Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
A quick note from the office to point out this - Laura from Runway had a boy, named Finn (a name which was on my boy name list, in fact, but never broke the top 3.)
I must say that I disliked Laura a great deal on Project Runway - it's easy to dislike Laura, with her patronizing attitude and her perfect ponytail and her spine-crushing, bone-chilling 'good taste'. (I prefered Kayne, and his ridiculously generous, lavish 'bad taste'.)
That is, I disliked her UNTIL she said an outrageous and flippant, even rude thing to her own mother. Completely counter-intuitive, I know.
Laura's mother was on the show, expressing shock and disapproval that Laura, at 43, had gone and gotten herself pregnant with her 6th child. You could see how a Manhatten loft full (and I do mean full) of screaming rug rats might not fit her class-concious dream for her very sophisticated architect daughter's life. Like, there might be a few too many already -and now this!
Really, she was just mortified. And on national TV. (I mean, it's only Bravo, but still. A few people do watch.)
And Laura sighed and rolled her eyesand said something to the effect of "Oh, Mother, it'll be fine. I'll just throw another one on the pile."
And suddenly I loved her.
Go, Laura! God bless the pile.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
(so you could all make fun of me. Like Elesa made fun of Dianne.)
This was going to be the last post before my month-long blog vacation, so that I can concentrate all my (non-kid, non-husband, non-liturgical) energy on a completely ridiculous project.
We had the concept: the Dude would be a cuddley little bunny; his daddy would put on his magician rig, complete with top hat, and carry him around looking super-cute.
We had the costume, too - a wonderful soft fuzzy bunny outfit, with adorable little rabbit feet. (OF COURSE I had planned to design and sew some fabulous mammal myself. We ended up at Party City, which was fine with me - a relief, in fact.)
There was just one thing we hadn't counted on. The young man himself.
WHY did I think that this kid, who won't wear a hat for more than 5 seconds or a sock for a minute, would allow us to snap a hood with ears onto him? Why would I imagine he'd put up with that? Plus, the ears would flop over onto his face.
This was actually kind of convenient, as the did soak up the tears.
So I did get a few pictures - some outside the house, and some in the foyer at a friends' house. In them, Eric tries to smile, but Ian gazes at the camera with enormous serious eyes. Eyes that plead "I dare not speak up. Please contact Amnesty International. I'm begging you."
So those pictures aren't exactly like Dianne's.
See you in December.
Monday, September 25, 2006
The cornbread I made came out absolutely terrible - strong baking powder taste, gritty texture, salty - but Baby and I had a grand time making it. I gave him some flour and cornmeal so he could experience what I was doing.
He's still a bit of a crab, but this kept him happy for a long long time.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
So he's 9 month old, as of Friday. And he really is more charming, more engaging, funnier and sweeter pretty much by the day. Yes, I said funnier. I don't know if this is developmentally possible, but I swear he has a real sense of humor.
That toothless smile that people used to rave about is gone - he's got 6 teeth, and is working at least one more. He cruises like a madman, and will carefully let go and take a step or two before pitching over. He got over his ear infection very fast (thank God) and is back to sleeping through the night and then some. His hair's getting thicker and blonder, and in the right light, you can even see his eyebrows! His eyes have moved from kinda hazel to medium brown (like his dad's) with a navy blue ring around the outside.
When I look at new babies, I can imagine he was ever that small, or that inactive. (For the record, try to look like you're interested, he's over 20 lbs and over 27 inches tall.) I know this sounds ridiculous, but he's so grown up!
Adorable, funny, grown up - and really well-developed lungs, have I mentioned that? Wow, can this kid yell. Lots of yelling this weekend. Lots and lots. I attribute this to the fact that he had a couple of vaccinations on Friday, which in the past have tended to make him crabby and out-of-sorts, I think because his legs get sore at the injection site. So it was a weekend of crying, screaming, of begging to be picked up and then wrestling out of our arms. Sigh.
It's all you can do, I guess - sigh, and give him as many cuddles as he'll sit still for.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
as you can see.
Turns out that the young man had a bit of fluid in his left ear - our babysitter pegged it completely - and, after just a couple days of meds, is much better, and much more pleasant to be around.
