Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Magic Tube of Doom

So I had an MRI today. Yes, one of those long skinny tubes they slide you into in order to see your insides a little more clearly. See, the neurologist came to visit me yesterday as my fever edged closer and closer to 105 and I was literally packed on ice; bags of ice on my head and under each arm, the high-tech method of fever reduction. My headache, a localized piercing pain on the left side of my head that I really thought was eating me alive prompted me to ask him through sobs (yes, internet--I was damn near delerious and I was crying to this man), if I was going to die. It did not seem like a ridiculous question at the time. I asked if I was having a stroke, an aneurism, a blood clot, and on and on and on. I almost asked about little brain gremlins that feast on the grey matter but I didn't want him to think I was crazy...okay, crazier than I was.

Fast forward to this morning when my fever is gone and it seems though magically, my headache is, too. Mind you, its still there, but it's so faint and mild it is almost a joy by comparison. I try to order breakfast and the nurse informs me that they'll "be coming for you soon." This sounds like "dead man walking" to me, as I have slept so soundly and fever-free that I've almost blocked the embarrassing girly cry I had in front of the neurologist about how I didn't want to die. I may have even said at one point, "I have a 3 month old at home. He needs me!" I also recall informing my husband that I hadn't changed my benefits at work to make him my beneficiary. Yeah, I felt that bad. And I was that delerious. OH, and I might be a bit of a drama queen, but this time, that was truly, truly the least of the three ingredients playing into my hysteria. Even the doctors looked at each other with concern each time my fever shot back up. That is not reassuring.

Anyway, "they" were the transports to the MRI. I told the nurse that maybe I didn't need it since I was feeling so much better and that sort of got a chuckle, like I was a little kid trying to get out of taking a bath or something. She may have thought that next I was going to start bargaining with her--"I'll share my french toast with you if you make that MRI disappear"...but I did not.I do have some dignity. And I don't share my french toast, people. Have you learned nothing?

So, the MRI, that little tiny tube that they slide you into that everyone says is a total claustrophobic nightmare? Loved it. Seriously. They secured my head nice and comfy, put a cool cloth over my eyes, gave me a button to press if I started to freak out, and then sliiiiiiiiiid me into the tube. The noises were weird and loud--almost like what I imagine the noises in a bad acid trip would be like or a truly awful techno dance club. They key, though, is that they were consistent and repetitive. So I fell asleep. Yup, I had a nice little nap in the MRI tube and before I knew it, the whole thing was over.

It was back upstairs to my french toast.

Oh, and by the time the frenchtoast was gone, I knew that my brain is time-bomb free and not at all threatening my life in anyway. Phewwwwww. I have been almost completely feverless for the past 24 hours and my pain is more under control. My blood work isn't the mess it was a couple days ago, so mayyyyyyybe they'll be letting me go home tomorrow. Think good thoughts. Think good thoughts. Think good thoughts....

Saturday, July 29, 2006

You Can't Make this Shit Up....

"Sarah, where on earth have you been?!" you ask. "It's not like you to go so long in between entries. Is everything all right?" Hmmmm...funny you should ask.

I'm in the hospital. A-g-a-i-n. What can I say, a girl needs a little institutionalized food every now and again. You'll recall how I loved the frenchtoast at Hotel Highrisk.

This time my hospital stay is clearly not pregnancy related. No, no, having conquered reproductive incompetence, my body is on to new, exciting and as of yet unexplored region on which to wreak havoc. I swear, if I could get up, I'd be twirling round and round in front of the bathroom mirror like a dog chasing its tail looking for the big [REJECT] stamp that I am sure was slapped on my backside on the conveyor belt up in heaven the day they made me.

I had a UTI. I say 'had' because now it so much more. the gift that keeps on giving. See, I am probably the only woman in the world for whom a UTI causes no symptoms. None of that tell-tale burning for me, thank you! I'd like to wait until I have a raging fever, backpain and a heinous headache before even getting a clue that something might be wrong, thanks. What, you say? By then it will be a bladder and kidney infection and I'll require hospitalization?? long as it doesn't burn when I pee....

So here I sit, day 2 and a half of the kidney/bladder fiasco that is my life right now. The backache is gone pretty much. The fever comes and goes in this rollercoaster of shaking and sweating--it almost feels like exercise. But it is a whole new kind of scary with the fever goes up to over 104. The headache is the worst of it right now and several times in the past couple of days I've been fairly certain that my head was going to explode or some sort of frightening creature was going to come chewing it's way out.

