Monday, August 28, 2006

The Stats Are In

Natalie had her 4 month appointment today (at 4 1/2 months, but who's counting?). The official weigh-in was 18 lbs, 4 oz., which was actually less than we were expecting, and she's 25.5 inches long. The doctor declared her fabulous (as if we didn't already know), and then sent the nurse in to jab her in the thigh. Sometimes it must really suck to be 4 months old.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Meme about Me

Gus tagged Natalie for this MeMeMe

3 Things That Scare Me

  • The buzzer on the dryer
  • The possibility that the boobs might go away and never come back
  • The straps on the carseat being even tighter

3 People That Make Me Laugh

  • I’m not really up to speed on this laughing thing, but I grin and snort at my mommies a lot. Sometimes, if they’re really funny, I’ll give them a “ha.”
  • I’ll smile at anyone that smiles at me and tells me how cute I am

3 Things I Love
You mean besides the boobs?

  • Anything I can fit in my mouth
  • Chewing my moms’ faces
  • Baths and other water games

Things I Hate

  • When someone besides my moms tries to feed me or make me nap
  • Getting dressed
  • When I can’t get my toys into my mouth

3 Things I Don’t Understand

  • Why my moms don’t let me roll over when they’re changing my diaper
  • Why my moms think naps are so important
  • Why my moms won’t share their ice cream

3 Things On My Desk/Table (or my highchair)

3 Things I’m Doing Right Now

  • Trying to get some teeth through my gums
  • Snorting
  • Trying to get my toys into my mouth (why do they always put them so far away? Oh fine. I’ll just chew on my hands.)

3 Things I Want to Do Before I Die

  • Eat REAL food
  • Learn to crawl
  • Live a long, long, long, long, long time (can you tell my moms are the ones typing for me?)

3 Things I Can Do

  • Roll over
  • Inchworm my way (ver-r-ry slowly) around the floor or my crib
  • Put things in my mouth

3 Ways to Describe My Personality

  • Playful
  • Determined
  • Smiley

3 Things I Can’t Do

  • Crawl
  • Make my jumper jump
  • Eat real food

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To

  • My moms when they sing
  • The noise my chirpy frog toy makes
  • My white noise machine

3 Things I Think You Should Never Listen To

  • That box that beeps every morning really, really early
  • The people that say that Mama isn’t really my mom
  • My moms when they say, “let’s change your diaper!”

3 Absolute Favorite Foods

  • Breastmilk
  • Breastmilk
  • Breastmilk

3 Things I’d Like to Learn

  • To REALLY crawl
  • To EAT what my moms eat
  • To fit BOTH FISTS into my mouth at once

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly

  • Breastmilk
  • Breastmilk
  • Breastmilk

3 Shows I Watched as a Kid (wait a minute--I'm not a kid anymore?)

  • “The Fishy Show” on my aquarium bouncer at Gram’s
  • My moms being silly
  • Ummm…is there anything else? (note from moms: Natalie doesn’t know what TV is and we plan to keep it that way for a while)

3 Babies I Tag

Monday, August 21, 2006

On Her Mark, Get Set, Go!

It cannot be called crawling. It cannot be called elegant. But here we sit, watching Natalie do SOMETHING which indubitably results in forward motion. I fear for the future of her nose, as it requires that she place her face on the floor, dig in with her feet, and shove herself forward.

(And the back to work update is: GOOD! She screamed much less, grudgingly took most of two bottles, and took 2 decent naps today. SO much better than we were expecting. Thanks for all of your support and encouragement!)

Trial Run #3

We tried again on Sunday to ease Natalie in to staying with grandma. All three of us went to visit for a few hours, this time equipped with a variety of new kinds of bottles and sippy cups. She was fed and rested (last time we'd tried a little tired and hungry) and quite happy to play with my mom, uncle, and stepfather. But the second my mom crossed the Feeding Line, it was shriek city. Agony ensued for moms and baby. When we took pity on Natalie (and ourselves!) she again went to sleep after eating.

