Friday, April 29, 2005

We should all be this flexible. Posted by Hello

Don't bother wearing your white gloves.

I don't know how these domestic goddesses do it. My house is nearing sty status. One would think because I'm always home I might be able to pull this mess together - but one would be wrong. Silly one. Who does one think I am?

I have never been what one would call a clean person - but I try to be neat. I typically try to have things in their place or at the very least shoved under the bed. Vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and scrubbing are my sore points though. But at the moment I have failed on both fronts. I just can't find the time to clean during the day. During Noah's waking hours I'm too busy trying to entertain him and tend to his every whim. He takes two naps during the day but that time flies by so quickly because I'm trying to cram so many things in to my only "me" time. I need to eat something, fill dishwasher/empty dishwasher, collect laundry/start laundry/shift laundry/fold laundry/put away laundry, blog, check email, read online a little, and plan dinner. And I can't even get all that in. I TRY to clean during weekends. Mark and I will sometimes take turns watching baby and cleaning the house. But weekends have been a blur of activities lately and very little time at home. So the result is a pig pen. We really need to scrub this place down this weekend. OH how I dread it. I don't suppose one would like to help me?

Noah doesn't have a fever today thankfully. And he stopped rubbing his eyes, nose and mouth - which the pediatrician said could be signs of oncoming cold symptoms or a headache. But he's still pretty whiny and clingy. In fact I feel a touch whiny and clingy today too.
I'm sorry to say that my stepfather is back in the hospital. He's at Grand View this time. His blood is a mess apparently and they're keeping him to check his kidneys, clean his blood and other assorted fun things. Hopefully he'll be back out in a few days.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I LOVE this part! Posted by Hello

Can you believe this kid can't even sit up?  Posted by Hello

Feeling hot, hot, hot!

My little man is sick. Yesterday he started getting a bit whiny and clingy. At first I thought he was just having trouble adjusting to a "normal" day after all the hubbub recently. And then I was sure it was related to teething. Right before bed I thought he felt a bit warm but Mark didn't think so. I tried to take his temperature with the thermometer pacifier we have, but he kept spitting it out before I got a reading - so I gave up. After I put him down for bed I kept hearing these tiny plaintive moans in the monitor so I went up to check on him. He felt undeniably warm - but I had to make sure. This ushered in the great thermometer debacle. The pacifier wasn't cutting it and there was no way I wanted to take his temp anally so I got out the ear probe thermometer. I think I took his temperature 15 times and the readings ranged from 95 to 101 - with the bulk of them up by 101. The ear probe sucks. Using your wrist is just as reliable if not more. And my wrist said he was definitely hot. Now what?

My first inclination since this was his first fever was to freak the fuck out and take him to the emergency room. But I've read all of those crappy childcare books and listened to the on-hold message at my pediatrician's office and they both make fevers seem like no biggie. So Mark pulled out the books again and we decided to just give him infant Advil and get him back to sleep. Once he nodded off I tried to put him in his bassinet and he woke up. I got him back to sleep, tried to put him in his bassinet and he woke up. I got him back to sleep, tried to put him in his bassinet and he woke up. See where I'm going with this? So I just said screw it - no washing of face, changing of clothes and brushing of teeth for me - I was obviously already in bed for the night. And a long night of infant tossing and turning it was.

This morning he still felt warm so we wanted to call the pediatrician. I figured they would ask what his temperature was and I didn't want to tell them "Of the 15 unreliable times I took it with the ear probe I would guess HOT." So Mark again told me we would have to take his temperature anally. I was horrified by this proposition, as I certainly wouldn't want anyone putting a thermometer up my ass. Especially without asking. And what if we put it in too far. But I finally caved and made Mark do it. Problem was the book said we needed Vaseline and we didn't have any. This put me on a hunt to find lubrication that would agitate his little butt. After considering Desitin, cooking oil and lip balm we settled on aloe vera gel. And you know what? Noah didn't even flinch when he was having his temperature taken. It was like he didn't even notice. And the result was 100.3, which is high for the morning since typically your body temperature is at it's lowest.

Mark headed to the mines and I manned my listless baby while waiting to call the pediatrician when they opened. After a lengthy hold I got the nurse practitioner. I said my infant son had a fever this morning and through the night but wasn't really exhibiting any other symptoms but whining and clinginess. She asked if he was still nursing. (HA! As if my boy would EVER stop eating.) I said yes he was. She said it sounds like he was fighting off a little virus and that I shouldn't worry about solid foods, but if he stopped nursing then I should bring him in. But since he was drinking I should just treat his fever with infant Advil. She said there was a common virus called Rosalea (sp?) that would cause three days of fever with no other symptoms and then would cause a rash once the fever broke - and that was one possibility but there was no need for me to bring him in unless he developed more symptoms. I asked if I should avoid feeding him solid foods and she said no - if he would eat them then great. (HA again. He demolished breakfast with his normal vigor.) So I'm pampering my whiny, clingy baby and hoping he gets well fast. He's too wiped out to really play but doesn't want to just sit so he's a bit of challenge at the moment. Sick babies get to watch a little TV I've decided, so we watched about 20 minutes of Baby Genius on OnDemand this morning. Those floating reflective shapes are trippy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I caught you! Posted by Hello

Jiggedy Jig

We're home again, home again.

Just two days ago I was telling my mom that though Noah loves his pacifier and constantly chews on his fists and any of my body parts that get in his general vicinity, that he doesn't really put random things in his mouth. My mom was saying it was a good thing because once he started I would have to stop giving him catalogs to tear apart, granola wrappers to crinkle and assorted random junk to paw at.

