Saturday, May 31, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Progress, and No Naps Continue

E slept a TOTAL of thirty minutes yesterday (we never made it to the Y; I didn't think he could handle it). By the time I fed him dinner I was about to gouge my eyeballs out. Okay, not really. But it was very, very draining, and he was hard to keep happy.

I can't actually post right now because I've been trying to get him down for a nap for an hour, and I'm about to give up. (It's 9:20 a.m. and he's been awake since 4:30.) This is miserable! Oddly enough, though, he didn't wake up a ton last night. This tooth is manifesting itself very differently than the first one. The good news is that we're definitely seeing progress. The tooth hasn't broken through the gum yet, but it looks like it has. I figure it'll happen tonight.

I hope TJ doesn't have a rough time later this afternoon and evening while I'm gone. Eeeek.

Well, I'm going to go rescue him and take him to storytime and then Central Market.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's Hard to Be Happy When You're Teething

Challenging Days, Joining the Y

Maybe #2 isn't as close as I thought. I don't know. It's hard to predict. But yesterday he was crankier than he's almost ever been (not counting his first three to four months). The only other day that comes close was the day after his first tooth broke through the gum. So I can only figure that teething is the culprit. We thought he'd be up a lot last night, but he wasn't, though I did give him Tylenol at 5 a.m. Today he's on nap strike. Day 2. I couldn't get him down yesterday morning, and when he did nap it wasn't for long. Today looks like it's going to be a repeat. After such a great stretch of napping and a fairly predictable schedule, it's amazing to see how quickly things can deteriorate. Ugh.

Today I think we'll go to Linens-n-Things to look for curtains and a set of sheets in preparation for TJ's parents' visit (they arrive next Thursday), and maybe we'll go to the Y, which we joined on Memorial Day. I'd already signed E and I up for parent/child swim lessons there starting later in June, and we decided to go check it out on the holiday. TJ has gained a little weight since he quit smoking a year ago, and he's not the type to work out in a regular gym. He's more into stuff like swimming and basketball (not that he's done either in a looooong time). We were really impressed with this Y. The facility is to die for; it's only been open a few years. And they offer free child care. And the join fee was minimal (some deal they were offering), and it's month to month. We felt like we couldn't pass it up. I just hope we stick with it. TJ went yesterday and had a good experience. It seemed to work really well for him to go around 4:00.

Well, I don't think this nap is going to take. Aaaaaaggghhh. I've been going in there periodically for the past hour (feels like longer). I think it's time to throw in the towel.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hello Again, Teething

We're on the upward curve of the teething bell again. Number 2 is getting close, I think. I can see a faint white line under the top of the gum, and the crankiness factor has peaked today. I'm trying to come up with an outing for us . . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Surgery, Leaving E, Rolling to the Right

I was away from Eamon today longer than I have ever been. Six hours. One of my bestest friends was having surgery (outpatient), and I wanted to be there to support her and her partner, pick up food for them, etc. E woke up around 6:00 this morning and I fed him and left. TJ took care of him until 9:00, at which point my stepmom, Gwen, arrived to take over so TJ could work. I got home a little before 1:00 and promptly nursed him and put him down for a nap. (I had pumped once while I was out.)

I was excited to find out that in my absence E had rolled over to the right for the first time, from both belly and back. (He's been doing full rolls for weeks now, but always to the left.) Gwen is taking full credit, and I think she should!

Later this afternoon I was trying to tempt him to roll to the right by putting toys just out of his reach. I put one in front of him to see what he would do, and he was trying with all of his might to figure out a way to move forward. He dug his toes into the ground and tried to push off, meanwhile reaching with his arms. It was really something. He's more than ready to be on the move, but I think it's going to be several more weeks till he gets there. He can have all the time he needs as far as I'm concerned!

He didn't eat much while his grandma was here, which surprised me. I figured he'd eat more solid food than usual since he was missing a nursing session, but I was wrong. She gave him yogurt as a snack around the time I would've nursed him, but he wasn't that into it, and he usually loves yogurt. He also didn't eat much lunch. It's very unlike him, and caused me to wonder if he's more aware of things than I realized.

I'm also going to be away from him on Friday evening for another fairly long stretch. Two times in one week. :( I wish there was some other way he would take breastmilk. Maybe I would feel less like I was abandoning him. I know I shouldn't feel that way--he won't starve, after all, and lots of moms have to leave their babies every day--but I'm just not used to it.

It was great to get to be with my friends this morning, though, and I'm glad to report that the one who had surgery is recovering very well. My girls . . . I love them.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Freak show, Booster Seat

We had a long and crazy day in San Marcos yesterday. By the time we got home and got E down last night, it was 8 p.m. He's n-e-v-e-r stayed up that late since he started having a real bedtime. We really overdid it yesterday. I was helping to host a wedding shower for my new sister-in-law, and my folks had her family over for lunch before the shower (which was at someone else's house). There's all kinds of drama surrounding my sister-in-law's family and my brother (who has a lot of problems), so it was very awkward. Then at the shower there was some dramatic tension involving my stepmom's mother, who has been estranged from me and my dad, sort of (not to mention her own son), since my grandfather died last year. It's very sad, but she's a miserable, hateful person. We hadn't seen her in over a year. In any case, none of it is worth going into here.