Aside from me, me, me, this is awful for Husband who is suddenly single dad and my poor little man, who I only get to see for a little while each day. I can't describe the heartbreak of being separated from them right now. Can't even make a joke about.

So this is my stranger than fiction reason for being out of the loop, internet. Hopefully when I stop sweating and my head stops throbbing and they bust me out of this joint, I'll be able get back up on the blog horse. Until then....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lunching at the OG...

Ah yes, food of the suburban gods, unlimited salad and breadsticks. How I love you and your bottomless bowl/basket tasty goodness. My friend V and I descended upon the Olive Garden this afternoon, a whirlwind of baby carriers, diaper bags, strollers, burp clothes, pacifiers and oh yeah, babies.

It is the mommy lunch date! My very first. I spent most of the morning fretting. Yes, I've been out with the little man dozens of times at this point, even to restaurants; but this would be my first foray into the lunchtime crowd with potentially cranky son in tow and no Husband to defray the anxiety and work involved in a 10 week old's public meltdown.

I was unable to leave the house without packing and repacking the diaper bag. I totally tapped into my "WHERE'S MY PASSPORT??!!" stress generally saved for international travel, only this time it sounded like, "WHERE ARE THE WIPES??!!"....oh, there they are. The contents of the diaper bag for this trip were as follows:

three diapers (because service can be realllly slow and you just never know what is going on in this boy's intestines), rash cream, wipes, antibacterial hand cream, changing pad, two receiving blankets (in addition to the one draped over the car seat) two bibs, three burp cloths, three clean onesies (in case he was suddenly hired to emcee an awards show and needed several wardrobe changes, apparently), a hat (it was 100 degrees, duh), three socks (you think keeping track of adult socks is hard? please.), aspirator, pacifier, one breast pad (apparently they can share?) and my wallet.

This was for one lunch time outting. Clearly, to travel any distance with this child, my house will have to be ripped from its foundation and hauled down the highway trailing a "WIDE LOAD" flag behind it.

My main concern with the lunch date was that the timing of it was worked out a little before Ethan's feeding schedule for the day was solidified. By mid-morning I have a pretty good idea of what times his little belly is going to demand the boob and I can schedule my day's out-of-home activities accordingly. I am not against public breastfeeding. As a matter of fact, don't get me started on a woman's right to feed her child wherever the hell she chooses, in front of whomever happens to be there at the time. And if the government is going to go saying that all women should breastfeed for at least six months, they'd better start educating people who find it "icky" and they'd better start making insurance companies pay for lactation consultants, because it's fucking hard to breastfeed without at least visit to the boob lady. It was not pleasant to have women I hardly know pulling at my breasts and torturing my nipples, but the kid really seems to be attached to the whole nursing thing, so it's worth it. But let's just say, my inner "Yeah, I'm in public and yeah, that's my boob! take that, bitch!" and my outer "oh god, please don't get hungry in public. I don't want to take out my boob!" don't quite match up yert. So I was fretting.

I chose the Olive Garden because I figured we would be in a booth in a fairly dimly lit room so that if either of us had to breastfeed, at least we had a prayer of being discreet about it. Ah, how the universe loves to punk me. We ended up in a regular, middle of the room table, in a room that was all windows out onto the bright sunny day. Surrounded by business men. Let's just say, had either of us had to feed our children, we would have been the main attraction in the diningroom.

I blame our waiter. Had he been remotely competent, we could have eaten our entire meals in the amount of time it took us to have the manager apologetically bring us our diet coke and water. So it was about two bites into my salad that Ethan had, what my friend Jamie calls, "a bit of a screech". Jamie is British and in my opinion all things sound quaint and lovely when expressed through British understatement and in that fabulous accent. So when my son is screaming bloody murder and I feel like my head is about to explode, I remind myself, "'T'sall right. Just a bit of a screech is all..." and somehow I manage to crack up through the wailing and get through it.

So Ethan had a "bit of a screech" midway through lunch and I feared the worst--empty belly. Fortunately, it was just empty mouth and a pacifier (thank god I had one!!!) seemed to do the trick. I held him throughout the remainder of the meal, so I am eternally grateful I only ordered the soup, salad and breadsticks--one hand required. Although I had to eat the soup like my arm was a crane, swinging way out and away from Ethan and then back in and around to my mouth, lest I spill the hot minestrone on his bare arm or leg and award myself "worst mother of the year" award for burning my baby's skin (yes, by this point the soup was tepid at best, but still, I don't want that award!)