Well, the day has come already. Today as I type Noah is licking a Nature Valley granola wrapper. He is rabidly gumming the thing into submission. And I'm sure that this day came so quickly because of my stupidity in helping him discover the glory of shoving things into his gaping maw. As I was eating an apple yesterday I held it up to his mouth and he licked it. And boy was he impressed. YUM - he seemed to say with his wide eyes. He kept sticking out his little tongue and lapping at it. I just thought this was SO darling I cut off a big piece of my apple just for him. He didn't want to hold it himself but he just licked and gnawed and gummed at it as I held it to his mouth. He didn't get a single shred but I guess the juice was enough to spur him on. And to make matters worse I also let him lick the salt on my pretzels! What a moron I am. Surely I should have realized these acts would precipitate the boy tasting EVERYTHING.

Oh, yesterday's post about visiting Jean was supposed to end with a long sappy philosophical talk about it taking a village to raise a child and how you can't get too much love - but I was distracted and didn't finish it. And I won't bore you with my whole inner dialogue now. I often "write" blogs in my head that never get posted - or get posted in some form but lose their original intention. I wish I could get a print out of my head.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Extending your family

Last night Noah and I paid a visit to an old friend. My mother and I moved in with my stepfather in the middle of my fifth grade school year. My mom decided to let me finish out the year at my former school, in a different school district. So for the remainder of the year and through the summer, David, my new next-door neighbor, was my only new friend. David and I remained friends throughout school, despite my junior high bitchiness, and still keep in touch today though he moved to the outskirts of Detroit to practice medicine. I also keep in contact with his mother Jean – not just because she is his mother, or because she was a neighbor, but because many times during those years she felt like a second mom to me. She sometimes put up with me after school, helped with homework, and mediated quarrels between David and I. And over the years she has been present for the major milestones – my graduation, wedding, and baby shower. So it was high time for her and her wonderful husband Greg to meet Master Noah.

I was quite daring to take Noah over to see Jean and Greg after his bedtime. Noah’s bedtime that is – not Greg’s. Driving over there I had visions of a tired grumpy Noah crying and then dozing off, which is a super fun first impression. But once again, my worries were all for not. Noah played with the blocks Jean so thoughtfully purchased for him, smiled, and then practiced his Gaas and happy dolphin shrieks. Thank the Gods that no one ever meets the scary baby I always envision in my mind’s eye. Both Jean and Greg commented on how sweet and good he is. He was quite the charmer. Except for up-chucking twice on their floor, he was perfection. And even that wasn’t too bad since he managed to avoid spitting on me and himself – and it landed squarely on the kitchen linoleum. Good aim kid!

Monday, April 25, 2005

We can see the forest and the trees

Noah’s honorary Aunt Tracey spent the day with us on Friday. Noah laughed at her hysterically for a good twenty minutes straight as she made faces, used a funny voice and flailed her arms around. Mark and I just looked at each other in amazement because Noah had never laughed so much. NEVER. I can’t overemphasize just how funny he thought she was. I’m interested to see if she can get this same reaction from him on her next visit. If she can then she seriously needs to consider going on the road as an infant comedian.

On Saturday our trio traveled to Qtown and spent some time at the rehab center visiting Larry. We dined at the gastronomic success known simply as Hobo’s and spent the night at Mom’s place. On Sunday the beauteous Baby Bella and the piquant Patrice came to frolic with us at my mother’s place. I am stunned at how well Bella is sitting up. She is like a sitting up genius. Others should just give up their attempts at sitting because Bella has so improved on it that all will pale in comparison. In fact I’m lying on the floor as I type. Patrice whisked Mark away to the train station to return to our urban dwelling while Noah and I maintain our residence deep in the heart of the woodlands. We had our Sunday dinner with Mom at Friday’s. Noah has never eaten out this much in his life – I hope he doesn’t develop a taste for it. Of course when I say eaten out, I don’t mean that Noah ate anything but rather enjoyed watching me eat – and more truthfully enjoyed staring at strangers while playing with his shoelace.

Last night was my best night of sleep with Noah EVER. He only woke me up for one feeding during the night. Hallelujah! I hope that is a sign of things to come. Oh how I would love for him to finally drop that second feeding.

I’m happy to say that Larry was moved to the rehabilitation center on Friday of last week and is returning home this afternoon. Though he could probably benefit from a little more physical therapy, he and my mom decided that the negatives induced by being stuck in the rehab center (chiefly depression) outweigh the positives – so home he comes.

Noah and I will probably return to Mark and the cats tomorrow. So Mark is home alone again tonight and like last Monday when he was home alone I have encouraged him to go out. The man needs to go out and have a beer or something – take full advantage of being wife and childless for the night. Of course Murphy’s Law dictates that the night he is free to live it up is also the night when our friends already have plans. If you would enjoy Mark’s company for an hour or two this evening please drop him a line. His wife is trying desperately to make a play date for him.

Friday, April 22, 2005

HERE kitty kitty.

The very good news is that it seems my stepfather will be released from the hospital on Saturday and taken to LifeQuest for a week of rehabilitation. And if all goes well he should soon return to his couch, TV and yippy dog. This is quite remarkable considering that last week it didn't look like he was going to pull through - but thankfully it seems he has borrowed a little more time. Mark, Noah and I will head to my mom's place on Saturday to keep her company for a couple of days.

As Mark and I are only 2/5 of the inhabitants of our home, it is time to discuss how the other three are interacting. Noah LOVES the cats. The cats however still aren't too sure about Noah.

