Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Seven Months Old

Eamon is seven months old today, and I wish I could bottle him up the way he is now and keep him forever. He's just delicious. Those chubby thighs! That radiant smile, more glorious than the sun itself! The gentle, lovey coos he makes when he sees our cat Squeaky. The big powerful roars of happiness that come out of nowhere and fill our house. The beautiful sound of his laugh and the sight of those toothless gums. The way he tucks his bottom lip under and looks around pensively. The little baby hugs and squeezes (which are sometimes painful pinches, but who cares). And his eyes. I fall into them.
This little soul . . . my love.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good-bye, swing. Good-bye, papasan chair. Good-bye, TV.

This past weekend we dismantled the baby swing some friends had loaned us. I don't know what we would've done without that swing. There were many times Eamon wouldn't sleep anywhere else, and it was also where he would happily stay for a few minutes if I needed to use the bathroom or take some laundry downstairs or whatever. And sometimes, when he used to stay up really late at night, we would put him in the swing, which was facing away from the TV, and watch at least part of a movie. He was chilled out in the swing. So, this feels a little like a rite of passage. (Yet another to add to the ever-growing list.)

Along the same lines, we recently returned the papasan chair we'd borrowed from another friend, who needed it back for her second baby that's due next month. We used the papasan even more than the swing. It was where Eamon hung out in the kitchen, and when he started eating solids, it was where we fed him. We kept it on top of the dining table, which I'm sure isn't safe, but we were always right there. So now we've transitioned to the high chair. He sort of leans to the side, but he's getting it.

And finally, TV. This isn't a bad thing, in fact, it's good, but it's still a change. I used to watch TV when I nursed E during the day. We spent so much time nursing, it was the only way for me to feel connected to the world, and I enjoyed it for the most part. (I didn't seem to have the brain capacity or attention span to read books while I nursed.) It was a big deal leaving the house then because Eamon hated the car seat so much. I've never heard him cry as hysterically anywhere else. Luckily, he outgrew that when he hit five months, and suddenly going places was easy. But my point is that now I hardly watch any TV during the day. I used to DVR a ton of shows and blow through three or four in a day (fast-forwarding through commercials, etc.); now I'm lucky to make it through The View. (I know, it's embarrassing to admit that I watch The View. What can I say.) These days he just doesn't nurse as often, or for as long. When he does hunker down, it's usually first thing in the morning or at the end of the day when he's ready to fall asleep. Those are quiet, snuggly times. The best.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Do my new cloth diapers make my butt look big?

Tired and Stuck

Last night was rough, partly because I ended up at CVS at 1 a.m. buying a nine-volt battery for one of our smoke alarms that started chirping loudly sometime after midnight (and wouldn't stop without a new battery), and partly because E woke up a lot. His bottom gum looks a little swollen around where the two teeth are buried. He's also touchy and cries easily. We feel bad for him. He sure will look cute with those little teeth, though.

This morning he rolled over in his crib for the first time during the hour-and-a-half-long saga of getting him down for a nap. He was exhausted from the beginning and I ended up nursing him down. He wound up on his tummy twice before that, and he freaked out. He can only roll to his left for some reason (it's pretty funny), so he was stuck and didn't know what to do. So many changes for a little guy . . .

p.s. It's a beautiful day here in Central Texas.

Hooray for carrots!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

And then, and then, and then (sheesh)

We've had a nice weekend. The niceness started Friday morning, when TJ took E at 7:00 and I went back to bed until 8:00. TJ put E down for his nap at 8:15 (it was early for his nap, but he was exhausted for some reason), and he proceeded to sleep for an hour and a half. It's been awhile since he napped for longer than half an hour. I ate a leisurely breakfast and read more of Super Baby Food, which I desperately needed to do. I really have to get on the ball with his food. We've sort of stalled out on sweet potatoes, bananas, avocado, carrots, cereal, pears, apples, and prunes. And recently, peas and green beans, both of which he likes. (That list of food is longer than I realized.) I'm excited to introduce tofu to him soon. I think my criteria for making his food is that if all I have to do is mash/boil/steam/bake the food and then puree it and make food cubes, I'll do it. I don't think I'll be grinding rice and shelling peas and that kind of thing. I know myself well enough to know I wouldn't stay on top of it and would feel stressed out all the time. But it feels good to make a good portion of his food, and it's cheaper that way too. I'm also looking forward to making baby food with multiple ingredients. I've gotten some great recipes from the 2007 mamas that I can't wait to try. In addition to tofu, we're also going to introduce whole milk yogurt, squash, asparagus, and diluted juice this month (and maybe a few other things).

On Saturday we ate lunch at Guero's. I can't remember the last time we went there. We sat outside and ate and people-watched. Afterwards we headed over to the new Town Lake Park. It's fantastic! Overlooks the Austin skyline and has a bunch of fountains for kids to run through. There was an event called Park Day organized by Carrie Contey (, so that was what prompted us to check it out, but we didn't know anyone associated with the event, nor could we tell who was with that group, so we hung out on our own until we ran into our friends Kay and Joel and Jonas (who's six weeks older than E) and they introduced us to Carrie, who we'd never met. After that we walked over to the City Wide Garage Sale. E napped in his stroller while we looked at all the stuff. I picked up a few mismatched napkins. From there we headed home, stopping for coffee on the way at this new (I think?) place on S. Lamar called Emerald City Press. For dinner TJ grilled steaks and peppers and onions and made guacamole and pico from scratch. I looove it when he does that. I swear the stuff he makes is better than any I've ever had in a restaurant.

