatment: Motrin as needed every 6-8 hours

I didn't think Motrin could be given to babies under 6 months but because of the severity of the fever and Nate's weight, the doctor said it was fine. Since we had no pump on-hand, he had to be given the meds with a dropper. He promptly puked up the first dose but with a patient nurse, we were able to get it all down the second try.

Within half an hour of the visit, our baby boy was back to his sweet, smiling self. Shame his true personality only showed during the tenth hour on Christmas night. But he slept like a log and I was able to rest knowing exactly what we were up against.

I'm still quite miffed over the situation. How unfair is it that our baby's first Christmas was ruined dampered by such an awful, unexplainable virus? I had high expectations and reality just threw a wrench into everything. I have just a handful of acceptable pictures that were taken sporadically during the day. No pictures of us all together as a family. I know I should keep my trap shut and be grateful I even have a baby to be sick. Gain some perspective. I'm just really bummed that we had to be miserable on such a special occasion. I feel as if Christmas truly was stolen by a grinch this year.


HFMD: the one gift from Santa that I brutally rebuff.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays To All

Unlike gifts that come and go,

Or tinsel in the attic stowed,

May the spirit of peace we hold so dear,

Remain with us all throughout the year.


Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and a Blessed Holiday to you and yours

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The gifts have been wrapped and are strategically positioned underneath the Christmas tree. The ornaments and stockings have been hung with care. Aside from a few dishes we will be baking for dinner with family tomorrow, all systems are a go for the big day.

I wouldn't say I went overboard on the gift-buying per se, but from the looks of it, Nate has already made out like a bandit. No high-ticket items. Just a lot of 6-month+ toys, teethers, clothes, etc. that we accumulated over time. This doesn't include presents he has already received from our recent gift exchange with the in-laws or those he has yet to inherit. Spoiled much?

Being thisclose to 5-months old, I realize he has no concept of Christmas. And in all honesty, he'll never remember this day. The presents. The tree. The food. The storytelling. The company. His only memories of this event shall be derived from photographic or videographic evidence. It's more for me than it is for him. But I still wanted to honor this special day - my favorite holiday.

Seeing the kid's eyes light up as they visit Santa. Singing and humming holiday classics. Baking cookies in the shape of candy canes or wreaths. Decorating the tree. Christmas Eve prayers. Hot cocoa and egg nog next to the lit fireplace. It makes me feel homey. Comfortable. Soulful. Cheerful.

Last Christmas, I was just about 8 weeks along. Unsure of whether the tender, pea-sized embryo embedded in my uterus would survive. I remember praying to God, on the day of his son's birth, that he would protect this little life inside of me. This Christmas, that sweet pea is here in the flesh. So, I feel like I need to celebrate life. The life of Jesus, who is the reason for the season. And the life of the baby boy who makes my spirits bright year-round.

In my attempt to inject our own brand of fun into the holiday, I earnestly researched popular, safe baby toys. I splurged a tiny bit on some things I wouldn't have under normal circumstances. I had a hard time setting a limit on my spending. I just wanted to get him everything. Thankfully, DH acquired my common sense and wittled down my wish list to adhere to a reasonable budget. I also adopted the pajama tradition some of you proposed and bought Nate a fleece snowman sleeper to wear on Christmas morning.

For the first time in years, I am as giddy as a child, waiting for the sun to rise. To see the joy of Christmas through the eyes of my child is nothing short of magical.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

The weather outside may be frightful but inside, I'm soaking in the sun. Yes, we're in the midst of an unmistakable sunny week.

I find myself wondering who swapped my willful prince with this even-tempered angel who only complains when weary or famished. "Nate Lite" has even adopted a pacifier - the object that he would, until recently, barely tolerate. No hesitation. A trip to the mall just weeks ago would have resulted in an embarassing tantrum and a swift exit. But thanks to our new silicone comrade, we were able to finish 98% of our Christmas shopping without so much as a peep from the stroller. Just observant eyes taking in the surrounding scenery.

He has been delivering more cheesy, toothless grins than ever. Even some giggles here and there that make me feel wealthier than Oprah. He's also discovered his voice and now babbles and squeals incessantly, despite the moon's plea for peace and quiet at 1am. We're talking notes only a Bee Gees brother could hit. But since the ruckus comes from such a rosy-cheeked cherub, there's no way I could shush him in my fit of laughter and glee.

I just hope this pleasantness prevails through the holidays.

Looking back on the past month, there has been evident advancement in his fine motor skills. At 3 months, Nate was merely batting at toys and still pretty much living in his own little world, oblivious to our fervent attempts to entertain him. Either that or he just plain ignored our idiocracy. But at 4 (almost 5!) months, he can now deliberately grab objects with an iron grip and bring them to his mouth where they will inevitably drown in the drool pool. With this greater coordination comes great responsibility. I seem to have grown an invisible antenna to identify anything remotely dangerous within his grasp. I have to contain wandering arms and legs so fingers don't reach onto my dinner plate and feet won't knock over fragile goods.

It's only a matter of time until more skills emerge. With its corresponding wonder week. So, I'm enjoying this congeniality while it lasts.
__________________________________________________

In unrelated news, a coworker announced her pregnancy today. She is 38 and while I'm not sure how long she and her husband had been TTC, I do know she miscarried last summer. Due July 9, 2009.

I am truly delighted for her, despite the repugnant date.

But I'm also a wee bit jealous. And I have no clue as to why.

I'm nowhere close to feeling ready for another baby. I can't even fathom it right now. And though I've dodged those bullets that put the pressure on ("you want them close in age so they get along better", "you should do it soon since you're already accustomed to the baby phase" or my personal favorite, "you've got to try for a girl!"). I'm in absolutely NO hurry.

I mean, physically, with all of my lovely scar tissue courtesy of a second-degree tear, my vagina can barely perform the necessary function to make childbearing possible. Mentally, I'm plum tuckered out. Most days, I can hardly keep my eyes open much less stay organized at work and at home. We live in a 3-bedroom apartment, which is already bursting at the seams. I can barely meet the needs of one infant. How the hell would I manage two under two? So, you see, there are many factors as to why I'm not even considering TTC a sibling for Nate until he turns 1. Not even uttering a word about it until that point. And possibly even later if I still can't muster the courage to initiate that conversation.

But yet I reminisce about my pregnancy. And I miss it. Even the miscarriage worries, listeria concerns, crotch pain and tremendous weight gain aren't enough to wake me up to reality. The announcement tugged at my heartstrings and made me wish it were me going through that anticipation and excitement again.

I need to be committed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We Have A Winner

Alison at (un)complicate me!

Here are your random numbers:
5
Timestamp: 2008-12-15 14:39:01 UTC

Step right up, darlin' and claim your prize! Hopefully, I'll be responsible for yet another BabyLegs convert.

I have to say I'm diggin' mine. Not only are the patterns and colors cute - it's so hard to choose! - but they're functional too. Perfect to wear alone with a onesie or as an extra layer for cold weather days like today, when Mother Nature can't decide whether snow, sleet or rain fits the bill. If you have a baby who has an advantage in the height department as I do, you'll know how pants can ride up and leave those little ham hocks exposed to the elements. BabyLegs solve this problem quite simply.

And now that Nate has discovered he can grab his feet - and consequently pull off any article of cloth which should cover them - they help to keep his socks in place and his tootsies warm.

Not to mention that they make diaper changes a breeze. Considering Nate poops at least 3-4 times a day, it's nice not to have to constantly fight to take pants on and off of a fidgety baby.