To truly understand the dynamic between our infant son and our cats - you must first understand the personality of the cats. Spy is a large black cat who on size alone could take down a small dog. However he is about the most skittish cat alive. He tends to stay away from Noah because of his dolphin shrieking and sudden movements. Parker is a flabby tabby and possibly the most love hungry docile cat on the planet. You could pick up Parker, squeeze him into a tiny ball and hold him for a long period of time and all you would get is some pitiful whining to be let go - in addition to his purring. He doesn't scratch and he doesn't bite - he just loves. Parker stays close by Noah because he likes to be close by us. He attempts to sit just outside of Noah's grasp so as not to have his fur pulled or his eyes poked - but I usually move Noah closer. This might seem cruel but Noah is SO delighted by the cats. He will often stop what he is doing to just stare at them walk around the room. And then he will suddenly shriek with delight and kick his feet. He thinks they're pure magic. And well, though Parker doesn't really love to be poked at, he does enjoy attention.

When I was pregnant Mark's 93-year-old Grandmother took me aside one afternoon and said she had something important to discuss. In that moment I expected her to talk about something very serious like illness or death. But what she told me was that it was not safe to have cats around my child and that I needed to make plans on how to keep them separated. She was very serious and very concerned so like a good granddaughter in-law, rather than argue with her I just said okay. So if you see Laima let her know that the cats now have their own apartment and are very happy together.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

What are YOU looking at? Posted by Hello

Feeling so very fortunate

Noah is currently in his Exersaucer. But he's not playing with any of the toys. Nope. He is intently studying the pattern on the fabric of the seat. He's pawing at the vividly colored elephants, monkeys and lions as if he doesn't’t understand that they are flat pictures on fabric. He did this the other day with the bee fabric on his Boppy. He'd touch a bee and then look at me with this confused look on his face. These babies have so very much to learn.

So nap time used to come to an abrupt end when Noah woke up and began crying to be retrieved from the co-sleeper bassinet. In recent weeks the crying is infrequent. Now I hear a garbled mumble in the monitor and then silence. So I go upstairs to investigate. The co-sleeper has a mesh side so I can see in it as soon as I round the corner from our bedroom steps. And there is Noah. He has flipped from his laying on his stomach to his back and he is playing contentedly with his hands, his pacifier or his blanket. I say something sappy to the effect of "Where is that beautiful baby of mine?" And he turns, sees me and breaks into a huge smile. That feeling has got to be on the short list of the best feelings in the world.

Saturday through Tuesday we spent long stretches of time at the hospital. And for a boy that doesn't leave the house too often - this was a major adventure. I didn't think they would let an infant hang out in the hospital, but I guess as long as he wasn't causing a disturbance they weren't going to crack down on us. And Noah was such a good baby. Except for an occasional dolphin shriek of happiness, he scarcely made a peep. He spent a lot of time in the arms of Mee Maw. We took walks in the parking lot and kept him occupied playing with water bottles and granola bar wrappers. We passed him around to visitors, stood him on our laps and told him he was "SOOOO BIG." He had charming smiles and flirty eyes for nurses, aides and doctors alike. So much was going on at the time that I wasn't even fully focused on how good he was being. But now I have to give him credit - he's such a wonderful little boy and we are so very lucky to have him.

On a much sadder and more powerful note, I have to share this blog posting. It made me cry earlier today.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

This certainly makes me feel better. Posted by Hello

Smiles are the best medicine

As some of you know Noah and I have spent the last couple of days at the Quakertown hospital. I could get into the details of my step-father Larry's terminal illness or relay the none too funny story of having my father admitted to the same hospital to take up Larry's former bed when they moved him from the ICU - but this blog really isn't the place for those sort of details. I will say quickly though that it appears my father's ailment is not too serious and he should be out of the hospital at any moment today - though unfortunately I can't say the same things for Larry.

I'm not too sure how my Mom would feel about me disclosing info on Larry's condition in such a public forum and plus this blog is primarily for Noah stuff. So I will just comment that a baby in a hospital is like a ray of sunshine from heaven. Quakertown Hospital doesn't have a maternity ward so all the residents and nurses alike were just so pleased to see Noah's smiling little face so they could take a break from the dealing with the sadness of illness. It was a constant barrage of "How old is he, "His eyes are enormous," and "He's so beautiful." And many times I heard "Enjoy him." This comment is the one I receive most often from women who have already raised their children. They go on to tell me how each stage felt like the best, how the years went so fast, and how much they treasure memories of their kids when they were little. And one day I'm sure I'll pass on the same info. But until then I will remind myself to "Enjoy him."

So Jen asked me the other day what makes the first three months the hardest - and I thought that was are a really valid question. Both the parents and the baby make the first three months the hardest.

For the mom (won't speak for Mark) I will say lack of experience is the most significant factor. For your first one this has got to be the biggest deal because you don't know ANYTHING - even if you read all the books - so every little thing seems like a big deal. But even for later children you don't know the child yet - and since every child is different and it takes awhile to learn their cries, learn their likes and dislikes - the learning curve is difficult. Change is also a huge component since overnight your life is changed into something completely different. Take everything you did on a typical day and throw it out the window. You start your life anew with no routine to follow. After three months you will have established patterns and schedules and after that is seems SO much easier. Also mom is physically recovering from labor or surgery and if you breastfeed it can take you that long for your nipples to "toughen up."

A newborn is harder than a slightly more developed infant for a few reasons. Newborns have no sense of day or night at first so they will often take a few weeks to sleep longer in the night. This lack of sleep for the parents makes a huge difference. Developmentally a newborn is just not as fun as an infant. They are tiny and precious but they have no real personality yet. They eat, sleep, evacuate and cry. Crying is their only real form of communication. Newborns do not make eye contact, do not giggle, do not smile and do not play. This definitely makes the first few months harder and once they can finally really connect with you it feels AMAZING. But that reward isn't really there at first.

