Monday, March 31, 2008

Daddy's Home

Today was TJ's first day working from home with the new company he and his friends Tom and Alice started. (Tom and Alice live in DC.) It felt so different and so wonderful to have him here today. He took Eamon downstairs this morning, and by the time I got down there, he had made coffee, unloaded the dishwasher, put a pot roast in the slow cooker, and was feeding Squeaky. I said, "Am I dreaming? Who are you?" The past nine months have been so hard with his job (and terrible timing with a new baby). This seems too good to be true.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

An Excellent Excuse for Chocolate Cake!

Happy 1/2 birthday to our sweet little monkey!

Someone Is Six Months Old Today!

Eamon must've known what a big milestone today is, because he fell asleep on his own last night for the first time. He pretty much did the same thing the night before too, although we did go in once. Since he did so well, we figured we'd try not going in at all to see what would happen. We put him down and went downstairs to eat dinner (our last batch of frozen stew from when he was born). We were prepared to go to him if he got really upset or if he was still fussing after twenty or so minutes. He wasn't crying very hard, though, and he fell asleep in approximately seventeen minutes, with several quiet pauses in there. Isn't that incredible?! I remember the days of his car seat phobia, and how HARD he would cry. It was awful. He has never cried like that when we put him down to sleep, although I suspect he would have if we had tried this any sooner. I just can't believe this is happening! It's nice to feel like it's not something we're forcing. We're certainly not following a rigid method, or any method, really.

In addition to finding his feet this past week, he has also discovered his upper register, and he's having fun experimenting with high-pitched sounds. They aren't the ear-splitting kind, just sweet squeaks and squawks, little squeals, and sometimes no sound comes out at all, which is very funny. He had us laughing a lot yesterday with his new way of expressing himself.

He's also getting the hang of rolling from his tummy to his back. He did it several weeks ago for the first time, but hadn't done it much since. Now all of a sudden he's a rolling fool! Or a half-rolling fool. I went ahead and took the bumper out of his crib yesterday. In retrospect, I have to say the bumper was a waste of money.

Today we're meeting our friends Brian and Mitchell at Central Market for lunch, and tonight I'm meeting my parents and brothers at Carmelo's to celebrate the fact that my brother Kent went to the courthouse last week and married his girlfriend of seven (I think) years. They hadn't been officially engaged or anything, so it was a bit of a shock, and my parents were out of town when it happened. (They all live in San Marcos.) We're happy for them though. I'll head over this evening after E has his last nursing, and TJ will stay home.

Well, this is a lame post, not at all fitting for my beautiful boy's half birthday, but hopefully tomorrow I can write something more.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

I knew this would happen, but it still shocked me.

Eamon had his first big-person poop today. Egads! It smelled like real poop, and it looked kinda like real poop too, even though it was soft by grownup standards. He seemed to have trouble getting it out, and then he cried and cried when I was changing him, as though he were hurting. I was afraid he was constipated, but when I read up on it I gathered that he probably wasn't as long as his stool was soft. Maybe it just didn't feel good to him. :(

We haven't introduced prunes yet, and he's not big on water at this point, so I'm not really sure what to do to make it easier on him. Maybe his system is just getting used to this new form of food. I do plan on giving him prunes soon.

Today at lunchtime he had his first two-course meal: bananas and cereal mixed with breastmilk and then sweet potatoes mixed with breastmilk, or EBM as I gather the veterans like to call it. I don't know if I needed to add much milk to the sweet potatoes, but I have a bunch in the fridge right now, so I figured I might as well. It seemed like he ate a lot, which is why I busted out the second course. Does this mean I should be feeding him solid food twice a day? I was planning on adding a second meal around seven months, but I could do it sooner. He'll be six months officially on Sunday.

Incidentally, E is asleep right now and has been for an hour. This is the first time since Tuesday that he's napped for longer than his customary thirty minutes. I put him down wide awake, too. He hardly cried at all. I don't think I can express to you how NUTS this is. Nuts and wonderful. Meanwhile, he's still batting a thousand at night. Eleven hours last night. This is the opposite extreme of where we were two weeks ago. Babies are a mystery.

I love my mystery.

Squeaky, will I ever like you again?