No, BabyLegs hasn't paid me to endorse their product. But nonetheless I'm glad I invested in these. I think they'll come in even more handy once we enter the crawling phase.
_________________________________________________

Some of you have also inquired about my birthday gift. DH bought it from this seller on my newly acquired addiction, Etsy. It appears she has closed up shop for the holidays but will be reopening in January 2009. The price is reasonable, the quality is fantastic, and shipping was timely so I highly recommend her. But there are also many other great styles to consider if you perform a search using the keywords "mommy necklace".

Well, I should get back to some last-minute online Christmas shopping before the shipping deadlines expire. Why is it that every year I have the best intentions to finish up early yet I always seem to be stuck in a frenzy, frantically filling out credit card information or waiting in atrocious lines in the eleventh hour?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Greatest Gifts

Well, I rang in the big 2-6 on Friday. Does that mean I'm now in my "late twenties"?

Like any other year before it, we sang Happy Birthday as I blew out candles and we noshed on birthday cake. I unwrapped a present from my elders - a beautiful wool sweater and stylish knit scarf. It was all fairly traditional.

Except this year, I celebrated with a little fella on my lap, who flashed a winning smile as we chanted and clapped our hands. I don't think I even need to mention that he is the greatest, sweetest birthday and/or Christmas present I could ever receive.


But this is a close second:





The picture doesn't really do it justice. The chain is composed of tiny entwined hearts. The pendant is hand-stamped metal clay, with a ruby birthstone to represent the month of July.

I adore it more than words can say. If it weren't for the redudant activities of bathing or sleeping, I would never remove it from my neck.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Down With The Sickness

If this face doesn't elicit your sympathy, the winter chill must have reached your heart.

After my last somewhat ominous post, you are safe to assume the fevers and runny nose continued to make Nate miserable, despite round-the-clock Tylenol. I guess they became lonesome so they invited their friends - gloopy eyes and dry cough - to come out and play. The mucous in his nose and eyes turned a thick, gooey, green consistency. He also started to vomit just about everything that ventured into his stomach. We're talking dousing Daddy and Mommy in what seemed like gallons of rancid milk after every coughing fit. I had never seen this much fluid come out of someone so small. I considered swiping one of those floor signs to warn visitors of impending puddles.

Once the fever hit a peak 101.5, back to the pediatrician we went. I was fearing a diagnosis of RSV but instead, she surprisingly confirmed that the bug was bacterial, not viral. Thankfully, his ears and lungs were clear, so we didn't have a compound obstacle of ear infection or bronchitis. She prescribed him Cefdinir, which we are to administer once a day - 3/4 teaspoon- for 10 days. Since my prince won't drink from a dropper without a dramatic vomiting episode, I mix it with breastmilk each night before bed. After just one night of meds, he has already vastly improved. His eyes are no longer red and puffy. The gloop has lessened significantly. And he is in much better spirits, smiling up a storm.

I'm so glad to have my little guy back. Just in time for my birthday. Which is Friday, in case you were planning on caroling to me. Or bringing dessert. I promise to share.


P.S. Only 4 more days to participate in the giveaway. Don't miss out!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Snot Healthy

After almost a week of fever (up to 102), raw throat, headache, and a despicable cough that left me with a just a shred of my voice, it turns out I have a sinus infection. I'm now on 875mg Amoxycillan 2x a day for 10 days. And on high alert for any signs of thrush.

While I love to share with my little man, the last thing I wanted to do was give him this awfulness. But that's exactly what happened.

He now has the most pathetic little coughs and sniffles. His poo is forest green and his boogers resemble egg nog. He has to struggle to eat, since it takes mad skill and concentration to alternate breathing and gulping mommy's fire hose of a letdown. He's also been sleeping poorly at night, waking up to choke on his postnasal drip. And when he catches a glimpse of the Ginormous Nose Sucker out of the corner of his eye, he swats it away and grimaces in agony as I attempt to clear out the bats in the cave. Poor fella. My heart breaks to watch him suffer. Trust me - there's nothing worse than watching your sick baby's teary eyes stare at you, pleading for relief.

He also spiked several fevers, which eventually broke after we administered Tylenol. But I was so fearful watching the digital thermometer gradually increase to 101.3. I had visions of frying breakfast on his forehead. Or more realistically, waiting hours in a busy emergency room with wet washcloths and a fussy child.

After some deliberation, I took Nate to his 4-month appointment on Tuesday. We delayed the vax after his rectal temp revealed a fever of 100.8. But despite his case of the sickies, he was all smiles for the office staff and pediatrician. Little trooper was 16 lbs. even and 26.5 inches long. That puts him in 75th percentile for weight and 95th percentile for height. There's that smug smile of mine again, as I think how momma's milk made all those cute rolls possible. The doctor instructed me to use saline drops and Tylenol for his cold as needed but there were no other resolutions. It apparently just needs to run its course. She also said that due to his "excellent growth" (her words, not mine!), we should stick to our breastfeeding goal and suspend solids until 6 months.

My milk supply has taken a bit of a dive but I'm hoping that once the gunk is gone, it will adjust back to normal.

We've made it four months. What's 7 more weeks?

I'm feeling confident. Now if I can just heal miraculously overnight so we can visit Santa tomorrow...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Just Call Me Kris(ten) Kringle

Today marks the end of Nablopomo. I can't believe I actually made it. By the skin of my teeth but I am a champion nonetheless. I can't say each post was thought-provoking but I guess quantity overrides quality for the month of November. I'm sorry, my dear readers.

But to make up for listening to my incessant blabber, I am getting in the holiday spirit and giving away a little gift to one lucky reader. I have a pair of Spice BabyLegs up for grabs. The color is neutral for boys or girls and perfect as a second layer in the winter season. Even if you don't yet have a baby, you can indulge your inner 80's maven and wear them as leg or arm warmers. You know, while you fulfill that New Years resolution to get in shape.

All you have to do is leave a comment (c'mon lurkers - now's your chance!) with your name and email address. I will choose one reader at random on December 14.

Spread the word and good luck!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Redux

After lots of good food, good company, and not-so-good traffic for travelling, it feels good to be home.

Thursday morning, DH woke up and went for an early morning run while I watched snippets of the Macy's Day Parade with Nate and baked green bean casserole. Yes, I cooked. Hard to believe, I know. But it's kinda hard to ruin a casserole so I figured it would be right up my alley. We headed out around 10:30am and made it to our first stop, my FIL's home, around noon. Nate did surprisingly well in the car - napping nearly the entire way.

The family was already there, anticipating our arrival. We were welcomed warmly as Nate was passed around like a hot potato. He tolerated the unfamiliar faces well initially but quickly became overstimulated with a meltdown that was damn near impossible to recover from. I retired to a quiet bedroom to distract and nurse him several times during dinner but the commotion - not to mention jerky movements and pandemonium courtesy of his cousins- left him high-strung and agitated. It wasn't until the house cleared out a bit that he was able to fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion.

We had planned on spending the night and driving to VA to have dinner with MIL the next day but considering Nate's mood, we decided to leave that evening and spend the night with SIL instead. So, we took a 2.5 hour drive to VA, stopping once on the shoulder of I-95 to nurse as cars whizzed by. A bit cramped in the backseat but we were ultimately successful.

After the long drive, we were all wiped and slept in Friday morning. Even Nate, who only woke up twice in 9 hours to nurse and went right back to sleep. We arrived at MIL's house late that morning to help cook and clean. DH was feeling brave and ventured to the local shopping center to take advantage of Black Friday sales. I stayed back to peel potatoes and manage Nate's nap routine so we did not have a repeat of Thanksgiving evening. Thankfully, it paid off and he was in much better spirits this go round. He seemed to adapt to his cousins' methods of play and their clamor no longer triggered his startle reflex or subsequent pouting.