We woke up this morning to pouring rain. It felt good. It hasn't rained like this in months and months. We ended up going to church, and we met some super nice folks there. It was our fourth Sunday in a row going to this church, and we're liking it a lot. It's VERY progressive and inclusive and has a wonderful children's program. We think this might be the place for us. We felt like the UU church was missing something. It's important to us (especially me) for Eamon to grow up going to church, but I was starting to doubt we'd find one that we could stomach. I'm relieved that the UU church wasn't our only option.

Okay, I better get going. Eamon is having a tough time. I think we've entered the world of teething. We ended up giving him Tylenol last night. He woke up around 11:30 and was inconsolable, crying in pain. It seemed obvious to both of us that his gums hurt. We tried putting him back down several times, but he woke up screaming, so we finally resorted to Tylenol. I'm a little worried because I feel like this is only the beginning, and we can't be giving him medicine every night. Poor little guy.

Well, I feel like I've just listed off every single thing we did this weekend, which is not what I want this blog to be. It's easy for me to fall into that pattern. It's just such a relief to be having good weekends now that TJ's in a new job.

Here's a picture from this weekend of the sweetest boy in the world.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


This evening, out of the blue, Eamon rolled from his back to his belly all by himself. I was writing an email and he was laying on a blanket beside me on his back, playing with a toy. A few seconds later, I looked over and he was on his belly, and then, vloop, back on his back. A full roll! Just like that. And then he just kept rolling! And rolling. Before I knew it, he was almost out my office door. Holy shit! I was staring at him, speechless. Every previous milestone took him weeks or months to incorporate into his daily routine. This happened so fast! I felt like I could see the light bulb going off in his head. He was more than ready for this. I can't wait for TJ to see; he was at the grocery store when it happened and E went down shortly after he got home.

Speaking of developments, we can see E's two bottom teeth camping out under his gums. We both noticed this for the first time in the past few days. His gums themselves still feel completely smooth, but the teeth are right under there, plotting their emergence.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Busy Day (Relatively Speaking) After All

Did I say we had nothing on the agenda today? I lied.
I was feeling antsy this morning at the thought of being home all day (after being up for what felt like hours and doing a million things and discovering it was still only 9:30), and then I realized today was the day of the 2007 Austin Mamas weekly play date. I've been too chicken to go up till now, but I'd promised TJ (and myself) that I was going to go soon. So I decided today was as good as any. And wow, I'm glad I did. There were somewhere around ten gorgeous babies and mamas there. (And I noticed a few liberal bumper stickers on the way to the house from the car. Always nice to see.) I hope we'll keep going. I think it's good for both of us. Those types of social situations stress me out in the beginning. Being shy (at first) and especially being a stutterer makes meeting new people and talking in a group setting daunting. But we did it, and I think the first time is usually the hardest.

After we left we ended up meeting Catherine at Central Market. (She and Shannon had eaten lunch there.) We sat in the car while E slept, and then after he woke up we went inside and I got some food and we sat at an outdoor table and talked until she had to leave for acupuncture.

It was a good afternoon.

Easy Peasy

So, this round of shots hardly had any affect on E at all. What a relief! He might've had a very slight fever in the middle of the night, but I didn't think it was even worth taking his temperature.

We're hanging out at home today, with nothing on the agenda. It's kind of nice.

Stayed up too late last night watching the first season of Battlestar Gallactica, which we Netflixed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

So far, so good

Well, the appointment went fine today. E weighs a hefty 20 pounds, 9 ounces! Our big boy.
He had two shots and has done okay thus far. Maybe this will be better than the four-month round, which was itself much better than the two-month, which was awful. (I read somewhere it's usually the opposite.) This time I gave him Tylenol before we left for the doctor. He's taking a nap now. I hope he doesn't wake up feeling icky.

This was him about an hour ago, just being his sweet self.

Vaccination Day

We're going in this afternoon for E's six-month appointment (which is really coming closer to seven months). And shots. Ugh. I DREAD the shots. He's going to feel terrible the rest of the day and will run a little fever, judging from our past experiences. If he's awake he'll be crying in misery. I expect we'll spend the rest of the day and night with him either nursing or sleeping.

I wish there was an easy answer about vaccinations. I'm not comfortable having him vaccinated, but I'm not comfortable not having him vaccinated either. I do believe that vaccinations have prevented an immeasurable amount of human suffering and saved millions and millions and millions of lives. They're probably the most important medical development in human history. So big-picture-wise, I'm all for them. But I don't care about that right now. All I care about is my baby and his health and well-being.

