Friday, December 7, 2012

Four Months and Still Awesome

The kiddo is four months old. FOUR MONTHS. Can it really only be four months ago that I walked into a hospital expecting a procedure and walked out 2 days later with a new human? Seems unreal.

We took Guy in for his four-month appointment, and he's still on the small side - 8th percentile on weight. He's in the 20s for both height and head circumference, so at least he's not falling behind everywhere.

There are plenty of other big things happening in Guy World, too:

  • He's able to consistently roll to his side. He gets over there and then plays with his little hands, or stares off into the distance. But he knows exactly what he's doing. He throws his little legs up in the air and flops them over to one side or the other, like, "Heave Ho!"
  • He is reaching for and grabbing things. Just this morning, in fact, I watched as he eyed a monkey dangling from his play mat, and he reached for the monkey's feet and grabbed them with his chubby little fist, and then struggled to bring it to his mouth. Sadly, the monkey was not long enough to make it to his mouth. But he laid there for another five minutes alternately letting the monkey go and grabbing it again. He takes his practice seriously.
  • He started cereal. Now, I know this is controversial, because some say that you shouldn't start any foods other than milk until 6 months of age, but since he's still on the small side, the doctor thought it would do him good to get a few more calories a day. So in addition to his other feedings, he also now gets a bowl of rice cereal in the morning and one in the evening for dinner. The first few feedings were funny, but now he gets it and is pretty excited about it.
  • We are getting closer to the elusive "sleeping through the night" phase. He will sleep 4-5 hours at a time and will often be soothed with just a pacifier and some cuddling, rather than me having to feed him 1-2 times in the night. I think the cereal in the evening is helping with that. 
  • He follows everyone with his eyes now. Daddy, Momma, Gigi... really anyone he finds interesting. And he passes out smiles like they are going out of style. I kind of love that part. There's nothing quite like getting a huge, gummy grin with that little baby tongue sticking out at you.
  • We can have "conversations" with him pretty consistently. Most of mine go like this:
    • Me: So, Guy. What do you think of this situation in Palestine?
    • Guy: Gggggggiiiii. Pbbbt. Aaaaaaooooo.
    • Me: Really? That's a pretty controversial viewpoint.
    • Guy: Jjjjjjeeeeeee! Aaaaaggkk. Pbbbbbbaaaa.
    • Me: Well, if you really feel that way....
It just keeps getting more fun, and I'm looking forward to enjoying this phase for a while!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ready for Christmas

Okay, Santa. Anytime you're ready.

Monday, November 26, 2012

No Sleep for Banditos*

This was an old post that somehow never got published. So here it is now. 

So ending swaddling has been hit and miss. The first night, Guy kept a pretty normal sleep schedule - Down at 8, up at 12 and 3, and up for the day at 7. But last night, he apparently decided that sleep wasn't his favorite. Because he was up at 9, 10, 11, 12:30, 1:00, and 2:30. I finally broke down at 2:30 and brought him to bed with us. He sleeps much better when he's cuddled next to me. So, I finally got to sleep from 2:30 to 5:30, before he woke up and demanded feeding.

(To be fair, Greg did the 10 and 1 a.m. checks. So I did get a little bit of sleep.)

I'm a zombie today. I made the full-force coffee instead of the half-caf that we usually use. Because I need a little kick today to make sure I don't fall asleep at my desk.

The thing is, it's so hard to be mad at the little dude when he starts giving you this face at 6:00 a.m.:

Cute little jerk. 

- Jennifer

*Title shamelessly stolen from a Hanson album. Because I'm awesome. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Silver Dollar City - Earlier in November

A few weeks ago we took our first real family trip. I have a lot of fond memories of going places with my family growing up, and it's exciting to think that we are starting to create a whole new set of travel stories. I know Guy still has a ways to go before he is able to remember these ventures, but we're at least working on the form.

Traveling with a baby is something that requires some planning and coordination. It's not the same as picking up and leaving with two adults. Luckily we had a good support team with Granny and Papa and their big ol' RV. I had not traveled in an RV before, and it was quite the experience, especially on the winding roads of the Ozarks that the GPS navigated us on. It was all I could do not to break into the fridge to down a beer or two to calm the nerves!

Guy did great on the drive up, with barely a whimper. We only stopped once for a quick feed at the Walmarts. The stay in the RV was likewise painless. He slept in a little baby tent that we borrowed from a friend. He didn't make too much noise at night either, allowing the old (and young) folks to get their sleep. This also happened to be the first weekend where Guy exclusively breastfed. (Although in retrospect we were about to head into a period of trials with the mouth issues and lots of bottle feeding.)

Silver Dollar city was quite delightful. The weekend really made us feel much more free to be able to do things. Guy did great in the cold bundled up in his stroller. Anytime that he got fussy we would stop and Jennifer would feed him. Of course while they were occupied Jesse and I would go and hop on a ride or two. Oh the life of a mom. Once the breastfeeding is over I'm sure that the riding will be much more equitable.

The only downside to the trip was that the very end marked the start of Guy's fussy mouth problem. Overall everything was a lot of fun, and went really well!

Please excuse the photographer's finger.

The Happy Family

What's Goin On

I can't believe how much Guy is already changing. Every day is just kind of amazing.

For instance, today I flipped him over on my lap for tummy time. This usually results in him gnawing on my leg and intermittently looking around. But this time, his head popped up at 90 degrees, and he just looked all over the place. Like it was no big deal. For five minutes (or more). I just patted his little butt and marveled at the fact that he already looks like he could start crawling.

He has also discovered that his hands can touch one another. He brings them together in front of himself and worries them over one another, his little fingers working overtime to understand what is happening. Sometimes his eyes follow his hands, and I can almost hear his thoughts: "Woah. Dude. That touching the other touching that hand. I can FEEL it, man! They're touching each other, and I can feel them BOTH! ARE YOU GUYS SEEING WHAT I'M SEEING?"

We put him to bed tonight without swaddling him for the first time ever. He's gotten much more mobile at night, and I'll come in to find both his arms have worked out from the bottom of his swaddlers and pulled the fabric up around his neck. It worries Greg, and frankly, I don't feel too comfortable with it, either. I've also come in and found him on his side. I worry about him ending up on his belly still swaddled, his face smooshed into the mattress. There are too many horror stories about suffocating children. I don't like it. So, we are trying to say goodbye to swaddling. So far, he's been up twice in the first hour. I'm hoping he stays asleep now.

He's also grabbing things much more often. I read the other day that nothing helps develop a child's brain more than reaching and grabbing items, so I try to dangle all sorts of things in his face. He goes for some of them, and others he just regards with that look of a stoner staring at a black light - glazed wonder.

We put up the tree today, and I set Guy up in his bouncer, thinking I could probably get the tree assembled and an ornament or two placed before he'd tell me he'd had enough. I put on Elf in the background and got to work. An hour and a half later, Guy was still happily cooing and watching me put ornament after ornament on the tree. I got the entire thing put up before the fussing started. And Greg got the house decorated outside with Christmas lights. It's officially the holidays in the Tatum house!

- Jennifer

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Definition of Irony

On Wednesday night (I presume so he could give me something to be thankful for on Thursday), Guy slept through the night for the very first time. MONUMENTAL. He slept from 8-11 in his car seat at my parents' house, then from 11-7 in his crib once we got home.

Oh, but the irony? Greg got me up at 4:30 because he was violently ill.


Also, I ate myself silly Wednesday night and Thursday. I'm pretty sure I've had 8 pieces of pie in the last 48 hours.

The irony here? Today was the first time I fit into my favorite jeans, and I discovered I'm only one pound away from my pre-pregnancy weight.

Double hooray!

Irony is such a ho....because it can go both ways. :-)

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Long Overdue Three Month Update

It's been a while, clearly. Guy's three month-iversary has come and gone, with nary an update from his parents.