Weary after another night of soul food (and wine for DH), we decided to stay yet another night with SIL. Unfortunately, DH had a severe allergic reaction to MIL's cats and could barely breathe through his nostrils come sundown. His contaminated sinuses resulted in all-night snoring. Therefore, none of us really got a wink of sleep. I awoke with a sore throat that has yet to ebb. Actually, it now seems to be pummeling my vocal cords. I probably picked up a weird bug from the kiddos. Since the only thing we have in the house is Robitussin and it would spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for my supply, I'm relying solely on prayer so as not to lose my voice.

Without further ado, here are some photos of Nate's first Thanksgiving(s):

This doesn't really require explanation, does it?


My little Butterball


Guess he didn't get enough to eat, even after 2 carb-loaded dinners


Watch out turkey, we have a ham


Pardon the hair. I'm still not feeling it but hopefully it will grow out a little in time for my birthday and Christmas.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After

Gluttony never tasted so good. I'm currently recovering from my gastrointestinal overload.

I'll be back tomorrow with details and pics of our holiday.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

One Year Ago

One year ago today, I got the surprise of my life when the cycle I assumed a failure - my fourth and final Clomid cycle - shockingly resulted in those two pink lines.



What a difference a year makes.




It goes without saying that I have much to be thankful for this year. My DH, my best friend. My friends, family and loved ones. My health. Finances that afford me luxuries as well as necessities. But most of all, I am thankful for my son. The little man who's smile lights up my heart. Who introduced me to the incredible world of unconditional love. There aren't words to express the elation I feel when I look into his eyes. Thankful? Grateful? Indebted? None of them really get my point across accurately.

I wrote this unsuspecting post last Thanksgiving. I know that for some of us, my cornucopia wish came true. But for others, sadly, the dream has yet to become a reality.

I'm not sure if those still on the winding IF road have ventured over here after my transition. But if any of you are lurking, please know I think of you all everyday and pray that you will soon have your heart's desire. I am incredibly thankful and lucky to have such wonderful friends out there in blogland. I may not have met many of you but you are all dear to me regardless.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Have You Ever...

...gotten a haircut that you hated with so much passion that you contemplated getting hammered and burying your head below ground ostrich-style until it grew out?

I never had until tonight.

I should have known better than to request a dramatic cut. But I had quickly grown bored with the straight, plain Jane bob. I wanted something shorter, more sassy. Something easy to maintain, since time is of the essence and I can't afford an hour of styling. Something that wouldn't make me dread shampooing and rinsing for fear of having Gremlins emerge from the hairballs that entangle my fingers.

I should have known by the stylist they elected that I was not getting the cream of the crop. The woman was easily in her fifties, weighed about a douce and a half and reeked of nicotine. Her expression read as though she was frustrated by her lot in life. She was obviously eager for her shift to end. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she just had a bad day. I'm never one to bank on first impressions. Everyone deserves a chance.

I asked for a graduated bob, short in the back but longer in the front. I wanted the longest pieces to be BELOW my chin, which I explained prior to the hair surgery. What I ended up with was a creation a la Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club. Minus the bangs. It is graduated but the front pieces barely meet my chin. Not exactly what I had in mind and not what I expected, given my verbal instruction.

Needless to say, I am not happy. I have actually cried tears over it, thinking of all the holiday photos that will be taken with me bearing this monstrosity. DH thinks I'm overreacting and just too acclimated to the familiar. He insists it looks good. But I think his kindness is spawned from pity. After all, he did offer to drive me to the mall to buy a hat if I was depressed. Hmmm...

Maybe I do just need to get used to it. Maybe I need a day to adapt to the change. I'm hoping it grows on me. Or else DH really will be acting as my chauffeur to Hats in the Belfry.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Absent-Minded Mother

Okay, today I've officially earned the right to wear the dunce cap.

After yet another night of dismal sleep, I found myself pushing the snooze button one too many times. As a result, I was rushing to get out the door and off to work post haste. I ensured I had my purse, coat, mittens - it was a frigid 30 degrees this morning - and even a few bills that needed to be paid and mailed.

I scurried to my frost-covered car and drove off in a mad dash to beat the clock. Traffic was kind and I pulled into my parking spot just as the clock struck 9. It was then I looked to my passenger seat and had an epiphany.

I had forgotten my breastpump.

Luckily, I had just breastfed a half hour previously and was able to put in a couple of hours' work before making the trek back home to retrieve it. It was quite a fun lunch break to spend 50 minutes driving and 10 minutes scarfing down Subway.

I guess I should start using post-it note reminders or checklists now that my preggo brain has resurfaced.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

True Blood

Is anyone else hooked on this show?

Tonight is the season finale and I have no idea how I'm going to spend my Sunday nights until next season. I'm tempted to buy the books just so I can cheat and skip ahead.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sleepyhead

Nate has decided to take advantage of the weekend and sleep in.

Normal routine is asleep by 10pm and up at 7am, with 2-3 awakenings during that time. Last night, he fell asleep an hour early at 8pm and dreamfed 3 times during the night before finally waking up for good at 8am. Not even close to sleeping through the night but I'll gladly take what I can get.

Despite his slumber, he napped all day long like he hadn't slept in years. Hour long nap. Wake long enough to feed, babble a bit and get a diaper change. Repeat. I even questioned if someone had slipped him some tranquilizers while I was in the shower this morning.

He did have moss-colored poo last night but it has since returned to its usual chartreuse shade. So I don't think he's coming down with a cold. Perhaps just a temporary foremilk/hindmilk inbalance.

He's been in pretty good spirits - only getting fussy when he's ready for naptime and I've missed his cues. I have to put him down at the sight of the first yawn or risk the misery of overtiredness. I've learned that lesson the hard way.

I'm thinking the hibernation is just more evidence of a wonder week in full swing.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Spirit

So sorry for the drive-by posting last night. I didn't mean to hit publish and run. But a screaming baby hinders my creativity and willingness to write. Seems we're smack dab in the middle of a wonder week. Yeah, wonder how I don't bludgeon myself to death. There is comfort that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sunny weeks to come, albeit not soon enough.

It could be the snow flurries we had today, the reintroduction of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks or the fact that Thanksgiving is fast approaching, but I'm getting in the holiday spirit. The holidays mean so much more this year with a little one.

In holidays past, I was full of anguish and envy. I'd see parents in line at the mall, waiting with their fresh-faced younglings to see Santa. I'd see babies in strollers, surrounded by gifts. Kids dressed up in their Sunday best for picture-perfect Christmas cards. My heart ached as I watched the life I longed for lived out through others. Every Christmas commercial on TV twisted the knife in deeper. Maybe I had a touch of seasonal affective disorder but it was downright painful to spend one more holiday childless.

Now, I can truly appreciate the holidays again without being blinded by my depression. I can see everything through Nate's new eyes. The wonder and amazement. We can create new traditions. As a family. We'll be the ones standing in the ridiculously long line to see Santa and stocking up on anything branded "Baby's First Christmas ".

I know being his first Christmas, Nate won't really have a clue as to what it's all about or what is going on, for that matter. But I want to make all of his firsts as special as I can. I want to make beautiful memories. Sorta selfish since I'll be the only one remembering the details but he's only this little once so I feel like I need to capture this moment. I want to indulge. So it's hard not to go overboard. I want to give him everything.

Which begs the question: what presents do you get a baby for his first Christmas?

So far on the list are:

Highchair
BPA-free sippy cups
BPA-free bowls and utensils
Wooden and organic teethers
Few 6 month+ toys
9 month & 12 month apparel
Lullaby CD's / DVD's
Books
Winter bunting

I'm sure I'll think of more but I'm trying to keep it within a reasonable budget. Mostly practical gifts but some fun ones thrown in for good measure.

