Sunday, February 25, 2007

And the beat goes on...

So all that stuff about weaning and going hard-ass mommy on Ethan? Yeah. That didn't work.

There were several days of fighting and crying and nursing only limited to night time. Apparently my son is not interested in formula. Period. And it made no sense to me to starve my child to make my child eat. Call me crazy. Call me irresponsible for rejecting the advice of my pediatrician, but Mama's instinct is that the pediatrician isn't a nursing mom and knows nothing about babies but what a textbook can tell him. This is one of those things that falls under "trust your mama instincts" and I'm gonna. This of course means finding a new, more breastfeeding friendly pediatrician.

What we did do is research other ways to fatten the boy up and be sure he's getting his *brain* food. Ethan now enjoys hard boiled egg yolks, butter in his chow and fish several times a week. And how has he reacted to this new addition to his diet? In the past weeks, he has definitely put on weight; I can't tell you exactly how much, but the 3-6m stuff is finally snug on him and I can feel it when I lift him. I've toyed with the idea of purchasing one of those digital scales, but I know the obsessive compulsive in me would have him on that thing hourly and that doesn't make for a very fun mommy.

Apparently the mama-imposed nursing strike scared the bee-jeezuz out of the little man and now that my supply is on the mend, he is nursing for a full 5-10 minutes at a time. This does not bode well for the 2 RTS bottles of Similac sitting in my pantry, but that's perfectly okay with me.

So that's that update. All is well with that.

I'd love to be witty and go on to tell you about our first trip to IKEA, and how Ethan now crawls like a champ, pulls up on everything he can find, is desperately trying to say "kitty" and all that, but I am sick as a dog, in bed with a fever. This is all mama has the energy for right now.

See you in a few days for the 10 month's gonna be a doozy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bye Bye, Boobie..

Well, at least bye bye to the boobie being the only beverage on the menu.

Ethan's 9 month "well check" didn't go, well, well. He is still, even with the copious amounts of solids we shovel in his mouth, just under 15lbs, which keeps him teetering on the edge of his already itty bitty growth curve. His head circumference is doing the same thing--growing, but not fast enough and falling off of his curve. Hrm....what to do?

Well, what to do is apparently supplement, supplement, supplement. Normally, I would "harummmmph" that advice, pump a little to get my supply back up, take a few fenugreek supplements and be lactating enough to nurse a small army of babies within a day or two, never touching a drop of formula. But this time there was a tone in the doctor's voice that led me to believe there is some urgency here. This is the first time head circumference and brain development has been mentioned. And, as sad as I am to admit it and as much as it goes against what I've always believed and been told, my breastfeeding alone just ain't cutting it for Ethan anymore. I know that from the fabulous digital baby scale my lactation consultant lent me last month; Ethan rarely gets more than 2 oz each time he nurses, regardless of how long he stays latched (which on a good day is 5 minutes at a time, even at night).

Truth is, the last few times I've done the pump and fenugreek shuffle haven't been as successful as they used to be. My supply goes up for a few days, but my only customer is too distracted by life to nurse for more than a few minutes at a time. That means, I could pump 24/7 and overdose on fenugreek and still end up with a mere trickle. Unless I start taking in other hungry babies to keep my supply up, it's going to go out of business. And as there is not much in the way of "wet nurse wanted" in the classifieds these days, it seems that my "breastaurant" (thanks for the term, Amy) is going to be going out of business earlier than expected.

Am I sad? Unspeakably. Don't even want to write about that part of it because I'll just sound like a big old drama queen (Yes, internet, I know. Please contain your snickers. I realize I almost ALWAYS sound like a drama queen).

But am I resolved to get my baby more calories even if those calories don't come from Mama? Yes. I could be stubborn and fiesty about it and refuse to supplement. I could. But I won't.

