Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Everybody Else Is Doing It

Everyone else is doing it, so I thought I'd join in. Doing this made me realize how incredibly uninteresting this blog has been on a pretty regular basis. Ugh. Sorry. I also have some thoughts on 2008 as it wraps up but they will have to wait as I am currently pumping.

January: Like many people out there, I harbor some decidedly negative feelings toward 2007.

February: This is the post where it becomes obvious that I am a bit hormonal (and a serious bitch when it comes to nit-picky points of grammar, some of which may be more matters of preference than rule anyway).

March: So our internet connection is finally up and stable again (plus, Com*cast put in a new cable modem and phone line today), so there may be another flurry of posts from me.

April: Some new Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds film was filming across the street from my office late last week and yesterday.

May: But tired and disappointed.

June: The doctor sent me an email today regarding the bloodwork results, saying that while my numbers were low, they were not very low, especially for a pregnant woman.

July: Stuff to Say did this one already.

August: I feel like I have a lot to say, but I don't have a ton of time to say much of anything right now.

September: I'm still here, and it's looking less and less like Lou will be making an early appearance.

October: Because I continue to struggle to find a way to post (Harry has reflux, so he spends quite a lot of time being held, as he spits up almost instantly when laid down flat -- and often does so when held as well), rather than post nothing, I'm going to be okay with short posts.

November: Well, I may end up doing a lot of photo posts, but I'm going to attempt to do Nablopomo again this year, mainly to force myself to post more often.

December: Late last week, P opened the back door to let Buddy out without checking to be sure there were no other dogs out there.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Merry

Merry Christmas, everyone! What follows is a not-so-brief recounting of our Christmas so far, parts 1 through 3 (of 5) of Harry's first Christmas.

This year, we decided not to do the whole eight-houses-in-four-days thing. It seemed a bit much to ask of an infant. Sadly, though, my grandfather is too old/frail to travel, so we weren't able to eliminate much driving but were able to spread it out a bit more. So we will do five houses in seven days (four down), which seemed a slight bit more reasonable in the planning, though weather resulted in very poor driving conditions thus far, turning what should have been 8-8.5 hours of driving into 14 hours or pure suckage.

Saturday, we headed to my grandfather's house for Christmas part 1. What is normally a two hour and forty-five minute trip took four hours because of the snow. Harry miraculously slept the whole drive. We cursed the situation anyway, and then felt like we should have been thankful as it took us six hours to get home on Sunday. Seriously, snow? I hate you. We debated stopping forty-five miles from home and getting a hotel room, as it was starting to get ridiculous on the roads. Instead, we stopped when we were 15 miles from home, as the baby was awake and we both had to use the bathroom. I changed and fed Harry at the rest stop and then somehow the roads had cleared up enough that we got home in 25 minutes. It was our Christmas miracle.

It was pretty awesome to see my grandfather with Harry. Papa was often a pretty awesome grandfather -- he read us stories from books and made others up for us, elaborate tales of a mouse called Squeaky. He was an expert hand-washer -- so good that we looked forward to getting scrubbed up by him before meals. And his love for my grandmother, who died twenty-six years ago, has always stood as a example to me of how amazing and powerful love can be. That said, he was also, on occasion, a bit of a bully. Sadly, as the years have gone on, he has become increasingly unwell health-wise, though he has stayed fairly coherent -- no small feat at 92. And with those years has come a tendency to say exactly what he thinks at any given moment, often very loudly due to his increasing deafness, with little regard to the feelings of others, really exacerbating his bullying tendencies. So I wasn't really sure what to expect from him. It turns out, I needn't have been concerned. He was so excited to get to spend time with his great-grandson. He really doted on him, calling him the little prince and kissing his hands over and over. Whenever Harry was out of sight, my grandfather immedietely asked "Where's the baby now?" And Harry seemed as excited as his Big Papa was, all smiles for him. Christmas number one was exhausting, but I am so glad we made the trip.

Christmas part 2 was our annual "family Christmas", which has expanded over the years to include P, my brother's wife, and my dad's wife. (We hit traffic for this one too, though it was just traffic and not weather.) It was pretty low key. And that was fine with me. But we hit enough traffic on the way home that we only had time to run into the house, change Harry's diaper, change our own clothes, and run back out the door for what seemed like the longest Christmas service ever at church. P went (reluctantly) because I asked him too, and I'm now afraid that he'll never come again, which sucks since Christmas is such a nice service even if you don't think of it as anything more than the celebration of the birth of some baby two millenia ago. I love the music and the candles and the quiet beauty of it. Without it, Christmas feels so rushed and so commercial and so hollow. After Harry went to bed, we had dinner, then put together his main present from us, a jumperoo.

This morning, otherwise known as Christmas part 3, I put out the new stockings I got for us with our names embroidered on them, including one for Buddy (there's actually a great story about Buddy's stocking that I'll save for another day). We opened presents (almost all of which were for Harry -- mostly clothes, some books, and some small toys, much coming from the BabyCenter store clearance sale). Harry most enjoyed the gift bag that I had put a tie for P into. He loved to hold onto the handle and shake it. Ah, the simple things.

As you can see, though, he also loved the jumperoo. He's still a bit small for it -- we put the biggest phone book we have beneath it for him to jump on. But he doesn't know the difference.