I'm sure many people have a similar story: Their pets used to be the light of their lives, and then they had a baby. It's so sad for (in this case) Squeaky. But what's even sadder is that I really can't stand Squeaky anymore. It's not just that she's second banana, she annoys the hell out of me. All the time. I love her, but I don't want her anywhere near me, let alone on me, and I want her to shut up and stop spazzing out. I feel like such a jerk. I read with a pillow on top of my torso before bed so that she can't lay on me like she used to. (But part of this is because I'm breastfeeding and, frankly, it doesn't feel good to have anything laying on or maybe even anywhere near my boobs.)

You don't understand, I used to ADORE this kitty. I got up in the middle of the night every night for a year to let her outside when we lived in that tiny house in Hyde Park. There was nothing I wouldn't do for her. This scrappy, skinny kitty showed up in the backyard a few days after we moved here from DC, and it soon became obvious that no one was feeding her and that she was desperate for some love. She made all kinds of cute, squeaky noises, and TJ started calling her Squeaky. (This was before we knew she was going to be ours.) Then it became obvious that one of her eyes was infected. And after that she got in a fight with a raccoon (we think) and developed a huge abscess on her back and got very, very sick. Six hundred dollars in vet bills later, and we had a cat. No, I'm kidding. (Well, not about the money.) She had to have a tube through her back to drain the abscess and it was all a very traumatic way for her to get to know us and to be housetrained. We had to keep her inside for a week and she moaned and wailed the whole week. Terrible, inhuman sounds. She was a wild one. In one week she killed six squirrels. She also killed plenty of birds, lizards, mice, and baby possums.

I tried to rename her Pearl (Squeaky Pearl) after we realized she belonged to us, but the damage had been done, and Squeaky was her name. When we bought our house and moved to where we are now in northeast Austin, we decided to make her an indoor cat (if we could). We bought in a new neighborhood with lots of construction and woods, and it just didn't seem safe for her. Plus we were tired of cleaning up dead things and dealing with stuff like fleas and tapeworm. Ugh. Lo and behold, she adapted very well, and has not been outside (except for the few times she's briefly escaped), in a year and a half. But she still yearns to go out and she still wants to play like a kitten, even though we think she might be as old as five years. Her favorite thing of all, though, is to lay on top of her people and look deeply into our eyes. She is the opposite of aloof. I often beg her to be more aloof and less loving. It's mean, I know.

Just tell me that I'll like her again one day. And that she won't scratch Eamon's face off once he starts grabbing her fur, because then I don't know what we'll do. She's a loving cat, but she's not a gentle or patient cat. We can't pick her up, and she's picky about the angles she's pet from.

So that's the story of Squeaky, told partly to remind myself of the history we share with her. The little Squeak.

Here she is in that first year we had her, looking very funny.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Interesting Question at Happy Hour

There was a happy hour today for TJ at the Domain, so E and I went back. He was spitting up a lot (was lunch at North to blame?), and then it was getting time for him to go to bed, so he and I only stayed about forty-five minutes. It was enough time for me to allow myself two-thirds of a beer, and boy, was it good. At the moment I can't imagine ever wanting to stop breastfeeding, but when I do, I'm really going to look forward to being able to have a couple of drinks. It's been a long time. The most I have now (tonight being an exception) are a few sips of wine.

At the happy hour someone asked me what the longest period of time is that I've been away from Eamon. Wow. I hadn't thought about that before. We determined that the longest time has been four hours, on New Year's Eve. And I didn't really even have fun. My breasts were on their way to being engorged by the end, which made me feel uncomfortable and anxious, and I just didn't feel right being out in the world.

In the first three to four months I used to really need to get out by myself for even half an hour, if only to walk around the block. And yet anytime I was away for any real length of time, I couldn't enjoy myself. Being apart didn't feel natural. I also felt (and still do) as though the rest of the world was racing by at breakneck speed, while I lumbered behind in slow motion with the lights on dim. I hate that feeling.

