Thursday, March 31, 2005

Wanted: Gluey shoes

Yesterday Noah and I made a solo trip to the mall. I wanted to go to Plymouth Meeting to check out H&M's baby clothes and the family restroom. For the most part our trip was successful. There was only one ten minute period where I felt exhausted, exasperated and moronic for attempting to go to the mall alone. I'm sure that is the time period you'd most like to hear about. I'll take you there.

I'm hungry because I haven't eaten any lunch. I decide to peruse the food court. Up until now Noah has been staring slack-jawed at the sights and sounds of commerce from the safety of the Bjorn. I order a six inch veggie delight meal from Subway. We sit down at a low wooden table surrounded by benches - more living room decor than food court. I start chomping away and Noah is watching the carousel. All the sudden he lets out a tortured wail. He's crying hysterically. It was idiotic hubris to think I could actual sit STILL and eat. I'm trying to get him out of the Bjorn. But the damn buttons are stuck. I can't get him out. I'm pushing and tugging, getting red in the face, and he's crying. I finally get him out and while I try to calm him down the snaps on my nursing bra pop open (for the millionth freakin' time!). After several different positions I decide the best way to calm him down is to take him to the bathroom, change him and nurse him. But the problem is that now I'm holding him with my hands - and my purse, my shopping bag, my lunch and the Bjorn are scattered about. I try to gather things with one hand but it's a no go. So I set him on the wood seat to gather things up - and I'm so worried he's going to pick now as the best time to roll. Once I get everything together I make a dash for the food court bathroom. When I get there not only do I realize that this is not the nursing bathroom I have heard tale of, but also I realize that in the path from the table to the bathroom Noah has lost a shoe. His new adorable shoes. I abandon my soda which I bought for the caffeine but haven't had one sip of and we start to backtrack. So he's still whimpering, I'm trying to hold all the crap and him, and I'm perusing the floor. Luckily another mother comes to our aid. Bless her. In the minute and a half from the time it fell off his foot until the time I started looking for it - someone picked the shoe up off the floor and just set it atop one of the counters. This of course made it harder to find because I'm looking on the floor. But soon we find the shoe. And all the action and hubbub has quieted Noah - we are back on the move and that makes him happy. The fiasco ends as I find the family restroom and diaper and feed our hero before returning to shopping.

The rest of the trip was fine, but I might think twice about going it alone again. It would have been a million times easier with another set of hands. Oh - and I wasn't that impressed with the family restroom (dirty and smelled like piss) or the H&M (nothing decent on sale). But Noah scored a few items of clearance clothing at Children's Place and Baby Gap.

After the mall adventure we went to Qtown to visit Super Oma and Grandpa Joe. My Dad asked if I wanted him to cook or if we should go out for dinner. After an already busy day I thought it best we stay in. Plus Dad is a good cook! For the first time I saw signs that Noah might be a little too attached to me. When Oma and Dad tried to hold him for longer than a minute or two he would start to fuss. And he would calm down as soon as I took him. It might have partly been because he was sleepy from being short on his typical naps. But he definitely didn't want to me to be out of sight or even out of reach. In a way that feels nice, in another way it's a concern. For the most part the kid sees me all day every day, you'd think he'd want a break. "Hey lady, don't you got no place to go?"

And all the driving? Yesterday it was a piece of pie. He slept through it all. Even when I had to get off the Blue Route at Norristown and fill up because I was worried I was going to run out of gas. But we finally made it home. And Mark was almost as happy to see us as we were to see him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Dear Ndugu

My Oma called last week to ask that I gather some pictures to send to her brother Wolfgang in Germany. I met my Great Uncle Wolfgang once about eight years ago and I think our encounter was about an hour long. Oma said when she was speaking to Wolfgang recently about Noah that he expressed interest in photos of my family. She also requested I write him a brief letter to let him know what I have been up to since our meeting. So... how do you encapsulate the last eight years of your life?

So here is a brief summation of my brief summation. Bought a house in beginning of 2001. Got married Fall of 2002. Had baby Fall of 2004. Very excited to be parents of happy, healthy boy. Was working in medical publishing. Now staying home. Husband works in advertising and PR for local university. Enjoy living in the city.

That's my life in a nutshell. I'm a homeowner, wife and mother. It makes me sound so grown-up. I rarely feel old because I typically feel like I'm still some dumb kid without any direction. But it turns out I have fashioned a real life for myself. And it's a really happy one - filled with the love of family, friends, my husband and my baby. I feel so proud.

Of course the photos I am sending of myself are pre-pregnancy. That is definitely something I need to continue working on. But everything else is pretty damn good.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I'm a big boy chillin' in my big boy pants. Posted by Hello

From Famine to Feast

Just a few weeks ago I was concerned that Noah was too skinny. His weight gain between his one-month check-up and three-month check-up was minimal. Was he starving? Did he have worms? I felt like I was breastfeeding constantly. But where was it all going? Surely something was wrong with the boy.

The Doc assured us that there was nothing to worry about. Obviously she doesn’t know us very well. There is always SOMETHING to worry about. She said that he was healthy and his weight would catch up. I was doubtful. Of course.

In the last month Noah has been enjoying solids. And I do mean ENJOYING. He has gleefully sucked down everything he has been fed - rice cereal, bananas, sweet potatoes, pears, apples, and oatmeal. And at the end of every serving he cries. It's never enough. I think he'd eat until it started coming out of his ears. And as a result, malnutrition is no longer a worry. In fact he's starting to get down right chubby. And just like his poor mom, he first exhibits weight gain by growing many more chins. And his thighs are down right doughy. If his already voracious appetite is any indication of his future zeal for food we'll definitely need to keep this boy active. Luckily his Dad can eat like a Hoover and stay pretty thin. I hope all our children inherit that. Is it to late for me to inherit it?

Monday, March 28, 2005

Sick on Jelly Beans

It was a lovely Easter despite Noah being too damn slow for a proper egg hunt.

We went to Mark's father Martin's apartment for dinner. They also hosted Martin's new wife Sylvia's daughter and her husband who were visiting from Toronto, and Sylvia's son and his two teenage daughters who were visiting from Montreal. Oh, and of course Grandma Laima.