So, it's time to make the sweet potato casserole and green beans for Christmas part 4 at Ps mom's house this evening, then home to sleep and get ready for Christmas part 5. My mom is coming here, which means more work but less driving and something that more resembles a routine for Harry.

I hope you and yours have had a good one.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Seventeen years ago today, my mom left. She sat us down in the dining room and told us that when we returned from celebrating Christmas with our grandparents, she would be gone and wouldn't be coming back. She meant in the living-in-the-same-house sense, and in that sense she was wrong -- she did come back for a few weeks in the spring, making a half-hearted attempt to work things out.

But in the more meaningful sense she was right. She never really did come back. Without my father, brother and me to keep her in check, she descended deeper into an alcoholic haze, one she seems to be in even when sober now. And there's been a distance in her eyes ever since then. Or maybe it was there before and I just didn't notice it. But I definitely experienced that moment as a turning point, for me for sure, even if not really for her.

And, sadly, this continues to be what I think of when Christmas Eve rolls around. Merry frickin' Christmas, mom.

On a more positive note, tomorrow I will wake up in my own house on Christmas morning for the first time in twenty years. Hooray!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

BabyCenter Store

In case anyone doesn't know, the BabyCenter Store is closing shop in January. Most/all of their inventory is seriously marked down. And free shipping if you spend $49 using the code FREESHIP49. I went on a bit of a spree. If you need something for yourself or for a friend, you might want to check it out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

An Exciting Evening of Tummy Time

In addition to holding his head up for over a minute, taking in his surroundings, Harry rolled from his front to his back tonight! (He then tried to do it again but no luck.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Three Months

Dear Harry,

Happy three monthiversary! To celebrate the quarter-year anniversary of your birth, your dad and I are going out without you for the first time -- a truly momentous occasion. Don't worry, Grandma is coming over to take care of you -- we aren't ready to give Buddy that much responsibility. She came over for a dry run a few days ago and did a fine job. And we'll only be gone for four hours; what's the worst that can happen? You're still awake when we get home? I suspect we have many years of permissive grandma nights ahead of us, so we might as well start practicing now.

At the beginning of this month, you had your two month appointment with Dr. E. While you were naked after being weighed, she had you do some tummy time, and we saw that you were a much bigger fan of tummy time when naked than when clothed. So all month, you've been doing naked tummy time every night before your bath. It's still not your favorite thing, but you will usually go for 10-15 minutes at a time instead of 5-6. And last night you figured out that tummy time could even be fun -- you looked up and saw your duck and hippo bath toys in front of you and smiled!

For your dad and I, one of the best things that happened this month was that you decided that the bouncy seat, rather than being the root of all evil, might in fact be fun. What made this so awesome? The fact that it has allowed your dad and I to eat dinner together again. And for that we are very thankful.

Another thing we are thankful for: sleeping through the night, which you have been doing since shortly before Thanksgiving. Yippee! I love getting a full night's sleep. You seem to as well.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, you celebrated your first one this month! Apparently crying the minute we sat down to dinner and not letting up until I gave up and took you upstairs to nurse you is your idea of a celebration. Don't worry, I promise I'll always love you, even if I have to miss a thousand Thansgiving dinners. On this trip, we were reminded that your sunny disposition is somewhat dependent on getting one or two good naps in each day. We own the DVD of The Happiest Baby On The Block but never got around to watching it since you already ARE the happiest guy around, but a napless you made us wish we'd brought it along, though I'm not sure what it would have told us other than GET THIS KID TO NAP!

Thanksgiving was also your first trip out of state, involving a three-hour car ride to your great-aunt's vacation house, and your first two nights spent away from home. I hope you took it all in this time, because we don't get invited to her place very often. You also met some new relatives, including one of your great-grandpas, and spent time with some old ones, like your cousin C.

Speaking of cousin C, know now that your dad and I will not be allowing you to eat ice cream for breakfast. Or straight from the carton. And we definitely won't let you do that, then have eighteen cookies for lunch, then five bowls of popcorn before dinner, even if we are on vacation. Cousin C learned what happens when you do that, and no one likes to throw up at dinner.

An exciting thing happened this month -- you made your first real choice (I don't think choose which toy to bat counts, since I think most of the time your choice was more accident than design). Apparently, given a choice between a wood rattle, a stuffed ladybug, and a bunch of links that are meant to attach your toys to your carseat, you'll choose the links (you're totally going to be that kid who prefers the packaging to the toy inside). They fit nicely in your hand, have a bunch of colors, make a cool sound when you shake them, and taste just yummy. Just know that you have a lifetime of choices in front of you. And most of the time, the options will not be all good ones that I have preselected for you.

I hope you always make great choices, and that any less than great ones you make have non-horrendous consequences and that you learn what you should from them. You learned from that first choice that you can always choose again. And sometimes you can choose two things at once. Like a bunch of links AND a ladybug.

We're really looking forward to celebrating your first Christmas and New Year's Eve with you this month! You don't know it yet, but you're getting a Rainforest Jumperoo for Christmas from your dad and I. You tried one out at your friend Js house the other day and had an awesome time, even if you couldn't quite reach the ground or figure out how to manipulate the toys -- having a cool view was enough. And hooray for that.

These past three months have been amazing, watching you learn and grow. I love you sooo much and am so excited to see what the future brings.