But I have a good reason, I swear. Well, several, in fact. Quick, look at this sweet picture of my husband cuddling with our puppy and playing with the baby boy before I start complaining...

Okay, now. The first reason is that we went to Branson shortly after he turned 3 months. So Guy traveled across state lines for the first time in his short little life. But, since we were camping, there was no wifi to be found, and therefore, no update.

The second reason is that we have experienced a regression. Yes, that's right. After almost two months of agonizingly working to make sure Guy was getting enough to eat, he finally got to where he was an easy baby at home. He would get hungry, I would nurse him, we would be done! Like magic! And then, two weeks ago, I picked him up from daycare, and the gal there said, "He's been fussing a little about eating today."

No big deal, right? I thought it would just be something short-lived. I was sick myself, so I figured he'd maybe picked it up from me and was just having a sore throat or something. So, when he fussed at the breast and the bottle, I chalked it up to illness. But he didn't eat all night, preferring to scream anytime I tried to put breast or bottle in his mouth. He started running a low fever, so I gave him a bit of Tylenol. I barely slept, he barely slept, and I stayed home from work the following day, thinking he was really sick.

Sometimes Guy has to take an extra morning nap with Daddy. 

We went to the doctor, and she looked him over. I prayed for an ear infection. We could handle an ear infection. Instead, she found a large white patch on his palate that she called "very concerning." She referred us to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and told me that other than that, there was nothing wrong with him. We would just have to wait it out.

So, we then went into The Weekend That Sleep Forgot. Every feed was a struggle. I ended up spooning milk into his mouth all weekend long, because it was the only way he would eat at all, and even then he was very much against swallowing it. I actually looked forward to Monday, when I would get a break from being the Bad Mommy that tried to force him to swallow when it hurt so bad.

After a week of this, I called the doctor again. I'm not sure how many times I've Googled "White patch on throat" and "Sore in mouth" and "Infant mouth ulcers" at this point. I began treating for thrush, hoping that was it, but to no avail. There was no improvement. We got an immediate appointment with the ENT, and I breathed a sigh of relief. He, after all, was named DR. GUY. Yes, that's right. Dr. Guy was going to know what was wrong with my Guy.

When we saw the doctor, this is the closest approximation I can come up with for his reaction:

"Hm. That's....strange."

Helpful, right? He asked us about all these things, like was Guy intubated at birth? Did we let him fall asleep holding a bottle? (Like he can hold anything to his mouth for an extended period of time anyway.) Did we give him a pacifier a lot?

All the answers were no. Meanwhile, my little heart is just breaking into a thousand pieces. Even the ENT is stumped, and that means there's no clue as to how to proceed. At the end of the appointment, he says it's basically a "flaw" in his palate, and that we just have to wait to see if it will go away. I can give him Tylenol, but there's nothing else for it. So we made an appointment to come back for him to check it in January, but other than that, we're at a loss.

Some days he will eat, but only after a prodigious amount of complaining. Sometimes I can get him to nurse straightaway, but sometimes he'll refuse all together. It's all very difficult. And his sleep has not been regularly good, since he's hungry and not getting everything he needs.

Still, even with all of this, we get some smiles that I take blurry pictures of with my iPhone.

So cross your fingers that it all ends soon. That Guy's poor little mouth heals up, and that we get back to the happy, easy time we managed to find for about two precious weeks. Because I SWEAR, this time I will appreciate it. Scout's honor.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Guy of Many Faces

Guy, like his parents, is a chameleon. He wears many faces, so it's only natural that he have a plethora of Halloween costumes to don for his very first Halloween. He had not one, but THREE costumes, all of which are pretty adorable. So here, without further ado, are his best looks:

As the affable, laughable Mickey Mouse, Guy brings smiles to all the kiddos. He qualifies as the Happiest Baby on Earth. Also, he likes to eat his fist. Hot dog!

If you have a pain, Dr. Guy can cure your ills. He's good at finding the funny bone. Some might even call him the cure for the common baby.

And finally, we wouldn't be a nerd family if we didn't nerd him up right for Halloween. Starfleet Officer Guy is just out of this world. ;-)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Back to the Grind

Yesterday marked my first day back to work. Everyone warned me - "You'll be so emotional", "Take it easy", and "It's okay to cry. We all do."

Perhaps I'm a terrible mother, but I really enjoyed my first day back. My parents are staying with Guy for the next few days, and we won't have to start him at daycare until November 5. I don't feel apprehensive about leaving him with them. Of course, I do miss him. I mean, I've spent the last 12 weeks with him nearly nonstop. But I also am so happy to be doing adult things again, like meetings and going to lunch. Ask me again in a few weeks, and I might not be so happy about the meetings, though.

Even though my apprehension was low, I still found myself peeking at the picture I have of Guy on my desk now. I mean, it's just about the most adorable thing ever:

His legs look completely out of proportion with his body. He kind of looks like a parade float - giant head, tiny body. 

This one is pretty good, too. I'm not sure why I'm a sucker for pictures of him while he's on his tummy, but I am. Something about the concentration on his face, maybe? 

And this is the photo of me right before I left for y first day back at work. You can tell that Guy is just totally scandalized by the indignant way he's napping on Greg. Look at those tiny fists! It's like he's just yelling at me, "How DARE you go back to work? You know what? I think I'll just sleep through your goodbyes. How do you like THEM apples?!"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Guess This is Growing Up

Today Greg made the comment that growing up doesn't seem to be incremental for Guy. Instead, it feels like one day he is a lump and the next day he's walking and talking.

Well, not quite, but close enough. Things seem to be happening exponentially lately. Milestones are coming and going and I've barely got enough time to note them all.

For instance, today I put him down for tummy time. In the last week or two, I've been impressed if he could lift his head to almost 45 degrees. I cheer, clap, and basically act like he just hung the moon anytime he does it. But today, when I put him down his head instantly shot up to a 90 degree angle, and he proceeded to look all around the room, nonchalantly. Like, "Hey, I do this every day." If I thought he hung the moon before, now I clearly think he made it from scratch before he put it up there. I took video, pictures, and spent the next five minutes watching him intermittently snack on his play mat and look up at me

He now weighs in at 11 lbs 14.5 oz - only a pound more and he will have doubled his weight since birth. I think today might have been my last trip to the pediatrician for a weight check only. We were so worried for so long about how well he was gaining weight, that it's such a relief to be able to just focus on having a good time, and letting him eat at his own pace.

He's becoming much more vocal. I feel like less of a madwoman when I'm talking to him now, because occasionally, he'll coo in response. So it feels less one-sided. "Guy, what shall we do now - laundry or dishes?" Coo "Dishes? I guess you're right..." Coo "Okay, fine! I'm going, I'm going!"

Also, he is really beginning to be soothed by presence now. Just today, he woke up from a nap squalling (I often wonder what's going through his mind when this happens. Is he terrified? Uncomfortable? Trying out his lungs? Confused? I think I might try waking up from a night's rest screaming and see how it feels. Maybe it's just the most awesome way to wake up...) and I came over and started talking to him, and he immediately began to settle. Kind of amazing. I feel like it would be a really neat parlor trick, except that it probably wouldn't be.

- Jennifer

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Two Milestones

Yesterday was an historic day. A day for the books. A day to live in infamy.

I slept for SIX hours. In a row.

That's the first time that has happened in 12 weeks. (Actually, if we are being honest, it's probably been more like 4 months, considering how often I had to get up and pee at the end of the pregnancy.)