Now that I've shown you mine, you have to show me yours. Wishlist that is. Do you have any special holiday traditions with your little ones that you wouldn't mind me imitating? They say imitation is the best form of flattery, right? Nate's a little too young for cookies and milk and letters to Santa so I'm at a loss. I'm also lacking originality in the worst way.

Perhaps some hot cocoa will inspire me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Postponed

Disgruntled baby on my lap means posting will be delayed until tomorrow.

I'd prefer it was just plain old writer's block.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On Strike

Nate apparently feels as though he is not being adequately compensated for his drudgery and went on bottle strike today. Just in time for MIL to babysit.

After taking a rare 2-hour nap from 9:30am to 11:30am, he woke up famished. His voracious appetite led to extreme intolerance. By intolerance, I mean screaming inconsolably. To the point that our adjacent neighbors probably feared that we were operating a slaughterhouse. MIL tried switching bottles and nipples, varying positions and switching milk - in case one particular vial was contaminated. Still a tomato face. The only thing she could do to get him to eat was to sit him in his Bumbo and feed him breastmilk with one of his soft-tipped spoons.

Oy vey.

After the spoon-feeding distraction, he gained enough composure to concede. And he drank from a bottle with no argument for the rest of the afternoon. Of course, he only drank about 10 oz. in my absence so my boobs have taken a beating tonight.

You'd think after 12 weeks of bottle experience, he would learn that they are not, in fact, demon spawns sent to invade his soul. It's not so much that he's a slow learner. More like a drama king. My temperamental baby certainly knows what he likes. And he's sure to let everyone else know too.

The highlight of the day was that there were no wardrobe mishaps. I arrived home to find him dressed in clothes that actually fit. Also, no assvice was given regarding his gassiness and reflux.

Credit must be given where credit is due. And she paid her dues today.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Disappointment

The great "deal" from yesterday really was too good to be true. I went to check on my account, only to discover that my order was cancelled this evening.

I did receive an email from Guest Services stating that there was an "unexpected error" that lead to several mis-priced items, and they are unable to honor the advertised price. The correct retail price on the Marathon should be $279.99.

Needless to say, I probably won't be getting my beloved cow print seat. I'm extremely disappointed and probably won't be shopping at Target in the near future.

Back to researching alternatives...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Deal - More Like A Steal

If you're anything like me, you can't beat a good deal. Well, mommas, do I have a deal for you. If you're in the market for a convertible carseat.

Target has Britax Marathon carseats on sale for 80% off! Free shipping too! Choose from Granite or Cowmooflage.

I thought for sure it was a mistake so I hurried and snagged one in the bovine print. Total was $63 and some change. It won't arrive for about 6 weeks as they are out of stock but you can't beat a savings of $220.00.

I was researching other brands like Evenflo and First Years because, while my heart's desire was the Britax, I had no idea how we could spare $300 for a carseat. Now we won't have to sacrifice quality or safety for affordability.

ETA: The links are no longer working. Maybe it really was a freak mistake that happened to fall in my favor?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What A Feeling

Would I be a maniac to dress my son in these?

Was that one too many Flashdance references? Alrighty then.

They seem like a good idea. Diaper changes without fumbling with snaps or zippers. Added warmth with the winter season fast approaching. Cute color combinations and textile options. Not to mention we could avoid rug burn when Nate becomes more mobile. They grow with your baby so you can get use out of them for years. They are $12 a pop but then again, I wouldn't have to invest so much into pants that he can only wear for a month or two before he's onto the next size. And lest we forget, there's always Ebay.

DH believes that leg warmers on someone of the male variety would surely influence his sexual orientation in the future. I say no way. Naturally, I'd be avoiding any shades resembling cotton candy or watermelon. So, the jury's still out.

Your thoughts, as always, are warmly accepted.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Down Home Cooking

I've never been what you might call "domestic". My husband cooks dinner every night. And while I take on the majority of cleaning responsibilities, it's not something I enjoy by any stretch of the imagination. I see it more as a necessary evil. I'm far from a 1950's housewife.

So, it comes as a surprise to many - including myself - that I am considering making Nate's baby food. Homemade. This coming from someone who's idea of homemade is Hamburger Helper. (It is made stove top, in my home, right?)

I deliberated long and hard about whether I wanted to commit to such an undertaking. I'm working full time and barely have time to shower and brush my teeth as it is. But I'm really excited about it. I want to make the time to do this. Even though it's a few months down the line, as we don't plan to introduce solids for another 2 months. I like the idea of making a nutritious meal for my son. Knowing exactly what ingredients are going into his tummy. No extra preservatives needed. Only absolute freshness. And maybe new flavor combinations that you wouldn't find in traditional jarred baby food.

Since I'm low on time and inexperienced in the kitchen, I found the most awesome gadget to get the job done. A defroster, steamer and blender all in one. Small. BPA free. Just one piece of equipment to clean. Totally worth the cost, in my opinion. I may just add this appliance to my Christmas list. How Rachael Ray of me.

A few BTDT moms have pointed me to this website, which not only offers recipes but gives great guidelines for which foods to introduce and when and how much. A wealth of information and very easy to navigate. I find myself perusing it regularly for creative inspiration.

Who knows? Baby food may be my foray into cooking but perhaps while I'm at it, I'll discover my inner chef.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

I think Nate is beginning to develop a sense of object permanence - that people and things exist even if they are not present. Unfortunately, this intellectual milestone is disguising itself in the form of separation anxiety.

Over the course of this week, I've noticed several changes to his behavior. I can no longer leave him in his swing or bouncer and walk out of the room without the onset of tears. I can no longer face away from him for more than a minute or two without a distress signal. As a matter of fact, I've had to change the direction of my computer so that he can see my face and not the back of my head from his swing as I work. I need to be in his direct line of sight, if he allows me to put him down at all.

The funny part is that as soon as I walk back in the room or look into his eyes, he calms down immediately. He still implores me to hold him but the hooting and hollering ceases instantly. I try to get to him promptly when he cries but there are some times, I just can't get there straight away. Like when I'm stepping out of the shower, toweling off water droplets. Or when I'm disinfecting the toilet or kitchen and have soot or chemical resin on my hands. I don't want to create an insecure child but I also don't want to create a monster that can't soothe himself.

It may be totally unrelated to the aforementioned anxiety but I've also noticed he is startling more easily. If DH or I sneeze, cough, speak in an excited tone or make sudden movements, he pouts in terror and cries frantically. I can usually distract him during one of these fits but not before feeling overwhelming guilt. I don't want to frighten him but I do want him to be accustomed to noise. No home can avoid clatter entirely. And I really don't want to walk on eggshells everytime he drifts off to dreamland.

He napped a cumulative hour and a half yesterday - when he usually does so easily in one stretch - and the catnaps he had were all on my lap, at the boob. My little piggy has also been eating up my supply. He ate 17 oz. today while I was at work when he normally eats about 12-13 oz. in my 9-hour absence. I can barely pump enough to replenish what he eats while I'm away. No leftovers like we used to have.

Perhaps the escalating panic and separation anxiety are just more remarkable side effects of those "wonder" weeks?

He may have inherited my sweaty feet but I hope and pray he doesn't acquire my panic attacks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Closure




Yes, this would be Nate's newborn and 0-3 month clothes. Now packed away in his closet. BIG step for momma. She needs a hug.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia

You'd think from looking at my bed in the mornings after the alarm goes off that I'd been sharing my pillow with a woolly mammoth.

The hair loss I've inherited postpartum is incredible. My hair falls out in small clumps each time I shower and my hairbrush resembles a tumbleweed. I have to clean it out each week or else I may lose the handle in the debris. Literally everytime I look at Nate, I see a stray hair in his hand (about to enter his mouth, of course) or on his clothes. I've grown tired of the tell-tale tickle of loose hair. Drives me bonkers.