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dog Bites Dog

Late last week, P opened the back door to let Buddy out without checking to be sure there were no other dogs out there. There were two (much bigger) dogs on leash in front of the house, and Buddy left the yard to bark in their faces. P heard the barking and called for Buddy. He came running right away. P went to apologize to the woman walking the dogs and make sure she was okay. She said she was and walked away. She failed to mention that her dogs had bit Buddy several times.

Clearly this was our fault, since even aggressive dogs have to go for walks and our dog should either have been on a leash or should have stayed in our yard (which he usually does when we tell him to, but we don't generally tell him to unless we see an unfamiliar dog coming, which P didn't as he didn't check). But the owner could have said something. As it was, the wounds didn't bleed right away, and he didn't stiffen up for a few hours, so it was a while before we knew something was wrong.

When I took Buddy to the vet, the vet shaved Buddy's shoulder and found what he described as a severe dog bite, along with several superficial ones. The big one was down to the muscle and required three staples to close (and will require general anesthesia and stitches if the staples don't work but we all wanted to avoid the risks of putting him under). He can't run or go for real walks or play until the staples come out next week. And he's on antibiotics and pain killers. Finally, because we don't have the other dogs' rabies vaccination numbers (which we would have gotten had the owner mentioned that they BIT OUR DOG), the vet has to assume the dog was rabid, so Buddy had to get another rabies shot even though he wasn't due for one for two years. He also can't be off-leash or interact with another dog for 45 days.

Our poor boy. He looks so sad. And we can't exactly explain why he can't do stuff. Looks like we're going to have to find the money to fence the yard, since keeping our very active dog on-leash isn't really a sustainable option long-term.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Latest Developments

In addition to meeting another great-grandparent and celebrating his first Thanksgiving, in the past week Harry has:
  • Slept through the night most if not all nights -- 8:30/9 until 6:30/7
  • Laughed for the first time (and the second, third, and fourth) -- all but once while getting ready for a bath, and all but once sounding a bit like a donkey (a very cute and wonderful donkey)
  • Begun talking up a storm -- he is quite the chatterbox, full of fascinating things to share and discuss
  • Reached for, grasped, and shaken a rattle
  • Starting wearing some of his 3-6 month clothing, as he is too long for some of his 0-3 stuff, though we could still fit two of him into some of the 0-3 things at the waist
My little boy is growing up so fast. I am already feeling a bit nostalgic for the days when he was just a teeny tiny guy.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We took him to an unfamiliar place and completely disrupted his bedtime routine but he still went down easily and slept ten hours straight -- BOTH NIGHTS! (We can overlook the refusal to nap and resulting crankiness.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cloth Diapering

So, I promised a cloth diaper post.

We committed to cloth diapering Harry before he was born for a number of reasons -- environmental costs and financial costs being two of them. That said, when we first brought him home, we had him in disposables - we had him circumcised and had to apply ointment to the circumcision site until it was healed and didn't want to damage the cloth diapers with it. We kept him in them for a bit because he developed diaper rash and we needed to put Butt Paste on, which is also not cloth diaper-friendly. Finally, we had him in them overnight for a while when we were worried that our heavy wetter would wet right through cloth. We no longer use disposables. We have fewer blowouts with cloth. And our boy seems much happier in them.

Right now, his primary daytime diaper is a Kissaluvs size 0 fitted diaper with a Thirsties size xs cover. We have 11 of the diapers and four covers, though we started with only two covers. These covers are great. They have a double gusset at the leg, which keeps messes contained inside. I know some people hate velcro, and maybe it will be a problem when he can undo it easily himself, but I find it far easier to adjust to the right size. Our guy has skinny little legs, and the velcro lets us get the legs nice and tight. The only leaks we have are when he gets so wet that the fabric at the top of the diaper (above the PUL) gets wet and the moisture seeps through.

We also really like the Kissaluvs. They fit him well, have a snapdown for the early days for the umbilical cord, and have a good number of snaps to use to adjust the size. Since it's like wrapping him in a little blanket, the wet goes straight through, so you need a waterproof cover, and the (breastmilk) poop can go through too if there's enough of it, but nothing ever goes over the top or out the legs, which is great. But we won't use fitted diapers forever. When he pees, they get really wet, and the wet stays against his skin. I'm not a big fan of that. Plus, we would have to keep buying them in different sizes to keep up with his growth, which can be expensive.

Overnight, we have him in BumGenius 3.0 -- and this is what we'll use when he outgrows the fitted diapers. We love them. They keep him fully contained overnight (and when he wears them during the day). Right now, though, they are bulky between the legs. His legs ends up very far apart, and it makes me worry about his ability to move his legs as he learns and develops. So we are waiting to use them full-time until he gets too big for his newborn diapers. I think there are probably different ways to use the inserts so as to keep the legs from being so far apart (like the twist fold you can do with prefolds), but we're lazy right now.

The other diapers and covers we have include infant prefolds, an Imse Vimse organic cotton cover, Bummi's Super Whisper Wrap covers, a Happy Heinys sized pocket diaper, a Happy Heinys one-size-fits-all pocket, and a few FuzziBunz pocket diapers (size small).

The prefolds are fine and are what we used when we ran out of Kissaluvs. Neither of us is super confident with getting them folded and on Harry. With practice, I think we'd do fine with these. We probably would have liked them more had we bought newborn size -- with infant, we have to fold them down to get the fit right, which makes getting them on more difficult. As he grows and we don't need to do this anymore, we'll probably use these more as an extra set of diapers (and we do have some bigger covers to use with them).