There are probably a bunch of other reasons too - but those are the ones I can think of right now. So when everyone says "The first three months are the hardest" they are in no way kidding. That isn't to say that there aren't some wonderful things in the first few months - I still adored them. Mark and I already look back at the pictures of Noah's first couple of weeks and say fondly "Do you remember when he was that teeny tiny little worm?"

The blog may be a bit spotty in the next couple of weeks as Noah and I plan on spending a bit of time going back and forth to Qtown to spend time with Mom and help her and Larry out in any way necessary. Most likely we will just be hanging at Mom's house so she can balance all the hard times with time with her smiling, giggling grandson. Oh - and maybe me too.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Cliches are often true

Confronted with the terminal illness of a family member I can't help but marvel at how precarious and precious life is.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Bella wasn't buying Noah's fresh moves.  Posted by Hello

Come back, Ma! These people are nuts. Posted by Hello

They think they're people!

So today I went to my OB for my annual visit and I was delighted to find out that Dr. Kamaljeet Murthy is pregnant with her second son and due in June. This of course brought on talk of when and if Mark and I are going to have a second child. I told the Doc that I'd like to have another sooner rather than later so that they are close in age. I then said "That of course won't be that easy on me in the beginning, but I think it will be best for the kids and in the long run." And Doc said "That's true - but the hard part is over before you know it."

But it seems the hard part IS over before you know it. When I was pregnant I heard "the first three months are the hardest" a GAZILLION times. And BOY were they right. Now Noah seems like a piece of cake in comparison. And I'm sure it will be even more daunting to be going through the first three months with a new infant while tending to a toddler. But you get through it because as hard as it is, it's also a joy and it's worth it in the long run.

Of course it would be easiest if baby number two were a carbon copy of baby number one. But those crazy babies are born as different as people. Grown people that is. They're born with different likes and dislikes and you can bet that what Noah liked won't provide much guidance for us on baby number two. Last night Mark and I had the pleasure of babysitting Ms. Bella so that Patrice and Sean could attend a screening at the film fest. We were only double babying it for an hour since Mr. Noah is a morning person (up between 4 and 6 am) and was in bed by 7:30 pm and Ms. Bella is a night owl (sleeps in) who wanted to hang out. This was perfect for last night -but can you imagine how hard it is if your two kids had totally different sleep preferences? It means you would be up late with one and up early with the other. No time for sleep! That sounds nightmarish - but it happens and parents get through.

The developmental differences and preferences between Noah and Bella are astounding considering they were born only four days apart. While Noah is a rolling fool that can barely sit up even when propped, Bella loves to sit and hates to roll. Noah eats ANYTHING like a champ but Bella is far advanced with raspberries and consonant sounds galore. Noah likes to hang out in the Bjorn but hates being strapped in the stroller while Bella is a stroller fan who puts the kibosh on the baby sling. So you see you never know what you're going to get because these silly babies are actually born with personalities. They think they're people! And don't let any book or parent tell you that your child is late or wrong because they aren't doing what another kid of the same age is doing. You certainly can't assume there's a problem. Growing and learning are really personal things that can't be judged too strictly on a universal time scale. Hell, it took me forever to learn to knit and I still suck at it - that doesn't mean I'm a slow learner or that I have a problem. At least not that I'm willing to admit to.

So in the not too distant future we might be up for a second one. And if we're lucky enough to conceive and deliver he/she will offer new challenges and the two of them will run me ragged. There will be nights when I'm so tired I won't be able to see straight and times when I wonder "what in hell was I thinking" but the hard part will be over before I know it. And later it will seem that the tender childhood years were gone in a flash and I'll want to relive them all - even the hard parts.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Moms don't get sick leave

There was a couple minutes this morning where I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. I was laying on the hallway floor nauseated, sweating, and having abdominal pains and Noah was squawking in discontent from his Exersaucer. I called Mark and told him to look up the symptoms of appendicitis. He said nausea, sweating and abdominal pains. Luckily I think I was just suffering a minor stomach issue. It subsided after a spell in the loo. But for a couple of minutes I was in a panic. Not about the hospital or the operation but "WHAT ABOUT MY BABY?"

What does one do with an infant if you get sick? Of course this is not the first time I have thought of this. I worry about coming down with the flu, breaking a limb or being briefly incapacitated. One thing I think about frequently is falling down the basement steps while the baby is napping. If I were knocked unconscious while Noah was napping would he just scream in his bassinet until Mark came home or would he master climbing/rolling out and fall on the floor? Would Mark know if he didn't hear from me all afternoon that something might be wrong?

I know. I deserve a Nobel Prize for worrying at this point. It's just so weird to have this other little person who is totally dependent on you. I can't really do anything without having to think about what would he do, where would he be at the time. It really is an overwhelming thought.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Beware: Breast Talk

It should be no secret that I have not loved every minute of breastfeeding. I'm not a big fan of sore nipples, gihugic unwieldy breasts that can't fit in anything, unsupportive bras that fling open, leaking, or even wearing a bra at all hours of the night and day. The first three months were HARD. I was so sore. The only thing that stopped me from quitting is because I promised myself and Noah that I would breast feed him for six months - following the current medical recommendations and the "Babies were born to be breastfed" campaign.