I'm planning to order The Vaccination Book by Dr. Sears. I'm both resistant to and fascinated by Dr. Sears and his rabid followers. I know that's not a fair characterization AT ALL (the rabid part), but sometimes I feel a little pressured. In reality, though, I agree with a lot of what he stands for and am drawn to parents who follow that parenting style. So I don't know what my problem is!

Wish us luck today.

The Third Meal and a Lament on Weaning

I added a third meal for Eamon today: breakfast. I have mixed feelings about it. My friend Heather told me that her pedi advised her to go ahead and add the third meal if she wanted to when they went in for their six-month appointment. And it seemed like Eamon was starving this morning. So I decided to try it, and he ate as much as he does when I give him solids at lunchtime and dinnertime, which is to say a lot. But I'm a little freaked out. The thought of my milk supply dropping makes me sad. The thought that this is another step towards weaning makes me sad. I know it doesn't mean he's going to be weaned anytime soon, but he will be at some point.

It reminds me of that scene in When Harry Met Sally when Sally is sitting on her bed sobbing after she finds out that her ex-boyfriend is engaged to someone else when he always said he didn't want to get married. She's crying hysterically and listing all the terrible things about herself and why no one would love her, and she ends by sobbing, "And I'm gonna be forty!" Billy Crystal says, "When?" "Someday!" she says." "In eight years," he says. She replies, "But it's out there! It's just sitting there like a big deadend!"

Anyway. I don't feel *that* dramatic about it, but it reminded me of that scene, because E is only sixth months old and here I am worrying about when he's going to wean. I worry that he'll be ready to wean before I am. :( I know that happens sometimes, and if it does I'll just have to get right with it somehow and move on. Maybe see a counselor. I think part of my attachment to breastfeeding is tied to my birth experience and the trouble we had in the beginning. I nearly killed myself making it work, and there were times I thought I'd have to give up. (I believe I'd be on anti-depressants right now if that'd happened.) The thought of feeding my baby formula in any amount felt like someone was plunging a knife through my heart. I can't really say why; it's not like I look down on anyone who goes the formula route. It could easily have been me. But it wasn't, and we made it through without supplementing (except for three times total at the start). It's the hardest thing I've ever done, and I didn't think it would be easy. But it's also been such a wonderful way for us to connect and bond. It's amazing. In the beginning I told myself I didn't have to do it past three months. If we could just make it to three months. Then six. It's not that I wanted to stop, but it was the only way I could make it through in the beginning. Now I can't imagine that I'll be ready to stop at a year. But who knows.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Social Butterflies and Little Things

We had a busy day today. We met my high school friend Heather and her nine-month-old daughter Alayna for lunch, and then Kay and Jonas (eight months) came over to our house this afternoon. We usually get together every week, but it had been a month since we'd seen them, for various reasons. It was amazing to see how much Jonas had changed. He's crawling everywhere and pulling up on things. And there was Alayna, waving hello and eating Cheerios off her tray. My sweet E seemed so young and sensitive next to these coordinated, fast-moving babies. Alayna was using her voice to make loud exclamations, and it was a little too loud for E. His bottom lip came out and started to quiver and he looked up at me with the most pitiful face. There is nothing as sad as the Sad Face.

Alayna and Jonas were absolutely delightful and I marveled at them, but being around them made me want to hold Eamon a little closer. I feel incredibly protective of my wide-eyed, cuddly boy. Not sure what I'm protecting him from. Growing up, I guess.

I'm happy that he's six and a half months old and still hasn't figured out how to roll over all the way from his back to his tummy. Let alone crawl. Or sit up by himself. Of course, part of me can't wait for him to do all of that and wishes it would happen soon, but right now, well, it sounds strange, but right now he's still all mine.

I realized recently that I've been waiting to get to this part of having a baby. There are certain little things I've looked forward to for a long time (before he was born) that are happening now. For example, when he nurses, his free hand often floats up to my face and gently pats my lips, nose, cheek, and chin, clumsily tracing my features. He does this even in the middle of the night with his eyes closed. I didn't know it, but I've been waiting for this. And when his eyes are open and he nurses, he'll play with the curls in my hair. He doesn't pull; he keeps his palm open and just lightly touches the curls with this look of awe in his eyes, like he's looking at something amazing and beautiful. Which is how I feel every time I look at him. Oh, God. My love.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Too Many Pictures

I feel like I'm posting too many pictures, but I can't resist uploading these of Eamon with Shannon and Catherine on Saturday night. And a third one they took that cracks me up.

Nap Battle

Aaaaaagh! E is exhausted but has fought naps with all his might today.

I'm still holding on to the slim hope that at some point he'll start taking one long afternoon nap a day. But in reality there's absolutely no sign of that happening.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Eastside Cafe

We went to the Eastside Cafe last night for dinner, and we LOVED IT! I can't believe we'd never been. It felt like eating at someone's house, and they grow a lot of the food they serve in an organic garden behind the restaurant. It was to die for. And really not that expensive. Some entrees were in the $20 range, but many were less than that ($9-$11) and their lunch menu is very reasonable. I can't wait to go back. After dinner we walked through the garden and took some pictures, a few of which I'll post here. Then we drove to Hyde Park (where we lived for a year after moving to Austin in 2005) and got gelato at Dolce Vita and then TJ got a coffee and Quack's and we walked around a little. How we miss that neighborhood.