My parents got E this booster seat and we can already tell it's going to change our life. Really. It makes going out to eat and over to people's houses SO MUCH EASIER.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Good Night

E slept from 7:00 last night to 6:00 this morning without waking up. His night sleep has been back on track, generally speaking, for a week or two now, but he hasn't had a night like last night in a long while. I managed to pump only once, at 3:00 a.m., in those eleven hours, which is quite a record for me. I pumped close to two ounces on each side, which didn't seem like much, actually. I was so engorged this morning, I had to hold him out in front of me when I carried him from the crib to the recliner. Nursing was such a relief. It occurred to me that I physically need him, just as he physically needs me. What a wild, beautiful way we're designed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

All Hail the Fuzzi Bunz

Yesterday when E and I were down on South Congress, we stopped at Austin Baby to pick up some more cloth diapers. I'd been holding out for more of the Bum Genius 3.0s (a shipment was due in soon), but since I don't get down that way too often, I decided to go ahead and buy a few Fuzzi Bunz since they were in stock. We now have three of each kind (FB and BG, I mean), plus three extra inserts (you can reuse the covers if you let them air dry in between changes) and some flushable diaper liners that keep poop off the diapers. (And we have six prefolds, but I'm spoiled now and hate to use them.) Anywayyyyyy, let me tell you something: Fuzzi Bunz are the BEST. I love, love, love them. Love them. More than Bum Genius. They're incredibly soft, not as bulky, and they use snaps instead of velcro. They run bigger than Bum Genius, so size medium (which is what we're using now) will probably last until E is potty-trained. Yesterday's total came to $86. Nothing to sneeze at, but worth it. I can't wait to buy three more next month.

Storytime, Siblings

We made it to our first storytime at Family Connections this morning. (Family Connections is a nonprofit resource center for families with young children. It's super cool from what I can tell. My friend Morgan works at the library there.) We hadn't made it until today because storytime takes place at 10 a.m. and Eamon's morning nap usually conflicts. But today he was up at 5:30 (ugh), which meant he went down for his nap at 8:00 and was up in time for us to nurse and go. There were lots of kids (from tiny infants to kindergarten age) and parents. I'd say the average age was two to three. The group was pretty diverse (for Austin), which was cool. After living in DC for six years (TJ for ten), Austin seemed freakishly white to us at first. The actual stories and even the songs were lost on Eamon for the most part, but the people-watching was great (for both of us), and he seemed to enjoy himself.

Many of the moms there had two or three kids. Several were nursing a baby while tending to an older child/children as well. I could not take my eyes off these moms. They are in a totally different place than I am, and I'm very aware of that. I wish I could be a fly on their walls and see what their days are like. One mom in particular caught my eye. She had two boys who looked to be around five and three, and a gorgeous baby girl who appeared to be around six months and was wearing a onesie that had clearly been handed down by her brothers. The mom was sporty looking, tan and in shape (this seems important somehow), and seemingly happy and relaxed. She was sitting with one arm around each boy, holding them close, while the baby played on the floor in front of them. I guess I tend to think of moms with more than one young child as being stressed out, exhausted, impatient, and having to discipline constantly. It freaks me out. So it was nice to see some positive images that contradict the ones in my head.

I left feeling very conscious of all the focus that is on Eamon. He's our one and only right now, and he has our undivided attention. We're so in love with him, we've turned into babbling idiots. I notice and think about and scrutinize everything he does and everything I do for him. Our life revolves around him completely. I'm compulsive about updating this blog, downloading and sorting all the pictures we take of him, ordering prints and putting them into albums and labeling them, filling in his baby journals, etc. I realize that contrary to how it feels at times, I actually have a lot of time and space and freedom. Our life is very quiet and organized. I know it won't always be this way, so I'm glad to have this time, but I also look forward to Eamon having a brother or sister. I'm just grateful for the gradual way life with our first baby has unfolded. You're thrown in the deep end at first (to put it mildly), no matter how experienced you are with other people's babies, but then you slowly get your bearings. You slowly get a little more sleep, start to feel more human, more like yourself. They change, and you change with them, and soon you're a master at doing things you had no idea how to do a few months earlier. You reach a new normal at some point, a normal that would've been incredibly hard in your previous life but is just . . . life now, a life you wouldn't trade for anything. I suppose the same thing happens when you have additional babies--you reach a new normal. I've heard it can take a full year after your second. I'm content right now to watch others figure out that juggling act. I've got my beautiful little man, and to be honest, almost eight months into it, it's still sinking in that he's really here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Today at Cissi's Market on South Congress

More of a Schedule

It looks like we're seeing a major shift in the way Eamon naps. It's happened gradually over the past few weeks. He's consistently taking two naps every day around the same times (9:00ish and 1:00ish), and they're tending to last an hour to an hour and a half. I NEVER THOUGHT I'D SEE THE DAY. And yet I've already come to expect the longer naps. It's interesting how quickly you can get used to something.