Apparently, this is very common after childbirth due to fluctuating estrogen levels. Higher levels of estrogen slow hair loss during pregnancy. Once estrogen plummets, the thick, lustrous head of hair that accentuates that rosy glow goes by the wayside.

I'm just hoping not to go bald by Christmas. Or else I might be asking Santa for some hair plugs. Or at least a nice wig. Real hair. No horse hair. I may be suffering from alopecia but I still have standards.

Besides, I think I've been quite nice this year.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Important Bits 'O Info

1. DH got a job offer.

2. With my company.

3. He has accepted.

Only slightly more money. No financial freedom by any means. But it will be a change in atmosphere, which is considered imperative at this current point in time. And he will still be allowed one day a week to telecommute.

His boss was not surprised in the least. He patted DH on the back and wished him well. Of course, there were no counteroffers made. No begging or pleading to stay. Just a request to extend his employment beyond the two-week courtesy. Take and take with no give until the bitter end.

DH, however, has insisted his last day will be November 21st. Standing firm. After all, they did cut his paternity leave short. Time with our newborn son that he'll never get back. Enough is enough.

Shall he endure endless ridicule over the fact that his wife found him a job? Have I threatened his masculinity? Pilfered his testosterone? Oh well. Is it wrong I have no sympathy regarding gender bias?

You may be wondering how I feel about sharing my work space with my husband. I've deliberated on the issue. My disposition at work and at home differ slightly. I'm much more Type-A at work. A perfectionist. Organized. Focused. At home, I am relaxed. At ease. A bit disheveled, but without much care. I've never really had to share both sides of myself with him before. Sure, he's seen both escape from my grip from time to time. But he's never been involved with my multiple personalities on a daily basis. Would he change his perception of me? Would I see a side of him I wish he hadn't revealed?

My job was my time. I liked having my separate interests. My independent relationships. A career all to myself. Selfish as that may be. I had to delve into my childhood lessons library to find the will to share.

But I had an epiphany. I am not and I will continue not to be defined by my spouse. I am a unique entity. I have proven my talent, sharpened my skills and laid the foundation of my position. My accomplishments could never be compromised or challenged unless it were my doing.

We work in vastly different fields - he in IT and I in marketing. While we will share space in the infinite land of the cube farm, we will be working far enough apart not to impede one other. His projects will not intercede mine and vice versa. And since I will only be in the office twice a week, we may only cross each other during company meetings or on our ways to the restroom or to the water cooler or coffee maker.

I did spoil the fun by reminding him there will be absolutely no quickies in the supply closet. Not that it was ever a serious consideration, but I'm sure his weiner would have no qualms about it should we obtain unfettered access with no consequence.

All in all, we are very happy and much more secure.

Just ask me if I still feel that way in 3 weeks after I've gotten a healthy dose of reality.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Guest Post Brought To You By The Great Blog Cross-Pollination

First, let me thank the hospitality of my hostess today -- the lovely and kind Kristen...she was one of my very first blogs I ever found -- that welcomed me to this warm place -- and so how appropo that she should be my match:


It's so improbable, the striped shirt, the trousers, the hair up in a scarf. I imagine the moment he stood there taking the photograph - a summer in the early 1940's. I imagine the same sandy Michigan soil, the twining sweet-pea vines, the sprays of daisies. She's twenty, in love with a machinist. She's heartbroken because they've been trying to have a child and if she knows anything its how easy children come because her mother had one after another after another: her sister Claudelle before her, Ralph and Boone after her, Ruby Dolores and Celeste Faye -- spilling out into the drought-hardened yard on the Kentucky farm first, and then after the train North, out of the frame house in the suburbs of Detroit -- her mother would have her last child before she had the first of her own -- a blue eyed boy, a chubby, nearly-naked child clutched in a picture like an unwieldy handbag while her parents wore church-going clothes, her mother cats-eye glasses and a netted black hat, her father a broad-cloth shirt straining over his barrel chest and belly, his hair slicked and graying. It's hard to see in them the schoolteacher she once was, the orphaned daughter who'd inherited her farm from her father, one of the most successful farmers in the county; he a cowboy come up from Texas where he'd been running cattle, cousins somehow. He would show people his roping tricks in the backyard of their Michigan house, how he'd lasso, roll a cigarette with one hand on the pommel. He stands in the photo on the back porch beneath an awning and the lacy shade of a tree, his wife clutching their last born, he's staring straight at the camera without expression. You have to wonder if he had regrets. He'd tried to run north without them, without his wife and the four children they'd had in Kentucky -- gone north and sent no word except that when he had steady work he'd call them up, when he had a better place they'd be there...and the months ticked by and my grandmother's great-uncle put them all on the train and sent them north. My great-grandmother came with the kids and the cast-iron skillet, the family bible, some photographs and her second eldest daughter grew out of her accent, blazed with the kind of mind that's god-given as she cleaned other people's houses and rang up sales at the dimestore and graduated high school, married a handsome hot-rodder with a good job at Gar-Wood and a temper.

I wonder what she's dreaming in this picture. Why children haven't come to her. The kind of mother she might be. She can't imagine that the child she waits so long for once she's come, when she's three the divorce will be final and he'll be taking that pretty hotrod to Florida and the sun and orange groves with a sixteen year old girl. She can't imagine what her unlived life and its toll will have on what she says to her daughter, and what her daughter will say to her own, and what that daughter is dreaming, sitting here. Why children haven't come to me. The kind of mother I might be.

I've realized that I want a life fully lived with as few regrets as one can have. I have slept in the wild. I have held the waist of a motorcyclist I barely knew who I met after my car broke down and we drank beer and watched an impossible starry Idaho sky waiting for a tow truck. He stood at my door with tears in his eyes going back to the woman, the love of his life he'd left in Vermont and I had a love in my own heart that made it impossible to do anything but kiss him once, sitting on a log in the middle of a clearing looking out over the bitterroot valley. Days after he'd gone a package arrived in my mailbox filled with sage he'd cut in the desert because he'd remembered that I loved the smell. He wrote a letter in the small ill-shapen letters of someone unused to writing. Signing it Keep a Good Thought.

G is gone today, off on the rare hunting trip that takes him from me for nearly a week -- rare for us who see one another every day and whose company we prefer above all others. I realize that it is only now all these years after we began dating that I am coming back to myself -- drinking tea out of my pottery cups, pulling out the handmade navajo rug that had been in an unused room downstairs -- unfurling it in the living room, chopping vegetables for my incessant vegetarian soups, listening again to bluegrass, folk music, coming back to my writing. I have to believe that being fully in my own body, in my own mind, in my own dreamed life will bring a fullness of joy to the children in my life -- so they don't stumble in the darkness of their mother's untouched hopes.

Have you solved the mystery of the guest blogger? Don't cheat! Leave a comment with your prediction before you hop on over to see Kristen's post of the day. For more cross-pollination fun and a list of all participants, click here.

Thanks! Your guest blogger ;)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Boy Mommy Tip #1,573

Point it downward.

And be sure to share this suggestion with your significant others.

Daddy took charge of bathtime tonight but failed to follow this sage advice when fastening the diaper. As a result, Mommy got a golden shower during our evening feed.

Ahh, the adventures of raising a little boy...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Teething Bites

As illustrated from the Wordless Wednesday pictorial, Nate's teefers seem to be slowly elevating to his gum line. I can't quite see any buds so I know they aren't close to popping through just yet. But all the signs are there that the toothless grin I love so much may soon accommodate some tenants.

Irritability, sometimes during feeds. Check.

Secreting drool like a Pavlovian dog. Check.

Coughing and gagging on said saliva. Check.

Chin rash and chapped skin around mouth. Check.