I gave breastfeeding nine months and I worked hard at it. I pumped exclusively for a month and then we worked through nipple shields and latch issues. I brought my supply back from the brink of disaster after spending a week in the hospital away from Ethan back in July. I tackled my own fears of nursing in public and have become a confident and successful breast feeder. It was harder than I ever thought it would be, but I stuck with it and I am so proud of that accomplishment. It isn't the year I had hoped for, but if exclusively breastfeeding for a year means starving my son, I don't really see the point.

The dilemma now is how to convince Ethan of this. See, he wants to nurse less and less these days, but he doesn't want to even consider adding a bottle to his day. Or a sippy cup. Or anything but the boob, on his terms. He'll hog down jars of baby food and yogurt if I let him, but he is, at this point, a one-beverage boy. So we struggle. The doctor said sometimes the only way to get a stubborn baby to take a bottle is to stop offering the boob. I know he's right; why would Ethan take that funny plastic thing with the weird tasting stuff in it when he knows he can get the *real* thing? But at the same time, the thought of becoming the boob-nazi and saying, "No! No boob for you!" is agony and spells certain absolute death to the milk machine. I'm not ready for that yet.

So our current plan is that mommy pumps a few times during the day to keep up that meager little supply she's got. Mommy & Ethan fight over which sippy cup or bottle is going to be acceptable and which formula is not too icky to swallow. Then we nurse at night. The goal is apparently 24oz in 24 hours, just as it was way back when. Yesterday I think I got about 8oz of formula in him after hours and hours of begging, cajoling and banging my head against a wall. We shall see what today brings. Wish us luck.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tale of the cross-dressing narcoleptic...

...otherwise known as my son, Ethan.

Today was our water babies class. We were very excited because last week, instead of singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" in a cold rec center pool, we were splashing in the Caribbean. So you can see how it must have been a real thrill to get back to the pool, right?

Well, considering Ethan generally naps at 10am for at least an hour and the class starts at 11:40, that doesn't usually leave us oodles of times to dawdle between nap and class. Somehow we manage. There is a flurry of bathing suits (Ethan's, as well as Husband's and the expansive spinnaker worth of fabric required to cover my ass), swim diapers (just Ethan's), towels, changes of clothing, regular diapers (again, just for the baby) and then we all pile into the car. There's something very surreal about putting a bathing suit on your baby, then bundling him up in a hat, mittens and coat. Leave it to me to sign us up for a swim class in the dead of winter.

Today, in the midst of the activity, I forgot to pack Ethan's change of clothes. I took them off of him, put on the top of his bathing suit and then Husband took over so I could get ready. Husband finished dressing him and bundling him up. I put towels in the bag, new diapers in the bag and then said, "Okay! Let's go!" Apparently, I missed the part where I was supposed to go back into the nursery, gather up the dry clothes and put them in the bag as well. Oooops. That's a pretty big part.

The pool was lovely. Not "I'm jumping the waves under the tropical sunshine" lovely, but considering it is 28 degrees outside, you take what you can get. Ethan proves to us over and over again that he is indeed a water baby. My friend, whose daughter is in the class, says he always looks like he's just waiting for someone to bring him a margarita. This is especially the case when he's mellowing out on his back, resting his head on daddy's shoulder.

Perhaps, though, he took this mellow dude persona a bit too far this morning. Maybe it was because his nap was cut short by a few minutes to prepare for the class. Or maybe it was because he was resting his head on mommy as opposed to daddy (could I be the more soothing of the two? Doesn't seem likely, but I guess anything's possible). Whatever the reason, Ethan all but fell asleep during "float on your back" time in the pool.

This is the child who will not go to sleep at night. In a bed. Or a crib. Or anywhere, really, without extensive fussing and boo-hoo'ing. "Nope, no bed, thank you, Mommy. But give me a pool, crowded with other babies and cold water and an instructor shouting instructions in her loud instructor-y voice. Then I can really sink my teeth into a nap!"