The Imse Vimse cover is also really cute, but also didn't fit as well. Even though it is supposed to have fit him since birth, we can't get it tight enough, even when the velcro is pulled all the way across. So he doesn't use this one unless we have no other clean covers.

The Bummi's covers were cute, but doesn't have the double gusset at the leg like the Thirsties, so I was always worried about leaks. And he grew out of them much sooner, as we discovered at his baptism when he was drenched partway through.

I really liked the Happy Heiny's sized pocket (in photo), but P never felt confident with it. And it's now too small. The one-size pocket seems too loose at the legs, so we only use it during the day when poop is less of a concern (the pee is usually contained in the insert). It's less bulky than the BumGenius, but doesn't fit as tightly.

Finally, the FuzziBunz. As I mentioned, our nastiest blowout was with a FuzziBunz. And P doesn't like them at all. It's tough to get the right size adjustment with the snaps. Plus, they're sized, so you need a full stash in every size if it's the only diaper you use. I suspect a baby with chubbier legs would do really well with these, but Harry isn't that baby.

For wipes, we use terry wipes. We make our own solution in a pump pot -- warm water plus baby shampoo and baby oil. He stays clean and non-rashy. We do use disposable wipes when we travel, but will eventually remember to buy a squirt bottle to use on the road and start carrying cloth wipes too. I love the cloth wipes. Even if you aren't ready to do cloth diapers, I highly recommend the cloth wipes, since the disposable ones are sooo expensive.

As for diaper care, we do a wash every two days or so, using Purex detergent. We do a cold prewash and a hot wash with a second rinse. We dry most everything on Medium/High, though we hang dry the covers (we don't wash these after every use -- we wipe them down with the clean part of a wipe and wash when they start to carry an odor).

We also hang dry our wet bag and the bag we use as an alternative to a pail. His room is small, so we use a bag instead of a pail (plus, it's easy to bring downstairs so we don't have to bring him to his room for his daytime changes). It keeps the stink in and stays dry on the outside. It has a hang tab, so we can hang it on the back of the door when it isn't so full. We have two, so we have one to use when the other is in the wash. We ordered them both from Happy Tushies.

We also have two wetbags to use for diapers on the go. One is a Wahmies, the other is a Happy Tushies. We like them both. They are pretty much the same, though the design for the Happy Tushies is cuter.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Well, we are heading off for Thanksgiving. For the past 8 years, P and I have celebrated Thanksgiving locally, going either to his aunt's or to his mom's, both of whom live 10-15 minutes from us. Because my own family is so small (or at least the immediate part of it), they were always invited too, so my dad and brother, and later my sister in law, joined us up here. Over the years, the exact composition of the group has changed, but it's always been Ps immediate family and mine.

As I mentioned before, Ps grandmother passed away a few weeks ago. Her wish was to be cremated and have her ashes scattered in two places that were significant in her life -- the family cottage in Canada, and Ps aunt's camp in Maine. Because her birthday would have been this weekend, we are going to be heading up to the camp for Thanksgiving. (It's not entirely clear what will be happening with the ashes. Irony of ironies, Ps aunt feels it would be disrespectful to scatter her mother's ashes where the family dogs are buried, so she wants to bury them in a local cemetery, whereas the rest of us think it is more disrespecful not to honor her wishes. We'll see what happens. Since it's not my family, I'm doing what I can to stay out of it.)

I'm the first to admit that I don't deal well with change. I'm not looking forward to having Thanksgiving be yet another holiday with a ton of time spent in the car. I'm not looking forward to having to take Harry out of his routine right when he's starting to fall into one, especially now that he has slept largely through the night for three nights in a row. And I'm especially not looking forward to not seeing my own family for the holiday.

I'm pretty sure that this is the first year in my life that I have not spent Thanksgiving with my dad and my brother, which feels really weird. As I mentioned in connection with my dad's remarriage this summer, the three of us really clung to one another in the months and years following my parents' divorce. And I feel like 2008 has been the year in which we've been pulled apart. I suppose it had to happen eventually, but it doesn't mean I have to like it, right?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What We Bring To The Table

I have mentioned my lack of baking skill before. Due to a few missteps (the final one being an inadvertent use of twice the amount of butter called for in a cookie recipe), I had come to believe that it was something I would never be any good at.

Over the past year or so, though, I've been trying to improve in that area -- with some success. I'm not sure if it's just because I'm home now and feeling like I should be doing something productive with my days or what, but I've been baking a lot (and eating a lot of what I bake, which is another post entirely). Recently, I baked four pumpkin loaves. (Two were excellent, but something went wrong with the other two -- they failed to bake all the way through. I initially blamed the oven, but I'm wondering if the recipe I worked from had the wrong bake temp -- I may have instinctively set it to 350 when I baked them, which would have been the logical temp, whereas I told P to bake the other two at 300, which was what the recipe called for, even though it seemed too low to both of us.)

This week I baked the cookies pictured above. P wanted plain toffee cookies, which sounded really boring to me. And I had trouble finding a recipe for plain toffee -- they all had oatmeal or nuts or chocolate. I finally found one and baked them. But they seemed boring. So I made one sheet of plain toffee, but then added chocolate chips to the remaining dough. I then made a sheet of those. I still had enough dough left for a dozen more cookies, so I added chopped walnuts. Needless-to-say, P preferred the ones with the nuts and the chocolate chips.