Being apart would still freak me out, I think, but I wouldn't know because it's been months since I was away from him. I don't need breaks in the same desperate way that I used to. This isn't to say that I shouldn't have them, and I know it would be good for me and TJ to get out alone more, but I almost feel like I wouldn't even know what to do. I eat, sleep, and breathe this baby. He is everything to me. What is it like for moms who work outside the home, I wonder? Is this what it feels like to lose your identity? Funny how it's the same feeling as falling in love.


E and I met TJ for lunch today at the Domain (where TJ's office is). We ate at North. Ohmigod. That place is fabulous. The calamari and arugula salad is inSANEly good. Probably anything on the menu is insanely good. It was a $50 lunch, but we were celebrating TJ's job change and the fact that he'll be working from home (yay!) starting on Monday. I really can't believe it. This is the first time we've had lunch together (during the week) since Eamon was born, which I think is sort of sick, but it just goes to show how crazy his job has been and why he's getting out. Before Eamon was born, when the company moved its offices to the Domain, we fantasized about me and the baby coming over and meeting him for lunch or coffee every now and then in the afternoon. Um, not so much. But hey, that's beside the point now!

Here's a picture from lunch.

Schedule, Shmedule

Up until now, we haven't really had a schedule. I try to space feedings three hours apart, but that's just an average, and the feeding times vary. Eamon also hasn't really had a bedtime, although for awhile it seemed to happen most often around 8:00 no matter what we did. Now we seem to be falling into a pattern, and I'm digging it. I'd like to help facilitate it.

Mornings are the most consistent. They look something like:

7:00 wake up, play in crib while Mom and Dad doze and listen to the sweet sounds of a happy baby coming through the monitor
7:30 nurse
8:00-8:30 cuddle in Mom and Dad's bed, then play on their bed while Mom gets dressed and does her thang
8:30-9:00 downstairs with Mom (I eat breakfast, feed the cat, etc.)
9:00 back upstairs for first nap
10:30 (or so) nurse
11:30 nap
12:30 (or so) solid food

From there it varies. Since he usually takes such short naps, there's often a nap every two or so hours. So either three or four a day. Yesterday worked out very well, with naps at 9:15, 11:30, 3:00, and then I nursed him to sleep for the night at 6:30. (He didn't stay down though. TJ ended up rocking him for quite awhile, so it was probably 7:30 by the time he really went down. But then he slept straight through until 7:00 this morning!) The night before he ended up needing a nap at 5:00, which sort of screwed up bedtime.

Ever since our last night in New Orleans he's been sleeping through the night like a champ. And I'm not talking six hours, I'm talking eight, eleven, and twelve hours at a time. I'm enjoying it while it lasts, because I know it won't last forever. The two to three weeks leading up to our trips were hellish. He was waking up every two to three hours, and our first two nights in Florida it was every hour. He has no signs of teeth yet, but we feel like his gums hurt at night, and he also seemed to be having gas troubles a few weeks ago, when we first started solids.

I don't know, I go back and forth between wanting to have a strict schedule and wanting to just sit back and let whatever happens happen. It would be easier if I strongly believed in doing it one way or another, but in truth I think I fall somewhere in the middle. Maybe I should just own that, and then I wouldn't feel as insecure as I do sometimes, especially when talking to moms who are either super schedule oriented or not at all.

I have feet! Must grab feet.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


The morning nap. I rocked him till he went to sleep, then he woke up and cried when I put him down. I left the room and for about twenty minutes he was alternately playing, quiet, or crying (but he never got hysterical), and then he fell asleep. This is genius! I left his room at 9:00, and it's now 9:45. . . . Annnnnd I spoke too soon. He's up. Sigh. Still, I consider it progress. He never falls asleep on his own, and we've never let him cry it out, because we don't feel comfortable with it (sometimes I wish I did). This new way doesn't feel like crying it out. I don't know what's changed, I guess I'm just following his cues and doing what feels right in the moment. I would never have put him down and left like this two weeks ago. I feel like our travels last week were really good for all of us. We were forced to help him go to sleep differently, and he ended up being put down a lot sooner than usual, as in not rocked endlessly. (We didn't have a workable rocker, and rocking on a couch is brutal on the back, we discovered.)