Guy went 7.5 hours between feedings, and slept at least 7 of it. I admit, I did kind of panic when I realized what had happened. I woke up on my own to a wet shirt - I had leaked milk. This doesn't typically happen to me. Then I realized how hard my breasts were and how tender to the touch. So I finally looked at the clock: 3:30 a.m. I had gone to sleep at 9:30. I immediately got up and went to Guy's room and leaned my face over the crib to check that he was still breathing. Indeed he was. Relieved, I went to the bathroom and back to bed, but he just have smelled my soggy mess, because he woke only minutes later to eat.

And, while I knew it was probably a one-time thing, part of me cried tonight when I was woken after only an hour of sleep. Yes, he only slept 3 hours on his first stretch the very next night, so I only managed a scant hour of rest before our first feeding. I even tried to recreate everything from the night before, to no avail. Oh well, you can't win them all.

Additionally, today during tummy time, Guy managed a roll! It took about 5 minutes of concentration and pumping of arms and legs, but he made it from tummy to back. He then proceeded to get mad, because it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. One minute you're content on your side, and the next you're staring up at the ceiling, and not sure how you got there. So distressing. :-)

The Awakening

I feel that we've started to reach the point where our little Guy is starting to wake up and be more aware of his surroundings. He has started to develop a certain amount of head control, and with that control he's able to look around on his own terms. Once Guy was a couple of weeks old, I came back from a day out or some event and I was annoyed about something. I walked around the house putting my coffee cup and bag down, talking loudly to Jennifer and my mom about whatever it was. As I walked past Guy, his head flopped around and tracked me as I strode past continuing my rant. Jennifer and my mom started laughing and told me what had happened. I was broken out of my moment, and a big grin spread across my face. I tried walking by again and talking, but it was a one time thing.

Nearly two months later, that type of moment happens all the time. The other morning I woke up to Jennifer poking me and asking me to go change the fussing baby's diaper. I threw on my glasses, and stumbled into the nursery. The moment I walked in Guy stopped fussing and a huge grin spread across his face. My face broke out into an uncontrollable grin too.

Guy has started to really track things and follow us anytime he's awake and we're around. When I come home he seems excited to see me, and follows my voice and face. (Sorry Tonks, I'm more excited to see him now even if you do jump up straight into the air with all four legs off the ground and wag your tail.)

Today I was hanging out with Guy on the window seat, and I was trying to take his picture. He was kind of drooling and staring into space, as babies tend to do. Jennifer came up and said, "I bet that I can make him smile." She cooed, and tickled him. His face lit up in no time. I got my shot, she walked away and I thought, "Huh." I tried the same trick, but nope! I guess it's a mommy thing.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Crib Diaries

This is what I like to think is going through Guy's head when he's ready for a nap:

Oh, man am I tired. First, I think I'll wail a little while while Momma tries to quiet me down enough to go to sleep. Then, I'll doze in her arms and look ready to go down. And when she lays me down in the crib, I'll ACT like I'm all for it. I'll wait about five minutes and start crying again. I wonder how many times I can do it before she starts pulling out her hair? I'm guessing at least 6 or so...

I've fallen into the nasty habit of letting Guy sleep in his swing for daytime naps. But I know that when he goes to daycare, there are no swings to sleep in. He will be in a crib, on his back. So, in an effort to get him ready for that, I've started trying to make the transition. Needless to say, it has not been an easy one.

He will generally only sleep for about 15 minutes at a time in the crib during the day. The weird part is that at night he seems completely fine with it. I'm not sure if it's the light, the extra noise, or what, but something is not to his liking.

This kid is starting to get demanding. I mean, he wants his bottled milk and formula warmed now (screaming ensues if it is cold, which - let me tell you - is a JOY), he wants to be rocked or swinging when napping, and he has the audacity to believe that I should change his diaper when it's wet or dirty. GAH. I'm going to start calling him "Your Highness." [Sidebar: Wouldn't it be awesome to send your kid to school with a name like Your Highness? He'd get a total superiority complex, but it would be hilarious to have the teachers talk to him - "Your Highness, please get in the line to go to lunch."]

He's been in the crib for about 20 minutes now, which is a record, but I hear him starting to fuss. I suppose I should go get him before the real crying begins. Oops. Too late.

- Jennifer

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sleepy Scare and Weighty Decisions

Last night I had the strangest experience.

First of all, you should know that I have temporary amnesia every time I wake up to feed the baby. It never fails. The first ten seconds when I wake up, I can't remember getting back into bed. Part of me wonders if I fell asleep and somehow sleepwalked back to the bed. But after a few seconds, everything starts coming back, and I remember putting Guy to bed, and whatever else followed.

So last night, this amnesia went to new heights. Greg must have rolled over slightly on top of my arm, because at some point, he rolled away. And my amnesia kicked in. Suddenly, I thought I was sitting in the rocking chair, feeding Guy, had fallen asleep, and Guy had just rolled out of my lap and to the floor. I scrabbled desperately for him, and sat up in bed. It took a couple of seconds before I realized where I was, and concluded that I hadn't just grievously injured my baby. My heart pounded for a good few minutes before I could settle down again. Thanks a lot, amnesia.

In other news I go back to work next week (!!), which is a little nerve wracking. But the worst part of it is that I can hardly fit into any if my clothes. So, in an effort to get back to (or close to) my previous shape, I've joined Weight Watchers, which specifically has a plan for nursing mothers. I'm two days in and it's already pretty hard. I've gotten so used to eating pretty much whatever I want. Which would be the problem. I guess my whole life I had looked so forward to being able to indulge during pregnancy, but the diabeetus put a stop to that. So I've gone a little crazy post-partem. Oops.

- Jennifer

Friday, October 12, 2012

Working Mother

It is less than two weeks until I return to work. D-Day is October 24.

Thinking about it makes me nervous, but I'm also starting to feel ready. So for your reading pleasure, here are the pros and cons of me returning to work:


  • Less time with Guy.
  • Possibility missing big milestones (first word, first steps, etc).
  • The laundry will again be relegated to weekends only. Right now I can do it piecemeal, throughout the week. I have a feeling it's going to be a lot harder. 
  • Less time to stay caught up on all my favorite shows, or start Felicity, which I just discovered is on Netflix. 
  • I have to look presentable EVERY. DAY.


  • Two words: Lunch. Break. (I can't tell you how many times my lunch has been whatever I can grab with one hand and shove into my mouth in between feeding, changing, playing with and soothing a baby.)
  • I can visit a liquor store during the day, while on my break, kid-free.
  • I will get guaranteed adult interaction.
  • There will be the wonderful anticipation of picking him up each day, and the big smiles I'll get when he sees me. 
  • There will be fewer clothes changes throughout the day, since I won't be cleaning spit-up, poop or pee off me every few hours.
It's going to be hard going back to work, I don't doubt it, but I'm looking forward to it, too. I'm ready to start figuring out how to handle a child and a full-time job at the same time. (I mean, HOW do you make dinner every night? I see a lot of frozen dinners in our future.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Poo Bear

Everyone always told me that I would never talk about poop as much as I would when I had a baby.

And it's so, so true. Tune out here if you don't want to hear a tale of two poops.

For the first few weeks, it was all about how many times he pooped. Was it still black? Or was it green or yellow? Are there seed-like things in it? I found myself incredibly happy when the color changed to the "mustard" yellow that the lactation specialist described was a healthy poop for a newborn on breast milk.

At that age, there was poop all the time. Every feed, I changed his poopy diapers. But then, one day, he only went a couple of times. And the next, he only went once. And then - strangest of all - he went a day without going at all.

I had read that eventually babies stop going so often, and start going once a day or once every few days. After three days, I started to worry, but a regular visit to the pediatrician allowed me to ask. She gave me a sheet that said that breastfed babies can go up to seven days without dropping a single deuce. So, I felt better. And the next morning, he surprised us with an epic bomb that literally bubbled out of his diaper through the leg holes. (Let that image sink in....)