How It Went

Well, Catherine and Shannon got here at 4:30 yesterday, and we left around 5:00. I had typed up some info about E for them: dinner and bathtime and bedtime stuff. He'd continued the trend of taking only two thirty minute naps (at 9:00 and 1:00 yesterday), which meant he was going to crash at 6:00. So I figured dinner would be at 5:00, bath at 5:30, etc. Everything went according to plan, and it sounds like they all had lots of fun, at least until bedtime. He wouldn't take the bottle (no surprise), and then Catherine took him back to his room and read him a book and rocked him. He was quiet but not asleep when she put him down, and he laid there quietly for several minutes but then started to cry. I had said that if he cried for longer than ten minutes with no pauses, they should go in and rock him again and then just keep repeating. The ten minutes was somewhat arbitrary on my part. I felt like I should give a certain timeframe that they could follow, and I didn't like the thought of him crying hysterically and being left in there for long. On the other hand, if he was just crying a little before falling asleep, that would be okay. Since they haven't heard him cry all that much, they would have no way of distinguishing how upset he was. So I settled on ten minutes. I honestly didn't think it would be an issue because I knew how tired he would be, and I was sure he would crash without too much trouble. Boy, was I wrong! When we called at 7:45 to let them know we were on our way home, he was still awake! They had done everything they could, but eventually brought him out and were just holding him and trying to keep him happy. When I walked (okay, ran) up the stairs, Shannon was holding him on the couch and he was watching the swing go back and forth with his eyes half open. Bless his heart. I proceeded to nurse him and of course he fell asleep within minutes. It's so very sweet, and I love nursing him more than anything (ANYTHING!), but it makes it hard for other people to soothe him, and that can be frustrating.

Anyway, this taught us quite a bit about him, I think. TJ and I were wondering beforehand if he knows other people yet (like his aunties and Gwen). I guess it's impossible to tell, but he obviously knew something was different last night. Duh, his boobies weren't there. That was probably clue #1. And it's no secret that the boy hates to sleep and struggles to fall asleep (whether we're holding him or he's in his crib). Maybe I should've figured that his not sleeping was a possibility. It also tells us (in a sort of backwards way) that our work over the past month to establish a routine has paid off. But what happens when the routine is disrupted? Are we creating a child who can't adapt well? How can we work on leaving him with other people when the opportunities to do so are so few and far between? And when he's still so dependent on breast milk? I honestly don't feel the desire to work on this with him right now, but I feel for the people who have to try to put him to bed on those rare occasions we go out. Maybe it'll get easier the less we nurse? (I'm pretty sure that's not true.) At least he's not totally dependent on nursing to go to sleep at night right now. It happens about 75% of time, I'd say. The rest of the time he's rocked and put down awake. I know the sleep training people would say this is how he should be put down every night.

The next time we have plans to go out is on May 30. Gwen's going to babysit. There's also the possibility that our friends Kay and Joel will babysit one night next month along with their baby, Jonas. They follow attachment parenting, so I don't feel comfortable asking them to let Eamon cry, even for a few minutes. They also don't use a rocking chair, so that would be totally foreign to them. They'll probably put both babies in Ergo carriers and go on a walk. And you know what, that's probably the best way for someone other than us to get E to fall asleep. Huh. Maybe we should've had Catherine and Shannon do that as a last resort. I hadn't thought about that, since it's not part of our nighttime routine.

In any case . . . it makes me happy when E gets to spend time with the people we love, and they get to know him better. He loves being around people and I think it's fun for him to be exposed to new ways of playing and being held.

This post seems very new mom-ish to me. What can I say.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

An Evening on My Own

I went out last night by myself. Catherine and Shannon (my best friends from college who live here now and are a couple) had me over for dinner and visiting, and it was wonderful. It felt like old times. They pointed out that this was the first time they'd seen me without Eamon since he was born. I have to say it felt incredibly weird and unnatural saying good-bye to E and getting in the car and driving away while he was still awake. It's hard to leave him, even when I'm burned out beyond belief. TJ called me after he was asleep to tell me how it had gone. I was eager to find out whether he'd taken the bottle, because he hasn't had one since, I dunno, January, I think. Sure enough, he was having none of it. He sucked a little, but then got angry and refused anymore. Luckily, he'd eaten a good amount of solid food an hour earlier, and he fell asleep easily at 6:00 (having napped a total of an hour all day). I got home around 10:00 and pumped immediately, then had to pump again at 2:30. E woke up at 3:30 and I felt terrible that I didn't have more milk for him, but it didn't seem to matter--he fell back asleep until 7:00.

Catherine and Shannon and I made plans for me to come over for dinner the third Thursday of every month from now on. It feels great to have a standing night out to look forward to. I think it's probably good for E and TJ as well. TJ had never done the whole nighttime routine by himself before.