We are very relieved - huband and I occasionally have this experience (we had it a couple times when I was pregnant) in which we feel enormous intense relief about something that we hadn't realized we were worried about. And I would say that we weren't feeling worried about Baby's sleeplessness and crankiness - much more annoyed than worried - but now cannot believe how happy we are that he's on his way back to normal.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
1. Watching a documentary about heavy metal culture on VH1. (Remind me sometime to tell you some tales of my years as the fiance of a metal guitarist.)
2. Sniffling over this post. Tears welled up and spilled over at the first newborn photo and have barely stopped. I was going to say "You don't have to be a mother to be touched by this piece of writing," but I could totally be talking out my butt on that. Would I have cried reading this last September?
Okay, probably, but would I have cried about it 2 years ago?
What do you think? (I know many - most? All? of you are parents...)
Thursday, September 07, 2006
This is a picture of two people after one long night. It's several weeks old, but I post it because we've been having some long, long nights lately.
The Dude has decided that sleeping at night is for chumps.
If it was, say, April or May, and we were USED to being up all night, this would not even merit a flinch. But he's been sleeping for 9-hour stretches all summer, and we have lost our edge. We've become soft.
I'm not REALLY going to drive myself into a bridge abuttment. I mean, in all likelihood.
He had a little fever this afternoon. If that comes back, or if he has another crap night, we're heading to the dr in the morning. (Again, like with the sleep, this would not even garner a shrug from most parents, but he's been in such perfect health for...his whole life! that I'm pretty freaked out about a (tiny, marginal) fever.
If, however, he has a good night (one waking or, dare I imagine, LESS) he's going to spend some time at a friend's, and I'm spending the day napping and reading the new Vogue.
So please - think good thoughts. Sleepy, fluffy cool thoughts
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I have a friend who used to say that when I talked about parenthood it sounded as if I were trying to convince myself that everything was okay. And for a long time it was exactly that — this new way of life was hard to navigate, impossible at times. I used to hang up the pone after talking to her, crawl into my closet and cry because I thought I was so bad at this. I said a few months ago that things were better, and they were, but I had no idea that you would continue to become more charming, more adorable, more full of surprises. At this age you are like Christmas every morning, always saying something wildly outrageous, often breaking into song in the oddest places, and now my friend tells me that when I talk about parenthood it sounds like an instrument I’ve been playing all my life. I like to think that I feel better about this because I am better at this, but I know it’s mostly because you are the most amazing person I have ever known. Whenever I talk about you to other people, whenever they ask me how I’m doing with this, I’m not sure I can adequately communicate just how lucky I am to know you.
from dooce, in her monthly open letter to her daughter Leta (who's now 31 months.)
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
He has 4 teeth.
He smiles and laughs all the time.
He stands up in his crib in the morning and grins crazily when he catches sight of us.
He slept through the night all last week. This is a HUGE improvement over the very dependable 4am wakeup that has marked the previous 3 months.
He says (and occasionally yells) DA DA DA DA DA whenever the mood strikes him.
He loves a bath (finally)
He waved at someone for the first time last night. We think. He's nearly ready to 'slap someone five' (much cooler than 'high fives'.)
He has learned, within the last few days, to make a perfectly terrible squealing cry, which he uses in the evening when he's getting hungry. This, I think as he yells, is NOT attachment-promoting behavior.
I still look at him and think "Where did you come from? How did I get here?"
Monday, August 14, 2006
In the interest of controlling my anxiety (I know myself) I read very little about pregnancy on the internet, confining my research mostly to the comforting, slightly outdated worn hardback books from the public library.
So Sarah, the very excellent creator of Going Jesus and now the pregnancy blog Going Parental, has many of the best ideas on the web.
and here's another.
But it was this one that really grabbed me. PLEASE click.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The culture has told her she's not a real mother unless she's the one getting up in the middle of the night with the baby. So her identity is inextricably linked to her actions, to doing the endless chores of parenting. Men can take it or leave it
When Moms Are Gatekeepers:
Women want their husbands to do more of the childraising — but some are having trouble letting go.
via Blogging Baby
~EDIT~ Okay, apparently I can't. Go without making a comment, that is.
The Blogging Baby folks ask: "What do you think? Are women the better nurturers? Or is it just a matter of wanting to be in control?"
Neither. For me, I really think it's internalized sexism.
I've really struggled with this. It seems that, despite my/our beliefs:
about equality, feminism/egalitaranism, how important we think it is to raise our son to be a man who loves home and family and treats people as individuals, how important we think it is to model flexible roles not limited by gender..