Overall, lunch was a success and V and I agreed that we should do this at least once a week until she goes back to work by August's end. Perhaps sometime between now and then my inner public breastfeeding diva biotch will step up and take over. I hope so, because I think she's going to be super cool.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Home Improvements...

When Husband & I moved into our home, we did so with a mental list of all the things that had to be done to this place to make it tolerable to live in and representative of our personalities. Some of it had to be done before we could even move in, such as tearing down a wall-to-wall built-in book case which blocked a window in our livingroom, and painting almost every room in the house to change the feel from circus freakshow (seriously, flourescent green in the stairwell and upstairs hall--flourescent green, people!) to subtle sophistication (ha ha ha).

Once those "must do"'s were done and we moved in, we went ahead and steamrolled our way into pregnancy, leaving 90% of those other projects gathering cob-webs on our mental "to do" list. The first trimester found me crawling to the couch to nap moments after returning from work each day and by the middle of the second trimester, I was bed-bound (ah, the "good old days")--nothing in the way of home repairs got done. Not that I would have been doing them single-handedly, but Husband had more important things to do than rip up the carpet on the stairway during my bedrest months--he had to entertain me. This was not an easy task. The stairs remained carpetted; the front door remained purple and the porch red (circus freaks, people; I am not kidding); our basement and kitchen seemed to have been in mid-renovation when we bought the place and not a professional renovation.

I do believe the people who lived here before us were addicted to the show "Trading Spaces" and they would walk into a room of their house on a Friday, decide to "redo" it and by Sunday, they were either done with the sloppiest renovation ever in the history of home repairs (Bob Villa would freak) or they had lost interest in the renovation and just stopped. A.D.D. home repairs. "Honey, let's paint the room a lovely sunshine yellow (including the ceiling!) and hang purple curtains! Let's tear out those cabinets and re-tile the backsplash! Don't forget to paint all the outlet covers, sweetie! (pause) ooooooooh, Desperate Housewives is on! (dropping all supplies to the floor, grabbing a snack and leaving the room, never to return....)

So now that the little man is closing in on 3 months old and we have somewhat of a grasp on what our lives are now, we've started to look around and say, "Damn. This house needs some work!" First order of business...a back porch. I have fantasies of sitting on the back porch, watching the fire flies (we have tons of them) as the sun goes down, enjoying a glass of wine or a cold beer. Perhaps a little backwards, to add something to the house when there is a list of things already here that need some attention, but hey...we deserve a back porch after the year we've had! Hopefully the porch will be done by fall; of course the way summer is barrelling on by, I am not sure this week's laundry will be done by fall, so I shouldn't really hold my breath.

My sister-in-law and her husband built their own back porch--it is much bigger than the one Husband and I are thinking of and it has a built-in bench wrapping around one side of it. Gorgeous. They showed us pictures of it this weekend with almost the same enthusiasm we exhibit when we show pictures of Ethan to people, and who can blame them--talk about a labor of love. For a moment I felt guilty that Husband and I are hiring people to build our porch. I mean, wouldn't we appreciate it more if we constructed it with our own two hands? Mixed and poured the concrete together? Laid the boards ourselves?

Then I realized, as far as labors of love go, I've had my fill this year. Yes, they built a beautiful porch, but I gestated an entire human being--that's all the "building" I'll be doing this year. I'll be happy to bake cookies and make iced tea for the big sweaty men with 2X4's and hammers in my backyard during August. And I'm more than happy to go shopping for the deck furniture when the workmen leave...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sleep Wars...

My son is not a fan of sleep. I can't wrap my head around this because, I for one, love sleep. LOVE. IT. Back in the day, when I actually worked for a living, the first thought that went through my head when the alarm so rudely disturbed me from my blissful slumber, was how many hours had to pass before I could reasonably crawl back into bed without seeming too lazy or depressed. I love sleep like Homer Simpson loves donuts, "mmmmm, donuts..."

Seriously. Ask Husband about the "Pajama Song". The lyrics and the tune change all the time, but the general message is the same--pajamas make me damn happy. I love all things associated with sleep--pjs, dreams, pillows, comforters...zzzzzzzzzzz...

oh, sorry.