Tomorrow night C & S are coming over to babysit E so that TJ and I can go out to dinner, ostensibly to celebrate our anniversary. I feel like this is the first "official" time we've left E with anyone. It's been a long time since we went out alone, and he was much smaller and less aware the previous times. He also didn't really have a routine or schedule then, and he was used to taking a bottle. So this feels significant. I have to admit I'm a little nervous! I hope he does okay. I'm happy that he'll have some time alone with his aunties.

Well, once again I've waited till late to post. I've gotta go to bed.

The weather was beautiful today, by the way. Just gorgeous. E and I went to Book People and Whole Foods this afternoon. WF freaked me out. I'm so used to Central Market, I got overwhelmed and ended up leaving without buying anything I'd planned to. I met another mama on the corner of 6th and Lamar, though, and that was nice. She had the same color Ergo carrier, and we struck up a conversation. Her baby was six months old and tiny. She said he's been waking up every two hours and she's worried he's hungry. She had just bought some rice cereal at WF but was nervous to start it because her milk supply has always been low. I suggested she start him on a little right after he nurses (like I know anything). I feel like Eamon is only now eating to eat. For a few weeks he and I were just getting used to the idea. It's a big change, and like everything else, it's hard to know if you're doing it the right way.

Okay, I'm rambling at this point. It was just nice to meet another mom. And now I'm really signing off.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Being Productive

I get depressed when I read about moms who have small babies and also seem to always be cooking wonderful meals (with organic, locally grown food, of course), making all of their babies' food, including their rice, oatmeal, and barley cereals, tending a garden, keeping a professional iron in the fire of some sort, looking put together, etc. Is it all a facade? Sometimes I feel like I can't keep up. Or, worse, don't measure up. I know this is a pointless way to think, and I feel like I do a fairly good job in general, at least as Eamon's mom, but I get so little done. What's the secret? There isn't one, but it feels like there must be.

This post is so cliche, I can't stand it.

Bouncey, Bouncey, Bouncey

Sleep Stuff

Eamon had such a hard time going down tonight. We rocked him multiple times. I was so sad for him. It started when we were sitting out front. I had just put him down and he was out like a light. We weren't going to be outside long (fifteen minutes, twenty at most). We didn't think there was any chance he would wake up, and we didn't take a monitor out with us. I thought about checking on him several times while we were outside and should've trusted my instincts. When we went inside, sure enough, he was crying. Oh, did I run up those stairs. We won't be making that mistake again.

This week, E has only taken two thirty minute naps (less today) within a twelve hour period, and then he's crashed at 6:00 p.m. In anticipation of this I've been feeding him dinner at 5:00 instead of 6:00 and doing his bath at 5:30. He's slept through the night for the most part, waking up at 6:00 a.m. instead of 7:00.

I'm always trying to note routines and patterns, but in reality things are always changing. New patterns emerge for a time, only to be replaced and then replaced again. I know, I know: that's parenthood. But it does seem like a major shift happened around the time we got home from our trips. He's never slept through the night as often as he has since then. That'll all fly out the window once teething really hits, though, or so I hear.

There are so many other things I want to write about here, but I'm too tired, as usual. A reporting on sleep patterns is the best I can do.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Long Day

Eamon has had a tough day, and I've gotten nothing done. It's 4:00 now, and since 7:00 this morning he's napped a total of about thirty minutes. Ugh. It's frustrating. He hasn't been very happy either. I don't get the sense that he's teething or anything, just that he's tired. I've rocked him to sleep numerous times, but he wakes up and screams when I put him down. We escaped to Target awhile ago, and it was good to get out, but now we're home and he's up. Our friends Kay and Jonas (Jonas is six weeks older than E) were supposed to come over for our weekly playdate, but Kay's taking Jonas to the doctor this afternoon to see about his congestion and wheezing (poor Jonas), so they can't make it. Kay was going to give TJ and me a cloth diaper tutorial, by the way, because apparently we're not very gifted in that department. We can't get the damn things on him! It's harder than it looks.

Anyway, I think we'll go on a long walk now. Not sure what else to do.

p.s. You know, a few months ago most days were as long and hard and frustrating as this one. Actually, make that longer and harder. In fact, I shouldn't even try to compare: Things are way easier now. Even when they're not.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A little bit of prunes goes a long way

We learned an important lesson this past Saturday: Don't give the baby a full serving of prunes if he seems constipated. We had introduced prunes last week, but he'd never had much, and it was always mixed with cereal. On Saturday we went to Wimberley to visit my grandmother, and I brought along some pears and prunes for E's lunch. He ate those prunes right up! A couple hours later, he was in his doorway jumper, and every so often he'd stop and PUSH, PUSH, PUSH, and then go back to the business of jumping. It was funny, but not that unusual. A few minutes later I looked over at him and he had his back to us and was perfectly still. I barely had time to register how strange that was before I noticed that his left pants leg was suddenly COVERED in shit. TJ and I extracted him from the jumper and soon discovered that we were in uncharted territory. He used to have blowouts all the time when he was tiny, and I don't mean to minimize their craziness, but those were the poops of a breastfed baby. This was the nasty stuff, and it was unstoppable! We were sort of paralyzed, and we weren't at home . . . hmmm. At first we tried to lay him down on his little portable changing mat, but that clearly wasn't going to work--too much poo. I was holding the poor guy out in front of me for what felt like forever while we figured out what to do. We eventually got in the tub and took his shirt off there. Within seconds the tub was dotted with poo and it was smeared on my hands and feet and all over E's legs, arms, hair, and one ear. We got it all cleaned up eventually, and in the meantime, Nana and her friend Ruth sat on the couch laughing.