Noah's six month check-up is just around the corner - but now I'm not so certain that it is a good time to stop. Yes, I want my breasts back to somewhat of a "normal" size before trying to wear summer apparel. Yes, I want to work out without worrying about leaking or souring my milk with lactic acid. And yes, I can't wait to wear a supportive bra - and sleep without wearing one. But I have some reasons to keep on keeping on. I'm happy to say that it stopped really hurting just after the three month mark. Breast milk is not only healthier but also FREE. It is also more convenient - rather than getting up in the middle of the night to prepare a bottle I can now practically doze through nursing Noah during his still very prevalent night feedings. Plus I am HOME and I have no good reason NOT to breastfeed. And then there is the bonding aspect - I alone won't be responsible for providing Noah's nourishment in such a primal mammalian level. Oh, and I can't forget to mention that when I stop nursing my period will return - and I haven't had it in over a year.

To ween or not to ween? I'm so torn. I change my mind every five seconds. I guess I'll just wait and see what the pediatrician and the OBGYN say. Or maybe I will flip a coin.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Truly a world wide web!

I was hesitant about starting a blog. I like to write so that part appealed to me but I felt the idea of writing about my life and expecting other people to read it seemed a bit self-centered and showy. I mean the blogosphere is filled with people just saying "Look at me world - I have something unique to say!" But my mind changed when I became addicted to other blogs - mommy blogs in general and in particular. Not only did I really feel like I started to know these women and their children - they gave me touch points on which I could compare my experience. They made me feel less alone and also to see what might be coming around the corner. Through reading about their highs and lows I could better value my own time with Noah. So I finally thought, "Why not write one too?" By writing about my days with Noah I could easily share info with family and friends who were interested and I could also preserve moments to compensate for my truly bad memory.

But it gets even better than I thought. Today I received an email from my Great Uncle Wolfgang in Germany! My Oma (Grandmother) immigrated to America when my Dad was only five so I never really got to know Oma's family. I met her brother Wolfgang only once briefly when he visited us in 1997. Recently Oma asked that I send Wolfgang a letter and some pictures to let him know how I was doing, and in the letter I included not only my email address but also my blog address. In my first email from Wolfgang he says that he enjoyed looking at the blog and even mentioned some details of my babblings in recent weeks. He said " So you’ve got at least one really interested reader from now on. Just go ahead! It’s so much better than just writing a letter now and then." And that made my day! Not only do I feel SO international (Ha!) - but also I feel fantastic to have made contact with a part of my family that I have never had the privilege to really know. So a big "Hello" to Great Uncle Wolfgang and his family - Roswitha, Elmar, Marius and Gerald! Noah, Mark and I send you our love.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Stand up and be counted

The handful of stranger comments I have received made me curious about how many people arrive on this page a day. So I finally got myself a counter. Of course now I'll probably get a bunch of spam from the counter people.

Maxin' and relaxin' at Casa de Ed.  Posted by Hello

You have to give him SOME rope

Wasn't that weekend weather to die for? And thankfully this week is supposed to be just as exquisite.

Saturday afternoon we headed to see Uncle Ed Ford at his abode in Princeton Junction. We chatted in his back yard while eating potato chips, pizza and coca cola. Just writing that brings back my tummy ache. Noah of course stuck to oatmeal and breast milk. Smart boy. With a diet like that I should envy his figure - but somehow his thighs are even doughier than mine. His abs however are as flat as a board. The boys talked tech toys, TV and contrails while I just marveled at the sunshine. And I SWEAR Ed took more photos of Noah than we did - which is still an INSANE amount of photos. And I'm happy to report we talked to Ed about wiring Patrice's house for the dying hamster cam and he's putting together a strategy.

A major point of discussion on Saturday was our possible purchase of a new computer. It seems pretty certain that we may have to use some of our tax refund to dig in and buy a new system before the one I received while working at CDNOW bites it and leaves us dead to the modern world. Ed says the best way to go is to buy Dell. You folks got any input on that?

And like so many of our friends Ed has joined the ever-growing cult of Comcast DVR. On one hand we don't really want to spend any more money on television related expenses - however there would be a major plus to having a DVR. Judge Judy. Let me explain. We have significantly decreased the amount of television time we enjoy since we had Noah. The American Pediatric Association has recommended that children under the age of 2 not watch television and we are currently sticking to that. As a result the TV is not on during Noah's waking hours - except if we are listening to one of the Music Choice cable music channels. So we really only watch TV from 8pm until 11pm (like we can stay up that late - HA!). My husband however is missing his gal Judge Judy - the only woman he may love as much as me. And if we had the DVR we could set it up to record Judge Judy and Mark could spend time with her whenever his heart desired. The idea of taping only the things you really want to watch and watching them when YOU want is really appealing especially when you have limited TV time. Of course we can't even get it together most nights to watch something from Netflix. So who knows? It might not be worth the $10 a month. But our friends who have it rave about DVR so much that you think they were getting commission on the deal. Anyway, Saturday was lovely - lovely weather and lovely visit with Uncle Ed.

My blessed mother came to our place to baby-sit Noah yesterday afternoon so Mark and I could go to the movies. Because what else would you do on a beautifully sunny spring day other than sit in a dark theater? Well it's Philadelphia Film Fest time and in past years Mark and I have seen between 5 and 10 films each year. Along with Fringe Fest it is one of our favorite city activities, so I was feeling a little crestfallen this year when the film booklet came and it seemed obvious we weren’t going to be seeing squat. Happily my mom agreed to come to our place two Sundays in a row so Mark and I could go catch two matinees - and feel a little like our old selves. HA! When the time came yesterday for us to leave for the theater I felt like a wreck. I really didn't want to leave Noah and not because I didn't trust my mom. He hadn't taken a decent nap all morning and after Mark said Noah had a bit of a freak out last week when I went out - I was convinced he would cry the whole time we were gone and both he and my mother would be miserable. And it would be all my fault. You know what I fear the most? I know it is absolutely ridiculous - but I fear loss of Noah's trust. Like he is going to feel abandoned for that brief time and it will scar his emotional development and he'll never love me the same way. INSANITY, right? I know. Anywho - needless to say when we returned from the movie my mom said Noah was SO MUCH FUN while we were gone. He didn't fuss once. And I have to admit a weird little part of me felt disappointed. Like huh - I thought he's miss me more. WIERDO.