The forest for the trees

I started a blog the month before Eamon was conceived (as it turns out) because I was so sad that we still weren't pregnant (after a miscarriage, uterine surgery, and many months of trying), and I desperately needed a way to connect to our future kiddos and to the part of me that already felt like their mom. I figured it would be interesting later to go back and see what our life was like before our first baby, since everyone says you can't remember it. Of course, wouldn't you know I got pregnant soon after starting the blog. Funny how that works.

Our dream boy has been with us for six months now, and I'm feeling the urge to blog again. I think a lot of new moms must feel this way: that their day-to-day lives are consumed by what most people would consider inconsequential events. And I have this urge to tell someone about these itty-bitty details. But it would be downright cruel to constantly subject my family and friends to this stuff. An update here or there, why sure! But this is where my brain is 24/7. It's insane.

There are several mom blogs that I check regularly (mostly belonging to Austin Mamas), and I devour them, so I figure I'll add this one to the mix, and maybe some other moms will enjoy mine as much as I enjoy theirs. I think I'll share it with some friends as well, but I don't know about family. I don't want to have to watch what I say too much . . .

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

He's still asleep!

The first nap today was unusual in its development. He usually goes down fairly regularly--between 9:00 and 9:30--but it looked like this one wasn't going to take, even though he was obviously exhausted. He cried for a few minutes when I rocked him, then fell asleep, only to wake up when I put him down. I decided to leave him in his crib and let him cry for a few minutes, with ten being the max I had in mind. I had turned on the music when I started rocking him (that's one of the new rituals we're trying to do, in place of my singing to him, which makes it harder for other people to put him down). He was in there longer than ten minutes, but he wasn't really crying at first, so I waited until he sounded upset. I went in and tried to rock him, but he was kicking and not happy about being rocked. So I laid him down one more time, left his room and closed the door, and lo and behold, he fell asleep after a few (10?) minutes. What's really insane is that he's now been down for an hour, which is twice as long as he usually naps. I heard him cry out a couple of times, and I went in to get him, only to discover that he was still asleep. Oh, please, let this be a turning point. I should know by now not to get my hopes up after a single occurrence of something, but I can't help it. Maybe this is progress!

Too Much Cuteness for the World

A sweet baby up too late after spending the day in the French Quarter

On our way home

Back from Our Travels

We got back on Saturday from New Orleans. It marked the end of back-to-back plane trips, a first for us as a family with a little dude. We went to Florida first, for five nights. We visited TJ's parents at their house in the Villages, an oasis for white retirees with money (over 40,000 of them, in fact). Oh, and they're all Republican from what we can tell. TJ likes to give his mom a hard time (to put it mildly) about the Villages. She was recounting the story of how she got really close to Bush when he was there, and TJ asked her how it felt to be that close to evil. Poor Mary. She and TJ's dad are so happy there, and his dad can drive his golf cart pretty much anywhere he needs to go. We make fun of it (we have to, really), but we had a relaxing time, I must admit.

So, we flew back last Wednesday, spent one night at home, and then left for a three day/two night trip to New Orleans. Oh, magical N.O. How I love thee. It would take too long to describe the whole trip, but it was wonderful and insane and beautiful and exhausting. We stayed with my friend Patty Friedmann (the author, I feel I should say), and she kindly drove us where we needed to be. She has a granddaughter who's almost two, so she had a carseat in her car that Eamon could use (not to mention a crib and toys, etc., at her house). Made things so much easier than they would've been. The trip was business and pleasure mixed, but really it was mostly pleasure. TJ and two old DC friends and colleagues are starting a company up, and they were announcing the new venture at the NTEN conference in New Orleans. TJ didn't have to go to the actual conference, he just had to help host a little soiree one night. Oh, and he "had" to go out to dinner at Galatoire's on Bourbon Street afterwards. I stayed at Patty's with E. I was thrilled that TJ got to go to Galatoire's, because I'd been last year when I visited Patty by myself and was pregnant but didn't know it yet.

We credit New Orleans with Eamon's existence, which is partly why we wanted to all go back. When I went to see Patty last year, we ended up in a voodoo shop where I picked up a doll and some candles, and we also went to St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square and lit candles and prayed for a baby. One week later I was staring at a positive pregnancy test. Patty likes to say that Eamon got glued in New Orleans.

In any case, we took a bunch of photos. I'll just post a couple of my faves.