Nana and her friends had a Sip and See for Eamon back in February, and I was talking to a couple of the gals about having babies close in age and how the thought of that freaks me out. It was Ruth who told me, "Honey, you don't worry about it, you just do it." And Betty, another of Nana's friends, said, "One takes up all your time, so how could two take up anymore?"

They're smart, those ladies.

Here's E, enjoying his prunes.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Favorite Pictures from Yesterday

The Anniversary of the Bobble Head, Visit from Gramma, Cloth Diapers are Acquired

TJ gave me this monkey bobble head for our anniversary. There's a place behind the monkey's head where I can put a picture. (Of who, I wonder?) He also got me a super funky necklace and a ring that matches. They're fabulous. My gift sort of sucked in comparison. Oh well. I vow to do better next year. He's so hard to buy for. I think I need to plan my gift for him way in advance.

We had a nice anniversary evening. We all went to Central Market in the late afternoon and got a Porterhouse steak and a piece of turtle cheesecake and a cantaloupe to have with some prosciutto, which we used to order as an appetizer at this one restaurant in DC. It's heavenly. We had the steak with frozen green beans and a sweet potato, both of which we already had at home. After dinner we exchanged gifts and I printed out some old emails and an IM between us from 2002. They were crazy to read. I think we sound like completely different people. I also printed out our vows and we read them to each other.

TJ flew to DC the next morning (yesterday) for work, and he's coming home sometime after midnight tonight. I've missed him, especially last night when I got up at 4:00 with Eamon and didn't realize at first that he wasn't next to me. My stepmom Gwen came over at the end of the day yesterday and spent the night. We had a great visit, and Eamon had lots of fun with Gramma, which made me happy. I was glad they got some quality time together. She fed him solid food last night and helped bathe him, and this morning they played together while I went back to bed for an hour (so nice). Then she put him down for his nap (and he went down easily with her, I was glad to see).

She left about 11:30 this morning, and E and I went to the Austin Baby Store in the afternoon to find out about cloth diapers. We've been using disposables up until now, but I'd like to switch to cloth during the day, especially since we're home most of the time. They were out of size medium in Fuzzi Bunz and Bum Genius, so I got six prefolds and two covers to start with, and they'll call when they get more of the other kind in. The prefolds have to be washed five times before they can be used, so that's what I'm in the process of doing now. They sent me home with some special detergent to use as well as a page of washing instructions. I'm excited to try it out.

Well, I'm surprised this post makes any sense. I'm so tired I can hardly see straight.
Must . . . go . . . to . . . bed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Third Anniversary

Today is our third wedding anniversary. We've come a long way from our bar days at Staccato in DC six years ago, the open mic nights, drinking coffee and kissing the afternoon away at Tryst, sharing beers and talking for hours at Toledo Lounge, romantic dinners at Pasta Mia, walking everywhere, reading the Washington Post every day, hanging out with each other's friends, happy hours at Larry's Lounge and the Reef, bagels from So's Your Mom. The list goes on. It feels like another lifetime. I have to remember that we were desperately ready to get out of DC, otherwise the nostalgia would crush me.

Now we're here in Austin and we have a little monkey and I can actually say in all honesty that life is good. I wouldn't have said it a month ago, but I can say it now. I have a tendency to feel guilty and uncomfortable whenever I think I might be happy. I don't usually recognize how good something is until things get really bad. So I'm making a point of recognizing this.

I realized the other day that I feel like part of a team again, with TJ home and liberated from his former job. And we've been better about communicating. We have a bit of our old life back, except now we have E. E who smiles at us about a thousand times a day. Who causes us to pinch ourselves over and over and over and over again. There was a time we didn't know when or if our baby would come. I'll never forget that time. But now he's here and he's himself, and I can't imagine it any other way.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

End of the Day

This will probably be short. I'm tired, and TJ will be home soon from buying an anniversary gift. I got his earlier today--E and I went to Breed Hardware and found a beautiful blue glass vase/pitcher.

As of today I'm going to start feeding E solid food twice, once around lunchtime and once around dinnertime. I'm also going to do the solids right before he would normally breastfeed instead of in between. I tried it today and it worked wonderfully. He ate more solids and it didn't seem to impact breastfeeding at all. This week has been the first time I've felt like he wasn't full after one or two of his daytime nursings. He can drain both sides of me in minutes, and has been able to for a while now.