We had to leave before she woke up, so my mother picked her up from the swing where she was napping. Without EVER waking up, she began to wail. She stopped immediately, still totally asleep, the second my mom handed her to Cait. She can tell us apart In. Her. Sleep.

This is going to be a long week.

*For Shelli and others who asked, this is a transitional arrangement. She's with my mom almost 100% for the next three weeks, after which Cait goes to a reduced workweek. At that point Cait will be home two days a week, Natalie will be at my mom's two days a week, and I will be home about once a week for the month of September. In October, we add in ANOTHER caregiver (we're swapping childcare with another family, but that mom doesn't go back to work until October) and the final arrangement will be two days with Cait, one day with Grandma, and two days with J. It's complicated but should be great once everyone adjusts. I just hope we survive the adjusting!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bottled Up

Contrary to popular wisdom, which indicates that a four-month old should not experience separation anxiety, Natalie is very aware of who her moms are and she does not want any substitutes. Cait has not yet gone back to work, so Natalie hasn't had to endure too much Total Mom Deprivation, but we've been doing trial runs of leaving her with my mom, and that has been agonizing for everyone involved.

We thought it wouldn't be too difficult, as the baby is only four months old, AND she's known her grandmother since she was 8 hours old, AND she sees her grandmother several times a week. Plus, we dutifully introduced the bottle right when she was 3 weeks old (not too early, not too late) and she's had bottles several times a week without much or any fuss from both Cait and me ever since. But we'd never left her at my mom's house (except for the anniversary dinner, and we know how THAT ended), nor had my mom ever given her a bottle. BIG MISTAKES.

Wednesday morning, we left her with my mom and Cait came to work with me. The plan was, she'd have a bottle and a nap at Gram's and then Cait would take her home. Mid-morning, my mom called, frantic. Natalie would not, WOULD NOT take the bottle, had barely slept, and had been screaming hysterically for some time. Cait and I rushed to the house but Natalie was so distraught that she didn't register our presence or begin to calm down until the breast touched her mouth. After nursing, she was our smiley, happy baby again, so we decided Cait would stay with her to help ease the transition. The transition time with both Cait and my mom there worked quite well. I went back to work, Natalie napped, and when she woke up, she cheerfully took a bottle from Cait. "Look!" said my mom to my uncle. "Just look. It's the SAME bottle I was trying to give her." Shortly thereafter, the baby fell asleep. Cait came to join me at work again, and when Natalie woke up she played with my mom and then they walked over to meet us, whereupon she gleefully nursed again.

So we came up with a new strategy. Yesterday we let everyone have a day to recover, and this morning, Cait went with Natalie to my mom's, with the plan that she would stay there, but hang in the background so Natalie could get used to my mom taking care of her. We timed it so she was somewhat hungry and tired when she arrived, hoping that she'd be more interested in the bottle and the napping. Not so much. In fact, it was rather the opposite. She was hungry, but adamant that she wasn't going to eat for my mom, and the longer she went, the hungrier and tireder she got. She became so outraged that she wouldn't even take the bottle from Cait and fell asleep in frustration. After a brief nap Cait was able to give her the bottle and she sucked away willingly. About halfway through the bottle, they tried a handoff. Total failure. The second Natalie and the bottle were in my mom's arms, wails ensued. So Cait finished feeding her, she took a nap, and then Round 2 began. There was a brief flicker of success when my mom tried feeding her in the bouncy seat, but after a few minutes, Natalie wised up, screeched her disapproval, and quit drinking. When baby, grandma, and mom hit the breaking point, Cait finished feeding that bottle too. And then Natalie was quite willing to play and smile and have fun with Gram. But there will be No Feeding by anyone other than Authorized Personnel, evidently.