Seriously? Seriously. He is proving to us over and over again that the louder and busier a place is, the better suited it is for him to fall asleep. The wedding in Honduras? 500 guests, a live band and copious cheek pinching--slept through it. Water babies class, cold water and screaming babies--slept through it.

It wasn't until I took my half-conscious baby out of the pool that I realized we were "sans" clothing. Feeling super smart, I fessed up to Husband and my friend happened to overhear. My friend with the baby girl, that is. My very prepared, well-packed, no short-cut taking, super mom of a friend with a baby girl. I *heart* her for being the organized one. She came to the rescue. See, she had actually brought her child in one outfit, changed her in the locker room into her bathing suit AND packed new, clean clothes to dress her daughter in after class. That means she had an extra set of clothes.

An extra set of pink clothes. A pretty pink crocheted sweater with a rounded collar and dainty pink buttons. Oh yeah, my son wore it home. But I don't think he minded, since he was fast asleep.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Houston, we have a crawler..

It's a wobbly crawl, a shaky crawl, an almost non-crawl, but it is a crawl.

Today around 5pm, Ethan caught a glimpse of his So Big! Elmo book just out of reach and decided he had to have it. There was much stretching and grasping until he realized finally that it just wasn't going to cut it. And seeming as he HAD to have the book right then and there (Elmo is baby crack, you know that, right?), he had only one choice. To get up on those hands and knees and get them coordinated, once and for all.

And he did. One hand came up and the corresponding knee followed. And then down again, an inch or so in front of where they started (right now you are wondering why you bother to still read my blog, if what you're going to get from me is a play by play of crawling, right? Sorry--I'm excited!) And then he did it with the other hand and knee.

He only got through 2 actual crawly movements before his back end decided it was done with milestones for the day. Thankfully he was within grasping reach of his crack pipe, I mean, book.

So, moms of those who have crawled, how long do I have before the place has to be 100% baby proofed? Because honestly, I think my entire house is a choking hazard right now. I see a serious trip to Babies R Us in our near, near future....

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Six Weird Things About Me...

Okay, so after several days and a little consulting with Husband, I have come up with the six weird things about me...

1. I love to cut coupons, but I almost never use them. Seriously, I salivate at the thought of the Sunday paper because of the coupons. When we get home from Starbucks, I take out the insert, slowly leaf through the sale fliers and pull out the coupon booklets. On a good Sunday there are three booklets; on a bad one, none, which I will never understand. You horrible teasing coupon people, how could you be so mean? So I cut out the coupons, and organize them all in my little coupon organizer (oh, baby stuff, cleaning products, health & beauty and miscellaneous). Then before each grocery trip, I carefully go through and gather the coupons I might need. I have high hopes. BUT, it never fails that when I get to that product on the shelves, and I see the store brand, it is cheaper. Damn! If you went through my jeans or coat pockets, or the bottom of my diaper bag, you would find countless crumpled up coupons that I have rejected at the last minute.

2. I have to tap twice on the top of a can of soda before opening it. I don't know why. I think someone in college told me that it keeps the beer foam from spritzing out when you pop the top of the can. But really--when's the last time an undisturbed can of soda sprayed you when you opened it?

3. I count telephone poles. Fortunately, only when I am a passenger, but sometimes get totally obsessed with counting the telephone poles as we drive by them. I have since I was a little kid sitting in the backseat of the car. It made driving across country when I was 12 a real challenge.

4. I don't share food well. Yes, it's a little "Joey" of me, but I have a tough time sharing my food. I never realized it until I started eating sushi, which I am passionate about. Husband and I would go out with a big group and everyone would order tons of maki rolls. When the platters of rolls showed up, I would notice people taking pieces from the rolls I ordered. I don't get nasty about it or anything, but it causes me anxiety to watch someone else eat my food. Now don't get me wrong, I offer to share food all the time--it's only when someone takes without asking that I get a little panicky. Yes, it's very strange.