Martin had said that it would be a "light" meal because Sylvia had been entertaining her family for the last few days. Considering that Sylvia cooks enough for ten men whenever just Mark and I come to dinner, I was sure there would be plenty to eat. She cooked beef stew, chicken curry and salmon for main dishes and then many assorted vegetables. There was nothing light about it. She apologized to me for making curry for Easter and I told her she could make curry for any holiday as far as I was concerned.

This was the first time we were meeting Sylvia's family so the afternoon started off with a lot of awkward "So... What is it you do?... And you live where?.. That sounds lovely..." But they were really lovely people. And thank God on his holiest of holy days for Mad Libs - they kept the teens busy and provided the glue that now bonds us all together.

The most notable moments of the afternoon were all provided by the sassy 95 yo Laima. When Mark, Noah and I picked her up she told me I looked really good - which left me glowing about my progressing weight loss. A minute later she announced that her eyes were now completely shot and she was virtually blind. Ha! But we all got our come-uppance. She told the 13 year old she didn't smile enough and the 15 year old what she could do to lose weight. And then she initiated an online shopping search after announcing that her signature scent "Scoundrel" was discontinued. She always puts on a great show. And hell, if any of us makes it to our nineties we shouldn't have to mince words.

Oh, and Noah was there too. He was really incredibly behaved again. He's changing from a mewling infant to a wonderful little boy. He was playful, chatty and charming. I might keep him yet.

Dressed for an Easter golfing excursion.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 26, 2005

A Bardnt Shopping Extravaganza!

Noah had a big consumer adventure yesterday at the Willow Grove Mall. And he was an ANGEL. My God - I could not believe how well behaved he was. He bopped about in the Bjorn quietly staring at everything in his path until he nodded off. Then he awoke refreshed and continued to enjoy the sights and sounds of cha-ching. And the boy came home with a stunning outfit suitable for a golfing expedition, rad shades, hunter green loafer boots, and a bucket hat for our summer beach trip. Not to mention stories of shopping with three generations of Barndt women. How did he survive? Many thanks to his Meemaw and GG for a lovely afternoon.

I never did check out the family restroom. Instead I changed and nursed him in the luxurious accommodations of a Macy's fitting room. I can't believe it didn't occur to me before that there are tons of private places to nurse a baby at the mall.

Because he was so adorable and calm during our long shopping expedition, I can't complain too much about the calamitous drive home. He was very distraught to be locked in the damn seat for another hour - but once we returned home to Dad he was all smiles.

As if yesterdays shopping wasn't enough, Mark, Noah and I headed to Walmart this morning. We left the house at 8 am. Yup. You heard me - 8 AM!!! Since we were up at 5:45 am, we thought it'd be great to get in there early and avoid the zany atmosphere of our local ghetto Walmart. It was our most pleasurable Delaware Avenue Walmart shopping experience. But I still can't believe that on a Saturday we left the house before 8 am and returned at 9 am. Who am I again? It's amazing. Luckily we made up for it by taking a family nap from 10 am to noon. Oh how I've come to appreciate a good nap. Especially when I can share it with the men I love.

Noah will be thrilled tomorrow to celebrate an Eggerts family Easter. We look forward to seeing more family but unfortunately the day involves between three and four hours of driving. Yippee! I have started saving up to buy a helicopter. Let me know if you see a good price on a used one.

Aunt Jess is great with Baby Noah.  Posted by Hello

Friday, March 25, 2005

Little time for Jenga

We've been MIA because we had company. My ten year old sister Jessica came to spend part of her spring break with us. The whole time she was here I was feeling a tad guilty because we couldn't really focus just on her as I would have in the past. We spent almost her entire time playing with the baby. She and I would try to play a game of cards or Jenga while Noah was sleeping, but I also needed to do the dishes, get dinner ready, and start a load of laundry. On the trip to drive her home I apologized for her visit not being all that thrilling. She said she had a good time. I promised her that next time she came Mark would watch the baby for awhile and just her and I could go to dinner, skating or the movies. She seemed pleased with that.

I'm feeling a bit better because the weight is coming off slowly but surely. It took nine months to put it on, so I should give myself nine months to take it off. Right? And what a huge amount of weight it was. The other day I saw myself right after returning from the hospital on a home movie. MY GOD! I knew I was big but not THAT big. But it shouldn't be that surprising. Not only was my pregnancy voracious, but I also packed on the pounds because I quit smoking. I'm happy to say that I 've lost 50 pounds since giving birth but unhappy to say I have about 20 more to lose. And that won't get me back to my former ideal weight - the one I had on my wedding day. I just want to return to the weight I was right before I got pregnant - after I had already gained some weight because I was depressed about my apparent inability to get pregnant. Go figure. I think my former ideal weight is not attainable for me anymore, so I set a new one. I'm now an aging former-smoker mom. Let's be realistic. I just want to feel better in my own skin. All my stretch marked skin.

Noah is getting better at sitting up with support. He's also giggling more. And I swear he made a "D" sound this morning. This afternoon we are off to the mall to meet Meemaw and GG (I didn't pick those names) for lunch and some shopping. Hopefully he'll be on his best behavior. It's a big trip - long drive, lunch and then walking around the mall. Luckily the Willow Grove Mall has a family restroom for nursing and changing.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - my mom is an overly generous angel and I don't know what we would do without her. She called me on her way to Costco yesterday to ask me what groceries we needed. I told her I was uncomfortable telling her what to buy us. It just seems so entitled and wrong. But she said that she didn't get to stay home with me long when I was a baby because she had to go back to work. But that she was glad I was staying home with Noah and she wanted to help us out. What do you say in response to that? Thank you never seems enough. I just keep telling myself that I will pay it forward - be just as generous with my kids.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Little Music Man

Music plays a big part in our life at Maison Noah. We listen to a lot of The Beatles. It's important to get the kid interested in the basics and work out from there. Plus for some sadistic reason the boy actually likes me to sing to him and The Beatles catalog is great fun f or me to sing along. We have "Please Please Me," "Revolver," "Rubber Soul," "Magical Mystery Tour," and even "1" in heavy rotation. We also enjoy the cable Music Choice channels. Party Favorites plays an odd assortment of every song you might hear at a wedding DJed by the Pros. Even if you hate the songs I guarantee you can sing along. We also enjoy Retroactive and Light Classical - but we might need to branch out soon as the playlists have grown tiring. And of course we have some Baby Einstein and Baby Genius CDs - because no one would buy a CD promising to give their child subpar intelligence.