The window of time we can be away from home has shortened as a result of this new schedule. In the past I didn't try to be home in the afternoon by a certain time. The times of his naps varied, and they were never longer than half an hour anyway. I found that I often needed to be out in the afternoon in order to stay sane. But it's now become a priority to get home. Sometimes he'll fall asleep in the car and then I'll transfer him to his crib (he often wakes up, but has more often than not been content to play awhile before falling asleep again, or he fusses some, but doesn't full-on cry).

Yesterday we were in South Austin at a friend's house for lunch and he became unhappy very suddenly after we'd finished eating. I asked my friend if it was close to 1:00 and she looked at her watch and said it was 12:55. She was impressed that I'd called it, and I have to admit that I was too. Man, life is so much easier with a little predictability. (Of course, yesterday was a day he fell asleep in the car on the way home and then wouldn't go down again after we got here. I tried again at 2:45 and he crashed until I had to wake him up at 4:15 for our weekly playdate with Kay and Jonas--and also because I didn't want him napping too late in the day.)

Why do none of the sleep books talk about babies who don't nap well or have any consistent schedule for the first six months, but who then start to nap longer around seven months? I've heard other people talk about this happening but have never read anything that mentions it. I wasted a lot of time worrying that Eamon wasn't getting enough sleep and trying to find ways to solve the problem. Now I think he was just being himself and sleeping as long as he could at that stage of his life. I'm so glad we never tried to force him to sleep longer by letting him cry.

In any case, hopefully this nap trend is here to stay. It feels like it is. I can't imagine people who've had days like this since their babes were two or three months old. It's a different world, I tell you. Still tiring, but with longer breaks and more time to get stuff done.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recognizing Boobies

This morning I sat Eamon up on our bed so he could play while I got dressed. As I walked between the bathroom and the closet (shirtless and braless, I should add), I stopped to smile at him. He looked at me and then looked down and stared at my breasts with great interest. His eyes went back and forth, back and forth. I saw a look of recognition and something akin to comprehension come over his face. Like, "Wait a minute, I know those!" It was wild. And I'm not gonna lie, I was a little taken aback. He was so riveted. I wonder what he made of it. Does he connect what he saw with his greatest source of comfort and his primary source of food?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Deep Eddy

It's amazing what a little sun can do for the spirit. We joined a few 2007 Austin Mamas today at Deep Eddy over the lunch hour. It was going to be blazing hot, and Eamon has been so bored at home (I need to get some new ideas of stuff to do with him here), it seemed like just the day to go. And E's swimming lessons start June 20, so I thought it would be good practice. I didn't have Swimmies or sunscreen or anything, so I ran to CVS this morning and got some while E napped and TJ listened for him (another benefit of him working from home).

In any case, the water was cold! I was glad I had E to focus on because it kept me from being too wimpy myself. The cold didn't seem to bother him too much as long as I went slowly. We stayed in for twenty or thirty minutes, and I was impressed by how well he did. Eventually he started to suck on my shoulder, which I've realized is his way of telling me that he's hungry. So we went and sat with the others under a tree and I fed him lunch, and he played, and then awhile later I nursed him. A couple of the other mamas had whipped out the boob earlier, so I felt very comfortable doing so as well. It was liberating! It felt wonderful to be sitting outside in the shade, nursing and visiting without having to feel self-conscious.

E fell asleep on the way home but woke up when I took him out of the car. I tried to rock him when we got upstairs, but he wasn't interested in putting his head down. I knew he was still tired, so after I changed him I just put him in his crib wide awake and turned on the aquarium and left the room. I didn't expect him to go to sleep, but I figured it was worth a try, and at least it would give me a few minutes to unpack our pool bag. He got fussy a little while later, but just as I reached his door, he quieted down. I peeked through the crack in the door and saw him lying on his belly with his eyes barely open, definitely on his way out. And that's where he remains . . .

It's been a good day.

Monday, May 19, 2008

No More Guilt

I was emailing with my friend Keltie a couple of weeks ago. She lives in Philly and has a baby girl, Ellie, who's a month older than Eamon. She works part time. We were talking about homemade baby food, and I asked if that was all the rage in Philly, and if she felt pressured to do it (no). I said that I sometimes feel inadequate that I don't make all of E's food. I feel like the big thing in Austin is to make all your own food, use only natural cleaning products (who wouldn't want to, but still), wear your baby, co-sleep, cloth diaper, don't let baby cry, etc. I feel pressured, even though I know I should just do what feels right for us.

In any case, this is what Keltie said:
"The parenting inadequacies are sure to pile up (see my sidebar about not documenting her first year) and I'm not wasting my guilt on homemade food. Talk to me when she's getting bullied or something real."

She really put things in perspective for me. I suddenly saw how ridiculous I was being. I mean, I was feeling guilty about buying organic baby food! It's sick. Sick, sick, sick.