5. I am Jewish and went to Catholic schools for 11 years. The public schools in my hometown weren't of the greatest quality when I attended first grade, so from 2nd-12th grade, I attended St. Christopher, St Louis Jr High & Mt. St. Mary's High School for Young Women. I was the token Jew and was a minor celebrity. The first time I ever fainted was when Sr. DeSales asked me to come to the front of the class and recite a prayer in Hebrew. I was in 2nd grade and all I remember is opening my mouth to start the prayer and I woke up in the nurse's office. I also tried to take communion once during First Friday Mass and that ended badly, but that's a whole different post.

6. I have an extra toenail on each pinkie toe. Ick. Yes, I know. Each of my pinkie toes has this weird extra toenail on the outside of it. Always has. It can make pedicures a bit uncomfortable. I have to tell each pedicurist NOT to try to cut it off like it's some little callous. And some of them actually argue with me about it--"Oh, no, honey, I can get that off for you. You don't need it." And then they try. And it's like they are trying to peel off one of my toenails (because, duh, they are!) Generally it just takes one giant yelp of pain from me and they back off---it's not good for business to have your client screaming in pain while they're in your chair.

So there you have it--more weird stuff about me than you EVER needed to know. And now, I'd like to hear from Amy, Andrea, KMW & Becki.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Nine Months

This time last year, little man, I was lying in bed, wondering what the future would hold for us. There was a little stitch holding you in there and we were settling in for a whole lot of sitting around and waiting.

So how ironic is it that this is the month you have decided that sitting around is the last thing you want to do? I know I said it last month, but clearly you've shown me the error of my ways. You're still not crawling, but you will pull or roll yourself anywhere you want to be. You're the king of the reverse crawl; if only you knew how to situate yourself in front of whatever you wanted, you could crawl back to it in a matter of seconds. But no, instead I watch you eye your yellow and black striped ball desperately as you inch further and further away from it. I shouldn't, but I laugh. And then I try to help you scoot up to the ball, but you are already pretty independent and you don't respond well to the help. Your reaction? Your entire backside just plops to the ground in a "I'll do it myself, woman!" response. Fine. Have it your way. As a matter of fact, yesterday you rolled yourself right off the beach chair and into the sand in a mad attempt to grab your new favorite toy, the package of diaper-bag sized Huggies wipes, as they fell to the ground. You protested mightly with a mouthful of sand, but this is the price of having it your way. If I can't hold you 24/7 or help you get where you're going, you're going to take your share of diggers.

You've also ruined our best "put Ethan down when Mommy has to run to the bathroom" places, like your crib and your pack n' play because now you will pull up onto your knees and hang out the side. Fabulous. That doesnt' have "trip to the ER" written all over it, now does it? We lowered the bottom of the pack n' play, so it's a true play pen now. The crib is next, although I can still get away with putting you on your back in the crib and turning on the mobile. But that isn't going to last much longer because...

Ethan realizes there is a world beyond the pack and play...and starts planning his escape

You are also very interested in trying to sit up when you are lying down. At first you started trying to sit up when you were lying flat on your back. You might have abs of steel little man, but they aren't ready for that type of work out yet. So you've figured out that rolling to your side and then trying to pull up on mommy, or a pillow or whatever is handy that won't roll or run away from you (i.e. balls or the poor disgruntled kitties) is likely to be the way to go, but you've not yet mastered that. Usually something distracts you (i.e a ball or the disgruntled kitties) and you simply roll away onto the next adventure (and handfull of fur).

Yes, I am trying to teach you to be gentle with the kitties. And Abby is the peaceful little girl and joins us for our naps. She is of the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" camp and jumps up on the bed at naptime with us. She waits at the foot of the bed until your "I don't want to nap!" drama is done and then she curls up next to your sleepy little body and purrs. Penny is the glutton for punishment who wants to spend time with you when you're awake. Why, I don't know. It doesn't get her much but a few less clumps of fur by day's end. Sometimes you pat, sometimes you grab hold and pull like fur collecting was one of your milestones. "Let's see...rolling, check; pincer grasp, check; ripping kitty's fur out, one pudgy fistful at a time, check."