But after that, it was three days, then four, then five. The doctor had told me if he went more than three days, to call her. We had started him on apple juice (half an ounce, twice a day, diluted with water). I had tried taking his temperature rectally (joy of joys). He wasn't upset, and his stomach wasn't distended, so I assumed the constipation wasn't really bothering him. But if I hadn't gone in five days, I know I would feel pretty icky.

So, we visited the pediatrician again. She checked him over and said that he seemed to be okay, but she was as concerned as I was, considering his history of not getting enough nutrition. She told me to try prune juice and dark Karo syrup, and if he hadn't gone by Wednesday (a full 8 days since his last poo-splosion), to go get him x-rayed. She went ahead and wrote the order just in case.

But, glory of all glories, this morning as he nursed for second breakfast, his bottom began a-rattlin'. I think it went on for a good 3-5 minutes, and his eyes were staring widely at the wall while he grunted and nursed his way through the task. (Sidebar: Can you imagine eating or drinking while dropping some kids off at the pool? I mean, it seems counterproductive, but whatever...)

It went up into his armpits. Impressive. I barely got the outfit off of him without getting it all over his face. I was able to wash him off, get him dressed and then rinse out everything that was befouled without much incident. I'm pretty proud of myself, I have to say. And I'm hoping this doesn't become habit. I'd much prefer to clean up a dirty diaper every day than one of these every 7. Yuck.

Now, to make up for all the poo talk, here is an adorable picture I took of him a few weeks ago.

You're welcome.

- Jennifer

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Where Are You, Mom?!"

Guy continues to amaze me with how fast he is changing. The baby who only weeks ago was basically an eating, sleeping, pooping machine has now put some new tricks into his bag. He smiles directly at me. Not just a smile that happens to pass my way while he looks at the ceiling fan or a picture on the wall or some other object that brings him more joy than dear sweet mother, but actually AT ME. It's amazing. I love when those little eyes lock on mine and then a big grin just spreads across his face. Priceless.

He's also becoming more content to play on his own. I'm able to put him in a little bouncy seat that has aquarium noises on it and let him sit there and kick his legs for 20 minutes at a time. I'm amazed at how much I can do with 20 minutes. I even managed to get most of dinner cooked last night.

Unfortunately, along with this awareness comes the ability to understand not only who I am but the importance of having me nearby. Yesterday, as he happily played in his bouncer in the nursery, I popped out to go grab some laundry out of the dryer. Thirty seconds later, I hear him winding up a cry, so I gathered up the laundry fast and furious and went back to the nursery in a hurry. As soon as he saw me come back into view, he started to calm and went back to playing. Woah. It's the first time that's happened.

This means we're probably getting close to the period of stranger anxiety. I'm hoping that the frequent contact with the grandparents will prevent them from feeling like strangers, but I don't think I have much of a choice of who becomes a "stranger" and who doesn't. I've seen the look of exasperation on other mother's faces during this time, and now I get it. As much as I love Guy, I'm with him nearly 24 hours a day, and I'm usually the one holding and caring for him. When I go see my friends, it's a relief to let someone else hold him for a while, and enjoy his smiles and wiggles from afar. But stranger anxiety means that may come to an end, if only for a few weeks or so.

Well, at least I know he loves me. Or something.

- Jennifer

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Two months also marked a painful milestone: Guy's first round of immunizations. He screamed bloody murder, but I think it hurt me more than him.

He was tired for the rest of the day and wailed anytime there was pressure on his little legs. (Sorry for the blurry iPhone photo, but it's hard to go get the real camera. Ever.)

Luckily, he eventually perked up, and gave me a few smiles to ensure me he still loves me.

According to my dad, we'll never be able to sneak up on him again, now that we've gotten him shots once. That would be why it's Greg's turn next time. :-)

- Jennifer

Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Months - The Age of Head Control

I cannot believe that two months have already flown by with Guy. I'm down to only 3.5 weeks until I return to work, and I'm dreading it. The time with him is so precious, and I've enjoyed every minute. (Okay, maybe there have been a few unenjoyable minutes, but they were few and far between.)

Guy has changed so much since we brought him home. It's hard to imagine that the little peanut that was so tiny I had to tighten the carseat straps to their tightest is now the little boy we see exploring the world with his eyes.

He is so much more alert these days, looking at everything with wide, wondering eyes. He prefers to be facing outward as much as possible, and loves sitting in our laps with his face out to the world. When he's awake and you hold him up on your shoulder, he pushes away with his tiny arms and holds his head up to look around.

The head control is awesome! Of course, he still flops here and there (especially when tired), but for so much of the time now, he is holding his head up and looking around of his own volition. You can even lay him down and pull him up by his hands and his head will often stay in line with his shoulders, instead of flopping backward.

We've also come up with a great many nicknames for him including (but not limited to)

  • Little Guy (yes, obvious, but still cute)
  • Sweetness
  • Pumpkin Head
  • Snuggle Buns
  • Booger Face
  • Puddin Face
  • Tweet (Short for Tweetness)
I'm still waiting for the ones that will stick. Who knows what they'll end up being. I mean, Greg became Cheetah-Poo. Who would have predicted that? 

He smiles so much more now, and every one warms our hearts. I'd do just about anything to make him smile. 

Speaking of smiles, he elicits them right and left, especially from his grandparents. Both sets have been overjoyed with him, and have visited often. I'm thrilled with how involved everyone is. I didn't see my own grandparents that much when I was a kid, as they all lived 2+ hours away. Having Guy's grandparents so close is incredible. There are many days that around 6:00 p.m., one of our phones will ring, and it'll be "Gramps" (Greg's dad, Harvey) calling to ask if he can stop by for some Guy time on his way home. Cheri (AKA Gigi) says she can always tell when Harvey has stopped by, because he comes home in such a better mood. I even have to admit, holding a snuggly Guy is WAY better than Xanax. 

Have I mentioned the farting yet? Oh my gosh do I love baby farts. They're hilarious! They frighten the dog. Just now, asleep in his swing, he farted and the dog woke up from a deep sleep and looked accusingly over in Guy's direction. She's none too thrilled with his bodily functions. 

So, two months has been great. I'm excited for these last few weeks home with him, and terrified of going back to work and being separated from him so long every day. Luckily, the grandmothers have both agreed to watch him for a few days each, so I can start my exile with someone I know in charge of him. That way, if I'm having a truly terrible time, they can always bring him up to see me for a quick fix. Maybe I should rename him Crack. Yeah. THAT wouldn't get him teased AT ALL. 

- Jennifer

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mom Level 10 and Yay for Husbands

For so many weeks, it's felt like living from hour to hour. Feed, pump, diaper change, nap, repeat. Sometimes I get up in the morning and it's all I can do to keep up with the needs of this little baby, and by the time I look up it's 3:00 p.m., and I haven't even brushed my teeth, much less eaten or taken a shower. On those days, I can feel a little desperate by the time Greg gets home (which is often after 7:00, since he has so many obligations with different organizations).

But the last few days, I feel like I've leveled up. If being a mom was an RPG, I'd have gotten some strength points, and maybe a few magic points, too. On Thursday, I surprised myself by being with it enough to go visit Guy's Gramps at work, walk about 2 miles (round trip) to drop off some film at a local camera shop, did all of Greg's laundry, did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen, make the bed, and still have time to enjoy some of my book and a few episodes of Glee. Friday was similar, but I also got in my first run since Guy was born, because Cheri came over to let me get out of the house for a few.

I know not all days can be like that, but after several weeks of barely keeping my head above water and worrying constantly about my ability to provide enough sustenance for my child, it's nice to put one in the W column now and then.