This weekend my mom brought Noah two new CDs by Fisher Price - "Dance, Baby, Dance" and "Baby Boogie." I was a bit worried when I first saw them - assuming it would be earth shatteringly horrible, as much music designed for babies often is. It isn't half bad. Actually I have to admit I've been enjoying them though Noah barely pays them mind. They are in fact instrumental dance remixes of songs like "Mary Had a Little Lamb," "Hush, Little Baby" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." I never quite imagined enjoying a cheesy techno version of "Baa Baa Black Sheep," but damn - it's pretty bumpin'.

Yesterday Noah received the LeapStart Learning Table from Mark's friend Steve and his family. Right now it's a bit too advanced for the boy, but that didn't stop Mark and I from taking it out of the box and spending at least a half hour playing with it ourselves. It uses music to teach a bunch of skills not unlike how to start a dotcom and how to file for bankruptcy. But thanks to last nights tutorial Mark and I now know our alphabet and how to scat.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Babies face off head to head in BABY WARS on Fox Fridays.  Posted by Hello


It was another late night grocery shopping trip on Friday night for me. I think they should blare the music and turn on strobes to make it Rock-n-Shop after 8pm. And if I could wear roller skates, all the better.

Saturday we trekked to Ldale for Noah's date with Ms. Bella. She is getting SO big and increasingly more enchanting. Her and Noah went head to head. Photos to be added later. And of course because Patrice was intent on seeing Noah roll over, he never did it. Though I can't get the kid to stop at home. Figures. It would be so much cooler if babies operated like trained seals. Then to the LDale Ross where we bought Noah a very cute "nerd outfit" as Mark termed it. It consists of khakis, a lime green sleeveless knit vest with navy trim, and a grid checked short sleeve button up shirt. It merely lacks a pocket protector. Accountants - not so cute. Infants dressed up as accountants - cute to the point of insanity. After Noah went to bed we opened a bottle of wine and started watching Ladykillers. I was so tired that I couldn't finish one glass or watch even a smidgen of the movie. Mark had to wake me up to go to bed.

On Sunday my mother came and gave Mark and I a respite at Silk City. And while we were out Noah was introduced to the wacky world of pears. And after bedtime for Noah, it was all about the HBO lineup.

And of course there were tons of smiling, cooing and kisses. My mom once said to me that she was at her happiest when she saw me happy. And I once heard said that the best compliment you could ever get was that you raised a great kid. Raising children isn't all sunshine and roses, it requires a lot of sacrifice. But for my life I have decided it will bring with it the greatest and most long lasting rewards. So bring on the hip Friday nights at Super Fresh pricing diapers - they are the stuff that my dreams are made of.

Friday, March 18, 2005

It's Oh So Quiet

During the day the house can be so quiet. I decided after being home a few weeks that I was no longer going to watch any TV during the day. There isn't anything worthwhile on and I was wasting my time and my attention on it. But growing up we always had the TV on. And when I moved out on my own I would sleep with it on. I have often used TV for noise, for company. So it really has been an adjustment to just listen to some music or even operate with no noise but me, Noah and the Philadelphia street out our door. And part of me has grown to enjoy the silence in a way I never was before. Especially during nap time. And luckily Noah is in bed just in time for primetime - so my TV junkie ass doesn't miss Survivor, Amazing Race, or Deadwood. Ah, the best of both worlds.

Apparently in addition to fulfilling the infant sucking instinct, pacifiers are hella fun too. Noah's new trick is plucking the pacifier out of his mouth, passing it from hand to hand, staring at it, and trying, unsuccessfully thus far, to put it back in his mouth. You would not believe the amount of time he can spend just gazing at that thing. Like it was the Taj Majal.

Thank God for his easy smiles. They get me through.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I can't move, dammit!

Now that Noah can roll from his back to his stomach, he wants to do nothing but that. And once on his stomach he kicks his legs and flails his arms. He's puts all his energy and concentration into trying to move forward. Of course he isn't going anywhere and that is very frustrating. I know I'd be pissed off. So he grunts and flails for awhile and then he whines and cries. I then flip him back on his back and he literally yells at me. As if to say "MOM! I'm not going to get anywhere on my back!!" And then he flips back on to his stomach again to start it from the top. This is very frustrating for me too because I want to make him smile, to play with his little limbs, to watch him bat blissfully at the play gym- but all he wants to do is flail and bitch. Oh and eat. He still LOVES the eating. Sweet potatoes were a big hit.

I told my mom about Noah's determination and frustration. She said she clearly remembered me being frustrated and bored as an infant because I couldn't do anything. Funny, now I look forward to a chance to do nothing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

What if he tells me to shut up?

Noah was awake from 3am to 4:30am last night. Yawn. It's going to be a long day.

Have you heard about this baby sign language thing? Apparently babies are intellectually capable of expressing themselves prior to fully developing their verbal capabilities. So you can teach your child some basic signs so that they communicate to you their wants and needs earlier. They can learn signs for milk, more, hurt, bed, etc. They say as a result the children are a lot happier - less frustrated that they can't communicate. I am loving this idea so much that I already bought an instructional book and video. Of course kids can't really learn hand signals prior to nine months so I've got awhile to wait. But I really hope that I follow through with it.

We also joined the Children's Book of the Month Club. It's like Columbia House but with kids books. Of course at this point it's just for me. I ordered a bunch of award winning picture books to read to Noah - for more variety in my reading selections. I could have ordered him some easy board books to chew on and learn the alphabet - but instead I really wanted "Where the Wild Things Are." We'll get his books later.