So how is it that my son, blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh, carrier of half my genes, is so opposed to sleeping? Or should I say, sleeping when we want him to sleep? Husband and I are up half the night convincing this little man that sleep is, indeed, a good thing. There is rocking, there is swinging, there is shhhhhushhhhing, there is a vibrating pack and play, there are lullibies and soothing nature noises. He overpowers them all with his grumbly, groany declaration of "Nope. You can't make me! I'm awake!"

He seems to take the most joy in the fake-out. He will buy into our rocking and swinging, our lullibies and the rest. He will close his eyes and relax his little arms and legs. Sure. He'll do all that. And while you are mentally high-fiving yourself as you put him down, he's thinking, "Sucka!!!" and then there is much squirming and groaning. "Fooled ya, mom! I'm still awake!" Grrrrrr...

It'd be fine that he didn't like sleep if he could, say, go downstairs, make himself a sandwich and turn on the TV. Then he could stay up all night watching Noggin or Conan O'Brien if he wanted. It's not like he's got a demanding daytime schedule that he's got to be well-rested for. But he's got this whole 10 week old "I can't sleep. What to do? What to do? I know! You should hold me!" thing going on. And try as I might to explain to him that mommy and daddy need a few hours of shut eye in order to keep themselves remotely sane, he doesn't seem to grasp the concept. Go figure.

His saving grace is that he's so damn cute. And we tend to make up for the lack of night sleeping during the day. This is where I would insert a cute picture of Ethan and me snoozing on the couch, but stupid is not cooperating...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Got Music?

Yesterday I read an article in Mothering magazine by the mother of a 13 year old boy. She shared the story of how she and her son were connected by music; as a baby they listened to all the cheesey little kid music (how I fear the day Ethan wants to go to a Wiggles concert) and once he grew into that "ugh, my mom is so freaking lame" teenager, she delved into the world of his musical tastes, at the same time sharing with him her favorite songs from her own childhood and adolescence. This, she claims, is how they maintained a close bond during those years when children typically pull away from their parents with all the force of opposing magnets ends.

It made me think about the impact of music on my life, especially in those years I spent pretty much stuck up in my room, being a sullen and moody only child and avoiding contact with my own parents. Now, the mid to late 80's didn't really offer a plethora of quality musical choices, by my recollection. We went from Madonna & Duran Duran to Bon Jovi & Guns N Roses. But somehow I found a way to make music a cornerstone of my sense of self & identity.

I kept a notebook of song lyrics that I felt adequately captured my angst and listened avidly to the words to the songs I loved to be sure that I knew them all by heart. It always floors me when Husband says he likes a song, but doesn't know more than two words of it. Just liking the beat or the music means nothing to me--I need to know what the song is about and whether it speaks to my life and my experience; if not, I can't really ever love the song. I can listen and enjoy it, but the songs that stay with me forever are songs that I find something in, something that reminds me of my own life, either through lyrics or the circumstances of where/when/why I first heard it, etc.

So I've been thinking--what are the songs/who are the artists that I will want to share with my son when he is old enough? So, in very "High Fidelity" style, here are "My Top Ten Songs/Artists to Share with Ethan"...

1. U2--"Pride in the Name of Love" & "One" in particular--from the time I was in high school until today Bono's voice and lyrics are simply ever present. Edge's guitar riffs have dictated an entire generation of musical influence and I am willing to bet that Ethan will be listening to u2's music during his own teen years, even without my intervention. I want Ethan to know that music can be more than a good beat and bubble gum lyrics; that it can have a conscience and motivate people to try to change the world. I think U2's music is a fairly pure example of this (well, maybe with the exception of "Discotheque", but whatever...)

2. David Bowie/Freddie Mercury--"Under Pressure" Although I never knew the song even existed until Vanilla Ice ripped off the beat for "Ice Ice Baby" (such a sad, sad confession), there is something about Mercury's voice as he croons, "Can't we give ourselves one more chance? Why can't we give love just one more chance?" that makes my eyes water and my heart soar. His voice is amazing and paired with Bowie's it is simply musical poetry. I want Ethan to be moved by the sound of voices mingling and creating a whole new sound.