I've posted a few times about him taking longer naps, but he's mostly still napping for thirty minutes. Today he only took two thirty-minute naps. Ugh. But he slept for eleven hours last night! I get the sense that he's too excited about life during the day to sleep. This week has brought with it a big change: reaching. He's reaching for everything suddenly. The mail, my water, my wallet, my wine, my arm, my face. Anything and everything. It sounds like it would be tiresome, but I love it. When I carry him he holds his arms straight out from his sides with his fingers extended, at the ready. And he can hug. He buries his face in your neck and pulls his arms tight, tight, tight around you.

I remember visiting TJ's sister last year in PA when her baby, Julia, was just under six months. TJ and I were sitting on the floor playing with her, and she made a sound--what I thought of as a typical baby sound. A sweet exclamation of delight. TJ's sister came running in from the kitchen, because apparently it was a new sound. She'd never heard Julia make it before, and she was amazed. I didn't quite get it. Sure, it was cool and all that she made a new sound, but was it really *that* exciting? It's not like Julia had just busted out with a complete sentence at the age of five months.

Right. Well, I get it now. It's different when it's your baby. I knew it was even then, but I didn't *know* it. I didn't know that every new thing they do is a revelation. And the joy that comes with those revelations . . . I didn't know about that either.

Feeling Queasy?

Maybe I should explain that my fear of puke dates back to the early 80s, when my dad and I lived alone for several years (until he remarried when I was eight). When he would get a stomach virus and throw up, it was very scary. I didn't understand what was happening or why he was making such horrible noises. I thought he might be dying. My biggest fear at the time, and for many years to come, was that he would die. I have a memory of him being sick and throwing up and of me running out of the house screaming for someone to help him. I was afraid to go back inside because I didn't know what I'd find. A dead body? It seemed more than possible.

I know this is why I get so freaked out when TJ, for instance, is sick to his stomach. The anticipation of it is intense. My heart races, adrenaline pumps, muscles clench. My physical body feels terrified even though I know intellectually that everything will be fine. Once the person is actively puking, the terror begins to wane. I spring into action faster than you can say "vomit." I'm ready to sit up with you, hold a cold washcloth to your forehead, clean the toilet, give you tiny sips of Ginger ale. Never mind that you might just want to be left alone!

Monday, April 7, 2008

It Was Nice While It Lasted

The incredible eleven-hour nights have officially ended. E has gotten up twice the past three nights. Last night he was up at 11:00 and 4:00. It was a strange night because it appeared that TJ was getting a stomach bug (sound familiar?), and he thought he was going to puke. He'd also had stomach cramps all day. I get so nervous and tense about puking, I decided to go sleep in the guest room/my office, because otherwise I knew I'd just lay next to TJ worrying about him and waiting for him to throw up. Of course, then I just worried in the other room. In the end, he never got sick and I didn't get much sleep. Ugh. Sometimes I think Tense should be my middle name, especially since E was born. But that's not accurate really--it's not like I'm tense with E. On the contrary. It's more that I have a hard time relaxing when I get the chance.

This afternoon we're taking E to the Children's Research Lab at UT to be part of a memory study on six-month-olds. I don't know how they found us, but it's just a half-hour commitment and it seemed interesting, so we figured we'd do it. I can't imagine how they'll evaluate Eamon's memory. The thought makes me laugh. I know he has a memory, but, well, it's not always obvious. It sounds like they're going to be testing his short-term memory. Showing him pictures. That seems even funnier!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Outside on the Weekend

We overhauled our disaster of a flower bed this weekend and the weather couldn't have been more beautiful. Below are a couple pictures of E and one of TJ's favorite greeting (yes, those are his middle fingers).


I was just downstairs washing the dinner dishes while TJ was upstairs changing Eamon and putting him to bed. The baby monitor was on downstairs, so I could hear what was going on in E's room, and oh, it was sweet. That is a daddy who loves his boy.

Makes me love the daddy.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Giggling at the Giraffe, and His Own Version of Peekaboo

Last night we went to Hoover's for dinner and almost died, it was so good. We split a chicken fried steak, sausage, mac & cheese, and fried okra. And then we had cherry cobbler and ice cream. I know. It's ridiculous. Food heaven. We walked out of there completely stuffed and sort of stunned by how good everything was, even though we've eaten there many times. But I digress. The reason I mention Hoover's is because Eamon was playing with his toy giraffe (from his aunties) at dinner, and he suddenly decided that the giraffe was hysterical. I was shaking it in front him, and every time I'd give it a shake, he'd laugh and laugh. TJ and I looked at each other in amazement--he'd never laughed at an inanimate object before! (We're dorks.) It probably sounds like no big deal, but it felt like a marked change. Wouldn't he have to be using his imagination to laugh at the giraffe? He thought the giraffe was funny! Especially when the giraffe kept wanting to kiss him on the cheek. Silly giraffe.

After we got home, he had his bath and we settled in for our last nursing of the night. Instead of falling asleep, though, he was doing the thing where he pulls off to look around and then latches back on for a few cursory sucks before repeating the process. This time, he would pull off and look at his dad with an expectant, playful expression on his face. TJ would smile at him, then Eamon would get really excited and turn dramatically back to the boob (flinging his arm toward my chest to pull himself close) and give a couple of frantic sucks before arching away and peeking at TJ again. It finally dawned on us that he was playing a game. And he knew it. TJ moved closer and started making faces at him, and E seemed delighted that we'd caught on. Now when he turned to burrow into me, he wouldn't actually suck, he would just sort of wait there in the sucking position for a couple of seconds before turning back over. We couldn't believe it. We kept saying, "He's playing a game! He made up a game!" It was fun. And funny.