..the truth is when the going gets tough, I have felt like the kid is my job.
Reflecting on this, I found that I had strong default programming telling me that, no matter what else has been going on - who's been working all day, who's exhausted, who's feeling fresh - tending to the baby was my responsibility. And when World's Best Husband did some tending - got up with him while I slept, for example, which he has been happy to do - I felt like it was a really significant personal favor to me. Not like I was receiving grace, but more like I was borrowing time. Like he was covering for me.
Well, this is just stupid. Not only does this not line up with
logic or common sense
but I hasten to point out that I grew up with a STAY AT HOME DAD! My father cooked, cleaned, and did most of the caring for us, as well as working as general manager of the newspaper. (My mother was the proprieter and editor in chief.)
(This was a very unusual arrangement in the early 1960s in rural Cowpatch, PA. Believe me. None of the other Brownies had dads baking for the bake sale.)
Hmmm. It occurs to me - just this second - that my slightly unusual upbringing may be part of this programming. It may have something to do with the way I always felt closer to my dad than to my mom, always identified with him. I don't know. It also seems to be tangled up with feelings of superiority, perhaps a little mild martyr action.
Anyway, I've gotten a little better about this. You would not believe me if I told you how hard it was, how much discipline it has taken (don't be hatin') for me to leave SuperBaby with SuperDad and have a regular night off. I generally leave after my dinner but before baby's, and go hide out in the bookstore with coffee and magazines until they close.
And I come home, and everyone's intact. Of course. Nothing has burned down and no one has gone to the emergency room or the locked ward. Of course. I am a self-important ass, but a slightly-better-rested ass, and over time, perhaps a little less self-important.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
as she is a light sleeper, and sometimes at night while she is asleep in her room at the back of the house I can wake her up from fifty feet away by imagining the sound an eyelash would make if it drifted to the ground.
That Heather certainly has a way with words.
And speaking of the great blogs of many people I have never met:
My husband walked into the kitchen to hear me heave a heavy sigh.
"Aw, honey, what's wrong?"
"Oh, some woman I've never met broke up with her boyfriend."
And my husband backed silently, slowly out of the room.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Nonetheless, there it sits, with a sleeping baby inside.
From my vantage point, this is the largest crib in history, at least the size of out California-king sized bed. It soundly dwarfs every bookcase, dresser and hamper in the place. World's Cutest takes up about one-ninth of it. In every other context - in my arms, the carrier, even the stroller - he seems freakishly large. Here in the crib, he's so tiny that you might overlook him, forget you put him in there. "Hey, honey, where'd you put the - oh, wait, I see him now. Never mind. He was there all along."
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Here is the plan:
Point 1) Don't go to sleep tonight.
Point 2) Don't go to sleep tomorrow night.
Points 3 though 60,000) Don't go to sleep the night after that.
Naturally, I suggested revisions. He would have none of it.
First, I tried to explain the elegant, almost poetic simplicity of just sticking with Point One; that would cover it. He patiently explained to me that history had never been made with a measley One-Point Plan.
I switched direction at that point, and tried to convince him that he could just limit himself to Point Two. (Much as Satan himself convinces people that "I'll go to the gym tomorrow" is a good excercise plan.) Alas, he stood firm. Well, not 'stood', exactly. But he was quite firm.
Eventually, though, all the talking and the literary analysis took its toll (as it always does) and he started to look kind of glazed. A little breastmilk and a quick backrub was all it took to overcome The Plan.
For that night.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Okay, I know I didn't say 'horrible'; I would never say that. And he's not consistantly horrible, not at all. He's as charming as ever, smiling and laughing, flinging his arms out in excitement when he sees one of us, giving badly-aimed, wide-open-mouth kisses.
Just as charming as ever.
Precisely 50% of the time.
And it's impossible to guess what triggers the change. I honestly can't think of a thing. One minute, he's Sweetie Baby, and the next, he's yelling as if someone's stabbing him. He can't stand to be left alone for a moment, when he's in this state, but picking him up doesn't necessarily stop the howling - just puts the source closer to your ear.
Plus, he's so active - within a muscle twitch of actually crawling - that it's risky to turn your back for long, even when he's asleep. Which mean that, if I need to do so much as turn a page or answer the phone, he needs to go into one of the containment devices (crib, pen, saucer.) It's really important to me that he not grow to hate his crib, but that seems to be the road that we're going down now.