I think today we may try sweet potatoes! Unfortunately not sweet potato fries from Silk City - but instead orangey mush. I'll let you know how that goes - because I know you are just dying to know.

Did I mention that I have a baby? A son. His name's Noah. He's four and half months old. Hadn't I mentioned it before? Oops. Must have forgotten all about it.

Pardon me, are you playing with that? Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The mat pretty much explains it. Posted by Hello

I'll just put these scissors right HERE

Time to batten down the hatches. Noah is on the move!

Noah had rolled over a handful of times in the past, but they seemed like flukes and he always seemed really surprised when it happened. Yesterday afternoon when I was enjoying floor time with the monkey he became very focused on rolling. For a half hour he repeatedly curled up his legs, pulled in his arms and threw his weight to the side. And when he succeeded in landing on his stomach he then very purposefully hoisted himself up on his arms and tried to throw his weight to the side so he could roll back over. It was as if he had employed himself a Russian Olympic coach who was pushing him for the Gold. And he did the same thing last night before bedtime. Mark and I were just dumbfounded by his determination.

This morning I laid him on the office floor to tackle one of his play gyms and then I turned to the computer to check my email. I soon heard Noah grunting. I turned to see him on his stomach a couple of inches away from where I left him and turned in a different direction. And laying on the floor a foot from him was a pair of scissors. I can never find a scissors when I want one, and apparently it's because we leave them laying all over the floor. Now storing sharp and dangerous things in the middle of the floor is a thing of the past. We might even have to put things away in drawers!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Don't feed a hungry child?

I don't give Noah enough credit. On the very few occasions we have taken him out into the world I have felt panicked the entire time. I'm absolutely stressed out that he is going to start crying inconsolably. People will be staring, pointing and complaining that I obviously don't know how to calm my child. And I'll be too busy having a nervous breakdown to get it together enough to even make an attempt. This is a ridiculous scenario because not only has Noah never cried inconsolably, but every time we have taken him out into the world he has just stared wide eyed at all the chaos with his mouth hanging open. So I really need to give the boy a break and expect better from him.

Eating solid food has a TREMENDOUS impact on diaper contents. My God. I've never seen anything quite like that before. 'Nuff said.

Yesterday we did something that I'm sure was truly futile. We made Noah a schedule. Both his pediatrician and our First Year book said that by now he should be transitioning into two longer naps from three. And the book said that there should be a four hour gap between his second nap and bedtime. Based on that info and the fact that during the night he typically sleeps from roughly 8pm until 6 am, we penciled in a daily schedule with a two hour nap at 9 and a second two hour nap at 2. We even went so far as to include times for his feedings and possible bath times. There is no way in hell that he's going to follow it at this point, but I like to have something to aim for.

Of course sleeping at night still isn't 't perfect. It's been getting progressively better, but when I called the pediatrician about it this morning she said she isn't convinced that his problem is reflux related. She doesn't want to up his dosage any further because it is getting high for his weight, so she made some other suggestions. When he wakes up at 1:30 am and wants to be fed, she suggested I don't feed him. That's right - don't feed him. WHAT? I'm supposed to try to settle him back to sleep without feeding him. Also she suggested that during the day that I start trying to put him down for a nap when he seems sleepy but before he has fallen asleep. She said he needs to learn to soothe himself to sleep and that this too will help him in the night. I'm so tired right now. And I think making these changes will make things worse for the time being, but hopefully in the long term it'll get better. Yawn.

Noah's new toy! Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Our home is your bar

I miss going out, and I don't. Let me explain. While I am a bit nostalgic for the freedom of Mark and I to decide to go out for Thai food at the drop of a hat, I do not really miss hanging out at the bar. Mark and I weren't exactly party animals, but we did like to go to the bar with friends fairly regularly. We'd have a few drinks, get a light buzz, chat with friends, and have a late night. I honestly feel "over it" in a way that I would never have anticipated. I miss friends, but not the locale. My ideal right now is to have friends drop over at our place for a few hours and drink a glass or two of wine - all while spending time with my son. My feeling is that our real friends, our closest friends, are just as interested in him as us. This isn't to say that I might not like to go out every once in a while and have a drink at the pub with friends, I just don't miss it being a regular part of my life. I am content having it be a special treat, a departure from the norm. This REALLY surprises me. When anticipating being parents I thought that sacrificing our nightlife would be one of the hardest parts. But now that I'm here, I'd rather be with loved ones - with my baby, with my husband, and with my friends who are excited to spend private time with us as a family. That said I have to admit that I am dying for a cheeseburger from the Standard Tap.

Yesterday was a perfect example of my ideal - we had lots of friends come to visit us and spend time with Master Noah too. Jen and Mark stopped by in the afternoon - and brought with them amazingly delicious cookies from a bakery in Rittenhouse. We ordered a pizza and caught up while Noah chilled out. As they were departing Noah's honorary Aunt Tracey came to visit. Tracey has visited us more than any other friend and it really touches me how interested she is in spending time with Noah. Then Mark's friend Tim came to visit from far away Hoboken. We all enjoyed watching Noah voraciously eat rice cereal and bananas, all the while smiling for the company and putting on a good floor show. Then Tim took Mark out for a couple of beers at Johnny Brenda's while Tracey and I talked and had a few drinks at the house. Noah was a perfect gentleman and prompt about meeting his 8pm bedtime - though I know Tracey would have loved for him to stay awake a little bit longer for extra cuddling time. It was a lovely evening - more lovely than just getting tipsy for the millionth time at the local watering hole. Who knew?

Of course I have to become a better host and have some snacks out on the table when people visit. I'm appalled at how badly I shirked my hosting duties. If you ever stop over - don't be shy about going into the pantry and fishing out some pretzels or something if you're hungry. Help yourself. Mi casa su casa. Just don't drink the breastmilk in the fridge - that stuff is like liquid gold.