Gnawing his hands like a rabid animal. Check.

He starts out modestly, chomping just the digits...


But then the greedy little monkey gobbles his entire fist.


From the looks of his onesie, bibs shall now be a staple in our household.

I've tried chilled teethers, but Nate's not really a fan. I did go to the drugstore and purchase these, which had been recommended to me by BTDT mommies. I'm also considering a baltic amber teething necklace that many women I know have sworn by. I'd prefer to try homeopathic options before resorting to Baby Orajel or other medications. If all else fails, there's always Tylenol.

I had my first "bad mommy moment" last night while sitting in the recliner, browsing the web with Nate on my lap. He was consuming his appendages, as is his M.O. of late. I thought nothing of it until I glanced down and noticed a smear of blood across his left cheek, resembling a smudge of lipstick. Since we haven't - to my knowledge - exposed him to the world of cross-dressing, I reacted the way any other mother would. I shrieked in horror, scrutinizing every body part to see what could possibly be the culprit of the ghastly stain.

Turns out his fingernails, which I had just trimmed three days prior, had nicked the roof of his mouth. Therefore, his excessive hand-to-mouth coordination was to blame. I placed some mittens on him to prevent further damage and hoped it would speed healing of the wound. I was much more distraught than my little man, who was perfectly content as long as his hands weren't amputated.

Needless to say, fingernail trimmings will now occur twice weekly.

If his fingers can withstand the biting, that is.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

That's a Nice Way of Putting It

It appears that medical professionals have now applied an alias to the abyss of clusterf#$% feeding and erratic agitation otherwise known as growth spurts. They are now referred to as wonder weeks.

More like a pseudonym. Take it from me - there is nothing wonderful about a "wonder week". But it's nice to see the glass half full. And reassuring to know there's a legitimate reason behind the torment.

The theory is that there are predictable weeks during the first year of a child's life where they may be more fussy or demanding as they make progress in their cognitive and physical development. They will have seemingly regressed in their behavioral pattern as they attempt to comprehend this next milestone. Once they have completed a phase of growth, they will have what is referred to as "sunny weeks", during which babies exercise their new skills and are less temperamental.

Looking back at their timeline, it does appear to hold water. Remember this post from 12 weeks?

I suppose I should enjoy these so-called sunny weeks because in approximately 2 weeks, we'll be thrust back into pandemonium.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

PSA: Vote!

My patriot wants to encourage you to cast your vote today - if you haven't already - in this historic presidential election. He doesn't care who you vote for, as long as you just DO it! Nike style.



After tonight, we will know - or at least have a pretty good idea - whether we will have an African-American president or a female vice president. I won't elaborate on my personal preferences but I'm proud to be a part of this. I'm honored to be living in the here and now. And I'm pleased to have a say in my future. Our future.

I think this election has evoked more passion and enthusiasm than any other I have known before it. I have read the blogs of fellow voters and how their eyes welled up with tears as they cast their ballot. Or how they wanted a tangible piece of evidence for such a momentous occasion. It speaks volumes about the state of affairs here in the U.S. People are not only ready, but they are eager for change.

Question 2 on the ballot here in Maryland is legalizing gambling. Slots: yay or nay? I am pro-slots personally, as I feel that we could generate revenue to fund our local schools and health systems. But I do agree that our governor needs to be more fiscally responsible and be cautious with our spending rather than relying soley on an influx of cash flow from slots to balance the equation. Our sales tax did increase from 5 to 6% this year so there needs to be some accountability.

Election Day also makes me think about women's suffrage and those who paved the way for me to be welcome at the polls. I appreciate those who risked or gave their lives so that my voice could be heard. And I am thankful to exercise the right for which we've worked so hard.

I'd normally tune into HBO but I'm actually excited to watch the news tonight. That's HUGE. I normally avoid all the pessimism and bias and opt for a sitcom. Not tonight. It's a nailbiter. Like the season finale of American Idol to the umpteenth power. I just need to know which candidate will clinch the title.

Monday, November 3, 2008

To Clip or Not to Clip

The pediatric appointment I had scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled. Apparently, Nate isn't due for another well baby visit until the ripe old age of 4 months. They said I could still come in if I wished but since we'd probably have to pay out of pocket for an unsubstantiated visit, I decided my concerns about reflux and sleep regimens could wait another few weeks.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before but we were told way back at his newborn inauguration, Nate has a frenulum. Basically, my baby is tongue-tied. The pediatrician said it was "significant" and we should consider having it clipped by an oral surgeon, but referred us to a lactation consultant for a second opinion. The L.C. seemed to think it was minor and since it wasn't interfering with his breastfeeding (i.e. no pain with latching, gaining weight properly equalling efficient sucking), she saw no need to clip it. She said that while it does cause them to work a bit harder at the breast, this overcompensation allows many babies to work around the frenulum. Some even break the frenulum naturally as a toddler from taking numerous spills and tumbles. Having already succumbed to circumcision, I couldn't bear to put him through more surgery at just one week old. So, I decided to shun the clippers.

DH, however, is second guessing this decision. He feels we should clip to prevent a possible speech impediment in the future. And that it would be best to do the surgery as soon as we can while he is young, able to heal quickly and easily, and unable to remember any pain associated with the event.

It's quite the quandary. I don't want Nate to suffer with unessential surgery, regardless of how simple the procedure may be, but I also don't want him to suffer in childhood should he endure malicious ridicule for having a slur or lisp. I would hate to feel like I put him in harm's way needlessly but I'd also hate to regret not acting sooner on a potential problem.

Tell me: what would you do? I guess I have a few more weeks to arrive at a conclusion so your input would be valuable.

I also now have a few more weeks to get some reading done and arm myself with knowledge regarding my sleep dilemma. They say knowledge is power. In time, we shall see.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lethargy and a Great Misnomer

Daylight savings time can kiss my arse. It hasn't done a thing but cost me time today.

I put Nate down (and thus myself) an hour later than usual last night with the hope that his sleep and nap pattern would not be greatly affected. We retired to bed at 10:30pm. Nate woke around 1am. Pop out boob. Suckle. Back asleep. Stirring again at 3am. Pop out boob. Suckle. Back asleep. Stirring again at 5am. Pop out boob. Suckle. Back asleep. Stirring again at 7am. Usual wake-up time. Gave up the pipe dream of a decent night's sleep. Changed massive pee diaper. Put baby in swing. Watched him doze off enviously. Made myself a cup 'o joe and hopped online to look for holiday gift ideas.

Due to Nate's reflux, we feed from only one side at a time. This limits the spit-up and projectile vomit episodes. But it does mean he needs to eat more frequently - about every 1.5 hours - as opposed to 3 or 4 hours that most babies can manage. His light snacking is not an issue during the daytime but it poses a problem for sleeping through the night. I guess I'm destined for many a sleepless night until his digestive system matures and he can handle the load from both of my milk trucks.

MIL told DH she thinks I should give up breastfeeding, as it makes Nate too gassy, and opt for formula instead. Don't even get me started on this. Yes, I have an overactive letdown reflex and yes, it can sometimes choke him and cause him to gulp, taking in more air. But I refuse to wean him and give him exclusive formula, which would probably be harder on his sensitive tummy than breastmilk. I'm not opposed to supplementation but I have really been trying with all of my might to reach my goal of 6 months exclusive breastmilk. And I don't plan on straying from this objective unless a medical professional convinces me otherwise. How about supporting the decision I've made in my family's best interest instead of insulting me and basically implying that my son's reflux is my fault? Just because you raised two children does not make you an expert on what works for every child. Case in point: I specifically told her that Nate is now in 3-6 month clothes. I even pointed out which drawer to use in case of an impromptu accident. On the one day we ask her to watch him, she purposefully dressed him in a 0-3 month outfit - contrary to my crystal clear instructions - because it was "cute". Nevermind that it looked like a muscle tee and nearly cut off the circulation in his thighs.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah, reflux...