Another thing I've learned firsthand lately is the dichotomy of wanting to hand the baby over to Greg and simultaneously feeling guilty handing the baby over. By the time 5:30 rolls around and Greg walks in the door, I'm so ready for a break. I love Guy, but there is something about being so relied upon all day long that just makes you want to go into another room and stare at a wall for a while, uninterrupted. At the same time, I know Greg has probably had a long day at work, and probably wants nothing more than to sit down on the couch and veg for a few moments. It's a difficult balance, knowing where the line is. On the one hand, I don't want to be so accommodating that I get baby burn out from trying to be the ultimate caregiver (and also cause Greg to feel like I don't trust him with the baby). On the other hand, I don't want to be the woman who forces her weary husband to overwork himself. I'm still working on finding the right give and take.

Speaking of husbands, though, I'm very lucky. Greg not only is willing to help, he seems to have a great knack of knowing when I've hit my limit. At night especially, I can get pretty overwhelmed, and Greg recognizes it immediately and takes over. He offers to take a crying baby or hold him when he's wide awake and refuses to go back to sleep. I've had friends who have really been one-man shows when it comes to caring for children, so I'm acutely aware of how incredibly lucky I am to have a modern man who can not only build me a deck but also entertain a 7-week old.

I think I'll go ahead and put that in the W column as well.


Clean Laundry

Fresh through the wash!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Jennifer has posted about ten times since my last post so it's about time for another one. Fatherhood is a little bit different than I expected. Every parent has his or her observations, adventures, and advice on their experiences with parenthood, but I've found mine to be a little different from the mean. I've been surprised at how natural everything feels. There are a myriad different challenges and stresses so far with raising our little one, but he's our little one. I have a sense of peace, even at the stressful baby-barely-breathing-midnight-cry/scream. It's nice to be able to synthesize everyone's advice, value judgements, and neuroses and then throw them out the window.

My wife has been an amazing mother so far. I feel like I'm a slacker compared to her. She has a little less than one month left of her maternity leave. It's going to be hard to have our little one go to day care and not spend every day at home with mommy. There is a clear distinction between my experience with the baby, and my wife's. There have been times where there has been a suspicion of jealousy in my mind regarding the roles. As a man with my career I'm not able to take 3 months of time off to spend with my baby, while Jennifer with her amazing work environment, has been allowed to take a significant chunk of time off to start raising our child. As a man I can't lactate without taking an absurd cocktail of hormones and frequent nipple stimulation (disclaimer: I have no idea if this is true) so I don't have that deep bond that develops through nursing.

Mothers are the nurturers, and men are the bread winners. This is the role that biology and society has given us. Of course with my college and prep school upbringing, I've been taught that this is a very old fashioned point of view. To a certain degree it is, but there is a definite truth to it. The biggest place where this notion falls apart is that Jennifer is listed as the head of household on our W-9, and we both contribute to our financial well-being. So much for being a manly bread winner. However, I've been amazed out how much more naturally Jennifer has fallen into the role of nurturer than I have. I occasionally get gentle nudges from my family that I need to cuddle Guy more when I hold him, talk to him while I'm feeding him, or as the hippy hospital people told me–have skin to skin time.

Despite those nudges, I feel like I have a comfortable understanding between son and father. I enjoy our time together. He's starting to become more and more responsive to his environment. Last night after I spent some time putting some fall plantings into the garden beds, I played with Guy outside outside on the lawn. Guy's little legs are starting to really work, and he's developing some real head control. I had him "walking" with his legs pushing against the ground. I think it was his first time to touch some grass. Tonks actually interacted with him as I made him "kick" her and fly through the air. She got really excited and pushed on him with her snout.

I really enjoy having Guy as my little play toy. Jennifer gets "mad" at me because I'm always turning Guy into some kind of deadly weapon–a machine gun, unmanned drone fighter, nuclear warhead, or poop dive-bomber. I made him "play the piano" at the table at Brownie's the other day. He seems to enjoy these little interactions even if he has no idea what is going on. I love having him just sit in my lap and look out at all of the stimuli of the world. He's slowly learning how to process what is going on in the world around him, and I find that extremely exciting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Smiles All Around

Today marks the smiliest day yet from Guy. This morning, just after his first breakfast, he was all about smiling at everything - me, Crack, the ceiling, the window, and (his personal favorite) the ceiling fan. I got a few coos and some great arm flailing out of the deal, too. But usually after the morning smiles, he's pretty much done for the day.

Well, this afternoon, I got another round of smiles. There's nothing in particular that I can do to make him smile, but sometimes rubbing his belly or touching his cheeks helps it along. I've gotten one, big gummy smile that was genuinely for me - eyes locked on mine and everything. What they say is right, that smile was just about the greatest thrill I've ever known. I might have scared Guy with my utter joy.

We're quickly closing in on two months, so I'll save the bigger discussion of his awesomeness for that post, but I do owe you an update on Greg and my first date together since Guy was born. It was a couple of weeks ago, and Greg's parents basically forced us out at gunpoint. We decided to go to Tucci's -- our favorite Brookside restaurant, for dinner. I had my very first glass of wine since Guy was born and enjoyed a huge plate of spaghetti AND dessert with decaf coffee. Then, we went to Akins to pick up a couple of things recommended by the lactation specialist.

I felt pretty good being out and about. But the strange part came when we were driving from Tucci's to Akins. We passed right by our street, and I felt as if I were tethered to our house. I was constantly aware, for the entire time we were gone, where Guy was - ahead of me, behind me, to my left, to my right. It's like he's become my true north. Wherever he is, my compass is pointing to him. I told my mom about that, and she assured me that no matter how big he gets, that will always be the case. Which would be why she periodically checks on me and my brother via the iPhone app Find My Friends. She just has to make sure her compass is still pointing to the right spot.

Anyway, our date was about two hours long. We talked about the conflict in Syria, web programming, and plenty of other things. It was nice to talk to him about things other than the myriad of bodily functions performed by our tiny child. Not that talk about spit up isn't just riveting, donchaknow.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Baby Gourmand

Guy has learned a new trick - I like to call it "Scream at the Bottle Until Mommy Wants to Cry."

Over the last two days, Guy has developed some sort of hatred for bottles. Which would be great if I had enough milk to breastfeed him exclusively. But I don't, so I have to use some bottles. I can use the supplemental nursing system for part of the feedings, but I still usually have to follow it up with a bottle, and he is just not having it anymore. I'm not sure if it's his reflux or if he's just decided that he hates the formula. But he does it some even if it's breast milk in the bottle, too.

So, I'm kind of at a loss. The logical part of my brain thinks, "Keep trying and don't sweat it. He will eat when he's hungry enough. He won't let himself starve." But then the illogical, emotional mommy part of my brain thinks, "Oh, God! He is going to starve himself rather than accept a plastic nipple in place of my awesome milk bags!"

I think we will probably try soy formula to see if maybe he's just developed a delicate palate that simply will not accept the formula. Not that I blame him. I once made the mistake of licking some I dripped on my arm, and I nearly gagged. Nasty, nasty stuff.

At least he's napping better lately! (So says logical mommy. While illogical, emotional mommy says, "He's sleeping because he's so worn out from being starved to death!)

This motherhood stuff is magical.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just Hanging Around

Well, yesterday Guy was seven weeks old. Just a few more days, and he'll be two months old. I figured it was high time for an update and some photos. 

Things are going...better. I'm still feeding, pumping and supplementing with formula. It's tiring, but it's working. Guy has gained weight admirably, and was 9 lbs 5 oz as of Monday. My guess is that next week he'll be 10 pounds. It'll be awesome. He'll graduate to size 1 diapers, and my arms will start getting a workout with every lift of the little dude. 

He's starting to become more aware now, too. He's obsessed with the fan in the living room, and spends a lot of his time staring up at it in wonder. He's frightened of velcro sounds, so I have to be careful when taking off my pumping bra, which is held together with velcro. It is always so frustrating when I manage to get him down for a nap, and then wake him up with that scratchy noise. 