It appears that while we were successful in getting Natalie to take a bottle consistently, we also unwittingly established that the bottles are Cait's boobs.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

1 Down, 192 to Go

I survived yesterday, and it wasn't so bad. Thanks for all of your comments and support (and Mindy, you were exactly right - the anticipation was probably the worst part). The hardest parts of the day were actually leaving her (oh, the weeping) and, um, the tortured state of my chest after the most pumping I've ever done followed by Natalie's near permanent attachment once I came back. But the pain will diminish over time, I know, whether psychic or physiological. And I've only got to slog through another 192 days until NEXT summer....

Of course, it helped that Cait is home all this week, and that I worked a slightly shortened day, and that we went with my mom to her neighborhood pool after work. The pool has been majorly renovated since I was last there about 15 years ago and has an AWESOME baby pool where Natalie got to wriggle in a "splash beach". Finishing the day like that almost made me forget I'd gone to work. Really, if I could just work half time, that's all I'm asking for!

That's not gonna happen, so I'll just have to keep working in order to be able to have moments like this:

The Splash Beach

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Elephant in the Living Room

We've had a lot of haircut fun and photoessays here of late. What we haven't talked about is this: I am going back to work on Monday. And it's killing me.

I know I have to do it. I know it will get easier. I know Natalie will be in good hands. I know that if I stayed home full time forever, I'd lose my mind. I know that as American mothers go, I've been damn lucky to get (almost!) four months home with my girl. (And that right there is a horrendous fact in and of itself.) But I yearn for Canada or some other place with intelligent, pro-child social policy. I wish we had more flexible jobs or more savings so we could afford a year or two of both of us working half time. I wish we lived in a place where the cost of living weren't so insane (but that such a place could still have family nearby, job opportunities, and cohousing - there is no such place). But we live where we live, our finances are what they are, and summer is (for me at least) over.

So we pore over our child-care calendar, I work out the logistics of pumping & storing milk, I spend a lot of time smelling Natalie's head, we find ridiculous things to obsess about just so we can avoid thinking about next week, and I cry without warning at inopportune times. And Monday, I will leave behind the best four months of my life.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hairs to You

Yes, indeed, we went to the Aveda Institute again today. Without further ado, here are the before and afters of our Aveda trips:



(Not the best pictures in the world by any means!)

Cait's take on the whole Aveda experience is two thumbs up. She says she wished she had done something more dramatic but was unsure of what to expect from a student. Having seen Cait get a very good haircut, I did feel ok going with a big change, and I had a photo of an old haircut that I wanted to go back to. My cheapskate heart is very glad I went, and the scalp & shoulder massage was excellent, but I'm not yet sure what I think of the haircut. Plus, it felt like I got THREE haircuts - first she took off a lot of length (painstakingly), then she shaped it, after which I said it did not look like the photo I showed her, so she reshaped it. But it's always hard for me to judge a haircut the first day. We'll see what I think after I wash it.

We do wish that Natalie hadn't been so insistent on getting HER hair styled...

So Dangerous Part 2

Today is Jen's turn to get a haircut. She's going for a more dramatic change than I was, so she spent some time researching possibilities. The Clairol "Try It On" website wasn't terribly helpful to Jen, but Natalie got several new hairstyles.

In other news, Jen has gotten serious about getting back in shape post-baby and has taken up pumping iron.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Third Time's a Charm

Three years ago today, Cait and I had just gotten married. We were preparing to leave for our honeymoon, and I was already in the doghouse. Yes, a mere one day into the marriage. (It's a long story, involving ironing pants and Cait being trapped in the downstairs bathroom. Ask me some other time when things are slow, ok?)

Two years ago today, we were on vacation with my family. We were newly pregnant and excited. Little did we know what lay ahead.

One year ago today, we were on vacation with my family. We were newly pregnant and nervous. We hung out with my brother and his fiancee and fed pickles to seagulls.

Today, we played with our amazingly wonderful, sunshiny girl. We took her to my mom's in the afternoon, and then left for 2 1/2 hours for our first date since her birth. We both sat in the front seat. We ate divine food without interruption. We realized we had no idea what to talk about, as our conversation for the past three years has revolved around getting pregnant, staying pregnant, being pregnant, or having a baby. So, we talked about Natalie, and tried to remember what we did before we began the whole crazy process of trying to have her. We missed her.

