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.

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¹Offer valid November 13, 2008 through November 16, 2008 at Gap, Gap Outlet, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory Store and Old Navy. NOT VALID ONLINE. 30% discount cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts. Discount applies only to Eligible Purchases which are merchandise only, not gift cards, merchandise purchased with a gift card, packaging, applicable taxes, shipping & handling charges or telephone orders placed to stores or customer service 1-800/888 numbers. Not valid on Gap (Product) RED™, Junk Food™, babyGap Home, Converse®, and Robeez®. Not valid for cash or cash equivalent. Gap Inc. will donate an amount equal to 5% of Eligible Purchases to the designated nonprofit partner or, if no nonprofit partner has been designated, such donation will be divided among Gap Inc. approved nonprofit partners in Gap Inc.'s sole discretion. Gap Inc.'s total donations to all nonprofit partners shall not exceed $3 million. Such donation does not entitle any offer recipient to claim a charitable contribution deduction. Gap Inc. employees may not use their gift match benefit with this offer. Merchandise cannot be put on hold at any time during offer period. Return of discounted merchandise will be for the price actually paid. Exchanges for different sizes are permitted; however, the discount will not be applied to exchanges for different merchandise. Reproductions or photocopies of offer card will not be accepted. Not responsible for lost or stolen offer cards. Offer is not transferable or valid for resale. No price adjustments are allowed on previous purchases or on purchases made with this discount.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

To answer Jen's question, Buddy and Harry get along pretty well. Buddy is convinced that Harry does not smell nearly enough like a dog, so he spends much of his time trying to locate some exposed skin to lick. So Harry gets kissed on the face, the hands, and the feet a ton. Harry, for his part, vacillates between being thoroughly amused -- smiling away -- and pursing his lips and furrowing his brow, showing what I can only guess is his "enough already!" face.

There are a ton of baby toys on the floor, but Buddy leaves them alone. Over the course of his six years, Buddy somehow learned the command "not for dogs," so when a new toy enters the house for Harry that Buddy thinks might be for him, we let Buddy sniff it first while telling him that it isn't for him, and he tends to keep away. Thus far, there's only been one toy that he has really wanted (this one, which Harry doesn't have any interest in yet anyway), so we keep it off the floor. (When our friend's two year old came over after Harry's baptism, she didn't understand the notion of toys that weren't for dogs, so she saw Buddy begging for it and picked it up and held it out to him saying "here, doggie." It was hysterical.)

I wish I could manage to capture a decent photo of the two of them, but someone is always moving :) Aside from the Halloween one, this is about the best I've got:

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Friday was my grandmother's 90th birthday (this was the third year in a row that P and I celebrated a grandparent's 90th birthday). We went down to her place (45 minutes away) yesterday for a surprise party to celebrate. We thought it was going to be the three of us, my brother and SIL, my mom and stepmom, and my stepmom's dad. We were thrilled to arrive and see that my uncle had flown his entire family up from South Carolina to celebrate -- him, my aunt, their two sons (my cousins), my cousins' wives, and their five boys, ranging from ten months to ten years in age. We never get to see them. So instead of having seven people from four generations, we had the same four generations but eighteen people -- all of my grandmother's descendants. It was awesome. My grandma cried.

Of course, because it's my family and nothing ever goes as it should, my grandma barely got to see my cousins and their families. My mom and stepmom had planned the party, and they planned it expecting only seven people. When my uncle called on Thursday to say that he was flying the family up, they claimed it was too late, that they didn't have sufficient notice to change the number of people on the reservation with the dining hall at my grandma's old folks home, so they would have to wait around and see her later in the day, after the party which was to be at lunch.

Seriously? They flew here from SC. I get that there are issues (many, many issues). I get that the dining hall may have said they couldn't make it work. But there had to have been a better option than proceeding with only half the family. If it hadn't been sprung on P, my brother, my SIL, and I by my mother at the last minute (i.e. when we arrived), we could have come up with a better plan, even if it meant doing takeout Chinese or sandwiches from the grocery store in my grandmother's apartment (my grandma won't leave the home anymore). I'm sure having us all together would have meant much more to my grandmother than getting to eat a hamburger and pick at a piece of cake at the dining hall ever could.