Ever since then, a weight has come off my shoulders. From now on, I refuse to feel guilty buying baby food, and I won't feel pressured to make Eamon's food. If I want to make some, I will, but only if I have the time. This week, for instance, TJ and I are planning on making some food for him Wednesday night. We bought asparagus (which I haven't seen in jars, and I'd like to introduce it to him), and summer squash, which E loves. And sweet potatoes, which we haven't made in a long time. I'm actually looking forward to making this stuff together and stocking the freezer. It doesn't feel as much like a chore with two people, and if you have the time and energy, it can be a very satisfying process. I said IF!

Maybe it sounds hypocritical that we're about to make baby food after I just said I wasn't going to succumb to the pressures of making it, but the motivation is different. In the past I would've felt guilty for only making a portion of E's fruits and veggies, but now I'm only doing what feels right and am at peace with buying the rest. And if this is the last time we make it, who cares.

This is all such bullshit, isn't it?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

With Pops at Waterloo on Saturday, May 17

I love this picture of my dad so much. Pictures like this, with him smiling a real smile, are hard to catch. You have to be stealth.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Pattern?

We never made it to out to lunch today--TJ was too busy. I think instead we'll go to a park or something early this evening. E & I haven't really been out today because he's taken two good naps again. I don't think that's ever happened twice in a row. I'm wondering if it could be the start of a new trend. A baby who's never napped suddenly turning into one who naps like a pro? Is that even possible? It definitely changes the pace of a day. I'm used to being out and about in the afternoon. And I'm used to not having much free time at home. It's almost like I don't know what to do with it.

The way he's been going down has been different too, in a consistent way. He rubs his eyes, I change him and read him a book, turn on his white noise machine and his music, and start to rock him. In the past, we would rock him to sleep, but that's not working anymore. I get the sense that he just wants me to put him in his bed. I realized the other day that it's been several weeks since I rocked him until he was asleep. That's a pretty significant change, and I wasn't even fully aware of it. Now I rock him for a minute or two, not even until the first song is over, and then I put him down wide awake. I turn on his aquarium toy, hand him something to hold on to, and leave. If he fusses at all, it hasn't been for long, and he hasn't gotten that upset. Sometimes I've gone back in and rocked him again, but mostly he's just been hanging out in there, moving around, and then falling asleep at some point. I would not have believed this was possible three months ago. Of course, I'm sure it won't last. It's not like we've done anything to make him do this; this is just where he is right now. And I must admit that it rocks.

Picture from yesterday. Stand back; the cuteness might kill you!

This and That

E napped until 5:00 p.m. yesterday. I was about to wake him up when he woke up on his own. As a result of the late nap, he didn't go to bed until 7:45, wayyyyy later than usual. He woke up a few times early in the night, then at midnight and 5:00, but he went back to sleep until 7:45 this morning, wayyyyy later than usual. I guess our whole schedule is off, not that it really matters. It's almost 11:00 now and he's napping. We're going out to lunch today with TJ to this place called the Taco Deli that we used to go to when TJ worked near there and I went to prenatal yoga around the corner.

Eamon has started babbling in earnest. The main sound right now is "Da." "Da-da-da-DA-DA-DA!" he says, starting softly and gradually getting louder until he's yelling. Or sometimes he switches it up and starts out yelling and ends up whispering. Oh my God, it's funny. Such a sweet little voice.

I was hoping to take him to a storytime this morning that I found out about recently, but it turns out it would've conflicted with his morning nap today, so we stayed home. Maybe next Friday.

Oh, we're learning sign language, by the way. I'm excited. I ordered a Baby Signing Time DVD and it came this week. So far we've learned eat/food, drink, water, cereal, cracker, juice, all done, cat, dog, and horse. Now I need to get in the habit of incorporating the signs into everything we do. It's amazing when a baby knows sign language. My friend's little girl (who's almost two now) was able to communicate with her mama before she could actually speak. She could tell her when she wanted more of something and could even sign things like "apple" if she wanted something specific. Pretty cool.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm pretty sure this was one of the best moments of Eamon's life so far.

His first time in a big-boy bathtub, sitting up. He was looking at us like, "Holy crap, you guys. What is going on here? This is freaking awesome!"
I have to admit it brought tears to my eyes to see him so happy and looking like such a big guy.
Even Squeaky had to check it out.

Crazy Napping

E has napped for so long today, I don't know what to think (except that moms who have nappers don't know how good they have it). This morning he slept for two hours (that never, EVER happens), and now he's asleep again and has been for an hour. Maybe he'll be able to stay up past 6:00 for once!

Night Out

I had a wonderful time with Catherine and Shannon last night. It felt good to be somewhere by myself, talking about regular stuff, and not feeling like a mama every second. Eating and drinking wine without interruption. And TJ and Eamon did fine here. TJ didn't even attempt a bottle this time (or a cup with breastmilk, which we'd talked about trying but probably would've been futile), he just put him down after he'd fed him dinner and bathed him. E wasn't into being rocked, so TJ put him down before the first song was even over (I often do the same thing). He said E cried a bit but was asleep in less than ten minutes. So then TJ got several hours to himself, and he spent the time being a real guy's guy. He ordered Pizza Hut pizza and wings and played a video game until it made him sick. (Playing this game nauseates him, but it doesn't keep him from playing it, which really cracks me up.) We agreed that my monthly night out is a win-win for everyone. TJ gets time alone with Eamon, which he LOVES, and he gets time to himself as well. And I get time with my girls, whom I adore.