Sleep is also going well-ish. He usually sleeps 3-4 hours when I first put him down at night, and then sleeps 2 hours for two additional stretches. So, I've been averaging about 6-7 hours of sleep a night. Not bad. We had to switch sleeping arrangements, though. Our friends from Ohio visited Tulsa last weekend, and my mom and I stayed in their hotel one night to make things easier for me with my feeding/pumping schedule. I took the Pack and Play, and Guy slept SO good in it that night. So, as soon as I got home, I moved out the sweet bassinet we have and replaced it with the Pack and Play. The bassinet insert just cradles him so well, and he sleeps like... well, you know, like a baby.

Okay, a few photos to keep you entertained...


Papa fed Guy at the hotel, but apparently was falling down on the job, so Guy took over. (Make no mistake. Seconds after this photo was taken, the bottle fell out of his hands.)

 Guy and I have both had thrush, a yeast infection. The old school remedy is Gentian Violet, a fast-working but messy solution. I took this photo after Guy had finished breastfeeding, hence the comatose look. Poor kid. Nothing like having a purple mouth to inspire his mother to ceaselessly make fun of him.

Here's a little comparison for you. Look at the photo above and notice the size of Guy's head and torso in comparison with his elephant. Now, look at the photo below. 

 Six-week old Guy clearly has done some growing!
I just thought this photo was sweet - he still looks so tiny sitting in his daddy's lap! We were watching Star Trek here. Never too early to indoctrinate the children.


And one last photo of Guy with his favorite toy. We've named him Crack because he is like a drug. Wind him up and let him play his lullaby, and Guy invariably quiets and listens intently. It is the best way to keep him quiet when I need to do something quickly like pee, wash my hands or recover my sanity. In this photo, Granny was playing Crack for him in her lap, and he's clearly enjoying it with relish.

 Until next time!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Midnight Runs

The other night we had our first encounter with a middle-of-the-night-blowout.

I wish I was talking about tires.

I was feeding Guy and attempting to help him back to sleep, when he looked up at me with those huge, innocent blue eyes and proceeded to crap out of his diaper and all over me, the pillow in my lap, and himself. This event may have been followed by an evil grin, but I was too busy retching to notice.

Once I regained composure and began thinking about what to do next, I nudged Greg awake. "Greg, wake up. I need your help," I said.

Greg is notoriously foggy when he first wakes up, so I turned on the light to help make the problem more apparent. Greg got out of bed without a word and left the room. My first inclination was to start giving instructions, but instead, I thought I'd wait this one out and see what his plan of action was. A minute later, Greg returned with a paper towel roll with one paper towel left on it. Then he walked out of the room again and returned a few moments later with two wet wipes.

If you could have seen the spread of Guy's handiwork, you would probably have laughed at the idea of cleaning it up with three small squares of paper product. But in Greg's defense, the two-pronged attack would likely have worked for a less prolific pooper. As it was, it was kind of hilarious, though no one was laughing at 2:00 a.m.

Somehow, I managed to get Guy to Greg and wad up my nightgown and the pillow without getting feces all over the bed or sheets. Miraculous.

I just hope this isn't the first of many repeat performances.

- Jennifer

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Birth Story - His View

The wife has bugged, the wife has badgered, I dragged my feet, and now finally here it is! At long last! Before I forget! Before it passes into oft-repeated myths and legends.

The birth story.

This will be my second time to write up this account, as the first time I wrote it misty-eyed, holding Guy in one arm, and laboriously typing with the other. Unfortunately Blogger messed everything up when I went in to continue working on the account and I hit undo. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but for some reason it completely deleted everything that I had typed and instantly saved. Of course it wouldn't let me undo the undo, so all was lost. I spent about two hours trying to recover the post by accessing the raw saved memory in the browser. Alas, I couldn't find it.

On the first of August we had the external version (breached baby flipping procedure) scheduled for the morning. I, of course, had done a bunch of reading on the procedure in the days leading up to it. Jennifer was really hoping for a natural birth, and was working very hard to achieve one. The version sounded like a procedure that would have a high probability to increase the chance of a natural birth without a lot of risk due to the conveniences of modern medicine. They perform the procedure next to the c-section room just in case there is an emergency. The risks I looked up seem to be very low, but the procedure was not always successful. Of course the scary and remote possibility was that something would go wrong and they would have to do an emergency section.

So as dutiful patients, we fully prepared for the worst case scenario. We packed all of our hospital bags, and informed our employers about the possibility. The oft-repeated mantra for the day was that if we fully prepared for it, it would not happen. So of course it did.

We headed up to the labor and delivery area of the hospital giddily imagining what it would like to be there when it was really our turn. Jennifer got all prepped up for the procedure with her poor pregnant (relatively) empty belly as she could not eat or drink that morning. I'd only had a half cup of coffee in our haste to get there at 7:30am.

The doctor finally came in and examined Jennifer. It became very obvious very quickly that the procedure was not going to go forward as planned because Jennifer was too dilated. What took a little bit longer to sink in was the fact that the doctor was beginning to explain all of the risks and benefits of a c-section performed as soon as it could be scheduled that morning.

A few hours later Jennifer was being whisked away for her spinal block and the section. Before that however, we had an hour or two of waiting. Of course Jennifer was hooked up to IV fluids and no catheter, so we made several awkward trips back and forth between the bathroom. I began the onslaught of texts that informed people that we would most definitely not be available anytime soon. Of course when you open those particular text floodgates, they are pretty hard to close. Jennifer insisted that we inform her boss before our parents. I guess she had her priorities!

I ended up running a quick errand of filling up my belly with some horribly stale hospital pastry thing and guzzling down the rest of my coffee from my thermos mug. On my worried and excited journey through the hospital I received a phone call from my dentist reminding me that my appointment was tomorrow. I informed them that I was happy that they called because I was actually going to have to reschedule because I was having a baby. She replied that they required a two business day notice for rescheduling. I was a incredulous at first and laughed because I really didn't care. After chatting for a minute she assured me that this was probably not going to be a problem. I would hope not!

So, back in the room, Jennifer and I were giddy about the fact that we were about to be parents. The doctors, nurses, and peanut gallery finally whisked Jennifer away from me. We started getting nervous. Jennifer most definitely did not want to do the anesthesia. I awkwardly scrubbed up and sat there nervously deciding when to put on my face mask. I sat for a good twenty minutes while they got her ready. This was killer. Everything we had done to prepare had been with me there as support, and I was stuck in a separate room. I still think this part is a bunch of bull-honky. My dad explained the necessity of it from a medical perspective, but I still think it's just some kind of insurance and litigation requirement and a convenience for the doctors.

So I sat there nervously looking around, watching people move pass the tiny window in the operating room. I could only sit and hope that everything was going alright. Finally the doctor came out and told me that she was doing fine, and just nervous. Relieved of one worry, I could concentrate on all of the rest.

Finally they led me in, and my mind started reeling with the overwhelming sensory overload. Jennifer was completely set up for the procedure with a big drape hiding her from what was happening below. Doctors and nurses were everything. The anesthesiologists and their residents/peanut gallery were chatting loudly. They made the large room feel cramped. If I had to guess, there were probably 10-15 people in the room. Of course the sensory overload I was experiencing makes it hard to remember precisely.

I sat down next to Jennifer afraid to bump into anything or anyone, fully scrubbed up in an awkward paint suit, booties, cafeteria hairnet, and face mask. She was seriously scared and nervous. There was an instant where I got really mad that they had her go through all of that without me there to provide support. That passed quickly and I held her hand.

The procedure was quick. The morning was quick. We became parents so quickly after so much waiting. My word count here is growing exponentially long, but that morning went by in an instant. They began. We could here their cheery chatter and see nothing. Jennifer's body was jostled around as they worked. Suddenly we heard a fluid filled cry. Instantly, I was overwhelmed with emotion and tears were threatening in my eyes. My mask was redirecting my warm breath into my glasses and they began to fog up.