I've been avoiding meds since Nate has been gaining weight like a champ. I didn't want to administer anything deemed unnecessary. But I'm wondering if I should give them a go and see if we can build up to longer intervals between feeds. Something to discuss with the pediatrician on Tuesday, I suppose.

I'm also conflicted about cosleeping. I do love having him close to me - and simply rolling over to feed is quite convenient and conducive to my laziness - but I don't want to hinder his development or foster dependency on my scent or presence in order to fall asleep in the future. The nurse practitioner at my pediatrician's office practically slapped my wrist at his last visit and told me not to continue with it unless I wanted a three-year old sleeping in bed with us. Then again, I've heard from BTDT moms who said they waited anywhere from 4-8 months to transition to the crib and had very little problem doing so. In fact, they encouraged cosleeping and said that until 4 months old, babies are incapable of soothing themselves to sleep. I'd like to believe I could have the same seamless shift but since things have yet to be "easy" en la casa del Sticky, I need a plan of attack.

We have attempted to cry it out (CIO) a few times to no avail. At bedtime, I would rock him and feed and once he was drowsy, I would lay him down in his crib and quietly leave the room. He would be peaceful for several minutes but eventually whining would ensue. Whining would give way to crying. And the crying would give way to screaming - virtual pleading for me to come back. After 5 minutes, I would go back in to rub his back and soothe him without picking him up, speaking in a soft whisper. I would leave the room again and he would begin crying so dramatically that I feared he would vomit. I reached my limit of 10 minutes before I conceded to his demands and retreived him from his prison crib.

I've tried to use the crib more for naps, reasoning that we could gradually work our way from resting to slumber, but the maximum I can get out of him is 20 minutes. In his swing, I can get at least 45 minutes, if not longer. So, back to old reliable.

I've tried to execute the 3 B's (bath, boob, bed) but when reflux strikes, leaving behind the scent of eau de spoiled milk, or we have a morning blowout from the sheer force of hours of compacted waste, I have to bathe on demand. And since consistency is key to establishing any long-lasting routine, this plan is also unreliable.

I took an outing to the bookstore today and bought several sleep books. I should be able to pull at least one piece of useful advice from these texts. If I can only find the time to read them...

I'm desperate to nail down a routine. I think structure, in whichever form it may exist, is needed to preserve our sanity.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Boo To You

I hope everyone had a spooktacular Halloween!

I haven't dressed up for the holiday in ages. Since high school when my greedy friends and I would test the age limit for the receipt of free candy. But with Nate now in the picture, I had the perfect excuse to tap back into my childish side.

I wavered on the perfect costume choice. Sure, there was the traditional pumpkin. Or the infant favorite, pea in a pod. But I wanted something a bit different. Something that would allow his cuteness to shine through. I finally decided on a tootsie roll but when we hauled ass to the costume store, they were sold out. That's what we get for procrastinating and waiting until the day before Halloween to get our butts in gear.

So, I made a last minute run to Babies R Us and chose something from the tiny clearance rack.

Here's my little love bug:



The hungry caterpillar

All treats, no tricks

DH wanted to stick a pipe in his hand to reinact Alice in Wonderland but I thought it was best not to model our son after a consumer of psychotropic substances.

We didn't go door-to-door but the weather was so nice that we took a short stroll around the park while the daylight lasted. As the sun set, we retired home to watch some classic horror films. I tried my best to distract Nate from the more gruesome scenes, so as not to scar him for life at the tender age of 3 months. I'd say it was a pretty successful day as we were able to do all of the above activities without a single meltdown.

Low-key. Just how we like it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

High Roller

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a milestone.

Nate rolled from tummy to back tonight.

He had only been able to make it about halfway up until this point, landing on his side and becoming too discouraged to manuever further. So, when I laid him on his belly for his nightly tummy time, I wasn't expecting him to twist his torso and push off with his legs like he had been training for this Olympic moment. I barely had enough time to call out to DH to witness the main event.

As he swiftly rolled onto his back and the cheers erupted, the shock set in and Nate's bottom lip puckered out. The inevitable tears followed. But after some comfort in the arms of his Daddy, he smiled proudly. It was as if he knew what feat he had just accomplished.

My baby boy really is growing up right before my eyes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: 3 Month Celebration at Longwood Gardens













Come and Gone

The "newborn phase" is officially over. My baby is 3 months old. I guess the proper classification is now "infant".

*insert pout here*

I opened up his drawer of newborn clothes yesterday with every intention to pack them away and make room for the larger sizes, along with the 0-3 month collection that is now much too snug for comfort. I held up the articles of clothing, reminiscing about a time when my current roly-poly fit into them with room to spare. So tiny. Fragile. Like doll clothes. I fingered the felt adornment on the front of a onesie and brought it to my face, breathing in the intoxicating baby aroma that still lingered. The floodgates opened. I hurried and threw the disheveled onesie back into the drawer as if it were about to infect me with the Black Plague and rapidly shut the drawer. I'm just not ready to close that chapter. Not yet. The drawers are going to have to overflow to the point that my dire need to organize overrides my resistance to change.

With each milestone we reach, I think about how far we've come. I remember the early days when every peep Nate made would send me into a panic. When the mere thought of breastfeeding made me wince. When the moonlight would perpetuate howling from not only werewolves but my colicky boy. Everything was a guessing game. I may still rely on trial and error but I have my bearings. I don't know why it took me 3 months to realize this - perhaps I'm a slow learner in this arena - but the bottom line is babies cry. It's inevitable. It's no reason to feel like a failure. It is Nate's sole method of communication. Even adults - who have mastered the art of language - can't smile 24/7. So, how can I expect that of a baby? All I can do is equip myself with tools for success (a.k.a read and research) and strive for happiness.

I can now identify when he's crying from tiredness ("ooh" or "eww"), overstimulated/overtired ("waah"), hunger ("geh" or "neh") or gas pain ( sudden bursts of "eh", with legs drawing up to chest). Similar to the Dunstan system but not exact. I can recognize his patterns. Now we have the "educated guess"-ing game.

Around 9 weeks, it was as if someone flipped a switch. I think it is finally safe to say that the colic is kaput. Nate is still fussy around dinnertime - forget about a hot meal for the foreseeable future - but it is nowhere close to the nights we endured just over a month ago. Cluster feeding still rules around this time, as he builds up his caloric intake for the night. My arse is still firmly planted in the glider as the sun goes down. But no more incessant wailing. I'm sure our neighbors are just as grateful as we are.

For as difficult as those first few weeks were as we were both schooled in breastfeeding, it is now a completely natural routine. My nipples must have toughened up from their time in the penitentiary because they can even stand up to the rigors of near-constant suckling without slathering on the Lanolin. I am pleased as punch for making it to 3 months of exclusive breastmilk. It hasn't been easy by any stretch of the imagination but when my baby looks up from my breast and flashes a winning smile, that is all the reward I need.

Everyone - and I mean everyone, even strangers at the mall - told us that 3 months was the magic number. Things would get easier. And while it was hard to believe at the time, I can see the fog giving way to brighter days. It may be hard to admit when we're in the middle of an all-nighter - thank you, f*&^ing growth spurts! - but all it takes is one look back to see how good we really have it.

We may have a long way to go but I can't disregard the great progress we've made. And that we continue to make.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Punkin Amidst Pumpkins

I had every intention to post these photos for Wordless Wednesday but with the recent events, I was delayed. I think I owe you all some baby goodness after all of my tenacious ranting.