3. Cold Play--"Fix You" & "Clocks" I wrote a post a few months ago about how "Fix You" was sort of the soundtrack of my pregnancy--about wanting to protect and shield a loved one from all that could hurt in this life. The opening piano of "Clocks" is the music that Husband and I entered our wedding reception to, down a gorgeous marble staircase; we agonized over what little snippet of music would represent us as a couple, making our grand entrance for the first time as husband and wife. Hopefully Ethan will realize that music stays with you; hearing a particular song brings you back to a specific moment in time--I hope he has those extraordinary moments and the pathway back to them that music can be.

4. Indigo Girls--"Galileo", "Closer to Fine" & "Virginia Wolff" He may not dig these three; admittedly, you don't see a ton of dudes rocking it at an Indigo Girls concert. But in the interest of focusing on songs that have meant a lot to me, I suppose I can't leave them out. The idea that "each life has it's place" and that we are all connected to each other in some way through history or inspiration has always moved me and made me feel both teeny tiny in this world and at the same time, a significant part of its very fabric. I want Ethan to feel that.

5. Duran Duran "Planet Earth" Simply one of the first songs and the first band I remember ever really liking. I was one of those Duran Duran freaks in the 80's to the Nth degree. I could have started a college fund for Ethan with all the money I spent on magazines and British import tapes and LPs. He should know Duran Duran so he understands why he has to apply for scholarships and work study to pay for his tuition.

6. Peter Gabriel "Salisbury Hill" & "Biko" The first one, while I always loved it, makes it onto my list because it was on the radio the afternoon I left the hospital, leaving Ethan behind in the NICU. The line, "'Son,' he said, 'Grab your things, I've come to take you home'" reduced me to a little puddle of tears at the thought that I was driving away from my baby. To this day, I am grateful that I was so preoccupied with the pain of the c-section and the frustration of pumping my seemingly non-existant breastmilk that I never truly grasped how gut-wrenching it was to be separated from Ethan during those seven days.

"Biko" makes the list for the same reason that U2 is on it--a song about Stephen Biko, and anti-Apartheid activist, Gabriel's song helped to highlight such a hideous practice to an audience that may not have ever learned of it otherwise. Let's face it, there was no chapter on Apartheid in our social studies books in high school--without the music I listened to, I would never have known. I remember playing this song for my "Modern World Literature" class of Honors Juniors several years ago. We listened to it as we read "Cry, the Beloved Country" early in the year. At the year-end course evaluations most students cited this song's lyrics as some of the most powerful and memorable literature of the year. Several students in the class joined Amnesty International after I played this song for them. Enough said.

7. 10,000 Maniacs "These are Days" The quintessential nostalgia song, "Never before and never since, I promise, has the whole world been as warm as this". It is a song about pure joy and elation. I hear it in my mind when I think of any number of happy memories in my life. Husband used it as part of our rehearsal dinner slide show. Just the opening beat makes my heart race with joy.

8. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" You might know it as the music from the Dr. Mark Green's death scene on ER. It is the soundtrack of my wedding and honeymoon--two classic and beautiful songs melded together with a island feeling. What's not to love?

9. Bee Gees and/or Credence Clearwater Revival--Pretty much anything by either. This is a shout-out to the musical tastes of my parents in the 70's. We are all influenced, as small children, by the music our parents listen to. How they managed to cram both the disco of the BeeGees and the southern-fried rock of CCR into my consciousness is beyond me, but I know the lyrics of almost every song either group ever produced and would be hard-pressed to say which I'd rather listen to.

10. Sting--all of it. I hope that Sting's music will transcend time and be as cool when Ethan's a teenager as it has been in my generation. How can I not choose Sting? I'm an English teacher and Sting's lyrics are poetry, plain and simple. Sometimes I don't even hear the music when listening to his songs.

So there they are--my top 10. Hopefully someday, when Ethan hits that wall of adolescence and wants to get as far away from me as possible, I will be able to find a pathway to him through these songs/artists and whatever is passing for music thirteen years from now.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 5--Two Months

Dear Ethan,

Today you are two months old. Where to even begin? Usually I just banter on about some little observation I've made about our lives, but on these posts I want to capture you. I want to make sure I remember every little thing that has gone on in your world in these past thirty days so that someday you can look back and understand how you became who you are and know how intensely you have been loved from the moment you came into the world.