"Dad you can stand up to see him." one of the many disembodied voices in the room cried out. I stood up, looking past the clamped barrier hiding the procedure. There was my baby son, gurggling and crying. I sat back down overwhelmed. He had a full head of hair! Or did he? Yes he did! My brain was barely functioning.

As an aside, what an aside at this point? Yes we want to hear the rest but this is an important time to note that my phone began buzzing in my pocket with someone calling me. I ignored it, but when I checked it an hour or so later, it was none other than my dad. We had been upfront about the fact that we wanted some space during the birth and would keep them up to date with what was happening. I got a good chuckle out of it later as that is so typical of him being excited and wanting to insert himself into the event. (Like the fact that he tried to book my restaurant reservations for me for my proposal date with Jennifer.) Ok, back to the good stuff.

The crying got further away as the nurses whisked him off to be cleaned. I squeezed Jennifer's hand as they began finishing up the procedure. I heard the crying off in the other room and looked over to see if I could catch another glimpse of our new son through the window. I saw a bright light and some hands working. My befuzzled mind eagerly tried to comprehend what I was seeing. It looked like they were trying to put a watermelon back together. I realized with a shock that I was a seeing a reflection of the procedure. So much for the protective drape!

Finally they came back with a huge bundle of blanket, and a little tiny head poking out wearing a cap. They unceremoniously plopped him in my arms. I've heard of the fear dads have the first time they pick up their baby that they are going to break it. I had a feeling of that, but mainly from the fact that I didn't know if my arms would be steady enough to hold him because of how overwhelmed I was.

I must admit, I've had a little jealousy over the fact that Jennifer was going to have this big bonding experience with the baby through the natural birth. We took an extremely long course on the natural birth where they constantly emphasized the bonding that the mother and child would have. Of course they completely leave out anything with the dad. So with a level of selfishness I in no way regret, I greedily took our son for his first check up. This was daddy time before the almighty boob (and the wonderful love of my life that is attached to said boob) eclipsed everything.

I pushed him in his little cart up to the nursery, staring into his little amazing face the entire time. I was still completely scrubbed up, carefully trying not to bump the cart into anything. We got up into the nursery, and the nurse got him completely naked to check him out under the warmer. This was daddy time. I got to marvel at my new son, just the two of us. I touched his hair, caressed his arms, and talked to him. I wasn't really sure what to do, but I knew that I was amazed. I'm a little chagrined to admit that I forgot about my poor wife for a minute being sewn up below while I reveled in my new-found parenthood. Of course my daddy-time was soon over, and Guy was wrapped up again for his trip back to his mommy.

Again to hit upon the fact that we wanted a little distance on the birth, unbeknownst to us, all of our parents (sans my dad who was doing grand rounds in the hospital) were waiting in the waiting room. Their timing was fortuitous to me, but bad for them as they just missed me in the nursery. My daddy time was uninterrupted.

Back in the recovery room, Jennifer was doing well. The nurses helped her get Guy up for his first breastfeeding. We had our first bit of time to sit down and enjoy the moment together with the stress of the operation behind us. After an hour or so we went to our hospital room A.K.A. the awesome suite with a great view of downtown. I quickly found out that all the grandparents were there as I headed to the car to get our hospital bags.

We ended up staying 48 hours in the hospital with tons of wonderful visitors. The grandparents were so enthusiastic the entire time. Jennifer recovered quickly from the c-section, and we finally got home to really start this parenthood thing.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

One Month - Challenges and Joys

Today, Guy is one month old. Guy celebrated as most Tatums do - by eating so much he threw up. It seems that (again, like most Tatums) he has a hard time saying no to more food.

Part of the problem is that we did end up having to supplement with formula, and apparently babies are known to overeat formula. But, after knowing that for the last four weeks, our son has been hungry, it's hard to deny him food when he even acts remotely peckish. Regardless, he has gained six more ounces in three days on the new food. He's now a whopping 7 pounds 4 ounces, with plenty of room to grow. His cheeks are filling out... both sets. :-)

That said, this week has been a challenge. I went from supplementing at every other feeding, to supplementing and pumping at every single feeding. My day looks like this:

  • Feed Guy for 30 minutes
  • Struggle with Supplemental Nursing System (which allows me to supplement him while he's still nursing, so it's seamless to him, and he gets more milk with every suck) for 15 minutes
  • Grow frustrated with SNS, and put into bottle, after feeding for more than 45 minutes
  • Let someone else finish Guy with a bottle
  • Pump for 20 minutes
  • Rest for an hour, and start the process again
  • Repeat 8-10 times a day

I went to a lactation specialist who said that for the next few weeks, all I should be doing is nursing, pumping and resting. No housework, no running around. Just doing my best to make sure I'm relaxed, rested and producing as much milk as possible.

Thankfully, when this sentence came down on my head, my mother-in-law, Cheri, was immediately there to help. For the last five days, she has been at my side, taking care of everything. Laundry, dishes, meals, making the bed, even sweeping the floors. All with a smile. It was a rough week, but it could have been so much worse without her there. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have not only my mother, but also a mother-in-law who is so supportive and caring.

This week, my mother is coming to join me to help. Again, I'm quite lucky. Just like Cheri, I know my mom will do the lion's share of work, and she'll be happy to do it.

We haven't hit many milestones yet. Guy has started sleeping more, now that he is getting plenty to eat. Some nights I get nearly 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. And if I get two rounds of that? I'm looking at nearly 6-7 hours of real rest. It makes such a difference in how I feel.

He's also on the verge of smiling on demand. His smiles are coming more often, and sometimes when he's awake, though he doesn't yet seem aware why he's smiling. The best moment was when he was laying quietly awake on Greg's chest and I watched as Greg laid a kiss on Guy's forehead, which was followed by a big, gummy smile. I'm not sure if his goatee tickled or if Guy could sense that kisses are a thing to be happy about. Whichever, it was sweet.

I've also developed a routine in the morning with Guy. After his 4-5 a.m. feed, he is difficult to get back into his bassinet. Because usually by that time he's wet through his sleeper, so I've had to change him and wake him up. So, after feeding, I cuddle with him in bed, close to my chest. That, of course, means we often fall asleep together in the bed. (I know - it can be dangerous to sleep with a newborn. I never thought I'd be one to do it, but for those couple of hours in the morning, after I've had most of a night's rest, I feel that I sleep lightly enough that I'm more aware of the baby and less concerned about possible accidents. Still, I understand the concern, trust me.)

It's come to be a special bonding time for us. At least, for me it is. I mean, for 9 months, this baby was so close to me that nothing could come between us, and sometimes a bassinet, no matter how close it is to the bed, is too far away. The other morning, Greg caught a photo of the two of us, enjoying our last morning nap.

So one month, and we're doing pretty well. He's starting to thrive, I'm starting to get sleep, and Greg and I finally had our first date night. Which I'll write more about later. A first date is definitely worthy of its own post.

- Jennifer

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Dose of Mommy Guilt

It's been a rough few days. Guy, who is every bit the champion at gaining in length (2 inches since birth!), is not gaining weight. In fact, over the course of a week, he lost an ounce. We went to the doctor to see what it was all about, and we got a few suggestions, including a couple of scary GI tract issue possibilities.

To try to see if we can rule out larger issues, we have spent the last few days supplementing with more breastmilk. What this means is that at every other feeding, Greg gives Guy an ounce of breast milk from a bottle after I nurse, while I go pump more milk for the next feeding.

It's kind of hard to take, knowing that your baby isn't getting everything he needs from you, when your body is supposed to be designed specifically for this. At least at this point, we are not having to use formula. I'll be really sad if it comes to that.