When my parents were young, people had kids younger and all around the same time. So everyone was in the same boat. New parents all lived in the neighborhood they grew up in and just brought the little ones to each others homes. They got to socialize while the kids hung out and played together. Though I am certainly glad to have had so many life experiences prior to having children, part of me is nostalgic for that sort of setup. Happily since Patrice and Janette are both new mothers/mothers-to-be we can get together like that every once in awhile, it's just that they live so damn far away. I want them to move on our block.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Noah is famished! Posted by Hello

So fresh and so clean, clean

My boy is back to the bowl! After another cereal free day and restless night, Noah is permitted to return to the joys that are rice cereal. It seems reflux has once again reared its ugly head and Noah will have to get his Zantac dosage increased. Infant reflux is not the same as adult reflux - it is the result of an esophageal muscle not being fully matured - and therefore hopefully in the near future he will no longer need to be medicated. Infant reflux normally resolves by the age of one. Until then his dosage will need to increased incrementally as his symptoms reappear as his weight increases.

So, I'm not the cleanest person in the world. I believe things belong in their place for the most part and I do a lot of straightening and putting things away, but I do not accel in the arts of dusting, vacuuming and polishing. I keep fixating on the fact that this will have to change when Noah can move about of his own accord. I don't want him dining on dust bunnies he hunted from under the sofa. I warn myself that I will have to become a neat freak and become diligent about absolute cleanliness. This seems impossible and frightening. But then I try to reassure my inner worry wart that no one ever said their childhood was happy because their house was clean. People don't say "I'm a caring, intelligent, well-adjusted human being because my mother vacuumed every day" or "John Smith would have been an upstanding citizen rather than a serial killer had his mother just mopped more often." Do they?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

My baby is such a baby!

Most likely the stupidest thing ever said to a four-month-old child is "Stop acting like such a baby." And yet, I said it yesterday. Noah was sitting in his Papasan and whining to be picked up while I tried to finish doing the dishes. I kept telling him to just sit tight two more minutes and I'd pick him up, but he just kept getting louder and more plaintive. So I told him to stop acting like a baby. At which point he unhooked himself from the papasan, jumped down from the countertops, told me he'd catch me later, threw on a blazer, and went to the corner store for smokes.

In order to entertain and verbalize my child I have made most of my inner monologue during the day an outer dialogue with a silent partner. This could have horrible repercussions as I feel the need to say everything that goes through my head out loud. I had problems with that before, but now it is probably magnified ten-fold. I'm also obviously starved for conversation. My sister called today and though she tried to end the conversation like five times, I just kept talking and asking questions. Last month when I got my hair cut by a new stylist I left with the very real feeling that the woman was going to be like "JESUS! That woman never shut up!"

So I'm sure you are all (Patrice) chomping at the bit to know how Noah slept last night in light of our rice cereal vs. reflux sleep study. Well, it seems obvious that reflux is the cause. He started showing signs that he needed his dosage increased yesterday afternoon before his 2pm dose. And he still shuffled a lot last night despite not having the rice cereal. He slept a little better though because I sat more upright with him - all the more relaxing for me. But still no cereal today for Master Noah as we want to make absolutely sure that the reflux is the culprit. And we must be empirical about our evidence.

I emailed with Ms. Janette yesterday. She is due to birth her first baby on 5/25. I can't wait to see the baby whose sex is still a mystery. But either way it will most likely be pinky pale and freckly with a shock of curly orange fuzz on its head - not to mention as full of magic and wonder as Ms. Janette herself. I was shocked and appalled to hear that her iron-pumping male OBGYN has been harping on her prenatal weight gain. What an arse! I gained 70 pounds during my pregnancy and my doctor did not say a word. She knew better. I told Ms. Janette to tell her doctor that if he was so concerned with prenatal weight gain than she could tell him when he's gaining to much weight during his pregnancy but until that time comes he should keep his trap shut. Ridiculous. Janette looks healthy and luminescent. I wish she didn't live in the far off burbs of Reading or that one of us had a helicopter. Since she is the aerialist and her hubby a rigger, they should devise some sort of pulley system to fly back and forth from here.

God, I CAN NOT wait for the weather to get nice. Just having the option of taking a walk with Noah seems like a dream. We have been holed up in this house for too damn long.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I'm thankful every day!

Every day I look at Noah and I feel so thankful and blessed to have given birth to such a happy, healthy child. Not only had I feared I would not be able to have a child, but once pregnant we had a real scare about Noah's health.

Getting pregnant wasn't as easy as I expected. In July of 2003 Mark and I planned a trip to Paris over my 29th birthday as our last childless hurrah before we settled in and planned to have a baby. I foolishly thought it would be only a month or two before a child was on the way. Though my doctor reassured me many times that it could take a healthy fertile couple an entire year to conceive naturally, every month that passed without me getting pregnant made me more convinced that we weren't going to be able to have a baby. I began researching global adoption and when my best friend Patrice told me she was pregnant, though I was overflowing with joy for her, part of me felt mournful that I wasn't. But after several months of charting my cycle and disappointing outcomes, on March 11 2004 I found out I was finally pregnant. And amazingly, because Noah was early and Patrice's daughter Bella was late, our children were born only five days apart. Not only was I blessed with a child, but also with a friend with whom to share my pregnancy and child rearing experiences.