Last night he woke up 4 times. I'm dyin' here.
I've said before that motherhood has made me much more aware of my mortality, much more aware of my life as a physical being generally. Ah, yes...I remember the days when I lived in the ether almost all the time, the voicemail/email/mp3/philosphy and theology world....but pregnancy jostled me right out, right into a world of fluids and leaky parts and insane starving hunger and taking up way too much room....And of course that was nothing compared to parenthood, the pumping and the pee and the diaper cheese and the chipping of the dried peas out of the eyebrow - his, not mine, usually.
And the tireness, the previously unimaginable bone tireness, the mornings when even your skin is tired. That's what makes me think about death - not about my own death particularly, and certainly not about killing myself or anything. Just about the fact that I live in a body, and bodies have their limits.
And Mister Baby is bumping me up against mine.
He's hungry all the time, on account of another growth spurt; he's capable of over-peeing a super-absorbent overnight diaper. He's been teething continuously for about 4 months, swamped in drool, which is turn creates a rash on his creasy neck, but no teeth yet.
Boy oh boy, do I need a night off.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
A bonus photo, because these days it's all about the food, for God's sake.
Prior to the holiday, we had a lovely visit with the World's Most Devoted Grandparents. Dude, he has them totally snowed. They think he hung the moon. I've never seen anything like it.
Ian seems only mildly impressed with his first-ever magic show. He's watching his father perform at the Fairfax 4th of July fest.
It was 1,000 freaking degrees in the shade, which can slightly diminish the fun of a small town ballfield carnival. It can also diminish the audience - the children themselves were beginning to gdiminish before our eyes, shriveling in the spots on the grass. Luckily, their mothers came in the middle of the show to swoop them into the shade and ply them with water bottles and sunscreen, just before they burst into flames.
DESPITE the shriveling and the swooping, it was a good show, and the 20 or so that saw the whole thing had a lovely time. Then the three of us, a bit shriveled ourselves, repaired to the Amphora for sandwiches and gallons of coke.
World's Cutest Baby, of course, did not have a sandwich, though he gave it a good eyeball and seemed to be evaluating his chances of making off with mine. Luckily, he was distracted by the insanely beautiful teenaged waitress, who seemed to be from Russia, and who was so completely taken with our boy that, when we would ask for something - say, a spoon for rice pudding - she would rush off to get it, than wander back to gaze at him, having forgotten why she ever left the table.
Dave S., who is pretty much my favorite of our magic friends, showed up to watch the show, which was wonderful. (oh, don't be so sensitive! I like you too! I didn't say Dave was the ONLY magic friend I liked. Just that he's a particular favorite. It's a Phoenix thing. Can't be helped.)
So World's Cutest had a nice day, which was a very good thing, as he had a couple of less-nice days recently. Just as I was finishing lettering the tiny 'Free to Good Home' sandwich board, I recalled that book we read.
We read this book called Wonder Weeks, which suggested that babies go through entirely predictable fussy (by which they mean clingy/sleepless/bitchy/impossible) periods, which coincide with significant cognative leaps. When your baby's synapses reach a new milestone - say, the first glimmer of object permanance, or some suspicions about cause and effect - his world is suddenly a lot bigger and more complicated. More interesting, but also more stressful, at least as he's getting used to it. So it's not surprising if he's a little crabby for a few days, if he needs a lot more attention.
Frankly, the World's Cutest Baby has been such a walk in the park for the most part - great health, pretty good sleeper, good eater, casual disposition - that I think I have more trouble coping with these little hiccups than I should. I'm sure the mother of any colicky, sensitive or otherwise more-normal baby would scoff at me, hanging here at the end of my rope. "HA!" they'd scoff. "That's tough? You're hiding in the bathroom from THAT? Why, listen to this -" and launch into some tale of totally average babyhood - say, a child that poops every single day! - that would make me shudder in terror.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
This was taken near the start of the meal - he got a whole lot stickier.
Feeding this kid is an amazing amount of fun; he's enthusiastic, he's appreciative, he's even washable. He grins and laughs with relief at being full, finally, and with the excitement of this new thing.
So far, we just eat dinner - his other meals come from a bottle - and since we've done this for a few days in a row, he seems to look forward to it. Tonight he got tremendously excited when he saw the bowl and spoons in my hand.