This month has held all kinds of changes for you. For one, you "woke up", which means that the previous schedule of eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, poop is a thing of the past. Now there are entire hours at a time when you demand attention and stimulation. And so I stimulate. with books. with tummy time. with your busy little swing. with walks to the park. with larry the lion and the musical inch worm. with your aquarium kick and crawl. with my endless rambling and off-key singing. You usually end up paying more attention to whatever is happening just above you to the left rather than anything I present to you, but every once in awhile you reward me withe some bonafide undeniable interaction and eye contact. You are also developing some serious strength in your neck, back and shoulders--pushing yourself up during tummy time and scooting along with your legs. It won't be long until you are rolling over and if you don't watch out, you're going to end up crawling wayyyy before you're supposed to!

taking a break during the tummy time

First, a little shmooze with Larry the Lion. Next, the Sunday Crossword...

You did quite a bit of getting out and about this month. You went to visit Grandma Judy and Grandpa Harry a couple of times. You made your first foray into the land of yuppidom by hanging out with mommy & daddy at Starbucks. You also got in touch with your inner fashionista when mommy took you to Georgetown when Tress came to visit. You were quite the hit at Sephora, as you insisted on being held rather than making do in your stroller.

Baby's first latte! Relax, people, it is an empty cup; there is no steaming hot beverage wedged into my son's stroller!

"To H&M, Jeeves!" Tress chauffered you around Georgetown this month.

That's another big "thing" this month---HOLD ME, MAMA!!! Yes, I know you can't speak, but you are a remarkably proficient screamer and you have a fairly distinctive "if you don't hold me, there'll be hell to pay" tone. You won't find me complaining; I know there'll be a day when you won't want to be in the same room with your lame-o mom, so right now while I am the center of your universe, I will soak it up with every fiber of my being, even if I do kvetch about it after 6 hours of sitting on the couch.

To avoid the constant couch potato-ing, I have attempted to "wear" you in a variety of different slings and gizmos so that you are smooshed against me and therefore content, yet I can still accomplish something other than widening my butt all day long. I think we may have struck gold just in the past week. We tried the NoJo sling, the hot sling and the moby wrap. No-go on the NoJo, and you were not at all warming up to the hotsling--apparently you don't feel like hanging out in a pouch anymore. The Moby wrap was nice, but it is about 50 feet of stretchy fabric that I am pretty sure I would end up accidently hanging myself with in an attempt to wrap it around myself correctly. I did love how snug you were in it, and perhaps we will revisit it when I am a bit more coordinated in the ways of the baby-wrap, but for now, you are a Bjorn baby. You finally hit the weight requirement, so I plopped you in that contraption as soon as I could figure out how to put it together. Voila!!! I cleaned an entire room of the house with you babbling at my chest, playing with your fingers and watching the world go by. You were on me, you were secure, you were happy and I was not vegetating on the couch!! Ahhhhhhhh...

You made your first friend this month, too, when little Chloe Marie came into the world. Imagine, two months old and already chatting up the ladies. We are going to be in so much trouble with you...

Little E and Little C live it up in the pack and play

Speaking of trouble, this month your digestive system decided it needed to liven things up a bit by creating more acid than your little belly needs. This is loads of fun for all of us, as you tend to scream like you're feet are on fire just moments after eating. And there's the spitting up. I may have mentioned it in previous posts, no?

Well, Monday I could take it no more and we went to see the doctor. She gave you a prescription for Zantac and now, even though the stuff apparently tastes horrifying, you seem to be a happier little man already. We have to mix some of mama's milkshake in to the dropper to even get you to consider ingesting it (such discriminating tastes for a two-month old!), but you are getting it down, and fingers-crossed, we have heard the last of the reflux wails.

You are moving tonight from your pack and play next to the bed to a "snuggle nest" that we are going to fit in the bed between Daddy and me. I have wanted to have you in bed with us all along, but you've been so tiny, I was afraid of smooching you. Hopefully the snuggle nest will get you that much closer and we will have an easier time getting together for those midnight snacks you seem to like so much.

Eating has become such an easy routine for us, thank goodness. You've definitely struggled to make peace with the boob on its own--no bottle (okay, one bottle at night from daddy), no shield, no nothing but you and the boob. But you're there now and you could give any other little kid lessons on how to eat like a champ. How the human race survived considering all the difficulties some women encounter with breastfeeding is beyond me, but it is definitely a worthwhile endeavor and I'm so glad I didn't stop. At the doctors this week, she mentioned adding rice cereal into a bottle of the milk to help with the reflux and I almost keeled over--unless I can eat the rice cereal and have it come out a few hours later in the milkshake, we'll pass on that, thanks...obviously mama's milk is good enough for you considering you have almost doubled your birth weight in these past two months.