My MIL and her husband, as well as Ps grandfather, enjoyed all three kinds when they came that night to see Harry. After previously being told that we didn't need to bring anything to Thanksgiving, my MIL called after trying the cookies to ask if we could make the sweet potato casserole. And some cookies. Did I just need to prove myself?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

That Whole Work Thing

As I've mentioned before, I have always defined myself by my job/work/school. I have always worked hard and strongly valued such hard work. I often thought that were I to win the lottery I would like to continue working, in part because of the satisfaction I get from my work and in part because the joy of hard work is a value I want to pass on to Harry and any other children I may be fortunate enough to have.

That was then.

I am now just over one third of the way through my maternity leave (I am very fortunate to get six months off -- I am scheduled to go back in March) and the thought of ever having to return to work horrifies me. It's not really the work thing. Or even the trusting someone else to take care of Harry thing. Instead, it's the amount of time I'll get to spend with Harry.

I always planned to go back part-time. For my job, part-time was going to be 9-5, 4 days a week, which is a 70% schedule. For 70% time, you get 70% pay. I looked at my bank statement from the past month and realized that we'll be cutting it really close if I only get 70% of my salary (plus have to pay for day care, which isn't a huge percentage of my salary, but it's enough to make a dent). (And we don't spend a lot on discretionary stuff -- it's the mortgage, the car payments, car insurance, life insurance, supplemental disability insurance, student loan payments, utilities.) P only earns 25% of our household income, and he pays something like 10% of our bills. (I have yet to figure out where the rest of the money goes -- when I first graduated college, I earned less than he does now but managed to pay for a lot more. And yes, we've been together for nine years, living together for seven, and married for three, but have yet to merge our finances.) And he desperately wants a new job, but a new job is likely to entail a pay cut since it's going to be a career change as well as a job change. The job/career change may not happen right away given the state of the economy, but we need to plan for it.

If I have to go back full-time in order to be able to save money for college for Harry and pay our bills, then I could end up seeing Harry only when he gets up in the morning -- nursing him and getting him ready and dropping him at daycare, then only seeing him on the weekend, and even that wouldn't be guaranteed. Even going part-time will mean doing that, plus picking him up at 5:30, hanging out with him for a couple of hours, and putting him to bed, plus a fairly guaranteed three days a week with him.

I don't want to miss seeing my son grow up. I don't want to risk missing his first words, his first steps. The thought of it makes my heart break. I never thought I'd have any interest in staying home, no matter the circumstances. But all of a sudden, as the reality of having to return to work come March becomes apparent, I find myself staring far more longingly at my lottery season ticket, hoping that this week my number will be up. No win last night. Maybe Friday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cloth Diaper Giveaway

Ultimate Fluff Friday

A great giveaway -- go enter now.

Reminds me that I meant to post about our experiences thus far with cloth.

Slow Day

Two things:
  1. It does appear to be the farts/poops that result in Harry's need for a middle of the night change/feeding. Coincidentally enough after last night's post, Harry hasn't pooped since yesterday's explosion AND he slept until 6:30 this morning. Whoo-hoo! (Though I fear it's going to be very messy the next time he goes.)
  2. Also, Harry really likes his playmat:

(Evidently, on day 24 of Nablopomo I run out of things to talk about.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The One About Poop (I warned you)

For a couple of weeks now, Harry has been going to bed at 9 and getting up some time between 3:30 and 5, getting changed and nursing, then going back to sleep until some time between 6 and 8. (No, his one night of the ten hour sleep didn't repeat itself.) To me, this is a perfectly acceptable schedule. Yeah, I'd love it if he decided to always sleep until 7 or later without waking in the night, but I can definitely work with this. I always assumed he woke up because he was hungry.

So, last night, we heard farts at 12:45, which was sadly only 45 minutes after we went to bed (yes, we're stupid) and only minutes after I fell asleep. Harry also heard himself fart and woke up. P decided that they weren't just farts, so he got up to change him. (He was right.) And being very awake post-change, Harry decided he was hungry. So I was up until 1:30. He then slept until 6:30 and was ready to start his day.

I then thought back. Pretty much every night, his waking is immediately preceded by an audible fart, the kind that wakes us all up (and is almost always accompanied by poop). Maybe if he didn't always fart himself awake (or decided to poop during the day instead of always in the middle of the night), we could all be getting a bit more sleep around here. Sigh.

While I'm already talking about poop, Harry erupted during coffee hour after church this morning. When I picked him up to determine whether he was the source of the smell, poop dripped down his leg, into his sock, onto his carseat, and onto his hat sitting in his carseat. It seemed to be everywhere but on me (hooray for small miracles). It took me 15 minutes to clean him up, get him into a new diaper, and into a new outfit. When I got home, we had to figure out how to take the cover off the carseat and into the wash. It was truly nasty. I never feel confident with him in a FuzziBunz (it never seems tight enough around the leg), and apparently it was with good reason.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Basement Projects

We have a finished room in our basement that we've never put to a ton of use. It's actually a fairly nice space, with knotty pine walls, tile floor, a full-sized (i.e. not basement-style crank-out) window, and a fireplace. On the less-nice side, one wall is covered in mirrors, the heat doesn't work (though we have a space heater), there aren't a ton of power outlets, and there's currently no ceiling, as P rewired the phone and some electric and replaced the crummy old recessed lights with new ones and can't put the ceiling back up until he gets the work permitted and approved by the inspector of wires.