And my pregnancy was a little worrisome too. At week 18, June 18th, we had our first ultrasound. At the actual visit the sonographer didn’t mention any concerns. In fact we were pleased that the baby looked well and that the photo really did look like a baby and not an undecipherable blob. But the following week Dr. Murthy asked me at my regular OB appt if the sonographer had mentioned the bright spot they had seen in the heart during the ultrasound. She emphasized many times that it was nothing to worry about but that they had seen a small bright spot in the heart and on the very slim chance that it was a signifier of a chromosomal disorder that they needed to do a follow-up ultrasound. She told me there was no rush to have the second ultrasound as it was merely a precaution and she wasn't concerned. But once I got home and we did some research on the Internet, Mark and I discovered the bright spot or "echogenic focus" they saw could be a signpost for Downs Syndrome. We were on edge for two weeks until our next ultrasound, but we decided not to share the information with anyone else because it seemed unnecessary to alarm everyone. Our second ultrasound was on Friday afternoon, July 9th. We had hoped they would no longer see the focus or merely rule it out as insignificant and that would be the end of it, but at that ultrasound they saw an "echogenic bowel" meaning that Noah's little bowel was showing up bright on the ultrasound. This was a second signpost for Downs Syndrome. Unfortunately the Genetic Counselor had gone home for the day and we couldn't see her until Monday morning. So we cried and worried for our babies health all weekend - looking up all sorts of things on the Internet. We soon realized from the doctor's comments and our research that what they had seen on the ultrasounds were not clear signs that Noah would have Downs Syndrome - but they were two among almost twenty things that they sometimes can see in Downs Syndrome babies in utero - however individually they were also found in normal children. Detecting them in our ultrasound just increased the possibility that Noah might have Downs Syndrome and therefore to rule it out the doctors were suggesting we get an amniocentesis - which was the only clear-cut way to be sure either way. Mark and I talked about it a lot and because an amnio holds a risk for miscarriage, and because finding out if our son had Downs Syndrome would not effect our decision to keep him - I felt really strongly that it was not necessary to have the amnio. My mom was the only person we told at the time and she was so worried about everything that she decided to come to the counseling session on Monday. On Monday we met with the counselor and after discussing the mathematical possibilities of Noah having Downs Syndrome and our feeling that we would have him regardless- we decided against the amnio. We decided to just stay positive and try to progress with the pregnancy as normal. I decided I didn't want to tell many people about the ultrasound scare because I didn't want there to be a negative shadow on the pregnancy - but I eventually told a few people like my best friends Patrice and Janette because I'm not good at keeping anything in. At week 28 and week 36 we had follow-up ultrasounds because the doctors were still considering it a high risk birth - but both of them saw no negative signs. In fact both the bowel and heart cleared up. And though as Mark said "Whatever you have in there is ours and we will love him regardless" we felt absolutely blessed when Noah was born with perfect health. All the worry the doctors caused us seemed cruel and unnecessary in retrospect, but the positive side of it is that we didn't take Noah's health for granted. It seemed like a gift from the gods.

The Wiggler strikes back

So the wiggling saga continues. From 1:30 am until 6:30 am Noah slept very fitfully. Our squirmin' wormin would wriggle about with abandon half asleep, knock his pacifier out of his mouth and start to cry. I'd pop it back in and pat/rub his back until we both drifted back to dream land. And then the cycle would repeat.

A call was made to Doc McSorley first thing this morning. She concurs with us that his reflux is probably the cause and most likely if we up just his night dosage he will be in good shape. However because this problem arose at the same time as the introduction of rice cereal we have to take that out of the equation to make sure it is not the cause. So my hungry little man will have to go solid free for two days to see if his night antics continue. Poor little guy. However the real question is how I will make it through two more restless nights. Naps and an early bedtime, I guess.

And of course changing his diaper at 1:30 am did nothing but make it extremely difficult to get him back to sleep. As soon as I laid him down for a diaper change his eyes were wide open and he had a huge grin on his face. It took all my power not to smile back at him, tickle him and tell him how sweet he was.

Last night was a bust in another way. I did not get to see my beloved Amazing Race. The hurricane-like winds knocked our cable out! So I read for awhile and went to bed early. I'll have to read the summary to catch up. Last night stunk.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Wiggling to China in the night

I was very proud of Noah and myself yesterday afternoon. He napped long enough for me to straighten the house, do some laundry and prep dinner. And shortly after my father-in-law and his wife arrived he went down for an hour long nap that enabled me to prepare our meal. I was panicked when he woke up just as I was about to put our dinner on the table because I knew he too would be famished. But I made him some cereal and fed him while everyone begun eating. I typically need to nurse him right after the cereal, but he was so patient that I was able to eat dinner before I took him upstairs for the rest of his feeding. The food turned out well and Noah was a little gentleman. I was really happy that it all ended up turning out smoothly. I almost felt like a grown-up. Like little Susie Homemaker. But the best moment of the day was singing to entertain Noah while trying to peel potatoes. Thank God there is no hidden camera.

Of course this morning I am a wreck. We had a third night in a row of Noah's tossing and turning. From 2 am until 7am he tossed his head back and forth and kept waking himself up. Not to mention me. This has been going on every night since he has had cereal. But I'm not sure if that is what is causing it since his naps have been fine after his morning cereal feeding. If it goes on one more night I will have to call the doctor.

Another theory on the possible cause is diaper irritation. I don't change Noah through the night because it wakes him up. But its possible his wetness is what is causing him to toss and turn. Tonight I will have to change him at his 2am feeding and see what happens. Hopefully he returns to sleep and the case is solved.

I can barely keep my eyes open in the meantime. That boy needs to save his Axl Rose dance moves for the daylight hours.

Monday, March 07, 2005

It takes a village of pork loin

So we went to my mother's last night for dinner. My cousin, her husband and their two kids were there too. Their baby boy Evan is only about five weeks older than Noah. It's amazing how much they grow and learn in five weeks. He really sits up well and that is a huge accomplishment. They just kind of propped him up with the Boppy for support and he played with toys on the floor. Amazing. And he's super cute. He's got this thick long black hair and these ruddy little cheeks that make him look like he just came in from the cold. His older sister Aelan is about two years old and four months. She was just chatting up a storm. So adorable. I know they say the twos are terrible, but it must be so exciting when they really start communicating like that.

It's amazing how much more valuable family seems after you have kids. It really does take a village to raise a child. And I'm so glad Noah will have cousins (first removed?) close to his age to play with at family functions. I hope they're friends.

Tonight my father-in-law and his wife are coming for dinner. The house is far from perfect and I'm cooking something I never cooked before - so we have the makings of a disaster. But they are really only coming to see Noah so it doesn't matter if the pork loin is dry. At least that is what I keep trying to tell myself.