Yeah, spoons. It takes a more than one spoon to get the food in the little dude - usually, two are in play, although I can imagine a day when there will be more. I hold the bowl, and spoon him up a bite. I try to get it to his mouth, but more often than not, he'd prefer to hold the spoon himself.
I hand it to him carefully.
He immediately sticks it in his eye.
This step is absolutely de riguer. You know it's going to happen, and you feel like you might as well get it out of the way early, like the first ding on a freshly painted car. Once he spoons his eyeball, we can all relax and get down to business. So he holds a spoon, I hold a spoon, we trade off.
After dinner, it's a warm bath, a cuddley towel, a rousing chorus of The Boa Constrictor Song, a few sips of bottle, and he passes out over my shoulder.
I just flaked a little rice cereal off my earlobe. No lie.
Monday, June 19, 2006
I'm not kidding.
The introduction of solid food went absolutely splendidly. He's the master of the little plastic spoon.
Since we don't have a high chair (on purpose), we've been feeding him sitting in his exer-saucer. Which we then take outside and hose off. Really.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Well, he's hungry. First and foremost, he is hungry, about 26 hours a day.
The little sweetie has been gotten so big, and is growing so fast, that the combination of formula and breast milk that we've been feeding him no longer does the trick. The 8 oz bottle that he could never finish now barely seems to take the edge off. He cries to eat every two hours or so, just as he did when he was a baggy, monkeyfooted newborn, struggling to get back up to his birthweight.
So last night, being 1) a great believer in anecdotal wisdom and 2) just fucking exhausted, I flew in the face of our pediatrician's advice, and dissolved a spoonful of rice cereal in his 9pm bottle. The Sears book, like our doctors, tell me there is nothing to be gained by this; meanwhile, literally uncountable moms and dads swear up and down that some cereal in the bottle is our express ticket to the Promised Land of silent nights.
The Sears book has been awfully good to us. And we think the world of our pediatrics practice. Both assure us that the point of learning to eat solid food is to learn to eat solid food, with your lips and tongue, from a spoon, not to fortify bottles of milk. Besides, what if our friends are wrong? What if the cereal disagrees with him?
In the end, I think, I was moved with compassion. He's just so hungry! And he wails, in a way that sounds like grief and pain together, like he's mourning the loss of food from his life, like he'll never eat again.
After the cereal bottle, he's motionless in my arms, stunned, and I wonder for a second if I've killed him. I watch him breath for a full minute, feel his astonishing skin, toasty as a muffin, and lay him down on his back.
He wakes up in a little while with a faraway smile, different than I've ever seen. It's as if he knows that his life will never be the same.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Well, a month ago, I would have said he was the most easy-going, flexible, chilled-out kid in history. It was as if God said, "Eh, they're amatuers. Let's give them an easy one."
A couple of months before that, I might have described him as clingy - but not, oddly enough, in a bad way. He was a kid constantly in arms and in laps, and my arms and my lap were really happy with that. He was light - under 15 pounds - and pocket-sized, so it was easy to cart him everywhere by hand (easier than it is now, at nearly 17 lbs - also, he's all wiggley now, which he wasn't before.)
And a couple of months before that, he just slept. Literally, we couldn't wake him up for the month of January - between jaundice and exhaustion, he was like a little baby-shaped rock. We force-fed him with a syringe, and eventually he woke up.
Certain qualities have been present all along, since the very beginning - he loves to listen, and loves especially when we sing to him. His favorite song - from the very beginning - is I Get A Kick Out of You, from the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes. For going to sleep, he likes a little James Taylor (You Can Close Your Eyes and Sweet Baby James, both of which, interestingly, make me cry like crazy) in a medley with an authenic American folksong, The Sloop John B. (That one does not make me cry.)
I also sing to him what my father used to sing to me - You Are My Sunshine. It's a good thing I had a baby, as I used to sing that to my cat ("You are my sunshine, my Pokey sunshine, you make me happy, you're white and grey...") and in retrospect, that seems a bit much even to me. (Well, not my memories of singing to my cat, which are actually pretty sweet...but when you describe it to people, it makes you sound odd.)
So what's he like now?
He's a little cranky, from cutting his first tooth. He's super-observant, and nothing makes him happier than watching people walk around. He smiles a lot but laughs only occasioanally, mostly at funny noises. He can roll for miles.