Part of the reason we haven't done much is a lack of a good sense of what to do with it and how to lay it out. Here are the basics: The room is approximately 12 feet by 20 feet. It looks kinda like this:
(Sorry the image sucks). Across from the window is the wall of mirrors. Until this week, we had two arm chairs in front of the fireplace with a little table between them. The exercise bike (unused for many months, since it became uncomfortable partway through pregnancy) sits in the lower left corner, with the exercise step (also unused for many months) leaning against it. The lower right corner houses an old extra TV with a VCR and our old Replay box (a first generation DVR we've had since before they became widely available). We used to have chairs in front of the TV, but moved them upstairs at some point for company. The bike also used to be there at one point. This week, I set up a play area for Harry and any little friends he has over in the space in front of the TV (just because it's open space, not because there's a TV) -- there are blankets on the floor, with the bouncy seat and a playmat down there. Half of his toys are also down there, sitting on the floor. I like the idea of this being an easy play space.

So, what I'm thinking is to get a cheap used sectional to put in the lower left corner with a good spot by the fireplace, then rotate the play space to be more in the center of the room (and partly in front of the sectional), then put the two chairs currently in front of the fireplace in front of the TV so they can be used to watch kids on the play space or to watch TV. Then I'll see where the bike will fit and move it there -- probably the upper right corner. And then I'll try to put the rest of our exercise equipment with/near it. I'm excited to make this space more functional and get more use of out it.

First task: take measurements and look for a cheap sectional. Or, first task: get P to get the permitting and inspection done and put the ceiling back up, then get a sectional.

Once this takes shape, I'll post pictures. Maybe I'll even post some pictures of it as it is now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Calming A Fussy Baby

During our "Taking Care of Your Newborn Class," the instructor had all attendees go around the room and state something we would do to calm our baby when they fussed. There were eleven couples, so twenty-two attendees, and twenty-two suggestions, 15-17 of which were variations on hold-them-against-my-chest/shoulder-and-pat/rub-their-back. My suggestion was singing to him (not surprisingly), which continues to be one of the first things I turn to when I want to turn this:
into this:
When Harry fusses, as he does sometimes, here are some of the things he likes the most (in addition to meeting his basic needs -- fed, clean diaper, neither too warm nor cold, being burped, being held):
  • Being sung to -- his current favorite is Amazing Grace
  • The swing, especially the side-to-side motion
  • Swaying while being patted on the bottom -- even better if you can find a way to hold the pacifier in while you do it
  • Going outside -- he loves the fresh air; a car ride or a stroll are added bonuses
  • Stroking his duck blanket (one of the blankets with an animal head -- soft on one side, silky on the other)
  • A change of scenery -- especially a trip to the living room. Sometimes that's enough; other times, we need to keep moving
  • A change of position, especially to an outward-facing position
What other suggestions do people have, both for me and for anyone else reading here?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

All Through the Night

Harry was asleep last night at 8:45. He got up at 6:45 this morning. I'm not holding my breath while I wait for it to happen again or anything, but it was nice to get a full night's sleep for the first time in a long while.

F0r anyone who is nursing and whose children do this regularly, do you get up in the night to pump? or do you just deal with feeling like you're going to explode come morning?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

(My dad with his dad)

I have always loved singing, despite my not-so-great voice. As a kid, I sang in the church youth choir and also in the school chorus. In middle school, my friends and I started an a capella group that had actual gigs, and I sang lead on a few songs. In college and for a few years after, I sang in a gospel choir. So now that I have a captive audience -- and because I hope to foster in him the same love of music, even if he too lacks any real talent -- I have been singing quite a bit. The sad part, though, is that I only really know single lines and verses, little snippets, a bit of the melody of many of the children's songs I know. And, even though Harry doesn't know any better, I find that embarrassing.

(my dad with me)

(My dad with Harry)

So, a few weeks ago, I went online and googled children's music lyrics and came upon this site. As I scrolled through the lyrics available, I quickly realized that for many of the songs there, I heard them in my head. And the voice I heard singing was my dad's. Traditional children's songs like Pop Goes The Weasel, Row Row Row Your Boat, Teddy Bear's Picnic. Patriotic songs like Caissons Go Rolling Along, The Marine Hymn, Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonger -- random for a man who never served in the military due to severe allergies. My mom was the one who read me stories at night, but my dad marched me to bed each night, carrying me over his shoulder, singing as we went. He isn't a great singer -- much of his singing is more like a whisper over the hint of a tune -- but, like me, he sang anyway. And for that I say thanks dad! And happy 67th birthday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Odd Man Out

Mel posted last week about the unexpected and upsetting end of a friendship, an end that came out of nowhere and for which no explanation was given. Her post resonated with me, bringing me back to a much earlier time in my own life, to an age at which friendships often exist in a state of flux and end abruptly. I was a sensitive kid, though, and the experience still sticks with me, twenty-five or so years later.