Eamon did wake up at 1:30 and 5:00, so it wasn't a banner night, but it could've been worse. I didn't think he was going to go back to sleep at 5:00. I ended up putting him down awake and could hear him making sounds in there, but he didn't cry, and eventually he fell asleep and didn't wake up until 7:00.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sleep Is Back

Last night was one of the best nights we've had in awhile. E only woke up once, and he slept until almost 7:00 this morning. Thank you, Goddess. He's also taken two really good naps today. I guess the sleep pendulum has swung back the other way for now. I hope we get a few more good nights before the second tooth comes in. I can never seem to remember during the sleepless phases that it's not permanent, that sleep will come again eventually. That nothing ever stays the same for too long when you have a little person around.

It's my monthly night out tonight. Dinner with my girls. I always feel a little uncomfortable and anxious leaving E, but I'm really looking forward to it at the same time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Early morning, good nap, reaching

Well, last night wasn't as bad as I'd feared. Once the Tylenol set in, E slept until 1 a.m. and then till 5:30. Unfortunately, he was up for the day then. I got TJ up at 6:00 after nursing and went back to bed until 7:30. I usually can't fall back asleep, but I did doze on and off. For the millionth time, I have to thank my lucky stars that TJ has a new job and is present in our house again. I look back now and wonder how we did it.

This afternoon, I heard E wake up from his nap, so I hurriedly finished the dishes I was doing downstairs and ran up to get him. He'd been crying off and on for maybe a minute, but by the time I reached his door, all was quiet. And stayed that way. He stopped so suddenly I was imagining some freakish way that he could've suffocated or hung himself on his crib or something. I opened the door quietly and found him asleep on his tummy with one of his legs stuck awkwardly through the side of the crib, all the way up to his thigh. Poor guy. I didn't disturb him because he was sleeping peacefully and clearly okay, but I'll be glad when the breathable crib bumper I ordered arrives.

One last thing. Eamon reached out for me today for the first time. We'd gone to meet my stepmom and my stepbrother and his new wife, and Grandma had taken E. I was standing next to her, and he reached both his arms out and lunged towards me. I've seen babies do this a million times, but never my own. Aw, shucks. It was pretty cool.

TJ made this out of some pictures we took on Mother's Day and gave it to me framed. Such a wonderful gift. I have it on my desk.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Second Wind

I feel like I should write an update after that last post. Things started to look up shortly after that. I caved and took some Advil, which really helped my headache, and I also took a shower. I haven't taken one with E underfoot since he started sitting up and rolling all the way over. I ended up putting him in his Around-We-Go activity center, which I pulled into our bedroom. He stayed in it while I put clean sheets on our bed, then we sat side-by-side on the bed and I flipped through a magazine while he played. I also folded a bunch of laundry. He was really interested in the magazine, so I ripped out a few pages for him and he was mesmerized. He loved crumpling and shaking the pages (and trying to eat the paper). By the time I took him downstairs to feed him dinner at 5:00, I actually felt refreshed and sane. I think the shower and magazine really helped, as well as doing something out of the ordinary together, even just sitting on the bed. Also, getting a couple of chores out of the way was gratifying. I'd been feeling frustrated about not being able to accomplish anything.

Unfortunately, it looks like we're in for another hard night. He's only been down an hour and he's already woken up twice. Unlike last night, this is definitely teething. He's woken up screaming in pain both times. We gave him some Tylenol a little while ago, so hopefully that will help. Poor little monkey. He's so tired.

Night to End All Nights

Last night was a doozy. I lost count of how many times Eamon got up. Eight? Ten? I was exhausted going into it (he hasn't had any good nights lately), so I felt like total crap by this morning and have had a headache all day. He was up at 6:15 for the day (so much for my fantasy of him sleeping later after waking up so many times), and has barely napped at all today. At the moment he's in his crib, crying, and I'm going in periodically to comfort him. He's upset and crying no matter where he is--in bed, in my arms, or playing. He clearly needs to sleep, and the crying is inevitable at this point. Ugh.

We met Catherine today to walk around Town Lake. When I woke up this morning I didn't think I had it in me to go, but we made it, and had a wonderful (!) time. Afterwards we all met Shannon for lunch. It was good that we had somewhere to go today. On days like this, it's best to be out.

I'm not sure what to do about these numerous, endless night wakings. I feel like I can tell when he's in pain from teething, and that wasn't what was going on last night. We think part of what's happening is that he's rolling over in his sleep and then waking up. I think we're going to try not going in at his first cry tonight, and see what happens. I can't imagine him going back to sleep without getting hysterical, but I guess we'll see. I feel like we're in a terrible pattern that needs to be turned on its head.