We took Nate to the Pumpkin Patch last Sunday. It was a blast. There was a chill in the air but he didn't seem to mind. He was so calm and content, observing all the colorful gourds and passers-by.

And, of course, I had to dress him up for the occasion while he is too young to protest. I figure I have a few years in which I can inflict embarrassment before he insists on dressing up as the latest superhero.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Seeing the Light

First of all, a great big virtual bear hug to everyone who left comments and words of encouragement. Life is a series of peaks and valleys and well...Wednesday was a low point emotionally. While it's comforting to know I'm not alone, I'm saddened that others are suffering from similar atrocities.

Luckily, it looks like the rainclouds are retreating.

DH had his fateful meeting with his boss yesterday. While we were were hesitant to set expectations prior to the meeting, the resulting occurrences proved to be fortuitous.

His boss apologized (!) for several of his actions, including reaming DH for sending an inaccurate spreadsheet to a client when he was not even responsible and for questioning DH's skills. After a lengthy discussion, his boss reinstated his Thursday remote day. I don't think I have to express how exonerated we felt upon receiving this news.

So, in short, his job is NOT in immediate danger as we previously suspected. As a matter of fact, his boss deemed it senseless that we interpreted his ill-tempered comments as a imperilment.

Yeah, I guess we did jump the gun when he handed DH his ass on a platter. After hearing that he had lost confidence in his abilities, I guess any other human being would have concluded that their job was infallible. Silly us.

While Dr. Jekyll appears to be substituting at the moment, it is only a matter of time before Mr. Hyde returns to instigate trouble. So, DH's employment search will continue. There just won't be the same sense of urgency that plagued us before. Taking the enormous pressure off may actually help DH to make a lucid, gratifying decision. He can be more selective about which direction he chooses. Relocation may still be a possibility but it can be done on our terms rather than as an act of desperation.

DH's malaise has receded. I am feeling much more whole again. Just in time for the weekend. We're toying with the idea of driving to PA to see the fall foliage. But even if we chicken out at the last minute and stay homebodies, it will be a retreat from this dreadful week.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

State of Uncertainty

I wasn't planning on moving so suddenly but it seems I've been thrust into another state. An anxiety-ridden state of doubt and worry.

Things are not going so swell at DH's job. I've had an inkling for over a month that things were going downhill. But you know how it is. You ignore it. Or you push it to the back of your mind. You're too frightened of the possibility that the breadwinning career is now in jeopardy. You hope for the best and try to be optimistic. You convince yourself things will get better. So you wait until reality smacks you in the forehead and you are forced to take action.

That time is upon us.

I'd say it all started around the time Nate was born, coincidentally. Before our little man arrived, DH was easily working 60 hours a week. He would work his daily weekday shift but also here and there on weeknights and weekends. He's a software engineer by trade so naturally, I've gotten used to sharing my husband with another woman named Toshiba. I've known about the affair for years and have come to accept that it will never change. And surprisingly, I'm okay with the menage a trois.

In the latter days of my pregnancy, DH had asked for 2 weeks vacation upon Nate's birth, which was approved by his boss. He also negotiated telecommuniting 1 day a week. This was to be our insurance policy to supplement my WAH schedule. Together with my mother, we could alternate childcare responsibilities, thus avoiding daycare. He had no need to cash in on this day until Nate was born so we decided he would only start taking this day when my maternity leave ended and it was absolutely necessary.

We had it all planned out.

However, after less than 1 week into his paternity leave, his boss asked demanded him to come back. DH reluctantly agreed. I was not pleased, as I had counted on this parenthood thing to be a collaborative effort for those couple of weeks while I recovered physically. But in the interest of avoiding confrontation, I became a pacifist. Que sera sera.

As the end of my maternity leave drew closer, DH went to his boss to cash in on his telecommuting day. To his shock, his boss said they had implemented a new policy that did not encourage working from home. How convenient. His boss told him that he wasn't going to pay him to do "daddy day care". After DH politely reminded him that it was negotiated prior to this new, unwritten policy - and also duly noted that other employees worked remotely with no hassle - he agreed to honor their agreement.

My antenna went up but I didn't want to worry myself needlessly. Not to be cliche, but men aren't typically as sympathetic to childcare arrangements so I figured DH would just need to prove him it could work. I reasoned that even if DH lost a few hours of productivity on his day at home, he worked plenty of hours otherwise so it wouldn't be too detrimental.

When Nate was about 5 or 6 weeks old, the company underwent some changes to their processes and as a result, DH's title changed from Senior Software Engineer to Technical Manager. This was a fancy way of saying that instead of devoting himself solely to programming, which is his forte, he would have the bonus role of project manager. Two jobs in one with no pay increase. Yipee. Also, he would still have to complete his programming tasks in the same time frame as before, despite the added responsibilities.

Needless to say, DH started to slip. He had a mountain of work to do and he was already working as much as he could without going certifiably insane. He started missing deadlines and became short with co-workers who demanded even more of his precious time. Clients were adding more and more requirements to their list of needs and were getting angry when their projects were not as far along as they should have been. DH kept striding forward - always the "yes" man. He kept assuring everyone he could catch up, not realizing that he was in over his head. He's human after all and has his limits. But his masculinity perceived this limitation as weakness.

On Thursdays, DH's lone telecommuting day, he found it hard to balance fatherhood and his insurmountable workload. Nate would fuss as babies do and DH would take time to soothe him, only to come back to a shitstorm from his boss about how they tried to reach him via IM for an hour (you couldn't pick up the phone?) and if he is continually unavailable, this day would be torn away from him.

DH tried to finally speak up to his boss and let him know how burnt out he was, pleading with him to develop a solution. But his boss was basically too busy to deal with it and dismissed him with little more than "work it out".

When DH came back to work Monday after his trip to Atlanta, his boss told him that calling out on Friday was unprofessional. Shame we didn't get his aunt to call a few weeks ago to give them advanced notice of her death.

All of these little things have snowballed into a huge point of contention. DH's boss took away his projects and put him on menial tasks, telling him that he is no longer confident in his abilities. He also told DH he can no longer work remotely on Thursdays - as if that is the reason behind DH's lackluster performance - and demanded a meeting with him to discuss his future with the company. His boss made it a point to say that there will be no bargaining and "it will not turn into an argument like you like to do." Granted, DH can be a little stubborn and defensive. He's an introvert and has to work with a variety of personalities. He blows up sometimes, despite his best efforts to keep his attitude in check. But who hasn't?

It just seems like they have unreal expectations of him and want to make his life unbearable so he will quit. After all, they're the kind of cheap bastards that would not fire someone just so they didn't have to pay unemployment.

DH is depressed and humiliated. He feels as if everyone there is pitying him. Secretly knowing he's about to get canned.

He's taken the initiative and sent out 12 resumes, a few of which called him back within 24 hours. I guess the M.S. from John's Hopkins really helps. So all hope is not lost. But our future is unclear. What if he does get let go? We only have enough of a safety net to make it 2 months, maybe 3, without his income. And that is supposed to be our savings for downpayment on a house. What if he gets a job offer in another state? What if we have to relocate? What will come of the career I've worked so hard to attain? What in the hell are we going to do on Thursdays now? Who will watch Nate? I can't ask my boss for one more day when I'm already at home more than I'm in the office.

I feel things spinning out of control. I see my DH hanging by a thread and I'm trying to hold him up while fulfilling my own job responsibilities and maintaining my own emotions. Not to mention trying to keep my son happy, which takes up the majority of my days as it is. I was spreading myself thin as it was with my time and attention and now I simply feel inadequate.

I know I have to be the strong one right now but it is so hard. I may look like a stone casing on the outside and that I have it all together. But I feel like a glass vase with a hairline crack - the slightest mishandling could break me.