The movie we saw, "Mysterious Skin," was very good. But I would hesitate recommending it to anyone because it was also very disturbing. The subject matter was so emotional and so graphic that I felt physically ill by the end of the movie. It contrasted the coping mechanisms of two small town teenage boys who were sexually molested at the age of eight. And the flashbacks were seriously hardcore. I don't know how you get a child actor to perform in scenes like that - what you tell them the movie is about. The kid who played Tommy on Third Rock puts in an amazing performance as one of the teens. Patrice had said to me in the past that she couldn't handle this sort of subject matter because she was a mom and it put too many scary thoughts in her head and now I see exactly what she meant. I walked out of the theater thinking about how vigilant you have to be in order to keep your child safe.

So I guess the wrap up for this weekend has me realizing what a paranoid freakish mom I am already. I just love him so much and I don't want him to hurt. EVER. Of course this is impossible. It seems such a fine balance between protecting your child and suffocating them. I'm sure Mark will have to remind me many times over the course of Noah's life that leaving him some room to grow is not neglect - and that if I protect him from everything he will experience nothing. And that is not the kind of life I want for my baby. The best parts of my life I can attribute to throwing caution to the wind - so I have to not only let Noah do that but also encourage it as he grows. GOD this is hard work.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Special News Bulletin

You are NOT going to believe this. I was just spit up on. Not too surprising, right? I must have been spit up on a million times already, right? Right. So what makes this time so special? Well, I don't even know how to say it in a way that expresses my surprise. So I'll just have to come out with it plain and simple... Noah spit up on my FACE! Yup. The right side of my face, my glasses and my hair were all covered in clumpy regurgitated breast milk. Nice, huh? And how did this happen you might ask? Supra genius me was laying on the floor and holding Noah so he could stand on my abdomen. And then I started to lean his head towards me to give him a kiss and... BLEK! "I was repaid in puke."

Motherhood is SO very glamorous.

He'll rock your world!

The following are a few of the GAZILLION pictures I have taken to illustrate Noah's tumbling skills. And yes, I am fully aware that I am a complete dork.

These blocks should live in fear.  Posted by Hello

Watch me bust a move... Posted by Hello

AHA! I got it! Soon I will RULE THE WORLD! Posted by Hello

Tacos, tumbling and blogs - OH MY!

Last night we had an unexpected adventure. Though it looked as if it might rain any minute, the three of us set out for a walk once Mark came home from work. The other night Kristen mentioned that it looked like there was a new taqueria open at Fifth and Thompson. I had read that the owners of Las Cazuelas were opening a taqueria and I had been looking forward to it. So Mark, Noah and I strolled (with stroller) in the direction of the new Taco Riendo. We wanted to see if it was open and to grab a menu for a possible future meal.

When we arrived at Taco Riendo I asked Mark to stay outside with the stroller while I ran in for a menu. But we both soon realized that inside was a friendly neighborhood couple we know (Mark met them while doing neighborhood canvassing for Move On) and their ten-month old son. I greeted them and they invited us in. We chatted briefly while they ate, and we ordered food to go. In their situation Dad stays home and Mom works - and that is always refreshing. Their son is adorable and definitely in the grabby can't sit still phase. He's on the verge of walking and talking - and he is proudly sporting one shiny new tooth. It's really nice meeting neighbors with infants - I fantasize about swapping babysitting and our kids growing up together. It would be so cute if they would interact - but I read the other day that children don't play interactively until the age of two. And of course while we were in the taqueria Noah sat quietly and scanned the room with saucer-sized eyes. SO much to see.

And the food - AMAZING. I had the enchiladas mole which came with black beans and rice. It was a delicious. And pretty reasonable. My entrée was a whole meal for $6. But skip the Mexican sodas if you're on a budget. They are $2.50 each.

Oh and we found out from said neighborhood couple that the former Zekas market on Girard which is now adorned with an awning that says "Taste" is to be a restaurant operated by the father of Hadar Nisimi, the owner of Aden. That too is very exciting. I really like Hadar. He worked at Il Cantuccio when it first opened and Mark and I went there often. Hadar remembers faces and was always super friendly and accommodating. And when he opened Aden we became regulars there too. Plus his sister who often hostesses at Aden was in our yoga class. They are really nice people. And of course the food at Aden is excellent. I would be willing to bet that Taste will be just as good.

Have I mentioned that Noah has become quite the gymnast? He's become very adept at seeing something out of his reach, rolling towards it, and reaching out and trying to grab it. He has gotten pretty agile at the rolling and reaching, but the grabbing needs some work. Often he bats something out of his reach several times before he actually gets it in his grasp. Practice. Practice. Practice. I have a series of photos to illustrate but I am having problems with my photo posting program.

And last but not least - blog talk. Yesterday I got my first comment from a stranger! So exciting. You can check out her blog. We wish her daughter Sophie gets well soon. I use the next blog function in blogspot all the time, but I never comment. But as I was next blogging yesterday I ran into this blog. Inspired by my first stranger comment and because she had a post requesting that next blog visitors leave her a comment - I did. And she was as pleased to get her first stranger comment as I was to get mine. Pay it forward. (And no, Jon, not the Haley Joel Osment movie, just the idea that spawned the movie. Though I do often see dead bloggers.)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Not cute because they are little

Today is the second day I have had the back door open. And already my kitchen is being taken over by ants. Sneaky little bastards are everywhere. They are staging a coup. So in a rash move I started spraying the crap out of them with ant poison. Now I have visions of Noah and the cats lapping up poisonous dead ants. And the fumes! What about the fumes?