By the time we were back from lunch, the ten month old needed a nap, as did my grandma (Harry, on the other hand, slept the whole way there, in heavy traffic, and slept through much of lunch). They kept the baby up as long as they could, but eventually had to bring him back to the hotel -- 45 minutes away -- for his nap. And so my cousins and their families barely saw my grandmother. Ugh. Thankfully, we (me, P, my brother, and my SIL) got to hang out with all of them while my grandmother napped (my mom and stepmom left right after lunch). And my aunt and uncle got to have dinner with my grandma.

The situation makes me incredibly sad. I hope my uncle knows that it had nothing to do with my generation, that we felt truly terrible about it all. I didn't want to say anything in front of my grandmother but will probably give him a call this week to let him know how good it was to see him and how bad we felt about the whole thing. Why does there always have to be drama?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lest He Think We Forgot Him

He's still the best dog ever.

And that toy (he knows it as "red toy") is still gross.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Summing Up What's Key

My ten year college reunion is coming up next year. For a few months now, I have been receiving increasingly-urgent reminders to submit my entry for the class reports, updating my classmates on the goings-on in my life since our last reunion. I found that I had very little to say. My first pass read: "Since our last reunion, I bought a house, finished law school, got married, and started [my current job]. Most importantly, [P] and I welcomed the birth of our son, [Harry], on September 13, 2008." Finally, in an effort to ensure that my narrative was longer than my address, I added a few additional factoids, but the essence remains the same.

How would you sum up your past five years to a mixture of friends, acquaintances, and strangers?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lessons Learned Today

A few things I learned today:
  1. Apparently, I cannot look at or talk to Harry while he's nursing, as doing either one causes him to get a big grin on his face that doesn't go away until I stop looking/talking, and this causes milk to dribble everywhere and keeps him from eating.
  2. I cannot unhook my nursing bra and remove the nursing pads before having the pump set up and ready to go, as apparently the unhooking alone triggers my letdown, resulting in a big, wet mess. I hate wasting milk.
  3. Maybe having a cold really does affect infant weight gain. He had a cold for about ten days, starting around the 16th and ending around when I got the 9 lb 3 oz weight. I weighed him again Monday using the aforementioned method, and he weighed 10 lbs 3 oz. I did so again today -- 10 lbs 6 oz. That is 25 ounces in 28 days, which is perfectly acceptable. If I find somewhere that has an infant scale I can use, I'll probably do as Nicky suggested, though (thanks Nicky!), as I remain curious as to how much he takes in at each feeding.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's in a Name

Harrison was my great-grandmother's maiden name. Though I haven't focused as much on it in the past year as I did previously, I am a fairly avid genealogist. My Harrison line was one of the first that got me hooked. At the time of the Civil War, my Harrison family lived in West Virginia (Virginia initially -- my great-great-great-grandfather was a delegate to the Wheeling Convention, which ultimately resulted in the formation of West Virginia); their friends and neighbors were divided, some fighting for each side.

My great-great-grandfather was too young to enlist, so he worked as a civilian clerk under his older brother, who was a Union captain. In an act of retribution for the capture of the (soldier) brother of a confederate officer, confederate soldiers captured my great-great-grandfather and imprisoned him at Andersonville under atrocious conditions. His pension file is quite interesting, in part because he was repeatedly denied a pension since he wasn't an enlisted soldier and repeatedly had to appeal through his state representatives to receive one, as they would pass a private bill granting him a pension under the then-current pension act, which would become void when a new pension act was passed. (Sadly, this process continued even after his death as my great-great-grandmother tried to collect her widow's benefits.) He eventually became a lawyer, serving as his area's justice of the peace for many years. The house he built in the late 19th century for his family is still standing and remained in the family for 75 years. I visited it last year.

Harry is not just the most common nickname for Harrison; it was also my great-grandfather's first name (in a different branch of my family). This great-grandfather was the one my grandmother says I take after. His story is also interesting, but I'll save it for another day.

Finally, John was my father-in-law's first name.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Settling into Fall

When I went into the hospital to have Harry, it still felt like summer. Even though only a few days had passed, it felt a lot more like fall when we left. I hated that there were leaves on the ground already even though it was only mid-September. Then a month passed with us living moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day, and I certainly didn't notice the weather or the air or the season. And then it was mid-October. And it was still fall, but even more so.

Now it's November, and fall has settled into its fall-ish groove. The leaves have all changed color, and with each passing week fewer and fewer remain on the trees they began the week tethered to tenuously.

Last Monday:


And as fall passes on its way, winter works its way in. And when winter ends, I have to go back to work. I've never been more committed to living in the moment than I am right now.

**(Of course, today was a beautiful day. And I spent very little of it outside. I hate that it gets dark so early.)