After our lavish meal we dashed through a tremendous rainstorm to the car and returned to my mom's to find that Natalie had been wailing inconsolably for the last 20 minutes. We assumed she was overtired, and began trying to soothe her to sleep. After several minutes, she looked up and, finally realizing that we were both back, began hiccuping her way towards calm. Within minutes she was smiling, chattering and trying to eat our noses. She missed us.

This anniversary beats the others by miles. If only we never had to leave her. Anyone got a spare million to donate to the Jen and Cait Never Go Back to Work Fund?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Home, Sweet Home

We had a wonderful trip, with great friends, lots of laid back time with family, and a great deal of fun. But OH, is it great to be home! In no particular order(ha!), I am ecstatic to be reunited with:
  • Our well-functioning central A/C (for the geeks out there, it's actually geothermal heating and cooling).
  • Our filtered water (another way I discovered I am spoiled: I can't stand tap water anymore).
  • Our speedy, if not reliable, DSL connection and two (TWO!) laptops. No more fighting over computer access! :)
  • OUR very own bed... ahhhh.
  • Our shower - on the trip, we bathed in 4 different showers, at least three of which had weird knobs and/or were hooked up backwards. One was so strange I resigned myself to brief daily cold showers despite long, studious attempts to analyze and comprehend the setup. Cait's mom's shower, which is indeed hooked up backwards, has always heretofore been the nirvana of showers, as it has water pressure akin to Niagara Falls. This trip, however, the water pressure advantage was utterly erased by the heat and humidity, which rendered the bathroom a complete fetid rainforest as nothing (not towels, nor rugs, nor bathmats) could ever dry out and it all had a miasma of funk. The shower here at home has somewhat lame water pressure, but I know how it works, and it pours (er, dribbles) forth at whatever temperature I specify. Bliss.

I know I am a completely spoiled yuppie weenie, but I am a very, very happy completely spoiled yuppie weenie tonight!


Many folks expressed interest in hearing more about cohousing and our experiences with it. For your benefit, I will add that it was particularly wonderful to return home to cohousing.* In the first half hour that we were home, we said hi to at least 6 neighbors, dropped Natalie off with one of them to watch her while we unloaded the car, had our houseplants returned (healthier than when we'd left them) by the neighbor who'd cared for them in our absence, and been visited by one neighbor who "really missed us" (us=Natalie). We were also able to start three loads of laundry simultaneously by using the common washers as well as the one in our unit. It was really a nice way to come home.

*We'll have more in-depth posts on cohousing someday soon.

2 Moms, 1 Baby, 2 1/2 Weeks, No Room

There was stuff in the wayback; stuff in the backseat; stuff in the front seat. The people were squashed in as an afterthought. Lord help us when we have another kid....

But how can you complain when you have such a sweet & wonderful traveler?

Vacation Wrap-up

Over our last days away:

  • We visited Tree City Diapers and bought new covers (size medium) for our fast-growing girl
  • We had a lovely brunch with the moms-to-be of Maybe Expectant
  • Natalie perfected the art of rolling over and does it all. the. time. When we're changing her diaper, when she's nursing, when she's in the bouncy seat, when she's asleep (and then wakes up crying because she can't get back onto her back). It's amazing and enteraining to watch the progression.
  • Natalie met even more family and wowed them with her smile and willingness to be passed around. What a champ.
  • There was some kind of laundry/humidity malfunction, and now all of our clothes smell like mildew.
  • I decided that, for the health of our relationship, Jen and I should NEVER live anywhere without air conditioning.
  • Natalie and Sanna had a few more happy reunions before saying their final (for this trip) goodbyes. Sniff.

Now we're home, doing laundry like maniacs. I can't begin to express how good it feels to be back after 2 1/2 weeks. I only regret that it's so far from these guys.