An Introduction to Vomit

The day I've been dreading since Eamon was born came on Thursday. He got sick. Except it didn't turn into a full-blown bug, thank goodness, so I still haven't experienced a real fever or a baby up all night coughing or puking or having diarrhea. That said, I have now experienced vomit. And it is nothing to sneeze at. We left around 2:45 to run an errand. Several miles up 35, I looked in the mirror and saw Eamon spit up, but it was projectile spit-up, something I'd never seen him do. I was on the phone with my stepmom, Gwen, and mentioned it to her. Then, a few seconds later, huge amounts of vomit (not spit-up) started pouring from his mouth. Pouring. Oh my God, it was awful. I shouted into the phone that I needed to pull over, and I hung up. I pulled off the highway and into some parking lot and went back and tried to clean him up, but realized there was too much vomit to do anything about. So I just wiped his mouth and chest and got back in the car and drove home. He threw up three more times, the last time as I was pulling into the driveway.

There was puke everywhere. He was sitting in a huge pool of it and was pretty much covered from head to toe. And it smelled like adult vomit, by the way. I carried him upstairs and bathed him while TJ took care of the car seat cover and went to get some Pedialyte. After being bathed and changed into pajamas, he seemed to feel okay and was smiling and playing with his toy elephant in the swing and then on the floor. He got fussy after about thirty minutes, so I rocked him to sleep and he slept for two hours. No more throwing up, no fever. Go figure. He's been his normal, happy self ever since:

So I wonder what it was. He hadn't started a new food that day, but I'm wondering if the breast milk I mixed his cereal and banana with was bad somehow. Guess we'll never know.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Holy Nap!

It's 2:30 now. I put E down (wide awake) at 12:10. It took him about fifteen minutes to fall asleep. And he's STILL ASLEEP. I don't think I can express to you what a big deal this is. This is a baby who almost always naps for half an hour, and *sometimes* for as long as forty-five minutes or even an hour. But TWO hours? Never, never, never.

It's amazing how long two hours feels when you're used to racing around in a thirty-minute window.
I could get used to this!

Still Pumping at Night

Eamon has been sleeping as much as eleven or twelve hours a night, which I know is incredible, and believe me, I'm loving it. But it would be nice if I didn't have to get up several times (well, two) a night to pump. I wonder how long this will last. I was talking to a mama who's a few years out from breastfeeding, and she never had to pump at night. She seemed to think it's strange that I do, and she says that my body should adjust after a few nights if I stop pumping. But I feel like I can't. I get so engorged! I can't sleep when that happens. The most I've gone is six hours, I think, but it's usually more like four. Typically I'll feed Eamon around 7:00 for the last time, go to bed myself between 10:00 and 11:00, and then get up and pump around 12:30 and again around 4:30. Or sometimes I'll pump before bed (which I really should do every night) and then around 4:00. Honestly, it's not *so* bad, and I really shouldn't complain at all with a six month old sleeping twelve hours at a time. It just keeps me from taking full advantage of all that sleep time. Last night the engorgement was extreme for some reason. I woke up at 7 a.m. today and immediately pumped yet again (I usually do an ounce from each side) even though I knew E would wake up shortly.

On a somewhat related note, I think I've discovered that I need to nurse E five times during the day (between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.). When we only get four nursings in, I start feeling inexplicably anxious, and he seems more likely to wake up at night (I assume because he's hungry). Five just feels like the right number for where we are right now. It's hard to believe, after so many months of 8+ feedings a day.

BO-RING. But that's all I got today.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Gabriel Isaac Snyder

Our friends Brent and Yvonne just lost a baby boy. Y was six and a half months pregnant. She ended up delivering Gabriel on March 10 at St. David's. His funeral was the following Saturday, and we were crushed to miss it (we were in Florida). We went over to their house yesterday afternoon and they told us what all had happened from the night before she was induced. We saw his tiny, tiny footprints (I've never seen anything so small or perfect or heartbreaking), the urn where they're keeping his ashes (a beautiful porcelain figure of a boy in a dressing gown holding a teddy bear, standing on a round wooden base under which is inscribed, "Our beloved son, Gabriel Isaac Snyder, March 10, 2008"), and the program from the mass they had for him. They held him for two and a half hours after he was born. He was nine inches long and weighed 1.3 pounds. Some of that weight came from the fluid he'd retained. He had dark hair--he would have looked more like Y's side of the family.

I'm so sad for our friends and especially for Yvonne. What will this do to her? They have a son who's almost four and they had a miscarriage a year ago. Right now they feel like this is it for them. Maybe they'll feel differently once some time has passed, I don't know.

Yvonne said she felt a sense of peace once she got home from the hospital . . . and then her milk came in. A whole new hell.

I held Eamon tight last night, in shock that he even exists.