In the first grade, I had a few best friends, one of whom was a girl named Sarah. One afternoon in the summer between first and second grade, I was at her house, me and another girl, D. The three of us decided to play baseball in the yard, and we needed bases. We agreed each to contribute our left shoe to the cause. But there were only three, and we needed a home plate. Sarah looked at me and informed me that my other shoe would be home plate. In that moment, there was no request and no doubt, and Sarah was the alpha girl in our little group. So I took off my shoe. And when I got home I cried, recognizing the moment of that demand, or perhaps the moment of my acquiescence, as the end of my friendship with Sarah. And it was. She stopped returning my phone calls, started turning down my requests to play, and no longer spoke to me at school.

Twenty-five years later, it still hurts. I still wonder what happened -- was I too weak? too aloof? just not cool enough? I google her every now and again -- she went to Dartmouth and is married with a child. We have three Facebook friends in common, and I wonder who, since I moved away after the fifth grade and only have one Facebook friend dating back to that period (oddly, D -- we have remained in touch for the past twenty years, albeit somewhat superficially). I have resisted the urge to message her, or friend request her. I can't imagine that she has any recollection of that day, or even her friendship with me. Which is sad, since that one moment is one I've replayed over and over and over again, wondering whether there was something I could or should have done differently, never questioning whether I would even have wanted to.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Connecting, or Living in Parallel

Last Friday night, P and I went to a friend's house for dinner. After a couple of hours, I had to take Harry home to get him ready for and into bed. In the time I was there, I'm not sure I spoke a single sentence that wasn't about Harry, and, being with people without kids (including half of a couple in the midst of IVF round 2, embarking on a FET after the wife developed OHSS before transfer on round 1), I didn't want to blabber on about him, so I didn't say much at all. I found myself feeling incredibly self-conscious, hyper-aware of the fact that I seemed to have become a bit of a shell of a person.

To be honest, I don't think I've ever been a great conversationalist -- I've always been a bit awkward when it comes to smalltalk, taking after my dad in that regard. I've gone through many such self-conscious moments in my life and have spent a lot of time feeling very alone, fearing that my inability to carry on a conversation has left me with more acquaintances than friends, struggling to connect with anyone on a substantial and substantive level. I think it's a bit of why I have always dived full-on into things, whether it be genealogy, sports, work, school, parenting -- having a hobby gives me something to talk about and a community of people with whom to connect.

But I never really feel connected. It's as though the world is full of people passing by, living their lives in parallel with mine but rarely being close enough to touch. And when I do reach out, or when they do, we make contact for a while, until we just don't anymore. And then we just drift back into our own parallel lives. As a result, I have few close friends from childhood or even college, and those I do have, I have largely because they put forth the effort.

When a relationship I was in many years ago ended, my ex got really angry and said quite a few hurtful things. Among them was that I was shallow, that my friendships were shallow, that my love of photography was the ultimate testimonial to that fact -- I chose to memorialize my life and the people in it rather than living it and interacting with them. At the time, I was really pissed. But there are days, weeks, months when I fear that I was so angry because he was the first person to ever really point out a serious truth about me. What if I do lack some essential ability to connect with people?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wishing It Was Summer

Not that I want time to move at all faster (please don't misunderstand me), but, now that the leaves are off the trees, I am missing summer.

(I am also wondering why, when blogger compresses my photos, it seems to suck the vibrancy out of them.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Aerodynamic?

We discovered at the pediatrician yesterday (I want to call her "the vet" every time -- what is wrong with me?) that Harry prefers to do tummy time naked. He actually enjoys it rather than merely tolerating it for a few minutes then exploding in cries of frustration. So tonight, we laid out a towel on the bathmat and had him do tummy time before his bath. Not only did he keep going until he got tired from all the activity and decided to just lie there, sucking his thumb, but he was actually mobile -- he managed to get his knees up under his stomach and chest and slowly move himself forward several inches. And he almost pitched himself over completely two or three times -- he kicked his lower half up, but his arm and shoulder kept him from rolling any further.

As much as it is exciting that he seems to be developing properly, it makes me very sad that he may not be our little baby for as long as I would have hoped. I know a woman whose son was cruising before he hit six months (and crawling long before that), and it turned him into a very independent little boy who only needs to be held when something goes awry. She found it sad not to be needed, and I don't blame her. There's something to be said for being so essential in such a natural and healthy way in someone else's life.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Harry had his two month appointment with the pediatrician today. (Speaking of whom, I really like her. She's great. I'm glad we did interviews as her practice wasn't one that anyone we knew used so we probably wouldn't have chosen her if we hadn't been committed to speaking to someone at each practice in our town.)

On the positive side, she seemed impressed with his meeting of developmental milestones, specifically how verbal (and smiley!) he is and how well he did at tummy time (he was trying to roll over by pushing off on one leg). And, as usual, she commented on how wide-eyed and alert he is.

On the negative side, he had to have three shots and the oral rotavirus vaccine. It was terrible to watch. He cried and cried from the shots (he liked the oral vaccine -- yum). He stopped right away when I picked him up, which was reassuring. But it was terrible to see him in pain. And he's been doing a lot more crying than usual today, including while nursing, which is difficult for me emotionally. That said, he is sleeping like a log right now.