Well, I just spent forever in there rocking him. Right as I was about to give up, lo and behold, he put his head down and kept it down. I continued rocking him until I was pretty sure he was asleep, or well on his way, then put him down . . . and he started crying immediately. (I'm not far behind at this point.) I finally gave up (this has been going on for 45 minutes) and now he's playing here beside me. I feel dangerously burned out. I know it's mostly due to sleep deprivation, and the consequence of feeling like I haven't had a break. Surely tonight will be better. Right?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

May 11, 2008

I've had a wonderful Mother's Day. TJ took E to the store this morning, which meant I was alone at home. It was sublime. When they got back, he cooked Denver omelettes and bacon and English muffins for breakfast. It was such a special treat. We've been together six years and I had no idea he knew how to make omelettes. Is there anything the man can't cook?! In the afternoon we went up to the Round Rock Outlets and got a few things for E at Carter's, then we drove to Vin Bistro off 38th Street and sat on their patio for a late lunch. The weather was gorgeous. Since then we've been home, just puttering around. We're about to watch the movie DEATH ON THE NILE.

I was surprised by how special and different today felt. It felt a little like a birthday. I felt appreciated and loved by my guys, and just in awe to be holding a baby in my arms. Last year on Mother's Day, I felt Eamon kick for the first time. Small, delicate flutters here and there. I look at him now and I know that was him in there--I know it, but I can't comprehend it. Life is a miracle. I'm so thankful and humbled that I get to be the mother of this beautiful new person. This particular soul.
Eamon Francis.

On Mother's Day

Each thing I did, then, I did for the first
time, touched the flesh of our flesh,
brought the tiny mouth to my breast,
he drew the avalanche of milk
down off the mountain, I felt as if
I was nothing, no one, I was everything to him, I was his.

From "First Birth" by Sharon Olds

Saturday, May 10, 2008

San Marcos

We spent today in San Marcos at my folks' house. The day started out on the sucky side--I woke up feeling rundown and grouchy, and 35 was closed, so we had to take an alternate route and it took forever--but we had a great time once we got there. We had breakfast tacos, even though it was 11:30 by the time we arrived, and my stepmom, Gwen, cooked a big meal that we ate around 3:00. We also hung out by the pool in the backyard for a while, although the water was too chilly to take E in. My dad sat with him on the side of the pool and they got their feet wet, which was fun. The best treat of the day is that TJ and I got to see IRON MAN while Eamon stayed at the house with my family. It was fantastic, even though I realized partway through that E had been too wound up to eat much earlier, as evidenced by the engorgement I was surprised to be experiencing. We actually left the movie a few minutes early because I was pretty uncomfortable by that point, and I wanted to race home and nurse E. He did great in our absence. My little brother's girlfriend got to feed him supper, and they all played, and he bounced (we took the doorway jumper), and then Gwen gave him a bath before we got home around 6:30. He fell asleep nursing and I put him down in the Pack-n-Play they have there. He woke up around 8:30, right as we were getting ready to leave anyway. He slept on the way home and went down fairly easily once we got here. This was the first time we'd done his bedtime routine somewhere else and then driven home and transferred him to his crib, and I'm pleased with how it worked out.

Now we're home and I'm so tired I'm sitting here squinting at the computer screen, willing my eyes to stay open.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. TJ made us reservations for a late brunch at Vin Bistro. We've never been but have heard good things about it. Normally we'd probably be out and about tomorrow, but I feel so beat, I'm thinking we'll probably lay low, aside from the brunch. But who knows.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sleep and Wimberley

E and I spent today in Wimberley visiting my grandmother and some other relatives who were in town who hadn't seen E since he was tiny. We had a nice time, but I'm completely and totally wiped out. E wouldn't nap this morning at all, despite getting up every two hours last night, so the only time he slept today was in the car. It took a long time for us to get him to bed tonight, too. I'm sure he'll be up many times. What happened to the baby who slept eleven hours straight every night? While some of it is teething, I'm afraid that he's now waking up out of habit. His teeth definitely seemed to be bothering him earlier last night, when he woke up a few times before we'd gone to bed, but I didn't feel like he was uncomfortable or in pain when he woke in the middle of the night. It's also obvious that he wants me, not TJ, when he wakes up at night now. He wants to nurse. When I go in, he stops crying immediately. He kicks his legs and smiles playfully, some might even say triumphantly. (Meanwhile, I keep a blank expression on my face.) When TJ goes in to him at night, E is having none of it. He yells and screams in a decidedly angry fashion. We're thinking about having TJ go in every time at night to see if that decreases the number of times E wakes up. I've read that if an older baby doesn't get milk when he wakes up, he'll stop waking up. But I'm not sure I want to do this yet. I think I want him to have the option of one feeding at night until he's nine months old. I'm not sure what I'm basing this on, because I don't actually get the sense that E needs a night feeding at all now, but there you have it. To be honest, I think it would be hard for me not to go to him at all at night. Also, it seems like nursing is the only thing that puts him back to sleep sometimes.

He seems to be hanging in there on the teething front. The tooth has come in a bit more, halfway in at most. Not enough for me to experience a bite yet!