It is not fair that city people have to contend with ants, or bugs of any kind. Don't those stupid ants know they'd be alot happier in some field somewhere. They could have their own lovely ant hill and not bother walking along the perimeter of my kitchen cabinets. City people have different nuissances like litter, drunk passerbys, and bus routes to name a few. We don't need no stinkin' ants!

Girard Avenue is loud. It has always been loud.And generally I enjoy being part of a vital thoroughfare. Noah and I have already taken to sitting on our front step and watching the people go by - just like our neighbors. But with the windows open and an infant napping - Girard is possibly the loudest place on earth. Just wait til they start building those new houses right out our front door. I might have to buy Noah one of those sound-proof chambers. Or at the very least an ant-proof one.

Happy jumpin' fun for all! Posted by Hello

On the road again

After months of stockpiling provisions, planning a fortuitous route and waiting for the weather to break, Noah and I set out yesterday on an expedition to see Ms. Janette in Reading. Noah slept in the car for most of both trips and the weather was divine. After Ms. Janette served us a lovely tea we went for a walk to the Schmoyers bakery. Yes, Schmoyers. I don't think you can get more Pennsylvania Dutch than that. I bought a raisin bread and apple dumplings. Then we walked up the hill to tackle the swings on the playground. Noah did some swinging - courtesy of being strapped to me in the Bjorn. And then back to the Cathedral de Hough-Fertig to eat said apple dumplings. It was a lovely afternoon of conversation and sunshine.

Unfortunately for Mr. Mark, the only nap time Noah had yesterday was in the car and together that accounted for only an hour and a half of sleeping rather than his three to four hours of normal nap time. And then last night I left the overly tired Noah with Mark when Patti, Kristin and I went to the Tap for a couple hours of burgers and beers. It was a great time and I barely worried about the Eggerts boys. After we returned to the house and I showed former Literacy Interns Patti and Kristin my growing collection of children's literature (only they can get as excited about "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" as I can), Mark told me Noah had had a "little freak out." I was feeling so guilty for leaving while Mark described Noah's general discontent and crying fit. I was convinced that Noah was miserable because I had overtired him during the day and then he became more upset because I wasn't home. I felt bad for them both. I didn't want either of them to have a bad night. But Mark was right. He's Noah's father. He can take care of Noah when he fusses too. And it wasn't the whole time I was gone. Just a brief episode. I just wish it had gone better for them. Maybe next time.

In my first attempts to address the problems of Penn Treaty Park I wrote an email to the editor of one of our local papers describing my experience the other day and telling her it would be great if the newspaper would do some stories that would champion the reclamation of the park. I am happy to say that she wrote back to me saying she really liked the idea and intended on getting to work on it. Yippee!

Today will be just a normal quiet day with the possibility a brief stroller expedition. Noah and I both need to catch up on our naps. Yawn.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

What would Willy Penn and the Indians think?

It is absolutely gorgeous outside. Spring seems to have sprung - and I for one could not be happier about it. The warm weather makes me so happy - I could sing. And I have. Lucky for you that you don't have to hear it.

Master Noah and I went on an afternoon stroll to Penn Treaty park and back. I wanted to take the boy out so he could enjoy the warm weather and take in a bit of the world. Of course he feel asleep in the stroller after a few minutes of our hour long adventure. Silly boy.

Unfortunately my trip was also a bit sad. There are two parks within a short distance of our home. Liberty Lands Park is lovely. It's owned and maintained by a Northern Liberties neighborhood group. I'm sure today it was teeming with earthy moms and precocious tots taking in the rays and playing on the equipment. However in the stroller I thought it best to head to Penn Treaty Park. It's on the river and has paved paths perfect for bikes and strollers. Penn Treaty is owned by the city and they do almost nothing to maintain it. It's covered in trash, flooded from the rain, and generally in disrepair. The location of the park is unfortunate in a way - it's cut off from the neighborhood by 95 and Delaware Avenue and is therefore almost forgotten. On the south side of the park was a BBQ joint that had at one time been a nightclub. Club Maui I think. I guess the BBQ place didn't do any business because it appears to be closed. How could I tell? A good number of the windows had had things thrown threw them - and the place was covered in graffiti. It is obvious that kids, dare I say hooligans, hang in this park and are intent on destroying any chance it has of being any place where families would congregate regularly. I was hopeful for a moment when I saw there were about twenty people at the end of park in white jump suits doing some sort of cleanup. I asked someone I passed if they were repairing the pier at the end of the park. The man told me that they were there cleaning the rocks that line the river - apparently they were still covered from the spill that happened so many months ago. It seems pointless when the rest of the Park is in such a state. Last year Mark and I went to one meeting of a Friends of Penn Treaty Park group that was forming. The police officer who was organizing it took our names and numbers and talked about a lot of big plans - but nothing ever came of it. He never contacted us again about a second meeting. It's such a shame. It's such a great place for a park - on the river with a great view of the Philly skyline. I would love to go there regularly with Noah. I guess I should probably find out what I can do - so I feel like I have done my part to salvage the Penn Treaty's potential.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Still very fresh

Noah is 5 months old today!

Whew. It was a busy weekend. A very grey, very rainy busy weekend.

On Saturday Ms. Patrice and Ms. Bella joined us for an excursion to the Troc for Janette's coed bar baby shower. It was a hectic day filled to the brim with misadventure - but we'll leave that story for Patrice because she got the brunt of it and she excels in relating those sort of wacky hijinks. Of course Janette was late for her own baby shower. I love Janette but her lateness is to be counted on. And if there is any justice in the world her baby won't appear until well after her May 25 due date.