The past two nights were a bit hard. Noah hasn't slept well. I'm not sure if it is tied to the new sensation of rice cereal in his stomach or it is just a coincidence. Yesterday morning he woke up at 3:30 am and was MISERABLE. I was so tired and he was just crying and carrying on. It was a very long morning. Last night I could not leave him in the bassinet for a big portion of the night because every time I set him down he started trying to wriggle to China and to wake himself up. But when he woke up entirely too early this morning he was smiling and chipper. What a difference that makes. If I'm completely exhausted one of his smiles will get me up and running to do what has to be done. The morning before was like sleepless torture but with a smiling baby the early rise this morning was hardly a problem. Didn't his momma ever teach him that you can catch more flies with honey? I guess I didn't. Add that to my list.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Solid as a rice cereal!

My boy is an eater! Noah had his first taste of "solid" food this morning. Honestly one teaspoon of rice cereal and four teaspoons of breast milk can hardly be considered solids, but he's on his way. He has embarked on a lifelong romance with food. I really hope that he isn't a picky eater as a child. I want him to try different ethnic foods without the bat of an eye. He certainly doesn't seem finicky at the moment. He wasn't at all phased by the idea of eating cereal. I put it in his mouth and he ate it. Hooray! What a milestone. I was so excited for today that when I went grocery shopping last night I bought little bowls, a ton of little containers of baby food, and the rice cereal. I think I would like to make some of our baby food though. Maybe get a cookbook - though I believe it is as simple as boiling carrots and putting them in the blender with a bit of water. But I will find a way to make it more complicated.

The grocery store is really filled with the dregs of humanity after 9pm on a Friday night. It's just a handful of lonely losers. I bought the wrong kind of coffee because I was wierded out by a guy hanging by the rack staring at me with this look of "She must be lonely too" on his face. There were only two registers open and only one other person checking out when I was leaving. The check out girl was the slowest I have EVER encountered. She stopped ringing three times to negotiate soda purchases for herself and two friends. I think at the end she could tell I was a little peeved because she tried to make small talk. She asked if I had any interesting weekend plans. I said "I have a four month old baby at home, so not really. Mostly feeding, diapering and trying to sleep." Should I have told her I was going to a slamming rave?

I was thinking last night about how hard it is to recognize our parents as real people who have had adventures and troubles prior to our birth. I really want to make sure my children know who I was before I was "Mom." Ideally it would be great to write a memoir. I could start by talking about what I know of my parents and my early life and go all the way until Noah was conceived. Certainly how I handle things will be dictated by what age I would consider showing it to my kids. I mean I wouldn't discuss any questionable behavior with a seven year old, but I might with a seventeen year old. In fact I think the teen years is exactly when my kids will need help to think of me as a flawed human and not just an authoritarian. Will they believe my hair has been dyed most of the shades of the rainbow? That I went to the Village at 16 to see a rock band at CBGBs without my mother's knowledge? That I partied so much my freshman year of college that I worried I was an alcoholic? These are experiences that shaped me. And I feel like some day it will be important for my children to hear about them, so they really know me. I want to share my life with them as I hope they share their lives with me.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

In the world of the living

Last night I went out! And I survived!
After about ten minutes of feeling totally disconnected and out of place in the bar - I got over it. I am happy to report that I enjoyed two Hoegaardens (sp?) and NO cigarettes. Though by the smell of it my clothes smoked quite a bit.
It was important to me to celebrate Jen's birthday and it was good for me to get out, despite my hemming and hawing. I got to socialize with friends who I don't see enough anymore - though I talked their childless ears off about childbirth of all things. And I am sure I should never have referenced my breasts so much or mentioned my urethra. But what can I say? I speak my mind.
Of course the night was made possible by the wonderfulness of husband Mark and best friend Patrice. She brought her whole clan (husband Sean, 12yo son Trent and baby Bella) to our place to hang with Mark and Noah while we went out to paint the town. So what do two new fathers, a preteen boy and two infants do when moms are out? Watch American Idol! Happily Noah was a good predictable boy and stayed asleep the whole time I was out. Well done!

To Noah - about you at 4 months

Dear Noah,

Happy four-month-aversary of your birth! We had your four month check-up this morning. You weighed 12 pounds, 13 ounces and were 25 inches long. We were a little worried that you were too skinny, but Dr. Bidi McSorley said there was nothing to worry about. In fact she said you were a "perfect four month old."

The big news is that we got the go ahead for you to eat solids. So your first food is on the horizon. Most likely we will give it a go on Saturday. The Dr. Said it didn't matter if we gave you cereal, veggies or fruit first - that most people give cereal first out of tradition. My baby book says that breast fed babies prefer eating mashed bananas because breast milk is sweeter than formula - and therefore they don't like the blandness of the cereal. Not sure yet what we'll do.

You are so much fun now. Your hands are always noodling around and grabbing at things. You smile, squeak and speak gibberish. You like to play shy sometimes and you play peek-a-boo when I'm in the shower in the morning. You love playing with your play gyms and you can spend quite awhile batting away while squeaking with glee - while I email with friends during the day. I make sure to read a few books, sing a few songs, and dance with you every day. Your father's music ability is far superior to mine - and he can change the lyrics of any song to be about you.

I have finally begun putting you down in your bassinet for most of the night. My mother joked "But he's not even seventeen yet." You're still a rebel and will only sleep on your stomach - experts be damned. You continue to wake up every three hours for feeding, but other than that you are a pretty great sleeper. You're in bed by 8pm almost every night. Next we have to transition you into falling asleep no your own instead of needing to be rocked to sleep and then put down. This may be a tough one.

Your father adores you. He spends a good portion of his work day looking at photos of you. And he is SO happy to see you when he gets home. Just witnessing him love you makes my heart swell. Your father is such a wonderful and loving human being. I'm a very lucky wife and you are a very lucky little boy.