Tomorrow we're spending the day in San Marcos with my parents (dad and stepmom) and my baby brother, who's a junior in high school. We haven't been down there in awhile and we're really looking forward to it, although I could really use a day at home right now, frankly. But I can't wait for them to see E sit up! And we might take him in their pool.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Look what I can do!

It's official: He can sit up.
Note the rolls of chub.
And the level of concentration, rivaling that of a surgeon.

Another Miserable Night

That pretty much says it all.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Few Things at the End of the Day

Kay and baby Jonas came over this afternoon, and I feel much better about rotavirus. Jonas wasn't vaccinated for it either, and Kay reminded me that there wasn't a vaccine for it at all until recently.

Austin Baby Store got an order of Bum Genius diapers in last week, so we picked up three on Saturday. We LOVE them. They're expensive but they'll save us money in the long run. They're one-size-fits-all, newborn up to thirty-five pounds. And they're just wonderful. I got another call from Austin Baby saying that the Fuzzi Bunz were in, but I'm tempted to just stick with Bum Genius and slowly accumulate a good number. Today was the first day we were able to use cloth from start to finish.

Eamon really came out of his shell when our friends were here today. He's usually quiet and reserved in front of them (and other people), while Jonas is more outgoing. But today Eamon was in his element. Sitting up like a pro, yelling and babbling and roaring, laughing, reaching for things, demanding attention. It was hilarious. Kay had never seen him like this. They were still here at 5:00 when TJ stopped working, so he came upstairs and we hung out for a while longer. Eamon and Jonas were sitting up next to each other making crazy noises and just being babies. We decided that now that E is rocking some dental bling, he's ready to make a statement. You know, show off his mad skillz.

It's true that he has experienced major developments in the past two weeks. Rolling, sitting up, and his first tooth. Man alive, everyone says it goes by so quickly, and everyone is right.

Peace out.

Hyde Park

We played a game today that I look forward to playing again. It's called "Let's Pretend We Live in Hyde Park." We actually used to live there when we first moved to Austin 2.5 years ago. I fantasize about moving back someday, but it's sooooo expensive. We rented a 600-square-foot house for a year at Speedway and 45th ("house" is a generous word for it) and we both worked from home. Ahhh, the good old days. Not really. Actually, what I remember most about the house is how desperately I yearned for a baby.

In any case, E and I parked by Shipe Park today, and he enjoyed swinging in the bucket swings and watching some big kids play, then we walked to the Post Office to mail Mother's Day gifts, then to Quack's coffee shop, where we sat for a while, then to the indie grocery store across the street, then back to the park where I fed E lunch. After that we took one last short walk (drooling at houses) and came home. It felt good to be out.

Guilt and the Rotavirus Vaccine

We (I, really) decided not to have Eamon vaccinated for rotavirus. Why? I'll be honest. It was the only optional vaccine (as presented by our pediatrician, that is), and I wanted to feel like I was in control. The doctor also explained that rotovirus is something that all kids get once if not more by age three, and E wouldn't die from it. (It's a virus that causes persistent vomiting and diarrhea and is resistant to disinfectants and antibacterial soap. It's most severe in the first year of life and can result in serious dehydration.)

Fast-forward to yesterday, when I got THE VACCINE BOOK by Dr. Sears in the mail as part of an order I'd placed on Amazon. I wasn't sure what I was getting with this book, but I'd heard good things about it, and I knew I needed more information about vaccines. If only I'd known about it and read it before E was two months old.

I expected the book to be biased against vaccines, but it's not. It's very balanced, from what I can tell. I've felt overwhelmed and confused about how to research vaccines up until now. I don't trust doctors, who are always pro-vaccine, and I don't trust the anti-vaccine believers any more than the doctors. So it was a relief to find a book that was so fair and informative and clearly laid out. Each chapter is dedicated to a different vaccine, with information about the disease, how common it is, how serious, how treatable, and then it goes into the vaccine itself: ingredients, controversies (if any), side effects, reasons to get it, and reasons some people don't. Then Dr. Sears gives his two cents about how necessary the vaccination is.

Last night I read the rotavirus chapter and was dumbfounded (for some reason) to see that he had this to say: "Sure the vaccine is new and the ingredients are a little odd, and this might give some parents pause. But this vaccine should help us get rid of rotavirus. I consider this a fairly important vaccine."

I feel sick after reading this. I feel like an ignorant mother. Eamon will get rotavirus (hopefully not till he's over a year old, eeek) and he's going to be very sick, and I could have prevented it. I'm going to have to watch him suffer and know that he didn't have to and that it's my fault. This vaccine is given at two, four, and six months, so we've missed our window and there's nothing I can do. Ugh.

Better Already?

Maybe things aren't quite as dire with the teething as I thought in terms of what's in store for us. E still woke up several times last night, so it's not like it was a breeze, but it wasn't anything like the night before. I got a four-hour stretch of sleep followed by a 2.5-hour stretch. It felt amazing after the night before. I gather the pain is worse right before the tooth breaks through the gum, so maybe that was as bad as it gets? That would be nice. I guess we'll find out. I can deal with a couple of nights without sleep, but weeks on end? That's what I dread. I actually dread it more having lived through it for so long last fall.