Speaking of pudgy fingers, you are a foodaholic these days. And I mean that in the best possible and least "you've got childhood obesity in your future" type of way. Last month I was having daily panic attacks because you seemed to be weight-gain challenged. We upped your solids to three meals a day, started mainlining yogurt into you and voila!!! You gained almost an entire pound in a little over 2 weeks. So the upside, you can totally gain weight without a problem. The downside? Mommy getting the "Bad Mom of the year" award because she didn't realize she was starving you with only two meals a day and all the boob milkshakes you can drink. I guess there was a part of me that didn't want to give up being your primary source of nutrition and then there was the part of me that was just plain dumb new mom and didn't realize that it was time for you to start eating more solids.

So we've tried a variety of chow this month. Big thumbs up to all the jarred foods you can get your hands on. Yeah, the stuff that one of your doctors says he wouldn't feed to his daughter's dog? You love the shit. Oh well. Vegetable beef puree, it is. In an attempt to give you protein, I flaked up some baked tilapia and put it on your high chair tray. Yeah, clearly fish isn't food to you. Neither are avocado or real bananas (again, Gerbers bananas rock your world, but the real stuff is shite). You are working on picking up your own food and putting it in your mouth, but unfortunately everything seems to stick to your fingers and it ends up being an exercise in frustration for you. You'll get there, babycakes. No rush.

And also to be filed under "getting there" is your sleep. Last month I sort of decided I would commit myself to not talking about your sleep and/or lack thereof because everyone's got an opinion and sleep seems to be one of those topics that really riles people up. Some of my best friends swear by Ferber, others by Sears. We have read all the books. And we know you inside and out when it comes to how you do or don't like to sleep. But still, somehow you seem to amaze us when you do something like lie down at night, smile at daddy, close your eyes and drift to sleep all on your own. It doesn't happen often, but it happened tonight and it is amazing. And now you're sleeping several hours at a time, waking up to nurse and then poof, right back to sleep. You sleep until somewhere between 7-8 am everyday, so it's hard to justify letting you cry it out when we're no longer technically sleep deprived and you're so happy during the day. We'll deal with the next sleep hurdle when we get to it, but for now, we're all pretty well-rested and content.

And what did we do with all this energy we have from being so well-rested? Well, we went to the zoo. Still, more for Mommy & Daddy than for you, but at least you didn't sleep through the entire trip this time, like you did in September when Grammy & Grampy came to visit.
I'm the cutest baby animal in the whole zoo...

We also went outside and played in our first snow! And by "played", I mean Mommy held you in your snow suit while you cried. Good times!

It's freaking cold, woman! Stop kissing me and get me indoors to a warm boob!

We also started our water babies class and made the leap from Mommies meeting at Starbucks once a week with their babies in strollers to a real, live play group. You got to roll around on the floor and swap toys with Katherine, Chloe, Kate and Lily. We went home with a Whoozit and a Lamaze fabric shape sorter that may or may not have originally been yours, but it's all good. After the first week of water babies class we realized that you were a smidge chilly in the water so we got you a skin suit
dude, surf's up, I am, like, so there...
and a wet suit to keep you toasty warm.

You are so cool now, it's ridiculous.

And this week we are in sunny Honduras, visiting family and soaking in the sunshine. You're having a blast sprawling out in the king size bed with mommy and daddy and jumping waves in the warm ocean and lying underneath palm trees. Life doesn't get much sweeter, little man.

mmmm, sandy fingers...

contemplating life as a beach bum...

More water! More waves! More sand! Bring it on!

Okay, nevermind. No more water, waves and sand. I need a nap...

Ethan & Tia Emi enjoy the big wedding, moments before Ethan falls asleep amidst all the merengue music and cheek pinching associated with a 500 guest Honduran wedding. Who needs Ferber?!