In fact you are a very loved by so many people. My mom (Mee Maw) adores you and drives into the city almost every weekend to see you. When she came to see you this weekend she said your smiles made her well up with tears of joy. Grandpa Martin, Grandma Sylvia and Great Grandmom Laima are big Noah fans too. Sylvia can't stop cooing over you. Laima calls you Master Noah and even sent you a Valentines Day card. Patrice, Sean, Trent and Bella are a part of your family and they love you like you were there own. It's really special that you will grow up with a second family like that - we are really blessed to have them in our lives. And Janette has a little one on the way too - and they too are an important part of your extended family. Your Aunt Jessica is only ten, but she really enjoyed time with you two weekends ago. You could not stop smiling at her and it made her feel like a million bucks. Our friend Tracey comes by regularly just to see and hold you. She has pictures of you up on her desktop. She says you are so cute that it's ridiculous. My Dad and I were having tough times before you were born - but we put it all behind us so he could be a part of your life. It's great to see him talking to you and to see Oma holding you. And the whole McCormack clan has sent you cards and gifts over the last few months. Aunt Marilyn and Aunt Jean have called in for updates. We are very sad your Grandmom Muriel isn't with us, but if there is a "heaven" in any sense I am sure she is looking down and keeping watch over you. She's probably your guardian angel.

I am so enamored with you that I want to have another baby right away. If one is this fantastic two must be unbelievable. Plus, you are so great that I owe it to the planet to have more offspring! And I want you to have a playmate. A sibling with whom to share your life. In fact I think that is one of the best gifts I could give to you.

The last four months have been the best of my life. I've never felt so loved or so loving. Thank you. And it's only going to get better as you learn and grow.

With undying, unconditional love today and always, Mom

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Race Begins

I don't know why I'm such a motor-mouth today! I felt I had to say something about Amazing Race. I LOVE Amazing Race. Let me preface this by saying that I watch an insane amount of reality television programming. In truth I don't even like 80% of it. It's just the lesser of evils when I am looking for something to watch in the evening. But Amazing Race is a fantastic show. Contestants travel the globe with someone with whom they already have a relationship of love and baggage. It's fast paced and people don't eliminate others - they win on their merits or luck alone. Fantastic.

I'm SO glad the new season started so soon after the last ended. I was very unhappy that Freddy and Kendra won. The "pretty" couple was really annoying. And the comments Kendra made about Africa were apalling. What an ignorant moron. I wanted Kris & Jon to win. On the new season I already like the Lynn & Alex - the gay couple. But my early call for winner is the Zach Braff brothers. They seem like arses but I think they will be tough competitors. Mark picked the POW and beauty queen - who already annoy me. How many times does the POW have to point out that he was in Iraq and how many times does Rob have to mention Survivor? How nauseating. Anyway - I can't wait for the next episode.

Under or over stimulated?

So enough about me and my insecurities. There is so much to say about Noah - for whom my fatness and discomfort is a very small price to pay. I am stunned every day by how fantastic he is. He has these giant inquisitive and expressive eyes. When he is sad they break your heart and when he is happy they send you into a blissful state you couldn't have imagined. (Well - at least for me. I can't speak for you. Whoever the hell you are.)

Last night was his very first time sitting in his high chair. He didn't eat anything, but rather just watched us eat. Masochist. But he just sat there patiently. It was a nice change from one of us bouncing him while the other one felt bad that they were the only parent who got a warm dinner. I can't believe how he seems so much closer to being a little boy rather than an infant. It makes so happy and so sad too. This time is SO precious. In ten years I doubt he will just let me cuddle him for an hour and play with his little hands and feet.

So my big dilemma with him is always wondering if I am doing enough with him. I read, sing, dance and talk with him. I stretch, bounce, and roll him. He plays with his gyms, his rattles, and Brainy Baby toys. But that cycle of activities draws to a close early in the day. And then I am wondering if I start again at the beginning or if there is something else I should be doing with him. If I let him play with the gym for twenty minutes a couple of times a day while I check email, is that neglectful? Should I be engaging him constantly? I wish I could be a fly on the wall and see what other mothers do with their infants. Noah is just SO amazing. I feel so blessed to have such a healthy, engaging, beautiful little boy and I want to make sure I do the best for him.

Adhesive Pants

So I went to Old Navy to buy SOMETHING to wear out tonight. And my quest for something that would look decent on me felt like dress shopping for a hunchbacked cyclops. I tried on a billion things. In XL, XXL and even in maternity. I had a nervous breakdown in the dressing room. But I made it out of there an hour and a half later with a pair of jeans that fit a bit better than the fat lady jeans I have, a black sweater that still looks ridiculous on my huge rack, and a pair of tailored black pants of which I really liked the fit.

I put those damn pants on this morning to try to figure out what I was going to wear with them and discovered how much they suck. For some godforsaken reason they are made out of fabric akin to fly tape. Strings, lint and hair covered every inch of the damn things. WHY would anyone make pants out of a fabric that attracts every dustball in a five mile radius? Damn it. Now I have to take them back.

Oh and my hair is falling out! I think this is a postnatal thing, but I have to look it up.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Pelvis has left the building

Holy crap! I am planning to leave the house tomorrow night and go to a bar to celebrate a friends birthday. And get this - I am horribly terrified and not looking forward to it. Wierd, huh? Well there are many parts of it - none of which have to do with leaving my son in the very capable hands of my wonderful husband. The biggest reason (literally) is that I am huge and have nothing to wear that makes me feel at all presentable and certainly not cool. And that isn't just a weight thing. My lactating breasts are too large to fit in anything smaller than a tent. The next reason is my willpower. On March 11 it will be one year I have been smoke free. It was relatively easy for me to quit after I got pregnant and I could no longer go out for a few beers. It was always the smoking and drinking connection that ruined all my past attempts to quit. And now tomorrow I can have a couple of beers (within reason obviously) and I will be hanging out with smokers. I am SO scared I will want a cigarette. A third reason is that I have forgotten how to be sociable in a group - especially containing people who I don't know. I mean if I meet someone for the first time tomorrow night what the hell am I going to talk about? Lactating? Noah's nap time? His adorable dolphin noises? These things are very important to me and valid topics of discussion - but I doubt others will agree. I really am apprehensive - as if it were my first day at school. Luckily my best friend and sister in lactation will be with me and we can't stay too long since we have infants to feed.
But what the hell am I going to wear - dammit. Pants that fit my postnatal pouch are gi-normous and unattractive. Shirts that fit my lactating breasts are gi-normous and unattractive. THIS is why I just wanted to stay in the house until June. Guh.
Well, I better go start dinner before my wee one wakes.