The weird part is that he seems to be doing well otherwise. He's got plenty of wakeful periods. He seems satisfied after most feedings. He puts out plenty of wet and poopy diapers, which indicate that he is getting food through his system. But for some reason, he's just not getting the nutrition he needs from that food. We're not sure why.

I took him in to be weighed today, and after adding in supplementary feedings and cutting out dairy, he gained an ounce over the weekend. (Well, sort of. He had a full diaper when we weighed him, so I'm not sure if it counts or not.) The doctor said she'd call with further instructions after reviewing his weight gain. I'm doing my best to stay positive, but it's so heartbreaking thinking that maybe he's hungry all the time and I just don't know it. That has to do something awful to his trust in the people taking care of him, if he's spending so much of his time hungry. But, he's not fussing like he's hungry except for every couple of hours, so I have to believe that he's getting most of what he needs, and soon he'll be fattening up and getting the Buddha belly I so desperately want him to have.

Send fat thoughts our way!

Photographic Evidence

Clearly it's time to share some pictures of the little Guy. So, here we go:

Our first walk

A few days after we got home, Greg and I took out the new stroller. Oh, and the new baby. It was nice to do something other than sit on the couch with a child attached to me. And he seemed to enjoy it, though every bump we went over sent his arms flying out to the sides in his startle reflex. Poor thing. 

Napping on Mommy

There's nothing quite like passing out after a full belly of milk. Of course, anytime he's in this position, I start singing this song.

His Lovie

I'm pretty sure this is his lovie for life. The moment I put him down in his crib next to this guy and wind him up to play a little song, Guy immediately quiets and just listens. It's how I manage to go wash my hands after poopy diaper changes.

Guy and his Granny

When Greg went back to work, my mom came and stayed for a couple of days, to help ease me into life without a husband at my beck and call. Of course, she spent plenty of time just rocking Guy and holding him while he slept. He's not spoiled. Not at all. 

Bath Time

See? To ensure he isn't spoiled, we often hold him down and do terrible things to him like clean him. He's not a fan. 

The Future Gourmand 

We escaped the house and went to our favorite diner down the street, Duffy's. We actually enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while he slept. It was really, really nice. And I drank two cups of coffee. Don't tell anyone. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Week 3 - Guy is Successfully Still Alive

Despite my worries to the contrary, we have been able to keep Guy not only alive, but he appears to be thriving. I know - we were as surprised as you are. He's back to birth weight, and he puts out more diapers than I care to think about.

My biggest apprehension about parenthood was the simple challenge that we are required to care for this little squirmer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And it is every bit as scary as I had thought, but it also seems to be getting less so. We are finding routines in the chaos, and learning Guy's cues for his needs.

For instance, a bleating goat-like cry means, "Dude, I'm a little peckish. But give me five minutes and I will suddenly believe I haven't eaten all week." Also, any quiet activity time in which his arms and legs are moving is only a precursor to a windmill-like moment of pure frenzy in which he will simultaneously dig his right index finger into his cornea and also scratch himself in 3 places with his left hand.

It has also become mandatory that anytime we use the best swaddler we have (a pre-fab swaddling blanket called a Swaddle Me, which has easy velcro closures for perfect swaddling every time), he will undoubtedly leak out of his diaper and all over it somewhere around 2-3:00 a.m.

He is a champ at cluster feeding, which means my nipples are about to fall off, they're so tired and sore. I finally resorted to using a pacifier after he's been at the breast for more than 90 minutes. I feel like a bad mom sometimes for doing it, but he can't be getting that much after 90 minutes, and my poor boobs need a break. And I have to think that he's there more for the comfort than for the nutrition at that point.

We just got back from a nice walk (I walked, he napped - he's a genius, but not THAT advanced) through the neighborhood, and he just realized (without opening his eyes) that his is neither outside nor does he have a boob in his mouth - the only two acceptable states at this juncture. The jig is up.  I better get a boob ready, STAT.

- Jennifer

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Planning The Guilt Trip

It is no secret that I wanted a natural birth. There are many (and good) reasons for this. But one random reason was purely for the guilt trip it creates for your child. This is the conversation I imagined with my son someday:

Me: Please take out the trash, Guy.
Guy: I don't really want to.
Me: Yes, well I didn't really want to spend 14 hours in a hospital room trying to force your melon head out of a hole the size of a plum, but I did. So take out the trash.

I mean, it's the ultimate argument winner. And true, I can use the fact that I had major surgery to have him, but somehow it's just not as weighty as the labor I had expected.

But then, I realized that every mother has the ultimate argument after the first few weeks, because labor can't be any more exhausting than weeks on end of sleep deprivation. It's brutal. So I think I'll just trot out this schedule whenever Guy wants to get out of hard work...

Around 8 or 9:00 p.m. G gets fussy and tired. We change his diaper, clothes and begin night time prep. This includes me locating my nursing pillow, lanolin cream for my chewed-up nipples, water mug filled with 36 oz of liquid that I will proceed to drink all of during the night, my iPhone and headphones for entertainment, and a swaddling blanket. I quickly try to brush my teeth and put on PJs, because the moment G is soundly asleep, I will attempt my first shift of sleep as well. Once G is in a fresh diaper, we get into bed and I nurse him, usually for about 45 minutes before he falls asleep. You would think this would be followed by putting him in the crib and blissfully passing out, but no. If he is put down too soon, he either spits up violently or he begins making a strangled sound akin to a large chipmunk choking on a walnut. This, of course, also wakes him up. So I hold him upright against my chest to ward off that unpleasantness.

After 10-15 minutes, I can risk putting him down, but this only means its time to swaddle him. I do it as if I'm wrapping a bomb, but it still wakes him partially, so afterward I spend another few minutes rocking him back to a deeper sleep before I can try putting him in his bassinet. By the time I do put him in the bassinet, he's been sleeping off and on for about 20 minutes. I lay him on the mattress gently, turn his head to one side or the other and then retreat to my place in bed as fast as lightening. I basically throw myself onto the pillow, and shut my eyes in hopes that I will immediately pass out (which I often do). Because, chances are, I will be woken to start the whole rigmarole again in about 45 minutes.

 This goes on at least 4 times during the night, if not more. And if he's on a 2-hour feeding schedule, I get a glorious hour of sleep each round. Sometimes, he's nicer to me and he stretches the feedings to 2 and a half (or, as in the case of one amazing night, almost 3 and a half) hours. So, at best, I usually get about 5 hours of  intermittent sleep.

So, when Little G complains that he's too tired to do the dishes, I'll bring this out, read it to him, and remind him that I was never too tired to feed him, so he can do me the tiny favor of scrubbing a few pots and pans. So THERE.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Things I don't want to forget: Week One

I'm told how quickly it all leaves you, so I want to write down some things that I've loved about the very first week with Guy.

- The way his little body curls into mine when he's nursing, which signals that either a burp or other bodily functions are forthcoming. It's especially funny when it leads to a giant burp while he's still firmly latched and sucking. I feel like its the best compliment he can give me right now.
- How excited he gets when he's about to be fed. Fists go flailing, often hitting him in the face, and followed by the confusion of tiny knuckles for a nipple. His head bobs back and forth and he just can't seem to contain his excitement.
- The milk coma face. (See photo) And the way his little body flops around after a feeding and he's in total relaxation mode.
- Seeing him laying all tiny and sweet on a pillow in Greg's lap while he programs at his computer. I love how Greg bonds with him.
- My first (but definitely not last) encounter with a fountain of pee at a diaper change. It was impressive and very confusing at 4:00 am.
- His bubble squeak. When he has a gas bubble, he makes a tiny squeak that sounds like a little mouse. It is both cute and disconcerting.
- Beginning the tradition of reading before bed. Our first book was l Love You Forever. We both cried. But I'm pretty sure he was just hungry.

- Jennifer