His stats:

23.5 inches long -- 75th percentile
10 lbs 6 oz -- 25th percentile
15.75 inch head circumference -- 5oth percentile

So, he has held steady percentile-wise, which is what they want to see. For now, he remains long and lean. (Though I think his weight was at its low point since he had just spat up most of his breakfast and had just peed when they weighed him. If we weighed him several times during the day, he'd probably average to closer to 10-9, I'd guess.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two Months

My sweet pea,

Your second month has been so exciting, filled with so many changes, so much growth and development. Your dad and I are better able to appreciate these changes (not that we didn't before!) now that we are getting a little more sleep, a little more consistently. You have also started sleeping longer, going from three hour stretches to now a seven hour one to start the night. It's amazing to think that a month ago three hours seemed like an accomplishment. Also, this month, you started to nap. Well, you always napped, but last month it was mainly you falling asleep after (or while) eating and sleeping on me. Now you nap in the swing, which lets you sleep a lot longer, since the swing doesn't have to get up to pee. Thanks to naps, you have far fewer crying jags in the evening, which your dad really appreciates now that he is back to work and mostly sees you in the evening. Plus, you are so incredibly cute when you sleep.

Month two has also brought to you an interest in and appreciation of the world outside yourself. You may even know that your dad and I exist! You smile and coo so much more, and you and daddy have lengthy conversations -- he is trying to teach you to imitate vowel sounds, which you do sometimes, though I don't think you really get what you're doing. You also discovered your toys this month. You have a strange love of your toy pig, which you love to stroke, and of a rather unattractive toy called the Whoo.zit -- I think it looks like Sweetums. You also like to rub a blankie on your face. And you'll put pretty much anything in your mouth, though your fist and thumb are the most frequent entrants.

Probably because of the number of things going in your mouth and being sucked on, you drool a lot. I hate the thought of covering up your cute outfits, but I think we may need to start putting a bib on you.

The month has also been full of firsts. It was your first Halloween. We aren't quite sure what your costume was (a dragon? a lizard? a dinosaur? a monster?) but it looked very cute on you. All the neighborhood children said so when they came seeking candy.

You also met Santa for the first time and had your first photos taken with him. It amuses me a bit that we did this during your second month, when Christmas isn't until your fourth month, but we wanted to avoid crowds and lines, which we succeeded in doing. One day you'll look back on that day with great amazement -- you met the real Santa for the first time! (like the first time your uncle T met the real Donald Duck), and later with a more calloused, jaded view, but for now you don't get it at all. But we did it anyway.

You also met one of your great-grandparents for the first time this month, and two of your step-great-grandparents as well. To be honest, your great-grandma would have preferred that you have been a girl, as all her great-grandchildren are boys and I'm her only granddaughter, but she loves you very much and especially loves that your name -- Harry -- was her dad's name. We celebrated her 90th birthday with her, and she said how happy it would have made her dad to know you were named in part for him. Sadly, you also attended your first memorial service, for one of your other great-grandparents. With three great-grandparents in their nineties and a step-great-grandparent in the hospital, it's unlikely to be your last. But it's a part of life.

You were baptized this month by the bishop, joining many generations of my family -- your family -- to be baptized into the Episcopal Church. I am so happy for you, as is everyone else at church. All your grandparents were there, as were your godparents, though your uncle and aunts missed it -- they were so sad they couldn't be there, but, as you'll come to know, your uncle isn't good with remembering dates and what skill he has there has to be saved for use in his business. Even though you usually sleep straight through church, you cried straight through your baptism. It turned out you had peed everywhere, including straight through your funny little outfit. This was how we discovered you had grown out of your newborn size Super.Whisper.Wrap diaper covers. Sorry we didn't realize it sooner!

Finally, though it isn't about you directly, this month saw the election of a new president and with it the birth of a new hope for many people in this country, which we hope will have a profound effect on you and your life. You came with your dad and I to vote, and I spent the whole walk home explaining voting to you, discussing its importance as well as the votes your dad and I cast for each office and each ballot measure and why we cast them and how we feel that those votes reflect our values and the values we hope to impart to you as you grow up. I hope you come to share those values, including the value we place on respecting the differing opinions of others, including those who share our values but ultimately come out differently with respect to the issues and/or politicians, people who have a different vision for the implementation of those values.

With much love,


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Last night, we eventually decided just to bring him upstairs to initiate his bedtime routine a little earlier than usual (in the past, he has refused to go to sleep any earlier than 9:40 -- he'll do his whole bedtime routine and be nice and calm, then we'll put him down and he'll start crying again right away and won't stop until we come get him and rock him until he's actually ready for bed). At the end of his routine, he went right to sleep (albeit in the swing -- we had been working on getting him to sleep in his crib, but he kept waking up coughing and/or screaming. He finally decided on Monday that he just wouldn't sleep there at all, so we'll wait another week or so and try again. Tonight he's back in the carseat, which seems less problematic than the swing and is where he had been sleeping for a while now). He then slept for seven hours, which is about the most he ever sleeps in a stretch (and he'd only done it twice before). We'll see how he does tonight after another day without enough naps (one 2 hour nap in the afternoon plus two short -- 30 minutes or less -- ones in the morning, which for him isn't a lot since he doesn't sleep a ton at night, usually only giving us 2 or so hours more after a 5-7 hour stretch).

Okay, that's enough parentheses for one post.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Harry has been completely inconsolable for hours. I think he's just really tired but he won't go to sleep. He's nursed multiple times; he's had his diaper changed; we've changed his clothes. The swing doesn't help. The glider doesn't either. He doesn't like swaddling. It's so incredibly difficult to listen to him cry and cry and cry and feel like there's nothing I can do to make it better.

Gap Friends and Family

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