Despite the rain, puddles, spilled drinks etc... Noah was well behaved so I chalk it up as a good day. I'm always paranoid that he will scream uncontrollably while I'm out in public and people will look down their noses, give us disapproving glares and whisper about what a bad mother I appear to be. This of course has not yet happened, but it could some day. So I worry about it any time I step out the door. God. I'm such a case... Anywho, on the upside when he is good out in public, as he almost always is, I am just so happy and thankful no matter what else goes on in the course of the day. And it was a nice night because Patrice and Ms. Bella stayed for dinner. I love having guests. Especially low maintenance ones. And EX-specially Patrice. And extra EX-specially Bella.

Yesterday we went to my mom's place for dinner and my Grandmother and Aunt Jill stopped by to see the Schmoah. It wasn't a special occasion or anything, just a nice visit. My mom likes to try to see her quickly growing grandson every weekend and since she is coming up the next two Sundays to baby-sit so that Mark and I can see Philadelphia Film Fest screenings, the long drive was ours this time. Plus Mark and I got pot roast and apple pie out of the deal. Yum.

My mom got me a couple of pairs of jeans that I LOVE. They almost make me feel normal sized when I wear them. No - they aren't magic jeans. At least I don't think so.

I was a bit concerned that over the course of the busy weekend Noah forgot how to take a proper long nap. Our non-blinking baby becomes too enthralled with the world to ever consider taking a lengthy nap when he's not at home. We'll see how he fares today. I know I could use a very long nap. In a completely dark room. With no distractions, no thoughts and no interruptions. And if I could wake up naturally when *I* was done sleeping - well that would be orgasmic. Of course this will never happen because though Mark often offers to take Noah away so that I can take a long nap, as soon as they leave my presence all I can think of is what they are doing without me and what I might be missing, and then I can't sleep very long at all.

And a word about the word "spoiled." I HATE it when used in regards to children. "Spoiled" means that something has gone bad irrevocably. It's ruined and it can't be fixed. You should just throw it away. This should never be used when describing a child. I'm a bit sensitive about this because as a child I was constantly called "spoiled" by my family. Even my mom called me "spoiled" and she was supposedly the one doing the spoiling. And in my family's defense they didn't necessarily mean it as a criticism most of the time. They merely meant that my mom was very vigilant about doing all she could for me. As she still does, bless her. And so it is with me and Noah. But please don’t' call him "spoiled." He might be indulged, fussed over, coddled - but he has not irrevocably gone bad. Not yet anyway.

Noah thought Patrice was getting a bit lippy. Posted by Hello

Friday, April 01, 2005

He's on the GROW

The thing with these infants is that they always have new tricks up their sleeves. Just when you think you know them, when you have their rap down, they up and flip yo ass. And so it is with Master Noah. Here are some of his recent accomplishments. Don't get too attached - tomorrow it might be completely different.

1. GGGGGG- G unit. As of this week Noah is the G man. He's finally added a consonant sound to his repetoire of assorted dolphin noises. And the gurgling "GaGaGaGa" can be used to express any emotion from euphoria to discontent.

2. Jump Around. My mom bought us a Jumperoo for Christmas. It's a safer version of those door harnessed jumpers that we all had when we were kids. Prior to yesterday he just sort of hung in it and I'd bounce his lazy butt. But yesterday he made a revelation. He began flailing his arms and legs as if he were trying to run for his life - but his legs kept slipping out from under him and he go bouncing back. It's HYSTERICAL! I wouldn't dare call it jumping. It looks more like a seizure. But oh how I laugh.

3. Recylcing. So our new favorite toy is not expensive. It's not brightly colored. It's not made by First Years, Graco or Carters. It's made by the fine folks at Poland Springs. My boy seems to like nothing more than an empty water bottle.

4. Pokey. I'm not entirely sure, but I think Schmoah may already be studying to be a dermatologist. He just loves to take his tiny, slobbery soft fingers and run them over my face. He noodles them over my chin, my lips, my nose, and OW! That's my eye. On Easter Sunday he started fussing in the car so I leaned into the carseat and just let him poke at me until he fell asleep.

5. Pig. Have I mentioned he eats anything? Today's new food was prunes. He sucked that crap down without even tasting it. Which leads me to the following:

6. Motility. For awhile there Noah was unwilling to free the solids he's been digesting. It would go three days, and while I was once again discussing with Mark if we should call the doctor about it, he would finally set the troops on the march. But luckily he has now gone several days in a row with normal bowel exercise. Hopefully it just took his body a little while to figure out how to process this stuff - but now everything will be as right as rain.

7. Temper, temper. Last night Noah was hungry. He was tired. And Mom and Dad wanted to eat their spinach ravioli before they fed him his oatmeal and pears. This is LUNACY. This is INJUSTICE. This is CHILD ABUSE. The Master threw his toy on the ground, spit out his pacifier and yelled at us. "GGGGGAAAAHHH!" Mark just gave him back his toy, replaced his bink and went about eating. Master Noah repeated his threats through our meal, until it was his turn to eat. "GGGGGAAAAHHH! I tell you. GGGGGAAAAHHH!"

8. More sunshine too. He smiles more. He plays more. He giggles more. But what drives me insane is that he's often too shy around strangers and too wrapped up in the chaos and glory of the world outside our house to ever do it for anyone but us. Perform, damn you, perform!!

And I'm sure there is more. But that's what I got today. And you thought you couldn't go one more second without hearing about my baby's bowels.