We gave him two doses of Tylenol last night. During the day I'm using homeopathic teething tablets.

Right now he's taking a nap on his tummy (after many tears, sadly). He's been asleep for almost an hour. Ah, boy, it's a treat.

Oh! I think I hear him. One of the things I love about him taking a good nap is that I can't wait to pick him up and snuggle him afterwards. Not that I ever don't love that, but it's especially nice after he's been asleep awhile. Part of me gets to missing him. (The other part would love a four-hour nap!)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Oh, my God. Teething.

It's hit with a vengeance. We're only a day into the serious stuff, and I'm already about to lose my mind. We were up alllll night last night with E. It was MISERABLE. Poor guy. And he's not napping much today. When he's awake he's irritable and fussy and needs to be entertained constantly. We've already done everything there is to do here in every room, played with every toy, sung every song, read a million books. We're going to have to get out of the house before I lose it. When he was up last night, he was wide awake. That's never been the case for his night wakings. Ugh.

This morning when I ran my finger over his gums, I felt the tiniest prick of a tooth, sharp as a razor blade.

One of the moms at the play group I went to the week before last said she felt like teething was a secret boot camp that no one prepares new parents for. True dat.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

An Anniversary of a Different Kind

It's been a year today since TJ quit smoking!

Clumsy Mom

I hurt Eamon twice today accidentally. That's a record for me. First I banged his head against the roof of the car while putting him in his car seat. Classic. I hadn't done that in a long time. Later I reached out quickly to keep him from falling backwards from a sitting position and one of my fingernails somehow cut his ear and made it bleed. Now it's scabbed up. He's fine, of course, and only cried for a minute, but it feels pretty terrible when something like that happens.

Sliver of white, belly sleeping

This morning, for the first time, I saw a little flash of white peeking through the top of Eamon's lower gums. You can't feel the tooth yet--it just feels like a smooth bump--but it's definitely on its way out. I am insanely excited, even though part of me will miss his toothless grins.

E has taken two great naps today, crazily enough. Each over an hour long. And he fell asleep on his own for the morning one without crying. I had rocked him twice, but he wasn't interested, despite being clearly tired. So I put him down on his back (as usual) in his crib, put some toy links in his hand, and turned on his aquarium toy. I figured I'd be back in a few minutes when he started crying. I heard him playing, and then it eventually dawned on me that he was quiet. I peeked in later on and found him asleep on his belly, his hand still clutching the links. I had to take a picture.

I've been wondering when he would feel comfortable enough to fall asleep on his tummy. I experimented with it during naps awhile back, before he could turn over, thinking he might sleep longer that way, but it didn't seem to help and he seemed to dislike waking up on his tummy, so I gave up on that. Ever since he could roll over all the way (has it really been only a week?), he's preferred to sleep on his back, which has surprised me. I wonder if we'll encounter a lot more belly sleeping now. It sure does look sweet.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I slept without a bra on last night for the first time since Eamon was born. I'm not sure whether I'll try it again right away; I think I might. It felt very strange. Before E was born, I hadn't really thought about nursing bras, aside from wondering how I would know what size to get. (If E hadn't come a month early, I probably wouldn't bought a few sizes to have on hand, but he came before I got to that point.) I learned in our Bradley class that some people recommend wearing a bra 24/7 while breastfeeding, but that seemed crazy to me. Then my milk came in, and it just wasn't comfortable without one, plus I leaked fairly often in the beginning. In any case, it did feel somewhat liberating to go without one finally, and it was nice not to have to mess with hooking and unhooking each side in the middle of the night and this morning. It felt cozier.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Practicing sitting up on May 1

Separation Anxiety

We're seeing the first clear signs of stranger/separation anxiety. I read that this typically starts around seven months, and sure enough, here we are. My stepmom Gwen came over yesterday to see E after being overseas for a couple of weeks, and she went to get him when we heard him wake up from his nap. She's done this many times before, so I thought nothing of it and went to the bathroom. I heard Eamon scream loudly all of a sudden, and then I heard Gwen call out, "Heather, he's afraid of me!" When he closed his eyes and screamed, she picked him up quickly, and that seemed to help. I went in and kissed him and talked to him, but didn't take him from her. He seemed a little freaked out but wasn't crying, and within seconds he was comfortable and happy in Grandma's arms.

He's also started to cry when I leave the room sometimes. It seems to help if I keep talking to him from another room (like the laundry room--five feet away from him, mind you). I know this will get worse before it gets better. Supposedly it peaks between twelve and eighteen months. I hope to find a balance between not catering to it completely and making sure he feels safe.

Baby Food

After we'd cleaned up dinner tonight, we decided to make some food to freeze for Eamon. We'd bought a bunch of fruit and vegetables on Sunday, but I hadn't had a chance to make anything yet. We were able to get a ton done working as a team. We did bananas, mango, papaya, green beans, squash, and zucchini. We finished around 9:30. Whew! I'm going to bed now. My whole body aches. I think we're going to try to make food in batches like this one night a week or so.