At 8 pounds, 4 ounces, you have grown completely out of your preemie clothes and fit perfectly into most of your 0-3s, although I don't know what it is about 0-3 pants--they all still look like parachute pants on you (ah, the 80's). In your little jeans you look like you should be rocking it old school with MC Hammer. This is not a look I want for my son. So we take off the jeans and wait for you to grow. But I have to admit, I love seeing how your once skinny little frame is filling out into rolls and chewable little chubby parts. Daddy says you're starting to look like the Michelin Man--you'll never know in a million years what that means, but it makes me laugh.

"Can't touch this..." Ethan rocks it old school with the parachute jeans a la MC Hammer

You're finding your voice beyond the screaming, too. You have this funny little "terydactle" noise you make (your friend Chloe makes it, too and sometimes you make the noise at the same time--quite a chorus) and that is now spanning out into coo's and surprised sounding "ahh!"'s. Alas, the sneezescream is gone, but there are so many other little sounds coming from you these days, I hardly miss it.

There are smiles on your face these days, too, although they seem to still be random and directed at something going on in your mind (dare I dream?!) rather than at Daddy or me. My favorite face you make is the little "o" your mouth turns into when you see something interesting or new...there is almost mischief in your face, even now at two months. It is almost too much to bear. I do a lot of melting these days.

The look of discovery...

We go through growth-spurts, you and me. Together and as individuals. I love watching you change each day and I love knowing that every day you change me, too. I am becoming a mother; something I've always wanted to be, even though I never really, truly knew what it meant. I am so grateful I have you as my teacher, my sweet little man.

GO, SOX!!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Crying Game...

This just proves that yes, my cherubic little bundle-o-love has his moments. We call him the "Mayor of CrankyTown", "Cranky Pants", "Sir Cranks a Lot" and then there's always, "Sweet Jesus, what the hell is your freaking problem?!" (okay, that's not so much a nickname as a verbal precursor to my own mental breakdown, which generally immediately follows).

Apparently an incompetent cervix wasn't enough. Fifteen weeks of bedrest wasn't enough. An emergency c-section wasn't enough. A week in the NICU wasn't enough. Struggles with breastfeeding, nope. Not enough. The universe decided that Husband and I really needed to add "colicky baby" to our list of trials and tribulations.

Now, I don't know it he's really colicky. Colic is, by definition, an enigma. No one knows where it comes from, what causes it or who will get it. I do know that about 2 weeks ago, he started crying. ALL. THE. TIME. That is only a slight exaggeration. There are exceptions for sleeping (which happens a lot less than it used to) and those rare moments when we have managed to distract him with our goofiness or our back-breaking side to side swishing.

It is disheartening to have a baby who starts crying the second he wakes up (and sometimes while he's still asleep) and continues to cry almost to the moment he falls back to sleep. If you weren't already feeling inadequate as a mother and a human being in general by the "normal" experiences of dealing with a newborn, try not being able to comfort that newborn when he is screaming his face red and punching at you with aimless fists. That, my friends, is good times.

We give him something called "Gripe Water"---sounds like something pumped out of a swamp, but it is actually a mixture of ginger and fennel seeds that seems to calm him for a little while (about a millisecond in colicky baby land). It's damn expensive at Whole Foods, but it makes him feel better. A drop of it on his tongue and he gets this "ooooh, yum. I can stop crying for this..." look. I love that look. I wait all day for that look. But alas, I know it is fleeting and that as soon as the Gripe Water wears off, the griping will start again.

There is also a LOT of spit up in our lives these days. Painful, scream-inducing spit up. Hello, reflux, anyone?! Earlier in his culinary life, I gave up the various foods prone to give breastfeeding babies gas--had to make sure the milkshakes were Ethan-friendly before I served 'em up. No difference. Ah, the mysteries of the infant digestive system.

On Thursday we go for Ethan's 2-month check up. We will be grilling the cute young doctor about colic and reflux and demanding that he earn his damn pay by doing something to make Ethan's little belly feel better. Mommy is getting close to replacing her daily intake of water with gin and tonics and I don't think a "G&T milkshake" is really on Ethan's "acceptable foods" menu.